Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Charlie Bob

I had to take a moment to blog about my Josie. She is so funny. I was talking to her tonight and I asked her a question. She told me her answer and I asked her who told her that. She replied, "Charlie". I said, "Charlie, who?". She then says, "Charlie Bob", as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Well, we don't know anyone named Charlie, much less Charlie Bob, so I started asking questions. We soon discovered that Charlie Bob is her friend, he has brown hair and blue eyes and is "berry tall". He lives in Bob (who would have guessed- Lisa Dawn said it must be something like Jesus of Nazareth living in Nazareth!). He loves "chicken nails" french fries, and chocolate milk. No wonder he and Josie are friends! She did also say that his favorite color is blue, which according to her, is her, "last favorite color" (orange is her current fav). Anyhow, I know it is pretty silly but it was just one of those beautiful childhood moments. I hope Charlie Bob sticks around for a while. :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Wonders

Winter Wonders

We have had so much fun already this winter. These are a few photos of some of the fun we have had. The snow followed me from Colorado and the kids are loving it. They had to build a snowman at 10:00 pm the first night there was accumulation. We had a chance to go sledding up in the beautiful mountains- even I enjoyed it and normally I hate snow! We also have had some fun culinary delights. I treated the boys to snowman pancakes one night for dinner. We made yummy brownie bites and sundaes for a game night, too. We have also attended the Nutcracker ballet (and had the Cheescake Factory!), Dinner Theater (Katy and Lisa Dawn acted in a really cute play) and had several carol sings and game nights. We discovered the joy of puzzles. I know it sounds so "senior moment" but it is so fun we bought three more to do! It has really been a good old-fashioned Christmas. I am loving all the fun family times and there is more to come!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Okay, so I have failed yet again. I have let my blogging fall far,far behind. However, as my sister likes to say, "Start where you are." So here I am. I can't think of anything wonderful to say. However, I did want to share what my thought for the season has been. Every Christmas it seems that something about the blessed Story strikes me anew. This year I have been completely humbled by the fact that Christ arrived as a ...baby. I know, you are thinking, "She's lost it! We hear that every year-the whole swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. What's there to think about?" Well, perhaps you have thought about it. I have too, but never as deeply as I have recently.

I have been moved to the point of tears, crying over the fact that my perfect, awesome Savior came to earth as a tiny,fragile, helpless newborn. He had peach-fuzz hair and silken cheeks. He smelled like a baby smelled. The only form of communication He had was the tiny, weak cry of someone who had only just learned how to draw a breath. He couldn't do anything for Himself, but He would do everything for us. How did Mary feel? I am sure in part these thoughts come to me because of my own sweet boy. My heart breaks with my love for him, Mary must have loved Jesus even more. I have such hopes and dreams for Carson (and Josie!) and neither of them is the only Son of the Living God. Whoa! It is truly incomprehensible. But I will praise God for His perfect plan, and continue to be completely overwhelmed by the thought of a precious, precious Baby coming to die for me.
So, there is my cheesy post. I know often the things that seem so significant to me are often elicit responses of "she is so weird" but yet I feel compelled to post this anyway. No one should feel forced to comment but I hope that this Christmas season that you get a new thought about the same wonderful Story, too.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Begins with the Letter C?

I did the Scattergories questions from my aunt's and sisters' blogs. However, if someone comes up with some more entertaining ones I would be happy to answer them, too. These are kind of boring! You are supposed to answer all the questions using the first letter of your first name. You can't use your own name for any answer other than the first question.

What's your name: Clare
A four letter word: Cute
A boy's name: Carson :)
A girl's name: Chloe
An occupation: Camera man
A color: Cerulean-love it!
Something you wear: Clothes-duh!
A beverage: Coffee-loving being in Seattle-"hoffee" everyday as the kids would say.
Something found in a bathroom: Counters, contact lenses
A place:Connecticut
A reason to be late: Cat got away!

BTW-What do you think of my new wallpaper? I am uncertain as to how I feel about it.

Christmas Cacophony

Ever since I was very young I have loved Christmas. As a child if you had asked me what my favorite holiday was, I would have quickly replied that it was the 25th of December. However, as an adult I have become disillusioned with the whole season. It is crazy in my mind that all holidays are defined by how close they are to Christmas. Soon, we will even know how many days are between the 4th of July and Christmas! I tire of all the lights and the decor after about the second month they are up, which now is usually around November. Thanksgiving, what is Thanksgiving? It is just Eve of the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year! In some ways it has made me want to become anti-Christmas.
I realized though, that feeling that way was no more appropriate than buying into the over-commercialization of Christmas. So it has lead me to try and decipher what really makes this holiday tick. I know the easy (and cliche!) answer is to, "Put Christ back in Christmas", but truly that is a little too trite. I have begun to evaluate the traditions and schedules to determine what will really make Christmas special and meaningful to my family. This year I am trying some new things. Joel and I have decided to really scale back in the gift department. My mom convinced me that buying no gifts wasn't really fair, but I do not have plans to spend more than about $25 on the kids. Instead, I plan on wrapping things I would have bought them no matter the season. I think that will help to remind me of the blessings we receive all year, like new clothes. Also, I have decided to make sure I am really thinking about things I "always" do, like filling an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and throwing coins in the Salvation Army bucket.
I would really like to have a chat with myself when I was about 12. I did some really clever things to celebrate and I really seemed to be able to catch the true spirit of the holiday. I think in a lot of ways it was because it was all fresh and new, and I wasn't so worldly-"wise" and over-scheduled. I want this year to be different, new things and new ways. Christmas should be anticipated, not dreaded. I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Birthday Crab

Today was the much anticipated birthday. I was officially the birthday crab. Pretty much every birthday someone in our family is one and this time it happened to be me. I don't know if it is that birthdays are overwhelming with all the fun and expectations and anticipation but whatever the cause it seems that someone is usually all in a huff. I have to apologize because I was a big, evil beast. 
     I was grumpy because I tried to Skype with Joel (if you don't know what that is ask me later because it takes a while to explain) and it didn't work so well. I felt really guilty because I left Josie with my mom so I could have lunch with my dad and my sister. Then, I didn't really plan anything special or buy her any gifts. That was no one's fault but my own. Joel and I decided that we weren't buying the kids any gifts for their birthdays or Christmas that amount to anything because they have so much. I bought Josie a Barbie doll from her brother and that was it. Trust me though, thanks to my very generous parents and sisters she wasn't lacking for anything. I think her day turned out well for her in the end. 
     I am just sorry for my bad attitude. I am thankful that she won't remember it when she is older. The Lord is always trying to teach me that I am never glad that I have had a bad attitude. I just regret it sooner or later. I should learn that no one expects perfection of me but me. It is really ridiculous to take out my frustrations with myself on everyone else. I will just keep praying and maybe someday I'll get it right the first time!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Road Trip

We are here at my mom's finally, actually we arrived on Thursday. It was a very looong trip and I am glad that, "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise", I will be flying back. That has it's own set of unique problems, but it doesn't usually take 3 days. (For those of you who don't know, we started out at my sister's in Texas, 'cause it's only 2 days from the homestead.) I learned a lot of things on this trip- don't put soda in a sippy cup, no matter what kind, don't give a 3 year-old anything because they will throw it in the floor, peeing by the side of the road is a child's rite-of-passage, and always know where the handle is on the roof of the van because my sister drives like a demon! Also, built-in DVD players are a gift from the hand of God, and gas under $2.00 counts as a miracle.

Anyway, we are here and I will have to try to be more diligent about blogging. Tomorrow's is the big 0-3 for Josie. We are having giant Costco "bupcakes" and I think we will start the Riddle tradition of breakfast in bed. Being with all her cousins and aunts and uncles is a party every day, but I think we might have a scavenger hunt or something, too. We'll see. Really, it's all about counting off the days until the Christmas shopping season starts. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here Comes the Wagon Train!

So, I am finally here at my sister's, hence the lack of posting. However, she went away for the weekend and I am here with four children by myself. Not a big deal for other people, but a little frightening for me since often I struggle to control my own two offspring! Surprisingly, or more likely the result of A LOT of prayer, things are going well. Gillyan caught a little bit of a stomach bug and made a lovely mess on the floor of her brother's room but other than that, the last 24 hours have been rather uneventful. I did have a precious moment this morning that reminded me that the Lord did give me a few tricks when it comes to having kids.

Carson was being a little crabby; he hasn't adjusted seamlessly to sleeping in the pack and play. Normally at home he gets in his bed for nap and spends a few minutes cooing at the ceiling and then goes to sleep. That hasn't been the case here. Since the kids were all up and playing (noise, of course, being the natural result of interaction between kids aged 3, almost 5 and 6) I didn't want to just throw him in there because I assumed he wouldn't be able to put himself to sleep. My sister is an immaculate housekeeper and the house is already showing wear and tear from just a short absence on her part and I was worried that if I didn't at least make an attempt to put things back together that by tomorrow they would be beyond repair. What to do? Carson is too big to tote on my hip for more than a few minutes. Then I spied the laundry basket that is serving as his make-shift Bumbo seat (boy, I miss that thing!). Then for once in my life I had a creative thought. I put Carson in the basket with a bunch of blankets, pulled a long blanket through the handle on one side and presto! instant wagon. I did laundry, put away toys and picked up the kitchen while pulling him behind me. I also got some sweet pictures once he fell asleep-clearly the best benefit of a laundry-wagon. It made me feel good to know that I could do something special for him.

Anyway, I am sure everyone who is reading this is feeling sorry for my poor children and their creatively-disabled mother/aunt. They don't seem to mind though, and that is the beauty of children. A couple of orange sodas and some games of Chutes and Ladders have elevated my aunt status. Josie doesn't even care if I am here or not since "Giddian and Gillian (she says it Gill-e-un)" are here. So, as long as I go fix lunch soon I think we are all good!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Big Blur

I really don't know how to classify what happened this weekend. Actually, this whole week has kind of been a blur! My mom keeps telling me I need to simplify my schedule, but it is a little late now. I leave for Texas on Tuesday so it won't do me any good. Anyhow, a quick rundown of my schedule for last week reveals:
Monday-play date in the morning, drop off Josie, 4 hour Bible read in the afternoon (a really neat experience by the way)
Tuesday-PWOC in the morning, I had to take a potluck dish which I hate! lunch,nap and then Target that night (more of an ordeal for me by myself with two kids than it should be) Wednesday-I had to look for a smaller stroller because I can't fit my huge double train, oops I mean stroller, in my sister's van and it is also a huge, both literal and physical, in the airport. I also had a return to the mall so those errands occupied most of my day.
Thursday-make up study and lunch with my PWOC Bible study group. That lasts a lot longer than I think and I am home by almost 3:00pm in time to find out I planned the wrong Awana lesson for that night. Great! I totally revamp it, race to the commissary to buy Twinkies-everyone and there dog was there and it wasn't even payday! The Twinkie lesson is a big hit. I head home to plan "favors" for my Friday group.
Friday-My Bible study at church is on Friday mornings. I was 30 minutes late due to various hang-ups, but I arrived "favors" in hand (which we didn't even end up using!). Lunch with the girl who is house-sitting for me, home for a couple of hours and then back out to a friend's house for an Arbonne party.
This is where is gets ugly. My truck decides not to start. We jump it-no success. My friend's mother-in-law graciously offers me and my children a ride to the south end of town-30 minutes away! We arrive to discover that I left my house key at my friend's house. I frantically call the girl who is house-sitting (praise the Lord I had given her my spare that very day!) she brings it over. All is well, right?
Saturday- My friends drive my truck back to me. It had started with no problem-maybe there are such things as Gremlins? I feel "funky" which spirals into a (thankfully short) case of stomach bug. Another friend picks Josie up to spend the night which allows me to go to bed at 8:30 pm.
Anyway, that is my crazy week. I write this more for my own memory, certainly to remind me that God carries me through! I forgot to add that somewhere in there my phone stopped working and I had to switch it out with my husband's. I didn't do any packing and precious little house cleaning so that all awaits today. I suppose the moral of the story is that I really can do all things through Christ who gives me strength but I probably shouldn't try to literally do everything! Oh well, that can be my New Year's resolution... :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

I am sure there will be many posts on the election results. I, however, feel the need to record my thoughts for posterity (or at least clarity!). First of all, God has not abandoned us! He has not ignored the prayers of the faithful. I know my own heart, I have repented on behalf of the nation, but as the prophets of the Old Testament knew so well (not that I put myself on any kind of level with them) that a personal right relationship with God does not a godly nation make.

Second, using the nation of Israel as a model, they were forced to pay mightily for their choices against God but He still blessed the righteous within their ranks. He did not punish the innocent, and I have to believe that Jeremiah 29:11 was not defeated with John McCain. God can see the future (thank goodness!) and He uses EVERYTHING to bring glory to Himself- even this. I can begin to see that this may be an opportunity to allow America to suffer from her choices, fall into the pit, and begin to crave Him anew.

I refuse to believe that this is a situation without hope-Romans 8:28 is not a cliche! These old, favorite Scriptures are just as true now as they were during the difficult times they were written. Hebrews 13:8 is also comforting: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!" No matter the political situation, the economic crisis, the lack of regard for His principles. He still loves everyone and is drawing us to Him. I don't want to stand in the way of God's plan, so I will continue to do what He has called me to. Although, honestly, I may take a few minutes to cry first...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Answer is "Yes"

So I will let you in a common conversation between my daughter and me. It goes something like this (tonight we were in the car on the way home):

"Mom, can I watch George Monkey?"
"Mom, when we get home can I watch George Monkey?"
"When we get home can I watch T.B.?" (this is how Josie refers to the television)
"Yes, Josie"
"What, Josie?"
"Can I watch George on T.B.?"
"Didn't I just say yes?"
"But mom, just listen, listen to me!"
"I'm listening Josie, and I said yes."
"Okay, Mom, but can I watch George?"

I'm not kidding-that is pretty much how the conversation proceeded verbatim. I spent the rest of the time on the way home pondering why she feels compelled to continue asking when I have already said yes. Then it got me to thinking. I wondered if God ever feels that way about us. He must look at us as we continue to question and nag Him about things He has already promised us. I was really struck today by Hebrews 4:16 which says, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and and find grace to help us in our time of need." Whoa! I don't have to be afraid of God, I don't have to keep questioning Him. I can be CONFIDENT, completely assured, that He will keep His word.

Sometimes, I think Josie asks because she is afraid I will change my answer. His "yes" is always "yes" in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3). I know other times I think she asks repeatedly because she thinks (and sometimes with me it is true) that I am not listening. He is always listening-and He always cares! Then other times, she asks because she is not listening to me-how often that is true in my own life. I would not cling tightly to my load of worry and care if I really rested on His promises. I also think sometimes she nags because I have said yes but she has not seen immediate results. Oh, how I need to be still and allow God to work in His perfect time. Thank You, Lord for helping me to see myself through Josie. Allow me to be as patient with her as You are with me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Did It!

I had to crow about the fact that I VOTED TODAY! I am so excited that I am all done. I look forward to voting in the sense that I am eager to do my civic duty, but I worry about it, too. I worry that I won't be able to because I am not registered, or the polls will be closed or a hundred other senseless things. However, I have to worry no longer. I went with my friend Susan (I am so grateful she was willing to go with me). I took the kids, the double-stroller was a little bit of a tight fit, but we made it. All of the voting machines were brand-new computerized ones, with touch screens. Josie got to press some of the buttons, so she got an "I Voted" sticker, too.

I love feeling like voting is my chance to make a difference in government. I actually studied up on all the different amendments and things this year, instead of just checking the box for my presidential choice and leaving it at that. I voted against higher taxes and for an amendment that specifies life begins at birth. It felt good to know that I was able to share my beliefs, at least on some small level. I am hoping to be more civic-minded in the future and vote in more elections, not just the presidential ones. However, I am glad to be done for this year, and if you haven't done it yet-GO VOTE!

Monday, October 27, 2008

English 101

I have a confession to make (but it will be kind of obvious) . I abuse the poor punctuation mark known as the exclamation . I am sure many of you have noticed by now, but I think everything deserves to be said emphatically. I am trying to reform, and only use it for the most important sentences, those deserving of passion and vigor. I like to say everything with feeling, but no one wants to read a post that makes them feel like they are being yelled at. (Sorry, mom, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition but I couldn't think of a better way to say it. ) At least I don't write in all capitals, right? To that end, in honor of the glorious English exclamation point, I have written this entire post (all six or so sentences ) without using it so that the next time I do it will be able to retain all its meaning. (Wow, I really wanted to end that last sentence with an exclamation-I think I need therapy. Do they offer Punctuation Abusers Anonymous? Hello, my name is Clare and I am an Exclamation-Point over-user...)

Friday, October 24, 2008

You're Invited to My Pity Party!

I am so frustrated. I have lost a little change purse that I keep a couple of store credit cards, stamps and a few other card-type things in. This is the second time I have misplaced it in as many months (the first time Josie took it) and I am just so mad at myself. I know there are thousands of strategies to keep me more organized and I am sure they are all terrific. That is not what I am looking for. I don't want answers, mostly I just want pity. I know, it is really such a stupid thing to be upset over, I should just cancel the credit cards and move on. However, I am not sure, but I think I may be taking it as a symbol of other happenings in my life.

First, it has made me feel really powerless. I have not a clue what may have happened to it. I cannot even remember distinctly the last time I had it. I don't want to look for it, I just want it to magically appear. (I know God can do that, but I am guessing He probably won't.) I cannot make it happen no matter how much I want to. I feel that way about a lot of things right now, like finishing school or making Joel come home.

Second, it has made me feel saddened. Why would someone want my little coin purse? It has an ID slot that I put a little family photo in. It has my in-case-of-emergency card from the Army in it. Why would you ever take something that doesn't belong to you? It has nothing that would benefit anybody, really, except for the stamps. They are welcome to those if they just give me back everything else! I think it has just made me feel like there are no honest people in the world. The election makes me feel the same way. There is nothing I can really do to improve the condition of our very sin-sick world, or so I feel sometimes when I am overwhelmed by the depressing news.

Third, it has made me feel disorganized. I have four important things in my purse and pretty much nothing else besides chapstick and a hairbrush: my wallet, my cell phone, my keys and my coin purse. Why cannot I not keep up with those few things? Why am I such a scatterbrain?
It leads me to think that I must be totally incompetent as a wife and mother. Joel hates it when I lose things; he thinks it is irresponsible (he is pretty much right). I have let my guilt about this trickle over in to other things, I feel like I cannot even perform the most simple task.

I know if you are still reading at this point you have lots of solutions for me. Thanks, but I don't want them. I just want to take a little time and feel sorry for myself. I know it is my own fault; I am pretty good at making myself feel guilty. However, if you want to be encouraging, like telling me that I am not a loser, or sharing a story about something you lost, that would be great. Most of all, I would appreciate any prayers you would like to offer on this silly subject. I know that in the bigger scheme of things the purse itself is inconsequential. But, like I said, I think I am using it as a metaphor for other happenings in my life. Please forgive my shallowness and if nothing else pray that the Lord will show me how to grow through this and be more mature (and responsible!). Thanks!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You're It!

I never post twice in the same day, however, I have been "blog-tagged" by my friend Jen. She said I have to list 6 interesting things about myself. I am so excited to do it I will break my own self-imposed "post every two days" rule.

1. I love to dunk my cookies in milk. The thought of soggy cookies does not disgust me at all. To the contrary, I have been known to pass on hard cookies if there is no milk to dunk them in. Just today I let Josie dunk her cookies-in my milk-and she thought it was the greatest thing ever!

2. My biggest house pet peeve is hair. I despise finding hair on anything-most especially the bathroom floor. I try my hardest to keep up with it. I am thankful that I am the only one who really loses any great amount of hair. Hopefully, by the time Josie is old enough to shed she will also be old enough to clean it up.

3. I am the biggest unashamed copy-cat. If someone does something that I like or admire chances are good that I will do it, too. Well, if it is within my power to do so. Things like sewing, baking, fill-in-the-blank with any assorted domestic task, really fall outside the realm. I have a blog because I am a copycat. Same thing with my Vera purses, my tan and black color scheme, my love of Longabergers... the list goes on and on. I really believe imitation is the highest form of flattery.

4. I almost never pay more than $20 for any item of clothing. Actually, I can only think of about six things in my closet I paid that much for. Really, my limit is about $10. I can usually tell you the price of everything I have on. Today for example: $3 Old Navy fleece, $4 purple Gap tank, $3 American Eagle jeans (yard sale find!). I just realized it is a little sad that I paid the most for my tank! Jeans are usually the only thing I am willing to break my "rule" for. I love a bargain!

5. If I could play any musical instrument it would be... the drums! I would love to be the drummer in a band. I think they have the coolest part. They are the rhythm and I love the beat. Too bad I can't keep time-but I told my friends the other day that maybe in heaven I will have the talent to play the drums.

6. I am obsessed with Internet quizzes. I love learning random facts about people. I actually created a short one the other day and sent it to Joel. That is the only type of acceptable forward in my mind. (I HATE FORWARDS!!!) It is pretty much the only type of thing I will send on. I love any kind, the one word answer, the yes or no, yep I like them all. I think that is why I was so enamored to be asked to be part of blog-tag, because it is kind of the same deal.

Well, there are my six things. I get to tag people now... yea! If you don't do this....well nothing bad will happen, but I will be mad! I just want to learn strange things about everyone. I think it makes me feel better about myself. :) I tag: Rachel Dawn, Robyn and my mom, Lisa. I won't tag any more people so that they will have someone to tag!

If You Listen...

I have really been having some "bad mom" moments lately. It is hard to switch from being half of a pair to going it alone. Especially when the other half it the disciplinarian! Josie and I a seem to butt heads much more frequently than we see eye to eye. I want to be nice, but to be honest she doesn't seem to respond to a bribe as well as she does to a threat. However, there have been some things that we have been doing that are working well. We have been having Friday night "movie night". We put Carson to bed and we watch a girl movie-usually Cinderella (I have got to find something new!) and have "copcorn". Also, we like to go to lunch at Sonic on Saturdays, just the two of us-Carson usually tags along and naps. Eating our lunches (not ever a problem for me, but you have to play along with an almost 3 year old) earns us the "milkashakes" of our choice, "Strawbaberry" for me and "Peanut Butter Budge" for Josie, as she puts it.

I am learning to stand my ground and not be such a pushover. She seems to be responding better to the mix of "special fun times" and more consistent discipline. She wants to spend more time with me since her dad is gone so I have been trying to make sure she gets it. She wanted me to lay in bed with her last night (yes, me laying in her little toddler bed with her looks as funny as you would think) and sing to her. She has never done that before and I was very honored. As we lay there I tried to think of songs that would make appropriate bed time tunes for a toddler and I remembered one from my childhood. My Grams used to have a little tape she always played for us when we rode in her car and this was my favorite:

If you listen,
you can hear,
the voice of Jesus whispering in your ear:
"I'll never leave you or forsake you dear,
I'm right here with you,
what is there to fear?"
If you listen,
you can hear.
Jesus whisper in your ear.
"My child, my child, don't you know?
I love, I love, I love you so!
I'll never, ever let you go!"
Jesus whispers in your ear.
It made me cry. I think the Lord used it to remind me that I am never going it alone unless I choose to. He doesn't yell at me or use hysterics to get my attention, and to remind me that Jocelyn needs me right now, like I need Him. I just have to keep reminding myself that I want to be the kind of Parent He is. I need to listen to Josie and make sure she knows how much I love her without letting her get away with everything. I also need to respond as a child to Him; listening to His discipline and making sure I set aside special times just to be with Him. I am so thankful He is always with me and forgives me even when I am having a "bad mom" day. Now if only I can get Josie to... :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hindsight is 20/20

My dear friend Ruth was a very important part of my wedding ceremony, over 5 years ago. Her husband did all the sound and music and also videotaped everything. Well, they were newly married at the time and very busy expecting their first child and my video got set to the side. I actually forgot all about it until they sent it to me in the mail the other day. Wow! What a funny thing, to only have photos and memories and then get a chance to relive everything with sight and sound. First off, I would like to apologize to everyone who attended the ceremony because for some reason unknown to me (or most likely that I just can't remember) everyone was seated and then ended up waiting almost 20 minutes for the ceremony to begin. So very sorry!

However, I got to see some of the neat things all my friends did for me. Someone took care of opening the church. I had a sweet co-worker at the time who took all the pictures. My sister and her friend Heather helped with the decorations. My sister also did my hair and about a million other things. The decorations were just as cute as I remember them being. I can't believe that Jon did all the sound work and video taping free. Then my friend Georgia hosted (and paid!) for the "reception" afterward. Which my sister's mother-in-law hosted in her home! How do you say thank you to all the people that help to make such a special day happen? Why didn't I send them all gift cards?!

However, even though I deserved nothing, they all did what they did without regard as to whether or not it would profit them. I think it is in some ways about paying it forward. I couldn't even find some of those people now if I wanted to thank them. So, I will just have to do my best to return the favor to someone else.

It also showed me that I was as thin as I thought I was-it made me more than a little sad! Josie said I looked like a princess. That is a pretty good compliment from her. I realized my niece was about the same age then that Carson is now. Crazy, huh? Josie actually thought it was her. I also had to laugh when the music I was supposed to walk down the aisle finished as I was mid-way and something else started to play. I am still always late! I had forgotten about that. I also had to laugh when I remembered all the things I did before the ceremony that aren't on the tape. Like shopping with my sister for her dress-nothing like shopping to alleviate stress! Or, going to pick up my flowers at Schnuck's (the grocery store) and Sam's Club. Putting the flowers together for the altar and discovering they didn't fill the vase, and my friend's husband filling a ziploc with water and shoving it in to take up the space-great idea, Jon! Realizing Joel didn't have a boutonniere and giving him the 12th flower from my bouquet of a dozen roses to use. I hope I never get so old that I forget those things. Even with a great video I still have to rely on my own frail memory to remember some things. That's okay because looking back, everything is always prettier, right?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

16 Things

I am an in a funk again today. I am tired of my own bad attitude, so I can't imagine how others feel. So, since the opposite of complaining is gratitude I am going to list some things I am thankful for, in hopes I can turn things around.

1. Joel emailed me this morning (even if it was only to nag me!).
2. Jocelyn is (almost) potty-trained.
3. Carson is now feeling better since his two bottom teeth came in.
4. The sun is shining.
5. I don't need milk (hey, it's the little things).
6. Gas was only $3.12, whoo-hoo!
7. I had hot water this morning.
8. My bed is made.
9. Another week is coming to a close, another one to mentally mark off the calendar.
10. Carson's prescription will be free (even though I am crabby that I will probably have to wait forever for it-I am human you know.)
11. We got paid this week.
12. I've already brought my trash can back from the curb after pick-up yesterday (for some unknown reason this makes me really happy-I hate pulling that thing all the way around the building, so I'm glad to have it done.)
13. Josie knows all her colors and can MATCH!
14. I don't have anything scheduled for Saturday-I love a day "off".
15. I have a DVR, so I never miss an episode of "House". :)
16. I am most thankful He is faithful: "If we are faithless, He will remain faithful for He cannot disown himself."

Wow! I do feel better. I just need to remember that all day. 16 things because it is the 16th, just in case you were wondering. I think I am going to try to think of all the things I can be thankful for all day. It might be hard for me, thinking outside the box like that! I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sea Cows and Other Important Things

Today in my Bible study we were talking about the tabernacle. The tabernacle was covered in the hides of sea cows. What, you may ask, is a sea cow? That particular answer is beside the point, but just so you know it is basically a manatee. Anyway, that led us to discuss how the hides of said animal were obtained. Did the Lord appoint someone to hunt sea cows? Were they part of the plunder from Egypt? We really don't know, but it led me to ponder several things. First off, if there was someone who was in charge of obtaining the hides then they don't get much credit in the Bible, even though they were an important part of protecting the tabernacle. Secondly, the Lord obviously made sure that it was taken care of, even if we don't know how.

This led me to make some parallels to my own life. I may play an important part in witnessing to someone, or encouraging them in their faith, or providing for a need. However, I may not receive any credit on this side of heaven for what I have done. The reason is, most likely, that I haven't really done anything. The Lord really did it, He didn't need me, although He will use me if I am willing. He works in mysterious ways, ways I can't see or understand. I may not even realize what He is doing, or how He is doing it. I probably won't see the effect He allowed me to have. The point really in my mind is we can't question what the Lord asks us to do. We can't judge whether or not it is important. We just have to trust that His ways are not our ways. We must make sure we do whatever He asks of us-even if it involves obtaining the hides of large sea mammals. :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Snuggly Weather

We are having what is, at least in my mind, perfect fall weather. It is drizzly and cool, the best kind of stay-at-home weather. Not much induces me to want to stay home, but when it is all dreary and cold, then I do. I turned the heat on for the first time and it has that funny smell that heat has when it has been turned off all summer. I have on a fleecy jacket and I have had on socks all day. Summer turned quickly to autumn; just yesterday it was 75 degrees! I love it, though. It makes me thankful for all the great modern conviences like thermostats, windshield wipers and microwaves (to make popcorn and hot chocolate!). Josie and Carson are wearing long sleeves and pants; I love it when the seasons change so they can wear all the new clothes I have been stocking up on since last year. Don't get me wrong, I probably love a sunny day best of all;` but the first few cold,wet days are always fun, too. The problem is that here in Colorado you get to experience all the seasons at once. Tomorrow they are predicting snow!

Friday, October 10, 2008


This has been another crazy, busy week. However, I do have some highlights. Monday was rather uneventful- did some cleaning and went to the commissary. Tuesday was good, even though I almost had a nervous break-down at PWOC (I think I may be a wee bit claustrophobic). However, Joel called and I had spent a nice afternoon with some Bible study friends. Wednesday we went to the zoo with some more friends and did lunch. Thursday I had a steering committee meeting for my Friday moms' group but the nice surprise was another friend took great photos of my kids that afternoon. It may be that I am little biased, but they may have been the best photos ever! :) I taught the lesson in Awana that night- not so sure how the kids' received the lesson, but I love working with them. I also was reminded of the precious gift of my salvation as I shared with the middle-schoolers about God's redemptive love. Their favorite part was the huge Costco cupcakes I brought- can't go wrong with food bribery! Today we had our moms' group, everything went well and we had a nice afternoon admiring our photos and relaxing. Now Josie and I are enjoying our 5,000th viewing of "Cinderella" and munching some "copcorn". I managed to keep the house together, too. That has probably been one of my most favorite parts! I am looking forward to tomorrow, too. I am getting together with a big group of high-school buddies for dinner and I think it will be great. Most importantly, I get to be kid-free because my friend is keeping the children! Yippee!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Star Light, Star Bright

Today has been rather interesting, but rather than post the same old whiny song I thought I would take a different tack. This morning in Bible study the speaker was explaining Scriptures about astronomy in light of all the knowledge we have garnered about the universe. What an awesome God we serve. He is so creative, powerful, and awe-inspiring! I cannot believe that our planet, in our galaxy, taking up a little spot amongst so many other galaxies is the focus of His attention. We really are only little tiny specks, less than specks, yet He devotes Himself fully to us. And we bring Him joy! Amazing, it can really boggle your mind if you think about it.

It is crazy to think that He knows the names of billions and billions of stars-new ones being born and old ones dying all the time-but He takes the time to have a personal relationship with little ol' me. What else can I do but try my hardest to fully devote myself to Him? Yet, the same exact Deity that made the stars shine also commanded me to "Let there be light". I was dumbfounded to realize that I do not have to pray that the Lord will let my light shine. When I accepted His perfect gift of salvation, He lit my fire. It already shines. What it is up to me is how brightly I illuminate the world around me. What better way to honor my most Holy, Divine Creator than to try to be as bright as I can be! Thank You Lord, for creating a wonder-filled universe and allowing me a tiny, infinitesimal place it in. Thank You for allowing my life to be about so much more than the space I take up and for wanting a relationship with me. Thank You for igniting my fire; feed it so I can honor You by shining brightly.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Poking the Green-Eyed Monster

I have decided I am giving up jealousy for Lent. Really, I have decided wasting my time wanting to be someone else or even just to have their things is about the dumbest thing ever. I think it is about time we realize that pretty much everyone has something someone else desires. One friend may have lots of money, another may have a perfectly clean house, others may have great talents when it comes to sewing, photography or scrap-booking. I sometimes throw a great big "pity party" and tell myself that no one would want to be me, but it really isn't true. Everyone has something that is desirable to someone else. It is not that we should revel in feeling superior to others, but we should realize that we need to be content with what we have. For starters, there are plenty of people out there who would give their right arm to have such great kids as mine. What a disservice I am doing to myself to be jealous of someone else's talents or things, when I could be directing that energy to improving what I already have?

Another thing is that it keeps me from forming valuable relationships because it gives me a justification for disliking someone. I tell myself that it is acceptable to not spend time with someone I envy because being with them just reminds me of what I don't have. How about if I used that time to try to better myself instead? Although then that leads to the question of, "Do I really want to do _______ like they do?" The answer is usually "no". So instead I should admire their talents and love them for who they are. That will improve me for sure and maybe even be of service to them. I think that will give that old monster a good poke in the eye!

I will try to quit posting about this but it is really something the Holy Spirit is working on in my life. Seeing these posts helps me to remember my resolutions and gives me people to hold me accountable. I have learned that secret sins are the most nefarious (great word, huh?) and they have the most hold on you. Putting myself out there for everyone to see, warts and all, will enable me to grow and be the best Clare for the Lord. He wants me to be me, not anyone else. Now that is something I can be proud of!

Friday, October 3, 2008

This Is the Day the Lord Hath Made...

Today has been a good day. I delivered a talk this morning for my Moments for Moms group (about closet organization). It went pretty well, I think. It is amazing how nervous that kind of thing can make you, even as an adult. But all the ladies were extremely gracious and I had a good time. My eternal thanks to my speech professor my first year of college! I had lunch with a good friend and her children. Jocelyn really enjoys them and it is so nice to be able to be "me" and not have to put on a show. We also had a chance to snag some deals at the Children's Place (Josie got some really cute outfits for less than $8 each). I love a bargain!

Then we came home and I have just spent the afternoon relaxing in my home. I have to give my sister all the credit for introducing me to the FlyLady (visit her at www.flylady.com). I spent 15 minutes cleaning in each room of my house this week (give or take, I am ashamed to admit my room took me almost an hour!) and I am really satisfied with the results! My mom was right, it is a lot easier to have fun in a clean house! I had put a stew in the crock pot the other day (don't get excited, it was pre-prepared by Tyson's but I just love them!) and I am sitting now enjoying my stew and blogging. The weather is all "fall-y", one of my favorite things. Also, Joel sent me an email and hearing from him always make my day better. Jocelyn is quietly painting, a new favorite hobby for her. (Wouldn't it be great to have an artist?) Carson is enjoying that fantastic invention called the Exer-Saucer. Peaceful kids always equal a happy mom. All in all it has just been a really full, satisfying day. The Lord has been so gracious and He knew exactly what I needed. He is so good like that! The perfect ending will be if I get some sleep tonight...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nothing Special about Some Special Things

I just wanted to say how thankful I am for my children. I realized I complain about them 10x more than I say nice things. Josie definitely gets the short end of the stick when it comes to compliments! I drag them to adult gatherings, force them to nap and won't let them (Josie) live on candy. Yet, they still love me unconditionally and to date have provided my greatest source of personal satisfaction (and frustration!) and the best living example of why we should come to Christ as little children.

Josie is 2-almost 3. She has had some really tough times lately with her dad gone. But there are times when she comforts me almost as much as if Joel were here. I was napping on the sofa the other day and she came up kissed me and said, "I lubb (love) you, mom!". How can you not smile at that? Also, last night she just wanted me to lay with her in her bed (a tight fit on a toddler mattress) but it was just so precious how she essentially demanded that I give her my time, just her. She has also become such a big helper. She is in charge of diaper retrieval and disposable and she does a great job! I also have to say that I am overjoyed that she finally learned her colors. It's funny how something so simple excites me.

Carson is my big, squishy, teddy-bear. He has been such a source of joy for me. I don't do anything really, but he thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread (although he is the one with the shirt that says that he is [the best thing since sliced bread] so you can see how I feel about him!). He truly believes that I will always be there for him, and I will give him what he needs. He is never afraid to ask for what he wants (sometimes more loudly than other times) and he has complete faith that I will deliver. He just learned how to roll over, another thing that made me almost as happy as if he had discovered cold fusion. He is always smiling, just content to be alive and take it all in. He also sleeps through (most) nights-so really what more can I ask for?

I really didn't mean for this to turn into a devotional, but as I have been writing I have been further struck by all the things my kids can teach me about my relationship with my Father. I need to desire to please Him, and be open about my love, like Josie. I need to trust like Carson, knowing He has never failed to provide for me, and learn to live in contentedness no matter the situation. But mostly, they just help me to see how the Lord has provided so many things for me through them. Thank You Lord for the great children you have given me, help me to be a worthy mom!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All Talk, No Action!

I realized that sometimes we get confused about the meaning of the word "help". I looked it up ('cause I'm good like that). According to the American Heritage Dictionary it means:
To give assistance to; aid: I helped her find the book. He helped me into my coat.
To be of service; give assistance.
The act or an instance of helping.

We often think that we are helping someone when we give them our opinion. Wrong! I was really thinking about Job's "friends" (I use that term loosely because I wouldn't want friends like that!). They really felt that they were aiding Job but I think really they were just comforting themselves. They wanted to believe that Job was suffering because of his sin, therefore because they weren't suffering, they must be blameless. They had a superiority complex.

But that really isn't the point of this post. It is really that often when someone when is hurting, or needs real assistance, we "help" by offering platitudes, or worse, we point out their flaws. I found myself doing this the other day. My friend didn't need my advice, she didn't need me to talk about her to others, she didn't need me to point out what she was doing wrong. Why couldn't I just have actually done something? Why does all my aid have to consist of words? No where in that definition do I see that help is an, "abundance of words that make the speaker feel superior". Sometimes we need to keep our words to ourselves. Even when we are "right", even when we are sure we know what the other person has done wrong, even when we feel justified. I need to remember more often that I am not called to be any one's Holy Spirit. It is not my place to evaluate their motives or point out their flaws. Even if it just seems like pointless complaining, my job is to help like Jesus would. He was a lot more action than talk!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Taking Notice

I was listening to the radio this morning on my way to my moms' group at church and a song (I think it may have been by Caedmon's Call, but I was too lazy to look it up) had a line in it that really caught my attention. I had heard the song before but this morning something about "we delight in the Son who was perfect from birth" got me to thinking. At first, I thought, "What a pleasure for Mary, to know that her Son would never cause her normal childhood grief." No lying, yelling, laying on the floor demanding a sucker...well, I digress. Then as my mind continued to wander I started to think about how even as a child, Jesus must have stood out. I think everyone has worked with children in some capacity. When can all think the reasons the memorable ones stand out, and it is not usually because of their model behavior! Surely, everyone would take notice of a perfect child. I wonder if Mary's friends tried to convince her to write a book on parenting, or if they just secretly entertained thoughts that surely He must be a brat at home. But no matter what they thought, they must have taken notice.

I am sure that is why the Bible says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) Jesus, as He always was, is the best example of this. His behavior polarized public opinion, but whatever the verdict, people took notice. Oh, that is how I long to be! I want to be so different, so ideal, that people stop and take a closer look. Even as a little child, Jesus grew in grace and wisdom, in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). Why can't I as an adult, manage to do that most of the time? The obvious answer, of course, is that I am not Christ; however, I would like to be a little deeper than that. I have access to all of His power. I want to model the best behavior for my family, my friends but most of all to draw the unsaved nearer to the Perfect One. I can follow the example of a Child on this one. I think the next time I am having a bad day I will remind myself that if a 5 year-old can do it (even if He did have supernatural powers), surely I can!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Facebook Rant

I have a tendency to jump on the bandwagon-I don't want to miss out on anything fun. So, to that end I pulled up my Facebook page yesterday because several people had been talking about their pages lately. I started it back in March and did...nothing. Well, I have decided that it is a voyeuristic way to spy on everyone! I know it isn't really, but I thought it was so you could keep up with your friends and acquaintances. Not really! There is no way to sustain a conversation, and every comment that someone leaves, since part of one that is on their own Wall, you have no idea what they are talking about. It doesn't really help you to keep up with anyone. I know it is based on sociological principles, etc. That doesn't mean the concept works. It is supposed to show how we are all connected but really I think it just exemplifies our grown-up cliques! I don't know... maybe as my dad always said, I just think it is stupid because I don't understand it. Maybe I don't want to understand it, maybe I just like my blog!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Faith and Fairy Tales

Jocelyn has long been a fan of "Cinderella" but yesterday we discovered the magic that is "Sleeping Beauty". Since we only have one television (the other one went kaput shortly after Joel left, of course, and the little DVD player bit the dust long ago) I have seen it three times since yesterday afternoon. I normally try to limit the amount of time she watches T.V. but I was being lazy. Anyway, since I have been forced to listen to the three fairies bicker and Aurora Rose pine for her prince so many times it has set my mind to wandering. I was really contemplating the part where Rose is "cursed" by the wicked queen. Right away the little blue fairy counteracts the curse by bestowing a promise on the baby that instead of dying on her 16th birthday she would merely sleep until awakened by her true love's kiss. Okay, we are all familiar with that part. But what confounded me is why did her father still insist on burning all the spinning wheels? Also, why was it necessary to sweep Rose away from her parents into hiding? Didn't they believe in the blue fairy's power? Hadn't she shown it before? If I was her parents I would have spent a lot more time trying to find her true love then trying to hide her from the evil witch. He was the one who would save her, she couldn't get away from the dying part, really. Rose's life had already been promised to be kept safe, right?

Then I had a sudden realization (caution: it gets a bit scary because I start making spiritual approximations!). Isn't that exactly what we do to God? He shows us His power all the time, and He is perfect in His strength and might (or so we say). Yet, He makes us promises and we go around trying to secure them on our own, under the guise that we are being careful, or "realistic", moves that are usually highly lauded by friends and family. I mean look at Abraham. He had been promised a son, by the same God who "cut the covenant" with him. Yet, he still tried to force the issue by having a child with Hagar, with Sarah's approval! Look at all the trouble that got him into! The same with poor Sleeping Beauty. Not only was she separated from her parents for 16 years, but she still had to suffer from the curse, but was also saved by the promise. Wouldn't things have been easier if she had just trusted the promise and lived her life gracefully and fully, not fearfully and in hiding?

Whoa! There I am again. Not believing that He "works all things for my good" that He has a "future and a plan" for me, not trusting that He "is with me always". He has given me much greater promise, my salvation and eternal place in heaven. Why then do I live this life, such a tiny portion of the bigger picture, so afraid? Why do I try to take care of myself when I have a Perfect Provider?

Lord, I want to live my life secure in your promises. I don't want to try to feebly circumvent bad things when You have the power to turn what is bad into something good.Please forgive me for the times I have tried to do what only You can. Thank You for being the most Powerful, Perfect God. Thank you for loving me even when I have such puny faith. Guide me in Your way and teach me.

I am so glad that Jesus loves me! I am thankful He can take anything the evil one throws at me and turn it into good. I am also thankful for Josie and her love for good triumphing over evil. Although, I do think this is the last time we will watch "Sleeping Beauty" today, no matter the spiritual significance!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Discipline...Or Lack Thereof

Okay, so I think that any day that goes really well and is filled with spiritual revelations must be immediately followed by a day that makes you want to pull all your hair (or perhaps your 2, almost 3 year-old's) out by the roots! Today made Thursday seem like a dream! We experienced the mother of all Target meltdowns today. I am talking tears, screaming, unkind words, threats and staring (from the poor shoppers forced to witness the terror). The whole experience was one of those that has been niggling at me all day like popcorn stuck in my teeth. What did I do wrong?

The day actually started pretty well (should I start taking that as a sign?). We had lunch and then went to Target. I had to go back because the other day we accidentally removed an item from the store that we hadn't paid for (yes, you can read that "stolen" because we took it, albeit unintentionally). Sooo, I got frustrated as soon as we got out because Josie had taken her shoes off. It only took us 5 minutes to get there-why did she take off her socks and shoes? Definitely just to vex me. Anyway, we got in the store. There were great deals everywhere! All the school/college clearance was 75% off. I am getting pretty excited when I discover Josie had removed her shoes (and of course her socks) AGAIN! Not happy, Bob, not happy. In the process of replacing them (actually yelling at her to do so) I find a book from Ross that is (cue drums) not paid for! You've got to be kidding me! I am certain at some point I am going to be arrested. You can only be allowed so many of these "mistakes" before someone assumes that you are just lying. At this point Josie is crying, Carson is crying (of course all pacifiers are safe-in Josie's purse because isn't that where they belong-in the car!) and I am about to cry. Issuing threats between clenched teeth, we go back to school supplies. At some point while deciding between lunchboxes for $2.98 Josie loses it. Weeping and gnashing of teeth ensue. So much for $7 backpacks and $5 lamps-we are headed at the door, all of us wailing the whole way. The clerk had the audacity to tell me , "Have a nice day!" Could she not see that I was on the edge of violence? Every tearful Picker loaded in the truck and Josie starts mumbling through her tears. I unkindly bite out, "What is wrong, now?!" Then I realize she is saying the dreaded phrase, "I want my daddy!" I was crushed. He is always the disciplinarian, I am the comforter. What did I do?

I apologize, she apologizes and we head to another Target (okay, I am a glutton for punishment, but also a sucker for a sale!). We successfully navigate the 2nd Target (good deals had all around). But I am still reeling. I prayed, I know the Lord knows our hearts. I just kept replaying the drama. Somehow, I feel like Josie's behavior can be excused, but I am an adult. I did not maintain self-control, so how can I expect her to? I remembered (too late this time) Dr. Dobson's sage advice to apply disciplinary action "anywhere along the timeline that it is convenient for you, the closer it moves to the front of the conflict, the better." Thankfully, I will have another chance to remember that I am the mom. I do not have to cower in the face of a toddler tantrum. I can be forgiven, and victorious. Here's to next time!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gathering Grace

There is something that has been a recurring theme this week for me: manna. First, I studied it in my Beth Moore study and then we discussed it in Awana on Thursday. Really though, it was more about the gathering. The Lord instructed the Israelites to gather the manna every morning (except for Friday when they gathered twice as much so they wouldn't have to gather on the Sabbath). He did this because He wanted to teach them that He would provide for them every day, as long as they trusted Him. Beth correlated this to the scripture in Lamentations that talks about His "mercies are new every morning". The Lord provides enough grace, like manna, for everyday; my only job is to gather and not be greedy!

What a revelation! I do not ever have to fear that a situation will be too tough for me to handle! I can forget about yesterday and not think about tomorrow. I just need to gather the grace for today, and there is always just enough. No matter how much the Israelites gathered there was always the perfect amount for everyone. I think what struck me the most is that I try to store grace. Doesn't work, it gets moldy and maggoty! I mean, when I try to do all my week's Bible study in one day, or only worship on Sundays. It won't last! It's good for that day, but the next day I have to have more. God doesn't do this to demand my dependence, He just wants to grow my faith. I show my faith by simply taking what I need. It is very exciting to know that I only have to live in today. I am always trying to worry about tomorrow, but now I know that tomorrow's grace is right where it needs to be: in tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Crazy Cat Lady

So, just if you thought my life was perfect (in which case I will know you have not read any of my other posts) I had one of those days. It did not start out as one of those days, but it definitely turned into one! I had things pretty well together. I had a lunch date that got cancelled, but that was okay because I always have a to-do list a mile long. So, I did all right this morning. Josie had a really yucky accident in her big girl panties, and she spilled cereal all over the floor and she cut a piece of paper in a million pieces but unfortunately those are normal occurrences in our house. So, we made lunch and Josie went upstairs to take a nap (yeah right, that sooo didn't happen).

Anyhoo, to wind up my long story, we are getting all ready for Awana. Josie's ready, I'm ready, Carson is in his car seat (hey, when you are bald and 5 months you are always ready). Then I realize I need to make up a little project in case I have extra time during Handbook session. That's where the kids recite their verses in case you didn't know and sometimes you need a little filler. Anyway, I found this great site where all you have to do is enter words and it creates puzzles. I think , "perfect, this will take exactly 60 seconds". That is when tragedy struck. Okay, so maybe I am being a little melodramatic, but you don't know, you weren't here! Josie is really into opening doors lately, and she is absolutely obsessed with propping open the screen door. So she is standing in the door and I am furiously typing when she comes over and says, "There's my kitty, in the house." And I am nodding, not paying attention, and she says, "My kitty went upstairs." Fortunately, then I look at her and realize that I should be paying attention. I try to interpret her bizarre 2 1/2 year old speech (see previous post) and finally I say what any good mom would say, "I will go look for your kitty upstairs". I am thinking maybe a stuffed animal, possibly an imaginary friend, when it hits me that it is probably this same gray stray that got in our truck the other day when I was loading the kids. Then I got a little panicked. I mean, who knows what this animal is carrying around? With thoughts of fleas, ticks and rabies dancing in my head I start looking everywhere. Sure enough, sitting at the top of the stairs and acting as if it owned the place, is the same cat. I am NOT an animal person, so I chase the cat down the stairs, through the living room, through the kitchen, back upstairs into the bathroom, Josie's room and back down the stairs. I finally chase it outside and I am racing back in the house, when the cat (who is obviously faster than I am) flies past me BACK INTO THE HOUSE! I grab the broom, do it all over again. The old adage of catching more flies with honey enters my brain and I grab a piece of lunch meat (anyone who knows anything about cats is probably laughing at me by now, but I did my best!).That doesn't work either! I finally grab the stupid thing by the neck (did I mention that I am not an animal person?) I haul the cat down the stairs (I suppose I should be thankful it didn't scratch/bite/infect me with a dreaded disease) and yell to Josie, "Shut the door as fast as you can as soon as Mommy gets the kitty outside!"

Success! I walk back around our building, because I didn't want to risk letting it back in. I get to the back door and Josie is holding my cell and announces, "Your phone is ringing!" That's right! My deployed husband called in the 2 minutes I was outside! Sometimes it seems if it weren't for bad luck I wouldn't have any! I am still trying at this moment to remember to give thanks in all circumstances. I suppose I can be thankful there weren't 2 cats!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Schedules Are For Losers!

I have decided that if something doesn't work for you the best approach is to...just make fun of it! I am kidding, of course, but still it seems that the mysterious, elusive group of people known as "everyone" gets the magical "everything" done on time and in order, and I just can't. Yes, yes I know this is false. However, if anyone says that they don't get trapped by the grass-is-greener mindset at least once in a while, I will know for certain they are lying! I started this blog and promised myself that I would post this great schedule I had planned and carefully wrote out as soon as I had followed it for 2 weeks consecutively. Ha! Hasn't happened yet-at some point perhaps, but certainly not today. I barely made sure all of the dishes that had been sitting in the sink since Sunday (wow! I am embarrassed to admit that, but in a way it is very freeing to be honest!) got washed. I refolded a load of laundry that would not have gotten un-folded if I hadn't left it sitting in the middle of the living room. I changed my toddler-twice-because she has given up on potty-training. I washed a load of whites that had been begging for my attention, that I just now remembered needs to go in the dryer. Since I started writing this I have stopped SIX times to attend to Jocelyn. By the way, I have decided that English is obviously not her native language because my endless pleading to "Go play", "Go to bed" or just flat out "Go away" have been met with blank-eyed stares. All this said, I am not blaming the fact that my carefully laid out plans have been cast by the wayside on anyone but myself. However, I do think that my brain is so used to functioning in just-barely-getting-by mode that it refuses to acknowledge there is another way to live. I am sure with a lot of hard work and dedication I can reprogram it. However, since I need to blog and finish watching "House" the schedule will have to wait until tomorrow! :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Carbon Copies

I love reading other people's blogs. The problem is that I have to resist the urge to duplicate everyone else. I am looking at everyone's blogs and thinking I should plan menus, organize my house and lose weight! While I probably should do all those things I have to remember to do them in a way that will honor the Lord and work for my family. I need to use others' ideas as inspiration, not for imitation. I do some fun things all on my own! I recently put out all my fall decor and was thoroughly pleased with the results of covering my tiny "dollhouse" dining room table with orange gingham fabric. I also filled a glass pumpkin with dish washing tabs! (Don't ask me why I always put my tabs in a decorative container on my windowsill. It just provides me pleasure, good enough reason, right?) Besides, I figured I may as well have fun since I will be spending the holidays with my parents and will miss out on Christmas decorations. Yet another year in storage! Oh well, part of being a military wife. Anyway, back to my earlier thoughts. When we all do things differently it gives us an opportunity to appreciate others' creativity and skills. Inside I realize I am glad we are not all the same-no carbon copies here!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ready, Set, Memorize!

I felt compelled to post something new, because I felt silly having that last post as my top one. I am so excited about Awanas. I am the leader of the "Yellow" group, and I have 5 great 5th-7th graders in my group. I have challenged myself to follow their book and I want to learn the Scriptures with them. I am really daunted by how much they have to memorize! It is sometimes as many as 7-8 verses a week. I really feel that the Lord has provided this as a way to answer my prayer about committing more of His word to memory. However, my brain is not nearly as spry as that of a 13 year-old! I am also so eager to be able to share the treasures of the Word with these kids. So many of them are not from Christian homes and this is a fantastic way to spread the Gospel to not just the kids, but also their families. I will keep it updated as to whether or not I am upholding my end of the bargain!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Down with booties!

I have decided that for the moment I am going to indulge in being extremely shallow. I have a new rant in life-booties. I am not talking about cute, fluffy blue and pink knitted socks for infants either. I am talking about the latest, horrid evil trend. Those awful lace-up, bow-bedecked, high heeled monstrosities. I hope that trend fades faster than Tickle-Me Elmo! Why in the world would you want to wear a shoe that looks like it was produced from an affair between a hiking boot and a stiletto? What is WRONG with these people?! And nothing is more heinous than a peep-toe booty. Absolutely just the ugliest thing since homemade sin as my mother would say. They are actually uglier than the stupid gladiator style sandal that was all the rage this summer. (Although I wouldn't wear a pair of those if someone paid me... well, okay, maybe if it was a LOT of money). Where do the fashion people come up with this stuff? I sincerely think they have their board meetings and once a season they pick an item to prank the whole planet with. I can just hear the conversation... "So Bob, the world took to leg-warmers like ducks to water, how about this fall we set up ugly half-boot-half-heel-no-cuteness-anywhere booties as the hot new item?" "That's hilarious Jim! That will be a great way to use up all the laces from the children's shoes we didn't sell and no one will guess it is all a huge joke!" Wake up people, whoever said Crocs were the ugliest fashion-trend ever has forgotten about Uggs (doesn't the name say it all?) and has never seen the new booty! Down with the booty!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I am tired of inferiority. I have a complex and it is time to do away with it. I just have to believe that the Lord did not create me as a lesser person. I am constantly comparing myself to everyone I know and I am tired of it. I am also sure that everyone who knows me wishes I would quit talking about all the things that I wish I was. I am going to focus instead on what I already am and what I know God wants me to be. Therefore, in the spirit of appreciating what I already have I am going to brag on myself. Lisa Dawn (my very wise younger sister) informed that constantly going around deriding all my accomplishments and talents is not honoring to God. It is a false humility that seeks compliments and is not advantageous to anyone. Instead, know that as the song says "You make everything glorious, and I am Yours... so what does that make me?" Well the obvious answer is GLORIOUS! That is an exciting thought. So here it is... a list of things I think I do well. Don't laugh!
1. I organize clothes well.
2. I do a really thorough bathroom cleaning!
3. I really love my kids...even if I do allow my toddler to live on chicken nuggets. :)
4. I am always willing to help my family and friends.
5. I am honest about small things (I always give money back to cashiers!)
6. I am extremely passionate (can also be a negative, but we won't talk about that!)
7. I am very loyal.
8. I truly love the Lord and am very committed to trying to become more like Him.
9. I am always eager to get involved.
10. I make a mean Rice Krispy Treat.
11. I can be very thoughtful.
12. I write nice thank-you notes.

This is not a complete list, and I know it looks like I am filling out a profile for Match.com. Sometimes though I just think that it is okay to step back and tell ourselves that God doesn't make mistakes so we need to rejoice in the things we do well. We don't have to brag, but we don't have to constantly downplay our attributes and belittle ourselves. As another song says, "Thank You God for making me, ME!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Busy Bees

What a crazy week! I am really enjoying being busy, it has helped to keep the loneliness at bay, but it has only been 3 days. I started a Beth Moore Bible study at PWOC (A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place), Josie started AWANA on Thursday and our Moments for Moms group started today. I am particularly excited about AWANA because Josie is a Puggle! For some reason I just think that is the cutest thing. I also volunteered to help with the Trek group, the middle-schoolers. I am really in prayer about them, from what I can tell there are a lot of unbelievers. Since the program is offered at the chapel on post there are so many opportunities to reach people, and these kids are so precious.
I am also really excited about the Beth Moore study, but I have been really lax about getting started. I am convicted at this very moment to get started on it so I will have to wrap this up. I have some mixed feelings about the study at church. Time will tell if we are able to work out the kinks. We are changing a lot of things from what we did last year and I think that is making things seem a little strange to me. Oh well, 2 out of 3 is not bad! Besides it was only the first meeting so I am sure it will only get better...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Love, Loneliness and Retail Therapy

It's hard to believe it has been over a week since I last posted anything. Joel left this morning. It is hard to know how I feel, it is still so recent. I do know that I had to go fetch milk from the convenience store this evening and it almost made me cry. He is so great to do things like that. Probably what made me most sad is that when he does things like that he always brings me a "happy", mainly delicious Hershey's Truffle Kisses. I love those stupid things! I also absolutely hate going out at night and I was mad at myself for forgetting to get the milk while I was out earlier. I also really missed him when Josie made a big mess earlier and he was here to help me. I am sure that is how the whole time he is gone will go. However, I have made a decision to not just survive this year, but to be victorious. I don't want to be a couch potato, listlessly waiting for him to come revive me. I know that would not honor the Lord. Instead I really want this to be a time for me to learn to completely rely on the Lord. I know that strengthening my relationship with Him will only better my relationship with Joel.
On the other hand, I did decide after I went to two different Kohl's today that there is always a silver lining. He hates Kohl's and I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty about devoting plenty of time to each sale rack since he wasn't out in the truck impatiently waiting! I found several great tops for $4 or less and also got Carson some cute things for next summer. Never discount the benefits of retail therapy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Proud of Every Day

We are getting down to the wire now, to the weird stage where you feel like you have to make every moment "count". I guess the question I really have for myself is why don't I feel like that is how I live my life every day? When your husband is leaving for war (regardless of what the media or government calls it, that's what it is to me) you start to hyper-evaluate everything. You want to make sure he knows he is loved, respected and valued. You want him, and your kids, to have great memories to treasure over the long days apart. You foolishly feel that you can bank quality time, and personal touch. You know you can't, but you try anyway. My 2 and 1/2 year old certainly isn't going to feel like she has her daddy's love saved up-she will just know he is gone and has been for what seems like forever.
What it really boils down to for me is that I have to live my life in a way that I am proud to remember every day. It is impossible to not feel like you didn't "do enough" when these type of life-changing events occur. So what I have to do is try to avoid doing it all, and just do what I know is most important to the Lord. Even if I want him to, Joel is not going to appreciate scrapbook pages, poems or any of those other things that are supposed to be so valuable. He will remember if I don't nag, or scream at the kids and the days I made him cake. So in the next week I will try to do those things for him. While he is gone, I will do those things in honor of him. I think that is the best way to make my moments count.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Old Memories for Sale

I just consigned a bunch of my kids' clothes at a big sale. It makes me pause and wonder why it is so hard for me to part with their things. I had two huge Rubbermaids full of Josie's clothes that were all under 18 months. What am I saving them for? Carson sure can't use them! It is just hard I think because clothes are such tangible reminders of how tiny your kids used to be. Mine are never that small for long! (Carson is already in 9 months sizes.) I suppose it just physical evidence of the thoughts that divide the mind of every mom. You want your kids to stay little, because they are so adorable, they don't talk back, and they need you so desperately. Yet you want them to mature, to be independent so that they can be successful adults. I think in part it shows how much you treasure your kids, when you want them to stay little and still grow up. It means, in part, that you don't mind the lack of sleep, constant diaper changes and grubby paws as much as you say you do! I will just try to want what God wants for us, to mature but never to lose the complete love and trust of a little child. I let go of a lot of Josie's old things; I realized that even if I do have another girl I will want her to have her own things. I will just take lots of pictures instead!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trust... and Obey?

Things have been crazy around these parts! My sister and her family came for a visit on Thursday. Unfortunately, they were only able to stay until Sunday morning but it was fun while it lasted. The hardest part for me is that I have discovered that I always create a dam of sorts in my mind when I am facing something painful. I set up events that make whatever I don't want to deal with seem further away. The problem is that with things, such as my sister's visit, it was the last log in my "dam". Now that it is broken, all I can think about is Joel leaving. I am doing better this time then the first deployment. I know more what to expect, and my relationship with the Lord is stronger. It still doesn't make things easy, though. I hate the thought that he will miss so much.
I think dealing with Josie will be the hardest. We were driving to church on Sunday and Joel and I were discussing possible places he may be while he is gone. Josie, of course as any good child would be, was sitting in the back listening intently. We paused for a moment and she pipes up loudly, " Daddy is going to CHURCH, NOT IRAQ!" If only that were the case, and I hate it when she says things like that because it just makes it that much harder. Dealing with separation as an adult is completely different than trying to explain it to a child who doesn't even know what tomorrow means, and is completely unable to grasp the concept of a year. ( Although, even as an adult a year somehow manages to seem like forever when you are apart from your best friend.)
I still can't help but think that this is only for our good. I am holding so many precious verses close to my heart. Now more than ever, every verse I have ever learned is coming to my mind. It strengthens my commitment to only continue to add to what I have already memorized. How can you not draw strength from remembering "All good things work together for the good of those who love the LORD" and knowing that He is "with us always" and gives us strength for every good work? It is impossible for me to understand why He would want our family to be separated, but He doesn't ask me to understand, only obey. And sometimes that is more comforting, because then He holds all the responsibility, and I only have to find comfort in His love.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Fresh Start

I have had a better today than yesterday. I have had a few things that are really laying heavy on my heart-we will see where they go. I started Beth Moore's book "To Live is Christ" and I think that it will be beneficial to my spiritual life. I have really entered (what seems like to me to me, anyway) a new area of spiritual growth in my life. I am truly beginning to see the lost around me as desperate for hope, hope that I have. It is exciting and scary at the same time. Exciting because I am rejoicing at being a part of God's magnificent plan; but on the same hand afraid because I am such a frail, fragile human. I have noticed recently many small things that I do that are so un-Christlike. It makes me ashamed because I label them as things "everybody does" as if that makes it acceptable. Oh, how quick I am to forget that I have a higher calling! I really believe that if I saturate every part of my life with Christ it will be impossible for me to not draw others to Him.
It is just bridging the gap between my laundry pile-Monk watching-Craigslist searching alter ego and the part of me that wants to radiate Scriptural principles. Moore opens her book by talking about the "rituals" for lack of a better term that were part of every dedicated Jew's life. It really made me want those things for myself, intense Scripture memorization, a sense of separation from worldly thoughts and desires. Wearing Scripture in a box on my forehead would really make me stand out, that is for sure! All this said, I want to take things slowly. I don't want a New Year's resolution that is gone by February. I want a life change, but I think, no I know that God can do that for me. It will be interesting to see how it goes and I challenge anyone who reads this to hold me accountable. By actually putting it out there, I will have to hold myself accountable. This is only the beginning...

Monday, August 11, 2008


Today has not been a great day. I am bored, but it isn't because I don't have anything to do, it is really because there is nothing I want to do. I am currently obsessed with Craigslist and I have to refrain from continually checking to make sure I am not missing any good deals. Other than that my day has consisted of cleaning up after Josie's accident in the bathroom, changing Carson's sheets after his accident in bed last night and playing endless reruns of Scooby-Doo! Ahhh, the glamourous life of a SAHM.
I do have a little bit of a rant against people with overactive Spam folders! Why would you try to conduct business with someone but never check your junk mail file? I had an email from a lady today about something I was trying to sell on CL (actually the third one) and I finally had to respond from a different email account. According to her, she had never received any emails but yet none of my responses had been returned! Yes, it frustrates me, hence all the exclamation marks. It doesn't matter anyway because I had already sold what she wanted. Serves her right I guess, how rude would I be to not answer any of my emails? Besides, I seem to get all of my mail. Whatever, I guess it just frustrates me that she finally contacted me again after almost a week. I didn't even realize she had never gotten my messages. I know, no one cares about this but me. I am only now realizing the true beauty of a blog!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

First Try

I suppose this is all part of my trying to break out of my shell, this concept of blogging. I am so frightened that if people see all of me they will run screaming in terror. But then again, maybe I give myself too much credit to think that anyone would care to give that much effort! This first try will be short due to the inherent difficulty of typing with only one hand (the other is currently occupied by my 2-year old). Perhaps more when blessed nap-time occurs!


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