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 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!


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