Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolving to Not Resolve

Okay, so should I write a blog about New Year's Resolutions? Of course I should. It's New Years. The problem is that I'm not a fan of New Year's Resolutions. I am, however, a fan of reflecting on the past as a guide to serve the future. So, I will resolve to not resolve. Here is what I came up with.

I will not Resolve to lose weight. I will just stop eating chex mix and Christmas Cookies and try to begin working out again to aide in ridding myself of years upon years of too much chex mix.

I will not Resolve to pay more attention to my kids, I will just pay less attention to Facebook.

I will not Resolve to finally get back to my scrapbooking, I will just turn the TV off at night and begin to look through years of pictures with a stick of glue in my hand instead.

I will not Resolve to go to coffee with those friends I keep intending to, I will just go for tea instead. (Or Margarita's if the time of day so dictates.)

I will not Resolve to keep a cleaner house, I will just not keep a cleaner house. Wait.....

I will not Resolve to begin to serve more, I will just stop thinking about myself all the time and put that energy toward others in need.

I will not Resolve to mend broken relationships, I will just continue to "pursue peace as far as it depends on me" and trust God with those relationships.

I will not Resolve to spend more time with God, I just will.

I will not Resolve to be a better wife to my husband, I will just remember make it a point to die to myself just a bit more.

I will not Resolve to finally view what I do as a wife and a mom as an amazing calling, I will just rest in knowing that it is - because it is where God has placed me for now.

Notice a common thread through all of my non-resolutions? Discipline. This has been my, if you must, New Years Resolution for 3 years straight. Discipline. It will continue to be so for every year of my life I would imagine. Because really, if you think about it, anytime we are trying to better ourselves, or change who we are .... HUGE amounts of discipline are needed. Discipline to do what needs to be done is what it takes. Also, realizing that when I don't do my part, I run the risk of being disciplined by my Heavenly Father. (The 2 uses of the word discipline and how they go hand in hand have been racing through my brain all day. It's a baffling thing, really.) The thing I pray I realize and remember more every year, is that such discipline can only stem from one place. Jesus. So it is in Him, that I live and move and have breathe one more year (or maybe just one more day). It is in Him that I ask for the graces to live the life that I cannot live on my own. It is in Him that I beg for the strength to do the little things that eventually amount to big. It is in Him that I search for the joy to follow through on the day-in-day-out tasks that bring me to a much fuller, richer life.

All these things are of course, easier said than done. So above all else, I rest in the Sovereignty of God, that even as I struggle through my shortcomings -- He has got a purpose for them. He will grow my faith through each one. And mostly, He loves me despite ALL of them combined.

The last few years, I've tried to find a "life verse" for the new year. This year it was a chunk of verses. I'm pretty excited to TRY to memorize them. (I won't even add "memorize more versese" to my non-resolution list. I know better than that!)

Hebrews 12:3-15

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have no yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortaion that addresses you as sons?
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which, no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

So again, I know (or at least I think I know) that the word use of "discipline" in these verses is the kind of discipline you think of when you consider, say, a parent to a child. But there is one sentence that sent my mind in the direction of self-discipline (which comes through Christ alone) in which I realized the two forms go hand in hand more often than not (especially when it comes to our life in Christ). That is the verse that says - For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (I'm no theologian, so I'm sure I'm probably way off base and making a fool of untrained don't go quoting me.)

Happy 2009!!!! May you rest in God and trust that your resolutions (plans) will be turned into steps that can only be directed by God. (Proverbs 16:9)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tooth Fairy and Snow Storms

I'm fired. As a tooth fairy that is.

Providence knows the truth about the tooth fairy, and is doing her best to be sure Eden and Sam don't buy into the same non-truth that she did for so many years. (And she's taking Santa, and The Easter Bunny down with the Tooth Fairy.)

So this morning, the morning after Eden's first tooth was buried under her pillow (with a sweet picture) in anticipation of the not real tooth fairy, all hope was lost. Sure enough, she believed her sister. She came out exclaiming to all that there was no money under her pillow. How sad. Aaron replied telling her that maybe the Tooth Fairy had forgot, or was coming after breakfast. The not so gullible child that she is, she stated, "No Daddy, Mommy forgot". Oh the pain .... take a knife to my heart. I felt SOOOOO horrible at forgetting such an important milestone in my Eden's life.

So now I'm left with this moral dilemma. Do I tell the truth that I forgot and plead for forgiveness with two dollars instead of just one? Or do I try to quick come up with a solution? Or do I put the money somewhere under her bed and tell her it must have fell down in her sleep? The problem with that option, is that she already saw the tooth wasn't taken. (I did this last option to Providence once ... that was the end of her belief.) Guess what I chose?

Option #2. I ran to my scrapbooking supplies and wrote with the calligraphy pen (so it wouldn't look like my writing) the following....

Dear Sweet Eden,
I'm sorry that this wasn't here when you woke this morning. There have been snow storms all across the country that are making it hard for me to fly. It makes it even harder because now I have to be sneaky in the daylight so children won't see me. Well, anyway, congratulations on losing your first tooth. Love, The Tooth Fairy

As we were all in the kitchen getting breakfast ready, I turned to Providence and quietly asked her to help me out. I handed her the note and money and asked her to run and put it under Eden's pillow, and to bring me her tooth. She looks up at me and says, "Okay, but is the tooth fairy really real?" WHAT???? There was still hope left in her? Arghhhh. Well, Aaron and I have always said we will play along in the make believe characters, but wouldn't outright lie to our children if asked directly. So....I had to shatter her last glimpse of hope in the reality of the Tooth Fairy. Double sting, double bladed knife.

Anyway, she runs and does what I've asked. After breakfast, she tells Eden to check again. Eden had lost all faith that she would be recieving money. After all, Mom & Dad have been sitting with her the whole time! So Provi runs in their room screaming, "Eden, come here, the tooth fairy is here NOW." I yell, "Don't look, if she sees you seeing her, she'll take you with her!" (Now I've made the Tooth Fairy into a kidnapping monster.) So Sam runs in. Aaron and I begin yelling, "No Sam! She'll take you too!" So now Eden is curious. She runs in too. She looks under her pillow, and what does she see? A DOLLAR! Only she turns to Provi and says, "I don't want this, it's your's." Provi defends herself, and Eden believes her. So then she instead accuses us of taking it from her money box because it looks like her other two dollar bills that she has. We urge her to look in her money box. Which she does. And to her delight, she sees her $2 safe and sound, and adds her third dollar to the mix.

Now she's beginning to believe again. She's already asked me if I wrote the note. Darn it, now I'm faced with that whole "outright question/outright lie" thing. My answer???? "Does that look like my writing?" A grin crosses her face and she runs off, happy again.

All is well in Tooth Fairy Land.

Baby Britton Blurb

So the other day I began to do a "for real" cleaning of the living room. You know, not the kind where you just shove everything in a corner, or a neat pile on the counter and call it clean -- but really cleaning. I enlisted the children to help me put things WHERE THEY BELONG (I stressed). As they got busy, I pulled out the real old fashioned broom. Not the swiffer vacuum, but the broom. Upon doing so, this is what my eldest child (Providence) says to me.

"Are we having people over or something??"

Guess I don't clean "for real" often enough. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Merry Advent

I can't believe that it is December 2nd !! Today marks my parents 31 wedding anniversary! It also marks the 13 anniversary since Aaron & my first date. (Was that stated in proper English???)

That has nothing to do with what I'm about to write about .....

The last few years, as Christmas approaches, I find myself struggling with the "true meaning of Christmas". You'd think that this would not be a struggle for someone who has followed Christ for 13 years. (Anyone catch that number twice now in this post???) Even more than that, but as someone who grew up in a Christian home celebrating Jesus as the Reason for the Season ever since I can remember. And yet, I do. Maybe the combination of those two things are the problem. Perhaps hearing the Christmas Story (no, not the - "You'll shoot your eye out" Christmas Story, but the REAL Christmas Story) for 30 years over and over and over (should I write over 30 times?) is part of the problem. Perhaps Christmas is one of those things you think you understand and even take advantage of as a "good Christian" .... sort of like grace, forgiveness, God's sovereignty. (You know, the little things.) What really is the big deal about Christmas? Virgin Birth by a common servant, God coming to earth in the form of a baby? As I write those 2 miracles, I think to myself AGAIN that they should mean more to me than they do. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for both of them, I recognize that they are indeed miracles, and the foundation for the Gospel. (After all, Jesus had to be born to be able to die.) But the motions of Christmas, how we celebrate, why we celebrate ... none of it makes it real to me for some reason.

Just ask Aaron. I drive him crazy every year as I pursue some big family tradition that will be like something straight from an old black and white movie. (Cough cough - "It's A Wonderful Life" - Cough Cough) I come up with one thing after another to have something to make Christmas more real to our kids than it is to me. Something that when they are grown, they'll have these wonderful memories of the great mom I am who made Christmas so special for them. (And now, I've just made Christmas about ME to my children. Hmmm.) I'm still searching.

The madness of the "Holiday" season seems to set in earlier and earlier every year. Madness like this year, hearing about the Walmart Guard dying for what??? Oh, right, some $30 special. Baking cookies, decorating the tree, buying the tree (which sets us back more and more each year), hanging the stockings, Christmas music (of which my husband loathes most of ... and in fact mocks me every day for the non-stop tunes playing at our house all of December), the Christmas plays, Hallmark specials, gift exchanges, cookie exchanges, what to buy for the person who has everything, what to buy for the child who has too much, etc, etc, etc. ..... something is missing. At least in my heart.

So again this year, I pursue God making Himself more real to me this month. I pray He makes the miracle of Christmas life changing to me and my family. I pray I am able to understand, and celebrate Advent .... not just Christmas. Until recently, I haven't even really known what "advent" means. So, what did I do??? I got a book of course. Here is what I read a few years ago that I continue to try to ponder.

"The Latin word for "advent" means "the coming". The advent season was instituted as a time of fasting for holy living, and it remains a time of inward preparation for the commemoration of the coming of Christ. It's much more than a one-day celebration, it's a month to be still and remember the God of our past, present, and future. In anticipating His first coming, we celebrate His presence in the present, and prepare for His second coming to earth."

(Okay, so I had to laugh when I read that it was a time of fasting for holy living .... HAHAHA, who fasts during December, really??? I fast .... I fast from everything but Christmas cookies and chex mix!)

So, while I'm sure I've come off as a bad Christian, maybe even NOT a Christian at all through my words ..... I really am just wanting to pursue a Jesus that is bigger than I know I've made Him out to be. A Jesus who is bigger than any representation of Christmas has made Him out to be. A Jesus, who born to a virgin, came to earth so that I can live! I don't want to just celebrate the one day that Christmas is, I want to celebrate the Advent that anticipates eternity.

In that same book, I read an old Christmas Carol/Hymn that I'd never heard of. Maybe I can talk Aaron into bringing it back. :) The words resonate with my heart right now.

"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus"

Come, Though long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's Strenth and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a king.
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious Kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to thy glorious throne.

May Jesus be real to you this year as we celebrate Him in all His glory! Merry Advent!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baby Britton Blurb

Eden came up to me just now with a mouth covered in chocolate. Here's how it went....

Eden - "Mommy, I know how to make chocolate milk a faster way than you."
(Mind you, the way I make it involves 1)Pouring milk in a glass, 2) Pouring chocolate syrup over milk, and 3) stirring. I could see why she thinks that takes a long time.)
Me - "Oh yeah? How is that?"
Eden - "First you put a bunch of chocolate chips in your mouth, then you suck on them for a really long time, then when they are soft enough - you spit them into a bowl and then you have chocolate milk!"
Me - "Oh, wow, is that why there is chocolate all over your face?"
Eden - "Nooooooooooo" :)
Said to myself - "I don't even want to know what the bowl looks like"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rip Off .... AKA Halloween

Seriously, when did Halloween become such a cash cow??? I think I remember hearing somewhere that it was the #2 highest commercial holiday next to Christmas. And by commercial, I mean rip off.

Okay, so I'll start by admitting my flaw as a mother. I'M the one that bought into this "holiday" and thought my kids HAD to have this cute little costume and go around door to door getting candy for looking so cute. I wasn't allowed to trick-or-treat growing up, and never really understood why ... I think I'm starting to. Because Halloween is a rip off!

So now that my personal confession is done .... my kids have grown accustomed to purchasing the Halloween costume of their choice (again, because I started it 8 years ago). Well, 3 kids later, the $80-$130 (depending on their choices) seems to be a bit of a waste for one night of being cute. However, how do I explain this to my sweet little Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz as she starts tearing up in the store when I try explaining to her that Dorthy needs to go back to Kansas and Eden is going to have to pick something from the dress up bin at home FULL of years gone by costumes? BREAK MY MOMMY HEART why don't you?!?!?! So, here is what I was thinking of saying ....

Well, there are starving children in Africa, one of which is your brother, who could eat for a year on the amount that all your costumes cost. All that Halloween is, is one big rip off. We spend all this money for one night of fun. One night of fun which gives you nightmares from the neighbor boy (and mom) who did not get the memo that Bloody Faced Creatures are NOT cute. Not only do we buy the costumes, but the parents also have to purchase $30-$50 worth of candy for all the other kids that aren't theirs to come and look cute. Only then, the kids don't even get all the loot, because the parent's sort through it deciding everything but the blow pops, candy corn, and the fizzy sugar stuff is rotten and you can't have it or you'll die. The truth is, they want it all to themselves, of which they'll later regret when Thanksgiving and Christmas approach and they realize they are already up 10 pounds because they saved your life by eating your rotten candy and now have to go on a diet during the yummiest time of the year. So instead, how about you dress up in your prettiest dress which you look cuter than Dorothy in , and I'll go buy you 1, yes just 1, MEGA candy bar of your choice. Sound good?

No, I didn't say all of that .... just thought it. I did explain the starving children part. And I did explain that we had plenty of old costumes to choose from, and that this year we were going to try to be fun and creative rather than buying something. Now, if only I was creative..... The tears didn't stop, and the "WHYYYYYYYYY" continued. Finally, I told her that she'd have to talk to her father about it. (Which he told me to do as I was crying to him about not dressing up my cute little ones in their favorite TV characters, and how I felt like such a horrible mom for not giving them this one little thing.) Maybe to make up for it, I'll leave the Snicker bars in their buckets this year .... well, some of them.

Oh, and did I mention that Halloween is a RIP OFF?????

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Steel Cut Oats with extra Orange Juice Please

(This post is per my children's request.)

This morning Aaron was mixing himself some steel cut oats (fancy kind of oatmeal) for breakfast. After putting in just the right amount of brown sugar and raisins, he went to pour in the almond milk. Instead, he was a bit distracted by the children and picked up the orange juice instead. The result? Steel Cut Oats with extra Orange Juice. Yummy!!!

The kids, however, are STILL laughing about this mornings events.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yummmmyyyyyy! (Baby Britton Blurb)

Providence made up a recipe today and brought me her "recipe card" asking if we could make it. Here is what it read -

1 1/2 tespoon of (kosher) salt
2 mash mellows
1 1/2 cinomon
1/3 tsp ginger
1 1/2 shugar
2 1/8 tsp BS (hehe .... I asked her what BS was - duh, it's baking soda!)
1 table spoon cream of tartar

Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Sounds delicious!!!! I told her we'd have to pass on her made up recipe, but that she should keep trying. We made Oatmeals Scotchies instead. This met her approval.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blogging about Blogging (WARNING - Long, and annoyingly overthinking post about blogging)

Last night a friend of mine and I were talking about the wonderful world of blogging. I thought I'd blog about it. :)

My friend was telling me about a conversation she was having with another friend of hers. They are both from a generation where blogs didn't exist, but journaling was highly valued. They were talking about the fact that my generation has chosen to not have a private journal, but rather a blog. She began to tell me her fear of these "online journals". In a private journal, you can truly lay it all out there, but not so on a blog. It worried her to see so many young people who seem so transparent on their blogs, yet you know there has to be more. Either 1) Someone appears to have it all together through the words in their posts, or 2) Someone appears to be so vulnerable, and not afraid to share the deepest parts of their souls. Both are equally dangerous for many reasons. In the first scenario, the danger lies in the pressure that so many feel to "live up" to a certain standard of life, personality, job, status, etc... To read a blog of someone who "has it all together" (or seemingly so at least) is so harmful to so many trying to break free of such pressure. The second option, is far more dangerous. This is because the person who has no problem sharing such depth of emotion and thought, usually has a deeper well of emotion to still drown in. Yet even this person knows that they cannot air ALL their junk to the public, especially were it to involve falling so short of the pressure I just talked about. (For example, marital problems, alchoholism, eating disorders, deep depression, etc.. ) Not only does one NOT share their deepest hurts, but most of the time, they can somehow convince themselves that because people know enough about their struggles in life, that it's enough. And scary as it is, this person can actually begin to shut down in their hearts the remaining 10 % left unshared. They again will feel isolated, or worse - supress the truth thinking they are dealing enough with their life through the 90% everyone does know about them. (Have I completely lost you???? Sorry.)

So, after that long conversation with her about it, I began to think on the reasons people blog. The best I can figure, and with no time for a formal survey :), I came up with 3 reasons that one chooses to do this bloggy thing. 1) For friends and family to stay up to date on ones life. Especially if they live far from family and friends. 2) For the purpose of making someone stop and think - be it about politics, religion, life, love, etc. This person will seldom include much personal information. (I view my hubbies blog a lot like this one.) And 3) As a form of journaling. This person desires community, desires for people to be involved in their lives, and desires input into their lifes (thus, comments). The extreme of this blogger usually isn't afraid to air their dirty laundry (well, some of it) and they figure if their life is too messy or too much for someone - well, then that someone should just stop reading it.

I'm 1 and 3. Aaron and I have had this conversation before (a few times), as I'm one that has a small filter at times. I definately lean toward "sharing too much" .... and a few times even wildly crossing the line to having definitely shared too much. There have been a few posts I've taken down as a result (once my filter kicks in that is), and also MANY that I've refrained from actually posting. Now here is where the difference is between what I blog about, and that extreme danger my friend was talking about for me personally .... I still have a PERSONAL journal. I think this is CRUCIAL in ones life to remain sane. I hope that people who read my blog (and any blog for that matter) know that there is so much more to me. Of course I'm not going to share my deepest darkest secrets with my open journal. But they do still need to come out, so thus, the private journal. As for the depth I do share, my heart is always to find others who there - and challenge their thinking, or to find others who've been there - and learn from their thinking (provided they leave a comment). :) There is a time and a place for everything ... this I understand. And you know what? Those deepest darkest secrets aren't meant to even be locked up in my Dear Diary. They are meant to be shared with either Aaron, or a trusted friend. We are created for community, and we are created to "bear one another's" burdens. A few things ....

If you are the person who shuts down the remaining 10% .... stop it! It won't go away! I have that "addictive personality", which means I know, and have lived the danger of shutting down. One has to shut down to grow addicted to anything. And if you want to meet me for coffee, I will gladly share this part of my life in greater detail.... but just trust me when I say - shutting down leads to nothing but trouble. So pull out a private journal, write it down - then find a friend.

My generation (in general) was raised with a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Most of us were taught to no burden others with our burdens. We were taught that there are just things you don't talk about with others (especially many others online). I think that was a disservice to my generation. I think one of the reasons blogging has become so popular, is that my generation is fighting back. We are desperate to be heard, we are desperate to be real, we are desperate to know others have been there (or are there), we are desperate to be challenged and to challenge others, we are desperate to live these grace filled lives - and we recognize that it starts with admitting to the world that we are human. Can I just say ... I LOVE that about my generation ?! However, in that, I do see the many dangers that we face. We are either too much, or not enough - so we shut down. We offend others with our words - so we say we don't care and thus cause others pain and in turn build new walls. We are able to feel like we are sharing our lives "enough" to think we are being real - but then when it all hits the fan, we isolate ourselves thinking no one will understand, or become afraid of what they'll think of us.

What exactly am I getting at with this oh so very longggggggggggggggggggggggggggg post??? I don't really know. I think to maybe point out a few things to remember as we move forward in our little blog communities - 1) There's always more to the story. 2) We are designed for community, and a real one - not an online one. DON'T let this be it! 3) If you don't have a filter, grow one. 4) Give as much grace to yourself as you do to others. It's what our generation is striving for! 5) Allow blogs of those you know in real life, to be a foundation for conversation over coffee .... because back to point 1 ... there is always more to the story!

**Sorry for thinking too deeply about this subject. I will now return to normal broadcasting.**

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Garage Door Living

That's it. That's all the life I see of most of the people on my street. Their garage doors. I know they are alive, because I see the garage door going up and down at various times. How did we become a culture of pulling out of our garage in the morning, only to return back to it in the evening. Up, down, up, down. That's it.

I remember as a kid being out in the street until my name was called for either food or bed. All the kids on the block knew each other and played with each other. No organized play dates, no structured activity center, no closed garages, just pure fun in the middle of the street. While I realize that a few areas may still be like this, I personally haven't managed to live in one since my childhood. (And I've moved 11 times in the last 9 years alone.)

Well, I'm tired of it. I've lived in my house now for almost 4 years, and still haven't met most of them. (4 to be exact are all that I could tell you the names of .... maybe 1 neighbor per year is doing pretty good.) So a few weeks ago, I decided to move on an idea of a block party. I asked my next door neighbor if she would help me with the planning and cooking. Food always brings in a crowd! We made flyers, planned a main course, and actually pulled it off. And while 50 invitations were sent (that's how many houses are on my street), all of about 10 families showed up. Including kids, about 35 people gathered on my front lawn eating, talking and leaving our garage door openers at home. It was good. I'm glad to have met so many new people. And it was so fun watching 15 children on their bikes in the street at the same time. (Oh, and everyone who came brought a side dish, dessert, or drink ... they left it all behind. Beer anyone??? HAHA)

I think I'll make it an annual event. I hope my the neighbors I met tonight will at least wave from here on out before they close their garage door.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New outfit

How do you like my blogs new outfit??? I love it! Thanks to a good friend, Lindsay Boyle, I no longer have a boring blog site. Plus, you can see my beautiful family now every time you read my blog. (Well, except for Angie and Lindsay who just have me on an RSS feed .. or something like that.) :) Hope you like the new look!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Under Construction .... ARGGGGGHHHHH

Yes, my blog looks a little silly right now. So would you though if you weren't wearing anything. :)

I wish I knew how to do technical stuff. It's probably not even all that technical ... but for me, it is. Hopefully soon my blog will be wearing a new pretty outfit. Until then, I won't post anything else so you don't have to look at my hideous face!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baby Britton Blurb

Yes....another one.

Tonight Eden was playing in Eden land (where she often is). I think she was playing coffee shop, or something of the sorts. I began working at Starbucks a few weeks ago, and to make up for the lack of sleep - I end up driving through for a little pick me up in the afternoons. Maybe I've driven through one too many times .... as here is what I heard coming from Eden land....

Eden - "Um, yes, I'd like a grande with a coffee maker and an extra shot of lemonade."

(My afternoon drink is often a grande iced coffee with sugar free vanilla and a little bit of cream. I see how she made the translation to her new drink. :) )

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Baby Britton Blurb

I don't do these as often as Aaron because to be honest, I don't slow my thoughts down long enough to catch the pure humor in most things my kids say. I wish I could focus in more on the words coming out of their mouths though, as they are rather funny. Anyway ... enough about my drama....

So tonight, I bring an overflowing basket of folded kids laundry into the girls room and ask the them to help me put away their clothes. The response from the girls....

Provi - "Oh yes, I've been waiting for clean pants. Thanks mom."

Eden - "Thanks Cinderella"

WHAT???? Well, at least she sees the truth in the deal here. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mom Britton for President

That's it, I'm writing myself in for President. Actually, I'm writing in my friend Johanna ... she made one of the best comments I've heard in a long time ...

She said she "wishes that people would respect the right of women to have children, as much as they respect the right of women to not have children".

This is another post .....

McCain Mama??? Not yet ...

I know, I said that I would post about McCain's speech after he gave it. Well, it's after he gave it. Unfortunately, it's long enough after the fact, that I barely remember my thoughts on it ... which perhaps is a bad sign in and of itself.

First, I remember being confused at the beginning. I could not at all figure out why everyone kept chanting "USA ... USA ... USA ..." every 3rd word. Then, when I watched some of a replay later, I realized that it was due to protesters. It was annoying at the time. I started thinking that Republican's were just a bunch of dorky copy catters from Obama's speech. But, now that I think about it, maybe that's why they kept chanting that during Obama's speech too. Hmmm, well, now that I'm caught up on the rules of attending an acceptance speech ....

I've overheard a lot of people making fun of McCains arm motions (or lack there of) since his speech. If this is you, let me just say - "shame on you!". I overheard someone making fun of him the other day, and I couldn't help myself any more. I turned to them and said "His arms are the way they are because he fought for YOU". Remember that folks when we watch SNL making fun of him too.

Back to the speech. There was a safety that I felt while watching McCain. If you remember, I stated that I felt Obama was a wolf in sheeps clothing. I never had any such feeling in regards to the safety of America with McCain. And while they have different issues that they are passionate about protecting, I must say ... I was feeling a little "safer" in the hands of McCain. Perhaps my feeling of safety isn't a big issue ... but I thought I'd make mention of it since I did in regards to Obama.

I felt like McCain talked a bit much about the war ... both the current war, future wars, and the war he was in. Mostly because it doesn't make a huge difference to me in this election. I know it does to a lot of people, but it doesn't to me. The things of war are above and beyond my comprehension....I know, pathetic. But hey, baby steps here in my pursuit of understanding such things.

Maybe I should back up a bit in the RNC, as some of it meant more to me than McCains speech itself. Giuliani was highly inappropriate in many things that he said, but I think he was supposed to say such things. Let me tell you one thing I did agree with though, was his comment about people coming down on Palin because she is a woman that cannot be there for her family if she is VP. He said, "No one would ever say that about a man". Loved it! Because that is one of my huge issues with Obama (on a personal level, not so much political). He won't be there for his girls if he is in office, but no one is saying anything about that. That, however, is one of the first things I thought about Obama. He stands up there telling us how he lived without a dad, blah blah blah ... but what people don't realize in his "big talk" about family values, is that he is NOT valuing his family in taking this step in his career right now. His wife is so involved with his campaign too, that to be honest, I fear for his young daughters. Just because his grandparents raised him, doesn't mean that his daughters grandparents should raise them. (I know, some of you may think I'm taking that too far ... but family and children is the number one value to Aaron and I in our lives ... so it just happens that way.) Take it back to Palin though .... and Giuliani's sentiment sticks ... no one asks such questions about a man. And let me just say, I think Palin is AMAZING! I sort of wish she was running for President. There is something about her, that makes me think it doesn't matter what her role is in life as a professional - her kids will know her, and know they are loved. Besides that, for both Obama and Palin ... their children are NOT an issue in this campaign (or shouldn't be in my opinion). It is never our place to judge someone elses choices in life in regards to how they work, raise their children, etc.... We don't know what happens behind the camera.

Back to politics .... McCain said a few things I was saying I wanted to hear. He spoke to the need for Americans to be responsible. I wish I could remember the exact words he used, because I remember them being really cool. I don't. It was something along the lines of asking American's to stop spending unnecessarily. He talked about responsible spending, both in government and in our lives personally. Darn it ... why can't I remember??? Anyway, I liked it.

McCain gave me more meat in the carry out of his policies, which I appreciated. It still wasn't enough for me, so I've finally come to terms with the fAct that yes - the acceptance speech is not where they lay out their policies. Fine .... I'll continue to pay attention. It was interesting to me to hear his accusations about Obama's tax policy. I shall look farther into those accusations.

Okay, and seriouslly .... his acknowledgement of how the Republican party has screwed it up .... you have to love that. Some think it was out of place in his speech. I don't at all. Obviouslly a lot of American's have lost faith in the Republican party as a whole. Even more, they are hearing Obama promise "Change". So for him to admit that Republicans messed up is crucial. He's got to convince people that change can happen even with another Republican in office.

So, the bad .... well, he's old. Maybe that shouldn't matter, and I'm not saying it does. He's not very motivating. Obviouslly, I can barely remember most of what he said (which is more my fault than it is his, I'm sure). Again, shouldn't matter. He screwed up with his first wife ... still, maybe shouldn't matter. For my liking, he holds on a little too tightly to "war" being the answer to protect America. Like I said before, I feel safe knowing he will protect our country .... but I feel like "war" is at the tip of his tongue too quickly in trying to protect us.

He spoke about education too, and having "power in choice" for parents. I like that he wants schools to have to answer to parents and students, not government .... but how??? He didn't give me enough convincing arguments on that one. Same with the housing market, not enough. Then there is health insurance. He certainly didn't give me enough to work with on this one. I'm still very unclear about his views on health care period, let alone what he's going to do about it. I guess what he and Obama were both getting at - is that it's a mess, and it needs to be fixed. So, the good new is, I believe, there will be change in these areas no matter who is elected. It's WHAT that change will be is what we all (especially me who maybe is the only person who still doesn't understand their policies) need to be focusing in on these next couple of months.

Well, Letterman just came on and is making fun of McCain. That is much more interesting to me than anything I could say ... so I think I will watch him instead.

Haha .... Letterman just said that McCain is so old, that his blood type has been discontinued. Very funny. Arm thing ... not funny. Age .... funny.

Friday, August 29, 2008

This Mama not Sold on Obama

**Disclaimer ... this post is NOT telling you who I'm for in this election. It may seem like it as I'm speaking only about Obama. But remember, he's the one who gave a speech last night. When McCain gives his, I'll write mainly about him. Oh, and really, I'm hoping I'm in Ethiopia on Election Day so I don't have to make a choice. :))****

I actually watched Obama's acceptance speech last night. Aaron would have been proud. The reason he would have been proud, is because I don't like politics, and almost always steer away from them. This year, however, it has been a goal of mine to actually be sort of informed going into the election rather than just voting for the "safe" candidate (or, whoever Aaron tells me to vote for). It's not that I don't understand such things (well, it sort of is), or that I am an amazingly submissive wife (that I would just vote for whoever my husband tells me too). It's just that I don't care. But seeing how I'm noticing the effects of so many of the hot topics (gas, healthcare, housing market, recession, taxes, etc...) this year in my own life, I thought I'd try to care.

Last night's speech was a little strange to me. (Maybe b/c it's the first one I've ever watched, I don't know.) I think it was supposed to invoke some sort of emotion in me. It did do that, but perhaps not the one that he was shooting for. While I completely agree that it is time for change, I suppose that in my naiveness (I know, not a word) about politics, I don't understand why that HAS to mean a party change. Of course I understand that McCain was in agreement w/ 90% of the things that Bush has done. I also agree that 10% isn't much change. But then, maybe it is. I don't care who believes what about the choices Bush has made. I'd rather hear what they would have done in his shoes (which we then should be so kind as to remember that it is always easier said than done).

I know as it pertains to the war, candidates have said things here and there that they would have done different. But then I wish they'd expand on the story - what would the outcome have been if that was the decision made? Because that, in my opinion, is the real problem ESPECIALLY with the war. The outcome. Again, I'm not very bright on such issues, but I think if I remember, back when the war started ..... some high percentage rate of people (I wanna say in the 80's for some reason) were in favor of the war. Now that the outcome wasn't as hoped for, everyone blames Bush and wonders how he could have done such a thing. Well, back then, most of us would've done the same thing. Again, I don't know. One last thing as it pertains to the war though, is in as much as I would love to see it end as well, the one thing that we often don't think about (which Aaron is always quick to bring up in this conversation) is that we can't just "pull out". It will be a process. The war won't end the day after Obama begins. This sort of brings me to my next point about last night.

I felt a little bit like Obama was speaking to people like me - people who 1) don't know, and 2) don't care. He was trying to make me care (and again, I had already decided to try and care). But the danger comes in the words he speaks to those who don't know. It sounded all very wonderful. I honestly think he is "for change". But I was left without understanding HOW exactly change was going to happen. Okay, so fine ... tell me you were never for the war, and it will end under your reign. BUT HOW??? Tell me taxes are going to go down. BUT HOW? Tell me that cost of premiums (which made me laugh) will go down, and those who aren't insured will be insured. BUT HOW?? Tell me that while you are pro-choice, you will work to see the amount of unwanted pregnancies go down. BUT HOW? Tell me that college education will be affordable (side note ... he never stated "college of your choice" .... in which case, if it's any old college, I hear Metro is still pretty affordable), BUT HOW? Tell me there will be higher pay for our teachers so that quality early education is available to all. BUT HOW (especially on this one ... without raising taxes)? Hmmmm.

Again, it all sounded wonderful and motivating and left one desiring change. But I sorta had this glimpse (more of a fear really) about a wolf behind that sheep's clothing. His speech made me so aware of the human condition (which is at the front of my mind anyway as I battle my own condition). He stood up there saying, "This isn't about me, it's about YOU". Alright!!! What American doesn't want to believe it's about ME!!! Yet until that moment, he spent the majority of time stating how Washington needs to fix our problems. (I will give him props for the part where he said Washington can't make your child do their homework, and it can't make a dad be there for his kids ....) I say, lets run with the idea that it is about ME ... since that is what he said. What would it look like to have a government that called the American people (Me) to STEP IT UP. He said that McCain called American's "whiners". I laughed at that. WE ARE! Obama was able to name a few examples of folks who are not whiners. But let's face it, we are whiners. BECAUSE we think it's all about us, then daily we are rudely awakened to the reality that it isn't. We think the government should fix our lives. Really, let's have a someone stand up there telling us to STOP living beyond our means. House in forclosure??? Well, should you have bought that house in the first place? Probably not. But now it's the governments job to get me out. (And on this one friends, I'm speaking on personal experience... no, my house is not in "American Nightmare" posts.) It's NOT unfair to have one person who has it all while doing nothing to get it, and another person who has to work their tail off in life to still have very little. As Christians - we HAVE to remember that there is the Sovereignty of God at work here too. (In fact, the scriptures speak exactly to that particular issue.) I want someone to stand up there telling Americans who can't pay their credit card bills because the cost of living in ever other area has gone up - TO STOP USING CREDIT CARDS (and maybe even remind them that it was their human selfishness that brought them to those credit cards in the first place). I want a candidate to stand up there and say we, as Americans, are in the top 95% richest IN THE WORLD ... and we don't even know it. I want a candidate who will yes, make positive change in Washington that is actually under the governments control (and there is a lot they can do, don't get me wrong there). But I want them to call on us, the American's, to RECOGNIZE our part, and do something about it. I think that Obama is trying to do that, but I don't think he's doing very well. He'd lose serious votes if he did. :) But, in a world of "self-help" and "Secret" ways of making life be the way we want it to .... HE COMPLETELY played into that. He's a wonderful motivational speaker. I'm just not convinced that His motivation can/will "change" policies.

So, as we move into the grunt of this campaign ... remember that despite what Obama said, it isn't about us. Remember who it is about my friends. And with that in mind, look at both candidates and decide based on that, who you should vote for.

I'm sure many of you will have comments (those of you who care that is) to try and correct me and stand up for your belief ... which is good. Please share, as it will help me in my pursuit of knowledge in this election. I'm not at all embarrassed or ashamed here of my little knowledge, and possible mis-understandings. Because again, I think I've made it pretty clear that I haven't cared in the past. This was just my view after last night. More to come after McCain's acceptance speech. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Playing House

Ahhhh, a favorite past time (especially for girls).... playing "house". What were we thinking girls?? If only it were as glamorous as our school girl imaginations made it out to be. Being on the other side of it now, where I see 1) what real "house" looks like, and 2) the interpretations that my kids come up with, are both funny and a little surreal.

This morning began our new venture of homeschooling. (As a child, I used to play "school" a lot too.) I can't even tell you how many times throughout my days, I look around and wonder whose life I'm living ... and when do I resume my own life??? Most days it feels like a dream (and every now and then, I'll admit, maybe even a bad dream). It never takes me very long to realize that it is in fact real, I won't be waking up, and yes - this is my life. Don't get me wrong ... a wonderful life it is. (Sorry, I just couldn't bring myself to write there that it's a wonderful life. haha)
I think I've moved away from my thoughts a bit, let me return ....

So we started homeschooling. I have been so scared the last few weeks about our new journey in life. Mostly I've been afraid of Providence's "classes". I really think they are going to make her re-do the 3rd grade. Only, this morning, it hits me ... Eden and Sam are going to be my challenge. I have no idea how to teach a child to read. In fact, it's one of those things (like potty-training) that I swear I never had to LEARN. Why are such things "learned behaviors"? And am I qualified to teach them to my children?? Well, they all use the bathroom on their own (mostly), so maybe I'll make it through this too.

It is just so funny to me though how many times I've felt like I'm "playing school" in the weeks leading up to today. I set up a cute little room just for school. I hung these beautiful, colorful pictures to help them learn their letters, measurements, telling time, dates, presidents, etc.... I was ready to go!!! Then the reality of playing house hit this morning for the first time. I pulled out the very real books and taught my very real 3rd grader, kindergartner, and pre-schooler. I was working with very real obstacles (like a 5 year old who can't sit still for longer than about 3 minutes), and very real time (of which all 3 kids want my time at the same time). Oh, and the very real laundry that I thought as a child was a fun easy part of being a mom, was unbalancing my washing machine and scaring the children as it began to growl loudly at them. (The monster basket of towels that are clean next to the washer is what was scaring me.)

Well, it's final. I'm not playing house or school anymore. This is really my life. Life will never be the same. There will be no normal. There probably won't be a new normal even ... because it will always be changing. The verdict is in though after 8 years of the jury being out .... I love it ! This real life is better, even in all it's challenges, than the one I dreamed up as a little girl. It is full, it is filled with joy, it is hard but rewarding (or will be one day), it is messy, it stretches me to the limit, it is filled with responsibility, it is real. It's is all good. It's hard to imagine that God has entrusted me ... little old me ... with so much. But He decided I was ready for it. To whom much is given, much is expected. I just pray I can come close to some of the expectations!

So now, this very real mom who is still in her pajamas at 12:30 pm listening to her 4 year old throw a fit, should probably leave the computer now. Back to real life. Back to reality. (Someone should write a song about that. :) )

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A New Favorite

Shawn McDonald is an artist who's songs I've been adding to my iTunes list recently. He's got a few songs that have been pretty meaningful to me lately. This song, Free, has been particularly meaningful, as it NAILS how I've been feeling for a while now. It's not often that a song speaks so directly to my heart, but this one does. Check it out!

By Shawn McDonald

I feel like the weight of the world is all - crashing down on me
And some how I just don’t believe this how - it is suppose to be
And all this expectation on - the way I’m suppose to live
Becomes my minds distraction - with nothing left to give

You said your burden is light and your load - is no more
You said your ways are right and in you I would soar

I want to be free - free to dance and free to sing
Free to live and love and free
Oh, free to be me

I feel like my heart is being beat - down into the ground
In you I’m longing for some peace - to be found
I know the heaviness that’s - making me cold
Is stealing my youthful soul and - making me old

You said your burden is light and your load - is no more
You said your ways are right and in you I would soar

I want to be free - free to dance and free to sing
Free to live and love and free
Oh, free to be me

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Nightmare I Can't Wake Up From

Do you ever have those bad dreams you just can't wake up from??? I have them often. The most re-occurring ones are actually rather humorous, and I really should probably see a professional about. But this doesn't have much to do with what I'm about to write about.

One of my first posts on this blogsite was in regards to the American Dream/Nightmare. Well, some things have changed since that post. That being - the house is no longer for sale. Did it sell?? Nope. So why did this change then??? Lot's of reasons. All of which all fit together in some sort of small picture, but none of which I'm fully grasping when it comes to a bigger picture. Confused? Me too.

First, I'm fed up with keeping a clean house with 3 small kids. I'm tired of going into panic mode to clean my dark wood floors when someone gives us 25 minutes notice to see the house. I'm out of ideas on where to take the kids when we have a showing. I'm tired of the waste of time it seems to be to have over 20 showings, and no interest. We know we will be traveling to Ethiopia to get Malachi sometime around the end of October. Thus, if the house sold now, we would be closing and moving around that same time ... can you say self-torture??? We are starting to homeschool our kids for the first time ever next week. Plus I've started to watch our neighbors 2 year old one day a week. (It was really fun to have short notice showings w/ 4 small kids around!!) Blah blah blah. Like I said, all of these things make sense to me when I look at the window that is the next 2 or 3 months. And not only do they make sense, but wisdom just speaks to taking the house off the market right now.

What is hardest for me right now, is that I honestly felt that this was the direction that God was leading us. He was, I thought, ASKING me to give up my house (of which I'm rather fond of ... most days). I of course thought that once I surrendered it to Him, He would then take care of the details, which in my mind I guess I thought meant selling it in 2 days or something. The truth in all of that is that He is taking care of the details. The non-truth is what I thought the outcome would be. I'm trying to understand (and be okay with) the fact that sometimes God asks us to do things (okay a lot of times) REGARDLESS of what we think the outcome will be like if we follow. And really, most of the time, the outcome will look nothing like we think it should or would. Ugh....

So I've wrestled a lot the last few weeks. Maybe this seems like a funny thing to wrestle about, but it is still very real to me. I don't understand if we heard wrong, or if this is in fact part of His bigger picture. One thing that I do know, is that God asked me to surrender ... and surrender I did. Perhaps that is all He wanted of me ... to surrender. Perfect!!! I don't have to move again! But then, there is this small issue with the cost of living that I talked about in that first post. What are we to do then??? Well, when God begins to convict, He usually goes all the way. I kinda think that may be what He is doing with me here ... going all the way. (But I've learned to not say for sure that He's doing anything.) There are a lot more things in my life in the way of stuff that I KNOW I could surrender. And will they all add up enough for us to not feel such a pinch in the pocketbook??? Maybe, maybe not. But again, maybe the surrender is all He's asking for. So I will walk this road, and pray that I come out broken and humble and fully thankful in the end (and every day until then). It's a little scary for me to say that right now, seeings how I feel broken to the point of no repair most days lately. Hmmm... but now that I just said that, maybe I'm not supposed to be repaired....

We have a crazy fall in front of us. It's made a little more crazy by my fear that I'm messing it all up. Not just because of the house, but also some other decisions that Aaron and I have made that seem to have turned out to be the wrong ones over the last 2 years. Anyway, like I said, I will begin to homeschool our kids next week ... WHAT AM I THINKING??? I'm so overwhelmed at this decision (that again, I felt God was asking of me) and a little afraid that the state will make Providence re-do 3rd grade. I watch my neighbors daughter 1 1/2 days a week. And my newest venture is going back to Starbucks. I know, I said in that first post I wouldn't do that. Well, the kids won't be in daycare, so we've stuck to OUR conviction on that one. (Please notice the emphasis on OURS ... not what we think anyone else should do.) Instead I will get the pleasure of working 4:30 am to 9 a.m. Good times. I'm good with it though. I know that it is most likely only for a short season. Oh, and I have another child coming ... no big deal. :)

So I will move through my days trusting that the Lord is directing my steps. And while the plans I make may fail, His faithfulness won't. I will continue to ask Him to search me and know me, to see if there is any offensive way in me (cough cough ... $$ related) and lead me in the way everlasting. I will seek guidance and counsel and take the good with the bad knowing that He has a plan that I cannot thwart. And most importantly, I will pray for the breaking to be over with soon, and for His healing hands to make me feel whole and somewhat normal again. One of my biggest prayers through all of this, will still be for the example I lay before my children. May they still know that their memories have not much to do with STUFF, but with the joy that comes from belonging to our family and to our King.

So, I stay stuck in this American Nightmare for a while longer. I know that in all of my decisions, weather I feel they are right or wrong upon looking back on them, that they are STILL part of God's plan for my life, and that He knew long ago that I was going to make them. God is up to something ... I just know it. And my guess is, He probably won't clue me in on it until it is over. But He's God, so He can do that!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Baby Britton Blurb

Tonight was Eden's first "long" bike-ride (and by long, I mean about 2 miles). She did so good. It's moments like that that make you realize how big your babies are getting.....

Anyway, upon returning home, she gets off her bike and informs us all that her "underpants are sweating".

I love it!!! The things that every biker and/or runner wishes they could voice upon finishing. :)

What I want to be when I grow up

I have no idea, that's what.

How is it, that as a grown woman with 3 (almost 4) kids, I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. (Wait, didn't I just say I am grown up?)

Aaron had posted a sermon clip on his blog that I listened to yesterday. It covered a broad range of things that I've been thinking through lately. From God having a plan (that He most of the time does not intend to clue me in on until it is accomplished), to my life not being about me, to differences in marriage and how they are to strengthen the other person, to self-righteousness.... well, just listen to it.

Anyway, toward the end the pastor hit a cord for me. He talked about his wife feeling like she didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. (I need to actually listen to the message again, b/c I somehow don't remember WHY he was talking about this. I think I started to drift to my own thoughts of, yeah - that's me!) This is possibly a common feeling amongst stay-at-home mom's ... but especially a pastor's wife (which obviously the man giving the sermon was a pastor, thus talking about his wife ... the pastor's wife) ... of which I happen to be both. But I still don't get how 10 years later, 3 kids later ... I still don't know. Yes, I'm living out what I'm supposed to be doing TODAY. I have a HUGE job, I get that. As for my passions in life, the things that reach to the core of my soul ... what do I do with those things? (And is it at all possible that I could make a few bucks doing it? Wouldn't that be stupendous?!?!)

I guess this takes me back to my "Quest for More". Hmmmmm.......

Any ideas? What should I be when I grow up??? Suggestions accepted (but most likely thrown out).

Monday, August 11, 2008

On a lighter note

In the midst of my heavy thoughts and drama filled normalcy, I will do things every now and then that are just plain normal. Imagine that. It isn't always easy, and it is usually purely for the sake of the children.

Today's example. We went to the park. It was hot, we came home. We had a call for a showing, so I jumped into my drama mode ... cleaned the house ... left the house. We drove. We came home. We did a craft. Oh yes, a craft. We made princess crowns (still trying to convince Sam that his is NOT a princess crown, but that of a King's). Then it was on to a game of hide-and-go-seek. This is one of those games that is not so much enjoyable for me ... but the babes love it. So we played. I kept wondering if it would be bad for me to hide in a locked room curled up with a good book. I decided it would be. So instead, I hid in the "scary closet" (that would be the closet that houses the furnace and water heater ... it makes scary noises you know). As I stood there holding the handle as they tried to break in to find me ... I found a bit of humor in it. Sick and twisted, I know. But it was enough humor for me to pursue the rest of the game with a child like thrill (who cares that the thrill started out so cruel). So, on we went. I won the good mom award today in their eyes. Until they went to bed and I wouldn't let Provi sleep in my bed. Then she cried at me and made me feel like a bad mom again for not buying her a temperpedic mattress. So, now that all is right in the world - I will go to sleep and look forward to what tomorrow may bring.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Colorado Way

Last week, I climbed/hiked/slowly crawled my first 14er! (For those of you who live in the flatlands of the US and may not know - a "14er" is a mountain that reaches over 14,000 feet in elevation.) As a good friend responded upon hearing my news ... "well, that's the Colorado way I guess". Grrr... So for this post and my own ego, I will try to go back to the excitement I felt the day I did it.

My Daddio turned the big 70 last week. (Why is it "the big", why not "huge", or "enormous"?) Something he had never done in his life was climb a mountain. He decided it was a good task to pursue at the ripe old age of 70. And while he wanted to tackle Longs Peak, we were advised by a good climbing friend that if he wanted to continue to ripen, Longs was probably not a good idea. He suggested Grays Peak instead. It is supposed to be one of the easiest in CO. We took his advice.

My brother, Christopher, my Dad and myself headed out last Wed (7.30.08) at 5 a.m. (yes, I did get up at 5 a.m.) We were staying in Breckenridge, so it wasn't too far of a drive to Grays Peak. We were supposed to drive up about 3 miles off the interstate to the trailhead. Only problem once we got to the road leading to the trailhead, was realizing that my brothers SUV was a pansy of an SUV (sorry Chris). We couldn't get up the mountain. While Dad and Chris wanted to call it quits already, I urged them to give it a chance. So we parked the car and began hiking ... 3 miles before neccessary. It was pretty discouraging. It sort of felt like a slow jaunt up hill through a lame forest, rather than a beautiful picturesc mountain climb. After about an hour of that nonsense, and 3 cars driving by without as much stopping to see if we were intentionally walking the road, Dad and I stood in the middle of the road for the next car hoping they would understand we wanted a ride to the trailhead. They got the picture, and had just enough room for the 3 of us. (Well, not really enough room, but we made it work anyway.) We peacefully road the remainder of the way. Thanks to them, we again had a fighting chance at this mountain we were on.

At 6:30 a.m., we began the real thing. We started out at the base at an elevation of 11,280 feet. Our goal was to reach 14,270 at the tippy top. And while this may sound like less than a mile when comparing how many feet are in a mile ... the hike itself was actually about 7.5 miles rountrip (I know, it blows my mind and I don't even like math). I was pumped ... excited ... ready to go. I also sort of felt like Richard Simmons as I tried to encourage the same enthusiasm in my 70 year old father and big man brother (haha Topher). We kept a pace of about ... well ... slow and steady. We stopped frequently to remind Dad to drink, take drinks ourself, remove rocks from shoes, and of course ... visit the outhouse of all outhouses. (Yes, I actually did it. For those of you who know that I'm not much for camping or anything that keeps me away from a real potty for longer than 4 hours ... I successfully became friends with the great outdoor restroom. And even though at one point I was fearing for my tooshie due the bumble bee flying near by (see last post about my fear of stinging creatures)- it all worked out. TMI, huh???)

Well, we reached about 13,000 feet and Dad was feeling it. (So were we, and we aren't even 70. Go Dad !!! We are still so proud of you !!) Dad didn't want to make Chris and I stop though since we only had about 1200 feet left. Again, for those of you who know math - 1200 doesn't seem like much. But oh, let me tell you, to us non athletic folk - 1200 feet at a 45 degree incline (like I know what 45 degrees is Dad just told me that was it) is stinking HARD! Not only hard, but 1 1/2 hours of hard. Chris and I would trade roles on being the motivational speaker while the other would try and call it quits. We did both know that we couldn't give up though. We were too close.

Then finally, we reached it. We made it to the top. As we stood just a few feet away, we looked over to the joining peak (Torreys) and wondered if we were at the top of Grays, or if we had to continue going up. A few short steps later though, we realized we were there. We had arrived. We were on top of a mountain !!! First, we were greated by a family of Mountain Goat. We were amazed at how they didn't care at all that we were staning 10 feet from them. Then we turned and sensed what amazement really was. Everywhere we looked we saw mountain top after mountain top. And no lie, I reached the top only for my iPod to flip to a song that sings, "I will lift my eyes, to the Maker, of the mountains I can't climb". At first I thought - haha were wrong, I climbed it! But then it dawned on me as I looked across all the other peaks, that it was true - I indeed can not climb the mountainS ... just this one (and maybe a few more in my life), but never all. My heart was suddenly struck to the deepest level with the realization that God is SO SO Big, and I am SO SO small. I've always thought the mountains were beautiful because of how small they make me feel.... but this took it to a whole new level. It shouldn't take something as grand as a mountain top to realize I'm not God, but I guess sometimes it just does. Anyway, we hung out at the top for a bit, took lots of pictures that won't do our experience justice, signed our name in the Grays Peak Book of Life, and headed back down. Then stopped because the mountain goats were blocking the trail. Then started again.

It took another 1 1/2 hours to get back to my dad. (Poor guy had to huddle up in a cave for 3 hours while Chris and I had our experience.) It was SO worth it (for us, maybe not so much him). From there it only took another hour to get the rest of the way down. (Total time on trail ... 8 hours.) And wouldn't you know it, the guys who were kind enough to not run over us on the road, but rather give us a lift - they were ending at the same time as us. While panting, we were able to ask if they would be kind enough to cart us back down hill. We just didn't have anything left for 3 more miles. They did. God bless them.

So after my long story, there are a few take aways for me. One, as with every mountain top experience ... it comes to an end (usually quicker than we'd like). The joy of climbing that mountain was sorta crushed by my "Colorado Way" mocking friend. (Only I must say, I'm still pretty darn proud of myself.) And the emotion of how huge God is and how small I am has already been called into question about a million times since returning home. ...... "Really, God, let's try it my way - cuz I really can see the span of eternity and I think I know better what I need right now." haha. So in the words of Bebo Norman - I will lift my eyes to the Maker of the Mountains I can't climb ... both here in Colorado and in my heart. (Yes, yes I did have to relate my hiking experience to my crazy extreme heart.) Below are some photo's, that like my story - do not do that day any justice. You should go climb one for yourself!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Deepest Fear Come to Fruition (only in my kids life)

(I posted about this on my other blog, but it was a more serious mom take on it. Here is how it really went down.)

Those who know me know that I am deeply afraid of wasps (and moths for some unknown reason). Why? I do not know. I've never been stung by one, but it seems to me like it would be the end of the world were I to be stung. In our house in the suburbs, we have had a growing wasp problem over the years. (Reason 682 why we are selling the house.) 2 years ago we even brought out an exterminator (3 times actually) to take care of it. Uh, yeah, it didn't work.

Last night Eden and Sam were out back playing tag (according to Eden). Eden comes running in screaming a scream of death (which is not uncommon for her to do). So we half-heartedly went to rescue her from who knows what. With Sam running behind her deeply concerned, she exclaims with hands out, "I got stung! The bee stung me! The wasp stung me!" We are looking at her hands, not seeing anything but a scratch. We assumed she was playing with the rose bush or something. So we continue to try to convince her that she in fact was not stung, but rather disobeyed and picked my roses. Sam runs off to play on the couch, when all of a sudden, we hear him screaming a similar scream of death (which is NOT so common coming from him). We turn to look at him, and all assume he fell of the couch. Now both are screaming at the top of their lungs. All the meanwhile, a friend who is staying with us has a chihuahua who is also now yelping a yelp of death, making Eden and Sam who are just recently overcoming their fear of dogs (yes, even rats with fur) cry harder out of fear of this rat like monster. I turn to look at Sam and all of a sudden he begins to beet his body. No, not the way that Paul instructs in scriptures, but rather a horrible something is wrong type of beating. Finally it all clicks in my mommy brain. The rest happens in slow motion.

I'm watching this happen, running to my son, yelling, "I-t-'s i-n h-i-s s-h-i-r-t" (That was my attempt at slow motion in writing.) As I get to him, the wasp falls from his shirt onto my floor. Now remember, these creatures of God's are my deepest fear. So I now start screaming the scream of death yelling at Aaron to "KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT", and am about to jump on a chair to save my own life. (As if I had made it on the chair, and Aaron hadn't made it to the wasp to kill it, it couldn't have flown up to me anyway?!?!?!) Well, Aaron killed it (actually Sam probably slowly killed it). So, now that I hear Aaron and our friend telling me to stop screaming, I begin to climb down from my mental chair and again try to tend to my children who are ligetimately screaming.

Eden's stings finally began to appear. It really had gotten her ... 3 times. Poor girl. Only now she sees that Sam got it worse than she did, so she calms down fairly quickly. Sam, however, continues to be in hysteria for about 45 minutes. We are trying desperately to rub a baking soda concoction on them. Turns out Sam had at least 5 stings that we could see. One right under his arm that was the worst. I hate that feeling that there is nothing I can do to ease their pain. We didn't have anything in the house even to soothe their pain. So I ran to the store (and picked up some wasp killer while I was at it). They were asleep though by the time I got home.

This morning Aaron went out to destroy the remainder of the colony. We had finally gotten out of Sam what had happened. Sure enough, it was not an innocent game of tag, or playing with my rose bush, but rather climbing on the structure where the wasps have made their home (of which I've warned our children of in the past). Aaron killed off about 20 of the boogers (at least that is how many dropped from the nest) as he went around to the different places I had been telling him they were taking over. And while I'm so glad that my husband had the opportunity to have a "Terminator" moment (T2 is one of his favorite movies) and even lived to blog about it, I'm more thankful that he now believes me that we do indeed have a "wasp problem".... not just a problem wife who has a problem with wasps.

Today the kids are fine. Sam has spiked a fever, which I guess is from the toxins coursing through his vains. But I've been told he will be fine. He enjoyed watching the Terminator Exterminate them this morning.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My more vs. His more (and another bit from my book)

Remember that book I was talking about a couple of posts ago??? A Quest For More by Paul David Tripp. Have you bought it yet? Do.

Anyway, as I was reading it the other day, I stumbled across one of the most powerful things I think I've read in a long time. In his book, Tripp writes....

Where does one find ultimate fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment? In God and God alone. Living for God is indeed fulfilling, but we don't find him fulfilling because we are too busy being satisfied with the temporary pleasures of the physical world. Before we ever come to God we have already decided the things that we want in order to be fulfilled. We tend to seek God so that he will deliver some kind of physical, relational, or circumstantial fulfillment. Rather than working to satisfy us with these, God wants us to experience hunger so deep that it drives us to forsake these things and finally find our satisfaction in him.

....Because the things of the physical earth will never truly satisfy me, they tend to leave me fat, unhealthy, and addicted; bitter, hurt, and disappointed; angry, demanding, and controlling. Being ruled by the desire for little kingdom pleasures harms both body and soul.

...Ungodliness runs much, much deeper than a failure to keep a list of rules. Ungodliness is about my life being so dominated by desire for present pleasures that my heart will never stay inside of God's boundaries. Searching for satisfaction in what I can see, touch, taste, hear, or hold in my hands will always lead me to commit an endless list of sins of heart and behavior.

Wow!!! The reason this spoke so much to me, is that I do this..... "Before we ever come to God we have already decided the things that we want in order to be fulfilled." I think I know what I need or want for my life to go as planned. And I'm right, if my life would actually go as I've planned it. However, 99.9% of the time, the way I have it planned is not at all what God has in store for me. So I press on wondering how I find what He wants for me. I suppose it partly begins with setting aside what I want. Here are some examples from my life.

In our calling to adopt a child, I pursue a business to make us lots of money to provide for our family. Aaron becomes a famous musician while we travel the world in our tour bus homeschooling our children (with a nanny in tow), yet are able to remain committed to our church family and be home most Sundays still to lead them in worship. All the meanwhile, we are leading people to the Lord through our different areas of work and life. We are able to keep our current house as a rental property to one day sell to pay for our kids education. I then get to purchase an old home full of character and stainless steal appliances and a garden that I will of course learn how to make beautiful. We continue leading small groups of people, both together and apart. Our children are thriving, obedient, and walking with the Lord from early on in life. They will fully understand the Trinity and Salvation by the age of 10. I will have patience and joy and enough time in my days to keep a perfectly clean home, play with my kids, read all the books I have sitting on my bookshelf, minister to younger women, sing with Aaron both on the road and at church, oh ... and still rise to the top of my business.

Why not God??? What's wrong with all of that? It is all for your glory that we pursue these things. Ummmmmm ..... God has a different story already written, that is what's wrong. And while some of these things may or may not come to be over the course of our lives, currently He seems to be revealing something drastically different for us. I'm not rising to the top of my business, instead He's asked me to be content with the little extra our family needs. (Which still leaves us with more than 80% of the world.) As for the expense of adoption, again it isn't my business like I thought to provide - it is the body of Christ. God decided that we were to take the route of involving others in Orphan Care through our choice. (We HATE asking for money. But who doesn't really?) Instead of renting out my house and buying that cute little old house, we have our house on the market to move into who knows what - but I know it won't be that tour bus. My children often misbehave. And while they know they are loved by us, and by Jesus - they too are still little sinners (but cute ones) that are not working through end times, but rather what it means to repent (which Sam thinks involves turning and walking away from the table). Most days the patience, joy, and time that I have don't feel enough to me. My house is ONLY clean because it is for sale. It will cease to be so once that changes. The unread books remain on the shelf. And I feel disconnected from young women (and most people really) because I don't know how to find the time to purse anyone or anything other than my sanity.

Well God ... thanks for this journey of teaching me that true satisfaction that comes from the depths of my soul will look very different than the comfortable world I've concocted. You will in deed ask me to surrender, and groan, and wait. And it will be in the path you offer where this "more" I'm searching for will be found. For this, I praise you. As Aaron voiced in his song "Less of me....and more of you". (Anyone want to cut us a record deal?)

What's your story look like??? How's that working out for you???

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Bikini Battle

Growing up my sisters and I were not allowed to wear a bikini. We despised our parents decision at the time, and thought we were highly dorky and out of style due to our lack of swimsuit options. (Yes, I did just say dorky.) And of course, upon leaving their care and living on my own, I went out and purchased my first bikini. (I'm sorry ... that has got to be an incredibly frightening thought to those who only know me post-baby size.) I'd lay out at the pool only to burn my belly button. Was I a better swimmer with my new bikini? No ( in fact, I can't swim anyway - only stay alive in water). Was I less hot on a 100 degree Nebraska day? Nope, still as hot. Did I feel more self confident in my bikini? No, the opposite in fact, way more self-conscious and "fat feeling".

Fast forward 10 years. Now I've got 2 daughters who have already begun to be drawn to those tiny little 2 pieces hanging on the shelf. Good things come in small packages, right? Wrong. We have placed the same rule on them that I had ... 1 piece only (or a modest "tankini" if they are lucky, because yes, I will admit - going to the bathroom is easier when there is a top and a bottom). However, here is where I feel the difference is in how we approach the topic. (And maybe my parents tried this, but I was too angry to hear it at the time. Who knows.) We are going to give them reason ... in fact, many reasons. Here are some of my thoughts..... (leave a comment if you wish).

Bikini's themselves are maybe not the core issue here. In fact, they aren't the issue at all. It is an issue of the heart. (And you can say I'm thinking too much about this, but I think it is time that my generation that wasn't allowed to wear bikini's and have gone to the opposite extreme as a result begin to think too much about it.) WHY do we where bikini's is the question that no one thinks about. Of course, there is the time old issue of "not causing your brother to stumble". Men are visual, we know this. Thus, they see a woman in a bikini and they are now potentially facing a stumbling block. As it stands for our children - well, it is us as parents that are responsible for guarding and protecting our sons in fighting with our daughters to COVER THEMSELVES. (For the protection of our sons, but also our daughters in the sad perversion that is reality today with older men viewing our little girls.) As for us adults, well think about this. Ladies, you see a woman who in your mind (not your husbands I'm sure) looks better than you in her bikini. Now all of a sudden you feel this awkwardness knowing your husbands eyes will land on her - and even though he loves YOU, he will most likely stumble in his mind.... or at least have to put his heavy armor on to fight against it. You now hate that girl, and are angered at what she is revealing to YOUR husband. All the meanwhile, you are standing there in your bikini, and she is thinking all the same things about you! Her visual husband has also most likely landed his eyes on you. As wives, we need to protect our husbands as much as possible. And so I'm sorry, the womens liberation and freedom that is somehow found in a swimming suit has now become an issue in marriages around the world. As sisters in Christ, we need to protect each other against the viscous lies that run through our head when we begin to compare our bikini body with the other womans bikini body. It's just torture. Why we do this to ourselves, I do not know. We have to set the example of modesty for our daughters!

Okay, so that's one issue. Then there is the heart issue of WHY. I want my daughter to begin to reason these things in her heart now at the tender age of 8 & 5. Do they want to just "fit in"? If so, then it is my responsibility to teach them that we are "in this world" not "of it". We are not always supposed to "fit in". What a teachable moment in helping them realize that it is in the little things (even a swimsuit) that our lives can look different than those who do not love Jesus. It's also a teachable moment in telling them they are to honor their bodies as a temple of Christ who lives in them. They have not polluted their body with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, or gluttony. That does not mean we shouldn't be training them about this temple they are responsible for. Like I said earlier, there are no real reasons for wearing a 2 piece swim suit. You are still just as hot (temperature that is), you won't swim better (in fact worse because you have to be always yanking the top up), and no ... you will not feel any better about yourself, eventually as a maturing young woman, you too will begin to compare yourself with other woman and feel things about your looks and your body that simply are not true.

I should probably step down now. (Sorry, Aaron and I took the kids swimming this morning and we left sort of wanting to post a "Nude Rec Center" sign with some of the suits, or lack of, that were being sported. ) So again, I don't have a problem with 2 pieces in general. I have a problem with the fact that 1) My generation of rebel bikini wearers don't think about WHY we want to wear one, 2) We don't teach our daughters to think for themselves, and 3) that the womens lib movement that was supposed to liberate women, has actually done the opposite in this department (yes, I consider myself a bit of a moman's lib if you must know) all because it made us NOT ASK WHY. Just do because we can. Well, I'm sorry. What is permissible is not always what is beneficial (for everyone in this case). Parents, we have to protect our daughters (and our sons). They can't reason to this degree for themselves, so we must do it for them. Young women who can reason, I urge you to do so. The men you will draw to you because of how much skin you are revealing ... are most likely NOT the men you want to be drawing to yourself. (When Aaron first saw me in a bikini (we were dating at the time), he actually asked me to not wear it around him...not because he didn't like how I looked in it, but the opposite in fact ... and he was protecting himself, and me to be honest.) As for wives, I don't care if you are on a beach somewhere with your husband and want to look "hot" for him. But for the sake of my self conscious mind (and most other women), and for the sake of my husbands battle (and every husbands), I urge you to think twice before heading to the rec center in that bikini. :) Ask yourself, "Would I want my husband to see another woman wearing this???" Because you know what? He's going to.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Baby Britton Blurb

(I know, it's a cheesy title, but hey - I am just that kind of mom.)

Often my kids will say things that are worth telling the world (or at least writing on my blog). Aaron has already stolen the term "from the mouth of babes" for his blog.... anyway, same idea.

This morning after Sam woke up, he came and sat on my lap to cuddle. (Doesn't happen often enough!) After a few minutes he began to wiggle away. I said to him, "but wait, I want to cuddle". His response was, "no, I'm done with you.".

Ouch...such a heart breaker this one is. He's only 4 and he's done with me! :(

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This Isn't What I Signed Up For (WARNING - Long and heavy)

I referenced this phrase 2 posts ago in regards to how I think my children must feel. As I stated then, it is a feeling that I think is ingrained in us from birth, but shifts as we age. It's a feeling I'm fairly certain was placed there by our creator due to that fact that this, indeed, is not all we were created for. We were created to transcend the minor motions of day to day life. (Yes, I did just use the word transcend, I know it's a big word for me.) Transcend to what, however, is where most of us screw it all up. (Okay, all of us.)

Thanks to Jeff, I will now write on and on about this subject. :) In fact, it will be something I will probably speak to a lot in one way or another, as it is a very pressing issue in my life (and has been for several years now). Oh, and for those of you who think I was too hard on myself and over thinking my role as a mom in the "keeping them alive" post (no PJ, you were not the only one :) ) , just know that is how my brain works. I wish there was an easier way for me to come to realize things, but I've always done things the hard way - including process. Know, however, that through posting that (and many other posts), I came to realize many things that Aaron has been trying to help me process for some time. So, it's all good. :)

Anyway, back to the topic of "This isn't what I signed up for".... This is a feeling I've been wrestling with for some time now. Don't get me wrong, I have an amazing life that I am so very thankful for. But in the daily demands and realities that I live in (as do we all), I find myself often thinking, "I was made for more". I've tried numerous ways and times to find more and sign up for something different. From before surrendering my life to Christ, up until 10 minutes ago, it's been a struggle. I won't go into the nitty-gritty just now (is that how you spell nitty?), but let me just tell you - they don't work. So, I press on.... what will work? I brought this internal conversation before the throne - FINALLY - about 2 years ago. Every now and then, little glimpses of what "more" looks like are revealed. And every now and then, I try my own route anyway just out of pure stubborness. I fail, and then He again points me in the right direction. And of course, because of my current role of mom of 3 little ones - that is the where the lies straight from the Enemy will mostly effect me. I will begin to think that what I'm doing isn't worth much of anything to anyone's kingdom. Of course I know that isn't true, but that is where the "desire for more" will bleed out of in my life today. For others (as well as for me once I'm through with this phase), the lie will come from other areas. The Enemy, in whatever our role is in life and ministry and relationships, will try to feed us this lie that "this is not what we are made to do". Well, the lie isn't so much that we were made for more, as much as it is that 1) What we are doing isn't worth squat, and 2) where He will try to guide us in our pursuit of more. No.... the car won't do the trick, nor the big house, nor the relationship with someone other than our spouse, nor the higher paying job that robs us of our time with our family, nor the new skirt at the Gap (darn it). I think I'll stop now with some of my measly thoughts, as I'd rather share some of someone who is much smarter than I.

There is an amazing book that I'm currently reading called A Quest For More by Paul David Tripp. Amazing, and difficult. It is so incredibly challenging in that he walks you through so many ways of thinking that we as humans have (and how wrong many of them are). He is so good at pointing out how, due to our sin, we begin to build this small little "kingdom of one" rather than striving toward things of the one true eternal kingdom. No, I have no answers yet, as I'm still reading. But I want to share some things that were so powerful to me as I read last night. (And I hope this isn't illegal. Know that the following paragraphs I DID NOT RIGHT - although I wish I had.)

...No, it is not evil to invest in a good car, to buy a good house, to enjoy a relaxing vacation, or to relish the pleasures of a succulent steak. Each of these things points, in someway, to the creative glory of God. The issue here is what drives the system. It is all about what you are living for, what gives you meaning and purpose, what gets you up in the morning, what gives you identity, where you seek to find joy, what you seek to satisfy your heart, and where you are looking to find life...

....Of course, I am supposed to be a good steward of the gifts the Lord has given me, and I should care for my immediate friends and family. It is not wrong to do so. What is wrong is to spend so much time caring for me that there is no time or energy left to expend on the cares and concerns of the vast universe that exist outside the borders of my life....

....The kingdom of self tends to be more focused on what the hands can touch than what the heart should embrace....

....Is my life expended by a protection of personal boundaries, personal property, and personal entitlements; or am I willing to lay down my rights, to sacrifice my comfort, and even expose myself to mistreatment for the sake of the work of God's kingdom?

And finally....

....The size of my living was meant to be connected to the depth of His greatness. The fathomless greatness of God is the more that I was designed to live for.

I would write out the whole book if I could.... but I can't. So go buy it! Sorry for the length and heaviness of this's all Jeff's fault!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We made it out, and alive even

After my last post, a dear friend and fellow mom called me. (The kids and I were on our way out the door to, yes, the mall.) She was feeling the same way as I was. So, after talking for a bit, we decided to hit the rec center. Us, and our 5 kids total (giddy up).

As for how it went, well, it's not MY first choice of what to do with my time, but then I
remember - it isn't about me. The kids were content to play in the shallow end, while we sat and discussed why moms feel the way we do and how to get out of it. As our children grew restless, they would - one by one - come over and ask for our undivided attention. We of course were very busy deep in discussion about why we can't just engage our children. HAHA. We realized that we were guilty even at that moment. (Why children can't enjoy just being in water with other children I will never understand. A child just wants their mom I suppose.) So, we headed in. Upon entry it was, "look mom", "watch me mom", "follow me mom". Oh, okay. We did. We looked, we watched, we followed. And yes, 2 of my children (who don't swim) even stuck their heads under the water without plugging their noses. (And no, I didn't push them into the deep end, although one did accidentally fall in- and yet he's still alive.)

I could go on and on about my theories, and the ones "A" and I talked about this morning at the pool...but I shall leave that for another time. As for how to get out of such a rut....well "A", we took the first steps - we just did it, and even better, we did it with a friend. I suppose everything that does not come natural to us begins with making the decision to act. See you tomorrow night friend. (Let's just not overdo it too soon!)

Oh, and one last thing. I got the kiddo's home only for the whining and fighting to start right back up. "I'm hungry, I don't want an apple, she took my chair, thump......" Too bad. Eat the apple, don't hit your sister, get off his chair, and now watch a movie while I blog again and go mow the lawn. Only thing is...there wasn't quite so much guilt attached as this was all taking place, because I had done my part (for 2 hours at least), and now I can move forward fully knowing that they are just being kids, rather than little reflections of my mistakes and selfishness.

Off to my lawn now. (Oh, and there is a load in both washer and dryer and 2 that need folded.)

Just Keep Them Alive

This is what I feel like most days my method of parenting has resorted to -just keeping them alive. Let me tell you, I'm doing splendidly at it! But then, at the end of every day, I see this look in their little eyes (Sam is the worst) that say rather pathetically - "what about fun mom?, what about personal attention mom?, what about sitting down with a book or a puzzle mom?, what about tickles and hugs and kisses mom?". I'm sure there has to be something deep ingrained in a child that shifts as we get older, but speaks a very similar story. It's this feeling of "I'd rather not be alive if this is it", or "this isn't what I signed up for". Granted, my kids have no idea that any other child has it better, or worse than they do. They don't have that ability yet to compare their lives with others. However, they do have the ability to feel lonely, bored, and not loved to the fullest they should be. Problem is, they don't know how to tell me they feel this way (or even recognize the feeling most likely) ... other than the constant whining, fighting, and being "can I's" as we call them in our house. Anyway, somewhere along the line, I've lost my ability to find an uninhibited joy in my children .... all because I'm just trying to keep them alive (and have massive amounts of laundry, and other chores screaming louder than them most of the time).

I am also that mom that feels incredibly guilty upon realizing such things. So what do I do, I sit here while they are watching cartoons and write about it. Ouch..... I allow them to push me to this feeling of "I'm the worst mom in the world". I begin entertaining every thought along the way, which in turn, pushes me farther out of their reach. I so do not want them to remember me as a mom that was emotionless (other than anger over the floors getting dirty), or a mom who didn't have enough time for them. I don't want to be the mom who never took any risks - and thus raised children who will never take risks. It's a risky world we live in. I want to teach them that life isn't always fun, and they need to learn to behave when needed (without feeling guilty for making them do un-fun things - like grocery shopping). But I also want to teach them to play hard, knowing their limits - yet pushing them anyway. I want to push them down the hill on their bike with no training wheels so they will get it, and be all the more thankful for it. Or throw them in the deep end so they learn how to swim. Instead, I tighten their little wheels, and stand in the shallow end with arm and waist floaties attached. While I understand there is always a time for life's training wheels and standing in the shallow end vs. sinking.... I fear I'm doing my kids a big disservice in my tendencies to stay there -- all in the name of keeping them alive.

So what will I do about it?? This is something I know that MOST moms struggle with, so I'm not alone. But I also know that no amount of parenting books or sharing with my friends will help me overcome this joyless safe rut I think I'm in (or at least heading toward). It's going to take me stepping out of my house that needs cleaning, and into something so out of my comfort zone. Something as stupid simple as swimming at the rec center or the Res.... me against them. I'm so outnumbered. But that shouldn't matter. Not when I go back to my biggest lesson I've ever learned - that my children belong to God, not me. If I kept that at the forefront of my mind all the time, I maybe could begin to find this freedom I desire to have as a "fun mom". I won't ever be that mom that brings in all the neighbor kids for snacks and crafts and a slip-n-slide going down the stairs. I just won't. That isn't even what I want. I just want to move toward the middle a bit. (Ah-ha.... I knew if I sat here writing long enough it would come to me. Here I am at an extreme again. I used to be an uninhibited no-fear person, then I had kids, and another and another....and now I'm at the other extreme. Hmmmmm... I love blogging!)

So, I'm off. What will it be today? Rec center or Res today??? Probably the padded play area at the mall. But I'll at least make it a point to engage them, not one of the 13 books I'm trying to get through.