House and Home

Keeping up a house is a whole lot of work.

It is a lot of work to clean house.

Cleaning house takes forever.

There is no end to cleaning a house.

To housekeeping there is no end.

Guess what I am doing today?

Much of.

All day!



Three and 1/2 hours

Three and 1/2 hours being a "stage mom"...the mom in charge of keeping 20 kids ages 4-18 quiet, orderly, and quiet.


No talking.

For three and one half hours.

No snacks, no entertainment, no drinks.



Just me saying, "Shhhhh. I don't know. Don't ask me, I'll tell you. Just be quiet. Shhhh. Shhh. Quiet feet."


I hear one day, for the schools, we do it THREE times. Tres. 3.




Right now...Tortilla Scoops, Blended to a Fine Mush Salsa, and Sour Cream, with Diet Pepsi. Caffeinated. 11PM. I'm a dork. Slow to learn. Enjoying caffeine too much after not being able to handle it for a few years. Would be the equivalent of a beer for me. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Well, today, I rebelled. Back to my roots. Took a day scheduled with "to dos", and instead, made some Christmas gifts for friends and family. Something my Mom always used to do. I never got her "rush" out of it, but I always beamed with pride with those who opened something homemade she'd took time to craft with them all in mind. She has 15 brothers and sisters, as I've said before, so money was an issue I'm sure. My Dad, 10 siblings, again...that's a lot of gifts.

When my daughter got home from school, she piped in, loving all the supplies. She made me a lovely Christmas present she wants to wrap up for me immediately. I can't wait to get it.

I'd tell you what we made, but some of you who will be recipients read my blog, so the suspense lingers.

My man, watching football, finishing work. Me, catching my breath, enjoying feeling a tad bit ahead for one blessed moment I thought I should record. Then, I'll go back to feeling like I'll never get caught up with things I should have done months ago...for one, painting! I'm letting it go. The season too precious with kids this young to be strained. As most of us know from the bedroom, dim lighting and candles does wonders!

Take a clue from two friends of mine who are "getting it", inspiring me right now. Find a way to do what you enjoy and schedule moments of rest. It's lovely.


Storm Brewing...Again

With all the storm press lately, night time storms no longer comfort me.

I am awake, wondering what the tornado warning will become while my family sleeps. We are too far away to hear the town bell warning alerts. I need a weather radio I guess...but who wants to be wakened from a sound sleep every few minutes?

Been working on some Christmas cheer around here, hoping it will allow me to enjoy play time later...shopping, wrapping (always SO MUCH of it with a family of five!).

Friends on my mind tonight. Many who have little battles going on. Life to deal with. Adjustments. Hurt. Pain. Stress. Frustration. And I hurt for them. I want to make it all better. But, I can't...and I wouldn't want to if I could, not being all-knowing God. I just pray. And that's more than enough. God, be God. There is nothing else you can be...but BE!



We sang "Thank you for Loving Me" today for the second Sunday by Tommy Walker. Whew. There are some words to stick.

I think this Thanksgiving holiday, more than ever...I am enjoying. Wow. Not having all the paraphenalia of diaper bags and toddlers not just learning to scoot and walk to protect. And the best is? My brother's is just at that age. I get the best of both worlds.

For the first time, my sis in law was chasing the baby looking franctically focused, while I volunteered to do the dishes with Mom. Even the last few years when some things weren't so bad, I was ready to pass out from fatigue on the sofa by that point...and I didn't even cook!

So great to be feeling well, God at work in so many ways. Fantastic.

Yes, Lord, "Thank you for loving me!"



Short Day!

Decorating. Family. Ornaments. Lights that don't work. Kids playing, scuffling. Christmas music. Defying "black Friday". Tired. Still much to do! Bedtime, nonetheless.



Memories of Thanksgiving 2005

Red burping in middle of extended family Thanksgiving prayer, and saying "'cuse me!" Hand squeeze from me. (At least he didn't say, "I burped." and the others reply, "Thanks for sharing"...something we worked on all last week).

Laughter all around afterward. I have no idea what was prayed.

Our Little Family Meal--"I'm Thankful for..." before the prayer answers:

Wonder Boy: "That we didn't live in a place with all the tornadoes and hurricanes and stuff like that. We are safe."

Red: "For ___________(something I don't remember!), and for you, Mom." Nodding at me with a wink. (I remembered that)."

Goldilocks: "For all the fun stuff we got to do this year, and for all the good meals and dinners." Aw, shucks!

Me: That Daddy did get to spend Thanksgiving Day with us after all...nearly all day, with very few calls. Aaaaah.

Daddy: "I think I am pretty blessed with one really wonderful family. I think you all are the greatest."

Continued typical drama during our family prayer with feet fights under the table over a balloon I hadn't realized was there tempting the boys. Prayer pauses: "Stop it, boys! We're praying!" Continue with gentle Thanksgiving Prayer voice. (God probably liked the balloon.)

Red LOVING the corn on the cob Mamaw sent, first thing he's WANTED to eat all day and I didn't have to count bites before he could be excused.


Mr. Wonderful telling me the dressing tasted "just like his Mom's--a keeper!" And that my "broccoli casserole tasted like the best dish at the potluck today". He ate two pieces of my pecan pie, too. I noticed. The edges were a little brown, but still pretty tasty! Ate two myself.

A good Thanksgiving. Next year, I'll add the mashed potatoes and gravy...maybe.


Getting Ready Posted by Picasa

Bounty Posted by Picasa

MmmmmMmm!!!  Posted by Picasa

First Family Thanksgiving Meal Posted by Picasa

smells of turkey wafting

turkey in the oven. came home to check it. hubby made it home for dinner after all! still, we'll have wonderful turkey leftovers you never get eating at houses of family members.

all quiet here...too quiet. checking out pop radio, haven't listened in months. rap. hmmmph.

everyone gone to help mom pull out the tree...we'll decorate her house for christmas for her tonight. new tradition i started for them a few years ago.

i will buzz around here and clean up the kitchen and laundry some while they pull things out of the attic there.

so thankful for all of you who read and connect to my life through blogs. thanks for showing all the different levels of life, of "normal", of celebration, triumph, learning, and struggle. thank you for daring to be real, and unashamedly loving every minute of it.

may GOD richly bless you through the holiday season, and may you enjoy finding gifts for your loved ones....somehow!




Today...back to sleep for a nap in front of the fire watching daughter snooze. (She stopped grinding her teeth and feel back into deep slumber). Prayed. Held my Bible. Fell asleep. Phone rang...dear friend, saying "Happy Thanksgiving, going out of town for the holidays...didn't want to leave without saying Happy Thanksgiving!" Man, I love friends.

Remembering another conversation with a revitalized friendship yesterday...how nice it is to be able to swim deep waters, float on your back, ride some waves, and play water volleyball all in one conversation. You just leave feeling like it was good...all is well with the world. Nothing taken out of proportion or overanalyzed. Friends like that hard to find. Smiles. Lord, help me just be a friend who gives smiles. Who really cares about anything else!?

Today. We made a list, just of stuff we could do. Stuff we needed to buy. Daughter LIKES lists...MOTIVATED by list. CHECKING list. Tried copy and pasting files to new external USB hard drive instead of compressing...the way to go, but the timer for the amount of time it took to copy each file was our timer to race against. She's never moved so fast. She helped clean out the van, sweep the kitchen floor (sort of), and run to get things for me. Wow! Girls are GREAT!

She wanted to get the Christmas stuff out...I decided it was too early last week, the kids would drive me nuts for presents and I wasn't ready for that.

So, the STUFF is "in the house". I love it! Mainly because I don't have a lot of furnishings or furniture and this house is much bigger than the first three we lived in...the Christmas stuff makes it feel warm in every room. Like somebody lives here and loves to celebrate...and you know what? It's true! So many years in college, the holidays were a pain. I didn't have time for the tree and 21 hours and 2 majors and a new job and a pregancy and a marriage and trips home and money for gifts. But, to do without it? I felt guilty. Two days before Christmas, up went a Charlie Brown tree from my deceased grandmother...with many of her old wooden ornaments nobody else needed or wanted. Now? I treasure them. They are as prized as the Hallmark's mom gives me every year. And I put up a narrow tree for the kids in traditional colors with all their crafts and gift ornaments, and with my grandmothers ornaments, some given to her by her children over the years...all 15 kids. I love that tree.

Tonight, snow village houses up. Nativity started. Wreathes and bows laying everywhere. (I wish I'd gotten more painting done this year! Maybe I'll just do it now!)

Lunch today! Fun! A new pizza place with daughter with cartoons and GREAT pizza. But, smoke! Yeesh. The non smoking room was the room with no TV or cartoons. Helpful!

Went selling candles with her for school. Eight sold in 40 minutes. (She wanted braided pig tails because she thought she'd sell more that way. I think she was right! I wanted one!)

Furniture shopping. Still didn't like anything well enough to commit. But fun.
Growing in confidence and expressing what I like.

Library...looking for "Milly" books. Didn't find them. Did find another series we're having transferred here to pick up next week to start at bedtime. (I'm new at chapter books for kids. Liking it!)

Filled up with gas, got brake fluid level checked, air in tires, washed van, vacc'ed it, cleaned the windows inside (first time ever for this van...after a year of owning it) and scraped unidentifiable dried goo off the floor...looked like Tootsie roll. Melted blue crayon I can't move yet.
Well, hubbie says he probably won't make it to Thanksgiving dinner. Keeps getting calls from work. Uggh. Not fun. I'm tying to stay positive. Told him he's tasted turkey before. You know what? Brainstorm. I think I'm going to cook that little turkey breast I bought this week and some veggies for us for supper tomorrow night-- just in case. I

have some work to do considering it's 11:30 right now.

Off to make Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!! (And I've cooked like 1-2 turkeys, ever). How hard can it be?


Nothing Exciting

Today, I am in flannel pajamas, a big terry cloth robe, watching my daughter snooze on the floor in front of a quiet, gentle fire. We "camped out" together last night, the boys sleeping over at Grandmas. I slept well...the kind of sleep I love to have--on occassion--with just enough discomfort for me to know I'm resting for a very long time. When I wake, it seems more than like 2 minutes since I laid down! I know I enjoyed resting. Not just down and back up to start all over.

I tried backing up my hard drive on my computer last night. Took Nero SIX HOURS to copy, compress, and confirm. Still, when I try to pull any file off of it, seems I have to resave it to my computer's hard drive to view it or use it? Not happy with that. We'll be overwriting or re-doing, or someothing today. I don't even know what my options are with that. I hate to take up the space for 5GB again! (Yes, I took that many pics in one year.) So, emailing Western Digital, waiting for a response.

In other news, our first complete run through with ins and outs at the Christmas Pageant last night. I was completely overwhelmed not really having a marked script to follow, not being able to keep them quiet enough in the back. A lot to follow. Whew. Keeping them quiet through all that is impossible.

First day of Thanksgiving Holiday. Man, it's good! If they could all be like this! Quiet. Very quiet. Right now, nothing to do...Tropicana No Pulp, Vitamin C in my hand...refreshing. Just makes me want to cry it feels so good. Nobody waiting for me to do anything. My husband didn't even wake me to cook breakfast (I thank him, but missed serving, too).

Starting to get questions about what I want for Christmas. As usual...I want things done. That blesses me more than anything else. If my husband took a day off, we organized the garage together, that would bless me. If we went on a trip to shop for furniture for like, several days, that would be great. If we got the kids all the winter clothes they needed, that would help me a lot. Upgrading the computer would be nice I suppose.

He showed me a peice of jewelry last night in a sale ad, but I didn't really like it. I didn't say so at the time because I was considering it. He likes to put a little peice of some sort of jewelry in my stocking. So, I need to think of something else I guess. This year, I lost the gold heart he gave me while we were dating. I'd give anything to have that back. It was beautiful. I wonder if I could find it online.

Well, I have no plans for the day. I don't have to cook all that much, and need to tackle my laundry room again...looks like the dryer vomited in there. I'll be looking forward to that. Daughter is starting to grind her teeth, means she'll be waking soon.

Lord, bless this day...show me what to do with it.


The Season

tuesday. up. shower. cook. heat up food. get red ready for transport. fight with red over pants. praise band practice. to school. eat. clean up. grocery for more supplies. home. tired.




Love IT!

Painfully Refreshing Blog

Painful? Yes?! Because it took me so much pain to even begin to "get it" myself, being the "deep" person I am...and pridefully so (as opposed, of course, to shallow, disinterested, foolish, wasteful-- or so I thought-- categorizing all joyful people in a little box I liked to call "heathen". Did I say "pride". Yeah, well, not "proud" of it, just observing.)

God proceeded to take me to the best and worst of myself...all "deep" places. Know what? I wasn't too happy there! Not for extended periods of time. Nobody else around me was either! Whoa? Why not? Ultra spiritual one? Doesn't everyone flock to the "Christ-like" aura? Nope.

Who cares? Where's the joy?

Here you go...2006, find the joy!

My observation? It's not all about intensity. It's about connecting with people effectively, wherever they are. It's about intensity AND abandon...you NEED both, as do those around you.

Try on balance. Moderation. Joy. The WHOLE mix. Keep a mix! Maintain the mix! Focus AND balance. Try to keep from getting "out of whack" with obsessions...even spiritual ones. Obsess on Jesus...he'll show you how. Keep friends. Preserve what matters, nurture what matters...all the rest, well, God will make it more beautiful and intense than you ever could trying. Discipline...yes. Obsessing? No. Focused? Yes. Flat, unidimensional? No.

That's my take for 2005. As if I understand a thing...but there you go.

Read the blog. Tell me what you think.


Holiday Joys

Sometimes as a Mom, it's hard to enjoy all the "holiday" for all the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

The baking, costumes, constant running, lists, menu items, things you are out of. I'm trying very hard to stay ahead of myself this year, but I always feel behind myself.

Today, baking, cooking, stirring, cleaning the kitchen...all day. Hopefully, ready for the kids "Thanksgiving Feast" at school tomorrow. Of which, they will all turn their noses up at all the unfamiliar.

And hopefully, veggies ready to take to family members Thanksgivings.

I still need an inspiring dessert for Thursday. Probably my husband's request: traditional pecan pie...nuts chopped, not whole.

I'm tired. Really tired. Zonked. Oh, Lord, help me respect the 24 hours in one day! You give me all I need for "life and good living". I will choose to celebrate while I'm here "doing"! I will joyfully rest when I'm weary. knowing others tire, too. I will enjoy my rest zones. I will take one right...NOW!



That Time of Year

I don't know who these people are, but we're having a little better luck!

Today, the weather warm, my husband is heading up Christmas lights on the roof. A huge relief to me.

I get the tight spots where he can't fit (and, ironically, it's more likely for someone to fall off.)

This year, he made a rope of twine peiced together to steady me--hopefully, he intended to hold on! Felt a lot more "comfortable". One end is WAY off the ground and steEP!

We put all the little clippies on last year...at $1.25 or so a pack, this seems reasonable, until you realize to put on each light to keep them nice and straight, it requires like 50 packages! So, already having those perforated and attached, we are "booking" comparatively. A whole afternoon, but going well.

I can say that...I'm on break inside typing.

Guess I should start hauling some trees in while I have eager beavers in here begging me to do something to decorate. The mood will pass...about that time! I promise my husband we won't turn lights on until after Thanksgiving...a family rule, but if I don't actually turn the lights ON, we'd sure be way ahead. Hmmm. Guess I'd better clean the junk out of my Town and Country so I can make all those seats disappear. Gee, gotta tell ya...I LOVE that van! Somebody was thinking about little Mommies with busy husbands when they designed seats that drop into the floorboard. Thank YOU!



Family Pics

"Boy Wonder", First Day on the Mower Today! GREAT job!
Last Sat...the big SEVEN.
Our ladybug cake. Glamour Girl Hats. Party treat...Dad's Idea.
Miniature Horse Rides. Beautiful Day! 70s.
Now, 30s!
My beautiful kids and me. Gift: Bella Dancarella.
Special Note:
For those of you who did the ballet version...this ain't ballet!
I wouldn't recommend it for girls any younger than seven. In fact...more like 9-10 would have been my preference. Bella is adolescent. We are not! She loves it. Matching dance outfit...whoa! Just got me when Bella stripped out of her reporter blazer into a spaghetti string silver shimmer shirt and got down at the Bella jam party with all her party girls in front of all the other moms at the party. Yeesh. Little much for our seven year old, but as a whole, a fun video.

A fav pic of 2005.

From Boy Wonder's birthday party. Four wheeler romance...much like we began-- on the farm.

Red and I snuggling in a cool Fall. My little buddy. As Goldilocks tells me, "He's 'connected' to me right now." I think she means "attached", which she's heard me tell her Dad.

He 'wuvs' my coffee. Yep...good, coffee...a little in there somewhere under all the hazelnut creamer and sugar!

I've not posted pics in a while...a few of my favs from the last four weeks.

Couldn't resist posting before the season changes!

Warm Fuzzies

Friday night. Boy! God is good to me this week. Thank you, Lord, for those who've taught us how to restore the ambiguous "balance" somehow available out there to those of us willing to take a break from whatever intense things seize us and find it on occassion. Give it to one another. We so minister to one another...friends, spouses...

10:30 last night, my husband brings me one of my favorite "treat" cookies, what I call a "Derby" cookie from Great Harvest Bread Co., and his special brew of coffee fixed up just the way I like it. Mmmm. Perfect. A roasting fire. Home improvement TV (my fav? Debbie Travis' The Painted House .) Dreaming about our house together. Girlfriends tucked in after bubble baths, grilled cheese sandwiches, dress up, play "dates" with Titanic theme music demo from the keyboard in the background for their "dance". My little girl, growing up. Makeup. Lipstick...now, not playing dress up Cinderella, but dress up "date. Goodness.

Such a wonderful evening I didn't want to go to bed...wanted to bask in it. Up until 3AM, wanting to read my Bible a second, but just keeping it beside me, holding the leather for a minute with my eyes closed. Wow. I love the Lord and all the good things He gives us to enjoy. Hubbie came to drag me to bed, against my will. I had paroused a new magazine or two for inspiration for the holidays. Worked on a gift.

I love my man. I really do. When I'm wilting, he waters me. When I'm grey, he gives me sunshine. When I'm needing him, he drops everything to make the call, touch base...to restore my sense of "happy", to give me what I need. Our marriage class last Fall really helped us now how to regenerate each other and our love when life takes over for too long. Reminding us we need to invest in each other...15 hours a week, I think it was...the goal. What?! Yes. And you feel it, too, when you try.

You feel the "hero" part of marriage. Being rescued and rescuing. Relief. Joy. Fun. Surprises. Talks. Smiles. And all the other good stuff that gets even better when all is in order...or there is at least a concerted effort toward order all around.

My man. The weather report. The stats. The nitty gritty. Reality check. Practical. God sized things. Hard worker. Minister. Pray-er. Interceed-er. Striv-er.

It's been a good week. Next week will be even better!

Got so jealous with all you girls getting whisked away that I decided to whisk him away soon...a trip to wind down. Won't tell him a thing!



A Severe Mercy

There's an old book with that title. Reminds me of today.

I read my daughter her "letter" from this morning's post, explaining the our find and what we were doing to correct her. Then, I returned with a sippie cup of milk, cheerios, and an apple (in bed!), let her go to the restroom each hour. She napped the first hour.

When I returned, she held out her hands to me, hugged me, sorrowfully, and cried.

My melting heart...don't melt, don't melt, it's not time! (Not visibly anyway).

I said, "An hour has passed. Now you may play in your room if you wish."

"But, I'm bored!"

"There is much here. You may play if you wish. Let's go to the restroom, just in case." fortunately, she took full advantage of all her opportunities. Trained by "waiting" in school some by now, I guess.

"Okay." she said, obediently.


I had promised her a midmorning snack. White chocolate covered pretzels and apple juice. This time, in a small cup with a lid and lime green bendy straw. Found her sitting, slumped shoulders, on the side of her bed. No pants from overnight. Feet propped on a dim little sort of plastic bunny lamp she likes.

"Mom. This is hard punishment."

"Yes honey. Your dad and I feel it's time. You were not learning. It is hard. I will be back in an hour."

"But, there's nothing to do."

"You may play if you wish. But, remember to stay in your room. Do not call at me. I will be back in one hour."

Gently closing the door.

In the meantime, I had to explain all this to brothers...they'd never seen the like. We worked on brother's science project. Me somewhat distracted. Him, motivated, wanting so much to go to Grandma's (where Grandad, also cherished, happens to live).

So, big brother and little brother go to Grandmas. There's Goldilocks in the wrong fairy tail, banished to the castle.

Nope...nope, don't go there, Mom.

I went back up for the check, a few minutes late this time, sending them off. Not mentioning this whole drama to Grandparents...they'd probably have me hog tied, though it is the right thing to do.

I took her to the restroom. While there, she saw the notebook I'd written the letter in on the counter and before I got there, began re-reading it, slowly. Asking me questions about it. About whether Dad was involved. I told her his memory of one Dad doing it for two days to make a real strong impression. She said, "Thanks Mom, for telling him ONLY four hours!" I took credit. He never would have done two days. Still. She thinks if she doesn't learn it, she might get two days next time. Sometimes the threat of "worse" for a while is a good thing, unreal as it might be. I got the book from her and closed it. She saw pink. She said, "What is that book anyway?" Loves notebooks, just like Mom.

I said, "Well, I started writing in it a long time ago. I was going to put it in your stocking. I will read you a few right now if you want me to."

So, while she finished "business", I read to her..."Dear one, Today was your first day of school. I'm so proud of you..." and another day, "Today is the last day of your first week of school. So far, all 100s, 'Great!', 'Excellent!' Keep up the great work! I knew you could do it!" And so on. Small trials she overcame. Things about her I love. Little things. Things that make her who she is. Flowers cut out and placed there. Beads. Strips of colorful paper. PostIt notes. Love notes. Just for her.

I read two then and told her I'd come up and read the rest to her if she made her bed and tidied her room up for me. (Knowing she'd have a sleepover guest later she didn't know about just yet).

I heard her stomping around, running up a rampage to get that room clean. I was so excited to go sit with her in her pink room, all shades, on her soft comforter, and feel her sunshine return as love poured back into her. I was so glad God convicted me to start those books early this year when school started, and I needed a place to pray for them. To remember. To feel part of their days still, hating to let them go. I've written once or twice a month as I feel love for them, proud of them, find a scripture to pray for them. I sit in my favorite chair by the window and write them a one minute note. No big deal. A pleasure.

But today, a big deal.

I took the book up to her, covered up her legs, and we read. She red to me. I read to her. She read silently, laughing that each was signed, predictably, "Love, Mom".

Who else?

Every page, she'd flip it and say, "Let me guess....Love, Mom! Yup. I knew it."

For Christmas, guess what I'll have to do? Surprise! Other letters...from (I'll collect a few at Thanksgiving time for her to put in there. A book of those who love you.)

I let her choose what we had for lunch. Pizza Hut Buffet. She took a coloring book. Crayons. Though we didn't have to wait, she wanted to color with Mom in the booth. A tradition.

We colored by number. I asked them to put a cheese pizza on the buffet...twice, before they did....just for her. We ordered soft drinks in stead of water.

Now, she watches a movie with a girlfriend.

What surprises me about the whole day is the change in her whole demeanor. Broken. Humble. Collected. Calm. A new sense of control. Conduct. Respect. I expected a war...but we didn't make it a war. No discussion. No argument. No talking. Here is your punishment and how we will do this.

I hope all battles in her life for character are this precious to me, but I doubt they will be.

God has taught me much today about the graceful way to take what you had coming and learn. She is so graceful.

A treasured day.

Now...trying to want to cook dinner. Not happening! Hon, Mr. Meat and Potatoes, can we just eat cereal? I'm tired. Pizza's out of the question.


The Big "P"

Whew. Nobody said being a Mom was easy. Well, here it is:

My goldilocks has her mother's affinity for ink pens, markers, pencils.

But, suddenly, at seven years old, she also has an affinity for exporing new media upon which to write. Sat down after she went to bed last night and found her initials written in pen on my loveseat. This, after finding pen designs on her jeans. She convinced me it was old and I'd talked to her about it before. It looked fresh and unlaundered to me.

The last straw. The van, the bar with a permanent marker last week, her wall a few weeks before that. Now, my sofa. I'm thinking what I'm doing is not working. The whole "gentle" approach to teaching, cleaning it together, explaining.

First order of business this morning, her Dad and I decided that desperate times call for desperate measures. I needed to be unusual, hard, and a painful, memorable experience. This is beyond anything I've ever had to do with her before...usually just instantaneous foolishness. This is my loveseat...her initials.

I did not even want to go to bed tonight and start this day. Up until 1 A.M. I wrote her a little two page letter explaning the course of this activity and her punishment.

Her Dad said he heard of one Dad putting his kids in their room for two days...they'd never forget it.

I guess not. Geez. I don't think so. (Not yet.) But, not a bad idea. We decided that from 8am until noon, she would stay in her room. No yelling down at me. No trips out of her room for more toys. No trips to the bathroom except my hourly check on her.

It needed to be punishment at this time. Not discipline...we've been disciplining: correcting, teaching, understanding, empathizing. This is punishment. Something painful for a wrong, still uncorrected, unrecognized, continued acts of rebellion.

I hate it. I take no pleasure in it. I want to go hold her.

But I won't. No hugs, no sappy mom, no apologies. Just a letter read. No arguing, no yelling, no complaining. Punishment received. And yes, we know it's hard. As I told her, I hope this reminds you, and I never, ever, have to do this again.

She doesn't like to be up there all by herself even to play...very seldom will she play in her room without a friend. She sleeps there.

But, if she liked it, it wouldn't be punishment. I could think of nothing else. We talked about having her write sentences...she actually enjoys the writing! "Look Mom! How many more? Is that all?"

She's just had her birthday. Even taking away one toy left so many good options that that was a drop in the bucket of her daily pleasures. No feeling of punishment in that.

Anyway, there is the lingering questions for the mother: "Why?" Sinful nature? Adamic seed. Unreedemed, imperfect man. She needs Jesus. Okay.

Yet, one haunting realization this time for me? Obedience is an expression in love. Her understanding of love is not yet perfected as it needs to be, and that, I need to help her understand.

This occurred to me this week. A God moment, I think. I was in Wal*Mart with Red the other day, and he kept saying to me, over and over and over, "Mom? I wuv yuu. Higher dan da sky. I wuv yuu." (Mom's will be able to translate that). He was being very sappy about it. CUTE! Almost annoying so, I have to say, in a half whine.

But, then he started disobeying me, grabbing things, other shopping hazards, yet, still saying the same mantra..."Mommy...I wuv yuu!"

The thought went through my head, "No you don't. You aren't even listening to me."

I know he still did. But, I think, for the first time, hearing that phrase in an emotional frenzy, irregardless of responsibility or mental activity, in conjunction with defiance. It was feeling. He was wanting connectedness. But, he was not wanting to be there, be in his seat, listen to me, follow any instruction.

At that moment, for the first time, I realized and understood more fully the verse, "If you love me, you will obey me. " I said, "Red, did you know that God said that to love is to obey? Did you know you are not obeying me? I will know you really love me when you obey me."

Watch out! Will lighting strike? I mean, like...huge conviction and realization!

There comes a time for laying down allegience, devotion, emotion, connectedness...and walking with Him, living with Him, just doing what He's telling me to do. Enough "worship". Enough "praise". Get on with living the life of worship and praise. Obeying.

The words are meaningful to him, the heart is meaningful to Him, but when He's trying to get something done, and my "love" is hindering His activity of the moment! Truly! He wants me to get on task. Walk alongside Him. Be ready and active and willing to GO! Do. Listen. Obey. Respond.

Ever write something and your arms just start to burn with conviction it hits you so hard again?
"And a little child shall lead them..."



Order in the Court

  • Agenda Items: Finish typing and organizing recipes for school cookbook. Start thinking about holiday planning. Rest overall from holiday planning this week some--birthday burn out.
  • Focus on tying up loose ends. Keep household order strong.
  • Exercise faith in priorities and planning. No energy wasted, emotional or mental, second guessing. Walk strong.
  • Finish Boy Wonder's Science project on our day off tomorrow. Will take all day for him.
  • Today--Daddy meeting after work. Have speed supper ready.
  • Tonight: theatre practice 6-8.
  • Bible Study? Before noon today. I'll be ready to hit the fireplace spot and a good comedy by 9.

Hasta la vista! Hope you are having a well ordered, God-inspired, God-breathed day. Walk it out! The little things, the big things, the doubts, fears, joys, and celebrations...live it out strong! I pray this for you, all my friends, specifically blog ones today. May God order your day, strengthen your faith in His control, and bless you with a sense of joy and His favor. May you be blessed, even as you bless.



Daily Log & Rare Paper Allergy

Today...one of those days, where, if I let it, would seem like a total washout as far as anything productive. When, as a mother, lists of things I've accomplished becomes necessary for sanity and survival.

Got up, fixed bagel, egg (hard fried), bacon and cheese for Mr. Wonderful...his daily request.
Egg over easy for Boy Wonder, toast, bacon, and milk.
Chocolate Poptart for Goldilocks. Milk. Helped her with Indian costume at the last minute.

Back to bed. Took a nap after being up until 3AM. Red slept until 9--praise my God in heaven above!

Bathed, found Goldilocks reader on the bar, which she loses recess for forgetting at home. So, got Red dressed, tore him from computer games, and took it to her at school. Nice Mommy.

Stopped at McDs for breakfast. Red's request. Nice Mommy.

Went to Wal*Mart for milk, bread, vitamins, children's sudafed (a seasonal staple at our home), and hairspray for husband. Want him to look good.

Came home. Crashed momentarily. 11AM. Napped...still hung over from late night. Let Red play Lego Stunt Rally instead of doing my computer work (today, school recipe book). Nice Mommy.

Got up, loaded dishwasher, emptied sink, got message to sing solo for Sunday. Finished Bible Study for the week...prayed, I mean, really prayed. Talked to the Lord...journaled, got some things out with Him...big questions...like, "How come people who are not 'disciplined' in their approach to Christianity and growth often look and seem more gentle, calm-mannered, kind, and smiling than me, a person who strives for it?' How fair is that?" Not that I'm one often consumed with fairness issues, but that one...annoying. Seems to me that he said something about pride developing more easily. Still thinking on that. I want more fruit, gosh darn it...especially the gentle part. I try. When I'm not being pulled at, yanked on, hit, fit thrown, and manipulated to death by three kids (and we're working on some of those issues that fray me this week.)

So, back to the awe-inspiring schedule. Tired again, ate some M&Ms and drank some Pepsi...a rough week--treat time. That time of the month. The great feminine fairy comes to remind me I'm a woman, I could still have babies should I choose another level of insanity. And, a mild form of labor ensues through which we continue on with our day, trying to act normal. A process the male race is in total ignorance about I am convinced. Uggh. Survive and make it until next week when hormones are sane.

Rehearsed the song for Sunday...one I've sang a couple times before. Trying to pray for divine inspiration to hit it, and me with it. I'm not one to sing a song more than a couple times usually, but when asked, you do it gladly. This one was sang at our worship leader's wedding...always puts a bit of pressure on to make sure I do my best. You hate for a couple to listen and think, "Gee, does she have to mascacre the thing?" So...we'll be working on that some this week.

Note to self...begin the whole Certain Dry treatment so as to avoid adrenaline and sweat overdrive customary to the territory of performing. Note to females...shaving before applying this product causes excessive and prolonged pain, a pain which cannot be assauged.

Now, praying bills on-line, one hour until child pick-up, daily walk with Boy
Wonder, and church supper/Bible study at 5. At which point, I'll probably be needing another nap.

How is it that we go full steam constantly, and things still feel only marginally in order. Piles of newspapers, papers, homework not found, readers not in their place, mail not read?

One thing I love about computers is the absense of paper litter. I can think of few annoyances I hate as much as paper everywhere...reminders to do this, that, the other...all piled up with the nonessential, the informative, the sale bill. Uggh. Piles on piles.

Some people take great delight in reading the daily mail, the newspaper. I just start itching like I'm getting hives just looking at the stack. It says, "Something more to do about more to do that you don't have time to do or the money to do, or the attention to give that you don't have to give." uggghhhuugghhhh. it's startingggggg....I need some Benadryl. Be back later. No wait...then, I'd have to nap (again) for sure!

I suppose there is no known cure for this rare form of "piles of papers to go through" allergy?!


Pilgrims and Indians

Okay, so I could not get to sleep until 3AM, but...

  • the scuffs are off the kitchen floor left over from somebody's boots from the party (thank you SOS Jr. Steel Wool pads...I don't recommend that on a good floor).
  • the laundry is at least up off the floor.
  • My computer is devoid of malware.
  • So there, three tasks done that I would not have wanted to do today. I'm so ahead of myself. HA! Very funny.
BUT, seriously, that put me in a good enough mood to tackle this: Pilgrim and Indian day at school. And aren't they adorable. I can't believe my son actually volunteered to be a pilgrim. Okay, so it's a Zorro hat...that helped I'm sure.

Mom brought over the adult sized Indian costume yesterday... family trivia here only meaningful to the dearest of friends, but she made it years ago. Special day of sorts...now all three of us have worn it, Grandmother, Daugher, Grandaughter.

I quickly altered it some with a waist seam this morning, still had to belt it to fit. Looks cute! Beads on the fringed clack when she walks...she couldn't decide if she liked that part or not.


Storms, Tornados, and Veggie Tales

Amazing how a day's plans can change. Catastophe for some can mean refreshment for others.

Had at least 19 severe weather alerts in my box today. I didn't see any of them until after the fact. My mom and husband both called and filled me in: Tornadoes, Flash Flood Alerts, Severe Thunderstorms. I was naseated, sick, and in general, iccked out in the bed not getting around so well. Fighting the latest bug.

Decided to go pick up my kids from school by lunchtime...heard the Red Cross had been alerted to be on standby. That seemed a little out of the ordinary. Hospitals here had been put on alert and ready status. Thought I'd at least keep from being out in the worst of when it was scheduled to hit--never really did except for strong winds. I took a pillow downstairs and camped out there sick to keep the kids from escaping and going back up the steps.

A cold front moving through here at 50-60 mph? Just insane. Winds sound like a howl still. Temps going from 75 degrees for the high to like 25 degrees for a low in 24hours. May see snow at this pace.

Was a huge twister 20 miles or so away, then another even closer an hour later. Much damage all around--mostly trees and mobile homes, a few businesses leveled. Tin thrown off. Safe and sound here. Husband even came home at 4:30. I feel like I've been on vacation he's been home so long today! I took some phenegran off and on all day. I have slept...oh, have I slept! Feel great...refreshed. Slowed down. Aaaah.

Now, bedtime, and I'm wide awake! Great time to tackle my laundry room. Tomorrow will feel fresh.

I forgot to blog about an announcement I got in my inbox last week. Anyone else excited to get to see the new Lord of the Beans movie out on video from Big Idea? If you've missed Veggie Tales, you've just missed one of the greater joys of life in my personal opinion, kids or no. The dry humor is just the greatest. I've never seen the Lord of the Rings...a little intense and long for me...I'm hoping this will catch me up somewhat--oh, go ahead, laugh! (Carol is scoffing at me, no doubt. She may never be able to read me again).

Well, these fingers are on to laundry. Exciting, I know.

Until tomorrow,

Checkpoint (revised)

Finally...a moment to sit down. A checkpoint. Mom is taking the kids to school for me today. Wow! After her not doing that last week, I'm TRULY grateful! Seems like it added an hour to my morning, though I got up 45 minutes later than I'd intended. Still not hitting my "earlier" goal. Such a night owl at heart!

Our family is in a major restructuring right now, though...in everything. Fortunately, not in terms of numbers, but in terms of operation. Trying to find the "margins"...make the margins happen. Moments of better "together" for our family. Less tag teaming. I

Last night, my desire personally was to try to have a peaceful and orderly place ready when my husband walked through the door. Chicken precooked for the pot pie, errands run, kids dealt with, family shopping in order, things running more smoothly. Well, did that happen? No.

But, the effort felt good overall.

In reality, I'd just been lecturing the kids at full voice for fifteen minutes as we drove to seven stores all across the county trying to find those "easy to find" white shoes for goldilocks theme interp tonight at P.T.O.

That extra effort (and buying shoes the wrong size because that's all we could find) meant the chicken pot pie I'd prepared earlier in the day was not going to be sitting on the table steaming hot. Grrrr. I was grouchy.

It was ugly, and I was venting. The kids actually found my tryade quite amusing, not having seen it in that prolonged form before, and they just kept losing it, though I told them it was NOT funny...serious moment. Better listen to Mommy and pay attention! Ten hut!

Why did we wait until the last day to find the white shoes? Well, there was the little item of the birthday party over the weekend, crash day Sunday, no feet until Monday to take with me! that's how it happens!

So...there you go. Looking like a Mom I hate to be, enslaved by things that really don't matter eternally, like matching white shoes. I'm sure they will be darling tonight and I will be beaming and there will be other Moms who could not find the shoes and would not drive another hour to another city to find them.

Husband still had work left to do when he got home anyway, but less than a usual Monday load. He worked while I "speed cooked" the pie in the microwave and transferred it to the oven to brown.

Lord help that top pie crust. I wanted it to look like usual when I take pains to make it look all harvesty and pretty. It did not cooperate at all, and I was late, and there was flour all over tarnation. I was whacking at it and pounding on it and heating it...not like it was homemade...I just needed it to flip out on top of the other on, trim it, and make a little acorn and leaf on top...to really look all domestict and all. I re-rolled it and reheated it three times...not gonna happen. So, another mommy tyrade. "This will be a perfect pie, we'll just pit these peices up and place them delicated on the top, like so, and it will be beautiful, it will be tasty, it will be, a perfect pie."
But, boy, did it taste good!

The best part is: in tyrade number three, I'd prepared the kids, so no fussing about it looking"SICK", or them wanting to throw up, or not liking it, or gagging noises! None. Zerio. no warning. Peace at the table. Either they ate, or they were quiet and went to bed hungry tonight. I've had it with the complaining throughout mealtime...at least for last night.

So, we actually had a peaceful meal, all at the table, noone at the bar...with a fall spice 3 wic candle on a leaf plate in the center of the table. It was pictuesque. We talked about the events of the day, school problems, drank milk.

Well, unfortunately, my little "Red "didn't make the cut, he got sent to time out. Too much talk about getting sick and throwing up. He got to come out when we were done and I offered him leftover cheese pizza then. (Perhaps some incentive to conform.)

Everything just seemed a little more together. For one night.

Today's goal is to quiet my spirit again. I feel like a roar. Inside, just loud. I hunger for the sense of quiet again I found last week.

Tried to scan my Bible Study last night...more like speed reading. I just wanted to go to bed early to get up earlier to stay caught up with the day. Caught up with my husband. Ready to serve them, to bless them. That's all I want right now. My point of focus. Calendar out, pen loaded, on top of things. Grocery lists buzzing, preparing for the season. Feeling the "crunch" very much. Menu items coming in for this meal and that.

Yesterday, even general traffic showed signs of frustration. Fender benders, cranky people. You can sense it. In us all.

Thanksgiving...lost in the bussle of "holiday". No! I need a season of thanks. I'll seize that. Commemorate it. Not miss it. With all the change, time crunch, calendars....let my heart be glad, thankful, soaking in all I've been given and don't deserve.

Back to my speed reading: our memory verse in the study struck me more than anything else: "I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, for this is your spiritual act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, then you will test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2

I've never picked up on the "holy and pleasing" part of that offering of our spiritual act of worship before. We are to offer ourselves up in a state of faith, a state of knowing that we are ALREADY BLESSED. Not to seek blessing. To know it, to know his great mercy GOING IN. Not always to find it. He loves it when we know his heart that well! We are holy...not as in perfect, but as in...set apart, special, appointed for a specified eternal purpose...KNOWING by God's mercy and calming grace...I a, somehow, ALREADY pleasing to Him.

Yes! Oh my. With all my need for growth? Yes! Just as I view my children! They are still in need of so much growth, yet I am SO pleased with them! And I also want them to know it, all the time, to the core of their being, coming to me, not with head hung low, but with confidence of who they are coming, who I am trying to shape them to be. And He wants the same from me...confidence in Him. Confidence in His plan, His work in me...even with my slipups. I still have his favor.

Well, suddenly I have a hunger to go sit with my Lord and sense his "pleased-ness." Wow!

Until Later (after a harried, but well anticipated day). I need to be at the school at 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 today.



To my husband...one who listenes and serves and helps and asks.

To my husband...love of my life. The one I want to be with and can't live without.

To my husband...my friend. Co-minister.

To my husband...my favorite playmate, traveling companion, confidante, friend.

And...to finding balance..
to talks...recovery...plans...
kicking things up a notch--together
...to hard decisions, made with love...
to sacrifices...
to dreaming dreams--together.

I love you! I Love you! I love YOU!

This week, I will show you how much! I am thankful....FOR YOU!




Today. Sunday. Mood swings. Prayerful. Overthinking. But, letting the week drain away. Concerns drip off until I am dry and ready to be filled with nothing but Him. Doubts addressed until I know my place. Fears confronted until faith takes charge...takes over, reigns.

Letting it all go.

Soaking...in sweatpants and a big baggy t-shirt and an oversided sweatshirt and cold feet...just because I like it that way in the Fall...soaking in a God bigger than me...a God, the one and only God, God who can answer prayers -- when it seems like the imposing or impending reality is oppositional to the goal I prayed for. He is still God. He still hears. He is still answering. And I have no need for tears that fall irregardless of this fact bigger than my reality. I know this!!!!

If anyone knows this, I know this! He has proven himself to me (though I didn't deserve to know.) He tells me who He is...in His time, because He just loves the dickens out of me!!!!!!!! He's so..............God. Yes. Who He says He is from time past until eternity. God. Mine. Maker of me. Sustainer of all things. Fixer. Fashion-er. Creator...creating. Making. Working...in my life.

Today, worship...the words of worship...so ministering to me. "Indescribable". Letting my faith grow...in spite of self-doubt, emotion. Fears. Worries. Need to know...control. No...just to trust, and serve, and be.

Question: (for those of you who have experience and wisdom, those of you whose husbands lead, and lead well, those of you who know about these things)

...how do you and your husband's ever find "margins"...
you know, the white space on the sides of the paper, top and bottom...
"margins" that allow things to be read more clearly,
give the eye room to rest,
give a feeling of order and "padding"
...how do you ever find those"margins" that really coincide with those your spouse?
I mean...this is truly becoming a mystery to me...
Lord, show me to order my life so that my margins fall where my spouse's fall.
Enough tag team!
show me how.
no emergency...
just wanting to do it better.


Winding Down

11:15 pm. Chair cushions in the wash (forgot to put them in the first time the wash went through.) Scrapbook...24 pages done. Not as much as I'd hoped, but still, quite a marathon. I'll fill in the holes later. Ladybug cake made...a group effort, quite fun. Balloons delivered. My goldilocks reading over my shoulder. Yup, at 11:15.

When I was little, my Mom used to wake me after my brothers were asleep on rare occassion to share a treat with her...homemake french fries...a bowl of ice cream with her homemade fudge. So, she's heard the story so many times, guess what her idea of excitement is? So, she got Red to sleep and then slipped down for prepackaged chocolate chip cookies and fresh finger nail paint for her party I promised her. Time for her. Enough projects, "stuff", and worries. Who cares that the vaccumming and I never got to that laundry room? As my mom used to say on such occassions..."that's why they make doors". If I could only get my family to USE them.

Tomorrow is another day.

A dear friend emailed me today saying a friend came and spot cleaned her house for her son's birthday party tomorrow. Another kidney stone attack has had her down. My, how petty I feel in perspective of other people's lives! Order and planning is not my forte. I have to increase the creativity to keep me going enough to get more mundane done! So funny. I'm 32 and just realizing some things about myself.

We think we found a pony for rides...I am excited. She'll be so thrilled. I hope it works out. When does a mother wrap gifts, prey tell?



"Chicken Little"--Good One!

I am staying up later than I should tonight because I want to blog...to pray, I guess, in a form. To celebrate. Today has been a whole new day, as a friend told me it would be. "Tomorrow is another day." At the time, I said, "My thought right now is, unfortunatly, yes, it will be!" with a laugh. I'm not unthankful. I'm not sick. Life is good, in general, and God is good. But, guys reading...there are just days when female hormones are a pain in the rear end. I'm sure you are aware of this, in a round about way.

So, hormones are good...until next week, and I'll be whacked out for another three days, unable to see the sunshine. But, hopefully, more spiritually attentive. Hopefully, more apt to deal with anything that I'm doing to slow myself down any more than I already am. And hopefully, those low days help me remember all the things I can do to rise above...to be better. To be ready. To slow down. Do I like those days? Not my favorite side of myself, but without them? I would be less strong.

Today...we went to see Chicken Little. If you have young kids...go see it. It's got a point, a plot, it's funny, there's no new age weirdo Disney reincarnation or spiritually weird elements to it...some freaky and somewhat scarey aliens...but they, like every Scooby Doo episode, reveal their "true identity" later. I laughed my head off. My kids told me I was the loudest laugher in the theatre...it's true! I did get really tickled. It was creatively sharp and funny without being risque or having a lot of adult humor that is often inappropriate for kids movies. A great release to my week. The kids stayed after everybody left and wiggled to the music, doing laps around the theatre chasing each other, making shadows on the screen. I love my family. I love my husband for taking us...evening movie for 5 isn't cheap. I love my kids...so exciteable and loud and free!

Go see, Chicken Little!



sEveN...and written, so far, just like that. Up one minute, down the next. Much like me! I must be a seven year old at heart.

I went in to wake my daughter from blissful slumber, all knotted in with Red on the top bunk like they ruled the world (and they often do). I said, "Darlin', good mornin! Time to get up. Did you know something? Today is the last day I will every have a six year old little girl?"

She flopped over, more quickly than usual, opened her eyes and looked me square in the face as she flopped her long arm over and konked me in the head, saying, "Mom, good luck."

And closed her eyes.

Not sure what she meant by that. Not really wanting to know. But, it stuck. Wishing me luck on the whole process...the whole thing...the path, the journey. "Good luck, Mom."

I liked it. Made my day. She substantiated my day.

Then, she woke again with a start, like she never had truly woken before and said excitedly, "Is today my birthday?"

Okay, so it still IS all about her. We all knew that. But it was a good groggy moment, and it counts!

Red and I went to the school to eat pizza day with her. I'm still on a scrapbooking obsession up all hours of the night trying to catch her book up some this year for her party...the only way I'd ever catch up I'd say. Knowing grandparents just LOVE it at the party. I'm trying to do something new...and I had an epiphany with this last night.

I've been doing the same things, the same ways for about the two years I've been doing this thing...miss efficient, sticking as many photos on the page as I can, trying to fit in some sense of order, embellishment later, maybe. A title...if it really had to have one. But, when I look at other people's books and magazines, that's not the layouts I like. So, why was I doing that. 1. to save money. 2. to use all those 4X6s I was getting developed...faithful to use them ALL.

But, after I went digital, I still did that for a year, developing everything. Man, you talk about money! Whew. I started asking myself, "Why am I doing this? It's not even what I want, or what I like? I'm in such a rut."

So, I developed no new pics until I got all the others used, and in the meantime...I BEGAN TO DREAM. What might life be like if I did thing TOTALLY DIFFERENT. I have so enjoyed looking at the magazines to dream...still...I noticed my layouts were looking the same, even when they didn't have to!

Well, epiphany...keep doing the same things you've always done (even dreaming, even reading, even WANTING to do things differently)...and you'll get the same results you always got.

This time, I got out the book, labeled the book, ordered my thoughts about what I liked and why and when I could use it, and made a commitment to not start a page until I referenced the book.

I look at my Christian journey, seeing the same problem...too much reading, wanting, dreaming, wishing...not enough change. Well, I hear the kids home. Gotta run!



A Funeral...My Fix

"Live. And Live Well. BREATHE.

Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT.

Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.

On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.

If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.

Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.

If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.

Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.

If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.

If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well.

At the table with friends and family, LAUGH.

If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke.

And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life.


The last paragraph Kyle Lake, d. Oct. 30, 2005, every typed on his computer. He never got to deliver it, electrocuted in the baptismal pool that morning. It was read at the end of his funeral. A much celebrated person. One I got to know and was inspired by listening to his funeral. Parts of it today too personal and too touching and too deep to continue to hear. To listen to friend describe his quirks, humor, sense of silliness and fun and affection...the way he pushed them to intimacy and smiles and grace and life. An inspiration.

In regard to my earlier emotion today...God just met me... at a funeral I never attended.

That's my God.

Los published this today at Ragamuffin Soul (see sidebar). I usually just link to him, but decided I wanted the record for myself on my own blog for my own reference. Thanks. Sorry for the redundancy.

If you would like to listen to the audio from Kyle's funeral service you can download it from these links: Podcast / MP3 (just listen with Windows Media player, even if you don't own a Podcast or have an MP3 player...I had to use the MP3 link and Windows Media.)


Untitled Frustration

Discouragement. Frustration. Disappointment. Anger.

Great to get out of that rut yesterday. Unfortunately, my wheel got stuck there again today.

Missing reader.

Missing invitations.

Running late....why?

Husband out late, up early, again.

Behind on everything.


A friend got some physical enhancement...I'm glad for her. She looks great. But, it's a shock. And I've rationalized myself out of it--wisdom, though I needed it more. Feels really, really crappy!

Six kids have left my kid's private Christian school this month though it's our best year yet! Divorce, money, situations. What if?

The party is Saturday. My house needs so much work. No matter what I do, it will not make up for the fact that another holiday is here and I still have not met decorating goals. Still the same.

She stays home? Why can't she just do it?

She doesn't know. She is stuck in another rut and just getting out of it doesn't seem the solution. Why? She doesn't know.

Timing? I hope so.

God, be real to me today. I'm very discouraged. You are good. Life is blessed. We are well. I am not complaining, just low, and I know you care. Be near. Mine. Bless me. Smile on me. Be everything, as you are.



A Theme Has Emerged...rather, "ThemeS"

Well, Birthday...coming together. Thanks for the momentum boost CJ.

Today I decided on a non theme sort of theme:So, it's a My Little Pony-Strawberry Shortcake-Horse-Girly--Flower--Incredibles Theme.

We hope to find a pony for pony rides -- to measure up to the four wheeler silly string fight last month her brother managed to have without my planning it.

We decided on pizza. I'm making the cake (same one as last year...she LOVED it, thankfully, I think I can duplicate it....a ladybug she saw on the cover of a Kid's Party magazine.)

We drove an hour to shop today. Red is zonked after having to endure also her 3 hour play practice when we got home.

Gifts? An hour drive, but we hit the jackpot as far as selection. Toys R Us. Thank you!

We found the most adorable, life like baby doll I've ever seen! A bunch of women were surrounding this thing, taking every one off the shelf! I had to get in on that, just to see the rave, and got the last one on the shelf. They said they sold out very early last year and haven't been able to get more.

She falls asleep when you lay her down and snores. When you pick her up, she opens her eyes, blinks a couple times, and says, "Momma. Momma." She coos, gurgles, and talks baby gibberish. She's pretty soft (except for the box in her for sound). But the best thing of all is HER FACIAL EXPRESSIONS CHANGE! Her brow furrows, her eyes seem to squint! She blinks while in upright position. I'm not much into dolls, but it's pretty incredible for $20. As long as my daughter learns to power her down...batteries and all. A battery charger is now on my wish list for Christmas.

Biggest Challenge? Finding Fashion Barbie something or other with pants on and a shawl. She wanted the one where she could have a matching purse with Barbie, well Barbie should have worn the little purse...it had to have been bigger than the "skirt". I was shocked. I asked the sales girl where they were...they've been the rage on commercials here this week. I said, "Well, I can't get her that...do you have any with clothes on?" Yeah, it was that bad...it wasn't just the long legs either. And it wasn't just the length...as if that weren't enough, it was the tone... street walker Barbie. Geez. My gal is gonna be seven here!

My Little Pony playdough so she can grow the horse some hair. Yeah, I know it gets stopped up in all the little holes and you can never get it out. I forgot. Suckered by the buy one get one half off sale. No wonder it was on sale. But, the Strawberry Shortcake one looked pretty durable.

Hit some Christmas too. Now I'm ahead! A digital camera of her own. I can't wait. She'll LOVE it. She wants to waste disposables and get them developed and I just can't afford printing that many, um, creative and spontaneous shots. And a Bella Dancer Part 2 Disco with an outfit...she can learn to get down and boogie. Don't know if that will be birthday or Christmas yet.

Dad got her a new pink bike I've not seen.

Starting to sound fun, thank goodness!

And I still need to hit Wal*Mart tomorrow. Third shopping trip with Red in three days. (Somebody prepare me a chocolate IV drip right now! Dove Chocolate...calling my name. Listen closely, you can hear it, too. Have on one me. And fortunately, in this case, you have to use your own stash! I'm a little protective of my Dove.)



Bruised Fruit, but Fruit

Okay, blogger. So showing forth the great and mightly personality of Christ through the fruit of the Spirit...his manifest personality is much easier to take charge on when a woman is not struck with PMS.

I am tired, having bad dreams, reading too much into everything, prohibited from getting my work done to the point of extreme frustration today, and my knees are killing me from abusing them biking. My back hurts and is in knots.

But, today I called my Flash "Darling" throughout Wal*Mart, though he was whining throughout. I didn't lose my cool.

I was ready to exercise with my son and didn't get mad when he left me out of the track saying he had to go do 30 minutes of "business". Fortunately, it took less time than he anticipated.

I didn't get to do anything I planned today. But, I still had a favorite meal of my son's for supper to reward him for eating healthy the last two weeks. I planned to cook him a healthy dessert today. But, he didn't like it. Still...

Overall, I am thinking about getting cranky. It sounds the logical choice.

But, I will try to overflow with fruit instead, somehow...by the grace and might of Christ within me. Go MasterLife. Go Great Banquet...Go anything that will get me off my tail and shining like a light. No excuses. I want to do my job.


Hospitality Crisis (Again)

Today. Wierd day. Nothing I planned seemed to fall in place.
Wal*Mart. Walked with Boy Wonder. Dealt with Flash.
Golilocks just lost her birthstone ring in the grass...will be there all night looking. I gave up. It's dark. I need to cook supper.

My other printer cartridge is dead...she's still printing green. Looks like her photo album may not make the birthday deadline. I'll try to work on what I can tonight.

I feel like this week is getting ahead of my...and it's Monday. Birthday party weeks always make me feel that way. What am I doing wrong with this whole thing? I just don't enjoy the planning part as much as I should. We still don't know what day, what theme, how many people, or what we are doing for sure...her birthday is Thursday. Does anybody else fall in this boat? So many Mom's seem to have this thing down and I'm still too far behind to enjoy it like I want to.

Again, any inspiration or commiseration is suitable here.




Headache. Splitting. Light hurts. Moving hurts.

But, today, a glorious and delicate blessing upon suprise blessing. Celebration. Surprise. Joy. Pride.

My Mr. Wonderful...bless his heart...working SO, so hard...missing so much today. God bless him and use him and fill him and heal him. He is so tired and spent tonight. Gone again.

Goldilocks just pulled another tooth. He missed it.
She also got up there today in her gold dress and "performed"...just GLOWed...What? My Miss Shy!? Where she'd go?

The light hitting her golden aura...a little joyful enthusiastic, half shy, half loving it, energetic bundle of an angelic being! I didn't even know they were singing today! A theme interp for heaven's sake! Absolutely adorable!

Now, when did she learn that?

"Mom, our 'praiseworship' time is every week!" Duh. Oh. I didn't know that! Tell me it wasn't from heaven!

If that wasn't enough, today she also took the perogative to go "take a stand for Christ" on her birthday at invitation time! All by herself, first line of the song, in front of 570 people! She's been talking her Daddy ito going with her for weeks. I guess the adrenaline just had her ready to "go!" After she stood there for a good while not really knowing what to do, you could sense: "Mom, do I have to stand here through the WHOLE song?" So sweet. My heart melted.


Erupted with joy for her, and through her today.

Christ: filling her, making her--before she is even fully His! Shaping her.

How beautiful you are, my darling! A chysalis bursting forth moment by moment,
astounding me,
surprising me,
catching my breath--
taking it away!
I am so "in love" with you today!
Every day...yes,
but overwhelmingly so today!

Glow! You are amazing. Beautiful in all you are becoming. I so love you.

------------------------------------*Such a full day!
We took another hayride today. A memorable one for me. None like it...ever!

A man's son owned the farm. The son died in a tragic carwreck last year. Devastating. But, in God's hands.

The father so happy to have us all out on his son's farm!

BEAUTIFUL...lakes, barns, colored trees.

Half way through, overlooking a lovely lake, the man stopped the tractor, shut off the engine, pulled out his camera, and said, "Now it's time for a picture". Celebrating! New memories for him to cherish and enjoy...seizing his joy! Beam!!!! Laugh! Be proud! yes! Laugh at kids making their ghost sounds. Yes! Thank, you, Lord...for new joy. Carrying on. Rising again. Comfort.

Filled my soul. Friends, all around. Fill, fill, fill. Over and over today! Wow.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you take my breath away today! I love you so much. Have I told you lately how much? I haven't. I do love you, my Lord. Thank you.


Closing service for Great Banquet tonight. Wow. Ragamuffins--yes! All tired, bedraggled, spent women...yet, so filled, full, overflowing! SINGING! SOLOS!? One very thin lady who had stringy, long, matted hair in a big hot pink clip trying to tame part of it. Looking so frail. Mentally challenge. She broke out into a hymn. Wow. Pure beauty and consecration.

I cried. God can do THAT? Shut my eyes. Holiness. A moment. An older african american lady, so unsure of herself, opposed to it all, fighting. Now, singing. Lifting high hymn in angelic, bold voice. Sure. God can do THAT? In three days. Fighting all the way...for us. I cried. He can! He did!

Another young Mom we've prayed and prayed for, "Rosie"...now my sister!

I can't believe it. I really can't. Oh, so hard to reach! To talk to! Reason with! Such a "thinker"...everything figured out...controlled...everything tidy and understandable and scientific.

Now humbled, broken, empty--ready for Jesus!

Wow. I cried and hooped and hollered and laughed! How wonderful! He CAN do THAT!

God is so good! So good, so good!

As an aside, her sister who lost her home in Katrina gave up her weekend spot of "filling" just hoping and praying her little sister would get off the waiting list and find Jesus at all. What sacrifice!

Tears in the morning....joy in the evening.


So, this week, I will do as one lady shared: I will not just have a basket of "fruit" OVERFLOWING where people have to peer deep down inside to see it. No! No looking up close! Some never get that close. A beautfiful fruit basket is what?, if not overflowing!!!!

Help me, Lord! I will. I will be there.


Ready. HElp me.

Planning ahead to be "more" for them, with them.

Not hiding.

Not running.

Not preserving self.

Not looking ahead or behind.

In the moment. Fully. Capturing it all. Being there. Nothing in the way you haven't healed, dealt with, handled! So I'll grant blessing, attention, esteem where you lead. Easy!

I need sleep. Make me more than I am -- for your glory and fame.


Kicking up Fall

The wind is kicking up Fall tonight! The kids will likely all be in my bed before it's over.

Today? Glad it's over, frankly. A series of frustrations.

Trying to keep my family out of my way, not very nicely, while I tried to "heal" my aging computer. Page after page of driver instructions and errors and more errors.

Cleaned it,scanned it, defragmented it--all that and still only 2 GB free space left.

So, my wrists hurt--still didn't get much accomplished.

Had to be done, but not a good way to spend a gorgeous Fall Saturday! It will rain tonight, all the leaves will fall off and be a mess, and I missed the beauty of today doing something I wish I'd put off...when to work, when to play...I don't know that I have that one figured out entirely. But I was rested and thought it was time to tackle something hard again. Missed my husband flying kites outside with the kids and playing on the trampoline. I should have stopped. But, once you start.

I needed to organize seven months of pics I've not touched hiding in KodakShare (great free program you can download online). Need to get started on catching my daughter's scrapbook up for her birthday--my motivator every year to hit it hard to have them ready for parties. Her's is a year behind. Whew. I have some work to do.

We ususally invite two friends to parties...she wants seven. Her age. Get this. She wants, so far: a party, on a school night (her brithday), and a sleepover-- the next night, AND a skating party...maybe, if we could. She shoots high!

I'm having a hard time working all this out for sanity...er, I mean, equity purposes.

Got nervous on this whole thing and decided to skip the family movie "Twelve Dogs of Christmas"? and start printing a few pics tonight...ran out of ink. She's green. Okay, so...

Tomorrow. Would be my band day, but a Sunday off...they are pulling in lots of people from the community for a special community service tomorrow for our 40 Days of Community Celebration. Sounds big. Will be fun. I will
miss my team. Seems like forever since I saw everybody last. So much has happened.

Well, hubbie got called in to work for a while, so I guess I'll see what pics I can find already printed and start creating (before the dryer buzzes.)
Ready...set...run like the wind Bull's Eye!



Security Measures

Okay, so you guys are the greatest. I get the coolest comments on this thing and am meeting the neatest people.

I have to say that I've had some security concerns this week and am considering changing the blog address to remove our last name.

  • If you know my real name and location, please don't use it when you comment on my blog or I'll need to delete the comment. (That would make me sad!)
  • If you link to my blog locally and choose to reveal your location, no prob, but that would make it hard for me to link to you in a webring for security reasons. I have young kids and post pics, so it's a concern for me where it may not be for you.

Rationale: a friend called me this week and said there had been a murder up North where she used to live and it was related to the young lady having a blog and listed her real name. I've not found the story yet, but will search for it. As much as we know these things just happen in the world no matter what we do, we still need to be as cautious. I'm just considering it.

If you want to continue linking to my blog, I apologize for the inconvenience of having to correct the link. Let me know if you'd like me to send you the new link if I don't have your email by emailing me at this link: Me, Who, Else?.

All the yucky detail stuff!


XYZ and Ambiance

Today. My main goal today was to get to the point of feeling rested. I feel like I've woken up with a hangover all week from staying up too late. I never could go back to sleep, but I laid in bed until I felt more rested/bored/tackled by Red.

I started up the fire and sat there to get warm and just rest a while.

I ran a super hot bath. My primary goal today was to slow down enough to shave my legs well. I put my contacts in before the bath and hit every part of my ankle and knee...you know, those parts that get skipped around if you are in a hurry. I was either going to have to slow down or add beads.

I took the two month old polish off my toes. Aaaah.

I had a quiet time in the morning. Aaah....well, I thought it would be an "Aaaah", but I was really just too tired for it. You know your priorities need readjusting when you don't want to read the Bible because you just can't deal with yet another part of your day someone or something dictating what you are supposed to be doing again. I think God understands. I think that's when He says, "That's too tired. You've been too busy. Slow down for a day and Sabbath with me today."

These are the days when I end up getting a few XYZ things done, but not because they are on the schedule. I'm just enjoying. Just doing a few extras to feel ahead. I've found lately that these days are my best form of recovery.

I feel guilty. So much I could have done: birthday shopping, early Christmas shopping, odd and end painting. But, doing that stuff dog tired? What's the point? I'd just be even more cranky...probably end up with a headache. So, I hope to prioritize those things soon...on a good day. So, on my list: self, get to bed earlier so that you feel more like doing some "hard jobs".

Tonight a friend is cooking supper for our family. What a TREAT! Truly a day of rest I needed.

Well, back to my day of renewal. Need to write a few cards. I think I'll go outside and hear the rustling drying leaves to do it...much like the sound of rain or the ocean as the wind gusts back and forth today. Very nice, touch, Lord! Thanks for the ambiance.



Plum Tuckered Out

The party was fun. The guys brought fried chicken. I cooked sides and dessert and bought the gift. My sister in law helped me assemble and clean up. I have the best three sisters in law in the world. I have no sisters, so they are such a treat for me. Somebody washed my supper dishes tonight...that's what that all means. WOW! I usually tucker out before that chore and leave it until morning when I'm not falling face forward into the sink.

Today I worked so hard on that little scrapbook gift. It took longer than I expected, but it turned out like a year in review minibook. I printed all the pics at wallet size, and the book was a small spiral bound from Wal*Mart for 99cents...so quite economical.

She loved it.

It got so fat it wouldn't come close to looking like it was closing, so I made my own string close feature I was proud of. I used silk flowers for the first time to embellish, and lots of ribbons sticking out. I'll try to post pics of it tomorrow. I'm beat tonight. Been in bed past 1 every night this week. I've got to get back into a routine. I think I just adore Fall so much that I don't want to miss a second of it. When Winter comes, it seems all you do is eat and sleep, so I just don't want to sleep. Eating, I have no problem with. Lately, I'm hungry every hour of the day and late into the night. Moments I still wonder if I could be pregnant, but I don't think I am. I don't think I want to be really. But, there are times when I hate that season of my life is coming to a close. Times I celebrate it loudly...no more diapers, extra bags, carseats, drain.

I love pictures and words...I think if I had a dream job other than helping people, it might be magazine advertising.

Today I fixed something. I love to fix broken things. I bought a circle cutter for about $20 or so and either the circle slid as I made the cut, or the template, or something. I could never get it to work. Well, I realized when I got it I hadn't started using double sized tape yet, and I was only taping the corners of the paper. I zipped that tape all the way across tonight, and WOW. I have GREAT circles. I also put 3-D ZOT glue dots on the cutting board to keep it steady. Those glue dots are my new favorite tool.

Okay, well, so this is boring the men...I'll move on.

I read a statement in Master Life last night that helped settle my innards on the whole "self centered", "deny yourself" conversation. It said, "To deny yourself does not mean to deny individuality, it means to deny self as the center of focus".

Hmmm. Good challenging thought.

Well, a have a paper volcano to try to straighten up in my guest room, a Bible Study to start for Part II of MasterLife if I can stay awake long enough, recipes to get ready for the school cookbook, and a daughter's birthday to start planning for next week. Strawberry Shortcake, here we come!

Plum Tuckered Out,

75 Years

My Mother in Law is 75 today! Big party here tonight. I haven't known about this even but a couple days, so today's a big cooking day.

I just found her a gold necklace with a pretty filigree butterly pendant. Her first peice of gold jewelry besides her wedding band to my knowledge. Simple, lovely, giving farm people. Biggest hearted gift of hospitality I've ever seen. (She's been known to feed the UPS guy supper if he was running past dark.)

I'm making her a little tiny scrapbook with small pics from this year. Thanks CJ!!! Lifesaver. Time got way too tight yesterday for me to get all I needed. What a blessing!

Busy, busy today. Fun Celebration!!!

75 years. Wow.




You know what I think I discovered today? That you can sabotage a perfectly wonderful day beating up no yourself for no good reason except that some friend had a bad month and took it out on you once. To prepare? Well, good luck trying to regain control. Let me know if you find it.

I've had a great couple days of true rest. Fun. Spontaneity. Good company. And thanks for helping me hang on to it everyone. Moving on...

Today, I found a blue jean jacket...I've really been wanting one. Got rid of my old one only for them to come back into style. It was too thick a denim and never to comfie.

I ran across a manufacturer's outlet going to visit my Dad and found one for 14 bucks! Teenage dept., but that's okay by me. Young at heart, I am.

It is a lot softer.

But, when I got home, one of the buttons didn't match! I thought, "Now how in the world did I miss that? An entirely different color!"

Oh, well, an original....was probably missing a button and they just threw random ones on there. For the price. I wonder if I could take it back...nah. Too far away.

But, then I got ready to go to church and as I was getting in the van, I saw what looked like a button laying in my seat as if it had fallen off? These are like anchored in, not sewn, so I was way confused.

On closer look, it was a button "cover", pressed on the sides! It had fallen off.

Then, I remembered the "random button" said "Land's End".

It was becoming clear: they can't sell the seconds as brand names, so they were trying to cover the name up. Well, don't you know I got home from church, took off all those button covers! They all match AND I know I found a Land's End steal! Then, I got to looking more carefully at the super comfie boot leg jeans I bought for 8 bucks.

Land's End, too! That explains the touch of Spandex and quality features.

I've never had anything from Land's...to expensive for me. But, I love to read the clothes descriptions: "The Perfect Jeans": you'll never want to own another pair of jeans. These jeans are made after many years of researching the perfect fit to be known as your very favorite pair of jeans. We are not joking. You will really want to sleep in these jeans they are so natural and fit so perfectly...in fact, we are thinking of calling them "More than Perfect Jeans". Go ahead. Try them on. You'll never be the same.


Sharpening, or Hacking?

So, still thinking on this "self-focused" topic. Because, rather than just defending or arguing, it is important to also consider.

So, for instance, is blogging "self focused"? Some might say that it is, and to some, I suppose it is.

I guess it comes down to, in large part, motive.

Why am I blogging? Is it just to brag about what am doing, talk about me...hope you'll read about me? I guess that happens, but that is not why I blog.

I blog because I want to celebrate my life. I want to focus on the things worth blogging...not just the emotion that carries me, or jerks me, in and out of the day. I blog because being a stay at home mom is very hard, and I lose sense of my own thoughts, my own joys, and my own self all too easily. I blog because I cannot spend hours upon hours in the day on the phone, emailing, and connecting with people in traditional ways. I blog because it allows me to share things I find on the net with others instead of it being a purely selfish thing of saving all resources, ideas, and finds for myself.

I blog because I want others to be part of my world, my pictures, my life, even though I often cannot take the time I would like to sit down and visit. I blog because I like a place to be thoughtful or funny or reflective...even when there is no one around who I can be that way with. It lets me focus on my children more, not less, to have a place to vent and be real for just a few minutes here and there in the day.

I take more pictures. I enjoy more moments...I look for the "bloggable". I think it is shaping me into a more positive person. A more attentive person to the joys. A more "real" person...in that, I am finding what I like and do not like. Honestly, as I was telling a friend yesterday, until I had to fill out my profile and come up with "who am I"? I could not have told you what my favorite color was, my favorite food, my likes, dislikes. My life has been from one type of school to another, to work, to early motherhood. My likes and dislikes were lost in the shuffle...they were there, I guess. But, doesn't it feel a little weird to not know what they are? I always thought it sounded weird to "find yourself" as if you could be lost.

But, there is a truth to knowing yourself.

I think for a long time I felt low often because I didn't even know what cheered me up. I was just there because that's where I should be. I served because that's what I should do. I did the right things because they were the right things. Nothing wrong with that.

I'm just enjoying the season God has me in this year. Soaking in joy. Enjoying the moments that will not last forever. Photographing them. Laughing at them. Basking. A season is ending. The toddler season. I am squeezing everything I can out of this year.

Am I self focused? On the outside, I suppose it could look that way, and maybe I am. Probably so.

But, would I regret not living this way for this year? I think so.

My priorities are around my family and where I fit in that for now. Could I serve more, minister more, focus on others more...YES! But, am I self focused? I don't think so.

I am, however, learning to celebrate self. I spent too many years beating up on self as if I were God and had the right.

I am not. He doesn't.

The first verse of our Master Life class says, "If you will follow me, you must deny yourself daily, take up your cross, and follow me."

So, what does that mean for me right now? Does it mean I deny myself all joys? No, I don't think so. For me, it may be scrapbooking for the day.

Frankly, this is something I told a friend once I would never, ever do. A waste of time, money, and duplication of effort. Why did I start? God told me to.

I was not having time to cherish family the way I wanted to and should. I was not getting time with other females that I needed. I did not having a time for creative outlet I am wired for. I did not even know where to start and didn't really "want" to, but I did it because He led me there for that season.

Now, God is using it in my life to multiply joy in ways I cannot even articulate.

From the outside, does it just look like another "self focused" activity? Probably so. But, should I even have to defend it? Not really. It is part of me.

I could make a list of pursuits that could seem "self focused" to anyone else who is not doing them. Things that take time, effort, energy, concentration. Things others may not understand.

Today, I guess I am heavy and grieve that I often do the same to others. "How could he/she have time to do THAT with all they have going on? No wonder they are tired and running late all the time. No wonder they got hurt...how silly. No wonder..."

How childish is that? Who am I?

It is one thing to be reminded of a hurt. It is another to allow God to show you that the pain you feel is the same pain you have caused others and ask him to help you forgive and to change you to be more like Him.

That's where I am today. A simple comment can remind you of a wound that hasn't fully healed. But, I hope it is also making me more who I need to be myself...just as guilty of "judging another man's servant."

Tough to "sharpen one" another ("as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another") without hacking at each other! Help me know how to do it your way, Jesus!

Thanks for allowing me to hash this out some.