Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bring the Rain

I've just spent tonight reading Angie Smith's blog Bring the Rain.  Once again, I have scared my family members with the amount of tears I've shed over Angie's story about Audrey Caroline.   I had read bits and pieces of Angie's blog before but decided for reasons unknown to go for the whole story tonight. 

What stayed with me after my tears was the amount of strength it took to get Angie through her pregancy, Audrey's birth, Audrey's funeral and then life after Audrey.  Was it always pretty?  No, of course not.  Should it have been?  No, of course not.  Were there days when Angie felt like staying in bed?  YES!!!   Were there days when Angie stayed in bed??  YES!!!  She LOST A CHILD!!   Will there be days when we want to stay in bed?  YES!!!  Will there be days when we question God?  Yes!!! Will there be times when we wonder, Why us?  YES!!!

I think sometimes as Christians we feel as if when we feel pain, when we make mistakes, when we fall short, that somehow we are less than we're supposed to be.  We think that if we're living our lives the way we should that everything else will work out.  We'll have happy marriages, our children will be healthy and happy, we'll act the way we're supposed to,  and nothing will ever test our strength.  Since we're such good Christians, there's no need to test our strength; only those who need to be reminded of God's presence are reminded of his presence through trials and tribulations. 

I do not believe that God purposely gives us trials and tribulations.  I believe that as humans we make choices and that we all (even the innocent) get caught up in other people's choices sometimes. 

I do not believe that God purposely gave Angie such pain...I just can't believe it.  I do believe that he gave her the strength to endure it.  I do believe that he gave and still gives her what she needs each and every day to put one foot in front of the other and to continue on with her life.  I also believe that he gave Angie's experience to the rest of us to show us that life isn't all pretty...even for those whose lives seem to be perfect in some ways.  We can't EARN God's love; we just have matter what.

In my prayers tonight I'll thank God for giving me the opportunity to be touched by Angie's life and little Audrey Caroline, whose short little life has touched mine in ways I never would have imagined.

One Month CheckUp

I'm new to this blogging game so I'm not sure how much you're supposed to change things and how much you're supposed to leave them the same.

I guess since it's my blog I can do what I want... :)  so I changed some things!  Whoo!! Hoo!!

After a month of blogging and reading other people's blogs I've also made some decisions about what exactly I want from this blogging thing...Here are my blogging thoughts so far:

1.  I was right!!  Blogging my thoughts and feelings HAS helped me with a lot of life's little areas that I really needed an outlet for...Duh!

2.  I love comments from other people! 

3.  I even love comments from people I don't know...the first time I got one of these, I was tickled to pieces!!

4.  I spend a lot of time reading other people's blogs...this I didn't expect...after only a month I already have favorites that I can't wait to check on everyday.

5.  I don't like the blogs that have advertisements all over them...I know I don't have full understanding of all this "monetizing" blogs and such...and I'm sure there are some good reasons for this...but I don't know them yet.  Nothing turns me off a blog quicker than to open it and see a bunch of ads...blech!

6.  I never imagined that blogging would reconnect me with 2 friends from the past!!  That has been an extra sweet benefit of blogging that I am so thankful for! :):)

7.  My decision to make this a non academic blog is still the right decision for academic opinions are still there and they will no doubt surface sometimes since they are such a part of who I am...but for now, my academic life will still take a backseat to all the rest.  As a writing teacher, however, I would be remiss to not mention that daily writing has and will make me an even better writing teacher...duh...

8.  And last but definitely the most important unexpected benefit of blogging so far has been a strengthening of my faith...the only way I know how to explain this is that spending time (in person or online, directly or indirectly) with others who believe and live their lives getting through the same daily struggles that I do...and learning to lean on God...has helped me.  I feel as if somehow through the great blogosphere that we are all connected...a band of believers standing together...reaching across states to be there for one another...

Who'da thunk it??

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reasons this is Not an Academic Blog Part 2

Mommy, Mom, Mama...whatever name they call me...whatever title they bestow upon me...

means more to me than any other title I have earned.

I've been away a lot the last 8 years...and distracted...

I finished my degree...because I started it.

If you asked me right now, today, right this second, if I'm glad I finished my degree, I would have to be honest and tell you I'm not sure...

I'm not depressed or sad or freaked out or losing it or mad or an idiot...I'm just not sure.

You see these 3?
They need their mommy.
It's that simple.

You know what's even simpler?
I need them too.

I've been distracted.
But, I'm not distracted anymore.
I'm here, girls.

3 Reasons Why This is Not an Academic Blog - Part 1

Reason #1

Reason #2

Reason #3

To be continued...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kids in My Kitchen

This past weekend as my 2 teenage daughters were knee deep in Show Choir Competition, my youngest was invited to a birthday party. Now, this is pretty normal stuff for me...having to go in a bunch of different directions at the same time. The Head of the Household was a big help this weekend and even stood out in the cold helping to park cars until 11:00 p.m. Saturday night!!! (It was at least 30 degrees and windy!!!). What a Daddy!!!!

After working Friday afternoon and evening, arriving home around 11:30 p.m., I started my Saturday morning work shift for Show Choir competition at 6:45. Ed arrived at 10:30 a.m. and took my place so I could take the youngest to her party. The youngest and I drove 25 miles to a neighboring large town. After stopping by Wal-Mart to pick up a last minute gift bag, we arrived at the party at 11:32...we would have only been 2 minutes late if the party had started at 11:30 like I thought...but it started at 11:00!!!! Such is my life.

My youngest already has some of the perfectionist tendencies I see in my firstborn and can really lose it over the smallest should see the drama when she can't get her letters on the lined paper like she thinks her teacher wants it :( She asks me each morning on the way to school if she is going to be late and had already asked me the same question several times on the way to the party.

I really thought I had it all together Saturday!!! That's what I get for thinking!!

I will forever be grateful to the the most gracious hostess mom who immediately scooped my youngest up with kind and comforting words for both of us before my youngest could realize her mommy had not gotten the time right. The party mommy helped my youngest get right to work :):)
It takes a Mommy village sometimes :)

My youngest donned an apron with the logo of the party destination monogrammed on the front. "Kids in My Kitchen" in Hattiesburg, MS is a local and family owned business run by downhome Christian folks who love children! The children had already made the pizza dough by the time we arrived and were just beginning the rolling and patting process. The owner and her two helpers put dough in my youngest's hands and gave her gentle and encouraging individualized instruction before I could get in the door good...I can't say enough about how nice these folks are.

The other children had on chef's hats but my youngest decided that was a little much for her :)

(Notice my youngest's pointer finger on her right hand. While Christmas shopping, she closed the door of my SUV on her finger just right obviously. We are anxiously awaiting the day the fingernail finally falls off)

This is the birthday she not the cutest little redhead you've ever seen!!!! She and my youngest attended preschool together and are now in the same kindergarten class. Both also have big sisters who play on the same high school soccer team! You gotta love small towns!

The birthday girl is finishing up the process of putting homemade tomato sauce on her rolled and patted pizza dough.

What a cutie!!

Here's another cutie! My youngest, putting her sauce on her pizza dough :)

The birthday girl really appreciated the cheese part! She even ate most of it right out of her little serving cup :)

So did my youngest...notice how serious she needs to be right...
LOVE these mini sized baking pans! Each kid had her own.

While the individual pizzas, on their individual baking pans, some cut into shapes and some cut into letters, were baking in the oven, it was time for PRESENTS!

EVERYBODY loves that part!!

This present must have been a good one...look at my youngest...she's beside herself with joy! And, it's not even her birthday!!

Yay!! Fun Times!!

Instead of a cake, the kids also get to make and decorate homemade chocolate cupcakes. To my knowledge my youngest had never had a "homemade" cupcake until this past Saturday. The kids also decorated the cupcakes with homemade icing (WHAT?? I didn't know it even existed!!) and sprinkles (the only thing that wasn't homemade).
The birthday girl just decided to eat her cupcake without frosting and sprinkles :) It's her party and she can do what she wants to!!

The kid chowing down on the cupcake is the birthday girl's middle sister (not the one who plays soccer)...she was allowed to invite a couple of her friends to the party as well.

The birthday girl again...please, please notice the little red eyelashes!!!
We had such a great time at Kids in My Kitchen in Hattiesburg, MS that my youngest wants to have her birthday party (March) there as well! Stay tuned for more!!

Menu Monday

Last week was my first week of Menu Monday, and I have to say it went really well. I had a plan for the week so I didn't feel like I was having to make boring decisions everyday...and that just plain made me feel better. I don't know why the task of coming up with dinner is so aggravating to me...but after 21 years of being "in charge" of the nightly menu, I get a little cranky and whiny about it.

I stuck to my menu last week except crock-pot lasagna and meatloaf muffins got moved around :) ...but that's ok...because 2010 is the year of forgiving myself for silly little things like swip-swapping the meatloaf and lasagna.

We have another Show Choir competition this weekend so this week's menu is another short one with only 3 nights of dinners at home. But, 3 is better than 0! I'm forgiven!

Monday - chicken and wild rice casserole, green salad

Tuesday - ham steaks w pineapple slices, baked beans, black-eyed peas and biscuits

Wednesday - Wednesday Night Supper at church

Thursday - barbeque chicken, corn on the cob, potato salad, biscuits

Friday - off to Birmingham

Saturday - Show Choir competition

Sunday - "Souper" Bowl Sunday at church (will make hamburger vegetable stew and leave for Ed to take to church)