Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A First Time For Everything

Sunday marked an unbelievable day for me. I'm still shaking my head over it.

It was the first time in my life I ever wished there was not snow on the ground. Ever, I tell ya.

Except maybe when I was a teenager who was just too cool and HAD to be somewhere. But that doesn't count due to hormones and lack of common sense.

I'm a snow lover and this has been the best winter. It's what winter was made for. I was also able to tolerate the cold very well this year because I could see all the white stuff.

Isn't it so awesome how God made all four seasons. All so different, yet wonderfully enjoyable!

With a gorgeous February day teasing us to come out and run, this mommy really wanted to be out there. Not all that unreasonable since snow has been covering the ground for at least three weeks now.
But, I'm also just a little bit excited about gardening season being around the corner. 'Cause I want to do this:

Can you smell the freshly turned ground? I cannot be held responsible for my actions around this stuff. Last year I wanted to lay down and roll in it. I may just go for it this year.

I can't help it. It's in my blood. It calls me.

Resistance is futile.

And I can't wait to see things like this:

I love seeing our family work together. The boys were (usually) more than willing to help plant, rake, and harvest. The way we bonded over small victories against voles, groundhogs, and rabbits. All vying for position through the summer as public enemy number one.

Every time I use something we've put up for the winter, I smile. There's a sense of satisfaction. Of accomplishment. So deliciously wonderful.

Remind me of that this summer when I sweating buckets preserving our bounty.

On second thought, don't.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Which Bothers You More?

Please note: The following post contains one word of profanity. If that will cause you any discomfort, please do not read any further. Then again, maybe you should consider reading on...

I'm not sure that I've shared about my desire to serve the poor. The orphans. The sick. The world's cast-offs. It's something that has been brewing inside of me since I was a teenager. Every time I hear of someone who gave up everything to move to some foreign country or the mountains of Appalachia, etc. to live in extreme hardships in order to love and serve the people there and I feel almost desperate to be able to do the same thing.

Yet, here I am tucked in my house for the night and I'm not quite sure that I did much of anything for the Kingdom today. Some days that feels like it's never going to change.

It becomes so easy to get caught up in things that really have no eternal significance. To become offended by things that amount to nothing compared to the injustices of this world. Desensitized to the suffering and hurt around me.

I saw the following quote the other day and, well, I'll just let it speak for iteself:

“I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.” - Tony Campolo
There are times I am so guilty. Ignoring that which truly matters by getting my feathers ruffled at something as simple as a word that makes me uncomfortable. A word that Christians aren't supposed to say, according to religion.

We have totally missed it when we become more comfortable with hearing about a hurting and lost world than we are with one bad word.

So, which bothers you more?

Lord, expose the areas in my life where I'm distracted and made useless by focusing on things completely irrelevant to You. Break my heart with the things that break Yours. Give me a heart that loves with Your Love.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Home Appeal Process

I have had this post sitting in draft mode for almost a year now, but still wanted to share something that is working in our home of opinionated people, big and small. *grin* I also needed a reminder and encouragement to stay consistent and steadfast.

Let me begin by saying that having a strong-willed child in the home is a blessing. I truly look forward to how God will use them. Not just in the future, but in these days while they are still under our influence and roof.

On the flip side, it is quite possible to experience much wailing and gnashing of teeth with these spirited children in our home. Some days I question whether I'm really going to be the one to make it out on top by the end of the day. Parenting certainly is not for the faint of heart.

Like most parents, I have read quite a few books trying to help me improve my mommyness and understanding how to parent a strong-willed child. One of the best books I have read is
The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo. Strong-willed or not, I recommend this book for any parent. (Note - I have a newer print than the book through the link.)

One of the things that we put into immediate practice in our home was instituting an appeal process. A subject Priolo devoted a whole chapter to in the book. And it has worked really well for us.

Caleb enjoys a good debate, some might say argument. I've been told he should be a lawyer. I say it will serve him well in his interest of archaeology - refuting carbon dating and all that other jazz. But truthfully, this trait as his parent can be exhausting. And irritating.

Enter our appeal process. Priolo explains:

The basis of an appeal is the presentation of new or additional
information...that your child believes you as his parent have not considered in
making a particular decision.

This process allows parents to change their mind without having to sacrifice parental authority. It also trains children to communicate desires biblically without resorting to disrespect, manipulation and other manifestations of sinful anger.

It has provided a wonderful (and peaceful) opportunity in our home for Caleb to "feel" heard in a way that doesn't compromise our role as his parents. Here are the basic guidelines we use...

  • Must be made with a respectful attitude and without a raised voice.
  • Must provide new information for consideration. It has to be more than, "Because I want to."
  • Can only be made to the parent who has given the insruction.
  • The final decision must be accepted without further pressure.

Sometimes an appeal is granted, sometimes not. No matter the outcome, it has helped change some of the dynamics in our home. We don't get it perfect every time, but I love how it has empowered us all to have more meaningful and productive interactions. Something that will certainly benefit the children as they grow and go out into the world.

In fact, I should probably go ahead and add it back into my stack of books to re-read and see what other nuggets we can pull from it.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


It looks like I'm back to regular posting.


I've missed blogging, but have been trying to reestablish my priorities and get a few special projects done. As grown up as that sounds, please don't be impressed. I've mostly been cleaning the house. Not that you'd be able to tell.

I've also been trying to work out a better schedule for us. A term I use loosely. I'm hoping I can squeeze a few posts in each week (2-3?) and will just see what happens. Living on the edge remains a priority for me so I'm starting to blog again at the beginning of baseball season.

Pictures of the family will continue to be sparse until we can do something about the computer. Which basically means until we get a new one. New to us anyway. It's still all about perspective around here.

I looked at my account this morning and realized I have quite a few draft posts waiting anxiously for their 15 minutes of fame. I'm thinking I might actually try to get them out after doing some proofreading. Whatever that is.

Would you believe that they go back over a year?! Pathetic, huh?

I'm also s-l-o-w-l-y making some changes around here. To the kind soul who humors me by reading the grammatically incorrect verbiage I write (Hi, Mom!), please bear with me as I try to mess everything up in a timely manner, hopefully within a month. Please don't hold your breath, a year is a long time to go without air.

So, *insert creepy music of your choice*, this is my official, "I'm baaa-aaack."

I think.


Monday, February 15, 2010

You Might Be A Mommy If...

You have ever considered paying good money for time alone in the bathroom.

Because I've thought about it. Oh, I've thought about it. I think I've even gone as high as $100 in my head.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times in a year that I'm able to be in a bathroom by myself or without any interruption. And after conducting lengthy interviews, I understand it's epidemic.

I enjoy my kids. I also enjoy a nice, hot shower. And there are plenty of days that it seems like it's going to take an act of Congress to even get one. Of course, since I'm the only one who has any special interest in it, I'd probably still be waiting. So, getting to take a shower without anyone banging on the door or shouting questions would be heavenly. Just heavenly.

Even trying to use the facilities, ahem, does not seem to go under the radar. No one told me that as a mother I'd eventually be able to competently use the toilet while holding (possibly even nursing) a baby. Something that won't get me into the Olympics, but that I think takes real talent. *grin*

I guess it just makes me all the more grateful for the times it does occur. It's all about the little things, you know.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh The Temptation

Unbelievably, this not about pan gravy. Because pan gravy is always on my mind these days. If it weren't for fear that the small percentage of my waistline that remains would abandon me, I'd probably be eating that stuff every day. I know, I know, it's sad. Somebody send help quickly. Please.

But like I said, this isn't about gravy or even anything breaded. It's about my ongoing conflict with the "F" word. Facebook.

I've mentioned a
couple reasons (or ten) why I have shunned the networking superstar before, but I find it's not always easy to resist its lure. Crazy how left out you can feel by not joining. All the things you're missing out on. *sigh*

I feel weird even admitting that.

So once again I find myself toying with the idea of signing up. Am I just being ridiculously stubborn about it? Would I be able to connect more with the people in my life? You know, maybe even feel like I have tons of friends.

The answer is probably yes to both of those questions. Yet, I still have to pass on the whole thing. It's kind of a matter of survival for me. I just do not want another thing consuming my time. Now, I've tossed around the idea of Twitter, just to be silly every once in a while, but I really don't want to use it for any other reason. Am I allowed to do that?

I just know that Facebook would steal way more time than I have to give. Or rather, I would allow it to steal way too much time. I've spent the last couple months working hard to minimize my time on the computer and don't want to get sucked back into the neverending vortex of cyberworld. You know, there's tons of great stuff and people out there, but I can only be inspired so much. There comes a time to put your inspiration into action. Otherwise, what's the point.

I'm not sure if it will make sense, but it kind of feels like a sacrifice. Maybe that just shows how much I kinda-sorta-wanna be part of the "in" crowd. *smile*

So, I find myself with no choice but to continue to exercise my one show of self discipline and remain out of the loop. Resting in the knowledge that it puts me closer to where I truly want be and the things I really want. Family. Simplicity.

For now I'll remain "on the outside looking in".

If only I could show this much self control with gravy.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Potty Trained...Finally

Words that I began to wonder I would ever be able to say when it came to Samuel. Because this whole potty training thing has been going on for so. very. long. In fact, here is when I first thought we were on track to getting him out of diapers. In June of 2008.

He was doing so well and then he just lost interest. And then I may or may not have gotten lazy with it. As time passed, I began to get desperate. I even broke out good old bribery. And he still wasn't interested. What can I say, I guess he was holding out for better deals.

Out with the bribery and in with the begging and pleading. The boy was immune. Not even a mother's tears could send him to visit the porcelain throne. Knowing his friends were using the bathroom did not sway him either. Where do you go when peer influence holds no persuasion?

The kid is good. Maybe even Navy Seal good.

Needless to say, visions of graduation parties and diapers were dancing in my head.
I had been praying about the situation, but not really on a consistent basis. And it probably involved additional begging and pleading. Then after earnestly seeking God about our dilemma one day (okay my dilemma, because I was so over changing his diaper), it all came together.

One morning Samuel asked to go to his favorite restaurant, a local pizza place that we all happen to love. That's when what some might call genius, I call it divine inspiration, struck me. A potty party. A pizza potty party.

We got to go celebrate his latrine success that night with his very own pizza potty party. And unlike Caleb, I didn't care who knew what our celebration was about. I was celebrating! I mean, I even had a Dr. Pepper. It was that serious.

So, we kept celebrating. We had potty parties every night until it just became part of his natural routine. Chocolate cake. Candy corns. Oh, the glorious fruits of positive reinforcement that he reaped.

You know, I'm going to have to consider throwing a party the next time I'm tired of any, shall we say, poop in my life. Just start celebrating until I find breakthrough.

Anyway, I'm proud to say that a month later, he is still going strong. No pun intended.

Thanks, God, for caring about all the things in our lives!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Holy Firecrackers, Batman!

I saw this amazing video of a jump rope team a couple weeks ago for the first time. I'm still impressed with it and could probably watch it consecutively for two hours. Without drool coming out of my mouth, so that should say something.

So, if you've seen it, you know how awesome it is and if it's your first time watching it, you can clap at the screen with me. It almost makes me want to try jump roping. Then I remember that I've given birth to three children and that vigorous jumping could lead to an embarrassing situation. Not to mention serious injury.

Watch and be filled with awe.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Winter - A Poem and A Recipe

Good Winter
Much Snow
Happy Faces
Warm Hearts
Paula Deen
Snow Cream
Oh My
Love Handles

Because I'm all about sharing the love...handles, this is the recipe from the Food Network website (courtesy of Ms. Paula Deen) that we've been using to make snow cream this year. It's super easy.

You will need:

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 can sweetened, condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 8 cups of snow

Put the snow in a large bowl and add the vanilla extract and condensed milk. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Enjoy!

I've used more snow than it calls for so it isn't quite so sweet and because I've found the recipe doesn't yield the portions that my crew consumes. I've also frozen some and made milkshakes with it. Yummy!