Thursday, September 30, 2010

MarCalulate, but don't save...

I've told the story that I never remembered to give Mom a napkin with her meals. I would bring breakfast/lunch/dinner, sans the napkin, into her room and place the meal on her tray. She would knock ("a shave and a hair cut..." but almost never got to the "two bits." part) and I would turn around.
"Napkin, please?" She would say with her lips only. Her smile rivaling a Cheshire cat, as if she had just busted me for some great act of silliness.
"Sigh." I would think, and go off to get her nap~a~kiny as Dad called it.

Fast forward a decade plus later. Each time Dad would come for a visit to his grands, while he ate, he would ask for a nap~a~kiny...and I would tear off a paper towel. He would shake his head.

When Dad died, my friend Amy helped me clean out his apartment. I cleaned out the kitchen and took all of his cleaning products and whatever food I could find that was okay for our kids...except the Mallomars, I ate them while I worked. I won't mention the Viagra I found in his medicine box....it still makes me crack up and shiver at the same time! But don't worry, I won't mention it!

Since we were moving into our new home, the cleaning products came in quite handy. But the day I finished the Windex, I cried. When the Pledge was empty, I cried again. Scrubbing bubbles made me just about boo-hoo myself silly.

But that bag of MarCal nap~a~kinies...I hid them. I kept them on the shelf with my mom's and granny's china. There was only one left.

Last night I ran to the store and forgot to get toilet paper and paper towels...

"I think there is one role left. No you don't need to drip dry." I declared to the kids.

And life went on this morning. When I handed John his breakfast, he asked for a paper towel...

"In the same isle as the toilet paper, over in Walgreen's, I think."

John laughed and then I remembered, I had a napkin...just one.

His back was turned and I climbed up Maggie's step stool into the china cabinet and took down the bag of MarCal napkins.

I handed it to him and he wiped his mouth just before he saw the tears in my eyes and the empty bag in my hand. And then he got tears in his too. He knew...

"You shouldn't have given me that! I was fine. Awe, Hon." And we hugged and cried in front of bewildered children.

"Be blessed. That was my dowry." And we laughed again.

I kept the bag. And I ran to Walgreen's and bought nap~a~kinnies to put into my grandmother's nap~a~kinny holder.

My dad's legacy is in my heart and for some reason, this morning, it was okay to let go of a flimsy napkin that can't represent him. He was as flawed a daddy as the world has ever seen, but he always had a hanky in his pocket and a napkin or twelve next to his plate.

AT THE END OF THE ROPE?

AT THE END OF THE ROPE?

Said way better then I could. Be blessed all.
xoxoxo

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not allowed...

Being the youngest in my family, I tend to have an over riding need to be liked. I am just "me" centered enough to think everyone should like me and accept me...of course, since no one is liked by everyone, I had spent a great deal of my life feeling badly when I wasn't liked.

Until I was in my mid-thirties, I honestly needed that constant affirmation. Why? I am sure I could spend a few hundred blog posts on rejection and what that does to a heart. But I don't feel like it. My blog and all that!

But somewhere between a Beth Moore bible study and sitting at my blog, I realized that I am highly favored and accepted by the only One that matters. I also love that Beth's friends call her "Beth-la-ham!" Nothing wrong with being a ham as long as it is just you being you, not you needing the attention.

Now being as sanguine as I am, I also happen to believe that what God has shown me, He intends for me to share...thus the book, the blog...the mouth that I have! But I've also discovered that some of what He shows me, while shared, may not get feedback from anyone but Him.

At some point though, I also stopped trying to get others to behave the way that would make me feel the most comfortable in my skin. I learned this in the back of church one afternoon while sitting next to my girlfriends husband. He is not a talker and I think mindless chatter annoys him. In the past, I would have done everything I could to engage him and "put him at ease"...until I realized he already was at ease. He is quite comfortable in his own skin, thank you Miss Chatty pants. So I did the most extraordinary thing in that sanctuary. I mean I went all the way to plaid to make this man comfortable. Yes, I sat there and shut up. I know. What a gift of selflessness I showed! I have no doubt that my gift will be source of reflection for all of you as the days go on. Go ahead, meditate on it. I understand.

It became clear to me that my "putting people at ease" is often more about putting me at ease. I adore another sanguine-ite. Laugh at my jokes or at the least, smile at me and my loyalty is yours. Ack, now I have gone and exposed my heart here for all the world to see. Nothing makes me more insecure then not being able to make someone laugh. It is actually quite easy to get rid of me. There now you know. Don't laugh or smile at me when we first meet and you are rid of me. For those of you who will comment on here, "If I only knew it was that easy." Tough, your stuck with me now!

A sure fire way to grow some thicker skin is to write a book no one reads. Or better still, get a couple of rejection letters...Oy, that'll show you quick enough your own heart. Now that is humbling and it will either cause you to quit or dig into love Him all the more.

All of that back ground to say, I have found myself in a shut up mode at home. I have a child here who has pushed my last button. And I am pretty sure that another speech from me would only produce the sound of the teacher from "Peanuts" in her ears: "Mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa, mwaaaaaaaaaa." So, I am just quiet with her.

There is quiet and then there is quiet with a chip of "don't even think about talking to me." Yeah, I am in the latter.

I know, as a mom, I don't get to shut down. I don't get to go into self-protection mode. The moment there was a child, there was a love and love never fails. It is there in season and out of season. But it isn't always that warm hug thing either. Sometimes love means the "put up or shut up" in our lives.

So while I am quiet with this child, I won't be with our God. Given that He made me and this mouth of mine, I plan to use in front of Him in just about an hour or so. When the hubby and kids are all out the door, I have a plan to bring Him my complaint...and then I think I will shut up again. Just to sit and be silent before Him, with out the chip. I know He gives wisdom to whomever asks...and He gives a lot of it, sometimes more then our hearts can imagine.
As Tennyson put it, "In thy wisdom, make me wise."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Tuesday already...

and you know what that means...Yes, it is no longer Monday. Duh. Yesterday, I went to the dentist...Ugh.

One would think that a temporary cap would last longer then seven years. As I waited for the decision of what to do with this tooth, I made a heart felt discovery: While there may be no atheists in foxholes, there are very few in dentists chairs either. I tell our God-sent-dentist all the time, that I hate his job and would hate him too, if I didn't love him so much.

It struck me while I was in that dental chair (I keep busy thinking up stuff to blog on) how amazing things in our nation are or at least how they have been in the past and we hope to keep or restore them. Maybe it is all the Brother Andrew-behind-the-Iron-Curtain reading that has me looking at things through the lens of a patriot again, but some things are just plain screwy around here.

Being the ever so un-PC couple that we are, we have enjoyed the fruit of John's hard work. Some of it we have done right and some of it we have done so wrong, that I think I will just keep that part to my self, thank you very much.

But but we have faced our debt giant with one thing in mind: CUT, CUT, CUT everywhere and anywhere we can...unless we don't "feel" like it and then we SPEND, SPEND, SPEND everywhere and anywhere we "feel" like doing so. Humility has not come cheap for us and we are so grateful to know that while we have made some rooky mistakes, we are on our way...to what?

I asked John last night, "So, is this it? Is this the crazy life we are now in and this is just the way it is going to be? What are we waiting for? When are we going to be satisfied?"

We talked most of the night, and I have only a few answers. I like some of them and others have left me wondering still more about the condition of our hearts.

I have a huge kitchen. Way bigger then my grandmothers or even the little thing I was cooking in just five years ago. My stove is just fine, even if I do need to screw back on the handle now and a than. But I want a commercial/professional stove...

John (or is it Jack?) has season tickets to the JETS or at least we think they are the JETS...they could be just ants running on the field dowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn below. They get to have a ball going to the games together with life long friends...But they would love to be in the first row.

My Kia is paid for. It is 9 years old and while I have to maintain it, it is just fine. It gets me where I need to go...But I want a Yukon.

Is this where contentment meets the road? Is this where our nation is on a whole? We provide a tax payer, paid education to every child...but not every child has a Bronxville school district. Some districts are just better off then others. Can we have a national standard? No. Not really. The Department of Education has only been in service since 1979 and it has messed things up royally. It has not improved our lives one stitch has it? Are things more fair now then they were? No, I don't think so. Use to be that local school districts decided what was the priority and now Washington does. Here in NY the only way we will ever have a decent math protocol is if we fight the state...Sigh. Are things fair? Yes, actually they are.

Not everyone gets the commercial stove or the good JETS tickets or the Yukon. Or the Bronxville education. But I do get to cook some darn good food on my stove, and we all get to watch the game and my car drives us where it needs to. And as far as the education goes...we pay extra to help our son get the help he needs. The truth is Jack would be rubber stamped from one grade to the next because it all comes back to funding. We have made paying for the extra, cash only please, our priority.

Things can be fair with out being equal. We can all be glad when we have the joy of His presence. John and I have a wonderful life here...now it is a matter of the heart and being satisfied with all He has granted us.

Something happened in our hearts. It is still new and we are going to make mistakes...I just happen to know that no matter how many projects we do on the house or how many things we acquire, the luxury is in knowing Him, not in our standard of cooking, sports, transportation or education. I don't think I am alone in this. Something has happened, and I think it may have begun in our nation as well. Hope and change cannot come from a government program. They can only happen in our hearts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Some days...

Waiting on God is hard.
Trusting God is harder.
Believing in His plan is harder still.

Some days, I can't, in my own fleshy self believe another moment that everything will work to the good for me, even though I love Him and have been called according to His good purpose.

Some days, I believe I AM all I have to work things out.
No one understands.
John doesn't get it.
Kids don't get it.
Even the darn dog is all about the darn dog.

Some days, the burdens are too heavy to give over because I don't really trust that He has a plan after all...

And so, some days, I cry. Not "why me" tears. Just the tears of my own frustration convinced I've been asked to be Sara walking into that tent. The thing is, she went in, knowing it was all wrong...

It leaves me wondering: how long was she in that tent pretending to be a concubine for the king? Did she change into something less comfortable? Did she cry? Did she try to make small talk with the other concubines?

"So does your back ever bother you, given your profession?"
"Nice tassels. Are they hard to keep on?"
"Do you all have a union or are you independent contractors? 1099?"

I also wonder if she walked out of that tent, smacked Abram upside the head and called him an ass.

The thing is, even when Abram was having his moment of stooooooooooooooped, Sara obeyed. And God kept her, AS WELL AS ABRAM, from harm. Why?

I know I've talked about these two before. But I adore Sara...maybe because the first account of laughter, sarcastic laughter at that, in The Word was by Sara. God's plan was off the charts crazy and she laughed in disbelief at the very idea of it.

"A baby? Yeah, right! LOL!"

And yet, here we are all these years later still talking about that baby.

Some days Psalm 62 sets me straight...when I don't understand, when I can't see a way:


"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God."


Some days, I remember He is the only source of my honor...Some days I need the reminder.


P.S. For the record, John has not asked me to "step into a tent" of any illicit kind! Don't be stupid, I've had five kids...Sara hadn't had any yet, she might have been old, but I bet she was still hot! Duh.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pride vs...well pride.

We've all busted with it at some point. I think I've busted it onto the blog a few times, especially about my kids and certainly about my husband...

"My son, my son!" My mom use to tease about her beloved son...yeah, I wanted to knock the two of them upside the head...of course that was until I had one myself and now: "My son, my son!" I have no doubt the girls would like to knock me upside the head too!

I recently read a fictional story of Mary and her own "My Son, My Son!" and the conviction on her heart that He was His, not hers...wow.

I think we mommies and wives run a thin line here over pride in our kids:

"Look what a fine job I have done in raising them!"

Or as wives:

"Look at my catch! I have done a fine job in training him!"

Sigh...

When we stand in our own pride over what a fine job we are doing we miss the point entirely. I have taken great "pride" in teaching Jack to read. I worked hard at it. I did good, darn it all, I did very, very, good.

Or perhaps my God gave me the knowledge to do good, to learn how to teach, to use just the right tools to reach a child with profound dyslexia...Maybe IT was all about Him in the first place.
I look at my home, my family, my accounts...they are all His. Any good I do, is based in Him. I am only able because He gives me the ability to do so. Even my faith is gift from Him. I am not the great I AM. I'm nothing.

The fact that he can use this jar of clay, made of filthy dirt, is, in and of itself, a miracle. That He would use the least of these to do anything at all is astounding.

The only righteousness I have is because of Him and even the righteousness isn't mine...it's His.

I had wanted to brag on Liz today and her plans to start college in the Fall of 2011. I had wanted to brag on Jack today and how hard he is working this year in school. I had wanted to brag on beautiful Brennan-Fiona today and her birthday wishes coming true...and on Caity and on Maggie and on John...

Instead, I am going to leave it all alone...leave it at the foot of the cross and brag on my Jesus...that He would even love me is brag enough for a Thursday. He has never needed me to do a thing. The fact that He has asked me to join Him in His work at all is not brag worthy...it is nothing short of humbling. Glory.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Queen has spoken!

There is this nifty little thing on the blog here that shows the stats of what countries are viewing it.
We have been to China, Russia, Holland, Ireland and Israel amongst other places! We should have some kind of jet lag by now. Hope it all translates well. Not sure Yonkers can be understood by anyone except me, but so far so good!

Now if only I could translate "Knock it off!" into the hearts and minds of the teens in my house.

We are in a season of bickering...if you follow the blog, you know that life is being lived at break neck speed around here of late. Bad enough I can't finish a thought but when that half a thought is broken into by an argument about tooth paste, this mama has gone postal. I have been known to go so postal I think we need a new name for it:

Going plaid (a shout out to Space Balls...immature, yes, but again, my blog and I like plaid.)
Going Maryellen (it fits)
Going Maghoo on a lunch bag (damn dog)
Going retiree on a pension that is late.
Going ex-smoker with out a patch.
Going bad hair cut before the prom...
Going JETS on the Pats (great game)
Going Maggie on the seagull who stole her sandwich at the beach (like Snoopy at the Red Baron)

Okay, that's all I got. Chime in. Winner gets something...not sure what.

Can you feel the frustration around here? I actually told two of my children they have to shut up their lips (I hate to just say "shut up" 'cause it sounds so harsh) for the remainder of the day in my house. When they get home from school, they have to go to their rooms and not to talk to any one. They have hit my last nerve.

I am so heartsick and aggravated by the bickering that it makes my head hang in shame. "No amount of success in ministry is worth failure at home." As per my pal (she has no idea how close we are...) Beth Moore. It makes no difference if this blog is read on Mars, if I fail at home in my ministry as mom.

So what is the answer? Jesus of course. But the girls are at an age now where we can do family devotions and bring them to church but only they can make a decision to be in The Word or in constant communication with Him. I can't make them pray, I can't make them be alone with Him, and I can make them seek Him out in His Word....

But I can pray. I have no doubt the Holy Spirit lives in them. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit can quicken their spirits as quickly as He can quicken mine. I can pray they don't feel like the they need to dig in and be top dog around here...we already have Mr. Maghoo for that. John and I can put them in their rooms all we want. But ultimately it will be a battle won our knees.

I never had a sister. I got to be the princess no matter what. My girls each have three sisters and seem to need to establish themselves as head princess in any given war, be it over toothpaste, hair brushes or wardrobe.

As the queen mother, I have a royal duty to pray, often and with out stopping. Praying always, in season and out. As I scrub a floor or bake a cookie, praying for the spirit of the alpha dog to be banished in our home, banished to the cross for Jesus to deal with.

In the meantime, as I pray, I also have a list of chores the Irish Princess crowd can hit before dinner.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Save the last dance for Him...

According to my friend Jennifer, it is new wine Friday and that means we get to try a new wine! Of course it will have to wait until after...

Dinner (x's5)
AWANA (x's1)
TREC (x's1)
Football (x's1)
See you at the pole rally (x's3)

Once everyone is where they need to be, I do believe John and I have 45 unspoken for (including driving time) minutes to our own selves...what ever will we do with a chunk of time that doesn't even have the courtesy to move the big hand all the way to the next number?

That reminds me, I have to make marshmallows and I have a nail appointment too...Sigh.

Yesterday, I got so much cleaning done, that I almost didn't make it to Shoprite and I had to go to Shoprite...I had coupons and I needed the dinner makings...besides, olive oil was on sale! But I had to be in and out.

I ran into Mrs. Neighbor and chatted with her as I pulled out of the street, drove the mile to the store, ran in between the rain drops and honed in on my mission: In and out before Maggie's bus pulled in to drop her off.

I was making my last run for the Ronzoni (at 67 cents a box, I needed 12 boxes) and I ran smack into a young woman from church. I just adore this sweet young thing. She is so beautiful and so young...like we were once. She is a student nurse so of course I love her all the more. Remember being twentysomething? Yeah, me too. I wouldn't go back to that, except for the size 2 jeans for anything! It seemed to me that God had ordained that time for she and I to chat.

I made it back to meet Maggie with five minutes to spare! She and I went into the house, arranged the sunflowers I had bought into the wall vases, watched for Jack's bus and it was back out the door to start grabbing teens so we could go to the orthodontist.

I keep going back to the fact that He will direct my steps...OOOH! Join my holy imagination with me for just a moment, won't you?

In the arms of my savior, dressed in the finest of silk, He skips me around the floor, and dips me into the first pick up of one of my children, he swoons me toward the drop off of another. As I trip the Light fantastic with Him, His arm never leaves my back and His strong hand holds mine erect and He spins me toward the next event on my list of to-dos. Yes, He leads...

Dinner becomes a choreographed dance between Savior and beloved that would put Fred and Ginger to shame. He leaps me toward the dishes and the next days lunches.

He is smiling at me and it makes me wonder why I am missing the joy of the dance...there is a joy in the dance. Yet all I have done is meditate on memorizing the steps and I have missed the dance. I've been working so hard at leading Him. He pulls me toward the next leap, the next spin, the next...and the timing is perfect and the steps are smooth even when I try to pull away, He presses my hand ever so gently and the small of my back is led, never pushed toward the next turn...He is always a Gentleman...He never forces me to step this way or that.

He has never danced my soul to exhaustion. His is the very air I breath and only my steps leave me breathless. His freshens my soul. The dance freshens the spirit even while the body rests at the end of the day.

I need to go strap on my dancing shoes to start my day, blessed by the image of my Savior who will choreograph my day, one time step at a time. Ohhh, the music has already started to play. I think we will be dancing a jitterbug today... and the wine is ready to be poured tonight into our cups, held by Jesus.

Praise His name with dancing! (Ps 149:3)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's great to stay up late!

"...good morning, good morning to you!"
Yeah, I love Singing in the Rain. I often wake up my kids up singing that...and they usually groan and beg for five more minutes. Unless it's Jack...he just wants to wake up to a tickle!

If, however, any of them tried that on me...I would shout to kill! I wake up at O'Dark O'Clock just to avoid having to be pleasant with anyone until after my coffee. I am a bear disturbed from hibernation when I awake in the mornings at 4:50am...but I am bear after a nap too...

"Just give me five minutes with my coffee to wake up and then Mommy will answer why Dora and Boots won't play with Diego. I promise."

School has been back in session for a week already and I have gotten so much done! Yes, I have made meals, washed towels, scrubbed kitchen floors...and I've watched Fox News...and I have played Third Day at full tilt while the dog covers his ears in agony.

Oh and my prayer life since they went to school...wow. Yeah, wow...as in "are ya' gonna' get around to talking to Me, Mair? Or are you just gonna' try and figure this all out on your own?"

I was in the middle of a "I got it!" mode when I showed up in the living room with my Savior yesterday.

My plea?

"What? What do You want me to do? Where do You want me? How can I get this done with out You? I am going to mess this up if I am doing it alone!"

He said...nothing. He let me rant. Can you imagine not talking with your spouse for a week or two and then yelling at him for not talking to you? Yeah, me too. That is who I have been of late.

If you haven't read "God's Smuggler" you must. It's the story of Brother Andrew who was able to get the Word behind the Iron Curtain and now gets he smuggles it into Muslim countries as well.

We all love a good testimony but that is not what has struck me to the core while reading this. It's the communication Brother Andrew has with our God....and that got me to yelling.

"I want to hear from You! I want to hear You like Brother Andrew or David Wilkerson or that 'Cops and God' guy! I want that all the time. Not just sometimes, but daily. I want to hear, 'This is the way, walk in it.' from YOU! How am I going to work us out of debt or get anything done or start this new book, if I can't hear YOU?"

"Then show up." He said.

I cried.

Yeah, we all want to "hear" from God but then we get so busy in our chaotic lives that we forget how to hear.

Yesterday, He called me to lay it all down. To give back every good and perfect gift back to Him...you see when we do, He can bless it, and give it back again. Kind of a "This is my offering" thing.

Lets say you have the chance to be debt free. You work for years and years, save a few nickles and get the chance to live life with just a mortgage and even that is on the list of things to get rid of. Lets say, you start to tackle it all and start to get overwhelmed. Lets say you start to think a new kitchen, roof, driveway, furniture, some make up, a purse, a balcony, a trip~a big one, maybe a new car...all starts to sound plausible after a year of deprivation.

Then lets say, you read what Brother Andrew has to say about The Royal Way as it were. Would the King just leave His subjects to figure it all out with His bounty? Or do you think maybe He would show His kids how to be a good steward of all that He owns anyway? Yeah, me too...but only if you show up in His courts to ask for that guidance in the first place. Only if you give it back to Him...because after all, He is the owner of it all.

What if it wasn't just about a new refrigerator? What if this was true about your kids, your marriage, your time? What if you opened your hand and stopped holding so tightly and gave it all back to Him? What if you didn't stress yourself to the point of getting sick...just this one time?

I asked Him to show me how to handle the money, He did. It all went back to the fact that it is His in the first place.

Today, I plan to just show up and spend some time with Him. I have a feeling He is more then willing to show me a few more things. Chaos is never, ever from Him. He is after all a God of order.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

9/12

I have memories of 9/11 just like everyone else. I don't know that they are any more extraordinary but rather they are probably extra ordinary. I live in NY, so of course, I lost people and have friends who survived...John watched the first plane fly over his head and later spent the day waiting for someone to rescue.

And now we are fighting about building an Islamic Center at Ground Zero...just like the Japanese wanted to build a Japanese Center at Pearl...you know the one...no wait, there isn't one. That's right. That whole WWII mess was way before the nation had evolved into what we are today. I forgot.

At the time of the attacks we didn't even have a computer to check out what was going on. How odd is that?

But what were you doing on 9/12?

I can't remember if John had to go back to work. I know he came home around 3am. I don't think the kids went to school that day. I know I didn't talk to my dad...he was mourning in a bar somewhere in The Bronx...he couldn't get over the bridge to his club in Inwood (the tip of Manhattan) because the bridges were still all closed. I know the kids watched Nickelodeon...and we kept the radio on all day...with no music playing.

We waited to find out if we needed to go to the city to volunteer...but by early morning, we knew...there was no one left alive to help.

The thing is we woke up on 9/12 in the greatest nation in the world. One that took a sucker punch from Islam. Why? Because they hate us. We will always be hated because, like it or not, we are a nation founded on Christian principles. And Jesus said we would be hated for it.

I can make some great arguments about freedom here...but I simply don't feel like it. 9/11 still makes me cry.

So 9/12 should give us hope...not because of how we woke up nine years ago, but because we woke up in the greatest nation in history. We are still free...and we have lived to fight another day. God...bless America, please? There is a remnant here who adores You.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shadows of turning...

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." - James 1:17 (KJV)

We are in a season full of variableness and shadows of turning. Bills to pay, jobs to work, homework, football, swim, breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks a day...and all done in the shadow of change.

And yet, there is this overwhelming cry in our hearts of "what's next"? I have no blessed clue.
We waited a long time to be retired and be the grown ups...and I think our definition of "grown ups" has changed along with the season of life we are in.

Another retired cop told John at the wedding on SUNDAY, not SATURDAY, but SUNDAY, that "there is life after retirement...and that life is very good." I loved that.

Something that has yanked at my heart for awhile now is the mantle of marriage. Every time, I have turned to John and trusted that mantle, he has never let me down. Now I don't mean to imply that I have just figured this out...but to some degree, I have just figured this out!

"How is your prayer time?" I asked himself this morning.
"Not a lot of time on it, to be honest with you...I feel like I am being pulled in a hundred directions right now." Himself said.
"Yeah, me too. We've had this great move of God in our lives...We don't serve a God of confusion...maybe the chaos is not from Him?"
"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Maybe we had better slow down long enough to listen. Meet me later?" He asked.
"Would love to.♥" I said, and the rest of it is non-of-your-voyeuristic business!

Sigh...We said our hope our is in the Lord...we said our hope is not in being debt free or a paycheck...we did say that....but the truth is, our hope was in paying off our bills, not so much in His provision to do so. There are thin lines here and we seem to have a penchant for crossing them.

It's not that He changed, we did. We meant to live on purpose...and yet...

So the fam is back in the door any minute. I get to balance the check book...my hope is in Him, not the checks. 'Cause the whole, "I have checks, I must have money thing." has never, ever worked in my favor.

There is no shadow of turning with Him...in the midst of all our changes, He is the constant. Glory.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's gonna get so quiet here...

I have 7 minutes before I get child number one up for SCHOOL, no wait, now it's only six...ack!

Today begins the school year for them and for me it is the first time in 15 years I have been home alone, all day, as life style. Less the times John has taken the crew for a few hours, I've never been here before.
For the record, I plan to ball after I walk Maggie off to first grade.
And then I go to Walmart...
Wow.
Oh, and then I sit on the couch and eat bon-bons while I watch my stories until they come home. Right?
Now if I only knew for sure the time the bus was coming...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dry run...

In case you missed my Facebook post yesterday, I sent my man out to a wedding alone. I was feeling like I needed to be here for the kids after all the running around I did last week. My new BFF, Fran, came over and did my hair, John got dressed and out the door. He would attend the ceremony and come back to get me for the reception.

Perfect plan...

or at least it was until he got to the empty church...yeah, the wedding is on the 5th of September...today. Urt.

Thank God he was a good sport, but unfortunately, it means I have to go to the whole thing today. Kids, you are on your own!

Since I had extra time, I got to fret all over again about what I would wear to the wedding. I tried on every dress in the closet and modeled them for my teenagers and John...now I remember why I went wedding dress shopping alone. At the time I tried on three dresses and bought the third one.

Dress number one, full length, teal:
Brennan: "Too low. Are you going to wear a cami underneath?"
Liz: "Too hoochy-mama."
John: "It's a little too formal."
Caity: "You look so beautiful!"

Dress number two, above the knee, black, swing dress:
Liz: "It makes you look skinny but your legs are too pale."
Brennan: "I don't like it."
John: "It's awful black. Yes, like you are going to a madam's funeral."
Caity: "You look so beautiful!:

Dress number three, tiered skirt, halter top:
Liz: "Gives you back fat."
Brennan: "You look like you are going to do the Mexican Hat Dance."
John: "It's fine."
Caity: "You look so beautiful."
Jack: "Let's dance!"

Dress number three, little black dress, and I mean the perfect little black dress!
Liz: "Yup. That looks great."
Brennan: "Wear that one!:
John: "Yeah, it's good."
Caity: "I don't know..."
Jack: "Can we do the Mexican Hat Dance again?"

Okay, I made my decision. Little black dress it is. Run to Macy's, throw our fiscal responsibility to the wind. Buy stockings...
No, I don't need the "D" size. Thanks for asking girls.
Yes, the four inch pumps are a little high. Never stopped me before. Yes, I can walk in them.

Seriously? How dare they even ask!

(Okay, between you and me: Oh my word they are high! Did my knee always hurt when I walked in hooker pumps? No, this is new...they were on sale, I got them anyway. Besides, they are closed toe...you know what I mean. I don't have to glue on new toe nails to wear them! Duh.)

Put the whole thing on and showed the man...

He stared at the shoes with that look...not the good one, like "WOW! You look amazing!" more like the "I am going to have to carry her home after she cripples herself." Ah-huh.

...and then he said: "Well, no one will mistake you for the bride."

Sigh...I still don't know what I am wearing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Harried House Wife...

The past few weeks have been nothing short of "RUN!" for me around here. Unfortunately, I think at least half of my children are bored out of their minds.

I wonder if Mary ever had seasons like this in her house...
"James, you are going to have to get one of the other mom's to put you on her donkey to get to Hebrew class tomorrow. I have to run over to the temple with Jesus so He can be about His Father's work."
"Aw, come on. You ALWAYS take Him where ever He wants to go. You treat Him like the Messiah!"
"Keep talking back to me like that James and I am telling your Brother!"

Each hour brings a new task to accomplish, either in house or in the car.

In the mornings I run my oldest to swim practice...something I am thrilled she has been doing. Or at least I was until she told me the time for practice changed to the afternoon...and I cried. Yeah, don't mess with a mommy's running. Her coach called the other night to tell me not to worry about the time changes and that she could work with me about getting Liz where she needs to be. Coach Mary is one of five children and I have no doubt has some residual mercy for mommies on run time. Bless her heart.

In the afternoons I run Jack to either his tutor or football. He has a new assistant coach that we will call "new George" because he is new and his name is George. We already have the best head coach, "Taliban George" thusly named for the two or three tours he has served for our nation over seas in the war on terror. We've known Taliban George for over five years now and we adore him. When he called last night to tell me practice was cancelled because of the heat, I told him I had a problem with New George.

"What did he do?" Asked with the gruff voice of the Marine he is.
"Evidently New George has a problem with Jack being late to practice. In the five years you've known us, we are only late if there is a reason. Last time I checked, Jack does not drive. So if New George has a problem with Jack running late, he can address it with me or John. Okay?"
"Yes, Ma'am. Good point." Said Taliban George.
Hooh-rah!

In between yesterday, we threw a party for Caity's birthday....yeah, the bathroom does need to be cleaned downstairs, dear child. No, you can't just close the door. Thank you.
Yes, I mean all the papers need to be picked up.
Close the garage door, means close the garage door.
Sigh...I am sorry, Caity. When you said you wanted an Oreo Cookie cake, I assumed you wanted a cake made with home made Oreo cookies crumbled in and on it. I had no idea you wanted a cake that looked like an Oreo...I am pretty good, but The Cake Boss, I am not.

John gave Caity her purity ring last night. Oh, so pretty just like she is.
The darling thing just wanted to show me her gifts...sorry dear, your three hours of fame are over. I need to move on to the next task. Show me later, okay?

No Maggie, let's not talk about your party right now. I have Brennan's party, then Jack's party, Halloween, Daddy's birthday, Thanksgiving and the Christmas party to plan first. Sorry. I know having your birthday three days before Christmas was poor planning on my part, but it was the best I could do.

Brennan and I went to a meeting for my sister-in-law earlier in the week. She is not well and living about an hour south of us. John and I met with her to discuss her moving closer to us. The wheels are in motion on that and I asked for a week or two reprieve from running on this subject. The powers that be must have seen the look in my eye that meant they needed to say yes...and so they did.

After the meeting, Brennan attended her open house for Junior High...yeah, late bus is no more. Budget cuts you know. So if Brennan does join anything, I will be picking her up. Of course I will.

Caity, when does Civil Air Patrol start again?

John, your suit needs to go to the cleaners for the wedding we have tomorrow...no, I don't know where the pants are. Yes, the blue shirt is fine.

I told him this morning I that I was not going to the wedding itself, just the reception. I have been gone to much this week and feel like I need to be here for the kids...

"You can skip that too if you want to. I understand..."He says as he grabs his to go coffee and no lunch...oldest child forgot to bake the bread.

Actual translation: "I am trying to help. "

Wife translation: "I can do this without you. Daggers in the heart. Tears."

Proud to say, the actual translation won out.

"We need to sit down together to work out what I am doing with my jobs." He said, passing the first test of wife stress...should have quit while he was ahead.

"Yeah, I'll get back to you with my day planner." Said only in my heart.

"Okay, Hon. I'm on it." Said with my mouth.

Oh, and while I thought I was looking all cute and tiny again, evidently I was way fatter this past year then I thought. 15 pounds gone, but at least 10 more to go...how could all of this running mean nothing fits? I am going with the fact that I am all muscle. Yeah, big hanging muscle on the front of my chest like mozzarella hanging from the ceiling of a good Italian deli.

My next post will be written from a home for the bewildered.

"Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem..." (Jerimiah 5:1)

Sorry, Lord. I can't run around Jerusalem right now. I gotta run me through the streets of Poughkeepsie!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

black and white....who cares?

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. "MLK 8/28/63

I am a Martin Luther King nut. I am probably one of the few people in my generation who can tell you that he was killed on April 4, 1968. I know this fact because it happens to be the very day I was born.

When I was little and Mom would speak of it, she would claim that she was the only white woman in Yonkers who knew the date off the top of her head. Story goes that she had a "colored woman" as her room mate in the hospital and Mom had to watch the entire funeral. I remember very clearly asking one night, at the age of 5, how many colors mom's room mate was? I was sure she must look like a stained glass window. I couldn't understand why God would give that room mate of my mom's so many pretty colors and only give me the pale pink...

Race relations is not something I thought a great deal about growing up in the suburbs of Yonkers. I have stories about blacks and whites and maybe they need to be written down for another time.

But MLK was always important to me. In 7th grade, our entire class had to memorize a famous speech and present it to the class. We had a list to choose from and I chose "I have a dream". The winner of the class presentation got to go on to the next level. Long story short, this Irish girl pounded her fist about insufficient funds for the black brothers and sisters in our nation. And I won. It was the first time I ever knew I was good at something...no one was surprised that my skill including talking or an audience.

So why am I blogging on MLK this am? 'Cause it's my blog, duh.

And because it's heavy on my heart. Given the number of people who attended the Restoring Honor Rally in DC over the weekend, I would say it is heavy on the hearts of many Americans.

I think what pushed me to go to DC in that heat this past weekend was way more then just a desire to schlep my family to the steps of the Lincoln memorial to be in a crowd of way over 500,000. And for me, the deal was sealed a couple of weeks earlier in church of all places.

As we sat on a Wednesday night healing service, the guest pastor said something along the lines about how he hates it when he hears that a white person is willing to worship next to a black person but if that same black person were to move in down the block from them they would be up in arms...as ridiculous as the statement was, what drove the knife into my heart was the family in front of me. They happened to be black and the entire family started to nod their heads and shout "AMEN!"

I would have walked out right then and there had I not needed to be there for my dear friend and her family.

Seriously? REALLY?

Is that what I am thought of? Does the sister-in-Christ in front of me really think that way about me? Did they just do to me what they are accusing me of doing to them? I was just judged by the color of my skin and because I am so pasty and pale, I must be a bigot? Seriously?

Because I am white, I must hate my neighbor who happens to be from Nigeria? Because I am white, I must hate my Puerto Rican neighbor across the street? Should I hate the elderly neighbor next door to me too? Or how about the blended family behind us...you know divorced and remarried?

I've paced my living room rug raw on this issue more then once as my friend Sara and I have discussed it over and over again. When I first fell in love with my dear friend, I didn't know what her ethnicity was. I did know that her son Sonjay was best friends with my son Jack. I knew she loved the Lord and wanted to love him more...and I knew she had the best tan I had ever seen.

There are times she has hurt for me and others times she just does not understand this white girl on the other end of her phone. I've been told the fact that I just don't care about color or ethnicity is a rare trait, specific to me...and we "fight" on that point over and over and over. I do believe what happened in DC this past weekend was evidence of the fact that I am not alone in this.

There were those who were furious that a white man organized the rally. Those same individuals have made a life's work out of telling us that white people will always hate black people...and the narrative is starting to crumble.

For the life of me, I will maintain that MLK gave us the gift of not caring what color you are. Honestly, if you are a mean spirited, low-life individual, I won't want anything to do with you no matter what color you are. And I wouldn't have voted for Obama if he was orange with yellow poka-dots. For the record, those who did vote for him, based on the color of his skin are the believers who have some explaining to do...and in this great nation, that is still between them and their God.

Today we celebrate our daughter Caity's 14th birthday. In a couple of our hours she will have her pool party. By 1:00pm EST, in that pool, there will be the children of white men, black men, Jews, Protestants and Catholics. I will be busy serving them cake and ice cream. To the glory of God, may I serve them, knowing that one generation after MLK's speech we will be sitting down at that table of brotherhood on my deck.

Edited to note: When Caity was little, when describing someone who was black, she always said, "brown"...all of my kids did. Color was seen, but certainly not race. I do believe John and I have done a fine job in this area. I get to stand proud of that.