Monday, May 30, 2011


I love how sometimes when God reveals a truth to me, He sends along some reinforcements to make sure I get it.  My reinforcements have come in the form of 4 people, a Bible verse written on a piece of paper, an inspirational calendar and a peace in my soul.  That is awesome.  If he didn't, I might not claim it for my very own.

I am claiming it though-blessed living, not guilt living.  My life is a blessed existence and I want to share my blessings with a world that hurts, doubts and refuses to see the glory of God.  Purpose driven existence, here I come!  Right after this episode of Bones...LOL!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

And her children will rise...

...up and call her blessed.  Yes, they will.  Because I am blessed.  Very blessed.  If I took the time to compile a list, it would reach to the moon and back.  I don't walk around feeling blessed though.  I walk around feeling GUILT.  It is my current dominant emotion.  It is my default emotion.  So for you today, I have compiled a TOP TEN list of all the things that make me feel guilty.

10.  We have too much food.  People in other countries have so little food and we have so much that we often just throw it away because we let it spoil.

 9.  We have too many clothes.  We have so many, in fact, that keeping up with laundry is a burden.  A burden despite the fact that we have two fancy, lovely appliances designed to make laundry easy.

 8.  I require 'down time'.  Alot.  I like to relax watching TV and being on the computer.  I spend a few hours each day being almost completely unproductive

 7.  Despite having lots of healthy food easily within reach of my cart, I often make really poor choices.

 6.  I have cleaning products and tools.  Yet, still I don't like cleaning and very seldom make it a priority.

 5.  I still have a vast collection of homeschool curriculum that I feel bad that I did not 'get to'.  I have briefly considered some summer homeschooling.

 4.  I, very often, have a hard time with giving.  If it is my idea and something I want to give, I love it and can't wait to see the recipient's face.  If it is a 'forced' gift giving occasion, I often balk.  I would rather buy my mom a random gift at a random time than give her a Mother's Day gift.  I believe this is a symptom of my problem with authority.

 3.  Which leads me to number three...I resent authority.  I have to inspect my motives on a regular basis to make sure I'm not just being a rebel.

 2.  I worry about the example of marriage that I am setting.  Am I being a good wife?  Am I showing what it means to be loving, supportive and respectful?  Do my kids know that I am happy?  Do I want them to be the kind of wife I am?

 1.  And the absolute, number one, king of all guilt inducers is...drum roll please...AM I A GOOD MOM? This one trumps all the others so much that  it is unbelievable.  It makes me question every move I make, emotion I feel, decision I make...etc.  I live in fear that I will somehow damage these precious gifts God entrusted me with. 

With all of this guilt, you would think that I would keep my blessing list handy at all times to counter the power of the guilt list.  However, I am instead trying to be fully aware of my guilt and praying that God will remove the false guilt and leave me only with guilt that makes me a better person. HOWEVER, I do not believe God has any desire to have me live a guilt-laden life.  I believe the gift of Christianity is freedom.  For too long, I have resisted the feeling of being blessed and instead settled for guilt.  I have made the decision to embrace being blessed instead.  I bet it will be an awesome trade-in.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What A WEEK!

These are a few of my experiences this week...
  • Regarding work...I went from 25 hours one week down to 15 the next and then hit rock bottom at 5 again.  This week, I am somewhere between 12 and 15.  This job gives me whiplash.  Actually, it was all good because Erik was on vacation-it would have been terrible to get alot of hours on his vacation week.
  • The flood waters receded off of all the roads just in time for me to get my momma to FOUR doctors appointments this week.  (Yes, Erik's vacation week.)  Anyway, those roads being open shaved a good hour off my driving times and I am sooooo thankful!
  • Erik and I ate lunch with Lilly one day this week at school.  Nothing is cuter than the way elementary kids respond to guests for lunch.  It always makes me feel a little bit like a superhero.
  • I, along with some of the rest of the family,  helped my nephew finish moving their stuff out of their house this weekend.  Most of the people on their street were doing the same.  The large piles of household contents made my eyes water a bit.  Jason and Brittany are lucky to not have lost everything and also to have flood insurance on their structure.  They plan to cut their losses and find a home nowhere near any flood plains.  It has been a wild ride for them and it is not close to  over yet.
  • The saddest moment for me...realizing that their flood ravaged home was, at least this weekend, much cleaner than my own.  TOMORROW, I will clean!
  • My hubby got older this weekend.  I saw him for a tiny bit on his birthday...but most of his day was spent at a local arts festival helping run the stage.  I know he loved doing it and I am glad he has such wonderful friends and music opportunities.  I am also glad he had that festival because the oldest girls spent their day at Holiday World with their school. 
  • I went to a cook-out with some of my high school buddies.  We played volleyball and I learned that I can still play.  I also have not improved with age BUT I haven't lost any of my mad skilz either though.  heehee!
  • I fought the urge to unplug from everything today and just take the day off.  I did not though.  I followed through with church, care group and then the kids to youth group.  God rewarded me with an amazing message meant just for me.  It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.  I never would have thought the story of Samson could ever be applied to my life...but it was and it is just the message I needed.
  • Even though I am a grouchy mean momma today, joy comes in the morning...I hope.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


ain't on my side.  No it ain't.  I am having a hard time making time to blog.  I want to do it.  I need to express my thoughts or they clog up and make me crazy.  And yet, blogging has not been happening on a regular basis for some time now.  This week, my job has eased up enough that I can breathe...and yet my mom has 4 doctor's appointments, Erik is off work and the kiddos had a day off from school today. 

So I blog now, when I should be sleeping.  A deep meaningful blog about how little time I have.  Don't you just love those??  I don't mind reading someone else's blog about lack of time, but I want to be writing about all the things coursing through my brain.  And I will, next week...when things slow down a little. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Working Momma

When I had reluctantly, finally and then excitedly made the decision to put all three kids in school, there was another issue that came up immediately.  Would I continue to be a stay-at-home mom or would I re-enter the work force?  Hmmm...I did have some new found time.  Hmmm...I don't love to clean enough to do it all day long on school days.  Hmmm...we could use the money, free education is so far from free!! would have to be the right job.  So, I luckily stumbled upon the right job and was hired by American Greetings.  Uber flexible and not many hours at all.  The perfect balance, in fact, the hours were so slight that I could do all my work for the week in one day.  I joked about having a job but never really having much work.

Alas, of one thing I am certain: there is always change!!  Now, my job has kicked up a notch.  Instead of working 3-5 hours a week, I am working between 15 and 26.  I no longer have 3 low maintenance stores, I have 6 stores-4 are high maintenance.  I did ask for more hours and I am glad to get them.  The hours I work are still completely determined by least to some extent.  There are stores that need me to arrive on a certain day some this week when my hours are not very flexible at all.

So now, I have gone from full-fledged stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to full-fledged part-time working, public schooling mom.  WOW.  I could argue both side of this particular coin.  I can't firmly be in either camp because I see the merits of both.  I thoroughly enjoyed my former lot in life and now I am thoroughly enjoying this one.  I think the kids would say the same when they are not trying to give me a free guilt trip.

A year ago, I would not have predicted any of this.  Goes to show you never can tell what tomorrow will bring to your doorstep.  Best thing is to keep it swept off and never say never.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Conspiracy Theory

I have much time to think this evening.  Too much time, in fact.  The youth group at church, which my angels  devils  teens are a part of, is fasting from TV this week.  I love TV.  I love it too much and I am OK with that.  It is mindless drivel and a complete waste of time.  Fine.  Whatever.  I do so many other things which are not mindless, not wastes of time, and so kicking back for some brain numbing is just fine on occasion.  Plus we sometimes watch documentaries and educational shows, those are not at all mind numbing.

Anyway...with all this thinking time, I am wondering if this is some sort of conspiracy from Sara to try and get me to blog more.  Maybe both Saras and Stephanie too...yeah, that's the ticket!  Because I know that everyone is just dying to read my amazing blog posts.  I really can't think of any other reason for me to give up TV.  Conspiracy.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Next week, we are fasting from indoor plumbing and electric lights.

(In all seriousness, this is an excellent fast.  It is only day 2 and I have accomplished so much more than usual.  I have even marked two things off my 'whenever I can get a round tuit' list.  I also think TV itself is not bad, it is all the other good things it keeps us from that is family activities and conversations.)

Because I feel the need... overshare.  Erik and I are in round 572 of counseling.  Hee hee, not really that many.  Why are we going?  Because things are good between us right now and we like it and want to maintain it.  Because our kids are making us crazy and we need some new tools for our toolbox.  Because we are just a few short years away from the empty nest...which is also the time of life when many couples move into the divorce zone.  So, in short, we are being pro-active.  Making the decision to strengthen our family.

That is some serious oversharing folks.  But the reason I want to overshare is to brag on my family just a little bit.  We were in counseling almost 10 years ago.  We were both stubborn and just knew the other person was the cause of all our problems.  We kind of enjoyed making the other look bad and the counselor was sort of in referee mode.  I cried through all of the sessions.  It was a joyous time, NOT.  Today, as we were in the process of taking stock of some of our problems today, I felt a peace wash over me.  We still have 90% of the problems we had 10 years ago.  The difference in then and now is our level of honesty and acceptance of one another.  There are no secrets...we both admit the things we do wrong and try very hard to keep our vices in check.  Today, was a joyous session...and so was the last one.  We are not perfect, but we are much improved over last time around AND we've  gotten some really good parenting advice, time management advice, and budgeting advice.  We also got some affirmation that lots of people struggle with exactly the things we struggle with. 

So my brag for today:

We are good enough, smart enough and doggone it, people like us.  ( ;

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On Parenting

Once upon a time, I was the perfect parent. I was about 8 weeks pregnant.  I had goals and dreams and techniques all mapped out.  The rules of engagement were in place.  Then I actually gave birth.  Erika was a very easy baby once we got past 4 months of screaming colic.  As a young toddler, she was very easily occupied and corrected-thank goodness because we had another before she even reached toddler status.  Alas, another 4 months of colic until another happy baby.  Two children now.  Trained very early in how not to be abducted (my biggest fear then).  Both children were fairly easily corrected.  Loved each other...VERY different.  Both wildly creative-one with drawings, the other with stories and "pwojecs".  It was pretty easy.  I felt like a wonderful intentional mom.  I felt at the top of my game.

When Erika was 4 and Kayla was 3, we downsized to a smaller house to try and whittle our debt back and live a bit simpler.  We left suburbia for a bit more countrified suburbia.  As soon as the last coat of paint dried on the house, I discovered I was pregnant.  The last of three very unplanned but much loved pregnancies.  (Okay, not initially loved...but eventually loved.)  Yes, you read that right, we are not planned parenthood members.  ~grin~

I still felt pretty good about my parenting skills until Lilly turned about 2.  I'm not really sure when I lost all the 'rules for engagement' I had in place for raising my children.  But I have officially lost them all.  At this stage in life, I really want to be a really good mom and I think in some ways I definitely am.  In other ways...I am overwhelmed.  Parenting advice runs rampant and people are very free with it.  Parental superiority and judgement is even more freely flowing.  Since I come from such a dysctional (I left out the 'fun' because it wasn't!) home, I have always plugged in and listened to every kernel of parenting wisdom that has ever been uttered in my presence.  The result???  Most every issue has been dealt with by most every parent and USUALLY in a completely different way.  The verdict of whether or not that was the 'right' way to deal with it is usually determined by whether or not the kid 'turned out OK'.  This blows me away because I TURNED OUT OK.  I won't go into all the ways I was not parented adequately...let's just say that I wasn't and leave it at that.  I also know others like me who also 'turned out'.   In addition to that, I saw some amazing parents up close and very personal have kids that we are all still hoping will 'turn out in the end'.

I am now completely overwhelmed with a surplus of information and confused by what gets you to 'good parent' status.  There is not a parenting book I have not read at least once. (Okay, that was hyperbole...but I have read probably 75 through the years.) Some of them were read and notes were taken to make sure it seeped in.  I have done parenting Bible studies.  I have done character trait Bible studies with my children. If parenting could be mastered through book study, I would be a master.  I have lots of knowledge and no clue as to how to implement that knowledge.  I have no role models because I am only seeing 'public' parenting which is different than what is done in private.  I do find myself parenting somewhat like my own parents in times of stress which FREAKS ME OUT. 

My ultimate goal is not exactly that my kids will think I am the greatest parent ever...but that they will be good hearted grown-ups that know they are loved.  That they won't think of parenting as a contest, but as a loving journey to wholeness.

I don't always know what to do and it kills me.  I get scared to death that I am messing up.  It steals my serenity.  Makes me cry.  I feel so woefully inadequate and yet I know God meant for me to do this.  I'd ask for advice, but I don't want any.  There is probably no way I can parent LIKE is doubtful that I am like you so it won't do me any good to try.  I am firmly convinced this is one of those times I have to chisel my own path through the mountain.  Encouragement is always appreciated. Not kicking me when I am down is always a nice response as well.

Now I am off of here...I am going to read a new book I just got in the mail...Parenting Without Regrets.  Fingers crossed that THIS BOOK is THE ONE.  ~guilty, hopeful grin~