Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mrs. What's-Her-Name

I had an English teacher in High School that was crazy. Really. She was certifiable and everyone knew it. I won’t mention her name for the sheer fact that I know there are readers of this blog that went to high school with me. Even though I’d like to prove a point, it’s not my intention to defame anyone. Anyway, she was nuts and it was rumored that one rainy day, because she couldn’t find a parking spot in the teacher’s lot, she left her car running in a loading zone in front of the school office, went inside, taught first period, then returned and moved her car. The more intense rumors even added that she left the driver’s door open.

I just returned to my office from being away for lunch. It is raining VERY hard. I drove up to the front of the parking lot, near the entrance to my building looking for a parking spot. Rats. The lot was full. The only space was REALLY far away. Did I mention it was raining HARD? For a minute or two I considered Mrs. What’s-her-name and eyed the loading zone space right in front of the building. Maybe she wasn’t so crazy after all. As a matter of fact, maybe I’m the one who’s becoming a little loopy. As the rain pelted me in the head as I left Walmart (that’s where I was during my lunch hour…what a charmed life I lead.), I saw a lady with one of those plastic rain bonnet things. My first thought was, “I sure miss my Grandma.” My second thought was, “Maybe I should get one of those.” My third thought was, “Maybe I should get a lobotomy for even having that thought.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Meltdown

The other night, I had a meltdown. I do this occasionally and, if truth be told, I've probably had a few since the one I'm actually referring to. As it does for all of us, every now and then, my life just seems to overtake me. It kidnaps me and runs away with me. I kick and scream, but I'm powerless to make it stop.

While life is dragging me in directions I definitely do not want to go, I'm still trying to accomplish and do and finish and take care of everything that has to be done or seems to be important at the time. Struggling and doing. It's exhausting. Thus, my meltdown.

I’ve been striving to not let this happen in my life, to draw boundaries, to focus on what is important, but sometimes, in the midst of a full life, I fail miserably.

When life overtakes me, it often makes me feel like everything is meaningless. Rather than being my "reasonable acts of worship", my days become drudgery and I question whether anything I do really makes a difference. Is anyone impacted by the things I do? Does anyone care? Does God?

This morning I was pondering all this and God brought to mind the scripture “we are created in Christ to do good works that God prepared in advance for us to do.” I remembered the phrase clearly, but couldn't remember the reference. I looked it up and found it in Ephesians. Ah, very familiar territory. That verse comes right after Ephesians 2:8-9.

I've known that verse for 25 years. I learned it when I was in second grade in AWANA club at church. "It is by Grace I have been saved….not by works so that I can't boast". (obviously the Cari Johnson paraphrase version)

What a comfort from a verse I have known and rattled off most of my life. I have been saved by Grace, nothing I can do can change that (of course I know that , but a reminder is nice now and then, especially when you’ve lost sight of the path you are supposed to be walking on). God does not love me more, the more I do. He does not love me less because I don't finish my to-do list. He always gives grace.

And in addition to that Grace….God has prepared good works for me to do. What I do in my life is not meaningless, He has called me and I am part of his plan to accomplish HIS master to-do list. What I do matters to God. He has given me works to do and they are GOOD works. He prepared them for ME to do. After 30 years of Christianity, God's grace is still amazing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's just a phase...

My son has been going through a phase. So far, his life has been full of phases and I'm sure that the rest of his life will be as well. Thankfully, just as I begin to think, "I cannot deal with this phase anymore!", it passes and we're on to something new.

For sometime, we were dealing with the issue of him sitting down to the dinner table and immediately declaring his hatred for what I had cooked. Things like "Ew, this is gross" "I hate this stuff" and "Oh man, I really wanted mac and cheese tonight" were characteristic of our times around the dinner table.

Now, I have the full capacity to understand that he is 5. But, for some strange reason, every now and then, those comments really bother me. I mean, come on, I get up early do laundry around here, work all day, come through the door, drop my bags, and literally go straight to the fridge to start dinner. I make a concerted effort to see that, in spite of our busy schedules, we eat a decent dinner and we eat it together. The last thing I want is for someone to take one look at it and proclaim it to be gross.

Thankfully, I think we're passing through this phase. There have even been a few times lately where I've heard, "Mom, this is good!". Alrighty, that's more like it!

But God has a way of keeping us humble. A few nights ago, I was cooking. My son was setting the table (he's starting to come in handy...I can't wait until he's tall enough to reach the knobs on the washer and dryer), and my husband was outside working.

I called my husband in for dinner a he (yes, the pastor) came through the front door, made a face I rarely see, and asked, "What in the world is that disgusting smell?"

My son said, "Daddy should be nicer about your dinners."

"It's okay", I told him. "It's just a phase."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Manly Massages

The other day as I passed by a set of cubicles at work, I overheard a conversation going on. Two of my male co-workers were having a lively discussion on whether or not men should get massages.

"Real men don't get massages!" I heard one of them emphatically say.

I had to laugh, as his statement rang through my ears...

Only a couple months prior to that my husband came to pick me up from getting my hair cut. I was running late and he was forced to sit and wait. There happens to be a massage therapist who works there. She gave him a 5 minute freebie neck massage.

In 6 minutes he had paid every dollar on him and was lying on the massage table. I think he would beg to differ with my co-worker.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mom Guilt

If there's one thing that gets me every time, it's "Mom Guilt". I think all you mothers out there know exactly what I'm talking about. Mom Guilt makes you do crazy things. Mom Guilt is what makes me let my son sleep with me, knowing good and well it means that only one of us will sleep. Mom Guilt is what makes me buy unneeded gifts because somehow I think it will make up for the fact that work has been demanding and dinners have been pathetic. It reminds me that I missed the sign-ups for T-ball AND swim lessons. If Satan is going to really take a deep dig at me, one of his likely tools is Mom Guilt.

Usually, I'll do just about anything to squelch that Mom Guilt feeling. Most recently, my Mom Guilt took me for a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl at our local amusement park. Now, some of you know that I have a slight issue with my blood pressure that causes me to have lightheaded/dizzy spells. Let me give you a small piece of advice...if you are a woman who struggles with dizziness, the Tilt-a-Whirl is not a place you should be.

Last year my son went to the amusement park with my parents and my brother and his family. He would only ride the carousel with my brother hanging on to him and then, only on one of the horses that did not go up and down. He was also coerced onto the kiddie roller coaster (which is really just a train that goes round and round) by my Mom. That was it. No other rides. No little cars, airplanes, or anything else that moved.

This year, we were with some friends with a couple of older kids. The first ride they wanted to go on was the Tilt-a-Whirl. My son jumped into the line with them. Knowing his reaction last year, I was a little worried so I said I'd go too. Big mistake....I'll let you do your own math. Let's just say that he loved it and I soon realized that I should NOT be on that thing.

So the day wore on and we rode every conceivable ride. We had a fantastic time and as it was coming to a close, the kids wanted to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl one more time. No problem. I knew he went before, so he would be fine now. I sent him into the line and sat down on a bench to watch. However, the ride attendant pulled out his measuring stick and he was too short to ride without an adult. I swore I would not get back on that thing. No way, no how. There was no force that could make me endure 3.8 minutes of that again. No force, save guessed it Mom Guilt.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Kindergarten Eve

Well, it's done. The crayons, glue sticks, and colored pencils have been purchased. The gym shoes (yes, gym shoes for Kindergartners) have been labeled on each tongue with my son's name. The new school clothes have been laid out and the backpack is packed and sitting by the front door. Tomorrow is the first day of Kindergarten. He is ecstatic. Me...not so much.

My husband and I have always been of the opinion that it's good for Christian kids to go to public school. School is where they learn to socialize and become adept at interacting with others. It's where, for Christian kids, they learn to evangelize, to share Christ with their friends and be a witness in their little world. School is where they learn to make decisions and judgement calls on what is right and what is wrong and begin to have their own convictions on how to act. It is a natural preparation for the life they will have to live later on. It has always sounded perfectly reasonable to me.

That's the opinion we've always had...that is, until recently. Suddenly, I am becoming a huge home school proponent. I pass by 2 different elementary schools on my way to work each morning. Day after day I drive by at exactly 20 miles per hour (of course). At 20 mph, you can see a lot happen and it didn't take me long to come to the decision that I would never send my son to school. Ever. Ever.

But, here we are... Kindergarten Eve. The house is quiet. He is in bed and tomorrow morning I will drive him to school and see if I can put my own convictions into practice to help him develop his. It seems much easier when you are theorizing and using other people's kids as your experiment. It's quite different to send your own out.

A couple weeks ago we were driving home and he had been pretty quiet in the backseat. Finally, he piped up and said, "Mommy, I'm sad because I never get to tell people about Jesus."

"You can tell anyone about Jesus." I told him.

"Yeah, I know, but all my friends already know about him. I need to tell someone else."

I think he's going to do just fine in school.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Rule Follower

I answered a recent challenge on Writer Mama's Blog to write a short bit about whether I am a rule-breaker or a rule-follower. If you're interested, here was my response....

Fear and insecurity are great motivators. As women and, I would assume if you’re posting here, moms, I think we (and by we, I mean me) are often a little hesitant to step outside whatever we think the norm is. In my opinion, that’s why when we go to a restaurant with friends, we ask everyone at the table what they are going to order. Fear and insecurity, even in subtle tones motivate us to do so. What if what I’m doing doesn’t jive with what everyone else is doing? What if I want steak and they are all having salad?

Because I’m a new writer, the same principles seem to carry over into my writing. I ask myself what is and isn’t the norm. How does everyone else do it? What is everyone else having for lunch?

This forces me to be a rule-keeper, at least the ones I know and understand in the world of writing and blogging. It doesn’t help that since I was young, the thoughts of getting caught doing something wrong mortified me. (There’s that fear thing again.) Even now, I do my best to keep the rules for fear that someone will think badly of me. I always wear my seat belt because I know for sure if I didn’t, and I died in a car accident, our small town newspaper would read, “The victim was not wearing a seatbelt.”

I know, you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t know who this girl is, but she is in serious need of therapy.”

You’re correct and I have an appointment next Thursday.


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