Thursday, June 30, 2005
I love working in the yard...
...because of all of the things that I do around our home, yardwork offers the best sense of a semi-permanent accomplishment. If I trim the hedges and mow the weeds today, chances are that tomorrow, and maybe even a few weeks if I'm lucky, the yard is still going to look good. This is NOT the case with most of the other chores I do on a daily basis. No matter how many times the baby is nursed or changed, the family fed, the laundry done, the bathroom cleaned, or the floor swept, it's all going to have to be done again...sometimes moments after I think I've checked that particular chore off of my list.

For those of us who manage active households, entropy is not merely an abstract theory learned in high school physics. Want an active demonstration? Just let mom take a day off of doing whatever she does. Want a faster active demonstration? Let dad take the day off, too.

This really bugs me; but I confess that a disastrous house and dirty bathrooms bug me more (ironing, on the other hand, may feel free to pile up to the ceiling, as I can conveniently stash it in my closet!). So, I get off of my tush, and do what needs to be done.

The entropy in my spiritual life bugs me as well. Hebrews tells me to "...throw off the sin that so easily encumbers". Easily encumbers?? Am I the only one irked by that part of the verse? Now I've got dirty laundry piling up in my spiritual life; and I can tell you from harsh personal experience that hiding that stuff in a closet doesn't fly with a God who sees all things. Instead, it's back to the prayer closet; back to the Word; the Holy Spirit gently prodding me to get off of my duff and back to my housekeeping.

One of my sweet little entropy demonstrators is requesting (okay, screaming) for his nighttime feeding as I write this. A mamma's work is never done....

  posted at 10:31 PM  

Sunday, June 26, 2005
If you don't have sisters...
...then you just don't get it. I recently got to spend a good deal of time with both of my sisters, and we've taken a vote; while we've heard vauge rumors of brothers having close relationships as adults, no solid evidence has surfaced, anecdotal or quantitative. (Of course, we're drawing from a data pool that's basically our husbands and our friends' husbands).

Sarah and Alicia, I love you both...and remember, I'm smiling because I'm your big sister.

I'm laughing becasue there's nothing you can do about it!

  posted at 8:34 PM  

Mom is so proud...this one's for the Christmas card! Posted by Hello

  posted at 8:32 PM  

The Michaelis girls...June 24,2005 Posted by Hello

  posted at 8:31 PM  

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
My friend Kirstin (, forgetting that I am a worse techno-dork than I am a fashion dork, tagged me with the question: "Name five things you miss from childhood".

It gave me a pause. I've been told that I'm an encouraging person, but I think that my tendency is to be more negative. When I think childhood, I think of the negatives (my parents' divorce, my perpetual "new kid" status at whatever school we were at that year, my lovely thick plastic glasses and stand-out short red hair in a sea of long blonde and brown locks...). So this is an exercise for my benefit (and as with most things beneficial--healthy eating, exercise, spiritual growth--ICK)--Thanks a lot, Keer.

So, five things I miss from childhood:

1. I miss the feeling of permanence and security that people brought to my life. As a child, I never thought that I would outlive a beloved parent, or have to watch my grandparents age less than gracefully. I thought my parents were perfect (well, at least I thought my mom was perfect). I think having some of those bubbles popped were my roughest introductions to being a "grown up".

2. I miss the reckless abandon children embrace all of live with, maybe because they do feel so safe and secure. I want to feel awed beyond speech or movement at seeing a "really live Cinderella and Snow White", just like my brand new five-year-old did yesterday. I want every birthday to be the "best birthday ever", like it was for my eight year old, just because he had friends over to play and a triple chocolate cake with "Happy Birthday" written on it in Matoran (that's Bioncle code for those of you not fluent in elementary school boy-ease"). I want my day to be awesome, not because we spent a gazillion dollars on Disney tickets, but because my grandfather bought me Mickey Mouse Dove bars at 10:30 in the morning.

3. On that note, I really miss blissful ignorance of calories, fat, carbs, fiber, exercise, etc. I miss feeling really good about my body, or, between pregnancies and breastfeeding, feeling like my body was really mine!

4. I miss long, lazy summer days curled up with a basket of library books, some snacks and hours of doing nothing but reading (and not feeling guilty about all of the "should be doings" like laundry, grocery shopping, etc...).

5. I miss the safety of being able to screw up and make bad decisions with a minimum of consequences. No matter what, I always knew that Mom and Dad had my back, even when they were trying to teach me to make better choices.

Okay, so having processed all that, as much as I struggle with the reality of my own adulthood (most of the time I feel about twelve, not thirty-three). I really like my adulthood.

I came to Christ as a young security is eternal.

I have more friends than I ever did as a child or teen, and they are real, amazing , nurturing and loving people.

Every time I loose my grip on my sense of wonder or my body image, I get to watch (and experience) my four incredible children whom this (ahem) gently used body bore and nurtured. I get to hear and encourage the dreams of young people like my eldest nephew, who I am sure is on a fast track to rock and roll the field of Allied Health.

I have the protective covering of my husband (Happy, happy birthday, sweetheart!). He's pretty good at (by God's grace) protecting my from myself.

I wouldn't be a child again for anything. But I am more than willing (even delighted) to be forever child-like before my Heavenly Father.

Sometimes it is nice to play kid for a few hours, like today when my mother-in-law made us all lunch and did the clean up (hooray!).

Or right now...the baby is asleep and the "big" kids are out with their Dad.

I think I hear those snacks and library books calling my name....but as a grown up, I get to have Starbuck's with my Jane Austin.

  posted at 1:57 PM  

Monday, June 20, 2005
What does love taste like? Chocolate, I bet....
I belong to a family of foodies. We love to cook, we love to eat. We love to revisit times and places through food. It's pretty funny in the context of the moment, but not as much fun when it's time to be reflective in the dreaded dressing room come swimsuit season.

Take this week for example. I hand carried a huge shopping bag full of See's candy to my family (it's not available on the east coast, except by mail order). One pound for my niece or nephew to be (via his mama), one for my step-father (Father's Day), one half for my fruit cream loving brother-in-law, two and a half pounds as a treat for the abovementioned sister's baby shower.

Poolside with kids, sisters, and mom--Skyline Chili. Mmmmm.....Horrible for you, but oh so yummy and a distant reminder of my Ohio upbringing.

The baby shower. Not just the See's, but favorite desserts for the mommy-to-be, and lovely handmade appetizer and salads (Sarah, I think I may be over my spanoktipita induced carpal tunnel).

Father's day. Homemade bread and carrot cake for my father-in-law. Dinner out with the troops.

At my in-law's house--looking for the pizza place my dh and I loved to go as a dating and newlywed couple.

Still to come: My husband's birthday (homemade cheesecake from my Dad's recipe and the awful prepackaged devil's food donuts we can only (thankfully) find down here!), my daughter's birthday (Mickey Mouse ice cream at Disney, but shh..., it's a surprise for tomorrow, so don't tell her!), and a big family bash at Mom's with what is sure to be lots of lovingly prepared family favorites.

So, is it the food that is so good, or is it the people? Would it taste the same if I weren't eating with my sisters or marveling at my amazing nephews and how they have grown and changed, or delighting in the new baby that is coming to bless our family?

It's not particularly important. I plan on making memories with my mouth for as long as my tastebuds and waistline hold out. And while I can still haul my bones into the kitchen, I want to be making them with my children, and their children, and their children after that.

By the way, my husband is forcing me to add that Entemens' donuts are NOT "awful".

To each his own memories....I'll mull it over a slice of carrot cake and plans to double my exercise when we get home.

  posted at 5:09 PM  

Sunday, June 19, 2005
What is it with me and insomnia?? I've been on "vacation" for the better part of a week now, and have had a blast visiting with family and friends. My accommodations each night have been more than comfortable. The time change works in my favor. I've been chasing after my kidlets, helped host an amazing baby shower, and was reunited with my sweet hubby after he joined us here last night.

I should be (and am) exhausted.

But I'm not sleeping for squat.

I think it comes down to this. While time away is lovely, it's not home. Not my bed, not my house, not my computer (I'm having issues with remote webmail retrieval, grrrr....). I'm missing the creature comforts of being in my own space.

My life is kind of like that as well. It is full of excitement and joy, awesome people who love me, but it's not my home. I'm a stranger and alien here, and as exciting and exhausting as the journey may be, rest isn't going to come until the temporary is replaced by the eternal. It's enough to make me homesick.

The lyrics to my favorite (old!) 4Him song go like this:

I'll see you when I get home,in the sweet bye and bye.
We'll walk along the streets of gold with angels by our side.
And time will have no meaning there, in a land of no good-byes.
It's good to know...I'll see you,
When I get home.

It's a nice thought this Fathers' Day morning.

And, Dad, I'll see you when I get home.

  posted at 7:46 AM  

Sunday, June 12, 2005
A Sabbath Rest?
The logistics involved in taking my family on vacation are mind-boggling. Choosing dates and plane tickets. Helping children giddy with excitement over seeing cousins and grandparents pack suitcases. Striking the balance between taking enough and too much. The collective bargaining that goes on to determine how long we will stay and where. Oh, and did I mention that my husband doesn't have as much time off as I do (what were we thinking having a baby this year!?) and so I'm flying solo cross country with my four darlings? (To his credit, he'll be flying back with us).

I don't leave for close to 16 hours and I'm already feeling jet-lagged.

Sunday mornings have a similar feel sometimes. Saturday is all about logistics. Do we have church clothes, Bibles, diaper bag, etc laid out and ready to go? What will we be doing for breakfst and/or lunch. And if I choose to forgo the routine, Sunday morning is chaos.

Even on the best Sunday mornings, things often feel rushed as we push to get to church in time for worship practice, try to squeeze in visits with friends we won't see for another week, take care of the details of church business.

Then is it peaceful? Not usually...we've been training our children to sit in church with us (and training ourselves to train them!) and juggling our baby, whose sleep habits by now require no description. Honestly, on this day of rest, I'm typically exhausted!

So what do vacation and church have in common, besides not meeting up to my expectations of being restful?

I wouldn't give up either one for the trade-off of less work.

I can't wait to see my family. I also know that the minute my feet hit the humid soil of the Southeast that I'll be surrounded by love--not to mention the extra hands to help me out. Who knows, I may manage to sneak in some time for myself during the next two weeks?

Similarly, when I miss the fellowship of believers, I feel the loss all week. Enter my "village" again...corporate worship is energizing, hearing the Word preached by one of God's learned men sharpens me, even if I'm only listening with one ear as I correct my four year old or walk the baby around the back of the church. My "family" here jump in as well. There is always someone ready to lend a hand with the kids or offer an encouraging word.

Such insignificant discomfort for such delightful reward.

Rreading Hebrews reminds me that there remains yet another "Sabbath rest" for believers. Boy, there is one vacation I really can't wait for...

...I'll get to see my entire spiritual family, all at once!

...The corporate worship is rumored to be phenomenal.

...Accomodations are first class.

...There is no packing involved. In fact, you can't take anything with you. You can't even get in on your own, as the Host's Son holds the key.

...It's forever. No return trip to deal with.

Until then, I'm going to work on finding my "rest" in the blessings that Sundays (and vacations) offer; rembering that what I see here is just a blip on the radar of eternity.

AND I'm going to finish packing for tomorrow. Back to the logistics command center.

Have a blessed Sabbath.

  posted at 8:25 PM  

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Not a "urchin-y" thing to be seen here! Posted by Hello

  posted at 11:17 AM  

Hannah and her "Hip Mama" Posted by Hello

  posted at 11:16 AM  

Hannah and Abby on recital night Posted by Hello

  posted at 11:15 AM  

It takes a village...
My daughter was a beautiful little dancer last night...I have pictures to prove it!
This is remarkable because, like me, she, while rather feminine in spirit (she adores things pink and princess-ish!), has a tendancy to resemble a street orphan most of the time.

You know her, she's the one with the hole in her tights, the dirt on her nose, the scraped knee. She's the one who rejects most outfits that are not 100% cotton, stretchy, and soft ("comfy-cozy" in Hannah-speak). Yet, after an hour of stage-mommy tweaking, here she was looking like a little Madame Alexander doll. And did she care? Not really.

See, Hannah sees herself with God's eyes. She knows she is a princess. Her mirror never lies to her.

This is where she has a leg up on her mom.

While waiting for the recital, my friend complimented me on how cute I looked. I was kind of taken aback. I mean, I do know enought not to mix, say, stripes and plaids (althougth with the mix and match trend right now, one can't really be sure...), but I am so not the kind of person that you'd turn to for fashion advice. It took me thirty-two years to break the "redheads don't wear pink or red rule". But (despite my post-baby plump!), I did look kinda "hip mama" cute; fresh hairdo and makeup, brown bias-cut sweater (taking advantage of my nursing chest--a temporary but welcome commodity!) , dip-dyed skirt in white, turquoise, brown and mustard; dangly beaded earrings, little heeled sandals.....

Not ONE piece of my outerware was chosen by me! (I will take responsiblity for my seriously un-hip underware...wait, no, my mom dragged me out to buy nursing bras after Michael was born....).

My sister, Alicia, talked me into borrowing the skirt from her while she's in maternity clothing. The sweater was a gift from my aunt during her visit here last week. The earrings were a birthday gift from Alicia (she told me that I needed to wear longer earrings--I guess she got tired of my perpetual, go- with -everything silver studs!). My shoes were purchased for me by my friend and personal shopper, Jessica, when I complained that I didn't have time to go out and never knew what to look for anyway. Even my make-up was part of my sister Sarah's campaign to "update" me after the baby's birth! (Don't get me wrong--I love my new makeup so much, I'm considering putting the MAC counter on speed dial).

So, when it comes pulling together a "hip mommy" look, for me, it takes a village.

It's not that I'm a deliberate fashion dork; it's more that either I've forgotten what I look like, or more likely, no longer have a good idea of what I look like--or looks good on me. I don't make the time to shop. I don't always take the time to "tweak" my everyday look (although my husband deserves as much and I'm really working on it). Plus, my mirror lies to tells me I'm a 600 pound pear-shaped blob with holes in my tights and dirt on my face.

So, I'm grateful for my "village". They challenge me to wear "hip" clothing. They compliment me. They remind me of the truth about my body and challenge my false perceptions and "rules".

Just as I can lose who I am physically, I also sometimes lose who I am spiritually. I forget what I look like, who my actions, speech and attitudes represent. And, the enemy is more than willing to jump up and show me the mirror of my own righteousness..."filthy rags" are NEVER hip or attractive!

Enter my "village" again.

I am blessed with friends ready to point me to the Word (one Savior fits all!), help me wipe the dirt off of my face (or a nasty attitude out of my life) , and remind me of the truth that I am clothed in Christ's righteousness, no matter what the mirror may say. They gently restore me.

My village doesn't stop there. They affirm the positive. They encourage me when I am making the right choices and honoring God. Those words of encouragement go a long way in helping me remember what is real.

I'm so grateful that, while salvation comes only through Christ, He never called us to run the race alone. For all of my "village"--thanks for all the times you've pointed out when I've had VPL (That's "visible panty line"!) either physically or spiritally. Thank you even more for the times you've built me up. I love you all.

  posted at 10:01 AM  

Thursday, June 09, 2005
I have seasons where I am, if not truly melancholy, then at least more sensitive. This time, at least, I can't blame hormones, even with a new baby.

I think I'll just say it's June.

June. Hot weather, the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. June is hello and goodbye, joy and sadness.

June was saying goodbye to a school and a community as we prepared to move yet again with my stepfather's job. Out with the old and in with the new.

I was a June (thirteen years ago!) that I threw a birthday party for my sweetheart--his first in all of his 21 years. Five days later, I was a June bride. Goodbye to the boy and girl, hello man and wife.

Eleven years ago today, I delivered my stepfather's eulogy. We lost him so suddenly...and grief being a spiral and not something that comes full circle, the missing him comes back in waves especially on his birthday, the anniversary of his death and funeral and Father's Day (another June event). Goodbye Dad.

June 21, 2000 was truly the longest day of that year for us, as on the first day of summer, my third child struggled to be born and arrived limp and wallpaper paste grey. We watched a miracle that night as we put her on the altar and God graciously gave her back to us for a season. Her proud Daddy celebrated his 30th birthday the next day, holding her in his arms. Hello Hannah Faith.

A year ago in June, I took my children to say goodbye to the beloved saint who was their adpoted "Pop-pop". He rallied for the first time in days to hug and kiss them, and tell us all how much he loved us. And unbeknowst to us at the time, God was beginning the new life that would be a comfort to Pop-pop's widow and would be named in his honor. Good by Pop-pop. Hello Michael William.

Of course, June is also the end of the school year, of concerts, recitals, Bible camp and VBS. This year, June means family vacation as well. Surrounded by so much activity, I don't always take the time should to reflect and remember, to grieve and rejoice, to mourn and to celebrate all that June is in my life. Although, occasionally, I want to tell the world, "Stop! Be gentle with me...don't you know it's June??". Somehow I don't see that particular line of self-defense holding up in court!

The nice thing is, no self-defense is needed. God was, is, and contines to hold me tenderly each day, but even more so in June. And the wonderful thing is that little blessings, in my , um, "senstive" state are magnified. Today it was a cup of Starbuck's from a friend, a beautiful heartfelt compliment, an opportunity to serve and comfort a friend in need, and even my hairdresser not going overboard on my highlights or cutting my bangs too short.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Nothing that happens to me is a sorrow that he has not bourne. My faith has not been tested to the point of the shedding of my blood. My God shall provide all my needs (even the ones for encouragement, chocolate and caffiene!) according to HIS riches and glory.

Even in June.

  posted at 11:08 PM  

I'm wishing....
So much for the contentment thing...and a well deserved blow to my pride!

I was basking in the kind comments of some friends about my (ahem) content state when I caught myself wishing.

So, what's wrong with that?

A dear older woman once told me, "Don't wish away one moment of your children's can't get them back". Spoken like someone in a life stage that's a healthy distance from her season of trying to get a baby to sleep.

Seriously, this poor kid has refux and sometimes seems incapable of calming himself. He literally can make himself ill if left to his own devices.

So, we wrap him up tight, soothe and whisper to him....

Sometimes it works, after all, I'm pretty sure he knows he needs to rest as much as I know he needs to rest. But that doesn't stop him from kicking against his swaddling, fighting, screaming, and crying until he collapses into a sweet, sweaty, and peaceful little heap.

Sounds familiar.

I'm really good at kicking agianst my boundaries. At wishing that they were different. Even though they are placed there for my good. Even though they have "fallen from me in plesant places". Even though they are placed there by One who knows the plans He has for me. Even though He watches bemusedly as I kick and scream, whispering, "Shhh...I love you. Rest. "

Rest is a tough nut for a type-A like me. Ironic that something like resting can be a discipline, but it is. And for tonight, my discipline of rest was taking the time out to rock not only my fussy baby, but my fussy inner child. Amazing, when I give in and collapse in a heap, how delicious, how refreshing the peace that passes understanding is.

Thank goodness God is loving and patient...I doubt I'm as cute at thirty (cough) something as my son is as an infant.

Even I couldn't wish for any better.

  posted at 1:15 AM  

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

It's always an adventure.... Posted by Hello

  posted at 7:22 PM  

Bustin' out of the comfort zone.
There was a time in my life where there was nothing better than a fresh start. Like my literary heroine (and fellow carrot top) Anne Shirley, would say, a new day with no mistakes in it. Going off to college, moving to new places with my family, starting homeschooling, were all amazing new opportunities for self re-invention.

Call it age, or whatever, but I got comfortable. Comfortable in my routine with three beautiful children, comfortable with my church, my friends, my life just the way it was. My life, my plans, the order of my days fit into nice little boxes. Not a bad thing, right?


Maybe not.

With a challenging pregnancy , the birth of my gorgeous (but needy) fourth baby (and the post baby body to go with him!), my plans for graduate school postponed indefinitely, the return of my best friend to the full time workplace, and my older children going to charter school a go next year, I'm not feeling so comfortable anymore. In fact, I'm having flashbacks to when I was a first time stay at home mom. Lost, awkward, inept, and lonely, are words that leap to mind, but not comfortable. So much for neat little boxes.

Praise God that He calls me to be content, not comfortable. That He calls me to wait on him through every season of my life, that I don't need to be re-invented because I'm being continually transformed into His image. Praise him that His mercies are new every morning....and I stand before Him, fresh with no mistakes, through the filter of His glorious grace.

I am not lost, I am found (amazing grace!)...

I am not awkward, I am a new creation, a daughter of the King...

I am not inept, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..

I am not alone, Christ will never leave me nor forsake me.

I, like Paul, am learning to be content in all circumstances, slow learner that I might be. And that, for today, while not comfortable, is exactly what I need.

  posted at 5:33 PM  

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I'm a work in progress, a stay at home mom of four, a beloved daughter of the King.

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