Friday, July 27, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Beyond

Every Friday, Gypsy Mama has a writing exercise called "Five Minute Friday."  Each Friday, she gives a prompt, and you write for just five minutes on that prompt.  In her words, "No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.  Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real."  The main rule is:

"1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking."

This is my first, ever attempt!  So please forgive the stream-of-consciousness.

This week's prompt is: Beyond


It's amazing how often things go beyond what we imagine; sometimes, in a better way, and sometimes in a worse way.  I guess I mean that sometimes things wildly exceed our expectations, our dreams taking on wings of their own, soaring high, high above us.  And sometimes things get much more out of joint--out of sync--than we ever thought possible.

I think of the ways in which I, myself, have gone beyond what I ever thought possible for me--maybe even beyond what I somehow thought was humanly possible.  I gave birth in my upstairs bathroom.  Almost completely alone; completely alone, in fact, until the very last minute, when a friend came in.  My strength has lasted beyond what I thought possible, as a single mother; hardly noticing now that i do the job of two people...or more.  I can't even remember the days when my husband was still here.  My muscles have performed beyond what I thought possible, now that i'm running again.  It's exciting to see how I underestimated myself.

Sometimes a nightmare can go beyond what you ever imagined possible.  How did the dysfunction in my marriage go way beyond the bounds of normal?  How did my pain and suffering in that relationship go beyond what I could have fathomed?  Looking at my wedding pictures, I had no idea....

I wish I always felt like God has gone beyond my expectations.  Sometimes, in moments of reflection and gratitude, I know He has.  Other times, if I'm honest, I feel like asking, "Is there really something beyond all this, God?"


Saturday, July 21, 2012

We're back! Happy Birthday, Mr. D

We're home from our 3 week trip to Colorado.  Sort of.  Adjusting to the time change is MUCH harder when you're coming back East!  So, we're on a late-ish schedule, but it's summer, so who cares!  I've also lost my cell phone, so I still feel disconnected, but I'm enjoying it in a way.  Things sure are quieter!

I can hardly believe that my oldest is turning 10 tomorrow.  How can my baby be hitting double-digits?  We went on a lovely "date" last night, thanks to my parents babysitting the other three kids.  And let me tell you, it was LONG overdue.  I can't remember the last time just the two of us did something together.  I always say, "I fall in love with each of my children again when we get one-on-one time."  And, boy, is it true.  If you don't do it regularly, try "dating" your kids.  It is a breath of fresh air, in the midst of the usual refereeing and multi-tasking. 

In keeping with my "no boundaries" motto this year, we did something radical--rock climbing!   I am pathetically afraid of heights, so this was big, folks.  And we went here.  Yeah.  IT ROCKED!!!  (he he he-sorry!)

My boy was the star.  Really.  All the other parents kept asking me, "Has he been doing this for a while?"  He's a novice.  That's just pure talent.  He didn't get those genes from me!

How can can this big boy with the man-feet be my lil' guy??  I remember when you were just two years old and running around the living room, laughing and clapping your chubby hands.  I thought it would never, never end.  How wrong I was.  I wasn't prepared for being so teary this weekend, but I am!  I love you, Dom the Bomb. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Packing for a trip....with the laundry in mind

This is a nuts-and-bolts post about being a mom, laundry, and packing for a trip.  Because I'm always behind on laundry, that's always where I have to begin.  For starters, here is my laundry room:

Ha!!!  Just kidding!  This is it.  I have a "laundry nook" that is about 5 feet wide, and contains a washer and sink, but no dryer.  I am lucky enough to have a dryer, however, it's about 15 feet away on the other side of the room...Not sure where they were going with that....

Anyway, I'm doing a lot of laundry as I'm preparing for a three week trip with all four kids.  We'll be staying in a hotel--courtesy of the fact that we can tag along with my father on business, and with just an "upgrade fee", we can get a 2-bedroom suite.  Now don't get me wrong, it will still be cramped, because there are still only two beds (for 7 people!) But we took this same trip last year, and it was great.  I just considered it to be "better than camping," and that made me thankful for the hot water and lack of mosquitoes, and less focused on the cramped hotel, kids everywhere, and sleeping on the floor. The other thing that puts the experience leagues beyond camping is the in-house laundry facilities!  So, while we're at the hotel, I like to throw in one load of laundry each night.

Now, about me and laundry: I'm a laundry sorter--always have been.  (If you're not a laundry sorter, then no need to read further!) My mom was (and is) meticulous about sorting the laundry into at least several different types of loads, usually to the tune of: lights, darks, whites, pinks/reds, and delicates.  That's a lot of different loads!  I know some moms who swear they get around this completely by washing all their clothes together on cold.  However, this has never worked for me.  The clothes still all seem to turn out gray-ish pink, and they don't get clean--especially the kids' clothes, which have caked-on dirt, food, grass stains, and worse.  Those need a hot water wash.  So, I follow my Mom's old protocol of running many different types of loads, and washing them accordingly.

Anyway, back to my packing adventures.  As I packed for our last trip, I tried an experiment that (at first) seemed crazy.  But it worked, and I plan to do it again.  I packed only items that could be washed in two separate types of loads.  And they had to work for ALL FIVE people, including two little frilly, princess-y girls, and two rough-and-tumble, football-playing boys, and, of course, moi.  So, I was surprised by what ended up evolving, but it worked! 

I only packed items that could be washed in either a "pink/red" load or a "darks" load.  That's it: no white t-shirts, no yellow shorts.  If the item was not red, pink, orange, black, gray, denim, or something similar--it was not getting packed!!  I was ruthless, but it actually worked!  It meant that the boys could pack any t-shirt that was red or black.  Any jeans or dark shorts/pants worked just fine.  The girls could bring along as much pink as their hearts desired, and I got to bring my gray yoga pants, orange tank top, and my little black dress.  We even packed underwear that was (you guessed it) black, pink or red.  Black sports bra?  Check!  It was easier than I thought it would be. 

This time, we have the added "complication" of being there over the July 4th holiday, and my kids want to dress "patriotic."  No problem!  They'll be wearing red and navy.

And now.....I've created this compelling Photshop masterpiece for all you Doubting Thomases.

My apologies to my white running socks.  You were the one, sorry, set of items that didn't work with my scenario.  But don't worry, this time I'm bringing you anyway.  I promise to bleach the heck out of you when we return home.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
Marilyn Monroe
Maybe not the best role-model, but there's something worth pondering here.  I guess her quote really sums up the definition of "Diva"--in its own way.  And there's a little bit of the "Diva" in every one of us women--whether we like to admit it or not.
Not exactly twiggy, eh?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Snort Laugh Saturday: Tim Hawkins Video

I've just been introduced to Tim Hawkins--a Christian comedian.  I didn't expect to laugh as much as I did, when I watched this video.  He starts out a bit slow, but once he gets into the routine, it's a hoot!

Hand Raising and Hand Sanitizer

Tim Hawkins

He got me at, "What's that?  A worship javelin??"


Friday, May 18, 2012

"When our joy is at its zenith..."

"...the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us."

Well, it finally happened.  I knew when I got a dog, I couldn't avoid it forever.  Yes, we reenacted the infamous scene from A Christmas Story: the dog ate our dinner.  Much like the turkey that the Bumpass hounds consumed, we were having a little rotisserie chicken.  Don't know what scene I'm talking about?  Well, here ya go.

Warning: language may include such technical non-dictionary terminology as 'sonsabiches.'

It was actually tomorrow's dinner, since, to be completely accurate, the dog ate tonight's dinner leftovers.  We had already eaten our meal, which included part of the aforementioned chicken, and I was planning to pack the second half back into the fridge for tomorrow.  No such luck.  By the time I got to it, there was just a lot of chicken strewn about the floor, and a guilty-as-sin dog trying to wolf as much down as he could.

Look at this guilty culprit.  Guess who spent the rest of the evening in the back yard?

Honestly, though, I think I can recover from this.  Because after gathering up the scraps, there was at least 1/4 of the bird left on the floor.  Not enough for an entire meal, BUT....I think tomorrow's dinner is gonna be OK after all.  We all like chicken soup.  And what the kids don't know, can't hurt them ;-)

Because goodness knows, there's no money for Chinese food.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

One Reason Counseling Didn't Work

It's no secret at this point that it doesn't look like my marriage is going to make it.  I say that because my spouse and I have been separated for 7 months, and things haven't gotten any better.  By the time we finally separated, things were already bad enough.  Unfortunately, in most ways they've only deteriorated more.  But I don't take this whole separation/divorce lightly.  Divorce is nonexistent in my family of origin.  You get married; you stay married.  God is bigger than our problems, and He can redeem anything.  Right?  So for me, separation was an absolute last-resort, when I no longer felt safe--for many reasons.  I put it off for as long as I could, and did everything I could to save the marriage. 

One of the things I did was go to marriage counseling.  A lot of marriage counseling.  And marriage courses.  And seminars.  And retreats.  And anything I could get myself or "us" enrolled in that I hoped would save "us."  My spouse was usually more than game.  We were both pretty miserable, and looking for a "magic bullet."

But in retrospect, I can see one of the reasons why counseling (and most of the other stuff) didn't work for us.  Every single doggone counselor we ever saw wanted to start off by working on "communication."  At the outset, that seems very reasonable.  But the problem is, honestly, none of them ever seemed to get beyond that.  And the fact that (looking back) I have an objection to that is really ironic, because I was a Communications major in college.  I love the topic of communication--the psychology, the history, the rhetoric, the everything of communication.  But for some reason, the more my spouse and I worked on our communication (painstakingly following multi-step models to guide us, writing things down and reading them out loud, using "key phrases," and every trick in the book) the worse things got for us.

The question is, why?

I believe that the answer is that communication wasn't the real problem.  There were underlying issues that were so bad, that there was no good way to communicate about them.  Those issues were an elephant in the middle of the room--that we tried to "talk nicely" around.  It didn't work.  In fact, honing our communication skills just made us better at fighting about the elephant.  Better communication didn't make us more peaceful--it made us more articulate fighters!

And none of the counselors we ever saw seemed able to tackle that elephant.  And, frankly, that doesn't really leave me with much confidence in the counseling profession; because there are a lot of pretty damn good books out there on communication, but what we needed was someone who was willing to go beyond that.

Have you ever been in marriage counseling?  Did the counselor fixate on communication, but without a seeming ability to address underlying issues that fueled the communication?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Breathe in the aromas.....but not all of them

Today I jogged past a Southern Magnolia tree just starting to bloom.  The fragrance was IN. SANE.  I wish I could send you a waft of it, because it was intoxicating.

It almost overcame the unshowered stink of sweat and grime emanating from the dog and me after 45 minutes of jogging.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"All In the Name of Fun!"

I'm highly competitive by nature.  This has always mocked me in the world of athletics, because I'm terrible at sports.  And when I say terrible, I really mean it.  I have gross gross motor skills,  nonexistent reflexes, and I'm a painfully slow runner.  Did I also mention that I'm barely five feet tall?  So, I've spent most of my life as a frustrated loser, when it comes to athletic ventures.

On Mother's Day, each year, our kids' track team (coached by men, of course) plays what I consider to be a hilarious practical joke by running a "Mother's Race."  This joke is only made funny by the fact that all the (male) coaches think it's "fun" for the Moms, and coordinating this race is their "gift" to us.  Hmmmm...let's see...can I think of a worse way to spend Mother's Day, than to squeeze myself into some spandex and get out on a track with a handful of Type-A moms who actually run marathons in their spare time?  (I'm not making this up.)  Uh.....what happened to bringing Mom breakfast in bed, and giving her flowers and chocolate? 

Anyway, a year ago, they kicked the event off by dividing the women up by age.  Adding insult to injury, they announced your age to the several-hundred people smart enough to keep their rears in the bleachers.  So they all got to find out how old you were before you made a fool of yourself.  Awesome.  In the interest of time, the only "Mother's Race" was a 100 Metre sprint--not my forte, unless it involves chasing an errant toddler.  My valiant efforts that day resulted in nothing more than a pulled muscle and a dismal last-place finish. 

Later that same night, my (then) 8-year-old son decided to solve a mystery for us all-- one that we didn't even know existed.  "Mom," he said with solemnity, "I know why you lost the race today."  [insert awkward silence]  "It's because you're know...."  and then he held up his arms in a circumferential gesture, as if his body had become a blimp.  But not with his arms out to the sides.  Oh, no: with his arms out in front, mimicking huge, imaginary boobs.  And he didn't stop there.  He continued, "Because you're so big.  Everywhere. And that's why everything jiggles so much and and......everything....while you run," still feigning huge, imaginary boobs--which he was now 'jiggling.'  "That's why you lost."

Well, thank you.  Thank you for that verdict and visual depiction.

Each time I tried to forget the incident, I couldn't, because that injured quadriceps haunted me for over a month.  And each day since then, I vowed never again.

This year's race was yesterday.  This year I had only two main goals:

Goal #1--Don't hurt myself.  Really.

Goal #2--Try not to come in dead last, trailing far, far behind every other runner.  But only if it didn't mean compromising Goal #1.

But then I found out this year they decided to change things up a bit, and instead of only offering the 100 Metre sprint, they were offering a Coed 1-Mile run as well.  I've been running as part of a fitness program for several months now, and I'm up to about 3-4 miles.  And although I'm still slow, I've got pretty good stamina.  And the key word was Coed; that meant my kids' father would run it.   Ka-CHING: I had a third goal.

Goal #3--Beat my children's father.

I won't lie.  It wasn't going to be easy.  The man towers a foot over me, his legs are twice as long as mine, and he has beaucoup spare time to work out at the gym every week.  But to make a long story short, against all odds, and certain that I'd never be able to do it, I had my shining moment of glory.  I kept a nice, steady pace the whole race, feeling pretty good.  Then when I saw my chance, I made my move, and overtook him in the home stretch.  At 8m 10s, I beat him by just a few eternal seconds.  And for once in my life, the die-hard competitor in me was triumphant.

Yeah.  I went all Eric Liddell on his Harold Abrams a**. 

Oh, I laughed, and smiled, and said it was "All in the Name of Fun." 

Sure.  Whatever.  'Cuz if you believe that, then you just keep believing that breakfast in bed, with flowers and chocolate is overrated anyway.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Snort Laugh Saturday: Geography of a Woman

  • Between 18 & 22, a woman is like Africa, half dicovered, half wild, fertile & naturally beautiful.
  • Between 23 & 30, a woman is like Europe, well developed and open to trade, especially for someone with cash.
  • Between 31 & 35, a woman is like Spain, very hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.
  • Between 36 & 40, a woman is like Greece, gently aging but still a warm and desirable place to visit.
  • Between 41 & 50, a woman is like Great Britain, with a glorious and all conquering past.
  • Between 51 & 60, a woman is like Israel, has been through the war and doesn't make the same mistakes twice, takes care of business.
  • Between 61 & 70, a woman is like Canada, self-preserving, but open to meeting new people.
  • After 70, she becomes Tibet: wildly beautiful, with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages.  Only those with an adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual knowledge visit there.

  • Between 1 and 70, a man is like Iran, Ruled by Nuts.

quoted from: source

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Make the Leap

Today someone wrote me a letter.  In the fairly recent past, this person (who shall remain nameless) wronged me in a very painful way.  And then disappeared.  But in a renewal of communication, via a short letter, they made the following statement:

"We all have our faults, but I'm not a bad person." 

This got me thinking, a la Pooh Bear.

I guess it made me wonder, "Well, what, exactly, would it take to make someone a bad person?"  Or, perhaps the inverse is really more to the point.  What does it take to make a good person?  Although someone may not exactly be a bad person, does that make them a good person? Our definitions can get muddled, because it's easier to think in negatives.  The behavior in question was quite wrong, morally and ethically.  In fact, it was really the cherry on top of a mountain of morally bankrupt choices.  But rather than look in the mirror and ask, "Am I a good person?"  It's easier to slide on by and keep telling one's self, "Well, I'm not exactly a bad person."

I guess I'm just struck today by the fact that there really is a wide gulf between a truly good person, and a truly bad person.   There's a big leap between good and bad; a gaping chasm of middle ground.

All this made me ask myself, "In what ways do I do the same thing?" because we all have to decide whether we want to make the leap to being a "good person."  It doesn't happen by accident.  It's way too easy to fall down the chasm of middle-ness; un-good and un-bad.  I see this clearly, among people of all faiths, including people in the Christian church.

I don't want to fall into that middle place.  I want to make the leap.  In a way, as a Christian who believes in original sin (hell, as a parent who has seen it first-hand!) I guess I assume we all start out on the "bad" side of the equation, and my life experience seems to bear that out!  I just really want to make sure I make the leap, and get over to the other side.  (Don't get me wrong, I know I need help, from Christ and others.)  But I think all of us can find ourselves slipping into the cleft that whispers, "You know, you're not really all that bad...."

"So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." -Revelation 3:16

Monday, May 7, 2012


Over the years, things seem to come in waves. 

It's great, if it's waves of good things: friends having babies, people socializing with you, good communion with God.  It's tough, if it's waves of bad things: kids getting sick or injured, me losing my temper, getting in a slump of running late.  It's a crap shoot, when it comes to my emotions; they seem come in waves, too.  I'll have a good week, where I feel like I "know where I'm going" with life, and then I'll have a really "off" week, where I feel like I'm back at square one again.  I guess what I'm trying to describe is really just the "three steps forward and two steps back" concept. 

Last month, I felt excited because I turned some corners on keeping my house under control.  And when I say "under control" I really mean it.  I don't mean some fake, "Oh, I'm so sorry I didn't pick up before you came over.  Let me just clear my coffee mug off the otherwise pristine coffee table" overachiever perfectionist nonsense.  No, I mean not getting reported to the health department.  I've struggled with orderliness my entire life.  I'm "one of those people" who (without God's help and the 12 steps) you could see on Hoarders someday.  When I was growing up, my parents had to finally make a rule that (get this) I wasn't allowed to sleep on the couch any more.  Why?  Because my room would get so messy that there was no place for me to sleep.  Not even on the bed.  And so I'd haul my tookus down to the couch, and sleep there for months on end.  That's always kind of been my solution to the paralysis I feel when I have to organize and deal with stuff.  Here's me:

So, anyway, house keeping has never been my forte, and I'm constantly looking for signs of improvement on my part.  Well, back to my feelings of having "turned a corner."  It was all an illusion, because I was about to get hit with a "wave" that I'd already experienced once in my life as a mother, and knew to dread like no other.  It is summed up by two words that can (or should) strike terror into the heart of any housewife; two words that shouldn't be naively mistaken as merely "yukky," but must given their full respect like unto a Hiroshima-Nagasaki bomb attack: 

Head Lice.

The remedy for head lice used to be simple: dump a bunch of chemical poison on your kids' heads, shampoo it out, vacuum a little, wash their bedding, and you're good to go.  NOT ANY MORE!  The lil' buggers have become resistant to all the poisons, and they are as hard to get rid of as a pack of visiting in-laws.  The "new" remedy involves six weeks (SIX WEEKS!) of cleaning, washing, combing, shampooing, oiling, laundry, combing, cleaning, washing, COMBING, nit picking, washing, cleaning, laundry, get it.  (And don't even get me started on all the "home" and "natural" remedies.  We've tried them ALL!)

And, honestly, it's left me feeling a WEE bit exhausted.  Each time I think I've gotten rid of the infestation, there's another wave.  You can't ask anyone for help.  You can't even hire a babysitter to come over!  You are a family of lepers, and there's no getting around it.  It's been over a month since we discovered the lice, and I think we may *finally* be beating it, but honestly, it may just be the calm before I get hit with yet another wave.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lucky. Blessed. Something like that.

Last night my beloved father told me that after 35+ years of marriage to my spunky and delightful mother (and still being in love!) that rather than tout the wisdom of his choice of my mom as his bride, he has finally concluded that he was incredibly lucky.  Married at age 22; he hardly knew what he was doing.

"I've never bought a lottery ticket in my entire life," he said.  "But when I look at your mother, I realize I'm so lucky, I should have been a lottery-ticket-buying man.  In fact, I'm so struck by how lucky I got, I just might go out and buy my first one tomorrow."

For those of us who don't feel quite so lucky, it's still a relief to hear that all the "rightness" of a match that works and all the "wrongness" of a match that fails might not have been completely within any one person's control, as much as we may be inclined to think.  Don't get me wrong, we all make choices.  Some of them are good, and some not so good.  And we do reap what we sow.  But there are factors we can't control, like whether the rain falls on the seeds that we've so carefully planted in the ground.  It's easy to take too much credit sometimes; either for things that go incredibly well, or incredibly poorly.

This brings to mind the wisdom of Charlotte, from Pride and Prejudice

"I wish [her] success with all my heart; and if she were married to him to-morrow, I should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.''

Call it luck.  Call it chance.  Call it God.  Call it what you will.  But I'm learning that there's more to success or failure than doing everything "right."

Friday, March 16, 2012

"When God closes one door, he opens another, but the wait in the hall is a b*tch. As far as I can tell, that’s divorce in a nutshell."
-Rachel Gladstone, Excerpted from The Petty Chronicles

Have you read The Petty Chronicles?  If you're going through a separation, divorce, or even difficult time in your marriage, and you need a humorous read, in very short installments, this may just be your cup of tea.  It's not all G rated, but then, neither is divorce.  (Start on installment #1, and then search for each "new" episode as you progress along. I'm only up to installment #14, but it's been a cathartic read so far.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

After all that....but before anything else

It's been a tough month around here.  There's been drama.  And I have felt a heaviness.  The initial freedom of casting off from the moorings has given way to a different sort of weight.  A weight of all the responsibility without breaks: Single Motherhood.  Maybe even a little depression.  And a good dose of ugliness on the part of certain people, including, sometimes, myself.

Admittedly, I've also hit busyness.  Not "business."  No, busy-ness; the kind of "busy" that doesn't stop.  It's like, "The holidays are over, now get back to the insane-busy schedule of having four children."  Since the family kinda fell apart just before the holidays, nothing was "normal."  But I suddenly realized last night that we only have one unscheduled night a week now--and even that's about to go away, once the spring sports hit.  I guess that's "normal."  But I'm hating normal.  I'm hankering for an early midlife crisis (Hey, I'm only 34, so I've been informed it's "too early" for a real one!) where I don't run the suburban rat race.

So as the busyness has increased, and people observe that we appear to be "back to normal," I'm again encountering the dreaded "How are you?" question.   But I, frankly, feel a little "stuck."  Elizabeth Corcoran posted an essay about not knowing how to answer the question, "How are you?" and I found I resonated with her thoughts.  In my comments, I mentioned that what I really feel like saying is something like,

"Well, everything looks OK on the outside, but it's not.  So, I'd hate to say, 'Great!' Because I'm not! But I can't very well say, 'Well, I'm past that stage where I literally couldn't sleep at night; where I was on the verge of panic attacks; where I couldn't see a road ahead; where I couldn't feel the sunshine. Yeah. I'm a bit past all that now, most days, at least.  Now, I'm pretty much in a phase called--'After all that, but before anything else.'  That's how I am."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Serenity: Hope

Hope is a funny thing, isn't it?  It's usually such a good word.  But it's a real be-yotch when you've been putting your hope in something that doesn't work out.  I mean, if you've really been putting your hope in it; in an all-your-eggs-in-one-basket sort of way.  The funny thing is, I rarely realize I'm doing that, until all my hope comes crashing down, and it hits me, "Uh, I had no Plan B."  That's when I know I've done it, but usually not before.

Now, I know that the problem isn't hope, in an of itself.  It's what I put my hope in.  And that's usually my own best-laid plans.  And those plans usually involve some variation of:

[Maximum Happiness + Minimum Pain = My Master Plan] 

It's usually followed up with some sort of prayer to sanctify it, such as, "Oh please! Oh, please! Oh, please, God!  Make this be Your plan!!!! And Thy will be done and all that too.  Amen."  If I was Catholic, I might throw some Holy Water in the direction of this "hope."  And then I'd call it a day, and go about my business. 

Until it doesn't work out.

Then, I go back to God and ask, "What happened?  Why did You mess up the plan we'd agreed upon?"  (Actually, usually I try to weasel my way into going back to bed and hiding under the covers, but that, thankfully, doesn't usually work out.)  And then, if I'm lucky, I might finally hear that still, small voice.  And I start to get an inkling of the fact that I've been putting my hope in something other than the right thing.  Actually, something other than the right person.  'Cause I know He doesn't let me down. 

My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.


His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.


When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand by Avalon

Hugs, Ruthie

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snort Laugh Saturday: Diary of a Dog - Diary of a Cat

Day number 180

Day number 181

Day number 182
and so on.....and so on.....

Day number 180
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

Day number 181
Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair ... must try this on their bed.

Day number 182
Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not working according to plan.

Day number 183
I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.

Day number 184
I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time...

Same environments, different attitudes, right?  Today, I heard Max Lucado read part of this on the radio.  He cracked me up, and reminded me that gratitude is all about attitude.  It's a choice.

Diary of a Dog - Diary of a Cat Adapted from here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cherishing the Moments

She cupped my cheeks in her chubby hands and whispered,

"Momma, you da apple of my eye.  I love you."

She is two.  Really.

My baby.  My "Isaac."  My "Joseph."

Two recent posts on Motherhood had me, in turns, busting a gut, and then feeling (somewhat) graciously reprimanded.  What do you think? 

Is motherhood just getting through the Chronos, in hopes of the Kairos?

Or is it to be cherished every minute, of every day.  No matter what?

Or is the magic of motherhood, maybe, some of each?  Or, even, both at the same time?

I thank God that whatever it is, there is grace when I miss it, in the midst of the Chronos, and grace that awakens me to those moment of Kairos.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday Randomness

This actually came out of my mouth yesterday:

"Son, the floor is for walking on; not a storage area."

Conversation on the home front:

Me (speaking to the same seven-year-old son.) "Hey, do you remember that new kid who just joined the track team?  He has blonde hair."

Son (several minutes later)  "What color skin does he have?"

Four year old Daughter "Well, if he's blonde, then he can't see.  So he can't run anyway!"

The End.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Snort Laugh Saturday: Breastfeeding Humor

I figured I'd just spell it out in the title.  This post is about breastfeeding, and if that's not your cup of tea, read no further. 

I'm what I like to call an "Avid Breastfeeder" as opposed to a "Militant Breastfeeder."  I'm all about helping women to breastfeed as long as both they and their baby want to: whether it's one month, or several years.  As long as mom and baby are happy, I'm happy.  If breastfeeding isn't working, and formula is, then great! And vice versa.  I just want mothers to feel empowered to make the choice that's right for them.

I have done extended breastfeeding with both of my biological children, and to this day, I wish I'd been able to breastfeed my adopted children.   Breastfeeding has been a wonderful bonding agent for me, a Mom who isn't naturally the "nurturing type."  (For anyone who knows me, they'll admit that's basically a huge understatment.)  I can be strict.  I can be stern.  I can be a disciplinarian.  But nurturing?  It doesn't usually come naturally, and that's why I loved breastfeeding.  It was probably the only area where "nurturing" came easily.  And for that, I thank the good Lord. 

Anyway, I'm linking to an article published in The DC Moms about a woman who was kicked out of a local DMV for breastfeeding.  Yeah.  Ridiculous.  You don't have to be a "Militant Breastfeeder" to be incensed on her behalf.  Anyway, if you want to read the whole story, it's entertaining.  However, what I want to highlight today is the author's final remarks, which, if you've ever been reprimanded yourself for breastfeeding in public, completely ring true, and may also make you laugh out loud:

"Oh, and for anyone who is offended by the sight of a woman breastfeeding? This former nursing mom suggests that you carry a light blanket with you and gently drape it over your head if a breastfeeding mother is nearby."


The Right To Breastfeed
by Rebekah at DC Moms


Friday, January 27, 2012

Anatomy 101

Our dog doesn't know it, but his life is about to change forever.  You see, he hasn't been neutered.  Yet.  But his appointment is already on the calendar, so it's a Sword of Damocles that he's blissfully unaware of.  I won't spoil these last few weeks of joyful intact-ness for him, by letting him in on the secret.

But with inquisitive boys around, his canine manliness hasn't gone unnoticed.  In fact, it's been the subject of several impromptu anatomy lessons.  So tonight, my nine year old son pointed to the dog's testicles, and asked me, "What is that?"  I was a bit surprised, since I assumed he knew what those were.  I simply stated, "Those are his testicles." 

My son responded with an equally perplexing, "What are testicles again?  His GUTS??"

A bit stymied, yet keeping my poker face, I replied (with a bit of circumlocution, in hopes that he'd "get it" since his five year old sister was there) "No, that is his scrotum."

At this, he suddenly perked up, and wordlessly bounded into the nearby bathroom--not ten paces away.  With the door wide open, we heard him bellow, "Where are my testicles, again???"

Side note: THANK GOD he at least had the sense to go in the bathroom.

At this point, my five year old daughter finally piped up, and shouted back in earnest sincerity, "Don't you know???  They are on your knuckles!"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Myths About Homeschoolers Video

Remember, I have a violent propensity for hopping on trends fashionably late.  Okay, fine.  Nix the fashionable part.  Just late. 

So, after this Youtube video has already been passed around a bit, I still can't resist posting it.  See, I, too was homeschooled.  Yes, even for high school.

And although I'm not a homeschooling Mom, this video makes me laugh, especially since my oldest two kids are "Sparkies" in Awana.  Enjoy.

Seven Lies About Homeschoolers
by Blimey Cow

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Post Where I Return From the (bloggospheric) Grave

...and other hyperbolic melodrama!


After my last post, I didn't get better. I stayed sick. For a month. In fact, I'm still not 100%.  Five minutes ago, I downed my nightly jigger of store-brand Nyquil, which should only improve the content of this post.  So aided by my drugs, I am finally up to posting again.

The other thing that happened is that I've had something new demanding a lot of my time. Well, someONE new, to be more specific.   It's been a wild and fun start to the new relationship, so I've been a little preoccupied. He's got auburn hair, and an incredible upper body.  We met online.  Here he is, with my oldest and my youngest kiddos.  The one in pink is particularly fond of him.  Scroll down to see him.

The story goes like this:  He was a rescue dog.  He was in need of a home because his previous family went through foreclosure and couldn't keep him.  They were moving into a condo, and had to re-home him.  Many people expressed interest in adopting him, but they clearly had bad intentions, and wanted to use him as a "guard dog" (or worse, "fighting dog.")  He's three years old and a wonderful family pet.  He is the sweetest soul, and although he just arrived before New Year's, he's already a part of the family. 

When he first arrived, we understood his name to be "Bertie."  So, we called him Bertie for several days, or "Bert," for short.  Only some of the kids couldn't quite get it right, and called him "Bergie," which would occasionally be pronounced "Vergie," or even, "Virgil."

And then we found out his name wasn't "Bertie" at all, but, rather, "Bentley."

So, now the good-natured fellow answers to all of the above names, and a month later he still gets called all of them.  The family is divided on which of his names we prefer, so he may always answer to all of them.  And that, like everything else, seems to be fine with him.

In answer to any questions, Bentley is a Staffordshire Terrier mix, which may include Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Stafforshire Terrier, and other unknown breeds.  Yes, this breed is one of the several breeds sometimes colloquially referred to as a Pitbull.  However, the American Pitbull is a different, but related breed. 

And whatever Bentley is, he is a sugar lump, that's for sure.  We're so happy he's with us.  He makes me laugh.  Now that our "honeymood phase" is over, I should be back to blogging more ;-)  And now, for any of you animal lovers, I'll be able to include regular pics of the new guy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sooooo sick!

Hello, my friends! I'm droppig by to let you know that I'm still alive! Barely. But still alive! I got a killer virus over Christmas that really got the better of me. I'm finally on the mend and on antibiotics, because it turned into a nasty infection. I'll be back soon, once my brain can come up with anything worth blogging about. I don't know why I spared you my illness-induced ranting, because my usual fare isn't much different. So, never fear, I'll be back with some non-illness-induced ranting soon enough!