Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What did you do?!

2013 is quickly coming to an end. Weren't we just starting to write 2013 instead of 2012 on our checks? Now I need to remember 2014. Oh, the pain and agony!

Let's see if I, Miss Forgetful One, can remember what our 2013 looked like....


What I remember of January is Dancer Daughter flying for the first time, ever, overseas to several third-world countries to start her outreach portion of her ministry. January consisted of me waiting to hear from her (which I did), praying for her and her team as well as the other teams in other locations, and throw in a wee-bit of worry for good measure (as any good mom would do).


I would imagined it snowed. And I think I would be safe to say it was a short month. And, I deep cleaned our home (see below).


Dancer Daughter flew back to the states. Then it was the state-side tour where they went to home churches and other places to give programs and volunteer. We hosted Dancer Daughter's team for 2 nights and it was a marvelous experience. So polite, so nice, so humorous and wonderful human beings. A week later found us traveling 3 states away to attend her graduation from the program and bringing her home.


I think it is safe to say we had some rain. After all, April showers bring May flowers. It is also a month of birthdays. Hubs, my dad's (86), and Firefighter Boy. Let's just say Dairy Queen makes some money off of us this month!


25 years. Hubs & I were married 25 years in May. To celebrate we spent the night at a 'fancier' hotel nearby. It was a very nice time away. There is just something about going away from home every now and then. And, since we rarely go was nice. I'm sure there were flowers blooming and it was warming up. Ahhh, I just love May...not too hot and not too cold. Perfect temps. Although the barn swallows swoop and scare me to death! Seriously, it's like they know I'm scared of them! And, if birds aren't scary enough, Firefighter Boy passed his driving test and became a licensed driver. I'm old. Yup, let's just get that out of the way right now.


I'm sure I was sweating at some point during this month. I think it is safe to say the sun ever shone and partied until at least 9 p.m. Just like me. ;) Skunks. Wetlands close by. Nuff said.


Another sweaty month and I'm sure we used the pool. I'm sure we swatted bugs. We may or may not have gone all ninja on a few pesky ones. Firefighter Boy ended himself in AZ during the hottest time to be in AZ. He was attended a church conference. Nothing against the planners but who thought AZ in July was a good idea?


This is the time of year where many are saying, "Where has the summer gone?!" I'm sure I was one of those people. And, Mr. Woodchuck paid us a visit. It was a fun 2 hours really. It involved much yelling, banging of pan to scare him off (my bad idea), tennis ball shooter, baseball bats and soft baseballs. We have a video of our efforts but it shall remain hidden until I die.


There's the county fair...which we spent about 3 hours there. Firefighter Boy spent more hours there since he is part of a fire explorer program. The area Fire Departments are assigned a day where the department is at the fairgrounds for any emergency. He just loves this program and hanging out with them. And, I was in denial that I might need to find my spring/fall coat. Skunks...again. This time underneath our bedroom window. Fun. Fun times to be had by all.


Two more birthdays...within 5 days of one another. Writer/Cos Daughter and Dancer Daughter. DQ loves us. Christmas decorations and commercials begin to appear. Slow down, Retailers! And, I was still in denial about the coat wearing thing. I may or may not have had a day or three of mourning over having to wear shoes instead of flip flops or sandals. Another sad day in my life.


Leaf raking was in full swing. Getting colder is top priority for Mr. November. How rude. I finally accepted the fact that I needed to find my winter coat and perhaps actually wear it. It was a very sad day really.


Snow. White fluffy snow. Ick. I mean really, it is okay for Christmas but then I'm pretty much over it. Yes, I realize I live in Ohio. There's gonna be snow outside. Oh, and I guess I should mention it is my birthday month. We really didn't do anything because we were in the middle of a storm ON my birthday. Thanks, December, for stepping on my birthday plans. Isn't enough I have to put up with, "Here is your birthday AND Christmas gift."??? This is also the year I decided we are going to celebrate my birthday in June or July. My luck we'll probably have a tornado to step on our plans. ;)

I'm positive there are events in which I can't remember at the moment. Isn't life funny that way. 2013 has had it ups and downs and many moments of stress. But isn't that what life is about? We lean on God through the good and bad. He is our rock.

What are a few things that stand out in your life in 2013?

Monday, December 23, 2013


Early one morning, four years ago, I awoke to the dialog at the bottom of this post running through my head. 

It started me thinking about how nuts I get around this time of year. And, what I really crave is silence. Silence and time. Time to think. Time to enjoy. Instead, I feel torn in a hundred different directions. 

(True story, freebie and ADD detour: One Sunday our pastor suggested we write something down on our sermon notes. He gave us a few minutes and then said, "I know everyone doesn't like silence." or something like that. My immediate thought was "said no introvert ever!" )

Last year, there wasn't a tree. No Christmas cookies. Very, very minimal decorations (yes, the kids were fine with it). I found no guilt in this. Instead, I enjoyed time with family and friends. No one cared I didn't make cookies or candy. No one missed the Christmas tree. No, we weren't Scrooges. Instead, it focused us on the real meaning and reason for this special holiday. It was really freeing. 

If you're feeling torn in many directions, consider ways you can cut back during this season. What can you eliminate so you can focus on Christ? It's okay not to do one thing you've done every year and now it's become an obligation.

Let your imagination flow as you read the writing below. 
Merry Christmas and may your focus be on Christ.

Cows mooing
Sheep baaing
Goats bleating
Merchants talking
Birds chirping
People yelling
Children laughing
Hens clucking
Mothers scolding
Fathers working


God’s Angel speaking, 

“The Lord has chosen you, Mary. He is with you always.”

Mary gasps.

“Don’t be afraid or surprised. God has a big job for you and you are the one to carry it through. You will be with child through the Holy Spirit and you will name him Jesus. He will be a great man and will be called the Son of the Most High. His Kingdom will never end.”

Mary pacing, “What? How can this be? I am a virgin, it is impossible!” 
Hands wringing. 

“Nothing is impossible with God, Mary.”
Closing eyes and smiling, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you've said happen to me.” 


Cars honking 
Shoppers pushing
Dirty dishes sitting
Radios blaring
Television watching
Schedules demanding
Cell phone ringing
Computers calling
Laundry waiting
Factories roaring
Children crying
Text messaging


May we make time to hear God’s voice and, like Mary, answer, “I am the Lord’s servant.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dear Santa,

My poor-pitiful-me-self wants many things this year for Christmas. To summarize, I'd just like what seems like everything we own to stop breaking down.

A car, a van, a microwave, a crockpot, a toaster oven...and more. That's all. It seems so simple after all. No more wondering where the money is going to come from and/or deciding if we can actually replace said items. And, Santa, it's really not fun to have all those things break down in a matter of a 2 month time span. Seriously. And, if you can't make everything stop breaking down then many dollar bills would be very nice.

I'm really quite stressed at the moment. So if your elves could just make all of this stop, I'd be grateful.

Then, my sensible-stop-being-selfish-and-think-of-others-self realizes these problems aren't really problems. Just inconveniences and money-sucking things.

There are people hurting. Hurting from depression, missing a child, a child lost to death, a husband or wife who left, cancer and illness, death of a loved one...

There are young children and adults in our country and many other countries who are sold into slavery through human trafficking. People in the world who do not have clean drinking water, or a place to call their very own.

The list of human needs could go on and on. And here I am in my warm house, typing on my own computer getting sucked into all the material things when material things are just that...things.

What I really want for Christmas, Santa, is for you and your elves to join me in praying to our Lord to help us all to realize what a really problem looks like and how we can be His vessels at home and around the world.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

If I Were Truly Honest

If I were truly honest I would tell you motherhood is hard. I would imagine fatherhood is difficult as well but since I'm a mom we'll just go with motherhood at the moment.

Babies are such a blessing. The wonderful baby smell. Her first smile. First laugh, first look at the world. Wonderment at God's creation - your child.

As wonderful as those are, there are times of overwhelming exhaustion. Suddenly that wonderful smell turns into a stinky diaper. Her smile still melts your heart but when your little one suddenly becomes mobile, you suddenly turn into a marathon runner. 

And getting to church on time and in the "proper mood", yeah well, forget it. Be thankful there isn't spit up on your church cloths before you even get there.

Then there is the pressure of being a good mom. Being present. Being a super-mom (a lie to make us feel guilty) and doing it all with a smile. And when you feel like a 'failure' because you didn't know that cry meant ear infection, guilt sets in.

Let me burst your bubble right now. You can't be all to everyone. Don't let pride get in your way of asking for help. All moms have been a new mom and/or a mom or toddlers (by the's the terrible threes not the terrible twos!). We know you need a break or just someone who will listen.

If you choose to work outside the home, it's okay. If you choose to stay home (that is work, too), it's okay. Don't compare yourself with any other mother. Don't listen to Great Aunt Deanna's advice when it may have worked for her family but it really doesn't hold true for yours. It's okay.

You will be torn in many directions. Your husband, your child, your work, your church, your extended family, eventually the school system, and the expectations you put on yourself. It's okay to step back and evaluate. Don't let your expectations of what a mom should look like push you into things you hate. Don't let other's expectations push you into something in which you don't have a passion or desire to do.

Always, always turn to Christ. You can't do it on your own.

When you're rocking your crying baby and wishing she came with a paper read-out flowing out of her forehead to tell you what is really wrong, pray for wisdom and discernment. And listen. Not to the crying but to God's whisper in your heart. He'll guide you.

Before the time comes when discipline is the course of action, pray. Pray for God's wisdom in discerning what action to take with each particular child. (because let me tell you, what works for one won't work for the other) The heat of the moment is no place to decide how you'll discipline. Discipline with love not anger. And when you do let anger take over, and it will, don't beat yourself up. (and I'm not talking physical or emotional abuse - there's no excuse for that!) Calm yourself down (put your child in a safe place and remove yourself from the situation by going into another room to breathe deeply) because the next minute of each day is new and a great time to start over again.

You'll worry. I know the Bible tells us not to worry. But, let me tell you. That worry will increase your prayer life ten-fold and more.

Don't be afraid to say 'no'. No to outside commitment when that commitment will take too much time away from your family. No when a child does something wrong. No when that child wants something others have and your wallet screams no. No is not a bad word. God tells us 'no'. A boss will say 'no'. The world will have no problem at yelling 'no'. Preparing your child with 'no' is not abuse or harmful for her self esteem.

My advice, if you were asking for it, is be consistent when raising your little one(s). Consistent with unconditional love. Consistent with discipline. Consistent with character training. Consistent with teaching God's Word.

This mom thing is hard. Mothers of teens will tell new moms "just wait until they are teenagers". Not helpful seasoned mom, not helpful at all. Every stage has it's joys and frustrations. Savor each one.

There's nothing like a newborn baby falling asleep on your chest. Cuddling that sweet little human. Smelling that 'new baby smell'. Rocking, singing and enjoying God's blessing.

When your school-aged child finally 'gets it' after weeks of frustration, you'll rejoice and breathe a sigh of relief right along with them. When baby teeth just won't come out on their own and need to be pulled, you'll pray for God to remove your child's nervousness and give it all to you.

And when they do become teens and young adults, you'll enjoy each of their personalities. You'll see in them the gifts God has given them. You'll encourage and nurture their passions and dreams. You'll shed tears as they accomplish goals and surprises of life. Tears will fall when you walk past her room and she is happily packing her suitcase for a long-term mission trip or college. You'll have so many mixed feelings. Happy and excited for her but sad for yourself because you really like your kid and will miss her.

Savor each stage and each year. It isn't a lie when moms tell you it will go fast. One day you're bringing home a wee one and wondering if the hospital was really supposed to let you bring home this baby because you really haven't a clue what you're doing. The next moment your children are saying, "see ya" as they head out the door. Savor and enjoy each moment. You won't regret it.

*the use of "her/she" was not meant to exclude all the he/hims in the world...just a short cut so I wouldn't need to type he/she, him/her...or maybe I'm just lazy. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Life as I know it

How was your Thanksgiving? I know it has been almost a full week since the carb loving holiday. If you are like me, that day is a little fuzzy due to the carb overload. Which, honestly, I love!

Last year, I prepared a turkey using a wet brine. This year I had this crazy idea to mix things up and try a dry brine since all I heard this year was dry brine, dry brine, dry brine. My conclusion? Dry brine is easier and less messy. While it still is moist, the turkey I made last year with wet brine was more moist. I think, IF I cook another turkey in my life time, it will be wet brine all the way. Lesson for the day: don't go with the crowd.

Dancer Daughter decorated. And yes.
Yes, those are scanners in the background.
Firefighter Boy "needs" them. Welcome to my life.
And, since I am in a sharing kind of mood (insert whinny mood), my toe hurts. I mean really hurts. This little piggy who went to market is quite fat. Now, before rumors begin among the four people who read this blog, I don't drink alcohol so I don't believe it is gout. Although I do know gout is caused by other things. I'm walking like a peg-legged pirate. Thaaat's right. I'm just missing the patch over my eye, Matey.

Maybe it's just me, but when there is an unexplained happening with my body I begin envisioning all the terrible health issues in the world today. Like flesh eating bacteria issues.  Or maybe it's just me.

You're so welcome. I know you have been waiting all of your life for a blog post such as this. Now your life won't get any better than this after reading such a riveting post. It's almost like I ruined you for any other pleasurable blog post. Almost.

How's your Christmas decorating going? We are going very minimalistic this year. Read: table decoration and a miniature tree. Which is better than last year when we had nothing decorative. And no. I don't feel guilty about last year one.single.bit. I focused on relationships more than decorations or baking last year and loved it. And, just because I like you, here is a link for a free ebook download by John Piper of daily Advent readings. You're welcome, again.

We are on an extremely tight budget this year. Extremely. You know. Things happen. Like a car breaking down in the middle of a city kind of things. And for some reason not known to man-kind, the mechanic expects a payment. I know. How rude. (just kidding!)

So I need to dust off my creativity hat. Yes, I could, if I chose, to look at pinterest. But, frankly, pinterest makes me tired. And sad. Unless there is a good tried and true recipe or handy dandy tip. But when I see all of those crafts...well, frankly, been there and done that when the children where little. Now it just makes me think how much work it would be to make this or that. Maybe it's that flesh eating bacteria eating away my energy. Yup, bet that's it. It has nothing to do with getting old. We are blaming the bacteria and that's that!

This year our extended family is giving Christmas decorations to a shelter. Decorations could be new or nicely used. Last night I finally worked up the nerve to enter the attic where said items are kept. I do not like my attic. No I do not. I do not like it when it is dark. I do not like it when it is cold. I do not like it I said a little too bold.

So I kindly asked (read ordered) hubs and Firefighter Boy to help. Let's just say it involved flashlights, a Nerf gun and yelling "cover me"! However, while we were psyching ourselves to open the attic door, Writer Girl decides to take the lead and marches right on up those stairs without a care in the world. Show off.

IF you have stuck with me through all the fascinating information above, I just feel the need to hug you. But, that would be awkward so my present to you is this video. It totally cracked me up this morning. Or maybe it is just the three Advil I popped this morning for my little swollen piggy. Enjoy some good holiday humor. Or not. I'm not the boss of you.