Tuesday, April 29, 2008

He's a boy

We went to the primary school last night for our final installment of "Kindergarten Orientation". It was the fourth time we've been through this. I felt like an old lady. There were a hundred miniature sized mothers huddled up to nervous looking husbands. They were all wondering if their child, their firstborn, could ever survive in an environment with the likes of mean children like our youngest. Sure, he's got attitude, he also has one tremendous set of vocal chords and a strong will to match, but that doesn't mean he'll take a bite out of your little Miss Prissy over there with the perfectly tied bow on her perfectly tied dress that coordinates with her impeccably shiny shoes and matching lunch bag. Don't worry parents, you'll get over it soon.

One day, your little Miss Prissy will be huddled up in the corner at recess because there are no intelligent adults to hold a conversation with and she's not used to conversing with people her own age. My outgoing little guy will walk over to her and say something like,
"Hey, wanna play Transformers?" And she'll look at him, wondering what Transformers are (because you didn't even let her see the previews) and she'll accept his offer because she doesn't know how to make friends herself anyway. She'll come home that day, talking about how much fun it was to pretend to save the Allspark from the Decepticons and that being an Autobot is really cool and you can sometimes shoot things and save people from bad guys all in your imagination. Some day, she'll think my son is so fun to have around that she'll invite him over for her 6th birthday party, much to your dismay, but they will have a ball. Even though it's probably a Tea Party theme, he'll be able to sip tea like the best of 'em. He already does that at home, with items most mothers would grimmace about picking up long enough to dust, let alone actually use.

Hopefully, by the time your daughter reaches middle school, she'll find out just how much fun it is to have boys as friends, and that they aren't out to turn your little girl into a hellion. She'll have a friend to talk to when all the other little girls are evolving into back-stabbing demons and she'll have someone to shoot hoops with that won't worry about ruining their latest manicure.

Boys aren't all that bad.

Kindergarten, however, is pretty darned rough on parents. Even the fourth time around.

Troubles

Psalm 4:1
Answer me when I call to you oh God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

Psalm 55:2
Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.

Psalm 120:1
I took my troubles to the Lord;
I cried out to Him and He answered my prayer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Breakfast Bliss

So breakfast went much smoother today. Hubby went out and bought his favorite breakfast of all time: Breakfast Casserole.
I know why he likes it. It's a combination of all things necessary for his survival. Juicy sausage, steaming tater tots, scrambled eggs (in a strange little cube shapes) and the whole baked concoction is smothered in melted cheddar cheese and a heap of sausage gravy. What man wouldn't like that? He can go for hours on that breakfast. Even if he doesn't get lunch, he doesn't notice.

Some day I'd like to make breakfast casserole, but I bet I'd just screw it up. I was going to try Biscuits and Gravy this morning, but after yesterday's burn incident, he gave me the day off. He admitted that he didn't really keep his end of the deal by getting the boys' room finished so he said we were even. I suspect he secretly wanted me to just buy him breakfast every morning the whole week, but that's just between you and I.

I spent over 9 hours with my hand on ice yesterday. I do mean nine hours straight. I could remove my hand from the cold for about 10 seconds, and then that was all I could handle. The pain made me woozy, and making lunch for my son about landed me on the floor. I heeded the warnings about frostbite, so technically I didn't have my hand on actual ice. I used the ice packs that Ethel's Chocolate Lounge in Reno gave me to keep my chocolates cool for the ride home. It was more like a brick of ice. I perched it on the edge of my recliner, kept damp paper towels on top of it and my hand on top of that. Then, I would flip the paper towel pile over every time they got warm. It worked amazingly well at keeping the blisters down.

About 4:30, I had gotten enough advice from friends and acquaintances that I decided to put in a call to my doctor about some sort of pain relief. I was hoping he could call in a prescription or something. I couldn't see myself walking around with a soggy brick of ice and damp paper towels for the rest of the week.

Of course the aide at the clinic told me that if I needed a prescription that someone would have to take a look at me. Sheesh. With 2 hours left to get my family to various locations for the evening, I hustled to see if anyone had appointments open. Believe it or not, our clinic can almost always get me in on the same day no matter what time I call - but not this day. The other one was booked too, so we packed the kids in the suburban and headed for immediate care. I called ahead and they told me there wasn't much of a wait.

I was in within about 3 minutes, and Hubby went off to find the kids some food. The doctor was pretty impressed that with the size and intensity of my burn that it wasn't all blistered up yet. He said the cold compresses did a fabulous job, but that I WOULD blister eventually and really needed to take care not to get an infection (no more egg washing for me?). He got a nice nurse with a strange accent to come in and bandage me up. I asked for something topical, but he explained that topical stuff wouldn't do much good on a 2nd degree burn and he wrote me a scrip for Vicodin instead.

Whee.

It only took about 20 minutes for the excruciating pain to subside after removing it from the cold and it hasn't been so unbearable after it got bandaged.

The rest of the evening was just as eventful. Dropped the kids off at various locations and Hubby and I made it to Worship Team practice late. It went ok. I played keyboard with my left hand and it sounded alright. At the end, our friend who sings with Hubby went in the back while we played a new song, and then we couldn't find her. Turns out she was down "sleeping" in the sound booth. Huh? We couldn't wake her up completely. She'd just doze right back off... her vitals seemed to be ok, but her pupils were telling a different story. Hubby ended up calling 911 and the rest of us took care of their four kids, while another friend was rounding up MY kids. Man, what a day. Turns out our little singing friend took her meds (and wow, she has a lot of potent stuff) but she hadn't eaten any dinner. Her blood sugar was low too, but she'll be ok. I guess she was back home sometime after midnight.

You know I'm not getting as much teasing about my attention-getting injuries after that! Let's hope the rest of the week is super boring.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I can still feel it

That's a good thing isn't it? I was always told that if you can feel the pain of a burn, then it could always be worse. I believe that in the name of sacrificial love I have truly outdone myself today. I agreed to get up early this week and make my husband breakfast.

Day 1 - Breakfast Burritos Extraordinairre
Day 2 - French Toast (the real kind... with real French Bread)
Day 3 - Puffy Pancake with Blueberry sauce


Now, the Puffy Pancake turned out beautifully. I had never attempted to make one before and, I might add, that I still haven't eaten one! I have this fantastic new Pampered Chef cookware, and it works in the oven too. Well I slipped my chicken print oven mitt over my hand, and pulled that nice pan out of the oven. The puff smelled wonderful! I took the oven mitt off, scooped a ladel full of steaming bluberry sauce out of a saucepan and spread it over the puff. I was so fascinated at watching the puff begin to un-puff that I grabbed the pan to take it out to the table. The typically NOT hot silicone sleeve fooled me for a minute, but then my ring finger began to sound the alarm. It was a brief jolt of pain, and then came the seething hot realization that the heel of my hand was in full contact with stainless steel. I felt like someone was yanking a calf brander from my hand. I shouted a handful of expletives (all the same word, I believe) and dove for the sink.

I managed to get whipped cream on Hubby's puff, all while running my tender hand under cool water. It's not looking so good - but at least the skin stayed on. Blisters are definitely forming. Ugh! Right now any time I get more than 2 seconds away from a source of cold, I dang near get lightheaded!

You wanna know the really good news? He thought the puff was great!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Typical conversation of the truly in love...


Had bunko with my girlfriends tonight. I look forward to this occasion with MUCH anticipation each month. Mostly it's because it's those kind of people who aren't fake. They aren't out to impress you (except maybe with rambunctious behavior) or to rant about how bad things are. Although they are most certainly seeking shock value with many of their off-handed comments. Now you all know I would never do anything like that *muffled laughter* so it's fun to hang out with people who do. No kids. No husbands. Just a dozen silly girls in the 30 - 60 age range. Most of us have "Been there, done that" or if we haven't, then someone else surely has. It's like laughter therapy for the liver. It really works.

Tonight I came home to a typical greeting. The boys got busted for still being up and on the Playstation 3, the house was in disarray - although if I recall, it was like that before I left - and my husband was his chipper self. Either that or he was playing the part well. He was happy to see me home, but also willing to leave me alone if I needed to download my brain.

After tucking the boys in, I welcomed a little time with my laptop. Afer about a half hour of comfortable silence, it went something like this...

Me: So, I won something at Bunko tonight.

Him: Which prize?

Me: For Most losses

Him: Cool, what did you win?

Me: A book

Him: On how to play?

Ok. What can you say to that?


Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's true what they say about Oregon

If you ever wish the weather was different, just wait five minutes... it will be!

~~~~~ I tucked several pretty flowers into many different pots last week. Alyssa's poppy started to bloom and looks just like tissue paper. So fragile and so brilliant. I was very grateful for the lovely weather, and the opportunity to get some seeds going. Now, I am beginning to wonder why I went to all the trouble! But, now I realize it's because flowers look pretty with snow on them too!



(Above photo by Alyssa)



Hopefull spring will come soon, and this time it has an invitation to STAY!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

For Women Only

I just finished reading the book, For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. Let me tell you, out of all the books I've read in my life (the Bible, excluded) this one has given me the best direction, the most practical hands-on application, and the biggest jolt of reality ever.
I adore my husband with everything that is ME. We are polar opposites in some areas of our life, and in others we are so alike that it becomes quite a struggle. For instance we are both hard-headed mules (I think I said that once before!) and we're both quite competetive. We enjoy similar things, but there are other things we don't just "get" about each other. And that's ok. I like that - it means there are things to look forward to in the future.
This book was filled with the results of Shaunti's research by surveying LOTS of men (now wouldn't that be a cool job?) in all walks of life. Most amazing to me was how no matter what kind of life these men led, they all shared similar answers to how they want to be treated, loved, respected and admired and they mostly had similar feelings ABOUT the women in their lives. These are things that men wish women knew. Now, I feel like I know a little secret, but just for you I want to share it.
If you have any doubts about how your husband feels about you. GO BUY THIS BOOK.
If you always find yourself wondering why he does things the way he does. BUY THE BOOK!
If you really desire to see your marriage grow and become healthier. GET THE BOOK
But most of all if you want some real answers to loving your man the way he wants to be loved, you really would benefit from reading For Women Only.
It is by no means a "get fixed quick" scheme (yes, I just made that up), or a dose of polite words on how to submit to your master, it's down to earth, practical and it feels like having a really frank talk with your best friend who knows better than you and has the evidence to back it up.
One word of caution: You need to be ready for this book. You will not enjoy it or learn anything from it if you're having a meltdown or you're trodding the dangerous land of PMS.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More flowers...

Here's some more pictures from the last couple days around here...
Christian picked these strange daisies
Farmer boy
Alyssa's pick
Put a few on the deck, so I can enjoy them before the chickens do
Pear blossoms

For the Love of Dirt

Got three flats of seeds under dirt today... it was the only way I could get my son outside. It's strange how much of a homebody he gets to be during the cold months. I know it will take a couple weeks of prying his little warm body out of the house... then I won't see him again until September. He's got his own gloves, his own metal rake and his own shovel now, so he's a real farmer. Or so he says. He likes to wear the part - with rubber boots and overalls. He also knows how to plant seeds now! He did half a flat of sunflowers - and most of the seeds actually made it into the soil.


Our chickens did a good job today. I spent from around 9 a.m. until close to 3 p.m. outside puttering around and got to hear the noise each and every hen made as she announced the evidence of her hard work. These silly chickens are such a joy to me. It's just not as lonely around here... ever!

Here's a picture of the poults. It was a just a strange occurance that I got a picture of both turkeys preening at the same time. They are so cute - and different from chicks. They make different noises, and they are not at all as flighty, but prefer to stand still while I pet them.

Thank you dear hubby for my new gift! It made my chores a lot less backbreaking today. And - it was just plain organized!

My Columbine. So delicate - who wouldn't like them?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunshine

What a delightful weekend! We started out having my husband's birthday. He's a well-aged 37 years old now, and even though he wasn't especially fond of the gift of turkeys for his birthday, he's taken it all in stride, and is determined to get me some car parts for my birthday next month. He was, however, very appreciative of the chain saw!

Saturday I spent with him at the College helping judge a skills contest for the college and high school students. It was an early day as we left the house before the kids even woke. Got home sometime in the afternoon and was so THRILLED to be able to spend time outside in the sun! I planted seeds that I'd been putting off while waiting for the weather to improve. I got a really late start on about 16 tomato plants. Started LOADS of basil and about 28 cucumber and 44 lemon cucumber! I LOVE cucumber, and hopefully if even a quarter of them make it to maturity I'll have lots to share.


Our 60 something strawberry starts are all in various stages of "who knows if they'll make it". I found that buying them at the farm store was MUCH smarter than picking up the ones at Walmart. The walmart berries aren't looking so hot.

I planted Alyssa's asiatic lily. It's cute, and petite. I believe it will bloom out orange, but I was kind of hoping for pink. Still looking for just the right place to put the azalea and the other flowers that the kids picked up on friday. My silly chickens are fantastic weeders, but they've also taken to "weeding" my flowers right back out of the ground as soon as I put them in. Gee, thanks! I'll probably resort to using pots and putting them on my deck which is off limits to everything except cats and kids.

In the next couple of days I'm planning to get a big jump on the rest of the seeds that are waiting around. The really important ones to me are the watermelon (which totally bombed out on me last summer) and all the flowers I wanted to try out.

This will all be followed by corn, peas, beans, carrots, zucchini and the kids' favorite - sunflowers. I'm curious to try out the teddy bear sunflowers we picked up this year. They look like gigantic fuzzy marigolds!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Oh my goodness...

I forgot how much fun it was to shop for baby girl stuff. *sigh*
I got a couple items in the mail today and was SO happy. Here's what showed up today --
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



This cute little number from Kathy at
Kathyslilcreations.etsy.com



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I also picked up this super cute drooler bib from Becky at Little Empress.etsy.com. It looks really sweet with the dress that Kathy made.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Becky also made this absolutely sweet pink set and I am starting to wonder if I can even give it away!
It is just adorable, and one of a kind!

Check out the details and the embroidery... I just love it!

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Bryan,

We had the most fantastic day for your birthday today! I'm sorry you missed out on most of it. I loved it that we took Alyssa out to breakfast after her conference at school. She enjoyed that immensely! The other kids were appreciative that we brought them back pancakes for their breakfast too. After you dawdled around ALL morning (because you didn't want to go to work on your birthday) we hustled up and got ready to leave. First, we got the suburban washed because it had all sorts of grime on it from coming over the snowy pass this weekend. Then, we filled up the gas tank, because I know you like me to be thoughtful BEFORE Sunday morning comes. After that, we went to Home Depot, because somewhere I heard that they carried chainsaws. I had decided several months ago that you would be getting one today. I tried to call your Dad to ask him what size his was, because I knew you wanted a smaller one. He wasn't home.



So - you know how I am about flowers. I saw all those gorgeous blooms at the far end of the lot and I just couldn't go without seeing them! So, all in the name of being a fun Mom, I told the kids to each pick one of their "own". It's fun to see who's flowers come back the next year. I taught them about Perennials vs. Annuals. Needless to say, they all got one of each, I think. I picked out a white azalea, because I've been wanting one for a long time to fill some of the blank spots around our home. I also picked up some columbines, because they are just so fragile looking, and graceful. I got more seeds too, since I still can't find the ones I got the first time! (Kinda mad at myself about that).



Well, we had to buy all the stuff, then unload it in the car. Then - we had to go back in the store to look for your birthday gift. No such luck. They didn't carry anything remotely like what I was looking for, although I did find a Ryobi. It was a little dinky one that would be really easy for ME to handle - and it even took the battery pack that all your other Ryobi stuff runs on!



I apologized to the sales guy and left.



The kids were hungry.



We drove to Albany and had lunch together. It was SO hard to drive right by the college, because I wanted to stop in and tell you Happy Birthday. I knew you were really busy though, so I kept on going... right to your favorite store. The TRACTOR store! I had already checked out chainsaws there last month, and you didn't even catch on! Shane helped me with my purchase - which was pretty easy because I already knew what I wanted when I got there. I also opted to get you a case - because if you're going to carry the thing in MY car, it's not getting grease all over everything! Shane and I talked about how the tractor he sold you is still doing ok, even though it needs a little work now. He was impressed that I knew how to operate it. He says most wives won't do that. Most wives don't buy chainsaws either. I told him I was going to figure out how to run that too - if I could figure out how to pick it up. haha!



After that, we all went and picked out stuff to make for your special dinner. We bought you a really nice 3 layer birthday cake (because I was too ABSENT to make one myself!) and we also got you a pretty bouquet of yellow tulips. It makes our dining room look sunshiney! You're going to enjoy a nice dinner here in a little bit of chicken fried steak, roasted potatoes, beans and french bread - with maybe some pesto.



After I got home and unloaded everything, I realized that I forgot to stop by the feed store. I hustled back to town with 10 minutes to spare. DARN those people for having baby chicks!! I looked, and smiled, and talked to all those pretty little babies. I was SO wanting to bring some home. After we put all the big babies outside today, I realized my brooder was empty! It needed something in it! The nice lady at the feed store talked me into turkeys instead. She said tons of people asked for them, but nobody was picking them up. They had been feeding them for almost a month and were in a hurry to have them go. So, I took her up on her offer, and finished making my purchases and took my new little boy and girl turkey with me. The nice guys at the store already had my bags of feed stashed in the back of the Suburban before I got outside so off we went!



When we got home, I cleaned out the entire carport. Man, what a mess those chicks had made! I wouldn't tell the kids what I came home with until they were done helping me clean. What a motivator!! I should try that again.



Then, I went and swept out the shed (the mini-barn). All the hay on the floor made the goats happy. After a little while, you came home! I coerced you into unloading all the bags of feed for me, so you could see your new chainsaw in the shed. I was so tickled that you liked it. I wish you wouldn't have asked how much I paid for it though ya brat! Now, you still haven't seen the turkeys yet, but I just know you'll like those little "presents" too. hehehe! I'm just pretty sure I won't get in trouble - after all the fun we've had for you today! By the way, I was thinking of naming them Thanksgiving and Christmas - what do you think about that?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Favorite Quote Ever

I like funny quotes.

I enjoy double meaning one liners.

I ponder meaningful, thought-provoking sayings.

But I like the things my kids come up with the BEST.
Here's one from today...

I Love my Mom more than anything in the universe.

~Brenden, age 8

Ya'll know I had to write it down -
that way when he grew up & got married,
I could remember to change the word "Mom" to "Wife"
and step back a few paces where I belong!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Denizli Rooster Crowing

This has got to be the most hilarious thing I've ever heard. I will never again complain about the three roosters at and around my house making such a racket... EVER!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Speaking of handmade gifts...


I knew I'd find a place to slip in the photo of this gorgeous FIRST quilt that my 9 year old daughter made for me for Christmas! I can't wait to see what she makes next year!
~~I secretly wish I knew how to quilt....

Handmade things

I absolutely LOVE handmade things. If I get a handmade card from one of my children, no matter how much work went into it, it always sits out proudly on display until I "retire" it - to a special section in my file cabinet for just such things. Usually whatever gets retired also has free footprints or finger smudges from all the handling (and falling on the floor). This is ok - it's called "character". Some of my favorite cards were the get-well cards my kids made me when I came down with appendicitis last spring. I didn't even really see them until about a week later and was surprised to come across them - and honored that they thought of me.

Right now, I'm on a mission to find handmade gifts for my soon-to-arrive niece. I'm not talented in creating things like that myself, so I commission other people to do it. I like to frequent http://www.etsy.com/ for this kind of stuff. My brother and his wife are expecting a baby (she already has a son) but this is the first child for my brother.

I am excited. I'm happy for them and curious about how much of an interesting Dad my brother will be! He's always been right there to tell me how to parent my kids, so I'm sure he'll do a knock-down job. *grin*

I asked my sister in law about her preference for baby items. Some mothers don't feel like mothers unless they pick a theme for the nursery, a matching wall border, valance, rug and diaper wipe holder. If the lamp doesn't have a coordinating shade, then it's not right. Nesting instinct at its finest! Luckily she's not like that - she's pretty down to earth. Pretty much the only thing she could come up with was pink camo. My brother is an avid hunter, so I think this is a very cute idea!
Here's a dress I found that I just ADORE>>>
You can find it (and lots of others like it) at
RaeGun's Shop on Etsy.
You can also find her at: RaeGunWear.blogspot.com

With my firstborn, I chose Baby Looney Tunes. Thinking back, I often wonder what was wrong with me, but I loved Tweety bird, so I guess it just seemed to fit at the time. My daughter was more like the Tazmanian Devil for the first few months though. Ha! She didn't have a huge nursery, she just had a small area in our room with a crib and her bedding set matched. I felt a sense of accomplishment. Our second daughter ended up with lots of mismatched things because we didn't know until she was born if we were getting a boy or a girl. Turns out, my cousin (or maybe it was my Aunt) bestowed a little stash of "girl" things to me that they had purchased for my cousin's baby. It turns our her baby was born prematurely, and didn't make it past two days. I was so touched and moved by aquiring these things that I decided to use them. They were the Daisy Kingdom Ballerina Bunny design. And - absolutely fitting for my little princess girl. It's pretty rare to be able to find this fabric now.


When my son was born, he came into the world to a different welcome. He had his own room!! I loved Daisy Kingdom so much that we picked out Blue Jean Teddy bear. I loved this design!

When our last son was born, we used most of the same stuff, but added a different variety for fun.


So, dear friends - if you come across more PINK CAMO girl stuff that you think I might be interested in, let me know - nothing with skulls or John Deere on it (although we all know I am a John Deere girl, it doesn't mean everyone is!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

And HE learned...

One of the thing that sticks out in my husband's mind after a weekend of learning?


If you can have PMS, then I can have ESPN.





Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Weekend to Remember

Without a doubt, I just spent one of the most emotional, delightful and exhausting weekends with my husband of almost six years. We were married in Reno on May 25, 2002. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was so afraid to go on that journey because of the fears of a repeat performance. My first marriage had ended in 1999 with a generic "walk out" on Easter Sunday. Knowing I was coming close to committing myself to someone who might just find a reason to do the same thing to me caused my fears of abandonment to peak with intensity.

Bryan literally drug me out of the house that fine morning in May, as I was having a mini melt-down, and put me in the car for the long drive to Nevada. Most of my family was already en route, and so was his. He is a man of his word. He wasn't going to back out on me or anyone now!

Our trip this past weekend was strange. The similarities between this trip and leaving town to get married were uncanny. I began to fear things again. I didn't want to learn about my faults. I didn't want to find out what I had to change to be a better wife and mother. I was afraid that I'd learn things about myself that were really bad. I was anxious that my husband might find out something about himself and realize I wasn't the right one for him after all this time.

I started thinking about all the reasons why NOT to go. I drug my feet. I got defensive so I'd have an excuse to blame someone else, namely my husband, for causing me to change my mind. We were going to have a Weekend to Remember whether I wanted to go or not! He honked the horn three times. I finally got in.

We bickered for the first half hour on the road. I can't stand it when he honks the horn at me. The only reason we stopped, was because I was embarassed that we'd end up fighting in front of our friends as they were getting in the car to go along with us! I told Bryan we'd wait until that night to continue our conversation. I grinned that little wicked grin at him... he grinned back. He knows one of the things I tend to do is BEGIN a tough topic right about the time his head hits the pillow. I probably sound like a car honking.

Weekend to Remember is put on by Family Life Ministries. I had heard about it for several years, yet didn't have much interest in going because I sort of felt that our marriage was going to be whatever it was and I didn't have much say in it. I told Bryan I wanted my Christmas present to be a trip to this conference. It was the best thing I ever asked for. I don't know if he specifically GAVE me the gift, as I went online myself, bought our tickets myself and made the room reservations myself, but having his blessing WAS a gift to me. He was going! I was elated!

So why was I so afraid of actually getting there? I continue to confuse myself.

FRIDAY
The first night we touched on two really gritty subjects. Why marriages fail and different types of communicators. I learned that my husband is a "land the plane" communicator - he wants to get to the point with the least amount of turbulance possible. I, on the other hand, enjoy the ride. I might as well relax, because taking the trip is what it's all about, right?? I also tend to share my feelings, where he shares just the facts because emotions tend to interfere with good thinking. hehe!

A couple of really good things came out of that night. I began to understand how to listen with acceptance - which I had always confused with agreement. Now I know I can do one or both, and still have a civil conversation in the car. I also found out that everyone is guilty of extramarital "affairs". They are merely an escape from reality or a search for fulfillment outside of marriage. Now I've never had a sexual affair or a fantasy affair, but I have been VERY guilty of an "activity" affair, meaning busy things and stuff and social things got in the way of my paying utmost attention to my marriage relationship. We were beginning to sense oneness in a new way.

SATURDAY
Wow, what a day. After coming to the complete realization that marriage was designed by God, and was made to help couples experience oneness, I found out that it can't be done without mirroring God's image. I was SO glad that my spouse agreed to come along for this ride. Without him believing in the same things and believing in me, we can't ever experience ultimate oneness. I love this!

We spent some quiet time writing a love letter to each other, which included committments and affirmations. I cried. It was so sweet. His letter was 2 pages, double spaced. I hadn't seen that much feeling from him in a long time. My letter to him, however, was single spaced and three pages long. Remember what I mentioned earlier about our communication styles? Ha!

There were many other topics that day.
Leave and cleave. Check!
Resolve conflicts. Check! Well, ok - so we're still working on this one. Ok - a LOT!
Ask forgiveness. Check.
Multiply a Godly legacy. Check. Well, we got the multiply part right anyway. We practiced.

The discussions on sex in a Christian marriage were amazing... and downright hilarious. My sides hurt from laughing so hard.
We closed out the afternoon early to have a date night. It was required homework.

No sooner did we get out of the safety of the conference center than the bickering began. Man, my nerves were shot, and my eyes were tired. We decided to go see a movie. The parking lot was a good place to tell Bryan I was ready to go home. Too bad, he had the keys!

Fool's Gold was a great movie to lighten things up a bit. The dinner at Red Robin shortly afterwards helped too. But, I honestly think the Mai Tai did the trick. We went back to the chalet, and spent some precious time in the hot tub soaking our worries away and watching the stars in the freezing cold.

SUNDAY
Bryan got up and made us pancakes and farm fresh scrambled eggs for breakfast. The Vermont Maple Syrup was a hit with our houseguests. The six of us packed up and went back to the conference center for three more sessions that would prove to be the best yet.

Women only! During the session for just us girls, I came to the stark realization that submission isn't flopping over like a dead fish and letting yourself get walked on (can't really picture my silly stubborn mule-head doing that anyway) but it's more like giving up your desire to control! Hey, I can do that! Um... for a minute. *grin* I desperately want to be a submissive wife, but somehow, God made me just a little on the obstinate side. I like to say I'm submissively challenged. This weekend helped me see where I can adjust the things I do to help my husband be the leader of our family. I now have more tools to be able to teach our children just how to be a respectful and loving family member. I can help be a better example of a Godly wife.

I am a HELPER! God is a helper too, so you know darned well that my role is pretty valuable!

During the last couple sessions we began to see how to truly be enthusiastic encouragers to each other. We committed to generous forgiveness and extravagant love. It was almost too much to handle. I thought my brain was going to explode. I needed a nap. I needed a hug. I needed a cry!

Just when I thought I couldn't handle all the mind-boggling things I was still trying to digest, the speaker (who was FANTASTIC) asked us to stand up - right where we were, and face our spouse. Now I don't know about you, but I get the giggles when I'm nervous, or whenever I have a staring contest. This wasn't any different. But, once I realized the seriousness of the situation we were unknowingly entering, my nervousness turned to raw emotion.

The tears started welling up in my eyes before Bryan even began to speak. And as those vows, the same ones I'd heard almost 6 years ago, started coming from his lips, the tears started to freefall. I felt so silly standing there before him crying and looking like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. My eyelashes barely got damp at our wedding, what was wrong with me? His eyes burned into me - and I knew he meant every single word he was repeating. What I was feeling was quite beyond words.

Wouldn't you know it? They gave me a turn too. I was SO not prepared for this. I didn't quite get the first phrase out correctly, so I snuffled through another giggle. Then: For richer for poorer. In sickness and in health. To honor and obey. *snicker* I spoke all the rest with a quivering chin and tears dripping from my face like a leaky faucet. My dear, sweet husband just gave me that adoring look, and let the tears fall from his eyes as well. It was such a precious, innocent moment that I almost feel ashamed even sharing it.

We closed out the entire event with a prayer for each couple that had attended. We stayed facing each other, my head on his chest, and his chin on my head. It was the best feeling in the world. I felt safe. I felt powerful. God was truly IN our marriage and I could sense it. I felt better than I had the day I said "I do". So to the world... I say BRING IT! We can get through anything!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

You need a rooster to get eggs?

Who are these people that keep thinking this? Obviously, not someone that I have had the pleasure of speaking to ... YET! I came across this little thought today.

To keep it straight in your mind consider this: You are going about your life. Suddenly massive balls of calcium start stacking up inside your abdomen. Are you going to hold on to them just because you have not had sex lately?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Shut up and help already!

So early this morning, I was troubled by an email post from a lady in Albany, on full disability, that had been forced from her home into somewhere less affordable. I pictured the ongoing story of another friend with a similar problem... always searching for something she could afford where the utilities wouldn't kill her budget entirely. Well that was the case here too, this poor lady got a place (undoubtedly she's on Housing assistance) and is now having to pay 100% of her utilities. She's got a couple of whopper sized utility bills this month - as moving utility services from one address to another isn't cheap either - and was really struggling to just get through this month. She's 2 days away from no electricity and no phone.

After exhuasting all the "social services" in the entire community, sending letters from her doctor to the utility companies, and even trying to get a small loan, she posted to a community "cafe" email list asking for help in the form of advice on anything else to try.

I was put off by the replies.

"Get a second job... that's what most people do."

What?
Did you even read what you just said, you idiot??

"Try going on disability, they give you money"

Did you even read the post in the first place?

"I pay taxes, where are all my hard-earned tax dollars going??"

Ok, now you are just a moron. Are you even TRYING to do anything to help?

I really appreciated the posts from people saying they would pray for her. I sent her an email too, except privately, away from the critical eyes of the community and told her I, too, would pray for some way for her to be blessed and for God to work through this situation. I knew she was a woman of faith, I'd heard her say it before. She was very gracious in her reply and I felt a sincere connection.

Sometime later in the evening, another woman, as disgusted as I was, sent in a new post asking why all the critics and why all the ranting about government services. Where was all the REAL people with the REAL help and the REAL resources? She said she knew how this lady felt, had been there, done that - and was a single mom just finishing college. She said she'd gladly pitch in $20, and challenged everyone else to do whatever they could. Then, she posted the paypal account of the lady in need (with her hesitant permission) and left it at that.

Ding! Lightbulb moment!

I had been trying to figure out how I could do something more than encourage her. I felt pulled. I knew our budget was a bit sketchy this month, and God certainly doesn't intend for me to hurt our family to fix everyone else's problems. I knew this morning when I prayed for her that God would do something. He listens. He answers. It's at that point that WE need to be listening... for that still, small voice is barely audible when we're doing all the talking!

So after seeing the PayPal suggestion, I pulled open my "business" account on Paypal, and ohmygoodness! I had money sitting in there from a long-forgotten transaction. Well, that certianly wasn't figured into our spending plan - it was a surprise! So, I surprised a very sweet, decent human in a community full of critics. God DOES provide, and He ALWAYS has a plan. He worked through this situation to help MY faith - and that of many others at the same time.

Some plan indeed!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I'm a Queen!


Never really thought about being a queen before, sometimes I feel like a princess, sometimes I feel more like the court jester, but today... I realized...

I'm the Queen of Quitealot!

Now, after decluttering my bedroom of FOUR bags of clothes, stuff, receipts that obviously didn't need saving, broken hangers and boring old shoes I feel so much better. Hey K, I'm going to do that "After" picture before you know it!! I even have a closet again. *sigh*


Dear Bryan

Dear Bryan,
Thank you for taking the time to look me up after seeing that crazy post on AOL with my name on it. Thanks for checking out my website AND I wasn't really serious AT ALL when I posted that personal ad. I was in a weird place, maybe it was a dare, and just needed to do something that brought out my silly side and made me feel less like a human piece of trash. I guess that's what has always attracted us to each other from the beginning though - being silly. When I put on the ad that whoever replied must be willing to take "risks" and must really want kids, I thought it was hilarious because I was a few weeks pregnant at the time. I also knew that you'd have to risk not killing anyone because my ex-husband had it coming during those months.

When you wrote me that REALLY long intro letter, it was as if that was all there was to you in a nutshell. It made me laugh that you went into the INSANELY long description about who was who in the large family photo you sent - and then you forgot to even send the picture. I laughed for the first time in weeks. Then you sent the picture. Even today, whenever I see that picture of you my heart does little flip flops. I knew right then and there that I was about to meet a man who also got nervous in new situations, but wasn't about to hide anything from me. Nothing. You even told me about your weight gain from your football injuries. I thought it was sweet when you said you gained 40 pounds when you had surgery on your blown out knee. You were concerned that your looks would bother me. I didn't know you meant 40 pounds each TIME you had the surgery, but then that was silly of me to think wasn't it?

I also thought it was a bit humorous that our first meeting consisted of getting our favorite soda from McDonald's and taking it to the park. You with your Coke, and me with my Dr Pepper. Some things never change. Sitting at that picnic table, with you next to me, instead of across from me (you still like to do that at restaurants) I felt worlds away from where I had been in the months before, and I knew in my soul that another chapter was about to begin in my life.

Little did I know that what I was doing was actually writing the final chapter of a book that would be set on a shelf, to ponder over, and re-read from time to time. That book is a learning book. The day we were married, we etched the words to our new book, the sequel. It's even better than I could have ever imagined and I pray for many more delightful chapters to come. Thank you for finding me. For choosing me. For wanting to be with me. And for threatening to torment me the rest of my days no matter how often I feel that I don't deserve you.

Sunshine is...

Happy
Blissful
Creative
Magical
Dancing
Delightful
Energetic
Restoring
Inspirational
Giggly
Moving
Amusing
Motivational
Joyful
Cheerful
Giving
Peaceful
Exciting
Content

And that, my friend, is why I enjoy sunny days.

Diagnosed with S.A.D. 9 years ago this month has placed in me a deep appreciation for all things sunny and bright. Seasonal Affective Disorder doesn't mean that I only, or always, enjoy life when the sun is out, but it sure helps. A few years back I found a really good way to express my poor mood to my kids by explaining that when I go "down" it's not their fault. They didn't do anything wrong, nobody did. The best way I could explain it was to tell them that if they looked at the sky - then whatever color the sky was - would most likely match my mood.
Bright and clear? Then so was I.
Grey and dark? Yeah -not pretty. Just bring me some chocolate and don't even ask.

I used to have a difficult adjustment time when Autumn hit. The first few leaves would start falling and I'd go into a slump because I knew what was coming. Since meeting my husband over 8 years ago, we have worked on finding ways to appreciate the changing of the season. It's pretty rare for me now, to not look at a brilliant orange and burnt red splash of leaves and not think happy thoughts. Part of it is his outlook on life rubbing off on me. I love that.

I also learned that there's a certian trick to getting out of my daily rut at just the right time each year to keep myself going forward, and to keep myself off meds. I've been criticized for spending money on little mini-escapes. It's curious though, that I've never once been asked how much money I've saved on medication and therapy. ha! People wonder why retreats are so important, but to me they can literally be a life-saver. Once school starts, I know I have somewhere to escape to in October. We now have an annual weekend away in November or the beginning of December as well. This is always one of my favorite trips, because it's the big breath of air before the Christmas busy-ness and the darkest part of winter. End of January is usually another planned "out" for us. This last winter was almost a complete breeze for me because I planned things the year before knowing what I would need to cope.

Until now.

Just last month I was sailing along, thinking how lucky I was to have come this far without slipping off the edge into the murky mire of depression. February was gorgeous! The weather was unusually nice, and we did early "farming" stuff. I had things to do! I had blueberry bushes to prune! I had air to breath!

Then March hit. This time I wasn't prepared. Didn't see it coming. Got my knees knocked out from behind. You know what I'm saying... I fell down with a bang! Spring Break is usually one of our regenerating times, but this year was different. Spring Break hit us with nasty grey skies, snow, ice and ... S.A.D. I usually have my last obvious bits of this craziness show up a little ways into April, but February tricked me!

Alas, even the bright blooming daffodils and pastel colored tulips didn't keep me afloat. I buried myself indoors for several days, trying to force myself to do interesting, exciting things but the lack of interest on my part meant that nobody really caught on. I do have to say that these silly chickens are what kept me getting outside at least twice a day. Taking a little walk, having a chat with some birds, and feeling appreciated are all sure-fire ways to bring me back from what feels like the living dead. Knowing that I have a praying husband also helps me realize that I'm not in this alone. He's a blessing to me, and his prayers for me have not gone unanswered. Somewhere, between the power of God and the gritting of my teeth I have grabbed ahold of that rope again... I know I don't have the strength to pull out all on my own. Heck, I can't even bend over to tie my own shoes very well. Whoever is on the other end pulling for me is my daily miracle. I do not take this for granted.