Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

"The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword."

Hebrew 4:12

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Smell Test

In an interesting way the smell of something can conjure up both good and bad memories. There are smells that I love: freshly sharpened wood pencils, inside binding of a new magazine, cut grass, and then those that invoke memories, like Herbal Essence shampoo and french fries.

My best girlfriend in junior high had thick black hair that hung perfectly down the middle of her back. She always used the same shampoo and cream rinse and when she walked by, you could smell the aroma of Herbal Essence shampoo.

My mother never considered the ramifications of dinners including a plate full of fresh fried french fries loaded with salt and ketsup. Moderation is key. It wasn't an every day occurrence, and it was a total treat.

To this day, every time I smell those two things, memories of junior high, or sitting on the counter smelling the hot grease cooking on the stove next to me, instantly send me back to that time. I love it.

I'm sure that there are many smells that invoke memories for you too.

Name a few.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Birthing Personalities

Is there any coloration between personality and birth experience? Let me explain.

My fourth child was born early in the morning. I was induced, even though I was dilating. Everyone was in a hurry since their shift ended at 7:00 a.m. and it was just past 6. The OBGYN rushed to the hospital, and barely made it to my room. It was crazy and painful. I wanted to scream.

My fourth child is crazy. He is smart and convincing. He winks at you when he is in trouble, is stubborn, and likes to call his brothers turds and tell them that they are mean. He quits games that he cannot win and then snuggles with me when he reads. At times he makes me yell.

Our third child's delivery was euphoric. He was born just after midnight in a quiet room with no visitors. I had no pain and gave birth with a smile on my face.

The 3rd is shy and quiet. He is easy,m and goes to bed without a fuss. He got the "peace" award in chapel.

Number two was almost born at Disneyland. My water broke in the bathroom of one of the restaurants at 7:00 p.m. but we stayed until 11:00. We ended up going to the hospital at 3:00 a.m.

The second is Mr. Fun Guy. He is always making up games, making people laugh and loves candy. He is flexible and loves a good time.

Our first born had a very dramatic birth. From start to finish it was three days. Her birth was unique, and challenging. She stayed in the hospital for 5 days, wouldn't eat, was small, and kept us on our toes.

Need I explain? Drama, unique, challenging at times.

Can anyone relate? Am I crazy? I probably am crazy, but isn't it worth considering?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Choosing Movies

Parents never stop parenting. My mother is still parenting me. She doesn’t do it intentionally, it just happens, naturally, from habit. After all, she has been parenting for many years. This isn’t something you just drop. There is a worn groove in her brain.

She also parents my older brother. I like when he is around. It is then, that she has the ability to divide the parenting role between the two of us.

Recently her parenting skills were loud and apparent. We walked into a Blockbuster store eager to rent some DVD’s to fill the void of off season television viewing. I grabbed the DVD “Hangover.” I knew nothing about this movie other than it was funny. Perhaps I need a quick lesson in “read a review about a film prior to renting it.”

When my mother saw what I had rented she said, in a very loud voice, with a line of 5people listening, “You’re not renting that! That is a terrible movie! It is all about sex, and drinking. It’s awful.”

There were many smirks and giggles from those standing in line as my moral compass was now shouting audibly instead of its typical soft whisper in my head.

I looked at the girl who was scanning my DVD into the system and said, “I guess I’m not renting that.” She looked back at me as if I were crazy for listening to my mother. She must be a rebellious spirit with a whacked out moral compass.

The next time I visit Blockbuster I will be renting G-Rated movies, and not bringing my mother.

I hope that is okay with her.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."

Hebrews 3:13

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gifts

How are you gifted?

What do your spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences say about you as a person and what you love doing?

Are you using any of your gifts and talents right now, or are they stifled by life?

Our joy is released when we are using our gifts. Don't be so consumed with life that the gifts that God have freely given you become extinguished. Use them mightily to honor and glorify Him.

"God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you."
1 Peter 4:10

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sweet Shelbie

Yesterday Shelbie was earlier than normal. She arrived at 7:15 a.m. Her face was shiny with sweat from her brisk walk which I questioned. What was the hurry this morning?

Shelbie had been fighting with her dad and step-mom. She was anxious to get out of the house even if it meant skipping a few more moments in a warm bed and subjecting herself to the cool outdoors. Not having to face the adults was the reward.

In addition to her cell phone and iPod, her father had decided that because of the current situation with her grades, he was taking away the things in her bedroom which included some clothes. Odd parenting tactic if you ask me. Also, her state of being grounded since September, four months now, had no immediate end date.

Suffering grades were not the result of irresponsibility but rather incompetence. Lack of knowledge and understanding was the reason that her grades were suffering. Were a few C’s really that bad? Wasn’t a D- in Spanish still a passing grade? Who gets higher than a C in Spanish? Shelbie’s Hispanic background had no influence on her grasp of the language.

I suggested that Shelbie make an appointment with her counselor. If she could convince her counselor that effort wasn’t the issue and that lack of understanding was, perhaps the counselor could discuss the matter with her father. Perhaps her father would get Shelbie some help instead of locking her in her bedroom every weekend.

Shelbie was early again today. The story with her father and step mother is a broken record. After some quick questions I discovered that her dad is 32. He had Shelbie when he was 18. He is out of work, but can’t muster the energy to take Shelbie to school. If she didn’t get a ride from us, her walk would cover 3 miles, 6 round trip. Perhaps that is the reason why she has a bike. I’ll have to find out why the bike is such a crutch.

“If you need anything, just let us know.” I told Shelbie as I dropped her off at school. “Don’t forget to talk to your counselor.”

Shelbie is in our lives for a reason. For now, she needs to be heard, and I am willing to listen.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Least of These

Each time I drove my daughter to school in the morning, we both noticed her. With her french braided hair divided into two sections, she steadied the handlebars of her pink bicycle walking it down the road toward the high school instead of riding on the seat and peddling.

Sitting in the basket of her bike was a bright pick helmet and a math book, and her backpack rested neatly on her shoulders. My daughter and I giggled each time we saw the bicycle pusher wondering each time why she chose to walk alongside of the bike as opposed to riding it, which resulted in a much slower and tedious alternative.

“Want to be five dollars richer?” I asked my daughter. “How?” she queried. “If you see that girl at school, I will give you five dollars if you ask her why she walks her bike instead of riding it.” Because money is best friends with my daughter she immediately accepted the dare. “I think she’s in my P.E. class. I’ll ask her 2nd period.”

I guessed that because the girl didn’t like wearing a bike helmet to high school she opted to walk, but why not just walk? Why drag the bicycle along too?

Later that afternoon my daughter texted me, “You owe me 5 bucks!” Despite my professional texting skills, I decided to call my daughter on her phone. “Did you ask her?” I knew that she did, but didn’t want to jump to conclusions. “Yep! She told me that she walks her bike to school because her seat is too high.” This made no immediate sense. Could her parents not lower the seat for her? Was she borrowing the bike from her six foot seven inch tall sister? We concluded that the bicycle walker was too embarrassed to give us the real reason why she pushes her bike to school each day.

Some days we would see the same girl, pushing her bike like normal, or walking, but never riding the bike. On one of these days the rain was coming down hard. As we approached the half way point to school, we saw her, exposed to the rain with no umbrella. I braked, turning the steering wheel of the car toward the curb and told my daughter to holler out the window and ask the soggy stranger if she wanted a ride. Visibly embarrassed by the task and reluctant, my daughter slid down the window of the car and shouted, “Do you want a ride?” After recognizing my daughter’s face, the girl nodded, and ran to the side of the car.

Shelbie entered, shut the door, and immediately commented on the warmth of the car. After some introductions and small talk, we drove the rest of the way to school.

The next day my daughter and I saw her walking and I stopped the car to let her inside. She thanked me. The day after that we saw her again, and stopped once more. Each time we stopped, we chatted and gathered more information about Shelbie, but the bike question never arose.

When I finally discovered how close Shelbie lived to our house I offered her a ride every day. If she was able to walk to our house, I would drive her, the rest of the way to school. Shelbie began showing up early to our house, and I began making her lunches each morning. Her home life was shaky but her joy never gave a clue.

Shelbie continues to show up each morning and fetches drinks for me from the refrigerator, while I offer her a bag filled with food for the day. She appreciates the ride to school, and we enjoy helping her. We have morning conversations around four other children and plastic baggies of food. She is now a part of our morning routine.

I never consider my act of kindness toward Shelbie something of merit. I sensed a need and acted. Perhaps that is the difference, I acted. Most times, admittedly, I don’t act.

I don’t know what will become of our relationship and time together, but for now, as I scroll “Shelbie” across a brown bag and fill it generously with food for the day, I smile, and wonder if Shelbie likes hanging out with us just as much as we enjoy her.

“. . . I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

He Calls Me Love

I first met him when he was ringing up my coffee and slice of banana bread at the Nordstrom Cafe. He called me love. "What can I get you love?" and "That will be three dollars Love" and "Have a great day Love."

Although it was a bit over used, he did this with all of the customers he encountered. It was refreshing. I could think of a ton of other names that I would rather not be called and Love was better than many of them.

Although he stands six foot and a handful, he is gentle in nature. His hair is colored reddish-purple chin length, and flips up at the ends. His dark eyes are framed with black rimed glasses. His voice is feminine and sweet, and his name is Tiny. Yes, Tiny.

Recently on a trip to Target, I saw him. Evidently he works two jobs. "Will he call me Love again, or does Target have a policy?"

He rang up my items and gave me the total. I waited. He bagged my cookies while my ATM card did it's thing. I waited. He handed me the bag and then it happened. "Here you go Love. Mahalo"

He calls me Love, and I have no idea who he is.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

"Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."

Ephesians 5:17

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just So You Know...Part 2



If we every have a girl's night out together and I show up wearing these on my feet, you have permission to remove them from my feet and burn them. I do love the "Magic Cling" though.

Just so you know.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just So You Know...



If you ever see me wearing these pants, you have permission to remove them from my body and burn them.

Just so you know.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

One Flip

I wear flip flops most of the year. I have a favorite pair that seem to go with most of my casual attire. They are grey rubber, and were only $12.00. A few months ago, I noticed that I only had one of the flip flops and could not seem to locate the other.

Each time I wanted to slip on my favorite flip flops for a quick jaunt to the grocery store, or trip to drop off kids for school, I sighed, grabbing my second favorite pair of flips and wondering where the missing flip flop was located.

Each time I entered the closet I would search a little more for the flip flop. I would dig through my husbands shoes, lift up boxes, and shuffle around the clothes hamper hoping to discover my right, grey flip flop, but no flip flop was ever found.

I contemplated giving up and tossing the left flip flop into the garbage. After all, why keep one shoe? The bigger question is: How long does one keep one shoe while searching for the other shoe? A few days? A few weeks? A few months? Is a year the limit, then into the garbage it goes? It's hard to say.

I waited, searched, probed, searched some more, lifted, looked, and sighed some more. No shoe.

Winter got colder, and rain entered our days, so I tucked the lone flip flop into the depths of my closet and forgot about it for weeks.

At Christmas time I collected all of the framed photos which sit on my mantel and living room table to make room for holiday decorations. As I shoved the frames underneath my bed, I spotted a dark shadow toward the middle of the carpet. I reached as far as my arm would go, and felt the cold rubber, of a dusty flip flop.

The joy which came from finding the missing shoe was short lived. I had no doubt that because of my "everything that sits longer than a week must be tossed in the garbage" mentality, the lone closet dwelling flip flop was long gone, and my discovery would be null and void.

I lifted the shoe from beneath my bed and sauntered to the closet. Wincing as I pushed around a pair of boots, sneakers, and sandals. My hope diminished as I was unable to find one grey flip flop to complete the pair.

Just as I was about to give up, there it was, buried under the rubble of running shoes and slippers, sitting dusty and alone. I broke into a funky dance, and united the two grey flip flops. Once again, they were a couple. My favorite flip flops were reunited.

There is such great reward in finding lost items, especially when they are mine.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Packet Pandemonium

Not that we eat out a lot, or often, or visit fast food eateries more than once a week, but we sure have accumulated our fair share of sauce packets.

We have ranch dressing and BBQ sauce from Chic fil A, catsup from Mc Donald’s, hot sauce from Del Taco, and House sauce from Pick up Stix. I have also seen mustard from Subway, and spread from In N Out Burger.

Since I have noticed that the sauce packets rarely get used after finding their way to the refrigerator, I have decided to throw all of them away. I don’t need a pack of catsup. I have a bottle of catsup. I don’t need a small tub of Ranch dressing, I have a bottle of dressing. I also don’t need hot sauce. I have 5 varieties of hot sauce in my cupboards and refrigerator.

Why do we save sauce packets? My guess would be that it seems wasteful to toss them into the garbage, and returning them to the proper eatery would be ludicrous.

A friend of mine has a whole drawer in her refrigerator dedicated to the collection of sauce packets. She has three teenagers. The teenagers probably never order a bean burrito and then opt out of the hot sauce, noting the hundreds of sauce packets at home. Discovering that the right sauce isn’t in the sauce packet drawer after refusing to bring any more home, could ruin a meal.

What’s a bean and cheese burrito without taco sauce? How does a chicken nugget survive without a quick dip in ranch dressing or BBQ sauce? No french fry goes without catsup in our home. Yours?

Do you accumulate sauce packets? Perhaps you don’t even know what sauce packet are. What do you do with sauce packets?

I must know.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Commercialized

My six year old is desperately trying to convince me that we need the Twin Draft Guard. He passionately explains all the details of the commercial, the advantages to the Twin Draft Guard, and just how fitting it is for our home. He misses the fact that we would first need a draft, prior to installation of the Twin Draft Guard. We live in Southern California. It is 70 degrees today. We have no draft. We need no draft guard.

He has also decided that we need the Big Top Cupcake, Paper Roni, and the Wand-o-Rama. I have a child who has been completely brain washed by dumb commercials. Next, he will be pulling out his Christmas savings to purchase a Shrek Chia Pet or a set of Bend a Roos, but only after he reenacts the commercial for Kids Bop 17 and replaces his closet fixture with a Wonder Hanger.

Actually, the only thing that we need is less dumb commercials, oh, and a Snuggie or two.

Commercialization. Isn't is great?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

Hebrews 10:23
Today's New International Version

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Photo Blues

Since I am the second born there are a total of four baby pictures then the snapshots go straight to when I was seven. After that we jump to high school and then my wedding pictures. The total number of pages in the book equals 8. My older brother's baby book is bulging with so many snapshots that it cannot be shut. I'll be in therapy later I'm sure.

In my attempts to locate my baby book I came across some pre cut, ready to glue on to scrapbook pages, containing photos of my oldest children. This was an indicator of when I got too busy to scrapbook - ten years ago. I don't want to be one of those people who in their sixties, finally has the time to place pictures in a photo album however, I'm not seeing any large gaps of free time in the immediate future, to complete the task.

I know that if I would just put them in a book right away, the problem would be eliminated, but I cannot seem to do that either. I'm hopeless, but at least I have pictures of my children, somewhere, in boxes, in some cupboard, for now, safe, with no semblance of order. It is a new year though. Perhaps loads of time will suddenly open up for me and deliver the desire to organize my photos, or not.

I'm a writer. That's what I do, so, I'm scraping scrapbooking. Unless of course, someone wants to place all my photos in books for me. I don't even need the fancy scrapbook paper and 3-D ribbons and stickers. I'd pay big bucks - if I had big bucks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happpy New Year!

I resolve to start posting on my blog again.
Thanks for not giving up on me!