Saturday, January 31, 2009

The mind is the first to go.

It happened once last summer. My daughter told me she was going over to Alice's house to hang out; dad was going to drive her over there. Later she called me to come pick her up, so I drive over to Alice's house to pick her up. I am sitting outside Alice's house, so I text my daughter and tell her that I have arrived. I waited for a while. No daughter. A little while later Alice's mom, who is a good friend of mine, comes out of the house and looks at me with a puzzled look on her face. The conversation goes something like this:
"Why are you here?" She asks me.
"I came to pick up my daughter, what is taking her so long?" I replied.
"Uh...she's not here." She says.
"Wha..?? *head slap* "I'll bet she is over at the other Alice's house (she has 2 friends named Alice)" I murmured, a little embarrassed.
Big goofy grin on my friend's face. "Kim, you are a dork."
"You just figured that out?" I said.

I just assumed she was at Alice #1's house because that is where she usually is. So, off I slunk to the other Alice's house to get her.

That would be a funny little anecdote if it were an isolated incident, but alas, it is not. The same thing happened at the same friend's house about 6 months later. The. Exact. Same. Thing. We had a good laugh and I went and retrieved my daughter from the correct friend's house. Again.

The latest mix up involved my daughter's birthday and my friend's daughter's desire to throw a surprise party for my daughter. I got a phone call asking me if it would be okay if my daughter's friends gave her a party for her birthday. I said sure. I figured this would be a great way to have a party, but not actually have to host a party. What could be better right? My daughter wanted to 'kidnap' some of her friends and bring them back to our house for a sleepover. I thought I could just bring her to the surprise party and therefore skip the whole 'kidnapping' thing in deference to the great party her friends were throwing for her. My mind sunk into the idea like nobody's business. That is until...

The night before my daughter's birthday my friend (yes the same friend) and I were at a PTA meeting. She asks me what the birthday plans were. That encounter when like this:
"What are you doing for your daughter's birthday tomorrow night. She texted me about kidnapping Alice." She said
I said, "I am just letting her think she is kidnapping people; the surprise party is her real party."
"Ookaay...but what about tomorrows night?" She inquired
"Huh? We are taking her to Sally's house for the surprise party."
"Uh...Nooo...the party is Saturday night." She says
"Nuu-Uuh! Nuu-Uuh!" I am in denial at this point, but it is obvious to her that I have gotten the dates mixed up. They are not having the party on Friday, her actually birthday, but on Saturday instead. Oh, my goodness! Plans must be made! What am I going to do! No time to think about that right now, there is PTA business to attend to.

She is laughing and shaking her head incredulously as I get up to start my PTA meeting. Oh, yes, I must mention that these unsuspecting people trust me to run the PTA. Little do they know that my mind has completely slipped a cog and not only can I not remember where people are, but I cannot remember when to take them there either.

I am telling you, keeping up with the schedules of four children is not an easy task and details might slip the attention of the best of moms, but I always prided myself on my memory. When I was younger, I rarely had to write anything down. I always just remembered when and where to be. Not any more. Time and four rounds of childbirth have robbed me of my memory. I mourn its loss. I will have to become one of those list maker people. I didn't want to admit it, but if I want to preserve any respect my friends have for me, I am going to have to write everything down. Now if I can only remember to actually read what I wrote down and where I left my list I will be in business.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Hope is Built On Nothing Less

The subject of hope is one that is very interesting to me. Having battled depression in my life I have gone through stages of hopelessness. It is probably the lowest point to which a person can sink emotionally. I credit God's grace in bringing me through those darkest moments. I thank God that I was able to not dwell too long in that place where fear takes over and hope dies. I pray I will never experience that kind of fear again, but if I do, I know I will not be alone; my God will follow me there and hold my hand, all the while lifting me out of the despair.

I look at my life as sort of a metaphor for our country. I trusted God with all things when I was a young child. I freely gave him my heart and trusted him to provide me with everything I needed. Then as I became older, I started taking things back from him, until one day, I pretty much had it all back in my hands. I no longer trusted my God to feed and clothe me. I was an independent woman, I made my own decisions and I certainly wasn't looking out for anyone else; it was all I could do just to take care of myself. I struggled with paying my bills, I borrowed money I couldn't pay back and I hoped against hope that nothing catastrophic happened to the flimsy structure of a life I had built.

This is the point we are at right now as a nation of believers. Although, I realize that not everyone in our nation is of the Christian faith, I believe that we as Christians still have an obligation to follow our faith and obey our God or else we will never prosper; not really. Now, this does not mean we need to cram our faith down the throats of others. This means we have to accept personal responsibility in where we place our trust.

I wonder if other Christians understand that there is no hopelessness in Christ Jesus? I have heard so much discouragement and fear about the future from my Christian friends. It really saddens my heart that they do not understand the simple principle of Gods abundant grace; his all encompassing love and compassion for people - all people. If it was fully understood, then I would not be seeing the gloom and pessimism that is infecting the hearts of those who are supposed to be ever hopeful; thankful in advance of God's blessings that are sure to come our way.

In 1 Timothy 6, Paul instructs Timothy not to put his hope in uncertain things like wealth and things of this world. Instead, he should look towards God who blesses us with everything we could ever want. I think that we have missed the mark on this lesson. I think that over the years we have become complacent in our fat American lives and have put our hope in the government of the United States. We wonder now why the country is in financial crisis and we are fearful that it will get worse. You know what? That is exactly what Satan wants us to believe. He wants us to lose hope, to turn on each other and argue about who got us into this mess and how we can get out of it.

How sad is it that we are allowing the liar of all liars to win? We are playing right into his hands with our fear and our idle chatter. We need to stop. Our job as believers in Christ is to put our hope and faith in nothing but Jesus; to have faith in anything less is to secure our failure. We cannot expect a person, a government, a nation or anything else to bring us from the darkness that we are in and into the light of prosperity. God asks for our full allegiance to him; as Christians we need to honor that. We have to stand firm in our hope that God will never abandon us.

The Solid Rock

  1. My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
    • Refrain:
      On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
      All other ground is sinking sand,
      All other ground is sinking sand.
  2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace;
    In every high and stormy gale,
    My anchor holds within the veil.
  3. His oath, His covenant, His blood
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When all around my soul gives way,
    He then is all my hope and stay.
  4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh, may I then in Him be found;
    Dressed in His righteousness alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne.
Edward Mote, c.1834 Copyright: Public Domain

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (New International Version)

17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bend and Squat

I am determined to be able to bend down to the ground to pick something up without moaning and popping like someone twice my age. I would also love to be able to put my socks on without assisted devises, clip my toe nails and shave my legs easily. Improved range of motion is what I am hankering for.

To this end I have been doing my strengthening exercises as prescribed by my physical therapist. Consequently my thigh muscles are so sore I can barely walk much less squat down to the floor.

Good grief, it is awful to be old before my time. But, I press on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fear And the New President

I have heard a lot of people say that they are afraid for our country now that we are inaugurating a new president. I think that this fear is counterproductive to us as Christians. Regardless of who we voted for, or who sits in the Oval Office, we should not have fear in our hearts. Fear, anxiety and worry are never of God. Satan uses these emotions to divide us - to divide us as a nation and to divided us as Christians.

I am not being Pollyanna-ish, nor burying my head in the sand. I know there are dangerous threats out there to Americans. We face job losses, homelessness, and on a larger scale, we face terrorist invasion. These things are all real and we should be wary of them and plan for the possibility of them, but as Christians, we have to believe that God is bigger than all of these things.

Today, as we inaugurate a new President, let's all band together, as Christians and pray that we can set our fears aside and move forward in a positive direction, with God's blessing.

Proverbs 29:25

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.

10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Life of a Stay at Home Mom

I love being a stay at home mom. It was a dream of mine from the time I was a little girl to be a mommy and to stay at home and nurture my little ones. I have been blessed with four of the greatest kids God ever thought about creating and have thoroughly enjoyed being home with them for the past 14 years. There are days when they drive me to distraction, but that is not what this post is about.

This post is about one of the things that I really don't like very much about my 'job'; the fact that I don't get paid for it. It is not so much that I think I deserve payment for the things that I do; it is that I don't feel like I have a leg to stand on when it comes to money matters. After all, I don't contribute monetarily, so why should I have anything to say about how the money is spent, right?

I am not a spend thrift. As a matter of fact, I am quite a frugal person. I don't have designer clothes, jewelry, take fancy vacations or anything like that. I cut my own hair, as well as my boys' hair, for crying out loud! I make my own laundry detergent and household cleaners; even my toothpaste is homemade. I don't go to lunch and movies with friends like some of my stay at home mom friends do. I really spend no extra money besides a few books a year and some craft supplies now and then. So, I find it hard to take when I am told to 'cut back' or I am questioned constantly about my purchases. Trust me, if we don't need it, I don't buy it.

I feel quite impotent in this regard because I have not brought home a pay check in 14 years, nor do I want to. I feel it is so important to be home with my kids now that they are in late elementary and middle school. They need supervision like never before. I still feel I am an equal partner with my husband in the life of the family, though, even though I don't make any money. If I were out of control, I would see a need for someone to reign me in, but as it is, I just feel like I am not trusted or valued.

I think I have done a really good job all these years making things work and not overspending, but apparently it is not working well enough.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Liberal and Christian - that is me.

I have written about my liberal views before, but for whatever reason I feel like I need to revisit the subject and put down some more of my thoughts on the subject.

It seems as though a few people (namely Christians) have a problem with my liberal views, and have told me so over the last couple of days. It has been said that I am not a true Christian, that I do not appreciate the truth and that I do not truly love the Lord.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year New Look

I figured since I gave my blog a new look for the new year, I might need to do something about my house as well. It has been sorely neglected lately. With four kids, three dogs and two parents in a roughly 2200 square foot house, we can't afford to get to far behind in junk tossing, or else we risk drowning in our own filth. So, yesterday as the Christmas decorations were finally put away for another year, I started thinking maybe it was time to start doing some much needed cleaning.

My children are certainly old enough, at (almost) 14, 12, 11 & 9 to pick up after themselves; they do have chores. I am just not a very good example for them. I will readily admit that I would rather do anything besides clean the house. I have lots of hobbies and sweeping ain't one of 'em. It has to be done, though, so I grudgingly do it. I have long since given up New Year's resolutions and any hope that I will ever enjoy cleaning my house; I know I will abandon my resolve for more interesting pursuits. I do like the way it looks when it is neat and tidy, however. That is kind of the reason for this post. I am showing you (and myself) my progress, so that when I look at the beauty of my clean house, it will keep me motivated to get off my lazy butt and go chuck a few things and tidy up. That way, I can move on to the things I really enjoy.

So far only the dining room, living room and kitchen have been tackled. Those are the pictures I have added. Pay no attention to the little kid under the Sponge Bob blanket, he isn't supposed to be here today. He was 'sick' this morning, so I let him stay home. He's feeling better right now, so he is cleaning the bathroom.

Hey, maybe if I keep one child per day home from school this week, I can have the whole thing spotless by Friday?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

We all have those lists of people who we would love to meet some day - people who have influenced our lives to such a degree that we just really must meet them and thank them in person. One such person on my list is Norman Vincent Peale. I know one of these days I will meet him in heaven and I am eager to shake his hand (maybe hug his neck) and tell him how much I appreciated his words.

My first introduction to Norman Vincent Peale was in the late 1980's. I had heard his name before and I had seen the title of one of his books, The Power of Positive Thinking, but I had never actually read the little pink book. I don't remember now where or why I bought the book, but I remember reading it. I remember pondering some of the things he said about positive thinking; I had never thought of positive thinking as being a choice. Up until that time I believed that we were born under a cloud or sunny side up and that was our lot in life. This book opened my eyes to the possibilities of positivity being part of the life of everyone, including my own. What a concept.

It may be true that some of us were born under a cloud, or perhaps circumstances block the sunlight from our lives; we still have a choice to seek positivity. In Peale's life, as well as in my own, this positivity has God/Jesus at its core. There is no room for negativity in a life filled with Christ. This is not to say that I bound out of bed every day with a smile on my face ready to greet a day filled with rapture; after all I am only a human, not God. Living in Christ does mean that I don't stay down long, however. Once I remember that to be in Christ means to be Christ and to be Christ means only light and positivity can enter.

This is just one of the lessons I learned from that little pink book; there are more that build on that same theme. I still have my copy of that book, worn and battered from much reading. I also have other books penned by Peale. I love them all. One such book is Have a Great Day; it is a daily inspiration book. Here is the inspiration for yesterday (January 7):

"Fear can infect us early in life until eventually it cuts a deep groove of apprehension in all our thinking. To counteract it, let faith, hope and courage enter you thinking. Fear is strong, but faith is strongest yet. The Bible tells us, '... And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not...'(Revelation 1:17). His hand is always upon you too."

Who would you like to meet?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Recipe for a Clean Sink: No Nasty Chemicals or Mixing Involved

There is probably nothing nastier than a sink that has not had attention in a while. But, how do we get a sink clean and sparkly white without bleach, and other harsh chemicals? It is really more simple than you might think. Even a sink that has been 'cleaned' by one's less than diligent husband for about 2 months.

I intended to have some really great photos to show you each step of the process, etc. and I do have pictures, they just aren't in color! This is what happens when you find the missing camera in your 14 year old daughter's room and start snapping away before checking the settings on the device. *sigh* My life in a nutshell. Anyway, you still get the idea. I went to the trouble of taking the pictures, so now I am posting them!

On to the process. All you will need is baking soda, dish washing liquid, plain white vinegar and peroxide. I also used lemon essential oil, but that is optional.

  1. Sprinkle the baking soda into the sink, along with a squirt or two of the dish washing liquid. Add a few drops of the essential oil too, if you want.
  2. Scrub out the sink with a clean wet cloth.
  3. Spray it all down with the vinegar; once it starts to bubble you can scrub some more if necessary. Hopefully you will not have to a huge amount of lime scale to scour out, but with a little elbow grease and the aid of an old toothbrush, even the most stubborn scale can be removed.
  4. Rinse everything and wipe with a clean lint free cloth.
  5. Spritz the sink and faucet with peroxide. This sanitizes the sink and brightens just like bleach.

The results are amazing and you can rest easy that you have not harmed the environment, nor potentially poisoned your family with noxious chemicals. It is just that easy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Measure of a Life

A funny thing occurred to me while I was putting sheets into the washing machine today. It occurred to me that someone might judge me for me sheets. Why? Because they were dirty that's why. They are off white sheets and they were noticeably grimy. Would it bother me for someone to see my dirty sheets? Would someone judge my worth based on the nastiness of my sheets? Who decided that dirt was dirty in the first place?

These are all questions that ran through my head at that moment. The bigger question, however, is this: How do we measure success in life? This question begs to be pondered. It is one I ruminate about on a regular basis. Since my feelings are that life truly boils down to relationships; a life is measured by those she/he touches and through the bonds that are formed. It doesn't matter so much about the tasks that sometimes go undone in order to free our lives up for time spent with people.

Now, I am not suggesting that we should all throw caution, and work and house cleaning to the wind. I know that is impossible. We must work to provide money for our basic needs. We have to uphold a modicum hygiene in our environment; that is just a fact of life. We were, after all, put here on this earth as its caretakers; we are to work in an effort to take good care of the things that we were given. In the end, however, it is not necessary for these jobs to define our whole lives; nor should we judge others by their labors or by the cleanliness of their sheets.

We really should take the time each day to remember the things we have said and the people we have touched, in order to be able to measure our successes. It is challenging to judge these intangible things, I understand that. It is so much simpler to look at clean crisp, snowy white sheets stretched out on a bed and know that we accomplished something today. I think this is why we get caught up in the jobs sometimes; it makes us feel worthy in a tangible way. The outward manifestation of our internal character is so much harder to see, so we don't spend as much time nurturing that part because no one seemingly notices.

Believe me, they notice. They just don't take the time to tell you; they are too busy cleaning their own sheets.

Genesis 2:15

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

Philemon 1:7

7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

1 Peter 4:7-9

7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.