Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's So Easy to Fall in Love

I get surprised all the time.

Like when Anna Rose and I were taking an evening walk last friday: "Quiet," she said.

I get quiet.

"Can you hear it?"

"Hear what?" I ask.

"Nature," she says, sighing delight. " I love the music of nature."

"Me, too," I say.

"Like, when the rain starts to fall. There's music in the rain."

"Where did you get a thought like that?" I ask.

She shrugs her shoulders like everyone in the world should have thoughts like that.

Or on Monday: Anna Rose and I were walking the empty Yard Cart back from the street, and I was singing the old Buddy Holly tune "It's So Easy to Fall in Love"when Anna Rose turns to me and says: "No, it's not."

"What do you mean?" I ask her.

She talks with her hands. "Well, for you, there were so many girls. And for me, there are SO many guys."

"So it will be hard to find the right one?" I say, trying to finish her thought.

"I mean, how am I possibly going to find my one and only?"

"I see what you mean," I say, seeing what she means. I put my arms around her. "You know, I fell in love with you the first minute I saw you."

"Daddy," she said, smiling, "I know that for a fact."

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Our yearlong quest to capture the perfect Christmas card photo took a wet turn last week. 

When I first learned about Twitter and the whole hashtag phenomenon, I could have sworn I heard it called splashtag. Am I the only one? Once corrected I decided to continue splashtagging anyway. I think of the phrase as my personal Twitter signature. If you shoot something splashtag worthy, make sure you splashtag it for me. I'd love to see what you come up with. 

Speaking of splashtag worthy - Here are some of the many out takes. Thanks to Cara for shooting these stellar pics.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Best Father's Day Gift

I don't like braggy posts. I do my best not to write them. I've blurred the line in the past, I know. And I'm about to blur it again. The difference to me is the answer to who and what you are celebrating. And the line gets blurring when it comes to our children, our families, and our lives.

I guess in the end the question that first must be asked is to whom are you writing? And again, the fine line is elusive. Especially on the web. To me, in this place, is primarily where I can put down memories. It's my digital scrapbook - the things I don't mind sharing with whoever comes to visit - things I don't mind if they get shared over and over again to people I will never meet. I'm OK with that. The things I don't want passed around I put somewhere else. 

This is a memory I don't want to lose. On June 16, 2013, for Father's Day, Anna Rose gave me ten care bags for me to hand out to homeless people. The gift floored me. Once I got over the astonishment of she sees that in me? I was simply awed not only because of the sweet selflessness of the gift, but the thorough thoughtfulness of the giver. Anna Rose knows me. She knows what brings me joy. And she has observed and understood that the best gifts are the ones we give to others. And Lia, whom she told, understands me, too. She went along with it and gave Anna Rose the means to bring her idea to life. Wow! What a gift.  

This is the letter that accompanied my gift: "

Dear Ned, 

Happy Father's Day! I think one
of the greatest examples of what
a great dad you are is Anna Rose's
gift for you this year. She decided
to make bags for you to give to 
homeless people because she said,
"I know Daddy loves poor people."
When she thinks of you, she thinks
of Jesus because she sees Him in
you! Thank you for sharing His
love and grace with all of us. 
We love you!


Friday, June 07, 2013

One Tough Mudder

Lia, Page Pisapia, Katie Grubbs, and Mary Mendenhall got down and dirty last week for the Marine Corp Mud Run up near Pilot Mountain. 

It was so hot my ears were sweating - but these girls had good attitudes in spades. 

I have to pat myself on my back here for the steadiness of this camera work. This was the half way point. From there they climbed a couple walls, slipped up a mud hill by ropes, and crawled through drainage pipes - which all led to the final obstacle - The Lake of Mud.

Great jobs gals! Maybe we can get the guys to do it next year. Or even better - the kids!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Miracle in May

Anna Rose and I had gone out for a little Daddy Daughter date. It was after her bedtime when we returned; David was already asleep, so we snuck into the house via the back porch. We were climbing the stairs when something caught our eye. It was a bird. A small house finch trapped between the stairs and the wall.

Anna Rose asked me to rescue it, which I not-so gracefully did. Except for a chicken, I hadn't held a bird in my life. Holding this one, I saw right away what had happened. She had flown into the window and had broken or dislocated her wing. It was crooked. The poor thing couldn't even walk.

The question was: what to do? Or the question I was thinking which was: how do I put this poor bird out of its misery without my daughter crying? Anna Rose and I went inside. Told Lia the situation. She told me to get a cardboard box.

I did. Anna Rose filled up a dish of water. Gave the bird a handful of birdseed.

To my surprise, the bird was alive the next morning. Anna Rose and I dug up some worms. The bird lived through the day. She started hopping around the next.

Day 7, she tried her wing out. She could lift off the ground about two inches before falling. Anna Rose thought she'd give her a chance outside. She hopped to a holly bush and climbed to the top and hid awhile. Then tried to fly but fell in our neighbors backyard.

This brought tears. Our neighbor has a dog. I was pretty sure the bird, Anna Rose had named her Sala at this point, was a goner. We went over and fortunately Joey had not found her yet. Somehow we did. She was hiding in some pachysandra.

Sala went back in the box. I ran into our vet at church the next day. I told him about the bird. He was astonished that Anna Rose had been able to keep a wild bird alive that long, especially an injured one. He told us to bring her to his office for x-rays. We did the next day.

Sala's wing had no signs it had been broken. It was still crooked but the joint had slipped back in place. There was a chance Sala was going to make it! The fact she was alive at all was miraculous enough to give us hope.

Sala continued to improve. Two days later, Anna Rose asked if she could bring Sala to visit her friends at school. I told her to pray about it. She said, "I asked God twenty-two times and he said 'Yes' each time." So I came home from work a little early to get the bird.

Sala was gone! She had flown out of her cardboard box. Ten minutes of searching followed. Finally, I found her underneath a wicker chair. I collected her, brought her to school, and told Anna Rose and her friends about Sala's dramatic escape.

I told Anna Rose in the car that Sala was ready to go free. I asked Anna Rose if she was ready. She said, "Yes." So we did.

I don't know if I have ever been so proud of Anna Rose. I don't think she has any idea how amazing it is to nurse a wild animal back to health.

Almost every day, Sala visits our bird feeder. Because of her crooked wing it's easy to pick her out...I still find it hard to believe she can fly.