Friday, February 29, 2008

good day

Because it's so stinking cold up here in the great, white, north of Pennsylvania, The Mister had the day off from roofing pole barns. We took advantage of the empty, er, wide open day and headed out to the Strong Museum with the shorties.

What fun. I think this is the first time NumberOneSon has really really really enjoyed himself. He played and played; HB toddled around (did I mention that he's walking finally, now that he's 15 months?) and played as much as a kid his age can, and MyGirl completed the schedule of events she established when we told her we were going to Strong. This included a lengthy cooking class in the Old Fashioned Room and playing Jane and the Dragon in Fairy Tale Land (more commonly known as Reading Adventureland).

We stopped at the bank on the way home to deposit the check I got from babysitting one day this week, and much to our surprise, Uncle Sam had snuck in and made a big ol' deposit in out account. So today, I PAID THE MORTGAGE FOR MARCH WHILST IT IS STILL FEBRUARY!!! I feel like the champ. I paid a number of other things, as well, and am happy to say that more people and places are more excited about us than they were yesterday.

In the evening, I went to a very uneventful and inconclusive Habitat meeting, which was kind of awful, except for the lovely company in the room. Can't really say more, as it is all Very Secret. And just as disappointing was the Missing of Thursdays. I haven't been in quite some time, and I was really looking forward to going. My meeting was in the verysame building, but it was so dreadfully long, there was just no Thursdays for moi. But just in time to save the day were some lovelies, and a sofa, and chips and salsa and cheesy avocado dip and I ate the dip even though I am not supposed to be eating dairy and I was totally sick this morning but it was completely worth it and there was talking and talking.

Hooray. Voila. C'est magnifique.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

when nobody else is around

This is what NumberOneSon and I do whilst MyGirl is away at school and HB is away in dreamland.

The French Press and half and half are for me. We share the chocolate. I get as much chocolate as I want; N1S gets chocolate when he uses the potty. The kid is incredible. He can produce a quart about every 10 minutes if that's what he wants to do. Mad skills, that guy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

bad dream

So one fine morning we were sitting at the kitchen table, eating breakfast, when MyGirl busted out with this tale of woe:

Mom, I have to tell you something. Last night I started to have a bed dream. Then I punched myself in the head to make myself stop thinking about it.

It didn't work.

I tried biting myself. I tried kicking myself. Kicking. Biting. Punching.

So I woke Jack up. And I told him to punch, kick, and bit me. So he punched, kicked and bit me.

But that didn't work.

Finally, I punched, kicked and bit myself until I was too tired to think of anything but a horsey dream.

Monday, February 25, 2008

guilty conscience

I cheated on my hairdresser yesterday. I have been waiting and waiting to get my hair done. But that is no excuse. My stylist (now that everyone understands what I'm talking about) is lovely, and I love her, love her, love her. Her name is Cindy, and she just had her second baby a couple of months ago, and had taken some time off before the baby came, so it has been more than six months since I've had a haircut. But that is no excuse. I even got the number for a gal I went to high school with who is an amazing stylist, so that I could get a haircut while Cindy was on maternity leave. But I couldn't even call her. Cindy just started working again, and instead of working at home, she's at a salon that is farther away from my house. I'm not really good about going to new places. Call me crazy, or euphemize it another way if you prefer. But neither of those are a good excuse for cheating on one's stylist.

And to make matters worse, the girl that cut my hair WORKS WITH LOVELY CINDY AT THE NEW PLACE! But I didn't actually go TO the place, because that would be really awful. And apparently, I am only a semi-awful person. Also bad, I don't know if I like my haircut or not. I haven't taken a good look at it. How can I, after The Horrific Purple Hair-Dye Incident?

It was just that I was at this fun little pampering get-together, and everyone was getting their hair cut and colored (I totally did NOT get my hair dyed AGAIN!!!!), and my hair was just so tired of looking nasty and being in a blob on the top of my head, and it was just a wicked temptation. But it is feeling all softy-smooth again, and my bangs look like someone else cut them, you know, Someone Other Than Me.

I'm sorry. I won't do it again. I will go sit in time-out for 30 and one-half minutes, because that's how we do it, one minute per year.

spread this around

I wish I had known about this when my babies were younger. There is a not-for-profit organization called Human Milk Banking Association of North America that collects (safe) donated breastmilk and delivers it to premature or sick infants. They only accept milk from donors whose babies are less than a year old, so I don't qualify. But if you do, or you know of someone who is breastfeeding and can pump a little extra for a sick babe, tell them!

If we have any more babies (do you hear that? it's the sound of my husband pounding his head on the desk.), I am totally doing this. And do you want to know why? Because if it were my child in that little NICU bubble, I'd be grateful beyond words.

Go here to read a little bit about a sweet preemie who is being blessed by the gift of donated breastmilk while she and her mama are in the hospital. I've mentioned this family before, and after you check them out, you should pray for them every day. Or six times a day. Either way. Read. Pray. Donate your milk.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

why i like my husband

Because when I am standing there, in the playroom, fingers in my mouth, trying to free the blasted popcorn kernel scrammy from between my molars, and say 'I need the' and pinch my thumb and forefinger together a couple of times, he takes out his Swiss Army Knife and hands me the nifty toothpick, because that is what I wanted.

oh, i see

MyGirl: Hi. My name is Min. Can I stay here tonight? This is my brother. Well, he's really my son. I have two daughters, too. Anna, no, Kaya and Felicity. And I have another baby inside me.

Mama: So you have three kids, almost four?

MyGirl: Yeah, and I'm about to have another.

Mama: Wow. That's a lot. How is that, having all those kids?

MyGirl: It's really easy. I have three husbands.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

lookin' purty

So I went down to the local dollar store, affectionately called The Duck in our house, to pick me up some of that hair dye. You see, I have what I believe to be an excess of sparkley (you may say grey, it's alright) hair growing on my head. And I am much, much, much too young for that sort of stamp on myself.

This is the exact science behind my hair color: lowest price. And also some kind of brown-based color. Well when I took myself on down to the Duck, the cheapest color was VERY cheap, but it was not very brown. It was more of a burgundy color. It was even called burgundy. I squinted real hard, and it sort of looked like there might be, kinda maybe, a teensy tiny bit of brown in it. So I purchased it.

It's been sitting on the kitchen counter, happy smooth and shiny haired model gal laughing at me, for over a week. Things got quiet this afternoon, all of the other people were minding their own business, so I hid out in the bathroom and gave me the business.

Oh my word. I emerged from the loo, head covered with purple goup (and boy, do I really, really mean purple). The Mister said, "Wow. Hope that's not as trailer park as it looks." Hmmm. Yeah. Me too.

Twenty minutes later, I hunkered down over the tub and rinsed me clean. The bright red streaming from my head looked more like it was coming from a deep wound, rather than a plastic bottle. So gross.

I stood in front of the mirror to determine the extent of the damage. It was bad, real bad. My purple hair glowed. It was still dripping wet. Usually I can barely tell I've colored my hair. Glowed. And to make matters worse, there wasn't enough dye to saturate my entire coiffure. I was spotted. My hair looked like the bastard child of a calico cat and the Cheshire Cat from Disney's cartoon version of Alice in Wonderland.

Maybe drying it would help?

No. Such. Luck.

I put on a hat and went straight back to the Duck, swallowed hard, and bought two boxes of a not-as-cheap, actually brown product.

The kids are in bed, the new color's in my hair. I hope that my Purple Petunia hair color is gone. But I'm afraid to look.

stand up (hardly a) routine

If anyone's interested, I am preaching (yeah, I gasp, too, when I think of it) at Immanuel United Methodist Church in Warsaw, this Sunday, 24 February, at 10:00 a.m. Also next Sunday, 02 March, at the Church in Alexander, also at 10:00 a.m.

You will hear the entertaining story of how this bit of speaking came to be, as part of a sermon entitled When You Don't Have The Words.

I believe my husband would refer to this as somewhat ironic.

Friday, February 22, 2008

henry potter

dear friend

I have only ever wanted you to be a happy, content person. And if being my friend was something that was good for you, then good. And if it is something that is not good, if I was not meeting your expectations of what a friend was, then you should absolutely not continue a relationship like that.

I'm not sure what you meant when you said you are not sure you can be everything I want you to be. I hope that any preconceived ideas you have about my expectations will go away. You see, I don't really have any expectations, and I haven't for years. All I know is that I really treasure the relationship we had, and it means more to me than a lot of things. And I know that life is difficult, and people are difficult, no matter what we try to be; and if something is important enough to me, I work for it. Being who I am, I tend to beat the dead horse into the ground, and I have felt for quite some time that I beat this very dead horse at least six feet under. But if you're thinking good ol' Bessie might have a little whinny in her, you know where to find me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


MyGirl: Mommy, how are Rachel and Harley doing?

(Rachel and I were pretty much the best of friends during college, she was my maid of honour at our wedding, was at the hospital when MyGirl and NumberOneSon were born. Harley is her black lab.)

Me: I don't know. I haven't heard from her in a while.

MyGirl: Well, did something happen to her?

Me: I don't know. I wish I did.

MyGirl: Can't you try to find out?

Me: I tried, babe. I called her lots of times, sent her some cards and letters. She just didn't answer.

MyGirl: Maybe she's sad.

Me: Maybe she is.

MyGirl: You should tell someone when you're sad. You know, so you can get some hugs and figure it out.

Me: That's right.

MyGirl: Maybe she wants a husband. Does she have one of those guys?

Me: I don't think so. I know that she used to want one, so she probably still does, I guess.

MyGirl: Maybe that's why she's sad. Maybe she needs a good friend. We're supposed to be good friends to others.

Me: Yep. We're supposed to do that.

MyGirl: Well you should do that, then. I really miss her.

It's kind of funny, but I was thinking about Rachel at the moment MyGirl started asking me about her. I wish I knew what was up. I tried and tried to find out, but she made it pretty obvious that she was done with me.

There are a few questions in my life that I don't have the answers to, or information about, three to be specific. The first is my dad. The second is my biological parents. The third is Rachel. They are sort of linked: I was dumped by all three.

I don't ever expect to find out the truths of any of those situations. And that is sad.

Monday, February 18, 2008

gee thanks

Dear Uncle Sam,

Just a little note thanking you for not giving us the shaft this year. The Mister works hard, and we really try to make the best of our financial situation. I appreciate the consideration you are granting us this year, bestowing upon us a refund instead of the usual sharp sticks inserted brusquely in every available orifice.

You see, we are trying to not be poor. We are excited to pay our bills and to be good citizens. We volunteer and love Jesus and help others. We teach our children to do the right thing...except for the time I told her it would be fine to punch the naughty boy at church who just will not stop harassing her, we are good parents. For the record, I suggested punching him after she suggested kicking him in the, well, on second thought let's just not bring up the record.

We recognize that the extended family, yourself included, doesn't seem to be interested in the hard-working, self-employed members of the family. Congratulations on your change of heart.

I want you to know we also appreciate the additional forthcoming late spring benevolence refund, even if the only reason for it is to help boost the image of the right-wingish side of the family, and aid the efforts of the veteran uncle who wants to be the pater familias. Because it's too late for you to back out of the spring gift, I will say that your trying to help out the veteran uncle is pretty much done in vain, and that it's quite possibly a last-ditch attempt to leave us with some sort of positive thought about you when you are no longer the Boss of Everyone. I feel confident that, barring some bizarre turn of events or serious act of God, the right-leaning side of the family is going to be out of work shortly. I can sympathize, really I can. Hopefully it won't be too hard for you all to swallow hard, and talk to the part of the family that actually has to work for a living, maybe learn a little about what it's like.

So thanks for thinking of us. We look forward to the arrival of your benevolence.

Love and kisses,

Saturday, February 16, 2008

nine day vegan

Lately I have been experiencing teensy tiny brain shut-offs. Not the kind when you realize that someone has been talking and you have no idea what the last few sentences were. The kind where my brain clicks off and then back on. It feels like a light switch, quick click off, quick click on. I can tell when it's coming, because I have wicked nasty nausea in my face. I feel awful for quite some time afterwards, woozy, sick to my stomach, just plain yuck.

So I called the gals at CrossCurrent Healthcare, the place we have been going to get all of the yuck out of our bods. They tested me over the phone (I am just not going to explain this right now), and said that my body is having a nutrition problem where I can't handle casein or eating meat. She recommended I don't eat dairy or meat for nine days. Nine. Whole. Days.

Insert your favorite curse word here. Because that's what I said (in my head, of course, because I'm an Adult) when she told me. My favorite curse word. Flowers and ducks.

Naturally I am craving me some rich, chocolatey Ovaltine made with our organic milk, all thick and creamy, with a side of beef. The whole side. And turkey sauce. With crumbled bacon from our home-grown piggy.

Instead, I am going to saute some spinach with garlic and a little olive oil. For a Bedtime Snack. You heard me right. Spinach For Bedtime Snack. Because, they tell me, I will stop having my tiny little blackouts.

If they did not have such an awesome record for telling me what to do to fix me, I would be eating some of the camembert in my fridge that will now be going bad, because it will be sitting there for nine more days with nobody to love it and eat it all gone.

Flowers and ducks.

Friday, February 15, 2008

i am such a girl

So in addition to being the last parent of small children to see the Pixar movie Cars, I am pitiful. At the end of the movie (that's all you get for a spoiler alert if you are as pathetic as me), the King (it's the King's last race) is purposely crashed onto the infield by Rude-yPants Green Car. The hero, FastyPants Red Car screeches to a halt just before the finish line, lets Rude-yPants Green Car win the Piston Cup, then goes back to the King. Then, in melodramatic fashion, he wins the hearts of cars everywhere by pushing the King across the finish line so he can finish his last race.

And holy cotton commercial batman, guess which pitiful parent got big ol' croc tears? Oh, that'd be me. I'd say for crying out loud right now, but that'd be dumb.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

kids and spouses

On the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month during the school year, I go to MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers. It is a lovely, lovely thing. The children are separated into groups by age, so MyGirl, NumberOneSon and HB get to play with other children, and the kiddos are watched by grandparents and other volunteers. We mamas sit down, eat food that we didn't have to prepare, drink coffee, and Talk With Grownups. Sometimes there's a Discussion Topic, sometimes a craft, and sometimes there are other offerings, like Pampering Day.

Today was The Men's Panel. The head pastor and operations manager of the host church were there, and also two male therapists. One of the therapists was My Guy, who has been an immeasurable help to me over the past handful of years. The forum was this: moms ask questions, Expert Men answered questions. It was a great experience, the guys had so much constructive and uplifting things to say about marriage, raising children, in-laws and the "S" word (yes, I mean sex).

There were a couple of things I noticed as I listened to the questions, the answers, and the conversation that followed.

Successful marriages require the spouses to be very intentional about spending quality time together. We must also be intentional about expressing what is going on inside our heads and what the state of our feelings is.

Spouses, like our children, often need to be trained. Now don't read that and assume I am being condescending (or comparing my husband to my kids). We don't think alike. We need different things from each other. I, for example, feel loved when The Mister does things around the house like sweep or vacuum (I am capable only of pretending to vacuum), put laundry in the washer, pick up a few get the picture. He's great about helping; it helps that he's a clever man, and I have said 'Can you HELP?!?!' only one or two (hundred) times in the six plus years we've been married, and almost always in the (not) nicest way possible.

Women were freely asking the Men Experts questions today, spilling their hearts out and wanting to know how to make their husbands understand this, or that, or the other thing. The Experts almost always asked them a question back: Have you told your husband you feel this way? Have you told your husband you need this? And these sad, hurting wives would look at the Experts incredulously. Well, no. I guess I haven't. It was so sad and matches up with the statistics about married women in our demographic (white, middle-class, mothers), who think they must do it all and be everything to everyone, and who are tired and frustrated and angry because they feel guilty for being tired and frustrated and angry.

Our spouses are like our children. Kids don't know that running into the road is dangerous if we don't teach them that it's a bad thing to do. Our spouses don't know that we would like to get a little gift once in a while, or not have to make dinner, or not be the point man for the kids on a Saturday. But if that is what it takes to keep you going, then for heaven's sake, people, express yourselves. And say it before you start wanting to smack people. No good talk comes from the mouth of She Who Wants To Smack People. Ever.

Expectations can lead to disappointment. The Mister and I are prime examples of this: if we aren't being intentional about talking with each other, and assume the other person is reading our vibes, or that our thoughts have rubbed off by osmosis while having the quick good-morning peck, we tend to fall back into having unspoken expectations of each other. And inevitably, we're irritated by dinnertime, if not sooner. I can think of at least a hundred examples of times I've expected The Mister to do or be or say, and he doesn't do or be or say. Not because he doesn't want to play nice, not because he doesn't love me, but because I forgot to tell him I wanted him to do. Or be. Or say.

It's such active work, this love and marriage and parenting stuff. If someone told me that before I got married, I sure wasn't listening.

Monday, February 11, 2008

it's surprising

I am surprised and flattered that so many people have been reading my little blog. I hope that you are enjoying your visits to The Dayton Time, and that you send all your friends to read it so that it becomes wildly popular. Then, one day when my kids go to school full time, I can sit home in my pajamas and drink coffee and write things for money. Then I can travel around the world, peddling my words, and eat great food. And drink more coffee.

P.S. Leave a little comment, so that I know who you are, and so I'm sure to say nice things about you.

not a break-even day

We use cloth diapers for the boys. NumberOneSon mostly uses the toilet during the day now, which helps a TON. I decided to use cloth because of economic reasons. I figured out that getting set up for eternity with cloth diapers cost less than three months of disposable...for one child. For two children, the break-even point was earlier than three months. That includes laundering the diapers and everything. We are not cloth diapering nazis, so we do use disposables without even a blip on our tree-hugging, environmental conscience.

Today was not a real break-even day due to the excessive amounts of poop coming from our friend HB. Let's just say that the diapers had a way better shower than I've had in months. I could have shaved my legs thrice in the time has taken so far today (it's 11:47 according to the clock on the lower right of the screen) to get the soil off the cotton.

That is a discouraging bit of info, and I hope to have something slightly, if not immensely more pleasant and interesting later on today.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

mama's pretend play

I paused while stepping over the landmines that are my children's toys today, and visualized myself vacuuming. I heard the noise of the vacuum's motor, thought I caught a whiff of the big rubber band (what is that thing really called?) getting hot as it does when I stop and let it sit for a minute while running.

That's my vacuuming experience for today. Hope you enjoyed this little minute of not actually doing housework.

when i a daddy (part 3)

When I a Daddy, I go to work in Daddy truck.

When I a Grandpa, I go to work in Grandpa truck.

And work in tools.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

what in the world.

All three kids are in NumberOneSon's and MyGirl's room with the door closed. They can't get out, thanks to the world's greatest invention ever, The Childproof Doorknob. If ever I am introduced to the person whose brainy idea that was, I will kiss him (or her, even, that's how much I love that thing) square on the mouth.

I don't actually know what is going on in the room, but I will tell you what I am hearing. MyGirl is shouting at N1S, "Min Elizabeth, put your dress back on. You will listen to me. You must put your clothes on. (the sound of a tackle) DO IT!!! (a little pause) Great walking, Henny!"

I'm not sure where the name 'Min Elizabeth' came from, but that's N1S's alter ego today. And the dress in reference is MyGirl's yellow Belle gown. It's a little big on him, but the color is simply smashing.

Oooh, N1S's name is Tommy, and MyGirl's is Clara. And they share the dress. It's MyGirl's/Clara's turn now, and N1S is nakey. MyGirl just explained the game to her "New Father". They are poor children who have no home and they want to live at our house, if we could spare the room. You know, so they don't have to go to the orphanage.

N1S is protesting, "No, I want to be the Nutcracker. No I your sister."

Speaking of kissing people on the mouth, The Mister did some work for a friend who shared his fiestadas. I FREAKING LOVE FIESTADAS. In high school, I would ALWAYS order extras on fiestada day. Brett, you are the Hero Of The Day.

when i a daddy (part 2)

Jack, as he is putting a DVD next to the television: When I a Daddy, I touch movies. And CD's. And DBD's. Movies. No I touch 'em now. Isss naughty. Touch 'em when I a Daddy. No I touch 'em now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

when i a daddy (part 1)

Jack to Jon: When I a Daddy I change your diaper. When I a Daddy and you a Jack, I change your diaper. With a fnappi. And a diaper.

who knew?

People can be so ridiculous sometimes. The things on which we choose to spend our time and energy, the people with whom we surround ourselves, the battles in which we can be downright puzzling. I am so tempted to Go There about my church's annual meeting that happened last night, but I will refrain, and instead turn your attention to this little bit below.

There is a website chock full of silly surveys and whatnot, and one of its features is to tell us the True Meaning of Names. Be thou entertained (or not) with its offering regarding my moniker; be thou also informed that the Husband's name's meaning is a near copy of mine, however, he has the encouraging message: You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong. You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know. I am pleased to inform you that I had that information prior to finding this website.

What Pamela Beth Means

You are influential and persuasive. You tend to have a lot of power over people. Generally, you use your powers for good. (That's my super power...I am Uses Her Powers For Good Girl.) You excel at solving other people's problems. (More correctly, I am interested in other people's problems.) Occasionally, you do get a little selfish and persuade people to do things that are only in your interest.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. You have the classic "Type A" personality. (I think we all know I justsortofkinda lean a little bit in the direction of Type A.)

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated. (Depending on the situation.) You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want. (I totally missed that memo.) You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way! (Not kids will tell you I never knock them ever. Not even on their noggins to see if anyone's at home.)

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone. (That's pretty true. Getting along with someone is completely different than liking someone. And I do generally play nice with others.) You work hard not to rock the boat. (Ummm....I don't rock the boat intentionally.) Your easy going attitude brings people together. At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. (One of my brothers actually told The Mister not to marry me because I'm a flake.) But for the important things, you pull it together. (This must be one of the reasons we're still married.)

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow. You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily. (Thank God! That must have been a Whole Other Person getting worked up for the past 30.5 years and not me! What a relief!) Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is. (Yeah, like me.)

You are full of energy. You are spirited and boisterous.You are bold and daring. You are willing to do some pretty outrageous things. Your high energy sometimes gets you in trouble. You can have a pretty bad temper at times. (All of the above gets me into trouble.)

You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life.You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home. (No, totally and completely wrong. I like being at home so much it might border on the pathological.) You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.

You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out. Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia. Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. (I have been told that those people are the people who don't really know me. And also that I'm one of the least-selfish people around. That's just what I've been told be Real, Live, Actual People. Not Computer Generated Silliness.) You're a strong person.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

what is that awful odor?

That is what I would like to know. There is the stench of poo in the air. It's like there is some hidden little gifty for me somewhere, tucked away like an Easter basket for me to find.

I hate looking for things. Especially Easter baskets. And poop.

Monday, February 4, 2008

the alphabet according to jack

A, B, C, D, E, F, G

H, I, J, Key, L, M, Elmo, P

S, R, S,

T, (hmmm), V,

U, Esss, And, Z.

Now I know spell my name.

Next time I not sing with you.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I happened upon this blog one day, and read the entire thing all at once; I couldn't help myself. It's written by Nathan, husband of Tricia and father of Gwyneth Rose who is not even a month old yet. He's in his twenties and loves his wife and daughter just as any Real Man loves his wife and child. Tricia is currently very ill, In The Serious Part Of The Hospital Ill, and is waiting an organ transplant. Their babe is in the NICU, as she was born prematurely due to the health of her Mama.

I went through a variety of thoughts and feelings as I was reading what he had written; read it yourself and you'll understand what I mean, we can spare the lengthy explanation. That family has been implanted in my heart, and I pray for them every time their faces pop in my head, which is often. I am inspired by his faith, his attitude, and his grit. Not gritty grit...I don't ever really like that. Determination. He said that it helps him to write about his faith because the writing reinforces him and helps his faith to be more secure. I've paraphrased liberally there, but I think I got the gist. (If I haven't, and you read this, Nate, please correct me.)

I am so inspired at his ability to celebrate the joy in his life while the two people most dear to him in the world are struggling for their lives. Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV, here) says "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I've heard the "Rejoice in the Lord always part" time and again. Not being the sort of person who finds it easy to rejoice even as a part-time vocation, let alone always, it sort of puzzled me. Okay, puzzled isn't quite the right word there, it pretty much makes me roll my eyes and huff a great big "whatever" skyward. In writing, context is everything, and it makes a world of difference here. The next few verses make the rejoice part real.

The Lord is at hand. God is with us, everywhere from the grocery store to the ICU. In sickness and health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer...and boy do we know that at our house. The poorer part anyway, I can't vouch for the richer part just yet. Don't be anxious (for God is right here), but in everything pray, and ask God with humbleness whatever it is you need to ask.

For as much of my life as I can remember, people's names or faces have sprung to mind, or I've experienced really intense feelings in the deepest part of my spirit. Only recently have I discovered that this happens because I need to be praying for the person on my heart, or the person whose intense emotion I felt. I know that I need to pray because I can't escape the feelings, and my mind can't release the name and face of the person until I've prayed. Nothing else worked. I can't really put words to how I, myself, feel about this, probably because how I feel about it is really secondary to whatever is going on with the other person. Believe me, I know that praying can be really difficult. Most of the time I have no idea what I'm supposed to be praying for, for myself and my family, the people I know intimately, let alone praying for Suzie Q or whoever it is that God throws my way any given moment.

A number of years ago, before I was married, my family had a pretty major upset. (If you are reading this and don't know what I'm talking about, ask me. It's not a series of events I should actually write about just yet. People's feelings and all.) Right before it all went down (like an avalanche, for the record), I read this bit from Romans. That I was reading my Bible at all is a bit of a mystery to me, but I was reading nonetheless.

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:26-28, ESV)

In my weakness, which is really the level I operate on regularly, I know I don't pray what I should, and I know I pray things sarcastically and full of "but" statements. What an amazing, comforting thing to know the Holy Spirit takes the groanings of our deepest selves to God. And the Spirit does it in a way that lines up with what God would have for us.

It's in my weakness that I do not know what to pray. It's in my weakness that I get hung up on not knowing. But it is in my weakness that the cries of my soul are taken to God. It is in the times when we groan at the very thought of rejoicing that our groan is carried to the ears of Christ. And it is in that time of vulnerability that the will of God is carried out in our lives, whether we know it or not.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The Spirit takes the cries of our broken spirits to the Father, and leaves instead the peace of God in its place. This is what I see when I read what Nathan writes about his wife and daughter: the peace of God guarding his heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

date day

Miss O and I took a trip to the Strong Museum of Play today. This is the weekend for The Royal Ball, or, if you are Miss O, the Princess Party. And let me tell you, it is Big Fun. Anybody who's anybody was there, Cinderella and Prince Charming, two cutesy teens in matching green outfits (who were obviously dating in real life, for the record), the QUEEN!!!, and real, live musicians who not only accompanied the dancing portion of the festivities, but also led a bagpipe and drum processional out the front door at the end of the day.

Big, crazy, grateful props to the Strong Museum for coming up with the idea of the Big Parade Out The Door At The End Of The Day. The kids just leave. There weren't any meltdowns, nothing! And there were at least a thousand kids there, no exaggerating. They just put their coats on and walk out the door...every day! You people are geniuses, and you make bringing the kids to your place (or rather, leaving your wonderful heaven) easy. But I digress.

It was a wonderful day. We had a quiet morning at home, and left for our adventures after Jane and the Dragon and Jacob Two-Two. (You can check those out here and here.) We stopped at the bank and at the Habitat build to see Grandpa. We ate Doritos and Skittles in the car on the way to Rochester, and dubbed ourselves the Junk-Food Princesses.

Grandpa, O, and Brown Bear at the Habitat house:

Here the Queen is recognizing Lady O for helping at home with her brothers, and for preserving the Art of Baking Good Cookies.

There was dancing at the Royal Ball, naturally. Miss O couldn't be persuaded to dance in a circle with the other children and the oddly-costumed dancing lady. She wanted to be, and I quote, As free as the wind, as free as the birds.

We toured the butterfly garden, and the host-person let me hold a butterfly! It was so cool, and it just loved me (must have been the shiny ring) so much it wouldn't get off me. O thought about holding it, but it was a little to bug-ish for her, I think.

Me and Miss O.

It is so tedious to be photographed!

Planting a big, fat, wet one on the Princess.

Twirling at its finest.

And that right there is a good day.

Go Irish!

Check out this article about Ireland's successful campaign to eliminate plastic shopping bags. Very clever, those Irish folks. Just another example of How The Irish Saved Civilization. (And if you haven't read that, you should.)