Thursday, May 9, 2013

What I Want For Mother's Day

Dear Children,

The moment the first one of you was born my entire DNA scrambled and who I thought I was was replaced by a fiercely protective, keenly aware, insanely organized woman who would tear a saber tooth tiger limb from limb if it dared breathed in the direction of your perfectly head covered in the most hair any baby before or since had every been born with.  

Prior to the moment you were born I was carefree, calm and dare I say whimsical. I went with the flow.  I was so going with the flow I didn't even know there was a flow to go against. I didn't care when the dishes got done. I didn't make a food shopping list. I didn't have a special basket for the remote controls. C'mon. 

And then you came. And oh my gosh...oh my gosh...oh my awoke in me a warrior who was created to be your Mommy. I was overwhelmed by the responsibility and by how heavenly you smelled. You changed my ability to be chill. And I'm okay with that. You made me more structured so all your needs would be met. You made me more organized so I could get all the things done that came along with caring for you. You made me more spiritual because doing this Mom thing without The Lord close at my side would be a suicide mission.  You made me more dependent on caffeine.  Less dependent on sleep. And more and less selfish at the same time.  And I thank you for all these things.

As I celebrate my 12th Mother's Day my wish list has changed from things like 8 hours of sleep, breakfast in bed and diamond earrings to wanting you to be people of substance.  I see how you all are growing into your personalities. How you love fashion. You color inside the lines. You rearrange your bedroom furniture weekly. You have a compassionate heart. You can read like a person 3x your age. You're sensitive. You're as stubborn as me. You're gentle as Daddy. You still let me snuggle and hold your hand. And I'm proud. I'm proud of who you are and I'm hopeful for who you will become. You give me hope that Daddy and I are doing the right thing. You give me hope that God speaks to you through His word and in the quiet of your heart.  You are more than I could ever hoped you'd be. 

So for Mother's Day my simple wish is this: Keep being my baby. Don't get sucked into the crowd. Don't be what other people want and pressure you to be.  Be you. Be what God created you to be. Listen to His calling. Be mindful of other people's feelings. Open doors for strangers. Invite your sister into your room for a sleepover. Share sweaters and secrets. Guard your heart but leave it open enough for love to come in.  The right love. The kind that is there to build you up.  Build other people up.  

Eat ice cream cones on hot summer days. Get sand between your toes. Ride the roller coaster with your hands up.  Color, at any age. Play hide and seek and kick ball with your friends.  Keep the smell of playdough in the back of your mind for as long as you shall live. Swing. Seesaw. Cartwheel. Read books. Make new friends every day. Eat weird foods. Find your passion in life and don't be afraid if it changes. Be kind. Did I mention be kind? That's a big one for me. BE KIND!

And above all be thankful that God placed you in our crazy, loud, busy, sometimes hectic family because it was His gift to me on my very first Mother's Day and it will continue to be until the day I breathe my last breath.  You are wonderfully and fearfully made and I am honored to call you my child.  



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You can watch the segment here

Today is one of those pinch yourself kind of days. 3 weeks ago I taped an episode of ABC's The Chew which aired this afternoon. Having my bestie Glennie and my Mom with me made the day a million times more special.  I dream someday of having a show where I can share recipes and cook with friends and family. It's such a passion of mine. Today I am one baby step closer. 

I agree with the hosts that recipes are to be shared so without further ado, here is dish I made (one of my favorites that my Mamma concocted).  

Twice Cooked Spicy Green Beans with Pork & Scotch


1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp scotch
2 tsp sesame oil
vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/3 lb ground pork
3 Tbsp green onion, minced

Combine salt, sugar, soy sauce, scotch and sesame oil in a small bowl.  

In a wok heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 375* and in it fry the beans one handful at a time for 30 seconds a batch.  Transfer them with a slotted utensil to paper towels to drain.  Let oil return to heat before starting next batch.

After all green beans are cooked and drained, pour off all but 3 Tbsp of the oil.  Heat until hot but not smoking. 

Stir fry the garlic, red pepper flakes and ginger for 10 seconds. Add pork and cook for 2 minutes or until it is lightly browned.  Add beans and fry for an additional 30 seconds.  Add soy sauce mixture and scallions and cook additional 30 seconds or until the beans are heated through and coated with sauce.

Stuff your face.  Serves 6.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What did I loose?

Today I had a slightly heated debate with a friend on FB about the role of government in social programs.  She on the side of government should have many programs to help many. Me on the side of smaller government and  individual compassion to help out those in need.  I feel people should have hearts turned toward God and hearts that are quiet enough to hear His prodding to give and share.  It has led me to this thought I have been chewing on all morning: If an the end of my life I am wrong and Jesus is not my Lord and a relationship with Him is not necessary for entry into heaven, what did I loose?

I lost fear
Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I lost anger

Ephesians 4:26 NIV

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

I lost selfishness

Psalm 119:36 NIV

Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

I lost envy and pride

1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

Love is patientlove is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

And what did those who choose to turn away loose: Eternity in Heaven.

I'm gonna go ahead and take my chances.

If you want to take a chance too

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Baby Effect

Last night my dear friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It's taking every ounce of strength I have to not jump in the car in my pajamas and drive like Jeff Gordon to see her. I'm trying to have restraint. I've made it to 7:38am. I'll be brushing my teeth and in the car before this blog is over.

I've discovered not all people are baby people. Some are taken back by how small they are. Some the amount of noise such a tiny creature can create.  Not me. I'm addicted to their smell, the warmth, the way they want so much to be enveloped and loved. It's like crack. Only more expensive if you have one your own. Which is why, after being so very blessed with 4 of our own, I have taken to getting my "fix" from other peoples babies.

Holding a baby makes your worries so small.  You look at how helpless yet hopeful they are.  They're brand new, endless possibilities ahead of them. They smell like happiness (until they smell like something else but that's not even bad at the beginning.)  It also transports me back to the first days of each of my four children. Some of the most vulnerable yet empowering days I've ever experienced.  After having c-sections I was dependent on others for physical help to get around for the first few days. At the same time this sweet little baby was dependent on me for it's very existence. Such a strange and beautiful dichotomy. I'm usually very independent so I do relish the time where I can exhale, let go of the control and just enjoy the spoiling.  I don't recommend a c-section just to earn yourself a few days of being taken care of but it is one of the perks.

My youngest child has turned 3 recently. He is no longer dependent on me for many of the things he once was. He walks, gets his own food often, asks for what he needs with words other people understand and not coo's and cries that only I know instinctively. This is typically the time my mind and body begin pulsing for another newborn. This time I am unable to answer the call.  After 4 c-sections and much prayerful consideration the doctors, my husband and myself felt it best to put a "going out of business" sign on the baby factory.  It was a bittersweet decision.  It makes me feel like less of a woman when you are no longer able to conceive and carry a child. Thankfully God has given me peace with my decision. There are restful nights of sleep in my weekly routine. Diapers will soon be gone from my life after 11 years of always being in a basket on the side table. Binkies will no longer need to be fished out from under furniture. Bottle liners, formula and mylicon are no longer a staple on my shopping lists. They have been replaced by bread and snacks for lunchboxes. Ingredients for class party goodies. Cards and gifts for friends birthday parties. Sleeping bags for sleepover parties. Rubbing alcohol for cleaning newly pierced ears. Clear lip gloss for girls who want to grow up too fast.

All the while I still see them as these helpless, precious little gems that God sent down from Heaven and placed straight into my arms.  The more they want to grow the more I want to keep them small.  As they grow they think they need me less.  As they grow I need them even more. It's amazing how you do everything you can to make them wise, kind, loving people that you will set free upon the world.  All the while breaking your heart knowing they will one day do just that, go.

So you press on joyfully.  You adjust to the new role as they grow and change. You learn to give space while knitting a massive safety net they should know is always there to fall into.  You teach what we do.  Why we do it.  Why this is right.  Why that is wrong.  How you treat friends.  How you treat strangers.  Why we have to do homework.  How the dishes do not wash themselves. Why a relationship with God is vital.  How prayer works. What you should eat.  How you should care for yourself. Why friends are important.  What kind of man you should look for to marry (just like your Daddy). How you should treat a lady. If you play your cards right they will one day be that same person you are tripping over yourself to visit in the hospital with a precious little gem of their own.  You'll be able to dote on another precious life. You'll get that same gift and be able to relish it even more with a mind clear from sleep. With a heart open because you fully understand how immense this event is.  You'll get all the good stuff with very few diapers or tears.

*runs out the door to hold that baby girl* 

“A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby" - Carl Sandburg

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time to Tweak

I hate all the New Year, New You advertising.  By this time in my life (at 37) I'm happy with who I am. I don't need a massive overhaul like I'm some rusted out 1957 Chevy Corvette missing two headlights and a fender. I'm solid. I'm dinged in a few spots but in no way ready for the trash heap.  And neither are you, friend.

The things I need to tweak this year: (If I publish them you are all accountable to help me when I slip)

Anxiety Level:
For some reason the last two months have thrown my mind/body into a topsy turvey white knuckle hold onto your lunch thrill ride, minus the thrill part. I'm working on learning to say no. I've removed caffeine from my diet. I'm taking time to sit still.  I'm hopeful this is just the end of the 30's hormones trying to settle. Only time will tell.

Overall Body Health:
Last year I dropped 60lbs and was at my goal weight.  I got lazy, comfortable, yada, yada, yada and need to take a bunch of that 60 off again this winter.  Our 20 year HS Reunion is this August so I have a tangible goal. That always helps me.  Knowing I'll be seeing so and so makes me put down the ice cream and eat a carrot.  I'm going with the low carb, high protein thing this go around.  I'll report back how that goes. The more I read about this, the more I am learning that anxiety/adrenaline stuff is very related.  My diet (i.e. sugar, white flour) may very well be adding to if not causing my internal conflict.

I need to work on being a better friend.  My busy life causes me to not always be present. I'm there with you but not really there with you.  I'm conscience of this flaw and working to correct it.  My friends are so precious to me and I want them to always feel treasured.

Go With the Flow:
I'm not a flow person. I'm a plan person. P.L.A.N. plan. Maps, itineraries, agendas, lists. They make me happy.  I won't stop making them. I will however learn not to loose my lunch when we stray from one. Some of life's best adventures are had when we go with the flow.

Blog More:
Blogging to me is a way of removing the million thoughts in my head in a healthy way.  It's a daily purge of the extra stuff.  It's for me. It's therapy.  I need to commit to 30 minutes a day.

Pray More:
One thing that I cherish is my relationship with the Lord. Relationships are only as good as the time you invest in them.  I'll never be more at peace if I don't spend more time with the One who created me.

It instantly lifts your mood.  At the very least it reminds you to brush your teeth and we all feel better when we're minty fresh.  Try it!

Spoil Myself:
I WILL get my hair cut/colored every 6-8 weeks.
I WILL pay someone to paint my toenails at least 4 times a year.
I WILL schedule babysitters/dates with my husband every month.

I challenge you to look at your tweak list.  Find 3 things that would make you feel more you! And then do them. Share them with me.  Accountability is always key.

Happy New Year, Not New You! The one you are is perfect.  She just needs a new coat of clear polish :)


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playing in Dirt

Over the weekend we spent the afternoon at my parents farm.  They have 3 new baby goats who are both adorable and hysterical.  The girls went right in the fenced in paddock and stayed there for hours.  Chasing the goats. Picking them up.  Climbing on the makeshift 'mountain" area.  They were filthy at the end of the day.  Exhausted.

I stood at the kitchen window smiling.  There was no computer.  No DS.  No tv.  No MP3 Players or iPods.  Yet they were having a ball.  They took rides in the golf cart, fed the new pigs and the horse. Did kid stuff.  There was no whining about whose turn it was.  No one touched anyone.  They played together and get this: enjoyed being together.  How's that for crazy?

Our normal days consist of a whole lot of she's touching me, she called me (fill in the blank), he used my blah blah, she isn't sharing the whatever.  So this camaraderie was a breath of fresh air.  I gulped in a deep breathe of it and held it for a while.  It even came home with us (for a little while).  No one threw an elbow at the sink brushing teeth.  They went to bed.  They slept.  Good times.

I realized how glad I am that I grew up that way.  I hope I am able to recreate that kind of childhood for my own kids.  One that involves being outside.  Playing in dirt.  Eating vegetables that come right from the vine.  Worms.  Making forts in the woods.  The stuff that kids do so much less of these days.  It will require more laundry on my part.  Chasing the smallest one all over 12 acres.  Keeping people at the front end of the horse.  More work.  But work that will bear fruit.  Grow people who are an asset to the world and not a burden. Sometimes hard work pays off. Actually, hard work always pays off.  Even if you don't get the desired outcome you worked hard.  That in and of itself is a win.      


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Woody - Be Quiet!

I am sitting here on the couch at 6am. Quiet, coffee and News Channel 4 my only cares in the world. You all know how I treasure MY hour.  The sweet silence is shattered by the machine gun fire sound of our resident woodpecker who has fallen in love with our chimney.  He is clearly not a bright bird.  He pecks on the metal box that comes out of the chimney top.  It's a startling noise that took me a year to identify.  I first blamed my neighbor who has a vast array of tools.  I assumed he had a rivet gun and something that needed to be riveted.

I finally moseyed over to his yard upon hearing the noise one day and realized he was not home.  Clearly not the culprit.  I made my way back to the yard and saw him.  A black bird with a red head.  Sitting on top of the chimney, not a care in the world.  He raised his beak and began to peck. *pppptttthhhhhhhhhhh*  *pppttthhhhhhhhhh*  *pppppttthhhhhhhh*  I stood there with my mouth a gape realizing this cute little bird was my unwanted alarm clock.

It has been 6 years and every spring he shows up.  We assume assume in search of a birdie bride.  The dude is lucky I grew up on a farm.  I understand that we moved into their space.  I wish him no harm.  I just wish he wasn't such an early riser.