Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm an Amish Robert Frost

I've been called many things, but this one had me rolling all week. You know that song by Newsboys, "Shine." (Shine, make them wonder what you've got...etc.) Do you ever wonder if you "shine"? Do people notice something different in you? You know, Christ shining through, that type of thing. I found out on Christmas Eve that I apparently do have that something different thing going on. I'm sitting there minding my own business when the rough around the edges brother of my sister- in -law announced to all that were within earshot that I was Amish! Yes, me! How funny is that? He was commenting on how I don't know how people treat each other in the real world, because, of course, I'm Amish. For some reason I find this amusing, and actually a compliment. It would appear that he doesn't think I'm as mean as most people. Either that or he has something against the Amish. I'm not sure, but I'm choosing to see it as a compliment. Then today I was even more amused by one of my Sunday School students. In class, I read to them a blog post from a few months back. It happened to go along well with the lesson. I didn't tell the kids I had written it, but thought they would figure that out. After church we were at a friend's house, when I asked if he figured out who had written it. He said he was pretty sure it was by Robert Frost! And he was serious! I think it's safe to assume that he's never actually read anything by Mr. Frost! So in the course of six short days I've discovered my true self. I'm an Amish Robert Frost!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back to reality..

Well, we're back! We had a great time in Disney. It was warm and beautiful everyday. But now it's back to reality. After a bumpy flight home late Saturday night reality has hit in a big way. I spent all day Sunday battling my nemesis, known as laundry to everyone else. By God's grace, I won, and managed to wash, fold and put away all our vacation clothes. I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest. Monday it was back to reality for the kids as well, school!! It was painful after such a nice, long break from Mommy's nagging. Monday night I went Christmas shopping to take care of the rest of my list. You know, all those gifts you put off buying because you have no idea what to get. I made out pretty well there, and only have 2 more gifts to pick up. When I got home at 9:30, I worked on Christmas cards until midnight. They're done, although if I missed you, or you got two cards from me, sorry, it was late! Tuesday, school was a little less painful. I then baked cookies for 7 hours. (Squeezed making and eating dinner in there,too.) I ended up with 24 dozen cookies for the Christmas baskets at church. Not bad for one afternoon's (and night's) work. Today, I shopped for all the rest of the food I need for baking and Christmas brunch. Things look much calmer for the rest of the week. On Friday my kids head to Gramma's for the annual cookie making sleepover. John and I will use that night to do all our wrapping together. We always watch "It's a Wonderful Life", while we wrap. Corny, I know, but that's just what we do. And you know what? It is a wonderful life! If you don't hear from me soon, have a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My break from reality

Tomorrow's the big day! My family is taking off for 9 fun-filled days in Disney!! The kids are calling today, "Disney-Eve". It's all very exciting. My Mom and Dad will drive over to spend 4 days with us. So for a few days, at least, we won't be outnumbered by the kids. But there's much to do to get ready. So, today I'll be a total stress case, as is a family tradition. But tomorrow, now that's another story. Tomorrow I become "vacation Mommy." I'm sure the kids will really appreciate me then, after being traumatized today by "stressed- out- getting ready for vacation- mommy. " I have to admit, that I never did finish my Christmas cards, still have a little shopping to do, and about 30 dozen cookies to bake....but who cares?...I'm going to Disney!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Where's God?

Last weekend our hearts were broken. The 14 year old son of our friends died unexpectedly at a church youth event. Our friends have lost their only child. There truly are no words to adequately express the sorrow we feel for them. And yet, in the midst of such darkness, the Lord is at work. That Sunday our church family came together for worship. We were all stunned by the events of the weekend, and desperate for the Lord to shed some light on the overwhelming grief. As it would happen, our Pastor was away on vacation that week. He had scheduled for a guest speaker to take his place. Although the Pastor tried to get a flight home, he was unable to return in time to be with us for our Sunday worship. But the Lord, of course, knew all this was to happen. In His mercy and wisdom, He provided the perfect messenger. The scheduled guest speaker had lost a teenage son in a drowning 13 years ago. Coincidence? I don't think so. God sent us the only person who could help us make sense of it all. He was able to share with us what a parent feels when a child dies, what is helpful and what isn't. He was able to share how he was able to eventually find peace with the knowledge that the Lord truly is in control. These things do happen for a reason, even if we don't see it this side of eternity. At the invitation, the church was encouraged to come forward to pray, or be prayed for by our Deacons. Many people went forward, and we collectively grieved for Patrick and prayed for his parents. A couple I had never seen before went forward, weeping. Most of the teens in the church went forward, formed a circle and prayed and grieved together. Men and women were openly weeping. The song went on for quite a while. I don't know how the worship team managed to keep singing. You could actually feel the Holy Spirit fill the room with His mercy and grace. Words really don't do justice to the magnitude of the experience. On a side note, my husband's aunt just happened to visit church that day. She lives nearby and visits on occasion. She had no idea what had happened, and later said that if she had known she probably wouldn't have come. You see, 4 years ago her daughter died. Coincidence that she happened to come that day? I don't think so. When the music ended I turned and saw her tear-streaked face. But there was something else there too. A look of peace I haven't seen in 4 years. The next day I called to check on her. She stated that the service was the most healing thing that has happened since her daughter died. And she just happened to come that day? Yeah, right.

When the unthinkable happens it's easy to wonder where God is in it all. How could He let this happen? I think it's normal to wonder why, but we have to trust that God is in control. Sometimes that's not the easiest thing to do. But as far as where God was in all of this, I can tell you for sure. He was right there with us all. It would have been impossible to miss Him.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Love her like Jesus...

The following post was written last week. For some reason I didn't get around to proofreading and actually publishing it. On Saturday, I was just getting on the computer when the phone rang. It was a friend from church calling to tell us that a 14 year boy in our church, the only child of my friend, had died unexpectedly. It has been a very difficult week, to say the least. I had totally forgotten about this post, until I got on the computer this evening. I debated whether to publish it, but in the end decided God had put this on my heart for a reason. So here it is:

A recent post at Stephanie's Mommy brain, here, reminded me how important our words, or lack thereof can be, especially when dealing with someone in crisis. After the death of our nephew, Tony, last fall, I so wanted to rush in and save the day with all the right things to say. But I truly had no idea what the right things were. The death of a child is such an unthinkable loss. What words of wisdom could I possibly offer my brother and sister in law? I knew words could not erase their anguish, and yet I longed to help them. A few days after the funeral I was cleaning in the kitchen and pouring out my heart to God. I was desperate for some direction in ministering to my sister-in-law. I felt so helpless and useless. God was quick with an answer. I was listening to KLOVE, and immediately after I asked Him what to do, the Casting Crowns song Love Them Like Jesus came on. These words pierced my heart:

"You don't need the answers to all of life's questions, Just know that He loves her, and stay by her side, Love her like Jesus."

Could He have been anymore specific? A peace settled over me, I knew what the Lord was telling me to do. But just how does one love like Jesus? Well, God told me in the song, "stay by her side." Now I have to admit, we weren't the best of buddies before Tony's death. We were always friendly, but not particularly close. (Although we did have the unique bond of sharing the same mother-in-law!) I worried how responsive she would be to my attempts to "be by her side." But I figured God could work that out, and He did. I didn't do anything spectacular. I just called on a regular basis to check in, and allowed her to talk about what she was going through. I let her talk about Tony, without trying to change the subject. I realized that he was always on her mind anyway, so it would be selfish and foolish to avoid the subject. Whenever we could, we'd go out for coffee to just get away for an hour. I have to admit, there were many days when the depths of her grief were overwhelming to me, and I've spent many a night crying and praying for her pain. The only answer I had, she wasn't ready for yet, so I've just let her vent her grief. I was honest in that I had no idea what she was going through, it was unimaginable to me. Apparently this honesty helped her feel safe talking to me. While others offered advice on how to get through the death of a loved one, I just listened and prayed. On many occasions she apologized for "dumping all her crap" on me. I just laughed, and said that's what I'm here for. Well, a funny thing happened. What started out as the verb "love", turned into the noun "love", and in the process we have become the best of friends. Because of the friendship we've developed over the past year, she agreed to visit my church at a recent "Friend's Day". She hadn't stepped foot in any church since her son's funeral, so this was a huge step for her. The service was awesome, and the Gospel was clearly presented. I'd love to say she ran to the front at the invitation, but that didn't happen. However, I do know that seeds were planted. Since visiting my church she has been much more open to spiritual conversations, even to the point of initiating them. You can just feel Him at work. In all the good and bad that has happened in the past year, God just continues to blow my mind. It amazes me how He can use any situation to work out His plan. I can't wait to see what He'll do next.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Maybe they get it

As I was sitting at the computer today, my youngest daughter hugged me and said, " I'm glad you're not a mean mommy!"

My older daughter scoffed from the table, and said,"Yeah, except when she makes us do school."

My knight in shining armor, seven year Alex, came to my defense. "She's not being mean, she's just being a Mother!" To which Rachel replied, "Good point." I didn't have to say a word!

The funny thing is that my daughter is usually very compliant about getting her school done. I'm hardly ever "mean" with her. My son, the rescuer, is the one that might have a case for calling me "mean". Could it be that he's starting to see some point to my insistence that he learn to read and write? Maybe I'm not such a meanie after all.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

PMS or selfish people, you decide...

I have to confess I may be suffering from a bit of PMS, so this may not seem as outrageous to those of you who are currently level-headed, but this really got my blood pressure up today. My kids and I had a 4:15 appointment for the flu clinic at the pediatrician's office. When I got to the office, there was a line out the door. Okay, that's a little annoying, and it was cold, but I can deal, right? At the same time I got in line, a gentleman came over and asked if the line was for those with flu clinic appointments. "Yes" someone replied. He got back in his Lexus SUV with his family and sat there for about five minutes while the rest of us stood in the cold. I wrapped my coat around my shivering daughter, who was not dressed for standing in the cold. I was just getting to the doorway, when the wife struts up to the door announcing that she has plans and can't wait in line, so she must get to the front to reschedule her appointment. I don't know why she would make an appointment for a time when she has plans to be someplace else. And if they were in such a rush, why not get in the line when you arrived, instead of sitting in your warm car? Annoying, but I can deal, right? After several minutes she comes out, gets her family from the car, and marches her family through the line to the waiting area! To top it off, she had a look of superiority as she pranced by us fools standing in line. Okay, now I'm not dealing so well...and neither were the others who were waiting patiently in line. Maybe the whole lot of us had PMS. Conversations began to pop up about the fact that other people had lives as well. The Queen Mama, I'm sure, had to have heard this, but sat with a stony look in her comfy chair. I'm just glad that I kept my mouth shut, considering the unkind thoughts I was having. The ironic thing is that the flu clinic was run very efficiently. We waited in line for about 10 minutes to check in, then were vaccinated and out the door in a matter of minutes. The woman shaved about 5 minutes off her wait time, and in the process alienated and raised the blood pressure of 20 people in line. As we were called in, the royal family was leaving. Innocently my youngest daughter said, "Look, the people who cut everyone!", like it was a celebrity sighting. Apparently, the kids were also aware of what had transpired. This provided some much needed comic relief for those within earshot. It also led to some interesting conversations in the car. So you be the jury: do I just have a raging case of PMS, or was the whole thing just wrong?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Christmas Card conundrum

This year I was very proud of myself when I ordered my Christmas cards in September. I was most proud of the fact that they were 50% off, the early bird special. Now I tend not to be an "early bird." Generally, I'm rushing at the last minute to reach deadlines. But we're taking a family vacation in December this year, so I'm trying to get all my Christmas to-do lists completed in the next three weeks. The original plan was to have the cards addressed and ready to go by mid-October. Well, that didn't happen, they sat in a drawer, but now I'm on top of it. Unfortunately, I find myself in the same situation I'm in every year, too many addressees and not enough cards. You would think I'd learn by now. This year I ordered 112 cards. That sounds like a ridiculous amount, I know, but let's just say I have a lot of cousins. I did remember as I placed my order, that last year I originally ordered 100, and had to reorder 20 more. But with the early bird special I received 12 free. Surely I could shave 8 people off my list. If I went up to the next level, I'd have 132 cards, and that just seemed extreme. I was sure I could knock off a few people, no problem. I just had to be a little brutal. Like that cousin I send one to every year, that never sends me one. It wouldn't be so annoying if I didn't see the card he manages to send my sister every year. I can finally cut him off the list. How freeing! And what about the old friend from elementary school. We haven't even emailed in years! Gone, off the list! As I started my cards on Monday, I was sure I could get it down to 112. It's not as easy as it sounds. Of course, I forgot to take into account the people I'd be adding to this year's list. Not a lot, but when you're cutting people, 3 or 4 seem like 100. I was fully prepared to be brutal, if I haven't gotten a card from you in the last 10 years, you're not getting one from me. As I came across the first "wayward" cousin in my address book, I suddenly and inexplicably caved! Suddenly it seemed so, well, unChrist-like. How could I deny someone holiday cheer, not to mention my children's cuteness? Maybe I could order more cards...I checked online. 20 more cards would cost me $39.99!! Are you kidding me? If I had ordered them with the rest, it would have cost me about $5.00! Time for plan B. I decided I could send out regular, old cards sans the cute picture of the kids...Now I just have to decide who gets denied their cuteness! This is a painstaking decision for me. Why do I have such a hard time with this? This is causing me way more stress than it should. Realistically, I'm sure no one but me would even notice if they didn't get a card from my family. And yet, I just can't seem to control my Christmas card obsessiveness. Maybe next year I'll smarten up, and either buy more cards, or start axing people for real...but I doubt it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

You learn something new everyday

One thing I love about homeschooling is learning all sorts of interesting facts along with my kids. My oldest daughter is in fourth grade. That's the grade that the powers -that- be have determined must include state history. (I have nothing against learning state history, I just don't like others telling me when to teach anything.) We are studying early American history this year anyway, so it was a natural flow to include our little state's history. Now, having lived here most of my life, and having attended public schools here, you would think it would be all review for me. What I've discovered is that I was cheated out of learning many interesting things about our state. (In fact I don't remember learning any RI history in school, and I was a good student. I'd remember if I did!) Now I'm sure most people know that Roger Williams was the first to start a settlement here. He was the dude who came up with the concept of "Separation of Church and State." He also started the first Baptist Church in America! Williams believed that the Indians should not have their land taken, and instead negotiated the sale of land to new settlers. He was befriended by the Narragansett Indians, and was in fact very friendly with the Chief, Canonicus. (yep, that's where Camp Canonicus gets it's name.) We read about Anne Hutchinson and the early settlement of Portsmouth and Newport. Williams helped out here too, in the purchase of land from the Narragansetts. Then there was a real nut named Samuel Gorton, the founder of a little settlement called Warwick. (also the name of a Jr. High in Warwick) He didn't believe in Heaven or Hell, and his followers were called Gordonites. He was prosecuted for heresy and jailed by the church in Boston. Massachusetts' meddling, prompted Williams to seek a charter to unite the settlements of what is now RI. I'm thinking there might be a few Gordonites still living in Warwick, judging by the spiritual conditions there. But I digress... As an adult, I had heard about King Phillip's War, but didn't really know much about it. The war was the first organized war between the settlers and the Indians in the new world. Unlike Roger Williams, the settlers in Massachusetts had no problem taking the land that had been occupied by the Indians. "King Phillip", Metacomet, was the son of the deceased Wampanoag Chief, Massasoit. (Think Pilgrims) His throne, a natural stone seat, is in Bristol, RI. (We've actually seen it!) He organized tribes in New England to fight to regain their lost land. Although the Narragansetts remained neutral, they were suspected of harboring Wampanoag women and children, and perhaps wounded warriors. They were given an ultimatum from the colonists in Massachusetts. Hand over the Wampanoags or else. Hospitality was a trademark of the Narragansett culture, and it was unthinkable for them to do so. Colonists from Massachusetts and Connecticut launched a surprise attack on a large, winter settlement of the Narragansetts. The colonial soldiers lit the wigwams on fire, and shot men, women and children as they ran from their homes. As many as 1000 Narragansetts were killed that night. I can't tell you how shocked I was to read about this. I live within 20 miles of where this massacre took place, yet in all my schooling I was never taught about this! How can that be?? It was the largest massacre in US history! It's interesting to realize that my 7 year old now knows more RI history that I was ever taught in the public schools. And the government worries whether homeschoolers will provide a thorough education???? I guess we're only supposed to teach the parts that make them look good.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Red Sox do it again!

Sunday was a very exciting day in our house. My children are budding Sox fans, much to the dismay of my Yankee loving father-in-law. They were very excited that the Sox had a chance to win it all Sunday night. Rachel and Alex were not at all happy about going to bed just as the game started. They made me promise to wake them in the ninth inning if the Sox were ahead. In the words of Rachel, "This is important stuff, Mom." It was somewhat of a nail biter, especially having grown-up with the memories of heartache after heartache. I was a freshman at Boston University in 1986 when the Sox played the Mets in the World Series. You could see Kenmore Square from my dorm, and Fenway was a five minute walk away. It happened to be parent's weekend the night of game 6. I'll never forget the look on my Dad's face when that ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs. As a seasoned fan, I'm sure he half expected it, but still it was heartbreaking just the same. Even with the victory in 2004 under our belt, I still knew anything could happen when it came to the Red Sox. I was somewhat cautious waking the kids in the ninth inning. It seemed kind of risky to wake sleeping children, only to see the Sox implode. The funny thing was, the kids fully expected the Sox to win. They had no fear! We tried to explain that it's not over till it's over, but they weren't swayed from their optimism. That's when it occurred to me how different their perspective was from mine. They've only known the Sox as winners. They know nothing of the heartbreak of being a Sox fan. After the final out we all hugged and jumped around. Being a girl, my favorite part was watching the players hug. The kids thought it was great seeing Jason Varitek leap into Papelbon's arms. It was fun to share the moment with my kids. That's when they asked how many times the Red Sox won the World Series in my lifetime. 2 times, same as in their lifetimes. Well, what about Papa? How many times have they won it since he's been a fan? 2 times, same as them. How about my Gramps, who passed away before they were born? Well, he never saw it happen. They were pretty amazed by this! It just goes to show, perspective is everything.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

How worldly!

Yesterday , Alex found himself in a predicament. He was not a good, little boy going to bed the night before. In addition, he was not at all cooperative or obedient about remaining quiet during "quiet time". I'm not looking for perfection here. Just don't scream your head off and run around upstairs when you're supposed to be playing quietly in your room. And at bedtime, I just want quiet, horizontal children. I don't think that's too much to ask. After failing miserably at following these simple rules, Alex was banished to his room for the rest of the day. He was also going to bed an hour early. So Alex devised a clever plan to avoid the consequences of his misdeeds. He set about cleaning his room. When he called me up to show off his great cleaning job, he was quite sure I would rescind the banishment. Imagine his surprise when I praised his effort, then explained that his good deed would not cover his disobedience. Now that I think about it, he didn't even show any repentance for his behavior, he just hoped his goodness would outshine his disobedience. The whole scenario made me so aware of the world's view of sin and good works. Alex really thought he could avoid the consequence of his repeated disobedience by performing an act of goodness. I guess it's human nature to think that way. How many people believe they will spend eternity in Heaven because of their goodness? A lot I think. The simplicity of God's plan seems so beyond the comprehension of most, so they rely on their own works to earn them something they think they deserve. Imagine standing before the Almighty Maker of the universe. Before you is the pitiful molehill of good deeds you occasionally performed. The sad, little hill is overshadowed by the vast mountain of sin you committed on a daily basis. Even if that was how God operated, how could anyone hope to come out ahead in that situation? And yet so many cling to their misguided belief, that in the end, the good in them will outweigh the bad. And somehow, their good works will magically hide the sinful life they lived. It truly boogles my mind when I see people reject God's free offer of forgiveness, with puffed up pride about their own greatness. A pride that says, "I'll take my chances on myself, rather than give up control to someone else. Even if that someone is the Savior of the world." It's sad, really. And very, very frustrating. I am thankful though, that as we talked through the situation, my little boy was able to see how illogical that thinking was. If only the world could have the mind of a child.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mr. Pickles is on the loose!

Yesterday I heard the words I'd been fearing all day: "Mommy, we can't find Mr. Pickles. I think he got out!" I knew when I allowed the salamander to come home in a cup from his cousin's house, that it was a dicey proposition. I hoped the critter could stay alive 24 hours, then we could set him free. One day with a salamander wouldn't be the end of the world, right? When we got home the kids found a "Frog Planet" habitat to make into Mr. Pickles home. (We never actually had a frog, but we did have tadpoles for 11 months! But that's a whole different story.) They were very excited, putting in just the right mix of dirt, water and leaves. They dumped Mr. Pickles in, and he seemed quite happy with his new home. In the morning I was happy to find that Mr. Pickles was still with us. Throughout the day, Alex put a bug or two into the habitat for his dining pleasure. Alex is sure he ate the bugs, but I wonder if they got out the same way Mr. Pickles did. As I was cooking dinner I heard those frightening words. Mr. Pickles had escaped, and was roaming around our house. The kids searched high and low, to no avail. From prior experience with catching salamanders, I knew he didn't have long. If he dried out, he was a goner. Well, he hasn't turned up, so I'm assuming somewhere in my house, there lies a dried up salamander. Alex is upstairs now, searching for his little body, so he can have a proper burial. I guess it could have been worse. But I'd never be dumb enough to let a snake in the house. Of course, I didn't think I was dumb enough to let a salamander in, so you never know.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My very naughty parents

On Saturday my snow bird parents headed back to Florida. They left my sister's house in New York early in the morning, planning on stopping for the night in Virginia. My dad wanted to be sure to have had dinner and be settled in the hotel in time for Game 6 of the ALCS. My mom and dad are usually very predictable. Once settled in a hotel, they will ALWAYS call myself or one of my siblings to let us know where they are that night. I spoke to my sister Nancy that afternoon, and she confirmed that they had left early in the morning. I was busy all day and didn't think much about it. The game started and the bases were loaded in the 1st inning, when my sister Janet called. "Have you heard from Mom and Dad?" she asked. I realized that I hadn't. I agreed that this was pretty odd, but figured they would call someone soon. I mean this was Game 6 of the ALCS. Has my dad ever watched the Sox in a playoff game and not called someone to commiserate with?? In my mind that was unthinkable. My sister Nancy had tickets to Game 7, so I was sure my dad would call her when the Sox took a big lead. When they were up by about 7 runs I called her. She was busy surfing the net looking for a hotel in Boston for the next night. She hadn't heard from them, but was sure Dad would call any minute to share her excitement about going to Game 7. By 10:30 I was getting seriously worried. I had tried their cell phone several times, only to get a message that they were not available. It's a trac phone, so they have no voice mail. I called my oldest sister, but she seemed unconcerned. She reminded me of my parent's very strict rule growing up: No calls after 9pm. She was sure it was just too late for them to call. I still didn't buy it. I mean this was the Red Sox, after all. There were always exceptions made for the Sox in our house. After calling my sisters one more time, I headed off to bed for a night of tossing and turning. I had visions of my parents in a ditch somewhere along the east coast. If they hadn't called someone by noon, I was scrapping my plans for Sunday, and spending the day calling police and hospitals up and down the coast. After church, I whipped out my cell phone and called my sister. Thankfully, my dad had called my sister about going to game 7! No mention of the fact that THEY DIDN'T CALL TO CHECK IN. Well, as you can imagine, my sister properly chastised them for making us all worry. Their excuse: "Oh, didn't we call anyone? We must have forgotten!" Can you believe that! They had us worried sick! I can't help but wonder if this was some sort of subconscious revenge for our teen years.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Children and prayer

A few nights ago Livvy was having trouble falling asleep. She was crying about being scared of the dark. (She had lost her nightlight for the night, after sneaking out of bed.) I talked to her about not being scared, how mommy and daddy were right downstairs, and her big brother and big sister were in the next rooms. And of course, who's always with us? God! We decided to pray about her not being scared. Right before she prayed she sat up in bed and said she needed to look at the floor. That seemed strange.

"Why do you need to look at the floor?" I asked.

"Because that's where God is." she replied, quite sure of herself.

Now I was even more confused.

"God's not in the floor, honey, He's in heaven."

"Then why do people always look at the ground when they talk to Him?" she asked.

Well, we straightened that out, but isn't it so funny the way kids think? The poor thing has probably been wondering why everyone else sees God in the ground, but not her!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why I've disappeared from bloggityville

Wow, it's been almost a week since my last post. Time flies when you're running around like a maniac! On Friday we celebrated my baby boy's 7th birthday!! Talk about time flying. I foolishly allowed him to have some friends sleepover. They were well behaved, and actually fell asleep by midnight, so it wasn't so bad. But still not a restful way to start the weekend. The following day was the usual craziness. Soccer, skating, cleaning and preparing for Sunday School. On Sunday night I was the guest speaker at our church's youth group. The teens were a little surprised to see me there. They knew there was going to be a speaker with a "powerful message", so they were all guessing who it could be. I guess they weren't expecting one of the Sunday School teachers. I spoke about the death of my nephew last fall, which was not easy to do. But with God's help I got through it, and hopefully the kids will think twice before making the same mistake he did. On Monday we took the day off from school for a Professional Development Day. That translates to hanging out with some other homeschoolers at my friend, Christine's house. It was great to have a day to hang out with my sisters in Christ. Boy, did I need that! Tuesday was just a normal school day, but it took forever, as I was trying to get caught up. I spend the evening running two million errands. Today was non-stop motion. It started with an 8am trip to the local university for speech therapy. We stopped at the post office on our way home and of course, Dunkin Donuts. When I got home I discovered my two oldest hadn't gotten started on school, so that dragged the school day out. My husband needed me to make another trip to the post office after lunch. Rachel had piano in the afternoon. When we got home from that, I started on making dinner for a family in our church who was going through a rough time. When I realized there wouldn't be enough food to feed our family and theirs, my husband volunteered to pick up Chinese. Yay! Then I was off to deliver the dinner and head to Awana. The highlight was going to Bible Study. A good dose God's Word and Beth Moore was just what I needed. (And I actually got to sit down!) The next three days will be more of the same, culminating with a Women's Ministry conference on Saturday. That actually is a great thing, if I didn't need to be at church at 7am! Yikes, I guess I can try to sleep in one day next week. Think I'll head off to bed now, I'm wiped out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The best sister ever!

I thought I'd extol the virtues of my dear sister, Nancy. When we were little we shared a room, and she loved to torture me. But no one else had better try to hurt me in anyway, or they'd have my super, tough sis to deal with. Yes, she has kicked a few butts on my behalf. Now that we're all grown, I no longer need her to keep me safe, but I've found she's a great person to cry with. When things go wrong, she's the first person I call. She doesn't even mind if I call at 6am, as long as I'm really in need of a good sister cry. When John's nephew died, she volunteered to make the 4 hour drive to pick up my kids for a few days. (We declined because we wanted them around to hug.) But that's just the kind of person she is. She's a great mom, too. Very involved in all the kid's activities. She's super-mom! I just love this girl! I don't know what I'd do without her! And I'm not just saying all this because she has tickets to Game 7 of the ALCS at Fenway. What kind of a person would do that? But Nancy, if you're reading this, I know your daughter may never speak to you again, and our sister Jan is a bigger fan than I, but have any of them ever extolled your virtues in cyberspace??? I didn't think so.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A decluttering masterpiece

This weekend I completed a Herculean feat! I decluttered the Homeschool Room, aka, the Dining Room. Now, don't be confused. We don't actually do school in this room. Nor do we eat there. Once, a long time ago, when I had less stuff, we did do school there. It lasted only a few weeks. At the time my youngest was a toddler. She would stand at the gate and cry while I tried to teach Rachel. I soon realized that we should switch to the kitchen, so my little ones could have easy access to Mommy. This created it's own problems, but a least the pathetic crying ended. So, even though we haven't used it for school for 3 years, it's still the Homeschool Room. And it can legitimately called that, as that's were we store all our school "stuff". It started with a bookcase that I painted with a lovely faux finish. I also had a tall drawer storage unit, mostly for craft supplies. Under the window was a cedar chest filled with wedding gifts. Over the past 3+ years an explosion has taken place. Every year it got worse. Between my curriculum addiction, and materials from my years of teaching, the books and papers gradually overtook the room. The bookcase was framed by 3 feet tall piles. The ceder chest had been emptied and filled with things I thought "I might need". Next to the cedar chest was another huge stack of books, very important papers and the occasional history project. I purchased a storage/filing bin somewhere along the way. Unfortunately, it too was covered with a tall stack of yet more stuff. Last year I invested in three wooden vegetable bins. These are the kids lockers. They keep their work and books in these. I also had an overflowing basket of things I planned on selling on ebay. From time to time I would "organize". This basically amounted to straightening the piles, and occasionally rotating what books sat in the coveted bookcase. The fact that I'm an admitted curriculum and ebay junkie didn't help. I also apparently have major issues with just getting rid of things. This year there was just no place left to put things. So the dining room table, which often has it's own assortment of junk deposited there, became my next victim. It became the place I put all those teacher editions I needed to have on hand. The math manipulatives landed there, wayward mail and anything else I happened to have in my hands when I walked in the door. I so wish I had taken a "before" picture! The decluttering happened quite by accident. We have a wicker trunk, that had served as a toy box. We replaced that with a new piece of furniture, so I decided to get rid of the cedar chest, with it's broken top. On Friday afternoon, I started sorting through the cedar chest. I quickly realized I had many, many things that really didn't need to be in the homeschool room. Materials from last year that I wanted to save, completed workbooks from past years, that for some reason I felt compelled to keep. I also found many things I'd searched high and low for, like Rachel's test scores from last year. I thought those were gone for good. I don't know what happened, but I just kept going. I found a large empty bin in the basement to store some of the books I wanted to keep, but just didn't need this year. I filled 2 garbage bags with junk! I worked into the night. The next day, my husband sensed that a good thing was happening, so he took the kids out for several hours. I managed to eliminate every pile! I rearranged some of the storage to make it look almost like a dining room again. The bookcase is full of books I'll actually use this year, and there are no stacks of books to navigate around. I was able to position the trunk in such a way that it hides the filing bin somewhat (and it actually has files in it!). The copier fits nicely on top, and out of the way. Every flat surface, including the table, is clear!! Everyone is amazed at how big the room looks and what a nice table we have! And guess what! Everything now has a place to go!!! So if all goes well, I might be able to keep it this way! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007's that time of the year again!

Every year about this time I find myself in the same position. Overscheduled, and then some. When I turned the calender from September to October, I was dismayed to see only 6 days that didn't have something written in them. 4 of those days are Sundays, so those days are booked as well. The filled in days include 4 birthday parties(including one for my son), theater group, speech therapy, 2 field trips, doctor appointments, church get the picture. I expect to put at least 1000 miles on my van this month! In addition, my church is hosting a Women's Ministry Conference, for which I'm on the planning team. And then I went and volunteered to speak to the Youth Group this month. That's going to take some time and consideration, as I want to make sure I do justice to the topic. Tonight I started a Beth Moore study, The Beloved Disciple. Again, a good thing, but the study will be time consuming. So needless to say, if I don't post much this month you'll know why. I'll either be in my van, or hiding out in the bathroom! And if you're thinking of stopping by, call first...unless of course you're in the mood to fold piles of laundry. In that case, stop by anytime, I'll leave the key out.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Small miracles, if there is such a thing...

Today I read the story from Acts 12. I'm sure you know the story: Peter is in jail, awaiting execution in the morning. The church gathers at John Mark's house to pray for his release. God sends an angel to set Peter free. When Peter arrives at the house, the servant girl runs to announce the good news to the people gathered praying for him. Once again, we see the disciples not making themselves look so good... They react as though the servant girl is crazy. Of course Peter's not there, he's in jail! It seems that they lost sight of God's ability to pull off miracles. How often do we do the same thing? I'm not talking about the parting of seas. I'm thinking of the everyday miracles, that we sometimes fail to pray about or even recognize.

Several months ago, I had gone out for coffee with a good friend. We talked quite a bit about her teenage son, and some of her worries about him. He had a lot on his shoulders, and was struggling to cope. She, too, was suffering in a season of grief. As we parted that night, I suddenly remembered I had a small book by Max Lucado in my glove compartment. I gave it to her. She accepted it, but didn't seem nearly as excited about it as I was. The book was He Did This Just For You, in which Max Lucado uses a parable about a father and his wayward daughter to explain God's desire for a love relationship with us. It is beautifully done, one of my favorites to "share" with people.

The next morning, during my quiet time, I was praying for her son. As I was talking about my concerns, God clearly laid on my heart that I should pray that the book would be left out, and the teenage boy would read it. I need to be completely honest here. Before praying for this, I tried to help God understand why this couldn't possibly happen! I gave Him several good reasons why, in all my wisdom, I didn't think it was very likely at all. Yes, at times I can be very dumb! But God was being persistent, and having prior experience with Him, I knew it was best to just do what He said. So I jumped on board with Him and prayed that God would work out a "small miracle". After all, it was a good idea He had.

Well, I'm sure you can figure out what happened next. The following day I called his mother and asked how things were going with him. She told me how "the strangest thing" had happened the day before. She had left the book I gave her on her bedside table. She said she went in her room, and saw her son laying on her bed reading it. He read it cover to cover, then came out and asked her if she had read it. When she said no, he replied "Well, you should, it was really good." His mom thought it was very strange that he would read a book like that, but mentioned that "maybe it helped, he does seem less depressed today." Being the faithless idiot that I can sometimes be, I was somewhat blown away by this information. Not only had he read the book the very day I had prayed about it, but apparently, he agreed with it!

So now you're wondering, what the heck is wrong with this girl? Right? Why was I so shocked to hear this news? I mean, wasn't it God's idea in the first place? What did I think was going to happen? God invites me to be a part of something He's doing, and I'm surprised when He completes what He started. What a dope I can be! Now I'm not fooling myself into thinking that God needed me to accomplish His will here. He is certainly able to bring about His plans, regardless of my unfaithfulness. But what a blessing to be a part of it!

Still, I can't help but wonder how many times I've missed out on the blessings He had intended for me because I lacked the kind of faith He's called me to. So I think I need to start asking myself this question: Would I rather be involved in God's wonderful plan, or stand on the sidelines critiquing Him? Seems like a no brainer to me.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Sunday School Answer

Last night my kids and I were playing a little game. It's called The Questions Game. (We're not very creative when it comes to naming things.) Here's how it works: A question is thrown out, then everyone tries to guess how a particular person would answer. Everyone gets very excited in calling out their guesses, before the person's answer is revealed. Sometimes my four year old, Olivia, has a tough time keeping up with the pace. Last night one of the questions was "What's your favorite book in the Bible?" Alex yells out "John!" and Rachel says "Romans". Then Livvy gets very excited, apparently she's thought of an answer. She thrusts her cute little finger in the air and yells out "Jesus Christ!" She must have thought Jesus was a safe guess. I mean, that's usually the the answer, right? Rachel and Alex were cracking up. She was so cute, and a little confused as to why Jesus didn't have a book named for Him.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Note to self

In an attempt to avoid repeating my own mistakes, I'm writing a little note to myself:
Dear Self,
The next time your family has a super fun, magnet kit in the house follow these directions, or risk havoc. Immediately locate the packet of "iron filings" and discard them, preferably hidden under old coffee grinds. Keeping them will only lead to misery. If by chance, the kiddos find these before you do, you must act quickly. Rather than exploring the wonderful world of magnets with them, yell at the kids to stop what they're doing. Send them into the bathroom to wash the black stains off. While they're cleaning up, gather up as many filings as the magnets will hold. Don't even try to get the filings off of the magnets. It will only lead to frustration and nasty black stains on your fingers and nails. When you've accomplished all you can with the magnets, use paper towel to gather up all the loose filings you can. Throw it away immediately. Otherwise one of the kids will pick it up and run across the room, freeing all of the iron filings. To get the filings off the hardwood, do not rub with wet paper towel. This will lead to yucky black marks. Instead, use clay to pat at them. Then wash the floor to get rid of the clay residue. Vow never to allow iron filings in the house again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One more reason to homeschool

A homeschool mom I know came across the latest in back to school gear: The Backpack Shield. Click here for the newest must have school supply. It's a bulletproof shield that fits the dimensions of a student backpack. They have a lovely line of backpacks or you can just buy the shield. They're having a back to school special! You read that right. A back to school special on bulletproof shields! It's yours for only $249 plus shipping. According to the website the shield "stops hardened higher velocity 9 mm and 44 Magnum Full Metal Jacket (copper) rounds flat in their tracks." It's available in a variety of colors with an optional personalized photo. Can you image strapping on your kid's bulletproof backpack, and sending them off for the day? I can't.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Kids will eat the darnedest things!

We all know kids can be finicky eaters. I'm very blessed in that area, as my kids aren't as picky as some. One problem area, however, is in trying new foods. It's always a 50-50 chance whether my kids will try a new recipe without being too skeptical or deciding they definitely don't like that, whatever it is. It's always helpful if the new menu item has an interesting name. Like, Chimachangas. Those went over real well in my house. If it's fun to say, chances are it's also fun to eat! My kids can be easy to trick in that way. If I give a recipe a new fun name, they're more likely to try it, and maybe even like it. With this in mind, I decided to really go for it. A childhood favorite of mine was galumkis. Galumkis are a polish dish, stuffed cabbage rolls. Now I agree, that doesn't sound too appetizing, but believe me..yummy! As a child my family would drive to my grandparent's house, 2 hours away. When we arrived the first thing I would notice was the smell. Yes, Gramma had made Galumkis, as she always did when we visited. Although we aren't Polish, it was a family tradition for some reason. Galumkis have a very distinct smell as they bake. Unfortunately for me, my husband loathes the smell. So, needless to say, I haven't made them in years, and the kids have never had them. But lately I've been having a hankering for them. So I developed a plan. My hubby was going away on business for 2 days. The night before he left I went to the market to get the supplies. (A very cheap meal, btw) I decided to make them the first night, so I'd have time to air out the house. Now all I had to do was convince the kids that stuffed cabbage rolls were a good thing. In this case, it wasn't as hard as it sounds. They already had an interesting name: Galumkis. I psyched them up about the fun food from my childhood. They fell for it! They were a little concerned as they watched me prepare them, especially about the strong smell from the boiling cabbage. But they smelled better baking and galumkis is a cool name. I didn't mention to my kids that as a child I had refused to eat the cabbage, and only ate the stuffing. When they came out of the oven, the kids thought they looked a little weird, but were willing to give the galumkis a try. With a name like that, how could they not at least try them? Well, you would have thought I served hot, fudge sundaes for dinner. They devoured them, cabbage and all! They had seconds and thirds. In the words of Alex,"They didn't look good, and they didn't smell good, but they sure tasted good!" How weird is that? It just goes to show, kids will like some pretty surprising things if you can just get them to try it. I just wish there were more leftovers.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

An anniversary, of sorts

Disclaimer: This one might be a little sad.

A year ago tonight we held a 40th anniversary party for my in-laws. This might not seem like something to reflect on, but there's more to the story.

For a year before the big anniversary, my husband wanted to have a party for his parents. Although the 50th is generally the year for a big party, my husband felt very strongly that we needed to celebrate their 40 years together. My in-laws, on the other hand, felt differently. Not ones to enjoy being in the limelight, they insisted they didn't want a party. My husband was very disappointed. About 8 weeks before the big day, my mother in law called and said she had changed her mind, and we could give them a party if we wanted. John was excited, but we had no idea how we'd pull this off. September is a big wedding month in New England. Where in the world could we find a hall? Then there were favors, music, cake, and invitations to think about. It seemed impossible, but God had a plan!

With very little effort, we located a reasonably priced country club that had a cancellation. My sister-in-law was able to locate a bakery to make a replica of their wedding cake. She also took care of the favors and centerpieces. (Unlike me, she's great with stuff like that!) We found a DJ, with only one phone call. My husband got a hold of their damaged wedding photos. He spent hours digitally restoring them. I made a scrapbook from the photos, the first real wedding album they've had. (I'll admit, I didn't finish it until midnight the night before the party!) He also created a slide show showing their life together over the years. John then made a guestbook incorporating all the pictures from the slide show. Throughout all the planning, God seemed to lead the way, and open doors. Apparently, He too felt this party was a good idea.

It was a lot to get done in a short amount of time, but when the day arrived, everything was ready. A family friend, whose hobby is photography, called that morning and offered to take pictures. We said "Sure!" Little did we know that this, too, was part of God's plan.

The party couldn't have been better. Everything went perfectly! The slideshow was a big hit. My favorite part was a photo of my brother-in-law with his son, Tony, on his first day of school. It faded out, the next photo being the two of them at Tony's high school graduation. It was very sweet. Everyone we had invited had come, and then some. Even our teenage nephews, Tony and Joey, were enjoying themselves. It was all about family and friends coming together to count their many blessings. Everyone seemed to "get" that.

When the evening ended, I happily headed out to bring the kids home. John stayed behind with his nephews to gather up all the odds and ends that we had brought. As I left that night, and hugged my nephews goodbye, I never could have guessed it would be the last time I'd see Tony's beautiful face. Four weeks later, our 19 year old nephew would die unexpectedly. The party is our last memory of him. Although Tony's death took us all by surprise, God, of course, knew what was to come. With my whole heart, I believe this celebration of love and family was orchestrated by God to provide us with the loving memories He knew we'd soon need.

So this date is bittersweet for me. As heartbreaking as it is to realize that it's been one year since I've seen Tony, I also think there's much to be thankful for about that night. The family friend provided a wealth of pictures. A picture of my sister-in-law with her 3 boys, altogether. A picture of my kids with their cousins, the last one we'll ever have with everyone in it. And many more. Tony's entry in the guestbook to his grandparents was the most tender of the book. He spoke of how much they have meant to him growing up. I know my in-laws will treasure his words forever. All of the aunts, uncles and cousins had a night of great memories, that included Tony for one last time. If I had known what was to come, I wouldn't have been able to imagine a better final memory of Tony. For that I can be thankful.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Preschoolers, sex ed. and the media

Actual conversation with my almost 5 year old daughter:

Mommy goes to kiss daughter goodnight.
Daughter opens her mouth.
"What are you doing?" asks Mommy
"I want to kiss like the lady and man on TV"
"What do you mean?" asks Mommy
"They kissed for a long time and they had their mouths open. I want to kiss like that."
"Well, you can't kiss Mommy like that. That's a special kind of kiss for married people."
"I can't wait until I get married! Then I can kiss people like that!"
"Well, honey, you can't kiss everyone like that. Only your husband."
"Why not, Mommy.? I want to kiss people like that!"
"Because it's a special kind of kiss that God made for husbands and wives."
"But you and Daddy never kiss like that.."
"Well, actually we do. Just not in front of you."
"Why not?"
" It's supposed to be private, honey."
"Then why were the lady and the man doing it right on TV?"

Good question, kid!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Homeschool Socialization

We've all heard it. The first thing people say when they hear you homeschool: "But what about socialization?" Forget academics and morality, this socialization thing can really get naysayers going. It used to really irritate me. Sometimes I'd feel the need to "educate" people about their flawed thinking. Now, with a few years under my belt, I either roll my eyes, or laugh hysterically.
Today we met up with a group of fellow homeschoolers. This was our first day with this group. My kids knew a few of the children, but not many. It was here that the socialization problem really became evident. My "tweener" daughter approached a group of girls around her age. They all knew each other. But something was terribly wrong with these girls. They didn't seem to know they were supposed to ignore the new girl, and make her feel like an outsider. Instead they introduced themselves and happily let her join their group. Very disturbing, indeed. During a scavenger hunt, my son was paired with a boy almost twice his age. Someone forgot to tell the older boy that he was supposed to whine and complain about this travesty. Instead they ran off searching for their items. They made a great team! During a snack, my 4 year old plopped herself down in a group of tweener girls. Rather than telling her to "get lost", or ignoring her, the girls treated her like one of the gang, engaging her in conversation. Don't even get me started on how the teen girls were dressed. Not a thong or belly in sight. Despite being fully dressed, they had an air of confidence and contentment that was unusual. Over and over again I saw these disturbing scenes: older children helping younger children, kids treating each other and adults with respect, (gasp!) children being "includers" rather than "excluders". No whining, either! Yes, the whole thing was very unlike anything you would see in a school setting. You could see that these poor homeschool kids were truly being deprived of "normal" socialization. There were no cliques, no cool kids, no geeks, no rich kids, no poor kids...They didn't seem to know they were supposed to exclude certain kids, berate those that were different, and treat adults with disdain. If this is allowed to continue, these innocent children are in danger of growing into well-adjusted, caring, respectful adults. How will they ever function in society??

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Some pee, some poop and a marriage proposal...

A recent post at Stephanie's Mommy Brain, brought back some funny memories. (This is where the link to the post would be, if I wasn't so technologically challenged) Anyway, last fall we were with some good friends at a playground. We noticed the boys standing behind a tree together. We thought they were chatting. How cute they are! When I moved to the side a little, I could see that they both had their pants at their ankles. Yes, they were watering the tree. Apparently it's more fun to do it with a pal. My friend and I tried our best to reprimand the boys without laughing too hard. I told Alex he could get arrested for public urination (hee-hee urination,that's a funny word!)...that got his pants back on. Fast forward a few weeks. Same friends, different playground. The girls are off playing, when my friend's son comes and tells his mother he needs to go potty. Well, the only "facility" available was a nasty port a john, so she told him to go to the edge of the woods. No one else was around, and the girls were occupied. Well, we should have asked more questions. He did just as he was told. He went to the edge of the woods, took down his pants, and squatted!! Yikes! My friend practically tossed her then 1 year old into my arms, and took off running and yelling to him. You should have seen her go! Just then my younger daughter decided this was a good time to run over to the little boy and ask him to marry her! Interesting taste in men, Livvy! The good news is my friend got there "in time". We're considering therapy for Livvy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My near death experience

Let me start by saying I love where I live. The only drawback is the assortment of critters that I run into from time to time. Yesterday, I was driving to a nearby farm. It was pouring, and I was driving perhaps a little too fast for the winding country road I was on. When suddenly, out of nowhere, appears a spider tangling down in front of me, heading for my arm. Now this was no normal spider. It was nasty, and I could tell it fully intended to eat me alive. So I did what any normal person would do, I totally freaked out! I was swinging at the man-eating spider like a mad woman. I looked up, and realized I was literally inches from plowing into a telephone pole. How I missed the pole, I don't know. It had to have been divine intervention. I should have been counting my blessings at this point, but there was no time. I quickly realized that I'd lost sight of my nemesis. I knew he was in the car somewhere, so I pulled over, rather than risk death by telephone pole. It was no where to be seen. I reluctantly continued on my trip. A minute or two passed. I attempted to drive safely, while keeping an eye out for you know who. Suddenly he appeared again, this time on my lap. EEW! I knew I had no time to waste, within seconds he'd be gnawing through my jeans. So I slapped that little sucker as hard as I could. Bulls eye! Splat! I hurt myself, from hitting so hard, and my jeans had really nasty squished spider guts on them, but I WON!! All you PETA people can sit right back down, you didn't see this freak of nature.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Homeschool Rules!

After an great morning of school, I thought I'd list a few reasons why homeschool rules!

1. After watching news coverage of 9/11, we were able to pray for those who lost a loved one that terrible day, and no one got fired or sued!

2. My son is not only allowed, but encouraged, to spin around between each word while doing sight word drills. No meeting was held to determine what type of medication would best stop such "disruptive" behavior.

3. My daughter began a new lesson in her math today. After completing 2 pages, it was apparent that she had mastered the lesson, and asked to take the test. She was not required to wait for 75% of the other children to catch up with her, before moving on.

4. My children get to spend "recess" everyday with their best friends, each other. (Although they might not admit that!) 20 years from now when life throws them a curve ball, they'll have these relationships to fall back on. No one felt the need to segregate them simply because of their different ages.

5. After spilling the teacher's coffee, and bursting into tears, the teacher was able to comfort Livvy with hugs and kisses. No one was sued for sexual harassment.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Living Proof Live- Part 2

Let me start by saying how grateful I am for the incredible seats we had at this event. Believe it or not, we had better seats then Beth!! Yes, front row, center! Thank you, God!! Another day I'll reminisce about how that came about. But today I was thinking about something very simple, yet profound that Beth shared on the first night. She stated that "Selfishness will never lead to satisfaction". Ain't that the truth! Politically incorrect, but true. In the world we live in, pouring yourself out for others goes against everything we're told. Aren't we supposed to seek our own satisfaction above all else?? That's what we've been told. I am woman, hear me roar, and all that other garbage. How can pouring my life out for others lead to satisfaction?? Shouldn't I be miserable?? You'd think so, but the more I live my life in Christ, the more it makes sense. Not in the "Aren't I so good" kind of way. Believe me, if I thought that, I wouldn't feel the daily need for a Savior. It's a completely different kind of satisfaction than the world has to offer. It's a satisfaction deep in your soul, a sense of blessing in everyday, a peace beyond words. A satisfaction that is God-given. Something the world can't offer, or understand. And the coolest part is that God does all the work!! I'm just along for the ride!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What's that smell??

I'm sitting at the computer when my kitty comes to the back door. I let her in. She gives me a weird look. Then I give her an even weirder look....what is that smell??? Yes, Hannah our beloved cat reeked! It became apparent that she got skunked!! The smell wafted throughout the house. Of course my husband is out...what's a girl to do? I tricked poor Hannah into going in the garage, while I searched the Internet for a solution. Just then my hubby called. "Get home now, and pick up some hydrogen peroxide and baking soda." He arrived home about 45 minutes later with the "supplies". So we brought her up to the bath tub. I prepared the solution, and John held her while I scrubbed it into her. She made sounds that were just pitiful! We had to leave the solution in for 5 full minutes. I know that doesn't sound long, but believe me, IT IS! John has scratches all over his arms from her attempts at escape. I couldn't help but sing a few lines of "Smelly Cat"!! She seems to smell better now. Hopefully she does, and it's not just that I've burnt out my olfactory receptors.

Living Proof Live - Providence part 1

Well, the main reason I started this blog was to put all these deep thoughts in writing, so here we go. The Living Proof Live conference in August was just amazing. I learned and relearned many things from Beth. However, I think I'll start with something that Travis said that really stuck with me. (Even though it's not in my notes-I checked, it's not there.) He was talking about God holding out His hand to help us, but he said that God won't pry our fingers open. many things do I cling to, instead of handing them over to Him? My "pet" sins, perhaps. Sometimes it's my attitudes, sometimes just trying to do things on my own. Let me tell you, the day in the life of a homeschool mom is a blast when you let Him do it. Not so fun when I try to do it on my own. So God has used Travis to bless my heart, and help me unclench my fists. But I also thought of others in my life. Those that don't know Him, and don't have the option of "dispatching" the power of the Holy Spirit. I think of those hurting and lost. In particular someone who has suffered the most unimaginable of losses. Oh, how I pray she will be able to unclench her fists, and let Him heal her brokenness. I realize that in some circumstances it can seem that there is no hope. But God is so much bigger than our circumstances. Even in the deepest of despair there is hope in Christ, for those who choose Him. It's really the only way to find peace in this fallen world. Without Him there is no hope, no peace....only brokenness and despair.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What am I doing here???

Well, here it is, my first post. Why am I doing this?? Really, I have no idea. I recently went to Beth Moore's Living Proof Live in Providence. Afterwards, my mind was filled with all sorts of wonderful, deep thoughts. I said to myself, "I should write this stuff down...this is good stuff." Well, real life set in, and most of my "deep thoughts" have scattered, but since I often carry on conversations with myself, I thought "Why not?". It's not like anyone is ever going to read any of this stuff anyway. So basically this is my culturally accepted way of talking to myself. So, I'm now going to tell a little story to myself about my son Alex, so as to never forget his tender heart. This Sunday at church we were having the Lord's Supper. Alex just began participating a few months ago, and I still questioned some whether he "got it". I reminded him as the plates were passed that we were remembering what Christ did for us on the cross. It was also my youngest daughter's first day up in "Grown-up Church", so I was trying to keep her under control ("No, Livvy it's not snack time...), pray, and make sure no one dropped the plates as they were passed, all at the same time. After we took communion, I noticed tears in Alex's eyes. "What's wrong?" I asked. His response: "I was just thinking about Jesus dying on the cross, and it made me cry a little." So then of course, I got teary eyed too. Apparently he "gets it".