Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Things You Learn...

...when a husband spends a week away.

One: you don't talk about such things on a blog if you are paranoid, and I am.

Two: when husbands stay on the 63rd floor, their cell phones don't work because the towers don't reach that high. (who knew?)

Three: apparently when you are staying on the 63rd floor you can look out your window and see helicopters flying beneath you. (yes, I live a sheltered life in the sticks)

Four: he will meet people that make you wish you had a child addicted to a pacifier.

Five: Sure, he might stay out with the guys until 10 on a normal night,and you'll leave all the windows open, but you will put your home into lockdown at 3:40, as soon as the kids are home, just because he won't be back for four more days.

Six: you don't have so many dishes. That is because you don't cook. Because although you only have one less person, you don't want to face the "eat it whether you like it or not" discussion alone. Macaroni and cheese for a week doesn't kill your typically healthy kid.

Seven: You might think that big old bed will feel empty. It won't. It will still fill up with kids who miss Daddy. And they are too big to carry back to their beds, so you let them stay.

Eight: You will be able to declutter those random drawers because you aren't so worried about getting the living room picked up. Or so I told myself. I'm not sure I did any better on any of them.

Well, I thought the cell phone and helicopter factoids were interesting. And the Pacimal.

Frodo Again

This kid is a card. A delight to my soul. When he is minding, of course.

Tonight at dinner he announces, "I have a brilliant idea! For me, anyway." He's four people! His brilliant idea (now that you are all wondering) was that he would eat his pizza and then drink his pop so that he would have some left after dinner was over. (Did you read that right? Yes. I gave him pop for dinner. One third of a can.)

Second, he's taken to playing with the boy trapped in the mirror.

At least he isn't imaginary.

Third. He's taken to buckling Jesus into the van whenever we go somewhere.

Again. At least He isn't imaginary. Someone out there might think so, but as far as I'm concerned, I like having Him in the van with me. Preferably in the driver's seat, but the back bench seat will do. Nothing like a gold embossed invite though, to have a four year old do your seatbelt.

Something's Been Bothering Me

I'm one of those people who makes comments on the fly and then has to go back and apologize later. I find myself regretting something and feeling the need to clarify. Again.

When I gripe about the dishes and the lack of them that a certain spouse does...I'm not really griping about him. I am griping about the dishes. And the large volume of them.

I don't really expect Hubs to do the dishes. It is like him expecting me to mow the lawn.


Or, heaven forbid, get a job.


It isn't like I couldn't do those things. Well, the job would be tricky with the breastfeeding infant and the daycare expense and the housework but I understand there are lots and lots of women that do just that.

I suppose I could try to start the mower. I did, in fact, try that once. I couldn't pull the string fast enough to ever get the thing going. I haven't tried since. That was back in, oh, 2000. So when he points out that the yard needs mowed, I know that he isn't suggesting that I do it. So when I point out that the dishes need doing and that I hate doing them, he knows that I'm not suggesting that he do them. (Not that I would mind, mind you, but I'm not making the suggestion.)

But I don't think that you, dear reader, know this. And I've been feeling like I've been griping about Hubs (as far as the (snort) national audience is concerned).

So there ya go. Clarity.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Explain This One

Today I only had one caffeine. That is the least amount of caffeine I have consumed in a day as I've weaned myself off.

Charming took two naps.

Each lasting 20 minutes.

And he's still awake now, a good hour and thirty minutes after he usually goes down when he hasn't napped well.

I think this caffeine depravation theory is a bunch of bunk.

More on Self-Flagellating

As I do nearly every night once my children are all sleeping angelically, I lay awake beating myself up for my response to their behavior.

What's wrong with me? I thought I finally had them basically where I wanted them.

And then it occurred to me. I did. I had another baby. 98% of the stuff that they do that drives me crazy revolves around waking, upsetting or otherwise making my life miserable with the baby. It is virtually impossible to do anything with a six month old. You can't play Uno, you can't cook dinner, you certainly can't do laundry (very well--though there is the throw it in all wadded up with all the colors together and hope for the best method), you can't read for prolonged amounts of time. Most of what I'm frustrated with them about is that they want ME. And then I finally get Charming sleeping and have some time for them (or the laundry) and they wake him up (or ask me to read a book when I've just run a sink full of dishwater)!

AARGH! Look out! Animal Mama on the loose!

I'm comforting myself this afternoon that it isn't that they are exponentially naughtier than they were last year, it is that we still haven't adjusted to the bambino.

Long about, say, 2010, we ought to be back to normal.

Side note: I just watched the master disciplining her first graders. Wow.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If You Want to Learn Something New

Put your four year old on your computer and see what happens.


I'm too young for this to happen to me.

That's Just Cool

Someone from Singapore just stopped by my blog. And the UK, and Spain. I can only credit Tricia's blog tour for this sudden international coolness. Come on back, people! You made my day.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Knew Her When

One of the things I hate about going "home" is that I will most assuredly bump into someone who knew me when. While I was basically a good kid and followed most of the rules, I was a teenager. I said stupid things, I did stupid things and, even now, teens of years later, something will tickle my memory and I'll rapidly think, "Don't think about it! Don't think about it!" to try to thwart my subconscious from making itself known to my conscious. And then it does, anyway.

Yep. The teen years. You gotta love 'em. Or maybe not.

Hubs loves to tell the story of the girl who ran against him for Stuco president. She didn't want to run against him. She knew there was no way she'd beat him. In her own words, "Do I look like a glutton for punishment? He's unbeatable. Why would I put myself through the humiliation?"

You guessed it. She was me. And I did run...and lose. And it was humiliating. I didn't even want the stinky position, but I certainly didn't want to lose! Oh, the horror!

But the worst part? Aside from the meltdown. And the stomach cramps. And the speech. It was telling him off in the hallway between classes (after the humiliation of the assembly where he assaulted my character, my ideas and my frizzy hair (that was an inside joke just for him)) only to whip around to storm off (quite dramatically) to find his MOTHER standing right behind me. (I'm not certain whether I actually called him that bad word for a donkey or only thought it.)

Yep. The teen years. They can haunt you.

What I needed was a book like Tricia Goyer's My Life, Unscripted. If you are a teen, have a teen or work with teens, you need to check out this book. Like she says, "You don't have to be the victim of every drama--you can write your own script." It is biblically sound advice, with real life examples, for teens so that they don't depend upon chance to get through the tough teen years--they can script their responses to situations before they are in them.

And hopefully they (you) won't have to chant to yourself, "Don't think about it! Don't think about it!" when they're 32.

Of course, I did get the guy, so I guess it wasn't all bad...

I Knew Better

So, yes, I greatly enjoyed Heroes, even if I did have to nurse the baby in the middle of it. And I'm a little freaked that the amnesiac Peter Patrelli might be being used as an assassin. And is the flying boy a good guy or a bad guy? (I so knew he was one of the gifted.) It will take all year to find out, I'm sure.

But the nightmares!

So last night I flew (I imagine with Nathan Patrelli, it was certainly with someone) but he dropped me, but as in most falling dreams, I bounced, because I think I was made out of some wierd substance like the silver surfer (which was previewed during Heroes), but I didn't know I was going to bounce. And I'm sure that Sylar was in the mix somewhere.

This, my friends is why I don't watch TV. It infiltrates my dreams. I did OK watching the Heroes reruns this summer because I saw the ending last spring so I knew who lived. This should be an interesting year.

Anyway, a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Disney Grandma! I just found out that a new little miss will share your big day!

What will Charming do with all these baby girls to choose from? He better keep those dimples to himself.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Can I Just Say

I am so PUMPED for the start of the new Heroes season tonight!

No one call me until 9, K?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Iffn Ye 'ave A Hankerin...

Fer the Caribbean, and beachcombin' ain't yer thang--it's mine, but we won't go there today--A little piratin' might be just what yer missin'. Hussle on up yer ratlines (or onto yer fancy computer) to pick up MaryLu Tyndall's newest pirate adventure, The Restitution.

The Restitution is the third and last book in M.L. Tyndall's pirate trilogy. It tells the tale of Lady Isabel Ashton, a woman once ravished by a pirate, who decided to keep the child even though she is now shunned by her parents and society. Hidden away under a reverend’s care at Port Royal, her baby is suddenly kidnapped and she is forced to combine forces with the child’s father, the infamous Captain Kent Carlton. Captain Carlton’s love for Isabel and his shame at what he did has begun to change his dark heart. Now, all he seeks is her forgiveness and to help her find their son. As the couple encounters sea battles, mutinies, intrigues, deceptions, and fierce natives, Kent is drawn to Isabel’s strong faith in God and begins to give his heart to the Almighty. But will Isabel ever forgive him? Will she give up her dreams of wealth and position to marry a lowly pirate? And what is Kent willing to forsake for Isabel and for God?

And here's the book trailer for you more visually inclined.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cold Soda, Anyone?

Last night I picked up three two liters of soda for the group that meets at our house Friday nights. We cracked a couple of them open to drink with our hamburgers for dinner. (So did we really buy them for group? Anyhoo...)

I jumped (trudged) up from dinner to run baths and read to the kids and such. When I finally returned to the kitchen to clean up dinner, it was just as I'd left it, or so I thought. The ketchup was still out. The left over burgers, still out. Cheese, still out. Plates, still nasty and on the table (I don't know how many times I have to tell them...)

I went about the clean up, beginning by scooping up the things that should be refrigerated. When I went to open the fridge to put them away, lo and behold, what did I find? The three two liters of soda.

At least he knows his priorities.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Here's A Shoutout

I think I said something about these people before, but let me reenumerate.

This place rocks.

I've decided it is more, much more, than having dinner already assembled when dinner time comes. It is more than the high quality of food you put before your family. It is more than being cheaper than eating out.

They do your dishes.

See, you go online, you pick out what you want to cook. You go in. You assemble your meals using the already chopped, peeled, diced, grated, you name it, gathered together ingredients. You even put your meals into their baggies or disposable pans.

They come along and clean up after you.

While you are off putting the cooking directions label on your newly assembled food, they sweep in, grab all the dishes and disappear with them, just after they wipe the area down.

Fast forward an hour, you are escorted out to your car where Gary helps you unload your 12 meals into your cooler (they make sure that 12 meals will fit into a standard refrigerator freezer). You drive home, unload 11 meals into the freezer, set the 12th out for dinner. Lord willing, your kitchen is clean when you get there.

You pop the meal either in a crock pot, onto the grill, or in the oven. You pull it out. You serve it. You wad the baggie or aluminum pan into the trash, load the 5 plates into the dishwasher, brush off your hands and go play Uno.

It isn't just the pan that you get to throw away. It is all the mixer beaters and measuring spoons and mixing bowls, and measuring cups and the messy cabinet you don't have to wash. It is the 14 times of a child not having to ask, "When will you be done so you can come play?" while you frantically try to make something healthy. It is hours off your day.

I've tried once a month cooking. And though it is wonderful, it takes all of a day and a good half of another to buy and prepare the ingredients. I have friends who have tried some of the other versions of this. They agree this is the best one out there, that the others (who cost more) still have several steps of cooking once you get home (thus minimizing the no dishes concept that I so love), and the food isn't as good.

I have methods. I like my methods. And I could do it cheaper. I have. However, I've been out of YOK meals now for a week and I'm going stir crazy with ALL THESE DISHES! And ALL THIS WORK! So I'm going back. Next weekend.

If any of you live nearby and want to join me, I'd love to see you there!

(And NO, Gary didn't put me up to this. This is all me.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just Once...

I had a masterpiece of a blog post composed in my head this morning. It began this way:

Just once, I'd like to come home from Bible Study and discover that, in my absence, someone had come along and done the dinner dishes.

Do you know why I didn't write it?

Just Once would be NOWHERE near enough.

However, I live in perpetual hope.

I Feel A Bit Sick

For the last two years, this has been the day I would have left for the ACFW conference.

I really didn't think this was a year I was supposed to go. I still don't. I knew last year, when I went three months pregnant I wouldn't be back this year unless something miraculous happened. And, aside from the birth of Charming, the miraculous didn't happen.

Hubs didn't sell his business so that he could accompany me.

I didn't finish another novel.

I haven't improved my last novel.

There's no point in going.


This is the conference that brought me out of my PPD from Frodo. This conference meant more to me spiritually than any "real" biblical conference has since I was 15. It is my spiritual get-away. And I'm not getting away.

It helps that two of my roomies from last year aren't going either. We can comfort each other this weekend. But my roomie from the year before just decided last Friday she could go.


So I'm going to assume that ache in my tummy is envy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Speaking of dogs...

Last night the news headlined with a guy who, from the inside of his house, pulled a gun on a reporter. Who called 911.

Are you kidding me? Since when do reporters have the right to come onto your property? And since when do you NOT have the right to cock a shotgun inside your own home? Seriously.

What is beyond ridiculous is that they were going to the home to interview the guy whose dog mauled two people earlier in the day. So, though they mentioned the mauling in passing, they showed the gun threat 3 times in a single story. This is news? That people don't want reporters sticking their mics in their faces? And why did we all of a sudden decide to not show the mauling story? Did they really think this was better? Come on.

This is why I don't watch the news.

A Not to My (Childless) Neighbors

Yes, all six of you. On all six sides of me.

If you can't make your dog quit barking and waking up my baby, well, lets just say you haven't seen Miss Tiger yet. You may think you have, but so far I've kept her caged. This mama is about to lose it.

A Note to Frodo

If you are going to sneak off and eat Mom's Dove Dark Chocolate bar, it would behoove you to throw the wrapper away when you are finished. Otherwise, I might just find you out.

To Clarify

That last (next) post was poking fun at ME not Hubs. I did it to myself. It caused me great amusement. I did not mean to drag down my spouse at all. He knows that. But I'm not sure everyone else does. I just wanted to be clear on that. He brought me roses and peanuts (to go with my corn candy). Our birthdays aren't that big around here on a good year, that's why it was ok for me to experiment.

I appear to have offended Disney Grandparents. Although I contend that I graduated college Summa Cum Laude, I'm smart enough to NOT do my griping about my in-laws on a blog that they read, that I was only telling a story, someone thinks I was telling on them. I didn't think I was complaining. I thought I was sharing an interesting quote that happened to show up on my daily calendar after a particularly fun weekend of eating a lot of junk. Which I let my kids do when the DGs are in town. Also known as the Romans.

So to clarify: DGs did NOT give my kids pop. They gave them donuts, cotton candy, pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, frosties, espinaca, and chips and salsa. I, yes I, gave them the pop. To go with the pizza. I am the villain.

And lest this post is also offensive, I will now stop.

So laughing here (not at anyone but myself).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Setting Him Up for Failure

Hubs forgot my birthday.

I have always been an advocate of setting a spouse up for success. If you want an anniversary ring for your 10th anniversary, ladies, begin telling him that long about your 1st. Unless he is completely dense, he'll get it.

I did. When our 10th came around, we were broke and couldn't afford it. I joined in on the decision to NOT buy the ring. But the fact that we had the conversation told me he had been listening.

If you want him to remember your birthday and take you out for dinner, begin a week before said birthday and say things like, "I can't wait until Monday when we can go out to Carabbas." You might see the gears crank while he figures out what is Monday, but most of them are bright enough to figure it out.

Sometimes he'll surpass your expectations and go above and beyond, but I'm a big believer of being straightforward. I've never been disappointed.

But this year, I kept forgetting I had a birthday coming. I would look towards Eldest's, but I occurred less and less to me that the countdown included me. I'd say ten days ago, Hubs and I had a conversation about that very thing. We also discussed how this was supposed to be a BIG birthday because we were supposed to sell the company by today so we were kind of bummed that it would be less than spectacular.

So when the weekend rolled around and I kept forgetting and I thought, hey, why not, I won't mention it and let's see if he'll forget. Last year he was out of town and he remembered. The year before I was out of town and he remembered. Let's just see, for kicks.

This morning, much to my amusement, he forgot. Granted, it was a big day. Corporate taxes are due (if you have filed two extensions, anyway), toastmasters had a meeting. How much can you expect from a man. When he saw 9/17/07 all he saw were obligations.

I was going to let it go to see how long it would take him, but when he came home from toastmasters to do the taxes, I didn't have the heart. It is one thing to not call him at work to tell him, quite another to look at him in the face and wait for the light bulb to go on. Even when I told him, he face was totally blank. It took a full three seconds for him to get it.

So there ya go. I totally deserved it. I set him up for failure and fail he did. Lesson learned.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Little Girls

I am so exasperated with myself for being exasperated with Princess today. Granted, I have a whole litany of excuses at the ready, some of them very valid. Like...

I have a headache.
Hubs was grumpy.
The house is trashed.
I'd already been out with each of the boys.
And they weren't cooperative.

Better said, Princess needed a special date. But she is so naggy about getting her special dates and the boys are really in need of stuff, like shoes, and she isn't. So they keep getting the dates and she keeps getting the "we'll try next weekend, I promise"'s So today, instead of taking Frodo to Target--about 20 yards away--with me after his shoe expedition (its own story), I drove home to drop off Frodo and pick up Princess.


At Target I had an agenda. I had stuff I needed to get. It needed my concentration. And I had Charming by this time because he can only stand to be away from me while he is sleeping and even then he usually figures it out and wakes. And Princess had money she wanted to blow.

I know I've mentioned our stuff-itis at this house. We don't need one single thing that her money can buy. I can't let her bring home one single thing that won't get a complaint from Hubs. I'd already learned that by bringing Eldest home with a new watch. What can I say? The kid likes watches. He had birthday money to spend. He wanted a gigontomous stuffed T Rex and I thought myself very wise for talking him into the watch he's always wanting and out of the flash in the pan dinosaur. But Hubs harhumps "I don't know why we have to have so many watches."


So as I'm shopping for a card, I let Princess sift through the $1 rack at Target, thinking she'll blow a buck and be done. But no. She has $6 and she'll be darned if she will spend only $1. She brings 6 trinkets. "This is what I'm going to buy."

Deep sigh.

All I can think about is that I'M going to hear it from Hubs. First I lecture her on spending her money just to spend it. Then I lecture her on taxes. Then I lecture her on the quality of junk she's wasting her money on. Then I lecture her on the need for said junk.

She says, "Charming can have the puppet."

"Charming doesn't need a puppet! Besides, we already have a cheetah puppet!"

She talks herself out of three items. Better said, she, trying to please me, puts three items back. I am tired of the battle and just let her buy the remaining three. We come home.

Next thing I know, her brothers are coming upstairs to show me the gifts their sister just bought for them.

I feel wretched.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Teach 'em early, teach 'em well

Realize that is tongue in cheek since I gave charming his first french fry last night...

This morning, during the before school scramble, Charming seemed to want a banana (as I divvied them out to the kiddos). I mushed one up and spooned him a little--which he promptly spit out. We kept trying and I'd say 98% of the banana ended up OUTSIDE of his mouth. So I quickly dished up some peas--which he inhaled.

No sweet stuff for him, thanks.

I was being figurative

When I said "disappoint children" I meant because the present opening didn't happen immediately upon waking. I did NOT mean that the "dirt cake" which I so diligently poured myself into would go bad and I'd have 15 children and four adults screwing their faces into "yuck" expressions.

FYI, my MIL says that mixing whole milk with cool whip can make things taste bad. I think my milk went bad, but I think I will also avoid the cool whip whole milk combo. Gag! Gag! Gag!

You should have seen the relief when I told the kids they didn't have to eat it to save my feelings. You never saw so many racing to the trash cans to dispose of sugar as quickly as they could.

I am mortified.

And while I'm talking about disappointing children:

Tonight, after the presents opening, the kids thought we needed to go out to eat at Eldest's choice of restaurants. (I'd bought hot dogs as a special treat little knowing that the tradition of picking the restaurant when Disney grandparents are in town would extend to me if said picking didn't occur when DGs were here--because we went to the local theme park!) We talked them down to McDonalds. Where we got burgers and fries and waters (hey, they don't usually get fries).

As we left the playplace and refilled our waters, Frodo kept insisting that he should have Sprite.
He very ceremoniously dumped out the water and stuck his cup up to the pop nozzle. When I told him, for the 87th time, no and explained for the 87th time "because we didn't pay for Sprite, we paid for water," he let me refill the cup with water.

As we marched out the door to the van, he took a long pull and said,

"Mmmmmm, this is exactly what I didn't want."

Oh, And Theresa?

No all grandparents aren't "that bad."

However, Disneyland grandparents present their own unique set of circumstances. I wouldn't call it "bad," but it is a whole lot easier to smile and let them give the kids pop (soda, Coke, cola) than fight the process.

Even if we do take three days to get off the sugar high.

Putting In Time

I'm having one of those parenting months where I feel like I'm just putting in my time. I'm not enjoying my time and I don't think anyone is enjoying theirs with me.

I get up in the morning and do the frantic before school dash. Then I put in time until I either have to go back to school to teach / lunch monitor or until it's time for the kids to come home. Then I put in my time until bedtime. Then I pant for a few moments until the cement on my eyelids forces them closed.

Last night I felt so proud that I was making it as late as I did when I feel asleep. I looked at the clock: 9:13. I kid you not. I thought I'd made it until 11 and it wasn't even 9:15.

Every moment is full. It is either legitimately full, or it is full of what-I-should-be-doing. Whether that is the laundry, or playing with Frodo during Charming's excruciatingly short naps. And if I'm playing it is the laundry and if it is the laundry it's playing.

I'm reminded of the old saying: God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I'm so far behind, I will never die.

Or this one in the old Mennonite grocery store in my hometown: The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.

Well, must dash off. I have a birthday party to plan and a house to clean and treats to take to school and lunch to monitor and children to disappoint and laundry scraping the ceiling...

Speaking of birthday parties: this is much better than my life 7 years ago when I was waiting to see if I would be a mother. Back then I had NOTHING to do and I was miserable.

Happy Birthday Eldest!
This is all your fault and I'm so very, very glad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Getting Along with Grandparents

From John Rosemond:

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do; when the Romans come to you, do as the Romans do."

It sure makes for better relations with the Romans. Besides, we'll be the Romans someday, Lord willing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lisa T. Bergren

Picture, if you will, my mailbox a couple weeks ago. Books, pouring in. It was a fabulous couple of days. I've decided, contrary to my thinking, that a primary love language for me is receiving gifts, and mail counts...especially when it contains books. Well, in the course of very little time I received very different and yet oddly similar books from two different authors. All were set in Italy in the 1300s. One author was easy to read, fast paced, and fabulous. The other? Though I started it before the other, I've only made it to page 48 in his book.

I am pleased to interview the fabulous author, Lisa T. Bergren, writer of The Gifted series (on sale now at a Target near you! (or at the end of this interview)). Think Medieval Catholic meets Charismata. Or DaVinci code without the heresy. This series rocks! I love the premise that one of Paul's letters (uncanonized) could be prophetic in nature and the characters live the prophecy fulfilled. But before you get all het up, she stays true to scripture.

Oh, and she paints such a great scene she's made the other author readable. There's something to be said for that!

Can you tell us about a chaotic moment in your life (writing or otherwise)?

I used to have a lot more chaos in life, when the kids were babies and you are so NEEDED every hour of every day. As they've gotten older (now 12, 9 and 4), there's a cadence to our days. And I've gotten better about saying no to things that cost me or my family too much--and helping my kids and hubby do the same. My eldest would be involved in something after school every day, if I let her. But then there goes any chance at a family meal, etc.

Writing is most challenging when there's no semblance of routine. So on days when the kids are vomiting, I've discovered a pile of overdue bills, there's five stacks of laundry, nothing in the refrigerator, etc., etc., I just scrub writing and start ticking off the chores and tasks and responsibilities. I just can't concentrate if my life isn't in some sort of order! How can I order a character's life if mine isn't? Since being a wife and a mother and a disciple are all a bigger call to me than writing, the writing has to come after those three.

On normal days, I take care of all those family/house responsibilities in the morning, and write in the afternoon while the girls are in school, often with Jack (my 4 year old), right beside me, playing games, drawing, etc. (And yes, watching at least one movie--something that keeps him occupied for an hour!)

How on earth did you manage to get a Medieval published by the CBA? Way to go! I know people who are having a terrible time of it.

I know it's a hard sell in the CBA. I think the bigger hook in the series idea--a group of people gifted by God and prophesied to come--helped. I almost could've set it in any era, any place, which is a good sign of that age-old "hook." However, only one CBA publisher bid on it, and they have New York connections (as does Berkley Praise--they're part of Penguin), so you never know!

(sorry, the cover isn't right, but it is the right book, I think)

Oh, the Anxiety

Today was trash day. My favorite day of the week.

Today was also Vets donation pick up day. My favorite day of the bi-month.

I'm reading two de-cluttering books. (I highly recommend them both.)

You don't even want to know what just drove away from my house. I tried to not look in the bags again, just to make sure, but I did.

I shouldn't have.

We never will miss that stuff.

Some of it has been in those bags for two months, just to see if we'll miss it, and we didn't.

But now it is really and truly gone.

I'd feel liberated if I wasn't so busy fretting.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.

Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokie Pokey" died peacefully at the age of 93.

The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in, and then the trouble started.

Oh come on, you know it's funny.

(Now I'm feeling guilty wondering if the guy really died and we're having a laugh at his expense.)

Update: I googled him. He died in '96 at the age of 83. The guilt is waning.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm Invisible

My sister sent this to me this morning. I don't know from whence it came, I don't know who Charlotte is, so I can't give credit where credit is due, but I think there are a lot of mommies out there that could stand to read this today. I sure did.

Update: Anonymous (that you, Joyce?) says this is from Nichole Johnson of Women of Faith.

I'm Invisible.

It all began to make sense - the blank stares, the lack of response,
the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and
ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"
Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or
sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one
can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this?
Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a
clock to ask, "What time is it?"
I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?"
I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the
eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -
but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return
of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous
trip, and
she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.
I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down
at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.
My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could
actually smell peanut butter in it.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me
with a beautifully wrapped package, and said,
"I brought you this."
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.
I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
"To Charlotte , with admiration for the
greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me four, life-changing truths after which I
could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no
record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a
work they would never see finished.
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes
of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a
tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,
"Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be
covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the
sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No
act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've
baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great
cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own
self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I
keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder.
As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished,
to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals
could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people
willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend
he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving,
"My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies,
and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses
all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a
shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home.
And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add,
"You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if
we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will
marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added
to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Spider

Size is about accurate. Photo from here.
I did finally find it again. When I found it, there were no babies on "her" back, so I am hoping "she" was a "he" or at least not carrying babies that could have potentially infested my home. And I certainly hope there isn't still a she with her offspring residing in my home.

And as a good science teacher, spidey is currently residing in a clear shoe box (with duct tape all around the lid) in my children's classroom.

Shut up.

I didn't want to feel the squish.

But man can that thing jump and run. You could hear it scrabbling around the box last night.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Because I'm Not Net Savvy

And have no idea how to "grab" the clip even with the dummy button, I recommend you go see JJ West and watch this video.

Update: HA! It put in the black box, but not the video. LOL! Now you really want to go see it, doncha?

You wouldn't believe

the spider I just saw in my basement.

Yes saw. Not smashed. Not caught. Have no stinking idea where it is now--spider in my basement.

The thing is so big and so hairy that just now when I saw a squirrel bound past my window, I jumped.


And Hairy.

And if it is a wolf spider I can't smash it because her babies will scatter and I'll have a whole infestation of them .

What do I do?

Why today?

I am wound so tight I think I could unzip my skin and step out of it.

Joy in the Morning?

Nope. Still feeling surly.


Out of force of habit and not the least little bit out of holiness, I grabbed my Bible this AM and turned randomly to the Psalms (randomly within the Psalms, I turned purposefully to the Psalms) and here is the first line I read: "May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble." Psalm 20:1

I feel slightly less forsaken, at least.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

But you know what?

There's only so long a woman can die to herself and not just give up and die altogether.

A couple years ago I started a book called, "Everyone wants a piece of me! (and I've got no pieces left)." It was everything you'd never want in a book. And thus the reason it never went anywhere.

Believe it or not, I don't get a great deal of satisfaction out of whining.

But that's what I want to do now. Here at 11 pm. Hours, yes hours after I went to bed but am still not allowed to sleep. Why? Because I am a mother. And this is one mother who would currently like to cash in her title and go lay on a beach somewhere where cabana boys bring her drinks.

And right now, as I always do, I want to go back and correct that, or at least qualify it, saying you know I don't mean that. Except it sure feels like I mean it. And I'm tired of qualifying everything I write. The skin is falling off my hands. I don't get to sleep. I do my darned best for my kids who don't appreciate it. People want answers from me RIGHTNOW, but don't bother to answer my queries for weeks on end and only if I endlessly nag to get the answer and long after the answer could have helped me even the tiniest little bit. I feel like I am stretched so thin that the littlest thing will cause me to snap and yet I'm still asked for more. And then I sit down in church and hear a sermon about SELF-FREAKING-DENIAL.

Now, I hope I have vented enough that I can go to sleep. For heaven only knows that I may just used up the only 10 minutes I'll get this week.

I am so going to hate that I published this tomorrow morning.

Or maybe not. I just heard someone fall out of bed. At least I didn't have to pry my eyes back open to deal with that one.


Or that's what I think the sermon was about.

You see, it was like this:

I was at church with my four munchkins, sans Hubs. Said munchkins were restless and after the forty-third "when can we go to Power Kids?" so was I. Especially when the announcements went W-A-Y long. I finally got the big three settled in their respective classes and condemned myself to the nursing mother's room in the basement. No sooner had my bum hit the floor with the bambino then I see the sermon title flashed up on the monitor. I think it said Self-Denial. I know I groaned.

Blah, blah, blah. Pay now or pay later. We live in an instant society. With all this credit we don't think we have to wait for anything. Discipline now if you want your children to bless you in your old age. Blah, blah, blah.

I don't mean disrespect in those blah, blahs. I mean, this is all stuff I know and sometimes wish I didn't. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to slap down a credit card yesterday and buy my kids new beds. But his whole delayed gratification kept ringing in my ears. As it did when I wanted to go out for ice cream. And dinner. And coffee. Because it was a "holiday," ya know. And I couldn't do any of them and enjoy myself so I fed my family left overs all day. (which we are very thankful to have...)

There's a reason that even when you go through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, you should still sit in on a class every now and then. This sermon was the same kind of thing. He didn't say anything new, it just didn't hurt to hear it again.

Although I'll say this: I do feel like we've been through some pain so it seems like our time should be a comin', but I suppose God doesn't necessarily agree, nor should I presume to force my time to come.

But some days, I want my gratification NOW.

That's all.

I'm a Winner!

Lookie here! I won something!

Hubs would say, "like she needs anyone to encourage her book addiction." He has room to talk...I'm just excited to try out a new-to-me author for the kiddos.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Note To Pastor Phil

Delayed Gratification STINKS!

I can't tell you how many times today I wanted to do something "because it is a holiday weekend" and didn't because of you.


Thanks a lot.