Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lesson #16: Never Judge a Book by its Cover

My friend and I have been walking sporadically as of late.  The reason: pesky, irritating, breeding, biting mosquitoes.  They are everywhere at every time of the day!  We have attempted walking at different hours of the morning.  But no matter how hard we try to conduct ourselves in a normal manner... we can not help but begin flailing our arms about as we hike our legs high trying to deter the beasts that pursue us.  (This does not bode well for our reputations of being normal female adults to passerby's on the road.) 

Therefore, in an attempt to continue trying to live a healthy lifestyle, we chose to abandon post on the outside track and head to the comfort of the indoor retail superstore. 

I left the parking lot first and turned left.  My friend turned right (as my rear view mirror revealed to me.)  My heart began to pulsate in my chest as my competitive nature ached to come forth and reveal to my mind that I was taking the long way and she would arrive in the parking lot before me.  In an effort to ease my pain I acknowledged my defeat immediately and sent a text to my friend stating this fact.  Her reply sent no comfort, but ignited the flame.  She stated, "I'm gonna win!" 

My mind raced to all of the obstacles that laid ahead.  Numerous stoplights.  Cops patrolling the streets.  And the worst fate of all... grey-haired little old ladies out for an early morning cruise.

As fate would have it, I pulled up behind such a car.  There she sat behind the drivers seat barely able to see over the steering wheel.  White Lincoln Towncar without a speck of dirt on it.  No tint on the windows so she can catch every ray of sunshine while she is out.  Hair freshly curled and teased to create that perfectly hair-sprayed poof on top of her head. 

A silent Ahhhhhhhhhhh escaped my lips.  My shoulders slumped and I knew that the line of cars next to me would never let me by.  I was going to have to embrace second place.

As the seconds ticked down until the light would turn green I began to perceive this was no ordinary grandma.  She placed her finished cigarette in her ashtray and proceeded to lay both hands on the wheel.  Like a flash of lightning the light turned green and she 'flew out of the gate' as if the bell had just rung at the Kentucky Derby.  I was behind 'Lead-Foot Granny!' 

(With a bit of imagination you can see the ring of flowers around my neck as I took my victory lap at the superstore while my friend laughed hysterically at my competitive nature. )

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lesson #44: Alarms (are the devil)

I am NOT a morning person.  To accuse me of such is slander in the worst possible form.  I will rise early when occasion calls for it, but I prefer a late night and a late sunup.  I will confess, I seem to get more accomplished when I allow my eyelids to break formation and wedge open enough to allow sunlight to weave its way into my consciousness 'prematurely'. 

As of late, I have been setting an alarm to rip me from peaceful slumber and announce that I have made a commitment to my very dear friend to walk with her at the '---- crack' of dawn.  (I admit there are people who leap out of bed a lot earlier than me to do far more noble deeds.  I salute you.)  But this has caused me a dilemma. 

When I wake my first thought is..."Is she crazy?!  She wants me to do what?!  I am perfectly happy with my fifteen extra pounds and continually decreasing lack of muscle tone.  Do I really have to slither off my bed and into the bathroom to 'freshen' up to walk 3 miles?"  The answer is invariably yes!

Do not misunderstand me.  I love working out and striving for a healthier lifestyle.  I do not, however,
enjoy beeping, blurting, song-playing, gentle nudging or any other form of tactic used to pry me from my pillow.  I prefer sleep.

So my dilemma is this... Do I throw the cell phone at the wall or out the window?  Because as brave as I think I am, I do not dare attempt throwing my friend!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lesson #22: Time Well Spent

Yesterday we experienced a warm summer rain all day long.  The skies were gray and the intensity of the rain varied by the hour.  It was the perfect occasion to curl up on the couch and watch a favorite movie, or dive into a book that had been left to gather dust, until such a day. 

I chose to do the first. 

I had borrowed a couple Jane Austin movies from my dear friend and decided to take a trip back in time.

My kids were anxious to snuggle under blankets and engage in the seldom practiced art of 'a lazy day'. But after one very long hour (for them) they became restless and needed to move about.  I did not allow their lack of endurance to sway me, and I continued to persevere.  

Baby girl took to listening to her Ipod on the front porch while sticking her toes under the waterfall of rain pouring down from our roof.   Studly decided to engage his mind in a battle of Kingdom Hearts on his game system. 

Every few minutes Baby girl would try and convince me that a game of cards or coloring would suit the day much more adequately.  I tried not to let her pleas distract me from the task at hand.  And I was very successful for several hours. 

Soon the movies ended and the abundance of energy that had been pooling while I lay on the couch suddenly needed to be expended.   About the same time the rain decided to take a break and allowed me enough of a stretch to fire up the grill and cook some mouth-watering cheeseburgers.  We sat around the kitchen table savoring every bite as the sound of the rain began to patter against the windows once more. 

Bellies full and taste buds satisfied, we chose to break out the UNO cards.  Hubs, kids and I sat around the table for two hours more during this grueling crusade.  The stars were somehow tossed out of alignment though (due to all of the rain and wind I am assuming) because, oddly enough, my husband won the match. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Is 'My Today'

I am reading a very short but profound book called School of Christ  by T. Austin Sparks.  This passage from chapter 3 sums up a lot of my day today:

God always keeps the revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. I want you to get that. God always keeps the revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. You and I can never get revelation other than in connection with some necessity. We cannot get it simply as a matter of information. That is information, that is not revelation. We cannot get it by studying. When the Lord gave the manna in the wilderness (type of Christ as the bread from heaven) He stipulated very strongly that not one fragment more than the day's need was to be gathered, and that if they went beyond the measure of immediate need, disease and death would break out and overtake them. The principle, the law, of the manna, is that God keeps revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations of necessity, and we are not going to have revelation as mere teaching, doctrine, interpretation, theory, or anything as a thing, which means that God is going to put you and me into situations where only the revelation of Christ can help us and save us.  ...

Do not ask for light as some thing; ask for a fuller knowledge of the Lord Jesus. That is the way, for that is the only living way to know Him: and remember God always keeps the knowledge of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. That cuts both ways. We have to be in the situation. The Holy Spirit will bring us, if we are in His hand, into the situation which will make necessary a new knowledge of the Lord. That is one side. The other side is that, if we are in a situation which is a very hard and a very difficult one, we are in the very position to ask for a revelation of the Lord.  

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last Day of School

Hallelujah!   It's finally here!  The last day of school!  We have survived!   

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lesson #119: Learning to Rest

I am a planner and a doer (with a dab of O.C.D. on top.)  This has been manifested over and over through testimony of friends and family (along with the occasional personality test... just for fun.)  When a chore needs to be completed, I will 'spearhead' the task unless someone else takes lead.  I do not see the point in wasting time.  This has proven useful on many occasion.  It has also annoyed my husband countless times.
 
But...

At this season in my life, I am having to lay down my 'do or get out of my way' attitude and allow God to teach me that His work is perfect.

I have heard the scripture quoted from many a pulpit, for many a year, but for the first time in my life I am beginning to understand what Jesus meant when He said, "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." Matt 11:27-30 
My desire is to solve all the riddles in my families life that are unknown to me right now.  But Christ keeps whispering to me, "Why are you trying to take on tomorrow when you have enough tasks to complete today? Rest dear child.  Rest in Me.  Allow Me to do the heavy lifting.  Tomorrow will be full of its own struggles and tasks, and when the time comes, I will provide what you need.  But I will provide when the time comes."

How gracious God is!  I complain because I want my complete 'to-do' list, and God is mercifully handing me a few at a time.  He doesn't want to overwhelm me with all of them at once.  I am very slow to learn... sometimes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lesson #63: Waiting


This picture sums up my life right now.  
Sitting and waiting.  
There is no power within me to cause the light change any quicker.   Beating on my horn, stomping my feet on the floorboard or screaming at the top of my lungs won't help.  It might make me feel better for a moment, but most likely I would wind up injuring myself during the tantrum.  (Yes, I speak from past experience.)  So I wait.  I trust that the One who created this waiting time for me knows what is best.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to 
His purpose.  
 Romans 8:28

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lesson #98: Humility in Cards

Our dear friends taught us a new card game a few weeks back.  Unfortunately for them, we love the game and want to play ALL of the time! To keep things from heating up between couples, we diffused the situation by having the wives pair up and the husbands pair up.  

Poor husbands!  Since the inception of the competition the husbands have never taken the lead.  We have tied a few times, but the wives have always prevailed.  (Webster says, to prevail means to prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious)  I think that about sums it up.  

 We decided to take our game on the road.  We were flying to another state for a four day get-away and passed the time playing a friendly game of Skipbo in the airport lounge.  

(I'm the one with the camera.)

The husbands tied things up 15 - 15 with a win that morning.  

But the wives have since taken the lead (AGAIN.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fifteen

Fifteen is my magic number today.

We only have fifteen days of school remaining!  

I am counting down, as are my kids, until the final day.  We have enjoyed this oasis of time together, but I finally understand how every school teacher in America feels right about now.  Summer can't come quick enough.  Will I embark on the home-schooling journey again next year?  Still in prayer for now.  But I would do this year over and over again to have the relationship I now have with my kids. 

"Fifteen, fifteen you're our man... If you can't do it fourteen can!"   

(And so on and so forth until we reach none!) 


(The look I receive when I sing 'my' version of a song.)


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Home-Schooling 101

We are entering another milestone in our venture at home-schooling this year.  The kids will be taking their state tests on Friday.  Yes, I did say state tests for home-schooling.  The program I chose to use is K12, but it is not the private purchase program, it is the public school program at home through the state you reside in.

The curriculum is sent to us and we are required to follow all state laws concerning time spent in the classroom (i.e. dinner table), with some flexibility on what time of day and what days you take off.  Naturally, we can not take off whenever we want, but we do have the freedom to make the work up on a weekend or double up on a particular subject for a few days.  

To make a long story short, we have to travel six hours to the mandated testing site.  Therefore, we are leaving the night before and staying in a hotel.  The kids are delighted by this due to the hotel having an indoor swimming pool.  My children are part 'tadpole' and consequently need large amounts of swimming opportunities. 

I am grateful for the pool, since my kids will undoubtedly sleep better after wearing off a few hours of nervous energy.  I, of course, will sleep fitfully worrying about getting to the school testing site on time the following morning.  I'm typically not a 'morning person'.  My preference is to sleep in and stay up late.  This is probably the reason we start school at 8:45am (me still in my pj's most days) instead of the standard 8:00am.

So, another chapter will close in this venture Friday.  We will then (im)patiently wait for the final day of school (May 21st).  When the bell will ring (momma shouting hallelujah) and the kids will sigh with relief.  For we will have survived 'home-schooling 101'. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Matters

Our doorbell rang unexpectedly again on Sunday morning.  Baby Girl came running into our bedroom crying out, "Dad your friend is here!"  Hubs and I exchanged puzzled looks.  We were unsure what 'friend' would be on our doorstep so early in the morning.  Then Studly chimed in, "Dad, it's Jerry."  

I have to admit I was kind of surprised.  I did not know what to expect from him, but my hope was that he would return if he was in need.  

Hubs met him at the front door with sleep still in his eyes.  He smiled and greeted him warmly.  Jerry asked if there was any work he could do?  Hubs told him we needed to hold off mowing the lawn for a few more days, but that we would gladly pay him to mow it on Wednesday.  He then asked Jerry if he needed anything to eat?  I made him a sack lunch and he walked away.  

As I laid in bed Tuesday night mulling over different ideas, my agenda of things to do this week and next, my hopes for the summer, and the loads of laundry I had completed the day before (I was still patting myself on the back for having completed that monumental task) I wondered for a moment if Jerry would be at our door the next morning.  I then mentally scanned my cupboards wondering what meal I could provide for him.


Nine a.m. the next morning our doorbell rang.  Jerry was here to mow our lawn and was curious if we had any extra gas because the lawnmower he had borrowed was almost empty.  (Our lawnmower is broken and hubs has been unable to repair it.)  Our gas can was in dire need of filling.  


I hopped in the car to remedy the gas situation while Jerry got started. 


 As I was leaving the gas station my stomach growled.  Luckily my favorite fast food breakfast restaurant was in view.  I ordered sausage egg and cheese biscuits for Jerry and I and headed toward home.  


My husband took the sandwich and a RC Cola I had purchased to Jerry.  When Hubs came in he commented that he got the impression that Jerry wasn't sure how to mow a lawn 'properly'.   We shared a smile that meant it didn't matter to us.   What mattered was Jerry.  


When the work was complete Jerry rang the doorbell again.  I stepped out on the front porch to hand Jerry a fresh bottle of water, a snack for the road and the agreed upon payment for his work.  He smiled at me and proudly stated that he thought the backyard looked 'worlds better' than it had before he set to work on it.  I have to agree.   

Thursday, March 25, 2010

His Name is Jerry

My yard is a wreck.  I still have tree limbs dangling from the Ice Storm of 2010 along with hundreds of pecans littering my backyard.  My little dog has to hurdle the patches of weeds to find a suitable location to do his 'business' outside.  Birds fly past my yard, wince at the sight, and continue on.  I received a notice from the squirrel union this past week, that unless I make suitable working conditions for them, they will be boycotting my yard.  I am surprised the grill has not left me for a garden paradise yet, since I have neglected cleaning and using him as of late. 

I share all of this with you to tell you another story. 

Today my doorbell rang unexpectedly.  Standing on my porch was a man dressed in dirty ragged clothes holding a garden hoe and rake in one hand and a battered thermos in the other.  He asked my husband if we had any yard work he could do to earn some money?  He needed to eat and was trying to find some work to provide for himself.  He was missing four of his top front teeth and smelled as if he had missed a few shower dates. 

I stood in the background listening to my husband relay to this man that we did not have anything for him to do.  We had just had the yard sprayed two days prior and were waiting for the chemicals to take effect on the weeds before we mowed.   The man asked if there was anything else he could do, and my husband politely declined him.  He turned and walked away.  My husband closed the door and turned to look at me. 

I asked him what the man had wanted.  He said, "Some work so he could buy himself a sandwich."  I looked at my husband and we both knew at that moment there was no way he was walking away without a meal. 

My husband walked outside and invited the man back to our porch.  He then drove him to Subway and bought them both a sandwich, chips and drink.  They sat on our front porch and ate their meal while my husband tried to find out a little about this man. 

He had a place to stay but no formal education.  He was scared of our dog because they had been used to torment him as a child.   He was willing to do work, but his blood-shot eyes revealed that the money was probably used for alcohol.  They chit-chatted a while and then Jerry asked if there was any work he could do for us.   Anything at all for twenty dollars?

My husband came inside to throw the trash from their lunch away and relayed the information and request to me.  I looked at my backyard and then at my entertainment center.  On top of my dvd player sat the movie we had watched the night before; Blindside.  My mind replayed a conversation I had with my children three days prior.  We had discussed being a blessing to others and helping them in times of need.  We talked of loving Jesus and wanting to be like Him.  Would we be that now in Jerry's time of need? 

I told my husband that Jerry could rake the front and back yard.  He could gather the small limbs that still remained on our lawn and coral as many of the pecans as possible.  I also asked my husband to extend an invitation to Jerry to eat lunch with us each day. 

He immediately went to work humming all the while.  I watched him as he raked the backyard and was surprised when I realized God had answered a prayer I had uttered just the day before.  It was not so much a request as it was me sharing in conversation with God what I desired.  I wanted to get my yard work done, but felt guilty spending a beautiful day outside working instead of spending it with my children.  I have missed so many gorgeous days with them in the past, because of work, and I could not bring myself to use that time for my own ambitions.  But I knew the work needed to be done; soon. 

God knew my hearts desire and He answered my prayer.  His name is Jerry.  He sent a hungry man in need of a meal to my door step.  He knew of Jerry's hunger (he had not eaten in several days) and of my need for assistance and He blessed us both. 

 I sent a loaf of bread, four cans of tuna (with a can opener) and an unopened box of chocolate chip bars home with him, along with the twenty dollars we had agreed upon.   I do not know if Jerry will return for another meal, but I am grateful for the blessing he was to my family today. 

Thank you Heavenly Father for your provisions and your grace upon our lives. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

For Pet Owners Everywhere

This post is from an email that has been passed around many times, but I just had to post it here with pictures of my cat and dog.  Hope you enjoy! 

DOG DIARY
8:00 AM - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 AM - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 AM - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 AM - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!


CAT DIARY
Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.

Bast!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

For now...

 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Perception

I have been latent in getting news to you all, as to how the basketball team is doing, since my last post.  I have set down several times and began posting, but have erased them before being completed.

Many things have been going on in and around my life in the past week and my mind has been cluttered with numerous thoughts.  I have been unable, til now, to sort through them in a comprehensible way to allow myself to express them to you. 

My journey with the basketball team has been a great learning experience for me.  I  hope the boys have learned as much from me as I have learned from being around them.

Our team has a record of 1 - 10.  Yes, it is a losing record; from one perspective.  I am going to tell you about two of our most recent games.  The first took place the day I posted Repeat???  Please!!!   The second took place one week later.  (We had a total of five games during that week.)

The first game was the game of a 'lifetime'.  We were playing a very tough and successful opponent.  Our team took the court and in the first half we were down by 14 points.  There are four quarters in a game.  Each quarter is five minutes long.

At half-time I took our boys aside and stared into the eyes of defeat.  Each boys' head was hung low and tears were quietly hiding waiting for a chance to escape.  Frustration oozed from their pores along with the sweat of battle.  I was amazed that they saw defeat with so much time left to play.  I quickly realized that for them to succeed they had to see themselves as I saw them.  As their parents in the stands saw them.  They had to see the victory that could be theirs and they had to want it.  They had to be desperate for it!  They had to have a do or die attitude.

I let my passion for the game spill forth from my lips.  I told the boys that they had a choice to make.  To give the other team the game, or make them earn it.   Up until that moment, every point the other team had scored was from our mistakes they had capitalized upon;  our bad passes, our poor rebounding, our lack of hussle.  They had not earned one point.  We had not made them play to their best potential, because we had not played to ours.

I told the team that according to city league regulations I did not have to play subs in the fourth quarter.  I could play whoever I wanted for as long as I wanted.  I set the ultimatum before them,  "You play hard and show me you want to win and I will play you in the fourth quarter.  You act like you don't care and give minimal effort; you will sit the bench.  I don't have to sub anyone.  If you want to play in the fourth quarter, then you better show me in the third.  We can shut this team down and win this game.  But you have to want it." 

Every face changed at that exact moment.  There was only one word to describe it; Determination!  Desire was burning in their hearts.  They took the court in the third quarter as a team, and they shut the other team down!

There was a passion burning within them that could no longer be contained.  The other team was stunned.  We took the lead.  We did not allow them to score one point until the final minutes of the game.

It was an epic battle.  Comments were being made by the score keepers and refs that this was the best game they had ever seen.  Emotions ran high in the stands and emanated from every person in the gym. 

I wish I could say that we won that game.  But we did not. 

This brings me to the second game I wanted to tell you about.  This game took place a week later with three games between the 'epic battle' and this game. 

We were playing the only undefeated team in our league.  We had met them once before on the court and lost by 11 points.  We had not played our best against them, and I was hoping for our team to show up ready to play.  To be the team they had been during the 'epic battle'.

But no matter how hard I tried, no matter how many heartfelt and spurring speeches I gave, that team was nowhere to be found.  We lost the game 51 - 4.  Yes, we only scored four points.  It was disheartening to say the least.  I had watched our team play their best and then watched them give up on themselves. 

I believe my team lost heart when they lost the 'epic battle'.  They had given it all and still came up short; in their eyes.  You see... I left the 'epic battle' game stoked at what I had seen.  I saw that we could be amazing!  We could shut down any team we wanted to... if we worked together... if we wanted it bad enough.  But they left the game with defeat clearly visible upon their shoulders.  Instead of laying it down, they have carried it into every game we have played since.

I also saw something within myself that I have to lay down.  I have known for many years that I have a 'people - pleaser' personality.  I want to make everyone happy, and will go to great lengths to make it happen.  At times, I have tread on dangerous ground.

I wanted desperately to make my team happy.  I wanted to make their parents happy.  But I have to realize that they determine their own happiness by how they handle and view a situation.  No matter how hard I try, I can not make them change. 

We have one regular season game left and then a tournament.  I still believe that we have an amazing team.  I have not lost heart!  And I hope that the boys will remember it before the end.  But no matter the outcome, I am glad I coached this team and that I met these boys.  They are an amazing bunch, whether they see it in themselves or not.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Repeat???? Please!!!!

We had our first victory Monday night on the city-league basketball team that I am coaching.  My son, Studly, and his 8 teammates finally pulled out a win!  They had lost their previous five games, not because they are terrible ball players, but because they had not learned how to function corporately; to succeed self must first die.

Several of the boys on the team were good (not NBA good, 11 year old good), but they were lacking in the  'know-how' or development of the concept of team.

I had shared with my husband and friends that all I hoped to accomplish this season (my first coaching season) was to teach the boys to play as a team and have fun doing it.  Lie!  Lie!  Lie!  Lie!  Lie!

It sounded really good, but I must confess I am way too competitive to go an entire season without a single 'W'.   In noncompetitive sport talk... that means a WIN!   I am sincere when I say that I want the boys to have fun, but who wants to lose all of the time?  Not me!

After A LOT of coaching, teaching, stressing and hair pulling (my own, not the boys) they are finally grasping the concept of team rather than individualism.  They are beginning to cheer each other on and celebrate each other's victories.  They are joking with each other prior to the games and high-fiving each other after.  I am blessed to be on this journey with them.  They are an amazing group of boys!

Tonight, we seek our second victory.  (Did you really think I would be ok with just one?)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dinner and a Memory

My daughter was begging me to spend some time with her yesterday.  Just the two of us.   Sounds simple enough and sad.    I am home with my kids everyday now, since quitting work and home-schooling this year, but my daughter is still having to ask for time with me.  We spend 8 or 9 hours a day together doing school work, but that is me being teacher not mom.  We spend time relaxing with family and friends, but it's not the same as having me all to herself.

She had worked hard on a list of things we could do, ranging from going out of town to a mall all the way to just going out for ice cream.  I would have gone for the ice cream bit, but it was cold, cloudy and wet outside and it sucked all desire for ice cream right out of me.  We had dinner plans already, so going out of town was out of the question.

We (truth be told, I) decided we would go to the store and get the items we needed for dinner and then she and I would prepare it together.  All other persons would be banned from the kitchen with penalty of no dinner if they entered.   She was not fond of this plan of action, and felt dejected that I had not chosen one of her ideas.  

On the drive home from the store I explained the reasons why we were not doing the other stuff and tried to help her to see how much fun we could have making dinner together.  I thought she understood until I looked over and saw her quietly wiping tears away from her sad eyes.  I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she wanted to be away from the house.  I did not understand why being home made a difference to her until she explained that at home she would have to share me with dad, Studly and any household chores I decided to become distracted with.  Talk about a gut punch!

I lost my mom five years ago in a car accident.  I still have moments where I break down because I can't call her to let her know what progress her grandchildren are making.  I tear up at holidays and birthdays because she isn't here to watch the kids grow and me become a more developed mom.  I have moments where I want to ask her what she would do or did do in certain situations with us kids when we were young, but I no longer have the opportunity.  I miss dinners at home.  I miss the feeling of being taken care of by my mom.   I miss laying my head on her lap and letting her comb her fingers through my hair.  Here I am struggling with these thoughts and my own daughter feels the need to beg me to spend time with her.   Another gut punch.

We arrived at the house and unloaded the groceries.  We were making meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.   She and I sat down at the kitchen table and, for the first time ever, peeled potatoes  together.  We talked some and I praised her for her hard work.  She was able to get two potatoes peeled, chopped up and placed in the pan with the others.  Not bad for a first timer.   When she finished the potatoes she moved on to the green bean casserole and successfully assembled it with only verbal directions from me.

It was a wonderful evening!  I was able to spend time with my daughter making memories that she and I will cherish always.  She also placed her request to be my new 'expert' potato peeler.  I enthusiastically accepted her offer and trumped her offer with one of my own:  I requested that she be my new assistant in the kitchen.   She answered me with a smile and a big bear hug (as wide as her nine year old arms could reach).  

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sleepless in the Midwest


Have you ever been so desperate for something that your body would literally ache?  You would wake in the middle of the night unable to sleep, unable to clear your mind, unable to focus on anything but the object of your desperation.

I am entering this 'area'.  I (along with my husband) have a desire for something more in our lives and it is becoming a constant ache in my bones, a tightness in my chest, a thought that never goes away.  (No, I do not want another child.  : )  Not that the idea is taboo to me; it's just something I never think about. )

I am curious as to what would cause you to become desperate?  There is no right or wrong answer that I am searching for here... just curiosity as to what others think.  Take a moment and comment.  I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From Twilight to Breaking Dawn

I have to brag on myself for just a minute.  I accomplished something in the last 5 days that was not an easy task.  I read all four books in the Twilight series in five days!  The first book has 498 pages and the last book has 754 pages.  The other two books have page amounts between that margin.  (A grand total of 2,444 pages altogether.)  

I understand that I am way behind on the wholeTwilight hysteria that has been sweeping our nation.  Let me just clarify that I am not on that bandwagon, which is precisely the reason it has taken me so long to even want to read the books.  I enjoy a well written story, so much so, that I can become immersed in the characters and drama and lose all desire for food, sleep or human interaction (my husband will agree wholeheartedly with me on that statement).  That is, until I know the final outcome for the characters in the story.

I decided to read the books when my sister-in-law generously offered to let me borrow hers and mail them back to her.  She enjoys the books and movies immensely and has even read the books to my brother.  To my complete surprise, he enjoyed the books and has even gone to see the first two movies with her.  

I had seen the first two movies as well (prior to reading the books) and enjoyed the story line enough to know that the books would be far better (books always are).  My sister-in-law felt in her opinion that the third book, Eclipse, was the most fascinating.  I agreed, until I read the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, yesterday and was mesmerized by a few key things.  

Part of my hesitation to read the books, besides the obvious of not wanting to be a bandwagon member, was the focus that I knew it would require of me.  You may laugh at that statement, but I did mention a moment ago that if a story is written well enough I will become immersed in it.  If the hype surrounding these books lived up to half the stories I had heard, I knew that it would consume me until the final outcome was revealed.  (This had already taken place with books such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.  Not to mention, many many others.)  

I have many other things going on in my life right now that require so much of my attention, and I was unwilling to share any of it with fictional characters that did not depend upon my point of view of them to survive.  But with the generosity of my sister-in-law, I gave in and spent five days pouring over page after page after page until the satisfaction of knowing what was to be for them was revealed.  I did not want to merely be entertained, but desired to learn something from what I had read (as I do with all books). 

I was surprised when the moment finally came.  It hit me 3/4 of the way through the fourth book.  What I had been searching for.  What made these books make sense for me.  Why I had given up precious time to gain something from them.  

I have posted my revelation on my blog Being A Bride.  This is not a cheap ploy to get you to visit my other blog (or is it), I just felt the explanation was better deserved upon those pages then upon these.  

Monday, February 8, 2010

We're Coming Home

We are heading home!!!  All is fixed and in working order at the homestead!  I have enjoyed the time with family in the north, but I am greatly anticipating being reunited with my husband!!!  I miss you dearly and will be home soon!

Thank you so much to my brother and sister-in-law for their hospitality and kindness.  You opened up the doors to your home without hesitation and made the kids and I feel welcomed.  You are loved so very much!  I just wish we didn't live so far apart.

Thank you to my sister-in-law's parents as well!  You fed us and made the kids and I feel 'at home' in your home!  Thank you for supporting my 'football habit' and allowing me to watch the Super Bowl with you.  I consider you family and love and admire you both!

This has been a great adventure and one we will remember with fond memories always, because of the love and support of family and friends!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Escape from the 2010 Ice Age

In light of our circumstances (no electricity, no heat except for what a gas stove provided, no internet to do school work, and not knowing when things would be getting better) the kids and I departed from our home and ironically headed north to escape the effects of the winter ice storm.  My dear husband stayed behind to keep an eye on the home-front and make sure all needed repairs and 'fixes' were accomplished.

We set up 'homeschooling camp' in my brother's dining room and enjoyed the luxury of electricity once more.

Baby Girl started catching up on her reading...

...and helping her cousin play with toys.

My brother was able to prove that he is still taller and wiser than his nephew of 12.

Studly felt he needed to educate his 'old' uncle on the current happenings in the music industry... 

...and spend a little time hanging out with his cool and 'with it' aunt.

My niece had just spent a long hard day at school and swimming lessons and was re-energizing with some dinner I had prepared.  

My nephew and I spent some quality time bonding (he was playing with my zipper, NOT the other that you were thinking.) 


And of course, we round out the night with some high quality sword fighting (just for good measure.) 

All in all, the ice has been somewhat of a blessing.  We have spent more time with family and writing our own stories instead of watching them on tv.  Our adventure up north will continue until we resolve all ice storm issues back at the homestead.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ice Age 2010

We traveled back in time this past week to a place where electricity ceases, heat is but a flame away and electronics are unheard of.  A winter storm blew into town, literally, and left a covering of ice on everything it touched.  Thankfully, we had a roof over our heads, a gas stove and a gas water heater.  Generators have been a blessing to many in these parts.  Slowly technology is making its way back into our town and into our homes.  Many are still without power and will continue to be for some time.  For the most part people have kept their spirits high, but there have been moments when they reached as low as the temperatures we have been experiencing.   

As the saying goes, 'A picture is worth a thousand words.'    


We made a campground out of our living room and huddled together. 
A dry erase board to replace the tv.
 
Our fierce leader 'under cover' of course.
In his own words:  "Daddy made fire!" and mom was able to make tacos.  (Dad was checking the progress of lunch in this pic.)
Making rounds and checking on family.
Chandler's thoughts:  "I ain't getting blamed for this one!"
Queen Jazz's thoughts: "I'm not sharing any of my food with the dog or new kitten."
Big Mike: "I'm doing whatever it takes to stay warm."
Putting aside differences.

The weight of the ice was extreme.
One way to thaw meat in an ice storm.
I got bundled up and braved the cold-er air outside to snap a few pics. 






Stay tuned for more pictures of the 2010 Ice Age.