stealing the covers

Tess has a urinary tract infection and has been crabby and clingy for the last few days (with good reason). So, last night as I attempted to put her to bed.....I didn't quite have the heart (or the energy) to let her cry it out. Reluctantly, (after a few unsuccessful tries in her own crib), I tucked her in between me and Shaun and went to sleep.
I actually intended to put her back in her own bed after she was sleeping, but that would require getting out of my snuggly bed. 5:30 am: Owen comes creeped in and attempted to stake out a claim on my mattress. 5:30 may be wake up time during the week, but this was Sunday....and we did not have anywhere to be for awhile. I was desperate for a few more hours of sleep and told him he could stay at the foot of the bed. A few minutes later, after jockeying for position and covers, the dog leaped up on to the bad to claim her acerage as well.
In frustration, I picked up and headed to the couch.

I do like my babies in the bed with me. Especially before bed reading stories or Saturday mornings giggling and watching cartoons. I have even been known to start a pillow fight or two. There is something perfect about that time, my bed filled with all the people I love in one big jumble of sheets and elbows.
However, I do not love trying to sleep like this.
Owen talks in his sleep, steals covers and scoots closer and closer until there is only a tiny portion of my side of the bed left. Tess is restless and prefers to sleep horizonatlly with her feet in my face. It is far too crowded and almost impossible to get good rest like this.

My life is often like that crazy crowded bed. Every inch of space (or time) is covered with somewhere I am supposed to be or something I am supposed to to. At times this feels good. I like being busy, and seeing people and doing "important" things. But there is very little space left over and it is almost impossible to rest. I start and end my day tired. Although most of the things on the list seem to still get done and I keep most of my committments I catch myself getting there late or leaving early or doing them only halfway.

So about six weeks ago, I intently started carving out a bit more space to rest. I have cleared the calendar for at least one day of the week (Sunday). I have made a few rules, but do not stress about actually keeping them. At first it seemed intensely selfish. And maybe it is. But I think it is begining to bear some fruit. That time, that I am NOT doing housework or schoolwork is spent playing on the floor, reading books (the kind with pictures to my kids and the kind without for me), snuggling on the couch with Shaun, writing, running, and napping.

So on Sundays I rest. Even if the bed is crowded, my day isn't. And there is room to stretch out and breathe.

stiff necked.

No, I did not sleep funny.
My neck actually feels fine ( not that I'd pass up a massage if offered but)..
I am referring to stiff necked in the biblical sense.
(ex32:9-10 acts7:51)

Stiff necked is an odd adjective of choice. It manages to show up at least a half dozen times in the bible, both old and new testement. When I have read it in the
past I have always used my context clues and assumed it meant something like proud or stubborn. Googling this, told me that I was mostly right.
It usually used in reference to the obstinate Isrealites who keep going back to their idols. Their stiff necks keep refusing to bend to God's will.

But why stiff necks?
What about stiff backs, or shoulders or any other body part?

Ever have a crick in your neck? It makes it almost impossible to look around.
You are stuck only looking in one direction.
To some of the world this sounds like a good thing. Driven and focused.
But only looking forward has it's drawbacks.
There is no looking up.
There is no bending your head in prayer.
There is no looking back and rembering who brought you out of Egypt.
There is no looking around and noticing the needs of those around you.

positively not

Today was convacation, which is esentially a big teacher pep rally. The district paid big money for a big name speaker ( Jon Gorden - The Energy Bus).
And he was fine.
Well dressed, had lots of funny stories, name dropped, tossed in plenty of quotes, clever andecdotes and cliches to keep us entertained and possibly inspired.
But...
His message fell a little flat with me. He talked a lot about "staying positive, good energy, work hard, don't ever give up" type stuff.
Emphasis on the positive energy talk. And truth be told, we teachers need it. Staff developments tend to lead to an abundance of texting, yawning and grumbling amungst the staff. There is lots and lots of complaining.
Negativity is draining and exhausting, but.......I'm not so sure that "staying positive" is the easy catch all solution my speaker would like to make it out to be.

You see, I don't Jesus ever told his disciples to just stay positive. To look on the sunny side or find the silver lining. He didn't placate or pretend.
I read recently that "positive thinking" is just another word for faith.
I strongly disagree.
Staying positive is good. I'd rather be around someone who is going to make an effort and point out good things rather than tear down or complain.
But it isn't the same as faith, at least not a faith in anything other than self.
Positive thinking is defined as a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results. Google power of positive thinking and you will find lots of stuff like this:
"A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds."
My faith in God calls me to believe not in specific situations or daily outcomes, but in the ultimate goodness of God.

The goodness of God and my own personal happiness, health and success aren't necessarily the same thing. I'm not saying God doesn't want me happy or healthy. I'm sure He wants good things for me, but most of all He wants me to rely on Him....and well to be honest I tend to do that the least when everything is going along super great.

I can't find too many examples of Jesus being Mr. Positive Energy Man. When he approached the woman at the well (John 4), he didn't try to butter her up with compliments or a list of her better attributes. He faced her with love and compassion and had her take an honest look at her actions. He never asked anyone to just get a better atitude or outlook on life. He asked for things that were much harder. Honesty, humility, and relationship. He didn't promise his followers promotions, or good health, or carefree happy days. He never told the disciples that if they could just be more positive that he could skip the whole cross thing.

Don't get me wrong. I am not endorsing a negative atitude. Nor do I think the Bible does either. (plenty of verses on controlling the tongue and renewing our minds), but I don't think there is a whole lot of power to positive thinking. That power has always come from a much greater source.

You see I don't really think Jesus cares if your glass was half full, or half empty. He just wants us to drink. (John 9:9-14).

reunion

On Saturday I was headed to a mini-reunion of sorts. Some girls from a sorority I was in in college were getting together for lunch. Most of these girls I haven't seen in almost a decade, and some I didn't really know to begin with. I was excited about seeing everyone and catching up. I had a busy day but insisted on fitting this lunch in.
It wasn't until I was on my way to the resturaunt that I started getting nervous.
I seriously considered turning around.
I was not expecting nervous.
High school reunions of course,.......but this was just a small group of girls. My emotions caught me off guard.

Lunch was of course fine. Fun even. I regretted that I had to be the first person to leave and head off to my next event and made plans to do it again in a few months.
I got to the shower that I was hosting and my friend sensed that I was a little off and asked what was up.
I mentioned the lunch and that seeing people that you haven't been around in years and years is often a little unsettling.
Whether you want to or not you have to face the person that they remember.
That's the thing about reunions. You aren't just catching up with your "old friends" but you are remembering a bit of the old you.

back to school

So Monday I went back to school...voluntarily early for a staff retreat.
It was nice to see people.
Babes chicken for lunch. Yum.
Icebreakers I could have done with out, but I'm a good sport so I went with it.
Performing skits in front of everyone and having them filmed. Well that part really sucked, I hate being funny on purpose.
What made it ALL worth it was the big fat typo on the staff information sheet we had to fill out. You know, name, cell phone, emergency contact, favorite snack, favorite candy bar.
Except she left off the word "candy".
Favorite Bar _________________________________.
I was all too eager to fill that line in :)

doorframes

About every 4-6 months Owen stands proudly and flatly in the doorway to his room while me or Shaun take a sharpie and mark his growth on the door frame. All I have to do is glance at those black and red marks up his doorframe to see how much he has grown over the last few years.

I just finished a book recently ( Blue like Play Dough) that said this:
" Some people may wrongly assume that raising our kids is all about the kids growing up. It's not. It's about us using these challenging times to grow up ourselves. As we watch our kids grow into the people God designed them to be, we are also participating in our own transformation."

So maybe my growth can't be measured with a sharpie against the doorframe. But I have probably had to grow and learn just as quickly as Owen has over the last few years...

some things I've learned:
how to live on much less sleep.
quickly been made aware of what i watch, listen to and the kinds of things that slip out of my mouth aren't nearly as funny or cute when said by a 4 year old.
that my time and agenda aren't really mine ( only takes a quick stomach flu).
the phone # for poison control.
how quickly a snack can fix things.
how discipline can be so hard.
how an afternoon nap is truly a gift.
that playdough is really hard to get out of the couch.
and gum is even harder to get out of hair.
that a cell phone can't survive very long in the toilet.
that a cardboard box is far more entertaining than a room full of toys.

and mostly that it all goes by so quickly that i don't want to miss an inch....

forever

...this makes me really happy :)

the waiting game

I keep waiting for the better version of me to finally make an appearance.
The one can fit back into her size 8 pants, flosses, isn't insecure or jealous, pursues her dreams rather than just blogging about them, serves consistantly rather than in random spurts, thinks before she speaks, shaves above the knee and doesn't have so many typos.
That girl is there I'm sure of it.
She just gets so distracted.

I used to give myself a break. Jesus didn't start doing much until he turned 30.
30 came and went, and all I really have to show for it is another tattoo.
Well, that and a beautiful strawberry blonde baby girl.

I keep finding reasons to postpone this new and improved version of me's debut.
like, I can start working out more consistantly this summer...or after school starts.
I can start really serving at the Mission Center when my kids are bigger.
I will email her back next week when I'm not so busy.
I'll track my spending next month when we don't have to fix the ________.
I can go to that writer's conference next year when I have more money and more sick days stored up.
But when my excuses run out I only manage to find new ones.
This improved version of me is going to waste away waiting for the most right and convienent time that will never be.

What if I stopped waiting or making excuses or trying to do it all at once.
What if I just started becoming slowly but surely that girl that I want to be.
Not all at once mind you, but so very gradually. Little by little. One thing at a time. Forward and then occasionally backward and then forward again.

So tomorrow I won't wake up any skinnier or any better. My closets suddenly won't be organized, I will probably run late. I won't make any empty promises to eat healthier and memorize scripture and change the sheets at least every other week.
But I will stop waiting. And start becoming. And cut the fatter, messier version of me some slack in the process.

summer wrap up

so Monday morning, O and Tess go back to school and so do I. (well at least for part of the week).

I am so worn out that maybe work will be a break.
I hate admiting how bad I am at staying home.
I am tired and grumpy and selfish and count down the minutes until Shaun gets home and did I mention..........so tired.

We have had fun though.
Snowcones and swim lessons and sunburns(mine).
Time outs and dishes and laundry and a living room that can never stay clean.
parks and lakes and mountians and the zoo.
lots of mexican food and sweaty sweaty afternoons.
almost never getting the afternoon nap that i was hoping for,
train rides and wiggle cars.
dozens and dozens of books read.
lots of pictures snapped.
gelatto and coffee and wine ( for those of us over 21 of course).
Tess has 4 new teeth, claps and waves and says a few words clearly.
She cruises across the furniture and I'm afraid is going to walk any day now.
Owen can swim a few feet without help and caught dozens of fish with his grumps.
And I can't keep the two away from each other.
lots of giggles and lots of tantrums.
lots of cheerios eaten and bubbles blown.
skinned knees, bee stings and runny noses.
lots and lots of long nights and early mornings.

no wonder i am so worn out. 180 high school kids have nothing on these two.

commercials just aren't as good in the US

This is one from Pampers that aired in the UK. Cracked me up this morning.

oranges

Not the kind of fruit you want used to describe a tumor. Particularly an inoperable brain tumor.
Blueberries possibly, or maybe even a plum. But an orange seems so ominous.

No I do not have one, but Shaun’s aunt does.
To be honest this is an aunt I barely know. I have met her a few times, but she is the one the family doesn’t usually like to talk about.
We all have those family members. The ones that don’t make the proudly displayed family photos or isn’t usually on the Christmas card mailing list.

And their stories break your heart.
This one has a 14 year old daughter with her own heartbreaking stories.
But they don’t stop here.
My friend is dealing with an addicted and mentally ill sibling.
Another is caregiver to an ill mother in law.
Another’s cousin is a convicted criminal.
My mom supported and cared for her brother who dabbled in all kinds of things that didn’t usually come up at the dinner table.

But this is family.
Mine and Yours.

Sometimes it is easy to see that person on the street. The one with the sign.
And not look them in the eye.
And to keep driving.
We don’t want to think that they are someone’s mom, or daughter.
That they have made choices that lead them down this path.
And maybe they have.
And maybe they haven’t.
But most have a story that could so easily wind into anyone’s family tree.

So when I got to the hospital a few weeks ago.
I decided to go in. It wasn’t really part of the plan. I was just supposed to get my kids and go on my way.
But Shaun’s mom’s sister, became my aunt.
And her daughter needed to become my cousin.
They need to be mine.
This girl needed a family.
And well, she really already had one. We just needed to remember.