Monday, June 30, 2008

The Party's Over...

We've re-instituted the summer jobs for the kids. Today was the first day. I told everyone at breakfast today would be the day, and no one balked or was even surprised. I guess they could feel it coming. With everyone home everyday, the impact on the house is amazing. No one wants a resentful mom/wife, so all agree that we need to tackle this business as a team. We all have a role. It isn't all on me.

This worked well for us last year, so I have high hopes. Here's what we do:
I made a list of 13 jobs that could/should be done daily. I asked the kids to each pick three and make them their own. (so, get it? see, there's more jobs on the list than we need, so then nobody thinks they're getting stuck with the "bad" job. I'm so tricky, 'eh?) Then everyone had an extra job that has to get done once a week. Wednesday is extra-job-day. No screens until everyone has done their jobs...this way, they encourage each other, and they all want it done soon. It isn't all on me.

They aren't turning the place into an immaculate palace, but it makes a big difference to me when I'm not the only one picking up. It isn't all on me.

Maybe it'll work for you, too.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Tomorrow is our 17th wedding anniversary. How can it be?
I think we are both surprised by how much fun we are still having together.

I've said this many times, but I can never say it too much. Scott is a gift to me from God. I was not wise enough 17 years ago to know what I was getting myself into. I backed my way into this really wonderful life, this marriage to a man of integrity. And I almost ruined it more than once, be we still finally figured it out. It had to be God. I am so grateful.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nothing Special

So everyone in the family is out running errands this afternoon, and I'm finally home alone. It seems I should use this time really well, and yet I'm at a loss. I've piddled around a little, watered some plants outside, done some dishes and tidying, but what to do? Can't think of anything meaningful to write about, but now is the time I get. I think I'm just going to read my book.

So strange, how it took me such a long time to adjust to having time alone this school year, and now, with everyone home in the summer, I'm having trouble adjusting to not getting time alone. You just can't win living with me!

And if I can't find a satisfactory routine or plan for how to use time this summer, how can I expect the kids to do it? It's technically only our 4th day of summer, so it'll work out. But right now, this moment, I'm stuck in this spot. It's always tricky, finding the right balance between being too programmed, and too idle.....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Highs and Lows

One of the things I do on vacation is buy the latest issue of People Magazine and read it from cover to cover. Guilty pleasure. So last week, I read about how Tatum O'Neill is dealing with her big mistake of trying to buy some illegal drug a couple of weeks ago. She was arrested and spent 36 hours in a jail cell. She said that she was feeling depressed. Her beloved dog had just died, and I can't remember what else triggered her profound feelings of sadness. One line in the article reminded me of something I've thought about before.... She said she just didn't want to be feeling the way she was feeling, so she decided to get high and escape. I've also heard this kind of thing said on that Intervention show.

This idea of "not wanting to feel the way we're feeling" is intriguing to me. I think it motivates a lot of behavior in our society. It doesn't always lead to doing drugs or addiction.

We don't want to feel too fat, too sad, too old, too stressed, too angry, too out of control, too controlled by others. Think of all the things we do to avoid feelings. We long to be on an even keel, flat. Why are we so afraid of feeling? People even pay big money for things like that our faces show no expression at all. We bleach our teeth so there's no evidence of our having been alive for a few decades. We value privacy, so we can feel our stuff behind closed doors. It's in style to look flawless, clear, unmarked by life. Pretty wild.

But God did not create us flat. Or flawless. Or emotionless. I think of the verses in Ecclesiastes:
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NLT

Sometimes it's completely right and appropriate to be sad or mad, or out-of-your-head happy. It's the way we were made. It's all a part of life, which God designed. What a goofy thing that we run around like a dog chasing its tail, trying to capture the feelings we want, and running away from the ones we don't want.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Vacation.....

This is what we do. We leave town in the summer, for a few days here and there. Cuz we can. So, last week we went to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. We rented a cabin together with some friends and we had a great time. Sorry for my absence. I thought I'd actually be able to post from there, but, it wasn't meant to be.

So we did some of this,

Some of that,

Maybe a lot...

Quite a bit of this, too.

It really was a dream come true for Scott. All of his true loves in one place. Golf, fish, family....

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mom, I'm Bored

Ah yes, the first day of Summer Vacation. I can report that some sleeping-in took place, and there was the wearing of jammies until 12:30 or so, too much tv and computer, some basketball and fishing. Now what?

Heh heh. Unfortunately, the entertainment committee seems to be on break right now, too, so we'll all have to figure out ways to occupy ourselves. Do you think they can do it? I know they can, but these are muscles that haven't been used in a while. Last summer the big thing that got everyone excited was having "sales" in the driveway. They sold lemonade, cookies, some outgrown toys and videos. The possibility of making some money was highly motivating.

What a relief to be in the days of not having to be anywhere at a certain time, so the ideas and dreams can be pursued. I look forward to watching the summer unfold, and seeing what the big thing will be this year.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Thought I Could, I Thought I Could

Our boat trailer needed replacing, so the old, rusty thing was in the driveway along with the shiny new one holding the boat. What to do with the old one? There's a recycling center down the road a bit. But their operating hours and Scott's time at home just couldn't get together. I said I could take it there. I said I could drive the car with the trailer, as long as I never had to go backwards.

But when the time came to do it, whoa nelly, was I nervous. Make a mistake with something like a trailer, and the consequences can be pretty huge. But I did it! And look what I got for that hunk of junk!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Smooth Transition

Tomorrow is the last day of school. Yes, we are STILL in school, making up for all those snow days....

I sent the kids off with gifts for all their teachers, and notes thanking them for helping to make our transition into the big regular public school district from a tiny charter school a smooth and successful one. And as I watch this school year come to an end, I can say that for each of the kids it has been a good transition. We survived and thrived through a big change.

I heard a woman on the radio the other day, no idea who she was, or what the name of her book is, I only caught about 3 minutes. But she was talking about discerning God's will, and taking the journey He leads you on, and how we question if we're doing the right it can look great when all the doors open and things are going great, but the second we hit a rough spot we begin doubting. She spoke about the Israelites leaving Egypt. It was clear God was leading them out; He parted the Red Sea, He literally showed them the way: "The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night." Exodus 13:21 And He fed them manna, provided them with their daily bread. And even though the Israelites could SEE with their eyes where He wanted them to go, they didn't always feel certain.

The decisions about our children and their education have loomed large since we first had to pick a pre-school for Lars. As the years have moved on, the questions have changed, but they're still kind of the same flavor. And in my moments of doubt, I still wonder how my decisions might have marked him. Was I listening well enough? Did I do what God was leading or did I follow my gut? Did I want what I wanted so much that God couldn't get a word in?

It must be a natural human reflex to question and doubt first, and then realize late in the game, after worrying and fretting, that we can rest in His provision. We do this all the time. Not just about education. I have a friend who is starting a new business...lots of risk, and lots of decisions, lots of questions. We do it when traveling through the murky waters of relationships, health, finances, careers, you name it. I don't think the questioning itself is so terrible, it's when we let that grow into doubting that God is still leading, still providing.

As God told the Israelites before they entered into the Promised Land: "So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 And then many years later, the author of Hebrews wrote in references to this promise, "Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13: 7&8 ROCK ON!

Looking back on the school year, even the summer before, when Scott and I made the decision to switch schools, we can see it's been good, it went well. But there were times of fear and doubt. Maybe those times were something I needed to remind me to rely on God, and not get ahead of Him. Who knows. I'll ask Him about it someday. Meanwhile, we just gotta' always rest in His leading, in His provision. So easy to say, when I'm looking back....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Maybe I Need to go Live in the Forest for a While....

Writing to you from the house of technical difficulties. I have spent too much time during these last days of school (read my last days of solitude at home) on the phone with tech support people!!!!

Today's issue is with our satellite dish receiver. It won't power on, but it has a fan that has been running on it ALL. DAY. The sound of the fan is giving me a crick in my neck. It stresses me out. I feel like the poor little machine is over-working itself and might just blow at any minute. I don't even want to watch tv, I just want the fan on the bugger to stop.

I'm sure there are valuable lessons and spiritual insights to be gained, but I am not there yet. Not right now. I can't think with this thing buzzing!!! Since it's Monday, I didn't even try to call until after dinner. After spending an hour on the phone with Laura, the fan turned off and the tv turned on and all was well. She said, "I think you're all set." to which I replied, "yes, thank you so much!" I hung up and two minutes later, the machine turned off and the fan turned on. Curses!

They told me it's trying to reset itself and that could take up to 45 minutes. So I need to just leave it alone for at least that long. Then and only then, can I call back (for the third time) and try to convince the next person I talk to that indeed, there is SOMETHING WRONG!

Love and kisses....

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Our modem went bad yesterday. Actually, it was in and out on Thursday, and then yesterday, caput. I can't believe how much something like that threw me off. I had begun the morning sending emails out to a few people whose replies would impact the rest of my day, and Scott was in meetings, so I couldn't get him to check email from his office. I was stranded!

Of course, there was the hour and a half spent on the phone with the dsl folks, which is not a chunk of time I had planned for. And a trip to Best Buy to purchase a modem, and then bringing it home and disconnecting the old one and installing the new one. Tasks like this can make me feel like a stupid female, and I hatehatehate that feeling.

I'm hearing the dad in the movie "She's Having a Baby" saying "You're all right now!"
Yes, I am aware that there are people in the world with real problems.....

Thursday, June 5, 2008

More Pics

Shall we follow up the deep thoughts with some fun photos? Yes, I think we shall.

We're travelin', travelin', travelin'....

Heading out for the rehearsal dinner

At the rehearsal dinner. It's not often we're all cleaned up at the same time!

Lily getting her hair done the morning of the wedding. "I feel like a princess."

Deep Thoughts this Stormy Morning

Yesterday I finally finished the Jon Krakauer book about the Mormon faith and some of the fundamentalist groups that have sprouted off of the main church. It was a well-written book, but the subject matter is truly disturbing. I couldn't wait to be done with it. Throughout the book, but especially at the end Krakauer throws in some questions about what faith really means, and how is one religion any different than another when they all, at some point, require that "leap" of faith? I say, bring on these tough questions. I want to know why I believe what I believe.

At the same time, I'm working on a study of the book of Colossians. I think Paul's letter could tackle some of Krakauer's queries. My faith is not in a religion with rules and restrictions about how to live or practice that faith. I don't have to do certain things to gain entry into heaven. My ticket to heaven is not jeopardized by my actions. Jesus died for me, (in my sinful, imperfectness) and I have accepted His saving gift of grace. My faith is in Christ.

As Paul wrote to the believers on Colossae about what he hoped his letters would do for their recipients, he said, I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ Himself. In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2&3

In following Christ, it becomes less and less mysterious, and our knowledge increases. We know God more and more. And this is accessible to any and all who want it! Here's some more verses that get right to the heart of the difference between accepting that salvation and going the next step--what it means to be a follower of Christ:

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6&7

Paul explains why the following piece is important, why it's imperative to do more than just accept the gift. We need to continue following Him because Satan is working hard to confuse people. He's the Great Manipulator and King of Lies. He takes bits of the truth, and weaves lies, and selfish, human-driven ideas into it. He presents twisted versions of the truth that can sound good at first, if you aren't rooted in The Truth--Christ. That's been Satan's playbook throughout the ages. In the next verse, Paul says:

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. Colossians 2:8

I can't help but think of the Mormon church, and the wackos that have taken Mormonism to extremes, or even of some of the ideas Oprah has helped to disseminate, from The Secret or Eckhardt Tolle. These are all empty philosophies, that come from human thinking and are not of God, they are of this world. How do we know the difference? We have to be rooted in Christ and let our lives be built on Him; not a religion, not a church, or ideas, but in and on Christ.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Making Memories

This is actually my favorite picture that I took....
I reminded my sister-in-law Lyn, the mother of the bride, to "take pictures with your mind" on the day of the wedding. Someone gave me that advice on my wedding day. (could even have been Lyn! I don't remember...) We didn't take very many pictures of the wedding; so many others were so it didn't seem necessary. I don't like carrying my camera around and snapping pics like crazy. I feel like I can't see, or really watch what's going on if I'm always thinking in terms of getting a shot. But I like the idea of taking pictures with your mind, because then you're holding on to moments, cherishing them in your heart.

In this picture, I walked into the "girls' room," which is where the bridesmaids and other gals changed into their beautiful dresses, and where Joy had to wait patiently, hidden from her groom's view, for the wedding to start. Joy was fiddling with her tiara, and talking to Lily....and Lily sat down because she was tired of standing...a sweet moment that I will always have in my mind, but was lucky enough to have my camera on a table nearby, so I can share it with you.

Some pictures

HI! We're back and we had a wonderful time.
Just my favorites from the wedding.....

I seem to be be having trouble getting more pics up on here....
More to come later...