Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Same Kind of Different as Me

OK, so I promised I'd read a book this month and tell you all about it. Two things: first I'll confess I waited until the very last minute to complete the book. I finished it today. Secondly, I haven't reviewed a book in years, or perhaps ever, so extend me a little grace please.
The name of the book is what drew me in: "Same Kind of Different as Me." I'm intrigued with the way that God made us all so different, and yet so very much alike. I approached this book with the assumption that it's contents related to that truth. I was right... sort of.  I don't want to give away anything in this one, because I believe it is so worth the read. Through the stories of two of the most unlikely friends this book offers us a glimpse at what it really means to love, forgive, and truly serve. It raises  a few questions: What is wealth really? Do we really believe that every life matters?
Truth is stranger than fiction. This is a true story of wealth, poverty, and relationship. A wealthy white man, and homeless black man become brothers, what do they have in common? Want to find out? Read this one you won't regret it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I can hardly believe it's here. It seems Christmas crept up on me this year. Didn't we just celebrate Veteran's Day like yesterday? Actually, in mind I'm still stuck on September. Thankfully my little people have a way of inspiring the Christmas mood. After much stalling and denial, presents were bought, a meal planned, and I even managed to take a few Christmas pics. I'm no photographer, but since no one will be getting a card from me this year, I thought I'd share. 
It didn't start out so well. The dog wanted to be in every shot. I never realized she was such a diva...

 I did manage to get a few shots without the dog...

But she's very persistent. Eventually it paid off. She got her closeup...

 A very Merry Christmas from my family to yours...Sam, Elle, Buttercup (AKA Puberty, Tantrum and Diva).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The End

What do you do with death?
Last night I attended the memorial service of a very sweet lady. I watched her family stand before the church and receive condolences from those who felt so inclined. I listened as people described her acts of kindness and service. I wondered if she was aware of all the beautiful thoughts people had towards her while she was yet alive. At times during the service my thoughts turned inward. What if it was me? My husband? Am I really appreciating people while they are still here? Hard thoughts. I'm not going to give myself a speedy answer, but I'm thinking. Among my thoughts are:

  1. Death visits everyone.  Sounds simple enough, but how often do we plan for tomorrow, without thought for what today could bring? I'm not saying be paranoid, but live aware.
  2. Perhaps I'll leave a letter or something, but I want to speak at my own funeral.  
  3. I want there to be laughter at my funeral. It doesn't have to be fits of hysteria, but remember me with some smiles. If you really know me, you should have enough material :) 
  4. Please don't show up and act the fool. I'm not dead, my spirit simply relocated. 
  5. Don't mourn my death more than you celebrate my life. This seems a great excuse to have a party, with dancing!
  6. You're probably gonna hear about God at my service. Do me a favor? Listen. If you don't believe, or feel He's a crutch, that's fine. He IS a crutch for me and more. He holds me up. He holds me together. Consider your crutch. Who or what holds you up? Together?
  7. Leave my funeral knowing where YOU will spend eternity. 
I'll admit that this post disclosed more than I anticipated, and yet these are my thoughts. Death is a dominant topic lately. The shootings in Connecticut has left many of us confused and thinking about our own mortality. It's a topic worthy of our considerations. I'm asking a question in the same vein: Please consider the God of your mortality? He's taken the fear and sting out of death, and given us a very real, much needed,  hope.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mail Call

What do you do when you have too much?
Please don't assume I'm asking because I have the perfect answer. I no expert on this topic. I readily admit, I have a strong tendency to hoard papers. I keep letters, notes, and pretty much everything my kids have have ever written, drawn or touch! I also confess, that I hang on to mail (junk or not) way longer than necessary. I mean, so what Papa John's sent you a really good coupon! If you have no plans to use it, then what's the point in keeping it right?
For the past few years I've been working on simplifying and streamlining life. I started by cleaning out my closet.  Literally. I got rid of  my "fat clothes." I got rid of my "someday I'll lose the weight and they'll fit clothes." I even got rid of shoes, (that's a small miracle). I got rid of papers. I got rid of magazines and books. Now don't get the impression I have mastered organizing my home. Wrong. Instead, I've mostly organized my home. The biggest obstacle to overcome? The mail. It keeps coming, and coming. I keep collecting. I bring it in. I wait a few weeks, (months if I'm busy). Then, I'll get sick of it, sort it, and throw it out. I hate this pattern, but it's the one I'm stuck on. What prevents me from throwing it in the trash immediately? I don't know, but I so over it.  I'm in the market for creative ways to organize and deal with mail clutter. If you have any, do share. In the mean time here is what I found:

There were no shortage of ideas to be found. It appears I'm not alone in my mail clutter battle. These seemed easy enough to try. I'll decide on one and give it a try.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Knock Knock and P.S.

Yesterday I visited a beautiful home. It was large home, but it wasn't the size of the house that I found impressive. This home was just so inviting. I'm not easily impressed, especially by things, but there was something about the way things were used in this space. What was even more amazing was, no one at the home knew I was coming. 
Here is what happened: My daughter accepted an invitation to a Christmas party. I took her.  It had been a busy morning. I was running behind, but I packed the kids, and hauled them nearly 40 minutes across town. My daughter used the drive to decorate an ornament gift for the party. So I'm driving, she's painting an ornament, and yes I'm going a little over the speed limit, because we are late for this party, 30 minutes late. I found the home, and dismissed the fact that there were only two vehicles in the driveway. I reasoned that parents sometimes drop their kids off at parties and leave. I went to the door, rang the bell, and a familiar face answered. She's dressed in jogging pants, and a long sleeve shirt. She's clearly not ready for a party, nor is her pajama clad daughter standing behind her. One look at them and I knew I goofed up. Turns out I was actually early for the party, one week early! I showed up at that house on the wrong date! Yet, that sweet lady was gracious enough to let my kiddos have a play date with her daughter anyway. She invited us into her home, despite our impromptu visit. I was amazed. Everything looked so good, so tidy, so prepared. I didn't see the entire home, but I saw a lot of it, including the master bedroom. And FYI, it was stunning!
I couldn't help but think two things: First, my mental calender is subject to glitches, and I need to start writing appointments down. 
Secondly, if someone showed up at my house unannounced would I be able to show them around my home like that? Don't get me wrong, I no slob, but if you showed up at my house tomorrow, somehow I doubt I'll let you in my bedroom. This lady inspired me. She motivated me to always be prepared for strangers, to decorate, and to allow my plans to be interrupted. We had a beautiful, unplanned visit. Turns out it was just what I didn't know I needed. *smiles* 


Remember I told you I was going to start reading again? Well, selecting a book actually took some thought. There are so many that I want to read. The biggest question was, do I want to read something for pleasure, or for knowledge, or both? I decided on this one: 

I'll let you know what I think...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Few Words

You know those commercials where the kid knocks over something and mom is all sweet and smiling and cleans it up with a Brawny paper towel or something? Yeah those. We'll that's not me! I'm that mom that is all snarling, and growling and junk. In fact, if they made a commercial about what happens when one of my kids is in timeout, escapes, and spills a red drink all over the counters and floor, I'd probably be investigated by social services. Despite myself, impatience and all, I've been doing my mommy job the best I know how. It seems my "know how" often falls a bit short. My biggest problem, my mouth! I really trying to change that. Words are powerful, and I'm very sarcastic, VERY sarcastic. Sarcasm is often condescending.  It can communicate thoughts, and ideas that I and do not believe, and wouldn't dream of verbalizing. It might send the message that my kids are inferior, or not intelligent, and worst.
Most parents are wildly protective of their kids. If our children are overtly offended, we'd fight to the death to protect them. Yet we use our words often to send them subtle, and destructive messages. I believe this is the design of our enemy, Satan. He uses their love for us, and our brokenness as humans to communicate lies to our children via our words, and actions. It's not a direct attack by him, it's an inadvertent attack through us. It more damaging, and I believe it to be among the more hurtful things we can do to them. 
There are no perfect parents. I'm not trying to be overly critical of myself or anyone else, just wise with the words I use to my kids. Whether it be a criticism, or sarcasm, the end result should not be a defeated child. Our words should serve. They should edify. I've been challenged this week to use mine wisely. I just thought I'd share what I'm learning with you. I know this won't be easy, in fact that's what I said when I began having this conversation with myself. This is the verse that came to me:
 Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.....