Mar 29, 2017

The boys got in a little kerfuffle tonight.
I'll spare you the detailed play-by-play.
In a nutshell, someone grabbed, the other punched, there was running, screaming and slamming.

It is Wednesday and we should have been in the car on the way to youth group by this point, but instead I'm hashing out the things we learned in Kindergarten "ask nicely", "keep our hands to ourselves", and "no running in the house" among other things.

After a lengthy chat with each of them pointing out the choices they could have made to avoid the drama, I gave them an opportunity to redeem the night.

"Write three things you like about your brother or things you enjoy doing with your brother and you can go to youth group.  If you choose not to write three things you can spend the evening in your room with no electronics".

One chose to write, the other chose to be stubborn.

The little angel that started the drama to begin with wrote this:

Things I like about my brother
1. playing games together
2. learning from you
3. "accidentally" breaking the rules together

Though he wore a scowl on his face, I read each statement to the stubborn brother.  I read them slowly so they could sink in, or just to annoy him, not sure which.
Then I told that stubborn one that one day when I'm dying the boys are going to be responsible for deciding what to do with my stone cold body and I hoped that they could do it without fighting.

I'm not sure why I  threw that in at the end but I went with it.

They love each other, they just don't realize it sometimes.


Mar 28, 2017

I was in the Amazon brick and mortar bookstore in Seattle this past December with a friend.  We roamed around for a bit, marveling at the sight of an actual bookstore.  Neither of us could remember when we had been in one last.  I have borrowed or purchased all my books online for the past few years, so I really have no idea when I last flipped through the pages of pretty books on shelves.
I felt compelled to purchase something, I mean I was there after all!  Upon the recommendation of my friend I bought a book of devotions based on Psalms.  I'll spare you the title because last time I suggested a daily devotional, things went wonky in my life for a bit.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Each day's reading includes at least 3-4 verses from a Psalm, sometimes more, a brief commentary and a prayer.  I have a history with the author of this book so I had a feeling I would love it, and I do.  I also really appreciate that the actual verses are there and not just a reference and that it is a significant chunk of verses not just five words.

A few days ago I read Psalm 39:1-13.  It s kind of a complaint letter of sorts.  We've all been there right?  Except my complaint letters or prayers are never quite as eloquent as King David's.

The commentary from this particular day struck me.
"God not only allows his creatures to complain to him he actually records those ills in his word."
Mind blown.
If you believe, as I do, that the scriptures included in what we call the Bible are ordained by God himself then you must realize that God was the big editor-in-chief of the manuscript.  He got to decide what was included and what was not.  He totally could have left out these passages where his people are pretty mad at him and giving him a piece of their mind.
This is the little tidbit that blew my mind.  God allowed these complaints to be recorded in scripture for all humanity to read.  Derek Kidner writes "The very presence of such prayers in Scripture is a witness to His understanding.  He knows how men speak when they are desperate."

God wants a relationship with us, not just when we are happy, or scared, when we need direction or we are thankful for his blessings, he wants to hear from us when we are mad at him too.  The inclusion of people's anger is like a permission slip for us to vent to God as well.  So cry out in your despair.  Its Biblical.


And here's an unrelated gem for you today 
"I halt in pace - yet I creep to the throne of grace" George Herbert.


Mar 27, 2017

H

If you have been to either of my homes here in Washington you were greeted by a slew of Hs.
That is intended to be plural H, as in multiple wall decor that depicts the letter H.
How do you type that? Hes looks wrong, Hs looks wrong, H's is wrong because the H isn't possessive.  Anyway, there are a lot of that letter in my entryway.
A few of those H items were purchased by myself while on vacation somewhere, a few from around town, and some were gifted to me.  I'm always on the look-out for an interesting H to add to my collection.

Today, I got the most interesting H of all time.

I went to Costco, bought three things and came out spending $3000.  Or maybe it was 10 things and $100.  What difference does it make really?  The point is that place sucks the money right out of my wallet.

I purchased ribs for dinner tonight, a few loaves of their delicious country style fresh baked bread and an assortment of things I probably didn't need.

Tonight I was heating up the ribs and sliced in to that bread to also heat up.
I could serve the ribs and bread cold, but by heating them up it makes it appear that I care about my family and what they eat for dinner.

That's when it happened.  The H was delivered.


I am not entirely ok with this.

Mar 22, 2017

In The Storm


Last summer my girlfriends and I were spending the day in Asheville, NC.
We roamed around the shops, sampled some sweet treats, and just enjoyed a lazy day discovering the city.  Late in the afternoon the skies started to get dark and thunder could be heard in the distance. 
We started to make our way to the car attempting to avoid getting drenched.
A few seconds of rain and the sky opened up and dumped on the square block we were standing in.  The streets quickly became swift moving creeks as the downpour of water was exceeding the capacity of the city drainage systems and all hell was breaking loose in the sky.  Lightening and thunder lit the sky and shook the earth.
We didn't quite make it to the car!
Lucky for us, we happened upon an awning the hung over the front door of a jewelry shop.  After a few minutes of giggling under the awning, the shop owner came to the door and let us in.  We were soaked, and soaking his very fancy marble floors.  He disregarded the inconvenience of opening up the store, and allowing us to make a muddy mess in the doorway to give us sanctuary.

Yesterday I was flipping through some pictures and came across one that I took of the 7 of us ladies huddled together in that jewelry store and three things jumped out at me:

1. There is joy when you are waiting out a storm.  None of us wanted to be standing there, freezing cold, dripping wet, in this poor man's shop.  But we were together.  We laughed, told stories, and marveled at the chaos going on outside.
We will have storms in our life.  They too, can be less inconvenient if we wait them out with awesome, supportive, encouraging, fun people.

2. Know when to leave.  It wasn't going to stop raining for a while.  While we appreciated the jewelry store owner's hospitality, we could stay there in the shelter forever.  Two of us borrowed the man's umbrella and headed out to get the car, to bring back to retrieve the others.
We can't stay in our figurative shelter forever.  We have to enjoy the break, gather the tools and head out.

3. There is time to get to know the jeweler in the storm.  As we stood in the entryway of a jeweler store under construction we had a lot of dead time on our hands.  We used that time to get to know the one who gave us shelter.  He told us the history of the store and celebrated the success it had in the town.  We all walked away with an appreciation for the family business and the man's willingness to rescue us.
When you are in a storm, get to know the One who gives you shelter.


Mar 21, 2017

Next Stop: MONTANA!!

I'm super excited for our family's big move to Montana!  Rolling hills, raging rivers, mountains in the distance and the big open sky.
I have a growing to-do list before the big move.  I'll list them here in order of importance.

1. Find a job in Montana.
2. Convince Matt that he wants to move to Montana too.
3. Figure out what cities are in Montana. (Maybe that should be moved up in the order of importance? I should probably know what cities are there so I know where to find Matt a job)
4. Learn to fish and/or hunt.  (I think that's a requirement in Montana.)
5. Buy a house.
6. Take a self-help class to try to stop loving: the ocean and going to MLB and MLS games
7.  Re-consider Montana

I had a bad day today. 
I've been at the high school for almost 3 weeks now and I think it is just a little too much for me.  The kids there...I honestly have no words to describe the complete disrespect they have for teachers, each other and the fact that they have been handed a free education. A free education.  Free books, free instruction, and resources galore and they squander what has been given to them.
I should clarify that I only work with a select group of students who have been designated to have some form of learning disability.  So they are probably not an accurate representation of all the students at the school, but when you have a so much negative surrounding you all day for 3 weeks, it is easy to feel like "everyone" is horrible.  
I walked through the office today and saw a student sitting with her service animal.  It was a pit bull.  A PIT BULL.  To top of the odd sight of a pit bull with a service animal vest on, the pit bull had on a metal muzzle.  The kind kujo wears.  
The world it crazy.

Its time to move to Montana.
Maybe in Montana high school kids don't sit back on their phones all day doing nothing in school.  Maybe there isn't adequate enough cell reception for them to be on their phones.  Maybe there isn't a task force that busts a drug ring at the high school, maybe kids don't talk openly in front of adults about getting high, and maybe they are thankful for their education and actually use the brains they were given to try a little.

Or maybe not.

But at least it doesn't rain for a million days straight in Montana.  
I am done with the rain, 
and done with the high school kids.  
Someone give me a baby to hold and a sunny day or this woman is going to lose her mind.


Mar 14, 2017

Say "Uncle"

I'm super ticklish.
Despite my very best efforts to exert all my mental energy to resist squirming and flailing around when tickled, I simply cannot.
I remember when I was little people would be relentless with the tickling.
Now that I'm 5'10" and took that "Women's Self-Defense" class in college, I'm a little better at fighting off my attackers, and only the brave come at me with tickle fingers.

The frustrating part of being tickled is getting people to understand when you have really had enough.  Saying "no, stop" doesn't really help because I typically say those words right from the get-go.

Remember when people would say "Uncle"?  That was like the key word that you really mean it now.  No more joking around, you need them to stop, you give up.
I suppose that worked for me for awhile, but I remember "I have to pee" tended to work best.

I was listening to an old friend's sermon yesterday morning and he was talking about a particular time in his life when he was going through a difficult time.  In his case, in a matter of a few months he lost three people that were very dear to him.

He asked himself if there was a key word he could say to end all the sorrow.  "Can I cry Uncle?"

I have been there too.  I remember the final weeks of my Grandma's life when she was withering away in my mom's living room.  Going through tough times with Matt, or my kids, or work, or when there is pain in sickness and loss.  There are times when you just want to scream out that key word that makes everyone say "oh wait, she's serious now, this is enough".

My friend's message reminded me of something I just needed to hear.  Not for any particular reason, just a reminder.  We don't have to yell "I have to pee" or "Uncle".  We have something far more effective, far more powerful, we get to cry "Jesus".

I wasn't there but my mom told me that in my Grandfather's last hours on earth he simply uttered the word "Jesus" over and over again.  I give up, take this from me.

There is power in the name of Jesus.  The challenge is not to wait until we no longer have breathe to utter the words.  To call on that name in the midst of our trials and allow him to bring us out of our despair.

Mar 13, 2017

I do not like the Monday following Springing Forward.
There is not Springing in my step.
My body is confused.
It is dark again when I leave for work which makes me want to crawl back into bed, even if I wasn't tired.

Yesterday afternoon I was tired from having Sprung Forward so I took a nap, then drank some coffee to wake up from said nap, and then couldn't get to sleep until late because my body was jacked up.  I always say "the best way to start my day is to get good sleep the night before".
Not really, but thats just truth right there.

Following a rough night of not sleep, this morning I hopped out of bed, late, because I hit snooze, woke up the kiddo who also resisted the early morning alarm clock and went downstairs.
I was welcomed by the joyous scent of coffee.  Matt programed the coffee pot.  Yay Matt!!

I pull out my favorite travel mug and pour the deliciousness in it only to hear a crazy popping sound. Yikes!  The mug was cracking in my hand.  Thankfully, the sleepiness in me didn't prevent my ninja fast response and I was able to pour the coffee from the exploding mug into a new, far inferior, drinking chalice.

I spent about a minute mourning the loss of the only travel coffee mug I use.  I hate plastic mugs.  I have issues, I know.  I want to drink my coffee out of a ceramic mug.  No plastic lids, just a nice ceramic mug that fits in the cup holder and doesn't spill.  Usually.

Following the tragic loss I skipped out to the car to take Eli to school.  He can ride a bus but sometimes I'm nice and if it is raining, which has been for the past 1000 days, or if he has a bunch of stuff to haul with him, like all his baseball gear, I will drive him to school.  Today, despite the fact that I was frazzled by my mysterious mug destruction, I loaded him up and headed off to school.

On the way home I noticed something odd on my windshield.
A CRACK?!  Are you kidding me?
Was there and earthquake last night that only damaged my coffee mug and my car windshield?
When I got home I sat in the car, gazing out upon my once perfectly clear windshield and watched the rain fall on the crack that so conveniently is traveling straight up the center of the windshield for about 4 inches before turning toward the driver's side.
Curses.

I came back in the house.
Defeated by the morning cracks.
I started to ask myself "what else can crack today?"  then I thought better of throwing that out there.

Mar 10, 2017

It is possible I could write an entire blog on texts between me and my elder child.

The highlight of today:

"can I have two of your sounders tickets?"

"Why?  You hate soccer"

"I know but can I give them to K as bday presant"

*For authenticity I have typed the message he sent exactly as he texted it to me, complete with grammatical errors. Sometimes I refuse to answer a text until it is spelled correctly with proper use of ending marks and such.  Today I was so caught off guard by the ridiculousness of his inquiry, I let it go.  And I was slightly proud that he used the proper spelling of "your".

There was a long pause before I responded, so he must have figured out he was going to have some more explaining to do.  This was actually a bad thing for him because his explanation was as ridiculous as his request.

"Cause if I liked them some ticket would be mine can I give like two to K"

Sometimes I wonder if English is his second language and he has an entirely different one in his head that he can actually use properly.

My response:

"That's going to be a no."

I took a screen shot of the conversation and sent it to Matt.  Matt's response was perfect.  He said "that dude is crazy.  Like actually crazy"


Just to clarify:  the kid thinks that because he may have been invited to go to one or two Sounders' matches he should be entitled to take the tickets he isn't going to use (because he doesn't actually like the sport) and give these tickets to a friend.

There are so many absurdities here I'm not quite sure where to start.

I want to appreciate that he wants to give his friend a gift, but I'm just not there.  I mean really, wouldn't everyone give each other amazing gifts if you didn't have to use your own money to pay for them?
Why in the world does he think he has some ownership of our two season tickets?
I don't think he was being rude.  I honestly just think he's clueless.  I'm not sure which is worse.

"Ok I'm that case can you grab a like amazon gift card or something for me for him"

I didn't respond.
I feigned an inability to understand this giberish.






Mar 9, 2017

About Not Posting

Sometimes there are just so many things to say you don't know where to start, maybe you stutter through in fragmented phrases or maybe it is just easier not to say anything at all.

Not posting anything on this blog probably speaks more than anything I could have written over the past month.

February had 28 days.
Really?
It seems simply impossible that so many things took place in my life on that one small page on a calendar.

February was like that tube at a fair where you step in and money is blowing all around and you have one minute to grab as much as you can.

I grabbed some good things.  I spent some great quality time with my mom, my niece, a sweet friend and a fabulous week in the UK with Matt.  I had some peaceful alone time on snowy walks in the neighborhood and on the cobblestone streets of Cambridge.  I saw some great shows, ate some good food, and had lovely days snuggled with my younger kid, hanging out with our UK family, meeting people Matt works with and rooting for my older one as he tried out for the HS baseball team.

I got rich in February.

Then the air in that tube stopped blasting and all those other bills started falling.  There has been a lot of arguing with the boys, frustration causing all parties to nearly burst.  It's hard sometimes to figure out which battles to fight and which ones to let go.

At the end of the game I guess you just hang on to the bills you caught and try not to think about all the others that got away.

Taking a deep breath as we are now over a week into March, with tons of travel plans for Matt and the boys knee-deep in baseball.
With both ids playing this year I'm definitely putting some miles on the new ride and a lot of wear and tear on my rain-boots.