Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Kitchen Edition

If you know me, you may be chuckling at the prospect that I have anything to contribute to a discussion of great kitchen ideas. But let me tell all you smart-alecs out there - it's not about cooking, it's about kitchen organization!

In my opinion, the pantry is THE most vital kitchen space. If you don't have one, or have ever had to live without one, you know exactly what I mean. Everyone needs a nice, large space for food storage. Because we have lived in older homes, we've found ourselves in the position of converting broom closets and coat closets into pantries.

In the home we're in now, the pantry is an oddly deep closet that sits above the stairs. There's lots of room, but it's impossible to find anything. So I created a system of baskets of various sizes, had an afternoon of fun with the label-maker, and voila! A pantry organized just the way I like it (with all foods alike in one handy location) - and everything's accessible! We've even got some BBQ tools (and fly swatters) on pegboard on the walls. (Bibs used to hang there, too.)

I don't know about you guys, but I find it handy to buy some things in bulk. But bulk storage can be tricky. But since last summer, when Pat built me a seating bench for around our table, I've had a great place to stuff in all those bulk supplies.

Have fun organizing your kitchens! :)

For more tips and tidbits, go visit Rocks in My Dryer.

My Prerogative

Last night Kai started fussing just before 11pm.

We were in already in bed (getting old, I know), chatting about our days. I looked at Pat and said, "Your son is crying. You should go take him a bottle." Yes, he's still waking in the night. I'm just too tired to tough out the crying required to get him sleeping through. Sigh.

Pat laughed and challenged me to a game of Paper-Rock-Scissors for the duty. One, two, three - rock, rock. Again - scissors (Pat), paper (me).

I insisted that PRS is always best of three.

One, two, three - rock, rock. Again - paper (Pat), rock (me).

He smirks and rolls over, making some smart comment about how I should bring him a drink of water when I come back. So I did what any self-respecting woman would do - I whined (with a flirtatious smile on my face, of course)! "But honeeeeeey, I always have to get up with him in the middle of the niiiiiight. The least you can do is take him a bottle when you're still up." (insert the batting of eyelashes)

So my sweet, darling husband rolled out of bed and took his baby a bottle. When he came back to bed I was giggling. He gave me a long-suffering patience kinda look. I decided it wise to keep my smart mouth shut. But honey, here's what I was giggling about...

The moral of the story is - even when I'm wrong, I'm right; even when I lose, I win. From now on you should just do what I want right from the start and save yourself the humiliation.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Searchable Me

Every Sunday I get a nice little email from sitemeter.com, providing stats for my blog visitors. There are many times I choose not to read it - I don't want to get all caught up in the numbers (because that's not why I do it), as well as time constraints. Sometimes, though, I read it, curious about where readers are from and how they found me.

This week, I got my first hit from Jamaica! Cool, eh? Look...

Location Continent : South America
Country :
Jamaica (Facts)
State/Region : Manchester
City : Mandeville
Lat/Long : 18.0333, -77.5

Just below this basic info, sitemeter shows me the referring URL (which in this case is a google search - thanks for the props google!).

Now, before you click the link below to view the search, I want you to think about all the things you know about me and my relationship with housework. If you need some help, check out this post...or this one. Okay, feel like you know me now? Good. Check out the search my Jamaican friend used to find my blog....


Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm not generally one who finds lovely little analogies in everyday moments. But today, I saw something that simply begged for me to tell it.

A little girl and her grandma sat down in Tim Horton's for an afternoon treat. One must have been about seven and-a half (my guess based on the two-tooth sized gap at the bottom of her smile). The other, sixty years older or so. The little one was a tow-head with straight, fine hair past her shoulders. The older one, gracefully coloured hair in a beautiful shade of auburn. The young one had pale, unblemished skin, the older had dark spots of age smattering across her hands. The contrast was so striking.

Grandma opened a bag containing two long johns covered in chocolate, each with a dash of sprinkles on one end. In typical zest-of-youth style, the girl dove into her long john sprinkled end first. Grandma started at the other end, apparently saving the best for last. I watched them enjoying one another's company, chit-chatting about their weeks, nibbling away until their doughnuts were less than half their original size.

Then the grandma reached out to her grand-daughter, and offered to trade doughnuts with her. The girl seemed a bit confused, but quickly accepted the trade once she realized that she would have the pleasure of eating BOTH of the sprinkled ends.

Their exchange reminded me of the Christian walk.

When we are "young" we tend to dive in to "the good stuff" as quickly as possible. We don't want to wait even one moment for those delicious sprinkles. We don't hesitate or waste any time.

As we get "older" we take things more slowly. We tend to wait, hoping to save the best for last. We savour every single bit that takes us closer to the sprinkled end.

Neither approach is wrong, nor right - just different. Sometimes it's wisest to go slowly and methodically, waiting for the good things God has in store. Other times we should hurry and do what He asks quickly, with all our hearts and energy.

The true beauty, though, is what happens if we do the "wrong" thing. Perhaps sometimes we jump in, full of fervour, not thinking of the consequences. We rush ahead of God's plan and push our way through. We eat the sprinkles first, when we should have saved them for later. But God, in His ever-patient and understanding way, seldom lets us end that way. He doesn't like to leave us empty and disappointed, having gobbled down the sweet sprinkles too quickly. Rather, He extends His hand of grace and trades doughnuts with us. He lets us have the delicious reward at the end of the journey, in spite of our own impulsiveness.

We sit there, confused. Knowing that we did nothing to deserve such a sweet reward. That's the perfection of God's grace - He is ready to hand us the end with the sprinkles on it, even before we ask.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Heart for Women

A question posed by an anonymous poster got me thinking...

Although all those ministry things are great and bring glory to the Lord, do you still feel the Lord leading you to serve there, or are you just doing because you've simply always done it? I hope that's not offensive to you... cause I know I can do that at times... I just keep serving somewhere even though I feel the Lord moving me somewhere else but I don't want to hurt feelings by moving on. Ya know what I mean?

Yes, my secret friend, I do know what you mean! There have been many times where I've realized that I am doing this.

For years, I helped in the nursery at our Church. I felt I should - after all, I've put a lot of strain on the system! LOL! Every time I helped in the nursery I would head home after Church feeling exhausted and cranky, and every little sound my own children made grated like nails on a chalkboard. Someone very wise told me two key things... First, if the experience of serving leaves you drained rather than pumped up, you're probably serving in the wrong area (God designed us each with our unique gifts for a purpose - He wants us to serve using those gifts, and that experience should leave us feeling fulfilled, purposeful, and satisfied). And second, if you serve in a particular ministry area simply because "someone needs to do it," or "if I don't do it, who will?" you may actually be interfering with God's plan. Often, people do not hear or believe God's call on them to ministry, and if they feel a call but don't see a need, they may ignore that calling. Sometimes the best thing we can do is leave a gap wide open, for the right person to walk in and fill it.

Even within women's ministry, I've experienced this. We have a number of ministry areas for women, and my job is to oversee each of them, and encourage/equip the leaders. The difficult part of my job comes down to what to do when there isn't a leader for a particular area. Do we leave that position vacant and let that ministry area fall away? Or am I to step in and fill the vacancy until someone comes forward or is found? I am so thankful that I work with a team of women who can help me discern such things.

So, in answer to your real question, do I still feel the Lord leading me to serve there there [women's ministry] or am I just doing it because I've simply always done it? (Oh, and don't you worry about offending me - I'm not, it's a GREAT question!)

Women are the heart of the home. They set the tone for the entire family. But so many women today are hurting, broken, insecure, isolated. My heart burns with passion to reach these women, and to share life with them, to speak love to them, to help them see how amazing they are - so that ultimately they can embrace Jesus Christ and pour His love out in their homes!

Though I had accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I spent years believing that my worth as a woman was tied up in the love of a man. If I wasn't loved, I was nothing. When I found the love of a good man, though, I wasn't satisfied. Perhaps I really wouldn't be a valuable contributor to society until I was a mother? Unfortunately, the main feeling that motherhood brought me was - loneliness...isolation. I was aching and empty, and my marriage and children were suffering because of my emotional void.

One day, way out of my comfort zone, I decided to attend a women's group. (I think, hoping the void could be filled by developing friendships with other women.) Little connections were made, and I felt myself emerging from the "new mommy fog." I went to a women's retreat... Things were changing in my heart. At first I thought it was the friendships - they were what I needed all along! But it didn't take long for me to realize that the filling of my soul was coming from the Only Source with the ability to fill. The other women were simply the tool He used to reach me!

I knew, in one simple moment, without a doubt, that I needed to bring other women out of their dark loneliness. That somehow, way beyond my personal abilities, God could use the work of my hands to touch the lives of other women - if I simply did what He said to do. So I did it. Because how could I not?!

For now, and for as many days as I feel the certainty of this call on my heart, I will pour myself into women's ministry.

Of course, marriage-family-home must be priority number one. It would be impossible for me to show one other woman how Christ can change her life - making her strong and beautiful and satisfied, in spite of all the crap the world tells her about how to "find herself" - if I am not living the satisfied (and balanced) life in my own home. If I have learned one thing, though, it's that you can't teach such things. In order to truly experience them, we must live them together as women.

So until the day God tells me "STOP" or "GO HERE NOW" and the team of wise and discerning women I am blessed to call friends back up what He's saying, I stay. I stay, not because I'm simply doing what I've always done. I stay because He is doing the great thing that He does, and I get to be a part of it!

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God. ~Titus 2:3-5

Friday, September 26, 2008

Some Answers

Thanks for all the tips and encouragement regarding my scheduling issues. You peeps rock! Since there were some great comments and questions, I decided to address them in their own post.

FYI - Pat came home last night and informed me that he could care less if the bed were made every day. Once in a while is good enough for him. Thank-you, Lord, for giving me a husband who doesn't need what I can't give! He didn't mention, though, how we loves it when I cook mac and cheese and hot dogs for supper (ahem). Definitely gotta work on that meal planning! Thanks for the link, Bobbie.

On another note, I do generally try to get up early for my prayer/Bible time. Unfortunately, it seems that the rest of the household is getting up early, too. I am working my way towards getting up earlier so that I actually have some quiet time to accomplish this. Hope said she's up at 5:30am. Oh my, that IS early! Given that monkey-baby was up at 6am every day of the past week, I may be right there with you, girl.

Exercise...sigh. I'll be renewing my gym membership on Tuesday and going first thing every Mon/Tues/Thurs. Over the years I've discovered that at-home, self-motivated exercising simply doesn't work for my weak-willed self. I need to spend a bit of money and do it out of that money-guilt-gotta-make-it-worth-it drive.

Housework. Ugh! This is the bane of my existence. You know, it's not even that I dislike doing housework. Really, I don't mind most household tasks (with the exception of laundry). But it seems so overwhelming to clean the whole house that I end up just putting it off for another day. I appreciated Hope's suggestion to do pick 2 days to do laundry and go till it's done (I may need to pick 3 days, but I think that could work for me). I also just loved anonymous's idea for splitting the housework into two days. Way more manageable! I don't know why I haven't thought of this?! Everyone said - get your kids to help. You're right. They do - sometimes. I've put off giving them regular chores to do because of the 'training' involved. But in the long run all I will have accomplished is lazy people who don't know how to properly clean a bathroom.

There were a couple questions about the time I spend away from family...specifically ministry. I cannot answer that question in a brief paragraph, so keep your eyes peeled for my next post. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Working it all Out

I usually spend the last couple weeks of August looking forward to the fall. Though I love the laissez faire feel of the summer months, my administrative brain thrives on organizing, planning, and list-making. One of my greatest pleasures in life is to feel like I'm accomplishing things - getting stuff done, if you will. Such task completion is unheard of during the long, lazy days of summer; those days are filled with a whole lot of kids, sunshine, and bar-be-que.

You would think, then, that I'd be in my glory right now. I should be able to do all sorts of great things with the spare time afforded me by the fabulous school system! Rather, I find myself running 'round in circles, accomplishing a little bit of this, a touch of that, and a whole lot of nothing.

My husband diagnosed me with a case of "too much on my plate." Which boils down to too much ministry/meeting/socializing and not nearly enough housekeeping/cooking/parenting. The tricky thing in being healed of this syndrome is determining which of the many good things needs to be released. Because it's not like I'm really wasting my time (overall), the things that are consuming me are all decent and worthwhile things.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure any of the tasks that are keeping me busy need to be relinquished. I suspect my problem could be solved by a dose of serious scheduling. It's a matter of setting aside specific times for certain tasks, rather than randomly jumping from one thing to the next without ever actually completing anything. And, here's the clincher - stopping at the designated end time, even if the task is not complete (because running on all day trying to make a video on Movie Maker will only result in NOT completing such tasks as dinner, children's homework, and effective communication with spouse).

So, in an effort garner a few extra coveted comments, and in the spirit of keeping it real, I'm going to give you a list. I want your honest opinions - is each item a worthwhile way to spend my time? If not, let me know! If you think it is (or could be), any suggestions on how I schedule it in? Your system for doing such tasks...your favourite time of day to do certain activities...things you do daily, or weekly, or however often... I want need your help! (And I'm pretty sure Pat will appreciate it, too, because maybe one of these days I'll start making the bed - if you insist!)

Things I try to do daily:
- morning time with God (sadly, since the summer this has been more like every other day)
- emails, on and off as they come in or when I sit for a break (or if I'm sitting at the computer all darn day) - usually ministry-related
- assorted computer work, typically about an hour but as I said it can be an all-day production at times (note the above-mentioned movie creation) - usually ministry-related
- spend time on the phone (again, some days it's only a call or two, but others it feels like the whole day) - about half ministry-related, half just life
- a load of two of laundry (um, I wash, dry, and fold it, but it typically lives in ginormous piles on my laundry room floor - maybe I should sell our dressers!)
- dishwasher
- cook supper (though it sure hasn't been anything fancy - or healthy - these days)
- write for my blog (okay, I confess, it's more like 3-4 times per week, but I'd like it to be daily)

Things I do weekly:
- clean bathrooms (they get a quick wipe mid-week - have you ever tried Clorox bathroom wipes?!)
- vacuum
- sweep and mop (I probably do this twice per week)
- balance the budget
- read other blogs I enjoy (once or maybe twice during the week)
- attempt to help the kids really clean up their messes (this hasn't happened for nearly a month now)
- attend women's Bible study (Mondays)
- attend life group with Pat (Sundays)
- attend/host ministry meetings for planning/prayer/etc. (on average, there are 3 evening meetings per month)
- attend our women's group (Wednesday AMs)

Things I do monthly:
- parent helper at playschool
- parent helper at kindergarten
- take Braeden to medical appointments

Things I don't do often enough:
- have fun with the kids
- snuggle with my husband
- memorize Scripture

Things I don't do but should (I think):
- make the bed
- meal plan
- schedule chores/housework
- put away laundry
- have a shopping day
- exercise the dog every day
- exercise myself - at all

So, what do you think? With effective planning and time-management, can I fit it all in? Or do you see some things there that jump out to you as "gotta go" items?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writer's Block

I have nothing of value to say here. I can think of no creative, funny, or inspiring words. It's weird. Many days I find myself writing blog posts in my head as I go, or wishing I had my camera for a good 'bloggable' picture. I can't seem to think anymore!

Does anyone have any good fodder for me to use? A fun and interesting meme? A silly writing exercise designed to get the creative juices flowing again? A funny story that will make me laugh and remind me of something funny in my life?

It's very sad, really. My mind is whirring around ministry activities, children's schedules, budgets and meal planning (which are going nowhere). I am incapable of forming coherent thoughts not related to these topics! Unfortunately, the topics listed do not make for exciting blog material. Not that this post is any better - maybe I should just list the kids' schedule...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Good Day

Pat's away this week. He was away last week, too.

It isn't supposed to be this way, but sometimes things just don't go as planned.

So it's the busiest two weeks of the ministry year, the kids are all exhausted from returning to the school routine, we have a new puppy, and I'm single parenting (but with the privilege of being home).

I was expecting that I'd be a mess by tomorrow, desperate for Pat's return so I could run away. It would be easy to let it happen...

Instead, I decided to take advantage of possibly our last day of lovely weather. We went for a walk. The dog walked me, the kids took turns walking the stroller (and the dog for brief periods). We had a grand adventure - saw two mule deer leaping in the grass and through the trees; found a new playground (very far from home), discovered a patch of wild sunflowers (which apparently housed a million "tarantulas").

When we got home and I looked at the clock - we had been out for an hour and twenty minutes! Everyone is blissfully exhausted and on their way for an early bedtime. The happy exercise endorphins are pumping through my brain and body and I'm feelin' good.

It's a good life - even on those weeks that might be difficult.

Thank-you, Lord, for turning what the enemy could have used for evil into something good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


After months of reading books, I can finally return to my regularly scheduled programming. That's right, people, it's season premier month!

Here's what I'll be watching:
Tonight and every Tuesday - House
Thursday this week, maybe a few others - Survivor
Wednesdays, always (starting on the 24th) - NCIS
And here's my big ticket day...
Thursdays (starting on the 25th) - ER (didja hear Carter's coming back???), Grey's Anatomy, and the Office

Unfortunately, we must wait for Tuesday, October 14th for Eli Stone. And - get this - sometime early 2009 for Lost! What these people do to me...

If you want to see when you're favourite shows start back up, visit the TV Addict (he even has printable calendars, though I'm not sure about time zones).

Monday, September 15, 2008

This Year...

Malakai John Daniel was born.

He smiled.

He sat.

He crawled.

He got into mischief.

He walked.

He celebrated.

With each child it seems the time goes by more quickly. I can't believe it's been a year!

Happy birthdy, Kai Guy. I love you. *big giant squeeze*

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blogger is Making Me MAD *edited * twice

* Edited a second time to add: I just want to thank you all for stopping over and commenting. As my mom so nicely worded, your comments have given me definitive evidence of this deficiency. All of your lovely comments are here on my blog, and I wish I could reply to you each individually, but DANG IT! I am not getting any emails. I have even added my other email accounts (hotmail and yahoo) to see if perhaps the issue is with my email server and not BLOGGER. But it is BLOGGER! Something is WRONG with my account! WHY CAN'T WE EMAIL BLOGGER TO REPORT ISSUES???!!! (scowl)

*Edited to add: I decided to make this my Works for Me Wednesday post. I realize that backwards week was last week. But if I don't get some solutions to this problem, I could very well lose my mind! And by the way, I did not receive one single email from the 3 comments that are already here. Argh!

Since we went on vacation this summer, I have not been receiving emails to notify my that someone commented on my blog.

Have you ever tried to get help from Google??? I tell you, it is theeeee most ridiculous system! You visit a help forum, you post a topic, and you hope and pray that maybe someone intelligent will reply with a solution. Occasionally, if enough people comment on your topic that they, too, are having the same issue, an employee will come on and let you know that they are working to fix your problem.

Apparently, I am the only blogger with this issue. (Though in my fun time over at the help forum I did learn that this had been a "known issue" in the past.)

So here's what I'm doing to fix the problem... I am blogging about it (and using all the nice key words that will - hopefully - get the attention of the powers that be in this bloggy world). I'm going to make a lot of noise here on my blog! LOL. And I need you to comment to this post! (FYI - I do have the correct options selected in my settings, and I have even tried enabling comment moderation, in hopes that this will force my stupid blogger account to start sending me emails when I receive comments, to no avail!).

If you don't have a blog, you're probably wondering what the big deal is. Here's the thing - if I get an email when someone comments, I can reply to them on that email. Simply put, it's a handy feature! But it's also the best way to really connect with people who read your blog. Sure, I could comment over on their blogs, but it's not quite as personal.

Essentially, Blogger/Google is getting in the way of my relationships! And if they don't fix the problem (with your help, please - comment, comment, comment), I just might have to fire them and take my unpaid business over to Typepad or Wordpress...

Really, you have no idea how important it is for you to COMMENT!!!!! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Shea had her first day of playschool this week. Meg, Kai and I dropped her off and headed back home. Meg (5) asked me if it would be just her and Kai at home for the morning.

Thinking the prospect of some 'Mommy time' would be pleasing to her, I respond "Yes! And we'll put Kai down for a nap, so it will be just you and Mom!"

Meg's response was an unenthused, "Oh, that will be sooooooo booooooring."

One of the signs you were born into a large family.

Abbey (6) has started grade 1 this year. Last year, with full-day Kindergarten two days per week (and a third day on alternate weeks), she was a very tired and emotional girl until mid-October. So I haven't been expecting anything different this year...

The other morning she was quite certain that she needed to stay home from school because she was sick. I shared my theory that she was simply tired and needed to go to bed a bit earlier until she got used to being in school full time. But she insited - she was really sick!

Long story short, after some rest, some debate about television (and how it's not allowed if you're sick, because you should be resting), and some Q & A... "Mom, why can't you just let me sleep in bed longer in the mornings?!" Which brought us back to the whole tired and needing to go to bed earlier conversation. Resulting in a tearful and heartfelt, "BUT I'M NOT TIRED!!!!"

Sure kid, whatever you say.

We had guests for dinner this weekend (which was really fun, by the way). The girls nibbled from their plates and asked to be excused from the table. Braeden (10) ate 3 generous helpings as quickly as humanly possible. But he decided to stay at the table with the grown-ups.

Our guests asked him a few questions about school and racing... Twenty minutes later, after none of us were able to get a word in edgewise, Pat and I were giggling about the tougher aspects of a large family - some kids obviously don't get to talk (and listened to) nearly enough.

Shea (3), telling me about how much fun her first day of playschool was. "And we did a painting, and I played with babies, and I like my teachers, and I rode a car, and I ate all my snack, and I made a friend." Breath. I jumped in to ask her friend's name. "Ummmm, I 'get. But I played with blocks, and I did a puzzle, and I singed a song, and I...."

For a couple months, Kai (almost 1) has been making certain sounds in certain situations that make me think he's talking. But I don't want to be one of those moms who acts like her kids is the most brilliant. I know, I know.

Anyway, I have now decided that he is DEFINITELY saying "hi." Anytime anyone enters a room, he says "eye!"

Other things I suspect he is saying (though few of these words sound quite like the actual words)...

Braeden - Baaaaaa!
Daisy - Day
Dad - DA!
Mom - Mamama
Off (command we say to the dog, loudly and often) - Ah

And a two-word phrase that he's been saying for a couple months - "eye DA!" Every day at about 5:15pm...

You know, he really is the most brilliant baby out there...

Click the picture for more Tiny Talk.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Doing Life Together

For a while now, Pat and I have been looking for ways to connect on a spiritual level. We're both growing, but it's more of an individual experience - I grow and serve, he grows and serves, sometimes we talk about how we're each growing and serving... We don't' think that's what God intended when He thought it would be good for Adam to have a wife. In fact, we're pretty darn certain that He's got a bigger, better, and more exciting plan for mixing up marriage, love, and spiritual growth!

Last night we tried something new. (Get your mind out of the gutters, people!) We joined a life group. Your Church might call it something different, but basically it's a group of people that meet together weekly. Our Church has a fairly loose definition of a small group... Some do in-depth Bible studies together, some just hang out, and lots do something in-between. It doesn't really matter what 'material' is covered. The point is to 'do life' together.

Pat and I left with the knowledge that this is the group for us! It was so comfortable, and everyone was really real. You know? The guys hung out on the deck while they flipped burgers, and they cut right through the niceties - they were talking about their spiritual walks, how much they read their Bibles, their biggest struggles. The women didn't get quite so deep and personal (I think, by nature, we're more guarded - read: insecure), but we had a wonderful time getting to know one another.

We have debated about trying to find a group for this past year. It's hard to figure out how we can fit yet another weekly commitment into our family schedule. But we are no longer satisfied with living separate spiritual lives. So other sacrifices may need to be made. I might have to bid farewell to the women's Bible study I attend weekly. Maybe we'll have to take less "date nights." (That doesn't mean we won't still have date nights - we'll just need to be creative about making it a special and fun time together at home. Even our budget would appreciate that change.)

If you are not a part of a small group, think about why not... Can you imagine anything better than having a group of friends who are intentional about their spiritual walks? A group that will challenge each other to keep growing, and lift one another up in the areas where they're struggling? I think if we're all honest about it, we don't have nearly enough friendships like that. Most of us sit on the surface of life with our friends - things are "gooooood" - and never cut through the b.s. to say what's really in our hearts. Think about it... Wouldn't it be great to have a group of friends to do life together?

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Death in the Family

Sadly, I was informed this morning that a lovely member of our family had passed on. My children had to give me the news as I was putting on my make-up. I'm ashamed to confess that I thought they were making it up and ignored them until my mascara was perfectly applied. But alas, it is true. Tinkerbell has gone to Heaven.

I was hoping to dispose of her remains discretely with the morning's garbage, but my heart-broken brood is quite insistent that we give her the proper burial she deserves. Um, anyone have ideas on how to wrap a hamster for burial so the other family pet doesn't dig it up and use it as a chew toy?!

I imagine we'll be paying a visit to the pet store this weekend to select a new little rodent to love. After all, following her most recent escape (while we were away, she chewed clear through her awesome plastic cage), a brand spankin' new 'chew-proof' cage was purchased. It came with food and shavings and treats... We can't very well let all those great hamster supplies go to waste!

But Tinkerbell will forever hold a special place in our hearts. She will be remembered as the great escape artist of 2008; the disgusting little creature who chose to use the same corner of her cage for food, bedding, and bathroom; the monkey hamster who could climb her cage and swing from one finger; the cute little furball who Braeden just wanted to pick up and play with this morning - that lay stiff in the throes of rigor mortis in his little boy hands...

Farewell, Tinkerbell!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Works for Me Wendesday - Backwards Edition

Today, Rocks In My Dryer is hosting a backwards edition of WFMW. That means we get to pose a question and ask for advice.

So here goes...

Allowance and/or chores.

What to do? When to do it? How? Do I tie the two in together, or make allowance and chores completely seperate entities? I need ideas, folks!!!

Kids are as follows:
Braeden, 10
Abbey, 6
Megan, 5
Shea, 3
Malakai, almost 1

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good-Bye Plan B

I don't know about you, but I'm big on having a 'Plan B.' You know, just in case 'Plan A' doesn't go quite as expected.

In some cases, having a back-up plan is a good idea. For example, life insurance. I think that's a 'Plan B' we can all agree on. Just in case 'Plan A' - staying alive for a long, long time - doesn't work out, carrying life insurance to provide for our loved ones is solid planning.

Other times, though, I find I hang onto a 'Plan B' that is more sentimental than practical. One example I can think of is from my teen years. (Please note: I do not adhere to the following policy any more.) Boyfriends used to be disposable in my life. We'd hang out for 3-4 months, then I'd find myself getting bored...or too attached...or distracted. Occasionally he'd be the one who'd move on. Either way, it was never a big worry for me. Nope. Because I had a 'Plan B.' There was always another guy - one who liked me, or who I liked, just enough to know that it wasn't a far stretch to becoming a couple. I cannot think of many guys I dated in high school that weren't my back-up plans. If I break-up with so-and-so, then I can just go out with such-and-such. I'll never need to be alone (or lonely) if I've always got a backup plan.

This morning I was reading in Kings, and it occurred to me that we often hang onto a 'Plan B' when it comes to God. We're ready to be obedient and go where He calls us, but we keep a safety net below us...just in case God lets us fall down. Maybe He's asking us to make a drastic change - like give up TV - so we do, eventually, but we keep the old televisions in the garage...just in case. Or He calls us to tithe to His Church, but we wait. Just a few months to be sure there's some money in savings first. It's too risky to give all that money away every month without having some put aside for an emergency.

I can't count how many times I've gone forward with God, but still hanging onto my backup plan.

Elisha (in Kings) sets an example I think we should all strive for. Elijah came to him and put his cloak over Elisha's shoulders - this was his way of telling Elisha God was calling him to join Elijah in his work, prophesying to the Israelites. Elisha didn't doubt, question, wait, or create backup plans. When Elijah came to him, Elisha was plowing his fields (with the help of many oxen). You know what Elisha did? "He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant." ~I Kings 19:19-21

Can you believe that? The thought of it makes me a little bit queasy! Here's what I wrote in the margin of my Bible, "Elisha didn't just go where God said, he destroyed anything that might lure him to turn back." Isn't that what we're doing when we hang onto our 'Plan B?' We're just leaving something lingering, something to tempt us to turn back as soon as things get tough. God never promised that things would be easy when we follow Him, in fact He warns us that they will be difficult (James 1:2, Philippians 3:10, and many more). But we're to persist, persevere, keep on following Him. How much easier would it be to do that if we didn't have something to go back to? If we didn't have that safety net to fall into? If the only thing that remained was HIM?!

So, the next time God calls you to do something, I challenge you to do it wholeheartedly. Drop everything, and follow. Wait - don't just drop everything - burn it all! (Figuratively.) Don't make a 'Plan B,' let nothing hold you back. Leave yourself nothing to turn back to, so that your only option is to move ahead and follow Him. I'll try it, too... We can go together, hand-in-hand with Jesus, with nothing but 'Plan A.'

Monday, September 1, 2008

Nothing is More fun than a Meme on a Rainy Day!

Here's a little tidbit for ya - I always thought the word was pronounced Meeeeeee-M. Apparently, though, it is a Meee-Meee. As in - it's all about Me-Me! Get it. Who knew?!

How long were your labors?
#1 - From first contraction (because that's how you count it with the first baby) till delivery - 21 hours.
#2 - From first contraction (because that's how you count it when you're induced) till delivery - 6.5 hours.
#3 - From first contraction (because that's how you count it when you go from sleeping to active labour) till delivery - 5.5 hours.
#4 - From definite, for sure, active labour (because that's how you count it when you go in and out of labour for 5 days) till delivery - about 4-5 hours.
#5 - From due date (because that's how you count it when you've had 5 kids all past their due date) till birth - 2 days. Or same as above (but make it on and off labour for a week) - about 6-7 hours. Really, though, it went hard on and off for about 30 hours. Thank you, back labour! Ugh.

How did you know you were in labor?
#1 - Regular contractions, gradually getting stronger and closer together. Combined with baby dropping about 30 cm in one contraction!
#2 - Well, the cervadil kicked in good and hard.
#3 - Ouch! Okay, I'm awake now. Ouch! Again? Already? Better get that hospital bag!
#4 - Sadly, I knew but didn't know. Went for a prenatal visit in labour, doc said "see ya tonight," went home, stopped. About 5 days later I saw her again, in tears...she took pity and did the whole stretchy thingy. Really did see her later that night.
#5 - Same sad story as above, but the stretchy thingy (3 times) never helped. Danged baby hanging out sideways! Eventually, things got going...and with a few hours of acrobatics, danged baby turned the right way and ta-da!
FYI - I've read a few who said their water broke. Really? What is that?! That only happened naturally for me with #2, as she was making her grand appearance.

Where did you deliver?
Hospital, every time. I like the security of being around all that handy medical equipment. As it turns out, all that equipment was necessary a couple times. #1 needed x-rays right away (eventually we discovered he has Cerebral Palsy). #s 3 and 4 had some serious meconium that needed suctioning. I had a hemorrhage after #3 as well - didn't need blood, but oxytocin and painful uterine massaging were required.

Yes, yes (but unnecessarily, as she arrived about 4 minutes later), yes (ditto), no, and no.

Praise the Lord, not a one.

Who delivered?
My awesome doc (who has been mine since I was 14), the nurse (see the above 4 minute thing), a different doc b/c we moved away for a while (she was there nice and early after I warned her about the last one), mine again, and some other dude (mine was away - how rude).

If you want to play along with this meme, just cut and paste the questions into your own blog, and leave your link over at Rocks In My Dryer. You can have lots of long weekend fun (labour stories on labour day, haha) clicking through other stories, too!