Saturday, January 24, 2009

Busy Buildin' My Cathedrals

My bff sent me this email and at first I just ignored it, then I went back and really read it and thought about it. Ya know, sometimes or maybe most times, as moms we don't feel appreciated, loved or like we are really doing anything important. After all, "we're just moms", but after reading this and reflecting on it I realized I really do have importance....even if I don't feel like it!

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to somewhere. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this ? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Can I have some money?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' or I'm a car to order, 'Right around 8:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated college- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. Initially I had thought, oh she remembered I wanted to travel this year. Until I read her inscription:
"With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no button you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the girlfriend he's bringing home for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies', that would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to bring his friends home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Love Languages

Do you know what your "love language" is?? Do you know what I'm talking about? If you said, "huh, what are you talkin' about?" Go
here and find out more, take the quiz and then you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Anywhoooo, my love language is "serving others". I love to do things for people, especially my family. I like to cook for them, clean for them (well I don't really like to clean, but I like to make things organized and ready for them to use, ya know?) and generally just do stuff for them that will make them happy.

This week is the first week all year that I have been feeling good enough to really do much besides sit around all day, so I have been cleaning and organizing and COOKING!! And although, I'm not one of those women who absolutely have to have a spotlessly clean house (in fact, I lean the other way usually)and it is never a main priority in life, parts of my house are now clean and it feels GREAT!!

The den/playroom was todays cleaning project....and boy was it a project! That Other Kid came in right after I started cleaning it and he proclaimed that it wasn't so only have to step on a few things to walk across the floor! NOW...the floor is completely cleaned up, including swept. There are NO toys, games, puzzles, play dough pieces, etc., etc., etc. We leave Monday afternoon for the week and I'm going to work really hard at making sure that the playroom stays CLEAN till we get back in town next Friday night! I should be able to accomplish it....we have many things planned between now and Monday morning.

Yesterday, my cleaning task was That Kid's before you say it...remember "serving others" is my love language...I like to clean his room when it gets unbearable....and it was! Now it is "mostly" clean. I have asked him to do the desk and file cabinet, and if he doesn't then I will tackle it tomorrow while he is in class. I like knowing that my son will have a clean room, at least for a while. It's easier for him to maintain a clean room if it starts off that way, too.

Next comes some heavy duty bathroom cleaning!!! That I HATE doing! But I also hate having a dirty bathroom, and I have GROSS bathrooms right I need to love on my bathrooms!

So...what have you done lately to express your love language?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Can I Snuggle You???

How could anyone say no to that??? Especially when he looks like this!! He got up this morning and wanted to snuggle on the couch and watch tv with me....of course, I said yes!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Time to Figure It Out

I'm finally feeling pretty much normal...whatever that is, ya know? So now the "back to normal" routine begins as well as getting things done that I've been wanting to do all month.

But before I start organizing and cleaning and getting my life together, I went to watch That Kid referee a couple of high level hockey games. They were fun to watch, and I knew a lot of the players on 1 of the teams. He had either played with or against most
of these guys at sometime over the past 10 years, so I knew A LOT of the parents. It was fun to see people I had not seen for a while and spend a couple of minutes to find out what everyone is doing or planning to do over the next few months. Most of these young men are seniors or graduated this past they are planning for college, careers, or "trying to figure it out", as one mom told me.

As an 18 year old young man, That Kid is trying to figure his life out right now, too. He is trying to work, take classes at the community college, complete his senior year of high school, spend time with his girl friend, and his millions of other friends. In addition to all this, he is applying to colleges, preparing for future referee opportunities, and trying to build up his physical fitness level so that he will be able to be a faster, stronger skater. He is also having to take care of some health issues, nothing serious, but just things that require going to the doctor and take medications for (which he hates).

Isn't that what we are all trying to do? Figure it out...And we usually think the sooner the better! But as most of us adults know it takes along time to really figure it all out, then the real world throws us a curve ball and we have to refigure it.

I'm still trying to figure my life out...and I'm in my 40's, but I pray that my son can "figure it out" before he is my age!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bed Time Talkin'

Tiny Talk Tuesday celebrates our children and their view of the world. They continually make us laugh and by recording their Tiny Talk we can focus on one of the many JOYS of parenting! If your kiddos made you laugh this week (don't they always), then feel free to share the humor! Check out more Tiny Talks with Mary.

I don't know about you guys, but bedtime is a nightly battle of the wills....and my will is still stronger than that of the 5 year old!!
But he's getting better....and that scares me!

He has always been the great negotiator. Even when he was a 2 year old just learning to talk. He could negotiate with the best of them. To try and navigate bedtime without so many tears, mine not his....

I decided to set a specific time frame that I would spend in his room. That time is 20 minutes! I figure 20 minutes is really long enough for him to wind down and go to sleep. This 20 minutes doesn't start till he has had my undivided attention for about 30 minutes of Bible verse review, story time, teeth brushing, 2 or 3 bathroom breaks and good nights from big brother and dad.

I explained my new system on Sunday night....and he immediately starts negotiating. Could I stay in there 30 minutes? What about if he's almost asleep, at 20 minutes could I stay a couple more minutes till he's totally asleep? What if he needs another drink or needs to go potty?? My answer each time was, "NO! 20 minutes is long enough to go to sleep and you've already gone to the bathroom enough times."
After thinking about it another minute or so he decided he'd just concede and go to sleep! Worked like a charm, he was asleep in just under 15 minutes! Last night on the hand didn't work out so good it took about an hour and 10 minutes before he actually went to sleep! UGHHG

Oh well, at least I have a plan now, and he knows I'm not open to negotiation!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Apparently I Have No Life.....

This according to That Kid. And the sad thing about that is I'm ok with this statement.

This came up in a short conversation late last night when I told him I may come watch a hockey game he is working today.
He thought it was strange that I would "waste my time" doing something like this. But I love watching him do something he loves doing. It makes me proud to be his mom!

This conversation "Not so much"!! in the words of Paul Reiser/Paul Buchman....

See, 19 years ago I was a young, pregnant wife working a 40 hour a week job that I was bored with. I couldn't wait till the day I could stop working that job and just stay at home and be a MOM and wife! My last day of working a full time job was the Friday before Memorial Day, 1990. That was a HAPPY DAY for me. I knew that unless weird stuff happened I would never have to work a full time job again....and I was thrilled with that prospect. Over the past 18 1/2 years I have worked on and off but ONLY Part-time. These times have never lasted long and only long enough to dig us out of a financial hole we had gotten into through various circumstances. I always enjoyed what I did during these times but I NEVER LOVED WORKING outside the home.

I love being a MOM...I'm not saying I ALWAYS LOVE it, but I wouldn't trade these 2 boys of mine for anything....of course, I need time away to regroup sometimes (now would be a good time!)but I love what I am.

But apparently to a 18 year old boy the most boring, mundane thing in the world to be is a MOM! This life I lead and have led for the past 18 1/2 years may mean I have "NO LIFE" but to me it is the best one ever! I figure that he will appreciate that in about 10 years!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Senior Picture Preview....

We had That Kid's Senior pictures taken Thursday afternoon. As a homeschooler, he doesn't really think things like Senior Pictures, Graduation Announcements, and High School Graduation ceremonies; things that a typical senior participates in are important but I DO!! How often will your "little boy" be a Senior in high school?? Once, I pray!!?? ha! are 4 of the shots that the photographer took. She is a homeschooling mom of 5 kids, here in the DFW area, and she's fairly new at taking pictures for $$$$. She did a great job last spring taking pictures of That Other Kid and I think she did a wonderful job on the pictures I have seen so far of That Kid!

Which one is your favorite??? The majority of people I have asked-- including That Kid likes the black and white one! DH says it looks very James Dean-ish!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Tiny Talk Tuesday celebrates our children and their view of the world. They continually make us laugh and by recording their Tiny Talk we can focus on one of the many JOYS of parenting! If your kiddos made you laugh this week (don't they always), then feel free to share the humor! Check out more Tiny Talks with Mary.

Since the last time I checked in with Tiny Talk Tuesday my little guy has turned 5 years old.....and everyone knows that "5 means I am so big". One of his first comments of the day was, "my hands are soooo big now that I am 5"! Cracked me up!
We started his birthday celebration with opening presents, which is the best way to start a birthday ya know!

After presents we went to Chuck-E-Cheese and played a ton of games. He even got me involved in some of them! Of course, he beat me....which was a highlight of his day! He has grown enough that he can reach the air hockey table without a chair....another bonus of being 5, no doubt!

After all our celebrating of the little man's birthday we started our Christmas traveling. This picture is of my two guys being goofy together at Grandma Karen's house.

We have been recouperating from our travels and of course, I'm trying to get over the flu/cold from you-know-where. Of course That Other Kid has been playing and being his normal self and saying some pretty interesting that he is 5!

He started attending AWANAS with his friend back in November and he's progressing really well through the book, but last night he was getting stuck on John 14:6. Jesus said unto them, I am the way, the truth and the life....
"I keep getting stumberned on this verse for sparks". He was very frustrated with himself.....and dh and I could hardly keep from laughing!

He has been watching way too much tv and playing a lot of Wii since I have sick, so he is always looking for the "marotes"! (remotes)

He asked dh to help him with the "constructions" to build a new lego kit. The funniest part of that is that that is exactly what That Kid used to call instructions when he was a little boy. That cracked me up!

I guess this just goes to show that no matter how big the age span in siblings they really are similar.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Still Sick......but

gotta get movin'. I can't lay around on the couch forever, even though that is at this point what I feel like doing. Especially since the high today is supposed to be 38 degrees with rain and a possibility for ice on the streets. Oh well, at least I don't really have to go anywhere. I just have to get past the 'blah' of outside and start getting this house back together. That Other Kid still has birthday and Christmas presents laying around, that he hasn't touched. I need to get the play room organized and help him get a grasp on the reality that is his space!

That Kid had to get up this morning and go to math class. I could tell he really didn't want to get out of bed! He's had a nice long break from school. He has been busy with working games the past few days and hanging out with friends that he hasn't seen in a while, so I think he was hoping for a little more of a VACATION! But alas, the real world has hit, so off to math class, then a personal training session at the gym immediately afterwards. Hopefully, he'll be smart and eat something. The first time he worked out with the trainer, he woke up, washed his face and went to the gym....and promptly vomited in his cap! UGH!! Let's hope he doesn't repeat that again.

DH is still not feeling great either, but the business world is back to work, so he has to get back to it, too. Yesterday, he stayed in bed till 7 p.m., took a shower, then came out to the living room and watched a little tv, then goofed on his computer for a while and went to bed for the night at midnight! He had a tough day yesterday...About 5:30 p.m. That Other Kid went to ask him something and he was snoring! TOK came out and said that daddy was sleeping and it wasn't even time for dinner! Cracked me up!

The good thing about being sick (if there is a good side to sickness) is that I have been able to read ALOT! I'm hooked on Karen Kingsbury books right now. I'm reading the Firstborn Series now, and have read most of the Sunrise Series. I'm waiting on the library to get the Redemption Series book 1 so I can start that one. I should have started on the Redemption series, but I didn't realize that till I was already halfway through the Sunrise series. I love her books and how she draws the reader into the Baxter family! I can't wait to finish all of the books, so I can check out more of her books.

So....what do you read when you don't feel well or have 'spare' time (of course, spare time is kind of a oximoron with a mom), but ya know what I mean????!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Uncle Jay Explains: Year-end! 12-22-08

Someone sent this video out today and I almost deleted it. Now I'm glad I didn't....It brought me some laughter, and everyone knows that laughing is good medicine!

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Hate Being Sick....

Since my last post yesterday, I have come down with a full-blown flu!! and I'm miserable!! I had chills so bad last night that I slept with 7 blankets on top of me! and went to bed at 11 p.m.! That NEVER happens in my house. I slept till 8 a.m. then got up and dozed on the couch till noon. At which time I fixed myself a can of chicken noodle soup and went to take a nap. I slept from 1 - 4:15p.m. Now I'm sitting here waiting for That Other Kid's bedtime, so I can go to bed again! I tell ya, I'm miserable.'s hoping you have a healthy and prosperous new year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

For All the Real Moms Out There....

A friend sent this out in an email today and I thought it was a great way to start out the new year....remembering the things that are REALLY important!


Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably
In the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors, filthy ovens and
Happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough does not come
Out of shag carpets.

Real Mothers do not want to know what the vacuum just
Sucked up.

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?' and get their
Answer when a little voice says, 'Because I love you best'.

Real Mothers know that a child's growth is not measured
By height or years or grade...
It is marked by the progression of Mama to Mom to Mother.

The Images of Mother:

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mama can do anything!
8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!
12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.
14 YEARS OF AGE - Naturally, Mother doesn't know that either.
16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She has no clue!
18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!
25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it.
35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.
45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a mama is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries,
Or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a mama must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.
The beauty of a mama is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a mama
With passing years only grows!

Happy New Year...It's 2009...

Wow!!! Where did 2008 go??? I know, I know...we always say the same thing at the end of the year and beginning of a new one. But, omg this year just flew by.

That Kid is already half way thru his senior year of high school and is starting to seriously think about college or what he's going to do next fall. I remember starting kindergarten with him in his bedroom, sitting at a little table and chair working on phonics and his numbers. He was so happy to finally be able to read those little readers and proudly did so every night with dad.

That Other Kid is now 5 years did that happen?? just yesterday he was a itty bitty baby who did nothing but cry and eat. Now he's shopping for his own stuff with his own Christmas/birthday money! Btw, he bought a Wii video game and the Shark Tales movie and is so happy he has $3.81 left over to hide from his big brother!

We had a good year, with the trials of normal family life. We all grew up a little and learned new things while going through daily life. I pray that this year we will be better examples to the world around us and that we will be MUCH HEALTHIER than last year!