Thursday, November 27, 2008
As I reflect on the past year, in the spirit of Thankfulness, I pause to count the blessing in the midst of my chaos.
Lord, I am thankful....
This year, You blessed me with a beautiful healthy child. How many years ago was it said to me that I would never conceive, nor carry to term. And you saw fit for me to have a 3rd child. And yet I questioned the rotten timing surrounding her birth, I whined and complained about how it was going to be possible to tote a newborn across country in the middle of a transfer. But, You knew the whole story...the bigger picture. The parts that You had all figured out, and I was too blind to see. Too blind to see that March was the perfect time for a child to be born, that I was going to need that wee child to keep me company during the many lonely months to follow without my husband. She has brought me more joy than I ever thought imaginable into my life.
I am so thankful.
I whined and complained when our house did not sell as quickly as I wanted it to. I failed to simply trust You and Your timing. And yet, You sat patiently by as You taught me lesson after lesson about accepting help from others, how to put aside my pride, and how to bravely carry on without my husband, standing on my own two feet. I learned patience for my children, acceptance of my shortcomings, and appreciation of my husband...my partner in life, my faithful friend.
I am more than thankful.
I watched the news in horror as a hurricane wiped out the very town that I was supposed to be living in....and was on my face apologizing for questioning Your timing surrounding the sale of our house. Our home could have been one of those homes. And You spared us. I am thankful for my home. Here. There. Wherever it is. Because I have learned this year, that where ever the people that you love are....that is where home is.
I don't thank You enough.
This year, I have watch our pastor and his family struggling with his son's leukemia, and I am thankful for the health of my children. I have whined about how many colds my daughter has brought home from school and shared with the family, but did not once stop to thank You that one of my own children is not laying in the hospital gravely ill with cancer.
No, this hasn't been my Year of Job. This has been my Year of Thanksgiving. This is the year that I have discovered that God has been so good to me, and blessed me even though I am completely undeserving. And I give thanks to Him. In ALL things, give Him thanks. In good times, give Him thanks. In bad times....give Him thanks.
Thank you, Lord.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sometimes...You just know that you must be doing something right as a parent. Most of the time, parenting is a fly by the seat of your pants thing for me, and half the time, I feel like I am failing. But sometimes, you catch a glimmer of that shiny stuff called gold that is on the inside of their hearts. And sometimes, that glimmer shines through enough that you know that you must be doing something right. Today was such a day.
I went to my daughter's school today to take some pictures of her classmates for a scrapbook that I am putting together for her to remember her North Carolina friends. I had a great time following her around playground, as she pulled her classmates over to have her picture taken with them. Not only did she introduce me by their names, she also had a kind word or description of each of them...proudly saying kind things like "Mama, this is my friend D___, he has the nicest handwriting in the whole class." or "Hey, this girl is L____, she builds the best sandcastles!" Did you catch that glimmer?
Then there was the bulletin board. It was covered with the traditional pilgrims in honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday....and wishbones. Wishbones, those things that come from the inside of the turkey, each person takes a side of the bone and pulles. The person with the bigger piece when it breaks, gets their wish. On the bulletin board each student wrote their wish. I scanned the board and read their wishes. Most of the children wished for things like video games, or a million dollars, or wished to be a super hero. No surprise there. Most 6 year olds would wish something like that. I found my girl's wishbone on the top right corner of the board. And here is what it reads....
That gold is shining through now.
Sometimes.....you just know when you must be doing something right.
And sometimes, you get your wish.
Daughter, we are going to be with Daddy sooner than you know! We are going to Louisiana to be with him VERY VERY soon.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
So, do me a favor, hop on over to My Charming Kids, and enter her contest too. And if you win, think about me, with my new camera and boring looking blog with no header! Just kidding! Enjoy your winnings.....
Friday, November 21, 2008
My friend Anna, got tagged and posted on her blog, and now the tag rests on me. The rules are simple. The Rules: In order to accept this Bloggy Award/Tag, you must do the following.....
- Write a post showing it, together with the name and link of who has given it to you.
- Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in their content or design.
- Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Honest Weblog’.
- List [if you can and/or dare] at least ten honest things about yourself. And then, pass it on.
- I am a yardsale-a-holic. Majorly. If there is a sale and I know about, I am there. I will throw the kids in the car with a piece of toast, and call it breakfast. If they behave themselves while we are out, which they usually do, I give them a quarter to spend on whatever they want. Sometimes they save it, but more often than not, the spend it on something we end up donating to Goodwill later. But THIS, is THE YARD SALE JAR! I take it with me whenever I head out the door to a big sale. Believe it or not, this is a collection of about 3 years worth of emptying my husband's pockets before washing his clothes. See, it does pay to be the laundry fairy.
- I am very hard on my bluejeans. I love my jeans, but when I find them in the store and I like them, I have a little talk with them to prepare them for their life with me. And here is why: I blow out the right knee on all of them. Every single time. Within a month or two of getting a new pair of jeans, the right knee gets destroyed. It's not that I have a fat right knee or anything...but I do spend lots of time on the floor with my children, and it's primarily my right knee that hits the floor before my bumper does.
- If I was ever going to get marooned on a deserted island and was only permitted to take one thing, besides the answer of food, water, or a friend....I would bring.....My hairbrush. I have this obsession with my hairbrush. See, I have had this same hairbrush since I was 12. There just isn't any replacement of this hairbrush, which is why I have driven over 6 hours to pick up my beloved hairbrush when I left it behind in a hotel. My hairbrush no longer gets packed in luggage when I go on a trip, it goes in my purse. I carried it on the Appalachian Trail when I have gone hiking, even though it is considered a serious luxury and took up alot of space in my pack. I just really love this hairbrush.
- Along the lines of the hairbrush, I pretty much have 2 basic styles for my hair. Long, and short. I grow out my hair for 2 to 3 years and then hack off 10 to 12 inches and mail it off to Locks of Love. I have donated 4 times in the last 10 years. I could care less about styling products, perms, colors, or paying out the nose for visits to the Salon, I kindof like being the "Ponytail Mom", it's just easier! And Locks of Love is a great cause!
- I read Little Women once a year. Okay, I know it's silly. I just love this book and it always gives me warm fuzzies, even on the coldest of winter days.
- I don't like to wear shoes. I don't enjoy wearing socks either. If I could go barefoot every day of the year, I would. So, when I do need to wear shoes, I wear as little as possible....flip flops, sandals, crocs. I do think socks with crocs should be outlawed, and people that wear socks with sandals should be hung by their sandal straps.
- I am very passionate about a few things in life....my coffee, my cookies (OREOs to be exact) and my kids. And if there is a moment where these three items can be combined, I am a very happy camper. So, I would love to say that all of us sit down together in the afternoons after school is over everyday and revel in that chocolate cookie/caffeine goodness, but that just wouldn't be smart. If it became an expected event that occured everyday, it just wouldn't seem as special. Soooooo, when my daughters have done something extra special (gotten a good report card or tackled a problem that was particularly hard) I pull out the OREOs milk, coffee, and the nice china. We have a special little tea/coffee/milk party. We put on a party dress and our finest costume jewelry, sometimes deck ourselves out in tiaras and boas. The kids have really enjoyed this special time together.
- I have a big problem. I am hugely sentimental. I have a hard time letting material items go because I have special memories attached to many items around my house. So...with this problem comes another problem...clutter. And I can't seem to get rid of stuff. I have a collection of odd items such as pregnancy tests, umbilical cord stubs (I know, gross!), kid artwork, scraps of wrapping paper, dried flowers, hair clippings, church bulletins, ring boxes, dishes, ticket stubs....the list goes on. I am slowly slowly more willing to let some of these items go and tackling my clutter. My secret weapon you ask? My digital camera. I am taking pictures of some of these items and letting them go. I am having a harder time letting go of some of the baby clothes now that my last child has outgrown them. So, I am making a quilt out of some of my favorite pieces. I am sorry if this seems selfish, but I just can't let those little clothes go!
- I am an extreme night owl...I love to stay up late, and to a fault....I am worthless when the alarm wakes me up in the morning. At least until I have pushed the "brew" button on the coffee pot. And for this reason, bedtime is non-negotiable for my children.
- I am having issues coming up with a 10th item, so suffice to say that for my 10th thing about myself....I spend entirely too much time on blogs. Reading blogs, writing blog entries, looking at blog backgrounds. Blogging is a bad addiction, I am hooked.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I got this idea from Nicole's blog and just copied her questions right here onto my blog. Today, I sat down with The Middle and asked her the questions. The following are her direct quotes.
What is something Mama always says to you?
You're a goober!
What makes Mama happy?
When I give you a love pat. And when I listen and obey.
What makes Mama sad?
When I break my stuff.
How does Mama make you laugh?
When God mows the lawn.... (Remember this story?)
What was Mama like as a child?
She liked toys, just like my toys.
How old is Mama?
How tall is Mama?
Really taller than me. Can I eat come cheezy crackers now?
What is Mama's favorite thing to do?
Play with the baby. And bounce around. And drink coffee. You drink buckets of it. I will share these cheezy crackers with you if you want some.....
What does Mama do when you're not around?
I don't know? Wait for me to get back?
If Mama becomes famous, what will it be for?
Telling funny stories.
What is Mama really good at doing?
You are good at playing games with me. And you are pretty good at making the baby stop crying.
What is Mama not very good at doing?
(tilts head to one side, looking confused) I thought you knew how to do everything?
What is Mama's job?
Cleaning up. Drinking coffee. I don't know, read me stories and be my teacher, too!
What's Mama's favorite food?
Spinach. Snakes? (okay, this made me really laugh!)
What makes you proud of Mama?
When you make good choices.
If Mama were a cartoon character, who would she be?
You would be a pirate. Or in a Barbie Movie. Rapunzel, probably would be the best for you. But your hair is short right now, so you would have to wear a wig or something.
What do you and Mama do together?
We glue stuff, like when we made that picture frame for your birthday.
How are you and Mama the same?
When I grow up, I will BE the same as you.
How are you and Mom different?
I am different...I am (enter her name) and you are Mama. God made us differently. (Whoa, deep thoughts here.)
How do you know Mom loves you?
When you give me love pats. And kisses. And when we pray together at night.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Or your feet. Or your belly. Or behind your ears. Or... well.... whatever part of your body isn't dirty yet.
"Go out and play in the mud," I told my kids after we had arrived home from school today. It has been that kind of week. The kind of week where you just need to shed everything that just happened from Monday thru Friday, and do something wreckless and immature.
They looked at me like I had lobsters growing out of my ears.
The Oldest scratches her head and cocks her head to one side, processing what I had just said. "You want us to do what?"
"You heard me, put on some play clothes, your crocs, and skiddaddle!"
Chaos. Pandimonium. That is what happened next as they scrambled to find appropriate attire to wear. And then they were gone.
They are now taking a warm bath and sipping hot cocoa with marshmellows. I plan on hanging out in my bathrobe the rest of the evening. Yes, I am glad that it's Friday.
Monday, November 10, 2008
My heart skips a beat when I think about him. His beautiful eyes, his glowing golden skin. The way he captured the heart of many others...young and old, male and female alike. At least 35 people claimed to love Jack, and that was just at my last count. And the reason why I speak of Jack in the past tense, well, he is no longer with us. He is swimming with the fishes. Actually, Jack WAS a fish......a goldfish to be exact.
I taught preschool at Beverly Hills Preschool in Alexandria, VA and Jack was the classroom pet. Jack was just your ordinary, run of the mill, 10 cent feeder goldfish that I picked up at Wal-mart. But the second I carried him into the classroom, he became a celebrity. We had been studying fairy tales, and that week, we had been talking about Jack and the Beanstalk. The children had all planted beans in little baby food jars and they were sprouting nicely on the window sill. I plunked Jack, in his glorious goldfish bowl, right there next to the sprouts. The kids took a vote, and Jack had a name.
Jack grew during that school year, he survived going home with every single student for a weekend, Christmas break, and Easter break too. He was an amazing fish. Made of some really tough stuff.
At the completion of that school year, Jack was getting thrown out of his home on his ear. He needed a new home because I had no place for him to live. I was taking a little time out from teaching to work on my graduate studies, and be a part time nanny. So, I started asking around to see if anyone had a tank. But it couldn't be just anyone that took Jack, it had to be someone really special. I asked around the Meat Market. Indeed, Eben had a tank. I felt pitiful for Eben, living all alone in that apartment, how he must need a friend. A friend like my Jack. So, I let Eben have ownership of my beloved fish. We met up, and Jack went home with his new friend.
A couple of months later, Eben was hosting a barbecue for several of the singles at his apartment, and not only did I want to visit with some of my church friends, I wanted to see Jack. So I went. Jack had grown enormous in size. He was obviously very happy living with Eben.
Why am I dedicating an entire post to a goldfish? Something happened during that trip to Eben's apartment. I saw him with new eyes. He was different, changed somehow. He had stopped smoking. And the girl that he had been interested in had sort of brushed him off and steered him in a different direction. It was at that visit, where I thought that I was just visiting my goldfish, my heart was drawn to a magnificent guy! And I felt the need to show him that I cared. That we could be really great friends. (Little did I know that he would become my best friend!)
I did something really silly and embarrassing then, and the others that were visiting his apartment that day, took note of my actions. I started washing his dishes. I know, it doesn't seem like a terribly romantic gesture, but if you know me....there are two things that I detest doing. Laundry, and, you guessed it....dishes. And I didn't really mind doing his dishes at all!
If you fast forward this story about 7 months, you would see Jack, getting loaded into a Tupperware container on our wedding day, and getting chauffeured from Alexandria, VA to his new home in Duluth, MN by my new brother and sister-in-law. He was a traveling fish! Jack was just too special to both of us to leave behind. In a sense, Jack was a part of our family, the fish who started this whole crazy marriage.
There are so many other tidbits about our courtship that I cannot wait to share with you. Softball? Trumpet? or Coffee? Decisions, Decisions.
What became of Jack, you ask? Well, Jack survived our first 6 months in MN. But it was when we moved to our first real house, that Jack perished. His fishtank water had not been properly prepared when he was put inside. I cried for days and days. But he lived a pretty full life, wouldn't you say?
Friday, November 7, 2008
I guess my baggage was mostly, oh....dating bad boys. A dude with an ankle bracelet, and before that guy, well....I just better not even go there. The details are just too pitiful to go into. I had done my round of what I call "Missionary Dating." I was a born again Christ-Follower, doing the best I could to live for God. With little or no example of what Christian dating was supposed to look like. So, I dated many guys....some Christians, some not, some I thought that I could fix by bringing them to church, and some I was just hanging out with hoping that they would get saved. Hence, the term, missionary dating.
The point is, I wasn't ready for the man of my dreams. And the man of my dreams wasn't ready for me either. God had alot of work to do.
Sometime after things didn't quite work out with ankle bracelet guy, and I had broken up with yet another guy, I gave up on dating. Actually, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, literally. I felt like I was done with it. I was fed up with dating and was prepared to just let God do the choosing for me. It was springtime at this point, and I was ready for absolutely nothing to happen in the love department.
I made up a list. A crazy, detailed list of all the qualities in a guy that I desired, and another list of qualities that I didn't like. And I simply prayed over my list, stuck it in a box, and put the box on the top shelf of my closet. For God to take care of. I would take a picture of this list, and post it here, as I still have it, but for one, you wouldn't be able to read my chicken scratch for handwriting, and secondly some of the qualities are too deeply personal to state out here in the open for all the world to see. But suffice to say that it was a long wist. Quite the tall order for God to fill.
Some of the items on here say: a born again believer, hardworking, sense of humor, giving, easy to love and gives love, understanding when I goof up, Listens, honest, gives compliments, knows when to say he's sorry, intellegent, good looking, and the list goes on.....way on. And very near the top of the qualities that I did not want in a guy: a smoker. Now, I am not here to judge anyone that is a smoker, and there are several here that read my blog. If you are a smoker, that's your own business. But a smoker is simply not a quality that I wanted in a man. And that is an important detail to remember, because of my previous post, in which I first met my husband. Where he had cigarettes stuck in the front of his shirt pocket. Which I found disgusting.
The next part of the story I will most definitely have to have my husband help with, because it involves his heart condition. And then there is Jack. We can't leave Jack out of this story. And how the other love of my life, Jack, became Eben's roommate.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Back in 1998 (wow that seems like million years ago!), I was freshly graduated from college and living, yes I will admit it...I was still living with my parents. I was attending the same church from my teen years, a member of the choir, and regular attender of the church's
The night that I met my husband happened to be on a chilly February night. I had prepared my finest dish for the pot-luck that night.....Yes, I wanted to prove my gourmet cooking abilities, so I prepared one box of rotini noodles and dumped a jar of store-bought sauce on top of it. And because I was feeling really dangerous, I sprinkled the whole thing with a generous dose of Parmesan Cheese. I put on my very cute red sweater, sassy blue jeans, chunky boots, a black knee length coat, and a furry black cap. The furry black cap has a story all it's own about how it came to be mine, but I will leave the black cap story for another edition of For the Record. And the only reason I have any clue what I wore that night, is because my darling husband remembers. Because I totally don't remember at all.
Now what makes this story interesting is the fact that I wasn't even interested in meeting anyone at the
So on this particular chilly evening, I strutted my stuff (and my gourmet pasta dish!) into the meeting. When I walked into the door, I noticed a new guy. Cute, yes, but not striking at the time. The other thing I noticed right off the bat about this guy was the cigarettes hanging out of his pocket, and was immediately turned off. Ewwww. Then there was the fact that he came with another guy that I really didn't like because he had a very bad habit of lying to other people about me about random things.....like I was going to marry him, of all things. Double ewwwww!
As the evening progress, and my disinterest in particular the new guy, he finally did introduce himself to me as Eben, and complimented me on the on the item that I had brought. I smiled sweetly, and replied, "Thanks! It came out of a jar!" I am sure that he was totally impressed. I asked what he had brought, and he had added cornbread muffins to the evening's affair. I had tasted the corn muffins earlier, and they were the dryest, nastiest things ever. I felt sorry for him, having to go home and eat whatever it was that he ate on a given day, and asked if he would like to take home some
I went home that night, the same way that I had came. Alone. And with only a faint memory of a guy that made nasty cornbread muffins.
It was several months later that we would become interested in one another. But God was not finished preparing us for one another. And how we came to be a couple is yet another story...and it involves a heart condition, a softball game, a trumpet, a goldfish, a king sized mattress, the two ladies that turned out to be my bridesmaids, and a sink full of dirty dishes. But we will save all that for another day, since this post has turned into a mini-novel.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Well, it doesn't say that on the sign outside yet, but we are now in Sale Pending. We finally have a buyer for our house and will be moving. The closing date is set around Christmas, but who cares...we might be living out of boxes on Christmas day, but at least we will be together!
Did you just hear that great big sigh of relief?
It is finally going to happen. Our family will be together again. Finally, after 6 long months of unending stress, I can see the light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I have always thought that Election Day is a very important day, and should be treated as such.
So today, in honor of our proud day, The Kids and I dressed up in some of our finest. We were all dress in the nicest red, white, and blue clothing that we could find. I even managed to get up early, put on makeup and fix my hair. The girls all wore very nice hair ribbons in red, white, and blue as well. I wanted them to feel just how important today was.
We went to the polls before we did anything else. Before driving to school, before playing, etc. When we arrived at the fire hall, which is only about 500 yards from my house, we got out of the car with much fanfare and excitement. The girls had many questions about what it was going to be like inside, what kinds of things that we would do, and what voting is in general. It took quite some time to get through their questions, so we just went in so that I could teach them by example.
We went in, no fuss, no muss, and filled out our voting sheet with little neat bubbles on it. The oldest remarked that it was much like taking a test and that we don't know any of the answers. I told her that you know which bubble to fill in if you did all your homework and knew who you wanted to cast your vote for. I let them feed my ballot into the machine.
My favorite part of the experience? The Middle proclaiming to the entire room that she wasn't old enough to be President yet, (we had discussed at home that you need to be at least 35 years old and that since I am only 33 that even I can't be President!) but when turns 35, to look for her name on that voter paper.
She already has MY vote!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
My darling daughter,
From the time that I first married your father, I wanted a child. Deep within me, I felt a longing to love and to cherish a little person that was ever so much a part of me. Little did I know just how much the Lord was going to bless me with the desire of my heart when He created you.
The day that I found out that you were growing inside me remains a memory very vivid in my heart. I was working late at the school that day, and I decided that I couldn't wait any longer to find out if my suspicions were true. I took a test and took a peek at it. I didn't really believe for a moment that it could be true, and had a dear friend look at the test too. She told me that I was definitely pregnant. Right there in the middle of the administration office of the school, I fell to my knees and cried and praised God for the tiny miracle that was growing inside of me. The miracle of you.
You see, dear one, we had received news from the doctor just 3 months before that we would never conceive a child naturally because of certain medical issues. And yet, God had a plan. For you. For me. For our family. God must have had a plan for you, because He saw you through a pregnancy that was very difficult...morning sickness, an appendix that had to be removed and put our pregnancy at high risk, bed rest, an extremely long labor. And yet, you arrived. Intact, unscathed, and ready to face the world.
The moment that you were put in my arms, I knew my purpose and place in this world. I had been changed forever with the knowledge that this is what unconditional love was, and what God has for each and every one of us is even bigger. This in itself was mind blowing to me.
I now sit watching you as you are now six years old, and am totally in awe at what God has presented me with and what you have become in just these six short years. I love everything about you....Your braininess for starters, you could read Dick and Jane when you were 3! Your artistic abilities, the way you can put everything that your mind is thinking and feeling on paper with crayons. Is there not even one door in our house that you have not covered with your creations? I also love your complete lack of grace in dancing and sports, and the scar on your arm from breaking your arm in dance class to prove it. I love your determination to figure things out, like the way you continued to dance and broke your arm again. I adore your compassion for others, like the way you picked up every single piece of candy at the parade in town yesterday, and made sure that all of the people around you had a bunch. I love how you donated your flowing blonde hair to a child with cancer, telling me that you hoped that he/or she really liked blonde hair because that is all you had to give. I love it when you're timid and shy, and I love it when you get into your comfortable place and become very outspoken. I love your sense of justice and injustice and your search to make all things right in this world. I just adore every single fiber of your being and I praise God for what He has made you to be.
So, my dear child, I pray that you continue in this world to be that light that shines in the darkness. You have certainly brightened up my own little corner. I am honored to be your mama, to help you as you traverse in this road of life. May you find your way easily, but not without struggle, because it is those struggles that make us strong. Let God lead your way as He has done these 6 years and you will go places. I am proud of you.
I love you.