Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Dyson??

Considering my profile at the top left of the main page of my blog says "I don't love vacuuming..." you are probably wondering why I would enter this contest at Five Minutes for Mom. Maybe if I had a Dyson I wouldn't hate vacuuming so much? I'm willing to try anything to become a better vacuumer. I read about the contest when it was first posted and there were only 6 people listed. But now....I think I'm 562. Hmmmm. Still, the chances are better than a contest at the grocery store! Stop by and enter!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Charlie the Banker

The secretary at my dad's office always makes the coffee. She brings the good stuff from home and it's good. She left for a spring break trip and there will be no coffee in the office. I can't take any from home either because our supply is low at home. Just like we have budget rules about coffee we also have general rules about the actual coffee usage. Such as "don't steal the last bit of coffee for work."

This morning I checked my purse for some change so I could stop in at my coffee shop and realized I was a little short. Usually Charlie is good for a quarter or two so I asked him if I could borrow some. For clarification purposes, Charlie gets his change from raiding my purse or from Chad's nightstand in the evenings so the money was techinically one of ours to begin with but he loves to put it in his piggy bank and he's a good sharer (i.e. he pays for ice cream bars at the grocery sometimes) so we leave the taking money thing alone.

"What kind? Circle money or rectangle money?" he asked, tapping his cheek with his finger.

"Just circle. I'll give it back after groceries tomorrow."

"Hmmm....for coffee? I don't think so, Mom. I think you need to talk to Dad about this."

My husband was chuckling from the kitchen, "Guess he told you..."

Spring is Here!

The snow has finally melted and the air is actually warm up here. Apparently it could snow again but for now we'll pretend Spring is here to stay. As with most little boys, the minute the sun peeked out last week Charlie was begging to play outside. It was actually very warm (too warm for winter clothes) so he piled on a couple layers of grubbies and ran outside. I was in the house with the windows open and I could hear him talking to himself and playing elaborate imaginary games. So when he started to yell "Help! Someday help! I'm stuck!" I didn't run out immediately because I thought it was part of the game. Finally he yelled "Mom, help me!" I peeked out the window and saw this:

The snow had a thick layer of crust on top and if you walk carefully your footsteps barely break through. But if you leap into the air and land on your rear there is no getting back up. In the second picture he's telling me "Mom, stop taking pictures! Stop laughing!" I'm pretty sure if I had a little girl this picture taking opportunity would not have come up. Spring is here!

Monday, March 26, 2007


I'm blogging at work which is very bad. Thankfully, I work for my dad and he won't fire me (and we can discuss the ethics of that statement in a much later post).

The receptionist has brought in the best...snack...ever. I don't normally like snacks all that much and I rarely eat chips for that matter. But the inventor of this snack is genius. It's doritos, cheetos, pretzels, and sunchips all in the same bag. Yum. There is a rather large bag in the back and I may have just eaten more than my fair share. You would think I was expecting again the way I love these chips (I'm not).

They're called "cheese fix". How appropriate is that?

Friday, March 23, 2007

The New Pet

We've inherited a cat. Not a kitten, either. A big, fluffy, black and white cat. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. I've never had a cat before so I'm not used to her behaviors quite yet. For example, we live in a small house and already I can't find her. Last night she was hiding behind the computer desk in all the wires which I'm sure can't be good. This morning I've looked pretty much everywhere and so far no luck. Although maybe she's following me around the house...they are kind of sneaky and quiet like that.

We don't have the best track record with hand me down pets. Neither of us had a pet growing up so we don't have that natural pet-loving gene. My husband has a hard time with dogs because they are as big as children but don't neccessarily listen as well. We've had two dogs, a beagle that had to be put down and a yellow lab that went to live on a farm. And unlike what my brother thinks the lab really is on a farm- we aren't just saying that because it's easier than saying he was put down, too. And he's very happy on that farm, thank you.

We are kind of excited about the cat. Cats mind there own business for the most part (hence the reason I still can't find her this morning). And are a little easier to get along with. Hopefully this goes well. Charlie is up now and very concerned that the cat wasn't waiting for him to get up and play. I guess I'll join the cat hunt now, too. I really hope this works out!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The desires of my heart...

Chad and I have started emailing each other. That's kind of a big deal because Chad used to never check his email. Ever. Once a week I'd get in there and tell him he had 100 emails and 3 were urgent from 4 days ago. Finally his dad convinced him life would run a lot more smoothly if he used his email. So he started and now he's hooked. Granted, generally his emails consist of a quick question or a quick answer. For example:

Chad: What's for dinner?

My reply: I think I might try a new chicken dish....guess what happened to me today...and then I was thinking blue for the bedroom...have you seen my white shirt?

Chad's reply: I like chicken. See you at 5.

But yesterday was a little different. I received two emails from him within a 15 minute span and when I opened them I thought he had accidentally sent me something wrong. There were words on the page...lots of them. Paragraphs even. In both emails.

I can't even begin to tell you what they were about. Let's just say the Lord heard a prayer I've been praying silently in my heart for almost two years. Chad had been reviewing his notes for Wednesday night Bible study and was really convicted by what he was learning. I was almost in tears reading about what the Lord had showed him. The first email he told me was about a realization he had. The second email started like this, "Do you ever have a day when you just can't get over how wonderful your life is?"

We have had a rough couple of years. A big move, a new job, a miscarriage, scary health issues...and it's been tough to get back on our feet spiritually. We've been encouraging each other, picking each other up and dusting each other off hoping to get our strength back. Those emails have been a long time coming. If I hadn't been at work when I read them I would have jumped up and down. It's so true that the Lord knows the desires of our hearts and that he'll bring those things about in His time. I could have nagged Chad for these last two years and no good would have come from that. Instead I silently cried out in my heart and the Lord heard me. And for that I am incredibly thankful.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Charlie and Jesus

I think I know where false religions come from. Charlie has made up some pretty good ones. Don't get me wrong. He knows his stuff when it comes to the basics of our faith. He loves the local CEF director in town and when she gave him a copy of his own wordless book he was thrilled. He carries it in his pocket and is determined that his younger cousin Jacob learn that his heart can be "white as snow".

Back to the false religions- we've been talking about Easter lately and trying to associate Jesus with the holiday. Charlie almost has it figured out. "So, mom, the bad guys were there, and Jesus died on the cross, and GUESS WHAT, he didn't stay dead! And I'm so happy because now Jesus can look for easter eggs, too!"

Then last night it was warm enough to go for a walk. There is a beautiful cemetary on our road that is good for walking. I know that sounds creepy but it isn't- it's actually very nice! Charlie wanted to know about all the tombstones so we tried to explain that when people die this is where their bodies go (okay, now that I'm typing that it does sound a little creepy). "Great! Hey Dad? Which one is Jesus?" He decided to call Nana when we got back from our walk and tell her about how we couldn't find Jesus because the bad guys wouldn't let us which at that point I think he was very involved with an imaginary tale involving pirates and buried treasure.

As funny as his comments are it's been exciting to see him work out this stuff himself. Sometimes we correct him (like last night we explained Jesus isn't there because he isn't dead) but most of the time we let him mull over it himself. He has his pastor's kid moments- mostly on Sunday evenings when he has to sit with me in big church. Chad says pastor's kids are a reminder from God to be humble! I'm amazed by the things he knows in his heart- things I haven't even explained to him yet. Last night we were talking before his prayers and he said "Mom, when God sees my heart it's not black with sin, right? He sees Jesus." I want to cry every time something like that comes out of his mouth. Now if I can just convince him there are no pirates in the Easter story...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday afternoon

Sunday's are my favorite day of the week and I'm not just saying that because my husband is a pastor. Because, really, everyday should be a day of worship so I'm not going to cry out "Sunday! Time to praise the Lord!"

Even growing up I was a big fan of Sundays. They feel different than the rest of the week. Everyone is moving a little slower, talking a little quieter, smiling a little more. My parents aren't of the "rest on Sunday" group- in the summer we'd go out in the boat after church. My dad says that WAS rest. We now generally rest on Sundays because my boys are of the napping age and I like to take full advantage of guilt free sit on the couch and rest time. I read, watch home channels or sappy movies, check out the newspaper...relaxing stuff.

I like that Sunday is boxed in with church services. Wake up-go to church-rest-go to church. A good start and a good end to a peaceful day. I'd like to say Sundays prepare me for the week ahead. Wouldn't that be nice? But I have to get up early and get the boys to their cousins' house and get to work. I'd like to look forward to Mondays but I think that's expecting too much of myself.

So, Sundays are my day to recoup from the week behind me and we'll just keep working on the whole "prepare my heart for the new week" thing. I'm still on the lookout for a "how to look forward to Monday mornings" deal....although I'm pretty sure there is no such thing.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oh no...

Henry has found the on/off button to the TV.

At first it was very cute. He toddled up to the tv in his diaper and with his pudgy fingers he pushed the button. When the set lit up so did his face! He looked at me like "Mom! It's magic!" Which of course led to him pushing on/off, on/off, on/off... Finally I told him that was enough and took him into his playroom.

Great. First the cupboards, then the dresser drawers, now the tv. Toddler curiosity is so fascinating- for about five minutes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I have a bad habit of being wrapped up in my thoughts and not paying attention to the world around me. Usually this is the worst when I'm at the grocery store. If I take the boys (ages 4 and 1) plus my budgeted list I have a hard enough time keeping track of what I'm doing let alone the other people in the store.

Last night we were in need of a quickie grocery store trip- one of those 'we're out of milk and I probably should get bread...and fruit...and cereal...and...' so while Chad put the kids to bed I ran downtown by myself. When I walked in the store it was practically empty which is just the way I like it. No crowds, no noise, stocked shelves...peaceful shopping.

The very first aisle I went down I recognized the woman in the aisle. She was an employee and I had actually written her car insurance a month ago. I knew she wouldn't remember me so I thought about smiling and walking by but instead I decided to say hello. I'm not good at beginning conversations. I tend to be awkward and fumble to say the most basic sentences. So I said hello and introduced myself. She smiled and said "I'm so glad you said hello...I had a question about my bill..." I was able to answer her question and I was feeling pretty brave. I found the milk and it was on sale so I put two gallons in my little basket. Immediately I turned to the woman next to me and said "I don't know why I got the milk first, now I have to carry it through the store." She smiled but didn't say anything. Now I have talked to two people. I never do that! I picked up a few more things and then turned down the baking aisle to get some white flour. I stared at the flour thinking about how badly my arm was hurting and how I didn't want to add flour to the basket when I heard a voice behind me. "Why don't you take my cart? I only need these two things and you can't fit flour in your basket." It was the milk lady! My kindness had been repaid! I thanked her and she handed over her cart.

I'm not sure if I'm going to make it a habit now to talk to strangers or anyone for that matter but it sure was nice to have such a positive "people" experience. Sometimes I run into people while I'm out who are rude and unkind and sometimes I run into someone who brightens my day. I want to be like that- I want to be someone who brightens someone else's day. Because when I got home from the grocery store last night I was still smiling.

It's in the budget

I am a serious number cruncher. I love stretching our dollars and reworking our budget. I'm very serious about it and if something is not in the budget we don't do it. Lately Chad and I have been taking a Dave Ramsey class mostly to get on the same page. We are opposites when it comes to money- I'm the big saver and he is the big giver. That's right- he doesn't so much spend our money as give it away. The class has been nice as it makes us communicate a lot more. I write the budget with room for his giving- there is really a line in the budget called "extra giving" for when his bleeding heart comes home and he just has to help someone. It's an awesome quality in him that I definately don't want to squelch - I am just not wired that way!

There is however a very important line in our budget that is not up for discussion. Ever. It's labeled "Coffee." See, every budget allows for a little extra pocket money and it seems that all our pocket money was going to coffee. Every now and then one of us will offer up the suggestion of "maybe we should cut back this one" and the other will most definately say no. We have it set up that way...we've promised each other that if one of us has a moment of weakness the other will stand up and be strong. The thing is, we've tried cheaper brands, different companies, less coffee in general- to no avail. We are happier this way as are the people around us when we are drinking the coffee we so desperately need. In our defense we do make most of our coffee at home and take it in a thermos if we are going somewhere (and I know I said thermos and not travel mug). And really, my husband is a pastor here in our small town and his coffee shop visits are a ministry. He has built some great relationships there. I frequent a different shop and I love that Bridget knows what I want before I tell her. Plus, my father in law frequents my shop as well so she gives my "frequent coffee drinker" card extra punches towards my free cup.

So, even though it sounds like I'm rationalizing or maybe defending our addiction I'm not. It's in the budget.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I used to write...

A lot, actually. I would list it as a hobby whenever that question would come up. Mostly just letters and journaling. I started writing letters to my summer camp friends when I was 10. As time went on and I met different people (college, summer jobs, old friends who moved) my letter writing circle increased. I would even write the mom of one of my college friends- mostly because I loved hearing back from her. She says the most beautiful things in her letters. My senior year in high school I started journaling...daily. I remember thinking that I wouldn't make it another minute without my head exploding when I was 17. I found a notebook and discovered that if I could empty all those things swirling around in my head onto that paper I could breathe again. Journaling was my escape. I would journal so much that I'd go through a journal or two a year from start to finish. Who actually fills a journal? I have stacks of journals spanning a ten year period of my life. High school, college, marriage, moves, my first child...

But then I stopped. It didn't fade out like some hobbies do- I know the exact day I stopped. I had a miscarriage in December of 2005 and I didn't know what to write after that. I wanted to write. I wanted to send letters to my friends and tell them I was okay and I wanted to write in my journal and tell God I wasn't mad. Holding the pen over the paper and staring at the blank page seemed daunting instead of refreshing. There were no words to write what I was feeling and I felt like if I actually wrote about the miscarriage that would confirm that it was true. If I didn't write it down it would be like it never happened.

The truth is I was okay and I wasn't mad. I was in a lot of pain. I've never felt that broken in my life. But, like any major life changing event, it re-shaped my heart and strengthened my faith. The trouble was I couldn't get back into my writing. It took awhile to work through some of my fears. I've bought two journals since and they are still bare. I sporadically send a note card every now and then but they are brief. I'm not sure why. I think it has something to do with getting out of the habit and developing some new ones. I miss writing. My husband and my mom have been asking when I'll write again and I usually shrug my shoulders and change the subject. I miss it but what if I'm no good at it anymore? What if I've become one of those "how are you? I am fine," letter writers? Sometimes I feel like I don't have words in me anymore.

I've decided to jump in with this blog. There is accountability here. I love to read blogs but I especially like to check in with the blogs that I know are updated frequently. I'm going to write and maybe it will be great reading and maybe it will be pretty terrible. But at least I'm writing. And accountable. And it already feels pretty good.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My First Post

In the front of my Bible I've listed verses that I want to remember. I'm awful at memorizing so next to the references I've written three or four words to help me remember. The title of my blog is from that list. I Cor 15:10 says, "By the grace of God I am what I am..." Paul is talking about what a mess he was before Christ and how he's still a mess but by God's grace he is being used to fulfill God's purpose. That's me- a mess but willing to be used by God for his purpose. I am by grace.