Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dec 2007 - Have Enough??

Hi all!
In this Christmas season, I am writing to ask that you would all take a moment to stop and look around at how blessed we are. Even those of us on a tight budget are still able to buy a little something for our loved ones, our friends, and sometimes - even those we don't even count as friends but feel an obligation to spend our hard earned money on. And next month, will you really feel you have made a difference in someone's life through your gift of fruitcake or just another Yankee Candle???

As an intro, I am now a Compassion International advocate. So - my job is to just let others know about the really awesome organization that our family has been involved with for about 2 1/2 years now. My job is to let you know the information, your job is to prayerfully consider if you can commit to helping and truly make a difference in someone else's life. Now that I have been doing this for a couple months, I have learned how quickly I can get people to change the topic when I bring up this topic! So instead of me talking, I wanted to share a few words from our Compassion liason in a recent letter to all Advocates.

""The young man said to Him, 'All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?' Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' " Matthew 19:20-21

I think that when many people hear this, they are afraid that Jesus is going to tell them to do the same. Give it all away! Sell all you have and give to the poor! That is where I think the blinders come from – you know, the blinders people wear so they don't have to see poverty. I know I have these blinders. Every time I see someone asking for money at a stoplight, I have to face the decision again: do I give something or not? If not, do I at least acknowledge them and talk to them or just avoid eye contact altogether? It's difficult to know what to do every time. If we can just avoid seeing it or facing it, then we won't have to do something about it, especially something that may lead to hearing Jesus say "sell all you have".

However, in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, there is clear instruction that reveals that the call is not for everyone to sell all they have for the poor. It addresses those who are "rich in this present world" (that includes almost every American citizen by world standards) and tells them to "do good, be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share." Being ready to share and being generous is a far cry from giving all we have to the poor. These verses even say that God "richly supplies us with all things to enjoy". We are allowed to enjoyed things! That is comforting. But not at the expense of those who are in need. We shouldn't enjoy those things while pretending that there is no one out there who has need. We enjoy what God has provided but with an eye to share out of our abundance.

I've written this before but I think it is worth writing again: Bishop John V. Taylor puts it this way: Our enemy is not possessions, but excess. Our battle cry is not "nothing" but "enough".

We have a hard job cut out for us. We are trying to help people see that they have enough. That is hard to do when all around them are messages that say "buy this! Just one more thing! You need to have this too! Don't give that money to someone else – you might need it later!" It is hard to cut through all that with a message about a child in need."

So many of us are weary of the sponsored child "scams". However, we had the pleasure of experiencing our close friends recent trip to the Philippians to tour a Compassion site and visit homes of some of the served children. Our friends saw first-hand the renewed hope and love that these children were receiving. They saw first-hand the opportunities given to these children. They also saw the filth and poverty these children lived in absent of the project. When I asked her of seeing such children in poverty if it made her want to scream at everyone she met to do something, she replied, "I think if you are not on Welfare, you should try to help at least one child." Our own children are just blessed beyond measure and I am so glad they can be exposed to how much God has given us through our letters and correspondence with our 2 Compassion children. The most meaningful letter I have received from our little boy said that he "and his mother pray a lot for you because you are his second family and it is a great treasure for him to tell his friends about you."

These children are given the ability to learn, to grow, to play, to just be children. Through your letters, they come to understand that they are not expendable, they can be something, do something, and escape the lives they have been born into. They get to see and feel that someone really does care about them and want what's best for them. And most of all, they are exposed to and given the hope of a better life through Christ Jesus.

Please go to my website to browse and learn more about this organization and it's purposes. Please email me to talk more or ask more questions. Please remember that we do have enough...... especially this Christmas season.

Love to all,

Compassion Website

** Compassion was given 4 out of 4 stars by Charity Navigator for 7 straight years, an independent charity review group. That places them among the top 1% of thousands of non-profit charitable organizations they review. The American Association of Philantrophy ranked them higher than even Habitat for Humanity. Only 45 countries nationwide have their record of faithful use of your gifts.
** monthly contributions are only $32. Eighty percent of that money goes to the churches which help these children thru tutoring, Bible study, medical aid, supplemental food, field trips, and parental counseling. If you give a birthday or family gift for your child's individual needs, 100% of that money goes to your child. Our little boy chose to buy a new pair of sneakers with his birthday money, my friend's sponsored child bought vitamins.
** Our children write us about every 2-3 months. In 2 1/2 years, we have gotten many letters and many photographs of our growing and maturing child. The letters are very personal with drawings, questions for the boys, and replies to our child-like questions (what is your favorite color? do you like to play baseball? etc.) Our children know and pray for Hector, Rupa, and Amanuel every night.

Nov 2007 - Time to put the puzzle pieces together

As some of my close friends know, I have been joking for years about my "retirement plan". Whenever we talk about my kid's non-existent college funds or my measly IRA, I usually respond with "oh well, Jesus will be coming back by then." In the last few months, I've become pretty secure with my savings plan and just wanted to throw some info out there. Just think of it as "Tracy's future planning advice". I have just learned from talking to others, how few of us actually follow the news anymore. And, how many of us put the pieces of the news together to form the puzzle that is our society. And, how many of us, Christian or not, take the time to compare what is going on in today's world with what the Bible says will be going on in the end times. So before you count me crazy, realize I am just pointing out to you what the Bible says – and if you truly see the Bible as the ultimate truth, then how crazy am I, by just pointing out some obvious facts?? I've done a good bit of research for you, but feel free to use google and to check my facts out.

1) There will be an increase in wild weather. Matthew 24:7, Luke 21:25 – in looking at earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes in the last several years, they have been as a woman's birth pains. Earthquake Frequency Not only occurring more dramatically, but occurring faster and faster. Romans 8:22 AP reported that Yellowstone National Park's mega-volcano has been observed to recently have been moving upward almost 3 inches per year for the past three years. That is more than three times faster than ever observed.

2) The country of Israel would be re-born in one day. Isaiah 66:8. Happened with the signing of a treaty on May 14, 1948. Luke 21:29-32 and Matthew 24:32 - After cursing a fig tree and causing it to die, Jesus said, "Learn this lesson from the fig tree, as soon as it's twigs get tender and it's leaves come out…" Some say the fig tree is Israel since Israel is referred to in other passages as a fig tree, and that its putting forth leaves refers to Israel's 1948 restoration to the land or rebirth. Continuing in Matthew He says, "So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place." So how long is a generation from 1948?? 60-80 years??

3) The country of Israel will be a cause for great conflict throughout many countries. Zechariah 12:3. How is it, we wonder, that a country the size of New Jersey is causing such an uproar throughout the world today? It also mentions that harm will befall those who attempt to split Jerusalem – look to theAnnapolis peace convention (orchestrated by C. Rice of the U.S. of A) for an attempt to divide Jerusalem in the sake of peace, this month or next! The Jerusalem Post is reporting that "a group of rabbis from Israel have sent a letter to US President George W. Bush warning him that if the planned Annapolis Middle East parley is not cancelled, a disaster will befall US citizens, just as Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans after Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005."

4) Christians will be luke-warm in their faith. Revelation 3:15. Oh yes, I would say this is complete truth!! When was the last time you saw the Christian church stand up against something that was wrong? Or how often does the church just sit by and let poverty, adultery, sexual immorality, just happen under their nose and sit quietly on their hands?? Many churches today have become country clubs where members pay their dues for a "feel good" message. Many also preach that the Bible is open to man's interpretation and is not the true word of God to be taken literally. If it is not literal, that why have so many previous prophecies come to pass?

5) There will be unusual, unexplained signs in the heavens. Luke 21:25. In an AP report, Paul Lewis, director of astronomy outreach at the University of Tennessee, said of the sudden brightening of Comet 17P/Holmes, a star which within just 24 hours increased its brightness almost a million-fold. "This is truly a celestial surprise," Lewis said. "Absolutely amazing. A once-in-a-lifetime event to witness." Also check out the Hubble site for an awesome picture taken of the center of galaxy M51, the Whirlpool galaxy.

6) There will be a global government. Revelation 13:7. Heard of the Law of the Seas Treaty? The US is looking to sign a treaty which will give the UN the rights to over-see over 70% of the Earth's surface. Add that to the global warming call for global cooperation and you've got the recipe to levy carbon taxes or global laws via a world-wide governing body.

7) A strong delusion will take place to explain a huge end times occurrence. 2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12. Many see this as something used to explain away the disappearance of millions of Christian believers, or the rapture. On yahoo's news page on Nov. 13th, was the story of "UFOs are no joke, group (of pilots) says." CNN is also reporting of pilots and even the former AZ governor who are now coming forward to say they have truly seen UFOs and want the government to step forward and acknowledge their legitimacy. So will all Christians be taken away and told that it was an alien abduction? Seems silly to me but I wont be here to be fooled by this "strong delusion" anyway. Yahoo UFO article

8) Religious cults will flourish. 2nd Peter 2:1. Let's see: Kabala, Scientology, Satanism, Global Warmingism (because they are worshipping the mother Earth), wicca, etc.

9) All the world will be able to see war and death as it happens. Revelation 11:9. In what other generation would the entire world have been able to see (through internet or television) happenings across the globe at one time??

10) Sexual immorality will be flaunted. Jude 1:18. President Clinton anyone?? Recent law to allow middle school children in Maine access to birth control pills and morning after pills, without parental consent. And let's not even start on the sexual immorality on TV. (Yes, even my loved Grey's Anatomy…….)

11) Homosexuality will abound. Luke 17:28- 30. California and it's law allowing cross-dressing teenagers to use the opposite sex's bathrooms and to ban the use of "dad/mom" in textbooks as it conditions children to be intolerant of alternative lifestyles. They also recently held the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco for homeosexuals... the advertisement mocked the Last Supper. The festival, among other things, had public displays of gay sex, and worse.

12) Technology will exist to track the world's finances and people's abilities to buy and sell. It will then be required of all to take this mark (known as the Mark of the AntiChrist) to buy and sell. Revelation 13:16-17. Recent AP headlines taunt the ability for the microchip previously used on animals to be injected into humans with the ability to quickly read medical info or other pertinent facts (think Alzheimer's victims or soldiers). ABC News Report After some bad publicity (minor issue with it causing tumors in lab rats), the VeriChip company changed it's name to XMARK/. No kidding (check the "About Us" section for verification). Not saying this is it, but just letting you know the technology IS IN PLACE, for the first time in history.

13) A coming war is prophesied with the major players named being the current countries including: Russia, Turkey, and Iran. These countries will attack Israel, (and be defeated). Ezekiel 38-39. Retired Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston , in a brief interview, told McClatchy Newspapers that the United States is unwittingly "driving, strategically, the Turks and the Iranians together" because both nations share concerns about violent Kurdish separatist groups. Add to that the Democrat Congress' recent fiasco with trying to pass a document to accuse Islamic Ottoman Turkey of genocide against Christian Armenians during WWI. While we could be working to solve the Social Security crisis or finding our own sources of energy, instead Congress was working to alienate one of our ONLY allies in the Middle East, over something that happening in WWI for Pete's sake!! So now in the news, Turkey has chastised the US and is gathering its armies on the Iraq border, looking to pound the Kurds over the border, another common interest of lovely Iran. Let me also mention, Russia's Putin having chummy-chummy talks with crazy President Ahmadinejad of Iran, the same man who has stated he will wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. Until just months ago, this prophecy could not be fulfilled due to Turkey's stance with the Western world. As we speak, the chess pieces are being set.

14) The capability of an army of 200 million soldiers. Rev. 9:16. In Christ's day, it is estimated that the world population was anywhere from 100-400 million people. In 2007, the CIA estimated that China had approximately 343 million men fit for active military duty alone. CIA China Report Add that to the Nov. 13th AP reporting that Iran and China met to pledge cooperation and boost their ties. And again, Iran's president has chanted "Death to the USA & Israel". Hmmmm. Ahmadinejad has also told his country it is the time for "martyrdom" and even prayed in N.Y. at the U.N. for the return of the Islamic messiah – the 12th imam. This messiah is thought to return during a state of world wide war and will reign on the Earth for 7 years before the end of this world comes to pass. Ahmadinejad sees his role is to start that war. And this past week, he politely announced he has 3,000 working uranium-enriching centrifuges. "US experts say 3,000 machines running for long periods could make enough enriched uranium for an atomic bomb within a year." Times Report on Ahmadinejad

14) There will be a one-world religion. Rev. 13:11-15. Just look to the current global warming crisis and the way the facts are now being replaced with a "faith" that this IS happening vs. the "proof" that it is happening. All religions are based on faith in and of something. John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, has written an article in which he writes, "It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in [sic] allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the "research" to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus. Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild 'scientific' scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens'" (Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming "Greatest Scam in History," by Rick Moran, American Thinker Blog, Nov. 8, 2007). In my opinion, only with pure evil's help, would masses of intelligent people be able to so blindly follow such a huge "SCAM". Especially one that may very well move into the global arena more prominently.

However, the environment IS speaking – with monstrous storms, deadly floods, drought, almost daily earthquakes worldwide (Luke 21:11; Luke 21:25). But man has not caused the environment to reject us. It is instead, God fulfilling his promises to us. Promises which are not meant to scare or harm us. But promises meant to WAKE US UP. To alert us to HIS power and majesty. And to give us one last chance to realize that He means what He has said. Worse days are coming (Matthew 24:21). And I for one, am giddy with excitement that I, and my family, have the promise that we will not be here to see those days of death and pure, unimaginable evil and suffering.

Now is not the time to idly sit by and shy away from talking to your childhood friends about the truth. (Or for that matter, risk alienation for sending a 4 page blog to your closest friends and family). Nor can we be embarrassed to mention Christ's love in the grocery line. Whether we have 1 month, 5 years, or even 85 years left on this Earth…. NOW is the time to gain the courage to wake up and look around you. And even with the possibility of 85 years to go – that is still not enough time for us to even be wasting a precious minute in the light of God's promises.

Luke 21:28: "And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

Romans 13:11: "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."

Luke 21:36 "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."


Oct 2007 - The Concert

Don't know if I liked this email forward so much because I can easily imagine one of my monkey's sneaking up on stage and embarassing me. Or if it's just that the message is so awesome.

The Concert

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.
Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights
focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.
In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out
"Twinkle,Twinkle Little Star."
At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and
whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."
Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached
down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato.
Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience.
The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played.
Only the classic, " Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
Perhaps that's the way it is with God.
What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy.
We try our best, but the results aren't always graceful flowing music. However, with the hand of the Master, our life's work can truly be beautiful.
The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."
May you feel His arms around you and know that His hands are there, helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.
Remember, God doesn't seem to call the equipped, rather, He equips the 'called.'
Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than by the things you acquire.
So touch someone by passing this little message along.
May God bless you and be with you always
and remember: "Don't quit. Keep playing."

May 2007 - I'm FINE

So this wont be my greatest work as it's now midnight and I really should be in bed. I've had a ton of people ask lately how we have been doing and haven't gotten a chance to write each of you back so I'm blogging to update and inform everyone in one big giant swoop.

We are doing FINE. Don't you just hate it when people say that?? As far as the chilluns go, they are awesome. They make me laugh daily and are all smart, beautiful, and so happy. They are also very well-fed and eating us out of house and home! It has been so much fun to see their dynamics and how they interact with each other and their different character traits. Addison is definately a strong-willed little girl. She will never be the shy little wildflower that her mother was! Yes, I did say WAS. 11 years of marriage to one such as T will bring you out of your shell a bit...

Some of you have also asked about how Laken is doing. She is doing o.k. Mike's mom & dad are taking excellent care of her and she was given permission to remain at her previous school which was good for her. She still has a ways to go but that is expected. She loves T and really latches on to him when we are together. The boys miss getting to play with her every weekend, as they live about 30 min. away now.

I feel like I should say something about Mike - since I devoted a whole blog earlier to Danica. Mike was unlike anyone you have probably ever met. He was completely kind-hearted. But also as stubborn as a mule and would argue about the color of grass if the mood hit him. He loved his wife, and he loved his daughter. And he loved his friends and knew exactly how to make you laugh when you needed it. His colorful, redneck language will stay burned in all our minds and will always be thought about with a smile. And he loved God. He had a picture of Christ in Heaven across the back glass of his new truck. And across the front a cross with the words "It's not mine, it's His" Mike lived his faith everyday. I don't know if they have mud-boggin in Heaven, but if they do - he's right there! He is definitely missed, but he is with his wife and with his savior so it's hard to be sad for his sake as that is exactly where he wanted to be.

In terms of my marriage, my husband is still the best gift God ever gave me. I have said before, that I feel like my children just kind of come along as part of me, but to think that T was hand-picked by the creator of the universe just for ME, leaves me in awe. I have to say, the last few months have not been our greatest moments, but we are still staying strong. Mike's death completely devastated him and he is still grieving for what was lost in his one true brother. In that loss, I couldn't relate. I couldn't comfort him. I couldn't replace his lost friendship. And so I grieved the lost of MY best friend. I'm only writing all this to let you know that it is so easy to come off to the world as having a perfect marriage. The difference is, we were able to find our way back to what we were. Changed, but still the same. Even with the pain we were going through, we still both had Christ. And in Him, we both knew we had no option but to see each other through His eyes and not our own tear-stained ones. We could have opted out, it would have been very easy... and almost understandable under such stress. But instead, we are clawing our way back. So when I say we are FINE. We are. I am nothing without the man who gives me chills every time I see him on stage singing, who makes me smile every time I see him out in front playing football with the boys, who makes me tear when I see him rocking our baby in the darkness. I am just thankful to God that we were able to make our foundation strong so that when the storms came, our house didn't crumble.

May 2007 - Black Eyed ME

So in preparation for our anniversary this weekend (of 11 years) - T kindly gave me my first shiner. It's really funny to me, although it wasn't at the time my nose was running and I was weeping uncontrollably. Truth is I was looking for a remote in the bottom of the TV cabinet, he up top, and he dropped one of our 16 other remotes on my eye. Ouch. But what I have learned from my one and only battle scar, is more than just that I need to be aware of falling objects.

In the 4 days since this happened, I have had exactly TWO people ask what happened to me. Now I'm not the embarrassed type and I usually don't keep things to myself, so I don't know why everyone I have come in contact with has been too embarrassed to ask me why I look like Rocky's sparing partner. I have had a couple friends say "well... I was wondering but I didn't want to ask". You didn't want to ask???? Maybe it's because they know that T would never hit me.... but then why not ask? Maybe it's because they are afraid someone MAY have hit me.... but then why not ask? And then I started thinking..... how often do I "not ask" because of fear of hearing something that may make ME uncomfortable?

How often do we ask "how are ya doing?" and then nod "well that's just greeeeat" and walk away? We have become so self-absorbed that we often don't want to be burdened by another one's heavy load. "It's not my place..... I don't know them that well..... I really don't want to intrude..." But why not?? Black eyes are not the only battle wounds that jump out like big red flags. How often do you meet the friend or acquaintance with the down-cast eyes or the timid, uncomfortable conversation? Their wounds may be just as painful and we look the other way. I know how busy life is. How we run from ball practice, to church services, to the grocery store. But we still need to see that by flying on our jet plane through life, we may be leaving other's stranded in the process. I know that God didn't put me on this Earth to go to ball practice, or to even keep the church nursery. I was put here to develop relationships, with my family, my friends, and all those I encounter. To show them a peace that I have, (black eye or not). If I can't take the time to ask my children or my friends about their own shiners, than I am falling down on my job in this world and probably deserve my own beating.

As an aside: 1 out of my 2 friends' comment: "I hope T looks worse than you do!!" ha,ha.

April 2007 - When Right is Wrong

(Just a warning to all - keep your toes back on this one cause I'm very likely to step on a few!)

I recently heard a radio host say that his grandmother had once warned him that there would come a day when "all that was wrong would be right and all that was right would be wrong". Is it just me - in my ultra-conservative mindset - or is that day pretty much here? Have we ultimately reached a point in our society's timeline where the area of gray is so vast that we can no longer see the difference between what is good and what is bad?

Not long ago, I had an instance with my family where I had to put my foot down and insist that my children not be around when the t.v. is spewing every 4-letter word known to man. I had to stand up and insist that - why is it o.k. for today's children when we, as children, were not allowed to view shows more traumatic than Scooby Doo? Now, it's not even just the movies. Every night, on regular programming, our children are subject to a large range of 4-letter words and we don't even hear them anymore. We don't even think to change the channel. We laugh through the viagra commercials vs. turning them off in front of our 6 year old.

My biggest beef at the moment is with ABC. Why is it that every program must have their token gay couple with the gay kiss and the persecution of the stray family member who may object to that lifestyle? Why is it that Rosie O'Donnell is allowed to preach against our President, Christians, and anyone else she deems have "sinned" in this politically correct world - yet my own child is not allowed to stand up in his own school and preach the virtues of his Maker without the risk of being expelled. Why is it o.k. for Madonna or Tom Cruise to preach the virtues of their man-made religions yet no one in Hollywood would dare stand up for Christianity for fear of being black-listed? Even on reality shows, the Christians are often first to go home as they are seen as strange or hate-filled.

In the search for right and wrong, based on what I can find in our media and television - I can now make a list for my poor children that it is now O.K. to: burn flags, be homosexual, have extramarital affairs (hey, the president can do it and not be condemned), have premarital sex, kill unborn babies (but not o.k. to show their mothers ultrasounds showing them sucking their thumbs before killing them), cuss in public, solicite prostitution, trash our country and our God.

However, it is not O.K. to: tell anyone else that what they are doing is morally wrong, drive an SUV, use the wrong kind of lightbulb, kill an animal for clothing, go to a church that tells anyone that anything is wrong (for that matter, going to any church is probably not o.k. for most), or stand up for any value or moral that may have been acceptable 50 years ago.

At one point when growing up, we knew the difference between what was right and what was wrong. And yes, we often chose to step over that line and experiment a bit (or a lot) in being bad once in a while. But at least we had that line. Any one of you that has known me for a long time knows that I have been arguing religion and morals for a long time. But it doesn't work to argue anymore. I am becoming a part of the minority. With all that is around us now, the only thing I can do is to try to show others that while I may not approve of their lifestyle or accept what society is trying to tell me is right - I can still show love, and show compassion - knowing that at some point in the future... and what seems like the very near future - there will come a day when all that is right will be restored. And all I can say to that is "Any day now Jesus, cause I don't like to be told I am wrong."

Feb 2007 - Sick Days

Today was a crappy day. One tip about being self-employed - you need to work. I really NEED to work. I miss an appointment with a client, I don't get paid. My bank account is screaming, you NEED to work. So this morning, on the way out to see a new client (read as: mo money), the babes are all safely buckled in their carseats, I back out and then hear that tale-tale sound. Throwing up. Now for those of you that aren't parents, you can imagine that this is the worst sound to a parents' ears. This one sound can totally change the next 24-48 hours of your life. So I put it in reverse and find my lovelies completely covered, car seats covered, floor board, back seat, middle seat. This crap is everywhere. Lovely. For those of you again, that aren't parents - we often give that old adage of "as long as it's your kid, it's not that bad to clean up". Today, that adage was crap. I was gagging... suffocating.... in my own car for the next hour as I cleaned every nook and cranny this stuff had found it's way into. So now I'm giving baths, doing laundry, washing dishes.... and making phone calls to reschedule my desired appointments. Man, I am one happy woman.

So as sick baby sleeps her morning away, I go to list #2 - the "stuff I never get done" list. As I am out gardening, my adorable 4 year old is playing happily in the yard. I put him to work carrying the bucket as I cut flowers back. Here we are, on my crappy day, gardening together. He's telling me "God made the flowers", "God made the trees", and then for no reason... "I love you Mommy". I kiss him on the lips and after we're done, we spend the next two hours in play-doh, doodling, and making birthday cupcakes. Suddenly the sun is shining just a little brighter.

So here's my point... while I saw my day as a total waste, he saw it in the light I should have from the start. Children are able to see God's blessings so much easier than we are. And while I was upset at having screwed my schedule up, he was more than happy to give up his storytime at school to spend time doing chores with mommy. Why can't we be more like that? Why is it, that as adults, we see time spent staring at the next American Idol as more important than time spent playing catch with who should be the most important Americans to us? If we were given a new Mustang, would we let it sit in the back yard while we drove around a beat up Honda? Yet that is exactly what I do to our children everyday. God has given us these special beings as gifts. Gifts that we are to take care of and enjoy only for a short time. And yet we put so many other nonsignificant errands, shows, or hobbies above that gift.

So as I sit in my big comfy chair, and snuggle with my sweaty, feverish infant, I can't help to think - what an awesome day this was. That "stuff I never get done" list will just have to wait another day.

Jan. 2007 - He's not Me

I never wanted to be one of "those" moms. Working in the public school system, I saw the mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. You had your parents who only had children because their birth control didn't work and they unwillingly accepted the consequences. Then you also had your parents that would happily have chained their ankle to their prized offspring's desk if it would have been allowed. Their entire life centered around their child's success and of course - their child NEVER misbehaved and NEVER forgot to dot that /i/. You know "those" parents. Then you had the gems of parenting who were able to find that balance between concern and intrusiveness. Such a parent I aspired to be.

A couple years back as my child happily made his way through preschool, I made the comment that I would never be one of "those" moms. That I believed in the public school system's ability to make its own decisions. I would never be one of "those" moms who requests certain teachers for my child, or demands a switch when I am dissatisfied. You make lemonade when you are given lemons little Johnny! I had images of my little prodigy going off to school, returning to quietly do his homework, and then having me sign off on his straight-A efforts.

Now, two years into our much too long educational adventure, I am trying to get up the nerve to be one of "those" moms. The kind that principals cringe when they see a message from. The kind that teachers roll their eyes about over their morning coffee. Why exactly? Because I love my child more than my own ego. My little prodigy has instead turned into a very average and yet very imaginative little one. And while he has an intellect hidden within his blond-haired little brain, he chooses to think about puppies when the subject is prepositions. And while my little unfocused one spends his days daydreaming, I am left to wonder "when do you draw the line? how hard do you push?" For while I never wanted to play the blame-the-teacher game, all teachers are not the creme of the crop. While I have always said that my children must learn their own lessons, I also have to remember that he is still young. And it is my job to protect him and keep his education on the right, albeit average, track. It is my job to try to keep him from becoming one of "those" children that teachers again roll their eyes about.

The hardest thing to come to terms with is... my children are not me. They don't look like me, that's for sure. They don't even act like me. And while I may have my own dreams for them - so what if they don't get into the best colleges? So what if they don't get a wrestling scholarship (say it ain't so!) My children are perfect - made by God in His image. I can only pray that my children don't make the same mistakes that I did. That they learn from the mistakes they do make. And most of all, that they stay on the path that God created them to take and be who He created them to be - Just Perfect.

Dec. 2006 - Do as I say, Not as I do??

So at the ripe old age of 31, I now feel the need to spread the wisdom: with other moms, my poor little sister (who has had to put up with my advice for too many long years), and with complete strangers. I'm a complete work in progress and my family needs orange cones up to warn others of the construction going on - but here it is. Don't sweat the small stuff. T and I have had so many people comment on our marriage. 1) how close we are and 2) how I let him get by with so much (he knows it!) The secret is, it just isn't worth living your life fighting about if the trash has been taken out or if someone forgot to pay the light bill. While those things are important in day to day life - they shouldn't be the basis of whether you end the day in a shouting match or not. Let those little nuances go right over your head because it's so much easier to say "oh well" and roll your eyes than to hold on to all that baggage. It amazes us the number of old friends we have that have either cheated, been cheated on, or didn't make it. While we would like to credit each other with our relationship, I know it still boils down to having a Christ-centered marriage. T is accountable knowing that he HAS to put me above all others. If not, he has a Higher Power to answer to later on. He doesn't degrade me or my mothering, he constantly shows his love for me in front of our children, and he doesn't bad mouth me to others. In the same way, I HAVE to make him the head of the household. I know that when it comes to a big decision like a new job, moving, or buying a new car - that while I give my opinion, it is still his job to step up to the plate and make the decision that is best for our home and our family. (And I am so lucky that he doesn't abuse that privilege.) I can't stand to be around other women who constantly talk negative about their husbands - tell your husband, not your girlfriends!

Now, life hasn't been all chocolate and roses. We have had some very bumpy years with the in-laws, with job changes (too many to count), and with schooling and moving. But through it all, I never doubted that I was first in his life. So for that reason, I let him have fun with his friends, I entertain, I cook great meals, and I love my husband. In return, he lets me have my girls' nights, my lone trips shopping, and my trips home for my "mom" fix. Because we know that at the end of the day - God gave us to each other to enjoy and I'm so grateful to have been given that gift.