Thursday, May 31, 2007

Family in Town.....

Hello Bloggy friends,
We have family staying with us for the next week, and we are heading away for a mini vacation. Needless to say, that doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging. I'll catch up with y'all next week when we get back!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Little Things We Take For Granted

Sometimes we don't realize just how good we've got it.

This week was my son's 7th birthday, and to celebrate we brought in cookies to class and then took several boys to see Shrek 3 after school, then to a barbecue at our home.

I made peanut butter cookies and took them in yesterday afternoon. The response was shocking. The kids said "are these homemade? We NEVER get homemade cookies", then they proceeded to tell my son he was the luckiest kid in the world and had the BEST mom. I heard things like "if I had a mom, she'd make good cookies too". Or "my mom works all the time, but she made cookies this one time, but burned them."

OK guys, I was almost in tears by the time I left. These kids were won over by something as simple and easy as homemade cookies. If I wasn't at a public school, I could have easily preached to their open little hearts. I'm crying even now thinking about it.

That afternoon we took 7 boys to the party. We treated them to the movie, popcorn, an sodas. My husband took the day off work to help with this adventure! One little boy who does not have a father wanted nothing to do with the other boys, he wanted to hang out with my husband. He followed him around like a little puppy, hanging on his every word. This particular kid is tagged a "troubled" kid, yet with us, he was perfect, so eager to please.

God can use the little things to change lives. We often don't realize the little things we take for granted are BIG things to a child without. I'm not talking material things here, but random acts of kindness, or gifts of our time.

You get a harvest by planting a few seeds.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

I've been meaning to do this tag for quite some time, so here it goes...

1. Sometimes... I eat chips and chocolate for breakfast...

2. I have this fantasy of being a worship leader, but I have no singing talent whatsoever. Don't we always want the gifts we didn't get? Anyway, I love crazy loud worship, I'd probably get myself into trouble (which consequently IS one of my gifts)

3. I like grouchy old Republican men who say it like is, even if I don't always agree 100%. It's nice to hear someone NOT afraid to be politically incorrect.

4. I love hippie dresses, Indian food, and blue grass.

5. I'm obsessed with lip gloss...

6. I moved out of my house when I was 16.

7. I write poetry and music

8. I have 10 loads of laundry waiting for me as I write this, and my husband is out of underwear.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

White Capri's and Chocolate

Why is it, that I can wear jeans everyday and NEVER sit in chocolate, but the day I wear my white Capri's.....
In a loud 6 year old voice, "Mom, is that poop on your butt?" "What? Of course not" I turn slowly around and check out my back side. OH MY GOODNESS! A HUGE smear of chocolate, right where it shouldn't be.
Here is the sad part.... It wasn't even my chocolate.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Rantings Of An Alcoholic's Daughter

* Warning, this is a very depressing post. Only read it if you can handle someone feeling WAY too sorry for herself.*

Today is one of those days where a sad oppression hangs over me. I just can't seem to shake off the weekend and start my Monday fresh.

My father has been an alcoholic pretty much all of my life, but his decline has been more evident these last few years. As he crosses unthinkable thresholds, I cry out to the Lord, but I know that he doesn't want to be helped. What will the Lord do in that situation?

I remember when he started drinking before noon... now it's before breakfast. I remember when it was rare he would be drunk in front of my children, now they don't know him sober.

This weekend he came to my daughter's ballet recital drunk. You could smell him from three rows away. He got up at least 10 times in an hour and 1/2 performance and MISSED both my girls dances. He embarrassed me, he hurt me, and right now, I hate him as much as I love him.

I want to run and hide from this, but my mother can't. I can't abandon this part of my family, it's not fair to her. How can I leave her to watch my father drink himself to death... alone? Anyway, the goodness my family gets from knowing her makes the pain of watching him almost bearable.

I find myself wishing he would just get his slow suicide over with so she could be free of this burden... but I wonder, does he know the Lord? Sometimes it's so hard to know. I've tried to talk to him about it, but does he really hear me through the intoxication?

Years of prayer have not resulted in his deliverance, but perhaps have lessened the pain.. I can not know what God has done, but I know he is here. He cries with me at the loss of who my father was, and what he has become. Missed opportunities, soured relationships, and wasted years. God only knows what could have been.
"Oh Father, spare his soul. Keep me and my children far from this curse... may my grandchildren never know the pain of being an alcoholic's child. Amen"

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Peak At My Grocery Cart

The grocery saga continues. I saw a post the other day at ee's blog that I enjoyed. She took pictures of all of her groceries. How cool is that? An opportunity to look into another bloggers grocery cart! So, I decided to let you all peek inside mine! I took a picture of EVERYTHING I bought.... check it out.

Yes, we are a cereal kind of family... see there are oats, for oatmeal. The Honey Smacks were a total moment of weakness. My five year old REALLY wanted the toy inside. I'm such a push over. Is that ice cream cones in there????

My husband alone can polish off a carton of ice cream. Talent I tell ya! Oh, and my new favorite lunch, Garden Burger wraps. They are sooo good and only have 240 calories. That's about the same as a Slim Fast, but so much tastier!

Cooking stuff, juice, and our family staple, freshly ground peanut butter.

There was another butter, but I think it's melting in the car as we speak. Check out how lazy I am. Pre-marinaded steak. Pre-made chicken shish kabobs. Any thing I can do to save a few minutes.

Got to have those snacks!

Here is my carb picture. Brown basmati rice, whole wheat artisan bread, and mini croissants. Also there is day old ciabatta bread to make homemade croutons (one of my money saving tips). I also bought turbinado sugar (in the bulk bag) and white four to make peanut butter cookies... YUM.

My veggies just might counteract the ice cream and Honey Smacks. We have strawberries (for strawberry rhubarb pie... forget my previous comment about counteracting the ice cream). Salsa, avocados, cucumbers, mushrooms, asparagus, carrots, and look REAL lettuce, Not prewashed in a bag! Reallyniceday ruined my bagged lettuce obsession.

Not in the grocery department, I found these cute little pictures for my daughters room. They are shadow boxes with sand that and little pieces of shell. We just bought her a surfer girl type comforter on clearance at Pottery Barn Teen, and I thought these would be the perfect addition.

So, the grand total for this weeks worth of groceries (not including the art) ..... $118. Still about $20 over my goal, but getting better.

What's on the menu this week? In no certain order:

1. Our favorite chicken dish (a casserole with stuffing and Swiss, and way too much butter) and green beans.

2. 7 Minute Super ( another casserole with veggie meat, durkey onions, peas, gravy mix etc) not all that healthy, but only takes 5 minutes to prepare. Salad.

3. Frozen Enchiladas and corn (left over from a previous week)

4. Croissants filled with sauteed mushrooms, Swiss and dijon mustard, with creamy cucumber and avocado soup.

5. Steak, baked potatoes and asparagus

6. Chicken shish kabobs, whole what artisan bread, and salad
7. Homemade sweet pea soup with fresh herbs and homemade spelt bread
There you have it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm 30!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's official. Today, I am 30!

Surprisingly, I feel fine. I thought I'd end up freaking out, but here I am, happy. I think I have felt 30 for quite some time to be honest with you. I had kids early, bought houses early, heck, I've lived a very full life so far. I think I'm ready to retire to Arizona and start a quilting group!

So, I close the chapter on my 20's, a season of pregnancies, babies, hubby building career, etc. I definitely feel more mature, more in tune with God, and would you beleive it... more adventurous!

God willing, what will the 30's bring???

*I wannna see God MOVE. Not just in mine and my families lives, but in the lives around me!

*I want to continue to make good health a priority.

*I want to travel more.

*I want to successfully parent adolescents. By the time I'm 37, I'll have 4 of them in the house!!!!

*I want bring my relationship with my husband out of our typical "Mommy and Daddy" role, back into something with more personal identity. More sex. (Yup, I said it, but after a whole decade of pregnancies and babies, I'm excited to enter a new phase in our relationship.)

*Financial Freedom. No mortgages... NOTHING

Who knows where God will take me, but I'm excited for the ride!

Oh, check out my birthday present to myself .... New highlights! We are doing a party at my mom's house this weekend, but tonight, red wine and strawberries with a bunch of friends... does it get better than that????

Monday, May 14, 2007

Yup... I Still Got It

I turn 30 in two days. It hasn't been THAT traumatic for me, but I must admit that while I don't fear the number 30, I'm not all that excited about aging. My ego has seen better days as I am starting to notice the first little signs of age.
Today I waited on my porch for my kids bus to arrive, as I normally do. My children came running off the bus with big smiles and back packs in tow. Time for hugs and kisses, then off to freshly baked pumpkin bread and milk, waiting for them at the table. I did the typical run down, how was your day, etc. My daughter replied, "it was great, until the bus dropped us off, and the teenage boys on the bus said "that's your mom? She's hot!" "
This is where my jaw drops.......
Then I try to hide my smile......
Then my daughter says "isn't that gross, your so OLD".
Ego back in check..... almost. OK. It's no where near in check... I'm the HOT mom! YEAH YIPPEE WAHOOO. Yup.... I still got it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Kitchen Slacker and High Grocery Bills

Has any one else noticed food prices rising? As if the gas prices aren't high enough, we get to enjoy the "trickle down effect" and pay more for EVERYTHING.
So here's the deal. Each week I usually spend about $100 at my major grocery shopping "adventure". That doesn't include little stops for milk, or other things we may have run out of, or going out to eat (which we do once a week or so).
For the last two months, I haven't been able to get it under $130... and it's often been MUCH higher. No I haven't suddenly started adding halibut and fine wine to the menu. Same stuff as always.
That leaves me in a predicament. Find ways to cut grocery costs, or "gasp" take money out of the "fun money fund". NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
I thought about knocking out our healthy convenience foods (salad in a bag, sprouted wheat bread, ETC....) BUT, in reality I never have time to make these things from scratch and we end up eating fast food. That costs us more AND I get fat. Totally not the point. I just don't get it, but lettuce pre-washed in a little plastic bag gets eaten right up around here... but if it's in it's "natural" lettuce state, it just rots in my fridge.
SO, I need tips. I don't have time to cook all my meals from scratch, and we like to eat healthy (OK, maybe we don't like to, but we try to).What are your best grocery saving tips?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Sweet Worship

Today as I was planning out my menus, I heard my little guy (just turned 5) dragging his Daddy's big guitar across the floor and start strumming it. My first inclination was to go take from him and scold him for "getting into stuff he's not supposed to", but as I walked into the room, I could only stand and listen. He was doing his best to play that big ol' guitar and he was singing... I thought the words were so sweet, I grabbed my grocery list and wrote down the words to his song.

Jeeesuuussss .... lives
He lives in a manger
He lives in us

Jesus Cwist
He hadn't did a bad thing

He's really BIG

He helps lots of people
Even us

He is good
He likes da devil, but he don't like da things dat he do


Went in da people's tummy
Da Devil is rude

He loves us every day
He loves us more than you know

Oh, sweet worship. You better believe next I hear that big guitar thumping across the hardwood floors, I'll not go to stop him... but to listen to some of the most beautiful music a momma ever heard.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Do You Feel The Love?

One thing I've learned since making this big shift in my life (public school vs homeschool) is that they all don't like each other much. Boy, I've gotten all sorts of opinions and advice (all unsolicited of course) from the folks in my town.
First, I got the homeschooling crowd who quite verbally states I've fallen into a state of sin. Yup, I'm damning those kids strait to hell. That I am mislead. Oh, and I can hear the the hushed whispers... "maybe she's getting divorced...NOPE, maybe she has to go back to work.... NOPE, maybe she's become a Satanist.. OK, I didn't really hear that one, but that's what it feels like. Could it be that maybe she heard God? Oh no, that would be too far fetched. Only wretched sinners put their kids in public school.
Oh, but even better are the comments from the Christian public schoolers. "Oh, I'm so glad you stopped doing that homeschool thing, it just isn't good for your kids." or "I'm so glad you've come around, those homeschoolers are weird." Hello! Up until 3 weeks ago I WAS one of those weird homeschoolers, and there is a decent chance I'll be one again.
So, here I am in the middle. Don't hate the homeschoolers, don't hate the public schoolers, but they all hate me. Oh well, I'm feeling the love from the big guy. Isn't that all that matters?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Good, The Bad, And The Down Right Nasty

What do drunk men dirty dancing, divorcees macking on my husband, brown nosing, and me in a really great dress all have in common? My husbands company party of course!

His work sends everyone in the bank to a weekend getaway at a resort. Basically it's a weekend where people are supposed to bond, they give out rewards etc, etc.

In reality, Most everyone is drunk by dinner, so it's time for slurry brown nosing, undercooked salmon, and a three hour speech about who had the best golf game.

Once they get to the dancing, the newly divorced women are on the prowl with dresses so low even I can't help but stare. As I walked off to get a glass of WATER, one of these "ladies" came up to MY husband. Com'on ladies, we all know what flirting looks like. In my head I'm thinking, oh lord, help me love her. Nope, didn't happen, no pity. no understanding, just visions of me kicking banker girl butt. Ah but at last, my husband is oblivious to such things (the flirting, not the low cut dresses), and got distracted by 20 year old man bumping and grinding with his 50 year old bosses wife!

Seriously, people shock me! God is teaching me to love, even when I don't feel like loving, but if this was a test, I failed.

We made a VERY early departure (this is our 2nd year at this event and we knew where it was going), and ultimately had a great weekend. No kids, fishing for the hubby, spa treatments for me. Ahh, mineral soaks and an hour Swedish Massage, followed by tanning. And I did get a great dress. It was a black wrap dress that totally hid the tummy evidence of 4 babies... love those kinds. I read an entire novel, ate carbs, and best of all, got hours alone with my darling!

Came back and loved on my babies, did some laundry and had some blog time. All in all it was a pretty great weekend.

Friday, May 4, 2007

God Is Bigger Than The Wolves

I mentioned on my first post that God was making some BIG changes in my life. My escape from legalism has been a process as God breaks me free, one chain link at a time. Some "links" are bigger and stronger than others.

The thing that keeps me in more bondage than anything else is FEAR. In my adult life I have done far more out of fear than faith, and guess what God wants to change!

That gets me to a major thing God is doing right now...... public school. Yup, you heard me right. We decided to put our 3 oldest children in public school for the last 6 weeks of the year (they just finished up their second week).

How we got there is a long story (I know, I write LONG blogs... but I'll write less when I have less to say (+: ), so if your curious how a legalistic momma that said she would NEVER put her kids in public school had a change of heart, keep reading.

About 4 weeks ago, my husband started mentioning the school in our little town. It is quite small, and we have several Christian friends who are VERY happy with it. My kids have NOT been happy with homeschooling in this "small town" as there is no support and very few other homeschoolers. They had been quite verbal to their daddy about this. I however would NEVER hear this. "Homeschooling is the ONLY way. We tried private school and didn't like it, and I'm not going to feed my kids to the wolves at public school!"

Within a week a series of events led my husband to beleive that putting our kids in for the last 6 weeks of school was what we were supposed to do and he set up a meeting with the superintendent. He reluctantly drug me to the meeting while I said "if one thing freaks me out, the kids are NOT going". So after I grilled the superintendent for an hour expecting to catch him in Christian hating, liberal promoting, man/boy love association, gender bending brainwashing agenda, he suprised me. He was a CHRISTIAN. He agreed with me 100%. In fact, I think he felt more staunchly about the issues than I. Being that it is a small town, they still call the "winter" program, The Christmas program. Their after-school program is at the local church where they DO teach the kids about God, and they teach evolution as a theory.. not a fact.

Wouldn't you think I'd feel better? NOPE. I was still going to homeschool my kids, because public school is EVIL. We've all heard the arguments that it is un biblical to put your kids in public school. That 75% of evangelical kids who attend public school leave the church. Common, I'd have to be a terrible parent to play Russian Roulette with my kid's souls, but my kids were unhappy, my husband was against me, and darn it... God wasn't telling me a darn thing.

I grabbed my bible, and prayed and cried for 2 hours, about the situation. I still heard nothing, God was silent. So I said to my husband. "6 weeks, then if I want to homeschool them next year, it's my call." he agreed, and they were enrolled to start MONDAY!

As I dropped them off for the first day, I felt NO peace. My stomach turned as I went to leave my kids in the hands of the "enemy". I went home and yelled at God "WHY did you let me do this? I am feeding my kids to the wolves!" God, in his BIG God voice said into the very depths of my soul "I AM BIGGER THAN THE WOLVES. TRUST ME"

WOW! Finally a God peace came over me, I had no faith that God could take care of my kid's, NONE, isn't that sad?

Then, later that day the mailman brought me some books I ordered via Amazon. They had taken so long to arrive, I had forgotten about them. One of the books was called "Why Christian Kids Rebel". I sat down with the book and read nearly the entire thing. It was no accident it came when it did.

This book was by far the BEST parenting book I have ever read, because it applied directly to the mistakes I was making. No, I don't have kids currently in rebellion, but I could see it coming. This book talked about over sheltering your kids and keeping them in a spiritual attic, so they could never experience God for themselves. That was huge! My kid's faith was my faith. They never got to witness Gods power in ways that pertained to them, because I was to afraid to let them! My kid's life required them to have no faith of their own. Fine for my 4 year old, but for my 11 year old who was getting fed up worshiping a God she didn't know... it was an issue.

So, wrather that go on forever here, I'll let you know that school is not nearly as evil as I thought. In fact, I see more spiritual growth in my children than I have ever seen. No everything is not perfect, the school has it's issues, but THAT is where we see God working. My oldest daughter is starting to hear God for the 1st time, REALLY hear him.

2 weeks into it, my kids LOVE it. There has been days where tears were shed, but we've had the day that my 6 year old came home and said, "Guess what! Everyone in my class is a christian!" Our reply "how do you know that?" "Because today I shared God with everyone and when I was done, they all decided to become Christians." Or the mother who stopped me and said that my 9 year old was an answer to her daughters prayers. The little girl had been praying for a special friend in her class, and our daughters became INSTANT best friends., Or watching the compassion developing in my oldest daughter. She let an impoverished girl in her class have her favorite sweatshirt, and stood up for some native American kids who were being teased. Pretty amazing stuff for an 11 year old.

I have no idea where God will lead my family next year. Whether it's to homeschool, or public school, I plan on trusting that no matter where God sends us, I can have faith, because God is bigger than the wolves!