Friday, January 25, 2013


In the Armenian tradition, when you have a birthday, you “enter” the following year.  For example, I turned 39 this past November, and therefore entered my 40th year.  This has always caused me to think I’m a year older than I actually am.  I believe that age is just a number, so it’s never bothered me that I do this.

So at my last birthday when I turned 39 and immediately started thinking I was 40, I started contemplating how to celebrate the big 4-0.  I LOVED turning 30.  Loved it.  A singer friend from NYC came out and performed at our house and we celebrated with friends and family.  I was happy to leave those uncertain and tumultuous 20s behind, and I’ve never looked back.

I’m looking forward to my 40s, and hopefully will bring in that new decade with a trip to Paris.  But all this talk about my 40s is a bit premature.  I’m still 39.

The boys were home last Monday – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  They both learned about him at school leading up to the holiday.  They asked my in-laws if they remembered when things weren’t “equal” for boys and girls, when African-Americans had to sit at the back of the bus and go to different schools and use different bathrooms.  They were amazed that my in-laws watched the “I Have a Dream” speech on television.

In reading through the worksheets on MLK they brought home, something stood out to me that I had never noticed before.  King was gunned down when he was 39 years old.  I always thought he was so much older, but he was my age.  He was killed trying to make the world a better place, and he accomplished his dreams and is a hero.  At 39 years old, what have I accomplished?  I hope to at least be a hero to my own children by my care for them and being an example on how to treat others and teaching them to know Jesus.

It made me stop thinking about the decade to come or even the year ahead, and just focus on today.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I was sitting at Starbucks a few days ago, working on an assignment, when I heard a cell phone ring.  It belonged to the college-aged girl sitting behind me.  I braced myself for a conversation of, “Oh my gosh, really?  Like, I can’t believe it!”  Instead, she said, “Hi Mom!”

I froze.  Two simple words – Hi Mom.  A phone call I would never get.


Hi Mom, how are you?  We’re all fine, thanks.  Yes, Jayson’s working.  His business is going well, thankfully.  He’ll be going to LA this week, but just for one night.  Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.  I know, if you were here I’d love to have you stay over.  That’s okay – the boys are always good for me.  Silas is fine!  We’re getting ready for his allergy shots.  No, he’s not looking forward to them, but he needs them.  James is fine, too.  Yes, he still loves school.  They miss you so much.  I do, too.  Okay, we’ll talk again soon.  Love you.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In the Light

This morning at Bible study our teacher said, “God is the source of light.  When you turn away from God, you are turning toward darkness.”

I couldn’t stop thinking about this all day.  In a room that’s dark, we always look for the light and walk toward it.  Without it we’re completely lost.

We always talk about keeping our eyes on Jesus, right?  I had never really thought of the alternative.  When we remove our eyes from Jesus – even the slightest bit – not only are we turning AWAY from Him, but we are turning TOWARD darkness.  This is deliberate.  We knowingly turn away and face the darkness.

We’re not just away from Him.
We’re turning toward darkness.

I can’t wrap my head around it – we’re turning toward darkness.  I keep saying it to myself, as if hearing it 100 times in my head will somehow make it less so.  We are turning toward darkness.

Why?  Why would we do this?  Is it because His light makes our sin so evident?  Because His light spotlights the filth in our hearts?  Because His light pierces us in a way that only His truth can?  Honestly, I want to turn away sometimes because my sin makes me want to run and hide just like Adam and Eve did when God called out to them.

I deserve to be in the darkness.  My own sin puts me there.  I deserve to stumble and stub my toe and bump into things and be disoriented.  But God’s love is too merciful.  Jesus’s sacrifice is too great.

And so I’ll run toward the light – praying, repenting, confessing, glorifying, worshiping – and bask in the forgiveness and joy that wait for me there.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

5 Things…

5 things I did today:

1)      Lent a listening ear to a venting hubby
2)      Browsed local vintage shops and antique stores
3)      Baked four dozen holiday cookies
4)      Shared my beliefs with a new friend
5)      Started and ended my day praying with my boys

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Moldy Cats

I didn’t have allergies growing up.  I had friends who suffered terribly during allergy season, but thankfully I was spared from that discomfort – until I moved to the Central Valley.  All of a sudden, at 28 years old, I started feeling stuffy every night.  Although I love living here, the air is horrendous and most people who were born and raised here have moderate to severe allergies.

Jayson has had awful allergies from infancy.  As a baby he was in and out of hospitals due to allergies and asthma.  Before he was one year old he started getting allergy shots twice a week.  Of course, this doesn’t bode well for our boys.

Last year we started noticing Silas sniffling and gasping for breath.  Not good.  We started seeing an allergist a couple of months ago, and decided to go for the allergy shots.  Today Silas got the skin test for allergens (non-food).

The poor kid didn’t know what hit him.

Lying shirtless on his stomach, he got 40 pricks on his back.  His skin reacted almost immediately.  Turns out he is allergic to just about everything:  tree pollens, grass, weeds, molds and environment.  He is most severely allergic to cats and molds.  The only thing his skin did not react to was the prick for cockroaches.  Hmmm.  That’s pretty useless.

In a few weeks we’ll begin his shots – twice weekly – for several years.  Despite watching him suffer today for a short period, I’m incredibly grateful that this is my biggest problem to deal with, and that my boys are otherwise healthy.  I’m grateful for modern medicine, for health insurance, for caring doctors, and for nearby pharmacies.

And I’m grateful that when suffering hits us when we least expect it, unannounced and without warning, and we cry and moan and writhe in pain, we can step back and remember that there is often a benefit to that suffering.  We may not see it now – we definitely may not feel it now – but the suffering will make us stronger, wiser, and possibly even healthier… in a mostly-allergy-free future.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” – Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince

Last year on New Year’s Eve, we were at the home of close friends, ringing in 2012 with several families.  The children were playing and laughing, the men were doing manly things in the garage, and the women were talking near the kitchen, nibbling on appetizers and enjoying each others’ company.  I felt very blessed to have healthy children, a loving and hardworking husband, and many women to call my good friends.

I didn’t know that exactly 14 days later I would get a call from my sister telling me to get on the next plane to Boston.

I didn’t know that 5 days after that, I would watch my father take his last breath.

How has it already been a year?  We always complain that time passes so quickly, yet it’s always 60 seconds to the minute, 60 minutes to the hour, 24 hours to the day, 7 days to the week.

I don’t make resolutions on New Year’s Eve.  I just think about time – how I use it, how I’ve wasted it, how I can enjoy it more, if I’m devoting enough of it to God, if I’m using it best for my family.

What’s my rose going to be this year?  What’s yours?

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.