Thursday, May 31, 2012

Learn to Look the Other Way

You know you do it... so do I. You look at someone else's pictures or facebook status or blog and you find yourself comparing. Either their life is way better than yours or yours is better than theirs. You're jealous because they did something with someone else... they went to the beach/concert/mall/party, etc. without you. They look better or not as good as you. They said something funny or smart or cute... Your baby is prettier than theirs. Your hair color is not as nice as hers.

Their vacation plans blow yours out of the water. Their grandchildren live close to them. Yours don't. They have money. You have more money. You're cooler. They're way more cooler.
Humpty spent too much time looking on other eggs blogs.
That's how he really fell off the wall!

Comparison. Don't get caught in that pit. Whether it's facebook or pinterest or blogging or flipping through a magazine- GUARD YOUR HEART! It is the wellspring of life. Comparing leads to pride. It leads to judging. It leads to all sorts of problems. So if it's a problem... don't do it. Don't look. Let go of the expectations you have of yourself. Their life might look perfect but it's not. Everyone's life seems pretty from a distance. You're afraid to ask for prayer because really, your situation is not as bad as that other person. Your kid doesn't have cancer. You don't have medical challenges. Or financially your set. Don't let that hold you back from asking for help/prayer/sharing about your challenges. Or you find the reverse... your life is so much harder than theirs. You are financially struggling. You're not as cool. You're not as together as that Mom. You didn't breastfeed or cloth diaper or whatever. STOP COMPARING. Don't let it keep you from sharing about your life or reality. Of being their friend because their issues seem "lesser".

God knows what's going on in each of us. Our lives. Our hearts. Our situations. Our budgets. Our appearances. Trust Him to love you and meet you and that He will love and meet others.

Saying all of this I'm preaching mainly to myself. Don't fall into the comparison pit. It leads to jealousy, gossip, anger, frustration, self-pity, bitterness, etc.

Rejoice in the good of your life and in others.
Griever the sorrow in your life and others.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

All in a Day's Work.

I love it when people ask me what I do all day. Here's a normal day without sickness. or extra craziness. etc.

I got up at 5:45. ( I slept in 10 minutes. Totally worth it)
Got dressed in exercise clothes.
Brushed teeth.
Made Libby's Lunch.
Made Samuel's lunch.
Made Michael's lunch.
Packed each backpack.
Refilled water cups.
Fixed their breakfast.
Mike took kids down to the bus.
Ian got up.
Fixed Ian's breakfast.
Made Mike's energy drink. Filled up his water "jug" for work. Made him coffee.
Packed Mike's food for the day: 2 whole wheat pita sandwiches, cottage cheese with strawberries, salad with feta, walnuts, grapes & strawberries. Packed his protein powder in manageable containers. Packed his shaker. Packed almonds. Protein Bars. Gatorade drink mix.
Made my food for the day: whole wheat pita sandwich, salad, protein drink, protein bars. Jug of water, chai latte.
Gathered Peter's food: cut up strawberries, grapes, container of yogurt, z-bar, goldfish, sippy cup.
Drank my energy (pre-workout) drink.
Lifted weights. (40 minutes)
Changed into presentable clothes.
Got Peter up. Got him dressed. Gathered diapers, passies, food, chai, water, sippy cup, purse, and IEP notes.
Drove to Grassfield (30 minutes) in rain (downpour!)
Got Peter out of car into school. Both of us wet even with an umbrella. stroller drenched. Chai everywhere (including the front of my shirt) 7 minutes late: 9:07 a.m.
Used paper towels to pat down me, the stroller, Peter, etc.
Fed Peter breakfast during IEP meeting.
Went over PT, OT, & Speech Goals. Discussed concerns and progress Michael is making. Signed a lot of papers.
Took Peter back to the car. Fold up stroller. Give him bar and sippy cup.
Drive to Panera Bread.
Meet with some ladies. 10 a.m.
Bounce Peter. Console Peter. Rock Peter. Give Peter half my oatmeal. Get encouraged by my friend.
Drink protein drink. Drink 1/2 gallon of water.
Use the bathroom 3 times while there!
Peter falls asleep on me. Leg goes completely numb.
Leave Panera.
Drop off overdue library item.
Get Gas for the car.
Eat my sandwich in the car. Glad I added spinach... yum!
Meet up with my attendant at Starbucks. 1:30 Get kids cookies. Take Michael from her. Give her Peter to take home. Put Michael in the car.
Take Michael to speech therapy. 2 p.m.
Get Michael out of the car in the rain.
Work on speech for an hour with Michael.
Put Michael back in the car while raining.
Eat salad in car.
Take Michael out of the car in the rain.
Go into Target. Eat my protein bar while shopping.
 Buy whole milk, soy milk, lactose free milk, graham crackers, and Samuel's chocolate Z bars.
Convince Michael after 10 minutes to stop being a puppy (crawling all over the floor of the store)
Put Michael back in the car while, yes, still raining.
Take Michael out of the car.
Unload groceries, sippy cups, used protein shaker bottles, coffee-to-go cups.
Unload dishwasher.
Reload dishwasher.
Wash left-over dishes by hand.
Make vanilla protein pancakes for dinner. 5 p.m.
Clean up dinner.
Direct kids to clean up their toys in the playroom.
Set-up Michael and Samuel's feeding tubes.
Clean boys' bedrooms AGAIN! Find random wrappers and discarded trash. Sullied diaper. Gum wrappers. And so much more...
Change diapers.
Put Samuel and twins clean folded clothes away.
Put away dirty clothes.
Kids brush teeth.
Read two bedtime stories.
Mike comes home.
Peter's put to bed.
Collapse in my bed
Libby has story read to her.
Talk to Mike for an hour. He leaves for mtg.
And I check my voicemails, e-mails.
Send a few e-mails.
Made my to-do list for tomorrow.
Get lunches prepped for tomorrow.
Have all kids clothes set for tomorrow morning.
Time for bed. (9:40 p.m.)
Going to brush teeth and get pj's on...

I'm sure there's a lot more than that but it's the gist. In between is kissing boo-boos, sighing, correcting, praying, talking, laughing, singing, dancing, groaning, teaching, cleaning, hoping, and now time for resting...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Love of a Mystery.

Ever since I can remember I've been reading.

I love to read. My parents way of punishing me was taking away my books or forcing me to turn out my lights. On vacation I'd read ten books at a time. I had stocked up from the library for the trip and my parents were constantly trying to drag me away from them to participate in family events. I used to stay up with a flashlight reading on into the night until the lines became blurry and I eventually couldn't distinguish words.

One of my favorite genres of books is mystery. I think I've read every single Nancy Drew book out there. I read the Bobsey Twins. I read Hardy Boys. And so many more. I love trying to figure out the who-done-it. I think my mind likes to try and solve problems and mysteries. As much as I thrill at figuring out who did it before the end I respect the books all the more when you can't guess who it is til the end.

As I got older it turned into Sherlock Holmes and other sorts of great criminal-detective stories.

I love Dorothy Sayers "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries some of my all-time favorites! I thoroughly enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Novels. Very fun. I love the Father Brown Series by G.K. Chesterton.

But it was only recently I was introduced to Agatha Christie. How I managed to NOT read her my whole life is a sincere puzzle. I think I thought she was a romance writer or something. Shame, shame. But now I've been enjoying a whole litany of books... it's been so wonderful. And who out there doesn't love Miss Marple?!

I also love the series by the husband-wife team who writes under the name of Cleo Coyle. They write a series of Coffee House Mysteries. I love the mystery aspect but I must confess I love the coffee knowledge that they infuse in the stories... as well as the recipes. I really do love coffee! They also write under the name Alice Kimberly under the Haunted Bookshop series. I've never read any of them but I hope to sometime.

I don't like creepy thriller books though (mysteries included). I do get scared pretty easily. Although I did manage to get through Dracula okay when Mike read it out loud. I don't do ghost stories well. Yet murder mysteries are okay.... weird, I know.

Currently reading the Boxcar Children to Libby. Hope to branch her out further as she gets older.

One of my favorite kind of days is when it's rainy and I have nothing to do but snuggle underneath a blanket, drink hot chocolate and read a good book.

Do you have any mystery suggestions? What are your favorites?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fear of Failing... and why it's killing me.

I don't think I realized how deep my fear of failing is until recently.

Mike and I had been going through this discussion of whether or not we should keep Penny (our dog). She had been really difficult with potty training but that was expected. It was her biting the kids that was a persistent and worsening issue.

I came to realize that part of my adamant reason for wanting to keep her was because I was afraid I failed if I gave her up. I was equating my success with being able to train a puppy. I was wanting to impress people... see, I have five small children and a puppy. I can do it.

I didn't want to give up. I didn't want to quit. I didn't want to let it go. I read online. I gathered resources from the library. I tried. We were going to have a professional help us with training the dog...

But, before it went that far my parents found someone who wanted Penny. A deaf man had really become quite taken with that little bundle of love, energy, and bite. I knew it would be better for her to not be surrounded by hyper kids... I knew it was better for the kids to not be bitten... but I didn't want to be a quitter.

I get like that about weird things. I am afraid of what someone will think of my parenting. My ability to manage my home. My body. Etc. I fear the criticism. I fear not being accepted. So I will take something on like it's "do-or-die" that has no place having that kind of priority. I put so much pressure on myself. Pressure to be perfect. Pressure to impress.

I'm trying to wean myself off of this. Allow myself to be human. To err. Make mistakes. I am trying to be patient with myself. To do what's best for my family. It probably won't look the same for your family. For your parenting. For your house. Learning to revel in the intimate ways God made me and designed my family. My needs are different from yours. What works for me might not work for you.

So failing. Yeah, it will happen. But I'm not living for you approval... or even for my approval. I hope to live for God's approval. Live my life for an audience of One. But man, it's hard, isn't it?!

Being Stood Up.

I'm sure no one likes being stood up. I know I don't. Well, this past week, not once, twice, but THREE times I have done a "no-show". 

First- baby shower for my editor of a magazine I write for.... Went to bed and just as I was about to turn out the light I realized... Oh no! The shower was tonight! Not only was I disappointed to not bless my friend... but I missed out on Cheesecake Factory.

Second- Bridal shower for my cousin-to-be. I had been anticipating this shower since I received the invitation. Present cutely wrapped. Wearing a cute dress, red high-heels, make-up and I fixed my hair. When lo and behold I discovered at 1:30 that the shower was not at 3 that afternoon but was at 10:30 in the morning. Missed it completely!

Third- I was supposed to be at home for a meeting. Weeeeellll... I got a couple texts the night before and was asked to meet with my friend and then later my cousin. I was so excited I forgot someone was coming to my house... So she showed up and I wasn't there.

Yikes. Scary, huh. My brain is slipping. My birthday is in 10 days but come on, 32 is not that old :)

So give grace to a person who forgets. It happens even with the best of intentions.

Hoping I can catch up to myself... and if I missed an event... I'm SORRY!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day.

My Mom and I don't look alike. She's fair, blonde and petite and very cute. I'm tall, freckled and brunette. 

My Mom, My Hero.
My Mom might appear to most as an ordinary woman but she's not. She's pretty amazing. She has raised three children. She has been married almost 34 years. My mom's a teacher.

My mom teaches children with autism. She has put up with kids biting, kicking, scratching, screaming, and trying to hurt her. And she LOVES those kids.

She has supported me for as long as I can remember. I remember an awards ceremony where I wasn't picked. She helped me blow it off by taking me out to a special lunch and a shirley temple. I thought I was big stuff.

My Mom wrote notes in my lunchbox. She asked me how my day was. She came to my games in highschool and my plays. She watched me perform dozens of skits and musicals at home with my siblings and cousins. My mom is thoughtful.

My mom loves Jesus. She loves spending time with Him. Reading the Word. Going to Bible studies. I see her drinking coffee Bible on her lap.

She knows what it is to suffer. She lost my sister, Libby, and nephew, Sam and she has grieved hard.

She protects those who aren't protected. Those with special needs. Those who are insignificant, ignored, and mocked.

Not everyone gets to have a mom. And those who do, most don't seem to have a good relationship with their mother. I recognized that I am someone who is seriously blessed.

My Mom has written me cards when I was downcast. I know she prayed for me when I was in the pit of despair. She beared with me when I was a crazy bride-to-be. My mom believes in me... that someday I will be a writer... make that a published writer.

My Mom is beautiful. She always has been and always will be. She's lovely and feminine and smells nice. She's feisty and honest and has the most distinctive laugh, which I love. I love her style. I love her spunkiness. And I love that I am her daughter.

I love you Mom. Happy Mother's Day! Thanks for putting up with such craziness for so long. Thanks for knowing me at my worst and loving me anyway. Thanks for showing me what it is to be a mom.


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Me & Peej

Peter and I have had the morning to ourselves. He has been a grumpy cling monster which fortunately is very UNcharacteristic of him. In fact he's wailing so bad right now I can't even right more. So there you go. That's how my day rolls.

"Whenever I think I've finally made it I find another hurdle to jump." Quoted by Me.