Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

When I seek to understand someone, where they are coming from, what is going on in their lives, I am seeking knowledge of another person in order to serve them.

How are you doing, really?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why Didn't I Think of That?


Wheel of Responsibility

Don't you love it? The "Rock, Paper, Scissors," game is cheeper though.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Avoidance

I often avoid doing things that appear difficult. The key word is appear.

I don't like to return phone calls to people that I may have to confront, I would rather not take the kids to get their immunizations, and I avoid projects that may take longer than the time I think will be necessary.

The two little kids were scheduled to have a dentist appointment. They were going to get a normal cleaning, and check up, free from pain and agony. Prior to the date of the appointment, they kept asking questions about the dentist, and telling me that they didn't want to go. As the day approached, I became more and more anxious.

I scheduled the appointment later in the afternoon to avoid getting them up and out of the house too early, and so as not to interrupt, too much, any play activity in which they may be involved.

When the day arrived, I knew that they would throw fits, cry, and continue to ask questions. I knew that this actual getting them to cooperate fully with going to the dentist was going to be impossible so I actually considered cancelling the appointment. Not good.

I got them them in the car without too much fuss, but to make matters more difficult, when we arrived, on time, we waited for 20 minutes. After questioning the receptionist regarding our wait time, she told me that one of the assistants had to leave and that our wait would increase by 45 minutes. More difficulty.

After one hour and five minutes of waiting, the boys did great. We sped up the wait time by purchasing donuts from a nearby store, breaking every dentist appointment rule in the book. I was desperate.

After working myself up into a frenzy, of "This is going to be difficult," it was not.

I need to get over my avoidance issues. Typically, things aren't as bad as them seem.

The dentist discovered that one child had two cavities, and the other had one very deep, cavity. This had nothing to do with the donut purchase, I'm sure.

I'm enlisting my husband for the cavity filling appointment. He has more mental toughness.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Boiled Eggs

I make delicious chocolate chip cookies from scratch. I am also pretty good at homemade marinara sauce, and tacos. I have a special meatloaf recipe that the family loves, and if you want popcorn cooked the old fashioned way, I am your gal. However, I cannot properly boil an egg.

I have become a fan of snacking on a hard boiled egg coated in salt and pepper as a mid-day snack. It my great attempts to scour the Betty Crocker Cookbook for the perfect recipe for hard cooked eggs, and execute the process, I have failed, epically.

My first attempt yielded a yoke that was three quarters cooked. I ate them anyway as a way to circumvent my failure. My second attempt ended with a shell stubbornly stuck to the egg white and chunks of egg being pulled away as I tried to remove the shell. As it turns out, the eggs were so undercooked that the shell could not be removed. Five eggs ended up in the trash can. Epic fail number two.

The third attempt yielded six perfectly cooked, ever-so-delicious, hard boiled eggs, which I have enjoyed, because the third attempt was done by my mother who released me from the stress of trying to cook eggs to perfection. She’s knows better.

Please don’t ask me to bring a deviled eggs appetizer to your next gathering, ask my mother. She knows how to proper cook eggs.

I’ll bring the cookies for dessert.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Interruptions

True influence comes from serving others.

With Jesus as the model, we know that as Christ followers, Christians, we have the ability to influence others. Culture tells us that our influence comes from our ability to have power over others while God’s Word tells us that the opposite is true. Our influence comes from our ability to serve other people.

One of the ways that we serve others is by allowing interruptions during our day in order to meet the needs of other people. Moms of preschoolers can check this off of their list because they are meeting the needs of others 24/7. In the dead of the night, they meet the needs of others.

I don’t like to be interrupted. I like to interrupt others, but don’t necessarily like to be interrupted. I have a schedule. I have an agenda. I have things that need to be done at certain times, in a certain time limit, and I have no room for interruptions. However, God has different plans and this is an area that I need to work on in my life, and when I ignore God’s tugs, when I disobey, I suffer. I miss out the learning’s and character development that God has planned.

The other day I was almost home from my jog. It was my day off, and I was anxious to get home to begin my day, the day that I had all planned out perfectly. I saw this older woman and young boy walking up the hill. The boy was carrying a yellow envelope in his hand which I recognized from my daughter’s pile of papers as school registration information. The nearest school was a mile away and God prompted me to ask the two of them if they needed a ride someplace. I wanted to just jog the rest of the way to my house and get going on my schedule, but God kept telling me to stop.

When I offered a ride to the boy and his mother, they were grateful, and said that they would wait while I ran home to get my car. In the one mile drive to the middle school, I discovered that the two of them lived at the Orange County Rescue Mission since they recently lost their Section 8 housing. I learned that they love the Lord, and are struggling to get to Colorado where they have family but are at the mercy of the state for funding in order to make this happen. I learned that they have a nice room where they live, but the donated food is often old and lacks nutritional value. I learned that they take the bus to places that their bikes are too far to ride. I learned that this interruption was important, and that God’s plans are never happenstance.

After praying for the boy and his mom, dropping them off at their destination, and emptying out the contents of my wallet to help them with the purchase of some fruits and vegetables, which held only fourteen dollars, I promised to return and try and locate them in order to give them a ride back down the hill to the bus stop.

When I arrived home and gave the details of my encounter to my family, they quickly gathered clothing and a backpack, money they had been saving, and other items that would be necessary for a seventh grade boy starting the school year. God was tugging on their hearts too.

I loaded my car with clothes and shoes, and hoped to meet the couple before they descended down the hill to the bus stop knowing that there was a chance that I had missed them, but prayed continuously that I had not.
As I approached the school I saw them, and quickly pulled over to escort them into my car. As we drove to McDonald’s for lunch, and to say good-by, I reminded them that God has a perfect plan for them that He loves them, and that His timing is perfect.

I drove home with such satisfaction and peace, feeling appreciative for the opportunity that God gave me to serve His people.

Interruptions, grand interruptions, moments when God stops us and opens a door on someone else’s life in order to develop our character and serve others, I welcome God’s interruptions.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Introducing Sarah

My friend Sarah over at "The Best Days of my Life" have a compelling story that I would love for you to read. Hop over and visit her this week as she pours out heart and shares a very deep struggle that she has overcome through God's mighty hand.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thoughts for Sunday

"Are you stuck in the throes of discouragement? If so, it will simply be impossible to experience the peace and inner joy that God wants for His children. Let Him help you out of the lowly state: start by believing that the Father wants to lift you up and get your life back on track with Him."

In Touch Ministries Magazine-August 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sick in Summer

In my opinion, there should be a rule that no one is allowed to be sick in the summer. Summertime should be a time when bones are broken and stitches are administered, bruises are tended to, and scrapes are bandaged, but no coughs, cold, or flu. Let's save those for the winter months.

My oldest has strep. She is on antibiotics now and feeling better, but still coughing and nursing a rash caused by the strep infection. My youngest has a 103.7 fever and a cough. My eyelids are droopy this morning since I was awakened by a hot ball of flesh at 3 a.m. Poor guy. The Motrin set in quickly, but he still remains asleep in our bed, miserable from the night's events.

I am warding off all sickness. I rebuke it. I hate being sick since I am not very good at relaxing. I will not be sharing any food with my sick children, or allowing them to cough or sneeze in my face.

I
will
not
get
sick.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Operation Backpack

Finding an opportunity for six people, ranging in age from 5 to 49, not 50, to serve together, in a “missions” sort of way is quite challenging. We could all be patio greeters, except that the two teenagers would probably spend more time asking “Are we done?” and “Can we go?” instead of actually shaking hands with the church attendees.

We could dive into the Santa Ana workday with energy and gumption, however, the little kids don’t realize that paint goes on fences, and not sidewalks, nor do they do well with the hammer unless they are killing ants.

Serving at the Food Pantry would be fun, but the minimum age requirement is sixteen. That instantly eliminates two-thirds of our family.

When I heard that our church was sponsoring Operation Backpack, and needed people of all ages to help process the backpacks that were filled with school supplies for children, my ears perked, and I signed our family up to help. This would be our first service opportunity together.

Five minutes before we were supposed to leave for the processing, my youngest decided to ride his bike around the front yard, and fell, scraping his elbow and hip. All the way to church, he moaned and cried about the pain, however, once he was put to work, gathering backpacks for people to process and going through backpacks to make sure that they have enough supplies, he said, “When I was doing the backpacks, I forgot that my scrapes hurt!” That is a true reflection of taking our eyes off of ourselves when we are serving God’s people.

On the way home, each of the kids told my husband and me how much they enjoyed what they were able to do at the church and kept telling us how much fun they had. At bedtime, my youngest who is 6 said, “I loved doing backpacks and helping the poor. Can we do it all the time?” This was another affirmation of the fact that our hearts are touched when we give of ourselves, in order to help others.

After letting the kids know that we as a family were going to help the next day doing some more backpacks, they got excited. We filled 25 more backpacks from our dining room table that night. The pizza was optional, but a great addition.

“We are only fully alive when we’re helping others. If you aren’t serving, you’re just existing, because life is meant for ministry. God wants you to learn to love and serve others unselfishly.”
~~Rick Warren

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shower Time

It is often hard for me to distinguish whether or not my little kids need a bath in the summer when we have had multiple days of nice weather and swimming pool outings. One of my pet peeves is sending a child to bed dirty. At the very least, if a shower is completely out of the question, I soap up their feet and hands in the kitchen sink.

A few days have passed since the last time the little kids have bathed. A swim was sprinkled in between barefooted baseball games on the front lawn, and bicycle rides around the neighborhood, but no actual shower. Their head didn’t pass the smell test. Their hair didn’t fill the air with all things flowery and clean.

When I mentioned to my husband that the boys needed to take a shower, he agreed to help with that process in the evening. Our youngest was sitting on my lap at the time. When I glanced at his filthy feet it solidified that the shower decision was valid and said, “Ooh, Carson, your feet are so dirty. You need a bath.” To which he replied, “At least my eyeballs are clean.”

Oh my. That boy.

It’s true, his eyeballs were clean.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blessed Insurance

My husband is fastidious about purchasing the warranty for appliances and electronic that we purchase. Because of this, the final total on our purchase finishes well above the budgeted amount of money. In his defense, if anything happens to the appliance or electronic devise after the one year “we barely cover anything” factory warranty, we are guaranteed and new item, or a fixed item at no cost.

The fastidiousness has paid off. Our malfunctioning washing machine has been fixed twice, free of charge, due to the fact that we had extra coverage on the appliance. Our ice maker in our freezer that stopped working for no reason, had a motor replaced that would have cost us $300.00, however cost us nothing. My vacuum that broke down after one year was replaced by a bigger and better vacuum at no cost to us. Yes, I own a Dyson Roller Ball that only cost me the tax.

When my son dropped his DS gaming system and the top broke off, he received a brand new DS because of the extra coverage we purchased, and, the Wii system that froze and stopped sharing love, was replaced for nothing. Thank you extra year warranty.
Typically we have no problem returning an item that has stopped working properly. Typically.

When we purchased a digital camera for our daughter and bought the extra 3 year warranty coverage, all seemed well. I sauntered in Target with the camera and warranty in hand, ready to receive a new camera. “Oh we don’t have that camera,” is not what I planned on hearing. “Now what?” I asked.

The customer service representative went on to tell me that since they could not replace the camera, I would have to call the manufacturer and find out what to do. I was a bit put out since I figured that the whole reason for purchasing the extra insurance was so that I wouldn’t have to call anyone, do anything, send and item anywhere, and happily skip my way out of the store with a brand new item.

Not only did I have to speak to the company within their east coast time zone, but I was given explicit directions on how to send the camera to the fix it store: 1. Remove the battery and wrap the camera in bubble wrap. 2. Place the camera in a box with the receipt and return address neatly tucked inside. 3. Take the snug as a bug in bubble wrap camera to the UPS store and pay $7.00 of my own money to send the camera that broke for no reason, back to the store where it wasn’t purchased, for a diagnosis.

I’m peeved about spending my own money to ship the camera. I’m not happy that the camera broke for no reason and I have to suffer through the details. I not happy about having to muster up some bubble wrap, and a small box, along with some packing tape to send the goods across town.

My camera better instantly remove wrinkles when it returns, and nip and tuck all areas that suffer from gravities pull.

Oh blessed insurance.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

This verse has been everywhere lately. I cannot get enough of it.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, August 14, 2009

Semi-Balanced State

Our girl/boy ratio is returning to a semi-balanced state. My daughter returns from camp today. Yay!

Although my ratio numbers are questionable since our girl dog teeters on boy-ness. The reason for her lack of girl-ness remains in the fact that I have witnessed her licking areas of her body that are nearly out of reach and should remain a lick-free zone, and because she wreaks smells that only dogs of the male variety are capable of executing. She has a pink collar though. The three to four ratio sounds better when I include the dog.

While my daughter was gone, I prayed for her safety. I prayed that she would be sad that the week was ending because she was having so much fun, but look forward to seeing her family. I prayed that she would be a leader and seek out students who needed a friend instead of seeking friends that she already has. I prayed that she would be flexible, and eat what was served and not spend all of her money on the snack shack fries and vanilla shakes. I prayed that she would deepen in her faith and commitment to living as a Christian. I prayed that the cards I sent her would arrive to camp on time and not the day after she returns home.

While my daughter was gone I had to endure boys racing to be the first to touch our car parked in the parking lot without someone to roll their eyes with me. I had to listen to music at extreme volumes without someone to echo after me, "Turn it down guys!" I had to referee a game of "office chair bumper cars" in the kitchen without a partner to guess how many seconds it would be before someone cries. Most importantly, I had no one who was able to look at two different shoes on each of my feet and help me decide which one looked best.

I'm glad that my girl is home. I need her.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Home Economics

Mrs. Bell was my seventh grade Home Economics teacher. When she had a baby girl, and named her Liberty, I thought that it was weird. Other than her odd child naming skills, I loved being in Mrs. Bell's class. In addition to learning the art of hemming my own corduroy pants, and attaching a button back to my polyester poncho, I learned how to care for children as a babysitter and went on to earn the big bucks babysitting for the Behnke family. They had good snacks, and the job paid well.

In high school, I was intimidated by the art class, didn’t have enough testosterone for auto shop, and thought that ceramics was too messy so I took a quilting class. I learned about batting, hand sewing, and the length of time it took to complete a quilt by hand. I loved the class so much during my senior year, I took advance quilting. I don’t think they would offer a class like that at my daughter’s high school.

I’m fairly certain that these days, the high schools only offer the basics, art, drama, auto shop, wood shop, and photography, as an elective. Do they even have a Home Economics class? Do students still learn how to make cream puffs, pancakes, and grilled cheese sandwiches?

My kids need to take a laundry class. They could shove loads of laundry into their backpacks each day, and learn how to wash and dry clothes, and iron their dad’s shirts. Another option would be a class on proper bathing. My children have the uncanny ability to exit the shower with patches of dry hair on their heads and dirty fingernails.

What did you take as an elective in junior high or high school?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Whatever it Takes

I began working the day that I turned sixteen. Sixteen was the legal age to begin working without getting permission from the guidance counsellor at school, or going through the ROP program.

I loved my first job where I worked in the snack bar of a local rollerskating rink. The fringe benefits included getting free dill pickles and bags of popcorn until I was promoted to cashier and then floor guard. At that point, I had to collect sweaty skates at days end, spray the inside with deodorizer and scrape gum of the floors of the roller rink. I never complained.

When I needed to make more money I got a second job at Sandy's Ski and Sport. My girlfriend and I rented out snow skis and neon colored, waterproof overalls to folks making a visit to the local mountains. I learned how to tune up snow skis using p-tex and hot wax in the winter months, and in the summer months we spent our days renting our water skis and selling skimpy bathing suits, life jackets, and flip flops.

My senior year, I needed to make a little bit more money in order to support my senior trip to Hawaii with 300 friends from high school, so I took on a third job, working at a Mobil Gas station. There I collected cash and credit cards, turned on the appropriate pumps and sold soda and chips from a small stand centered among the gas pump bays. The gas station job was temporary and served as a means for me to pay the final deposit of my trip and collect enough spending money to buy a sweet pukka shell necklace and tour Pearl Harbor among other things. This job was also the result of my glass jar filled with silver coins labeled "Hawaii" getting stolen from my bedroom along with my cherry red "beach cruiser" bike which was parked next to my bed. I loved that bike.

You see, I did whatever it was going to take. There were things I wanted to do, gas for my car that I needed to purchase, places I wanted to go, and I did what was necessary to earn the funds. I wan't "too cool" for any job that handed me a paycheck every two weeks. I would have worked at a library if I had passed the interview process and gotten past Sister Mary Dewey Decimal. That's another story.

In 2009, how many teenagers will do whatever it takes. How many care enough about having their own money, and earning their own wages, to help out with the responsibilities of a car, insurance, gas, food, and fun? How many are handed everything and never experience the sheer weight of true responsibility?

Am I guilty of giving too much to my kids and handing them too much, for little or nothing?

I need to reevaluate, without of course, making them work three jobs at once.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Everybody Has Something

Women love playing the compare game. We are unfortunately wired to look at other women and compare ourselves to them. This does nothing for our self esteem other than, in most cases, make us feel worse about who we are as women notwithstanding that we are God’s creation, His masterpiece, and created in His image, to be exactly who we are.

There are situations when we look at someone who is worse off than we are and feel slightly better about ourselves, but those are rare and fleeting.

What we fail to realize is that everyone has something. Though this “something” may not be apparent visually, everyone, yes everyone, has a hurt, hang-up, or habit that they deal with daily.

When we take a moment to connect with women on a deeper level, and share our struggles openly, the walls which separate us crumble, and our authenticity is revealed. Our comparison is turned into compassion and our insecurities dissolve.

When we stop comparing, and begin having compassion, we can be the women who God created us to be.

God doesn’t make mistakes, people make mistakes.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

You should be asking God daily:
Who do you want me to be? (character)
What do you want me to be? (career)
Where do you want me to be? (location)

God loves us too much to allow us to stay the same.


~Rick Warren

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Addiction Admission

Okay, so I am addicted to the show Intervention on A&E. There, I said it.

I record it, my husband and I watch it, and at shows end, I thank my husband for not being an addict.

In my fairytale world, everyone who is on the show gets better, they reunite with family and friends and all is well. In reality, they back slide, go back to the comfort of drugs, alcohol, and eating disorders and struggle. That part is always sad for me. However, this show helps me appreciate my family and friends even more.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Let the Questions Fly

Have you ever been inundated with questions from your children? I have. Last night was no exception. It was as if my two youngest had woken from a year long coma and needed immediate answers to everything.

What does a heart machine do?
How do people get a stopped heart?
Where are the tubes?
Does the machine hurt?
Does a heart crack into pieces?
Do all churches have a heart machines?
Why do the helpers wear blue shirts?
Why does the gas station have a flag?
If our Shakey's is burned down, why do they still have commercials about Shakey's?
What is that sign with the man running?
Why is the moon full?
Is that light a star?
How does the moon shine?
Why can't we have Dairy Queen?
Are you mad that you are hitting every red light?
Why is that truck parked at Mc Donald's?
Are you mad that I am asking questions?


"Dear God, thank you that Carson and Ty asked so many questions tonight. They are smart, and that is why they asks questions. Thank you for making them smart. Amen"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Want to go to Heaven

My youngest always comes up with amazing questions just prior to going to sleep. I lie beside him in bed, tickle his back while I pray and then the onslaught of questions begins. His mind is racing. The other night was no different.

If someone dies can you freeze their head?
Yep, if you wanted to, but that is gross.
Where does the devil live?
In hell.
Where is hell?
In the center of the earth. It is fiery there. (details and theologically sound explanations were out of the question)
What does the devil look like?
We don’t know.
We can look on the internet to find his picture.
It isn’t there.
I don’t want to go to hell.
I don’t want you go to hell either. I can say a prayer with you to make sure that you go to Heaven.

I proceed to pray the prayer of salvation with my six year old ansking him if he wanted God to be the boss of his life. He was so adorable. He prayed it in his mind after I told him what to say, and told me that he knew that God could hear him. When I told him that can be certain now that he is going to Heaven, he wanted to know how big he will be in Heaven and I told him that his Spirit goes to Heaven. I cut off quick with another comment so as not to try and explain the whole Spirit thing. My night was full.

My boy is saved! Pure joy. Angels are dancing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Lull

Today marks the first day that the little kids are in Vacation Bible School for the week. They were bitter about having to get up, get dressed before noon, and brush their teeth in the morning insinuating that, "this feels like we are going to school." I however, am enjoying the still morning. I have forgotten what quiet sounds like. I love to hear only the buzz of refrigerator.

Since I forgot to bring a snack for the kindergartner, I made a quick stop by the church bookstore for a purchase of blue Gatorade and a bag of Cheetos. I am ready to reap the repercussions and dirty looks from all the nutritionally savvy workers. Tomorrow I'll be sure to pack water and a yogurt.

My teen daughter seems to be loving the quiet as well, and has yet to ask me where everyone is. She doesn't want to jinx the moment.

It feels good to be still.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"God will make a way where there seems to be no way;
He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me."


~Moen