Monday, April 30, 2007

Recipe for a Great Day

Receive in the mail a "return to sender" stamped envelope you sent to the DMV last week.

It is Monday.


The last day of the month.

In which you must register your car tags.

Wait in line to take a number.

With your four children.

Lucky for me, however, there were only 200 (not a typo) people in line in front of me.

Otherwise, it would have been a bad day.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good Eatin'

We had a weekend of good eatin'. In the words of the Subway commercial...I'll have a side order of bedonka butt. I don't know what that means, but if I didn't order it this weekend, it was purely by the grace of God.

Friday: Old Shawnee Pizza, the best out there. Strawberry pie with a second helping of custard pie.

Sat: Breakfast: Custard Pie with a bottled frappuccino
2nd breakfast: Krispy Kreme's
Lunch: Jose Pepper's espinaca, chips and salsa, chicken flautas
Dinner: Houston's Ribs Baby!

Sunday: breakfast: peanut butter granola bar (gotta make church)
2nd breakfast: Starbucks Dulce De Leche frappuccino
Lunch: Pepper Jaxx Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
Lupper: Sheridan's Caramel Pretzel Crunch
Dinner: Fruit shakes and popcorn
2nd dinner: leftover pizza

You can see it broke down there at the end. The parents left. But I have to say that the preceding 40 hours was a pure delight to the taste buds. Even if my behind will pay for it.

You wouldn't believe the incredible book I'm reading:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Too Good to Be True

I got to meet author Trish Perry at the ACFW conference last fall. She sat on one side of me, Kristin Billerbeck sat on the other and Camy Tang sat across the table. I was surrounded by chick -lit authors. For all I know there were more than those three there, but those were the ones I knew and loved. I basked in their chick-littiness...and then went to the meeting that, well...rocked my world in a bad, bad way, so we won't revisit that. BUT, I have good memories of that lunch.

So it is no surprise that I was excited to read Trish's latest book Too Good to Be True. This book is an almost sequel to Trish's last book, The Guy I'm Not Dating. I say almost sequel, because Kara and Gabe show up in the background, but you don't need to know their story to read this one. Even if it is nice to see where they are a year later.

Too Good to Be True goes on a romantic adventure with recently divorced Rennie (my grade school best friend's name, BTW) who really just wants to reconcile with her ex, but discovers it will never happen. After a fainting spell at Wal-Mart, Ren meets up with Tru, a male L&D nurse, who seems too wonderful for words. Is this a God thing? And can she trust her heart to another again?

This book was a wonderful read. Many of you know how precious little reading I've gotten done since the squirt was born, but I couldn't wait to start this book when it came in the mail, and once I started, I couldn't put it down. (Okay, I had to put it down, but you've never seen a mother so glad for a baby to be hungry...Well, I had to sit down anyway...)

Once again, I have to commend Harvest House for taking on a controversial subject. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've seen a divorced heroine in Christian fiction. She obviously didn't want to be divorced, as many Christians don't want to be. But, let's face it, Christians are sinners, too. Sometimes Christians get divorced. Seems like it happens quite often. We don't need to expound on the wrongness of divorce to the divorced person, we need to love them where they are and serve their needs. Rennie needed to know that "with God's guidance, a happy life is definitely possible after heartbreak." Most of us need to know that.

Good job, Trish, on another well written and enjoyable book.

Possum is No More!

Our little Possum has figured out that night is for sleeping. As of last night, he's gone to sleep before 10:30 for a week. And last night he gave me a good seven hour stretch, ate, and went right back to sleep. Therefore, no more Possum. I don't want to keep speaking possumage onto him and condemn myself to more late nights and early mornings.

However he is no longer frog like, thus we shan't return to that.

Since the little squirto has not one, not two, but three (yes three) dimples, and he knows how to use them, I am unveiling the newest name of...

drum roll please


Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Desire is Back

So, anyone watch Idol last night? Generally I just tune in the last 5 minutes of a results show to see who is going home, but I admit, they had me curious. I'm not a big "benefit concert" person. I give where I give and it isn't to secular groups, so much. I have a list of Christian organizations that I trust and when we give, that's where the money goes. And really, that hasn't changed. Though I'll admit that I actually picked up the phone and voted for Melinda as many times as I could get through and I rarely vote. Every dime helps. Apparently there were a lot of people who thought so, but I like to think my $0.60 got in before those last 20 million votes. :-)

That wasn't my point. Goodness I'm scattered.

But watching those poor children in Africa last night....I know that bringing one or two home doesn't really help anyone but the one or two. But man, they re-lit the fire. I thought that once I had the baby my desire to adopt from Africa would wane for a while.

It hasn't.

I thought that I might feel so overwhelmed with four kids that I would really put on the brakes.

I haven't.

I probably want to bring one home now more than ever. Until last night, though, I still wanted an infant, eighteen months or younger. Now I really think the big ole gap between Frodo and Possum is probably a God thing. I think I might grab myself a three year old. Just as soon as Hubs gets the funds in order. Shoot, anyone under 7. Still honoring the birth order thing in regard to Eldest. But Princess would probably adore a sister who is actually her age.

I know there are a lot of programs to build the communities in Africa. Teach a man to fish and all that. I am a loud supporter of those groups. World Vision in particular. Go, sponsor a child today if you don't already. And there is another group called Hope for Orphans that needs your money. Yes, yours. I know that Focus on the Family is participating in the orphan's push. We need to care for "the least of these." Those groups are just the tip of the iceberg and I appreciate every one of them.

But man, darned if I don't want to just scoop one of those kids up and bring them home with me. It may not make a difference in their community, but it will make a difference to them.

"For pure and undefiled religion is this: to care for widows and orphans in their distress..." James 1:27

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What Was THAT?!

Do you ever hear yourself say something and wonder where it came from?

I am never so conscious of what I'm saying than when I'm with someone I don't know very well. Yesterday I had a new friend over and heard myself say "stupid" a ridiculous number of times. And I told Frodo he was a brat. He was exhibiting brat-like behavior, but we don't practice name calling in our family. (Well, Hubs and I do, but it is all in love. Right, babe? ;D)

When I"m with my in-laws, I say "seriously" a LOT.

With my family it is "however."

What is that all about? I'm not saying I don't say stupid, seriously, or however all the time, but to step it up. Weird. Brat I'm not sure I've used in a decade.

Do any of you have pet phrases that you lean on?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Love A Good Deal

I'm not sure how many of you know how cheap I am (hahahahahahahahahahaha!), or how much I love garage sales and clearance racks. Yes, I like nice things, but darned if I'm going to pay for them.

Someone pointed out to me the other day that my minivan has all the bells and whistles. Lo and behold she was right. I have power stuff, air in the back, tinted windows, and apparently the extra 18 inches in the cargo hold. I didn't even know they were extras. Hubs and I have never bought a car off the lot. We've always gone to auction or picked our next vehicle up off a friend who was upgrading. So we've not looked at vans side by side to compare features. We see a good deal, we buy. End of story. I think our van would have been a good buy without the extra features. The extra is the blessing of God, I guess.

"Clean livin'" my friend, Rob, would say.

Or my house. We've wanted to live in this neighborhood basically since we moved to town eight years ago. I drove through it pretty often when we were house shopping just to see what was back here. Our current home sat on the market for months. Vacant a lot of it. The photos on the web were gross. Driving by it wasn't great because there were these discolored shakes over the garage. The price dropped and dropped. We finally looked. Yes, the inside is dated. Yes, heaven knows it was filthy. But it was just what we were looking for as far as size and floorplan. We got it for a song. A high priced we-live-in-Johnson-County-song but a song, non-the-less, considering what it is.

So it should be of no surprise that I get excited for garage sale season to gear up. Last weekend was the first big weekend. On Friday I was pretty conservative. One, not much money. Two, too much stuff. But I got a couple nice birthday gifts for my kids. (New, in the box, don't look at me that way.) Several puzzles. A ton of K'Nex for $2. A space shuttle lamp for the boys. Some Seuss books that didn't look like they'd even been read. School uniforms for Princess. A pretty good sale day.

On Saturday, Princess wanted to go out on a special date with me. Garage sale-ing. She likes the free boxes. We went to a couple sales that were basically a bust. And then....the ultimate free box. A driveway with four boy scout trash bags full of toys and a fisher price toy box (also full of toys) marked "free, must take entire bag." Princess almost couldn't contain herself. (I knew Hubs would be HOT if I brought that many toys home.) While I stood at the sale next door buying an entire new Old Navy wardrobe for myself for $11 (yes I did, 22 items at $0.50 per) I finally gave in and told her she could pick ONE bag, ONLY one, and to be CERTAIN there was something in it she wanted because she would probably only get to keep the one thing and the rest was gong to our youth groups sale this coming weekend. She practically skipped over and found her bag. While I was over there to carry the humongo bag to the van I peeked into the toy box and decided I could stand to take those toys home for the box.

Hubs was HOT. But I tell you, I was really surprised at the quality of the toys that these people were dumping. I don't know the story. It was like they had disowned their grandkids or something. Maybe a child had died and they didn't want the memories? These were nice things. I almost regretted not picking up the other bags. We let the kids play with all of them all day and at the end of the day pick out the things they liked best. We still ended up with more than we needed, but they got rid of a few of their more ratty things in exchange.

Anyway, again it is no surprise that I LOVED Death of a Garage Sale Newbie. As much as I hesitate to admit it, I am so Ginger. He husband wanted her to go out and buy a dress for full price just to be adventurous for him. Whatever she wanted. She couldn't do it. I've done the same thing. Gone out promising myself that I would buy what looked the nicest no matter the cost (within limits, it isn't like I'd go to Nordstrom or anything). I can't do it. I don't pay full price for anything. Except my kids education and even there I get the church member, multi-child, pay a semester in advance discount. But compared to public school, it is still "full price" in my books.

So if you are a good deal junkie like me, you should like this book.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Quote

"You fail only if you stop writing." Ray Bradbury author of Fahrenheit 451

For my writing friends out there seeking the illusive contract. Elusive contract. Allusive contract.

One of the many reasons mine is still elusive.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wanna read something powerful?

Go visit VAIL.


There was a commercial on TV last night that cracked me up. There was a mom and a girl (maybe 10-ish) who were arguing about the cell phone bill. The mom was using English and the girl spoke in texting code with subtitles. She managed to have a pretty long conversation without using many whole words besides "is."

I was thinking about that commercial this morning while I did a load of laundry. (Why? I dunno.) And it made me think of the book "1984" by George Orwell. In it the people who are really into the government's culture speak in some sort of gaggling language. I can't think of what it is called, something-speak, but he describes it as kind of a gibberish that shorted words and was supposed to save time.

It is interesting to me how much of that book is happening. We shorten words. Slur them together. Replace them with letters. Guilty.

How about big brother? Can anyone say "cookie?" And I'm not even against cookies. I try to make sure I don't go where I care that anyone sees my cookies. (oh, gross, that wasn't intended, but I'm going to leave it anyway).

I think I need to re-read that book and see what else is going on today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Beth Moore Hair Brushing Story

For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.

This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones.

The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old

I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him.

Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre- looking old man.

I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.

I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. "Oh, no, God, please, no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not
right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!"

There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane." Then I heard it... "I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair."

The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No- brainier. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man." Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair."

I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?" God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"

He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?"

"May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"

To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that."

At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?"

At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks.

Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to."

Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush." "I have one in my bag," he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry- on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.

A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.

The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.

I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees and said, "Sir, do you know my Jesus?"

He said, "Yes, I do." Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, "I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open- heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride."

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, "That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?"

I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!"

And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way. . .all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

That Funny Feeling

Didja ever have that feeling that God was trying to tell you something and you can't quite figure out what He means? Sometimes I know exactly what He means and I don't want to do it (which is a problem in itself) so I pretend not to really know what He's saying.

Not this time.

Four times in two days I've heard the same message. Well, really the messages are tripping over themselves. We has a guest speaker in church Sunday morning. And he said so much that was good and that I brought home, but one thing that stood out was "Be faithful in the small things."

Hubs and I discussed it quite a lot Sunday afternoon and evening. And we are both going to make a concentrated effort to do that while we wait for A Bigger Life.

So Monday morning, bright and early, I got my Monday Motivation. She opened it with how she writes the devotionals and that she always prays for guidance because she wants it to be an effective word in season, etc (like it ALWAYS is). What did she say?

Be faithful in the small things.

So I forwarded it to Hubs and said "God is talking to me. What are my small things?????"

In the motivation, she also mentioned an abbreviated version of Beth Moore's story about brushing the stinky man's hair in the airport. (I'll post it in a minute in case you've never heard it.) I heard Beth tell this story back in the fall of 2005 and had totally forgotten it. Didn't hear it again until yesterday. Wouldn't you know it, someone forwarded me Beth's long version last night?


Well another thing the speaker on Sunday talked about was relationship. How you can't really have one without interaction and conversation etc. (And how we can't trust God if we don't know Him and we can't know Him if we don't meet with Him daily.) Yes, I got an email promoting a book that used a similar example. Actually the book wasn't saying that so much, but the example they used was this:

"A young man is in love with a young woman. He sings to her, dances for her, writes poems for her, picks flowers for her.. How does she express her love back to him? She talks to him, usually briefly. And that's all." (for the book Creative Prayer by ChrisTiegreen from Multnomah)


Actually, come to think of it, I'm reading this (really fun and cute) other book, Death of a Garage Sale Newbie (Sharon Dunn) where one of the main characters is having some marital stress. What is the issue? They've been married 35 years, but she doesn't know him. At least not the him she thought she was married to. So she feels like they are married strangers. And that isn't even the vast majority of the plot (as you should be able to tell from the title).

Just typing this I think maybe I know one of my small things. Which is really a big thing. I think God is feeling ignored. That He wants me to know Him better. Which sounds great to me. Now, how to get there?

Other small things that come to mind:
I've decided to quit trying to promote my book (which is quite probably not ready to see print) and focus on my smaller writing pieces. Focus on that which is before me and that I hear I have a talent for. And improve my craft.

And focus on keeping my kitchen clean. One can't fuss at God for an ugly, small kitchen when she doesn't even keep the one she uses nice.

I probably have a glaring "small thing" that I don't see. And if you can tell me about it nicely (I wound easily) I'd like to hear it. For now, I'm watching these.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Writing News

Or lack thereof.

A major deadline for a major fiction writing contest passed yesterday and I didn't participate. And I don't even feel saddened about it. I think I've had a breakthrough. Right now I'm going to concentrate on my non-fiction career, such as it is.

I find it weird that I'm an "important" person in a fiction writing organization and I'm shelving that part of my writing life for a while. Oh, well. Those are the people who encourage me so I'm sticking with them. And I wish them all the best.

Possum: The Saga

Does it count as sleeping through the night if Possum finally gives it up sometime after 1 AM

On my chest

In the recliner

Where I stay until I stumble back to my bed sometime in the five o'clock hour where we stay until ten 'till 7?

Just curious.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Isn't My Dad Talented?


I'm going through re-grow. My hair falls out when I have a baby. Or maybe it breaks off.


I have all these whisps hanging in my face. Now I remember why I cut my hair when my babies are a month old. I wonder what stupid extreme I'll go to this time.

I know I'll regret it, whatever it is.

Dead, Dead, all Dead

The world around me is dead.

All the lovely spring flowers and trees that I raved about 2 weeks ago are dead. The newly leafed roses are dead. The maple leaves are dead. The willow leaves are dead. The lilies are dead. The pretty white flowering bush in my front yard is dead. The lilac buds are dead before they bloomed. The wheat it U-gly. (Or so I hear.)

It is so depressing.

If there is anything I hate more than winter, it is the return of winter when spring has already sprung. It destroyed a whole season and we won't get it back for a year.

If it comes back.

I don't see how the bulbs can properly do their thing with no live greenery to feed them. I don't see how my trees will leaf.

You should see them. All lifeless and droopy, those teeny little leaves.

Surely God knew the weather would be weird sometimes and has a contingency plan. That's what I keep telling myself. I've never been through a summer when there were no leaves on the trees and surely this has happened before. But my little brain can't see it. Especially when my favorite part, the flowers, won't return.

I'm thinking that my favorite part might be the leaves, though. I've just taken them for granted. Because the thought of a leaf free summer is so depressing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Good with The Bad

So this weekend, Possum was held 24/7, by loads of people who were often proud to have gotten him to sleep. "Look, I got him to sleep," they'd say. To which I would respond, if only in my selfish heart, "Getting him to sleep in the day is no big trick. You want to take the 3 AM shift?" By the end of the weekend I was insisting that people lay him down if he fell asleep (during the day) because it would wake him up. He LOVES to sleep while being held. Not so much alone in his bed.

And I've spent the last couple days trying to re-train him to sleep alone in his bed. Which is only a foot and a half from my bed so it isn't like he's all alone in the world.

Day one, not a chance.
Yesterday he took one long and a couple of short naps in his bed.
Today he's sleeping in his bed while I type. We'll see how long it lasts.

However, last night Possum technically slept through the night. Midnight to almost six.

Granted, he did it while cozied up to me in my bed.

I'll work on training him to his bed at night once I get enough sleep to not freak out when the clock says it is way past my bedtime and Possum has big eyes every time I have the nerve to lay him in his cradle.

A couple more nights like that one and I'll have to rename Possum. I'm thinking Sock Monkey.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Where is Home?

Hubs and I took the fam home for the Easter holiday. And then we came home yesterday. Which begs the question: Where is home? There is this draw we both have to move home. Which is funny considering we've lived in this house nearly as long as I ever lived in our hometown. And we've been in town here for twice that. Almost every time we go home there is at least one conversation about whether we should try to move back. And if so, how on earth to accomplish it?

Try finding a way to make a digital signage company successful in a Mennonite farming community. Barring that, how do you make a living? (Considering we are neither Mennonite (though we'd probably convert back) nor farmers (though Hubs could probably get a job on a farm because he worked one growing up(but they don't pay very well.)))

Here is the pro and con list. I'll let you determine which are the pros and which are the cons.

I'd trade midnight shopping for stores that close when the bank does.
I'd trade superstores for ten (decently stocked) aisles.
I'd trade a sister for a sister-in-law.
I'd trade annonimity for knowing nearly everyone.
I'd trade no grandparents for two full sets.
I'd trade exorbitantly priced babysitters for grandparents.
I'd trade three minutes to shopping for an hour drive.
I'd trade private school tuition for public school with Christian teachers.
I'd trade the ability to home school for offending people if I chose to.
I'd trade keeping the kids in the backyard for sending them out to bike around town.
I'd trade Starbucks for...okay, they have a tea shop or something fancy like that.
I'd trade a twenty friends for none. (I said I knew everyone, I didn't say they liked me.)
I'd trade people who know me now for people who knew me then...and I"m not sure they've forgiven me yet.
I'd trade small group on Friday nights for high school basketball games.
I'd trade "upper-lower class" for "lower-upper class" (assuming Hubs could find a way to maintain his salary).
Hubs would trade "self-made man" for "his father's son."
We'd trade neighborhood witness for neighbors who sit by us at church.
We'd trade Charismata for Mennonite.
We'd trade little family that we see rarely for lotta family we see lots.
We'd trade Sunday dinners of six for Sunday dinners of twelve.

I could go on and on. I don't know why we keep talking about it. It isn't as if there is a clear road to follow. No real potential method to go, anyway. And yet, talk we do. That family draw is a big one.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

For the Sake of the Present

Today, had she made it to term, would be my Ellie's seventh birthday.

I've thought a lot about her today. When I got to her due date back in 2000 it was almost a relief. I had marked it and dreaded it for months. With each passing day I would watch the women around me with their swollen bellies and wonder if I would have looked like them. I mourned the loss of relationship with the child I would never hold. And I don't even know the gender. (Frankly, I've been wrong three for three so there is a fair chance that she was a he...). And I lost her so early in the pregnancy that many people wondered what the big deal was.

We'd "tried" for two years already by the time God blessed me with her. It was the first glimmer of hope that nothing was wrong. Except something was. But that isn't the reason that her loss was a big deal.

If I got pregnant today (and I do NOT want to be pregnant today--labor is TOO fresh) and I began bleeding next week, I would mourn the loss of that child. Because you lose the future. You lose the Easters and Christmases and the birthdays and the pigtails and the sunshine.

But if I'd had Ellie, I wouldn't have Eldest. And I wouldn't have Princess. And my cycles probably would have been such that I wouldn't have Frodo or Possum. My family would probably be all pink and matchy. There are two jobs I never would have worked. Friends I wouldn't have. Vacations I wouldn't have taken with Hubs and experiences I wouldn't have gone through.

I lost another baby only two short months after I lost Ellie. I never got around to calculating a due date because I lost that one so soon. And I was numb and had practically given up hope of ever carrying. Besides, I still mourned my little girl.

But, because of Ellie, I tipped over the adoption cliff. I made the calls to the social workers and the agencies. And I did the paperwork. And my friends learned of our trouble and began to pray.

Because of Ellie, I wrote the first stories and letters and the first people commented that I might have a future in writing. I wrote my first book.

There is something about what you have that makes it a little less painful to have lost. Because of the insane love I have for the children that live with me everyday, I no longer mourn the ones I lost. I know we Americans are crazy in the way we live for the moment, and I look at my precious children and I wonder how life would have been. But I don't wish it were that way. I wouldn't wish to have Ellie instead of any one of them.

This present is exactly where God would have me.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

In Case Anyone Was Wondering How Spring Is Treating Us

No, this isn't my front yard, but it might as well is the front yard of the place I'll be spending Easter. And it is cold enough here for this to happen.

Oh, for the days I left my windows open and could smell my spring flowers wafting on the breeze. (Note: I said breeze not gale.)

Praising God!

Possum's hip seems to be in working order. The Dr. feared that is was dislocated, but all is well today.

And Happy Birthday to the love of my life without whom life would have far less meaning.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Today I'm wearing my "maternity" shirt (that was never big enough for a belly) that says "Supermom" in what Princess calls "Bedazzler." I'm going on the philosophy of The Power of Positive Thinking. Or, as some people in church circles call it, Speaking into the Good. I'll let you know how it works.

Frodo has taken to wearing a pair of underwear on the top of his pants. When I asked him if he was Captain Underpants, he told me no. "I'm a superhero." Not Captain Underpants? "No, another superhero." I finally figured it out. Go look at your superheros. Particularly Superman and the Incredibles. They have an underwear looking thing of another color on their suits over their parts. Back in the 80s we wore undergutchies over our bodysuits in dance. I didn't know it gave me superpowers.

Eldest's eyes are swollen and miserable. Claritin is only making a small dent. Anyone have any suggestions?

Possum soaked me to the skin three times yesterday with projectile vomiting. Tis time. I hate this though. All my babies have done it. They don't have an automatic shut off valve so I have to do it for them. After only about five minutes of nursing. Because I could feed A SMALL NATION. And I feel mean because they don't get to fulfill their sucking reflex needs. And Possum gags on every pacifier available. Which means I have to train him to like his thumb. Like a fool (will say my lovely Mother-in-Law who reads this). So I'm trying to suffer through without the thumb (though he REALLY liked it last night). But my endurance isn't great, especially as the night hours grow long. What to do? What to do?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Wonder Years

Frog has become Possum. That is, nocturnal. Until further notice...

So, I'm not a TV watcher. I have my programs I like, namely House and Grey's (yes, I know it is trashy), but other than that, the TV doesn't really go on. Unless I have a baby. One that doesn't like it when I hold anything but him (primarily a book). Then I go stark raving mad and eventually give it up and turn on the tv. Which, in turn, makes me stark raving mad.

Sitcoms aren't funny anymore. I'm not sure when it happened. I suppose while I wasn't watching TV. Do you remember when Thursday night TV was hours upon hours of hilarity?

Am I just getting old?

Any-hoo, we have a friend who insisted we weren't getting all the channels that we could get with our antennae so he set us up with a few more. Not sure why we get these channels, but thank goodness we do. At least until Possum turns back into Frog. Or until we can justify cable (which will not happen until the Chiefs aren't on the networks.)

I watched Mad About You. STILL FUNNY.

Then I watched a dude lose 80K on Deal or No Deal. NOT FUNNY.

Then I watched The Wonder Years. When they started playing the theme music Hubs and I looked at each other. Hubs said, "No way! Do you think we'll still like it? All I know is that that Winnie Cooper was HOT!"

I tell you, that show was, and still is, hilarious.

And Possum finally gave it time for the thunderstorms that awakened the rest of the clan.

Monday, April 02, 2007

And Again

You'd think people were reading my blog or something. Except I'm pretty sure these people don't read my blog. Hubs came home early so I could have a nap. A friend called and is bringing supper tomorrow.

Now, the kids are still fighting and LOUD, but His grace is still there.


Alone in the World

Last night I had one of those debilitating moments when I was more than certain that I was alone in the world. I thought, "Never Mind. My friends stink, Hubs stinks, my attitude stinks and I am, in fact, going to die if I don't get some sleep." I composed my post to begin that way. And, truth be told, I still feel that way this morning. Except I know I'm not alone in the world. There are probably thousands, if not millions of mothers who didn't sleep last night, had a headache and when they went looking for reinforcements, found them sleeping peacefully. Those same mothers probably had to get up with their other kids this morning while the baby, who finally gave it up, sleeps in his cradle.

I'm still mad at the world, but I'm trying to have faith. Because when God told me that he wanted me to have this baby, I had no choice but to trust Him that this time it could/would be better and if it wasn't, His grace would be sufficient.

And, as usual, this morning I got a devotional from Fresh Outlook that is appropriate to my circumstances. I don't know how they got my email address, but I tell you, every time I read it it fits. If you are going through a tough time, here ya go.

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you just simply didn’t know what to do next? You started out strong, believing God, trusting His word, yet you can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s think about that for a moment; you find yourself walking through a tunnel, a dark place, you see the light afar off, you walk and walk, but don’t appear to be getting any closer to the light. Have you been there? Most of us have. So, what do you do? Well, you have two options; 1. Sit down and die there 2. Keep walking. I would suggest you keep walking.

It reminds me of a movie I saw years ago. A young girl had been kidnapped by terrorists, they held her captive in a deep wilderness area, surrounded by cliffs and mountains, and she had no way of escape. Of course people were looking for her; a CIA agent located her and had her in her sights. She began to converse with the young girl through her headphones. The young girl couldn’t see the agent, but as the agent told her to walk toward her, she began to walk. She didn’t know where she was going; she was simply following the voice. At one point, she heard the kidnapper coming toward her from behind, she started to stop and turn around. But the agent said ‘no, don’t stop, keep walking toward me.’ So she kept walking, ignoring the kidnapper who was trying to get her to stop, she pretended she didn’t hear him and kept walking toward her deliverance. She kept walking toward the one person who had the authority and the force to eliminate her enemy and deliver her to safety.

It also makes me think of Lot’s wife, remember her? God sent His angels to deliver Lot’s family because of His covenant with Abraham, but as they were escaping, Lot’s wife stopped and looked back and that is where she remained for the rest of time.

II Corinthians says we walk by faith, not by sight. We walk by faith, that means we must keep moving. No matter what we see, no matter what we feel; no matter who tries to stop us, we keep moving, walking by faith. We don’t look around or look back ~ we keep walking toward the voice that has the authority and the force to eliminate every enemy in our lives and manifest our deliverance.

We could learn a lesson about this from Peter. As with Peter, the Lord will certainly bid us to come and walk on the water with Him, after all, that’s why He went to the cross, so we could walk as He walks. Jesus told Peter to come out onto the water with Him, and he did, and he walked on the water. But the moment he became afraid and began looking around, he began to sink. When you have stepped out by faith, onto the water, it is no time to become afraid or get into doubt. It is time to keep yourself so full of the word of God that doubt and unbelief have no place to come to. If you can do that ~ you will continue to walk on water.

James 1:6 tells us that he who wavers receives nothing from the Lord. But the word also says in Luke 1:37 that not one word from God will prove powerless. That, my friend, is good news. Not one word that God has spoken to you will prove powerless. If God spoke it to you, or if you read it in the Bible, I can assure you, not one word from God will prove powerless. God’s word is truth, it is powerful and it is full of life. Our God is well able to keep His promises. So, what is our part? Just keep walking. Trust God. Believe He is who He says He is. Keep Believing. Keep your words right and just keep walking.

If you do these things, the Light at the end of the tunnel will find you. That light is Jesus and He will not fail you. He is right there with all authority and force and has already eliminated your enemy. That voice you hear speaking to you, trying to get you to stop, it’s just a lie, there is no real power to stop you behind that voice…keep walking.

Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail him and He is praying the same thing for you today. Trust Him. He has never failed anyone yet and he is not going to start with you. Keep walking.