Dad!!! You’re SO old!!

Happy Birthday Danny Tanner! You are officially very elderly. That’s right folks – it’s the big 5-0. This is DJ Tanner reporting from Washington, DC. Since I will not be home to celebrate the milestone of my father being alive for half a century and since I am a broke college student that didn’t want to pay for shipping, I decided to give the gift of some kind words for all the world to see in this surprise blog post. Even though you may not understand every single inside joke, without further ado, I give you “50 Things We Love About Dad,” with much love from Michelle, Stephanie, and DJ Tanner. (Don’t be fooled, some of these pictures are old, so he looks younger).

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We love…

1.  His unique bowtie collection and his overall sense of style (even though we bash it occasionally). We love the bowtie thing, because he taught us how to tie them…and that’s how we get all of the cute boys.

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2. His stash of gum and sweet tarts in the car (that we all know he LOVES to share).

3. His funny voices/accents.

4. His ability to do something hilarious on command that oftentimes ends with one of his children wetting their pants.

5. His inability to naturally smile in pictures unless his children are tickling his chin.ry=400 me&dad

6. His knowledge of the daddy handbook. (Example: “excerpt from page 834, Daddy’s may tickle their daughters, but they may not tickle back.”)

7. His devotion to constantly remind us that “he loves us the mostest.”

8. His goober reading glasses that make him look at least 73.

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9. His lap for sitting.

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10. His motherlike actions – including, but not limited to, knowing the most recent girl fashion, understanding the need for manicures and eyebrow waxing, and the instinct to leave us alone at that time of the month.

11. His obsession with Chick-Fil-A, making it so that every road trip consists of at least three stops to our second home (Chick-fil-A that is).

12. His love handles, even though we know he hates them..

13. And his dedication to P90X because of them.

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14. His cheap spending habits. (Not sure which sister came up with this one, but it was not DJ).

15. His dedication to color coding his shirts in his closet.

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16. His willingness to play “Don’t come in my kitchen,” even when he has had a long day and when his children probably should have grown out of wanting to play this family game.

17. His ever growing pig collection.

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18. His pajamas – including his scrubs, his holey underwear, and his beloved slippers.

19. His commitment to his yard.

20.His addiction to the “Candy Crush” iPhone game.

21. His ability to edit college essays and election speeches.

22. His instinct to cheer us up with his crazy humor when we are stressed over a silly assignment.

23. His patience with technology. He’s not very good at it yet, but he tries. Remember that one time he deleted everything on his phone?

24. His tradition of writing us crazy poems in our lunch boxes or camp mailboxes. Here is an excerpt from a really long poem for when I went to college.

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25. His cooking. Well…not really, but we like to watch him think that he can cook fish and then watch him order Chinese food (our favorite) when it doesn’t work out.

26. His taste in music – he has taught us some oldies which we have fallen in love with.

27. His bravery when allowing each child to have 10 friends over all in one night.

28. His patience when all 30 of these kids stay up all night, or insist on cooking pancakes at 4 in the morning (true story).

29. His faith.

30. His back pocket from which he can always pull out old YMCA skits and ideas.

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31. His dancing skills. Specifically his waltzing in “A Christmas Carol” and his shagging.

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32. His love for his mom’s chocolate cake and the fact that he can eat the whole bowl of extra icing in one sitting.

33. His inability to drop us off at summer camp or college without crying paired with his ability to pretend like he isn’t crying, by putting on sunglasses.

34. His “blonde” hair.

35. His determination to teach us how to ride a bike back in the day.

36. His dedication to making sure we all have dates for all of our all girl school dances.

37. His team spirit.

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38. His insistence on taking family pictures when nobody else wants to.

39. His Christmas card making skills.

40. His ability to take a joke. Remember when we froze your underwear? Hid your slippers? Short-sheeted your bed?

41. His love for crab hunting at the beach.

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42. His skill for making our lunches look like “faces” on the plate, and his actions as we pretend to eat each body part. (Example: you eat the ears made of carrots, Dad can’t hear anymore!)

43. His book and his blog. We also like being the cover of his book.

44. His three cups of coffee in the morning and his dump afterwards. I’m not sure where any of us would be without this daily routine.

45. His interest in being involved in our schools. We like that he knows what’s going on and that he occasionally helps out on a committee or two.

46. His confidence when having the “…now what kind of tampons did you want” conversation on the phone in the middle of Target.

47. His second silly verse to “Sanctuary” that he made up and taught all three of us. Seriously, ask us and we will sing you a completely made up verse, synchronized.

48. His constant need to keep the house tidy.

49. LOUISE!

50!! Ep nom duppi duppi.

The 20 Minute Piano Lesson

Posted by Danny

I took piano lessons when I was a kid for about 5 years.  I can read music but I have to practice a song a really, really long time for it to be audience worthy.  And by audience, I mean anyone.  There are a lot of pregnant pauses in my music. 

I know my notes, but if you asked me to play a G cord, you’d be out of luck.  And heaven forbid you asked for an A minor or a C# cord.  I’d have a better chance of remembering a phrase from my 7th grade Spanish class.  Actually I do remember “Hay un medico in su familia?” – is there a doctor in your family; and “Donde esta el bano?” – where is the bathroom.  If you’re going to a foreign country, those are two questions you may readily need.

Jesse on the other hand did not take piano lessons and cannot read music.  An eighth note to him is just a black dot with some friends nearby.  But as I’ve told you before, he can plunk out any pop tune with a sheet of music with only the letter of chord written over the lyric.

I’ve thought to myself a hundred times this past year, “How does he do that?” 

Today, he gave me a lesson.

10 am Sunday morning:

6 pm Sunday afternoon:

He’s a pretty good teacher.  I’m a pretty good student.  Mrs. Haynes would be so proud.  (Oh, that’s Stephanie, the camera girl, in the background.)

Tonight’s Dinner Special: Roast

POSTED BY JESSE

Since the girls wear uniforms to school all day, we do not have a dress code for the Tanner family dinner table (other than, you know, being dressed). It is advised, however, that you bring your layer of thick skin.

This family game has been played before, and will surely be played again, and I’m not even sure who started it last night, but it was probably the world’s funniest 8-year old girl, Michelle. It started with her (or someone else) declaring: “I’m going to be Jesse,” and proceeding to imitate the family member that has been named. Everyone else quickly follows suit by naming someone they will ape and soon we are sitting around the table having a “conversation” that consists of each person repeating their chosen subjects’ favorite meal-time catchphrase: Stephanie (as Danny) incessantly asked everyone how their day was, Michelle (as me) talked about watching basketball, etc.

But the real fun comes when we all take turns playing the same person at once. The script and performance are both pretty short, and I doubt Saturday Night Live will be beating down our doors any time soon, but we sure did crack each other up for about ten minutes. Even though the parroting typically consisted of a one-liner and a prop, some of them were pretty spot on. Here’s a quick review:

  • Michelle: singing loud and laughing; fidgeting and clinging on other people, even if they were trying to eat their own dinner; asking to be picked up and tickled. Best Actor award: Me, for my portrayal of Michelle at meals, rocking, kneeling on, or standing next to her stool while eating…and then going the extra absurd step of rolling on the dinner table.
  • Stephanie: a lot of OMGs and other “net-speak”; name-dropping of 5th grade boys that she “definitely does not like” even though their names are heard a lot; complaints about “tons of homework” that will somehow get finished before American Idol starts. Best Actor award: Danny, for his role as “slow-eating Steph”, pausing between bites to take in the scenery and chewing at a cow’s pace.
  • DJ: a lot of “Oh my gosh” (note: different from “OMG”–I guess net-speak becomes less cool around 8th grade) and other teenage tone and dialect, fast-flying thumbs and a refusal to look up from a newly purchased smart phone, play-by-play recaps of what happened in Latin and science classes, and a rundown of how incompetent/unfair the rest of the world is and how it is adversely affecting her. Best Actor award: Michelle, for her cheerleader routine and broadcasting the word of a newly purchased sports bra.
  • Me: donning of a baseball cap and lots of sports-talk; an eye-lock on my phone screen while announcing funny/interesting tidbits that are rolling across Twitter; responding to kids’ stories of the day with a different viewpoint on the situation or attempting to teach a lesson. Best Actor award: Stephanie, who moved to the piano to bang out some chords and sing at the top of her lungs. (am I really that loud?)
  • Danny (who, of course, tried to end the game before his name came up): reading glasses and dumbbells, weird exercise positions, commenting that everything would “make a good blog post”, not knowing how to work his phone. Best Actor award: DJ, who drew the night’s biggest laugh for her depiction of “Father drinking milk from the carton”, turning up the gallon jug and then exuding faux-machismo by strutting around the kitchen talking about how it’s “my milk” because he “bought it from Harris Teeter”.

And with that, this round of Tanner family roasting was concluded.

Some people might think we’re cruel to each other, but I think if observed objectively most would conclude it’s a net positive: everyone gets a fair share and we don’t really dwell on others’ insecurities as much as their habits. And it can be funny and sometimes quite revealing to see which words and actions you put out there, and what the first thing that comes to someone’s mind when they’re “being you.”

Additionally, I have conceded that when it comes to physical pain, the Tanner girls are kind of wimpy and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. I have induced tears from what I perceived to be light tickling and caused seemingly (at the time) irreparable damage to fingers during attempted sports outings in the driveway. I know they didn’t grow up being mercilessly flung into bushes and tackled onto tree roots by Ryan Combs, the 6-foot 6th grader with whom I played backyard football in my youth, but I had hoped to at least teach them the “brush off the dirt and keep going” routine. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

But there are different types of wimpy, and I can tell you that the Tanner girls are going to be emotionally resilient and mentally stalwart, armed to handle the inevitable rejections and insults that will come their way as they grow and learn. Hopefully, they won’t need all the good training we’re giving them in how to let things slide off your back. And hopefully they’ve already faced the toughest thing they’ll ever have to get through.

Happy Birthday, Bieber

POSTED BY JESSE

Today is Justin Bieber’s birthday. He was born on March 1st, 1994 at 12:56 a.m. How do I know this? I am living with a Bieb-ette.

Yesterday I picked DJ up from school. She told me she had to make a cake that night. What for?

The Biebs

“For Justin Bieber’s birthday!”

 

She also told me she was going to set her alarm for 12:56 a.m. because that’s what time he was born. I rolled my eyes, but I was amused.

This Bieber kid is the real deal. DJ first saw him in concert before he went to super-huge-megastar status when he was opening for Taylor Swift. She flew up to Boston to visit her Aunt Sallie and they went to the show together. She’s been hooked ever since.

And it sounds like she’s not the only one. His movie made $30 million the opening weekend. He’s a trending topic on Twitter daily. His fans even went after Esperanza Spalding, the poor girl who dared to win the Best New Artist Grammy over Bieber. So it’s safe to say he’s probably not going anywhere for a while, provided he doesn’t start rolling around Hollywood with, say, Charlie Sheen.

You ever heard of Bye, Bye Birdie? A Broadway show turned movie about a star singer going off to war and the fan who wins the chance to give him a goodbye kiss? The Tanner girls love it because they watch old musicals at Danny’s parents’ house (I am a BIG fan of this–they have a great collection that the girls just love. Kids will watch classic movies; there’s a reason they’re classics!).

I have a soft spot for the show because my middle school and my high school both put on a production of it and I was cast in the same role both times: Hugo, the nerdy, left by the wayside boyfriend, who, perhaps not coincidentally, is about the only lead character who does not sing any solos.

Well DJ is a living Kim MacAfee, the main girl in the show. She definitely has 2011 version of the “Telephone Hour” song mastered, though instead of the rotary it’s today’s teenage combination of text, talk, facebook, and skype.

Bieber's birthday cake, pre-icing

And Bieber is her Conrad Birdie. She paid some exorbitant amount of money to the Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never, a week before it officially came out in theaters. If there were a contest to kiss Justin Bieber before sending him off to fight in Libya, DJ would be in it and I wouldn’t bet against her winning.

 

And last night she made him a birthday cake. I think (hope) that deep down she’s being a little bit tongue-in-cheek in her obsession, but she did insist on making purple icing and spent a lot of time trying to figure out which combinations of food coloring would produce it, so maybe she really does have a problem.

But I admire her creativity and the way she completely throws herself into silly projects like this from time to time. It adds a little spice to the ordinary routine.

some father-daughter time in the kitchen

And maybe the best part was how unfazed Danny seemed that his daughter was making a mess in the kitchen for a Bieber birthday cake. After a day of work, and running the late shuttle for kid pick-up, and cooking dinner, and answering homework questions, I don’t even think I heard him sigh when DJ said, “Daddy, will you help me make icing for the cake? We don’t have any.”

 

In fact, it was kind of neat to see him passing down some of his better-than-average baking skills to his oldest daughter.

“Grab the confection sugar and the vanilla out of the cupboard….”

And together they made cake icing and iced Justin Bieber’s birthday cake. DJ then took the special purple icing to do the writing.

Unfortunately cakes don’t come with spell-check, so with only Stephanie as the consultant, they first came up with this:

Oops.

It’s B-i-e-b-e-r (but she fixed it). Whew, maybe she’s not as obsessed as I thought.

Sunday Post 7: Selfish me

A friend recently shared this quote with me:

Prosperity does not equal the favor of God, and adversity does not signal His absence.

That’s fairly easy to believe when your life is good.  Your wife dies, and you begin to question, why in the heck us?  I don’t think I believe we did something wrong to lose God’s favor, but there are a lot of other people out there who haven’t gone through what we’ve just been through.

 One time last year Michelle said, “Daddy, could we give mom’s cancer to someone else?” 

I asked, “Do you have anyone particular in mind?”  

She said, “No.”

“Honey, I don’t think we can give anyone mom’s cancer and I don’t believe anyone would take it if we could.  But I like that you’re thinking outside of the box.”

“I was just wondering.”

To be honest, I’ve looked at some and thought to myself:  Why couldn’t it have happened to them?  We do a lot more on this earth than they do  – especially Lisa (I’m sure I wasn’t thinking about YOU specifically when I had these thoughts, it was someone else).

If I think about my life honestly, even without Lisa, I have a LOT of blessings:  healthy and wonderful kids, a family that loves us enough to do our laundry and a bunch of other dirty stuff, financial security, incredible friends, and the list goes on and on.

Haven’t you seen folks who seem to have a really crappy life and yet they always seem happy and at ease with who they are and what they have?  I hate people like that.  I hate them because they make me look so selfish and bad.

At times I get annoyed at myself for spending so much time feeling sorry for me.  How can I, Danny Tanner, with all that God has given me, complain?

In my grandmothers final years, she developed some form of senility.  In her final months, she would sit and write “Count you many blessings” on a sheet of paper over and over and over again.  At that point in her life, it didn’t look like she had many.  I think it’s interesting that those are the words that stuck with her during the worst period of her life. 

I challenge you to make a list of your blessings.  I bet most of us have too many to count.

There was a lot of Good!

One year ago my wife passed away after a short fight with colon cancer. I’ve spent a lot of time this past week reliving her final days. I know she’d rather we move forward.  I know she’d rather we remember her almost 40 good years.

These are excerpts from comments that were shared by friends and family at her Memorial Service – and they are really good memories.

From Sallie, Lisa’s younger sister:

As her little sister, I used Lisa’s bossiness and emphatic suggestions to guide many of my choices in life.  I liked how Lisa dressed, so I bought the same clothes (or more often just stole hers).  I liked how she threw a party, so I’ve used all her party ideas.  I liked her choice of a husband, so I tried to find one just like him.  She had some very specific thoughts about how to plan my wedding, and we used every one of them. 

I have often found myself in a “what would Lisa do” situation.  As a result, I have modeled much of my life as a friend, neighbor, wife, and mother, based on Lisa’s example.  I strive to run a household like Lisa’s… full of energy, music, love, and tasteful decorations.  I strive to organize and lead efforts in the community that make a difference, like Lisa.  I strive to maintain amazing friendships, despite a busy job and home life, like Lisa. I strive to have a marriage that is based on a friendship, faith, and love, like Lisa’s.  And finally, I strive to raise polite, self-confident, loving children like Lisa’s. 

From Jim, a member of our church:

Lisa loved to playfully tease people.

When growing up in the church, Lisa was a slightly mischievous teenager who seemed to take delight in my efforts to serve as a youth advisor.  I was much younger then, and still single.  When Lisa learned I was dating one of her teachers at Broughton High School, she always asked me how “Babs” was doing, with a twinkle in her eye.  At one point she even sent Babs a Valentiine song-gram, signed my name, and didn’t let on as to what she had done for the longest time.  Now I’m not sure that song-gram alone drew Babs and me closer, but I think Lisa might have taken some deserved credit for bringing us together.

Lisa loved Bruce.

Some of my fondest memories are of Bruce teaching our Sunday School class, pushing the envelope on what was appropriate to say.  Lisa, in a way only she could do, would roll her eyes, shake her head, and without saying a word conveyed the message, “Can you believe what I have to put up with!” 

But we all knew this was simply for show, because the love between them was one of the strongest of bonds imaginable. 

From Copie, a colleague at work:

But one of the best traits about Lisa is that she could make anyone and everyone feel special, included and comfortable.  What a wonderful trait for an Angel!

The work Lisa has done to build and grow our school is her legacy.  She will be remembered as the backbone of St. Timothy’s for these 14 years.  And for that we need to say thank you—one of those thank you’s that is bigger than the two words themselves.

As you all know, co-workers have a special bond—we spend a lot of time together!  All of us treasure the honor and opportunity of working with such a wonderful person.

We will miss her.  We already miss her.  We miss her leadership.  We miss her lists.  We miss her smile.  We miss her ability to write well.  We miss her story-telling.  We miss her version of a bad week—when she hasn’t had time to get her nails done.

From Charlotte, one of Lisa’s best friends:

Lisa loved to be in the thick of things, but she never sought to draw attention to herself.  Believe me, I feel her eyes rolling at this very moment.  I feel confident that where Lisa is now, committees are being formed, lists are being made, and things are being whipped into shape.  She made things happen, but never took the credit for anything.  Lisa just so loved to be part of things—one of the gang.  And I don’t know if you know this, but Lisa really loved to talk, and was quite gifted in this arena.  She was a one-stop shop of information on everyone and everything, sometimes telling you just a little more than you needed or wanted to know.  And who can forget the conspiratorial whisper when she gave in to the urge to dish just a little bit.  On our annual girls’ weekends she would sit up as late as she could, head leaning back against the couch, eyes closed.  Every now and then she would rally to make a point so that we would know she was still listening, taking it all in.  At some point, when she just had to throw in the towel, she would sternly instruct us to not say anything interesting or funny until the next day.

Lisa, you were incomparable.  It’s the only word I know that encompasses you.  I am sorry for going on and on about you in front of the world.  It comes from a place of deep love and gratitude.  Thank you for the gift of your friendship.

From a letter I wrote to Lisa the week before she died; I read the letter at her inurnment:

From the time I fell in love with you in the canoe at Camp Seafarer, until this day, our partnership and relationship has been more than I’ve ever dreamed it could have been.  I believe that we have complimented each other’s strengths and weaknesses like no other couple I’ve seen.

You – comfortable talking to a perfect stranger in a waiting room at the dance studio.

Me – looking for you to be my companion at the dance studio so I don’t have to talk to people I don’t know.

You – providing the much needed wings for our children, pushing them toward independence and self confidence.

Me, kissing them, hugging them and holding them in my lap as long as they will possibly stay.

You, the shopper; Target employees know you by name.

Me, the yard man, trying endlessly to grow fescue grass, to no avail.

Me, the funny man, even in inappropriate situations or when you clearly aren’t in a good mood. The funny man, a wise crack, sarcastic comment, silly made up phrase from years past, zany dance moves or a strange garment on my head.

You, the straight man, eye roller, zinger on occasion. You have always been able to give me as much as I give you and I think that’s one of the best parts of our connection. 

Both of us with tremendous love and respect for one another, our kids, our work, our church and our community.

These are the things we should be remembering.  There was certainly a lot of good!

You’ve Got a Friend In Me

Posted by Danny

There have been times this past year that I’ve said I have ten wives.  Before Lisa died, she said, “I don’t worry about our children.  We have surrounded ourselves with really good people who will care for them and help you raise them.”  She was right.  

I find that it’s usually easier to talk to women about Lisa.  I can walk into Panera and, without looking, find one of her girlfriends or acquaintances who will immediately bring up her name.  Some people might think that would be difficult.  It’s actually nice.  The more I become comfortable talking about Lisa and the different place she has in my heart and in our lives, the faster I heal.

Surprising to some might be the way that my buddies have also supported me through this pile of manure.  They reminisce with me about the times we had together. Some have cried with me.  I’ve receive a lot of manly bear hugs and pats on the back.  I think these friends of mine are extraordinary.  

Unfortunately, I believe that too many men fit the stereotype – less open and less able to deal with difficult emotional issues.

How often do men take the time to build the kinds of relationships that allow for that sort of intimate connection outside of their marriage?  How often do men talk about their fears or really, I mean really, talk about their faith?  I don’t mean standing up in front a men’s bible study with bobbing heads agreeing with the leader’s suggestions.  I mean wrestling with our deepest doubts.  I mean sharing our biggest, most outlandish dreams that may likely never come true.  There’s a vulnerability in that – perhaps a perceived weakness.  We should already know what we’re doing with our lives.  We should already know what we believe.  Many of us don’t. 

What’s behind our inability to talk to each other and support each other? 

Jesse and I were moderately close before Lisa died.  We cracked on one another and often teamed up at family events, playing off of each other at the expense of Lisa, a parent or another unwitting family member.  But when he moved in and was faced with returning home some nights to find me sitting on the couch in a really dark place, it was impossible for him to go grab a couple of Oreos and turn on SportsCenter.  He was faced with the unraveling of a brother.  And I have to hand it to him, he didn’t back away.  He listened and listened and listened.  He heard the same stories time and time again.  He asked questions and pushed.  He held me accountable at times.  He worked hard at empathy, playing on past times in his life when he’d hit a hard spell.

I think grief makes it alright for two muscular, hairy, tough guys (like us) to shed a tear in front of each other.  It gives us a pass to utter phrases that are unfamiliar to our vernacular. Phrases like –

I feel…

It was tough when…

I question…

I don’t believe…

Do you believe?

I’m scared…

It’s a deep connection that I’m thankful for. 

When I think about this incredibly sad situation, I often work to find some silver in the lining.  Frankly, there isn’t a lot.  However, my deepened friendships with Jesse and Brad and Eric and Steve and Jon and Jeff and many others, both male and female, shine bright through the dark cloud.  And that lining is what is leading me to the other side.  I hope I can pay that forward in the months and years to come.

The IT Idiot

Posted by Danny

What in the heck is going on?  The tool bar on my computer was lying where it always lies – across the bottom of the screen.  I’m comfortable with that – that’s where I like him.  Yesterday I opened my computer and he had stood up – moved on over to the right side of the computer.  Perhaps he needed to stretch.  I don’t know.  All I do know is that I can’t find anything now.  This is really throwing me off!

Here toolbar, come here boy...

Last week at work, I started printing a pretty important document to be passed out at an important board meeting.  I was the presenter to a room full of fairly influential people.  When I went to pick up my “job” from the printer, I noticed it had a pink tint all over the paper.  I opened the drawer – looks like it started out white.  Maybe our printer was celebrating Valentine’s Day.  I called the IT department in a frenzy.  MY DOCUMENT IS PINK!  I HAVE TO LEAVE FOR A BOARD MEETING IN 15 MINUTES.  IS THIS SOME SORT OF SICK JOKE?  How can a printer all of a sudden decide to shade your documents?  And PINK?  It’s as if Michelle got to pick the toner cartridge for the day.

IT guys ask questions like, “Did you press print from the toolbar?”

First of all, is there anywhere else to press print from?  Do they have a magic button underneath their desk that can print when their tool bar vacates?

I respond with answers like, “Surprisingly (since my tool bar had not yet decided to relocate) I did.”

“Did you…”

“Can you just walk your over here and check this out for yourself?”

Ten minutes later.

“Now press print.  Let’s go see what it looks like.”

“I know what it looks like.  It’s pink!”

I’ll be damned if we didn’t walk to that frickin’ printer and pull out a pure white copy of my handout.  I swear.

“It’s ok.  It happens to us all.”

No it doesn’t.  I know the kind people in that department think I have a -6 IQ.  They are very responsive and very nice to those of us who have a technological dificiency.  But I know they think I’m stupid and I’m convinced they crack on me at their closed-door staff meetings.  They probably do impersonations of us as their ice breakers.

Why is it that every time the IT department comes to work on your computer, the problem  you were encountering just magically disappears?

Lisa was the technician in our house.  I am not technical as Jesse has pointed out on many occasions.  I do not know the difference between upload and download.  I do not know how to get pictures off the camera.  I bought a new printer – and handed the box to Jesse.  I put photo paper in the printer and the computer told me there wasn’t paper in the printer.  I told it there was but that it was just a different kind of paper.  It did not respond to me.  And it didn’t print my pictures.  They look fine on regular paper – you can’t tell the difference once you frame them.

I can’t add a printer, delete a printer, or set a printer as default.  I got a new phone, a Droid.  I recently learned there is a button you can push and look at a map of where you are.  Did you know that you can text with your voice?  I talk to my computer all of the time and nothing happens.  Maybe he’s offended by the curse words.  But with the Droid, I talk and it moves!   The other day Jesse picked up my phone and said, “Red Dragon, Raleigh.”  That phone pulled up the restaurant and there sat the phone number, ready to dial. 

I used to think Lisa was having an affair with a dude she would talk to for hours.  She said she was talking to him trying to  get our wireless working.  I only heard half of the conversation but I’m not convinced that’s what they were talking about.  As their conversation progressed, she would speak louder and slower.  I’m not sure if the phone connection was going bad or if she was trying to role model how she would like him to communicate back with her.  I will say that she always left the conversation cranky. 

I don’t want my kids to be technologically illiterate.  And I am trying to become a bit more savvy with my computer.  Jesse says I don’t need all of the answers in my head, I just need to know where to find the answers.  I do:  the IT department!

Sunday Post 6: What’s the Purpose?

Posted by Danny

He died at 43; he was burried at 78.

Last week I taught my Sunday School class and that quote was in the lesson.  I’d never really thought about it that way.

I’ve been searching for purpose in Lisa’s death – something that will not only justify what we’ve been through but that will also help make me fully alive again.  I think I’m looking for something great to occur that could help balance out the loss.  Could a ministry develop that reaches millions of people who struggle with grief?  Could I write a book that could be helpful in understanding and dealing with a loss?

I pray daily that God will one day help me push through this grief and become comfortable with life without Lisa; that I will eventually find a partner that I can share my life with; that I will find true purpose in life.

All are tricky, number three perhaps the most.  I think I can easily outline what I think my purpose should be and I can dream big (significant outreach to others who are struggling, best selling book, Oprah’s couch).  The disconnect comes when I’m looking for what I want or what I  think should happen versus sincerely being willing to listen and accept what God wants me to do.

Several times this year I’ve had people call me when a friend or acquaintance loses their spouse.  It really makes me feel good to be able to think that I may have something to offer them.  The widows and widowers who have helped counsel me the past 12 months have been invaluable to my healing.  Could His purpose for me be that simple?

I think if MY wife died, certainly there’s something big out there that will allow me in five years to look back and say “that helps me feel better about the loss”.  Not that it was worth it, but that something good did indeed happen that would not have happened had Lisa lived.  And yet, I need to be very, very careful about how I define big.  If one person is truly touched through this, that could be big to God.

If I only help one person who is struggling because of what I’ve learned through this process, I’m going to be torked!  But I am going to strive (I can’t promise) to listen to God and look for doors to walk through.  And whatever those doors may be, I pray that I’ll have the discernment and the humility to walk through leaving my personal desires in the hallway.

I don’t think you have to have a spouse die to do the same.  Perhaps each one of us has a significant purpose here on earth. How in the heck do we find it?

Until It Passes

I do not believe that grief is insurmountable.  I do believe it creeps up on you at times when you think you’ve already kicked its butt.  I don’t sit around in a stupor day in and day out.  I’m not a sad or bitter person.  I have afternoons, like today, that are painful.  I suspect that will be the case for the rest of my life. 

I don’t have that many vivid memories of the weeks after Lisa’s death.  Perhaps I was just numb to the world.  However, the week and a half prior to her death are fraught with memories – this week I struggle to escape them.  I don’t believe that it is the date February 24 that has me so down right now.  I think it is these memories, suppressed for months, that are all flooding back to consciousness. 

One year ago last Monday was the last time that Lisa saw the girls.  She was telling them goodbye as they packed for a trip to the beach with  their friends.  As DJ walked up the stairs in only a t-shirt, Lisa said, “Great, my last memory of DJ will be her butt hanging out under that shirt.”  I said, “They’ll be back Thursday.”  She replied, “I know.”

Not only did she know that they would be home Thursday, she also knew that this was likely the last time she would lay eyes on her daughters.  How was she able to walk back to our bedroom with intuition telling her this was it?  Lisa was always good at letting go.  She was matter of fact.  It was what it was.  She could not change it.

They return to the beach this Sunday.  It will be hard for me to say goodbye even knowing I’ll see them again in three days.

Wednesday would have been her last night in our house.  Her last shower at home.  I remember calling the girls at the beach that evening to tell them Lisa was going back to the hospital.  She was packing, showering and shaving her legs – something all women do before a visit to the doctor.  The phone conversations were difficult. 

One year ago yesterday, Lisa and I had four wonderful hours in the Duke waiting room.  We were annoyed at the time it took to check in, but what incredible conversation and laughs we shared. Food from the snack shop.  A conversation with another woman who was undergoing major surgery the following day.  She didn’t know if she would make it.  I wonder if she did? 

 That Saturday she told my parents goodbye.  

“You’ve been good to me and you raised a good boy.”  

We were put in ICU that night.  She walked in seemingly fine.  She had brushed her teeth and walked to the bathroom thirty minutes before in the cancer center.  When I returned after dinner, she couldn’t stand up – she had lost the function in her legs; the fear and disbelief we shared in those moments.

Right now each day has a memory; each day has a specific meaning.  Most are painful.

So you endure.  You plan things to look  forward to.  You talk to your best buddy in the office at work.  You hunker down and ponder the past and type through cloudy eyes.  You call your mom.  You eat dinner out.  And you allow yourself to live the grief – until it passes once again.

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