Archive for August, 2010

My friends – I think of you as my friend if you use your precious time to read my blog – this is a kind of “retraction” or adjustment to yesterday’s blog.  I also made the change on the original post.

My illustrious carpool-neighbor who started off the whole process was trying hard to get in touch with me during the 24-hour period (not just 12 as originally stated) immediately prior to the beginning of classes.  She was being very diligent, while I was busy attending to other things.  Maybe all these things needed attending to, but the fact is, I was not similarly attentive or conscientious in getting the carpool lined up or affirming my friend, even when I answered the phone on the rushed first day of school.

Not hearing from me, she needed to move on and make decisions.  She is the real hero of that story which has the happy ending of helping multiple families participate in sports at our school!

Also, I was clearly not just trying to “preserve my sanity”, I was trying to preserve my convenient plan.  But at Mass yesterday (after I had posted), I heard the readings that talked about acting with humility.  (See http://www.usccb.org/nab/082910.shtml)  One line stood out from the first reading, “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.”  Then in the gospel, our Lord at a banquet in a pharisee’s home, discussing who we should invite to our “banquets” said, “For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  The reading from Luke 14: 7-14 continued,

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…”

Finally, our pastor said, “Ask yourself the question, do I do what I can to serve the other person, everyone I come in contact with?  Do I do ALL I can to serve them?  …  We are all poor, crippled, lame, and blind.”

I was in tears, somehow “getting” the connection between banquets and carpools.  I thought more about it all and realize that now I have been given a second chance to do that in the carpool.

Blessings to all!


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Carpool Grid Rules!

At our marvelous Trinity School, sports are not a priority, academics are.  But it’s a funny thing, many kids tend to have sports as a priority, including ours, and so parents do what they can to foster and support that.

This past week has been characteristically difficult for two reasons:  1) School started and we weren’t as prepared as we coulda, shoulda, mighta been, and 2)  Getting the kids to and from their sports activities is very wearing and complicated due to the horrendous traffic in our area and the lack of provided transportation.  What’s a mom in the midst of hectic life to do?  Carpool.

But carpooling is another conundrum to be solved, exponentially growing in intricacy the greater the number of families involved.  Keep in mind, we are talking about overloaded highways, “D.C. traffic gridlock”, and rush hour that lasts from 3:30-ish to 6:30-ish.  I had thought life would be much less complicated this year, my two boys are in the same varsity sport and I would carpool with my neighbors two doors down and the family a few streets away.

But my hoped-for carpool was a decoy and destined to be much more mystifying than I had anticipated.  First of all, my two proposed carpool families did not just have students in my sons’ sport VB (varsity boys) soccer, they had a mix of VG/MSG (varsity and middle school girls) volley ball players with their VB and MSB  (just one from each of the four possible groupings, but enough to obfuscate my elegantly simple plan.)

Then, when I missed a phone message and an email during a 24-hour period (lack of good communication follow-through happens!), and was in other ways unavailable to work out issues, one member of the proposed carpool list decided to enter into “diplomatic relations” with two other families who live 10-minutes away and across a major thoroughfare (think  bumper-to-bumper traffic.)  Ten minutes is the minimum, with perfect conditions.  Are they ever perfect during rush hour?   These families were very grateful to be included.   The next thing I knew, a third addition was made whose student played volley ball and whom I had never met.  Oh yes, did I forget to mention that I was the only one who did not have the most important component of a large carpool, a minivan?  With only a 5-seat sedan, my status was diminished greatly.

Now I was sort of the “odd man out”, having only boys in the one sport while all my potential allies had some grouping of volley ball playing girls.  Not only that, but my efforts to “preserve my sanity” were subject to the legitimate charge of being seen as self-serving.  I knew the situation was deteriorating fast.  Also, it was becoming clear that I needed to move out beyond my “comfort zone” and what I thought I could do.  God provides grace for what he calls us to.  But how to accomplish this movement towards generosity was the question.

Enter the Carpool Grid – benevolent and perfectly functioning.  First you need a spread sheet for each sport with the days of the week and the participating persons.  There are really two lines to this effort, the “take to the field” line and the “bring back from the field”.  This plan really is simple, because the members of the carpool say when they are free and willing to drive, and the names are plugged in to the grid.  Though the students are in the varied groups, parents can be assured that their child will be picked up by someone they trust!

I was enabled to participate because my neighbor two doors down has a Suburban, but is willing to trade cars with me on the days I drive.  Anything she needs to do besides carpool, can be done in my 5-seat sedan.  This is Christian community at its finest – holding our lives in common – our cars in common.

I am grateful to Sandra Forbes, founder and CEO of Forbes Organizing, for bringing the idea for this grid “to the table” last school year, inviting families to the meeting to sign up, and making it work at that time.  I am also grateful to Alex Eng for remembering the idea of the grid and setting up the structure this year for us to plug in names.  Finally, kudos to Terry Cassell, our neighbor and Area coordinator, for calling together the planning meeting in order to forestall the breakdown of relations that  threatened.

I know that my Redeemer lives!

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B rands  &

E lliotts  (+ friends)

A t

C orolla (Outer Banks, NC)

H ot trip!  (meaning, it was cool, real cool!)

Other words to describe:

  • Hazelton beach house has a bountiful layout for people aplenty
  • ya just gotta love the beach
  • sunrise on Sunday (day 1) with John – it just popped up over the horizon
  • beautiful skies, refreshing waves
  • 2nd sunrise with Kathryn
  • excellent weather
  • climbed Currituck Beach lighthouse (http://www.carolinalights.com/north-carolina-lighthouses/currituck-beach-lighthouse)
  • Kress family arrived “in the nick of time” to refresh our sagging merriment on the one rainy evening!  (we played the Name Game; some memorable ones were “Wizard of Oz”, “Chad”, “Jesus Christ”, and Roger Federer)
  • a truly engaging time  😉
  • spectacular sunrise from the deck

Maria appreciating the OBX - yeah!

Psalm 107 (excerpt)

21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love.
Let them give thanks for the miracles he does for his people.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings.
Let them talk about what he has done as they sing with joy.
Others sailed out on the ocean in ships.
They traded goods on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord.
They saw the miracles he did on the ocean.
He spoke and stirred up a storm.
It lifted the waves high.
They rose up to the heavens. Then they went down deep into the ocean.  …

29 He made the storm as quiet as a whisper.
The waves of the ocean calmed down.
The people were glad when the ocean became calm.
Then he guided them to the harbor they were looking for.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love.
Let them give thanks for the miracles he does for his people.

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Fascinating photo-memories

My friend Carrie has a new photography business (click on link below).  If you want to have a professional sitting, contact her. *


by Caroline Margaret Photography

*(I know this little girl – she is a real live toddler.  It takes a pro to capture this kind of demure charm from a youngster!)

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