Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A bazillion and one things to do...

It is the day before Thanksgiving. I asked that wonderful man I married if he minded fending lunch for himself today, so I could sleep in. Of course he didn't mind at all...and here I am at 5:15, coffee in hand, wide awake. Ugh.

My list is no different in length then anyone else who is playing hostess for Thanksgiving and who may not have yet bought a turkey...don't judge. There are plenty left. I will get it all done...or not.
I am determined to keep my meal under $50.00 again this year. It can be just takes a little extra thought and prep time. Time? Yeah, that's right. I am out of that. Ugh. No problem, I can get it done. Seriously. ;)

John use to take the kids turkey hunting on Thanksgiving day. But the girls are now my biggest helpers in the kitchen and Jack isn't so sure about the entire hunt thing. It seems Daddy never brings his shot gun and Mommy always catches, feathers and cooks the darn thing by the time he gets home anyway, so what is the least according to Jack. A couple of years ago, he wasn't so sure that I actually caught the turkey myself, that is until he saw the neck and the heart in the sink. That is when he believed me for good. Vindication feels good.

As I mentioned, I have a bazillion things to do and being online is not one of them. I have a Red Bull in the fridge ready to down to keep me focused. There is stuffing to make!

But first, a word from my heart: Thank you for reading here. I know there are a few other blogs out there...It's true. I've seen them. Yet, you come and visit our world. Wow. Thanks for loving me in spite of my spelling, lousy punctuation and strong opinions.

And this morning there is a tenderness towards all things family unit. I am so stinken' grateful for John. There is no good reason in Heaven or on Earth why he would love the likes of me. He is the kindest man I have ever met...and yet, he loves me. Wow.

And that makes me think of Abba. That He saw fit to know my name before He hung a single star in the sky is shocking and amazing. He gave me this family, in the greatest nation in the that still says Thank You to the one who created the nation in the first place. Glory.

Enjoy the pumpkin pie all...that reminds me, I have to cook the pumpkin!

Be thankful. Somewhere between the mashed potatoes and the stuffing and the gravy and the extra nine pounds...remember who provided the meal. We are thanking Him.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Johnny and Tina got married....

A loooooooooong time ago, twenty five years to be exact, my friends, Johnny and Tina, married. I would not meet them until almost a year later. At the time, I had no way of knowing that these two people, with the simple words, "I do" would have such an effect on my life as a young woman.
I met them at a young adult prayer meeting, in The Bronx, where they were mentors to so many of us.
Just after baby number two was on the way, Johnny and Tina moved to this strange place in "upstate" NY called Wappingers Falls. I helped haul boxes from their Bronx apartment in my mom's Chevy Cavalier...I don't think I mentioned to them that I didn't have a driver's license the first time I drove up. And somewhere between baby number two and baby number three, we became life long friends.
The "hows" of it don't matter much. It all boils down to the "why's" of it. Tina was a young mom with no one around her in the sticks after a life time in the city. She use to tease that she would hold on to my leg whenever I would be getting ready to drive home to my parents. But I would be back. They never knew when but they knew it would be soon. I made the trip North (it was only about an hour from Yonkers, but it seemed like the other end of the world to us!) at least once a week...and I don't think I ever told her when I was coming!
I would just ring her door bell and arrive most times, empty handed and often with friends too. Sometimes Tina would send me out to buy an Entenmann's chocolate chip coffee cake that we would eat out of the box with two forks...and we would chirp for hours as she cleaned and gave me assignments. Some days, when Johnny would arrive home, he would call me their girl "Hazel"...and if you don't get the joke, you are too young to read my blog. Go find something way cooler!
So what is so extraordinary about a couple in Dutchess County so long ago? Just that they loved me. Who was I to them? No one. Just a younger sister-in-Christ with a mom on life support. They were my escape from my normal. Don't get me wrong, their house was CRAZY too with all those babies in it...but it wasn't my crazy.
I got to see first hand, what the love of a family looked like. I got to be the there for meals, and clean up and put down of babies. I got to see them when they fell and when they picked themselves back up. I was there when Tina would give me the last hot dog, knowing that pay day was in a week...I had no idea what it meant to balance the food budget. All I knew was their love of a stranger.
Johnny and Tina came and met Mom once with at least three babies in tow. She was thrilled to meet the couple who loved on her girl so often. And when John and I got married, they were in our wedding along with their two oldest. Tina let me practice playing mommy on her kids and I think my own children are blessed for it. Of course, I am no Tina...she out babied my five by her eight!
I have not seen them in a decade plus...doesn't matter. Now they live in Florida and I live around the corner from where they use to. One of these days Tina and I will sit down with a coffee cake and chirp. In the meantime I get to brag on two people who let this stranger into their home. They showed me the love of Christ in every cup of coffee. I have no reasons to justify their love for me...but I carry it. That love is etched into my soul forever...and the coffee addiction is too!
Be blessed you two.

Friday, November 19, 2010

OOOOPS! The last post published the un-edited version. Don't know why. Given my computer situation, anything can happen. Sorry about that folks!
Be blessed,

Monday, November 15, 2010

All in the song....

Just to prove that a "normal" day in my life, always has a story, yesterday afternoon happened. In the coarse of 20 minutes, the dog had a grand mal seizure that was so powerful he knocked me down and into the fireplace; FedEx arrived at the same time with my new phone--needing my signature; UPS arrived with three packages for John; USPS arrived with a book I had ordered; and in the middle of it all Liz was calling because she had missed the bus. Did I mention I spent the following 20 minutes cleaning dog poo out of the rug? Of course I did.

Last night I forgot to set my alarm and realized it just as I was drifting off to sleep.

"Lord, could You please wake me up in the morning because.......ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ."
At 5:00am:


The thunder shook the house and all of Poughkeepsie for about 35 seconds.

"I am up! Any chance You have a snooze on that thunder, Lord? If it wouldn't be too much trouble, I mean." I curled back up....

20 minutes later..."KABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!"

"I'm UP! Thanks Lord.!!!"

How awesome that the Creator of the Universe shook me awake!

He has been doing quite a bit of shaking around my heart of late so I suppose this morning is not all that different.
For about a month or so, I got way lazy in my prayer time. I know, shocking. My days would still include prayer during the day, but not any real, private devotion time to sit before Him. Spend some time studying His Word and just plain ole' be with Him.

And yet, I was still doing good things. I still had Christian music playing in the kitchen and I was still reading devotionals know. I didn't go over the dark side or anything...I just stopped living on purpose and that can get a girl in a lot of trouble...

There is a wonderful song being played on Christian radio at these days. Take a listen:

Good and God filled song right? The thing is, the enemy of our souls can use even the good things in our lives if we are not living on purpose. I started getting all pitsy with John over just about everything. He was all wrong...Why wasn't He leading me and the kids? And why had he not ever heard this song? I know, I will download it and leave it on his iPod, I thought! You know that is right around the time the computer started to not do it's download songs. Odd.

The more I marinated (notice I didn't say prayed on) on that song...the worse John got until we wound up in argument that he couldn't win...'cause I was right. The poor guy never had a chance. I was his very own, self-appointed holy spirit (notice the lower case there) and I was going to speak to his heart...Trouble is the Holy Spirit had already taken up residency in John and He was not about to receive a word from the likes of me on any of this. No wonder John walked away baffled and confused.

While I backed down, there was a tension in the air...martyrdom can get pretty thick, especially when I am so busy being right. It took a few days before I could hear the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention. So with a bid of begrudging I prayed:

"You know I am right here. I am, after all, quite spiritually mature. Or maybe..Okay, Lord, search my heart. Show me my sin. Hey, do You think maybe I haven't been in prayer as I should be? Could something like a song get me off track? It is a good song. "

"Yes, Maryellen. It is a good song. It is good that it has spoken to your heart. But maybe it is not John's song...and if it was, don't you think I would have orchestrated a way for him to hear it? I know well the plans I have for you and while I love it when you and John join Me in My work, I don't need you to get it done in John." He said.

"Oh." I said. "Sorry."

"Forgiven. Now go tell John the same thing. Love you, you know."

"Glad You do. What would I do if You didn't?" I asked.

"You don't want to know." He said.

"One more thing...could You put a new song in my heart? It is a good song after all...I know it's not mine or John's now, but if You have any good ones hanging around in Glory, could You pass it my way?"

"Already done my dear. Already done."

The next day this song started to be played on the air waves. It sums us up in three minutes or less...

Sometimes, I get busy doing good things for God and forget to ask Him if it is what He wanted me to do in the first place. Duh.

I have a hot date with John later to go dancing through the minefields of our kitchen. Live on purpose and you will find you have His strength. You also may just find yourselves living His plan after all. Be blessed dear ones.

semper fi

Recently, my oldest, Liz, had career day at her high school. She checked out the important stuff like BadAss Coffee. Great. But she spent the most time at the recruiting table for the Marine Corp. She has no desire to be a part of The Few and The Proud mind you. She just loves the way they look in uniform and rightly so. Thank God she is listening to me after all!

Our home is not far from the US military recruiting center. By the grace of God, the Marines jog on our street. Sometimes they carry the Marine Corp. flag while they run and sing the Marine Corp. Hymn....I've been known to stand on my falling down balcony and just bless them with a somewhat inappropriate "Semper Fi, boys. Semper Fi." I feel a little like Mrs. Robinson when ever I watch them, but who could blame me? John has my full permission to drool should a supermodel ever jog down our street...'cause that is never going to happen!

Dirty old lady behavior aside, it has been a week of watching my children and hearing their wisdom.

John bought little Miss Maggie a ring from a train show (why they had rings, I don't know) and she could not wait to show me.

"There is nothing so special as getting a ring from your daddy, right Mommy?" She half asked and half told me.
"True Mags. I love my ring from my daddy too. And I love my ring from your daddy as well." I said smiling at John.
"You see! It is very special and important." Said with the all the wisdom of a soon-to-be seven year old.

Caity can't find her glasses (either can I) and Brennan would like help to find her iPod. Liz is almost passing math...Sounds like their mother all the way around. And they are ready to try a new youth group at a different church. Each one admitted they have no one to share their faith with of late...and so have not. It is way easy to be the "holy one" in the crowd if you are the only one who is somewhat holy. They are hungry for Him and miss Him. That is all good.

And Sir Jack. Boy, has he been getting to me. Bad enough he waves and smiles, sadly, at me from the bus in the mornings...just to break my heart I am sure, now he has taken to reading the Word to his old mom each night before bed.

"You know mom, my reading gets better everyday since I started to read the bible. You think He has something to do with it?" He asked me this morning.

"I bet He does." I answered after him, as I watched him run down our acorn covered front lawn to that bus of his.

I went back inside and opened up to psalm 116 where we left off at and I got a blessing I had not anticipated this morning.

"Truly I am your servant, LORD;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains. " (psalm116:16)

I had a praying mom and because I did, my children now do too. I hope I will serve more and maybe ogle the USMC less as I celebrate all the chains He has freed me from. Glory in the morning indeed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fresh stuff

I wonder if, just maybe, God is trying to give me fresh material for my blog.

It's not like I can ever say "nothing happened today." or anything even remotely like that. And I don't think it is the quiver full of kids we have here either. I have always had a story. Friday, last, is a perfect example of how nothing ever doesn't happen around here.

Up at 4am, make coffee, sit...fall asleep for two hours...

"Mom, it's 6am. Is there lunch for me today?"

"Um, who are you and what are you doing in my house?"

I got up, drank the coffee, made lunch times five and set the children out the door, rather un-eventful.

John's cold was way worse than you can imagine...yes. So he was home all that day. Being a medical professional that I am, I made sure he rested by giving him NyQuil at 9am that morning. He emerged from the bedroom around the same time the kids starting getting home. Interpret away dear bloggy friends but judge not, know the rest. Just being a good wife here and yes, I did go in a take a pulse around noon.

That afternoon I had to go pick up Jack from school to go to the tutor. I jumped in the Honda...dead battery. I transferred all my stuff (coffee, purse, coat, computer stuff for the computer fix it shop to look at, a book, and keys) into the Kia. I headed down the driveway and the transmission began to slip. Let us hope the warranty covers it. I pulled back up the driveway, and right back down. I needed to be able to pull the pick up truck out. I walked back up the driveway, back into the kitchen and announced I would be taking the pick up truck.

"And if anything else goes wrong, I am staying home! Someone does not want me to leave today!"

Yeah. I got out to the truck and had the wrong key.

"Gayhead School."

"Hi. This is Mrs. Schlusser. Jack's mom. Please put Jack on the bus. I am not chancing it."

"Excuse me?"

"Nothing. But thanks."

Sigh. Call to his tutor went about the same way.

How could one lady have so much in one day? Is it just me? I love when I ask someone, "What's new?" and they respond with, "Nothing." Seriously? Nothing? I can't imagine!

Maybe I just have that story teller know the one I just made up? Was it just a smooch on the Blarney Stone or something less Irish and more French?

And I fear a trend of late. There have been way more "Maryellen Stories" in my life...way less, "Look What He Did Stories." While He is always faithful, I am not.

"Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live. " (Psalm 116:2)

I can just picture Him turning His ear to me. Waiting for me. Listening closely to hear me speak to Him...nothing.

Imagine Him asking, "So Mair, what's new?"and I don't answer for a day, a week, a month.

That would make me full of nothing but blarney.

Excuse me while I tell Him about my day, my plans, my hopes, my failures. He is waiting on me and I know He has great and unsearchable things to tell me back.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A very close call...

I know I should watch the coffee intake while I fight this cold, but the reality is, I am a coffee junkie. Gotta have my fix for crying out loud, first thing. I don't want to wait for it to be ready. I've learned to make a half of a pot in the electric percolator before bed. I come out to hot, stale, coffee in the morning. It gets me through until I can be awake enough to make a fresh pot. And who, amongst us, doesn't love Fresh Pot? These are the jokes here folks...just giggle and keep reading for crying out loud, will ya', please?

I've given up on the automatic coffee makers since the killing spree on our small appliances this past Spring. While I have no doubt that the enemy of our souls was afoot in the slaughter, there was also a bad outlet that was taking down my coffee pots. It was a perfect storm of destruction. Nothing sets off a day all wrong like a lack of coffee first thing.

Given my half-witted state of mind at the moment, I can't be blamed too harshly for the error I made last night. About half way through the CMA show, I declared I was off to bed. I kissed my man, smooched the kids and went to bed so I could prepare to sniffle another day. As I curled up I thought, about the coffee I had not prepared for the morning. Sleep took me before I could do anything about it. Eight hours later, I stumbled to the coffee pot, knowing I would have to make it first thing.

"NO." Said in the low growl of a woman confronted by a kitchen disaster.

I had never unplugged the percolator yesterday. There was burnt coffee in the bottom, surrounded by coffee sludge. Sigh. I scrubbed and cleaned the pot. I prepared the coffee. I plugged in. No perking. Nothing. Not even the usual spark I see when I plug in the pot to the outlet. It appeared to be over.

"Five dollar coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond will get used today." I thought to myself, "All is not yet lost. I can use the coffee press this morning, and have a new coffee pot by lunch time." Life would go on in spite of me.

Two presses later and two cups as well, I discovered the percolator was not dead, just in a coma. I am proud to say, I am sipping my third cup of coffee, the last of which came from my pot, not my press. I knew you all would want to know this. God's mercy knows no bounds. Glory.

Of course none of my coffee fussing would be possible this morning, were it not for the veterans we celebrate how I worked that in? Yeah, I am so good. Thanks for noticing. Love you too.
Where was I? Right.

My dad was on a ship to Korea to fight the good fight of a Marine when the war ended. He said he all but cried. He joined to fight and defend our nation. He wound up in Japan and served the rest of his tour there. Did I mention he was only seventeen at the time? Maybe that helps explain my disgust at a nation that would allow us to keep our kids on our health plans until they are twenty-nine. Edward Brennan went into the Marine Corp a boy and came out a man.

Our vets serve to keep us safe and we will remember them today by shopping great sales, maybe a parade...and in prayer too...Prayer... Join me won't you?

Father, in the name of Jesus, Thank You! Thank You for our men and woman who have served our great nation and those who are doing so even now. Thank You for the courage that can only come from You. Give them peace as they lay down at night and remove the horrors of war from their minds. Let them walk in perfect peace, love and joy as they defend our nation. Thank You for their families who give up as much as the defenders of freedom themselves. Thank You for our Vets and the freedom they protect. Never let us forget that freedom does not come free. Amen.

Semper Fi!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Down with the most rotten of colds. Right now it is all about soup, rest, and trying not to think about the fact that Thanksgiving is in 2 weeks. NOT READY...but thankful for a boat load of stuff, like you all! Be back soon...or at least after I get another box of tissues.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I have no write...

I can't spell. If you are here often, you already know that one. Were it not for spell check, my "their" would be "thier" all the time. And just so you know, I had to spell check that to see which one was wrong. Who am I to think I have the right to write?

We all know about the "then" vs. "than" controversy. I find myself looking for other ways to express the same thought with out using "than" or "then" just to avoid the emails from angry teachers everywhere.
I had my oldest use a Post~It to remind me which one is used for when. She was so cute trying to explain that they are pronounced differently.

"Mom you don't say,'than' you say 'then'. Just think about it."

"Honey, first lets discuss 'drawer.' As in 'Drawer me a picture.' And I only use 'draw' for 'Drop your draws baby!' so I can't go by me."

Of course I use 'drawer' for the thing you put forks in too, but that is another story for another day.

Recently, a friend who is opening a vintage kitchen shop asked for ideas for her shop. I suggested she look for vintage bowels...she wasn't so sure she could dig any up.

A couple of years ago I invited about fifty people over for a desert party. Yeah, it was a teacher who asked if we wanted the Mojave or Sahara. Sigh.

Folks are still waiting for the thank you notes for our wedding gifts because I knew I would call some one "sweat" instead of "sweet." I was new to the family. Better they think I was rude than stoooped. You get it.

In case you are wondering, yes. I have been known to curl up on the coach and yell at the couch. It's how I roll.

Have you ever had someone say you can't do something because you don't have the skill? Has the Lord given you a leading to do something that makes no sense? If so, consider yourself a Moses...remember he told God to pick someone else, after all he had a lisp. Consider yourself a Paul who spent his life killing Christians...wanna' have him over for dinner? Consider yourself a Peter who was a lousy fisherman with a wholly net and a mother-in-law to look may have read some of his work.

I may have stomped on a few dreams of my girls when they were little. I don't think I meant to...but I am sure I did. Just being that practical old mom. I found myself praying this morning that I never, ever crush on their dreams. I think I have been better about encouraging Jack to follow his. If he believes God has given him a dream he should pursue it with all the heart God gives him...not because he is a boy and they are "just" girls but because he has struggled so hard with the dyslexia...way worse than (or then?) his old mom. It seems I have a prayer project to work on. May I always be an encourager and catch myself when I am a naysayer.

I am off to play nurse on the coach...I meant that one. John was Jack's football coach a few years ago. So yeah, I've been known to curl up the coach a few times. John has a rotten cold. My first hint was when I thought I heard a fog horn on the couch last night.

But it is all my fault.

John thought he heard the beginning of "The Gloria" trumpets heralding the night before but it turned out to be me blowing my nose. All this coaching/couching has given us some disease~ridden~vermin to fight off.

Be of good cheer dear ones. And by all means, dream out loud! Remember, Job's supporters are not remembered for being so supportive and off the top of our heads, we don't know any of their names.