Friday, August 31, 2007

Lookie There!

I was trying to link up to my current article in Focus on the Family Magazine this month when what should my googling eyes find but an old one in AFRICA. Fun, fun.

Now if I could just figure out whether the current one is up somewhere.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Can't resist "free"

Because they seem to think a granola bar can replace ice cream in snack value, and because Julie sent me, I'm sending you.

Well, that and Charming won't go to sleep so I have to do something while he pats my leg in a most charming manner.

Hey, it's a free cookie (or in my case a trail bar or some such).

Why is that again?

Somebody remind me why it is that I'm giving up caffeine for a child who still won't sleep?

My caffeine consumption is resting just about as close to nil as I can go and still function, but I can not detect even the slightest increase in sleep for the kiddo. So, not only is he NOT sleeping, I'm running into walls.

I heard that caffeine has a half life of 6 hours. I have an awful feeling that I've pumped this child so full of caffeine, his won't expire for 143 years.

With that in mind, I may as well keep drinking it.



Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Forget the Human Torch

Able to stay awake for six months straight!

With no full night of sleep in sight!

Producing food 24/7!

Muscles of iron (Especially on the left bicep and shoulder!)!

Able to doze in unnatural positions day or night!

And while reading long memorized picture books!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you....

The Human Bottle!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Because I say "Pepsi"

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

10% Midwestern

10% Upper Midwestern

10% Yankee

0% Dixie

In case you're curious...

Charming is still puking up squash.


Where's My Harley?

And So It Begins

This afternoon, Eldest came home from school and noticed that I brought High School Musical home from the library.

::gasp::"You got High School Musical?!?!"::big grin::

Are you kidding me? I picked it up because we couldn't get a sitter last Friday evening due to HSM2 premiering. Since I'd never seen 1, I figured I should know what the big deal was.

I had no idea that my SIX year old SON would be remotely interested. I had no idea that he had a CLUE what HSM was.

This is what you get when you put your kids in school. Apparently HSM is the BIG THING in the six year old crowd. Who knew?

Weaning off Caffeine, Day 1

After a nightmare of napless days, I've decided Charming has been exposed to too much caffeine and I will have to quit. Much to my dismay. When he was littler he slept whether I had caffeine or not, so I got a bit lax in my consumption. Now I realize I've stepped it up to insane amounts of legal stimulant.

On Sunday I only had one cup of coffee first thing in the morning...because I never have time to savor the first cup much less the second. Having survived the morning with only one, I only had one soda in the afternoon.

Yes, I was in bed by 10, but I made it through the day without a headache and I thought I was on my way.

Yesterday was my first official Wean Yourself Off Caffeine day. I ONLY had ONE cup of coffee rather than savoring the whole pot all morning. When it was time to pour my second cup I poured, instead, a glass of green tea (yes, I know it is caffeinated, I said I was weaning). Yesterday, total, I had one cup of coffee, two tea bags worth of green tea (that I used to make four glasses of iced tea), and one soda.

I do realize that sounds ridiculous.

I don't know that it accomplished anything except weaning myself off liquid sugar (which I am also attempting to do), but I congratulated myself anyway (especially when Hubs noticed that there was an unopened 2 liter of Pepsi cooling in the fridge and expressed shock).

But this morning, my head is already aching.

I've already had my ONE CUP of coffee.

The previously mentioned cold Pepsi is calling my name.

And somehow I don't think that taking 2 Excedrin (whose primary ingredient is caffeine) is going to help my situation any. Sure it might stop the headache, but then I might as well just have my second cup of coffee.

I'd rather be sleeping.

Last night I wasted two hours of my life watching a movie that came highly recommended. It hadn't been on 20 minutes before my legs started twitching. I'd get up to dish ice cream and Hubs would pause the movie. I'd get up and check on the kids and Hubs would pause the movie.

Usually, when I come back from dealing with a crier, I think, "Why didn't he pause the movie?" Last night I just wanted to movie to be over.

And it wasn't bad. Relatively clean. Relatively humorous. Some unresolved plot lines (I think they thought it would make the movie better for some bizarre reason). But overall not a terrible movie.

I'm wondering when I will quit weighing the quality of a movie against the sleep I'm losing to watch it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I've been squashed!

Tonight Charming tried squash for the very first time. He loved it, made pleased faces and inhaled the jar.

And proceeded to puke back up twice as much.

How, I do not even pretend to understand.

Methinks there is a reason I don't do baby food.

The Woman I Want to Be

Ok, my title isn't true. I don't want to be her. I want to be funny like her. I strive to make my pathetic existence sound hilarious, but most of the time it just sounds whiny.

And I wonder why Princess whines all the time.

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, I give you the woman who made herself famous by selling Pokemon cards (that her children sneaked into her grocery cart) on ebay, and her blog that now gets 10000 hits a day. Or an hour. Who knows?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cost of Gas

Yesterday I spent $3.43 on a pint of Haagen-Dazs. That comes to $27.44 a gallon.

Every sinful bite was worth it.

I'm going to quit complaining about the $2.66 gallon of gas that takes me 27 miles on 100 degree days.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I find it utterly hilarious that there are two people on the face of this earth that think I cleaned something this week!

Aside from the occasional dish that I washed (in the dish soap I've used for going on 12 years) and laundry (using All Free and Clear like always), I'll I have accomplished is changing, feeding and holding Charming. (The fact that my family has eaten at all is due in no small part to my frequent visits to Your Other Kitchen.)

This child simply must learn to crawl before I go berserk.

Then again, maybe the mold has taken over and my hands are peeling due to osmosis. It certainly has been humid enough this week for osmosis to occur through the air...and for mold to grow....even if I choose to pretend it isn't.

Speaking of humidity, my childhood was spent in Southwestern Kansas. Where it doesn't rain. And there is no mold. And my hands peeled like crazy. As I have changed NOTHING (but diapers), and have cleaned NOTHING (but bottoms), I'm going to continue to assume this is stress and hope it passes long about week two of the big kids in school. Maybe week three. I do still have to teach.

However, I am going to slather on some benadryl cream and see if it helps! You never know.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's Official, I'm Stressed

Back in my junior high and high school days my finger tips and palms itched and peeled all the time. I was, of course, mortified that my hands were peely and I did my best to hide them. It was weird, you know? They weren't rashy. They just had a really deep "itch" (for lack of a better word) and the skin just flaked off. My mom told me that hers used to do that, and when she graduated from college they just quit. She always chalked it up to stress.

One day, some time in college, I realized my hands no longer peeled. Which is funny if you consider how obsessed I was with grades (and making sure they were as close to perfect as possible). I thought of myself as stressed, but I wasn't apparently.

On a related note, just this morning Hubs and I were remembering the "good times" in college. I mentioned that I missed the camaraderie. I really didn't have that many of my own friends. I had acquaintances that I called friends, but I couldn't find most of them today. They bar hopped on the weekends to search out men and I searched out my man and we ate Doritos and drank Pepsi in front of "Friends." I got very used to being the classroom friend or the study partner. Really I've never been much of anyone's friend beyond the event in which we shared since grade school. I think it's the way I'm wired. I'm content with a book most of the time and it's a real effort to put together an extracurricular gathering. (I took the spiritual gifting assessment and Hostess is NOT my gifting by any stretch (My MIL, on the other hand, could write the book)). I think maintaining friends is stressful to me. Especially in the formative years when friends are your everything.

However Hubs did have friends. Also classroom friends, but since he was in engineering his classroom hours extended to about 4AM rather frequently. I often brought him dinner and we ate together. Before long the whole class adopted me as the resident wife. I'd bring in a casserole and some paper plates and they would decimate it. His friends became my friends. And now that he works at an office, his friends are his friends and I miss the camaraderie. Because these men have wives and don't need me to cook. Nor would they eat what I cook because I use butter and sugar liberally.

Hmmmm, the point of that? I think interpersonal relationships stress me out and I didn't stress about them in college. I think that was my point.


The last couple of days my fingertips have been itching like crazy and I noticed last night that one was peeling. This morning they are all peeling and my palms are itching also. Since NOTHING chemical has changed in my life (indicating allergies or some other sensitivity) I'm crediting stress.

I didn't miss this. It was a vague memory that I would have been happy to keep that way. I hope that whatever is stressing me goes away.

Maybe it is lack of sleep? I don't know. So weird.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And then I read something like this prayer, and am further encouraged.

Bring the Rain

As it turns out, the issues I thought I had Sunday were small potatoes compared with what was coming. Thankfully God prepared me. How I wish, now, that all I had to worry about was the nursery system and the nursing mom's room and the catch 22 for the mother of the 5 month old.

Hubs and I lost a pant load of money this week. I'm tempted to type the number because it, quite possibly, would make most of you audibly gasp. I would make me audibly gasp if, say, I wasn't numb. I like to have that effect on people (shame!). However, sticking with the "we aren't giving anyone numbers" philosophy that we set forth (so that if this deal took place no one would treat us differently), I'll let you use your imagination.

Now you are probably thinking much larger than it really is. I think that might have back fired. Whatever.

Funny, I say we lost it, but the issue isn't that we lost it, it is that we never got it in the first place. It was looking really good. And we were really careful to not spend it before we got it. But as the week has worn on, reality is setting in. We'd mentally spent it.

Gone is the new carpet. I knew that Monday. And I consoled myself and Hubs that Charming has to be potty trained anyway. No big loss. We would survive. And gone are the new kitchen counters, but frankly, I'm used to the chipped yellow.


Gone is the aquarium that I planned to buy for the science class I'm teaching this year.

Gone are the funds for the adoption I hoped to complete next spring.

Gone the foundation we'd hoped to set up to help others pay for adoption expenses, building orphanages, and funding missions trips.

Gone the camera I wanted to buy to feed video to the nursing mom's room.

Gone the 45th anniversary trip I hoped to buy for my parents.

Gone the shoe store gift certificate I planned to buy for the best babysitter EVER (who just got engaged and, as my mom once said, no woman should ever get married until she's bought all the shoes she wants, because men don't get it).

Gone the elaborate Christmas presents that I would finally get to buy for our extended families (after years of being the skimpy gifts under the tree). (Interestingly, I"m not disappointed for my kids who get way more than they ever need already--from said generous extended family members.)

Gone silly little things like the frozen custard double date I promised a friend when the deal went through and the more expensive trip to Houston's, my FIL's favorite restaurant, ON US, for once.

But, you know, it is the custard date and the aquarium that put me over the edge into a funk. Thirty dollars. It is the thirty dollar items that I miss the most right now. I'm back to not being able to do the thirty dollar things.

We eat well, and, as a friend told us this weekend, it isn't like we are living in a cardboard box by the river. We have it really good. But we have it really good because we don't do the thirty dollar things.

Ugh. I didn't mean to make this a poor poor pitiful me.

My point was that God prepared me. When the bad news started trickling in on Monday, I was okay. We have it good.

When Hubs and I were discussing Tuesday whether it was faith to keep expecting the deal to happen or to let it go without a fight, we didn't have an answer.

And yesterday morning I heard Mercy Me's "Bring the Rain" with new ears. It's been an encouraging song for me for several months (I think I posted about it a couple months ago) but this time a new line jumped out at me.

"...if that's what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain."

That was my prayer yesterday. Not, "please God, please let the company sell." Not, "give me the courage to face this disappointment." Not "infect those jerks with boils." Just "if this is what it takes to praise you..."

That continues to be my prayer.

Interestingly, there has been a lot more prayer and praise this week also.

As one of the partners said, we are cash flow positive, these guys weren't the savior of our company. They certainly aren't the savior of us. And as much as I would have liked to "use the money for good" and hoped that we would, maybe we wouldn't have and God was saving us from ourselves. Maybe He'll use this to make even a bigger deal. And maybe we needed to know that our money wasn't needed to solve all the problems that we'd hoped to solve by throwing money at them.

Like He told me on Sunday: If you depend on man (US, for example) you get a man's solution. If you depend on prayer, you get God's solution. I'm sure His solution is much better anyway.

Meanwhile, we would welcome prayer. The disappointment is great. And if you wanted to throw in a few boils for the other guys...


Monday, August 20, 2007

Just When I've Climbed on my High Horse

I've never said Satan isn't smart. Except for that minor little compulsion to be better than God, I think he's a crafty creature. I'm certain he is the reason I hate Sundays.

No one annoys me like they do on Sundays. I'm never as tired as I am on Sundays. (HA! I just typo'd Sindays. For me they are!) I'm never as cranky as I am on Sundays. And I'm never as annoyed at "the church" as I am on Sundays.

Yesterday morning I was extrapolating to Hubs on the position I feel I've been shoved in to at church. As I ranted, I got more and more worked up. I just don't even want to go to church these days because of this situation. As he reminds me, I always feel this way when I have a nursing infant and we just push through the pain. I know it. He knows it. And he has even been married to me long enough to know that I'm just ranting and will eventually brush my teeth and get in the car to go.

Yesterday was no exception, except he and I decided it really was a legitimate problem that needed to be addressed. So, as I brushed my teeth, we were discussing what we needed to do and to whom we needed to talk.

I get to church and up pops Ma M. who says "If you depend upon men, you will get a man's solution. If you depend upon prayer, you will get God's solution."


Before worship was over I was weeping. It has been quite a while when I've cried in church NOT over what I was aggravated about (be it sleep deprivation or inconsiderate family members) but just because I could feel God actually cared.

We sang "All in All" which is an oldie. But when we came to the "sung it a hundred times" lines of "when I fall down You pick me up, when I am dry You fill my cup" my tear ducts dumped. I am always falling (and had been berating myself for the previous 7 minutes about not praying about the situation that I was certain I needed to handle) and most certainly dry. One friend told me once that she saw me as a cup with those last three drops at the bottom and the straw making that sucky sound, but not getting anything.

My lands, that song wasn't talking about being thirsty (to me anyway) and getting a drink...I am the drink but am totally dry. I need Him to fill me up.

So, even though I am a wretched Sunday morning sinner, God touched me yesterday. I just thought I should share. Because even when we don't think it is possible, it happens anyway.


Call it coincidence, but Charming slept so much better last night that I think I will continue the rice cereal trick. I have always believed it to be hokey, but inevitably I try it with all my kids. This is the first time I've noticed any change in their sleeping habits.

He's got me so well trained, that I kept waking to make sure he was ok. I think he was even up to nurse twice, which shows you the sad state of affairs we were in.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rejoice With Me!

Charming ate rice cereal tonight and wanted more. No gagging. No spewing. No crying. No dirty looks.

I have hope for my future.

I'm a Grownup!

What I would have posted Thursday, had I not accidentally fallen asleep at 8:45, moments after my children gave it up:

I have succeeded in life. I can tell the Kirby guy NO (in no uncertain terms)BEFORE he crosses my threshold. I only had to say it four times. I only had to interrupt him four times to tell him no four times. I wasn't even apologetic. Thirty-three seconds an done.

Glory be, I think I have finally acted my age once.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Tonight at dinner, Frodo was being a brat with a capital B. I said, to no one in particular, "I fear we are raising up a brat."

Princess said, "Mom, you shouldn't call him that!"

To which Hubs replied, "If the shoe fits..."

To which Princess replied, "Dad! That's an idiom!"

We both looked at her and blinked. I got up and got the dictionary.

Huh, she's right.

Here's another one: she came inside yesterday after being outside about 23 seconds and said, "Mom, it's so peaceful outside. There are no mowers running, or kids, or cars, or locusts, or birds. You just see leaves blowing and butterflies flapping around. It's so quiet!"

Of course it was. It was 115 degrees out there (heat index...maybe 103 true?). Leave it to her to find the good in this nasty heat wave.

Gotta love that girl.

A Quick History

I see I have some 'splanin' to do.

Hubs and I have been married for 11 years and change. We always intended to adopt. Probably a minority sibling group once "ours" were getting up there in their teens. Except "ours" didn't come as easily as we thought they might. (I HATE the term "ours" now, by the way.) Three years of infertility and two miscarriages later we decided to change our plan a bit and go ahead and get started adopting. Since the foster care system wouldn't give us the time of day, we decided to go private.

Three failed adoptions later, we got Eldest (who is fully African American). Three weeks after that I found out I was pregnant again. I'd been bleeding when I attended a "healing service" at a Joyce Meyer women's conference. Whatever you believe about evangelists or God, I stopped bleeding that night and carried Princess past term. She and Eldest are 9 months and 5 days apart in age. Currently both 6. We're between birthdays.

I'd just turned my adoption paperwork in to the agency again when I found out I was pregnant with Frodo. He is 23 months younger than Princess.

Eldest began to ask for a sibling that "matched." I was earnestly looking into adopting again when I found out I was pregnant with Charming. Due to some dreams I'd been having, I was certain HE was a SHE. When I found out HE was a HE, we promised Princess we'd try to get her a sister. Just as we've been promising Eldest we'd try to find him a "match." We never intended to isolate him in this Aryan family (that was tongue in cheek. Hubs once had a roommate who was Jewish and referred to Hubs as Aryan. We are NOT Nazi's.)

I'm convinced, not only that we should have another child of color in our family, but also that we should have a girl. I think she is supposed to be biological. That's a stinking lot of children in the 21st Century. I love them dearly, but man, the people think you are freaks when you do that.

So, there you have it. Basically seven years of life (or two years of blogging) condensed into one post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I got another game today that I LOVE. I have to share when I find one that I actually enjoy playing with my children (As opposed to say, Chutes and Ladders, the bane of parents everywhere). If you get the chance, pick this one up. It's easy to play with a range of ages. You can play it in 15 minutes or less. It is easy to lose if you have compassion for your competitive children. It is easy to win if you don't. But there is enough chance that nothing is certain.

An Ungrateful Wretch

Last evening I sat at the pool and visited with an old acquaintance, also an adoptive mom, about her recent "giving up." She'd given up on her body years ago, really. And she has recently given up the hope that she might be able to adopt another baby. She will be the first to admit that it is because she and her husband are both picky and once they get down to the three qualities they agree on, there are precious few opportunities to adopt left. But I still feel sad for her.

She is the woman who pointed out that (and purchased my first copy of) Max Lucado's Just in Case You Ever Wonder is perfect for the adoptive family because it never says "when you grew in my tummy" or "the night you were born" it says instead "the first time I saw you," and "Your first night with me." Granted, the people in the book are all quite white, but you can't always have everything.

So last night I was checking in on Mary, who I thought would probably have info on her latest Ethiopian adventure. And she did. And I played catch-up when I should have been sleeping. And I got all nasty jealous of her. And this morning I was going to post the title "Who I Want to Be" and just link to her page with her very colorful, very cool family.

And this morning I felt wretched. Because I have four wonderful kids. And maybe when Eldest is 19, I'll have 10 wonderful kids. And M. probably won't. And I have other friends who would give their eye teeth to get pregnant. But when I try to explain how I want to adopt again and keep getting thwarted because I get pregnant (which if you aren't preventing, shouldn't be much of a surprise, but you know...) I sound like an ungrateful wretch.

I'm not. Not really. Well, I am, but who isn't? I absolutely adore my kids. All of them. Even the ones that are carbon copies. And I wouldn't trade any of them for another kid out there.

I guess I'm frustrated because I'm super selfish. And I'm beginning to see life after potty-training and carpooling and play dates. And if we adopt another "brown" baby, will Eldest really even pay him or her much mind. Will he always care that he doesn't look like anyone else? I know I can go through foster care and bring home an older child. And we may some day. But Hubs is pretty addicted to the tiny ones. And I lived enough years of foster care to know that they can bring an awful lot of pain into a home. That doesn't negate their need or their value, I'm just being gut honest. I'm terrified to bring in an older child who could rip the innocence from those God has already put under my care.

But even if we start the process now and get placed in say, a year, Eldest would be eight. Is that relationship going to be close enough to be what he wants, or does he really want someone he can play ball with? Same for Princess who insists she needs a sister. She loves Charming desperately, but she wants someone with whom she can play girlie things. If we start from teeny, she'll be out of girlie things by the time there is enough age to allow for real play. And she already said she wants someone older. She thinks we should just drive over to the local orphanage and find one. If only it were so easy in the States.

Ugh. I'm not making any sense.

I know what I want to say and I'm not saying any of it.

See, I'm torn between two worlds. The world of my heart that has a rainbow of color for children and the world that lives in THIS world. The one that thinks huge families are ridiculous and irresponsible. The world that makes nasty comments disguised with a laugh. I live in a world that knows there are people hurting because they can't get pregnant and my own world that wonders if I should prevent a future pregnancy so that I can adopt again when I promised myself that I would never prevent again until I was CERTAIN I was finished. And the world that knows the people around me think I should be finished. And my own brain telling me that it's okay to be finished. And the part of my heart that would be so sad to be finished. And the part of my soul waiting for God to tell me I'm finished. And the part of my self that knows we only have one seat left in the minivan and that no one wants to babysit anymore.

So am I selfish to want to adopt again? Should I just remotely adopt some more through World Vision? Why does God give some people the desire to adopt and not the time or resources? What is wrong with me?

Besides the fact that I'm an ungrateful wretch who should be pleased as punch to just give birth again should I be given the opportunity and quit thinking about what I don't get to do in the adoption arena...except for what it would do to Eldest. (Enjoy the ones you have, Jamie....)

That's it. I'm writing the book. The one you haven't heard about, but has been percolating. I'm going to do it. That way I can go through it chapter by chapter and quit trying to get all my thoughts out in a far-too-long blog post.

Monday, August 13, 2007


There is a big blue gob of halfway dried out, bubble gum scented (and I presume flavored) toothpaste stuck to the bottom of my right foot.

My day is now complete.

Messy Spirituality

Interesting. I got this in my email last night. It isn't interesting that I got the breakfast club, because I always do. It is interesting how much this spoke to me this morning considering where I am. If this guy doesn't have it all together, and he's written a book, maybe I have hope yet.

I hope this doesn't mess with copyright stuff. I don't think it will since they send it free to anyone who asks. And, by the way, if you want to sign up to get the free chapters from Zondervan, I left the info on the bottom.

by Michael Yaconelli (nonfiction)

Published by Zondervan
ISBN: 9780310277309
Copyright (c) 2002, 2007 by Michael Yaconelli ======================================


My life is a mess.

After forty-five years of trying to follow Jesus, I keep losing him in the crowded busyness of my life. I know Jesus is there, some- where, but it's difficult to make him out in the haze of everyday life.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a godly person.
Yet when I look at the yesterdays of my life, what I see, mostly, is a broken, irregular path littered with mistakes and failure. I have had temporary successes and isolated moments of closeness to God, but I long for the continuing presence of Jesus. Most of the moments of my life seem hopelessly tangled in a web of obligations and distractions.

I want to be a good person. I don't want to fail. I want to learn from my mistakes, rid myself of distractions, and run into the arms of Jesus. Most of the time, however, I feel like I am running away from Jesus into the arms of my own clutteredness.

I want desperately to know God better. I want to be consistent.
Right now the only consistency in my life is my inconsistency. Who I want to be and who I am are not very close together. I am not doing well at the living-a-consistent-life thing.

I don't want to be St. John of the Cross or Billy Graham. I just want to be remembered as a person who loved God, who served others more than he served himself, who was trying to grow in maturity and stability. I want to have more victories than defeats, yet here I am, almost sixty, and I fail on a regular basis.

If I were to die today, I would be nervous about what people would say at my funeral. I would be happy if they said things like "He was a nice guy" or "He was occasionally decent" or "Mike wasn't as bad as a lot of people." Unfortunately, eulogies are delivered by people who know the deceased. I know what the consensus would be: "Mike was a mess."

When I was younger, I believed my inconsistency was due to my youth.
I believed that age would teach me all I needed to know and that when I was older I would have learned the lessons of life and discovered the secrets of true spirituality.

I "am" older, a lot older, and the secrets are still secret from me.

I often dream that I am tagging along behind Jesus, longing for him to choose me as one of his disciples. Without warning, he turns around, looks straight into my eyes, and says, "Follow me!" My heart races, and I begin to run toward him when he interrupts with, "Oh, not you; the guy behind you. Sorry."

I have been trying to follow Christ most of my life, and the best I can do is a stumbling, bumbling, clumsy kind of following. I wake up most days with the humiliating awareness that I have no clue where Jesus is. Even though I am a minister, even though I think about Jesus every day, my following is...uh...meandering.

So I've decided to write a book about the spiritual life.

I know what you're thinking. Based on what I've just said about my walk with God, having me write about spirituality is like having Bozo the Clown explain the meaning of the universe, like playing Handel's "Messiah" on the kazoo. How can someone whose life is obviously "unspiritual" presume to talk about spirituality? How can someone unholy presume to talk about holiness? It makes no sense.

Unless. Un"less!" Unless spirituality, as most of us understand it, is not spirituality at all.

Sadly, "spiritual" is most commonly used by Christians to describe people who pray all day long, read their Bibles constantly, never get angry or rattled, possess special powers, and have the inside track to God. "Spirituality," for most, has an "other"worldly ring to it, calling to mind eccentric "saints" who have forsaken the world, taken vows of poverty, and isolated themselves in cloisters.

Nothing wrong with the spirituality of monks. Monks certainly experience a "kind" of spirituality, a way of seeking and knowing God, "but what about the rest of us?" What about those of us who live in the city, have a wife or husband, three children, two cats, and a washing machine that has stopped working? What about those of us who are single, work sixty to seventy hours a week, have parents who wonder why we're not married, and have friends who make much more money than we do? What about those of us who are divorced, still trying to heal from the scars of rejection, trying to cope with the single-parenting of children who don't understand why this has happened to them?

Is there a spirituality for the rest of us who are not secluded in a monastery, who don't have it all together and probably never will?

(continued on Tuesday)


Would you please tell a friend about our Breakfast Club?
Sign up at:
I sure do appreciate it.--Suzanne Beecher

For more information about MESSY SPIRITUALITY go to:
Distributed by: Zondervan, 5300 Patterson SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530

So Much For That

It is 7:28 AM and I've already blown it. In an hour and 15 minutes time, I've been puked on, taken out the trash and recycling, found caterpillars (more than 10! Science class will be interesting the first week, anyway), watched a spider do its thing with a fly, googled and identified that the spider wasn't a brown recluse (a fear we have here), made muffins with the help of Frodo and...


They just push and push. They push me. They push each other. And until someone around here learns to put others first, I think we will all suffer. Sibling rivalry stinks.

Mom, who do you love the most?

That's what it all boils down to. They want more siblings, but until they learn to be kind to the ones they have, I'm saying no. This is ridiculous.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


My sisters and I have a traveling award of which I am this week's recipient. It is "The Parent of the Week Award." And, yes, it is tongue in cheek.

As I have won hands down this week, I will probably try to be a good mommy this coming week and go to the pool and play Uno rather than blog. Not that I blogged last week when I did such a fabulous job of parenting, but I'm going to try anyway.

Speaking of parenting:

This morning I was snuggling Charming and thinking how insanely much I love him. He gets me up all night. He doesn't take naps. He refuses to take a bottle or eat anything other than what my body provides. And he really demands to be held all the time. I'm hoping this is teeth. But the point is we think people who harm their children are insane (and they are), but if you look at human nature, doesn't the fact that we love these creatures who take our lives and turn them inside out, upside down, chew us up, spit us out, stomp on our hearts, take away our sleep, and then get absolute forgiveness with a smile....make US the insane ones?

And with that, I will leave you with a little entertainment. I tried to get You Tube to post this to my blog, but they don't seem to have.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Normal Night. Why So Cranky?

My head tells me that I slept last night. No big kid invasion of the bed. Charming, though he didn't sleep through, only ate three times (over 12 hours so it isn't as bad as it sounds). And though I didn't want to go to bed last night because I hate being awakened and I feared that I would, I was still in bed by 10:30.

I know I slept last night, so why am I so exhausted today?

Hubs and I have always contended that you always feel worse the second day after an all nighter and I'm certainly not proving him wrong.

Maybe it's my kids fault. After all, their gratitude is in the negative numbers. I think Grandma broke them. They get used to the short order kitchen and think it is their right. As much as I love and appreciate the "week off," the next week is always a bear. Or maybe I'm just sleep deprived.

After all, they didn't seem broken on Monday.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What to do, What to do?

Charming just gave it up. And now my bed if full of feverish little boys who've taken over their perceived deserved spot. (How do they know I've left? It makes me wonder if they come in and check all night to see if they can fit in.) Okay, yeah tonight they were in there on the floor anyway, but still.

I was going to take off for the couch, but I think Charming is fussing again.

Say a little prayer for me, will you? It's hard to be a kind mommy when everyone got more sleep than you.

Good Morning to you, too.

It is 5AM and Charming is wide awake. As he has been since 4:15. Now that we've crossed over into the 5 o'clock hour and he only seems to be showing more and more awake personality, I've nearly decided to just make some coffee and call it day.

Why bother trying to get any more night out of yesterday when I never really got any in the first place? As I told Hubs, rather hysterically, at midnight, I don't know why I didn't go to bed at 7 when I was falling asleep on the couch. Silly me thought that if I went to bed that early I would have a restless night. I didn't realize it would be the only night I would have the privilege of having.

Shortly after 8 Frodo, who'd been asleep since 4:30 (fell asleep in the living room with a fever--it was a good bet he'd stay down) came to me. I asked if he needed a drink. No. What do you need buddy? "I just want to sit with you!" He shrieked.

Okay, Charming just rolled back to tummy. That is a first. At 5:09. And he'd grinning like he just did something big. I guess I'll continue to be nice.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled griping.

I don't know how else to describe Frodo's statement other than shriek. Hub's and I exchanged humored looks and I scooped him up and we "sat." Half an hour later when we had both dozed off, I tried to put him in his bed. Unacceptable. This little ball of fire must sleep on me with his heavy blanket in THIS HEAT.

Fifteen minutes later it was a moot point because Charming was awake and "hungry."

Nurse. Place sleeping baby in cradle. Brush teeth. Go to bed. Hear fussing baby. Repeat. Three times. Grow hysterical. Enter thunderstorm. Go help Hubs bring in stuff from backyard. Climb back in bed. Big thunder. Enter Eldest. Sleep (or cry from fear and fever) between Mom and Charming (two feet between bed and cradle). Two hours of thunder and rain and fear. Charming needs to eat. Step over Eldest who gets up and does something. Enter Frodo who wants to sleep in my bed. Enter Eldest who resituates himself. Try to wake Hubs to get at least one boy on his side of the bed. Fail. Frodo situates himself somewhere. Mom tries to situate now dozy Charming in his cradle. Fail. Charming has recognized that he is not the only one awake and perceives that that means it is morning. Begins "talking" in bed. Eldest rolls over and makes closet doors bang. Mom scoops up baby heads for recliner. Forty-five minutes later gives up fight and begins typing.

If I got an hour of sleep I'd be surprised.

This reminds me of the nights when I had fewer children and I was so depressed and desperate for some sleep and I'd think, "For this child I prayed...and now all I can pray is that he'll go to sleep." You always think in the infertile years you will appreciate the sleepless nights. While I tolerate them better than I might otherwise, I have absolutely no appreciation for them.

That was my pity party and I'm cordially disinviting myself now. I'm going to go make some coffee. After all sunrise is only an hour off.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


We've had a heat index over a hundred degrees for most of the week. I'm totally drained. Nothing worth typing, to speak of, because we are just hunkering down and waiting for some wind to blow the hot away.

It is too hot to do anything.

My air conditioner has run nearly continuously for two days. And I set it pretty high.

All I want to do is sleep. Interesting that is the only thing Charming doesn't want to do.

My big kids either have some strange virus, or heat stroke. Fever for eight hours and no other symptoms. On the upside, they don't move much. On the downside, they keep fooling me into believing they aren't sick when they crash with fever again. Bizarre.

So, that said, now you know why I'm not blogging. Nothing worthwhile to say. And my fodder for entertainment are all passed out in front of a fan.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Actual thought that passed through my head

So there I am, hanging a load of reds, when I place an outfit (probably too small) of Charming's in between shirts of Eldest's and Frodo's (I am compulsive in the manner I do laundry so it was intentional the way I was hanging the clothes) when I think,

"Goodness, the kids wore a lot of reds."

Hello! It was a load of reds. Not a load of "colors," or a load of "whites" or a load of "darks." My thought that "Goodness they wore a lot of reds" is the equivalent of thinking "goodness, they used a lot of towels" when I do the towel load. Of course there are a lot of towels, it's a load of towels! Who knows how many weeks is represented in that red load.

Now if I saw a lot of green in a color load, that would be noteworthy.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Small Town Lure

The Siren call of the small town, henceforth referred to as "home," has grown in her wail.

I had a Vanilla latte yesterday that would almost make leaving Starbucks in my rear view mirror bearable. Not only was it good, it was cheaper, and the barista (how do you spell this, and if it is a guy is he a barrister?) gave me an extra shot of espresso for free. Now that's service.

And then I went out to eat at this little family Mexican place that had a fajita quesidilla to die for. Well, the cow had to die. I would give up the quesidillas here for it though.

And icing on the cake (and yet the reason I will stay here for now) is that I thought I'd eaten so much I'd probably gained back the weight I'd finally trimmed off because I felt like I was the size of a barn. But when I got home (here home, not there home) my scale read the same as when I left. Even though I licked the plate clean at La Cabana. It was just that I'd been standing too long in the aura of my ultra skinny sister-in-law.

Filling up on Words

Getting a little tired of eating my words.

I know that would be an indicator to someone that maybe I should quite talking/typing, but since I know I won't (no matter how hard I try), I will at least try to admit when I'm horribly wrong.

Prang watercolors are better.

I still don't know why we have to have the best when we don't paint but once a year, but I have been dutifully informed by the voice of experience that Prang are better. Better than Crayola. And Roseart don't even get to be on the map of watercolor goodness.

This weekend I even read a whole newspaper write up about the benefit of certain brand school supply requirements. Between the paper and the teacher who was in the room as I read and commented upon the article I learned that if everyone has the same supplies it equalizes the kids. And teachers don't want folders, they want red folders (apparently it has to do with "get out your red folder" versus "get out your science folder" though my kids "get out your homework folder" and since they only have one it can have superman on it and they still know what it is---which, I'm sure, is why we can buy any folder and not just red, blue and yellow). And spiral notebooks snag on papers and cause a 5 second delay over the much more expensive composition notebook. (What is $1.50 (times six subjects) for 5 seconds of a teacher's time? Oops, that was nasty sarcasm. Eating my words again. Tasty. And, by the way, in a roomful of 30 students I think this probably makes sense--mine are just in a room of, let's see, 5. Well, the room will hold eight, but there are five first graders. And, interestingly enough, I don't have to buy composition books--this year.)

Did you know Crayola crayons break less often than Roseart? I knew they colored better, but the breakage factor was news to me.

Fiskers scissors have proven to cut better?

Anyway, it is nice to know there is a reason--time tested over years according to the paper--that we must buy certain brands and I will quit fussing about it.

And if I do, well, I'm sure I'll need a snack.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

My Public Profession of Wrongness

Hubs tells me I misunderstood him.

Let it be known that he did not say this isn't what he wanted to do.

I, apparently, am wrong.

On the other hand, I am also right. He says that a successful company isn't a life long endeavor. I argue that it is for some people and he's been telling me that all these years about the guy that started McDonald's and how many companies failed before he was successful and if he had quit at the first or even 35th failure where would he be today (not killing off the next generation through obesity, perhaps?)? If he could use it all those years to make his point, I think I can use it now to make mine.

I think it is unfair for him to argue that this wasn't a life long endeavor when, call it luck, he was able to make it work for him in his very early 30s. Sounds a little ungrateful to me.

He sort of agrees.

I wanted to cure cancer. When I was in high school I thought I'd be a doctor. When I was in college I was going to be an immunologist. I started grad school and worked in a lab that may, eventually, make some discoveries that lead to the obliteration of cancer (may it be so). There is a life long aspiration that I've given up on. But there really aren't that many of that type of aspirations out there. Not biggies like building a rocket in your backyard and shooting yourself off into space (and am I the only one who was bothered by the fact that his "wood" bard didn't go up in flames when he took off, not once, but twice?).

Anyway, I guess I do still know my husband. I was a tad worried there for 24 hours.

Back to the reason he is right: he thinks we don't think big as a people anymore. No more space race. No more splitting atoms. No more "be able to fly." It seems to me it is because we've conquered it. But people thought we'd never fly either. Maybe time travel isn't all that off, we just don't see how to get there. I don't know.

So if that's what he means, I'll give him the "right" and try to get over the incredulity that his statement caused. After all, we have a whole lifetime ahead of us.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Things That Annoyed the Heck Out of Me Yesterday

No Comment on whether I was easily annoyed yesterday.

1. The "minister" at the garage sale that knew all the cures for all of the social failures out there, but never once mentioned God in any form (Jesus, Christ, The Lord, God, Jehovah, Yahweh, Higher Power) or sin. Why, when we have the true answer, are we giving out humanist answers for the world's ills? And if we aren't going to invoke the name of God (whichever "God" she thinks she represents), why bring up that we are a minister, Huh?

2. Charming won't sleep.

3. No stores are selling summer clothes. Here in the Midwest we have a full two months of hot yet and probably the better part of three before we have to bury ourselves in coats. Do you know how much a baby will grow in three months? If they MUST put out winter "school clothes," can't they at least still sell summer clothes for the under one crowd?

4. Charming has given up sleeping for Lent. I can't convince him that Lent is over. And he isn't allowed to give up sleeping until Lent.

5. So I took myself to a couple of the children's consignment stores. One sold summer clothes up to size 6 mo. (which we've grown out of, hence my problem). And they sold summer 2T. I could find nothing in the store for 9 mo, winter or summer. There was a whole rack of winter 12 mo. I know they have to sell what people bring in, but come on! NO ONE brought in something summery in the 6-12 month range? Or did I get there a day late because I'm not the only one with this problem?

6. The other store, Once Upon a Child, I'm using their name in vain because they have done this to me for years, lures me in with their idea of "clearance" plastered all over the window. And considering that I have looked all over town for 9 mo summer clothes, I figure if someone is clearancing out something it might be summer things. They have all of four outfits in the size I need. Are they on sale? No. They, the used clothes, are priced for MORE than I would have to pay to get them new at Kohls. Which is where I'm heading in a few minutes.

No number here because I have to explain: I went everywhere BUT Kohl's yesterday because I always shop at Kohl's. With three fewer kids to drag along I thought I'd go try some of these other stores where people are always telling me they find such great stuff. Kohl's will have summer things, I'm sure of it. (Please, oh Please!) I like Onesies as much as the next person, but I do feel a little conspicuous taking my son to church in the equivalent of undies all the time. I mean Onesies the brand not onesies the snap crotch shirt. Those I'll take him to church in. However, thank goodness that Onesies are sold year around so that if I don't find something for Charming, he will have clothes.

7. Old Navy. Three walls of infant girl clothes. 1/4 wall infant boy clothes. What season was on that 1/4 wall? Winter. And on another note, their "onesies" are really high cut on the leg so the entire diaper shows. If you put pants on over them, the side hole sticks out over the waistband.
Love the clothes, hate the cut.

8. Dillards. Who puts their 5 month old in a $43 outfit? Really. Unless it is a wedding or baptism, buy the kid some play clothes that you wouldn't actually mind them pooping on.

9. And to my waiter last night who didn't think he'd get a good tip because we ordered an ice water and shared an entree: we do it to save calories, not money. We do it to save money too, because we won't eat all the food, why buy it? We usually double the tip so that you know we aren't cheap and so that you didn't get ripped off. You, my friend, deserved to pay us a tip. The squat you did get was to prove you wrong, though I hated to reinforce your crappy behavior.

10. Hubs informed me last night that starting and building his own successful company wasn't his dream.

excuse me.


There we were, having just watched The Astronaut Farmer, and he wants to know what his life changing dream is.


And when I told him it was building this business, he told me that wasn't his dream, that was just making money.

Excuse me. I'm having a moment.

Exactly WHAT money was that making? I'm still bewildered. I have scrimped and saved and lived on a shoestring for EIGHT YEARS to help him "pursue his dream" and he totally robbed me of that last night. Because that isn't his dream.

I wrote an article that will be in a national magazine in a few months about supporting your spouse in the pursuit of a dream through hardship and I find out I haven't done it.

I'm bewildered. I'm even feeling a little sick. I'm not angry. I'm really not. I'm just absolutely floored. I wonder why we've been doing this for all these years. I feel robbed. Almost violated. Deceived. Burdened. Frustrated. You have got to be kidding me. I might just need to go vomit.

Who am I? I'm not sure I even know anymore. I thought I was a supportive wife, but apparently I'm a fool. Or maybe a leech. Because he thinks he's done this for me.


I don't know what else to say.

Maybe I'll go build a rocket.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Caterpillar Update

I have spent the morning watching caterpillar number five weave himself into his chrysalis. It is positively fascinating. All the others did it at night. I wish Princess was here to watch with me.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How Often It Works

My children have been "raising" caterpillars this summer. As opposed to last summer when we'd find the caterpillar, dump some green stuff in the bucket and let everything inside die, this summer the kids caught five, and I did a little research.

I discovered that we had "Buckeye" caterpillars which, incidentally, eat snapdragons (imagine that! since they found them on, you guessed it, the snapdragons.). We have faithfully plucked the life right out of my snapdragon bed and kept these caterpillars alive. They've grown and several have gone into their chrysalis.

When the first chrysalis showed up, Princess was so excited she picked it off the jar and brought it to me. I thought she'd killed it for sure. She dropped it, squeezed it, carried it around and finally dumped it back in the bottom om the jar so that, as her mom told her, IF the butterfly came out, we'd know it happened.

Since that first chrysalis made its appearance, three more caterpillars fattened up and went into hiding.

Contrary to my expectations, the first chrysalis opened to reveal a butterfly (abuse and all). And then the second. And today, the third.

We have one more chrysalis and one more fat caterpillar that I expect to go into hiding any day now. We've released three beautiful butterflies.

This morning I was again amazed at how well God's earth works. Caterpillars hatch, eat, go into chrysalis, pop out and fly off. Over and over again. As long as they have something to eat and air to breathe that is.

So many times we get all wrapped up in ugly side of life when something goes wrong. We get to where we expect life to fail us. And we've failed to notice how often things go right.