Tuesday, January 25, 2011


His law is LAME.

It always bites me in the butt.

I can have the BEST intentions and truly commit to something, and be gung-hoed-to-the-core.
And then Murphy comes along and JACKS me up.

This happens specifically and particularly when I make "plans" with other people.

"Ya. We'll meet here, on this day...."
"Ya. I'm totally gonna go to the gym....."
"Ya. I'm completely committed to...."
"Ya. I'm absolutely SURE I can......"

And then my car dies. Or my kid gets sick. Or I get sick. Or I forget that I had already made plans.
Or,  Or..... something.

Stupid Murphy.

Who is this Murphy guy? And how did he come up with this law?
Was there a dude named Murphy that always had stuff interfere with his well-placed-plans?

I wouldn't be surprised if, in the near future, they change it to:

Amber's Law.  

Forgetting to Remember

Water.  Agua.  H2O.  Or is it h2o. Or h2O?

Whatever.  Water.

When I'm stupidly tired, my first thought is: Coffeeeeee.  I neeeeeeed cofffeeeee.......
And so I drink a pot cup, and then... I'm ..... still tired.

And then I think: Red Bull.  Ya, BABY.  I need a Red Bull.
And so I drink a 16 ouncer and then.... I'm not as tired, but 3 hours later, I'm more tired.

And then I chug 60 ounces of water, back to back- and I'm like "Whooooo-EEEEEEE".
Not tired.

But I always forget to drink water THE. FIRST. TIME.

Why do I do that?!

And that's kind of how it is.
I "know" what I need to do, but sort of "forget" what I know- so I do a bunch of other dumb junk first.

Like? A while back my gall bladder was trying to kill me- and I had to move to a super bland diet.  And I knew I needed to stick to that bland-o diet, but once my gallbladder backed off, I went back to the junk.

And now? My gallbladder is actin' like a FOOL all over again- and I forgot what the symptoms were while I was all sluggish and tired, and IN.PAIN. these past 2 weeks until a NEW symptom popped up, and I had shooting pain in between my should blades (toward the right side) and I remembered that LAST time that was the ONE symptom I did-not-have.


I forgot to remember what I already knew.


One Thing

One thing I won't write about.  Despite how open I usually am, there's ONE THING I can't open up about.

I'm too afraid to even journal it in my own personal private journal.

I won't even type it out into a draft and delete it.  I don't want it to be real, and I don't want it to exist.

Putting it into words seems like it would give it 'life'.... and THIS. ONE. THING.... I want it to be 'not-alive'.

But I SO want to write it out.  It's been a frustration for more than a year-  but less than five years.
It's been a confusion and an ANNOYANCE in my thought process for way-to-long......  

When I write,  I empty my brain out.

Writing is like going to the dump for my brain; pouring out my thoughts like one would empty out their 30 gallon trash can in an effort to find the lost remote that the 3 year old confessed to throwing away last week.
Dumping my thoughts out enables me to 'sort through them'.

After I've written freely and thoughtlessly, I'm able to go through what was confused in my head, and categorize it;  like a filing cabinet that is morbidly disorganized- and then it gets emptied, and then alphabatized..... that's what I do, um... in my head...

WOW.  I sound fruity.

So.  I want to write about THIS. ONE. THING.  I want to sort it and analyze it and pick it apart, and alphabatize it, and make it organized and find reason and resolve for why it is that "it" is driving me crazy.

But I won't.

It's a secret.  It's a feeling and a confused emotion. It's not real and it has no life.

It taunts me and it jumbles me up temporarily, but I have to learn to "take my thoughts captive".  I have to FIGHT-THE_GOOD-FIGHT and overcome.  Paul had a thorn in his flesh- but he never confessed what it was- and I guess I do, too.  (Hey Paul.  Wassup.  I feel ya, brotha...- fist bump.)

Stupid Thorn.

I need some tweezers.

Wait!?!  Make that two thorns.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

In the Middle

(This is an excerpt of a blog I wrote a few months ago.  I like it that I can go back and read about a situation  had experienced, and learn from it.)

The bible says the enemy, Satan, is like a LION.... prowling around in search of someone to devour (Peter 5:8). 

I broke out this book "The Battle" (Trask & Goodall) after an extreme encounter last night with some harsh \spiritual attack.  In the book, the author(s) put out a really good perspective on the LION-like example of Satan:

      "The lion is territorial- it doesn't follow a migrating herd.  Rather, it waits for the herd to enter into it's region, not caring whether or not the herd is aware of it's presence.  The lion will run into the herd; not so that it can chase, but so that it can watch.  It's sharp senses are aware to which one of the animals are tired, injured, or old....  The lions focus is to frighten the herd, so that he can wisely choose his prey."  p. 15 

Last night- with complete unawareness of the stalking sharp eyes that were focused on my weakness, I blindly stumbled into the enemy's territory.  At first, it seemed I was having an intense nightmare; but somehow, within the nightmare, I had a realization that it wasn't, actually, a nightmare.

Typically, when we find ourselves in an unpleasant dream, we can sort of "shake" ourselves awake once the nightmare becomes too intense, right?  

Sort of like the dream where we're falling- and just before we hit the ground, we JUMP awake; (scaring the PEE out of the spouse that had been snoring peacefully seconds before.)
If we, for some reason- don't "wake up on our own", we may very well find ourselves wakened by the KER-THUMP from our limp bodies hitting the floor beside our bed.  

If that's never happened to you- by all means, feel free to enjoy the mental image of my grown-behind falling out of bed.  I can count far too many times that I was too far gone to stop myself from "hitting the pavement".  Actually, I read somewhere that many people believe that NOT waking up before hitting the ground in a dream would actually KILL a person in their sleep.  Obviously; I don't believe that to be true.  Ahem...  I'm not dead.

I assume, though, that something in our mind realizes when we don't have the capacity to maintain within the nightmare.  I think what happens is, when the intensity maxes out, our subconscience goes "to an early lunch", requiring our consciencsness to take over.

This was not the case last night.  


Inside my dream, I fought hard to wake myself up.  When nothing worked to get me into reality, I said "Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus." over and over.  Like most dreams, this one was a cluster of many different situations; all connected, yet disconnected- making the recount completely impossible to put into words. 
After praying (in my dream), I believed that I had woken up.  I looked around my room- and noticed that there was a distant flashing light that darkened and dimmed our bedroom.  I felt paralyzed and completely "out of it" mentally.  I kept trying to NOT do something, and I kept trying to DO something- neither working out very well for me.  I couldn't talk, although I tried SO HARD to scream so that Joshua would wake up and rescue me.

This was the point that I realized that I had to have been dealing with something far less trivial than your basic "scary person chasing me" nightmare. 

I knew it was spiritual.  I didn't understand it- I wasn't sure how to break free from it at that point, since I had already "called on the name of Jesus- making hell tremble".  My mouth was bound (not literally) so I couldn't scream.   My body was trapped/paralyzed, so I couldn't jump up, or roll myself off the bed.  I assume- that since I was in a sort of (remember the movie Inception?) dream inside a dream state- that my words didn't reach the distance they need to reach.

GOSH!  I don't know.  I wish I could explain this with more clarity.

Anyway- I really need to just shorten the rest of this up....  I KNEW I was under spiritual attack.  I came to my breaking point when inside my dream, I had encountered far too many spirits to battle.  They were all "ganging up" on me; and I had no weapon.  Everything I knew to use, was.... essentially... bound  up.
It's like having  a burglar walk into your house, and your gun is locked away in a back closet or something.
No. Beuno'.

I jerked around and tried with everything in me to scream out "JESUS!!!!'  The bible says that all we have to do is call His name.  I knew that to be true from past experience.  Geesh.  I tried so hard.  Everything in me was horrified.  I was scared.

Finally- I got to open my mouth.  Sort of.  I started trying to say "JOSHUA!"  in my mind, as odd as it sounds if we're still referencing this little incident as a straight-up-nightmare, I knew that Joshua was Hebrew for "The Lord is my Salvation."

"Joshua" worked.  When I new I was finally awake, I panicked a little bit, and then composed myself a tad, and began to say "Jesus.  Jesus.  Help me.  Help me.  Jesus make them go away." 

Joshua woke up after this.  I was so distracted from fear, that I couldn't  explain to him everything.  I just said "Please.  Pray for them to go away.  In Jesus name, pray to make them go away."

Good thing my hubs knows me.  He knew exactly what I meant.  And bless his heart- he got a bit trapped himself.  I repeatedly asked him to pray, but he stayed silent.  I couldn't understand what was stopping him; but he finally confessed "I just don't think I have the right to pray that.  I'm not where I should be....."

I KNEW for certain- it was JOSHUA that needed to pray the removal of the enemy out. 
"You're the one with the authority!!!!"

He grabbed up his authority, told the junk to GO, in the name of Jesus... and back on to snoozer-ville I went.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Just To Laugh

As a roller-coaster-riding Christian, there are times I can get caught up in a sort of "Bi-Polar" relationship with Jesus.   I'm all in, and loving it.

And then I'm stagnant and wading on the shore during my walk.

In one season I'm praying (without ceasing) and I worship (radio is ON all the time) and I'm seeking God and I'm just IN IT.

In the next season (we're not talking fall, winter, spring, or summer.... we're talking week to week) I'm realizing that I can't remember the last time I prayed, and that my worship sessions in the car (or bathroom, or kitchen, or laundry room) are random rather than consistent.

Let's stop for a second.

I don't pray and worship as a religious act.
I don't feel like "it's what I'm s'pose to do, so that's why I do it."
I mean? IT's what we ARE s'pose to do, but... it's what I WANT to do and THAT is why I do it.
I love worshiping God.  I love talking to Him....   I just LOVE Him.

After 12 years in my walk, I've just recently   really come to a place where I am totally completely 100% in LOVE with Jesus.
(12 years!)

Not just "Love", but IN LOVE.

Before,  I "loved" Him.... because He loved me.  And I loved Him because, well?, I just did.

Now? I'm IN LOVE with Him.
Now? It's different.

I'm not on a  honey moon-  like when you first get saved and God is woo-ing you and just showing you how totally super-awesome He is.

And I'm beyond the "7 year itch" of being so frustrated and irritated at the fact that Christianity is SO hard and "God why don't you just zap all the bad people and make life better for me...." attitude.

I'm in LOVE with Him wholly.

And to explain all the reasons why I'm totally in Love would take an entirely new blog post
{divided into part by part by part} and STILL not really delve into exactly what   has transformed my love to "in love" status.

When I say "I Pray without ceasing" it's not like I'm
on my knees,
bible in hand,
candles burning,
house is quiet
and THEN I pray.

I pray as though I'm in a regular conversation with God, just like I would talk to my husband or sister.
I may be washing dishes, folding laundry, sitting on the throne (in the 'reading room'), driving my car.......
I just kind of "hang out" with Him through out the day.
(I sound religious.  My bad.  I'm thinking of throwing in a swear word just to show ya'll how IMPERFECT my thoughts and actions really are.....)
This is how I pray.
 "I don't understand why I get so mad at my kids- can you help me with that? I feel so bad for being so frustrated, and irritated, and impatient... 
I mean? WAIT! !!!  I'm not praying for patience..... hah hah- funny- You know that I know better than that. but you know, I just want to be sweeter, and less easily irritated....  and stuff-  
Oh wow!  COOL!!!  Thanks God for all that SNOW.  It's so pretty.  
 .... I'm feeling so sad for my friend right now- she's really struggling and it breaks my heart-
 I just want to lift her up to You- give me the right words.... 
I can't believe that guy just pulled out in front of me.  Don't let him kill anyone, Lord. 
Ok.  Sorry- I know I shouldn't call him an idiot...... 
Thanks for this van, God.  Thanks that it hasn't died or blown up... thanks for keeping us safe.....  " 

And then, there are times I forget... and I have this realization that I'm "missing" something- and then I'm like "Oh my goodness.  I miss GOD.   I MISS HIM-miss Him."  

Like if you're BFF is out of town and you haven't talked to her/him for a few days...  that's when I realize I haven't been praying.

Sorry.  I'm so distracted right now.  None of this feels like it's making sense.
(That's usually when I know a blog post is specifically for me).
I can't seem to focus.
My 3 year old is watching Wonder Pets as I type this out.  It's such a cute little show.  Makes it even cuter when said 3 year old puts a pair of panties on her head to watch said adorable tv show.  Even easier to get distracted when she gets me a pair of "kid panties" and tells me to wear them on my head.
(Um? No thanks, baby.  You go ahead....)

Where was I?
Right.  Bipolar Christian Walk.

Ok.  Right. So I'm all in and loving it.  (My walk)

And then I get distracted by 'life' and forget to maintain my relationship with the Lord.  I do other stuff instead. I call other friends to chat (and ignore His call).  I listen to other music to be entertained (and forgo worship).  I'm sort of  (accidentally) put that intimacy aside.  Does that make any sense?

And I hear in my head "You suck.  You're a really bad Christian.... "
And then I debate with myself over the mentality that I have taken on.
"DO I really suck? Am I really a bad Christian?"

Last night I had a TAH_DAAAAAH! moment.

I went to a bible study.  Actually, a discipleship study.  The Journey, that's what it's called.
Anywho- I went and it was great.  And I was in fellowship with like minded women, and we talked about God and Christianity, and we prayed,,,,,,,, and stuff.

Afterward- I hung out with 2 of those women, and their husbands.
And we didn't talk about Christianity or prayer, or anything.
We talked about nothing/everything.

You know what that is? Nothing/Everything?
It's where you talk and talk and talk and it has little or nothing to do with anything specific, it's just talking casually. "Here's my story about this... oh ya, I have a story like that, too...." and then it totally switches to a completely different topic.   Nothing/Everything.

  I got in my car after laughing harder than I had laughed in such a long time.

First thought:  I hope I don't back into anyone's car/ It's so sad that I haven't laughed like this in so long.

Second thought: Wait? We had bible study earlier.... I feel bad that I don't feel spiritual.

Third thought:  Shut up.

I know that I don't HAVE to feel spiritual on Sunday after church, or Thursday after Discipleship class.
It's not a motion and a feeling to be a Christian, or to be in relationship with Jesus. (both terms are the same)

Just like I don't have to "feel" in love and over-the-moon about my  husband all the time to make it true that I love him and that I'm in relationship with him.
(If that were the case we'd be divorced and remarried 127 times over.....)

I don't have to think about my kids and 'how much I completely adore them' ALL of the time to make it true that they are the most amazing gift I could have EVER gotten in my life.
 (If that were the case- oh dear..... )

I realize  that nothing makes me happier than hearing my kids belly laugh, so..... why wouldn't God rejoice in my belly laughter?

Aren't we honoring Him in our fun? In OUR joy?  Need we be rigid religious folk to be real Christians?

I hope not.
I know not.

Sometimes we (read: I) just need to have fun.
Good fun.  Clean fun.  Real fun.  Funny fun.
I think that God put me where I was last night just to see me laugh.

Snorts and all.

Isn't it incredible to really think about that?
The God of the Universe- the Creator, the MASTER of heaven and earth; He hooks us up into a situation just to watch us laugh?  Is that true?  TOTALLY TRUE!!!!

He lets (allows, gives us the privilege) us go through junky stuff to teach us, and grow us, and give us wisdom.... but He doesn't pull us into those situations to see us hurt.  HE hurts when we hurt.

Like when your kid touches a hot stove and their hand blisters and it's so pitiful to see them screaming their GUTS out crying.  That hurts.
We, their parents, are so sad for them.

HoWeVeR: They've just learned a valuable lesson that no amount of nagging to 'stay away from the stove' would have taught them.  So, it's a good thing that it happened, too.

And right now I'm praying that I can remember to come back to this post when God has something He needs to teach me.  It's so tough going through the hard stuff....

I'm a lil bit nervous that I was drawn to post this blog because God may have wanted to remind me of all these truths.... cause it may be I'm about to go through something.

He wants me to have fun. He wants me to relax and enjoy life.  He wants me to belly laugh.
Because sometimes (a LOT of times for me) He needs to let me touch a hot stove.......

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Average. But not.

So I'm scrolling through other people's blogs.  (While my husband watches a show about a fisherman.)

This family travels out of the country on vacation... twice... over the summer (once for a few weeks, the other just for a week.)

I whine and complain in my head that we didn't get a vacation out of state.. out of the city.. out of our HOUSE all year.

And there are pictures.  And he's pretty and she's pretty and their little kid is pretty, too.
And they look perfect.  And I feel sad. (Even though my kids are like- super duper pretty- but that's not even the point)

And I whine in my head about the bajillion pounds I need to lose (or 30, whatever), and the early-gray-headed-ness on my hair (and I'm not EVEN 30, but whatever)....and I feel frumpy and ugly, and ( I'm on my period.) and we don't do fun adventurous things because we can't afford to, and we are average and we're boring and we don't even have, and I really wish, and I'm so jealous.... if we just had more money, if I just lost a few more pounds-

And then I'm reading about the mom of 3 that is pregnant with her number 4 that is dying in utero, and I'm thankful that our girls are healthy and wild and silly and LIVING, and not breaking our hearts like this mom has had her heart broken.

And then I'm reading about the guy that has an arm load full of responsibilities as his parents retire into an Assisted Living Facility due to dementia/alzheimers....

And then a wife that is hurting because her husband is an scumbag idiot and left her for a whore 'nother woman.....

And I'm liking average.
And I'm wishing it didn't take one-single-solitary  perspective of *"perfect" to create a jealous, ungrateful brat whiney heart in me.

More so- I wish it didn't take devastation and hardship to make me realize just how sweet and *"perfect" our life is.

*relatively speaking- we all know that perfect is a mythical thing-a-muh-jig

We're living in simplicity.  Our family. We're simple folk. (Dear GOD please let me keep my teeth.)
JUST like I asked and hoped and prayed for.  Truly and all silly-ness aside.  I begged the Lord to let us fallin love with Simple.  Simple. Simplicity.  To give us simplicity.  And He did.  We are.  But not really.
We're average, but we're not even CLOSE to average.

And I want to learn to STAY content in it (simplicity) sans the sad news, and even among the good-fun-cute-clearn-water-beach-swimming-with-dolphins-snorkeling-spa-enjoying-skinny-person-news.

"Don't want whatchur neighbors got.  That's real bad."
Redneck Literal Translation

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Extreme Girl (Kyla)

Kyla.  She's 7.  We've had big dreams for her before she could even crawl
Well?  I won't call them "dreams", per say, more like "ideas".  Guesses.  Assumptions based on actions.
There ya go.  We've had many "Assumptions" as to what she is going to do, based on her actions...

We assumed she would do something creative with her hands:
One afternoon we found her belly-scooting along the floor toward a sticker that (somehow?) had made it's way onto the linolium.  Her tongue was all but sticking out of her little 5 month old mouth working her teeny fingers over that sticker, diligently maneuvering the end up so that she could peel it back, off of the floor, turn her head over to look at her parents as her hand made it's way to her mouth just before we jolted up from our seats to rescue her  from the germy germs that were about to invade via that oddly placed sticker.
She cried and cried.
I didn't blame her.
She had worked SO VERY hard to get that sticker.  We robbed her of her reward.
And creative she is.

we assumed she would be athletic
She took her first steps at 13 months.  For the first born, we assumed this was quite the late start.  New parents hope for those first steps to take place well before that first birthday.  Our daughter? She didn't need to walk.  She CLIMBED.  On. EVERYthing!
At 7 months, she made her way over to a laundry basket, which had been placed in front of a chair; the chair was beside a small table.  The memory is clear- because we (her parents) were both so very shocked that it had happened.  
We returned to our living room, where we had left our crawling baby, to find her sitting atop aforementioned table... just... sitting there.   
And over and over we watched her master her mountain climbing; atop the laundry basket, into the chair, and then to the table.  We "rescued her" down to the floor (where safety belonged) and she speed-raced back to the laundry basket, and then into the chair, and then to the table... 
Now? She lies down on the floor to do situps and pushups, and races down a snowy bank on an inner tube, running back up the hill over and over, never seeming to tire.  
She randomly runs 7 laps around the outside of our house, and concocts different ways to climb on her swing so that she can hang upside down and flip and twist and scare-the-living-day-lights-out-of-me.  She throws ropes over tree limbs and designs a way to "swing like a monkey"....  She. Is. Athletic.  And creative in doing so.

we assumed she'd be artistic
In an abstract artist sort-of-way.  She drew and colored and she built with blocks, and she did all of those typical toddler things-but she did them all so very uniquely.  She dressed herself by the time she was 2, and seemed to always find a funky hat to go with her funky clothes.  She wore her sunglasses upsidedown, and NO, it was not okay to turn them the right way.  
Now, at 7- she glues things to other things and creates sculptures.  She molds playdough into snowmen, and then transforms them into "snow man penguins"- complete with penguin noses and penguin feet.  She uses charcoal pencils and mimicks a picture I had drawn, and colors stars in gold marker- and uses a black marker to fill in the white paper to make it appear to be a starry night.  

Our daughter is reading above her grade level.  She is WRITING above her grade level.  She is creating stories, and had independently chosen to journal.  In her journals she draws pictures.  Once- she created a clever comic strip.
Our daughter can SING.  Beautifully!!  

It sounds as if I'm rambling on how great she is.  Don't get me wrong.  She is DIVINE.  
She's multi-talented, wildly creative, extremely intelligent.... and compassionate and tender hearted to boot.

As her Mommy, as half of the parental unit- I'm finding myself at a loss.  
How do we help her hone in on the things that she is interested in?  She-Is-Interested-In-EVERYTHING.  
And we cannot DO everything.  
So far she wants to:

Be a dancer (ballet, please)

Be a cheerleader
Take karate
Do "sketches"
Be an inventor 
Play baseball
Take Yoga
Play guitar
Play piano........

And these are the things she's talked about for OVER a year now.....  

2 AM

I had coffee after dinner.  Bad idea.

I couldn't resist.  It was CHICK FIL A coffee!!  We were there, at Chick Fil A, we had eaten, the kids were playing... and playing... and then they just kept on playing!  They  needed to.  I needed for them to.  We had been snowed in, literally, all week!  Our house? It's split into 3 different levels, totaling a whopping 1,000 sq. ft.  (NO, we don't live in Boston.)  Our  yard was snowed on, and then- it was iced over; so going outside was only an option for the first 2 days.

They needed to run.  We needed for them to run, inside a building that was NOT our teeny tiny house.

Of course, this has nothing to do with why I had coffee after (a late) dinner.  Except for the fact that I was there at CFA, smelling their Columbian brew, and not thinking clearly what-so-ever before I ordered my medium (because they no longer sell large) cup of coffee.  Not decaf.  Regular. Caffeinated. Full strength.  Did I mention it was Columbian?!


So? It's 2:00 AM, and I'm thinking it sure is going to be a fun morning as I wobble to the stove to boil a pot of water, measure my (Brazilian) coffee into my coffee press, and wait for it to steep.

Maybe my Tres Amigas will sleep late, and ...... no... never mind.  I won't allow myself to ponder such hopeful thoughts.  I know better.  2 AM makes 7 AM come much quicker.

Monday, January 10, 2011

... And Then We Were Speechless

We were in our family van, like any normal Saturday evening.  On our way home from a long bout of errand running.  The grown ups were done.  So were the kids.  Chicken Fried- over cooked- DONE. DONE. BURNT WELL DONE!

We had a fun time out; purposefully shopping for snow mittens (didn't find any), warm hats (found 2), and so forth on the things we needed for the upcoming snow storm.  (In Georgia.  Ya.  They didn't have any milk or bread anywhere either.)

Perspective: Shopping with 3 young girls (ages 3, 5, and 7). More than 3 hours. 
Not serene.  Slightly painful.

The grown ups said,  "Ok.  There is NO talking in this car.  None.  No. One. Is. Talking! Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!"
Our eardrums hurt.  3 girls.  I probably don't have to explain myself as to why we forced quiet time.

This never works. Quiet time.  It's a good theory.  Good idea.  But? It never works.
 Eventually, somebody (a witty one) says something cute or silly, and then it's okay for them to talk, because... well...... they're NOT whining or screaming, or fussing or fighting or being mean to one another.  
It doesn't hurt our ears to hear cuteness. 
We like cuteness.

On this occasion, our eldest (Kyla) spoke first:

  "We really  need to save our money for kids in other countries that have bad teeth.  It's only $250 and we really, really, really need to do it."

Our middle (Zoe) piped in: 

"YES! We do!  And they look really weird and they need to have their teeth fixed really really bad!!."
Kyla said 

"I want to start saving all of my money that I get until I get $250 so I can help them."
(prior to, she had been saving all of her money for an iPod touch.)

"Well? We should actually carefully consider saving money for your teeth just in case you need braces, baby." (Sigh..... )

Kyla replied:
"No, Mommy.  I don't want to just think of myself.  I want to help those kids.  They really need our help, Mommy."

(My head is hanging lower and higher all at the same time as I write this.  
Ashamed that I was so selfish.  Proud that she was firmly selfless.)

"So, what exactly are you talking about? They need their teeth fixed? What do you mean?"

Both girls explained that it was in a magazine I had laying on our couch (you can call it a sofa if you want) and they'd show us the picture when we got home.

Several months ago I bought a Good Housekeeping magazine.
I never read it.  
Forgot that I had it.
Maybe I had stuck in the bathroom? 
They found the magazine and skimmed it over.  

Toward the back they saw a picture that looked something like this:


We got home and they enthusiastically showed us their treasure, as if pointing out a new toy that they so desperately wanted; their eyes were filled with anticipation and hope: Can we, Can we, Can we PLEASE!?

And then we were speechless. 

 Us grownups.  Us know-it-alls.  
Us "quiet in the car there is NO talking".
We were blown away.  We were in awe and humiliated. 
Alright.  Forget the past tense- I am still blown away.  
We are STILL speechless. Still in a state of "Wow?"

Our kids? Our girls? These are ours?  

Nope.  They're not.  Well? They are. But- no. And yes. It's yes and no.  The are- but not fully.

We did this whole "Dear God, these are YOUR kids on loan to us. They belong to You.  Use them.  Teach them.  Mold them.  Get us out of the way if need be. Thank You for allowing us the pleasure of raising them.... ." and- stuff- like- that- kind- of- prayer.   
IT wasn't a one time prayer.  It's one of those 'without ceasing' prayers.  
Especially when we're really roughing it: "Lord!?  These are YOUR children... tell. us. what. to. do.  We are FAILING. We gave them to YOU, remember?! Helllllllppppp. US!!!!!!!!!!"

Ya. It makes more sense to me now that I'm writing it all down.  God took us up on our offer.  We opened our hands and let them go- over to Better Hands where they belong.  And HE is using THEM to minister to US!

Are YOU speechless? 

I Am.

So we have a jar.  

And I'm so stoked to follow my children on their journey of giving.  I'm gonna take some notes.  
I'm sure they're gonna teach me a thing or two.....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


We spoke of how much we wanted it.  (He more than I.)
"Well? It'd be a lot of work...." "I know!!! But it'd be really nice to have...."
Ya.  We talked about. But no plans were made.

I decided to just go ahead and do it!!!   It would be a surprise.
(I'm giddy... excited to surprise him.).

After school I let my 7 and 5 year old in on the secret.
"Shhhhh.  Make sure you keep quiet.  Don't say anything about it, okay?!"
We worked hard on our special surprise; I more than they.
It was sweeter to have helping hands in my way so that it could be "from them", "for him".

He was going to be late getting home.
We hid every-single-possible-ounce of evidence as to what his surprise might be.

The girls were instructed "We can't show him until AFTER dinner.  Right? Don't say anything til' after OK?"

To make it even sneakier, each girl colored a picture for their Daddy, so that when he came home we could announce "We have a surprise!  FOR YOU!!!" and then gift him with their uniquely creative art.

"SHHhhhhh.  Zoe, quit talking about what his surprise is.  When he comes home, we're going to give him his pictures, but DON'T FORGET we aren't going to tell him what his surprise is until after dinner."

"OK MOMMY!!!  I WON'T SAY A THING!!!  I promise.  I won't tell him.  Ok?!  Don't WORRY."

He was later than we thought- so we started eating before he came home.
It was very late for little girls that needed to be snuggled in bed an hour after.
Secret smiles were passed back and forth; fingers to lips when we saw the truck pulling into our drive way.  "Shhhhh.  Don't tell....."

Squeals and excitement when he opened the door,
Kyla is a fantastic secret keeper.  She loves surprises.  She had her picture ready to hand over, and a secret smile pursed onto her oh-so-precious lips.

And Zoe.  She had already lost her picture.
She was the first to greet him at the door.......


She was too bouncy and smiley and excited and overjoyed for us to convince him otherwise.
We tried.
Kyla had drawn him a beautiful picture of cake.
"Oh. Ya. See!  Look.  Kyla colored you a picture of cake...."

His grin made it apparent that he wasn't buying it.

But it was, indeed, a special home-made cake.  For him (ahem... and them, the girls).
And we made it together for him.
And we knew exactly what his very favorite cake was.
Chocolate. With chocolate. And a lot more chocolate.

Zoe cut open the mix.
Kyla cracked the eggs.
Zoe measured the water.
Kyla retold yesterdays joke as she was whisking the eggs and oil and water together:
"What does a chef do when he's angry?"  "He beats the eggs and WHIPS the cream."
I laughed again.  She's so witty.

I made the icing.
No recipe, and a lot of "Dear Jesus please make this the yummiest icing we've ever tasted."

The girls licked the spoons and confirmed that God hears us when we pray; big or small.

And it was sweet.  The time we spent together....  The surprise that we made just for him....

Oh!!!  The Cake, too.  It was sweet. Yummy.  And Delicious.

Monday, January 3, 2011

For Real This Time.....

A long time ago, the gym was my sanctuary.  I used it to zone out.
And I did.
I zoned out like I'd never been able to zone out before.

I'd put my earphones in, and walk through a tunnel; there was no one around me, behind me, or in front of me.  It felt as if I were alone; it felt as if it were quiet, and the world seemed still-
(despite the loud-as-I-could-get-it music blaring in my ear drums, and the clusters of people around me.)

I dropped my kids off at child-watch, and my things into a locker- I found my playlist, placed the earbuds in my ears, and purposefully walked to 'word-free-zone'.
Nobody, (yet everybody) was around me.  I heard nothing but the words I chose to hear, and it was bliss.

A long time ago, I was a home school mom desperate for an outlet.
Going to the gym was less to do with getting fit, and more to do with staying sane.

I loved how I felt after several months of working out diligently and emphatically.
(I still didn't love how I looked, (Will I ever?)

Now I stay home with one, teeny tiny curly headed 3 year old while her older sisters get their education from less frazzled (but maybe not by much) educators.
Her name means "weary".  And I am.  So weary.
But so blessed and thankful and incredibly amazed at how much I love being her Mommy.
She's fun, and sweet, and precious, and amazing.  And she's busy, and mischevious, and exhausting.

I don't need the gym as much as I did a long time ago, though a long time ago isn't very long ago now that I think about it.

But I do need the gym as much, or maybe more than I did not-so-long-ago.

I'm turning 30 in a month.  One month.  In one month, I'll be 30.  For the past 9 years I've looked 30 up and down and said to it: "HAH! I'm not afraid of you!"
In the past year, I've realized that I'm like that little yappy dog that barks at a great-huge-dogs ferociously;
a whole-lot-of chatter without a bit of strength to back me up.

30 scares the dog-poo out of me.
THIRTY is that number that folks talk about like it's relational to the plague.
30 brings cellulite, and saggy boobs, and perma-spare-tires, and eye baggage, and .......  and...... and......
 IT ROBS US of the last morsel of youth we once thought we were going to keep forever!

That's what they say anyway.  I know nothing of this cellulite or saggy boobied eye baggage.
Nothing at all.

But just in case; for real this time, I'm going to make it to the gym.  I've got my 'bad hair day' hat stowed away in the passenger seat of my mom-van.  I've got TWO fresh containers of concealer (ahem.... just in case I need to loan it to a friend's eye baggage.....).  I have tennis shoes, and deodorant, and my friendly earbuds.

I'm ready.  Totally ready.  I'm like, seriously------ not excited.

Ironically- despite all the preparation I have, the biggest obstacle I seem to face with making it to the gym is this: MY GYM CLOTHES MAKE ME FEEL FAT!!!

What? Really? Ya.  Really. Vain and lame, but oh-so-true.
IT's hard to hide the muffin top in a pair of stretchy pants and a thin cotton t-shirt.

But it's winter, and I have an excuse to wear layers.  And I'm feeling older and tired-er daily.
 And I'll be DARNED if I'm going to be fat for the rest of my life.  And ok, fine-
YA.  SURE.  I found cellulite.  And the girls aren't as perky as they used to be.  And whatever, the concealer IS for my eye baggage (as if it actually works).

For Real This Time.

I'm going to the gym.  And I'm gonna for real work out.
And I'm gonna smack 30 around like, like...... like- Well? I don't know what I'm gonna smack 30 around like, but it'll be something really good!.