Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thankful: Day 29 & 30!

Day 29 - thankful Little Man did not break his arm and for medical care so close to home.

Day 30 - my last day at my job.  So very thankful to be back to working one day a week.  While the budget will be tight again (sigh), the timing it good and we have a plan in place.

This was an interesting exercise to think daily about what I am thankful for.  Even when I did not write it down daily, I could very easily think of what I was thankful…it was what stood out to me most.  I just read this quote on Pinterest.

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful: Day 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

Behind again!

Day 23 - realizing that while she is growing up fast, Soccer Girls is still very innocent.  When filling out a form at the doctor's office, she asked if she lived in a shelter.  No sweetie, you don't.

Day 24 - my extended family and having an abundance of food.

Day 25 - enjoying a good lazy day.

Day 26 - loving on a sweet puppy.  She almost came home with us... if she wasn't $700.00!!

Day 27 - spending time at the library all by myself.  It was just about 30 minutes, but it was so nice.  The possibilities are endless...

Day 28 - waking my kids up in the morning.  They are safe at home and are so beautiful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Need to Meet

Yesterday Little Man's preschool teacher asked to meet with me.  While Little Man is doing okay, she said he "needs more."  The incentives they use in the room are not enough for him.  She would like to devise a plan to work with him.

She told me he is very smart but very energetic.  I have learned over the years that those are codes for he doesn't keep his hands to himself… he interferes in the class… he is not able to socialize with the other kids… label it however you want.  It means he is still struggling.  While he has improved, I know he will continue to struggle well into his formal school years.

So we will meet next week to talk about the issues and come up with a plan.  But, right now, I feel like we have not done enough for him and that I have failed him.  I feel just plain defeated and sad.

I know that I need to embrace all of him.  I know that he is wonderfully made.  I know that all of the things that may be viewed as "challenges" now will fade and serve him well… some day.  It is just hard to accept that when it is your kid not invited to a class birthday party and most days the teacher has to talk to you about what happened that day.

I will feel sad for a little bit longer.  Then I will look into his beautiful face and plow forward with a plan.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful: Day 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Day 18 - traveling with good friends to see another good friend.  So nice to spend time talking with adults and catching up.  And, a delicious dinner.

Day 19 - watching the 4th Twilight movie during the day and shopping and eating out… all without interruptions, refereeing, or yelling.

Day 20 - see Chief after a few days away.  I love that man.

Day 21 - watching Lizard practice basketball.  Although she is tiny, she is quick and is learning a lot.

Day 22 - becoming a mom 12 years ago today.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful: Day 17

Day 17- Packing for a girls weekend.  Excited to spend time with good friends, catching up, eating good food and just connecting without distractions.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful: Day 15 & 16

Day 15 - Hearing that Soccer Girl wanted to deliver Thanksgiving food baskets with her youth group even though it was on her  birthday.  It was evident she is learning the lesson of giving (not just donating food to a bin) and selflessness.  Turns out they are delivering them two days before her birthday anyway.  :-)

Day 16 - Little Man having a great day today.  He was so excited when I picked him up about his work and earning a prize today for his behavior.  Love days like this!  And I love that almost all of the pictures that he draws are of Little Man and Chief doing fun things. He loves his Daddy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful: Day 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Yikes… I have gotten behind in documenting what I am thankful for each day here on the blog.  But I have been noticing and writing it on a sticky note so I don't forget.  

Day 10 - being able to hug all of my kids.  Six years ago today a friend lost her oldest daughter in a teribble car accident.  That is never too far from my mind.

Day 11 - having a very productive day and crossing a big project off my list… one I thought would drag into the weekend.

Day 12 - the red Starbuck's cup filled with hot cholocate on a cold day.

Day 13 - NOT having a Voodoo Donut.  Thankful for some will power.

Day 14 - texting Chief during the day.  I love the little chime on my iPhone when a text comes in and I see it is from him.  Love.  It.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful: Day 7, 8 & 9

Day 7 - finally starting a new technique with the kids (mainly Little Man and Lizard) to help stop the arguing, yelling and "swearing".  So far I am very thankful for the results.

Day 8 - playing Duck Duck Goose and What Time is it Mr. Fox? with the family.  Love the smiles and simple fun.

Day 9 - for Little Man's "out of the mouth of babes" comment this morning.  Might just be the kick in the pants I need for make some healthy changes.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful: Day 5 & Day 6

Day 5 - time alone with Chief.  Between work, activities and life in general, time without interruptions is few and far between.  Even thought we just ran to the mall to help me find new jeans, it was so nice to spend a few hours alone.

Day 6 - watching Soccer Girl on the soccer field.  She is a natural athlete and so fun to watch.  I am so proud to be her Mom.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful: Day 4

Day 4 - a special date with my Little Man.  Just the two of us on a Friday night building all sorts of Lego creations.  My heart needed the reminder how special, loving and funny he can be.  I love you Little Man.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful: Day 3

Day 3 - knowing I will be back home and able to take my kids to school in less than a month.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful: Day 1 & 2

I have noticed on Facebook and the blog world the challenge to post one thing you are thankful for each day in November.  I like that.  I am going to post my "30 days of thankfuls" here on my blog.  Maybe a few at a time, but 30 days of what I am grateful for… what makes me smile.

A dear friend of mine gave me Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts.  It is a thought provoking book about finding thankfulness in your day to day life; in the daily grind of a messy kitchen and arguments over homework.  If you have not read it, I would highly recommend it.

Day 1 - my three children.
Day 2 - hearing rain pour down while I am inside my warm house.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Full Circle

My Mom suffers from early on-set of Alzheimer's.  I think she was 68 or so when we first started to notice things were not right.  Looking back almost 5 years ago at Christmas, she could not play dominos… a game she has played before.  She got confused and I was frustrated.  When Little Man was born four and half years ago, she was here helping and could not seem to keep up with the schedule that was necessary… getting Soccer Girl to school, Lizard to preschool, hospital visits and meals.  It seemed odd at the time, but I did not think to much about it.  Then that summer, my sister noticed some things on a vacation her family took with my Mom and Dad.  Dad had been noticing thing.

Then that holiday season my Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Crisis had set in, friends starting calling concerned about Dad, but also shedding some light on their concerns with Mom.  I was traveling back and forth as often as I could to help out.  I remember one time when Dad was in the hospital, Mom got a message that his insurance had been cancelled.  He was in the hospital, very sick receiving some very expensive treatment and Mom panicked.  She was at a loss as to what to do.  Thankfully I was there so I could step in.  I started making phones calls and got the situation cleared up.  I think much of my Mom's panic and inability to act was stress and the magnitude of what they were faced with.  I could see myself reacting the same way if I were in her shoes.  But looking back, I think it was a very real sign of her inability to make decisions… something very common in someone with Alzheimer's.  She worked her whole career in the medical field.  She KNEW her way around hospitals, insurance and medical jargon.  She was at a loss.  It was during this time that she was officially diagnosed.

Now almost five years later she is struggling.  She has just about ceased communicating.  At first it was because she seemed to struggled to find her words.  Now it seems that she does not understand you.  That may not be accurate, but that is what it feels like and looks like when you talk to her.  Her eyes are often blank or distant.  She does not know her name or her grand kid's names.  On her last visit here, she looked right at me and asked "where is Jenny?"  She needs assistance getting dressed, bathing and cutting up her food most times.

She is fortunate that she is still able to be at home.  My Dad is her 24/7 caregiver.  It is and has been an incredible burden and I am just thankful that Dad finally is getting some assistance with her care.  Mom is now going to adult daycare a few mornings a week.  While she is not happy about it right now (very upset, crying and scared), I believe over time she will get comfortable with the idea and feel safe (she does not feel safe unless she is right with my Dad).  And, more importantly at this point, it will give my Dad a much needed break.  He will be able to rest, visit friends… or hit a bucket of balls.

I dread the next steps my Dad will have to take.  Having to face the decisions he has ahead are so difficult.  His life partner who has been with him through life to help make those hard decisions is gone.  He is left alone to decide.  What is best?  When is it time? I can not imagine the struggle.

To be in another state is both a blessing and a big burden.  The blessing is that I am able to remove myself from the realities of what is happening to my Mom most of the time.  It hits me in waves… like the time a few months ago, I called when she was having a really rough night.  Or when Dad said he was actually going through with the daycare thing.  I was in tears.  That is my Mom.  But I am not around to see the day to day struggles, and that is a blessing.

The burden is not being able to help… even if it would be just bringing them meals a few times a week so Dad does not have to navigate the kitchen.   The burden is not being able to visit Mom face to face when she was more with it.  That time is gone.  I think of things to ask, but the answers are lost inside her.  Like the other day when my doctor asked what type of cancer her Dad died from.  I think I remember, but if no one in my family can remember for sure, that information is gone forever.    

It has been an interesting journey over the last five or so years.  Sad, aggravating, funny and scary all at the same time.  Scary because I see my future.  My Mom, her sister and their Mom… my grandmother… all have/had Alzheimer's.  I think about not remembering my kids and tear up.  I think of my husband and all the funny little memories that only he and I share that will be gone.  It is a horrible disease.  And the thing about it - there is not a damn thing I can do to change my fate.  If heart disease ran in our family, I could at least change my diet, take cholesterol medicine, etc… at least do something to know I did everything to help my fate.  But beside the typical advice to exercise and eat well and take fish oil, there is nothing.  That is scary.

So as my Mom comes full circle… needing help dressing, going to daycare with a snack schedule and a change of clothes… I will do my best to remember what is important in the circle of life.  A place to be safe and loved.  A place that memories are made not by things or busyness, but with time and engagement.  I will hug my kids harder, turn off the TV, computer and unplug the darn iPhone more.  I will spend time with Chief.  I will make changes to our life so whatever time I have left to remember, whether it is 10 years, 25 or 50, I will have made the most of it.  My family will be able to say well done.

Well done, Mom.  I love you. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Back to School

Well, the kids have been back to school for a month and I am just getting around to this post.  Yah.  Ahh… it has been hectic to say the least.

Little Man is in 4's preschool at the same school and class.  So his "back to school" was pretty uneventful.  He has the same teachers he has had since last June.  There are a group of new kids and he has done fairly well adjusting.  He has good days and bad days.  He has a really hard sharing his "show and share" toy so recently he has been "banned" from participating for awhile until he can demonstrate he can share.  We will give a whirl in a few weeks.

We are still tackling his behavior issues going through good patches and rough ones.  I texted a friend last week that we have been firmly in Holland for several days.  It is hard to admit but I always dread walking into his school because I do not know how the day has gone.  I breath a sigh of relief when I round the first corner and can see that Little Man is not in the director's office.  Then I take a deep breath of relief if I do not have to sign an incident report.  I did not really realize I felt that way until recently.  It has been happening for a long time, but I did not recognize my thoughts where consistent each time I pulled up.  Sad but true.

I am a work in progress.  I fail miserably embracing all that makes up my Little Man.  It pains me that I struggle with him in public.  That pain makes me alter my plans so I do not have to deal with the frustration I feel and looks I receive.  Some days I can embrace his challenges and hold my head high.  Other days, I can not.  A work in progress… still.

Lizard is in third grade.  She is with two of her best buddies and loves her teacher.  She has slide into the school year with almost no hiccups.  And, what I love best about this year, is that I altered my morning schedule so I can take her to school.  She and I drop off Little Man at preschool and then I drive her to school.  We usually have about 10 minutes until she can go into school.  So we wait in the car… just the two of us.  Sometime we talk about serious stuff and other times we just kid around.  I love it.

She is cheer leading at the football games.  She loves it and maybe has finally found her thing.  She is taking it seriously and we all have the cheers stuck in our head from her practicing at home.  "Go Knights!"  She is also signed up for basketball in the winter… all 45 pounds of her!

Soccer Girl is in 6th grade - a middle schooler!  She really was not too nervous before school started, just wondering about the volume of homework in store for her.  On the first day, I took the morning off and drove her to school.  When I told her it was time to go, she said a very nervous "oh man" and looked at me with pleading eyes.  But my big girl gathered up her stuff and took a deep breath, gave me a kiss and got out of the car.  She walked with her head high into the school.

She has adjusted very well.  I think the biggest adjustment has been the social activity… all the who likes who, who is mad at who now stuff.  She has stayed away from it, but seems to like to be in the know.  Luckily she will tell me who likes her, what so and so did or said.  I pray that communication continues as the years pass.

So overall the start of the school year has been good.  Just busy.  I have an hour with Little Man before Lizard gets home, then an hour with the two of them before Soccer Girl arrives.  Then typically we need to be at some activity within the next hour.  It makes for very hectic weeks.  Lots of quick dinners and not much down time.  Our little family needs down time so we are trying to work that in and say no when we need to to get it.  Like the other night, I had plans to go out to dinner with two good friends.  It was a rough day - everyone yelling and fighting - so I bowed out of the dinner at the last minute and stayed with my family.  It was the right thing to do.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fanning the Fire

How does one maintain the fire one gets from something you learn or desire to do?  Like when you start a new exercise plan or a healthy eating kick… how do you maintain the fire to keep going after a few weeks?  Or after feeling the sting of my impatience with my kids; the guilt I feel and the hurt on their faces… how do I maintain the daily patience and grace necessary to parent my children as they deserve to be parented? 

What makes some people who receive devastating medical news completely change their lifestyle?  And, why do some who receive the same type of news, do nothing to change their circumstances?  Why after losing someone they love, do some really see what life is all about and live a life according but others do not. 

I think it is human to slip back into old habits and old ways of reacting to things.  I think it is easier to do that than the hard work of changing who you are, not matter how much you desire to be or do something different.  It is a valid reason – we ARE afterall, human.  But what is it exactly beyond that allows some to make lasting changes and others can not?  Fear… laziness… lack of belief… poor self image… a strong faith… perseverance or lack there of… or maybe accountability? 

I have many wonderful plans.  I research, gain support (in my head or with others depending upon the plan), implement and even execute the plan.  However, what I lack is follow through on many of those plans.  I have had moments of follow through in my life… like sticking to my guns when I was a teenager despite much disappointment from my Dad when I did not want to continue with sailing lessons…   Like losing 40 pounds about 5 years ago… like reading the bible last year. 

A friend of mine mentioned how she has started using a journal in church to make notes on the sermon.  She got this idea after reading the book Radical.  I have not read the book… yet.  But from our conversation she was talking about being a student; writing things down to remember and do something with that information – study, research more, think about - instead of just hearing and forgetting as the busyness of life gets in the way.  I may not have remembered our conversation correctly, but hey, that is what I took away from it which has lead me to ponder things leading to this post. 

I like the idea of being a student.  I think I am good at that part, the studying and research part, the observation part.  What I need to become is a fire builder, someone who does something with their knowledge.  I went to college because it was always expected, that is just what you did.  I went through the motions and graduated as expected.  What I did not do in college is absorb. I did not gain a fire to do something with my knowledge.  The funny thing about fire is that no matter how good a fire you build, not matter how much research you do on the best position of your logs to get air flow, no matter much it rages fast and hot in the beginning… if you do nothing to it, it will eventually burn out.  The fire builder has to fan the flames, keep feeding it – do something to keep the heat and intensity.   

That feeding, that fanning is what sets people apart.  It is what moves some people to action for the long term burn, not just the hot fast action in the beginning of an idea or plan.  That feeding is what is moving my friend to journal our sermons.  It is that feeding that allowed me to lose weight without grumbling years ago.  God has given me a brain to use, desires and a heart to do certain things.  But ultimately it comes down to doing the work, taking action on my plans, knowledge and desires.   It comes down to the having the faith that I can continue the hard work over the long haul.  The most rewarding of things come from the hard work, not the planning.  So I will build and I will feed my fire.   

Faith can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if God hands you a shovel. 
Author unknown.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

When I Grow Up...

You know the question you ask kids… “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  The normal answers for my kids have been teacher, chef, firefighter, and as Little Man has said lately, a cement truck driver.  All noble professions for sure.  The trouble is, I can’t honestly answer that question now – at 43 years old.

I have been in human resources for well over 20 years.  I kind of fell into this field.  I started out of college with my “organizational communications” degree supporting a manager who handled HR and training for a company.  Over the years, I have been blessed to learn from very smart managers who saw my potential and allowed me to do things above my actual years of experience.  And, truth be told, I am good at it.  I am trusted to advise management well and have a knack for managing information without bias very well.

But, here is the rub - I do not want to do this any more.  I am tired of the employee relations issues (really tired of this!), having to re-has an issue with an employee again and benefits administration.  I have seen my fair share of crazy stuff over the years (like the employees who were caught having ah, hmmm “relations” in a store in the wee morning hours and could not figure out why they were being terminated – they honestly said “the store was not open, so what is the big deal?”  Hmmm, the big deal is a customer waiting for the bus outside the store saw you doing your thing ON THE CHECK STAND, that's why.  Think about that the next time you plunk your purse down to pay for something – eeewww).  Anyway, HR is not fulfilling to me.  It is not challenging, humorous at times, but not challenging.

I find it fascinating that something I am good at is NOT satisfying.  And the bigger rub is that I have no idea what else I want to do.  I have tried to rack by brain thinking of what would fill me up.  But I come up empty.  We are not blessed with the option of me not working at all.  I don’t have to work full time, but even if I did not have to work, I don’t know what else I would want to do.

I do know that I want more flexibility in my schedule.  I do not want to rely on others to get my kids to their activities.  This summer has been eye opening, humbling and guilt ridden.  We are fortunate to having very loving friends who are more than willing to help out.  Unfortunately, I hate asking for help when I believe, deep down, I should be the one do these things.  I worry that the kids are safe and where they are suppose to be.  I worry about the impact my absence has in my relationship with them and what I am missing.

So one thing has been decided – I will not work away from home by this time next year.  While I need to find something to replace my income, the stress the job I started last October has created in our family, the impact on the kids and what I am missing, is not worth it.  And to further spur our decision is the need for me to be involved in Little Man’s schooling when he starts Kindergarten next fall.  I can not be an absentee-working parent.  I need to know his teachers and be in the classroom and be known to the school administrators.  We owe him that.

Some hard choices will have to be made over the next year.  It will not be easy.  And honestly, I am worried we will not be able to follow through on this decision.  But I am more worried if we don’t.

Chief and I have had some heart felt discussion lately.  What do we want for our family, each other, ourselves?  What means the most to us.  These discussions were triggered by watching the movie the Notebook.  Oh my, if you haven’t watched this, grab a box of Kleenex and your husband and watch it.  It is a true love story.  This movie took on a special meaning for us since my Mom is struggling with Alzheimer’s.  I think for the first time, I could see the impact this disease may have on my relationship with my husband.  And how it is so important to make the most of the days you are blessed with.  While I may have many days, I don’t know that I will remember all of them given my family history.  The memories we make and impact I have on my children are a gift, and I don’t want to waste it working in something that does not bring me joy just to pay some stupid Visa bill. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back in Holland Again Today

I am not sure how I feel about this.  Today Little Man had a teacher with him one on one all day at preschool.  He moved up to the 4's room at the end of June.  He is learning to navigate the big boy room even though he had spent some time in the 4s room over the last 8 months.

Little Man is very impulsive, especially in public situations and around other kids.  He angers very quickly and has trouble keeping his hands to himself and responding appropriately when he is not pleased with someone else or something.  Miss K talked to me about what she did with him and how he responded (he did well with lots of encouragement) and I told her how much he likes to ne a helper.  She let me know he had to go the Director's office, Miss T (not his first time).  Miss K also told me he is incredibly smart for his age (kind of freaky smart - my words, not hers); which is something I have been told by many people.  Overall it was a good discussion and reaffirmed for me that he is in the right place and appreciated for who he is, while being guided properly.

I felt compelled to let her know he has two older sisters (she said she would have guessed he had older brothers).  She told me Miss T let her know we are aware of the issues he has and that we are working on his anger.  I felt compelled to let her know we have been working with a pediatric behaviorists.   I guess I was trying to tell her we are not rookie parents coddling an out of control, mean child.  I was trying to justify my parenting and express to her that we understand the challenges.

After never having any major behavior/parenting issues with the girls, this is a very humbling place to be.  Tears stung my eyes as we left the building.  As my blond hair boy bounced happily to the car, I was holding back tears and looking up and crying out in my heart "why."  It is very troubling to me that a preschool age child, MY preschool age child… MY little boy… needed one on one guidance for the bulk of his five hour day at school.  This is not a daily occurrence.  But for it to occur at all crushes me… angers me... humbles me… and leaves me pondering Little Man's 14 or so years of schooling ahead of us.

I know Little Man is made perfectly.  It is me who needs to adjust my thinking, my perceptions, my expectations.  It is me who needs to appreciate him for who he is and what he can show me through these challenges.  There is a story that runs through my mind at times like this.  It is a reminder to me that if I am constantly justifying myself, joking about his behavior to shadow my embarrassment in public and not embracing him for who he is all the time, not just when he is sweet; I will miss out on so much.  I don't want to miss out.

Here is the story…

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip -to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” "Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around… and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills… and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely hings …about Holland.

Monday, June 27, 2011


One of my very dear friends just moved away… for good.  We have known each other for about 7 years and we have become very good friends in the last few years.  I have never really had a friend move away, even as a kid.  I grew up in one house, in one town.  And, most of my friends did too.  In college you expect people to go their own direction and “leave” after school, either to return to their home towns or take a job somewhere else.  My best friend from college went on to graduate school while I got a job.  We are still in touch (she is even coming to visit this summer!) but we have never really lived near each other (unless you count our dorm rooms).  So this is really the first time someone I am close to has left. 

It is strange.  I am excited for my friend's new adventure and what it means for her family and her personally.  But honestly, I am nervous and sad.  Nervous that our GNO group will fall apart… that I will not continue to challenge myself to grow in my faith… that I won’t have someone to give me an honest perspective on Little Man and his challenges… that I won’t be connected as much… that I won’t have someone who wants to get together with me and my kids.  And I am sad that she will not be in my life on a regular, personal basis.  She is a Facebook friend, but it is just not the same. 

I know I am responsible for my own growth and for making and keeping friends.  But my friend is really good about finding something for me to step up to (reading the bible in a year, memorizing verses, reading, having a conversation on a deeper level than just “kid talk,” etc.).  Something of these things I would never do on my own.  My friend steps out to make play dates and initiates getting together with people.  She is the first one to call (or text actually!).  I love doing those things, but I do not take the initiative.  I guess I make the assumption the other person does not really want to get together and is just being nice or they are too busy with their own lives.  I am afraid with my friend not prompting me, I will shrink back into my little world because I am not stepping out.  And I am a little angry at myself for not taking her example and being more responsible for my own connections to people and growth. 

So, I am going to honor my friend:

I will be the person who initiates things. 
I will be the person to read for the pure pleasure of reading, despite the distractions of life.
I will be the person to get involved in things that mean something to me on-my-own, without being asked. 
I will be the person to keep our GNO group organized. 
I will be the person to organize the book club several of us have talked about. 
I will be the person who, in the heat of the moment with Little Man, will remember my friend’s words. 
I will do these things, not because she wants me to.
I will do these things because she helped me discover that I want these things.

So my friend, cheers to your next chapter.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you.

friend, faith builder, reality check and tequila shots
You mean the world to me.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I have come across the topic of marriage from many different directions over the last few weeks.  I posted about being on guard with my own marriage and how I want to protect it.  That very same day, I read this post at We are THAT Family.  I think this post is a beautiful summary of what I want my kids to know about marriage and what it means to be committed.  What is God telling me with all these prompts?

And, if you haven't read Kristin over at We are THAT Family, you should.  She is one of my daily reads… very insightful, challenging, funny and honest.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pasta Salad

I found this recipe here a few years ago.  I made it for my niece's high school graduation party and it was a big hit.  I just made it again this passt weekend for our Girl's Night Out group wine tasting day lunch.  Again it was a hit.  I adapted the recipe a bit from the original.  It is super easy, but you do need to start it the day before so it can sit overnight.  It is a great party salad because it is not a mayo based pasta salad so it can sit out.  Enjoy!

Antipasto Pasta Salad - Serves 12

1 pound pasta shells (I use bow tie)
1/4 pound salami, chopped
1/2 pound Asiago cheese, diced
1 (6 oz) can black olives, drained and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
1 (.7 oz) package of dry italian-style salad dressing mix
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain, and cool under cold water.

2.  In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, Asiago cheese, black olives, bell peppers and tomatoes.  Stir in envelope of dressing mix.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  (the original recipe says you can refrigerate for an hour, but I have never done that).

3.  To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Taste the dressing to make sure the flavor is right; I have added more balsamic so it is not too olive oily.  Pour over pasta mixture, stir to coat well.

Friday, June 3, 2011

On Guard

A few weeks back I was talking to someone about the divorce statistic like one in five couples end up in divorce.  Don’t quote me on the statistic, I haven’t Googled it or anything; but it is something like that.  I said you look around our neighborhood and of the 70 or so homes; divorce has had to impact some of them.  At the time, I didn’t know of anyone.  I speculated in my mind who might be “one” of the five (purely based on rumor or speculation).  Well yesterday, the “one” was identified.  A neighbor’s house around the corner had a new For Sale sign out front.  Another neighbor’s daughter happened to be in the car with us when we saw the sign.  When I commented on the sign, she said they were getting a divorce (according to her mother who knows the family).  What a life changing event.  The mom has gone back to work, the kids have lost their stablility, the Dad is not involved on a day to day basis… now they are losing their family home.  I do not know them well other then an occasion wave or quick conversation.  But, my heart just aches for the two of them and their kids. 

Just yesterday I ran into another statistic on the internet that about 65% of divorces are not the plate throwing messy splits your read about.  That 65% of divorces are because the couple just fell out of love, had a mediocre marriage or just drifted apart and wanted different things. 

These few promptings really have put on me how much I need to guard my own marriage.  Chief and I have a wonderful marriage.  He is my best friend and can make me laugh like no one else.  We work well together… we can bounce ideas off each other and usually come up with a good plan.  My heart still skips when I think of him; not every time (heck we have been married for 14 years), but it does still skip!  But, with the busyness of life, I think we take for granted how well we like each other and we take for granted that we will always like each other.  If we do not guard against the distractions of the world, we could wake up to find we are the “one in five”; not the plate throwers (I will want to take my dishes with me!), but one of the 65% that just drifted apart. 

Disclaimer:  Our marriage is not in trouble!  Please don’t read this as a foreshadowing of an impending divorce.  Far from it.  We have a wonderful relationship… not without bumps like any marriage… but a wonderful one.  This has just got me thinking that divorce could happen to anyone (even to those that say divorce is not an option) if you do not guard yourselves and your relationship.

Ok back to my thoughts… So as Chief and I celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary in a few days, I am going to guard my marriage.  I am going to protect what we have.  I am going to put our relationship on the top of the list and I am going to edit things out to be able to do that.  My marriage is a precious gift to me.  I love you Chief. 

Friday, May 20, 2011


I ran across an article today in my travels on the internet at work. For the record, I was looking for something work related, but you know how you click once or twice and then you are off track.  But once in awhile, you click on a gem… like today.  Here is the link to the article.  Oh, and I did forward to our management team so it became work related.

The article talks about Steve Jobs' advice to new Nike CEO, Mark Parker.  “Do you have any advice?”  Parker asked Jobs.  “Well, just one thing,” said Jobs. “Nike makes some of the best products in the world.  Products that you lust after.  But you also make a lot of crap.  Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”  Parker said Jobs paused and Parker filled the quiet with a chuckle.  But Jobs didn’t laugh.  He was serious. “He was absolutely right,” said Parker.  “We had to edit."

Parker used the word ‘edit’ not in a design sense but in the context of making business decisions.  Editing also leads to great product designs and effective communications. According to Steve Jobs, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on.  But that’s not what it means at all.  It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.  I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done.  Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.” {quoted directly from the article}.

Obviously that is amazing advice in the business world.  But I pondered all morning how that advice applies to life in general.  Do I edit my life so I can focus on quality?  Hmmm, no.  Would I have courage to edit so I could focus?  Maybe. 

This will be a topic I will continue to ponder.  And maybe blog about some more as I come to some conclusions.  Hmmm, editing...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ranch Quesadillas

Here is a quick and tasty dinner idea.  Lizard and I were watching food tv and Melissa d’Arabian’s Ten Dollar Dinners (Lizard loves to cook and this lady has great, easy ideas!).  A commercial of sorts came on with D’Arabian featuring Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing ideas.  Lizard and I saw this and both thought yum.  And we tried it a few days later and yum is right!

Ranch Quesadillas

Flour or corn tortillas
Grated cheese of choice
Ranch salad dressing
Cooked chicken, diced
Veggies diced/grated (spinach, zucchini, corn, carrots… whatever you have on hand)

Mix the ranch dressing with the grated cheese being careful not to add too much dressing.  Spread some of the cheese mixture on a tortilla.  Add chicken and veggies.  Top with another tortilla.  Brown in skillet, flipping once, until cheese is melted and veggies and chicken are heated through.  Remove from pan and cut into wedges.  Yum!

Friday, May 13, 2011

God's Hands

We are in a very rough stretch with Little Man.  Very rough.  We had a good stretch for awhile, but the last few months have been deteriorating and the last few weeks have been bad.  We are truly at a loss how to parent him through this.  Calls are being made and a plan of attack is underway.  We can not continue this way.  I can not.  He can not.  It is affecting him deeply - you can see it in his eyes.  It is impacting our family.  I am pissed, sad, exhausted, frustrated and feel guilty most of the time.   That is no way to live.  I can only imagine the emotions he is feeling.   

He and I said prayers last night and asked God to help him make good decisions.  We talked about when he gets mad at school or home to close his eyes and ask God to help him.  And this morning when I asked him what he could do when he gets mad, he said “pray to God.”  We said another prayer this morning while he was eating breakfast.  And guess what?  Little Man had a better morning today.  He only had a few minor blow ups and only punched Lizard a few times, but he was able to get himself under control.  And he did not argue about the toys I said he could not take to school.  He got himself in the car and was generally happy. 

For some reason we were downstairs early this morning so we had extra time.  I even commented to the girls – why are we all so early this morning?  On the way to drop Little Man off at school, my neighbor texted me saying she was going to request that Lizard and her daughter be placed together next year and asked if that was ok?  I texted her back and said I wanted to do the same thing.  Well guess what?  The form was due today and I had no idea… I knew it was coming up and had thought about requesting that the girls be together.  But not being in the school very much now that I am working more, I am out of the loop and miss stuff.  Her text came at just the right time.  Since we were early this morning, I had time to go to the school, find the form, get it turned in and still got to work on time. 

Ok, how can I not think God had His hands in the events of this morning?  We truly went to Him in prayer last night and He worked things out to take care of our kids today… Little Man with his issues (at least for this morning) and Lizard to help foster her friendship with our neighbor.  One that is very good for her. 

Now, some might say I am a Jesus freak, but I tell you… I can not miss that things go better when I pray.  I  found my wedding ring about 1 minute after I FINALLY said a prayer… when I finally prayed about all the mud slinging that recently occurred, I felt better.  Things happen and God is beside me when I pray.  Pretty hard for anyone to miss that today.  

The road with Little Man is going to be long, but at least for a little while today, I could see hope.   

Monday, May 9, 2011

The High Road

When someone you love is wrongly accused of something it is very difficult to take the high road.

Chief volunteers for a sports board here in town out of his love for the game.  Through a long chain of events, through decisions made by a board of six people (Chief was one of six board members and for the record, the initial decision was one he did not advocate for), some very nasty things were "said" by some parents.  Instead of questioning the decision that was made, which is perfectly reasonable, a few parents resorted to flinging mud.  They accused the board of having an agenda and working for 10 months to accomplish that agenda.  I honestly felt like I was back in high school.  And what made the whole situation so hurtful was that the parents that flung mud knew the members of the board personally.  Interestingly, what was "said" was through the safety and distance of email... not one person had the nuts to say their accusations in person.  Chief told me in the mist of the initial mud slinging that he knows what he did and why he did the things he did, so the nasty comments did not mean much to him.  Wow.  How is that for the high road?

Through it all, I have stayed on the high road... at least in the public eye.  But let me tell you, I have flung mud and wallowed on the low road behind closed doors.  It is too long a story to tell and really not worth the time or effort to retell.  As time has passed, I have learned it really does not matter.  I have learned that my issues are not with a lot of people, just a few so I can keep things in perspective.  And while I won't forget who threw the mud so quickly at my husband (and indirectly our family), I know God knows the situation, he knows the people involved and will judge all accordingly.

My first reaction was not to pray through this.  But over the last few weeks I have.  And, I have some peace over the situation.  I will continue to walk with my eyes on the high road and maybe a little wiser... I know I will eye-ball the low road though (who am I kidding).  But I will pray that God helps keep me off it.

I thought of this ..."When you sling mud at people, some will inevitably stick to you."  I know all this is more of a reflection on the other people, but… it still hurts.  And, another piece of advice... do not ever say anything in email that you are not willing to say to someone in person.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Think I am Part of the "Club"

I was at a birthday party with Little Man for one of his little friends from preschool.  The other moms were all there because you can’t just drop off 3 and 4 years olds and have a few hours to yourself like you can with an 8 or 11 year old!  As I was driving there, I was secretly hoping I could just drop Little Man off (he was with his preschool teacher after all – it was her daughter’s birthday) and head to TJ Maxx for some retail therapy, but no such luck!  Anyway, as we were sitting around chatting in between juice box spills, one mom asked me “don’t you have an older daughter?”  When I said I have an 11 year old daughter and another daughter who is almost 8, several of the moms, not just the one that had asked, said “oh” and “wow.”  I even heard an audible in take of breath from several of them.

Thinking back as a mom of just a toddler and maybe a newborn, when I saw those moms that had older kids, they seemed like members of another “club” that I could not belong to.  I only knew about the cost per diaper, feeding schedules and when my child hit the milestones versus the “What to Expect” books.  They knew something I did not.  They had the wisdom of years of parenting that you do not know when your kids are young.  I think the oldest child any of the moms at the party had was 4 years old. 

I guess in other people’s view, I am part of the “club” of older-wiser parents… or maybe they are shocked by the age span of my kids… or maybe I am just old and they can’t fathom how someone my age can parent a preschooler all the way up to an almost middle school-er?  LOL.  Whatever it is, I definitely felt the eyes of the others moms.  I have always been the older parent in my circle of friends.  I was one of the oldest moms when Soccer Girls was in preschool.  I am the oldest in my Girls Night Out group of friends.  It makes sense, Chief and I did not get together until I was 28 years old; I was 32 when I had Soccer Girl.  Heck a girl I went to high school with has a 22 year old son!  So, I did get started late in comparison to many.  But wait, I do not have teenagers yet so I can't be that wise.  But I guess in the party setting this weekend, I was the wise old parent, at least from their perspectives.    

I do not feel like the wise parent, per say.  I feel a different type of parenting wisdom, one I could not imagine as a newer mom.  It is wisdom from worry that we only have 7 more years with Soccer Girl at home.  S-E-V-E-N.  A lot of my friend’s kids are all under the age of about 7!  It is a wisdom that comes from the discussions with our tween girl, who is wise beyond her years, which stop us in our tracks at times.  It is wisdom from trying to help Lizard find her own way as she navigates behind her older sister who seems to have it all and her cute little brother. And it is wisdom from trying to help Little Man learn the basics of life and how to channel his energy in a positive way.

Those are all very different types of mothering; very different types of worry and very different types of mental exhaustion.  And they are all going on at the same time.  Maybe that is what people see.  I still have a foot in the little kid world but with a foot planted firmly in the older kid world.  Whatever it is, I think I am part of the “club” and I am honored to be here.  Even if I am only really a junior member! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little Man'isms

I have to write these down so I do not forget…

Little Man said today when he sneezed, "Bless myself."

Then when he was putting on his clothes to go jump on the trampoline he asked me, "Do I look not naked?"

And my crazy Little Man ate a dill pickle covered in lemon juice and ranch dressing.  Yuck.  He informed us when we were all grossed out that "it is not good to all of you, but it is good to me."

Love that guy!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

God Told Me to Do It

So the other night, I look into the family room and Soccer Girl has a garbage can and it trimming the hair on all of their Barbie Dolls. I am watching this wondering why the heck she is doing this and envisioning all the hair on my carpet.  So I ask my oldest, “Soccer Girl, why are you cutting all the Barbie’s hair?” “God told me to do it,” she replied with a sly grin.

Now, my oldest was being funny.  But the irony of that response was not lost on me. I had just returned from our church’s women’s weekend retreat only a few hours before. The theme of the weekend was Be Still (Be still and know that I am God Psalm 46:10). The speaker, Pam Vrederbelt, spoke to us about how when we slow down and take the time to listen, God will speak to us.  She did not mean He would necessarily speak audibly.  He will speak in the thoughts that surface in our minds, the scriptures we read and the ideas that present themselves. She encouraged us to pay attention to that voice…that whisper. And the more we listen, the more we will hear.

I have talked about getting a two by four between the eyes before here and here.  Those moments were not lost on me. God was speaking to me and it was pretty clear. What I am not so good about is taking time routinely to stop and listen in my daily life. I am not so good about paying attention to the simple, little nudges I get. When you do not slow your mind down enough to even notice the nudge, it is very hard to determine where that nudge is coming from. Are those nudges from God? Or is it something some random person said… something I want… something I saw on TV… or an idea from a friend? The speaker talked about verifying those nudges and whispers against scripture, with friends who know God, etc.  Then when you have verified that the nudge is from God, take a leap of faith and act on it. God has something in store for you.

Soccer Girl had no idea what I had just heard and experienced over the previous three days. She did not know I have been thinking about listening to God. So while her response appeared tongue in cheek, maybe God planted some seed in her mind, some nudge. Maybe He did tell her cut their hair? Maybe He told her to joke with me to send me a nudge to listen and act of the nudges He gives me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Memory Verses #2

The two memory verses for March are:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 

The Lord is my chosen portion, and my cup; you hold my lot.  The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  Palms 16:5-6

I have not memorized them yet.  Since it is nearing the end of March, I'd better get going.  I am proud to say I still have February's verses memorized.  Our March GNO is on Tuesday… I need a drink so I'd better get to memorizing!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Invisible Women

That is exactly what has been gnawing at me. I feel invisible. I have labeled it lately to Chief as feeling ignored… invisible.

Nicole Johnson is an author, performer and motivational speaker. She creates skits to portray women and their struggles and challenges. I saw her once at the Women of Faith conference and she was wonderful. While I did not see this skit in person, I have seen it in the past and it resonated with me then. But, I it just resonated with me big time. I know it is not a coincidence I ran into it again now. Take six minutes and watch.
I have wanted acknowledgement that raising three kids is hard and I am underappreciated. It is a great sacrifice to be a parent. It is an honor to be my children’s mother. And, yes it is underappreciated in the day to day moments of mothering. It is a thankless job. I think intellectually most people know these things when they become a parent. Any parent would sacrifice their life for their child. What is difficult is how that sacrifice plays out in the day to day walk of everyday life… the homework monitoring, the struggle to clean the house, the soccer practice routine, the paper hoarding of a seven year old, and the dents in the wall from thrown toys.

Where I have steered off the path is that I should not expect thanks. It is not my children’s job to pat me on the back and say thanks for doing their laundry. It is my job let them know in everything I do that they are loved no matter what, regardless of the thanks or acknowledgement I get. My selfishness will not accomplish that. My responsibility is to build the best people I can… build the character of these little people entrusted to me… all without thanks, acknowledgment or atta boys.

On Nicole’s website and in the video, she speaks of a book about the great cathedrals.  After reading the book the following four life-changing truths emerged and after which she would pattern her work [of raising children]:

1. No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no records of their names
2. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished
3. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit
4. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything

She goes on to say “As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, [but] at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.”

I do not want a record of what I have done and I do not want credit. I want my kids to come home.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are Socks Really That Good?

The other morning when I went to let the dog out of the garage and give him his breakfast, I noticed Boomer had thrown up. When I scanned the garage I noticed TWO adult size socks wadded up amongst some other throw up. The dumb dog ate two socks! Really? What possess a dog to eat socks? It is not like they are flavorful meaty tidbits. They are dry and most likely covered in dog hair since they were left in the garage. Gross. 

Thankfully he threw them up before they got caught in his intestines. And he happily ate his breakfast. But, I can only hope that there is nothing else lurking in his belly that would force us to go to the vet. This is the same dog that had to have ear surgery twice last summer for a hematoma (swelling in the floppy part of his ear)… both of which did not correct the problem. He now has one ear that is shorter than the other and if you feel the tip of the ear, it is rock hard from “cauliflower ear”… but with his fur covering the ear, most people don’t notice. It honestly makes him cuter since he is a little lopsided.

I have joked with people that he exhausted his lifetime emergency vet care budget with the ear escaped last summer. I am joking, but what would we really do it he did needed surgery to removed socks from his belly? I honestly don’t know. With pets come responsibility, I know. But if I have to choose between my oldest daughter having braces, gluten-free food for Lizard and seeing a specialist for Little Man, or getting surgery for the dog…I will choose my kids.  So Boomer, please don't eat anything else, ok?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

School Fuel - Yum!

A friend of mine who's son is on a gluten free diet shared this recipe with me.  Yummy!!  Even if you do not have to be on gluten free diet (which we are for Lizard's tummy issues) these are worth making. 
Chex School Fuel (Gluten Free)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups Corn Chex cereal
4 cups Rice Chex cereal
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
I used a combo of Chex Cinnamon cereal and Chex Honey Nut cereal.  My friend adds in Chex Chocolate cereal too!

Cover a cookie sheet with max paper.  In large microwavable bowl, microwave brown sugar, butter and corn syrup uncovered for High for 1-2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until melted and smooth.  Sir in baking soda until dissolved.  Stir in cereal.

Microwave on High 3 minutes, stirring each minute  Spread on cookie sheet to cool, about 10 minutes.  Break into bite-size pieces.

In microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High about 1.5 minutes or until chocolate can be stirred smooth.  Drizzle chocolate over snack.  Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.  Store in airtight container.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Be Still

    A friend posted “be still” on Facebook yesterday.  I so needed to hear that.  “Be still, and know that I am God…”  Palms 46:10

    What does that mean really?  To me, it means shut up and let God worry about it.  To me it means, I can worry all I want, but it won’t change the plan.  It means that I have yet to fully believe God has it handled.

    I have been feeling overwhelmed, inadequate and just plain tired.  I basically feel like I am not doing anything very well.  Negative thoughts run through my head and I have a “poor me, look how hard I have it” attitude that is spilling out to my family in a not so nice way.  I worry that my kids will hate me… how to manage Lizard’s six month gluten free diet… that my husband will finally chuck me to the curb because I can’t seem to get it together… that Little Man will stop asking me to play with him if I tell him too many times “not right now”… that my house will crumble around us because we do not ever do the maintenance you should do on an eight year old house… and Soccer Girl needs braces… and Lizard has a cavity… I need a crown and probably carpal tunnel surgery… hmmm, can I just get off the ride for awhile?  I am physically tired, I mean really tired.  My brain can’t do it all.

    How do people do it?  How can they be still?  How do you actually turn your worries over to God.  My problems are minor in comparison to what some go through.  It should be easy for me to be still.  But it is not.  It feels like I should just handle my own woes myself and quit bellying aching to God; God should spend his time on those with the big things (cancer, death, no food to eat).  But, I know that is not what God wants or what the bible says.  

    So I will continue to work on being still.  Our women's retreat is coming up in April.  Guess what the theme is?… Being still.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    I Do Not Need the Pressure

    So Little Man had a rough day yesterday… so rough I had to sign an incident report for four separate situations… not one or two, but four.  All in one day.  Neat.

    He was apparently so excited over certain activities, he pushed a friend over, flat on their back with feet in the air… three times.  No reason other than he was excited and could not control his hands.  And then he and another child were having issues… the other little guy was hitting and my Little Man was mad and threw a chair at the other kid.  Fabulous.

    His teacher had the appropriate discussion with him, I spoke to his teacher about what happened and we talked to Little Man about what he did as well.  Several times, I might add.  We reminded him this morning about being kind, keeping our hands to ourselves and all the stuff you are suppose to teach your kids.

    When I picked Drew up today from school, in his backpack was an apology letter from his friend that hit him telling Little Man he was sorry for hitting and that he would keep his hands to himself.  It was obviously written by the child's parent, but Little Man's friend did sign his name.

    Apology letters are a great learning tool.  Even my girls have written a few in their day.  At first, I felt horrible that I did not have Little Man "write" a note to his friend… throwing a chair could be viewed as worse than hitting.  Then I thought about it and decided that apology notes in preschool are over the top.  The whole point of an apology note is the learning moment for the child and for them to understand how their actions impact others.  While it does also serve as a notice to the other parent that the offending act has not been sweep under the mat, it is the child's apology, not mine.  Honestly, I think for 3-4 year olds, the point is lost.

    So while I maybe should have done more to demonstrate to other parent it has been addressed, he is in preschool for pete's sake.  It seems like society is pushing things on kids younger and younger.  Your child better show up to kindergarten KNOWING their letters or your child is considered behind.  Your 3.5 year old had better sit quietly while watching his sister swim or you get the eye rolling and whispers.  You better expose your kids to every sport known to man and push them hard at a young age or they will not get a college scholarship.  

    I have high expectations of my kids and push them to be the best little people they can be, but frankly, I do not need the pressure and neither do my kids.  I am confident Little Man will be writing his fair share of apology letters.  But I will ensure he writes the note and means it, not me.


    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Memory Verses #1

    Therefore, As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:12-13

    Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  1 John 3:18

    These are the two memory verses I am tackling for 2011.  Pretty good ones, I'd say.  A dear friend of mine, J, and I are learning them together.  J always challenges me to grown, learn and dig deeper.  What's amazing about her is she is not judgemental in any way.  If I show up next week and do not have them memorized, J won't judge me.  She may razz me, actually I know she will.  But she will never judge.  She will question me about why I didn't memorize them… digging to help uncover what lies beneath the excuses I use.  Her questions would only be to help me grow and to problem solve why I could not or did not get them committed to memory.  How could you not love a friend like that?

    We both have a running list of verses we would like to memorize.  I cam e with my list and J had hers.  My list was focused on ones that help me live my daily life; kind of reminders for living a Godly life.  Her list was more biblical truths or the basics of the bible.  God's truth.  I thought the differences in our list was very interesting.  She suggested learning some of the verses that are basic biblical truth, such as "For God so loved the work, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).  She said you want to know those so if all the entire bibles in the world were taken away, I would still have the basics of my faith.  I never thought of memorizing verses that way.  I like the idea that the truths will be "deep-rooted" in me.  That is a faith challenge few could ignore.  Yes… my friend rocks!

    And I think some of the ladies from our GNO group might join us in memorizing verses this year as well.  We read though the bible last year, so why not memorize verses together too.  J thought is could be the "ticket" to allow us to attend the monthly GNO… no verse memorized = no entrance!  How is that for accountability?  Everyone would be able to attend of course, we are not that hard core, but the pressure just might keep me accountable.

    So I will posting my memory verses as I tackle them as a record of what ones I have done.  This will a place for me ponder that I have memorized, why the verse was important to me or J and what I have learned.

    Maybe my slogan for 2011 should be "Will Memorize for Wine!"  LOL

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    God's Big Screen

    A friend posted something on Facebook the other day about how we should live our lives as if we were movie stars with God as the paparazzi.  Now there is a thought.  One could argue that movie stars are not always the model citizens or ones that we should look to pattern our lives after.  But if I lived my life like someone was always watching my actions, how would I behave differently?

    Then someone commented on my friend's Facebook post, "The sad and scary truth is that we will all be shown the DVDs of our sins.  I guarantee as fun as they "seemed" to be the first time around, [they] sure won't look as pretty on God's giant screen."  Wow.  I immediately thought of that scene in Monsters Inc. when Sully saw a video of himself scaring a child.  He was shocked at how he appeared and what he was showing the world…. something completely opposite of his true self.

    I feel that way.  If my life where played for me on a big screen would I be shocked?  I think I would be.  What would I look like when I discipline my kids?  What would I look like when I think I am so busy, I can't remember to send a note to a friend who has been on my mind?  What would I look like when I make a choice out of convenience instead of out of pure service to another?

    That comment about God's big screen hit me between the eyes.  Someone is always watching me - God.  He knows my motives, the thoughts running through my head.  I have to say, I would not be proud to sit next to God and watch some of the things that play on my DVD.

    Awhile back, I ran across a YouTube video by Francis Chan, that speaks to the idea.  What will God say when I am standing before him?

    I know God is trying to hammer an idea home to me.  I have learned that when the same idea, verse, book suggestion or thoughts come up again and again, He is telling me something.  I am listening.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    My Walk

    Last week while surfing some of the blogs I follow, I came across a story of a 38 year old women in Denver, Joanne, who had a massive stroke.  Her nine year old daughter found her.  She is just now starting to come off the drugs that have kept her in a deep coma (essentially no brain activity) to help keep the swelling down in her brain (she also endured surgery to remove part of her skull to alleviate the pressure).  Her husband has been posting on her blog.  Her future is uncertain and they have no idea of the extent of her brain damage.

    I have never read her blog before this.  From reading through her posts, I am sorry I did not discover her sooner.  I think I would have really enjoyed getting to "know" her through her writing.  She seems to be a honest writer, loves Jesus and her kids.  She seems to have a sense of humor and from her pictures, seems alive.  She has written a few books so I just might have to add one or two to my 2011 reading list.

    I have read about other heartbreaking events through the blogging world.  Things that make you stop in your tracks and give thanks to God for the blessings in my life.  But for some reason, I can not seem to stop thinking about her and what her family… her two young girls (9 and 12) and her husband must be going through.   I can not imagine the emotional struggle they must be enduring.  For some reason her story has hit a cord with me.

    It is her age.  38.  38.  That is five years younger than me.  It is her girls.  I have two of my own, not far from her daughter's ages.  It is the suddenness.  One minute she is running on her treadmill and the next minute her life has been forever changed.  It is the sadness for her girls for the Mom they knew that is possibly gone forever, while still being here physically.  It is an incredible sympathy for her husband and how his life partner was suddenly taken from him.  It is all those things and probably lots more.

    It has really made me think.  How would I handle such an event?  Are our "affairs" in order so that Chief could handle the day to day home management easily?  I have heard more than once, that it is the logistics of a tragedy that are often the hardest to get a handle on intitially… What bills need to be paid?  Where are the bills?  What is the doctor's phone numbers?  Does Chief have our friends phone numbers to call in an emergency to help with the kids?  Where is our will?  Where are our medical directives?  Are they still accurate?

    The other thing that has struck me much deeper than that, is my walk with Christ.  I do not know if I would grow closer to God or run in the opposite direction.  I am afraid to admit, I think I would run… or at least a slow mental walk away from Him… I think.  I think I would get so stuck on the "why" of it, I would not see past the hurt, emotion and loss.

    Friends of ours were involved in a car accident five years ago.  Their oldest daughter who had just turned seven died and her Mom, my friend, was severely injured.  I turned closer to God at that time.  The only thought I had was "there has to be some purpose for this" and only God could answer what that was.  I still do not know and will never know until I reach heaven.  It was during that time that I "cried" out to God to let my friend come back to her family.  I was sitting in her hospital room watching her sleep, listening to the moans and cries for help of a patient down the hall. It was a short prayer in my head but so direct I remember exactly what I "said" to God.  He heard me.  That was the only time I have truly felt his presence.  God was in that room with me.  I have felt peace from God other times and said many heartfelt prayers, but that is the one time He was present with me.

    That gives me some comfort to know that I was not angry with God in that situation.  But, while I was close to my friend, I did not lose my daughter.  I did not "lose" my husband to a massive stroke.  I pray that if ever faced with something like that personally, I would feel God's presence.  I am afraid that one never knows until you personally are in that situation.   Joanne's husband wrote a very thought provoking post about this very subject that I think is worth reading.  I pray that I could honestly write such a post if I were in his shoes.

    Last spring during bible study there was a discussion on walking with God during the plateaus in your life so that when you are in a valley you turn to Him.  I am not sure my daily walk would get me through the valleys, especially a long valley.   I want it to.

    My challenge is to grow in my relationship with God so I know without a doubt I would not run if tragedy struck.  My challenge is to do the work it takes to be in a relationship, not just attending church.  People have told me to write down the times you know God is working in your life so you can recall them when you are in the valley.  Good advice.  I guess a blog is a good place for that.