Friday, May 1, 2009

They Grow up So Fast....

Sniff, sniff, I knew this day would come. The day when they leave the nest and head out on their own into the big, wide world. I never thought I'd feel so emotional. No more little squeaky voices waking me at dawn. No more cleaning up poop and messes. No more little faces peering over the nest every time I check the mailbox. Seriously, y'all didn't think I was talking about my kids did you?!

My baby finches are officially outta here. Stacy snapped one last pic before they were frightened to death surprised by the flash, and flew away. Don't be getting all PETA on me, peeps. They were ready; I promise. Here are mom and dad boo-hooing it up on the telephone line.
"Fly high! Do something productive with your life--like finding the cure for bird flu!"

And of course we had to take a peek into the nest to see if all the eggs had hatched. Nope, one little egg was still resting in the bottom of the nest. Wonder what they'll do about that....

Btw, those chicks are way messier than my kids. I mean, at least mine are toilet-trained. however, this is what I found after naptime yesterday.....

There is actually a little girl in there somewhere. A very. messy. little girl.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bad Running...

AWWW, thanks to my "tweezilicous" girl Amanda for this smiley award. It's been a rough couple of weeks, my friends, so anything that promotes a genuine smile is right up there in my book! I don't know if you've been feeling it or not, but it seems there are just so many bad things happening right now. Sometimes we can ignore this fact, and distract ourselves, immerse ourselves in our very busy schedules, routines, and tasks that require our attention from sun-up til sun-down. But eventually, we have to stop and face the truth. The truth may mean that something is not right in our own lives. Or it may mean that we are being called to minister in someone else's life. But in either situation, running (because that's what distraction really is, right?) won't work anymore and you will be halted.
Sometimes this is a voluntary halt, however, more often than not, GOD roadblocks us and drags us into solitary confinement in order to get our attention. Or at least that's how He often gets my attention. Of course, by now you know how much I love running, and unfortunately, I carry that over in all areas of my life.

So what kinds of things does He use to slow us down? It usually is something subtle. A speedbump or warning. For those of you using the 1-2-3 Magic way of disciplining, this is our 1. It can show up in way that causes us to feel inadequate or troubled in our spirits. This is the Holy Spirit saying, "Hey, your focus is out of whack. You need to put your eyes back on GOD, my friend." So, at this point, all you spiritually mature people, realize this, confess it, move on and grow in your walk. And all you other people out for your morning run with me, trip over the speedbump and bumble on down the trail. Not good, my friends. Because right there, you are directly disobeying. However minor it may seem, sin is sin, and it is not unnoticed.

"Be sure your sin will find you out." Numbers 32:23

My mother might as well have branded me with this when I was a kid. "You just tell your friends that whatever bad stuff they have in mind, you can't participate, because YOU WILL GET CAUGHT!" And I did. More times than I can count. There is no hiding, or covering up with fig leaves, because GOD sees it all--even if Mom didn't. So He nudges again. This time a little harder, or from a different source. He reiterates that He needs your attention and more importantly your obedience. "Why GOD?", we argue back. "Why now? Just this once can I please just do this my way?" Of course, we wouldn't actually SAY these words, but we passively just ignore HIM--again. So that was 2, my friends, and a time-out is coming!

I'm embarrassed to say that in my life I've fought GOD many times for my own way. And sometimes---He's let me have it. He's handed me over to my own desires, and I can't tell you the pain I've endured by trying to run things my way. There's that "R" word again. It's in my blood I tell ya! So what does getting your own way look like? Oh, I'm not gonna lie, sometimes it looks great! You feel in control, and you may even look like you're in control. Everything is going just the way you planned it. But wait? What's this? Something you hadn't planned? Wait! God, maybe I do need your help. What am I going to do?!

And this is where you hit the rock bottom, of a very. lonely. time-out hole. It will be one of the most humbling times in your life. It is often times very public. And is usually punctuated with many, many tears. For Jonah, his time out was spent over a period of days in the belly of a fish. God had plans for Jonah's life that seemed so much bigger than than he could imagine, with tasks so much harder than he thought he could possibly accomplish-plans that he just outright didn't want to follow. Much like Jonah, I reacted to some of God's plans for my life in much the same way-- I high-tailed it outta there. And where did this land me?

Fortunately, not in the belly of a fish, or in jail, or the hospital, or any other number of bad places. But I did suffer from depression, a feeling of separation from GOD, and isolation from my friends and family. I was humbled, embarrassed, and broken in spirit. More than these those, I was repentant. In Isaiah 66:2, God tells us that He esteems the heart that is humbled and the spirit that is contrite. God esteems me. He thinks I have value, and He is willing to discipline me so that I can do great things in life to bring HIM glory! Can I get a hallelujah, friends? God thinks we're worth spending time on! (p-stranding sentence, ignore it and move on, my English major, buddies :0)

Hebrews 12:6 tells us that our Father disciplines those He loves. And just like my kids, I hate being disciplined, but it's worth enduring to know that God is doing it out of His great love for me. The same love that meant the sacrifice of His own son to save the world. How awesome is that? So if you've run from GOD and are currently suffering in your own fish belly, God is seeking to restore you, my friend. Humble yourself in sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. He can also use your story to restore others and to bring glory to Himself. And for those of you who may be lacing up your sneaks and planning a nice jog out of town, please don't take the hard way! Obey those nudges from the Holy Spirit and go in faith down the path God has for you. His ways are so much easier than our own, and He promises to never leave us or forsake us along the way.

So it looks like I've gone down my own bunny trail this morning, because this whole blog started with Amanda's "Makes My Heart Smile" award. Grace and mercy. That's what makes me smile today--along with these special ladies.

1. Amanda at Serenity Now-A Mommy's Solution to Staying Sane. This girl has really come into her own over the last couple of months and her blogs are rockin!

2. Jenna at Eat, Live, Run- She used to just inspire me with her crazy healthy recipes and workouts, but now I'm grieving alongside her over the death of her brother. Lift her up in prayer, ladies!

3. Chic Runner-the girl is adorable and sweet and totally runs amazing races

4. Nesting Place-no explanations needed. Go there!

5. Kay at Kayotic Kitchen has yummy, yummy recipes and beautiful photos


Friday, April 17, 2009

Now This Feels Like Spring!

First things first, I'd like to welcome the 4 newest babies of the Finch household! I am told the last little egg has also hatched, but we're going to wait a few more days to get some pics. The babies are now cheeping away up there in the corner of the porch. With finches (oh to be a finch!) the mothers sit on the eggs, but when the eggs hatch, mama is outta there!

Mama jets off to a very private bird spa of sorts, and Papa steps in as the dutiful feeder of the loud babies. Mom stops back in maybe once a day or so to yell at him, and tell him that he needs to be feeding them free-range worms and to stop letting them watch so much Noggin, but she tries not to harass him too much in case he decides that he'll hand the job back over.

Anywho, on to more exciting news! Only 2 more days left until Spring Break is over!!! Woo-hoo, I can almost smell the exhaust of the school bus now! It has been a bit difficult this week, what with the 3 days of rain, and daddy working every day. Howeva, today was gorgeous, and we managed to spend a couple hours outside picnicking, planting flowers, playing games, and eating popsicles. Btw, for those of you following a strictly all natural diet (like the DonoMan) I have to recommend Breyers Pure Fruit Pomegranate Blends. Yuuummmy!! Moving on....
So today was immensly better than yesterday which is now referred to as "The Day Momy Survived the Wal-Mart ". That, my friends, is a blog for another day. It is still a bit too fresh in my mind and I may have to ground my children again just thinking about it. Yes, today was full of all the fun stuff that spring is made of. Tomorrow we are off to the Maryland Science Center which I'm sure will be quite the little adventure. I'll be sure to take some pics!
Look into the son, Darling!!
***I must note there are NO preservatives on this plate. It's possible, people; don't be intimidated!! :0)

D very seriously follows the "no shoes on the blanket rule"

"Score for the Wreckity-Girl!!"


Monday, April 13, 2009

It's an honor just being nominated...

Many thanks to my pal Meri for awarding me awesome Kreativ Blogger Award, especially since she is one of the most creative people I've ever met!! Seriously, check out her blogs--you'll love em!

Anywho, I understand the rules of this to be as follows:

1. Link back to the person who gave you the award

2. List 7 things you LOVE

3. And last but not least, link to 7 blogs and let them know you have and award waiting for them on your blog

So, I have to admit that I've procrastinated a bit in posting this, because at this time in my life I seriously don't know too many things that I just LOVE. I mean, you all by now know about my obsession with my conditioner, and my mascara, and all that biz, but really 7 whole things that are to die for? Hhmmmm.....well here's what I've come up with, and I promise that I've really put thought into it, maybe not sweat and tears or anything, but I've definitely pondered it for more than 2 seconds. So without further ado, my 7 LOVES, in no particular order. (Besides GOD & the fam, of course

1. I love getting lost. Not the t.v. show. I love getting lost and disoriented. Maybe it's just because I'm kind of a human GPS sometimes, but I really do love going somewhere new and getting completely turned upside down and coming out unscathed on the right road to somewhere great. I'm thinking a therapist would have a heyday with this, but moving on.....

2. I love running. I love it in the rain especially. My perfect run would be a dark, drizzly, October afternoon with no one out except for the one guy who I encounter sometimes in the evenings. We usually manage to turn onto the same street at the same time, but on opposite sides. And then it's on, baby. We push each other and simultaneously kick each other's bootys for the next mile and then when we know we can't take anymore, we both just turn off onto other streets and that's that. It's a strange love/hate kinda thing with me and Mr Crazy Calves. We've never spoken and though we see each other at local races, it's always just a nod of respect and a look that screams "I'm gonna be ridin' your tail, so watch out!!" Oh my, enough adrenaline in this paragraph.

3. I love GAP curvy low-rise jeans. I know this sounds shallow, but as a girl with an ample backside that won't ever go away no matter how many miles of speedwork or lunges or powersquats I do, I am always on the look out for jeans that won't gap 3 inches in the waist or look like they're airbrushed on. Hence, my love for the curvy denim fit. They are cut a little more "generously"----secret code for you got a big bottom half, my friend, yet the waist is snug enough not to show your rhinestone thong everytime you tie your kid's shoe in the Wal-Mart. What???!! I have no idea where that came from. Strike that.

4. Okay, so number four has to be reading. And not sappy, grocery-store checkout romance novels, although, if that's what floats your boat, knock yourself out. Howeva, I read fast, and I love a book with alot of depth that keeps me thinking long after I've put it back on the shelf. That said, I don't want happy endings, or romance, or any form of sappiness. I don't want to read overly detailed, adjective filled paragraphs. Get to the point already!! And I know this will ruffle a few feathers, but there are very few women authors that I really enjoy. I am open to suggestions, though, so if you know of someone who will just rock my literary world, then please pass it to me!! I will read sci-fi, or crime lit, classics, and fantasy. Most genres I am pretty open to. Check out Goodreads if you are a reader, and find others who have the same literary taste as yours. I double-dog dare ya.

5. I love art. Painting, sculpture, photography, music, you name it. I wish we lived closer to some great galleries, so that I could just wander the halls and absorb all the talent and energy. I think that in "my old age" I have a much better appreciation for these things, since I've realized that they don't come so easily to me. Sure, I like to dabble in a few things and some of them I've even sold, but it's not without great effort and a sacrifice of time on my part. Being around the talented people I know, (pssss, that's you MOPs peoples) keeps me inspired and makes me want to try new things. You never know what secret talent you may have inside of you!!

6. Which brings me to number six. 30. I LOVE being 30. I truly do. There is such a freedom that 30 brings. Something that frees you from the body-image and career stresses of your 20's. The "I've gotta get it all figured out before I turn 30" mentality is no more. So what? I'm 30. I'm certainly not dead yet. No, I don't look awesome in a 2-piece bathing suit anymore, but it's because I bore 3 healthy, amazing children, and I'll take them over a that hot little paisley bandeau any day. Okay, most days. And although it can be a little discouraging to know that your life isn't on the same track that you thought it would be 10 years ago, rejoice, because at this stage in the game you should have more confidence in yourself to try new things and make the best of the path that you're on. So, embrace your 30s. Love your 30s, my friends, and remember that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made" no matter what age you are.

7. Finally, I love my MOPS moms. I truly do. Those who know me best, know that I have social anxieties, and that I've never been a real "girl's girl". I find it hard to relate to most women, and I feel ill-equipped in social situations. Seriously, I would rather have a pap smear, then have to walk into a party where I don't know anyone. My youngest sister, social-butterfly of the family, thinks this is hilarious and reminds me often that there is no way we can be related. Not so hilarious. But anyway, I tell you this to say that it was nothing more than an act of GOD and obedience on my part that brought me to this group of 80-some women, and then a year to be upfront as part of a co-ordinator duo. GOD has shown me in a most humbling way that I do in fact need people. This came as a shock since I've always been self-sufficient to a fault. However, as I began to serve and in return be ministered to, I found a comraderie with these women. Women of all backgrounds, races, and social statuses. Women of multiples and those who were awaiting the birth of their first little ones. Women who just want to feel appreciated and affirmed and loved, and to know that they aren't alone in this sometimes very lonely journey of motherhood. We've learned to laugh at ourselves and to cry on each other's shoulders and to pray for one another's trials. Sheesh, I hate all this sappiness :0) So, MOPS girls, if you're reading this, I love you, I thank GOD for each one of you. You have all taught me something valuable these last 2 years; some lessons I would rather not have learned, but all used to grow my faith. Thank you, thank you, and I can't wait to come back as your coordinator next year!!

And now for 7 inspiring women:

1. Suzanne at 4 boys and us

2. Meredith at small steps of faith

4. Angie at Bring the Rain

5. MckMama at My Charming Kids

6. Emily at Me and the Guys


7. Emily at The Webbs

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mama's Back in Town

Mama Bird is back, so in our house that means it's officially spring!!! MB is a housefinch (says GOOGLE), and for the last 6 years she and Papa Bird have been making nests twice a year in a basket in our porch. I'm not sure how long these two have been a couple, but every year they pop back in, and she lays 4-5 beautiful little blue eggs.

She just hangs out up in that nest all day while PB brings her food and nest materials.

Papa Bird is a pretty reddish color and very much the vocal of the two. But both are very trusting of us and even allow us to take the basket down a couple of times a week, so that the kids can take a peek. We have even had to put a baby back into the basket after he fell over the edge. Pretty soon our little birds will be hatching and look like these little fuzzy darlings from last season.

Aren't they just so sweet and helpless? And hopelessly ugly, but that stage only lasts around a week. Then they are loud and hungry and chirping at the crack of dawn for breakfast. Typical newborns. But these babies don't stay little for too long and in a couple of weeks they are jumping out of the nest into the big wide world of cats and storms and scary things. Oh, I'm so glad I have a few more years before all that drama!!!

Enough of the heartpangs. Here are a few of my favorite flower gardens in the city. Pretty soon they'll look like this once more. Enjoy your spring!!


BEAUTIFUL!!!! Okay, here's a couple more, because frankly, I just can't help myself ;0)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today, just pretend that I am Oprah for a minute. Not the crazy, narcisisstic, left-wing Oprah, but the one who shares her favorite things with her friends. Okay, maybe just a little crazy.

Tops on my list today is a t-shirt company that makes beautiful distressed looking shirts, but with the addition of Bible verses and great graphics. I love them extra much because they have a shirt reminding us to put on our full armor! How cool is that! So check out and get your verse on!

Okay, next we move from the shirt to the face. The sleepy, puffy, dark circled face you avoid in the bathroom mirror first thing in the morning. I know, it's scary. However, for the last 6 months or so, I have been using a product that makes the scary go away a little quicker. Drumroll, please, Garnier Nutrionist Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller. Whew, say that 3x fast! In less time than it took me to type out the name, this awesome little roller ball will brighten your eyes and reduce the puffiness so that you can look your best at the bus stop. Okay, maybe it will just take the attention off the yoga pants with the unraveling hem and the holey t-shirt you've had since Junior Year---of high school.

While we're still hanging out by the eyes, let me plug my most favorite mascara eva!! Now understand that I have wee little lashes that are both sparse and short. If I had the extra fundage just burning a hole in my TARGET shorts, I would probably splurge for eyelash extensions. Yes, there actually is such a thing. We are a sad frivolous nation, my friends, but I'd be first in line! Until then, I am rarely seen without "muh-scary" as it's known in this house, and my first choice is the giant orange tube worn by Ms Drew Barrymore, LashBlast by COVERGIRL. I will worn you that the waterproof is just a devil trying to get off, but I run, swim, and shower in this mascara and love how it stays on and keeps my lashes thick and long---ish. Love it and I can't wait to try the new LashBlast Luxe with glitter. Basically just say the word glitter and I'm there. I digress.

Moving on, to my last fav of the day, Herbal Essence None of Your Frizzness conditioner. I know what you're thinking. Herbal Essence and their cheezy somewhat risque commercials, blah, blah, blah. However, in the last year or so, they have totally revamped their ad campaigns, their marketing, and ultimately their products. Which brings me to the conditioner. I have crazy frizzy hair, and poor Wreckity-Girl has inherited it as well. She doesn't always use this conditioner, because her hair is still young and fine and wispy, but twice a week I lather her head up with this and it takes care of business. Truly, it is better than any salon conditioner I have ever used and it's only a third of the price, too! It smooths my hair without leaving it weighed down and heavy and it smells yummy, yummy in my shower.

There you have it. My favs these days. Little things that I now tend to take for granted, but were super exciting when I first discovered them. So what are your favs?


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Me...Through My Kids Eyes

So, I totally had to copy and paste this from Facebook, because it was just too funny not to share. It's a short little survey filled out by your children---about you. I have to admit, I was more than a little worried about what their answers would be to some of these questions. And as cute as they were, it let me know that things are a little off balance around here. I think I need to refocus my praises and priorities. By their answers to what makes me happy, you'd think that my house was immaculate to the point of OCD. In fact my house most of the time looks like a miniature tornado just ran through the Wal-Mart and stopped whirling long enough to dump an entire store's worth of junk all over the floor. And let me tell you, when you live in a 3 bedroom house with no extra space, any mess looks just overwhelming. So yes, I probably am a little on the nagging side when it comes to the clean-up words. However, I believe that my singing, running, and splits performances totally outweigh all my annoying tendencies.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Finley- Clean your room
Donovan- I love you, Clean your room
Avelinn- Clean your room

2. What makes mom happy?
Donovan- When I clean my room
Finley- Doing my chores
Avelinn- When I say I love you

3. What makes mom sad?
Donovan- When I say mean words
Finley- When one of your relatives dies
Avelinn- When I say shut-up

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Finley- When you mess with your contacts and make funny faces (okay, in my defense I think my astigmatism has grown worse in my right eye, so it's been a little wonky these days)
Donovan- Saying jokes and stuff
Avelinn- when you talk ( ah yes, I crack myself up!)

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Finley- You liked reading
Donovan- You liked art
Avelinn- bery bootiful

6. How old is your mom?
Avelinn-14 (I would settle for an average of D's & A's)

7. How tall is your mom?
Finley- 5' 4"
Donovan- about 6 feet tall
Avelinn- 4--just 4

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Finley- MOPS
Donovan- Letterboxing
Avelinn- going to Lauren's house :0) oh yes, L, it is my mostest favoritest thing eva!

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Finley- hang out with dad and watch shows that kids aren't allowed to watch (oh that sounds nice. and Donovan just blurted out, but not 'sex & the city')
Donovan- have fun with dad
Avelinn- get lost (yes, my darling, I'm lost without you)

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Finley- singing
Donovan- running
Avelinn- getting married (please put duct tape on this kid's mouth)

11. What is your mom really good at?
Finley- imitating people
Donovan- running & doing the splits (what?!)
Avelinn- putting up the tree (I'm glad someone notices my Christmas decorating!)

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Finley- juggling
Donovan- farting with her armpit (but not for lack of trying)
Avelinn- climbing the wall (no, that's your job, avey)
13. What does your mom do for a job?
Finley- keeps us safe
Donovan- bowling (that would explain our financial troubles ;0)
Avelinn- watch us

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
Finley- soup
Avelinn- chicken

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Finley- when I get all As on my report card
Donovan- when I get all Ss on my report card
Avelinn- when I clean my room

(I'm thinking I misread this one)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Finley- Bill Nye. Fin, that's not a cartoon character. Does Star Wars Lego's characters count? No. Okay, Padme from Star Wars Clone Wars
Donovan- Ben Kenobi, he's on Star Wars Clone Wars
Avelinn- Dora

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Finley- go to the store together
Donovan- go play at my school's playground
Avelinn- we pick the boys up at the bus stop

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Finley- we love to read
Donovan- we both kiss each other's cheeks
Avelinn- i don't even know how to do this game anymore

19. How are you and your mom different?
Finley-you read longer books than me
Donovan- you don't play much basketball
Avelinn- I just don't know this game (stinkin youngest child)

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Finley- you do nice things for me
Donovan- you kiss us on the cheek (I'm gonna have to watch this kid. He's all about the smoochin'!)
Avelinn- when you kiss me

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
Finley- his looks
Donovan- he's smart and strong
Avelinn- his hair

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Finley- Granny's house
Donovan- Seeing Grandma (this would be my MIL, lol)
Avelinn- Children's Place So there you have it. All my dirty secrets. All the innapropriate for children tv watching. The shallow reasons for loving their father, and the hopes that one day I'll be on television, so I can finally get married, lol!

Here to the LEFT is the insightful eldest, Finley Mac followed by his crazy smoochieness, Donovan Xander, and then the Wreckity-Wreckness herself, who is turning the F-O-U-R today. Happy Birthday, Avelinn Pillow-Willow!

Smooches (and an extra one for Dono)~e

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is it the Weekend Yet?

It’s been a rough week as far as the kids’ behavior is concerned. A lot of bickering and fist fighting has ensued. Name calling, punching have been thrown in as well, you know, to spice things up. I have dreaded getting out of bed in the mornings, and have equally not looked forward to the witching hour. For our family that time of day is from bus pickup at 3:40 until bedtime at 7:30. From the moment they get off the bus, until the moment their heads hit the pillows (after they hit their brother's head with the pillow) it's just multi-tasking to the point of ADD. All the fighting from the morning has picked right back up again, but now dinner also has to be made, homework has to be completed, and laundry put away before all the piles are kicked over and sock matches are lost forever. Meanwhile, wreckity-girl has refused to take a nap so she's all cranky and whiny, and the cat has decided out of desperation to poop on the dining room rug, because someone has closed the basement door where his litter is kept, and although he's been meowing and pacing the house with his legs crossed, #3 child is crying, and #1 child is whining, so who could possibly hear the 13 year old cat with the puckered hiney? AAHHHHGGGG!

But even still, I am supposed to be a good Christian mother, so I cannot (should not) raise my voice, I cannot (should not) yell, I cannot (should not) spank out of anger, and I cannot (really should not) hide in the linen closet and try to find my happy place in the smell of lavender scented towels and hidden Peppermint Patties. Instead I must put on my Holy Mommy Armor and face the night ahead. Now in all truthfulness, if I was really being proactive, I should have put it on before I crawled out of bed, but better late than never, right?

So, first I will don my Helmet. Ephesians 6 it tells us that when we put on our Holy Armor, the helmet represents our Salvation. Oh and it is, my friends. Without the salvation of Christ and the Holy Spirit to guide you, you may as well just wave the white flag now, because you don't have a chance. As the most important part of your armor, your helmet protects your mind, your sanity, and it holds your thoughts captive. It muffles the high pitched whining and fighting and instead tunes you into the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit who is whispering covert instructions for winning the battle. It also helps your voice to simulate that of a very calm Mommy instead of the Incredible Hulk ---which is my preferred vocal pitch.

Next comes my Breastplate. It represents righteousness: doing what is right, holy, and just, so as to live without guilt or regret. Sign me up for 2 of those! I hate those nights when I lie in bed and regret my parenting failures of the day. My temper was too short, I skimped on hugs, I didn't play dollhouse because I was busy checking Facebook. I feel so guilty inside knowing that I messed up. Raising my children is a privilege, and shouldn't be wasted on selfishness. Instead we have been called to live a holy and upright life that follows GOD's will and leaves no room for regrets. By putting on righteousness, we are protecting our hearts from the hurts that poor decision making brings. So cover up with that Breastplate, friends, and get ready for the truth.

The Belt of truth, that is. Now, I love a great belt. It can spice up a dull outfit, coordinate with your shoes, and most importantly, keep the Hanes Her Way from creeping up. As mamas, we move ALOT during the day. We are constantly bending, lifting, reaching, and we need to know that when we are in the midst of all this activity, our pants are not falling down around our ankles. How interesting that GOD chose a belt to represent Truth. But you know, it really makes sense, because, knowing the truth of Christ enables you to freely live your life without shame and without embarrassment . It supports you, flavors your countanence, and just holds it all together.

How cool is that? I love when an accessory is multi-functional! And GOD not only calls us to throw on our Truth belt when it is fashionable (around other Christians), we are called to put it on daily. It's not to be taken off when it doesn't match what you really want to wear (um, those would be those runnning shoes of sin that help us wander way too fast away from where GOD wants us to go.) So, Belt of Truth, function over fashion, and perhaps skinny and black so it goes with everything.

All this shoe talk is reminding to throw on my sandals! In Ephesians our Sandals represent peace and readiness. Ah, peace. Nothing brought me more peace as a new mom than a nice walk with my sleeping cherub all nestled in his stroller----except for a nap. A nap, however, was not taking off the baby weight. So, I would reluctantly throw on my shoes and grumble all the way out the door. But in those walks, I found time to clear my mind, I found silence while the baby slept (most of the time), and I felt my body become stronger and more ready to face the rest of the afternoon.

Sometimes GOD lets us just meander through easy stages of parenting, but sometimes He calls us to lace up and follow Him up a parenting hill. Your strength will wain and your muscles will strain, and you may cry all the way up the mountain, but your mind will have the peace of Christ under all the pressure, and your relationship with your Father will grow as you trust Him on the path where He leads you. Whooo, I'd better lace 'em up tight, friends, because I haven't seen the view from the top yet; not this week anyways.

So let's see, we've got our helmets, our breastplates, our belts, our sandals, and now our shields of Faith. Oh, yes, give me 2 of these also!! Have you ever parented a little boy? If so, you know that during those toddler years you just brace yourself all day as they throw their bodies into you. They love you hard, they hug you hard, and boy oh boy, sometimes they fight you hard, too. And not just physically. They push you with their defiance and anger. They throw insults. But don't let down that shield! Stay consistent and know that your faith in JESUS will protect not only yourself and your decision making but ultimately your little ones as well. Keep your faith right up in front of you where everyone can see it and where you can be reminded by it as well.

I'll warn you, friends, it gets heavy sometimes. It may seem easier to just set it down and take a little break. But your children are always watching, always looking to see if you are really living by the Biblical rules you are teaching them. When you let that guard down and begin to doubt the faith that GOD has given us, they notice. Others around you will notice, too. So, don't keep your shield in the back of your closet with the skinny jeans you long to fit into again. Wear it proudly and hold it out in front. It totally matches the new belt and shoes you're wearing.

And finally, the Sword of the Spirit which is God's Word. I have to admit, sometimes it's late in the evening before I pull this one out. Sometimes it gets dusty from it's days spent unopened on my nightstand. Why? Why do I make it so hard on myself? I have a tool, a weapon even to counteract all the contention in my life and I leave it upstairs on my nightstand?! Sheesh, even I think I need to be in the naughty corner over that one!

I'm glad it's not too late to make things right! The Sword of the Spirit can diffuse anger, can provide wisdom, can help us fight evil influences that beat on the doors of our households on a daily basis----but only if we use it. Interesting that the Shield does not represent the Word of God. The Shield is something to just hold and use to block sin. The Sword, however, isn't going to do much use if it's just held out there in front. It must attack! It must battle the enemy. How so? By scripture memorization and meditation upon GOD's will and written word for our lives. We need to know what the Bible says in order to refute the lies of the world that are constantly trying to pierce our armor.

Over the weekend, we watched a show that taught us all about the spitting cobra. Hurray. One more reason that I love my country. It's bad enough that I have to get on my boys for spitting; I cannot imagine walking through my yard and having an animal spit on me as well. In my eyes for that matter, with venom. I digress. As we sat there watching this poor lion avoid getting his eyeballs burned out, I thought about the faceless moderator of this show and how "pro-spitting cobra" he was. How he positively raved about this amazing creature who shoots venom and all that stuff. How the creature should not be killed, but carefully captured and relocated if it ventured into some village or home. And on that note Mr. Moderator and I completely parted in our beliefs.

Just call me Mama Lion. If there is some crazy snake spitting poison into my babies eyes, I more than likely will not calmly remove and relocate the reptile. I will tear it apart. I will destroy it, even if it means my own blindness. I will not just take my baby cub and hide in the weeds waiting for it to find us.

So why I leave my sword on the nightstand while the spitting cobra is hurling poison at my kids, I have no idea. Or excuse. It's just easier to stay in my lazy mama pajamas some days than to put on my Holy Mommy Armor and be productive. But I'm making a committment, friends. I'm going to better, and things are going to get better, and eventually there will be peace once again in my household. So I will leave you with this:
Do you have on your armor? Some of it? Which piece do you find hardest to put on?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Sugar-Free Heart Healthy Imaginary Principal Day!

I am amazed at the way Valentine's Day has morphed since I was in elementary school. Instead of it being a simple classroom party with cupcakes and paperbag mailboxes, my kids now have jump-roping for heart health contests and vegetable trays. In fact, the word Valentine isn't even really used any longer.

The city schools refer to February 14th as "Heart Healthy Day", and those cupcakes are not on the guest lists. Truly, I support the schools' healthier cafeteria options and ban on sodas and fast food during lunch. However, as a parent who does generally feed my kids healthy meals, I resent the fact that I am no longer able to send in doughnuts for birthdays or sugar cookies for Christmas--woops, I mean Winter Fest.

I am now given healthy menu lists to choose from, with none of the items being terribly inexpensive. Vegetables and dip, orange slices, cheese cubes, whole wheat pretzel sticks. Throw in a bottle of chardonnay and you have an office party for body-conscious middle aged women. I have to wonder, too, about how many 1st graders are actually gnoshing on that veggie and cheese tray I so painstakingly prepared. Please, People, is one Valentine's cupcake really going to send everyone into insulin shock and subject them to a future of morbid obesity? I think not.

Maybe if little kids we're allowed to actually play outside after school instead of sitting at home behind locked doors eating Cheetos and playing Grand Theft Auto, we wouldn't have so many overweight children in our society. But why punish all responsible children (and parents), by subjecting them to miserable class parties? I love hummus as much as the next person, but give me some homemade fudge, and you've made my day. I LOVED Valentine's parties when I was in school---well up until the 5th grade. But before then, I couldn't wait to write my friends names on Strawberry Shortcake cards and put them into doily covered mailbags. I loved having my mom drop off Rice Krispy treats at my classroom and showing her the special card I'd made for her during craft time. And then later at home, I loved sorting my notes into piles according to levels of friendship. Oh shush, you know you did it too. BFF, kind of friends, not friends, & boys. You remember how it went.

I don't think teachers back then were so PC as to make sure everyone was given a Valentine, because I certainly didn't give most boys cards and the girls who were mean to me, well I just never bothered to sign my name. My kiddos have lists of 20+kids that they must send notes to. I can't even pronounce half of these names, but they painstakingly print out each 14 lettered alias and stash them away in their backpacks. It was during this portion of homework time that I learned the ugly truth about my daughter.

Some kids have imaginary friends, some even have imaginary pets, my daughter has an imaginary principal and homeroom teacher. WHAT?! She's 3 for Pete's sake! While the boys wrote out their Valentines, I helped the Wreckity Girl pick out a few cards for her "bestest girls"-- her little chicks from MOPS, and Sunday School, and Bible Study Childcare. Basically the same 5 Bestest Girls are in every class, since their moms are friends of mine, so they see each other on a pretty regular basis. We finished addressing her cards and then she announces, "And now I need one for Mr. Box & Mrs. Jenks." Um, who are these people? "They are my principal and my teacher."

Now let me inform you that the child does not attend preschool. She does not attend any kind of school unless it starts with the word Sunday. She stays home with her mama and does crafts and visits her Granny and goes to lunch with friends and does all the fun things that 3 year-old socialites do. I love having her home with me, and although I'd probably consider a 2 day preschool if funds were available, I think she's pretty well socially adapted and on her way to becoming ready for Kindergarten. That said, most days she loves staying home, but when she hears her friends talk about school, or watches her brothers get on their buses every day, she feels left out. She wants to join in, and suddenly going to Shortpump to play in the fountain doesn't sound so exciting. She wants a backpack with her lunch packed inside. She wants homework (tracing) to work on while the boys write spelling word sentences. She wants in on all the school action.

Cue Mr. Box & Mrs. Jenks. I've heard her playing pretend school with her babies and animals, but I was "unawares" that there were actual characters involved. Returning characters. With titles. I guess I should be pleased that she views school as such a positive environment. She really enjoys going with me to help with the Book Fairs or Holiday Shoppes. And she loves watching her brothers in their Spelling Bees and Concerts. So why do I feel so guilty? Because she would rather play with an imaginary principal than her mother? Because I'm keeping her from an early Harvard acceptance since I don't send her to preschool?

Fortunately for me, I don't hold onto regrets for very long. I think my Wreckity Little Girl probably has a case of keeping up with the Joneses more than anything. And although she loves to sit in assemblies, she can't wait to go home and read books, and snuggle with her ni-night and babies. And I won't feel guilty, because these years fly by way too quickly, and anyway, I'm a way better homeroom teacher than Mrs. Jenks.

"Singing her Alpha-bits"

Friday, February 6, 2009

To Freeze or Not to Freeze...

It's a sad morning, friends. Our beloved Brewstation finally gave up the ghost---in the form of about 6 cups of coffee that leaked across the counter and under the pile of dishes waiting to be washed. Sad, sad morning.

He served us well, little java machine. His mugs of muddy energy helped to drag our bodies to the bus stop, to church, and to the MOPS meetings that have taken over any ounce of free time that I used to have. What's sadder? That I actually considered putting a straw to the counter to sip up any amount of caffeine that was remaining.

Since my immune system succumbed to the nasty viruses that have been floating around, I've been congested and coughing and have had virtually 3 hours of sleep a night this past week. To say I am in need of a "pick-me-up" would be a vast understatement. Normally, I would just pack up the Wreckity-Girl and head to Mocha Mo's for a steaming sumatra with a shot of sugar-free raspberry syrup, however, this morning it is COOLLDDD! It is bitter, bitter cold and coupled with the fluish chills I have, leaving the house this morning is not even an option. Oh, I'm sorry, did I forget to mention the Man drove my car to work today? Yep, we're still running with 1 vehicle since his truck was totaled 2 weeks ago.

So what to do? Suck it up? Throw on my big-girl long underwear and make the 3 mile trip? Or whine on the computer while Wreckity-Girl (who is wearing a shirt from the dirty laundry) watches Diego and eats Craisins?

Um, yeah. Embarrassingly enough, the latter is winning over this morning. Any anonymous caffeine donations will be accepted---no questions asked. No brand turned away. Just leave it on the porch and I promise not to breathe on you.
Smooches & Lysol~e

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Uno, Baby

This is for you Suzanne. You asked and you have received. A record of the craziness that fills this family, recorded for generations to come. Because really, unless I tell someone, I tend to block out most of the nonsense that occurs here on an almost daily basis. Truly, who would believe it all unless their maiden name was Sawyer?

I can't promise how often I'll post. Maybe weekly, maybe daily. I mean how often does one need to read about the antics of this household? Trust me; it aint pretty. So, Suzanne, this is for you, and for Heidi, and for everyone who I really stink at keeping in touch with. I hope these musings will make you laugh and relate. Because I know we've all felt like the girl who just can't get it quite right. The girl who's just a little bit off. The girl who is constantly dodging the stones of criticism and accusations. But I hope you also feel redeemed, alive through grace, and though bruised---hopeful, and slow to cast your own missiles.

Welcome to my heart, and my little online home. Be sure to wipe your feet at the door.