Blahg

This fall has been silly again. Last fall was hard on us and I thought it was just the job I was doing on top of everything else. This fall is just as hard and the job I’m doing is about 1/10th of the work, so guess what – I don’t think it was really the job last fall. It’s just the fall.

We seriously cut back on extras this year. We have Classical Conversations on Mondays and St. Louis Children’s Choirs on Thursdays. Those are the school extras that take us out of the home during weekdays. I’m still trying to figure out what makes us long for Fridays at 5:00, when we enter the weekend panting from the week. I’m hoping I can figure it out before May.

This weekend is a rare one in which all six of us are home all weekend. It’s supposed to snow. We’re really hoping to get a lot of reading done and papers written while watching the snow, drinking tea, and enjoying our four little ladies quietly hand sewing in their 17th-century dresses.

You know what’s really going to happen, right? They will end up watching half-a-dozen movies, and in between they will want to go outside and play in the snow. They will get bundled up in all of the winter stuff we own, go outside for ten minutes, and come back in begging for hot chocolate. They will shed all the extra winter stuff (now wet) all over the kitchen and dining room floor. I will be doing laundry all day. And heating up the kettle for hot chocolate.

But strangely enough, this scenario (one I really don’t enjoy all that much) doesn’t scare me away from my thoughts of a peaceful, relaxing weekend. I’m going to trust that we can still carve that into the coming days.

Here’s hoping your upcoming weekend is refreshing for your family and your soul. Happy Friday.

Feelin’ Crafty

In a fit of what can only be described as obsessive compulsive household rearrangment syndrome (OCHRS), I decided to tackle the basement yesterday. It was a long four months coming, and I'm not finished yet but I did make some significant progress. The problem for me, though, is that progress in a crafting area always, always, always means I develop this inner urge to craft. Craig shakes his head knowingly. He can't create in chaos, which is why he usually can't create around me. He knows that when things are picked up we do better as creative people. So yes, he's right. (Happy?)

Anyway, a couple of months ago I got this great idea to make crayon pouches for our church. They currently offer crayons in plastic boxes for the kids to use during the service. Crayons + plastic boxes + wooden pews = more noise than tolerable for most people (or maybe just for us). I secured proper approval and then promptly tabled said project. Until yesterday, that is. Because suddenly I had a clear crafting table and an organized fabric stash with ribbon neatly hung on a peg, looking all fabric store-ish and cute. I did as much cleaning as I could and then I gave in. Here they are:

Crayons!

This is a bad time to be bitten by the craft bug. I've got two more books to read, an interview to do, and three papers to write for seminary in addition to other writing deadlines. I really shouldn't be doing this now. But Christmas is coming and all and I did want to make several of my gifts this year…maybe one more night of this wouldn't hurt anything, right?

My Two Close Calls

Otherwise known as Post-Election Stress Disorder, or possibly Early-Onset Alzheimer’s, but let’s pretend it’s the former, okay?

First of all, can I just say I was so proud to have thought up the Post-Election Stress Disorder thing, but when I typed it into Google I quickly realized I’m not unique at all? Moving on, then.

On Tuesday, I took my camera with me to the polling place. I took two pictures of the girls and then my camera’s batteries died, so I put it in the pocket of my sweater. Later on that morning, Katie got cold, so I gave her my sweater. It took me 5 hours to realize the camera was missing and after tearing apart the main level of our house looking for it, we high-tailed it back to the church. There it was, on the floor next to the couch where Katie sat while I voted. Either nobody had seen it or nobody cared. We were saved. I don’t have a fancy schmancy high-end camera, but what I do have isn’t exactly cheap either. We wouldn’t have been able to replace it anytime soon had it been taken. Whew!

Today was $10 off Thursday at several stores in town. I prepared two lists with deals and coupons and such. I hit one of the stores early afternoon with plans to hit the other one early evening while most of the girls were in choir. So imagine my surprise when Millie and I walked into Dierbergs tonight and I noticed I didn’t have my wallet. Fortunately, we noticed this before we’d loaded up the cart, but still – we were at the Dierbergs on the opposite side of town from where we live. I went into a very controlled, mild panic.

We drove to the seminary where Craig was working the bookstore. I called Shop-n-Save and they told me nobody had turned it in. My only recourse then, was to wait until I got home to see if it was here. If it wasn’t, then it was time to turn up the lever a little bit on the panic button. Have you ever tried to keep your panic level down in 45 minutes of crawling traffic? That’s enough to send one over the edge all by itself. Now add the thought that one has had her wallet stolen and you see where this is going.

We got home and saw it wasn’t here. It was a quick realization as I had actually picked up the dining room/living room/kitchen before we left. Click-click (hear that panic lever notching up a bit?). Millie had her shoes off for two minutes before I was hauling her back out again. I figured it was worth going back to Shop-n-Save to see for myself, even though on the phone they told me they didn’t have it.

So glad I did. The lady behind the counter must have recognized the state of almost-despair I was in. It didn’t take her long to figure out why I was there. All I had to do was pantomime “little zippy purse with a pink wallet inside” and she pulled it out of the drawer. It was still intact with my driver’s license, debit card, and (sadly, more importantly to me) my Shop-n-Save gift card which still had $65 dollars on it, the $15 of S-n-S money I earned today as part of today’s deals, and my Walgreens gift card which still has $30 on it. I was worried about having to cancel cards and renew the license and such, but I figured that was $110 worth of grocery money totally gone.

But it was there and I’m in the process of returning to my normal state of coloring. That’s two close calls in a three-day span. I need to watch it. And I need to give thanks for God’s protecting of my stupidity. Thanks, God. I’ll try to be a little more responsible next time (read: tomorrow).

Well?

Did your world totally turn upside down today? I can’t say mine did. I still had to get up at 7, get the girls fed and educated, fold some laundry, make some lunch, and do some writing. There’s something to be said for not turning the television on during the day (we never do this anyway, so it never occurred to me to do it today either), or checking anything online other than email for most of the day.

For all those who hinted we might be disgruntled by the outcome, I assure you we’re not. I’m glad to be able to say I voted from my conscience and calling. I’m not angry about how things turned out. Concerned about what could happen with the abortion laws and such? Yes. All the more reason to pray. I couldn’t express my view here any better than my friend Leura did. Here’s a portion of what she wrote:

Obama’s views offer those of us who don’t agree with him an opportunity—a kick in the butt is more like it—to exercise our personal responsibility and not just our patriotic responsibility. Take abortion, for example, an issue that’s dear to my heart. It’s clear we’re not going to make much political headway in the next four years on this issue, so let’s roll up our sleeves and take our passion to another front. Let’s start investing personally in the lives of the girls and women who are most at-risk for unexpected pregnancies. Let’s tangibly support the brave women who choose to carry their babies and give them up. (I can’t imagine anything harder.) Let’s come alongside the women who keep their babies. That may mean buying them clothes and baby food, or babysitting while they’re earning their GED. Let’s pour our money and time into Christian crisis pregnancy centers that tell women the truth—that human life is never an accident. If the government’s not going to do it for us, let’s make a difference ourselves. I’ve just gotta wonder if thisisn’t what Jesus had in mind for us all along.

Good words, Leura.

I’m in the process of writing about the elections for the short News Now columns. The goal tonight is to state the facts without sounding partisan, to communicate the hope that accompanies so many in our country as well as the sadness from so many. And to do so four times in snippets no longer than 150, 175, 200, and 225 words. It’s tricky, I tell you.

It’s supposed to rain tomorrow and I’m looking forward to that. Life goes on. Hopefully it will continue to do so.

I’m Megan Dunham and I Approved This Message

The number one dilemma facing our family tomorrow is this: do we wake the children at 5:30 in the morning to get in the voting line early, or force them to stand in line for hours some other time throughout the day?

We used to vote early in Colorado for everything – just ask for an absentee ballot and presto, done. Since moving to Missouri, everything has been harder to do: getting vehicles approved, getting house okayed, changing address on driver’s license (oops, still need to do that!), registering to vote.

We’re lucky to even be able to vote. I thought I sent in the forms to change our address a few months ago, but we never got the cards in the mail indicating we were good to go. One week before the deadline, I sent them in again. This time it worked, but not in time to send off for absentee ballots.

I don’t really mind taking the girls. They are pretty fascinated with the whole thing and I know they want to see the election process in action. Still, if I wake them up at 5:30, I’ll be paying for it the whole rest of the day. But, if I wait until they wake up we’ll all be paying for it in the form of really long voting lines.

I’ll never forget the night we watched the poll returns in the Bush/Gore election of 2000. We had another family over to watch with us and finally realized sometime late that we weren’t going to find anything out anytime soon. The other family went home and we went to bed. Part of me wants to cast my vote in the morning and then head somewhere with no Internet access or television for the next week or so. Craig reminds me I can just leave the screens off. I’m not sure I can. It’s easy not to look when you can’t; when the wreck is right there on the side of the road, you absolutely have to take a peek even if you convince yourself you aren’t interested in seeing it.

Anyway, here’s to tomorrow and the hope for something different. Not sure what, but something. Regardless, thanks, God, for being in control.

A King A Kingdom by Derek Webb

who’s your brother, who’s your sister

you just walked passed him

i think you missed her

as we’re all migrating to the place where our father lives

’cause we married in to a family of immigrants

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man

my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood

it’s to a king and a kingdom

there are two great lies that i’ve heard:

“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”

and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican

and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

but nothing unifies like a common enemy

and we’ve got one, sure as hell

but he may be living in your house

he may be raising up your kids

he may be sleeping with your wife

oh no, he may not look like you think

November

Am I the only one scratching her head here wondering how in the world November 1 managed to sneak in? Am I the only one who just realized last night that if you took a seminary class this semester with required books to read and papers due the first week of December, then you just have four short weeks left to snap to it?

Am I the only one who remembered yesterday afternoon that, “oh yeah, today is Halloween and if we’re ever going to carve these goofy pumpkins, we should probably do it NOW?”

We did. The girls have been asking all month and I kept saying, “Let’s wait until it’s closer to Halloween.” You know, it doesn’t get much closer to Halloween than 3pm on the day of. It was fun, though. I’ve decided I like the little pumpkins best – less mess to deal with. The girls drew faces on their pumpkins and I helped cut them out. Here are my girls in pumpkins:

Maddie:

Chloe:

Katie:

Millie: