Friday, February 29, 2008

Uh. So. Anyone Else Spontaniously Quit Their Jobs Today?

After dealing with all the confrontation documented in my previous post, I tried to get some work done. After leaving countless voice mails that never get returned, a mean lady hung up on me. I burst into tears cursing every PMS demon that was attacking my mind today. I work at home about 15 hours a week and it is lonely. I leave voice mails and emails to set up appointments for my boss who is the owner of a promotional product company. So, even though I have valid contact information, people either ignore me or hang up on me confusing me with either an annoying telemarketer or a machine that has no feelings.

Today was not a good day for a mean lady to hang up on me.

I ended up having a heart to heart with my boss and he was very understanding. I told him I felt like I am just not doing what I am gifted to do. I need to be around people and do projects and events that people benefit from. I babbled on and on about not knowing what I am going to do, but sensing that God wants me to trust Him with the timing. So, as of the end of March I will be unemployed. I don't know what emotion is prevailing right now....relief or fear.


P. S. The offended mom called me back with "her daughter's side of the story". Her daughter burst into tears because she was shocked to find out she did anything wrong. With the amount of volcanic emotional pressure building in me I knew I had to stay upbeat and thank the good Lord that I am His temple in which He dwells and I needed to remember what I prayed for earlier. I think we ended the way-too-long conversation on a fairly good note (I tried to say some good, encouraging things about her daughter as I gently beat around the bush trying in not so many words to say "she's not really telling you the truth, WOMAN!").

Have I Mentioned How Much I Dislike Confrontation??

We had a rather rough talent show practice yesterday. I was short handed with volunteers due to illness and #1 willingly helped out with the group that I normally work with (in addition to answering no less that 11,238 questions from the rest of the students and helpers). So, she stayed with them and one of the girls is what you may call.....hmmmmm.....I pause for a moment to word this appropriately.... a bit of a challenge? She was really out of control, particularly with one of the other girls her age and she just would not cooperate (she must not have gotten the memo that the name of the show is We're ALL in this Together).

I already talked to the victim's mother (who was great and very understanding), but now I must confront the perpetrator's mother. UGH! I hate this. I know it is necessary, not just for the show, but for this girl's future and the future of her children and grandchildren (ok...I'll cut the dramatics....I'm nervous and babbling).

So, deep breath, much prayer (although, it is absolute mindless prayer of asking for wisdom and gentle words over and over and over and over again) and I have a phone call to go make.

I think I'm gonna throw up.

The post report - That didn't go as well as I would have liked it to. It was the worst 3 minute, one-sided, awkward conversation I've had in a long time! The mom said about 2 words to me after I gently and honestly shared some of her daughter's behavior problems during practice. I have a strange feeling that although this girl is known for her "issues", few people have ever brought it to the mom's attention before. I could not tell if her lack of an apology or explanation was due to shock or anger (I'm guessing both). And, her son is in #3's class, so "Yay Me"! We've already had some conversations with teacher about when he called #3 a loser and stupid. Well, I ended the conversation by asking her to talk to her daughter about cooperating and following directions no matter who is in charge and she responded with a clipped "okay". I was disappointed that she didn't ask more questions or try to offer some sort of acknowledgment confirming that behavior is unacceptable. But, then I started to realize that perhaps, this is why her children don't "play well with others". Lord, I pray that you keep my heart soft and my walls of defense down when dealing with this family. I also pray that they do not drop out of the show because of taking offense. And, I also pray that I can allow Your light, Jesus, to shine in me and through me to be a blessing to this family. Amen!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Want One!

I needed this when I went on my "grown up" interview the other day! Oh, so sophisticated!

Almost Ten Random Ramblings

It's been awhile since I just posted about random things going on in my life and so since I have no deep, spiritual thoughts at the moment to share and no new pictures or tales to tell I'll just try to entertain you with some mindless tidbits from my life.

Mindless tidbit #1 - My sweet #3 has a new habit. Several times during the day she'll tip toe down to GAS's room, throw open the door and yell "BOO!". She thinks it is the funniest thing ever. When I told her it is not very nice to keep scaring GAS on purpose she says: "But, Mommy, you should see how funny her face looks when I do it!" And, then #3 does an imitation of what GAS looks like when she scares her. GAS thinks it's funny (and, I think she likes the attention) so I just let #3 keep doing it. I make sure GAS has taken her heart medication that morning just to be sure.

Mindless tidbit #2 - poor #2 got up yesterday to go to school after missing 2 days from her ear drum rupture/sinus infection only to find she could not stand or walk. She had jumped rope the night before (nothing unusual about that) and apparently, according to her doctor, her muscles were so weak from being sick that she actually pulled both calf muscles. After a shower, some icy hot gel, Motrin and prayer she could limp around holding onto things. She went into school late and her teacher confirmed she had trouble walking. She's still sleeping now and I'm afraid to wake her up because she is running out of body parts to injure and I'm not sure if I can take anymore. She even has had trouble eating on top of everything else because she scraped the roof of her mouth over the weekend with a sharp cheese cracker and she has a new tooth coming in. The poor thing! Just about everything hurts her!

Mindless tidbit #3 - I sent a thank you letter for my job interview and included a link to an online article about why job sharing is such a great idea. I also was so bold as to propose 2 possible scenarios of how that could work for this position, so now I feel like I've done my part and the rest is up to God. It's so strange to not be anxious over it. I'm totally fine if or if I don't get this job. I have no intention of leaving my current job now until summer hits, anyway.

Mindless tidbit #4 - Eating healthy, small portions and exercising this week has not been on my high priority list. Bummer.

Mindless tidbit #5 - Now #1 is home sick with a bad headache. Is there no end to the madness??

Mindless tidbit #6 - I am being nominated for PTO president for the 2008-09 school year. Cool. I somehow have all these parents and teachers fooled into thinking I can be in charge of something so detailed. I wonder if they'll let me use one of those little gavels to make motions to adjourn and stuff. I guess technically, I have not accepted the nomination, yet. I kind of like just helping and concentrating on one thing at a time, but yet, the possibility of having a Christian PTO president serving with a Christian school principle seems like a God thing, doesn't it? Plus, our school is just so great, it would be an honor to serve this way.

Mindless tidbit #7 - Now that Dance Wars is over there is absolutely nothing to watch on TV.

Mindless tidbit #8 - I'm wearing dog pajamas now that The Dog chewed on and there are holes all up one leg. Isn't that ironic? Dog pajamas that a dog chewed on. Maybe she was trying to make a statement that if we get another dog she'll chew it up?! I'm not sure why I keep wearing these since I have at least six other pairs of pajamas that don't have holes in them. These just feel so broken in and comfy, holes and all!

Mindless tidbit #9 (they just keep coming to me) - we have medicine for #2's various infections that you need to use a syringe to draw out of the bottle from Target's pharmacy. She likes to shoot it into her mouth herself; however yesterday as I was ready to take her to school an hour late due to her leg issues, I looked out into the dining room and she was standing there with medicine dripping down her hair, face, shirt and pants. She said she accidentally took it out of her mouth while she was still shooting it. Then, last night's dose got shot across my kitchen floor "accidentally". I've now revoked her shooting privileges.

So, that's it. Hopefully, you stayed awake reading this oh! so! exciting! post about my last few days.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Now What?

I went on my out-of-the-blue job interview today and found out the following information.....

  • The position is a unique combination of the 2 major work experiences I've performed over the last 18 years, with a great deal of multi-tasking and I think we all know I can do that ( I am a seasoned mother of 3, aren't I?).
  • The position is available at the end of August. That is quite the coincidence (not) since I wanted the summer off with the kids and to oversee a summer enrichment program I proposed to the PTO at our elementary school.
  • The position is full-time and this company has never offered this position as a job share or part-time.
So, 2 out of 3 isn't bad, right? I was told that many resumes never make it to the first interview and even less to the second and despite knowing I only wanted a part-time position this manager is recommending a second interview with the district manager. He did tell me at least 4 times that he thinks there is no chance they will allow me to work part-time in this position. He even asked me what I would tell the district manager if he offered me the job, but only if it was full-time. I explained that I would say "No, thank you. If you ever change your mind and would reconsider having me work 20 hours per week, please let me know". I then went on to explain that I am extremely devoted to my family and that knowing my personality and what I want to maintain, I would send my entire household into chaos if I worked away from home forty hours a week ( I don't know how other moms do this and don't fall asleep on the evening commute home!). He seemed to appreciate the honest response and quite frankly, most career coaches would be mortified at me actually ADMITTING I like being a mom and I didn't pretend to just simply survive this area of my life! So, basically it would take a major move of God to hear back from this company because I can totally hear this guy with his co-workers.....

"Yeah, for fun she reads Christian fiction and coaches her kid's soccer team!!! Hahahahahaha! Part-time! Hahahaha!!!!!"

But, I couldn't help but think there is a first time for everything. And, I am completely resting in the fact that if God closes the door, there will be another one opening when the right time comes. And, it was kind of fun getting dressed up and playing "I have an important meeting to go to today"!

Monday, February 25, 2008

What Strange Timing

After I posted this I got a phone call from a well-known company that I had sent a resume to awhile back on a whim and they asked me to interview for their Community Relations Manager position.

That's a little bizarre.

But, wait. My day takes on a twist of its own and instead of retyping all the details, I'll just share the 2 emails I sent out to some friends and family. The first email is a bit frantic. I did have a strange peace about me, yet, at the same time I also felt so helpless.

Please pray for #2…she has had a fever and when I took her to the doctor today she has a severe infection in her left ear and a bad sinus infection. She has spent the last hour in extreme pain, her ear is burning and there is nothing more we can do for her (she has as much Motrin in her that is safe and her antibiotic obviously hasn’t had time to kick in, yet). Please pray for her to be healed from all this and the pain to be gone…..I’ve never seen her cry in pain like this before. She dozed off so I wanted to send this quick note out because I believe Jesus can and WILL heal her! And, The Husband is feeling pretty sick, too. He could use your prayers, as well.

I kid you not...#2 was in so much pain I was getting sick to my stomach. She hasn't felt the greatest since Friday, but around 3:30 pm it seemed like (literally) all hell broke loose to torment her. Even while she dozed, tears came out of her eyes and she would jerk awake from the pain and just shake. Awful does not begin to describe this afternoon.

But, here is the second email I sent out just a little bit ago:

Thank you so much for your prayers! Right after I emailed everyone, she work up screaming in pain and blood was coming out of her ear. I had called our nurse practitioner and she suggested applying a warm, hard boiled egg without the shell to the ear. At first I thought she had to be out of her mind….my child was in EXCRUCIATING pain, can we have a child-sized dose of morphine delivered??? I even wondered how in the world I could leave her bedside to boil the egg…but #1 and The Husband pitched in staying with her and praying with her and trying to keep her calm. By the time I put the egg on her ear (that just sounds so bizarre) a few emails came back including this one:

I just pray in the name of Jesus that any attack would be stopped in the name of Jesus. I just had a picture of the Lord in Battle Armor and a blazing sword of glory standing over your house. When the Lord stands in battle, He is always victorious. I pray victory from pain, sickness, and attack in the name of Jesus. I pray for wholeness and life to flow. He is mighty in battle!

It makes me think of the words to this song:

The Lord is with you mighty warrior

The Lord is with you mighty warrior

So arise

Arise on wings of eagles

Arise on wings of eagles

She fell back asleep and we just prayed that over her. When she woke up a few minutes later she had a shocked look on her face. Blood still continued to come out of her ear, but she said the pain was less. We continued praying and put another egg in her ear! She felt so much better she asked for a cupcake for dinner and she spoke a few sentences to us. A few minutes later she sat up in bed. A half hour later she was doing her homework in bed and an hour later joined us at the supper table where she ate 3 of the hard boiled eggs that we did not use in her ears and a chocolate cupcake that Daddy brought home for her! Praise the Lord! Please continue to keep her in your prayers as this fluid drains from her ears (it is more watery now) and she is still experiencing some pain and discomfort. And, as for The Husband….he has been knocked out with NyQuil since about 7pm and seems to be resting well. I knew it was time to send him to bed as his speech sounded somewhat slurred at the supper table!

We are just so thankful that God knew eggs-actly what #2 needed! Ha! Ha! Get it? I’m sorry….I couldn’t resist!

So strangely enough, in light of the day's events, I'm not certain at all that this new possible job opportunity is right for me now. Number one, it is advertised as full-time (although, God can always work those details out and find someone who wants to job share). But, number two, I am taking the summer off to be WITH MY KIDS (that would be a real miracle if anyone wants to hire me with that stipulation!). Today reminded me that spending time from June through August without a job distracting me from my kids, is non-negotiable. I would've walked barefoot over hot coals to make #2 feel better and God has this great way of getting through to me with real life experiences. I'm a mommy, and I am needed.

I'm not feeling quite so restless anymore. No, instead I am deciding to wait for what God's VERY BEST is for me on a personal level and be grateful I've got a family to pour into in this season. I'm still going on that interview (God knows I need the practice) and I've already played out the scenario in my head of them offering me the job and me giving them my very unrealistic list of demands and then by some amazing revelation of God they hire me for an outrageous amount of money which will lead to my own Talk Show and later my first book....My Lamb's Name is Sparky and You Can't Have Her (a journey of surrendering everything to God).

oH mY wORD!!!! Now, I sound like I've been dipping into the NyQuil!

Is Restlessness a Bad Thing?

Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress.
Thomas A. Edison

I've been pondering my restlessness lately and trying to determine if it is a sign that I need to make some changes or if it is just a selfish response to the everyday monotony of life. Ok...not that my life is boring, it just seems lacking something. It is not at all family related, I think this is more Melissa-related. I am totally relishing my role as wife and mom, but from time to time I lose myself in it only to get to this place I'm at now. And, I'm not talking about a desire to go shopping or get my nails done. It's different.

I know part of this restlessness stems from having a part-time job that I am not passionate about, but because we rely on the income I keep on going. I'm starting to wonder if I'm being fair to my boss or myself. It's like this cloud of grace is slowly lifting off of the time I spend doing it and I find myself daydreaming about the part-time job I long for.....Event Planner, Project Manager or President of the United States of America (ha!ha!....I just wanted to see if you were paying attention!). I also feel very strongly that I would like to take off the entire summer and focus on the kids. I feel like the Lord gently reminds me that it is not time to make a switch, yet, so I should not be so concerned. I almost feel like a race horse in the gate that is jumping up and down frantically trying to paw my way out while the other horses are standing calmly waiting for the race to begin! I am considering the same thing regarding the church ministries I'm involved with, also. I'm just sort of floating about here and there and I'm ready to commit to something, but, I'm not sure what that "something" is. Of course, I've also prayed that the Lord would so bless The Husband in his job that I could spend all my time volunteering in places that just don't have the money to pay someone a salary.
We just haven't arrived at that place. Yet.

So, while restless can be a sign that something needs adjusting, it can also be a sign of impatience. I have to disagree with Mr. Thomas Edison, he oversimplifies a bit. Discontent and restlessness have to be closely evaluated to see what is motivating those feelings. Many people live in a constant state of feeling like this. And, they are miserable. Wouldn't you think that discontent is a "man made" emotion, not a God created one? I believe true progress is made when we trust our loving God and allow Him to order our steps for us.

I'm just curious of the opinions out restlessness a good motivating factor or is it a sign of impatience and/or selfishness? What's your 2 cents?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Freedom Friday

We got to "meet" some of the presidents last weekend. The visitor center at the White House does a great job of making these famous families seem a little more like you and me. We saw pictures of them picnicking on their front lawn (that just happened to be The White House) and pictures playing with their dogs.

For more Freedom Friday pics check out Politics for Moms by clicking here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another Attitude Adjustment

I'm feeling a little extreme today. Sometimes, depending on what we are going through, I feel like my emotions are raw. Thankfully, it usually leads me back to realizing that this life I live is not about me, my job, my wife/mothering skills, my weight, my ministry, my is about participating in the Kingdom of God and His Will being done on earth in my little corner of the world he has assigned me to.

So often we lose our focus little by little until each day becomes survival and the fire is gone. I don't want to live in that place. I believe if I am in tune with where the Holy Spirit leads I can be a part of turning the world upside down for Christ. I especially feel called to help wake up the sleeping church, to teach the difference between religion and dead works versus a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. So many Americans say they are Christians, but do they intimately know and passionately serve the One who saved them? This is not to judge or condemn....I think it is time for some of us to help break the chains that keep people in bondage to fear, mediocrity and selfishness. And, quite honestly, I don't think I'm doing my part. No excuses. It's like I have the cure for cancer, but I'm too busy/intimidated/tired to tell many people about it.

My challenge is to do something today that the Holy Spirit leads me to do that will make a difference in someone's life. Not just some random act of kindness so people think I'm nice (not that we shouldn't do these things). I'm talking about taking a risk today. Anyone want to join me and take a risk in your corner of the world?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Here We Go. Again.

I had this thought as I was driving yesterday that if I were to lose 30 pounds and make more money than what we needed what would I stress about? Those are really the 2 main themes that can put me in a foul mood if I let them. The money part bothers me less and less through the years because God has done amazing miracles with our finances and I know He will provide for our needs. The weight thing, now, that's another story.

While in DC I was somewhat careful of what I ate, but I figured we were walking so much I did not need to take advantage of the fitness room in our hotel. It is that way of thinking that keeps me 20 pounds overweight. I'll lose a pound or two and then just lapse into the same mentality that has kept me here for years. The formula is simple. I must burn more calories than I take in. That's it. I've read so many books on the subject and tried different "diets" and Weight Watchers. Only to still find myself unable to wear clothes a size smaller in my closet that have now gone out of style! Now, please don't think I'm freakishly obsessed over the subject! I know beauty comes from within and The Husband makes me feel like a million bucks. But, I've become one of those people who avoids having pictures of themselves taken. I am such a ham bone! How could that have happened? Because the pictures depress me and remind me that this is an area of my life I can't seem to move forward in. It's the same New Year's Resolution year after year.....

And, maybe even blogging about it will help. I know with Susan's wedding coming up and a class reunion I originally felt pressure to drop the weight. Now, I just feel sort of disappointed that I even need to think that. Didn't I lose weight for my 15 year reunion and our cruise only to gain it back again? I don't want to be a healthy weight just for a few months! Then I start to become afraid that my body is so used to this weight it will take a lifelong diet of celery to maintain any weight loss!

I joined my gym almost 2 months ago and have not lost more than a pound or two. I just read all about Valerie Bertinelli joining Jenny Craig and losing 30 pounds and it was enough to send me to their website checking it out. Realistically, I can't afford it and honestly, I don't want it to just be about me. I want my whole family to join me on my healthy, portion-controlled eating habits. I wouldn't feel right making them eat chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese while I eat my Jenny Craig entree!

So, while I'm not sure posting this has really given me any more strength to see it through, I do know that I am sick of feeling "stuck" here. So, we'll just have to see what happens. One day at a time (no pun intended to the Valerie Bertinelli reference!).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Washington DC - oH mY wORD Edition!

This is probably going to be my longest post ever because I took about 2 trillion pictures of our weekend in DC. I'd split it up into smaller segments, but then when I email the link to this post to my family members (who don't really even know that this is a blog or what a blog is) they would be all confused. And, you know who you are!

First we had to drop The Dog off at "camp". We took her to a new kennel to board her since her regular one is closed for renovations. We took her to a "recreational pet camp" where they asked me if there was any medication in her "luggage". Her "luggage" consisted of a plastic Giant grocery bag. I really had a hard time keeping a straight face as I checked in my "camper"! But, I must admit, three days without her was like heaven for me.

Our actual trip started out with a wonderful visit! This first picture is us at Susan's place. We got to hang out with her on Saturday and we had a blast! I miss her so much! She cooked us pancakes and bacon which we ate before we started out on our adventure.

We rode the Metro two of the days we were there since we stayed outside of DC in a wonderful hotel called The Bolger Center in Potomac, MD. We were pretty much the only people there (which was a little creepy at times).

Our first sight-seeing stop was The Smithsonian Natural History Museum. On the way we took a few pictures while we walked across the mall between the Washington Monument and the Capital.

Yes, that's Susan in the below picture. Most people take this picture with the Monument and I decided to do it a little differently:

The below picture is inside the Smithsonian gift shop. #3 wanted that hat and I said no way! It was $13.95 and I couldn't see it lasting more than a few days!

This is a picture of me posing with "my relatives". This museum pushed evolution like I've never seen before! We started to count how many placards and signs referred to evolution until we realized it would be easier to count how many didn't say anything about evolution! I must say, the Photograph Exhibit was breathtaking and I could have stayed there for hours looking at these exquisite photos of nature. It was, by far, my favorite part of the museum.

We snapped these photos on the way back to the Metro:

Here we are riding the Metro. It was very clean and quiet and I was very impressed. Best of all, it was color coded and very easy to follow.

We had a nice-sized indoor pool at our hotel and we swam after dinner. We were the only ones there. #3 was a fish and I barely saw her head above the water the entire time she was in the pool. She was too busy doing underwater flips and hand stands! And, as you can see, there was a lot of sisterly love:

This was our second day when we went inside the Washington Monument. #3 asked if the statue was made out of chocolate! We were here waiting for the elevator that goes to the top. It is a 70 second ride. On the way down, they let you see some of the commemorative stones inside the monument by doing something to the windows in the elevator with the lights. It was very cool! We couldn't see the PA stone, though.

Below is one of the views from the top of the Washington Monument. Did you know that George Washington was 6 ft. 3 inches tall? I didn't know that!

This is outside the Washington Monument and I thought it made a cool picture with all the flags!

This picture below was at the WW2 memorial. It is probably one of my favorite pictures from the weekend. Both this memorial and the Vietnam memorial moved me to tears. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it. I love America. And, I am grateful for the freedoms we enjoy. This is the place where it all really hits home.

This picture below is outside of the Lincoln Memorial with the Reflecting Pool behind us. At this point #3 was worn out from all the walking so she and I didn't make it to the top. The Husband took the older girls up, as you'll see in the picture under this one.

We tried to go to the Smithsonian American History Museum, but it is closed until summer for renovations (I'm not sure we would have made it anyway!). The picture below was the ride home on the Metro. We were exhausted. I think we honestly walked about 10 miles!

Today was our last day and we went to The White House and Visitor Center. They were doing all sorts of special activities for President's Day. The girls made beeswax candles, took the oath of office and learned all about our former presidents and their families!

The weather was gorgeous all weekend long! Another nice thing about this trip was that we cashed in Discover Reward points for free dining certificates at Bennigans and On the Border, two restaurants we don't have around here. And, we got to try a new restaurant called Chicken Out Rotisserie and it was fabulous! I hope one of those comes to our town soon. And, I also enjoyed a new Florentine breakfast sandwich from Starbucks with baby spinach, Havarti cheese and herb spread. YUM!! We cashed in reward points off of our Visa towards our hotel so the whole trip was very affordable. And, very FUN!

We needed a break and this was exactly what I was hoping for!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Heart Them!

The girls came home to decorations in their room, a new book and a small quantity of their favorite candies. They were so excited! The little ones just screamed and screamed like there were tickets to Disney World on their beds. I had no idea what 2 rolls of 79 cent streamers could do!

They had a good day at school. #2 sheepishly showed me a little stuffed animal that a boy from her class gave her and admitted she was the only person in the class he gave one to. She assured me that they are "just friends" and she doesn't, you know, "like" like him. Meanwhile #3 has eaten most of whatever came home from her class Valentine exchange. And, #1 and some close friends exchanged treats. No boys involved!

GAS wants to take us out to dinner on a family date tonight so we are headed to Cracker Barrel in a little bit. Then, I never know what to get The Husband for Valentine's Day (or his birthday, or our anniversary or Christmas....) so I picked up a heart-shaped box of chocolates (which I don't think I ever did before). Someone gave us a box of chocolates at Christmas and he was always picking at them so I figured he would like them! I'll also be sure to give him goo-goo eyes over the dinner table when the kids aren't looking!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Hills Were Alive with the Sound of Screaming

The taxes are done! I did it! It took me 3 hours of furrowing my brows and looking at last year's tax return to figure it all out, but they are finished. HUGE SIGH.

While I did taxes, The Husband took the girls out sledding on our incredible hill out back. They love it! He even pulls them back up the hill on his four-wheeler until there is too much snow for him to get good traction. As this occurred, I tried to concentrate on Turbo Tax with 2 images flashing through my mind:

1. The four-wheeler flipping over backwards on one of the girls as they are getting pulled up the hill (each time that thought entered my mind I would pray the blood of Jesus to cover them and keep them safe).

2. The Dog getting steamrolled by the four-wheeler. And, most of you know how sad that would make me. Ah-hem. Oh, I'm just kidding! I'd probably shed a tear or two if she met her sudden untimely demise. After all, we've spent a fortune on her...she's our little a vacation home in Florida or a mutual fund....I have high hopes for her being like Lassie and saving someone's life some day to make up for all the cell phones, remote controls, IPods, walls, books, shock collars, socks and shoes she has destroyed.

But, since I was involved in my tax marathon I seriously had no input into any of the family activities except throwing on my boots with a broken zipper, my coat and hat. They looked like they were having fun and they were at the bottom of the hill. It was dark. I had no gloves or snow pants on.

Does anyone see where this is headed?

I grabbed the snow boogie board and took off down the hill.

OH MY WORD times one hundred!!!!!!!!

My entire life flashed before my eyes. My precious family didn't even know I was coming down the hill and all I kept thinking for the half second it took me to go the length of a football field was: "How do my children live through this???!!". I hit some sort of mogul (I don't even know if that is the right word) and when I landed snow covered me, but did not slow me down. I was screaming and covered in snow. Did I mention it was about 10 degrees outside and in that short amount of time my naked hands were on fire? Thankfully, they had frozen into a locked position onto the handles of the sled. I finally slowed down and realized I had to walk back up the blasted hill.

But, it was exhilarating. And, properly dressed in the daylight, it would have been a lot more fun.

I went back to the taxes (that didn't seem so scary anymore) and plugged away. The kids came in and after helping them out of their snow clothes, they started watching The Sound of Music. #2 and #3 had so many questions from the last time we watched it. I explained about Austria and the war and Hitler and the Nazis. I was giving them these "I'm distracted trying to do taxes" answers to their questions. But, I love one point when the "bad guys" come to take away The Captain, #2 asked me "Are those the Yahtzees?".


In the event I don't post for the next few days (or months), it is only because for the first time in NINE YEARS I am going to attempt to do our taxes. Owning, selling and closing businesses for the last eight years resulted in the luxury of a paid accountant. Now, it's just me and my $34.99 version of Turbo Tax.

I'm a little scared....but, the box makes it look like #3 could do this (Hey! Now, there's an idea).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Most Pecular Dining Experience

This weekend The Husband and I decided to go on a date together and we tried a new restaurant. It was small and quaint. The owner welcomed us and sat us down with a simple typed menu. I figured "What the heck?" and ordered onion rings and chocolate cake as my meal! The waitress was confused and kept asking me what I wanted to eat for dinner. She actually copped a bit of an attitude and could be heard arguing with the owner, as well as the cook in the kitchen!

Our food came out pretty quickly and we actually invited the owner to sit down and eat with us. That caused a little bit of confusion, but it was fun! The owner was a riot! She told us we were sitting next to her eye doctor. We stopped laughing long enough to notice there was a hair in my food! When I showed it to the owner she said not to worry, it would be no charge. I thought she was referring to my meal, however, she clarified by saying I still had to pay for my meal, but the hair was free!

Oh my word!

In reality, the owner was #3, the waitress was #1 and our cook was #2! And, of course, the eye doctor was The Dog (I think #3 was trying to remember "seeing eye dog")! Our dining room consisted of our "living/family room" and we dined on play food on the coffee table. It was a relaxing day filled with lots of laughter!

Friday, February 8, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering

A few days ago I posted here about some trouble #1 was having with a girl at school. And, some of you asked how the meeting went, so I thought I'd fill you in! This was what the guidance counselor emailed me after their meeting:

Hi! I think the meeting went very well. #1 certainly handled herself well and was assertive with the girl but very respectful. Please let me know if the situation doesn’t improve.

Since then, we've been praying about the situation and for this to be a turning part in this girl's life. #1 wasn't sure how this whole meeting would shake out because the girl got upset and defensive then wouldn't talk to her the rest of the that day. Thankfully, #1 came home happy yesterday and reported that this girl had been very nice to her and things seem to be going much better.

There was definitely peace in the midst of the storm, which is very reassuring because there is always some kind of trial to endure right around the corner!

update: I posted this originally this morning but, it was another rough day with this girl today! Argh! I know God's got it all under control!

Twenty Years is a Long Time

I received a flyer in the mail for my upcoming twenty year reunion.

Did I just type that? Has it honestly been that long since I graduated from high school? I remember my mom going to hers and I thought "Man, she's old"!

But, I'm not sure if I'll be attending, yet. The cost is $60 per person. There is a 3-hour open bar so you know what that means??! Woo-hoo! Three hours of unlimited Diet Coke for me! I should have quite the caffeine buzz working as a result of consuming my favorite beverage all night. Seriously, I hate open bar. Two hours into any event with an open bar you can't have an intelligent conversation with at least half the people there. And, it's just not safe. People drink a little more responsibly when they empty their wallet after a few drinks, but when it is like an alcohol "buffet" that's another story.

Each of our reunions there is a memory book. It is contact information and a little blurb about what you've been doing the past 20 years. This question made me chuckle:

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I'm not sure if I could sum it up in a few sentences because this is what most people who haven't seen me in twenty years would be surprised to know:

  • I don't drink alcoholic beverages
  • I don't smoke
  • I'm faithful, physically and emotionally, to my husband
  • I don't curse like a drunken sailor
  • I don't judge people by outward appearance and say mean things
  • I love Jesus and being involved at my church
  • I love being a wife and mom
  • Pick a hair color, any hair color
  • Pick a weight between 125-203
  • I like playing and watching sports (watching my kids play sports, that is!)
  • I only listen to Christian music and Hannah Montana bubble-gum rock, with a little High School Musical thrown in
So, as you can see, a lot has changed (THANK YOU, GOD!!!). I still have some amazing friends (you know who you are!) and I would go to the reunion just to hang out with the few of them for the night! But, really the lonely, hurting girl I was twenty years ago is dead. In her place is a woman who knows Who she belongs to and who has a purpose in her life. Sometimes going back to those "memories" that defined you in high school is a painful place to go and I'm not sure if I'm up for it. But, it is the Big 20-year reunion, so I'll have to see. I'm just surprised I wasn't more excited about it.......

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Million Dollar Question

Recently, the Lord has been stretching me, asking me a question that I know He knows the answer to, but do I?

Have I really surrendered everything over to Him?

I started to ponder Old Testament times and how sins had to be atoned for by anim*l s*crifice. I've read over that part and don't spend a lot of time thinking about it because it was an issue of obedience. They HAD to do it.

Or, did they? Just like we disobey today, did anyone disobey back then? Free will certainly comes into play, doesn't it? And, most people who love the Lord, never intend to outright disobey Him, right?

I was thinking about what it would have been like to raise a perfect lamb, without a spot or blemish (enter pride). I would probably start to admire the beauty of this lamb and entertain thoughts of how sad it is that this poor innocent creature had to die. I may have eventually gotten attached to her and named her Sparky and put a pretty pink bow in her hair! But, when it came time to bring her to the temple as a burnt s*acrifice I may have conveniently "forgot" that was the day or flat out out refused (I'll find another lamb). Or, I may have tried to hide her. Because I lost my focus.

I forgot about the covenant and started to rationalize and defend my disobedience.

Let's put this another way. Let's put my pride on the alter. Oh, I don't know. I've had it for so long, I put a pink bow in it's hair and I don't want to put it on the alter. If I admit my weaknesses I'll be humiliated and I'm just not ready to make that kind of sacrifice. How about my "personal agenda"? I'm not ready to put that on the alter, I've worked so hard to make it beautiful. To make my life comfortable and the way I like things to be. The list goes on and past, my resentment, my jealousy, my credit cards, my blog, my control. It doesn't have to be a negative stronghold, it can even be my home, finances or the ministry God has called me to. Would I be disobeying if I:

1. Keep any sin-issues hidden that God wants to deal with?

2. Or, to flat out refuse to lay down the things I love too much when God is asking me to?

Yes, it's disobedience. And, then the struggle begins to relinquish the control I enjoy so much having over my own life!

It sort of goes along with this post. Our sacrifices are not always financial, but are they pleasing to the Lord? He knows our hearts and knows every motive behind what we do. I struggle with knowing the difference between serving the Lord and people pleasing. For many years I served so people would like me and I'd get a "title" and I never even thought about my defensive, easily offended attitude much. It wasn't until God asked me to put a few of those "titles" on the alter (and, it was hard!) that the true transformation in my life took place. This journey really became about Him, and in that process I have a joy that can only be taken away if I allow it to be. He is so good!

God has begun to work on my heart again. He's asking me to put fear and unbelief on the alter so His Mighty Fire can consume it.

This time, I think I'll lay them down without a struggle.

Praying for Peace in the Storm

It's so hard when your kids go through tough times, but I am reminded by the Lord that they are not our battles to "fight" in the flesh. That doesn't mean that we don't try our best to equip our kids with encouraging advice and prayer (lots of prayer!).

As great as our overall public school experience has been, there are still some serious "mean girl" issues going on in the middle school. There is a girl (I hesitate to call her a friend) that asks #1 if she can sit with her at lunch every day and so #1 assumes they are friends because they'll also hang out together at recess. But, then the rest of the day the girl does things like call her names that I will not mention on this blog, pushed her down the stairs and never once returns a compliment (#1 will say "that's a nice shirt you're wearing" and the girl will respond, "I know, yours is ugly"). To complicate matters further, they are on the same indoor soccer team (I found this out much to my dismay when #1's team didn't have enough players so they combined with this other girl's team). It has really been a strain and #1 never knows what to expect from this girl. Of course, we've discussed this from many angles. Maybe this girl thinks she is just being "cool" or funny. Her family may talk to each other like this. No matter what #1 tries to do it just seems to get worse. Finally, yesterday the girl asked to sit with her at lunch, #1 said no and tried to explain why. The girl called her a nasty name and stalked off. Then, the rest of the afternoon every time she saw #1 she called her that same nasty name.

Well, #1 has finally had enough. She met with her school counselor (a great lady) and now the 3 of them have a meeting this morning. #1 has tried so many times to talk to this girl about her hurtful behavior, but she'll just tell #1 to "shut up". This girl is well-known (I'm not sure how well-liked) and #1 is very nervous about her making her life even more miserable by having this meeting with the counselor. I told her she is doing the right thing. She tried to handle it on her own and the situation has gotten out of hand (this girl also kicked #1 very hard in the ankle and it still hurts her sometimes, many months later).

Now that I've set the stage for you, please imagine that when I see this girl I would like to throttle her. The counselor told #1 that this girl will try to justify everything with a "I was just kidding around". Apparently, this is common at this age. But for me, it is so hard to step back and watch my kids go through this stuff. Adversity builds their character. I believe that, but who wants to watch their kids suffer? Then, I think of what our Heavenly Father watches us go through day after day, some of it self-inflicted pain from bad choices, and how His heart must break. And, He knows just when to intervene and just when to let His truth and Word guide us and comfort us. That's the kind of parent I want to be.

So, I'll be praying for her during her meeting and I'll be there to listen at the end of her school day. And, in between, I'll be trying not to fret about it!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Can You Believe It?

I'm helping this week at our elementary school book fair and I had a funny conversation with some of the moms. I asked if any of them blog and they stared at me like I asked if they eat human flesh. After I laughed (awkwardly) I tried to explain what that entails (side note: without spell check working I had to make sure I didn't type "entrails"because that would've changed the whole meaning of the sentence) and realized.....


They were probably thinking that I need to get a life. Or, get a grip because I babbled for a few minutes hoping one of them would say " Wow, cool", but they just nodded their heads and were like "Oh, that looks like a cute book on the shelf WAYYYY OVER THERE". A few chuckled, but it was one of those "are they laughing with me or at me?" deals.

I finally admitted it's more of a disease than a hobby. And, then (thank the Good Lord above) I pretty much shut up for the rest of the morning unless someone asked me a direct question.

One day, I'll realize I do not have to reign as the "Queen of Small Talk" and really, it's okay, to just be quiet around people I don't know very well!

The Big Game & Stuff

I watched the SuperBowl on and off last night. The commercials were great. My favorite was the the one for (I think) with the baby who had enough "coin" to buy himself a clown. I laughed so hard at that one! Anyone else have any favorites?

What a great game! It has got to be inspiration to everyone out there that you CAN NOT give up, no matter what you're up against. With all the cheating and bad sportsmanship, it would have been awful for the Patriots to win. Yet, it looked like the Giants didn't stand a chance. I'm so happy for them. I'm not even a Giants fan and I'm so glad they won. It is a sermon in the making of David vs. Goliath!

During the game I played cards with the girls and then we played Apples to Apples (so fun!) as a family including Aunt and Uncle Extreme Kitchen Makeover, who were here to celebrate The Husband's birthday. It was the first year I didn't plan some kind of crazy party for The Husband, but we just felt like a quiet night at home playing games and watching the SuperBowl just seemed like a good choice this year. And, it was very peaceful. Perhaps, it felt like such a treat to be home, because we run all over the place the rest of the week!

Friday, February 1, 2008

A Sacrifice Isn't Really a Sacrifice, Unless it Costs Something

First of all, my eyes were burning at 11:30 pm from continuing to enter all the Bloggy Carnival Giveaways! It is a sickness, I tell you.

Therefore, I was very thankful for the 2-hour delay we had this morning due to all that lovely freezing rain. Part of why I was up all night was the 2 tall cups of coffee I drank last night at Sugar Mamas (where Coyote Joe's used to be).

My friend, S. and I decided to try out Sugar Mamas, but I'll be honest. I have an aversion to local "cafe and coffee houses" because it is a painful reminder of the cafe we closed almost 2 years ago. In fact, just talking about Coyote Joe's closing up reminded me that we had opened the same time they did, only they got a lot of press and I was jealous.

We walked into Sugar Mamas and it was empty, again (sadly) reminding me of what our cafe looked like on a Thursday night at 7pm. It brought back a rush of memories including despair, hopelessness, frustration over employees and a lack of customers.....

........hold on while I go pop some Excedrin.

Okay, so if you are from around here, please go to Sugar Mamas and support them. Their coffee was fabulous and their desserts and gelato were scrumptious! He must have given us a sample of almost every flavor of gelato they carry!

So, with all that caffeine in me I was wide awake allowing my thoughts to drift back to owning the cafe and closing the cafe and how I am still so wounded by it. Everyone used to tell us, "Don't think you wasn't your fault. People just didn't know about it, the location was bad, the planets weren't aligned, etc....the important thing is that you learned something from it".

Yeah, I learned I don't like to fail.

So, as I continued to harbor this yucky feeling God started reminding me of the fact that rarely, a day went by without an opportunity to pray for someone. The lady with cancer, the heartbroken man whose aunt had just passed away, and a sweet couple who had come in to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary who thought it may be their last one together because the wife had just suffered a stroke. In fact, I get a lump in my throat when I think of all the tears I wept there besides the ones of frustration and feeling sorry for us. Tears of gratitude for God's healing power and divine intervention. Tears because he trusted me with His children that were in need of more than a cup of coffee.

As He helped me to remember these things, He spoke into my spirit that the cafe was the expensive perfume from the alabaster box that we poured out as worship to Jesus. It cost us, yet, we felt called there until the day He said close the doors and don't look back. Why hadn't I ever thought of this before? Perhaps, my bitterness and hurt were choking out any revelation God was trying to show me. For the last two years, I couldn't drive by the building without shuttering at the mere memories of time and money we "wasted".

I have a whole different perspective, now. Maybe it wasn't so bad, after all.