Tuesday, June 30, 2009

She Left

My baby left the country today. She boarded a plane for the Dominican Republic with a suitcase, backpack, and a head filled with excitement. She's the independent one. She's the one who's going to go to school abroad and live in Africa for six months. She's the one who will graduate high school and unleash her wings of travel. I just know it.

Today my baby left for a missions trip with Saddleback Church, to serve the people of the Dominican Republic on a PEACE trip with the high school ministry.

She will grow, she will discover new things about herself, she will try new foods, she will meet new people, she will hear a new language, she will grow closer to the Lord, she will come back to America, changed.

I miss her already. I know that she will do well. I pray that she eats, and gets enough sleep. I pray that she is flexible and willing to do whatever she is asked to do. I hope that she doesn't spend all of her money, and takes lots of photos, and if she misses us while she is gone, that would be a bonus.

Monday, June 29, 2009

And Now Billy Mays?


When my daughter told me that she heard that Billy Mays died, I didn't believe her. Since she often bears incorrect information, she didn't push the issue, assuming too that her information was hearsay. I should know better though, she has lately been correct more times than not.

You may not know who Billy Mays is, but if you have seen the Orange Glo or Oxy-Clean commercial, you will quickly discover who he is.

My kids love Billy Mays and have recently been hooked on the show Pitch Men. Admittedly I am some what fascinated by the whole product pitching thing too. I especially took note of his very young, three year old daughter on the show who follows him around and calls him "Daddy." Not only is his wife feeling the effects of the pain that surrounds loss of a husband, but that poor girl who lost her daddy must be a mess.

The cause of his death is uncertain. His destination is uncertain.

Life is short, but I am certain of my destination. Heaven.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"It's not about me.
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness."


~Rick Warren
Purpose Driven Life

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I Wish That I Knew Me

Having a teenage girl in the house makes me wonder what I was like to be around when I was her age. Was I fun, a good friend, did I make others laugh? Was I insecure, or did people know that I was a Christian? Did my mother worry about me and wonder what I was doing at night and during the day?

I would love to hang out with my teenage self just to see what kind of person I really was in the eyes of others. I wonder if I was kind and polite to adults and if I was a servant. Did I try my best in school and seek to get good grades because it was the right thing to do?

Some people remember everything about their teenage years. I remember some things.

I like teenagers. I was a volunteer in youth ministry for 12 years with my husband. I had a small group of girls that I still keep in touch with today. Most of them are married and have children of their own. Was I the type of teenager that youth workers enjoyed being around?

In my melting memory it's hard to remember who I was as a teen. I suppose I could ask those who knew me best, but what difference would it make now? None.

In my attempts to be a women of great character, grace, and encouragement I often fail, however, I need to remember, that the me, now, is who people are going to remember.

My mother claims that at times I'm not very fun to be around. I've got a lot of work to do with the me, now. I'm a work in progress. I'm so glad that God is understanding.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Me Speak

Facebook-When your face falls into the book you are reading because you suffer from either thyroid issues or sleep deprivation.

Twitter-When you have your phone setting on vibrate and you scream and leap in the middle of the isle at the grocery store because it "rang" when you least expected it to.

My Space-Something that mothers of grade school children never have.

Social Network-The three people who know you at the McDonald's drive thru, Costco, and the pharmacy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ace of Cakes and Not of Frosting

I love watching the show called "Ace of Cakes." Chef Duff and his staff from Charm City Cakes create outrageous cakes for people with high expectations, and fat wallets.

Since I majored in art in college, I can appreciate the effort and artistry that goes into constructing a cake for the Food Network show. I can also appreciate the fact that Chef Duff is successful because he surrounds himself with extremely talented people who share his vision and discrepancies. He is the perfect leader according to "Tribes" by Seth Godin. He "[gives his] tribe a platform they could use to engage the outside world. That's it--three steps: motivate, connect, and leverage." Wow.

Given the opportunity, I can honestly say that I would not want to eat a cake that was constructed by Duff and his crew. Although the cakes are outrageous and colorful, and the inside is probably delicious, I get tripped up on the frosting, or lack of frosting to be more accurate.

In order to make such amazing cakes, Duff and his team use fondant. In my opinion, fondant is gross. It is made from corn syrup, shortening, salt, vanilla, and powdered sugar. I prefer cake covering that I can scoop up with the tip of my finger, not write on with Sharpie.

I love the show Ace of Cakes, but I don't love their frosting. I would have to bring a tub of frosting to any party that featured a Charm City Cake, although, that would offend everyone in attendance.

Monday, June 22, 2009

When Did I Change?

I was the one who never welcomed a dull moment.

I was the one who needed to be surround by friends, plural.

I was the one who made plans every day, filling in the blank spots on my calendar with whatever I could.

I was the one who was never home, and not only thought that was normal, enjoyed every minute of it.

When did I change?

I recharge when I am alone, but it only takes a few moments.

I relish in the blank spots on the calendar and welcome them with big hugs.

Having no plans, thrills me, and spontaneity is fun.

I love just being home, most of the time. I love shopping too, and I love fresh air. That may sound contradictory, but that's okay.I'm all over the map currently.

I still love connecting with people and building relationships.

I still love jogging and summer weather.

I still love helping people.

I still love black coffee and mowing the lawn.

Some things never change.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day-A Thought

"You would think it rude to leave a friend alone who came to visit you; why, then, must God be neglected?"

The Practice of the Presence of God
Brother Lawrence

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Organizing Binge

I have been a mad organizer lately and it feels good. I have organized two cupboards and the little kids' closet, again.

Lego pieces are actually sleeping with other Lego pieces, and baseball cards are hanging out together in a nice plastic bin. Odds and ends like the Flarp Putty, super balls, shark tooth necklace, and laser light from a cereal box are in plastic bin.

The wrapping paper tubes have found themselves and are happy to be together, and all those school papers that I have been hanging on to for the past school year, just in case someone needed a grade proven, are settled in the recycle bin outside.

I can actually see past the Easter baskets and tub of crayons for the first time in months, and the ribbon spools, art projects, and report cards are in their perspective areas for safe keeping.

I like to accomplish items on a list of tasks. I like to cross out things that I need to do, and items that need to be purchased. I feel good when things get done.

There will be more tomorrow I'm sure, but for now, I feel a bit more complete.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What Now?

The boys at at the Angel's game.

My daughter is away at a friend's house sleepover.

It is officially summer in our house.

I am watching my third episode of "What Not to Wear" and tearing up.

The house is quiet.

The June bugs are flying.

That's what's going in right now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Take Me Back - Just for a Day

Last night I was setting my alarm and "How Deep is your Love" by the Bee Gees was playing. I instantly went back to seventh grade and let out a deep sigh.

Seventh grade.

Simplicity.

Sitting at the park sipping Icees and spitting out sunflower seed shells from the pile nestled in my cheek, passed time after school. Aw.

Those were some carefree days. Conversations were long, real, and centered around friends, and boys we thought were cute. We sent letters folded in triangular, origami shapes, and signed each one with TTFN and BFF written in pen instead of text.

My big kids have phones they rarely use for talking. They talk with friends via text, and Facebook comments. Sometimes they e-mail, and they never write letters.

I have recently connected with some friends from high school. We have laughed, shared photos, and reconnected, without one spoken word. It's odd. The e-mails are long, and catching up takes time, but no one talks with each other on the phone. Honestly, it feels normal in this day and age.

I hope that my children don't forget how to communicate with friends through verbal conversation. I hope they remember how to ask questions, and engage others in conversation. I hope they don't overlook the written word - using a pen.

That would be a travesty.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Look I'm a Doggie!"


So, this is what I am dealing with on day 4 of summer. Lucky me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Driver's Ed

The fact that my daughter has officially began Driver's Training online brings back some great memories of my driver's training.

I couldn't wait to drive. When I was in high school driver's training was done in class. One semester was health and the other semester was driver's training. I made sure that I was not only getting a good grade in driver's training, but that I had an appointment on the day I turned 16 to do my "behind the wheel" test.

I had a great experience with my "behind the wheel" training, with a car full of people I didn't know and a knowledgeable and patient instructor. Because of him, I consider myself a great parallel parker. These were his instructions, that I still use today: Pull up next to the car you are parking behind, close enough to be arms length away when your cars are side by side. Pull up far enough so that your back bumper lines up with the other car's back bumper. Turn the steering wheel as far as it will go and back up slowly. The rest is about pulling forward and straightening out the car.

These instructions always made parallel parking easy for me. I wan never scared of parking at the beach where parallel parking is a must.

Two other things I remember are: 1. Always leave half of a cars length between your car and the car in front of you when you are stopped at a signal. That way, if the car in front of you breaks down, you can still pull away with plenty of room. And 2. Always keep your hands on the steering wheel in the 10 and 2 position on the face of a clock. Good advise.

Honestly, I'm scared. My girl is getting behind the wheel of a car with a lot of people who run red lights and stop signs, speed, and honk their horns when they are angry. I am not looking forward to this experience.

Maybe we should move to a rural town when the population is 500 and there in one signal. I would feel much better then.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Big Kid Baptism



Our big kids were baptized last weekend!
What a joy it was to watch this step of spiritual maturity.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Drought

Our neighbor’s yard is a covered in a faint brown with a smattering of faded green. Only those plants familiar with drought conditions, and tough enough to withstand months with just hints of moisture, remain.

As I drive past each morning, I can’t help but wonder what causes a family to discontinue watering their yard. Could it be busyness, fatigue, laziness, or necessity?

In this case, the root cause of a lawn, light brown in color, and the surrounding dirt replicating sheets of cement, is due to the fact that spending money on the amount of water it takes to keep a yard green and flourishing, is simply out of the question. Something had to give in the budget, and electricity, gasoline, and food, took precedence over green grass and a budding garden.

I was quick to realize the implication this scene has in my own life. That which I fail to water will soon die.

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:38

What am I failing to water in my life? Contrary, what am I feeding and watering that needs to be parched and starved?

Are my relationships failing and needing nutrition? Is my spiritual growth dry? Am I heaping gallons of water on my desire to please others with the need for affirmation? Do I continue to lightly spritz water on helping others, and reaching out to those in need, while dousing bucketfuls on my selfish desires?

I need to make moment by moment choices to give breath, life, and water, to those areas in my life which are pleasing to God, and surrender that which has been soaked and over watered.

Where is your drought? What part of your life are the sprinklers missing?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adventure City Dilema

Spending the day on a field trip with 50 1st graders was actually fun. I had the privilege of driving with the teacher, so I was able to get to know her better, even though this is the last week of school. I probably should have gone on the first field trip in October. Next time I'll plan better.

The two classrooms of children carpooled to a place called Adventure City. Think amusement park for smaller children, carnival style rides, without the creepy carnies, and unfortunately, without the Kettle Corn and Funnel cake. Boo Hoo!

I rode no rides. I paid $11.00 dollars to chaperon my boy, his two friends, and two girls, and rode no rides. Oh, I just remembered, I rode the train. so I lie. Not intentionally though.

The reason I decided not to ride any rides was not because I am afraid, please, I pick up spiders with my bear hands and fling them out the back door. The reason I don't like to ride the rides is because I cannot handle the motion that they cause. It is my stomach and equilibrium's fault.

I love fast rides, but I don't like what they do to my insides now that I am older. I crawl off the roller coasters now, curl into the fetal position, and whisper, "I want my mommy." This is embarrassing for my children, so they ride, and I wait.

Why discussing this issue with the other mommas, my son's teacher informed me that as we get older, there is a chemical in our bodies that diminishes, thus causing us to get motion sickness when riding rides at an amusement park. She's smart, and informative. There was at least some relief, that I wasn't the only non-ride rider.

Another mom suggested that I take a motion sickness pill prior to my next amusement park visit. She is smart too.

Good day? Yes!

Slurpee's were a must for the ride home. Every good day should end with Slurpee's.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Program Change

For the first time this year our preschool did away with "Daddy and Me" day. One year, with the same child, was sufficient for our youngest child, so the event went un-missed in our household.

My husband spends a great deal of time with the kids, so having a special day for he and our youngest wasn't something that my son was going to miss, although, I was going to miss the photos of the children shaving the Daddy with shaving cream, and popsicle sticks for razors.

Instituted last year was "Mommy and Me" day. I skirted by that one since every day is "Mommy and Me" day around here. I was surprised that the school had such a day, since the majority of the parents who drop off their children and pick them up in the afternoon are of the mommy variety. Mommas are with the children all the time, running errands, shopping, picking up other kids from school, and hanging out at home.

"Who decided to have a 'Mommy and Me' day? We didn't have it last year." I questioned my son's teacher.

"We felt like the mother's were going to feel left out with just a day for daddy and kids, so we added a day for moms and their children."

Really?

Needless to say, Daddy and me day had a record attendance last year, while Mommy and me day had fair attendance.

I love my children. I love spending time with my children.

I love "Daddy and Me" day much better than "Mommy and Me" day.

Call me crazy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Graduation Day




Today was my last day ever, of preschool.
Notice the big smile on my face?
My youngest will soon venture into the world of real school called Kindergarten.
It has been a fun ride, but I am ready to move on. I think that I am the oldest mom in the preschool yard.
My little boy is getting so big.
I am so proud of him.
Watch out kindergarten.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"If you want others to know what Christ will do for them, tell them what He has done for you."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Summer

I am ready for school to be out. I am ready to stop making lunches and getting children to do their homework. I ready to stay up later with the kids, and no have a pressing schedule the next morning. I am ready to stop driving to two schools before 8:00 in the morning.

I am not ready to entertain 4 children for the next three months.

I pray that they like doing nothing, and never get bored.

That would be great.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Boys and Dust Clouds

We happened to just complete a run of little league baseball for the season. I'm not crying.

I love watching the boys play ball, however, trying to squeeze in practice, snacks, homework, eating dinner later in the evening, showers, and still tending to a 15 year old girl who wants nothing to do with baseball, had it's challenges.

The other night we ventured over to the field of our rival little league. This was the host field for the awards ceremony which followed the week long City Tournament. Two of the backstops, and the snack bar were clustered together, and in the middle sat a large area of dirt and gravel. Easy clean up and no mowing were the foresight in the design I'm sure.

What happens when you put six teams of baseball players waiting to approach the grassy green field for an awards ceremony on that dirt area? Dust clouds galore.

The boys enjoyed shuffling their feet and raising puffs of dirt. My youngest scooped up gravel in his hands and poured it into the hood of his jacket, "because it's fun." Every one's shoes were covered in a thin layer of dust, and if you were wearing flip flops, like me, dirty feet were the outcome of standing for too long in the dust field.

One man commented on how many children were hunched over scooping up dirt and playing with the gravel. Who needs playground equipment and bicycles? Just grab your children a pile of dirt and gravel.

I was miserable, so I sauntered to the grass area to stop sneezing from the dust, and to shake some of the gravel from the space between my flips and feet.

At what point, I thought, does one go from loving dirt to finding it a nuisance?
It may be immeasurable. I do know this though, I'm not a fan.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Are You a Huge Christian?

While referencing one of our friends, and in the midst of conveying the fact that she is kind, fun to be around, and a great friend, my six year old stated that this person was, “. . . a huge, huge, Christian.”

What defined Christianity to him obviously was the fact that her character reflected that of Jesus. Noble indeed.

“Do I reflect Jesus?” I thought as I examined my own life. Am I a huge, huge, Christian?

The answer is, “Not always. Definitely, not always.”

I need to remember, that if I am claiming to be a Christian, and if people know that I am a Christian, my character traits need to be in check. This takes a great deal of self reflection.

“An unexamined life isn’t worth living” according to Socrates, which means that if I want to be the person that Christ has called me to be, I need to not only do some self examination, but I also need to make some changes.

I tend to be impatient, judgmental, and complain. Not very Christ-like, however, as I realize my character flaws, I can make a concerted effort to become a better person, or remain the same, with my glaring flaws.

I don’t have any intention of remaining the same. I intend to strive for change, moment by moment, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

One day I would love for my six year old to say this when someone asks him about me. “I love my mom. She’s a huge, huge, Christian.”

Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy Anniversay-Baby!


In a world which thirsts for gossip about the decay of celebrity marriages, and reality television relationships fumbling from exposure, I relish, and delight in the fact that today marks year 18 of my being married to my best friend.

It is not all about my kids. I love my kids, but my husband comes first.

When the kids are gone, and the daytime sounds only include the hum of the refrigerator, and the birds chirping outdoors, I know that my husband, and the relationship that we have built on God's foundation, will remain strong.

Marriage is work. Anything that you care deeply about requires work. I am happy to make the relationship between my husband and I a priority.

I am as imperfect as they come, but I do know this, God chose the perfect mate for me.

Greg + Linda = forever.