Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Beginning of the End

Where has November gone? It's like I blinked and the month was over.

Not just November, but all of 2013.

Tomorrow is the beginning of December. It's the beginning of the end of 2013. What a whirlwind year, but a year of blessings nonetheless.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the end of New Song Community Choir's Christmas season. We will perform our dinner theater on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I absolutely love acting in the program and look forward to it every year. Though there's always a feeling of loneliness on Monday when I realize it's all over for another year.

Today is also the end of BlogHer's November NaBloPoMo. A challenge to post every day of the month.

I actually took the challenge in October as well, so this is my 61st day of continuous blogging.

Tired of me yet?

Yeah, I thought so.

And this sentence marks the beginning of the end of this post. I pray you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving and are gearing up for a blessed Advent.

See you next month!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Diary of a Black Friday Hunter

This is a revised version of something I wrote several years ago. As I no longer have the means (or the babysitters) to go out in the wee hours of the morn, I am denied the hunt for the elusive deal. Based on reports from the field, and from the hubs who was acting as game warden at Target, my observations still ring true.
As someone who cannot recall ever participating in the Black Friday ritual, I didn't understand why year after year people subject themselves to the insanity.

The line stretched, and stretched, and stretched.
(Photo courtesy of Chris Miller)
Ok, I get it; I see now: it's the thrill of the hunt.

 As I stood in line to pay for my $3 coffee maker, I couldn't help but be a little proud of my kill. I wasn't at the doors when they opened and I wasn't the quickest hunter on the Savannah, but I got my prize, and others were now viewing me with a mix of envy and disgust
I made the mistake of hunting alone, however.

Black Friday shopping requires a pride of lions. One woman (or reluctant husband/boyfriend) is needed to stand in line, several other women are needed to surround the herd (the items wanted at a store) and attack from all angles, and one woman (maybe two) is needed to grab a cart and close up the rear. Constant communication is necessary. All hunters in the pride must have cell phones and/or walkie talkies on and at the ready in the case of an item that has gotten away, but perhaps discarded in a remote location of the store.

Apparently rival packs moved in on the shoe department at Belk's, this year. Wedges and flats were being picked through by so many vultures only to be run off by a dominating pride. It was described as carnage.

Will I do this again? Was the blood lust enough to keep me coming back year after year?

To be honest, I don't know. It was an experience and a social experiment if nothing else. It was fascinating to see domesticated humans revert back to a tribal mentality where it was kill (shop) or be killed (return home to disappointed children).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

It Should be Thanks-living!

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. My husband and children made ALL of the food so all I had to do was watch the baby and nap.
I have way more to be thankful for than I possibly deserve. Not only did the hubby cook and bake all day, he's now at work because Target's opening early for Black Friday. What a good man. Love him! I have the love of family and friends, a warm home, fuzzy jammies and a full belly. So many are going without this and every season. Say a prayer for them. Count your blessings one by one and you'll find you too have a whole to be thankful for.
I want to make my life a season of Thanks-living!!

Thanksgiving is not complete without the turkey. We name ours every year (weird, I know), so I'd like to introduce Captain Turkey!

Even though I have four small children, I love using the nice china. I don't have enough of my Britain Castles set, so I supplemented with my great-grandmother's china, lined in 23 k gold. (Notice the Halloween placemat under the gold-laden plate. Fancy, I know)

We finished our delicious meal with blueberry and pumpkin pies.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So Blessed

As I sit here in my warm house, I am reminded of my many, many blessings.

It's easy to get caught up in circumstances. Bad circumstances. But there is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

Take last night for example. On our way to the Thanksgiving Service at church, (in the icy rain) our van started acting funny. The lights and other electrical gizmos weren't working quite right. We managed to pull over and call my out-laws (not family of origin, or through marriage, but family nonetheless) who came to our rescue. We left the van, and managed to make it to church.

Yes, it stinks my van broke down, at night, in the rain, with four hungry kids, and one crying baby.

Yes, it stinks that it's going to cost $300 (that we don't have) to fix it.

Yes, it stinks that we are down to one car that only fits two children, not four.

I can choose to look at the growing pile of negatives and jump right in to a pity pit.

Or I can choose to look at the growing list of blessing that have surrounded this situation.
  1. My husband was with us when the van broke down and no one got hurt
  2. We had folks close by who could come rescue us
  3. Church was that much sweeter because we almost didn't make it
  4. My out-laws completely rearranged their vehicles so that we could borrow one
  5. A sweet, sweet friend slipped us money to help with repairs
  6. The van did not need towed to the shop
  7. It "should" be fixed by closing today thus avoiding keeping it until Monday
  8. I am forced to slooooow dooooown
So my kids and I are safe and warm while the snow pours outside (hearth and home = major blessing). I'm catching up on laundry while having a Star Wars marathon (only the original three, since those are the only ones that matter), and waiting for the hubs to get home.

I will count my blessings not my burdens and be overly grateful this Thanksgiving because I have a whole lot to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Stray Sin at Your Door

"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

There's this cat that showed up on our porch. I told my husband not to feed her. I told him to resist her cute fuzziness. I told him she's going to keep coming back.

She did. And we had kittens.

Sin is a lot like the stray cat that claws at your screen door. On the outside, feeding it seems harmless. After all it's just one cat (one kiss, one drink, one hit, one name-your-vice). What can it hurt?

As we learned, one cat became five cats. And that's a lot more than we bargained for.
What sin are you feeding?

I have said it before and I'll say it again: sin doesn't look bad. If it did, we'd all know to avoid it. Satan is a deceiver, a liar and a really good spin doctor. Take his very first encounter with Eve (Genesis 3:1-6). Satan questions God's only mandate to not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. God told them they could have their fill of ANY tree in the garden EXCEPT that one. (Gen. 2:16-17) He said that when they eat from it they will certainly die. (Side note: I find it fascinating God said, "WHEN you eat from it.." not "IF you eat from it..." Just saying. He knew of their transgression before they transgressed.) The Bible says Eve, "saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food, and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it." (v.6).

Notice it doesn't say the fruit was rotten and ugly. It doesn't say the fruit was obviously poisoned. It says the fruit was pleasing to the eye.

But the fruit was deadly.

Do we enter into sin aiming to hurt ourselves or others? No. We enter in because it's pleasing to the eye, or the taste buds, or the flesh. We enter in because we doubt the validity and warnings of God.

But the Bible also tells us how to stay out of trouble. James 4:7 says to "resist the devil, and he will flee from you." It's like when your little brother has his finger right in front of your face saying, "I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you." If you ignore him, he goes away, but if you give in to his taunts, you make him the happiest little pest in the world.

Not that resisting the devil is easy. It's not. In fact it's super hard, but if we stay in God's word and ask his Spirit to surround us daily, we have a much better chance of doing what's right.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go feed my kittens.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Do I Have To?

I'm going to be honest: I don't want to blog tonight.

It's late and I want to go to bed.

There are several things I would like to write about, and in a few days I probably will write about those things, but it takes time, it takes brain power and it takes eyes that are open more than a slit.

This is a very busy time of year. I've got community choir, dinner theater practice, Eva's Thanksgiving feast, the community Thanksgiving feast, Hanging of the Greens... the list goes on. And I'm not totally sure why I thought I could throw NaBloPoMo in the mix. But I did and now I have to blog...everyday.

It would be easy to not blog tonight. I could totally be in bed right now. But what would that say to my kids? Not that they would ever know, but I would know.
I signed up to post every single day of the month and post I will.
NOW I can go to bed.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Give Thanks

Being grateful is hard especially when things aren't going quite right. But often it's the tough times that we should be grateful for because they mold us, strengthen us, and resolve us.

I am grateful for my Aunt Patty and her blog post for reminding me of that.

It's tough being grateful
When you're a little guy

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's the Little Things

As I mentioned yesterday, the beginning of this week dragged. And dragged. And dragged. By Wednesday I was rejoicing because I was convinced it was Thursday and that Friday was right around the corner.


Not that my week was particularly bad or stressful, but time passed more slowly than usual.

All smiles after a super duper Friday
But yesterday...which was actually Friday...not just a Thursday I wished to be Friday...was a wonderful day. It was a day worth waiting for.

I first met a sweet friend for a walk that lasted three hours. I had no idea it had taken us that long until our babies were indicating they were done! I rarely get to spend three hours with another adult, much less another mom who is going through some of the same trials I am.

While on our walk, we encountered two does munching away on the side of the trail. What a  glorious reminder to slow down for a moment. If we had been powerwalking or more concerned about the destination instead of the journey, we would have missed the deer all together.

After I picked the boys up from school, we went to SAM'S club. It was their holiday open house. SCORE! Free samples galore. I mean, GOOD free samples. Bacon wrapped 'lil smokies, cheese cake, fried turkey, Hawaiian rolls, sparkling grape juice...oh the list goes on. To make it even better, my children (all four of them) were incredibly well behaved!

We got home in time for taco night; one of my favorite nights of  the week, and Uncle Chris came over (even though he said he couldn't). I got to have adult conversations twice in one day!! Wow. I'm still beside myself with giddiness (is that a word? Anyway.)

Even though the night ended with a migraine, which was kind of a bummer, the day was a success overall. I was reminded that it's the little things that make life worth living.

Friday, November 22, 2013


After a week that felt like it would never end, my Friday was pretty fab.

So fab, in fact, that it is 9 o'clock and I'm in bed. 

It's another short post night, but stay tuned until tomorrow to find out what made my day so super duper!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Those Are Not My Jeans!

In the pre-dawn darkness, I went through my drawer and pulled out a really cute pair of jeans. I got in the shower, (a rare treat on a weekday), and proceeded to get dressed, but *gasp* the jeans didn't fit.

I knew they were skinny jeans; I could tell when I grabbed them from the drawer. But these were beyond skinny. These were skinny-mini; not being able to button, kind of skinny.

I was shocked. After all, I've been working out and eating less (Halloween candy). But then I caught a glimpse of the tag.

These were not my jeans.

They were my son's jeans.

Whew! Relief!

So, son, I totally appologize if you went to school wearing "mom jeans."

My bad!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Great Equalizer

While at the doctor's office and anticipating another round of yearly unpleasantness, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror...I looked awful.

It's not that I don't like myself or often think I look bad. It was the gown. That blue paper gown that opens in the front. (It comes with a "belt," but why?)
Photo courtesy of

The ugly gown, with its rigid shoulders caused by fold creases and stiff paper, puts everyone on the same level. I came to realize that it's impossible to look good while wearing it. It is the great equalizer. Every woman, whether she be rich or poor, young or old, pretty or frumpy, educated or dumb as a brick, looks awful wearing it.

Think too highly of yourself? Put on the gown; it'll knock 'ya down a few pegs. Feel badly about yourself? Imagine everyone else in the gown and you'll realize we're all the same.

So thank you, blue paper gown. Not only for providing easy access to my doctor, but for teaching me a lesson. Thank you for reminding me that no matter who we are or where we come from, no one is immune to your uncomfortable scratchiness and unavoidable drafts. And that no one, I mean NO ONE looks good while you're draped around their shoulders.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ten Things

Here are ten things you may not know about me:

1. I really don't like birds. It hinges on a phobia

 2. I used to want to be Asian

 3. I think Thorin is an awesome name for a boy, but it's 18 months too late

 4. I sometimes speak in weird accents to my kids

 5. I have reoccurring dreams about being on stage and not knowing my lines (or my dance moves when I'm performing with N*Sync)

 6. I eat when I'm bored (or sad, or happy, or in front of the tv)

 7. Taco night makes me more happy than it should

 8. I studied Public Relations in college so I could be CJ from The West Wing... didn't happen

9. I used to sing show tunes from the top of the monkey bars, convinced a talent agent was walking down our Nebraska street, and I would be DISCOVERED...didn't happen

10. I'm super needy (and moody)

Monday, November 18, 2013

When the Lesson for My Child is Really a Lesson for Me

Last night, Davis came home from Christmas play practice whiney and disgruntled. During the program, the children were cast as the animals who played a part in the birth of Jesus.

Davis was to be the "sheep with the curly horn." An animal he deemed to be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. His brother plays a camel who got the first solo and, at some point in the play, gets to bring in a giant candy cane (though not as a camel). His sister gets to bring in a present and then plays a cow who provides the Christ child with her manger.

 He plays a "dumb old sheep" and didn't know if he even wanted to participate anymore.

Um. That's a big negatory, son!

My husband and I pointed out his poor attitude and that everyone was needed to make the program a success. I let him know that I was one of the few without solos in the cantata, but that wasn't affecting my participation. I even threw in the whole, "There are no small parts; only small actors," bit.

We explained that without the sheep providing his wool, the baby would have frozen. Without the sheep, there would be no shepherds to hear the good news.

"Cool! I really DO have an important part after all!"

Wow...that was easy.

I give my son good advice. Sound advice. Advice that I don't follow.

If I were to receive a small part in the Christmas play, I would most likely take it as an insult and feel similarly to the way Dave felt. Tell me there are no small parts and I would give you a gigantic eye roll. I brought up the fact I didn't receive a solo because I was bitter (but don't tell my kid that).

Why, like Alice in Wonderland, do I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it? Why am I such a hypocrite?


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, pride can be defined as "a feeling that you are more important or better than other people." The Bible describes pride as something the Lord detests. DESTESTS!! (Proverbs 16:5).

I am incredibly insecure and there lies the root of the problem. A secure person, a confident person, doesn't need to look down upon others or their gifts because they are totally comfortable with who they are. They don't need to look to others for their worth, because they KNOW they have worth.

As a child of God, I HAVE worth. I am a daughter of the most high King, but my flesh feels like nothing I do is good. My flesh tells me I have no talents and that that I will forever wander without a purpose.

Satan loves pride because it takes thoughts that should be focused outwardly and upwardly and focuses them INWARDLY. (Pride was the sin that got the devil in trouble in the first place.) Before long pride becomes a stronghold. And a stronghold gives the devil a foothold

Now, I love that word: Stronghold. It's one of those words you can just see. Moms, you know that grip you've got on your baby as they're trying to wiggle away during a diaper change? That's a stronghold. Imagine being bound by shackles and chains. That is a stronghold.

Pride binds me and keeps me from being the person God wants me to be. Instead of being happy for others when they get a good part, I'm jealous. Instead of worshiping with the song while a soloist sings, I wonder why in the world my husband got a solo when he'd never gone to practice. Don't I DESERVE a solo?

No, I don't. I'm not a strong singer and I'm not "deserving" of anything. But that's pride for 'ya.

My next order of business is to recognize the icky, selfish thoughts and turn them outward. Turn them upward.  God loves a humble heart. Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.” This is the antithesis of pride.

Now, if only I can follow my own advice...

Sunday, November 17, 2013


There comes a time in  a person's life when they have to come to terms with things they've been avoiding. Maybe it's the realization that a dream will never happen. Maybe it's the end of a relationship. Maybe it's the cold hard truth of an addiction or a family member's addiction.

Whatever it is, when you finally sit down and say, "Ok. It is what it is," you find it hurts. It hurts with a real and tangible pain. Even if it's something as simple as thinking you were a pretty darn good cook and finding out, wow, you're REALLY not.

The truth hurts.

But the truth is necessary.

In order to become authentic versions of ourselves, the truth has to be identified. Living behind masks and half-truths only serves to make us unhappy and want what we can't have.

We're not content with our lot in life until we can step back and take an honest assessment of who and what we are. This is a process; something that takes time. Again, it hurts. It hurts a lot, like crying in the fetal position on your bathroom floor kind of hurts.

But with pain comes healing. And with healing comes joy.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Some days there is just not enough patience to deal with a whiney baby, homemade slime ALL over my kitchen and a fevered girl.

Some days it seems like everything is an uphill battle.

Some days you have to FORCE yourself to find blessings.

Today is one of those days.

If Patrick Star and I were friends, I would totally ask him if I could crash at his pad for awhile. (For those of you who don't follow SpongeBob, Patrick lives under a rock). Hiding under a rock sounds awesome right now.

This song is my prayer today.

I am so worn...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Me and My Girl

Little Eva's not feeling well tonight. Daddy took the boys to a fall dance at their school. So the little miss and I are going to snuggle, eat peppermint ice cream, and watch the Sound of Music.
Brand Spankin' New

She was home and getting used to us

Have you seen my cheerio?

Look what I can do!

I love all my children but she holds a special place in my heart being my only girl.

They grow up so fast
Ain't she cute?
I know she's going to give me headaches, I know she's going to try my patience, and the thought of teen years frightens me more than you'll know. But she's still my princess, my angel, my one and only DAUGHTER.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It Hurts Mama Too

It hurts Mama just to look at it. My baby's head went through a door. But I think the door got the worst of it. A little super glue later and he's gonna be just fine.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Having a Famous Friend

I've got this friend. And this friend is famous. Well, sort of...

He's a singer and has an amazing voice, but doesn't sing professionally (yet). He uses his talents for Praise Team at church, in a community choir and a trio.  But boy does he get noticed.

I can not tell you the amount of times that it's taken 10, 15, 45 minutes to get out of "venue" because of the amount of people coming up and praising him for his voice. My friend, as talented as he is, is also one of the most humble people I've ever met. He believes his voice is a gift from God and he gives Him the glory for it.

We sing in the same community choir, but I am just a face in the crowd. After an engagement, we can be standing side by side and people will completely bypass me to speak to him and tell him how much they enjoy the choir. Rarely does anyone speak to me, but after so many years, I'm getting used to it.

I guess there are two ways to deal with having a "famous" friend.

The first option is to be jealous, and wonder why no one pays attention to me. I can sit and pout and try to steal his thunder in some underhanded way. Or I can just be plain witchy about the whole situation.

Being a super prideful person, the second option is more difficult. I can sit happily in the shadows and truly rejoice in the attention he's getting. I can support him without malice and be his biggest cheerleader.

Even though I'm a huge attention grabber, am prone to jealousy, and have a pride issue that is more of a stronghold than an issue, I've found the second option to be quite easy and honestly enjoyable. It brings me so much joy to see the happiness he brings people. When he sings, people's eyes open and you can see their hearts being lifted. What a blessing!

I hope he knows how proud I am of him (he's really more of a brother than a friend). I hope he knows how much his singing really does bless people. And I hope he knows that wherever he goes or how ever big his career gets, I'll be there in the shadows cheering him on.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm Snow Happy!

Things are really picking up here in my neck of the woods. Christmas Choir and drama rehearsals are in full swing, so tonight, it's a quick post.

It's snowing. Well, actually it was just a few flurries, but honey, that's enough to make me smile. I love snow. Maybe it's because I don't have to drive in it; maybe it's because I can go out and throw snowballs with the kids. I don't know, but I can sit for hours just watching it fall. I believe the snow is God's way of slowing us down a little bit. At least in my town. (Schools here shut down for the threat of inclement weather.)

Last year we got NOTHING. If today is any indication of what winter is going to be like, I say: BRING IT! Bring on the snow suits and red noses. Bring the snow angels and snowball fights, the hot chocolate and the wet socks. Bring the sleds and mittens and boots and hats.

I know I probably have a few more weeks to wait for some accumulation. But the flurries this afternoon made my heart smile. I'm "snow" happy right now.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Boys Will Be Boys

Daddy's are good for a whole lot of things.

In my house, Daddy is the wielder of power tools and the pancake spatula. He is the giver of piggy back rides and bearded kisses. And tonight he was the man who talked Mommy down from an angry tirade.

See, earlier in the evening a woman came up my steps accusing my darlings of throwing rocks at her car and every other car that was driving up our street. Turns out it wasn't rocks they were throwing, but acorns. (Not that acorns are any better.) I was so embarrassed, ashamed, and MAD!! I sent them all upstairs for fear of kicking their backsides from here to the moon. After starting the punishment with a three day grounding in which they will be sequestered to their rooms with the exception of bathroom, school, and meals, I called Daddy.

Thank goodness for Daddy. There is one thing Daddy can do that Mommy can't: he can relate to being a boy. No matter how I try, I will never think like a boy, much less a seven-year-old boy. But Daddy, wonderful Daddy, can revert back to his boyhood almost instantly. (fart jokes anyone?)

While he shared my anger and disgust with the situation, he offered some manly insight. They were just being boys (and Sissy was copying her brothers). Boys throw things at moving targets. They've done so for millennia. He was not excusing their behavior one bit, but offering me a glimpse into the male mind.

This was a simple yet profound thing. Up until this point, I had been, in part, blaming myself for their poor choice. I wondered, "If I had disciplined them more, maybe they wouldn't have thrown things. If I taught them more respect, this wouldn't have happened. If I was a better mom in general, they'd be raking the leaves instead of throwing acorns..."

 I was also still so mad I was considering extra punishments like getting rid of every toy and banning TV and video games FOREVER, but, again, thank goodness for Daddy.

They are still being punished, and punished severely. The children all understand the dangers of throwing ANYTHING into the street. We talked to them and they feel pretty bad about what happened.

But, it turns out, this is just what boys do. I could be the best mom in the whole universe and boys are still going to throw things, pee on things, make guns out of bread, and pretend to pass gas (or not pretend and really do it) on their siblings.

Makes me feel a little better, and a little worried to know that boys will be boys.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


There really is something to "nature vs. nurture." It's so interesting to see how my children are "mini-me's." I'm not talking habits and mannerisms that they've picked up from me, but traits they've inherited.

My sweet Davis is so loving and kind, but has a short fuse. His propensity for distraction is like looking in a mirror. He loves art and would rather be creating than doing anything else. He's becoming at home in the kitchen and loves to bake. He, like me, is such a ham.

Lincoln, is a book worm. We both devour words like they're going out of style. We also share a curiosity about the origin of words that is rather uncanny. He has an insatiable desire for attention, something I really wish I hadn't passed on. He loves history and finds ancient Egypt as fascinating as I did at his age.

Eva is my diva. She has inherited my love of drama and musical theater. She's happiest on stage and or at least pretending she's on stage. Unlike me, she's usually on key.

CJ is a water baby. (I learned to swim at 18 months) If there's water, he's in it: the toilet, puddles, the dog water, the bathtub... wherever. He too loves music. He loves to dance and be-bop around and is also very happy with a microphone in his hand. I have a feeling we'll have trouble keeping him off the stage, after all his first starring role was when he was 6 months old.
You know when you're parents threaten you with, "I hope you get one just like you!!"? Well, I got four just like me. I guess the advantage to this is that they will pull nothing on me when they're teens. I love watching them grow and I hope to be able to harness their individual talents and desires.
As much as they ARE like me, I have to remember that they AREN'T me. They won't necessarily make the same awful choices I did, they won't necessarily make their lives harder by screwing up royally like I did. They are four unique, beautiful people, with four unique God-given paths and it's going to be a joy to see where life takes them.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Oh, How Do I Change??

Some people are born organized. Their houses are not necessarily spotless, but are definitely tidy and neat. There is a place for everything and everything in its place.

I tried to find the picture of my room from when I was younger, but SURPRISE, I couldn't
I settled on a my present day mess
Then there are those folks who live in such disorganization that it constantly looks like a tornado hit the house. All manner of knick knacks cover any surface that had once been clear
. There is rarely progress in cleaning because there is constant catch up. If an item can't be found, (like a purse or a pair of shoes) it is likely those items have actually put away properly.

Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category. I have never been particularly tidy. When I was a youngster, my mom took a picture of the disaster that was my room in hopes of me actually "seeing" what other people saw. It didn't work.

Thing is, I HATE being disorganized. I've read dozens of books, I've tried websites, routines, pretty much everything short of hypnosis, but nothing sticks. I even "hired a very organized friend to teach me his ways.

I want to change, but HOW? I don't want my kids to grow up thinking this mess is ok. We're not hoarders or anything even close to that. I have no problem getting rid of  things (which I do regularly). My house is just constantly cluttered and messy. I'm not talking toys, though most days it looks like the living room threw up LEGOS everywhere. There's just stuff...everywhere.

Some folks are totally ok with being messy. It's who they are, they have a system of organized chaos. Not me. I just have chaos. I really think if I could stick with a good routine, things might be different. Part of me wants to get rid of everything. I mean EVERYTHING that isn't a basic need and start from scratch. Being a minimalist doesn't sound half bad. I just don't know where to start. HOW do I change who I am?

It takes 28 days for a new habit to stick. But I don't know if I've got 28 days of patience left for this mess.

The Bible says in Proverbs to train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. This lifestyle is NOT how I want to train my kiddos, but how, OH HOW do I change?

Friday, November 8, 2013

The End of Innocence

Quick post tonight as I'm on my phone at a football game and fighting a migraine.

My dear, sweet seven-year-old boy just informed me that the "F" word is written in a stall in the bathroom at his elementary school. 

Of course I was hoping the word was "fart" so naturally I asked him what the "f" word was. And he said it. My baby dropped an F bomb. Well he whispered it. I immediately emailed the principal and mourned the loss of my darling's innocence.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

I've got to be honest; since the election results Tuesday night, I've been a little discouraged. America seems to be going to hell in a hand basket and no one seems to care. I'm equally as guilty. Have I ever written to my senators, congressmen or ANY elected official? No. I sit idly by while crooks run the country. It seems so hopeless, and I just didn't care. What difference can I make? After all I'm one person.
Rep. Robert Hurt

But today, I was able to attend the Patriotic Presentation put on by the fourth graders at my kids' elementary school. They wore American flags, and sang the National Anthem, "My Country "Tis of Thee" and several other patriotic songs. They gave tribute to service men and women. And to top it off, Congressman Robert Hurt stopped by to present a flag to our school for earning a National Blue Ribbon Award.

I was reminded of what is good about America. I was reminded we have freedoms and rights that other countries only dream about. This country is far from perfect and seems more broken than bent. But despite its problems, the USA's a pretty cool place to live.

GOD Bless America!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"You're the Worst Mom Ever!" and Other Compliments From My Child

Son, remember yesterday when you called me, "the worst mom ever!"? I wanted to thank you for that. Look, I know you were upset that I was making you do yard work...alongside me. I know that I was taking you away from video games. I know you were grumpy for not getting your own way, but baby, that's life. My job is to teach you about life and if that makes me the worst mom ever, I'll take it.

As much as I want you to like me, it's more important for you to respect me. It's more important for you to know boundaries. You need to know the world does not revolve around you. I don't let you win at board games (usually) because there will be times when you'll lose for real and you need to handle disappointment like a champ. I know, I'm mean and you don't want to play with me anymore. Well no one will want to play with you if you're a sore loser. Get over it, my love.

You think I'm picking on you when I ask you to do work around the house. Yes, I know some of it's hard. But you won't live with me forever and you need to have skills that will allow you to not just survive, but thrive. Believe me, girls love a man who cleans his own bathroom. We are a family unit and we all have to work together. The sooner you learn cooperation, the better your life will be.

I know you can't see it now, but there will be a time when you'll thank me for taking TV away because homework came first. You'll thank me because I made you eat carrots and not candy for lunch. You'll thank me because I was always in your business. You'll thank me, not because I was super cool, or permissive or laid back, but because I cared. Because I cared enough to discipline you, and to teach you right from wrong.

Honestly, the names I hear you mutter under your breath sometimes hurt (and sometimes make me giggle: Stinky? Really? Come on honey). You'll call me much worse as you get older, but you've called me "Mom" since the beginning and that name comes with a whole lot of responsibility.

My child, I love you. I love you too much to let you go off in the world unprepared. I love you enough to let you learn lessons even when they hurt. And I love you so much that I'm grounding you for lying to me...twice in one hour.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dear Candidate, Here's Why I didn't Vote for You

Dear Candidate,
   Thank you for your interest in politics. Here are a number of reasons I did not vote for you today.
   If you do not have a website, I did not vote for you today. Since I don't have television, your website is the only way for me to understand your views. This is the 21st century. If you don't have a website, you don't need to be running.
I voted. Just not for you...
  You are up for re-election, but so confident in yourself that your website only had information about contributing to your campaign, but not what you stand for. I'm not really sure how you want to serve. Therefore, I did not vote for you. You are technically asking us to hire you to serve us in while in office. Tell me what you're going to do for me and my state.
   If your website did have your position easily accessible for me, but your strategy was to mud sling your opponent, I did not vote for you. If your platform was strong and true to begin with, there is no need to put other people down. Let's not bully. You are much, much too old for that.
   I'm interested in your stance on hot button issues. I am not interested in a vague response such as, "I believe abortion is a politically intractable issue because we are divided not just on the political issue but on the metaphysical issue. Given that, I find it counterproductive to try to settle the matter through the coercive power of the state. Trying to do so has ruined our political discourse and radicalized our political parties." (taken from an actual candidate's website). Plus, you are using words that common people, including college educated little me, find ostracizing.
   Again, thank you for your time and effort in this year's political race. If you find yourself running again in the future, please take consider what I've shared with you. You might just win a couple more votes.


Monday, November 4, 2013

When He Cried...

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story about Jesus and Lazarus found in the eleventh chapter of John.

So, Jesus receives urgent news that his friend his sick. The message actually said, "Lord, the one you love is sick" (John 11:3, italics mine). This isn't some acquaintance; this isn't the guy he sees everyday as he heads to the carpentry shop. Jesus loves Lazarus. They were obviously very close, maybe even besties. Anyway, the Lord knows this sickness is for the sole purpose of bringing God glory. He plans to let his friend die. I mean, which is the bigger miracle: lowering a fever or raising a corpse? So Jesus waits and Lazarus dies.

When he makes it back to Bethany Lazarus' sister, Martha runs out to see Jesus. I imagine Martha as the stoic older sister. All business. She'll cry for Lazarus, but only after everyone leaves. She believes Jesus is who he says he is. She knows that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. When he says Lazarus will live, Martha completely believes him, though she thinks it's through the resurrection.

Martha and Lazarus have another sister, Mary. She's a little more emotional than Martha. The last time Jesus visited Bethany, Mary, according to Luke 10:39, ignored Martha, and the rules of hospitality, and sat, enthralled, at the Lord's feet. When she heard Jesus had finally made it to see Lazarus, she once again fell at his feet. She wept. The friends who had rushed out with her wept. Jesus was so moved that he wept too.

See, this is the part of the story that I love.  Jesus, the man, cries with his friends. Their pain is as tangible as a knife blade.  They took him to the grave and he wept again. Part of being human is having emotions, and Jesus felt everything we do. He felt humiliation, joy and, in this case sorrow.

 Jesus, the Lord, knows how the story ends. He knows that he knows that he KNOWS that Lazarus will live. But the human part still wept.

There is nothing that you or I will go through that Jesus himself has not experienced. That's what makes him such an awesome savior. God sent him down to be one of us, so he could save us. We don't relate well to people we have nothing in common with. When we cry, Jesus knows that pain. He's cried. He's done more than cry; he's wept. Probably done that ugly, heaving shoulders kind of cry, and he's willing to comfort us when we do the same.

Are you rejoicing today? He's rejoicing with you. Are you hurting? He's hurting with you. Are you unsure, tempted, or frustrated? He's been there and he'll be there with you now. Are you crying? Are you at a tomb? Mourning the death of a loved one, a job, a dream? Fall at his feet. Weep at his feet. He's weeping with you.

But the story's not over. See, Lazarus has been in the grave four days. The Lord wipes his face and in a choked voice asks Martha to have the stone moved. She's worried about the smell. Jesus isn't. He knows the grave is not the end for Lazarus. The grave isn't the end for you either. He has more for you to do.

In the meantime. It's ok to weep. It's ok to just sit there and cry. But feel those arms around you? Those are the arms of Jesus. He's crying too.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Who Takes Care of Mommy?

There are days when being a grown up pretty much stinks Between taxes, and bills and responsibilities, life can get pretty tough. Throw a mom with young kids in the mix and things get even more complicated.

Mommy has to make her own
soup when she's sick
Take a sick mommy for example. In the BC (before children) era, she would have downed some Nyquil and put herself to bed. But now it's AD (after diapers) and she has to think about the little people who will get into mischief while she hovers in a cold medicine induced fog.

There is never a good time for a mom to get sick. A stay at home mom has no sick leave. She has no babysitter to drop her little ones off with so she can rest. A mom in the work place has to use sick leave for herself. Sick leave she may be saving up for the inevitable stomach virus her baby will come down with.

Mommies are expert caregiver's. They think nothing of snuggling in bed with a fevered child, or holding a garbage can during the aforementioned stomach virus. Mommies wipe snot and bottoms and tears.

But who takes care of Mommy?  I'm still looking for the answer to that one. Especially since I came home from church with a fever.

The baby's sleeping and this Mommy is using her box shaped babysitter (don't judge). She's going to down not Nyquil, but Ramen, and hope that Daddy gets home soon.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Let Me Tell You a Story...

Once upon a time, in the magical kingdom of Odd, there were twin brothers. Though these brothers loved each other greatly, quarreling was one of their favorite hobbies.

One day in Odd, something, well, odd happened. The brothers woke up and were cooperating! They were cooperating at everything they did.

Before 8am, they had cleaned the art room (the state of which was not conducive to any creative happenings) and emptied the dishwasher without complaining. Then they decided to search for any lost toys...together.

Afraid this magic spell would end, their dear, sweet, BEAUTIFUL mother said nothing. She just smiled and thanked her great God above that this day was not like some of the others. (Like yesterday when she stepped on a pair of vampire teeth and then twisted her ankle on yet another royal toy on the floor.)

Not knowing how long the bliss would last, the Queen hurriedly set out the breakfast feast. She knew a full boy was a happy boy, and she would do almost anything to make the magic last.

The Queen was not naïve. She knew that all spells, especially good ones, must come to an end. But until the clock chimed midnight, she was going to bask in the peace that surrounded her kingdom.

And they all lived happily ever after. (Until the next fight or the sweet princess woke up)

Friday, November 1, 2013

"I wish I had a million dollars...Hot Dog!!"

Call me crazy, but I've done it again. I've signed up for NOVEMBER'S NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) through BlogHer. Yes, I know I just finished writing everyday in October, but I thought, "What the heck? Let's do it again."

Like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, I can see myself flicking that cigar lighter everyday and wishing for a million dollars. In my reality, money is tight. Very tight. If I found one million dollars and it was mine to keep, the only stipulation being I had to spend it by nightfall, I'm afraid to say my plan would be very boring.

God's word instructs us to be wise with what He's given us. And if He was gracious enough to bestow $1,000,000 upon me, I'd be SUPER tempted not to be wise. But I'm a grown-up now (sort of) and there are grown-up things I need to take care of.

As much as I would LOOOOVE to take my kids on a wild vacation or buy a fancy minivan, my first order of business would be to pay off our medical bills and student loans. Those are the extent of our debt, but it accounts for a huge chunk of hubby's check every month.
If you found $1 million,
what would you do?
Next, I would give some to our church. While I was pregnant with our fourth child, they took a special offering for us, this helped tremendously with some of our bills. This church is like family, and money is tight there too. Maybe I'd fund a salary for the youth pastor we sorely need. Oh! And I'd keep the Keurig well stocked.

Ok, so between our bills and church, I'm probably at $60,000.

With the leftover, I would pad my babies college fund. I know the burden of student loans and I don't want them to carry that load. I want them to not settle for their education because they can't afford their first choice school. My hubs and I expect our children to try their best, do well and ask for help when needed. Between scholarships and what I could provide, they should be golden.

I wish I could say that I would fund a family trip to the Bahamas. I wish I could say I would buy a fancy house and a fast car, but the reality is that I need to make my reality better. I'm tired of not having enough every month because the hospital and the loans take so much of our income. I'm tired of not having fun because we don't have money, but if I could use the $1 million to make my everyday a little easier, then perhaps a dream vacation may not be such a far fetched dream after all.