Quote ~ from the movie Parenthood

Grandma: "You know, when I was 19, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick so excited and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out if it."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas' the Night Before Christmas Eve

Tonight has not been a good night.  I’m way behind, have tons to do and not even close to being ready for tomorrow, Christmas Eve!  My family went to dinner this evening; I stayed behind to finish up some shopping.  I arrived at the garage door, arms full of packages, my family was already home.  At the door I heard what sounded like screaming and horsing around.  When the Middle Child opened the door for me, I was overwhelmed!  My husband’s childhood Christmas tree, which we have used for years and years was on the floor with ornaments all around it.  Earlier in the month I told the kids “this Christmas tree is on its last leg, I don’t think it’s going to make it after this year”.  I guess I was wrong it didn’t make it through this year.  The wooden pole that held all the branches snapped in two.  My brother the Stuntman was over and of course had a movie quote appropriate for the moment.  After the Director said “yep the wood snapped” without missing a beat, the Stuntman piped up “Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?” (From A Charlie Brown Christmas Linus Van Pelt: [after Linus and Charlie Brown discover the little tree]).

Feeling more overwhelmed than I was before, I began to panic!  After several phone calls we thought we found a tree.  The Director and I headed out the door in search of a new one.  Guess what!  There are no decent artificial trees to be found any where!  Wal-Mart only had Christmas chocolates left and already had up 4th of July stuff!  What in the heck happened to New Years, Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Memorial Day?!  Anyway, as the night played out, I thought of another fateful night, before Christmas Eve, many years ago, when Oldest was five.  I wrote the following after a long night in the ER in 1999.  Enjoy!

Twas the night before Christmas Eve, 1999, the children were screaming and all was not fine.

The house was trashed; the outlook was fair, that Mama would have enough time to prepare.

The children horsed around instead of going to bed; one got hit with a snow globe, right in the head.

Mama became frantic and Daddy remained tranquil, as the oldest child’s mouth with blood it did fill.

When towels, bibs and wash clothes began to fly, all Mama needed was one to wet, oh my!

A gash Daddy assessed, was what he had, a trip to the emergency room, boy mama was mad.

Dumped the youngest (now known as the Organized Child) with a friend, and off to the hospital, for a lip to mend.

Daddy rode in back to help sop up the blood; Mama drove like a tornado plowing through mud.

Hurry to the emergency room only to wait, what was the outcome what would be the fate.

More rapid than postmen, the triage he came; to my son he tried to call but didn’t understand his name.

Was it first name or was it last, oh what could it be?  He just motioned for us to come over, the two of them and me.

Into the triage area for vitals, to evaluate, it won’t be long now, back to the other room, only to wait.

Mama’s off to fill out paperwork, while Daddy comforts Oldest, as Mama tells the lady “I’m going bizerk!”

Finally back to the ER, they all went to see, just how bad the assessment of the gash would be.

The nurse he came in, and gave us the news, Mama wanted to cry like she had the baby blues.

Papoosing her oldest and stitches it would take, to fix his little lip, oh for goodness sake.

Mama and Daddy tried to prepare the little man, as the nurse Jesse came over and began.

A mustache of goo, to numb his lip, so that when suturing began Oldest would not flip.

Papoosed on a board, Oldest was handling it well, the doctor entered to start and Mama left before ill, she fell.

His voice they heard, when the shot it was given, Mama would have cried, had she been with him.

In entered another nurse, to talk and distract, while the doctor and Jesse used three stitches, to hold his lip in tact.

When Mama returned, a baby she heard screaming, O please Lord, don’t let that be my child screaming.

Out came the other nurse and said he was fine, they were talking of boots and bikes and Oldest was done crying.

When the door opened wide the doctor he departed, the air in the room was very light hearted.

Jesse gave the follow up instructions in a flash; he explained very thoroughly how to care for the gash.

He said Oldest did great, better than most adults he had seen.  Mama new he was brave, like the Little Toaster he’d been.

With instructions in hand, we were sent on our way, only to return for a check-up on Christmas day.

Weary and worn as we drove out of site, Mama was exhausted; this has not been a good night.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Are Your Ready?!

Christmas is almost here, are you ready?  Not only am I not ready in the worldly sense (shopping, house clean, wrapping, food bought and prepared, favorite movies watched etc.), I am really not ready in the spiritual sense.  Almost every year I vow that this will be the year I really prepare during advent, for the coming of our savior.  Almost every year I start out with a bang and quickly go down hill.  This year I didn't even start with a pop, let alone a bang.  I am really not in the Christmas spirit and I'm feeling very uninspired.

Of course I have guilt about my feelings for so many reasons, the biggest being that there are so many people in the world that are suffering, right now.  Me, I'm just cranky and uninspired.  I am truly blessed with a great family and wonderful friends.  I have a fairly, lovely, roof over my head, clothes to wear, and enough food for a three day Christmas feast.  So why do I feel so cranky and disconnected?! 

I could say that part of it is the weather, where I live it is so hot right now that it feels like summer.  I just have a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit in shorts and flip flops.  I want to pull out my boots and cute hats and gloves.  I want to wear my Grandma's wool cape.  I want a roaring fire in the fireplace on Christmas morning.  I want to wake up to a blanket of snow outside.  And what I really long for is a quiet, simple Christmas.

Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to having all of my family here on Christmas, we have a lot of traditions that make the time special.  It is always chaotic and ALWAYS a lot of fun.  I'm just sort of overwhelmed this year, it's been a rough year, and I think I'm longing for quiet and simplicity in every area of my life right now.  My world feels like its going 100 miles an hour, every year I say this year will be different but somehow I never get around to making it different.

The thing that bothers me most this year ,though, is how disconnected spiritually I feel.  I'm longing for quiet, peace and time to spend with the Lord.  And not just a minute here or there or in the bathroom.  I'm talking enough time, to quiet my thoughts and self, to really meditate, and just be in the presence of the Lord.  To be in the stable, and be in awe of the tiny King ,that came so that I may have life and have it abundantly.  I do have an abundant life, I am truly blessed.  But I overlook my abundance because the busyness and the messes of life pull my sights away from the true gifts in my life.

I'm tired; I'm physically, mentally and spiritually tired!  I'm tired of wearing my CRANKY PANTS!  I want to laugh, to be peace filled, and feel the Holy Spirit's presence in my every day life.

I found myself drawn to the song by Faith Hill Where are you Christmas this year.  The words, though I had heard them many times before, rang out with such clarity and touched the bottom of my soul!

"Where Are You Christmas"

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

“If there is love in your heart and your mind, you will feel like Christmas all the time”
God is love!  Why can’t I stay focused on God?  If I did, my entire year would feel like Christmas!  The words make me cry, I feel every one of those words down in the depth of my soul!  I want to feel Christmas all the time.  I so, very much, want to be so connected with the tiny babe, my savior, that my heart aches.  Why can’t I get past the mess of life and stay connected?

I assumed the saints had it going on!  If St. John of the Cross talks about the Dark Night of the Soul and Blessed Mother Teresa was spiritually dry for years and years where does that leave me?  At first this really depressed me, I mean really!  These people are saints and blessed!  But, then it hit me, they struggled just like I am and they made it to sainthood anyway.  That is amazing news!  They struggled just like me!  They still made it!  So, I may feel disconnected and uninspired right now, but I have hope that I will find and feel Christmas very soon.  Then I will be able to proclaim “I feel you Christmas, I know I've found you, You never fade away, The joy of Christmas, Stays here inside us, Fills each and every heart with love.  I think the saints knew this all along; it’s what kept them going during dark nights and spiritual dryness.  I am inspired to live by their example.

I’m going to act as if I have found Christmas, as I search for that connection.  I’m going to wait patiently as God does His work, in my dark night.  I love Wikipedia’s description of the Dark Night of the Soul, “Although individuals may for a time seem to outwardly decline in their practices of virtue, in reality they become more virtuous, as they are being virtuous less for the spiritual rewards (ecstasies in the cases of the first night) obtained and more out of a true love for God. It is this purgatory, a purgation of the soul, that brings purity and union with God.”  I really want the purity and Union with God, so I’m hanging on for the ride!  One day I hope that I will be partying in Heaven with the King of Kings too!  Want to join me?!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 ASV

Picture of Baby Jesus from blogs.voices.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fake, Fraud, Farce

One of my favorite holiday movies is Christmas in Connecticut.

While I’ve seen the one from 1992, my favorite is the one made in 1945 starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan.

In the movie Elizabeth Lane played by Barbara Stanwyck has the original old fashioned blog, she’s a famous journalist, and she is one of the country’s leading food writers.  Her column runs in a nationally syndicated woman’s magazine.  In her columns she describes her perfect Connecticut farm life, married with a child, and boasts of her excellent cooking.  She posts her recipes for all to try.  She’s appears to be the Martha Stewart of the forties.  But, the truth is she is a single New Yorker, living in a one room apartment and she can’t even boil water.  All of her wonderful recipes come from her dear, uncle figure, friend, Felix, owner of a renowned restaurant.

The war hero Jefferson Jones played by Dennis Morgan is recovering from several days stranded at sea.  His nurse is set on getting him to marry her, while he goes along with it in order to get good meals; he has no intention of tying the knot.  The nurse in her determined state to get a ring, contacts the publisher of the magazine that Elizabeth Lane works for.  She concocts a scheme which would allow Jefferson Jones to visit Elizabeth Lane at her home in Connecticut for a down, home, traditional, farm, Christmas with all the trimmings, all along hoping that a wonderful warm home will entice old Jeffey Boy to pop the question.

The publisher of the magazine Alexander Yardley played by Sydney Greenstreet is a stickler for truth.  Trying to dig herself out, Elizabeth visits Mr. Yardley explaining that she can’t possibly have Mr. Jones for Christmas.  At the end of the meeting not only is Jones coming for Christmas but so is Mr. Yardley.  Through several series of events, Elizabeth manages to get a Connecticut farm house, husband and baby with which to keep up her ruse.  When Jones and Yardley arrive all begins to unravel especially when it is obvious that Elizabeth is falling in love with Jefferson.  In the end she is exposed as a fraud.  I won’t tell you the ending but it does end very nicely.

As I watched the movie this year, I felt very much like Elizabeth Lane.  Now don’t get me wrong, I truly am an unorganized, discombobulated, stay-at-home wife, mother, homeschooler, small business owner and SHE (sidetracked home executive).  I really am married and I really do have five kids (17 – 3).  What I mean is this.  Often when we are out we get lots of comments on how well behaved our children are, what a beautiful family we have.  If one of the kids goes some place with out me or the Director, we often hear back how well behaved the child was, or how respectful they were, or what a delight it was to be around them.  As I begin to help head up our churches VBS program each year, I will hear how well organized I am or how they can’t possibly imagine how I do it all, stay home with ALL five kids, homeschool them, and volunteer too.

As I listen to these comments I keep a calm demeanor, smile and often reply “thank you, please pray for me”.  When asked how do I do it, I want to scream out I’M NOT DOING IT!!  My kids while most of the times are great in public (for which I’m grateful) are banshee’s at home.  Often, I’m disorganized, overwhelmed, frustrated and angry.  My marriage has ups and downs; my home is not the calm, peaceful serene environment that I wish it was.  And I am not the Proverbs 31 woman that I long to be.  I am NOT doing it, most of the time I’m hanging on by a thread.  I had a friend once describe it this way, I’m like a duck, on top of the water I appear to be gliding along peacefully, but under the water I’m paddling like there’s no tomorrow to stay afloat.  I feel like a FRAUD!  I feel like Elizabeth Lane!

In the end of Christmas in Connecticut all works out well, everything is wrapped up nicely like a beautiful Christmas package.  But reality isn’t a movie, life often does not get wrapped up beautifully, time and again it is as Professor Hinkle from Frosty the Snowman says “Messy, Messy, Messy”.  So how do I ensure that all will work out when I am found out?  I don’t think there are any guarantees that it will all work out, but I can spend a lot of time on my knees praying for the grace to let go of my false beliefs.  Grace to accept that the current events in my life are not just messes, it is part of God’s plan to grow me, groom me, and bring me to the person I am called to be.  Grace to know when I have messed up and grace to know when to ask for forgiveness and grace to know when to change my ways.

With grace comes acceptance.  Acceptance that this is how it’s going to be right now.  Acceptance that I need to change my attitude and my behavior.  Acceptance that I am loved by the King of Kings regardless of the messes I’m in or the messes I make.  I’m not sure that the end of my life it will be wrapped up like a beautiful Christmas package.  However, I do hope that my family, friends and mostly God will recognize that I tried, I messed up, apologized and tried again and again and again a thousand times over.  Because without prayer for grace, grace for acceptance and acceptance of what it is right now, this very minute, I don’t think I have the gumption to try over and over again.  It is only by God’s grace that I am able to see through the mess and seek His will for my life, again and again and again.  It is only by God’s mercy and grace that I can clear my name and not be a fraud!

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.  Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
 Romans 12:1-2

(Pictures taken from still shots of the movie Christmas in Connecticut)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Three Ring Circus

Most of my family (minus the Middle Child) was sick from the Friday before Thanksgiving through now (a couple are still sick).  In hopes that we would still have our annual Thanksgiving celebration at our house, I trudged through my head cold.  I did all the activities that I normally would, to get ready, less the food buying and preparing.  I figured if we miraculously recovered I would shop and prepare the day before our celebration, scheduled for the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, because of work schedules.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I had a 12:30 doctors appointment.  I awoke to the Middle Child complaining of a stomach ache and headache.  “GREAT!”  I thought we all had colds, not stomach stuff.  I figured we would all get that next.  In hopes of keeping my appointment, and so that I wouldn’t have to pay the cancellation fee, I urged the Middle Child to go back to bed and rest.

Here’s the thing about the Middle Child when she’s sick:
A:  whenever she is sick she insists on being out in the family room on our ginormous Corda Roy's King Size Corduroy Foam Bean Bag, infecting the rest of us and telling all of us to be quiet because she doesn’t feel well.

B:  when she has a stomach thing that involves vomiting, she usually ends up getting an IV  because she dehydrates.

And C:  when she vomits she insists on using our very large, Blockbuster, plastic, popcorn bowl.  When she begins to vomit she gets up, vomits into the bowl, as she’s walking through the house looking for me.  This makes me crazy, because I can’t help her as well holding the bowl, as I could  if she would just vomit in the toilet.  I have to hold her hair, make sure the bowl doesn’t tip or fall, and try to hold her stomach and head.  It doesn’t work that well and then I have to empty the bowl and rinse it out.  Gross!

(I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t insist that she stay in bed and use the toilet to vomit.  To be honest she is pitiful when she is sick, especially with stomach stuff.  And, she has had so many IV’s with stomach flu’s that I really would rather have her out where I can keep an eye on her.  I become a softy when she is like that.)

OK, so now that you understand the situation, here is how the morning played out, as I got ready for my appointment.  “Middle Child, just rest, don’t eat or drink anything, let your stomach calm down.”  “Nobody go near or bother Middle Child, she is sick!”  I continued to do things around the house; she vomits twice over a two hour period.  I begin to re-think the doctor appointment, but she seems to improve a bit.  I think to myself “I’ll only be gone an hour and a half, if she gets worse the older kids (who are babysitting) can call me and I’ll come home, get her and take her to the doctors.”

I get ready to get in the shower, the water is running and I am naked.  Middle Child bursts through my bedroom door as she is vomiting, into her yellow bowl.  My bedroom door is adjacent to the bathroom door where I am standing naked with the water running.  Across from both doors on the wall, hangs a full length mirror.  So, if you are walking down the hall, and my bedroom door is open, you can see in the mirror, that I am naked! 

As she stands before me vomiting into the bowl, oblivious to the fact that I am naked, I notice that her hair as fallen out of her scrunchy.  I hurriedly try to tie it back so that she doesn’t vomit on her hair.  I am yelling at the top of my lungs for the Organized Child to come help me.  I’m thinking hold her hair while I try to hold her head or stomach and the bowl.  The Organized Child tells the Oldest that I am yelling for him.  How she got that is beyond me, their names sound nothing alike!  About the time Oldest is running down the hall to help me, the phone rings.  The Organized Child, who wouldn’t answer the phone if her life depended on it, decides that this is an appropriate time to take a call.

As Oldest approaches my room he sees in the mirror that I am completely naked and the Middle Child is vomiting in her bowl.  He begins to shudder and gag at the site of both of us.  I yell at him to hold her hair, so I can help her.  He grabs her hair and squeezes his eyes shut as tightly as he possibly can!  As the Middle Child starts to slow her heaving, I swiftly grab a towel, to at least hold up in front of me, so that I don’t warp my 17 year old son for life.

The Middle Child continues to vomit, at this time, the Organized Child makes an appearance at the door talking on the phone.  She looks to me with that “do you want to talk to whoever is on the phone” look.  I hiss at her “WHO IS IT?!” while trying to hold up my towel and help the Middle Child.  She sweetly looks at me and replies to the person on the other end of the phone “sure do you want to talk to her?”  “Are you KIDDING me?!”  I think.  I take the phone and manage a seething hello!  My father, on the other end of the phone, senses my frustration, stress and anger and very bluntly says “I’ll talk to you later.”  All that for I’ll talk to you later?  My head is going to explode.

By now, the Informer and the Little Man have made their way into my room to find out just what’s going on.  They are underfoot and both rambling a mile a minute, “Mom, Mom, Mom!”  The Middle Child has finished this round, hands me the bowl full of stinky bile, heads off to wash up and plop back into the bean bag.  Oldest has bolted in order to recover from the trauma of seeing his mother naked.  The Organized Child quickly realizes I was not a happy camper and makes a fast get away.  I send the little ones packing and I got into the shower.

After getting dressed, I called my Dad back to apologize.  He said, that he told the Organized Child, not to bother me if I was busy.  I wonder what she thinks BUSY is?!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Letters to Your Children Or Anyone Else For That Matter

My dear friend Susan has a blog.  Two years ago she posted a wonderful suggestion, as Thanksgiving approaches, write a letter of thanksgiving to your children.  She is very specific on what to write, I love that, as it makes it much easier to take on the task.  I took her advice two years ago.  Oldest was attending the National Catholic Youth Conference, we were asked to write a letter to our child, that they would read on the plane.  I used Susan's model for my letter.

Two years have gone by and I had forgotten about the letter and the model until again Oldest and now the Organized Child and the Director are attending the National Catholic Youth Conference.  This time we were not asked to write letters but I remembered what I had done in 2009 and wanted to do it again.  I revisited Susan's blog and again used her model.  As I re-read over it I felt it was important to share her post with everyone, with her permission I have reposted it below.

I challenge you to take some time in the near future to write your children a letter of Thanksgiving, use her suggestions, expand upon them or just write what you want.  Write from your heart and let them know just how thankful you are for them, how truly blessed you are because they are in your life.  Don't just stop with your kids, or if you don't have kids, write to your spouse, your parents, your siblings, aunts, uncles, anyone in your life that you are thankful for.  As one of the commenters on Susan's post said, a note of thanks is so much better than the usual annual cards (birthdays, Christmas etc.), taking the time to write what is truly in your heart lets them know your deepest feelings for them.  How much taller do we stand when someone compliments us, or acknowledges a job well done?  Don't you want to try harder, work better, and continue to impress the person who has complimented you?  Take the time, our days on this earth are numbered, no one is guaranteed tomorrow, let your loved ones know what they mean to you and how thankful you are to have them in your life!

Thanksgiving Letters to Your Children

Thanksgiving Letters to Your Children
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. So before the busy time begins, add one more thing to your To Do list:  write a thank you card to your children this year.
Why? To tell them that you are honored, blessed, lucky, and happy to have them as your child. It doesn’t have to be on a card from the store – notebook paper is fine. Even email would work, but a note in your own handwriting makes it more valuable. Almost 18 years after my father’s death, whenever I see his handwriting, it brings back sweet memories of him.

You may think your children know you love them, and that you’re too busy to write the obvious. You may think the card won’t matter. But it may surprise you how your note will impact them.

Everyone enjoys praise. A simple “nice job” or “wow” can improve one’s frame of mind.

In my opinion, power of written affirmation is largely untapped. But don’t take my word for it – give it a try yourself. This year, write a Thanksgiving note to your children to show them how much you love them.

Include at least five things in your note:
1. Tell them you are blessed because they are yours. This will show they belong.
2. Tell them how joining your family changed it for the better. This shows they are one of a kind.
3. Tell them how they thrill you. This shows them you think they are successful.
4. Tell them a dream you have for them. This shows you believe in them.
5. Tell them they will always have your love. This gives them security.

In no way should the letter reprimand, scold, or express disappointment.

When you do this don’t be disappointed if not much is said to you as a thank you. I wrote a Mother’s Day card to my children after they went to great lengths to plan a surprise gift for me. I was touched by their efforts to honor me and I quickly jotted a note to each one.

Unfortunately, my notes didn’t incite the enthusiasm I hoped they would. I thought it would be like receiving a gift card to Manny’s Chophouse, but that wasn’t the case. They read them, but said very little. However, I wrote it as much for myself as for them. I wrote the cards to my children because I wanted the record to show that having them in my life is the one of the best things to ever happen to me. If they choose to save their card, it will be written proof that they are very loved. Even as a grown child and a parent myself I treasure the special notes from my parents.

Remember when I said you may be surprised how it will impact them? I just discovered my oldest daughter carries her Mother’s Day thank you from me in her wallet.

Take the time to write your love note to your children. Do it now before you are too rushed to add it into your holiday season.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


When are we officially grown up?  When exactly does it happen?  After highs school?  After college?  After we get married?  After we buy a house and have a job?  What happens if you never accomplish any of those things?  What exactly is the definition of grown-up?  Dictionary.com says grown-up:  adjective
1.  having reached the age of maturity.  2.  characteristic of or suitable for adults: grown-up behavior; grown-up fiction.  Honestly, what does that mean?  What is the age of maturity and who decides when one has reached this age?

Aren’t we continually growing up?  I think the day we die is the day we stop growing up.  If we are realistic about things aren’t we always growing, physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally?  Do we really stop learning new things, connecting with others, aging, or making a spiritual connection at a certain point in life?  Isn’t life about changing and growing?  But, when exactly are we considered by the rest of the world, grown-up?

I don’t have an answer.  I guess it could be 18, when a person is old enough to vote or be drafted, but then again they aren’t old enough to drink so are they grown up?  Although, if you live in Sicily your able to drink at 15 but can’t get a drivers license until you are 18.  So is there a magical number for grown-up?

When I was a teenager I never felt like I fit in, I always felt older then everyone else, I didn’t get a lot of what teenagers did.  At my ten year reunion many of my classmates acted the same way they did in high school, again I didn’t feel like I fit in.  I missed my 20th reunion because of my miscarriage, so I’m not sure how everyone behaved or if I would have felt like I fit in or not.  I know in life I’ve come across a great many people that have acted like children even though their physical age was that of an adult.  I’ve also come across many young people that act well beyond their physical years.  I’ve met old people and young people alike that are full of wisdom.  But, I’ve also met old and young people that aren’t too bright or mature.  I’ve met some that act very mature and others, well my three year old acts more mature than some of them.

Pondering this, I still don’t have the answer, really.  I do know this though, when I went to my 25th high school reunion, people who didn’t give me the time of day in school, talked to me.  Not just small talk either, they really talked to me and were interested in what I had to say.  All the clique barriers were somehow broken.  Maybe that’s when you know your grown-up, when the jocks talk to the nerds, the Goths talk to the band geeks, the cheerleaders talk to the punks.  When everyone gets along, has fun reminiscing about the good-ol' days and catching up on what's going on in their lives today.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rollercoaster?! Merry-Go-Round?!

There are certain movies that I watch once a year at specific times, like Christmas or during Lent etc.  However, there is one that I think I need to add to my repertoire, and just commit to watching at least once a year, during particularly stressful times in my life.  If you’ve read my very first blog post, you know that I came about my blog title through stress and chaos.  If you’ve poked around my site I’m sure you’ve noticed that my blog is more about messes, stress and chaos then peace and calm.  While I crave peace and calm and strive for it, the reality is that I often live more in mess, stress and chaos.

This year has been more chaotic and stressful than others.  It’s not any one thing per say, it’s been lots of little things that have been adding up.  This week in particular has been very stressful and eventful.  Tonight, I just sort of shut down.  I came home took a long, detoxifying shower, and then soaked in an Epsom salt, lavender bath with a mask on my face.  I listened to relaxing music and read a magazine.  When I finished I slathered lotion on, dressed in comfy clothes and plopped down in front of TV.  Looking for anything of value or comedic relief to watch, I came across the movie Parenthood.  This movie is one of my favorites for several reasons.  I love most of the actors in this movie, it’s about life as a parent, it was shot locally where I live, one of the trucks in the background of the racing scene was the Director’s (my hubby, not the movie director) best friend’s truck (brings back lots of happy memories), and my all time favorite movie quote (listed at the top of my blog) comes from this movie.

I watched the movie again and I had sort of an epiphany.  I watched most of the movie for the simple pleasure of watching a movie.  When it came to the part right before Grandma gives her speech, where Gil is stressed and arguing with Karen, I began to feel overwhelmed.  Then Grandma gave her parable like speech.  "You know, when I was 19, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick so excited and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out if it."  When she was done I found my self with tears in my eyes.  As the movie went on and the scene where Gil is at his daughter’s play and everything unravels, it shows him feeling like he’s on a roller coaster as the chaos plays out.  I found myself really crying and it dawned on me that I had forgotten about Grandma’s speech. 

For the first time in all the times I’ve watched that movie I saw myself as Gil, stressed out, serious, worried, overwhelmed and tense.  I’ve become obsessed with the messes and I’m so focused on the smallest details, that I’ve lost my perspective.  We watched Soul Surfer recently; in the movie, Bethany’s youth minister tells the youth group, if you are too close to something, you might need a new perspective.  I know after watching Parenthood tonight that I need a new perspective.

Life is a roller coaster!  It is not a merry-go-round, and how boring would it be if it was a merry-go-round?  As I thought about this and my life right now, I was reminded of an article I read awhile ago.  The article is an interview with Rick Warren the author of Purpose Driven Life, below is an excerpt that really made me think.
We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore.
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:
If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.’ But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

I realized after re-reading that tonight that I have been focusing on my problems and all the mess in my life.  I need a new perspective!  I need to focus on my character and not my comfort.  I need to work on a holy life and not be so obsessed with a happy life.  I need to work on being less like Gil and more life Grandma!

The other night we went to Disney and The Little Man wanted desperately to ride Big Thunder Mountain like his older siblings.  When we found out he was tall enough to ride, I decided to go with them and make sure he didn’t fly out of the train.  Once the ride started I knew he was scared.  I wrapped both my arms around him and held on to him tightly and told him over and over, “It’s OK, it’s fun, it’s almost over, I’ve got you, I won’t let anything happen to you, Mommy is right here.”   Watching the movie, writing this, remembering Rick Warren’s interview, I’ve decided that my new perspective is to re-focus on God and the good things in my life!  I also realized, God is riding right next to me on the roller coaster of life.  His arms are wrapped tightly around me, telling me, it’s OK, it’s almost over, I’m right here, I’ve got you, I won’t let anything happen that you can’t handle.  Even with that comforting thought, like The Little Man, I’m moaning a bit and I’m ready to get off for awhile.  With some challenges I feel the same way The Little Man does, “I not like that ride, it was stary (scary)!”

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dr. Oz's Transformation Nation

I officially started this morning, maybe you'd like to join me.

Dr. Oz is challenging America to get healthy (and win $1 million).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grateful Heart Prayer

I found this wonderful prayer that I absolutely need to pray daily!  Maybe you need it to.  I started reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp awhile ago, this prayer reminds me that I truly need to get back to it, and back to my gratitude journal.  Gratitude for all of our blessings can change your attitude and perspective so much.

Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of good food to eat.

Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night.  I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy, grimy towels and dirty lavatory; they are so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs cleaning.  It has served us faithfully for many years.  It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers for two or three meals.

Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today; it has baked so many good things over the years.

Our whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing, we all enjoy our private yard.

Thank you for that slamming door... the children are healthy and able to run and play.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says you have richly blessed my family.  I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank you, Lord, that I can hear.  There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise.  There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short, my children are so loud, thank you, Lord, for my family.  There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times not balanced, thank you Lord for the blessing of food.  There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work.  There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for life.

                                                            Author Unknown

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Col 3:17

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.  Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prayer of Mothers

Life has been very crazy at our house lately.  We have had some challenges pop up and getting back in the swing of things with school has kept me very busy.  To be honest, I've been pretty tired at the end of the day and this has led to writers block.  While searching for something to post this evening, I came across a prayer I had saved.  I'm not sure where I got it from and a quick search of the internet, lists it on several sites, but no where is it sited who wrote it or where it came from originally.  I felt that it was the perfect prayer for me right now.  I wanted to share it with you, it is not my intent, to not give credit to the author, I just haven't found who the author is.  I hope it speaks to you that way it spoke to me.

Prayer of Mothers

Father in heaven; grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me.  Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—
to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven.  Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son.  Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family.  Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven.  Amen

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Change Eater

Due to lack of time and an overloaded plate, I thought that I would share a past account of my day August 2, 1999.  The names have been changed from my original story, as has certain verbiage in order to make it acceptable to post publicly.  And so you know, I was given permission from the Oldest to share this story in full with you.

August 2, 1999 - I am frantically trying to get ready to go to Dallas this week, while recovering from Jet Lag from last week.  The kids have a terrible cough, so I figure I better take them to the doctors before I leave them while I'm in Dallas, especially since I had pneumonia three weeks ago.  So I am getting ready to go to the doctors, paying late bills, when Oldest aka The Chaser, says MOMMMM!  The Organized Child aka The Change Eater just swallowed a quarter!  My head proceeds to explode, as I give her the third degree.  Are you sure it was a quarter and not a penny? I ask.  OH NO! it was a big quarter.  To the phone, I begin to call friends “do you think I should panic?”  I ask.  “I dunno, call our friend the paramedic.”  “Is she breathing?” he asks, “yes” I say, “call the doctors and let them know they may want to see you sooner” he says.  The nurse says “as long as she is breathing we'll see you at 2:40.” 

Off we go to the doctors, by way of Wal-Mart.  I'm hungry The Change Eater whines.  “Sorry”, I reply “you can't have anything to eat, until we get a picture of your tummy, to see where the quarter is.”  She quickly responds with “can't take a picture, my tummy not open up, can't get quarter out” she says.

We get to the doctor we go through the gamete of illness first.  Oldest has an infection, The Change Eater has allergies.  But alas on to the big stuff, the quarter.  The nurse makes cracks as she weighs The Change Eater; “aha she weighs a quarter more”.  Like that’s supposed to be funny!  I don't have time for this, I have a hundred things to do!

The doctor prescribes an x-ray, yahoo!  The good thing was we only had to go down stairs to get it.  So down we go.  We fill out paper work galore, only to wait some more.  I see that they have a pharmacy, so I figure why not try to get Oldest prescriptions filled while we wait.  As I am dropping off the prescriptions, The Change Eater has a fight with Oldest, who then proceeds to whine about not being able to have the chocolate calcium chews that Emma eats.  “No”, I reply sternly, “because I said so, I am the mommy, that’s why.”

Back to the paperwork.  “Go to the last desk, that's x-ray” the woman says as she gives me a pitying look.  Great!  Wait some more.  Mom “there's boogies in my nose, I need a paper towel” Oldest whines.  I ask the desk help for a Kleenex, you would think that I had just asked for a brick of gold!  I'm thinking this is a doctors office, if you can't find Kleenex, and I have to walk a mile to the restroom, for toilet paper, my head is going to blow up for the second time today, and I will not be held responsible for my actions after that!   Finally, another pitying nurse emerges with two Kleenex's.  Oldest blew enough for 7 Kleenex's in those two.  “Gross!” I think as I begin to look for a trash can, of course there isn't one.  (This is before hand sanitizer mind you.)  Finally the x-ray tech comes for us.  She begins to talk to The Change Eater and then the true story comes out!  Oldest had been trying to take the quarter away from The Change Eater, so, she hid it in her mouth, and eventually in a place he was sure never to find it!  Off we go for tummy pictures.  The Change Eater is beaming from ear to ear so proud to be a star. 

Oldest says “see Mom, I was good I never ate money”.  No, I remind him you put neon green play dough in your hinny cheeks, you stuck a pin in your male appendage, you pinched your male appendage in a book, you put a chip clip on your male appendage, you stuck dog food up your nose, finger painted, on numerous occasions, with your poop, and to top it off, you have cut your own hair, a zillion times.  He smiles at me, proud of all his accomplishments.

We finish with the x-rays.  The tech says “who can find the quarter?”  As if we can't see it, it took up half of her little abdomen.  OK, go back upstairs we'll call up and the doctor will let you know the results.  Results, what results?!  My kid has a quarter in her stomach; I could have told you that without the x-ray!

We are now back in the doctor’s office, which is packed I might add, waiting, waiting, and waiting.  The Chaser, who caused this mess in the first place, looks at me and says “I'm bored, what is this movie, why are they doing this, why are they doing that, when can we go home, I'm hungry”.  As I look at him I realize something is wrong, very wrong!  “Oldest”, I ask calmly “did you cut your hair again?”  He tells the truth, only after I threaten to punish him; “yeah I couldn't see, it made me walk into walls” he professes.  Great!   Just great!  We'll have to wait another 6 months to get his pictures taken.

Finally the nurse emerges “she has a quarter in the lower left quadrant of her abdomen.  You will have to inspect her bowl movements to make sure it comes out.  If it’s not out in 48 hours, bring her back in” she states.  Lovely!

We go down to pick up the prescriptions, I ask for a box of rubber gloves and inquire as to how much they are?  After explaining that The Change Eater has swallowed a quarter, and I have to find it, the pharmacist takes great pity on me and gives me a bag of gloves for FREE.

It is at that moment that I begin to rethink the possibility of ever having another Chaser, Change Eater or any other type of child you can think of.

Note:  The Change Eater did not swallow a quarter; she swallowed a nickel in fact.  I still have it today; it is tarnished very badly from her stomach acid.  And, clearly, this did not scare me enough; The Director and I went on to have three more children!  I wouldn’t have it any other way!