Monday, September 30, 2013

Remembering Tea Time

The weather turned decidedly more fall like last week.
I love it.
The cooler temps mean I am back to my morning cup of tea.

There is nothing like hearing the kettle whistle
and pouring that steaming water into a cup.
Last week, I got out my grandmother's tea cups.
They are dainty, and flowered, and pretty, and...
So full of memories.

My Gramma, whom I wrote about here. used to serve us tea in them a good bit.
Hot tea, sugar, and milk.
Homemade cookies, or if we were lucky, apple k├╝chen.
Watching her move about a kitchen was neat.
She did things "just so" and was usually humming or singing in German.
We loved using the "fancy cups", and despite the fact that I was a tom-boy who
broke things at a furious rate, she would let me use these.
I was always cautioned to "be gentle!"
And then she would often utter "Nicht Noch Einmal!"

So, taking out a cup, just one, was hard.
It made me miss my Gramma terribly.
It brought back the painful reality of death.
The things my boys will never hear from directly from her.
But if we put away these tangible memories,
we miss out on passing along the bits and pieces of the past
that make us, well... us.

So despite the pain, I choose to remember.
And today, I will have tea, in fancy tea cups, with my 11 year old son.
I made cookies and muffins for us yesterday.
I will caution him to be gentle.
I will rebuke him in German, and hopefully,
create a memory for him to share with his own children someday.

One of my very favorite quotes...

“It is often said that something may survive of a person after his death if that person was an artist and put a little of himself into his work. It is perhaps in the same way that a sort of cutting taken from one person and grafted onto the heart of another continues to carry on its existence even when the person from whom it had been detached has perished.” 
                                                                                                             -Marcel Proust

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm selling my buttocks...

That title may sound like a think a lot of my own booty.
However, it is not appearances that I am speaking about, rather ability.

You see, I apparently have a magic butt.

The moment, yes, the very moment my derriere hovers near the seat of the commode,
my children magically appear.

I have stopped summoning them via normal methods.
Why call for them?
I can simply go to the bathroom
and before you can say, "Thomas Crapper"... there are my beloved offspring.

In this crooked old house we live in, there is but one bathroom for all of us.
One potty.
Four boys.
One girl.

Can you see what I am up against?!?!

I admit, I routinely covet when people have multiple toilets.
When my friend bought a new house this spring, I stopped counting at three.
I asked her "just how many toilets are in this house?"
"Um... five." She replied sheepishly. "But one doesn't work right now!"
"Five?" I practically fell over. "I don't know if we can even be friends anymore, I
am coveting so much!" I moaned.

I mean, with five toilets... we could each have our own!
Can you imagine, the glorious luxury of you very own commode?
Well I can't.

Back to the sale of my gluts. I began to realize that I shouldn't keep this amazing new discovery to myself.
I mean, the general masses might just want need what I can offer.
So, I am thinking of testing the marketability of my magical rumpus... as a tracking device.
Lost kid? Hand me that 32oz slushy, and they will be home before dusk.
Need to call a family meeting? Give me a hot tea and 20 minutes, they will all be assembled.
Gramps wandered off? Hand over the venti size cappuccino. He'll be here for bedtime.
Maybe the NSA would even be interested?

So, lest you think I wrote all this because I love my own tush, I don't.
It's no longer the rump of my youth, and if I wore those track suits with labels across the booty,
mine would read "Pinot" and "Grigio". But, um I would never wear those, because they should
technically be illegal. Like skinny jeans for men. I digress. Sorry.

Send your patent lawyers my way asap, and don't judge me too harshly... 
I am just a mom looking for a way to market her (apparently) best skill set.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Glutton of Grace

As I shared last week, we have had some stuff going on.
Hard stuff.
In the midst of all of that, there have been times of peace, and times of tears.
One night, at a hotel in West Virginia, I had a knock down drag out with Jesus.
I think there is a country song in there somewhere, especially since we ate dinner
at, no joke, Bob Evans.

The boys and I were driving a long distance, and had stopped to spend the night.
After subjecting them to countless hours of HGTV on the hotel cable, we went to bed.
What? We don't have cable, and I think my boy TV quota has been fully met.
I mean, I have seen "Food Boy"... more than once.

Well, I couldn't sleep.
So I went to the one place I could turn on the light and read.
The bathroom.

That is where my battle ensued.
I started to pray, and seek answers to things I didn't understand.
I was asking all kinds of "why's".
But then, it was as if the Lord grabbed me by the nape of the neck,
pulled up a curtain, shoved me toward a bright and painful light,
and for a brief second I glimpsed what I am...

I am a glutton of grace.
And gluttony benefits one person... me.
I want to sit at the table of grace and have more and more and more.
I want to empty the cup, scrape the bowl, and then lick the plate clean.
I don't want to leave a single crumb or speck of grace...
I want it all.
For me.
Table for one.

And that last part was what He wanted me to see.
If I love grace, but only when it is served to me,
I have no idea what grace really is.

And that was when He softly whispered...
"What about grace for others?"
"No, Lord."  I begged.
It's too soon.
It's too hard.
Not them.
Please, just for me...

I was asking God to play favorites, and pick me first.
Only, God doesn't play favorites when He gives out grace.

God's grace is not for my happiness. It is for His glory, and the moment we
ask him to only extend it to us... it's not really His grace. 

It was a long night.
Lots of tears.
I think I even uttered the line "Pick me. Choose me. Love me."
Which, is technically a line from Grey's Anatomy.
I have never been good at flowery prayers, and the fact that
I quoted a show that we all know is ER's poor reincarnation, proves it.

So, by all means, pull up to the table of grace, and have your fill.
but please,
leave room at the seat next to you for others...

 "We should give as we would receive,
cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation;
for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers"
~ L.A. Seneca

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pumpkin Freedom... Embrace It.

So, I am perplexed.
I know everybody and their neighbor likes to Pin cute, crafty, and inventive things on Pinterest. (myself included) I am all for this harkening back to general homemade cuteness.
What I don't get is why we, as a people group, have felt the need to turn everything into a DIY craft project?

Do we really need to make our own brooms?
Do we realize suckers are still for sale? We don't have to melt jolly ranchers on a cookie sheet.
Did you know that you can still buy skirts? We don't have to make them out of shorts, old t-shirts, or even duct tape. I'm just sayin' that given the choice between spending $15 and countless hours on a DIY skirt made out of rubberbands, and a $15 skirt from Target... I am going with Target. Every.Single.Time.

I  got an e-mail with 15, yes FIFTEEN ways one can create, embellish and DIY the crap out of pumpkins.

People... they.are.pumpkins.
They are a decoration all on their own because...
They are round, and orange, and come in various sizes and shapes.
No two are exactly alike. They are like the snowflake of fall.

So stop...
stop covering them in glitter
stop sticking gold thumbtacks in them
stop decoupaging them
stop gluing yarn to them in yellow and blue
stop making them out of cardboard, old books, and yes... DRYER VENT HOSES

Just enjoy them for what they are.

They are one thing you can and should be able to just walk into the grocery store, plunk down your $5 for, stick on your porch and say... "DONE".

Embrace this freedom friends.
Take back the organic beauty of the unadorned pumpkin.
Stop exploiting them for your DIY addictions. ( exploiting... a tad over dramatic, but you get the point)

I want to give everyone permission to be free and simply enjoy fall

So put down the bedazzlers, sit back, watch some leaves turn colors, and leave the poor pumpkins alone.

Well, until October 31st when we gut the junk out of them and stick candles in their innards.
Survival of the fittest you know ;)
(I should note that having small children paint pumpkins rather than giving them a knife to carve, this I am all for. Intact appendages are a good thing.) 

Feel free to leave photo links in the comments of your pumpkins. I will add them to my new pinterest board entitled "Pumpkin Freedom"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why we is homeskooling are kid...

Sorry, I couldn't resist the title...
So, I am homeschooling my oldest son, Lincoln, this year. He is in the sixth grade. This plan was put in place waaaaay back when we got married. The one thing we did actually do from the marriage counseling book we read was to talk about our future children. How many we wanted, what our educational goals were for them, etc. We decided then and there that public elementary school, homeschool for middle school, and then back to public school for high school was our plan. Amazingly we arrived at the homeschool phase of that plan this year... Lots of people ask, "Why just for middle school?" So, here are some of our not so scientific reasons to homeschool at this juncture...

1. Time alone with my son. Lincoln gets me all to himself again. That ended for him at age two when his first little brother arrived. I am very excited about two years of just him and I. We need this time to "re-connect", and bond again.
2. Middle school is THE hardest time to deal with peer pressure. I remember feeling so so so much more insecure, and unsure of how to be me, in middle school. By the time I was in high school, I think we all got more comfortable in our own skin. It was ok to be different.
3. Boobs.
4. Did you need more explanation for #3? Boys think about girls, which is normal. Little middle school girls readily putting their pre-pubescent racks on display, that is not normal. It is like showing a cave man meat, then telling him to enjoy a salad.
5. I want to teach him about some classics of literature that I'm afraid he won't get to read. There is so much pressure on teachers to meet ridiculous standardized test scores that they no longer get to be creative, and really teach.
Watch this woman's story. She says it well. Then, get your kid's teacher a little gift or a note of encouragement. Their job is becoming impossible, and its sad.

6. Sleeping In. Yep, this nap loving mama said it. The middle school system starts on a crazy rooster type schedule around here. The bus still tries to stop for Lincoln. At SIX FIFTEEN AM! That is like, the middle of the night! He needs sleep. Kids need sleep. For the love of all that is holy, PARENTS NEED SLEEP!
7. There is a teacher inside me. I used to teach pre-K. I loved it. I am starting to remember the joy of seeing someone have that "light bulb" moment. When it is your own offspring, it is pretty amazing.
8. Talk time. Wow... I knew I was looking forward to talks that might naturally take place in our little one on one school set-up. Um... wow. I was not prepared for what they would be about! In our vast two weeks of school we've chatted about divorce, sex, and "Mom what is a transgender?". So much for those "sheltered" homeschool kids eh?
9. Lockers. Expecting a sixth grade boy to manage unlocking a locker, keeping it neat, remembering his homework and getting to his next class while staring at all those boobs? That is just an unrealistic expectation folks. Our young men cannot do all this at once. This is why detention was invented.
10. Miley Cyrus. We can blame everything on her now right? Put this in her column too... In reality it is the lack of knowledge about these things that is the reason. Once you are in high school I think its safer to say things like, "I don't have time to watch crap like the VMAS" and you sound cool and of higher intellect. In middle school, you get a wedgie and called a baby.
11. I really wanted a denim jumper and red turtle-neck. Standard Issue for we crazy homeschool moms :) 
12. Did I mention boobs?

So, there you have it... Some sound and not so sound reasons we are homeschooling for middle school.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Oh, that post...

I have been gone a while.
For good reason.
We have been through some hard personal times here at the casa.
I am betting some people who know me "in real life" are waiting for a blog of great detail on what happened...

Sorry to disappoint, but this is not that blog.
I cannot write that yet. I don't know that I ever will.
I couldn't post anything anywhere that was remotely thought provoking without being asked, "Was that about...". So I put up photos. Photos are pretty safe. But to write a whole blog post? After that May camping trip one, I sunk... and sunk low. So rather than BS everyone like I was with my cheery FB and Instagram photos, I left the blog alone. 

Because when you have your world turned upside down... it tears you apart.
When people believe lies about you and your spouse... it tears you apart.
When you lose your community, your church, and even some friends... it tears you apart.
When your children ask you tearfully, "Why?"... it tears you apart.
When you see others hurting... it tears you apart.

And I am not where I need to be with everything just yet.
I don't know when I will be.

I do know that I would have lost it completely if it wasn't for:
~ one amazing husband
~ three brave and tough little boys
~ grace filled family members
~ courageous friends
~ and the simple truth of God's word.

"A bruised reed He will not break,
and a faintly burning wick He will not quench;
He will faithfully bring forth justice."
~Isaiah 42:3

I don't want to neglect writing about my boys and their adventures though. In the midst of all this they have lost first teeth, finished elementary school, started playing football, said funny things, gone to yoga classes, and made great memories... and I cannot wallow so much that I forget to document these things.

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day,
you will look back and realize,
 they were the big things."
~Robert Brault