Sunday, August 1, 2010

a future

I have been thinking a lot lately of my future. As the kids keep getting older (funny how they do that but I don't) I realize that very soon they will all be living their own lives. Being a mom is really all I know how to do. It has been my identity for the past 20 years and sometimes I feel panic set in when I think about what I might do when there are no kids left at home to take care of. There are definitely some things I am interested in, though, and I wonder if perhaps I might be able to pursue them. For example, I love photography. I also love to write. I could see myself working in a library or, even better, an elementary school library. I could pursue a MN teaching license since my NY license means nothing here but I don't see myself teaching in public schools. A Christian school would be awesome though! Of course my ultimate dream is to own a bakery but that would take funds I do not have. Perhaps working in a bakery?

I don't know the future but I know God promises to have a future planned for me both on earth and in heaven.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The dog days of summer

If you know me at all, you know I am not a fan of summer. I enjoy the break from school for a bit and the freedom to read and bake, but I do not enjoy the heat, constant sunshine and humidity. While I am very thankful for air conditioning, I miss having fresh air blowing through the house. This feeling of blah-ness usually sets in during July and this year is no different. July is a lot like January...long and stuck indoors. The only difference is it is too hot to do anything outdoors instead of too cold. I am sure when school starts again, I will long for the relaxing days of summer gone by.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How does this happen?

I always wanted kids...lots of kids. As it happened, we stopped at four. Twenty years after the first was born, I am glad I did. I am not a very good mom apparently. I have raised a child who apparently has no regard for the feelings of others most of the time. Which of my offspring I am referring to will rename nameless simply to protect others around us as well as the individual from judgement. I will even refrain from using a gender that may give it away. What bothers me the most is I thought I had taught all of them to consider everything before jumping in with both feet. Apparently I have failed. What could be next in this child's line of mistakes and who else might suffer at his/her hands? I don't want to stick around and find out to be honest. If there is a way to detach myself from parenting, I must find it soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Warning: Changes Ahead--Prepare to Brake

I have never been one who is fond of change. In fact, I dislike it very much. I know change is inevitable and you would think I would be used to it after my 40+ years on earth. But I am not.

Now, more changes are coming and they are coming way too fast for me. I was just getting used to Miss Musicwriter being an adult and on her own most of the time. Now, Mr. Well Rounded is exerting his desire for more independence. Even Miss Bookworm is gone tonight to a bonfire at a friend's house. This is leaving me with a very eerie I do not like in the least.

Can I just run away? Please?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What happened to summer vacation?

What happened to summer vacation? Based on the blog updates I have been getting, the concept of summer vacation is as outdated as parachute pants! Why? And when did this change take place?

I realized it fully this past week as I began to read some of the blog updates in my reader. I started to see a theme--a question posed in many of these blogs. That question asked, "What are you planning to do to keep your kids busy this summer?" Excuse me? Did that really read, "keep my kids busy this summer"? As I read blogs and responses to blogs, I started to realize that, apparently, kids do not actually GET a summer vacation anymore. Oh, school is done and homework is non existent, but it seems parents feel the need to plan every minute of their child's summer to ensure their offspring are not bored. What is wrong with boredom?

Thirty some years ago (this makes me sound very old) I was a child. I was blessed to live in a great neighborhood with several other kids close to my age. None of them were exactly my age, but we were all within 2-4 years of each other. All of our moms stayed home. When summer came we played outside...all day, everyday. It was an unspoken rule among all the moms that indoors was off limits. If it happened to rain, we all went into one of our garages to play or to our own homes to wait out the weather. We all had pools and we would spend our days going from one pool to the next to the next. My neighbor across the street, Vinny, he had the best pool. He was the only one with an inground pool and a diving board. Eventually they added a water slide as well. The only problem with Vinny's yard was that he had big scary dogs. We dealt with it though. If we got tired of swimming, we rode our bikes, roller skated, played tennis in the street, or just sat on the lawn and talked. We made forts out of cardboard boxes. We played at the hill. Oh, the tales we came up with for the big, smooth rock that no one could move at the bottom of the hill. We would look for tadpoles in the pond at the bottom of the hill. We would wait for Mr. Softy to come so we could buy ice cream. I sure loved to hear the music of his truck. I always hoped he wouldn't come right at dinner time! We didn't dare tell our parents we were bored. That would get us hard labor in a heartbeat!

Fast forward to today. Today's children get done with school and then start summer school. Now, summer school when I was growing up was a bad thing. It meant you didn't pass your grade and needed to catch up. Now, they don't call it summer school where I live. It is called summer sun block...a block of fun classes held throughout the day so mom doesn't have to deal with the kids at home during summer "vacation". Maybe it is just me, but when our school year ended, the last place I would have wanted to go to in July was school! And I loved school for the most part! Moms fret about planning play dates and all sorts of things to keep their kids busy. I am not saying parents shouldn't do things with their kids. I think that is a good thing, but to micromanage every day so kids are just as busy over the summer as they are during the school year is not doing their children any favors. Boredom causes resourcefulness. It makes a kid be creative and come up with something to entertain them. And before you say that bored kids entertain themselves by getting trouble, remember that usually happens because parents have not been around to teach their children what it means to be respectful of others and their property. We were bored at times but we knew better than to go beat someone's mailbox with a baseball bat.

Summer vacation should be just that--vacation. Time for kids and parents to relax and be creative, spend time together just hanging out as a family, and getting to know others around you. Children who are constantly entertained grow up to be adults who need to be constantly entertained and lack the resourcefulness to find healthy means of entertainment. It can lead to over spending, over eating and a host of other issues in their adult lives. Take back summer vacation and do your kids a favor!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Old cat lady

I think I should have been an old cat lady instead of a mom. When I was younger, my dream was to get married and have many kids. I thought I would be a terrific mom. I envisioned giggles and laughs as I played with my brood of kids and then the squeals of delight I would hear when daddy came home from work and swooped them all up and loved them. Their dad would dote on them while I prepared a wonderful home cooked meal and then we would share happy family time until they went to bed and I spent the rest of the evening with my beloved. POP! That bubble burst and with it, all my dreams and plans. Instead, I married someone who, while not a horrible dad, certainly doesn't show much interest in the kids beyond attending their activities. I seldom have time to prepare nice meals with all the running I have to do. I actually do not consider myself a very good mom at all. I have raised kids who have little sense of responsibility and believe that things should be done for them and handed to them. While they get good grades, we have not been without our share of troubles, both familial and legal, brought on by a few of them. They often have bad attitudes and two of them seem to want nothing to do with God anymore. I am thinking instead of getting married and having children, I should have stayed single and been a crazy cat woman. I could easily take care of 10 cats--much better than I am doing with 4 kids. Cats would love me and only expect love in return. They wouldn't break my heart by doing things they know are wrong. I wouldn't have to worry about them driving or who they marry or why they aren't home when they are supposed to be. I wouldn't have to have my heart broken again and again because I know that I have failed in so many ways as a mom. If only I had been a better mom in the early years. If only I wasn't so hard on myself.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It has been a bit since I have updated. Busy, busy, the words of the mean magician from "Frosty the Snowman". Mr. Well Rounded was a lead in the spring play. He did such an amazing job. The play, "The Diviners", was emotionally taxing for me. It was definitely one that covered the spectrum of human emotion. I found the ending to be terribly sad and I couldn't stop thinking about it. Even now, more than a week after its ending, I still feel haunted by it. A few days after the last performance, the concert band/concert choir and orhestra left for their trip to New Orleans. Mr. Well Rounded was shocked at the immorality of the city, especially that of Bourbon Street. I think, though, he had a good time. I am so proud of him...he has come a long way and has such a tender heart for spiritual things. I wish I could say the same for Mr. Accountant, Mr. Gameboy and Miss Musicwriter. Sometimes I feel as though I battle 3 satans in this house. I spend time in fervent prayer every night, interceding for the above mentioned three. I know God hears and I know he cares. Yet they remain unmoved. This I do not understand. I refuse to give up, though. Lately, my biggest source of frustration has been Mr. Gameboy. He works very few hours, and, while this is beyond his control, he also does nothing to remedy the situation. He needs to start taking responsibility for his future. He is content to sit around and play video games, watch tv or waste time some other way rather than put time into figuring out what it is he wants to do with his life. Yesterday I found myself longing for a conversation with my dad. How I miss his wisdom...and the fact that he could be emotionally detahced yet still love when giving advice. I need some help on how to get Mr. Gameboy to take responsibility for himself yet need to do this lovingly. I know he has a disability but I also know he is capable of many more things than he tries to do. He is lazy I am afraid. Of course, his father's side of the family is noted for its laziness and for many years Mr. Gameboy has watched as his dad screws up and then waits for someone to come rescue him. It is only in the last year or so that Mr. Accountant has learned to take responsibility. And he still has his idols that take place of God (tv, food, soccer). I know I am not perfect either yet at least I feel like I am trying. Yet I am overworked. Homeschooling is a full time job as is keeping up with this house and the kids. Add to that a work project that I am supposed to score 20 hours a week and I am burning out quickly. I pray God sustains me since this is only temporary. Life never is dull and it is forever complicated.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In the presence of the Lord

The Bible says in the twinkling of an eye we will be in the presence of the Lord. That has hit home for me this past week. A dear, dear friend of mine has left this earth to join her Savior is her eternal home. B was 54 years old. She had a humble heart and a gentle and encouraging spirit. She was diagnosed with leukemia in October. Her prognosis was very good. They just needed to do some chemo and get her to a bone marrow transplant. Her brother was a perfect match. The family, her husband, their oldest biological daughter (23), oldest adopted from Romania son (19) and the three Russian adoptees they have had for 5 years (21, 19, 18), were optimistic. The first chemo did not work. Not to worry said the doctors. We have others. The second di not work either. It's okay, they said. The third worked for a very short time and they were gearing up to go to transplant. A few days later it was found that the chemo did not work and that the cancer had spread rapidly...85% of her blood was cancerous. There was no more to do but to send her home to enjoy about a month with her family and a view of their lake. That did not happen either. She died 4 days later after being asleep most of that time. My heart breaks for this family. I love them...I loved B. I will miss her.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

a letter to God

Dear God,

My heart is heavy tonight. The cares of this world have weighed me down. I worry about my health. I worry about my kids. I worry about finances--a lot. There is so much in this life that is worrisome. Sometimes I feel like I am sinking in a quicksand of worry. The more I struggle the faster I sink. You said that your burden is light. Mine is heavy right now, Lord. I realize that so many have much heavier burdens than mine and I shouldn't be complaining. I feel like such a wimp for staggering under the weight of my burden. Yet, to me, it is heavy. Of course, finances are the majority of my burden's weight. There just never seems to be enough money to cover everything that cries to be covered. I have poured myself out for this family and have nothing--literally--left to give. I am definitely at the end of my rope here. I see people--I even know several-- who deny your existence openly yet they are tremendously blessed in this world. I don't desire riches, Lord. I really don't. But it seems so wrong that they prosper and do nothing with their money to further your kingdom. Yet, you continue to bless them. Why? They live in lavish homes, drive nice vehicles, take expensive vacations and live for self. There are people I would love to help, kids I would love to sponsor, but cannot. I know in the end their riches cannot get them into heaven. I get it. Yet, how do I continue down here to lay up treasure in heaven? I have no earthly means to do so. Please, God, please, open my eyes to what I am missing. I have little joy for this journey and I desperately want some.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

a long while

Wow, it has been some time since I have been here. I think about sitting down and writing, and, inevitably, something happens that prevents me from doing so. Usually that something is something that makes me feel grumpy and thereby not feel like writing. This week, especially, has been true in that regard. I did not think I was going to make it through the last two days. It is the closest I have come in a very long time to throwing in the towel. I caught myself thinking seriously about thoughts that should not be entertained. It was a very low couple of days. I feel a slight upward swing today and that is good. I sure would love a vacation though. Just a small break away from all the problems and frustrations that being me brings. Unfortunately, this is not in my future...not the kind of resting vacation I need anyway. We (Mr. Accountant, Mr. Well Rounded and myself) are going to Chicago the end of this month for a college visit to Moody Bible Institute..this is where Mr. Well Rounded has his heart set on attending. I don't think he will have a problem getting in...he has the most faith I have ever seen in anyone---including adults. He is usually a breath of fresh air to me, although I do sometimes get annoyed at the fact that he doesn;t have a job and expects me to drop everything I am ever doing to drive him somewhere or pick him up. But I love him dearly and know God is going to use him mightily. While getting away from here will be good, it still won't be the rest I desperately need. I guess I just have to keep praying that God gets me through each day as it comes.

This morning I have a quiet house to myself...Mr. Well Rounded has a choral jazz festival so he is already at the school, Miss Bookworm is doing foodshelf work today so she is already at the church, Mr. Accountant is at men's Bible study and Mr. Gameboy is asleep and will be for at least 5 hours. I am going to immerse myself in the Scriptures and try to find my needed rest there.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rant on television

Times have sure changed. Of course, change is inevitable. I once read that the only thing predictable about change is that change will happen. It can be seen on earth, in nature, technology and countless other visible testaments that surround us. Some changes are lauded as good. Modern medicine, for example, now has answers to diseases that, one hundred years ago, would have been a certain death sentence. Other changes are criticized as being detrimental. Technological advances that have led to identity theft comes to mind. One change included on the list of detriments would have to be society's increasing love affair with television.

As recently as fifty years ago, television was considered by the majority of Americans to be a treat--something that was not necessarily found in all households and was turned on for a specific purpose such as a favorite show or the local news. There were just a few channels from which to choose and often picture quality depended on the weather. Eating family dinners and family interaction time came before television viewing. How times have changed.

In present day America, with few exceptions, all families have televisions. In fact, families now often have several of these black boxes located throughout their homes. The living room boasts a large screen; the family room sports a flat screen; bedrooms, once a sacred place for privacy and imagination, have now succumbed to the lure of the ever present television set. Some people even have a set in the bathroom! Many kitchens have television sets--after all, if a modern wife has to spend time in the kitchen at all, at least she can watch her favorite talk show. Children as young as four years old have not only a television in their rooms, but a DVD player as well.

Now, before anyone labels me as old fashioned ( a label I actually find complimentary) and legalistic, we do have television sets in our home. This is not by my choice, though, and I would prefer to not have any. Walk into any room that holds a television in a modern American home and you will notice a common factor--the furniture is situated in such a way that it all faces the television set. In times past, the family was the center of the home. That has now been replaced by the lure of the glowing black box. We are provided instant entertainment--movies, sports and the newest passion, reality TV--all at the touch of a button. We can flip through 300+ channels without leaving our seat. While some of this is not a problem in and of itself, the concept behind this addiction to television is loaded with issues.

Millions of dollars are spent in this country on advertising. When a family sits down to catch this week's episode of "The Amazing Race", their home is opened to advertisers competing for their dollars. The Travelocity gnome is searching for a good deal on a vacation and it can only be found by booking with Travelocity. This seems harmless and it truly is--this particular ad. Countless others, though, expose our children and ourselves to alcohol commercials, lingerie commercials (complete with scantily clad women to catch the eyes of the male viewers), commercials for enhancing the size and performance of men during sex, fast food commercials (there is that instant gratification again) and others which I am embarrassed to describe (GoDaddy comes to mind). Thirty years ago, these commercials would not have been given air time nor would families have watched if they were. Now, we view them with our children sitting with us and think nothing of it. Or maybe we do squirm a bit but reason that the advertisement will be over soon and we can get back to watching a show about murdered police (complete with graphics) or the lives of two gay men who adopt a child. Complacency has set in and the television has become an idol worshipped by many families and deemed a necessity in our homes.

In addition to those issues already mentioned, another result of our television idolatry is the disconnect of the family. Dad watches "Law and Order" in the living room, Johnny watches "Phineas and Ferb" in his room, Sally is watching the new "Wizards of Waverly Place" in her room and mom is catching up with the Duggar Family while washing the dinner dishes. The hours from supper to bedtime, once spent talking or playing Scrabble, are now spent separated by walls and doors, the room's inhabitants staring mindlessly at the glowing black box. Sadly, in my home, if the hours spent watching television were compared to the hours spent reading the Bible or some other book, I would be embarrassed to see the comparison. I believe God was serious when he told the Israelites to have no other god before him. This commandment is just as applicable to our lives today as it was to God's chosen ones thousands of years ago. We are similar to this people group in that we make excuses for what we do. "I am tired after working all day and deserve a little me time in front of the tv." or "I can't think straight after a long day to read to you." We need to own up and call this what it is--sin--and confess, repent and turn from it.

To be clear, watching television is not a sin; however, being so addicted to it that we choose it over our relationships with family, friends and God IS a sin. The glowing box has an off button. With a little practice, we can all learn to push it. The more we do that, the easier it will get.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Frugality--Webster defines it as "economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful." I have pondered not just the term but also the lifestyle for quite some time now. I believe with all my heart it is the better way to live. The issue then becomes, exactly how does "living frugally" look to those around me...and to me.

At first I thought living frugally, or living simply, meant denying myself of all things extra. If my shoes had no tread on the bottom (which they do not) but have no holes in them, then they do not need to be replaced. My daughter disagrees vehemently with this by the way. She has been pressuring me for months to buy a new pair of shoes.
"Why?" I ask her. "There is nothing wrong with these."
"Mom," she replies, "If it is raining you almost fall. There is nothing left on the bottom of those shoes. Do you feel me pushing on the sole?"
"They keep my feet dry. That is all that matters."
I still believe my shoes are fine.

Does living frugally mean eating beans and rice and very little meat to not spend as much money? I already do that so if that is part of the concept, I must be on the right track. Or maybe living frugally means making everything from scratch or never eating/ordering out.

Does living frugally mean I tell my son "No" to ALL those extra activities he feels he needs to do. So far this school year we have paid the theater department $210 for his participation in 2 productions; we have paid an audition fee of $20 for All State choir; we have paid over $50 for honor choirs for which he applied and was accepted; we have paid a fee of $20 for tux rental for band; yearbooks will cost over $60; prom will cost close to $100; we have not paid yet but will be required to soon at least $600 for his participation in the exclusive music training program at Macphail in Minneapolis; voice lessons so far for just him have totaled over $200 since July. Come this summer there will be Lone Tree again plus a host of other expenses that come along with having a 17 year old son...who by the way, is so busy with his activities he cannot find time to get or work a job. If I bring this subject up he responds by asking if he should drop leading worship on Wednesdays or Sundays. He knows where to hit. What about the other kids? How do they factor into this? Mr. Gameboy is pretty self sufficient at 20 years old so he doesn't really. But the others still do.

God promises to supply all our needs...not our wants. Do we have a part in this at all? Are we supposed to live frugally in order for God to bless us? I tend to think yes simply because the book of Proverbs has so many verses on money and being wise in our stewardship of it. How, though, after so many years of waste, do we redeem what the "locusts" ate--that is, how do we start anew, the right way, after having spoiled our kids for so long? That is something I certainly do not have an answer least not without a wave of guilt splashing over me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

a debate

A little over a month ago now, a very good friend of mine, a fellow believer, a sister in Christ, became upset with some of my beliefs of the Bible. The issue stemmed from a comment I had made about my back pain. My back pain is caused from a car accident three years ago. I have had several procedures to try to relieve some of the pain but none has worked. My friend encouraged me to go to a woman pastor who claims to have the gift of healing. My response was that while I believe God can heal and occasionally does heal, I didn;t believe that going to a "healer" was the answer. She did not take kindly to my response and some e-mails were exchanged on the topic. I finally decided to drop the subkect--she would not be swayed nor would I. A friend and mentor agreed that this was the best thing to do. Yet, in the weeks that have followed, I have thought often about the issue and have been digging through the Bible as well as archives of good teachers of the Word to enlighten me on the subject. Here is what I have found.

John Macarthur, on his websire Grace to you, has an article on the gifts mentioned in the New testament. He categorizes the gits into two categories--permanent and temporary.

The permanent gifts were those that were used to build up the body of Christ. These gifts are still in existence today. I, however, want to focus on what Macarthur refers to as the temporary gifts. These gifts were given as temporary, and were designed to confirm the words of the apostles and prophets and ceased when their offices ceased.

The temporary gifts are the gifts of miracles, healing and tongues. These were gifts designed for the apostles to use so those they preached to would have physical evidence that they were telling the truth. The New Testament was not written yet so they did not have the Bible for authority...therefore, the apostles needed these things to prove they were legitimately from Christ. Hebrews 2: 3-4 is a reference for this--“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him (the apostles), God also bearing them (the apostles) witness, both with signs and wonders, and with diverse miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit.“ Certain gifts of the Spirit were specifically for the apostles, for the purpose of confirming the Word and establishing its veracity in the minds of people who had no other standard. There was no written Word of God. The standard of the New Testament was not yet in existence, so signs became the confirmation of the Word.

In the early church, the sign gifts were a necessary adjunct to the preaching and teaching of the apostles and early prophets. In fact, there is no indication anywhere in the New Testament that anybody had these gifts other than by the laying on of hands by the apostles. It was a direct ministry geared to the apostles and the initial prophets of the early church. B. B. Warfield says, “These miraculous gifts were part of the credentials of the Apostles, as the authoritative agents of God in founding the church. Their function thus confines them to distinctly the Apostolic church and they necessarily passed away with it."

The church today no longer needs the confirmation that the early church once needed. We do not need miracles as a standard by which we verify somebody’s declaration. We don’t need somebody to stand up and preach, then do a miracle so we will know he is telling the truth. We have another standard--the Word of God. When someone preaches, we can match him to the Word of God. If he does not stand that test, we know that he is not a true teacher, but a false one. We do not need confirming miracles because the Bible is our confirmation.
In Luke 16:31, Abraham told the rich man in Hades, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.“ If the Word of God isn’t sufficient, miracles won’t change a person’s mind. Now that Scripture is complete, it is to be our standard. So, confirming miracles are irrelevant, immaterial, and extraneous.

The New Testament writers knew that the spiritual gift of healing was coming to an end. Even in the latter years of the apostles ministry this gift began to disappear - people who were sick stayed sick!
1) God refused to heal Paul (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
2) Timothy was sick with a probable ulcer (1 Tim. 5:23). Did Paul tell Timothy to go find someone with the gift of healing? No. He told him to “take a little wine for thy stomach’s sake.“ In other words, medicine was on its way in and the gift of healing on its way out.
3) Paul left Trophimus sick at Miletus (2 Tim. 4:20). If Paul had the gift of healing (he had healed previously), would he not have exercise it on behalf of Trophimus?
4) James said to pray for the sick (James 5:13). The book of James was written long before 1 Corinthians. Do you know what he said to do when someone was sick? He didn’t say, “Find the person with the gift of healing.“ Rather James said, “is any among you afflicted? Let him pray.. Is any sick among you? Let him call or the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick“ (Js. 5:13-15). Before 1 Corinthians was ever written, James knew that in years to come, the apostolic gift of healing would be nonexistent. The wisest counsel he could give the church was to seek, by faith, the healing that God offers.

Macarthur also writes about tongues and why the tongues movement today is a false doctrine. That is another issue and one I won't go into in ths entry. I have learned much in my study on healing. I believe that God CAN heal and sometimes God DOES heal but I do not believe we are all entitled to be healed on earth simply because we are Christians. As Pastor Taylor told me one day at church in discussing my back, "Sometimes it is not healing God provides but rather the grace to withstand the ailment. Sometimes that is healing in itself."