Sunday, December 29, 2013

The soaked sponge syndrome....

I am inundated daily (as are you) with what I should do, what I shouldn't do, how I should handle my children, my household, my media watching, my political beliefs....it's exhausting. And quite frankly my reactions are exhausting. I am either guilt ridden, wistful, jealous, encouraged, angry, disgusted, but mostly just overwhelmed. Like a sponge I have absorbed as much as I can. I have become bacteria infested and need desperately to detox.

We live in a world of amazingly creative and talented people. The web is the perfect vehicle to make yourself a star. Even on a small scale one can become quite overly impressed with oneself. I do it all the time - and I am not even close to being as accomplished as some of these women are.

 I have processed these things incorrectly somehow. It is a problem - for me anyway. And I have a feeling it is for a lot of women.

What has been happening lately is I have been shutting down. All the label reading, organic food searching, natural cleaning supply using, beautiful home pictures, creative meals and gracious! the list goes on - has caused me to sit stunned on the couch. Watching post apocalyptic movies. Those are my favorite right now. The end of the world scenario is quite attractive for some strange reason. I love a good dystopian society Hollywood style.

But that can't go on. School starts back in a week. My house needs to be cleaned. Planning on how to stock canned foods and things that will last when this world finally implodes is losing it's flavor now. I have to get back to reality. Not Facebook reality. Which is really not reality. But God's reality for this world.

Ultimately what it comes down to is that I am broken. I am a control freak that has burned out. I want it done my way. If I see someone else do it better than me, then I burn. And if you have read my previous blog posts you know I am very competitive. This. Has. To. Stop.

So  

  1. Nip the media in the bud (as Barney Fife says ). I think I shall use Facebook as what I originally intended it for, which is for friends and family that are far away to know how we are doing and for checking in on them. I may post my blog entries there - but I am thinking I might not even do that. I will not go to Pinterest unless I cannot come up with something on my own. That is rare if I give myself a chance. I will not keep comparing myself to these amazing mavens of all things creative. It depresses me. God did not make me the endless energy-can't sit still to save my life so my productivity is through the roof- kind of gal. I have a few things on the to do list and then I am happy to sit with the family doing whatever. Or even daydreaming staring out the window. That is great big fun. Although it can lead to some crazy ideas...I should probably keep that to a minimum as well.
  2. Exercise. I hate it. It hates me. But I need it to stay healthy. My best plan is to make it simple and keep it doable. No P90X for me. I think I shall ride the elliptical for 20 minutes a day. I can switch it up every other day by taking Pistol Pete for a walk. Or maybe do my masala bhangra DVD - which is fun AND if I ever go to an Indian Wedding I will be ready to throw down.
  3. My boys. Ah my boys. Precious hearted stinkers that they are. They are exactly what I asked for which makes them a handful. I love me some mischievous kids and I got them. But after talking to my neighbor who raised two sets of twins - one set girls the other boys - the answer is keep them working. And I shall. I need help. Why else have kids if they can't help you work the land for Pete's sake? There will be belly aching. But I'm used to it. It should be a walk in the park. I will take a deep breath and walk away when it is not like I would do it. I will. Honestly.
  4. One room a day. Mondays I will do a general cleaning. Saturdays the boys will handle the vacuuming behind the things and baseboards, but each day of the week I will take a room and clean it. Husband (love that he is) has taken on the laundry (I hate it.) And I am thinking that he should teach the boys to do it - they can take turns every day or two. I have found a wonderful website with Crock Pot Recipes - no processed foods that should make meals after work easier.

This is where I start. Hopefully it will help me regain some of my sanity. Getting lost in the hype of all things beautiful is exhausting. I shall just live each day simply and pray I have time to do what God places before me. Whether that be family, friends, new people, artful things...I pray that the over-whelmed-ness I have felt lately will leave me free to serve as I have been called to.

Blessings for the new year to you all.





Friday, November 22, 2013

Oh so it's going to be THAT kind of day....

I woke up this morning with thoughts bumping and shoving through my head like people in New York during rush hour. Seriously disturbing. I laid there and tried to get them to line up better and decided to check weather to be prepared. Rain. I dragged my behind out of the bed and immediately heard the cat meowing in the bathroom. Yes I keep him in the bathroom at night because he is defective. He doesn't always use the kitty litter. He tends to be a bit lazy in the toileting department....much like most of the men in this household. I say most because my husband (and my dog) is meticulous. Thank you Lord. My other three boys - now four....not so much.

Anyway - I find my slippers and have my "ah" moment. They are new so they are still soft and fuzzy inside and still have the cushion in the sole. So when I put my feet in - it is a glorious thing. You have to be thankful for the little things, right?

I shuffled into the bathroom to take care of my business while the cat jumped on my lap and kept trying to butt my mouth with his head. I finish and dump him out of my lap and wash my hands wondering what I will wear. I trip over the cat while walking out of the bathroom into the dark bedroom because I don't want to wake my husband - too late - bless him. He heard all of the meowing and my fussing in the bathroom. "You okay?", he asks. "We'll see", I replied

Shuffled down the hall. Let the dog outside while tripping again on the cat and moved quickly to feed him so he will get out from under my feet.

I need coffee.

This is not something I usually feel. I can do without coffee. As long as I have caffeine in some form during the day...but this morning...yeah.

So I get the canister and it is empty. Ugh.

But I bought more on Tuesday - once again - a yippee moment.

I open the package and proceed to pour the coffee into the canister. Sniff. Glorious.

Where is the scoop?

Did I seriously just dump all of the coffee into the canister with the scoop on the bottom?

I asked myself that question out loud. To no one in particular.

And I plunged my hand (it was clean) into the canister and pushed down to the bottom and yes.,,yes I did....

I now have the scoop....and coffee grounds all over the counter.

But - it gave me my cup of coffee.

I shall not make these first moments of the day frame the rest of the day.

I shall not.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Struggle

I know. We all want to brag about our kids and how brilliant they are; about how good we are at this, that or the other. Facebook and blogging are our new "shout it from the rooftops" about how good we are at this life. How happy we all are. Or even to let others know we need sympathy. I do it - all of the time.

I have been convicted constantly lately. Every time I go to post on FB about anything I am busting at the seems about, I stop. Why?

It is putting a deposit into the bank of me. Which is already a monster and doesn't really need feeding. I am about as conceited and self centered as I can possibly get. My fight for discipline and truly "considering others better than myself" (Phil. 2:Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,) is not helped at all by this phenomenon of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I do brag. I do want to tell you how precious, and smart and beautiful my boys and husband are. But really - all you would have to do is meet them to know that. No need for me to tell you. God has been gracious to me. For really - anything good in me or them - is totally of him. I can take no credit.

The fact is - that what makes my family special to me, is - they are mine. What I am trying to instill into them is their worth does not come from other's perception of them - or even what I think of them, or what we can do, or how well we do it.  It comes from God.  James 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

This life and everything good I have in it - is from God. So when I brag - it should be about God. And how good he is. Even in the midst of hard times - I am blessed abundantly above anything I could expect - or should expect.

So this is the struggle. The one Paul talks about.

 Romans 4:26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

I fight my nature every day. My desire to let others know "I got this" is wrong. My desire should be to point to the Christ who loves them. To love them so they can see he loves them.

Of course I screw up. I am no saint to be sure. Farrrrr from it.  I cling to the fact that God is merciful. And can make something out of the messes I make. Wonderful thing, grace.

But I will continue to do my best to see the good that God has done and to brag about him and his goodness - and I will do my best to stay out of the way.

I ain't sayin' it'll be easy.




 
 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Love

"Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness" - C.S. Lewis

Love is considered such a warm. fuzzy thing. I mean - we rarely think we are loving someone well by telling them they have a booger hanging out of their nose.

But seriously - as hard as that is - it is a better definition of love than the gooey thing that makes us get all teary eyed at sappy love stories.

One of my biggest regrets was letting a friend of mine go without telling him he had the BIGGEST booger hanging out of his nose. I was embarrassed. EMBARRASSED. I was embarrassed and proceeded to let my friend walk around with that thing in his nose until someone else finally had the nerve to tell him. I know it is crazy. But it bothers me that I did not tell him myself. I know- I need to move on.  But it was seriously selfish of me. ugh. hate it.

You have to be made of stern stuff to love others well and to be willing to be loved well according to C.S. Lewis's definition.

And of course, it is a maturity thing. I have taken a lot longer than your average person at growing up. I do believe a huge sign of maturity is how unselfish we are - how we consider others better than ourselves and sacrifice for them.

Loving others well will be uncomfortable sometimes.

I was talking to a dear friend at work the other day. She said, "If you love me, please let me know if you think I am doing something stupid instead of letting me keep on. I may cry a little - but I would much rather know than be thought a fool by continuing to do it". Such great words of wisdom. So true!

But it is hard. Especially for those of us who don't want people to feel badly. We don't want them to be uncomfortable. (hello me).

I encourage you to ponder this. How do we do this and do it well? How do we do it leaving the aroma of Christ?

It is something to consider well.

And please - if you see me with a booger hanging out of my nose, TELL ME.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Mama's Heart

I have had a bad week. I know - I am a whiner - I complain so much. But I have to tell you even though I have had a pretty crappy week, I am incredibly blessed and I know it.

Let me tell you about it.

My house was a wreck.  I work full time and when given the choice of cleaning house or playing - I am going to play. Well...it does get to a point where it starts affecting me mentally. I get a little cranky. I get overwhelmed and I start nyah nyahing.

Wednesday night I run up to Michael's to get project stuff for the boys and I stop by a friends house to drop off some things. I see the bike in the dark and I clear the bike in the dark going TO the house. Not so much on the way back to the car. I kicked it. I kicked it hard. It hurt so bad I almost peed in my pants and threw up at the same time. I knew - I broke that darn little toe. I went to the doctor the next day and I have an infection as well as a broken toe. I had not been feeling well and I guess that was the reason. It was a blessing I broke my toe I guess. I am on double strength antibiotics now. Well on my way to feeling better.

I am now feeling LOTS of pressure though. I have company coming and my house is a mess and though I know my company would not care, I do not want them to think that my house is the reason I have the infection and fear for their lives (my house is bad - but it is not THAT bad). But the broken toe and the infection is making me feel pretty badly, so - I am freaking a bit.

Of course I call my Mama. I tell her what is going on - pour my heart out to her. But I tell her - and I mean it - that I feel God is just trying to teach me to be hospitable in the midst of everything - to focus on my company and love them well and feed them well and they won't remember that my house is a mess. I mean it too.

The rest of the week is fine. I do a little here, a little there and Friday gets here and I am gearing up and planning my cleaning process. I pull up in my drive way and as I am turning in - I see my front door is open. I start to panic a bit because my husband shouldn't be there yet. Then I see it. The blue Toyota Highlander and know that my mama has come to help me. I open the screen door and call to her and she has all the furniture pulled out and has vacuumed behind everything and is in the process of cleaning my carpets. Bless her. Bless her. Bless her.

This weekend I got more done than I ever would have on my own. AND my husband and I even got to go to the movies and dinner while she watched the kids. My goodness. How blessed am I?

God is good. He has blessed me with a wonderful mother.

My house looks and smells so good.

It just goes to show no matter how old your babies get, you still want to get in there and fix it for them when things get broken. My precious mother. What a kind heart she has! Dear Lord - help me to be as selfless and able when I am 70.

She is amazing.

Thank you Mama.

(I am indeed spoiled)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Focus

I am in a weird place. I am not loving it. I want to be through with this transitional period and be comfortable in my skin again. I hate this shiftiness I feel right now. It is unsettling.

I hate unsettling.

I suppose life is about change. It is not static....and it shouldn't be. It's not meant to be.

Maybe I need medication.

I would love it if all I had to do was take a pill and find my comfort zone. But I think that brings a whole other set of issues.

I am pretty sure I am A.D.D. It might not even be adult onset kind of A.D.D. I may have just always been able to find a way to compensate. But it seems to be getting worse as I get older. I am not managing it all very well the last few months.

I cannot focus on one thing to save my life.

I feel this frenzy of things pulling at me. The house. The kids. The animals. My husband. My job. My own desire to accomplish ideas I have had. I feel my mind shifting from one to the other and then I blow up. I quit and either go to bed, or watch TV. I let something else take over my brain just to get rest from the frantic images in my head that cannot find purchase on one thing.

It makes me sad. I feel wasteful.

Maybe I should go to the doctor.

I hate doctors. Not as people. But I hate all of that attention focused at me. It makes me feel defensive.

It makes me feel defensive because I know I don't take care of myself. There is always something else to do.

Oh goodness. It is probably menopause.

crap

Philippians 4:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This will have to be my go to. This can be overcome.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
 
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Biscuit

I am home today. My baby G is sick. I decided to stay home with him instead of sending him to grandparents. He needed to be able to lay around in his PJ's. I am thankful to be with him.

About 7 years ago my baby was 3 years old. Apparently he had been reading about a dog named Biscuit. He said over and over again that he wanted a black lab. And he wanted to name it Biscuit. It mattered not that biscuits are not black. The logic of a three year old cannot be questioned. My absent minded reply was always, "We'll see."

We have an Australian Shepherd named Pistol. He is a pistol. His name should be Houdini. The man can get out of anything. Not kidding. ANYTHING.

My neighbor told me we needed to get him a friend to keep him in the fence.

One day I was driving to school to pick up my boys and I saw a sign, FREE PUPPIES TO GOOD HOME. I pulled in for some reason. Low and behold there were 3 adorable little mixed lab pups. One was black, one was chocolate and one was - well I don't remember what color it was. I was looking at the black one. I didn't ask my husband. Bad me. But - she was adorable. A tiny little black ball of fur.




Precious little girl. I kept wondering if I should get her. It was pretty evident that she was in a bad place. They had about 20 dogs and the smell alone was more than I could stand. I took her. I wrapped her in a towel I had in the car and handed her to my three year old.

Who immediately said her name was Biscuit.

We took her home, bathed her and she was ours. As she grew it was evident that she was most assuredly "special" - in many ways. She was not the smartest pup. But you wouldn't find anything sweeter. She loved us well. She put up with a lot - until she wouldn't. She bit Pistol because he tried to hump her. He got a bacterial infection from it that cost us a load of money. She had flea allergies and she lost all the hair on her butt from them, She would cry this horrible cry when she was excited, or hurt, or thought you were leaving her. It sounded like someone was killing her. She would not have her nails clipped . She got car sick. -  managed to vomit anytime we took her in the car for any length of time. She was the smelliest dog ever. Didn't matter if I just washed her, she went outside, she came back in smelling very, very doggy. She was just stinky.

But we loved her.

She was part of our family.

She cracked me up. We would let her out in the back and we would see her just sitting there staring off into space. We often wondered what she was thinking. She was an amazing hunter. She could catch anything. I had to back her black behind out of the tree house at least twice when she ran up the ladder after a squirrel. She had a way of looking at you even when she was being a stinker that made you just want to hug her and kiss her right between the eyes. She had a dead eye - I could throw her a piece of food and it didn't matter how bad a toss it was - she could catch it. She loved chasing the ball. What was funny about it is, she would almost have to wait for Pistol to start doing it before she would catch on. Every time. Just a little slow on the take sometimes. So funny. It made her endearing though. And she was exactly that. Dear.
















A couple of weeks ago, she started acting a little strange. Her stomach was bloated and I was afraid she had that "bloat" that labs sometimes get. We cancelled our trip to Mobile and took her to the vet without an appointment. They took x-rays and assured us that this was constipation. They gave her an enema and said she would be fine.

Tuesday I e-mailed them because of work I don't always get calls and asked them why she was still so bloated and told them she wasn't eating. I let them know she still did not feel well. They advised me to feed her pumpkin and that as soon as she evacuated her bowels she would feel better. I tried. She wouldn't eat it.

We opted to take her to another veterinarian. He immediately saw that she had a uterine infection. A serious one. He diagnosed her from the x-rays our previous vet had taken. He said the x-rays looked bad and that was almost a week prior to his diagnosing it. He felt that she was so infected that her chances of making it through surgery were not good. About 30%. And even if she made it through the surgery - he said her chances were not good - she would probably become septic. We asked the vet to make her as comfortable as possible.


That day - I picked the boys up from the bus stop. We met my husband at the vet and kissed and hugged our little black puppy out of this world. It still breaks my heart.

She was going to be 7 on December 1st. She should have been with us a lot longer.

I have struggled with my anger over this mistake. I have gone between wanting to slap the vet that made such a heinous mistake and wanting to fall at her feet just crying - I don't know that I would have words. I want her to know how much we hurt. She simply said she was sorry when we called her and told her. I guess there is not much more you can say.

The fact is - it is useless for me to continue to be mad at her. It is a waste of my energy and it only hurts me. I pray that she did learn to check things closer.



Pistol is missing his girl. He used to get her on his paws and roll over on his back so she was laying under his chin. So sweet. He always let her go down the steps first. When she was sick - he never would touch her food - he wanted her to eat. He normally had no problem eating her food if she left it. But she rarely left her food untouched. We were usually having to get her to stop eating his. He let her do anything she wanted to. He loved her.



 She was such a girl - my only girl in this house of boys. Very emotional - it was good not to be the only one.



But it is done. She is gone. All of the I should haves and I wish I would haves won't change a thing.

I am so thankful I stopped that day and got that little girl. I am so glad G got his little black Biscuit.



She will be missed so very much.

Here are some more pics of our girl.













 




















Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Danger Will Robinson....Danger

I wish I had a robot that would signal when danger is approaching. I am like the proverbial frog in a pot put on to boil....I adjust with the times and am in danger of boiling to death.

I have been on a bit of a tare lately. I have berated Christians as a whole for being unloving. I am pointing a finger at myself as well. My judgemental attitude towards some things is absolutely wrong. My defensiveness on my pet preferences is highly sensitive. You mess with what I hold sacred I will light into you....

But - what do I hold sacred?

Quite frankly, it's a little hard to tell these days. Other than my family and friends I find I am quite free of other issues.

I find I have become a bit .....ummmm.......lackadaisical in my stand for right and wrong. I think that sometimes I water my beliefs down too much. I don't think I have to stand on a street corner and shout it - or even - heaven forbid -  belittle or condemn others. But I do need to make sure that I am known by my deeds. That I am seen as a follower of Jesus by the love I show and that I do not quell when courage is needed to share a concern in love. I want the vision to make things better. I want the energy and strength to work hard at serving others. I want to let things that do not matter lie and not quibble over silliness. Picking a fight never solved a problem. Generally it creates one. My actions should follow my words. My words should announce my actions.

Politics, wealth and power...these things do not last. Politics is a waste of time and energy. It renders no help to the common man. I will vote my conscience but until this vehicle for human consumption and greed is fixed it is a waste of time. How does one fix the vehicle? I am at a loss.

The pursuit of the almighty dollar is certainly out of our control these days. As far as power is concerned - well I am a control freak but even that is driving me insane. When I look at the big picture - when I see this broken world, it is more than I can bear at times. The bombings, the fear, the desire of others to hurt so many, the selfishness of the government - and I am totally being bipartisan here - it is depressing. It makes me want to give up.

So what is the answer to living in a world that is so very, very broken?

Narrowing my vision.

My first job - loving God, my husband and kids - raising my children - to love God first and foremost, to love others well, to see needs beyond their own is my priority right now. They are the future of this world. Any influence I have on them is right now and will be my best chance at making the future better.

My choice of work will affect many. I love these high school kids. I am scared of them too. I see such potential but I also see kids that have been raised to think of themselves. And more than likely it is by example. They are as a whole without courtesy and without concern when no one is looking. Integrity is lacking. They have the answers for sure. If you ask them what they think is important they will tell you, and mostly it sounds good. But - I do see that there is a difference in their walk and their talk. We have made our kids the center of our universe and it is starting to show.

We have become so self aware that we are not aware of anything else. And our kids are the proof.

But my Special Ed kids at the High School are amazing. I have found my passion. I love substituting there and helping my friends as well as loving on those kids. I think the fact that I will be an outlier from the General Ed may help in my desire to befriend and guide those kids as I work with my sweet Special Ed kids. I am excited about what God has in store. I pray I can be used to point them in the right way. Actually I ask God to help me do that for anyone I am with.

The best way to do that is to keep my eyes peeled. Getting too comfortable and letting people pleasing be most important is not what I am called to do. The more uncomfortable I am - the sharper I am. The more I am reading scripture and calling on God, the better I serve. I have to keep asking God what is best. Not what is best for me - or how can I please others, but how can I truly help.

I do not want to be that proverbial frog in the boiling pot of water. Heaven forbid.

So - reading the Bible, prayer, seeking to serve others and help in the community, teaching my kids to love God, serve others and to guard their hearts, and to respect each other in their words and deeds, these are my first goal. The house and it's state of being shall be a distant concern. heh. Good luck with that. But I will try.

Here's to better focus -






Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I am a list maker....



I am so excited. It is a wonderfully, rumbly, rainy day. I have so much these days inspire me to do. I am so happy because yesterday I was busy doing and helping and I am happy, happy, happy to be at home.

  • paper mache' project
  • new recipe (and a contest) to try
  • reading a book in my reading nook
  • old movie I DVR'd

That's my warm and fuzzy list.

 But I have to figure in:

  • 3 boys - bored from not being able to go outside. This could mean moment to moment interruptions.
  • I bought a new toilet mechanism for my bathroom toilet. It has been running constantly. The flap is no longer working so I really need to change that. This could totally blow the day.
  • I want my house clean first. It looks like it exploded because I ran the streets yesterday and did not finish putting anything up
  • I really need to paint the bathroom door facings and mirror I finished framing.
  • I really need to paint the ceiling in the living room
  • I also need to sit and think about what I want to replace the bathroom flooring and hallway flooring with. I cannot make up my mind and I need to make a decision SOON.
  • There are two baskets of clothing I have put off folding
  • One load (okay maybe 2) that need to be washed.
  • The kitchen shelving has been pointedly asking me to take things down and dust and wipe and repaper. Especially that stuff around the top of the cabinets that gets that fine greasy film covered in dust. Lovely.
  • I also wanted to take the kitchen curtains down and wash them.
  • The comforter on my bed? Not sure how to tackle it. Where is the tag with the directions for cleaning? Did I cut it OFF?
And sadly - that list is longer. I made myself stop because I was starting to feel the beginnings of a panic attack.

Suddenly my warm and fuzzy list is blurry and distant. I am also sadly - overwhelmed.

Reality requires me to pick and choose from each of the lists above.

As my aunt always told me, "Life is so....daily".

Of course it doesn't have to be a complete wash. My initial reaction is to throw up my hands and find a way to distract myself with things not even on my list - like browsing Facebook to see what my friends are doing, and then playing some Candy Crush because my lives are back and I know I can get through level 32 if I can just get a break. Three stars baby. Can't move on until I have three stars. I avoid Pinterest like the plague because that only leads to more guilt.

But what a waste.
Precious time spent accomplishing nothing spectacular.

If this day is to be done well, I must consider the reality list and do what I can on that one. And then stop and do one thing on the fuzzy list. Maybe two if I am lucky.

Waiting for a sunny day is best for the ceiling. My 47 year old eyes are struggling to see well on darker days. So that can wait until tomorrow. The kitchen shelving is a whole day project. And I don't have shelving paper, so I will wait until I have what I need on that one. The toilet needs to be tended. So that is on the list. I will put away the stuff all over the house and vacuum and dust. Once I finish the toilet I can fold clothes while I watch the old movie. The wash can be done in between all of that. I will worry about the comforter tomorrow. Kitchen curtains will come when I attack the shelving. The bathroom and hallway flooring I will look into tonight when the husband is home. As far as the kids are concerned. They will help me pick up the house and vacuum. Once that is done they are free to play Xbox or whatever thing they want to. If the fighting ensues they will get to help me take care of more things on my list. They are warned. I may be able to paint the frame on the mirror and the bathrooms then. If not - I can do that after Drop-in Bible Study in the morning. While the comforter is washing, I can start my other Reality List. And maybe - my paper mache' project can get done. My new recipe (and entering it into the contest) will serve as supper tonight.

Some of you probably do this every day. As a seat of my pants kind of gal...it is something I have to think about. Intentionality is sadly lacking most days. So this is not for you all...I admire and envy you your organizational skills. This is for those who are like me - good intentioned, yet scattered gals who give in to the desire to be piled up on the couch watching a movie with the kids or drinking coffee with a friend.....and the house to prove it.

But - tonight, when I lay my head on my pillow, I will feel accomplished. And though I am an accomplishment driven person (the list will have things like breaking in tennis shoes and making my bed - just to add to the list and make me feel even more accomplished), I understand that my worth comes from none of these things. Ultimately my worth is a deeper and freeing fact - the foundation of all of the other things. So I will be thanking God that I am a child of his * - that there is nothing I can do to make that happen - it is by his grace and mercy I am his, and fall asleep thanking my Heavenly Father for this day.

It should be a good day. I wish you a good day as well. (smile)
*See side bar



 

 


 


 (July 24, 2013)
This is a post to tell what actually happened with my day yesterday....
 - I called it. It took me all stinkin' day to fix the toilet. It was the only thing I did. I projected peace and pride in accomplishment and got frustration and brokenness. The valve that turned the water on and off to the toilet started leaking as well as the valve that turns the water on and off to the house. I fell apart. Crying and asking God why couldn't he have just made that go a little easier? I thought - if not vocalized a bit of profanity as well. So much for the warm and fuzzy list and the laying the head on my pillow feeling accomplished.

I fell asleep asking God to forgive me for my ugliness and thanking him that it was all ok. The toilet? It's fixed. The valves? They no longer leak. This is a miracle in and of itself. I did not have to call a plumber. The problem is solved by the grace of God and we were saved at least $160 by not having to call the plumber. The world in my head is SO much different than the world in reality. My goals can be so skewed. And my pride is a HUGE and MONSTROUS thing. God knows what I need most. Thank goodness for that. I suppose I will think twice before laying out  my neat and tidy lists and boasting of my ability to control my day by those lists. Great lesson - Thank goodness no matter how ridiculous I can be - I can cling to the fact that I am a child of God and he knows what will make me better. I still have hope that these things will stick with me (smile). Just thought you should know. 



Romans 8:13-1
13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Dark and Lonely Place

Nooooo - I am not talking about my life. I am talking about a book I absentmindedly paid $3 for and decided to read for fun this summer.

I loved the true history about John Ashley and Florida's historical background (especially since we were in that same area just last week- Swamp Bandit  - you should read about it - very interesting). The book started out promising. I liked the mystery and action it promised as well as the historical context - but as I went along I was distracted by something that came up over and over again.

Edna Buchanan's hero and heroine were perfect. It was off-putting. I grew tired of the statuesque Laura who was highly intuitive with raven hair and had a lithe body and down to earth personality. She was not real to me. She seemed cardboard. She wasn't ever scared except of losing her love (John Ashley) and she wasn't even clumsy. She was an expert marksman and kind hearted to all except those who threatened her happiness with the man she loved.

Yuck.

John Ashley was said to be "the golden boy". He was upstanding and brave and good looking. Very successful as a sergeant in the Miami PD and had a wonderfully close hugemongous family that revered him as just about perfect. He was kind to animals and the homeless and did not care that a very rich, very shady lawyer who had politicians in his pocket did not like him because he pulled him over for DUI. He managed to slide through the incident with accolades and merit. But of course it became his undoing when the man showed up on a beach dead. All fingers pointing to John.

And to add to the tedium of perfect people, the rest of it became a massive web of impossible intrigue. Every time I turned the page it got worse and looked less likely to have a happy ending. The book switched between the very interesting and sad life of John Ashley, who was a criminal of circumstance from the 1920's and the present day Ashley family(fictional). I loved the story of the Swamp Bandit. The history of how things were named down in Florida and how the Ashley gang came to be was wonderful. I did my own research and found that it was true. He and Laura had a tragic ending. Very sad - but it was good stuff. But I would groan when it came to the present day John and Laura. I could not wait to get through with it so I could see how it ended and be done with it.

And of course through all of that build up - the close of the book was incredibly simple and ended with no complications or ramifications. Much too easy. Too tidy.

So - my issue with the book: It wasn't that it became tedious to read. It was the characters. I love a story that lets you see the flawed with the good. The two are always intertwined. We all have the ugly and the beautiful in us. We are a mess of contradictions and inconsistencies. It is what makes us interesting.

My mother always scolded me a bit for my distrust of people who seemed "too good". Yes - that is wrong of me - but it always seems to me that if someone seems too good to be true - they are probably hiding something. We all are. I just prefer to pick and choose what naughtiness you get to see. The ones who batten down the hatches make me wonder what kind of bad they have hidden in there. Of course I am kidding - mostly. But I do believe there is a grain of truth to it.

I love the way God made us. Do I want to be better? Of course. Do I want to live in a world where people are loving and kind and seek to serve others before themselves? Absolutely. But for now - we are on a journey toward that.

Perfection gets old real fast. Is this a failing of mine? Maybe. I am not sure. But I am mulling it over.....God will give me the grace I need when I need it to be what he has called me. It is a journey.

If you are going to write a book about people in today's circumstances, keep it real. At least that's how I feel about it - today.

Looking for my next book.


Happy Summer folks -








Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Facts of (a more "mature" - dammit) Life

Yes....I said "dammit"....

I just had my 47th birthday. I don't feel 47...sheesh...what am I saying? I feel 47. My head is perplexed though. It thinks I am 25 still.

I love reading where people talk about loving who they have become and how great it is to be sure of yourself as you get older and such a relief not to worry about looks....I think they call it growing old gracefully.

Well....that ain't happening here.

I am quite cranky these days. And though I have often said I would like to grow old and be like "Ousier" from Steel Magnolia's, I would like it to be when I am in my 60's....or 70's thank you very much.

I have had several things punctuate my older status the last several weeks. As if the looming birthday weren't enough I have suddenly gotten an issue with my legs that I did not pay attention to initially. I thought it would be like when I was younger. I ignored it, it went away.

Yeah....not so much anymore. I ended up with a swollen foot and at the ER having to get an ultrasound. Stupid. So stupid! So - lesson: My body requires attention now. I cannot ignore the little things anymore. Got a problem get it checked....I ain't regenerating like I once was.

Exercise. Ugh. Need I say more? I have got to exercise and lift weights because it doesn't matter how much I run around like a chicken with my head cut off....my body has decided that the muscle must deteriorate at a faster rate than before. Which means that the flabby stuff surrounding what used to be muscle is just that much more noticeable.

Drinking water. The heinous thing about drinking water is I need Depends when I drink it like they say I should. Thirty minutes after drinking a glass -  if I sneeze, I pee my pants. Not lovely. But I need it - now more than ever. Same thing with calcium. My bones are leaching it these days. So I need it to keep them strong. And dairy gives me indigestion.

The sun. Not such a friend anymore - and yet I need it to cover up all of the stinking spider veins that are popping up all over the place. Self tanners just don't do it. I cannot stand the way they smell....so I am at a constant quandary over exposing myself to the sun and making the wrinkles more pronounced or smelling like a science experiment.

Lastly - sleep. I cannot do without it. If I only get five hours, I am done for. The whole next day is a wash. I cannot do without sleep. I can't remember my name without sleep.


I am ready and willing to be happy about getting older....I just need a way to make it easier.

If anyone has any suggestions - let me know.

Please. I'm begging you.


P.S. After posting...I was thinking about my plight and though most of this is tongue in cheek and just good natured griping over my body's changes and the passage of time - it is also a reminder as to why we look on the things that are unseen....
 
 
2 Corinthians 4:13 - 18
 
.....Since we have that same spirit of  faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Monday, July 8, 2013

It's a process....

This last two weeks has been crazy busy. Exhausting. And painful. And convicting. And fun....

I am living. I am very aware of that.

Some life lessons have been underlined for me these last couple of weeks. I am one of the most hard headed people I know. I pray I learn this soon - if I haven't already.


DO WHAT GOD CONVICTS YOU TO DO. Don't put it off. Do it when he puts it in your head. Fast action is his way of keeping you afloat. Putting it off is Satan's way of bogging you down. I have put off God's calling to me time and again. I always have reasons I think he should fix for me before I do it. I think I have it backwards....maybe I should do what he asks first, and he'll help me fix the other things.


GOT A PROBLEM - DEAL WITH IT. I have had some health issues I have put off and put off again. It could have been easily remedied a LONG time ago but I put off going to the doctor. I hate the time I have to wait for doctors. Hoping it will go away doesn't always work. Some things just get worse. Playing ostrich and burying my head in the sand gets me no where. As a matter of fact, it slows me down. For my family - for myself I will do better.


DO NOT CARRY BAGGAGE. This one is hardest for me. I am a people pleaser. My people pleasing tendencies make me feel better about myself. But I cannot please everyone. I CANNOT. So I find myself in a funk for days once I have let someone down. I need to learn to prioritize. Stop when I can to help and not worry when I cannot. God will provide. I am not the Savior. Of course I know this. But sometimes I act like folks can't do without me. I find myself at a loss to think that someone else can do without me....but overall it is freeing. Walk on sister.

 Becoming more mature is painful at times....but it also gives much happiness. It's a process. One that should make us all better and better if we LEARN OUR LESSONS.


                                                   

Thanks for listening.....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's NOT the coffee....

I have been experimenting with eating whole foods. Well...as much as I can. I am trying to cut down on the refined foods we eat. There are some things that just aren't worth it at this point...but others are much easier. Such as sugar.

The reason for my new foray into the unrefined is this horrible indigestion. Whether it's age or maybe just stress - there seems to be certain foods that just set it off moments after I ingest them.

Coffee is one of them. Or I thought it was coffee.

It's not.

It's the dairy I put in my coffee. I love milk, cheese, dairy - anything.

But it looks like I may be having to sidestep it now and opt for other things.

I love my coffee in the mornings. I love my tea too - and would be fine just drinking it...but I still love coffee.

So - my new found happy to sidestep the sugar is organic, raw blue agave. It is pretty good. It does not give the bad aftertaste like stevia does.

It gives me hope that I can find happiness after giving up the unrefined. Speaking from a "I'll eat anything" standpoint - it used to seem that it would be impossible to find a new norm.

I feel better now.

Do you have food substitutes you have found to replace what you thought you never could?



Let me know about it....I need help!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mental Prep for the "I wanna's".....

It is All Star season for Little League Baseball. This season is full of highs and lows for me. They are my kids and I want them to be happy. I want them to feel good about what they do. I would LOVE them to win a tournament.

This is my problem.

Of course I want the important things to be taken care of. The important things being:

being kind
working hard
enjoying your work

The not so important thing

winning

And you know good and well...as much fun as it is to get to play for a few more weeks....it sucks to lose.

It. Just. Does.

Of course we can leave happy from a game we lost. We should leave happy from a game that we have lost. As long as we worked hard and gave it our all...it should not be the cause of long faces.

But still...

Human nature. So dealing with the down side is important. I think there is a way to prepare for it.

Instead of LaLaLa'ing my way through each day (which I do a lot), I think preparing myself for the big things is important. I do this with my boys, I should do this for myself as well.

When the boys have situations at school, or at the park, I always talk through the scenarios with them. If this happens what should you say? What should your reaction be? How can you say the right thing? What would be best for you to do in this situation?

Hugely helpful for them to be prepared - to have the tools to deal with the possibilities.

Something I have never tried for myself before.....and it is a little odd because I am a pretty big list maker.

But - I need to prepare myself for my day.

Today:
S's percussion lesson: What will I do? Questions I should ask his teacher? Anything I should thank him for, ask him about?
Call Mortgage company about refinancing. My reactions, my plan if it is not what I thought it should be.
G's game tonight. Kindness and understanding of other teams coaches. Enjoying the kids. Understanding when our coaches scold my baby...or put him in positions that make me nervous.
What should my reactions be? How should I behave?

Well...all but the game should be easy. The game makes me nervous.
But - hopefully by preparing my heart and mind for it, it will be enjoyable no matter what the outcome is.

I think this would work with most things. Going through any scenario and what my preferred reactions should be would give my mind a better path to go down....other than my go to path which is to blow up, get frustrated, embarrass myself....yes, I would love to be a naturally kind, generous and gracious mom. Well...maybe if I prepare it will become easier to react better and better without having to rehearse. But I say it's worth a shot...

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Life is hard...

But who wants to wear that t-shirt? We love wearing our "Life is Good" T's and proclaiming it on Facebook when things are so fine. And they really can be.

In our obtuse, finite minds we see a moment as being wonderful and our joy abounds. We proclaim it - in whatever way we feel at the moment. And we are to have grateful hearts! Thankfulness is a great thing.

But - in reality, life is hard. That is why those tiny moments feel so good. So fine. So gloriously perfect. For what frames it, is usually hard. And if it isn't, I think we should be looking at why it is so good. Because it really shouldn't be. It isn't meant to be. Not here. Not now. Our present trouble is meant to cause us to long for heaven.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I live in a bubble. My neighbors are blessed with many worldly goods - as am I. But I see the tragedies, I see that many are in need...and not just of the latest and greatest handbag or shoe craze. Their needs are greater than that. It is of a more basic need. It might be a shoulder to lean on. It might even be food. It might be a ride to the doctor, money to cover a hospital stay. That is just here in this affluent area I live in. Every once in a while - by God's mercy - I am able to see outside this bubble. Even in my hardest moments I do not really understand what it means to need. To lack for my basic needs is not even on my radar. But my gift is empathy. I can imagine and I can absolutely be where I can meet some of those needs - by design. It might be here in my own neighborhood - in this community. It might even mean that I have to step out of my comfort zone and go somewhere. There is a great big world out there.

Much of that great world - the majority of that great world is struggling. I do not know why. I cannot answer why some are in such abject poverty and others are not. It could be me. It should be me if I get what I deserve. I am a sinner - saved by grace. But that is not why I have what I have. Many believers struggle with need.

I am asking God to open my spiritual eyes. We ask for eyes to see what is needed in the folks we meet day to day. We need to have the care to offer it - to see beyond our own comfort, our own schedule, our own struggles to meet those needs that are calling out every day. They are there.

We are called to be God's hands and feet. And much of the time we are failing.

Galatians 5:13-14

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[


Praying we are moved to serve....
 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Divergent

We got in from our tournament cross pool play at about 11:30pm last night. I got the boys (my twins were at a friends and the 10 yo had a friend over) showered and settled for bed. I went down stairs and emptied the coolers and treated all the red dirt stains on the baseball pants. I think I fell into the bed around 1:00AM.

I was tired.

My husband and I both kept hitting the snooze button this morning. But he had to get up and I rolled out of bed to make coffee and get things started for the day. The boys were still sound asleep. I had to do something quiet to let them sleep as long as they could. So I picked up the boys summer reading and took a look at it.

Divergent.

It started out foreign to me. Just like all books do. But I soon found myself glued to it. It is the same as usual. I start something with a good story line and I can't quit until I have devoured it all.

Read the whole thing by 2:30PM. That was with stops for breakfast when the two sleepy heads woke up at 10:30AM and then lunch at 1:30PM.

Nothing else accomplished. I loved the book. I have many thoughts about it but I am going to think about it some more before I put it down in black and white.

If you haven't read it....I encourage you to. Fun stuff.

You have to love summer book reading. Though my house does look like it exploded. Not kidding.

Happy Summer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

You should have seen it....

It was a glorious, emotional, vomitous free-for-all.

What am I talking about?

Well.......it was me. Pitching a fit.

Typical summer day. 6 boys, one at VBS, looking forward to the beginning game of pool play for the tournament and I had it all under control.

The six 13 year olds were having a great time. Of course they didn't want the party to end, so one calls his mother and asks if she can come pick them up so they can all spend the night with him. Bells go off in my head. It is the youth group's lake day in the morning they have to be there early. My 10 year old is in VBS and he will be picked up at 8:20AM. It will be tight. I am always overly optimistic about time. But sure - I got this. I will just leave right after the 10 year old is picked up and go get them and pick them up from the friends house and take them on to their youth leader's house.

No big deal.

So I am up and dressed and running out the door. My hands are full of bags with swim trunks and sun screen and 2 bags of chips and brownies. I throw the chips and brownies on top of the car and set everything else down in the front seat. My intention was to get the brownies and chips off the top of the car and place them in the seat so they did not shift and get squished. Something happened in my head that made me forget to do that. Probably the dogs deciding they wanted to go upstairs and my having to go get them back down and secure the door of their pen.

So I get in the car and take off. I pull up in the driveway of my friend and I say hello and she tells me they just got up. They walk up to me. "Good Morning guys". I kind of get no response... "I am starving to death, mom." No problem we'll stop and get something on the way. What is getting me is their hair. And that stuff is not going to go down without some serious water. "Why didn't you brush your hair and your teeth?" They are THIRTEEN - that is why. "Do you want me to take you to John's looking like that?", I ask. There are going to be girls at the lake. I know they do not want to go looking like they do. "No, take us home we need to change". Ummm. It is 8:50AM - we are supposed to be there at 9:00AM. We were already going to be a little late. I have clothes in the car and tell them they can throw those on...but the hair. Dang.

What to do.

Then I realize that I don't see the brownies and chips in the seat next to me. Crap. At a stop light I put the car in park, open the door and look at the top of the car PRAYING those chips and brownies are there. Nope.

So driving home I look all along the route. They are not there. How in the world can I show up LATE without the brownies and the chips I said I was going to bring?

The poo hits the fan. I  explode in the car in front of my twin 13 year olds. I seriously feel like banging my head against the steering wheel repeatedly. I manage to say things like - "DO I HAVE TO THINK FOR EVERYONE?", "SHOULD I HAVE TO CALL YOU AND TELL YOU TO BRUSH YOUR HAIR AND TEETH?" and YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO COMMIT ME SOON IF SOMEONE DOESN'T START HELPING ME HANDLE ALL OF THIS MESS". All the while I am still scouting for the brownies in the road. I can replace the chips...but not those delicious brownies.

Let me tell you about those brownies. They were just right. I let them cool before I cut them and they were in perfect squares stacked on the cutest paper plate and I was PROUD of them.

My righteousness on a plate.

So I get home and my husband calls and I am CRYING - no - not crying - I can hardly speak to him I am sobbing so much. I finally get out the words about how late we are and that the BROWNIES are on the road somewhere. He says it will be ok. Get the boys and go to John's.

Some small sanity returns and I mentally hitch up my britches and thumb my nose. I hear a still, small voice ask me what is important.

Well...not those brownies I can tell you that. My boys are scared of me right now. I have one of them (the sensitive one) on the verge of tears himself. I am a raving lunatic over brownies and being late.

Why?

Because it makes me proud of myself. It defines me and I am failing at it.

Plain and simple.

Misplaced my efforts...again.

So I adjust my thinking. I tell them both I am sorry. We get our ducks in a row. I get them in the car and we get to John's. Thirty minutes late.

And guess what?

It is OK.

I have talked to God. I am pleasantly exhausted now. I think I am going to take a nap and start over again in an hour.


  

P.S. I found the brownies in the road on my way home from dropping the boys off. They were face down...a little smushed...but they still were in the bag and they tasted great. Had 3 of them.

 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The way I am....

I have written about this before. I have an overly competitive nature.

It has been recorded here:
So of course I think I know...
and here:
Reconciled
and here:
How's your heart buddy?

I think my favorite expression for it is "wretchedly competitive".

That's me.

Baseball season makes it particularly difficult for me. I lose all sense of reason and have to talk to my husband to find my balance. When I see myself going all sideways...just talking to him gets me back on course. I am so thankful for his "real" outlook(there are times I call it cynical). I have no such thing. Just as a friend's mom told me, I am the balloon and he is my basket that keeps me from flying out into the ozone.

Even when I see skid marks on the ceiling from him throwing the football in the living room and broken rungs on my favorite chair from rough housing with my boys, I am so thankful for him. My oldest child is a blessing to me. (smile)

So - I am in the midst of All Stars and we are playing our National team, which is the team they stack with all the best players (not that my child doesn't deserve to be on it - ahem) we are on the American team. Of course my mom instincts cloud my ability to see straight during these games. I see someone (my boys team mates) safe when they are called out by the other teams "ump". I am running around to the dugout asking my husband if that was true or not.

Now - am I embarrassed to be sharing this with you? Yes.

My intention is to purge myself of this heinous need to be the best - always. It is exhausting. It is also the reason I give up. It is all just too much! There is so much to be done and done well - that I have a hard time managing it all. I really believe that this may be the reason I fall into a ditch so often. I find myself depressed and unable to function at times. I do believe it is because I cannot do it all. And I want to. The fact is - my best efforts fall short of what my mind envisions. It is discouraging to say the least.

Just recently I read that this is a different type of "perfectionism". I have never considered myself a perfectionist...but I think I am - in a way. I have a vision of how things should be in my mind. It is grand and beautiful and when I cannot make it happen, it makes me sad.

But there is no way around it except to get up every morning and do my best with what we have. To temper my expectations and to preach the Gospel to myself. I am not my own salvation. I cannot be or do all that I envision. I forget to take one moment at a time. So - I slow down - get done what I can and not worry about the rest.

And when I find myself getting all strung out over little league all stars
 - remember that it is not being the best that matters. It is the little lessons we learn...not just the kids - but the parents as well.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
 
It helps to remember that my works are not what save me. It is the work that has already been done. And not by me. By the Son of God.
 
This should relieve some of the burden - but it is something I have to revisit often. I forget so easily.

Here's hoping I do better.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Something ain't right

 

I was talking to my dad just a few minutes ago. He is so amazing. He has just had his third bout with cancer and is gaining strength and making plans. It thrills my heart to see him doing better. He was so sick - and this time his heart was affected - which was scary. But he is getting stronger every day. He is exercising and I love to hear him talk of what we are going to do. Joy. Pure joy.

As we were talking I was telling him about All Stars and how crazy it is. Not just the schedule - that is bearable. Not even being team mom - that is tough - but it is also fun. The thing that kills me is the money.

Good grief the money.

I will be the first one to tell you that God is changing my heart and my mind about the stuff. Money is God's and if I spend it where he would have me to - everything is going to be alright. He has proven his provision for us over and over again . Through two job losses and me not making much of anything these days - God has more than met our needs through friends and family. I have been humbled and thrilled with it all. Which leads me to my problem.

We spend an unbelievable chunk of change on All Stars. Last year we had three playing. It would have easily been a $1000 had we not had help from grandparents and sweet friends whose business sponsored the boys . Bless them. We really are grateful. We are trying to pay it forward.

We are told that All Stars is a reward for kids doing well during the season. And if you know me - you know I love little league baseball. So to extend the season is just a really happy thing. But what they don't tell you before you sign that contract that restricts you to where you buy your uniform and gear, is how much it is going to cost.

I remember the first time one of the kids made All Stars. We were thrilled. Then when we saw the price tag (after we signed the contract) we were dumbfounded. We are blessed above and beyond anything I can ask or imagine - but I will say - it seemed like a sacrifice. But this is our main sport. So we bought into it and had a great time.

This year it has been more than we have ever paid. I am so thankful that only one child decided to play. It would have exceeded $1000 and quite frankly I am already uncomfortable spending that much money on something that is so fleeting. Even with getting sponsorships from local businesses for advertising it seems that we spend too much. But here we are. Playing again and enjoying it.

But back to my conversation with dad. As I was telling him how much the uniforms cost, I was a little floored by what was coming out of my mouth. And quite frankly convicted that we are spending that much money on equipment and uniforms. We already have a bat bag. We already have a helmet. We could have just bought the jerseys and the hat and asked everyone to go get white pants or whatever like we normally do during the regular season and spent a whole lot less. I would have rather spent the majority of our money on really rewarding our players by having fun things for them to do. We do fun things - but we by far spent the majority of our money on things that really don't matter. The jerseys would be enough of a status thing for the kids. They get to advertise their expertise with the new shirts the whole next school year. The vanity thing should be satisfied. I am really not sure about the new bags, and the new helmets. It seems like the this is a kickback to the sporting goods store we bought from and that makes me uncomfortable.

I fear shaking things up. But I fear more allowing this to continue. All Stars seems to have become more of a status thing than a reward for playing well during the season.

That is wrong. My status has nothing to do with money. My worth has nothing to do with money. What am I teaching my kids by perpetuating this thing that sucks money up like a Coke on a hot day? Their worth is wrapped up in accomplishments? In performing well? Heaven forbid.

I don't think that has to be the case at all. I do believe you can do the one without sacrificing the other. But I do think that the amount of money being spent on equipment needs to be addressed. And I think my attitude about it all should be checked and rechecked - over and over again.

We have been blessed with coaches that display wonderful examples for our kids. We love the friendships we have made, but maybe - just maybe we have forgotten what All Stars is really about. These kids would not be affected in the least by not being decked out head to toe in this stuff. I think. Maybe we have indoctrinated them more than I think. What I really have come to believe is that All Stars is more about parents and them wearing their kids abilities like a badge. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am being too hard on us all...myself included.

I don't know.

I need other parents to sound off on this for me. Give me your opinions and reasons for them. I want to make this a better thing. Competition is great for the kids. I believe that. We are teaching them to live in a competitive world. This is a great thing....but maybe we should rethink the amount of money we spend on the things that don't matter.

What do you think?





Wednesday, May 8, 2013

So weird....

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with cramps.....in my FEET. I am not kidding. I think it was those stupid flip flops I wore to work yesterday. I have to squinch up my toes to keep them on. I worked out my feet muscles too much. Who else does this? Am I the only one?

So - after I got up and walked the cramps off, drank some water and went back to bed. I fell back to sleep and I dreamed. I was taking a shower - I have no clue where I was. It felt like a dorm. But people kept coming into the bathroom when I was showering. Just like my kids do. In and out they went. Finally - someone came over and opened up the curtain. It was a family. A teenage boy, his parents and two little sisters...just wait - it gets even weirder. The most strange thing was I was surprised but not horrified. I asked them for a towel and wrapped up and we proceeded to sit down IN THE TUB and chat. I looked at the girls photo albums that they pulled out and asked them questions. I did not know these folks - but I was talking to them like I did and I did it all while WRAPPED IN A TOWEL only. All comfy cozy like little sardines in a tub with people I did not know - they clothed....me - mostly naked. So bizarre.

I am so happy I remembered this dream. It is absolutely hilarious to me and makes me laugh whenever I think about it.

Hope you find something to make you laugh repeatedly today as well.