Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh, J-Lo

Since Extreme Home Makeover no longer airs on Sunday nights, I’m at a loss with what to watch. If Brian has his way, Pickers or Hog Hunters or some other crazy show is on the TV (which my girls also love).

Last week, Brian was not home and I had control of the remote. As I was flipping around the channels, I saw that the AMAs were on, so Caroline and I watched. And then Hope came home and watched, too.

First of all, let me just say I’m not going to do a post about the loud music that doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t mind most music—I even sing along (although I don’t carry a tune well and usually get the words wrong). Plus, there are many artists that I really like to see—don’t really care about their acceptance speeches (everybody thanks God and their parents), but love to watch them perform or interact with others as they host. Even if I’ve never heard of them before (like Pitbull—I know, I know—he’s probably really famous and I’ve been under a rock), I’m open to new tunes.

Before Hope got home, Caroline and I were watching Jennifer Lopez perform her first song. My heart just dropped, y’all. I know she’s had a tough year—and I don’t read all the trash about why she got divorced—that’s her personal business. But, when she started dancing and her costume got skimpier and skimpier, my sweet 7 year old asked me, “Mommy, isn’t that inappropriate?” As much as I wanted to change the channel, I didn’t. We discussed how some people make choices that are not necessarily the wise ones (all the while in my head, I was thinking that J-Lo probably thinks she IS making the wise choice—she looks GREAT after having twins and is one of the most beautiful women in the world).

Then Hope came home and I found out she had been watching it at her friend’s house. And my heart sank even more. I wish I had been sitting beside her as she was watching to see what she thought about it (especially since I could’ve added in some remarks about why we don’t dance like that with boys). We talked about how I hoped J-Lo knew God, but how she wasn’t showing the world she does by the way she presented herself. This was a tricky conversation. My job is not to judge or condemn others—or teach my daughters to do that. But my job is to help equip them to make wise choices and to know the difference between appropriate and not appropriate.

We did have a good conversation and I’m glad that I let my girls be exposed to music that’s not always appropriate. They know when we need to change the radio station and more importantly, WHY we need to change it. I would rather navigate these conversations when they are under my roof than when they are in a room full of teenagers or at a college party--and there are no other trusted adults around. Even though they are hard. And part of my heart breaks.

And afterward, I found myself not only praying for God to protect my little girls’ hearts, but I prayed the same for J-Lo’s kiddos. I hope that when they are 7 years old, they will have a positive role model in their life—who will help them to know the difference between appropriate and not appropriate. I pray that it’s J-Lo herself.

And I prayed for all the other girls’ who look up to Jennifer Lopez and didn't see anything wrong with her moves or clothing—that their eyes would be open to right and wrong and that they would have someone in their life to walk through those decisions with them.

Things we Only do at Granny's Farm

…Sit on the floor heaters to get warm
…Make our beds
…Draw the drapes every morning and evening
…Make doll houses out of blocks and legos (using “Indiana Jones” as the dad)
…Wash pans by hand
…Enter her house and Nana Barbara’s by the back door (I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve gone through their front doors)
…Have my girls beg to take a bath together in Granny’s big ol’ tub
…Drive a tractor (and have all the cousins take turns pulling each other in the wagon behind the tractor)
…Cart salad dressing and dessert from house to house
…Have as many dogs as families in the yard at any given time
…Roast hot dogs over a brush fire
…Shop at The Country Boy (where they still bag and carry out your groceries!)
…Play on a metal swing set that’s 20 years old
…Sneak over to the thermostat and turn the heat down when Granny sets it to 80
…Run across the tops of hay bales
…Leave my shoes on the back porch when I come in the house

And my favorite:
…Allow my girls to run and play with their cousins unsupervised

Granny is 93 now and I don’t know how many more times we will have with her at the farm. I try not to think of what we will do at Christmas and during the summer when she is gone. For now, we’re just gonna enjoy our time with her and live it up there as much as possible.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nothing to Eat?

Last night, I was patting myself on the back. I was so proud of what Lovepacs had accomplished. To feed 46 kiddos for 9 days is AH-MAZING!!! And I was so excited about all that each box had in it.

Then I went to my pantry to figure out what we were going to eat for the next few days before we left town. And I was frustrated. I had lots of veggies, some bread, some frozen things, but no “meals.”

About that time, it dawned on me that I had way more in my pantry than we had put in any Lovepac. In fact, I had many of the same items, but way more. Instead of only 2 cans of soup, I had 4. I had 3 kinds of cereal instead of the one bag we put in each box. Not to mention all the fruit I had and the frozen pizzas and chicken in the freezer. Oh, and I can’t forget about the roast in the fridge, waiting to be made into stew.

I have to say I was humbled. Why were canned goods okay for other families, but not my own? Why did I think I needed to go to the grocery store for 3 days when I had 4 times as much as we gave a kid for 9 days?

I don’t say this to wallow in my guilt and convince myself that I should feel bad for the blessings in my pantry. I say it to remind myself of my blessings. Instead of looking at what I don’t have, I was hit by the picture of what I DO have—right in front of me.

Lovepacs are awesome and I am so thankful to be a part of the team creating them. But I think the next time I pack a box or donate a food item, I will really look at that box and pray for the kiddo getting it.

And I hope I will pray for God to continually humble me into not believing I deserve more than that sweet child.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Feeding the 5000--or just 40

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live when Jesus was on the earth? I have. I love to imagine myself as one of his disciples (I’m sure I would have understood so much more than them—ha!). Or as the widow who gave her mites. Or as the innkeeper or good Samaritan. Or as a bystander when he was teaching.

One of my favorite stories is when he took 5 loaves and 2 fishes and turned it into enough food to feed 5000 and still have a basket-full left for each disciple. Out of all of those people, do you think only one boy brought his lunch? And even better, that he was willing to share it? Most boys I know might have remembered to bring their lunch, but I can't imagine them being willing to share it with friends, let alone strangers.

But the one person who is not talked about in the story that fascinates me the most, is the boy’s mom. Most likely—even back then—his mama made him that lunch. I wonder if she put a note in it with a smiley face? Or packed a napkin folded just so? Do you think she packed enough for him to share with a friend? She had no idea that in her effort to feed her child, she would be a part of a huge miracle.

That out of her taking care of one that she knew, Jesus would take care of thousands.

I kinda feel like that mom right now. I pack my kiddos lunches with extra stuff. I know they aren’t supposed to share food, but there’s a part of me that hopes they will be able to one day and I want to be ready. See, my kids attend a Title 1 school. That means that more than 30% of the kids at our school are on the free/reduced lunch program. Breakfast and lunch are sometimes the only meals those kiddos get.

I posted about this last year. And I told some people about the needs, but nothing happened. I wanted it to, but didn’t know what to do to make it start moving--our family was barely making ends meet, so I was not in a position to help anyone else out financially. So I sat back and hoped the urge to do something would go away. But it didn't.

That same tugging came again this year. And I hesitated. Did I really want to “bug” people with my kids’ needy school again? Everybody’s probably already into their own thing, right?

But I called the counselor anyway. And I found out that she was sending backpacks of food home for 6 kids every weekend. So I sent an email. Just one email to a few people.

BUT GOD, in His infinite wisdom, saw that the email went to the right people and they responded in a HUGE way. I was able to make a call back to the counselor and let her know that we could cover those 6 kiddos for Thanksgiving and Christmas break so that they would have meals each day that they were not receiving them from the school.

But it grew. Instead of just feeding 6, it became enough to feed 40 (with the numbers at my girls' school rising to 8).

So, I feel a little like that boy’s mom. Except that I didn’t even make a lunch. And I didn't organize the distribution. And I didn't really spread the word beyond the first few I emailed. But, like her, I had no clue what God could do with a simple request.

Not sure what the point to this post is except to say that God blesses obedience. Even when we don’t see why He is calling us to do something, if He asks, we should do. He can take 5 loaves and 2 fishes (or one simple ask of a few friends) and turn it into enough to feed 5000 (or 40).

As my favorite pastor says, “The task is ours. The results are His.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Check Yes or No

Yesterday, at church, Caroline had the opportunity to make Thanksgiving cards. I got a funny one that said:

"thank you for giving me food and a bed and all of thas the stuf! thank you!"

Guess all my talks about how blessed we are to be able to eat and sleep in a bed (and not the floor) have paid off.

I had forgotten that she also made one for her sister. Here’s what it said:

Fome: Caroline
To: Hope
Send back

Dear hope can you stop deing men (translate: being mean) to me Just for 5 days. Yes no

Complete with a pumpkin and 2 crosses.

Oh, to be 7 again…

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


…Except for a live version at work, I have never played Angry Birds
…I don’t usually know the words to songs, so I sing the one line I know over and over again
…I sometimes peek through the crack of the door when my hubby is getting into the shower
…I argue more with my kids than I build them up
…I always leave extra brownie batter in the bowl so I can eat it
…I have lots of games on my phone that I’ve downloaded for my girls, but they never get to play because I’m too busy playing them
…I tore a tag off a pillow yesterday
…My girls know most of the words to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”
…I often wear dirty jeans
…I wish our frog would go ahead and die already
…My 9 year old has a better fashion sense than me
…As much as I say I don’t, I secretly like making lunches for Brian and the girls
…I wish my phone rang more often than it does with people just wanting to chat
…I would like to be “carded” again
…The thought of my daughters dating sends me into an anxiety attack
…I REALLY like to win
…I don’t tell the people I love that I love them as much as I should
…I would eat a smore every night if I could
…Just the thought of a mango martini makes me giddy
…I wonder if my 24 blog followers get bored by my posts
…I get in my jammies as soon as I come home from work most nights (even if it’s at 4pm)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How to Steal your Kids Halloween Candy without them Knowing

There are many things I thought I would learn as a parent. Figuring out how to trick my kids was not one of those things. But, the reality is, sometimes it’s us against them—especially when it comes to really important things like Halloween candy.

Here are my tips on how to eat your kids Halloween candy without them ever having a clue that you did it.

• Offer to hold their bag in between houses (this doesn’t work as well now that they are older—those of you with little kids, take advantage of this now)

• Make them leave their candy on the table when they get home (if they take it into their room, you will never find it until next Halloween and it will not look like something you do not want to eat at that point)

• Take their candy out of their bags and put it into a clear, plastic bag (I use Target’s version of Ziploc, but feel free to use what you have)—be sure to keep their empty wrappers in there, too.

• Always write their name on the bag—this isn’t a tip on how to steal it, this is just self-preservation. Somehow, they KNOW the difference between their candy and their sisters

• Place the bags side by side at all times—it always looks like more and kinda blurries the lines of what’s really in there

• After they are in bed, take inventory of what is there—see what they have more than one of. If there is only one Snickers, no matter how bad you want it, don’t take it--you will get caught!

• You can’t get greedy; you have to control how much you take. Kids have a 6th sense about these things and will notice if you take several pieces.

• Do not eat a piece before you kiss them—they will smell it on your
breath—even Smarties have a distinctive smell to a 7 year old

• Put the candy up on top of the refrigerator after a day—out of sight, out of mind. They will remember it is there, but they won’t be as intent on making sure they have the same amount that they did the last time they saw the bag

• Ask them for a piece—this always throws them off—if you’re asking for one, they won’t suspect you of stealing it when they aren’t looking

Whoever coined the phrase “like taking candy from a baby” never had kids. I guess I should feel guilty about this—especially when I have kids this cute

But there’s a tootsie roll calling my name that’s overriding the guilt right now…

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things I say Everyday (or at least it FEELS like everyday)

• Please don’t kick the ball in the house
• You’re too loud
• I love you
• Watch your tone
• Have you brushed your teeth yet?
• Please go brush your teeth
• Your shoes do not belong in the living room; please put them in your pockets (not literal pockets--this is a thing hanging on her closet door with lots of spaces for shoes--but that is usually empty except for the pair of shoes she doesn't like and the ones that are too small/big)
• If you would have put your shoes in your pockets, you wouldn’t be looking for them right now
• I don’t want to pick out your clothes—you don’t like what I choose
• Have a good day
• Where’s the remote?
• Can someone please feed the dogs?
• It doesn’t matter who showered 1st yesterday, I’m asking you to get in there now
• Please finish up—others need some hot water, too
• Please rinse your plate
• Volume control, please!
• We are leaving in 10 minutes
• What do you mean you’re not ready to go? I told you we were leaving in 10 miunutes
• Please be kind to your sister
• Do your best
• I’m sorry you don’t like it, this is what we are eating for dinner
• No, we are not eating out
What’s on yours?