kid moments, vol. 4

February 27, 2012

A third-grade girl, out of the blue: “I HATE MY PANTS!!!”


Me, to a group of sixth-grade boys:  “Gentlemen, you all look quite dashing today.”

One of the boys, to me:  “Thanks, Miss Hennessey.  So do you!”


Fifth-grade girl:  “My goldfish died last night, so my mom said I’ll be getting a teacup Yorkie to replace it.”


Third-grade girl:  “Miss Hennessey, are you past college?”

Me:  “Yes.  Why?”

Girl:  “I could tell.  You’ve obviously had a lot of practice drawing Snoopy.”


Question:  What is a frenemy?  (Answer:  An enemy who acts like a friend to gain an advantage.)

7th grade answer:  “My best guess of a frenemy is a very small banana.  I do not have any, but I have seen pictures.  They might look like:

  • shriveled
  • small
  • yellowish
  • nasty tasting
  • un popular
  • make people sad
  • not filling

It’s always autumn in heaven

November 13, 2011

I spent most of yesterday raking and bagging leaves, so I found myself thinking quite a bit about trees and leaves and heaven…

I once heard that the reason leaves turn brilliant colors in the fall is because the chlorophyll in the plant cells, which gives the leaves their green color, dies.  Chlorophyll is what makes it possible for plants to turn sunlight and water into life-giving nutrients.  I suppose the chlorophyll only lasts as long as the sunlight provides enough energy for this food-making process, so when the chlorophyll has completed its job in the fall, it dies off.  So the colors we are seeing are the “true” colors given to leaves; in the spring and summer, these colors are masked by the green chlorophyll.  It’s like God made this brilliant display of color, but He hides it for most of the year to give us the anticipation of an awe-inspiring fall display.

So then I thought about a few things I know about heaven:  First, we know that there are trees there.  Revelation 22:2 tells us that “on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”  That verse contains a second thing I know about heaven: There must be some way of marking the passage of time if the tree yields fruit every month; therefore, there must be seasons in heaven.  Third, we know that heaven “has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).  No sun means no need for chlorophyll in those leaves.  No chlorophyll means the leaves are always their “true” color: brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange.

Therefore, I can only conclude that it is always autumn in heaven.  And this makes me utterly happy, because autumn is my favorite season.

Of course, chances are good that when we get to heaven and see those trees, it will look nothing like the trees we know here on earth, but our response will be a knowing nod and “Oh… now that’s a tree.”


living life to the full

October 18, 2011

Do you ever have one of those weekends that leaves you thinking, “this is what living life to the full looks like”?

I just had one of those.  Darn those weekdays and their regularity.

First, I watched some students from my school compete in BMX bike races.

Then, I made a fool of myself by trying to ride half the course.  I nearly wiped out, but now I totally understand why these kids love BMX so much.  (That’s me in the middle, pre-near-wipeout.)

On Saturday, I went to a pumpkin farm with a bunch of friends and their kiddos.  There are few things more fun than watching a five-year-old having the time of his life as he runs through a maze, cheers on a pig race, and goes crazy when the pumpkin cannon fires off.

After the pumpkin farm, we went to Dunn’s Cider Mill to drink apple cider and eat apple cider donuts.  If you’ve never had an apple cider donut, you must.  They will change your life.

Then I took a nap.  No great weekend is complete without a nap.

Saturday night, I ate Vietnamese food with a bunch of great people to celebrate my friend Dave’s birthday.

Sunday, I went to church and worshiped with the best church family I could hope for.

Sunday night, I ate tacos and made journals with a great group of teenage girls.

And the Clemson Tigers are 7-0.

If life gets much closer to perfection, I fear I may be transported directly to heaven.

Well…maybe not.  I might want to give this BMX thing another try before my life is over.


Clemson = home

October 9, 2011

For the first time in five years, I went back to Clemson University for Homecoming.  I got to see wonderful friends and quite a few of their kids–little composites of their parents running around in their cute orange outfits.  I went to the football game and cheered the Tigers on as they defeated Boston College.  I shouted along to the fight song and remembered all the words to the Alma Mater.

I went home.

I parked in the Botanical Gardens–the complete opposite side of campus from the stadium.  But I didn’t mind.  I wanted to take the long walk through Lightsey Bridge Apartments where I lived for 2 and 1/2 years.  I stopped at the Hendrix Center where I spent countless hours studying or meeting with friends.  I passed by buildings where I went to classes or met with professors.  I listened to the marching band play at the amphitheater–a place where I used to take naps in the sun between classes.

December will mark ten years since I graduated from Clemson.  Ten years.  Even though I only spent 3 and 1/2 years there–half the amount of time I’ve lived in Kansas City now–my time there was one that has marked me and changed me profoundly.  I would not be the person I am today had it not been for the experiences, the people, and the encounters with God Himself that I had on this beautiful campus in South Carolina.

Clemson has been, and I anticipate ever will be, home.


I love college football

September 18, 2011

This is why I love college football, specifically Clemson football…

And I am thrilled to get to go there in three weeks for Homecoming.  It will be the first time I have been back to Clemson–and seen many dear college friends–in five years.  It feels like going home.  In fact, I daresay it is going home.


remembered dates and looking forward

August 30, 2011

“No one tells us, girls who don’t go on dates, that remembering can be almost as good as what actually happens.”–Kathryn Stockett, The Help

I offer you this gem for three reasons:

  1. I just read the book a little over a week ago and saw the movie last Friday.  I adore them both.  Read and watch, and you can thank me later.
  2. I’ve been there.  I’ve been that girl who doesn’t go on dates, and I’ve been the girl who gets to re-live and relish every moment of a remembered date.  It truly is almost as good as the real thing, because you can experience everything again in slow motion.
  3. I’ve been feeling this way quite a bit lately, though not about remembering nor about dating.  (Sorry to disappoint.)  Allow me to explain:

I have a lot of things I am looking forward to, and the time I spend thinking and dreaming about them feels like it might be just as good as the real things, if and when they happen.  I think one of the things I enjoy the most in life is the anticipation of something good just around the corner.  So some of the things I am anticipating are:

  • the arrival of a friend who is going to live with me for three months.
  • college football season.
  • autumn weather.
  • the possibility of going to China next year.  (Yes, China.  I’ll tell you more about this if it materializes.)
  • the possibility of writing a book with a friend.
  • a couple of classes I am taking this fall.

What are you anticipating these days?


Joplin trees

August 9, 2011

On May 22 of this year, a category 5 tornado hit the heart of Joplin, Missouri, leveling neighborhoods and stores and claiming 153 lives.  Joplin is only a two-hour drive from my home in Kansas City, so news about the tornado and its aftermath have been in the news and in conversations constantly.  Last week, I had the opportunity to go to Joplin for two days with the youth group from my church to help with relief efforts.  Our whole group was excited to be able to help and wondering what the landscape would look like.

Driving into Joplin from the highway, you wouldn’t know the city had been hit by a tornado aside from signs on businesses showing their support and prayers for the town.  Closer to the center of town, there is a small perimeter of businesses and homes that are badly damaged but still standing.  Then you see the neighborhoods that are no longer there: concrete slabs and basements remain where homes used to stand.  On other streets, some houses are still standing, but windows, doors, and sections of roof are missing.  These rows of houses reminded me of what I saw in Bosnia in 2001: eyeless, crumbling monuments to a horrific civil war.  Joplin is a war zone.  The high school is still standing–a mangled mess of metal beams with entire walls gone, exposing empty classrooms to the elements–and surrounded by a small village of tents, building materials, and hundreds of volunteers.

Perhaps the most unusual sight was the trees.  Tall, eerie trees stripped of their bark stand like pale sentries guarding abandoned homes.  But most of them have new growth: short, tender, green branches that grow close to the trunk, sprouting from unusual places.  The new branches look unnatural, adorning the trees in ways branches were not meant to.  But they are evidence of life: evidence that these trees are determined to grow, no matter what was taken away from them or how they look now.  The trees, I think, are a fitting metaphor for the people of Joplin.  They are determined to rebuild and live, even if life looks very different now.