Thursday, May 26, 2016

Loving Laundry

More than once I have made the mistake of picking a boy’s sock up from the floor of the laundry room and smelling it in order to discern its cleanliness. Baseball socks score highest on the foul smell test, if you were wondering. While I should have learned my lesson the first time, I did not. 
   Thanking God for loads of laundry spilling over the plastic baskets doesn't happen at the same frequency as thanking Him for Cinnabon. However, after a poignant story told by my girlfriend, my “Thanks for laundry” meter is on the rise.
 When my friend Catalina was a young mom, dumping baskets of clean laundry on the kitchen table for folding was an every other day occurrence. Her boys were smaller then and the frequency of outfit changes was multiplied. When she inadvertently complained to her barren, childless, girlfriend, the lack of sympathy was significant. “Be thankful that you have laundry Catalina. I would love to be home doing laundry.”
    Hearing this story led me to take a different perspective on my complaints. I haven’t mastered thanking God for piles of dog poop in the back yard, but I thank Him for a back yard. And although I need more practice thanking Him for bulging trash cans that only I notice, I thank him for providing the funds to purchase the food whose wrappers have been trashed. Finding ways to change my complaints into thanks is mood boosting and showing God my appreciation for what I have instead of what I have to do makes Him happy.
    Our daughter came home from college and my laundry piles have exploded. I’m certain that the washing machine in her dorm building doesn’t even recognize her. In addition to bedding and clothes she had a few pair of dirty socks to clean. And if you care to know, girl socks are equally as repulsive to boy socks. I know. I’ve smelled them.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Seeing Clearly

I ruined my vision in the 7th grade. Because my head was lazy, I began resting it on the back of my hand, fingers sprawled in a tripod position in order to complete schoolwork from a 4-inch distance from my paper. At first notice my teachers questioned my vision and my desire to be so close to the paper, but I assured them that it was just comfortable for me and that my vision was perfect.

Fast forward a few years and because my eyes have gotten used to seeing clearly at five inches in distance, I cannot see far away very clearly. Although my far vision is lacking in all areas, my close up vision remains nearly perfect. I can read 1-point font with accuracy and will probably never need reading glasses.

By the time I reached college, I needed glasses in order to correct my far vision and after wearing them for several months, I opted for contact lenses. When contact lenses are clean and doing their job correctly, they are wonderful, providing the clear vision that I need for seeing anything farther than 5 feet away. When they aren’t performing correctly contact lenses can be irritating. At times they immolate dry, crispy, corn flakes, and at other times the slightest fleck, can feel as if a hunk of bark were lodged in my eyeball. If I try and move them with my finger when they veer off course, the smudge left behind from whatever was on my fingertip often results in my vision shifting from 20/20 to cloudy.

When I can clearly see what is ahead of me, I have confidence. When I cannot see what is in front of me, I am filled with fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and frustration.

Sometimes my experience with God is like my experience with my degree of eyesight clarity. I cannot always see clearly what God is doing in my life. But when I put on the “contact lens” of faith, I can see more clearly what God is doing. There have been times when I have questioned God’s direction, but, in the end, I have been able to witness His divine path with clarity. I just have to keep my “contact” on and clear. Knowing that God always knows what is ahead and that He is the tour guide of my life, gives me confidence.

Although my eyesight fails me my Father never fails to lead me. And although I cannot see far enough ahead to what is coming, He always sees what’s ahead and takes me along the perfect path. His vision is perfect, and better than 20/20.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Parents Only | Dinner |

I love dinner. I snack throughout the day so that I can take full advantage of dinner. I look forward to dinnertime with family, and eating a full portion. While I prefer eating at a time which reflects that of an 85 year old woman who sits down with her t.v. tray and dinner fare at 4:30 PM, my husband prefers the schedule of a college age male who eats dinner at 8 PM “Grab a snack,” he instructs as I impatiently wait to leave the house for our 8 PM reservations. Since the insides of my stomach start eating each other with no other viable options at 6 PM, the 8:00 hour seems light years away. He is in no hurry. “Aren’t you hungry?” I question. “I will be at eight.” He replies, void of a growling stomach. This is one important nuance that had failed to come up during premarital counseling.

Our kids prefer dinner at 3:30 PM. I suspect that their insatiable, after school appetite can only be linked to their disposing most of the ingredients lodged in their brown lunch sacks instead of indulging in its contents. However, they are not satisfied with a snack to curb their appetites. They want enough food to fill them up and banish any and all hunger pangs. “You don’t need to fill up,” I tell them. But, they inevitably reply, “But we’re still hungry.”

Although our family has never had to experience true huger as the world defines it, we do go through moments of feeling hungry and longing for something to fill our stomachs. In those moments our moods shift, irritable attitudes emerge, energy levels plummet, and impatience appears. I have been told that I am the CEO of appetite irritability. However, this has not been fully proven.

The same is true for me when I find other things to take the place of my time with God. While deciding on a particular time to spend reading the Bible, studying devotionals, and journaling varies with preference, I prefer mornings.

In the same way that hunger interferes with my ability to function normally, or so I’ve been told, the absence of time with God has the same affect on my attitude and well being. I find myself losing patience with homework mistakes, smashed crackers on the counter, and the bathroom mess from three untidy boys.

Psalm 107:8-9 says, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Time with God is the ultimate spiritual hunger eliminator. His inspiration and assistance through devotionals and scripture, fills us in ways that food never will. He fills our spiritual emptiness and gratifies our soul, and fills us with joy. When we follow Him and commit to time with Him, we are satisfied.

After 24 years of marriage, my husband and I have have decided on a compromise to our dinner hour dilemma. I will eat a snack at 4 PM, and dinner will be served at 7 PM. As for the children, they will have a hearty snack and then I will block all entrances to cupboards and the refrigerator. If they are still hungry, I will brew them a fresh cup of black coffee. I read somewhere that coffee curbs your appetite. Consider it done.

Friday, December 11, 2015


As a former educator for nearly 20 years I am embarrassed to admit that I recently searched the Internet for “Books for kids who hate to read.” After all, don’t I know how to embed children with an unquenchable appetite for books? Evidently, I do not.

What I thought was being done in secret, warranted a giggle from my eighth grader for whom I began the search. As he looked over my shoulder he said, “That’s funny mom, kids who hate to read.” Exchanging words in order to defend my search wasn’t necessary. He knew that I was making my best effort to help him to engage in book reading without much struggle. “If the story is interesting, you’ll want to continue reading; so let’s find something interesting.”

I was thrilled with the amount of choices which popped up and was not surprised at the titles such as “Captain Underpants,” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” both of which were too juvenile for an 8th grader.  Since his interest was piqued, he slid next to me on the chair and began looking at the different titles recommended for someone his age who struggles with reading. “That one looks boring,” “That’s for girls,” “Too many pages,” and “That sounds dumb,” were among his most common comments, which I fully expected. No one who finds reading difficult, has trouble remembering what he reads, and struggles with word deciphering, explodes with joy over new book choices.

Regardless of the compelling synopsis of the various books we perused, it’s the picture on the cover and low page count that prompts his choosing. If a book report could be done using the articles found in Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine, book selecting would disappear until high school.

I’m grateful that character building falls on the shoulders of the parent and is independent of hating to read. The same cannot be said for Bible reading, yet people continue to make excuses for letting their Bible remain closed and attracting dust on the shelf. “It’s too wordy” “Too many rules and expectations,” “Hard to understand” or “It’s not for me,” are just a few of the excuses people use for not spending time communicating with their heavenly Father. God’s Word, the Bible, is a living, breathing guidebook for navigating life, inspired by God, the creator of the universe. Not reading God’s Word has consequences I am not willing to experience and reading it has life changing consequences I prefer to embrace.

Finally my son decided on a book that was 312 pages, has large print, made the list of books for haters, and has an appealing cover. Our hopes are high. Comprehension is going to be another hurdle over which to leap, and for that reason, if I need to dress up in the characters while he reads the story aloud, we will visit that option. I have no shame and conveniently have a large bin in the garage labeled “costumes.”