3.29.2012

New Season of Life; Handling Blessing

For the last 33 months, with a break of 5 months in the middle, my husband has been on "reduced salary."  If you want to discuss hand to mouth living, I can.  Things would have gone substantially better over the long haul if I had been astute enough to not believe reports that it was just for one month, just until November.  Febuary.  April.  When I was believing reports of temporary, I charged some stuff.  I have had a lot of shame over that.  I would have done differently, if I had realized the scope of what was going on.

I have served my family foods from my freezer whose age I knew to be older than 3 years.  I have gone literally months without spending $100 in groceries.  I used what was in the cabinet; prayed over what was left in the freezer and scavenged and scrounged (still using leftover condiments from last years Track Team Picnic).

The kids were scholarshipped for Track.  Our adoption was a freaking miracle.  We paid our last car payment the month before I got home with Small Fry.  I got a little job cleaning.  People created barter situations.  I had to humble myself to apply to the church benevolent fund.

I questioned God a lot.

"What are You doing?" 

"You said..."  to move here

"I know I can't handle anymore."  the girls got hurt

"Now, I can't handle one more thing."   traveling to get your child is supposed to be fun

"Nothing else.  Please."    the surgery is long past due

"I have no strength left.  I will not survive."   where will the next blow come from

"I'm done." it's never been just about the money; it was also the discouragement

And then...

Indeed, it was for my own welfare
that I had such great bitterness;
but Your love has delivered me
from the Pit of destruction, 
for You have thrown all my sins behind Your back.  Is. 38:17

Look, I am about to do something new;
even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert. Is. 43:17

And the rivers flow.

When we would talk about just needing to survive, there was always a good Christian brother or sister there to say, "Riches can be just as much of a trial."  I wasn't asking for riches.  I wanted to put a ham hock in the beans.

We aren't about to be rich.  We are about to have enough.  It makes me realize, I have "gotten by" for so long, I have forgotten how to plan ahead.  I need to hone my skills.

 To glorify the One Who Sees.




3.23.2012

Bacon and God's Abundance

...And now, without further ado;

The story of how 2012 sucks less than the last six years combined even if Jesus returns for the Mayans this year.

 I've always struggled with really trusting God.  I know He loves me, but felt that I still had to look out for myself. He doesn't owe me peace and good haircuts.  I always thought it made sense that if I believed Him "all out'', He might test my commitment by destroying my life (because that's loving?). It's not right.  I'm just explaining my flawed thinking.

On January third, I sat quietly and watched the sun rise through the sheers.  Coffee and reading material in hand, I just said,...

"I trust You. Take it all; if You want."

In that moment, I knew He was doing something new; I would know it when I saw it.

At 9:30 that morning I got a text from Mickey.  His firm had merged; he'd call me later.  Third, in years of experience, in a 10 person firm, he'd had no clue.

My birthday, is on the 18th. Mickey threw me a surprise party on Friday. I got several gifts; a notepad and pen, a coffee gift card, a red dress and 28 1/2 pounds of good bacon.

You read that right.

My friend wanted get me a good gift and prayed and thought, "bacon."  She thought I needed to understand God's abundance towards me. We had a conversation a couple of weeks before about  bacon, but when she'd explained the bit about God's abundance, I was at a loss.  Abundant bacon didn't seem to extend to general abundance. But the bacon was incredible.

Our household finances remained tight, but Mickey was being built up on the inside, where a man's identity lives. He got a job offer a week for the first six weeks of the year.

I began to have a vision of the children of Israel with their manna in the desert.  And oh, how they bitched.  He still fed them; then they stood at the edge of the promised land and wouldn't receive God's blessing.  They were so used to their circumstances they had just come to expect more trial.  It's in the Bible so we learn from it.  People aren't supposed to do that.

So I won't.

Two weeks ago, my husband interviewed with a new firm.  They called him back in under two hours.  He didn't know what to do.  I mean it. He's been treated like mushroom for so long (kept in the dark and fed a lot of crap), he didn't know whether to "commit suicide or go bowling".  For a minute.

He gave his notice Friday.

3.22.2012

Because You Are Worth It

Dear Ladies,

As I write, you lie in bed.  You have 50 fact cards due tomorrow and expect to join me for a tour of a co-op we haven't considered before.  My house is a freaking mess because of all the laundry.  The laundry is the way it is because of the plumbing.  In reality, you know that is not the reason the house is really embarrassing is that everyone in the house has learned that all you have to do to get out of cleaning is yell at people and in order to avoid the yelling, mom has been willing to continue to lower the standards.

In my opinion, I have failed you in homeschooling.  Your teachers and the headmaster of the independent study program, and the standardized test for profit company all say different.

Here is the deal.

I dreamed about having a norm-rockwell-currier-ives-I-don't-know-what-all-yes-I-do-but-whatever experience in homeschooling.  All backlit and blowing dandelions and wading in creeks for Science.  Every year has been a fight.  A schedule?  Ladies, Please.  Every year you have dared me to impart so much as one "unit of measure of learning".

Well, I didn't get my ideal.  Apparently, neither did you, (with your hundred average in all the classes you are taking at co-op).

 What I didn't plan for is that as adopted kids, you would begin to work through identity, grief, control (OMG, control), shame, rejection, and loss.  Quite magnificently. While you waited for me to clue in to what is going on.

The last six years have been a hard time for all of us.

Now, I can only pray for God, Himself to light a fire in you, to give you a vision for your future.

We'll probably end up at the co-op today.  I don't know what to do, because it is really a magnificent amount of money, just counting your classes and not textbook purchase or anything for your brother.

I love you.  I think you are funny and brave and smart and beautiful.  We are supposed to feel this way.  Like the leaves beginning to turn colors in the fall.  This is the first sign of the ending of this season of our lives.  There was more I wanted to do and I have regrets.  But just like a holiday celebration, I desperately want to send this season out with joy,

because you are mine.

3.21.2012

Spring Break '12

...to observe my lovely daughters, has been going on for sometime while they read the lowest brand of literature I will allow in the house.  Seriously, ick.

The weather is beautiful.

Standardized testing for my homeschoolers is done.

We have received our income tax return.  Thank God.  No really.  I mean.  Thank. God.

I just came back from a retreat in the mountains.  It was my privilege to attend this same retreat for a second time.  It was good great again, but for different reasons.  I met new gals and that is the best thing.

I figured out what to do about the girls and math for the next year.  Ha Ha.  Be glad you are not the one who has stared at me blankly all year when someone said, "Algebra."

We are visiting a new co-op this week to observe, because we're only doing one next year.

We went shopping for Summer Toys (chalk, bubbles, wiffle ball, flip flops, etc.). You know what you can't get anymore?  Jacks.  I can't even find the stupid plastic ones.

I have checked out the movies at the $2 theater.  There are 6 movies I could take the kids to.  For about the same money as one trip to the regular movies.

Right now, I have no plan but to wait for the plumber who was supposed to come yesterday but didn't show.  The up side.  I get to re-schedule my annual.  That, my friends, is a break!

It's Spring.

And we are all about to get a break.

3.20.2012

Why I Am Not a Cat Person

This weekend was the second retreat.  Friday night, we were sitting around telling stories.  One lady was a total cat person.  I tried to tell my tale in a way that would convey that while I don't agree with her lifestyle choice, it is hers to make and I know God doesn't hold it against her.

I had a cat I liked at one time, but I have come to the place that it is more problematic to me to keep a box of dirt in my house for an animal to poop in, than can be outweighed by the enjoyment of the relationship.  As I would be the one who "cleans the dirt", we have no indoor cat. Officially, Mickey has been asked if he would take 100% ownership of the dirt box. He looked into my soul and knew that I wouldn't scoop another turd.  He said, "You heard your mom; no cat."

The second summer we were married, a family asked us to house sit.  They had a cat.  Mimi. It seems that before we moved in, Mimi had disappeared one night and come back the next morning with a broken leg.  Hmmm?

She cried constantly, ate like a fiend and when the day's food was gone, she would frequently CLIMB ON THE COUNTERS and eat whatever she could find.  A loaf of whole wheat bread? Raisin bran?  She was not selective about the ways she made me mad enough to black out.

She had a splint on the leg, which made it really difficult for her to navigate the litter box which had a lid with a door.

One day, I was alone in the house; making my bed.  I heard the tinkling sound of someone using the toilet in the master bath. Blogger doesn't even support a description of the thoughts that went through my head.  I took the, "Hold it right there, Freak!" approach and stomped over to confront the intruder.

The cat was using the toilet.  Fighting the splint had her looking for solutions to her problem.  My near cardiac event was an unexpected downside to that plan.

Another day, Mickey picked her up to gently place her on the ground and drew back in alarm, "SHE'S PREGNANT!!!"

"No, she isn't.  Mickey, people get their cats fixed."  A simple call to the veterinarian disabused me of this simple minded error.  A call to the stupid family, who didn't get their cat fixed, rendered an accusation of our altered male cat(cats can't perform in vitro on other cats. Science has proved it.).  They apparently didn't remember the Virgin Mimi's Wild Night Out.

I wasn't a doula yet, but Mimi didn't know that.  When I got up that day, labor had begun.  She followed me everywhere, preferring to be stepped on to being alone.  I figured these things would naturally take their course and went about my day--out of the house from 10 until 4, and dinner with friends.  I knew she was still contracting, but I had no idea that she was waiting.  At ll p.m., I sat down to watch TV.  She laid down in front of me. With the first contraction, I SAW A SPLASH!!!  We moved her to the place we had prepared (in the closet, like the Bible says...).  In moments, there was another cat in the house.

Since she was underway, I thought there would be no stopping her.  Silly me.  When I got up around 2:00, not another cat had been born, so there I sat, doing the doula job.  For a cat.  I didn't like.

A week or so later, I fell asleep in the afternoon because I was laying on the bed in the dark when I woke up, there was a kitten in the corner of the back of my knees, where my leg turns into my foot, and where my leg bends at the hip.  Mimi was found enjoying a leisurely meal.  I was now doing the post partum doula job.  For a cat.  Who clearly loved me.

Cats never do what's expected of them.  Dogs, on the other hand...

Are perfect.

Please consider adopting your next pet, already spayed or neutered, from a rescue organization.  In addition, to your local animal control affiliates, there are also breed specific rescue groups.

3.13.2012

Why It's Crazy to Guide Your Teens Through Life

The title makes it sound like I am going to tell you the reason, when in reality, I am gonna test the theory.

I was waiting tor the children to do their thing(school).  I played a You Tube video.  Okay, it was Cupid Shuffle.  Yes, I realize if I want them to do the work, we have to not take dance breaks.  I think it's spring fever.

Anyway.  One thing led to another and pretty soon I was eating a bacon sandwich and listening to music from new Footloose which led to old Footloose and before I knew it...Lynyrd Skynyrd (shut up).

It was noon and about 80 degrees.  So the kids were outside. I was listening to something vaguely resembling the soundtrack of my youth.  And I realized.

The reason this is crazy is that I remember it.  I don't think we reeeeeally remember being little.  Of course, we can see scenes.  Remember events.  But by the time I was in high school, there was a different consciousness.  Memories are complete enough to revisit with our adult awareness and gather subtext that we discerned, but were as yet to young to interpret.

Whew.

I mean to say, that while some ditty from my youngpersonhood be-bopped in my ear, I glanced back and forth between the video and the kids in the backyard, and I realized the girl I was can completely identify with the needs and wishes and struggles and fears of my daughters at this age.  But.

I am responsible to guide them through making decisions.  By telling them the truth and letting them reject it.  And they seem to have a bit of a biological imperative to do so.

You know when you get to the age when you think, "if only I could go back to high school with the knowledge I have now."?

Then in a couple of years you realize, "even if I went back, it wouldn't be the same."

In a couple more, "not for a million dollars."

Well, guess what?

We do go back with all the knowledge and hard gained wisdom and scars. Unable to use them.

It's not the same.

It doesn't look like we get the million dollars either.

3.11.2012

The Big Red Re-set Button

I have been going around for months with a lot of niggling symptoms that alone mean nothing, but together add up to stuff. I could list them, but they're pretty dull.  So I went in to see the doctor.  New. Woman.  Doctor.

Have you had a mammogram? No.
How long since your last tetanus shot? 19 years.
Pap? 8 years.
Iron?  Apparently, my blood is NOT thicker than water.
Depression?  Moderate.  Not in need of medication.  (Take that old doctor!)

Diagnosis: Acute I-Didn't-Take-Care-of-Me.

Prognosis: Meh.

In the grocery tonight, I started thinking.  It costs nothing to drink one less cup of coffee.  If I want to exercise, I don't have to buy special clothes or equipment.  I have feet.  I can drink water completely free of charge (okay, like pennies a month).

Sunday night is a good time to have those thoughts.  Monday is a good day to begin anything.

A garbage disposal has a reset button.  It's usually red.  And the first thing you try when it acts up is to hit the reset, because you've probably inadvertently let a fork get down there...

Anyway.

I've always thought we need a button for life.  Like the e*sy button, but the reason that ad works, is that we all know there is no easy button in life.  If there were, we would be looking at the hammer headed neighbors; hitting the button.  Standing in line at the Tag agency. Button.  Kids being exorcist aliens in Target or at bedtime.  Button.  Button.  Button.

What was I saying?

I need a red reset button on my health  Naturally, I want it to be big.  So it's more effective.  Because it's real.

I have an exercise video. I have to get up early.  yay.

I need to remember to take my vitamins.  The doc has prescribed Vitamin D and iron with orange juice.  I took the iron without the o.j.  Do NOT do that.  Trust me.

I have to cut back on coffee.  That's hard because it's winter and in the morning, I use it to make me feel less corpse-like.  Coffee has been linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer.  I have no prostate.  No excuse.

I'd really rather just have the button.

Are you taking care of you?  What health habit makes the biggest impact on how you feel?

3.09.2012

Blissdom Blow Up

While I was at Blissdom, they kept referring to things, "blowing up", meaning that they got big, fast.  When I use it, I am referring to the thing that happens when you move toward something good, and it seems that life explodes with distractions.  Oh.  That kind.

Yeah.

That kind.

No more.  Here are the pics from Blissdom.  I have tried to write about it for 2 weeks, and I can't reduce it to a manageable size.  It was awesome and might change my life, if I can beat down the distractions long enough to apply all the inspiration.

I stayed off site.  My room was clean, comfortable, quiet and I got to control the thermostat.  It was a hassle. Live and learn. For a thousand reasons, I will stay on-site next year.  

Before
Really?  Who approved this?  Hilarious.

After.  
Ashley and Shell included me in dinner Thursday.  Thanks!*
 It was a great dinner.  I got to soak in the wisdom about blogging and what kind of an event this is, and....mac and cheese.  I didnt' get the recipe, but I think it might have included shredded $5 bills.

Might as well have been.


Maddie Kertay
I randomly sat down next to Maddie of One Hot Marriage.  Turns out, she went to high school in a suburb that adjoined the one I lived in, graduated a year after me, and knew at least one person I was good friends with.

Esther and Alia
Meet Esther and Alia.  I reeeeally enjoyed getting to know both of them.  Alia of Narrow Paths to Higher Places and I tied on our hiking shoes to go to dinner.  On the way to the burger joint, we passed Esther of Coupons Make It Free and Megan Tietz of Sorta Crunchy who were also enjoying the best available value for dinner-- burgers & fries.  The onions about killed me.  Apologies, Esther and Alia.  Seriously, I was so honored to meet them.

After dinner, we got funky wid it at the Lorax party.

Esther in "Full On Party" Mode
Seriously, the reason this post is so long coming is that blogger and my photos don't get on.  Kind of like a high school boyfriend and your sister who's not buying his crap, but you won't listen to her.

I digress.

Beth had the party started when we showed up.
I was playing like the wind was blowing me away.  Shut up.


Lisa of Franny Bolsa... Love.  Her.

 Seriously.  I was only staying that late, because they promised me Joe Jonas.  That is to say.  My daughters.  Are. 14.

Can he even freaking sing? I don't even know.
No, you may not borrow the car keys. It will do no good to beg.

Okay.  Here is where I explain.  I failed to get photos of the speakers or leaders of sessions.  Because...well, I tried to blame my technology, but the truth is I was all up in my own brain after those sessions, and it never occurred to me.

Check out these "Ess-On-Their-Chest" super heroes:

Jeff Goins Writer
Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder
Jon Acuff's Blog
Her Bad Mother

Life has been trying to squeeze all I learned, dreamed and decided, out of the picture.  Some scary stuff ( They are real and they are spectacular! They are also cancer free. Stay tuned.) and some good stuff on the horizon(When I know; you'll know.).

Last night I realized what was going on.  I put my foot down.  Life is not going to steal this precious gift.

Just to let you know.  I will not be backing up or down. I came away with the word fierce from another session.  Here it is in short form...

AN ACCIDENTAL GUIDE TO WHAT I WILL CONTINUE TO DISCUSS.  MAYBE WITHOUT PULLING PUNCHES

1) Prejudice: racial and otherwise.  I realized I have a call to this issue.  Like clean drinking water or Tom's shoes.   Hearts.  I am called to hearts.  Those of my children.  (See number 2.)  And those of people we call, "well-meaning" when we don't want to call them, "out".
2) Parenting my children without apologizing to them for my chronic un-hipness.(spell-check can kiss my ass cheek, too.)  I may offend some people by saying that I don't think the whole wide world is able to raise the kids God gave me.  It's my job.  I will stand before Him.  Not the state legislature. Not Hil'ry.  Fabulous as she might be, she hasn't even met them. Not the UN. (See number 3).
3) There will be a certain amount of strikethrough cussing here.  I will be discussing my experiences with Christ and the Bible. On the same blog. I think it.  I am not fooling Jesus.  I don't need to fool you.  If I think I do, then I am fooling me.  God doesn't grade on the curve.  It's wrong, but so is rolling stop signs and throwing away soda cans. Turns out, I am a sinner.  Saved by grace.  I didn't stop being human when I was adopted into His family.
4) Adoption.  I'm back, Baby.  He made us different, a bit of an eclectic mix.  And I like it.  It lights me up like a drug.


How are you unique?  What makes you hum?  What is your vision for your blog?  How do you think God wants to use it?






*Please check out the links in this post.  They are diverse as they are quality.  I am humbled by the skill and talent of these people and that they would include me in their own precious Blissdoms.

2.29.2012

A (nother) Break In the Action

All this week and last weekend when I was feeling like some sort of ancient scribe carving my notes in stone.  Or Al Bell screaming into the box with the cord.  Or like a Native American sending up a smoke signal.  I had this crazy feeling that something outside me was interfering with my getting at what I needed to do.

Little nit-picking details to major drama.  I wanted just a minutes quiet to process ALL the new information that I gained at Blissdom into something usable.  That still hadn't happened at bedtime on Monday.

I was tired and already dreading a full week of doctors appointments for me and the Small Fry, when it happened.

I felt a lump.

No, not a lump.  It felt like I had a super ball in there.  It's freaking giant.

It wasn't necessary to alarm anyone.  This is the wrong "phase of the moon" to check.  I had a doctor's appointment scheduled, anyway.

I want to be writing about the future and all it holds.  About how much I learned and how I expect it to change my life.

The doc said it doesn't feel like cancer. Great.  Because I don't feel like having cancer.

The American Cancer Society was a sponsor at Blissdom.  Did I stop by their booth?  I can assure you; I did not.  A mistake I won't make next year.

I don't smoke or drink or stay up late.  I don't technically have a family history (apparently, Aunts don't count to docs.)   I do have stress.  I don't exercise.

God doesn't owe me.

I wanted to freaking do a Wordful Wednesday post today.  With a lot of cute photos of me painting the town a conservative taupe.  As it is, I am asking for prayer.  I am too busy to visit that place.


2.27.2012

Fair Warning: First Blissdom Re-Cap

Things are about to change here at "The Accident."*

After this weekend. After Blissdom. Things are about to change quite a bit.

I will tell the whole story (if only that were possible) in time. But for today, I need you to know:

I got to be silent.  I had a few hours without having to use my mouth; consequently, I am fairly certain I got to complete a thought.

I met some incredible people.

I met some of my own private rock stars; some I had already hoped to meet and a couple of new ones earned status.

The heap o' swag toppled this morning and buried the Small Fry.  We got him out.

My brain was fed.  I hope to process this information into a set of goals and action steps that will make my heroes and teachers proud.  Even the sessions that I felt were kind of, "Meh," as far as personal application for my blog, helped me clarify "What-I'm-About."

It was refreshing to meet dozens of people who blog for real.  IRL, I've had all I could stand with folks flinching when I said, "blog".

I found a place in my heart, that I always believed existed. Far from being a place I locked up because I was uncomfortable, it was a place I had set aside for "special" and forgotten I had.

In that place, I found I know what I am supposed to do.  I am so glad.

For this I am so very, very, grateful.

So.  Consider this fair warning.  Things are about to get real. Unapologetic.  Passionate.  Professional.

Still disorganized.


"The Situation" is thinking of naming his first child after my blog.

2.21.2012

Girl, Please...I am Totally Cool with This. No, Really, I am

Day after tomorrow.

I leave for Blissdom in Nashville, TN.

This is big, my sisters (and like the two men who sometimes stop by, who NEVER leave a comment.).

The fb group for first timers has been a life saver.

It has also distracted me until I have gotten so little done in the last couple of weeks.  I am surprised I can even find my children.

I have found so little time to actually write a post, I am unsure whether I can still call myself a blogger.

I have looked at others' blogs until I am near panic-stricken:
 (1) All the newbies have fancy schmancy designs.  They keep saying, "I am just a small blogger."  People with like 300 followers.
 (2)  I have not seen one of their blogs before.  None of the speakers or "community leaders" is someone whose blog I've even stumbled across before.  Except for Shell.  I would imagine you won't be able to stir the crowd around her with a stick.
 (3)  I haven't had time to keep up with reading others blogs.  Exactly one half of the fun of this hobby.  Maybe I will hit the blogs I follow and see if anyone is going who won't be their first Bliss.

 I am staying off site at a two-star hotel.  If you've never had the experience, I will fill it in.  Two-star means that when they say non-smoking room, they mean that it isn't on fire.  It would be walking distance from the hotel if not for the over pass.  Yeah, I am not walking under there. My stuff will be at my room and I will be at the Opryland Resort.  I am thinking of ditching the fancy dress on Friday night and just wearing jeans. I am torn between staying up late shooting the sh*t with new friends and pouncing on the powerful wifi signal and getting some stuff done. And going to bed.  What seems like a big decision now, may not be in the moment.

Mickey sent me out shopping with the credit card last week.  Two reasons, one because when your man's friend hands him a Kohl's coupon and sends him to get some new clothes, you know he looks bad.  Mickey wouldn't get anything unless I did, so...Okay.  I have already lost one of my sweaters.   That's gratitude for ya.  If my girls did something like this I would be catatonic.  But overall, this is a fracking...YAY!!!

I would totally never have guessed that I needed business cards.  They were a big hurdle for me mentally.  I spent the money and then didn't know if they would arrive on time.  But they came today. 



And as you know, if you follow me on Twitter,  I am just not there very much.  But for these events, it is just about a necessity.  So, after a lot of soul searching, Mickey and I decided He told me to go get this thing or else.  Since I am such a compliant woman...





And there it is.

I also have new glasses, much to the delight of every single person I know.  Because now I might quit complaining about not being able to see stuff.

The kids are all taken care of for the days I am gone. Except the first day.  Yeah, I know.  Shut up.

I will continue to call friends to see if my kids (who, even if I would let them stay by themselves across the street from BLOW Goes Hillbilly, will not do their school work.) [Did you know that more people give up homeschooling and put their kids back in traditional school in February than any other month?]

I will throw my new sweater pants in the bag and gas up the car.

See you there.


2.13.2012

Breaking the Ice

Hey, Y'all!!!

"Why-u-take-my-pic-right-now?" face


I am going to Blissdom '12.

"Really-u-gonna-take-my-pic-NOW?" face
I feel very fortunate to be attending.  I really never thought my dream of attending such a conference would come true this soon.  I am, understandably, I think, a little apprehensive about remembering all the details, arriving on my own and not looking as out of place as a milk bucket under a bull.  Fortunately, there is an fb page for Blissdom Newcomers.  The action on such a page is fast and furious, as the women are wickedly plugged in.

"Sneak-and-take-it-while-she-isn't-looking," shot.


Many are writing an ice breaker post.  So we can all get to know one another.

Creative Kristi Designs



This seems like an assignment I can handle.

Before I learned to use the photo editing software.

Hey, New Friends and Awesome Ladies!!!  I mean you're both. New and Awesome; Friends and Ladies.

I have been blogging for two years, and this is my third blog.  The first on had to do with our adoption.  Everyone had an adoption blog and I thought I should try it out.  A friend or two should mentioned I should have a blog.  I figured that this would be a good start.  By the time we got home from China, blogging had captured me.

My favorite posts over there are:


The Real Cost of Adoption

and

I Win. Again.

Well, things didn't have that airbrushed and pastel quality, that people are generally going for when they add a new member to the family.  So when I got back from China, I stewed a moment and decided to try an anonymous blog.  I am pretty angry when I am anonymous.  Inadvertently, I also chose a name with less SEO than Kim Kardashian or Bigger Breasts or Weight loss.

A Recipe for Thanksgiving

Anonymity didn't work.  I found myself back at blogger and trying to stay out of the way of the cyberstalker person who made me decide not to continue at the other blog.


This looks friendlier in color.
Somehow, I have been here a year and a minute.  Some things are different.  I haven't really been able to embrace the difference.  And now I have another child.  A smaller one.  And less time to gnaw over what I am trying to actually say.

A quick description of our life:

One marriage, 20 years.

Three children...14yo identical twin girls(adopted locally as infants) and a 7 yo boy(adopted from China in 2010).  All are adopted.  None look like me or my husband.  We consider it a call from God to parent children.  We don't feel proficient.  It isn't the same.



He is an architect.  His a very, very, very, very, good one.

I studied education, taught two years.  Homeschool the people now.

We bought an older home hoping to be able to renovate.  5.5 years and quite a number of unfulfilled predictions (by others) later.  It hasn't happened.

Two dogs and an commitment phobic outdoor cat.
 



The girls started high school this year, and are attending their first co-ops.  Homeschool co-op is the best thing ever in the universe.  Imagine, if you will, just happening to walk by when some hairy-legged junior boy is walking up to try and charm your freshman girl.  Imagine.  Making friends with his mom. (cue evil laugh)

The thing is, in this life, things have been hard, in some ways.  I am tired of persevering, and sometimes, I talk to God on the blog.  Sometimes, I swear.  Sometimes, I am unafraid to be critical of the status quo in the institutional church.  As such, I have not invited many IRL friends to the blog.  Mainly, unbeknownst to most of my real life relationships, my blog friends have been the ones to see me through these tough times.

Jesus knows.  He knows all I need and who I am on the inside.  I am so grateful for what blogging and blog friendships have added to my life.

I know that I am going to Blissdom for a reason and because He saw fit to arrange the circumstances.  He is actively re-arranging everything.  I am running everywhere I go.  I am out of breath and dropping balls as I go.  My posts have slowed to one a week-ish, because news happens to fast to know if it will change tomorrow and I have no time to enjoy a good laugh.

I have forgotten how to be funny.  Although I almost had it once or twice.

I think that is a good start new sisters...  Don't be afraid to share your ice breaker, too.

2.01.2012

Nobody Cares, but It Makes Me Feel Better...

I have been a pretty faithful Biggest Loser viewer.  (You noticed I didn't modify their name, did you?)  Who doesn't love a good transformation?  Who doesn't love a good miracle?  I mean, here they are; overwhelmed by the challenge before them.  They take a chance and apply and are chosen for one of a few spots to live apart from distractions and concentrate on healthy living without having to remember to pay the light bill.

Right?

After last night's episode, I am done.

They say it is all done in the editing.  If so, NBC has allowed editing to paint the whole crowd like a bunch of jerks.  After several seasons of recovery after the Heba and Vickie mess (season 6), they have again rounded up a crew of immature females to play miserable, manipulative garbage.  Several seasons running, the group of contestants have linked arms and weathered the game play aspects with trust in the method and positive encouragement as the general rule.  Last night's episode demonstrated that they decided to emphasize the ratings grabbing spiciness of a racy conflict.

That's right, America, where ratings are concerned, "Ignorance is Bliss."


I won't tune in to watch anymore exploitation of anyone's lack of education or home training by the network to increase ratings.  I won't let my kids think that I think that bullying is good family entertainment.  That is what is going on.  Bullying.  There is a Bully and her Toady and a Victim, and all those kids who won't shout, "NO!!!" because they are afraid that the bully will turn their aggression on them.

Symptomatic of these selected combatants is a tendency to display an attitude I am getting from my daughters from time to time, these days-- acting like if they don't get called out, caught, or corrected, that their behavior is up for grabs and it doesn't matter how they act.  In addition, if they feel like they can throw a block conversationally(no matter how stupid), that they have successfully defended the behavior, and they can walk away.  If they can re-direct the blame to ANYONEELSEINTHEUNIVERSE, they have successfully avoided dealing with their own business [And no, I am not ashamed to bust them out on my blog.  There are rules here, too.  Don't do anything you don't want someone to post on their Facebook status.  Really, there are nowhere near as many people looking this as at my Facebook status, so let's re-word it...

DON'T DO ANYTHING YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO READ ABOUT ON YOUR MOM'S BLOG.].

I digress.

The attitude problems that I believe are rampant today, are super-characterized by the candid comments that get edited in and re-inforced by the editing of the trainer's comments in the weigh-in room.  I went to bed before the elimination last night. We won't be tuning in, again.  There is no victory, when people get recognition and greater attention for behaving inappropriately, than for being positive and fighting toward their goals.  For several seasons, I have dozed through the weigh-ins because they drew them out too long, but that is no longer a problem.

NBC doesn't care about one viewer (or one tv set). The sponsors ( We sat around and thought of 7 without effort..there have to be more.) don't care about one family's purchase of their product. As long as most people keep on tuning in and buying sh...tuff.  Goodness knows there is not one person on earth who needs to be watching more TV.  I realize this doesn't make me very PR friendly.  But I am going to think for myself and my family, first and deal with the bullet wound in my foot later.

I know no one cares, but as for me and my house...we will do something that is real and entertaining.  Where the challenges are real and the victories legit.

1.26.2012

You Kiss Me with That Mouth? #momfail

Grace is the word for the day.

For all of us.

Particularly, me.  Who received a lovely compliment in the form of a link on FB, which in a moment of unguarded sonambulism...allowed in my timeline.  Which wouldn't be a problem, except for one thing.

I write at "PG-13", content and vocabulary-wise.  While the majority of my IRL friends watch PG-13 and rated R movies.  They would not allow someone to come into their homes and speak to their children in that fashion.

I respect their preferences, so I have a separate FB identity for linking the blog.  I admit it is a hassle and I am not all that good with it.

Which obviously, no longer matters, since I busted myself out while patting my own back.  In my sleep.

The figurative bounce down the stairs on my tailbone wasn't finished.

The other night, the kids and I hung out with friends.  One hazard of homeschooling is the attitiude of "school night; schmool night." with regard to bedtimes on weeknights when something fun is on tap.  The 14yo girls contingent ran off and we heard a lot of marginally wicked stuff, but not anything alarming and the dads ran off and the little boys played knee ball.  Until.  Midnight.

Blah blah blah

We run into these friends last night.  They told a cute story that ended up with something being revealed that I had heard about from one of my daughters about the other, but long story short, my children are using PG-13 language to offend their friends.

Deserve it?

I do.

In trouble?

Believe me, if I could figure out anything that wasn't soaked in double standard, they would be.  But I can't.

Remember?  Grace is the word of the day.

They showed grace to me.

Their daughter showed grace to mine.

I am struggling to extend grace to myself for raising girls with the mouth of a longshoreman.

For having to redefine dreams.

For realizing that there are other moms of 14 year-olds who are dealing with MUCH worse than this.

For realizing I can't be mad at my kids for being a mirror of who I am.


None-too-cute.

What I believe is what determines my behavior.

Humility?

Thinking before I speak?

I have almost none.

Grace.

Here on Walton's *stinking* Mountain.

Right now is grace to them.

They don't realize I know, yet...

while I ride them per usual about leaving co-op work until the day before,

while I prepare foods they feel too good to consume,

while I prepare for an evening where they get all caffeine -d up and spend the night yelling, because they can't control themselves,

until I can handle it once and be done.

Interestingly, this happens on a week when we had a meeting at church and discussed how some women feel isolated.  They get the feeling everyone else is perfect and if people really knew their "business", they would not be considered good enough to be friends with.  Okay, that doesn't sound quite right. I keep trying to fix it, and that's what I mean.  The point is: we were able to have the meeting.  In some places, that meeting doesn't take place.  Not everyone loved it.  Not everyone shared.

You see, now my friends know I am faking to their faces.  My kids are only behaving as they have seen me behave and they know I would not approve.  But as long as I don't know... (where could they have learned that?)

Bottom line.  Time has run out for being who I want people to believe I am.  I'm outed.  Wish it were on something like how great a writer I am or that I am the real D.B. Cooper.

There's not much telling how long this has been going on or what else the little beauties think is honoring to themselves and their family.  (tongue so far in cheek I am almost to choke).  I raised kids who aren't smart enough to know that tells who they are.  There's no way out of my responsibility for my disappointment in this case.

#momfail.

Grace or no grace.

1.23.2012

Pick: A Young Man's Guide to Love

It's nearly Valentine's Day.  The day of....romance.


We all understand that Valentine's Day isn't reeeeeally for Mom's to give cards to their children.  They have birthdays.  It isn't reeeeeally for husbands to give cards to their wives, because they would have to buy it themselves have anniversaries.  So by extension...


Valentine's Day is for people who are or would like to be Sweethearts.


(This in no way lets the husband off the hook for bringing the Valentine's Day Noise.  However.  That is a topic for another day.)


Sweethearts.


"A young man's thoughts turn to love."


Too bad for him.


AN ACCIDENTAL GUIDE FOR YOUNG MEN WHO THINK THEY'RE GONNA DATE MY DAUGHTER 


1) She's 14.  You have a lot of time to think this over and decide if I, Their dad, They, She is worth the trouble. Back. Up. Off.


2)  If you can't tell them apart, you don't know who you are attracted to.  If you can't declare a name. you are not ready to date my daughter.  But again, you have plenty of time to figure out who is who.


3) Introduce yourself to their daddy. If you are really even just their friend, you should be polite.  One man failed to do this, and I am still hearing about it. It is key that you not make more work for me in the husband/father management department.  I can sabotage you... something about a rash...


Moving on.


4) You have a couple of years to practice Facebook awareness.  Clean up that page and have fewer pictures of yourself smelling the hair of girls in expensive gowns.  Who are you posting for? Clearly, not your mother.  A girl doesn't want to be just a face in the crowd.  (see rule 2)


Loathe as parents are to admit it, we WILL be stalking you on Facebook.  They should call it Characterbook.  Your timeline shows the real you like you are standing naked in the room.  Man up. Quit giggling and listen. We can tell the main thing in your life by the way you run your page.


5)   Think forward.  Be nice to her little bro. By the time she can date, Little Dude will be able to spy on you, sabotage you, let the air out of your tires or spill hot coffee on your crotch.  She doesn't think a lot of him; if she is telling you to be nice, you best do it.  Make friends with him first.  It will melt her stony heart.


6)  It's only fair to warn you, we aren't "date as many people as you can possibly get to sign your dance card" people.  We are "don't go out with anyone who is not a reasonable choice for a mate; whether it works out or not" people.  If you are planning to keep your options open, there are a lot of girls out there whose parents only require that you come to the door to pick her up.  Break their hearts. We haven't got time for the pain.


7) Grass grows everywhere.  This man works so hard, he doesn't need to be climbing on roofs and cleaning gutters.  There is no reason that when you finish at your house, you can't amble by here.  Mickey's hands need never touch the "self-propel" handle.


Only if you are interested.


8) There is at least one man ahead of you.  When he sees me he says, "Hello, How are you doing today?" He treats me like a friend of his mom's, which I am.  I am a friend of your mom's, too.  I am a friend of your mom's who has a lot of stuff that needs carrying to the car.


I am SO not kidding.


9)  You would do well to study up on Architecture and take a golf lesson.  You are going to have to visit with the dad.  He knows what goes through your mind.  Bad for you.  He was 17 once.  You have your work cut out.  You will probably watch a lot of movies and sports with him before you EVER get to be alone with his daughter. 



10)  Her sister.  She will always come first.  If she doesn't like you, you are toast.  Burned toast.  Cut, burnt toast.


11)  We are old school.  You may assume that the TELEPHONE is working at our house.  You are invited to treat this human being like a lady and have an actual spoken conversation with her.  If you don't care to do that, you don't care enough.  Text is for telling husbands to bring home milk and wives that you cannot tell time will be late. You may even feel free to call her dad on the phone and ask him if you can bring a pizzas over and watch the movies with him on Friday.


SO THAT ONE DAY WHEN THEY ARE ACTUALLY OLD ENOUGH TO DATE, YOU WILL BE WAY AHEAD OF THE PACK OF DOGS


12) This is my treasure.  Right up behind Jesus.  If she isn't the same for you, keep searching.  If she is worth it, a short set of rules is a small price to pay.  Jacob worked 14 years for the woman he loved... And as long as she lives under our roof, we are going to be helping her discern the Best from the Good Enough.


Keep your mouth shut and your eyes and heart open.  Know all about her when you walk up to her the first time.  (Not in a crazy stalker-y way...in a good time management way)  And there is plenty of time.


Happy Valentine's Day.  In 2014.


Sweetheart.




I am sharing my awesome with Momma Made It Look Easy.












Share Your Awesome

1.19.2012

Friendship, Fear and Trepidation...

Most of this was written on January 18

Y'AAAALLLL....

Okay, first of all, let me just say!!!

This internet strike is happening on my birthday.

I have two friends who are having major life drama.  On my birthday.

Today is the 5th anniversary of my cousin's death.

I am 45 years-old and still think it is all about me.  On my birthday.

That is now off my chest.  No, I mean it.  It completely is, and y'all know the drill.  Blogging is free therapy.   Seriously.

Because I love you and I want to be entirely honest, I will tell you.  When you are just about to be old, gifts stop being whatever is on your list, and start being intangibles.

Loving that pair of boots?  Go ahead and get them.  You are getting love for Christmas and your birthday.  This is not a complaint.  You are getting love and boots.  It's a good thing.

I have been hinting, so I will just tell you all I have been blessed with... Just like a kid coming back to school from Christmas Winter, wait...NO... Christmas break and  having to write a Theme.  I am going to tell you what I got for Christmas and my birthday.

Bah.  Ha.  Ha.

#1  A Tiara...  I am fascinated by  what causes someone to fall in love.  Having known each other in the blog for just a minute, Carrie reminded me of who I am and what I am worth by sending me an actual crown in the real life mail. And a very speical card. Like people used to do.  Back when f*ceb**k didn't exist and the word 'friend' meant something.

#2  An IRL friend made Christmas possible for my kids.  I am not sure what we would have done otherwise.  Probably jacked up some credit cards, like idiots.  It was a sacrifice for them.  Seriously, y'all.  Just like, Jesus' love.  We didn't earn it and don't deserve it.  Can't really explain it.  Thanks are not, either, enough.

#3  How do you explain?  Some folk appeared out of nowhere. Incredibly fun, generous, challenging people.
A conversation in August, that retreat in October, um...friendship.  Sheesh.  It's that thing again.  How do you explain when someone just ambles into your life and starts loving you.  And it's a couple friends thing.  Does anyone else get silly and, like, all middle school crushy...about your couple friends?

Probably, that's just us.

We know they already have everyone someone else, but it's not out of the question for me to go all Tayl*r Sw*ft on them... I would have to lose about 85 pounds or, alternatively, while I am  already being creepy, I could just send T.S. some sandwiches.  In the mail.

#4  People keep giving us clothes.  The girls and I don't have to dress like it is an office or wear uniforms.  Marcus is taken care of. It hasn't been in the budget and some really cool women with some incredible taste have been cleaning out their closets.

#5  Since, "the merger", Mickey has gotten two messages.  They didn't have not one single thing to do with me.  They just gave me courage. Both of them do what I do all the time,  Remind him how good he is at his job; but, much like your mom telling you you're beautiful, it comes from someone who doesn't HAVE to say it.  (Perhaps, you know me well enough by now that you know that I don't say anything if I feel I have to. [I digress.]) I really wish I could elaborate.  REALLY.

#6  Okay...I just struggle to title my posts.  You are wondering this whole time, "What in the world? How many times have I explained SEO to her?  Oh my GOSH!"  So there was a reason and here it is...

I'm Going, Y'all! - Blissdom

Jennifer, from Momma Made It Look Easy, mentioned way back in the summer that she was going to Blissdom.  Well, her plans changed.  She passed her registration along to me. And again, I am blown away.

 I have never been to a blog conference, and I am trying to study up. I am scared.  Will I be the frumpiest?  Is there an award for that?  I am sure to be among the oldest.  The website says that crying in the restroom is not allowed.  What is the penalty for that?  What if I am not computer-y enough?  What if people laugh at my gigantic-butt, ancient, carved-from-stone laptop?  Seriously.

I need to get down to the serious business of putting to bed my commitments for the three days of conference, praying that my husband's bat-poo crazy, work life doesn't come up with some fabricated obstacle; and asking for the grace to plan my outfits, food and budget to disguise the fact that I haven't been out of my house for 12 years.  It is with a certain amount of fear and trepidation that I tell you...

I am 'geeked'.

And overwhelmed.

Again.

Thank you, Jennifer.

Thank you, all of my friends the hands and feet of God's extravagant love in my life.

I'm such a dork.




I'm sharing my Awesome with Jennifer.  You should too.


Share Your Awesome

1.13.2012

Don't Like the Story? Stay Tuned; It Will Change.

In the previous post, I referred to a new willingness to trust God in a way I hadn't been.

Well...

Now, look.

The point is, when you tell Him that kind of thing, a lot of people might think you are asking for it.

Here is what He will do...

1)  He will lead you down a road you didn't know existed, but He had been constructing for months.

when Mickey returned to the office after the holiday his firm had merged.

2) He will cause you to notice all the signs along the way.  That you had overlooked when you were digging for toll money.

That morning in my study, I felt strongly about one answer to a question that said, God would be able to move in our lives if we'd get out of His road and let Him.  I knew it would be soon.

3) Just when you think there are probably no more surprises, and now it is another excruciating wait until you find out the conclusion of this chapter that could go all good or all bad, there is another surprise.

While we knew that none of this mess had gone unnoticed by a loving and generous Father whose timing is never wrong; it turned out that it had also not escaped the attention of other people, who, if they can't do anything about it can at least affirm and support.

Extra bonus:  Mickey gets off the phone and says, " [Dude] said everything you have been saying the whole time."  Folks, I am not mad.  I am in my house with my kids, my training is in Education, not Business or whatever.  The other guy...decent Arghitect.  (I just invented that word.)

4) The surprise that looks juicy and would make the obvious, quick, neat & tidy, happily ever after to this story, turns out to be just another in a list of possibilities that look...okay.


 5)Again, He shows you, "See what I have been doing up to now? Am I going to follow through?"

Y'all, just every day and hour, I am grateful.  I have PMS, I have been forgetting to take my supplements.  Friday was a rude re-entry into the rude routine.  But peaceful as after the kids go to bed.

6) And when you heave a sigh of relief, "BAM."  Another Confetti-Cannon-of-"What-In-The-World?"...

Friends...real friends...so much more than I deserve.


I prayed some weird prayers in December: "God, I want to feel."  "Father, Help me be more fun for my family."  I told Him I was trusting Him.  No matter what.  I do my job, and He does His.


I am sharing my Awesome with Jennifer@Momma Made It Look Easy.


Share Your Awesome

1.12.2012

Indelicate Subject Thursday: Wastefulness.

...warning: for reasons that remain unclear, I have not been able to rest until I explored this topic with my blog friends.  However, the squeamish and those whose 4th -8th graders may read over their shoulders, may wish to return to the blog on another day. 

One aspect of my daily life about which I have been fairly silent, is my interest in natural remedies.  I enjoy learning natural non-pharmaceutical ways of treating common concerns.  Not limited to chiropractic and dietary supplements, there is also, hydrotherapy (long hot soak in the bath, anyone?) bodywork (massage?) and a variety of ways of cleansing and purifying the body's tissues and internal organs in order to help us feel our best.

So I own this book that I refer to as "The Big Book of Refuses to Go to the Doctor".  It has a listing of supplements with their benefits and side effects, a section with conditions and their causes and treatments, and an alternative therapies section with a guide to doing them safely at home (like, color therapy or fasting, for example).

Deep in the nether regions of this massive tome (my first car was smaller) there is a section on...

Ugh.

(...this is the reason I am not a nurse)

Enemas. Colonic. Cleanse.

In all their varieties...

I don't remember them all, but one, I do.  I am not going to lie, Y'all.  I am offended.

Someone decided this was a treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It's wasteful; I tell you.  Someone got drunk and said, "Hey, it's 6 months until daybreak, and this stuff's gone cold.  I have an idea!"

I would never have guessed unless I had read it in the pages of a book (Wait until Levar hears about this!).

Coffee...

That's not where it belongs.

public-domain-photos.com



 Sorry, I don't know what got into me...but I can tell you what didn't.