Monday, December 8, 2014

All Is Well That Ends Well

I slept in today until 9:30 or so. That means the kids were watching Netflix. I woke up a failure. Yes, I have a cold that has knocked me out except for when I'm supposed to be sleeping so I went to bed at 1:00 last night, but 9:30 never seems justifiable.

We ate lunch at 2. And before that, I had to run to Wal-Mart because there was no food for lunch, so I threw on something clean, which was a red shirt that is a little too tight an a pair of jeans that were a little too big. It was the kind of mismatched outfit that, if one is not careful and gets distracted, the shirt may creep up and the pants might sag down and some belly might show. This might be cute on some people, but not with this for times prego marshmallow-bellied mama. And when one goes shopping with Brooke, one gets distracted. Fail.

We had spaghetti with red sauce, and it sounded like a great idea for Summer to make her famous garlic bread, but the bread turned out to be moldy.

They fought. I mentally escaped to a land where no children existed. I didn't make them do their work because I didn't want to deal with it. Then, I got bitter. Then they got bitter.

I stopped reading in the middle of the bedtime book because the kept interrupting me with tattles. Max got no book. Bedtime was cold.

And after I had settled into my alone time, my youngest daughter exits her room (dangerous move), comes to hug me, and says, "Well, this was a good day. Goodnight."

I don't know if she meant it or if she just said it to make me feel better, but it worked. It ended well.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Creative Genius

I'm just a mom, but I've come up with my own theories based on observation.

#1: Everyone is a genius. That is, in something. Some people's genius congregates in the area of mathematics, some genius hang around in one's musical understanding, and some people in wit. Some people's genius spread all around, with no ability to outshine in one area but compiling what they know in their eclectic mind, enjoying multiple disciplines.

Some people have their genius obviously pegged. Some will live the tragedy of never knowing theirs.

So if my theory is right, and you call someone stupid, or slow, or "special", you are wrong. Dead wrong. And, you have denied yourself the ability to witness a hidden genius- and possibly denied it for them as well.

My children may have been influenced by myself and their father through nature or nurture, but I can assure you that their genius has shown itself in different ways. My oldest is obviously the "smartest"... if you mean "smartest" by understanding her school work and able to get it done efficiently and with excellent results.

My second born, complete opposite. But oh my, you should see her in the kitchen... and if you could only listen to our private talks. Genius, pure genius.

My third born... you either love her or hate her. I love her, of course. She writes her e's backwards and still needs a number line to add. She is off the wall crazy with her thoughts. But when you calm her down and really understand what she is thinking? Can I tell you I just can't wait to see what she will be in 20 years? She said Librarian because she loves to read, but I'm quite sure she could not keep her mouth shut long enough to comply with rules of volume.

#2: Creativity can reveal itself in multiple ways.

There are those that call themselves creative because they are crafty. They like to find the instructions of how to do something and can make it incredibly beautiful- truly gifted in aesthetics. Or they can take a tradition or trending "pins" and make a happy life out of it. These people go hog-wild in creativity within the bounds of what is deemed appropriate by someone else.

Then, there are those that live outside any defined limitations. These are the dreamers and trend setters. They are also the messy, cluttered ones. The ones that are completely unaware of what they really "should" be doing- mostly because they don't care. Most of them are misunderstood... because who can understand why they do what they do?

This is where I live. That is why I hate scrap booking. It is so limiting to me.. I must follow a template with certain colors and stickers already made. Why, when I can make my own? Of course, I don't have time to make my own stickers with homemade puffy paint and glitter, so I don't do it. Not because I am not creative, but because I am creative.

I am so far out of the way people think I am supposed to live- I married the wrong kind of guy and wear the wrong kind of clothes and raise my children in the wrong kind of way... that is, to the crafty Suzie homemaker looking into my life. Yet, I am so happy.

But enough about me. My point is these two theories have enabled me to understand my neighbor better, and hopefully have been a better one. You see, I'm a fixer. Life circumstances have shaped this in me, and at times I have tried to fix people. However, we are not here to fix people, but enhance them. Shine the light on their genius and creativity. And for goodness sakes, learn from them and enjoy them as how they are. How glad we should be to be surrounded by so many creative geniuses! How much more joy we will have when we encourage that in others, especially children!

I have found that the most frustrating thing to me is when people misunderstand me- my intentions, my words, and my genius. It is so confining when we let people heap judgments on us from their limited viewpoint. So why would I want to do that to someone else? your neighbor as yourself...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Trial Addict

The most amazing thing has happened to me... my fingernails are growing. My entire 37 years of life have included flimsy, brittle nails. A large part of those years they were bitten by a nervous child, skeptical about nearly everything. The world never made sense to this introverted juvenile living in an extroverted world.

Geez, I wish I knew that I had it so good.

Suddenly, I noticed that there was a need for me to file my nails down. They're practically indestructible. So the obvious question is, "what's made the difference?"

I really don't know, but they started growing about the same time I decided to stop being a trial addict.

I don't enjoy drama- well, not in real life anyways, but I'm always dealing with things. Trials. Hard times. Victimization. Burdens. Then, one day I realized I didn't have to. It was quick and sudden, like stepping into a threshold of a new world. As I turned and looked back, however, I realized it was a long, troublesome journey there.

God gets you where He wants you, changing you step by step. Revealing one thing here, and one thing there. Oh, where will this journey take me? Only one thing I know: it will turn out good.

You see, that troublesome journey I've taken wasn't that bad, but I was the trouble maker. In my mind, I thought it needed to be tough. I needed to be stronger, I needed to learn more, perfect my faith, or take the role of the martyr.

But that is not it at all. What a tragic life, to be given the most beautiful gifts, and then smearing them ugly with our own negative scum.

The things- painful things around me are still there, but they are not a trial if I don't make it to be. My husband tells me of his childlike perspective as refugees and re-education camps in then newly communist Laos, and for the most part, the stories are light hearted. He was a child, and he trusted that he would be taken care of. The brunt of the pain was not for him.

It is not for us either. We can live above the trials and in the fullness of His glory, no matter what the circumstances are. That is a truth that is too good to keep to myself.

Isaiah 28:12
He who said to them, "Here is rest, give rest to the weary," And, "Here is repose," but they would not listen.
Matthew 11:28-29
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.…

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


She remembers these things. Long ago, I was either too lazy to make breakfast or plumb out of food, but we stopped at the local kolache bakery. I'm just curious.. is it normal to have kolache bakeries in your neighborhood?

Anyway, we do! We ate them, and she never forgot. I have not been back, for a reason unknown to everyone except my inner stubbornness to not buy something that I am capable of making myself.  It only took about two years to get around to doing it.

She picked two things to work on this summer: piano and baking. First thing on the list to bake: kolaches. Even then, I didn't get around to it and she has made one batch of chocolate chip cookies and four batches of snickerdoodles, but tonight was kolache trial #1. Not bad, although I think I over-baked them while reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle from the back bedroom. Who knows how long the beeper was going off before we actually heard it.

So, I'm not writing to promote a wonderful recipe, but rather log my memory. I know she will remember.

It had just stopped raining for the second day in a row with a high of 68 degrees in June. The windows were open, letting in the soothing sounds of the sweet, cool breeze. Supper was ready, and we had a few minutes to whip up a batch of sweet dough, just for the fun of it. One child was listening to music on a tablet, one practicing her marble game, and the boy on the front steps waiting for Daddy's car to appear down the street.

That moment was the sweetest one of the day. My soul was at rest. Oh, to live right there in rest. I was not offended, not worried, not planning anything, and completely ignoring the things needed to be done but couldn't right now.

My children are confused with my feelings toward them. "Mom, is it hard to have children?" they ask.
I cannot lie. "Yep."
"Then you wish you never had us?"
"Never! You are exactly what I want!"
"But you said it is hard."
"Baby, the hard things are the very best things." I smile.

I have a good life. The best part is, few can see it, because it is the small things that make it good. Today it was the kolache.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Our summer started a bit early this year upon completion of our curriculum. Although their free time has been lengthened, learning won't stop ;) I would like to make it a habit to blog more throughout the summertime. It makes me reflect and be thankful.

A few years back, I was having a pity party because I would love to take my children on fun trips around the country- or the world for that matter, but never seem to have the funds or time. So we determined to explore our own backyard instead- Kansas, that is (or Missouri since it is closer than most of Kansas to us). Day trips.

Yeah, that was a good move on our part. I see at as preparation for exploration of the world. I would like to note that I would love to see the Eiffel Tower someday (soon!), the Northern Lights, and some rainforest where I am in little danger of being eaten by a large snake (worst way to die). I plan to. But until then, there's Kansas- because it is a true spirit of an explorer to find the wonder of Podunk. It takes character to value the insignificant. It is true happiness to wonder at small treasures, whether it be in nature, history, people, or accomplishments. If we can do this, how much more exciting will it be in Paris?

I read recently that Kansas is the least desirable state to tour. That's okay with me because I happen to like fantastic finds with little crowds. However, I won't feel sorry for Kansans that complain of boredom. Seriously? Bleeding Kansas? Air Capitol? The Wizard of Oz? Brown vs. Board? Amelia Earhart, George Washington Carver, and Dwight D. Eisenhower?

Okay, rant over. I plan to have a fantastic summer. Here's to a blessed May.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pick One

To my children-

You are young, and sometimes feel as though you lack independence because of me, your mother. I tell you what to do a lot. I tell you when to get up, I give you a limited menu for breakfast (cereal or the other cereal), I tell you to get along, to do your school, do your chores, get your shoes on, say "I'm sorry", and put a smile on your face. You may think you should have more choices, and you may be right, but don't worry too much, you'll have plenty of choices soon enough.

I have countless choices to make each day. Some are very minor, even though they may seem like life and death issues to you, in comparison, they are minor. For example: What is for lunch? Minor. Complex, yet minor. I do need to know what is in the fridge and if nothing is there, how much I want to spend on lunch. I often ask myself, "do I really want to actually cook?" I have to determine how much color will be on your plate and give myself a list of questions like, "will I be comfortable admitting that I am a dietitian after this meal?" Complex, yet minor, because in 12 hours we will have already forgotten about this decision.

Others, however, have been a little more life-altering. Like marrying your dad. I can't exactly remember why I made that choice- I'm sure there was very little logic involved- it did make a pretty big impact on me. And for you too, for that matter. All I can say is, good thing he looks good bald. None-the-less, that decision is made. I dare not change my mind because I'd hate to go through the first 10 years of marriage over. And I love him to pieces. As you know, he's my most favorite.

Another biggie was about priorities. Where would mine be? Did you know I didn't even plan for you in my life? The doctors said it would be difficult for me to have children, so I didn't get my hopes up. Now, there are four of you. I know I could have had a fantastic career. I have a great job when I'm not around you. It's my paid vacation from you, because when I'm there, I sit in a quiet office with scheduled breaks. And I have intelligent conversations with adults. And I get paid. Did you know I don't get paid for waiting on you 24/7? But when I leave, I get a paycheck? Did you know I had the choice to do that five days a week, but I chose once-in-a-while?

I could have chose homemaking. I could have made cleanliness, wardrobe, and manicured lawns my priority. If you weren't around so much, I might just get around to finding a home for everything we own and de-clutter effectively. However, four little people can pull out more stuff than this tired mama can put away, especially when you add cooking, laundry, vacuuming, and a cheery disposition. Your presence makes my life nearly impossible.

Or appearance. Did you know, I have not had an actual hairstyle in years?

Did you know most people in Target are richer than us?

Did you know that sometimes I act crazy just to cover up the fact that I probably am?

Ya know why? Because I cannot, with clear conscience, choose anything but the life I now have. I had to choose one priority. I chose you. I chose the pleasure of building this relationship over dry clean only clothing and non-greasy hair. I chose to settle for McDonald's once in a while over RD approved meals. I chose this gross carpet and those dandelions over the magazine cover house.

Other families- good families- may do it differently. That's okay. I'm not the one to decide what is best for anyone but us. But I wish for you to know that often times, we won't have it all. We can't have perfection. In fact, perfection is boring. My decision, which I firmly believe is actually God's decision for us, has made me weak. I am in over my head, and I'm positive a few marbles were lost in the process.

Yet, in spite of my half-missing mind, (your dad's is not much better), I feel like the luckiest person alive. Tonight, I sat in a book corner with an old and worn blanket serving as a canopy reading, "Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name", and then listening to made up names like, "Catalina Magdalena Pillow Blanket in a Taco with Dirty Blonde Rockets into Space", followed by the beautiful harmony of laughter.

I learned that Dr. Doolittle was a playwright for many animals, serious plays for penguins and comedies for monkeys. And Jason of Iolcus may be a hero, but also incredibly foolish. I've listened to countless Boxcar stories that have burned fantasies in your minds. I know, when we bowl together, which "coaching" techniques would work best for which of you. I know when to challenge you and when to take it easy. I don't get it perfect every time, but I know better than anyone else.

I know I drive you crazy sometimes. I know that still you are crazy about me. Its pretty obvious when I was ready for peace and quiet twenty minutes ago, yet you still want another hug. You are my treasure. I pick you, and I will do whatever I can to start you off well.

I choose to do this because someday you will have to make millions of choices, and a few will be life altering. I don't want those made for the wrong reasons. I want them made from true conviction, which may look like insanity to the world around you. Well, that plus the fact you are a whole lot of fun to be around.

Love, Mom

Friday, April 18, 2014

On Fear...

During the last few weeks, I've been attempting to starve my fear and worries. It has not been easy, I've given them way too much control in my life. Its amazing where fear sneaks in. I can identify it much easier now.

Most of them irrational. All of them affect my behavior. I can try to conceal it, but the only way to make the day more pleasant for everyone is to get rid of the fear.

That part is getting a little easier. It gets easier when I look to the one who loves me.

Thank you, God, for loving me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I'll just say none of us were having a good day.

But it turned out fine. Thank God for spring.