Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Slap In The Face(book)

I realized about an hour ago that neither of my phones rang today.  Isn't that weird?  Not even a person trying to sell insurance or cheap medications to any person over 65 in our home.  It was actually pretty nice since I would guess 90% of our calls are solicitors.  

That really has nothing to do with this post, but it did get me to thinking about communication.  Which got me thinking about an encounter I had a few months ago.

So before I begin, let me try to make one thing clear...I don't think it's wrong for you to be on Facebook, but it's wrong for me.  As I've shared some of my feelings about it (see 10 reasons here), I feel I may be a little misunderstood.  Please don't feel like you must give me all the reasons you are on Facebook.  I'm not judging you based on my personal opinions, preferences, whatever.  M'kay?  Please believe me!  And put that list away, please. *wink*

A lot of it boils down to self protection and that of my family.  I don't think I can handle the self discipline, the temptation.  I still feel out of it sometimes, friends laughing over a shared story and I have no clue what they're talking about.  I have to be okay with that and I pretty much am. 

At times I've wondered if I can still be relevant in today's world without joining Facebook though.  And one Sunday morning in church had me questioning where I stood more than any other time.

I was sitting next to a pretty young woman I had never met.  Probably feeling a little self conscious because she was also dressed very stylish and well, I'm usually not.  Anyway, I was really pleased when we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves before the message that day was given.

As we began sharing a little about ourselves, I thought maybe I had made a new friend for the first time during one of those "meet and greets".  She suggested getting our children together to play and grabbed her purse to write down my information.  In the midst of this, she asked if I was on Facebook?

I gently smiled and said, "No."  And that's when it all came to a crashing halt.  

My new friend informed me, "That's too bad.  It's how I keep up with everybody and get to know them. I schedule all our playdates that way too."  She gave a little shrug to say sorry and she pretty much had nothing else to say to me.  I told her it was nice meeting her and then sat there a little bewildered.

Was I missing it here?  Missing potential friendships.  Missing ministry opportunities.  Was I wrong not to be on Facebook?  I began to question God about my decision.

Then I had to laugh inside.  A sad laugh, but a laugh nonetheless.  What have we come to if Facebook is the only way we communicate with one another?  The only way we can be "friends"?  It's one of my biggest issues with social networking for goodness sake. 

I admit I felt a little rejected at first also, then I had to laugh at that too.  You know what, I just might be worth the extra "effort" to get to know without Facebook being involved.  

If God can remain relevant in this digital world, then so can I.  At least I know I'm in good company. *smile* 

Once again I have to say, "No thanks, Facebook. I'm not interested in what you have to offer. I need more."   


On My Nightstand - September

In hopes of being a little more accountable to actually finishing a book and pursuing growth in various areas of my life, I thought posting a few titles I want to get through this month might help me.  

1.  Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper - I'm going to try (once again) for a natural childbirth.  I want to experience it at least once and this could be my last opportunity.  I'm sure I'll talk about this more at some point.

2.  Cleaning Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin - I have got to find a better way of keeping our house clean.  I want our home to be a peaceful retreat for my family, not the dust bunnies.  I am hoping this book gives me a few new ideas on how to better manage it all. 

3.  Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson - I've been wanting to read this book for a couple years now, so I'm really excited.  I love being a mother to my wonderful children and I could use some fresh inspiration and insight in my role.

4.  Language Wars by Ruth Beechick - I always enjoy her writing.  It helps keep me focused on our homeschooling journey and desiring the best for my children's education.

And well, the first and last books I started this past month, so I'm a little over halfway through both.  Since I make up the rules, I guess that's not cheating. *smile*


Saturday, August 28, 2010

And The Ultrasound Says...

That Abigail and I are outnumbered 2 to 1 now!

We're having a boy!

I'm hoping to sit down some time this weekend and write a little bit more, but I've made quite a to do list today (trying to get a bunch of cooking/baking done so I don't have to do it for a couple days) and need to get busy.

The baby is doing very well and looks great!  If I can get everything to cooperate, I'll share the pictures soon.  Thanks for all your prayers and love!


Thursday, August 26, 2010


I was working on a blog entry and the computer keeps freezing on me, so I just decided to write the thoughts swimming around my head.  Lucky reader, you...
My kitchen is sticky.  I'm sticky.  The kids are sticky.  And if we had a dog, it would be sticky too!  We've been canning peaches and I can hear my crocs (they help my feet and back while canning) peeling off the floor with every step I take.  I feel like I have to keep moving or I might get stuck.  

I think there's a spiritual application there.
Tomorrow (Friday!) we will find out if the little one I'm carrying is a boy or girl.  If the baby decides to cooperate that is.  Caleb is the only one we decided not to find out with and he made sure we couldn't change our minds.  He didn't reveal himself during the two ultrasounds I had with him.  
I'll be sharing the news tomorrow, so check some time in the evening if your curious. 
After a month long summer break, we started our "new" school year four weeks ago with two subjects and have added a "subject" a week since then.  It has worked out really well for us and given me time to work through any kinks (read: learning how to keep the two little ones occupied during that time) we encounter.

We pretty much homeschool year round for those of you who didn't know.  And no, it's not as bad as it sounds!  For any of us. *grin* 

I am so excited about the year we have planned, I think it's going to be fun and Caleb seems to be enjoying himself so far.  I saved history - his favorite- for last.  We'll be in full swing Labor Day week.  Then I'll start adding more with Samuel.  I eventually hope to have a set of activities to rotate with Abigail also.  So I figure by November we'll be in a sure groove.  Which will give us 1 1/2 months before the Christmas holidays and the baby arriving.     Then it will be time to readjust. *smile*
Samuel came inside today and said, "The potatoes are biting me."  Turns out the mosquitoes were biting him. *grin* 

I love when Samuel announces to me that it is morning.  He always says, "It's sun time, Mommy."  The rule is that he can't get out of bed until the sun is up.  Once he has a better grasp on numbers we'll be changing that a bit...
Abigail has been weaned for a week and half now.  I'm not sure if it's been harder on me or her.  She typically asks to nurse about twice a day still.  We both miss it, but I really felt like my body needed to stop.  I sometimes wonder if her lower birth weight (5 lb. 15 oz.) was due in part to my nursing Samuel through my pregnancy with her.  I'm glad my sweet girl still likes to snuggle and hug a lot or I would be really sad!
Richie surprised me for my birthday by getting an old bike someone had given us fixed.  I haven't gotten on it yet because I'm a little scared I'll hurt myself or the baby, but I'm super excited.  We live in a great neighborhood for it. 

We're still trying to work on the house as we can in hopes of evetually moving.  We've got a long way to go, especially when we keep discovering things like rotten floor beams.  *grimace*  I just keep reminding myself that God is in control.  And that is a really good thing!

So as I head off to bed tonight, that's the thought I rest in.   


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Confessions

  • I turned 33 yesterday. 
  • I'm still waiting to feel like a grown up.
  • Abigail has been completely weaned for a week now.  After 4 years and 4 months of nursing someone it feels really good.  I'm going to enjoy these next four months of freedom. *sigh*
  • When Abigail was born, I tandem nursed her and Samuel for about 10 months.  Something I don't ever really care to do again.  Unless I had twins, of course.
  • I can finally eat peanut butter again during this pregnancy.  I'm glad to add it back to my list since I'm still having a hard time with food most days. 
  • I enjoy peanut butter the way most women like chocolate.        
  • My husband learned how to can this weekend.  His first conquest?  Fourteen quarts of green beans.  Go honey!
  • I found a ticket stub to a New Kids on the Block concert while I was cleaning out all my junk prized possessions. I think my eyes teared up when they rode motorcycles in the street before the concert - so close, yet so far away. *cringe*
  • In middle school, some friends and I thought we would come up with a female equivalent to NKOTB. The name of the band was Sweet Street Peace Posse. Yeah, I don't know.
  • I have now completely humiliated myself.  Must find rock to hide under...
Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ode To Slurpees

With this pregnancy I haven't had any real cravings.  Something that I want a lot of all the time.  A certain food might sound good one day and terrible the next.  But one thing always has my interest...


I might even call it my beverage of choice. 

I live recklessly, you don't have to tell me. 

When I worked outside of the home, I might have even been known to stop and get a slurpee before I went into my office.  Some people like coffee, but give me a slurpee any day. 

I have always joked that if I was ridiculously wealthy that would be my one eccentric buy.  A slurpee machine in my house.  A good slurpee can solve just about anything. 

And I have been craving them.  We've only had them twice this summer, so I've been really good.  But I've wanted them a whole lot more than that! *grin*  I just like to ignore the fact that they are full of things I don't really want in our bodies...   

So in honor of a 7-11 moving back into our town and making slurpees more accessible in my life...I've prepared a small song for you.   

I Love Slurpees
(Sung to the tune of Jesus Loves The Little Children)

I love all the little slurpees,
All the slurpees in the world,
Red, purple, green, and blue,
Mix the flavors or it keep it pure,
I love all the slurpees in the world.


P.S.  For the record, I do not believe all slurpees are created equal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Once in a while someone asks me if I miss the job I left to stay at home with my kids.  And the answer for the most part is an honest no.  I would not give up the opportunity to be with my precious babies to pursue what was a successful career.  I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I've only got this one season in life with my children and this is what God has called me to do in it.

I mean sure, there are times when I get to the end of a day and feel like I have nothing to show for the work I did.  It would be nice to finish something and have it stay that way.  Like a clean room.  Or even a clean child. *wry grin*  But even then I try not to get frustrated, because I know one day I will miss having sticky fingers grab my face to give me wet kisses.

So it's very rare that I feel a pang for that woman who used to wear business suits every day.  My pajamas are way more comfy anyway.

I've been cleaning out our "schoolroom" that has really served as a dump storage space more than anything else so that we can actually do things with less risk of little ones interfering with school work.  More square footage is always a plus.  It has been a lot of work, but has been so incredibly freeing -which is a great representation of what God has been doing spiritually for me also.  As my home is being physically restored, so is my soul. 
One day as I was cleaning, I came across some old things from my working life.  Certificates and plaques, old training materials, resumes, and I even dug out some old notebooks that had been tucked away in a deep pocket in a bag I used to carry.  

And that's when I began trying to reconcile the working woman that was with this stay at home mommy.    Who was that girl? 

I found myself wanting to find someone and tell them that I used to be somebody.  Somebody who managed six figure budgets.  Somebody who ran and coordinated a large Dept. of Justice initiative.  Somebody who had the trust of local, state, and federal representatives and other prominent figures in the community.  Somebody who could hold a thought and pee for longer than a minute.

Please don't get me wrong.  I think being a stay at home mom, homemaker (with or without children), or whatever other title you prefer is one of the noblest of professions.  I also happen to think it is one of the most difficult -on many different levels.  And I am having a hard time even confessing these thoughts I was having.

As I began to lose perspective and struggle with these thoughts, God in His loving kindness intervened.  He took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and said, "You are somebody.  I say so."  I could feel his breath blowing on me, freeing me and giving me life.  Reaching deeper than I am probably even aware at this time.

Reestablishing my identity.  Finding comfort in who I am.  And also in Who I am, for I am in Him.  Things I've known moving from my head into my heart. 

Somebody, it is who I am.  And it's who you are too.

He said so.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

These Are The Days Of My Life

We've been busy.  Crazy busy.  Working on the house, trying to maintain the garden and its harvest, organizing our "schoolroom", wrangling kids, hugging kids...you get the point.  And in the midst of it, I've been busy being pregnant and planning the start of our new school year. 

So you'll probably be seeing quite a bit of talk from me about pregnancy, being mommy, and homeschooling over the next month or so.   'Cause really, these are the things that make up the days of my life.  And I'd be willing to guess the drama of each could give any old soap opera a run for its money any given day. *smile*


Monday, August 16, 2010

Name Game

Or more aptly named More Than You Wanted To Know About Names In My Life.

As we anticipate the arrival of our next little one, names (imagine that) are on my mind.  Or at least I'm thinking about names in our family.  Waiting for God to reveal His chosen name for this child.  And for some reason I'm a little impatient right now.

Perhaps because it would reveal the gender of this child.  Maybe because we see the direct connection between the meaning of names and the personalities of our children.  

As we wait, here are some of things that have crossed my mind as I've thought about names.  

  • The names of my children have gained one letter in length in succession.  5, 6, and 7...will child number four's name be eight letters long?
  • There were 6 children in my family growing up.  All of our names start with the letter "J".
  • My first name is Jo and my middle name is Ann.  I was named after my father, Joseph Anthony.
  • I love the name Jo, but have gone by Jo Ann for so long it almost seems foreign to try to go by it now.  Not to mention the fact that when I was in fifth grade I asked to go by "Jo" one day and the teacher made fun of it all day long.
  • All of our children's names -first and middle- can be found in the Old Testament up to this point.  Not really on purpose, it's just the way it's happened. 
  • My Puerto Rican grandmother's name is Jenny and my Anglo-Saxon grandmother's name is Juanita.  That has always cracked me up.
Now that I've completely bored you, do you have anything interesting about names in your family?


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Of Pearly Whites and Parenting

We forgot to have the kids brush their teeth tonight.  Nobody remembered as we were quickly ushering them into bed at 9:00 pm after baths from the long (but fun) day. 

Well, no one remembered until 10:00 pm when the boys were still awake and realized their teeth had been neglected.  I'm not sure I've seen them so enthusiatic about brushing their teeth since we made the rule that whomever comes back with a no cavity report from the dentist gets to pick something at the dollar store. 

I could feel guilty, but I've decided I'm not going there.  I'm thinking that if that is the biggest parenting "mistake" I made today, then we're not doing too bad.  

It's part of a new stand I'm taking against common maladies of the human mother, this one being mommy guilt.  Its nasty hooks and traps willing to ensnare any compliant mother.  After careful thought and consideration, I've come to the conclusion that I'm really not that into it and it needs to go.  I realize that mommy guilt will likely try to bare its nasty teeth -he nevers brushes- for as long as I'm a mother (read: forever), but whatever.

Two words...buh-bye. 


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Morning Glory

I'm what you might call a conditional morning person.  I like to wake up slowly, lie in bed quietly and talk to the Lord.  Prepare myself for whatever I might face this new day.  Get up and soak in the stillness of the house.  Look out the window or even sit outside and watch the world awaken.    

The odds are typically not in favor for me to enjoy this type of morning.  So on the rare chance I do get to have one like this, I feel like I have received a special gift.  A love note straight from God. 

A quiet morning soothes me. Refreshes me.  Reminds me once again that His mercies are new for me this day. 

I look around and the day sparkles.  The newness of the day shines forth. 

As the sun reveals its face, God's promises seem so close to me.  Everywhere I look promise and hope are being freely offered.  Reaching out to me.  Inviting me.

And I know that He loves me.  No matter what the day might bring, His goodness is always all around me.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;  And all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Psalm 103:1

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Birth Order Laughs

One of my sisters sent this in an e-mail to me a year and a half ago and it still makes my mommy self chuckle.  I have no idea where it originated.  It's fun with a touch of truth.


1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
The Layette:
1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?
1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick up the baby
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.
1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.
1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, Baby Zoo, Baby Movies and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaners.
_____________________________ _________________________
Going Out:
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.
At Home:
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children
Swallowing Coins (a favorite):
1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Might Be A Mommy If...

your home is frequented by visits from two invisible children.  I have not had the chance to personally meet them, but my children are apparently on a first name basis with them. 

They go by the names of Not me and I don't know

If you happen to see them, please let them know that there are a few things I'd really like to discuss with them. 


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'll Protect You

My mom forwarded the following devotional to me a couple of days ago and it touched something deep in my heart.  I desire to be this type of parent.  I want my children to know that I am their champion.  I am on their side.

Just like our Daddy God is always with us and for us.  He is our banner. 

I'll Protect You - taken from Moments With You by Dennis and Barbara Rainey 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. JOSHUA 1:9
One day during Rebecca's first year of junior high, she came home from school with an unusually unhappy look on her face. Some boy had been making ugly remarks about her figure (or more precisely, her lack of one).

"What's this guy's name?" I inquired. She told me what it was. "What's his phone number?" I asked. "Sounds like we need to have a little man-to-man chat."

When the boy's father answered the phone, I told him I needed to talk to his son. I said I wasn't going to be mean, but he had been making derogatory comments about my daughter and I wanted to tell him that such comments are inappropriate.

"Okay, here he is." (I could just imagine the look on this young man's face as the phone receiver came his direction.) "Hullo?" he said in that teenage monotone. "Hello, I'm Mr. Rainey. Rebecca's dad. From school. She came home today telling me about some things you said about her body, and I just wanted you to know I don't appreciate it. This is not the way to treat a young lady, and I'd like you to respect her dignity enough to stop teasing her about the way she looks. You understand?"

That was it. Didn't take long. I remember it took some courage to make the call, but I just remember Rebecca standing there beaming. And though I'd like to think it made a statement to the young man on the other end of the line, I know for a fact it made a statement to my daughter.

She saw the way a man is supposed to protect a woman, the way a dad is supposed to protect his little girl. How will they know if they don't see us doing it?

And while this portrays a father and daughter, God still used it to speak to my heart about my relationship as a mother to my sons and daughter. Ways as a mother that I can protect them and bring life and light when life has bruised them.

Lord, thank You for the children You have brought into my life.  Continue to change me to be the parent you desire for me to be.  Help me be aware of the situations in their lives where they need encouragement and someone to speak Truth over them.  I ask for an increase in wisdom to meet each of their unique needs.  Thank You for being our Jehovah Nissi.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Online...I Think

I thought about channeling a little Willie Nelson and singing you a little tune I like to call Online Again, but then I'd have to braid my hair and that would require a little more effort than I'm willing to give right now.

Come on, I am incubating a person here.

Now that you know you've been saved from my budding career as a parodist (at least temporarily), you might be disturbed to know that I now have a working computer back in my hands. *insert creepy organ music here*

Through a family friend, God has blessed me with a cute, little laptop and now I can get back at the ol' blog.  I love hand-me-downs. *smile* I mention that it is small, because it tends to strain my eyes rather quickly and that will limit the amount of time I spend online.  It might also explain why you might think I'm looking at you funny the next time I see you, please don't be offended just blame burnt retinas. 

Unfortunately, pictures will still be extremely limited.  The CD drive is broken and I'm concerned that loading my camera software will send the laptop into a coma.  I look forward to the day I can post pictures of my babies and whatever weird stuff I can torment share with you.

So, anyway...just thought I'd warn you that the erratic, sporadic, phlegmatic musings that pour out of this cranial mass will be resuming.

Stay tuned.   I dare you.