Wednesday, July 29, 2009
We have had a pretty fun day and yet I am in a seriously pissy mood this week. Again, juxtaposition. It is all of the deadlines, activities and stressors I have on me right now. No fun. I am feeling like a hamster in a wheel and I am pretty sure this is PMS week. Beware.
I have gotten so much accomplished this week and yet it looks like a bomb exploded in my house. Can you say 'juxtaposition'. I need to haul some things outta here!!
I love my church, my Lord and my life right now-but nothing seems to be going in a direction I am happy about. My girls continue to be the only middle schoolers in their Wed. night class which is depressing for a church the size of ours. There are TWO back to school bashes this weekend-I knew about the young kid one but was caught off-guard by the teen one. These two awesome events are squeezed right into a weekend that was already full of a family reunion, a big project and a St. Louis overnight trip with my hubby. ARGGH!! To say I am stretched thin (and yet somehow not THIN) is quite the understatement.
I am still reading the book 'Surrender All' and waiting for it to grab me-but I just keep not really agreeing with it. I just look to the spiritual hall of fame and I don't see people that re-arranged their whole lives to 'surrender'. David? Esther? Abraham? Noah? Some of them did things that seemed unusual to others-bordering on impossible. Sure, some of them were told audibly by God to move to another place but they still served God with their normal day to day lives. They did not have to search each day for GOD'S PLAN before getting out of bed. To me, surrender is a process, we do it a little at a time in our normal day-to-day life. I don't just wake up tomorrow and decide God has called me to move our family to Alaska to run a Christian bookstore and 'BELIEVE' Him for the financing. I guess I am just a weak Christian or something. More on this book when I finish reading it.
Okay, I think it is time to close this happy post out. I am obviously stressed, PMS'ing and pissy. All things that should keep one from writing blogs. ( :
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
"Dinner with Obama"
Once upon a time, I was invited to the Whitehouse for a private dinner with the President. I am a respected businessman, with a factory that produces memory chips for computers and portable electronics.
There was some talk that my industry was being scrutinized by the administration, but I paid it no mind. I live in a free country. There's nothing that the government can do to me if I've broken no laws. My wealth was earned honestly, and an invitation to dinner with an American President is an honor.
I checked my coat, was greeted by the Chief of Staff, and joined the President in the dining room.
We sat across from each other at a table draped in white linen. The Great Seal was embossed on the china. Uniformed staff served our dinner.
The meal was served, and I was startled when my waiter suddenly reached out, plucked a dinner roll off my plate, and began nibbling it as he walked back to the kitchen.
"Sorry about that," said the President. "Andrew is very hungry."
"I don't appreciate..." I began, but as I looked into the calm brown eyes across from me, I felt immediately guilty and petty.... It was just a dinner roll.
"Of course," I concluded, and reached for my glass. Before I could, however, another waiter reached forward, took the glass away and swallowed the wine in a single gulp.
"And his brother Eric is very thirsty." said the President.
I didn't say anything. The President is testing my compassion, I thought. I will play along. I don't want to seem unkind.
My plate was whisked away before I had tasted a bite..
"Eric's children are also quite hungry."
With a lurch, I crashed to the floor. My chair had been pulled out from under me. I stood,brushing myself off angrily, and watched as it was carried from the room.
"And their grandmother can't stand for long."
I excused myself, smiling outwardly, but inside feeling like a fool.
Obviously I had been invited to the White House to be sport for some game. I reached for my coat, to find that it had been taken. I turned back to the President.
"Their grandfather doesn't like the cold."
I wanted to shout - that was my coat! But again, I looked at the placid smiling face of my host and decided I was being a poor sport. I spread my hands helplessly and chuckled. Then I felt my hip pocket and realized my wallet was gone. I excused myself and walked to a phone on an elegant side table.
I learned shortly that my credit cards had been maxed out, my bank accounts emptied, my retirement and equity portfolios had vanished, and my wife had been thrown out of our home. Apparently, the waiters and their families were moving in. The President hadn't moved or spoken as I learned all this, but finally I lowered the phone into its cradle and turned to face him.
"Andrew's whole family has made bad financial decisions. They haven't planned for retirement, and they need a house.. They recently defaulted on a sub-prime mortgage. I told them they could have your home. They need it more than you do."
My hands were shaking. I felt faint. I stumbled back to the table and knelt on the floor. The President cheerfully cut his meat, ate his steak and drank his wine.
I lowered my eyes and stared at the small grey circles on the tablecloth that were water drops.
"By the way," He added, "I have just signed an Executive Order nationalizing your factories. I'm firing you as head of your business. I'll be operating the firm now for the benefit of all mankind.
There's a whole bunch of Erics and Andrews out there and they can't come to you for jobs groveling like beggars."
I looked up. The President dropped his spoon into the empty ramekin which had been his creme brule. He drained the last drops of his wine..
As the table was cleared, he lit a cigarette and leaned back in his chair. He stared at me. I clung to the edge of the table as if were a ledge and I were a man hanging over an abyss. I thought of the years behind me, of the life I had lived..
The life I had earned with a lifetime of work, risk and struggle. Why was I punished? How had I allowed it to be taken? What game had I played and lost? I looked across the table and noticed with some surprise that there was no game board between us.
What had I done wrong?
As if answering the unspoken thought, the President suddenly cocked his head, locked his empty eyes to mine, and bared a million teeth, chuckling wryly as he folded his hands.
"You should have stopped me at the dinner roll," he said.
Wake up, America !
Yesterday, via facebook, one of my friends was talking about how hard it is to declutter her clothes closet. She talked about how depressing it is to give up on the skinny jeans. She also questioned certain fashionable purchases made-pleather was mentioned.
Today, I am experiencing some of the same problems. Decluttering my huge collection of curriculum. As a veteran homeschooler, I know what FITS our family and what doesn't. It still doesn't keep me from feeling really sad that we are not the type of family to do some of the wonderful things I had planned out for us. I can't help but lament as I try to really get down to only the things we will use. There is an opportunity for me to bless other people with my mass accumulation of too much stuff. AND YET, it is so stinking hard to let go of the dreams and plans I had for each book, game, or manipulative. It is truly a sad day for me. The day for me to allow certain curriculum dreams to die, so others can live in a clutter free environment and thrive. Kind of like weeding the garden. Too many 'weeds' choke out the real plants and keep them from producing good fruit. I don't want to look at my bookshelf and think of all my failed plans-I want to look at it and be inspired by all the good things we are doing this year. If I can just keep the whole weeding analogy in my brain for the next few hours...
Wish me luck but mostly pray for my discernment!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
- The Kayla haircut. Everyone in our family and lots of our friends know exactly what I am talking about. As a toddler, Kayla had long hair. It was cute, curls and looked really sweet in dog ears. However, she wanted a haircut. Soooo, I took her in and she got her hair cut into a bob. Oh my word, she was the cutest thing ever and her hair just naturally curled under and it was oh so sweet. The Kayla cut was around for as long as we could keep it.
- Tot School. I had a newborn baby, Lilly and Erika got to go to kindergarten. Kayla was a devastated middle child( a role she still maintains!). So, I enrolled her in preschool. She loved it. And, every so often, 3 or 4 tot-schoolers got to travel to the college and film Tot school for the public access channel. Once a month or so, it was her turn. However, her turn came around often when they realized how much she loved being on TV. In fact, we toyed with the idea of renaming it the Kayla show. Most of the kids just were quiet and did their little craft, ate their snack and waved good-bye. Kayla knew this was her 15 minutes of fame and she milked it for all it was worth. And we loved every minute of it. And we still do when we watch the tapes. That is some good TV.
- Batman. Kayla loved Batman. All superheroes really but Batman was her favorite. The best we can figure is that one year for our anniversary, Erik and I went to St. Louis without the kiddos. While there we went to Six Flags, rode the Batman and brought back a picture of us on the Batman ride. This is about the same time the Batman obsession started. It lasted a long time and made Kayla very popular with her boys that were friends and cousins. She could play action figures with the best of them and had a nice collection. It made for very tough Christmases because Batman had not become so mainstream as he is now. He's everywhere now-then there were only actions figures and vintage items on ebay. We have a few Vintage batman items we have saved as keepsakes.
- Plug-in girl. Kayla invented her own superhero-Plug-in Girl. Thankfully no plug-ins were involved, just a snazzy costume from the dress up box including a cape.
- Suggest. Her imaginary friend was named Suggest. I still draw a blank on this one but it was an early indicator as to just how smart and creative she would become.
- There are so many more memories. Kayla was a bubbly energetic little girl. Then she learned to read and evolved into a bookworm that asked a ton of questions and absorbed as much info as humanly possible. I can't wait to see what new things are in our future...and I can't help but pray that they are all as tame as purple hair.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I occasionally like to smoke a clove cigarette(I smoke about a pack a year-that's 20 cigarettes). I eat too much on a regular basis. I love a good margarita. Some of my TV habits don't scream, "CHRISTIAN!". My body is a temple, but it needs to be downsized and remodeled. Naturally, when I compare myself to a Walton's watching, fitness guru, never smoked tee totalling Christian-I feel a bit inferior.
AND THEN, I remind myself that my God is a God of hearts. I don't have to impress the Christian world doing wonderful gestures. I have to admit my faults and give God my entire self-even that part of me that is a little too comfy in this world. In God's eyes, I am an awesome, cleansed by the blood of Christ child that belongs to Him. I can do little things all day that scream surrender-TO HIM. Sometimes I forget that when I am busy beating myself up-with help from the evil one-for not being good enough. There is no condemnation in the Lord. Praise the Lord, I hear Stephanie S. speaking that over me when I get mired up in it. The devil really wants me to believe I am a BAD Christian. He sits ready with examples of failure every day and sometimes he even uses God's people to help him deliver the message.
I am so thankful for the people in this world who are making huge brushstrokes for God's big canvas of life. I pray for them and I am awed by the blessings they provide to so many. I even hide the hope in my heart that I am raising 3 of those people right now. But you know what? I'll be happy with the type of Christians that just try really hard to love people with the love of the Lord. The people that serve God by: loving people through their jobs, raking the yard of an elderly person, letting someone 'cut' into traffic without getting angry, taking the smallest piece of pizza, sharing with others, serving their family, listening when a friend hurts-crying if necessary, teaching the kids at church-especially those kids that are a pain in the rump, doing things that they don't have the skills for because it has to be done. Those are the people that make the world go 'round. The Mother Teresa's of the world. Sure she did BIG STUFF. She did it one little thing, one person at a time. That is the kind of surrender I can sink my teeth into.
You know what? I was wrong. I am surrounded by examples of surrender. A surrendered life isn't only found in the grandiose things of life. Like so much of being a Christian, it is the small stuff that changes people's hearts and lives. It is the minutia of our day to day life that builds our relationship with Christ AND our relationship with people.
I feel more surrendered already.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I am going to color my hair now. I hope it turns out. My gray hair has been peeking out from my roots for a while. Next time you see me, be sure to notice my new supermodel lovely locks and ignore the baggage under my eyes. LOL
Sunday, July 19, 2009
My sister Sue Ann is feeling better. She is still in the hospital for colitis and it does not look like she is going home anytime soon. They are slowly introducing soft food into her system again. Today during my visit, I got to see baby Noah. He is just adorable. He can giggle and try to talk now. I can't believe he is 4 months old. Time really flies. Plus, I did not make him cry today. Maybe he is starting to like me. He grinned at Kayla alot. I think he likes purple hair.
Have a great Monday!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
OR, I can read blogs. Blogs which are so emotional and intense that sometimes my eyes water. Blogs that make me think. Blogs that help me understand people who are not like me and people who are. Blogs that are spiritually uplifting and encouraging. Blogs that are so funny I almost pee. Blogs that can tell me when a real life friend needs a card or a 'care package'. I can make a snarky comment or give a cyber (((hug))).
So really, for me, it is a no-brainer. I love blogs. They fulfill my need to read and write. They give me that raw honest footage that I crave. So when I have to pick and choose because our summer is crazy busy...you are far more likely to find me here venting, disclosing too much information, begging for affirmation or telling something funny or mundane than you are to see me super-poking. (It sounds like so much more than what it is!! heehee)
Sunday, July 12, 2009
- Kayla now has purple hair. I finally gave her permission to do what she wanted to do more than anything. She picked the color-Lusty Lavender (LOL!!)-and I colored it for her. It is really more lavender than purple. She could not believe I was letting her do it. I'm a little surprised myself but in the end, it is only hair, right? Choose your battles and all that jazz. She also got it cut in a non-cyclops looking style and so we are happy to see both eyes no matter the hair color.
- I have been a decluttering fool and I am loving it. 4 bags of things went to goodwill. It is hard to believe how much stuff we have stored about in our small home. So much more than we need. I wish my darling husband could get on the decluttering track with me. Just one of the many tracks we don't share...but that is a whole other blog post.
- One of my good friends is in the process of selling her house and buying a massively huge fixer upper. I am torn between feeling happy & envious of how much space she will have and feeling very sad that she has sooooo much work to do to get her new home livable. It will be gorgeous when they are done!! I wish she would do a home makeover blog just to show how it's done!!
- I visited with my mom and my sister today. It was a really good visit. I also spent time this afternoon with just Erika. It was so nice. My kids are so different when I spend time with them one on one. It is just so rare that it happens. I should make it happen more often.
This evening, I have really needed an attitude adjustment. I have been snitty-hence the post title. When Erika and I got home, the house was a mess. I worked hard all afternoon and night yesterday. The house was fairly neat but the living room was very clean and even *gasp* dusted. Something in me just snapped when I came home and it had all been undone. I am usually pretty oblivious and accepting that all chores come undone pretty quickly around here-especially in my absence. The fact that it happened in less than 4 hours and everyone was so blase' about it just really set me off. The girls worked together to get it back together.
Sometimes being a mom, wife, cook, maid, taxi-driver is the hardest job in the world. Today was just one of those days for me. I am ready for New Mercies Monday-both giving and receiving!!
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Many years and three kids later, life is different for me. I consider most time to be a guideline. There are times that I make being on time an absolute priority and usually am early-picking up or dropping off my children to be cared for by another, trips, any time that my being late will inconvenience someone else. Other than those examples, it just really isn't that important. If I am 5 minutes late for church or a birthday party or even a movie will anyone besides me suffer? I don't think so.
This revelation came to me one day as I was zooming down the road on my way somewhere. I had gotten behind a slow elderly driver and I was irate. I had been on time until I got behind granny. I did what any road rage sportin' driver would do. I rode granny's tail until she had to pull over. Ha ha, take that granny. As I sped past her, recognition clicked in my brain. I KNEW that granny. Then, I put myself in her shoes. What kind of stress must I have put her through. I knew she didn't drive often because it made her nervous. No wonder, with drivers like me constantly riding her tail.
It was an instant cure for my road rage. I have never been the same as a driver. I go out of my way to be polite on the road. I have not encountered granny on the road since then, but rest assured, if I have to be a little late and travel a little slower to help granny feel safer on the road, I will. BECAUSE, in the big picture of life, kindness trumps timeliness. At least in my opinion.
I highly recommend this book for anyone. The price is perfect to be a birthday present and is suitable for a boy or a girl. Since Erik and I both read and enjoyed it, I think it is safe to say it is fun for any age. Purchase this book OR for you economizers, like me, urge your library to purchase it!!
Amazon features this book at this link.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
JAM packed fun with friends. Soooooo, today, I was a tired little girl. I did some laundry, washed and froze blueberries, tried a new recipe and now we are visiting some more friends tonight.
I LOOOOOOOOVE summer vacation. Less than a month remains. GRRRRRR!
Monday, July 06, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009
- Wow! I have really been unplugged lately. No blogging, no keeping up with facebook, not even keeping up with emails. Very unjanjanmomlike. That is the longest word I have ever made up. There is no big crisis or anything, I just haven't been turning on the computer most days. It CAN happen and the net world just goes on without me, that ain't right. My reader is going to be awful. I went ahead and posted without reading them all because Rome was not built in a day...I can't read and post.
- We went to see fireworks on Thursday at a different location than usual because it was the only night our whole family would be together. They were awesome and it was good to not have to go anywhere else or worry that rain would cancel. (My overachieving self originally planned to try to go see all the local fireworks but my underachieving self slapped her silly.) We also got to meet our friends Steven and Ashley after the fireworks at a local dairy bar for milkshakes. Fireworks, good friends, good dairy-who could ask for anything more??
- My garden is weeded and looking good. WAHOO! Now, if I can only maintain it!!
- Our pool is finally looking good. It is our best year ever for leveling and Erik and I have worked really hard to get all the bugs out. Easy set pools are so bad about bugs. I just don't believe the filter/pump is large enough to keep the pool as clean as 'real' pools.
- I have fully digested the phrase, "We are not going to let our girls babysit." They had yet another babysitting gig on Friday. I have changed the phrase to, "We will only let our girls babysit for close friends." PS. They are now 'official' babysitters as they completed a babysitter training class during their week of service camp.
- I missed church today because of a late night rendezvous with acid reflux. It kept me up most of the night and I slept like the dead while my family was at church. Then hubby woke me up with my favorite Chinese food. I will resist the urge to make this a weekly ritual however tempting it may be-the Chinese food, not the reflux.
- I'm sure there is much more, but I am tired and need to get some sleep. Have a great Monday!!
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
I wish I could say all that is different now. The literature is different. The mentors are different, but the obsession is the same. To somehow be a good mom.
AND THEN IT HITS ME UPSIDE MY HEAD, this is another PRIDE THING. Because it isn't all about God or my children, it is about the perceptions of the people around me. It is about me.
- What would people say if they stopped by and saw my house looking like this?
- What would people think if my child has a temper tantrum?
- What if my kid is a brat?
- What if my kid isn't smart?
- What if my kid is a bully?
- What will people say when they see the outfit my kid has on today?
- What if my child does not grow up to be a Christian?
- What if my child grows up and never wants to visit me?
- What will ____ think about how I discipline?
- What if _____doesn't think I am a good mom?
- What if _____ talks bad about me or my kids?
And the root of all of these questions...my PRIDE. People might think poorly of me. POOR ME. I want to always be thought well of by everyone. How God feels about me, the relationship I have with Him, the relationship my kids have with Him, and the relationship we have with each other are the only things that matter.
It dawns on me that only one of these questions REALLY matter AND I have no control over that. None. In fact, there are no guarantees in parenting. You pour your heart and soul into a child and there may not be any return on your investment. I have seen wonderful children come from the most broken and dysfunctional homes. I have also seen broken people come from adoring 'normal' families. I have really been having some serious prayer talks with God lately. They go something like this:
Me: God, I have no clue how to be a truly good mom. I come from such broken-ness and I am still quite broken myself. I don't know what I am doing here, I think I am blowing it.
God: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Me: God, I really can't handle this. It is too much. I worry that my children will not 'turn out'.
God: Matthew 6:27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
God is so good, so faithful to equip the called not call the equipped. The very fact that I am broken will work things out if I can only lose the pride- admit my faults and weaknesses to my children. They are not concerned with a SUPERmom. They just want a mom that loves them and makes them feel loved. They want parents that love each other and them. They want a home that is a sanctuary from the hurts of the world. They want boundaries that are clear and that keep them safe. They want grace and mercy.
In short, they want the very same things from me that I want from my Father. AND, with His help, I can be a good mom of good kids. We will be far from perfect, but then, aren't we all?