Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Whales & Daddy Tales

As promised, here's pics of the finished whale--layer of black spraypaint, and then I used a sponge to give it a mottled blue-gray look. No, it's not a black killer whale; everything I read said critics thought the big fish in the Bible could've been either a sperm whale or a great white shark. Sperm whale it is. In my research, I also learned some very interesting facts about sperm whales that give new insight into why the ocean is salty. Sadly, I can share none of these tantalizing insights with the little girls at the tea or their mothers will be dragging them away from our table and looking at me like I've lost my mind. Isn't the water spout just awesome? And I couldn't just give it a mouth--looked too sad, so I curved it up for a smile. I'm sure the whale was happy to have eaten Jonah.
This has nothing to do with a whale--do you know what this is a picture of? This is male bonding, AKA doing something mommy wouldn't approve of. I'm inside getting the babies to sleep and working on next week's devotional. I go to the back door to peek out at Doug and Wyatt who are supposed to be playing outside. What do I find? Doug sitting in the swing feeding Nerds to him! Sneaking candy while mommy is busy!!! Argh!! When I was on bed rest and Wyatt spent Saturdays with daddy, he learned: 1. McDonalds is a place to get chicken nuggets, french fries, apples, and milk (he didn't know the place existed before); 2. Grocery stores have buggies with cars under the bottom; 3. Walmart has macaroni and cheese & shrimp poppers in the deli...and you can eat them on your way home; and 4. If you flirt with the cashier while in daddy's care, she'll give you a Spiderman ring, a sucker, or a balloon. Oh the things I have to unteach my son....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spiritual Spring Cleaning

God has really been on my case the past couple of weeks, poking in closets I had long ago sealed shut either because of the long amount of time that had passed or because of events I'd just assume not relive because of the emotional context. A while back, He put in my heart the need to ask someone's forgiveness for something that happened almost 14 years ago, but this past week has been just unbearable. When God tells me to do something, He starts keeping me up at night; it's in these wee hours of the morning that I ask God "Why? Why NOW? Do you know how long ago that was!?" And then I explain to God how I just can't do what He's asking--I don't know where the person is, no way of contacting that person other than through third parties I'd rather not involve, the person may not even want to speak to me--nope, can't do it. That wasn't the right answer. He didn't give up.

So, today I told God that if He was sure of this, I'd give it one try. I told Him I'd go to the last place I knew the person worked--and God, that was over three years ago, so that surely won't happen, but at least you'll know I tried, so maybe you'll give me credit for time served and ease up on me--and if you REALLY want me to ask that person's forgiveness, then you'll need to make sure that person is there because I'm not going to ask around...and I'm only making one pass through the store while I'm shopping, so if this is really, really, really what YOU are telling me to do, you've got to make it happen. And it did happen.

I don't know if this person needed to hear me ask for forgiveness for the hurt I had caused. I hope it makes a positive difference. I do know (and God knew) that I needed to ask for that forgiveness and to know there were no hard feelings lingering after all this time. A life without regrets, no. A life where I'm learning to seek reconciliation with those I've hurt along the way to learning how to live like Christ, yes. It was just good to see an old friend again. We both seem to be leading very happy, fulfilling lives. We both said we were happy to see the other and wished each other well. That closet is now open & cleaned out. Hopefully, God will give me a week of good rest before He starts to clean out another one...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Transparency

The sun is shining; it’s a gorgeous 75 degree day, but I still just feel immensely depressed & need a good cry. It started yesterday when I had a random thought about my 1996 college English trip to New Mexico. Kevin Bell went on that trip. We always thought he was a happy guy—funny, quiet, odd like the rest of us in that group. Then one day, he committed suicide. I never saw it coming, but when I thought about it, I realized that outside of our English interests, I never knew him really.

A couple weeks ago, someone criticized Doug for not being transparent about the problems we’ve had the past three years with Doug’s law license and with certain lying, individuals who chose to pin the blame on him rather than face the music for their crime. Sorry—we thought everyone knew. Old news. But, I’ve been thinking about this transparency topic. How much do people really know each other? Most people prefer to not air their dirty laundry for the world to see; they’d just prefer for everyone to think they have the perfect life. And why is that? Because it’s easier to not have to deal with people’s pity? Because we fear that someone will think badly of us if they knew. Or maybe it’s a fear nobody will even care. Or maybe the shame of it all, even if it’s nobody’s fault like the years Doug and I spent in emotionally & physically difficult infertility treatments and the two miscarriages before God blessed us with three children.

You can live the fa├žade, but I’ve had enough of it. I have a very good life, a blessed life—I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But how many people do I keep at arm’s length because when they ask how I’m doing, I just say “fine” and go on, even if I’m not fine. How many people could I help with their problems if I only shared my own experiences? And what’s worse, how many people do I accept their answer of “fine” instead of saying, “No, how are you really doing?”

I don’t care who you are—friends now, friends from the past or just someone whose name I once knew—if you need someone, I’ll listen. I’ll pray with you. And I’ve mastered the art of keeping my mouth shut. I just don’t want someone I know to become another Kevin Bell.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Muffin Too Heavy

The twins slept all night last night until 7:20 this morning!! Yay!!! A symbol of hope and sleepy nights coming soon. But I couldn't enjoy this sleepy night because I was up all night checking on Wyatt's fever--what kind of irony is that? I wait 4 months for the "big night of sleep" and when it comes, I don't sleep!!! God's gotta be laughing at me. I knew it was going to be a trying day when the first thing Wyatt said to me this morning when I told him to bring his muffin to the living room to watch Clifford was, "Muffin too heavy, mommy." And so began a day of 3 crying children--I'd almost believe the twins knew Wyatt needed more attention today and decided they weren't going to let him have it! Wyatt only has 101 fever and no real symptoms other than not as much energy, a longer nap, not wanting to eat much, and a slight runny nose. No doctor will give me anything for that, so why bother? By the afternoon, he wanted to go outside, so we went...only to have a 2-year-old FIT because the wind was blowing his hair around--"Hair mess up, Mommy!!!" So, I explained that was ok because the wind was blowing my hair, too, but that didn't 'fix the problem. Instead, every time the wind would kick up, Wyatt would run to the other side of the carport, I guess to outrun the wind and keep it from messing up his hair, and he kept repeatedly telling me to "do something." Yeah--now my child thinks I'm God and can control the wind. Do something!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fever

Wyatt has 102.4 fever. I'm a worried mommy tonight. He had the flu shot, so I'm hoping it's not flu. It just came on this afternoon--he was rather whiny today and didn't eat as much, but it's a Monday, and Mondays are always bad because Sundays are hectic between church and family & Mondays are dedicated to 6 solid hours of washing and household stuff while my mother comes over to help watch the twins. One week without snotty, running noses, and now here comes round 2 of something else. Too late for all of us--he's been kissing me and the babies all day long. I guess that's the price I pay for having a very loving child.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why the Whale?

I've been asked why I'm making a 28" long whale. My mother's church holds a Ladies' Tea each year, and my mother always does the little girls' table. I help out each year, and in recent years, my sister in law Liza has helped out, too, which is good since our one table expanded to 2 tables last year. This year's theme is "transportation." I didn't like the theme--planes, trains, busses just don't sound like little girl fun. So, Doug said, "Why don't you do Jonah and the whale?" since God provided the whale as Jonah's transportation to Nineveh. I thought that was kind of neat, but we needed a big centerpiece, and no matter what Doug thinks, I don't know of any party store selling a huge whale that is not some cheaply made but way overpriced, ugly blow-up thing. And therein lies the impetus to build my own whale. On Saturday, I spraypainted it black & added one of those sparkly blue fountain centerpieces from the party store to mimic the water spray from the whale's blowhole, and it looks awesome. When I added the fountain, Wyatt said, "Ohhhh." At least my 2 year old approves. I don't have the final picture, but I'm posting the "in process" pictures from waterbottle stage to covered-in-paper-machee page. I'll post the other picture whenever I get the whale back from my mother's house. My costs so far? 50 cents for 2 bottles of glue, $2 for a couple bottles of black spray paint, $2.50 for the blue fountain centerpiece, free old water bottle, old newspapers & diaper box for cardboard, some duct tape I already owned, and about 12 paper plates--not bad, huh, that is, if you need a whale. :-)


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Back in God's Classroom

Today I got taught a lesson you'd think I'd know by now--God must want to just hit himself on the head sometimes and say, "Will she never learn!!" The third Sunday of each month, I go to the local nursing home to play the piano for our little "church service." I usually play 3 or 4 songs and somebody gives a mini sermon to the 25-30 people who come into the large dining room with us. But, this Thursday, the woman in charge called and gave me a list of 10 songs to play. So, I was grumpy about that because that's a lot of songs to learn in 2 days (even if I did already know how to sing them), and 2 of them had 4 flats! For me, playing the piano is not a gift;it's just something I can do. It doesn't come naturally to me and never will. And remember, I'm in the middle of making a 28" long, 12" high whale--sticky paper machee and piano keys don't mix. I was also grumpy because my wrist has been giving serious problems for a month, going numb all the time and hurting a lot, so I've been wearing a wrist brace for a week.

By Friday, I thought about just not going this month, but I knew that wouldn't fly because a commitment is a commitment. This morning, I woke up today with my hand hurting again because of having to practice yesterday without the brace on. Needless to say, I needed a good attitude adjustment before leaving my house this morning. I could think of so many reasons I didn't want to go--my kids and husband were having a nice breakfast with some family friends at Oma's & I wanted to be there; my hand hurt; I wanted to sleep in an extra half hour instead of primping. But, I get in Doug's jeep to drive to the nursing home because my van is all decked out in kid carseats. When I go to close the door, I'm not used to the jeep door's curving in so much at the bottom, and the bottom corner slams into my knee, so now I'm not only grumpy but am bleeding and my knee is turning beautiful shades of blue & swelling. Yep--major attitude adjustment needed at this point.

I hobble into the nursing home, play 9 songs, and then I play the "Battle of the Hymn Republic" (ALL 5 verses) because that's what this one man requested last time. At the end, he is joyously grinning from ear to ear & he gives us a piece of paper on which he's written in a child-like scribble, "God knows each one of us better than we know ourselves." Maybe that doesn't speak to you at all, but it just caused me to stop. God knows all my problems, all the reasons I wanted to stay home. God knew when he asked me to take this position that it would involve some small sacrifices & since He knows me so well, He knew that I'd need a reminder that my heart needed to be in that sacrifice. When will I ever learn......

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Whale of a Tale

My husband never knows what he's going to run into when he calls on his way home from work. To any government agency listening in on the line, our phone conversation this evening would have seemed crazy...or like we were talking in code. To him, it's just another day at our house: "Hey wifey. What are you doing?" "Walking around the house looking for something that looks like a whale." "Okay..." "I'm thinking the 5-gallon Abita water bottle that I use to clean out the fish tank looks like a whale." Then, his first words after walking in the door weren't "What's for dinner?" but instead, "Ahh, I see we're in the whale-making business." Our kitchen floor was covered with a cardboard diaper box cut in pieces, a box cutter, the aforementioned 5-gallon water bottle that I was wrangling, some seriously sticky duct tape, paper plates, scissors, an entire Saturday newspaper that I'd torn into strips for paper machee, and the twins in their carseats as they fusssed at me for daring to do something that didn't involve holding them. After working on the whale all evening, I asked what he'd do if he needed a huge whale for some event. His reply: "I'd go to the party store."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rainy Afternoon

I never before understood why people disliked rainy days. Before kids, rain meant hopes of a nap & a cup of hot tea. Now, rainy afternoons don’t hold such wonder or anticipation because they mean 3 kids stuck inside when two of them would prefer to be in the outside swing & the third would love anything involving four wheels and rocks from the driveway. And might as well not even brew the cup of tea---it’ll either get cold while I play with the babies or Wyatt will want it. Whoever heard of a 2-year old who says “yummy” to herbal tea anyway! I wouldn’t trade my children for anything…but I’d sure like to hit the pause button on them some days. And the mute button, too.

Starting Out

Another blog by somebody who is a nobody as far as the world is concerned. My heavenly Father knows my name, and that’s enough for me. Besides, the last few years have cured me of any minuscule part that ever might have desired an amount of fame. So, why do I bother? Do I have that much time on my hands? No. But I have so many family and friends who are dots on a very big world map, and every day that passes, it seems like I know less and less about them & they know less and less about me. Even though technology has made communication easier over time, it’s just become too easy to let our busy lives pass us by and not share our lives with those we love. I want to be more than just a dot to you, my friends & family, and the only way I know of to keep up with you all is for me to start a dialogue. So, this blog is my attempt at dialogue. Wales, North Carolina, Californa, Texas, Michigan, Mississippi, Slidell—I love you all.