Shannon Dittemore
  • Random Thoughts
  • November20th

    3 Comments

    I’m such a fan of Disneyland.

    Everything glitters or dances. Lights up or sings.

    It’s all so… sparkly, you know?

    It’s also a great place to learn. No, really. I learned lots and lots on our last trip. Indulge me, if you will.

    These tidbits are Mickey approved. 😉

    Life’s better when you’re wearing a crown.

    Strollers are a necessary evil. But make no mistake, they ARE evil.

    If you let the 3yo lead the way to the Ladies Room, you may end up surrounded by urinals.

    You should kill at least one dragon every day. On Fridays and Saturdays, shoot for two.

    Glitter never EVER comes off.

    If you go looking for Nemo, it’s very important (especially to the 3yo) that you find him.

    Light sabers, even the plastic ones, are powerful weapons.

    If your husband walks behind you with a camera there will be booty shots.

    Mouse ears look dashing on most everyone.

    Pooh and Poo are very different things.

    If your child’s favorite stuffed toy resembles a Disney villain (ahem, purple octopus), there’s no guarantee it will make it out of the park alive. Or out of the park at all.

    Be warned: There is no safe place to pick your nose. Cameras abound.

    Cotton candy is never a good idea.

    If you lose your $50 pirate hat, you will be asked to walk the plank.

    And, last, but certainly not least, the best nights end with fireworks.

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  • September28th

    3 Comments

    I have no time for blogging today. I really don’t. I’m up to my ears in revisions and my deadline looms.

    But, I just had to tell you all how much I’m loving today.

    The weather is GORGEOUS. So very awesome of God to bless me with a kiss of autumn while I’m working away. I sneak out every hour or so to stare at the twelve yellow leaves on the ground. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to watch one fall.

    Squee!

    Oh, I heart you, fall! I do.

    I love your browns and golds. Your yellows and oranges.

    I love pumpkins and hot cocoa.

    I love fuzzy boots and chunky sweaters.

    I love roaring fireplaces and yummy candles.

    And, I lurve football!

    Ah, Fall. I’ve missed you.

    That’s it. I’m done now.

    *runs back to writing cave*

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  • August9th

    4 Comments

    These things must always start with a disclaimer and here it is: This list is in no particular order AND I promise to forget stuff. Also, I love every single one of my family members. All of ’em. And YOU, yes YOU. See, you made my list! Now, that we all love each other, I’m gonna ramble for a bit.

     

    I love…

    God (lots and lots and lots, cause He first loved me, but that’s a whole ‘nother story).
    Matt. Justus and Jazlyn.
    red and gold on the football field (GO NINERS!).
    coffee with hazelnut creamer.
    books.
    George Costanza.
    wearing my jammies to the grocery store.
    late night fast food runs.
    Peter Pan.
    watching my son get lost in a book.
    office supplies.
    the ocean.
    The Goonies.
    listening to my daughter rock ‘Thy Word’ with Junior Asparagus.
    Space Camp (Hideo Takamini?)
    saying “Princess Consuela Banana Hammock.”
    road trips.
    reading my Bible in the quiet minutes before the kids crawl out of bed.
    The Count of Monte Cristo (book, NOT movie).
    authors (all shapes and sizes).
    Disneyland at Christmas.
    Les Miserables (the book, the movie, the musical, ALL OF IT!).
    A Few Good Men (and yes, I can handle the truth).
    singing in the shower.
    theatre.
    Friends (the TV show) and friends (ya know, the human ones).
    sushi.
    the telling of stories.
    Sundays.
    Hamlet.
    JK Rowling (I know I already listed authors, but… you know.)
    that my husband is a coffee (super) freak.
    fireplaces.
    candles.
    girls night out (Don’t worry. It’s the PG version. Nothing like the TV show.).
    Maui with Matt.
    starcrossed lovers (the fictional kind).
    bookstores.
    common sense.
    jeans.
    toe rings.
    Matchbox 20.
    Mr. Darcy (I mean Pride & Prejudice).
    zombie books (Weird, right?)
    The Cornelia Marie.
    faith.
    chocolate chip aebelskivers (right Pop!).
    stars.
    Fairytale Town.
    using the word blargy, which I may have invented.
    Apple Hill (You’ve been, right?)
    Snuggling with the munchkins (Mine. Not Oz’s.).
    And…
    wait for it…
    chocolate dipped ice cream cones from the DQ.

    How ’bout you? What do you love?

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  • July22nd

    7 Comments

    You’re not yet three. Another month still. But, there’s something I want you to know, and not just today.

    This is a truth for always.

    First, you’re the most beautiful girl in the world. You are. And, I hope every mother and father feel the same about their child.

    But your worth, baby girl, does not come from your appearance.

    It doesn’t come from how tall you are or how short. It doesn’t hide in the pockets of skinny jeans or baggy sweatshirts.

    Your importance doesn’t even come from how smart you are or how funny.

    You can’t inherit value from your dad or me. It doesn’t come from the strength of our marriage, our flaws, or the cash we have in the bank. It doesn’t come from surviving the lack in those things either.

    Your merit doesn’t swell from a pool of inner-strength or tumble down mountains of fortitude. It’s not determined by the friends you have or the ideals you cling to. It’s not even secured by the tragedies you overcome.

    You are worth more–so much more–than any ring placed on your finger. More than any guy will ever pay for your dinner.

    Worth more than your father and I could ever, would ever give you.

    Because true worth, baby girl, doesn’t come from any of these things.

    It is found only in the price already paid for your soul.

    Your value was determined long before you were born, when the Creator of the Universe sent His only Son to die in your place.

    You’ve been bought. God’s life for yours.

    You’re worth so much more than you’ll ever comprehend, Jaz, and only now, as a mother, am I even remotely aware of the cost your Heavenly Father paid.

    His child for mine.

    It’s a cost unfathomable to me.

    And yet, I’m so very glad He paid it.

    For you.

    For me.

    For boys and girls ever-confused about their worth.

    Be the light, baby. Point to Christ. To the price He paid.

    Show the world how much they’re worth.

    For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:7-8

    Photo cred: Snapped ~ Photography by Kim

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  • June30th

    3 Comments

    Road trip!

    Tomorrow, the family and I head out. We’re mounting an expedition to the great Northwest for a little Independence Day frolicking–otherwise known as a graduation party and coffee shop hopping.

    I’m going to attempt to edit while the hubby drives, and I need some tips. How do I keep two raucous kids and a talk-radio addicted hubby quiet so I can think? Is it even possible? Or is this an exercise in futility?

    I’m wide open here, peeps. Give it to me. Your grandest, most fabulicious road warrior advice.

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  • June2nd

    4 Comments

    So, I’m reading along, loving this cool, new YA book, when out of nowhere–nowhere, I tell you!–my pet peeve sneaks into a paragraph.

    Ugh.

    Before I know it, the vexing monstrosity has taken over the entire chapter and I’ve no choice but to throw the offending book across the room.

    I hate that.

    We all have them, I suppose. Pet peeves. It’s like that moment in the theatre when you stand up, dust the popcorn off your thighs, and stomp out. I tell you, if I could have stomped out on this book, I would have. I may have even blown a raspberry at the disappointment.

    It’s that thing, you know, that THING–ARGH!–that drives you so nuts you’d rather pluck your eyebrows than read another page.

    You read, right? Then you must have a thing.

    What is it?

    What drives you crazy?

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  • May22nd

    2 Comments

    I won’t lie. Yesterday, at 6:02pm PST, I looked at the clock and smiled. It’s not that I think Jesus coming back is a joke, it’s that misguided gents like Harold Camping make it increasingly difficult to take him seriously.

    And while Camping’s rapture promise is behind us (for now) I can’t help thinking that for some, heck, for quite a few people, May 21, 2011 really was the end of the world.

    Yesterday, a friend of a friend lost his fight with lymphoma. Yesterday, twenty boys and four adults were buried alive at an orphanage in a Malaysian landslide. Yesterday, sixteen people were killed in Pakistan when a remote-control bomb detonated a tanker truck carrying fuel for NATO.

    These, among many, many others, took their last breaths on May 21st. And while Harold Camping’s prediction was false, I wonder just how much damage he, and others like him, have caused.

    Twitter and Facebook feeds were full to the brim with jokes (some of them chuckle-worthy) about the rapture and the end of the world. Apocalyptic references to everything from zombies to the Left Behind books were retweeted and passed off as original. And while much of it was good-natured and silly, partway through the day I couldn’t help but compare Harold Camping to the boy who cried wolf.

    And I had a thought:

    Harold Camping is wrong, sure, but that doesn’t mean the end of the world won’t come.

    Oh, there won’t be zombies and I’m not sure Tim LaHaye has it right either, but the Bible does promise that Christ will return one day and that we’ll each be called to account for our actions in this life. And, there’s one action in particular He’ll be looking for:

    Belief.

    In Christ. In His virgin birth and sinless life. In His divine nature. In our sin crucified with His broken body. In His resurrection (Did I just lose some of you?). In your life redeemed by His sacrifice and His sacrifice alone.

    See, you must believe.

    Cause one day, He is coming back. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matt 24:36)

    Still, I wonder with all this crying “rapture” going on, how many souls will allow themselves to laugh off the reality that the end of the world has been determined. Because the God of all Creation has willed it so.

    There’s good news though. The Bible also speaks of a new heaven and a new earth after the old has passed away. (Rev 21:1)

    Now that’s something I want to see. And while the Harold Campings of this life wander about proclaiming doomsday, the reality is that God has made a way for each of us to spend eternity with Him. When the immature run about shouting “rapture, rapture” you can be sure your place next to the creator of the universe is secured.

    How?

    Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart.

    That’s what the Good Book says.

    “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)

    And if you believe, if you really, really believe, you won’t have to wonder if every boy who cries “rapture” is onto something.

    When Christ returns, you’ll be ready. Saved by His grace. Redeemed by His blood.

    Utterly protected from the wolves of doomsday.

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  • May5th

    4 Comments

    Google chocolate gravy.

    Do it. I dare you.

    Now, I don’t know what that did for you, but oh my gosh! I had no idea the masses knew about chocolate gravy. Everyone always gasps and makes chortling noises when I mention it.

    “Chocolate what?”

    It’s left me the impression that this decadent treat was a cherished family secret. A recipe only WE knew about.

    The very thing we’d clutch on our deathbeds as we dramatically wring a promise of compassionate stewardship from our loved ones (picture the ailing Mr. Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility).

    But, man, even Paula Deen has her recipe online.

    That said, no one makes it like my mama.

    Or her mama.

    Or my daddy’s mama.

    Now that I think about it, the popularity of this meal shouldn’t have shocked me as it did. Both sides of my family have passed the recipe down. Nana has it all measured out for a family of four and Grandma Callahan’s recipe will feed close to a bazillion (I use hers, by the way).

    But, the reason I bring chocolate gravy up now, is because it is inextricably linked to the women in my family. Every single one of them.

    I have memories dating back to childhood of our family gathered around eating the stuff by the bucket full. We drizzled it on biscuits and eggs and bacon. We dipped our sausage links in it (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). We ate the leftovers with toast. Or just a spoon when the starch ran out.

    Nana made it when we stayed with her and Pop, and Grandma Callahan made it when we were down south. I remember my grandmothers sifting the dry ingredients together like they were looking for gold.

    Maybe they were.

    Dad told us he had cancer over a plate of the stuff. Yeah, it was a bit tainted after that, but Mom’s made an effort to lift it back to its glorified status by making a batch every Christmas morning since.

    And tonight, when I was making it for my family, I nearly teared up over the pot. My kids were there–Jaz making animal noises, Justus avoiding homework–and I just KNEW that my mom, and her mom, and my nana, and my aunt, they’d all had this moment before. Stirring and stirring the chocolate while loving on their kids.

    And then the phone rang and as I passed the whisk to my husband, I couldn’t help but smile. This passing of the whisk was just another moment I was sharing across generations.

    Because chocolate gravy is a lot like motherhood. Once you start, you can’t stop. If you stop stirring before it comes to a boil, you’ll get lumps, so you don’t stop. You don’t. Even if you need an extra set of hands to keep it up, the stirring continues.

    And though Google has confirmed that chocolate gravy isn’t actually our family treasure, it still kinda is.

    Cause my mama taught me. And her mama taught her.

    And when Jaz is old enough, she’ll learn.

    Not because chocolate gravy is healthy or in any way original, but because like all the love and memories we’ve made over a steaming plate of the stuff, it’s part of us.

    So, happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas, and grandmamas, and nanas out there. I raise a chocolate covered biscuit to you. Keep stirring. It’ll all turn out.

    Mama said so.

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  • April21st

    3 Comments

    My son was just a few weeks old when I realized he would never remember the early days of his life.

    I swear, I wept for a day.

    Moments that inflated my heart to near-rupture would be tucked away in his past, a building block perhaps, but buried by countless others and impossible for him to recall.

    Silent snuggles, late-night feedings, living room dance sessions, back yard romps–the very things that filled my days would fade from his recollection as life inevitably moved forward.

    An ache materialized that day, but it was nearly a year before I had an answer. It took me–A WRITER–the better part of 365 days to figure out how to capture what little I could so my boy could reflect on those moments later.

    The week Justus turned one, I started a journal. And though I enjoy the journalling process, I didn’t do it for myself.

    I did it for him.

    I’m not very consistent, nor am I overly detailed, but I do my best to write down the highlights. I do my best to convey how a day feels, what an incident taught, how hard we laughed when he made donkey noises, how awful I felt when he knocked his tooth out (parent fail, by the way).

    But mostly, I try to capture something beautiful that shows my son just how very loved he was on that day.

    It wasn’t long ago that I realized just how similar the Bible is to this memory book of mine. Without the Bible I would never understand God’s love as revealed in creation, or His love as revealed in redemption. I’d never know all His works in Israel or Egypt. Without the Bible I’d never know of the mighty men and women of faith who lived in generations past. Without the words recorded in scripture I’d be left to piece things together on my own.

    Without the Word of God, I’d be lost.

    But, because our Heavenly Father knew just how frail and forgetful His children would be, He saw fit to leave us a memory book. He gave us the highlights. He gave us a record of His love and His character extending back to days we have no way of remembering.

    And as a parent, I have some idea of how important that record is to Him. There are lessons to be learned, lives to be studied, and chapter upon chapter of God’s love written down for us by a hand that needed us to know.

    When my daughter was born, I went out and bought a journal for her as well. The two journals are identical save the picture on the cover. My son’s book has a picture of him and I alone on it, while my daughter’s has a picture of just her and I. I wanted them to know how personal the book was–that it was from mother to child.

    And, as tempting as it is to assume the Bible was written for somebody else, I pray that the words of this hastily written blog would have you consider this simple truth:

    God’s Word is a record of His love…

    And it was written for you.

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  • April10th

    5 Comments

    Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints. –Psalm 116:15

    Today, we celebrated the life and legacy of an amazing woman who left this life and is, even now, in the presence of her savior.

    Now, I’m a preacher’s brat and I’ve been to more than my fair share of funerals. More than most people’s share, I’d say, but this service was different than every single one of them.

    If I may be immature and brash for a moment: It was my favorite.

    Ann walked this planet for 96 years and was a member of our church for about fifty of them. Her face has been in the pews throughout my entire life. To the delight of our congregation and her family, we didn’t host her memorial at a graveside or at a funeral home. We celebrated right in our own sanctuary. With the people she’s spent her life ministering to and worshiping alongside.

    That’s not so different, you’re thinking. And you’d be right. Lots and lots of memorial services are held in churches. But what made this one so distinct was that we held it right in the middle of our Sunday morning service.

    And you know what we do on Sundays? We worship. We sing and dance. The Bible is opened and we learn. We praise God for all He’s doing and for all He’s done. We acknowledge His sovereignty in the earth and we ask Him to break our hearts for the things that move Him.

    We did all of these things today while remembering a woman who would have wanted nothing less.

    As our worship team led us into an AMAZING song service, I was overwhelmed at how every song, every verse, was filled with the words of eternity. As we shared stories of Ann’s life and her many passions, I found myself grateful, once again, that I get to live and breathe in a world created by our Father. And I was very aware that I will one day give up my mortal body and be in the very presence of our King.

    Just like Ann.

    Just like the many, many saints who have gone before her.

    Ideally, it will be my children and their children who make the arrangements for my funeral. But, in case I go before they’re old and gray (sob!), you should know that I want my memorial service to be just like Ann’s.

    Do it on a Sunday. Worship. Crack open the Bible. Have someone sing “I Hope You Dance.” Pray for the city. Pray for the world. Grieve a bit, sure, but remember, as Pastor quoted today, “we don’t grieve like those who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

    Cause I’ll be good. I’ll be in the presence of the one who created me. Of the one who died on the cross to redeem me. I’ll be in the presence of the God who vanquished death. And nothing, NOTHING, would make me happier than to know you’re remembering my life gathered around His table, in His house.

    After all, our days on earth are like a shadow.

    It’s in eternity that the real party begins.

    “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”–Jesus

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