Friday, April 30, 2010

Mommy to Mom to Mother

I have no idea who wrote this.  My sister sent it to me in an e-mail forward.  But it was too good to keep to myself :)  I find the one about the sandbox to be particularly true for me.

Real Mothers don't eat quiche; they don't have time to make it.



Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox.



Real Mothers often have sticky floors, filthy ovens and happy kids.



Real Mothers know that dried play dough doesn’t come out of carpets.



Real Mothers don't want to know what the vacuum just sucked up...



Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?' and get their answer when a little voice says, 'Because I love you best.'



Real Mothers know that a child's growth is not measured by height or years or grade... it is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother...




The Images of Mother



4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!



8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!



12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't know everything!



14 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother? She wouldn't have a clue.



16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's so five minutes ago.



18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!



25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!



35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.



45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?



65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.







The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.



The beauty of a woman must be seen from her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.







The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.







It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

April Fools

Here is my joke on Aaron for April Fool's Day.  I couldn't put this picture here sooner because I was having trouble with my camera and my computer working together.


I secretly drew faces on all the eggs, and then, before going grocery shopping, I asked Aaron to go check on how many eggs we had.  I was afraid he would feel how heavy it was and not look inside, so I told him to make sure he looked at them because I thought I might have dropped them and some might be broken.  I soon heard laughter coming from the kitchen :)

Say What?

Here's what the boys have been saying lately (Simeon is excluded because he can't talk yet!).

In the van, the boys were both singing variations of "Jesus Loves Me".  At one point, I heard Chi sing, "Yeeesss, Jeeesus loves meeee...more than yooouuuu."

Driving past Chuck E. Cheese, the boys got very excited and both said they wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese every day. 
"Every day?" I said, "That's too much!" 
Izzy replied, "No, it's three much!"

Malachi told me that when he grows up he will go to Chuck E. Cheese every day. 

We were at Golden Corrall, and Izzy told me, "Daddy's getting me some jellybeans!  And I'm gonna eat 'em on!" 
Puzzled, I asked, "You're gonna eat them on?  On what?" 
"On my ship!"

I wrote a while ago that Chi called a visiting dog "Assally".  Later, I figured out that he was thinking of "Lassie", but couldn't quite remember the name.

"Mommy, you're my girl of my dreams," Izzy told me yesterday.

Last night after we put the boys to bed Izzy came downstairs. 
"Daddy forgot to give me a hug." 
I told him I would tell Daddy to give him one as soon as he came home. 
"Where did he go?" Izzy asked. 
I told him he went to visit Uncle Nick. 
"No, he went to see Uncle Bob," Izzy told me.  "No," he amended. "He's friendly of Bob!" 
(He meant Bob was his friend, not his uncle.) 

Izzy, "We live in Callderado!"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moving Right Along

This morning was another MOPS morning for me.  The speaker was a children's book author named Mark Ludy.  He was very energetic and fun to listen to.  There are two things that stand out to me from his talk, writing and Jesus. 

He said that to be a good writer you have to read, which I knew, but he also said it's not enough to just read a book, you need to also process why you liked it or didn't like it.  I am not always good at processing.  I'm more of an absorber.  I just take it all in without always sorting out the whys of it all.  So that really helped me. 

Also, he said not to get so hung up on perfection that you never actually write or finish writing something.  The first draft is usually crap, but you just need to get it all out there.  Then you can go back and refine it, keep the good and throw out the bad.  I definitely can get hung up on perfection at times. 

Talking about Jesus, he mentioned that we need to be changed from the inside-out not the outside-in, meaning that it's not about what we do outwardly that counts, but what is in our hearts.  The reality is that nothing we do will ever be good enough.  Our righteousness is like a pile of filthy rags to God.  It's nothing.  We have to trust Jesus.  We have to give ourselves to Jesus, surrender to Him, and He will work the change in us, beginning with our hearts. 

This meant a lot to me, because I am often critical of myself, thinking I should do this or that differently.  A lot of the time, though, I'm only doing it because I think I should, not because I really have a desire to do it.  I know some things we do because it's our responsibility and we don't necessarily want to, but that isn't really what I'm talking about.  

A good example is reading the Bible.  Why do I do it?  Just because I should?  Or because I have a desire to know God?  How about taking time to read to my kids?  Do I do it because the most recent child studies say I should?  Or do I read to them because I love them and know that they need me to spend that quality time with them?  What's my motivation? 

The thing is, I can't make myself have a sincere desire to do the things I should.  Even that I must depend on Christ for.  He is the only one who can truly change my heart, and that is what I pray for.  My continual prayer is that God make me what He wants me to be.  Sometimes the answer to that prayer is painful, because circumstances ensue which force me to look at my heart and see myself as I really am, to see that I am weak where I thought I was strong. 

The main thing, in times like those, is not to get discouraged, not to give up.  Know that you are on a journey, you have a destination, but this is not it.  This is just a momentary stop in "I-hate-my-life-ville", but you'll soon be moving on. 

We have to trust Jesus to move us on.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Phases

Recently I have been reading through some of my first journal, which I started writing in when I was eleven.  Some of it is interesting.  A lot of it is embarrassing.  When I was twelve I had this ridiculous crush on Devon Sawa (a popular teen movie star at the time, in case you don't know), and I was constantly writing about how I was so madly in love with him. 

I have to laugh at my twelve-year-old self because I was so sure that I was somehow going to meet him and marry him someday.  Also, I considered the biggest problems to be the fact that he was five years older than me and that I thought he probably wasn't a Christian.  I did not see any obstacle in him being a movie star or living someplace far away from me.  No, I was in love, and none of that mattered.  Didn't matter to me, anyway.  I wrote about it so much at the time that I almost feel sick reading about it now.  Fortunately, it was just a phase, and I soon moved on to having crushes on people I actually knew:)

I have no idea how this relates to anything, but I guess it just goes to show how much people change over the years...and how that is a good thing!  It does give me hope for my own kids.  They may not be in a stupid I'm-in-love-with-a-movie-star phase right now, but they are going through other, equally if not more, unpleasant phases.  Malachi whines so much right now that it sometimes seems like he knows no other form of communication.  Meanwhile, Israel breaks down into a kind of yell/growl and huge crocodile tears when things don't go his way.  Simeon is the only one that is usually fun to be around, but he's been sick lately, which has made him into a bit of a grump. 

The thing I have to remember is that old saying, "this too shall pass."  I have every confidence that Malachi can learn to stop whining, that Israel can learn to stop growling, that they both can figure out more effective ways to communicate (if not, I truly pity their wives!), and Simeon will get over his cold and go back to being his happy-go-lucky self.  It's all temporary.  What's hard with kids is that is takes so long.  You have to keep working with them.  You have to keep waiting and praying.  It doesn't happen overnight.  It takes time, but eventually even the most ridiculous phase will be gotten through.

This is what I tell myself, anyway.  Forge ahead.

Friday, April 23, 2010

God Calling

When I was a little girl, I would hear my mom talk about God, and how He spoke to her.  Because of her, I knew that God was real, and I wanted so badly to know Him, and to hear Him speak to me also.  Most of my life, I struggled with this.  I was never sure if He was really speaking to me or if I was just imagining things.  Looking back, I am so thankful, because I realize that I don't worry about that anymore.  Sometimes I do have doubts, but usually, I know when God is speaking to me.  It's just a matter of listening.

A couple of years ago, God showed me something about hearing His voice.  It is just like a friendship.  When you first meet someone and become friends, they might call you on the phone.  When you answer, you won't immediately recognize their voice because you just met them and you don't know them well.  As time goes on, and you know each other better and better.  Then if they call, you won't even ask who it is, you'll just know.  You will recognize their voice.  It is the same with God.  The longer you are in relationship with Him, looking for Him, and listening for Him, the easier it is to hear His voice and know that it's Him. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

About Izzy

Izzy has a ratty blue blanket that is his favorite.  He absolutely loves that thing, and will not accept any substitutes.  I have another blanket that is the same kind of material, and is even blue, but he has always rejected it.  I can only guess that it was too soft and clean for him because his real blankie is stained, a bit stinky, and feels like an old towel.  He usually gets very angry if I try to give him a different blankie.  Yesterday was the first time ever that he accepted a substitute blanket while his was lost.  However, when we finally found the real thing later on the neighbor's porch, he was markedly happier.

Izzy is quite a talker.  Here are few things he has said recently:

Once before leaving to go over to Grandma's, he told me, "Next time I will come back to you."

Referring to a green caterpiller toy, "I need a pellopitter that goes sideways and longways."

Trying to convey to Izzy that him sitting on my lap while I'm at the computer made me feel claustrophobic, I said, "Mommy feels squished."  Izzy started poking at my leg, and said in his high volume voice, "No, but Mommy you're just hard!"

"Next time, I'm not gonna die with you guys," he told Aaron and me while at a restaurant.

"Simmy's sleepy because he's sick.  Simmy has sharks in his tummy that make him cough.  Tell me about the sharks!"

Sometimes the only way to get Izzy to come when I want him to without having to fight a big battle is to pretend I'm leaving without him.  Then he freaks out and comes running.  I feel really bad because I hate for him to think I would ever actually leave him, but at the same time, I also hate having to chase him down and bodily carry him kicking and screaming to wherever he needs to go.  He is having a hard time trying to figure out his independance and his emotions right now. 

That's my Izzy.  He's almost three. 

This is him trying to smile for the camera!

What's In a Name?

This evening was sort of a flurry of activity.  After work Aaron went back to Lowe's and got the flowers and garden soil so we could plant flowers out front.  Apart from eating dinner, we all spent most of the evening outside.  We also had an unexpected guest come check out what we were doing.  It was a golden retriever(?).  I don't know who he or she belonged to, but I don't think I have seen the dog around before.  The boys seemed to think the dog was a girl, probably because Aaron's mom and dad have a golden retriever named Phoebe that's a girl.  Malachi wanted to give "her" a name.  Sadly, I must confess that usually my boys aren't very creative with names.  Usually they want to name everything either Malachi or "Tookie", which makes the name they came up with even funnier.  For some reason, Malachi decided to call her "Assally", with an emphasis on the first part.  It was almost a pretty name apart from that, and the fact that I'm almost 100% sure that it was a male dog.  Aaron and I just snickered every time they would call the dog by that name.  That part was funny too.  They would alternate between being terrified when the dog came around and calling it back when they couldn't find it.  I just really hope that it goes back to it's owner and it's rightful name.  Otherwise, we'll all be stuck with "Assally".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Improvements

Spring has put me in the mood for improvements.  Last year by this time we had pretty much burnt ourselves out on improvements because we moved at the beginning of January and then proceeded to paint almost every room in our house, put down those vinyl tiles in two different places, and have a baby.  All of that by the end of March! 

Now that it has been awhile, and the days are getting sunnier and warmer, and the trees are becoming leafy, the grass green and flowers blooming, I'm ready to go again.  Obviously, we can't do everything, and that is sort of the snag. 

A guy named Dan, who looked a lot like a younger Mel Gibson, came and talked to us about replacing some of our old windows with new double-paned ones, and also about re-doing our bathroom (which needs all the help it can get seeing as there are people who have bigger closets than our bathroom downstairs, and the sink is practically falling apart).  Those would be very expensive projects, and will probably have to wait. 

We've also been talking about trying to clean up our basement and make a spare bedroom out of it.  That would be a ton of work.  Our basement is not very pretty.  Oh sure, it's a fine laundry room, but I don't think anybody would want to sleep down there, at least not right now.

Then there's the kitchen which has a tiny fridge that I hate.  The problem is, there is really only one good place to put a fridge, and the fridge has to be narrow enough to fit there.  Still, I am convinced that there has to be a better fridge than the one we have right now which came with the house. 

Probably the most feasible plan for us right now is to improve our front yard.  Aaron has already planted grass in the front section, and it's coming up nicely.  It used to be a nasty patch of mud and mulch, so just having grass there makes things look a lot better.  We're thinking about planting some flowering trees out there too, eventually.  We also looked at planting some flowers in front of our porch.  Our porch is kind of sad, so the flowers will help it look more cheery and friendly.  I am not much of a gardener, but fortunately since Aaron used to work in landscaping, I think he will make up for my lack. 

Tonight we went to Lowe's and checked out the prices for the trees and flowers and all of that, and I think we will go back later this week and get what we need.  That will be our first improvement, and possibly our last for this year depending on how things go.  We can always make plans, but some things just take time (and money).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Like a Flower in a Pot

Lately I have felt a bit unsettled.  The best way to describe it is to compare myself to a flower.  Like any good flower, I have the desire to put down my roots, to settle myself down into the rich, hearty soil and grow down deep and solid into the earth. 

At this point, however, I feel like God has put me into a flower pot.  I can put down a few roots, and there is some nice soil there, but I am otherwise limited by the walls of the pot.  When I hit those walls, I think, "Why God?  Why am I hitting these walls?  I want to get into the earth!  I want to let my roots grow deep." 

But there is a reason that a plant gets put into a pot.  Probably several reasons, but as I'm not much of a gardener, I'll just talk about one, and that is: to get it ready to be planted elsewhere. 

What exactly that means for me, I do not know.  Nor do I know how long I will be sitting in this flower pot, waiting.  What I do know is that it means I should be ready.  And I should be willing.  When the time is right, He will plant me exactly where He wants me.  Or not.  I may be one of those flowers which always stays in a pot, that way God can just set me down wherever He likes, and then move me to a different spot just as easily. 

Again, I don't exactly know what this means, for me or my family, since I really feel like it pertains to all of us.  It is something I expect I will have to pray about, and wait about, which is hard because it can take so long.  And I may not know the answer until it has already happened.  After all, I think God likes to keep us on our toes, and if He told us exactly how everything was going to happen, it would be too easy. 

It is kind of exciting, though.  Mostly, I am just glad to know that He's doing something in us, and with us.  Better to be in God's flowerpot than anywhere else, right?

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's Not a Job, It's an Adventure

Today I took the boys out to McDonald's so they could play.  Malachi asks me every day, "Can we go somewhere?"  It was chilly today, and we didn't go anywhere yesterday or the day before, so it seemed like a good idea.  We left at one o'clock, which is kind of late, but that's just how it worked out. 

Things went pretty smooth for the most part, and we all had a good time, except maybe Simeon who is more of a homebody anyway, and was also a bit grumpy from getting his one year immunizations yesterday.  Even so, he was pretty happy since I was feeding him a fruit and yogurt parfait ("Everybody likes parfaits"). 

Then (this is where the suspenseful music should come in) Izzy had a poo. 

That was the point where things slowly began to go downhill.

I soon discovered that I had only two wipes left.  If you are parent, you will recognize that the fact that two wipes wasn't enough signifies it was a really bad poo.  Plus he had a rash.  I won't go into detail.  I did the best I could with the two wipes and toilet paper, all the while fighting him because he wouldn't hold still.  I then decided to just put a diaper on him, take him home and put him in the bathtub. 

Thus commenced the process of getting them home: finding their shoes, getting them down out of the play tubes, putting shoes on, putting jackets on, getting my stuff, getting Simeon, trying to keep them from leaving before I do and going outside without me.  Izzy, of course, had to go out ahead of me.  Then, of course, he had to run out into the McDonald's driveway where a car was coming, but fortunately was slow enough that he was okay.  

Let me just say that it is very difficult to chase down a toddler while holding a purse, a diaper bag and a one year old.  The purse and the diaper bag you can put down, but the one year old, not so much. 

Somehow, we all got across the driveway to the van.  I put Simeon and all my paraphenalia away, got Malachi, and chased down Izzy.  I had to physically grab him and carry him to the van since he would not come when I called.  He got a pinch for running away, and once he was in the van, I gave him a stern talking to about what he had done and the fact that he could have been hit by a car.  I was very angry, he was wailing rather loudly, a drink got knocked over on the floor;  it was chaos.  It sure felt like that to me, anyway. 

Somehow, we did manage to make it home, and I got everyone in the house without too much trouble.  I put Izzy in the bath, I got Simeon ready for a nap and put him to bed.  Right when I  went back to check on Izzy, he was dumping water out of a fireman hat onto the floor.  Lovely.  I said he was done.  He said he wasn't done.  I got him out anyway, wrapped him in a towel, and laid him on the dresser for his diaper and clothes. 

I left the room to get something, and when I returned he was standing up.  He then proceeded to jump off the dresser (it's a low one) because he loves to jump.  Usually when he jumps he's fine, but of course this time, he landed all weird.  I heard a crack, and then crying.  I picked him up and held him and tried to assess the damage.  I think he hit his nose, but I didn't think it was broken.  He wouldn't tell me if anything else was hurt.  I tried to give him some medicine, but he wouldn't take it until I found some chewable tablets of children's tylenol.  I got him diapered and dressed and ready for his, by that time, very late nap. 

I was so mad at him for fighting me on every little thing that I honestly had a hard time even feeling sorry for him.  I mean, I felt bad that he was hurt, but I also felt like, "that's what you get when you refuse to listen to your mother".

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scooter Guy

After dinner this evening, we decided to go for a walk.  It wasn't really just a walk, because Malachi wanted to ride his bike, and then Izzy had to ride the scooter.  Aaron and I were the only ones actually walking, since Simeon was riding in the bike trailer which can double as a sort of stroller.

It all was going well.  It was a nice evening, not too hot, not too cold.  We like to look at all the different houses along the streets around where we live.  It gives us ideas for our house, like flowers and fences and paint colors. 

At one point, we did have a snag, when Chi wanted to go one way, and we were going a different way, but we got through that okay and kept going.  Izzy was a little trooper on his scooter.  Aaron would ask him if he wanted to ride in the bike trailer instead, when we could tell he was dragging a bit, but he would just shout "NO!" and push his little foot even harder.  I had to laugh at the way he said no, like it was almost an insult that we would doubt his ability to scooter all the way back home, and his determination to keep going. 

Finally, after much stopping, and Malachi not wanting to ride his bike anymore (I tried to ride it back, but it is really hard riding a kid bike when you are a grown up!), we were a block away from home, and Izzy got off his scooter, walked back to Aaron and said "I want to ride in the bike trailer, Dad."  Of course.  Then he said, "I'm okay with it because I said it, not you."  He really cracks me up.  He's so stubborn.  I know if we can just point his stubborness in the right direction, it will be a good thing.  God can use that.

Tonight was a night when, even with some frusterations, I saw my children as the blessings they are.  With all their willfulness, stubborness, and determination, they are still gifts from God.  They are each unique, and each brings a different dynamic to our family.  My, I love those boys!  They drive me crazy, but I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Could Be the Only One?

On some days, I find it particularly ironic that my blog is titled "Not the Only One".  The truth is, most of the time, I do feel like the only one.  I go to the park, and I feel like the only one whose kids frequently take off and cause the whole group of mothers I'm with to send out a search party.  I'm the only one whose kids won't sit down and eat their lunch like civilized human beings before they run off to play on the playground (or in the fountain that's in the yard of the house across the street, depending on the day). 

Here I am with all these other mothers, whose docile children obey immediately, while mine seem to either be deaf or just deaf to me (I know I have a quiet voice, but come on--they really can't hear me when they're three feet away?!)  I take them to Burger King, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one whose son is alternately screaming because he has to share the barbecue sauce with his brother and climbing on the top part of the booth seats.  And after that he is absolutely certain that his toy car is hot and needs to cool off by taking a swim in my drink cup.  I say NO.  Commence second (or is it fourth?) round of screaming.  Later, he thinks it's a good idea to run out into the parking lot instead of getting in the van when I tell him to.  I am beginning to wonder if they speak a different language, in spite of the many signs that they do in fact speak and understand English.

I feel like the only one.  Who knows, it may be true.  That, or I am so busy trying to keep track of my own kids and keep them quiet and semi-obedient, that I don't notice anyone else's child being bad, screaming, or running away.  I really couldn't say for sure which it is.

What I do know is that on those rare occasions when I go somewhere alone, and I hear a child screaming, I sigh in relief, knowing that it is not my child, and I don't have to do anything about it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Garden Full of Rocks

Rock On!

My parents always did a lot of gardening to help feed their 4 growing children. Now that it's just the two of them, they have cut back the size and number of their gardens. Saturday my father and I turned the soil to open an old garden so my mother could plant some herbs, and we found many large rocks, and some were only 3-4 inches below the sod. These rocks weren’t there 5 yrs ago when the garden was active; they rose up while the garden was stagnant (resting). (Through a scientific process called “Frost Heaving”)

On the opposite end of the spectrum my father occasionally melts lead (Pb) for some of his hobbies, and as children he often indentured us into smelting service. One key step was to clear off the dross (Impurities) every time we added new metal to the melting pot. (Since lead is very dense these impurities always rose to the top.)



These two life examples show the two reasons God’s work is never finished in our lives. Whether we are resting or active, issues constantly surface. Old hurts and lies constantly work their way toward the surface, and fresh experiences add new problems all their own… This is where this note could turn into a sermon, but I have faith that you can realize the subtle meanings for your own lives, but I did want to hit 2 really big points:



1) Issues are not a good measure of your course: they don’t (necessarily) show that you are going in the wrong direction or even illustrate a problem in your life; they illuminate basic flaws in the world. You can do everything right, and still face the crap that new experiences bring. (So we’ll never be perfect… oddly enough)



2) Issues are not a good measure of your worth: Don’t condemn yourself. Issues are part of life. We are constantly being made new(er), and the biggest mistake we can make is giving up, or self-condemning because this natural process is happening. Instead, take joy that there is 1 fewer rock in the garden, or less slag hidden deep in your life.

The above was recently written in a note on Facebook by Judah Steelesmith, a friend of mine from childhood.

I wanted to share this because when I read it, it deeply ministered to me.  Lately I have been struggling.  I often feel like I don't know what I'm doing, or that I'm a failure, that I just can't get it right.  When I read this, I felt like God was using it to help me see that even if I did everything perfectly (which I can't, nor can anyone else), there would still be problems and issues in my life. 

Over the last few months, God has repeatedly been showing me and reminding me that I need to surrender to Him.  I can't be perfect, and part of the process of Him redeeming me and renewing me is to dig out the "rocks" in my life.  It is so easy to see all those rocks and feel like the pile is getting bigger and bigger, and to wonder how I can ever overcome such an enormous obstacle. 

What I seem to constantly forget is that I am not the one who is going to overcome.  Christ has already done that for me.  What I know, but seem to forget too often, is that it is not what I do, but what Christ has done, that allows me to have salvation.  He is my righteousness.  He is my goodness.  He is my perfection.  When God looks at me, He doesn't see that gigantic pile of rocks.  He sees Jesus.

I am so thankful for His faithfulness.  Again and again, He has reminded me to turn to Him when I need help, when I feel like I can't do it.  The only way I can teach my children to love Jesus and to follow Him, is by loving Him and following Him myself.  Not by trying to be perfect, but by surrendering to Him daily my fears, my failures, my expectations, and my imperfections.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thumb

Tonight I sliced my thumb right open on the lid to a can of green beans.  It bled a lot and made me dizzy to look at it...I think even Aaron was a little dizzy.  I didn't go to the hospital because I don't believe in such things.  Just kidding.  I believe in going to the hospital, but only if your thumb has actually been detached from your body, not for a mere "flesh wound". 

Anyway, I think it's all going to be okay, but it is darn inconvenient.  It is amazing how many things you use your thumb for...pretty much everything.  Usually I just take for granted that my thumb is there to do my bidding.  I could turn that into some sort of analogy about it being like people in our lives and how we shouldn't take them for granted blah blah blah.  But I don't feel like it.  Having your thumb sliced really takes it out of ya.

So, until next time...be careful opening those cans!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Date Night

Last night we had a date night.  We went to dinner and actually got to see a movie for a change.  We went to Palomino for dinner, mostly because it is the one place you rarely have to wait long to get a table.  Don't get me wrong, we like the food, but we go there so much with the kids (they eat free on Monday night!), that to us it feels more like a family place than a date place. 

Usually, we eat dinner and then are tired and don't want to wait until 9:30 to see a movie because we know that means we won't get home until midnight and the kids will be up quite early, and it's just not worth it.  Last night though, the stars aligned or something (ha ha) and it actually worked out. 

What movie, you ask?  Date Night of course!  In case you haven't heard of it, it has Steve Carrell and Tina Fey in it, and they play Phil and Claire Foster, a married couple who, stuck in a rut, decided to try something different for their date night.  They go to a nice restaurant in New York, but can't get a table.  So, when "Tripplehorn, party of two" doesn't show, they take their reservation and pretend that they are the Tripplehorns.  Unfortunately, the real Tripplehorns were involved in some shady dealings, and the Fosters are now involved too, since the bad guys think that they really are the Tripplehorns. 

Much chaos and hilarity ensues from that point.  The whole movie is pretty hilarious.  I can't really remember when I laughed so hard through an entire movie.  There is a lot of sexual innuendo, although I have to say that since I've been married that doesn't bother me as much.  And there is a scene at a strip club, whch doesn't show nudity (it is PG-13 after all) but obviously has a lot of scantily clad ladies and sexual implications.  I think for an adult, it would be fine, but for teenagers, maybe you'd want to wait til it comes out on video and can skip the strip club part.

We had a really great time, and when I got home my face hurt from laughing so much. 


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dwell

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 
He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:1 & 4


To dwell means to live, reside, stay as a permanent resident, stay in a given condition, to linger over, ponder, be motionless (just a few definitions you can find in a dictionary).  It sort of indicates a place that you spend a lot of time, I think. 

For me, this is an answer, an answer to the question of "How do I do this?"  How do I be a good mother?  How do I teach my children to love and honor God?  How do I become the woman I need to be, the woman God created me to be?  How do I defend against the barrage of failures that parade before my mind's eye whenever I take stock of how I am doing?  How? 

This is how.  By dwelling in the secret place of the Most High.  What does that mean?  How is that done?  How can it be done in the midst of dishes, and laundry, and diapers, and snotty noses, and obligations, friends, responsibilities?  Most moms will have a hard time sitting around "dwelling in the secret place".  Except I don't think it means you have to sit around at all.  I think it means that no matter what you are doing, your heart is doing something else: dwelling on God.  Thinking about Him.  Thanking Him.  Praising Him.  And when we do that, we find that His presence is with us in a very real way, that we are 'abiding under His shadow".  When we find ourselves discouraged, depressed, denied, and we feel like it's a losing battle, He covers us with His feathers, and we find rest and safety under His wings. 

The last part says "His truth shall be your shield and buckler."  Not my truth.  Not anyone else's truth.  His truth.  So even though I may believe the truth to be that I have failed, am failing and will fail, His truth is that I am more than a conquerer.  His truth is that He loved me enough to die for me.  His truth is that I am forgiven, alive, and free.  I am accepted.  His truth says I am redeemed.  And His truth is the only truth that matters.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Welcome, One and All

Aaron has a gift with people.  Some would call it hospitality.  He "comes by it honestly" as my parents would say.  His grandfather was a Mennonite preacher.  He and his wife had six children, and often had a variety of other people in their home as well, some for a night, others for months at a time.  Aaron will often call me, "There's this couple...." he will say, and I know I'm about to be involved in his gift.  I do my best to go along with it, but I am not always thrilled.  Usually, he drags me along with him anyhow.  Not that I dislike people.  The other night we had a houseful for a birthday party and I loved it.  I loved being surrounded by friends.  I like taking care of people, feeding people, talking to people.  It's the unplanned that I have trouble with, and Aaron is one of the most spontaneous men created, I am sure. 

His sponaneity comes in many forms.  Once it came as us knocking on a neighbor's door to welcome them when we were supposed to be going to Wal-Mart.  Another time, it was a homeless couple who lived in our basement for three weeks.  Often, Aaron will tell me something like, "Oh, by the way, I told this guy we'd make him dinner cuz his wife just had a baby three weeks ago.  I said we'd bring it tomorrow night." 

Tonight, as a result of Aaron's friendly and hospitable nature, a neighbor kid from down the street was playing basketball in our backyard.  Meanwhile, I was making a meal for the people with the baby (yes, that part was based on a true story).  I was also trying to take care of Simeon, and get ready to go out with my sister-in-law.  In the midst of it all, Malachi whacks Andrew (that's the nighbor kid) in the face with a plastic sword, giving him a bloody nose, a sore eye, and a slightly wiggly tooth.  Then he lies and says that Izzy did it.  He was in BIG TROUBLE.  Although, I do have to somewhat abashedly admit that I was a tiny bit impressed that my four and a half year old could take out an eleven year old.  I mean, of course, it was wrong.  But I feel safer knowing he can take care of himself in that way.  You know, if he really needed to. 

Anyway, Aaron parked Malachi on the couch to await his judgement while he went down the street to talk to Andrew's mom.  I was very thankful that it was Aaron and not me doing that part because since I was the baby of my family and never whacked anyone with a sword, and I therefore have no experience with what a parent does when that happens.  Aaron, however, being the oldest of three brothers, has tons of experience.  Then the kid came back with Aaron and sat in our kitchen while we finished making dinner for the people.  I was a little miffed because it meant I would not get to talk to Aaron before he left to take the food, and then I'd be leaving not long after he got back. 

I know it is good for me to have my "best laid plans" disrupted, but sometimes it makes me just want to stamp my foot on the ground and huff and puff.  My kids do it all the time.  It's really not fair that I can't do it too.  I guess that's all part of being a "grown-up".

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lightbulb Sun

After church yesterday, I was thinking about truth.  These days people seem to think that truth is relative, that it can be whatever you want it to be.  I personally find the idea silly.  Truth is truth.  If you look it up in the dictionary you will find these definitions of truth: "the true or actual state of a matter", "conformity with fact or reality", and "a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like".  Do any of those definitions make it sound like truth could be whatever you want?  That I could have my truth and you could have yours and we could both be right?  I don't think so.  You can say that grass is blue all you want, but that won't make it true.  You can even believe it's blue.  And maybe when you look at grass, it really does look blue to you.  But guess what?  That still doesn't mean that grass is blue.  It might mean you're colorblind though.  And you can tell me the sun is actually a giant lightbulb, you can believe it with all your heart.  But the sun is not a lightbulb. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ideal

Most of my days
Are spent thinking of ways
To feel more
To feel more alive
To feel more like myself
I am still myself
Aren't I?
SometimesI'm not certain
I was once a girl
I was once on my own
Now I am "Mommy"
I am never alone
I think I am not sure I can do this
Too late, I am already doing it
I love it
I hate it
I feel depressed
But then I celebrate it
This life
This crazy life
This wonderful life
This strange life
What kind of life is this?
I had imagined something
A bit more adventurous
Glamorous
Ideal
A little more ideal

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tears

Mary served You
With her tears and alabaster
She gave her brokeness
There at Your feet
Sweet smelling perfume
I have none
But I will take my broken heart
And place it at Your feet
I'll pour out my tears
Those cried and uncried
I'll surrender all to You
Shattered pieces
I know not how to repair
Wound upon wound
Hurt upon hurt
How can I be whole again?
I come in brokeness
Just one soothing touch
From Your healing, loving hands
That is all my soul desires
Please fill me with new life
Let not my heart continue dying
Wash me in Your love
Give me hope once more
To continue in this journey
And reach my destination


Written by me, February of 2002

My Redeemer is Alive

I hear a whisper in my ear
Telling me that You are near
And nothing that this world holds dear
Could make the glorious truth less clear

My Redeemer is alive
He truly came
He truly lived
He truly died
Yes, my precious Savior is alive

I feel a gentle breeze go by
Softly spoken words from God Most High
"I love you; you need no longer cry.
Wait, for I will soon draw nigh."

Yes, my Redeemer is alive
He really came
He lived
He died
My beloved Jesus is alive

A soft and gentle rain washes over me
Cleansing, like the blood that set me free
A life like this I never knew could be
For I was so long blind, but now I see

And my Redeemer is alive
He truly came
And lived and died
Yes, my Redeemer is alive

I originally wrote this poem in October of 2001, when I was a Senior in high school.  For most of my life, I had gone to small Christian schools, but my senior year, I went to public school for the first time.  I believed that God wanted me there, so I could tell others about Him, and "be a light".  The irony is that I was such a quiet and shy person that I rarely even had an opportunity to talk to anyone about God, and if I did, I was too timid.  Part of the reason it was so difficult for me to share was that it was very important and very personal to me, and at that time it was very hard for me to share something that I cared about so much with just anyone, even though that's exactly what I needed to do.  I had all these ideas about how I was going to be a witness, and I was going to sit at the lunch table with that person who was all alone.  What I hadn't counted on was the fact that since I was new to the school,  I was the one sitting alone at the lunch table! 

I would often walk to the library after school to wait for my mom to get off work, and I would ask God what He was thinking sending me to this school.  He knew I was shy.  He knew how hard it would be for me to make that change.  Sometimes it felt like a joke. 

I had this, and several other poems written in one of my school notebooks.  I had sort of forgotten about them when a guy in my French class took my notebook and started looking through it.  I didn't care if he looked at it since I didn't think there was anything but class notes in it.  But he found the poems, and every one was about Jesus, about what He meant to me, how He made a difference in my life.  Every one said clearly all the things I would have found very difficult to say. 

Whenever I think of it, I have to smile, and that smile is for God Himself, because, yes, He did know how shy I was, and He did know that it would be hard, but He used me in a way I wouldn't have thought.  He used my writing. 

I don't know what happened with that boy, whether he ever accepted Christ or not.  I have to leave that to the Holy Spirit, and trust that the things I wrote will be like a seed in his heart, and that someday hopefully they will grow into something more. 

I have thought about that year of my life many times, mostly with regret because I felt like a failure.  I never led anyone to Christ, never even had an extensive conversation about Him with anyone.  But as the years go by, I remember things, like the poems, and I know it wasn't wasted. 

Not too long ago, God showed me that even if I didn't say anything, because He lives in me, just my being there brought Jesus to that school.  Not that I was the only Christian, but I was one more.  Wherever I go, Jesus is there.  When those kids looked at me, though they might not have known it, they were seeing Jesus. 
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