Thursday, December 14, 2017

Great Grandma

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thess. 5:16-18

The verse above was my grandma's favorite verse.  She quoted it often, pondered it, and obeyed it.  She was a woman of unwavering faith, and truly did give thanks to God in all circumstances.  She prayed continually and rejoiced always.  She was christian woman who touched many lives by her example.

On January 1, 2000, when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child, I got the call that she had passed away.  Oh how my heart ached!  This woman was so dear to me.  She was fun, full of love and laughter.  She loved to shop (me too!), read (me too!) and eat various junky items like coke, cheese and chips (me too!).  She was a dynamic lady, and everyone who knew her was a little better for it.  There was so much more I wanted to share with her! The thought of her being gone from earth was hard to imagine.  

Over the last nearly 18 years, I have thought of her so very often.  I've wondered what advice she would give me in a particular circumstance, I've wished I could share a good book with her, I've wanted to share my growing family with her.  I've simply missed her presence.  

But as so often we do with loved ones we have lost, I have little moments when I am reminded of her out of the blue.  This month has been especially full of those reminders, particularly in the form of the verse above.  Our school has a virtue we are focusing on each month, and this month's word is gratitude.  And, you guessed it - the verse accompanying the word is this one.  I've seen the verse in various places throughout our school building and via school communication. All three of my children have come to me with their memory work over the last couple of weeks -- thrusting their folders into my busy hands and immediately stilling me with their recitation.  This verse, which reminds me so much of my beloved grandma, causing me to reflect on its meaning.  And after hearing how meaningful it is to me, my confirmand this year is considering using it for his confirmation verse!

The last of my children handed me her folder tonight and began reciting it.  I smiled and teared up a little.  Today is my grandma's birthday -- she would have been 90 this year.  While we're sorry we haven't been able to celebrate all those birthdays with her on earth, we are thankful for the ones we were blessed with.  And we are even more grateful for the promise that we will see her again.  

I'm not sure she knew the impact she had on those around her -- in fact I'm sure she had no idea how much everyone was touched by her kind heart and example.  But she was quietly leading those around her to Christ. She would be so thankful to know that, for she wanted nothing more than for her friends and family to know their Savior.

Thanks for being who you were to so many, Grandma! Happy 90th birthday!  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I'm Dreaming of a . . .SNOW DAY!

Yes, we've had a lot of blowing snow all day today, and the kids are hoping for a snow day tomorrow.  Personally I would prefer a delay, but I don't know if the snow gods are asking for my input.  

My two youngest kids are pulling out all the stops to make it happen.  Their eldest sister recalls lots of tricks to make a snow day a guarantee, including wearing your jammies inside out, putting a spoon under your pillow and placing a crayon on the windowsill.  They have carefully executed every step in their three-point plan.

It seems pretty foolproof to me.  To those of you who live nearby and would enjoy a snow day, you're welcome!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Things That Make Me Happy

Things that make me happy:

A friend recently told me nonchalantly that she was making a charcuterie spread for a party, and I had to stop the conversation and make her repeat herself.  Charcuterie was a word I had read many times before, but never had I ever heard it spoken.  Being the word-lover I am, I was smitten.  I immediately looked into its meaning further and a day or two later, created my own little take on a charcuterie spread. My family didn't care what it was called -- they just enjoyed eating it!

I have run across this quote many times over the years, and each time it gives me pause.  Each time I read it, I am reminded that my absolute most important job in this world is mothering my children.  Many other things vie for my attention (many, many other things!), but truly, my children are my most important work. 

When we left for our three-hour drive to our Thanksgiving celebration last week, our dear doggie was in the way back of the Expedition.  About mid-way through the trip, at my teenage son's urging, he made the leap over the seat and into the middle row.  He didn't have much space there, as there were already three people occupying that row.  He made do on the floor or on someone's lap and looked generally uncomfortable.  I was imaging he was regretting his choice to leave his seat in the way back.  But perhaps not.  Perhaps he was just biding his time to reach his true goal:  the front seat.  When my husband and a child got out to to use the restroom (it was a dire emergency and couldn't wait 45 more minutes!), Shadow made his move.  He wriggled into the driver's seat.  I thought it was pretty funny and left him there until my husband arrived.  We all laughed when he saw him, but a moment later, my husband had given the pooch a little shove into my seat and off we went.  So for the remaining 45 minutes of our trip, I had a 40-pound canine sitting next to me/on my lap.  It was Not Especially Enjoyable.

Our living room mantel, decked out for Christmas.  The silver and green sparkles make me happy.  I love having the lamps off in there and just enjoying the Christmas lights from the mantel and the little tree. 

AND - things that do not make me particularly happy:

When we arrived home after our Thanksgiving break, we found our fridge's water dispenser had been dripping (despite the fact that we had turned off the water in our house, like we always do!!), and there was a big puddle on the hard woods.  We have been drying them out and using a dehumidifier.  The jury is still out on their future. 
(You can see Shadow looking on. . .he is probably concerned about the availability of his treats, stored under the sink.)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bits and Pieces #21

  • My older teenagers** have been enamored with Snapchat for some time now.  I am Not A Fan, no matter how much they have tried to convert me.  I think it isn't at all intuitive, it is annoying and ridiculous.  But no matter how I boo hoo, the kids continue to find it appealing, and I think the Snapchat craze has gotten out of hand.  Whilst on vacation this summer without internet access, one of my children actually had their friends babysit their Snapchat streaks.  A Snapchat streak?  What is that, perhaps you are saying?  A streak is an unbroken stretch of back-and-forth snap chatting.  And if you are without internet on vacation, one can't let those streaks die, so one must ask one's friend to babysit the streak, which means in some cases, the friend is actually snap chatting him or herself on behalf of my child.  THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.
  • Overheard, this song:  Tarantulas, tarantulas, if there's fuzz where your hamster was, it's probably because of tarantulas!
  • Also overheard:  Child: "Hello favorite doggie!"   Me: How about 'Hello favorite mommy'?" Child: "You're not my favorite mommy!"  Me:  "Who else could be your favorite mommy?" Child: "Mary!"
  • I recently opened my Kohl's online shopping cart to find $1093.84 worth of goods.  Most of the items in my cart were $169.99 air fryers.  This is my life.
  • My youngest daughter, about her big sister:  "Poor sissy!  She is off to work after only a few minutes after school at home! Just like a grown up!  The days go too fast!" Sigh.  Indeed.

**Only the two older teenagers have snapchat, having proven themselves in the responsibility department.  My youngest teenager has received a firm no every time he asks to have it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Awhile ago, I read the following quote on a canvas in a friend's home:

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work.  it means to be in 
the midst of those things and still
be calm in your heart.

Wow.  Those thoughts really gave me pause.  My knee-jerk reaction would be "Yes!  I agree with that! Peace is more about your mindset and heart than the actual circumstances you are living in."  But in reality, when the rubber hits the road, how often do I really feel that way?

Often, I get bogged down with the minutiae of life.  The to-do list, the never ending the laundry, the taxiing the children to and fro, the work demands, the being pulled in a thousand directions.  I often get pulled under with all noise -- arguing, singing, demanding, random noise-making children.  I get frustrated when things don't go my way or are harder than I think they need to be.  

The word peace conjures up images of beaches and sunrises.  Of solitude and prayer.  Of reflective worship.  Of easy living and relaxation.  Of harmonious family members. Of quiet.

And while those things might indeed, bring peace, they are often few and far between.  So am I only to experience peace when those (sometimes rare) events occur?  Thankfully no!  As the above quote states, true peace is being able to find peace even amidst the cacophony of life.  And even more, being able to find that inner peace enables us to create outer peace in our own lives.  As Christians, we know who provides that inner peace and we are able to embrace it in Christ!  What a gift we have been given. . .to know that Christ gives us peace! Among the loudness and busyness of our lives, Christ enters into our hearts, to give us that peace we long for.  We may not see it in white-sand beaches or beautiful sunsets or idyllic vacations or even in quiet.  But we can see it in our hearts, through faith.

One of my favorite passages as a child is one I now use as I bless my children each night.  I make the sign of the cross on their foreheads as I tuck them in and often quote this verse:

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:7

May He indeed.  Amidst the noise and chaos of life, may we have true peace in Him.

What can you do to promote world peace?
Go home and love your family.
Mother Theresa

Sing a Song

My  blog is a mixed bag, perhaps you've noticed.  One day I post pictures from the week ranging from rocks that look like poop on my counter to sentimental ramblings about my children's rapidly passing childhoods to musings on faith.

 You (and I, honestly!), just never know what I will write about.

Today, I bring you a list of songs that one of my children (who shall remain nameless) has altered for our family's entertainment.  Brace yourself, delicate reader.  Potty humor is über cool in our house and rears its ugly head below.

Original song:  Owner of a Lonely Heart
Child's version:  Owner of a Deadly Fart (variations - Owner of a Juicy Fart)

Original song: I'll Make a Man Out of You (from Mulan)
Child's version:  I'll Make a Man from your Poo!

Original song:  Do You Wanna Build a Snowman, lines altered include "We only have each other, it's just you and me.  What are we gonna do??"
Child's version: altered lines -- "We only have each other, it's just you and me.  What are we gonna pooooooo?"  (did you see that one coming, dear reader?)

Original song: Paradise City, lines altered include "Take me down to Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty."
Child's version: altered lines -- "Take me down to Paradise City where the grass is brown and the girls are ugly".

Original song: New Romantics, lines altered include "Cause baby I could fill a castle, out of all the bricks they threw at me"
Child's version:  altered lines -- "Cause baby I could fill a castle, with all the turds they threw at me!"

Original song:  Theme song to Sofia the First
Child's version:  "Sofia the turd!  Making my way through the sewers every day!  Finding out what being brown is all about!"

Original song:  Look What You Made Me Do (I will write more about this song later - I am NOT a fan of it or its title!)
Child's version:  Look What You Made Me Poo

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cry Baby

The scene:  Bedtime routine with KK, age 8

KK:  We read a book in school about Mrs. Tizzy.  I can't tell you about it.

Me:  Why?  Is it sad?

KK:  Yes.  It's about an old woman.

Me:  Why is it sad?  Did all of her children leave her?

KK:  Not exactly.

Me:  Don't tell me.  I'll probably cry.  Did your teacher cry when she read it?

KK:  No. . .     And then she proceeded to tell me the entire story. . .about an old woman who entertained the neighborhood kids each week.  She was so much fun and everyone loved her.  Then she got sick.  The doctor came out of the house and shook his head seriously. . .

Me:  (sigh.  tears seeping out of my eyes)

KK:  And the last page is a picture of just her hat.  But all the kids did the special things without her, in her memory.

Me:  (brushing away a few tears) I told you not to tell me!  Mommy can't handle these kinds of stories!

KK:  I know, Mamma.  You shouldn't read this book.

Me: 😳