Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Erratic, Undefinable ME!

I have missed my bloggy friends, and it has only been a few days. But during these few days, I've realized how much I show myself through this blog, and define myself in the minds of others. This is good, and not so good, depending on the interpreter.
Life is so full of variables that my trials and triumphs definitely change like a train station timetable! I resist quoting the green ogre on Shrek, but honestly, "I'm an onion, I've got many layers" (imagine the scottish voice of Mike Meyers coming through..).
With this being said,
I want to give all you women out there permission to be emotionally and thoughtfully erratic!
 God made us with such an array of emotions, I am blessed to know that He presents me with the ability to use all of them on a fairly regular basis (I am sure I have heard this from someone, somewhere, but this is so true for me)! Some call it hormones or chocolate withdrawal, but I am proud to declare them as His blessings through chaos or calm, delight or despair. It's so easy to define a person by their triumph or the trial, and not realize that with each new day a person's trial turns into their triumph, and a new trial awaits.
My biggest trial lately has been insecurity, and I have been tested (to the max I think, but this may be my overly used emotion of anxiety) by so many folks giving me their opinions on things that are really old trials that I have overcome, or so I thought. But, I am such a people pleaser, I sacrifice my own happiness and allow words to overwhelm me. And then I feel personally attacked, and even chocolate no longer gives me comfort!
Today I decided my most trusted relationship, besides with God, is in my husband. Because no matter how crazy my emotional release becomes, he knows me well enough beneath the layers before even peeling them back. And although I hate it when he says, "this to shall pass" I know it's true, and my triumphant shoulder shrug knocks those opinions out of sight.

A little Snippit of a Texas Visit

We're visiting the great Lonestar State this week, so I won't be consistent with my posts. Thought I'd give you a word glimpse at what we've seen, done, will do:
hot Texas sun*swimming*playing with cousins*camping- for a minute*shopping*mosquito bites*flying kites*four-wheeling*homemade ice cream*riding bikes*riding an electric scooter*painting a bike*zip lining*playgrounds*cows*horses*spiders*cats*grasshoppers*licky dog*hyper dog*more cousins*water park*circus* oh and the biggest yet....DRIVING! alot.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Moral Cry from One Parent to Another!

I remember when I was young, loving to play with dollhouses. My sisters and I would play house with our little figurines. There would be a mama, daddy, kids, and maybe some grandparents. I also remember admiring all the different accessories for our houses at the toy store. Maybe there was a point where I got so caught up with playing house, that I lost my parents and searched the store frantically trying to find them. I know what this feels like, so I'm assuming at some point in my childhood I felt that fear- or, it might be because I know this fear as a parent when I lose track of my own child in a public place.

This is how I felt today when I was told some disturbing news. I felt lost in a strange crowd, hopeless, not knowing what to do with the rage I felt. And although I found peace by turning to my heavenly father, knowing He is in control, I feel obligated to share the news with my parent friends, hoping to heighten your awareness for your children's future.
There are school administrations in different states, who insist they are protecting the rights of children by confidentially counseling them (without parental notification) and distributing birth control to kids as young as 6 years old. They feel that they will be infringing on the rights of the child by telling the parents that their son or daughter is seeking sexual protection, no matter the age. One actually plans on teaching sex ed in Kindergarten, and using erotic images for 5th graders to view them as art. I ache for the parents of these schools who are outraged and who feel a hundred times more hopeless than I do as a mere witness.

This is the most blatant attack on our family structure I have heard in a long time. First off, a child this young who is seeking sexual activity is most likely experiencing exposure that should be counseled as sexual abuse not potential sexual activity. I strongly feel that any person who believes that sexual intercourse is okay for children in the early elementary years and endorses it, should be arrested for child abuse.
This may be strong, but SOMEBODY has to stand up for our children's sake! This school administrator should be arrested for child abuse, just as a parent who is caught endorsing this activity as okay for their own child would be crucified in our media!

So parents, beware. You may not just be handing your child off to the care of teachers when they are old enough to attend our great American schools, you might be handing over your parental rights to a school administration. Democracy may no longer apply to our schools. You may no longer be consulted when it comes policies that drastically affect your child's welfare.
My plea:
Please make sure that your schools are run by parents, not the school district. I will forever thank the good Lord that we have found schools for our kids that insist education is a co-effort between teacher and parent. And my children will know the innocence of role playing as mommies and daddies, and not being expected to make the choice to grasp adult concepts that go along with playing house.

**please note, I revised the above to not include particular names of the states involved because I realized I may have blended the two articles not realizing I was talking about the other state. However, the information is true, and it really doesn't matter which school district it is, the fact is, this is happening!!**

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Time of Thanks, Just in Time

Thanksgiving Thursday is almost here and its timing is perfect! I feel like you, in the bloggy world, have "listened" to me spout a lot of self-criticism, and listening to pessimistic little me lately! But I do know in my heart how wonderfully BLESSED I am, and the best way to show it is by thanking God for ALL He has done! Thank you LORD!
I am thankful for:
1. His provision, His redemption, His Grace (okay that's three, but He is pretty special!)
2. My new friends AND my old friends! I am surrounded by kindness and encouragement.
3. My dog. I know, weird. But she is such a good dog compared to the last monster we had!
4. My mom. She is here and is going to endure a 14 hour drive with the kids and me! Brave woman!
5. LIFE. All sizes, all forms, all walks! God's creation has such amazing potential!

Oh, one more...THANK YOU to all who read my crazy little blog. I know sometimes I spill a lot of messy thoughts and opinions, but you all are always so sweet and encouraging to me!

I'm NO Baker!

I am no baker. I was ambitious today, and decided to try a recipe from my cooking-buff friend, Angela. It is for Zucchini bread. If you were a fly on my wall, you'd see me look at the recipe every 10 seconds and still curse under my breath when I realized I skipped something!
Mistake #1: Didn't sift the flour...oops, discovered it said this right before the loaves were ready for the oven.
Mistake #2: Poured ALL the dry ingredients together, including the sugar which was suppose to be mixed with the eggs and oil.
Mistake #3: Set the oven for 400, instead of 325. Luckily I caught this one!
Baking is just too finicky for me! It's too much of a science, and I am NO scientist! The most "reactions" I got in chemistry was talking with my friends and being sent to the hall for gabbing! Hopefully this bread will turn out!

The Ignorant Copycat

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I take for granted the sheer joy of cruising along in a friendship with no idea that something I did or said was offensive. It's nice to think everything is okey dokey...for a while. But then, when I realize something is really wrong I kick and scream wondering why the heck I just found out now! You just can't have the best of both worlds. :(
I am a fixer. I find out the problem and you usually won't see me hesitate. I jump right in to work things out. The other day, I realized even after the solution was activated and successful, I turned into my own enemy. I began to switch roles with the person and found my issues to mirror what we had just worked out. I know this may seem vague.
Maybe this will help:  I learned that I am a copy cat, and there are rarely any times in life with this is an admirable quality. I am very aware to not copy a friend's idea or venture...unless I give that person some sort of credit. But what I do copy, is reactions and emotions- unintentionally of course. Once I witness a reaction to a situation, it isn't long before I find myself copying that same reaction somewhere down the line! It's just like when a non-mother criticizes a mother's parenting...give that non-mother the miracle of birth, and she will soon eat her words!
So, the only real solution to all this? Is to rise above it and realize that I am only in control of myself. Nothing I can say will really fix an issue unless I am willing to look inside myself and take credit for some part of the messiness. I need an internal mirror to gage my heart and intentions, because if I don't stop and really think about what's going on, my ignorance will unblissfully trip me up!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From the Spout of a Wanna-Be

I am extremely jittery tonight. Every time I get on my computer, I am reminded that I will spend a day as an "unpublished author" among professionals who make a living in my dream land: The Writing World. 
Let's face it, I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past eight years, and the last professional conference I went to, I was a shiny-faced, almost graduating fifth year college student trying desperately to get my career rolling...and it was in Landscape Architecture, not writing!
Just the thought of my inability to get a thought out of my mouth( as opposed to typing it concisely in black and white), sends me into a frenzy of self-doubt and yelling, "what the heck was I thinking??" in the back of my head!
It wouldn't be so bad if I was just going to sit in on some lectures and listen to great speakers...but I boldly signed up to talk to an editor and agent. Do I know what special writer's jargon I need? Honestly doubt it! All I can say is, I will try and look at this as a lesson in humility!
So, if you have ever had a dream where you walk into a classroom completely unprepared for a final, or had forgot that you signed up for the class UNTIL the final, you will have a snippit of an idea of how I feel right now!

Monday, July 19, 2010

My wished lyrics

A song that i want to embrace right now.  It's hard to think that 'I will move ahead bold and confident' when all I feel is defeat. So.not.there.

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Double Dose of Weekend Away

I am amazed at how many wonderful places are so close to our midwest town! My MOPS steering team friends and I went on our planning retreat to beautiful Galena, Illinois. The hills were green, and the colonial style buildings were patriotically decorated with red,white, and blue. Although our rental did not meet our expectations (mice evidence? oooh gross!), it was a wonderful retreat to share our thoughts and ideas, laugh and cry, and just be with women whose hearts were geared towards giving mothers the chance to get the most out of this special season in their lives.
Something I am always guaranteed when I travel with these women, is getting past the surface stuff quickly and sharing our hearts. What a wonderful time of fellowship! Thanks girls!

After shopping and eating in downtown, I met up with my husband and the boys who were camping along the Mississippi. The boys thrive on these camping trips. They love the family hikes and riding their bikes. I love that it's just our family, and the boys have to depend on their brothers for entertainment. This summer has worked out nicely in that way. My two older sons are good friends. That is something I wouldn't say a few months ago. Although the younger one annoys the older by wanting to do EVERYTHING he does, the older one has included him more often than not.
I can't believe the summer is almost over! We have a couple of trips left and then it's time for school! I plan on enjoying it to the fullest!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pig Pen Strikes Back

My Three Year Old LOVES Dirt!
He's just getting started....
Here we go...
The shadows on his face are hiding the DIRT

The shirt says it all!

Satisfied with his work.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The World of Boys

My 5 year old: "I don't like little girls."
Me: "Why?"
Him: "Their hair is long, I just don't like them."
Me: "One day you'll like girls."
Him: "I'll get a divorce."
Me: "Don't say that!"
Him: "Well, I'll be late to my wedding."

Zucchini-Size Hearts

Today I went to my garden and realized I hadn't been out there in a while...well, here in the midwest, a while is three days...things grow crazy fast with all the rain and sunshine! I had already harvested 5 big squash, and went out today and found more:
That zucchini is as long as the tips of my fingers to my elbow!
It's neat to see how big these vegetables can get compared to those at the grocery store, but it's also a bummer too...They got this big because I hadn't kept an eye on them enough...they may look like a giant size scrumptious veggie, but they probably don't taste as good as their smaller brothers and sisters! :)
You may think I am crazy, but I couldn't help but think that parenting is like this also. My children grow bigger in the blink of an eye, and if I don't make sure to keep up with them, they will be all grown but they may not be that great on the inside. It's so important to not just nurture their physical needs, but their hearts as well. I am learning this through tough growing pains, but I can't turn my back on the issues, I have to address them head on, and give my boys the "nutrients" they need to grow hearts in proportion to their crazy fast growing bodies! :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WHAT-A- Wednesday

As some of you write about the angels that your children are, I am going to write about quite the contrary. Today, my three year old insisted on oatmeal for breakfast, and when he refused to try it, he went back to watching his morning cartoon. He came up to me after a while, grumpy as can be, and gruffly stated, "I am hungry." I replied nicely, "Okay, go pick out a cereal you'd like." Anything wrong with that? I didn't even force him to at least try the oatmeal. Instead of saying, "Thank you, mommy. I will," the little stinker (his aka, as you can see from a previous post, What A Stinker) crossed his arms, stomped past me, and said, "Okay, bad girl."
And although I had to be firm and correct him on his disrespectfulness, I was laughing inside. What a Wednesday, and it's not even 9am!

By the way, we don't use this phrase "bad..boy..." except when the dog is naughty! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Future Over Coffee

Yesterday, a fairly new friend and I sat at my kitchen table, drinking coffee  and doing what we're best at- gabbing. Her son was entertaining my kids and we were able to touch on some pretty interesting topics. As our conversation got to more controversial ground, I could tell that we weren't in agreement on some of the issues. That's okay.
At one point, I said, half- joking "If all the moms in the world were able to have a voice for our future, we'd fix a lot of global problems!" But part of me abstractly finds truth in that.
Parents in general, have a greater need than making their point or following an ideal, they have children that will one day inherit this Earth, this Government, this Lifestyle. Regardless of the differing political parties, I hope and pray that my children will inherit a sustainable Earth, a free Government, an upstanding Lifestyle.
 It's easy to have images from the books 1984 or A Brave New World haunt me when I think about the future. Sometimes I feel hopelessly out of control. But something that dawned on me just this morning, is that as a parent, I have an edge into helping better the future- I can raise awesome kids to become amazing adults and leaders!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Unfriendly Insecurity

If you need one word to describe a chronic condition I have faced all of my adult life, it's INSECURITY. This has been a greedy 'friend' of mine, taking away joy and contentment. Only today, I realized how artificial it's comfort is, and of course, I found the words in my morning study from Beth Moore. Like I have mentioned before, I am restudying her Stepping Up study. She equates life-long insecurity as a "tremor in your soul, that is impossible to naturally still." Please continue to read my heart BETH! Wow!
I am constantly entrapped by it, and it is helpful to know that I can't just talk myself out of it. It's a condition that only the spiritual realm can cure. Only the transfer of failing security in myself to knowing I am fully secure in Christ, will help me keep that unwanted companion at bay.
So many times do I reflect on my blessings to remind me of security. God provided those blessings, so how can my focus be taken off of Him so easily? Beth talks about trusting in God for who He is, not for what He does. She boldly (and wisely) states "We can grow secure in the favor God has shown us, but God's favor and His person are not synonymous."
How many times have I trusted in the blessing and not the God? And then when my boat is rocked a bit, and the blessing isn't enough to maintain my security, I fall into a pitiful mess of self-doubt? From now on, I will thank God for my blessings, but trust only Him to my security. Just like Beth professed, I will continually have this struggle I am sure, but at least now light has been shed on that  insecurity, and I will know Who to turn to when it tries it's greedy ways again.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Little Bloggin'

It has been about 5 months since I entered the blogging world...And it has been such a wonderful outlet for creativity, thoughts, and catching up with friends all over the country! I encourage anyone and everyone to start a blog and let family and friends get an idea of how life is going, what you are struggling with and your joys, what's going on with YOU! It's a virtual support system in a way, and it defeats the many miles by a click of a button!
One of my bloggy friends, Mama Hen, has given me another blog award. It's fun to receive these and send them on to others! Thanks Mama Hen!
I pass this award on to some of my friends who started blogging about the same time as me:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Three Little Reasons to Smile!

I have a lot to smile about, but I don't always think of my life that way. I guess I am a glass half empty girl, and that is something I must overcome! For Smile Sunday, I decided to think of a time this past week when each of my boys made me smile:
My 7 year old- when he showed an appreciative grin after I tucked him in bed, and chose to settle next to him to hear all about the baseball game I missed that day.
My 5 year old- when he found excitement in receiving mail addressed only to him...even just a thank you note from a birthday party.
My 3 year old- when he stopped and stared at me while I was getting ready one day and said, "Mom, I just said I love you in my head." His face was full of concentration when he did! So sweet!
Hope you are able to celebrate all your blessings this Sunday! Happy Sunday!

Rocking the Mommy Boat

One of my good friends posted in her Facebook status how good it felt to rock her older child to sleep the other night. I remember the days of rocking my own children to sleep, and it was the greatest feeling but also a time of self-doubt. I had to push aside guilt of rocking them instead of using the method from the latest book, and also push away anxiety that I had other things to do besides being stuck in a chair.

Being a mom these days has several benefits but also several choices that many parents didn't think much about years ago. To nurse or bottle feed, to rock to sleep or cry it out, to make your own baby food or buy pre-made? As a mother out of the baby phase, I realize that I allowed these small "controversies"to become an ongoing guilt trip in my mind, an awareness that there was a group of moms out there that would look at me and judge that I just used water instead of milk in the rice cereal, or I let my 11 month old have a cookie before his first birthday! Just like in the battle of stay-at-home moms and working moms, we are making it so hard on our fellow moms to just enjoy this season!

I have many friends who have chosen each of the options above, and their children are healthy, happy, and adjusted. I send this out to all the moms out there as a small reminder that you have been given the mighty duty of motherhood- uniquely designed for your unique child...Don't sweat the small stuff, enjoy the moment!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mama's Boy Again

Sometime this past month and a half, it clicked with my 7 year old, that he definitely is not eighteen. If you look at my past post My 18 Year Old's Summer Project, you will see that we had a lot of "putting him into place" ahead of us at the beginning of the summer. With the combination of defining respect over and over and spending more time as just a family, he has become Mama's boy again, but not in a needy, babyish way.
 Our relationship has become fun-loving and full of thoughtful conversations- with the occasional reminder that I AM the parent. He is definitely fitting his place as the oldest quite nicely, but also wants the occasional cuddle and he even hold's my hand in the grocery store! GASP! :) The picture of him is from a picnic at the park, where he chose to sit with mom, while his brothers sat on their usual "boulder". (Can you sense the pride seeping from this post??)

 I'm not saying that we still don't have our moments of butting heads and me reprimanding his "bullying" tendencies with the younger boys, but I occasionally see a glimpse of when he really is 18, and pray to God that our relationship will have only grown into a larger version of today!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our Memory Place

My kids have surprised me occasionally, when out of nowhere, they will say, "I miss our old car" (a minivan we sold in December), or "I miss our house in Texas". It's especially surprising when my 3 1/2 year old says this. I guess I don't realize how long of a memory they have at this age.
If I had a picture of it right now, I would post my Dad's white Buick, from 1984-ish, which he sold (I really can't remember if it was because we got a new car or because that's when we moved to England). I was less than 8 years old, but I remember saying, "I miss our old car". I think I even cried when he sold it. It's also written down in one of my first entries of my diary that I received on my 8th birthday. That diary also caused heartache when I left it in the rain, and thought it was ruined...but I didn't let the waterlogged pages stop me from using it...I kept writing in it until 8th grade!!
Wow. Children grow attachments to some crazy things, don't they? I don't know if it's for the same reasons, but I know that even as an adult I have attached myself to old houses, high school knick knacks, my old doll house...Even when we moved from a house I always hated, I cried as we drove away.
And it wasn't for the structure, it was for the place- the living room I first introduced my newborn to our dog, the kitchen my oldest would cruise around in his walker (they weren't bad back then), and the many milestones he reached in his first year of life.
I doubt my kids have great memories associated with our old mini-van, but someday they will remember THIS house that we're in, all the memories we're making, all the milestones they reached, and one day they will say, "I miss our old house", and they will be older and I will agree. Because in our short year and a half, we have made so many memories here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mommy thoughts

I am so thankful that I am able to choose to stay home with my boys. Sometimes it's hard for me to stop thinking, "the grass is greener" when I see a working mom who really values her time with the kids when she gets home from work. And it's so easy to think that I could be such a better mom if only...fill-in-the-blank...
I despise the battle between the stay-at-home mom and the working mom, but I see how easy it is to get defensive, insecure, and sometimes ugly. Women have a tendency to compare and critique, and it's such a shame since all of us, sahms and working mothers just want what's best for their family, children, sanity! Because of this less-desirable quality of my gender, it's difficult for me to not justify myself to others when I say that I stay-at-home, especially after having worked only two years in my field after a long 5 year degree plan. 
But none-the-less, I see the pro's, for me, to stay home, outweigh the cons, for me, to go to work- outside the house (I definitely work at home!).
Even though I am not practicing Landscape Architecture (my degree which I plan to do absolutely nothing with), I am able to use that creative training with my kids. Yesterday was Craft-A-Tuesday at our house, so we redecorated the "hideout" (closet under the basement stairs). The boys have always been intrigued with spys and clubs, and after watching the movie, "Little Rascals", they wanted a clubhouse badly! We could have painted the walls, but since it was a last minute decision, we used butcher paper and markers! So fun, and it will keep them entertained for at least a couple days!

Since it's Thanksgiving Thursday, I will also share some more great things I am thankful for:

1. Staying home with my kids (sorry to be redundant)
2. My husband's hard work providing the opportunity for me to stay home!
3.The comfortable home we are able to own
4. My many friends God has blessed me with
5. My stronger friendship with my sisters than what it used to be!

Getting Out of My Head

Sometimes I just need to get out of my head. I can ponder things during my daily routine of chores and just let it deteriorate my mood until I am a bitter mess. Maybe this is a condition based on our lifestyle, because most of the things that get me down are from catching a newscast or seeing a controversial post on facebook. I used to watch the news all the time, but because of my "condition" I have to be very careful and scan headlines briefly to see if there is something I really need to know. I can get so worked up over things that it really messes with my attitude.
So, how do I resist the impending funk? Besides praying and keeping my heart in check with God,  I resort to t.v. or music. And as far as t.v. goes, I have memorized the channels I like, so I don't have to channel surf and get tempted by a news channel! I know, pathetic. But sometimes I need to resort to escapism and numb myself to my own opinions.
 My fave shows to watch are: Most anything on Food Network, Golden Girls (they actually get political, but since it was in the eighties, doesn't bother me so much), Cosby Show, Roseanne (funny how I thought this show was evil as a child, but it's actually quite normal now!), Cheers-- lots of oldies but goodies! And I love the new show, Hot In Cleveland! I also have a fine collection of Romantic Comedies!
 If I don't  "step away" from my thoughts occasionally, I feel the desire to scream my opinions from the rooftops, not that anyone would care about what I think, but there is something in the pit of me that needs to set things straight and fix the world! I should have been a lobbyist!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Love Remembered

Today my sister called and told me her dear friend lost her baby just 32 hours after birth. 
Life is so precious.
 If anything came out of my miscarriage in May, it was a softening of my heart and a vulnerability that I had always forced myself to push aside out of insecurity. I was talking to my sister on my phone in the middle of the grocery store and couldn't speak. My tears were overwhelming me and it was for a person I have never even met. A breaking of the shell I had hammered to my heart over these past years cracked loud and clear in my mind today. 
My love for my living children swelled and I was reminded how abundantly blessed I am. And I was reconnected to my child in heaven, remembering how much of my love now resides above me. 

A Sweet Tooth Reminder

As I drove to the store tonight to get a yummy dessert for the boys, I surprised myself with old dreaded feelings about the anticipated bedtime routine. The car was quiet, I was alone, and I had time to contemplate deep thoughts- like chocolate and peanut butter and crazy boys at bedtime! (Please know sarcasm is intended!) Our bedtime routine has been rocky over the years, and we go through periods of battling as much as periods of bliss. The summer has undoubtedly knocked the routine out of whack as well as my husband and me wanting to usher them to bed without a peep so we can have the evenings to ourselves. Selfish? Yes, a little, but when the sun is still up at 9:30pm and hubby has to go to work at 6 am, our evenings seem so short.
So, it dawned on me (in the quiet car with chocolate cookies tempting me from the passenger seat) that we have been leaving out a crucial element to help the boys settle down- devotionals. I found some great age-appropriate devos for the boys at a Hearts At Home conference in March. During the school months, we were pretty consistent each night, and the boys felt cuddle time and one-on-one time was sufficient. But, oh summer! Lazy days of summer have trickled into lazy parenting at night!
We will try harder. As I write this, my husband's with the boys. They were giggly and squirmy at first, but I hear quiet now. Thank goodness for that sweet tooth that gave me some time in the car alone to reflect!

It's all about Who?

Tonight we took the boys bowling. It was rainy and the fireworks postponement was cancelled, so we opted to have some family time at the alley. All I can say is, hmph. My husband and I were disappointed in the whining, discontentment, and whining (did I say that?). You'd think they would be thrilled to go on such an outing, but the boys quickly found reasons to "want more".

In today's society, where we have such an instant gratification pull, and we go by the mantra "I want better",  we have to carefully decide if we want to instill this cultural concept in our children, or go against the grain towards a selfless mindset. My husband and I have always told the kids that "I Am Third" is an important rule in our house. God, Others, then Me. But lately, the boys have been all about "ME". I know they are still young and this is just part of human fleshiness, but it's something that I can see growing like wildfire if we don't tame it constantly throughout this learning time of their lives. So I write this to remember my mission: to SHAPE my boys into Godly Men. And Godly is perfectly equivalent to Selflessness in my book. Afterall, He gave everything for us. Maybe tomorrow we will celebrate Easter again! :)

I am so inspired by my bloggy friend, Mama Hen. She always takes the time to encourage me with her comments, and her blog is so well done. She has given me a blog award, A Blog With Substance Award!
What a great compliment! I am to sum up my blogging philosophy in five words:
 Honesty, Reality, Heart, Faith, Grace. 
I pass this award on to: Mindy's Musings.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Just one little fort, mama

I hope I always remember the simple pleasure of taking a sheet and a couple of chairs and creating an exciting hideout for my kids. Sometimes I catch myself shooing them away when they ask for a custom-built fort. This weekend, my best friend's little girl held me to it each night and said, "Miss Angie, you were suppose to build us a tent." and after the third night, I quickly put my construction skills to work and created a little nook for bedtime stories.
There are so many little things we do as parents that will one day stick in our children's heads as memories. There can be lots of disappointed memories if we're not too careful. I am glad to say that most of my childhood memories are happy ones- ones of innocence, imagination, and excitement. I pray that my children look back on their childhood with the same pleasure that I do on my own; and that I can look back on their childhood and remember the joy of creating these treasures for them.

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Blog of the Week!

 I am extremely excited to have my blog as Blog of the Week on Blog Mommas! It's a great network for mommy bloggers. All moms need support, and I am glad to have discovered the wonderful world of blogging!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Smile Sunday Afterall

I wasn't planning on contributing to Smile Sunday, but I certainly have a lot to smile about after the wonderful day we've had! We hosted the second annual wiffleball tournament in our backyard, and the turnout was fantastic! I sent out a simple invite to meet in the back at 1pm, and neighbors and honorary neighbors showed up with food to share and ready to sweat in the sunshine! One of the bonuses was my best friend and her family are here to spend this fun time with us!
Here are some pictures that will make us smile for years to come, and will remind us of the great neighborhood we have been blessed to live in:
My handsome co-host, pitching.
The cutest 18 month, my best friend's little slugger!

He Pointed to Jonah

Twice today, I was referenced to the story of Jonah. Once in a book that I have been reading, Get Off Your Knees And Pray, and then in my Beth Moore study, Stepping Up about twelve hours later. Isn't it amazing how intricately the Spirit works? And what's most amazing, He worked specifically today through these two books, because something needed to be worked out in me.
When I feel wronged or my impression of someone goes sour, there's a part deep down that immediately wants to quit and walk away as if I could continue on with no heartache and everything would be peachy. Just like Jonah, I want to runaway from tough people, tough situations, or possible contempt. But then, when I do, my heart and mind get buried and weigh heavy- and I am about as useful as if I were sitting in the bottom of a divine whale-ish prison.
God wants to show me something through ALL things- every person, every situation, ALL my encounters are an opportunity for my own good, and His wonderful Glory to be shown (I learned this great concept in When Life And Beliefs Collide)!
I stumble so much that, sometimes I don't remember who I am, what my worth is in Christ, and how important each moment could be if I lived completely by the Spirit.
Does this life every feel like a sluggish dream, and one day we will awake to a vibrant reality called, "Eternity"?

Friday, July 2, 2010

My new adventure

I am embarking on a new adventure. I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) a while back, and will be participating in a critique group. This is SO exciting for me! All you non-writers out there, probably think I am a nerd, but it's so thrilling to gain insight on words that you have delicately crafted and characters you have molded, shaped, and know from the inside out, and then see if they really are believable and interesting to others.
All this has come to fruition after my novel has been on a road of some rejection, and some really intense, constructive criticism. I finally stepped out of my box and realized my story could be told from a new viewpoint in a new structure. I am almost embarrassed of my last draft, and have already developed my protagonist into a deeper more complex person.
Okay, so I am rambling a bit, but I am now stepping up to the plate and hoping to grow and develop something that has been a hobby, to something more like a lifelong passion!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stopping the Kid Trade Off

I am off kilter. Last night I had a dream that my house was being taken over by junk. If you've seen the show Buried Alive, it was kind of like that...not as bad, but bad enough to make me anxiety-ridden as I slept! I had stuff everywhere and was desperately trying to clean up before our guests arrived (which happened to be our pastor and his wife!) I wonder if that meant anything? 
What I do know, is that although my house is not as cluttered as my dream...our summer evenings have become cluttered enough that I feel disconnected from my husband. We have been playing "kid trade off" lately. He will come home from work and I will run to the store, go out with friends, take kids to swimming, or go get stuff done while he entertains the boys. He will come home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, change clothes, and then head off to coach my oldest's baseball games. We are ships passing in the night, starting at about 5 o'clock in the evening!
This has happened on and off since we've had kids, and I feel the backfire of this sort of busyness more than ever. It's a dragging, unbalanced feeling, and I just want to clear our calendars and start over, preferably on a beach somewhere with kids at their grandparents! Ha!I guess since my husband really is my best friend ever, loneliness overwhelms when we're not meshing. Fortunately, we have a fun weekend ahead, and although we'll be surrounded by friends and kiddos, I am going to make the effort to spend the time by his side and not in our usual archaic way of boys over there and girls over here!