Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kinda Like It, Kinda Hate It

When my big boys were young they invented the saying, "Kinda like it, kinda hate it." It was a description of how we feel about certain slightly weird foods, like McDonald's pickles. Or black jellybeans. You get it? It was the perfect expression for that little phenomenon in life when you're attracted, for some inexplicable reason, to something kind of yucky. I guess some would call it "acquired taste," but I loved the term my boys made up. We even had a song for it. You just sing it to the tune of "Camp Granada." Kinda like it, tch tch tch, kinda hate it, tch tch tch...

Maybe it's because, for me anyway, things stick in my craw if I don't quite understand them. Not things that are way over my head, like how a computer works, or even a radio for that matter. But things I kind of almost get, but not really. Like what exactly is that yucky pickle taste? And the smell of the black jellybean in my nose that maybe reminds me of... rootbeer?

Some things are intriguing/repulsive because of their weirdness. For little kids it's monsters, for bigger kids maybe the opposite sex? How about insects, and many other animals--strangeness! Sometimes even other people are so different from me, my family, my friends, that they just seem--undecipherable. I used to just ignore them, pretend they weren't there.

But lately I have been realizing that the God I feel relatively comfortable with (in a reverential way) is also the God that created all this strangeosity. Giant spiders, flounder eyes, and people with tiny noses...all His designs. I seriously used to think I could categorize things from my surface-y point of view, and one of the categories was, "doesn't count." Like as if I can make that call.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just Happy to Be Here

I love my blog. It's so nice, when at the end of my rope, there's a place to unwind and let my thoughts out. It is also a bit of a discipline, to get things aired without disclosing too much (it being public), and also just to try to fit vague ideas into words at all.

I am a stiff-necked woman. In the Bible God refers to the rebellious Jews as being "stiff-necked." My neck is seriously messed up, physically. It crackles and pops and gets stuck, and sometimes I think the Lord may be pointing out my spiritual condition with this discomfort.

I also love to play piano. I am finally reading "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," at the suggestion of my artist son. In it the author discusses the aspect of being totally absorbed in what you're doing. Like when you're behind the wheel, thinking about all kinds of things, and you suddenly realize you don't remember driving for the past several miles. That is how playing piano can be sometimes too.

As I was practicing the other day, an unusual thought came to me. I think it was underscored in my Bible/prayer time, though I don't remember the words. What occurred to me at the piano was the proposition that, perhaps, I was unteachable. This was a shocking bit of news. I have always regarded myself as one who seeks out mentors and teachers, a collector of wisdom and advice...but maybe it has been only on my terms...

I have been struggling quite a bit with some relationships in my life (like everyone else, I guess). But the hard one is with a child of mine. I am always wanting him to change. I am always thinking of him as being unteachable. The idea appeared in my mind...that maybe...I was the one who needed to learn the lesson. And that somehow, (this may not be correct) if I were to become teachable, then so would he.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Being Cool is Overrated

I'll admit it--sometimes I'm driving kind of fast, windows rolled down, blasting Mozart's 40th Symphony, feeling like I'm pretty cool. Then I see a copper and snap out of it. No, not really cool. But actually I'm very thankful for the willingness to be uncool.

In fact, my life pretty much depends on me knowing that I am not hip, slick, and "all together." Sometimes I bemoan being a basket-case, but then I remember the alternative. That would be, for me, running amok in a state of delusional grandeur (picture Homer Simpson in the "Land of Chocolate"). There are lots of people who can pull it off, who can handle life well, or at least look like it. I kind of feel sorry for them.

I can recall when all this began, this knowledge of "cool," for me. I was in seventh grade, in a new school where I met my new best friend, Jade. Up til that point I had been listening to Liza Minnelli and the Carpenters, wearing plaid polyester pants, and not plucking my eyebrows. My world was about to go through a major transformation.

Jade taught me about Levi's, Alice Cooper, and the Columbia Record Club. With the assistance of that membership, it didn't take long to make up for lost time. Soon I was sewing more denim into the bell-bottoms of my dragging-on-the-floor jeans, hanging out my second-story bedroom window smoking Marlboros, making "suicide" from my parents' liquor cabinet, lying on the floor of my room, head jammed between two speakers cranking Ted Nugent, carving boys' names into my arms, and you know, all that cool stuff.

I also learned how to lie to my parents, which was necessary to keeping up all my cool activities. I would sneakily wipe off my eye makeup before I went home from school, and say I was going to "Junior High-Jinx" at the YMCA, when we would really be out prowling the neighborhood smoking...etc. I also learned how to steal, and was proud of how good I was at it. Before long I began having boyfriends, which made me feel even more supernatural. I was on top of the world. I decided at this time that getting good grades was for nerds and although I had to work at it at first, I got the hang of acting, and becoming, really dumb.

Well, this could be a really long story but suffice it to say: being cool never got my anything but trouble. And the trouble was not the glamorous affair I had romantically envisioned. In the end, it's like a movie that you're acting in for yourself. Nobody else cares. For a while other "cool" people want to hang out with you if you're being properly "cool." But if you decide to do something they don't approve of, or if they get bored with you...well then.

But the real reason I'm glad I'm not cool is that I had to fall apart. I had to do this to begin my life again. But then, even after that, I had to come to the end of myself. I had to find what I was searching for, and sometimes avoiding, my whole life. My pastor said on Sunday, and I've heard it said before, "There is a God and you're not Him." I knew he was going to say it. I say it to myself a lot.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pie in the Eye

After being on a special diet for health reasons for over a year and a half, not to mention a lifetime of trying to lose weight, I have suddenly, inexplicably, shed five pounds. So my first thought was, "I wonder if I have cancer?" I just read a friend's facebook post. She quoted a woman whose funeral she had just attended as saying, "I would rather have cancer and know Christ as my Savior, than be healthy and have no faith" I would agree with that statement.

I never used to think much about cancer because it didn't "run in my family." Now it seems to run everywhere.

I spent a lot of time doing yardwork today. I have a pretty bad headache from 'overdoing it.' So let me work my way around to my title here.

Back when I had my first batch of kids (boys) they, like my current brood (boys), along with my husband, loved the Three Stooges. Ugh. Well obviously I am not a boy. Anyway, I guess that's where they became acquainted with the concept of getting a pie in the face. But they never said it that way. They would say, "pie in the eye." Hahaha, now that's funny! They were so cute. One of them just turned 25. He's the apple of my eye. The pie of my eye--the fresh-picked blueberry pie of my eye! I posted the above photo on my facebook and labeled it, "fresh-picked blueberry pie," so of course my funny friend wanted to know where she could fresh-pick a blueberry pie! That's a little homeschool mom humor.

This morning in my Bible I was reading Proverbs 7:1-3

My son, keep my words
and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.

And it reminded me of how God has told us that we are 'the apple of His eye' (Zech. 2:8, Deut. 32:10). And here I am told to keep his teachings ("law" in KJV) as the 'apple of my eye.' I love the imagery. Could anything be more beautiful? We are invited to such an intimate relationship with the One who has made all things. And He doesn't want it to be 'casual.' He wants it to be all-consuming. He wants to be the apple of my eye!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I remember back in the 70's there was a book called "Happiness is a Warm Puppy," written by Charles M. Schultz. On the cover was a picture of Lucy, squeezing the life out of a hapless Snoopy. The pages were filled with cute illustrations of Peanuts characters and short heartwarming definitions of "happiness," such as finding the right puzzle piece, etc. A nice little booklet.

Today I feel happy. I am really thankful for that. As I type away here it is twilight, a very pleasant summer evening, filled with the sound of cicadas buzzing and the smells of fresh air and orange tea. My husband is upstairs giving the kids their baths, after having spent the day together as a family, just poking around the house. There were minor projects accomplished, the workroom finally got straightened out, some weeding was done, laundry put away. There was also fun with the kids, playing games and watching them attempt to master the pogo-stick and roller blades. Altogether enjoyable.

I have been spending more time with God lately. I am so busy with new opportunities He has given me, which I know I cannot handle, that I have been driven to my knees early in the morning pretty much each day. And so I am blessed, content, in a really good place. Recently I told the Lord that I just needed peace, but also mentioned I was kind of bummed I really hadn't felt joy for a long while. I was actually thinking at the time I might never feel it again...Wrong. :)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.--James 1:17.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comedy is the Best Revenge

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.--Rom. 12:19

In our little town, which is on the cusp of suburbia and farmland, there is an annual event. For anonymity's sake I'll call it the "Hayseed Gala." It is three days long, usually late in July, consists of carnival rides, food vendors, craft sales, and two nights of really loud cover or tribute bands. Oh yeah, and a beer tent, quite necessary in provoking enthusiasm for said entertainment.

While I many times question why more culturally relevant themes are not explored at the "Hayseed Gala," say, square-dancing, or some local bluegrass... Nope. Just 70's bands. Ugh. I once tried to get a fine art show started, but sadly, after sitting in one of those planning committee meetings, I don't think I could ever do it again. So, it is what it is. Interestingly, this whole thing is set up right in the middle of a neighborhood. There is a field, which many houses (including mine) back up to, and this is the venue for the annual "Hayseed Gala."

I really didn't have a problem with it, until one morning two summers ago, I walked out my back door to find the back of the stage set up not 50 feet from my house!!! This was not the normal positioning of the stage, which had always been in the middle of the field, AWAY from peoples' homes, as one would only find reasonable. I went, um, kind of ballistic. In fact the "Hayseed Gala" committee happened to be out there at that moment and I guess I kind of let 'em have it. Big mistake. I learned that you don't mess with the "Hayseed Gala" planning committee.

The show went on, and trust me, it was louder and more horrible than anyone can explain. I was infuriated, as a tax-paying citizen, that I would be imposed upon in such a ridiculous manner--especially because the stage DID NOT HAVE TO BE THERE. I purposed not to let that ever happen again. Indeed I was told that it would not.

May I just say that with the ensuing events of the next year, complaining and pleading and letter-writing and phone-calling and even *grimace* "Hayseed Gala" planning committee meeting attending (my husband went) we got nowhere. They plunked that stage down right in my back yard again last year. Even though it could have been moved back to its original spot. They gave me some lame story about fire lanes, but they just put something else right where the stage used to be. It was not an issue of safety. It was an issue of small town politics.

Ironically, last year they had this whole big thing about how they wanted to honor military personnel, and my son was coming home for a family reunion after serving for a year in Afghanistan. The only time we could schedule this reunion was during the "Hayseed Gala." It would have been okay to do it then, except for the unbearable noise level caused by the stage being within spitting distance of my deck. You can close your windows, turn on your A/C, cover your ears with pillows, but you still will not even be able to hear your own thoughts in this house once the bands start up.

I appealed to the committee's "patriotism," asking them to please move the stage (back to where it belonged) so we could have a welcome-home party for my son in our home. They would not. So we had to actually have his reunion at my parents' home. Again, I say, all of this could have been avoided because the stage does not have to be in my backyard!!! It never was before. So you can see how angry this has made me. It is a frustration I feel not just for the 3 days, annually, of the "Hayseed Gala" but pretty much every day. That's stupid, I know. Trust me, I have tried to "turn this over" like a million times. I don't like kind of hating this town.

So, I don't have a hilarious wrap-up for this post. There is no comedic solution, really. I just liked calling it the "Hayseed Gala." The real truth is that I have prayed about this a lot. I have had many ideas about what I can learn from this whole ordeal. It is getting kind of scary having government not really care about its law-abiding citizens as individuals, small-scale and large. But we are guaranteed problems in this life. Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble...”--John 16:33b. But He was telling this to His disciples who were about to face severe persecution.

And there are other kinds of troubles: sickness, violence, death, destruction. These things make my "Hayseed Gala" dilemma seem awfully insignificant. Today as I mulled this over, I was very thankful to God that He lets me have this problem instead of a sick child, or something really devastating like that. And here is the second part of what Jesus said, "...But take heart! I have overcome the world."--John 16:33b

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Computation Equation

Not terribly long ago my husband and I got into a fight. Not a fistfight, a marital spat. I knew we had come to a new place in our relationship when, as we were too angry to speak to each other and went our separate ways for a time, (and we didn't know what each other was doing) he chose to go outside and sharpen my lawn mower blades for me. I chose, in his absence, to practice a song on piano I was learning to surprise him with on Father's Day. I know, kind of like "Gift of the Magi"--somewhat.

I remember back in the day we had made a meager attempt at marriage counseling. We were taught about "fighting fair" and not to use "always and never" statements. I am not a fair fighter. I have a lethal tongue. That is to my shame. It is only the Lord Jesus who could have arranged the circumstances to bring blossoming goodness where there used to be such venomous spite.

Back in the marriage counseling period I was in therapy myself. I did get one really good insight in that psychologist's office. I don't think I even told her about it. It was a mental image I had of what the problem really was. The vision was a vast darkness with unending spiraling tunnels of black and grey. The tunnels, I knew, were what was wrong with me. There was no end to it.

At the time it was kind of a freak out but also in a way depressing. There was no amount of counseling that could get to the root of my brokenness. I didn't know at the time that God was giving me a picture of my sin.

A couple days ago I punched a link in a junk email I knew I shouldn't have. I do not know why I did this. Temporary utter stupidity. Anyway, I immediately ran a scan on my computer and then my computer just shut itself down. Oh no. After all these years of being so careful, I had finally done it. I turned it back on and tried to run the scan again, and it shut down. Argh. This was only 10 in the morning and I knew I would have to wait until my husband got home to deal with it, leaving me in a heightened state of anxiety for several hours.

During this interval I had some time to think. I have recently been lamenting to my friends the fact that I am on the internet far too much. In truth, it has become a sinful habit. Not that I'm doing anything inappropriate--if you don't consider ignoring your kids, your work, your marriage, your relationship with God inappropriate. I had prayed about it several times. I had tried to devise time limits for myself, but that never worked. It was just like a diet. But now, here this thing had happened--I had contracted a computer virus, and I figured that perhaps it was something God had allowed to happen for my good.

I don't like to make huge mistakes without learning something from them. I thought, I prayed, "Okay, what can I take from this? LORD, Please help me because I don't want to make some lame promise like, 'If my computer doesn't actually have a virus I'll only use it for 20 minutes a day,' which is not actually addressing the issue." That morning I knew I should have been spending time with God first, but I was farting around on the internet, with my Bible pushed aside. Now hear this: I was not viewing the situation as God folding His arms looking down at me with disdain. I was rather seeing it as an opportunity He was giving me to flee from the self-created prison of addiction to going online.

And here is the original thought that came to me, I'm pretty sure, not from myself: What if I only used the computer in a manner consistent with honoring and glorifying God? That was it! Perfect! That made it all so very clear. It's okay to shop, but to a proper point. It's okay to email, or even facebook, to some extent. The line does not seem hard to see. I know when I'm wasting time, or money, or my brain. I know when I'm not tending to who or what I should be. THANKS LORD!!!!

So, it turns out I did not have a virus after all. I had just switched tablecloths and I think the laptop was sucking this one up causing it to overheat--that is my theory. But I am absolutely convinced that it was all happening in God's providence. Here's the proof: Last night, after all this, a friend told me my son had something hilarious posted on his wall. So I checked it out. He had not written anything wrong, but his several friends' comments took it to a place that was, let's just say, not really honoring and glorifying God. As I found myself beginning to snicker, I showed it to my husband, who was like, "gross." Then suddenly, I got this bizarre black error message screen I had never seen before...and I realized that God was helping me again.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Cake and Your Cake Too

Yesterday I made my kids a batch of homemade chocolate pudding. Today it is gone, and my four-year-old asked me if I could make some more. No sooner had I said yes and he was waving me away telling me to "get to it." (He is so soft and cute that he gets away with this--sometimes, temporarily.) I tried to linger with him on the couch a bit longer (he was watching old-timey cartoons) when he said, giving me a push, "I don't want you."

As I headed toward the kitchen, to get some tea--not to make his pudding, I thought about God, and how I sometimes act the same way toward Him. I want the material comforts to keep on coming, while I put my relationship with Him on hold--as if I were some little despot calling the shots.

I don't know why the Supreme Ruler of the Universe gives me good gifts, why we have flowers and birds and music and good things to eat and health and friendship and love. Beyond this is so much more...but it is all from the Creator's hand. It makes no sense to think things are accidentally wonderful. It takes a lot of work just to get a batch of chocolate pudding right. Really think about that.

The most beautiful story in the whole world is the one of God's redemption for us through Jesus Christ. We want a hero who loves us that much, with a perfect, undying devotion up to--and beyond the point of death; and we have that. You can live a really great life--I do, overflowing with blessings and beauty and love; and it doesn't mean a thing without Christ.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sewwww Long...Part 2

Well, I finally decided that I really did need a sewing machine, and decided to buy another one. I didn't want to spend a lot, but did want something that would work for my basic needs. So I researched, found one that rated pretty well, and bought it. Even paid up for a case, so the foot pedal wouldn't be flopping around this time.

Do you ever wonder who these people are that rate things inaccurately? And why? I have just about had it with Consumer Reports--they have steered me wrong several times now. As you can guess, my shiny new sewing machine was a piece of junk. I had nothing but trouble with it. Of course I didn't discover this right away, as I often take long hiatuses from sewing. The problems did not become obvious until it was way too late to return the thing to the store.

Aggravation. As if sewing, in itself, was not frustrating enough for me. I began to get angry again. And I got upset with my dad. I love my dad a ton, and it was gnawing away somewhere inside me, to the degree that I really had to take it to God several times. I knew it was dumb; that my problems are so minuscule in the grand scheme of things. I also knew that it was really wrong of me to be mad at my dad, because he is so much more important than a $100 sewing machine--or even two. And it really wasn't all his fault. I did pray.

Anyway, time went by and I began to accept my lot in life as a non-sewer. One would think this should not be difficult as I have already explained my retardedness at the whole sewing thing. But--I love fabrics. I can hardly pass up digging for treasure through those marked-down-to-$2-to$3/yard bolts. And I had actually found something I could do with all these wonderful colorful patterns...make baby blankies. I can't really call them quilts, because they're not, exactly. They are more primitive than that, or at least more incorrectly done. Nevertheless, they are sewn from many different beautiful materials and I had a really great time making them, a couple of times. Before the sewing machine fiasco.

So my piles of lovely pinks and blues, florals and calicos sat and sat. I finally gave away most of them to a friend who actually has a working machine. So I had pretty much thrown in the towel...and then....out of the blue, my cousin Wendy emailed me. She said she had heard that I could use a sewing machine and that she had an old one of her mom's in her garage if I wanted it!! Now, I must clarify here. My cousin Wendy is a sewer, furthermore she is the daughter of Serious Sewer Aunt Sue, who can sew anything from a (real) teddy bear to a tailored suit!! Any old machine of Sue's was NOT going to be a $100 heap of barely functional plastic parts from Target! I trembled with joy. And then I wrote Wendy back....Stay tuned for part three of this cliffhanger.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Who is Jesus?

I interrupt my current blog short series because of the urgency of this message. By the title you will know where I am going with this. The problem is that many people do not at all understand what True Christianity is about. Jesus did not come to earth to tell people to "be good." He came to earth to die, for us, for you and me. That was His mission. He went into it with full knowledge, not that it was easy.

In Gethsemane, the night before his crucifixion:

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.--Luke 22:41-44

So, why did Jesus have to die?

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.--2 Cor. 5:21

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. --Isa. 53:6

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.--Heb. 9:22

This is why the Jews had to offer sacrifices, but:

because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.--Heb. 10:4

...he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.--Isa. 53:12b

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sewwww Long...

On my Facebook page I put "sewing" as one of my activities/interests. That is something I never thought would happen. And I'm still a pretty bad sewer, but the category is, after all, "sewing" and not "good sewing." I guess it began out of necessity. I am much too cheap to buy curtains, and they are pretty much just straight(ish) lines--pretty simple. I've been known to make slipcovers for pillows as well. That's about my speed.

Well I have tried things of more difficulty, which I can never accurately describe the ridiculousness of. Like the dress I tried to make. It had a drop waist with a gathered skirt, not so elementary. As for the facing, well I didn't know what that was, so I just sort of tried to "hem" around the neck. Somehow I managed to pick a pattern 3 sizes too big for me. The fabric was purple with a floral calico print. Okay, not to be stereotypical, but I looked like an old mountain woman in it. It fit literally like a very large potato sack. It was worth all the time and money spent just to laugh that hard.

When we bought a little cottage up in Michigan I lugged my trusty sewing machine up there to make the necessary curtains & pillow slipcovers. I liked my machine pretty well. It was just a $100 model I had bought at Target, or I think it was Venture then. Nothing fancy--I just need a straight stitch, and zig-zag if I'm feeling really crazy. But this was back a few years before stuff was made with plastic gears & such. It actually worked pretty well. But horror of horrors, in transit I dropped the foot pedal, and it broke.

My husband fixed it, sort of, but it still wasn't quite right. I should have just gone on the internet and found one on e-bay, but in a momentary lapse of judgment, I decided to take it to my dad. Now I had a seemingly good reason for this: My dad has a small manufacturing company and one of the things I knew he had produced was an industrial foot pedal. So I figured he might be able to do the repair quickly and easily.

I love my dad very much, and he is brilliant, but I could have told myself that I never should have left that machine in his hands. Because I would never see it again. He tried to fix it, but couldn't, so he decided to build me a whole new foot pedal. Cool, but in the mean time I had found a place where I could just buy one for $40. What? Didn't I want the super-industrial-one-of-a-kind-shiny, metal ($150) beast my dad was already working on?? Of course I did! Well, I never did see that magnificent foot pedal. It didn't work with my machine.

I am confident that eventually my dad could have got the thing to work. Only he has, as I said, a company to run and plenty of other fires to put out, projects, problems, etc. From time to time I would ask about my sewing machine. I don't remember what he said but the writing on the wall was getting clearer. Time ticked by and I discovered products like "stitch witchery" with which you can glue up curtain hems and the like. I tried not to be upset, but I was. Then, without my knowledge, my dad moved his business. I knew they would have to have thrown away as much junk as possible. My sewing machine had been sitting there for at least a year, probably much longer. I assumed it had gone in the dumpster.

Okay, this really is getting "sewwww long," so I will finish with a sequel. Peace out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Crazy Cat

I have too many hobbies. I forgot, before starting this, that I had started making a blankie upstairs. I remembered when I saw photos of other blankies while searching for the perfect photo for this blog post, pictured above.

I just ordered a bunch of sheet music and it came and it's all too easy and hokey. Very disappointing. So I ordered some more. But this time I set my computer on the piano, put on my magnifiers, and tried playing the example page arrangements first. It is hard to pinpoint my skill level in piano, because I really only like playing things that are too hard for me. But that's okay; I'm dogged.

So, hobbies, occupations, vocations...I have been a parent for quite a while and have seen all kinds of choices being made regarding children and just how-much-time-are-we-going-to-invest-in-their-interests? Time and effort (oh, and cash). When it comes down to it, none of my kids were ever going to be in the Olympics anyway, but had they had the talent...I just don't know if I would have been up for it. Not saying that's a good thing. I lament not focusing enough on any one thing, somewhat.

But let's face it, I value the distractions in life--maybe too much. It's the once-hippie-homeschooler in me. Like, wow. My 8-year-old had his first baseball game yesterday. He did well at bat, kind of left field in the field. But I like this league, because it's all about having fun. There are some really good kids on the team, and they pretty much covered the others, but that seemed just fine for everyone. It was nice, enjoyable, even.

Lately this same kid has been getting very sick of school, even though we homeschool. Like, with stomachaches & headaches that magically dematerialize when he's away from the books. I am confounded. I mean, he has no real school stress. No bullies, no peer pressure, no tedious hours of clock watching, no lessons too easy or too hard...I don't get it. He has a great teacher!

Well, maybe it'll be better next year when his brother is forced to do kindergarten. My big guy will want to be in on all that cutting & gluing stuff. I do think it's kind of sad that kindergarten is only one year. Seems like it could be longer. Especially for kids like my slugger, and me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chicken Slide

I know, it's been a long time since I wrote a decent blog. That last one was my bottom. I am here to redeem myself as a writer, to once again stretch my thinking muscles and communication skills. To dredge out my inner thoughts and make them understood. No, you're not supposed to write about your writing, but just call me avant-garde.

The title makes no sense unless you had seen the pictured structure when it had the missing piece. From the upper window of the right barn used to be an extension reaching to the ground like a chute. My big boys and Carly and I used to drive past this scene every Friday, and they named it the "chicken slide." I had to get a picture of it before they knock the whole thing over, but alas the chicken slide was already no more.

Carly was our next-door neighbor who homeschooled with us one year. Once a week we would drive out to "Fantastic Fridays," a co-op of sorts where the kids could take classes with other homeschoolers. Carly was a peach. Very sweet, adorable, and meek around me; a really great friend for the boys as she was good at, and loved sports (and other adventures). The "signal" to come out and play was the sound of the basketball thumping on the shared driveway between our houses. There was a hoop on Carly's garage.

Carly was such a cute girl, with shoulder length blonde hair, soft blue eyes, and a lovely smile. She was always dressed in boyish clothes and ready for anything. My guys spent their growing up years with her, and she was and is very dear to my heart.

The three of them had a club called the "King Tarantulas," and did lots of other crazy things. Once they dug a pretty large "fish pond" in Carly's back yard (her mom was a lot more laid back than me) which caused a lot of screeching late at night as two raccoons fought over the tasty morsels. They would have lemonade stands, and since we didn't get much traffic they would yell out, singing, "LEMONADE, LEMONADE, EVERYBODY'S THIRSTY FOR SOME LEMONADE!!" at passing cars.

Also, it was Carly and her sister who brought my sons to vacation Bible school one summer at a little church around the corner. Carly and Kelsey were so darling toting their little flowery-sewn covered Bibles. They went skipping off with my guys and, unbeknownst to me, the Gospel was preached. I was not a Christian then, and was horrified when my oldest child confided to me one night that he had prayed the sinner's prayer in that little church basement.

Now, of course, I am immensely grateful that Chris received the gift of Salvation early in his life, simply, as a child. As he put it, "I just thought I might not ever get another chance." He was right, you know. None of us knows exactly when the lights will go out. And it probably was easier back then; before the chicken slide was gone.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Abby Normal

I would like life to be simple. To be able to sum things up in a nutshell. But that is not to be for me. Never has been. Everything is so--complicated. Always. Take for instance my birth. My parents were young, not married, but wait--they did get married. But they never lived together. I spent the first couple years of life going back & forth between grandparents. This is probably common now but it wasn't in the early 1960's. Then finally I went to live with--my dad.

He remarried and I have three siblings (I remember being shocked the first time someone referred to them as my "half" brothers and sister). We were a family until another divorce, and from around age 12 I was again with my dad, but the sibs stayed with their mom...blah blah blah. Complicated. Again, it may be common these days but it's still weird. Very hard to wrap your mind around.

Like, where do I fit in? I have had three moms who are all very very different, with families all over the financial and social stratosphere. I have always been very observant, but somewhat confused as to how to act. I've lived in pretty wealthy circumstances and have also been kind of poor, and feel like a faker either way.

We had kids early, in our 20's, before my friends or siblings, then late, in our 40's, so again that is weird. We don't fit in either the "parents of young kids" or "empty nesters" group. We homeschool, making us weird. I am a born-again Bible believing Christian, which Jesus promised would make me an outcast. But even among Christians I have trouble fitting in. I am extremely skeptical, hard-core, and serious. I am not bragging about this. Often I wish I could "lighten up" as I've been told many times to do.

You see, being a Christian involves sharing my faith with others. It is in fact the deepest desire of my heart to preach the Gospel--to tell the Good News of Jesus to the world! But as I can never seem to get a grasp on things--tending to oversimplify or overcomplicate--I find it extremely difficult to explain just what the Gospel is.

Lately I've discovered that I am in good company when it comes to emerging from a complicated background. Look at Jesus. Read the first couple chapters of Matthew. Now that is complicated. And no matter how confused I get about things, eventually I run into this verse again like I did today:

LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.--Psalm 16:5-6

I know this is true for me. The Lord Himself, He is my inheritance. There is no greater circumstance.

One final note. I'm also weird because I love classical music and don't like rock. In fact I wrote a previous blog on this subject; and like the blog where I doused the French, I am now going to have to recant a bit on my thrashing of the rockers.

I read this interview with Bono, and was quite impressed. He was able to do what I struggle with: lay out the Gospel, simply. Now you have to get all the way to the end of the interview. But I believe he does a good job. So Bono is my brother in Christ (and not half-brother, whatever that is). Hats off to you, rocker Bono, may you preach the Gospel evermore!