Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Today I was thinking about how I want to get my nosed pierced and what's holding me back.

I've got this inner rebellious streak that just keeps rising up within me and when it does, I feel like this life that I lead is absolutely suffocating me. (Not my man and kids....the rest of it. The prim and proper church-goer that tries to not make inflammatory remarks...and fails....repeatedly....daily...hourly. Part of the problem being that I don't mean for the remarks to be inflammatory and only figure out that they are when I see the other proper church-goer's reactions.) And I thought, Shoot. I'm gonna do it.What difference could it possibly make?

I really think I would have done it had I been at a mall.

Twice in the last two days I've heard people described as "gentle." NO ONE would EVER describe me as gentle. Not in a million years. What is prized in Christian women? Gentle and quiet spirits.

Never gentle. Never quiet. If I am quiet, you know that I am absolutely STEAMING and just wait and watch for the top to pop. It will happen. (Crap, I just let you in on a secret that would be better left concealed.)

Every now and then my spirit is quiet. I remember once, approximately 13 years ago, driving home alone from Minnesota and being completely at peace. I had a moment last Thursday when I suddenly remembered that I had four children and a house on the market. I suspect the moment immediately preceding that moment I was completely at peace. Those peaceful, quiet, and possibly gentle moments are rare. I am currently suffering, however, from tightness in my neck so severe that I'm sure I should take something for it and go to bed.

I just have to believe, though, that God made me this way. I'm not using it as an excuse to be rude and high-strung. I really don't MEAN to be rude. I'm just very blunt. And not gentle in my bluntness. You don't, however, have to wonder very long at what I'm thinking. Surely that can be a good thing....sometimes?

So anyway, yesterday I was feeling a bit low, one because I have an inner ear issue that doesn't want to resolve and more importantly because I'll never, in a million years, be described as "gentle." Brash, maybe. Harsh, possibly. Rebellious, likely. Loud, absolutely. And I was thinking about striving to be gentle so that someone would describe ME someday as gentle. And I started to feel like I couldn't get air.

And I decided it might be time to pierce my nose.

Hopefully someone will find a good adjective for me when it comes time to give me flowers on my retirement.

From what, I do not know.

But I have a hunch what they'll come up with is "Gets things done, not necessarily right, but she shows up and even if she has a bad attitude about it, laughs a lot. LOUDLY."


Now where is THAT in Proverbs 31?

In the continuing saga that is Princess and reproduction VI

In church on Sunday, they were doing a recognition of our secretaries that both quit/retired/whatever at the same time. During this time, one was described as "having a baby" with our youth pastor (the reason she was quitting), at which point the youth pastor interjected "GOT MARRIED....HAD BABY" while emphatically gesturing. (It didn't help that she had just been introduced by her maiden name.) The church burst into fits of laughter.

At which point in time Princess stage whispers to me, "Why is everybody laughing?"



My stupid cat caught a baby bird and brought her "gift" in the house to me before I caught on to what she was doing.

The bad news is that her "gift" wasn't yet dead.

The good news is that I originally thought it was a mouse. Live birds are preferable to live mice in my house. Don't ask why.

The bad news is I let her into my bedroom.

When I figured out she was carrying gifts, I screeched and grabbed at her at which point she let go her prey who fled under my bed and which point I screeched louder and which point the kids came running and which point the cat flew under the bed after the prey.

We still thought it was a mouse at this point.

The kids chased the prey back and forth under the bed, under the dresser, under the chest, under the bed, under the dresser, under the side table, with cat trailing.

They finally cornered the bird (we knew what it was by now) in the corner and were calling the cat over to have a feast.

I screeched, "WHY? Chase it out!"

(I was sitting on the back porch to avoid beaning by broom handle.)

All the bird needed was encouragement towards the door. They moved the blockade and it flew out.

Directly at my head. 

Stupid cat has become quite a mouser. Or chipmunker. Or birder. And REALLY likes to give her captives to me.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Men and Football

I like football. I do. There is no better place to be on a cool September Friday evening, than watching a football game. Unless, of course, you have a three year old that just won't stay off the field, or quit running off into the crowds, or a seven year old that insists he is old enough to prowl around unescorted, or a pre-adolescent nine year old girl who "just doesn't understand football" and would rather be at a sleepover. You know, except for those small factors. And lightning. And rain. And freezing temperatures. But I'm talking crisp, cool, evening. The kinds that were made for football.

But I realized that my appreciation for football is lacking in one major area.

I don't know what a "gun" on a ten year old is.

My Eldest played quarterback on Friday night. This is new. The little boy I've known for ten years didn't want people to look at him. He is not OK with making mistakes and who makes more obvious mistakes than a quarterback? At least as a runningback he only had to be the center of attention when had the ball. Which was less than he wanted it.

But Friday night, he was lobbing the ball all over the field. Many, many passes went uncaught. Many had no hope of being caught by anyone but the opposing team. But once he calmed down and quit playing hot potato with the football, he and his receiver got a little rhythm going and made some plays. A touchdown even. And yes, I was a proud mama and an excited one. Football is more interesting when your kid has the ball sometimes. Or is making plays (he plays pretty decent D, too). But it DID NOT occur to me that his passing was anything remarkable.

Until, that is, the men on the sidelines started patting his daddy on the back and talking about those guns and rifles he was throwing.

Really? Guns and rifles?

Hubs was talking about the pretty passes. The clean spirals. The length of the passes.

I've been watching pro and college and even high school football too long. I was not aware that a five yard pass was impressive. Then again, once he finally started throwing the football at his teammates, he dropped them right into their waiting hands. And apparently men know that passes like that on a ten year old are pretty good.(?) So when Hubs started asking Eldest on Saturday morning if his arm was sore from lobbing that ball "all over that field" and they continued to talk about it for another 30 minutes, I clued in.

Apparently my kid can throw.
A football, anyway.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Hubs and I watch a TV show called "Parenthood" which, though is about parenthood, it's also about being married, being a sibling, being an adult child, relationships, parenting adult children, parenting preschoolers, parenting special needs, parenting.....thus the name. But there's this character who is far too like me for my comfort.

My poor children.

She catastrophizes. In every situation, her mind goes forward in time until she finds the catastrophe.

That's me.

Five-thirty this morning I Can. Not. Sleep. Why? Because my house is on the market. We have two showings today. How am I going to get the house ready? What if someone wants it? What if we have to MOVE? What if I don't want to move? Oh CRAP! We have showings starting at 11:15, but what if the phone rings and someone wants to see the house before that???! We're going on a mini vacation with friends soon. What will I wear? When will I pack? How are my parents going to handle the kids? What if someone wants to see my house while I'm packing? What if something happens to us? What if something happens to the kids? What if the world ends? If the world ends, where do I want to be living? We should move. What if no one ever wants our house? What if we have to give the house away in order to move? Crap! What if we can't get a loan?

It is now 5:31.

Guess I'll get up and make some coffee.

Welcome to my inner world.

Friday, September 17, 2010


As I do most mornings, I woke up this morning and immediately thought, Don't think! Don't think! Don't think! Because if I can just not think a rational thought, I can go back to sleep, but once that first thought crosses my mind, it's all over. I lay there and stew and worry and plan and think and pray.

That NEVER used to happen. When did I become an easy early riser? I can't think of the last time the kids beat me out of bed.

Anyway....I just knew I could go back to sleep and then the thought crossed my mind, It's my birthday. That was it. Over.

Thirty-five years old and my birthday still excites me enough I can't go back to sleep.

How messed up is that?

Coffee Shop Conversations

A 2008 study released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life notes that the number of people creating their own interpretations of faith and culture is growing. Seems like there are as many different styles of faith as ways to order your latte. How does a Christian have normal conversations about Jesus without accidentally sounding offensive, bigoted or intolerant?

In Coffee Shop Conversations (April 2010) by Dale Fincher and Jonalyn Fincher, readers will find the tools they need to speak plainly and honestly about their faith, avoid speaking “christianese” and have meaningful, tolerant and respectful conversations with friends who don’t share their views. Coffee Shop Conversations is written to an audience of 18-35 year olds interested in articulating their faith throughout their everyday activities.

Chaos sez: You know, this book does seem to be a great resource. We all have "one of those" friends, neighbors, relatives, grocery store checkers, that seem to live to ask us the "hard" questions about our faith. The ones where they get to back us into a corner with circular reasoning and feel like they've won because they came up with some obscure argument using our own words as ammo.

(My neighbor actually used John 3:16 against me because I couldn't think fast enough. He made me say it to gave his only son and then stopped me and said, "would you do any less?" And he walked off before I could argue that the Son was given, not gifted something. When I'm thinking, Is he really asking if I'd give my son for others, and WOULD I? he's really asking wouldn't I give my son things, too? Grrr. Anyway...)

This book serves to provide info to have those difficult discussions without insulting the listener. But be prepared Christians to be insulted a few times yourself. I'm still not sure how calling your own faith "repressive" serves a greater purpose. But I DO think that Christians sometimes focus too much on the Message and not enough on the person with whom the message is being shared. And since that seems to be the point of the book, I can get over the lines that make me raise my eyebrows. Not every example has to be followed. :)

You can see what other people had to say here.

And, as an aside, LOVED Jonalyn's book Ruby Slippers.

1) Leave a comment on the tour post* to be entered into a drawing for a $25 Starbucks Gift Certificate.
2) For up to two additional entries, follow the Finchers on Twitter (http://twitter.com/soulation) AND/OR tweet about this contest using the hashtag #soulation. Let us know you did in the comments of the tour post*.
3) For another entry, "like" the Finchers on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/soulation) and tell us in the comments in the tour post*.

*Please note the tour post is NOT this blog, but through the link provided.

Dale Fincher and Jonalyn Fincher speak and write nationally as a husband-wife team through Soulation, a non-profit dedicated to helping others be appropriately human. They are energetic and experienced public speakers, and their previous books include Living with Questions and Ruby Slippers. They make their home in Steamboat, Colorado, with corgis, snowshoes and a colorful library of books.
Learn more about Jonalyn and Dale at http://soulation.org/.

This book was provided for review.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

GenX Radio

I have contended for quite some time now that there should be an 80s radio station. How many years of the 90s did I have to listen to 60s stations while searching around for "something worth listening to?" (To my notice, there was one station, maybe two, that played current music, there were a couple country stations, some easy listening stations and several that played "oldies" which spread all the way up into the 70s....which was SO OUT in my teen brain. 50s, yes, tolerable and possibly fun, 70s, decidedly not.)

So when the other day I saw a billboard advertising GenX Radio, I quickly shifted off my Christian station and reconnected with my past sinful self. :)

Yes, my kids were in the car. Yes, they rolled their eyes at me. And since then, they've asked for me to download "that you've gotta fight for your right to party song."

Now, I love me some KLOVE, I do. Christian music is, 99% of the time, where it's at for me. But some days when I'm feeling particularly low, long about the third song telling me the world is bigger than my needs, I want to rock out to Cindi Lauper.

That was all a prelude to the following:

So today I turned on GenX Radio to do my dishes (a time of day when I particularly don't want to hear about serving with purpose) and there is Dr. Phil giving a little talk about kids on the internet and internet seduction and sexting etc, etc. segueying into some hair band the likes of which I recognized, but can't remember now 30 minutes later...and I couldn't help but crack up. They so have us nailed.

Gen X: Parents first, in need of a moment to let our hair down, remember we are people, and  rock out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Scream

 Have you ever been screaming inside your head so frantically and out-of-control that you are certain everyone in the room could hear it if they would just listen to your serene expression?

Monday, September 13, 2010


How did this happen?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Outlive Your Life

I had every intention of entitling this blog "Intentional Living," primarily because intentional living has been heavily on my mind and I EXPECTED that reviewing a book called Outlive Your Life would fit in nicely with that theme. And it does--to a point. But once I finished the book, intentional living--in the way I intended to use it--was too self-centered of a theme. So, back we are with the title of Max Lucado's latest book (which anyone who has had KLOVE on this month will already know).

Can I just say God is preparing to do something MAJOR? Never in my life (though only a short 34 years) have I heard so many messages lining up to the same theme. It was just a year and a half ago when I turned on the radio and heard The Motions in answer to a prayer...only to discover that I'd interpreted incorrectly (but that's another story, another day).


And everything since then has been one more confirmation that this life is a whole lot more than ME and MY desires. Culminating (at this point, anyway) with Do Hard Things for adults. Actually, that is an oversimplification, but I called it that this morning when talking with my sister, and it was a good opportunity to remind you of another world changer book out there.

We have one life to live. We can live it for ourselves. We can live it for others. We can live it for God. And if we live it for God, we will live it caring for others. And I'm pretty sure our overall satisfaction in our own lives will be better than it would in a hedonistic style of living.

Half of that was Max Lucado. Half of that was my interpretation of Mr. Lucado.

With the use of true life vignettes tied into first century church leaders and drawing from the whole of the Bible, Max Lucado gives you the desire and the tools to Outlive Your Life.

Certainly this book is heavy on evangelism, and frankly, life without Jesus is pointless, but he isn't just preaching door to door evangelism. He's really preaching intentional living. He tells us to find our passion, the thing that makes us weep, and buckle down and do something about it. Build an orphanage, start a soup kitchen, join a prison ministry, sponsor a child, but don't forget the "bread." Service without meaning is just service. Those hurting people need Jesus. Use your passion to lead those people to eternal things. Look at the hurting people, Pray about situations as a first resort, practice hospitality, remember Who is in charge (practice humility), serve, serve, serve, and believe no one is too far gone to love (or be saved)...among other things. 

Excellent, excellent book.

Of course, it's still only a book unless those of us who read it respond. For "None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus. Who would want to miss a chance to do that?"

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Would Someone Please Explain...

Why my three year old can pick out our van in a sea of beigey-silver minivans...and I can't?

Why coming home and finding that my husband picked up the house while I was out...makes me cry?

Why I waited until my fourth child is nearly on his way to kindergarten...to try MOPS?

How I can (pink-puffy-heart) LOVE a woman I just met?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sneakers @ Work

Stilettos and Integrity? How about Sneakers?
By Rosemary Flaaten
high heel sneakersBy the fifth block I was done. Although my four-inch stilettos made my legs look long and lanky, they also made my previously innocuous little toe scream with pulsating pain. Walking to and from my business luncheon in fancy high heels had been my biggest mistake of the day. Where were my sneakers when I really needed them?
The craze started over 20 years ago when women, following the lead of the Silver Screen, started donning their sneakers in place of stilettos. The wise woman prized comfort over fashion, elevating her “right” to wear sneakers from her front door to her desk without anyone giving a second glance. It didn’t matter how matronly she looked or how disjointed her business appearance, functionality was given prominence.
So why have my sneakers been collecting dust in my front closet while my stilettos need new heels?
As I pondered this question, I realized that my choice between stilettos or sneakers is indicative of a greater question regarding my integrity at my workplace. Sneakers are stable, no nonsense, functional and take-me-as-I-am footwear. Stilettos are representative of my desire to fit the business mold and improve my appearance. In essence, I hope to portray a version of myself that looks better than reality. Likewise, how often are the choices I make around telling the truth or shading the truth based on my desire to fit in, to make myself look better or to prop up my lagging competency? 
It has become socially acceptable to fudge the truth (even just ever so slightly) in order to increase our likeability.  Robert Feldman, in his book The Liar in Your Life, quoted a study indicating that the average person lies three times every ten minutes in a conversation. The intention of these lies is not to manipulate. Rather, people lie so that they come across more interesting, likable and desirable.  Sounds a little like stilettos.
Our propensity to shade or embellish the truth has strong ramifications in our workplace. When the boss calls to see if we’ve done the big project and we respond “Yep, just about” when we know that we’re only about 25% finished, we may find ourselves in a situation where we must continue to shade the truth in order to save our skin. One lie is seldom enough. When (not if) our untruthfulness is discovered, we will have a much more difficult task rebuilding the eroded trust.
If deception is telling and living a life of lies, then living honest is conveying truth no matter the consequences. Living honestly means we live authentically; but integrity takes this a step further. Unlike children who lie to get themselves out of sticky situations, integrity calls out greatness and gives evidence of maturity. In the workplace, we start with honesty, add authenticity, and then our character culminates with integrity.
sneakers at work logoIn defense of all stiletto-loving working women, please don’t interpret my use of this metaphor to suggest that stilettos are wrong and sneakers are better. Rather, on this “sneakers at work" day, may it be a reminder that being a person of integrity will always be better than trying to make yourself look better. In the long run, sneakers will take you further than stilettos. Not just my feet will attest to that truth!
Sneakers @ Work day is September 17th, which I find exceedingly appropriate as that is my birthday and I'm a sneakers kind of girl.--Chaos

author photo

ROSEMARY FLAATEN’S successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada's top Christian literary honor. Now she writes A Woman and Her Workplace to help women process their  9-5 relationships. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.
Visit the author's website at:

Monday, September 06, 2010


We've been in a lot of flux around here ever since we discovered that just because God said "go," it didn't mean our house would sell quickly. Which, of course, has led us to question whether God has said anything, or if we've just heard the echoes of our own desires.

Lots of questions.

Lots of searching.

Some answers.

I have to be continually reminded, as the Israelites were, of what God has done for us.

Yesterday's sermon was a good one. In it, he said something along the lines of "You need to be careful to not follow your own plans and THEN asking God to bless them." This has been one of our concerns. What if all this waiting has been God saving us from our own foolishness. But then I have to remind myself of what I DO know. And what I KNOW is that God told me we are going "home" at the time he has set for us to go. (not a second sooner)

Man, it would be nice to know what that time was so that we could pull up the sign if it isn't for a while.

And it would be nice to know for sure that home is home and that we haven't just gone through all this in order to be willing to GO elsewhere.

Lots of stress.

And THAT wasn't even the point of this post.

So, while Hubs and I were on the back deck enjoying the weather yesterday we were discussing my preoccupation with moving to Hawaii. Or somewhere else. But mostly Hawaii.

I always hunger for the last vacation I went on. Doesn't matter where.

So we were discussing my craving for the simple. And how impossible it is to live simply. Unless you are ministering in Africa. And we determined yesterday that I'm probably far too selfish to minister in Africa. Which leaves Hawaii.

 You see how completely ALIKE the two are. And how obvious the answer is.

Of course if we went to Hawaii, I'd take most of our crap with us. Defeating the purpose.

After a LONG conversation regarding this, my husband informed me that I have no self-fulfilling hobbies.

Can you imagine?

Besides reading, which he thinks is a fallback hobby, because it's easy and that I don't really get much out of it.

Can you imagine?

Drat, if he isn't right.

And I don't even know what to do about it.

What mom has time for hobbies?

And if you have time, space?

And space, interest?


My hobby is vacation. On the beach.

Hawaii, it is.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Internal Debate

There's a really great sale going on today.
I need nothing.
But everything's half off today!
No one needs anything.
But I ALWAYS find something at this sale.
I need nothing.
Their girl clothes are always so cuuuute.
Princess needs nothing.
Maybe I could find some shoes for the kids.
They don't need shoes.
Oh, and the toys! I forgot the toys!
You confiscated all the kids' toys when you put the house on the market.
Maybe THIS time there will be a really great stroller.
Really? Charming doesn't ride in strollers. Never really has.
Eldest needs clothes.
They never have anything for him.
Maybe I could find something for me. They have those teen clothes now.
You don't need anything either. And let's remember you are no longer a teen.
If Charming gives even a hint of distress at going home, I'll go to the sale.
Well, maybe he'll want to go out later.

Guess I'll clean house.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Water for My Birthday

Birthdays lose their luster some time after your 21st.
Maybe this will make it better.
Check it out.


I used to tell people I wanted boys. All boys. My speech went a little something like this:

"I've been a teen girl. I know the drama that girls give their moms. I want boys. You feed them and they love you."

I did NOT take into account that if they aren't eating, they are thinking about eating. They have opinions about what they should eat and when. There is no break. If they've just eaten, they will ask you to make something else. If they are awake,they root through the cabinets for food. You have to go to the grocery store every other day and you will fill your cart to overflowing every time.

I am forever peeling apples, washing grapes, opening bananas, offering yogurt, cheese sticks and tortillas. Saying no to single serve chips, agreeing to opening a new box of cheez-its. All while preparing a spectacular rendition of the cheeseburger, pizza, grilled cheese, lasagna and/or tater-tot casserole...all which will be demolished in less than thirty minutes. They will likely disappear for approximately 30 seconds while I look around me in confusion wondering where all that food I bought and prepared went, where all these dirty dishes came from, and then they'll reappear and declare, "I'm hungry. What can I eat?"

Why did I ever think this would be easier than drama?