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Archive for October, 2006

Hi misslionheart.  🙂 I’m still here.

Last week was kindof nuts for me. Boy am I glad I don’t have to work during these early years as a parent. Whew! My hat is off to all you working moms. Wednesday through Friday last week I attended a Senior Spouse Leadership Seminar. [That means wives & husbands of senior enlisted soldiers. Senior enlisted soldiers are rank E8 & E9 – or Master Sergeant and Sergeant Major.]

Anyway, it was a great seminar. I learned allot and gained a smidgen of confidence towards whatever role I may play for the remainder of G’s military career. But, man, that was rough getting out of the house in time to drop B off at daycare and make it to the seminar in time. Then we had soccer practice one night and a game the next. Of course we still had to eat and basic household tasks had to be done . . . By Friday evening I was pooped. And if you have more than one kid – how do you folks do that?

Oh yes, I’ve been meaning to mention that I am now officially a soccer mom. B joined his first league – started late September. He absolutely loves it! It’s pretty comical watching a bunch of 3 & 4 year olds attempting to play soccer. But I must say that in the few weeks they’ve been practicing & playing games, they have improved quite a bit.

Those first couple of practices were almost painful. Basic concepts like, lining up and watching for your turn – or waiting for your turn – were difficult for most of them. Not to mention the soccer basics of controlling the ball with your feet – and not picking it up. Oh, and then there’s that goal thing. One goal is yours, the other belongs to the other team. Even if you’re the one who kicked it in, the score goes to the other team! But they’re not officially keeping score, so it doesn’t matter. What matters is the kids are having fun and learning how to work together – sort of. We still have kids that are more intent on examining the dirt or wandering off during the game. They’re so cute!

Today we washed the dog. Have I mentioned that we have a dog in our family? Yes, a five year old Basset Hound. He’s a sweet old dog. Poor thing hadn’t had a bath since we moved. Now you’re not supposed to bathe this breed too often, but that’s a little long. He did not like getting wet. But after we were done (B helped) we had a happy dog bouncing around the yard. Bassets are great family dogs, as long as you can stand the dog hair and drool. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and repeat to myself “I love my dog” as I’m cleaning up a puddle of drool, or sweeping up more dog hair. 🙂

Speaking of taking a deep breath, I had started another post yesterday when the computer started giving me errors. I wound up losing what I had typed. So, I took a deep breath, turned it off, and walked away. I do want to get to that post. It was about adoption and a certain celebrety we all know of. But right now I have to go get some work done around the house. So that will be coming soon.

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Deleted a Post

Well, I’m not in the habit of deleting posts. This may be the first. But I never felt good about having given in to the temptation to rant since the moment I clicked publish. After arguing with myself about it for a number of days, I decided it was not appropriate here, on this blog. It was largley ignored, anyway, so I deleted it. For the most part, I like to leave my blog as is – leaving my trail of learning and growing – and don’t like to delete posts. But since I am quite fallible, can’t say it won’t happen again. 🙂 But I also don’t want to get in the habit of “ranting” here – and deleted that category, too.

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Corn & Pumpkins

Yesterday B and I went with a group from church to a corn maze/pumpkin patch. It was a blast! For starters, another mom rode along with us with her 4yo boy. Listening to them jabber all the way there and all the way back to our meeting place was well worth the trip, regardless of how much fun we had at the maze.

We got lost in the maze and miraculously found our way out (with a group).  B slid many times down a big slide. We had a picnic lunch then went on a hayride to the pumpkin patch.  And much, much more. I am so grateful to the gal that called to invite us. Since we’re pretty new to the church, I hadn’t known about it otherwise.

The funny thing is, I had planned to go to the maze with another group the week before, then was not able to go. I was pretty disappointed. Then I got the call from that gal from church. Wow. Another thing, I have an army spouse leadership seminar the rest of the week, and was trying to figure out what to do Monday and Tuesday for B’s home-pre-school. After the invitation to the maze, it all fell together.

I made sure to find a big pumpkin that was perfect for a Jack-O-Lantern to bring home on Monday. Then today, we read the The Pumpkin Patch Parable, by Liz Curtis Higgs. The story follows a farmer from planting the pumpkin seeds in June to harvesting the pumpkins and then selecting one for his special Jack-O-Lantern in October. We’ve read it many times, but it was neat today to then get to carve our own pumpkin into a Jack-0-Lantern. Also, G found a newspaper article on the anatomy of a pumpkin, with instructions for carving. Like I said, it all just fell together.

B looked forward the rest of the day to getting to light the candle in the pumpkin. So we sat out on the front porch, lit the pumpkin and read the story again for daddy.

We won’t win any pumpkin carving contests. But hopefully B learned a few things while having fun with a pumpkin. His favorite part appeared to be pulling out all that slimy pulp and picking out the seeds. Bleh! It worked into a nice little family time, too.

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There was a post-wide yard-sale event Saturday, so guess what I did. Yup, I could not miss out on a chance to go “yardsaling.” I don’t think I’ve done that since last summer – over a year now. In VA, during the summer, Saturday morning yard-sales offered a chance for me to get out by myself for a while – and B had some daddy time. So, that’s how I spent my Saturday morning.

It was quite a successful run, too. I found clothes for myself and B, and lots of books. Yard-sales are great for book shopping! Most of the books were for B. But I found a couple for myself, too. One is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing Your Time. My husband’s comment to that was: “step one – don’t take the time to read this book.” 🙂 I also picked up Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells. Has anyone read that?

So, after I ran home to make lunch for the guys, I took off for a Stampin’ Up party in the neighborhood. Of course I spent more than I should have on ink and stamps. But it was fun hanging out with other women for a while – no kids. Wow, I guess I had a lot of “me” time yesterday.  Then I came home and worked on laundry and dinner . . .

At the Stampin’ Up party, I did find myself in the middle of a “pregnancy” conversation. Don’t you just LOVE those? Ugh! The woman on my right was pregnant, so of course, the surrounding women were compelled to all tell their pregnancy stories. That is something that still grates me the wrong way and makes me cringe. Sure, I’m in the mom club now. But the pregnancy club is one that eludes me.

And, frankly, I’m not so sure I want to at this point in my life. My next birthday will be 39. Gasp! Twice in the last few months I contemplated the idea as I realized I was ovulating at the right time. 😉 I found I didn’t feel as excited at the possibility as I used to. I think it’s a combination of the age thing, and perhaps some lost hope. This next anniversary will be number 17. After so many unsuccessful years, you kind of stop even hoping for it. I can certainly understand why Sarah laughed at the prospect.

Sure, I know God can do anything. I’ve heard and read of so many miracle stories. And, if God works such a ridiculous miracle in our “old age” we’ll be thankful and roll with the flow, trusting in His infinite wisdom. But I don’t have such a promise, as Sarah had, to hold on to. So, I’m not really hoping for it anymore. Acknowledging that makes me a little sad. I likely will never have my own pregnancy story to tell.

Most days have ups and downs. For the most part Saturday was a very good day. It was a refreshing time to be out & about doing things I enjoy. I am thankful for those women I got to stamp it up with, and I am thankful for my little family.

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I somehow acquired a subscription to Child magazine. I have no recollection of subscribing or sending a check, but each month a new issue appears in my mailbox. I don’t really care for the magazine as a whole, but it has come in handy for finding pictures to cut out each week for B’s counting pages. And, in each issue, I’ve found at least one thing worth reading.

A couple of days ago I was thumbing through the September issue for pictures to cut out and “de ja vou!” There’s an article with a title that has been bouncing around in my head for a while for a blog post. The subtitle is even better: “Parenthood isn’t about being brilliant. It’s about being steadfast.” It’s a short article, one page, but very encouraging for the rest of us “imperfect” parents out there. Here’s a quote:

Looking back, I think my performance was mixed. In focusing on one child, I would often neglect another. What seemed like a good idea on Tuesday often proved to be a bad idea by the end of the week. I got tired. I was misinformed. Dare I say it? I was sometimes lazy. And scared. But now, 25 years later, with my children grown and raising children of their own, here is what I want to whisper in their ears.

Be patient. Nothing good you do for children is wasted. Some seeds simply take longer to germinate.

Don’t be afraid. Your children’s success does not depend on you. It depends on them. This doesn’t mean you can retire to a bistro and watch their progress over an aperitif from a distance. But they want to come into their own even more than you want them to. Trust them more.                                                                                         Phyllis Theroux

Wow! That was much needed encouragement from a rather unexpected source. I have heard more than one parent declare three to be worse than the “terrible twos.” This probably isn’t true for every child, but we have had our fair share of challenges with B lately, a little more than halfway to four.

On our recent trip to Houston, he showed his grandparents (my inlaws) some of his worst behavior. I was nearly in the debths of despair, feeling I was doing a terrible job, by the end of the visit. Although we’ve always tried to be consistent and stick with what we say, we’ve really tightened up the reigns, so to speak, since B and I returned from that trip.

Consistency is difficult to maintain throughout the ins & outs of life, but on reflection, I really think we’re doing pretty well, not perfect, but not bad, either. So, my question for myself has been “why do I take it so hard when B behaves badly?” I know I’m not perfect, and he’s not perfect either. I think some of it has to do with my personality – over-thinking and finding things to obsess and worry about come quite naturally to me. In addition to that, being an obviously adoptive parent, adds to my worries, I think.

Right, wrong, or indifferent – adoption puts you out there to be judged as a parent. Misbehaving kids in public also puts you out there to be judged, regardless of how you came to be their parent. I must admit to looking down my nose at folks whose kids were out of control in the grocery store, etc… That has come back to haunt me and God is teaching me a thing or two now that I’m in those same shoes. I have been humbled and I beg forgiveness (though they never knew it) of every parent out there that crossed my path with misbehaving children. How does that scripture go? “Judge not, lest you be judged?”

I have wrestled with myself whether to share my parenting struggles here, because of that potential to be judged unworthy to be B’s mom. But, it’s not right, either for me to only talk about the good stuff. I have to be real, here. Life’s not all roses and chocolate cake. I’m not a perfect mother, and B’s not a perfect kid. But, we all know this about ourselves – perfection is not going to be achieved this side of heaven. So, I have to ‘fess up. What was that subtitle again? I’m going to write this on my white board for next time I’m feeling discouraged as a mom, “Parenthood isn’t about being brilliant. It’s about being steadfast.”

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Shattered Peace

I didn’t believe what I had just read – that can’t be right. A Fox News alert had come to my inbox and I had opened it to see if it was really newsworthy:

PA. POLICE REPORT ‘A NUMBER OF PEOPLE’ SHOT DEAD AT AMISH SCHOOL; GUNMAN SHOT AND KILLED

Two more emails came in with more bits of information. I was flabbergasted. But, it was true. There had been a school shooting at an Amish school in an Amish community. My heart aches and grieves for this community, as well as the family of the gunman. Today, I found an article that expressed some of what I have been thinking about this: Outside World Crashes in on PA Amish.

At the end of the article the author questions how such a terrible thing can happen to these people, and states that the answer will be hard to come by. There’s really only one answer, but that doesn’t make it any easier to see these kinds of things happen. These things must grieve the heart of God, as well. As in the days of Noah, I must wonder if He is grieved that He has made us (Genesis 6:5-7).

It’s heart wrenching anytime this kind of news reaches my ears. But this really surprised me. Sure, Amish folks are human, too. They’re not perfect and have their own problems and issues, I’m sure. But as far as communities go, they are among the most peaceful. They stand firm and live according to their beliefs. That is admirable and rare in the world today. But, alas, none of us, not one, are exempt from the ravages of sin in our world. And this horrible event is a painful reminder of that.

I’m certain, in my country, we have more troubled days ahead – both of our own doing such as this shooting, and from those that seek to destroy us. As we watch these things unfold before us – where can we find hope? My hope comes from the Lord.

6 Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro:
       He bustles about, but only in vain;
       he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

 7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
       My hope is in you.                                        Psalm 39:6-7

Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.
 29 He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak. 

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.                     Isaiah 40:28-31

9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.                                                          1 Timothy 4:9-10

22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.                            Hebrews 10:22-24

I have to turn to the words of my Lord to remind myself from where my help comes. It is so easy to become discouraged, fearful, even paranoid as I watch and listen to the news of things going on in the world around me. I hope this encourages you as it has me. Yes, the peace has been shattered in this PA community. But there is a peace that passes our understanding. I pray that these folks will find it.

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.                                                                          Philippians 4:6-7

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