Wednesday, July 27, 2005
One of my favorite "back to school" memories from growing up was the newness embodied by boxes of perfect, unmarred crayons, freshly sharpened pencils (with no bite marks...another bad habit to add to my "tag" list), and clean, blank notebooks. The whole school year stretched ahead of me full of potential. I loved going back to school.

Turns out that my kids loved going back to school as well. They had a wonderful time yesterday, despite one negative experience on my son's part, which, fortunately was not his fault. I enjoyed all of their chatter yesterday on the way home and throughout the evening as they told me of all of the fun things ahead this academic year.

As for me, I didn't have too much time to think about what lay ahead for the baby and I, because I was scheduled to work, then ran to take kids to piano and out to dinner. Factor in catching up with them and wading through the paper jungle that the school sent home , and I more or less fell into bed last night!

Today, however, the new year stretches out ahead of me, a new season (evidently, great minds think alike, Sooz !) has begun.

For once, I'd like to think that I've taken some of my life lessons to heart and started with all of my supplies fresh and full of potential.

Today, instead of jumping into volunteering, projects or exercise, I decided to be really nice to myself. I decided that the grocery shopping could wait another day, that breakfast with a friend and more pleasurable errands (new holds at the library!!) would allow me to best launch my new school year.

It was (as I would tell my kiddos) a wise choice. The baby was an angel, and I, instead of feeling lonely, or like I had to prove something by what got accomplished today, feel relaxed and excited by all of the opportunities stretching out in front of me this year. And, just as the kids are "settling in" in their classes this week with the heavy academics to start next week, the baby and I are enjoying our settling in time as well.

I might even go buy myself a new box of crayons to celebrate.

  posted at 2:55 PM  

Monday, July 25, 2005
There's quite a bit of excitement at our house tonight.

The first day of school is tomorrow.

Now, the first day of any school year is exciting, but this is our first year of what my children would define as "real" school (evidently, five years of classical Christian education at home doesn't "count", but that's another rant for another day.

Tomorrow, my husband and I "screw our courage to the sticking place" and trust that the Lord has placed our charges in the right place, and that they will make choices while away from us that honor Him. It's a tall order.

(Do you sense a "but..." coming here? There is one.)

But God is so faithful.

Tonight during family worship, Princess Piggy truly became royalty. With tears in her eyes, a breaking voice, and a sweet childlike prayer (that did an amazing job of covering all necessary theological bases!), she asked Jesus into her heart. Now she's not just my daughter, she's His.

It's so much easier to let her go tomorrow knowing that she has a better Guide, Teacher and Protector than mommy and daddy could ever hope to be.

And as wonderful as the prospect of a new school is, that is something to truly be excited about.

  posted at 10:47 PM  

Sunday, July 24, 2005
Tagged AGAIN...
Yes, Kristin has been at it again...

What Were You Doing 10 Years Ago Today?
I would have been about 7 months pregnant with my first child...I was working as an OTR for a private therapy firm , both out of a clinic and driving all over Alachua county. Chances are, since it's a weekend, I would have been nesting like crazy (I always paint when I'm expecting!) or resting up for the week ahead.

What Were You Doing 5 Years Ago Today?
I was living here in Phoenix (probably sweltering in the summer heat!) and enjoying our one month old first child (aka Princess Piggy).

What Were You Doing 1 year Ago Today?
Either barfing my lungs out or dragging my IV pole and Zofran pump around the house with me or lying on the couch. (Things were a bit dicey still with my pregnancy at the time.) My husband and son were in rural AZ working on the CPC I wrote about earlier.

What Were You Doing Yesterday?
Putting my Dad on a plane home to NY, taking coffee to a friend stuck at the urgent care center, working a food distribution, playing hooky from yoga class, cleaning my house, dealing with a Milk Monkey nursing strike, welcoming husband and son home, having family movie night (sans eldest daughter), etc, etc....

What Are You Doing Today?
Church, overseeing the five year old's piano practice, catching up with laundry and my blog.

What Are You Doing Tomorrow?
Enjoying the last day of summer vacation with my kids. I'm also grocery shopping for lunchbox goodies with them.

5 Snacks I Enjoy
Ice cream (but the baby doesn't enjoy it...)
Iced Blended (Chocolate) from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
Lemon Bars
Apples or rice cakes with natural peanut butter (nice and healthy after all the caffeine and sugar!!)

5 Bands/Singers I know the Lyrics to most of their Songs
Simon and Garfunkle
Peter, Paul, and Mary
James Taylor
The Broadway Cast of...(way too many shows--Wicked, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, and the list goes on and on and on...)

Things I Would Do with $1,000,000,000
Send my hubby to grad school and let him teach in bliss for the rest of our lives.
Pay off our current church debt and build the next phase.
Retirement and college funds for kids, godkids, nieces, nephews, etc
A new van for my best friend.
A MASSIVE girls weekend at the Camelback Inn and Spa!
( Weekly pedicures would figure in there somewhere as well!)

Locations You Would Run Away To
Just about anywhere that I could have unlimited access to yoga classes and scrapbooking. Having my husband there would be a nice bonus.

Bad Habits You Have
Dog-earing and bending the spines of books
Compulsive tidying up (often around people)
Not being prompt to return phone calls
Scrapbooking (is that a bad habit, or just an expensive one??)
Chocolate and coffee addiction.

5 Things You Like
Broadway shows
cooking shows (not having the Food Network is a good thing for me!)
yoga classes

5 Things You'd Never Wear in Public
Anything midriff revealing
Shirts with visible nursing slits
capri pants (true capris, the ones that come to mid calf)
a jumper dress, denim or otherwise
white pants

5 Movies You Like
The Princess Bride
Say Anything
It's a Wonderful Life
The Lion in Winter

5 Famous People You'd Like to Meet
the apostle Paul
Martin Luther
Margret Becker
Lady Jane Grey
Jane Austin

5 Biggest Joys
New life in Christ
My husband
My children
My family
My friends

I'm going to tag Sally , Susan , kt , and Carla .

  posted at 5:48 PM  

Making a difference
My nine year old daughter traveled to rural Arizona with my husband and older son this weekend.

I was reluctant to let her go--this is a work weekend for a crisis pregnancy home up there that is traditionally a "guy" thing and I was worried about her stepping on her brother's toes if she tagged along. Also, she isn't the one in our family who is fascinated by tools (that would be our son, who would be content to haul trash from the construction site all weekend just for a chance to be around all those building supplies), and I was really worried that she wouldn't have a lot to do, that she would tire of the work quickly, and that she would be more of a burden than a blessing. But her brother turned out to be happy to have her along, and off they went.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Turns out that one of the mommies staying at this home has a seven year old daughter and a nine month old baby. She's also seven months pregnant and on fairly restrictive bed rest. Our daughter skipped out on staying with her dad and brother for a "sleepover" with the little girl (who couldn't have been more thrilled with the company). She kept the 7 year old company and ,thanks to all the practice she's been getting in on the baby, was able to ease the burden on the bedresting mommy as well by lifting, amusing and diaper changing.

The men finished their construction chores early and came home last night. Our daughter decided to stay an extra night and help out this family a bit more, then come home with another family we know later today. The bedresting mommy teared up wile relating her thanks for our daughter's help this weekend.

I know pride is a sin, but I can't help "crowing" about my family a bit this weekend.

My husband and son helped to build a structure that will contribute to the lives of future generations of babies saved from abortion. My daughter, despite her youth, acted as the heart and hands of Jesus this weekend (it was a good reminder to her when she called us last night in an atypical attack of homesickness). I love to see them putting their faith into action.

As for me, at home with the "littles", I was reminded in a big way that "Size matters not." (three guesses as to which movie my son choose for movie night last night?!). My daughter may not have been equipped with the desire to haul trash at a constructions site or swing a hammer, but she knew that she could play with a lonely little girl and change a baby's diaper. To be more scriptural about it, we all have a role to play in the Body, and all of our roles are important.

Father, thank you that there are no small jobs in your kingdom, nor minor players in your economy. Help me to do everything that I do heartily, as unto You.

Interested in helping out the crisis pregnancy ministry? Check out to find out more. And, yes, that's my tummy on the "Basic, inalienable..." line and Mr. Fussy Milk Monkey on "Life, the Greatest Gift"!

  posted at 5:16 PM  

Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Happiness in Pink and Purple...
Our princess piggy has found the perfect lunchbox.

I guess with being out of school for so many years, and homeschooling her older siblings, I had forgotten just how important that perfect lunchbox is to the Kindergarten experience.

While she was courageously willing soldier off to school with her "old" lunchbox (used mostly for Bible study luncheons and trips to the zoo), the lunchbox of her dreams would be pink (but purple would be okay) and would have not just one, but all three of her favorite princesses on it.

She spotted it yesterday in Walgreen's as I juggled the baby, the sales pages and the elaborate spreadsheet my husband created to help me keep track of all the school supplies to fortify our troops. It was pink and purple. It had all three of her favorite Princesses on it. Even better, it was shaped like a purse and came with a pink and purple reusable food container.

What it was not was on sale, which at this point in the game should have been a consideration for the Queen Mum...

No dice. She had me at the first breathless, "Oh Mommy, the Princesses!...May I please have it?".

Who knew happiness came in pink and purple princess purses (say that five times fast)?

...if you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! --Matthew 7:11

Thank you Father for all of the good gifts you pour out on this child each and every day. I am humbled with gratitude at your boundless love and generosity.

  posted at 12:18 PM  

Saturday, July 16, 2005
In a bid to beat the heat (did I mention our air conditioner is on the fritz and the temperatures here are well over 100...), we packed up the troops and went to see the new Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

We had a good time. Visually, the movie is a delight. The Oopma Loompas and their musical numbers (with lyrics straight from the book) were laugh out loud funny. The portrayals of the "haves" and "have nots" of modern society and the themes of the importance of family and restoration were excellent. My only legitimate criticism of the film was that I found the Johnny Depp/Willy Wonka character a little on the creepy side.

From a more personal (and less critically legitimate) standpoint, I can't help thinking that maybe I set myself up to be mildly disappointed by the movie experience. I spent the week re-reading the book to my five-year old. My older children also re-read the book (possibly more than once each!) and occasionally joined in the read aloud. We were all in agreement. As much as we enjoyed Mr. Burton's interpretation of Mr. Dahl's words (and also enjoyed the earlier movie version of the book), nothing compares to reading those words yourself.

It saddens me that I live (and raise children) in a world where we rely so heavily on the interpretations of others. We look to TV and movies to give us interpretations of books. We look to books to give us simplifications of other books (Cliff notes or abridged versions, anyone?). We get our news in soundbites and bullet points. All this because we either lack the time (or aren't willing to make the time) to deeply experience and process these things for ourselves. When I make these choices, I'm cheating myself (and sometimes my children as well).

What I find more grievous in my own life is when I take the same tactic spiritually. I've often found myself relying on sermons and books about the Word, rather than taking the time to experience the Word myself. While both sermons and Christian books are good things, unless I'm grounded in the Word, I'm not only cheating myself out of the richness of experience that the Lord has for me, I'm setting myself up to be caught up in the vain and foolish philosophies of the world that twist the Word and snare the undiscerning.

Lord, help me to always be in love with the Word as your Spirit impresses my heart, not as others interpret it for me. Help the richness of richness of reading your words forever "spoil" for me the dim shadow of eternity that this world is and keep me hungry for the reality of eternity with you.

  posted at 9:48 AM  

Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Both of my girls have gone through (well, Hannah is still in it) a phase where they are obsessed with rainbows. Colorful crayoned arcs decorate pictures, cards and banners that decorate my house and are bestowed on lucky friends and neighbors. Coloring book creatures eschew the tame colors nature has gifted them with in favor of more vivid (multiple) hues. ("Look Mom, I drew a rainbow pig!").

As a collector of Noah's Ark "stuff", I love rainbows, too. They remind me of the promise of God's love. They remind me of his care for his people before, during, and after the earth was ravaged by the floods.

It's been storming at my house. Not literally (too bad, because it's 118 at my house right now), but emotionally. After an exhausting, HOT, "touched out" (you'll understand this if you've nursed and had other kiddos around) day, I received a late evening phone call that resulted in my running to the neighbors to (by God's grace) provide some counsel in a horrifying life-and-death situation.

I know God is in control, but the night was not a pleasant one. Storms of doubt, storms of sadness, wondering if I said enough, if I loved enough, if I emptied myself out and let Christ minister through me. I woke up more tired than I lay down.

The morning wasn't too much better--I dragged through errands with my children, fighting off tears at each frustration, fighting off the sense of grief at all of the pain I had witnessed the night before, fighting off the urge to blow off a playdate with some women from church whom I didn't really know that would require a 45 minute drive to get there. The storm continued to rage around me.

The the Lord began to send rainbows.

The baby didn't cry at all on the drive there (this isn't just a rainbow, folks, this is a miracle!). A friend called my cell phone and told me how impressed she had been to pray for me the previous night.

I sat and began to form friendships with these women who love the Lord. We munched on "rainbow" M&M cookies that my older children had made to share with their friends. My spirit was nurtured and my heart was refreshed. It was still loud (there were 15 children there), still hot, and I was still reeling from the storm, but my heart was lightened.

The baby didn't cry on the way home, despite a traffic jam, the older kids didn't quarrel (maybe they were too hot!)

On arriving home, I changed my sweaty baby into fresh clothes. He looked up a me and began to laugh. Not a giggle, but a full and beautiful belly laugh. I began to laugh with him, and as I laughed the storm broke inside of me and tears poured down my face as I laughed and cried and allowed myself to be encircled by the rainbow of God's promised care for not just me, but those I was so burdened for.

Thank you, Father for coloring my day "rainbow". Help me to look for the rainbows you set before me to remind me of your love and perfect provision. Thank you for being there in every storm.

  posted at 6:12 PM  

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
One of the things on my "to do" list yesterday that actually got done (the baby was having one of those days...) was to deliver my daughter's math curriculum to her school.

Yes, it is strange to be able to select and purchase your child's math, even in a charter school. It's also proof that we probably won't ever be able to use the words, "free" and "appropriate" in the same sentence in regards to her education.

It's also wonderful to be able to select and purchase my child's math curriculum...and I couldn't be more grateful for my daughter's teacher. This woman, as a charter school teacher, is getting paid next to nothing, but here she was, two weeks before school starts, paying for childcare for her own children so that she could be in her classroom, cleaning, organizing, and preparing for next year. AND she goes the extra mile to design an independent study for my child, so that I don't have to drive her over to the prep school every day.

She deserves more than my thanks and appreciation--she deserves a decent living wage.

It hit me that the professions that contribute the most to our society by means of nurturing and caring for the human spirit (teaching, the pastorate, nursing, homemaking....), and by providing structure and protection to our society (soldiering, police, fire and emergency personnel...) are the least financially valued and compensated in our society.

It's a shame.

So, at least from this little corner of the world, thank you to all of you who, according to Colossians 3, work with all of your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men. You will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward.

You are not forgotten. You are appreciated and prayed for.

And maybe, just maybe, someday our society will put its money where its mouth is.

  posted at 11:22 AM  

Thursday, July 07, 2005
I'm not sure if I'm processing this week, if I'm suffering from writer's block, or if I just don't have anything intelligent to say.

I did find this cool statement on my sister-in-law's blog:

And yet, I am realizing that every hoop, no matter how useless it seems, brings with it some genuine life lessons. Today while jumping through my hoop...I realized that I have hit a point in my professional life where I could be staunchly unteachable. I hope that I always look for the learning that can happen in the routine and repetitive experiences as easily as I can the rousing and rich experiences.

Thank you Sooz...your words echoed in my heart this week a few times, most memorably when I was in sore need of a change of heart during one of my routine "hoops". You know, it's not really that far of a chasm between grudging martyrdom and joyful service to one's family...and cranking up the Third Day worship album helps, too!

  posted at 7:56 PM  

Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Mirror, mirror, on the wall...
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:22-25 (NIV)

A few years ago, I had the incredible experience of being able to visit and encourage fellow Christians in the East African nation of Uganda. I found that people there were fascinated by photographs....some carried their entire photographic history with them (pretty slim by U.S. standards--a small stack of photos). People also loved seeing the small album I carried with me--maps of the U.S. showing where I lived, photos of my family and my church family. If I had my camera out, I would be peppered with requests for photos to be taken and sent back to the subjects.

My sister and mom recently returned from Sri Lanka, where they were doing medical work. My sister commented on how fascinated people were with her digital camera and being able to see images of themselves (especially the beautiful children). She said she would have given any amount of money at that time to have had a Polaroid camera to be able to hand out pictures to the people of themselves.

Why is this? I'm thinking that in a Third World arena, resources are valuable. Mirrors, cameras, etc are not a high priority. Survival is. So, you may not have very many chances in your life to "see" yourselves as others see you. So images for self-examination are rare and precious.

So where am I going with this? (Bear with me, I think I have a point). My post on being "typecast" struck a chord with a few of my friends (see and ). Evidently I am not the only woman who feels the pinch of the backhanded "compliments", the hidden smugness, and the useless loads of guilt that our culture of competitive motherhood (womanhood) has spawned.

Don't believe me? Come on; masks off here...have you ever had that little superior and/ or cringe- inducing voice rise up in you because you...

Gave birth at home/in the hospital/had a C-Section/were induced/accepted pain medication/went "natural"?

Breastfeed/bottle feed?

Are a health food nut or a junk food junkie?

Follow a particular philosophy of parenting?

Go to a certain church or hold fast to a particular "type" of Christianity?

Dress in a certain way?

Homeschool/unschool/privately school/send the kids to public or charter school/classically educate?

Have children who are "ahead"/"behind" their peers in development/academics/deportment?

Have a fantastically clean/"lived in"/chaotic home?

Work in the home/out of the home/volunteer/don't volunteer?

Ouch. Double ouch.

When those voices rise up--either to self congratulate or self-condemn, then I've forgotten what I look like. I've walked away from the word, I've forgotten who I am and what I'm worth in Christ, and chosen to measure myself by some man-(woman?) created standard and not by the grace that has been extended to me. I've missed the "Bought with a price" tag that defines who and what I am.

And when I forget what I really look like, I'm pretty much useless to my Father.

Feeling guilty about what I'm not doing, or feeling superior about what I am doing does no one any good. It doesn't encourage, correct, teach or bring joy to anyone. It doesn't come alongside my sister and love her.

Have you forgotten what you look like? What are you struggling with in your life? Does it reflect the standards of the Word of God, or does it seek the approval of man?

Come along side me as we look in the mirror together. This has unleashed a torrent of ideas that have been percolating in my heart for a long time, and I'm joyfully (and fearfully) anticipating exploring some of these thoughts. This is a not so subtle hint for some feedback (grin). Let's let iron sharpen iron. Until then,

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every thing good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)

  posted at 2:29 PM  

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Maybe I AM the crunchy-granola, the sling and the baby nursing in line at Pirates of the Carribean, Disney World. Photo courtesy of my pro-whatever-type-of-mom-I- am husband! Posted by Picasa

  posted at 1:40 AM  

I am NOT a "crunchy granola"type of mom. However, you'd never know this from the morning I had. I was up with the sun to nurse the baby and change him (oops, disposable diapers--strike one for granola mama). I made oatmeal-raisin cookie pancakes for breakfast, from my home-ground whole wheat flour (Strike two--the ingredients weren't organic and we had bacon with them. However, my budding vegetarian five year old who loves all things on four legs, justified our consumption by saying that the bacon came from "bad piggies"). I enjoyed a mom and baby yoga class and the thrilled coos and squeals of my four month old; then supervised my older three in their kids' yoga class. After class my family and I killed time in the Breastfeeding Resource Center/Store while waiting to grab lunch at a new (to us) Thai place we'd been keen to try out for while.

I have to admit that I really liked the store. I loved the fact that breastfeeding friendly clothing no longer means dorky panel shirts that scream "Hey world, I'm LACTATING". I loved the gorgeous baby slings--and my naturally cheap self loved even more that my best friend made me for under $15 what they were charging upwards of $40 for. I loved that there is a good resource for women who need to rent high-quality breast pumps and obtain qualified lactation consultation. I appreciated that qualified consultation when I got to chat with the LC on duty who suggested the most sensible thing yet to try out with Mr. Fussy the Milk Monkey.

Strike three. As I considered the possibility of applying for a part time job there (only three months of breastfeeding experience needed; I'm fairly sure I'm pushing five), it hit me that I'm just not the type for the job; or if I am, then I don't want to be perceived as that type. I'm not a habitual "baby wearer"; and nursing isn't a lifestyle for me; it's how I feed my kids; it's cheap, easy and healthful.

It's kind of like when people would tell me, "You don't look like a homeschool mom". What?? So sorry, I left my denim jumper and Birkenstocks at home, along with my seven other children. Sheesh.

Or, "You have it all together". (Snort) They just caught me on a day when the laundry was done and I had my lipstick on.

I know I judge people by appearances; it's what humans do. But I hate to be judged and pidgen-holed by my appearance and/or activities. I AM a (sometimes) homeschooling, (sometimes) homebirthing, proponent of natural childbirth and breastfeeding. But I also believe in doing what a family needs to do to bring their children into the world, nurture and educate them in the manner that the Lord leads them. I DO love to cook wholesome meals for my family , but I also love the fact that I live in a day and age where I can order pizza for delivery while surfing the net. I am a stay at home mom, who functions best with my house more or less in order, but I do occasionally succumb to to the entropy of a large family. I AM so much more than the sum of my parts.

I like not being a "type". It makes it much less of a crisis when my roles change; babies weaning and walking and kids going off to school become moments of bittersweet reflection; not panic (well, the kids going to school next year does occasion anxiety...but I'm getting over it!).

My hope, when all is said and done is to be, like Paul, "all things to all men". I don't want to be a type; I want to be a reflection of my Father. I don't want create an identity; I want to take on the very likeness of Christ, no matter what I'm wearing;be it a baby sling and Birkenstocks or a power suit and high heels.

Okay, maybe not a power suit and heels...but it could happen. And I could still apply to work at the breastfeeding center a day or two a week during the school year. I could shake things up by being the token "soccer mom" on staff--but I'm not really a soccer mom either.

I am, for the moment, where my Father wants me to be. Not a type; but a work in progress (albeit a work who toted her baby to yoga class in a sling this morning and (gasp) nursed him in public several times). It's enough for today, an as for tomorrow; my Best Friend has cautioned me not to worry about it.

  posted at 12:42 AM  

About Me


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

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