August 10th Quote of the Day

September 27th, 2016

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
St.  Francis of Assisi

This particular quote can get me through every day of cleaning the playroom. Every night I walk into that room and stare at a carpet of toys.  Boxes of giant Legos are mixed with wooden blocks, alphabet blocks, toy food and dishes, dinosaurs, stuffed animals, balls from the ball pit, books and zoo animals, and the list goes on.

Before we go on, let’s just get past the part where I should have taught my children to be neater and I should make them clean up after themselves. Let’s just realize that some people call my little ones ‘special needs’.  I just call them special. So Nature Boy can figure out ‘clean up’ when we talk about the ball pit and the Legos but other things confuse him causing him to -literally- tear his hair out. The Little Guy has PIKA which means he eats everything as long as it’s not an actual food so he is too busy eating his toys to put them away.

Anyway, the job looks insurmountable. Time to break it down into what’s necessary. The empty and mostly empty juice boxes that are attracting bugs have got to go.  So do those sneaky snacks that have made it into the playroom when I wasn’t looking. Then I start tossing toys in the general direction of their allotted containers which usually reminds me that my height is not the only reason basketball should never have been a career choice for me.  Eventually all the toys are in piles close enough to their containers to be scooped up and stored properly. Once they are in their containers, the rocking horse, the little table and chairs, the little trampoline and the books can all be returned to their allotted spots. Bingo! What has seemed impossible has become possible.

Okay. So the playroom is not an earth shattering accomplishment but it is an accomplishment.  The point is that you should take your life in little pieces.

Don’t try to fix all the errors of your life and all your shortcomings at once.  Pick one piece.

Fix that one.  Go on to the next. Work on that for a while.  Keep adding those things one at a time until -wonder of wonders- you are accomplishing the impossible.

Grandpa – Fix Yourself for Us Now!

September 22nd, 2016

Our Grandpa has cancer.  This is the Grandpa who stabilizes our lives. The one who keeps the computers running, fixes the appliances, repairs the leaking bicycle tire. The one who can take a handful of playdoh and make it into a dinosaur for Nature Boy. The one the Little Guy goes to and begs to be spun in a circle until both of them are too dizzy to stand up.

No cancer is good cancer but this one is particularly nasty.  It’s a highly aggressive lymphoma that made it to Stage IV before we knew he was sick. It’s hanging out not only in his abdomen but in his bone marrow and spinal fluid.  I’m a mommy.  I kiss hurts and make them better.  Won’t help with this hurt.

When we were told this, I just broke down and cried. Grandpa loves us and promises to not give up. That’s not an easy thing when ports are being inserted in your head to take the chemo; when special IV’s are placed in your chest, when you must spend 5 days of every 21 in the hospital where drugs are being administered to you that you know full well will make you sick.  And all the while you wonder “is this going to work?”.

I can and have been praying. Our church is praying. The churches of family members are praying along with the family.  I’m coming to you now, my nearly 2000 subscribers. Pray with us.  This Grandpa who fixes everything else for everyone else needs more than just the doctors and determination to get well.  He needs God’s help and the prayers of God’s people.

He has two little special needs boys and two granddaughters who need him to be there. Life without him is unimaginable.  God is the Giver of Life.  We’ll lean on Him.

Red Wine in Carpets

September 17th, 2016

Q: How do you get red wine out of carpet?

 

A: Good question.  I had no idea so I reached out to one of my favorite wine drinkers,  my sister. She said she didn’t have any idea either since she has hardwood floors.  But she did sent me a link that looks like it would be pretty helpful:

http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-Red-Wine-from-Carpet

If you try it, let us know if it works.

Joseph – a Valuable Member of the Nativity Scene

September 12th, 2016

This is the time of year when people do a lot of focusing on Mary, the Mother of Jesus. We marvel at what a wonderful person she must have been to have God choose her for the Mother of His Son.

We spend so much time focusing on her that we overlook a really key player in this earthly family of Christ.  It’s the man God chose to be the earthly father of Christ.

God didn’t just come to Mary to discuss the arrival of this child. Certainly, He sent His angel to let her know what the plan was and Mary, in essence, said “whatever You want, I will do.” Mary made her choice.  I am convinced she had the option to agree or decline.  It must have taken a great deal of inner strength to agree to such a life-changing event. But God didn’t send His angel only to Mary. He also sent him to Joseph.  The Bible tells us that Joseph was a Godly man who knew that he had a tough choice to make where Mary was concerned. She was pregnant and single. Totally unacceptable to the church of his time – or to anyone for that matter. In today’s world, he could easily have been the man who said, ‘not my kid; not my problem’ just before walking out the door.

Not so for Joseph. He accepted his responsibility as fiancee’ for Mary and was working on his options when God sent His angel to have a talk with Joseph.  Joseph, too, made a choice. He accepted the responsibility of raising God’s Son.

I find it interesting to note that the Bible tells us that Mary watched everything that happened and ‘pondered it in her heart.’ It was Joseph that was the do-er in the family. Further instructions for the protection of the child were given to him. The angel was sent to Joseph to warn him to take the child somewhere safe.  Joseph just went to Mary and said ‘pack up. We’re out of here.’ Later, it was again Joseph who is told that it is safe to return home.  When he did come back, he went to Nazareth. I’ve wondered about that some. My pastor says there was a lot of construction going on near there so maybe Joseph was just going where the jobs were.  Part of me wonders, though, if he was still protecting Jesus and Mary.  Protecting them from the stigma of being born to an unwed mother – a truly scandalous thing in those days.  Even if the circumstances of His birth did become known, Nazareth was a tough town by all accounts. People said, “can any good come out of Nazareth?” So with any luck at all, nobody would care.

Jesus, Himself, became a carpenter like his earthly father, Joseph. Tells me that Joseph spent some time teaching Jesus a trade and Jesus respected him enough to be willing to to spend some time following in his footsteps. The type of earthly father Jesus should have was as important to God as the earthly mother He chose. It was a team effort – this raising of Jesus. As a team, they went hunting Him when He was missing from the traveling group at the age of 12.  It was Joseph who scolds him saying “your mother and I were searching for You”.

Fathers, just because the woman is the one who gives birth doesn’t make her the only one responsible for the training and the upbringing of the child. Your input is critical. God shows us that by the care He took in choosing Joseph. He shows us that by letting us know that it is Joseph to whom He gave instructions on the safety and protection of the child.  Be the man God wants you to be. Seek His guidance as head of your household. Never underestimate the importance of your role.

Verse of the Day – July 27th

September 12th, 2016

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Father,  today is a low strength day for me.  I need your strength to make it through this day.  Keep me in your sites.  Lift me when I start to fall.  There is so much to do lately.   I am pulled so many ways.

Give me wisdom to work with each situation but most of all, give me the strength promised in Your word.

November 11 Verse of the Day

September 11th, 2016

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Father,

Our country has just elected a very controversial president.  Many are angry.

Many, including a former President, had refused to vote for either candidate.  Those who did felt strongly about their choice.  Now there are protests and destruction in many cities.

You have promised to heal our land if Your people, called by Your Name would humble themselves and pray.

Father, I am one of Your people.

I am called by Your Name.

I am joining now with so many across our country to ask You to heal the divisions. Speak peace to those who fear for our country now.

Give our leaders, especially our newly elected President, wisdom to guide our country.  Silence those who would cause dissent.  Above all, Lord, may Your will be done in this country.

Verse of the Day – July 28

September 3rd, 2016

Isaiah 1:2 (NET)

Listen, O heavens, pay attention,  O earth! For the Lord speaks:
“I raised children, I brought them up, but they have rebelled against me!

Father,

You are the only perfect parent and, yet, even You have children who rebel against You just as we do.  You know the pain of parents whose children are rejecting them, their advice, their lifestyles,  their values, everything. You love us even more fully than we can love our children. You know the pain and anguish we are feeling.

Thank you, Lord, for letting us know this.

 

Verse of the Day

September 2nd, 2016

Matthew 1: 1-17

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew is traced through Joseph. I won’t copy all of it from the Bible. You can look it up and read it for yourself.

It interests me to note that Joseph was not the genetic father of Jesus but, by law, he was the legal father and so Jesus was his legal heir.  It was an important point to the Father. Important enough to place it in the Bible. It interests me because, in essence, it says Jesus was adopted but was also fully heir to his adopted father. Jesus was totally his son, enough so that His family tree was traced through Joseph.  But he was also the Son of God. Interesting concept. We, too, are adopted. We are adopted by God through Jesus. We are fully his heirs. We are fully members of His family. Not outsiders. Brothers and Sisters of Christ. May we always live so that He is not ashamed of who we are or what we do.

 

Our Little Shadows

September 29th, 2014

Remember the childhood poem “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me”? Grandpa has one of those. It just isn’t his own shadow. It is actually Nature Boy.

Nature Boy adores his Grandpa. He wants to see and do everything that Grandpa does. There are a couple of problems with this. One – he is only four years old. And two – he is developmentally delayed. So everything he does to imitate Grandpa or to ‘help’ him turns out to be not so helpful after all. Grandpa spends a lot of his time at the computer so Nature Boy often sits with him and stares at that computer as if he knows all about it. Every now and then – when Grandpa isn’t looking – he pushes all kinds of buttons which sometimes delete things Grandpa really doesn’t want deleted. He follows Grandpa into the garage and ‘helps’ him repair little rocking chairs or other toys that have been overused.

One of Nature Boy’s favorite things is a cord that he can flap up and down like bird wings. Grandpa has all kinds of tie-downs, power tools, and extention cords that suit him perfectly. He happily flaps them up and down and, sometimes sneaks them out of the garage and into other places in the house. Then we get to hear Grandpa complaining ‘All right, where did you put them this time?” But, Nature Boy, being developmentally delayed, doesn’t talk. He just stands there looking innocent.

Anyone with small children has variations of this scene in their homes as well. Little girls watch Mommy and try to cook, dress and put on make-up. (My make-up gets hidden whenever possible to keep Princess from ‘borrowing’ it). Little boys the world over try to fix cars, paint houses, or otherwise imitate Daddy.

It’s a joy to watch them try to be like us. We smile when our little girls rock their dolls to sleep and we hear them say ‘go night night, sweet baby’. We know they are learning to love and cherish their young.

We laugh to see our little boys sitting at the computer table moving the mouse and clicking away.  They can be so much fun sometimes.

Then there are the other times. Times when we see and hear things we aren’t so proud of.  That time when I hear our Princess use a tone of voice when talking to her friends that sounds so unkind but sounds a lot like me. Or the times when we hear those not-so-special words that shouldn’t be used around children but are coming out of our children’s mouths. The ones that sort of slip out on occasion.

We love our little ones with all our hearts. I’m sure you love yours as well. If we want them to be the truly great men and women of tomorrow, we need to show them how. It might be time to take stock of ourselves.  Do a little self-improvement.

Spring Cleaning

September 20th, 2014

All I wanted to do today was spring clean the kitchen. I didn’t want to spring clean the whole house. I knew that would never happen. I just wanted the kitchen to be nice and freshly cleaned. Did it happen? Of course not!

The lawyer had let us know yesterday that all background checks were in and Grandpa and I had to go down to sign the final legal papers on the boys. No problem. We could be home by 11 and still get everything done.

 

Courthouses do not have small children. Therefore, court houses stay on schedule. We were home by 11. Homes are where the scheduling problems begin. Children live there. Children who decide to sleep in for the babysitter (never for me) so are still lounging around in their pajamas, finishing breakfast. I’m still on a roll. I can do this.

An hour later the kids are dressed and playing and I am reminded the poodle needs a haircut and bath. I do this myself to save money and to cause frustration for myself just because I don’t have enough things to frustrate me. An hour and a half later, the dog is looking good. I wash one of the kitchen windows and the bench for our breakfast nook. The Little Guy screams for lunch. The Little Guy falls asleep in his high chair while everyone is eating. If I lay him in his crib, he will wake up in ten minutes and realize that he has been abandoned – God forbid!- and he will protest this injustice loudly. So I bow to the inevitable and lay down on my bed with him. He wakes up just enough to squirm closer to me. Happily cuddled up against me, he falls back to sleep. I decide I wouldn’t trade anything for this little naptime with the our special boy.

Two hours later, Grandpa wakes me to let me know he needs to run an errand so I get up to keep an eye on Nature Boy and Princess. Nature Boy is finally learning to leave his clothes on. Someday he will learn to stay out of the pool in the middle of March. Until then, he needs to be closely supervised when outdoors. And, of course, the Little Guy soon realizes he has been left alone and is sobbing on the bed. The three of them keep me moving until Grandpa returns. Yes, I’m ready to start again!

The Girl Scouts arrive with their cookies.  Who can turn down Girl Scout cookies? We have to take a break for those.  The Little Guy has to have his picture taken eating his very first Girl Scout cookie. It’s peanut butter and chocolate and is the best food he has every had. By the time he is done, he is chocolate from head to toe. More time consumed.

 

 

Nature Boy then insists on ‘dink peas tank you’. The refrigerator yields only white milk and precious little of that. I give him a cup. He patiently returns the cup to the refrigerator and again asks for ‘dink peas tank you’. I make grape kool- aid.  He takes a sip. Grape is not to his liking. In frustration, he goes to the fridge and pulls out a diet coke. ‘Dink peas tank you.’ Arrgh!!! Fine! Just take it and go outside!!!!

 

It’s time to make dinner. I AM NOT MAKING DINNER. I am going to spring clean the kitchen. I run to the store for milk and chocolate and through the drive thru for burgers and fries. At home, Princess meets me at the door. The dog got out. More time spent finding the dog! Grandpa, busy trying to find out how the dog got out, is otherwise distracted while the Little Guy spreads dog food and dog water all over the kitchen floor and Nature Boy covers himself in mud. By 9 o’clock the children are fed, bathed and in bed. The dog water has been wiped up from the kitchen floor and I figure the dogs will eat the food before morning.

I am not spring cleaning the kitchen. I am resting.

So why do I tell you this? Because this is the Advice From Mom column and I – as the reigning Mom – have some advice. If you have small children, don’t set your sights too high when it comes to housework. As a matter of fact, as long as the house isn’t toxic, consider yourself a success. Enjoy that special time when your little one cuddles up beside you. Enjoy the ‘firsts’ that come for your offspring. The kitchen will still be there tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that. It remains the same.

 

Your children change. Don’t miss it. When you’re old and retired, you can have a clean house. Unless, of course, you’re like Grandpa and I and start a family all over again.