Friday, April 29, 2011

Mama Walrus

A couple days ago, I had a conversation with my boss about the Disney movie "Oceans". I haven't seen it and she was describing a story about a mother walrus who displayed poignant "motherly love". My boss was moved by how sweet the moment was and commented on how silly we moms can be at times. :)
The next morning, I had a "mama walrus" moment. I had just dropped Nathan and Chloe off at their school and I was driving to Jillie's school. Up until that point, she had been loudly singing along with the radio. My baby girl is usually one of three things - singing, talking or sleeping. She isn't quiet. So when the back seat fell silent... and then stayed that way, I moved my mirror to see if she had fallen asleep. Instead, I found my little 6 year old, eyes closed, her hands raised to her Lord in silent worship.
The tears came and I rejoiced at how my babies are learning to love God and to worship Him without fear or shame. What a blessing.
And I'll bet Jesus was smiling too. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Friends - New and Old

Lowell is four years older than me. Because of this, while I was a freshman, sophomore in high school, he was beginning his college career. He attended UTI, a technical school in Phoenix. UTI didn't have dorms at that time, so the students were responsible for finding their own apartments. Lowell ended up living with 5 other guys in a three bedroom apartment. One of those guys was named Scott. When Lowell left UTI in 1995, he and Scott didn't stay in touch. About a year ago, I got a message on Facebook from the very same Scott asking if I was married to or related to anyone named Lowell. :) Since then, they've talked on the phone a few times, but this past weekend, I got a message on FB from Scott inviting our family to a bar-b-que at his sister's house here in Phoenix. He was making a quick two day trip to the valley and wanted to see Lowell while he was here.
The boys had a good night telling stories and catching up. They laughed about crazy things they had done and wondered about friends they had lost contact with. Meanwhile, the kids and I mingled with the rest of the family. It was suprisingly comfortable and I didn't feel left out at all. Our kids were the only little ones there, but they did a very good job entertaining themselves and staying out of trouble. The best news came at the end of the night when Scott shared that he is finishing his business degree in California and then will be transferring to Phoenix. Hopefully he and Lowell will be able to see each other more regularly in the near future! :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Blog

My son has started a blog. :) Not one that is on the computer, more like daily diary entries, but he calls them his blog. He's also drawing pictures where appropriate. For example, he earned a special gift on Sunday and so I pulled something out of my "just because" box that I keep for exactly those moments. I gave him a bug net. Within minutes, he had caught a grasshopper and then was off to find bigger prey. A while later, he had with a baby bird. Well, not really a baby, more like a toddler bird. It was in our field and was obviously learning how to fly.
Nathan's blog entry included the story and then a picture that he drew of the little thing. Absolutely adorable! :)

Other entries include how he beat his Star Wars Wii game finally and how excited he was about the final battle; going to Tonopah with Daddy for a side job and meeting a baby ferret named Oh; playing in the sprinklers and other random moments of fun that they've enjoyed over their Spring Break. I felt blessed to read what he's written and to get a glimpse into how he views the world. And I was very thankful that nothing in his blog indicated that he's feeling stressed or upset. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


There is an interesting little battle being waged at my house.
This isn't the normal "blue guys against red guys" or even a simple Good Guys versus Bad Guys. There are three main players; Lowell, Nathan and the gophers.

Let me set the scene: We have two lawns, both of which we inherited from the previous owners. The lawns are currently being ruled by weeds and by gophers, the latter who have constructed a gigantic underground labyrinth of tunnels and holes. Lowell has decided to overthrow the current leadership and declare himself Supreme Leader of the Lawns. To win this war, he's armed himself with weed killer, a shovel, buckets, and a hose. The use of the first is obvious and not noteworthy. The other tools of mass destruction, however, are extremely entertaining.
Lowell diligently waters the lawns every couple of days but instead of just turning on the hose and walking away, he takes a different approach. The hose is turned on, as high as it will go, and then inserted into the biggest, freshest looking gopher hole that he can find.
Then he waits.
Sometimes this can be a pretty drawn out process, so I'm going to fast forward to the exciting emergence of the enemy... Eventually, the series of underground tunnels fills with water leaving Mr. Gopher with no other option but to seek dry land above ground. At this point, Lowell has the upper hand.

The first time this battle was waged, a relatively "normal" sized gopher came running up onto our sidewalk. Lowell immediately grabbed the hose and doused the little varmint with water, effectively pinning him against the house. With the gopher immobilized, Lowell moved in with a bucket and captured him.

Enter the third player in this drama; Nathan. My little boy loves animals and abhors violence. And he especially detests when the two come together. So, out of consideration for the boy, Lowell did not immediately carry out the death sentence that he had handed down for his prisoner. When Nathan came home, he ohh-ed and ahh-ed over the little creature, pulled a few weeds to stick under the bucket for the gopher to eat, and then began lobbying for permanent ownership of his new "pet".
With that dream effectively dashed by a stern look from Mom, he went to Lowell to demand clemency. Out of the goodness of his heart, Lowell agreed to release the gopher in a nearby field. What a little boy doesn't know, will not break his heart.
The next day, we came home to find that the gopher had escaped his bucket and had returned bravely to the battlefield.

This battle was then repeated, Lowell with the hose, soaking wet gopher, bucket, but then, due to the increased wile-ness of the enemy, a large piece of wood was placed on the bucket to discourage further prison breaks. Nathan fed the gopher a weed and, again, demanded a humane sentence of pain-free relocation.
Fast forward to the next day: Lowell comes home to find the bucket is still in place and the wood is still on top, effectively holding down the cage and.... a large hole that has been chewed through the side of the plastic bucket. Again, the prey has proven its cunning.

Yesterday was battle number three. This time the battlefield was the backyard lawn. Lowell, confident in his tactics, but armed with a metal bucket, began with the hose. Patiently he waited as the water level silently rose. He waited and waited and waited... After almost 45 minutes, our hero was about to give up. He turned off the hose and started toward the house when he spotted Gopher. Immediately he knew he had met the reigning ruler of the underground. Gopher was the size of a small house cat. And mad.
Gopher bared his teeth, made a hissing sound and actually came toward our hero with the hose. Thankfully, in his other hand, Lowell held another weapon - the shovel. Up until this point, the shovel has only served to fill up the holes that he found in the lawn. On this day however, it would be the most valuable weapon in his arsenal.
Facing off with his opponent, Lowell was surprised at Gopher's aggressiveness but only hesitated for a second before winding up and swinging. With a smack, Gopher learned what life would have been like if he had been born an unassuming golf ball, instead of a nefarious little root monger. Unfortunately for Gopher, Lowell was not on a fairway or even a putting green, but standing a mere 10 feet from the back of our house. Gopher hit the wall.
The battle was over.

Out of consideration for the third player in this little dance, Lowell buried the fallen warrior and didn't mention the day's events to Nathan.
Instead of allowing Lowell to become yet another unsung hero, I share the tale here so that you can join me in thanking him for his service as protector of our home and lawn.
Husband, you are my hero! :)

Monday, April 11, 2011


It is very possible that I have found a practicum placement. I am waiting to hear via email from the lady that I interviewed with. She is currently checking my references. The interview was very positive and I was nearly offered the position... So, I definitely have my hopes up!
The position will be 20 hours per week for an 11 month commitment. I will actually be counseling!!! Its hard to believe and very exciting! :) The organization works with a very diverse population - singles, married couples, families, children, depression... They don't do a lot of work with the SMI population and they also don't do a lot of substance abuse counseling!!! I am thrilled about both of those because I really didn't want to work with those populations anyway! Well, I should say that I don't want to specialize in those conditions - I know there will be a lot of substance abuse in any group of people seeking counseling, but I don't want to only work with addicts.
I discussed this possible new venture with my boss. She is so awesome. I am so incredibly blessed to be working here. She was completely supportive of me pursuing my educational goals, she was willing to work with me by changing my schedule around, by going to part time, or by completely quitting. She and I discussed my options and the pros and cons of each and then she encouraged me to pray about it and see where I felt at peace.
Lowell and I have talked about it too and I'm sure there will be at least a few more conversations on the subject. I'm just thankful and excited. I'm grateful for this opportunity and for the idea that I may just graduate after all. And I'm so blessed by the freedom given to me by my boss. And I'm thankful that I do have a Heavenly Father who is guiding my steps and who has a plan to prosper me and not to harm me; to give me hope and a future...
Here's to hopeful beginnings.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gonna Make It

Today is one of those days. I should probably capitalize that; today is One of THOSE Days. You know: couldn't sleep, sick kids, lost the car keys, kid forgot their lunch, can't find uniform pants, then can't find belt to hold up sister's uniform pants, lost a contact, grouchy husband, no milk after pouring cereal, trash man came before the can was put out, belly grew overnight and now pants are too tight, can't find pants that fit, traffic issues, people waiting outside my door when I walk in the building, notice stain on shirt, take someone on errand and forget the most important part of the errand, lose keys to van at work.... And all this before 10 am.
So, here I sit with two options: I can cry, scream, sleep or simply leave; or I can suck it up and be thankful for the many, many blessings I have.

I'm going to choose gratitude. And breathe. And hopefully the day will improve. If not, I know Who I can lean on.

By the end of this day, He may be carrying me, but I'll make it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Painful Mistakes

Sunday was a day... I've noticed that if I have a day off, I can't spend it laying around "resting". If I lay around, I get sleepy and if I sleep, I get grouchy. This is what happened Sunday. Nathan wasn't sure he was ready to handle church and Lowell worked overtime so instead of leaving a little 8 year old home alone, I thought it better for us all to stay home. So, I rested on the couch and caught up on some TV. And then I got sleepy and took a nap. And woke up in a terrible mood. I knew I would, I don't know why I even thought that taking a nap would be a good idea....
So I worked on it, I thought about it and tried to reason myself out of my funk. I tried to talk myself into a better mood, I read my Bible to try to get out of my grouchiness... But nothing was successful. And then I blew up. At Chloe. Of course it was at Chloe. She receives the brunt of my attitude every time I'm grouchy. I've talked about this before - I have yet to understand why I continually direct my anger at her...
Anyway, I blew and then I knew that I needed to talk to her. I knew that I wasn't being fair and that I was only distancing my daughter from me. I was doing the exact thing that I wanted to avoid and I was screwing up... But my heart still wasn't soft. I was still grouchy and upset. So, I prayed for God to give me words, or grace or a new attitude or a slap in the face or whatever I needed to be able to approach my daughter humbly and apologize to her for being a horrible mom.
I found her in the bathroom crying. So I knocked on the door and then sat on the floor to wait for her to open it.
When she came out, I hugged her and pulled her into my lap and asked her what she had done wrong. She didn't have an answer and so I held her little face and looked at her and said, "That's because you didn't do anything wrong. Absolutely nothing. It was all me. I screwed up and lost my temper and was angry at you and you did nothing wrong."
Overall, our conversation lasted almost an hour. I apologized to her over and over again and I let her know that my anger comes from inside, from other issues and that she is not to blame at all. I let her know that I was making mistakes and that, growing up, I wondered why my mom left and if it was my fault. I told her that she did not need to wonder if any of this was her fault because I was telling her right here and now - she was doing nothing wrong. She cried and clung to me and I apologized over and over again. I told her that I didn't want her to grow up to be like me...
Then I asked her if she had anything she wanted to say. I told her that I know I don't always make it easy for her to talk to me - that I growl at her or seem angry, but that I really, really want her to feel safe coming to me.... And that I know how many mistakes I'm making and that I'm really trying to get better...
Do you know what that little girl said?
My 7 year old daughter. After being completely disrespected by her mother.
She said, "I love you no matter what you do, Mommy. And I want to grow up to be like you because you're my mom."
That was the slap in the face that I had prayed for.
At that point, I just hugged her and told her I loved her while we both cried.
I'm still confused as to why my anger gets directed at her and I'm still heartbroken about how our relationship is so complicated. But I'm also refocused on how I act. Who cares how I feel, right? It is more important to act rightly than feel rightly. Feelings can be deceptive, the most important thing for me is to show my daughter that I love her. Because I do. I really do. Soooo very much. And I'm so humbled by her love for me. I don't deserve it AT ALL, but I'm thankful for it.
I hope that I can be a better mom to her. And I'm thankful for the connection we had Sunday. Next time, I hope it isn't because I lost my temper, but just because she's my daughter.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Little Buggy

Nathan is home and recuperating. Last night he was in a lot of pain, but seemed to be doing better this morning. When the surgeon talked to me after the procedure, he said that the condition was worse than he thought it was and that it was definitely a good thing that we did the surgery when we did. He said that there will be no lasting effects and that Nathan's growth and development should be completely normal as well as his fertility later in life.
God is so good. That's all I can say, God is good and I'm so thankful.
Thank you everyone for your prayers.