Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dinner fail

The following is a public service announcement.

How NOT to cook a successful dinner:

1. Put fish and dinner rolls in the oven to bake.

2. Put rice and green beans on the stove to cook.

3. Go upstairs to get some dirty laundry for the washing machine, which has been off for a record-breaking 17 minutes.

4. Get distracted by the clutter in your bedroom and decide to clean out yours and your husband's dressers. (You have the "luxury" of doing this only because your husband has taken all three children to a cub scout meeting and you are home alone. You must seize the opportunity secretly to get rid of the faded, torn, threadbare t-shirts said husband has been wearing since he was in college 15 years ago.)

5. Begin to smell something burning.

6. Go downstairs to discover a kitchen full of smoke and nothing that resembles the salmon, rice, green beans, and rolls with which you started . . . an hour and 45 minutes ago.

7. Call China Garden.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by The Voice of Experience.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Some catching-up

Wow, it's been awhile.

I've had a million thought of things to blog about over the past month but never the time to do it. So, I'll just do a generic catch-up post and try to come up with something more clever soon, I promise.

1. I am home with all three children on this Monday before Christmas. The boys are both semi-sick, so I let them stay home to rest. We leave for Georgia soon and I don't want sickies on our trip. Since dragging them out into the cold to take Lauren to school would have defeated the purpose of keeping them home, I kept Lauren home today, too.

We've had a morning filled with apple pancakes (didn't turn out as tasty as I'd hoped), Battleship games, jigsaw-puzzles, Uno, and books. Despite the coughing and runny noses, it's been one of my favorite days of late. But really, how can a day that starts with kisses and snuggles be bad? (Okay, maybe the Benadryl I gave the boys is somehow making ME delirious.)

2. I have been having trouble getting into the spirit of Christmas this year. Not the "secular" spirit. I've had the lights and the tree and the decorations up since Thanksgiving. Gifts are all bought and wrapped, and parties have been had.

What I've been lacking this season is the spiritual readiness. I normally do an advent calendar/prayer chain with the kids during December, but this year we never quite got around to that. I did implement an advent wreath during children's church to turn the kids' hearts toward the anticipation of the savior, which I think went well.

3. David and I both participated in a service at the Episcopal church last night, which I really enjoyed. They have a "Lessons & Carols" service each year where they ask people from various churches in the community to come and do readings, which is what I was doing. (David was playing the trumpet.) For such a tiny church, they had an amazing choir, and they started the evening with one of my top three favorite Christmas hymns, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence." I think a reverent liturgical service is just what my heart needed right now.

4. On a lighter note, we hosted our 2nd annual Christmas party Saturday night, and that went off without a hitch. A little food, a little fun gift exchanging (the highlight of which may have been this book . . . which is illustrated . . . gross!), and a little game-playing, all while the children were entertained by a babysitter upstairs. Perfect.

5. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a serious aversion to the sound of teeth being brushed. I cannot stand to watch someone brush his/her teeth . . . it kills me. So, Joshua has been making little videos with his ipod lately. He films his stuffed animals, the football game on television, the dog, etc. Well, a few nights ago he brought me his ipod and said, "Mom, you have to watch the video I just made." As I began to watch, I noticed that he was grinning ear-to-ear and trying not to laugh.

He had filmed himself brushing his teeth and tried to trick me into watching it.

He is his father's son.

6. This was our Christmas card this year:



Though I considered going with a more honest photo this year:



6. Somehow the thousands of things I've thought to blog about in the past month are all proving elusive at the moment. So, since I'm at a loss for things with which to entertain you, and there is laundry just waiting to be folded and put away, I will bid you adieu.

And hopefully be back with better thoughts next time. From Georgia. Everything's better in Georgia, right? :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Save fish. Live better.

I've mentioned before that David is currently obsessed with fish. When David hones in on a new obsession, he goes all out. Fifty-five gallon tank, fish, lobsters, sea snake-ish thingys, fish tank toys . . . the whole nine yards.

Sadly, fish tend to die rather easily, so it's pretty common for the kids to come upstairs with a morning report of who died during the night.

Which is why David buys most of his fish at Walmart. They have a 90-day return policy. That's right. You can return your dead fish.

Last week I was heading to Walmart, which I may have mentioned one or two hundred times is an hour away. To save himself a trip, David asked me to return some fish for him. In case you're wondering where one keeps dead fish, the answer of course is the freezer. At any given time, my freezer contains ice cream, cheese sticks, hamburger meat, a year-old dead grouse (don't ask), and several dead fish. Please come for dinner anytime.

So, David asked me to take his fish back, and I, being the ridiculously great wife I am, agreed. Except that I, being the ridiculously forgetful person I am, sort of forgot.

It's not that I wasn't looking forward to handing the friendly 90-year old greeter man at Walmart four baggies containing dead fish; I was. I just forgot.

Which is why when I discovered them in my van a few days later, I was, for once, very glad that it's been 25 degrees outside.

So, if you see a crazy looking woman carrying ziploc bags of dead fish, and possibly a grouse, into Walmart, please don't identify me when you submit the picture to People of Walmart.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A party for a princess

We had Lauren's birthday party today, so our dining room looked like a pink-and-purple princess bomb had exploded. Which means it looked perfect for a five year-old girl's birthday party. (Wow. Even typing that was difficult. How can Lauren be turning five?)

The party consisted of plenty of laughter, makeup applying, nail painting, jewelry making, cake-eating, and dancing. Lots of dancing.




















He couldn't stand to be left out of the fun:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My flickering torch

One of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day of dealing with bickering children is to sit at the piano and play hymns. As I was playing this evening, I turned in my songbook to one of my favorites (I say that about them all, don't I?): "O' Love That Will Not Let Me Go"

(If you aren't familiar with this hymn, the link above is to a version set to a modern tune with vocals by Sandra McCracken, whom I love.)

As with most lasting hymns, there is story behind this one. It was written in 1882 by George Matheson on the eve of his sister's wedding. Apparently, Matheson had gone blind quite a few years prior, and his fiance had left him upon learning that his sight could not be restored. She told him she couldn't bear to go through life with a blind man, and so it was that his sister became his caregiver for most of his life. On the night before her wedding, the rest of his family was gone overnight, and he was left alone, during which time he reported that he was "overcome with some kind of mental anguish" and that this song was "the fruit of that suffering."

The second verse is what struck me tonight:

"O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to Thee. My heart restores its borrowed ray, that in Thy sunshine's blaze its day my brighter, fairer be."

Though it may seem logical that the blind man who wrote this would refer to his own vision as a "flickering torch," it is equally true of mine.

So often I wish God would just give me what I think I want. Let me go where I think I want to go. Do what I think I want to do. I trust wholeheartedly this vision of mine, and despite how often it has led me astray in the past, I cling mightily to it.

How freeing it is to know that there is a Light who follows all my ways and sees the end from the beginning. The path may seem dark and scary sometimes, and I may be left with only shadowy images of what lies along the trail, but I walk with the Light. My own sight may be but a flickering torch, but He is all I need to see.

(The next verse is actually my favorite: "O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.")

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A tutorial

Dear husband,

This is a ladle:




This is a strainer:



When serving SOUP to one's children, the former is the better option.

However, I am thankful that I got to go play bunco while you served the children, so there will be no further remarks about your choice of kitchen utensils.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some Quick Takes

1.

I can't promise there will be seven.

2.

I put my outside Christmas lights up a few days ago. I realize it's not even Thanksgiving yet, so relax; they're not lit up. But, if I've learned anything in my year and a half as a Northerner, it's this: don't turn on your windshield wipers to clear snow until AFTER you close the driver's door.

But of more relevance to this topic: putting up Christmas lights when it's 52 degrees is soooo much better than putting up Christmas lights when it's 22 degrees.

Also, I love staple guns. Another lesson I learned last year: don't put the staples through the wires. Especially not both sides of the staple. David seemed to think that was a big deal.

I must say Pennsylvania has been very educational so far.

3.

Josh is doing cub scouts for the first time this year. I encouraged him to do it because it seemed right up his alley. Hey loves all things boy-ish and outdoorsy. (I can't believe "outdoorsy" doesn't have a squiggly red line under it . . . way to go spellcheck!) So with visions of camping and starting fires without a match and shooting things with a bow-and-arrow and tying cool knots, we signed up for scouting.

So far, it's been mostly work on the part of David and me. Selling popcorn. (me and Josh) Making a rocket for the rocket race. (David) And tonight's endeavor: making a peanut butter-chocolate Christmas tree. (mostly me)

I think I should get a merit badge.

4.

Shadow-the-dog has improves so much lately that he's been allowed to have free reign of the downstairs when we're not home. It's been two weeks now that we've been leaving him loose during the day while we're at work, and so far it's going quite well.

Two curtains torn down in two weeks is not bad, right?

5.

David is obsessed with fish. We added an aquarium to our living room a few months ago, and I think he adds new fish to it every week. (This does not lead to as many fish as one would think when one factors in the purchase-to-death ratio. It seems fish like to eat one another.)

I've always been intrigued by David's ability to enjoy watching a model train travel around a pretend track, and now I'm equally intrigued by his ability to watch little fish swim around a 55-gallon tank.

They're fish. They're swimming. Oh, look . . . now they're swimming the other way.

6.

We are planning to see the movie Unstoppable this weekend. It was filmed in the town next to ours last year, and if you'll recall, I barely missed becoming a Hollywood star. Missed it by thatmuch. I'll try not to be bitter as I look at all the extras who could have been me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just wishing

Every week during our Wednesday night church service, the pastor (who is also David's uncle) calls the children to the front of the sanctuary. He gives them each a piece of candy for coming to church (he knows the way to my kids' heart!) and then asks them Bible trivia questions. If they are the first to answer correctly they get more candy or sometimes a dollar.

The pastor will call on the person who had his/her hand up first, but because has has the heart of teddy bear, he always asks, "Who else knew that?" He gives an extra piece of candy to those who say they knew.

Lauren, who is not an idiot, has figured this out and raises her hand instantly after the question is answered and says, "I knew that!" She gets a lot of candy.

Joshua has been the one to answer correctly once or twice, but more often he, too, gets the "I knew it, too" reward. These usually go to the kids who, like Josh and Lauren, get their hands up within a second or two of the first person. Not only that, but when the pastor asks who else knew, they have to get it up again pretty quickly. Josh and Lauren are good at that.

Ethan, on the other hand, has never gotten a second piece of candy. Ever.

He is extremely intelligent. In fact, I suspect he may be the most smartest of all my children . . . don't tell the others I said so.

But he is not fast. He never has been. He takes a long time to process information, and I often have to remind myself to be patient while he processes my question or my instruction. He takes forever to tell a story because he speaks slowly. He is the last to finish his cake at every birthday party, including all of his own. He takes longer to put on his socks than Josh takes to get dressed, use the bathroom, and brush his teeth.

He is smart; he is just not quick.

So tonight he came back to our pew frustrated and struggling not to cry. He said, "Mom, I never get a second piece, and Lauren got four!" "I know," I whispered, "You just have to get your hand up faster." "I try, but there's always a ton of people with their hands up first," he lamented.

I wish there was something I could tell him that would make it better, but it is just a fact of his life that he is not fast. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and there will always be things at which we don't excel or even succeed. I also know that one day he will struggle and fight for things of much greater significance than a Hershey's miniature.

Today it's just a piece of candy, but I hate it for him.

I realize it's not a big deal, but I want to fix it. I want to hold practice drills after school to train him to get his hand up faster. I want to tell the pastor to change the way he does the questions so that the kids who aren't so fast will have a chance. I want to go up with him and jerk his hand into the air so fast the other kids won't even see it happen. I want all the other kids to come down with a sudden inexplicable illness that causes them not to be able to lift their hands.

Okay, maybe not that last one, but what I really want is just to make the whole world look out for and accommodate this precious little person so that he never feels bad about himself. Ever.

I know it won't happen, but what kind of momma would I be if I didn't wish?

Friday, November 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


1.

Lauren has been going through a clingy phase recently, not wanting me to go to work. She'll beg and plead and barter for me to stay home and does not believe me when I say I have to go.

Lauren: Who says you have to go to work? Did Ms. J say you have to?
Me: No, she's our secretary. She works for me and daddy. She doesn't say I have to work.
L: Does daddy say you have to?
Me: Well, he is in charge at work, but no, I just have to because there are things I have to get done today. I have to make some phone calls and read things and write some things.
L: So, you can just say you DON'T have to work today.

The other night while I was giving her a bath, I told her that I was working the next day. (I only work three days a week, by the way.) She started again with the "who says?" so I explained that I had to go to court.

Me: I have to go to court. The judge said I have to be there.
Lauren (in a lightbulb-going-off voice): Ooooohh, so the JUDGE says when you have to work!
Me: Yes . . . sometimes.

She's still not convinced I had to go to work the day before because the judge didn't say so. That's her new question now whenever I go to work: "Mommy, did the judge say you have to?"

2.

The kids got school pictures back this week. Pardon the dirt on my scanner.

Joshua, 2nd grade:



Ethan, 1st grade:



Lauren, pre-school:



3.

I had to go to Olean again today, because, well, apparently that's what I do on Fridays. Drive an hour to the dry cleaner and Walmart. And to pick up the glass for our table. Again.

Since the glass is quite big, I had to take all of the seats out of the van except the two front seats. So, now we have just gone all-out redneck and have all the van seats on the porch. Since I can't unload the glass by myself, that's where the seats remain for now.

So if you drive by my house right now, you will see my kids sitting in the van seats on the porch eating pretzels. A sofa on the lawn and we're all set.

4.

I was listening to one of my favorite hymns during the drive - "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken." I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it on here before, but it's worth repeating. One line in particular spoke to me today:

"Soul, then know thy full salvation. Rise o'er sin and fear and care;
Joy to find in every station, something still to do or bear."

All of us understand "doing." We ask God what He wants us to do. We keep busy with what we're currently doing and look to the next thing we have to do. We find our worth in what we do. We feel less significant, less worthy, if we're not doing.

But, sometimes we're not asked to do. We're asked to bear.

Sometimes all we can do is bear.

5.

I've been meaning for quite some time to write a post about music. About the different types of music used in worship and why I find some types more conducive to my own worship than others.

I grew up in a non-denominational charismatic church singing mostly praise choruses. I attended a Baptist church for a few years in upper elementary/junior high school, so of course, that involved only hymns. (In fact, to the best of my recollection, it involved only about a dozen hymns!) In high school and college I was back in a non-denominational church where we sang "contemporary worship songs." These are similar to the choruses of the 80's but usually longer and with more depth. Many, as most newer worship songs do, contained verses and a chorus, rather than just a chorus repeated over and over. and over. and over.

For the last few years of our time in Georgia, we attended a Presbyterian PCA) church where the music was almost exclusively hymns, but they were different hymns from the ones I'd sung in the Baptist church all those years before. They were deep and insightful hymns, rich with meaning. Not only that, but many had been set to newer music to make them more "singable" than the tunes that accompanied them 200, 50, or even 15 years ago.

So, here we are today back in a charismatic church that calls itself non-denominational but is quite heavily Pentacostal. We sing mostly the choruses of the 1960's - 1980's. A few more recent songs, if by recent you mean within the past decade. (And ALL of them are song in a southern-gospel style. How did I manage to move 1,000 miles north and end up in a southern-gospel-singing church?!)

All this is to say, I've spent a lot of time thinking about worship music. I LOVE worship music. I love the old, old hymns; I love the modern worship songs. I listen to worship music when I drive, when I clean, when I work. When I play the piano, I play mostly for worship. I love it. It speaks to my soul.

What I do not love are 12 word choruses. I'm sorry, I just don't.

I've heard them called 7-11 songs, because they have seven words, and you sing them eleven times. I think that's a pretty accurate description.

Here's my issue with them, other than the fact that they are dated and southern-gospel: they don't give your mind anything to focus on.

I find that when I sing the same 10 words over and over, my mind begins to wander. Sure, sometimes I'll feel my spirit moved and be truly, deeply, focused on Christ. But not usually.

The eastern religions use chanting as a way to empty the mind. Repeating the same thing over and over and over empties the mind; it doesn't fill it. Some may say that emptying the mind is good in worship, because then the Holy Spirit can speak to a person more clearly. That may be true, but in my experience, that's not what usually happens. I'm focused on the Holy Spirit for the first two, three, maybe even four repetitions, but at some point, my mind begins to think about how I'm standing, how my shoes feel, whether the kids are behaving, what the singers are wearing, what we're having for lunch, etc.

That is not the case when I sing hymns that are full of thoughtful, intellectual lyrics. God gave us minds to understand the truth of the Gospel, and I find that I can worship Him more fully when my mind has things to grab onto. Like this:

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still mine own.

Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Savior, too;
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like man, untrue.
And while Thou doest smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, show Thy face and all is bright.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure! Come, disaster, storm and rain!
In Thy service pain is pleasure; with Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, “Abba, Father”; I have stayed my heart on Thee:
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather, all must work for good to me.

Man may trouble and distress me, ’twill but drive me to Thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me; heav’n will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me, while Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Take, my soul, thy full salvation; rise o’er sin, and fear, and care;
Joy to find in every station something still to do or bear:
Think what Spirit dwells within thee; what a Father’s smile is thine;
Think that Jesus died to win thee, child of heav’n, canst thou repine?

Hasten on from grace to glory, armed by faith, and winged by prayer,
Heav’n’s eternal days before thee, God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope soon change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise
6.

Considering how long #5 was, I'll mercifully end now. :)

Head over to Conversion Diary for more!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Like a nocturnal Houdini

Some people play musical chairs. My children play musical beds. Especially Lauren.

She had gotten into a bad habit recently of coming into our room during the night. I perpetuated this bad habit by being too tired to take her back to bed, so I would just give in and let her stay.

Eventually, I grew weary of this arrangement what with all the extra elbows and knees and three inches of bed she would leave for me to slumber in, so I began saying no. When she came in during the night and asked to get in our bed, I would drag myself up and take her back to her own bed.

Seemingly, this would lead to her staying in bed, right?

Not quite.

Apparently, being told "no" did not cause her to stop coming; it just caused her to stop asking. I would awaken at some point during the wee hours of the morning, and there she would be pressed up against me like a magnet. She somehow perfected the quiet, stealth-like climb right over my sleeping body into the middle of our bed. After a few mornings of this, David and I asked each other, "Did you say she could get in here?" Nope, she just sneaked in.

Of course, I told her she needed to stop doing this. No climbing in our bed without permission.

That worked. No more Lauren in the bed come morning. Great, I thought, she's finally sleeping in her own bed all night again.

Wrong.

At 4:00 this morning, Ethan came in my room. "Mom, who put Lauren in my bed?"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday



1.

Lauren has been composing and playing songs on the piano lately. All the time. Until today every song title ended with the word "forever."

"Joy Forever"
"We'll Be Here Forever"
"Boys Forever" (Yes, I raised my eyebrows at that one. I'm hoping it's because her favorite song right now is "When the Boys Light Up" by Newsboys.)
"Snow Forever" (I do NOT like that one, though given where we live, I fear it may be prophetic.)

That was her entire repertoire until yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon she was making up another new song the piano, and I overheard her telling her friend Ally what the song was called:

"I Seek My Deadness"

I must have had her repeat it fifteen times before I was convinced that's what she really said. Flabbergasted, I asked her where she came up with that. She said:

It goes, "My father died, my hope is found, and I bow and seek my deadness."

Umm, if I didn't know that she is the world's happiest kid who literally sings about butterflies when she's laying in her bed at night, I would be really concerned!

2.

When I told David about the song title, he noted that it could just be a sign of her spiritual maturity. Technically, we should all be seeking our deadness, right?

As if on cue, just as I was typing this, she wrote another one and asked me if I wanted to hear her play it. She said it's called, "My Blood Is Here, But My Sin Is Not."

I'm thinking maybe the hymns I often play are going over her head a little, but she's coming up with remarkably spiritually sound song titles.

3.

After four months of all-Super-Mario-Brothers-all-the-time, I am happy that the kids are rediscovering Wii Sports.

Surely flailing like madmen and screaming at the television while pretending to box is better for them than darting up and down tunnels and stomping on mushrooms, right?

Though, I must admit hearing my eight year-old yell, "Make him cry, 'Mommy!'" while playing Wii boxing is slightly disconcerting.

Make him cry, "Mommy?" Where does he get this?

4.

Okay, I think that's enough stories about the freakishly bizarre things my kids have said this week.

5.

Today was 4 year-old preschool Field Trip and Harvest Party Day. Here's Lauren and her class dressed as scarecrows for a party and field trip to a local nursing home:













6.


Yes, as you can see in that last picture, it was quite cold outside today. Yes, Lauren was shivering. Yes, she's wearing capris.

They were supposed to wear blue jeans or overalls and a plaid shirt. Being my little fashionista princess, she HATES blue jeans, so she does not even own a pair. The best I could dig up was a pair of denim capris. It didn't occur to me until it started snowing that I should have made her put tights or leggings under them!

Yep, I've got that Mom of the Year award in the bag now.

7.


Head over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes, and have a great weekend! May it be warmer where you are than it is here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Notes to Self

1. If you have more noodles than spaghetti sauce and decide to put the huge clump of leftover noodles down the sink, make sure to run the garbage disposal.

2. If you forget to run the garbage disposal, and clogged and leaking pipes ensue, please, PLEASE don't run the dishwasher.

3. If you have already set the dishwasher to run during the night, remember to TURN IT OFF, or you will awaken to a wet, sopping, disgusting flooded kitchen in the morning.

Sincerely,
The Voice of Experience

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Let people love you"

Today was Joshua's 8th birthday.

I cannot believe my first baby, the one who made made me a mom, the one who slept wrapped in a glow-blanket for jaundice, who refused to sleep unless I was holding him, who learned right along with me all about swaddling and breastfeeding and diaper rash and bouncy seats, has been on this earth for eight years.

Tomorrow I will post pictures of his Super Mario birthday party and his favorite birthday present ever, his ipod.

Tonight, though, I wanted to share with you what Lauren "wrote" for Joshua this morning.

She was distraught when she realized it was his birthday and she did not have a card for him, so I suggested she make him one.

Lauren: Mommy, how do you spell "Dear Josh?"

I told her.

Lauren: Mommy, how do you spell, "I love you?"

I told her.

Lauren: How do you spell "Happy Birthday?"

I told her.

Lauren: How do you spell, "It's your day to let people love you?"

I sat in stunned silence. And then I wrote it for her and told her it was the best birthday wish I'd ever heard. (Especially from a four year-old!)

Friday, October 8, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday



1.

I'm having an MRI this afternoon. I've had several, so I'm not overly freaked out about it, but they always make me nervous.

It's not so much the closed-space, claustrophobia issues that most people have.

It's the irrational fear that I have metal somewhere on me. I double and triple check that I don't have on my wedding rings or a necklace, but there's still always that concern that I have a steel plate in my head that I don't remember.

Is it bad that I think I wrote about this last time I had an MRI, but I'm not sure?

2.

Words cannot describe how glad I will be when soccer season is over. This three-kids-on-three-different-teams thing is wearing me thin. Add coaching one of those teams, and I've about reached my limit.

3.

Had to take Joshua back to the dentist in Corning, NY yesterday to have the kid version of a root canal. He did really well, but boy did it make me wish we had a pediatric dentist closer than 75 miles away.

4.

I realized something while driving to Corning. There is a pretty simple formula for creating a small town. If you'd like to try it, here's the recipe:

1 Dollar General
1 Fox's Pizza
1 Buchanan Brother's Pharmacy
1 Tastee Freeze (or some other "uniquely" spelled ice cream place)
1 Acorn or 1 Sheetz
1 hardware store
1 VFW or American Legion Post
1 school
a few churches

Combine all of the above within a 1-2 mile radius, and you have just about every town within 50 miles of my house, my own town included.

5.

My momma is coming tomorrow!!

Not only that, but she's bringing two of my four awesome nieces, one of my amazing cousins, and one fantastic friend who is like an aunt to me because she's been my mom's close friend for so much of my life.

If I can survive till tomorrow and stay awake all the way to Buffalo to pick them up, I will be one happy gal.

6.

Which is why I should be cleaning my house instead of writing Quick Takes. Oh, and did I mention that Josh's birthday party is the day after they arrive?

It's official. I've lost my mind.

7.

For Quick Takes by people who are not as desperately in need of getting off the computer as I am, head over to Conversion Diary.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Perspective (If you have a weak stomach, maybe skip this post)

Yesterday I complained to my secretary about what a lousy morning I was having.

The day began with freezing temperatures, pouring rain, allergies that were making me sneeze non-stop, and an annual visit to the GYN. (Yes, I know that's just what you were hoping to read about when you hopped on the internet today. Don't worry, it gets worse.)

It seemed like a pretty miserable morning.

Until today.

This morning began with Lauren coming to me at 7:55 to complain about a "big scab" on her head. It was a tick. A big one.

Yuck, I'm shuddering just thinking about it.

The next half-hour was spent trying to get the tick to release its death grip on Lauren's scalp. No luck. Finally got some of the tick off, but not the most important parts.

So, at around 8:30 I went to the kitchen to call the doctor's office to set up an appointment for them to finish the tick extraction. When I walked in the kitchen I saw a sight from hell.

We set a few mouse-traps last night because we've seen evidence of mice the past few days. I completely forgot about it as I walked into the kitchen this morning.

Instead of the sight of a dead mouse in a trap (which is disgusting but preferable to the alternative), I saw the following: an empty trap, a half-chewed piece of cheese, and blood. Lots and lots of mouse blood.

Seriously, just kill me now. I take back all my complaints about the little sniffles I had yesterday. Please take away the tick and give me back my sniffles. Let me trade the bloody horror scene for a pap smear. I'll take three!

Perspective. If only we could get it in advance.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fun Run

If you've ever lived in a small town, you know there's nothing they love more than a yard sale. Except a parade. And a festival.

This weekend was the Falling Leaves Festival, and the festivities ended with a 5k/Fun Run to benefit the local library.

Being Beck, I read about the 1/2 mile Fun Run last week, meant to mention it to the kids, and then promptly forgot about it. Luckily, our house is very close to the library, so the sight of people mulling around in running gear jogged my memory, pun intended.

The kids were so excited to be in a real race:










All of the kids did great in the race.

Joshua came in second place but was very disappointed not to take first. He was in the lead the whole race, got to within about 10 feet of the finish line (which was not clearly marked), and thought he was done. As he slowed down, the little boy behind him sprinted past to take the win. So unclear was it that Josh didn't even realize he had not won until Ethan told him a few minutes later.

(I encouraged Joshua that second place is great, that he ran excellently, and that if he'd not slowed down he definitely would have won. I think I'll save the life lesson in that for another day when he's not so disappointed.)

Ethan took fifth place overall and held his own with the big boys the entire race. He asked me several times after the race, "Mommy, did you think I'd get 5th place?" I'm not sure what the best answer is because I did not think he would do well. I generally don't think of him as super athletic or competitive, but I'm starting to think that is simply a downfall of comparing him to Josh who is ULTRA athletic and competitive. The truth is Ethan is one of the better players on his soccer team (he scored three goals on Saturday), and he ran hard and fast today. I think I need to be careful of not pigeon-holing my kids based on my preconceived notions.

Lauren, of course, ran hard and did well. She was the first "little" girl to cross the finish line, coming in behind the bigger girls but among the little boys her own age. She was extremely proud of herself and told me she's an "awesome runner, aren't I?"

Thursday, September 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


1.

Is this the cutest cub scout you ever saw?






2.

I have mixed feelings about this Scouting thing. As you can see from the picture, Joshua went to Tuesday night's pack meeting with his shirt untucked.

We were also late.

I'm pretty sure we are a walking violation of the Scout Code what with its emphasis on preparedness and responsibility and all.

3.

I know I promised parenting fluff today, but the truth is I just got nothin'.

4.

Some weeks I find my kids ridiculously cute. Funny, endearing, precious, and all that. This has not been one of those weeks.

5.

From the moment the boys came home from school today (Thurs night), Lauren and Ethan were on High Volume. There was shrieking and screaming, laughing and lamenting, howling and hollering.

All at maximum volume.

All afternoon.

And well into the evening.

6.

Then there was bedtime. Amid cries of, "I need a drink of water," "My tummy hurts," "I'm scared," and "Ethan won't stop farting into his elbow," I finally heard one that got my attention.

"Mom, I never ate supper."

Since mom has had a raging sore throat, headache, and backache all day, mom retreated to the bathtub when dad came home. Mom asked dad to heat up some leftover chicken soup for the kids. Dad heated said soup, but apparently Joshua had a stomachache and did not eat said soup. Which he neglected to tell me until bed time two hours later.

Of course, Joshua's recollection that he never ate dinner triggered Ethan's recollection that he never did his homework. Normally, mom stays on top of these matters, but like I said, mom was letting Calgon take her away.

I think next time I should have Calgon bring me home sooner. Or keep me away longer. Either one would have worked.

7.

I think I have decided for sure that I am not qualified to have three kids and a dog. Since I've gotten pretty attached to the kids over the years, I'm thinking it's the dog that needs to go.

Anyone want a really cute black/white dog who is completely house-broken, knows how to sit and lie down, and never, ever bites?

(Disclaimer: The aforementioned dog may or may not run away on a regular basis, dig dozens of holes in one's yard, jump on people with enough enthusiasm to knock over Andre the Giant, and chew up everything in sight, including but not limited to, socks, tissues, toys, rugs, coffee tables, and underwear. Dog comes with a lifetime warranty and money-back guarantee, but of course, some exclusions apply.)


Don't forget to check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Lie

File under: Posts that are better classified as sermons

If you're looking for fluffy, funny parenting stories, check back on Friday. Trust me, I'll have fluff. Tonight I have the opposite of fluff.
________________
The Lie

When Satan deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, he did so with a lie that has plagued people since.

Satan told Eve, "For God knows that in the day you eat from [this tree], your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:5)

He tricked Eve into believing that she was missing something. That there was more to be had than what she had already, which ironically, was God Himself. As if there could be more.

Prior to her encounter with the serpent, Eve had been at peace. She was already like God, made in His image, walking with Him, and exercising dominion over His creation. She wasn't missing anything.

But Satan attacked her in her place of peace. Her place of rest.

A couple of years ago I did a Beth Moore Bible study called "A Heart Like His." It's an excellent study of King David, and I highly recommend it. Since completing that study, I have found myself drawn time and again to the stories of David, Saul, Eli, Samuel, and Amalek.

Amalek?

Yes, it's a long story, but the gist of it is that God told Saul to attack Amalek, to "utterly destroy all that he has" and not to spare a man, woman, sheep, ox, etc. God was pretty clear about what Saul was to do, which was to leave absolutely no trace of the Amalekites. Saul, however, did not obey this directive; instead he killed everyone except Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and he spared the best of the sheep, oxen, and lambs. It was this disobedience that caused God not only to reject Saul as king but to remove his Spirit from Saul and send an evil spirit upon him instead. (Summarized from I Samuel 15 and 16)

Okay, if you haven't studied this, it all sounds pretty horrific. I agree; the world was a pretty brutal and savage place back then, and wars and destruction were part and parcel of the time.

But, there was something unique about God's wrath toward the Amalekites. There are numerous other incidents in scripture where God directs the Israelites to conquer another nation. He sent them into battle often, but His directive to utterly destroy the Amalekites is unique. There is something about it that caused me to want a closer look at why God despised the Amalekites so much.

To figure that out, I had to flip back over to Exodus where God had some pretty harsh words to say about Amalek: "I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."

Wow, that's pretty strong.

What had Amalek done? Sure, he had attacked the Israelites, but so had lots of others. Why this invective against Amalek?

Here's what it says in Exodus 17:8 about what Amalek did while the Israelites were on their way from Egypt to the promised land: "Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim."

Of course, I had to look up Rephidim, and guess what it means? "Rest"

As far as I can tell, there are only two individuals in the Bible whom God has made His mortal enemies and promised to utterly destroy: Satan and Amalek

Here's what the two have in common: They both attacked the "Rest" of God's people. Just like when Satan attacked Eve's rest, causing her to believe there was more to God than she had, that she was missing something, Amalek attacked God's people in their place of rest, and God promised to utterly blot out his memory from the face of the earth.

God does not take kindly to one who robs His people of their ability to rest in Him. If we know Christ, we are okay with God. We can cease striving. We have eaten of the Bread of Life and need not hunger again.

When Satan deceived Eve, when He made her hunger for something she already had, God warned him that he would "put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and between your seed and her seed." I've heard it said that this verse is the very first evidence of the gospel, the good news that God is not content to leave us on Satan's side. He made us enemies of Satan and promised that the Savior (the woman's seed) would come and crush him.

And of course, God did eventually wipe out Amalek's seed. Saul let Agag live, and eventually from Agag's lineage, we get to Haman, who we're told in the book of Esther, plotted to destroy all of the Jews. Haman is a direct descendant of Agag who was a descendant of Amalek. Interestingly, Haman is the only name I have ever looked up in the cyclopedic index of my Bible for which there was no meaning listed. None. It is meaningless. (If you research it, you will find that meanings were later assigned to the name, but all the sources I could find are in agreement that the meaning is sort of just agreed upon and was not originally the meaning of the name. I'm not sure what the significance of that is, if any, but I found it interesting that the end of Amalek's seed was a meaningless man who was hanged on his own gallows.) Esther 7:1-10

My point is this: Do not let Satan attack you in your place of rest. He wants to rob you of your peace and convince you that Christ in you is not enough. It's not true. He is all we need. No more, no less.

If resting is not your strong suit, and you feel like you need to "do" something, try this: love your neighbor.

Of all the verbs God could have used to describe Himself (and He used a lot of nouns), He chose love. It's the only verb I know of that God associated with Himself. He called Himself the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Bread, the Light, the Resurrection. But only one verb: Love. (Okay, technically, "Am," which He did use, is a verb, but it's not an action verb.)

There's my advice to you if you are "hungry for God." Rest in the knowledge that you have Him, and love your neighbor as yourself.

You'll see Him.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Weigh-In

Pounds Down:

This week: 2.6
Total: 7.0

I am finally officially over my sugar addiction. It took a couple of weeks of no exceptions, but on Friday I had a few sips of coke and felt absolutely no compulsion to drink an entire 2 liters. It feels really good not to crave sugar all the time now.

Another rule I'm following: no eating late at night. If I can't stop thinking about food, I go to bed. Just like with the sugar, after a week or so, I stopped wanting to eat at night all the time. It's amazing how quickly our bodies can be conditioned.

And re-conditioned if we just find the right motivation. Which for me is my favorite jeans. :) I'm hoping to be in them by November.

Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday



1.

As I write this, I'm channeling Edgar Allen Poe: "The fruit flies! The fruit flies!"

Haven't I been complaining about fruit flies for way too long now? Is it even possible to have them for this long?

I'm on my way to a rubber room.

2.

Shocking news: I bought Lauren a new outfit the other day.

I know, I know. Hard to believe what with how I can't go into any store anywhere in the world without wandering into the little girls' section.

So last week I was in Bon Ton and saw the cutest little outfit: black leggings with a dress that is black and white checkers on the bottom and black on top with silver necklace appliques. Very cute. Oh, and I may have also gotten her a Hello Kitty jacket. I can't help it; she loves Hello Kitty!

Of course as soon as she saw the outfit, she put it on and fell in love with it. She put the Hello Kitty jacket on over it and said she was zipping it all the way up so she could surprise Daddy when she unzipped it and showed him the "pretend necklaces" on the dress.

Imagine my shock when she says to me, "Mommy, when I show daddy the dress, I'm gonna go like this:"

(starts unzipping the jacket, smiling, and making googly eyes): "Heeeeey, good-lookin'"

3.

Just insert utter shock here.

4.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked her where she heard that, fully expecting to hear something that would incriminate the neighbor kids, the big brothers, maybe her fellow soccer players.

Nope.

"From a story at school."

Apparently, they read a story wherein a character looked at the mirror and said to him/herself, "Heeeey, good-lookin'!"

The connection with unzipping the jacket was purely coincidental. I hope. Unless in her class at the Christian preschool, they were reading a book about a hooker.

5.

In other conversation news, I had this one with David yesterday regarding whether I should keep my mouth shut about something that really burned me up:

Me: So, you think I shouldn't say that?
David: No, you're bigger than that.
Me: I'm not big. I'm small. Tiny.
David: Well, be big anyway.
Me (channeling Jerry Seinfeld talking about being a pirate): But, I don't wanna be big.

Sometimes the high road is not all it's cracked up to be. Especially when one's mind comes up with the zingers mine does. Seriously, the things I wanted to say were way too good to be wasted in just my own thoughts. They would have won the Pulitzer of Snarky Remarks.

Why, yes, the self-control I exercise is practically Herculean, thankyouverymuch.

6.

We sing a song at church that contains the line, "I want to feel the hand of God move mightily inside of me." For the record, it's another song I intensely dislike. However, God speaks to me through anything he chooses.

A few weeks ago as we were singing it, I accidentally messed up the lyrics and sang "in spite of me" instead of "inside of me."

The truth was not lost on me.

"I want to feel the hand of God move mightily in spite of me." Judging by my clear need for a Savior (as illustrated in QT #5), I think this is actually a more meaningful and accurate lyric.

So, it's what I sing every time now.

7.

Someone please nominate me for Parent of the Year. I assure you, I'm a shoe-in.

As long as no one mentions what happened at the doctor's office this morning.

Ethan had his six-year checkup (a mere 3 months after his birthday), and before going in the exam room, the nurse checked his vision by having him read the letters on a vision chart at the end of the hall.

He didn't do particularly well, especially with his left eye.

So we go in the exam room, the doctor completes his checkup and then consults his chart and says, "Oh, I see here Dr. G. recommended that you take Ethan to an eye doctor last year. Did you do that?"

What? Huh? No she didn't. Oh, wait. Oh, crap. That's starting to sound familiar. Oh, you're right she did. "Um, no, we didn't."

See what happened was at the time of his checkup last year, we didn't have any insurance. We knew we would have some a few months later, and he didn't exactly fail the eye exam, and clearly he could see, so we decided to wait until we got insurance and then take him to the optometrist.

Except we forgot. Completely. Until about ten seconds after the pediatrician told me about it this morning.

So yeah, maybe don't mention this particular checkup. Or the time I forgot to pick up Lauren. Or how she was unzipping her jacket and saying, "Hey, good lookin'." Or how many times I've called poison control.

Other than that, I've got this. It's totally in the bag.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1-800-222-1222

If you're not familiar with that number, you are obviously a better parent than I am you apparently have not had to call Poison Control as many times as I have.

I believe the first was when Joshua was about 6 months old and decided to suck on a dryer sheet.

Then there was the time 4 year-old Ethan made himself vomit from eating an entire tube of toothpaste.

Of course we'll never forget when 3 year-old Lauren drank a bottle of liquid Tylenol. (And I'm sure she'll never forget Supernurse who had to put her in a choke-hold to get her to drink the activated charcoal in the emergency room.)

I've called enough times now that it makes me really nervous when they want to know my name and all my children's ages. I'm just sure they are scanning a Most Wanted list looking for my name.

Nevertheless, laying aside my fear of having my mug-shot hung on a Poison Control window, I had to call again tonight.

PC: How can I help you?

Me: Um, I accidentally left the burner on my gas stove on without a flame. For about five hours.

PC: If the gas was leaking, you would smell it.

Me: Yeah, I do smell it. It's almost nauseatingly strong. My kids are all asleep. Do I need to wake them up and take them outside for fresh air? Please say no, please say no!

PC: Are the windows open?

Me: They are now.

PC: As long as you have the house well-ventilated they should be fine since they're not in the kitchen.

Me: But I can smell the gas upstairs, too. Even in their bedrooms.

PC: As long as no one has a headache or is nauseated or lethargic, they should be fine.

Me: Well, do I need to wake them up? Please say no. (I did make sure they were alive before I called.)

PC: Ahh, it couldn't hurt to wake the up and see how they're doing.

Me: See how they're doing?

PC: Yeah, just make sure they're not acting sick or lethargic.

Me: Make sure my sound-asleep children are not acting lethargic?

PC: As long as the windows are open, they should be fine.

This was without a doubt the least helpful call I have ever made to poison control. As long as my kids are not acting really, really sleepy when I wake them after they've been sleeping for three hours, they should be fine.

"Oh, and don't light any matches."

Thanks, I feel much better now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday weigh-in

Pounds Down

This week: 2.4
Total: 4.4

I'm thinking it's a good thing I said no to the margarita Saturday night, but I apparently should have said no to the baked potato, too.

How are you doing?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ramblings on being friends with God

Lately our church has been singing the song "Friend of God" fairly often. It usually gets the congregation pretty pepped up, and the guy who leads it (T-Love . . . don't ask me. Apparently every person in this town has a nickname, and I'm aware of only a few actual first names.) does a really great job, so I enjoy it.

Today, though, I was moved by it.

"I am a friend of God. HE calls me friend."

Not exactly deep or theologically profound, yet it struck me today that God has only two types of relationships: friend or foe. He said, "You are either for me or against me."

Thanks to the blood of Christ, I am no longer an enemy of God. I am a friend. That means He and I are on the same side.

Wow.

Friend or foe? Those are the only choices. He calls me friend.

It just so happened this morning that after "Friend of God," we sang "Our God Reigns," which I will readily admit is not one of my favorites. I don't generally care for songs with just a line or two repeated over and over. More on that another day.

Today, though, as we sang "Our God Reigns" right after singing, "I am a friend of God," it struck me how incredibly blessed we are to call God friend.

"Our FRIEND reigns," I began to think. I realize it may sound silly, but stay with me.

Have you ever had the unpleasant experience of being at the mercy of someone you thought had it out for you? A boss who didn't like you? A family member who couldn't stand you? You know the knot you get in the pit of your stomach when you just know things are not going to go well for you because you are at the mercy of someone who is against you.

On the other hand, how awesome is it to be good friends with the boss? (In my case, to be married to him!) To know that the person in charge has your back. To know that the "powers that be" are FOR you. No anxiety, no stress, no worries. Things may not always be perfect, but you know that the person in charge is watching out for you and not out to get you.

OUR FRIEND REIGNS.

We are on the same side. He is for me. He is not against me. And He reigns.

I am a friend of God; He calls me friend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

7 (very) Quick Takes Friday





1.

I love that I have been able to plan my work schedule lately to be home on Fridays. Lauren is in preschool in the morning, the boys are in school, and David is at work. The perfect time to really get the house clean.

Which is exactly what I am doing . . . soon.

2.

It must run in the family. When my mom saw the picture in this post about me and my sunglasses, she burst out laughing and said that she had once done the exact same thing.

In case a quick trip to the DMV wasn't evidence enough, I'm leaning even more strongly toward belief in an "idiot gene" now.

3.
Sometimes it sucks to live an hour away from everything. Like the dry cleaners. I drove an hour to drop off the clothes on Monday, but now I have to figure out when to pick them up. Tomorrow night David and I are going on a double date to the town wherein lie my clothes, but the cleaners closes at 2pm on Saturdays.

Foiled again!

4.
I'm always a little befuddled on my drive over there, too.

Apparently, people in small, northern towns must be reminded to park. So much so that the word "park" is included in the name of just about everything.

Eat-n-Park
Park & Shop

Park & Go

I, in my apparent naivety, have always assumed that the "parking" part was a given, but I guess not.

I particularly like the "Park & Go" in case anyone was confused about whether he was supposed to stay at the convenience store forever. The name doesn't mention shopping or getting gas, though, so imagine how many people must pull in, park, and then go. Just for lack of instruction.

5.
I am looking forward to tomorrow's sunny 72 degrees. I just wish it were not going to be 49 in the morning because morning is when we have our soccer games.

The field where my kids play soccer is in a little valley between several mountains. The surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful, but seriously cold. It's always 10-12 degrees colder at soccer than in my back yard.

Which means no fun tomorrow morning, and it's only gonna go downhill from here. I totally get why soccer ends in mid-October here.

This whine brought to you by the letter "W."

6.

I have ipod envy.

We bought Josh a (used) ipod for his birthday. (Don't tell . . . it's not till October!) It's a 5th Generation.

I've had mine for about four years, so while I don't know what "generation" it is, I do know that in ipod-world, it's ancient. I set Josh's up last night and loaded it with songs, and his is sooo way cooler than mine.

So, just give him the older one and keep the newer one for myself, right?

That's exactly what I would do if mine wasn't hot pink. Yeah, I'm a sucker for pink myself, but I don't think my 8 year-old son would be thrilled about a hot pink ipod.

Right?

7.

Okay, cleaning . . . now.

But if YOU need a diversion from doing what you should be, head over to Conversion Diary and check out more Quick Takes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Let's Just Be Real, Shall We?

I hate reading blogs by people who act like they've got it all together. Especially mommy blogs.

And I say "act like" because I just know it's an act. I choose to believe - I have to believe - that it's not truly possible to be a mom and have it all together. It's like a law of physics; the child to brain cell ratio is limited.

So, let me just go ahead and put it out there in case you have never met me haven't realized it yet: I do not have it all together.

There I said it. I often forget little things like going to the post office, making sure we have bread, picking my child up from preschool.

Yes, I did. Totally forgot.

That's why God created children to have two parents, right? One of us is bound to remember. Thank God today it was David.

I was in a meeting with a new client and totally lost track of time, so much so that when David knocked on my office door, poked his head in, and said cryptically, "Do you need me to take care of transport today?" I had NO idea what he was talking about. I thus forced him to resort to the less confidence-in-your-new-lawyer-inspiring, "Did you forget about picking your child up from school?"

Yikes.

All's well that ends well, I guess, and Lauren was picked up by her daddy right on time none-the-wiser.

And I went about my clueless day still not quite having it all together.

As evidenced by the fact that I left my office at lunchtime, put my sunglasses on my face, and walked to my car . . . like this:



It wasn't until I had driven around the corner and glanced in the mirror that I saw the above image reflected back at me. I will admit I burst out laughing at myself and can't believe none of the several people I walked past on the way to my car had not done so as well.

So there you have it.

My name is Becky, and I sometimes forget to pick up my daughter and don't realize that my sunglasses are missing a lens.

Like you're perfect.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Weigh-In

Pounds down: 2.0

Not bad considering I just started Thursday, right? Ugh.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Miraculous Love

Last night I heard a speaker talking about today's church. He made a valid point about the church today not walking in the full power that is available to us in Christ through the Holy Spirit. He talked about how our children see "power" in the world when they are bombarded with images of wizardry, witchcraft, and other supernatural powers on television or in books and movies, but that too often they don't witness the power God.

It is a shame, he said, for our children to be exposed only to the powers of darkness and not the power of Light.

I agree with him.

To a point.

I agree that it is important for our children to understand the power of God and to see that power manifest in tangible ways.

However, I think many of us are blind to the fact that we do encounter the miraculous on a regular basis.

Once I did not believe. Now I do.
Once I despaired and lost my hope. My Hope did not lose me.
Once I was broken-hearted. Now I have the joy of the Lord.
Once I was wronged. I forgave, because when I was wrong, I was forgiven.

Who's to say that it's a greater miracle for a lame man to walk than for a wounded heart to be healed?

God did not say, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you lay hands on someone and her cure her cancer." As awesome as that may be, what He did say was this:

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

Make no mistake about the power of God that is at work in our hearts in ways we cannot see every time the love of God flows through us. It may not be as fancy and exciting as a blind eye seeing, but it is every bit as powerful.

Probably more.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

'Tis But a Moment

I saw them sitting in Subway yesterday.

I had stopped in to pick up a sandwich for lunch, and when I saw them it was such a jolt that my heart nearly skipped a beat.

I don't know their names, but I do know what I saw: a glimpse of my yesterday.

Sitting at a table by the window was a young mom with three children: two tow-headed toddler boys, looking about 2 and 3 years old, and a baby girl in an infant seat on the table.

It was like seeing a snapshot of my life four years ago. Has it really been that long?

I used to be the mom who everyone smiled at with looks that were half-admiration and half-pity. "You sure have your hands full," I used to hear almost as often as I heard the theme song to "Go, Diego, Go!" With an infant, a one year-old, and a three year-old, there was never much chance of slipping under the radar when we went somewhere.

Now, my kids can order their own Subway sandwiches. They still fight about who sits where and who got more soda, but they know how to behave in a restaurant. I don't have to worry about what they're putting in their mouths or whether they're going to fall out of their chairs. (Of course they are.)

I'm not sure when I went from being a frazzled, inexperienced, young mom to being a frazzled, seasoned, not-as-young (can't say old) mom of older kids. No babies. No toddlers. Only one preschooler left.

A common conversation in our house goes something like this:

Child: Mom, I'm gonna miss the bus.
Me: Alright, hurry up and get out of here, but remember . . . do NOT grow while you are gone, okay?!

I admonish them not to grow while they are brushing their teeth or playing the wii or eating dinner. Thankfully, they still find this amusing, love when I threaten to punish them for growing. I am not unaware of the fact that soon they will roll their eyes and grimace at such childish notions.

I know that time moves relentlessly, and all the wishing in the world won't stop it. I know that just a moment ago I was that mom in Subway with the three tiny children who thought that I would never spend a day (heck, an hour!) alone again. I was she; and now I'm not.

Today I am a mom of three still relatively young children who can read and write and add but who still love climbing in my bed for a cuddle in the morning (or all hours of the night), having me on their team when we play a game, and being read to while snuggled on the sofa. I am a mom whose children still fight to sit next to her and light up over surprise one-on-one time with her.

Today I am that mom; tomorrow I will not be. The moment it happens will be indiscernible, but one day I will look at a mom with children who are 4, 6, and 7, and I will remember these days with a too-tight feeling in my chest and a longing to get today back.

Lord, help me to cherish where I am today. Help me to love my children at exactly the stage they're in because all too soon, it will be gone. Help me to remember that each day that passes with them is one that I will never get back again. Remind me that these children will never again be exactly the age they are today, and I help me to treasure it so that I don't look back and wonder when I lost it.

Thank you for these precious hearts of mine.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

123

That's how much I weighed when we moved to PA last May.

I won't tell you how much I weigh now, but suffice it to say it's more. Much more. In fact I weigh more than I have ever weighed in my entire life other than when I was carrying around another human being inside. I won't tell you how much I weighed then either, but let's just say I was very disappointed when Joshua came out weighing 8lb 8 oz instead of 35 or 40 lbs. That left a LOT of weight that was apparently less "baby" and more "ice cream" and "double-decker taco supreme."

But I lost it all. I weighed less when I got pregnant with Ethan and even less when I got pregnant with Lauren. And I lost the weight quicker after each child. (I'm pretty sure that's inevitable when you have three kids in three years. As I've mentioned before, that requires you to give up a few things . . . like eating and sitting.)

So, why am I writing about this? Because I need motivation to make my clothes fit again. Not my current clothes, but my entire wardrobe from two sizes ago that is currently taking up space on the third floor just waiting to become Lauren's dress-up clothes if I don't fix this.

I know, I know, you've heard this before. Remember I was going to teach kickboxing? And I was going to get in shape before Christmas? And Spring? And Summer?

None of those plans seems to have accomplished much, so I've decided to use this blog for accountability. (I tried having accountability with my mom several months ago, but that was so not enough pressure. Really. She's my mom.)

What's that? You come to my blog for witty stories and meaningful spiritual insights? Or at least pictures?

Sorry. It's my blog, and I'll weigh if I want to.

So, every Monday I am going to report back here with . . . how many pounds I've gone down. (You didn't actually think I was gong to say my weight did you? I tell you what, when I get back to 125, I'll let you know. It will be much less embarrassing after the fact.)

So, starting today, September 8th, pounds down: 0

(Feel free to join me in this weight-loss quest and let me know how you're doing as well. Unless you're already a size 2, and then I'll just have to shoot you.)

All About Lauren



Today was Lauren's first day of school. Since the day I began inquiring about preschools last summer, I have been hearing about Ms. B. Everyone whose child has ever been in Mrs. B's class talks about her as if she is the goddess of preschool teachers.

Now I know why.

At Open House last week, Mrs. B had all of the kids bring a teddy bear to keep in the classroom for the year. This morning, they were to find their teddy bear and that was their seat in the reading circle.



Mrs. B has a different theme for each month during the school year, and the theme for this month is "Sailing Into September." She personalized a sailor hat for each child and officially pronounced them sailors this morning.




Sailor Lauren (Mrs. B also took pictures of each child to go in the preschool photo album each child's parents will receive at the end of the school year.)



Lauren with Mrs. B (who usually dresses like a normal person but will wear anything for the sake of a fun lesson):



Lauren and her BFF Tori.



One end of the room decorated for this month's Sailor theme.



The other end of the room where the kids have reading and circle time.



I can guess which activity center will quickly be deemed Lauren's favorite:



Another activity center:



Yet another (notice the huge scuba diver on the wall . . . and this is just for this month's theme!):



And another:



The group table where all of the crayons, pencils, etc. are stored in a pirate ship for September:



I cannot tell you how excited Lauren was to start school today. She begged me all day yesterday to let her go ahead and start, apparently not believing me that there would be no one there since school did not start until Wednesday.

I am so thankful for how God has provided for our every need here in PA, not just in a way that is sufficient, but in a way that is perfect and abundant.

In other Lauren news, she is still LOVING soccer:



I love how this picture perfectly captures the essence of Lauren: active, sport-playing, dirt-loving . . . but always wearing a sparkly shirt and a skirt while doing so. She's definitely the only kid on the soccer field wearing a skirt every practice.