Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Peace...A State of Mind Not a Level of Volume

There is something ironic about an introvert, someone who is energized by solitary time, wanting a bunch of kids.

There are a variety of ways people look at introversion and extroversion, but when I took the Myers-Briggs Personality test, introversion and extroversion were described as where you get your energy from rather than being shy or not. (Although I am a little on the shy side too.) Introverts get there energy from solitude while extroverts get rejuvenated and energized by being around others.

So now that all 5 children are home for summer break, let me just tell you that my introvert self is feeling a little bit emotionally exhausted by the constant noise, chatter and activity that comes with my life.

Don't get me wrong, I love my life and I love my kids. I'm just starved for a little time "inside my own head" or even in my room, alone. I'm also starved for a little adult interaction that doesn't involve the grocery store or sitting in my camp chair cheering at a baseball game. I need a little time when I'm not refereeing a squabble or playing short order cook in the kitchen.

Am I whining? I think I'm whining. And sounding ungrateful for these blessings I've been given. I'm sorry.

Last night I spent some time alone with God. It was refreshing and rejuvenating and just what I needed. This morning I could have used a little more time with God, but the blessings were tired, cranky and bickering. I got increasingly cranky until all that refreshing I felt last night was buried under a big pile of foul mood.

(You know it's bad when I threaten to send everyone to bed at 12:15 pm ..except the 15 yo who hadn't emerged from his room yet..and who could blame him? I would have hid in my room too, if I could.)

And then...right when I sat down for my turn on the computer, the 3 yo informed me he had a "toop". (He has trouble with initial "p" sounds.) I was sooooo annoyed. (See all those "O"s?!) But we went up stairs and as I was changing his diaper, all the annoyance melted away and I was reminded that as unglamorous as the job is, it's necessary and a blessing to me that I get to do it.

My introvert self felt a little less overwhelmed in the peaceful moment of caring for the needs of the littlest beastie. As unglamorous and messy as life is, it's in these most basic of tasks that I am reminded that God didn't just put me on this earth to break up brawls and set the timer for the computer.

God put me on this earth to show love and tenderness to these beasties. God put us all on this earth to show His love and care to others. At least that's what I believe we're each called to do. And if we all can do that..what a beautiful world it can be.

Sometimes I will feel at peace and sometimes my introvert comfort zone gets stretched a little... or a lot. I need to find ways to meet the challenge with grace and love and not get buried under a big pile of foul mood.

I know that what I need to do is turn to God when I cannot get the quiet and solitude I'm craving. I'm pretty sure He can carry me through and bring me peace, if I let Him (even if it's not quiet time.)


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Not Fair

I don't always fight fair.

I admit it. I'm not proud of it, but I admit it.

Sometimes when I'm trying to make a point, get the Husband's attention or get my way I say something below the belt and totally off topic.

I know all the rules of "fighting". I just don't always follow them, although as soon as the words are out and I see they've definitely hit their mark I feel awful. Winning the battle really loses appeal when I see the hurt in the Husband's eyes.

Several years ago our pastor did a children's sermon about how words can hurt. He showed the children a blank and smooth piece of paper. Then he told them that when we say something unkind or hurtful it's like crumpling up that piece of paper. Even though we say we're sorry and we smooth out the paper, the wrinkles are still there. The wrinkles are the hurt that's there. We can apologize and be forgiven but once something is said, the wrinkle of the hurt will always be there.

I wish that I thought about that sermon today before I said something hurtful to the Husband. Instead, it all came flashing back as soon as I uttered the words and saw the Husband's face. It is completely to his credit that he didn't respond in kind. He never does. He is much better at following rules of all kinds, I guess.

Later, I apologized for saying something hurtful, uncalled for and completely off topic. He forgave me. He forgave me but said he was still angry. I don't blame him. He should be angry. But even though he's angry, when he left for baseball he said, "I love you." Once again, the Husband is an example of Christian love while I seem to be batting 1000 at the human brokenness part. (No, I do not think he's perfect or saintly, but when I fall short I seem to do it in an epic way.)

So, the moral of the story is play nice, fight fair and always remember that words have power long after they pass your lips.


Planks and Specks and a Thankful Spirit.

I've been thinking a lot about having a thankful spirit.

I know that's usually something that comes up in November ;), but it's been on my mind lately.

It's kind of a Biblical thing to be thankful even in times of trial, to praise God through the hard times as well as in the good times. I know that can be easier said than done. BUT when things go wrong, I don't find myself turning from God or blaming God, instead, I recognize that God is walking with me through it all and I am thankful.

Now, when I'm dealing with people, sometimes it's far easier to see what they're doing that displeases me than what I can be thankful for. It's easy to focus on how human beings are human.

I admit I do this. Yet, when I see others taking things for granted it annoys me to no end. It gets all my self-righteous "Do you even hear yourself?!" going. I start thinking, "How self-centered can you be?" But I bite my tongue and sit on my hands because I'm trying not to be confrontational.

I don't want to be confrontational AND I realize that as Jesus said in Matthew 7, I need to worry about the plank in my own eye before worrying about the speck in another's.

Because after all, isn't it the things we dislike about ourselves that bother us most about others?

So the next time I'm feeling annoyed because someone doesn't do something in a way most convenient to me, I will remember that it isn't always all about me. I will remember that just because I feel inconvenienced, it doesn't mean that I have been purposely slighted. Maybe it means there are particularities I am unaware of.

I will be thankful for the relationships and the spirit in which things are done. I will remember that it's the thought that counts and that it's not always going to follow my thought process, but that is OK, understandable even. Because after all, we are all unique humans.

Praying that we all can find peace with those who might not always think as we do and still remember to be thankful for what they add to our lives.


Friday, June 25, 2010

School's Out For Summer...

And I've got nothin'. Nothing, that is to write about.

You'd think with all these lovely boys running around, I would have lots to write about.

Not so much.

I feel like I've spent the past couple of days trying to: 1. keep everyone happy 2. not cry because I feel guilty because I cannot afford everything they want to do/ have.

As you can imagine spending the days that way is not enjoyable. In fact, it's making me downright cranky!

I don't think my mom worried this much about making my summer vacation fun and memorable. I was happy to play. I remember going to the beach once or twice a summer (and I grew up in a lake resort town). I played in the sprinkler, rode my bike, ate popsicles...and I remember summer being fun.

I worry that my boys will remember that I didn't take them to amusement parks and bounce houses and buy them a bunch of new video games. And I feel badly. Do they need this stuff? No. But....all their friends are doing and getting and going. What will they write about in their, "What I did over summer vacation" essay?!

Maybe I'm fostering this spirit of discontent and gimme attitude by trying too hard to give them what they want. In my heart I know what they need is far more basic and down to earth and lasting.

The other day we went to the park and as I watched them run and yell and pretend something, I found myself smiling (despite worrying that I was getting the evil eye from the parents of more docile children). They were being kids, playing with abandon and joy and imagination and that's what I remember from my childhood...and that's what I want their summer vacation to be about.

While I hope to take a trip to the amusement park, I also hope to make this break memorable because we're together enjoying each other's company and experiencing the wonder of God's creation as a family.

Not to mention, by the time they head back to school, they'll have a new baby sister...and if all else fails...the dreaded, "what I did over summer vacation" essay can be a birth announcement. ;)

Praying you have contentment and joy this summer.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

As I type this, the Husband and 4/5 of the beasties are at the movies seeing an animated movie sequel that just opened on Friday. I'm not sure who was the most excited to go, but I know the 15 yo has mentioned it most (and he said many of his friends have seen it already.)

Father's Day and Mother's Day are big days in the house because the boys want them to be. They make their gifts and ask what we're doing, but to the Husband and I, it's more of a card holiday marketing ploy. We do the cards and we try to have family time and an enjoyable dinner, but going all out for gifts isn't really our "thing". Do you think neither of us have gifts as a "love language"? ;) My husband is all about the hugs and snuggles and I'm all about words of affirmation.

It's more important to us to show love and appreciation every day, not just once a year.

That being said, let me tell you how much I appreciate my husband because he is an incredible father. He teaches the boys to work hard and honor commitments, to show their feelings, to care about others and to love people where they are instead of judging them. He is the most accepting person I know and an incredible advocate, not only for his family but for anyone he thinks needs it. He's not afraid to speak up for what is right (even though sometimes it bites him in the behind and he ends up "falling on his sword" over it.) He shows through deeds, not just words, what it means to be a Christian, an imperfect, human Christian, but a Christian just the same.

Guess who he credits for these magnificent traits? His father and grandfather. He tells stories of their examples and what they taught him about life and how to treat people. I am thankful to have a great relationship with my FIL. He is great to talk to, even though we don't always see eye to eye. ;)

Sometimes I get impatient because life isn't what I thought it would be when I planned it oh so long ago. Sometimes I see the Husband's faults in 100x magnification and I don't always keep it to myself. Sometimes I forget to mirror his love and acceptance and yet, he shows incredible forgiveness and compassion.

So, on this Father's Day, I want to say "thanks" to the father of my passel of children. He is my partner and friend and I love him very much.

Wishing you a peaceful and blessed day.


Saturday, June 19, 2010


Time goes on and things change and people change and life changes.

Healing doesn't happen in a seamless way either. I mean, as time passes the open wounds heal but they do leave scars. We're forever changed by our experiences...the good and the bad. To expect that anything will remain static is, well, unreasonable.

I've been reflecting on this for a couple of reasons. Someone recently told the Husband that as she had lost her spouse three years ago, she should be over it. The Husband said, you never get over it, but you go on. I believe this person is being unrealistic about how healing after the loss of a loved one will be.

I've never lost a spouse, but I've lost both my parents. My mom in December 1995 and my Dad on June 21st, 2007.

I still miss him. I can still imagine what he'd say and "hear" his voice saying it. I still remember the last time I spoke to him, on Father's Day. He was in the last stages of lung cancer, something he didn't tell me he was coping with until about 3 weeks before he died (I lived 10 hours away, he refused any treatment (even palliative care) and was trying to protect me from the worry...because I'm fragile, doncha know? ;) ) (That's my eyes rolling. :) )

Anyway, I remember when I spoke to him and he said, "That baby's gonna be here soon." Little did we know how soon. But he sounded really excited. I hold that in my heart. My dad died a few days later, about 6 hours after *I* was born. No one that visited me knew quite what to say to me. You see, I wanted to talk about my dad, they wanted to talk about the baby because, let's face it, that's infinitely easier.

I have 'healed' from his death, and my mom's, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt or that I don't miss them. There's still that scar there. I'm learning what life is without my parents here, in the flesh. Sometimes I still cry. I feel envious of my friends whose families are around, not in a bitter way, but in a wistful way.

I am forever changed by the losses. But, I'm also forever changed by the positive things in my life...the friends, the births, the wins, the successes.

The world keeps on spinning. The sun rises and sets. Life has its ups and downs. We move forward because that's the only direction we can travel...and we have God to walk alongside us, or carry us through.

It is a privilege to walk on this Earth. Life is a gift and a blessing, one I am incredibly thankful for even when it's painful.

I pray that you can find hope and blessings even when you're walking through pain, hardship and loss. I pray that if you cannot see or feel it, someone reaches out to give you some care and love and be the loving arms of God for you when you need to feel them most.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Speaking of Funny...

A healthy sense of humor is essential.

Being able to laugh at yourself...well, everybody should be bal eto do that, don't you think? Because taking yourself too seriously, well, that's no fun at all.

So yesterday was, in Pooh language, a very "blustery day." We had some heavy rain off and on, but the was blowing like nobody's business.

And I wore a skirt.

You know that famous photo of Marilyn Monroe with the skirt of her dress flying up artistically? Well, there was NOTHING artistic and I'm thankul it wasn't captured on film. At least I don't think the paparazzi were slinking in the bushes. ;)

Let me just tell you...I'm 39 years old, 30 weeks pregnant with my sixth child...and noone, and I do mean noone, needs to see me a la Marilyn Monroe. ~~shudder~~

Aren't you glad you don't have that image burned into your retinas? ;)


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Me.

Do you ever have those times when you laugh at/with your kids but you know you really shouldn't...because they clearly aren't finding the situation even remotely funny?

That was yesterday afternoon.. *N* is in 3rd grade. He got off the bus and I could tell he was on the verge of tears. (What?!) And then I look at him and he's clearly wearing shorts that are not his own. You know how I knew? Because they were REALLY in huge jean shorts. We're just not that hip.

OK. So first thought, which I didn't say out loud (yay me!) is, you're far too old for having accidents. My brain was in gear, so I said, "What happened? Where are your shorts?" He's fighting the tears now, so I'm really wondering what is going on?

He got a bloody nose at school. There was a collision during kick ball kids get random nosebleeds for no reason, it's a non-issue for me now..except for the blood, I can't handle blood well, which is why I'm glad they all know what to do now. ;) Apparently he bled on his clothes so they had him change...into clothes from the nurse's office. "But that's your shirt." Because really, if we're talking bloody nose, don't you think the shirt would get it worse than the shorts. This is where he got a little more upset....I sneaked my own shirt back on on the bus, but *E* wouldn't help me hide behind his backpack while I was changing it. Aaah, the younger bro let him down.

But you see, watching *N* walking in this HUGE jean shorts was so comical, I was really working hard not to laugh. He wasn't hurt. He didn't have anything horribly embarrassing happen...he got a bloody nose (common for him) and had to change his wasn't a bad thing...except to him. OK..clearly it wasn't a huge compassion-inducing thing for me...


Later on when I asked him why he was so very upset about the whole thing. "It was at the end of the day." "And?" I said. "I was afraid I'd miss the bus." A ha! "*N* what would happen if you missed the bus?" "You'd come and get me?" (Yes, there was a question mark at the end of that sentence.) "Yes, I would come get you from school. You don't have to worry about missing the bus because Daddy or I will come and get you. No worries, OK?"

So he wasn't upset about the hip hop shorts or *E* not helping him out on the was being left behind. (Which is something that always concerns him...and no, he's never gotten lost or left behind but clearly he's worried about it.)

I don't know why he feels that way, but I hope he knows he can count on us. We'll keep proving it to him. :) And I hope he knows that God won't leave him, so he'll never ever be truly alone. He really tugged at my heart strings when he told me what was really bothering him.

Those shorts were pretty humorous though.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Little Boxes...

Are you in the box? Or out of the box?

When faced with a problem, which way do you go? Do you think inside the box or can you think creatively AND solve the issue?

I've been thinking about this lately as I've been trying to puzzle through some things and I know I've been thinking inside the box.

My son *C* is very good at thinking outside the box. He is by far the most creative thinker in the family. I pray that he can find the balance between creativity and feasibility without losing that sparkle. I hope we're showing him exactly how special we think that sparkle is. (Sometimes I get caught up in reality and don't have time to hear the detailed explanations. I need to be better about active listening.)

I've written before that my guys seem very good at solving problems to get to what they desire. I thought about it again this morning as we're constantly re-upping our efforts to keep the not-quite-3-year-old safe...from himself. No easy task, let me tell you. But at a few days shy of 3, personal risk isn't really something he thinks about.

So I got to thinking about how as much as I want to think outside the box, the risks involved are scary. I guess I equate thinking outside the box with risk because let's face it, without those nice safe box walls to keep me safe....what might happen?

Besides, we've taken those kinds of risks in the past, but it doesn't always hit the mark and I'm getting too old for missing the pool when I leap off the high dive, know what I mean?

Maybe it's age that's getting to me. Maybe it's having a few too many misses. Maybe it's just wanting to know what will happen, and when you take a's like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, "You never know what you're gonna get."

But you know what? Even when you don't take a risk, there are no guarantees. And if you never take that risk, you'll never find out.

So we can risk a little bit and maybe get a lot (or miss the pool..ouch!) Or we can hang out in the box which is cozy (in real estate speak that means small ;) ) and never find out what could be.

Would you care to join me outside the box for a little bit? I don't know about yours, but mine's getting stuffy. Just remember, no matter what, you're never alone. :)


Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's a Dream, It's a Goal...It's Not Happening On My Schedule.

It's important to have dreams. I'm not sure whether dreams and goals are interchangeable. I suppose they could be. Or perhaps the distinction is between what is even remotely attainable(goal) and what is not (dream). BUT if we decide something isn't attainable, it never will be. Right?

Can you tell I'm having an introspective morning?

So here I sit while the Husband has 4/5 of the offspring at a ball game and I am pondering goals, dreams, possibilities and moping a little bit about what might never happen.

I had a professor my freshman year of college who told me if you were satisfied with where you were, you'd never achieve anything. I'm not sure that's true. I think there's a difference between being satisfied and being resigned. I can be satisfied in my life but still have goals. If I'm resigned, I see no point in making goals and I'm guaranteed to stagnate.

Lately, I think I'm in a state of resignation. I want to be hopeful, but life has been kind of difficult in the past few years. I've lost the dreams and goals and just focused on the day to day survival. It's pretty frustrating and it's reality and it's really taken the wind out of my sails.

The timing isn't working for me.

I don't know whether to focus on the short term things that may work out or the long term dreams that we hope can happen and I just feel...frustrated.

Part of me feels like I need to do something and the other part of me doesn't even know what to do. Aren't I uplifting today?

So In the midst of all this is hope and Jeremiah 29:11.."For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." NIV I know I've quoted this verse before, and probably not long ago. But it's something of a "go to" for me.

So in the midst of trying to figure out goals and dreams and the "whats" and "hows" of life, I reflect on this verse and try not to feel guilt for all the ways I feel I've let people (particularly the kids) down. (I told you I'm feeling introspective and a little mope-y.) Instead I try to focus on hope for the future and that God does have a plan for me, even when my own plans might, well, get mucked up.

You see, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." God can use anything for good, but sometimes I've got to hike through some rocky parts of life. I don't like it much, but I'd like the believe I build up some muscles along the way.

So, here's to building up muscles we'd sometimes rather not build. (Kind of like after a work-out when you feel muscles you didn't know you had. ;) )


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Better Than Bubble Wrap

Do you think he's trying to tell me he wants to wear a helmet? After the morning he had, maybe I should wrap him in bubble wrap?

Right after *I* woke up this morning, he was playing on my bed while I was getting his clothes and managed to somehow flip off my bed. He's almost 3 and he sleeps in a bed so him falling off a bed really wasn't one of my safety concerns, kwim?! We checked him all over and he barely cried. He seemed fine. The thud scared us though. :O

A couple of hours later he was chasing *E* around the kitchen. I heard the Husband say, "No running", then I heard a thud and lots of crying. *I* took a header on the tile floor. He was wailing. We gave him an icepack for the boo boo on his forehead and checked him over. When he stopped crying, he looked at me and said, "No running in the house." Then he hopped off his dad's lap and started running around the living room. Clearly he ummm doesn't get the "no running" concept. Doesn't say much for his learning curve, hunh?

The irony here is that we're pretty safety conscious parents. I mean none of our kids gets on a bike or scooter or wears a pair of skates without a helmet and other appropriate gear. We emphasize safety in the home regarding electricity, scissors and the like. But sometimes, no matter how vigilant and proactive we are, we cannot stop a kid from running or jumping or...acting like a kid. Unfortunately, sometimes they fall or crash into each other and get hurt. We do our best to prevent it, but accidents happen.
So today, while I'm trying to find safe ways to harness his energy and use it for good, I will also pray for his safety and the safety of all children. The world is full of fascinating and enticing, but not always safe, things. Whether it be running in the house or something far more dangerous, there's a big world out there that isn't child-proofed and I won't always be there with words of "wisdom" and warning.
As one of my friends told me many years ago, "We need to wrap our kids in prayer." I think that will work a lot better than bubble wrap. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

What Memories?!

I like to scrapbook. I take pictures, though not as frequently as many. I don't keep a journal, but I like to believe I am paying attention to life enough to note, mentally, the big things, the happy times and the milestones.

So why is this assignment from my Kindergartner's teacher throwing me for a loop? I have to decorate an 8" x 11" piece of paper to be the back cover of a memory book for *E*'s Kindergarten year. I've known about this for almost two weeks, it's due on Monday (Or Tuesday) and I'm procrastinating.

This year has flown by. I know he's had fun, made friends and learned new things. He's become more independent and confident in his own choices (for better or worse ;) ). He's learned to tie his shoes and become a terrific reader.

Yet...thinking about how to immortalize this on paper...for someone else, not only family, to see brings out all the perfectionist leanings in me.

And all the insecurities that maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention to this year. It feels like just yesterday we were waving goodbye on the first day. What did I miss? Did I drop the ball a lot this year? I don't know. I do know that life is full and busy and fun. That it's full of children and love and noise and mess. (Lots of mess. ;) ) Maybe I've missed out on something, but I think they all know they're loved and cared about.

I don't know that I can put those things on a memory page for him, but I do know that each day is an opportunity to grow and learn and just be.

So this morning, I decided to go through the pictures from September to now and pick out some shots of *E* and have them printed out. His page will be a photo collage of the year. And maybe there will be a little blurb on there from us too.
I guess I could cover the page in hearts to show how much we love him....but I don't think that would be "cool" even for a Kindergartner. ;)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We've All Got It


Everybody's got it. Not just the material stuff (although here in the U.S. we can all admit to having lots of material stuff, right?)

I'm talking about the baggage, the history and the insecurities that shape who we are, how we respond and what makes us tick.

The other night I was chatting with some very cool ladies about our "stuff". No deep dark secrets, but in getting to know these women, there are things that surprised me...mostly because I know that I personally expect that these people wouldn't have the same type of "stuff" I have.

Does that make sense?

It's like this...I think these people won't have the same stuff, or history or baggage, because I see them as so different (and better, cooler, together) than me.

So you can see, I struggle with some insecurity and ummm feeling unworthy.

It's funny because I talk about grace and forgiveness a lot, but when I make a mistake or show bad judgement, I really stink at forgiving myself. So, if I said something stupid in High School and remember it, I get a sick feeling in my stomach. Really, I do.

Now, not everyone is going to admit to having any "stuff" and some people will judge because it's their nature. I cannot change that. I know that not everyone understands or agrees with me on everything, and I can assure you that I am not in agreement with other people on some things.

I will say it sure is liberating to realize that we each have struggles and insecurities. I said the other night, in my head I understand it, but in my heart I still struggle with the concept.

Maybe in the growth and nurturing of these authentic Christian relationships, my heart will trust my head. It takes a leap of faith and some trust to be open, to share the struggles and admit the failures. But in opening up, we have so many opportunities to love and to be loved.

May we all be open to being authentic and vulnerable; to loving and being loved; to welcoming and to nurturing.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Don't Blame Me..It's the Hormones.

So I've started writing several times today. I try not to get all cranky and ranty on here because who needs to add that negativity to their day, ya know? I also recognize that as a hormonal pregnant woman I seem to get a little ticky about things that aren't all that important.

The first step is admitting it, right? ;)

So things that have been on my mind are: common sense- it seems to be scarce lately, blame-why do we always have to assign blame?

I started to rant about the lack of common sense based on some recent news stories and then I decided that in doing so I was being judgemental. In one of the cases I still shake my head. In the other, I recognize that while it would be common sense to me...if the person has some sort of mental disorder, perhaps they lack the proper filters to make good common sense choices.

And blame... people seem to feel very comfortable placing blame, not accepting, but placing. I understand it, sort of. Yet, why do we need to assign blame or find someone blameless in order to help them. I don't think we should do that. I guess I'm kind of a rebel. *gasp* Jesus just helped people, he didn't say, "You deserved what you got so I won't help you." He forgave people. He said to let the one without sin cast the first stone (and the sinless Jesus didn't cast any stones :O ) . We're all born sinful and broken, maybe you and I don't sin in the same exact way, but we all have flaws. So I shouldn't sit and say you did X,Y, Z so this is what you get.

I guess occasionally I do say that, like when one of the boys experiences the fruits of their choices. Sometimes I will say, "that's what you get." That is, they experience the natural consequences. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that because they make a bad choice and get hurt or in a jam, I won't help them. If one of them climbed a tree after being told not to and fell breaking an arm or leg, I might say "This is why I told you not to climb the tree!" but I'd also get them to the hospital.

I told *J* to wear sunscreen a couple of weeks ago and he said he didn't need it. He got sunburned. I said, "See?! I told you you needed sunscreen." but I also made sure he had the aloe vera and the Tylenol. Even though he didn't make the right choice, I still had compassion for him. I helped him. I didn't say, "Serves you right, now suffer." I didn't say, "Figure it out on your own." I'm his mom but I'm also human, I might be frustrated, but I believe that I'm called by God to show love and compassion to all regardless of what another has done.

So, I didn't rant here (too much) today . I'm just saying I think that maybe before we judge others, before we insist on placing blame, maybe we could look deep in our hearts, beyond the fault and the "should haves" and just find a little love in our hearts to share. It will bless both sides, honest.

I'm working on it. Prayer helps...A LOT.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kind of a Post Script to "Good Day!"

As I reflected on what I wrote, it occurred to me that I should emphasize that I KNOW that God shows up even when the day is not so hot.

Last week, I had a particularly bad day...when the not-quite 3 yo was acting like a wild beast. God showed up. No, *I* didn't exhibit the manners of God...but God showed me love and kindness at the hands of others.

As I drove home, I knew in my heart that I couldn't stay angry at *I* because I couldn't show him conditional love. I love him with all my heart and to temper that love because I was angry or embarrassed would be the wrong reaction. That was God showing up and giving me the wisdom I needed.

God shows up in the midst of tragedy, when others reach out to be His hands and feet to those in need or in trouble.

So please, don't misunderstand, God shows up every single day...sometimes to carry us and sometimes to bring a little joy on earth,

Good Day!

I've written before about the attitude of "Expecting God to show up". It's somewhat foreign in to me, the glass half-empty gal.

However, I have been beginning each day with prayers of Thanksgiving for the day to come and also expecting that God will grant the prayers of my heart if it is His will. (I think recognizing that everything I desire may not be God's will is pretty important. ;) )

So yesterday I began my day the same way.

You see, my 15 yo auditioned for a special chorus at his school a few weeks ago. He (and the Husband and I) have been waiting in a kind of agony for that list to be posted. *J* auditioned last year, as a freshman, but his voice was in flux and the director said he needed to see where *J*'s voice settled. It was a very difficult thing to face. It wasn't that he didn't have ability..he was just having some "Peter Brady" Time to change issues.

But *J* kept singing in the Mixed and Men's choruses, sang in the vocal jazz ensemble and worked hard on his other singing opportunities.

Yesterday around 7:20 in the morning our phone rang. When I saw the caller id I wondered what he'd forgotten. Wrong. He called to say. "I made the concert choir!" There was MUCH rejoicing in our home. :)

Last night, the great things continued for our boys. There were two baseball games... 8 yo *N* played from 6-8. This is his third season. He made several great plays in the field and lots of good hits. He works hard and hustles..and yesterday his coaches gave him the game ball. From 8-10 pm (crazy, no?!) our 10 yo *C* had a game. This is *C*'s first season playing. He never wanted to before and this is not something that comes naturally for him. To be honest, I think he is playing because he sees how much *N* and the Husband bond over it. Last night *C* made a great play in the field AND he got his first hit. He's learning skills and gaining confidence and when he was running to 1st the coach turned to the Husband and said, "Boy he's fast!"

Yesterday (and every day), I prayed for God's will in my boys' lives, in all of our lives actually. I also prayed for a hedge of protection around them to keep them safe physically and emotionally. I expected that God would be there, either to pick them up when they missed a step or that God would be there lifting them to their goals. (I also prayed that God would give me the wisdom to say the "right" thing no matter which way it went.)

*J* said that one of the freshman that tried out was really bummed to have not made the choir this time. I said, "You know how that feels." He said "Yeah. I told him that." That year of missing out on a dream helped him grow in compassion and humility. Thanks be to God for that too. :)

Prayers for you to find hope and comfort in the expectation that God is going to show up, though not always as you'd expect or desire.


Monday, June 7, 2010

What Color are Your Flowers?

It's gardening season, so I'll ask....What color are you flowers?

Are they red? Are they pink? Purple? Blue? Do you have flowers?

Do you have a garden of only one color? Or are you like many of my gifted gardening buddies, with all different colors and types...a bounty of scents and colors and experiences?

When I was in college I heard, for the first time, the song Flowers are Red by Harry Chapin. Have you ever heard the song? I encourage you to give it a listen if you haven't. Give it a listen even if you had heard it, it's a great song. :)

Basically, the song is about a young boy who goes to school and decides to draw flowers of many colors. His teacher tells him it's not time to draw and "anyway flowers are green and red." Basically over time this teacher gets him to agree (after putting him in a corner) that flowers are green and red. Then he moves to another school where the teacher says that "there are so many colors in the flowers, so let's use every one..but that little boy painted flowers in neat rows of green and red..."

That song really stuck with me through the years. I have tried to raise each of my boys to see all of the colors of the rainbow. It's not always easy though. They tend to think outside the box which can be uncomfortable...particularly for I like to blend in.

A few years ago, when we lived in a different school where they did the same art projects for each grade level every year copying the masters (great fun when you have multiple kids going through the district) the Husband was walking down the school hallway and the art teacher was yelling at kids to "not run in the halls." The Husband joked, "at least they're happy to be in school." She scowled at him and said, "No! They must learn to follow rules so that they can be good citizens."

Now anyone who knows us, would know that we are a family of rule followers. HOWEVER...I do not think that following rules is always going to make a good citizen. It might make a good status quo citizen but...I don't believe we were put on this earth to be status quo you?

There are rules we follow for safety and the well-being of all. BUT there are rules that we all know are wrong or are unfair sooo if everyone just blindly follows the rules to be "good citizens" think of all the inequalities and injustices that would still exist.

The Husband and I were talking about following rules and laws the other night. He brought up Jesus. Jesus believed that the well-being of people, that ministry to people, superseded the law. I think Jesus set a pretty good example of what to do and how to be. :)

So I strive to be a rainbow flowered person and to encourage my kids to see the all the colors so that they may be not only good citizens but thinking, caring people. I pray that they look to Jesus as a role model.

If you're wondering, our flowers are red, purple, white and pink. :)


Friday, June 4, 2010

No Vent...Content.

This morning, I typed out a long e-mail to a friend. I was venting about something because I knew she'd understand and be sympathetic. I guess I wanted her to agree with me or tell me she'd be upset too.

Then I deleted it.

Typing it was enough. I learned in my Counseling Techniques course that my feelings were valid whether someone else agreed with me or not simply because I was feeling them. (What I do in response to my feelings is where the potential for trouble lies.)

I decided I could make a big deal out of what bothered me, or I could do as I knew the Husband would suggest--accept the situation and the people involved where they are and move on. I only have control of my own actions and reactions so that's where my concern should lie.

Then I thought, maybe this is why the Husband and I have been happily married for almost 17 years...he can accept me where I am.

If I had sent that venting e-mail, I may have gotten some sympathy, but the negative emotions would have continued on. I wouldn't have let the negativity go or moved on and it really, in the end, wouldn't have made me feel better.

I didn't need validation, I needed to remember that everyone is human and that while someone might not behave in the way I want them to, it's not all about what I envision, is it?

Instead of venting when someone doesn't meet my expectations, I will try to remember how often I fall short of other's expectations. Especially how I consistently fall short of God's expectations...and God does not walk away, or vent, or stay angry. Instead God gives me another chance and a whole lot of grace.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sweet and ...Wild?

Sometimes, I look into the angelic blue-eyed face and someone so innocent looking can be such a wild boy.

Right now, he's sitting at the table eating his lunch. As I was opening the mail he stood beside me and said,"Mommy, I'm thirsty" in the sweetest voice.

I am left to wonder how my little guy can have such a "Jekyll and Hyde" personality. I wasn't there to witness it, but apparently the not-quite-3yo was a terror in the nursery, hitting with a sword, running trucks into others...clearly being uncivilized. SIGH.

I could ask him why, but I'm sure even he doesn't know. He's active. His brothers are active. We don't encourage or condone rough play, but it seems to happen anyway.

It leaves me at a total loss.

Well...maybe it doesn't. How many times have the boys smashed their cars together like it's a demolition derby? How often have they played with inflatable light sabers, whacking each other? How often has a balloon been used for dodge ball. And *I*, he watches and joins in...and loves to play with the big boys. They're all laughing and shrieking and usually no one gets hurt.

How do I explain to the 3 in 19 days boy that some of the games he plays with his brothers just don't translate well to other locations? Maybe I should just stay home. That would be infinitely easier, wouldn't it? Easier than feeling like people think he's a wild beast. I do call them my beastie boys for a reason. ;)

So today, I was humbled and felt a little bit (who am I kidding? it was more than a little bit) sad that my little guy didn't bring his best manners. How can I say to the ladies, "He's not that bad...really!" Do you think they'd believe me? Do you think they're making guesses about how we raise the boys? Can I assure them the boys are not being raised like wild animals without them thinking I protest too much?

Probably not.

So Lord, can you help me to be the mother you made me to be, to raise these blessings you've bestowed upon me to be faithful and Godly? I pray for the strength and wisdom to raise them up and point them in the right direction...and then that they keep their feet on Your path.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Big Heart...

Rainy days and Tuesdays...not a problem. :) It allows for quiet and reflection after a busy, sun-filled weekend.

This weekend we did some planting. A few flowers, some cucumbers, string beans and strawberries. We got seedlings this year as last year our flowers never really bloomed.

Sunday after church we went and got the supplies we needed and planted after lunch. Well, the guys planted and Isaiah supervised while I weeded in the front.

*N* offered to help our neighbor who was planting lots of flowers on her own in the heat. She told him he had to ask his dad. *N* said to the Husband, "Can I help Mrs. C because we have all these people and she's doing it all alone?" How could the husband say "No" to that request?

So *N* did what he could to assist her while asking questions and making suggestions. I hope Mrs. C wasn't hoping for some quiet meditative time while working in her garden. :)

*N* is definitely a helper and a fixer. Yesterday when we got home from our hike he was out there hauling water for the plants. It was cute to see him so focused on the job.

It was also eye-opening.

*N* can push my buttons. He can be a "chest-thumper", "look what a great job I did" kid. I find I'm usually reminding him about being humble. However, I have discovered that there are things he doesn't brag about that surprise me...being chosen to sing as part of a solo ensemble in the chorus, helping another student with end of day tasks in the classroom, and how supportive and helpful he is at his younger brother's t-ball practices (so much so that *E*'s coach invited him to help out again.)

*N* has a big heart and a lot of compassion (mostly..apparently compassion goes out the window when dealing with family ;)). He notices when people need help.

He also notices injustice... and wants to right these wrongs. This comes out most strongly when we drive through a neighborhood in need...he wants to know why there is such disparity and why certain groups seem more present.

I am thankful for the unique qualities each of my children possess. I pray that they use these gifts to bless those in their presence. Right now, *N* wants to play major league baseball and I know that whatever he does do in the future he will do with enthusiasm. May he never lose the ability to truly see what is happening around him. May he always care enough to help.