Thursday, March 28, 2013

I love my job

While Dad works on the basement renovation, the kids and I played some basketball tonight at the park.  The girls were winning 8-0.  The only person to score (me) was taller than 5'1".  My teammate asked why the boys kept taking the ball from her.  Her younger brother answered her with, "Because you're the worst!"

As you can imagine, that instantly produced tears in her eyes.  She was wailing that she was done and wanted to go home.  I gathered the kids together and we chatted about how it would feel to have someone say that to you.  And then I awarded my girl five free throws for getting her feelings hurt.  With a smile, she planted her feet and took her shots.

Then the boys got to take some shots, and then it was their sister's turn again.  They had a blast seeing if they could make any baskets.

By the time the sun was going down and it was time to pack it in and go home, they were all best friends again. 

I love being here with them for these experiences, being Mom, so that I can teach them the right way to treat each other and to react to each other.  Things that they don't learn when they're hanging out with 100 kids on the playground at school.

I love my job.

The best of me

I think the last couple of days has been enough to push me over the edge.  I can't quite tell you what the edge is or what's below it, but I'm going over.

I'm getting tired of Facebook.  I've been growing tired of it for a while.  Not everything about it, but a good portion of it.

Today I changed my homepages on my browser so that Facebook was not one of them. 

Perhaps it's that when I think about what I wanted out of Facebook, I think of what I want to share with my family and close friends.  And that's not what it is anymore.  At least not to me.  I think others got tired of it long before I did.

As I think of how I use Facebook, I think about promoting what I write on this blog.  But really, we can all agree that I'm no "Pioneer Woman" and I never will be.  So I don't need to maintain a presence just to promote myself anymore. 

I think of the friends I have on there.  Some I have known most of my life.  Some are new friends who are quite dear to me.  But many are acquaintances who I have no real reason to be connected to... except that this is what we do on Facebook. 

"Hey, I know them." 
Click 'Add'

I think about the things I share, which often reflect my personal thoughts and beliefs, thoughts and beliefs that a good portion of my Facebook friends don't agree with.  But I don't share those thoughts to get in arguments; I share because it's what I'm thinking.  And I don't even know what I can say on my own Facebook page without getting yelled at.

So perhaps, I need to step away.


I've been feeling overwhelmed lately.  I admit that a good part of that has been the slow accumulation of papers throughout my house.  On my dresser.  On the spare table.  In the corner.  In the other corner.  In the other other corner.  On the floor.  And I let them sit there. 

I feel like I'm always forgetting something.  But I'll check the news a few times a day.  And then my Facebook feed.  I'm overwhelmed but I don't need to be.  I'm letting myself be overwhelmed by the things that don't matter.  I need to disconnect, to some degree, because I don't need to know what an acquaintance from 15 yeas ago is doing today.  I don't need to know that Hollywood is making a new movie about this baseball star.

I need to spend more time doing what's best for my family.  I'll still be here.  If you really want to know what I think, you can see my blog.  And I will still update Facebook.  Maybe.  But I don't want to look at it every time I open my browser. 

And that Facebook-Friend weeding I did a while back?  It's going to happen again, much more dramatically.  I'm cutting back on the things that distract me.  Don't take it personally.  It's what my family needs, to get the best of me.

Friday, March 22, 2013

More humility for me

Just when I think I'm doing a good job of parenting...

Seven year old Simon, biting into his orange quarter: It'd be so awesome if there was such a thing as an Orange Tree.

blink, blink
Did my child really just say that??? 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Children learn what they live

I've been thinking a lot about my family and what is best for them.  I keep coming back to the title of a poem that I've been familiar with for years: "Children Learn What They Live." 

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte

If children live with criticism, 
They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight. 

If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy. 

If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.

If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.

If children live with acceptance,
They learn to love. 

If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.
If children live with honesty,
They learn truthfulness.
If children live with security,
They learn to have faith in themselves and others.
 If children live with friendliness,
They learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

I want to teach my children the right way to live...  I want them to have the best influences showing them the right way to live.  And I'm willing to challenge The Status Quo to do it.


Wanda's Guide to March Madness

My hubby makes me pick a bracket.  Every year.  I have a special way of picking.  Some wives pick by team colours.  Other wives pick by which mascot is tougher.  Not me.

I pick by coolness of team name.

Anything with a High-Point Value Scrabble Letter (HPVSL) is going to take precedence in my bracket.  The more HPVSL, the better.  Beyond that, if there aren't very many interesting HPVSLs, I will pick the cool name.  If there is no cool name, I go for my favourite (movie, place to visit, word.)

Now bear in mind that I will always pick 1-3 seeds in the first round.  A 4-seed could get booted if the 13-seed has an especially awesome name.  Anything beyond that is entirely up to "awesomeness of name."

Given those parameters, this is who I have chosen this year.  

I can't tell you how excited I was to discover that Gonzaga was a #1 seed and that Marquette was a #3 seed!  And Georgetown against Gonzaga...  That's four Gs and a Z in the final game.  It can't get much better than that.

(Let it be noted that while Bucknell has a cooler name than Butler, Butler has been my friend for years, coming through for me on strength of name when it was a lowly double-digit seed.)

(Let it also be noted that I will always pick against Duke when I can.  All rules of picking get thrown out when Duke is in the mix.)

Disappointments this year:
1.  I love picking Wake Forest.  Every time someone says "Wake Forest" I either think "Run Forrest, run" or "Someone get that Forest an alarm clock so we don't have to tell people to wake it."
2:  The first time my hubby mentioned the University of Connecticut, I heard "Yukon."  I love picking U-Conn, simply because of the Canadian Territory connection.
3.  We have enough connections to Cornell that we enjoyed rooting for them last year.  I'm disappointed to not be able to pick them.
4.  Xavier and Villanova are perennial picks for me.  Disappointment.

And that's that.

How do you choose your bracket?

*This is a No-Fail way to really have fun and totally randomize your bracket.  This is not a No-Fail way to win.  But I did come in second two years ago.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

For Use With the Sheerest of Fabric

I imagine this sewing machine and the air loom would be used to make the Emporer's New Clothes...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Status Quo Sucks

I have so many things that I want to share with you, my reader, a reader who may actually care about me and my family.  I'm staring at a blank page today and I'm trying to figure out what I should share...  What details to give, what topics to discuss.

I've decided I can't.  I don't think I'm ready to share yet.  At least not most of it.

But I'd love to encourage you to look at things differently.  Don't be content to always do things the same way just because that's how we've always done things.  As George Carlin said, "The status quo sucks."

Let me jump around a bit.

We sang these words this morning and I never paid as much attention to them as I did today.  There is so much depth to them.  I got stuck dreaming about the first verse for a while and then got lost in the last verse.

Come Thou fount of ev'ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy grace Lord like a fetter
Bind my wand'ring heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

I really don't want to care what men think of me.  I really want only to care what God thinks of me.

There is nothing new under the sun.  We can repackage ideas, but there really is nothing new. So I want to find and chase what God wants for me.  I want to challenge the status quo.  I want to fill this earthen vessel with whatever was meant to fill it.

I'll leave you with this, from Robert Browning:
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be:
Time's wheel runs back or stops: Potter and clay endure.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Sick Day Movie

My youngest is home sick today.  I gave him a mild breakfast and told him he could watch a movie if he wanted.  After looking through our selection of movies, mostly cartoons, he selected "Soul Surfer."  If you're unfamiliar with this live-action movie, let me sum up:  It tells the true story of Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her arm to a shark attack when she was a young teenager.  With her faith in God, she overcame this injury to be highly competitive in the surfing world, winning titles with one arm.

As I was setting it up I saw the PG rating, noting that the subject matter may not be suitable for some children.  I asked my boy what he liked about this movie.    "Is it because of the competition in surfing, the story about her overcoming a huge obstacle?"

He thought for a moment and said, "Kind of both.  And that part where they call her a miracle kind of reminds me of Joseph [in the Bible]."  *insert mother's melting heart emoticon*

There's hope for this boy yet.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Best Foot Forward

When I wrote the title for this blog, I misspelled "Forward."  My fingers started moving too quickly and the "r" got in front of the "o."  Since I've been typing this, I have made about 12 mistakes and had to go back and correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.  Five more mistakes were made typing that last sentence.

I am nowhere near perfect.  (I had to google "nowhere" to see if it was one word or two.)

I am realizing, through a book that I am reading, that when I always put my best foot forward, I can actually be quite a discouragement to others.  We live in a Pinterest world now, a world where we imagine that every other mother/father/employee/family is doing amazing things. 

I might post one recipe about the bread that I made by hand...  But right now we're eating store-bought bread because my kids got tired of homemade bread and my bread-maker paddle broke and I don't want to knead bread every day.

I might share a cool craft/snack that I did to teach my kids about music theory...  But more often than not we're not doing music theory!  I'm just happy that my kids are tracing Super Mario characters from the Wii game case.

I might talk about how I get my kids cleaning around the house...  but right now there is urine dehydrating itself on the downstairs toilet seat and I am not planning to do anything about it.

I might plan fancy meals to serve my friends...  But I'm lucky if I can figure out what to make for dinner each day, let alone have a balanced meal.

I might have a Bible verse to share about a certain subject...  But I probably googled it because I couldn't remember where it was or exactly what it said.

And I may have a Bachelor's degree in Egnlsih  but this is what this post would have looked liked with a out any editing or red lines to tell me whern I misspelled something.

Let's be real with each other.  It's okay to share some awesomeness that just happened, but it's also good to be real about our struggles and imperfections.  I propose that being real is more likely to build someone up than putting our best foot forward all the time.

I made these pictures extra big so you could see how amazing we are...

These smiles on my children were only given when I threatened to not give them Christmas presents if they didn't smile with Grandma and Grandpa.  They may have thought I was joking.
Most pictures of me look this awesome.

My boy and his most natural behaviour. (See any resemblance?)

Why do I try to photograph these children?  It looked so cute when those other kids did it on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind

I've been doing a lot of reading lately.  Usually I read fiction and my Bible...  more fiction than Bible, if I'm being honest.  But lately, I've been choosing some materials that challenge the way I think about things.  I like learning and I like a good healthy debate, so it makes sense that I am enjoying these books.  I don't necessarily agree with everything I'm reading, but I'm enjoying understanding where the writers are coming from.

Book #1 I've been reading for a little over a month as part of an online discussion group.  The book is about modern churches compared to New Testament churches.  It has challenged me to see what our churches are doing that is holding us back from what God really wants from us, as a church family.  I am very encouraged, as I process what I read, to see that my Freedom In Christ church family is doing a lot of what the author (and the Bible) contends that churches should be doing.  I do not agree with everything the author says, but I appreciate the prod to look at Scripture with a fresh eye.

Book #2 I started reading at a friend's house (six hours from my own house) and had to order it for myself so I could finish.  It's a book that challenges me to do hard things.  Hard things are different for each person so I have been challenged to step outside of my comfort zone and investigate doing things that I hadn't considered before.  I'm sure I will have more to share about that later.  But in the meantime, I am very excited to be investigating the "hard things" that I hope to do.  Which leads me to...

Books #3 and #4.  These books have encouraged me as a mother.  I am realizing that I don't have to be perfect, that every home and family is different, and that I was created by God to be (among other things) the only mother guiding my children through their youth.  I am having fun discovering new ways that I can do this and have wonderful friends who are helping me along the way.

Have you had anything that has challenged your thinking lately?  What are you mulling over that you didn't pay much heed to in the past?