Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Last August, my family visited the traveling
Viet Nam War Memorial.

 In honor of Memorial Day,
I'm linking back.

If you want to travel back with me,
follow the link.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Six Million Dollar Momma

I discovered this weekend that  Ann Crittendon, author of The Price of Motherhood,  put a price tag on motherhood - a million dollars.

That is the amount of money a stay at home mom (SAHM) will lose after only having one child by forfeiting a salary, stocks, retirement savings, pension and other benefits.

When I grew up there was a TV show called The Bionic Woman and she was the female version of The Six Million Dollar Man.

Since I have six kids, doesn't that make me a Six Million Dollar Woman?

I was astounded at the cost sacrificed for my career choice, Motherhood, but had I known this 23 years ago when I gave birth to child #1,  I wouldn't have made the decision any differently.

I don't stay home for financial reasons.

Although I home school and feel strongly about my children's education, and some statistics show children of SAHMs do better in school and in testing, I don't stay home for educational reasons.

I am a SAHM for two reasons. (follow link to previous post)



1. The Bible

Titus 2: 3-5

The aged women... teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.


I cannot reason these verses away. As a young single woman, I felt strongly about obeying the Lord and being a keeper at home when He granted me children. Since the Bible doesn't change, neither have my convictions.


2. I love my children and want to be with them.



I didn't read any books about the benefits of being a SAHM.  I don't need to justify myself or prove my value to others.

I can give my own statistics.

I was there when all six of my children rolled over for the first time, crawled for the first time, sat up for the first time and walked for the first time. I cheered like a maniac, never tiring of watching their accomplishments in life.

I marked their language progress with joy and great amounts of over-exaggerated lip movements as I tried to help them form their words more correctly.

I wore great amounts of baby food, milk and juice while teaching my children how to eat and eventually feed themselves. If I wear food now, it's slopped there with my own clumsy hands.

I was the one they wanted to tuck them in at night. I was the one who heard their secrets when they finally learned how to tell one.

All the firsts, except the naughty ones they got away with at the time, I WAS THERE.

I. was. there.


Yea, SAHMs may not always get a lot of adult interaction.

Yea, SAHMs may sometimes miss their career or wonder what they could have been had they stayed working.

Yea, SAHMs may sometimes be wiping up puke or washing the same dishes over and over and wonder why they went to college.

Yea, SAHMs may sometimes feel a little awkward about not having any of their "own" money to spend and/or a little guilty about not contributing to the bank account.

Yea, SAHMs may experience the typical frustrations, disappointments, shocks, trials and stresses that may make us doubt our value or our choice.

When I look in my kids' eyes, the windows to their precious souls, I know these light trials cannot shake me off the path of obedience.

Yes, it WAS a million dollar decision to stay at home with my kids, because you couldn't have paid me a million dollars to be away from them all day.

I value being a keeper at home because I value my children.

So, as I begin another new week, weak and weary from a trying year, I am thankful to remind myself why I am at home, as a SIX MILLION DOLLAR MOMMA.


*****
Needing to Make Your Home Sing this Monday? 
Pop over to Nan's blog and see how other Moms are beginning their week.
*****
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Swing by the Fifth Street Mama's blog for a dose.
*****

MM Meditation - Women Beholding

Matthew 27

54 "Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God."



55 "And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:"


56 "Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children."


Searching the other Gospel accounts gives us a more detailed list of the other women that were among that faithful group at the Cross.


Mark 15:40, "There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome."


John 19:25, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene."


Luke 24:10, "It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles."



There is no record of the disciples at the crucifixion, some commentators think they weren't even there. These faithful women were there and the Lord honored them by recording their names and their examples of ministry and worship for all of eternity.

They had ministered to the Lord, one anointed the Lord and wiped His feet with her hair, the highest act of worship recorded. They even brought the news of the Lord Jesus to the apostles.

We have great examples set before us.

These women believed and followed to the point of watching the final outplaying of their Savior's life on earth. It was a bloody, gory sight, not fit for any human eye, and these women braved it all, beholding Jesus,  the author and finisher of their faith.

Beholding is to view attentively, to perceive with the eyes, to enjoy the presence of one, to discern, to ascertain or find out by seeing.

How could they bear that sight?

How did they not faint in adversity?

How were they not emotionally destroyed the rest of their lives for the cruel, wicked scene they chose to behold?

They experienced the miraculous transformation that takes place when we all stand before the Cross, beholding Jesus, understanding it was for OUR sin that He bore the cross.

He took the stripes we deserve. He took the suffering that we deserved. He did it because of His great love for His Father and His desire to be obedient unto death. He did it because He loved the world and desired to make a way for us all to enjoy the fellowship with the Father that He enjoyed.

They could behold the suffering, because they basked in His love.


Are you a woman beholding?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mothering Lessons from an Umpire

Three years ago, my son began playing baseball.

As a stay-at-home Mom,
I immediately  identified with the umpire behind the plate.

Towering above the players like a proverbial giant,
his little magic clicky thing keeps track of the pitches.
He constantly knows how many balls, strikes, outs and what inning it is.

His word is law.
Calmly and deliberately, he watches and judges all.
He controls the players and the crowd
with decisive words and unchangeable decisions.

He doesn't have to make his presence known.
We all feel it.



His greatest power, though, is in the bristles of his little whisk broom.
When visibility of home plate is marred,
the game is stalled long enough for him to sweep it clean with confident strokes.

Meticulously, he strokes top to bottom, left to right, while all watch.
Over and over during the game,
he cleans homeplate without one word of reprimand
 for sand being tracked on his freshly swept plate.
He never fusses about how many times
he has already cleaned up after them.

He never threatens to just end the game
if they mess up home plate one more time.

 Of course, I don't expect that behavior.
He is the ump and I expect him to do his job.

I am always a little reprimanded watching the umpire.

Isn't being a Mom my job?
Doesn't that include cleaning up
what gets dirty while the game of life is being played?

I am also dismayed to admit,
although we all appreciate his great service to our team,
rarely any of us thank him.

We just expect him to do his job.

And I expect my kids to be different?


Each game, I absorb the wrist flicking action of the umpire,
and contemplate the power of my words and actions.

Baseball may be making my son a better athlete.

But the umpire is making me a better Mother.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Resurrection of Body Parts?

I have been trying to study the two judgments and the two resurrections to try to piece together the different sequence of events that lies ahead for believers and non-believers.

John 5:28-29,"...all who are in the graves will hear His voice  and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."


We know from the first chapters of John that good deeds are only committed through saving faith in Jesus Christ. Those who have done evil have rejected the Way of salvation.

It was amazing to realize how the resurrection was such a part of the Gospel talk of the early church.


Martha understood the resurrection long before she saw her brother rise from the dead.

John 11:24, "Martha said to Him (Jesus), “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”


I really got thinking about the bodily resurrection. So, if I am already dead, my body will rise from the grave at the time of the Rapture.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first."


Of course, if I'm alive, I get to go alive.

I Thessalonians 4:17, "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."

At one point, we change these bodies in for new ones.

Philippians 3:20-21, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body..."

So, the big question is, does that mean our entire body?  Or just what's left of our body at the time of the Rapture?


What about my thyroid that was removed because of cancer? It that little thingy going to fly through the air and meet up with the rest of the body for the big Trade-in?

Does my thyroid know which body to join?

Is there like a homing device?

It looks like a butterfly, maybe it can fly.

Or, do all those removed and incinerated body parts just stay in the trash heaps of the world while our fragmented bodies join in the heavenly festivities?

I got the giggles imaging all these different removed organs and limbs flying through the air, in a twinkling of an eye, matching up with the bodies they were removed due to severe illnesses, cancers and accidents.

Wow, to be whole again, even if only for a  bajillionth of a second, then get to trade-in on a new, sinless, heavenly body. Amazing!

But, regardless of whether we meet up with missing body parts on the way to the heavenly glories, this much is true and doesn't need to be laughed about-

-we born-again believers will see Jesus,
and when we see Him,
we shall all be changed.

1 John 3:2, "Beloved, now we are children of God...but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."



It won't matter if I am missing a major organ.


In that second, because of His grace, I will be completely whole, completely His and completely fit to be in the presence of the One whose hands bear the marks of His dying love for me.


Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jay Leno Style Grammar Tutorial

After spotting a few signs
that showed some hints of illiteracy,
I decided to articulate
a brilliant grammar, punctuation
and spelling tutorial
today.


A donut shop we shopped at once, in a moment
of sugar craving
and temporary weakness,
 gave us this warning.

I dun could't resist taking a pickcher
of that there sign.

Them there rules for apostrophes, plurals
are not always understooded very good.

Them donut peoples dun used the
possessive personal  prounoun
"your"
instead of a contraction
"you're",
short for "you are."

Ya' know, it's perty easy to make contractions.
'Cuz  we're too lazy to say each word,
 contractions are like shortcuts.
Start with two words,
take a few letters out,
throw in a squiggle where the letters are missing,
and you gotta' new word.


If you be confused which word to use,
YOUR or YOU'RE
ITS or IT'S
mouth the long words for the contraction to yerself.
Ya' know, before you shortened it.

Make sure your lips move
so everybody thinks yer crazy.

Do you wanna  say YOU + ARE
or do you wanna say it dun belongs to sumbudy else?

Same wif "its" and "it's".
If ya wanna' say "it is"
use "it's."



PHEW!

Got it?

. 
Now, the possessive form can be confusing.
Think of the apostrophe as a little pointing finger,
showing something is possessed,
or owned.
I know that's kinda' a big word.

ex.) The  dog's tail wagged.

The little apostrophe is pointing to the dog,
showing he owns the word after the apostrophe,
in this case the tail.

This latte ain't owning nuttin'.
It don't need a finger pointing at hisself.

It ain't a contraction either.

It just needs to be plural,
more than one,
'cuz we luv us some lattes.

You be needing to just add a big ol' "s".


(Say "Hi" to Momma Mindy.  I had to include myself in this pic.)

From a Craigslist ad -

"wrighting table - $250 (milton)"

Maybe that's why they had to sell the "table",
it didn't help them wright
like they thought it should.

Maybe I shoulda' bought the "table",
and started a business.

I could make signs for people.
Only I would fer shur
dun use them there contractions,
plurals and
 possessive personal pronouns correctly.

I no I wood make lotsa' money.



Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine.



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Click over to Homesteader's Heart
for Friday Funnies
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Have A Dream

I have a dream that one day, I will go to my scissors drawer, pull out a pair of scissors, and create some fabulous paper creations that will astound my bloggy friends.


That one day, I will go to my medicine cabinet to grab my fingernail clippers, and I will be able to trim my natural salon-looking nails that received a light snag while decorating my home with Martha Stewart.

That one day, I will go use my stapler from my school supply cabinet, and I will be able to staple together the pages of the final draft to my children's book called, "Don't Touch Your Mother's Stuff."

That one day, I will reach for a tissue, and the box will be where I put it, and I will be able to hand one to a friend who is weeping with joy over my wonderful and successful children.

That one day, I will go to the tape drawer, find my scotch tape and be able to actually use it to wrap presents so elegantly the recipients will not want to open them.

That one day,  I will  go to the tape drawer, my clear packing tape will be there, and I will be able to use it to tape up boxes of hand knitted, crocheted and quilted items to mail to all my family living across America.
That one day, I will go to the tape drawer, and my blue painting tape will be there, and I will be able to tape the room neatly before I repaint all the walls and trim so deliciously, my house will be featured in a glossy woman's magazine.

That one day, I will go to use my car, and my keys will be hanging on the hook on the fridge and there will be gas in the tank. There will be NO candy wrappers, tennis shoes, water bottles, half-eaten sandwiches or slime-encrusted library books in the van. It will smell nice. I will run all my errands without fighting with myself and buy myself a treat for being so good.

That one day, I will sit at my sewing table, turn on the lamp, because it will be there, and so will the light bulb inside the lamp. The sewing machine will have the color of thread I need (the color I threaded it with the last time I used it), my pins will be on the pincushion, the sewing scissors will be on their hook and every notion will be cheerily lined up, awaiting my industrious use.

That one day, when I reach for the flashlight beside my bed, my fingers will caress the cold metal, flick the little button and bring light to my weary soul.

I have a dream that one day, I will live in this perfect world, where all my belongings are at my fingertips, just waiting to be lovingly used and to be put back into their designated habitats.

I have a dream.

But to waken from my  current nightmare of reality Mommy life, to the dream world I have created in hazy hallucinations when I have five free seconds all in a row, probably means that all my scissor/tape stealing kids will have to grow up and move out.

That's more depressing than missing scissors.

I would love to work out a compromise.

I want my kids live with me, but put my stuff back after they use it.

That would be a dream come true.

But, until the nightmare becomes the  dream I am dreaming, I will count each missing or misplaced item as a reminder that those little offenders running around my house,

call me Mommy.

That's the real dream come true.

Psalm 113:9

He settles the barren woman in her home

as a happy mother of children.

Praise the LORD.


Now, can He just help me find my scissors?

Monday, May 24, 2010

MM Meditation - The Path of the Lord

(Blogger didn't post this on Sunday as we previously agreed.
Sometimes their functionality doesn't work.)
***

The Lord lays a beautiful path for us in Proverbs 16.


You enter the path :

v. 6-  by the fear of the LORD
one departs from evil

relationships are  blessed along the path-

v.7 when a man's ways please the Lord
He makes even his enemies
 to be at peace with him.

you are guided along the path-

v.9 LORD directs steps

there is an eternal results for staying on the path-

v.17 the highway of the upright
is to depart from evil:
He who keeps his way
 preserves his soul

many blessings on the path-

v.20  he who heeds the Word wisely
will find good
whoever trusts in the LORD,
happy is he




Most people want peace with friends,
family members and their enemies.
  
Most people want success and guidance in all areas of their lives;
marriage, careers, child-rearing and finances.

Most people want the good life.

Most people want to be happy.

Most people want to go to Heaven when they die.



 -however-



Most people don't want to fear the LORD,

don't want to depart from evil,

don't want to heed the Word of God 

and don't want to  trust in the LORD.


v. 25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.



There's only one highway option.


John 14:6
Jesus said unto him,
 I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man comes unto the Father,
but by me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Yea, DADDY!

We were sitting on the cold, metal bleachers. The sun, not remembering its job to bring May flowers, had been darting in and out of the clouds, while we were gently splashed with rain. We were cold, we were shivering, but we parents continued to cheer.


"Good job, Jon, nice hit."

"Great throw, Spencer!"

"It wasn't your pitch."

"Nice wheels!"

"Whata' catch!"

"C'mon, don't swing at junk."

 "Nice pitch, Anthony."
"Base hit, ball four."

"Way to go, buddy!"

The chatter is almost constant, while the parents encourage the failures and cheer the successes of our boys. The drone  of love, support, and sometimes disappointment is like the post office, never hindered by rain nor sleet. This year our dedication has really been tested with unusually cold and rainy spring weather.

Tonight, while shivering in his woolen winter coat and his daughter's pink striped stocking hat, my husband turned to me and joked,  "Ya' know what? Kids never cheer on their parents." He talked about how we, as parents, through their entire lives, cheer them on with their accomplishments.

"But, nobody yells, 'Yea, Dad! Thanks for going to work today!' when I come home from work. Nobody yells, 'Mom, you're awesome, thanks for doing dishes!'"

I thought about it. Part of that is because we don't do anything outside of parenting. This is what we do right now. We parent. We don't have time for sports, or hobbies, or anything that encourages spectator participation.

In fact, when I am finally doing something on my own, like writing or sewing or reading, I'm really not desiring someone to lean over my shoulder and chant, "Good job Mom, nice straight seam!" or "Way to go mom, just read two more chapters and you're done with your book!"

Parents may not get or need the chanting and cheering, but they do need the love, support and appreciation.

But, I thought about his statement and challenged myself to review how I'm teaching my kids to support their Daddy. While the kids aren't as loud as we baseball parents are, I do teach my kids a few "cheers" for their Daddy.

"Thanks for the new __________, Daddy!"
I need my kids to understand that Daddy works very hard for the family's money. He's usually working when we are shopping. I even like to joke that "it's his job to make the money and it's my job to spend it." But, I appreciate his hard work and I have taught the kids to thank him for every purchase.

"Yea, Daddy's home!"
When the kids were younger, I always made a big deal about Daddy coming home from work. We greeted him joyously and let him know how glad we were glad to see him. The greeting was usually followed by a few minutes of peace for Daddy so he could unwind before dinner. He needed to recharge his batteries before taking on the day's events and issues for all seven of us.

"How did your day go, Daddy?"
 Daddy is good to ask about everyone else and keep tabs of their school, their friends, their trials and their sports. We need to give Daddy that same attention and the opportunity to share the wins and losses of the day.

"Does your foot hurt, Daddy?"
 Because of a fall years back, Scott has nerve damage on the right side of his body. When he is tired and has been standing a lot, his foot tingles and hurts.  The kids have learned to watch his body language for when he is achy and give him a foot massage.

"I'm praying for you, Daddy."
We pray for Daddy to be wise at work, church and home. He impacts a lot of people and needs wisdom in the Word and in his work. We pray for his safety in the commute. We pray for his testimony. We pray for the decisions he needs to make. We pray for his preaching the Word of God and for his service as an elder.

"Did you know you have a wonderful Daddy!?!"
I personally try to cheer on Daddy by not speaking poorly of him in front of the kids or anybody else. Our goal is to be a united front, supporting one another in front of the kids, and talking out our differences respectfully and away from the kids. I try to build him up and not let Satan deceive the kids about their Dad. If satan can get a tiny wedge of doubt about the spiritual head of the household, he can do a disastrous work in the life of a child. They need to be reassured that Daddy does know and understand, Daddy does care and his decisions are from the Lord.  If Daddy says no, the Lord is saying no, and that needs to be taken with love and respect.

Scott's teasing comment tonight renewed my desire to teach my kids to love and honor him in the home.

If these things don't fulfill that desire to be cheered for,  I could always go out and buy the kids matching pom-poms for their  Yea! Daddy's Home From Work! greeting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Fangled Diet

I was astounded to read an article in the Seattle Times in October, about women who had created yet another new fad diet to curb their voracious appetites.


They didn't talk about carbs.

They didn't talk about fat.

They didn't talk about calories.

They didn't talk about protein.

They talked about clothes.

These women committed to following the The Great American Apparel Diet. From September 1st, 2009 to September 2nd, 2010, they committed to fasting from all  new clothing purchases.  They made an exception for shoes, underwear, accessories, and used clothing.   They can feast all they want on purchasing these  items.

A woman who doesn't like to shop, I was enthralled and appalled when I read one woman's confession to spending $5000 a year on clothing. That didn't include shoes and accessories.  I'm not sure I even have the ambition to spend that much money, let alone the time. 

What in the world would I even buy? 

Another woman felt she had enough clothes for a lifetime. A lifetime?  Another started the process off by selling 300+ items on ebay.  I might have 300 clothing items if you included , my few scarves, my gloves, my pajamas and then counted each sock individually.

When I started reading about their spending habits, I could only think,  "Oh my, they need to be cured!"

From founder Sally's blog about herself as she began the diet, "For the record, as I write this I am wearing a J. Crew heather gray long sleeved cotton t-shirt, a pair of strategically ripped jeans by Big Star, my Frye engineer boots with Hue stripped socks, a pair of Calvin Klein undies and a flesh colored Natori bra."

It took me awhile, but I found these items on the internet.  She spent about $373 on one outfit, not including tax and possible shipping.

Now we're talking my language!  That's more like my  clothing budget...

in a year...

or two....

or three?

Her socks cost about $6.  That's how much I pay for a pair of Old Navy jeans on clearance.

The cheapest pair of Calvin Klein underwear was $12.  Maybe she just doesn't know that you can buy two packages of undies for that price at Target.

Even after I read up on their shopping habits and their diet, I was still a little mystified.

When they were on a DIET, they could still end up spending more than the midwestern they-don't-know-the-Depression-is-over women I was blessed to grow up around.

My mother was the Queen of Dressing Well on Almost no Budget.

When I was a child,  after we all got dressed to go somewhere special, we would add up how much each outfit cost.  Since there was a $.25 rack at the Salvation Army, we never had to count very high.

As I read their I went from thinking these women were crazy, to admiring their spunk in publically admitting their weakness and trying to overcome it. In a follow-up article with the Times,  you see real growth as they evaluated their time and their money. Some have used their former shopping time for exercise or service. Some of them have experienced a change in focus from inward to outward, as they changed spending habits.

I have the opposite problem; my closet is anorexic.

I measured the spot in my closet where I hang my shirts.  It was less than  two hands long.  Half of the shirts in there I keep only to fill the spot so I don't have to think about the fact that I really don't have much to wear.

So, these women  inspired me.

Instead of fasting, I purposed to feast.  OK, maybe not feast, but at least nibble a little bit more.

Since I read that article, I have been making myself shop occasionally so I have the clothes I need for my life. They might shop too much, but they knew how to shop, how to have the clothes they needed for the activities they participated in, and they enjoyed the process.  I had something to learn from them.

I bought a few new t-shirts.

I bought a new skirt.

I even bought a few necklaces on clearance to go with the new shirts.

If I find a few more things, I might even be able to throw out those new shirts, the ones I got after my son was born.

He's 21.

I did really appreciate the shopping advice Sally posted on a sidebar, it will help with my new purpose in life to fatten up the closet.

1. Don't ever buy something because it's on sale. Don't buy it if you wouldn't pay full price for it.

2. Don't buy anything you don't try on first.

3. Don't buy anything that doesn't fit you at that moment.

4. Don't buy anything on impluse--it's usually all wrong.

5. Don't buy it unless you have two things in your closet that will pair nicely with it.

6. Don't buy it if you aren't comfortable in it right now.

7. Don't buy it because it's "in" instead buy it because it's magical!


Shopping is a lot of work.  Maybe part of the year for the fasters should have been to shop for one of the feasters.  I could use some help.


So, do you need to FAST or FEAST?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Playing in Math Class

All Math and no play,
makes Momma a dull teacher.



Pop over to
my blog about homeschooling,
to see how I  used Duplos
to teach
The Tens Family
and
The Commutative Property for Addition.

Follow me...

What I've Really Learned in 24 Years...

A mother's wisdom is widespread  in content area and experience
and may not always be appreciated. 
I wanted to share the wealth of information
I've garnered in 24 years of marriage and parenting.
This list may not be inclusive,
I actually might have learned a thing or two more,
I just can't remember anything else at the moment.
I think I have been in a state of shock
for at least the past 23 years.

Names are not used to protect my guilty children.
******************************************


*Legos that were vacuumed up can retrieved out of the vacuum cleaner bag if you cut open the bag at the bottom.
*Legos that are swallowed eventually make their way out the bottom by themselves.


* A pair of socks that are worn over and over without washing eventually do have a left and a right foot.
*A pair of socks that are put in the wash separately will eventually end up only as a left, or only as a right.



*A cricket has a hard time keeping its appendages through the spin cycle.
*A cockroach can make it through the wash with almost all of its legs intact.
*A cockroach in a crawler's mouth will be about half intact when you discover it. Mouthwash can make you feel like you sterilized their mouth.



*If  a whole cup a coffee is spilled on the new carpet at the doctor's office, a diaper works really well to soak it all up. Just open it up, lay it down, and step on it over and over.


*If your husband is a referee and his professional Fox 40 whistle goes through the washer AND the dryer - it will still work.


*If you own small plastic tool chest and put a padlock on it, if your kids slice the hinges open, they can still get to your tools.


*If you fill the hot tub, without screwing in the drain plug, the hot tub never gets filled.
*Extra chlorine in the hot tub doesn't make you extra sterilized, it makes you extra rashy and itchy.


*If the kids  use hand-washing dish detergent soap instead of dishwasher soap in the dishwasher, you WILL be wiping up MOUNTAINS of bubbles.

*The little white cardboard tubes from tampons fit perfectly over toddler fingers.  If the child is sitting in church,  the finger extensions help them to keep better time with the music.
*Peel-n-stick feminine pads really do peel and stick well - even on the tiled floor of a coffee shop.


*One Jolly Rancher dropped behind the bed, can attract a colony of ants. If you don't find the Jolly Rancher before the kids and dispose of it, it could attract a colony of kids.

*Watched pots still boil over, and unwatched steaks on the grill DO become charcoal.


But, you can't laugh long.  This is the amazing child who made the gourmet Thanksgiving meal just a few short years later, without much coaching from me.  This picture is the result of my tutorial.  "Turn the grill on and throw the steaks on.  Dad will be home in a few minutes to finish them up."


I would love to hear what wisdom you have acquired
 in your years of parenting! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sucker Punched to the Ground

In September, I am always excited to begin a new school year. We have new school supplies, new books, and old favorites. I have high intentions of always making it the best year, with enthusiastic learning, awesome projects, field trips and momentous occasions of mommy/children bonding.


I have ways of boosting my enthusiasm during the year. The holidays are spaced just right to give me encouragement and rest to keep on.  I might buy a new learning game, or find a new blog where the young Mom is eeking enough enthusiasm to share.

In April I am pushing myself to finish, but by May, it is total obedience and diligence. I am gritting my teeth, determined to finish something I started.

As usual, by the end of a year, I am honestly a little discouraged as I look around my home and my bookshelves. Some of the fun projects I planned never got started. Others got started and weren't finished. It seems every little thing shows my failure. It is hard for me to see success, when all I can focus on is the failures.

The house is quite messy, due to a five month floor project demanded by a leaky dishwasher over Christmas. With the extra busyness of end of the year projects and activities, softball and baseball, it is hard to even keep groceries stocked and healthy meals on the table.

On top of the dirty laundry and the dust that could send asthmatics to the hospital, the weeds,moss and empty flower pots are taunting me to deal with them.

I am down, and the enemy is throwing sucker punches to my face, kicking at me and reminding me of my failings. He makes me wonder why I am homeschooling, why I continue on in something I am not very good it, and why I think I am benefitting my kids when I am such a failure.

That ugly voice is right. 

There is nothing good in me, apart from the Lord Jesus. But, that ugly voice doesn't want me to remember the other Truth - that greater is HE that is within me, that he who is in the world. When I look for a list of my accomplishments, the list is empty. With the help and strength from the Lord, much can be accomplished.  And what isn't accomplished, can be covered in prayer. He can make all the crooked ways straight.

So, while I'm down on the ground,
empty and broken,
 I'm gunna pray.

I'm going to listen only to the voice of the One that loves me, the One that promises strength for today and bright hope tomorrow.  The One who led me to homeschool, the One that will give me wisdom and the One that will help me to be the mother I need to be.  The One that will give me courage and diligence to finish the race.

And while I'm down there, I might just dust that baseboard.


*****
Mondays start better with encouragement from other women. 
Follow me over to Nan's place,
where she hosts
*****

Sunday, May 16, 2010

MM Meditation - Covering With Fervent Love

1 Peter 4:7-8

But the end of all things is at hand;
therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
And above all things
 have fervent love for one another,
 for love will cover a multitude of sins.



Where there are people, there will be sin, that's a fact for saints and sinners.

And, where there are multitudes of people, there will be multitudes of sins.

With the multitudes of people and multitudes of sins, there should be fervent love.

Not the kind of Hallmark love that gives glossy and floral expressions once a year, not the kind of mother-in-law obligatory love that seethes beneath the surface, not the kind of social love where you express what you are expected to but don't really mean.

This love is supposed to be a fervent love, a love without ceasing that is stretched out to veil, or cover, to hinder the spread of the sin by idle tongues, accusing mouths and self-righteous hearts.

Does this mean that all sin is covered up, so the truth of the matter isn't revealed?

No.

We have other scripture that has already instructed us how to deal with serious sin in a brother or sister. We are to restore them. We are to pray for them, point the sin out and bring them back into fellowship.

Then the covering is keeping this process of displine under the wraps of love, so that the offending Christian sibling is restored unto the Lord in the way He has designed and the grief of the situation isn't exasperated by others knowing and spreading that knowledge incorrectly.



Galatians 6:1

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass,
you who are spiritual
restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness,
considering yourself lest you also be tempted.


This verse is really urging fervant love to cover a multitude of little sins, to overlook those minor faults and failures you may observe in other believers.  It's loving them as they are, loving them as Christ loves them, and not broadcasting their failings to anyone but the Lord, as you go to Him in prayer. 

And, as the mirror of God's holiness reflects back into your life, that same fervent love will cover your multitude of little sins.

But, as we're observing others lives, we are to be watchful in prayer, or simply - as we watch others lives, we pray.

Like a mother putting her children to bed for the night, we are to gently spread our fervent love over the sins of those around us, carefully tucking it in with prayer.




This blog will be posted on Motivate Me Monday,
sponsored by the Fifth Street Mama. 
Follow me over for fresh spiritual
encouragement to begin a new week.

Friday, May 14, 2010

In and Out of Season

Clothed in Christ
Part Four in a Series
*****

The biggest insult a high society women could sneer in an old movie was,
 "Oh, that dress is SO last season."
Displaying the height of fashion
would be their feeble equivalent to scaling Mount Everest.

I vaguely try to stay in touch with what's new each season,
even if it's just for a good laugh.
And, when my clothes have become the laugh,
I try to buy something to update my look.

 
After wearing my favorite dressy black jacket for over a decade,
I finally noticed it had shoulderpads.

Or should I say,
I finally noticed
nobody else was wearing shoulderpads?
I thought the seam ripper would bring me back into the season.



Yes, they're shoulder pads.
They pad your shoulders.
Some of you young, cool Moms probably weren't buying
women's clothing when they were in style last.

I was wrong about the seam ripper.
The jacket hung limply,
and it was more obvious than ever
that the jacket had to be replaced.

 
I found an adorable belted black jacket with nice shiny, black buttons.


 
I was shocked.

The new black jacket has....
you guessed it...
shoulderpads.

I had been out of style SO long,
the tides of fashion had turned,
bringing the shoulderpad wave right back on my beach.

But, for once, I'm riding the crest of coolness.

Like the craze of holey jeans,
I think I can take full responsibility
for bringing the latest clothing phase into vogue,
by keeping it ever before the public eye.
Didja' know the Lord commands us to be in season?

Not for fashion.
 For Gospel preaching.



2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word;
be instant in season,
out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort
with all longsuffering and doctrine.


 
As we marvel at the fickleness of fashion -
in one season and out the next-
we can rejoice in the unchangeableness of the Lord.


 Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
 
Because He doesn't change,
His Gospel, and the need for it,
doesn't change either.

 It is always in style to preach the Gospel.

 
We are the trend setters for the Lord,
modeling the Gospel of Jesus Christ
for the bedraggled world.



*****
Read Part One in the Series - Off With the Old, In With the New
Part Three - Holy, Holey Jeans

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Holy, Holey Jeans

Clothed In Christ
Part Three in a Series
*****


My Dad was a teacher, so I grew up understanding that  people who teach other people's kids, can't afford to dress their kids as nicely as the kids they are teaching.


I understood this principle. Many times I didn't appreciate this principle.

But, I married a teacher, anyway.

When my husband taught in a Christian school, and we made as much in a month as many people made in a week, new clothes weren't an option. Most of the time, used clothes weren't even an option. I knew that people who teach other people's kids, can't afford to dress their wife as nicely as the kids they are teaching.

However, this poverty put me on the trend-setting edge of fashion.

Becky, another teacher's wife, and I wore our favorite jeans day after day after day. When the hems got raggedy, we kept wearing them. When we broke holes in the first knee, we kept wearing them. When we broke through the second knees, we kept wearing them.

This was the 80's. NOBODY had holes in their jeans, except us. We took personal responsibility for the market trend of the 90's when everyone began wearing holey jeans. But, the teens had to RIP or CUT the holes in their jeans. We EARNED ours.

A few years back, I decided to upgrade my look into the stylish trend of darker jeans with NO holes. I was surprised that not only were holey jeans still the teens' rage, almost all the jeans already had holes in them. I had to shop and shop to find a whole pair of jeans.

My next shopping trip, I gave in a bought a pair of jeans with pre-packaged holes, hoping to  take one item off my "to-do" list. Who has time to wear holes in their jeans, anyway?

 
Women who easily wear holes in their jeans shouldn't buy jeans with holes already in the knees.

The trendy hole quickly became a cavern and I went from being cool, to being in need of new jeans in just a few wearings.



Maybe I should hire myself out to wear holes in the jeans for the companies. Then, I could have an endless supply of NICE jeans and could regularily trade them in after I created holes.

I tried patching my jeans.

The patch peeled off.

I tried again.

It ripped across.

I patched the ends of the horizontal tear.



The patch ripped.

The patch made the hole bigger, but now I had a piece of stiff, scratchy patch attached.

Then, the Lord told me what I did wrong.

If you hear someone say the Bible isn't relevant to all issues in life,
you know for sure they haven't read the Bible.

I got some serious mending advice.



Matthew 9:16

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth
 on an old garment;
for the patch pulls away from the garment,
and the tear is made worse.


I also got a beautiful spiritual lesson as my knee popped in and out of the jeans, and I heard the fabric rip just a little bit more each time I hunched down to take a picture.

The Bible tells me I need to patch my jeans with an old piece of denim. Because the jeans were pre-washed, pre-shrunk and pre-worn, I should have used the same type of material for patching, instead of the new, stiff patch.

The true picture here is not just mending. The Lord is explaining that Law and Grace do NOT mix. Trying to keep the commandments of the Old Testament with the Salvation by Grace message of the New Testament, is like patching old pants with a new patch. It doesn't work. It tears, it doesn't fix the problem, it makes it bigger.

We cannot add a burden to Christians to keep a law that was never able to be kept. The law has only been to convict people of their sin and point them to Christ. 

In the day of the disciples, some were asking the new believers to be circumcised, a demand of the Old Testament. Paul had to oppose them boldly to their face and reteach them salvation by faith alone.

Today, we still have that problem.

We like to add little rules to the Gospel, little demands on believers that we think they might make them more holy.

Sometimes the rules are about apparel or good deeds.  Some rules are about spiritual acts that must be performed to earn their salvation.

The Lord demands two acts.  Get saved by faith.  Get baptized to publically proclaim your salvation, not to earn it.

By adding to the Gospel, we are patching incorrectly.

Keep your mending rules straight, unless you want to be holey.

Keep your doctrine straight, so you can be holy.

Or, you can ignore your mending and focus on your doctrine,  and be holy in holey jeans.




*****

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Puffed Sleeves of Parenting

Clothed In Christ
Part Two in a Series
*****



In Anne of Green Gables,
the imaginative, slightly vain Anne,
longs for puffed sleeves in the new dresses
Marilla is sewing for her.
.
After all, they were in style.
.
The other girls were wearing them.
.
She wanted to look elegant.
.
Marilla tried to chase the longing away
with practicality and sensibility.



video
She knew Anne's weaknesses, and didn't want to play into them.
Showing her own fears not yet overcome in life,
Marilla wrongly feels denial is always the best for the soul,
as if a desire fulfilled would be a sign of weakness.


Matthew, on the other hand,
was determined that Anne wasn't going to be raised
"as cheerless as we was."

video
He knew Anne's desires, and that it was time to fulfill one of them.


Proverbs 13:19

A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.


Even though Marilla and Matthew are brother and sister,
they took the opposite sides many couples find themselves on.
When my kids were little, they noticed this trend,
and wrote their own song.
"Mommy says NO! Daddy says YES!"
Instead of working against each other as a couple, however,
we learned to work together,
complementing instead of complaining.

If Marilla always said no, Anne would have a dreary life.
If Matthew always said yes, Anne would be spoiled.
.
If I always said NO, the kids would live on fruits and vegetables.
If Scott always said YES, they would have cake for breakfast.
(OK, he only did that one time, and the conspiratorial
smugness of the kids was worth the possible tooth decay!)
.
When I see the tear on Anne's face as she faces Matthew,
too overcome with thankfulness to speak,
it always make me realize I have that same power as a parent.
.
I can provide the "puffed sleeves"
of my children's dreams.

For one of my little girls, it was simply sparkly gold shoes
that made her childhood sweet and fulfilled.

Another daughter longed for violin lessons.

I have moments of regret when a longing wasn't fulfilled,
like the Christmas when I bought a four-year-old a doll I loved,
instead of the doll she loved. When she buried the doll in her closet,
without a fuss, without a fit, I knew I had done the wrong thing.

In all things, it takes wisdom and prayer,
to know when to say "yes" and when to say "no."
And when the husband and wife disagree,
pray until you can act in unity and peace.

Spirit-led moderation is the key.

Even we adults have all felt the longing Anne for puffed sleeves.
Maybe it was for a spouse.
Maybe it was for a child.
Maybe it was for an unspoken prayer request of your heart
you couldn't voice to any human.
Feel the hunger of that desire again,
and turn your longing to the Lord.

1 Peter 2:2
 "Desire the sincere milk of the word,
that you may grow.

Long after Him,
then when the desire is fulfilled,
thank Him.

Tears are optional.
*****

Read Part One - Off With the Old, In With the New
Part Three - Holy, Holey Jeans

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When Kids Are Appendages

People always warned me about the changes I would have to make in parenting, as my kids traveled through the various stages of life, but nobody warned me about the changes in distance.

They don't just grow up, they grow away.

From the moment children are born, they are an appendage.

They want mommy every waking moment and wake you the other moments.

You take care of every need, desire, whim, joy, fear, victory, and defeat.

Some of us discovered how selfish we truly are at this stage.

Iremember occasionally thinking, "What, you want to nurse again? I JUST fed you!"

Or, "You wet the bed again? That's so much extra laundry!"

Along with tremendous maternal love, these responses are also mixed in with a little frustration, a little selfishness and a lot of fatigue.

Their needs and demands weigh on body, soul and spirit in God-perfecting design of creating a Mommy. You learn to set your own desires and needs aside for someone who truly is dependent on you for everything.

There can be so much overstimulation for mommy, and we don't want to hear our name one more time.  We can actually crave alone time. If you haven't been able to use the restroom alone for awhile, you're at this stage.

You learn to deny yourself and take care of the precious one you have been entrusted with and through the sacrificial living, you grow more patient, more kind, more loving, more understanding and less selfish.

Just about the time you seem to adjust to having them clamoring over you, around you, beside you, near you, on you, in front of you, behind you, under you, next to you and with you, they begin to pull away.

Desiring independence, they aren't as bound to Mommy for help in making decisions, nurturing and affirmation. But, you always have to be available,  a r m ' s  l e n g t h  away, in case they need a hug or an owie kissed, even though they say they are too old for that.

Then, when you are adjusted to the arm's length distance, they go to shouting range. They think they shouldn't need you, don't think they can admit they need you,  but eventually cry out if there is a serious need.

Especially, if it's a financial need.

Especially, if  something was damaged, like a car.

We love responding to their emotional and spiritual needs, like when they are having troubles with friends, they're lonely, they're faced with hard life decisions  orwhen they're trying to make their own Biblical convictions.

They may try to go on their own, but they really can't. They might wrongly believe that independence is standing alone; but independence is learning to depend on self, while being upheld by others. Real life is all  about burden-bearing.

At this stage they hopefully realize strong relationships help you through life, and it really is OK if some of those supporting relationships include their parents.

Somewhere after shouting range and moving out of the house, it becomes cell phone range.

This stage can bounce between the emotional needs of arm's length and shouting range, varying from deep to surface needs. They have learned to call just to chat, catch up on the family, talk about their job, get a recipe or tell you about something they bought for a really good deal. They even begin to call to ask how you are doing.  You've become friends.

But when they call for advice, you feel like Esther, standing in awe and relief because the king extended the sceptor, and you know they will listen to you.  Every morsel of love and conviction swell up and you talk heart-to-heart,  marveling and rejoicing that they are really, really, really listening. As you  fellowship, you strengthen your relationship as spiritual siblings.

Ya' wanna' know something?

Even though I love my kids at every stage, and I love watching them grow, sometimes I miss the appendage stage. 

I really do.

Sure, it's nice to usually use the bathroom undisturbed,
but sometimes I glance towards the door,
just dreaming about those
little
toddler
fingers,
that used to reach under the wood,
longing,
wriggling,
reaching,
for
their
Mommy.

Then, I go check my cell phone for messages.