Friday, April 30, 2010

This Little Piggy Made My Day...

Considering I really don't have a high tolerance for drama from others, I sure can be dramatic myself. I hate that. (I tell my kids "hate" is a very strong word and I'm using it here because I really do hate when I am such a hypocrite.)

This morning I woke up feeling all sorts of anxiety about what might be 'wrong' with baby *M*. You see, I woke up with one of the possibilities screaming in my brain and it kind of got the best of me. Unfortunately, the might was the one part whispering. I hate that too. The Husband knows I'm like this, hence his warning to "stay away from Google." I mean no disrespect to Google, but sometimes it's better to not know things. ;)

Anyway...I was a big old funky, tearful mess this morning. And wouldn't you know it? Those other beautiful blessing I have..I wasn't so much looking at them as blessings...because their chatter and breakfast and "stuff" was preventing me from retreating into my own head where all my drama was hanging out.

Then the not-quite-3 yo held up his feet to me and said, "Do piggies! Do piggies!" And while "this little piggy went to market and this little piggy stayed home and all the way through the little piggy that went wee wee weee all the way home" he laughed from deep down in his belly..and I smiled and remembered the blessings I have right now, even when they chatter endlessly and bicker and cannot decide on what they want for breakfast.

After the older boys went off to school the Husband listened to all my "what ifs". He reminded me that each day is a gift. We have a choice about how we face each day and we can face it in love or in fear.

So today, I am not going to hang out with my drama...instead I will choose to count my Blessings and maybe we'll "Do piggies!" a few more times.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Gift...

I received this pot for Christmas in 1999. It might seem strange that I remember that. I cried when I opened it. Not tears of joy. To the Husband's chagrin, I did not appreciate this 3 1/2 quart Calphalon pot. (He has quite an appreciation of fine cooking implements.)

I am not proud of my ungrateful spirit. In my defense I was FIVE days overdue with *C* and just a little emotional..and he gave me a pan for Christmas. Waaah.

It probably isn't easy to see from the picture, but I use this pan a lot. I love it. I might not have known I wanted it, but it has been a great addition to the kitchen.
AND this morning, I looked at the bottom of this pan to see what size it was and discovered it was the right size to bake the artisan bread I saw on yesterday. YAHOOO!!! We love artisan bread but I've never been able to successfully make it at home. I'm hopeful this will be a winner. :) My plan is to start the process today and bake it tomorrow.

I didn't know I wanted this pan, but it has been wonderful in our kitchen and will now allow me to try a new recipe. There are lots of gifts (tangible and intangible) that I didn't know I wanted (or didn't think I wanted) that have been huge blessings. There have also been things I've ached for, wished and hoped for 'more than anything', that I haven't received..and I am fairly certain that was for the best too. In keeping with my country music the Garth Brooks song goes..."Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."

As a funny afterward to the pan for Christmas...6 days later on New Years Eve morning the Husband and the midwife had a wonderful conversation about cooking gadgets and pots and pans and knives...and I was thinking.."Hello! I'm having a baby here! Stop talking about the darned pans and pay attention to ME!"


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reality..It's What You Need.

"Sometimes she stares out the window And wonders about her Hollywood dreams But
when she tucks her kids in bed She softly whispers as they fall asleep Somebody
must be prayin' for me Somebody out there must be prayin' for me Ain't it funny
how you always find Just what you need Somebody must be prayin' for me"
Tim McGraw Somebody Must Be Praying For Me

I've never had "Hollywood dreams" per se, but I can honestly say the life I'm living isn't exactly what I was planning when I was growing up.

For one thing, I never and I do mean NEVER thought I would have 5 never mind 6 kids..and never did I imagine sons. I always imagined having two daughters with names like Tatiana and Kaylee. But 6 children..that never even crossed my radar.

I thought I would live in "the city" and have a career and buckets of disposable income. Umm..yeah. Now I live in a suburb of a small city and dream of living in the country. I'm very happy to be at home, although I do want to finish that Masters. I do still dream of the buckets of disposable income. ;)

My life may not be perfect. My kids aren't perfect. The Husband (sorry honey) isn't perfect. I am most certainly not perfect. But..Life is good.

The dreams I had when I was 15 or even 20 really don't hold a candle to the life I live now, in all it's mundane, middle class "glory". I guess, to quote Taylor Swift in another song, "I didn't know who I was supposed to be at 15."

I'm thankful that I have found myself..pretty an imperfect wife and a mom. (Which means that maybe all those dolls I played with as a little girl were more indicative of my future than anyone realized. ;))

"Ain't it funny how you always find, just what you need? Somebody must be prayin' for me."


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Feeds Your Monster?

Do you have a monster? What does it look like? I'm not talking about the kiddos. :) I'm talking about that thing that has power in your life and isn't productive or helpful or even living and breathing.

For some people it's money (or the lack of it). For some it's food. For some it's a job or lack of one. The monster is that thing which manages to get a handle on emotions and actions and take over a little bit of the rational thinking.

My monster is worry. It has been for as long as I can remember. The Husband has said I'm not happy unless I have something to worry about. I beg to differ, because the worry doesn't make me happy, it makes me quite the opposite. But, it serves an (irrational) purpose.

I can explain, a little bit. This started when I was a child. I recognize it's irrational. (Am I protesting too much?) My mom was sick a lot when I was growing up and had several stays in the hospital for critical things (blood clot in the lungs, heart attack, other related issues, triple bypass when I was a freshman in college.) I was pretty much kept in the dark about these things, even in college. I think it was everyone's way of protecting fragile me. (Insert eye roll here) Anyway, when I was in the dark, but very scared about where my mom was and what was going to happen, I worried. and I started to feel like the worry was what kept her safe. It's irrational, some would say "magical thinking". I recognize it doesn't work that way, any more than "having a feeling" something is wrong means something must be wrong. But that's the background.

Soooo...I have this irrational fear, not a fear so much as a niggling negative thought that if I expect the best...I will get smacked down. So, the worry is something of a "good luck charm". Not something one of faith should need, right? And I recognize that prayer is far more powerful than my worry "charm". :)

Which is why yesterday, when I got some questionable news, I did two things..first I did some research (knowledge is power right? Unless with knowledge you fixate on the worst possible case scenario just like the Husband knew I would when he said, "Don't Google it".) But the second thing I did was reach out to people I know I can count on for prayer. (This should have been the first, but I didn't realize from the tone in which I got the news that I would have such a worry soooo...I should have just listened to the Husband and stayed ignorant of the possibilities.)

So my case you're wondering.... My Ob informed me, kind of after the fact when I mentioned the ultrasound tech was going on and on about getting a Level 2 ultrasound because I'm of Advanced Maternal Age (Don't you think that phrase should have some sort of "duhn duhn duhn" music?) that yes, I could go in for the Level 2 because the tech wrote there was only a two vessel cord when there should be three. He assured me it will be fine and is sending me to a maternal-fetal specialist for a level 2 ultrasound. (My appointment is on May 17th.) I'm not going in to all the possibilities for you here...because you too have the power of the Internet at your fingertips...I'll just say the little girl could have absolutely no issues whatsoever, or ..... We just have to wait and see what we see on May 17th.

No matter what, we love her bunches already and so do the boys. We got a party supply catalogue in the mail yesterday and *C* has decided we must do the pink princess theme for her 1st birthday. (Do you think she might be doted on by a few folks?) I was 'worried' that she'd never get to go on a date with all the older brothers scaring the prospects away (not such a bad thing. ;) ) Now I wonder if she might have some very high standards after being treated like a princess by all these brothers.

Thinking about her 1st Birthday...that kind of goes against what my worry monster usually allows...but I'm putting him on a diet. :)

I hope you can put your monster on a diet too!


Monday, April 26, 2010

But So Glad I Did..

Sometimes I just don't want to. I just don't feel like it. Staying at home would be so much easier. Skipping (fill in the blank) wouldn't be bad, would it? But I'm so not in the mood (to go out and about and be around people).

Sometimes I feel that way about things I've committed to (like teaching Sunday School). Sometimes I feel that way about things I'm doing for pure enjoyment (like spending an afternoon scrap booking with friends I rarely see). Sometimes I feel that way about things that need doing (like going to the grocery store).

But I DO show up to teach Sunday School, I do go scrap booking and I do go to the grocery store. And guess what? I'm always glad I went. (Yes, even to the grocery store...because no matter how many people there are giving the impression they've never walked an aisle with a cart before and clog everything up with their slack-jawed looks of amazement, I still walk out knowing I've got the supplies to support the Fam. for another week or two...or until they eat "the good stuff".)

Yesterday, I wasn't feeling wonderful in the morning, in fact, I wasn't feeling well (just pregnancy stuff like shortness of breath). I was a little worried (maybe even dreading) how Sunday School would go because I felt so :P BUT I went and I did the lesson with my co teacher and I enjoyed my time, and by the end of the hour, I felt OK. Having the opportunity to serve others was healing and rejuvenating...and I adore the children in the class. I'm glad I didn't try to find an out. I needed that hour.

Yesterday afternoon, I went scrap booking. I danced around whether I would go. I do this every time I'm going to this particular venue. I adore the women there, but the location is part of painful history for me (the Husband was an intern there). I'm always welcomed with smiles and hugs (by most ;) )I get to see friends I don't see often. We talk about kids and food and books and tons of other stuff. We scrap and we eat and laugh and I get past the feeling that I'm invading in a place I don't belong. But before I go, there's always that feeling that maybe I should just stay home. Yesterday was no exception but...I had a wonderful visit, got a lot accomplished..and came home feeling refreshed.

I've learned to "just do it". I've mastered my inner hermit (mostly). It can seem easier to avoid people and things but the reality doesn't usually help. Sometimes a new perspective, a different voice and something outside myself heals whatever the funk is. I realized that walking through the woods on Thursday and I saw it again yesterday.

The strength to "just do it" doesn't come from within. The strength to move forward, to step out, to go and do what feels difficult at first comes from God. I know that and I am thankful to have Someone much bigger than myself to rely on when I need a little extra push in the right direction.

I'm so glad when I follow through and do the things I don't feel like doing...the commitments, the fun stuff and even the chores. While individually they may not be big accomplishments, they're all things that remind me that I don't exist purely for myself, but in community with others.

May you find the strength to face whatever it is that just doesn't feel easy today.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Somtimes It's About Time...

Yesterday I was lamenting my snappiness and the fact that I hadn't filled the boys' Spring Break with lots of adventures and silliness.
At some point in the late morning or early afternoon, I realized I regretted my crabbiness, BUT that the lack of "adventures" created space for other things.
Going to public school, the boys have an early start every day and are constantly on a schedule, then they come home and do homework, have dinner and get ready for bed. I am not a big fan of heavy scheduling. I think kids need time to be kids..creative and free and fun. (I go back and forth several times a year.. week.. day about the desire to home school, but it's not something we feel ready to do..other than the rigid schedule, PS is working well for the boys.)
So, while we did not go heavy on activities this week (other than baseball practice which at least one of them had every day this week)...they did get to sleep in (which the teenager took advantage of... because he gets up by 5:45 on school days.) The other boys ate lunch in their PJs almost every day this week. *C* had a sleepover at a friend's house..and told me when he came home that being home is great. They played in the yard. They played video games. Many Lego structures were created. In other words, they got to Just Be.
After *C*'s practice last night, we all headed to Friendly's for a late dinner and some ice cream. (Thanks for the gift card, Uncle Dave!) We were all relaxed and enjoyed our time together. Afterward we took a ride (we love taking rides) and then came home with very tired, but content children.
Today I have plans...the four youngers need sneakers (and I have a coupon), there's a sale at Jo-Ann's I'd like to take advantage of, I need to get some little things for my Sunday School lesson...and we'd also like to do something fun as a family. (I have a few ideas floating around, but the Husband and I have not had time to discuss them.)
No, it's not a fancy rock star existence. We don't jet off to fabulous places and I am not the madcap, adventurous mom. Instead, I'm the plain old mom, making breakfast, folding the laundry, dispensing hugs and band aids, helping take those stubborn Lego pieces apart...not always patient, not always laughing...but always loving them and making the time to be present for them, listening and snuggling and just being there.
I'm not a wild and crazy mom, but I'm wild and crazy about this family of mine. Thanks God!

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Day, New Attitude

Today is Friday. The last weekday of the boys' break. I wish I could say we've gone on adventures each day. I wish I could say I played games and laughed and was silly with them. Instead, this morning, I feel as though I have another week of wasted opportunities.

Fortunately, today is a new day. Hopefully once everyone is awake, I can embrace the day, take a deep breath and do something fun with my guys.

Yesterday, I was crabby. The day started off poorly when the Husband and I had words because I felt his tone was dismissive when I was trying to discuss something. That annoyance carried over through my day and I was snappish with the boys. (Another opportunity to apologize and ask forgiveness.)

After dinner *N* had baseball practice at 6 and *E* had practice at 6:45 at a different park so we had to split up. I took *N*, *C* and *I* came with me. *C* had designs on the playground but it was soooo crowded and I admit I get so stressed out over playground politics that I try to avoid crowded playgrounds. (I'm sure this hasn't helped our week go smoothly, they've been asking to go to a playground all week) Fortunately, this park has beautiful walking trails through the woods and *C* is my nature guy so we took a walk instead.

What a GREAT idea! We had the best time. We talked and saw squirrels and chipmunks and a hawk. *C* stopped us with his fingers to his lips...we could hear a woodpecker! My observant boy pointed out all sorts of interesting things. I didn't have my camera so I let him use my phone to take pictures. (I thought of getting him a camera for Christmas last's definitely on the list for next year.) *I* loved it too and was very chatty about all that he saw.

This walk soothed my soul. I was feeling so frazzled and cranky and really taking all my blessings for granted, choosing instead, to focus on the worries, the "what ifs" and the irritations. Not a good way to walk through life. I definitely was not showing trust, faith or a cheerful spirit. Not a good example AT ALL.

Emerging from the woods was like a transformation. I felt like a new woman. The whole evening went better.

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend some quiet time with *C* and *I*. I am so thankful that I was able to immerse myself in the beauty of creation. Yesterday is history. I cannot go back in time and erase the snapping. I can remember the happiness though. And I can resolve to have an adventure and embrace the day with a positive attitude. Maybe I'll even feel brave enough to go to a playground. (Maybe....... or maybe we can take a nice walk through the woods.)


Thursday, April 22, 2010

In Hot Water...

I know that back in the day, people sometimes used a big pot of water on the stove for washing clothes...or at least I seem to recall seeing it in books or movies...maybe it was a cartoon. ;) I'm not sure how *I* knew about it though....

Anyway...I was feeling pretty Betty Crocker yesterday. There was bread rising and a pot of water was on the stove so I could make stuffed shells. (That way I could just pop the pan in the oven when we got back from *C*'s baseball practice and we'd be eating in a half hour, right?)

The water was alomost boiling....when I heard the stampede of little feet coming into the kitchen. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something fly through the air..and splash into the pot of water ...went *I*'s pants! I have no idea why he threw his pants onto the stove. (Why do not-quite-3 yos do anything they do?) Thank goodness the pants didn't land in the flame! I grabbed the pants... "NO! Do not throw anything on the stove!" He burst into tears. He is not accustomed to being yelled at, but this was a biggie!

The water got dumped. The pot got washed. The dinner eventually got made. Noone got hurt. It was all good.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now THIS is Inspiration! nominated me for this award. How cool is that? Reading her comment yesterday I felt like Sally Field when she received the Oscar, "You like me, right now, you like me." (That's the actual quote, but the popularly remembered, "You like me. You really like me!" sounds so much better in my head. :) )

This is how Hallee described the award, "These blogs inspire others to achieve greater things. Some inspire me to worship, or study, or be more self-disciplined. Some inspire my creative side. Some lend me inspiration for my own blogging endeavors. Mostly, they inspire hope, love, and joy in daily life! Whatever the case, these are Inspirational Blogs."

Thank you Hallee! This gives me inspiration. Thank you to everyone who reads because there's nothing better than having people read your words. Thank you to everyone who gives feedback whether it's here on the blog, on Facebook, via e-mail or in person. Knowing that something you read here impacted you in some way...that is like sunshine on a cloudy day for me!

Now it's time to pass this on...I haven't quite figured out some of the technological bits and pieces but I wanted to pass on the love and if I can figure out how to clean it up..that's what the edit button is for. :0

Here are my nominations for Inspirational Blogs. They are in no particular order...

This is just a snapshot. I know there are more that I read and adore. I'm short on time and have limited focus. (Is there such a thing as child-induced Attention Deficit I'm not making light of ADD/ADHD...but seriously I had a much better attention span and ability to focus pre-children.)

Thank You Hallee and Thank You to the people who read and encourage me every day.

-Peace and Love

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Play Nice!

So the boys are home this week for spring break. The inevitable bickering has begun. I don't love it.

Sometimes I can ignore it and sometimes I need to step in. There is a fine line between harmless and somebody is gonna get hurt, know what I mean? Even the two-year-old got into the act yesterday. He threw a VHS tape at *E* because he wanted to watch something else on TV. Niiiice.

Nothing hurts my heart more than my boys behaving in a hurtful way. I know it's part of being human but I keep thinking if we set a good enough example....they won't do or say mean things. I guess part of it is accepting that I am human and don't always set a perfect example (NO, I am not throwing things at people when I get angry, but I do raise my voice. OK, OK..I can be a "yeller" sometimes. :) )

Now, don't get me wrong, they can be absolutely lovely to one another. Yesterday *J* took *N* outside to play catch. This morning *N* read *I* a book. I'm sure they've all done nice things in the past 24 hours but right now they're fighting over Bionicle pieces so I can't remember.

Speaking of fighting over our house, when they start fighting over toys they get a warning..."If you fight over it and cannot work it out without yelling and fighting, NO ONE plays with it." (I'm getting ready to take away all Legos/Bionicles as I type.)

The good part about the bickering (have to find a silver lining) is that it gives an opportunity for apology and forgiveness. Those are two things I try to regularly model for them. I have ample opportunities to apologize because I make a lot of mistakes and I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong. The boys also know that doing wrong means they need to apologize and ask forgiveness. I tell them that saying you're sorry also means acknowledging that you need to change the behavior. (That's a work in progress for us all.)

It's a good thing that we're all getting pretty good at forgiveness. :)


Monday, April 19, 2010

Just So You Know...

Regarding the "Staring" post....I found the whole episode incredibly funny. It was just such a perfect example of my life....

I think most people like to "people watch" but usually they aren't quite as blatant about it. It's interesting that I tell my children it's rude to stare and then they notice adults doing just that.

When we got into the van, after the Husband's "Keystone Cops" comment, we were laughing very hard. I'm sure it was comical to observe. These kinds of things don't embarrass me. As we were driving down the highway whenever I would think about it and think of the Husband saying, "Keystone Cops" I would start laughing all over again.

A healthy sense of humor is a very good thing.

What Are You Looking At?

Evidently, my family is fascinating.

Not only do people feel compelled to ask questions like "Are they all yours?" and "Are you trying for a girl?" but they don't feel at all ashamed to stare...they don't even try to hide it. I have cute kids but COME ON!

Friday evening we took a road trip to OH to visit my father-in-law. We stopped at a fast food restaurant for dinner. (No lectures about the lack of nutritional value, please.) The Husband and I have a system..he finds out what I want to eat then I take the 2 yo and find a place to sit. After the other boys order, they join me and the 15 yo gathers the napkins, straws and ketchup. YES! I confess, we've done this a few times before!

For some reason, at this busy place on the side of the highway, we were like a freak show. (No this is not was like we'd wandered into a tiny town and were clearly "from away".) One woman walked around the perimeter of the restaurant, coffee in hand, staring at us the whole time. Finally the 15 yo said, not too quietly, "Why is she staring?"

Thankfully, right about that time, *E* was generous and gave people something to see. Somehow he managed to knock his whole soda (don't say it, I know all about HFCS) backward onto the seat behind him and it quickly ran like a river in both directions, toward the Husband and myself. Fortunately, our reflexes are still good (we are old, after all) and our behinds stayed did *E*'s. There is no use crying, or yelling, over spilled soda. The Husband went and got the napkins while the children stood in the way gawking at the soda river. *N* tried to soak up the deluge with the corner of one napkin while *C* effectively blocked the Husband from recovery efforts. After asking them to sit down several times, he discovered they were mesmerized and he had to take them (gently, of course) by the shoulders and lead them to their seats so he could actually reach the spill. I told you, we're like the Griswolds. He said it was like watching the Keystone cops. (I told him he was showing his age. ;) ) And through it all, "Coffee Lady" circled and gawked.

Hopefully, we handled the "crisis" acceptably. Hopefully, we set a positive example for both our children and those around us. (Because there were times this weekend when we looked like we could have been on one of those reality shows about a family in crisis...but those are blips on the radar screen..loud blips but so uncommon as to be totally shocking to us and the perpetrators. Amazing what stress, sleep deprivation and hunger can do to rational people. We're going to work on that.)

Sometimes life goes smoothly. Sometimes we fly under the radar. Sometimes we get compliments about how well-behaved our kids are. (Yes, it really does happen.) Sometimes people stare. Sometimes I want to crawl into a hole out of embarrassment. Always, ALWAYS I am a child of God entrusted with the care of His children. This blessing will not always be easy and I will often fall short but regardless, my life is a gift and each child is a sign of hope and an opportunity to be an example of God's them and to others. Hopefully, each of them will go on to do the same.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Break is Coming!

Yahooo! As soon as the last child gets off the school bus around 3:45 we will be on spring break.

We're not doing any big vacation. No Disney World. No Myrtle Beach. No European Vacation. (Though I suspect we look like the Griswolds when we do take a trip. ;) ) We're going to see grandparents for a day. There is still baseball practice and the husband will be at work almost every day. We're hoping to visit Old Fort Niagara and maybe see How to Train Your Dragon. Miraculously the 15 yo has no school projects to do. (He has had one over every other break, including Christmas!)

I am so excited to have the boys home. No, by Wednesday I will not be changing my tune. I enjoy being with my noisy, rambunctious, bickering, energetic, creative boys. (It's good to be realistic about what you're living with, don't you think?)

They will find things to do during the week and we will enjoy the family togetherness. I hope the weather is nice enough that they can build a fort or twelve outside and maybe we can even have a picnic in the park.

It is inevitable though, that I will hear complaints of boredom. They will forget how much they enjoy not getting up at 6:45 because they have to. In fact, I am willing to bet that almost all of them (NOT the teenager ;) ) will get up earlier during vacation than they do for they have more time to play.

I already know what I will say to them when I hear complaints about not knowing what to do or having nothing to do. It's one of my standard lines..."I am not the activity director on the cruise ship of your life." No. it's not terribly pithy but it usually stops their whining for a minute while they think about what I've said...and I can usually make a getaway. ;) (I enjoy spending time with them, but everybody needs a little space. :) )

I'm looking forward to making the most of each day...Because just being together is a gift. (And I REALLY need to remember that.)


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't. Look. Away.

Because if I do, *I* is sure to exercise his freewill in ways I will not appreciate.

Right now, for instance, he is pulling every dvd and vhs tape (yes, we still have a vcr) off the shelf. He will eventually put them all back, if I ask him and he's in the mood. Sometimes the stars and planets line up just right, and it happens. Really. Sometimes I get that lucky. Other times, I cajole one of the other beasties into helping pick up or I just do it myself, because it's easier than the nagging (by me) and the whining (by them, "I didn't make the mess"...which receives the response, "I don't wear your clothes, but somehow I manage to wash them for you. It's called being a member of the family blah blah blah "..because you know at some point they stop hearing the words I'm speaking and I start sounding like an adult from a Peanuts cartoon.)

Last night *I* was dancing on the table (fully clothed, so that was a new trick) and he threw (and I do mean that as in he pitched) the drink *E* had left on the table onto the floor. I asked *E* to leave the drink on the counter because I, seasoned mother that I am, expected something like this to happen. But why listen to me, I'm only the mom. Maybe it's the poor lighting (I prefer the term mood lighting ;) ) but I do not see a stain.

It's all small stuff really. I tell him "No", I remove him from the situation and he knows I am not pleased. I can look back and laugh. I try really hard not to laugh when it's happening because, well, that might give him the wrong idea.

Then again, sometimes it's good to laugh at small stuff, because life shouldn't be all frowns and rigid rules. I don't want any of the kids to be mean or destructive, but sometimes they're being goofy and an accident happens. Sometimes they're just being and an accident happens. I break glasses and spill drinks too. Sometimes they're tired and cranky. Sometimes I'm tired and cranky and not the nicest person (Like last Saturday).

If I try to be attentive (not look away...for too long or too frequently) I can usually catch the little things before they turn into big things. I don't hover and if it's a little thing (like the dvds) I don't get uptight unless he's taking them out of cases and using them as Frisbees. If it's something dangerous (dancing on the table) or destructive (holding a marker with a gleam in his eye and no paper in sight) I jump in and redirect.

And when the bigger things happen, there is redirection, sometimes discipline (ever tried to give a time-out to a 2-year-old? That's a workout!) and always ALWAYS grace. I don't hold grudges and there are second chances and more...just like God gives me second and third and thirtieth chances. God never looks away no matter how often I disappoint Him. God never gives up on me. God is the ultimate parental role model. I can never be as perfect in my parenting as God is, but I can look to Him for guidance, pray to Him for wisdom and lean on Him when it gets hard (because parenting is not for wimps...or perfectionists ;) )

So I keep my eyes and ears open, hoping that as the beasties get older, they will make better use of their freewill 15 yo does not draw on the walls or dance on the tables...I'm trying not to think about when he goes away to college though. ;)


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Taking a risk. Stepping out in faith. Being vulnerable.

Some find it exhilarating. Others find it unpleasantly unpredictable. Some just never do it.

When *J* was a baby the song Standing Outside the Fire by Garth Brooks was popular and I sang it to my boy frequently. I loved the verse, "Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire." I'm not sure he got it (although he is pretty brave about stepping out for what he believes in) any more than I think my very rigid boy got the lesson I was trying to teach him by showing him that you could indeed put the stacking rings on in different orders and get a different effect. (Aren't I a rebel?!)

I was trying to teach him to be bold because I am not. I didn't want him to stand outside and watch out of fear of rejection like I did..and sometimes still do.

But I'm learning. I am learning to reach out even when I'm not sure if I will be accepted. I am starting to volunteer because, gosh darnit, I have something to offer. I am starting to believe, in the words of Stuart Smalley, "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me."

But if I never took that risk, if I never volunteered, if I never joined this group because I didn't know anyone to begin with...I wouldn't be making new friends now.

Seven years ago, my husband took a huge risk. He entered seminary. He quit his job and we packed up and moved our family to a new state where we knew no one. But guess what? Total strangers unloaded our U-haul with him. Someone brought food and the following day, when I came down with strep throat, someone I now consider a sister by heart brought me to a doctor. My husband is not a pastor today. Three courses shy of graduation and ordination (2008) he was informed he was not [denominational] enough and would not be endorsed. Ouch! That's a lot of time and a boatload of money invested and then he didn't fit. We've been asked if we regret it. Financially? Absolutely. It's tough to rebuild and refocus. But as people? No. We have met some incredible people and had life-changing experiences. We've grown in ways unimaginable, ways we couldn't have grown without that experience. We are stronger individually, as a couple and as a family.

Risk can bring pain. By definition, taking a risk does not have a guaranteed result. But if we only go with the sure winners and never stretch ourselves to use our talents, are we any different than the slave in Matthew 24:18 who buries the talents given him by his master out of fear rather than try to increase them?

We're not always going to succeed; sometimes because we don't have the talents we thought we had (ever heard some of those American Idol auditions?) and sometimes because people or circumstances stand in our way.

The one thing taking the risk can won't ever wonder what would have happened if you had tried. Sometimes you will end up with pain, shame or heartache but it will always give the payoff of knowing you tried. And maybe, just maybe you will find joy regardless of whether your risk gets the planned result or something you never dreamed of.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Enough is...Enough??

How do you know when enough is enough? It depends what we're talking about, right?

I'm all about the phrase, "Live simply so others can simply live" which addresses over consumption and healthier/greener choices to protect our planet and all its inhabitants- rich or poor. The choices we make in our daily life impact not just us, but our family, our community and our world. (So when I choose to buy white sugar...I'm making a choice I know I shouldn't. I'm struggling with this particular issue right now.)

But sometimes enough isn't about over consumption. There are certain things that you can never get enough of. (No, I'm not talking coffee. ;) ) Some would say we can never have enough flowers...I'm not sure because achooo I am sneezing an awful lot right now.

I think most of the things we can't have enough of aren't necessarily tangible. Instead they're things like love,

Education is expensive. Just ask anyone poring over a school budget right now. But, education is priceless. I don't believe we can say, in good conscience, just give them the minimum and let them make do. It's not about pushing kids or pressuring's about nurturing them and helping them to excel and reach their full potential. We can't nurture and encourage our young people as a community by making a blanket statement of what is "good enough" and just going for the bare minimum.

We cannot be over consumers of education and knowledge...these things kind of pay it forward, don't you think? The children we educate and nurture and teach to think creatively of them will be president someday, one may find a cure for cancer, or write your favorite book,or build your house, or sing a wonderful song, or one may even find a way to bring about world peace. (I can dream. :) )

Each of them, each one of us, has tremendous amount of God-given potential. Let's all work together to support the children and each other so that not one little bit is wasted. Because potential...that's something else there can never be enough of.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Review: Why You Say It

Why You Say It by Webb Garrison is the compilation of sayings, words and phrases and how they came to be used as part of everyday language. The author gives a great deal of historical and traditional information into the original use or meaning of the word and then explains the word as it is currently or popularly used.

When I started reading the introduction, I thought I was in for an interesting and entertaining learning experience. It started to tell the story of where the phrase "sideburns" comes from which we had just been discussing at the dinner table.

Unfortunately, I found that this and many other explanations fell flat. While heavy on the historical explanation, many entries seemed to be lacking a sentence or two which actually connected the dots of why we use it now as a "saying". Additionally, I felt it could have been more lighthearted and therefore more entertaining.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

THE List...

Last week I wrote about lists and how I don't have a "Bucket List".

It's something I've been thinking about. It bothers me that it's so difficult for me to come up with my own list of things I'd like to accomplish before I die. Part of my trouble is that I want them to be my things, not things I want to do with the Husband or the kids. I also want them to be remotely attainable but not things I've already crossing off as I write the list. :)

So far I have two things that I'd like to do. Both are things I've been dreaming of doing for a long time.

1. I'd like to write and publish (the "getting published" part would be sweet) a mystery. I've started more than once. I have the plot worked out in my head. I seem to be lacking confidence and follow-through. I just need to sit down and do it. I seem to struggle with finding time when I have quiet and am still capable of thinking clearly and creatively (as in I'm not exhausted.)

2. I would like to run a marathon. This is a doozy. I am not exactly an exercise junky. I don't like it at all. I've never been a runner but this is something I've wanted to do for several years. This morning there was a 5K Run for the Night People. Several people from church participated. I turned to the Husband after we prayed for them and said, "Next year, I want to do that." I do want to do it. I think it's a doable start on my goal to run a marathon. I know that I will need to start training after this little one is born. And of course I will get the all clear from my Dr. before I start on this journey...because I'd rather not have this item on my list be the last thing I accomplish, if you know what I mean. Not to be morbid, just recognizing I'm not in top condition, or even medium condition. :P

So, right now I have a very short list. But, these are things that I really would like to do, just because I want the satisfaction of completing the tasks. Hopefully, I will follow through and maybe add a few more things to my list.


Friday, April 9, 2010

My Heroes...

When I hear that phrase, "My hero, " I immediately imagine a woman, simpering and batting her eyelashes at a man who has saved her from impending doom...or a broken fingernail. So, it's not really something I think of often without rolling my eyes. PUHLEASE!

But, this morning, after watching an episode of Arthur, there was a huge influx of heroes in my living room. The four youngest boys made up superheroes and powers and proceeded to run/fly around the house. Definitely an energetic way to start the day and head out the door to school. After *I* saw *E* with a cape, he insisted on his own. The blanket he wanted to use was ginormous so I got him a receiving blanket with baseballs on it and he became (and is oh so proud to be) Baseball Boy. Even the husband got into the game with them, and the boys LOVED it.

These guys are heroes to me (even the 15 yo who was already sitting in class when the Hall of Justice, WNY branch formed this morning). No, I do not worship the beasties, nor does everything in the house revolve around the children, although you'd think it would considering the adults are WAY outnumbered.

You see, each of these guys (I include the Husband) has faced fears and negativity, overcome obstacles and taken healthy risks... (OK the 2 yo takes not-so-healthy risks;). I learn so much from them each and every day-- courage and determination, patience and humility, passion and compassion, creativity and silliness. It's awesome!

When my 15 yo gets up to speak in a packed auditorium at a Board of Ed meeting, the 10 yo writes and illustrates a story, the 8 yo helps his sick brother off the school bus, the 5 yo ties his own shoes, the 2 yo makes anything into a baseball and bat (even brio track and a wooden block) and the Husband exhibits acceptance and compassion; loving people "where they're at" regardless of how they have treated him...

These are moments when I am inspired to be a little braver, try a little harder and love a little more.

These heroes of mine are tremendous examples of what God calls each of us to be and do...and while they might not exhibit these characteristics at all times and in all places (they are human, after all) they do a pretty stellar job in my humble opinion.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Nothing Personal...Right?

Do you ever suffer from insecurity?

I do.

More than I care to publicly admit. (So why am I writing about it here?)

In keeping with my glass half empty mentality, I take it to heart when I feel rejected or unwelcome, even if the rejection is not so much overt and intentional as it is perceived (by me ;) ).

The Husband tells me I take things too personally. I probably do. But in situations where I feel left out or like I'm intruding by being present, it feels an awful lot like a personal rejection, a reflection on me. I wonder what I have said or done that makes someone not want to be friends.

Even as s grown woman and a mother of 5 kids, I feel like the middle schooler with nowhere to sit at lunch, told to, "Make like a tree and leave." (Yes, true story. It really happened.)

While I would like to think I would no longer be intimidated by the lunchroom, I suspect that I would. Today when I was faced with a room full of women I know (some better than others) and I didn't see a free seat at a table, I was going to sit off to the side rather than pull up a chair...I was that insecure. But, a friend encouraged me to pull up my chair, so I did. It's not that I wanted an engraved invitation, I just didn't want to intrude and be (or feel) unwelcome.

I guess this is where I admit that I have a touch of social anxiety and that I was that afraid of rejection. I'm working on it though. Really. I know that I cannot expect everyone to like me. (At least that's what I'm told, although I'm a nice person soooo.... ;)) All I can do is be kind and try to do what is right and good and fun too...and to remember that I might not be the coolest or funniest woman in the room, but I am who God created me to be, "Fearfully and Wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14) I am a woman with a little life experience and a lot of love and support to share.

Yes, I take things personally. It makes me the person I am, and overall, I think that's not such a bad thing.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Check It Out!

I've mentioned a few times my desire to live a simpler more ecofriendly life. We're doing it in baby steps. It's not always easy or thrifty to make the changes.
But...check out this cool giveaway at a great blog called Kitchen Stewardship!

You too can enter via the above link and maybe you'll win some stainless steel food storage containers...because if I don't win them, I hope you do!

Go! Click and visit and enter and I hope you win! And while you're at it, look around and see all the great stuff she has over there. :)

Good Luck!

Monday, April 5, 2010


I make lists. Grocery lists, "To Do" lists, chore schedules....
Making them is easy. I like to organize my thoughts and get everything out on paper.
Doing the items on the lists..another thing altogether.

I consider it a "win" if my grocery list goes to the store with me. It hitches a ride in my purse, coupons tucked neatly inside the folded paper. I don't usually carry it in my hand because I like to have both hands free while I'm shopping.

"To Do" lists are not to be confused with "Honey Do" lists, which I don't make because, well, that doesn't really work well in our house. ;) "To Do" lists are the things I want to get accomplished in a given day; errands, phone calls--that sort of thing. I often put things I've already done on the list just so I know I can cross things off. How's that for playing mind games with myself? ;) Usually you can find a few unfinished "To Do" lists kicking around my kitchen...from weeks or months ago. Apparently these tasks weren't too terribly urgent.

I was revisiting the chore schedule concept this morning while I cleaned the bathrooms. I was thinking about the successful keeper of the home types I know and how they utilize weekly and monthly schedules to manage all their chores. I thought about how clean my home would always be if I implemented such a schedule. And then I got twitchy. I don't like schedules. I started to think about knowing that every Monday I would be scrubbing tubs and toilets and ugh..I know it needs to be done and doesn't take very long and Oh, the sense of accomplishment. But....I don't know....Maybe I'll give it some thought.

And speaking of lists...ever since I read a story last week about a woman who was arrested for robbing two banks, something she did because it was on her "Bucket List"(Who puts that on a "Bucket List"?!)

I've been thinking about my own "Bucket List" or lack thereof. You'd think with all the unfinished lists I make, this one would be no problem for me. But I've got nothing...I'm going to put some serious thought into what I want to accomplish before I die...probably a lot more thought about that than about making a chore schedule for myself. And making (and sticking to) a chore schedule will not be on my "Bucket List."


Saturday, April 3, 2010

But..It's Not About Me....Phew!

I have started writing a few times..spent a great deal of time on one "thingy" (that's my own technical jargon :P ) and then deleted it.

As the Lenten season draws to a close, and particularly after Maundy Thursday worship, I have been introspective. The whole season points us toward the Resurrection On Easter and yet, there is the need to acknowledge the pain and suffering of Good Friday.

The Husband and I had a conversation about my own personal guilt feelings (and no, I am no so old that I was personally there, calling for the crucifixion...) Considering the topic, it was a rather lighthearted convo. He's a good person to discuss these matters with, the Husband.

Anyhow...the crux (no pun intended) of the matter is that I recognize that in our salvation comes the freedom to act, to do, to be...and I feel this intense shortfall... in my own actions. And in the same vein a sense of powerlessness... I talk about baby steps, and I take them...or try to...but I'm left feeling like I have put a happy face sticker on a gaping wound.

Hello!!! It's not about you..Me. It's not about me..or you or any of us..really. I can do my best to be an example of God's love, God's hands and feet in this world in this time...but God..God's capable of doing anything with or without me...God can use me or work around me (if my sinful, free-willing self gets in the way).

That does NOT mean I should do just means that because of God's undeserved love and favor..that crazy thing called GRACE..I'm free to do something, anything. (And if I choose not to, God can work around me to fulfill His plan.)

Jesus said, "Love God with your whole heart...Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:30-31 paraphrased). The "motto" if you call it that, of the congregation where I'm a member adds, "Nothing else matters" to those two commands... And really...When I love God with all that I have and I love my neighbor (which is really much harder than Loving God..humans are so..human..yes, I recognize I am too) maybe, just maybe, I'm doing more than I thought...and maybe, just maybe it's better than a smiley face's SOMETHING. Something that God first gave to me and to all of us, and its something to share, because we might not always be feeling the love. :)