Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm back. Hope you don't mind. I have good news about the lump in my side. He is pretty certain it is a lipoma. A harmless group of fat cells that have banded together. His words were "a couple of fat cells..." and I said "just A COUPLE...?" I had a chest x-ray to confirm this diagnosis and will hear definitely by Friday. My doctor's advice: leave it alone for a month (translation: stop poking around on it to be sure it's still there everyday - he knows me so well) and then have it removed when I'm ready - just for peace of mind. Of course being told to leave it alone is like saying "see that man over there....don't look!"
Thank you, dear friends for all your prayers and your concern. It was so nice of you to ask about my worries and to let me know you were keeping me on your prayer lists.

curling up with a good book...

I just received a book in the mail - a children's book that was one of my kids' favorites. I'm giving a baby shower in a few weeks and I am giving the new mom a basket of books. I've ordered her 6 of our favorites. I have been unable to find the 7th I wanted - "Never Babysit the Hippopatamuses." It was hard to narrow down our list.
I absolutely LOVED reading to my kids. Paul cringed when we went into a good bookstore because I would charm the credit card out of him and nearly give him a stroke with the number of books I'd buy. He believes God made libraries for a reason. But with a library book, you have to return the memory. You can't cherish the jelly handprint on page 5 or the rip on page 3 from an eager toddler. There was a time I had about 200 children's books in our basement shelves. Paul was not happy to have them taking up all that space. So I gave many of them to a neighbor who had just received his teaching degree and was starting his own first grade library. I think I regret that.
We visited the library too. And we'd come home and read book after book on the rocking chair. And the ones we really liked - well we went out and bought those.
As each book arrives for my friend's book basket, I smile at the memory each one brings. That feeling of my baby melting into my chest as he listens; hearing her "read" with me as she remembers the story because we've read it dozens of times. The sound of his deep even breathing as he falls asleep listening to my voice. There was nothing better.

Here are the books for my gift basket:

The Monster at the End of This Book (starring Grover)
The Napping House
I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words (Dr. Seuss)
The Spooky Old Tree (Berenstein Bears)
Am I Beautiful?
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

There are so many more that every kid should have but the gift basket can only be so big...


Following Beaner's lead. Here are my prayer requests for tomorrow's day of prayer:

1. A clean bill of health for myself or the peace and courage to deal with the alternative

2. financial and emotional stability for my mother

3. peace in my extended family (see number 2)

4. interest/excitement on my son's part to be involved at church

5. safe travel for my husband when he goes on his business trips

Whew! It feels good just to put those out there. Thanks

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I am pretty sure there was an angel behind me today in church during communion. I'm pretty sure I heard an angel sing a song called "Hallowed" I had goosebumps. I had tears. Not only did it make me (once again) wish I had a beautiful singing voice; but it made me wish the song had more verses. It was beautiful, Chris.

Well, I have packed my bags. I think I'm going on a guilt trip. I decided today to skip the lady's retreat. The ladies I told today seemed disappointed; I'm sure because they know I will be missing a wonderful experience. I know I will be missing a wonderful experience - based on last year's retreat. But I decided I need to go and be my son's cheerleader. I will hopefully have many years of retreat ahead of me, but I have my son at home for about 4 more years and I want him to know that his biggest fan did not miss an opportunity to scream "whoo-hoo" for him from the bleachers. Every kid needs a cheerleader (don't we all) and I have decided to be on duty that day.
Last year at the retreat, I had been attending our congretation for only about 6 months. My friend, who had been driving up with us for that whole time, decided at the last minute to cancel her plans to attend the retreat. When she told me, my first thought was "I still have to go. I have to go and get to know these ladies. What better chance to try to become a part of this family- this body?" So I did. It was kind of hard being the new kid. It was hard not having my old friend there helping me make new friends. But I did it and I was glad. I know this year would have been even better and easier and it would have been an opportunity to become even more a part of this family. But, hopefully, next year I will not have a conflict. And hopefully by then I will feel like I've been with these great women forever. Have fun ladies.

you earn this....

Paul loves that line from Saving Private Ryan. When they finally find the private and Tom Hanks' character is dying, he tells Private Ryan to earn the chance he's been given.

Blake earned his second chance yesterday. Those of you who can't stand a bragging parent, turn away.

Blake, after never placing above 5th at regular wrestling meets all year, went to Regionals yesterday and swept his bracket - coming away with the championship medal. Yes, that's right, the kid who was told by the coaches not to expect to win all year (because most kids start this when they're 5, and boy are those 5-year-olds cute) came away with first place yesterday. So, at 7 a.m. yesterday we thought our wrestling season would be over by last night, but no, we are going to Sectionals next week. Friday Blake said he was ready to be done, but after each win, I could tell he hadn't reall meant it.

Five weeks ago, we were in the darkest corner of parenthood, groping to find the light of hope and relief. We have slowly found our way to the brighter side and have seen our son grow and mature from his mistake. His wrestling coaches intervened on his behalf during this, and asked us to give him a second chance, to consider that the only way to punish may NOT always be to take something precious away. They asked to be part of his growth, learning, change of heart. We agreed and I prayed daily that Blake would be worthy of their grace. I think he was. I think he dug down and found energy to practice when he was exhausted, patience to accept their coaching and criticism, stamina to get up at 3:45 to throw 100 papers and then head to a meet.
And I think he earned this. I truly think that his medal is more than his beating his opponents (who all worked very hard and are great athletes too). I think it's his effort to show us and his coaches that he wants to be sure we don't regret giving him that second chance.

I also think it's a symbol that his coaches kept their word to us. They have stayed involved. They have been a part of his growth. They have come up to us at each meet and commented on his rounds, they have made a point to be at the mat when he wrestles to "cheer him on" (with 6-8 rounds at once, that's sometimes difficult) One has taken him, with his sons, to a U of I wrestling meet and out to dinner. Yes these men, a life time Navy fireman, and two construction workers, have kept their word to help my son grow and learn. And all without ever mentioning his mistake again. I know that at age 14, Blake may not comprehend what he was given, but I choose to believe that when he's an adult, he will cherish and appreciate not only our love and forgiveness, but what these men did for him.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I don't know what to do with myself today. Really. I feel like I am flitting around like a hummingbird. My whole family is home sick today. Well, I feel fine because I started this sickness relay last week. Kayla has not been to school all week (Monday was a holiday so at least that won't count) Blake and Paul were home yesterday and today. Now we know Paul feels like doo-doo if he is missing work. He said he was going in today. Then he sat in the kitchen for awhile and that "I am actually still sick" feeling overcame him again. So I guess with them all home, I just don't feel like things are right. I do know that yesterday everytime I cleaned the kitchen, one of the kids came in and made kool-aid or opened some crackers. Both messy tasks when dealing with teens (and 2-year olds) They never seemed to need anything when I offered, but as soon as that kitchen was clean and I left the room.......
And it's not that they're any trouble; Blake is sleeping, Paul is working on the other computer, and Kayla is watching some fashion police type show. So I am basically free to go about my business. I just keep feeling like I'm going to get halfway through a load of laundry and someone will need something, or I'll start cleaning the bathroom and that's when one of the kids will decid they need a shower. You know...that breathing down your neck feeling. Perhaps I will do nothing today. Maybe I will "just BE"

And to top it all off.....there are Girl Scout cookies in the house. I did not order any because I was not approached. I cannot say no to a girl scout. Anyway, Paul came home the other night with 9 - NINE - boxes. He said he felt he should be generous. Well, I used to buy about 20 from Kayla so no big deal. I was just planning on "being good". So I found room in the pantry for them and I am trying to forget they are in the house. The only way to truly forget about them is if I don't open the pantry. The only way to avoid opening the pantry is to plan on NOT cooking today. The only way to get away with NOT cooking today is to go out for dinner (well, carry in since 75% of us are ill) See where I'm going with this...? What are your favorite girl scout cookies? I love caramel delights (he didn't order those) and "thanks a lots". Blake gets hold of the peant butter patties and eats a whole box in one sitting. Poor Kayla has to grab a box of those and hide them in her room to get her fair share. I am afraid to say this, but I'm not thrilled with thin mints...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

You don't know who you're messin' with, buster

I think the newspaper guy will rue the day he hired this family to deliver papers. See Paul is a CPA and very....well...anal about numbers. He is keeping a very close eye on Blake's earnings and trying to figure out what he makes per paper, per day, etc. He talked to the guy in charge of carriers yesterday and said "he's worthless" but that he was now within $10.00 of having the same numbers the office has for Blake's earnings. Blake is just blissful about his earnings - he received his first paycheck - and I just hope every day that we missed nobody so he doesn't get a complaint. Each complaint costs the carrier $2. But here is Paul keeping track every day (of what, I'm not sure) so that he has a record of what Blake's pay should be. We have toyed with the idea of making Blake quit because he seems so tired some mornings, but he wants to keep going. I told Paul yesterday, we won't have to worry....the paper is going to fire him because his dad is driving them crazy with his phone calls to "compare numbers."
Thanks, Paul for your diligence. Your obsession..I mean love of ....numbers has been a blessing in lots of ways for us...finding a way to pay for that new washer, or the new van we will soon be buying. But mostly making it possible for me to stay home with our kids. I will not tell anybody that we go 3 months without balancing the checkbook and then you stay up until 2 a.m getting it to the penny - kind of like the rest of us might tackle Sudoku. That will be our little secret.
You're a good sport and I love you.
I am thrilled to be called "friend" by certain people who have mentioned me on their blogs today. I worhsip with these wonderful women at a wonderful congregation but, since we live 40 miles from our church, I sometimes wonder if there will ever be the connection we would have if we lived in the same city. I've worked on a committee with one of them (lots of fun) and I've had dinner out with another one in my hometown during a seminar. It was great fun getting to know her and her husband that night. I think both of these women are beautiful and courageous. And I am thrilled that I am on their minds. I am thrilled that they add me to their prayers lists. I am thrilled that they consider me a friend - a sister.
It doesn't matter that we are 40 miles apart and cannot fellowship daily. Prayer is not hampered by distance. I hope these two friends know that I pray for them too.
Thanks, ladies. You know who you are.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Chris's most recent post has made me decide to finally sit down and blog what's on my mind lately. I had some really good news last week that sent waves of financial and emotional relief through me. See, my mom lost her job a year ago and Paul and I have been helping her out a little bit. My brother also has helped her out. My sister blatently refused to help her. I don't mean to sound resentful of that. I'm just sayin'....
Anyway, she had a part time job with inconsistent hours, etc. She found a better job last week, yippee! 25 hours a week, better pay, closer to her home. She told me to cut in half what I had been sending her. Now it's not just the finances; my mom is one NEGATIVE person and nothing is ever as bad for anyone else as it is for her and she can suck the joy out of my day in a matter of seconds. So this was all good news. Then she won a settlement regarding her lost job. Yippee again. I can stop sending her a check altogether. Plus she can draw social security in June. Of course she still has found reason to live her "woe is me" life. I call it the Eeyore lifestyle. Well, I had visions of getting our savings built up again and we had set a goal of paying off our jeep and I was really excited about that. Then our van broke down - AGAIN. And I found this lump in my side. And I started feeling defeated. So we have decided to stop pouring money into this rat hole of a van and finally buy a new one (well, new to us anyway). So for a couple days I kept thinking how short lived my relief was and how fleeting it was to feel good about finances and how quickly my emotional relief regarding my mom disappeared. All to be replaced by thoughts of car shopping (we hate it) and worries of doctors visits and bad news and all the what if's that come with finding something on your body that's not supposed to be there, taking on another car payment when we were this close to paying one off. Then I realized that I was thinking like my mom. And that means I was not living with joy. So I decided yesterday that I would be thankful (and I am) that we can get that van replaced. I am married to a CPA and he can move money around like nobody's business when he starts to "crunch numbers." And I decided not to worry about the lump on my side until February 28 at 11:45 when I see my doctor and he tells me what the next step is. I may let somebody else suck the joy out of my day sometimes but I am not going to do it to myself. So I, too, have pried Satan's hands from my heart and prayed for God's calming hand of peace to be upon me. And it is. I would still appreciate prayers on February 28 at 11:45.
Thanks, Chris, for spurring me on.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I would like your prayers. I have found a lump on the edge of my rib cage - left side. Just found it today and of course my doctor is leaving town for all of next week. I made an appointment for February 28, but I think I will go into the walk-in clinic tomorrow and try to get the ball rolling on an x-ray or ultrasound. I have had what I assume is a bad cold for the past week, and can't seem to feel 100%. I'm trying not to assume the two are connected. Please pray that this lump is harmless and, mostly, that I will be at peace while I wait for all the tests and results.

We are off to a volleyball game. Seems every evening is packed full and this weekend will be no different. No wonder I'm exhausted much of the time.

Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Our son will only go to a movie with us if it is out of town. He does not want to risk being seen with his parents by anybody he knows. He also recently told us, when discussing vacation plans, that he would stay at the hotel during the water park trip. He didn't say so, but his facial expression indicated very strongly, that he had no intention of being seen with us at a water park. WELL!!!! Just two years ago we had a great time at the water parks in Wisconsin Dells. I'm sure he will change his mind. But yesterday we found something that was exciting enough that he would even share it with us. An ILLINI basketball game. Now, Paul gets the company tickets about twice a year. But last night, we got the GOOD company tickets. Section A - Row 5. Parking Pass real close to the building. Blake has gone to all of the games with Paul and Kayla has gone to most. I usually give up my ticket so one of the kids can take a friend. I had decided to go last night, even before I knew we had the GOOD company tickets. It was great being at an event where all four of us were having a great time. Reminded me of that credit card commercial:
Pizza before the game:$17
Popcorn, coke, Twizzlers, water, peanut m&m's:$15
A family event that EVERYONE loves: Priceless.

I am really learning to treasure this kind of evening; they are too rare and will be over way too soon. We are less than 5 years from our first going to college. Anybody else know how fast 5 years go by?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

splenda -n- spice

I have fixed myself a cup of hot lemon tea and as I spooned my SECOND spoonful of sugar into it I thought "I really should be using splenda." Now I'm gonna let ya'll in on a little secret. I don't like splenda. I think it tastes a little different. Perhaps if I kept using it, I'd learn to like it. Now I should like splenda because my husband's company makes the stuff. I have never mentioned it in the presence of his co-workers that I don't care for the stuff; it's like our little secret here at home. Also, despite my mother-in-law's FIRM BELIEF, We do not get free splenda. I think she has visions of little yellow packets rolling off a belt here in Decatur and employees just walking off with buckets full of the stuff. Not the way it happens. She has actually accused Paul of holding out on her and not giving her the free stuff. Now Blake and Kayla take a couple packets from restaurants and give it to Grandma to tease her. Of course, I'd probably love the stuff if we got it free - it does cost a lot more than the pink packets.
I know splenda is better for me, but I keep holding on to the real stuff that isn't quite as healthy. Which would be fine, if I ate just a little sugar........
It's overwhelming when I think of my whole list that begins with
"I really should be ......" Guess I should tackle that list one day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Paul and I just cooked dinner together....for our son who will be home from wrestling soon.
We will be having our Valentine date on Thursday. We are going to a dinner theater at a private club in down town Decatur. Tonight's performance is for members only but Thursday is open for all of us regular folks. So we are going to that. We used to go to dinner theaters a lot - BK (before Kids) so I look forward to it.
I had a horrible sinus headache all day. So my dear hubby came home at lunchtime and brought me a quart (yes a QUART) of peanut butter chocolate ice cream from Baskin Robbins. He also brought me some Aleve Sinus. Evidently you now have to sign a book and show your drivers license just to buy sinus medicine (darn meth heads). So I took my medicine, ate ice cream with my hubby and then took a nap. Happy Valentines Day to me!!!!!
Paul gave me 2 cookbooks for Valentines day. Yes, I had asked for them. He wrote a lovely note in my card and told me he was proud I was still interested in the "domestic arts" and making dinner each night, and a nice home for him and the kids. Between that and the ice cream.........

Happy Valentine's Day to all.


Kayla brought this home from church camp a couple years ago. I loved it so much, I printed it, framed it and hung it in her room; thinking every little girl needs to know this. I soon realized girls of all ages need to know this.


I made her. She is different. She is unique. With love, I formed her in her mother's womb. I fashioned her with great joy. I remember with pleasure the days I created her. To me she is beautiful. I love her. I love her smile. I love her ways. I love to hear her laugh and to see the silly things she does. She is herself and no one else. This is how I made her.

I made her pretty but not beautiful, because I know her heart, and I know that she would be vain. I wanted her to search her heart and learn that in me she would be beautiful. It would be my spirit that would draw people to her.

I made her in such a way that she would need me. I made her a little more lonesome than she would like to be, because I want her to turn to me in her loneliness. I made her dependent so that she would depend on me.

I know her heart. I know that if I had not made her like this, she would go her own chosen way, and forget about me, her Creator.
I have given her many good and happy things, because I love her. I have seen her broken heart, and the tears that she has cried alone. I have been with her and had a broken heart too.

Many times she has stumbled and fallen, because she would not take my hand. She has learned hard lessons, because she would not listen to my voice. So many times, I have sadly watched her go on her way, alone.

And now she is mine again. I made her and then I bought her. I paid a high price for her, because I love her. I have had to reshape and remold her, renewing her for my plan. It has not been easy for her or for me. I want her to be conformed to my image. This goal I have set for her.....

Friday, February 10, 2006

Please pray for our friends Kyle and Mandy. They have spent a week in Russia meeting their new son. They are flying home now to wait 3-4 months for the Russian government to finalize their adoption papers before they can go back and bring him home. They have e-mailed every day and shared this joyous/heartbreaking journey with us. They met and fell in love with their new 15-month old son and then had to tell him goodbye for a few months. They knew this would happen; but, like childbirth, nobody can tell you how painful it is going to be. Mandy has tried to have a positive attitude - telling me that after waiting 6 years for a child, she can surely wait 4 months, and now is the first time anybody has been able to tell her when she would hold a child in her arms. This was before the trip. This morning's e-mail was heartbreaking, as they told of their final visit while the minutes ticked away before they had to lay him in his crib and tell him good bye. They said he gave them a big smile and laughed. The whole orphange staff is amazed that the baby looks like Kyle - he really does; I've seen pictures.
Another friend and I are planning a shower - that will lift her spirits some, but nothing will comfort them like having him in their arms again. Please pray for their peace, for their son's health and safety, for the other children in the orphanges, for safe travel, and for speedy government approval...
My kids are coming home any minute. I am going love seeing their faces today even more than usual.....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

This is why girls shouldn't play sports

Not my sentiments, but my son's. Here's why. Kayla had a volleyball tournament Saturday. I had barely finished paying the admission when she darts out of the gym with her friend and says "mom all the girls are doing french braids for the day - both of our teams - will you braid everybody's hair?!?" We had two teams at the tournament and of course they all waited until they arrived to decide to wear matching hair styles. I had a brush; one mom had rubber bands and another brush. So 3 of us moms set out to braid the hair of about 8 girls. I muttered something about not getting the braid memo and set to work. Oh, and they happened to come up with blue and yellow ribbons too.
Well, we got CREAMED in the first game. A girl served 21 straight points against us. We had beaten that team earlier so we were shocked; but there it was. The second game was a little better but still painful. I wanted to yell "take out the braids!!!!" Blake, however was very vocal. He said "It's the braids!! They should have been focused on their game, not their hair. This is why girls shouldn't play sports!!!!!" I tried to explain that we had a pretty good record and we usually play well, blah blah blah...but he would have none of it. He was not happy to be at the tournament anyway - which lead to another lecture about all the wrestling meets, football games, basketball tournaments his sister has sat through for him - blah, blah, blah.
We came back and got third place but he wasn't impressed. Kayla asked him later if he thought she served good (she got to serve overhand for the first time that day) and he said "yeah, what I saw" Ouch. She really just wanted a compliment from someone that she sees as a good athlete and someone she looks up to. I see another lecture on the horizon.
I've been there, looking for validation and approval - sometimes from people who are just not going to give it. Then I wake up and realize the validation is easy to find - in the pages of scripture or on my knees in prayer. It's free flowing and abundant. Still I struggle with being a people pleaser. Don't want anybody to be mad at me, you know.