Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sticky or Slick?

After reading this blog yesterday and several others from times past, I could not go to bed last night without doing my own Five Minute Friday writing as suggested by The Gypsy Mama
She gives a prompt and we are to write for 5 minutes on the subject. Except I didn't know that last night. I just thought - I should write for 5 minutes on something. What? The word "Fly Paper" came to mind. I know it's weird and random, and I doubt Gypsy Mama would have given that prompt. But, here is a "button" to her site and below is my crazy writing on "Fly Paper".





My creative juices wouldn't let me rest until I wrote this down:


Sticky or Slick?

I feel a bit like fly paper.
Strung out.
Sticky.
Stuff stuck to me.

Attracting stuff
Is easy.
The hard part
Extracting stuff
From my sticky self.

What does it represent?
Why should I let it go?
Will it start to stink?

The clutter
Continues to build.
I get heavier.
It's harder to see
My surface.

Fly paper is discarded
When fully loaded.

What about me?
How do I remove
Stuff?

Unstick myself!
Make the choice
Don't be sticky!

Be like waxed paper
Handy but slick
Capable but removable.

I choose.
God empowers.
Unstuck.
Smooth and ready
To be used by Him.



Friday, August 26, 2011

The Good Day, The Bad Mom and The Ugly Cake



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I have never seen the Clint Eastwood movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", but for as long as I can remember that phrase has stuck in my head. It sums up a lot of different days, weeks or months (thankfully, never years!).


I begin with my third triathlon, which I can't seem to bring myself to blog about (time and wrapping my brain around the HUGE transition that happened in me). That is the GOOD Day:

The Good Day:
I will briefly summarize: What a delight to wake up at 4am on a Sunday morning! It was gorgeous and the smell reminded me of every awesome early morning adventure of my life. Once I arrived at the race, great friend from Tennessee by my side, I knew, even despite the butterflies partying it up in my core, it was going to be a different day. It was. I blew my own expectations out of the water (pun intended) with speed and endurance in the water and the bike. The run forced me to really guard my mind and focus on important stuff to keep me going even when I was huffing and puffing (and practically snorting) like a horse pulling a heavy plow. I crossed the finish line feeling victorious. It was a GOOD day.

As usual, my good day felt a little marred when the pictures taken by the race photographer revealed that the size I am in my head is NOT at all what I actually look like! Dang!

On another note, that GOOD day also turned a little sour when we realized my camera got lost that day. The one I live with on my desk, used almost every day to capture our lives. I am crushed. We have looked everywhere. I am still praying it will turn up somehow.

The Bad Mom:
Yes, I said it. The BAD Mom words have been plaguing me for weeks. What some say to me is that if you are a bad mom, you never even ask the question, "Am I a bad mom?" you just don't care. The thing is, if I even indulge in one thought, aligning myself with the enemy who's intent is to steal, kill and destroy all of God's amazing work in me and through me, the thoughts don't stop, they undermine my ability to think clearly and my frustration drives my reactions to my fellas choices and then I become what I dread, a BAD Mom. I hate it when that happens.

I confess to having spent the majority of this week living in that place. On the edge of tears, pleading with them before we enter some location that they not embarrass me and struggling with my temper. And, because they are unsettled by my inner turmoil, they act up, mostly because they are reacting to the disturbance in my "force" (yeah, I was pretty sure I couldn't do one blog without a Star Wars term!).

Today, I am still battling that thinking. A beloved sister of my heart wrote this amazing blog on Grace. I have been marinating in her mom's definition of undeserved kindness. The Lord has been speaking to me about it. Convicting me of my failure to give my children undeserved kindness.

AND THEN...
He says, "You get Grace too."

I know the Bible says that. But do I recognize that I get grace too, as a mom? Where in my head am I, by faith, grabbing on to His deposit of undeserved kindness in my heart and apply it not just to others but to.... MYSELF?

Most dudes I know don't spend hours beating themselves up over their mistakes. They just move on. Not the moms I know. We mercilessly analyze what we've done wrong. What we should have done better, what would whoever think of us if they saw us do thus-and-such. Would we end up going to jail like that mom who taped herself giving her kid hot sauce and a cold shower? Would we do the same if pushed to the limits of our sanity, cry out for help and then end up in jail?

What if those you love "hint" you are a bad mom? What if they don't actually say it. But, deep down, you know they think it. What if your husband doesn't weigh in on things that really matter? What if you have to figure it out yourself? What if your husband does weigh in on things that matter and you end up feeling like a bigger failure (even if that is not his intent?) What if ...

I could go on for days. Discouragement is one of the worst things that undermines moms. It doesn't matter if anyone is saying it, we say it to ourselves. We hear it in our hearts when our kids misbehave (no matter how old they are), say something we wish they wouldn't or worse, repeat after us!

SO - WHAT TO DO ABOUT THIS????

I have the answer! I promise. His name is Jesus, He died for our sins, our mistakes, our flaws, our colossal disastrous choices.

My long time in Heaven mentor, Corrie ten Boom says, "There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still."

Whether you are in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany or you are surrounded by little people clamoring for your exhausted attention, the truth of that statement remains.

He has chosen, redeemed, forgiven and lavished His grace on me. When I take off the BAD MOM glasses that filter my thinking and my vision and BELIEVE in what He has done in me,

I AM FREE.

To be the mom my kids need. Not perfect. Chosen by God for them specifically knowing who they are, who they will become and who they need to shape His purpose in them.

Next week, I will not be confessing I stayed in this place. Next week I will be victorious and confessing the crazy and silly adventures we went on  - flaws and all.

Now, for the UGLY Cake:





I was committed to make a from scratch birthday cake for the first time in ages. I searched the web, asked my favorite chef (who didn't have a recommendation except for Epicurious - but when I looked on that site I panicked and quick did another search) and found what seemed like a good recipe. Not so much. Obviously. I should have listened to my friend.

I ended up sending my Love to the store at 9:45pm to get a Betty Crocker mix and canned frosting. I was too exhausted to try to whip powdered sugar all over my kitchen to make my own taking the chance it would come out awful too. I was trying to make brown frosting like the bottom of the forest. The color, well, it was really bad. If I'd had a camera I would have taken a picture. Sigh.

Anywhoo... I prayed. I begged God to help me get this to turn out like something my freshly-six year old would love. I had my Love build the LEGO set we bought for his birthday so I wouldn't feel guilty about not molding intricate Star Wars characters out of fondant. Yeah, not so much... but something has to go on top of the cake, right?
That is the final product. Yes, he loved it. I did not love washing frosting out of LEGO pieces yesterday, but it still took less time than creating fondant storm trooper and ewoks.

There ya have it. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of my week. The conclusion is truly this: GOD is Good, I am not BAD, and UGLY cakes happen!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Firehouse Rules, Darth Vader's Laundry, and BMX Improv

I had most of my blog ready to go last week, in my head...
So, I have combined it with this weeks "Fess Ups"
One more triathlon and Lord willing, I will be on a somewhat normal schedule again.




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My Grandmother's 90th birthday was August 6. We traveled to Seattle to celebrate with her, my Grandfather, my folks, my sister and her family and a whole host of other relatives. That will be a blog all to itself. But, in keeping with the 'Fess Up theme, I shall narrow it down to one amusing event that sums it all up for now.

My Dad is the Chaplain for the Tukwila Fire and Police Departments. We were looking for some fun ways for the cousins to enjoy  being together without spending too much time all together at my parents one bedroom one bath home. Dad hatched the great plan to take all his seven grandsons to the fire house to look at the trucks. It was a brilliant plan.
This is Grandpa instructing his grandsons about the importance of not touching anything you aren't supposed to, listening to the firemen, and behaving nicely.

All seven, 11 and under going in...

And he discovers a button he can push...
Seriously, they let him behind the wheel?! They let him sit in the Captain's seat first, but that wasn't near as impressive as the driver's seat. The Captain may be in charge, but the DRIVER gets to DRIVE THE BIG RED TRUCK!!

LIttle brother gets to drive, Biggest brother thinks he should get to push it too. That did not go over well.

My oldest behind the wheel... growing up.

My sister's #3 gets a turn. They all did. So fun to drive, even when you are small.

Okay, this is dangerous. They locked the doors. All of them with a quick push of a button. Fireman had to use door code to get them out. Yeah, these two together = double trouble! But aren't they cute?!

DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING! 

Okay, this part, funny and a tad embarrassing. Not listening, endless questions about crashes, tools, can I lay down on the bed, can I drive this one? Where is the siren? Yes, he could barely get a word in...
After the #54 sign was removed and replaced, we attempted a group shot.

Do you see the Karate Kid? He has NOT seen the movie. I have NO idea where he got that. I certainly didn't teach it to him. Maybe his dad...

Kids from Hawaii know the "shaka", kids from Idaho try to figure it out. LOL.















I have to do LOTS of laundry. Any mom with little kids does. It's a fact of life. But do you have to do Darth Vader's laundry? I have no idea how he managed to sneak it in, but I assure you, I will recommend he does his own...
And finally, earlier this week I gave the boys the choice between a trip to the beach to play in the water or to ride their bikes at the local BMX track. They picked the BMX. My youngest was not amused. But he and I will hopefully get a beach day or two in after the big boys go back to school. Hopefully.

My oldest is getting his coordination and his strength to power through the bumps, hills, curves standing on his pedals and focused on speed. He LOVES this. I think we might have to start looking into a real BMX bike and helmet for him. 



 Meanwhile my youngest is amusing himself with playing with the cords in the dead video camera bag. I had no idea that if I charged it and left it in the bag for two months it would be dead when I wanted it. Such a bummer!

 He eventually decided to play with his "vehicle of choice" after some convincing that if he plugged the wrong something into a random hole he might break something important. He had an opinion on that. As he does on everything.

He rode and rode and rode, hiking up the huge hill over and over again to start at the very top. 




My second son is not quite six yet and very cautious. He is more aggressive but he is way more precise and careful in how he tries new things. He sits and watches every bump come and go, sometimes using his brakes. 
 

The trips we made to the BMX this week (yes, we went twice) were very revealing again of how different my first two are. They are 14 months apart so I have often treated them like twins. An injustice to both of them. As I watched them tackle the same obstacle so differently over and over, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit that I need to be VERY diligent about how I connect with them from now on. Focusing on their differences, their uniqueness and their individual personalities honors who they are each becoming. 

I then had a moment of raw panic when I shifted from my paparazzi mindset to find my youngest son. He was no where to be found. I called his name and started looking frantically for him. I yelled to the older boys to help me find him. About thirty long seconds go by when my oldest yells, "Mom! He's on the track!"

Sure enough my clever little adventurer who is too small to ride his bike on the track (it doesn't work well with training wheels) decided he was sick of bouncing around on a rubber ball. He climbed the giant hill and RAN the entire track, loving every minute of it! Look at the concentration on his little face!
 






 Ta-da! He finished! I cheered and yelled like he had just finished a real race! Again I found myself blown away by the tenacity and ingenuity of my fellas. How could I miss that he wants to be just like his brothers and is willing to do whatever he can, within his skill set to accomplish that.

I am humbled by them.

I am exhausted by them.

This has also been a tough week of consequences, choices and Mommy yelling in frustration. I am trying to teach them honor, respect, kindness, and self-control. And yet, over and over again, I blow it. I repent for dishonoring, disrespecting, unkindness, and my lack of self-control. We agree to try again. This week has been a little harder with Daddy out of town and Mommy taking things personal (which I usually don't) in her weariness.  I know I will win the war, but this week, I have lost several battles (with my own temper). Consistency is my daily challenge. I am learning another layer of endurance. I will keep up the hard work, because it is really GOOD work, even if it doesn't feel like it will ever pay off. Someday, I pray it will.

Because I have a choice to make:
I can be either one of these guys, depending on the moment...








Thursday, August 18, 2011

God in the Yard Week 7 Sabbath on a Page

At the end of week 7 L.L. Barkat challenges me to go for a week writing about nothing spiritual. The "Sabbath on a Page" exercise is to practice "stream of consciousness writing" basically just writing whatever comes to mind without stopping. To "rest" from edits and such. I love the concept and though my life doesn't allow for doing this daily, I try, once a week on this journey to do it. Here is what fell out of my head:

The morning mist of ocean smell
As I trot along the path
Childhood memories echo
Amidst the fragrant coastline.

I feel my body protest
The usual soreness and aches
Exiting to make way for
Stronger faster pursuits.

Dogs chasing balls
Kids protesting parental restraint
All lead up to today's finish line.

Yachts of all sizes and builds
Sails reaching for the wind
They jostle for position
Anticipation building

With a smoke laden "Bang!"
They launch toward adventure
Just like me...


I wrote this in Victoria BC where my Love took me to celebrate my 40th birthday. We ran the two miles from our hotel to the start of the Swiftsure Yacht Race. It was a wonderful morning.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

God in the Yard Week 7 - Playing With God

Showing up/Hiding - Stretching your body and translating the sensations into emotions and thoughts


Hiding: Many people live without fitness. Unmotivated or uninterested in such a focus they live without the ache of muscles developed, well-used and then rested. Instead they live with the ache of inactivity. The constant drain of inaction can be so debilitating and lead to depression. I used to live in that place.

Showing up: When I stretch my aching muscles from my latest run/bike/swim I feel the pain of the "work" and the joy of having the ability to be in pain. The tension between strengthening and exhaustion balanced with every workout.

It is in the places of stretching and aching I feel joy. Celebrating my transition from the sedentary life to a fitness lifestyle.

Now, on the days when I don't work out, I am not hiding. I am actively pursuing the rest my body requires. When I do work out, I am showing up. Actively pursuing the fitness my body requires.

In relation to my connection with God, the seasons of ebb and flow of His presence is quite similar. When the connection is deep and rich it strengthens my faith and exercise my spirit. When my feeling of His presence draws back like the tide, the release of the tension, the eye of the hurricane brings rest and retreat.

I pray this makes sense. I know it is a little bit of a stretch (pun intended).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God in the Yard Week 7 Section 3

Oh how I have longed for you to be on this journey with me! I have spent many weeks this summer continuing to savor God in the Yard by L.L. Barkat.

I looked back to see the last post I did online. May 16! I have so much to share with you! I have been marinating in the tenderizing juices of God's heart for me this summer. My journal is FULL (I have 2 blank pages left) of writing from my journey through this life altering book. Part of the reason I haven't blogged it in "real time" is because I have needed to let many of the lessons penetrate old mindsets and perspectives.

I am not overstating this. It seems extreme to call something that isn't the Word of God "life altering" but for avid readers, even a few carefully placed words in a novel can change your mindset.

This book has done more than that. It has shifted my perspective on spiritual practices, drawn me in when I'd rather retreat and brought me deeper into the heart of God for me and His heart for my beloved ones.

I will spend the next several days, maybe even a week or two getting caught up posting my journal entries. I invite you to join me as I complete this incredible journey.

Week 7 Section 3 "To me, dormancy is about ...  REST" (I took this quite seriously)
Retreat - not away from God, but into Him. Like jumping voluntarily into the eye of a hurricane.

The swirling of expectations, disciplines, redundancies of the day-to-day whip around in a cyclone threatening to pull me up and spin me into a frantic life.

When I can make the leap from the frenzy into the still place in the center, I look upward and experience release and rest.

In several seasons of my life I have felt God was "absent" but that doesn't make it Truth. I firmly believe that feeling He is "absent" builds my faith and exposes my wounds and questions. Like a poultice designed to draw poison out of a wound, His "absence" draws out pain, disappointments, loss, and discomforts that might have otherwise gone ignored in the hurricane of life.

When I take these opportunities of "absence" to stand arms uplifted, reaching for Him, in the eye of this hurricane of life, releasing the toxins that can steal my joy, wreck my faith and leave me feeling disillusioned, my heart and mind return to REST on the Rock knowing His Word is Truth and I am firmly planted on it, by choice, forever.

Hebrews 13:5
"5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,   “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:8
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Today is my Grandpa's 92nd birthday. He won't read this, well, if Dad or Mom prints it out, maybe he will.

I just wanted to take a minute or two to tell you about him. Not all the vast details of his life, the orphanage, the service in the Army, Navy, or US Postal Service. The homemade dandelion wine, the funny jokes, playing double solitaire, and the debates and discussions over spiritual matters sitting at the dining table. Him teaching my sister and I to roller skate, shooting off fireworks on the 4th of July, hours of preparation and Bible studies he's taught, toys he's bought us and toys all his kids and grand kids have bought for him. I could keep going but instead,

I want to tell you what I know about him:

He is deeply passionate about God and his family.
He worked hard to take care of them.
He prays daily for all of us, he has for decades.

His presence has been taken for granted,
Ignored, and even resented at times.
He loves anyway, all the time.

He can be funny, grumpy, silly, careful, adventurous, and challenging.
Grandma knows, just ask her!

He kisses Grandma when he buckles her seatbelt for her.
He holds my hand when we take a walk.

He is on his way to Heaven.
Only God knows the day and the hour. 
Until then, I am going to appreciate the blessing of his presence here, as much as I can.
I am proud to call Ernie Klue my Grandpa.
Grandpa Klue (Papa Ernie to the great grand kids) and his youngest great grandson Olin.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Camping with teenagers, Oatmeal crust among friends, and Water obsessions

I have two weeks of "Fess Ups" since I wasn't able to blog so hopefully this won't be too long to bore you!






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We, my fellas and I to be specific spent last week at Youth Camp. We were up in the woods, in a camper, with just over 100 pre-teen to post-teen-agers. What a precious time!

My first "fess up" - I adore this age group of kids. I find them beautiful, silly, ambitious, energetic and full of crazy curve ball type behavior! Funny how that description is a very specific description of my own kids too, even 10 years younger than most of the Youth. Guess I adore my kids too, but you knew that...
My youngest snagged the megaphone more than once. This kind fella was showing him how to use it.

It was super cool when he figured out how to use the alarm button INSIDE the dining hall!

These are the precious people that took care of my fellas and 5 others while we cooked for the Youth. They did not look this chipper after spending a week with my guys. I should have snagged an "after" picture. The look on her face, I have seen in the mirror a million times!

Shootin' hoops like the big boys!

This week enhanced my youngest sons passionate fixation with water. He and the other "littles" did their best to turn the sandbox into beach front property.

My feet were this dirty too, I just thought it was more fun to take a pic of my friends filthy feet. We were both camping with our littles. Note the gun in the pic too.

This time two years ago this bike was SO big for my middle fella! Sigh. How time flies.

Seriously, the kid MUST make water happen. Why not reload a squirt gun with the straw on your water bottle? You have all day anyway!

At one point my youngest cracked in half. Over done, over tired, over stimulated and all Mommy had to do was say "Time for a NAP" (silly me!) and the meltdown happened. BUT, along comes this kind fella to distract him with the "removal" of his thumb.

Mr. Grumpy went from full wail to whiny moaning. God bless that precious big kid for blessing my little kid!

Another of the mommies cooking with me that week took a few minutes to play princess Yahtzee with my guys. No, it is not our game. Yes, each princess was referred to as "The Yellow Girl", "The Pink Girl", "The Blue Girl" etc. Desperate times call for girl games sometimes.

Mr. Water is at it again...

Two three year olds and a water pumper, what could go wrong?!! Actually only "getting wet". And they did take the entire handle off the pump. I am sure it took them less time to take it apart than it took me and the other mommy to put it back together!

Okay, so stealth mission... squirt unsuspecting kids in the pool with high volume water gun. Did I stop them? Nope.

They were already wet anyway & my guys were having a blast!

Yes, she is one of my babysitters! Awesome! :)

One of the best parts of the week was watching other kids and grown ups bless my kids. My biggest thought it was cool to pitch baseballs at the batter's head in this borrowed baseball game. nice.

Mr. Bossy telling one of the kids that his feet don't belong on the furniture. Hilarious for a guy who thinks the couch is a trampoline when I am not looking!

Muffins for breakfast, again!



Yup, two out of my three got a hold of the megaphone. Maybe I should get them each one for Christmas. Yeah. Sure.





So it seemed easier to caption the photos with the antics of the week. I did not get pics of :
- The 900 times my kids said they had to go potty so they didn't have to do whatever the teacher wanted them to.
- the scowls and tongue sticking out that happened when someone dared cross my youngest
- the gallons of Gatorade consumed when no adult was watching over it
- the spectacular crafts and Bible lessons the couple did that blessed the socks of my fellas
- the last night when my eldest requested to worship with the big kids, told me his heart was full after about 5 minutes and could he please go to bed. 
And finally,
- the gorgeous little boy rendition of "what can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus" that they learned in class.

My Love doesn't travel as much as he used to, but the day we came home from camp and the day he came home from working out of town was best expressed by these pictures. I was a little jealous. After all, he was mine first! :)




 Okay, so not REALLY jealous, just super duper extra double grateful for moments like these.



We are getting ready for a short trip. Today we began packing. Here is what we are taking. Can you blame me for actually considering this mode of transportation for my smallest but most vocal fella?

See, he looks pretty happy, doesn't he? Hmmm....

My friend Kira talked about her first trip to the beach this week with her kids, all by herself. I did not have that much courage. I have been so tired training for my big triathlon swim that when my Love reminded me how important it was for me and the kids to get to the beach I cried. Actual tears. Tragic huh? BUT, I knew he was right and so I invited/coerced/begged Nana to join us. She came and we had a nice time. There were a few mishaps, but the kids emphatic and profuse thanks on the way home let me know I made the right decision. Once again, listening to my Love was a really really good idea.
Life vests kept my beginner swimmers afloat and I actually enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves, knowing I could swim out there and grab them if anything went awry.

I asked for goofy faces, I got them, sort of.

He was instructed not to go deeper than his belly button without Mommy. He got pretty close... just like he does everything else.

We need to get Nana a pony. She fed my middle little gummy bears from her hand.

This appears to seem like a mostly good idea. Until the whale tips over and the death grip refuses to release. And I dash out into the water to retrieve my screaming cherub. Oh well. The sweet little lady apologized (it totally wasn't her fault) and she did a fabulous job holding his head while he obviously had NO trouble breathing. 


After writing my blog about "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" I didn't see this one coming:
Monday morning

Tuesday morning... he was so happy to get a whole dollar! (I would be too, I think I got quarters!)

Tuesday afternoon (he was brushing his teeth and it went down the drain) Tooth Fairy paid off anyway, he was hoping for $35 for the Star Wars Lego set he wants. He only got a dollar. He wasn't as impressed.

But here we are, reaching another growing up milestone. It really surprised me how unsettled I was. Those sweet baby teeth we worked so hard to get in all those years ago are on their way out. Sigh. Thank you Lord for growing up, memories, and joyful anticipation of all that is yet to come!
I love this picture one of my fellas took of me. It is a great reminder of what this week really looked like for me. Happy AND exhausted. God is good! There were actually several days this week my hair didn't leave the knot formation on the back of my head.

Other Fess Ups-
- I cried in my goggles while swimming in the lake every time this week.
- I have to drive 6hrs with my kids tomorrow then chase them around the park for 5 hours tomorrow and it is 12:24am
- I had a friend beat me to my house today for a meeting and SHE had to scrape the crusty oatmeal from breakfast off the table, floor and bench before she could sit down.
- I have been so tired and so busy that my brain is becoming so full of blogs I am afraid they will all merge together and become one big "Alphabet Soup" type blog that will make sense to only me, the crazy girl who is up past midnight but should have been in bed HOURS ago!

That's all for now! Happy Friday!

Who am I?

My photo
I am a wife and mother of 3. I have been married to my best friend for over 25 years and our children are 12, 11 and 9 years old. I have struggled with infertility, suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, and endured multiple career paths. I have experienced a crisis of faith that shook me to the core and lost a dear friend to a tragic death. I have had a personal relationship with Jesus for most of my life. The Bible and my relationship with Christ has been essential to my surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by joining me in this process of life. I thank you for showing up to read what I have written.