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Friday, May 7, 2010


So, I have a Droid. And it's WAY cool. It's the ONLY thing I wanted for Christmas last year. And the Droid, itself, was not the expensive part - it's that monthly plan. The cost for Internet and Email. Yeah .... And can I just say that I love texting now!! So fun! And there are times when texting is better than calling. No phone ringing at inappropriate times.

Yesterday, I decided to change up some ringtones. My hubby's has always had AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." It's our song. Enough said. However, when he calls and I'm at school or in a meeting, and I've forgotten to silence the ringer .... em-bar-rassing!!! He's now got the theme to TOP GUN. Love that movie - the volleyball scene, "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling." My best friend and I used to watch that movie all the time, singing that song in the car driving around. Good times.

My home phone number wasn't plugged into the phone - go figure. Usually, my hubby's at work or on his cell when he rings my cell phone. But the kids are now calling me, so HOME needs to be programmed in. And, it needed a special ring so I knew it was important. My brother has a ring that's like a alarm. But, I like the songs, the ringtones.

I found one, perfect for my kids. And whether or not you like the show Family Guy - this ring tone says it all. It's little Stewie going, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Momma. Momma. Momma. Momma. Momma. Mommy. Mommy. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Ma. Ma. Ma."
Until his Mom gets so irritated, "WHAT?" and Stewie replies, "Hi," and runs away giggling.

So when you're with me and you hear this - you can laugh along with me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Before he heads off for Reserve Duty, my hubby gives me a squeeze and a smooch goodbye - with standing orders to "be good for Mom." We'd had football games in the morning and I was pooped out. Dad left and I promptly curled up in bed. The kids played quietly. That should have been my first warning. Seriously, though - they are fantastic kids. They ask me for everything - and they did while I was semi-snoozing, too.

"Mom, can I have a yogurt?"
"Mom, can I play out front?"
"Mom, I'm going to shoot baskets?"
"Mom, where's my brother?"

So, I get some much needed rest and, to be honest, I could've laid in bed all day long. I rouse myself out of bed and head downstairs. Everyone's engaged and happy. Awesome! While I'm talking to the kids about what we should do, I see red on my oldest son's hands.
"What's this?" I ask. "Crystal Light. I spilled some," he replies.
"Must have been quite a spill - that's really red."

Then I head to the kitchen and I see red residue on the counter. And on the wood floor. It's soaked in. It was never wiped up. I start spraying cleaner on it, all while loudly instructing him about how this stuff will stain.

I feel good about how I handled this. I didn't overreact. I didn't rant and rave. I instructed, I had him help clean. In my mind I'm saying, "Good Job, Mom!" The kids pile into the car to head out and as we walk out the door, I see it. The front porch. Has a large red stain on it. He spilled the Crystal Light on the cement stoop and it soaked into the cement.

That puffed up feeling I'd had, deflated quickly and I went into "punishment mode." He scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed some more, only to realize that this was a stain that wasn't coming out. He knew his Dad would be upset when he returned home and was getting distraught. And honestly, I wasn't helping the situation. I let him sweat it.

You see, he hadn't actually made the Crystal Light to drink, he'd emptied the little packet into a cylinder and mixed it with about two teaspoons of water. It was full strength STAIN! I was more than a little upset.

I decided to go on with the day as planned - no need to punish my younger children for his mistake. But when we got home, he got put to work. He scrubbed that stain with cleanser and bleach until it was gone. Then he had to power-wash the stoop. He cleaned out the car, stowed away all the winter gear in the attic, picked up dog poop, and put away all the tools we used for cleaning. Penance complete. Along with no TV.

I love that boy. He's so good. He took it all like a man. Never complaining. Never talking back. Thank you, God for giving me such awesome children made in your image. I hope I never let their stains really get in the way.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Changing Churches

Our family has attended the same church for the past nine years. I made my bestest friends there. I served there. I grew as a leader there. It's where I came to know Christ more fully. Yet, I felt a tug to move on - or at least try something new. So, our family has been attending a new (to us) church for the past four months. It's been good. Different, but good.

The pastor's message is current and relate-able, without losing any of God's truth. The music is LOUD. Really, really LOUD. To say it's contemporary is an understatement. It was a shocker the first Sunday we attended, but we've become accustomed to it. And the kids - that's the big worry - the kids like their Sunday school classes. They know some friends, are making new friends, and like their "big group" time and their lessons each week. They run to class - it's a joy to watch.

Yesterday, our family attended the church we'd attended for years to witness the joy of a friend's baptism. We had a lovely time with good friends in worship. The message was different than the new pastor - and the music felt like a step backward in time. We realized that one of the reasons we liked the church we were at before is because that's all we knew. Now, we know what else is out there ... and WOW!

As we talked about it last night, the kids are torn. They like both churches for different reasons - as do Mom and Dad. Is it time to decide to return or to move on? Where does God want us?

Friday, April 23, 2010



This is not a word that brings me great joy. Not even a smidgen of joy. I think of a pain in my shoulder, a sliver in my finger, a sinus headache, tight shoes that have cut into the back of my ankle ... or a slew of other things. Uncomfortable is not what I aspire to. And it's definitely not what comes to mind when I think about God or Worship. Yet, I think this is where God wants us – at least some of the time. And I'm not just talking about physical discomfort.

When we are comfortable, operating in our "zone," we are not necessarily reaching beyond ourselves. We remain in a trusted circle of friends, family, places, or events where we find much gratification. We resist the unknown. Yet, when we test our bravery, being courageous enough to step outside our "bubble," great things happen. Now, I don’t mean great, as in better than good; I mean great as in awesome, powerful, or spectacular – those terms in their good and bad connotations.

When we step outside our safety zone, we lean on God more. Or maybe, we realize we need to lean on God, Period. Maybe we realize that we weren't leaning on God at all inside the bubble and doing it all on our own. When we venture beyond, we must trust that God holds us - that He gives us a “force field” to protect us. We must lean “not on our own understanding.”

Uncomfortable. That’s where God wants us – at least some of the time. Are you uncomfortable?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

God's Whisper

I'm so thankful for the women who surround me with faithfulness and friendship. The other day, another mom called me to swap volunteer days at the school. No problem, except that I wasn't scheduled for another six weeks. Yet, she was looking at a schedule that had me listed for a day she wanted to swap. I told her I'd take her day and sort out the rest. I was just getting ready to fire off an email to the gal who coordinates it, when I realized it would be MUCH easier to explain it on the phone than write it out. Besides, I hadn't spoke with her in a while. So, I call.

"I've been meaning to call you, I really need a pick me up," she said.
"Huh? What are you talking about?"
"You always lift me up and encourage me and make me feel better."
"Awwww. Well, I'm glad I can do that for you."

We proceeded to make a date for coffee. My day went on .... laundry, shopping, bus stop ... then it dawned on me - that "glitch" in the volunteer schedule was God's whisper, "Stephanie, call her." And I'm so glad I did.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Getting Ready for Spring Break

Picked up tickets to the circus, yesterday. Bought tickets to the aquarium today. Got movie times for Diary of a Wimpy Kid and for the local discount theater. Made a list of a dozen other things the kids would like to do. Checked the weather for next week. Searching for families who aren't traveling and might want to get together.

I told my husband what I'd been doing and his comment was, "Those kids should be happy with just one of those things. When I had spring break as a kid, I didn't do anything. The only thing I did was not to go to school." And he's right. That's all I did, too. I played with all my friends on my street who were home, too. But that's where the comparison falls apart.

Families aren't home like they were when we were kids. Families travel for holidays more often; or with dual-income families, kids are gone to camp. The "play outside 'til the street lights come on" mentality is gone and replaced with scheduled playdates, outings, day trips, vacations, etc.

And so - I join the club with an assortment of activities to keep us all engaged (on a budget). We'll go downtown to the National Zoo - it's FREE! Or maybe take in the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. Seeing money being made, cut, and stacked is super-cool. Suggestions from FaceBook friends include: Duct Tape (ha!); pajama day complete with Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and movies/boardgames all day; bake and decorate a cake; miniature golf; bike trails; and bowling.

We'll have a great time doing some things we don't usually have time to do. We'll take pictures, we'll laugh, we won't be rushed. We'll even see some family along the way. I'm thankful we have the money to splurge a bit. Maybe I'll go for the BIG roll of duct tape!

Monday, March 15, 2010

It All Works Out

"I feel guilty I'm not doing the driving," my neighbor said when I called her, yet again, to say my husband would take her son to/from basketball practice.
"Don't worry about it. There will come a time, when I absolutely can't do anything and you'll be able to pitch in."
"Awwwl-right," she said. Not sounding too convincing.

This is how the first half of the basketball season went. Our carpool changed into me calling her Tuesday afternoon saying that my husband was home earlier enough to take the kids to practice. He was assistant coaching, so he was going and staying ... every week. It was a no-brainer to take both boys (neighbors) with him. Still, she felt heavy about it.

Then .... my surgery came. And not only couldn't I drive, but my husband needed to stay home with me to take care of me. And as I healed and could get around, I couldn't watch the kids play outside - so she did. Suddenly, she was doing all the doing; and I was doing all the laying around. Rightly so, but still.

The other day we were sitting outside together watching the kids enjoy the springlike weather. I asked her, "So, do you still feel guilty about my hubby driving the first part of the season?"
She laughed out loud, "No! We were just talking about it last night and how it seemed to all work out."

And isn't it funny how that happens? We live in community. In relationship to one another. I buy coffee, you get dessert. I take the kids to the movies. You take the kids rock-climbing. I drive one week. You drive the next three. I babysit. You have a sleep-over. I pray for you. You pray for me. It all works out.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Called for Skipping

Basketball season was a thrilling ride! Fourth grade ball had playoffs and a championship this year - a first for our family. It was great to watch these boys master some of the finer points of the game. Watching them successfully execute a pick and roll, cross-court pass, and awesome interceptions kept me on the edge of my seat all season. Their coach was mild-mannered and kept it light. The boys voted on a team name. "Pretty Little Pink Ponies" was flatly rejected - however, the team rallied around, "Cheese." Let me tell you, it's hard to not have fun cheering from the sidelines, "Go Cheese!" And then hearing the team huddle during a time out and end with hands in, chanting, "Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!" This team ended their season in a three way tie for first place. Each player gave the coach a different kind of cheese at their season-ending bash, to which he replied, "Next year, I wanna be team Lexus."

Second grade ball is the year the kids simply grow in their comfort on the court. A good coach helps the boys excel and prepares them to be competitive. Our son's team was great and enjoyed a winning season. His layups and foul shots became more reliable. They celebrated over ice cream today, earned bobblehead trophies, and came home happy, sweaty and tired.
First grade girls has got to be the most interesting, though. The refs are told not to blow their whistle too loud, so they don't scare the girls and make them cry. How funny is that?!

Coaching little girls vs older boys is quite the contrast. You can yell in at a ten year old boy, "stay on 23 and shut him down!" Where the same shout to a first-grade girl will elicit tears. So, hearing my husband give guidance from the sideline to our daughter is a riot, "You're doing great, sweetie!" He'll also send big brother over with "words of encouragement," to which she responds by pushing him away saying, "I know, I know, I know." The best part of the game today was when the ref blew his whistle and explained to one little girl that "skipping" down the court with the ball was not allowed. Several of the parents around me all broke out laughing.

If only we played our hearts out like that everyday - using that same passion and energy in everything we did. I think then I wouldn't mind if I got called for skipping.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Laundry, HGTV, and Blessings

Washer fills, drier spins, and I sit folding clothes on my bed watching Lisa LaPorta renovate and redecorate. With the never-ending job of laundry, a healthy dose of HGTV makes the chore more bearable. Don't get me wrong, there is great reward in folding and putting away laundry - a place for everything and everything in its place. But then, on days like today when I put things away instead of having the kids do it - I wind up cleaning out drawers and closets and the task looms larger than usual.

These are the times I see big differences between how men and women tackle projects. Men are so focused (which has pros and cons); and women interrelate emotions, feelings, situations (which also has pros and cons). If I had asked my husband to put the laundry away (and yes, he would do it for me), it would get put away. Check. When I do it, I wind up with a pile of clothes to donate, reorganized drawers and closets, etc. Not to mention, a day with pretty much, nothing else done. I get the same results with my kids. My boys put their clothes away, my daughter arranges her clothes into outfits. Funny, huh?

I will often lament the amount of laundry I have to do. I'm confident I'm not alone. I try to think about the fact that all that laundry represents the blessings in our lives. We have enough money, space, etc. to have too many clothes. I try to give thanks for the healthy children that wear all those clothes - and wear OUT all those clothes. I pray over my husband as I fold undershirts and dress socks and thank God for the prosperity He's gifted us with.

Life is good. Laundry and all ... especially with a little HGTV.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Letting Go

Off the bus, up the pipestem, and through the front door, "Hi Mom! Can I go play down at the big tree?"
"Who else is down there?"
"Everyone, Mom. Can I?"
Deep heavy sigh. You see I cannot see the big tree from my front door. I can see the area close to it, but I cannot see the big tree or the creek with the secret fort. The other kids' homes are right next to the big tree and their parents can see them from their kitchen window or back deck. Watching your kids play equals comfort.
"Yes. You can. Can you wear your watch and check in with me?"
"Sure, Mom. Are there brownies?"
He heads for the brownies, grabs two and heads out the door.
"Thanks, Mom."
Deep, heavy sigh.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recovering from Surgery

Last Monday, I had gallbladder surgery. Laproscopic, outpatient. The best it could be when you're having surgery. And it was ... yet, that doesn't mean it was easy. Having your gallbladder removed may be considered minor surgery, but recovery seems painstakingly slow.
The first two days, you need someone waiting on you and taking care of you. Sleeping wasn't even a viable escape for the discomfort/pain. Yet, day by day, I did get better. By day three, I was putzing around the house. Day four, brought a set back with a popped stitch. Day five I went out to my son's basketball playoffs. However, sitting up, unassisted, proved nauseating for most of the game. Driving was entirely different adventure.
In between bouts of tempered activity came long stretches in bed (or the recliner) resting, resting, resting. The day I was finally able to venture down to the mailbox, my neighbor's dog bit me. Now, there's never a good time to get bit by a dog - yet, it seemed to add insult to injury to have to nurse an open wound while I still had surgical bandages around my midsection.
The following day brought my post-op appointment with a clean bill of health, a trip to my primary care doc for antibiotics (to guard against infection) and a tetanus shot. Today brought a trip to the radiologist for an x-ray.
Recovering from surgery seemed to move along swimingly, until I ventured outside on a springlike day, because I was finally feeling better. Want to have a speedy recovery? Stay inside the first week! No matter WHAT!!!