Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Baby's Comforter

I hate it when my kids are sick. Their little eyes are glassy and sad, and their face scrunch up with pain when they swallow or their tummy hurts. The only good thing that comes from illness, is the chance to give extra cuddles, extra love, extra time. I enjoy serving my family when they are healthy, but it is an extra token to be their comforter when they are sick.

Only a few times in my life have I felt completely hopeless as their comforter. Once, when my 15 month old was hospitalized for the flu and I had to watch the nurses stick tubes up his nose and into his lungs to suck out all the mucus. Nothing Mommy could say or do would make it feel any better or calm him in such a panicked situation of being held down and prodded.

Now is another time where I feel like I am standing by, hopeless, without the ability to soothe. My son is not sick, but he is downtrodden. He cries out with uncertainty of himself, but can't explain the hurt inside. He doesn't want to talk, he holds back his words for fear they will come out wrong. My heart aches for his loss of self-confidence, his struggle to find joy. Sure, it is probably just a phase that is foreshadowing the pre-teen years which are not too far ahead, but right now, this mama wants to hold her baby and take away his hurt. But it's not that easy. How can you change the way someone feels? There is no bandaid except a destructive turn of the head that ignores his deteriorating self-esteem.

All I can do is pray and rely on the faithful hand of God. My only joy from this comes from the already answered prayers and God-surprises along the way that have assured me one very important thing:

That my son is not mine, but God's.

God has proven that He cares for my son these past few days. I can try and butt up against Him and use my own words, my own techniques, my own strategies, or I can step aside and allow the One who most assuredly has the ability to comfort the deep down hurts do His work.
 It's difficult to imagine that there is someone who loves my son more than me, but no matter how much I love him, I can't always comfort him. I must accept that my Heavenly Father, my son's Heavenly Father, will love him more and will never fail as his ultimate Comforter.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The End.

I just typed

The End.

for the second time on a novel 
that pretty much needed to be rewritten 
to have any chance at going anywhere.
But I pressed on and finished it!

Just had to shout it to the world!

Now to polish it before sending it off to see if I can get any bites!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Who's In Control of The What If's?

It always surprises me how quickly my attitude changes after I hear disturbing information on the news. I guard my heart by staying away from it as much as possible...especially since you can hardly trust any bit of it to be un-biased. Media is absolutely out-of-control now-a-days.
But when the information I learn about has to do with my children, their generation, and threatens their future well-being, anger wells up inside me. I feel hopeless.
Many politicians, news anchors, and activists, enlist a spirit of fear to try and make a difference...or push their agenda forward. The thing is, when they do this, whether they are camping on the side of truth, or are way off target, they plant the seed of, "what if..." We, as concerned citizens, feel like we must run to our "bomb shelters" and hide until the earth falls to shambles and we eat cans of beans for the rest of our hidden lives.
I am disturbed by the stories I hear of school systems ignoring parents and impressing agendas on young minds. It disgusts me that there are people in this country who bear hatred for the very land that sends men and women to die for their comfy lifestyle of Starbucks and Satellite T.V. But what scares me most is, sitting back and saying hogwash because we just don't believe THAT story on the news, and then getting blindsided by the hatred, the agendas that will indeed collapse our values and principles. What if IT is true? What if we ignore it, and it consumes us? I wonder, how many generations before us have struggled with this catch 22?

The only way to calm myself, is to know that nobody is in real news anchor, no politician, no terrorist. My God is GREATER, He is HIGHER, and He ultimately will protect His people as He has done for thousands of years.
Something I have heard in a Bible study before, is "What if (insert worst nightmare) happens, Then (insert God here)." Nothing that happens here on Earth will throw God off His throne, or prevent His will from being done.
If I think about my future, my children's future, I must only look to the One who shapes it. If I try and look at the world without Him in it, I realize just how scary the world really is!

My Shiny Sous Chef

Life's getting healthier around here, and I never thought my cheese grater would have anything to do with it! Thanks to the book, "No Whine With Dinner", I have discovered all the fruits and vegetables I can "grate" and "hide" in meals! Zucchini has been my makes a mean spaghetti sauce ingredient! My 11 month old loves grated apples! My family is getting their vitamins in a delicious way!

Do you have a go-to appliance or kitchen utensil that makes life easier in the kitchen?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pretend you're only-children!

I love mornings. I love getting up and snuggling next to my husband while he reads and sips his coffee. I love the first sip of my own coffee while the house is still asleep. I love mornings....until CHAOS invades!

These boys!!
Spurring on a fight or tying shoes?

Before 7:15 this morning, one child had a melt down because I told him to put a
Too busy messing around in the garage to grab his backpack.

shirt on, one got hit in the head with a backpack, and one fought with me to get out the door because he had better things to play with his toys.
Bickering is as common in the morning as brushing your teeth, around here. How do you stop it? I laughed at myself when I grasped for a solution as my boys began to argue at breakfast, “Pretend you are only-children for a minute.” A nice but slightly disturbed way of saying, “Be quiet!”
If only we could install cubicles on our kitchen island...Does out of sight out of mind really work on brothers who can't resist tormenting eachother? I doubt it.
Aaaaaah. Now I understand how my poor mother of four must have felt! One morning I'll wake up and they will be all grown up and gone, and I am sure I'll miss these mornings, but for now, it's so much more satisfying to complain about it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feeding An "Army"

I didn't believe my elders when they said, "Your boys will eat you out of house and home"...but now, I am the old mom who says it to the first-time mom of a boy!! Geez, my pantry is in constant need of re-stocking, even minutes after the grocery store!
Besides figuring out economical ways to lessen our grocery bill, I have gotten on a healty-eating kick. Not dieting, just keeping processed foods, the "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies, and fatty foods out of our kitchen. It's really difficult to provide healthy snacks that are affordable and satiating, so I have adaped a snack idea one of my friends has taught me...homemade snack mix.

Raisins, Cheddar Bunnies ("real" goldfish, no fake stuff), Pistachios, Peanuts, and chocolate( not necessary, but fun!). All put in little baggies so they can just grab and go. The great thing is, my boys LOVE it! If they need something else before dinner, they get fruit or string cheese, but I can honestly say, they don't ask for snacks near as much after having a snack bag of this stuff...maybe the protein in the nuts, or the length of time it takes to eat it brings them minutes before dinner is ready? Who knows, all I know is with little effort I am able to feed my "army" on a daily basis, without pumping them full of artificial junk food!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lazy Mom?

 She sits there, sipping on coffee while her kids tear up the construction paper and scribble with markers. She cringes at their decision to place THAT there, but doesn't lift a finger.

Coffee is good.

When kids are over for a playdate, she is relieved that the kids can entertain themselves while she reads a book or does laundry.

When they argue, she gets a little annoyed and says, "Work it out yourselves."

Some may think this mom sits on the couch, eats bon bons, watches Oprah, and expects her kids to raise themselves...LAZY!

I beg to differ.

This is the mom that sits with her children, and no matter how much she would like to "just do it for them", she doesn't.

She let's them use their own creativity, she is excited to see the pride in their eyes after accomplishing a project all by themselves.

When kids are over for a playdate, she is relieved that 1.) her kids are learning social skills 2.) They are learning how to entertain themselves and compromise with others 3.) Knows she needs a little break, and uses her time to fill herself up for later when the kids really need her.

When the kids argue, she knows she has instilled in her children the moral values and proper tools to work out arguments, and she understands that it is time for them to practice those things.

This is not a lazy mom. 

 No matter how many other moms look down on this mom for not being a Superstar crafter, or a Top-notch entertainer, could she be the one looking out most for her children's future?

It's okay for the kids to be bored every once in a while, that's when creative juices have room to flow! And it is definitely okay to let the kids (when they are old enough) work it out themselves, after all they can't go to college holding mom's hand!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thought-filled Snapshots

Last night, and early this morning, I got obsessive and started digging through my virtual photo albums, searching for the earliest pictures of my boys. It all started when I said goodnight to my oldest and hugged him, falling into a memory of the first day I cradled him in my arms...ever. How the tears came quickly! His head is probably over half the size that his whole body once was!

So, after the kids were in bed, I spent the rest of the night, until 3 in the morning, sifting through the gazillion of photos. (Although my oldest is 9 1/2, so most of his baby pictures...well, all of them, are hard copies in a photo box in my closet...a big photo box, I think we took at least 1000 his first six weeks of life)!

The stroll down memory lane was a surprising one for me. I laughed and cried at the beautiful babies becoming young boys...the rollercoaster of emotions didn't surprise me though. What surprised me most, was how in many of the pictures, I could remember what I was thinking at the time of the picture. And let me tell you, it wasn't always pretty! Whether it be low self-esteem, or steaming about someone else, or vanity, or disappointment, my thoughts were just as vivid in my mind as the 300dpi image file I stared at!

The memory is pretty blunt isn't it? At least mine doesn't like to sugarcoat the past. It brought to mind the wisdom from my good ol' trusty Bible:

 Whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely...think on these things. Phil. 4:8

What great advice!
As I began to gather my favorite pictures of fabulous four year olds, terrific three year olds, and tremendous two year olds, I let the thought-memories fade away and focused on the cherished childhood memories. How quickly my children's childhood is becoming just that- memories! May my mother's memory be untainted with grumblings and disappointments, and filled with the joys of this season!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Sudsy Box on Poli-Sci

**If you disagree with my opinion, then please feel free to post your own opinion on your blog. This is not an invitation for debate...this is my virtual soapbox. Hope you have one too! Thanks!**

I'll admit it. I have mostly ignored politics this season. And it's not because I am apathetic, far from that. It is because I absolutely don't want to get sucked into the finger-pointing, the fear factor of "our country is going to pot if so and so wins". There are some issues that I am passionate about, VERY passionate about. Issues that I believe will shape how my kids live and survive in this world...the opportunities my grandchildren will have. Sometimes I dread opening a forwarded message or a Facebook link, because of the shock I receive that there are actually people who believe THAT will make the world a better place. Life, Liberty, and Justice are hard to understand anymore. They don't seem as valuable, because they don't mean the same thing to everyone. It's a pursuit of happiness, but now-a-days the happiness of one person can nearly cripple another, or stunt the growth of a future citizen. Spiritual, Intellectual, Emotional growth. In my opinion:

Life- It's not a choice. It's a blessing whether as a consequence or an answered prayer. To allow doctors to end life according to circumstance or checkbook is not supporting this unalienable right.

Liberty-Freedom. Free to do whatever the heck you want? Hmmm. Let's just stomp our feet on any type of moral code (whatever feels good, right?) or scientific evidence (have you evolved lately?), and allow our children to be stripped of any sense of decency and absolute truth. Oh wait, absolute truth is no longer in fashion, individualism is in. Just because something "could" be one way, doesn't mean it is until it's proven. I'd like to depend on proven theories and not convenient ones.

Justice- This is tricky. Everyone is hypocritical. Some judge who should be denied opportunity based on their skin color or economic status, while others push those people to the front of the line just because of their skin color or economic status. Justice seems corrupt, based on agenda, using their own definition of liberty to manipulate the system. 

Honestly, I have no idea who I am going to vote for in November. I may not stick my nose in the newspaper or watch debate shows all night long, but I know who I don't want leading our nation, and it leaves me with very few candidates to choose from.
All I can really do, besides vote, is pray. God tells us that He chooses the leaders, and regardless of what the right or left persuade, the person who God will ultimately use in his greater plan shall prevail. Believing Him, is enough.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tea Time with T

Who says preschool reading time can't be fun for Mama too? We decided to have "T" time (Thomas' one-on-one time, usually spent with Daddy at night) in the middle of the day, with Mama, and some good ol' fashion tea and biscuits...hey, I grew up in England. :)
 I am trying to be more intentional with my son. These are his last few months home with me, and it is so easy to stick him in programs, or in front of t.v. programs, and waste this time away. I have struggled more than ever with spending time with him because I am so distracted with baby, writing, life in general. But, we will push through! And a little cheers and a bite of cookie always helps!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Moody Camps

My moods shift according to my perspective. This is probably a no-brainer, but today, as I was driving my kids to school, I pinpointed the two camps that my attitude usually sits in on any given day:

The tail-end of the past


The threshold of the future

If I am at the tail-end of the past, I am still wrestling with past arguments, past hurts, and past annoying circumstances...whether it be days ago, or moments ago, I am sitting in the dank, stagnant camp of all that is behind me, and letting my feet wallow in the mud of regret.
This is when I am not "good" at anything. Quality is traded in for hopelessness, and contentment is traded in for worrying. My eyes settle on the negative, and I get sucked into a constant vacuum of all things gone wrong.


If I place my attitude on the threshold of the future, I can't see all that's behind me. I can only see potential, excitement, the unknown which safely rests in the hands of my Savior. I can't find regret ahead of me, and I place my path in His Will, knowing He has a plan.

Yesterday was a terrible day. I ended it dwelling on all that went wrong, and ended up pushing everyone away from me. It's easy to let yesterday bleed into today, and dig my feet deeper into the mud. But, if I will choose to grasp on to the door jam of what's ahead, the brightness outshines the bleak, and I know I will be better for it.

Do you have practical ways to switch from the tail-end to the threshold?