At one time in my life I believed I would grow up to be a writer. My first "book" was to be titled, "Fortune Cookie", and I managed to write about eight pages of it. It was funny. It was eight pages of pure genius. It was about a single girl living in Manhattan and her journey. I was single at the time, but I knew nothing about living in Manhattan. So, it was loosely based on someone else being single and living in New York (can you say...Sex and the City). Genius I tell you! I never finished the "book" and today those eight pages are somewhere in the bottom of a drawer.

I am no longer a single girl and my understanding of living in Manhattan is more of my own now, but Fortune Cookie stuck around as the name of my blog. For years, I loved writing my blog and the title seemed to fit its description, "you never know what you're going to get"...until about nine months ago. I was uninspired and didn't feel like there was so much to be surprised about anymore. I felt like you did know what you were going to get when you came to my blog - catchy phrases, quotes from what I was reading, some pretty pictures, but nothing inspiring or worth reading. That's when I shut everything down.

What a difference nine months makes. Surprises abound! Our family unexpectedly went on our first mission trip together to Costa Rica, our baby is in Kindergarten, I got a new job, we got a puppy,"turned" Vegan, and we're beginning our journey of adoption. None of this was planned except for Kindergarten. Everything else has been the careful process of not carefully making any plans at all, but living and being available to God's plan. Praise be to God! Oh, and obviously the blog is up and running again and I cannot wait to share everything with you as we take this journey together.  I hope it surprises you, inspires you, and finds you living the life you've always dreamed.

"My horse!  My horse!  My kingdom for a horse!"

Let me tell you something, I just watched Kevin Spacey roar these words into the audience in a production of Richard III at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater.  I've never felt the power of each syllable.  I've also never seen such a beautiful orchestration of modern aristocracy and war mixed with 15th century language and social issues that still transcend even our modern democratic society (without all of the blood letting).  The combination of incestuous hatred and death was almost enchanting because of the stage arrangement, which was bare wide planked hardwood floors and walls of doors, doors, doors.  If you get a chance to see this play, get thee to the theater!
I am intrigued by the concept in this video. While we've never gotten food from a dumpster, we have definitely recovered plants from our local nursery and useful building supplies from places going out of business. I am highly unlikely to follow in this person's steps for a variety of reasons, not the least of which, poor Clare already has the "weird, liberal" parents. However, I will say that I am a little disappointed that companies choose to throw away edible food and useful items rather than make more of an effort to provide items to people in need. Those flowers, while not perfect for a party, looked like they could sure brighten up a hospital room or nursing home. The food that expires that day could be used at homeless shelters, safe houses, or for families severely in need. It appears that all it requires is a little ingenuity, a good relationship with a store manager, and a team of people willing within a community to get the stuff (maybe before it reaches the dumpster) and take it to those in need (notice, I said "team" of people). Use this blog and the video I share to inspire you to action today! In Christ...
The Perennial Plate Episode 84: Dumpster Diver from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

I hope you have pants on

After the most wonderful Christmas Eve day full of traveling, family, church, and fun, we calmly put Clare to bed at the usual time of eight o’clock. During our bed time ritual, we giggled about what Santa would bring, said night time prayers, distributed good dreams fairy dust and turned out the lights. Like every other parent of a young child on Christmas Eve, on our way out of the bedroom we sing-songed a sweet warning to her, “You must hurry up and get to sleep. If Santa comes and you’re awake, he won’t leave any presents.” Giggling, I started back toward the living room feeling the relief of knowing that it was eight o’clock and we had nothing else to do except display the beautifully wrapped and glitter embellished presents that I had prepared the night before.  Oh, and to open that new bottle of wine we received as a gift. Parenting win, check! Christmas Eve win, check!

…let this perfect moment sink in for just a moment...

Ten minutes later, I hear the local fire truck racing down the street toward our neighborhood - you know the one with a fireman dressed as Santa on top of it. Before I could reason with myself, I started hysterically screaming Clare’s name and yelling for her to hurry and come to the front door so she could see Santa. Mason in a confused tone starts yelling back, “Lael, what in the world? Stop! We don’t even know if they’re coming to our neighborhood…Wait, they’re coming. It’s coming. It’s coming!” In the horrifying confusion that followed, Clare, in a legitimate state of fear, comes running to the front door. I grabbed her in my arms and ran outside with her in pajamas in the freezing night time air. Mason is right behind us with my coat. We get to watch the fire truck drive by our house at 100 mph with a coat half draped over her feet and my shoulders, as Santa hurls pieces of candy at us in the dark. It wasn’t exactly magical, but boy was it exciting. Screaming mommies and fire truck sirens should be everyone’s normal on Christmas Eve. Fourteen seconds later, we put her to bed again. This time she asked us to hurry up and get out of her room so she could go to sleep. Not a win, not exactly a loss. We’ll call it a wash.

An hour later, the excitement of Christmas got to me and Mason and we decide we needed to reinforce the myth of Santa. We created an elaborate scheme for me to go and crawl into bed with Clare, who was supposed to be asleep, while Mason went outside with bells. Mason would ring his bells and this would wake her from her precious slumber so she would think reindeer were outside of her window. I would be there when she woke up so she wouldn’t be scared. Perfect, right? However, when I went to crawl into her bed, she was wide awake. I excitedly told her that Santa was in our area and that she needed to hurry up and get to sleep before he got to our house. Next thing you know, there are ringing bells and some thump thump thumping outside of the house. PERFECT!! She squeezed her eyes closed and we both gasped because Santa was there. A minute later there was a significantly louder, and more unexpected, thud that came from the roof. It startled me, so I jumped. She immediately warned me through gritted teeth, “You’d better be asleep.” I nearly bit my tongue in half trying not to laugh. In the whisper of someone about to choke to death, I told her I was. . The next thing I know, Mason is making his way back down the hall. With all the creaking and cracking of the floor boards, he sounded like a 7ft tall, 500 lb gorilla coming toward us. Of course, she thought Santa on his way to her room. She curled in close to me and with the quietest voice I’ve ever heard her use, she breathed into my ear, “I hope you have pants on”. I lost it. I started laughing so uncontrollably that I had to excuse myself and get out of her bed without so much as a good night. I can only imagine her wondering if Mommy had ruined her chance for presents since I kept her from going to sleep (twice).  We'll add this to her future therapy list.

Today I’m left to wonder why she was worried if I had pants on when Santa was on his way to her room, and if I run around without pants often enough for this to be a problem.


Rattle within wooden bones
Look through impassive eyes
Searching the shadows

Sallow reflections
Bear a rigid truth
An elastic simulation
In the happiest place on earth

Blind obstruction
Pulleys concealed
A sleight of hand

--Lael Boyd (2011)