Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 29th

It is now after 10:30 pm and I'm blogging. I should be in the bed but, as you've already figured out, I'm not. If I had a laptop I would. So if any of you have a free laptop you wanna donate, let me know.

I'm listening to my new 'it' song. Sean Watkins' Run Away Girl. It's a very beautiful, haunting song. Love it! I downloaded it for 99......wait... I just found out that I don't have a 'cent' sign. I have a dollar sign.. $... but not a cent sign. Bummer.

My back hurts. As do my knees and elbows. I cut grass and got a wild urge to weed-eat. So I did. Then I took the kids to the lake for a bit and when I got home, Terri had called to tell me I was getting more cement. So I spent the rest of my evening pouring concrete. It looks pretty good too. (Quinn once said that I work like a man. I hope he meant that I know how to do a lot of stuff. *shrug*)

I realized that I left the phone on the hood of my van about five minutes after Chris left for work (in the van). Great. So I guess I gotta go to town tomorrow and buy a phone. (Chris if you're reading this... 1. power up you cell when you leave home and 2. do not try to buy a phone... remember your curse)

My kitchen is a wreck. My living room isn't much better. My yard is littered with toys. If Amber were here, she'd say that my house just looked "lived in".... she's my best friend after all, that's what she should say.

My lovely friend Angela is "skrugglin". Her Grandma is in the process of dying, her daughter is having health problems, and since she is Angela, she's serving everyone. I'm sure she is drained and exhausted. I pray for her every day and yet always forget to call. I am a ridiculously bad friend. I'm sorry Angela. But I do love you and pray for you.

I made a new friend at Sam's today. Her name is Pam. I hope I see her again. We had a great time talking. My Mother always said I could talk to anybody. It's true. Even if I don't like them, I can still find something to talk about. Not to say that I didn't like Pam, because I did.

I am living up to my link name on G's blog... Crissy's Ramblings. I know I'm rambling. I feel like a rambler right now. (Shut up G) But I am tired. I have much to do tomorrow.

Good night.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Vacation Day aka Really Long Post

What a day! As you read this, you'll probably think that I am either: A.) insane B.) brave or
C.) amazing. I'll just clear that debate up for you..... I am all of the above.

My friend Bekah's daughter had a birthday party today at Chuck E. Cheese's. We went and had a blast. It's a fun, albeit nasty, place to go. Can you say antibacterial wipes?

Afterwards, we had an hour or so to kill before we were to meet Kim and the boys at the McWane Center. So I gave the kids the option of the enormous, cool-looking downtown library or the B'ham Museum of Art. Overwhelming response for the art museum. My kids love it there. No joke. So off we went. We headed straight for the Art of Japan and China section. Very, very cool little miniature carvings. Plus, samari stuff. While there, we met Brenda. Brenda was our designated security stalker. But she was a lovely, fun, energetic tour guide. Maggie and Grace fell in love. Maggie quoted poetry. Grace told family secrets. Ms. Brenda told us about several exhibits we should go see. We did and were better for it.

The Creek Town Exhibit was awesome! Everything was hands-on and interactive. They played dress-up, sat in a canoe, made clay pottery, ground corn into meal, made music with turtle shell rattles tied to their bodies and played a native game involving sticks. (Can't go wrong with Ty and sticks. Well, most of the time... root canals excluded.)

After that exhibit, we strolled down to the Monet and Pissaro paintings. Then on to the American art. They love the horse and Indian sculptures. Right outside this exhibit, there was a little living room set up. TV playing a documentary, sofa, end tables, coffee table and a 3 person writing table, complete with paper, colored pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener and items to sketch. Kim and I sat on the couch and talked while the kids drew for almost 45 minutes. Our husbands would have been apoplectic by then.

We left the museum and headed for McWane Center. We saw the World of Water, an exhibit showcasing Alabama water eco-systems. Brody and Ty saw two turtles stacked on top of each other. Maggie and I saw two turtle engaged in inappropriate behavior. Same two turtles.

We went to the Money Town Exhibit. There was a plexiglass cube filled with strapped one dollar bills. Bren and I tried to estimate how much money was in there. We guessed over $250,000. Bren asked why they didn't use that money for improvements. I said that I thought it was to try to get people to do math, which it did. Sneaky people! Then we moved on to the Newsroom Exhibit. Ty enjoyed videoing himself performing on his air guitar, while Maggie gave a heart wrenching report on pediatric cancer. We stayed until they closed at 6pm.

We went to IHOP for supper. There we met, Nieshia. Super sweet, super great server. The kids colored pictures for her to take home. She brought them free ice cream. She has friends for life in my children now.

Maggie noticed that we made several new friends today and they were all "black". And she thought that was so cool. There aren't that many people of color in my kids lives. I regret that. But days like today are a start.

Days like today are priceless. I didn't spend any money. The Museum is free. We get into McWane free with our Space Center membership. Chuck E. Cheese was a birthday party. And of all their activities, the Museum was their favorite. They want to go back next week because there was so much we didn't get to see.

I absolutely love my life. I know it's hard, blah blah blah. But I love it. I love it. I think I dwell too much on the hardness of it. The laundry. The dishes. The budget. Yadda yadda yadda. But it's a lovely life. I have the priviledge of sitting and watching my kids play. Of smelling the pretty weeds they pick for me. Hearing them laugh at fart jokes. Answer their questions. Be their jungle gym. Hug them. Teach them.

All these things make me pine for heaven. Beauty here points me to a more profound beauty. Pain points me to a pain-free paradise. Laughter points me to the author of laughter. Sadness points me to the one who will forever wipe away my tears. Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.

My Favorite Words

I am weird. I know that it is so. But some things cannot be helped. My weirdness is one of them. I love the sounds of certain words. Most of which I cannot spell properly.

Prerequisite - makes me feel like I'm speaking Latin somehow.

Barbarian - feels brutal.

Crunchy - self-explanitory.

Underpants - ha!

Chocolate - best pronounced with a French accent while picturing Johnny Depp.

Clarity - sounds clear.

Google - makes me picture things bubbling over.

Belligerent - I just wanna plant my feet and put my hands on my hips.

Crisp - really love this one... not real sure why.

Bride - has love and respect all blended into one word.

Antiseptic - sounds painful.

Momma - conjures all sorts of feelings. It's what I called my own Mother in better, safer times. It is what I longed to be called for years. What I am now called a million times a day.

Sacred - has a heavy sound to it. Don't ya think?

Abomination - ugh.

Anguish - sometimes the only word that fits.

Forevermore - lovelier sound than simply 'forever'.


I could go on for a while but I'm tired and I want to start another post about something else entirely. But just one more before I go.... forlorn - doesn't that word just sound lonely?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Count Your Blessings

Life is full of quick, sweet moments. If you're not open to them, you miss them.

Yesterday, I was cutting the grass. I enjoy cutting the grass. (We have a lawn tractor.) The engine drowns out any other noises. The sun is shining. I can smell the grass. Brody stands in between my legs and enjoys the ride also.

As I was cutting, I watched Gracie and Ty folding up and enormous sheet of plastic. Now when I say 'enormous' I mean like 20'x40'. They got it folded into a 2'x3' section. Wow. But they had a blast doing it. They got it all laid out flat, then took the corners and ran to the other end. Over and over. The sun was shining down on them. They were laughing and running, racing each other. I was struck with gratitude. Gratitude for my life.

My life isn't amazing or perfect. But it is my life. It is the life God has given me. And then I remembered my mom telling me to 'count your blessings' when I was little. I tried to name as many as I could and I thought I'd share a few.

I am thankful for my grass. I distinctly remember when we didn't have any. I have a lovely yard.

I am thankful for my husband who cherishes me. Cutting the grass for him is no sacrifice.

I am thankful for my oldest daughter. She is coming into her first glimpse of womanhood. She struggles with her attitude but she loves me and enjoys my company. I love having her to talk to.

I am thankful for my oldest son. He has a tender heart and a longing to know God. He thinks about things and asks deep questions. I love praying with him.

I am thankful for my youngest daughter. She is so sure of herself. And when she doesn't know the right way to do something, she asks. I love watching her learn.

I am thankful for my youngest son. He is a problem solver and explorer. He loves to try new things and play by himself. He is a delight to spend time with.

I am thankful for my in-laws. They love me and support me. And they give my kids the best presents.

I am thankful for my sister. She completes me in very cool way. I love co-parenting each others kids. She takes care of me. And in many ways, motivates me. I need her.

I am thankful for many, many other things. More things than I have space to note. All these things are blessings. Blessings that I deserve in no way. Blessings that point me to my Savior. My heart wells up within me. I can cast my cares upon him for he cares for me.

Gotcha!

I finally bought a new baby monitor. I need one because I spend a lot of time outside and I need to be able to hear what my kids are doing inside. Maggie and Ty discovered it and decided to do some spying. They hid one end in the laundry room so they could hear Kim, Terri and my conversation. They had no idea that I saw them do this. Time for some fun....

I whispered to Kim and Terri that Maggie and Ty were listening and then I winked. I started out by stating that Maggie's attitude had been bad lately (which it has - the element of truth). I then went on to say that I was at my whits end. I'd done everything I knew to do and was at a loss as to what to do next. Then I asked for suggestions.

Terri sat there like a deer in the headlights. She had no idea what to say. Kim on the other hand is an evil genius. She suggested one of those special camps for kids with bad attitudes. The ones where they have to be isolated from their friends and family, where they have to get up early, etc. I responded with praise but then was concerned about the cost. Kim said they had work study programs. "What, " I said, "Like cleaning toilets and stuff?" (silent laughter from the mothers) Kim said that Maggie could work off the cost and maybe I should send Ty to the 'boy camp' just to head off any trouble from him. And that I could get a discount if I send them both at the same time. (inspired!) But the only problem is that they have to stay at the camp for 3 months... no phone calls or visits or anything!

About that time, Maggie came very slowly around the corner of the hallway, her eyes huge and concerned. "Momma?" she asked weakly. At that point Kim, Terri and I died laughing. I reached out and took her hand and said, "Gotcha! That's what you get for spying on adult conversations!" Maggie started laughing and said that we had, indeed, gotten them. She said that she and Ty had at first gotten indignant about us talking about their attitudes. But they sobered up real quick when scrubbing toilets were mentioned.

I love tormenting my kids like that. We all, kids included, had a huge laugh about it. It still makes me smile.

Monday, June 12, 2006

In. Out. In. Out.

Have you ever had a particular problem or sin that you are so tangled up in that you can't tell which way is up? I have one. I'd try to explain but it's so confusing your eyes would bleed. When I try to examine this sin, I can't tell where good motivation ends and fear begins.

I've tried to use my fear as a motivator but to no avail. I've tried using self-control, will power, check lists, post-it notes, memory verses, diaries, etc. Nope. Didn't help. Talk to a friend about it. Nu-uh. Pray... beg God to take it away. Nope. Self-loathing, beating myself down. No help at all.

After years of this, I come to a very stark and simple place. If I don't like the way I am, if I have Biblical reason not to, doesn't that mean God wants me to change? And if the answer to that question is yes, how? Why is it so complicated?

Have you ever held hands with someone so long that when you look down, you can't tell which fingers are yours and which are his? As I look at this sin, I cannot see the division between the Spirit's work and my own self-sanctification. Self-sanctification is sin. It is me, battling my flesh with my flesh. Not gonna work. I hate the sin. SO much. I want it gone. I want it gone so much that I'm not willing to entrust it to God.

Deep breath. What's that verse? In my weakness He is strong. I am impatient. I want instant sanctification. I don't want to have to practice the spirtual disciplines. Trusting God for each breath, each bite, each step.

Today as I took a step of faith, I was almost immediately haunted by this floating sense of ... something. This desire to strategize, to plan, to syche myself up. "I can do this." What is this specter, this ghost that's breathing down my neck? The answer? Me. Self trying to do God's job. So I did my bit and repented the entire time.

Trust is as simple as breathing. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. Yet, I want a strategy, a way to be in control. Reminds me of a scene from The Abyss. This woman has to put on this helmet, that once on, will fill with a special gel-type liquid. It enables her to breathe in water or keeps her lungs from collapsing under the pressure of being so deep in the ocean or something like that. Anyways, she has to breathe liquid. She knows that it's not going to kill her. She knows how it will turn out but when her lungs start filling up with the stuff, she panics. Fights against it with all her might. Once she calms down, she's fine. She's able to carry out her mission. Trusting God's a lot like that. I know He's going to take care of me. I know that He is making me beautiful. But that simple act of letting go - of ruthlessly trusting Him with something so important to me is hard.

I know I will breathe Him in. That He's already there. I am floating in Him. He surrounds me. I have nothing to fear. Simple trust. He says, "Do this." Okay. I do it. One step at a time. In. Out. In. Out. Focused on Him and His voice.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Problems And Life

Blogger is having some problems. I haven't been able to get on and post for several days. Since I finally made it to my dashbaord, I'll try to make it quick before I lose it again.

Brody rode a motorcycle for the first time yesterday. Barry came over for the better part of the day, visited, ate lunch and then gave rides. Brody had on his cowboy boots, which he kept propped up on the shocks. Very cute. Barry rode Gracie and Ty up and down the road. Brody rode around the yard a time or two. He liked it very much. After he had ridden, it was Ty's turn. When Ty got on the bike, Brody gave him instructions... "Hold on to his shirt, Ty." and "Sit down, Ty." Ty was cracked up. Maggie was at Kim's and didn't get a ride. She was sad. And jealous. BTW, thank you Barry. We had fun. Hope you did too.

We got DSL. It's nice but has definite kinks that need working out.

My friend Bekah is back in Birmingham after living away for years. Her husband is in the Air Force and is having to do one year overseas unaccompanied. His name is Eric. Please pray for his safety and spiritual well-being while he's away from his family. Pray for Bekah and their girls too. Very lonely time.

I am teaching at our homeschool Co-op next year. Scary! I want to get all my planning done this summer. I'm going to try to get all my worksheets done and copied, all my experiments planned and laid out... get it finished except for the teaching of it. Maybe I won't procrastinate and actually follow thru on my grand plans. Then again, maybe not.

Our foster dog, Gabriel got attacked by fleas and ticks last week. Holy cow! It was crazy. One day - fine. Next day - not so much. It took lots of time and money to get him back to normal. He was pitiful. He's fine now, but geez, what a mess. It wasn't just the dog either. We pulled 4 ticks off Ty and had to treat our house for fleas. It was like one of the Egyptian Plagues. Hopefully it's over now.

Well, that's all for now. My deep spiritual musings will have to wait for the kids to go to bed. Since I started this post 30 minutes ago, Brody has poured paint all over the place, Maggie and Gracie have had a fight and I've answered the phone 3 times.(one of the bad aspects of getting rid of dial-up)Have a lovely day and smile cause you're not me! ;o)