Monday, April 28, 2008

Making my own Messes

Last night I was making Mason's 9th birthday (yikes!!) invitations. Ethan came to me (we had stayed home from church because Molly had a stye in each one point she had blood dripping from BOTH eyes. It was lovely. I'll post a picture later) whining from hunger. Now, he had just finished a generous portion of spaghetti-o's and a string cheese, so I told him that no, he couldn't have a snack.

"Mommy, bish!" (fish, as in goldfish crackers)

"No, Ethan, you just ate, and Mommy is busy."

"Bish, Mommy, peas (please)!"

"No, sweetheart.."

At this point Ethan throws himself onto the floor wailing. After my brief flashback to Rite Aid, I am brought to my senses and quickly administer the loving rebuke (i.e. a couple of swats on the fanny).

Honestly, here is where I have probably made my mistake: I then give Ethan the goldfish. The thing that he has been whining about and for which I have told him no repeatedly, I then hand to him on a silver platter (actually it was a little plastic cup, but you understand, right?). Basically, I just want to finish the invitations thank-you-very-much.

I then continue writing away. After a while I tune back in to what is going on around me. I hear a crunching sound, and turn to see that Ethan has dumped the fish (bish) out onto the kitchen floor and is stepping on them one by one. Unfortunately for me, I have caught him just in time for the last one or two.

Since these are the "rainbow" colorful goldfish, I have quite a mess to contend with.

Molly walks in and comments on how pretty all the crumbs look on the floor. (She is her father's "the glass is half full" daughter for sure).

After a brief encounter with the broom and dustpan, all is well. Clean, I mean.

Life seems full of these "little messes" (not just crackers on the floor) that require some time and energy, but don't really leave a mark.

Then, there are the other kind...the kind that leave big gashes and bleeding, oozing wounds that have to heal. Like the kind of messes we make with our tongues. I have been leading a Bible study on James (I think I mentioned that in an earlier post) and this past week we studied James 3:1-12...the passage on taming the tongue. James says that our tongues sets the course of our life! It reveals what we believe about God! The things we say are what bubble up out of heart - whether it be praise worthy or vile. God has convicted me over and over during the last couple weeks about the ways I use my tongue. I found this great verse in Proverbs 21 which says something like (not quoting) He who holds his tongue saves himself from calamity.

James goes on to say that no man can tame the tongue. So, I'm not condemned, but rather encouraged to look to (to RUN to!!)the one who can - the one who never said anything wrong or incorrectly, and who always said everything that needed to be said and said it rightly. I sometimes make huge messes that can't always be "swept up" like the goldfish. My improper use of my tongue and the messes I make with it help me see my desperate need of Jesus, and in turn, prompt me to pray for repentance and new obedience. And after all is said and done...that's what I want.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Espresso Arriving

Just a note to all my far away, Starbuck's-in-your-town friends...

Yesterday I kept my friend Crissy's kids while she went to teach some of her new employees how to work the espresso machine in the COFFEE AND BOOKSTORE SHE IS OPENING NEXT MONTH!! My two favorite things!

Yes! My mothership (kidding) has landed!

Crissy brought me a shot of espresso when she came to pick up her babies. I took a sip...and I literally got chills.

So, now you have even MORE reason to come see me. I mean, apart from just the good company and killer "guest suite" with fluffy towels.

So, gals...who wants to make a reservation?

Bless ya!

Dirty, Clunky Shoes

This week my children brought home the proofs of their spring school pictures.

I got the note a couple weeks ago telling me when the pictures were going to be. I brushed and fixed hair. I chose clean, cute shirts...and even cute pants (for the girls), just in case a little "pant" would show in the photos.

Let me state here that the school dress code stipulates lace-up tennis shoes, and since I am a rule follower, the tennis shoes were worn on picture day as well, though some "kicky" sandals would have paired so much more nicely. Caroline and Molly both looked very cute all dressed up in their chic crop pants, but below the ankles they were all socks and clunky sketchers, dirty from a near 10 months of wear.

Imagine my frustration when I viewed the proofs...and discovered a full body shot...clunky, dirty sketchers and all.

I'm not buying spring pictures this year.

Bless ya!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Yesterday was one of those days where I just felt like I was moving from thing to thing. We had a birthday party to go to, a baseball game and pictures, visits from friends, errands, tasks...the same things you do on your Saturday. But something funny happened, which I thought illustrated the day (and maybe life, too?) quite well. I wanted to share it with you.

I walked back to our bathroom and noticed the tissue needed replacing. So, I made my way to the hallway to access the linen closet (where such is kept), passed Caroline's bedroom on the way, and noticed something. There was a pile of clothing lying on the bed that I had JUST hung up. I walked in, looked at the mess, mentally prepared my homily and called Caroline in.

"Caroline...mommy has enough tasks to do without having to repeat any. I'm good, thanks. Please don't get piles of things out of your closet and throw them on your bed! Now, practice your hanging skills!"

Then, Mason ran into the room...

"Mom! Ethan has spilled his milk all over the kitchen floor!" This surprised me, since I hadn't mopped that day. So, I walk to the kitchen to find said spill waiting for me. Several Bounty later, we're good to go.

Then, Molly comes to me...

"Mom, will you please change my earrings?". Sure. We walk to her bedroom to pick out a new set of bobs. She takes off the back and...drops it into the thick, blue carpet. "It's ok," I comfort her, "we'll find it!"

On hands and knees we search - rubbing over the carpet until finally a little silver object pops into view. Earrings changed, I venture once again into the kitchen to remove the chicken I've been defrosting in the microwave.

After cutting up the chicken and dousing it with marinade, I walk back to my bathroom...

And noticed the tissue needed replacing.

Sometimes I feel I get too caught up in my own agenda (mopping that floor, folding that laundry, writing that blog...!!) that I miss the life going on around me. I am asking the Father to remind me that experiences like this aren't blips on the screen on my life...they ARE life.

And it sure is abundant!

Bless ya!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Choose Carrot Cake...

Can I say a word about e-mail forwards? Usually they get under my skin - especially the ones that say something like "if you send this to 10 friends something good will happen to you..." I received one once that said that God would bless me if I sent it to 5 people, or something like that. Call me crazy, but I'm pretty confident that God will bless me, regardless of my e-mail prolificity. However, I will admit I have received some good ones in my e-mail journey. My friend, Sally, usually sends me pretty good e-mail forwards. Like I said, normally, I'm not a big fan of the forwarded quip or anecdote, but she seems to have a sort of screening process...this one I thought was fun.

Basically, what you do is imagine all eight of the following desserts sitting in front of you. Which one would you choose? You have to choose one, but you can ONLY choose one. Go with your first instinct. Then, scroll down to see what your choice says about your personality.

Here's the list:
1. Angel Food Cake
2. Brownies
3. Lemon Meringue Pie
4. Vanilla Cake With Chocolate Icing
5. Strawberry Short Cake
6. Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing
7. Ice Cream
8. Carrot Cake

You can't change your mind once you scroll down, so think carefully what your choice will be.

OK - Now that you've made your choice, this is what the "researchers" say about you...

1. ANGEL FOOD CAKE -- Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

2. BROWNIES -- You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up you whip out your saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

3. LEMON MERINGUE -- Smooth, sexy, & articulate with your hands, you are an excellent caregiver and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew gum at the same time. A bit of a diva at times, you set your own style because you do your own thing. You shine when it comes to helping others and have many friends.

4. VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING -- Fun-loving, sassy, humorous, not very grounded in life; very indecisive and lacking motivation. Everyone enjoys being around you, but you are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

5. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE -- Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. Intuitively keen. You can be very emotional at times but a true person in every way. You like to do things for yourself and help others learn about themselves.

6. CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING -- Sexy; always ready to give and receive. Very creative, adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances Will not settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

7. ICE CREAM -- You like sports, whether it be baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to partici pat e, but you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

8. CARROT CAKE -- You are a very fun loving person, who likes to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends. You were meant to lead and teach others. A wonderful role model.

I would LOVE to know - those of you who read this blog - which dessert you chose. Would you please comment and let me know? You may have to sign up for a google account, I'm not sure. But if you do - it's free. You may be able to comment anonymously...I'm afraid I'm not very knowledgeable about these things. Just give it a try, huh?

I want to see if I'm right about you! (wink, wink)

Bless ya!

PS...I chose carrot cake. The e-mail didn't stipulate whether or not there were mounds of cream cheese frosting on it, so I just assumed that, yes, there were.

PPS...about yesterday's post: Thank you for listening to me rant. God is certainly doing some things in my heart that are difficult and a bit painful. Like the crucible for silver and the furnace for gold (and it may be the other way around)...God refines my heart.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Waltzing with Half-Hearted Obedience

I spent almost all of yesterday afternoon on the phone. I was so behind in my house work that I just decided to rip through it while talking and catching up with some of my buds (multi-tasking rules!). So, if you were one of the people I talked to, and it seemed like I was out of breath - I was probably mopping.

Mopping is one of those completely useless, thankless tasks - but if you don't do it, that's when people (and by people, I mean Michael and Caroline) notice. At my house, you can be sure that the day I mop is the day someone will spill apple juice right in front of the door (thereby guarenteeing it's spread throughout the kitchen), or someone will have a freezer pop that leaks. (I read on my friend Becky's blog that "housework, even done poorly, still blesses my family." I don't know if that is her own original quote or not, but it sounds like something she would say. )

Since we have mostly hardwood floors in our house, cleaning them takes many steps. First, I use the broom to sweep them. I get into the corners, under stuff, you get the picture. Then, I take the dust mop (or dry mop - I have heard it called that before) and go over everything again, just to get what the broom missed. Finally, I make a mixture of Murphy's oil soap and water to do the actual mopping (pine sol for the kitchen & baths). We get our floors good and dirty, so it's a chore. This entire process takes the better part of my morning, and I try and do it every week. Best done when Ethan is napping.

Yesterday, as I was mopping (and taking a break from phone calls), a thought came to me: Too many times I say I'm doing something out of obedience (mopping my floor, talking to someone about the Lord, etc.), but I end up doing a half-fanny job. This isn't the kind of obedience that God commands!! If I feel like God is calling me to something (even if I may not really want to do it) and I am called to be obedient...shouldn't it be something I give my all to? Scripture I was reminded of the verse that says "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord." This says to me that whatever I do and whatever effort I put forth to do it, ought to be done with my whole heart...whether it be cleaning, speaking, studying, or worshipping/church involvements. It makes me think of the story of the child who was told to sit down, but protested until she was disciplined...and her remark to her mother was "I may be sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up on the inside. God is way more concerned about my obedience has to include our heart attitude as well, doesn't it?

Bob Flayhart (pastor of Oak Mtn. PCA) talks about the waltz: repent, believe, fight, repent, believe, fight...a 3 step dance. Ultimatley, I can do this dance while I...mop with a bad attitude...or while I complain about _________, even when I know it's what God wants me doing. This is the solution to my half-hearted obedience! This is the solution to all my sin, in fact. How thankful I am that I have the One who needs no dancing lessons acting on my behalf, interceding for me and teaching me the steps.

Bless ya!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Revelations from the "Intimates"

Earler today I was browsing around the vanity fair outlet in our town - 20% off coupon in hand. The 20% off weekends are always a big deal, from what I understand. I think practically anyone can get their hands on the coupon, but if you have one, you go.

Anyway, like I said, I'm shopping around with Molly in tow, looking for some...uh.."fine washables". I'm plugging away through the racks and racks of bras - pretty intense and knowing my time is limited- when I look up and see him...the newest elder in our church! With him is his wife and lovely daughter. It's just a little fellowship time right there in the delicates.

I wanted to die! My arms are laden with brassieres of every color. There's no hiding it! I can feel the flesh tone draining from my face and being replaced with a glorious shade of pomegranate. I try to deflect focus - but the damage has been done. I laugh it off as best I can and sidle on eastward to a large disply of little girls' dresses....maybe like I was there all along and he was just confused.

I know God wants to teach me something here. perhaps it's something about sin and how we try to defend ourselves, or deflect attention from our sin when we are caught. Maybe it's a lesson about materialism, and how it can subtlely sneak up on us. Maybe it's a lesson on remembering that I am complete in Christ - no matter how others see me.

Yes, all of these true and good. But you know what? I wonder if in the end God just wants me to remember that 20% weekend - Saturday afternoon after lunch - is maybe not the best time to do my bra shopping. Wouldn't, say, Monday morning around 9:30 or so be better?

Bless ya!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Does 2 sugar-free fudge graham cookies, a piece of American cheese and a fruit roll-up sound like a healthy lunch for a two-year-old? Oh! And a sippy cup of milk.

I have a friend who wants to know...

Time is Ticking Away...!

In less than a month, Mason, my eldest child, will turn 9. 9 years old! Do you realize that means that his time here at home, under my wing (more than likely) is 50% over? I've been thinking about this alot lately, trying to figure out what we're going to do for his celebration, and just noticing how BIG he's getting.

Gone are the days when I could kiss the bottom of his feet while smiling at his beautiful chubby face. I'm no longer allowed anywhere NEAR the bathroom while he is taking a shower or changing clothes. I've said goodbye to putting his laundry away, reading him books (I tried to read him one last year - he let me do it because he loves me, but he later told me he'd just rather read it himself), starting the water for his bath (he takes a shower now, which he starts on his own). He now stays by himself at the house while I go pick up Caroline from choir (I'm only gone 10-15 minutes, and he's not allowed to answer the door OR phone, unless it's me). He doesn't want me call him "cutie" or "baby" or "sweetie", and I can't blame him. He's got a paying job, and is saving his money right now to buy a Nintendo DS. He reads the paper (comics only!).

It's 50% over, but I DO still have some things to relish: whenever I buy him a new pair of shoes, he really does believe they make him run faster and jump higher. Each night he wants to be tucked in, have his back rubbed, and have Michael or I listen to him talk about whatever is on his mind. When he loses a tooth, he puts it into the "tooth fairie pillow" that Michael used as a boy and places it under his pillow - though, usually the tooth fairie forgets to come and I end up just giving him some money the next morning and telling him that the TF will pay me back. He's over believing, he just wants the cash. Still, you gotta admit it's cute.) He still misses me when I'm gone. He asks good questions about God and faith...and he listens to the answers without thinking that he already knows everything.

Michael and I have always desired that we would raise our children to leave home and be resposible adults with plenty of domestic skills. We still have the teenage years to face - and I know they will be tough - but I don't dread them...I know that raising children just gets harder (all my wise older mom friends promise me this). I am already praying that my children, when they leave our home, will be able to walk away, but take lots of the good stuff with them. I hope that makes sense.

Sigh...I know I have 9 more years, but I also know they will fly by. In the meantime, I think I will go into Ethan's room, where he is playing with his choo-choo, give him a tickle torture and kiss the soles of his feet. Just because I can.

Bless ya!
PS...I realize this is not a very flattering picture of me. Almost 24 hours of labor - what do you expect? Look how young Michael looks, though!

Shout to the Lord

I know it's old news by now, but what I witnessed on American Idol last night was incredible. People just don't surprise me anymore, but they did last night.

When I heard "My Jesus, My Savior, Lord there is none like you..." my jaw dropped, along with about a million other Christian's jaws. It took me a minute, but after the shock wore off I realized what was happening...

The night before (Tuesday) was the "Idol Gives Back" show. Now, I DID DVR the show, but only watched it in spots. Michael told me that the idols sang "Shout" that night (I think he heard about it on Rick and Bubba - our source for news), but I did not see it myself. But as I watched all of the short films with wealthy celebrities crying and being touched (which isn't a bad thing - don't get me wrong...)I was thinking to myself that, yes, these people need food, clean water, medicine, and money to have all of that...but on top of it all, and most importantly, they need hope - the hope that only Jesus can give. All the food and clean water in the world won't satisfy the real needs we all have. What was missing from the show was the source of healing and hope.

Again, let me stress that I think what American Idol does is AWESOME! TV programs don't care about people! But this is why I watch American Idol - it is laying new track and forging ahead being different enough in many ways to make people scratch their heads. It doesn't make fun of anyone (even Simon who, though brutal, is really trying to be helpful...and he usually is right), doesn't put people in positions to make themselves look stupid, thus giving us entertainment value at the expense of dignity and self-respect. It's just a singing competition. Until last night...

Last night, in my opinion, God used AI as a platform. Now, I don't know who of those idols are Christians and who aren't - and it doesn't really matter. What matters, to me, is that last night God was proclaimed and magnified. Last night, "whether in pretense or in truth, Christ was proclaimed, and in that I rejoice." (Philippians 1:18)

If you missed it, here it is...

Bless ya!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Statistically Speaking

Here are the statistics for the week (so far!!)

4 number of trips I made to Rite-Aid TODAY
8 number of prescriptions I’ve had filled for my family in the last 7 days
2 number of ear infections in our house since last weekend
1 number of times I had to perform the Heimlich on Ethan
3 number of hours I spent in the ER with Michael because of…
3 width in millimeters of his kidney stone
2 number of days of school Molly has missed (not including the hour or so she was out on Monday!)

I know the above sounds kind of sarcastic or bitter, but really I'm just laughin'!

Bless ya!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

On Second Thought...

After my blog post yesterday, I had some time by myself in the car yesterday evening. I love to be in the car, alone, radio off, so I can just think. What was I ruminating on, you ask? Let me share...

I had some time by the car...on the way to the pick up TWO antibiotics for Molly's ear...which was SO infected it was almost closed...Michael stayed hold her down...and ease her crying...and her pain...and her suffering...

Could you please hold my "Mother-of-the-Year" award for a minute so I can kick myself?

Yes. As I drove to the pharmacy, following my supreme lack of judgement yesterday, a couple things ran through my mind.

First, and I've said this before, I love to be right, folks! And when I'm not (like this time), I feel like a fool. But I love God - I love how it's his grace that won't let me always be right. He loves me too much to let me think so highly of myself, of my thinking skills, of my judgement. My friend Lynne told me when I was in Birmingham last..."Have a healthy distrust of everything you think/feel." The wisest words said to me lately. (I love you, Lynne...thank you for bravely speaking into my life!!)

And also...God gives me so much more than I deserve. When I fall on my face as a mom, wife, friend, Christian, he doesn't push me away! He restores me and enables me to help restore the situation. This means I can go to Molly, tell her I'm sorry for what I did, explain to her how much mommy needs Jesus, and in that I will teach her a bit about what it means to fail well. The world has its own agenda - and it will try and teach her to not take responsibility for her failures, or to cover them up, or to blameshift, or to deny them, or to just "act like you've got it all together". Don't think for a minute that the world will teach her to "boast in her weaknesses, because when she's weak, she's strong." So, in the end, this is for her good as well as mine.

By the way...the pharmacy I went to was Rite Aid. Again. What is it about that place?

Bless ya!