Saturday, December 31, 2005

Cinematic Vomit

As a rule, if a movie has been nominated for or won any Acadamy Awards, I am sure to hate it. But sometimes I have a momentary lapse in judgement and rent one anyway, thinking maybe the idiots who vote for these movies might actually pick a good one...just as a fluke. I was curious about "American Beauty" and decided to give it a shot.

They say insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting a different result. Well, I must have been freaking out of my mind to watch this movie. I can't for the life of me figure out why people pay money to watch crap like this. It's DEPRESSING!!! It doesn't affect me in a positive way. It doesn't give me new insight to life. Frankly, it disturbs me. Are there people out there like this? Is there really a middle class family in America this screwed up? The only redeeming thing in the entire movie is that Kevin Spacey doesn't turn out to be the sicko pedophile he is sure to become. Ugh. I need a shower.

There is a part in the movie where the psycho, drug-dealing neighbor kid (the most normal person in the movie) who ends up being the daughter's boyfriend, is showing her a home movie he made of "the most beautiful thing he ever filmed". The so-called "beautiful" video is of a small plastic bag blowing in the wind. And he starts tearing up and spewing some kind of emotional garbage about beauty in the world, blah, blah, blah. IT'S A PLASTIC BAG!!!!!!! Yet another example of how too much introspection is not good for a person...creating meaning where there is none.

I'll say this--the movie says a lot about being honest with ourselves, and that things are not always what they seem. As if we don't all get that anyway. Duh.

I am a happy ending kind of girl. Give me predictable endings and a warm fuzzy and I am good. Shallow? Maybe. Naive? Probably. I just want to be entertained, for goodness sake. I think next time I'll get Forrest Gump.


It's been a trying day for Brother and I. A battle of wills for sure. I feel like I have spent my entire day correcting and getting on to him. And you know what comes with that, don't you? Yup. My close, personal friend...Guilt.

I have a precious memory of my baby boy. It is one that I remember most vividly. He is five months old and we are at the grocery store. He is wearing a red henly shirt and his Osh Kosh overalls. He is riding in the infant seat, which I have setting on the grocery cart. We are in the produce department and a woman stops me to tell me how beautiful he is. I beam. She says "Boy, he is in love with his mommy!" and I look at him. And he is looking at me with eyes aglow and a smile that makes me melt. I will never forget that look. It was a time when all he needed was me. I was his world. I had the power to meet his every need. I could snuggle and kiss him endlessly and he loved it. I could hold him on my lap. There was no arguing, no power struggle.

Now he is tall and handsome and has ideas of his own. He is trying to separate, which I know is natural, but I'm not sure how to handle it. How much line do I give him when he tries to fly? How do I help him become independant, but respectful and mindful of others around him? How do I guide him on this road to manhood without completely screwing him up? I don't want to be firm and confrontational. I want to be sweet, fun and talk baby talk with him again. I want the days when everything I said was great and all I had to do was show up and he was happy. Babies I can do. I know how to make a baby happy. I feel completely unprepared and inadequate to handle a pre-adolescent boy.

And now, a poem. Cheesey? Yes. Sappy? Absolutely. Humor me, okay? I'm in pain here!!!

Take time to hold me on your lap,
To joke with me and make me laugh,
Take time, Mommy; this time will go so fast..

Take time to give me extra hugs,T
o teach me a nursery rhyme or song,
Take time, Mommy; I won't be little long..

Take time to tuck me into bed,
To read me that story you know by heart,
Take time, Mommy; soon these days will part..

Take time to exclaim over what I color,
To admire the things I make from clay,
Take time, Mommy; I'm growing up and away..

Take time to imagine or make-believe,
To play some childish, silly game,
Take time, Mommy; soon it won't be the same..

Take time to let me help you work,
To teach me the many things you know;
Take time, Mommy; enjoy me as I grow..

--Author Unknown

Thursday, December 29, 2005


"Elf" is the word that comes to mind. Round, rosey cheeks, hair that has a mind of it's own, dimpled knees and a giggle that sounds like sunshine. She's my Baby. Every day she makes me smile, even when I don't want to. Her vocabulary mainly consists of "ooh" and "ah", always preceded by the pointer finger. She loves pictures and faces and spends most of her day examining them. She likes to pucker her lips into a sweet little "o" and wrinkle her nose to make me laugh. She walks side by side with me around the house, her pudgy hand grasping my finger, perfectly content to go wherever it is I am going because it is sure to lead to adventure and exploring. Her favorite toy is my wallet, which contains all sorts of fun things like insurance cards, bank cards, coupons, money and the like. Oh, I adore her. There are times I am overwhelmed by the flood of emotion that my children stir in me. Sometimes wonder, sometimes anger, sometimes fear and sometimes everything at once. But always this incredible love. Love I can't explain or fully understand, but can't imagine my life without. May I remember always to revel in the wonderful glow of childhood.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My New Favorite Song

Well, I may as well admit it. It looks like I am becoming a country music fan. (Please don't tell my husband.) My favorite radio station changed and I've had a hard time finding something that I like and is okay for the kids to listen to. (Letting my six year old hear Def Leppard 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' just seems wrong somehow.) So, I've had to resort to listening to a little country. And I even like some of it. Today I heard this song by Faith Hill and have dubbed it my new favorite. I found out it was written by a stay-at-home mother of five. Even without music, the lyrics speak to me:


Before you met me I was a fairy princess
I caught frogs and called them prince
And made myself a queen

Before you knew me I traveled 'round the world
I slept in castles and fell in love
Because I was taught to dream

I found mayonnaise bottles and poked holes on top
To capture Tinkerbell
They were just fireflies to the untrained eye
But I could always tell

I believe in fairytales and dreamers dreams like bed sheet sails
And I believe in Peter Pan and miracles
And anything I can to get by
And fireflies

Before I grew up I saw you on a cloud
I could bless myself in your name
and pat you on your wings

Before I grew up I heard you whisper so loud
"Life is hard, and so is love,
Child, believe in all these things"

I found mayonnaise bottles and poked holes on top
To capture Tinkerbell
And they were just fireflies to the untrained eye
But I could always tell

I believe in fairytales and dreamer's dreams like bedsheet sails
And I believe in Peter Pan and miracles
And anything I can to get by
And fireflies

Before you met me I was a fairy princess
I caught frogs and called them prince
And made myself a queen

Before you knew me I traveled 'round the world
And I slept in castles and fell in love
Because I was taught to dream

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Things I've Learned Today

1. When the cookie dough recipe says "can be refrigerated up to six days", you cannot stretch that into fourteen. The dough hardens, thus making it useless for cookies. It would, however, be useful as a doorstop. Just in time for holiday gift-giving!

2. Never let a toddler run through the house without a matter how adorable their naked tushie is. They are not paper-trained. They will pee on the floor.

3. It is impossible to "just lay down for a minute" with your child without falling asleep.

4. A three-year-old girl can eat an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers without throwing up. Especially if Mom has accidentally fallen asleep.

5. You never outgrow acne.

6. If you're going to set a gallon of milk on the countertop, it helps to turn your head and actually look where you're putting it. Otherwise, it might land on the floor.

7. One dishtowel isn't enough to sop up half a gallon of milk off the floor. But couple it with a giant bathtowel and it works.

The Impossible Dream

I've done it. I didn't think it could be done, but I have persevered and I have achieved the impossible. I put the last load of laundry in the washer. There is no more. The hamper is empty. I have actually done ALL my laundry.

For all you desperate housewives out there, I am offering you hope. Don't let the dream die, baby. It can be done. Dare to dream the impossible dream (cue music).

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Love, Or Something Like It

"You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same..."

As I sang those words in worship this past Sunday, it struck a chord in my heart. I have been forced to face some pretty nasty things about myself lately...Things I knew were there, but didn't want to own up to...make them mine. How could anyone love something so unlovely, let alone the God of all the universe? But it would seem that He does, so I take this on faith sometimes...literally. Because it is really so unbelievable.

What is this thing in us that needs to be loved? I am finding it so much easier to "love" people in general...from afar...than to really get down in all their trash and love them through it. Case in point:

My brother. He turned 40 in April and just moved out of my parents' house for what seems like the hundreth time. My husband, the pshycology student, says Sam has what they call "arrested development". A person reaches a certain stage and their development is stunted, for whatever reason. This completely makes sense to me. Though my issues with my father are painful, Sam's have got to be a thousand times worse. Sam lives his life looking for love and acceptance wherever he can find it. And if he can't find it, he tries to drown the ache he has inside for it. He cannot keep a job and all the neccessities a person needs to survive. He has been in and out of jail numerous times for many different reasons. My parents have tried helping him and the outcome is the same. Everyone's heart is broken in the end. My family's reaction to this has been to shun him. Don't let him come too close because we don't like who he has become. "He must want to be this way, " is what they say. "He doesn't want to change." So, we pretend there is no Sam until he ends up at the Salvation Army or calls from jail. Then the drama begins again.

I love my brother. And I am learning to love him more. My initial reaction has been to follow my family's's much less painful. But my husband pointed something out to me a while ago. If we turn our back on him, what does that say to him about God? And now I cannot turn away. He and I are one of the same. We just want to be loved. I experienced firsthand this morning that a little love can go a long way. A kiss from my sweet husband made me feel as though I could face my day and conquer all challenges. Imagine what God's infinite, merciful, all-inclusive love can do for a hungry soul. God, please give me that kind of love and a heart that shares it without hesitation or question. I long to love.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Daddy's Girl...I always wanted to be one. But I can't say that I ever was. My dad drank a lot in the early part of my childhood, and I have some vivid memories of what that was like. The last time I remember him drinking was when I was about seven. He had come home drunk and had it out with my mom. He ended up leaving and she took me and my brother to my grandma's. My older sister had been on a date and she met us there. It was the end for Mom. She told him that night--after he found us--that if he didn't stop drinking, we were gone for good. Well, that did it for him. He stopped. Though life was better at home, he was still gruff and distant. I remember longing for a close, affectionate relationship with him, but that relationship never came to be.

Dad is a wonderful grandpa. He worships my girls and showers them with kisses and complete adoration. I am so glad he does. But today I felt like I was fourteen again...dying for a word, a look from him that would deem me as special to him. Instead, I seemed invisible. We all have our issues, including my dad. I know how he was raised and can understand why he is the way he is. Most days I can take this into consideration and make due with our relationship. Today, I couldn't. Today I couldn't step back and see that he is a person with faults and shortcomings. I could only see him through the eyes of the needy daughter.

I love him. And I don't blame him. I know he did the best he could with what he had. There were times growing up he was very sweet and tender to me. I cling to those memories now to remind me that he did, and still does, love me.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Top 10 Things I Want For Christmas

10. Sleep
9. Size 5 jeans, and the skinny little booty to fit in them.
8. Self-cleaning house. Kind of like a self cleaning close the door, push a button, and let it go.
7. Chocolate that is not only good for you, but actually helps you lose weight.
6. Sleep.
5. World Peace. After all, I don't want to seem completely selfish.
4. Coffeemaker with a gallon-sized caraffe.
3. Did I mention sleep?
2. A magic wand to go with my tiara.
1. A limitless gift certificate to Ebay.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Grinch Is Gone

Amazing what having children does for your prayer life. I've spent more time talking to God the past few days than I have in my entire life. Begging for mercy is more like it. Thankfully, He gives it. I won't go into the gorey details of what began and ended as a frustrating day, because what happened in between was pure Christmas magic.

I took my children to see Santa Claus for the first time ever. A friend referred us to a local shopping center. She said it was the best Santa experience ever, so we went to check it out. We quickly found Santa's house in the middle of the square. As we neared the spot, I began to feel it...a little Christmas cheer. I was beginning to think my head wasn't screwed on just right. Or perhaps it could be that my shoes were too tight. But the thought that scared me most of all was that my heart might have been two sizes too small.

The sun was shining and the wind was brisk as we entered the square. The brick sidewalk led us on a journey through scenes from the Nutcracker. Four small "theaters" surrounded by white picket fences held robotic dolls reenacting the battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King as well as the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Brother and Sister ran to Scene 1, which depicted Clara falling asleep and the Nutcracker coming to life. Their excitment was contagious as we hurried from scene to scene to see what happened next. And then we saw it...Santa's house was a small, snowy white cottage with a roof of bright red shingles. Green shutters framed a single window where cheery poinsettas smiled from their windowbox at the red and white gingham curtains. Brother quickly left the sidewalk and cut his own path under a low hanging Magnolia tree. There was no line. No canned Christmas music blaring from thin air. No cranky children who had been waiting forever for their turn. Only one boy perched on Santa's knee, telling him all his heart desired for Christmas. We watched him through the window as we waited on the red carpet leading to Santa's door. Brother was in awe. Sister began to feel nervous. She held in her hand a picture she had drawn for Santa and I asked her if she was ready to give it to him. "I don't want to go in," she replied quietly. "But how will Santa know what you want if you don't tell him?" "I don't want to talk to him." She was unmoving. I spied a little mailbox beside the door and told her she could put her picture in it for Santa and though we were going in, she didn't have to talk to him. That seemed like a great idea and she beamed as she slipped in the slot. The boy came bounding down the steps and the moment we were waiting for arrived. I had to bend down to enter the curved doorway into Santa's domain. But instantly I was transformed from a thirty something woman into a little girl again. Santa sat in his chair surrounded by Christmas finery and Mrs. Claus sat opposite him armed with her camera. They welcomed us warmly and Brother had no qualms about climbing into Santa's lap. Santa engaged him in small talk about school and asked him if he knew what s-n-o-w spelled. Brother answered "Santa!" With a hearty ho, ho, ho Santa gave him a hint and Brother figured it out. Sister would not even look his direction. However, Mrs. Claus was able to draw her out with all sorts of questions and before long, Sister took her spot on Santa's other knee. I sat next to Santa with Baby, who was wide-eyed with wonder, on my lap. We all leaned in and Mrs. Claus took our picture. She and Santa talked to us about movies and books and just visited with us. And of course, the kids told Santa what was most important on their Christmas lists (which was, to my relief, exactly what Santa had for them). Mrs. Claus handed us our picture and some snickerdoodle cookies as we said our Merry Christmases and walked back out into the cold. I spied a Starbucks nearby, so I got myself a Peppermint Mocha and we sat outside in the square enjoying our treats and enjoying the atmosphere. And I found myself in the midst of the holiday. It was almost as if I could reach out and pick a piece of it from the air and tuck it away in my pocket for later. Sister found a patch of purple pansies and picked two for me. Brother enjoyed being in the open and just ran. People were making their way from shop to shop, laughing and talking...and watching my crazy kids go nuts. But I didn't care. We walked around the shopping center, peering in windows and taking in the sights. And though we were surrounded by commercialism, it didn't phase us. It couldn't penetrate our little fortress of joy. I took their picture in a neat, British-like phone booth and next to a giant Nutcracker. We found some leaves piled on the sidewalk and they ran through them, scattering them as only a carefree soul can do. It was a memory I will hold dear to me forever.

Today God reminded why I love Christmas. I feel free to celebrate Christ's birth. And what happened then? Well, in Who-ville, they say, that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I was on the phone tonight when I saw her picture on the news. It was a mug shot, but not like any mug shot I had ever seen. She was young, early twenties, with delicate features. Her sandy hair was long and pulled back in a low ponytail. She wore a sweatshirt, though I don't remember the color. It was her expression that held my attention. Her eyes were puffy and her nose was red. Her lips were pursed together tightly and she was obviously trying to stifle her sobs. This pretty young woman was in agony. I tuned out the person on the phone to hear what the news anchor was saying about her. She was arrested after her 2-month old son had died. He had been shaken and beaten. Her boyfriend had also been arrested for his role in it.

It is a horrific thing for a child to die like that. It would be easy to say that mother is a monster. But my heart broke tonight for her. I cannot pass judgement. I have had moments of extreme frustration with an inconsolable infant who can't tell me what's wrong. I have been at the end of my rope and felt like I could lose it. I've been face to face with those dark thoughts. Fortunately I was able to make the choice to de-escalate the situation. She wasn't. Her tiny baby was taken by her own hand. This little soul had no control over the situation. But his mother did. She will live her life with this miserable knowledge. I am heartsick.

Tonight I kiss my babies as they lay sleeping, safe and sound and I pray for this young mother, who isn't a mother anymore.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Feelin' Funky

And unfortunately, it's not the good, gotta boogie, kind of funky.

Every now and then I am overcome by insecurity. There are days I just feel like I am totally on the wrong track and I need to do a complete turnaround and get myself together. And even as I am typing, there is a little voice telling me that I should be careful what I share. There are people who will read this that thought I was wonderful and if they really know who I am, they won't like me. But I am at a place in my life where I just want to be real with people. So, stop reading if you don't want in :-)

Lately I've been wrestling with some issues of my own self-centerdness. What does it mean to be selfless? What does it mean to love God above all? How do I put Him first in every aspect of my life? The past couple of weeks have been like a slow downward spiral into a little bit of depression. I find myself desperately trying to get away from my life. I don't even want to say that, because I love my family...I love what I do. But I've been feeling trapped in a world of little people wondering who the heck I am and what kind of an impact do I have on the world around me. It's difficult to see yourself as a light in the world, when you don't feel like a part of the world. I feel like I am back in the bubble. I do want to be home with my kids. I want to homeschool them. But I don't want to go back to surrounding myself with "church people" and living the life of the good little Christian mommy that doesn't have a clue about what's really going on around her. And the truth is, I do want to just get out and be around other people and not wear my mom hat every so often. I find myself angry at times that I haven't had any time to do the things I want to do...the things I enjoy, or used to. And I'm just tired of feeling like a single mom. And then comes the guilt. Why does it always come back to me? Now, if I were a really spiritual person, I should take this to God, right? I feel lonely and isolated, so I should look to Him to fill that need. He should be all I need, shouldn't He? So why doesn't it seem like He is enough?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Somebody Stop Me!! (Confessions of an Ebay Addict)

Let me just get this out in the open...I love to shop. And I have to admit, I think I'm pretty good at it. I find the greatest bargains. I never pay full price for anything and if it's not at least 50% off, then it's not a good sale. Ebay has never held a lot of fascination for me, because anything I have ever checked the price on has lost it's "bargain-icity" when you add shipping. Until now. Let me tell you the story of how an addict was born...

It all started with a trip to the toy store. Not just any toy store. This toy store doesn't sell Barbie, or Ninja Turtles or Fisher-Price. They carry very high quality, high price toys. My kids love to go there and play with all the displays. On this particular day Brother spotted the toy castle and knight figures. He and Sister actually layed on their stomachs in the floor of the store and played with it the entire time we were there. Aha! An idea for a Christmas present! A toy they could all enjoy together. The castle was wooden with towers and a working drawbridge. The figures were very detailed and came in every medival character imaginable. I sauntered over to the boxed castles on the shelf to nonchalantly check out the price. ACK!! One hundred nineteen smackers...for just the castle! The figures averaged about five bucks each, but could go as high as thirteen dollars. Well, I love a challenge and I haughtily told myself I could find it cheaper, and so began my dance with the devil.

I started the search online, of course. I did a search for "toy wooden castle" and found many places that carried the same castle. Unfortunately, there was not much variation in price. I found some that were less expensive, but none so majestic and grand. I did a search for kits, thinking maybe we could make our own, but the kits wer more for collectors and less for play. I spent days on the computer, exhausting every possible option. Then, I hit the jackpot. An online toy store ran the very castle of Brother's dreams on sale for $39.99!!!!!!!!! FIGURES INCLUDED!!!! Shipping would be twenty dollars, but I could get the entire thing for sixty dollars. It was too good to be true. But alas, I didn't have the sixty dollars to spare, so I waited two days until my husband got paid. That morning I quickly logged on, excitement building to grab such a deal. I had bookmarked the site. But when I arrived, I was too late. Giant red letters screamed at me "OUT OF STOCK". Of course. A bargain like that wouldn't last long. So, I went back to the drawing board. I went back to where it all began...the pricey toy store. I scoured the shelves, thinking perhaps a smaller castle would be sufficient. But even the smallest was fifty dollars and I would have to spend more for the knights. I just couldn't bring myself to pay that much just to say we had a castle. I decided we would have to look for another present. There were all kinds of cool things to choose from and Brother's list was a mile long. We could find something else he could be just as happy with. In the car on the way home Brother said to me, "Mom, do you know what I want more than anything else for Christmas? Do you know what I want Santa to bring me?" I braced myself. Batman figures? GI Joe? A new bike? Perhaps a ninety-four cent Hot Wheel? Oh no. I couldn't be so lucky. "What?" I asked, already knowing the answer. "A castle," came his reply. Well, it was evident that I couldn't give up so easily.

I got out the yellow pages and called some closeout stores, hoping they might have some extraordinary deal. I went back online, but I had exhausted all my resources. All, but one. I went to Ebay, skeptical, to say the least. At first, it was more of the same. I scrolled on down through the search results and came upon a castle very similar to the one Brother wanted...except for the price. $19.99. Could that be right? That was the starting bid. It was brand new in the box and even came with two knights and two horses...very cool. I checked the shipping costs. Only thirteen dollars. Too good to be true. I was sure it would go for way more than that, but I decided I had nothing to lose. I placed my bid at $19.99...and watched.

For three days I checked my auction religiously. There was no change. I was still the high bidder. I had heard that people wait until the last minute and then the real bidding begins, so I wasn't too hopeful. So, on the last day of bidding, I watched it like a hawk. Still no change. Thirty-eight minutes to go. Nothing. Twelve minutes, thirty-two seconds. I was sure the bidding war was going to happen at any minute. I started to get butterflies. Seven minutes. Still no more bids. Five minutes. Three minutes. The last minute seemed to last an eternity. I watched, waited and refreshed the page. Nothing. Did I win? Refresh. Well? Should there be balloons and confetti falling from the sky heralding my victory? Refresh again. There it was. I WON! I got that silly castle for a grand total of thirty-three dollars. Oh my gosh. Could it be true? At first it was disbelief. Then a sense of fear...something must be wrong. That couldn't be right. But it was. I got an email telling me so. Ahhhh...euphoria swept over me. An awesome, unbelievable deal. It was like a drug...pulling me in, taking me over. Oh, Ebay! If I got that good of a deal on the castle, what other incredible bargains awaited me? More...I must have more!! But wait, I have to restrain myself. Keep it small. Keep it cheap. Sister needed a wedding dress for Barbie. I did the search and up popped about forty dresses. Ninety-nine cents?! Okay, I must remain in control. No bidding. I'll just "watch" it. Yeah, watching it won't hurt. Watching isn't buying. What about that DVD she wanted? I'll just look and see. I'm just curious. Four princess DVDs in a collection? It's $40 at Wal-Mart, but on Ebay...glorious Ebay...the starting bid is $1.50!!!!! I tried to stop...I knew she didn't need it. I knew I already had more presents than I had intended to buy. bidding. AAAAAHHHHHHH!!! I HAVE TO!!!!!!!! I HAVE TO BID!!!!!! I CAN'T LET THIS BARGAIN GO!!!

That strange little rectangular button with three small letters, b-i-d, has me under it's spell. I am hooked. There is no hope for me. I try to stay away, but it is futile. Each day it's a new search...a new need...a new curiosity. I tell myself I can stop whenever I want, but I keep coming back for more, as if in a trance. Oh, Ebay, you wicked creature. You are cruel in your kindness. You have awakened the dark side in me to which I am powerless to resist. I am your slave.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


My patience had run out by 11:00 a.m. Not good. I don't understand...I had a night out without my children last night and had a ball. I got my hair done yesterday afternoon. I got to go shopping...that always makes me happy. I should be refreshed...rejuvinated...reborn. But I'm not. I'm a grump. It's 200 degrees below zero outside and my plans for the day consisted of staying in and making Christmas cookies with the kids. I make cookies and treats for my friends and family every Christmas. I love doing it, and it's a cheap way for me to give to everyone. We're going to have fun today and be happy and festive, by golly!! I'm a little behind, it's time we got started.

Well, I don't know what I was thinking. I love baking. But I don't love baking with my kids. I know, I know...that is a terrible thing to say. And I do bake with them often, but it is so much more work when they are involved. They enjoy it and I know it is something a good mom would do, so in the interest of keeping up my image, I include them. Baby is cranky and needs a nap, but of course, doesn't want to take one. The kitchen is not exactly in great working order, (meaning there are dirty dishes in the sink and stuff on the table that needs to be moved, remains of Baby's breakfast, lunch and dinner from the previous day on the floor) but I figure if I wait for things to be tidy, we'll never get Christmas cookies made. So I try to find hidey holes for things on the table and clear a spot on the counter top and we dig in. I try to keep Baby entertained in the living room with some toys, but she is determined to get in on the action. And though she had spurned a snack I had just offered her, she is more than happy to finish yesterday's leftovers off of the floor. As I grab her and take her back to her toys for the umpteenth time, Brother and Sister find some flour on the table and proceed to smear each other with it. Oh, boy, we're having fun now. So I go back to the kitchen and explain the rules of cooking in the kitchen with Mom. As I am lecturing them, Baby finds the beautiful Christmas cards I ordered with my lovely children's picture, which I thought I had hidden well enough, and pulls them all into the part of the floor that is covered in goo. Sister is sticking her fingers into the bowl of dough and whining because Brother is touching her, Brother is holding a raw egg in his hand insisting he knows how to crack an egg and Baby is at my leg crying for me to pick her up. Yes...this is the stuff great holiday memories are made of. Then my husband calls and gives me a list of things he wants me to do today, which includes taking all three kiddos out in the cold to run some errands. Can I run away? If I move slowly, will they notice if I leave? I am snapping. I put my hands to my face and rub my fingers over my eyebrows, trying to find my happy place. What is wrong with me? I love Christmas! Suddenly I don't even want to do the cookies. I don't care if anyone I know gets a freakin' cookie!! I am mad at my kids. I am mad at my husband. But I am mostly mad at myself, so I take myself on a little guilt trip, and we begin the descent into Crabbyville.

The entire day just keeps getting worse and worse. It's like my day is spiraling out of control and I am powerless to stop it. Sister spends most of it crying over everything, including my mood. At one point I had to sit them both down and apologize for being so grouchy. Fortunately, they were forgiving. Sister climbed in my lap and hugged me, which was healing and stinging all at once. They are crazy and bouncing off the walls, which is driving me bonkers. No one gets a good nap, which was my one hope for respite. I find myself trying to avoid them, which I know is probably the opposite of what I should be doing. I try to do some housework, but I don't have the heart for it. I'm tired of housework. I'm tired of trying and getting nowhere. I cannot muster any Christmas spirit. I cannot control my children. I cannot keep order in my home. What can I do? I pray that somehow I can end this day on a good note. Brother and Sister are like two kangaroos on speed and Baby follows them around gleefully. I decide to let them go and hope no one gets hurt. I put away some laundry. I check my email. I stay out of their road. The time is nearing for bed and I am feeling like a marathon runner spotting the finish line up ahead. I get them all in their jammies and we snuggle on the couch. We read four about Christmas, and one about snow, which has been falling softly outside. "Look, Mom!" Brother exclaims when he sees it. "It looks sparkly on the porch!" They open the door and stick their fingers in it, as well as their sock covered toes. They giggle and howl with delight. The scene is beautiful inside and out, and I am thankful for grace, mercy and redemption. Tomorrow will be a new day, covered in white.

Monday, December 05, 2005

My Walk

My parents put me on the church bus to the local first Baptist Church when I was four. I loved going. We never developed the habit of going as a family, except for a short period when I was twelve. Then we lost my sister and my dad became disillusioned with church and dropped out. My mom didn't like going alone, so she stopeed going, too. However, I did not. I went to church alone until I got married. I was introduced to God at a very early age and instantly wanted to know Him. Going to church gave me new, little glimpses of Him, even it was wrapped up in a lot of garbage, too. My longing for Him was very pure and true. It was the beginning of a lifelong relationship.

I am not four anymore, and though I do know God more intimately now, that sweet, childlike longing to immerse myself in Him is gone. I've spent years beating myself up over the fact that my daily Bible reading has been sporadic at best. I cannot quote much Scripture by memory. I still get the order of the books of the Bible confused at times. I am not a Bible scholar. Honestly, I don't enjoy reading the Bible alone. I love reading it with others and discussing it, but I've always had to work at developing the habit of "quiet time". I have struggled with this issue...Does it make me less spiritual? Does it hurt God that I don't hunger for that? Do I love Him less?

I have a friend whose mother is very religious. When this friend was growing up, her mother forced her to read her Bible every day. Even if she had a friend over, she had to stop and read her Bible. My friend says it was good in that it helped her to make the habit, even though she has abandoned the habit as an adult. I think this is flat out wrong. I would rather my children develop a love for Scripture rather than make it a habit as mundane as brushing your teeth.

I pray daily. In fact, I can't keep myself from it. I spend so many moments of my day asking Him for wisdom and patience as well as thanking him for things I too often take for granted. I tell Him of my struggles, and sometimes I don't, just because I don't want to own up to it. And I am constantly having to apologize. I love to sing to Him, and find these are my favorite worship in music. I will drive around the block to finish a song in the car. I put on music in the kitchen when I am alone and sing at the top of my lungs to Him while loading the dishwasher. I can lose myself in a good song. He is a constant presence in my life.

So, why would I not want to read His words to me? I am sure this would probably take our relationship to a new level, wouldn't it? Why is this hard for me? Am I shallow? Am I stunted? Do I really love Him?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Well, today she is one. Can it be? One year ago today my beautiful Baby welcomed me into her life and brought sunshine and gumdrops into mine...not to mention sleepless nights. She is my most difficult baby, but the one I have enjoyed most. I have given myself the freedom to spoil her rotten and pick her up every time she wimpers. I have cuddled her and kissed her and drank in her babyness with abandon. I have foregone any schedule or structure and just done basically everything she wants me to do. I get no sleep, and I know one day soon we will have to undo all the spoiling I've done. But I have loved it all. And even though she was very cute at six months old, she is even cuter now. Her hair is getting long enough to pull into pigtails. When I do this to her, she eventually puts her chubby little hand up to her head, feels around for the rubber band and deftly pulls it out. She HATES it. But it's that little rascal in her that makes me giggle. I am going to have my hands full with her, but it can never match the fullness in my heart when I hold her in my arms. Oh, my Baby, you exhaust me. But I wouldn't trade you for the world's longest nap. It's been a beautiful year. And you will always be my Baby.