Sunday, November 30, 2008

We Gather Together... in California! (New, Bonus Footage!)

This post will rival some of my longest, because we've packed so much into the last few days, that each one deserves its own devoted entry, but with the lack of time and the abundance of fun we've been having, we'll just go with this.

First of all, my prayers of joy and love on your Thanksgiving holiday. I'm at least three days overdue in sending my well wishes to you all, and I want you to know how incredible your readership has been in my life. This blog is about four months old, and is able to hold its own head up on its wobbly turkey neck, and can focus on bold objects across the room. It's even sat up on its own out in the real world, and gotten some praise and notice. This blog has been the new life in our house this year, and it's been so wonderful to have your support and encouragement through your comments. On the rare occasion when folks have gotten snarky, you've stood up for me and your own selves in lovely and brave ways. I am grateful. Our family has developed a narrative through this enterprise, and it's so nice to know that you're thinking and praying for us as we live out this story as its being told. Thank you. I pray that God has blessed you as you have blessed me and my family. You're good friends - and however much or little I may know you personally, this wacky internet ("a series of tubes," as I understand it) has connected us in a new way. For community, support, laughter, and connection, let us give thanks.

So, this year, for Thanksgiving, our family of four made a long overdue trip to beautiful southern California to visit the California Flemmings, who are Matt's brother John, his partner, Mark and their sons, Cody and Justin, ages 10 and 9. The flight was long, but uneventful, our day weird but not unmanageable, the time fleeting but not wasted. Wednesday was a bit of a wash with all of us adjusting and sleeping at bizarre times, but by Thursday, we'd made a full recovery. I got up early with the boys (and by "early," I mean 4:15 a.m. PST... which is early even by East Coast standards. But I digress...). By 6:30 a.m., we'd had breakfast, gotten dressed, brushed our teeth, and were in the car on the way down the hill to go to the grocery store. I felt like a superhero, and also had a boatload of time to kill before the rest of the house woke up, so we went on a quest for ingredients for pumpkin chocolate tart and pomegranates for my world-famous pomegranate salad (if you're expecting a hyperlink to a recipe, you are sorely mistaken. A girl must have her secrets, you know). We made three stops at varying grocers before finding everything, including a bounty of gorgeous pomegranates that were engorged with sweet jeweled seeds. And, as a bonus - calla lillies.

We returned, caffinated, stocked, flowered, and ready to face the day of cooking. Matt and Mark took over parenting of sons and nephews and Matt's brother John and I tucked in to begin working on the day's big meal. I love, love, love to cook - especially in my days pre-children, I cooked some lavish and wonderful dishes. When Jackson was a baby, I watched the Food Network all day long while he nursed, so that I could learn something while we passed our time on the couch. But my actual cooking techniques were all taught to me by my brother-in-law, John. It was something of an honor to be his sidekick (dare I say sous chef?) for the day. Since I had such an early start on the day, the pumpkin chocolate tart was virtually completed before anything else was begun, and I solidified my position as a fixture in the kitchen as a result.

While the boys were off at the park, or napping , or lunching John and I peeled, chopped, diced, drained, trussed, prepared and talked our way through the afternoon. At some point (at an appropriate hour), we also realized that sharing a bottle of wine was a fine treat for us to enjoy during our prep, and that made the time pass all the more delightfully. It also made us BFFs for life. I think, at some point, we spat on our hands and pledged our friendship to one another no matter what. All hyperbole and childhood fantasies aside, it was a great time for bonding, and when we all sat down to our delicious feast which fed fourteen people (including a kids' table for six!), I fully believed that we'd crossed some line between family that like each other with politeness and actual family who actually like each other. There was toasting, and laughing, celebrating and thanksgiving. And, some remarkably good food, including the greatest pomegranate salad ever (I'm not bragging here - I'm quoting, and it wasn't even someone directly related to me, so it must be true!).

We concluded our Thanksgiving evening in the way most American families do, I'm sure, by playing Guitar Hero and Wii Fit and challenging one another with semi-uncomplicated yoga poses (don't laugh... after splitting a bottle of wine and heavy doses of triptophan, this is much harder than you might imagine). The boys went to bed with ease, and only a little bit of screaming, and really, who could blame them? It had been an amazing day that was full of family, love, food and fun. I didn't want it to end, either.

Friday was pretty low-key (minor surgery would have been low-key after the day that preceeded it). In the late morning, we finally all got it together enough to pile into the car and head down the hill for Adolfo's nachos and a trip to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. I took a bajillion photos, and will manage to contain myself to posting only a few.


As you can tell, it was a festival of men this week, and, on occasion, I was able to sneak away for some quiet reading time in the midst of boy-land. We also had amazing time with our nephews, Cody and Justin, who fell into a great buddy-role with Jackson and Cooper. They all matched up quite well, and seemed to genuinely like each other's company, despite a 5 and 7 year age difference. Cooper also restrained himself from demolishing all of their Lego ("Yego") creations, so that was a plus.

The Ocean Institute was a particular hit, because Cooper could run around pant-less, as he is wont to do, and it was a non issue. This great video captures the spirit of the day, with wardrobe and schedule freedom to run and play. At one point, Jackson inquired about where all the toys were at the beach. After choking a bit on our smugness, and half-joking remarks about how we were going to enroll him immediately at the Waldorf School, we convinced Jackson that the world was his toy, and suddenly the seaweed became a projectile. The sand became... a projectile. The rocks became... projectiles. Okay, we've got to work on our creative use of found objects, but it was a step in the right direction.

video

That night, we got a particular treat of having a dinner out with just the four grown-ups. We had real conversation, unimpeded by the needs or wants of our tiny and mid-sized people, and enjoyed some wonderful food that we had no hand in preparing. After a nice walk through downtown Laguna Beach, admiring the artwork of Dr. Seuss, in particular, we headed up the hill to find Jackson conked out on Justin's floor, lured by the promise of a slumber party with his cousins and the other three boys awake to greet us. This was fine for the elementary aged folks, but Cooper was in no hurry to fall asleep. To say that it took us some effort to adjust to Pacific Standard Time is a supreme understatement. We woke up freakishly early in the morning, Cooper napped for unsettlingly long periods during the afternoon and refused bedtime each night. But his bouyant spirit was undaunted by this wacky schedule, and he spent the week charming everyone in sight, in particular his uncles.

Before this trip, we talked up Uncle John and Uncle Mark a lot. But, the boys know that I work at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, and frequently make reference to it. Shortly after we introduced the idea of this trip, Cooper started asking about our visit with "Uncle John and Saint Mark." It was so cute that there was little effort to correct him, and Uncle Mark was particularly fond of the new nickname, or at least the idea of it. During the trip, this name stuck. At the Ocean Institute, Cooper was filled to the brim with energy that was overflowing and infectious. He ran around the beach, kicking sand, throwing seaweed, yelling "HI OCEAN!" at the top of his little lungs, and crying out, "CAN'T GET ME, SAINT MARK!" while waiting for Uncle Mark to catch him. All of us were quite taken with his spirit, and he really did make every outing all the more fun.

This was particularly true on Saturday when we broke the news to the Atlanta and California Flemming boys that we were going to spend the day at a boring library. A really, really boring library. With no lights. Or books with pictures. And it was three hours away. On foot. They were not thrilled, and looked about as excited as wilted plants. Somehow the Mickey Mouse pancakes didn't clue them in (although I was terribly proud of my culinary creativity).

We made good on this promise by packing up everyone and driving 30 minutes away to DISNEYLAND!!!! Which, as Jackson sheepishly pointed out, "is not a boring library!" but really was the happiest, if not most thoroughly fabricated place, on earth. The boys were totally overwhelmed with joy, and were incredibly well behaved and appropriately delighted the whole day long. To my great surprise, there was a Jamba Juice in Downtown Disney, which started our day with the right amount of fruit-filled nutrition and goodness. And, after getting the stroller tires re-inflated at the ESPN Zone, this made my day completely perfect.

It was hardly surprising, but Saint Mark and Cooper spent the day side-by-side. The three of us headed first to Dumbo, (pictured at left) which Cooper rode without a peep of nervousness. Jackson, always the more cautious brother, headed to Toon Town with his cousins to brave the Rodger Rabbit ride, after which he took an hour or so to brave up for a spin on the Winnie the Pooh ride, which features a lot of honey pots and Pooh's really trippy dream sequence with Heffalumps and Woozles.The photo to the right also proves that my children have gorgeous honey-colored hair, and that my stylist is a brilliant genius at matching mine with theirs.

Perhaps the biggest thrill of the day (for me) was when Cooper bolted over to the Gadget's Go Coaster, which was the only roller coaster in the park that he could ride, due to his small-ish stature. He was about an inch taller than the height minimum, and lept onto the coaster seat without a hint of concern. His uncles and cousins offered lots of encouragement as the train took off, and it was so fast that he didn't have time to be afraid. This thing is a true roller-coaster, but it only lasts about 20 seconds, so when we got off and caught our breath, Cooper exhaled and said, "DAT SCARY! I need to go POTTY!!" He was a little more cautious with his choices after that, but I wouldn't say that his day was limited in the slightest.

We made it through Jedi Knight training, Space Mountain (sans tiny Flemmings), Splash Mountain (ditto), Buzz Lightyear, and Star Tours, even squeezing a decent-length nap for Cooper in his rockin' stroller under the watchful eye of Uncle John. We stayed from close to the Park's opening until the 3:30 Parade down Main Street. Seated on the curb with ice cream and good company, the boys were the picture of contentment. They waved at their favorite characters, and when it was all said and done, we were all ready to leave and say thanks, Disney, for a wonderful day.
video


This morning, we woke to attend St. Mary's Episcopal Church, where, the last time we attended in early 2006, we celebrated the adoption and baptism of Cody and Justin. That was an amazing and remarkable day, where the Holy Spirit filled the room beyond capacity and all of us were brimming over with its power. Today, on the first Sunday of Advent, we gathered to prepare for Christ's inbreaking into the world with sound, fury and amazing grace. My memories of our last visit nourished me as we tasted the bread and drank the wine of remembrance of God's love and goodness, and on our last day of our California visit, we broke bread together once more as a family of eight. The last time we gathered in full, Cooper was a bean in utero, Jackson was barely walking, and Cody and Justin were still shyly finding their place in this family in full.

This year, as we celebrated so, so much, I gave quiet and bold thanks for this family that is loud and loving, boyish and gracious. In the midst of news, such as the events in Mumbai, it was nice to set aside a little time to be with family, where the multitude of children actually made parenting easier. Where the food and company, fellowship and commonality made the time pass too quickly and the memories pile up in abundance. I can only, humbly give thanks for the abundance of blessings that have come to me.

And I continue to pray God's blessing up on all of you.

God's peace be with you all.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me...
















No adults were utilized in the staging of this photograph.


All creative rights reserved for TinyFlemmings.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I am woman...

It's been a crazy month. In the listing spirit of No. 8, here's a bit of what's happened:

1. Matt went out of town for a wedding.
2. I performed a wedding in Piedmont Park.
3. Jackson came down with (in ascending order):
a. a cold
b. a cough
c. a fever
d. bronchitis
e. "walking" pneumonia
f. a ruptured appendix
g. an infection of all of his internal organs
h. bubonic plague
(Okay: in truth, he only came down with the first FIVE symptoms, but really, after that, who's counting?)
4. Celebrated a houseguest! JGG came for two nights, which was superfun.
5. BARACK OBAMA was elected the 44th President of the United States of America.
6. Matt came down with (in ascending order):
a. a cold
b. a cough
c. a fever
d. bronchitis
e. "walking" pneumonia
f. a ruptured appendix
g. an infection of all of his internal organs
h. bubonic plague
(Sound familiar?)
7. I bought a bed at IKEA with the money I made from doing the wedding (fancy, no?), foolishly making the trip ALONE in a Zipcar Minivan and with two tiny people. (Fortunately, Cindy hero-friend extraordinaire, was available to help load the boxes into the Zipcar minivan, which, once returned, caused much consternation among the tiny people who sort of thought that we were going to get to keep it forever.)
8. Disassembled old bed. Chucked it unceremoniously outside in the rain, but paused while Jackson said, "Awww! That's sad. Bye, bed. Thanks for all the sleeping!" (Apparently he's been reading Douglas Adams when I'm not looking.)
9. Assembled new bed with the help of a four year old, an Allen wrench and a significant amount of grunting, while poor, ailing Matt convalesced in the office/guest room and offered as much help as he was able to give in between bouts of fever and hacking
10. Made up new bed with new linens, admired own work. Fell asleep in new bed. Felt like I was in a really ritzty hotel.
11. Took the boys to get haircuts, so as to stave off tangles and snarky comments (see: Photo evidence!) And, in case you're wondering what they look like post-haircut, the top photo was taken the morning after. They look... exactly the same. NB: They are working together on a "kee-ration" (creation) of tinker toys. So long, parallel play!
12. Trekked the boys to church, and back early 'cause Jackson was still exhibiting symptoms of ailments a-e, above
13. Bagged up and donated SIX BAGS of clothes and linens
14. Moved mountains
15. Cured cancer (but not the virus plaguing my family)
16. Congratulated myself a little too much on keeping it mostly together

Needless to say, this has been a crazy month. I haven't even gotten to the part where the boys and I headed up to Knoxville this past weekend for a friend's mother's funeral. We've been busy and unwell, and Jackson finally returned to the doctor last Thursday where he was officially diagnosed with "wheezing" and "walking pneumonia" (which I'm sure isn't a real disease because it has its own .org website; come on, what kind of legitimate disease gets domain rights to itself?!). I'll spare you the details how he was strapped to a breathing machine which made about as much noise as a leafblower, and we were packed into a tiny room with no windows and two SCREAMING children while the medicine wafted into J's open, hacking mouth and eyes, which caused more SCREAMING and coughing and crying and scaring of little Cooper.

Wait. That's pretty much the scene. Scratch the part where I said I'd spare you.

So, hopefully you can see why I've not been blogging as much as I'd like. There have been plenty of good things that have happened in the month of November (see #5, above), including reconnecting with the friend I've had longest in life.

I was at the graveside service for my friend's mother on Saturday morning, in the blustery cold of East Tennessee November. The wind whipped our hair into our faces, and forced us to take notice of its power and presence. This was no quiet fall morning. This was a day to stand up and take notice of what was going on. I stood there, among the gathered few, and sang and prayed and thought about life and death. It's so easy to forget, isn't it? This mortality of ours? We get little reminders - when one falls sick and we pray, jokingly, for death to come and rescue us from our misery. But as the clouds passed and the wind forced our seemingly secure coats and hats into disarray, it was much easier to remember that we are in the midst of a mighty force that has the power to gather and to scatter. The roaring in my ears was not my own power to overcome life as it occurs, but the awareness that I am not alone, working and plodding of my own accord. I may be woman, but God is God, mighty and powerful, strong and passionate. And God is with me... with us, whispering and roaring a powerful presence.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clap Hands!

While I'm in the process of writing a more substantial post, here's something that will make the time pass effortlessly. ('Cause I know you're waiting on pins and needles...)



This is Beck's performance on Saturday Night Live from October 28, 2006. That man knows how to rock a Ukulele, no?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When Inspiration Strikes...

Okay - you're all familiar with these cheezy e-mail forwards that ask questions, then you copy your answers to the person who sent them, and then to a bunch of friends. Right?

Right.

I got one on Monday, and maybe it was because the questions were so darn straightforward, but I had a small, delightful party filling it out. And, since I have a blog and feel like it's the place to dump anything that I spend any amount of time writing, quality or not... here it is!

But, here's the deal. You have to comment with your own answers to the questions. Okay? I've even copied them as a stand-alone piece at the bottom, so you can just copy and paste into the Comments section. Capice? I expect this to be the most popular post I've ever had.

1. What is your occupation right now?
Associate Minister of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation, Saint Mark UMC, Atlanta, GA


2. What color are your socks right now?
I’m not wearing any. My toes are going commando. (TMI?)


3. What are you listening to right now?
Nothing, which reminds me of my love for Pandora, internet radio extraordinaire!


4. What was the last thing that you ate?
a sweet potato fry from Bab’s


5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Every single day. I’m a stick shift snob.


6. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Matty

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Absolutely! (Waving virtually at Christia!!!!)


8. How old are you today?
30. But I pretend like I’m still 29 in my own head, so no one has to know.


9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
NCAA College basketball, but specifically March Madness – the first two weekends of the tourney. Every year, Matt and I have taken a family vacation for those days and eat (organic?) junk food all day. This includes the year I was pregnant with Jackson and developed a cooky craving for Skittles and Sour Patch Kids, and managed to devour a pound of each before becoming sicker than I've ever been in my life. Ah, memories...


10. What is your favorite drink?
COFFEE. Sweet, delicious coffee.


11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Do you mean, like, today? (read: yes.)


12. Favorite food?
Japanese Hibachi/Sushi


13. What is the last movie you watched?
The Incredibles (I have a four year old. What?... wait! Actually, we watched O, Brother, Where Art Thou? yesterday! But we fast-forwarded through most of the scary parts)


14. Favorite day of the year?
The first day of summer when it’s hot outside in the morning. I’m insane, I know.

15. How do you vent anger?
Musically. And usually with the maturity of a small child.


16. What was your favorite toy as a child?
my Breyer horses


17. What is your favorite season?
It was always late spring/early summer, but now, as I get older, fall

18. Cherries or Blueberries?
Actually blackberries - picked from behind Nickel Lodge at Wesley Woods, preferably


19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?
By reading this post, you have committed yourself to responding in the comments section. So there.

20. Who is the most likely to respond?
All of you. I trust that you'll follow through.

21. Who is least likely to respond?
Matt (I love you, sweetheart)


22. Living arrangements?
I trip over men. They’re everywhere! I have a husband, two sons and an Edgar Beagle.


23.When was the last time you cried?
Nov. 4 when I heard the election results – and every single time I see the words “President Elect Obama”

24. What is on the floor of your closet?
SHOES, SHOES, and SHOES, but they're all organized and lovely now. And I do have a very small closet.


25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that will read this?
Other than mom? Jodie and Heather. I met them at the same time on that fateful August day in 1997 when they became my suitemates.


26. What did you do last night?
I made dinner for me n’ the boyz, put the tiny ones to bed, fell asleep with them, woke up when Matt got back from teaching his class, and watched tv with him until the wee hours


27. What are you most afraid of?
Lightening!


28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?
Maytag bleu cheese on a burger is like a little (fatty) slice of heaven


29. Favorite dog breed?
I think I’m supposed to say Beagle, ‘cause we have one, but my poodle was the most wonderful friend I had in childhood


30. Favorite day of the week?
Friday


31. How many states have you lived in?
Tennessee, Georgia, New Jersey, Georgia


32. Diamonds or pearls?
Tiger’s Eye…


33. What is your favorite flower?
Calla Lilies


YOUR TURN!

1. What is your occupation right now?
2. What color are your socks right now?
3. What are you listening to right now?
4. What was the last thing that you ate?
5. Can you drive a stick shift?
6. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
7. Do you like the person who sent/forced you to respond to this? (HINT: Your answer is "YES!")

8. How old are you today?
9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?

10. What is your favorite drink?

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
12. Favorite food?
13. What is the last movie you watched?

14. Favorite day of the year?
15. How do you vent anger?

16. What was your favorite toy as a child?

17. What is your favorite season?
18. Cherries or Blueberries?

19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?
20. Who is the most likely to respond?
21. Who is least likely to respond?

22. Living arrangements?

23.When was the last time you cried?
24. What is on the floor of your closet?
25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that will read this?
26. What did you do last night?
27. What are you most afraid of?
28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?
29. Favorite dog breed?

30. Favorite day of the week?
31. How many states have you lived in?
32. Diamonds or pearls?
33. What is your favorite flower?

Friday, November 7, 2008

A President who "looks like me!"

In this morning's AJC, there is an article written by my friend and Cooper's Godmother, Cindy. You might have seen a little bit about her here, at their family blog. I had the privilege of reading it early, and I still weep every time. I am delighted to present it here, for all of you to enjoy. The star of the article is photographed here with Jackson at J's most recent birthday party.

(For those of you Atlanta Journal-Constitution subscribers, you can find it in the @Issue section of your morning paper. Just turn the last page of the first section, and look down at the bottom for the photo of this lovely family riding the Pink Pig at Macy's in Lenox Square.)

Mixed-race child can see a president who ‘looks like me!’

Friday, November 07, 2008

African-Americans throughout the United States and the world will be talking about the 2008 elections for years and generations to come...

They will replay Barack Obama’s election night speech over and over; they will collect the newspaper front pages that note the nation’s “Change of Course” (Athens Banner-Herald) or call Obama “Mr. President” (Chicago Sun-Times). At my employer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, people packed the lobby Wednesday and Thursday mornings for a chance to buy extra copies of the paper that heralded Obama’s “Historic Win.”

They see a man who gives them hope, who promises change. They see him as the culmination of the civil rights movement.

I see a kindergartner.... (click here to read the full article)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

YES WE DID!


6:45 p.m. EST: Here we sit, huddled around the T.V., eyes glued on the hardest working man in showbiz, Wolf Blitzer. Jackson made it a full 6 hours at school before needing to be picked up, and he's currently engulfed in a cozy blanket on the couch, watching election results intently.

We're excited. A little nervous. We're celebrating the little things, like... Vermont. We're hopeful. Matt and I are sharing stories with the boys about the last two elections, especially. I have made a deal with Anderson Cooper and Wolfman that if they project our next President accurately by 10:00 p.m., then in exchange we'll stop calling them "Talking Heads," and will, in fact, name our next child CNN or Blitzer or something. (This is where I should admit that we got the idea for "Cooper" after watching Anderson for an hour in 2006, but that's our little secret, okay?)

The boys are asking amazing questions. Jackson, in particular, was curious about the Vice Presidential nominees and why they even need to exist. We've explained that Joe Biden and Sarah Palin have been chosen as "helpers" by the presidential candidates, and he seemed convinced. He did, however, make sure to quiz me last night:

Jackson: Mama, I like Barack Obama. I voted for him (this is, technically, true).
Me: Me too, Bear. I like Barack Obama.
Jackson: Did you vote for Barack Obama?
Me: Yes! Yes I did!
Jackson: Good. I don't want you to vote for John McCain.
Me: [tearing up] I love you, son. So much.

Earlier tonight, Cooper discovered that we could sing Barack's slogan to the tune of the "Bob the Builder" theme song:

Cooper: B'wak Obama! Can he fix it?! B'wak Obama! YES WE CAN!
Me: [tearing up] I love you, son. So much.

Truth be told, this whole evening is a little bizarre. There are the Fred Armisen-esque map viewings, as well as the creepy Wolf and Jessica Yellin-as-Hologram "Help me Obi Wan! You're my only hope!" moments that are, well, creepy. Especially because Wolf just referred to their conversation as "intimate."

Jackson is a building replica of the White House with blocks and musing, "I'm going to live here, with you, and Daddy and Cooper, and Edgar. And Barack Obama." Maybe he knows that Sasha and Malia Obama are getting a celebratory Inauguration puppy.

This morning, we went cruising around polling places. At 7:35 this morning, there was a line wrapped around the Decatur Christian Church, East Lake Elementary was packed, and Winnona Park was flooded with pedestrians. For some reason, I got weepy as I honked and waved at the enthusiastic voters. There is something that completely overwhelms me with joy and hope at the sight of a bunch of folks, gathering together, to do something important. I get the same feeling now as I watch the masses begin to huddle in Grant Park to hear Barack Obama's (anticipated) victory speech tonight. My heart swells, my eyes flood, and I feel like, indeed, I've done something worth celebrating.

Today at Saint Mark, we had our weekly staff meeting. The conversation, at some point, turned to the election and we all offered our personal, "When I voted..." stories. It was comforting to share in a place where we all, essentially, agree. There was a safety and peace in our concurrence, and we breathed deeply of our collective anticipation and expectation.

11:01 p.m. EST: BARACK OBAMA ELECTED PRESIDENT!!!

CNN just called the election with 297 electoral votes, after New Mexico, California, Oregon and Washington reported. Tears are streaming down my face as we watch the hundreds of thousands of people all around the country celebrating and rejoicing. The pundits are showing their true colors as they respond with emotion and honesty. The words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. are being quoted in abundance as Ebenezer Baptist Church is packed with people who might have only prayed where they would see a day when a man was truly judged, "not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character."

Matt and I are relaxing, maybe for the first time in eight years. We're toasting one another with delicious sparkling wine and awaiting President Elect Obama's speech, and patiently listening to the very gracious concession of John McCain.

This is a new day. However we feel about these candidates, things are changing, and I pray that in eight years we will look back and all be able to acknowledge how this marked a shift in our thinking and when the mentality of an old world ceased to be. I pray that God will work through this newly elected president, a man I truly admire and trust to lead us, to inspire us all to be better neighbors, better citizens, better people.

Blessings and peace be with you all.

YES WE DID!