Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Word verification

I love reading funny blogs, sure I read for information or to get updates on close family and friends, but besides God and family, humor is my first love.  There's nothing like leaving a silly comment and then getting down to word verification.  ScHLad! FiMerFaStErnickeN  Really?  I don't think those are words.  Shouldn't that be letter verification or character verification?  Then the machine is baffled when you got it wrong and have to try again.  Seriously, you thought I could spell vLflamBXUzC correctly?  I mean, I have enough trouble with the English language.  It reminds me of trying to understand infants when they try to communicate.  And of course, I meld the two in my mind.  100 babies in 100 rooms for 100 years trying to write the complete works of William Shakespeare.  Everything else is used as word verification.  Oh, and if you need, Professor Xavier will help.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Parental Priorities

I've been laughing to myself recently about my role and the changes it makes in my life.  It puts things in perspective and brings joy to the sacrifices of motherhood.  Here are my top ten.  Please comment and share your new priorities.





You know you're a mother if... 
  1. Your idea of a dream vacation consists of 5 minutes in the bathroom by yourself.
  2. Your idea of a dream vehicle is anything with a working DVD player and enough seats for an army.
  3. Your idea of a night on the town gets you back roughly at 9:30pm and sleeping in is up after 7am.
  4. Your idea of gourmet is anything with the main ingredient of chocolate.
  5. Your idea  of justice is making the elder sibling share so there will be peace among the ranks.
  6. Your idea of clean is anything within 5 ft of where it belongs or I can't see it with my glasses off.
  7. Your idea of entertainment is prefaced by the words, "Disney's..." or "Pixar's..."
  8. Your idea of exercise is wrestling a small crew of rebels into the aforementioned land yacht.
  9. Your idea of dressing up includes shaving your legs and putting on chapstick.
  10. Your idea of prince charming only requires brushing his teeth.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Showa Powa!

Have you noticed that every toilet in the world uses less and less water and that you now have to flush the commode six times to get it to take down a sheet of TP?  Have you also noticed, in stark contrast to that, the 15,000 shower head flood gates that put the Hoover Dam to shame?  Now don't get me wrong, conservation is always a good idea and I like to be clean, but this doesn't seem to equate!  I also giggle a little at cloth diapers in a drought area where land is not a factor.  (I'm glad it's not my call to make about diapers anymore.)  To each their own in every choice.  The irony just made me giggle so I thought you might get a kick out of it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Texas BBQ... y'all, there's an ap for that!

Texas Monthly BBQ Finder
Texas in the fall.  Okay it's year 'round, but particularly in the fall for me.  The weather's cool enough to need a little heat on the stove, in the oven, 'round the crock pot.   The body craves a thicker layer of warmth to protect us from the chill.  We indulge in every variety of squash to prepare our eyes for the lower light of winter.  And to boot, it's harvest and slaughtering time.  Ranchers are a little hungrier and have a little more to line their pockets.  So y'all ready for this?  Repeat after me... chili, cornbread, brisket, ribs, sausage, beans and, of course, sauce.  Rudy's, Red River, Dyer's, Hard 8, The Cattle Exchange...  I can see the springs in the scale under the strain just thinking about it.  But, as I'm not a rancher, I can't afford bigger clothes (nor do I want to), and I want to be healthier.  I'll just think it.  Just a passing day dream... now back to your normally scheduled programming.  Of course, if you're in the neighborhood, y'all just come down and get some.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Superhero...

With a couple of the busiest weeks of my life approaching, a sleep deficit that would put the national budget to shame, and more that need be done than would fit on my plate... I decided to take a nap.  Now lest you think that unwise with so much to do, I would never have gotten anything done from sheer exhaustion.

When I awoke prince charming was folding clothes.  Later he gave a blessing to Jim for his eye.  And then helped the boys get ready for bed.  If that weren't enough he talked to me about one of life's dilemmas and helped me find a moderate and humorous resolution.  And wrapped it all up with a back rub.  I asked him what title would he like for his day's work.  He settled on my preferred suggestion, "My superhero who wears his underwear inside his pants."  So honey, this one's for you.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Musica

I recently had a friend express a near blasphemous opinion... she hates musicals.  WHAT?!  It couldn't be I must redeem her.  However, let it be known, I have to be in the mood.  After all, my attention span has been, as of late (meaning since kids.), limited.  But to hate?  As dear John would say, "oh, nay nay."

Here's my take on it, music makes me merry.  It makes comedy funnier.  It makes the world go 'round.  I dare you.  Give it a shot.  Just listen to Tim Hawkins, and don't laugh.  As if that weren't delightful enough.  I openly admit, I watch Sesame Street with my 3 year old!  But Ricky Gervais AND Elmo should never share the screen... at least if you want to not get in trouble with the boss for goofing off and failing to retain professional decorum at work.  And of course a nod to my all time favorite miscreants The Muppets.  And last, but not least, why would AFV do montages if they weren't particularly funny with a melodic accompaniment to Dad's and diaper?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Crap, I mean craft project

Fallingwater Home Frank Lloyd Wright
I consider myself an individual that likes simple unhindered design.  Art deco, craftsman, retro 60's.  Yet, when I look around my house, I find a lot of junk whose only object in its design is to collect dust.  Andy often says, Relief Society's favorite projects are taking something useful, and turning it into something useless.  (Though beautifying the home on a budget is certainly not its sole occupation, it certainly has a basis in real life.)  Okay, some has been acquired due to the "thoughtfulness" of my children (who would want to change that?)

Autumn, spring and summer wreath Elizabeth McLatchy
All that having been said, there is something enlivening about being artistic.  It refreshes the soul.  It enlivens the mind.  It occupies the hands (although we need to be certain it is not a foolish sacrifice.)  I've always had a zeal for living plants.  From the seasonal garden club with Emily to working in wholesale and retail floral sales (sadly, I was just the driver, could there is a more rewarding occupation...?  Everyone's always made happy by what you did for them, even at funerals.)  But it seems that my lot is silks.

Our tree... note the playhouse I made to the left of the tree in the background
Ironically, I have a black thumb.  I once received a gardenia bush FILLED with buds and ready to bloom.  They are beautiful flowers.  In Spanish they're most commonly referred to as 'smell of the night.'  The bush died before ANY could bloom.  I was given an ivy for a wedding present.  After 8 years of torture, I allowed it to pass from this life peacefully.  I once planted maple tree helicopters.  The next year when they began to spring forth, I cut them down because, if I remember right, my brother told me they were poison ivy.  (Thankfully my mother reminded me that I had planted them and to put the shoots back in the ground and water them... as far as I'm aware they are still alive and over 25 ft tall... The Lord obviously took mercy on the trees.)

Wayfarer's chapel CA near redwood forest Lloyd Wright
My dream vacation would be to the Redwood forest in CA.  Fall is my favorite season with all it's lovely colors, and my favorite colors from nature spring forth from the trees.  Even the scriptures about trees are my favorites (Jacob 5; 1 Nephi 11:  8; Genisis 3:6; Alma 32:41; Luke 13:19; Matthew 26:36; Joseph Smith History 1:13-14)  If I were to find out I'm absurdly wrong as to all my beliefs I was once a tree in a previous life.
Aspen Cathedral, Vail, Colorado
 Did you know the largest organism is a grove of Aspen that are all interconnected spanning 106 acres?

Okay, so who says perfect design and art don't interconnect?  Isn't he who designed the world perfect?  So I rest my case.  What was once crap, is now craft; skill, talent, ingenuity, seemingly random design, all combined with a purpose in mind.  What are you making?
















 






 


   

 


 

 


 




 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What's in a name?

I was in a win-win situation for naming our eldest child, named after his dad and both grandfathers.  The other was just as easy after both of my brothers.  I've always been happy with my own, and all the nicknames that have fit me so well.  There is value and substance in a name that is beyond expression.  For example, "And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives." Mosiah 5: 8  Perhaps that is why people are so easily offended when we don't remember theirs.  Sadly, names don't come easy to me.  Even after several years of knowing a person, I can draw a blank.  I suppose that living in the same area and having few move-ins helped to not exercise that part of my cerebrum.  Or maybe it was the hours practicing head stands that caused dain bramage.  But nothing was quite as trying as my mission, in regards to this skill, or rather lack thereof. 

For those that don't know I went Spanish-speaking.  Not only did I need to learn their names, and remember them, but many were names with which I was completely unfamiliar.  After reading Kevin!!! I remembered an incident from my mission.  I sat in a room with my companion, our member friend, who's name, of course, I can't recall.  He introduced us to a dozen of his closest friends and we taught them.  Nearing the end of the lesson, I felt more familiar with some of their names, and decided to use them instead of say, "Usted [you]."  "Calendario,..." I don't remember if I said anything else.  I was embarrassed for having said his name wrong.  And everyone was in gales of laughter at my expense.  So I asked him what his name was.  The response, "Candelario."  I thought, 'Well, I was close.  Besides neither makes sense; calendar, candelabra.  Same dif.'  Well shortly after my mission, I saw a couple in the temple (there are benefits to living in the same state where I served.)  I happily greeted a family who frequently fed us... "Sister Galavis!"  um.  It was Galvan.

So if you are greeted with a happy generic, "You."  Please don't feel I don't know or care about you.  I just don't remember names.  I'm all the more amazed, daily, that God knows each and every one of ours.  Exodus 33:17

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fabulously Freaky & Fantastic Fall

Old Rag Mountain, VA
Currently 52 degrees here in TX.  All functional windows open.  Listening to John Denver.  No candy corn in sight.  Living room as clean as it will ever be while I have children at home.  For a million reasons, fall is by far my favorite.

I grew up in VA near the Shenandoah, so the mountains, deciduous trees, acoustic guitar run in my veins.  Please bear with me while I wax sentimental.  Old Rag Mountain.  Hiking with Dad was the best of times.  He was always with the slowest hiker, which was me (we'll blame it on being the youngest, though I doubt that was the real reason.)  Bear's Den with Mike, my 'brother' and friend, playing his twelve string.  Sky Meadow State Park; 11 years old camping out with Dad for the first and last time on snow dusted hills.  Poor man, I forgot my pillow.  I laid on his arm ALL night (maybe men do know pain.)  Long drives down Great Falls Parkway as fast and smooth as I could corner.  Drives down quiet roads through untouched fallen leaves.  My husband and I were married in fall, my sons were born in fall.  And then there's my mother, a new Halloween costume for 3 kids every year, all the way through high school.

Previous years costumes
And, as every mother knows, the tradition must continue...  This year is no different.  The same family celebrations blown out of proportion to build memories.  And an intense desire for my children to have as much fun at this time of year as I do.  So with the measuring tape around my neck like a noose, a shovel to dig out the sewing machine, and every useable scrap of fabric at my disposal (all of which, will likely not fit the bill.)  I sit to make the final decision for my children (since kids can't seem to pair down ideas to their favorites and it changes daily.)  Scott a mummy (a.k.a. mommy; Jim say's, "Mommy's are scary.")  And Jim a Fighter Fighter (a.k.a. Fire fighter), Scooby-Doo or Buzz Lightyear.  Maybe you can help me out with a vote...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hanging on

Enduring has such a challenging connotation.  Who wants to hang on when there doesn't seem to be any end to waiting, suffering, loss, sorrow, laundry, dishes, diapers...?  I've been pondering this continually over the last few months.  How are you happy when everything seems to go wrong, dreams are lost, and tedium is the daily feast?  I mean manna would get a little tiresome after 40 years. (Ex 16:35)

Here's where the beginning starts, you stop expecting.  What?!  No hope, no ambition, no reward?!  No that's not quite it.  No entitlement, no vanity, no settling for less than the best.  Let me explain. 

There was a rich young man who wanted to inherit the kingdom of God.  He lived a virtuous life and loved the Lord and his fellow man.  He was told in order to inherit, he needed to leave behind all his riches. Luke 18: 18-27  Often, the story is left in the middle when the young man leaves sorrowing for, "he had great possessions."  Leaving the masses under the superstition that he didn't do as he was asked.  It is difficult to do what is expected when we are asked to leave so much behind.  But isn't faith stretching, reaching out to something better?  The scripture says, with God nothing is impossible.

Isn't it obvious that something need be left behind in order to not carry a burden when we are yoked with him. (Matt 11: 28-30)  What does He require that we leave behind?  To paraphrase, "On the path of life, sin is the only acceptable thing to litter."  Let me share a few personal experiences that demonstrate my relationship with the Lord.

It began one night as I knelt by my bed, seeking to know that path the Lord would have me take.  The options as a young single woman were so immense that I found it impossible to make a decision.  After an hour or more pleading to know the best route, the answer came in the form of a question, "What in your life keeps you from being closer to me?"  So I asked myself what it was that I wanted more than to be with Our Father.  Quickly I noticed my error.  I wanted to be married more than anything.  The only way I knew to ensure my not marrying (at least for a time) was to serve a full-time (18mo.) mission.  (One of the rules no dating during that time.) 

Then I wanted to go abroad.  The Lord said state-side.  Well at least I won't be eating Mexican... but then again I learned to love it.  Having seen enough of TX I was happy to return home... only to marry someone from TX.  Someone who hadn't yet completed his education and who was on my "just friends" list, are you seeing a pattern that He knows better?  Children... complications in conceiving.  How about a girl... I love my boys.  At least I can get my education... though I'm married to an instructor, no discount.  So, suffice it to say.  I'm familiar with giving up on what I want.  But having done so much of it, I've found I'm fiercely clinging to my last farthing Mark 12: 41-44

So truly the test begins when we are stretched.  It's hard to share the last Oreo.  It's painful to give the last of our free time.  It's excruciating to give the last bit of our dreams or hopes for sleep or having an adult conversation.  But the promise in every sacrifice is for something better.  The whole, salvation, becoming like our Savior...  And so the invitation to strive to give up EVERYTHING we are, EVERYTHING we have, EVERY talent we possess, EVERY selfish desire, EVERY sin.  But in return he promises that we can become like His son, having His image in our countenance Alma 5:14.  Is there anything more blessed than to count ourselves able to bear His cross.  Luke 14:27 and finish our refinement.  To be made whole, perfect.  Having given up everything in us that isn't divine.  Through the process of letting go we make our hands free to hang onto Him, our Rock (Hel 5:12).  And as we make ourselves one, we become like Him.  What a beautiful cross to bear.

So what's your last farthing?  Chocolate?  Sleep?  Personal time?  A trip?  A second toilet?  Talk to Him, and "if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you."  (Alma 32:27)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's good for what ails ya!

Look for me in future editions.
Disclaimer:  My advice comes with no medical license so don't blame me if this isn't a cure all.

There is a contagion of disproportionate amounts that is spanning the globe.  Its viral effects cause varying symptoms from hair loss to erratic appetite! There seems to be no race immune, nor indication of predisposition.  However, lest I strike fear into the heart, there is a cure.  And luckily, there is no concern of non-payment due to a preexisting condition!  The cure?  Laughter.  

This week alone I have been bombarded with self-doubt and self-pity.  I have seen yet another family torn apart due to divorce.  I have witnessed the physical manifestation of stress in multiple individuals.  Sincerely horrible plagues!  Incredibly serious afflictions.  And even contagious attitudes.  What do I say to myself or my friends with serious maladies?  Don't take it too seriously.


PLEASE, don't misunderstand.  I have the greatest empathy for the pain that is suffered.  I do not discount it, demean it, or disregard it.  Yet, be it by situation, others' choices, our own idiocy... there are only two things that can offer a cure or respite; a Savior and a sense of humor.  God sent us here to have experience and learn.  That doesn't mean fantasy land, or Utopia.  That means get our knees dirty and have a great time playing, even if we strike out!  Fix what you can.  Repair what you've done to the best of your ability and then let the rest fly.  The atonement heals victim and sinner alike. 

Misery may like company, but comedy needs an audience!  Take a dose and pass it on.  Hope your days are lookin' up by rising above what life throws at ya!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Increasing capacity to love

By Bernice Pipa




















It is a commandment second to only one.  It reads, ...Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Matt 22: 39  It is my father's favorite song.  It was my favorite FHE lesson and scripture as a child.

Is love a feeling we are blessed with , the status of a relationship, or the action that displays it?  Love is charity.  My husband, Andy, said while we were dating, "You don't fall in love, you don't fall out of love, you choose to love."  I believe that's true.  Although each relationship is different in the expression of love, the essence is still the same.  We find value in a person, and express it through thought, word, and deed.

Love is a capacity .  It is as a vessel that can be filled, expanded, overflow.  God IS Love;  it is the nature of divinity to love and be loved.  And possessing that nature as His children, it is our essence.  By receiving from this infinite fountain of love, at the moment we share from our vessel it is replenished.  We can cap it, however; limiting the love given and received.  If we don't receive God's love, we cannot have faith in Him (because faith requires trust.)

Developing this capacity is cyclical.  1.  We must first receive.   Drink deeply from the fountain.  2.  We must seek to share that love with others.  A fire that is enclosed, is a fire that dwindles.  3.  We must love self.  Believe that we are worth the faith invested in us by a loving Father in heaven.  We must treat ourselves with kindness and compassion.

Why love self?  This is NOT selfishness.  (Remember capping that love diminishes it.)  Softened hearts are synonymous with having an open cap on the vessel.  If we believe there is no reason that God would love us, we limit how much love we will receive from him; we restrict it.  If we are self-loathing, we assume others think about us as we do; perceived disappointment.  We then limit our second, indirect source of love; love from our family, friends, neighbors, and associates.  If we judge our faults harshly, we find those similarities in others and judge them.  When we do not accept love from others, we silently tell them their love isn't worth acceptable.  Our ability to love self is equal to our ability to love others.

We each have a need for love, being God's children.  If we are not filled with love, we will look to other sources for love.  We become reliant upon others for our self-worth, justification, and love.  Physical and mental addiction, abuse of self or others, excessive diversion (leaving a course to which God appointed us for a useless one/ virtual accomplishment.)  We teach our children, by example how to shun love.  Any act of reducing love is the result of pride; a division between us and anyone else.  The result is devastating to family, community, self, eternal potential, and the glory of God.

Let us better seek an eternally satisfying course, love others, love self, and thus love God.  For each soul that is loved can better love others.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mad Gab Shopping

Shopping can be such a chore with kids.  And as a mom, is just part of the daily grind (or weekly if you have enough fridge space for several gallons of milk.)  But years ago I started giggling at my husband's spelling while shopping.  And the best way to ensure a boy doing something over and over is to laugh at him.  It's a born-in male instinct to want to make people laugh. So if you're looking for a way to make shopping less of a drudgery, marry someone who kant spail.

Don Quixote

Since my childhood I enjoyed Don Quixote.  For those of you who are unfamiliar it's story of an old man (the errant knight) who is losing his mind and craves nobility.  So he lives out his dreams of battling dragons (windmills) and saving damsels in distress (a bar maid) and rides on his noble steed (nag).  It good for a lot of laughs, and as the story develops we find that he is of great nobility, not because of his quests, but because of his heart... awwww.  What's not to like?  Danger, humor, intrigue, romance.

Well, if you're like me you get a kick out of it because you know that this is just one of those songs that gets stuck in your husband's mind... for days.  And so you sing it at the top of your lung once a year or so just to ensure proper penetration into the cerebral cortex!  It's the little things that matter most.  And with any luck friends that read your blog will suffer the same fate.

But last night I discovered something new that tickled me... perhaps it was the hour, perhaps it was all the joy and memories of this operetta.  But I laughed heartily when Andy said, "When I was a kid I thought his name was Donkey Hoteh.  I couldn't understand why his parents would name him DONKEY..."  Well it seems to suit the story and all the humor it naturally evokes.  So to all of you, enjoy DONKEY Hoteh!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Street Corner meets Sesame Street










Our new favorite rising band is Street Corner Symphony.  They're cheeky, entertaining, old (they remember the 80's well) and make marvelous music together.  Our 2 1/2 year old son, Jim, has a favorite of that they covered.  According to him, it's called, "Down on Block Corner, on Sesame Street."  We are well acquainted with Track 5 of our CD.  And we can listen to it about 4 times on any cross town journey.  He even does the jazz hands at the end of the song.  My favorite part is that the more I hear it, the more I imagine toddlers sitting on the corner in their diapers w/ their super man curls playing on trashcan lids, kazoos, and rubber band tissue box guitars.  While patiently awaiting the listeners to make a deposit into the piggie bank.  I've convinced myself that this, indeed, would be a great parody for Sesame Street.

Early in the afternoon just about nappy time,
Over by the playground they're starting to unwind,
Four kids on the corner trying to bring you up.
Jimmy picks a tune out and he blows it on his harp.

Chorus:  Down on Block Corner,
On Sesame Street,
Jimmy and the little boys in the band.
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

Grover hits the washboard and people just got to smile,
Big Bird, thumps the gut bass and solos for a while.
Elmo twangs the rhythm out on his kalamazoo.
Jimmy goes into a dance and doubles on kazoo.

Repeat Chorus

You don't need a penny just to hang around,
But if you've got a nickel, won't you put your money down?
Over on the corner there's a happy noise.
People come from miles around to hear the magic boys!

Repeat Chorus


Thursday, June 2, 2011

The whole world is covered...

... IN POOP!  My husband is a germ-aphobe; perhaps one of the reasons I married him was to watch and be entertained at his expense.

My favorite verse of a camp song to demonstrate my demented humor:

Oh I wish I were a little church pigeon!
Oh I wish I were a little church pigeon!
I would sit upon the steeple and poop on all the people!
Oh I wish I were a little church pigeon!

Witnessing  my husband change baby diapers was a riot; it went something like this. (So apparently he's not the only one.  And in complete honesty the hastening time to potty train our youngest is not anticipated with great joy.)  But when he comes unglued at the bird droppings and spends over an hour hosing down the kids yard toys I burn more than a few calories in side splitting laughter. 

However, he takes little regard to NOT parking under the tree and recently Andy began to take the bird droppings on his car personally.  He proclaimed, "I've been noticing, no one else has the extent of bird poo on their car that I have!"  Moments later we walked out of the store and found another car that also likely parked under trees.  To his relief in response to his incorrect hypothesis he exclaimed, "My car is not the only bird toilet!"  Gives new meaning to the word porta-potty, doesn't it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My fathers



In my times of greatest sorrow
he touches my heart.
In my darkness
he reaches from beyond my seeing.
In my loneliness
I feel warmth and love.
And when I feel no ear is listening
I hear him sing.



For all those who suffer loss, whose pain is inconsolable there are those that are willing to comfort, lift and encourage.  My father does that for me.  When I reach a point where who I am is insufficient I hear him sing, whistle, and feel him encourage me.  The veil is thin, this life is short, and those we love are willing to buoy us up.  They are not limited by distance and every plea is heard.  I'm grateful to have been blessed to feel my dear ones near.

For those that are alone, there are hosts of unseen.  Many of whom we share as forefathers.  In a season where we celebrate our mothers and fathers, may we also celebrate their legacy and come to know them.  What beautiful promises await those who turn their hearts.  Mark your time with your sweethearts; live within arms reach. 

We share a Father who hears and loves us.  May we remember Him; He who has always remembered and blessed us... with all He has.  He who has never left us alone.  May we not abandon Him in His time of need; a time we can be His tools, His hands.

Let us honor their names.  Live worthy of the blessings that have been granted.  And express our love in word and deed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lover or Villan

A friend, we'll call her Robin (as if that somehow will make her beyond detection), said, "You know you can say anything about anyone as long as it's followed by, 'Bless his heart.'  You know like, 'He did the dumbest thing, bless his heart.'  or, 'She's a homely girl, bless her heart."  Okay, if you don't live in Texas, it's a bit peculiar to say, but put a little twang in your mode of talking and before you know it you're free to say anything you like and you'll still be considered the sweetest person around.  (Of course it's all the more convincing that it's genuine if you have a big round hair-do.)  It's truly brilliant, a little addition to anything you want to vent about anyone, including the person right in front of you, and voila! You have personal teflon; no one can get mad at you for saying it, because it must've been out of love, you blessed their heart!  So in essence we get our childhood wish, 'I'm rubber and your glue and anything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.'

Okay so, my husband (and of course if I don't mention him by name, I can share the story without reservation) said, "Have you ever noticed that every time anyone's miffed at someone else they say,'I love you to death but,...'  Is that a Freudian slip?"

So in summary, context is everything.  But don't think too deeply about this, I'm sure I'll say, "I love you to death, bless your heart,..."   Don't read into it; I'm not bright enough to have come up with these observations on my own! Perhaps Robin and Andy came up with these thoughts after hearing me?  or then again, maybe I'm not as sweet as you thought I was.  MUWHAHAHAHA...

My Two Boys



Boy 1, age 7..."When I grow up I want 5 jobs."  My friends refer to a Jamaican sketch on SNL where the new immigrants are raving about how great America is because they have 8 jobs and the other has 15...She says,"Are you Jamaican?"  His response, "How did you know I want to make things?!"






Boy 2, age 2..."I want more cerdal (a.k.a. cereal)."  2 seconds later, "I want juice," and because I've put him off another minute he comes back with his stuffed bear and sweetly has the bear say, "More cerdal pease."  How can a mother resist?  I'm sure the boy's hungry if he's inventing new ways to get my attention... It might have something to do with being a bottomless pit (or more likely the fact that I'm blogging again.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Messy, messy, messy

berenstainbearstreehouse.com
Life for most of us, it perpetual cleaning.  Laundry, dishes, toys, paperwork, trash, mowing... you name it.  It seems like a disaster is always brewing and we've just finished decontamination or flood control.  One of my favorite shows is Monk.  It's unending OCD and a laugh a minute.  Today I watched Wall-E.  I found out that I'm not too different from Mo.  (Not that you could tell from how my house looks.)  But I get so bent out of shape because there is a pair of socks that I just found that didn't make it to the laundry.  Or perhaps because not e v e r y   s i n g l e  cup fit in the dishwasher!  Or because males stand when they pee... and miss!   AAAAARRRGGGHHHH!

However, don't the most beautiful things rise from dirt, filth, ashes; flowers, children, the phoenix?  Aren't the most beautiful moments of life a result of imperfect people doing imperfect things?  Like an attempt at cooking burnt cookies, cleaning noisy toys, or creating lopsided artwork.  I love finding rocks in pockets, cars in shoes, tiny socks on the living room floor.  I enjoy reminders of the invaluable and eternal work I have undertaken, and my fleeting influence upon and, quite frankly, from, those that mean the most to me.  Keeping an orderly and clean home creates peace, but if cleaning a home destroys the joy and growth I have forgotten why I do it in the first place.

I am certain our Father in Heaven rejoices in our failed attempts or striving to achieve the impossible.  He pats us on the head and, if we play nicely with others, we receive the praise we all crave, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Enter into my rest."  (Now, does that mean someone else will do the vacuuming?)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Great expectations

There is no doubt in my mind that God has great expectations for us, even the best.  I believe and even know that he wants me to become like him, like any parent.  And also as a perfect father He doesn't expect it all at once.

I have always been considered a perfectionist.  I thought, well, what's wrong with that, He commands us to be perfect.  Now No. 1. I understand that it is through His Son.  No. 2.  Not all at once.  So, still what's wrong with that?  Well it's a matter of expectation.

What do I expect of myself?  How do I know if it's reasonable?  I expect that I'll always fall short and so I don't try; I give up before I've begun.  I think in the theoretical and proclaim that there's no reason that I shouldn't be able to accomplish a goal that I've set.  I can imagine it, and I believe we're only limited by our imagination...

Better yet, what expectations do I have for my children.  I want them to do and be their best.  Just because I see their potential doesn't mean they are ready to achieve it today.  Do I put the same unrealistic expectations on them.  How about teachers, community leaders, corporations, the government.  Am I fair in their capacity today or do I expect immediate perfection of them too?  Do I assume that collectively, these imperfect people are somehow more perfect.  Perhaps they are more balanced, but eventually some imperfect person is making a decision.


Allow others a safe place to try.  Encourage, uplift, help them be successful.  Motivate, laugh, love them on their difficult journey to perfection.  Support, be kind, be understanding during times of failure.  It's no easier for them.  Give them the gentleness I desire.  So...the golden rule still works.  If I see a vision of what can be and am patient in achieving it, others will afford me the same generosity.  We all need elbow room in growth, and a soul ready to heal us from a long day fighting our battles.

New theory.  I can't tie my shoes today.  But I won't get better if I don't try.  Dream for the stars.  Have an expectation that I can achieve.  He wants me to be and feel successful and when I don't know how ask Him.  Keep that object in view and set a more reasonable absolutely ridiculously easy task and then another easy one.  Bunny ear.  Bunny ear.  I can do this.  Okay.  So to most of you likely figured it out in 2nd grade, but I'm grateful for God's revelations to each of us.  I can become like Him by becoming like a child.  I am His child.  Goal:  today I'll begin by tying my shoes.
* I guess I was asking for perfection on this blog... it's been sitting in the cue for months now.  Just hand in your homework, imperfect and get credit for it, even if it's only partial.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Egging

Eggs were my least favorite food as a child (apparently I just don't like them unless the yolk and white are integrated.)  We recently had to wash our car mid-winter because someone egged it... and it froze.  But nothing could keep their happiness from me.  Their simple hope and joy from watching chicks hatch in the Hamilton Elementary School.  Or scrumptious Cheesy eggs on raisin toast or Mom-lets.
My favorite memory with my family at Easter time was dying and decorating eggs together.  Some were in far better condition when we were children; at least that's how I remember it.  My brothers, mother, and I did our best and spent hours on them.  I was graciously given them by my eldest brother, Jay.  I try to make a new one every year... but most don't get finished.  Here are a few egg-xamples of what others have done.

Here are a few ideas if you're interested at trying your hand at it:  Bunny Eggs10 ideas & helpful hints, Leaf imprints, Egg planters, A collection of ideas, Bean mosaic eggs

Sunday, April 3, 2011

compromise (ˈkɒmprəˌmaɪz)

Thanks to Dictionary.com














At my house I think the more accurate definition would go something like this...
1.  settling a dispute by making both parties unhappy.
     ex.:  "If you can't share, neither of you will have it."
2.  having one's way 50% of the time
     ex.:   "Give it to him, we're not interested in justice [compromise], we just want peace."  &  "You can't have it you'll break it!  Here, you can have it."

I have a friend with mad skills at finding common ground for her family member.  She would be a great ambassador to families like mine; bringing peace and contentment to the feuding peoples.  It's a great feat to be able to be objective in times of stress; to be an advocate to all and bully of none... I've yet to develop that skill for myself, let alone teach it to my children.  How much better and happier we would be if we could be a little less selfish, and a little more gentle in the daily approach to the boxing ring.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's so funny... when it happens to someone else.

Some of the best experiences in life are viewed from our proverbial arm chair.  I find it wickedly funny when someone else falls down... head first.  Or when we witness another's emotional destruction during an embarrassing moment.  I think it's hilarious that parents laugh at their children's mistakes and call it cute.  Or when we ourselves are parents how our parents think our struggling with our children is funny.

I absolutely think we need to swim in our misery a little less and that, as long as we're not mocking, that we should climb on the shore and witness the broader perspective of laughing at one's self.  It's absurd to think we're too perfect to not trip just because we dressed up.  It's silly to think that we are too mature for saying something stupid.  I admire people most when they see the whole silly truth of the matter.  I'm grateful for insane people who say wise things.  I think chasing trash you've just drop should be recorded... every time.
 I love irony.  I enjoy sarcasm.  I relish a good giggle.    I'm tickled by witty banter.  I certain that God laughs.  I'm grateful for reminders, particularly from Jim, who is far beyond his 2 years some days, who sits in the back seat and heartily laughs because I'm looking for no cars.  Why do we get to bent out of shape?  This world was made for more fun than we let it be.  Play more.  Do more things with no reason behind it.  But most of all, enjoy yourself.  We only go once 'round this crazy ol' world.  Here's hoping you get the most out of every last drop.  And by all means, here's a few bucks from my expense account; feel completely free to enjoy yourself!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Mother heart

I understand and offer compassion for the difficulty of those that work outside the home and can't be with their kids.  (I was one.)  I feel for mom's when they can't be with those that attend school (I am one.)  I choose to tend my children as much as possible.  I do not get paid to work outside the home.  I do not have any advanced degree.  So when someone looks to label me, I use the best words I have (that inevitably fail to express what they may seek to know about me.)  I grasp for what is best and most brief and say, "I am a Full time Mom, or a stay at home mom"; both of which fall ridiculously short of span of what I do in a day, or what I'm worth.  In our natural inclination to see ourselves reflected in the words of others, those that work outside the home PT or FT feel like they have been belittled, or if they have no children that they are not yet of worth.

I decided to serve my grandmother at home rather than seek education in the few years following HS.  I served a church mission to Houston (Spanish speaking, a great blessing) and put off seeking a husband.  I have no further formal education because I chose to put my husband through school.  I went to work outside the home to provide for a time (which was a job more easily acquired because of being bilingual.  So dad was FT and a Grad student).  I live in a 3/1/1 because we have to pay $300/ mo for gas (and rising).  My choices are my own; they suit me.  Others have other needs; by all means please meet them. 

Our choices and priorities are our own and do not suit everyone in every circumstance.  We must, therefore, be tolerant, even supportive of others.  How heartbreaking when one finds success or empowerment by insulting or belittling another's choices.  Let us not be hasty to judge in order to justify self.  I'm okay with you and your choices.  I rejoice in your successes.  It is vain to say, "I wish I were at home, or I wish I had a 2 toilet home, or I wish I had children."  There is joy in each life, as well as sacrifice and sorrow and disappointment.  Our worth is inherent.  No title, no position, no education will make us more or less than we are; it is dependent upon nothing.  But greater happiness can be found in rejoicing and being grateful; it allows me to feel that worth more.  Let us be happy in the choices we have made, or change what we can to find it.

There is nothing better than each of your mother hearts; to defend home, family and love.  By all means protect them and this most noble calling by acting accordingly.  Our job as Mothers is to nurture, whether we have children or not.  To build, to encourage, to love, to stretch, to expand, to enlighten.  Let us be above labels and be above reproach because we did our best with the time and means allotted.  You are the heart of your family.  May you be ever sustained and acknowledged and see success in your charge.  May we change the world for the better by nobly engaging in a sacred duty to nurture the rising generation.  And when we fall short, may angels attend them to bear them up under their heavy burden to resist the degrading, pustule world that would rather take our energy, our souls, our happiness to satisfy the unimaginable voracious vanity and pride that is in her found.  May we rely upon his promises to protect this divine role and uplift and strengthen the family unit, for we are ALL of the same family.  We are ALL His.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Foot in Mouth Disease

We all do it; and half the time we're absurdly unaware that we're walking around with a shoe hanging out of our mouths like a dog's tongue on car ride.  I laugh when well renowned authors always have their characters' words so perfectly chosen and placed, as if it were at all true to life.

My mother once chided me (with reason, lest she be judged too harshly), "Sometimes Liz, I don't know how you have any friends."  (This too may have been a peppermint shoe moment on her part; ironically she doesn't recall the conversation.)  I revere her, though, for the courage to correct me and that she loved me enough to help me grown and improve. 

We each say things that, once said, we wish the next moment we could choke back.  More often than not my days are filled with things like, "You did a better job..." better than what? or "You're funny, but I read your blog because your friends are REALLY funny."  It is a wonder, and truly miraculously that I have friends when rather than console a friend who apologized for being unable to attend a meeting, I crack a joke about him not being able to schedule these kind of things.  eeeewwwww, tacky!

My heart burns and I'd love to purge that moment, and those words from existence.    We see the wisdom of sages and God when in a vision reaches the throne of God and realizes his most monumental of sins, a man of God, in Isaiah 6: 5-7,  "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."

Mercy exists, I can be clean.  And despite myself, I am blessed with many forgiving friends and family.  I am in awe at my eldest son, who because he is slow to place his words, is blessed with more kindness and love than most.  May your days be filled with kind words, or peppermint shoes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Frustrated

What makes man different from God, that the first is so easily frustrated?  Is is a lack of patience, unrealistic expectation, lack of faithfulness or devotion?   Is it our capacity, our circumstance,  or our character that is lacking.  Or is it simply our perspective?

All we do crumbles, fades, is destroyed.  Is it in terms of the mere physical?

We dream so big, try to do too much too fast, we don't prioritize well enough.  Is it that we can't conceive or develop a realistic goal?

We give up too soon, don't finish the race, don't believe in ourselves.  Is it that fail to stay the course?

Whatever it is that we yet lack that causes any conceivable frustration, know this, You are his greatest work.  And the works of God cannot and will not be frustrated.  He never changes, He never stops, He knows the beginning from the end,  His faithfulness to you is not dependent upon what weakness you have overcome.  He is your advocate, your friend, your Father in heaven, He has overcome and is just waiting for you to accept that despite who you are He knows you and His love is without end for you. 

So how do we overcome frustration?  We do it His way, we become humble enough to accept His help and we become a little more like Him so we can see things from His perspective.  And if it doesn't work today, do the same tomorrow.

I'm sure I'll come back to this one sometime.  It something I've pondered over for years.  But I best not delay posting it, simply beacause it's imperfect/ incomplete.

Snow day horror

Several years ago, while living in Central Texas, we had an afternoon ice storm.  I was at work with no water pitcher to use and who in that area owns an ice scraper?  Thinking ahead I went to the car to turn on the defrost and get 'er warming (if you live in Texas you'll eventually use the phrase, it's beyond your control.)  So car on? check.  Defrost on high? check.  Okay I'll go wait inside until it's ready.  Lock the door...lock the door?  Shoot the keys are in it!  (Not unheard of for me.)  So I'll call my husband... wait he's in exams... AAAAGGGHH!
 I'll just get a hanger and open it.  Unfortunately the retail store I worked for must have had fears of metal hangers from watching Mommie Dearest.  Only plastic hangers, okay so there was one flimsy metal hanger from shipping.  Try, try again...to no avail.  A man drives up and asks if he can help; he seems a little out of sorts.  However, I reticently explain my predicament naively to the stranger and he appears with an ideal piece of wire!  He bends it and uses it and Voila!


 I thank him profusely and then he hands me the wire (apparently it was a good idea to talk to a stoned stranger.)  Where did he find this ideal wire?  ... it was the CB antenna from our car.  Thank you.  Thank you very much. (Yellow is in lieu of sarcastic font.)  But I have to say it's made a funny story that I love to relay.