Rejection. Such an ugly word. Such an ugly concept. Yet in one form or another, we've all had to deal with it. Most of us in multiple ways. Rejection of ideas, rejection of style, rejection of gifts, rejection of help, you name it. And it's hard not to take it personally. Of course, sometimes it is personal. But most of the time, it's not, and it's often when dealing with it that character is built.

Lately, it seems I've had a good bit of rejection come my way. I know that often--maybe even most of the time--success comes from a ton of rejection first, but it doesn't make it much easier. I wish I had some magic formula to make the sting go away. The normal platitudes along with examples of all the success stories that come with the price of much rejection first just don't work. At least not at first.

So what does work? When you get that rejection letter, or maybe no letter at all (not sure which one is worse), what do you tell yourself that keeps you positive, that makes you want to try again? Or perhaps someone else has given you a piece of advice or something to think about that has "snapped you out of it." What works for you? Tell me! Use the comments section here and tell me (and everyone else reading this) what is the best way to "pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again?"

For the past two weeks, Hannah has blessed the life of another family...her best friend's family.

Hannah and Becky have known each other since kindergarten. Their friendship over the years has been something to watch. I read about, see, and hear about friendships that touch the deep inner spirits of those involved. Soul mates. Anne of Green Gables called it having a "bosom friend." Friendship that transcends all circumstances including time and location. I'm often envious. I've had friends through the years, from aquaintances to close friends, but I don't know that I've found a true soul mate or bosom buddy.

Hannah found hers in Becky. When they get together, you can almost hear the "click" like a magnet onto metal . Salt and pepper. Peas and carrots (Forrest Gump). Although I know they had their disagreements, I was never witness to it...not once. They love each other, and they love being together.

Two years ago, when Becky's family announced they were moving, I felt almost physically ill at the loss for Hannah. Hannah took it better than I thought she would, better than I did, but maybe that's because she knew they would be okay. Their friendship was bigger than this move. And she had the child-like faith and understanding that they were gonna be best friends, no matter what.

And so, Becky blessed our home last summer for a couple of weeks, and this year it was Hannah's turn to bless theirs. I talked to her on the phone today for the first time in a few days, and hearing her cheery voice chatter away about what all they've done this week was better for my spirit than anything else I could possibly think of. I am grateful that she had this opportunity. I love to be able to share her...for others to see and know what a richness she adds just by being there. I am grateful to Becky's family for helping to get her there and home again, for welcoming her into their home, and for treating her like family (because these girls are even closer than sisters sometimes!).

She comes home less than 14 hours to be exact. I pick her up at the airport, and I'm sure my ears will be ringing by the time we get home hearing about this wonderful vacation....I can't wait!


Although five years old, these pics are still some of my all-time favorite pool pics. Some Father's Day events around the pool brought on the following thoughts....

Gather a group of families together, and you’ll find a bunch of kids running around, and a group of adults sitting around gabbing. Sometimes it even becomes gender specific as the women navigate toward the kitchen table wanting to learn the latest gossip, and the men gather around the TV with “talk” that usually consists of grunts or catcalls to the tube.

In the summer, it happens outside, but the basics are still the same. The men gather around the grill while the women stay at the picnic table watching the kids who are usually playing or swimming. Throw in a swimming pool, and the transformation in the men is amazing…they not only get in touch with their inner child, but they pull him out to full exposure for all to see and delight in. The water makes it possible to throw their own child across the equivalent of a room, and this is not only acceptable but encouraged! A roaring mountain man will emerge from the water followed by squeals, gales of laughter and much splashing!

WAIT! Someone is missing. Where are all the moms? Here we are—sitting by the pool, laughing at the spectacle, yelling good-naturedly at the kid who just splashed us, and trying to remind the men that they aren’t 20 years old anymore. Why aren’t we in the water? I look down at myself, and the answer’s pretty simple. The thought of squishing this white bulging body into a swimsuit brings on burning cheeks and a sigh of shame. I love the water; I used to be pretty lithe in the water. Health issues along with a lot of extra weight make me feel I’m nothing more than a beached whale, and the thought of joining the kids in the water is almost horrifying.

But those thoughts are wreaking havoc with my priorities! The attention is on ME, what others think of me, and what I think of me. It focuses on what I LOOK like, not who I am. It negates the positive and emphasizes the negative, focusing on what I can’t do rather than what I can. The days slip by one after another and kids grow up. I am missing out on precious time with them, time that they beg for and WANT…all because of my narrow-minded fear of the shallow things in life.

Okay, God, I get it. And I hope you as the reader do, too. Now, go read someone else’s blog. I’m going swimming with my kids… CANNONBALL!

Dancing water & summer, a special medly of music and nature

Ecclesiasties says there's a time for everything including a time to dance. And it's clear in these pics that it is definitely time to DANCE! The last day of school...was there ever any other day in your childhood history that was so much fun?! It was official...summer had arrived!

What comes to mind when you think of summer? WATER: A steady stream of drops falls from the sky after the sprinkler shoots it up into the air. Ice cold at first, the water gave us goose bumps while we squealed and giggled and skipped around the sprinkler. Not wanting to totally avoid the cool wetness, we weren't ready to abandon the hot sunshine yet either. Once saturated, we would stand still and let it drench us even more as we would find the best angle to watch the rainbow in the water.

Blue water in the pool. There is something magical, almost mezmorizing about the dance of light on the pool. The water winks at us, much like a Christmas tree does in the winter, begging us to get in. Going down the stairs, one by one...that was too easy. No points for being a chicken. High points for jumping in even before testing the water temp. CANNONBALL!! Screeches, laughter, and a disgusted lifeguard...was it worth it?? OH YEAH!

Water making a path down the creek, dancing, gurgling, flowing, laughing. Lift up the stones, stir up the mud, and watch it disappear in a matter of seconds. There goes a crayfish...! Icy water over the feet keeps us cool. Out of nowhere, one of us takes a running leap into the water. A splash, a screech, and running feet tell them they hit the bullseye!
Water speeding down a waterslide slings bodies unapologetically down the track at breakneck speed. The fear, the rush of adrenaline, the final fling into the pool....WOOSH! Into and under the water, rush to the top and gulp that air before grinning ear to ear. Then the mad dash to the ladder to do it all over again.
Rain. Thunder. Lightening. Torrents and torrents of water rushing down the window. The cloud cover mixed with the oxygenated air give an eerie glow to the green grass. Although we hate being stuck inside, it is a wonderful reminder of how blessed we are to be warm, dry, and safe.
Whether you live in the desert or the rain forest, water is the biggest part of summer. And it's a great reason to be dancing!

A Trip Down Memory Lane

For my daughter's sixth grade graduation, I started working on a scrapbook for her, a scrapbook of school days that began in preschool. Nostalgia took over for a little while each day as I worked on the pages. Where did my little girl go? You know her...she's the one with blonde curls, dark brown sparkling eyes, chipmunk cheeks, and a contagious giggle. She can rock in a chair--one that's not even a rocking chair--for hours and suck on her two fingers with a contentment I almost envy. She knows her ABCs...wait, I blinked...she knows how to read...oops, I blinked again...she has disappeared with a good book...hold it! I blinked one more time, and she's racing her friends to read a whole series of books first.

She's loyal to her friends, almost to a fault, and has a passion for Jesus. She loves to learn and loves all of her teachers. In fourth grade, she became a full-blown drama queen, and she still loves to make people laugh.

A tough couple of years followed. Like sandpaper smoothing out wood, it is often through difficulty that character is developed. It wasn't always graceful, but she perservered with determination and dignity. Her reward was a maturity and sense of leadership that made her teachers and even her principal stand up and take notice. She was also rewarded with a fantastic sixth grade year that brought more chatter, smiles, and happy days than she will possibly be able to fit in her memory brain box.

She's still a drama queen who hasn't fully learned the art of when it's time to quit. She has crushes, but thinks kissing too long is gross. She is on the edge of girlhood ready to leap into teen-hood but still a little uncertain. She could never give up her Webkinz or any other stuffed animal she owns, but she also loves Hannah Montana and wants her own cell phone. She watches American Idol faithfully while flipping back to Zack and Cody on the Disney channel.

She heads off to junior high this fall with excitement, anticipation, and nervousness. I miss my little girl terribly, but oh, how I love this blossoming young lady!