Monday, January 29, 2007

Grumbling and Humbling

Today I had a less than stellar day. I felt worn-out, crabby, and generally not very nice. The kids, mainly the 3-year-old, seemed extra whiny and needy as they usually do when I'm not feeling up to par. I pretty much spent the day waiting for it to be over so I could go to sleep. Not a very uplifting kind of day. Not a day, looking back on it now, where I gave it to the Lord and CHOSE to serve Him and offer it as my spiritual act of worship. Boy, I hate it when I realize something like that AFTER the fact, when it's too late to do it. The day is over and it feels wasted! Anyway, what I wanted to say, what I sat down to write is... After a day like today it's truly humbling to watch something like the video below. I have it so easy. And yet I still grumble and complain. *sigh*

I put the video right here in my blog but if it doesn't work or if I find it takes too long to load I may remove it. Here's an external link for the video.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Three Things Thursday

It's been so long since I played, but I couldn't resist the book theme. So here I am again.

Books I could read over and over:

1.) The Time Quartet by Madeline L'Engle

2.) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

3.) Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (weird, I know!)

Baby in a box

Just some silly fun with Abby:

Adam on the computer

Here are some pictures of Adam playing on the computer and singing along with the songs. He never fails to charm me!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bear with me, it's long


C.S. Lewis is brilliant. Our Sunday school class is reading through and discussing his book Mere Christianity. I am enjoying it immensely. It's been much too long since my brain has been engaged and challenged in this way. Yesterday we read Book III Chapter 8: The Great Sin. Here's a bit of it (all emphasis is mine):

I now come to that part of Christian morals where they differ most sharply from all other morals. There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility...

Boy, I dislike it in others! Even more, I dislike finding it practically galloping* in my life.

...According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, 'How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?' The point is that each person's pride is in competition with every one else's pride...

"The complete anti-God state of mind." Let me repeat that. ANTI-GOD state of mind. I really want no part of that.

... Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest...

Doesn't it sound just so empty to think that way? Richer, cleverer, better-looking? I need to re-train my brain so that it really sinks in that NONE OF IT MATTERS!

...In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that - and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison - you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you...
It's so easy to look down on others and think I'm so...(fill in the blank), and forget to look up and realize that I'm a speck on the face of the earth and that I'm not really all that I think I am!

...Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good - above all, that we are better than someone else - I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.
Say that five times. "It is better to forget about yourself altogether." Wow!

...Before leaving this subject I must guard against some possible misunderstandings:
(3) We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that Humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity - as if God Himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about His dignity. The point is, He wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble - delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life. He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are. I wish I had got a bit further with humility myself: if I had, I could probably tell you more about the relief, the comfort, of taking the fancy-dress off - getting rid of the false self, with all its 'Look at me' and 'Aren't I a good boy?' and all its posing and posturing. To get even near it, even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert...

"He is not in the least worried about His dignity." He came to earth as a man, as a being he created in order that He might have a relationship with us. What a gift!

...If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.


Read entire chapter

On the lighter side: Did you catch the movie allusion? What was the movie?
*Updated to say: The movie I alluded to was Arsenic and Old Lace starring Cary Grant. It's a line my family quoted the most while I was growing up. Here it is:

Birthdays Without Pressure is a website dedicated to raising awareness of out-of-control birthday parties for kids. I'm amazed at how big of a problem this is and that we need a website to alert the nation. Where's our common sense? How is it that we don't know when enough is enough? Here's an excerpt from an article I read today:

Having decided on a ballerina theme for her daughter's sixth birthday party, Michelle West drove all over to find little dancers for the cake. Then she put 50 little beefeater guards around the edges. And she gave it beautiful white icing with peppermint trim.

And what happened? The kids wouldn't eat it.

It wasn't long afterward that she joined a group of St. Paul parents determined to end the birthday party arms race.

Birthdays Without Pressure is taking aim at the oneupsmanship that drives moms and dads to throw parties that will really, really impress the kids and the other parents, too."We feel there's a kind of cultural runaway going on right now around the birthday parties of kids," said William Doherty, a University of Minnesota professor of family social science who had a hand in organizing the group, launched publicly earlier this month.

Read the entire article here.

We started down this road ourselves a few years ago. We had a couple of parties for our kids that were (in our estimation) too extravagant. We took a look at what we were doing, realized that we didn't really want to set the precedent that we were starting to set, didn't like the stress we experienced, and didn't like the message we were sending to our children and to those that were invited. I have so much that I'm thinking about all of this but my time is so limited that I cannot go into all of it right now. Anyway, read the article. Be amazed. Evaluate your own practices. Change them if necessary.

Conversations with Adam

I totally stole the blog title from Shelia and her "Conversations with Samuel".

In the laundry room:

Adam: Mom is cleaning.

Jim: Yep, Mom is cleaning.

Adam: She's cleaning dishes?

Jim: Uh...nooo....she's cleaning laundry.

Adam: Mom are you cleaning laundry?

Me: Yes. I'm cleaning diapers.

Adam: You're cleaning diapers, and underwear?

Me: Yes, Adam, I'm cleaning diapers and underwear. Your underwear.

Adam (giggling): Mom's cleaning my underwear. (emphatically): Mom, thank-you for cleaning my underwear.

Me: You're welcome, Adam, happy to do it.

Aren't three-year-olds sweet?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

If Mama gets sick... doesn't all necessarily 'fall apart'.

I know it's been days since I've posted so I guess it's time for an update. About the time Adam was recovering from being sick, I got hit. Thursday night I was up throughout the nights paying my respects to the porcelain god. I spent Friday and Saturday in bed resting. Thankfully, my husband is able to take sick days off from work on behalf of family members. I don't know how I would have managed caring for four children as sick as I was. Jim stayed home, diapers were changed, schoolwork was accomplished, Sprite, water, and Advil were delivered to my room, kids were fed, and basic order was maintained in our home. He really is Superman!

Saturday evening as I was starting to feel much better, Rebecca got it. She spent Sunday and Monday sleeping in the living room. I missed her company and her helpfulness a great deal. So far Micah, Jim, and Abby have been spared this nasty stomach virus. Hopefully we are done with it now and they won't be getting it at all.

Yesterday we had a light, easing-back-into-school-day. The big kids and I played two games of Clue. The little kids took their naps easily. I made a big huge pot of homemade chicken noodle soup on the woodstove. Both of the big kids commented on what a nice day it was. They were right.

This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hoodwinked! & Ginger Ale

Today I am dealing with the aftermath of a three-year-old who vomited a few times in the night and then woke up with diarrhea from his waist to his mid-thigh. Poor kid. While Adam was vomiting in the night he kept saying, "I want to feel better." He does seem to feel better today. He's lying low thanks to Hoodwinked! (I love that movie) and The Little Mermaid (is that movie really 18 years old!?) and he's kept down the little bit of food and ginger ale I allowed him. It's always hard for me when my child is hungry, asking for food, and I have to keep telling him no. So far so good. Well I've got laundry to rotate and a shower to take. (Yes, it's 2 pm and I haven't showered yet!)


Monday, January 08, 2007

A question for my 3 readers

I have a question for the three of you that read my blog:

Do you have any suggestions for alternate uses for pillow shams? I have, at last count, seven pillow shams. I don't use them for their intended purpose because it's just too much work to put a pillow sham on the pillow, take it off for sleeping and then put it back on in the morning. I have about 1000 other things to do that are more important than that. I also don't have space in my room or in my life to use them as decorative pillows. Pillows that I would keep in the sham and then just take off the bed for the night. My bedroom is WAAAY too small for extra pillows to be lying around the floor at night. I know I could just throw them away and be done with it, but it seems like a huge waste to do that. The shams ARE pretty and it's such a big chunk of fabric, I can't stand the thought of tossing them. Am I being too much of a pack rat? Should I throw them away already or is there a scathingly brilliant use for them? Please help.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I love good deals

I went to Macy's today to spend some Christmas money. I got a dress for Abby for NEXT Christmas, a shirt to go with a jumper Abby has right now, and a baby's-first-Christmas outfit for some Oregon friends whose baby will be six months old next Christmas. It was so fun. Below you can see what I bought and the great deal I got!!

Yes, I know. I didn't REALLY save $52.01 because I never would have purchased those items at those prices in the first place, but come on, it's still fun isn't it!?!?!? J

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Yes, I know how it happens

My dad is always clipping comics from the paper and giving it to the person it made him think of. Here's the one of the latest that he's given to me. Enjoy!

(click image to enlarge)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

We are home from our eight days in Oregon. Actually we have been home for five days but I'm just now getting around to blogging. The house is still in disarray from our travel. I'm just now doing the first load of clothing laundry. I did some towels and sheets earlier this week but now the clothing HAS to be washed. We will start school again Monday. I was going to start yesterday (Thursday) but I decided against it.

I had a wonderful time in Oregon. I went out to dinner with my friend of 29 years and I didn't have to feed anyone but myself. That was nice! We went to Los Dos Amigos Hacienda and I had some VERY YUMMY chicken tortilla soup. Best I've ever had. And it's in Oregon- 480 miles from me. ARRRGH!

I got to spend (too little) time with my sister and her family. I got to spend time with my grandmas. I got to spend time with my brother and his family and see their new house. Cute place.

We celebrated Abby's first birthday there. She had her first cake which she tasted and then promptly dropped on the floor. We couldn't get her very interested in eating it. Good girl! She did blow out her own birthday candle, though. We were very impressed! I have a great video of it on my mom's camera. When I get it from here I'll share it here. For now, here are some birthday photos:

We went to a nice Christmas Eve service at my parents' church and my two older kids dressed up for a little live nativity scene as part of the program. I fell asleep nursing Abby in the cry room! I did see most of the program though.

We gave and received too many presents. Ate too much pie. Got too little sleep. Had a ball. Mostly. My dad has shingles and is pretty miserable. Poor guy! Hopefully he will be feeling MUCH better, very quickly!

Enjoy some of my miscellaneous Christmas photos:

It's time now for me to get back to work although I'd much prefer continuing to dink around on the computer!

Happy New Year!

Cat Nap

I didn't think that Adam would go to sleep if I let him have Scooter in bed with him, but apparently I was wrong!

Cat Nap