Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Thanksgiving Day photo by Trevor (2nd from Right)


            This is the family Christmas letter. Yep - online this year! Oh boy. It's not that I'm super tech savvy, people have been doing this for years. But when I told Trevor that I find I'm a bit ahead of the IT curve for my age, he replied, "Yep Mom, you could teach a thing or two to the people at the nursing home…"this is a QWERTY keyboard. "" If you don't know what that is I've proven my point, unless of course, you are online at the nursing home.
    2012 was a packed year!  The boys are so grown now that I don't feel like I should be the one sharing their news - so I will give you a quick rundown and then if you want to you can chase them down using your own QWERTY or cell phone (have you heard of these devices? Very handy).
     In chronological order (hence to avoid the endless favoritism jokes)…Dexter finished the wrestling season at 6th place in the state of Ohio.  Most of us went to San Francisco for spring break which was awesome (except for the part where the van gave up the ghost in Utah).  Mitch graduated the first weekend in May from BGSU. Mitch and Liz (Wagner) got married May 12th (with the reception in a huge tent in our front yard, it was beautiful!). Dexter graduated two weeks later. Two days after that Trevor moved out west for the summer. I painted Mitch's old room a pretty pastel yellow for a new office. Wes moved back home to go back to college and pursue an education degree (he is enjoying the pastel yellow).  Dexter and Wes started college at Findlay Owens in August. Trevor moved back home in September.
     Throughout all of this Dave continues to enjoy teaching and coaching (most days), and the lawn business he built to help the boys through college has grown a lot. I am in my fifth year at BG Christian Academy in development, and have been writing a lot more (my website is even up and running at www.shelleyrlee.com).
     We find ourselves as challenged as ever, and at the same time, as grateful as ever.
     We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous 2013 (well, I mean some of it anyway, because we do still live on earth as humans and it isn't ….well, why did I even use the word fabulous?) - have a good one!

Dave & Shelley Lee and boys

A little Christmas laugh:  Frank LOVES tennis balls so I got a bag of them for him for Christmas. I hid them in a shopping bag where he found them.  I hid them in the attic where he whined at that door. I wrapped the tennis balls so I could show him they were not in the attic.  The tennis balls are in a box under the tree where he was whining today.

And here we all are at the wedding!  Happy to welcome Elizabeth Lee to the
Family.   : )

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Frank's Favorite Shade of Christmas Gray

    During a quick pick-up-a-few-groceries stop today I grabbed a bag of tennis balls for Frank for Christmas.  Yes, even the pets get a little something.
    I set the bag containing the beloved toys, in his favorite shade of gray, on the counter to keep them out of his sight until I could put them in the attic (and now I've given away my present hiding spot...).
    On my way upstairs I paused and set the bag down to gather a couple other things that needed to go up. When I turned around there was Frank alerting me of the presence of the balls. It was as if he was thinking "There they are, all this time! (He loses them like it's his job.) Could you get them out of that mesh trap please?"
    I would have been heartless to put them all away.  Seriously, look at that face. Plus, he would have whined until Christmas at the door he saw them last go through. So I took one out for him.  It made me truly joyful to see him so happy.
    He has been treasuring that ball all evening and bounces the spit laden wonder toward you with pride. (Sidenote:  I just heard it bounce down the stairs).
    I got to thinking how God loves to bless us too, how pleased it makes Him to see us happy.  Yet, He knows the perfect time to take the gift out of the attic (...and how to perfectly hide it from us).  Sometimes when we get the gift it seems way overdue , but He knew it was right on time.
    This Christmastime I find myself grateful for God's infinite wisdom, and that it included a way for me to get to Him.  More than any gift ever, and more than ever, I treasure this.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Untangle the Wind Chimes

    I really wanted more to laugh about, but some days are harder that way.
    I could have used an Apples-to-Apples family game moment, like the time Trevor chose glazed donut to go with spineless and WON. I'm not sure exactly why it was so funny at the time, but it was and we still laugh about it.
    I would have enjoyed something like when the kitten Zelda chased the dog Frank's ball alongside him and hopped like she was a cross between Tigger and a kangaroo. That was hysterical!
    But some days are harder.
     I just had to get away for awhile so I went for a drive.  I spent a lot of time thinking, and talking to God (thankfully, unlike me, He accepts yelling as talking). I sat at one of my best friend's grave for awhile and straightened up the wind-blown flowers and adornments. I noticed that the chimes were caught up so I freed them.  Immediately the soft wind chimes soothed me, like they had the handful of other times I had ventured out there to that beautiful hillside.
    I got to thinking how God moves a lot like the wind, gentle and unnoticed at times, until you untangle the wind chimes.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Porch Pumpkin Patch

    Sometime in August, after weeks of busy work schedules by day (and sometimes night) and a bathroom tiling project by night (and into wee morning some days), I walked down my front porch steps and took a deep breath.
    It struck me how neglected my landscaping was, I mean, there were massive broad-leaf weeds taking over the grounds. A closer look revealed that the 'weeds' were actually pumpkin plants that last year's rotted pumpkin display had inadvertently provided.
    I thought about ripping out the vines since there wasn't much growing on them yet. But then I thought, "Why not? Something is alive and thriving, let it grow." 
    Now there are three large volunteer pumpkins pushing the red, barely visible mums around.
    I started thinking how many things volunteer themselves right into my life, and end up being a bright, beautiful addition to my days. What I really love is that God knew it was coming all along.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Zelda the Warrior Kitty

I began holding my breath for a few seconds as I prepared to run by a dead animal along side the road.  Just as I passed, it turned it's tiny face up and looked at me.  I'm not sure who was more startled, the kitten or me. But this skinny little thing was so happy to see me.  I was still recovering from jumping back when she playfully rolled on her back on the road and started rubbing her soft little self affectionately against my ankles.  

She wanted to stay on the side of the road with the bean field as her refuge when cars came by.  I knew I couldn't leave her here to be hit or starve to death.  I had to take her home.  Besides, she looks just like Bruce!

My run was suddenly over as I attempted to carry her with little success.  She followed me, if you call weaving back and forth between my feet, following.  So, I called Dexter who had passed me a few minutes earlier on the way home from his run.  The first thing he said was "Did you find that kitten?"

"Come pick us up. She can live in the woods or something." I recall saying, trying to figure out a way to justify another cat in our lives.

Thankfully this cat is fit for the outdoors. She makes herself a force to be reckoned with, spitting, hissing, and puffing up in all her glory at the dogs.  I decided she needed a warrior princess name, and after some help from Mitch and Wes, I settled on Zelda.  She  is the opposite of our indoor princess, Eva, who lays down in fear like a snack for her predators.

Like my mother always said, "It takes all kinds."
Like my boys always say, "Your turning into a cat lady."
I like the "takes all kinds" line here.  Besides, I think of myself as more of a zookeeper (though one of the hermit crabs did die this week and I signed an exotic animal paper for that one, am I in trouble?).

I'm really glad God seems to think it takes all kinds, and that He let's me be a zookeeper.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Put the Sandals On

    We arrived in Florida for the Disney Duals wrestling tournament just after the tropical storms from Hurricane what's-her-name left the area.  It was good timing and gave us cooler than usual weather there while avoiding the crazy heat wave Ohio was having.
     Sometimes I can get a bad attitude when I spend vacation days on wrestling.  OK, usually I get a bad attitude.  But I decided to just try to make the very best of everything I could. My first decision, beyond flying to meet the team, came at the rental car desk in Orlando.  "Would you like to upgrade to a Mustang?" 

My rental w/ Sky Coaster (white A structure) in background.
      Then on the first night, with a little encouragement and funding from my husband, Dave, I rode the 300 foot high sky coaster swing with my son Wes. You know, the kind that harnesses you in, hoists you up with pulleys, and let's you free fall, then swing?  It is crazy, scary, and I had a blast! 
     I spent time in the sun a little each day, swam in the pool, and read a thriller novel all week, which I've never done before.
     Wrestling matches were exciting and the kids were great to be around.
     One day in between wrestling Dexter had to run out to the team van to get his phone.  He said, "Did you notice my shoe situation?"  Now, I had.  It was hilarious!  He didn't want to put on his street shoes in between matches, and Dave offered his sandals to make it quicker.  Dexter improvised and just put the sandals on over his wrestling shoes.
     It made me think how much better off I am when I too, improvise and adapt.  And even though my flights coming and going were very late and came with rude people and unpleasant moments, I could say that in the end... I put the sandals on.  

Monday, June 11, 2012


     Judging by recent blog photos only, some may think I'm a...cat lady.  But no worries, after this entry I will be a toilet lady.

      Let me begin with how we were toileted. This is a new movement that one-ups the age-old toilet papering prank. Here's how it went:  I was awakened at 1 a.m. by my door bell.  None too happy, I shuffled to the door in fear of a police officer with bad news standing there.  But alas, lucky me!  I was greeted by an old broken toilet sitting on my porch (with thankfully only decaying leaves in the bowl).  What good news...but still none to happy, I had to rest in the fact that around here, people actually only do these kinds of things if they like you.  Odd, if not twisted, I know.

     Later in the day, and completely unrelated (except for the toilet part) I laughed when our little kitten, Eva,  heard a toilet flush next to her.  She skittered sideways and looked up at it in awe, with great wonder on her sweet little face.  I tried to think of it from the perspective of a tiny creature new to the world. I'm sure she conjured up images of amazing things happening in that massive alabaster rock face.  "It's so beautiful, so wondrous!"  Of course she was quite wrong, but so so are my reactions and thought processes to things I can't comprehend. Some things are just beyond me.  Thankfully, not the toilet.

Eva hissed at the wind one day, to which Trevor responded, "the world can be confusing."

I enjoy laughing at these everyday things, but even better, I'm grateful for a God who can help me make sense of some of the confusing...toilets in my life, and trust Him with the rest.

Photo of Eva courtesy of Trevor Lee Photography   http://tmleephotography.blogspot.com/

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mouse Poop on the Cake & Breathing

   The tent we borrowed for Dexter's graduation party began to blow away soon after the gathering started. Ten or so people hung on to it, myself in a dress, all of us problem solving together to disassemble the tent before the wind wildly did it for us. It was kind of fun actually, and the tent was unscathed.
     This happened right after a board carrying sawdust and mouse poop fell onto the cake.  It had been hiding under a wrestling banner waiting for just the right moment. I was really rattled by its perfect timing.  Guests were arriving and suddenly there was mouse poop on the cake?!
     Some dear friends helped fix it all, but just in case, I hope you ate from the front of the cake.  OK, so there was a little sawdust stuck to the frosting in the 95 degree heat.  But, like sweet Julia pointed out, "It's no more than what we inhale."
     I was suddenly relieved by her comment.  She was right.  And it got me thinking that there are a lot of messes in life where I just need to clean up what I can and then just breathe.  And not worry about breathing.
     When the party was all over that day, my mom opened up the basement door where we had kept Bruce all day.  He lay there on his back waiting, as if to say, "It's about time, where have you been all day?"
     Oh, we were just breathing.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Crash in my Glass Box

   There was a huge "CRASH!", the sound of smashing clashing glass, and no one else was home.  I tore into the kitchen to find two decorative goblets in shards, the largest stem had landed in the hermit crab aquarium.
   Apparently our 16-pound cat saw a bug he had to get on the high shelf above the french door.
   I did not find a dead bug at the scene, but I am quite sure that the crabs were trembling wildly in their painted shells.  I mean, never mind how their disgusting water dish emptied by the cat, lay next to a golf ball that the dog probably placed there as he hovered playfully over them.  These are run-of-the-mill type things for a Lee hermit crab.  But imagine the King Kong goblet that had just hit the corner of the counter on it's way down, now fashioned into a weapon as if in bar fight mode, descending in half a crab heart beat.  Prior to this, life had been so good with the dog and cat.  How would they ever clean up such a gargantuan mess in their glass box world?
   I thought about how much this mirrors life.  Things can seem fine in my little world, even with the big things that loom over and drop in, that I've become accustom to dealing with.  And then CRASH.  I thought about how only God can remove some big, jagged things from my life - I just don't have that sort of equipment as a crab in a glass cage, metaphorically speaking of course.
   Wow, I am grateful for God's attentiveness to my little world and how I fit into His much bigger world!

   By way of an update, one of the joyful things that entered my world was my son Mitch's wedding.  Welcome to the Lee family Elizabeth!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Swimming Sideways

   Judging from this photo, I know, it looks like we decorate with barbells. But you do what you have to as life rolls along.  In this case a 20-pound weight keeps the fish bowl from completely tipping over, it only leans in a lurch for awhile.  And I know it's a vase, not a bowl, but we won the fish at a carnival and I didn't want to invest in this venture. Forgive me.
   You do what you need to do.
    I got to thinking about the fish, and me. The month of May brings a ton of life changes for me and my family, and sometimes it feels like my bowl...vase...is tipping and  I'm swimming sideways. Today is one son, Mitch's college graduation followed immediately by the baby's prom (sorry Dexter, you understand). Next week is the Mitch's wedding with rehearsal and reception at our home. This is followed by the baby's graduation and party at the house. In this mix has been Wes going into the military, then not going, and now another son moving out west. Alongside this has been the birth of a great-niece contrasted by sudden loss of life for neighbors and family.
    It has been an emotional roller coaster which I realize is to be expected. I have cried a lot.  I have had complete meltdowns when I didn't see them coming. Once, at the bank drive through which is a personal favorite.  "Cash.... please." I said through sobs. I guess I was just doing what I needed to do.
    Walmart is also a great place to suddenly fall apart.  You can cry all the way through the store and checkout, I discovered. Big fat tears plopping out of your red eyes. But that was a couple weeks ago.
    Today is a much clearer day. Maybe I'm on that stretch of the roller coaster like on the Millennium Force (Cedar Point - you must go!) where you got all the screams out at the past-90-degree crazy dip and you sigh on the smooth recovery curve, enjoying the ride.  But I don't know, God doesn't give me a view of the next loop. It could be a doozie. But, I guess I know that it's OK to do what you have to, and sometimes that's a good cry in the middle of a shopping trip to Walmart.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Quarter is Stuck in the Cart!

   Among the many things in life that don't make sense, here is Zoey (pictured) when she became emotionally attached to a plastic power ranger that Frank, her son, had chewed the head and limbs off of.

   Following the theme of things that don't make sense, here is another recent story that I hope makes you laugh a little.

   There is a smart little quarter system that some stores use to keep carts in an orderly herd near the door.  To use a cart you must insert a quarter which releases one cart from the metal gridlock.

   One day I made a quick stop at an Aldi store to pick up some groceries.  I carried my quarter as I walked toward the entrance and noticed a very normal looking man approaching the cart conglomeration.  I offered him my quarter for his cart, a typical occurrence with Aldi shoppers that saves us all a bit of time.

   "Oh no." he said firmly.
   At first I thought I'd misunderstood, maybe he also was going into the store.
   "No." he said. "See, my quarter is in here." he said, pointing to the trapped quarter on the cart handle.
   "Yes." I said. "Would you like my quarter instead?"
   "No." he kept walking toward the cart formation. "See, I need to get my quarter out. See?"
   "Yes." I said, now with an inquisitive playful face, holding my quarter up between my thumb and index finger. I thought he must be joking.
   By now there were two ladies nearby slowing down to listen in.
   "See!" he said as he removed his quarter from his cart.
   "Yes." I said, holding my quarter up to him, then inserting it into the same cart. "I see!"  I pulled the cart back out smiling at him the whole time.
   I looked over and noticed that one of the women, about to return her cart, had stopped cold.  Her mouth was hanging open in wonder.
   The man just walked away without every grinning or seeming to understand what I was trying to do by offering him a quarter for his cart.
   The other woman was entering the store along with me and she stared at me with complete puzzlement.
   "I'm just glad there are witnesses." I said, and we both started laughing.
   "I can't believe that guy." she said.  "Did that really just happen?...He was explaining the quarter system to you, but didn't want your quarter." 
   My new acquaintance, Jane, and I giggled down the whole first isle, and we guessed that we'd retell that story a hundred times.
  I smiled broadly for an entire hour with laughter just below the surface, and I thanked God for the random factor in life.  You just never know when something senseless will make your day!

Friday, February 10, 2012


   A good friend of mine and I managed to get our men to go out dancing with us last week.
   A restaurant in Toledo has dancing after nine o'clock organized by a local ballroom dance studio.   Dave and I had gone to a New Year's event where the same studio gave a short dance lesson followed by people dancing mostly ballroom (to apply what you learned presumably).  But we didn't feel too out of place just dancing however we wanted to either.
  Aside from New Year's Eve, Dave and I have taken a few lessons - and have forgotten most of it.  No, that's not true.  We have forgotten all of it. So, now we are in Toledo with our friends, Brett and Lisa, waiting for a short dance lesson. I asked the dance instructor about the lesson and he informed me that they don't do lessons there, but he would take me around the floor for awhile to refresh my memory. I let Dave and our friends know so they could watch and learn.
   I had such a fun time!  Let me tell you what I learned.
   I learned that the instructor is a very good dancer. I learned that I had no trouble following him. I learned that my friends and I were on our own with the dancing that night. So, we just made things up and twirled around with our partners and had fun.
   At one point when we sat down for a drink Brett said, "I don't think we're all doing so bad.  I mean, we're the ones people are watching.  Some people are even pointing at us!"
   After a good laugh we decided we were signing up for lessons soon.
   I got to thinking that a lot of things in life are this way.  It's okay to just enjoy something, but if I want to be good at it I need to humble myself, seek good counsel or instruction, and apply what I learn (over and over and over again).  I also got to thinking how glad I am that God is patient with me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Books in the Window!

         On a day that I was feeling really sick I made one last stop in Bowling Green before going home to collapse.  I was bringing business cards to Divine Interiors, where the shop owner is carrying my books in her gift shop.  I'm so glad I stopped! The surprising sight of seven books I have worked on, all in one window, felt like the sun bursting out of me! I could not believe it - felt like medicine for my ailing self.  The only thing better than this in my writing world is when I hear how God uses a story I wrote to help someone.  That is my hope and prayer.  Thanks for reading!   : )

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the dreams come true, there is life and joy."  Proverbs 13:12

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Persistence of the Ladybug

   Snow swirled around the big pine trees outside and blew around the half burnt out Christmas boughs still on the fence.  
  "Mom, there's another one of those ladybugs." Dexter said.
   Climbing slow and steady up to the top of the wall in the dead of winter was a dark orange  ladybug.
   "Maybe it's because we've had a mild winter."  I thought out loud, as I cringed at the cob webs I now saw on the ceiling. 
   I'm pretty sure this is about when the dog ran through the kitchen with muddy feet right past the piles of laundry.
   Not only did my house need obvious attention, but there were writing projects coming due that needed my time, and there's only so much evening to work on things.
   There are days when I feel like I'll never get it all done. Then I got a nasty cold,and had to spend my evenings  recovering from my days.  Finally yesterday I started feeling better, and wouldn't you know, there was another ladybug (Can you see her in the picture?  I know it's a horrible shot.).  It crawled slow and steady through the kitchen sink right toward me.
   I love how God's creation has so much to teach me all the time.  This time: just go slow and steady.

I know this is atypical & not  humorous, but I felt like I should share it.  More funny stuff is in the arsenal - no worries! 


Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Vacation Skating

    Dave and I were out shopping the week before Christmas and saw a little outdoor skating rink.  After I pushed beautiful Rockefeller Square skating visions out of my crazy head, I commented what the ice might be like without a Zamboni to smooth it. A man was pushing a grooming tool around on the rink surface. "He's the Zamboni." Dave said, and we laughed.
    I thought it would be fun to come back to skate sometime.  So, I looked up the info on it, got the hours of operation, and discovered it was totally free.  Even the skate rental  -  what a deal!
   So, my friend Tracey and I rounded up a few of our kids and headed out skating a couple days before Christmas with anticipation for a fun Christmastime experience. We arrived at the little skate rental sheds and put on the stiff plastic issue skates - but no complaints, it was free.
   I noticed a couple of the boys waiting for the rest of us, and they weren't moving on the ice.  I entered the rink carefully to get a feel for the slick surface and warm up my skating legs.  I love ice skating!  Then I realized that something was really off about the surface, I could hardly move.  Suddenly I understood what "Synthetic Ice Rink" meant.  Both Tracey and I assumed it meant something along the lines of man-made.  Which was close.  It was plastic. Giant puzzle pieces of white plastic, plastic just like the skates.  We alternated between laughing and true disappointment for the whole ten minutes we were on "the ice".  We managed to convince a young man to take a picture of us (and part of his finger) to capture the memory.
   The next day we were so wanting to ice skate, for real, so we gathered whoever was free to head over to the BGSU Ice Arena.  I noticed that the word synthetic is missing from their sign, which was comforting.  It was not free, but it was like running downhill with the wind at your back.  So fun!  And Dave was free that day too, so he came along.  It really was a nice thing to do this time of year.
   The synthetic ice made me think how there are many deceptions in life, many things I think will be good that are not good at all.  I am praying more this year for wisdom to see the difference - and that the lies will not snag me into bad situations.
   I hope and pray that your 2012 is a blessed one!!

More Christmas 2011 fun...
Bruce enjoying Christmas morning wrapping

Trev and Wes working on a Trevor's gingerbread house -a finished photo is on facebook.