Saturday, March 29, 2008

my little mockingbird

Just like the sounds of a Northern Mockingbird at dusk, my "spirited" number 4 is constantly making noise. He is trying so desperately to give up his one and only nap. These are the coveted few short moments where my shoulder muscles actually ease up and I get to do whatever it is that I have been trying to get to all morning (usually a trip to the bathroom, cleaning up breakfast and lunch dishes, and perhaps folding a load of laundry or eight). But no matter how many times I put him into his bed, the guest bed, or even the couch, I can no longer entice him to take even 15 winks of sleep, much less 40!!!

The more tired he gets, the wilder he becomes. With stunts like "Swing-the-Mickey-Mouse-Doll-Around-and-Around-as-Fast-as-My-Little-Arms-Will-Go", or "Hey-I-Haven't-Fallen-Off-the-Porch-Swing-Today", or "Decks of Cards Soup" (a secret recipe which involves as many decks of Crazy 8, Go Fish, Snap, Old Maid cards as we have all plopped into the port-a-crib).
Many of these "games" end in disaster, which leads to tears, finally ending in sweet slumber. So far today, though, there have been no disasters (unless you want to include my raw nerves and migraine headache) and he is still going strong.

playing together

Now this is what mothering is all about - moments like these.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

a brighter world

Dear sister, y'know, you're my favorite.
Thank you for your visit, it brightened our world.
From its Fruity Pebbled mornings and high pony tails,
To its bubble gum pink shoes and Kewpie Doll grins.
From lessons in sharing and mischievous giggles,
To the tall, quiet, bronze beauty with her nose in a book.
From Little Miss Bossy Boots and our trips to the park,
To the "Clean-Up" song and the 9pm sighs at the end of the day.
From yummy meals and solving the world's problems,
To a hug and a kiss and a heart for "I love you - all the way home".

Monday, March 24, 2008

forty days vol. 4

The cold, wet rag of reality: I have an eating addiction.
Just like an alcoholic I cannot imagine a day full of child care, housework, laundry, etc etc etc without the pleasure of eating.
I shocked myself this morning, Good Friday, with just how severe it is. Today is a day of fast and abstinence. Not eating meat is do-able. As long as I have the presence of mind to remember to avoid meat, there's no problem. The fasting part of it, though, is like a big scary monster.
For some reason I was thinking that today is two small meals - period. No snacking, no regular meal. (duh)
I was so frightened that I would not be able to get through one day of fasting that I actually took an appetite suppressing drug. I initially rationalized that it was just a little help to make today a success. Down went the pill. As it must have started dissolving in my stomach, it not only released its appetite suppressor, but also released so much guilt.
Why can't I ask for help from Christ?
Why do I doubt that I cannot control "the flesh" for one day?
This is ridiculous. I am weak. I am a miserable human being. My brain kept rattling off many internal insults to my soul. I feel like worm poop.
The small ray of light at the end of the tunnel is on the horizon - the risen Christ. Once again, I am shown and made painfully aware of the fact that I am in such need of redemption.
As the saying goes from Alcoholics Anonymous, "one day at a time". In the meantime, I offer praise and thanksgiving for a God who would love me so much as to redeem my steeped-in-humanity self and keep my eyes lifted to Heaven to focus on Our Lord's suffering rather than my own.

forty days vol. 3

I looked out the window and saw how tall the grass... er, weeds had gotten in the front yard. King was at work and the kids got out of school early.
Hair brain idea enters mind, "I know, I'll surprise him by having the lawn mowed when he gets home."
I ask #2 to help me get the mower started, because he has had recent experience with it. It has been so many years since I mowed a blade of grass that I have nearly forgotten how much work it is.
After discovering that the mower was out of gas, running to the quick shop to get a gallon of overpriced fuel, and trying for another 20 minutes to pull the mower cord, it finally started.
And for 2 hours I mowed the yard. Front and back.
"My stars, I didn't realize how much pollen had settled in those leaves!"
"Wow, the flowers from those weeds sure do kick up a lot of fluff!"
"Man, a stick hurts when it flies from the mower blade and hits your leg!"
"Why does every person who rides by stare at me? How humiliating!"
"I don't like this at all. I am sure glad this is not my chore each week. I will gladly leave this to someone else in the future."
Despite my misery, I was determined to get the whole yard finished. It turned into something a little more than just a "surprise hubby" thing. It morphed into I'm doing something I really hate for someone I really love. Always looking for the deeper meaning in every day experiences, I saw it as a way to relate my own suffering to Christ's.
Disclaimer: I realize that mowing some grass for 2 hours is in no way, shape, or form anything at all like what Christ went through!! But, in a very small way, for a brief moment in time, I possessed a small portion of what it took for Him to go through what He did for us:
but most importantly,

forty days vol. 2

Lent always helps me become acutely aware of how much in need of redemption I am. Temptation is everywhere. Distractions galore! All of these fighting to get in the way of my growing my faith. My head spins from it all.

From the time she was about 4 years old, my third child has given up some of the most difficult things a child could sacrifice for Lent. She is faithful and true, steady and strong the entire time. Never has she failed to be a wonderful example of a firm resolve. Sure she has been tempted. I've seen it. I've even given her permission to fudge a little. (Get thee behind me, Momma) But she stays strong until the end. Her birthday is on All Saints Day... wonder if she is predisposed to being a saint? She's got a good start, I'll just tell ya.
Eau de toilette.... sometimes on really busy days, Lysol disinfectant spray is the only "parfum" I get.

forty days vol. 1

Ash Wednesday: the ashes feel so cool and soothing when they are put upon my forehead. Amazing how many times I brush my hand across that area of my face in a day. I become acutely aware of just how many times.
Every person on the face of the planet struggles with at LEAST one of the seven deadlies. In big ways or small ways, we are doomed to wrestle with anger, lust, greed, pride, gluttony, sloth, and/or envy. They are insidious.
Injurious language, cursing, wrath, failing to forgive - anger. check.
Eating to excess and proving to be an ill example to others - gluttony. check.
Confiding in my own strength thereby showing ingratitude to God - pride. check
Neglectful of prayer time - sloth. check
Having trouble with the success of a friend (Gee whiz she has a great figure, why can't I have a figure like that?) - envy. check
The odd thing is that just when you think you have won the battle with one of them, another war will erupt in another area.
We all have crosses to bear. Mine is my weight. For many reasons (both known and unknown) I am overweight. But in peeking into the lives of my friends, I'd rather have this cross to bear than anyone else's.
It has a well worn mark on my shoulder. I know the feel of this cross. I know its bumps and lumps and splinters. I know the rough spots and the smooth ones.
My cross is not cancer. It is not alcoholism. It is not the loss of a husband or a child. It is not such poverty that I don't know if my children will be able to eat today.
When I look at the crosses that others have to bear, I embrace mine. I thank God for giving it to me and helping me carry it. I pray for the grace to overcome it and to use it to witness to others. I thank him for sparing me from any of the other crosses that there are to bear.
Giving up the internet was a good thing to give up for Lent. I am amazed at just how many times I have wanted to Google something - a good recipe for spaghetti squash, a recipe for low carb chocolate cheesecake, information on horseshoe crabs because we saw one wash up on the beach last weekend, a telephone number, snopes, etc.

~Kid stuff~
At the end of my rope with number 4 I have to get him in a room with no distractions and eyeball to eyeball explain to him that he cannot just enter a room and demand at full volume that he wants apple juice. We practice saying it politely "May I have apple juice please". After a couple of times, we are both much calmer and he looks up and says "Mommy you t'oud of me?"
"Yes, honey I am very proud of you," I reassure him.
"T'ank you Mommy," he says through a beautiful smile.
Its uncanny the way he knows just how to worm his way back into that special spot in my heart.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


A couple of times over the past 40 days I wrote some reflections down to post when I returned. Some of them are about my own faith journey and are full of brutally honest (with myself) discoveries.
Although I am about to go outside to enjoy this incredible day that the Lord has made, I will post these thoughts very soon. In the meantime, I can't wait to hear how your Lenten journey was. Happy happy Easter!


He is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
From our family to yours - HAPPY EASTER!