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Friday, November 11, 2011

Home Work

After a lot of waiting and praying and waiting...MaddieLuke, LTD is officially open for business! It's been a project that has been rolling around in my brain for several years, but after "retiring" from the work world, I finally seem to have the time needed to focus on launching my own business. It's a consulting firm of which I am the sole consulter so probably just a fancy way of saying I'm self-employed, but I like it. A lot.

Since it's early days, I'm doing some pro bono projects to get some customer testimonials and work out any kinks in my standard operating procedures. One project is with a non-profit in town, one project is with a homeschooled freshman, and the last project is being a campaign advisor for a local resident planning to run for state senate. I think I'm the most excited about the last project because I love politics. It's fast paced, involved, requires a lot of research and memorization, and there is a plethora of problem solving which I enjoy doing the most.

But, the main purpose of the consulting firm is two-fold. First, act as an educational consultant for homeschooling families in the state by checking over their records and body of work to ensure they are meeting Oklahoma PASS objectives. If not, making suggestions and recommendations on how to bring their work into compliance while helping them build a transcript / portfolio / record of work. Second, act as an organizational consultant for projects and non-profits including suggesting ways to more efficiently conduct business, update policies and procedures, and brainstorming / problem solving through issues that are currently challenging the organization.

I am excited to see what comes of these things and I'm enjoying the way my day is running. I have the daytime with J, early evening with P, and then I spend the last two hours of the day working on one/all of the projects I currently have ongoing.

But, I'm being mindful that if I get overly involved (like I tend to do), I will have to be willing and able to lay it all aside considering how much the Lord has been helping me focus on my priorities over the past few months. I certainly don't want to do anything detrimental!

Friday, October 21, 2011


It is finally Fall in Oklahoma! It rained a few weeks ago for a couple of days and now everything is lush and green in our backyard. Mostly weeds at this point, but it looks pretty. The weather has cooled down to a lovely 70 degrees F during the day and almost down to freezing at night. I'm sure it will heat up again before fall officially settles in, but we are grateful for the reprieve.

Baby G #2 is a boy! We had our 5 month scan about two weeks ago and everything is where it is supposed to be and functioning as it should and we're very grateful for that news as well. We decided to name him Elliott Frederick. The cutest thing in my little home right now is sweet baby J trying to say "Elliott." It comes out "Ell-eee?"

I am finding myself much more settled /comfortable with the title of stay at home mom. I am no longer struggling with trying to figure out what my role is going to be. When I first realized that I was going to have to give up all of the board/charity work that I had been doing since J's arrival, it was a struggle. I felt lost for several weeks. But, it's because my perspective was so limited. I was only seeing what I was losing and I wasn't open to what could be gained by freeing up that time and energy. I have found my focus restored and the biggest conviction that I have pressing on me at the moment is to make good use of the time that J and I have left together before we add in Baby E's presence. There is so much for both of us to learn between now and then.

There are always new lessons to learn, old lessons to revisit, and the opportunity to improve things that haven't been quite rounded and softened out of us yet. I am finding this to be true in all areas of life and I'm having to reconsider my stance on certain situations and people especially. I'm such a black and white thinker about things. I like evaluating and making decisions and seeing the decisions through. But, in that process, I think I have given up on people or distanced myself from people who are being knit into my larger family and at the end of the day, it was never my place to say who was worth walking away from because that's not the purpose to which I have been called. I'm learning that patience, hope, love, and endurance are what is required to see things through to completion - in myself and in others. We can't do this kind of work or experience this kind of growth alone if we have set our eyes on the prize and are determined to see it through.

Repetition is my biggest lesson with J in this season. Constant review and interaction and encouragement and reminders which pay off in a big way because at some point in the repetition, something clicks and HE GETS IT. Repetition is something good for my life as well because it's exactly the same. When good things are being put in steadily, constantly, and consistently and my heart dwells on them, at some point in the repetition, something clicks and I GET IT. So, I am reminding myself for myself and reminding myself for J, continue in the good way. Don't grow weary in well doing. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together. Walk in love. As HE is in this world, so are we.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What a difference a year makes...

My sweet baby J turned 1 on Thursday. I spent the actual day of his birth cuddling him and talking him about how much he has changed my life for the better. I'm sure he grew weary of all the hugs and kisses, but he never let on.

Friday, I began the daunting task of completing his 1st year baby scrapbook. I have managed to keep a baby calendar for the past year which is no easy task and ended up saving all the photos to do at one time. Thankfully, I have a very patient and helpful mentor to assist me in getting my creativity going and I was able to complete 22 pages of pictures before it was time to head to Norman to celebrate my mother's birthday with the family.

Saturday, we had J's birthday party. We decided a few months ago that while we wanted the huge celebration with family and friends, baby J is in need of NOTHING (except diapers, maybe) and we didn't want anyone to feel obligated to bring him a gift. So, we decided to ask guests to bring a donation for the local Humane Society instead for us to donate on J's behalf. I wasn't sure how people would respond, but we ended up with a half a truckbed of items to donate and J got to celebrate the day with about 70 friends and family at the local park. We still managed to come home with half a sheet cake which we gave to my teenage brothers to enjoy.

After J's park party, we headed out to my parents for the family party complete with burgers, fries, baked beans, and a marble cupcake with chocolate icing for J. He loved it! Mom and Dad bought him a little green tractor to ride around on at their house and he also received some money which we're using to open his college savings account. I'm sure he'll thank us for being so frugal one day, lol.

Today, I took J to church by myself because P was called into the office around 8am. J had a few minor meltodwns but ended up falling asleep in the end which was a relief. I know he probably sounds louder to me than he sounds to everyone else, but it's nerve wracking to balance that fine line between J learning to sit still and us being a huge disruption to everyone else. Hopefully, after a few more weeks of us being consistent, he will either find ways to quietly entertain himself or fall asleep without a lot of coaxing. Patience, patience...on both of our parts!

I had to resign from all of my organizations and boards that I have been serving on. It was a really hard thing to let go of because it's been my bridge between being a professional and being a stay at home mom, but the Lord was making it really clear that in order to grow, I needed to let go. My place is home with J and my job right now is taking care of him and taking care of myself ot make sure that Baby #2 has every opportunity to grow and develop in a stress-free environment. There have been a few days here and there where I have struggled with letting go of such a big part of my identity, but thankfully, it's getting better with each passing day. I know in my heart and head that those things were temperal at best and a distraction at worst, so it's better to not have my focus being so divided. I just  need to stand firm on that conviction.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Patiently waiting...

I have about 2.5 more weeks before the end of the 1st trimester with Baby #2 who we are lovingly referring to as "Lentil" until we learn the sex of the baby.

Being pregnant with J was a piece of cake. I was a little tired, but I still worked 50 - 60 hours per week, kept my house in order, got all my laundry done each weekend, and had time for family and friends. Lentil is a whole other story. I have had morning sickness from the time I wake up until I finally fall asleep. 2am is my new bedtime and 9am is the latest I can sleep without J protesting through the baby monitor. I lost 6lbs since I found out I was pregnant, but I'm already showing. And, as of 3 days ago, round ligament pains are my newest companion on this journey. I had NONE of these troubles with J, so I'm making it through each day with extra prayer, 6 small meals (heavy on the protein), lots of water, and as little sun as possible.

In spite of the difficulties, I'm encouraged and I'm looking forward to our next doctor's appt. We should be able to hear the heartbeat and see the baby more clearly because our doctor has new ultrasound equipment. And, I'm really hopeful that 13 weeks will bring some relief from the nausea. I can handle the other thing, but feeling sick all day and all night really saps my energy.

P has been amazing during the process. He's been putting in 12 hour days at the office and then coming home in time to help get J ready for bed. He also makes dinner, cleans the kitchen, and helps me run errands so I don't have to worry about getting J out in this crazy Oklahoma heat.

Stay cool, friends!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Life has been crazy over the past month. P's work, my projects, family life, activities with's honestly been one thing after another. And while I have enjoyed so much of this over the past month, I realized today as I was listening to words of the sermon, I have inadvertently allowed my old nemesis, Distraction, to sneak back in and steal my peace in so many situations.

Reflecting on the past month, I had not realized how many nights I was laying in bed, unable to sleep because I had so many things running through my brain. I LOVE problem solving and processing through things and while this can be a really good quality, I can see where I wasn't closely monitoring some situations that I've encountered and as a result, this good quality turned into a processing overdrive that consumed a lot of time and lot of brain space.

J has spent more time with my family in the past month than he has in several months. This is a really good thing because they love him and he loves them...but what prompted him spending so much time with them is me stacking my day to day schedule with SO many activities and meetings and appointments that he couldn't attend. Is this bad? I'm not sure if it qualifies as bad...but it certainly defeated the purpose of me resigning from a job I loved to stay home with my beautiful boy.

I have also involved myself in things that are truly beyond the scope of what I can do to fix it. And, I'm almost ashamed to admit that in my zeal for fixing things, I've said things to several people in the process that have caused hurt feelings and friction. I realized that I STILL haven't learned that telling the truth doesn't mean telling everything you know.

I was convicted this morning of not investing enough time in people and in things that matter in the long run. I have been too focused on the details and I've been missing the big picture. I'm not abandoning anything by any means. I'm seeing my projects through to finish and I'm going to continue seeing family and friends. But, I'm resolving to be much more discerning in situations and to practice being reserved in what I say about situations. And once this round of projects is completed, I need to take a HUGE step back and regroup before I say "yes" to anything new.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things are heating up!

In so many senses of that phrase. at work for P. He's living under many microscopes at the moment with many tests coming his way to see if he will abandon his course, but he's hanging in there and asking for help from the one place he knows it comes from.

Including...our house. It's literally 80 degrees in our house with the A/C working overtime, ceiling fans on high, etc...we think it's coming up through the beautiful 1940s pine floors so we're either going to have to foam the underside of the house to close up the gaps or put carpet back in. I think J would like option 2 better now that he's pretty mobile and on the go most of the time.

Including...our pantry! A mouse chewed through the line that runs water from the water heater to the ice maker in the fridge and the only way we knew was when I decided to deep clean the pantry last night and discovered mold growing on all my cake mix boxes and taco shell boxes! DISGUSTING. We had to remove all the shelves, rip the sheetrock out about halfway up the wall, remove the laminate, linoleum, and sub-flooring, and we're going to have to treat the studs themselves. I'm so glad we found out that there was a problem before the wall caved in! Stupid mice.

Including...the tests and trials in general that are coming against us as a family and as a body. We know that we lose our lives in Christ and entrust ourselves to Him, there will be things that come against us. If we perservere and endure, we grow. The outcome is good when we stick it out and pass our tests. So, that's what we are asking for...strength to endure and wisdom to know how to handle everything that comes our way.

Including...others around us. This ties back into tests and trials, but as the weather heats up, tempers are flaring up left and right! Thankfully, I haven't had to endure a face to face flare up yet, but I'm ready to just step away from Facebook until things cool down. While I'm not on the giving or receiving end of ANYTHING, it's such a discouragement to see people lose their peace over something and then spew all over their friends causing the weaker ones to become inflamed as well. This leads to no good things and rather than continue to observe or end up "un-friending" a LOT of people, I think it's just easier to use Facebook as a place to post pics of J for P's family right now. Too many temptations to get involved in things that are none of my concern and too much opportunity for unnecessary battering of the soul.

Stay cool, be at peace, let not your heart be troubled, and endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Worst Afternoon Ever

Since there is a lesson to be learned in every situation, I'm not going to complain about yesterday...but I am going to say to myself, "For goodness sake, let's get this learned and get over it so we don't have to do THAT again, self!"

1. J did not nap yesterday. At all.
2. He's also teething - two at once.
3. Payday - had to swing by the office to pick up P's check since he was out of town
4. Several errands to run in the 100+ degree weather. J and I were both sweating like a couple of piggies after about 20 min.
5. Sat in line at the bank for 15 min which led to several loud protests from the backseat.
6. Race around the grocery store only to end up spending 10 min in the checkout line because my debit card wouldn't go through.
7. The check out announces (rather loudly) that I don't have any money in the bank to cover it...or that's what she thinks might be the problem.
8. Gather J and groceries, head to car (since the boy bagging my groceries did not offer to help like they usually do)
9. Unlock trunk, load groceries.
10. Attempt to shut trunk but cannot because the latch is stuck in the closed position
11. Realize that the trunk lid is too lightweight to attempt the 5 mile drive home without the possibility of having to stop several times which wasn't an option with a 9 month old in the backseat
12. Call Mom
13. Call sisters A and E
14. Call P
15. Call parents home phone
16. Call brother in law
17. Call Dad - the only one who answered his phone
18. Tell Dad what's going on, he offers to drive the 20 miles into town to pick us up and take us home
19. Call bank to ask about debit card status and get put on hold for 18 min
20. Hang up and call bank back who offers to call me back
21. Put J in front seat and crank a/c all the way to full blast
22. Brother in law calls back, offers to come to rescue
23. Mother and brother show up (Dad sent them)
24. Move all groceries and J over to Mom's car
25. Brother in law arrives with tools and manages to get trunk lock pried open so trunk will close
26. Thank everyone, leave J and groceries with Mom, drive to bank
27. Arrive at bank, wait in line
28. FINALLY get to speak to someone only to determine that all is well, funds are in the account
29. Drive home
30. Mom arrives with J as I am attempting to unlock front door
31. Realize rather belatedly that using the front door key to try to pry the trunk lock open was a bad idea
32. Mom offers to go in through the dog door
33. Trying hard not to laugh
34. Mom realizes that her shoulders won't fit through
35. Mom also realizes that the extra key to my house is in sister A's car and she is at least 20 miles away
36. Realize that J and groceries have been in the heat almost 2 hours at this point
37. Decide to break back door pane and unlock back door
38. Mom insists on doing it
39. Mom comes back about 3 min later and states that the glass is tempered and she can't get it to budge
40. Mom proceeds to search her car AGAIN (4th time) for an extra key
41. Take screwdriver, march to back door, and smash pane for all it's worth
42. Glass shatters
43. Cut index finger and wrist
44. Unlock back door
45. Wrap finger in paper towels
46. Let Mom and J in the house
47. Put away groceries
48. Clean up broken glass
49. Cancel longstanding dinner plans with friends
50. Await husband's return

All is well that ends well. J fell asleep at 8pm (an hour ahead of schedule). I think I'm going to have an awesome scar on my index finger. And P wasn't upset about anything. BUT, what I realized, at each point along the way is that all of my busy-ness is detracting from my job. I'm not giving my job 100% and I really need to focus my energies and attention on making sure all the house related tasks are in good standing before I throw so much of my energy into running around, serving on committees, helping Mom with her projects, etc... so that's what I'm doing. Granted, I'm only one day back into my routine, but it's been a very smooth day and baby J has napped like a champ. I'm willing to trade in some of my busy things if it means things are peaceable "on the job."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Summertime

It DOES get hot around here in the summertime, but I would rather have this dry Oklahoma heat and all the goodness it brings over the rainy summer in the UK any day of the week! I do miss the Pimms and Lemonade sometimes, though.

Prior to getting pregnant with J, I loathed melons of all sorts and kinds. The thought of eating a melon would make my mouth curl up and the texture? Don't even get me started on the texture of melons. But, at this time last year, when I was waddling around 6.5 months pregnant, I found myself not just wanting a melon. CRAVING a melon. And so, for the last trimester of my pregnancy, P and I had lunch in the hospital cafeteria (yes, I know it's a strang place to actually WANT to eat everyday, but the food is pretty good and it's easy on the old budget) and I got a huge plate of honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple thrown in for good measure alongside a huge scoop of cottage cheese. BTW, I used to loathe cottage cheese even more than I loathed melon.

So, now that J is a baby and no longer has any input on what sounds good to eat, I am finding myself craving melons and cottage cheese again! The difference this year will be that we can actually travel out to the little roadside fruit stands and meet up with local farmers selling homegrown melons out of the backs of their old beat up pickup trucks. I personally think it's going to be even better this time around.

I am also looking forward to spending some time outdoors with P once J is in bed. Just the two of us, sitting on the back porch (baby monitor nearby), a glass of wine or iced tea, catching up in the cooler part of the day.

And, the 4th of July is my most favorite holiday. Ever. Hands down. Homemade ice cream, fireworks at Mom and Dad's house in the country, grilling out, loads of fresh veggies (hopefully from Granpa's garden), and J splashing around in his baby swimming pool.

Yes, it's hot...but it's the only time of year that slows down enough to make me feel like I'm 8 years old again and don't have a care in the world. I'm looking forward to introducing J to all the joys of summertime. Next summer, he'll be 18 months old, able to do for himself and most likely, a living example of Newton's 1st Law of Motion. But this year? I can hold him in my lap and talk to him about all the things that only happen this time of year, and watch him taking everything in. And hopefully, summer will become his favorite season as well. I think if I were a little boy, it would be the absolute best time of year to revel in all things dirt, water, and living.

Monday, June 6, 2011


There is something about hearing that word from my sweet little boy that makes my heart almost burst. He has the sweetest little mouth with the fullest little rose colored lips and when he smiles with his opened mouth smile and all I can see are his little pearly white teeth peeking through followed by a very emphatic "MA-MA"... that almost bursting floods through my veins and rushes from my top of my head to the ends of my toes. If I think about it more than a split second, tears well up in the corners of my eyes and I have to quickly stop myself or I will want to sit in the floor with him and smother his little cheeks with kisses and whisper in his ear how much I love him too.

No matter what our day has held to this point, no matter how crazy things can be, no matter how tired or sick we have been at some matter what, I wake up and can't wait to get him out of his baby bed so I can hug him and kiss him and tell him good morning. I can't wait to see what he learns how to do today. I can't wait to see which word he says next. I can't wait to talk to him about everything and nothing. I can't wait to listen to him babble about the world around him. And, at the end of the day, I can't wait to slowly bring things to a close and start calming him down so he can have a peaceful, dream filled night. Talking to him about our busy day while he's splashing around in the bathtub. Using his nighttime lotion on his soft, sweet baby skin. Singing his favorite songs to him. Watching him finally giving into the sleepytime train as it pulls into the station.

Throughout my day and into my night and right before I go to sleep, the thought that continually runs in the background of my brain is what a privileged woman I am to have been entrusted with this sweet, amazing baby. He has been a blessing from the very beginning. As soon as we found out we were having a baby, he has been a blessing to us. And, I am confident that he will continue to be all the days of my life. And it's a journey I am looking forward to continuing with him.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Too busy....

But, it's not a bad thing. At all. J is now completely mobile and army crawling all over the place. I thought I was busy before, but my goodness! I have really had to ramp up the vaccuming and keeping everything picked up just to make sure J doesn't get into anything he shouldn't. I still haven't figured out a good way to stay on top of Luke's excessive amount of dog hair. Since the weather has been fluxuating so much these past few weeks, he's shedding like crazy. If anyone ever tries to tell you that beagles "don't shed that much" kick them in the shins and run away because they are being dishonest with you!

It's a busy time of year for the boards that I am currently working with so I've been spending a lot of time in meetings and reviewing paperwork. I am enjoying the challenges and the interactions with people that I don't get to see on a regular basis. It's been nice to do some problem solving / critical thinking that doesn't relate to any of my bedroom closets or kitchen cabinets.

I have also spending a lot of time with my mother which I have loved. We have been going through her house like an organizing whirlwind and I'm so proud of her for parting with some of her beloved books and homeschooling materials from 15 years ago. She has been saving them for us to use if we decided to homeschool and I think she realized that the history and science are pretty outdated. She singlehandedly pared down to her most favorite books from each subject area and tomorrow we will put them away under the stairs so they are easier for her to get to when she needs them again. We are also tackling the under the stairs storage area tomorrow as well as the laundry room and closets.

We are both utilizing some of the new(ish) consignment shops in town as we're sorting through and getting rid of things. New2You Boutique at 9th & Main is currently accepting name brand women and girl's clothing, shoes, and accessories. Ecelctic Echo is accepting home decor, furniture, and other home goods. It's a nice way to make some spending money without having to hassle with eBay. I'm hoping to make enough this summer to pay for my vintage pin up (classy, not trashy) photo shoot that is scheduled for the end of September.

And, I'm making more effort to spend quality time pursuing things that are important and essential to me. My walk with the Lord, my relationship with my husband and son, my time with my family, my time with my friends, and improving my health are taking up most of my day. And I think this is great. In addition to all of the obvious positives, it has really reduced the potential negatives that were always looming in the background, waiting to pull me under.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Doing the right thing...

This week, so far, has been great in the sense of seeing some good results. But, as I'm sure most people know, the work required to get good results can sometimes be tedious, painful, or challening to accomplish. It can require us to squirm in discomfort from the heat or backlash we might experience from others. It can require us to give up even more in order to attain something greater. It can cause us to increase in areas. It can cause us to decrease / give up even more in areas. It can cause some relationships to end, others to begin. It can push some away, draw others close. It can require us to be quiet, inwardly and outwardly. 

But, even when it's uncomfortable, coming to the end and seeing the fruits of your labor when you have succeeded makes the uncomfort completely worth it. And more willing to go through the next process.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trying something new...

Since becoming a stay at home mom, I have tried to be aware of what's running in the background noise of our home life. J's first few weeks at home were mostly spent in one of his parent's arms, catching zzz's whenever we could. "Deadliest Catch" (Discovery Channel) was our background noise because they were showing a marathon. Once P returned to work, I found a few tv shows that I liked to watch during J's feedings and naptimes. Mostly old school favorites like "In The Heat of The Night" and some newer shows like "The Closer."

But, once J stopped nursing at 3 months, TV was just noise. It was too difficult to get engaged in a plot and the last thing I wanted was him to become accustomed to it always being on. So, we started to save our TV viewing until after J went to bed around 9pm. This worked in the sense that one or both of us had some uninterrupted time to concentrate on the story line or catch up on the news. But, it also meant that the time P and I had to ourselves was becoming even more limited.

I'm kind of embarassed to say, but we finally realized this about two weeks ago and decided that something had to be done about that. So, 9pm is the new "date" time. Even if it means that we're folding laundry together, cleaning the kitchen together, or getting ready for bed together, it's our time to talk about our day and touch base before the next day is upon us. It's been really  nice to save up things that I want to remember to tell P about and then actually be able to watch his expressions and interact with him face to face instead of sending text messages throughout the day.

The other thing I have decided to do today is to change the background noise during the day. We stopped having the TV on during the day several months ago, so what I would end up doing is loading up my iPod playlist, hit shuffle, and we would listen to whatever popped up. Now, I don't have anything that I consider to be "bad" on my playlist, but I do have quite a bit of music that's from my college era that I work out to when I'm at the gym. And, because I associate that music with a time in my life, I would find myself completely lost in memories or thoughts about the past. I spent HOURS thinking about my life back then and what I would do differently if I had the chance. I reconnected with friends from the past after hearing a song that reminded me of them. While this wasn't "bad" for me, it wasn't the best use of my time with J.

So, today, I found a gift we received from J's baby shower, an audio recording of the Bible. We spent the morning listening to Psalms while we went about our day. We cleaned the kitchen, tidied up the office and guest bathroom, started some laundry, and when it was time for J's nap, we snuggled into the armchair in the living room and listened to Psalms 23 while he fell asleep. He slept for almost 2 hours this morning which is very unusual for my busy little boy. Maybe it's a coincidence, but maybe it's because the atmosphere in our house is much more peaceful than it has been. And as for me...I found myself listening intently and thinking about how that particular passage was applicable to things. And my heart opened up a line of communication to my Father that hasn't been opened on a regular basis for quite some time now. And I found myself praying, asking God to help me focus on what I need to fix in my own life instead of being so consumed with things that I have no power over. The past, other people, other people's problems...but to help me see the things that need cleansing from the inside out in my own heart.

I am hopeful that J and I will both continue to benefit from the changes being made.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It is time...

11 When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with all childish ways.

I Corinthians 13:11 (New Jerusalem Bible)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Measuring Up

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." - Samuel Johnson

I have been doing some thinking about interacting with others lately. It's so easy to love those who are pleasant and amiable. It's easy to get along with those who behave acceptably. It's easy to be nice to someone when you know you will get something nice in exchange.

But, it's a true labor of love to be good to those who won't be good to you in return. It's a true testament of character to be able to turn the other cheek when someone continually mistreats you on a large scale or small scale. It's choosing to be patient with that person while you allow the experience to smooth out your rough edges.

I'm always observing those around me to see how they treat others. I'm especially interested in watching those around me when it comes to their interactions with those poor souls who work in a customer service capacity.

  1. Nothing annoys me more than watching someone treat our waiter / waitress without respect. I cringe when I'm out to dinner with someone and they either act like the waitstaff doesn't exist (ignorning questions, ignoring drink refill offers, not stopping their conversation when it's time to place the order) or they act like the waitstaff are idiots who should have read their mind to know what they needed when they haven't made the request in the first place (EXCUSE ME! I NEED THREE RAMIKANS OF SALAD DRESSING - NOT TWO) Combining the two makes me never want to have lunch with you again. Complaining about having to tip or leaving less than 15% when the food and service was good is also a huge red flag for me.
  2. I think we can all agree that cell phone service in general can be a little pricey and that the companies overall look for ways to make extra money at every turn. However, being rude or condescending to those working the front line for said companies is misplacing your rage. 90% of the time, the person mistreating those at work is the person who would complain about having to pay tax dollars towards TANF, SNAP, and other goverment assisted programs for those who are NOT working. Instead of thinking about how this customer service rep is making an honest day's wage at a highly stressful job with little to no thanks and support from his/her customer base, that person thinks it's perfectly fine to yell and scream and holler and pitch an adult sized hissy fit "because I want the company to know how disgusted I am with their service!" If that's really how you feel, why not write a letter or call their headquarters? I can guarantee you that the person you just yelled at isn't going to take it on a company level and pass that feedback along to their higher ups. They are going to take it personally and eventually, they will either quit their job or they will become calloused and unpleasant, unwilling to do anything above and beyond the bare minimum of their job.
  3. Thinking you're more important that you actually are is another thing that annoys me, but this one amuses me at the same time. If I pull up to a valet restaurant in my 2005 Dodge Neon that's covered in dust and bug guts, I expect the person parking my car to be courteous and prompt and pleasant. But, I don't expect them to roll out the red carpet and gush all over me and make me feel important. They know as well as I do that the tip I'm able to give at the end of the night isn't going to be the same kind of tip I would give if I was driving a Bentley. Expecting people to drop everything and make a fuss over you everytime you exhale is going to cause me to limit my time with you. Especially if you expect me to make a fuss over you everytime I see you. Does this mean I'm not happy to see my friends? Of course not. I just don't make a lot of room in my life for high maintenance folks. I simply don't have enough time to invest in those kinds of relationships. 
So, what brought all this on? I was watching my son today. Watching him watching me. Watching P. And I was reminded that he is a mirror of what he is around everyday. If I want him to be respectful and treat everyone courteously, kindly, consistently....I have to be a good example. I have to provide that standard for him. And it made me realize that if I can be kind to those who will do no good to me, I can be kind to EVERYONE in my life at all times. And that is what I want J to see on a daily basis and that is one of the things I want him to remember about me when he is grown.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pretty little things all in a row

Today, I found myself organizing shelves and putting things back in their proper place. Someone before me had taken everything out of the proper place, stacked everything on the floor and top shelf, and pulled things off the wall.

I found it so distracting and so bothersome that I stopped what I was doing, cleaned off the top shelf, restacked all similar items together, and rehung everything that had fallen. All in all, about 20 minutes of my day spent on cleaning up someone else's mess. It looked so much better afterward and I felt so much better afterward. It was much easier to continue on with what I was doing prior to happening upon that mess.

The only problem with the scenario is  that I was a customer. In a store. And it was the scrapbooking section as opposed to my living room.

I should have known to be a little more aware of myself today because earlier I was flipping through some pictures online and instead of focuing on the two beautiful children in the album, I was completely distracted by the mountains of toys, dirty dishes, tv on in the background, and the 3 year old running around in dirty clothes with blue food coloring all over her face. It actually made me uncomfortable to look because I wanted to do a Mary Poppins jump into the picture and help put everything back where it goes. Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dr. Pop

Last night, J's "teething" symptoms turned into trouble breathing and coming out of being asleep with uncontrollable screaming. It was about 11:30pm and we debated about calling my dad (who also happens to be J's doctor) or driving to the ER. We ended up trying my mom's phone instead and after no answer, I took it as a sign that we needed to go ahead and go in to the ER.

They whisked us back to a room, put J through all of the unpleasantness of getting your vitals taken when you're less than a year old, and after a brief visit with the doctor, we had to wrap J in a blanket and hold him while his nose and throat were swabbed. 

He finally fell asleep in my arms around 1am. His breathing difficulties had subsided quite a bit by 1:30am. They released us at 2:30am with a negative on strep and RSV test results and instructions to follow up with J's doctor the next day. 

J did not sleep more than 45 min last night. I stayed up with him until 4:30am. P took over until 9:45am. Then we switched out and P took a 2 hour nap before J's doctor appointment. I think J slept about 30 min during this entire timeframe and was so exhausted that every little thing was sending him into complete meltdown mode.

After a brief nap in the car on the way to to doctor's, we were able to see Pop (J's grandpa) and J was diagnosed with Herpangina. The blisters on the back of his throat are very painful and that is most likely why he has not been able to sleep.  The good news is that it's completely treatable with over the counter medication. The bad news is that he's going to feel sick over the next few days until the blisters clear up.

Obviously, we have decided that it's best for J (and all of the other children his age) if we self impose a quarantine until he is completely well. I'm trying to get over being annoyed about this, but if someone else had extended that same courtesy, my sweet baby J might not be suffering at the moment. Sheesh!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Housewife / Business Owner

Yesterday (and several months leading up to yesterday), I was a girl with an idea.

Today, I'm a business owner with a business plan. Very excited about how things are shaping up and can't wait to share the final product when it's ready for unveiling.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Letting go (again)

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us." - Alexander Graham Bell

Saturday, May 14, 2011


"The kindness I have longest remembered has been of this sort, — the sort unsaid; so far behind the speaker’s lips that almost it already lay in my heart. It did not have far to go to be communicated. " - Thoreau

"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not."  - Samuel Johnson (I like SJ. A lot)

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." - George Washington Carver

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's raining

Sweet baby J is asleep.
Iced tea is almost finished brewing.
 My kitchen is sparkling. John Mayer playlist on in the background.
All the lights are off.
And, it's raining.
Today is an almost perfect day.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I have had a job since I was 16...which means that I have been working over half of my life at this point. Prior to working outside of my home, I helped my parents wrangle children, clean house, do laundry, cook (disasterous on many occasions), run errands, etc...

Combining my life up to 16 with all of the things I've learned from working, I have a need for schedules. A need for to do lists. A need for a project list. A need to manage things on Excel spreadsheets. A need to take inventory of things. A need to issue progress reports. And, much to P's chagrin, I have found a way to do all of these things in my new role. He refers to me being in work mode as me being in "doing mode" and there is an entire song that he's made up about it to the tune of "Hey There, Lonely Girl" by Eddie Holman. It's pretty amusing, I must say, even though it's completely at my expense. And he's going to have to stop singing it in front of J before too long unless P wants to take up explaining Freud and a few other things to his 2 year old.

I always have a little giggle on the inside whenever my career minded friends make comments about how nice it must be to stay in bed all day, wander around in my pjs, watch tv all day, or go shopping whenever I feel like it. I'm not sure where they are getting their information on what a housewife's life looks like, but I must have missed out on that "how-to" training session. I feel just as busy as I did when I was working 55-60 hours a week at my last "real job"...the difference being that I'm on call 24/7 and I don't have any sick days or vacation days.

(Yes, I have made myself a schedule. And it is posted on the bulletin board in my kitchen)

But, I wouldn't trade this life for ANYTHING. Aside from the obvious enjoyment of being home with J, I have actually really enjoyed working on house related projects that have been on hold since we moved here in '06. I've learned a lot about our spending patterns, buying habits, and tendencies from taking inventory of what is occupying our house at the moment. I was finally able to get all of my fabric out of storage and start mapping out what sewing projects I want to work on in a few weeks. I have had the time to sort through and scan most of the film negatives from my parents house and get them safely tucked away on my hard drive. I'm learning how to COOK. And it's actually tasting pretty good!

And, I am realizing that while I enjoyed those 15 years of pushing myself and challenging myself and going to bed exhausted because of the long days and multiple problem solving opportunities everyday...I'm finding the same in what I'm doing now and the benefits are so much greater.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Clutter vs Organization

"When I cannot bear outer pressure anymore, I begin to put order to my belongings...As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects." Anais Nin

Had the woman not passed away in 1977, I would wonder if she had been peeking in my windows the past several weeks! Or perhaps, there are many women who seek to bring some semblance of order to things by reorganizing and rearranging their stuff.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I would like to make a case against the old saying, "Hindsight is 20/20" because if that was true, I can think of a handful of things I would have done differently along the way by being able to quickly go back and reverse a decision I made.

I think if the statement is true, it's only true years after the event has passed. Only at the point when you can lay hurt feelings aside, be completely honest with yourself about what caused you to act the way you did about things, and stop questioning what caused the other party's actions to play out the way things did can you truly say that hindsight is 20/20. Otherwise, looking back is being filtered. And usually the filter is already tainted with too many other feelings, emotions, or speculations which makes anything you might take away from the experience invalid.

Directly after the event occurs, the emotions can range from relief to anger to pain to guilt. Maybe you think it was for the best. Maybe you think it's the worst thing that has ever happened to you. Maybe you're too afraid to feel anything about it all so you box it up and put it away on a high shelf where you won't think to look at it again for awhile. Maybe you obsess over every little detail, looking for answers and trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together. Maybe your pride kicks in and you refuse to acknowledge what YOU did that caused things to unravel or come together in such ways.

Then, a few weeks go by. You find that you are no longer remembering every little detail. Maybe you can go through most of the day before something causes you to remember. Maybe you have removed everything or everyone that would make you remember so it's like it never even happened.

Then, a few months or a year goes by. Maybe something triggers a memory like a song or a scent or a taste. And instead of feeling the same way, you feel almost the opposite. Pain is replaced with warmth. Happiness / joy is replaced with regret. Anger replaced with love. Pride replaced with humbleness. Relief replaced with sadness. And instead of shoving everything aside, you find yourself beginning to make peace with each piece as you break it down and look at it section by section. As you resolve one piece, you put it away, most likely to never see it again.

And then, what you have left at the end of the process is either complete resolution of understanding exactly what happened and why. Or, you are left with a few things that don't quite make sense. They haven't exactly been resolved. You're still not sure what happened or why it happened or who initiated the event. And you can't move forward or put it away never to look at again because it still doesn't make any sense.

It's then, only here at this point, can hindsight be 20/20. Only here can you truly say "This is what I should have done," "This is how I wish I had handled things," "Had I done this instead, this is where my life would have taken a different path or direction." The unfortunate thing about reaching this point, most of the time, is that what was once a crossroads has now become an intricate web and if you were to pull on that one loose string, everything you have done since that event would become unraveled in the process.

What this means for someone like me is that instead of having everything in my life neatly resolved and put away, there will have to be things that never receive the level of closure that I would prefer. Instead of getting to go back and get to the bottom of exactly what happened and what I could have, should have, might have, wished I had done...I have to accept that the past is behind me. Whatever lies back there in one way or another has led me to where I am today. And the love, forgiveness, and mercy extended to my life in spite of some very bad decisions are not to be taken for granted.

And the second chances to make things right are not to be squandered by being selfish and only thinking about myself. It's the chance to resolve and grow and be refined. If the chance is misused, it will end up being another crossroads leading to hindsight causing me to wish I had made a better decision when the event was occuring.

I hate repeating things I should have done better/known better in the first place.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Ever run something through your brain so much that you need a mental health day from your own mind?

Yeah, totally that girl right now. I know it's all part of this process of being refined and pressed down and decreasing and learning to trust which means I can do it if I have my confidence in the right place.

But, tonight, my brain aches. And my heart hurts a little. And my temper is ragged and frayed. And my mouth hurts from keeping it closed when there are so many things that want to pour out in a torrent at times. These times are good for me...lather, rinse, repeat.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Boundaries, lines, and the ripple effect

I am having one of those weeks. It seems like I have one of those weeks every 3 months or so and it's the kind of week where everything leading up to it has been smooth sailing. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all is right in the world.

But, then, something from a long time ago in a very different life to the one I have now will pop up on the horizion. And I will worry and fret and remember and grow cold and warm up as it gets closer and closer. Knowing darn well that it's best to leave it alone. Knowing it's better to turn around and walk away so I can't see it on the horizion any longer and maybe forget it's there. And, there is some improvement in the sense that my resistance is being built up. It takes longer for me to succumb...but I still end up giving in. I don't jump in with both feet any longer, but I still dip my toe in the water which is long enough for all those things from long ago to rush over me and fill me with dread, regret, anxiety, guilt, remorse, discontentment, and wondering what if.

None of these things are profitable. None of these things help me reach my goal of ascending. None of these things help me leave the past behind. And after I've pushed past the boundary, I remember why it's not good for me to go to that place.

I just need to be better about remembering BEFORE the line is crossed. And, I have GOT to get some of these issues settled within myself so the pull is no longer there. There are some very basic things that I'm still struggling to answer at this point. The first there room in your life for people who don't adhere to the same standards? Especially people who were part of your past and only know who you were back then. Would they be interested in being a part of your life if they got to know you now?

What I am finding as these people pop back into my life is that most of them DO want to be a part of my life again. And the main reason that continues to come up is because I'm not the same person. I don't act the same way. I'm in a better place now and they want to know who I am now. This is encouraging....but at the same time, depending on who they were to me in my past...there are a lot of emotions and feelings that seem to get dredged up and that has the potential to cause problems. And in some cases, my life has moved forward/changed so much while they are still in the same place doing the same things they were when we were running around which means it's hard to find common ground so we end up talking about "the good old days." For the record, my good old days were not that great. Looking back, most of them were heart breaking now that my perspective on life has been altered. Significantly.

The second thing that needs resolution is how much effect will me letting people from the past back in have on P and J? Obviously, I would want to include them in the process. It's important for anyone from back then to realize that I'm married now. I'm a mom now. I don't have the time or interest to do a lot of things that we used to do back in the day. But, depending on my past relationships with some of these people, it could be difficult for everyone concerned. You read about lost loves reconnecting through Facebook and all of that and I know that's not something I'm out looking for...but I have no idea what's driving the other person to reach out and make the connection with me. And when I do feel compelled to make a connection with someone, am I always sure of my motivation?

Most of the time, I feel completely overwhelmed by what's happened in the past and a huge desire to make it right.

But, maybe I need to just turn the valve off before any of that occurs. Maybe I need to draw a line over the past and only focus on the here and now. Maybe it's all a giant test to see where my heart is in these matters.

The only thing that's really clear to me is that I need a lot more wisdom and a lot more discernment in the matter. Especially since this issue seems to come up a lot for me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Letting people in....

I have decided that the 3 year old in me who was incredibly "slow to warm" when it came to most people is still very much alive and well. On occasion, I will meet someone that I instantly like or feel close to, but, for the most part, I don't make my mind up until weeks, months, or years after meeting a new person.

I like to observe and listen and take notes before I open my life up and let someone new in. I am beginning to realize that this quirk is going to clash with the way I am wanting to live my life. Especially in regards to those people who are also a part of the body of Christ. I think I'm entering into one of those seasons of being stretched and pushed and molded into something better. It's a difficult process for me. I can see the need for growth and I can acknowledge the benefits that will come from it, but as it's happening to me, there are times when I feel myself saying, "Really, Lord? Is that really something that has to be addressed right now? Really?" And the answer to date has always been a resounding YES.

One area that I feel some pain in already is the boundaries of being content pressing even tighter inward. It seems like my husband and I will go through a season of learning to live frugually and once we accept it and walk in it for a length of time, something unexpected comes along and we're able to take care of some of our more pressing "to do's". Then, we'll have a season of not having to watch everything so closely while still living well within our means. This time around, our carefully calculated annual budget had to be readjusted in a major way a few weeks ago. We made the finanical decision together that I could stay home with J when he was born because there were several other sources of income that equaled the salary I was bringing in. It's been smooth sailing since then but due to changes at P's company, we're not going to receive all of the extra income unless something miraculous happens. We're going to be okay thanks to us using our more prosperous times to completely get out of debt with the exception of the house, but we are going to have a lot more rice and beans nights and a lot less bargain shopping (my vice) and probably a lot less Direct TV/Fox Soccer Channel (his vice). I'm really thankful that my husband and I are on the same page and that he has had the foresight to use the extra income from last year to pay our mortgage this year. It has left us just enough room to buy exactly what we need for the rest of 2011 without me having to leave J and return to work. It also means we won't have the added cost of childcare which would most likely end up using most of any salary I could bring in. It's encouraging to me that even in the midst of the lessons, He still knows how to take care of our needs. It increases my faith a lot.

The second area that I think I am probably going to have some growing in ties back to being patient with EVERYONE (not just the people I like) and having a lot of wisdom about who I can allow to spend a lot of time with J. It's all about finding that balance of being loving and transparent and open with everyone without dropping my guard about who is influencing is my son. For example, there are a few people who have expressed that they would love to spend more time with J. They have expressed disappointment over not being able to hold him until he was several months old. They have gone out of their way to buy him presents and offer parenting advice. But, because of my tendency to watch, observe, and take notes, I haven't been comfortable with allowing them to have a lot of access to J. I have observed them with other children and other parents and have noticed a pattern of them taking a lot of liberties with other people's children once the door was opened. Tattling, bossing around, giving unnecessary instruction, handing the children off to other people without checking with the parents first, and feeding babies table food without the parents being asked are some of the behaviors that concern me. I don't want someone thinking that because they have held J once, they will always have the right to come up and take him away from me without asking me first. As a result, I have been very protective with J and have preferred to keep him with me whenever we are out and about. If I have to leave him, I prefer my mother or my sisters to come stay with him. He was almost 4 months old before I took him to the grocery store because I didn't want anyone touching him or breathing on him. Overprotective, probably yes, a little. But, at the same time, he is my most precious gift and I would never want to allow anything to come into his life that could have a negative effect. 

But, now that he is getting older, I think I am going to have work through some of this "slow to warm" mentality with those who are in the Body of Christ and be more willing to interact with all the members, regardless of what they may or may not have done that lines up with my parenting mentality. I have to realize at some point that I need to be more patient with those who are working through things. And even more patient with those who might not yet realize that they have some things to work on. If I want patience extended toward me, I have to be willing to give it. If I want openess and kindness, I have to be willing to show both. If I want forgiveness, I have to be willing to forgive. 

Growing up is hard...but I have been promised that it will be worth it. And letting people in will be worth it as long as I'm using a lot of wisdom and discernment to figure out who, when, and how much to let in at any given point.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Grain of Salt

Two things always stand out in my mind when it comes to salt...the first being that anything I say is to be seasoned with salt and the second thing being that when it comes to certain people, everything I hear needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

The first is a struggle for me at times. I'm pretty blunt and I purpose to lay things out as clearly as possible. Don't get me wrong, I love a good allegory as much as the next person, but most of the time, I find it's easier to get my point across if I just state things plain and dry. My husband told me last night that this is a good thing...most of the time. It's not such a good thing if I'm leaning towards not liking the person I'm conversing with because in those instances plain and dry can become cutting to the quick. The last thing I want is to hurt anyone with my words out of spite or maliciousness. Now, if someone gets their feelings hurt because I've been honest with them or pointed something out that they have asked about, that's on them. I regress a little but the main thrust is that I'm working on ALL of my speech being seasoned with salt. If I'm going to say something out loud, it needs to be benefitting to those who happen to hear it. If it doesn't benefit, I would do better to just keep it to myself.

The second is becoming something I default to when it comes to anyone that I don't know very well or haven't seen a consistent pattern of truth telling in their lives. I don't mean they flat out lie. I mean I've seen a tendency to stretch the truth, add to the truth, take away from the truth, or share an interpretation of the truth. Telling some of the truth is worse than telling a flat out lie in my book because the person hearing the news has to wade through it all and sort out what's fact, what's fiction, and what's opinion before they can determine what impact (if any) the news has on their life or what role they might need to play in the situation.

And then, there is just plain old gossip which is something I cannot abide. BECAUSE if I'm not part of the problem, I'm probably not going to be part of the solution. And if I'm not part of the solution, what purpose does it serve anyone for me to know about something that's none of my business? I've made it a policy and put it out there many times that if it's gossip, I would rather not know. Does this mean that I'm not accosted by people on a fairly regular basis? Of course not. But, I have noticed that instead of it being presented as gossip, it's usually presented as news which means it falls into giving it a good dose of salt before, during, and after we're done speaking to each other.

And that's why salt is becoming my go to on giving and receiving words. And with some people that happen to be in my life, I'd almost rather we didn't speak because it's such a process to actually get to the bottom of what they're trying to tell me.

But, that falls under the "being patient" category which I definitely need to do some growing in because I know the Lord has certainly been very patient with me which means I need to extend the same amount of patience to everyone else. And, I know I have a lot of growing up to do too. Still.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's something I haven't been able to put my finger on...

Until today. I need an outlet. A place to put all the random things that run through my brain that aren't important enough to interrupt someone's day with a phone call, but too funny/amusing/thoughtful/entertaining/otherwise to let them slip away. Or worse, try to capture with pen, pencil, and paper. Some of us are just too clumsy to deal with such cumbersomeness.

Today's random thought: Wouldn't it be nice to have a yearly evaluation for everything in your life? It's simply unfair that those in the workplace are the only ones who get to engage in this activity. Can't you imagine how liberating it would be to sit down with everyone in your life who takes up any kind of significant time and honestly tell them the things they are doing well with you, the areas that need improvement, and the goals for going forward? As long as the evaluation was tactful and you were open to receiving one as well, I think this could take all kinds of relationships to a better level.

Instead of having to drop subtle (or not so subtle) hints about your likes and dislikes, you could make note throughout the year and then lay it out in a calm, rational manner. Instead of having to have a disclaimer on my Facebook profile about how much I dislike unsolicitated parenting advice and hoping that the people I'm directing it at would actually take notice and STOP DOING IT, I could just make notes in their file and when that time of year rolled around, I could site the examples of them doing it and then make it a goal for them to knock it off in the year to come. If they fail to work on it, they may be demoted in the friendship department to acquaintance.

"Oh, so harsh! Who do you think you are? How can you be so cold about your friends?" I can hear the protests and hackles standing up on the back of some necks. My response is....just picture that one person in your life who manages to get under your skin. Even when you have given yourself a stern talking to after you've seen them or pep talked yourself up in anticipation of the encounter. Picture sitting across from them at a conference table, forms spread out in front of you, them waiting in anticipation to hear the news....and imagine giving them some good news (I really like your chocolate chip cookies, Peggy Sue....they really brighten my day whenever you make some for me) followed by some bad news (but...what we really need to work on is how you take every opportunity to offer insulting parenting advice like don't allow my child to stick metal objects into electrical outlets. Honestly, what normal, average, common sense abiding parent with a brain in their head would allow their 6 month old to do such a thing?) followed by some good news (I really like how we have the same taste in movies. It makes it so easy to talk to you at dinner parties) followed by the goal (So, Peggy Sue, over the next year, I really hope you bake me some more cookies and watch a movie with me...but let's really focus on you NOT offering ANY parenting advice AT ALL. EVER.)

It would be awesome.