Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Expect the Unexpected in the Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've hopped over here via the A-Z challenge, you'll find today's letter linked in question #8. Course everyone is welcome to join the Hodgepodge here on Wednesdays...just answer the questions on your own blog then add a link back to your answers at the end of my post.

Here are mine~

1. April showers bring May flowers...what have you been showered with this month?

The alphabet? 

I really do enjoy the A-Z blog challenge. It gets me excited about writing again, and makes me think too. I love having the alphabet as a guide, and I find myself pondering the next day's letter as I go about my day.  

It's also a lot of pressure. I normally don't blog six days a week, and I almost never blog on a Saturday, so that's a challenge. Keeping the Hodgepodge somewhat fresh every week also takes time, and on top of that I've had a couple of getaways on the calender in April so whew! 

I've had to do some planning and writing ahead, which I guess is how some people blog on a regular basis, but not me. I'm more of a write when I feel the urge as opposed to writing because the calendar says write. Perhaps I need to put writing on my calendar?  

2. What is the nature of compassion? Is it learned or innate? Can compassion be learned?  If you're a parent is this something you've purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?

I think its a combination of nature and nurture. Some children come into this world with a gentle spirit that seems tuned in to the needs and emotions of the world around them and they almost automatically extend compassion. Others need to have that modeled for them and it's our job as parents to do just that. 

We teach compassion when we're patient with the people we live with, or those who cross our paths throughout the day, when we take care of pets, spend time with those who are sick or elderly, by volunteering, and also by calling attention to acts of compassion that happen around us or in the world at large. As is true of most things in parenting...we teach compassion by showing compassion.  

3. Do you prefer to watch romantic comedy or romantic drama...or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flicks?

Depends on my mood, but I probably lean towards romantic comedy over romantic drama.  There are many exceptions, but I won't dig too deep here. I have the A-Z to get to still!

4. It's April which means baseball season is officially upon us in the US of A. Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying, "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." Agree or disagree?

I do love a hot dog at the ballpark that's for sure.  
I also love a candlelit dinner at the Ritz.  

Can I like both? Do these two events compare? 
No. No they do not. 
I can love both.  

5. What's something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?

For starters there's an intersection near our home in dire need of a flashing yield sign. There is a yield sign in place but its a strange spot where the people going straight actually yield and the people coming across at the light have the right of way. That sign needs to flash.  

When you're the one staying straight it doesn't feel like you should yield, but there is in fact a yield sign there so YIELD! We use this intersection almost daily, and we also see a near miss there almost daily. Hubs says I need to call someone about it, but the trouble is that never occurs to me until we're actually in the intersection.  

6. Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in its title.

Two of my favorite songs contain a flower in their title-

Daisy Jane by America
Magnolia by Poco

7. April 22nd is Earth you believe in life on other planets?  That wasn't the question you were expecting was it?

Human life or just life? I was reading hubs the questions for this week and he had a lot to say about this one. I'll admit it's not a topic I've given a lot of thought.  

The Bible says God created the heavens and the earth.  It doesn't actually spell out that earth is the only place with life on it, but it also doesn't say anything definitive about other life out there. Clear as mud?

If I have to articulate what I believe it's this-I believe Earth is the only place with life like ours. That in this gigantic universe which we humans see only the tiniest fraction of, God created planet Earth and set man on created in His very image.  That we're special, and the very smallness of the Earth in terms of the scale of the universe is a reminder of how very precious we are to Him.   

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Once again, I'm using this space as my A-Z blurb for today's letter...the letter "U". Ugh. That's one of my favorite words to use when blogging, although I almost never use it in real life. Somehow it just seems to work for me when I write.  I won't think too hard about what that means-ha!  

I'm not going to use the word ugh here anyway.  Instead I like this one-

U is for Unexpected
"Play is training for the unexpected."  Marc Bekoff

Life is full of the predictable, but also the unexpected, and nothing teaches you that lesson quite like parenting, does it? Kids throw up when you're dressed to go out. They run fevers when its not convenient, forget their lunches and library books, remember they have to make a poster for Social Studies just as they're climbing in to bed. They don't get the part, make the team, the Honor Roll, or that expected college admission. 

While I don't think we can ever be completely ready for the unexpected (then it would be expected, right?) I do think we can help our children learn to roll with the twists and turns this life brings. I think a big part of that is in how we, the adults in their lives, react.  

I'll go ahead and admit here this isn't my strong suit. I resist change and when my well thought out plans fall apart I don't always 'keep calm and carry on'. I will also say I'm a whole lot better than I used to be and I think the reason is this-my life these past fifteen years has been full of the unexpected.  

My girls lives have not followed the course I imagined when I birthed them some 20+ years ago. I never expected they'd have a very different high school experience than the traditional US experience, but they did. Never expected they'd live on one continent and I'd live on another. Never expected to be dealing with grief and the loss of a beloved cousin and niece, but we have.  

When I think about the unexpected that has come my way I think about trust. I think this is an area of my life where God wanted my attention, and to get it He needed to move me out of my very comfortable comfort zone.  Would the relationship I have with Him today be the same had I never picked up roots and moved across the sea? 

In this life we learn by doing. By experiencing. By conquering fears and facing challenges. By handling the big and little unexpected stuff that comes our way.  I know I want my girls to keep a clear head in times of trouble. I want them to plan ahead, but not feel afraid when plans go off course because plans will, at one time or another, go off course. 

I don't know many people who like change, but most of us have to deal with it somewhere along life's way. We can fear it or face it. Or fear it and face it and sometimes come out better on the other side. Sometimes I have to remind myself that unexpected doesn't always mean bad. My initial reaction might be negative, but when I look back with 20/20 hindsight I often feel a sense of awe. 

When I think of all the big and little unexpected happenings in my life I see how God was there. I still like to plan, still don't eagerly embrace change, but I do know when my plans go askew or change is in the wind I'm not going it alone, and that makes all the difference.  

I want my girls to know that too.  Their lives will follow a path that will sometimes take them places unexpected. God is there and you are His.  

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." 
Proverbs 31:25


  1. I'm standing up, applauding you on your answer to #7! Amen!!!

  2. I say absolutely Yes, you can like both hot dogs and roast beef! :)

  3. Beautiful post on your girls. They are lucky to have you as their mom. I don't know either if God made another planet with some sort of "LIFE" on it. But I would hate to limit Him to just our little section of space.

  4. Love your thoughts about the unexpected. Such important life lessons there, and we get plenty of practice using them!

  5. Truly enjoyed your compassion answer. Humans learn from each other...we are sponges...showing compassion to others is something that is quite catchy, so to speak. Children, especially, are ripe for the molding, so modeling compassion is a must if we are going to raise a generation of kindhearted, souls.

  6. Great answer for #7, and very well articulated as usual. It's a good thing I didn't participate in the A-Z Challenge as I would have been a complete failure at it. I knew it had been awhile since I posted, but I didn't realize I'd missed the entire month of April so far. Oops!

  7. I like your "ugh". And the photo is priceless.

  8. I need to call about signs on the road too, but I dont even know who to contact! that's sad

  9. Had a totally unplanned day yesterday and I am rolling with it as best I fact, have had a whole season of unplanned. But you are soo right, and I love these words..."God is there, and you are His." Perfect verse too btw! Enjoy your day!

  10. Ah yes, it's the unexpected that makes life interesting! :) I admire everyone dong the A-Z challenge. I love a good writing challenge, but a new challenge every day is more than I could do!

  11. Great questions. Tough sledding this morning. Lots of pain.

  12. really need to write a book! What a gift you've been blessed with! I would definitely buy it! You know, it is so true when I look at my own life. For example, losing my mom, brother, and dad in only 6 short years. It was, by far, the most difficult 6 years of my life, but God never left me. He was there through it all. Had He not been, I can't say where I'd be right now. I know that whatever life throws my way, I can get through it with God at my side.

  13. I know I've probably heard both of your songs but I can't seem to remember them.

  14. Enjoyed your answers, but mostly loved your Unexpected post! WOW! life is so full of the unexpected and mine has been full of it the past 5 years. And, you are so right, we do not, as Christians, go it alone. I marvel at the way you are able to do such well thought out posts on a daily basis. As I said in my post, you truly are all that and a bag of chips! Happy Day!

  15. The best laid plans can go wrong so it is always good to roll with the punches. There is always an alternative to every good plan.

  16. I like your answers here. I also appreciate you continuing on with the Hodgepodge - as I am rather new. I know it is a lot of work, but it is so much fun. So thank you.

    I see a lot of our answers were very similar. I especially enjoyed number 8 - your own random thoughts.

    I bet you have a wonderful family!


  17. I love the song "Daisy Jane"! I need to pull out my America cd now! :D

  18. I dropped the ball on the challenge yesterday. But I picked it up today and combined T and U. The last two times I participated, I had my posts all ready to go way before the challenge started. Now, I'm just waiting on the spirit to move me. And it's not moving me very much. Sigh. I am not a fan of ruts.

  19. Interesting song choices. I listened to both of them. Excellent A-Z Joyce. Absolutely true! We learn by experience and the hardest part for me has been wanting to spare my children from the unexpected path which is out of my control. The best part for me in my life was seeing how God was with me the whole time, good and bad.

  20. I'm yes-ing all your answers today! A to Z is not getting my creative juices going....I'm certainly saying Ugh! today! Happy Wednesday!

  21. You write SO beautifully. I was very touched by this post, and especially loved your answer to the compassion question. :)

  22. First, I want to say what a wonderful job you do with this meme, you always come up with the most wonderful questions. I don't know how you have managed to keep it going and participated in the A-Z challenge, it truly must be a challenge at times.
    Your "unexpected" random thought is wonderful. I too do not accept change well but sometimes in life we are forced to deal with things and it is usually in those situations that we grow and become stronger.
    In reading about how different your daughters' paths are from what you envisioned upon their birth made me think of my own children's path. So many things are different from how I thought they would be, not necessarily bad, just different. But then that is what life is, constantly changing...

  23. I'm finding the various answers to the compassion question remarkable. I so enjoy this weekly exercise called the Hodgepodge. I'm glad to have finally joined in on the fun. Thank you Joyce for challenging us each week. God's blessings upon you!

  24. With so much on your plate, you've done a great job keeping up with your blog!

    I love your A-Z post today, and I agree with your thoughts on the unexpected.

  25. I hear you on the pressure about posting thing. I thought I'd gotten away with skipping a day (last Monday) with nary a notice and then Georgie texted me that she and Alex had chatted about how that threw them both off. Ha.

    Unexpected is THE best word to describe parenting. I'm thinking you could make a book of JUST April's posts and give to your daughters.

  26. I like your #2! If you're in CA you must go to a dodger game in LA & try a Dodger dog, you won't want to go back to Citizens Bank park. :) (I think thats the Phillies stadium right?) I remember it was Veterans for many years, which i liked better.

  27. I'm late to the party today because of jury duty. And I'll just go ahead and say it, "ugh". (Since you sort of gave me permission.) Great, great job on the A-Z. Makes me tired just thinking about keeping up with it. Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!

  28. Love your responses. Great questions this week. Will be glad when A-Z winds down.

  29. Unexpected - that's a good one. Life with children is certainly full of it.