Monday, December 28, 2009

I ♥ Faces - "Hilarious Outtakes"

I ♥ Faces contest this week is about funny outtakes and, boy, do have a BUNCH of those!! This one immediately came to mind, though. This was taken this summer after my daughter, Perri, had gotten an extra long ride on the "Crab" ride in Sea World. She found out all too soon (in her opinion) that all good things must come to an end.

Head on over to I ♥ Faces for a belly laugh and to enter your own image!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Annual Christmas Pictures - Balentine Style

Alas, 'tis the season of Christmas carols and hot cocoa, evergreen trees and tinsel, stockings hung with care and ......the annual Balentine Christmas picture in front of the tree. We have done this year after year and then take the picture and put it in a frame ornament to hang on the tree to commemorate the year. It's always the same procedure: we come home from church, everyone is in a great mood and excited to get their picture taken! We set up the tripod, do a couple of adjustments to the camera and Viola!...A lovely picture...Oh, if it were only that easy.

Me: "OK, guys! Are we set?"

Them: "We are ready. "

Me: "OK. Now remember to sit still and put your best smile on when you see the red light start blinking. Ready?"

Them: "Yes, Mama. Is this gonna take long?"

Me: "Only as long as YOU make it take. Here we go! Smile!!!" (click)

Me: "OK! Not bad. Duglin - maybe sit up a bit and smile a little more!"

Them: sigh.....

ME: "One more time! Smile, everyone!" (click)

Me: "Well, we are getting there. Honey (Duglin)- I still think you have a better smile in there. Can you show it to the camera next time?"

Duglin: "I guess."

Perri: "How is my smile, Mommy? Is it a princess type smile or should I show more teeth?"

Me: "Whatever you were doing before looks fine, sweetie. OK. Now let's try this again. SMILE!!!!!" (click)

Me: "Umm, Duglin. That maybe too much of a smile, honey."

Duglin: "But you SAID to smile bigger. I smiled bigger."

Me: "Yes, you did, but it looks, well, like you are in pain, not smiling. Let's try this ONE MORE TIME! Everybody set? SMIIIIIILE!!"

Me: "Duglin."

Duglin: "Yes, Mommy."

Me: "You look like you are are gritting your teeth, not smiling."

Duglin: "Mommy, I'm trying really hard!"

Me: "I know you are, but I think that might be the problem. Ahhh! I have an idea. Think of how you might look if Santa Claus were here and how happy you would be! OK?"

Duglin: "OK."

Me: "OK! ONE MORE TIME!!! Everybody say, "Look! There's Santa!"

Everyone: "Look! There's Santa!!!!"

Me: "Wow. Umm (trying not to die laughing). That's an interesting face there, Duglin. OK. I can see this is not working. Let's do this one more time." So I devise a plan to say something funny right before the camera shoots. "Everyone ready?"

Them: "yes.....(moans, rolling eyes, whimpers)"

Me: "OK, camera's counting down. What's something that's funny?"

Daylor: "You mean like Daddy tooting?" (click)

So can you tell by the flare of my nostrils I knew it was over? As the famously, overly used cliche saying goes:
"If you can't beat 'em....."

OK - So, we did finally get a decent one. So what if Duglin looks a little constipated? Life imitating art...or is it art imitating life? Hmmmmm, I need to think about that one!

Merry Christmas!!
The Balentines

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Boy That Touched EVERYTHING

It had already started out a bad day. I had been awake most of the night with a migraine and after 14 hours had finally begun to get some relief. We had places to go and people to see, so the kids and I were scurrying around looking for lost coats, getting hair brushed, and, in my case, just starting to get dressed. I was standing in our master closet staring at the minimal amount of clothes that were clean when I heard loud crash in the den. I tugged on the semi-presentable jeans and ran to check out the latest broken item in the Balentine household. Before I had a chance make it to the doorknob, my youngest beloved son gently taps on the door.

I opened the door. There he was. Eyes wide open. Blink. Blink.


"Yes, Duglin."

"I accidentally put a marble in my stocking. When I accidentally tried to get it out, I accidentally pulled everything off the mantle and accidentally broke some stuff. Accidentally. Yes, absolutely, accidentally."

(Anger and blood pressure rising.) "Duglin, did I not tell you guys last night as I was putting the garland and the stockings on the mantle that you CAN NOT TOUCH IT?!?!?!?!?!?!?"

The previous night I spent an hour putting together the garland on the mantle. The hearth on the floor was now covered with a million pieces of Frasier fir clippings, lights, broken ornaments, broken stocking holders, and a pile of dirty stockings.

Duglin is my touchy feely kind of boy. He learns everything he knows by touching it, taking it apart, seeing what happens when you break, throw, rip, cut, roll on, glue, drench, or mash it. Some people might say he's destructive. We choose to use the word "deconstructer." His purpose is not destroy, but to learn how to create by taking apart.

So back to our scene at hand.

"Duglin. How does one accidentally drop a marble in a stocking that is hanging two feet above one's head?"

"I don't know, mom. I just happened. Accidentally."

So here's the part that I could leave out and not tell you. How I would love to say that I handled the whole incident with grace and patience. It would be lovely to make you think that I am the perfect epitome of the maternal unit but in the spirit of transparency, I will tell you I totally blew my top. I became so angry that I had to leave the room. And not only leave the room, but slam my bedroom door behind me to bring home the point. The point being I. WAS. LIVID.

Now, before you say, "Why, Sonya, it was only decorations," you have to understand that this was about the 8th thing in a week that my precious son had gotten his hands on and had ..........."disassembled." And yes, I did use a thesaurus to come up that word.

I went back to my bathroom and slapped on make-up as I prayed and asked God to help me decide how this issue should be handled. God somehow gave me the control and calmness I needed to discipline my sweet boy firmly, but gently.

Afterwards, I still was so angry looking at the mess I had to clean up, but decided to let it go until after we ran our errands. Again, I confess, I was mad that I can't have anything nice because I have a child that struggles with his impulse to touch everything. I was mad that I had so much to do and now I had more to do because I had to clean a mess when I got home. I was mad because I had to spend more money to replace the broken stocking holders and ornaments. I was just mad. Mad. MAD.

Then it came on the radio while we were in the car. A song that I have heard and even sung a thousand times.

"O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.

He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord!
Then ever, ever praise we, His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!"

I began to think of that tiny Baby that was born this time a couple thousand years ago. I began to think that He was a deconstructer, too. Not a destroyer, but a deconstructer. He took apart the shame, sadness, and filth in our hearts, and began to create something beautiful that only the Designer of a the universe could. He came, not to destroy, but to repurpose and redesign for a better life. Not because He had to, but because He wanted to.

Maybe, that's God gave me my own little 'redesigner." To remind me that sometimes things have to be taken apart, pulled down, and redone in order to be built back up again, better and stronger, wiser and more effective. And in order for the perfect reconstruction to happen, things must be touched. Deeply touched.

Jesus was a baby, a boy, a man, THE God who touched, is touching, and will touch everything. The question is are we willing to be redesigned?