Friday, December 22, 2006

Chocolate: It's A Food Of Love

Today is the day. A day that we have been longing and hoping for....

The new water heater is here.

We came so close to getting a 50 gallon tank but it just won't fit in our little furnace room without tearing out a wall. So for now, I will just look at it while it is sitting in my front yard waiting to go back into the truck when the guy leaves and wonder what it would have been like. I am thankful for the one we least it's not leaking!

The real point of my story is this:

Why is it when we are out in public or if a repair person should come into my home, the children misbehave and act like undisciplined little devils? Can someone help me out here? I'm just at a loss. I often wonder what other people are thinking as they watch.

As I was sitting at the table writing out my list for what I needed to purchase for this weekends feasts, all I hear is whine, whine, whine, crab, crab, crab...Mom, he did this or she did that. And then there was the children jumping on the couch which they know isn't allowed. I finally sent them to their rooms but somehow they interpreted that with go upstairs if you like and keep coming down to inform me of who was doing what wrong.

Finally, after one of their trips down to inform me of just one more thing, I decided to lock myself in the office. Although, they know where I am....the door is closed and I can't see them and I, at this moment today, like it that way.

Sometimes a brief interlude of quiet, is like that commercial with the New York peppermint patties (do you remember those?). Maybe that is what I need here in this office....a stash of chocolate! Now I KNOW what I've been doing wrong all along. I just need a stashing of chocolate in my purse, in the diaper bag and in the office....Oh! and maybe I should keep some in the bathroom......

Thank you for helping me figure out a solution! Since I apparently, with no matter how many consequences, can't seem to tame the pack, I now know what will help me endure the agony. So when you see me out and about or if you could see me at home when repair work is being done....there will be me with my smile and chocolate on my breath :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Miss Popularity

What does the word integrity mean to you? states that it is adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

I recently had to purchase a gift certificate at the local Speedway. I thought that I would just run in there one day on the way home from one of my adventures. While I was in there, I thought what a great opportunity to get a Mountain Dew for myself because there was no one in the car with me that would give me 'Mr. Sad Face'. I would not have to share.

With an extra bounce in my step, I took my items up to the counter to check out. In the process of chatting with the clerk and gathering my newly purchased items, I did not notice that he forgot to charge me for my Mountain Dew. As I was leaving the parking lot, I glanced over at my receipt. All of the sudden it dawned on me that two plus two didn't equal four.

Now let me ask honest here....what would you do? What if you got all the way back home before you realized that you were not charged for something. Would you think, was their fault. Today is my lucky day. Or would your conscience be unsettled till you rectified the matter? To what end would you go to fix the situation or would you instantly push it out of your mind..never to be thought of again?

This is me: Mrs. Conscience Unsettled. I drove back to the store and paid for my Mountain Dew. I don't tell you this to pat myself on my back. I honestly would not be able to sleep tonight if I didn't do that. I believe that God calls us to be people of integrity even when nobody is looking or cares. Now if the clerk said, it's on the that point, I would think it was my lucky day!

The fun part of this story is the fact that when I did go back in to pay for my Mountain Dew (no, it wasn't on the house), I did surprise the clerk so much so he didn't know what to say. After the shock wore off, he called a couple other clerks over to meet the person who came back to pay for her purchase. They kept thanking me over and over again. Now I realize that the price of a pop is not going to make or break Speedway but I think the moral implications of this situation has a deep affect on the people involved. As I was walking out of the store, waving my hand like I was Queen for the day, at the regular people of the village, I was feeling like what I did was important seen or not seen.

....and as I glugged down that cool citrus flavored liquid, I enjoyed every little molecule of flavor as it lingered on my tongue without an ounce of regret.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Big Pink Bunny That Loves To Beat A Drum...


Me laying on a couch with a big fluffy pillow but no blanket because that would just make me go to sleep.

You all sitting in the opposite chair with your pencil in hand and a pad of paper.

We Begin:

Hello, my name is major over-commitment, I have a problem.

So maybe I have some issues I need to come to terms with. I admit it! I've done it again! What, you may ask, is it that I have done again? The answer: I've over-committed myself once again.

Let me just give you a glimpse of this past weekend:

Shop for gifts that need to be delivered to church on Friday
Make food items which includes one quick bread item, one candy item and cookies for Christmas bags that my mother needs for Friday
Go to store to get items to make for said bags
Bowling teen night for our oldest

Leadership meeting for a Bible study I co-lead
Shop for items that I forgot to get at the store due to previous 'missing child' trauma
Drop off gifts at church
Parent Night Out at Greenfield Village

Make 15 pounds of southern green beans for outreach at a church in Detroit
Make kid-friendly dessert for Christmas party this evening
Take oldest child to a sleep over
Wrap gifts for Christmas party this evening
Go to Party

Drop off green beans that I made on Saturday
Possibly help serve meal at a church in Detroit depending on my husband's work schedule
Go back to the grocery store

The problem is this: I love to do all these things. When I agree to do something, it really is in my heart to do. So perhaps the real problem is that I need a super cape to accomplish all that my heart wants to do and an energizer super charged battery to keep my body moving forward. I had a friend recently tell me this. Ok, dear friend of mine, you do realize that you did just have a baby. I had to think that one over. I guess I did (even though she is 7 months old now). I haven't really stopped to consider that doh, maybe I should take a few moments to breathe.

And maybe just maybe, I should practice the word, No! But what do you say no to when everything sounds like something workable and fun. How do you determine what is highest on the list of importance? And of course, everything seems to always fall on the same day. And let's not forget I do have five children that 'neeeeed' me as my three year says.

Deep sigh.

I've come to this conclusion. Every one of those items on my calendar are of importance for one reason or another. Some of the stuff on my calendar is simply things that I want to do and then there are other things on there that the rest of my family deem important. And somewhere in there is the balance. As you are taking notes, I ask that you write this down and remind me next year when you see my calendar, that back in December I vowed to not over commit myself all in one weekend. That it needs to be spread out a bit more over time....and of course, as the baby allows!

Ok, Breathe.....

My five year old is so full of life and all boy. He loves to growl, yell, and let everyone know he's around. He also has the cutest cheeks in the whole wide world. When he smiles, the mystery of who he is shines through his eyes and you can only wonder what kind of mischief he is thinking up next. He also is a character. The things he says (most of the time) have me laughing hysterically. It just comes naturally to him and when he has you laughing, it inspires him all the more to continue on.

Ryan also loves our special date time. His turn has come around but had to be postponed because he was sick. Every day he asks me if he's all better so we can go. Yesterday I had some errands to do and I thought that perhaps I would take him with me and while we were out I would stop and get him his favorite lunch, Burger King cheeseburger kids meal with a coke. He always tells me to not forget the toy and to not forget the coke :-)

He was so excited to be on a date with his Mom and he was also so excited to be at Target. He, like his Mom, enjoys shopping at that store. His excitement was played out as he ran back and forth in the aisle making all those boys noises he holds dear. As I was about to scold him for acting so crazy and that he needed to stick closer to the cart and to me, a mother's nightmare happened. Instantaneously he disappeared.

As I grabbed the cart and headed in the direction of where he was, the silence was deafening. I couldn't hear those boy noises which would lead me to him. All I could hear is the silence that rang out in my ear, that he was missing. After what seemed like an eternity, I started to panic. I looked and looked and called out his name. I thought surely he would have found the toy aisle and got distracted by all those fun items but as I went up and down those aisles, he was no where in sight.

I went back to where I was. Down on my hands and knees I went to see if he was hiding under the clothing racks, a place where he loves to play on previous trips. Much to my dismay, he wasn't there either. A sick feeling overcame me. What am I going to do? Even though we talked about it in the past, will he remember what to do if he gets lost? If the target employees were to call him over the intercom, would he even be aware that they were calling his name? Would he even know how to get to the service counter or where that was? That is a pretty big store to a five year old.

As I tried to compose myself enough to make my legs work and not buckle underneath me, I began heading in that direction for someone to help me. Then around the corner, two red-shirted Target employees had a little boy whose cheeks I recognized. When he saw me and I saw him, we ran to each other and both started crying. I was never so relieved to see the sight of him. In a moment like that, your mind goes in so many directions. Of course, at that moment, I was trying to decide whether to choke him or hang on to him for dear life. I chose to hang on to him. He was alright. And I kept thanking God for helping me in that situation.

After the panic died down to a tremble, I asked him why he did that. His only response was that he was trying to find the bathroom. gets so complicated when our children are so desperately trying to be independent but aren't quite there yet. That was enough for me for the day. We quickly finished up the shopping and left....(I forgot quite a few things and must go back today) but at least my Ryan is none worse for the wear ( I can't say that about my nerves though!). The only comment he made to his father later that evening was he hoped his mother let me go outside again sometime. Perhaps he overheard my comment about never letting him go outside the house ever again for any reason ever!

Monday, December 11, 2006

What in the World?

I hate to even blog on this topic especially this time of year but I am so riled up about must come out somewhere. I suppose better here then there!

Two people who are dear to our family recently had incidences out there in the world recently that shocked the heck out of me. I hear about this kind of thing happening but it just hasn't happened to me personally. I think sometimes that we hear stories like this and we are surprised to hear such things occur but the reality doesn't really hit until it becomes personal.

The first incident happened at a Meijer's on a Saturday morning. Now keep in mind that a Saturday morning at Meijer's is like trying to get through the crowds in New York City during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Our friend went to said store with his wife and began not feeling well. He told his wife that he was going to run to the restroom and he would be back in a few minutes. While in the restroom, he felt as if he was going to pass out amongst some other symptoms that indicated he was in trouble. He managed to get to the customer service department to have them call his wife over the intercom but instead of understanding the urgency of the situation, somehow that call just didn't get completed.

At this point what does a person do when they can't make it through the store to get to a familiar face nor can you get a Meijer employee to help you? You lay on the floor because you are in trouble health wise. The thought suddenly hit him that he had his cell phone, he then dialed 911 who stayed with him on the line till the ambulance was able to get to him. During that time, not one person came to see if this person laying on the Meijer floor was ok or needed some help.

The second incident that happened recently was in front of a CompUSA. As this individual was going into the store, her foot got caught on some sidewalk and down she went face first. She hit so hard it almost knocked the wind right out of her. As she laid there for awhile, trying to get her bearings, no one stopped to see if she was ok. She managed to get herself up and enter the store to get some ice to put on her wounds. However, not one of the employees there bothered to write up an accident report or be too bothered by her fall.

I do need to enter a positive note here. Upon one of our camping trips this past fall, Aaron tripped on a piece of loose sidewalk at Big Boy and fell with his face sliding across the cement. When we took him into the restaurant, they were pretty quick about getting him some ice (which no way was he letting that cold touch his owie) along with something to clean it up and kept coming and checking on him to make sure he was ok. They also wanted us to fill out an incident report just in case he would need further looking at by a doctor. The icing on the cake for him? A free ice cream. When we left, he looked awful, but his smile was back :-)

I cannot believe that the world has come to this. Are we too scared to stop and help someone in trouble? Or do we just not have the time to be bothered? I began wondering myself, what would I do if I was faced with a situation like this? Would I stop and offer a hand to help? Would I take the time to address the situation or would I just step over someone and leave it to someone else to take care of?

It does remind me of the parable that Jesus told of the man that was beaten up and left for dead on the road...'The Good Samaritan". How many people passed by before someone felt something in his heart and acted on that? I pray that I do not become so desensitized to opportunities that come across my path, that I do nothing. Instead I want God to choose me to minister to that person in the moment and then go over and beyond what I could do.

I pray today that God will make my heart sensitive to those around me and that I am willing and able to be used by Him in the moment of need.

What would you do?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmastime. The day after Thanksgiving sales have come and gone. We are well into the season and as it appears we only have approximately 16 shopping days left. I recently heard a bunch of people grumbling about how a certain radio station had the nerve to start playing 'Christmas' music in the beginning of November and that just really stressed them out. I heard another group of people grumbling about how they rush from one event to another between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then it's all over and they realize that they didn't even have a chance to enjoy the season.

As I was thinking about that conversation, I began to wonder why do we let Christmas music stress us out. And why do we agree to all these wonderful Christmas plays, parties and family gatherings but deny ourselves a few moments to stop and look around us, taking a few deep breaths to smell the Christmas in the air.

Why don't you stop for a moment, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

Do you smell the newly baked sugar cookies, or the pine scented aroma from a wreath or a real live tree? Do you smell the cold crisp air as it hits your lungs as you go outside? Do you smell the deliciously hot cocoa that has the marshmallows which have slightly melted and are waiting there on the top of your mug for just one sip?

What do you see?

Do you see the sun reflecting off the newly fallen white snow? Do you see the red bows and the lights that are displayed from house to house? Do you see the light of the season coming through the eyes of your children? Do you see the excitement building as they anticipate the 'big' day?

I encourage you to take another deep breath and remember that Christmas is really about love. The love in our hearts, the love we give to others and the love God has for us. Despite trying to get all the gifts we have on our lists this year, I want to remember that God gave me and you a very, very precious gift. Our Saviour.

That is the most important gift I want to share with all of you. This year, I pray that your holiday season is filled with lots and lots of love. That in the midst of all the activities, that the love that God has for you and the love that He has placed in your hearts will shine forth in all that you do and say. May this Christmas be full of His peace, His love and His Light!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The First Anniversary of the 'Second' Crisis: The Fall

Our plans were made. It was in 'ink' on the calendar. The excitement was building as the week progressed. We were going to Greenfield Village. The place we were headed last year when my dear husband took a fall which lead to months and months of pure agony due to the main ligament in his ankle being severed.

When I called my mother-in-law to see if she and some of our other relatives wanted to join us, I didn't realize at the time that the actual date was exactly one year from 'the fall'. I thought, when my brain caught up and it actually sunk in, what an appropriate way to spend the day.

As it turned out, the Friday before we were suppose to go, the township building inspector was to come out and give his final approval of the furnace room work that was done earlier this year. Well, needless, to say he was here for approximately 30 seconds to look in there, see what he saw and give me an 'F' or perhaps it should just be a big ol' red 'D' for deny.

What do you suppose he saw in our newly drywalled, painted and spit-shined furnace room? A flood, I tell you. What he saw was a flood. Apparently, my water heater decided to leak from all the seals around the top of the water heater and had been for quite some time. The drywall and the floor were soaked.

After I sat on the couch letting that bit of information sink in, it occurred to me that perhaps my 'growing season' was not quite over or in remission yet. Oh, how I dreaded calling my husband to give him the wonderful news. After calling him, he decided to call the company that was organizing all the repairs on our home over the past year to see if perhaps it could have been damaged during the removing and the putting back because we have had absolutely no problems with it until now. I was holding on to that hope.

After two estimates from two different plumbers, the conclusion was that there is no way to prove how it broke and that it probably was just wear. You know, Madame, this is an old water heater. Who would have thought that a seven year old water heater was old? Well, now I know. I also know that it's going to take a whopping $600 to fix it. Oh, that doesn't include the permit they are going to need to do so. (and of course, it doesn't cover the damage to the floor and wall either).

You may be wondering about Greenfield Village. The outing was canceled due to mental and emotional breakdown. A future date may be set if and when I crawl out from under my covers. In the meantime, as I was driving past a church the other day, praying that God would help my mental state, I looked up to see a sign on a church which reminded me that I can, indeed, crawl up on my Daddy's lap and He will take care of it. This is what it said:

There is no darkness in the light of the SON

I must admit that I've been throwing a bit of a temper tantrum since all this happened. I am mentally and emotionally tired from all that has been thrown at us this past year. Sometimes I wonder if one of my family members is going to have to run for that dustpan and broom to sweep up the ash, after I've been zapped for my poor thoughts and for my utter misbehaving. But that hasn't happened yet and it got me to thinking. Why, as a long time Christian, can't I sometimes grab hold of or remember simple truths and promises that God gives me. I love to encourage other people who are struggling and remind them how much hope God offers us in his word but when it comes to myself...well that is a different story. Does this make me a hypocrite???

I suppose this is where God's precious loving GRACE is applied. Believe it or not, inspite of my poor behavior, He does and continually loves me through it. And despite my background, He is not always there 'at the ready' to zap me a good one. As my dear husband says, it is just another wonderful opportunity to see a blessing from God played out in our lives.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Birthday Meme

I was recently tagged by a dear friend of mine's blog (thank you, Shelly!). She had this 'birthday meme' posted and I thought it pretty cool seeing what was happening on the date of her birthday. Incidentally, you might be wondering what the heck a 'meme' is. Since I didn't really understand it myself, I went to a very informative web site that I use so very It states that a meme is....A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. So I, now, am passing on the meme.


1) Go to Wikipedia.

2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.

3) List three events that happened on your birthday.

4) List two important birthdays and one death.

5) One holiday or observance (if any).

On January 13th:


1. The accordion is patented by Anthony Faas

2. The Mickey Mouse comic strip makes its first appearance

3. Wham-O company produces the first frisbee


1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (actress from Seinfeld)

2. Trace Adkins (country singer)


Wyatt Earp


In Sweden, Christmas is celebrated for 20 days which ends on my birthday. That day is called St. Knut's Day which is celebrated by taking the Christmas tree down and eating all the candies and cookies which decorate the tree. (I like this holiday...maybe we'll make this a new tradition in our home!)

This also explains perhaps why I am so nutty about Christmas and I hate, hate, hate to take down my tree. Now that I'm thinking of it....maybe my birthday is not the day to take down the tree. Who wants to have a sad face on their birthday? I do know that eating all the candies and cookies (which I will have to start putting on the tree so I can have something to munch on on my special day) on my birthday is a great tradition to start and continue on with throughout this holiday which now includes my birthday! Things are looking up :-)