October 2010


In lieu of a birthday party, the girls decided they wanted to have a Halloween party this year.  So this Saturday we will have Olivia’s soccer team and her friends from church over (about a dozen to fifteen girls).  If their behavior on the soccer field or in church is any indication, there will be a lot of running around and giggling with intermittent high-pitched squealing that will cause all dogs within a two-mile radius to howl as if a siren were going off.  I’m having flashbacks of my older sister’s slumber parties… ugh.

Being the younger sibling, I always thought I could do anything my older sister could do.  When they started jamming out to the Village People, I would jump in – dressed to impress in my Shaun Cassidy t-shirt.  Being the younger brother, I was also annoying and gross so they shunned me.  I didn’t (and still don’t) understand the intricate complexities of female social networking, so I ignored the shunning until a fight ensued at which point I would be sequestered to my room to play with my Star Wars figures.  To all you women reading, this is why adult men prefer solitude in the basement to coffee with your friends.

In those formative years prior to transforming into solitary creatures, young boys seek attention just like the girls.  One of my attention-grabbing stunts came during the preparation for one of my sister’s slumber parties.  My mom took my sister and me to a store to stock up on whatever you buy for slumber parties.  Up until that point, the day was all about my sister and her party.  I’d show them.

I was around four or five at the time, so my judgment wasn’t great.  My first stunt was to steal a pack of gum from a drugstore.  Let’s just say George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon won’t be calling me up anytime soon for a heist.  I think I made it to the parking lot before I was busted.

After taking the gum back to the store, I knew I needed something big.  As we drove away from the store, I thought that something big would start with opening the car door.  I had no idea where I was going with this, but I knew Step 1 was opening the car door.

This was back in the day when car seats were a rarity and seat belts were merely a suggestion.  I honestly don’t know how the human race made it to the 21st century.  I was sitting in the front seat (also a no-no these days) without a seatbelt.  Before you judge, that’s how everyone did it back then. 

Upon opening the door, I fell out of the moving car.  On the way out, I miraculously grabbed the seatbelt that was dangling, unused, next to the door.   Hey… I guess seatbelts really do save lives!  Since the car was moving and I was very small, I was essentially flying through the air as I held on to the seatbelt with my feet occasionally striking the ground. 

I really don’t know what happened after that.  Maybe it was because I was so young or maybe it was one of those things that causes so much fear that your mind shuts it out, but I have no recollection beyond flying out the door and doing a Superman impersonation.  I don’t even remember what my parents did to me afterwards.  The fact that I am still alive indicates that they handled the situation with more mercy than I would.

I don’t have a moral here.  For some reason this story came to mind as I was thinking about getting ready for the girl’s Halloween party.  I hope you enjoyed it and buckle up!

Both of my girls have comfort items.  For my oldest, it is “Bunny”.  Once a bright pink, plush bunny, he is now grayish-pink (I know that doesn’t make sense but it really is a cross between gray and pink) and what stuffing remains in him is lumped in his lower extremities sort of like stuffed animal varicose veins.   My youngest daughter has “Blankie”.  Our good friend, Amy Evans, made Blankie as baby gift for Amelia when she was born.  I may get this wrong because I know about as much about knitting as Richard Simmons knows about power tools, but I believe Blankie is a crochet.  Correct me if I’m wrong Amy.  At two years old, Blankie is beginning to take on a grayish hue as well.

Amelia always asks for Blankie when she is tired, scared, gets a boo-boo, or just needs some Blankie time.  A few months ago, she started asking for “Wiggle”.  We had no idea who Wiggle was.  Finally, we realized that when she picked up Blankie and started sucking her thumb, she would say “Wiggle”.  This, of course, led us to believe that Blankie’s new name was Wiggle.  The next time she cried for Wiggle, I threw her Blankie but she was not consoled.  Now we were confused.  Sometimes Blankie was Blankie, sometimes Blankie was Wiggle.  Great, we have a two-year-old with a blanket suffering from schizophrenia!

I finally realized that Wiggle was a loop of yarn that she had pulled loose from repeatedly holding Blankie in the same place while sucking her thumb.  Wiggle is actually a comfort item within a comfort item.

 

 

Wiggle is like her pet.  She talks to Wiggle.  She pets Wiggle.  As we were coming home from school one day with the windows down, she was holding Wiggle out the window and smiling as he flapped in the breeze.  She either has a great imagination or we can rule out the HOPE scholarship in sixteen years; we’re not sure yet.

You may be wondering where this is going.  I think we all have comfort items.  Whether it’s a job, a relationship, material items, or our status, we all have something that we cling to – something we would be hysterical without.  What’s your comfort item?  For some of us, it may be as simple as watching too much TV.  While that is damaging, some may have much more damaging comfort items.  Now, what does your comfort item prevent you from doing?  I think some of us need to get rid of our Wiggle.  I know it hurts, but so does regret.

This is a completely random post.  Neither Grover nor the Old Spice ads have anything to do with this blog, but I always liked those Old Spice ads and a parody featuring Grover is pure genius.  As a parent forced to watch too much Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and PBS, it’s just nice when the writers throw us a bone with something like this.

I’m planning a trip to Nicaragua in December.  No, this is not a vacation and I’m not going to be on Survivor.  I’m going down there to assess some opportunities for economic development, infrastructure creation, and to help educate the people of Nicaragua.

The expected cost of this trip is about $1,500.  In an effort to raise funds, I’m offering a signed copy of my book for donations over $25.  Donations are tax deductable and you will receive a statement of giving early next year for your taxes.  Please make sure your address is included with the donation (if it is on the check, that’s fine) so I’ll know where to send your book.  Make checks out to New Bethany and send to this address:

New Bethany
Jason Barr Nicaragua Mission Trip
6302 Holiday Road
Buford, GA 30518

 

To all of those who gave to my Belarus trips, I am not expecting you to give financially for this trip.  In fact, I don’t want you to.  You’ve already done your part.  Now here are some statistics about Nicaragua:

  • Total population – 5.9 million
  • 3.7 million (63%) live on less than $2/day
  • 1.1 million (19%) live on less than $1/day
  • 2.3 million (39%) live in houses made from scrap material
  • 2.9 million (50%) live in overcrowded conditions
  • 477,000 children (33% of children) suffer from chronic malnutrition
  • 2.9 million (50%) do not have access to essential medicines
  • There are only 3 doctors for every 8,000 people
  • 2 of 3 children will not complete 6th grade
  • 6 0f 7 rural Nicaraguans will not complete secondary school (7th thru 11th grade)
  • 60% of the rural water supplies are contaminated

I’ll give you more information on the trip as it comes available.  If you can give financially, thank you.  If you cannot give financially, you can still assist me on this trip with your prayers.