Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Princess!

Eight years ago this evening JT fought our way through a mega-church's Saturday evening service traffic, barely making it to the hospital before our beautiful little girl made her appearance. She was born in less than 20 minutes, and weighing in at over 9 lbs, was the biggest baby I had ever seen. (Every nurse that entered our room looked at her, then at me, and said stupefied, "YOU had a 9 lb. baby?" As if I had a choice, right?)

She truly is our "song of joy" and brings color to our lives far beyond her blue eyes and blond hair. Compassionate and kind, she makes friends wherever she goes. And today I can add brave to the list; notice the cute little earrings adorning her lobes. Way to go, girly!

May you grow in beauty this year as you learn to love God and people. May you be both strong and merciful, graceful and wise.

I love you,


Buddy, can you spare four dimes?

While we don't "go" to school, we do eat breakfast, and it's the meal I have the hardest time getting on the table. I never feel like eating until about 10am but my hungry hoard is ready at 7:30. Meijer has helped me out with this deal--

Meijer is running a 5 for $9 sale on Kellogg's cereal products and has Eggo products on sale for $1.15. There are quite a few $1/2 coupons available from recent newspaper inserts, as well as a $10 Kellogg's Fuel for School rebate. Here's how I did it:

2 Eggo Waffles $1.15 each (-$1/2 coupon)
2 Eggo French Toast Sticks $1.15 each (-$1/2 coupon)
2 boxes Frosted Mini Wheats $1.80 each (-$1/2 coupon)
4 boxes Nutri-Grain Bars $1.80 each (- two $1/2 coupons)
cash out of pocket= $10.40

after $10 rebate = $ .40
If you plan to try this deal yourself, be sure to take the rebate with you; it specifies certain box sizes. All purchases must be on the same receipt. No problem this week!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The view from my kitchen window

We live in a raised ranch so we pretty much have a bird's eye view of our neighbors' yards. This afternoon while getting ready to make pizza dough, I glanced out the window over my sink to see my quickly-approaching-50 neighbor lady clad in a bikini and gardening gloves, broom in hand, sweeping out her kids' tree house.

I think I laughed so loud it almost shook her over the side.

I guess this is an even exchange for the time she got a view of my then three-year-old child (who shall remain nameless) pulling down drawers to squat in our yard.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Pleaser from the Freezer

Ok, Cindy, I am drooling over those Frozen Peanut Butter Bars, but have you tried Peanut Butter Blobs? Yes, they are a moment on the lips, forever on the hips, but they taste oh so good!

Peanut Butter Blobs
(makes 50-70 depending on how big ya like your blob)
1/2 lb. butter
1 lb. peanut butter
2-3/4 cups powdered sugar
6-1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup chocolate chips
In a large bowl, blend first three ingredients. Stir in cereal and chocolate chips. Drop on a cookie sheet and freeze until firm, then remove to a freezer bag. Freeze until served.

(Thanks, Marilyn, for the recipe!)

New Way of Thinking

A while back Monica put the meme (rules here) question to me "What have you been challenged to think about differently?" I've been mulling this one over because it seems lately I've been challenged to think about a whole lot of things differently.

I've been pondering a lot of stuff I once considered scandalous like White Washed Feminists and True Womanhood and am trying to get into the minds of some folks I'm sure I don't completely agree with. I've pulled away from the exclusivity of the patriocentric/prairie muffin sector of Christianity while at the same time yearning after their smiling, girly girl, formula-for-everything lifestyle. I've scrutinized the pitfalls in the extremes of shunning the world or fully embracing it, sensing the call of God to the middle to be His hands and feet by actually loving the folks who live in it with a comrade embracing love instead of a patronizing arm's length love. But most of all I've come to see how desperately I need Christ and how He truly longs to rob me of my sin.

The biggest change this has made is in my approach to parenting. I used to cling desperately to the "spare the rod, spoil the child" mantra, believing that I had been given the task of manipulating my children's behavior to best suit what other Christians called "good." I memorized the sayings in Proverbs about parents and children, plastered them onto Ephesians 6:1, and put them all to work on my kids. Then thing is, in doing so I forgot Jesus. I forgot that He is a Gentle Shepherd. I forgot that He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. I forgot that it was His kindness that led me to repentance. I became the head of the Pharisees meeting out punishment in the name of God on my trainees instead of a broken sinner leading other little sinners to the place of divine deliverance.

Instead of simply taking for granted what someone taught me in a parenting class--which, by the way, contained a lot of out of context Scripture applied to child rearing--I've had to lay aside what I've always "known" in order to take a fresh look at God Himself, how He loves His own, How He parents them, and how He offers sinners so much more grace than He does punishment if they will only accept it. Don't misunderstand me, I still believe strongly in discipline (and spanking), but not the dictatorial, bolster my parenting pride kind. Not the kind that forgets that even parents need to adhere to the greatest commandments to love God and love others and to do unto other as they would have done to them. I want to be a minister of grace, leading my children to the cross because Jesus is able where they are not. I want to commiserate with them that I, too, can't stop sinning and be perfect. I want to share with them that Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. And I'm no longer convinced that can be properly conveyed with the carte blanche "Do it or I'll spank you" attitude.

My husband preached on Psalm 139 last Sunday, and for years I've seen this as a God-as-big-brother type passage. Watch out, He's gonna get you for that! But if you look deeper you can see that David knows that God knows that he's wretched, yet he rejoices in the fact that God sticks so close. Why? Look at Psalm 135 and 138. God's steadfast love does not leave him. This is the knowledge is too wonderful for him! Paul picks this fact up at the end of Romans 8. This is what I want my kids to know.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why boys stink (and are sometimes slick)

Boy takes shower in parents' bathroom.
Mom sniffs boy. Mom asks Boy, "Did you use soap?"
Boy responds, "Well..."
Mom sends Boy into kids' bathroom for second washing, saying, "Use soap."

After retrieving Boy's towel from other bathroom, Mom enters bathroom to catch Boy squeezing conditioner onto his hand to wash with. Mom says, "that's not soap, it's conditioner for Sissy's hair," to which Boy responds, "It says 'body and volume' on it."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Have you ever had that kick-in-the-stomach realization that you're not who you want to be? Not that you just not there yet, but that you may never be? That maybe God didn't ever intend for you to be that person?

I've always been a bit of a "Just do it" person. For years my attitude about living the Christian life included no room for Spirit infused power but was a matter-of-fact, "Read the Book; do what it says." I believed that all anyone needed was a good dose of willpower to live a godly life, and if that didn't produce the desired outcome a heaping spoonful of guilt would do the trick.

But recently God's been bringing issues and situations into my life that have shown me how wrong my assertions were. He's shown me how much I need His Spirit's work in my life; I can't do it on my own. Yet until now He'd never put me in a place of complete failure, a pit that I could not muster enough chutzpah to claw myself out of.

I've been struggling a lot with God's commands to minister healing and bring comfort to the weary, the very reason we chose to bring children of families in crisis into our home. God loves me so I love others. Simple, right? I had that sting of compassion in my heart for children who needed a home away from their own. And yet the reality of having them in ours is terribly difficult. It's not that the kids are outrageously unruly and difficult. But for some reason when they're here I feel an almost painful yearning toward my own brood and find myself tense to the point of clenching my teeth at night. We've got the extra bed and extra chair at the table. We've got the means to feed one more mouth, but do we have what it takes to baby-sit another woman's child 24 hours a day for an undetermined amount of time? And does wanting to be able to have what it takes make it so?

I'm coming to the conclusion that wanting to be a compassionate, cool-with-it, easy going foster mom will not make me one anymore than wanting to be nine inches taller and blue eyed will make me Liv Tyler. It just ain't gonna happen. There's just more to it than want to.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Bad Poetry Day

There was an Old Man of Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket
His daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man--
And, as for the bucket, Nantucket

Pa followed the pair to Pawtucket
(The man and the girl with the bucket)
And he said to the man,
"You're welcome to Nan",
But as for the bucket, Pawtucket

Then the pair followed Pa to Manhasset
Where he still held the cash as an asset
And Nan and the man
Stole the money and ran
And as for the bucket, Manhasset

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In honor of the birthday party I'm planning...

If you need a good laugh, click on over to Cake Wrecks. My princess wants to get her ears pierced for her birthday. I'm sure I could have a really hideous one commissioned for that event!

(Thanks ERJM!)

Friday, August 15, 2008


Pshew! Week 1 of homeschool year 2008/2009 is complete. I really love homeschooling--it's totally my calling--and I must admit that there's an added bonus that my house stays neater and I feel much more in charge of my time when we've got a set schedule of tasks to complete, but honestly I feel like I already need a vacation!

My plan was to get all of our academics done Monday through Thursday so we can spend Fridays on fine arts and nature hikes. Well...we are already behind in our three R's and haven't done any fine arts study save listening to Bach's Magnificat during lunch thanks to a smiley little three foot boy in diapers.

I don't know how you folks with toddlers do it. I feel like a broken record with: "Get off the sofa." "Don't swing on the table." "Please sit down and play with your cars." We have a sliding door between our dining room and our screened porch, so I had the brilliant idea of putting the readers out on the porch for quiet, keeping the writer in the dining room and the toddler in the kitchen. Said toddler didn't like that idea and in trying to mess with the slider jammed it over his big toe, pulling off the nail. Ouch and double ouch! Needless to say we've done better trying to cram as much school into nap hours as possible.

I know that for us this won't last forever, in fact, it may only last another week; our placement agreement is over in 10 days. But after a week of school with a pre-schooler, I have to give a big hat's off to you mom's who school with littles all year. And for the record (and my husband's I-told-you-so satisfaction) my quiver is full. Womb closed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Caught in the Act

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. ~3 John 1:4

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Midlife Crisis?

Some buy sports cars. Some get tummy tucks. I decided to get my hair cut.

This is what I looked like before:

And this is me after:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Perfect 10

Ten years ago today I started on the most challenging and most fulfilling adventure of my life: I had a baby boy. I never knew my heart could love someone as much as I loved your seven pounds of sweet baby goodness! You and I have been a match from the beginning. I wanted you out, you were happy staying in. I wanted you to sleep and eat, you had other plans. You may wear your daddy's face, but you have your mama's temperament!

Yes, you are my strong-willed child. And I love you today with an even bigger love than I had that first day I met you. You are so bright, so talented, and so tenacious. And to think my boss used to call me a bull dog! Honey, you've got me beat and you're only 10!

It is my prayer that your heart would be as pliable as your determination is firm and that God would use these traits to make a mighty man of God out of you, warrior boy.

I love you, Bubba. Happy tenth birthday.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Shabby Clothing

I do not have abandoned compassion. You know, the kind that loves deeply everything and everyone in its path. It's as if there is a line in my heart that defines, "Only this far, and no further." We're not talking hard-heartedness here. Not meanness or rudeness, but the difference between the love a mother has for her own kids and the kindness she has for the neighbor kids or the kids she babysits.

We've had a tiring week. Nothing tragic, just a few bites and slaps and a lot of toddler defiance. Nothing we can't handle with grace and relative ease. But instead of basking in the strides we're making, my sinful nature automatically focuses on the difficulty of having someone else's child in the house and how he'd be different if he'd been born here. We've gone from "NO!" and temper tantrums to "Yes, please," and "Thank you." We're communicating in sentences and no longer putting little feet on the dinner table. Those are successes! And yet I get bogged down in the size 5 diapers--why isn't this child potty trained?--and the stench emanating from his mouth--he's on public aid: why hasn't he seen a dentist?

Where others may see my outward kindness, God and I can clearly see the proud and impatient toddler-like woman I am below the surface. I like things my way, and right now normal is out of whack. My spirit is irritable. But I don't believe this gives me the right to give up or even to pout. Grown-ups need to Do the Hard Things, too.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

I think my coat needs some mending.