He’s Got ‘The Shine’–Weathering Life With Brooks Barber

Brooks in Kindergarten and now

Brooks in Kindergarten and now

When is the last time you have seen someone with ‘ the shine?’  You know, the little sumpin’-sumpin’ that makes a soul stand out from the normal pack of everybodies?

We all have our unique sparkles of greatness. But most times, those talents are buried, undiscovered, precious diamonds to yet be unearthed from the darkness. But in rare instances, a light shaft radiates through the cloud cover, almost blinding and causes one to rummage for sunglasses.

For example, our daughter Misty on her fourth birthday wanted a Craft-matic adjustable bed for her birthday. It was all the rage on the Weather Channel, which she watched religiously. We summed up that she was (a) a weird little child and (b) was fascinated with weather.

We were wrong. (On the weather part, anyway.) Now at 25, we understand that she was drawn to the communication role of the forecasters, filling in the gaps between the 8’s of the Hour. She had to dig around in the dirt for a while before her jewel set in radio broadcasting.

On the other hand, my husband and I stand agog as we watch from afar a rising predictor of storms that threaten western/central Kansas. Brooks Barber is only a freshman in high school, but from the way this pressure system has hit scene, you can tell his head is far from being in the clouds.

Since we started following Lead Forecaster Brooks last summer, we have grown to depend on his forecasts and the fun youthful element he puts into his reporting. “The snow system will be moving across western Kansas tonight and BOOM! it will hit with 12-16 inches.” Then he added a day-to-day bar graph of the probability that school would declare much coveted snow days in Hays, America.

“So what is Lead Forecaster Brooks reporting for us?” Cliff asks when he crosses our threshold and empties the pockets work clothes every evening. Somehow the kid, whose a couple years from completely filling out his official looking suit and tie, has become a sage presence we depend on.   If a tornado is brewing, and he says to hit the dirt, we’ll scramble to our hidey-hole without a thought.

Although we have had a very calm tornado season for Kansas so far this year, I have no doubt that when rumbles interrupt the evening, his mom, Annette, has been torn between encouraging his passion of keeping an eye-on-the-skies and making sure he gets to bed decently for the big English test before dawn through yonder window breaks.

Annette confessed that she has a time keeping up with her whirlwind. Checks started appearing in the mail, due to his freelancing weather graphics for news stations across the country this winter. Are these places aware that her son is ‘just’ a freshman in high school? Who could tell and if they do, I bet their jaws are dropping like a renegade thunder shower. Brooks’s talent is that good.

And this proud mama had best keep the car gassed up; she never knows when they will be buzzing to Wichita for a job-shadowing gig with Mark Larson at KWCH. “He does this all on his own,” she insists. The basement has been commandeered for a weather lab, not to mention he has another weather fanatic for a buddy with an actual green screen for them to do official reports!

Make no mistake, he has captured a lot of people’s attention. Just ask the over 4,100 Facebook fans, who watch the Cirrus Weather site he co-owns and operates. (And has racked up over a million views to boot!)

His gift baffles adult reasoning.

After three days they found him (Jesus) in the courts, sitting around the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard was amazed at his understanding and answers. Luke 2:46-47

Like I said, once in awhile a kid bursts forth with the indescribable ‘shine,’ a mojo far beyond their years, one that carries a responsibility that can carry the reality of life or death.

My prayer for our favorite forecaster is this: Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (2 Timothy 4:11) (Now, back to watching the thunderstorm warning you reported that we’re in, young man!)

If you search him on Facebook, you are in for a treat. And be sure to tell him his #1 fan sent you–wink!

Lead Forecaster Brooks

Photo credit: Annette Barber


“Chief Rain-In-The-Face, What Are You Doing?”

This is actually Chief To-ma-To, who watches over our garden.  Rain in the Face must have done a dance because we got a downpour this afternoon and would have been too muddy to get to the 'site.'

This is actually Chief To-ma-To, who watches over our garden. Rain in the Face must have done a dance because we got a downpour this afternoon and would have been too muddy to get to the ‘site.’

Here’s the scene: A wildflower covered mound, surrounded by knee-high prairie grass.  A barbed wire fence row stands on one side, while dried skeletons of yucca blooms stand as sentries to protect the site.

“It’s right there,’ Fred, the cowboy/jack-of-all-trades whispered, “Chief Rain-in-the-Face’s grave.”

My mind shuffled through the vibrant family history of our homestead, that had been drummed in my head for all of my pre-teen years. The place had been homesteaded 100+ years prior by Aunt Lizzie, who was only thirteen at the time.  Around that time she eluded cattle rustlers along this very creek, riding horseback 60 miles to Woodward, OK in the dark with a significant bank deposit.  Up the road, my great grandpa is hailed as being the first white baby born in Kiowa County, Kansas.  Winding through the buffalo wallow dotted  pastures, I could almost picture regiments of US Calvary soldiers following the lonesome trail they laid out.  Not to be forgotten, legend tells of a headless black man buried in a long-lost grave on the property.  The man was on the lam, hired on with a cattle drive.  But when the boss rode on to Dodge City to arrange for the arrival of the herd, he came back with a Wanted: Dead or Alive poster.  He chose the dead option.  The crook’s head journeyed on to the Cowboy Capitol and his body left on the Parkin Ranch.  But I sure didn’t remember anything about an indian chief. 

Fred continued, “Go stand on the Chief’s grave and say very loudly–it has to be loud–Chief Rain-in-the-Face, what are you doing?  Listen and he will say nothing at all.”

I weighed and watched as my dad kept a straight face, while Fred’s eyes twinkled.  If I did this, would I really hear a voice answering, ‘Nothing at all?” How cool would that be! As tempted as I was with the possibility of experiencing the amazing, I leaned to common sense.  No, I didn’t fall for it, but Fred sure made me think.

The next victims to step to the grave were my younger brother and step-brother.  And as the years have gone by, there was a whole string of targets.  At his place, I hear there is a sign pointing folks to a Chief-Rain-In-the-Face gravesite. Maybe we were dealing with twins?

When Cliff and I were first married, Fred was a constant fixture at our house a lunch time.  Of course, I had a long history with him always being around, and it didn’t take Cliff long to fall in love with his humor, storytelling, and his joyful countenance, no matter what health woe had befallen him.   

 Everyday Fred shared mini-Snickers bars and Jesus.  The Snickers I could handle, but I wasn’t really on speaking terms with God at that time. Oh I knew him, but he’d let me down and I didn’t need him–unless I was about to run out of gas in the car or was stranded in a wicked ice storm with our daughter running a 104 degree temp.  Then I’d rattle his door, but kept him at arms length like the loud and bossy old aunt that smells like Vicks and Roses, Rose perfume, but always is good for some significant cash at Christmas.

Cliff and I would sheepishly look at the floor, when Fred wove the goodness of his Lord into the conversations.  I didn’t much like that he was attempting to jump-start my thinking or my soul. However he was such a great guy, we were ever-so polite, but rolled our eyes behind his back.  When we got a gift subscription to Guideposts from him and his lovely wife, Marlene, I quickly pitched all the issues in a magazine rack.  I couldn’t throw them away.  What if he asked about them?

Many months later, I can’t remember why Fred had been rerouted from our daily lunch date, but I was in the clear to clean out the magazines.  I started leafing through the booklets and reading hit-and-miss.  They backed everything Fred talked about and convicted me to get my girls in Sunday School.  (Notice: not me, but my kids.  I was just fine, thank  you very much!) 

That is when something started that I can’t stop.  Soon after, our worlds crashed with the loss of our two very special grandpas and Cliff’s live-life-to-the-fullest brother, Mike.  That is when I had no choice to cry out and grab on to the Jesus Fred had talked about. 

And for over a quarter of a century that Jesus has held me together through many valleys  of the shadow of death, fears, worries, etc, etc, etc.   I don’t have to think about it anymore, I know.  

A few years back, one of my brother’s kids called me.  Bursting with skepticism, a little voice said, “Aunt Kel, do you know who Chief Rain-in-the-Face is? Will he really talk to you and say nothing at all?”

And my response will always be, “What do you think?….. And once you are think it through, how about we share a Snickers, because I know someone even more amazing than Chief Rain-In-the-Face.”

Whatever you do, work at it with all of your hears, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward, It is the Lord you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 

(Side note~For some reason, Fred and I always had a special bond, even before the Freb Webb Preaching Series.  Last week when I heard that he had gained his prize to be with Jesus, tears rolled like a fountain.  Some because I’m so glad for him and some because I owe him more than I can ever express.  While he was still with us, we visited, emailed, and even facebooked a little bit.  I will never regret letting him know how important he was in my faith walk. 

My question to you is this:  Have you told that person(s) the impact they’ve made in your faith walk? 

Photo credit-my own

Who’s Your Hero? A Quest for the Super-est

Our Bat Bren is our favorite earthly super hero!

Our Bat Bren is our favorite earthly super hero!

A one liner, discharged forward through a word web, intending to capture a laugh. Instead, it wrapped my thoughts in a cocoon of pondering.

All week we had saturated our TV viewing with topics this season is famous for: NCAA basketball and all things biblical. Mix in my arch-enemy, Seasonal Allergies, and my energy was reduced to a couch littered with piles of soggy tissues and eyeballs begging to be plucked out and floated in a sea of ice water. Sigh. My aggressive plans had been rendered helpless against the powers of pollen.

Cliff, Cole and I caught up on DVRed episodes of the History Channel’s The Bible. We reveled in the highlighted parts that are rarely addressed and sparred with each other over discrepancies, flexing our biblical knowledge and interpretive muscles on a truth’s intriguing quest. We forged through the gauntlet of the challenge of actually living the Ten Commandments and watched lasers penetrate the Shroud of Turin in a pursuit for authenticity. This was like a magnetic force that only allowed for bathroom breaks and another dose of Allegra.

At the appointed time, we switched to grasp the electrifying phenomenon that is the Wichita State Shockers. Fear the Wheat, Baby! (said in my best Dick Vitale voice). Oh how these underdogs have flown past formidable foes on a golden bolt to victory!

And our beloved heroes, the Kansas Jayhawks, fought their last game as strong as Hercules and as accurate as Apollo’s arrows, until some kryptonite must have filtered in through the arena’s vents. Those last five minutes their flaming chariot wheels fell off one by one. Our Invincibles morphed back into their original forms of 19-20 something mere mortals, students in the college of Maturity 101.

Then on Easter afternoon, while I was cleaning up for feasting, my guys went off the grid and turned to fighting the forces of evil with the movie The Avengers. Bedazzled in the most spectacular costumes—evidently a prerequisite for super-hero and Greek god status—each have muscle–ripped specialized gifts they activate against-all-odds sinister evil. (Insert deep chest rumbling ba-ha-ha-ha diabolical laugh here) Spandex must be the ultimate power source and shield.

That’s when I heard it.

The clang of iron clashed as the champions fought valiantly against just was spectacularly dressed villains. Captain America, with his star-spangled chest, announces, “There is only one God, and he doesn’t dress like that!” (Since Captain America would know how we were founded, I went with the big G ‘God.’ here)

When Jesus walked the earth, flashy dressing was about as far from his mind as a glittered cape is from cut-offs. If his time had been this current day, I imagine he’d been in faded jeans, a wash softened t-shirt and well-worn boots. In fact Isaiah predicted that “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (53:5)

So what was his spectacular WOW factor?

Ask the woman at the well, and she’d tell you that his gaze seared right through her defenses, rivaling any high- tech lasers. A touch that healed countless needy souls of whatever infirmity attacked, and a voice that cast away many a demon hurled at him, honestly, who could combat those powers? And wouldn’t you like to know what magic was in the words he scrawled in the sand that made the stone-wielding accusers of the adulterous woman fade into the woodwork? A cape of grace was thrown over her AND the jerks ready to hang her out to dry to advance their own agenda. Who could have true peace if not for blood, so love-charged it made our damning sin vanish like a phantom?

Makes all the webs, wings, lasers, spandex, flowing locks, magic ropes, super-charged thigh high boots seem kind of pathetic, huh?

But wait there is more! Jesus had held back his styling for his future Grand Finale! Revelation 19 lavishes on us about his eyes like blazing fire and on his head will be many crowns. Sporting the latest in fashion, his robe will be ombre dipped in blood and he will be riding in on a magnificent white stallion. His army will follow and trumpets will be fan faring to be the band! After explaining this in more detail than I just did, I find it interesting that when the clash with ‘the beast’ and his ya-hoos, it only says ‘together they make war. But the beast is captured…..’

Zip! Bang! Boom! Bif! He wins! Jesus brushes his hands and calmly goes about the business of ruling his glory-lit Kingdom.

Holy Savior! What more of a Superhero does anyone need?

(Photo of our favorite earthly grand-super guy, Bat Bren!)

Why Putting Your Mind in the Toilet Can Be Quite Heavenly

“You have to come visit! I want to show you what all little ol’ Lucas, Kansas has to offer.”

My buddy, Michaela, has been cranking my arm through the cell phone waves for over a year to come visit.

And I have honestly meant to, but you know how time just meanders away and no one knows where it went. She’s only three hours away, however I had failed to head north. Eventhough I would be totally entertained by her, a porch swing and a Coca-Cola, she kept throwing out lines of enticement she knew I wouldn’t be able to refuse. She knows me too well. Give me something with a funk-a-delic factor and I’m in.

“So 100 years ago, there was this kind of crazy guy named S.P. Dinsmore, who made cement sculptures covering his yard. Most dealt with the Bible, and he named it the ‘Garden of Eden.’ When I give tours there, my favorite thing to do is shine the flashlight on his face, because after he died he wanted to be on display in his mausoleum in the backyard for all eternity.”

Now, who would turn that down, but she kept on with stories of the town putting in a giant toilet bowl and an art center with pop tab creations, limestone carvings and other grass-root art. My imagining took me to an artsyland, but figured I had a good idea what I was in for. Afterall, I have been out of Barber County a time or two.

I was wrong. My mind was blown on so many levels. Woe to me who is attempting to do Lucas justice!

First on the Michaela Tour was Bowl Plaza. When the 450 resident decided they needed public restrooms, the run-of-the-mill loo simply would not hold a flush. Oh no! They created the builing to look like a giant toilet. A hubcab handle and the mosaic seat left in the upriight postition had to be the mark of a male artist. The picture cuts off the giant roll of tp next to it.

bowl plaza

Coming inside, a whole world of gender appropriate mosaics summoned us in. Michaela kept pointing out embedded super-hero action figures, sports memorabilia and Avon bottle guns. She swept her arm across the pristine throne and said, “To get the full effect, you need to sit here.” I assured her that I was fine. My mind just needed to adjust, trying to drink in the barage of really uniqueness flying at me. Someone had thought outside the tank to create this. Here’s one of the unusual displays.

A swirl of Hot Wheels. How cool!

Check out the ladies room. Love the tea cups. We could have a languished in there, entertained without so much as an Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.
gal room

Across the neighboring lot was a giant collection of forks stuck in the ground. To me, they were just funky forks, but my eyes were opened to them being a croquet wickets. Hit me in the head with a mallet, because I sure didn’t see that coming.

At the Grass Roots Art Center, I learned that to be considered a ‘grass roots artist’ you can have no professional training, but a passion that compels you to go with the colors streaming through your head and create no-holds-barred. You might make an Abe Lincoln out of used chewing gum, carve or weld anything and everything in arms reach or recycle those pop tabs to make this~
pop tab car

Or what about all those cow skulls cluttering up your pasture? Tell me this isn’t every boy’s dream?
cow skull car

And for the girls, check out the Re-Barbs. And plenty to choose from. A seven room house is filled with these remade garage sale cast-offs.
Pilar 1

And for the Barbie collector/hunter/music lover~
Rebarb antlers

A new project of the town is combing the state to find rocks to replace ones lost and restore a whole village of these buildings. And not just any rocks, but specific ones. (On Facebook, go to Miller’s Park to see if you can help their quest.) This one came to about my hip in height.
Rock house

The beauty of the town is this: eventhough the little 1920’s meat market has the scrumptious homemade smoked sausages and the familiar meaty smell from my youth to draw me back, and although, I stared boldly in at Mr. S.P. Dinsmore’s stiff ol’ corpse, there is still a treasure trove of attractions we didn’t get to. Like the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Things, an impressive snowglobe collection, and maybe even a ride in the jeep with dinosaurs glued to it and spring horses bouncing in the back–dare I dream that big?

Michaela asked me what I was going to do when I got home; she knew my brain was buzzing. I said, “Make a big ol’ mess with whatever crosses my path.” Lucas has succeeded in making my mind go places I could never have imagined. These pictures and my explanations are nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what lays waiting for those willing to wander down the very alive town.

I couldn’t help but remember how that beloved disciple John agonized over, not only giving the revelation given to him, but how could he write to give it justice deserved when never-before-seen colors flowing in front of him? Or what about the gates, each made of one giant pearl? Or the street of pure gold, that was transparent like glass? Or what about the blazing glory of God so bright that there was no night? Oh, to continually be in the Lord’s presence! How does one describe it? (Read Revelation 21-22 for a out-of-this-world refresher course)

While Lucas, KS isn’t heaven, by all means, it certainly opens a door of possibility to imagine what mind-blowing things the Lord is preparing for us. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 2 Cor 2:9

The First Christmas Eve Service and Why the Kitchen Ladies Were Sore Afraid.

In those days, Nixon was President, hair was ratted and lacquered to the heavens, and anti-bacterial products had never occurred to anyone. (Had not man just walking on the moon? Seriously, how much more could society realistically progress?) A pastor in a little red brick church decided to offer a Christmas Eve communion service.
And since this was an unprecedented event, worries abounded. ‘But so many will be out-of-town’ was one argument. Another pointed out the colds, flu, and the I-Think-I’m-Gonna-Die-So-I’ll-Plan-My-Funeral-on-the-Cold-Bathroom-Tile stomach viruses were wreaking havoc in the small town. ‘Is it really going to be worth the effort?’
Still, the pastor was compelled to try, if only for those few faithful that tend to show up whenever the doors are open.
A decree went out over the land, inviting all to worship on this glorious night of nights.
And lo, the pastor was amazed. For unto him a packed house lay before his eyes, one he could have never have imagined. Even faces looked down from the hardly used balcony. Hymns were sung, scripture read, and the Spirit danced among the open-hearts. Yes, the glory of the Lord shone all around them.
Up from the basement the kitchen ladies proclaimed, ‘There are not enough communion cups!’
‘Refill them.’
‘But we don’t have time to wash them!’
‘Refill them, anyway.’
‘But the flu…”
‘Refill them and let God handle it.’
And they were sore afraid.
Now, I don’t know if their hearts were as willing as Mary’s when she said, ‘let it be as you say.’ It’s highly doubtful, but they did as the pastor requested.
Communion was served, and the worship was a precious aroma filtering unto God in the glow of candlelight reflected in the reverent faces.
As time passed, talk circulated amongst the congregation, I’m sure generated by the curious, yet, concerned kitchen staff. ‘Did anyone at your house get sick after the service?’ and ‘You know I wasn’t feeling real great, but went the service anyway. Now I feel great.’ Eventually, after the census had been taken, not a report came back of illness. Yes, the Savior who had turned water into wine had covered a multitude of sins and highly infectious germs, making the tainted vessels pure as if washed in bleach water. Once again he had shown himself to those who were faithful to seek him.
Let us be like Magi, who said, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)

From our house to yours, may you have a very Merry Christmas as you welcome the Savior, Healer, Friend, Redeemer, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace……

Cliff and Kelly Long, Casey, Misty, Cole
Karsten, Robin, and Bren Burns

Cruising With Jesus and Why My Dad Would Have Scobbed My Knob

NativityDear Dad,

Confession time.  The only reason I’m doing this 34 years later is you are hampered by a broken neck, and I have a slight chance of out running you for once.

One of the reasons I am such a rule follower is I knew better than to tangle with you.  Due to the Great-Hang-Up-Your-Towel-Young-Lady-Incident-of-1964, you got your point across.  Nor, having my milk and cookies taken away in kindergarten, because Romy talked me into doing a big flairing ‘Amen’ to the God is Great prayer, I wasn’t to mess with God either.  I behaved in high school, and hid in the bushes at a Senior Party because I knew, I knew, I knew you’d find out and the crime would not be worth the fall-out.  I was the kid that always said, “But, we’ll get in trouble…”

To this day, I can’t remember whose idea it was, or even who all conspired in the plot.  Weird, since I have an uncanny memory of bygone days, but can’t remember where my cell phone is at this moment. Maybe it was due to the blinding flood of adrenaline of the most scandalous and adventurous thing we could cook up in my sleepy hometown of 706 folk.

We took Jesus cruising.

You know the one out of the Methodist Church nativity scene?  The really, really white one with the brown plastic curl on the top of his head?  But, we had good reason!

“He looked cold and bored,” and “Mary probably needs a break,” we rationalized.  Yes, we were ultra creative to be the first ones attempting this and sure no law against Jesus nappingon the books, still, in Protection, Kansas, this was destined to be a capital offense.

But, we were not the best criminals, for we could not keep Him to ourselves.  Oh no!  Someone found a flashlight, and as we dragged Broadway, He glowed his light that whole mile down and back to oncoming motorists.

And, Dad, it was worth it!

Yes, I know our motives were not pure, but I assure you we were reverent. How could we not be? We were riding up close and personal with the Holy—even in plastic form. Yes, there was something special that noordinary doll could replicate. We cradled and rocked him, afterwards tenderly laying Him back in the manger. Make no mistake; it was a defining event.

And we never did it again.

(Rest assured, being a student of your parenting, if I had caught wind that my little pagans had done something like this, I would have scobbed their knobs, too!  Can you imagine the buzz of coffee crowd at Don’s Café, if we’d gotten caught?)

Yep, that’s it.  I hope that new pacemaker handled the shock okay—maybe more so that I truly was a pretty good kid, if this is a big confession for me.

What amazes me about that crazy caper is God used it to do a little parenting of his own. He taught me that my purpose is not to keep Jesus in the manger. He doesn’t belong there anymore. Can you find a bible story where he scrunched back in it?  Me, either.

Through the years, unexpected reactions concerning Jesus have consistently landed in my lap, whether through truth I’ve shared on radio, in the everyday, and even on some of these blogposts.  And every day, opposition heats up even more.  Lately, I can’t believe the snarky comments because of my Star of David and the Cross necklace. Really.

But with each remark God tenderly opens a door for that person, even if it’s only a crack, so Christ’s light can burst through the angry darkness.

Dad, thanks for teaching me to be a rule-follower, but even more so, that Christ is worth the risk of getting into what the world sees as trouble, so someone else doesn’t miss out on this wonderful and eternal gift He freely gave.

To him, we were worth the cost.

Love ya, Dad~Kel

(My goodness, there are so many great verses I could use with this post.  Here is one of a whole Bible full!)

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor 15:58.

Mission USS Patience into Bugaboo Galaxy

Stardate: September 20, 2012. Time 6:45 a.m.

Mission: To successfully deploy the already fueled and packed F150 pick-up from the launch pad in Medicine Lodge, KS and arrive in under four hours in Topeka, KS for the arrival of most hallowed first grandchild.

Procedure: Robin, mother-in-waiting, would call when word came that she was being officially induced. It was possible, if every other baby in the area decided to emerge that day, she would be bumped.  Due to a little forgotten piece of info the night before, the doctor could tell she was well on her way naturally. No need to fire up the contraction jet fuel in the morning.  Had we known, we would have gone on to Emporia that night, giving us a quick skip of 45 minutes the hospital.

My foot tapped and my fingers drummed, while I listened on my side of our closed bathroom door.



Zing!  Ting! Crash!

I fumed as my husband’s favorite phone app, Angry Birds, flew through the air and crashed at this  life historic moment.  I almost broke my teeth off being patiently submissive.

Finally, we were strapped in and hit the road—straight to the town’s convenience store!

What???  The point of being ready to go, was we would be READY TO GO!!! 

This spot is the town’s social hub in the morning. “Hey, heard about your dad breaking his neck.  How’s he doing?’, and ‘So, where are you off to?’ 

Anyone who knows me understands that I love to turbo-boost into a conversation topics like this, but today was one of the few in my life’s history, where I wanted to scream and bulldoze over them.

But, I didn’t.

Finally, on the road, a discussion on which route to the room-a-zoom-zoom Turnpike would be best.  Straight to Wellington would laser Cliff’s eyes out with the rising sun.  But, wasn’t there construction to Haysvillle? Wichita meant lumbering through traffic.  We finally darted onto the 235 Bypass, we rarely use around Wichita, until…

….we got to a tricky forked exchange where you have to instantly choose which vein of traffic to join.  Captain Cliff chose wrong, and Spock had her mind flipping through her mental baby book under ‘water breaking’ since that was the lastest pressure filled text update. 

And, we were looping southeast instead of north!  Deep breathing helped to subside the panic, but every stinking semi in the galaxy pooped along in our lane.  Did they not have deadlines to meet?  For the love of asphalt, put the hammer down and go!

A text to Misty in Emporia warned that she had best be ready to execute a Duke’s of Hazard dive through the truck window as we drove by.  Her spine infused back was no excuse, and she’d need have a sack of Sonic greasy goodness in her grubby little hand.  She did. 

And of course, Emporia picks that day to do massive construction on the deadly roundabout which is like the Bermuda Triangle for semi-trucks.  Navigating it was as aggravating as a Rubiks cube, but we eventually broke some laws and jumped a curb or two onto the Turnpike.

Of course, we aren’t that familiar with Topeka.  Cliff’s GPS, still harboring a grudge that she wasn’t consulted on the bypass debacle, gave us the silent treatment, and I couldn’t read my hand-written Map Quest directions. 

In the parking garage, a disagreement had to pop up about which elevator to take.

But we made it!!!!  Whew!  Bring on the bambino!

  We visited with Robin and Karsten, learning that pidurals are truly God’s grace after the whole Eve incident.  When they came to check the process, a ‘pushing’ announcement was made.

We rejoiced down the hall to the waiting room, giddy with expectation. Watching people filter through……for 1 hour, 2 hours…..

A student nurse, that had attended Robin, cut through the waiting room to the elevator, her shift over.  She made eye contact, looked to the floor, and skittered to the steel doors. 

“Get her!  She has information!” I joked—kind of.   

She nervously smiled,  pondered the desperate looks on our faces, proudly looked up, and said, “Congratulations.”  Then, closed her little yap.  Firmly. 

Cliff said, “All we want to know is if everyone is healthy.”  She nodded and dashed through the open doors to be whisked away before the HIPA police tackled her. 

Whew!  The big question mark had been erased.  It shouldn’t be long.  Of course, it takes time to get everyone settled, cleaned up, and they were probably Skyping with the California set of grandparents, since they were so far away.

A review started on who made what baby predictions in our family pool.  Everyone was intent it was a boy, except me, who is always dead wrong.

Another hour ticked by.  Maybe something was wrong after all?  What did the nurse know? She was a only student.  Maybe we assumed her nod to mean, ‘yes they were fine’, when she might have just nodded out of nervousness.  Misty finally hopped up and sweetly interogated the nurses’ at the desk. 

Someone would be out soon.  Thank the Lord!

Karsten peeped around the swinging door, looking like an excited ghost, a proud daddy smile engraved on his face. 

“I can’t tell you what it is.  Robin wants to once they let you come back.  It shouldn’t be long.” 

Oh good night!  We have had enough of indefinite turbulence for a life time—starting nine months ago when we got the news that Bugaboo was on the way (Check out blogpost Bugaboo Hope) up to the last ten days, waiting to know if my dad would survive his bronc riding episode, or if he would be paralyzed for life. (A Lifetime of Bodily Discontent blogpost).  We are exhausted! No wonder Grandmas need naps.

Then, the big moment comes.  Bren Carter Burns gets officially introduced to the most impatient people in the universe—one branch of his zealous family tree.  Of course, he is an absolute miracle.  And so is his mama, who we learned God’s hand was on.  In fact, she had a scary time.  One we are glad the experts took as much time as possible to handle.  And it was also on the new daddy, whose first time holding his son, was torn between the hope in his arms and watching his wife’s dire circumstance unfold in a flurry of blue gowned activity.

So, when the uncle, who has to wait until after his game tonight, gets to put his 8lb nephew in a football hold, it will be all the sweeter.  And, when Grandma Lisa swoops in from California on Tuesday, she will have earned a sparkling patience jewel in her crown.  Then, in November, Uncle Kaj  will have his not-nearly long enough turn.  And at Christmas, there will be great celebration in Los Angeles, when a grandpa and two nieces will have sculpted the patience fruit into an intricate creation to share with Mr. Bren.  Finally!

(I’d put in a picture, but been having a time loading pictures on WordPress lately.  Also, I don’t have my favorite bible with me, so I can’t find the verse I was going to use.  Grrr…..wait….do you suppose He’s already having to mold and shape me on the patience thing?  AGAIN!)