Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Really Want You

Bawled my head off last night at dd's dress rehearsal. Could not stop crying.

All the tension and questions and wondering and sadness over the last year or so, seemed to culminate into one song, one 3 minute dance routine.

As I watched my babyGirl leap and pirouette and whirl about, something about the lyrics just caused me to come undone.

In public. For no reason I could articulate.

Weird.
And exhausting.

It feels sort of necessary. Like draining a boil (gross--sorry). Like letting a fever run its course. Like throwing up, so you can start to feel better.

Would I prefer to bypass this step, this way point on my journey? Umm...duh, yeah. Pain is not my friend. I am a weeenie.

But I have tried this thing my way; tried to pretend and avoid and numb and deny the sadness and the pain. And that ain't working, I can just tell ya.
It ain't working.

And so, some vague remembrance of having prayed a dangerous prayer washed over me and although, I cannot say it caused me to laugh out loud, I can say, it produced a small, slow wry grin.


Who says God doesn't answer prayers? Every single one is answered.

Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor? Only someone who has never met Him.


(Here are the lyrics to James Blunt's song, "I Really Want You". Here is the YouTube link to his official video. It's such a haunting song).

Many prophets preach on bended knee
Many clerics wasted wine
Do the bloody sheets
On those cobbled streets mean
I have wasted time

Are there silver shores on paradise?
Can I come in from the cold?
I killed a man in a far away land
My enemy I'm told.

I really want you to really want me
But I really don't know if you can do that
I know you want to know what's right
But I know it's so hard for you to do that
And time's running out as often it does
And often dictates that you can do that
But fate can't break this feeling inside
That's burning up through my veins

I really want you
I really want you
I really want you... now

No matter what I say or do
The message isn’t getting through
And you’re listening to the sound
Of my breaking heart

I really want you
I really want you

Is a poor man rich in solitude?
Or will mother earth complain
Did the beggar pray for a sunny day but
Lady luck for rain

They say a million people bow and scrape
To an effigy of gold
I saw life begin
And the ship we're in
And history unfold


I really want you to really want me
But I really don't know if you can do that
I know you want to know what's right
But I know it's so hard for you to do that
And time's running out as often it does
And often dictates if you can do that
But fate can't break this feeling inside
That's burning up through my veins

I really want you
I really want you
I really want you... now

No matter what I say or do
The message isn't getting through
And you're listening to the sound
of my breaking heart (x2)


ouch.

Peer Pressure--XPost

So, there we were... the Dance Team 'Mamarazzi'.

Yes, we are uncouth enough to take photos of our daughters, while the professional studio photographer is taking team and individual photos of the dancers.

Yes, were are bossy enough to yell out suggestions, run into the photo and fix hair, lipstick etc., to generally interrupt the flow of the session. We are a handful.


As the session was winding up, someone suggests that my daughter and I get a photo taken together; it's dd's senior year and I was wearing something slightly school colors-ish and so...

But, I was not interested in being in a photo. No, thank you kindly.


Well, the pressure, dear reader. Oh, the pressure!!!

Rudy. Rudy. Rudy.


Next thing I know, this is the result.


Please look past the bare ankle, which is not very aesthetically pleasing. Please look past the slight (substantial?) roll at the midriff and the awkward clasping of the right hands (downright weird).

Just know that adults are susceptible to peer pressure, too (so take care when you think you stand, lest you split) and be impressed that I can still do the splits.

And obviously, that I love my daughter very much. lol

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mud Pies in a Slum

From "The Weight of Glory"--1949

  • Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. ~~~ C.S. Lewis
My Advent Season prayer...

Lord Jesus, I pray that You would pull me out of the slum, where I persist in making mud pies. Pull me out kicking and screaming, if You must.

Please cause me to want to take a holiday at the sea, even if I have no idea what that means.

I do not wish to be easily pleased by mudpies and slums (or chocolate, TV, blogging, sleeping in, clothes, stuff, etc.).


I humble myself to Your will, recognizing I have no more idea of what will satisfy me, than a toddler.


I am grateful for Your love and leadership and pray You would assist me in granting You lordship, in all things.

In Jesus name, I ask. Amen.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Smackdown

(DD #3 created this for our table centerpiece. It is gorgeous!!)

So, Thanksgiving dinner wasn't exactly as we had planned. Not exactly a Norman Rockwell portrait.

We were originally thinking we would have approximately 10 people for dinner; myself and dh., dd #1 and her son, ds #3 and dd#3, mom and dad in law, and possibly* ds #1 and his girlfriend. Only dd #2 and ds #2 and his wife would be missing (they both live out of state).


However, due to schedule conflicts, we lost ds #3 and dd #3 and ds #1 and his girlfriend. Due to sickness, mom and dad in law bowed out.

That left us with me, dh, dd #1 and grandson. Table for 4. Which was nice.

Dd #3 and ds #3 both stopped by after dinner and it was so good to see their faces. We spoke with mom and dad in law by phone and they are feeling some better. We spoke with ds #1 on the phone as he headed back to Illinois for his high school girl's basketball team's Thanksgiving Weekend tournament.

I missed a call from my brother in India the day before and was sort of bummed about that, especially since it was only because I didn't take my phone with me into the "powder room".
(shucks, but thank GOD he and his wife are OK, in light of the terrorist attacks elsewhere in India).

And you know, this is just our reality. We are a blended family. We have six children. They live in 3 states and 5 cities, other than the one we live in.

They have step-siblings and half siblings and step parents and special friends (who may have steps and halves, too). It's complicated. It's not easy. It's not what we grew up to believe was 'normal'. But, it's our normal.
Honestly, it is likely to become most everyone's normal, at some time or another.

So what do we do with our holiday realities, especially when they do not meet our holy-day expectations? When there is disappointment and chaos and
nobody will do or be what they are supposed to (according to mama's ideas about what is 'right'?).

As a woman who divorced her children's father, when the kids were one and three years old, I had to learn a loong time ago, to attach no particular sacredness to a day on a calendar. Meaning, for example, the last Thursday of November cannot be the only day I am willing to call Thanksgiving. If I am unwilling to be flexible about my beliefs about the holidays, I am guaranteed to be disappointed.


(said in mama drama fashion, complete with hand-wringing) "Do our children love us less if they eat turkey elsewhere on the holidays? Do they not care? Why aren't we number one, instead of their inlaws, stepfamily, boyfriend/girlfriends family? Don't they know how much we love them? Don't they think of us? After all we've done for them?" sigh

Somewhere along the way, I decided that the gift we would give our adult children was freedom. Freedom from expectations. Freedom from parental guilt. Freedom to spend the holy-days, as they wanted or needed to. I have watched them agonize about how to make everyone happy. How to be two places at once. How to enjoy their day off, when it required moving from table to table, house to house and sometimes, city to city just to see all they people they love. (head sadly shaking) No siree, I decided. Not my kids. Not on my watch.

Solomon’s Wise Judgment

16 Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him. 17 And one woman said, “O my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. 18 Then it happened, the third day after I had given birth, that this woman also gave birth. And we were together; no one was with us in the house, except the two of us in the house. 19 And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20 So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21 And when I rose in the morning to nurse my son, there he was, dead. But when I had examined him in the morning, indeed, he was not my son whom I had borne.”22 Then the other woman said, “No! But the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.”And the first woman said, “No! But the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.”Thus they spoke before the king.

23 And the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son, who lives, and your son is the dead one’; and the other says, ‘No! But your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.’|24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. 25 And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other.”
26 Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!” But the other said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.”27 So the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother.” 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.


As adults who have remarried, it is our place to acknowledge that it was our decision to divorce the parent of our children. Our inability to make it work, has affected their lives daily and permanently. They didn't get to choose. They have lived with the consequences of our decisions. I do not want my children to be cut in half, every time a holiday is circled in red on the calendar.

So, we just tell them there is plenty of food and they are always welcome, singly, or with their special friend, child(ren), spouses, etc. If they can't come, it's OK. We know they love us.

I just hope they know that they are, by far, our greatest earthly treasures.


Now, to lighten the mood, here are Caleb and Jared, in the great Thanksgiving Day Smackdown.

I'm pretty sure Jared will be a great dad someday (grin). I hope he brings the future wife and grand kids around once and awhile.

We'll always be here.
:~)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankfulness

Virginia and Caleb

All our discontents about what we want, appeared to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have. ~~~ Daniel Defoe

There is nothing I lack, Lord.

Nothing I need, that your gracious hand has not bestowed upon me and mine. That is my truth. That is my blessed reality.

It is, in fact, possible to "have it all", as long as you acknowledge the Giver of the Gift.

It is my prayer you would each know the blessing of having it all, through knowing the One who gave it all.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(ps my brother and his wife are in India--New Delhi, not Mumbai, but would you mind saying a prayer for their safety?---Thanks. I knew I could count on you). ~~smile

Now, we see dimly

You know, this has the potential to turn into a real sobfest for me, so please be aware, up front, that I am emotional and time-crunched and scattered, but galvanized into action.

Most of you may know this, but in case you do not, please know that I wanted to adopt a child. More than one, really. For a loong time, I held this dream. For reasons that have already been expressed here on this blog, that is not likely to be a part of the Lord's plan for our family. That's been hard.

But through the research and blogging I have done, I have met (cyber-met) some AMAZING people, with awesome adoption stories. People I check in with daily. People I know rather alot about, despite never sharing a cup of coffee/tea/cocoa/water with them. Some of these woman (families), I have come to care a great deal about. I feel connected to them in a pretty strong way.

One of these families (again, there are many, so no offense, please?) is the Green's. Oh my. The Green's.

I first heard of them when made a call to an adoption agency about a specific child waiting for a family in China. Hers was the first face I ever saw (and I scrolled through hundreds, looking for our child), that I knew was meant for me. Wow. What a moment that was.

So, as I inquired about this lovely, spunky girl, I was told that there was another family interested in my little one. OK. I was not surprised by that fact. That is certainly something that I knew happened all the time. Certain children have a sparkle and shine look to them that is widely appealing. This child fell into that category.

I inquired how seriously the other family was about the process. Fairly serious, but, I was told, they had some things to consider, not the least of which were the following facts: they had suffered the loss of bio children, had another special needs child adopted from China and one of their own and ... ("AND!!!!??", I'm thinking to myself, "How could there be more??") two older children.

OK, now I was stunned. Seriously perplexed. Yikers. Who would consider another adoption under such circumstances? Why would a family do such a thing? What kind of people were these? Martyrs? Attracted to suffering? Munchausen's by proxies?

I had had this child's file reviewed by two physicians, who both contacted the university hospitals in their respective areas of the country about this child's medical condition. Both came back with the same poor prognosis. This child's condition was grave. Likely inoperable. If this child was adopted, she may not survive the flight home to the states, or the resulting surgery. She almost assuredly had a shortened life expectancy.

I loved this child from the moment I laid eyes on her. I felt she was mine, our family's. More than anything, I wanted to give her a home. But, when I contemplated her condition, the fact that we might be uprooting her from her homeland, her culture, her adoring foster parents, her cuisine, her language, her friends...only to bring her across the ocean, on a journey she might not survive, to operate on her, with very little chance of a successful outcome? That she might die far away from all she had ever known, in the company of strangers? I hesitated. I waivered. I agonized. Was that fair to the child? Was my selfishness to love this child more for ME or HER? Did my desire for a child, THIS child usurp what might be best for her? I couldn't seem to come to a place where I 'knew' and had peace with the answer to that very important question.

But now I know. I *do* know the answer to that very important question. I know the answer, because I have been allowed to know the rest of the story, thanks be to God! I cold not find peace within me among my swirling doubts, because the child I thought was mine, was not. She belongs, no, BELONGS to the Green's.

God always has a plan. And although we could have provided a fine home for this child and she would have been much-loved, God knew better. He always does. Through much suffering and the patient growing of faith, God had prepared the PERFECT family for little Miss Spunky, Graci Kate.

I cannot say enough about this family, about Christianne and Jeremy. They are not perfect. They are transparent enough to allow us to know that, for which I give them kudos. If I were doing what they were doing, casually, on a daily basis, I think I'd be tempted to allow everyone to believe that I was God's "It Girl"--His steeley woman of faith and action. Yeah. Shallow, huh? Which leads us right back to God knows what He's doing, right? (wink)

Anyway. If you are a regular or even a sometimes/one-time reader of this blog, please do me this favor. Please visit the Green family blog, "A Full Quiver". Read. Read. Get to know these fine, funny, self-confessed kidjunkies.

And then, visit their newest blog, "Never Forsaken". Pore over this particular post.

Consider yourself invited along, to take part in a holy, reverent opportunity to partner with the God of the Universe in bringing about a modern-day miracle. The humble simplicity and beauty of their quest for their daughter, Elli, will bring tears to your eyes and your knees to the floor.


We can be forever changed and change others, by asking, seeking and knocking (till our knuckles are bloody, I once heard a pastor say) on the doors of Heaven.

Start to knockin', people.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oprah Opine

Oprah, Oprah, Oprah. What are some of my thoughts on Oprah. Let's see...

Would I do lunch with her? Sure would. In a heartbeat.


Do I find her interesting? Absolutely.


Is she influential? Without a doubt. Her circle of influence is nearly unparalleled. And here's where things get sticky for me.

People hang on her every word. People make medical, spiritual, relational decisions based upon her show. People decide for whom to vote, based upon her observations and admonitions. Oprah helps shape the beliefs and values of our culture and beyond.

What? You say, the menfolk don't care about Oprah? Maybe so. Certainly, that is true in our household. But I'm sure my husband would say that he has heard on more than a single occasion, about something Oprah said or did on her show. (insert eye roll from dh here) And many husbands are swayed or influenced by their wives' input.

And lastly? The wisdom. Oh my, the wisdom.

I consider influence to be something that should be recognized by the holder of the influence and then, exercised with caution and reverence. Influence should be used responsibly. Oprah has several 'beliefs' she champions over and over. Some of these are allmost Christian. Sometimes, I cannot tell whether Oprah believes in God the way I do at all and other times I am certain she must.

For me, one of the most offensive pearly nuggets is this gem,

"When you know better, you do better".

Whenever I hear her toss that one out into my living room, I either want to scream or alternatively, I *do* scream. "
Aggggghhhhh!", I will scream. "That is so. not. true!!"

If wisdom alone caused someone to do better, I would not be overweight. I would not eat white flour, white sugar or empty calories. I would not cease praying. I would not be crabbypants with my family. I would not worry about things over which I have not control. I would not compulsively surf the web. I would not insult others, ever. I would not gossip, period. I would not, I would not, I would not.

Oh, but I do. Over and over and over again, I sure as shootin' do. Even though I know better, I do not do better.

Does knowledge have the potential to cause a person to change their ways, to improve their game, to *do* better? Of course. But knowing and doing are two entirely different things and they can exist quite happily apart from one another, never meeting in some cosmic, life-changing big bang.


As a Christian, it is my belief that no true and lasting change can come without a changing on the inside. As far personal experience goes, this has also been my journey. I have wanted to change various things in my life, my habits, my less-than-desirable quirks over the years and without exception, I have been unable to bring about positive, permanent change simply by "knowing better". Or by the sheer force of my will or self-control.

I can change for a time. I can change on the outside (so people can't see the uglies), but that is not the same as the change that Jesus brings two me.


I am in no way discounting the importance of knowledge. I love, love, love to learn new things. I love to research. I love to ponder. I love to surf the net, following my free-associative thoughts. I would absolutely say that knowledge can assist in the making of sound decisions. Personally, I will not make my most important decisions without time to research, process, ponder (and pray).

So, what do you think about "knowing better = doing better"? Fact or fiction? Does this bumper sticker slogan fit with your experience?Do you have personal stories to share that illustrate your point?

Now, if I can only figure out how to get to do lunch with Oprah? I would love to get her to talk about this, to see what she'd say. We could go out to some fabulous little place she knows or we could stay in and have her chef prepare us something. Either way. I'm flex. I wonder if she'll call or if I'm going to have to call her? (smile)

(I forgot to post this yesterday, but it was written then, so I consider that I am on target still for NaBloPoMo. Hope that's OK with you).

Added: PS As I was nearing the end of the post, I felt some sort of deja vu thing going and and realized I had already touched on this idea in this post. Oh well. Addled are Us. Just call me Aunt Clara. ha ha ha

Monday, November 24, 2008

Paralell

Isaiah 49:15-16 says:

15"Can a woman forget her nursing child? (not hardly; hello? engorgement!)

And have no compassion on the son of her womb? (not for a minute; not even when he drives me bonkers!)


Even these may forget, but
I will not forget you. (oh. I sort of get it now. If I can't forget my child, well, what with You being perfect and all, I see how You might not be able to forget me, either.)

16"Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; (Wow. My kids are not inscribed on my palms. I have a cute bracelet with their photos and a locket, but inscribed? on my palms? No....).

Misty Edwards has an awesome song with lyrics drawn from these verses. I love it. It's been swirling around in my head and heart all day, encouraging me to to be thankful. Attitude of gratitude. Count my blessings and all that.

And I am ashamed to say, I am out of practice in this department. I am dull. I am rusty. I am stuck. I am fuzzy-focused.

And my Papa-God? He is so worthy. Loves me so much. Misses me, I suspect. I fear I'm too shallow and flabby to really miss Him in the way I should. (sigh)

My prayer for this day and all to come, is that He would lift my eyes from myself and this life and back toward His amazing countenance.

Better is one day in Your courts, than thousands elsewhere...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Accomplished

In the last 6 hours, I have...

brushed my teeth. heaven.

picked up my "sicknest" of pillows, blankets, meds, cups, beverages, kleenex, etc.

cleaned the kitchen (wasn't too messy, so no applause is necessary)

monitored the teen daughter's evening activities, by cell and text

commented on many Facebook pages

celebrated (by text) my son's college football team playoff victory--Go Knights!

prayed for a friend's step-daughter--you pray, too! God already knows!

consumed one small bowl of cereal, two glasses of water and one of Hawaiian punch (random, but strong craving) and retained them all!


lost 5 pounds. yay, me! (even so, wouldn't do it again).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Giving Thanks

"But for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain..."
Philippians 1:21

And it really coulda gone either way for awhile...it was that bad. To die would have been gain. The aches. The violence of the intestinal ::ahem:: challenges.

I love working with my tiny little clients, but wow! They are surely germy little creatures.


And now? I am on the mend. To live, is once again Christ.

And I am thankful that the plague hit prior to the holidays.

But, I'm still not hungry. blech

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 2 sick. sick. sick.

Crazy, ferverish, nonsensical dreams.

Sweaty, clammy spells.

And why, oh why is every other commercial about food? Greasy, disgusting, food.

Stop it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When Mothers Snoop...

She left it out.

I couldn't resist.

I had to know.

I knew she'd never share this with me willingly.

I think I have a right to know, don't you?

I am still her mother, after all.










DD's recent artwork found in her sketch book left *in plain view* on dining room table. Click on any image to make it larger.

Nice, huh? (smile)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

All

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head
And the thoughtful words of help and hope
Have all been nicely said
But I'm still hurting, wondering if I'll ever be the one
I think I am - I think I am

Then you gently re-remind me
That You've made me from the first
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst
And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are
Who You are...

And all I ever have to be is what You've made me
Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan
As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do what I can find
And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be is what You've made me

(All I Ever Have to Be---Amy Grant)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dance Routine Videos

Head on over to the other blog to see video of the two dance routines from Stack the Stands.

Both the Mario Routine (#1m, baby!!) and the Monopoly Routine are there.


They are each about 2-2 1/2 minutes.


So. Cute.

Day 12

Agent K: When you get sad, it always seems to rain.

Laura: Lots of people get sad when it rains!

Agent K: It rains because you're sad, baby.

Ain't no sunshine since election day.

I Drive, therefore, I Am (or Big B*tts R I)

Friday night: drove to Des Moines for Olympic Gymnasts traveling show (4 hours total)
(sat for 3 hours watching event)

Saturday: drove to CR for Dance Team Competition (2 hours total)
(sat for 6 hours watching event)

Sunday: drove to....CR again for Mark's Tennis Match (2 hours total)
(sat for ?? hours watching event)


Got go back to work to rest up...or to move around!!

PS the sun is out just a bit; a teeny, tiny bit.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stack the Stands--Dance Competition

Today was another dance competition for the team. It was a new competition that they have never participated in before, called Stack the Stands. I consider it sort of like a dress rehearsal (with judges) before our state competition which is in 2.5 weeks.

This competition was different in one major way. Usually,
we have seen the routines several times by this point in the season and are aware of each routine's rough spots, highlights and the moves the girls are most worried about. But not this time. Nope. It was like going in to deliver a baby with no ultrasound first. ha (slight hyperbole, but I was pretty nervous and antsy--and that reminds me of labor and delivery).

The morning was spent watching solo routines (the same 5 girls who competed in state solo competition, also competed today). No trophies today, either for our soloists. Oh well. This is the first year of competition for all soloists, except one, so we are not surprised.

The afternoon was spent watching team routines in several categories, based on size of school and the type of dance (lyrical, jazz, hip hop, military, pom and kickline). We took two routines (the max); one hip hop and one pom and we are in the division of largest schools.

This was the theme of this year's hip hop routine....Mario Brothers!


Here are the cute Tshirts the girls wore. I think the parents will all wear them at state.


Here are the girls, prior to their routine. See the cute mushrooms! Their whole costumes were spot on, down to the work boots and gloves and hats and mustaches. Awesome!!



A closeup of my little Luigi. Nice mustache, Lulu. lol


First place!!!!! Whoo-hooo! We had some excited girls!

My girl holding the trophy. Happiness.


Here is the theme of the pom routine...Monopoly!!! The 'W' is for the name of our team. It sort of reminds me of Willy Wonka's 'W'. My girl is the front row, second from the right.

Crisp white leos, black pants, sparkly belts and bling on the 'W's, red, red lips, cute poms and Kate, who was the Mr. Monopoly Money guy, in her tux and top hat! So cute!!!!!

Moms and daughters. Aren't they darling (the daughters, I mean)? Those two have been friends since 6th grade and are going to the same college next year...roomies?

Me and my darlin' (Mark was in a training class today and couldn't come).

COFFEE with the WHITE leo? Nooooooo......


Eyeliner and eyeshadow and mascara with the WHITE leo? Noooooooo.....

You can't see it in this photo, but I think (know) one of the girls had a CHOCOLATE bar with the WHITE leo!!!! Nooooooo!!!!! My Tide White pen got a workout (from the makeup twins). :~)

The girls placed 4th in pom; only the top 3 teams received trophies, so no hardware, but still, they were happy overall (therefore, we were, too).


So, now? I am home uploading photos, blogging and laying low, in my trusty cut-off sweats and T-shirt.

Heavenly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Letters Home--Part 2

My son sent me a text message, or rather a series of messages, that I thought I'd share.

Here they are, verbatim...(the first one was split into two--I assume he exceeded the limit).

"At a lecture about stress management the prof said she didn't "feel like" making printouts so instead I'm writing six pages of notes tht shes flying through. Irony?"

Followed by this gem, "College is an absolute joke".

Couldn't even begin to tell you how true that is, especially at the price tag of his college.


An absolutely cruel joke.


Irony? You bet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Letters Home

So yeah, after a recent football game, as we waited to talk with our boy; :: ahem :: our *conference championship* boy , I heard a mom ask her son, "Did you get the Halloween card I sent last week?".

The STAB! of guilt I felt at that comment was immediate and sharp.
My son is a sophomore at college this year. I have not sent one single card or letter to him, while he has been away at college. Not one. In two years. ouch.

I used to be the QUEEN, as in, no-one could touch me, of love notes. Creative love notes, tucked daily and with much affection, into the cold lunch, were a specialty of mine. Oh yeah, baby. I can't cook. I can't sew. I cannot and do not care to figure out the strategy of all the sports I have watched my boy tear up the field, mat and track in, but love notes? Sheeot. That I got *covered*.

There are several reasons for this: he is only 30 minutes away; he plays football, so we see him after games; cell phones allow constant communication, in a way land lines never could; the internet, with email and Facebook and Skype allows photos, updates and schedules to be shared almost in real time.

So, after we hugged our boy; ::ahem:: our *conference championship* boy, I asked him, "Do you ever feel bad beacause I've never sent you any letters at college? I just heard that mom ask her son if he got his Halloween card, so then I wondered if you feel bad when other kids get mail and you don't?".

His incredulous face, coupled with his verbal response, told the story better than my words alone will, but I shall try to do the situation justice.

Picture the incredulous face of a jusst past adolescent male, suited up in his grid iron glory, dirty and sweaty, towering above me---got it?

His response, "Geez, Mom. I'm not in kindergarten".

Which just goes to prove, all you SuperMomsWhoSendHalloweenCardsToYour
CollegeAgeSons out there...

sometimes, it pays to be a SlackerMom.

Forecast

So far, it's pretty much the same each day...

"Always winter and never Christmas"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembering, with Gratitude ***Updated

***After re-reading this, I can say this is not my best work, people. But my heart is sincere. Please make allowances.)***

My family has some veterans within it. Yours probably does, too.

I only knew one of these men. Three were killed during battle, in the service of their country. Now, don't go getting all hinky with me about the Civil War relative. My branch of the family tree is the only one to have ever moved north of the Mason-Dixon line--no, I am not kidding---and I am the only family member who has stayed. Yes, only, as in no other. Remember, I am Southern--sort of.


My father's family is originally from Bath, England, where Daw means, 'son of David' (or 'jackdaw', which is some big, ugly crow). Once in Amercia, they settled in Bath, NC, moving to Conecuh County, Alabama, finally moving to Pensacola, Florida. (yeah. and here I sit staring down the prospect of another Iowa winter...what is *wrong* with me? shakes head).

This information was obtained by g**gling 'Andrew James Daw', who enlisted in the Confederate Army, at the time of the Civil War.


DAW, Andrew James, Private
(Roll of honor, Chickamauga; killed in action)

1st Battalion, Hilliard's Legion = 60th AL Regiment

Company F= 23rd Battalion of AL Stallworth's Sharpshooters

At Chickamauga, the 1st and 2nd Battalions suffered the heaviest loss, leaving more than half their number either dead or wounded on the field. They went into the engagement with 238, and had 24 killed and 144 wounded, 16 of whom were officers.

Next, is information on my relatives, and uncle and nephew; one, killed in action in WWII and the other, killed in action, 20 years later, in the Vietnam war.

Cecil Daw
Vietnam War
Wall Panel: 08E Wall Line: 091

Personal Information
Full Name: Cecil Ernest Daw
Hometown: Anacoco, LA
Age: 20

*(ugh. that is my son's age)*
Race: Caucasian
Gender: Male
Religion: Unknown
Marital Status: Single

Military Information
Branch: Navy
Rank: / E3
Regiment: 1st Marines

Casualty Date: 25-Jun-66
Casualty: Hostile - Killed
Gunshot or Small Arms Fire
Ground Casualty

The two comments below are from the Vietnam War Memorial site, under Cecil's name. Christopher is my cousin.


r Hensley
swiftrecruiter@msn.com
Nam vet with same day of birth.
Rest in peace my HERO brother.
Saturday, January 22, 2005


Christopher Daw
Nephew
PO Box 873167
USA

This man was my uncle, unfortunately he was killed before I was even born. I know little about him, my family seldom speaks of Cecil, the pain stills fresh even after all these years. I know he was a great man not only because he served his country honorably but because he was my grandfathers son. I've held his Purple Heart, I've read the telegram given to my grandmother on that fateful day in 1965. For me those things and memorials such as this, help show the finality of war and the courage and strength of those brave enough to serve.
Friday, December 10, 2004

Finally, this is my great uncle's headstone. Cecil (Vietnam War) was named after his father's brother, Clarence Cecil, who was killed in WWII in 1944. The namesake Cecil was born two years later, only to be killed in the Viet Nam war, at ge 20. How sad.


The younger Cecil's father, my great uncle Reginald, was a career military man. He served his country his whole life and I remember him as a classic Southern officer and gentleman, always with the love of his life, his wife DeeDee, by his side.

They are both gone now and although I did not know them well, I remember them fondly and am deeply appreciative of the sacrifices they made for their country, my freedom. A lifetime of service. An favorite uncle. A precious son. That's alot of sacrifice.

I stand when the flag passes, covering my heart with my hand. I recite the pledge. I sing the anthem. I pray for safety. I hug and thank servicemen in airports. I shake the hands of the men who march in the parades. I listen respectfully to elderly men's stories, when visiting the nursing homes where my husband works.

It is not enough. It could never be enough.

But I will spend my life remembering with gratitude, men I have never met, who have secured for me something priceless; a legacy of honor and freedom and brave sacrifice.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Weather Report

Continued cloudy, rainy, sleety, drizzley, snowy, windy, overcast, spittin' from the Heavenlies...as has every. single. day., since election results.

Hey, I'm just sayin'.

Fact.

How Could You Not Love a God Like This?

My Savior loves,

My Savior lives,

My Savior's always there for me.


My God He was,

My God He is,

My God He's always gonna be.

(That pretty much sums it up--lyrics from Aaron Shust's "My Savior, My God". Here's a Youtube video link with song and lyrics).

Monday, November 10, 2008

I think I'm Proud, but I might be Nervous?

DD is a really smart girl. She is a very self-directed learner and has taught herself many a skill (music, keyboarding, sewing, crafting, etc.). She is confident and is so done with high school. As in, has enough credits, is past the drama and knows her next step in life. She's ready. She's all but launched.

And because she has enough credits to graduate, she's taking some AP classes, some college credit classes and two fluffy-filler classes. The fluffy fillers are: Contemporary Parenting and Drawing and Painting. Now, I don't particularly have a problem with dd taking the art class. She is quite a nice draw-er and sometimes, does not take the time to nurture that part of her soul. So, yeah. Drawing and Painting? Fine.

Now, Contemporary Parenting. Ahhhh....yes. Contemporary Parenting. I imagine if you know me at all, you will know that I have an opinion about this. And to put it simply, I don't care to have the public schools teaching my children how to parent. Can I get a corporate 'Amen'? ::shudder::

So, I have been interested in dd's daily recounting of the issues discussed and ideas put forth in Contemporary Parenting. And, silently, I began to form an opinion that perhaps, dd is smarter than her instructor in this class. And that, perhaps, dd could even *teach* the class. But, I decided to put off any firm opinions until I met the instructor at that semi-annual, charming ritual called "Parent Teacher Conferences".

Our high school holds its confereneces "arena-style"; all teachers and departments are set up at tables in the gym. When you enter the building as a parent, you are given your child's grades and with the grades are the class instructors. Then, you match the instructors, with the map of the gym floor set up and voila! Noisy, cattle car conferences. Confidentiality? Who cares? :~)

Husband and I could. not. wait. to meet the Comptemporary Parenting Teacher. heehee Is that awful of us? Maybe. ::shrugs:: But our meeting with said instructor did not disappoint. Ms. CPT had an attitude the size of TEXAS until she found out who our dd is (which, I admit, is a bit of a blind-side each conference, since dd has a different last name than we do).

As soon as it was established that our dd is, in fact, well, who she is...it was all rainbows and kittens and ponies and cupcakes. Ms. CPT was respectful and kind about our dd's participation in class, her work and grade. She made certain to let us know that our dd has a top grade in her class (which was especially funny to us, since dd had shared a story where Ms. CPT was railing on the class, stating that no-one in her class of "rejects" had an 'A'--at which point my dd raised her hand and pointed out that she, in fact, did have an 'A', which merely led to more nastiness from Ms. CPT).

We are so very thankful that our children have been trained to be critical thinkers. Not sheeples. No siree. Independent thinkers. Not easily endoctinated by the brainless, liberal blah-blah-blather, so common in high school and college campuses. Respectful dissention is not rewarded in such settings, but that doesn not mean that the truth should not be stated. I'm just saying...

So, anyway. Today's saga was laughable to me and at first, a point of parental pride (awww....my daughter is so knowledgeable). DD shared that today's lesson was over male and female anatomy. OK. No problem there. We've been discussing that since second grade, since I wanted to be the one to teach my children and did not wish to allow the schools to shape their sweet, little puddin' heads in 4th, 5th or 6th grades.

As a semi-related sidebar, I remember one particularly funny teachable moment, from when my children were maybe, 5 and 7. I had purchased a Christian-based early childhood sexuality book series to introduce the delicate subject matter. I would read to the children over dinner (truly). I would show them the pictures and teach them the anatomical terms and ask them to repeat them. I would point to a part and quiz them. After a few weeks, I told them that we would stay at the table till they could both point to and name all the body parts, *without LAUGHING*. haha It took awhile, but we did it (and we still laugh about it today)
.

Back to the story. The problem today was, the TEACHER did not know her stuff; her umm...landmarks, her ahhh..waypoints. OMWord!! She did not know her vas deferens, from her urethra, from her ureter. EEEGADS GADZOOK!

So could my independent, self-directed learner dd let it go? Oooh Nooo. She raised her hand and politely pointed our the error in her instructor's teaching. And the instructor, who did not like having her shortcomings highlighted, hemmed and hawwed around and finally, corrected herself.

And as I said, I was proud and amused... until it occurred to me that perhaps, this is not something for which you want your daughter to be known. Hmmmm....good thing she's pretty much 'over' the high school scene. What young lad is gonna want to go to Winter Formal with a young lady who has the vas deferens to set a teacher straight? lol lol lol lol---

can't stop laughing......bwhahahahahaha!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jesus Wept.

2 Clergymen Arrested After Brawl Between Monks Next to Jesus' Tomb Site

Sunday, November 09, 2008

JERUSALEM — Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergymen after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.

The clash broke out between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

It began as Armenian clergymen marched in an annual procession commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus. It ended with the arrival of dozens of riot policemen who separated the sides, seizing a bearded Armenian monk in a red-and-pink robe and a black-clad Greek Orthodox monk with a bloody gash on his forehead. Both men were taken away in handcuffs.

Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene.

The feud revolves around a demand by the Greek Orthodox to post a monk inside the Edicule — the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus — during the Armenian procession. The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way.

"We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," said a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye. The monk, who gave his name as Serafim, said he sustained the wound when an Armenian punched him from behind and broke his glasses.

Father Pakrat of the Armenian Patriarchate said the Greek demand was "against the status quo arrangement and against the internal arrangement of the Holy Sepulcher." He said the Greeks attacked first.

Archbishop Aristarchos, the chief secretary of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, said his monks had not initiated the violence. "I'm sorry that these events happened in front of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the most holy religious monument of Christianity," he said.

After the brawl, the church was crowded with Israeli police holding assault rifles and equipped with riot gear, standing beside Golgotha, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, and the long smooth stone marking the place where tradition holds his body was laid out.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were forced to intervene after fighting was reported. They arrested two monks, one from each side, he said.

The feud is only one of a bewildering array of rivalries among churchmen in the Holy Sepulcher.

The Israeli government has long wanted to build a fire exit in the church, which regularly fills with thousands of pilgrims and has only one main door, but the plan is on hold because the sects cannot agree where the exit will be built. In another example, a ladder placed on a ledge over the entrance sometime in the 19th century has remained there ever since because of a dispute over who has the authority to take it down. More recently, a spat between Ethiopian and Coptic Christians is delaying badly needed renovations to a rooftop monastery that engineers say could collapse.

Can I just say how much I dislike it when my children "go at" one another? (they don't do this anymore). I used to 'fine' my kids for this, calling it 'disturbing the family peace'. I used to tell them that it 'hurt my heart' to hear them fussing with one another (this was well past toddlerhood, when such behavior is to be expected, developmentally speaking--not that that makes toddler brawling any less unpleasant).

I cannot even imagine how God must feel, watching us fussing over politics and policies and shrines and civil rights.

His heart must just break.

ugh.

Sorry, Lord.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Conference Champs!!!!

There's my boy #91 on the field, 4th quarter.

The score at the end of regulation was tied, 13 all.

The senior team members with the conference champs trophy. All smiles. Even while freezing cold.

My gridiron warrior. Pretty dang happy. Blue lips and all.

J-Man with his roomie, Gus (is that his real name? I have no idea...). lol

The J-Dawg with his high school friend, Drew and an interloper that I don't know, but I'm pretty sure they do!

Fuh-reeezing cold, but man, what a game! I yelled by silly head off (and I have the pocket purse camera footage to prove it). These photos are certainly not my best work, but remember, I was working with the shivering cold, fat gloves, low light and WINDY conditions.

In two weeks, there will be playoffs, but we are not sure where or against whom at this point. I will keep you all informed. Go Knights!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

VOTE*VOTE*VOTE*

Cast Your Vote For a Truly Worthy Cause

CNN has selected its top ten Heroes from over 3700 people in 75 countries. One of the top ten is Phymean Noun, from Cambodia:

Walking down a street in Cambodia’s capital city, Phymean Noun finished her lunch and tossed her chicken bones into the trash. Seconds later, she watched in horror as several children fought to reclaim her discarded food.

Noun stopped to talk with them. After hearing their stories of hardship, she knew she couldn’t ignore their plight.

“I must do something to help these children get an education,” she recalls thinking. “Even though they don’t have money and live on the sidewalk, they deserve to go to school.”

Six years after that incident, Noun is helping many of Phnom Penh’s poorest children do just that.

Within weeks, she quit her job and started an organization to give underprivileged children an education. Noun spent $30,000 of her own money to get her first school off the ground.

In 2004, her organization — the People Improvement Organization (PIO) — opened a school at Phnom Penh’s largest municipal trash dump, where children are a large source of labor.

Today, Noun provides 240 kids from the trash dump a free education, food, health services and an opportunity to be a child in a safe environment.

The Hero of the Year, selected by internet vote, will be awarded $100,000. Can you imagine what $100,000 could do for the children living in the dumps of Phnom Penh? You can help and it won’t cost you a penny - just a click! Please, go vote right now. And then send the link to your friends and family and ask them to click too. (And bloggers, feel free to post this on your blogs as well!) I think it’s safe to say this is a truly bipartisan cause we can all get behind.

P.S. - According to CNN’s legal disclosure “multiple voting is permitted” - so vote early and vote often!!

(re-printed with encouragement!! from Mrs. Broccoli Guy. Thank you.)

Word Up

"I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from You, Maker of Heaven and Earth."

(Mark took this photo when he and his son, B, went to Estes Park this summer. Click to enlarge it. Breathtaking. Allmost like you're there).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Bit Rougher than I Thought

Get up off the floor.

Wash. Dress.

Present yourself at the temple.

Worship God.

Repeat.

Day 2.

Still a bit wounded.

But, I am up.

I will shower and dress (in just a minute, I'm blogging!! heh heh).

I will worship (in my car-temple).

And, Lord help me to eat in a healthy way, because, of all these put-one- foot-in-front-of-the-other-steps, *that's* one I can manage to complete faar to often. lol

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Tale of Two Responses--Part 1 or God's response to a nation

"We Want a King!"
17-18 Samuel called the people to assemble before God at Mizpah. He addressed the children of Israel, "This is God's personal message to you:

18-19 "I brought Israel up out of Egypt. I delivered you from Egyptian oppression—yes, from all the bullying governments that made your life miserable. And now you want nothing to do with your God, the very God who has a history of getting you out of troubles of all sorts.

"And now you say, 'No! We want a king; give us a king!'

"Well, if that's what you want, that's what you'll get! Present yourselves formally before God, ranked in tribes and families."

20-21 After Samuel got all the tribes of Israel lined up, the Benjamin tribe was picked. Then he lined up the Benjamin tribe in family groups, and the family of Matri was picked. The family of Matri took its place in the lineup, and the name Saul, son of Kish, was picked. But when they went looking for him, he was nowhere to be found.

22 Samuel went back to God: "Is he anywhere around?"

God said, "Yes, he's right over there—hidden in that pile of baggage."

23 They ran and got him. He took his place before everyone, standing tall —head and shoulders above them.

24 Samuel then addressed the people, "Take a good look at whom God has chosen: the best! No one like him in the whole country!"

Then a great shout went up from the people: "Long live the king!"

25 Samuel went on to instruct the people in the rules and regulations involved in a kingdom, wrote it all down in a book, and placed it before God. Then Samuel sent everyone home.

26-27 Saul also went home to Gibeah, and with him some true and brave men whom God moved to join him. But the riffraff went off muttering, "Deliverer? Don't make me laugh!" They held him in contempt and refused to congratulate him. But Saul paid them no mind.

The Word of God is clear...there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9 The Message). Are we, in America, in this generation, experiencing something new, something that is without precedent? Hardly.

What was will be again,
what happened will happen again.
There's nothing new on this earth.
Year after year it's the same old thing.
Does someone call out, "Hey, this is new"?
Don't get excited—it's the same old story.
Nobody remembers what happened yesterday.
And the things that will happen tomorrow?
Nobody'll remember them either.
Don't count on being remembered.

God's response to our (more and more) godless nation is clear. It was He who formed our nation, He who delivered us from those who persecuted us, in our motherland(s).

But, two hundred and some odd years later? We clamor for a king, a savior, a messiah, a deliverer. Our hearts and souls are empty. We are made to worship something bigger than ourselves. We are made to worship God. But He is no longer the center of our lives as a nation.

And we have been given, by God, over to our desires. We have been given the desire of our hearts. A King. A Messiah. A Deliverer.

And it will *not* be as some have hoped. It will not be the hoped for "change" the people sought. It will be much worse.

So, as Christians, what then is to be *our* response to the new President Elect? Once again, there is nothing new under the sun. I believe a much-loved Bible story shows us the way.

That will be Part 2 to this post. Go forth today comforted and know that God is in control.

And remember, beloved, Christianity *thrives* under persecution.