Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer Daze



     This morning I was up at 5 a.m. I haven't seen that side of the clock since I was working full time and had to haul four kids out to daycare before going in to work. Ugh. Problem is, someone had my pillow! I tossed and turned all night, catching 1/2 hour naps. I can't sleep without my own pillow. It drives me nuts! As a result, I have already accomplished many things. The dishes that I left because it was too hot last night have been done, laundry has been started, A bathroom has been wiped down, I have been grocery shopping, and the groceries have been put away. And, this blog post has been written. All this morning. AND, the children are still sleeping! The teenagers, the middles, and the littles. This might be the best 8:30 a.m. I've seen in a while! Also, I had a starbucks mocha. A treat, and I didn't have to share sips all around. Ha!
     In the parking lot at the grocery store, there was a large group of young people. Older teens, I think. they were heady with a lack of authority figures, and all the promise of a beautiful, hot, sunny day at a lake someplace. For the first time, I didn't long for days gone. Instead, I thought of how my children are nearing those times, and how happy I am for them to have those moments.  I guess I'm growing up a little bit. *sigh*
     I'm bucking that growing up thought by putting '90's music on the pandora station on the t.v. so that the kids have to hear it when they get up. If they're going to grumble about anything, why not my choice in music? I mean, it isn't like I'm making them listen to Debbie Gibson. (Thanks, Dad.)
     Happy summer days, to you!
   







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Monday, January 19, 2015

That Time When I Was Robbed





     A few years ago, someone stole from me. Someone that I considered to be more than an acquaintance. Actually, I handed over the money of my own accord. There was a promise about what was to happen with the money. The promise was never kept, the money was never returned, and there was no communication on the part of the person that took the money. None.
     I did inquire several times as to the time frame, and whether it was going to work out. Still, this person that called me 'friend', and 'sister', did not return my money. After more than a year had passed, I began to pray about how to handle this situation. Our family isn't in a position to hand over hundreds of dollars and not miss it.  We need to prepare well in advance not only to give an amount that is substantial to us, but to spend it on anything at all.  It wasn't even just the keeping of the money that bothered me, but that there had been a promise of a gift that would be combined with our portion for something that we desperately needed. We ended up having to find what we needed elsewhere at a considerably lesser amount, and therefore, a lesser quality.
     After a time in prayer, I felt that I needed to forgive this person. I contacted them, communicated about my disappointment in the lack of communication, and expressed that I would be forgiving the debt. I was rewarded with a "Oh, I don't expect you to do that!" and an offer of services in exchange for the money.  No apology.  No follow up. Nothing.
     It took me another two years to realize that it wasn't just forgiveness of the debt that I needed to be willing to give. It was forgiveness of her thievery. Yes, it was thievery. She stole from me. She took my money, made a promise that was likely sincere in the beginning, but never returned the money, and never admitted to it.  It is my feeling that this was for more important to me than it was to her. Since then, she has seen tremendous success in her career, she has made several purchases, taken trips, etc. I only know this because the internet is such a public place. Still, she has never even offered an apology.
     I found that every time I saw or heard of some wonderful financial gain of hers, I felt angry. Then, I would remember how much I like this woman. How much everyone likes this woman. I would wonder, why does this mean so much to me, and obviously so little to her? How can she call me a sister one day, then steal from me and dismiss me the next?
     I was stewing in my anger and growing bitter toward this woman. The thing about bitterness is that it destroys the bitter one while everyone else gets on with life.  I needed to forgive her. The debt should have been secondary, the relationship should have been first. As it stands, I now have never seen the money again, and I no longer have a relationship with this woman.
     There is a great difference between bitterness and memory. What I have now is a memory. Of course, I won't do business with this person again, and I won't recommend her to others, but because bitterness isn't in my heart for her, I also won't speak badly of her to others.
     It does happen sometimes that we are cheated or robbed, and still we need to forgive. I would hope that from time to time, my debts are forgiven. I also pray for the woman that stole from me, now not with bitterness, but instead with hope that she will choose honesty, and that she will value the relationships in her life.

Have you been robbed? How did you respond? Are you harboring bitterness?



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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Word of the Year 2015

     It's time to think about what the word of the year will be. Most years, I'm indecisive and end up not choosing a word at all. Or, maybe by default, my word WAS indecisive!
     This year, I've chosen my word. I chose it in December. There has been confirmation after confirmation that I chose the right word. Besides the fact the subject is something heavily discussed in January, I refuse to believe that it is coincidence.
     My word for this year is Resolute.
I have trouble standing firm, being sure, and remaining mentally committed. I even quit on my day planners. I put on together, hopeful for the new year, excited about the possibilities that lay in the blank squares. I begin to fill in birthdates and major events. I add in school and club activities as I learn about them, then I lose my resolve to be organized. I carry the bulky planner with me, but I ignore it. I don't write obligations in it, I forget things, I even begin to resent the planner as it reminds me of yet another resolution that I allowed to wither and die.
     I'm hoping that if my word is Resolute, then my attitude will be, also. I resolve to be firm.

     Sometimes that means that I will firmly say 'no' to some commitment that I know I can't keep. Even to myself! Commit to running a 10k this year? Am I nuts? Have I seen myself lately? I can maybe resolve to be able to run for 10 MINUTES by the end of the year. That's one I can get on board with!
     Quit chocolate? Come on, I know myself better than that. Make my rendezvous encounters with chocolate less frequent and more worth it? Yes! I resolve to make better chocolate choices! This I can do!
     Some things I am just bad at. Taking my supplements every day. Nope. So bad at that. Why? I don't know! I can set them on the counter, putting them in the way of the coffee maker, and I will be good about it for a few weeks, then just forget one day and not take them for months. Vitamin D, y'all. It's what I need. Winters around here are hard on me without it! I should be taking this every day just out of respect for the people that I live with! It's simple enough, but somehow,  I haven't had the resolve to do it.
     Now, I hope I do. Even if I have to make myself a checklist. Hopefully my resolve, and my vitamin D, will help me to make those strides toward becoming a better me.
     What is your word? How resolved are you to living out your word for 2015? What are your hopes for the new year?


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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Resolute

The New Year is for making resolutions. It's been a tradition for ages.
Webster's describes Resolute as such:

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (a.) Having a decided purpose; determined; resolved; fixed in a determination; bold; firm; steady.
2. (v. t. & i.) Convinced; satisfied; sure.
3. (v. t. & i.) Resolving, or explaining; as, the Resolute Doctor Durand.
4. (n.) One who is resolute; hence, a desperado.

     I'm still laughing a bit about number 4. The word describes someone desperate and hopeless. The famous song describes someone that has become hardened, and refuses to love. How did that make it into the list of descriptions for resolved? Sadly, I can see that a desperado has resolved not to love. What a sad resolution. Was it a New Year's resolution? Maybe in a movie where a cute puppy, or a pretty girl, or a sweet child melts the desperado's stone cold heart, and they give in to mushy love.
     We don't always make our resolutions in happy places, with glittery decorations, and noise makers. We don't always announce them with joy, receiving approval and support from friends and family. We don't always make pretty list and update our planner with determination to keep our new promises to ourselves.
        Resolutions aren't always what we think they are. These days, it seems that making New Year's Resolutions is becoming unpopular. People don't want to make resolutions, because they disappoint themselves and those around them by dropping their resolutions. They aren't fully committed. They aren't actually resolved to whatever new actions they chose. They fail. Failing doesn't feel good. Failing sucks.
        Throughout the Bible, there are verses that instruct the reader to be resolved, resolute, sure, confident, constant, bold, firm, or steady. 

Ruth 1:18 When she saw that she was steadfastly resolved to go with her, then she left speaking to her.
(WBS)
1 Corinthians 16:12 As for our brother Apollos, I have repeatedly urged him to accompany the brethren who are coming to you: but he is quite resolved not to do so at present. He will come, however, when he has a good opportunity.
(WEY)
Romans 14:5One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.  

     It seems that Biblically, resolutions don't have to be made at the New Year. We may be resolved, sure, or convicted of an action or attitude any time at all. In fact, we may need to be reminded to be constant and sure. We may need to re-resolve ourselves!
     I pray that my resolutions are thoughtful and hopeful. More, I hope that I remember that I don't have to be resolved on my own strength, but that the Holy Spirit will guide and assist me as promised.  When my hopes and endeavors are in line with God's I can count on His promises. I can be sure that my resolutions are supported,and that I won't have to go them alone.
     Make your resolutions! Make them in prayer, and know that I will pray with you. Leave a comment here, or on my facebook page. Be anonymous or not! If you are looking for a community to pray with you through your resolutions, this is a great one!

Happy New Year!



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Monday, December 8, 2014

Power Trippin'


     One day, early in the school year, there was a meeting for the Parent Partnership Program. During this meeting, we learned of any new rules or regulations handed down by the school district or federal government that might impact how we are educating and/or reporting said education. We also heard from the PTA, and various other groups that work in the community in conjunction with our school.
   After hearing about a raffle for a guaranteed parking space (totally coveted by all the parents, and a well funded raffle!), and about the additions to the out door play ground area (benches that convert to tables, and an enormous chess board painted onto the black top with people-sized playing pieces), we heard from the person that co-ordinates an amazing food drop-off for the school.
     I'm a little bit confused about what to call it, in order to respect her position that a particular world for this ministry irks her. I suppose using the word 'ministry' would be irksome to her, as well. She dislikes the word 'gleaning', and prefers to say 'rescuing'.
     So, her message is that no one is actually giving this food to the organization, but rather, she and the organization are going in and liberating this food, then dispersing it. Please, do away with anything that sounds powerless. Don't allow the businesses that are donating the food items to have any power. Strip that power away. Sure, the food would be thrown away if there weren't any organizations picking it up. Someone in each company has to comply with someone's rules, and must file the correct paperwork, complete with required signatures in order to give away the food that they are removing from their shelves. They must co-ordinate with the many organizations that are looking to make use of food that is still edible, but due to industry standards, can not remain on the shelves for retail sale.
     No, let us take the power for ourselves. Let us be glorified and held in high esteem! Let this amazing woman be known as the one that rescues the food! She has POWER! She is IMPORTANT! No one gives her any handouts!
     What's the matter with us, that we are offended by words that infer grace, charity, and humility? I refuse to obey, or defer. I will partner. I will help. Soon, those words will be offensive, too.

     Let's get off the glory train, and quit power trippin'.







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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chaotic, or Eclectic?


     Today, we turned on the heater for the first time this season. I'm always challenging the family to push through October before turning the dial on the thermostat. This year, October was warm! It was chilly yesterday, but we wore shoes and sweaters. Today, the wind is brutal. It is blowing through every tiny crack and crevice. I am grateful today that I can have heat blowing, on demand, in all the rooms in our house. I am also grateful for the warm blanket that is over my legs while I sit on a comfy sofa with my laptop to write this post.

   Yesterday, I played Christmas music while Mr.TheZoo made breakfast. Healthy whole-wheat banana pancakes, recipe courtesy of 100 Days of Real Food . She says to freeze the leftovers, but there aren't any of those here.
     The Christmas music was fun! The Zooligans thought I was being a nut until they heard the Charlie Brown Christmas song. Then they did the dance and appreciated that this was helping motivate me to tackle a
 decluttering project rather than remind them of their academic duties.

     A neighbor and friend came over in the afternoon for a cup of tea and conversation. I was able to finish a hat that I had been crocheting for one of the Zooligans, and my neighbor showed me a new crochet motif that she discovered in a fantastic pattern book from the library. I wish I could remember the title so that I could share it with you, but she promised to share the book with me again. I've been looking at making a snowflake blanket (someday), and her motif looks like a snowflake at the half-way mark. I'm excited!
     I also managed to get a couple of more dishcloths done for my friend at Kelli Gau Studio . I promised them several (gulp) weeks ago. I was agonizing over the fact that they keep coming out rectangle shaped instead of square. I've made literally dozens of this same dish cloth. I was certain they were all square. My oldest reminded me that mine have been washed and dried several times and are shrunken. I conceded, and am now ok with rectangle dishcloths. Sort of. But, Kelli is getting rectangle dishcloths stitched with love and much prayer.

   In the evening, when it was much too late for littles to be up, they helped dad walk the dog. Then, one of the older boys said a phrase "Kee-ko kee-ko blasky!". It was from when he was about five years old. He's now 13.  We used to have a Curious George movie with a couple of other short stories on it. One of them had a ridiculous (my favorite) song. Zooligan 2 couldn't understand the words, and thought up that phrase. We all began using the phrase, now it's a family favorite. While we were all up too late, anyway, we looked around online for the song. It's part of a stop motion animation called 'Mouse Soup - Long Ago and Far Away'. The actual phrase is 'don't be so bombastic'. Sounds like a great kid's song, right?
     Go ahead and click on the link. It'll take you to you-tube, and you'll spend 25 minutes that you can never get back. The last song in the story is the one we enjoy so much. The level of ridiculous in that song is what makes it delightful. To me, that is.

     My yesterday. Was it chaotic, or eclectic? Or maybe it was 'just' life.







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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Challenges




Do you need a call to challenge? I like to think that I do. I need to challenge myself to begin or end a habit. I need to challenge myself to kindness, or maybe to look or feel a particular way. 
Recently, I have noticed that I really don't need to formally challenge myself. Challenges area already present and at the forefront of my life.  I am challenged to raise seven people to be kind, mindful citizens. That one is a loud, persistent, no way to ignore it except completely on purpose. This challenge has built in constant reminders!  I am challenged to get up and walk around, you know, doing stuff all day. I can choose to ignore it, but that other, loud challenge is there needing clean clothes, food, and education, among other things.
I have the challenge of teaching a mix of great kids, some of whom are on the autism spectrum, and some who aren't. 

This challenge isn't boring. There is nothing boring about it at all. 
Tedious, sometimes. Overwhelming, often. Boring, never.


If life begins at the end of my comfort zone, then I've been at this life thing since the beginning of mine. There has never been a comfort zone. I don't know what a comfort zone feels like. 
Okay, maybe that isn't entirely true. I really, really like being at home with Netflix running, the smell of some yummy treat baking, and a project happening. Inside my house. With just my family, and no socializing. I am comfortable there. People can run around without shoes, or autistic kids can indulge in stimming, or neuro typical kids can just indulge themselves in being weird without judgement. I can allow my little autistic boy to show his affection for me with a head slam into my arm, or light 'punches' to my backside, because, while he will occassionally seek out a hug, mostly he doesn't want arms to close in around him. This is my comfortable place. But life happens there. It's challenging and hard. Things aren't usually comfortable. There aren't Hollywood Style happy endings. There's always another beginning, another challenge, another hard thing to face. But I choose to believe that it's a good life.
There's love there. That's what motivates me to rise to the challenge. That's what makes it good.





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