Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

I've been thinking and thinking about being thankful for not just the pretty things we're handed in life, but all of it. Every thing that has taken place in our life has been sifted through the fingers of God.

Do you believe it?

Part of me wants to believe that. And then, there's a part of me that doesn't; there's a part of me that wants to believe that He's a force who will protect me. Another part of me knows that protecting me is not in His job description, if we are talking about the kind of protection I want.

It's such a struggle, an epic struggle, finding that place where you know you rest in the arms yet you may be asked to do or struggle through some very painful things.

This depression has been so rough. I have good days and I have bad. I am thankful for it, though. I am thankful for friends who know when I seem to be down and tell me to get out of the house anyway. I am thankful for people who, though they haven't struggled with OCD themselves, know the triggers. They also know when they need to direct me to bed because I am pacing the hall aimlessly (thank you, Love.)

I watched my children play together today (well, really, they were mostly fighting. Who am I kidding?) I thought this thing: Each moment of their little lives, THIS moment, has been pre-ordained.

Those little hearts could not beat, neurons could not fire, smallish livers could not secrete bile were it not God's will for each tiny part of that body to support the soul, to support life.

And yet I continue to give into the lies and the compulsions and the fears that threaten to consume.

How foolish.

And yet, He leads me every step of the way. He abides, He loves.

Oh, how I want it to be true!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

understand

I looked back on the Twilight post and realized it was, well, a bit violent, maybe? Scott laughed out loud when he read it. Good thing, because I did talk about shooting his legs off.

I'm trying to figure out where the OCD and depression came from AGAIN. Daily chores turn into hour-long tasks because I cannot just finish putting the dishes into the dishwasher. They have to go back onto the counter, turned a certain way, stacked in piles of 4, and back into the dishwasher.

I want to claw my face off while I am reading a book because if I don't re-read every 3rd word, something terrible will happen.

Read, Read, stop. Read, Read, stop.

If I try to just forge ahead, the anxiety is overwhelming. But I do it anyway. And the bad things that will happen if I don't obey the compulsion?

They range from a terrible car accident, to a home invasion, to someone driving by and shooting into our house and killing one of my kids.

The holidays have always triggered angst from me. I remember the Christmas I was 17. My friends were obsessing over lip gloss; I was trying to survive the days.

On Christmas Eve, everyone was singing Christmas songs together, and all I could think about was my grandfather.

"This will be the last Christmas you have together, probably. The next time you see him he will be in a casket. He will be full of embalming fluid. His body will still rot in the ground. You'd better strip all you can from the meaning of this moment, because everyone you love will be dead soon!"

I ran upstairs and had a panic attack. My mom told me she was officially calling the shrink. So much for enjoying the holidays.

When the OCD gets worse, I tend to withdraw socially. Everything is a chore. We are taking the kids for pictures this afternoon (my mother in law and I), and it seems just so much a job. But I need to get out of the house.

Last night we went to Aldi. Asher was screaming his nose off, rubbing himself around on the floor. AT ALDI. I kept thinking, "What am I doing wrong? Why is this not easy for me?"

and then I went home and cried.

Everything is making me nauseated. I am panicked, like I am every month, that I am pregnant. On our car ride to the Ozarks, I had to ask my father to stop the van so I could vomit. "The only time you get sick in the car is when you're pregnant, Rachel," Scott said.

I think I am just feeling overwhelmed. But I overwhelm myself. Small tasks should be small, but in my mind they turn big.

My mom called yesterday and I was trying to get Christmas cards done.

"I have so much to do and not enough time to do it! And the kids keep fighting!" I said.

"Are Christmas cards really that much of a priority? Is that the big thing you have to get done that you're stressing out over?"

We share a congenial laugh.

I guess I write it all out because it makes me feel better, and I write it all out because it might help you.

I'm not alone, because you read my words and understand.

And you're not alone, because I understand you, too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

the book is always better

I went with my friend Rachel to see Twilight tonight.

It was...um...well uh....Rach? Help me out here?

There was a point in the movie where I wondered if the actors actually had scripts. They were all sort of bumbling around, helping each other with their clothing, when finally Edward remembered his line and the audience breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Edward sparkled in the sun because he was a vampire. Apparently the movie producers were busy texting their mothers instead of FILMING A MOVIE, because halfway through the movie, and again three quarters of the way through, the sun was shining and there were no sparklies.

I kept thinking that Edward reminded me of a stalker, and if I were Bella I would have chased him off with a rusty hacksaw.

There was a scene where the two were supposed to be chasing each other around in a tree. 19 different shots, but they weren't doing anything different. The guy behind me who had come with his wife said, "You have GOT to be kidding me."

I laughed out loud.

I wanted to pee my pants when Edward carried Bella up a hill on his back. He said, "Come on, my little spider monkey..." and ran up the hill with her on his back like a Chinese manservant.

WHAT? Spider monkey? If Scott called me a Spider monkey I would shoot his legs off. And really, what? Did you think we were going to or*gasm in our chairs at that lovely little term of endearment we might normally hear for a caged, crapping animal at the zoo?

Think again, Edward.

His eyebrows looked like they needed their very own nine-digit zip code :



Bella had two facial expressions that she used, um, way too much. I wanted her to stop looking like she had tourette's, and I actually wanted the vampire to just go ahead and finish her off so we could leave already.

Rosalie was supposed to be tall, willowy, and as beautiful as a goddess. She looked like this, as if the purple lipstick would take away from the fact that she was 5 feet 6 with lots of budank-a-dunk in the trunk. And here, she tries out for a soft por*n:


STAY TRUE TO THE BOOK, PEOPLE!


We agreed that the baseball scene was the best. The soundtrack will need to be aquired.


I hated the movie.

I will, however, in the name of science, have to -- ahem -- see the remaining three movies.

Just, uh, as a public service to you all...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Monochromatic Monday

check out where Asher is pointing his gun. he is trying to insure that the craziness ends with his generation, I'm betting.

other things to note: Michael's crazy eyes. We all had a good laugh at that. And doesn't Daniel look a bit war-worn?

Allison looks like she's tired of bearing children.

One of Asher's shoes fell off, so I had to hide his leg in my skirt!

Does Nate look like he is trying to be a pimp, or is it just me?

We had such a great time, dressing up and actually doing this.

You can tell which son is my dad's least favorite. Check where the gun is pointing. :)




Friday, November 21, 2008

deep thoughts (with pictures)

I LOVE these shoes I got for Lucy at Salvation Army. My brothers, who buy vintage clothing and sell it in Tokyo, will be proud to see them on her this weekend.


****

I am really excited about going to the Ozarks this weekend. I hope we don't meet anyone with banjos.
****
I really need to do something about this facial hair. Suggestions? (no picture for that one, kids.)
****
Asher said his first phrase today. "Hi, Mama." While he was busy doing this:



Check out the right foot.
****

The direct genetic link to Asher's beautiful hair (thank you, Sarah and Ben, for sending me this blast from the past):


****
I need to do something about those love handles:


****
I really like having a girl:

****

And, finally, we have no hard and fast gender rules at our house:
(Lu would beg to differ. She tried pe*eing, standing up, into a breakfast bowl at 11 pm one night. Scott put the kobash on that.)
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

something deeper

I have avoided coming to see you.

You no longer comb your hair or proudly list the names of your eleven siblings the way a child sings the letters of our common language.

No back sratches, no overnights, no molasses cookies or greeting cards with "love" and "special" marked with emphasis in your careful hand.

I fear that when I see you I won't know what to say.

No, I fear you won't tire of the same sentence, the thing I have said twenty times and your brain fails to understand.

"He's 2," I answer you, knowing the words will find their way to my throat again soon. It's necessary. I know it is.

I hate it.

Synapses fire and neurons fray. You are confused, and still I ask you to list for me your siblings. I the unrepentant school marm; you the frightened child.

I want to know you're still there.

For now, the summer in our conversation is my son. You smile at him and he smiles back, obliging you his sunshine.

Winter, for all its bluster, cannot take your heart away from me.

Something deeper burns within, a white hot light of spirit that only Eternity will set free.

Monday, November 17, 2008

7 weird things

Lauren tagged me to take part in a meme. 7 weird things about me:

1. I think men have a natural smell to their breath. It doesn't smell bad; more like beef jerky.

2. I LOVE macaroni and cheese, uncooked. Yes, that's right. And with the cheezy powder on it, to boot!

3. I don't wear jewelry. And hardly ever makeup. I am working to change that! As we were going to drop the kids off at their grandparents' so we could go to the dinner theatre, I was putting makeup on in the car. Lucy studied me and said, "Mama! You look like Jess!" (This is because Jess wears makeup.) :) I am also known for my ability to put eye makeup on without looking in a mirror.

4. I detest ultrasound machines.

5. Writing people real letters on real stationery is something I do to relax.

6. I love the winter, dreary weather, rainy days, and James Taylor songs that make me cry.

7. When I put his qualities on paper, everything about my husband would have bored me in college.

I was dumb then.

I tag Mopsy, Catherine, Thirsty Girl, Emily, Green Half, Jess, and Rach.

sorry, honey, your mother is retarded

So, the ballet recital yesterday. My kid didn't pick her nose and wipe the booger off on the opposing hand, like the little girl three dancers down.

She didn't stand and stare at me, lip-glossed lips agape, jaw slack, belly protruding.

She glided across the stage with the greatest of ease.

Ok, really, she just sort of stood there and copied the teacher, but GIVE THE KID A BREAK! She's 43 months out of the womb!

If I actually knew how to run a digital camera (and if I hadn't been yanking on my pants to keep them up so the guy behind me wouldn't be seeing "HOT BOTTOMS" printed on stripes of fuschia and lavender for the rest of his days), we would have the dance for all of posterity. Instead, friends, we have this technological terror.



So, I've been thinking. I've been thinking about how stressed out I am right now:



1. Gifts that I buy and take back because I don't think they're right.



2. Christmas card photos I slave over, only to never use them.



3. Toy-buying. Stocking-filling. Is it enough? Are Asher and Lucy getting even amounts of presents? I buy presents for the in-laws, and they pale in comparison to the presents we get for them. It's embarassing.



4. Let's not even talk about the tree.






So, I had an idea. I want to know your ideas to keep the holidays simpler.



What do you do, and how do you do it? Do you have a cookie baking day? Sit your relatives down and break the hard news to them that you're only spending $10 this year? Make Christmas cards yourself to cut costs?



As if THAT isn't practically BEGGING for an Alka-Seltzer. What do you do to make the holidays simpler (and to alleviate the OCD, for those of us who struggle)?



I'll start:



Last year, to make holiday cards cheaper, we made them ourselves. I ordered wallets of our favorite pose, pasted them onto 4 x 6 inch cards, and had Lucy decorate the edges. It turned out very cute! (And when she was asleep and I really wanted to get them finished, I took the liberty of forging her signature on a few. Oh, quit rolling your eyes. As if you've not done that on a birthday card or two.)

I couldn't get the linky thing to work. So just comment with your holiday de-stressing ideas!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

nothing but the best

Thank you all for your thoughts! Yes, you are right, it was just a snippet, a feeling, and I blogged it. I do think, though, that staying off of the computer for long periods of time really helps me.

One thing my mom pointed out is that lots of other people don't have the constant thoughts that I deal with. Constantly.

I spent two hours buying baby gifts online the other day. I'd order something, then cancel it, then order something else, then regret that decision because I didn't think it was as cute. Then I'd go back and order the original item, then wonder if I could have gotten something cuter somewhere else. A blanket or onesie that will be spit up on in 10 seconds anyway! I have a terrible time making decisions when I am buying something. Another reason to love Aldi!!! No decisions!

Today, I was outside raking and mowing. Asher was taking a nap and Lucy was outside, playing. When we were done, I took her on my lap. The sky was opening up behind clouds, a bright azure. I realized how, when I am busy, the obsessions are less. It really does explain the painting and other home improvement things quite a bit. When my mind is idle, the OCD gets to be out of control.

Today, as I was talking to Lucy, I started having thoughts like, "What would happen if she died in a horrible car wreck on the way to the ballet recital?" or "What would I dress her in to be buried?" Horrible, horrible things that make me want to stay in bed. Fighting it is very hard. Exhausting. Most people have these thoughts and they leave the mind. Mine go around and around, a demented washing machine.

The thoughts don't go away. They just recycle. Fear in different forms.

Anyway, the song that's playing came into my mind, and I started humming it as the sun filtered through the trees and she snuggled into me.

"This," I thought, "Is perfection. This is what it is to be alive."

She whispered to me her usual conversation starter, "So, Mom, how is your life doin'?"

We cuddled and chatted. She is irrevocably excited about her dance recital tomorrow. I told her that it was always tradition for my dad to get me a rose after I was done dancing.

"Will my dad get me a rose?"

"I'm thinking that he will."

"A pink one?" she said, as her grin grew even wider.

As an aside, my mom reported this morning that as she was watching Lucy and Lucy was dancing. My mom asked Lucy what her what her dad thinks of her dancing. Not even a moment of hesitation as she leapt through the air:

"He says I'm beautiful!"

Why am I not that excited about what my heavenly Father thinks of me, or will do for me, even in terms of this mental illness?

Why do I assume that He will not deliver me?

Such faith and hope, a little child has. No reason to expect nothing but the best.

Give me the same, Lord. Give me the same.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

never enough

It's so hard to differentiate sometimes, what is the OCD and what is normal, everyday life.

I find myself, lately, throwing myself into projects that, unbelievably, I am able to finish. But then I spend a large part of my day ruminating on this or that idea, or starting this or that project and not finishing it. This frustrates me, so I start to eat. And while I was only PLANNING on eating one 100-calorie pack of Cheez-Its, I ended up with four. That is eight weight watchers points. And then I wonder why I am still counting points, because I am at my desired weight. Less than I weighed when I met Scott - and I was skinny then.

But still, the Oppressor oppresses, and I read blogs of other people's lives and wonder why I don't measure up. Why can't I manage five children effortlessly? Why is it that two seems to take all the energy I can muster? I do really want three children some day, but not now. But why do I feel like I don't measure up if it isn't now? I feel pressure when I read about my friends having more babies. Isn't that the silliest thing you have ever read?

Really, true, honest pressure. Because if they can do it, I should be able to, too. Right? And if someone else is a size 6, I should be one, too. Even if that would officially make me too thin.

Who is this person?

Where did she come from?

God has been whispering to my heart that while I, on my own merit, will never be enough, HE is. I feel guilty for things I said, for things I didn't say. For doing something else instead of reading to my kids. I put my hope in my jean size or the cleanliness of my house or the softness of my skin. The number of things my daughter knows or the healthiness of the lunch in my husband's lunch box. The cleanliness of my son's often snotty nose, the brand of my purse.

The purse - really, wasn't THAT supposed to stop in high school?

Yet I feel more pressure now than I ever have to be a million different things to a million different people.

And I am cracking.

Monday, November 10, 2008

according to the Feds, my kids are behind

I always get sort of annoyed when the Parents as Teachers lady comes, because I know she is invariably going to tell me my kid is behind in one way or another.

I am always trying to prove to the PAT lady that, yes, I am a good mother. I want her to know that we work on puzzles and letters in the bathtub and she does her times tables (she's up in the 7's now!) before her nightly shut-eye.

Let's talk about the time Lucy wasn't walking, and she was 16 months old, and I tried very unsuccessfuly to tell my doctor that I was 17 months old before I started walking, and Scott was wheeled around in a chair until he was in the third grade.

So really, such a thing as genetics can come into play here, and I promise you she will walk soon. 4 x-rays and $430 later, we found out that, hey, wow, NOTHING IS WRONG!

You know, come to think of it, this happened during my pregnancy quite a bit, too. "Oh gee, we think she has Trisomy 13 or 18." "Oh, yeah, and it looks like there's some sort of a cyst on her brain." "Two vessel cord. Looks terrible. Order the casket."

Then she was born - "Oh, just kidding! We were wrong! Here's your bill - both for the doctor visits and the psychiatry."

Funny thing is, the things that WERE actually wrong they couldn't diagnose in utero. There's just no way to tell if my kid has a butt hole or not with your fancy sonogram machine, is there.

I can't tell you the number of french fries in a Happy Meal that I've visited a blog where the parents are told terrible news and then later they hear, "Oh, wait! Everything's ok! Why were you worried?"

And here again, the little blue slip of paper that says, "Needs to work on pointing and identifying animals."

The little turd smuggler was pointing out the window and yelling, "Dog! Kitty! Flying Monkeys!" Not TEN minutes before the lady got there. And he can walk backwards and drop a ball from 2 feet just as well as the rest of them.

But the minute she requested the appropriate responses from him, he looked at her and then at the paper, grinned, and smooched the top right corner. He proceeded to stick his finger in the drool and trace it all around the page. A little part of me died inside as I watched her mark a big fat ZERO under, "properly identifies farm yard animals."

However, if I protest to the Parents as Teachers Lady too much, she just looks at me sadly as if to say, "I've seen parents like you before. This never ends well, sweetie. You are going to be a member of the 'my Kid beat up your honor student crowd.' Sorry!" and tells me we will have to retest next time.

Which is why I told her I am not available in December. I will be enrolling my children in special classes to get them caught up on letter recognition and turning when a little bell is rung behind their left ear. Because THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR STUBBORNNESS IN A TWO YEAR OLD!

WHY, GOD, WHY?

The more we visit with the state-funded programs, the more I like the idea of home schooling.

I'm ordering the kidnapper van with Indian paintings on the windows and the jean skirt as I type.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

broken arm?

Anybody have any experience with a child and a broken arm? Lucy complained about her arm 2 months ago for about 4 hours.

Today, Scott threw her up in the air, holding onto her wrists. Later in the day, she complained about the same spot on her arm. It's all puffed up and looking rather torrid. We're going to the doctor tomorrow, but I sort of feel like one of those parents the doctor hates, and maybe I should just ice it and hope it goes away.

But then you hear about those parents who just assume their kid is fine, and 10 days later they find out the child has been walking around with a broken arm.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

green and yellow

Our living room is now green:











our kitchen is yellow (yes, that is original watercolor on canvas by the one of the best little artists I know),





and I am so tired I can barely stand.

Any guesses on how I kept Lulu entertained?

Friday, November 7, 2008

adoption

Why do I feel like all I do all day is shuffle stuff around?

Today Lucy was telling me about her nak*ed baby dolls, Max and Ruby. We have been having lots of talks about how there are two ways for a mom and dad to have a baby. The mama can either have one out of her tummy, or the baby can come out of another woman's tummy and she will love the baby so much she wants the mom and dad to raise him and love him as their very own, because she wants the very best for her baby.

It appears at this point that she may never be able to have biological children of her own, so it's something important to me that she learns from an early age that adoption is awesome.

**the conversation has been updated, because it keeps getting funnier**

"So, they're your babies?"

"Yes, they're mine."

"When were they born?"

"They weren't born, they were adopted. I wanted to adopt them because they needed a home and I wanted a coupla li'l babies."

"So they're adopted like baby Daphne will be adopted? Her mama wants the very best for her, too."

"Yeah, Mom, just like her."

**silence**

"Mama, how can you adopt babies? I want to adopt lots of babies from ____________ (our city)."

"You go and fill out papers and you wait a long time and then someone brings the baby to you."

"Oh. I will adopt a baby some day, from Dr. David (my chiropractor). He will send me a card that says, 'thank you for my card'. And then I will change my baby's diaper and kiss her."

**continues to make scribbles on my checks**

*********

I really didn't know it was sinking in!!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

be still, my heart




Thank you, Jess, for the amazing photographs!




Barry made me do it

Thank Jesus on high I didn't have the internet yesterday. And you think I'm saying that in vain? I'm actually not. I was thanking God yesterday for no internet. I don't think I could have handled the gloating.

Scott told me to "do something productive." "Do something productive," he said, after a man has been elected who is, let's face it, a total wild card. We have no idea what he's going to do with this country. Murderous dictators were cheering when he won the election. Babies everywhere were most decidedly not. Sorry, babies, better luck next time.

I think, at this point, my pervasive emotion is fear. And I know I am not alone.

Do something productive?

Fine.

I did something productive. I invited myself right into my neighbor's house after our daily walk. I asked her to tell me what color her dining room was. She gave me the can, I loaded up the kids and we drove to Sherwin Williams.

I taped, painted, rollered my frustrations away. The kids played happily (they are different children when we just stay home and I'm not even attemptingdoing the supermom thing, I tell you...)

Thanks, Barry. Lollipops will fall from the sky as soon as you are sworn in, I am assured. And look what else you did for me:



Scott came home, looked around approvingly and said, "You did this ALL in one day?"
Thank God this happened, or the living room may have been green.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I got my period!!!!!

I was so happy to get that monthly visitor last week that I actually did that thing my brothers used to do when they were little. You know, where you pull your elbow in toward your stomach, hand in a fist? You hiss, "Yessssssssss!!!!!!" to no one in particular, because you finally got your new Transformer toy? Yes, yes. That was me.

I feel like a big, fat jerk for admitting this, because I have many friends and loved ones who are either pregnant or trying to become knocked up. And I feel like a big fat wimp for having a hard time parenting two. And I will be running to the store to buy baby gifts and ooh and aah over new little ones. But that is a far cry from wanting it again myself right now.

Asher has decided that he is most DEFINITELY two. TWO. Do you hear that, people at the Wal-Mart neighborhood market, you masses who decided you really did need that fall pumpkin to round out your Halloween decor?

Oh, oh.

It all started when he took one look at the shopping cart. For some reason, the shopping cart scares the Johnny Jumperoos out of him. He'll do the "look, Mom! I'm stiff as a board!" thing, while screaming like a pig going to meet its maker. A stuck pig. One with a really, really high voice and no little piggy inhibitions.

So there he is, screaming at the top of his lungs while I try to unsuccessfully shove his little ham hocks into the cart. I've gotten the little seat belt firmly around his little pork barrel of a belly, and he's decided to change tactics. Now, friends, he is actually banging his head against the handle of the cart, then lurching back and trying to disclocate cervical spine points 4 and 5. People are starting to stare.

"Don't give in! Don't give in!" the good parent in me screams. "You give in, it makes the battle 10,000 times worse next time!"

Now, Lucy is standing right next to the cart, where I've asked her to stand. She has dutifully hooked one finger into the shopping cart, looking up at me with big, brown eyes. (Don't let it fool you. She acted up later when we were in the car and I informed her no cookies would be eaten until she had mommy's horrendous cooking.) She just looks at me and says, "Asher is being really bad."

Now, to all of you attachment parents out there, I know what you are thinking: Just pick him up and carry him! Put him in a sling! And in a word, no. The kid is still, um, making daily trips to the dairy and he is 22 months old. I can NOT carry him around the store like the mafia's latest hit, hoping my arms will still work by the time I have $200 worth of groceries in tow and am trying to get everyone strapped back in to the beast we call a car. Oh, you should see him when I try to strap him into the car seat.

The kid's not as big a fan of boundaries as mommy is, I'm afraid.

So anyway, there we are now, in the produce section. The sympathetic look I first got from the mom next to me has turned to one of annoyance. Of course, her sleeping 4 month old is in matching Gymboree and I want to say to her, "Oh, your turn is coming!" in an annoying singsong. But I don't, because I have allowed him out of the cart, and Snot-Man is now lying on the middle of the floor in WAL-MART, screaming his little lungs out. I pick him up, he continues to writhe and scream. I put him down, screaming. No, he's not tired, he just woke up from his nap before we left. I think this ailment is called, "Bratty Two Year Old."

"Hey, look, kids! We can make some cookies when we get home!" I hold up the Pillsbury cookie dough, feeling like even more of a failure. For the love of Peter, Paul, and Mary, I can't make a sugar cookie to save my LIFE. Literally. Were there a man with a gun to my head who said, "Lady, make me a sugar cookie or I will kill you," Scottie would be digging a very long grave.

Now, we're in shampoo, and the screaming has continued. I suppose I should have just given up and left the store, but if I do that, we go home and the refrigerator will still only have one chicken and some badly bruised apples. So it's now or never.

Lucy starts to complain because Asher is screaming, "No! No! No!" at the top of his lungs at her. She apprently brushed by him and he wasn't having it.

We get home, go outside. I point at a squirrel and say, "Look, Buddy! Isn't that squirrel so cute?"

"MIIIIIIIIIIINE!"

"No, that is nature's squirrel. We just get to enjoy him and watch him in our yard!"

"MIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!"

the tears are forming.

"Do you want to go inside and have some grapes?"

"MIIIIIINNNNNE SKOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRR!"

"No, that's not your squirrel! Look at him go up the tree!"

And now, my little son is a sobbing mess on the pavement, mourning all he has lost in his epic battle to claim all of nature as his own.

Holy Guacamole.

We never experienced this with Lucy. Nothing even CLOSE. These days, getting a shower, taking them for a walk, making something not pre-packaged and processed for lunch, is an accomplishment. I think I do want a third. But not right now. And I wonder how my friends with two are wanting another one right now, and I think there must be something defective with me, because I had always planned on FIVE kids, and I have a hard time with two?

And it's where I am. And it's ok! I am learning to let expectations go out the window.

I am learning to just nod and smile when I hear, "Oh, they grow so fast!"

Some day, I'll be standing there, watching some poor mother grapple with her kid while snot rolls out of his face. And I'll say, "Oh, honey! I've been there! It is hard!"

And I'll imagine her, bluster-faced and tired, exclaiming to her husband when he walks into the house, "I got my period today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And I'll smile and remember.

Monday, November 3, 2008

compelling things

Can I just tell you that one of my best friends voted for Obama? She would like you all to know I'm not as staunch and stodgy as my blog makes me sound.

Which got me thinking, "Hey! A blog is just a small snippet of me!" and it is. It is, it is, it is. And I apologize to those I have unfairly judged by what they have written on their own blogs, thinking that those 2 minutes of writing somehow respresented them, as well.

Jess is heartwearmingly funny, amazingly talented with the camera, genuinely interested in finding the truth in all sorts of issues, and a size 2. Yes, yes. Every reason to hate her, but there is just something about her that is magnetizing. She asked me as we were loading our tired kids up, "Do you really think that people on welfare are all lazy and bilking the system?" (It was something to that effect - the kids were screaming so she may have asked, "Are you REALLY ok with walking around with a unibrow?" and I shall not have known the difference.

I suppose I must tell you this: The only people I have ever known who have been on welfare have, 100% of the time, taken advantage of the system. I know not of people who are working two jobs and were desperate for a way to feed their kids. Well, I didn't know of those people until people like Jess told me that that was her experience growing up. The only people who have told me they were on welfare were people who were proud of the fact that I was handing over my hard-earned money to them. I was budgeting while they were buying flat-screened tvs, and it PISSED ME OFF.

So, that is where I am/was coming from. While I still don't agree that even larger government is the way to go, I must confess that I come into the ring with all of my preconceived notions. And so, my friend, do you.

How much a product of our environment are we?

At the Bible study last night at my parents', we were talking about what we DO because we believe that abortion is wrong or that the homeless need homes or that children need medicine. What do we DO?

My dad half-jokingly suggested that we all stand in a life chain for aborted children. We rolled our eyes, but the question remains.

Gordon Pennington again: "We are called to either engage our culture or abandon it. We must decide to transform it, or do nothing at all." This resonates deeply within me. It is so easy for Christians (and others, yes) to just toss money at problems instead of digging their arms in up to the elbows and working to change the situation. The church (and here, I am speaking of Protestants) has become so isolated in the past 50 years that we have our own sordid subculture. Cheezy Christian music, WWJD bracelets and "Dammit is not God's last name" t-shirts, "Abortion Kills Babies" bumper stickers and signed and sealed checks to the church.

But how are we changing society? How are we helping fix the problems that have so deeply imbedded themselves in the American psyche? When was the last time I helped a young mother with child care or the rent check? When was the last time I ran an errand for the shut-in across the street? How often have I said, "No, these unfed children need some food, dammit! And I'm the one to give it to them!"

There's a woman who has a little girl in Lucy's ballet class. She just lost her baby son. I know she needs friendship and understanding, yet I hesitate to reach out because I know, like my own surely was, that her grief will be unrestrained and messy. And let's face it. It's easier to stay on the sidelines than to get involved, isn't it?

It's safer. Looking at the world in black and white is safer, too. Less mess on the hands.

I have decided to take J up on her challenge. I am applying to be a hands-on volunteer at our local mission. I am hoping my world will be rocked.

The blog of the founder of the Truth Project series. A wise, amazing man. After 12 weeks of study, his closing thought was about choosing to get involved instead of "hiring somebody to take care of it for us."

Jesus' mandate was pretty clear.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

heyday

What? There's a reason most people keep quiet about their political views?




***crickets***

I think TG hit the nail on the head when she said that first and foremost, we all need to love each other, and if you profess to be a Christian, it's especially true for you.

It's hard for me to find that solid piece of ground between voicing the concerns about the things I think will have a profound impact on the very survival of our country, and just keeping my mouth shut. Maybe in 20 years I'll have the wisdom to keep my mouth shut. I look at people with similar views who I don't hear openly sharing those views. I think, "How, in good conscience, can those people keep quiet on issues so vitally important? National defense budget cuts looming, defending ourselves against regimes that threaten to destroy us. When the light of the Western World goes out, the country everyone loves to bad mouth (but the country they come running to for sure, when they need aid), what will happen? We won't be talking gay rights, abortion, helping the homeless. There will be nothing left but a very basic and scary fight for survival."

These thoughts run through my head, and it's hard for me to focus on God's promises. I want to shake people who don't seem to understand that there is no guarantee our nation will survive. And I suppose they want to shake ME for different reasons (I see you Catherine, Chelsea, Bibi, Thirsty Girl, Becca, Kristin, James and Jess...) ;) How do I balance that with trying to live out God's mandate here on earth?


I have started to love teaching the kids at our after schol club. Oh, I just love it. They're all so wide-eyed and eager to help, full of promise and fruit snacks.





I'm teaching them about Elijah, who felt like he was the only faithful man in a land of people who worshiped all kinds of idols. We talked about all sorts of idols as I pulled items out of a sack and they identified them: sports, technology, food...


It struck me suddenly. I have had some pretty hefty idol worship lately as well. I shared my idols with the kids. You should have heard them hooting and hollering:



They take up most of my time. Time I could be spending play with my kids or calling my husband or cleaning the toothpaste off of the mirror is instead spent arguing with people over these two. I have, my friends, missed the point.


I was listening to the radio this morning and heard this: "Satan uses anything he can to get us off-track, to get our eyes off of the goal of bringing others to God."


He's had a heyday with me.