Surprise! It’s a TUNNEL!!!!

Rosalyn Eves recently posted a short video to her facebook of the reactions of babies going through tunnels. At first, they are comfortable in their carseats reclining in the daylight – perhaps gazing out a window, looking at their parents, distracted, or even crying. The car they are riding in enters a tunnel and the darkness is instant. Their innocent countenances change just as quickly. They are shocked, afraid, surprised, overwhelmed, delighted, or frozen in complete awe of what has occurred. Beams from passing cars rhythmically illuminate their faces and their big, round eyes.

Surprises can catch us in the just the same way. Suddenly, we are thrown into a new environment and all we can do is stare ahead and wonder how it happened. Sometimes we look desperately for the light at the end of the tunnel in order to get out of the situation, but other times we are hypnotized by the transcendent beauty of the surprise – like walking with your head down around a corner of a new city and the high city blocks open up into a plaza where an orchestra is playing.

We tend to not remember the days that are boring. We are on the treadmills of our lives – waking, bathing, school, work, eating, sleep – but there are days when a surprise box is delivered to our doorstep. Those are the days we remember. I think of some of those moments of my life:

The day, as a child, when my Mom opened the front door and my Dad stood all tall and handsome with a suitcase in his hand. He was coming back to live with us after a year-long separation. He set down the suitcase and opened his arms.

The day I was supposed to go to the university when a letter was slipped under my door with a request to pack my swimsuit and go to the train station. I started that day on the coast of Italy eating cheese and good bread and ended it kissing under a lavender sunset.

It was the middle of the night when a small voice cried my name from the next room. It was the last word I heard my Grandma say. I ran in to find her small and turning cold.

After two years of trying to get pregnant, the test finally said yes. My first baby was coming. I was so overwhelmed I ran and ran and ran until collapsing on my knees.

The day the call came in that they finally figured out what had been wrong for so long. My Dad had stage-three colon cancer.

There are many more moments when I was overtaken by events and I caught my breath. I am grateful for them all.

If only we could think of each day as a surprise and a wonder – because how we react when we go into the daily tunnel of our life is what it is all about.

What is a surprise that threw you into a tunnel of blackness or beauty?

Surprised by Mercy

I’m not a fan of surprises (temperament type INTJ on Myers-Briggs). I like to know what’s coming, so I can anticipate or plan for the worst. I don’t deal well with uncertainty. (Ha! Welcome to parenthood. And life.)

But I’ve been wonderfully surprised by a few things in life, particularly mercy.

The other morning, I was wrestling with my oldest son. He’s nine, and so far, he seems to have inherited all of my worst qualities. In the mornings, when we’re both sluggish and irritable, we’re neither of us at our best. The day before, I’d sent him to school while we were both still fuming—and spent the rest of the day thinking, what if something happens to him and our last words were angry ones?

I resolved to do better. And I did okay, until he shouted at his sister and squeezed her until she retreated, crying, to her room.

What were you thinking? I asked him.

He snarled at me, which didn’t help my temper. I sent him to his room to finish getting ready, thinking of all the things I wanted to say: what is wrong with you? Is this really the person you want to be? If you keep this up, you won’t have any friends.

But something stopped me. In fact, I had the distinct impression that what my unlovable child needed most was love. Continue reading

See What I’m Saying?


Listen, understandA couple of weeks ago I applied for a job, and instead of writing my usual formal letter I sent this:

Dear Recruit Recruitment,

A phrase I heard throughout my childhood was “Let me see what you are saying”. My Mum would say it while driving, in the kitchen, a thousand different places, because if she couldn’t see my mouth she couldn’t read my lips. My Mum is talented, stubborn, funny, a soft-hearted and loud Rugby loving woman, who is practically deaf. So when I saw the advertisement for centre staff to empower people who are deaf, I was excited!

I surprised myself in writing that way, let alone deciding to send it in as my application. I was amazed to have even found the advert – every other day for weeks I’d been typing in “forklift”, “warehousing” and “admin”, but had typed in “deaf” that time, tickled by a flutter in the back corridors of my mind, and this was the only search result. I knew I was perfect for the position, and I had dancing-in-my-seat excitement just typing the letter. Nothing like the feeling I’d had looking through job searches based on the word “forklift”. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures: Looking Closely, and Slant

Can you guess what this is?

I’ll admit it – I’ll be amazed if you get through this week’s Peculiar Treasures and don’t think “Wow!” or “Well, I’ve never seen that before!”

Sure, you’ve seen snowflakes, but how about magnified 50, 000 times (like the one above)? Or what about the stars and galaxies photographed recently by NASA? Or an iceberg flipped upside down?

Then there’s the luminosity of brides and wedding guests, sharing care one pizza slice at a time, and Bratz dolls getting a make-under and playing as real little girls. Maybe we can all slow down a little, to get some love and life advice from our elders, and watch rain in slo-mo.

Have a look at waiting over five years for the right diagnosis, finding a possible cause of addiction, and some economic reasons for girls to aspire.

This week’s First Draft Poetry is penned by Sandra, inspired by the pizza pay-it-forward piece:


it’s harder
to act
like you don’t

it’s easier
to pay forward
when someone else

Any thoughts or first draft poems on today’s links?

The Cost of Leisure

IMG_0300When I told people that I was taking my children to Hawaii for the week of Christmas, reactions ranged from admiration to disbelief to jealousy. I generally tried to temper things with the caveat that my children’s father grew up in Hawaii, so we would be visiting family and friends, and that trips to Hawaii have always been a somewhat regular part of our family life. We hadn’t been over there for three years, and a trip to Hawaii seemed like a better family Christmas gift than more physical objects that would just clutter up the house. I spent a year saving and planning, but still felt a bit of guilt at the extravagance of such a vacation up until the moment our plane landed in Honolulu and we walked out into the warm, tropical air. Continue reading