Trophies

Perfect Attendance

This trophy really belongs to me because I’m the one who got them there each time, on time. And often when they did not want to go, nor care about an end-of-the-year award if they went every time. Yet they did go and they both came home with one of these. What I can’t figure out is when did perfect attendance become a trophy-earning feat? Oh well, they are happy with them and maybe it is incentive to do this all over again next year. Or something.

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My Weekend

We went to the farm for the weekend as Craig’s mom* invited all the women in the family to attend her Mary Kay meeting with her in honor of Mother’s Day. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I won something during the meeting. I actually won three somethings, but one in particular is noteworthy. I won the Hot Lips contest. Yes, you read that right. I, who seldom, if ever, wears lipstick, won the contest in which we tried on a new lipstick and puckered up for a sticky note. I am so proud.

However, if any one of you ever calls me Hot Lips, I will never speak to you again. Don’t test me on this.

I also survived some darn good food this weekend and didn’t kill my weight watchers points doing it (aren’t you all relieved?). I thought I was in trouble today when Charlotte made this amazing roast with all the trimmings, and I helped myself to seconds of almost everything. But when I got home and figured it all out, I hadn’t gone over my limit. I’m close (I have only one extra point left for the week) but I’m fine. WHEW!

We enjoyed the farm very much. There was much baseball to be had, good food, time with family, no ticks that we know of yet (but check back in 2 weeks because that’s when we usually discover them-on Katie’s head. She’s due for another anyway…) and much relaxing to be had by all (at least by all 6 of us!). The girls were sad to leave today.

Now we’re back and gearing up for another week. A week sans seminary (for me) but a week in which some solid school work needs to get done. I’m ready to get back on that horse for a while.
I hope the rest of you had a nice weekend as well. Catch you later.

*Charlotte is a great Mary Kay lady and would be happy to serve any of your Mary Kay needs. If I’m not mistaken, she even gives free shipping, so check out her website.

Poor Books

I picked up a pretty large stack of books today from someone on the Freecycle list. Most of them are ones I’m not really interested in reading, so I’m re-freecycling them, but they are here in a stack on my table right now staring at me with their sad eyes. Why are they sad? Because they’ve been in the book crossing system. They are orphan books with no rightful home.

I don’t have a problem with book crossing – I mean, I’m participating in freecycling them too, so that’s almost the same thing, except that I plan to keep the ones I’m keeping – adopt them into the family, if you will. The problem I have is what has been done to these books in the name of free reading. They’ve been taped up, stamped up, and stickered almost to their deaths. They are pretty sad looking.

I don’t mind ugly books, but I like my ugly books to have been “born” that way or worn that way – not made that way on purpose. These all have a significant amount of packing tape holding big paper labels taped to their covers which say, “FREE BOOK!! SEE INSIDE COVER FOR DETAILS…” On their spines they have little book tags taped on. The bottom of the books’ pages have a red stamp across the paper that says “FREE B. C. BOOK” and inside the front cover there is yet another obnoxious tag taped very securely in place.

There is no doubt about the intent of these books: They were made into trading goods. And maybe more people will read them this way. But I suspect they will keep trading hands and trading hands and trading hands unread.

I saved about 9 from this pile and will lovingly and carefully remove their sticky tattoos and make an intentional home for them on our shelves and sometime – yes, eventually it will happen, sometime they will get read.

My Next Lessons

I’m reading Peacemaking for Families: A Biblical Guide to Managing Conflict in Your Home by Ken Sande. That man is kicking rocks and taking names, mine in particular.

From page 117: Some of the desires that fuel our children’s conflicts are clearly sinful, like pride, selfishness, jealousy, greed, or sibling rivalry. However, many of their conflicts will be generated by good desires elevated to sinful demands. For example, there isi nothing inherently wrong with wanting to have a cookie or to watch a video or to spend more time with Dad or to excel in a school subject or sport. But if a child becomes resentful, sullen, or angry when not getting what he or she wants, it is evident that a wordly desire has taken control of his or her heart. In biblical terms, the desire has become a functional god or idol that is temporarily ruling that child’s life.

Thus conflict becomes an X-ray of our children’s hearts. When others stand in the way of their desires and they quarrel and fight, their sinful desires are exposed. This gives us as parents an excellent opportunity to help our children break free from worldy desires.

But instead of beating them down with condemnation, we should pray for them and use questions, instruction, and gentle confrontation to help them see that something other than God is controlling their hearts and lives. At the same time, we should remind them of the forgivenss and freedom that God offers them through the gospel (emphasis mine).

Dadgum. I’ve got a lot of learning to do.

Desperate

You know you’ve maybe crossed the dieting line when one of your precious cookies from a 2-point snack bag falls on the floor and scoots across the kitchen to land under the oven – and you get down on your knees and dig the goofy thing out of there and STILL EAT IT. If that doesn’t tell you I’m desperate, then you’ve never seen underneath my oven.
Then, to follow that up, I opened a can of green beans and ate them cold.
I’m chasing all that down with a Coke Zero.
Somebody, please invent good 0-point chocolate and fast!

Our Family, In Poetry

My oldest went acrostic poem crazy today. Here’s what she came up with on behalf of the rest of us:

Can
Ready
Always good
Ideas
Great Daddy

Mommy
Exactly like I want her
Gametime
Always with us
Never leave

Chess
Heart
Loving
Outdoors
Enjoyable

Kind
Always
Trust
Ideas
Enjoy

My sister
I love you!
Loving
Loves flowers
Ingredient for fun
Energy, lots of

And now for her from me:

My oldest
Abounds with compassion
Deals with life honestly
Does amazing crafts
Is growing up too quickly
Exactly as I want her to be

What That End-of-the-Semester Book is Really Used For

Chloe had gynmastics tonight and I usually work out while she’s in class. Tonight I decided to read instead because I’m really not even close to being done with the book that has to be done and journaled and neatly typed up and turned in by Tuesday.

I tried to read. Really I did. But there was something so soothing about watching all those kids jump around, swinging on bars, attempting head stands, yelling, laughing, etc. And that mat I was sitting on that was propped up against that really comfy concrete wall? Irresistible.

Tonight just very well could have been the only evening of the semester in which I could have done this, but I did it. I used What the Best College Teachers Do as a pillow. And fell asleep on that really not very comfy mat against that cold, hard wall, in an insanely chaotic and noisy room.

For thirty blissful minutes.

Oh, That’s Why

In a recent email to a friend (you know who you are) requesting “parenting advice” (from me of all people…) I found myself writing, “I’m a fallen parent and I’m raising children who are also sinners.” I’ve always known that, but it never occurred to me how true that statement was until it found its way in print in that email.

We’ve been having some pretty big self-control issues with an unnamed child. And I’ve found myself yelling a lot in response to some of these actions. I hate myself for it. She hates herself for it. Together we’re a mess. I spent about 30 minutes tonight surfing the web looking for a magical cure to teach self control to my child.

And then I remembered – I also have self control issues. Maybe if I did a better job with mine, she’d do a better job with hers?

After our episode tonight in which I apologized (again) for my response and she apologized (again) for her behavior, she came in my room, shut the door, and sat down on the bed with me.
She looked at me and sighed. She said, “Life.” I looked at her and said, “I know, sweetie.” She sighed again and said, “Sin.” I nodded back and said, “Yes. I know.”

We see it in ourselves. We see it in each other. And we hate it. I *am* a fallen parent. And she *is* a fallen kiddo. And sometimes life is just *that* hard.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercy never comes to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.

May our mercies be renewed in the morning as well. And may we learn self control. And may we accept the forgiveness that God gives and not punish ourselves for our own sin.

Start Your Friendships Right Here

I was given an Amish Friendship Bread starter from a gal at my church a few weeks ago. I made my first batch and had the requisite four bags of left over starter afterwards. I kept one and took the other three to the seminary, where I learned the goofy stuff had already made its rounds over there.

So, this last time I made a double batch and had three starters left over. I wasn’t sure what to do with the other two (and I certainly didn’t need three starters growing out of control on me), so I posted my two extra starters on the St. Louis Freecycle list: Amish Friendship Bread Starter for Free.

I was doubtful anyone would come, but to my great surprise, I had several inquiries…enough to cover my next round of extra starters for sure. When I told Craig, he asked this question: “Some random guy who doesn’t know us is coming over here for a friendship starter?”

It does sound rather ironic when you say it that way, doesn’t it? Giving out “friendship” bread starter to complete strangers willing to drive across town to pick it up?

If only friendship were that easy.

Unexplainable Sadness

Chloe is melancholic like her daddy. She has really grown in her ability to demonstrate self-control over her mood drops in the past couple of years, for which I am very grateful. But then there are the days when it is just impossible for her to gain perspective. Today began as one of those days.

Craig has been starting out Mondays here at the house for the past few weeks, but he has an enormous paper due soon and needed to go to the seminary library this morning. Chloe couldn’t handle that. She clung more than she normally does and she cried harder than usual. When probed, she could only say that she didn’t want him to go.

She was so insistent about it, too. Her whole world was going to fall apart if he left. She didn’t know why. I found myself wondering if she knew something I didn’t. But I dismissed that thought – what good is it going to do?

Today was supposed to be our first big full school day back after our loosey goosey week last week and I balked at first of the idea of not getting that start. But Craig and I agreed – she needs to be with him this morning and that is more important than anything else I had planned for today. So I gathered up some puzzles, a single-player game, and a big book. She’s going to spend the morning in the library with him. And I hope her heart experiences some healing today.