Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rejoicing with Cannonballs

The golden sun has been shining a little too brightly the last two weeks. Even though we've been blessed with afternoon showers, once the sun pushes aside the storm clouds, it concentrates its heat once again on the earth below, scalding the plants.

Half my inpatients are dead. The periwinkles aren't too far behind. Suffice it to say I have not been thanking God for the sun and the heat.

But then a few weeks back, Andrea over at A Parson's Wife wrote a convicting post about gratitude. Ever since then, it's like God has been the kid sitting in the desk behind me, continually poking me every time I have a negative thought about the heat and whispering 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 in my ear: "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks."

So, last week, I invested in some rejoicing and giving of thanks in the form of a very small Wal-mart swimming pool.

CANNONBALL!!! Now that is a face that's giving thanks for the heat. Amazing how children seem to intrinsically how to make the best (and worst) of any given situation. There's no middle ground with them. Maybe I'll take some pointers.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Foodie Funnies

The Food Wars have begun at the Dorhauer household! Who will get to eat? Who will starve? Who will lock herself in a closet with a box of chocolates?

Round One was last week when Amelia ate an entire tomato. SCORE: Amelia: 1 Emerson: 0.

In Round Two, Amelia and Emerson demonstrate their new found talent of eating Cheerios by themselves! Amelia has perfected the pincher motion, so whatever she grabs, she eats! But then Emerson swoops in with a fist grab, trying to confuse his adversary by spilling the bowl's contents on the floor as he stuffs a few in his own mouth. It's eat or be eaten in this battle!

And the winner is....Emerson! If there's no Cheerios left in the bowl or on the floor, he'll just eat the bowl!
SCORE: Amelia: 1 Emerson: 1

And in the next round, mommy is trying and failing to eat supper! Two well-fed babies see food entering her mouth! Gasp! Mommy fakes left, goes right, stuffs corn cobs in four grubby little hands, and she scores! Silence reigns at the dinner table for the remainder of the meal.
SCORE: Amelia: 2, Emerson: 2, Mommy:100

The fighters are all exhausted, but there's still two rounds to go! Amelia crawls across the kitchen floor to Wyatt who then runs swiftly down the hall to find mommy diligently trying to put away two weeks worth of laundry. "'Melia took my sandwich!" Yes, you heard it right here folks! He just let her take it and then came to tattle! What? Where's the child who used to yank stuff away from her? He'd better change his game plan if he wants to win this battle. Amelia scores again, smirking as she shows off her stuffed mouth and fist full of peanut butter.
SCORE: Amelia: 3, Emerson: 2, Mommy: -50.

But in the last round, Wyatt comes from behind to show he's the champion of them all! "I smell poo poo....Oh 'Melia! You pooed in your underwear! 'Melia have no treats!" How could we forget? When you potty in your underware, you don't get any treats.
SCORE: Amelia: 3, Emerson: 2, Mommy: -50, Wyatt: 100

And there you have it, folks. If you want to win in the Food Wars, you have to be prepared to eat the bowl, confuse with corn cobs, snatch and stuff, and keep your underwear clean!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

If I Were Invisible

This week, all three children have been sick with something that gives them a low-grade fever and light red polka dots covering their little bodies, maybe "Fifth disease." At times like this, I really miss my old job where I could drive to the office, focus on my task, and escape baby drool, toddler throw-up (yes, 3 times this morning), diarrhea, and lots of crying. More than that, I find it hard to be "invisible."

I can see it in other working moms' faces when they ask me what I do. "Oh....you stay at home." Never mind the second half where I said I WORK from home.

One of my students got my attention today when he described a literary character as "merely a homemaker." Yes, "merely." Mothers who have chosen to be solely housewives do not get the respect they deserve--period. But I, too, get lumped together with them as "merely" a housewife even though I hold down a full-time teaching load from home.

Perhaps a daily, grueling commute to the job-site is what is required to be considered a true laborer.

I have visions of such an office, a sanctuary, with all my favorite English quotations and literary art surrounding me, my fountain pens and ink bottles lined up in a row just waiting to bleed on some poor unsuspecting student's paper. My bookshelves are stacked carefully with each text ready at my fingertips, and my desk is covered with towering stacks of folders containing students' compositions. I calmly inhale the fresh scent of paper, put on a pot of tea, and open a pen to begin the grading task.

My current "office" is quite different--a couch with a permanently deflated center cushion sits in the midst of Thomas trains, Curious George books, baby rattles, assorted blankets, sippy cups, and three cats. At my "desk," I'm constantly snatching the laptop's cord away from the babies or trying to save the stack of textbooks perched precariously on one end from being torn as Wyatt climbs up to see me. I'm always in search of an ink pen, there is no calm silence except for after dark, and there is usually no tea--if there is, it will grow cold before my lips touch the cup's rim...or Wyatt will drink it.

The problem is there are also no visible signs that I'm "working." You see, everything about my life--teaching online and being a housewife--is invisible. I teach more classes than I did when I worked full time, but now, I never see a student's face. I "talk" to students via email or discussion postings. I receive, comment on, and return papers via a touch-screen laptop. Even my paycheck is direct deposited into my bank account! My paying job is merely a series of dots and dashes in a computer's memory. (And it's not nearly as satisfying to click "send" and return a set of papers to students as it is to lug a huge teetering stack of folders to class and watch the theater of emotions play out before my eyes.)

My non-paying job is just as invisible. The food I cook quickly disappears. Clothes magically appear clean in drawers. There's no record of how many books I read on a certain day; how many songs we sang; how many hours I've clocked on the road doing "errands" or taking the kids to play dates, church, or doctor's appointments; how many minutes I spent snuggling this child or kissing that child after she took a tumble.

And in the midst of my late-afternoon sob session, it's like God said, "But I see. I see every diaper you change, every time you lovingly caress your child's face, every time you sing "Jesus Loves Me," every sacrifice you make that goes unnoticed. 1 Peter 3:4 tells me: "but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God" (my italics).

Later tonight, I found a book entitled "The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees." You need to watch this clip of Nicole Johnson's performance. Nicole says of being invisible, "It is the cure for the disease of self-centeredness. It is the antidote for my own pride. It's ok that they don't see." This is obviously next on my "to read" list.

Thank you God that you see, that nothing I do is too small, too inconsequential to be invisible to you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Passport Predicament

Who would have ever thought that the war on terror in America would result in infants needing their own passports! Yes, to merely enter Canada! So, guess what I need to visit Toronto in August?

The picture taking was the hard part. Imagine taking 2 inch square photo pictures in front of a white screen at Walgreen's. Now add in two bouncy 8-month-old children who skimped on their morning naps + a 2-year-old who wants to run up and down the aisles because this store is cool and has toys! Are you laughing yet?

Now imagine having to get a perfect head shot of those three children--no hands in front of the face, no profile picture, no "I can see up your nose" shots. Oh, and did I forget to mention the white screen doesn't touch the floor so you have to hold up Amelia up in front of the screen while not letting your hands show in the picture?

It took 45 minutes to just take three acceptable photos.

That was yesterday. Today, I had planned to deliver the completed applications, birth certificates, and notarized forms with Doug's signature (since only I would be there to sign in person). We drove to the main post office downtown, loaded the sippy-cup-holding twins in the stroller, and hurriedly defied the heat advisory and record high temps to sweat our way across the scorching concrete. My skin literally felt like an egg on a griddle.

Maybe it was the sight of three kids or the rush of hot air into her well-air-conditioned sanctuary, but the lady behind the desk did not seem happy to see me and my three precious darlings. Beyond her was the door to the passport office, but she was determined I wasn't getting there without the proper answers. It was like she was there to protect some ancient relic in an Indiana Jones movie rather than just another middle-aged woman sitting behind a desk full of packages.

Nope, dad wasn't here, so I couldn't get the passports.

I explained I had the notarized forms and got a raised eyebrow--apparently, this was something most people didn't do. Me? I had read the government website backwards and forwards--I would not be turned back from the quest. Original birth certificates? Check. Completed applications? Check. Photos? Triple check. I finally won her approval: "Sign on in."

As I entered the passport room, I felt as if I were walking on hallowed ground. Where many had been turned back before, I had been allowed to pass. $255 later and several threats about not getting to go to Chick-Fil-A if a certain someone didn't stop hiding behind the cubicle wall, running, playing with the dividers, chewing on string found on the floor, etc., and we were out!

In 6 weeks, three very expensive booklets should be sitting on my desk, proof of success.

All I could think about is I'm sure this is not what God intended. The need for passports most certainly originated at the Tower of Babel when God confounded their plans to be unified for an evil purpose. Can you imagine Moses saying, "Uh, we can't go to the land of milk and honey. No--giants aren't the problem. We can't get our passport. They won't take cash and the only place to get a money order is back in Egypt."

I wonder if God even sees lines on a map, borders, or if he just sees earth like those pictures from outer space--wide expanses of green land and blue water?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Going Home

Monday started at 7 am when I awoke to the sound of a whistling crew of six men out my back door ready to replace one of those towering electric poles that was damaged in last year's hurricane. Since I put my children down to sleep at 9 pm and my head doesn't hit the pillow till 1 or 2 am on most nights, this was an omen that this day was going to be bad.

And it was.

I quickly discovered Wyatt had wet his bed, Amelia and Emerson both were already in bad moods because of their erupting top teeth (and accompanying low-grade fevers and upset tummies), and I needed medicine, myself, but the doctor wasn't in until 9.

By 8, the auger was up and running, efficiently making a hole behind my gardenia bush for the new pole. As soon as I stepped out back, the man running the huge auger started motioning at me. Nope--I wasn't about to walk out there with Wyatt attached to my knees and a baby on each hip. Can you imagine what Wyatt would do if I had no hands to stop him? I can--he would be right in the middle of such manly action! So, since I wasn't budging, a very nice man came over, introduced himself, shook my hand, and politely informed me they had knocked on my door (sorry, I don't answer in my nightgown!) and that my power would be out for at least 2 1/2 hours.

Huh? No electricity for how long? In over 100 degree heat? With Amelia's diaper rash? With the pee-soaked sheets and stuffed monkey stinking up the house? Not gonna happen. I immediately loaded everyone into the van, laundry basket full of pee sheets, monkey, and all... and drove to my mother's house.

Where else do you go when you're having a bad day? Home.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tomato Tales

If a tomato falls on the kitchen floor and no one is around, does anybody hear it?


Amelia's super-sensory hearing works to her advantage this time. She not only hears, but she also uses her new-found crawling ability to go from the living room to the kitchen to eat said tomato. Nothing was left but the outer skin.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Perfect Timing

I once read somewhere that God's timing perfect--He is never late and He's definitely never early. But sometimes He sure seems to be running late...and other times, He seems to be a no show. For those moments, it's only in hindsight (sometimes years later hindsight) that I understand His perfect timing. In some instances, I still don't understand His timing.

But this is not one of those moments.

My parents have been talking about driving to Michigan to visit my Grandma. I've felt irrationally compelled to go show her the babies, but that's just too far to drive. Then, a couple weeks ago, some family members went on a vacation to Disney World. I felt a twinge of jealousy. The last straw was when I heard that other family members might be going to Hawaii this fall. At that, I piped up and said, "God, what I need is a vacation." I had visions of my little ones eating sand on the Alabama beach. And that was that.

I didn't mean for Him to really answer that request.

It wasn't important enough to pray about.

It was just one of those spur of the moment sentences sent heavenward. You know--the kind that make people look at you funny because there's no one around for you to be talking to. And if you try to explain, "Oh, it's ok. I'm not crazy. I'm just talking to God," they still act like that's nuts because talking to God should only be done on one's knees in a closet.

Well, yesterday, Doug comes home telling me about this 4 day training he needs to attend and it's only offered in Toronto, CA. Do I want to go, too? Huh? I can't wrangle 3 kids alone in a foreign city. Maybe my mom can go. What? Toronto is only 5 hours from my Grandma's house? And my daddy wants to go, too?

So, 5 plane tickets later, I'm getting my vacation the last week of August.

I think I'm crazy.

I don't know how to pack for 5 instead of for 3. I don't know how to entertain small children in confined spaces! I can see it now: I'm going to be the one receiving death stares on the plane as my twins cry and Wyatt barks like a dog.

But I'm thankful. So thankful. God was listening. Even to some statement I hastily made to Him. He listened. How amazing is that?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Do You See What I See?

I know it's hot, but put on a hat, a good dash of sunscreen and come walk around my yard with me. It may not look like much compared to the meticulously groomed lawns you've seen before, but it holds many treasures.

You see, when I look at the flowers I coax into growing and blooming, I don't just see a flower. I see God. And since I'm watering them most days now, I see God a lot. God's word speaks to me through His creation. Come, let's take a look.

Here's Wyatt with some night roses; we usually miss their blossoms because they pop open suddenly after dark and close each morning with the rising sun. They remind me of the parable of the 10 virgins and of our coming King: "But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'...Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour" (Matt. 25:6,13).

And here's my hydrangea. Did you know the flowers can be pink or blue depending on the PH of the soil it grows in? Soil can affect a plant's proper growth, just like in the parable of the sower: "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Matt. 13:23).

This is a variegated ground cover. I can't seem to recall its name just now, but it thrives out here in the sun by my front walk. It reminds me of what the throne room of God will look like in Heaven, filled with a multitude of variegated peoples: "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,'Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb'” (Rev. 7:9-10).

Here's the volunteer tomato plant that sprouted when I was pregnant. It miraculously survived the winter in the greenhouse with me watering it only when I remembered (which wasn't often with newborn twins). Wouldn't you love a taste? So far, Wyatt has eaten every tomato. God expects me to plant myself in Him and grow fruit, too: "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked...But his delight is n the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers" (Psalm 1:1-3).

Oh, this is my day lily--a freebie with some basil seed my mother in law gave me. I only get to enjoy the blossom for one day before it's gone. God's word is the opposite of this flower: "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever" (Is. 40:8).

Here is my rose bush that I had to patiently wait on for three years before it bloomed. It calms me when I want to ask God why He doesn't come back now to take us all home to heaven: "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

And here is my Amelia Rose, one of the flowers I've labored the hardest for: "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them" (Ps. 127:3-5). With three such precious flowers, my "quiver" (or vase) is full.

I'd really like to take a walk with you around your yards, too. What does our Lord show you? What words does He speak to your heart? I don't think I know enough bloggy people to make this a contest, but if you'd like to take us on a walk with you, too, I will give you all until Wednesday of next week (June 25), and hopefully by then, I'll have several of you participating so I can post a link to your blog posts. Just email the link to me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ALL Creatures Great & Small?

Posted prominently on the walls over the twins' cribs are the fabulous words of Cecil Alexander : "All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings."

When I have the chance to just stop and think of how magnificent are the perfect workings of a human body, much less the rest of creation, I'm speechless and in awe. But, though God's creation is magnificent, there are several "great and small" creatures I could do without. Many send this farm-mama scampering for a hoe, a shotgun, or a good ole can of bug spray.

We're in a pretty serious drought right now in Louisiana. If I don't water every other day, the plants suffer, which means the animals (and bugs) suffer, too...and they start seeking out water, which just so happens to be plentiful inside my house. Like during most dry summers, I've been waiting for the ants to start marching one by one into my house.

And it's started.

This week, I've seen a spider by the tub and a wood ant in the windowsill, so with Amelia crawling, I've been on high alert. This afternoon, I thought I saw a shadow out the corner of my eye, but then Wyatt marched in the room (minus underwear again), and I forgot to go check.

Fast forward two hours, and I leave Amelia and Emerson on the kitchen rug to run Wyatt some bath water. When I come back, Amelia is perfectly happy, hand in her mouth. I thought she had found one of the Cheerios Wyatt dumped on the floor this afternoon.


Did I investigate?

Nope. Bad mommy.

On my second pass through the kitchen, I thought it odd that her hand was still in her mouth. This time I stopped to check.

It was a roach.

She had bitten it in half.

UGH!!!!! Amelia!!!

I'm rethinking those words stapled above her bed. It seems she's reading a little too much into Alexander's words. I'll have a chat with her tomorrow about roaches not really being a "wonderful" enough part of God's creation to eat.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Anatomy 101

Had someone told me I would spend the past 2 1/2 years focused on a piece of anatomy I don't personally possess, I would have laughed. Then, God sent me two boys and the preoccupation with the penis began.

It started even in the hospital with meticulous instructions about cleaning the plastibel after they circumcised my two sons. Then, at Wyatt's first two doctor visits, I had the embarrassment of seeing my little darling not only spray a perfect arc as he lay on the scales, but hit the wall with that arc. Within days of being at home, I learned to perfect the 2 second diaper change if I didn't want to have to wash the sheet, bumper pad, dust ruffle, outfit, wall, and floor....then, Doug would do a pre-dawn diaper change to let me sleep in and I'd end up washing it all anyway.

It was in these early moments that I knew this small appendage was going to cause me problems and that it just really didn't need to see the light of day more than 10 seconds in a 24 hour period. Now days, I see it all too much as my eldest's naked hiney runs to find me wherever I am (with company, eating lunch, on the phone with students): "Mommy! I pee pee! Wanna come see it?"

Who knew a penis could make pottying so difficult! Should he sit down? Should he stand up? What if he wants to do both? I never imagined designating an old towel the "pee pee towel" to help clean up what didn't make it inside the bowl.

Lately, even a large percentage of the words I speak during the day are instructions for what can and cannot be done with a penis: "No, you can't pee in your castle....not on mommy's flower bed either. WOAH--you're shooting pee on the rug; hold it down...NO not that far down; you're peeing on your underwear! ...Get back inside! You forgot to put your undies back on...No, quit pulling it through your underwear's pocket--it needs to stay inside Thomas."

And then the most recent fun is anatomy lessons. "No, mommy doesn't have a penis. See. Amelia doesn't either. No! You don't need to feel to make sure! And leave mommy's pants alone--you don't need to check and see either."

One day, this will all be funny. But at this moment, I'm wondering how many models God went through in His mind before He came up with this model.

Friday, June 12, 2009

One Hot Day

The weather down south is no longer pretending to be refreshing and cool. Just stepping out the back door takes me to my own personal, God-provided sauna. I knew it was hot when I stood next to a roaring fire and couldn't tell much of a temperature difference.

And what does my family do when it's hot? Nothing sensible like stay indoors and run the wheels off the air conditioners. No. Two grandparents, 3 kids, a mommy, and an uncle dip themselves in sunscreen, pack like well-oiled sardines into a mini van, and drive 45 minutes to visit the zoo...to eat ice cream, of course. And a fun, exhausting time was had by all.

But on a serious note, if you get a chance, pray for us some rain. Our earth is dry and needs to drink again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Confessions of a Veggie Lover

We were not going to be one of those households. We were supposed to be a Max Lucado's Hermie & Wormie household. Veggie Tales was a curse word. Ugh. Talking vegetables? How stupid. A dumb looking cucumber? Not on my TV.

And then I got pregnant with twins.

I knew I'd need something special for Wyatt to do when I had to spend time exclusively with the babies. So, I started collecting Christian VHS tapes that my favorite thrift store sold for a $1.48 with the box or a quarter without the box--(and honestly, who needs yet another cardboard box to be misplaced, shredded, stomped on, torn, taped, and chewed on?)

I ended up with around 20 Veggie Tales tapes and a half dozen Hermie and Wormie's. Turns out, this was a good idea because two weeks before I went on total bed rest last September, Wyatt was moved up to the 2-year-old Sunday School class and suddenly began having separation anxiety that left him crying for mommy all through Sunday School and worship service. He hated the new room and was inconsolable. What saved us all? Veggie Tales. His teacher would get him started watching a video, and he would calm down. Eventually, he grew out of it.

Then, I started watching Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber with Wyatt. And I admit it, I'm an addict. I don't care. I'm outing myself before the news media gets wind of it and seeks to ruin my good ever-grammatically-correct English professor name. It's gotten so bad that when I ran across a set of toys for 79 cents at the thrift store today, my eyes sparkled and I was squealing like someone who had just won the lottery!

Ever heard the "Song of the Cebu"? What about "Barbara Manatee"? "The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps"? "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything"? "The Dance of the Cucumber"? If not, click through to watch them on YouTube. You've really been missing out. This is word play at its best: honest, clean humor that just makes you giggle (or chuckle if you don't admit to giggling hysterically).

And while enjoying the humor, it's just neat to see how they turn Bible stories into something entertaining for the very young (and the not so young). Our favorites? Josh and the Great Wall, King George & The Ducky, and The Ballad of Little Joe. Sometimes, the characters even make fun of themselves, like when the Pea Phillippe asks Pea Claude: "Won't you join me in my little irritating song?"

The twins know the theme song to Veggie Tales, Hermie & Wormie, Super Why, and Strawberry Shortcake. This anti-TV mama has made peace with an hour of Super Why/Clifford in the morning and an hour in the afternoon of some video.

If you are gasping in horror that my 7-month-old twins watch TV, then I will gladly welcome your help any day: on these 97+ degree summer days where you can't go outside because the humidity is 150%, I give the best of you 48 hours before you, too, are desperately turning over all the couch cushions or pulling up the rugs to find the remotes.

As for me? I've learned that my house is big enough for caterpillars and talking vegetables to abide under the same roof.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Steady Fire

During last year's major hurricane, a gigantic, towering pine uprooted and crashed to the ground. That was almost a year ago, but still, the massive tree trunk lies unburnt on the ground. I can't remember how many times I have stacked large mounds of limbs, small logs, and brush around the trunk to start raging fires with flames leaping heavenward. And yet once the small stuff burned up, the trunk remained, each time just a bit more charred than before.

Sunday evening, my husband lit the fire again just to burn up the limbs surrounding it. But, to our surprise, this time, the log started burning, and small flames have been slowly consuming it ever since. My house is now the one sending out smoke signals 24 hours a day.

Watching this fire for 4 days has made me think about how at different points in my life, this is a picture of my heart for Jesus. I'm like that log--sometimes, I just sit there, not catching on fire no matter how many Christian worship songs I listen to, how many sermons I sit through, how regular my prayer life is, or how many Bible studies I hungrily consume. The musicians, the pastor, the Bible study writers--they're all flames licking at my bark, but while I may get a little scorched on the outside, my heart remains relatively untouched. Other times, I quickly catch their fires only to just as quickly burn out. Then, only the smoke is there to remind me that I almost found my passion for Him again.

I wait, sometimes days, sometimes weeks, and sadly, sometimes months. At times, I'm certainly dry enough to burn for Jesus, but nothing seems to spark just right. And then, when I least expect it, when I'm not really trying hard to light my heart, that's when it happens.

A word. A thought. A Psalm. A story. A miracle. I'm learning that God works at lighting my soul on fire for Him more through what the world would consider small, insignificant things than anything big or noteworthy.

So, where am I now? After 13-hour days filled with 2 infants and a toddler crying, screaming, being rebellious (and everything else negative about kids under age 3), I'm finding it's just so hard to keep that fire going. It sputters and flickers all day long beneath an open fire hydrant filled with the pressures of my full-time-stay-at-home-mom job and my paying one.

But, if I take another look at the log, I see something different--it's steadily burning: not a "wow" kind of fire, but burning nonetheless. That's me.

Even with my all-consuming motherhood, wife, teacher roles that seek to extinguish my fire, I am still on fire for Jesus. I continue to dwell in Christ, to think on Him, to remain in His word, and to speak with Him.

When I feel discouraged, that I'm not accomplishing much for Jesus, that I'm not making much of a difference even through blogging, that I'm not as passionate for Him as I'd like to be because I'm just so worn out from crying children...at times like these, I just need to keep feeding the fire, to just keep burning slowly for Him until this trying phase of my life has passed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Spirit of Courage

I've read the stories: the murderous, baby-stealing Freecycler and the Craigslist killer. My mom is always the first to warn me. And then there was my Uncle who was terrified when I found free cardboard moving boxes for his daughter. I'm not reckless, and I'm not stupid enough to believe that all mankind has a genuinely benevolent spirit. Yes, I take precautions like always taking someone with me for a pickup. But, I still continue to utilize both groups.

I think God expects me to accept that evil is merely a part of the fallen world in which I live; yet, to live with a spirit of courage that He is in control. If I lived each moment in fear of the potential for evil in each person I met, I would live defeated . The battle against the world's evil would be lost without my sword even being unsheathed. I am called to live in the world yet not be of the world, and that means trusting that no one can harm me without God's approval...and praying that God will give me a sense of discernment any time something is amiss.

What I fail to understand is why the newspapers never report how eco-friendly these groups are or how fabulously generous many of these beautiful people are. There will always be evil people, but I know from several years of Freecycling and Craigslisting that most people who are giving something away or are selling something online have a desire to see the item used versus tossed; have good, generous hearts; want to make a little money from a dust collector; or just want to rid themselves of the clutter!

The fruit of others' generosity has blessed me a hundred fold, especially in the past 2 1/2 years I've been seeking to provide clothes, furniture, toys, and food on a thrifty budget for my 3 little munchkins. I can never give back enough to feel like I've balanced the scales.

Last week, I was blessed yet again with a caterpillar swing--as you can see, I can keep both twins happy simultaneously!! They love it, and so does Wyatt because he wants to push (less than gently). I was so thrilled because I wasn't about to pay the $70 + $30 shipping that Ebay wanted.

So, when I happen to catch another negative news feed that relates story after story of all the evil that surrounds me, all I have to do is look in a different direction to see the kindness and generosity that still lives in individuals' hearts.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Pile of Ash

Back yard weenie roasts, ice cream cake, brownies, "don't hit the fire with the football!", tire swing rides, and daddy showing off his new flame thrower--aah, my kind of party! My family doesn't really need an excuse to get together, but a graduation and two birthdays in one month are sure to rate a huge desire for a party.

My childhood is filled with memories of my five first cousins and me getting together for similar occasions... and not merely because they lived next door. Two lived for years as missionary kids on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. The other three trotted around the globe with their mom and military dad. And yet, despite the distance, we still managed to "grow up" together. Over the years, we took several vacations wherever they were located at the time and spent many holidays together here.

Now, the family is all back in the Louisiana-Mississippi area, but today, it seemed different. Or maybe it's just different because as I sit back and watch everyone play with my children, it reflects an image of another set of youngsters playing in the same yard just a few years ago.

This pile of burning logs in my parents' back yard may not look significant, but it is. There have been so many nights spent around glowing embers just talking with family, teaching Doug how to cook the perfect marshmallow, singing in the swing with my mother as we swatted mosquitoes and listened to the bug zapper. It was by this same burn pile one afternoon that my grandfather spoke the last words I would understand from him before he died as he told my mom and me that we would love my baby whether it was a boy or a girl.

In the Bible, the Israelites would set up rocks as altars to help them not forget the significance of some great event. In my family, we have a pile of ash set in the midst of a circle of dirt, which has been hardened by years of fires. And that's more priceless than anything carved out of marble.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I'm so very ready for the weekend, for my hubby to be home to share in the joy that is a household with a sick child. It's truly been a miserable week with Emerson sick. After a 103 temp on Monday and a 104 temp on Tuesday, I spent Wednesday at a 3-hour doctor visit where I suffered (yes, I said that right) through holding a screaming baby through blood work only to conclude that it was "probably a virus, maybe roseola." And lo and behold, today, his fever has been lower and a red rash has been creeping across his skin, so, at least the diagnosis was correct. Now, I just hope Amelia and Wyatt don't get it.

This is one of the times when having one baby would be far more preferable than twins. Poor little Amelia knows she has been slighted as I have tried to comfort a feverish Emerson. Unlike Wyatt who pushes against my bosoms as if to flatten them because they're in his way, Emerson likes to snuggle against me to sleep. And Amelia? She wasn't going to give up mommy time without a loud, very vocal tantrum. The result? The week has been spent with someone crying or fussing at me almost every waking minute.

When does mommy get a turn to cry?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yes, Three of Them

Over the past week, I've ventured out three separate times to "eat out" with all three kids, something I've dared do only once since the twins were born. Two were required family functions with lots of hands to stuff little birds full of cheerios, bread, and whatever else those hands could sneak into open mouths while I wasn't looking.

The funny thing is that at each restaurant, I've watched the welcome crew do a double take when I request "three high chairs." And then comes the scramble. I can almost see their brains swirling: "Do we even have three high chairs? Three? Really? Can't she just hold the babies on her lap? Who in her right mind would bring three small children to a sit-down restaurant? Should we suggest to her that McDonalds is next door? Well, we'd just better stick her in a corner, in the back, in a separate room--anywhere there are few guests."

Behind the smiling politeness, it's ever so obvious that my birthing three kids instead of the 2-child average (plus having the nerve to bring them all at once into their restaurant) means I am now a problem customer.

Most of the parents I see around me are holding their acceptable one or two kids, so apparently, I missed a memo somewhere. My babies are not content to sit--if given half a second, my plate will be in their lap, and wearing my food isn't the fashion statement I want to make today.

On the drive home today, I thought about how restaurants seem to perceive my seating needs as a problem. My mind meandered to an old hymn, one line of which reads, "And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever; / And I will feast at the table spread for me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me / All the days, all the days of my life."

I couldn't help but smile. What an inferior table is set before me here on earth. My Father won't make faces at how many children I bring with me to His table. He will welcome all who serve Him completely with open arms...and I'm sure He will be prepared with as many high chairs as are needed.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Laugh Out Loud

I had the horrid thought today that God could have created us without the ability to laugh. Can you imagine all humankind created with no sense of humor? If you've ever been caught up in a small child's giggles, you know the joy that would be taken from the world.

Without laughter, there's no telling how rough life would be. Sometimes, I have to choose to laugh or get frustrated. Other times, I am left in stitches merely because I saw another person doubled over in laughter--it's catching! Oh to live in a world full of people who daily chose laughter instead of the alternative. Here are some of my recent giggles:
  • Teenager nursery workers on Sunday telling me they fed the twins "early" because "they were starving!" Yeah right--the little con artists.
  • Emerson intensely fussing for attention, then looking over at my mom (who wouldn't pick him up) and smirking once I save him.
  • Wyatt putting a Cheerio in his mouth to break it in half, and then feeding it to Amelia and Emerson like a mommy bird.
  • Wyatt trying to mimic mommy by pressing his fingers to Amelia's eyes (and nearly knocking her over in the process), then saying, "I wipe 'melia's tears."
  • Wyatt suddenly beating Amelia over the head with a cluster of geraniums until all the flowers fall off the stem.
  • Doug calling me from inside the car wash for "help" on Saturday morning when Wyatt panicked and kept screaming, "I WANT MOMMY!!!"
The Bible doesn't expressly say it, but surely Jesus and God laugh. Surely, something so integral to humanity is rooted in the divine. No--you don't want to sit by me in a movie theater. I'm easily amused.