Friday, January 28, 2011

I Love Books

I may not get to read as often as I would like, but when I do get into a book and can't put it down...that is one of the best feelings in the world. I just finished a book that I actually bought for Abby and I to read together but within a chapter she was bored with it. It's called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (she also wrote The Tale of Despereaux.)

What a great adventure this china bunny doll went on both physically and emotionally! Even I was wrapped up in Edward's emotions. Rooting for him to love again even though he was crudely pinned to a post to be a makeshift scarecrow, crying with him when his friend died, feeling his loss of hope as he drifted along the bottom of the ocean. Where would Edward turn up next? Who would love him next? How much would they love him? Would he ever feel hope and love again after going through all the heartache in his life. *swooning sigh* And doesn't it just bring me back to a childlike state to consider that dolls and toys could actually think and feel and talk! Does it really make the stuffed animals feel loved when you put them on the shelf or lined up on the bed as opposed to shoving them in a toy box or strewn about on the floor? Gosh, now I'm thinking about all the dolls and stuffed animals in my house right now. I think we need to go take care of them!

Even though this book was in the Children section of Barnes and Noble, it's now in the Keep section of my personal library. I know I have an ever growing pile of books and I'm sure to the non-reader it makes no sense to keep a bunch of books that you need to store or dust, but these books are part of MY journey. Books have transformed me along the way and each one means something to me.

This book is a quick and worthy read for kids and adults alike.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Think On Purpose"

This is a phrase my dear friend Dianne says often and wants to put on T-shirts. It means take your thoughts captive and know what you really believe. In the scripture linked there, I believe Paul is saying don't just let your thoughts roam and run away with you. I always think about my tender-hearted mother who is plagued with anxiety and fear thoughts. I mean, she will lay awake for hours at night worrying about things that MIGHT happen in the future. She's definitely not taking those thoughts into captivity and making them obedient to Christ (or what what the Bible says is true.) She's allowing them to rule and reign over her thought life AND her physical emotions. Sometimes to the point that medication is necessary.

Something came across my computer today that interested me and so I clicked on it. It was a message about doing a Mommy/Daughter pedicure on a budget and it was pushing a particular brand of nail polish called Essie. It's chemical free and isn't tested on animals, but I liked the word "budget" and was interested. I scroll to see a nail polish display and the slogan written across it.

Can you read that? It's kinda hard to see. I'll link it here, but what it says is "When you're obsessed it means you CARE...a lot." Umm, hello? I don't think that is what obsessed means. This is where Abby would roll her eyes and say "Mom, you are SO last century. That's just a saying. It doesn't MEAN anything." And I'd say "Uh yes it does, dear, because words have meaning and power." In fact, Webster defines Obsessed as: "to haunt or excessively preoccupy the mind." I don't want ANYTHING haunting me, let alone vegan nail polish.

Your mind isn't just a filterless machine that takes in info and spits it back out without it being processed and inputted into the proper files. Keep that, pitch that, attach that to the "hurt" file, etc. We are bombarded by media every single day, thousands of words and images cross through our filters and most of the time it's coming in SO fast that it doesn't even really register with us. BUT our brains and spirits ARE filtering it. This ad just reinforced the fact that I need to PAY ATTENTION to what is going in my mind and my children's minds. I'm consistently reminding Abby to rethink what she meant to say. So often she'll blanket a nasty generalized statement over top of what she really meant to say. For instance, once she said "I hate school. Fourth grade horrible." Well, I know for a fact that she really really enjoys being in school with her friends and punching through her school work, so I prodded and found out that really she just felt overwhelmed by the homework she had to do in 4th grade. But had I not prodded and helped her unearth what she really meant, then "I hate school and 4th grade is horrible" could have been reiterated over and over until it was a real belief.

So back to this advertisement. Basically this ad is lying to girls and women (oh my, a shocker, right!? *tongue in cheek*) and telling them that it's okay to be obsessed, it just means you REALLY care. Uh, no. Being and feeling obsessed is not a good thing no matter how you spin it. I don't even think that being obsessed with the Bible could be a good thing because "obsessed" just has this negative connotation attached to it, a "haunting" connotation. And how many times a day or a week are we LIED TO by the media and sales people and friends? We need to pay attention and think on purpose! ME INCLUDED. We can't live by our emotions and allow others to manipulate how we feel, which can lead us to think certain things. Take every thought captive and ask ourselves "what is the Truth about this situation?" and react from that. As another example, I remember standing at the sink after we put the kids to bed and it had be a rough day kid-wise. I heard Zach come around the corner and go "Dad?" and my neck stiffened and my teeth set on edge and I said "Dang it! Why can't he EVER stay in bed? He ALWAYS gets up after we put him to bed." And in an instant I knew that was a lie (at the time. Now this kid really DOES get up five times after we put him to bed.) and I corrected myself out loud. "No, that's not true. Almost always he is AWESOME about going to bed and staying there." At which point I could physically feel my body relax. It behooves me to pay attention to these moments when I do it correctly and think on purpose.

For ALL the other times when I don't, there is a HUGE supply of grace and forgiveness. :)

Just my two cents here. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Old Man Winter Can Kiss My Apples

Where do I even begin? My life is so dang up and down even in the course of one day. This weekend though, it's just been a major blah with a few highlights of Yay! I can blame a lot of it on PMS and frankly, I'm ready to just get this uterus out of my body bc every single month I LOATHE ENTIRELY the week of the curse. Seriously, why do I even need this crap anymore? Take it out. I digress.

I think it might be the Winter Blues trying to set in. No one can go out and play for any more than fifteen to twenty minutes because it's colder than a witch's you-know-what outside and even when they do it's five to seven minutes of yelling "WHERE"S MY OTHER GLOVE!?" and "HELP ME GET MY BOOTS ON, MOM!!!" for maaaaybe fifteen minutes of quiet in the house and then they all come crashing back in with wet, snow covered clothes and claiming they are too frostbitten to take their OWN frosty boots off and will I help them. THEN there is a small mountain of snow pants, socks, wet boots, coats, mittens, scarves, etc...and I want to scream obscenities when they all start begging for hot cocoa while I'm being the chamber maid and cleaning up the clothes. *sigh* I neeeeed the warmth to come back to Ohio in a BIG way. My kids need to exert some energy OUTSIDE and get fresh air and stop making my house the main event for WWF Smackdown. Even I need some sun and some adult conversation. I miss hanging out front with the neighbors and watching the kids ride bikes and play Star Wars together. I miss NOT wearing coats and wearing sundresses and flip-flops. And oh my, I really miss running outside. *sigh* I remember when I'd have my running shoes on when Scott would get home and I'd pop my ear buds in and off I'd go. My desire to workout since the holidays began has been nill and it's showing. I just don't want to do much of anything lately, let alone go outside. Just getting in and out of the car at the grocery store makes me ANGRY. Ooh, that bitter cold biting at my face and cutting through my bones and all the while my slow-poky kids are taking their grand time getting in the car and then I still have to stand outside while attempting to shove my three year old's marshmallow coat into her car seat straps AND get it buckled. Ugh, I just hate it. I'm sure my kids think Mommy is mad at them when I'm so totally not, I'm just angry at the Cold. I wish these piles of snow and wickedly cold temperatures would just miraculously give way to sunny and 70's. Tomorrow would be great, by the way.

I know I'm complaining, but I just love me anyway. I need to get it out and then I'll feel better for awhile. These kids, I tell ya. I love 'em more my life, but we are SO on top of each other right now. You can't sit anywhere because someone is climbing on top of you or over you. You can't hide anywhere in here either. There's nowhere to go that they don't know about. LOL My life right now is all enclosed in 1800 square feet with three overly energetic, cabin-fever laden, "he's touching me!!", Sharpie marker on the wall, swinging from the curtains, "Can I have another snack?", wrecking a room as soon as you walk out of it, jumping on the couches, "I'M TELLING! MOOOOM!?", beautiful and healthy children and well, it's just getting a little too tight in here for me. Are you mommas out there feelin' me!? I'm sure you're all smiling and saying "yep, that's MY HOUSE too!" It does make me feel better to think that I'm not alone in my prayers for warmer, sunnier days and also for the gracefulness and patience that will protect our children's hides and scalps.

Spring can't come soon enough and it's gonna ROCK to see flowers blooming, green grass, Easter, promise of school coming to an end and Summer just around the corner. I can't wait! 'Til then...I hold on tightly to my electric blanket, fuzzy slippers and my sanity. I went without sleep for YEARS while nursing and coddling all my babies...I can certainly get through two more months of this wintry misery. Man, thanks for letting me get that off my chest! I know there was nothing edifying or spiritually uplifting at ALL in this post, but I really needed to get this out. I'm just a little on kid overload here lately. :) Off to wash my face and snuggled down in my heated bed and hopefully drift into an uninterrupted sleep until Monday breaks in and starts another crazy insane beautiful day of my life.

Friday, January 14, 2011


The LAW. No, not the Po-Po, the Fuzz or Obama. I mean the Law as in the Old Testament rules and regulations. Know what I mean? Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not. Ever feel like you can't possibly measure up to the rules of the "churchie folk" you know because of this or that? Yep, that's condemnation set up by the Law. The Law was given to the Israelites because they did not yet have Christ and actually, they had the Living God dwelling among them in the form of fire and because He is holy and they were not, they had to do all these sacrifices in order to send away their sins so they could be in relationship with Him. But then God sent himself in the form of Man so that He could end all this sacrificial business and FOREVER wipe out he could FINALLY be in relationship with man without all this condemnation/sin butting in between. So Christ did this magnanimous thing, this thing above all things in all of history dying a sinner's death, brutally I might add, so that his perfect blood could atone for ALLLLLL sin past, present and future. That is a LOT of sin. And in his dying words he said, "It is FINISHED." Finished. Done. Past. Not just his life here on Earth, not just the end of a task. Jesus took on the GUILT of every single sinful thing I have ever done...and let's face it, I could fill up a large section of the Metropolitan Library just on my own...but also every one I'm committing today and for the rest of my earthly life...AND yours, and his and hers down the street. Not to mention the people in the next City over, the next State over, the entire Earth's population past, present and future. HOLY COW! For real? Can I even really wrap that around my brain? So he did it. He finished Sin's power over any human being. In Hebrews 10:12-14 it says:
12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
With that ONE offering of himself (because seriously, only a God sized sacrifice could possibly cover THAT MUCH sin) he forever made perfect YOU and ME and that guy who cut you off, and your Dad, and your cousin and your enemy. You and I were made alive in Christ when he took on that guilt and then sacrificed himself to Death. So, my point comes in this...why are we still condemning ourselves to live as if we are still slaves to death, disobedience, drugs, lust, overeating, alcohol, thievery, (insert guilt ridden sin here)?? Christ took the guilt for that and threw it down into the pits of Hell. He's not up there seated at the right hand of the Father going "Ugh, Father, we didn't do enough. Christy's down there drinking herself into an oblivion because she can't make herself do the right things or feel good about herself. What do we do now!?" Uh, no. He's sitting there right beside Christy with the bottle in her hand saying "Honey, don't you know? I know you have no power over this thing you do. I know your flesh is weak, but sweetheart, I do not condemn you. I died so that you may have freedom and walk in life with abundance. You are seated with me in Heaven right now because I FINISHED IT and know the end of the story. You are here being transformed from glory to glory to walk and rest in my love and mercy and grace. You are here to tell others of my great love and mercy and grace. I live in you and because I AM THE KING you have power over that bottle. Because of my blood that runs over your head you are clean before my Father so you NEVER have to run and hide from us again. Because of my blood and my love you have power to overcome any addiction, any anger, any hurt, any unforgiveness, any medical ailment and live in Victory in this earthly life. (Insert your name), my dearest child, I love you SOO much." Ephesians 2 is SO amazing. Take a read and see how it grabs ya!

1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.a]">[a] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

If we are living apart from Him and in bondage to sin, which leads to unhealthiness and an overall lack of life, then we are not living up to the people that are seated in the heavenly realm with Christ right now. All there is to do to begin this is believe in who He is, REST in the knowledge that there isn't anything you can do in your own strength, give Him control, obey what you hear Him telling you and watch the fruit come!!

Today a friend of mine showed me the Blue Letter Bible (BLB). We were discussing how you can use this online tool to do deeper word studies of the Bible (and let me tell you, the Bible isn't as scary as it might seem. Just open it, pray out loud asking for Him to open your spiritual eyes and ears and read. REST in his sufficiency to do that and watch, you'll start getting it!!) and she used that one verse that talks about how Jesus is the Vine and we are the Branches and apart from Him we wither...and that he PRUNES the branches that aren't producing fruit. So we were saying "ugh, doesn't that suck. You do good, you get prunes to do more good. You don't do good and get pruned and thrown away." WELL, after searching the BLB for the word pruned (which doesn't mean just to hack it off, it means to cut away parts) and discussing how the person who cares for the vines actually lift up the non-fruitbearing limbs out of the dust and onto the fenceline, and then prune away the unneeded leaves so it can get the sun and water it needs to started to take on a whole new feeling. He doesn't look down and go "oh, that branch is down in the mud again and crud, it's not producing fruit like I said it should. Bad branch! Off with your head!" Nope. He lovingly lifts that branch out of the mud (AGAIN and again, if necessary) and hefts it back up right where it should be, cleans it off and prunes away the dead bits, feeds and waters it and waits for it to bear fruit. Do you feel me out there? Am I rambling too much? I feel like I jumped around on you. I hope you get some of this bc it's HUGE. Christ died for YOU and to overpower sin and death. Sin has NO POWER in your life and neither does condemnation. If you're feeling condemned and guilty, you just remember Hebrews 10:14. You are clean FOREVER and he loves you. The next time you find yourself sitting there doing that THING you do that makes you feel guilty, stop the guilt...I don't care if you are cooking up and shooting heroine right in the middle of your kitchen...stop the guilt and say "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for taking the guilt of this away. Help me to be the me that is sitting beside you in Heaven right now." Crazy, huh!? That's the God we serve! He's HUGE and AMAZING and SO...FREAKING...ABUNDANTLY...BUTT-CRAZY in LOVE WITH YOU and ME!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Ugh, the primordial scum I just cleaned out of the bottom of our fridge should be cause to revoke my parental rights. It's likely the source of every sickness in the County. Honestly, I don't remember any major food surges in there so just exactly how does that crap get there??

And it's not like I didn't notice it each and every time I opened the fridge, but somehow I allowed myself to mentally block it from my to-do list. It's so nasty I kinda wanna be a kid again so I don't have to deal with it. Oh wait a second, that wouldn't help. My mom made me clean the fridge pretty darn often as I remember it. Unloading all the food, get out the Basic H. And let me stop there a second. Anyone ever actually USE Basic H? Or Basic I for that matter? OMG, my mom LOVES this stuff. It's the end all of allll cleaning supplies. According to her you can clean the dirtiest oven, the moldiest shower, the greasiest dish, the funkiest carpet or mattress stain, you can wash windows with it, etc, etc, etc. Someone quick! Tell The Gulf Stream Team about about Basic H and I, for Cripes Sake!! LOL In fact, the whole time I was cleaning this scummy mess I kept thinking over and over "if my MOTHER saw this I'd never hear the end of it!!"

Abby just opened the fridge and goes "WHOA!! **huge smile** It's all clean!....Where's all our food!?!?" Oh honey, that wasn't food. That was the mirage of full fridge that the scum was projecting. Ha Ha. She then opens the freezer and says "yea, you could clean this one too." Uh, thanks, Dear.

So it's all sparkley clean now and smells like a Pine Sol dream, but I know it's coming again. That primordial evil that will somehow creep or crawl or magically appear in the bottom of my fridge and I'll be back at it again. The Flylady in my head is saying "ah, ah, ah. Just keep up with your Control Journal and you'll never face that ugly guy again" but reality says that I will bc as much as I love Flylady, and as much as I love my Momma...I'm gonna do it my silly way anyway and pay the price until "I" finally decide to do it their easier way. Then, I fear, the tides will turn and I will be "the mother" and will standing over my children with that damn Basic H and I having a soliloquy about it's wonders and might. Oh Lord, help me. ;)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Little Confirmation

So we're at the club last night ringing in the New Year with some other tennis enthusiasts, and well I find myself sitting with the last lady I played with and she releases that she's a middle school science teacher. I say to her, "Oh, well I might keep you in my pocket for later as I will be homeschooling my oldest daughter the rest of this year." Her lips purse a little and she leans back and while nodding asks me why I am doing this. Now, I hesitate to paint this story as if she was AGAINST homeschooling, but even though her head was bobbing up and down her body language was definitely telling me that she was a bit on the defensive. So I did what any courageous speaker does when confronted with a loaded question...I glossed right over my personal reasons and went into how excited we were and how positive a thing this could be for our family. And like any hungry journalist would do she pressed in: so how do you "keep record" (and she DID do the quotes with her fingers) of her work? Who's tracking her learning? How does she get graded? All of this with a lot of affirming head bobbing. *wink* She ended with "well that sounds VERY interesting and I'd actually like to SEE how it's all worked out in the end."

It just happened that another teacher sat across from me and she was a high school teacher, and these two ladies then began a mini tirade about how the kids they work with are highly emotional ("will be so sweet one day and cuss you out the next"), are knowledgeable of things much too explicit and above their emotional/age appropriate capabilities of handling and that they wished parents were more involved in governing their kids' education and what they are exposed to. Hmm...interesting.

Even though when I talk to anyone about homeschooling I mentally put on my helmet and flack jacket waiting for the enemy fire, more often than not I get nothing but great feedback and encouragement from people. And while I didn't feel like this teacher was on board with my ideas (and she doesn't have to be, I get that) I did feel completely affirmed by her candid conversation with her friend across the table. I feel like I am going to be doing JUST THAT which the teachers so wished all parents would more involved in my kids education and governing what she is exposed to. Plus, I don't have to kick God out of our school room. Sweeeeeet.