Tuesday, December 18, 2012

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

Every year our church family puts on a Christmas party.  Sometimes it’s a formal dinner and program, sometimes it’s a visit to a nursing home, whatever.  It’s fun to get together.

This year, the cultural hall (i.e. basketball court) was decked out to resemble a town square in Bethlehem.  Bad picture but you can kind of get the idea. 


Oh and, we were supposed to come in period attire.  I was sure that would be a deal breaker for Jeff, but he was a good sport wearing his sheets and sashes.


The Young Men were Roman soldiers, charged with guarding stuff.  They gave them swords.


The temptation was just too great.


Families piled together on blankets on the ground to eat breakfast.  There were bodies strewn everywhere.

There was a program.  Families arrived at Bethlehem to be counted.  The script was cute and corny.  Sample line:  “My sister Anna makes great incense!  I don’t what makes Frank’s incense so special!”  And, as a family with 6 kids enters, “How long…?”, “Are we there yet…?”.  So, you get the gist.

Then a couple starts wending their way through the strewn bodies on the floor.  The husband keeps asking if there is room for them.  We know how the story goes so people keep telling him no.  But there is a hush and a reverence.

IMG_0955There is a small girl sitting near me in the center of the room.  She is about 5 years old.  About the 3rd or 4th time that someone tells Joseph “no”, she calls out loud and clear,

“We have room!” 

She is immediately embarrassed because there is a rumble of chuckles that goes through the room.

I am instantaneously brought to tears by the purity of the offer from this child.  So ready to be of service, to help someone in need and to make room for Christ.

I think I will remember that moment for a long time.  I pray that I may follow her example.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Afterlife for Ty’s Ties?

I just saw this wreath idea on a Good Housekeeping page of MSN.com…

A wreath made of men's neckties

Hmmm… I might have to remember this when all these ties come home in two years…


Of course, I may have to sneak them out of his room in the middle of the night.  He loves his ties!

Friday, November 9, 2012

This Did It.

I’ve been getting grief lately for my lack of blogging (from the two people who seem to check it!).  I’ve been too busy living life to muse and write.  But I do miss it, and I will be back.  However, something took me totally by surprise the other day and so it’s worth a mention.

We kicked our Tyler to the curb on Wednesday.  Literally.  That is the “rip off the bandaid” method for depositing a piece of your heart in the Lord’s hands for two years as they serve a mission somewhere in the world.  It’s pure genius.  OK, inspiration.  Really.  More on that later.


Tyler has been sorting his worldly goods.  What to pack, what to save, what to give and what to throw.

It looks kinda like this:


(I made those last two piles, can you tell?)

Justin is away at school so Bryce gets first dibs on the give or throw pile (and I caught him going through the save pile last night!!).  The very next day he chose to wear one of his acquisitions.

As he got into the car, I flashed through the years in an instant.


I lost it.


Big sobs.

Ugly cry.


In fairness, this wasn’t just any old tshirt.  This was a sweatshirt that Tyler wore on nearly every day that wasn’t 90 degrees. For at least the last four years. 

Here is a picture of him wearing it in 2008:

P1050154 copy

Seriously, its identity IS Tyler.  Tyler even wondered if he shouldn’t hold on to it until he returned but I actually encouraged him to move on.  Lot’s wife yada yada.  It had given its all.

Little did I know it was going to come walking out of the house the next day.

2012-11-03 11.21.32

Apparently, it has a little more to give.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sally Dixon


Tyler’s teacher for the 3rd and 4th grades was a brilliant educator by the name of Sally Dixon, PhD.

She was the kind of teacher that really loves kids.  Individually and collectively.  She made a difference not only in Tyler’s life, but in our family’s as well.

A little background here.

Tyler struggled a bit in 1st grade.  Really good teacher.  Bad match for Tyler.  Tyler was not speedy.  He would come home with a lot of work he didn’t finish during the day that he would have to do with his homework each day.  He was a perfectionist.  His mind wandered.  He wasn’t keeping up.  He was frustrated.  I was frustrated.  There were a lot of long afternoons.  Teacher conferences were not reassuring.

I had settled in my mind that he just wasn’t going to be the kind of student that Justin was.  Everything came so easily for Justin.  I literally cried when Tyler’s first standardized tests came back and showed that he was actually quite gifted.  I had been fooled.  I hadn’t trusted in my own child and I had many regrets.

2nd grade was much better.  Different style of teacher and a much better fit.  Progress was made and we were all much happier.

But then he had Sally Dixon for the next 2 years.

Sally understood Tyler.  She taught me a new way to look at teaching him.  One size does not fit all.

Snippet from a Teacher’s Conference:

Dr. Dixon:  Tyler goes somewhere in his mind at times.  I can tell he’s just not with the rest of us.

Me:  (apologetically) I know!  We’re working on it!

Dr. Dixon:  Oh no!  He’s building rockets or inventing a new energy source or pondering life’s mysteries in there.  I don’t want to get in the way of that!

Teacher’s Conference the next year:

Dr. Dixon:  Something’s up with Tyler.  Is everything alright at home?  Any relationship issues?

Jeff and I look at each other.  We’re thinking about the question but unsure whether or not we should be offended. (She has a very direct way about her.) Then we think of something we’ve been semi-wondering/worrying about.  I say “semi” because we weren’t sure if it was ACTUALLY a problem or not.

Justin (oldest) had his own room at this point.  Tyler and Bryce (youngest) were sharing a room.  Bryce was in Kindergarten and randomly decided that he wanted to sleep in Justin’s room.  So he made himself a little bed of blankets in the corner of Justin’s room and slept there.  We thought it was funny and cute.  But then one night turned into two turned into a week, and before we knew it that seemed to be Bryce’s permanent bed.

After the conversation with Dr. Dixon we went home and we resolved to move all of the beds into one room.  Everyone would sleep together.  Apparently Tyler had been feeling badly about being left alone and making that change changed everything.

Those two years were a turning point for Tyler.  He found his confidence and his stride.  He never looked back.  I give Sally full credit.

Some may say that Sally was intuitive or perceptive.  To my way of thinking, she listened to the Spirit and the “still, small voice” and I know that she was a tender mercy in our lives for which I will be forever grateful. 

About the last quarter of Tyler’s 4th grade year, she had to leave due to a recurrence of cancer.  She never returned to full time teaching.

We have been blessed to call her a friend and we kept in touch through the years.  She taught some after school enrichment classes when she was feeling up to it, and she traveled as much as possible.  She was also a great humanitarian and contributed her considerable talents to many worthwhile organizations.

In 2011, she came to see her last class graduate from high school. We always thought we were her favorite, but now I strongly suspect everyone thought they were her favorite.  That’s just how she was. 


Sally passed away on August 16th at age 74 and today is her Celebration of Life.  I add this small, personal eulogy to the others that will be shared.  The world is diminished without her in it.

Friday, September 14, 2012


When #1 son returned from serving the Lord in Mexico City for two years, we could not wait to see him.  We had exchanged emails each Monday for 104 weeks and Skyped exactly 4 times.  But who’s counting?  Suffice it to say, anticipation was at an all time high.

He did not push all others aside to seek first the woman who bore him.

He did not bypass that woman (ME!) to hug the father who so diligently wrote him Epistles (capitalization intentional) each week, supported his expenses, and loves him more than ice cream (ice cream is just one of the things that his father loves LESS than he).


He walked right up and embraced #2 son.  His brother.


How could I feel bad about that? 

He’s loved him since he was born.

Justin Tyler 1983

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Envelope Please…

It’s amazing to me that this little white envelope:

envelope redacted

can hold the key to life—where will Tyler spend the next 2 years of his life?  These pivotal years where he will learn to rely on himself (he already does that really well—he hasn’t needed parents since he was about 9—except to drive him places and pay for stuff).  Even more, he will learn to rely on the Lord through moments of great joy and deepest despair.

These are the years which will develop his testimony and provide the foundation of experience upon which he will rely the rest of his life.  He will learn about service and sacrifice and demonstrate his love for the Lord.  All that we have is His, it’s really such a small portion to give back.

But, I’m feeling more like this:

I have spent the last 18 1/2 years trying to protect him and love him and teach him.  It has been my primary purpose in life and now it’s time to let go. 

I won’t lie, I don’t want to.

This is my service and sacrifice.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Introduction to the World of PRs

Our youngest son introduced us to something new this spring.


Track & Field.

I know what you’re thinking.

A Peacock kid running?


They don’t call him “Greased Lightning” on the football field for nothing.

(The nickname is ironic, just so you know.  And actually, just to set the record straight, it turns out Tyler can run.  But this is Bryce’s story today).

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah, throwing metal objects.  That’s what Bryce did in Track & Field…





And Discus.

I guess they don’t let high school kids play with javelins.  Probably wise.

So here’s the interesting thing.  Well, it was interesting to me, since my kids have always played team sports.  There are amazing lessons to be learned in team sports but what I really liked about throwing is that it was much more about improving yourself instead of beating someone else.


Personal Record.

That was the goal each week—to do better than you did last week.  Someone didn’t have to lose for you to win.  Sweet.

Of course, if your best was better than someone else’s best, then you did get points for your team.  BUT.  The focus was on the individual competing against himself.  Is he progressing?

Bryce progressed.  He was awarded most improved on the throwing team. (Proud mother moment, sorry).



New life lessons with great applicability in real life.  I love the idea that we don’t have to compare ourselves to others to feel successful.  That someone else doesn’t have to lose for me to win.  And I love that the goal is to seek personal improvement rather than winner take all.


I like it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Lost Art of Groveling

I’ve had a hard time spending money the last few months.

Unbelievable, but true.

Put your feet up, it’s gonna be a rant.

Queen Sofa SleeperFirst, I ordered new couches for the living room.  “Oh,” the salesman said, “we have these made to order couches where you can pick the fabric, the size, the arm shape, etc. and it only takes a 1-2 weeks.” 

Sounds good. Sign me up. 

At the end of week 2, I donate my old couches to a yard sale to send kids to soccer camp.  Win-win.  They make money, I have plenty of space for my new couches that are imminent.

That was 8 weeks ago.

I call the next week to get a status report.  They would check and call me back.

“Oh,” the voice says, “the factory would like to have a better picture of what you have in mind with the tufted pillows.”

They’re asking now?  1 week after the couches were to be delivered?  Alright.  I send a picture.

Two weeks later, I call to get a status report.  This is week 5.  They say they’ll call me back.  No call.  I call back two days later.

Oh, the fabric is on backorder.

For 8 more weeks.

Maybe someone should’ve told me that?  Like maybe the first week when they got the order, but certainly by the time I queried week 3?  Is there no follow up?

Um.  I’ve got no furniture in my living room, and company’s coming.  “We can get you loaner couches!”  They say.

Loaner couches? 

Alright.  8 weeks.  We’ll see.  Glad I only put a deposit down. 

Second.  (Yes, there’s more!)

I may have mentioned my obsession with this little beauty:

Well, I got the green light from the hubby so I headed on in to my local dealer and plop my checkbook on the counter.


Well, I guess I must be getting a little picky in my old age.  First I can’t find a couch I like so I have to build my own and now there’s not a car on the lot with the right mix of this-n-that to satisfy me.

I’ve waited 11 years for a new car.  I want what I want.

(Cue the violins, I know.  Everyone should have such problems.)

Of course, I get a green salesperson.  I tell him I’ll make it easy on him, just find me the car and I’ll buy it.  I’m happy to be his first sale.  Ever.

By that evening, he’s still coming up with lackluster solutions and not being creative.  We complain just loudly enough in the dealership that we get kicked up a notch.

The fleet manager will take care of us.  Oh there’s a car that’ll work in San Fran and another in Denver.  It’s late, he’ll try to make a trade and get one of them to me.  If not, we can order exactly what we want and it’ll take about 7 weeks.  Like I said I want what I want and I’ve waited 11 years, so I can wait 7 weeks.  He’ll call tomorrow.

But he doesn’t.  Seriously, the phone works just fine.  Just ask the telemarketers.

He finally calls me a day later.  I’m outside at a football event and there’s a gazillion people around so it’s hard to hear but I do get the gist that neither of the cars are available and he’s ordering my car. 

About halfway through the 7 weeks, I email just to get an expected delivery date and confirmation of the order.  Three days later I call his direct line (which he gave me to show how responsive he was being to our needs when we were sitting at his desk) since I’ve had no response.

“Oh.  Remind me the situation.  Do you have an order #?”

No lie.

No I don’t have an order number.  You told me over the phone you’d take care of me and you were ordering my car.  That’s ALL I know.

So, I tell him and he says he’ll call me back.  But, of course, he doesn’t.

I get busy, two weeks go by.  I call him again.  Of course, he has to call me back because he’s not in the office.  “And what was that order #?”  AAAARGH!!!

I’m done.  I start looking through on-line inventory and by now the new model year has come out so there’s a lot of cars.  None are MY car exactly, but there’s a couple of close ones.   I send in a query, and note in the comments that there may be, possibly, but I’m unsure, an order placed on a vehicle already for me, just in the interest of full disclosure.  I know how to communicate.

So the internet guy calls me 2 seconds later (now THAT’s what I expect from a car salesman!).

He’s happy to sell me the car I asked about but he’ll check on the order for me first.

Now I get a call from the OTHER fleet manager who actually orders vehicles.

“Do you no longer want the car on order?”

“Do I have a car on order?”

“Of course. The order was placed 3 weeks ago.”

Three weeks ago.  Exactly when I started calling Fleet Manager #1 to check on the status three weeks AFTER he said he’d ordered it.  Oops. 

Then Fleet Manager #2 starts telling me how wonderful he is for expediting the order after Fleet Manager #1 failed to order it originally.  Aren’t I just so impressed with FM #2?

What is missing is this part:

“Mrs. Peacock, I’m SOOOOOOO sorry WE dropped the ball originally.  You are so very important to us and we want to make sure you are satisfied in every way in making this VERY MAJOR purchase.” etc. etc.


Yes, I so miss groveling.  It would have made all the difference in my perception of both of these experiences.  Call me and tell me what’s going on.  Even if it’s bad news.  Apologize.  Accept responsibility.  Free stuff never hurts.  That I can live with and even come away with a positive experience.

You just don’t get enough of it these days.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Missed Opportunity

It occurred to me that the picture I should have included at the end of the last post was this one:

zack  jayme

Now that’s more like it.

Thanks to Bryce for his mad SKILLZ.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Boys Being Boys… & I LOVE IT!

Bryce loves this show:

Recently, they had an episode where Adam and Jamie  (those guys ^ up there) were placed on a deserted island with an unlimited supply of duct tape and nothing more.  At the end of the episode, they made a canoe out of duct tape (see the last clip HERE).

Well, what should I see on the back porch the next day?


The engineers (Bryce & cousin Zack) hard at work making magic with duct tape, palm fronds & assorted items collected from the recycling bin.


Of course, then they needed to test it:


Pretty good, but how strong is it?  Let’s see if it will carry a 1 gallon container filled with water…


OR.  What about this ROCK


Um. No.  They mentioned trying to put a dog in it, but I nixed that idea too, much to Sparky’s relief.


SOOOO much better than playing video games.  I don’t even care that they used $20 worth of duct tape.  This is what boys should be doing on a beautiful spring day.

Friday, March 30, 2012

This Week’s Epiphany

Middle kids have it made.

First kids get the experimental parents.

Last kids get the worn out, lax parents.

Middle kids get the parents who are just right.

That explains why this middle child is nearly perfect in every way!


Could I be biased?  Absolutely.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Kissing Gardener

We’ve had the same gardener for a couple of years.  He’s a great guy and eager to please.

There’s just this one little thing.

He’s very friendly.


Ordinarily, this would not be a problem.  Except.  He likes to kiss. Me.

It started simply enough.  I asked him to do a little extra in the yard last year.  Change out some plants, plant some flowers.  He was happy for the work.  He kissed me.  OK, I thought, he’s just expressing his gratitude.  That’s cool.

But then, the next time he saw me, he greeted me with a kiss.

I swear, only through my lightening quick reflexes did the kiss land squarely on my cheek.  Otherwise…!!!

It became a pattern.  A greeting kiss.  A see you later kiss.  And, I’ve really had the practice that quick face turn.  There have been many a near-miss! 

Last week he “greeted” me as I pulled into the garage after driving my husband home from a medical procedure.  Did I note a little surprise when Jeff got out of the car and he had just planted one on me?

Now, I like kissing as much as the next girl, but I’m kinda old fashioned.  Spouse, family, close friends. 

You can never overestimate the value of a good handshake.  I’d even settle for the ever popular air kiss.


OK, I’m a little uptight.  My friends keep telling me it’s nothing.  De nada.  It’s cultural. 

My response has been to hole up somewhere away from the windows on gardener days so he doesn’t know I’m home.  Even better, I plan NOT to be home.  I swear, he finds excuses to talk to me.  I know, now I’m just being paranoid.  It’s not like I’m overwhelming him with my revealing attire and flirtatious ways.  Kind of the opposite, I think.  Maybe he likes slightly dowdy middle-aged ice maidens?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to my Honey Cousin

Today is my cousin Cathy’s birthday.

It would also have been Grandma Virginia’s 91st birthday. (Happy Birthday Gram!  I still miss you!)

Williams Family 1991

I share Grandma’s name (my middle name is Virginia), Cathy shares her birthdate.  Grandma always said “honey cousin” instead of “cousin” in order to give full weight to this very special relationship.

lisa & cathy circa 1975a

Cathy was the first one who called me after I learned our Grandma had died.  She was the first one I wanted to talk to and I’m so glad she called me since she lives in Italy now and I have no idea how to call her.  She’s smart like that though, and she was so good to call our Grandma all the time and amuse her with funny stories about goats and vineyards and tractors.  Who knew when we were growing up that Cathy would come to know about goats and vineyards and tractors?! 

lisa & cathy 1979

Cathy was the cousin nearest to me in age and we had many a caper growing up.  She was my person for so many years.  She talked me into shaving my legs and plucking my eyebrows for the very first time (Mom wasn’t so sure it was time but I thank you!).  I trusted her because she was older and wiser, and let’s face it, way cooler than me in the social hierarchy (we went to the same schools).

lisa & cathy circa 1979

When we were young we grew our hair long and measured to see whose was longest.  She always won because mine was straighter than straight and hers was curly so when you stretched hers it was always longer.

lisa & cathy circa 1975

She always wanted straight hair and I always wanted curly hair.  We used to get our hair done at the same place and she would be getting hers chemically straightened while I was perming mine. 

lisa & cathy circa 1972

We spent many days together at our grandma’s.  Grandma had a closet with all of her fancy clothes and old prom and wedding dresses of my mom and aunts.  There were accessories and dyed to match shoes and Cathy and I would spend hours trying things on and pretending we were in pageants.

lisa & cathy circa 1970Cathy & Lisa circa 1970

One time Cathy was over at my house and talked me into running away because she was mad at her mom for some random reason.  I wasn’t mad at mine, but somehow she convinced me that we should take my life savings ($.49, no lie) and hike to grandma’s 40 miles away.  We were convinced grandma would never rat us out so we started walking.

lisa & cathy 1968

We lived in a small town so of course we ran into someone we knew (Cathy’s aunt on her mom’s side) at Circle K when we went in to spend my life savings (which only purchased a small grapefruit juice which neither of us liked but we thought we should hydrate).  Just out for a stroll, we said.

Cathy & Lisa circa 1970_2

We continued on but regrets started creeping in.  By the time the sheriff spotted us, we were totally ready to go home.  Cathy returned to a hero’s welcome and I was grounded.  Really?

Cathy & Lisa circa 1977

I love my honey cousin.  She is beautiful and funny and thoughtful.  I don’t know how I’m going to get through this weekend without her. 

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