Monday, October 31, 2011

The Pond

I have a new favorite view these days.  While many things make me crazy about adjusting to a new area, one thing always seems to remain the same.  The view from my apartment dining room window always entertains  our family and we enjoy our meals everyday.

The view is quiet from my apartment.  The windows that open to the water add a nice filter for the light.  Softly the sun shines behind the tall sycamore tree whose leaves have turned yellow.  As the sun shines through the leaves even the water below it has a gorgeous yellow glow to it.

The ducks swim quietly, the seagulls glide through the air over the water completely oblivious to how beautiful their world seems to me.  The geese slowly glide into the water and head towards the island where all birds sleep that live on the pond.

Lunch time has passed, dinner is coming along and slowly I watch first one duck then another as they quickly disappear beneath the glass surface to find their meal below it's murky depths.  Sometimes if I watch long enough I see geese too begin their dive and watch as suddenly their bottoms waggle in the air while they search out their meal.  The gulls eat seamlessly and they all seem to work independently and avoid each other with signals only they know about.

As evening settles slowly over the water, it changes into a fine sheet of glass with small ripples from the birds or winds as they blow across the surface.  As I look out over the sheet of black glass I see only a few small reflections of lights from the houses across the way and other apartment buildings surrounding the lake.   In the middle the island home for the birds is the only interruption in these reflections.  

A quiet serene peace gently rests itself over the pond and the day comes to its sleepy close.  This is my view, my favorite view of any of the numerous places I have lived.  Even living in Sicily is hard pressed to compete with this beautiful view each day.  Gray weather, sunny weather, rain or shine, the pond holds a beauty that is proof the God exists and he created this breathtaking vision and all of the life in and around it.
Have a safe Halloween and a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Homesick

I know they say home is where your heart is, but I have to honest.  Right now, I miss Kansas.  I've spent the majority of my life in the Midwest and being in Washington while wonderful, is not Kansas. 

I miss the colors that come with a Midwest Fall, burnt oranges, reds, browns and yellows and even some deep purples.  I look around and see some of those colors but it's mainly gray and green. Hmmm. . . There are many things we love about Washington, we love the scenery, we love our church family and the friends we are making (Miss Patty, Aunt Heather, Miss Merry Knapp, I'm talking about you guys) and I love the teens I work with, but right now I really miss Mom, Karen, and Beth and Aunt Nina and Uncle Ed.  I miss driving a short drive to see my sister and her family and my brother if I can catch him on a day off.  I still have yet to meet his girlfriend, Ferrin and I'd like to do that sometime before I die.    I miss having a house with a washing machine and dryer in my house and I miss a place where I can drive during certain times of day and not worrying.  I miss snow, real snow, not flurries, but actual feet of snow. 

While I know this phase will pass, it is here right now and I'd love nothing more than to hop in my car and drive 20 minutes and see my mom!  Yes, I'm complaining a little bit, it's what happens when you move.  Now to look at the bright side.

Moving to Washington gave me the courage to home school Elizabeth and Rebekah, we have met some wonderful people here, while I miss Sonic, there is no Sonic to call my name and a happy hour to tempt me to purchase a bad for me Diet Cherry Diet Coke.  There is Costco here, which is helpful when you have a family of five for vitamins, tp, taco seasoning, etc. . .  I am still about 30 minutes from a Commissary so my grocery bill is a little higher, but not insanely higher.  We are realizing why we don't want to live in an apartment forever.  We have a nice little apartment, it's small, but the use of space is very nice.  We get to watch the ducks and geese swim all day when we sit down to eat.  On the down side, I have to make Elizabeth sit with her back to the window so she won't stare at the aforementioned ducks and geese and neglect her school work.  :D  We got to see Whidbey Island and Pike St. Market - which is awesome and they filmed part of Sleepless in Seattle there.  There is the ocean very near us and to the East and North - we have mountains and they are gorgeous to look at - maybe it's why they have traffic issues - people get distracted by the gorgeous view.  Since the girls home school, we can now let Lizzie join Camp Fire Girls because she isn't so spent at the end of the day.  The best thing we love about being here - we are much closer to the much loved and often missed Grandma Mary in Idaho!!!!

While I miss my former home, I also am enjoying the new home, but I foresee more homesickness afflicting me as the Holidays come upon us.  Especially, since we can't decorate the outside of our apartment until 1 week before the holidays and they have to be removed 1 week afterwards.  It tends to dampen the holiday spirit a bit. 

Have a good weekend and good Sunday.
In Christ,
Maureen

Friday, October 28, 2011

Life Lessons

You know the hazard of being an adult is sometimes you forget the things you learned growing up.  Actually, let me clarify that, you forget how you learned the lessons while growing up.  You learned sometimes by listening to your parents and a lot of times by learning from trial and error.

Today I was informed that Elizabeth and Beka were with another child trying to break down the fence around the pond.   The gate has been padlocked closed because people from the other side have been coming over and they sometimes stay where they shouldn't be, as in, on the property here where we all live.  As I was chewing them out, Elizabeth told me she wasn't doing it, but she was sitting there while it was happening. 

I am still waiting on the pictures, but I had forgotten that I often went along with my friends, and so suffered similar consequences - i.e. grounding and getting chewed out by my mom.  The thing is, whether you are standing there watching or joining in, if you see someone breaking the law and do nothing to stop them, you are just as guilty as they are of committing a crime.  Now to explain that to my 10 year old and 4 year old.  So we have a plan now, because the boy doing these things is often in trouble.

The plan is, if they see their friend or friends doing something they know is wrong, they are to run away from them and come to me, Chris, or Sarah.  This hopefully will work, we'll be reviewing it often.   And my girls are currently on house restriction for the weekend - no playing with friends or outside for them.   You know the saddest part, they seem to play very well inside together, it's when they go outside to the outside world they don't do so well.  So that is another obstacle we need to tackle. 

I hope you all have a good weekend.
In Christ,
Maureen

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Roles?

I saw an interesting sitcom on Netflix.  "Til Death" is about a young newlywed couple and an older married couple.  Each couple is different, the newlywed couple are very positive and upbeat, but also learning how to live together.  The older couple fight a bit, and have a similar division of labor in their house that Chris and I share.

Chris is great about going to work, making sure he spends quality time with each of the girls, giving tons of hugs, being an attentive husband.  All of which are very important to keeping our household running smoothly.  I am kind of a jack of all trades, chauffeur, chef, nurse, Dr. Mom, therapist, cheerleader, teacher, hug and kiss giver.  I also pay the bills, take care of supper and the girls and I all clean up (okay, except Beka), Sarah and Lizzie are in charge of garbage.

The thing is, I was watching this episode and the wife literally did it all and the husband griped because he became the master of the cappuccino?  She put him in charge of the bills and had to take it back.  He kept juggling everything around and suddenly she couldn't purchase groceries, use the phone, find the channels, etc. . .  she took them back to save her sanity.

I found it rather humorous, but it also got me thinking.  What is the division of labor in your house?  Do you feel you do more than your spouse?  Does this actually bother you?  More importantly do you feel your spouse appreciates all that you do?

I know Chris definitely appreciates it all, he makes it a point to tell me how much and as often as he can.  And while labor wise at home it seems unequal, in other ways it's not unequal.  Chris is a very hard working man, and he is trying to finish college too.  He is working 40 or more hours a week (usually) more, so we can make it financially here in Washington, he goes to school full time at an online school (Grantham University) and is planning to go after his Master's Degree in Divinity when he is finished.  He also makes it a point to take Sarah at on Thursday evenings each payday, he also makes sure he spends time with Elizabeth and Rebekah AND he keeps our cars running, toilets unclogged, drain tubes in the kitchen and bathroom working right.  He makes sure he is good about watching out for me, when I am very fatigued, if I am sick he takes excellent care of me and he does his best to meet my emotional needs.   While all of this sounds like things every husband should do, it's tougher on my husband.  He is a Veteran of two deployments and has Traumatic Brain Injuries (from his first deployment) and struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He makes sure he takes his medicine regularly and that he uses his Alpha Stem Machine which helps his neurons we wire properly and he does his best to stay calm, mellow and even keeled.  He may not always succeed, but he works very hard and does a good job taking care of us.

So the next time you want to gripe, ask yourself, instead of what they don't do, what does your spouse do for you?  It may not be the everyday mundane tasks he/she does for you, but sometimes those little things that make up from small things into larger and bigger pictures.

Have a great week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Do I Read the News?

After reading three very disturbing stories about child abuse, including a Utah woman sentenced for trying to sell her 13 year old virgin daughter to a man I have to be honest.  I am asking myself, "Why do I read the news?" 

The truth is for many years I have avoided the news, usually this occurs shortly after I give birth because between hormones and the horror stories in the news these days I found it best.  I'll never forget the look on poor Chris' face when he came home from work one night to me holding Beka (who was peacefully sleeping) in my arms and sobbing.  I had read a terrible story about a group of people who were facing trial for torturing a newborn.  I won't even go into details.  Ironically, I stumbled on the article because I was working on finding a journal article for my Ethics class.   

Thankfully, he was kind and thoughtful about it.  But I am sure he wished we had a way to block all of those articles.  After all, I am the woman who while pregnant would watch the news or Lifetime Movie Network and just bawl at the terrible things people did to their children.  He finally blocked it because he knew if he didn't I might not ever recover emotionally.  He was also the sweet man who talked to my mom and a few friends who all felt the need AFTER Elizabeth's birth to share with me horror stories about abused children and he nicely asked them to stop. 

So now I am not pregnant (and it needs to remain this way until I DIE!) and yet, while I am not sobbing at these stories, I am outraged.  Who sells their daughter's virginity to an adult male?!  Who starves their teenager to 37 lbs and to the point when he cannot talk?!  Really??????

I am positive that my job as the mom to Sarah, Elizabeth and Rebekah is to protect my girls, not abuse them.  Their virginity is something to be cherished and preserved until they marry, not sell to the highest bidder and yet this is the sad, sad state our world has come to, why?  Because we have given ourselves over to sin. 


And yet, we are not the first generation or the only part of the world to fall into the trappings of sin.  Greece, Sparta, Rome, these countries all fell after giving themselves over to depravity.  We see even in the Old Testament and the New Testament how the Israelites often chose to do their own thing.  Guess what we are no better than they were then - even now we have a terrible epidemic hitting our world, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, we see women, and children (this includes girls AND boys) who are sold into slave labor or sexual slavery.  Babies are stole and sold on the black market.  We have alcoholism and drug abuse going on, and yet, all of these things are not really new to our world.  The question is this:  What are you going to do about it?  Will you give God your heart and let him rule your life?  Or will you choose to follow the crowd, because it is easier to do than go against the flow?
King David lived his life for God.  Yes he made his mistakes, but he was also willing to humble himself and ask forgiveness.  God rewarded his life richly and while he may not make us a king or queen or bless us with riches by the standards of our world, but his blessings will be with you for eternity. 

I hope you all have a good week. 
In Christ,
Maureen

Monday, October 24, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog

There are times when I am silent on my blog.  It isn't from lack of material.  It is usually because I am either sick or there are things going on that I don't want to blog about since they involve the teens I work with or others and I don't want to make others look badly.  This past week was a mix of both.

I woke up Tuesday morning with a sore throat and headache - which Chris, my wonderful husband had been griping about a week before - yup I was catching it.  So I woke up and went to Elizabeth's re-evaluation meeting sipping hot tea and praying that soon I would not be too sick to home school.   Yeah, while God answers many of our prayers, apparently it wasn't in his plan to heal me this time, because I spent the rest of last week feeling like I'd been run over and barely having a voice. 

There are a lot of things going on right now that involve prayer and making some tough decisions.  So without giving details, I have to ask you all to pray for Chris as he contemplates Graduate School and there are certain situations for me right now that need to remain unspoken. 

I hope you all have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Monday, October 17, 2011

Romans

My friend, the awesome and amazing Heather Morgan and I are starting to do a Bible study together on Monday nights.  As luck would have it, this week she is in the hospital, but we plan to do our Bible study via phone or maybe I will go visit her tomorrow morning.   For now our study will be Romans and fresh from the gate, Paul has some harsh words about how many people have given themselves over to depravity. 

The truth is while reading Romans 1, especially verses 24 - 32 really reminded me of our own world today.  Paul talks about how homosexuality has become acceptable, sexual depravity, not honoring parents, being faithless, ruthless and that people look down on those who do not live their lives in a similar fashion.  Does any of that ring bells for you? 

We have a society today that is ripe for the harvest.  We are called by Christ to the Great Commission.  But today it is becoming much tougher to talk to people about Christ.  Christianity is one of the last areas where it is acceptable to make fun of people.  I remember Seinfield and a character, Elaine began sleeping with a man who she later found out was a Christian.  And yet she didn't know he was a Christian until he told her?  I was not a huge Seinfield fan, but I caught that episode and thinking about it now, it has me thinking. . . do I portray Christ daily?  Do people meet me and know I am a believer in Christ? 

The truth is, if I had things my way and didn't listen to Christ, then I would not be a youth leader.  I'd live a quiet existence with my family, books, and the small things that make me happy in life.  Moving out of our comfort zone is not easy.  I've moved around, met new people, tried new things, things that were not always comfortable, but being called to lead the church youth group was very much moving me out of my comfort zone. 

I am not the most socially ept person.  I'm not being overly harsh, it's true.  I come from a family that often speaks first and thinks about it later.  The nice thing about Facebook and Twitter is you can read what you write first before you post it.  This has saved me a lot of times, and then other times, I am so frustrated or angry it doesn't matter, I blow my top.   Growing up, I was a book worm.  I loved and still love books.  Books were easy, books didn't judge you or make you feel like an idiot.  Books allowed you to explore new ideas in a safe environment - your mind.   I lived in the library, at the middle school, and in our high school to the point where the librarians and I were on a first name basis and they often held books for me that they knew I would really like.  All of these things do not always equal a great youth leader.  But, that didn't mean God didn't put a call on me to step up and help create activities for the youth.  Activities to keep them out of trouble, a safe place for them to come and hang out without worrying they might be getting into drugs, sex, and only God knows what else.

The truth is, I will never be a large church youth pastor.  I do not understand the teens who come from two parent families who don't struggle to make ends meet.  The teens I work with now are teens who are from broken homes, who struggle with low self-esteem, broken homes, battling abusive home lives even.  And these are the kids I understand, having grown up in a home with only one parent, dealing with an emotionally abusive step-dad - prepared me to help Sarah, our teens and those who are the broken.  While I sometimes get frustrated and aggravated, it is in these moments that I know I am where I am supposed to be.  I may not always be popular with the teens or my own kids, but I can live with that. 

I hope you all have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Home School Update

Anyone who has been reading lately, knows that we have been facing some challenges with homeschooling the girls.   Rebekah is doing splendidly, she can write her first name and this week we are tackling her last name as well as the letter Q and the number 2.

We've faced more than a few challenges though.  Curriculum that is not what it is said to be, so I've sent it back.  Then I thought I got what I needed only to find out that the Teacher's book is not there!!!  History books that aren't labeled properly AND the vendor tried to tell me that they couldn't issue a refund after they mislabeled it themselves via e-mail?!  But all of those pale when it comes to helping Elizabeth learn.

We are moving into History and I am struggling to teach her the differences between continent, country, state, and city/town.   She still thinks we are living in Wichita, Kansas, and while she can show me in her history book where the continents are, she still can't name them.  Plus she is obsessed with China right now. . . Then in Science she has been playing me a bit when it comes to her workbook.  We are currently learning about what it is and the tools used to be a scientist.  I love her to  pieces, but she's pushing the limits of decency and decorum. 

Am I giving up?  No, because I discovered a few things. First, Lizzie needs help with her memory.  So doing the Bible verses can help her with that and so can working on her Math Memory game.  Second, I really enjoy having the girls at home more than I would enjoy them going to school.  Third, I am discovering the differences between each girl's learning style.  And so I can adjust what and how I teach each of them.  Lizzie is more of a hands on girl, so on payday we'll be purchasing a puzzle of the United States and a globe so we have a more practical tool to help her. 

Okay time to go. I have chili on the stove and I'd prefer it not burn.
Have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Child Care and Autism


Most parents are very particular about who they let watch their children.  When you have a child with special needs, you are even more cautious.   Elizabeth is no exception to this dilemma.

When she was little and people expected her to get into things it wasn't a big problem.  As she got older this changed.  I left my job at Royal Caribbean because I had difficulty keeping child care.  This didn't change as she got older.  Once we found a good babysitter, we hated when they went to college or became too busy to watch the girls.  A good babysitter is tough to find, but a good babysitter for Elizabeth was a God-send.   It was a bonus if they didn't try to squeeze us for more money.

So now we live in Everett, and once again we are facing  the problem - child care.   It isn't that people aren't nice, but Elizabeth requires a certain finesse.  One that Allison, Jennifer, her sister; Sarah, and her favorite Miss Heather seem to possess.  I'm sure at some point we'll find someone who is up to the challenge, but for now it's frustrating. 

So here are some of the challenges we face when it comes to Elizabeth.
1. Vivid - as in actively alive and vibrant imagination. This means there are certain TV shows, movies, books that we do not allow her read or watch.  For example:  The Boy Who Could Fly, is absolutely not on the list of approved watching, since I'd rather not require the Fire Department's assistance to get her off of a rooftop or worse yet, a trip to the hospital or morgue because she has tried to fly.
2. Impulse Control - this goes to certain other issues.   While in Florida during our vacation 2010, we visited some friends I knew as a young girl in Yukon.  They offered to take Elizabeth to the pond to see the alligator that was there.  If it had been Sarah at 10 years of age, then I would  have said yes, but Elizabeth would have wanted to go as close to the alligator as possible and would have ended up as alligator dinner.   Not that they would have let it happen on purpose, but she's quick and she doesn't always think or listen.
3. Her own lingo - even though she talks like the rest of us, there are certain things you have to understand in order to understand Elizabeth.   It used to be worse, for example: Two ponytails used to be Josie and the Pussycats, one ponytail was a Polly Pocket.  There are certain things and nuisances you have to be able to get or learn quickly.
4.  Hyper-sensitivity to touch and sound.  This becomes a problem in the evenings especially if it has been a very long day or a day with a lot of differences or changes in her day to day schedule.
 5.  Her imaginary friends - yes, it's true, she has imaginary friends still at 10 years of age.  When you are different from everyone else, lived in a neighborhood without a lot of children to play with your own age, it only stands to reason that Lizzie would have imaginary friends.   Beka has them too, although now that we home school, I foresee them dissipating with time, because they play well together. 
6. Even though she is 10 years old she doesn't often look or act that way.  She is small for her age and she really, really wants to have friends.   This means that sometimes she will agree to do things that she shouldn't and that she knows we would not let her do - so she sometimes requires extra watching.   
7.  Selective Hearing Syndrome:  Yes, many children suffer from this, but Elizabeth seems to have it down to a science.   This is especially true when she is watching TV.

So there are some of our challenges. I am sure there are other parents who have similar challenges and probably some that we don't have.  
Have a good week and God be with you.
In Christ,
Maureen

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tackling History


Today's challenge in homeschooling?  Explaining continents, countries, states, colonies, cities, and their differences.   It took a while and a lot of repeating, but we made some headway. 

I decided to keep the 1985 edition of Bob Jones University Heritage Studies because it discusses our country and the role that God has played in our country becoming a country.  So today we discussed the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, and how we became 13 States.  Can you name all 13 States?  I can . . . now.  Before today's lesson, I had to Google it so I would have accurate information.  

After lunch we will tackle Science, Spelling, Reading, and of course, Beka's favorite Hooked on Phonics.  I am keeping Elizabeth in Lesson 1 because I want her to read better and not quite so stilted. Right now, reading is not her strong suit, but I have faith in God and Elizabeth that He will help her tackle this problem and conquer it. 

I am wondering about our Science bean though, it doesn't seem to be doing much changing these days.  Did I pick a bad bean?  Or do they actually roast them before you buy them as Chris suggested?
On a happy note, I am starting to do a Women's Bible Study with my friend Heather.  We are going to study the book of Romans.  And I decided to do my  own study of 1 Samuel.  I'd like to refresh my  memory of Biblical History since I am working with the girls are learning the Bible and it's history.  It is one of many reasons why I decided to home school - the freedom to teach my daughter's about Christ and remove many of the distractions I found myself fighting with Sarah and Elizabeth both.  

I am eagerly awaiting our English workbook, and Science Teacher text that I found on e-bay and I have a complete Heritage Studies kit coming but since today is Columbus Day, the mail won't be delivering today. 

I also find myself wondering if I have lost my mind.  I am no teacher, but I also know that letting Washington State be in charge of the girls schooling isn't a good option either.  I've been struggling with this decision for quite some time now - home school, don't home school?   In the end, I realized that it is better for the girls to be at home and to have me teaching.  I have a large dry erase board, we are slowly gathering supplies and resource materials, and at this rate, we'll definitely need to move into a house by next Fall so we have more room for home schooling.  I'd like to no longer pay for a storage unit and it would be nice to have a garage as well. 

I hope you all have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Man's Survival Guide to Pregnancy From a Woman

When I was pregnant the first time, Chris had already gone through the joys of pregnancy with Sarah's mom, Kate.  But each woman is different and I was definitely not 18 years old.  I was 26, soon to turn 27 years old and I was pretty established in who I was and years past the huge hormone mood swings that accompany adolescence.

I have several friends who are expecting babies and so I thought, I'd write a few words of wisdom down for men, so they can survive the joy ride coming with the months of hormones, sore feet, swollen ankles, and all of the other numerous joys that come with pregnancy.

1.  Repeat this phrase after me, "Yes, honey.  You're absolutely right."  No matter how insane you think your wife is being - learn this phrase and repeat it often and you will survive to see your offspring make it.

2.  DO NOT JOKE THAT YOU ARE A HORMONE HOSTAGE!  No matter how insane she seems to you, trust me, she probably seems insane to herself and the worst part is, she's powerless to stop it.  Especially if it's the first pregnancy.  I was a fairly calm, level-headed woman until I got pregnant with Elizabeth.  Suddenly I would cry at the stupidest things.  "Oh the poor kitten on the side of the road is dead."  "Oh the guy in the movie said he loves the heroine."  "Oh no, what if our baby is deformed like that baby on ER and looks like an alien?"  "Oh I have a hang nail."  All of these things would drive me into tears, frustration would set in which made it worse.  I knew it wasn't rational and I was powerless to stop the tears from flowing - which meant I cried even harder, because I was that frustrated.

3.  "Honey, you look wonderfully pregnant."  Do not tell her, "Wow, you're getting so huge!"

4.  Do not follow your wife and quack like a duck - even if it is true.  Yes, I know a man who used to do this.  This is something you can only do if your wife is sane, and has a good sense of humor that day.

5.  Do help her put on her shoes and even shave her legs for her if she can't reach them.  I know it's not fun for you, but it's worse for us.

6.  Do not share embarrassing stories about your wife.  At least not if she knows the people you are telling them too or anywhere within a 1,000 mile radius.  Doing so may or may not result in your slow and torturous death.

7.  Don't tell her you don't care what she fixes for dinner.  This isn't just during pregnancy by the way, if we are asking what you want for supper it means we are at a loss and are asking for some input.  Take the ball and run with it.

8. Don't procrastinate on putting things together.  If we have a stroller we ask you put together, do it.  Don't wait, don't give us excuses, just do it.  We are nesting and we need the peace of mind to know what is going on and that in some small way we are ready if the baby arrives early.  This goes for all baby equipment that requires assembly.

9.  If we are nesting, just help us, unless we tell you to go away.  Yes, we know we are obsessively cleaning - go with it, since once the baby arrives we will be too tired to make the house this clean. 

10.  Do not refer to being intimate with us - "Scaling Mount Everest"  Or compare it to trying to do yoga.  It's not fun for us either, and it doesn't do much to help us feel good about our expanding bellies.  And yes, my husband is guilty of this one.

11.  Do double check before getting us a craving, that a) we still want it and b) you are getting us the right thing.  This serves several purposes.  First, it means you don't buy food, we no longer want.  Second, it means you are saving money.  Third, it means you don't have to eat it, so if unless you want to eat it for us, double check.  Chris gained weight when I was pregnant with Elizabeth because he didn't double check first and would come home and be left to eat Chinese food by himself, since I suddenly couldn't stand the idea of whatever food I'd been craving the night before. This did not include chocolate by the way.

12.  Just because we craved it while pregnant does not mean we want it once we are no longer pregnant.  I can't stand KFC and yet, while pregnant with Beka  I craved it like crazy.  Suddenly I craved steak and baked potatoes, pot roast from Golden Corral, and yet, once I was no longer pregnant, I couldn't stand the idea of those things.

13. DO NOT PURCHASE A HUGE TRUCK THAT SHE HAS TO CLIMB INTO FROM MONTH 5 UNTIL THE PREGNANCY IS OVER AND HAS TO LOAD A BABY INTO!!!!!!  It's a huge pain in the butt, she may or may not enjoy it and you may or may not live to see your children grow up to go to college.

14.  Embrace that you are no longer in control and that neither is she.  While she's in the throws of labor, only go if she asks you to go, but don't go too far.   Do not crack jokes unless given permission, and do not act as if you would do it for her, when we all know that you would never really willingly go through child birth.    Help her as she struggles to let go of control of her body.  Being in labor - especially the first time, is very scary and it's hard to embrace the fact that you are not the one in control. 

Have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

AAAARRRGGGGHHHHHH!!! Home School


Beka's face pretty much sums up how I'm feeling about now.  I thought I had found what I needed for History on Amazon.com.  However, due to poor titling on their part and lack of information, I ended up with 2 Teacher's Edition Heritage Study books each from a large gap in years (1985 & 1999), a test packet for 1996 that was missing multiple tests, but a complete test key also from 1996.  I have filed return claims for each of these items and hope to find something better on ebay.com. 


Today I feel like Alexander in Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day.  In a word, I am FRUSTRATED!!!!  First, Elizabeth was all over the place today.  I had a terrible time getting her to focus.  Second, After first lying to me, she finally confessed that she had her medication in her pocket.  So now I know I will have to watch her like a hawk to be sure she takes her medication like she should.   Third, I realized I needed to return these items and had to go about doing it.  Fourth, I realized that we still have a lien on our minivan.  This would be the same minivan we paid off within one year of purchasing it and so there should have been no lien at all.  Oh and I threw away our proof of registration in a burst of efficiency (thank you for that phrase, Ginny Schwarz).  Finally, after re-evaluation today (the final day by the way), Camp Fire Girls, and all of this other stuff, I could not get Elizabeth to focus so we could conclude our Science class that we had to stop this morning because she hadn't taken her medication and couldn't pay attention.

Now for the reasons I will not be moving to Australia.   I have additional supplies to help me while I await the new items I need to purchase AND I found a Heritage Studies package deal on ebay.com for much less money that I had to spend on Amazon.com.  I got to spend an awesome day with my husband, who was nice enough to not flip out when we realized that a) there was no registration in our van so we couldn't get temporary tags and b) that the lien hadn't been removed from the title, so we've been waiting for a month for our title and it was not coming.  Affordable Auto was very nice and will be fixing that very shortly ASAP so we can receive our title and I can once again shop and not worry about how I'm going to fit my groceries in a small four door Plymouth Acclaim.    So while I could scream and yell and throw a lovely temper tantrum, I choose to find the the positive things in today. 



I hope you all have a great day tomorrow. 

Love in Christ,
Maureen

Monday, October 3, 2011

Purpose and Yearnings

I have a dream.  And no I am no Martin Luther King.  My dream is more altruistic than that.  It involves, me a deserted island and my family.  It involves very few people, dealing with them, socializing with them.  Of course, in my dream, since it's a dream I also have cable and Netflix and full electricity. 

And yet, here I am as a youth leader.  LOL!  It's completely not me.  If it were me, I'd hide on a deserted island or in my home.  I don't like crowds, I don't like trying to be social with other people.  I can do it, I can do all of those things, but as Elizabeth would say, "It's not my favorite."  My favorite thing to do is for it to be snowing and Winter and snowed in the house with the girls, watching cheesy movies with jammies on and blankets and being cocooned from the world. 

Growing up I was the odd duck.  I was a total book nerd, I knew the librarians and my teachers better than my own peers.  They didn't tell me I was ugly or bark at me in the halls.  They knew what I was capable of and encouraged me love of books, my love of music, my voice.  Those teachers unknowingly saved my life.  Before we moved to Great Bend, KS, things were bad in school for me. Things were so bad that Mom and her best friend and that friend's husband had a plan in case Mom got a teaching job that didn't require us to move.  I was severely depressed and although I didn't tell Mom at the time, I had a plan in my head to take my own life.  I didn't tell anyone for a long time.   But God knew, He knew that I needed to move, I needed a fresh start and that Great Bend, KS would be a great place for me to get that start. In Great Bend, I had no past.  No one could tell anyone who tried to be my friend that they should stay away from me and that I was weird.

In their defense, I was weird. We lived in a small town where most families were still together and I didn't have a dad because he was dead. I sang all the time. I was from a private school where the girls only wore dresses.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.   I loved Jesus and I was in a public school  where most kids listened to secular music. I didn't know who Michael Jackson was until I was in middle school.

This is one of the reasons why I do reach out to teens.  I understand those who come from broken homes, who are fatherless.  I get the feelings of helplessness.  I spent my psychology internship working with Teen Hotline to help teens who called in - I was sounding board, a listening ear and occasionally I was the one quietly (in my head quietly) praying for them.  

I will never be the youth leader who is at some large church working with teens from non-integrated parents.  I have no way to identify with them.  I don't understand the concept of having both parents with you and never facing a huge challenge.  I worked for the money I had to go to youth functions.  I earned a lot of my cash from babysitting.   I get the concept of yearning for what cannot be (both parents there for Thanksgiving or Christmas) and the agony of knowing it most likely won't happen.

Growing up and even into the first few years of my marriage to my wonderful husband, Chris, I wondered what was the point of my life?  What was God's purpose for me and why was my life so tough?   Then Sarah came to live with us.  I realized then that losing my dad, an abusive step dad, the cruelty in middle school and high school - it was so I can sit with teens who are struggling with real problems.  It was so when I became Sarah's bonus mom, I could understand some of the garbage that happened to her before she came to our home.    In going through those trials and tribulations, I understand and can tell teens who are struggling that it won't always be this way.  God has a plan for your life and you are here for a purpose.  And somehow in that knowledge, I suddenly don't care that my life wasn't sweet and peachy keen. 


This doesn't mean I still don't yearn for my dream.  I do, sometimes I want it so badly I can almost taste it, but if God's plan is for me to reach out to teens who are hurting and struggling then I can wait for my dream to come true.  Even it means I don't get it until I die and go to Heaven.

Have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Changing of Seasons

Fall is slowly creeping it's way into Washington.  The leaves are subtly changing color and I find I am missing the Midwest.  I miss the vibrant colors that used to come with Fall in Kansas and Oklahoma.  I miss the trees with their vibrant oranges, yellow, reds, and browns.  I used to walk along our neighborhood streets towards the park with the girls and enjoy the changes that were coming.

Fall really is one of my favorite times and year.  Of course, I love Washington, but I'm wondering where are the amazing colors?  I see trees by across the pond, but there is no bright colors to them.  Mainly they become a light yellow and lose their green.  Of course, we also have a lot of spruce and evergreen trees around here (at least I think they look like spruce and evergreen trees).  And as much as I love the green that is around me, I miss Fall.  I'm struggling even now with not calling it a "Real Fall" of Kansas and the Midwest.

Don't misunderstand me, I love being in Washington.  Even though I know we won't likely spend our remaining years here.  I love how green it is and driving alone Mukilteo Speedway and being surrounded by trees to suddenly come to an area nearing Mukilteo and suddenly there is the ocean!   It's amazing and such an wonderful example of how God has created so much beauty, but today, today I miss Fall - I miss Kansas.  I miss my friends and being close to my mom.  I know it will pass, but there it is, I miss my Momma.

I hope you all have a good week.

In Christ,
Maureen