Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm Here!

Just wanted to write a quick post letting you all know that I'm still alive. I'm still trying to be a mother to my kids, a wife to my husband, and a housekeeper to my house. Things seem a bit crazy.

I think it's called life.

This week, I prayed for a friend who faced death while, at the same time, praying for another friend who welcomed a new life. I prayed for two women who underwent very traumatic surgeries. I prayed for safe travels for various people.

Today, I took my son to the doctor and he was told he can now run, ride a bike, and pick up his baby brother. Such a blessing.

I'm planning a little afternoon ladies get together for Friday and a presentation that evening for our new homeschool cooperative beginning at our church this fall. That same day, I'm travelling a half hour away for some shopping and to pick up our dear Elianna for the day.

Saturday, it's our 3rd week of Bible Club (which is going wonderful) and I promised my daughter we'd make soap.

In between, it's been trips to the library, birthday parties, and swimming lessons as well as cooking dinners, doing laundry, gardening, and cleaning.

No time to blog - I'm living life. Be back soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friends

A few weeks ago, our Pastor preached a wonderful message on friendship. Among other relationships, he talked about the importance of friendship in marriage.

In the conservative world, women talk about and strive for submission on a regular basis. Submission is important - it's biblical. But, many times, submission is paired with misery. Often, a woman is so bent on being submissive that she loses her sense of humor, her sense of fun. Sometimes, a woman will demand more "submission" of herself than her husband expects.

One of my favorite parts of the message was when our pastor said that many husbands would trade "submission" for companionship.

I'm not going to go into the whole idea of headship in marriage. I believe my husband is my head. I believe I ought to submit. But, Eric and I also hold dear our friendship.

Submission without friendship naturally turns to misery.

I remember being madly in love with Eric when I was 16 years old. He was 19. At that stage of life, a 3 year gap is huge. Eric wanted to be "friends." Most of us have heard that before.

"Great. Friends. Absolutely. While you're tearing my heart out, just throw it down and jump on it a few times."

But, he once said something that gave me great hope. "I want to be friends with the girl I'm going to marry for a couple of years before getting into a serious relationship with her. Friendship is an important base."

Eric is truly my best friend. When we have an argument (yes, it happens once in a great while), it is so traumatic because there is a breach in our friendship. If I just wasn't getting along with my boss, my authority, the pain wouldn't be as great. The need to repair the problem wouldn't be as urgent. But, Eric and I want to fix things quickly just so we can truly continue being best friends.

I always struggled with being "meek and quiet" as well as having a "submissive spirit." These terms always bring to mind the sweet, Cinderella-like character. A character that is not natural to my personality. I'm so thankful to know that my husband would much rather have a agreeable, fun-loving wife-friend.

Working together with him, holding his hand, accomplishing goals cheerfully together - this is submission.

"This is my beloved and this is my friend." See, it's just as biblical as "The husband is the head of the wife."

The Bible does not contradict itself. Wives, go and meet the needs of your husband. While you're at it, smile at and laugh with your best friend.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Mother's Work is Never Done

I was out shopping last night when I heard a couple of college-age ladies, who were co-workers, speaking as they closed up shop. One of them mentioned she had worked eight hours yesterday, like this was a monumental feat!

There were a couple of reasons I found this a bit humorous. First, my darling husband works six days a week for, at least, 10 hours a day doing a lot of hard, physical labor. So does his over-60 father. And, you'll find them smiling about 90% of the time. When people complain about their tough work hours to him, I have to stifle a laugh. (Just as a dairy farmer would have to laugh if my husband complained to him.)

The other reason I found this a bit humorous was because of the fact that I'm a mother. I've had single, working women complain to me before about their work hours. "I worked nine and a half hours yesterday!" "I just worked 10 days straight! I am so ready for vacation!"

OK, some advice. Never complain about how difficult your job is to a mom. Moms work, at least, 12-15 hours a day. I'm not going to say 24 because we do get to sleep, though we are on call for every hours of the day, every day of the year, for, 20-30 (or more) years. And, moms don't get a day off. True, the older my children get, I have more opportunities to sleep in during the summer or on Saturdays. But, it's usually at a cost. I either don't get my morning shower and I don't get my needed quiet time with the Lord. When you're single, you can get up at 10:00 a.m. on your day off and still grab a cup of coffee along with your Bible and cozy up for your time with God.

Vacation - I won't lie. In the past 2 years, I have been blessed with 2 vacations. I went to Florida in 2007 and to Virginia in 2008 - no husband, no children! These trips were extremely relaxing and I enjoyed every minute of them!

Both were about 3 days long and they were 11 months apart. I came back from my trip to VA in March and am still working. And some young women complain about working more than five days straight and only are allowed 7 sick days and 14 vacation days - each year?

I won't even touch the sick days part of this.

Working moms -- all I have to say is, my hat is off to them. I honestly don't know how they do it. They have the pressures of an outside job and come immediately home to care for their families and home the best they can. I've heard being a stay-at-home mom is more difficult, but, I just don't know about that.

I'm not here to pat myself on the back and tote motherhood as the most grueling job in existence. I applaud the career person for being a contributing member of society and to their company. Every job has its good and bad points. I just advise everyone to take in consideration who they take their complaints to.

Eight hours. In a shoe store. Wow. That woman deserves a medal.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Quick Idea

Five of my children have been in Vacation Bible School this week and absolutely loving it. They actually receive bus transportation to and from the church that has organized this wonderful week. My children have come home each day excited about their lessons, crafts, and overall fun that they've had. I honestly cannot wait to hear if an old classmate of mine got a pie in his face today (the incentive for getting 100 children there on this last day). The excitement has been contagious.

One thing I have found out, though. My children are lacking in their Bible memory skills. We don't have Sunday School at our church. We do have Family School. We have lessons each week and each family is to work on the lessons during the week - including the memory verse. When our firstborn was 4 years old, he had chapters of the Bible memorized. Our 4 year old today, he hasn't a clue how to memorize a verse. When our family was smaller, we seemed to have more time. It's ideal if Daddy sits with us and goes over our lessons. However, after dinner, it's a mad rush to get the house cleaned up, children ready for bed, etc. Sitting down to do evening devotions has been difficult.

In short, we've become lazy.

Things are about to change. One of the benefits of this week has been the fact that our children have had to get up and ready by a set time. This will make the transition back into a schedule much easier next week. We're going to get back to our morning devotions, which are regular during the school year. I know my husband would love for us to memorize the Family School verses - even if he's not here to help out.

Then, what's wrong with some fun? I was just remembering our times in AWANA and thinking of how our children are enjoying the rewards this week at VBS for memorizing Scripture. Why can't we do that on a smaller, family-type scale? If you go to the AWANA website, you can print out the memory verse handbooks for the various age groups. This gives me an organized Bible memorization plan. If my kids were involved in sports activities, etc. on a certain day of the week, I would block that time out in my calendar to get them there. So, I plan on blocking out an hour to an hour and a half for our own family Bible Club on Saturday mornings.

Starting tomorrow. There's no time like the present.

I'm excited about spending this focused time with my children, encouraging them to grow closer to our Lord.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Welcome to...My Life

I'm a mom. I think I've mentioned that before. I am an ever-changing mother. Sometimes I'm a cuddly mom. Sometimes I'm a nagging mom. Sometimes, I'm a fun mom. Other times, I'm a boring mom.

Last night, I tried to be a cool mom.

All the kids had just gone to bed. I was taking the garbage outside when I came across a huge brown toad. I would have thought it was a bull-frog, but, as I have several young children, I am schooled enough in my reptiles to know that frogs are green and toads are brown(ish). But, this thing was the size of a bull-frog.

Bull-toad?

Anyway. At first, I thought, "Too bad the kids are in bed. They would love this!" Then, much to the horror of some of my girly-mom friends, I am sure, I had an idea.

"Why don't I just bring it in the house and show them? That should get me some points for being a cool mom!"

So, that's just what I did. Mr. Toad was very docile and let me pick him up without any kind of chase around the driveway. Feeling very proud of myself for not being grossed-out, I walked into the house and went to the base of the stairs leading up to my 4 year old son's room.

"Seth, come down here! You gotta see this!"

"What is it?" he asked with eagerness in his voice.

This was going to be great.

Then, it happened.

I had remembered that frogs were green. I had remembered toads were brown. I had forgotten that toads have a defense mechinism.

Squirting. Oh yes. This toad began to squirt all over me. It was dripping off my hands. It got on my skirt. Still trying to be the cool mom, I actually waited a bit to see if it would run out of juice.

It didn't.

I turned from cool mom to girly-mom. "Ewwww!!! Gross!!! OH, YUCK!!!!" I ran out of the house and tossed Mr. Toad onto my porch.

Seth asks again, "what is it?"

"Nothing, Seth. Never mind."

Try to be cool and get squirted on.

Welcome to my life!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Please Excuse the Following Post...

I'm talking about the post after this and any of the previous postings within the last 3 weeks that may have poor spelling or improperly spaced paragraphs. As I explained earlier, MY computer got fried. I'm still on a borrowed computer. A computer that, apparently, is incompatible with blogger. It doesn't like pictures, spell check, or spaces in between paragraphs. I've tried to correct, but to no avail. Please continue to be patient. I will soon get MY computer and the properly written posts (?) that you've come to love (?) will return.

Our Evening at the Fair


We spent some wonderful family time together.

We saw a ton of animals.

We learned that 4-H competitions are much more enjoyable as a participant, not as an observer.

We saw the tiniest baby chicken ever and our children's eyes lit up at the sight of fluffy yellow ducklings.
Seth rode his first roller coaster. On the first trip around, he had a look of grave concern. The second trip, he was beginning to cry. Third trip, he was sobbing. Fourth trip, he was terrified.
They actually had to stop the rollercoaster to let him off. I apologize to all those little children whose exciting ride was interupted. But, thank you to the attendant who ended Seth's "Ride of Terror."
Seth and Gloria were thrilled with just a little train ride and merry go round while I saw two of my girls enjoying a twirling ride on the swings and their daddy smiling and laughing every time they passed.
Gloria stepped in throw up.

My nephew and I filled out no less than 10 different contest forms for all the kids. Whatever happened to "name and phone number, please"?
The kids ate cotton candy and drank fresh lemonade, Daddy and Derek ate sausage with onions, and we all consumed the french fries and kettle corn. Totally unhealthy. Totally enjoyable!
No one argued.

All in the midst of a busy farm season.

Together, at the fair!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cure for Slouching

OK - so, I was always on Michael about slouching at the dinner table. And the breakfast table. Oh, and the lunch table, as well.

He slouched alot. Even before the whole scoliosis thing.

Slouched - past tense.

Ever since the rods went in his back, no slouching. No slouching, no nagging. Problem solved.

Tonight, some of the kids were having a snack after church. Apparently, Seth was slouching. So, Katrina says, "You're slouching, Seth. You need surgery."

There you have it. If your child is slouching, just tell them this: "You know that lady who writes that worthless blog I waste my time reading? Yeah, well, her son slouched and she had rods put in his back. Want me to do the same to you?"

Hey, you never know. It could work!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

And Lightning Struck

As a result of recent circumstances, I have not had a chance to tell you how I narrowly escaped a very tragic death Father's Day night. (Would that be "Father's Night"? Oh, the contemplative thoughts I have.)
Anyway...

Let's back up two evenings. On Friday the 13th (hmm), we had a pretty exciting thunder storm out on the farm. Close lightning followed by loud claps of thunder during a torrential downpour. Very exciting. Well, apparently, one of those close strikes of lightning bolted right into our telephone pole out by the road.

Seriously. We looked at it the next day and the top of the pole was nothing but wood shooting out in every direction.

That bolt of lightning resulted in a phone line that was out of order for 2 weeks, two outlets which are forever impaired, and a burned out coffee maker and curling iron. (Talk about a bad start to your mornings!)

On the following Sunday night, at approximately 11:00 p.m., I was finishing up some things on the computer. I heard rumbles of thunder. As I hate thunder storms alone, I decided it was a good time to head upstairs. As the lightning was getting more intense and recalling the recent episode at our home, I figured it would be a good idea to turn off the computer. I couldn't remember if the modem automatically turned off, so I stood waiting for everything to shut down. The computer finally turned off, and I realized the modem was still on.

This is when everything goes in slow motion.

I am in mid-stride heading over to the modem to push the power button located on the back of the box when, suddenly, I hear "POP" and simultaneously, I see a flash of light. No, not outside. The flash of light came out of the modem! I'm not kidding. Lightning struck, went through the lines, and literally popped out of my little black box!
The box that, 3 seconds later, I would have had my hand on. HELLO!!

I go running out of the room only to run back in to make sure nothing had caught on fire. Then, I run up the stairs where, out of the dark, I hear a low voice say:

"Hi."

Really - the lightning didn't kill me, so my husband gave it a second shot.

After I recovered from near heart failure, Eric says, "Did you hear that?!"

"Hear it?" I say, "I saw it. No kidding, the lightning was in our house!"

Turns out, he didn't hear the "pop." He heard the "whoosh" of the electricity going through the house.

The electricity that almost met my hand.

Then, my darling, compassionate husband looks at me and says, "You have all the fun!"

Oh brother.

OK, so what did I learn? I learned that God is in complete control. He timed my movements and the lightning in a way that would not bring me harm. My life is totally in His hands. He showed me that He would be just as much in control two days later in my son's operating room.

Why do I have to learn these lessons so up close and personal?

Oh, my computer? Fried. Gone. They say they've repaired it, but I'm thinking it will never again be the same. Which is sad. Because, after having to use someone else's computer for 2 weeks, I really miss my own machine.

So, yes, lightning fried my computer. Lightning almost struck me.
Wouldn't that have been a slam-bang finish for Father's Day?