Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not Gonna Say Anything

Except... you better not come in my house like THAT!

(I water my kids... it helps them grow.)

(And it makes them giggle uncontrollably too)

Word Filled Wednesday - or is it Saturday?

Because I didn't get to post this last week...
and because I didn't post the week before that either...

Here's my contribution EARLY for this coming Wednesday! Only I couldn't bear to wait that long, so I'm tossing it out right now. Yes, in the middle of the night. It's how I roll.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding (and in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight!!)

Hooray! All you gotta do is trust. Now if it was only as easy as it sounded. I'm sure glad nobody expects us to be perfect. I know I'm not.

(And for those of you really know-it-all types, yes I KNOW I already did a Proverbs 3:5 post once this year, but it fell right into my heart again and it's for a reason. I can't argue with that... so you're stuck with the same verse, but with quite a different design!)

For more inspiring posts and delightful graphic creations, head on over to The 160 Acre Woods or Extravagant Grace each and every Wednesday! You won't be disappointed. I promise.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Any old post will do

After trying unsuccessfully for two weeks now to get a post on here, I have decided to just start right where I am, and leave out everything in between. You didn't miss much. Trust me.

Other than an old friend emailed me (on an email account I don't use anymore so it took 5 days to notice), it was a surprise. I still haven't emailed back, because I'm a schmuck at communicating lately and I really don't know what to say. Matter of fact I don't know what to say to anyone right now, but as for this old friend, I'm afraid that she wants to be pals again, and that I will try my hardest, like I am prone to doing with everyone, just to lose her again, so what's the point? I just sit and do nothing. I'm a loser like that.

Then, I complained about having no friends to talk to. My husband rolled his eyes at me. No sympathy, because he knows I could have friends if I wanted them, so I just continue to sit. And mope about it. Lame. I secretly think he likes having the corner of the market on my attention lately. Don't worry, it will get old soon. I know he likes his alone time, and having me fill all of it is probably going to wear him down thin in no time flat.

We went camping for Memorial Day weekend. LOVED it. Sunshine, laziness, too much food, kids all over the place, pictures, sleep, more food. It was good. We came home on our 7th anniversary, and had a nice evening. Then went to bed mad about something stupid. I was feeling the huge burden of... lotsa stuff. You know the list: being unwanted, forgotten, unappreciated, unliked, downright depressed. What the heck? It's not like I'm an orphan! I had a good weekend, but I guess the glow only lasted so long.

A couple days later was my birthday. That was yesterday. Nobody noticed.

Just kidding.

I realized why I love Facebook. I got a lot of Happy Birthdays, and well wishes, and I would be lying if I didn't say it made me feel much better than two days before when I was a sobbing mess. It was probably my kids' fault anyway, I tend to basically feel like a complete failure when I'm around them for more than seven minutes at a time. Remember that post on optimism? Boy has it been a stretch for me! I knew the day I posted it, that I'd get a serious emotional whomping to see if I could really practice what I shared. Wow. Not pleasant, but it was for a reason I know. It's all about growing, learning to accept who I am, and keeping it real.

My birthday yesterday, was by far one of the best birthdays I've had in a year! (Har har) It was seriously better than most I can recall for the last few years, for sure. Mostly because my kids chose to get along for the better part of the ENTIRE DAY, and because my sweet husband of seven years decided to:
1. Remember
2. Plan ahead a bit
3. Make me feel special
4. Bow to my every whim
Ok, maybe he didn't actually bow, but he did humor me more than normal. He bought me a cake, he put together the new patio furntiture that I have been waiting YEARS to buy, he took us out to dinner the night BEFORE, he gave me a card that brought me to tears (the happy kind), he gave me a lottery ticket. Oh yeah, I'm not joking. He figured if anyone deserved 220 Million, that it would be me. Plus he knew I'd throw him a bone or two if I won, so it's all good. Better than the bumpers for the Chevelle he was threatening to buy last week when I was being naughty. Not that I'm ever naughty... or moody... or grouchy... or whiny... or... forget it, you're learning too much about me in one paragraph.

Anyway, other than the above mentioned stuff, and my poor, dead turkey that I found this morning (who is still laying out in the field because my stomach couldn't handle picking her up yet before I ate breakfast... or lunch) not much else has been going on.

Oh yeah, and a couple more things just in case I have to refer to them later:
We started our garden, of course.
I am getting YUM-O strawberries from the plants we put in last year *squeal*
I have a broody hen (setting on 7 eggs - will I get my chicks this year??)
Princess D's broken foot is healing nicely
My fractured tooth will get a crown soon (then I'll be a real princess, right, with a crown and all? Ok, forget I said that)
My firstborn has four teeth slated for extraction - since she is apparently lacking in 3 permanent teeth and this throws her off the orthodontic track, but not for too much longer.
Christian's dog bite injury looks good, although the steri-strips came off way too soon because he took it upon himself to water all the flowers around the house and made his hand all soggy. It's too soon to tell if infection will set in, but he sure isn't following doctors orders. (Sorry if this is all news to you, if you follow my twitters, you'd have known about that already!)

Gee, that's about it. Good thing I decided to skip all the stuff going on lately huh?

I want to say a special thank you to the very few readers I have left who made it a point to notice my absence and say something about it. I heart you! Thanks for dragging me back out from under the porch.

Now - I'm going to try for a fourth time to get another graphic completed and posted before the month of June (assuming the program stops crashing on me, or the need to sit out in the sun and read a book doesn't get in the way again) Matter of fact I might just email that old friend just to say Hi while I'm at it. It's been awfully lonely over here on the farm and I could use a bit of human interaction. Hope you all are getting the wonderful kind of weather we've been enjoying in Oregon!

Love and prayers,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday 1 Corinthians 16:13

The purpose of Word Filled Wednesday is to share the WORD through a photo and a verse. Today is a photo of my youngest - he's standing atop a HUGE rock that lifts him up to appear over the top of a large building. He feels like he's on top of the world!

How many times do you let your guard down? If you're anything like me, it's probably daily. Probably even hourly! Whether it's the company we choose to keep or the people we are obligated to spend our days with because of our jobs or ministries - we are all subjected to being caught off guard with things that could take our faith and splinter it to bits.

Do we choose to let that questionable friendship make us weak by "following the crowd", or just being constantly agreeable? Do we allow the co-worker in our office to bully us into making poor choices that have consequences that take us down? Do we let other people control our emotions? Certainly it happens. We are prodded in this verse to stand up for ourselves and our faith, to be courageous and strong. To not waver. Our rewards are heavenly and not earthly. Get in there and be in the world, but do not be OF the world.

For more inspirational and thought provoking posts and graphics, please visit Amydeanne over at The 160 Acre Woods.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why I Love My Boys

Top Thirteen Reasons why this Momma loves her boys.

1. My boys hug. The kind of hug where their arms wrap so tight around your neck that you think you're going to get strangled but you don't really care because it just feels so good.

2. They are helpful, and even though it takes 4 days to get them to take the garbage out, they are usually pretty willing to do it. Especially if they get a sticker or two.

3. These boys are BOYS. They play pirates and soldiers and knights and indians, as well as cars, boats, planes and trains, but they aren't afraid to let a Barbie join in from time to time. Or a Polly Pocket either.

4. They "fix" stuff. Even if it's working perfectly fine, they will fix it until it's broken.

5. They protect me from bad guys.

6. One of them is always pestering the other, so I never get bored or tired of the silence.

7. They are cute as heck. It keeps me from killin' them when they are rotten.

8. Laughter. It's constant. They always make me laugh and the humor in our home never ends.

9. Every day snuggles. One of them was born with the ability to snuggle without hesitation, the other one has been very well trained. Their future wives will love me for that.

10. They are best friends. Where you see one, you'll see the other.

11. Both of them are very creative and artistic - my home is full of interesting art.

12. They love Jesus and remind me frequently "I love you just one love less than God."

13. And lastly, I love monkeys. I always have. And now I have 2 of my own, except mine don't throw poo.

Christian age 6

Brenden Age 9

Don't worry girls... I love you too! Your turn is comin!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Adventures of an Incurable Optimist

I've been thinking a lot lately about attitudes, and how my view of things, such as events and circumstances in my past, has determined the outcome of most of my life thus far.

Most of what is bringing about this little blurb was my determination to watch the special on TV last night with Michael J Fox, Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. When I first saw it was coming on, I was originally pushed to view it to give my daughter something to write about. She's been home all week with her broken foot while her class is on an extended field trip. So it's been fun pretending to be a homeschool Mom for four days and finding things for her to write that will count as assignments when she rejoins her class next week. Knowing she's been through oh my gosh I don't know how many events, yet still maintains THE most positive of attitudes, has been one of my proudest moments as a Mom. It's not the fact that she didn't cry when she got an IV, or that she sucked it up when she learned of her fractured limb and asked questions instead of getting all upset that she had to go without her friends for a week, it's that she was POSITIVE about it. She looked for ways to deal with it instead of letting it drag her down. Sure, I saw visible evidence of disappointment in all of her circumstances, but it's how she chooses to deal with it that I admire. And I am fully aware now that she is learning that kind of behavior from those around her - and from her faith.

I mainly wanted Princess D to watch the show last night to reinforce the fact that optimism is a good thing. I want her to feel that sometimes she's not alone in her various issues, and that there is ALWAYS a bright side to everything. She got the point. Matter of fact she was rather bored with it all, because it was probably one of those "yeah yeah yeah, I already know all this stuff" kind of moments, but I'm excited to see what she has to write about it.

The main gist of the show was to delve into why some people are optimistic and how their lives are different from the opposing mindset, and also if it can be a chosen way of life or if you're just stuck with what ya got. I have done my own set of not-really-scientific-at-all experiments along my life. I'm here to say it's clearly a chosen way of living, and not completely a genetic thing. Now you may disagree with me, and that's fine, but this is my blog so I'm always right. *hahaha!* Just kidding, but feel free to oppose my viewpoint. I should say, IN MY EXPERIENCE, choosing to be joyful and believe that good will triumph over evil has brought about much more good than bad. It's also lots more fun.

I recently read a list of the definitions of Pessimism. The entire PAGE made my insides feel icky. Read on:
  • A general disposition to look on the dark side and expect the worst in all things
  • The doctrine of the ultimate triumph of good over evil
  • The tendency to believe the worst in all things
  • ...a disposition to hold the least hopeful opinion of conditions or behavior
Does anyone feel a presence here or is it just me? It's an evil presence, the one who makes our minds believe that there is no good, there is no positive, there is no effect of our negativity onto others. Yeah - that guy - he's Satan. Satan is the ultimate pessimist, the greatest cynic the world has ever known. Now I beg of whoever is still hanging on here with me now... WHO would want to be like THAT? This is why I am of the belief that a positive attitude can be chosen. Just like my faith is chosen. It's not something I was born with, it isn't something my parents determined for me by their behaviors (although it certainly HELPS that they weren't constantly negative) and it definitely isn't the outcome of a zillion happy little things happening non-stop throughout my 35 years on Earth. My life wasn't like that, and I doubt yours was either.

I think back on those 35 years to the thoughts and attitudes imposed on me that shaped my mindset. Forgive me Mom, this is the part where you can peel your eyes away if you'd like because I'm going to refer to you here. My dear Mother wasn't always the most optimistic of individuals. Now she certainly wasn't, and isn't, a full blown pessimist, but she liked to refer to what she would say as being "realistic". Now realism is all fine and dandy if you're not concerned with feelings. It all depends on the ultimate goal of the conversation in the moment or whatever. I get all realistic with my husband from time to time when his interior dreamer kicks it into high gear. It's called bringing you back to earth. If you need a good reason why to not do something stupid, my Mom is the one to call though. She'll lay it all out there for ya. She and Dr Laura Schlessinger are tight. Or maybe they would be if they had ever actually met. The world clearly needs people like my Mom or we'd all be running around doing stupid, idiotic stuff and letting our emotions control all of our actions. Mainly, we'd all be in prison.

I appreciate that about my Mom. I really do (and any appearance that I'm holding any bad feelings is untrue, I forgave years ago). But remembering the lessons from those life experiences has helped shape how I tend to deal with my family and my friends over the years. I went through a period of time (not sure how long exactly) where I was compared to someone that my parents thought of as out of control, or damaged in some way. They were afraid of me ending up like her. Now they clearly did not want me to turn out like that person, and they used her as an example. The classic line, "you don't want to turn out like so-and-so do you?!?!" certainly wasn't a very positive thing to say. It has stuck with me to this day though, because NO I did not want to "end up" like that person, even though none of us knows yet how she will actually "end up", but I also didn't understand why they ever thought I would! I was highly offended by their remarks, and wished that at the time they would have been more encouraging of my POSITIVES instead of focusing on my negatives.

I couldn't really learn from someone else's mistakes because they weren't mine to learn from. Did I learn from my OWN? Oh yeah, you know it! I also learned that it has been terribly difficult to form any sort of relationship with that person my parents didn't approve of all these years later, because of the negative viewpoint I've been hauling around all this time. Sad isn't it? But I'm a grownup now, and my parents' teachings, examples, behaviors and words are all part of what I CHOOSE to learn from. I can no longer blame them for any stinking thinking, it's what I do with it now that is my responsibility as an adult and also as a parent myself.

When my ex-husband abandoned the girls and I and left us to live with my parents, it was a defining moment in my life. I was either going to be optimistic, or someone was going to die. I was incredibly and unbelievably depressed. I ended up in counseling, and am so glad I was counseled by someone with an optimistic attitude. She encouraged me to see the good in myself, when I truly believed I was worthless. She also made sure the thoughts in my head were thoughts of value and good, and not the toxic belief that I was disposable. I took a few more kicks to my self-worth before I was asked to leave my parents' home, and that about finalized the deal for me. I was teetering on the edge of good vs. evil and evil was surely going to win. I was prepared to give up and let all those negative feelings push me around and make me never want to love someone else, or trust in others again. Everyone in my life had abandoned me, it felt like, except my kids, who were stuck with me, and I really did not understand how anyone could see my circumstances as something GOOD.

Being an optimist certainly doesn't come naturally. I am quite prone to depressive episodes that I am not proud of, but that I have learned to cope with in different ways. Quite often my husband has stung me with words like, "why do you always have to be so negative?" (See, even he's not exempt from this day of public learning! And we both know the word always is always wrong at this point) But in the frustration of the moment, he sees where I'm bringing others down because I'm feeling down, and does a good job of correcting me and helping me refocus. Basically, I just tell him I'm being realistic. *grin* But I see it as he says it. There are times I do tend to fall back on what is comfortable, or what is in the moment, or what was learned, but I regret those times. I can do better than that.

Optimism is to me, like a refreshing boost of energy. When my Mom calls me now, to encourage me, it makes a world of difference in my day, and I hope I can do that for her too. Optimism truly causes others to push harder than they would have before, to reach those lofty goals, to run the race and to be and example of what God would want us to be. Striving, hoping, helpful and full of joy. On the other hand, being negative is toxic. If there's one toxic voice in the crowd, I guarantee you that even in a room full of optimists, you're gonna take someone down with you in some manner. That is clearly not what the Bible speaks of in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 where we are reminded that we do not belong to the darkness. We are all instructed to encourage one another and build each other up. When that happens, all the disappointments, become suddenly not so disappointing. All the sadness, becomes more bearable. All the frustrations be less frustrating and get this... all the happiness and joy in life, become even that much more enjoyable!

My mission in life, is to someday be that Incurable Optimist. I've got a long way to go. Sure, bad things happen, and they have been happening a lot around here lately. I guess it's how I choose to roll with it. I don't care if people are annoyed when I spread joy and a different viewpoint of how they could look at the million "bad" things in their life. My classic line about problems in our home is, "Well, it could always be worse!" I know I was annoyed when people did that to me in the past, but it stuck, and now I sure appreciate it. Bad things stick too. And like all sticky things that get licked off the finger of life, I'd sure rather be lickin' something good than something bad. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And the Mother of the Year Award goes to...

Oh yeah... I'm not getting nothing this year (don't you love it when I use double negatives?) and next year isn't looking so promising either. You know lots of people get all geared up to run a marathon. They spend weeks, months, years in training and then it's all for that one day when they run their little hearts (and lungs) out and cross that finish line going "WOOOOHOOOO!! I DID IT!!!" Well... hooray I say. I have never trained for a marathon in my life, but sometimes it feels like I keep running in them.

Don't get me wrong, I have NOTHING to say against marathons, or the runners that they attract. I think they are on to something. It's called determination. It's guts. It's courage. It's... endurance! Yes, that's it. And it's something to be highly commended. I admire that.

*Insert your favorite verse about endurance here*

For months now, I've let my blog readers down by throwing out all sorts of posts on injuries, sickness, depression, death and not enough about the silly things of yesteryear. (What's a yesteryear anyway?) But the honest fact is, that's all I've been DOING these past few months. I'm dutifully bobbing along with my head just barely above the surface of murky motherhood mire. But you know what? It's OK! I'm not alone. God's right here with me holding my hand.

The other day, when I was healing up from the effects of maybe/maybe not Pneumonia, and thinking of all the things I still have to do that I promised I'd do like, last MONTH, I sat down to have a simple bowl of cottage cheese and fruit. I have a few new (to me) people who have stepped in to give me some pretty decent advice on how to care for myself while I'm shoveling boatloads of energy into caring for others. As I sat down, I thought, How nice! I'm actually feeding myself something that has: 1. Some nutritional value 2. Bright colors 3. Fresh taste! and then I picked up the bowl. The spoon got caught under the edge of my book upon takeoff, and the spoon, plus contents, launched itself against the corners of the wall behind my recliner.

Oh great.

Now I'm going to have dried curds hidden in my secret stack of Hobby Farm Magazines. Well... it could be worse, I thought to myself, as I wrestled my 80 pound recliner with my weak arms, my spasming back and my burning lungs. I could have NOTHING to eat at all! Some people would consider themselves lucky to pick fresh curds off the wall to eat. Hmm... somehow that sounds all wrong.

So anyway, the point I'm tryin' to make here (as if I ever really make one, ever?) is that things aren't easy right now. But it's not fatal either. The other night, when my eldest was having a "moment", which is a nice way of saying she was going off the deep end, and saying all sorts of things mothers should never have to hear, I thought to myself, "Self, you better suck it up and get ready for these hurdles. You may not have trained properly, but boy golly you are in training RIGHT NOW". This is the big time. It's the olympic moment of being a Mom where you just have to get out there and do what you need to do no matter what stands in the way. And so now my quest for a counselor to step in has begun. Ugh. Pit of my stomach yuckiness, but hey - this is the real dirt, and I don't like to stay messy for long. I'm admitting we need help. My daughter needs help. It's ok to need help. Help is good. Come on help!

Speaking of needing help, Princess D walked, or should I say, LIMPED by me at the school yesterday where I was hanging out doing my thing. Ok, since you asked, it's some undercover decorating that only I know about... I sneak in, hang up stuff for a couple hours, and sneak out. Nobody ever knows I was there. Except all the kids who gallop by on the way to lunch or recess. Or come back from lunch or recess. But they never see me. I am sneaky sneaky. Except my daughter. She always sees me. So this time she comes limping by, which, for us types who are prone to really LIVING life (another word for "we trip on carpet turtles" - those imaginary things that don't really exist) we respect the limp. We probably earned it. And we usually have a great story to go along with it. Trust me, I limp a lot. Nobody asks why - they just know I have a cool story to go with it, so they hunt for it in my blogs. Haha! Just kidding. That was dumb.

SO - she limps by me. HI DELAYNA! I say.

Hi Mom,(only put that to a very injured sounding voice) can you take me home?

No Delayna, I'm busy. Go to class. (The girl limps a lot, ok?)

Mommmm, I hurt my foot. It's buggin me.

(Pay attention, I QUOTE my Not-Mom of the year award winning line here...)

Suck it up Delayna - just don't walk home today. Or it will hurt worse.


Please, let the flogging of the terriblest Mom ensue.

After violently wracking myself with guilt at making the school receptionist send a note to Delayna in class reminding her again to take the bus, and not even TRY to walk home (because I was heading out of town to visit our friend in the hospital like any good friend would do if you ended up with appencitis) I decided to call her as soon as she got home from school.

Too late.
The texts were already in my inbox. Stuff like, Mom - come get me. Mom, I can't get OFF the bus, it hurts too much. Come out to the bus when I get home Mom. Can I have cheetos? My foot is burning. I have to limp everywhere. Can I have cheetos? Can I go on the laptop? Can I have cheetos?

OH SHEESH! Do you SEE what I have to live with people??

So a quick trip to the Urgent Care (if you call 4 hours in a hard chair as quick), an X-ray and a little consultation, and we were on our way. Delayna is now sporting a boot that they took off of a Transformer (probably a Decepticon, by the look of it) to use on humans for foot fractures. She was upset as all heck at having to miss her field trip to central Oregon that was to be four days long starting today (I'm upset too, it was going to be quieter around here this week). We're waiting for a call from the Orthopedist to determine if and when she will get a cast, and since we have no crutches, we're just hanging out waiting for Dairy Queen to offer delivery of a small cookie dough Blizzard to help heal the broken heart. Stupid Dairy Queen doesn't deliver... who knew?

I think Cheetos are sounding good right about now. That should score me some sort of award, don't you think?