Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kissed by God...

Traffic. On the parkway, it's a bad thing, on a blog it's lifeblood.

I went and I looked around. I've read some great blogs this past weekend. I have just about decided that I want to be besties with some of these extraordinary woman of faith. I am encouraged by the number of believers out there blogging on the life and times we live in through the lens of Christ. Good for us! There are more of us then I thought there were and I take great rest in that. Can't you just imagine us all in Glory together?

"Ohh, I read your blog about X,Y, and Z! I am so happy to see you here and it is so good to meet you!" Glory.

One thing I learned as I poked and looked was the number of blogs being followed out there....thousands from one blogger, hundreds from another. Each blogger follows blogs and it's reciprocal. I follow you, you follow me. Somewhere in between other bloggers or readers find your blog...


I am not so sure how I will do at the game of blogging. I love this...let me say that again...I LOVE THIS!

I want to edify and be edified. Yes, I so want that...

But life calls so often. I am pretty sure I am a little stuck in a 1960's sitcom, where the dad goes off to work and the mom stays home to make the meals and fuss on the house. Warm plates of cookies wait for children when they arrive home. Husband is met at the door with a martini and the dog brings his slippers and pipe...

Okay, so that is pretty much my life! And I want it to be.

I don't want a career...

I am going to let that dangle out there for a moment or two. Let me say that again:

I don't want a career.

I have a profession: RN.

Being a nurse was a calling from on High. I can honestly say it is a vocation. I have no doubt that I could be working tomorrow in a nursing position if that is what I wanted to do...

I've even offered (full heartedly I might add) John to let him take some time off after retirement and I would go back to work as a nurse. Being a smart man, he said no! I would like to insert a "LOL" here because sometimes I think I am a riot, but I think it may be bad blog form.

No, honestly, we like our very traditional roles as homemaker and breadwinner. We have settled into it and we do it pretty well. It's not to say that we will never mix things up, but for right now, neither of us doubts the fact that my being home is somehow ordained for this season.

I love being a wife and mommy. I love doing the most important job in the world: Mommyhood. I don't need to make a mark on the world in any other way. The kids are not an interruption of my life...I guess the theme of children not being an obstacle to ministry is back again.

Every once in a while John will love some amazing thing I have made and insist that I must open a cafe' some day...no thanks. I think I am a pretty darn good cook, and I am, thank you very much! But ultimately it won't be the smell of pulled pork that pulls the kids home for Sunday supper with their own families someday. It will be the love and comfort of a home~coming that will pull their hearts.

This past weekend we got to go to the birthday party of John's Uncle Joe. I love visiting this part of the family! The Irish-ness of it all makes me want to learn Irish step and know all the terms of the music and I suddenly want another baby or six and name them, "Sean" and "Nula"...even though there are already Seans and Nulas in that part of the clan...I adore them.

What strikes my heart to the cockles is their absolute and genuine love of Jesus. We all may politely not discuss some of our doctrinal differences, but there is no doubt that Jesus is at the core of this family. He is the warmth and the light in each of John's cousins. There is no doubt at all that He is King Jesus in this clan!

I loved the slide show of Uncle Joe's life. There were pictures from Ireland where he grew up, wedding shots and wonderful music playing to back it all up. It was his bride that got me...John's Aunt Eileen. She was my MIL's sister.

Aunt Eileen never had a blog. If she had a career, I don't know of it. I can be almost positive, she never wrote a book that was featured on Oprah...

I've never even met Aunt Eileen because she was gone before I met her nephew, John.

I found myself missing her. Maybe because my own Liz looks so much like her from the pictures I have seen.

And at the same time, what I can tell you is that she was a woman of great influence in our world today. She has affected my life exponentially. Because Aunt Eileen was a praying wife and mom, because she put Jesus first, Uncle Joe second and her kids next...she could raise great kids, I remembered what I want to be once again.

Maybe my blog will go viral and I can enjoy the fruit of it all. No way can I visit so many blogs and keep my priorities. Maybe some can, but I know my own frail heart. My writing, my blog, my book...Maybe the book will be kissed by God and it will cease to be listed at 346, 298 on Amazon and shoot to number one. Don't know, but after this weekend, I don't care again.

I will meet this great hero of the faith someday, on a street paved with Gold by the very hand of God and when I do meet Aunt Eileen, I am going to thank her for raising children unto the Lord. I also want to be remembered for loving Jesus and raising kids to do the same just like Aunt Eileen.

Yes, that is what I want my career to look like...yes, when I grow up, I want to be like Aunt Eileen.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Make new friends but keep the old...

join in there, come on, you know the words! Okay, yes, that is a rather hokey way to start the day!
John and I attended a reunion yesterday of the paramedic crew he worked with when we first met and stayed with for a few more years after that. What a crowd!

The guy who was John's best man, Doogie, threw the party. Doogie was a character and I take great comfort in knowing some things never change!

I have to say, after seeing the stove in the kitchen of Doogie, I did think of leaving John for it, just for a minute, but yeah, that is one great stove!

It was fun to catch up and remember stories and to watch John...love watching him talk cop/medic.

But the BEST part of the day, and I do mean the best part of the day was watching John watch "the baby".

There were other babies at the party but Regan stole our hearts on Facebook before we got there. She is the perfect baby girl of old friends, Lisa and Danny. Great recipe guys! She is precious!

Watching John watch Regan made my whole day. He had that "we need another one" look on him that I know so well! I don't remember seeing it when we were still in the baby making season of our lives but I do see it a lot now. Maybe I don't remember seeing it then because we always had a new one. I loved that season with all my heart.

Letting go of it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

After Maggie was born, the doctor made it very clear that she was it. There would be no more children born to Maryellen. I would need extensive surgery to repair me after so many babies...yeah, lets not discuss it. Bad enough my nether region was on the prayer chain at the time!

I cried a lot when the reality of not having any more babies settled onto my heart. I was so sad! I had to take a long honest look at my "why" for that heart ache.

The answer was all about Me, Myself, and I...the three of us became the un-holy trinity of self absorption for a few weeks. I didn't spend a lot of time with God except to tell Him how hurt I was.

...and then I was so sick of the three of us that I turned to the only Three that matters. "Okay God, I have a wonderful family. I have five perfect children here. We adore them and this is a pretty darn good life. What is wrong with me?"

God being who He is didn't let me struggle on this answer for long. There are seasons the "why" comes slower and sometimes not at all. But this one came quickly.

I had always taken my identity in what I was doing: Maryellen, Ellen Brennan's daughter/caregiver. Maryellen, nurse. Maryellen, John's wife. Maryellen the young mom with all the babies....

I remember clearly struggling like crazy after Mom died. I had been her caregiver for so long it became my identity. Even though I was a nurse and I made my living caring for people, it was not the same....so I got a new identity:Wife.

Soon after I got another title: Mommy to Liz...Caity...Brennan...Jack...Maggie.

I spent my days in the chaos of wifedom and mommyhood. I didn't contemplate who I was. Honestly who could have had the time? Life was busy and good and when things got to the normal stage, we would have another baby and then life was busier and gooder~er and I got to walk in a bit of pride as I told people that we had so many children. I was the mommy chasing someone with a baby on my hip.

...and then I had to realize I would not get to have anymore babies. I would still be mom of many but my identity would not be "young mom with new baby."

So who in the world is Maryellen?

God unwrapped the gift of the only title that matters to my heart one early morning as I sat before Him: Child of Mine.

I had loved Him since I was a little girl so how could it be that I only realized that I was His when I was 35 years old? I am not sure I can convey how important KNOWING that He called me His own was in that moment. But our conversation, sans the burning bush or the audible voice went something like this:

God, "If you lost John, would you still be mine?"
Me, "Yes, Lord."
God, "If you were no longer a nurse, would you still be mine?"
Me, "Yes, Lord."
God, "Were you still mine when you lost your mom?"
Me, "Yes, Lord."
God, "If you lost all of your children, would still be mine?"
Me, "Yes, Lord."

It took the air out of all my fears.

No title will ever matter and the only one I get to keep through all eternity, is "Child of God."

As long as there are people walking dirt side, I will be known as Maryellen Schlusser, mommy, RN, author, blogger, home owner, prayer, heck, I've even been called a good person now and a then (teachers note: did I use the right "then" or is it "than" this time. See, I don't care!) grammar forgetter, I am an American, a New Yorker, a staunch conservative, a red head, lousy speller So-and_so's Mom...

Truth is these are all things that describe me but my identity is in Christ. And nothing can separate me from that fact.

So, no more babies, at least not home made ones. We have come to enjoy the freedoms gained by raising our children and the joy that comes with not having a diaper to change or feeding to give or toddler to chase.

As John prepares to retire in a little over a week, I won't be a cop's wife anymore. I will become a retired cop's wife and I do plan to stress that fact when I get pulled over...if I were to get pulled over that is!

....the kids and John for that matter, may run into a bit of an identity crisis for a time. So I guess my job for the moment will be to remind everyone that our identity comes from Christ and that is all that matters.

In the meantime, I will try not to be a creepy baby freak when I see a new one in the supermarket...but I can only try!


Friday, June 25, 2010

What is in a name...

Once upon a time, a rather cute, red headed nurse met a rather cute cop in the ER of White Plains Hospital Center (WPHC) on a hot July morning. That cop stalked that nurse until he got to ask her out on a date. She said yes and off they went.
For the life of her, she could not remember his last name, she just knew she could not pronounce it. At the end of that first date, she asked him his last name again...
"Say again?"
"Oh." she said...
"Okay." she thought, "well, it doesn't matter. It's not like I am going to marry him anyway."
She thought..."First of all, he is a cop, second of all, I can't say his name. Nope, not gonna marry a guy who's name I can't pronounce."

A few months later, while we stood at city hall filling out our marriage licence, "NAME" appeared in front of me...would I take it, would I not take it. Come on...
Who in the right mind would take "SCHLUSSER" if they could stay "BRENNAN" for crying out loud?
It wasn't like I cried in the office or anything, I just hesitated for a moment. As un~liberated as I may be in terms of feminism, I was still raised in a post~feminist revolution world. I stood still with the pen poised for just an instant and filled in the form...but the memory of the moment sticks with me even now. It was as if time stood still as I contemplated being woman and doing the whole roar thing.
What strikes me as so time telling is that what was once an automatic was now a decision. Only a generation and a half earlier, Ellen Durkin became Ellen Brennan with out a thought about it except perhaps to practice her new name. The same holds true for Cecilia Smith who became Brennan and Margaret Fedo who became Peggy Durkin...While they may not have liked the new name they didn't have any choice. I was the first generation in my family that did have that choice.
So what is the big deal? And why do I feel compelled to write about it? After all, I took the name didn't I?
Because somewhere between the burning of the bras and my marriage license a shift occurred in the conscience of we woman. No longer were we lemmings, we were individuals and that is not a bad thing after all. Kind of like sex, our generation made a decision if we were going to have it or not...no longer did society dictate the definition of good girl vs. bad girl. We made the decision for ourselves.
All good right? I don't know about that. Yes, in many ways, it is way more honest, but in the course of history, how many times has the quest for knowledge out smarted, at least for a while, wisdom?
We are told in the Word of God to seek after Wisdom and God will give it freely. But in terms of knowledge, once we have it, we are responsible for it. There are things that our God never intended for us to know. And once we know it, we can't unknow it.
Am I suggesting that it is bad to have a choice in names after marriage? Yeah, maybe a little. Before you start contacting Gloria whats her name, who eventually got married and now we don't hear from her anymore by the way....hear me out.
John gave me a really good ring when he proposed. I mean it is way, way, way good. A couple Karats that include both mine and Mom's diamonds. It is a RING! My mother-in-law told him he had to get me a really good ring so that when I was shaking the poop off the diapers one day, I might catch a glimmer on that diamond and remember why I married him in the first place! What a good woman she was!
But let me tell you, that ring, while still a contract, is an asset. More then once I have thought that I could sell it when things got real rough. I learned to wait on the Lord in those moments and I have to admit, I pretty darn glad it is still on my finger...but if in our nation, when things are so bad, there is ever a time I need to sell that really, really good ring for my family, I will. If it is a choice between food and ring or home and ring...off goes the ring into the shop.

The name I get to keep. John gave me his name. Think about it ladies, he gave me his name, and his name was pretty good until I started to wear it. I am no longer Maryellen Margaret Brennan, I am Maryellen Schlusser...Mrs. Schlusser to my kids freinds and teachers and I love when they trip over trying to say it. If I really don't like someone, I wait patiently until they say it properly or just smile as they call me Ma'am.

I did nothing to earn John's name. He gave it freely. His name is the only gift he can never take back. Even in court, a judge would have to decide that for him. He gave it to me for all of my life. Even in death, I still think on my mom as Ellen Brennan, not Ellen Durkin...There are certain gifts that are forever gifts. John Schlusser gave me his name.

So while my own girls will have to decide on moral issues even now and name issues someday, unlike their grandmothers and great grandmothers, I pray they accept the name of the man who becomes their husband. I hope someday, I have a daughter-in-law, who accepts our name, SCHLUSSER....

This morning, I am going to a wake. A woman in our church buried her daughter about four months ago. Today she is burying her husband...so much pain in one sisters life. I won't pretend to have answers to all that God is doing in her life...nothing I could say right now matters. We truly rest in the Lord's providence in seasons of suffering.

It just struck me as I wrote this, that today, she does not have to give back her husband's name. Even in death, she gets to keep it. She is still a "Mrs." and does not revert back to being a "Miss" and his name is her own. Maybe that is why our husbands are the priest of our homes and why we accept their name. This widow is still known by the name of the man she has loved all these years.
**********Remind me about why I hate the term "Ms." for another post someday, okay? Oh, how I hate that term!**************************

I am blessed to be given a name and to be taken as John's own in marriage. It was a gift freely given. Yes, dear feminists, I belong to John. He is my husband and I am his wife. John gave me the name of Schlusser to own as my mine. In Glory, I get to stand on the name my God has given me: Child of the King. God made me royalty and by his grace I am a Schlusser dirt side and beyond.

“The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us.” Deuteronomy 29:29

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Sound Of Life Interviews Maryellen Schlusser

I am just feeling so darn proud that I learned how to post this! Hee-hee! This was only part of the interview but haven't gotten a copy of the rest of it yet. Hope it blesses you if you haven't heard it yet and if you have, come on how stincken' cool is this, let me enjoy the memory of my 15 minutes!!
I was asked to make a new post today by an adoring fan...okay, no, she is just a dear old friend that I grew up with, but fan sounded better...My children are chatting and this post is an interruption of my duties...dereliction of duties...okay, I've had to retype this 8 times, so I am gonna sign off and go enjoy the joy of the chaos in the other room. Maybe I will just sit here and wait until they come to me, they always come to find a mommy. Nah, it seems more fun when I join in...at least to them!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I was just thinking...

I visited a blog I think I really like:

My friend Jenifer told me about Miss Fussypants and I think she may be a new hero to me...that being said, she had a wonderful post this morning about things she wants to teach her boys and she has plenty of boys, four to be exact. I thought I would counter with some of what I've learned from Jack, the only boy child in the house. I know I said I would give Jack a talking to after my rather rant-ish post to the girls the other day, but what the heck...it's my blog and the whole right to change my mind thing plays well for me.

So Jack...this is the child I was most panicked about. I was pretty sure we only had the recipe for making girls. After all, we had three of them in a row, so when I saw that sonogram of a hoo-ha sticking up, I was not sure what in the world it could be.
John explained it all when he said, "That's my son."
I've never seen him so proud or so tender, not ever. Oh boy, I thought, here we go!

All the baby stuff being different aside, and it was so different by the way, life got way amazing the older Jack got. Yes, I have discovered that a boy raised in a house filled with items that are Pepto pink is gonna' want some navy blue, dark green and fire engine red. I soon discovered that barbie dolls can be played with by my boy, that is, if they are being tortured by G.I. Joe.

Having been raised myself in a house where I was the black sheep of the family and my brother's nickname was the messiah (am I the only one who thinks it's funny that he is now Jewish? Come on, moms. Be careful what you nickname your kids or they may just take it to heart...Dear Big Brother of mine, even you have to admit that is kind of funny. xoxo just to keep myself out of trouble with you!)
What was I saying, oh yeah, I was desperate not to make Jack the golden child. I didn't want any of that in my house. For the record, my brother was a way better kid then I was but that is another post for another day. I wanted to make sure that Jack knew he was no better then his sisters...equal playing field in my home.

...and an equal playing field it is...well don't ask his sisters about that okay? Jack is the reason our pool is used for playing not beautifying. With a Jack in the pool, someone is going to be dunked! Jack is the reason we go to football games every weekend in the Fall and he is the reason we have no space on the DVR because "The Clone Wars" are important to him.

Teaching Jack to read has been a blast. Jack taught me that being dyslexic is a gift in and of itself. While I may drive my teacher friends crazy because I can't remember "then" vs "than", Jack has taught me that life is way more then grammer or grammar, however you spell it!

I sit amazed that Jack has memorized so much of The Word, so that when he reads it, he already knows it...Jack took very seriously the fact that faith comes by hearing and his hearing is just fine, unless it is "hearing" me telling him to empty the garbage! There is no more wonderful a moment in my day then when Jack asks me to come listen to him read from Genesis...Glory.

And while Jack is not sure if he wants to be an Army~police~paramedic~football~playing~pastor first or if he wants to get married and start his family first, I have no doubt that he will be top notch at all of it.

But there is something that Jack gives me, my girls just can't: The Promise kept.

Jack looks so much like my own dad that is startling. Jack even has the same Elvis dip in the front of his hair that my dad had. But that is only the looks part and actually has nothing to do with the promise part.

My dad didn't have Jesus as a little boy. He didn't have John for a daddy. My dad's, dad was in the bar with no hope and very little ability in his own strength to raise 10 kids during the depression. Dad was left very much to his ownself to figure out how to be a man. The Marine Corp. helped and so did his wife. But how manly can any man be with out Jesus?

You see, Jack is the first male of the thousand generations that God's Word promises us will be called His own. Jack has a mommy who is here to love on him and a daddy who taught him to open a door for a lady, to try and not to fart in public (or at least have the courtesy to blame it on the dog!) and to be man enough to fall on his knees in adoration of our Savior. Over the years I have often stopped and looked at that boy of mine and marveled at the promise kept in him.

Jack came to me on night when I was trying to figure out the next step in my career. I was at the computer (where else would I be? The laundry room? Now that is a LOL!) and he said:
"I think God wants you to per-sev-ere."
"Why do you think that Jack?"
"Because quitting is the easy thing to do and believers are suppose to per-sev-ere in doing good."

Yeah, I have learned buckets and buckets from that little man. Glory. Miss Fussypants reminded me that I have buckets to teach him as well. Again, Glory.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Almost Awl gone....

Ahhhhhhhhh. I can feel summer knocking at the door. One child out the door for a final, four more sleeping and a husband just beginning to stir. I love it. This last week of school always seems so pointless to me. Just let it be summer already. We here in the North East suffer the end of the school year like no one I know. We start in the beginning of September and end in the end of June. UGH, I say, just plain old UGH!

My kids started in school later then most here. We had started in the homeschool realm in August but when it seemed quite clear that it was time to go back to school for them, I filled in mountains of paper work and sent them on their way. For the most part it has been a good year for them in school and for me here at home. But man, do I hate getting up so darn early!

Hang on, the dog is whimpering in his kennel and I need to let him out because all four paws are crossed...done. At a 120 pounds, the dog that ate Poughkeepsie is nothing short of a big, yellow chicken, afraid of the vacuum and peanut butter. Okay back to my rather vanilla, thus far, Tuesday post...

So what did the kids learn this year? Well evidently enough to go on to the next grade level...although, come on, it's NY...how much could they learn as products of the Wappingers Central School District~no hate mail my dear teacher friends. I have my opinions and thus far, they have been rather accurate.

I was thinking about what I learned this school year. I learned volumes. For example:

~Waiting and resting are not always the same thing. Resting in Him is way different then taking a nap. I should know, I am a world class nap taker. If there is ever an Olympic event in napping, I am the girl for the job. I can almost hear the announcer commenting now:

"Look at the way she pulls that Snuggly up on herself! Wow folks! Maryellen is going to be the one to beat in this event!"

When we rest in Him, in the assurance of our Heavenly Father, we are putting to rest our anxieties over what we are suppose to do and when. I honestly believe, it is way more work then worrying. Worrying gives us something that WE do. Resting in Him, gives us the freedom to hand it over and let the concern be His.

Yeah, most mom's spend a fair amount of time in worry.

So I had to be brutally honest about my "why" for homeschool.

I can list an easy hundred reasons to do so, not the least of which is that homeschooling is by far a superior form of education. Again, teachers, it's my blog, so back down...I love you, but hey, facts are facts.

We got to teach our children real history and science and math...not that which was made up in some textbook with an agenda...I got to teach my son to read. Glory...that was a gift that has kept on giving. There is nothing like it in the world. We also didn't have to un-teach the lies they had to learn in a liberal-biased-based system. It was wonderful...

And then it wasn't. I don't know why the shift from A to B. All I know for sure is that when I felt the call to put them back in school, all the reasons to homeschool came running at me like the Road Runner trying to escape Wile Coyote. And somewhere between the end of last August and the beginning of the school year, an ACME boulder hit me on the head.

That ACME boulder had "FEAR" written on it. I knew it was time to let them go back to school. But how could I? I was awful afraid. All the fearful reasons not to send the kids to school were packed into that boulder. So I began the school year at home.

...and it was not going well. It took a month to see that. And it took some carpet time alone with the Lord as well. I had my nose buried in that rug, pleading with God for an answer. He was so faithful...and brutally honest with me. UGH.

Fear is always sin in the heart of the believer was the word that kept coming back to me. I don't remember where I learned that, but it was probably a Beth Moore~ism.

I know I've blogged on this scripture from Matthew before, but it is one that the Lord has used on me over and over again in the last few years. I love that we can read a scripture, think we know what He meant and then He uses it, in context of a new situation in our lives and we see His Truth again and again.

Remember when Jesus had just finished feeding the five thousand? He told the boy to get into the boat and He would finish dispersing the crowd. He essentially told them "I'll catch us with you." Okay, anyone else here make a funny head tilt? He actually already told them that He was up to something. How did they think He would get to them. I love the apostles, mostly because they are so dippy, kind of like us.

Anyway, when the boys are on the boat a storm stirs up...of course it did. When did they ever go out for an easy sail? Then they see what they think is a ghost and they are scared stiff...again, how did they think He was going to meet up with him. But I love what Jesus tells his boys next:

"Fear not

It is I.

Don't be afraid."

Notice Jesus didn't start yelling at them: "It's ME! It's ME!"

The first thing He did was tell them what not to do: "Fear not."

He told them to remove the fear, so they could see who He was.

When fear is in the way, we can't see Jesus. I know I can't. I was so stuck behind that fear boulder, that I had no idea how to see what to do next. I couldn't trust Jesus because I was trusting in my fear...it is comfortable place to be, fearful~ville I mean. In many ways, I have known fear way longer then my Jesus.

So sending my children to public school was way braver then keeping them home. My word do we live in a wicked and perverse generation or what? Our children, homeschooled, un~schooled, public schooled or private schooled will face way more then we ever did and way younger at that. Think about it, many of you can remember the first time a Tampon commercial came on while you were in the room with your daddy...remember wanting to run out of the room? Today, we have not just birth control pill commercials but ones for K-Y jelly and Viagra. And these are on the family channels! Oye.

Okay, lets not get onto the media...and homeschoolers with out TV...it's now your turn to back off and I say that with more love then you can imagine.

I envy those called to homeschool and wish I was called too. I can't say that public school is for always...I miss teaching the kids way too much. But I do know that the next time, if there is a next time, I will teach them like I did when we began: because we are called to so so. I won't homeschool for the reasons I was meditating on last Fall: fear and "what if's".

The homeschooler is not yet dead in me. I just dropped Maggie off to school at 9:30 instead of 8:45. When I had to write down my excuse as to why she was late, I wrote: "Because it's summer, silly!"
Okay, maybe that is not the homeschooler in me but proof of my still, somewhat, rebel heart...either way, let the summer begin!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ed and John and a Happy Father's Day to all those with Fathers...

I am still down for the count with a horrible bug. But feel well enough to sit and write again...yay! This is not the first incarnation of this post...sadly the first couple made no sense as they were written under the fog of a fever ridden me! So here goes one last attempt!

Today I help my kids celebrate their daddy. And he so deserves it! But as somebodies child, I sure miss my own daddy, the original tough guy...Eddie Brennan.

I remember a father's day a million years ago, when I was 17. Our friend's son was being commissioned into the Marine Corp. My parents were at the party for father's day/commissioning. I was a waitress at Friendly's at the time and used my break time to attend the party. I hugged and kissed and congratulate everyone there that needed to be, except my old man. I was not speaking to him and would not for about a year or so. I don't even remember what he did, but I remember being done with him and after all, at 17, I knew I was better then him so it was the right thing to do...thought the somewhat cocky child I was. I had no idea that honoring my dad meant that I honor him no matter if he was honorable or not. Under the heading of growing in the Lord and His word.

Dad and I had such a love/hate relationship it's almost hard to understand. But let me make this clear: I adored him and I know he adored me. I so miss hearing: "I loves ya' Mair."

It is because of Ed's love for me that accepting the love of my Abba was not so hard to do. My dad didn't have that kind of love growing up. His own father had signed the kids over to the orphanage or allowed them into foster care during the depression and the War. Hard to imagine a Heavenly Father that never, ever turns His back on you when your earthly father does just that.

In the end, I am blessed to be known as Eddie Brennan's kid. He was funnier then I will ever be, more generous and way more tough then any of today's wanna be tough guys. I have the gift of knowing that man's love...and even if he did throw a vacuum cleaner at me once, the truth is he was just trying to get me clean up my act...the hammer? He was just trying to get me to nail down my priorities...the hedge clippers? Just cutting me down to size....the iron? Just trying to get me to straighten out my act of course!

Dad was somewhat convinced that there was no way he could ever be forgiven for all that he had done. He once told me that he had broken every single commandment. Sigh...not something anyone wants to learn about there daddy. I told him at the time that God's word does not say: "For God so loved the world, He sent His only begotten Son that non might perish...except that Eddie Brennan, because well, he was really bad." No, there is forgiveness for anyone who seeks it in the name of Jesus.

They say kids get their image of who God is by who their dad is...it took years for me to get rid of the image of God stealing typewriters off of a tractor trailer onto a cloud. Yes, Dad was a moving man/thief...I got to share that image with him once. I also got to remind him that there was a thief on the cross next to Jesus, one that we know is in Glory with Jesus right now. If he could be there, so could Ed.

So while I want with everything in me to know that I will see Daddy in Glory, the truth is, I just don't know. I have a funny image of when I die, getting to where I am going and first seeing my dad...the first thing I will ask is: "Okay, did I go up or down?" LOL!

But I do have that blessed assurance of where I am going...so if I do see Dad again, I will hug his neck like no one's business! I have hope that Dad meant it when he prayed with me at the end of his life.

...and today, I miss him. Today, I will help our kids celebrate their Daddy, John. John has everything about my dad that was good...John has his own list of bads, just none of my dad's list. I may be able to trace my good marriage to my own dad and my dating rules: never, ever date a bar tender was among them.

So God bless our Daddy's...the good ones, the lousy ones, and most of all the redeemed ones. And if your Daddy is gone, rest assure, you have One, in Glory and He loves you unto death. Abba. He is the great I Am. If you call on Him, if you have that relationship with His Son, You are a Kings Kid and with that, the privilege of being called His own.

Happy Father's day all.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Let the day begin and end...

A not so lumpy couch.

I fell asleep the other night....I was waiting on the girls to go to bed and just fell out. I woke up to the sound of Bill O'Riely at about 4:55...only five minutes later then my alarm. Not bad!

I suppose there is more in me of my dad then I realize. He was famous for sleeping on the coach. I guess he learned to sleep where he could when he was kid...now I am not suggesting that I slept around so I can sleep anywhere by the way. Just for the record.

Maggie seems to have that gift as well. I never know what bed I will find her...at least she is only 6...if I have the same complaint when she is 16, go ahead, make the call to CPS. I would understand.

But back to my not so lumpy couch. I want desperately to tell you about my friend, Beth, who bought herself a couch bag...she meant to buy a knock off COACH bag but realized it said COUCH instead...I just don't know how to work it into the post. Well let us just consider it worked in then.

Again, back to my couch. I have honestly been working on this post since before the last post. I've been down with a rotten bug that is so rotten, being on the computer is exhausting. So I have napped on the couch a lot...A LOT. Last night, John took me to bed after my 8:00 pm nap turned into a snore fest...not that I snore, I am just using a literary example. Then again if I am asleep, how would I know if I snore? Let me check with John...Okay, he has confirmed that he is too smart to tell me that I snore and is allowing me to believe that I sleep like an angel. Back to the couch.

I love my couches. They are big and over stuffed and fit into my great big living room that I don't frankly know how to decorate. It's not that we have a terribly affected home, it's just that it is a big living room and has lots of windows and such so it's hard to situate. But back to the couches.

You see as much as I love them, John hates them for a whole list of reasons.

1. John, unbeknownst to me, hates olive green...really? I had no idea! My couches are that perfect shade of olive green and so are the walls in my kitchen, that he helped me paint! He hates the color, but loves me, and since I love olive green....because I am a Fall person don't you know, the whole red head thing...right back to the couches...like I was saying, he loves me and I love the color so for him it was not a game stopper. It was just not that all important to him. Who knew? I can tell you that a wife who loved her husband more then herself might have asked if he liked the color or not. Or maybe I did and he answered: "Yeah, they're fine."

2. They are HUGE! One of the couches is actually a chair and and a half...I call it the Shreck chair because of it's size. It is just the kind of chair you want to curl up in an read a book by the fire place...that is if you are a curl~up~kind~of~girl, perhaps not so much if you are built like a brick house. It is NOT the easiest chair to get out of and with out the ottoman your legs don't actually fit over the edge. Not something I thought about when I bought them...I was thinking books, curls, coffee...John just wanted to get out of the chair with out requiring a hoya lift.

4. They are disposable furniture. They were never built to last 30 years. They were only meant to last maybe 10....and that is with skinny sitters, no kids and no pets. OOOPS, she said once again.

3. Convenient monthly payments...ahh, we are back to that one again. No interest until 2011. Easy, breezy...or not so much. Imagine the living room couches if I had trusted providence to provide...Lesson, again, learned.

I thought all the resting I did in the Fall, when the Lord seemed to put the breaks on the ministry of House me From the Wind was enough. But as of late, He seems to be getting the message across that I am, again, in a season of waiting. I am often amazed at the connection between resting and waiting. Now that school is finishing up, the kids and I can take some lazy days by the pool and do just that. I prefer to hustle while I wait as the saying goes. But nope, this seems to be a nap while you wait moment for me.

God has a way of making me lay down, perhaps not in a pasture but on olive green couches anyway. What is wonderful is that at the moment, I get a lot of exra time with Him.

So wait I will and nap, a lot, on my wonderful, although hated~by~husband~and~adored~by~me couches.

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Did you really think you could beat the champ?

Dear Schlusser Girls in my home,

I have to ask a simple question: Did you really think you beat the all time champion of skoocherdom? Did you really believe that you could out complain me about your wardrobe before school?
Let me tell you all somethin': I made an art out of giving my mom, your grandmother, a hard time about what I was wearing to school. I would rail, complain, cry and all around tantrum about what I was wearing...what makes that extraordinary bratiness you ask?

I wore a uniform for the first 12 years of school!

The only variety I got was woolish navy blue knee high socks or shear navy blue knee high socks. We didn't even get to choose the sneakers a normal child got to wear for gym...we wore trampoline shoes and no one, I mean NO ONE, knows what the heck those things are unless they attended St. Matts!

Ask your oldest sister what happens when you "can't find anything to wear" in my house. Liz was given a mandatory, mom-initiated-uniform in 2nd grade. She had a choice between two outfits for a month. I wrote her teacher a note letting her know that we were not suddenly poe folk but that I was teaching Liz a lesson about how to get ready for school...it worked too. Legend has it, that same teacher passed that very lesson on to other parents facing the purgatorial wardrobe issue. Only once did your sister ever give me a hard time in the mornings again about getting ready for school...it was attributed to hormones and a loss of mind over matter. For her gift of stomping in my house she was rewarded with a week of KP duty.

Go on, I dare you to try...

As for playing skootcher/instigator in my bathroom while you and your sisters attempt to brush teeth and use MY make up...try harder dear ones. You can't beat me. Sister Mean-in-the-Heart sent me to the bathroom in 6th grade to wash off the well applied mascara I had borrowed from Kerry Ann Hermanspan.

Being raised by a tom-boy-mom, make up was a trial and error attempt for me. I give you my word: I will let you use as much make up as you want and I will teach you how to apply it correctly....but if you are not old enough to buy it yourself, you are not old enough to wear any! I too will send you to wash your face off just like the mean nun of my youth...and there is no way you can ever out mean the teachers in my grade school. I won't bore you with how we walked both ways, up hill, in the snow, in June...but rest assure, it is all the truth!

Let us discuss the attitude towards transportation. Yes, you may be stuck on a school bus or walked/driven by me. I know, it is a horror. No matter how bad it is, you must count your blessings and thank God you were not sitting next to ME in the 4th grade, in our car pool. I was the bane of the existence of every mother/father who drove those few miles to St. Matts. Your Uncle Mark, Ed and Christine Karasinski and even the sainted (when compared to me, anyone was a saint) Stahl girls all lived with the morning dread of facing a Maryellen in the morning. No one could make that trip longer then I could.

As we crammed into the car pools driven by our parents, we risked our lives back and forth to school. Our generation loves you so much more...we were crammed into those cars with out seat belts! Proof we love better, I tell you! With four to six of us crammed into the back seat, no one knew who would get pinched or shoved or why but they knew the "who", yes, me. It was almost a given that your mother would arrive in school in tears...grown ups yelling at me always made me cry. There was never a rhyme or reason for the instigation in the car pool just the always Maryellen variable that could create mayhem.

I drove one car pool parent to edge of madness...yes, he voted for Obama. As a matter of fact we may be able to trace the madness of more then one member of that carpool to "Maryellen Syndrome".


Yeah, your mom has a past. It is not a heritage that I would ever want to pass on to you all. I can't give you a pure past. But I can give you a heritage that I am proud of: you see, I had a praying mom. I am not so sure that my mom wanted a deeper relationship with Jesus, but frankly I drove her to her knees in prayer. When pulling her hair out, stomping her foot, giving the look and even a crack on my behind didn't work...at all...she went to her God. Yes, I had a praying mom who shared Jesus with me. I can think of few who may have needed Him in that carpool more then I did. Because of my mom, you too have a praying mom.

I won't look the other way when it would be easier to ignore your small sins...I also won't lecture you...much. We all know I love to hear me speak. I will demand your best in reading and writing and arithmetic...but more so, the best from your heart. All of our sins set us up to know better then our God. I pray you are humble enough to turn to Him, to trust me and Daddy and to love your own self. Know that no matter the mess you create, chances are your very own mom did it first. I am here to help you clean it up, sometimes with a hug and sometimes with a lecture and sometimes with a good dose of KP duty. You are always worth the argument my dears.

God is very choosy about the moms and daughters he sets together. Perhaps the reason He stuck you with me, is because I've already been broken and restored. God can do so much with a restored heart...I am proof of that. So don't try to out skooch the former reining queen of skoocherdom my beautiful girls. I know every trick in the book because I wrote it. Fortunately, my name was already written another book called the Book of Life. God had editorial control all along and He knew the end from the beginning for me. I have a life that is amazing and a wild adventure EVERYDAY because He thinks I am worth it. He thinks the same of you girls.

All I can tell you for sure, is that He has a hope and a future for you...one that has already been written, in His time and His space. Now go show up for that life He created just for you. Trust me, if you trust Him, your life is going to be a blast.


PS Don't worry, my darling son is on the docket for tomorrow. I've included a link to the luliby my own sainted mother sang to me...I think it says it all.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Into my skinny skirt!

Yup. It happened...

I was feeling so good that I dropped a couple of pounds that I went to put on my my skinny skirt. Glory to God, it fits again! I was just thrilled...until I realized that the skirt in question use to be my fat skirt. My skinny dress still does not fit and that is the one I use to wear when I thought I was heavy.

How is it that the lady who use to wear a size XS is now thrilled to be a M instead of an XL? And who came up with the sizing anyway? I would so prefer it if the tag read, "Not an XS, but honestly honey, your butt looks fantastic. You look better with a little meat on the bones anyway. Go on, you look terrific." But no, just XS,S,M,L,XL, instead.

Wardrobe not withstanding, I think we humans have a tendency for the "not so bads".

Case in point, after a year of feeling a tad bit deprived financially, things have begun to loosen up. Now is when I need to avoid spending more then when we were completely broke. You know what I mean.

You get a few extra bucks and you spend like all the troubles are far behind. Perhaps not going out to pick up a few things at the Coach outlet, but maybe buying all the extras that are still wants not needs. Lets order a pizza kids!

I use to live by the fact that most of our debt was honorable...some of it was pizza but most of it was honorable debt. That was my story and I was sticking to it, until I took a real look at what my definition of honorable was.

In the past if the microwave died, we knew it was a true need. We would run out, throw it on the credit card and congratulate ourselves on the fact that we got it on sale. Then we would nod our heads at our prudence of installing it ourselves as well. We were being fiscally responsible, didn't you know.

But what would happen if we didn't run out and buy a new one? What if a microwave was considered a want instead of a need? While the turntable in the microwave would stop turning, would the world?

I can tell you what would happen:
I warmed my coffee in a pot on the stove throughout the days I did without the microwave.

I made Maggie a real grilled cheese instead of the cheat of toasting the bread, putting the cheese on and sticking it in the microwave...her sweet little six year old self going on, non-the-wiser for it.

I remembered to take the butter out to soften before I attempted to bake cookies.

...and I got to receive. Yup. I got to have the courage to receive. I have a quote, somewhere by someone about having the courage to receive. When we don't try to figure things out on our own, in our human understanding, and when we truly believe that all things work together for the good...we get to watch Providence provide.
Sometimes God says no to our wants and other times he provides in ways that we can't understand. In the case of my microwave, my friend Jen dropped off a garage sale find her husband had made. It works just fine and it has also provided me with a place to put all those school papers on top of! I got a double bonus!

For the coffee pot, I got a new used one from my friend Lisa and my friend Michele just happened to have an extra refrigerator in the garage. Okay, can we say blessed?

Watching and waiting on the Lord has been way more edifying then the immediate gratification I am somewhat use to.

Waiting on the Lord is a gift that requires great courage...and I have discoverd that I am very brave, sometimes. Not, perhaps, brave enough to go try on that skinny dress though!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

THE WORD matters...

A few months back I recieved an invitation to spend a week at the beach with an old friend, "D", to celebrate her birithday.

“Read a devotion to the group of us…”

Well that’s easy, I thought after reading D’s invite. I write devotions for a living…of course I am still a starving artist, but here goes…or not. I thought about it for months…I prayed about it, hit or miss…and now here I am about to get ready for it and I got…nothen’. Sigh.

Ocean City, NJ…That’s it!

I know about OC NJ because of D…I know about St. James Place in Ocean City, NJ because of D…some of our happiest memories as a family are here because of D…I even get to have memories of my Dad there.

That first year we came to OC my dad came down to spend a few days. He took the bus to Atlantic City and took a cab to Ocean City to look for St. James Place where we were staying…he didn’t have the address but figured he’d see the mini van and find us. Only a man who had spent his life as an adeveture would have that kind of hutzpa to go to a town where he knew no one and hope he’d find his family.

He found us sure enough and we went to dinner and Dad ordered a beer.
"Yeah, um Dad, this is a dry town. "
I wish you could have seen the look on his face. Priceless.
“What ring of Hell am I on?” He asked. “Why am I here? You need to take me back to Atlantic City right now!”
We didn’t and he survived his three days OC. And I get to have the memories of him sitting on the front steps of our place, playing with his favorite people ever…the grands. That was just about 9 years ago…I know that for a fact and yes, I can tell you what we were all wearing.

So what in the world does this have to do with a devotion…I am getting to it, be still and know that I am the writer! It’s just that I write the way I talk, so sit….

Ocean City was D’s gift to my family. There was no way she could have known it would become our place. That for my family OC means summer is here. She could not have known that it became a comfort in the year after 9/11 to find a place where people still laughed in the sunshine and rested on the beaches. She could not have known that in the year after we lost my dad and MIL that this would be our refuge from our new life, in our new house that still didn’t feel like home, but the beach was still there and Oaves restarunt was still there and the Tabernacle Church was still there and life went on…
Throughout the almost decade my family has made Ocean City our summer place. It does not matter what house we rent or how far the walk is to the beach…the constants remained the same in the equation of time…OC is a stability in our lives.

For me, Ocean City is a reminder that what we share with others affects there lives. Some of our words are so powerful, they can save a life….

I don’t think it is a coinsitence that Jesus is called “The Word made flesh”>>>>He is the “Living Word”…We study “The Word”. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Many years ago I had told my daughter that if a friend asks her not to tell me something and it feels sneaky, that she is tell the friend no. A real friend has no right to put her relationship with me in danger....I had forgotten about that conversation until I overheard her say those very words to a friend on the phone. WOW! She heard me! My words did matter to her and it was another mommy who taught me that when she shared her own words of wisdom, gained from another mom who learned it from another mom...

I had every sense of making this a nice light devotion...until I called D to RSVP for the beach trip. She is in a season and a half of pain, a season of Job proportions.
She cried with me on the phone yesterday and asked where our God is in the middle of a season when everything has gone to pot? Why does He not answer? What if His answer is no? How could things be this bad when she has spent her life serving Him?

I prayed with her but I didn't offer one single pat answer. I didn't fill her in on how to make it all better and to just trust. I honestly believe her life is like a chicken cutlet that has been beaten between two pieces of wax paper. Broken is every protein in her faith. Just broken.

I found it mind boggling that, while others have told her they are praying, in the weeks since her season of pain began, no one had actually prayed WITH her. Our words matter in prayer. They are not empty wishes to a big blank sky.

Over the years I have been friend's with D we have watched friends leave the Lord...not just fall but walk away from Him. Like the Word honestly got choked by the weeds of worry in the world, leaving us wondering if it was ever real at all. How could someone we have prayed with and served with go on to walk away from not only God but her family?

We have watched our friends morn their children's walking away from Him completely...In a lost and fallen world how do we love the broken hearted? How do we minister to the hearts of our friends when our biggest worries are no longer will the kids potty train by kindergarten?

I can only say that I know His WORD does not return void...I know that because He said so and either every word in the WORD is true or He is liar. Nope, I still believe.

What we say matters because what He says matters. He is the THE WORD and He is.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It may not be Friday but at least it is not Monday!

Yay! The most over~looked day of the week.

We have "I don't like Mondays....I want to shoo~oo~oo~oo~t the whole day down." Boom Town Rats? Yes, you do to remember it and if you don't, you know you don't belong here.

And we have the good old Friday call of "TGIF" that is so popular we have a restaurant chain named for it.

Of course the weekend is the weekend.

Wednesday is hump day...as in get over the.

Thursday is so practically Friday that we don't mind it all that much.

But Tuesday...no one loves it or even seems to hate it. It's just, well, so Tuesday. Like being vanilla, although I happen to like real vanilla, not fake vanilla.

Did you know you can make your own vanilla extract? Just throw a couple of vanilla beans into a bottle of vodka and let it sit for a month or two. We, in the know, call it vodnilla or mother's little helper, but not in polite company.

So what to say about Vanilla Tuesday...hmmm.

Well, I can tell you about last night. I could tell you how John and I and Jack went to the our rental house to fix a broken window. I could go on and on about the "house of grace" or as it looked last night, "the house of horrors". I must get over there to cut back those shrubs in front of the house. I think I have only bee there during the winter, you know 'cause it is so far away...2.4 miles. Anyway, the "burning bush" in the front of the house looks like an inferno. While John replaced the window, I hacked back some of the bushes.

It was nice to see some of our old neighbors. At one point I called my friend Mary and asked if she wanted to chat over the fence. She and I met in the back yard and caught up on life since our last meeting in Walgreen's, where we normally run into each other. We use to chat over that fence everyday or pass the eggs one of us (usually me) needed to make dinner or that proverbial cup of sugar (again it was usually me who needed it) and solve many of the neighborhood problems and create some more.

It was such a pleasant run to the other house that it snapped me out of the funk I was in yesterday~~~a true Monday in every sense of the word.

But now it is Tuesday and I have not a whole lot to say about that fact. I can tell you I made breakfast and lunches, a field day that I got to attend and what in the world am I making for dinner?

Tuesday afternoon is now here and the post I began at 5am is still sitting here. Yup, just a normal day in Schlusserdom.

Be blessed all...see you on Wednesday, not that I have anything planned for that either!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rainy days and broken mail boxes almost always get me down?

So I was not terribly concerned that our mail box was obviously hit by a car Saturday night. John called me in the morning to let me know it had happened and he moved the post out of the driveway. He just assumed that the box itself was in the woods next to the driveway. No. A good Samaritan from a few blocks away called to say it was in his back yard....and yes, the mail is all gone. Of course then we would need to make out a police report...cri-me.

As I waited for the town cop to show up, I put the dog on the chain out back and got the kids to cleaning up in the house...you know so the cop didn't assume it was a crime scene.

Fortunately, I met the cop in the driveway and didn't have to invite him in. I was old enough to be his mother. What a comfort? There is something awful about being old enough to be the mom of the officer sent to serve and protect and yet not old enough to pinch his cheeks. He handed back my mail box that he had hunted down through just plain~old~good~police work...or the neighbor handed it back to him.

He suggested that perhaps there was no mail to take and that we could call the post office. If there was mail it was probably all over the neighborhood. Thanks.... If they catch the guy, we can go against his insurance for the damages. Okay, thanks. And yes, the next mail box post will be rendered in steel and concrete. Given the number of times it as been hit, my hope is that the next car that hits it can't drive away....nothing vengeful, just well, okay, maybe a little.

The comfort of course is that if someone tried identity theft...they should go for it! We are up for a new id anyway. Perhaps our credit score will improve! Yay for new beginnings? Okay, I'll call the bank so they know to watch out for any nonsense...

Did I mention the transmission is slipping on my minivan? A-ha. In the cross-hairs I tell you! IN the blooming cross-hairs!

I need to go slip on my full armor and get the kids out the door. Be blessed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I so wish I were Italian...

I do.
I know this falls into the ranks of stereotyping...me bad. But the bottom line is that as an Irish girl I will NEVER cook as well or clean as good.
Now that is probably not completely true...maybe I am just a lousy house keeper. My mom was good at it, my grand mother was impeccable...you could eat off of her floors. Around here the only one who can eat off my floors and does is Mr. Maghoo, our big yellow Lab. By the way, did you know that Labs chew 'till their two and shed 'till their dead? Yeah, me either or I would never have gotten one! I could build a new one every day based on the amount of hair that thing puts out.
Did I mention in the attack of the great appliances my "Consumer Reports ranked #1" Kenmore vacuum died too? Yeah, I got about a year out of that bad boy. Sigh...have you ever tried to vacuum with a shop vac all that dog hair? No? Don't bother. It does not work very well.
I want me a Kirby...they have a lawsuit pending from a woman who was rendered bald when her hair got caught in the hand held...that is the kind of power I want!
Short post today...just a reminder that the Proverbs 31 Lady wanna be, that I am, looks after the needs of her household...sometimes with just a shop vac in hand and a heart to be Italian.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bacon and Heaven and my mom....

I had a whole plan for today's post.

I had been planning it since yesterday afternoon.


And then Liz met me in the kitchen this morning with my mom's charm bracelet...and she started asking questions about her grandmother. Now my heart is all tender and I my plans are dashed yet again.

To make matters all the more tender, I looked at my friend, Missy's pictures from her beautiful daughter Ciara's confirmation. Missy's dad was Ciara's sponsor...and he looks so much like my own dad, that again, I got all tender hearted in missing my folks.

Missy knows what it feels like. She lost her mom way to young like me. I know there was a moment as she helped her young lady get ready for her big moment, that Missy thought, "Mom would have been so proud." or "Mom would have been wild about you, Ciara." or maybe even, "Mom would have made me crazy today!" No matter the thought, I know her mom's memory visited the special day...

But just as odd is how it can creep up on you, on a seemingly un-eventful Friday morning. Every once in a while it smacks at you: How could my own children and dear friends not know Ed and Ellen, my parents? I mean honestly how could that be? That charm bracelet that Liz wears, my dad bought mom because he was a crazy romantic and bought her gifts as he wined and dined her. Sigh...

The thing is, our children know more of the legacy of our folks then we realize. My girls know Mom in the way I make chicken cutlets a little too dry, 'cause "better dry chicken then salmonella!" as she use to say. They know her as they see my relentless pursuit to know our God...Mom was THE CCD teacher to every confirmation candidate in Christ the King parish in the late '70's and early '80's. She loved the Lord with all her heart, soul and mind...I pray my kids can say the same of me.

Dad was a big part of our lives until his death in 2005...only Maggie has but a glimpse of his memory. The rest of them have wonderful stories of the love he showed them. And they will always know when the "spirit of Ed" is upon me, because chances are I am tickling them, tearing down a wall or saying something to embarrass them. I declared church an "Ed free zone" at some point in my teens. I refused to sit with him any longer...the things he would say in a not so hushed whisper were enough to send any child into complete dis~ownership of the man!

Where are they? I have the assurance of Heaven for those who accept Christ. I hope that means that they are smelling bacon right now...

Ah-ha! I found a way to marry my tender heart to what I planned!

Yes, Heaven smells like bacon. There now you know for sure. Because I told you so and I have the biblical proof to stand on....

Leviticus 11 warns on clean vs. unclean meats for the Hebrew people...they were forbidden to eat pork. Still true today for those who live by a kosher diet. We even have good scientific reason for avoiding it like trichinosis. I've even read a few studies about how we just can't digest pork properly.

I guess it all boils down to the fact that all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial, just like Paul tells us.

But I think there may be another reason God was saving the pork...He was simply saving the bacon for Heaven.

Now I am not trying to add a word to God's Word. We are not allowed to do that. But I do think that some things are evident by implication.

Think about it, are you going to tell me that when Sara came out of that tent, you know the one Abraham sent her into as a concubine 'cause he was all a~scared of the king...you go ahead and tell me that when she came out that she DIDN'T call him a jerk. Tell me that you can't just let your holy imagination go and almost hear her laying him out on the camel hair carpet for all that nonsense.

But again, that is another post for another day. Today it is the implication of bacon. You see, it is okay for we gentiles to eat bacon because we are a Heavenly people...we are covered under the new covenant and therefore we get a "taste" of Heaven because we get a taste of the bacon.

No one can convince me otherwise...Heaven smells like bacon.

Be blessed all. If you have your folks, call 'em or give 'em a hug. Maybe make them a BLT...between us, we'll know all that the bacon implies.

Trust me, you will miss them when they are gone. Gotta run. Oscar Myer bacon is on sale this week at the Shoprite, gotta' get my fill here, dirt side!

A post is on the way...

it was written early today, but I am awaiting permission to use some one's story...don't want to be that friend who writes about things my friends tell me.
Hang in there and check back later today!
Be blessed dear ones!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In the cross hairs of the enemy...

Yeah, that's us.
In the last few months we have made some major changes in our lives. We gave up using credit cards, started to tithe, John decided to retire, got interviewing and jobs...since then we have had every upper respiratory infection known to man. Brennan even got pneumonia. Remember my post about poison ivy...yeah, poor Bren gets it just like her mom and no, I did not put her on prednisone. Jack developed seavers OC...in essence his growth plate flaps when he runs, nice. Yeah, we live in a fallen world. Okay. All of these medical thingies have mostly been inconveniences and co-pays. The thorn and the thistle.

But then it got personal.

First my electric griddle died. Have you ever tried to make pancakes for 7 with out a griddle? Takes a long time. But we prevailed.

Then it was the microwave...thank God for my thrifty friend Jennifer and her garage~sale~hounding husband. Because of them I have a fantastic $5.00 microwave that works perfectly on my counter...I have enough clocks in the kitchen telling me what time it is, I don't mind that the one on the micro blinks at all.

Last week when I was down with shingles of all things, I knew for sure, we are under attack. We knew for sure that we had become a very real threat to the kingdom of darkness. Spiritual though it may have been, it was D-day here. The enemy of our souls knows no mercy and he will attack the weakest link in our armor.

Yes, dear ones, he did just that.

The coffee maker died or rather, I believe was killed.

That's it, declared my darling husband! This has gone too far!
After several days of wonderful stove perked coffee that takes too long to make, we bit the bullet and bought a new coffee maker.

It lasted one pot and died. OR rather, it was done it. Yes, of course I threw out the receipt and the box...after all, it was going to last more then one dang pot!

After a morning of teenage angst, and middle school wardrobe malfunctions, not to mention a kindergartner hell bent on making me lose my crayons/brain cells, I am preparing for my time before the Lord.

While I would prefer the full armor of God to include the perfect shade of lipstick (the name of which I can now read since I have my glasses) as well as a fabulous pair of pumps and a matching in fabulousness bag...I am aware that this is full out thermonuclear spiritual war.

I am armed and ready to do battle on my knees dressed to kill with the sword of truth wielding at the get go. I have plead the precious blood of Jesus over every member of my family and myself. I just need one more cup of perked coffee to get going.

Ephesians 6:10-18

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. "


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Enough already...

This one may get me unfriended on Facebook but here goes:

Seriously? Sex and the City?

Yes, I've seen the show. I admit, I even watched the first movie out of pure curiosity...I also turned it off.

I can tell you that some of the acting is fantastic. There is some real talent in these ladies...some.

But I can't get excited about a show that has so affected the sexualization of our society in general. No, I am no prude. But I have four girls. How do I explain that what we discuss about purity is all very true but "mom is going to the movies with her besties to see Sex and the City. Have a good night!"

I love girls night out! I love it when we meet for margaritas and I love it when we meet for coffee. But in all the years I've met with my girlfriends, we have never discussed our sexual abilities or that of our men over dinner. Do girlfriends talk, sometimes, but it is not a way of life.

Is 'Sex and the City' what we are sending our girls into? God help us if it is. No, I have to believe that there are still ladies and that there are still gentlemen out there.

Yes, I have a problem with Kim Catrell staring in a made for Disney movie. Lets keep her face recognizable for our little girls. If she wants to play the part of the aging call girl, by all means. But do I want her to be role model for my girls, um, no.

Many years ago, I heard a singer, Kathy Tracolli, throw down the gauntlet to a group of woman at a conference: "You can't be in church on Sunday morning with your hands held high, waiting on God to move you forward and then curled up with a bowel of pop corn watching 'Desperate Housewives' on Sunday night."

I remember giving up Desperate Housewives just about that time...I can be pretty pious about this.

Of course, now, Grey's Anatomy is different. Of course I don't watch it for the McDreamy and Meredeth storyline. Duh. No one has that much sex in the hospital and if they do, I missed it completely when I worked in the hospital. I watch it for the medical stuff...I am a nurse...after all... and then I caught my daughter watching reruns of the Grey's smut on daytime tv one day after school....not so pious now are ya' mama?

Sigh...It's hard to be a hypocrite in public. Honestly, I was so set to be so right in this post until I remembered what I forgot about my own ability to compromise. And yes, I have a quite a skill for it evidently. When is too much, too much? Not sure, but there is a sigh of relief that I didn't address this until after the season finale of Grey's. Now I have three or four months to prep up for giving it up.

In the meantime, I do remember having a long chat with one of my older children about TV not being reality. She was so into the whole "Lizzy McGuire" thing when she was younger. She was sure she would have besties just like in the show. With each friendly heartbreak she had, John and I would point her to Christ.

Just like for her mother, when Christ becomes the source of her strength, then she will have those friendships. We are beginning to see just that happen for her.

I got to see a demonstration of the love of Christ between girlfriends last week when we attended a benefit dinner for our friends little girl, Belle.

We all got dressed up in our bestest outfits~~~way bester then the girls on "Sex" I might add~~~had a perfect dinner, some wonderful laughter and hit the dance floor.

I watched these woman, who grew up in Sunday school together, fell in love, got engaged, and began families together. Now they were loving on one of their own as she struggles through the day to day of caring for a sick child. They were dancing on that floor with a love for each other that no amount of TV production could capture. They are more then friends, they are sisters-in-Christ. They share Him as the center of their lives. Maybe they do talk about sex now and then. I don't know, don't care either. All I can tell you is that I got choked up watching the love of Christ on that dance floor between life long girlfriends. The friendships based in Christ, not casual sex...That is the witness I want to give my girls and that is what I want in my life as well.

Here is Belle's favorite song. It was played as a tribute to her. She and her mom, Kim, sing it together...by the way, Kim out dresses SJP any day of the week!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More about my dancing fool...

There is nothing like the end of a season to wake up the heart!
John is more like himself then I can ever remember. I just adore seeing him like this again. There is no rush to get any where:
Me: "We should get going, Hon."
John: "We have a few minutes. Relax. The party will still be there when we arrive."
Or when it is time to go:
Me: "Hon, looks like we've closed the place. Wana' get going?"
John: "Relax, Hon. There is no rush. No one is pushing us out the door. Come dance."

Okay, who are you and what have you done with my husband?

Truth is, I love it. He has stories to tell from the almost 21 years he served in his job. Stories that I have never heard and I am a little shocked at now.

We were dirty old stay outs this weekend. At the wedding we attended, he wanted to dance to every medal song that played? Okay, um, I had a dating rule, Hon. I never dated a guy until his "heavy medal stage" was over. So, let's wait for Squeeze and "Pulling muscles from a shell", shall we?
My protests landed on deaf ears and somehow "She dropped the bomb on me" was the last thing I heard as he swung me out of my kitten pumps.

Sigh...I love it and I love him. Yes, we are in a new honeymoon phase of romance in our decades old marriage. There is something extraordinary about falling in love again with the guy you have loved for so long.
There have been some tough years here for us, but we honestly became one in a new way when our finances became one.
Wait a minute.
Yes, we had mostly only one income for most of our marriage. I worked a few times over the years to help pay some bills. But for the most part John was the sole bread winner here.
So how could it be that we were not one in our finances?
We simply ignored each other's accounts. If John's was close to being over-drawn...I would think, he should do something about that. Like it was his money vs. our money.
Once we began to tithe, that all changed. It was all God's provision and we had the charge to be good stewards of it. His account, my account, all became God's. There was no more me worrying about groceries alone. It became a burden shared and halved. It was ours to go before the Lord with and John and I met for prayer...and he took the lead. It was no more John vs. Mair, but rather the couple that God had always intended us to be.

I spent the '80's in Oxford blouses and turtle necks with little ice cream cones on them, listening to Debbie Gibbson.
John had long hair, a concert T-shirt wardrobe and had something with an outstanding guitar solo playing on his Walkman.
John taught me to balance a check book. I taught him how to dress. God allowed us to fall in love...again and again and again.

Proverbs 5:18
"May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth."