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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The best laid plans...

of mice and men are just that, the plans of MEN, not of God. Let me tell you how Tuesday normally looks verses what it looked like today.
Normally, we get up and out of the house by 8:40 to get to Precept. We are there until 11:30 every other week, and until at least 1 on the alternating weeks that we also have 4-H after Precept. This week, being a "fifth" Tuesday would have not had 4-H, so it would have been an early day. Then sometimes we go meet some friends at a park near the Precept church. Then we head home for about 1 1/2 hours before we head back to the exact same town and almost the same place for Mimi's art lesson, which again because it is a "fifth" Tuesday was cancelled. During art, the other kids and I hang out at a friend's and then we go home, I drop them off, and as soon as Eric gets home I am out the door again for sign language class and UIP.
Today, Mimi woke up not feeling well. Now, she tends to be a bit of a hypochondriac, but she really said she did not feel well enough to go to Precept, and so we all stayed home. What a beautiful thing to just REST and be home. TJ did 3 reading lessons, and we finally finished Paddle-to-the-Sea, which was a really good book if anyone is interested, but also is deceptively long. Scott practised piano too, and I was able to roast a butternut squash for soup. Wow, I was feeling productive ;-).
So productive in fact that I decided to go to the park to meet our friends since Mimi had started feeling much better and since one friend had some very happy news that I wanted to chat about. We stayed for about an hour as the sky was opening up with rain and so we all took our leave at the same time. We ironically saw the children of 2 other families of homeschool friends there although only one mother was there as the other one was at the hospital with a friend of hers who was pregnant and having bleeding (the baby is fine as it turns out).
On my way home, I reached for my phone to make a call and noticed a missed call from my husband. I called him back to find out my mother was in the Emergency Room of the local hospital, although he had no other details. I called my sister, who was headed up there to see my mom, and she had just reached my mom and was able to tell me that mom had chest pain and almost fainted and had some muscle weakness, and they were waiting to see the doctor. I decided to go home with the kids and wait to hear the report from the doctor rather than try to find places for the kids to go just to sit up there in a curtained off area of the ER.
My sister called back about 45 minutes later to say they were admitting mom and my husband was on his way home so he could stay with the kids and I could help my sister go get my mom's car from her work. I got to see my mom, who looked fine, but possibly had a TIA (mini-stroke). She was feeling better though. I also found out that our old dog, who belongs to my mom now, went missing. We all thought she got out of the HOUSE, but it turns out that my step-dad was taking her to the vet and did not have a leash on her, and when he opened the car door, she escaped and took off running. He could not get her to come back. He also told me this had happened at 10 AM this was now after 3. YIKES! Oh, and the vet is on a busy road, just minutes from a really busy state highway. There was a really good chance the dog was no more at this point, but I felt like I had to try.
So I called Animal Control, but they hadn't picked her up. Then I left the hospital to go look for her. I remembered that she has a "chip" implanted with her information, but that is so old that it says WE are the owners and at our old address, etc. So my first stop was to go by my old house and leave a business card with my number in case the police or pound tried to bring her there. Then I went by the vets who did not have her, although they did tell me she had been sited up and down this busy connector street. I left my card there too, and proceeded to start calling out her name as I drove. Wouldn't you know I found her almost immediately. And wouldn't you know she turned, saw me, BARKED at me, and then took off running the other direction. YOU have GOT to be kidding me!!! I followed her up and down that street, all around my friend Marie's church, into a nearby neighborhood, etc. for almost an hour. Every time I would get close, she would take off. I finally went to a near by convenience store and bought some cereal (at $6 a BOX) and opened it up to throw it at her and see if I could lure her to me with food. This WHOLE time I was praying to God that she would a)not get hit and b) come to her senses and stop running from me. Well either God's timing finally matched mine, or the cereal worked, or both, but she finally turned, came to the car, didn't run as I opened the door, and then hopped inside. I'm not sure who was happier, her or me!
So I brought her home, borrowed a leash from one neighbor and dog food from another and tied her up outside with some food and water until my sister could come get her (she has a dog and a fenced yard and only 1 child, so it was easier for her to deal with the dog and getting her where she needed to go.
In the end, I missed sign class, but made it to UIP with mere moments to spare.
As I type this, my mom is still at the hospital, but still in the ER as they have no room for her on the floor she should go to-just craziness! I'd go see her, but she turns into a pumpkin after 9 PM, so I imagine she's sleeping anyway, but I'll update you in the morning.
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Monday, October 29, 2007

Still SOOO human

I'm in a funk, and it is apparently of my own making. I had a thing tonight that I was in charge of...a practice to run for an organization I belong to. Some folks were having trouble with one spot that we were going over and over, but they really wanted to get it right. Some others were having trouble with the same thing, but they were content to just not get it and move on...after all, it is Monday night and there is apparently football to be watched. Trying to appease both groups resulted in me saying something that a friend took, I think, to be me bragging (which was NOT my intent), and she took it upon herself to humble me in front of everyone. I am sure that was not her intent, but that sure was the way it felt, and really it was one of those moments your just want to disappear because there was no way to even explain where I was going with my comment and not have it just get ridiculously more drawn out. I still feel this sick to my stomach sort of sensation just thinking about it. I know people have the mistaken impression of me that I am very confident, but really left to my own devises, I would probably just walk away from the entire thing rather than have to face everyone again that I was just embarrassed in front of. And the most ridiculous thing is that I am sure none of them even have given the incident a second thought.
I remind myself over and over again that my worth, my status, my sense of belonging, and my confidence all only come from one place-God. What others think should not matter at all if my heart was right and my intentions were true. God calls us to be willing to lay down our LIVES for Him, surely He is worthy of a little humility on my part. But I want so much for people to like me...I'm still so human in that respect. It should be such an easy thing to just rest in God, but my flesh struggles so sometimes-especially when I feel the whole situation was a misunderstanding.
I'm so blessed that we have been spending so much time in Paul's writings in church. Now there is someone who was willing to be embarrassed for (NOT of) the gospel, in so many ways. Really his whole focus was to proclaim the gospel no matter what the personal cost. I am humbled to think how far I have to go before I really consider ALL things joy-even being unjustly brought low. And I am challenged to chose the most excellent response, not the one that leads to a sense of self-preservation by relying on my own strength or by not trusting God to have my best interests at heart one way or the other.
God has already used this to show me something though about my own feelings for someone else whom I frequently feel like "brags" about their accomplishments. Maybe they too are misunderstood, only this time it is ME doing the misunderstanding. Really, they just state facts. I am the one who takes those facts, finds myself lacking compared to them, and then feels judged by them, when really the other person is not involved in it at all. It's my own shortcomings that cause their statements to be tough pills to swallow-not the fact that they don't have those particular shortcomings. They have plenty of other ones. I know that, not because I judge them, but because we are all "works in progress" as we discussed in the opening of Philippians on Sunday. God has things He needs to work out, to perfect, in all of us, but those things are as different for each of us as we are from each other
I'm so blessed that I have worth in God-so much worth that He sent His son to die on the cross for me-and He would have done that if I were the only person in the world that needed saving. That's true for you too you know.
I'm blessed that I have status as His chosen child. Chosen before the world was formed. He has loved me for eternity. I am that important to Him. So are you.
I'm blessed that I belong to God. I am an heir to His kingdom. Adopted into His family. Daughter of the creator of everything. You are, or can be, too.
I am blessed that I have the confidence of salvation. I keep my eyes on the prize of the upward call in Christ. I will have everlasting life. That confidence comes not from any strength of mine, or any accomplishment of the flesh, but from the very Word of God. It is living, it is active, and it is Truth.
Until tomorrow,
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

R.I.P. Georgette

Well, our "freak of nature" spider had died. And I'm probably about the only one odd enough to confess I am sad to see it go. Actually, my kids are sad too. Not that I really would have gone to far as to LOVE it and HUG it and call it George (or Georgette, in this case), but it really was very fascinating to watch every night, and our back door was bug free too.

I find myself, like Wilbur in Charlotte's Web, hoping that one of her children someday graces our back entrance area with its web so we can again enjoy the evening spinning and catching of a nocturnal orb spider.

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Week in review part 2

I can't remember an hour ago, let alone a few days ago, but here's a good try:

Wednesday: We had a field trip to a local news station. The people at the station were FABULOUS with the kids, and we actually got to sit in the studio for the noon news. The kids all loved it. Oh, and did I mention that, as with anything else, it was more than just "get up and go on the field trip". This was dress the kids in nice clothes and potentially for a cold environment (TV studios have a way of being chilly), pack lunches for 5 people, pick out appropriate movies for Sari and then drive Sari 15 minutes in the OPPOSITE direction to her daddy so he could watch her since she was not allowed to go on the field trip, drive BACK by our house on the way to Marie's to get her oldest two to take with us, drive 45 minutes down to the news station, cram half a sandwich down everyone's throat before walking in the door, be prepared at the field trip to distribute Book-It and Ren Faire stuff to the correct recipients, AND the obvious- take a tour of the station :-). I held my breath during the news broadcast as live TV and children don't always go well together, but no one made a peep, so it was great. Here are the kids clowning around with the "green screen" used for the weather.
We got home around 1:30, but I was tired (I'm fighting a cold) so I took a nap instead of packing up the kids and taking them to PE. That was such a relief, and the nap helped me feel better. I had totally drugged myself up for the field trip so I wouldn't sneeze or sniffle, but the meds were really wearing me out. Anyway, the rest of that afternoon is a blur by now, but the kids had AWANA, so we found everyone's books, learned some verses, and headed out the door for that.

Thursday: I think I actually did something that resembled school with at least TJ, but the kids were playing so nicely in the boys' room and I had work to get done around the house, that really I let them just have a laid-back sort of day. Mimi did NOT have girl scouts, which was nice too, but TJ did have soccer and my husband had to be at church early and TJ's normal ride from soccer to church was sick so I went to his soccer practice and we got to church right when it started. I am confident that we actually did something else on Thursday that invloved running at a frenetic pace somewhere, but someone else will have remind me what it was because I've long since forgotten.

Friday: Where to start? We went to the park for our usual park day, and also to meet a friend of someone from church who drove all the way from Tampa to discuss homeschooling with us. She is not a believer so it was very important to my friend that she meet some nice Godly women. She met us, so let's hope that was good enough :-). Actually, she is now seriously planning on homeschooling, as she says we had an aura about us. Pretty sure that has little to do with homeschooling and much more to do with something else lacking in her life, but at least it is a step in the right direction. God can work on the rest, and if He uses us again for that, I'm open to it. After the park we went directly to a friend's used book sale and the yard sale of another friend and got so swept away that we were 25 minutes late picking up R from school. I felt TERRIBLE! Luckily, their car pick-up line is about that long, so it's not like we were noticeably that late to her. I still apologized profusely. We got home around 3:30 and had to be out the door again by 5:45 for Mimi's art show in a local town.
The art center where her classes are held was having a teacher/student art show and she had a piece exhibited (the tiger in the photo), so we wanted to go by.
Then straight from there to Into the Woods, Jr...a musical that several of our homeschool friends were in.
We took R with us for all this, but not the boys who had a cub scout meeting. They left the house at the same time we did for a totally different direction, and got home about the same time too. Of course, the girls and I also went out for ice cream with Kiwi and her daughter after the show, so that was yummy. We got home around 10 I think, and had to be out the door by 8:30 Saturday morning, but that will get its own blog :-).
At least now I am caught up to this past week-end. I really am seeking to find the balance in everything this week so that I have time for what I want to do (like blog or work on my quilt)and time for what I should do (like make dinner or do the laundry). But I am blessed to have those dilemmas at all. I have wonderful kids, and we have a wonderful life. As we learned today in church, God knew when He chose me that He was getting a work in progress, and this week, I feel very much like my life is a construction zone :-). I'm glad God loves me enough to CARE that I become a better person, a more Christ-like person, even when the refining process is painful.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

The week in review-Part one

I am SURE I will forget something, but since I have fallen so behind in blogging, I figured I should just let you get a glimpse of WHY I never seem to get anything done:

Sunday: husband needed to be there early to start a new recording system (which failed miserably since one of the components did not work). I learned at church that one of the scheduled nursery workers could not be there, so I (in a moment of insanity) volunteered to help as I have just recently completed Philippians as a Precept study, so I figured if ever there was a time to miss a message it was now. I thought I was volunteering for the babies...I ended up helping with the toddlers...all 13 of them. There was another mom in there too, and a dad came to help for a lot of the time, but it was busy busy busy. NOT my calling, but fun for a rare day now and then. Then we went to the always healthy SONIC for lunch since lunch options at our house were non-existent. After a nap to attempt to make up for my sleep deprived state, I headed off for a therapeutic treatment and then home just to walk back out the door to go to Walmart to get food stuff for Monday and Tuesday obligations, then home to draw up allergy shots and off to my mom's with Scott to have her give us the shots. Got home around 8:30-just in time to tuck in the kiddos.

Monday: Made mac and cheese first thing and then off to an all day sewing fest at Ann's. I say "all day", but I actually had to leave to take the kids to PE at 12:45 and then take Scott and S to piano from 3:10-4:30, back by my house around 4:50 to get the boys' stuff for scouts (they were saying the pledge of allegiance at a city meeting and needed to be in full uniform), and back to Ann's where I stayed WAY later than I had intended. I did get a little sewing done though, LOL. Oh, and when I finally got home and wanted to crawl into bed, I realized I needed to make food for the morning and so I was up until almost midnight cooking.

Tuesday: Precept in the morning. I had to bring snack for the ladies. I finished making the food in the morning before we left, and planned on arriving around 8:45 at the church. Well, that didn't happen-it was more like 9. I also had JT since his dad was having more testing done that morning. JT and Scott had failed miserably at lacing Sari's shoes in the car, so when we got there, I had to unlace and re-lace them. I set my keys in her car seat while I did that, then got her shoes tied, grabbed her diaper bag, my precept bag, and Sari, and planned to come back for the food. I closed the car door, and went to put my stuff down in my class before taking Sari to hers. Oops...where are my keys? Oh, yeah, in her seat. In the CAR. Which is LOCKED. Have you ever felt sick-to-your-stomach about something? Well, this was one of those moments. Called my husband. He was an hour away. Called Allstate (our AAA alternative). Spent 16 minutes navigating their phone tree (it: state the name of the city, me: "happyville", it: you said, "sadville", if this is correct say one, if this is not correct say get the idea.) I finally got a person, explained my situation, and explained that in less than an hour, 100 ladies were going to be looking for the food that was currently safely locked up in my car, so the sooner they could help the better. The company that came out was GREAT, and was very prompt, but I missed most of the class that morning. I did however get my keys and the food, so there's a reason to rejoice (and I only lock my keys in the car about once every 15 years, so it's not like that is a regular thing for me). After Precept, I went by Aunt Fanny's to take her my Godson's car seat, which she would need in about 30 minutes to get him from preschool. Then home for 2 1/2 hours for lunch and a brief rest before we went back out the door to take Mimi to art and the rest of us to Aunt Fanny's for our weekly 45 minutes of fellowship. Then to the park for the rest of the time until art class ended at 5. Luckily my friends are in the same boat, so we keep each other company while we wait. Oh, and we had good news that Ann is expecting again :-).
After art, we headed home, I ate anything I could get my hands on and then ran out the door again by 5:50 for my sign language class followed directly by UIP and home around 9:30.
Are you tired yet? I am, and it's only TUESDAY, but I have to take a break and blog the rest tomorrow. Somehow, sharing what my days looks like helps me realize the things that don't get done are not purposefully skipped in laziness but just fall by the wayside to make room for the other things I do. Not sure if that's good or bad, but there it is...
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 20th

TJ's soccer game got rained out, which was very disappointing, but my husband made up for it by picking up doughnuts for breakfast which delighted the kids.

The older two and I had to run out the door early in the morning for 4-H's Share the Fun (a 4-H talent competition held for each county). Mimi was doing a "participation" number with some friends. Participation means you don't fit any one age group, so you can't "win", but you do get a certificate and ribbon. She got up that morning, and determined that she was NOT going to do it, so I had to "threaten" her into it. (Not the best parenting style, I know, but I KNEW she would be fine up there with her friends...and besides, if I really DID get rid of all her toys, would that honestly be such a BAD thing?) She ended up doing great, as did all her group. They did the "sign language" to a song they learned at VBS this summer. It is really more one or two signs per phrase, but it is pretty visually, so it worked well.

Scott competed in piano again. We had to sign in by 10 a.m., but he did not compete until close to 1. It was a long wait, but he and Mimi did great other than the fact that it was very chilly in that room, so Mimi spent most of her time curled up in my lap (NOT to the comfort of my tailbone). Scott did a great job playing his pieces-better than he has done at home. It is a hard thing, because a pianist competes against singers, and signers, and dancers, and comedians, and whatever other talent kids want to do. Last year, one girl even showed soccer moves. I have empathy for the judges. The kids get judged on skill but also on "sharing the fun", which was hard for Scott since the piano was situated in the room so that his BACK was to the judges and audience. He still turned to make eye contact between songs, and bowed politely when he was done, etc., but that is the one drawback to piano as your skill if you are trying to look like you are having fun but your back is to the audience.

He ended up coming in 2nd place for his age, and will again go to district competition against kids from 7 counties in the spring (he came in 3rd there last year). He was very excited, and so was I, but honestly, I'm really just pleased that he did the best he could. That he overcame the obstacles enough to place for districts was like icing on the cake. And personally, I think he should have won, but what mother wouldn't say that? I had someone else say that too, so that's nice, but I know ALL the kids work hard to be there, and I am also happy for the girls who won.

We finished off the day with a fall festival at a local church. We have gone to this for YEARS, and the kids LOVE it. It's such a nice church, and we are totally comfortable there, so the kids just go have fun, and we get to chat with our friends. The biggest highlight of the night came in that Sari got to ride a "see-saw" (her word for horse) thanks to our friend S who graciously allowed Sari to take her place as it was the last ride of the night. Sari talked about that see-saw ALL NIGHT. I ride See-saw. See-Saw was big. I like see-saw. get the idea. S will never know what a gift it was for her to let Sari ride.
Hay ride with friends! Sari blends in with her light clothes and her blond hair.

TJ with a funny face ;-)

The BEST thing about much they enjoy each other! Sari LOVES her brothers, and they love her right back.

Sari and Mimi with bouncy house fun.
Here is the "see-saw". Mimi rode too. They LOVED it.
Did I mention there was candy...or that my little lollipop scamp managed to get TWO of them into her mouth without me knowing?
A good day from beginning to end :-). Oh, and Happy Birthday to my cousin MMS.
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Mimi's birthday EVENING

So after our full day of birthday stuff for Mimi, we went to MD "cool" to see our friends perform some numbers from their upcoming show. Here are some pictures from their street side performance of songs from "Into the Woods, Jr."

H's just slightly younger sister G knew the words to every song they did, and was singing along in the audience. It was so cute. And Sari was totally enthralled.

G singing along, Sari doing her favorite thing...sucking her thumb.
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Blogs are funny things

I LOVE having a blog, and I LOVE reading other peoples, but oy! it is easy to either a) become a slave to your blog (and enraptured with reading the blogs of others) or b) let a ridiculous amount of time pass between entries (and reading the blogs of others). I have yet to find the balance, as the fact that I haven't blogged since the afternoon of the 19th should tell you. SO the next few blog posts will be catch-up again :-).
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Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Mimi!!!!

My sweet girl turned 8 today. (On the phone in this picture talking to her Gram for her birthday.) I remember when she was born as if it was only yesterday. Today, inspired by moms I've heard of who tell their children the story of the day they were born, I decided to share with Mimi the abridged version. Ironically, we celebrated her birthday at the same park today that I was at with her older brother while in labor the morning of the day she was born 8 years ago. That did not hit me until after her party there.

Since we were riding in the car while I shared the story, I had turned the radio down to be sure she heard what I said. So I finished the story..."And we went from Miss Terri's office (the midwife) to the hospital, and you were born less than an hour later...17 minutes after they broke my water " (being a doula, we watch a LOT of babies being born on TV, so she is familiar with the process...not to mention she saw her sister be born). "Cool" she answers. "Can you turn the music up?"

So much for waxing nostalgic :-).

We had Mimi's party at the park with all her friends, and it was great. (Oh, K, I am feeling soooo guilty that my husband said you guys are HOME from PA and I did not think to call you because I thought you were still gone...PLEASE forgive me!) Mimi wanted Dirt Cake (pudding and crushed oreos) for her cake, which was wonderful since usually I spend hours decorating their cakes. The dirt cake worked out great for my godson too, since it is also his birthday and we sang to him as well.

(His dad is finally out of the hospital, and mostly out of the woods, but it will be a long recovery.)

We started out the morning with our homeschool group overrunning a local eatery in town. We never thought to call ahead, and they never dreamed that they'd have an extra 50+ people on a Friday morning, but it worked out. Mimi still thinks they all came for HER birthday, LOL, and I hate to burst that bubble.
Everyone else went from there to the Scarecrow Stroll in a local town, but we had an orthodontist appt. as Scott's appliance was falling out of his mouth, so we had to get that fixed. We got done there 50 minutes from the party's start time, and had a 15 minute trip home to grab everything and then 15 minutes back to the same town for the party.
At the party, Scott found and then proceeded to pick up, a baby snake. I am hoping it is a rat or corn snake, but thankfully it didn't bite him so totally identifying it is not life or death, but would be good to know for future reference.

Mimi was all smiles after her party and we all agreed that it was really nice. The best way to celebrate is just to spend time with friends. She LOVES her gifts, and has tried on all the clothes, is wearing her new earring and pj's and her sister Sari is going to TOWN with the magnetic dolls Mimi got. I mean, she has it ALL going on. Such a little mom she is!
(Mimi opening her presents, with TJ and Sari right there in the mix with all Mimi's girl friends.)
We ended our day BACK in that same town for an evening street party. Well, that's what it was supposed to be, except that apparently the city doesn't want the celebration anymore, but the Chamber or the Merchants don't want to give it up, so it was a pseudo street party. Some of our friends (Marie's oldest two and Aunt Fanny's oldest) were singing with their theatre group, and we all went for ice cream after. I think the blood sugar level was through the roof today, but my kids all went to bed on time, so it's not all bad!
I'm so blessed to have Mimi as my daughter. She is really a beautiful girl inside and out. And she LOVES the Lord, which is so amazing to witness. I'm so glad God chose US to be her parents.
We love you Mimi!
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Moscow STATE? Circus

DO you remember wanting something soooo much as a child? I do. And I still remember the one thing I really wanted but never got-a snoopy snow cone machine. It must have made my list for YEARS running, but never appeared under the tree. And now, just for the sake of all those other adults deprived of the joy of owning a Snoopy snow cone machine, they have reintroduced it. Somehow, I don't see myself getting one now either, but this time it's because I understand the limited enjoyment it would bring, and I'd rather use my ice cream maker, LOL.

This past Saturday, my daughter had one of those moments where she wanted something with all her heart. (And no, I don't believe children should get everything they desire-not even by a long shot, but sometimes, it's just fun to be able to make their dreams come true. Even God in the Bible talks about giving good gifts.)
Anyway, Mimi wanted to go to the circus. See, this past spring, we had tickets to the Shriners circus that my step-dad bought for our family. The week-end it was held was not a convenient one, but I tend to let guilt dictate my life, and so I felt compelled to HAVE to go even though we did not ask him to do this for us. We drove over an hour down there, and because of construction at the facility it was at, it's start was delayed. A LOT. Always good to punish the punctual for the sake of the tardy (yes, that's sarcasm), but that's another blog entirely. When the circus FINALLY started, we were only able to stay for one act as I had a concert I had to be at and we had to leave. My kids were great about it, but apparently that limited exposure left Mimi wanting more. (What almost 8 years old girl can resist someone twirling over 100 hula-hoops or doing tricks with Pomeranian puppies?)
Well, in the mail about 2 weeks ago, we got buy-one get one free coupons for a circus that was coming to our town. Mimi paraded them in to me Saturday morning and said, "Mommy, can we go...PLEASE????" So I looked at the date. Oops! They were for THAT DAY. My first instinct was to say NO!, but since her birthday is this Friday, and she really wanted to go, I told her we'd look at the website. YIKES! Tickets were $22 for adults and $8 for kids. No wonder they were buy one get one. We asked Daddy, who said for that kind of money he'd rather we go see Ringling when they come to town, so it looked like all was lost.
Mimi has been planning this elaborate birthday party that I just could NOT get my head around trying to make happen. I was desperate for an "out" that did not involve squashing her creativity, so I spoke to daddy privately and asked if he would go for me taking a SMALL group of girls from church to the circus IF Mimi would agree that that would take the place of this elaborate party, and we would just have a smaller party at a local park for all her friends. Boy, did she have to think HARD about that. But in the end the draw of the circus won out. So I set about trying to round up this small gaggle of girls for an event taking place 5 hours from then. It must have been a God thing, because they could all come. AND, my friend Aunt Fanny came to keep me company and help me laugh at...I mean enjoy...the acts, LOL.
I felt bad at first about posting this, since I know so may of our friends read this blog, and if money grew on trees (and I had had a little more notice) I would have loved to take ALL the girls, but your daughters are no less loved by us if we didn't take them, we just used the church girls (and our neighbor R who will be in school on Friday) as a place to draw the line so we could still make the mortgage payments.
Going up the bleachers, Mimi commented that this was her BEST BIRTHDAY EVER...and that was before the show ever started. She was REALLY psyched!

Here are the girls just before the show began.

I have to share some funny pictures and some funny observations too:
First, the entire cast is only about 10 people...and that includes the tech guys. The Ring Master was also a trampoline jumping clown who also set up and broke down his trampoline WHILE MC-ing. He was great, but the lack of personnel and thus the double duties of the cast and crew kept Aunt Fanny and I laughing.
Ring Master/Clown/Trampoline Artist/Salesman

The hula hoop lady had them hoist her up in the air in her thong (thank goodness the hula hoops cover a lot) and she twirled while elevated. Did I mention that she was "hoisted" literally by 3 guys on the other end of the rope. It was funny to watch them lower her down as their speed accelerated with every forward step they took...Oh, and she doubled as the face painter before the show and at intermission.

This picture is of "Princess" Anastasia who balanced a sword on her forehead and then climbed up and down the ladder. Then she did it with a bowl of flowers on top of the sword. Then...FIRE in a bowl on top of the sword. WOW. At least that was the girls's genuine response. As for me, I was most impressed that she could climb the ladder in HEELS and without looking. AND, my neck hurt just watching her hold hers back for so long. Oh, and did I mention she also was the trapeze artist...except with only one person, it really makes her more of a "big swing high up in the air" artist, LOL.

The FUNNIEST part was how they, after charging such ridiculous prices at the door, still felt the need to push every conceivable thing to buy inside. First, when you entered, there were jumpy houses. They were $3 per jump per person, or $10 per person for an unlimited use armband. THEN, they were selling popcorn, nachos, drinks, and cotton candy. And TOYS...inflatable ones, light up ones, you name it, they were trying to sell it. The ring master even pushed the light up toys during the show. Did you know they had a "Pirates of the Caribbean" light up sword with real sword fighting sounds??? Well they do, and of course the circus is the perfect place to sell it. And the light up spinning globe that plays the American Idol music. And he demonstrated all this through his lavaliere microphone. TOO funny. They also had the face painting I mentioned above. Being frugal, I did buy one cotton candy for the girls to share, but when they asked about face painting, I told them I love them all just as much as I love my own kids so my answer to them was the same as I would tell my kids...NO! But Aunt Fanny, ever creative, whipped out her pressed powder and lipstick, and the girls squealed in delight.

Cost of using makeup from AF's purse to do our own "face painting"? NOTHING

Memories from the girls getting their faces' painted? PRICELESS

Just a few more comments as this is getting LONG. The funniest thing they were selling by far was pictures with Sponge Bob and DORA. but this was not just regular Dora, this was elephantitis Dora. Not intentionally, but because they obviously used the child of one of those 10 cast/crew members to wear a costume that was meant for a short adult. And it showed. I HAD to take a picture. It still makes me giggle.

Elephantitis/no neck Dora:

And something was wrong with the nose on the costume. It's hard to see, but it was a small bead of hard shiny plastic, and from a distance, I thought at first that Dora had a nose ring. I still can't figure out why it looks that way, but it was much weirder in person than these pictures show:

Two more things. First the name of the circus was the Moscow State Circus. When did Moscow become a state, either here or THERE? Just a question...

Lastly, I really do love these girls, and all of our friends' kids. They are like extended family, and some of them have literally grown up in front of my eyes. This one here, Aunt Fanny's oldest, has just so become a pretty young lady with her own sense of style and (and idea of what is funny/embarrassing behavior, LOL). I wanted this picture without the food in it, but by the time the camera compensated for the low light, there was the food time and time again, LOL. Gorgeous, isn't she? She has a supermodel type look going for her.

Oh, and the food leads me to one last thought. I told Mimi that we would not have a cake at the circus as there just wasn't enough time to pull that off. She was fine with that, but of course as we were leaving, and after sitting through them hawking every imaginable food through the whole show, the girls were hungry. SO what does Aunt Fanny produce, but peanut butter bars in her car from the night before, LOL. They were no worse for wear after their over-nighter in the car, and so that became the birthday cake.

And the circus really wasn't bad at all. The girls loved it, and so did Aunt Fanny and I, just for different reasons, LOL. For something that came to our little town, it really was pretty good. But the best thing was it was my little girl's dream come true.
Oh, and Mimi STILL thinks it was her best birthday ever.


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Monday, October 15, 2007

Overheard while shopping...

Okay, so I am doing this with Sari on my lap, and there is running commentary coming from her, mostly concerning the pictures on my blog that she can't see right now because I am typing the new entry, and I can't see the keyboard, but I'll see what I can do.
First, let me say never send me to do an errand.
The kids were making me BONKERS tonight, and we had movies that needed to go back to the store, so I pleaded with my husband to PLEASE let me take them back. He caved, and off I went. Well, the movie store is near Dunkin Doughnuts, and we needed the kids to really do a great job picking up tonight as baby R will be with us tomorrow, and so I said I'd bring back a doughnut for the kid who cleaned the best. So now I was up to 2 stops (movie store, Dunkin Doughnuts).
THEN, as I get closer, I realize I really should go to Publix, which is right across the street from the other two since I needed lunch we could eat at Precept and cereal for the morning. (3 stops now).
BUT,at the other end of the plaza with Publix is Bealls, and I NEEDED a pair of new black shoes. We wear black for UIP, and last season my one shoe got caught on something and literally ripped, so I had to buy new ones. Those new ones are fine for regular wearing, but NOT for standing in for over and hour straight in one place. They REALLY BOTHER the toe that I have broken twice. So I needed new, new shoes, which just happened to be on sale at Bealls this week, and here I was without the kids in tow, so I'd better stop now, right?
Oh, and I also needed a certain item goes under a woman's shirt in the aforementioned black color since my beige ones were showing under my black tops.
So now my 20 minute trip to take the movies back has turned into an hour and a half shopping extravaganza.
But hey, it gave me a blog topic :-).
So at Bealls, I went in the dressing room to try some things on. There were three rooms, and the first two were occupied by a mother and her young teen daughter. As I was trying on my stuff I hear the mother say to the daughter that she needs her to do something. The daughter replies with a very haughty "WHAT?". Then the mother repeats herself, and the daughter again replies in a sassy hassled voice, "What????" By now, it's all I can do not to say something about not talking to her mother in that tone of voice, but then if the mother isn't correcting it, it really isn't my place to do it either. So now the mother says, "I need you to come here" and the daughter goes. The mother says, "I need you to get this in another size. " and maybe she says what that size is, but I missed it.
The daughter, for all her inappropriate vocal response DOES go get the clothes, and brings them back to her mom. The mother goes in to try it on, and then I hear, "(name), this is a LARGE. I asked for a SMALL." with rather the same tone the daughter had just had with her. The daughter says, "Oh my G__, I'm so sorry" about what I think really was a genuine mistake. Then the mother says, "You freaking can come out of the dressing room because I won't be buying you anything." And it goes on from there...The whole scene just breaks my heart. The Bible is SO clear on what our roles are as parents and as children. CHILDREN- Honor you mother and is so important it is a commandment. AND, obey your parents in the LORD for this is right. BUT ALSO, parents- Train up a child in the way they should go...not tell them once, or stop at a certain age, but TRAIN them in the way they should behave. Also, in your anger do not sin. And especially, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger.
It's all about the heart, and both of these ladies were focused on themselves and not on how to die to themselves. The result was truly grievous and embarrassing to witness/overhear. Even worse, the mom left her dressing room at the same time I did, and was totally gracious and apologized, NOT for what I had just overheard, but for almost bumping into me. Why is it so easy for us to be kind to total strangers, but so hard to deal kindly with those closest to us?

We all have those bad days. Heck, I was having one today...that's why I left to return the movies in the first place. But I was one of those children whose parents said things like that mom said, and I can tell you it is devastating when those that are meant to love you most in this world cut you to the quick. Thank GOD that His grace is sufficient, and that HE is the perfect parent even when we fall short. Please pray for this mother and daughter. They need it.

I have one big blessing for tonight: My friend Marie's husband is finally home from the hospital after a 13 day stay. God has really acted in his life, and it is wonderful to see. He really very nearly died, and yet God still has work for him to do, and we are thrilled to see him doing so much better. It will still be a long road to full recovery, but he's alive, and he's home under his own roof tonight, and 13 days ago, no one could have been sure either of those things would ever be true again.
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Friday, October 12, 2007

So remind me again...

How do you dress when it is 60 degrees outside??? This morning, for the first time since, well, I don't know when, it was in the low 60's outside. My kids reacted by putting on their parkas. Really. I have pictures:
Scott. Note the bare feet :-). Secretly, I think he just enjoyed having a reason to where the winter coat we bought him in NC last year.

Okay, no parka for Mimi, but note the long sleeves/long pants and HAT on her head. She was TOTALLY serious about feeling the need to be dressed like this.

TJ, my cold weather loving child. No wussy winter gear for him!

Sari, who I think just loved the chance to wear her coat too. Note the one glove/Michael Jackson look. That's because last night darling TJ "accidentally" slammed her pinky in his bedroom door. It is twice it's normal size today and there was no way a glove was going on that hand. (I'm sure it was an accident. They delight in chasing each other around the house and then running in their bedrooms and slamming the door in the face of their pursuer. We've talked over and over about how someone could get hurt like that but sometimes it actually has to happen before it sinks in. Don't think it will happen again though, as he's not fond of the ROC (the rod of correction), so I am hoping that "game" has finally come to an end.)

It's funny, because today was a day just like summer is when we go to upstate NY, and the kids totally LOVE that weather, but I suppose after months of the heat index being at or over 100, a 40 degree drop to 60 does feel down right chilly.

Still I had to share the pics, and give you a laugh at their expense. Take extra notice that Scott and Sari have the whole parka-on-top, shorts/diaper on the bottom look going on, which just makes the whole thing even funnier to me :-).
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In God, there is no coincidence

So I'd love to tell you that I am such a "student of the Word" that I look ahead at what our pastor will be teaching about before the actual service that he teaches on it. I'd love to say that...but I can't. It is a sincere desire to be able to say that someday though, but for now, I confess that reading ahead in the whatever book we are covering in church is usually not something I do. (DO NOT be mislead though in thinking that means I don't read the Bible, I just usually focus on other books since our Pastor so rightly divides God's Word. Nor should your Sunday morning exposure to the Bible be all you get for the week.)
So I posted my blog yesterday, and then later went to church for our midweek teaching. We are in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, and last night's lesson started with verse 11. It reads:
I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually, I should have been commended by YOU, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody."
If you are lacking background, let me fill you in. This is a letter Paul is writing in response to some missive he has received from the Corinthian church. It seems there have been some "apostles" who have come to Corinth, a church that Paul planted, and made accusations about Paul not being as real an apostle as they are, and generally trying to undermine his credibility. Paul responds in a manner most uncomfortable for him by reminding them of his history and the very real afflictions he has endured on behalf of the Gospel. This "boasting" of his credentials is what Paul is referring to as foolishness, and the fact that they have been swayed by these other "apostles" is why he says they have compelled him to it. Even in his boasting though, he prefers to boast of his own inequities saying in chapter 11 verse 9-10:
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore, I am well content with weakness, with insults, with distress, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
(Those verses were Sunday's message, and so timely as my friend Marie's husband has now been in the hospital for over a week, and it's so comforting to know that as James says, we should rejoice in our trails because they not only perfect our faith, but our weakness in those circumstances allows God's strength to shine through.)

So back to last night. I tend to be okay with the face value interpretation of scripture. Paul here says he considers boasting foolishness, but he is doing it because that seems to be the kind of thing they want to hear and is a "language they understand". Then he says, really, if anyone is doing the commending, it should be them since he has clearly shown himself worthy in their presence of all the skills they think him lacking being that we find out in verse 12 that he has performed constantly "signs and wonders and miracles" in their presence.

But go back for a minute. This is where I am so blessed to be under the teaching of a patient God and a wise pastor that God works through. It comes in the IMPLIED stuff that I normally skip over. That's the spiritual "meat" I still need others to cut up for me. Here, Paul says THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMMENDING HIM. We should commend other believers. It's not just "okay", it's what God wants us to do. We should blow their horns for them. We should defend them if they are being wronged by someone else...maligned in speech or in deed. No one should have to boast of their own accomplishments, we should do it for them. And they should boast of their weaknesses. In that way, everyone is both weak (by their own admission and therefore usable by Christ and allowing Him to take the glory when that weakness is overcome) and strong (in what their example means to others and the ways they glorify God by serving others, and in drawing their strength from Christ in whom we can do all things).
Wow. Really? We should commend each other? Isn't that what I just blogged about? And without even hearing this teaching first. And how did it happen that way? GOD! I take no credit for anything intelligent that comes from my lips (or fingers, as the case may be), although the foolishness is probably all mine, LOL. But there are so many times that I have learned to listen to that still soft voice that tells me, "I don't care what you thought you were going to write about, this is what I have to say through you." Over the years, I have literally sat at the computer to type one thing, and ended up with something totally different. I started yesterday's blog out saying it felt like I was tooting my own horn because it DID feel that way, and I'm not comfortable doing that, but I just knew that was the message God had for me to type. In the end it's not about me at all, it's about obedience to the ENTIRE counsel of God's Word, and obedience to His very real whispers/shouts/shoulder taps/shaking you out of bed moments (right Aunt Fanny?) in your life.

So really...go, brag about someone, boast about someone, encourage someone, bless someone. Send someone an e-mail before this day is over letting them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them. Forget Random acts of Kindness...make this deliberate and watch how God works in their life and yours.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Casting Crowns

I feel a bit like posting this is tooting my own horn, but I had to share with you an e-mail I found in my mailbox this morning:

Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to this choir. You are a vital part of the choir and very special to me. I can always count on you having a smile on your face and know that it is genuine. Thank you for all the many times you have prayed for me. You and your family occupy a space in my heart and I pray for you daily. Just wanted you to know that.
Love ya,

Wow! How can you get an e-mail like that and NOT have your day be fabulous??? Let me be clear that we should NEVER do things based on the motivation of the reward/praise we might receive for them on this earth. And, if NO ONE ever says thank you for anything or acknowledges in any positive way your actions, but you are doing them to please God based on His calling for you, that should not matter.
HOWEVER, flip that around. How nice was it for me to receive these words today? I can tell you they made me glow. It is more touching to me than I have the ability to express.
And how often do we offer praise to others? Ouch! That's where it gets you doesn't it? So nice to receive, but so seldom ever offered.
That has really been a passion of mine. I really want people to know how much I appreciate what they do and what they mean to me. A few years ago now, I had a "birthday" project for all my friends where I gathered kind thoughts/letters of appreciation about them from others and put them all in books for them to keep. We all decorated the books together. It was loads of fun. Lest anyone think I deserve the credit, the idea came from 2 places. When I sang in Sweet Adelines (there's something I forgot to put in my 100 things...and I even sang in the opening ceremonies to the Atlanta Olympic Games while I sang with them....How do you forget something like that?), we had a retreat, and all weekend long we all wore a piece of paper pinned to our backs with hand prints traced on them called "A Pat on the Back". Then, others wrote on it all weekend, but you could not see what had been written until we went home at the very end. The other part of the idea came from our experience with a Christian spiritual renewal weekend. One afternoon, they handed us a bag and told us to go find a quiet spot to read. Inside the bag were notes that our sponsors had gathered for the weeks before the retreat from others in our lives. The one that made me cry the most was from the youth group that my husband was the pastor of. I STILL have that bag full of notes. That, combined with letters I have received like the e-mail this morning, are the type things that would go in these books. They are for those down days. The ones where nothing goes right. The ones where you wonder if you are making a difference. The ones where you cry out to the Lord, and He brings to you remembrance of that book and all those people whose lives you HAVE touched doing His work.

I imagine that's what Heaven will be like. When you get your crowns. The difference is, then, you get the honor of casting them at Jesus' feet. I know the good I do does not come from me, but is God working through me. Until I can cast my crowns at His feet, I can be assured, even on those "off" days, that just the simplest gesture, like a genuine smile, might be what makes a world of difference to someone.

Lest this at all make it sound like I've got it all together, let me confess that my biggest stumbling blocks comes in first, being consistent with the praise, not just going in spurts, AND affording my FAMILY the same type of recognition I give my friends. Some of you are soooo good at making your husband feel like he IS your knight in shinning armor. You seek ways to make his life easy. I know that I should do that also. Yet I still get annoyed when the garbage does not go out on garbage day. I need to be WAY MORE forthcoming in my praise of him. And my mom. And, yikes! HIS mom. Funny, the Bible says, "Honor your mother and father." NOT "Honor your mother and father until you become one yourself." BOY, do I have miles to go on that one.
Although there are a MILLION more meaningful ways to do it, an e-mail is a great place to start. I challenge EACH of you to go RIGHT NOW to your e-mail and shoot off a quick note to someone telling them how much you appreciate such and such or how great they are at this or that. Go. NOW. Be the reason someone else is glowing...
until later,
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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bring the Rain

I can't believe it's been two days since I posted. So many things to little time to sit in front of my computer. Because I had to post my 100 things on my hundredth post, let me back track a bit to Saturday...or really Friday night.

Friday evening, our roof began to leak. Well, really it began leaking about a week ago, but I never actually SAW it that time, just heard about it and had to deal with the aftermath of wet towels and waterlogged stuff. Friday evening, there was a steady drip (or make that 3 steady drips and one slow trickle) that I discovered in our playroom. I discovered it after it had been raining for quite a while, and apparently the rain had been dripping in for the whole time. My bulletin board that hangs there covered with the kids' art was on the front line. Ironically, it was at just the angle to the drip that it conducted water both down the front and back of the middle of the bulletin board, AND along the entire top edge to both sides where it dripped down and SOAKED the top of my couch in two different HUGE puddles three feet apart. They were starting to work their way toward the middle when I found them. Well, being a bit reactionary, I felt like we (by WE, I mean my husband in the third person way of referring to someone when you are annoyed) needed to be up on the roof making the leak stop NOW. He, on the other hand, was content to wait until the morning and just try to place a bucket under the leak. Did I mention that there were actually 3 steady drips AND one trickle that trailed down the wall and was impossible to put a bucket under? Needless to say, we have different problem solving approaches, and it was not a shining moment for my submissive, selfless, my-man-knows-best, wifely attitude.

Given the tension that night, we never discussed the morning, so fast forward to Saturday morning when I awoke before the rest of the house to go to worship team practice. There, we worked on a song that is getting a lot of radio play on our local station. It is by Mercy Me, and is called, "Bring the Rain." Ironic, huh? You have NO idea!

So for an hour I am singing in a very sincere heartfelt time of worship these words:

"Bring The Rain"

I can count a million times
People asking me how I can praise You with all that I've gone through. The question just amazes me, can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You?

Maybe since my life was changed long before these rainy days, it's never really ever crossed my mind to turn my back on you, oh Lord. My only shelter from the storm. But instead, I draw closer through these times.

So I pray....

Bring me joy, bring me peace, Bring the chance to be free, Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus, bring the rain.

I am Yours regardless of the dark clouds that may loom above because You are much greater than my pain.
You who made a way for me by suffering Your destiny
So tell me.... what's a little rain?

So I pray...

Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free, bring me anything that brings you glory.
And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise you, Jesus, bring the rain.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty (repeat)

Wow! Just amazing lyrics, and an amazing song. My friend Marie's husband is still in the hospital, and I couldn't help but think of her and her situation. I forgot entirely about my very real bout with rain until...

I got home and was greeted with the fact that because my husband and I had a tift the night before, he never mentioned to me that he needed me to take his car to worship team so he could get all the kids to TJ missed it, and it was my fault.

Oh, and have I seen my daughter's eye? Sari, it seems, picked up pink eye either from her cousin who had it last week, or just from being 2 1/2 and having a boo-boo in the corner of her eye. So my blue eyed girl had one disgusting, glowing-red eye and one normal white and blue one.
Add to that the fact that obviously things are NOT patched up with my husband!

AND, the soap making class I was supposed to go to, but which got cancelled the night before, got un-cancelled around midnight, and I didn't check my e-mail before worship, so I missed the memo on that one and missed the first 45 minutes of the class.
Be careful what you ask God for, even in worship...He just might give it to you. Boy, was I feeling the rain.

But I needed the rain. I needed it to realize how awful my attitude had been toward my husband just because he didn't want to hop up on the roof in the middle of a rain storm. And I needed to see how that spiraled outward to all the other events of the morning, all because my temper got the best of me. I needed to be reminded that my rain is nothing like Marie's. I felt wrong being mad at my husband when hers has a life threatening illness. And because God works all thing to good, it is actually good that TJ missed soccer, as he wasn't feeling great that morning, and that has turned into a 4 day weird fever/stomach pain illness that only today has subsided. And hey, since Bam-Bam had just had pink eye, we were able to just borrow his left over eye antibiotics instead of going to the doctor ourselves. And while the roof still doesn't even have a tarp on it, my husband did BUY one, and God has been kind enough to hold off the physical rain for now, so no more rain has fallen to leak inside anyway.

I had a blast at soap making. It is sooooo easy. Here is my finished product:

I had to make it unscented, as I have problems with many scents, but I definitely will make more of my own, and will use essential oils of non-allergy inspiring things to get around that problem. I can't wait to experiment! For these, I used tumeric and something else which is escaping me right now to provide the color. I love the marble look. I also used some foam stamps we had around the house to put designs on the top, since I was inspired by all of our teacher Sparkling Suzanne's samples that she brought for us to see.
So today's big blessing is the rain that God uses to cause us to seek Him more, to rely on His strength and not our own, and to trust Him with the details of our lives.
On a less reverent note, I am totally blessed to have spell-check because without it, you'd never even understand what I just typed. YIKES!
until tomorrow,
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Sunday, October 7, 2007

100th post

In keeping with tradition, here are 100 things about me.

1) I was born in Buffalo, NY.
2) Except for the fact that I had an alcoholic parent, I had an amazing childhood when we lived there.
3) Life got much less ideal when we moved to Memphis, TN, but I love Memphis and still consider it “home”-although every year that feeling slips away a bit more.
4) I have family that I love dearly in the Finger Lakes area of NY.
5) I have always wanted to live in NC, but 2 years ago we go the chance to move there, and we didn’t take it. God was totally in those details, and it made me realize how much I’ve come to be okay with living in Florida because…
6) I have the most AMAZING group of friends. Really, there are not adjectives enough to describe them, or what they mean to me, or the depth of my love for them-although I probably spend far too little time telling them all that. They are an answer to a prayer I never thought to say, and God is so good He gave me better friends than I ever could have thought to ask for.
7) I am hugely insecure, but my friends’ strengths make up for my weaknesses.
8) I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know Jesus, but I spent far too many years not ‘walking in a manner worthy”. My pastor says there are 3 types of people-saints (those believers who have been saved by God’s grace), aint’s (non-believers), and y’aints (as in- you may be a saint, but “you ain’t” living like one). I was a y’ain’t for way too many years. God used my friends, my church, and Precept Bible study to change that and call me back to my relationship with Him.
9) While I know I am forgiven of the events, I have many deep regrets from my past. I’m not going to confess them to you here :-).
10) I was ridiculously smart as a child.
11) I have probably not used that intelligence at all in the way my parents envisioned.
12) That’s because I always wanted to be a mom.
13) If it were up to me, I probably would not have gone to college for that reason.
14) But I did, and I have a degree in Social Science Education with a minor in History.
15) God has blessed me with four wonderful children, and we Homeschool, but very seldom do I ever use anything I learned in college for that. (But I met my husband at college, so it was not at all a waste.)
16) The things I needed to learn, the skills I really needed to be a good wife and mother, those are what I never was educated about.
17) It shows.
18) I was raised Christian, but not with a Biblical worldview. I did not even know what that was until a few years ago.
19) I am trying to instill a Biblical worldview in my children.
20) I have been married for 15 years to a man I love, but sometimes don’t like so much.
21) That’s because I was brought up believing the world’s ideas about marriage and not God’s. I struggle with that daily still. God’s way is so much better, but so contrary to what the world tells us. It is a daily, sometimes hourly, battle to die to my self and always treat my husband the way God would have me treat him. I grew up believing every girl deserved a knight in shining armor. Now I know that I have one…I just have to change my definition of what a knight in shining armor looks like to match what God says, and not what the world says.
22) My deepest desire for my children is that they understand the roles of a Godly husband and a Godly wife, and that they are equipped to be those things. (It goes without saying that I desire them to accept Jesus as their savior, and 3 of them have.)
23) I am the adult child of an alcoholic. It’s what I am, it had shaping influences in my life, but it does not define me.
24) I really don’t drink, but I’m not morally opposed to it. It’s easy for me not to drink because…
25) I hate beer and...
26) I don’t really care for wine.
27) My great uncle helped start a winery. All my relatives drink beer or wine, almost always in moderation.
28) Drunk people and cigarette smokers physically repulse me, although I still love people who have been known to be one or both.
29) I have never fired a gun and I have no desire to.
30) I do, for some unknown reason, think I would be good at archery, and I’d love to learn.
31) I’d also like to learn how to knit, crochet, play guitar, do stained glass, and throw pottery (not like pitch it across the room-that I already excel at. I mean “throw” as in make something on a wheel).
32) I’d love to learn to swing dance and ballroom dance with my husband.
33) I wish I could: play piano better, keep my house clean, keep my house uncluttered, and sing with the voice of an angel, and not just the voice of an angel’s back-up singer.
34) I LOVE to sing.
35) I’m not sure others love to listen when I do, LOL.
36) I am related to Princess Di, and therefore to the future king of England
37) I am also related to Mary, queen of Scots
38) The closest I will ever get to being a princess is being a daughter of the King of Kings-and that’s more than good enough for me.
39) I’ve “assisted in the portrayal” of a Disney character…for 25 whole minutes.
40) I also have driven a Disney monorail. Did you know monorails can speed? Come on, just ask me how I know, LOL.
41) I worked at Walt Disney World for 10 years.
42) Neither of the above was ever my job.
43) The first job they offered me was, ironically enough, driving the monorail, and I turned them down because I was 18 and that seemed like such a hugely responsible position.
44) HAH! Monorails run on a TRACK for goodness sake! So what job did I take? A tour guide for the Disney-MGM Studios. Did I mention part of the job was DRIVING A TRAM 6 cars long, NOT on a track, loaded with 200 people, around a backlot frequently occupied by production vehicles?
45) I LOVED my job, and all of the ones I did at Disney. I even became a trainer and taught others how to drive that monstrosity. For one week, while you are training them, anything they hit with the tram goes on your record. My trainees NEVER hit anything.
46) My last job was my favorite. I was a Senior Program Facilitator for the Disney Institute/Disney University. I taught behind the scenes tours, corporate training classes, and just public interest type stuff like….
47) I actually taught a class on Architecture, which I knew nothing about, but I’m a quick study. Just ask me what a scupper is for!
48) I know a ridiculous amount of useless Disney trivia, like Donald Duck’s middle name.
49) I have no problems speaking in front of people, even large groups.
50) I have HUGE problems speaking to people one on one.
51) My friends don’t, and they all cover for me…did I mention how wonderful they are?
52) I have been a reporter for a cable news station. I HATED it!!!
53) The girl who did my make-up for senior prom is a movie star now.
54) I don’t have a favorite color.
55) I hate almost all televised sports. I’d rather watch paint dry.
56) I have never been popular.
57) I was a sorority girl (Pi Beta Phi). Even sororities need a few smart girls. It was such a different experience for me, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have lifelong friends from Pi Phi.
58) You know that dream where your teeth are falling out? It has happened to me in real life. While eating a piece of candy corn. At work. When I called my dentist, they wanted to know if it was an emergency. I said, “I’m holding a large piece of my tooth in my hand, so yes, I’d say it is an emergency.” They replied that the soonest they could get me in was 2 weeks. I switched dentists.
60) I have horrible teeth. I had my first root canal/crown at age 23-I’ve had 2 more root canals and 3 more crowns since-but no more broken teeth.
61) I started going gray at 22. Just this morning, my husband said, “Look down.” When I did, he said, “You are going SILVER. It looks like you have PAINT in your hair.” Yep, thanks a bunch for THAT one honey! Thankfully, at 5’9”, most people still don’t notice because they are not looking at the top of my head.
62) I dyed my hair for over a decade.
63) Now I’ve gone all natural-natural haircolor, natural hair style, natural skin care and hair products, natural deodorant, natural toothpaste…the list is endless.
64) I don’t even wear make-up, but I never did that anyway.
65) Except for shell collecting and long walks at sunset, I HATE the beach.
66) I HATE sand, especially in my food, in my mouth, on my body, in my hair, under my fingernails….
67) I also HATE salt. Not just salt water, but really anything salty. It’s the bane of my husband’s cooking and eating existence.
68) I LOVE taking pictures.
69) Beyond pointing and shooting, I really know very little about photography however...
70) I think I am pretty good at it.
71) Though I know I shouldn’t, I deeply desire to be the best at something, anything, but I never am.
72) I am learning to be content in all circumstances, even the one above.
73) Secretly, I worry that I am screwing my kids up for life with my unstructured homeschooling approach. It’s a throwback to my very academically oriented school days.
74) Spiritually, I know that if the ONLY thing I taught them was about their Creator, and the only thing they ever learned was to accept Jesus as their savior, love Him with all their heart, and have a real, personal relationship with God through prayer and His word, that would be more than enough.
75) But while they are in this world, they still need to be able to balance a checkbook, so therein lies my struggle.
76) I have ALWAYS been entranced with the lights of an airfield at night.
77) I love to bake. It shows (on my less than girlish figure).
78) I have never felt thin.
79) I now realize I was thin once, and that all measurements, including weight, are relative.
80) I am a doula-a professional child birth labor coach. I have a passion for teens especially. But I recently let my certification lapse since I feel like God has called me to other ministries at this time in my life, and since certification is nice, but not necessary to helping a woman in labor.
81) I excel at debate.
82) I LOVE writing and I am a decent writer.
83) I was a competitive ice skater. Ice Dancing was my thing, and I was pretty good, but not the best.
84) I have a thing for penguins, although I am really trying to rid myself of my collection as they are just more clutter, and more to dust. Besides, my kids have their own collections now, so do I really need one too?
85) I did yoga for 5 years. I love it. Just not the new age religion stuff that usually goes with it.
86) I am mildly dyslexic-a fact which I am constantly reminded of as I type this.
87) I have been in 9 car accidents.
88) 2 were my fault.
89) I love to read.
90) I am a perfectionist. Some people turn perfectionism into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I turn in into Organizationally, Completely Dysfunctional.
91) I also love to do soduku, and eat chocolate.
92) I hate to sew because, did I mention, I am a perfectionist and NOTHING ever turns out right for me. I really want to become a good sew-er though.
93) I have a nasty temper. I say nasty things and tend to slam and throw things when I am really mad, which thankfully doesn’t happen much anymore, although a matchbox plane found flight just the other day (no husband was harmed in the throwing, and no children were even awake, but BOY was it a reminder of how far I still have to go).
94) The Bible tells us not to sin in our anger. I really have had to work on that coming from an alcoholically abusive household. It took me years to understand the difference between punishment and discipline, and even more years to get a handle on what that looks like in a functional parent child relationship. God’s perfect example as our heavenly Father has been the single biggest help to me. I understood God so much more when I became a parent.
96) I LOVE ice cream…mint chocolate chip is my favorite.
97) I ABHOR stupid humor like The Office or Seinfeld. Those happen to be the favorite shows of two of my very best friends.
98) I love British humor, and cleverly written TV like The West Wing or Studio 60-both of which are no longer on because the rest of the world abhors cleverly written TV and loves stupid humor.
99) I want to travel before I die. I am desperate to see the Holy Land, especially with Kay Arthur, who teaches Bible Study from the actual locations they took place. I also want to go to Australia, Alaska, Hawaii, and all of Europe. I have never taken a cruise, and would love to cruise the Mediterranean or take a cruise to Alaska.
100) I fall more and more in love with my God everyday. His word is so rich, so current, so timely, so perfect. I love my church, which is the most humble group of genuine servants you have ever seen. I love that my pastor cries every time he prays, and that his wife makes me laugh every time we talk. I love that my kids BEG to go to church, and that it is a body of believers truly united by love-the agape kind. I love living in a country where I can worship my God freely, and I love that He is jealous for me. I love that He created me to be a help meet to my husband and the beauty of that position. I hate that I have spent, and sometimes continue to spend so much time “kicking against the goads”, and I treasure all the things my God has for me to learn and all the things He has for me to do. I love my children, my husband, my friends, my family, but most of all I love my Savior and my Lord.
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Friday, October 5, 2007

Budding artists

Art lessons have begun again! Mimi's teacher is AMAZING. The results she can get out of these kids just blows me away. As a homeschooler, the question of how to spend your money is always at the forefront of your decision making, but how can you NOT appreciate anything that yields results like this:

Sari, never to be outdone, loves to "cah-ee" (color) everytime we sit down to do schoolwork or anyone is doing anything artsy, and this is what she produced the other night at church. She calls these her "ABC's".
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Too funny to not share

This was my napkin from spa day, and I couldn't throw it out without sharing it. I wish the quality of the scan was better because the ladies are really priceless. I can TOTALLY picture my grandmother and great-grandmother dressed like this! And the verse...just perfect!
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Catching up from a week ago...

This is what happens when your precious little girl goes down to othe stream with her brothers, LOL. She fell in the "water" which was really more muck than anything else. Note her socks...they were white before she fell in. Thankfully, we had a change of clothes in the car (there's God in the details for you-we had NO reason to have a change of clothes in the car, but I listened to the little voice as I got her dressed that morning that said, "take and extra outfit" and that obedience paid off). Thankfully, Marie had a damp towel in the car from her kids' swimming at camp, so we got her cleaned up pretty quick, which was no small feat with that icky smelly mud!
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What a mighty God we serve

Wow. My friend Marie and her family just never seem to have normal health related things happen. They never get a cold, a cough, or the flu, but they get IPPT or Glycogen storage disease number 9, or as of yesterday, a "routine" procedure for a gall problem that lands her husband in an ambulance being rushed back to the hospital mere hours after his original procedure and a now ongoing stay in the CCU for pancreatitis. Through all of this though, God's provision has been amazing. Marie's parents were able to come over the day of the procedure to stay with the kids, and so they were here when her husband started to go downhill. Her dad had today off, so they were fine to stay the night with the kids as Marie spent the night in a WAY uncomfortable hospital waiting room chair (CCU doesn't allow overnight visitors). All of our friends were able to drop their lives and pitch in to take her kids to and from their activities and we watched them while Marie's parents drove back to the coast to get the things they needed to stay as long as is necessary. At least 5 people have volunteered to do meals. Marie has developed enough of a relationship with the CCU nurses that they may actually let her sleep in her husband's room tonight despite the rules. Her husband is feeling amazingly better, and she is relieved beyond words (although not as relieved as she will be when he can come home).

God is totally in the details, and we overlook it so often, but it has been demonstrated time and again in the logistics of this latest trial. As my pastor's wife would say, it's chickensnot to think that the Bible somehow promises a life of only prosperity for believers. In fact, we are baptized into Christ's suffering and it is meant to be a privilege to suffer as He did. God uses our trials to perfect our faith. James tells us to consider our trials JOY when we encounter them, not if we encounter them. If you are a believer, and you don't go through trials, there is something wrong. It means essentially that either a) you are a perfectly the person God wants you to be already (and the Bible is clear the Jesus being God made flesh was the only person to fit that description) or b) you just aren't even at a place in your relationship with Him that He can give you those sorts of tests yet. You are still on milk when He wants so much for you to partake of the meat. Be assured we all have dross to burn off, reprobate to give up. And if you can't give it up, well, then the refiner is limited in what He can do with you. Like silver, which is proofed in the fire to be purified, if it won't give up its impurities, the refiner can't use it for his original intention. So too are we to consider trial JOY because the testing of our faith produces endurance (hupomano-to ABIDE UNDER...we abide under God's protection) and let endurance have its PERFECT reward, that we will be found WHOLE and COMPLETE, lacking in NOTHING. God wants us to be spiritually mature, and that maturity is developed by weathering the trials and abiding in GOD during them. He WILL take care of the details-all of them, if you just abide in Him.
And what a pleasure it is to serve such a mighty God as we reach out to people in their distress. The question is, is it just as pleasurable when the person in distress is not your best friend. Would you still rearrange your life for them, or even more, lay down your life for them? THAT is how we are called to live. Wow...I still have so far to go with that, but I'm so thankful God loves me enough to give me the trails and continues to perfect me. I'm proud to be a work in progress-it is so much better than the alternative.
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Monday, October 1, 2007

Oh, Let's gooooooooo

Fly a kite!!!! The kids had fun while Scott was in piano. We get so few windy days here in FL, but we always have a kite in the car, and today, that paid off for them. Scott is loving his new piano teacher, and it's so nice to have a place for the kids to wait besides in the hot hot car in the teacher's driveway. Here, they can roam a bit and the time seems to pass much quicker.

Type some stuff!!! I have so many things to blog, but I'm almost up to my 100 things blog and have nowhere near 100 things on my list, so I feel like I have to economize right now!

Sing my husband's praises!!! I love my husband 'cause he loves to watch chick flicks with me. In the past few days, we've watched Georgia Rule and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I love that while I definitely hold the record for tears shed in any 2 hour time frame, he sometimes gets a little misty eyed too.

Rant and Rave!!! We went to my mom's on Sunday night to celebrate TJ and Mimi's birthdays with family since my in-laws are here just for a few days. They had already sent TJ's gift, some legos that he loves, but had bought Mimi some new sneakers and we needed to be sure they fit pretty soon. TJ had gotten a soccer ball and brought it to my mom's and the kids were kicking it around in the backyard before we did cake and presents. Mimi was doing this with FLIP-FLOPS on her feet, and when I commented on that, my m-i-l said, "Oh, well, better flip-flops than her mess up her new shoes." Oi vey! Yes, it's definitely better to have her potentially break a TOE than mess up her brand new sneakers. I mean, everyone knows sneakers are for show and you don't actually DO anything in them. Especially not run, play, or kick a ball. And especially not if you are a child. And we all know how terribly messy shoes can get in a dry, established-but-new St. Augustine yard with not a speck of dirt showing. Give me a BREAK. Am I meant to keep her from ever wearing them? I definitely will NOT be washing them every night after she goes to bed, so I guess my m-i-l is in for some disappointment.

Have some cake!!!! TJ helped to decorate the "cake"...He was very proud, can you tell?

Read a book!!! The kids LOVE to have Gram read them books. Here are Sari and Bam-Bam with my mom.
I'm blessed that my kids love their grandparents, and their grandparents love them. I'm blessed that God shows me something new to love about my husband all the time-even after 15 years. I'm thrilled Scott likes his new piano teacher and we are blessed that God's timing was so perfect in that as we waited on the Lord.
until tomorrow,
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