Monday, March 31, 2008

Blogging Blanks!

Yep. I got nothing. Not one fun, witty thing to write about. I've got a case of the blogging blanks. I wonder if my cousins, who write for newspapers and/or freelance, feel like this on occasion? Don't get me wrong, I have lots of ideas. They just seem to decide to take a hike when I sit down with my laptop. Of course, there's a whole side of my life that I can't really talk about, much less blog about. Being a military family has its restrictions, after all.

I've seen some blogs that have something special going on for certain days of the week. I've gotta come clean and admit that I'm not that organized. Or rather, I start out being organized.....right up until I forget to be organized. If that statement made sense to you, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout!

So, my fellow bloggers, what do you do when you get the blogging blanks? Or do you even have that problem? If this is you and you have something new to write about everyday, please don't leave a snarky comment for me. Be gentle and type slowly.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Powerful Words

One of the many odd things I like to do is meander through websites of quotes. Famous, obscure, inspirational, darkly cynical or downright odd....I like reading them all. Every now and then I come across one that totally captures my attention and makes me take a second and third read. This is what caught my eye - and mind - today. Has there been any quote, scripture or even a recent event that's caught your eye/mind and caused you to stop and think?

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Selfish Mommy

Why is it that when my child gets sick I fully expect the world to come to a screeching halt? I'm not joking. I fully expect for traffic to part on the way to the doctor's, the waiting line at the pharmacy to be non-existant and for every item I need at the store to be in stock and magically re-arranged to be close to one another (so I don't have to run the complete length of the store with a miserable and, understandably, whiny child).

This from the mother who is constantly reminding her son that "we all have to wait our turn" when we're in traffic or waiting at the cash register, etc.

I know. How incredibly selfish and irrational of me to expect things to come to a halt when my kid is feeling more gross than the slime on a toad's butt....which, coincidentally, is what looks to be flowing in copious ammounts from his nasal cavaties. (Ew.) So after a short examination by the doc, who went out of his way to put the Bubs at ease, we found out that he has a severe sinus infection and an ear infection. Poor kid.

We spent the remainder of the day on the couch in the living room watching the Bee Movie that, yes, I had bought earlier as a blatant attempt to keep him distracted. It worked. He even managed to giggle a couple of times. It's unusual for him to be so still and quiet, even when he's sick, so I was delighted to hear his little boy giggles.

Selfish Mommy I may have morphed into, but I would have done anything to hear that sweet sound from my Bubs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sir Snots A. Lot

The Bubs brought home an uninvited guest this afternoon....the dreaded pre-school bug, Sir Snots A. Lot. He's not the kind of guest one wants your child to bring home. I'm hoping that a quick trip to the doctor's tomorrow will ensure that Sir Snots' stay isn't a long one.

It's pretty bad when your own child tells you to "...please call the doctor. I'm sick, Mommy."

After a quick bedtime story, the Bubs rolled over and grabbed my face in his overly hot hands before I could start his goodnight kiss routine, "Mommy please stay with me. Stay for a minute." Y'all he looked so pitiful! His face was flushed, his little nose and lips chapped, and his big, beautiful brown eyes at half-mast from sheer exhaustion. So I stayed for a few minutes until he relaxed enough to drift off, the stuffed german shepard his Daddy gave him tucked under his arm.

So tomorrow will be spent getting the Bubs to the doc and then making him comfy on the couch at home. Thanks, Sir Snots A. Lot!

Sunday, March 23, 2008 the midst of pain.

It was tense in the living room at my parent's house for a minute or three this afternoon. The atmosphere hadn't been caused by angry words or an ugly attitude, but rather by watching Mom openly react to the pain she was in. Her face and lips were colorless, her eyes squeezed shut as she layed back in her recliner. It is a big deal for Mom to outwardly show discomfort, so as Dad and I watched and listened to her............

My Dad summed up what he and I were feeling perfectly when he walked over to her and rubbed her forehead saying, "I'd take it from you if I could." Today was their 34th wedding anniversary.

Earlier, Mom had smilingly told me that Dad had knelt down by her chair the night before and proposed to her again. "Will you marry me?" Though her face was tight with pain, her eyes twinkled and glowed as she told me about being romanced. What girl doesn't like to be courted, after all? (Yes, even us married gals, thank you very much!) She went on to tell me that he had gotten her some ferns for the porch because she'd mentioned she'd like some. He'd even come home with an Easter basket for her after church today.

Have I mentioned before that my parents are awesome?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter from two funny bunnies!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

I'd never really been involved, or even been to, a Good Friday service before last year. In the course of my life I've been exposed to different Christian denominations. My parents are both talented vocalists and my Dad is a pianist/organist which often meant visits to different churches when they were asked to minister. When we moved back into this area just under twenty years ago, Dad was blessed enough to get a job as an accompanyist with a local Methodist church. The congregation there have continually supported and loved our family through the years and have been notably present during Mom's recent battles with cancer.
I'd often heard Dad describe the Good Friday services when he would come home from them garbed in his all black attire. The crosses draped in black, candles being snuffed out after each scripture reading of the events leading to the death of Christ, the dramatic organ pieces he'd play, the sanctuary being completely dark by the end of the service...not only from lack of light but from the somber mood that would descend on those gathered. I never really appreciated what he was describing until I'd attended one for myself and, ultimately, never appreciated Easter Sunday in quite the same way. I couldn't fully appreciate the magnitude and hope of Easter until I had contemplated the ultimate sacrifice and love of Good Friday.

Ms. Cheryl, wife of our minister of music, makes the service even more memorable by doing a large drawing while the service is going on. She starts out with a large black background and a roughly sketched outline of the portrait she wants to draw for this year's service. You would think that doing this would totally distract from the service, but it doesn't - it adds to it. A very literal reminder to keep our eyes on Jesus.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Where joy and sorrow meet..."

Clothes washed and pressed, breakfast planned, bags packed......No, the Bubs and I are not going on a trip. Tomorrow is our first day of pre-school.

I've kept a positive, encouraging face on for most of the day. Bubs has no idea that as much as I'm excited for this new and, for us, ginormous step in his life my heart is feeling a little bruised.
I've put off blogging about this. I didn't want to face the fact that our precious Bubs is growing up. Yes, the signs have been there and I've known that big steps were in his future...I just didn't realize the future was today.

I've spent most of this evening keeping busy with preparations for tomorrow's big adventure, blatantly trying to keep my mixed emotions at bay. This worked just fine......right up until I went into our storage/laundry room to do yet another load of laundry. I was absent-mindedly carrying out my task when I happened to glance up at all of the baby equipment that we've yet to clear out. The tub that my Hubby gave the Bubs his first bath in, the mattress from his crib, the baby gate that he figured out how to get around in no time flat, and other baby toys....each and every item connected with an infinitely precious memory of the Bubs. Y'all, overwhelmed does not even come close to describing how I felt in that moment. Memory after memory rose to the forefront of my mind, each one sweeter than the one before. My heart pounded, my eyes became hot, my throat constricted and I couldn't seem to draw a proper breath. I stood there for the longest time, ensnared by baby-hood memories and thoughts that a chapter in my child's life was coming to an end. Without fully realizing it, tears had begun to stream down my face and I had begun whispering, "He'll only be there for half a day. It's only half a day."

To come to the realization that the Bubs needed something that I couldn't provide at home -socialization and classroom skills- after a little over 5 years was hard. To finally make the decision to pursue pre-school and physically fill out all the paperwork after taking the tour of the facility this afternoon was monumental. I'm quickly coming to realize that watching him walk away from me tomorrow morning and the drive home will be more difficult than I ever thought it would be.

Having said all that, I know that on the other side of sorrow, there is joy. I know that the Bubs is very excited to learn new things and make new friends. He needs to know what it's like to be away from Mom and to be in a structured classroom, where he has to listen, follow directions and be mindful of other children around him. He starts kindergarten in the fall, so what kind of mom would I be if I didn't prepare him for what's to come? It's a wonderful thing to watch a child grow up and discover new things. I'm looking forward to being there to celebrate each and every new accomplishment and discovery that the Bubs makes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Inspired by the Success of a Boy

I just got through reading a post about a little boy who's finding his place in the world and experiencing tangible success for something he enjoys doing, possibly for the first time. He won in a local art contest and will be heading to a national competition in May.

Even though I haven't worked in a classroom for several years, I still get the greatest feeling when I see, hear or read about a child's success. So when I got the news that a fellow blogger's son had not only been brave enough to enter a community art contest, but had won...Well, I made it a point to read about his success as quickly as I could!

As I was reading about this little boy and his wide variety of interests, I was struck by several things. First, that both of his parents are so very proud of him and it comes through every sentence of the post. I wish every child could experience what it is for a parent to be proud of them for something they are interested in, successful or not. DS#2, as his Mom calls him, may have had the same success with his art project without the support and love that he gets from his family but, oh, how much sweeter it all is because he does!

It also hit me that even though DS#2 and his family are in Ireland and my family's in the States, some things are (or should be) constant. Children should be allowed to pursue their dreams, just as adults do. As a parent to a very bright and curious little boy, I find myself constantly challenged to both facilitate his interests and introduce him to new ones. I hope I can be the kind of mom who is able to stand back every now and then and let my Bubs discover who he is and what his particular interests are. Out of all the hurdles I may have to jump in the marathon of parenthood...this may be the hardest for me. Yes, you show your children the difference between right and wrong, to have respect and compassion for those around you, how to survive and thrive in this crazy world...but you cannot, technically, tell them who they are meant to be and what their place is.

At the end of the post, I couldn't help but melt when I read that DS#2 was congratulated by both of his siblings instead of subjected to bad attitudes because of jealousy. I have seen what jealousy between siblings does and I don't wish that on any family. It was a tribute to their Mom and Dad when they lended support to their brother. In fact the author, Anne Marie, got choked up writing about her children being supportive of one another. When you're a parent (or a teacher of any subject), it can sometimes feel like your instructions and lessons are falling on deaf ears. Then, suddenly, your child (or student) does something that lets you know that, YES, they were listening and watching you!! Ahhhhh - so I'm not talking to a brick wall like I thought I was!

Anyway, head over to American Quilter in Ireland if you've got a moment and share in a little boy's success....After all, every child should be raved over!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Passion Pursued Despite Fear

I suffer from stage fright. This is a funny fact considering that I get up and sing in a trio at church almost every Sunday. I've always struggled with it, but most especially when I sing. There's really no way to cover up a mistake when you are singing...especially when using a microphone! You're out there for the world to see and hear and it feels like being naked in a room of formally dressed, beautiful people with all of your flaws and shortcomings bared for them to analyze. It's not a fun feeling.

So why do I do it? Because I believe that when you are graced with any ability, no matter how large or small, it should be used to share the love of God with people who need to hear or see it. I sing because it's something I feel I'm supposed to do and it's something that is such an inherent part of my life, it would be hard not to do it. It's like breathing for me, something that's neccessary for living and unconciously done.

Part of the reason I still struggle with nerves when I sing is because I have no formal training whatsoever. I don't know how to read music. I sing what I hear when a song is played. I am privileged to sing with two wonderful and understanding singers and musicians. My father plays the piano and our friend Brenda sings soprano while I sing alto. My dad is an incredibly talented pianist who has played since he was a very young boy. He is formally trained, but also plays by ear. He also has two CD's out. Brenda is trained in voice with a focus on opera and has adapted very well to being handed a page of words to learn and a tune on the piano to listen to(no sheet music). We all have and like different styles of singing and music, but are united in wanting to edify our church through praise and worship. This is not always an easy thing considering our church has had little to no exposure to anything like that, but they are good people who are trying to learn.

I've said all of that to ask this - Is there anything in your life that is so much a part of you that you would face a fear to continue doing it?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Practicality and Grace - My Momma

When I was a child I tended to think both of my parents were superhuman. As I grew older, I found out that they were simply people. People who make mistakes and are finding their way just like anyone. I was surprised to find that this didn't lessen my repect for either one of them. Quite the opposite in fact. Then my husband and I had the Bubs, my respect for them increased exponentially as I found out what it was to be a parent.

I've often sung my Momma's praises and have imparted her own particular brand of no-nonsense and insightful wisdom on more than one occassion when a friend or relative has been in a difficult situation. She's always taught my brother and I to look beyond the surface to the heart of any person or matter. To seek out the truth.

Momma was in remission from another form of cancer when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. We had had so much good news about her health lately that I found myself to be in a slight state of disbelief. That feeling quickly dissipated while listening to her tell me about the preparations for her upcoming surgery, the one that ended with the removal of her breast.
She's since had her first chemo treatment and has lost most of her hair. She shaved it all off the other day, once more confirming that my Momma has guts. She faces most every situation head on including the ones I'm sure she would rather not face, but doesn't have the luxury of turning away from.

Over the years, Momma has become one of my best friends. I'm not sure when that transition began, but I'm most definitely glad that it did and I count it to be one of the greatest things to have happened in my life. To be loved by Momma is to be loved deeply and unconditionally and, in turn, taught me to love the same way.

I'm a better woman, Christian, wife, mom, friend......everything because I was blessed with my Momma.

Proverbs 31:25-30

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
And can laugh at the days to come,
She speaks with wisdom
And faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
But you surpass them all"
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


This afternoon we got to spend a little time with some friends. I can't tell you how nice it was to watch the Bubs play with his friends and to be able to chat with mine. Bliss!

I met Mandy and Erin through my church at a family fellowship event. Mandy and Erin were already close friends and they welcomed me and the Bubs right into their circle. With their easy and no-nonsense manner, they put us both at ease. This is huge to me as I tend to tense up when I'm in a social setting by myself. I've gotten too used to my hubby being with me as a buffer. Silly, I know, but very true.

Fun was had by all and it was a nice respite from the everyday monotony that can sometimes creep in at our house. Thanks Erin and Mandy!

***Forgive me for the rather short post! I have to keep it short tonight because I've got an early and busy day tomorrow. I'm going to my Dad's 1st grade classroom to read a Dr. Seuss book to his children. I absolutely LOVE reading to kids! It will be nice to be in a classroom again, too. (I was a Teacher's Assistant for around 4 years before I decided to be a "professional mom".)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Results of a Distracted Mom

"........get boxes mailed out, haircuts for the Bubs and me, head down to the library, clean the entire house, keep working with the Bubs on reading/writing, head to the store, remember stuff for Easter, practice my music, tackle the front and back yards, hang with my precious Bubs (repeat as often as possible), playdate this week,.........."

The above is just a snippet of what's been running through my muddled brain lately. Now I know why I write down so many lists....SO I DON'T HAVE A CONNIPTION TRYING TO REMEMBER IT ALL!! (yes, conniption is another colorful and local word for having a "fit")

To say I've been a bit distracted and unfocused lately would be an understatement of magnificent proportions. With both my beautiful mom and mom-in-law in different stages of battling breast cancer, a hubby who's deeply involved with a difficult job and a son who seems to be practicing for a bright future on a debate team I feel like a hamster running endlessly in it's wheel....except the hamster probably has a better butt. As a result of my unfocused state, our home looks like a hurricane hit it, with the odd tornado here and there. Yick.

I have a plan, though. Kind of. Since I tend to get overwhelmed when housework piles up I think I'll just focus on one small area at a time (like my Mom patiently tells me every time I bemoan my endless list of chores). It's the only thing I can think of that will keep me from plopping in the middle of a laundry-strewn floor and throwing an old-fashioned Hissy Fit.
Seriously, people. I could throw down right now.

So I was wondering if there's a habit or method you have that helps you tame the housework beast? If so, share!! (If not, all sympathetic comments are welcomed and encouraged.)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Spring Spruce Up

As I pulled into the driveway one day, I noticed that our house looked a bit dreary. Even the Bubs noticed and said, "Mom, we need some flowers!"

So earlier this week, we hopped in the car and stolled through the garden department of our local home improvement store. In between visits to the water fountain display for the Bubs, I managed to grab some perky looking pansies, flower pots and all the neccessary supplies we needed.
The next day, we headed outside to get Operation Spring Spruce Up underway. Well I thought that's what "we" were going to do....apparently the Bubs had other ideas! He ran around the yard, wagon in tow, on the lookout for sticks to pick up. He laughed and had a good time all by himself. He did deign to help me move bags of potting soil when asked and, for once, didn't argue with me about it - Hallelujah!!

Although the spruce up didn't take very long and wasn't especially elaborate, I found the results to be most satisfying. See for yourself -

Forgive the scattered dirt mess in the photos. I was trying to beat a pretty wicked thunderstorm that had blown into town that day, complete with heavy winds and black storm clouds. Why would I do that, you ask? Because I didn't check the weather before we went out. *Sigh* The front door had just slammed closed behind us when the first boom of thunder crashed and a torrential downpour was unleashed. Talk about timing, folks!