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.


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