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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Am I the ONLY one?

I was at a local Christian family venue for a meeting tonight. I was at the same place last week to review a potential meeting area. This venue offers a place where kids can skateboard, BMX, mini-golf, box, weight train, or play other games indoors and in a "safe" environment. The problem is, while I was there last week, I heard in the lyrics of the music blaring through the skatepark area, "shake your a**". Tonight while we were there, they played "We will rock you" among other worldly songs. I guess my question is, since when am I one of the more conservative Christians, and why does no one else there think that is WRONG? Additionally, the kids were playing a video game on a large screen TV, and the female skateboard character was wearing a bikini top with Daisy Duke shorts, and she gyrated her bottom every time she completed a run. Again, does no one else think that's wrong to find in a Christian environment?

I am fairly liberal. A Democrat to the core. But those things offend my sensibilities. I wouldn't let my kids listen to/play things like that at home, and I certainly am not going to pay an admission fee to have them exposed to them in public. I actually said something to one of the guys there tonight who is pastor of a church that meets there. I'd love to see this venue succeed, but until they stop selling out to worldly values, I won't be spending my money there.

I am blessed because I have become enough of a prude that I actually recognize the above things as wrong. There was a time when I too would have allowed them to go unnoticed. And I'm very blessed to belong to, and be on the board for UIP. It's hard when board members of a non-profit have to disagree, and very easy for the passionate to overrun the others and get irritated with the not-so-passionate. I was very afraid that might happen tonight, and I almost went in there ready to step down. I just didn't have a peace about the direction some people wanted to go, and I wasn't alone. In the end though, God prevailed (imagine that!). We were all able to express our concerns, and speak openly, even in disagreement with each other, but leave there as friends because we were called to remember that we are ALL created in God's image, and we need to love the other people even if we don't agree with them. Now if the whole world could just work that way...
until tomorrow,
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Monday, July 30, 2007

Matters of the heart

In the past two days, I have had to discipline 2 of my children for using unkind words (moron and idiot...where do they even learn those words?). In the past, we have always used tobasco sauce for verbal issues, at the recommendation of our old pediatrician, since it is a food product, but most children find it unpleasant.
I say in the past because my darling daughter Mimi decided to do her unkind namecalling as loud as she could at the home of, and in front of, my in-laws. Believing we need to address this promptly, but also not wishing to make a huge scene and/or cement even more firmly in my in-laws' heads that their granddaughter is being raised poorly, I took her up upstairs and used what generations of mothers have used before me...good old hand soap. I have to say, it's an experience she's not anxious to repeat.
Fast forward to today, when her older brother commits the same transgression. Off we head to the bathroom, and he tastes bar soap for the first time. Sadly, his head is a bit thicker than hers, so later that evening he loses it again, but this time in addition to the discipline, and the same gentle reproof I had given him earlier, and his sister before, (telling them I was washing the ugly language from their mouths like we wash dirt off our body, reminding them that the lips speak what is in our hearts, and reminding them that the tongue is a flame, like they learned in James), God graciously reminds me that He gave us the Bible for just this sort of thing. So I go off to gather my quick resources for finding Bible verses as they apply to particular sins (Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman and Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel) and Scott joins me on the couch after our trip to the bathroom. I had him look up Proverbs 12:18 and the Ephesians 3:29 and we discussed how unkind words wound, but wise words heal and we are called to build others up not tear them down with what we say. Things went smoothly, but the best part was later this evening when I went in to tuck his brother in...
As we walked toward their shared room, I could hear Scott reading. When we got to the doorway, I realized he was reading from the BIBLE. OUT LOUD. WITHOUT BEING ASKED. He was in Genesis reading about creation. And this is how good God is...we had also looked earlier at the verses in James that deal with the tongue because he had studied that in Precepts last fall. Those verses make reference to a fig tree not growing olives and a grapevine not growing figs. We has stopped and discussed those verses to be sure he understood how they applied to the tongue. Then, as I'm sitting there tucking in his brother, he gets to the part in Genesis where God created the fruit trees, each one with its seed according to its kind. I said, "See Scott, we were jsut discussing this in James, how a fig doesn't grow from a grapevine, and here in Genesis you see that it was God's plan from the beginning that each thing would be single minded and have one purpose, and be pure." God is so faithful to give my son two scriptures from two totally different places in the Bible that both say the same thing.
I had told him earlier that his unkind words made my heart cry like he was crying from the soap. Now I told him that hearing him read God's word made my heart sing.
I'm blessed to have such a faithful God. I can't imagine how people live without knowing Him. He was faithful to Scott, but He was also faithful to me, confirming that if I just take the effort to sow in fertile soil, He will ensure the harvest.
still have to blog about the reunion, but that's it for now,
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Sunday, July 29, 2007

I couldn't make this up if I wanted to...

So we drive to my husband's parents' house where we were staying for the reunion. Because we were not ready to leave when we had planned (imagine that :-)), we got there sometime between 9:30-10 PM. All 3 kids (Scott stayed at a friend's for the week-end and had a blast) were still wide awake when we got there. No more than 5 minutes after we walked in the door, my mil says, "Mimi, we need to wash those crocs tonight".


Then she took them into their utility room, filled the deepsink, and scrubbed Mimi's crocs.

First, I want to go on record saying they are dark fushia and they are not even 3 months old. As scruffy looking crocs go, these were pretty darn clean. But not clean ENOUGH!
That's the problem...15 years of marriage later, I still view her hang-ups as criticism of my abilities. Really, I know they are just the things that are important to her so she notices them and has to act on them, but I read, "D-i-l, can't you at least...(fill in with keep their shoes clean, scrub under their fingernails, etc)" into each of her obsessions so that they become about my failings and not her compulsions. She did admit the next day that shoes are a neurotic thing for her and that she used to clean my husband's and his sister's shoes when they went down for a nap EVERYDAY, and then again EVERYNIGHT before she went to bed. Hearing that made me feel better. I realize more and more that it is my interpretation, and not necessarily her behaviors, that cause some of the uncomfortableness I feel in our relationship. There you go, one therapy session down for just the price of gas and turnpike tolls.
I'm blessed my kids have a Nana who desires to be part of their lives, and wants the best for them. And I'm blessed that God is much more merciful and understanding of me than I will ever have the capacity for being with others, but His goodness constantly causes me to measure up, fall short, and then strive to be more.
more to come,
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

I can't imagine dreading anything more...

Tomorrow we will leave for my husband's 20th HS reunion. I am TOTALLY dreading it! There is a family picnic on Saturday, and a semi-formal couples dinner Sat. night. I guess I'll spend tomorrow trying to find just the right clothes for the munchkins to wear, and trying to find something semi-formal for me in my "I've been a mom for 10 years and 5 dress sizes, but the fanciest thing I ever wear is a skirt for church" wardrobe. I don't even think I own pantyhose anymore. YIKES! Guess I have some shopping to do.
I am horribly inept at meeting people and making small talk, so I'd really rather have my wisdom teeth removed again than go to this thing, but anything for my husband...
I'm blessed though to have a husband at all, and to have the chance to glimpse these moments from his life before we met. And, I'm blessed that it's midnight, and I finished the book that must not be named just 15 minutes ago. It was great, a perfect ending, and very affirming to my anti-HP friends that there is clearly good and evil, and the right side prevails, but all that is a topic for another blog entirely, especially on that isn't being typed at midnight, LOL.
until Sunday, probably,
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Failure to blog

ARGH! I already failed at blogging every day, and I just started :-).
To my defense, I was busy reading a certain book-that-must-not-be-named, because in some of my circles it causes quite a controversy.
Last night, my husband and I went on a date to the movies in the first time since...well I can't even remember. We saw a certain movie-that-must-not-be-named. After paying $17 for the MOVIE, another $15 in food (we didn't eat dinner first so popcorn, a hotdog, a coke, and snow caps were our dinner), I can't imagine a) doing that with any sort of regularity, or b) doing it at all if we were also having to pay a babysitter. Instead, we swapped services with my sister. She and my bil went earlier while I watched bam-bam for them, and they watched our 4 while we went last night.
I want to be TOTALLY clear that I LOVE my nephew. He's the best thing since sliced bread (besides my own kids). BUT, to call him bam-bam is really no exaggeration. He has energy power companies only wish they could bottle. What a cutie though, with brown gently curly hair, bright blue eyes, and dimples that you just want to pinch, they are so cute.
As an added bonus, we ran into my husband's old roommate, who is our oldest's Godfather. We haven't seen him in ages, and it was great to talk to him, even if we only had a few minutes.
I'm blessed to have family that lives close by, especially to have a nephew that is only 3 months older than Sari, so they are best buds. The two of them together just make you smile.
until tonight,
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Got it!

For those of you who can't sleep without knowing, I removed the whisker last night, so by tomorrow morning it should reappear again, ARGH!
Tonight will be short. I just had to say that my oldest is going to cub scout camp this week, and it seems to me he gets older and more mature each day when he gets home. It's like he's growing more in those 8 hours than in the past 8 months. It broke my heart though when he told me that yesterday all the boys except the 3 from his troop laughed at him about something. I was (and really still am) so socially ackward that I just hurt for him that he is the same way. But he's good natured about it, much more so than I was, and he doesn't lack for friends, and he never lets the fact that he's not cool stop him from being a friend to everyone and anyone he meets, and I guess that's what makes me all the more sad to hear about people making fun of him.
Tonights blessings center on that theme of friendship. I'm blessed that God is faithful to provide real, good, close friends for my son to protect his genuine nature from the heartache of worldly rejection. I'm blessed to have great friends myself whose strengths always make up for my weaknesses, and then some. And I'm blessed to have close friends that know they can call me in an emergency at any hour of the day or night and I'll be there. I'm even more blessed because I know they'd do the same.
until tomorrow,
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Monday, July 23, 2007

Heavenly questions

I have to confess that when I get to heaven, I have a fairly lengthy list of things to ask God about. Things like "What really happened to the dinosaurs?" and "explain the 60's to me?" (okay, not really that one, but you get the idea). But it's safe to say the question that tops the list at the moment is, "So why exactly do women start growing facial whiskers in their 30's?????" I mean, there has to be a reason, but darned if I can figure it out. I have this one hair that grows by the side of my mouth that I just can NOT get rid of. I pluck and pluck, and it just grows back a day later. I even got the root last time, but 24 hours pass, and boom, there it is again. The worst part is, NO pair of tweezers will touch it until it is about 4-5 days of growth old, and by that time, I might as well have a sign that says, "Yep, that's a lady-whisker you see...I'm just hoping 2 more grow in so I can braid them." Anyway, it seems like all I do is rub my finger over it from the moment I pluck it until the moment I pluck it the next time, constantly trying to gauge whether it's long enough I can remove it. Having a whisker to deal with would be fine if that were the only one, but it's invited all its friends too, so now I also have one that grows out of the end of my nose and one that grows on the bottom of my chin. Since it appears they are going to be permanent fixtures for as long as God lets me walk this earth, it seems like I should probably name them or something, but for now, it's an all out battle just to keep them plucked before anyone else notices them. I'll name them once my eyesight fades and my hands get too shaky to pluck them without doing serious bodily harm. Or maybe by then I'll either forget they exist, or the wrinkles will be so deep they will envelope them anyway, LOL.
I remember as a child making fun of my mom for things like gray hair and flabby arms, and her response was always, "You just wait." Sadly, I didn't have to wait long. Now the waiting game comes in seeing how long it takes before my kids notice these things on me. At least I already have my mother's witty come-back ready :-). It may not be the funniest thing, but like death and taxes, it's totally true and totally inevitable.
But I'm blessed that I have hair growing anywhere, there are some out there who don't. More importantly, I'm also blessed that I know my Savior, and I know heaven is a when, not an "if" for me. And I can also hope that my glorified body will be whisker free!
until tomorrow,
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Degrees of Love

I hope everyone who is a mother out there will understand me when I say you always love your children, but there are days when you REALLY love them, and today was one of those days :-).

It started out with our totally changed plans from last night. On the one night of the year that we plan an outdoor event, God, in His infinite wisdom, gives us a night of severe thunderstorm warnings and endless rain. So much for my 10 yo son's mini-golf party! So instead, having created no plan "B", we ended up with eight 10 year old boys HERE in my uncleaned house. Thank goodness cleanliness is not something 10 yo boys generally fixate on, LOL.

All things considered, the party actually went really well. We let the boys play 4-player rated "e" games on the Game Cube and the fact that we have a ridiculously large TV (It's 50 inch and NOT a flat screen, so it's basically like having a small refrigerator in your living room) certainly helped those that weren't playing to feel involved. We also let them take turns playing benign games on-line on the computer in the living room, so the whole party occured in 200 square feet, and we all lived to tell about it. We consumed our mini-golf course shaped cookie-cake and drank capri suns, open gifts, and played games, and everyone had a great time, and NO ONE even remotely expressed any disappointment over the change in plans, least of all the birthday boy himself. It was one of those proud mom moments. He just totally excepted things, and never once even hinted at disappointment over the way things went. Oh, I love him for that and so much more.
(We had one friend stay the night since he lives a fair distance away, but goes to church at the same church. It gave him and my son a chance to bond more minus the outside influence of their other friends, and I think they both enjoyed it.)
So back to today, we actually got 5 kids dressed, fed homemade waffles, and out the door on time to church. The girls even wore their matching mommy-made couldn't have gotten more perfect. Then, my kids all left church willingly afterwards with no real struggles over not wanting to go yet (you have to love it when your kids beg you NOT to leave church). Mimi went home with a friend, and the boys didn't fuss about it. They got the rare treat of playing game cube for the afternoon, and there were NO brotherly disagreements!
Then the icing on the cake: the three oldest spent all week at a local church's music camp, and they had their "show" tonight. After the show, I spoke to the directors of the camp, and they both said what a pleasure my kids were. The one in particular could not believe TJ is only 5 1/2 and said he behaved perfectly and has an amazing attention span, and that he must be "really intelligent" (fron her lips to God's ears, LOL). One of the teachers had actually called my home earlier this week to say how wonderful Scott was and how sweet and encouraging he was (that NEVER happens with that particular child...he's not a bad kid, but he never gets singled out for being GOOD). And Mimi as usually was also complimented. The one director actually said, "You must be doing a really great job with them." WOW, are you sure we are talking about MY kids? And the reality check is that if there is anything to be boasted of, it's all God's doing, but their wonderful behavior this week thrilled me nonetheless.
It's just one of the days that I REALLY love them, because they were a joy for me to be around, and also because they were a joy for others to be around. As I held TJ tonight, I told him it wouldn't be long before we couldn't snuggle like that anymore because he was getting so big, and he said, "Mommy, I'll just bend my legs." Sniff, sniff, if only it was really that easy. But he did promise that he would snuggle with me forever. Does it get any better than that?
I'm blessed that I have four wonderful kids. There were times during our 5 years of infertility that I doubted we might ever have any biological children.
I blessed enought to knock my socks off as my m-i-l just called and offered to take Sari every morning for the week the older 3 are doing art camp at our old church. I will actually have 5
"kid free" mornings, and can work toward our goal of turning the downstairs basement into our homeschool space. I NEVER thought I'd get that chance, and here it is. God is so faithful, He answers prayers you don't even think to say.
until tomorrow,
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

One person's mortification is another's affirmation of a job done well

I spent all last night and this morning hoping that my mom never reads this blog, or if she does, that she will know what I say is in LOVE and not the result of some deep seated, unreleased anger from my childhood. It made me question the wisdom of putting out into cyberspace intimate thoughts about family members, and the responsibilities a blog can bring. Which then lead me to wonder how I would feel if one of my kids someday posted about me. Would I feel as mortified as I'm sure my mother would? And that train of thought lead me to realize I would actually just dance and shout for joy if my kids dissed me in cyberspace. WHY, you ask? Because it would mean that they can indeed write more than just their name. It would be positive affirmation that I have NOT screwed my kids up for life by homeschooling them in an attempt to keep society from screwing them up for life (I know there's a great deal of irony there, LOL). Okay, that might be reading an awful lot of accomplishment into one post, but it would hopefully show that they can communicate far more via the written word than their current chicken scratch would indicate. To me, that would be a job well done :-).
I am blessed though, because some people have children who will never be able to write their own names, chicken scratch or no. I'm blessed that today we will celebrate my oldest son Scott's birthday (even if it is almost one month late) with a first ever all boy party and a first ever venue party (mini-golf). And I'm blessed that I live in a country, and a state, that allows me the ability to homeschool my child in the hopes that God won't let me do them more harm than good in the long run.
Here's your thought for the day..."Those that love you don't care (about whatever you get hung up on, from your messy house to your shabby car, to the extra 10 pounds you really want to lose, but never seem to get to), and those that don't don't matter."
until tomorrow,
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Friday, July 20, 2007

Family Drama

Okay, so today, I had a long e-mail discourse with my mom about a stranger in need, and she ends it with, "I just thought the women's shelters in the area would be a good idea for you and your friends (to take on for a service project type endeavor) since they house abused families. There was a time in Memphis that I thought we all might end up in one. Mom" ARGHHHHH!!!!! Most people get cute little snippets like, “when you were little, you used to say ‘lasterday’ instead of ‘yesterday’…I get, “Did I ever mention we almost ended up in a women’s shelter when you were young?”.

As I’m reflecting on all of this, I was watching my daughter Sari standing in the window watching the rain begin. As she comments on the rain (and for the first time since the fireworks on the 4th of July doesn’t freak out from the thunder), my first thought is…

the bucket full of worm pee under our worm composter is full, and now it’s raining, the pee will overflow, and all that valuable pee will just wash away!

Have you wet your pants laughing at me yet? That is SERIOUSLY what I’m thinking.

So what do I do? I get up off the couch, hurdle the baby gate with the skill of an Olympian, and head out into the rain to…you guessed it, get a bigger bucket to collect worm pee in.

(I should stop here and explain that we now have a worm composter hanging from our old swingset. I paid $30 for these worms that eat our compost and turn it into nutrient rich soil (worm poop) and liquid fertilizer (worm pee), and I’m determined that a) they will live and b) they will live up to all the hype and more, hence the need to capture the pee [or as they call it “tea”] so we can use it as a nutrient for our organic orange trees for 4-H…I have to confess even in typing all that I feel like I’ve taken a step into the twilight zone…I guess next I’ll be grinding my own wheat).
So back to the pee...let me just say the rain drops were falling with veracity just this side of inflicting pain, and the lightening was simultaneous with the thunder, and it’s at this moment that I decide I must SAVE THE PEE. It’s also at this moment that I realize I AM totally a product of my upbringing (minus my mom's burning desire to rid the world of dirty dishes). The whole "we almost lost our house and ended up in a home for abused women and so we need to value every penny" is the whole reason I am now risking life and limb for liquid worm excretions.
Why is it the traits we like least in our parents/kids are the ones we also find in ourselves? I imagine it’s God’s infinite wisdom. He knows if we get rubbed the wrong way by traits in others and then realize we do the same things ourselves, we are far more likely to extend them grace, where otherwise, we in our fallen state might just lose it with them instead. So what do I do? I lose it anyway, just to you guys, and not to my mom. And that, in a nut shell, is why I haven't blogged before. I'm thinking I really should have 2 blogs-the PC one for prosperity and strangers, and the one with all the things I really should just give over to God anyway, that upon typing it, would magically disappear leaving me feeling both vented and convicted that I need to spend some serious time in prayer and repentence.
Lest I sound petty, I want to list just a few of my many blessings. First, let me say I am blessed to have a mom who is still alive and who can remember things from my childhood, and who does live just a few minutes away. I know there are many people out there who can't say that. She loves my kids and I very much, and we love her too. I also am blessed that it did rain at all, as we have been very dry this year, and we need the rain. I know the people in the plains states who are living in fear of their houses burning down would love the chance to dodge lightening bolts and killer rain drops if it meant they had any reprive from the flames and drought.
Until Tomorrow,
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