Saturday, December 20, 2014

Eyeball Closeups

Let's talk about FaceTime.  It's kind of a miracle, you know.  It's some real George Jetson stuff and I'm incredibly thankful that those avocado green phones that attached to your wall and sported a
9, 374 foot cord morphed into this wondrous thing that allows us to stay connected to our family so far away.  I'm not just saying this because Verizon Wireless pays for all the peanut butter in this house, either.  I really like eyeball closeups.

Mass Hysteria's


Aunt Lorrie's

Meet the family.  We have Nana and PaDaddy and UJ and Aunt Lorrie.  They are a special, special bunch.  Some are weirder than others......Dad.

Why, just today, Mass Hysteria, Pandemonium, Chaos, and I were traipsing through the frozen waffle section of Meijer when Dad first attempted to FaceTime.  I shouted, "We're buying waffles; let me call you back!".  He shouted, "OK!" then proceeded to pocket dial me 6 times.  I never claimed he was good with technology (they still have that avocado green phone in perfect working order in their basement).

So, before I tell you that he FaceTimed us so that he and the kids could snoop under a Christmas tree 7 hours away from our current location, let me tell you that my Dad loves to snoop under Christmas trees.  He likes to shake packages (maybe not a desired quality in his chosen profession as Freight Delivery Specialist - I just made that title up, by the way); he likes to guess the contents of packages; he likes to write strange paragraphs on packages (a highly interesting one involving three little kittens losing their mittens and Nancy Kerrigan comes to mind).   Today, he decided to do all those things with his grandkids through FaceTime and then sweetened the pot for Mass Hysteria by showing him the country ham awaiting him in the fridge(Ohio doesn't have country ham; poor, sad Ohio).  They have an interesting relationship.

 Also, I've spoken to my brother, Josh (the kids call himUJ - Uncle Josh) twice today, first about the breakfast casserole making procedure, second about the result of the afore-mentioned breakfast casserole making procedure.  I mentioned in passing that I'd just FaceTimed Dad and we decided to give it a go!  The experiment was a success - I saw my lovely sister-in-law and their first Christmas tree, tonight's supper on the stove, a couple of cats, and the way they've set up their house since the wedding. Though , if we're being completely honest, Josh talks with his face really close to the tiny camera hole on the iPad and when he takes you outside to see the Christmas lights, you're going to have flashbacks of the Blair Witch Project.  I mentioned that to him and he and Mass Hysteria began Blair Witch impersonations (I am so scared!  I don't know what's out there.  We're going to die here.  I am so scared! Blair Witch Project, Act 2 Scene 6).  They have an interesting relationship.

Thank You, God, that You gave me this weird, wonderful family.  Thank You that they love our kids and are amazing Christian role models for them.  Thank You for FaceTime to enjoy them on random Saturdays and thank You for eyeball closeups.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller.

I wish I was a little bit taller.  I wish I was a baller.

Let me preface this post by listing my considerable athletic accomplishments:

Ballet/Tap/Jazz - 1979-1982; The choreography for "Disco, Disco Duck" is instilled in me so deeply that I could bust it out right now, right this minute.  You don't want to see that.  Nobody wants to see that.  (Look at that cute Josh Olinger clowning around)

See-sawing - An unfortunate see-sawing incident at Miller Perry Elementary School in the 2nd Grade left me with emotional scars that, to this day, have not healed and a bruised tail-bone.  Dangerous playground equipment should be outlawed in my opinion.  (I had visions of scraped knees and concussions at the time of this photograph.)

Bicycling - Josh Olinger (my only brother - seen above in clown apparel) ran over my forehead with his bicycle in 1984 causing a severe learning delay in my bicycle-riding abilities.  At the grand old age of 36, I finally mastered the art of bicycling and without training wheels even.  (Pandemonium was skeptical, but Chaos was ever the encourager.)

Holston Optimist Cheerleading - 1988-1989; I never learned to do a cartwheel.  To me, there is something inherently wrong with putting your hands in the air and hurling your face toward the ground.  Isn't that really something we should avoid at any and all costs?  (Let's not pretend that the 80's weren't hard on everyone.  I'll bet you have pictures of poodle hair-dos and giant glasses in your past as well.)

Water-skiing - It took Bobby and Cameron Sells 14 hours in a bass boat before I ever stood up.  Sadly, Boone Lake is still missing the 2,800 gallons of water I ingested that day, causing The Great Boone Lake Drought of '91.  (Also, Rachel of the distant past, Tom Petty called and he wants his sunglasses back.)

Softball - 1992-1993; My softball accomplishments included a fine trophy and the awarding of MVFP (Most Valuable Flower Picker).  I never fielded a ball, but I made some absolutely STUNNING daisy chains.

Horse-back Riding - 2001; I was thrown from the same horse three times in the same day, but points to me for getting back on the Devil's Mare.  (That's a picture of the Devil's Mare herself)

Backyard Football and Wiffle Ball - Every Sunday afternoon at Granny and PaOlinger's house for all of my formative years.  Robbie and Jason Olinger were and are fierce competitors and I'm the only girl, so our games usually ended in tears and/or bloodshed.  I love you guys!  (We've even carried this tradition on to the next generation.)

Hide-and-Seek - Terrible!  I am truly dreadful at hide-and-seek.  I giggle like a loon the entire time I'm trying to hide.  (Chaos has some issues with it as well.)

All this evidence should confirm to you the statement that I am not an athlete.  I can barely walk effectively.  I run like a chicken-mongoose hybrid.

The kids, fortunately, got Mass Hysteria's coordination.  He has a 3 inch vertical jump shot that would put NBA players to shame.  (In his defense, he'd just arrived home from an Ugly Sweater Contest when I demanded this picture be taken.  Also, he's not angry; that's his game face.)

So, it all started like this... (now that you have all pertinent background information)

Pandemonium and Chaos are participating in their first competitive sport this winter.  Upward Basketball.  I love Upward Basketball.  Not only does it teach them how to play the game, it teaches them how to play it in a Christ-honoring way.

The sad fact of the matter is, though, that I could fill a thimble or one of those tiny measuring cups you use for cold medicine with my knowledge of the sport of basketball.  I am not an athlete, but I knew that one day my children would want to participate in some sport or another and that my general lack of sports knowledge would come back to bite me.

In the parent drop-off line of the kid's elementary school, my worst nightmare was realized.  Pandemonium asked me to go over the rules of basketball with her.  The dreaded day had arrived.  It was worse than her asking for my help with common core math.  The light filtered slowly from my eyes.  And then...

BAM! It all just clicked.  All those years of watching Dad coach Josh in basketball and watch innumerable hours of basketball on TV and all those years of hearing Mass Hysteria spew out sports trivia like he was reciting the alphabet and watching innumerable hours of basketball paid off.  The basketball knowledge rushed into my brain. Like a lightning strike, I started telling her about offense and defense and staying open to shoot or pass the ball on offense and man-on-man vs. zone coverage on defense.  My arms were flying in demonstration.  My voice, strong and proud, regaled her with tales of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

It was inspired!   It was amazing!  Who's picking daisies now?

I got everything right, except that I called the mid court line the Line of Demarcation.  Doesn't everyone sometimes mix up their basketball terms with their 1493 Spain/Portugal history terms?  Common mistake.

Later that evening, I was recounting my inspired speech to Wayne Olinger (he's my Dad; he can confirm that I am no athlete) and he said, "It was kind of like when Jesus was asking his disciples who the people thought He was and then He asked them, "But, who do you say that I am?" and Peter answered, "You are the Christ." Then, Jesus goes on to say that this information was not revealed to Peter by flesh and blood, but by God.  (Matthew 16) You know, Rachel, in the similar way, your basketball knowledge must surely have been revealed to you by God."  That Dad of mine can really relate Scripture to everyday life lessons.

It is entirely possible that God gave me the words to help Pandemonium with her basketball game because Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."  And I think that it is pretty obvious from my lack of athletic prowess that this information did not come from me.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

So, it all started like this...

11 on 11

My friend, Jen, at and my friend, Malia, at have encouraged me to join them in celebrating the everyday beauty in life by doing a 10 on 10 blog post.  Only this has been a week full of twists and turns and I'm a day late and a dollar short, as they say, whoever they are.

Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago, but as I was taking photos today, I realized just how thankful I am.

Thankful for my sweet husband, Mass Hysteria, who joins me in thinking things like this are HILARIOUS.

Thankful that I can safely wash dishes with the protection of this ring of wrestling athletes.

Thankful my kitchen is full of papier-mâché turtles and headphones that let me listen to my sick beats.

Thankful for sweet gifts from my brother and sister-in-law and that the Lord has infinite mercy.

Thankful for our 9th consecutive year of sweet Pandemonium birthdays and that the elves decorated the tree to celebrate her.

Thankful that the elves are heading back to help Santa with the big Christmas rush tomorrow.

Thankful for red, fuzzy blankets to keep Pandemonium warm when she's sick and that God has blessed Mass Hysteria with a career that allows me to stay home and cuddle said sick babies.

Thankful for the medicine and caffeine that are keeping Pandemonium and me running today.

Thankful for the sillies!  

Thankful to God for my amazing, wonderful life!

*** That was 11, wasn't it?