Saturday, December 25, 2010

Xmas 2010

Christmas Eve

Ryan found his ball as soon before the other kids came out of their rooms!

Jack's new bike from Poppy!

Will's new bike.

That face!

Ella-Kathryn's very own bible - we had her name embossed on the cover.

Ella-Kathryn's jewelry box - hand-crafted by Poppy.  Upon opening, Jack exclaimed, "Poppy made that?  He should get a job at Lowes!"

Will got his very own army gear and Cars scooter.  We had to remind Will within the first minutes of opening his army stuff that his older brother has shared his for years, so it would only be appropriate to share...

"Emily and I are twins!"  Ella-Kathryn said about her Hello Kitty scooter:)

The boys were up at 5:40!  Jeff corralled them in their room til Ella-Kathryn and got up.  As Jeff just said, "I feel like I could just go into a coma."  Ha!  He had to work the church til after 9, then had to get the bikes (one was stored in our neighbors garage and the other in the attic,) and then we watched Christmas Vacation.  I looked at the clock last night at 10:40 and declared it was time for bed!  Unfortunately, Will got up 2 or 3 times during the night and Ryan got up once.  The grownups in this house are too pooped to party!  Oh well - we'll gut through.  Jeff's making some breakfast and we'll chill here til after lunch when we join the other Simpsons down in Fayetteville. 
When I asked Will whose birthday it is today he replied, "mine!"  I'm sure it feels that way:)  The big kids reminded him that it's Jesus' bday and hopefully we'll have some quiet time later to talk about His gift again.  Merry Christmas!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

xmas card out-takes

This last one is hands down my favorite.  And pretty much sums up the level and intensity of emotion and drama that occurs betwixt our 4 walls every day.  In spite of it all, I would not change one thing:)
We did get one decent shot - it's in the mail!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

That Holiday Feeling

We've been keeping it pretty low-key around here this Christmas.  Only one parade, one concert, and so far no actual xmas cookies, just plain ol' yummy chocolate chip:)  Jeff normally rides the Sheriff's dept. motorcyle in several Christmas parades, but this year he opted to just do one, and then found out that they had enough guys for the bikes so he just drove the truck.  Nice for him since it was a balmy 36 degrees that night.  I bundled up the kids and we got there just in time to get a great parking and watching spot - easy in and easy out and right near the beginning of the parade so we could skedaddle asap after seeing the finale.  The kids did great - little complaining and they were so excited about grabbing up as much candy as they could that they barely noticed the cold. 
 Here's our corner spot.  Jack and EK had little camp chairs and a couple of blankets.  The little boys shared the jog stroller til Will decided he wanted to hang out with the bigs. 

After the first couple of floats passed, I felt bad because Ryan couldn't see a thing from his seat in the stroller.  This kid weighs a ton!  But, he seemed to enjoy the lights and music.  At least he never cried:)  I do know now though that Will does not care for the loudness of the high school marching bands, the sirens from the fire trucks, nor the scary man dressed up as the Grinch who pointed right at Will shook his head.  During each of these floats he slowly took one step after another backwards away from the curb!  Never took his eyes off the float/band, but kept moving back.  When the fire truck went by, I turned my head for one second, looked back to the place where he had been standing, and he was gone!  He had gone completely behind the stroller!  Poor kid.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Between My Fingers

Is there not something in us that wants to grab life, literally, and rub it between our fingers?  To know that it's real and tangible.  When love passes from one person to another, we look around for someone else to nod there heads in agreement.  No, you are not mistaken.  That did just happen.  You witnessed love.  In this crazy life we lead right now, it is too easy to miss those times.  Between the siblings bickering over whose air was being touched (no I'm not kidding, they really did fight about air,) and the rushing around to feed 6 people and 4 pets (no I didn't miscount, there is a new stray that decided that we looked like ginormous suckers, and we are) it is far too easy to blink.  And miss it.  Or more likely, to be distracted and miss it.  I have been making a concerted effort to spend a bit of time each day with each child.  This seemed like such a novel idea at first.  We're home most days, all day long, so it shouldn't be too hard, right?  Well, again between meal-making, home-schooling, and life-sharing it is a bit challenging.  But oh so rewarding.  Jack responds immediately to a small kindness in words and hugs.  Ella-Kathryn wants to share her giggles about the newest book she's reading, or hatch a plan for some fun day together.  Will, oh Will, is about the most complex little 3 year old I've ever met.  So silly in one minute and spewing hateful words in the next.  Every morning I find a new wrinkle around my eyes and new grays in my hair.  Because of that boy, I'm sure.  And Ryan.  Oh my.  If we meet somewhere and you call my name and I don't respond, please know it's not because I'm ignoring you.  I've merely gone deaf.  In both ears.  Because there is a small boy in my life right now whose lungs were apparently not at all damaged or weakened by his stay in the NICU (and we are truly grateful for that although some minor damage might not have been frowned upon.)  Whew that one has a temper too.  Have not one iota of a clue as to which parent passed on the angry gene. 
To recap:
I am trying.
They have noticed and responded kindly.
With His grace we will keep on keepin' on.

Some turkey day shots.
Not sure what this face is.  This was Thanksgiving morning.  He got himself dressed, Mr. Preppy:)  He's helping me make puppy chow.  That stuff is manna from heaven thank you very much.

On the way to Thanksgiving dinner. 2 out of 4 napping.

This picture just makes me laugh.  Jack looks particularly thrilled to be there.  I will say that he was enjoying himself up until the moment I said "everyone look at mommy!"  To which he responded, "
a picture at Lowes?????"   Will was making another odd face.  Ryan is doing "cheese" and Ella-Kathryn makes me think that perhaps 1 out of my 4 children might turn out normal.

Ah, the annual placing of the star on the Christmas tree tradition.  Will's turn this year and I cropped my double chin right on out of this shot:)

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I missed my dad, sis, and extended family dearly!  But I ate myself into a starch-induced coma and then after shopping from 12:30 AM til 2 AM Fri morning, I went to bed last night at 9 and because I married the dearest man ever, slept til 9 this morning.  Yes you read that right - I slept for 12 hours people!  Sadly other than some random tidying around the house, I  have nothing to show for that amazing amount of sleep.  Perhaps I'll be able to regale you with a tale of horrific insomnia tonight though...
PS**** A funny to end on.  We have never said that Mr. Claus was real.  We would always just ask our kids what they thought and then reiterate how the tradition started.  We figured no harm done in letting them figure it out themselves etc.  So, at Thanksgiving dinner, I guess Santa became the topic of conversation at the kids' table.  Not sure of the details, but we heard Jack say something about it and thought it wise to call him into the dining room to remind him that not all of the children there were aware of the 'truth' of Santa.  Thank goodness we did, because we were told then that our oldest nephew may still believe it and definitely the younger nieces did.  Whew.  Close call.  So Jack was cool with keeping it under wraps and promised to scurry in and tell Ella-Kathryn (who decided for sure this year that is was a nice "story, but not real") to keep it on the DL about St. Nick.  But before he turned to relay the message to his sis, in a moment of preciousness that we will never forget, Jack glanced over at Jeff, then looked at his Grandma and said with a toss of his head in her direction, "Do they know?" 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2 Parter

We had a busy day yesterday.  Nothing in particular, just busy.  Good busy.  Then after naps, I loaded up the kids and we went over to K's house to visit with her and M came too with her daughter.  The kids acted like kids, meaning we had to stop talking every 3.4 minutes to redirect.  Even the big kids:)  But I so enjoyed that time.  Right before the craziness of the "holiday" season.  Just a couple of hours to check in with each other and be reminded that these women love God, their families, and miracle of all miracles, me! 
A bit after 5 we were getting our stuff together to head home.  K's parents were stopping by to drop a few things off and it happened that they arrived as we were leaving.  We all hugged and visited for a minute.  Then we got in the car and decided to run into Allen's to grab a few things for an easy dinner.  We got a spot right in front - the store is in a strip mall so there are some spots that face the front of the building and aren't really out in the parking lot.  We were on the very end, but there were cars parked the rest of the way down to the store.  We got our stuff, the kids were great, Max gave them lollipops, and then a young man pushed the cart out for us.  Ryan was in the cart, the other 3 were walking a bit ahead of me.  A bit.  We passed the first 5 or 6 cars parked before ours.  I noticed that the car that was parked next to us was gone.  I saw Will start to run towards our car.  I saw him run in between the parked car and the cement parking stop.  I saw him illuminated by headlights.  I screamed.  I ran.  I grabbed him up and hugged him.  Hard.  I said thank you Jesus over and over.
The man driving the car said he saw him.  His wife did too.  They were very kind.  Thank God they were driving slowly. 
Later, after dinner and after Jeff had gotten up, I was in my closet getting changed for bed.  It was if I had been punched in the stomach.  It all just hit me.  K's mom.  Alive.  Delivering homemade cinnamon rolls.  K and I talking about her parent's anniversary.  M's parents coming for Thanksgiving.  Hugging K's mom.  K getting to talk to her mom on the phone.  Will almost getting hit by a car.  I stood there and sobbed.  The can't catch your breath kind of cry.  Doubled over, but trying to be quiet cry.  There was no one moment of conscious thought: "I miss my mom."  Rather, it was like swimming the wrong way all day in a Rip current only to finally succumb out of sheer exhaustion, to be pulled under completely.  And it feels kinda good.   The letting go.  Just to not have to fight it anymore.  The good news is that it passes.  The bad news is that I know it will come again. 
This is not meant to be a post of sadness.  Instead, it's a reminder that losing someone we love will bring about an entire spectrum of emotion for which we don't have words.  It's joy in the life that we got to live with them.  It's disbelief that they're gone.  It's an aching for the years that stretch ahead without them.  It's hope that we'll see them again. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


*******Pause the music at the bottom first...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not Forgetting

I was going to label this post "Remembering" but really is much more appropriate to say that I just don't want to forget!  Here are some of those things:
  • While playing with his buddy J, Jack had a chance to witness to him. J's questions involved not being sure if he believed in God since he couldn't see him, and not understanding how Christ really could have risen after 3 days.  Wow!  Great questions and while Jack admitted he struggled to convey what he thought were the answers, I couldn't have been prouder that he stepped up and tried to help walk his friend through those difficult areas of faith.  This prompted some good discussion with Jack and has put me on a path to find some material on apologetics for kids.  (Any help would be greatly appreciated!)
  • Will & I were in the restroom at church this morning, and after I helped him go, it was my turn.  Normally I make the boys turn around if we have to share a stall or whatever, but we were running late and I just forgot.  So as I stand up to get myself put back together he asks me "mom, do you have a penis?"  Ha!  I explained that only boys have penises, to which he replied "so just me, daddy, and Jack?"  I added "and Ryan" and he parried "not you and sissy!"  Smart kid, no?
  • Ryan said "La La" for the first time tonight while skyping Aunt La La!
  • Ella-Kathryn said she was scared and concerned that when she turned 7 people (by which I'm sure she meant her brothers) would come into her room and make it messy and that at that time she would always want it to be neat.  What in the world???
  • At one point this afternoon Will called me into his room in a voice that kind of worried me.  I ran in and found him standing in his underpants (shocker I know) with a pair of children's scissors in his hand.  Now we have little kid scissors and big kid scissors and these were not the little kid ones.  I was about to reprimand him when I really looked at his face.  He was scared.  I asked him what was wrong and he said he had cut his bear (stuffed animal.)  I started giving the bear the once over and asked Will where he cut him.  He so timidly pointed out the very end of the ribbon that is tied around the bear's neck!  Poor boy thought he was in for it!  Thankfully that's all that was cut and he was not injured in the process.  I did have to remind Jack that he cannot leave the big kid stuff out when we have so many little hands around the house:)
  • Ryan is doing such a great job of falling asleep on his own!  For those of you who know us well, you know this has only happened with one of our other kiddos.  We are loving it!
  • Will wakes up almost every night and wants to get in bed with us.  I am usually too tired to fight it, and quite frankly as I look at my sweet Jack who's about to turn 9, I am only too glad to let this little one to climb on in.  He does, however, talk and often yell in his sleep which can make for an interesting wake up call.  Sadly he has called out "no mommy no" more than once:)
  • If I could find a Lightening McQueen pocketknife for my 3 year old, I would be his hero forever.
  • EK and I got to do a bit of shopping on our own last week.  She needed some shoes and tights and we really had a good time just the 2 girls.  It reminded me of how much more intentional we need to be with a bit of one-on-one time with the kids.  She is such a grateful little girl, always thanking us for things/food/clothes/etc. 
  • Oddly, Will is the most thankful child.  He is always the first to pipe up and say thank you.  So sweet coming from that little person!
  • The kids have not been in public school in 5 months and even though there are some excruciatingly challenging days, I cannot imagine them being gone for 8+hours a day any time in the near future. 
  • Jack was helping Will get dressed the other day and he was frustrated with Will's unwillingness to put his legs in the right leg holes.  Jack hollered, "Use the brains God gave you man!"  I have no idea where he may have heard that little gem...
Ok, so those are just  few.  As I read Building a Foundation for Your Child's Faith, but Dr. Larry Stephens, I have been so convicted in the area of my own lack of self-control.  I fly off the handle far too quickly.   I am too quick to anger over the silliest of things.  This book has helped point me back to the truth that I cannot do this in my own strength and only if I am modeling the Fruits of the Spirit can I ever hope to draw my children close to God.  And only in this way can I hope to show them how God loves them with an ever-forgiving, always-loving Father.  I'm only half way through, but so far it's been a good read.  Off to be now to read another good book, Bloodroot, by Amy Greene.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Escape Artist

There is a little person in our house who desperately wants to join his siblings outside.  When he hears the garage door open, he comes crawling or scooting as fast as he can in an attempt to make it to the door before it's slammed in his face.  Bless his heart.  He tries!  Today, as I was on the phone and the older 3 were outside, I looked over and noticed that Ryan had pulled himself up to standing at the front door.  I ran over and took one picture, which led to the others.  As I took the first he made his "cheese" face and said "cheee," but i missed it.  So of course I had to stay and take the others!  It was really cute as he then stayed there knocking on the door, waving, yelling "Jack" and "Hi" and made it perfectly clear that he was not happy to be on this side of that door!
Yes, I did roll up the bottom of his pants after this.

That face!

Cheeeeeeeee!  I guess he closes his eyes in anticipation of the flash?

Yeah, these two are just waiting for him to figure out that door!

Thank goodness this particular door is really tight and hard to open.  Unfortunately the others are not, so it's only a matter of time...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall Blessings

1. Little one's who eat.  A lot.  This was a bowl of that homemade minestrone-style soup.  He ate 2 full bowls!

2.  A little fall banner I picked up on clearance some time back.  For a couple of bucks it makes me smile and serves as a reminder to do just what it says!

3.  Little boys who have learned how to throw fits.  I know I shouldn't classify this as a "blessing" but really it's so cute and we're truly grateful that this little guy is even around to throw fits!  During this particular one, Jeff had set him down to go grab something out of another room.  Ryan apparently did not approve and crawled over to this rug in front of the kitchen sink, laid his head down, and screamed while alternately yelling da da:)

3. Siblings who really like each other.  For the most part these kiddos enjoy life together.  Here's Ryan getting a ride in the wagon - I did have to remind Jack to slow down about 50,000 times:)

4.  A new deer blind - here's to hoping it's a bountiful season!

5.  Kids who enjoy music - in their underpants!  I tell you what - this guy seems to be in his skivvies quite a bit.  Looking back at pics, we've got several of him in his unmentionables!  He was rockin' out to Rock Band.  Just wish I had thought to capture it on video too. 

Today my friend H is having her 4th so we're praying for her family!  She is an amazing mom to 3 already, so I know she's going to rock as a momma of 4:) 
Jeff is sleeping now but has to rise earlier than usual to head out for night qualifying (shooting at night.)  Praying for a sure and steady hand for him!
Homeschool work is done for the day.  Getting ready to put Will down for his nap.  Ryan's asleep already, and if I can convince the 2 biggers to head out for a bit, I might get a few minutes to myself:)  That would definitely be a blessing to be counted!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Moment of Silence

A moment of silence, if you will, for Jeff has sold his beloved Bronco.  As his wife I am literally crying over this.  He's fine.  Sad to have had to make that decision to sell it, but he's not upset like me!  I just hate that he's had to give up something he wanted since boyhood.  But the key here is that it is just a thing.  I am so proud of this man.  I am so proud of his example to our children.  As we work our way of the debt we've incurred for various reasons, he has chosen to rise above his wants, to put aside what the world says he should rightly have "because he deserves it!" and has chosen to put our family and our future first.  But for now, if you will, bow your heads...
Note:  I know how ridiculous this sounds in light of Veteran's Day:)  To my dad and Jeff's dad, and to our grandfathers before who served with honor and bravery, we thank you!

Blustery Day

Dear cloudy, windy, November day,
     You are too warm for my liking, although I prefer not having to run the heater, so I will take the milder temps for now.  Your mostly cloudy day has stirred deep within my soul a desire to eat baked goods.  Many, many baked goods.  I made a pie to celebrate November's coming - that's how desperate I am for sweets.  That and we've been watching Little House on the Prairie, and by golly that Ma makes a mean apple fritter, or so says Pa, which means I really needed to see if I too could make a tasty fritter.  According to my children I can:)  OK, so back to this Nov. day.  You are so windy that it makes my baby boy catch his breath when he's on the swing that he loves so.  Will looks ten times more adorable running across the leaf covered yard, his hair swooshed to one side, then swooshed back into his eyes.  That reminds me, he needs a haircut. Oops, stay on track.  Did I mention that this weather also makes me want to curl up on the couch with and read?  Yeah, that doesn't really mesh with 4 children under foot.  I made a big pot of soup the other night. It was delicious and you should all try it!  I omitted the meat, just used the beans and pasta and it was still very filling.  Pasta e Fagioli from  Go.  Cook.  Eat.  Then make dessert and eat that too so I don't feel like I'm all alone in my journey towards a diabetic coma.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Baring it all

I'm a mess these days.  I'm not sure how this post is going to go, so please just hang on and know that I'm trying to get it out in some proper fashion.  It really goes back to this move.  Jeff is not happy here - nothing that will be life or death if we didn't move, but definitely something that is significant enough to make him seek out other jobs and homes.  In other words, he wants to go.  Sooner rather than later, but is willing to wait until some things are resolved, i.e. employment:)  He's dissatisfied with the income that he makes in law enforcement and wants to do better for our family.  Admirable, I know.  And it would be hugely helpful if he did make more.  Not just to our "now" life, but to our "future" life.  And, I know that he's not the kind of guy who's going to just throw it all to the wind and risk our family's ability to eat and have shelter.  I know that.  Or at least I think I do.  Here's the problem.  I want to support my husband.  I want to be that wife who says "heck yeah, let's up and move and go where ever to do whatever."  Here's my dirty little secret:  I'm not that wife.  I feel depressed about this whole thing.  Not just that I'm not the wife I thought I was, but even more sadly, in a selfish way that my life is not turning out the way I want it to.  I'm happy here, or more than that, this is a "known."  I do not like the unknown.  There are a bazillion variables that play into our moving that it literally makes me sick to my stomach.  I'm weepy and quite frankly not very nice to my husband right now.  And part of me doesn't want to be nice.  Yuck.  I know.  When I pull up the real-estate sites for towns in Colorado part of me thinks ok, that's not too bad.  What a pretty view of the mountains.  What a cute downtown.  Then part of me thinks, how on earth are you going to keep the house "show-ready" while your husband sleeps during the day and you homeschool your kids. And don't forget about those dogs you'll have to load up every time someone wants to see the house.  That is of course if you can get anyone to look at your house, cause we all know the market sucks right now... and on and on.  This back and forth.  All the while my heart is crying out to Jesus to please give me some peace about any of it.  Oh.  I am a mess.  When I share these feelings with my husband he hears "I don't want to go."  To which he replies, "if you really don't want to go, then of course we won't."  But I know.  I know that man.  He will make due.  He will work hard.  But he will wonder, "what if we'd gone?"  And I know I would too.  So here we are.  Friends and family, please pray for me.  That sounds so selfish, but I really need your prayers.  I need a miracle of an intervention right now - a major heart change because this state that I'm in right now is not good.  Thank you in advance for you who will step in this gap for me:)  I love you dearly!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Three and a half years ago I took a picture in the exact same spot.  There were only 4 kiddos then...

 Jack, oh my sweet Jack, why do you look so silly in this picture?????  Precious Emily, only 6, but looks 7!  Case and Will clapping at...themselves?
The awesome swing bridge at Tanyard Creek.  They ran up and down several times - Emily is already on her way back up and Case has just made the turn!

My sweet Will!  He had to really work hard to keep up with everyone.  His little legs were tired out by this point, but not too tired to not run the bridge:)  I will remember this expression for the rest of my life.

This is what happens when I try to take an action shot! Ha!  Hope it doesn't induce motion sickness:)

The Woelke's came to town for a a quick visit over Emily's fall break.  We had a blast, even though there was a bit of sickness that took over the two elder Woelkes, and the kids got along great!  We didn't do hardly a thing - just let the kids play and we just visited.  Karen and I did manage to steal away with Ryan for a bit of shopping (I still have an Old Navy gift card burning a hole in my pocket thanks to my inlaws!)  It was so much fun to just hang out. 
On a different note, I was in major PMS mode while they were here.  Let me tell you, I never have experienced it in this way before.  Well, that is after Ryan was born things changed.  TMI perhaps, but I'm telling you, I can TELL when it's a comin'!  So can my dear husband:(  I had to apologize to him, my sister,  and my brother-in-law!  UGH!  All of those yuck feelings about moving etc. just came out, and not in a constructive, mature way.  Snippy, ugly, short, sarcastic - you name it, I was not nice.  It is really weird for me to hear these things coming out of my mouth, feeling rather out-of-bodyish, and hearing these words disembodied from me.  I swear it's not a cop out - I know that I do have the ability to control this, but it is such a challenge.  Next month, I think I am going to have to pray a ton more for self-control and for the Holy Spirit to work in my to just keep my mouth SHUT!!!!   Seriously.  Maybe I'll take a vow of silence for those couple of days?  Cause the way it's been going is not productive, nor is it kind, or pretty, or encouraging, get the picture. 
Ok, so moving on.  Things I need to remember:
When I was outside with the kids Sunday afternoon, Will, Ella-Kathryn, and Ryan were swinging, having a great time and that's when I noticed.  My dear daughter is getting so big!  I know, I am a master observer right?  Seriously.   When did her legs get so long?  I remember when she learned how to swing on her own - on that very swing.  She was so excited to pump her legs and make the swing go without help from us.  Now, she can kick the leaves of the tree in front of the swingset.  She swings so high, she makes the whole frame rock.  She chatters non stop about anything and everything.  She is my only daughter and I cannot hold on to her hard enough!  I pray that she will continue to be an encourager, helper, and that she'll hold on to her easy going attitude.  Even when she's having a "moment" she is quick to snap out of it and move on.  Much more like her daddy, she is even-keeled and has always been our best sleeper!  She is a great eater too:)  She loves her girlfriends and told me today that she wants to try public school again after we move (we'll see about that one.)  She still loves to snuggle and loves to take on the role of teacher for her younger brothers.  She's smart as a whip and excels academically.  Most importantly, she loves Jesus and wants to be baptized.  There are pages more that I could write about her, but I need to get back to teaching!  I thank God that He saw fit to bless me with one sweet girl among the 4 crazy boys!  Love you EK!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting there

At his 12 month checkup we told our Dr. that this little man was not really talking, crawling, walking, standing, pulling up, just scooting on his bottom while holding his right foot.  Fast forward a few days after that appt. and he was babbling up a storm, being intentional in his signs and words, and continued scooting like a crazy little speedster.  Then a few weeks after that he started crawling.  Then a few weeks after that he started pulling up.  Now he's pushing chairs and "walking" with them and is "cruising."  While I still have some concerns about the balance (he's got none and cannot stand alone yet) I am thrilled to see him meet all of those other milestones - and here's the thing.  It was on his time table, and my dear husband was never worried!  That man:)  Thank goodness the good Lord saw fit to put us together, cause I know I do enough fretting and fussing for the both of us.  So, Ryan will have his 15 month checkup here in a few weeks - yes I did say 15 months!!!!!- and according to Jeff he will be a walking fool by then.  I'm not so sure about that, given his complete lack of balance still, but of course you would expect me to say that, wouldn't you?

On a completely different and yet somehow mildly related note (that being that I own all of the crazy in this house) I also told my dear husband that I feel confident that I will never be the victim of a serial killer.  Hang on, there's a valid point here.  As posted many times before, I love to read, and I am a huge fan of crime fiction.  Agatha Christie to Karin Slaughter (yes that's her real name,) if it's got a good plot and great writing, I'm in.  Ok, so even if the writings not fantastic I'll probably still read it.  Anyway, Jeff prefers ghosts and hauntings (don't get me started on the whole Christian perspective on this, I'm still wading through this topic) and I happily go along with watching Ghost Adventures or some other such show with him, cause I'm telling you, ghosts are not the things that really scare me.  Full disclosure - I do believe in Satan and demons, and that does scare the tar out of me.  Ok, so here's the thing - what I've learned from my exhaustive reading on the subject of abject depravity in human beings, evil-minded folk, and the law is that those who follow a predictable routine are more in danger than those who don't.  Ha!  I've got those suckas beat!  My children do not allow for such foolishness as routine!  Some mornings I'm up at 5, others it's 6:15, some it's 7:45.  Nightly dog walks may take place at 8, 9, or perhaps 11:13!  Take that serial killers of Bella Vista - you'll never catch me.  
I know.  Even I feel sorry for my husband. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

self-actualization vs. Christ realization

As I caught up with a blog written by a friend from school long ago, I felt puzzled, perplexed, then just plain dumb.  She wrote about Maslow's hierarchy of needs (from the 40's and newly revamped, as she noted had been written about in the Sunday NY Times.)  I vaguely remembered this from Psych 101, but had to click on the link she'd provided to familiarize myself with the idea.  Basically, there is a hierarchy of needs starting with the basics, food and shelter etc., and ending with the self-actualization level during which we realize our creative and intellectual potential.  Problematically then, those who are hungry or without home, cannot function at their highest level of creativity nor intelligence.  Anyway, the revamped version puts mate acquisition,mate retention, parenting on the top.  Again, problematic, because for those who choose to remain unwed or childless would by definition not be achieving their fullest potential.  Now, I've not read through the whole revised version, so if there are points here that are incorrect, by all means let me know.  What I did read and my friends post stemming from her reading that article was what caused me to feel sort of, well, stupid.  She posited that for her self-actualization and parenting were separate, even disparate states of being.  One could not fully be "mother" and "self."  To which I found myself saying to the computer screen, "so what?"  Perhaps because I view my being "mother" through the lens of my relationship with Christ, there is no true feeling of loss for "self."  Yes, sometimes I feel tired and frustrated and need a time-out, a coffee with a friend, or just a few hours to be alone.  But, at the end of the day, this dying to self is inherent in loving Christ and desiring to be more like Him, so my being "mother" is just another avenue by which I can travel that road of sanctification.  For my single or childless friends I suppose this road would be named something else - perhaps just that the wait for a mate, or child or the knowledge that neither will be in their future.  Moreover, I'm not convinced that one necessarily negates the other.  Yes there may be limits on both, there are only so many hours in any one's day, but I know many wonderful artists/authors/musicians who are at the same time wonderful parents!  Isn't it inherent in becoming a parent the knowledge that you will have to share your time with another human being?  Just a thought...
On a completely different note - here are some pics of our camping adventure from last week which may or may not have included the following:
1 child screaming in the middle of the night to the point that said child had to be driven around for 30 minutes so that he would go back to sleep
2 dogs that barked.  at everything.
1 raccoon who saw our trash as the gold mine of partially eaten steak and dropped-on-the-ground marshmallows that it was
1 other kid who also woke up in the middle of the night and "couldn't go back to sleep because his tummy hurt and had to pee"
1 other kid who woke up in the middle of the night because his earplug fell out and he absolutely could not go back to sleep without it
1 dog who scratched ALL night long
1 baby who peed through his pjs and onto mommy's sleeping bag, up by her head because he had completely turned himself around in his sleep
2 very tired parents who in the middle of the night swore that they would never go camping again, but one of those parents had  much better outlook in the morning after those 3 precious hours of sleep:)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Corn Maze

We hit the Razorback Corn Maze last night and had a blast.  First up was the cow train, which mommy had to ride as well, since it's pretty bumpy and the man in charge was concerned about Will bouncing right out!  It was hysterical - me squeezing into the kid-sized "cow" car.  My knees and lower back are sore this morning from the constant bumps.  But, seeing little Will's smiling face and hearing him say, "this is fun mom!"  made it well worth it.  Jack and Ella-Kathryn got the 2 front seats, the bumpiest, and it was a hoot watching them rock back and forth like bobble heads along the trail.
Next was the corn cannon - jack and ek did this with some help from dad.  Not worth the couple of bucks, in my humble opinion.
Then on to the maze.  The kids headed off with their flashlights and I was in charge of the map. Big mistake.  I am the navigator who has to turn the map to which ever direction we're headed:)  I am famous for giving directions based on trees and pretty bushes in front of "that amazingly restored 50's bungalow with the gorgeous crepe myrtle!"  Not helpful when the only shrubbery around is corn!  Can you see me in the army - "um, I think we need to go 4, no maybe 5 clicker-ma-bobbers in thataway direction?"  Needless to say, we got a tad bit turned around:)  Thank goodness for Jeff.  We were sorted out in no time and celebrated our success with a romp on the hay bales.  We can now check this off our fun fall list.  Tomorrow is building of the scarecrow and hopefully I can hold off on buying the pumpkins for another week. I hate when we get them too early and then they rot.
On a more serious note, I had to, amid tears, confess a sin issue to my husband.  Gulp. Confession to another person is not my strong suit.  To God, no problem.  But the face to face always gives me a pit in my stomach.  It had to be done.  As we talk about the future, a possible move, job changes etc.  I fall prey to my greatest weakness: lack of trust.  This is less often a lack of trusting God, and more often a lack of trusting my husband.  More significantly, it's about not feeling that sense of control that I think I have!  I feel better after confessing, but know that the road ahead is filled with prayer and some time in His word, fending off this area of weakness and quite frankly the most intense area of attack from satan.  Whew, ok so what a way to start the day!  Really it is though, as I know that I am given a clean slate to begin again and I know that I can be changed thanks to Him!