Monday, August 18, 2014

Puppy Love Lives On -- Boy Bands

Forty-one years ago, about this time in the evening, I was screaming my little teeny bopper head off in the Indiana State Fair grandstand--one tiny, screaming ant-like creature with stringy hair and bell bottom pants, in the midst of thousands of similar screaming ants. It was amazing.

I was 11 years old. I thought I was 16.

Well, I got over Donny quickly in middle school because I saw boys I had never seen before, and HELLO, never looked back. Then when I was in high school and news broke of Donny's marriage, I had to suffer the indignity of all the teasing because I had carried that Osmond lunch box in elementary school like a purple metal engagement ring that always smelled like peanut butter. I deserved the teasing.

I still love purple, however. That was not a convenient adjustment of the moment just to win Donny. I have always loved it. I don't still love that jumpsuit, however.

I titled this post, "Puppy Love Lives On" because tonight, my youngest daughter is on her way to Nashville with a group of friends to see the biggest boy band in the world, One Direction. I almost typed "One Dimension," because I'm old and don't pay attention to boy bands anymore, but boy bands never die; they just reincarnate. There's just something about a boy band, isn't there?

This would be me at about that age. Note that I'm indeed wearing purple. Try not to note the white tennis shoes and socks.

That is also me in that second pic. Still wearing the purple. You won't believe this, but my picket fence teeth grew mostly together without braces. I have no idea.

Anyway, here's to boy bands, not as "Sweet and Innocent" as they used to be, but still charming and "Stil-ish." See what I did there? (That's Harry Stiles of One Dementia. I mean One Direction.)

Have fun, Kristin!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hi. So I've been taking a little break from Facebook for neurotic reasons, but I think I'll pick up my beloved quill pen and set to work at the old blog annals for a moment or so. I could hardly remember how to sign in.

Catching up:

-Still grandma-ing, three days a week, in my stretchy "grandma-ing pants," otherwise known as "yoga pants" or "yogurt pants," because my girl, JRoo, sneaks yogurt onto me which I notice later when I'm in public, of course.

-Still running. Have a goal of 500 miles in 2014. I'm half-way there, so a bit behind, but I'm not giving up.

-Embarking on new adventures in eating gluten-free and eating all-around healthier. Mainstay is a big old honkin' protein smoothie each day.

-Still daughter-ing my mom the two days of the week when I don't have JRoo. Mom has been a widow for a full year now. Mostly we talk about bodily functions. (Hers.) We also go to the doctor, the Walmart and the hairdresser.

-Sent my youngest back to college to begin her last year.

-Waxing nostalgic daily as evidenced my pinning vintage 1970s everything on Pinterest, even hair yarn and Liddle Kiddles. It's a midlife crisis.

-Reading East of Eden by Steinbeck.

-Hanging onto summer as long as I possibly can.

What were the things I used to blog about?
TV shows (American Idol, Lost) -- Current favorites: "Mr. Selfridge," "Downton," "The Voice," and my guilty pleasures, "Celebrity Apprentice" and "The Talk."
My kids, parents and dog (Still have the same ones.)
Walmart (I'd like to see the study that shows how much of our lives we spend there, like they tell you about sleeping.)
And my standby: "I Know You Think I Make This Stuff Up," posts about weird experiences, like falling one year ago today and breaking my arm because I thought a creepy man was after me while I was running. [Insert eye roll.]

Yep, this is it, the Seinfeldian blog about nothing--2nd Cup of Coffee.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Re Social Media Fear and Shame: 5 Reasons I Take Issue with "The Video"

Is social media destroying our ability to connect in meaningful ways?

If you believe  this video's ominous message, which has been appearing in my Facebook newsfeed repeatedly, the answer is, "yes." 

Hold on. 

Ever heard of "Blanket Statements?" This video leaves me feeling like I want to throw a blanket over my head. Depressing.

Facebook is merely a tool, like a shovel. Perhaps you want to turn up a little ground to plant a Petunia. That's one use. Perhaps you want to turn up a bunch more to plant perennials. That's another use. Perhaps you want to dig a foundation. That's another. You can use a tool at different levels for different reasons. Most people are intelligent enough to know that turning up enough earth to plant a Petunia is not enough to build a structure. And so it is with Facebook. You can work the surface or build strong foundations and structures. And just as a person could become distracted by gardening to the exclusion of others' feelings and existence, so it is with Facebook. Or anything in life. So this video is not false, per se, but it does smack of hysteria.

Let's skip over things we learn on Facebook regarding hobbies, travel, health, etc. Let's go right to the challenge of meaningful connection (although I would argue that sometimes, those "incidentals" just mentioned are part of learning who someone really is). Here are five examples of why I cringe at this video and believe that Facebook can serve as the catalyst for rich experiences in life:

1. Meeting in "real life." Let's get this "real life" thing out of the way, ASAP. I have friends with whom I meet regularly for dinner with whom I'd fallen out of contact until reuniting on Facebook. We are extremely close and meet approximately once a month or every other month. However, some form of chat happens nearly daily. There is NO QUESTION that these friendships are real, and mostly, they happen on Facebook. But here's the thing: Suppose we never met in person. Does that lessen the significance of the relationship? My friends and I happen to share very deeply in private on Facebook and share more casually in person because of the environment (restaurant, movie, competing noise, etc.) So who can judge whether my Facebook friendships are real and meaningful except me and my friends? So I use the term "real life" because that's what others have used. To me, it's all the same. It's all real life.

2. Connecting with relatives. Regularly, often daily, I chat with those whom I've never met or met once or who live across the country. I know what is happening in the lives of my "first friends," my cousins, and my cousins' children! They feel like family instead of merely names. In addition, I feel connected to the families into which my kids have married, which I think is amazing. 

3.Celebrating and grieving with others. Instead of finding out six weeks after the fact, I often know when a friend is about to lose someone or has just lost someone. I know when a child is being born or leaving home for the first time. I may learn of a couple's plan to adopt. I can immediately decide which action to take to show support and love, be that a kind word on Facebook, a card, a visit during calling hours or a gift for a new baby or wedding. When my father died, the outpouring of love and beautiful tributes helped me move through the stages of grief and were available to me at 3:00 am when I would not have chosen to phone a friend.

4. Encouraging and inspiring each other toward goals and dreams. Are you dreading your daily run? Me too! Did you just finish a really difficult run? Me too! Did you just enroll in graduate school? Buy your first house? Start a new job? I am so happy for you! Begin a healthier lifestyle? How can I support you in that goal? --Is that not what real friends do for each other?

5. Having my beliefs challenged and eyes opened, spiritually, politically, socially, and learning how to discuss beliefs without losing friends and maybe coming away with a deeper appreciation for that person. I can't count the number of times I've become more compassionate because someone I know on Facebook is struggling with a particular challenge.

There will always be people who live inside their TVs, phones, video games, jobs, bank accounts, movies, latest health trends, pets' lives, children's lives, religion, social causes. There will always be people missing the mark with others, even the most socially conscious and plugged in to others. We could make an ominous video about any subject. We could become monks, but then we'd just be distracted by our robes and each other. Pretty soon, we'd be saying, "Does your robe do this weird thing at your ankle, too?"

For all of its faults and snares (after all--to keep the imagery going--you can assault someone over the head with a shovel) Facebook has helped me grow as a family member, friend and citizen of this world.
 Let's not forget that great quote by CS Lewis: "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What! You too? I thought I was the only one." 

It's just that sometimes, that quote takes this shape:  [Status Update] "My dog likes to eat avocados!" [Comment] "Mine does, too!" BOOM-a small moment of community. I'll take it. 

I personally love it all, the deep and the shallow ends of the Facebook pool. Be informed, yes. Swim where you like, and let others enjoy the water without worrying them about pruned fingers and toes. To that I will add, "LOL." 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Tribute To My Father, Virgil H. Batt, at his funeral on July 15, 2013

Yesterday was my father's funeral. My brother spoke about Dad's medals and bravery in WWII, my sister-in-law spoke about grace, and I spoke about Dad's faithfulness. Here is my tribute.

I want to begin this tribute by saying that when I was in school, I always read any speech or paper that I wrote to my dad the night before turning it in. I told him I was reading it to him for his help, but the real reason was that I wanted his approval. I wanted to hear him say I had done a good job, and he always did, without fail. When you know you have a great dad, you want him to be proud of you because you love him so much. So I have a little of that same feeling today about the words I’m speaking now. Dad, I’m 50 years old, but I’m still hoping you approve. I'm sure that I always will, for the rest of my life. 

They tell me that when I was born, my dad, who already had three boys, danced a little jig of joy at the hospital when the nurse said, “It’s a girl!” 

My dad: The one who buckled my Sunday shoes and tolerated my fidgeting next to him in church. Sitting between Mom and him in the pew, I played with his hands, looked through his Bible, and often fell asleep on him or pretended to. What a blessing to have some of the very first memories of my life be that of a Godly father who was already demonstrating faithfulness. I felt completely secure throughout my childhood in his commitment to God, to Mom, and us. In fact, “faithful” might just be the best adjective to with which to honor Dad.

Speaking of faithfulness, near the end of his time, I spoke with Dad about God and this cancer situation. I said, “Dad, many people in your position would struggle with God at this point because you’ve been so faithful to Him, and now you are afflicted with this. Do you ever feel disappointed in God or wonder where he is now?” And he shook his head vigorously as if to underscore the opposite and said, “No, NO—never! He is always faithful, always good! Always with me!”

On his last day at home, I sat by his bed close to him, and we sang hymns together. His voice was weak, but he was still carrying a tune and affirming his faith by singing, “Love Lifted Me,” “Trust and Obey,” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” and “When We All Get to Heaven.” I will cherish that time the rest of my life.

Another way Dad demonstrated faithfulness was that he spent many years serving God and the people in our church in both leadership and servant roles.  He has served in every capacity from Sunday School Superintendent to custodian. To this day, when I run into people from the past, they seem very intent about sharing the impact Dad had on them. He was a quiet man, but his influence was far-reaching and meaningful to many.

I have so many sweet childhood memories that I will cherish forever. On summer evenings when I was playing in the neighborhood and saw his car round the bend for our street, I would make eye contact with him and race him home. Sometimes he let me win! (If you know anything about the Batts and racing, then you know that was quite something!) Then I’d watch him scrub up for dinner as if he worked in a coal mine. He was so clean. He enjoyed every delicious meal mom made.

Like any kid does who has a great dad, I look for similarities between my father and me. He loved his La-Z-Boy recliner, the newspaper and being in the sunshine. I love those things, too. He loved working word puzzles and spelling, eating foods that were fried or cooked to the extreme side of “well-done,” and the Andy Griffith show. I do, too. He yawned and sneezed very loudly. Me, too. He always kept a stash of chocolate on his dining room table that I helped wipe out. He liked neat, tidy surroundings and ice cream. I do, too. More than anything, he loved our family holiday dinners. The last and best meal he had eaten for a long while was the one this last Father’s Day which Kim prepared. I think he was determined to enjoy every morsel he could that day, surrounded by his family, talking, laughing, watching old home movies.

By the way, my favorite home movie is the one where I am about 6 months old, and he is swinging me in the air in very high arcs with LOTS of energy and enthusiasm! It sort of takes my breath away to see it now, but there is complete joy and confidence on both of our faces. I was always safe with Dad. He was completely trustworthy.

I see the pictures of him in his young years, and I see why mom fell for him--so handsome, especially in that uniform! But by the time I was born, he already had quite a bit of gray hair. He had the bluest eyes, softest hands, silky white hair. His appearance made him stand out in a crowd, not just because of his height but also because of the quiet dignity that seemed to draw your attention.

He had certain phrases he repeated throughout life, like when you asked him, “How are you?” he would often answer, “Fine, fine, fine.” Even in one of his last days, I asked him, “How are you today, Dad?” and he whispered, “Fine, fine, fine,” when I know that physically, at least, he did not feel fine. So very brave in battle in WWII, so very brave in the battle against cancer.

I want people to know that throughout this battle, he never complained. It took him a long time to acknowledge the physical pain. Near the end, when my brothers and I felt so inept in our awkward, bumbling care of him at home, he never once uttered a negative word or showed signs of grumpiness but thanked us often for helping.

As a grandfather to my children, Dad was patient and loving and often worried about my kids. One of my favorite memories of him as a grandfather is the way he rigged up a couple of rolling toys when they were babies and pulled them around the interior of our house in large circles. We would sit in one room chatting or watching TV, and they would travel quietly by us lap after lap after lap. And I’ll never forget the way he doted on Jordan when he broken his leg around two years old. He brought him candy. He carried him everywhere. He had such compassion for him. 

Also, to the grandchildren here today, I want to say that in one of the last conversations I had with Grandpa, he told me he hoped very much that you would teach your children, his great grandchildren, about the Lord by reading them Bible stories and teaching them about Jesus. He was very specific about that desire. 

Finally, I want to say that my dad was an overcomer of great and sad odds stacked against him from birth but was never bitter about his circumstances. I want to say he was a brave soldier, servant of God and of people, influential, loving, patient, sacrificial, hard-working, committed, a great provider, handsome, optimistic, fun-loving, clean, honest, Godly, sweet and … did I mention “faithful?”

At the beginning of this tribute, I talked about always wanting to please my father. I think Dad felt that way about his heavenly Father. My desire was to hear my dad say, “Well done, Daughter” regarding my assignments. I believe Dad lived his life with the goal of hearing those words from his heavenly Father. I believe that when Dad left us, he took the hand of the One who created him and allotted him all the days and moments of his life and heard the words, “Well done, Son! Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done on all of your assignments: Soldier, Servant, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather--Well done!”  And I believe Dad was, at that moment, the happiest, healthiest, and most joy-filled he’s ever been. I will miss him, but I do not begrudge him that experience. 

We love you, Dad. We all join in and say, “Well done!” We are right behind you and will see you soon!


MUNCIE - Virgil H. Batt, 91, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Thursday, July 11, 2013, at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.
He was born February 11, 1922 in Muncie, the son of Walter and Lena Newton Batt, and attended school in Muncie.
Virgil was an Army veteran of WW II and was highly decorated for his service to his country.
He was a semi-truck driver for Federal Express, Associated Transport and Gordon's Transport prior to his retirement.
He was a member of Emmanuel Church of the Nazarene, New Horizon Church of the Nazarene, and the Teamsters Local #135.
Surviving are his wife, Delphia Lucille Garrett Batt, to whom he had been married seventy-one years; three sons, Larry Batt (wife, Sherry), Gaston, Jack Batt (wife, Kristie), Portland, and Donald Batt (wife, Kimberly), Muncie; his daughter, Linda Crow (husband, George), Muncie; eight grandchildren, Larry Batt, Brian Batt, Chase Batt, Christopher Batt, Matthew Wood, Kaylin Peters, Jordan Crow and Kristin Crow; three great-grandchildren; three sisters, Wanda Jackson, Muncie, Phyllis Edwards (husband, Frank), Muncie, and Jeanne Sims (husband, Charles), Fullerton, California; his brother, Donald Hunt, Simi Valley, California; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, and three brothers.
Services will be 1:00 p.m. Monday, July 15, 2013 at Parson Mortuary with Pastor Mike Konkle officiating. Burial will follow in Gardens of Memory, where military rites will be conducted by the Veterans of Delaware County Honor Guard.

The family will receive friends from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and an hour prior to the services on Monday at the mortuary.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

National Running Day 2013

Well, I stated it awkwardly and then there was no editing allowed, no turning back ....

But that's the difference between running and a lot of things for me. I don't have to worry about running. I just get out there and do it. I COULD choose to worry--about time, pace, form, discipline, etc., but mostly I just choose to move, preferably soaking up sunshine. I may joke about my slow and stiff form, but actually, no one has to translate what I'm doing when I'm out there. It's very simple; I'm just running.

I see a lot of pictures and badges with relevant, inspiring quotations on them, and I even save some, but none says it all, what it really means to me. It's hard to put into words what inspires us and elicits passion. The painter, the musician, the dancer, the writer, the athlete--If you're a professional, you do it for money and maybe the love of it. If you're an amateur, you may do it for love and the challenge. If you sort of ka-lump along in an echelon beneath even the amateur, it's hard to say why you love it. In fact, for the ka-lumpers, it seems like there are more reasons NOT to love it. But there is something in those of us who love it, even those of us who plod along, that draws us to it like the proverbial moth to the flame, like rubber to the road.

All I know is, it is a gift that I do not take for granted. It's a gift that demands something from you, like a great teacher demands something from a pupil. You never know from day to day what the lesson will be. Sometimes the teacher is sly and clever, sometimes stern, sometimes playful. Sometimes this Teacher exercises the brain, sometimes brawn. A good teacher is there consistently, and at the beginning of each day, requests some kind of growth from you. The pupil gets out of it what he puts into it. There are days when the pupil resents the teacher, but as he looks back on his growth, he appreciates so much the lessons offered. He may never be surpass or conquer the teacher, but he is a better person for the experience, physically, emotionally, spiritually. And that's why I'm celebrating National Running Day. Lace 'em up!