Thursday, November 29, 2007

Technologically Challenged

I'm learning something about myself this week: I'm technologically challenged. Oh, it's not that I don't know how to make use of current technology. It's that I don't know how to function without the use of technology. My calendar is kept online. I write up my daily "To Do" lists with the aid of an online time manager. Weather forecast? Online. Favorite TV show? I watch via internet. Christmas shopping? I do as much online as I can.

Thus now that our cable service has become virtually non-existent (leaving our cable internet crawling below dial-up speed and our cable phone mostly inoperable) I'm in a lurch. No connection to the outside world save dialing my cell phone or stepping out the door. No shopping, tv watching, blog reading, list making. I'm stuck, stuck stuck!

How did I do all these things before the arrival of my laptop less than one year ago? And how is it that I've become so dependent on the internet? Is there any hope for me overcoming this addiction? I'm in withdrawal here, folks. And the cable guys won't be here until Saturday. Eeek!

I'm throwing this post out there into the bitstream to see if it will float. It's my message in a bottle to you all. I'm stranded here. Don't forget me. And send help if you don't hear from me in another week.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Now That's Commitment!

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Wishing you all the best & many more years! Love you lots, Mom & Dad!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gratitude for All Things

Today as we give thanks (those of us in the U.S.), undoubtedly many tables will be filled with talk of all the good things that have blessed those gathered. And truly we need to be thankful for those things and not take them for granted. But after hearing a sermon at a wedding last week, I'm rethinking my sources for gratitude. The pastor was exhorting the married folks present to thank God for those things in their spouse that once attracted them and now grate on their nerves. He pointed out that the grating was more a symptom of our own need for refining in our character than that of our spouse. And so we should be grateful that God would use our mate to show our weaknesses and use their "faults" to scrape away at ours.

I plan to spend a little time this Thanksgiving, perhaps before I go to sleep tonight, to give thanks for those things that don't appear to me as "good". Because I trust that in the hands of a loving God, even those things He will work for good in me. Indeed once I include those sources of blessing, I'm sure I'll reckon that I have been overwhelming blessed.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose". Romans 8:28

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Making the Right Decision

Timid daughter brought home a plastic bag filled with "books" she had written at school. There was "Things I Like", "Animals", "My family" and so on. It was fun to look through and see her personality and preferences revealed. She was proud to show off her work and read along with me as I went through each one.

When I came to one book (I don't remember the title), I found these words on the first page: "Mommy is my first favorite". It was accompanied by a drawing of a woman, presumably "mommy". The next page said, "Daddy is my second favorite" with a picture of a long-haired dude, that is, "daddy". When I read this page I turned and looked questioningly at timid daughter. Her face blanched. Quickly I turned to the last page, "Sister 1 and Sister 2 are my second favorites too", it said, with a drawing of these two girls.

I set the book down and turned to Timid Daughter. She still had a stricken look on her face.

"Will you show that to Daddy?", I asked.

He was sitting nearby, but was paying no attention to us.

Timid Daughter shook her head, grabbed the book and quickly folded it up. Just then one of her sisters asked to see it.

"No!" came the fierce reply. Timid Daughter hurried to the garbage can to dispose of the book. What had been "truth" to her on the day she had written the book, maybe some weeks ago, was no longer so. Her conscience had been smitten and she made the wise choice not to reveal her unkind thoughts.

No other words were spoken of the book and Daddy never saw a copy. If he reads these words, he will know that he holds just as tender a spot in Timid Daughter's heart as her mother does. And in that same heart resides the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin. What blessing!

Editorial note: Lest you think I'm harsh in judging favoritism, it was Timid Daughter who did the judging and through her reactions exposed the true nature of her thoughts. Preferring one parent over another is normal and probably common. In this case though, it was more than just expressing a preference.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Victory Dance

When was the last time you pushed yourself to do something you thought was beyond your abilities? As a mom I think it's part of the definition of the job. Raising kids is tough on a good day. But outside of parenting, what motivates you to go where you've never gone before? And how does it feel to get there?

I've been pushing my limits almost daily in an effort to promote myself as a speaker. And while it's challenging and tiring, it's also pretty rewarding to see that I'm capable of more than I thought. The funny thing about pushing yourself is that adrenaline rush that comes with success. Anyone watching in my kitchen window the past week or so might catch me in the midst of a victory dance. You know the kind: a full-out whole body boogie complete with chanting, "Whoo hoo! I did it! I did it! Go, me! Go, me!".

Uh, yeah. So you do this too, right? I'm not the only mostly reserved, somewhat quiet, suburban mom who breaks into a wild dance when she proves herself able to leap tall buildings and convince program directors to consider booking her for a meeting. Right?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Not Cuttin' It

It's the time of year where (if your children are schooled outside the home) you get a report on your children's progress. I look forward to these parent/teacher conferences. It's good to see someone else's perspective on your child's academic & social abilities. And generally we enjoy these conferences since, for the most part, we get positive feedback.

But I just got a progress report from the Uber-Princess's preschool that gave me pause. She's right on target for most things - socially, emotionally, academically. However, it seems as parents we have failed her in one respect: she is somewhat lacking in "scissor skills". That's right, the girl can't cut.

It probably doesn't help that we never actually let her use scissors at home. And that's because...well, I have a thing with giving sharp implements to three-year-olds (never mind that she just turned four, she's in a three's class at the school). So her first experience with cutting was at preschool, which, you can imagine, was less than stellar.

So for now our goal is to work on improving her scissor skills. I'd say she's got her work cut out for her, but that's what got us to this point in the first place, isn't it? The good news is when I arrived home from work the day we got the report I found the Uber-Princess already sitting at the kitchen table making mincemeat of the Sunday coupons. She cut and cut for well over a half hour. I just hope this gets her on track for passing preschool. And if you have a three-year-old (or younger), let this be your warning: if you don't give them scissors soon, they may not make the cut.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eight Things

Thanks to the Beast Mom for tagging me. My blogging pen had run dry before this prompt. We'll see if this gets things flowing. First off:
Here are the rules. (1) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I love fleece. It is a wonder fabric because it totally, utterly, completely blocks out cold and keeps in heat.

2. I can't stand being cold. But from October through April the temps around here are usually below my threshold - many times well below my threshold. So for that half of the year, fleece or no fleece, my nose and hands are usually like ice. Yuck!

3. I wrote my first book when I was six. It was fully illustrated and was about the good ship SIJ (which was really my grade school because this was what the head priest called our school during his addresses over the PA system. He'd end by saying "Fifth grade overboard" or fourth grade or any one of the grades and each class always hoped it would be tehm grade and when it was theirs they cheered wildly).

4. I owned a Sony Walkman before they were in vogue. But I still don't have an iPod or MP3 player or any intentions of getting one. When would I ever use it?

5. I used to know the whole actual dance routine for Staying Alive because I did it for a school talent show. Now I can only remember a few parts, but definitely more than most people.

6. I took a break-dancing class as a junior-higher and learned the whole routine for Michael Jackson's Thriller. And yes, I still know a portion of that too. Maybe if I combined it with the moves from Staying Alive I'd have a whole dance.

7. On the dance theme: we actually did the Macarena at our wedding. Then again at that point in time it was pretty new and hadn't been beaten to death.

8. More dance stuff just because: I was sent to ballet class (and tap) for a bunch of years as a young child in hopes that it would bring me grace. No such luck. The only grace I have is what I've gotten from Jesus.

Okay, I need to tag somebody but it's too close to bedtime to think of anything else. Maybe in the morning - so watch for your name here later.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Putting It Out There

I spent six hours over the last two days sitting in a mostly empty gym, behind a mostly filled table, waiting. Around the perimeter of the gym were a line of other mostly filled tables, with people sitting behind them, waiting. In between long stints of waiting a person or two would enter the gym. At first, most of us behind the tables would get to our feet and appear alert and interesting. The person (or persons) would slowly walk past each table, stopping to look and engage in conversation with the lively table-sitter, perhaps even picking something.

And so it went, hour after hour. As the waiting progressed, table-sitters here and there would wander from their own table to visit another, quickly returning to their post when a new person arrived. But over time, when a new person would pass through the doors, not as many of the table-sitters would bother to return to their own spot, or if at their table, could muster the energy to stand.

It was wearying, this waiting to be picked. So much like grade school gym. The captains going down the line, assessing your skill and then passing you for another, more able body. But in gym, there was a rule, an unspoken rule: once a person was chosen, they were yours. No tradebacks. No refunds. Being picked last was a cruel fate. To be returned would be worse.

But in business, there is the opposite rule: the customer is always right. And so I, after all those hours of waiting, received the ultimate rejection: "I came back to return this. It wasn't what I really wanted". It was shocking, to say the least. Being picked, then tossed back. A complete breach of etiquette. But what could I do?

Only one thing and that is this: to warn you dear reader, a craft show is not a department store. Many of the people there are selling you the work of their hands, in essence a piece of themselves. Shop wisely; be respectful. And remember what it was like in grade school gym.