Thursday, October 31, 2013

It is Finished

Kung Fu black belt? Never received it. Learned to play the clarinet? Never got past Hot Cross Buns. Finishing...I mean, running a race? Hasn't happened. There is a long list of things that I began and let fall to the wayside. There are un-completed goals strewn throughout my lifetime; a who's who of projects started and never finished.

But today, I've finished something I set out to do. And it feels wonderful! The challenge wasn't always easy. Hours were spent in front of a screen. There were days when I didn't focus on my family because I was focused on this project. But now, it's over and I did it!

Today, I finished the final season of 30 Rock. That's right. There is not one of the 135 episodes that I haven't seen. So much time and energy was invested on watching every single episode. If my math is correct, which it probably is not, I used up 2,970 minutes of my life on this amazing show. It was so worth it though. I can put a big 'ole check mark next to that one.

Oh! And I blogged for 31 days straight for BlogHer's October NaBloPoMo. Whoo hoo!! Seriously, it truly does feel good to finish something I've started. I've learned a lot about perseverance, about my writing, and about where I want my writing to go.

 Thank you BlogHer for the opportunity and I look forward to doing it again.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My "Do Nothing" Day

I haven't done squat today. Besides a few very basic chores, I've really done nothing. I'm mean like not brushed teeth or showered kind of nothing. In my defense, the baby is super fussy and is requiring a whole lot of cuddle time (No complaints here). But I thought, "Hey, everyone needs a break. Maybe I should take my break today. Or at least take a power nap."

Obviously, I need to be doing SOMETHING
Am I recharged? Am I revamped? Surprisingly, no. On the contrary. I am more unmotivated than if I had gotten up at 5am when I was actually "awake." I guess it's kind of like Newton's First Law of Motion. "Every object in a state of motion tends to remain in motion..." Had I started the day just doing something...anything, I'd still be motivated to do something right now instead of raiding the kids pre-Halloween candy. I can look all over the house and see things that totally need to be done, but yeah...not in motion. Can't' start moving on my own...

So, my "do nothing' day has kind of been a flop. I'm actually happier doing something. But we're back to that whole law of motion thing.  What's going to get me moving? Ok, I need motivation; let me think. I can hear the kids whining about not having socks and fighting over the last pair of clean undies. I can just see the mice sneaking up from the basement to eat the crumbs I've left of the counter. I can see the baby eating day-old raisins stuck to the carpet. I can see me having to re-wash all the clothes I just sort of folded because they fell off the chair onto the dog hair ridden floor!! AAARRGH!

I think that was enough to get the ball rolling. Now, as long as nothing stops me, I shall remain in motion (that is until Daddy comes home and can hopefully take over). This do nothing thing is exhausting.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Don't Rain on My Parade

There's this game going around Facebook where if you answer a riddle incorrectly then you must change your profile picture to a giraffe...for three days.

I played the game and lost. Now when people access my profile they see a ridiculously cute baby giraffe. I played, I lost, I now have spots and a long tongue.

It's a fun little game, yet some on the social network are ruining it for others. Not cool, I say! One person posted the answer to their wall in Spanish. Honestly, anyone can get the translation from Google. One person posted the most common answer on their wall letting everyone know it was wrong. Why must you ruin for it for everyone else? Come on people! Don't rain on my, or anyone else's, parade.

I think this is right up there with spoiling the ending of movies, books, tv shows, etc. I, for one, will not reveal anything about Darth Vader's identity or how the Hunger Games trilogy ends. And please don't reveal anything about season 7 of 30 Rock (though I sort of know) because I'm catching up on Netflix.

And then there were the folks who refused to change their pictures even though they answered incorrectly. You play the game, you've got to wear the shame my friends!

I know this is a really stupid thing to get annoyed with, but truthfully it pissed me off. Obviously, I have way too much time on my hands if I'm expending this much energy (and a whole blog post) on this issue. But let's be courteous to each other. Please, if you see me playing a stupid game on Facebook and you know the answer, keep it to yourself. I ain't too proud to be a giraffe for three days.




Monday, October 28, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays...

It was a manic Monday. There's not much more to say. It was Monday and it was a rough one...

This is probably the shortest blog post ever. It is what it is. 

And it was Monday.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

And the Greatest of These is Love...

Today marks the 40th wedding anniversary of my mother and father-out-law.

(Quick backstory: they're not in-law's and we aren't related by blood, but they're my family, so we're "Out-Law's")

Wow! Forty years. Count them, FOR-TY. I can't think of many things that endure that long, yet their love has. In the age of quickie divorces, it's reassuring to know marriages can last...if you're willing to work.

Renewing their vows on the beach. "Officiating" is a great-niece.
This morning our pastor said that blowing out someone else's candle doesn't make your flame burn any brighter. He was referring to judging others, but it got me thinking about the unity candle many couples light at their wedding. (Mine melted in the trunk of my car; hope that's not a bad sign.) When the two separate candles come together, their flames do burn brighter as they meet at the one big candle. That's what marriage is supposed to be. Two unique individuals, flawed as they may be, coming together to make the other's flame burn just a little brighter.

Over the last four decades, my out-laws have endured struggles, hardship and heartaches. They've had trials that tested their marriage. In the last five years alone there have been deaths, job losses, a cancer diagnosis and extended family drama, just to name a few. Very little about their journey has been smooth, but they take their vows seriously. Sometimes I wonder if my generation even knows what a vow really is.

Like two puzzle pieces that seem completely different, but fit together perfectly, my out-laws compliment each other. Their personalities are in contrast, and it would be a lie to say there wasn't friction at times, but through conflict comes resolution. As gold is refined through fire, so is a strong marriage.

Congratulations, Jesse and Susan! May God continue to bless you and your marriage. Thank you many, many times over for demonstrating what true love truly looks like. <3

Saturday, October 26, 2013

DIY Halloween Costumes


Halloween is fast approaching, and over the last several months my kids have gone back and forth about what they wanted to be. Daddy said no scary costumes which include Dracula or Frankenstein's Monster (which I personally don't mind). What I do mind is paying upwards of $30 for one costume that they will wear one time. Ain't gonna do it!
 
Fast forward to tonight. The sheriff's department is putting on a trunk-or-treat, but we still don't have costumes.
 
Davis thought he might want to be a pirate. He made an awesome hook out of aluminum foil, fished the pirate hat and eye patch out of the dress up box and, boom, we had a pirate. But a pirate can't walk around in jeans and a t-shirt so we went into Daddy's closet for a shirt that might work. But after looking at the shirt he realized he looked like a mad scientist. There ya go. A little hairspray, medical gloves and an evil looking mustache (made from eyeliner) later, we were looking at Frankenstein himself. (Remember, Frankenstein was the scientist NOT the green guy. That was his monster.)
 

Eva wanted to be a kitty. We attached construction paper ears to a wide headband. She found a black swimsuit and wore it over her shirt and leggings. A little eyeliner for her and we had a nose and whiskers.
 
 
Lincoln knew pretty early on he wanted to be Harry Potter. We recycled Darth Vader's cloak into Harry's robe and found a toy wand. Several years ago, my awesome sister-in-law knitted me a scarf in Griffindor's colors of gold and scarlet, so our Harry borrowed that and we added eyeliner glasses and the all important scar.
 
 
I went as a pirate since Davis decided not to. Leggings, tall boots, a belted loose shirt, and a pirate hat was all I needed to set sail. Arrrgh, matey.
 
Trunk-or-treat was a blast and the kids made costumes that rivaled the store bought ones. I wonder what they'll come up with next year? I'm also curious, what costumes will you be wearing?
 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Families behaving badly...in front of clergy

Tonight was the Homecoming game at Chatham High School. It was cold. Really cold. And the kids were behaving badly. Really badly. To add to my embarrassment, I invited our new pastor to the game...and he came. He came to see my sweet angels become little monsters. Even baby got agitated and head butted his brother. Their actions and my reactions were something worthy of needing Super Nanny. Let's just say I think he's completely rewritten his sermon and it's centered around how NOT to raise your kids.

He's not resting. He's throwing a mini-tantrum
When brother's shoe (top left corner) made contact with his head,
it became a full-fledged-tantrum

I could have shown grace and kindness when they were whining about being cold, but I didn't. I could have been patient when they were chasing each other around the bleachers, but I wasn't. I raised my voice, I got entirely too irritated and I probably behaved as badly as they did. I KNOW I behaved as badly...ugh.

I don't know why I think I have to be on my best behavior in front of clergy. Maybe it's because I think they have God on speed dial while I'm still looking him up in the phone book. Maybe it's because they see us on Sunday when we bring our A-game. We bring our smiles and our cute outfits and our cute attitudes. Often, the pastor sees us for one hour, once a week sporting our Sunday best.  But Sunday best can be Sunday boast. Usually what's sitting in the pews is not quite realistic.What he sees looking back at him are a bunch of masks. He doesn't hear the snarky comment the wife gives her husband the minute they're in the car. He doesn't see the man who rushes home to have a beer because it's been several hours since he had a drink. He doesn't see the calm mother completely lose it on her toddler before they're barely out of the nursery.

 Of course, the congregation doesn't fully grasp the complexities of the man standing in front of them either. They see someone breaking bread, offering peace and praying earnestly for them. They see a spiritual leader. But what about his personal struggles? We (I) tend to forget that a pastor receiving a calling from God doesn't make him less human.

Back to the game. Daddy showed up after ticket taking and relieved me of the three big kids. After a few deep breaths I was calm enough to want to take them home with me. Right before bed, I apologized for how I acted. At least they could learn something from this. Perhaps they'll take away that it's ok to admit you're mistakes. After some prodding, the twins acknowledged their behavior was lacking as well. So I guess the night wasn't a total bust.

But this Sunday, I'm leaving the mask at home. Why bring it? The pastor has seen me at my best and, thanks to this evening's antics, he has seen me behaving pretty poorly. I no longer need to pretend that I have it all together, because, like it or not, he knows I DON'T. There's a freedom in that.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ha ha (again)

It's Thursday. I have been up since before the sun and yet feel like I've accomplished nothing. Well, the baby got a bath this morning, but that was only because he played in the toilet. The toilet was full of pee...old pee. Anyway, other than  that I've done a big zero today. And, since my brain is mush, I can't think of much to write. So, I will once again grace ya'll with a joke. A fall joke at that.

 
What did the Oak say to the North Wind?
 
 
Leaf me alone!
 
 
 
 
No, please, a standing ovation isn't necessary. Humor like this is a gift. You're so kind... :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fall

Ever since I came home from seeing the Gaither Vocal Band, I've been watching a lot of Gaither videos on YouTube. This particular video caught my eye. Firstly, it features the super talented, super cute,  David Phelps. Secondly, it was titled "The Fall." As my faithful readers know, I'm posting everyday in the month of October for BlogHer's NaBloPoMo, and the theme is FALL. So, there ya go. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.

Smiles!!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Don't Mind the Dishes

I had a new friend over this morning for coffee and some girl talk. She's recently moved to the area and knows virtually no one, but thankfully she reached out to me (though it totally should have been the other way around). Nothing was going super smoothly this morning and by the time she got here, breakfast dishes were still on the table and the sink was full. As we all know, housekeeping really isn't my thing, but I still want company to feel comfortable and welcome in my home.

As we sat and tittered like birds for hours, I realized that what she was craving, what I was craving, was not a spotless house, or a showcase house, or gourmet coffee, but a relationship. When I asked her to forgive the mess, she reminded me of a devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries. The author was visiting Japan and her host made a late night meal for them, and early in the morning, in the midst of the dirty dishes, supplied a lavish breakfast. Later in the day the host was to provide lunch for 100 people and then dinner for a large number of guests. While the author fretted about the dirty dishes, the host was led by the Lord to open her house, mess and all, to any who would come. A dusty floor wouldn't keep her from sharing her heart and home with others. What a welcome reminder that was.

After lunch, my BFF Chris came by, but I was no longer concerned about the mess. In fact, I sat him down in the kitchen among my dirty dishes and he talked while I washed. The kitchen is really the heart of my home. Though it's not always spotless, it's open. What a wonderful time of fellowship we had in the presence of a dish cloth and suds.

I was reminded today of the importance of relationships, of friendships old and new. I was reminded that we weren't sent here to be loners, but to open our hearts and homes to people.

If you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods and need good conversation or a good cup of coffee, my door is open. Please come in, just don't mind the dirty dishes. :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Beauty on the Run

The hubs was off early today, so I took the opportunity to go running. Usually I'm too preoccupied with how bad my legs hurt or the fact that my lungs are about to explode, to notice nature. But today I really admired God's creation around me. I thought I'd share some of what I saw. Enjoy!


 
 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Have Kids, Will Travel

My mom just left after a week long visit. As her flight was early in the morning, we stayed in a hotel the night before so we wouldn't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Travelling with children is a challenge at best, but it can also be a lot of fun (sometimes).
The water was so ridiculously cold!


The kids were actually really well behaved at breakfast.
Which was wonderful because I was by myself at this point.
Notice the wide berth around the baby.
He'd already grabbed two glasses of juice,
oatmeal,and his brother's yogurt.
Here is the list of what I packed for one night...
  • changes of clothes for five people (two changes for the baby)
  • four teddy bears
  • four books
  • three sets of arm floaties
  • one big baby floatie thing
  • five swimsuits
  • pack-n-play
  • pack-n-play sheet that didn't fit
  • blanket
  • tablet and charger
  • cell phone and charger
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • toiletry bag

Here is what I forgot...
  • swim diapers
  • diaper rash cream
  • toothpaste
  • sippy cup (I know. I can't believe I forgot that either)
  • hair detangler (thank goodness they had good conditioner)
After mom left, I had to wrangle the crew by myself. It was only by the grace of God that we made it through with such ease. Believe me, packing the car back up, with that much stuff, and that many kids, with only one adult is a challenge. But we did it relatively unscathed.

Once we got home, things quickly got back to normal. Teddy bear in the toilet right before nap? Check. But that's a story for another time.

I'm curious. What do you pack for a short excursion?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's Picture Time



Mama went out last night!! I had a BLAST at the Gaither Vocal Band concert. Our seats were spectacular. (Second row, baby!!) Here are some pics from a wonderful, WONDERFUL night out.


This was my SWEET ride for the evening. A 2014 Mustang, by the name of Jasmine.
I must say, it sure beats a dirty mini-van.
 
 
 
My dear, dear friend, Chris and fellow Gaither fan. For those who don't know, he is a phenomenal tenor
and would love to sing with the vocal band. Here he's begging for a job.


We were so close!!
 
 

David Phelps. What an awesome talent.
 The whole night was Spirit filled 


Me and Wes Hampton.
He's so adorable!

I also got to meet Mark Lowry (took a picture too, but it's on one of the FOUR cameras we were using).  In fact, his parents were sitting in front of us. Kevin Williams, the guitar player was super cute and wonderfully kind. Then on the way home, we figured out how to sync Jasmine to Chris' iPod and I got to listen to grown-up music!. I sang and boogied to my heart's content.
 
Though I woke up looking like a zombie (thanks for the encouragement, honey), the late night was well worth it. My soul was uplifted and I came away refreshed and amazed. I can't wait to do it again.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mommy Has Left the Building!

"I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control and I think I like it. Yeah, yeah, yeah!" (Sorry, I channeled my inner Pointer Sister.) But seriously, I'm EXCITED!!! My voice is hitting a pitch that would make Vanellope Von Schweetz proud.

Watch out world! Mama's going OUT
for the evening.
Very soon, I'm leaving the kids with the handsome hubby and driving a few HOURS to see the Gaither Vocal Band perform. Not only have I never seen the GVB live, but I haven't been away from my precious babes in a looooong time. I love them, but whining starts to chip away at my soul.

Moms need a break every now and again. Whether it's going into another room and escaping into a good book or having David Phelps' voice melt your butter. Parents can't give their all to the children if they aren't whole themselves.

Since I don't get "out" very often, I am super stoked for this opportunity to have some much needed grown-up time. I just hope I don't start going through kid withdrawal and start cutting people's food into small pieces.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's All In How You See It...

It amuses me how people can see the same thing yet see it so differently.

Take rainy days (like today). I see an inconvenience. I see a reason for accidents, soggy socks and frizzy hair. My kids, on the other hand, see a world transformed. Puddles aren't annoyances, they are opportunities for fun. Mud becomes a sculptor's studio. Rain drops are falling for the sole purpose of being caught on their tongues.

Think how much better my days would go if I faced them with the same enthusiasm as a child. My sons literally pop out of bed the minute their alarm goes off; heaven forbid they miss ANYTHING. I wonder if I could change someone else's "rainy day blues" if I chose to see the rain the way kids do. Our moods are catching and I would much rather spread a good mood than catch a bad one. Rain doesn't have to mean soggy socks and frizzy hair. It's an opportunity to wear adorable rain boots and sport cute up-do's.

 I think one reason the Bible reminds us to have faith like a child is that we need to see the world as a child sees it. Children exude love, warmth, imagination, and excitement. I don't want to be a stick in the mud, so perhaps I should go play with my kids WITH a stick in the mud!

Happy splashing!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Parenting Highs

Parenting is hard. I've said it before and I'll say it again. But as hard as it is, parenting totally has its high points. Here's a list of my favorite parenting highlights

  • a baby's chubby arms wrapping around my neck
  • giggles
Photo courtesy of Jessica Heard

  • hearing a child say, "I love you"
  • seeing smiles as they enjoy a meal I worked hard to make
  • watching their faces light up when daddy walks through the door

  • learning my favorite movies have become some of their favorites (As you wish!)

  • hearing them repeat a life lesson to a sibling when I was convinced that same lesson had gone in one ear and out the other
  • baking with my babies
  • watching them sleep

  • listening to them pray, especially when they pray for each other
So I'm curious, what are some of your favorite parenting moments?


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Yum

On this crisp fall evening, we had...
Homemade soup...

And...
Beer bread...

Fall is yummy. Happy eating ya'll

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Fall Poem

Ode to Fall
 
The sky is gray while squirrels play
under a shower of leaves.
 
Acorns drop far from the tree
making a mess for the hubby and me.
 
I'll let him rake while I go bake
a pie that is pumpkin-y
 
 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Season for Everything

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die...a time to weep and a time to laugh." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4 NIV)

Yesterday started with hope. A litter of kittens was born, a blessed surprise, but the day ended in sadness as we buried the tiniest and weakest of the babies. It was a reminder of how quickly things change. How quickly seasons turn.

Today, again, was filled with laughter and love as we worshiped the Lord. Our church family celebrated the pastor and his wife. My husband and daughter sang a beautiful duet, and my baby was baptized.

Nothing can be taken for granted. Not life, not love, not happiness. It can all change. But even the dark times, the sadness, the weeping are but a season. These too will not last forever.

Cherish the smiles, but don't despair in the tears. The sun will come out from behind the clouds and even rain storms bring blessings.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Surprise!

There is this friendly grey cat who has kind of adopted us. I'm not sure who she belongs to, but she joins our outside cat, Phantom, for meals. Lately I've noticed she has grown great with child, um, kittens. Yesterday, like any meddling woman, I reached out and touched her belly. I could feel the wriggling little beings inside her; it was thrilling. My childbearing days are over, but I loved, loved, loved feeling my babies move inside my tummy. I don't know if the kitty feels the same way, but she tolerated me and I was appreciative.

This morning I went out to feed Phantom and grey kitty was missing. My heart started racing. Was today the day? I personally can't think of anything more exciting than the miracle of life. I poured the food and kitty came running towards us. But she wasn't round anymore; flabby describes it a bit better. As I looked closer, she was still messy from her recent delivery.

We have kittens? Were they ok? How many were in the litter? Where were they? My maternal instincts totally kicked in. Yes, I know they're furry and have four legs, but they're babies and I'm a mama. Some things you can't turn off regardless of species.

I retraced her steps to the storage area under the deck and heard a cacophony of mews and squeaks and grunts. They had been born in a giant flower pot partially covered by a box. I know Mama did her best and it was a safe place out of the way, but one kitten in particular was still wet and covered in dirt, and baby was struggling.

Arrghh! What do I do?  I didn't want to touch them because Mama may reject them, but I didn't want them to suffocate because dirt was stuck to their tiny faces. I ran inside gathered some old rags and put them inside the cat carrier. While mama was still eating, I gingerly picked up the kitten most struggling. I cleaned it off and tried to revive it, and got a feeble mew out of it. One by one I placed the super tiny babies inside the cat carrier. Their mama was back by now and wasn't too pleased with me messing with her darlings. After I got the five of them safe and warm, I tried to move the mommy, but every time I got her in the carrier, she went back to her dirt. Oh, no! Had I meddled too much? After all, cats had been giving birth in dirt for a long time. I gathered her up one last time and placed her with her babies. Success!!! Kittens were nursing and mommy seemed content.

The little struggler was still by itself in a corner. I picked it up once again with a rag and continued to warm it. Of course, my children had wondered where their mommy had gone and ran outside to see what was going on. They were mesmerized by the new little life.

 (Side note: Just yesterday the twins were reading about babies in their encyclopedia and were fascinated by the umbilical cord. Here was a new, new, NEW baby with the umbilical cord still attached. Science in action, my friends)

I put baby back in, closer to mom, and it started to snuggle its way in for some milk. Ahh. Happiness.

 

Friday, October 11, 2013

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom And THIS Is What I Do

I read an AWESOME blog post today written in defense of stay at home moms. And guess what? It was written by a MAN!! Matt Walsh who writes The Matt Walsh Blog defends his wife's decision to stay home with their twins. Um, can totally relate here. "You're a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?" is so beautifully written, and I had to publicly thank him for it. So, thank you Matt Walsh!!

Next, let me say. I respect women who work full time outside the home. I respect women who work outside the home part time. I respect women. We have to make the choices that best fit us and our families. I choose to stay at home. Could my family benefit from me working outside the home? That, my friends, is a full and resounding, "YES." But in case you're wondering, I do WORK.

This baby needs his tears, nose,
and, I'm pretty sure, his backside wiped

In fact, I work from "son up to son down." Ha, ha! Anyone get it? SON up? Ok, sorry.

Again, if you're wondering, I am a stay-at-home mom and THIS is what I do (pretty much daily):


  • I wake up before everyone else, so that THEY can have breakfast, clean dishes, and (usually) clean clothes
  • Clean dirty diapers, bottoms, bathrooms and socks EVERYDAY. There is no laundry "day" in this house
  • Cook three square meals a day
  • Kiss tears, booboos and teddy bears
  • Wipe crumbs, noses and again, bottoms
  • Keep the baby away from the dog, the toilet, and all manner of poisons and mess makers
  • Untangle shoelaces, necklaces, cords, and knots in hair
  • ATTEMPT to keep a house that is sanitary and minimally clean
Why mop? The dog will make it dirty again in seconds...
Oh yeah, that sanitary thing
  • Guide, love, and train my kids in a manner consistent of a follower of Christ
  • Nurse owies, fevers, hurt feelings, and wounded prides
  • Keep my family healthy, happy and strong
  • Play board games, referee and occasionally the part of a fire monster in a homemade production
  • Teach my children that the world does NOT revolve around them and that they are made to serve others
  • Put the needs of my children and my husband before my own
THIS is what I do!

THIS is what I DON'T do
  • Watch television all day
  • Eat bonbons (where did that idea even come from?)
  • Hang out at the coffee shop, the cafĂ© with the girls, or really anywhere else
  • Spend hours and hours on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest
  • Miss first steps, first words, first laughs, first anything
  • Spend unwisely the money my HUSBAND works his butt off to make to support us

I work and I don't get paid monetarily. I don't get sick days, or days off. My work doesn't end at 5 o'clock. My work actually doesn't end, and if I'm able to leave the house, I'm on call.  This is my choice and I try not to complain about it. I truly wish that this line of WORK was allowed on a job application, but as of right now, society doesn't consider it worthy of a job.

I am JUST a mom. And I don't need to work outside the home because I work plenty hard inside of it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Short but Sweet

A very short post today... A joke

So a man living in 1930's Oaklahoma, was checking his lands after a terrible dust storm. He saw a cowboy hat laying there and thought he'd take it home. But when he picked up the hat there was a cowboy underneath it buried in the sand.
"My goodness," said the farmer, "you need some help?"
"Nah," replied the cowboy,  "I reckon I'll be ok, but this horse I'm riding on ain't doing so good."

Thank you! I'm here everyday.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Letting Pride Fall to the Wayside

As a mom I do a lot of things that to a normal person would seem, well, gross. Like today, I used the hem of my shirt, my pants and my sleeve as a tissue. I haven't showered, I haven't brushed my teeth and I'm wearing snot and food that was once up my baby's nose. I'm really curious at what point does a woman just allow herself to become a human hankie. Is it love or laziness? Perhaps a bit of both.

Dried snot is so in these days.
All the cool moms are wearing it.

I believe one of the best things a mom can do IS get up, get showered and make herself feel like a human. But some days it just ain't happening. Due a long series of events that involved an aging dog and poor muscle control, I spent most of the morning steam cleaning three rooms in the house. Oh, and there's a fourth room to clean, but I ran out of solution, so yeah.

Immediately after cleaning and scrubbing, the baby woke up. I could have put him in baby jail (ie the bouncer). I could have gotten in the shower. I could have at least washed my face, but I chose to sit and play with him. He giggled and snuggled and wiped his nose on me and giggled some more. As much as personal hygiene is important, lovey time with my baby is even more important. He's only going to be this age once. He's only going to have this day once. I need to take advantage of my time with him (and his snotty nose).

Once, a long, long time ago, I may have taken pride in my appearance. Maybe. But now, oh, now, I proudly wear the designs of motherhood.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What Brings Us All Together

I had such a blessed morning surrounded by coffee, muffins and mommies. Our monthly mom group got together for the first time this year and it was something I truly needed.

We are all imperfect, flawed women, but we love Jesus and we love our kids and that's what brings us all together. We can be candid about our failures and rejoice when one another has a good mommy moment. We have cried together and (like this morning) worshiped together.

In the world of "Fake"book (ha, I just heard that term this morning), it's nice to know there are other moms willing to admit their kid's diapers DO stink.

Thanks ladies!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oops...

 My husband is an Agriculture Teacher and animal reproduction is just something discussed around the dinner table, or was before the kids came along. Our best friend in college IS a Reproductive Physiologist. Animal private parts is what he does.

So when I found a picture of an artificial goat/sheep...um...vagina, I had to send him the picture. It was in a scientific agricultural catalog- I don't just have pictures of fake private parts lying around...Anyway. I sent him a text containing the picture.

This, my friends is where technology can be tricky. We tend to trust it. Technology is not trustworthy.

I got a text back, "Um, who is this? Only your number showed up."

Oh my goodness!! Did I just send a picture of an artificial vagina to a complete stranger? Did Matt change his number and some poor soul in Blacksburg is being harassed by animal naughty parts?

So I send a message back, "Oh, I hope this is Matt. Otherwise I need to apologize. This is Dr. Campbell."

Those who know me, know I am neither a doctor nor a Campbell (anymore...maiden name), but it's what Matt called me. If it turned out it WAS the right number, our repro friend would surely know who it was. If it WASN'T him then the disgusted person on the receiving end of that text would at least think I have some sort of medical degree. (A vet perhaps?) And everyone knows that a medical degree makes joking about privates totally ok.

I called my husband and expressed my complete embarrassment, I emailed my sister who, I think, wet herself laughing at me, and I learned a valuable lesson. Don't send pictures of animal privates, even fake ones, to people. It might be the wrong number. And they might get the wrong idea...

Happy Monday, y'all

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Day of Rest?

    Sunday's exhaust me, but I know they shouldn't. I come home from church feeling more hurried and stressed than before. But hear me, this isn't a church issue, it's a "me" issue.
   The day starts out alone because the hubs has to be at work at 6 a.m.. I'm left to get four kids, two cats and a dog fed and ready. If, like today, there is a kink in the routine, there's a kink in the day. What messed up the routine? A leaking fridge. I, praise the Lord, had not gone shopping so there was no food to spoil, but there was also nothing left to feed the kids. To Target we ran for breakfast bars and Kool-Aid. Who gets the healthy breakfast award? Not this mom.
   Sunday School goes fantastic, but then in "big church" I'm playing referee. I think that's what exhausts me the most. I maybe heard three words out of the sermon. Church is where my kids need to be, so I bring them every week regardless of what I "get" out of it. After church, to Target we run AGAIN for lunch supplies and then home. It's after 1 p.m. now. I'm hungry, grumpy, and tired of hearing, "but he's singing MY SONG!!!!." Kids, songs belong to EVERYONE! Just saying. And to my brother and sister, I probably did the same thing to ya'll when we were younger. I'm sorry. Feel free to sing your heart out 'cause I will too.
   After lunch and failed nap attempts, a blessing walks through the door. My husband, who's had a VERY long weekend, takes the baby, takes the big kids, brings them downstairs and lets me nap. Amen and Amen.
   It's occurred to me that even though God mandated a day of rest (and I don't believe it has to be Sunday), it's not necessarily a physical rest. Running to church and back wearies my body and if I'm not careful, wearies my soul. That's where abiding in God's rest comes into play. I can calm my mind and soul regardless of my surroundings and offer worship to my Lord and Savior.
   In that worship comes true rest.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

So Many Battles

   You've got to choose your battles, and the baby upsetting the dog water for the umpteenth time isn't the one I'm going to pick. In fact, I'm going to continue peeling potatoes for dinner while the water slowly spreads all over my kitchen, soaking everything in it's path...including the baby. Oh, and he's sporting a dirty diaper.
   My natural spirit is prone to anxiousness and impatience. Lately I've noticed the kids becoming increasingly impatient and ugly to each other and it occurred to me: perhaps they've learned it from Mommy.
   Um, ouch.
 
   So God's been dealing with me on this. I've been made aware in my own life of the whole "you reap what you sow" thing. I've been reaping a lot of negativity, impatience, and frustration.
   And again I say ouch.
   I've been praying for God to help me in this. He's not going to take away the situations that get my blood pressure boiling, but He'll remind me of His promises to send a helper (the Holy Spirit) to guide me when I'm weak (John 14:26). Philippians 4:6 tells me to not be anxious, but bring everything to the Lord in prayer. This includes when I feel I'm losing my mind because of my precious children.
   In the past, I would have thrown down my half peeled veggies in frustration, hurriedly grabbed the baby (while mumbling non-niceties under my breath), and worried myself into a frenzy because I had a huge mess on the floor, boiling water on the stove, bacon sizzling, and a soaked baby. Plus, the dog's wondering where his water went.
   Not today my friends. I'm going to keep doing my thing while the baby does his. He's wet, but he's happy. I can't help but smile as he drums on the empty bowl and splashes in the pools on my floor. The water is cleaning any dirt off my floor, and dinner isn't being ruined because I threw a fit and burned the bacon.
   Maybe if I can sow patience and gentleness, the seeds will take root. This is not a quick process (that too causes frustration). In time, I might be able to grow patient, loving, and gentle children.
   Now, if you'll excuse me, I have two battles to fight. But which do I tackle first? Cleaning up the floor or cleaning up the baby. The floor wins. No one's going to slip on a dirty baby. Besides he's still playing drums on the water bowl.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall Thee Not Into Tempation

   I think I've fallen in love. My husband doesn't know, though I'm pretty sure he suspects. This new relationship is affecting my kids. I didn't plan it, it just happened.
   I'm in love with a cookie.
   Honey, these cookies tempt me! I can hear them call to me as I pass the cookie jar. "Come on. One cookie won't hurt you. You know you want us. Just one...little...bite..." An innocent thought has turned into full blown desire and next thing I know, I've taken that one little bite...
   But alas, one little bite turns into six cookies and my kids are left wondering what happened to their snack.
   What is this crack cookie? Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. My mouth is watering just typing it.
   A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for pumpkin cookie recipes and I found a website that was complaining about the "cakiness" of pumpkin cookies and that she had found a solution. HALLELUJAH!! I too had dealt with the weird round cookiecake things in my jar and I wanted a COOKIE.  The search was over.

 
   Sally from Sally's Baking Addiction had discovered that removing eggs from the cookie dough left the cookies more like, well, cookies. I think that the best thing about removing the eggs is that I can eat the dough without trepidation. Not that eggs in a batter actually stops me from eating it, but it's nice to not have to think twice.

 
   I made them again today. I say again because I've prepared five batches in the last two weeks. Today, however, I got creative. The recipe calls for melted butter, which I am totally ok with, but I doubled the recipe (only complaint: the recipe on the website didn't produce enough to satiate), and two sticks of butter was a little much for me. Normally I wouldn't care, but my cholesterol is being checked next week, so....yeah. I substituted apple sauce for 1/4 of the butter. And as far as that goes, I say, if somethin' ain't broke, don't fix it. The applesauce didn't affect the flavor too much, but some of the cakiness returned. Follow the recipe friends. Just follow it.
   Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. No seriously, let me count some of the ways I love this cookie.

1. No eggs
 
2. It is so easy to prepare, my four-year-old can help
 

 
 

3. Just the right amount of spice
 
4. When paired with coffee, it pretty much makes my eyes roll back in my head
 
5. It is a treat the ENTIRE family agrees on
 
 
I love you Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie. Thank you for coming into my life...
 
(Want to try this bit of Heaven? Here's the recipe)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's the Deal?

 
   My blogging habits are a lot like my housekeeping: sporadic at best. Any of you who regularly read this blog (A big shout out to the two of you!) may be wondering, "Hmmm. Three posts in three days. What's the deal?" Well I'll tell you, dear reader! I'm participating in BlogHer's NaBloPoMo.
   Huh?
   Basically, I've registered with BlogHer to write a post every day for the month of October. That's it. That's the challenge. Write a post everyday. The theme is...ready? FALL!!!! Some of my posts will be about this gorgeous season, about changing colors, about food (mmnnnn, food). Some posts might be about FALLing apart, or FALLing short, or FALLing down (which I do with some frequency).
    Please come along for the ride. Imagine we're on a road trip together for the next four weeks, and while trapped in our tiny sedan we get to know each other a lot better.
    I want to hear from you What do you FALL for?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When Life Falls Apart

   Today, the family and I will be attending a funeral. Funerals are not exactly on my list of favorite things to do, but there you go.
   The prayer list at church seems to get bigger and bigger every week. And so many of these people are near and dear to my heart. They're folks who are suffering, sick or in need. They're not just names on a piece of paper, they're real people and they're broken.
  So what do you do when life falls apart? When the illusion of security and wellness slips away and you're left in the pit of despair. What do you do when your life partner is suddenly gone and you're alone, or your only child is sick with cancer, or the family patriarch is healthy yesterday and in the hospital today. What do you do when you can see the pieces of your life lying shattered in disarray around you?
   There are several options.
   You can try to pick up the pieces yourself, but like a LEGO creation that has come crashing to the floor, there are just too many small parts that slip through your fingers. Overwhelmed is an understatement. 
  You can rely on other people to pick up the pieces. The problem is that they have their own ideas of how everything should fit back together. You're grateful for the help, but something is just not right. A piece is missing, or put in the wrong place, or the pieces have been put back too quickly and it's not quite stable.
   Or you can ignore the mess that your life has become; pretend that the shards are not lying all around you and just go on. But this is so not healthy. It's a lie. Pretending the glass isn't broken won't keep the water from seeping out.
When you're shattered, God hasn't left.
 He's just getting the broom

   As someone who has tried all of these options, I believe there's a better way. God is the only one who can pick up the pieces and make a creation that is better and stronger than before. In the dead of night when the silence of the house is deafening and the loneliness is stifling, He's there. You may not feel Him, or sense Him, or recognize His presence, but He's there. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." 
   The 23rd Psalm is one of my favorites. It reminds me that even though I travel through the valley of the shadow of death (v 4), I will not be afraid. Not because I have good friends to walk with me (which is great), or I have a strong disposition (which will only get me so far) but because God is with me!! This Psalm paints a beautiful picture. It says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters..." (v 2) Have you ever seen someone so distraught or in so much pain they need to be led? This is what God does for us in our weakest moments. He makes us lie down in green pastures. Not necessarily because we want to, (ever wallow in self pity longer than necessary?) but because He knows what's best for us. Note, He MAKES us lie down. Sometimes we fight, sometimes we're so weary, and sometimes we're so incapacitated with grief that we can't do a thing on our own. But God will pick us up, and make us to lie down in the lush field of His love and lead us beside the still waters of His spirit.
   Isaiah 64:8 says that we are the clay and the Lord is the potter. Again, such a wonderful picture of an artist lovingly working on a creation. When the pot breaks, only the one who made it knows the right way to fix it. Chances are the work of art will be stronger and more beautiful than before. That's what God does with us when we're hurt, broken, and feel destroyed. He lovingly picks up the shattered mess, carries us to His work table and rebuilds us. We're not the same, we still carry scars of whatever it was that broke us, but His fingerprints are all over us.
   When life falls apart, be patient. Know that God is picking you up. It takes time to rebuild a masterpiece. Life won't get back to normal (whatever that is) for months, maybe years, maybe never completely. But you're being worked on. You're being gently, sweetly, purposely fitted back together. Piece by piece, day by day. God loves you. He made you. He's didn't leave you as you came crashing to the floor, He's just getting the broom.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Anyone?

   I love fall. I absolutely love it. The change in weather, wardrobe, menus and attitudes make for a happy mommy. In fact, the three big kids are outside right now hunting acorns for daddy to take when he goes hunting.

   The trees in our neck of Virginia are starting to turn vibrant reds and oranges. It seems to happen so quickly though that if I blink it's already winter. Isn't life like that? Kids grow up so fast. One day they're little saplings and before you know it they're giant Sequoias. As a species, humans just need to ditch the fast pace and slow down and smell the roses (or see the leaves change) before it's too late and a blessed season has passed.
  This fall I'm going to "FALL" in love with Autumn all over again. I'm going to soak in the smells and sights that make this transition period from the heat of the summer to the frigidity of winter so miraculous.
   Let's get out our sweatshirts and jeans and jump in some leaves. Feel them crunch under your feet. Hear the kids squeal with laughter as they make it "rain." Smell the cinnamon in the air. Then sit down, relax and taste some pumpkin pie.