Thursday, December 31, 2009

Milestones and Moments

Thanks to Hot Jeff's case of pneumonia we are spending New Years Eve quietly at home. We brought 2010 in at midnight EST and now the kids are in bed dreaming of a dropping crystal ball, fireworks and cheering revelers.

The unexpected quietness of the night has left me with unplanned time to write and reflect, not just on the last year but the last decade. Has it really been 10 years since Y2K?

This morning I spent some time looking at old photos. I was planning on doing some sort of "Decade in Pictures" for you but as I looked at the photos of a decade gone by I began thinking about how most of my memories are made up of moments, not necessarily milestones and how almost never there is a camera documenting the memorable moment like there is at the milestone. Milestones are almost always planned, hence we can have a camera ready to record and preserve. The moments however, they seem to happen more quietly, with little to no fanfare and typically not documented on film or digitally.

Almost exactly 10 years ago Hot Jeff and I went fishing; we were in search of our first steelheads of the millennium. We caught our beautiful chrome bright pair on January 20, 2000 and our best friend Scott was there to snap the photo of us. Yet later that evening when Jeff asked me to marry him there was no one there to take a photo as we kissed, giggled and planned.

I have a whole album of soft glow wedding pictures taken in 2001 yet not one to capture the unadulterated joy on my face the next morning when it dawned on me that I would wake up to his face for the rest of my life.

Sometimes out of courtesy or appropriateness there is no camera present at our cherished moments. In 2003 as Jeff's beloved Grandpa Ed was dying and his children and grandchildren circled his bed, his daughter whispering him Home to Jesus, no one snapped pictures to put in an album later.

And while I have a whole passel of pictures of the rainy Wednesday evening in 2006 when Samuel made us a family I don't have a single one of me, with outstretched shaking hands, showing an unaware, expectant Daddy a stick with three lines on it.

We have a sweet, treasured picture of Jeff, Samuel and I that we sent as an announcement that we were pregnant with Emily yet no pictures of us, sitting hand and hand with our hearts in our throats hearing the news from our doctor that the ultrasound didn't show any defect in Emily's in utero spine as the blood tests had predicted.

In 2007 milestone and moment quietly intersected as I held a baby boy on the night of his first birthday thinking about how his birthday would furthermore share the anniversary of my adored Uncle Bob's death. It was in that moment that I learned, perhaps, the greatest lesson of this last decade and maybe even of my life: that life really is a circle and when we think we cannot possibly bear anymore pain or loss the Father meets us in our grief and doubt with hope and promise. A birthday party and a final goodbye, a rainbow in a cemetery, a Good Friday and a Resurrection Sunday.

A few days later I would share this epiphany as I gave Uncle Bob's eulogy; I read the timeless Scripture from Ecclesiastes more astounded than ever at their truth and meaning.

Since that time when milestone and moment traversed, I view both with a new pair of eyes; beholding the beauty and fleetingness of both with equality. In view of a birthday milestone that marked birth and renewal and a quiet moment when temporary became eternal, I find myself still photographing the milestones but being careful to chronicle the moments as well.

As a new year dawns I know it will be filled with joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, blessing and loss. I find myself not so much praying to be spared from the heartache but to have an eternal mindset and a Spirit-given understanding that there really is a season for everything under heaven. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what He has done from beginning to end (Ecc 3: 11).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't Call It a Purse

My children, the little darlings that they are, got me Tinker Bell and The Lost Treasure for Christmas. I don't know who to be more annoyed with: them because at 1 and 3 don't they know me better than that or Hot Jeff for letting them pull a stunt like that. When they left the house to go shopping for "me" I clearly said, "I like diamonds, red shoes, handbags, and fun socks". I guess they didn't hear me over all dishwashing, clothes folding, meal preparation and vacuuming I was doing.

This brings me to today where Project Make Jen's-Bedroom-Into-A-Loveshack started by Bestie Kara and finished by Bestie Shannon took me to Ross' to find the perfect over-the-bed mirror to add some depth to the room, fill a space on a large wall and to, as Hot Jeff says, bring kinky back. Yep, just went there.
You. Are. Welcome.

When I walked in my eyes beheld the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was hanging modestly on a rack until it felt the weight of my stare and then it began to wiggle and come alive and I'll be darned if it didn't cry out to me, "Mama. Hold me."

I simply couldn't justify NOT getting the most beautiful handbag I had ever seen, especially after what my CHILDREN GOT ME FOR CHRISTMAS. So it is mine. And it is beautiful. And I shall love it forever. Merry Christmas Hot River Mama.

(I wish I were better at taking pictures because this one doesn't nearly show how marvelous the bag really is. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a photo shoot with it and post the pics. Right now I have to go help Hot Jeff hang our new mirror. Yes, I did find the perfect mirror but it's purchase paled in comparison to the bag.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Worst Day of the Year

Certainly the worst day of the year has to be the 3rd day after Christmas. For days and days my children have been living on sugar. Their diet has consisted of that which resembles an elf's: "candy, candy corn, candy canes and syrup". I've gladly been letting them hog it down so that when its gone its gone and I don't have to be bothered with it anymore. For the record, I do this exact same thing after Halloween. For days and days they just bounce off the walls and I hear things like, "Mama is a dooty head, a dooty head, a dooty head. Mama is a dooty head and I like to eat vacuums." Just rude, non-sensical stuff that I chalk up as "the sugar talking". Now don't be too alarmed, I've mixed in an occasional bowl of cereal and macaroni and cheese but for the most part they've stuck to their elf diet and I haven't heard much complaining about it. None in fact. Its been bliss. When I was a little girl I was convinced that heaven was going to be filled with my Gigi's No-Bake cookies and now as a mother I can only hope it is because my kids are never as happy as they are when they are holding a cookie. It would bum me out to have to fight with my kids about eating in heaven. That would be a real drag.

Yesterday evening I heard the dreaded words, "Mama, I'm hungry" and I realized all the moose munch, sugar cookies, Santa shaped chocolate bars and plastic candy canes filled with M&M's must be gone and I was sad. So sad. And hence, the 3rd day after Christmas when all the sugared food is gone and I have to start preparing meals again is the worst day of the year. You see feeding my children is my least favorite thing about my life. If I could change anything it would be my childrens' taste buds. Samuel and Emily wouldn't know a vegetable if it stood up and bit them in the butt. They are convinced that vegetables are those plastic toys that go with the play kitchen. Last week when I was cutting up carrots for my salad Samuel asked me why I was eating reindeer food. See what I mean?

When they were babies and toddlers they ate and ate vegetables. And of course I was the bestest mommy ever and made all my own baby food (mixed with breast milk, of course) so you'd think they would have this wonderful foundation of healthy eating. Apparently not.

They will eat fruit. Of course fruit is just nature's version of candy so of course they like fruit. I'm thinking of starting to roll their vegetables in sugar and see if they'll eat them like that. Or perhaps peanut butter. It will be like giving a dog just roll it in peanut butter and shove it in before they know what you're giving them. "Here Samuel and Emily, try this long crunchy piece of peanut butter; you'll LOVE it!"

New Years doesn't offer much in the candy category so it looks like the battle lines have been drawn until at least February when we have Valentines day and I have heart shaped chocolates to look forward to. Hooray!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Blind Spots

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

This summer I started praying for the Holy Spirit to begin revealing to me my "blind spots", areas in my life that needed an overhaul. God has showed me some interesting things; some big, some little. Some that were an easy fix, some that were not. I am convinced that Christ God is continually working on us to make us more like Him and that process will last until He calls us home and I believe when we willingly ask for His eyes in the areas of our life that need His gentle molding He is more than happy to reveal them to us.

As I've been thinking about praying for Samuel and Emily in this coming new year and wondering/praying what that will look like I have felt the Spirit telling me that I need to listen first and develop a plan later. The listening begins with asking God to reveal their blind spots as well as my own. My kids are too little for God to show them but as He reveals to me their troubled areas I can explain it to them and then pray for it. I think the areas our children struggle with now are probably a part of their make up and most likely areas they will struggle with as they get older. Perhaps by praying for these areas now we can get a head start helping God to iron out tendencies and attitudes that will cause them pain in later years.

Perhaps your children are older...then as you pray for God to reveal their blind spots to you ask Him to also show them to your children. Your kids are fully capable of being spoken to by the Spirit and may have a better ear for listening than even you or I.

God, this coming year I pray that You will create a clean heart in __________. I pray that You will reveal to me areas in her life and attitudes of her heart that need You. I pray I would have clear focus to love her unconditionally while You show me the dark corners where sin hides. Help me to speak to her without condemnation and in a way that she understands, help her to fully realize Your unfailing love and goodness. Thank You for being faithful to complete the good work you started in me and ____________. Amen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

And People Say My Kids Don't Look Alike...

Christmas ~ 2007
Samuel ~ 20 months old

Christmas ~ 2009
Emily ~ 22 months old

We promised Emily that it gets better...
Christmas ~ 2009
Samuel ~ 3 years old

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yesterday’s post is the perfect segue for the reply to one of the suggestions of what I should write about when I have a blog clog. Hot Jeff’s former flame and our family photog, the fabulous Leah, posed the prompt of what do I want “non-Christians” to get as followers of a Christian blog. This is a pretty loaded question and although I’ve thought about it for days and days I don’t know that I have a fully formed answer yet.

I’m going to write about it today but be warned that these are really discombobulated thoughts and most likely incomplete. I’m shooting from the hip which is indeed, my most favorite place to shoot from but I imagine that in a few days from today I will wake up in the middle of the night and wish I would have said this, this and this. Be prepared for Part Two.

First and foremost I would want non-believers to know that I love and serve a living God. He has saved me from the pit of hell and redeemed my life for His glory and His purposes. Above that, He offers eternal life to anyone and everyone who believes in His name and confesses of her sin.

I suppose another thing I would want non-believers to take away from this blog is that God has a sense of humor. The Bible (which incidentally I believe to be true and authoritative) says we are made in God’s likeness. Well…I have a sense of humor. You have a sense of humor. So that leads me to believe God has a sense of humor. With that said, I think God likes it when we don’t take ourselves too seriously and have fun in our lives. Fun with our family, fun with our friends, fun with our circumstances and fun with some of the pure CRAP that life hands us.

I want readers, Christ followers or not, to know that I am passionate about praying for kids. My kids, your kids, kids in your class, kids you see in a store or in a restaurant, kids in your Sunday school class, kids in your youth group, the kids who live across the street. I believe we are all called to pray for our kids; while some of us have different gifts and talents and are called to use them in different ways I believe God calls ALL of us to pray for our kids.

It is important to me that my non-Christian readers know that there is a difference between being religious and being a Christ-follower. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with religion at the core I do think that being more religious than being in love with Jesus can lead to legalism and um, well…piety. There’s that word again. Not being religious, but still being madly in love with Jesus has been incredibly freeing to me. For example, I love margaritas, I watch Grey’s Anatomy and I vote Democrat. I don’t think these are areas of sin in my life. The Holy Spirit, who dwells in me, may reveal those to be sin someday but I think what God is really concerned about is the condition of my heart and that I’m short-tempered, have a tendency to be judgmental and don’t love people the way He calls me to (and that’s the short list). I think it matters to God how I act and what I say not because of how I act and what I say but because how I act and what I say are reflections of what’s going on in my heart. Make sense? Like I said, discombobulated thoughts at best…

Finally, to all my readers, I feel so honored that you take time out of your busy day to read my thoughts. I promise I will never take that for granted and in doing that I’ll try to give you quality stuff to read. I hope that even if you don’t agree with me that at least you will feel it was well written and worth your time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Somewhat Controversial Post...
You've Been Warned

I have already mentioned that my family does the Santa Claus thing and I also said that if you don’t do the Santa Claus thing I totally respect that…and I do. As long as you aren’t being arrogant about it.

So last week I heard from a friend about some acquaintances of hers who don’t do Santa Claus. Their reason: they don’t want “lie” to their kids. I have a little bit of a problem with this, not because they aren’t doing it but because of their reasoning. I think it is so incredibly sanctimonious. Yes, I said SANCTIMONIOUS. How about you come down from your holier than thou parenting high horse and spend a little time in reality? The best part: they do the tooth fairy. Yes, that other fictitious character who apparently IS ok to “lie” about because she doesn’t live in the North Pole. Or MAYBE its because she doesn’t share a holiday with the celebration of the birth of Christ so THAT makes it ok to lie to their kids about.

If you’re going to be a pompous Christian then please, be forthcoming about it.

I know quite a few families who don’t do the Santa thing but their reasoning is they want the full focus to be on the birth of Jesus. Now that I can respect because it is a statement that isn’t filled with the implication that everyone else who is doing the Santa thing is going to hell or is a bad parent who is a lying sack of crap. Also, it isn’t a lie wrapped in self-righteous BS disguised as good parenting.

Santa Claus isn’t a lie; he’s a child’s developmentally appropriate suspension of disbelief and amazing, short-lived ability to make-believe. Children NEED fantasy. The American Psychological Association’s most recent findings on the topic show that children who are encouraged to play make-believe and indulge in fantasy actually have greater academic success in later years. A 2008 USAToday article actually claimed that make-believe and fantasy play were VITAL in a child’s development of empathy, learning, creativity and problem-solving allowing them to conquer their fears and explore their hopes and dreams.

And just in case those 2 sources are too pagan, then how about what Dr. James Dobson (whom I rarely agree with) wrote in a 2008 edition of his magazine Focus on the Family, “I understand the concerns expressed by many Christian parents about the pagan celebration of Christmas. They don’t want to link Santa Claus, a mythical figure, with the reality of the baby Jesus who was born in Bethlehem of Judea. They have good reason to fear that they might weaken the validity of the Christmas story by mixing it with fantasy.

“So this is the dilemma – Santa is fun, but Santa could be confusing...Shirley and I chose to play the “Santa game” with our kids, and we had no difficulties teaching them who Jesus was and is.

“What is best? I don’t know. But if I had to do it over, I would still let my children thrill to the excitement of Santa’s arrival down the chimney on Christmas Eve.”

I’m not trying to persuade anybody to do or not to do the Santa thing. I’m only saying that whatever reasoning you have please don’t be pious about it. You’re not impressing anyone and in fact you may be turning people off to your faith. And if you use the “not going to lie to my children” excuse then, for crying out loud, stick to it for everything. That includes the tooth fairy. And the next time your child wants to play doctor and asks you if you’re sick, I would really like it if you told him “no, and by the way you are not a doctor”. And when your daughter takes a Burger King straw and tries to use it as a magic wand I’d like you to interject a little reality in to her world and tell her there is no such thing as magic and please take that scarf off, it isn’t a pair of wings.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
A Culture of Prayer

If you have ever heard me speak publicly on the topic of Praying for Your Kids or have been reading this blog for very long you know I often say that praying for your kids helps to make your home have a culture of prayer. I was never more convinced of this than on Friday when after hearing that my Gigi had been hospitalized for chest pains I overheard Samuel saying as he colored, "Lord please help my Gigi feel better". I was moved to tears at hearing my little boy praying.

I truly believe that when our children hear us praying for them they begin to understand the power and importance of prayer and God will use them for powerful intercessory prayer.

This week's post is a short one as I have one sick husband on my hands but I just wanted to encourage you to keep up the good work--your kids are watching and God is going to use your prayers to release His power from heaven.

Father, thank You for hearing every prayer I mutter, cry, whisper and think over ___________. I pray that You will take these prayers and not only use them to see Your will be done but to increase a heart for prayer in ____________. I pray that as he grows he will long to be in an ongoing, intimate conversation with You. Amen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Reality Check

Sometimes I forget that I am a SaHM. That's my job: being a Stay at Home Mom. Being Samuel and Emily's Mommy is my job. My job is not to keep the house clean at all times. My job is not to blog. My job is not to talk to Besties on the phone. My job is not ministry. My job is being Samuel and Emily's Mommy. Period.

Sometimes I forget that. In fact, most of the time I forget that.

So I bought a book (because I LOVE books) to help me remember. It is called "365 Games Toddlers Love to Play" and I went through page by page last night and bent the tops of corners on the pages I liked. And this morning I took it downstairs and we went to work on playing. Because Mommy doesn't do nearly enough playing. Mommy does a lot of laundry. Mommy does a lot of farting around. Mommy does a lot of wasting time on Facebook but Mommy doesn't spend a lot of time playing with her kiddos.

It was my night to put Samuel down tonight and as I prayed over him I realized I only have approximately 2 years left until he spends the majority of days with someone else. I will never, ever, ever get this time back. So I need to make the most of it.

When my kids grow up and think of their early childhood I want them to remember us playing games on the floor, painting, making obstacle courses with couch cushions and tickling. Lots of tickling. Chances are they will have few memories of these early years but the ones they do I want to be of me playing with them, not loading the dishwasher.

No worries, I'm not boycotting housework, Facebook or meal preparation. I'm simply going to try and be a little more accountable with my time, particularly my time with the midgets. This is my New Years Resolution. Starting 2.5 weeks early.

Because really, who wants to miss out on this?

Or this?

And especially not this.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have a Little Say In It...

Okey dokey, I've chosen some of my favorite title suggestions and made a poll on the right hand side. So get your vote on!

Thank you for all of the suggestions! I would have never come up with these wonderfully, creative and funny titles. I particularly liked Rachel's ideas of using lines I had written. Shout out to Rachel who tediously poured through old posts to get ideas! Wahoo.

As you're voting, think of the title as it encompasses the whole crazy gamut of stuff I write about and have fun voting. You can vote more than once and voting is open until 11:00 on 12.22.09 when, I'll either pick a winner or or make another poll with narrowed down choices.

You're the best!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

I chose this picture not only because they are both not wearing pants (because they were on fire) but look how adorable and innocent they look. You'd never know they were both filthy liars, would you?

Up until today, Samuel has been a little George Washington and couldn't tell a lie. Even if he knew it would get him in trouble, he would tell the truth. His sister on the other hand...well like in most cases, she's a different story.

The story goes like this: last Saturday night I was at a Christmas party and Hot Jeff stayed home with the kids. He made them their favorite dinner of macaroni and cheese and about half way through excused himself to use the bathroom. When he returned, a bowl had been knocked over and cheesy noodles strewn about the floor. The conversation, as it was told to me, went like this:

HJ: How did these noodles get spread all over the floor?
S: Daddy, I didn't do it.
HJ: Emily, did you spread noodles all over the floor?
E: Nnnnnnno. (Emily never just says 'no'. She draws the n out for.ever.)
HJ: Samuel and Emily...who spread the noodles all over the floor?
S: It wasn't me Daddy.
E: No me Daddy.
HJ: (Knowing Samuel doesn't lie) Emily, who spread the noodles all over the floor?
E: Mama did it.
HJ: Mama did it?
E: Uh-huh.
HJ: Emily, you need to tell Daddy the truth. Who spread the noodles all over the floor?
E: Mama did it.
HJ: Emily, I'm going to give you one more chance to tell the truth before you get a consequence for not telling Daddy the truth. Who spread the noodles all over the floor?
E: Mama did it.

Well needless to say, Daddy's little Roo got a Hot Jeff sized lecture and a spank. Sucked to be Roo.

So today, I go upstairs to put Emily down for a nap and when I come downstairs Samuel is sitting on the couch reading a book. He looks at me and smiles and I ask, "Samuel, did you get into the icing in the cupboard?" "No Mama" he says. "Are you sure Samuel? Let me ask you again: did you get into the icing in the cupboard?" "No Mama, I've been reading" he continues. And as my heart breaks inside my chest, I say slowly, "Samuel, it makes God sad when we don't tell the truth; did you get into the icing in the cupboard?" He lowered his eyes and said yes. His eyes darted back up to mine, "How did you know" he questioned. "You have blue frosting on your lips".

Samuel and I had a good talk about how people will know we love Jesus if they can trust what we say and how God tells us in His word to be honest. I'm not sure how much he took away from it (probably more than I give him credit for) but tonight as I write about it I realize the stories themselves are funny but the larger truth is so sad: our children have an inherent sin nature. Almost every day I pray for God to call my kids to Him at early ages. I pray that as they grow they will know Jesus intimately and live lives that glorify God and build His Kingdom yet I've never been so aware of their need for a Redeemer, for a Savior, as I am at this very moment. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God... Even little Samuel and Emily.

My heart's sadness turns in to joy as I read the rest of that passage and as I imagine someday sharing this Truth with them, This righteousness from God comes through Jesus Christ for all who believe...and [they] are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ (Romans 3: 22-24).

God's Word never gives bad news without following up with the good. Amazing grace.

I'm curious, how do you talk to your kids about lying? Are there any good children's story books (which my kids respond wonderfully to) on the topic? Let's talk it up!


Friends, you have outdone yourself with the title suggestions. I am LOVING them. Keep them coming. In a few days I'll pick my favorites and put them in a poll for everyone to vote on. As for your writing rock. I definitely have stuff to go off on now when the blog clog hits. You are the best readers EVER!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Times of Struggle

We all experience times of trial, suffering, loss and doubt in our lives; what makes each person different is how they react to the situation and how they look on the other side of their struggle. Are they bitter or are they wiser? Are they stuck in the past or are they soaring with new perspective? Are they angry at God or do they have a new appreciation for His sovereignty?

Despite how much we pray for our children, they will face difficult times. Even if they come to know Jesus at an early age you can be assured they will face a crisis of faith, temptation, pain and times of unspeakable sadness. Try as we may, we can't protect our children from the sin in this world and the consequences that sometimes come from it.

What we can do, besides to continue to pray God's protection over them is to also pray that during these times of trouble they will lean in to God, that they will seek His face and voice and that on the other side they will glorify God and shine for Him.

Job is one of the Bible's ultimate examples of unimaginable grief, yet in chapter 23, verse 10 Job was able to exclaim, "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold". God uses our suffering to shape us and He will use our children's suffering to shape them as well. God never wastes our pain.

Lord, You know the pain _________ will face in his life; there is not a day of his in which You haven't seen nor sifted through Your loving Hands. So while I can hardly bear the thought of him suffering or experiencing loss I trust that You love him more than I and that You will carry him through his times of darkness. I pray in Your power and in Your Spirit that _________ will come through trials with his faith intact and with a better understanding of who You are and how You love him. You are sovereign and I trust You, even with my most precious child. Amen.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Selling My Soul

So you may have noticed something new... and I hope you know I say that nearly choking on the tongue in my cheek because yeah, hello, you'd have to be blind not to notice. I know its a little much but you'll get used to it and like I said before, the content of this blog won't change and there's no way I will start pandering to big corporations (Pixar: my son's room is an homage to your movies. We heart you. Send us to Disneyland.).

So while the content of this blog will not change; I will continue to be irreverent, shocking, honest and true to my beliefs...I think the title of the blog needs to change. You see, when I started this blog it was pretty much for my Mom. And Bug. And my in laws (you have only visited this site ONE time and don't even care one red cent that I'm a famous blogger) and so "All Things Henderson" was an appropriate title but now I really don't post for them (this will devastate my mother) and I'm not so sure that title fits anymore.

So that's where you come in. After all, it is YOU o' gracious readers who I do write for and so I'm opening it up for suggestions and ideas. And again, if I go with your title I'm giving away a $5 gift card to Starbucks. In case you're wondering, I will keep the http address the same so you won't have to change anything--only the title will change.

Next up: (I'm sorry if this is starting to sound a lot like homework) my "contract" (doesn't that sound awesome) states I need to be posting at least twice a week. Normally that isn't a problem but occasionally I hit a week like this week where my ideas all sound stupid and everything I write sounds boring and un-funny and I can't come up with a blog topic to save my life. So while you're throwing out title ideas why don't you throw out some writing prompts too. If you don't know what a writing prompt is, the following examples are for you: "My favorite room in the house is..." or "Here's how I spent my time in college..." or "I bribe my kids with...". You get it. Just some little prompt to get my brain and fingers working and to make "the man" happy with fresh posts. Make them funny, sentimental, spiritual, whatever...I'll use them when I need some unclogging and I'll give you a shout out when I do.

If you don't have a commenting profile yet (which is so lame, why don't you just get on board and become a follower of this blog and get a profile) you can leave a comment under "Anonymous" but be sure and write your name so you get credit and possibly a coffee card! You can also email or facebook your ideas to me. See, don't I make it easy for you?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Big Girl Bed = 15 Cents Less on the Dollar?

Hot Jeff decided Baby Roo needed a big girl bed. And remember that "baby" in my world means 2 in February. Anyway, she hadn't been sleeping well and Jeff was all well-she-needs-a-big-girl-bed and I was all you-must-be-drunk-she's-not-even-two and then Bestie Kim was all he-must-be-drunk-she's-not-even-two and I was all I-know but Jeff won and Emily is sleeping like an angel in her big girl bed and I had to admit I was wrong (which is something I DON'T like). One night of big girl bed madness with her crying and trying to get out and then she's ok, I think I dig this and she's sleeping way better than her brother has ever dreamed of sleeping in his bed.

So we headed out to Toys R Us in the heart of Christmas season which was much like going to Les Schwab the night before freezing rain has been predicted. It was madness and Samuel was pointing to every Lightning McQueen and Buzz Lightyear thing he saw which was EVERY OTHER FRIGGIN' ITEM and screeching that he wanted Santa to bring it to him at this VERY MOMENT or he would DIE and my head was spinning and I just wanted to go home and hide... but a bed girl bed mission we were on.

And you do think in my moment of misery I could just find a sweet little bed? No. Every toddler bed for a girl is pink Disney princess. Every one of them. I hate Disney princesses. Why can't Disney come up with some princess alternative? I just don't understand why every female heroine is unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled until she lands a man. Why don't I buy Emily the princess bed AND a copy Breaking the Chains of Low Self-Esteem while I'm at it.

I know what you're going to say so go ahead and say it. I'm out of line and I've taken the princess thing too far but let me ask you this: how many "boys" movies end with the male hero being married? Um, let me help you out: ZERO. I've watched a lot of Toy Story, Cars and Peter Pan and the happy ending has nothing to do with kissing or happily ever after.

I LOVE marriage. And I think God designed many of us to be in union with another person, however, I think there is a real danger in teaching our daughters at such early ages (or ANY age) that their self-worth and happiness is wrapped up in finding a mate. I want Emily to grow up finding her value and significance in Jesus and I just don't think Cinderella and the Little Mermaid and all those other princess movies send a very good message to our daughters. Never mind the fact that all those movies end immediately after the "I do's" are said.

So with that said, I was pretty annoyed when the only alternative to a princess bed was a Tinkerbell bed. And while I'm annoyed with the body image issues I think Tinkerbell (along with the others) possibly present I'm a little better with her because she isn't all hell bent on finding a man but is instead a little feisty and the movie's theme is being true to one's self.

So there you have it: my rant on princesses. And someday when Emily comes trick or treating at your door dressed as Snow White you can pull this out of the archive, wave it in my face and tell me how I've gone all soft and that Helene Cixous is going to stop following my blog.

But maybe, just maybe, someday when Emily DOESN'T make only 84% of what her male counterpart makes she will call me up and thank me for never letting her sleep in a princess bed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Praying Scripture

I love the idea of praying God's Holy Word over my kids. One, I know it is Truth. Two, I know it is God's will for their life. As my Me n' Jesus time is becoming more regular and fruitful I'm seeing how easy it is to pray Scripture over my kids.

For example: 2 Peter 3:18 says, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen!" What a simple, short but awesome prayer for my kids! Who doesn't want their kids to grow in grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior?

What are some practical ways you would like to see your kids grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus? I'd love to open the comment section up for this discussion? How are some practical ways you are praying for your kids?

Lord, I pray for ____________ to grow in the grace and knowledge of You. I pray that I will be a living example for her and that You will put people in her life to show her practical ways to grow in grace and knowledge of her Savior. Thank You for Your Holy Word that is alive and working in my family's life. Amen.

Friday, December 4, 2009

No worries dear readers...Hot Jeff is still with us. He's not on suicide watch but I am keeping a close eye on him. He's taking the day off today so I think the midgets and I will take him to the zoo to cheer him up. There's nothing like seeing animals in captivity to lift your spirits.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Today has the potential to kill my husband. I have called my State Farm agent and made sure his life insurance is up to date and paid because, today has the potential to kill my husband.

I married in to a long line of Beaver believing crazies. And to you non-Oregonians the Beaver is the Oregon State University mascot and the animal to which we have placed all our hopes and dreams on today.

Today is the 113th Civil War; the rival game between the Beavers (good guys) and the Ducks (bad guys). Any Civil War game gets Hot Jeff's blood pumping but this one is special. This one is for roses. Yep, the winner of this game goes to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. No BCS baloney, no selection Sunday, no waiting...the winner just goes to the Rose Bowl and plays on New Years Day. Giddyup.

We've been season ticket holders for umpteen years and we love going to the games and cheering on our boys in black and orange but this year the game is being played at the University of Oregon and Hot Jeff has vowed to never step foot on their campus (he plugs his nose when he drives through the town) so alas we are watching the game on TV. And since we've gone all Little House on the Prairie we are going to watch it with the other Henderson crazies up at Jeff's sister's house.

So yes, today has the potential to kill my husband. He may either die of joy or die of disappointment. If he keeps up the pace he's gone all week leading up to the game he may die before it even gets started out of sheer giddiness. I made a conscious decision to stop praying for football 4 years ago; not because I thought it was wrong but because I thought it was pointless since God is a Beaver fan. Anyway, I digress, I don't pray for football but I will be praying for Hot Jeff because seriously that man is just one field goal attempt away from a heart attack.

Go Beavs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


As you probably guessed, public recognition is really not my thing. I cringe at the thought of being the center of attention and I would never dream of self-promoting myself so you can imagine my horror when I was contacted by a certain blogging network (yes, contacted BY THEM) to begin advertising on my blog. And for the record, it is pronounced hy-per-bull-y not hyper-bowl.

So yes, changes will be a comin' soon as you begin to see ads from Lord-knows-who all over this blog. Now don't worry, I'm not going to go pandering to just anyone (I love you,Target). I have dignity (Pick me, Walmart) and pride (We eat a lot of you, Kraft Foods) and if you think I'm going to just sell my soul (sure I'll drive a Buick) to big name corporations (my kids love cereal, Kelloggs) for a few bucks then you are wrong. I will not sell my soul. Well at least not right away. I don't want to look desperate. And Mama Della always told me I should say "no" the first time so I don't come across pathetic. Ok, so she never said that to me but she's been DYING for a shout out and I was beginning to feel bad for her.

Blogging Sensei Amber advertises for this certain blogging network and says the money isn't that great but I'm not sure how low Amber is willing to stoop in order to make a buck so I don't know how accurate she is or how much I can trust her assessment on the cash flow. As we know from The Shrink, my self-esteem is in the toilet and comedic self-loathing and self-deprecating is my expertise so I may be able to make a fortune.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday

With the Christmas season upon us and messages being hurled at our kids about presents, presents, presents it is easy to understand why my 3 year old melted down at the craft store today when I told him he couldn't have a bag of colorful buttons. It also gives credence to the message in the Bible that we are born with sin in our hearts; I know I have never taught Samuel how to be greedy (well not intentionally anyway).

I know a lot of this is developmentally normal for him but I also think its never too early to teach our kids about the dangers of greed. Bug calls it "heart training" and I like that term; I'll be using it from now on! :)

Wouldn't you know the wonderful book of wisdom has a few words to say about greed. A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper (Proverbs 28:25).

The tradition of gift giving at Christmas is a wonderful way to bless others but as we do our shopping and wrapping lets pray for our kids to be filled with a hunger for the things of God and not just more and more material items.

Lord, thank You for this wonderful season to reflect on Your Son's birth and to celebrate with friends and family. I pray for ___________ to understand, even just a little bit, the concept of greed; I pray You will fill his heart up with a desire to be generous to others and with a hunger for You. Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I want you to know I am VERY thankful that you come here every day and read my stuff. It means the world to me to have an "outlet" and the fact that anybody reads it is wonderful. The fact that you enjoy it is a cherry on top.

God bless each of you and your families this day.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ho Ho Ho

As I promised, here are the letters Santa wrote the kiddos. They should be arriving from the North Pole in a couple of weeks! If you plagiarize them, I will find out and my wrath and justice will be swift. You've been warned.

Dear Samuel,
Thank you for your letter! Every day after the mail comes Mrs. Claus and I sit down to read the letters that come from little boys and girls from all over the world. We always love to hear from you, Samuel Henderson! You are such a special little boy and from your very first Christmas I knew it would always be a treat to come to your house.

I have asked my elves to make you something very special and I think you are really going to love it. I’ve been thinking about you all year long and am excited for you to see what my elves have made you. You will find it under your Christmas tree on Christmas morning!

It has been very snowy up here at the North Pole. I love to eat soup on cold days and Mrs. Claus always makes me yummy cornbread with honey butter on it! After we get our work done for the day, the elves and I go feed the reindeer and then we run and play in the snow. We like to build snowmen and go sledding.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year because Mrs. Claus and I love to celebrate Baby Jesus’ birthday! We love to sit in front of the cozy fireplace and read the story of His wondrous birth in the Bible. I know you love to read the Bible with your Mommy and Daddy.

Samuel, you are such a special little boy and I know you are a good helper to your parents. Thank you for obeying your Mommy and Daddy and for being kind to your little sister, Emily. It always makes me smile when I think about your tender heart.

Merry Christmas Samuel; I can’t wait to eat those delicious cookies you always leave out for me!

Santa Claus


Dear Emily,

I have been thinking about you all year long and am so happy to finally be wishing you a Merry Christmas. Mrs. Claus and I have been busy preparing for this most magical time of the year—the birthday celebration of Baby Jesus! I understand you are just learning about Christmas: the lights, the tree, the wonderful cookies and Christmas songs. You are very young but as you grow older you will learn more and more about why Christmas is so joyous and I hope you will always carry the magic of Christmas in your heart.

A little elf told me that you love hot chocolate! Well guess what? I love hot chocolate too! Mrs. Claus and I love to snuggle up in a blanket and drink hot chocolate and read letters from little boys and girls. We got a special letter from your brother Samuel this year. Next year you will be old enough to send your own letter and I can’t wait to read it!

On Christmas morning you will find a special present under your tree just for you. You are such a wonderful little girl Emily Henderson and I loved having my elves make you this present for you; they put a lot of love in to it.

My sleigh is almost packed full of presents for all the little boys and girls and it won’t be long until I make my way to your house. Be listening for jingle bells on your roof on Christmas Eve night; that will be my reindeer and me. Thank you for the treats you left out for me and my reindeer last year—I can always count on your generous heart, Emily Henderson! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Santa Claus

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That's How We Roll

I know some of you don't do the Santa thing and that's cool and I respect it. I'm sure you have great reasons and most likely your kids will end up evangelizing my kids because we all know that the letters in Santa also spell out Satan. Yep, got it.

We do the Santa thing. We also do the Jesus thing. And in case you're wondering, or just judging, we do the Jesus thing MORE than the Santa thing because we want our kids to understand the real reason why we celebrate Christmas; we just think the Santa thing is pretty darn fun. I'm not going to go in to my tangent on the commercialism of Christmas and why I hate presents because it will only confuse you because, well because, we do the Santa thing. And I know this paragraph is loaded with hypocrisy so why not heap a little more on... Even though we don't get our kids 3 hours of unwrapping worth of presents we do get them all hyped on a present from Santa.

Let me flashback here for a moment and let you know that Samuel has been asking for a Talking Buzz Lightyear for pretty much the better part of 5 months. And for the better part of 5 months we've been telling him that "maybe Santa will get it for you" so that we wouldn't have to shell out the $40 for it during not-Christmas. Well lo and behold a few weeks ago I was pacifying the midgets in the car with my junk mail and Samuel happened to get the Walmart flyer. I'm sure in Samuel's mind this was not coincidence but more like all the stars aligning and the sky opening up and God smiling down on him and saying he was meant to have a Talking Buzz because THERE ON THE THIRD PAGE was a Talking Buzz.

That night we cut it out, pasted it on paper and Samuel dictated a letter to Santa to me. Here it is, EXACTLY the way he dictated it to me (ok, I added the "Your Friend" closing). He is so flipping cute I can't even stand it.

In the full spirit of Jolly Old Saint Nickolaus, since Samuel's and Emily's first Christmases I have written them letters from Santa and had them mailed to them. I send them up to a post office in Fairbanks, Alaska and they postmark them from the North Pole and its super cute and corny and I put them in their baby books. This will be the first year Samuel really gets it and I'm more excited than ever to get "Santa's" letter.

If you're interested in doing this, put your written letter in an addressed and stamped envelope to your child and then enclose it in a bigger envelope addressed to:
North Pole Christmas Cancellation
5400 Mail Trail
Fairbanks, AK 99709-9999

Tomorrow, unless something really exciting happens, I will put their Santa letters up for you to read. Wahoo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Attitude of Gratitude

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 30:12, That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever. In my Bible I have it underlined and next to it I wrote, "Samuel Edward: 4.12.06". Our friends gave us this verse when Samuel was born and we loved it so much we claimed it for Samuel and even had it printed on his birth announcements.

If you haven't claimed a verse for your child, I encourage you to do so (Roo's is Isaiah 63:7). This has nothing to do with today's PYKM so I'm not even going to charge you for it.

Anyway...back to Psalm 30:12. Oh to not let our hearts be silent; to be giving thanks to God for all He has done. What a happy thing to teach our kids; that they have a loving King to give thanks to. That no matter what circumstance they are in, there is always something to give thanks to God for. You can be a great model for your kids by thanking God, not just in bedtime prayers, but all throughout the day. "Thanks God for keeping us safe as we drove to preschool." "Thanks God for the sunshine this afternoon." "Thanks God for helping me have self-control." You get the idea.

Can I encourage you to not look at this week as the last hurdle to get through until you can start celebrating Christmas? This week is a wonderful week to be thankful for your blessings and to serve others. Do some practical things with your kids this week to remind them of how God blesses them over and over and help train them to have grateful hearts to their Heavenly Father.

Father, You are more generous than I could ever imagine. You have given me more gifts than I can even thank You for; my mind is too small to even fathom how much You give to me. Lord, I pray for ________ to begin to understand Your goodness, faithfulness and mercy even at her early age. I pray that she will always be able to find something to thank You for no matter what circumstances she finds her life in. Thank You for ________. Thank You for giving her to me to love and raise and thank You for loving her even more than I do. Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Switching Gears

I'm pulling the ol' 180 on you and going from slightly inappropriate to Biblical commentary in one fell swoop. Hold on tight.

Green Bean Stir Fry Rachel posted a challenge on her Facebook page to read the New Testament by Christmas and to not be deterred by the fact that it started with genealogy. I was really inspired by the way Rachel stated, "bringing a little sanctity in to the crazy holiday season" so I said I was in.

I'll be honest, when I sat down the first morning I was a little tempted to skip right over the genealogy but instead I asked God to show me something new in the litany of Jesus' lineage. And guess what? He did!

Matthew, chapter 1, verse 6b "David was the father of Solomon whose mother had been Uriah's wife". So I'm reading this and my first thought is "Why would God have Matthew write that Solomon was the son of "Uriah's wife"? Isn't that a little rude, bringing up David's past sins and all?

In case you're not familiar with the story, here's a really brief synopsis: David sees Bathsheba, who is married to Uriah, and wants her for his own. He has her husband killed so he can be with her, they have Solomon and the rest is history. So again, I wondered why God had Matthew write that Solomon's mom was "Uriah's wife" and not just "Bathsheba". I know when I sin I don't like people bringing it up and reminding me of it... And then it dawned on me that perhaps God had Matthew write it like this to remind us that even David, a man who committed adultery with another man's wife and then had that man killed, could be used to fulfill God's purpose and prophesy in the birth of the Messiah.

God has a wonderful knack of taking our nastiest sin, the one we most deeply want to bury and forget, and redeeming it. He is a Redeemer.

So there I sat in my favorite red chair, loving the quietness of my house and hearing God talk to me through His Word and I worshipped and prayed thanksgiving that not only was that baby, who was born in a smelly stable and laid in a feeding trough to sleep, Emmanuel but also a Redeemer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All the Cool Kids are Doing It

Never want to miss a post? Become a "follower" of this blog! Don't know how? Very top left hand corner (up in the tan part) click the "Follow" button. If you don't see it, hit the refresh button and it should show up.

Then, tell your friends how to be a cool kid too and have them become a follower!

Word to the wise: don't tell your mother or she'll ask you if your friends jumped off a bridge would you too?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NOT a Retraction

I had planned on writing about my New Testament Christmas pledge and something cool I read about in Matthew this week but have to write something else thanks to Hot Jeff.

So apparently Jeff's youth is not the only thing that left town when he turned 40 last month. Apparently Jeff's sense of humor packed up and headed somewhere Tropic right along with his 30s because last night after he read my HILARIOUS post about my virgin hair he basically, in not as few as words, called me racist. That's right: racist. He likened me to Don Imus. Now I may be a lot of things (crass, irreverent, painfully charming, disarmingly beautiful) but I am not racist and I certainly am not Don IMUS.

Jeff said I may have "crossed a line" with the whole nappy-hair-talking-in-Ebonics stuff and that if I had said that in the "workplace" I probably would have lost my job. Ok, seriously Jeff: LOOSEN UP. 1) Hot Jeff is just jealous because while he may be very hot he has very straight, thin hair. And it is beginning to gray. 2) A little controversy WOULD BE AWESOME for my blog's notoriety. Will someone PLEASE get offended about something I write and call the Today show and have Matt Lauer interview me. Can you imagine the hits I would get on this thing? Advertisers would be knocking down my door and I could roll in the money donate the money to women with nappy hair poor kids.

In my interview with Matt Lauer I would say I am NOT a racist and that was simply poking fun at myself. I never meant to imply that people with nappy hair speak in Ebonics nor do I think people with nappy hair smoke marijuana, medically or non-medically. I would ask all the nappy haired,marijuana smoking, Ebonic speaking blog followers of mine who decided they would never read another written word of mine to come back, come back please. I would also tell all the non-virgin hairs who left hurt and wounded to come back and that they always have a place at my table. Well, maybe not at my table, no one wants to risk getting dirty hair in their food, but always a place at my blog. Ah, crap I did it again. I just implied that if your hair isn't a virgin it is dirty. I just can't win.

Please note, for the record, I labeled this blog post under the "Things I Like" category. That's because I like people who speak Ebonics and drink 40s and smoke marijuana. Come on, don't leave mad!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nappy No Mo'

Salon Sara called yesterday and said she had a new hair color she wanted to try on me. Lucky me it just happened to be the first Monday of my no-kids-on-Monday-mornings morning so I buzzed right over there.

Now I have to tangent right now on my hair or else the miracle of this story will be totally lost on you. My hair is nappy. As in As in if I didn't spend money on soothing gels and defrizzing sprays and moisturizing moisturizer I would have friends asking me to "come over Friday night cold chillin' with a 40 and a blunt". Which to readers without nappy hair means "Do you want to come over on Friday night and we'll leisurely drink a 40 ounce bottle of malt liquor and smoke a marijuana cigarette". You dope?

So anyway, back to Salon Sara... She said this new hair color doesn't have ammonia in it (which I don't really care about but she seemed really excited about it so I acted excited too) and that after 5 uses it would actually take my hair back to "a virgin state". I never knew my hair had ever been a virgin but once I found out it wasn't a virgin anymore I started getting suspicious and wondering about the sneaky neighbor hair next door and trying to remember if I had ever seen him sneaking glances across the yard at my hair. If my hair gets knocked up there will be no end to my wrath...

Anyway, Sara was right. This new hair color is pretty awesome. It didn't smell and seriously left my hair feeling so smooth without any product! Let me say that again: left my hair feeling so smooth without any product. And that was just one coloring. I'm not certain but I don't even think my hair is a virgin again yet and it was smooth without any product! Sara styled my hair all up cute and puffy and put a sassy red flower barrette in and sent me on my way to stop traffic with my dead sexy hair. And stop traffic I did. At red lights people were motioning for me to roll down my window and then asking, "Is your hair a virgin?" "Almost" I would reply and then give them a knowing wink.

One last thing: if you see my hair out past 10:00 wearing red boots and too much lipstick you tell her to get her trampy self home and to stop walking the streets lookin' like she's just going to give it up to anybody. Sara and I have our work cut out for us but I'm determined to make my hair a virgin again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday

We're going practical this week and praying for sleep! Whether you have a newborn or 15 year old you know the importance of sleep and your kids. It is an ongoing battle at my house and if one kid is taking the night off and actually getting sleep the other one is up and making sure that Hot Jeff and I don't get too comfy in our big bed.

I know I'm not alone on this one as it seems like one or all my girlfriends are lamenting over their kids not sleeping or having difficulty staying asleep. And just when it seems we get them to sleep...we wake up and they are teenagers and sleep all day. I wonder if and when we are ever free from our children's sleep habits? :)

Kids and sleep is a funny thing: everyone thinks their technique is best so I'm not even going there! This week we're just concentrating on how big our God is and how amazing it is that He cares about how our kiddos sleep. It never ceases to amaze me that Elohim, the Strong and Mighty One, who holds the world in His hands cares if Samuel and Emily sleep through the night. He cares if they have bad dreams. He cares if they are fearful of the dark. He cares and He sends His great Comforter to them, just as He does to us.

Oh strong and mighty God, Lord who created heaven and earth with one word and calms the raging sea with a whisper, will You be the great Calmer tonight. Will you pour Your Presence in to ___________'s room and soften his heart so he feels Your Spirit and recognizes Your comfort. I pray You will put angels around his room and bed to protect him as he sleeps. I pray his sleep with be peaceful and restful and he will awake refreshed and restored. Thank You for being the Prince of Peace, our Jehovah Shalom who never slumbers nor sleeps and who watches over ____________ as You do Israel. Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I am on the most amazing leadership team at church. 10 women who are all really in love with Jesus and who have a heart for ministry and young moms. The leadership team is called "Council" and I don't know how they got that name but I truly believe the name makes the group that much cooler.

I've dreamed of being on Council since I was just a little tot; some girls want to grow up and be teachers or nurses or princesses but I wanted to be on Council. You can imagine my excitement when I was asked to lead the Mothers Moments team for Hearts at Home which, in turn, gave me a seat on Council. The heavens opened wide, angels were singing, the sun was shining down upon me and a beautiful rainbow with fairies swirling around it was off in the distance. The clouds in the sky spelled out Jennifer + Council = True Love Forever.

In our bible study this week we studied releasing our fears and trusting God; something I've never been very good at. I'm afraid of everything. New freckle: must be melanoma. Headache? Its probably a tumor. Emily doesn't sit still for a movie? She must be ADHD. Samuel hit the neighbor girl--he's going to grow up to be a psychopath. You get the idea but here's some more. I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of death. I'm afraid of going blind. I'm afraid of terrorists hijacking my flight. I'm afraid of a hitchhiker climbing over 200 yards of 7 feet tall blackberry bushes and one 6 foot tall fence to break in to my house and kill me. I'm afraid a pissed off tax payer will blow up the Revenue building and Jeff will die a fiery death.

I am afraid of everything.

But this post isn't about me. Its about Heidi. Heidi is on Council with me and seriously one of my favorite people on the PLANET. I'm pretty sure Heidi and I were separated at birth because we're so much alike. Well except for one small thing: Heidi is Super Woman. And I mean that figuratively and literally. Here's Heidi at Halloween. She's the one in the red tights.

Now I know Heidi has fears. She's human and she has kids and struggles and crap but she also has a pretty healthy view of putting fear in its place and putting her trust in the Most High God. I admire her more than she'll ever know.

In this same study we were supposed to tell someone who has a bold, fearless spirit that they inspire us with their faith and trust in God so here's my little love letter to Heidi (just today she was bemoaning the fact that she's never been mentioned on my blog so this should shut her up for awhile)...

My dear sister Heidi,
Your friendship means the world to me. You make me laugh. A lot. You inspire me creatively and spiritually. You have cried with me, prayed with me and acted like an ass with me. Thank you for your transparency and realness. Thank you for having a bold, fearless spirit and thank you for modeling what it looks like to "dwell in the shelter of the Almighty".
I love you,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free Therapy

It is good to be you.

About 3 years or so ago my dear friends went to marital counseling. They had been married for about 5 years and needed some maintenance; a 60,000 mile tune-up of sorts. For anonymity I will call them Brew and Frannon.

Hot Jeff and I loved Thursday afternoons when Frannon would call and tell me all about her session with the doc and what her and Brew's homework for the week was. I would relay the information to Hot Jeff and bam, Bob's your uncle we had some free marital counseling. Without the couch. Without the dimmed lighting.

As The Shrink and I were talking today and I was having a big breakthrough (that's shrink talk) I was thinking, "I can't wait to tell the internet about this" I'm under the belief that we could all use a little therapy and that anti-depressants should be added to the water just like fluoride. And as you saw yesterday, when I get really excited about something I just assume you'll be excited too and that it will equally rock your world. Please don't ever tell me different, it will burst my bubble and I already have enough to discuss with The Shrink that I will be in therapy for like the better portion of the REST OF MY LIFE. My co-pay is $31.50 a visit. So I figure if I see The Shrink twice a month for the next 40 years that will be roughly $30,000 in co-pays I will have paid. I would just like to take a minute and thank my Dad for that.

So anyway, back to your free therapy. Turns out I have a low self-esteem. I took a quiz in The Shrink's office (sorta like those teeny-bopper quizzes I took in high school that told me if I should break up with my boyfriend or not but different) and I scored really high in the "Extremely Low Self-Esteem" category. I made myself feel better about his by exclaiming "well at least I got the highest of scores". My Mom said she was surprised at this because I seem confident. I would agree, I am pretty self-assured but apparently things like being a people pleaser, making decisions based on what others will think of me, etc. qualifies you as a person with low self-esteem.

Its important here to interject that your free therapy will, by nature, be a really crappy, watered down version of what I'm getting. Sorry about that. If you would like $30,000 in co-pays over the next 40 years then I'll give you The Shrink's phone number and you can get good therapy. Until then, no complaining on the free-but-kind-of-crappy-therapy you get second hand from me. Ok?

The book The Shrink suggested I begin working through is very cleverly called, Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem. I had it over-nighted to me. It will be here on Wednesday and I firmly expect to be a brand new person by Friday morning.

Oh one more thing: The Shrink thinks my expectations are too high.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Me n' Jesus Time

I want to clarify that as a woman with an English degree it has not been lost on me that the correct grammar is "Jesus n' me" not "Me n' Jesus", however, I like the sounds of the latter better and well you know I've said it before and I'll say it again: its my blog.

So you just never know when the Holy Spirit is going to get a hold of you and whisper and shout and nudge and shake until He gets your attention but yesterday I was in a leadership meeting, not typically known for their change-your-life-application moments but there I sat with an amazing group of ladies eating some sort of insane pumpkin crumb cake piece of heaven when my friend Deb spoke up.

Let me tangent here for a moment on my friend Deb. Deb is 50-somethin' and looks better at 50-somethin' than most of us do at 30-somethin'. She's gorgeous but what really makes her beautiful is that she makes everyone in the room feel like they are her favorite person. I'm not quite sure how she does that but my Uncle Bob could do it too and I'm convinced that those types of people must get a lot of Starbucks gift cards because people just really like them and like how they feel when they are around them and can't help but buy them coffee cards.

Um, ok, where was I? So Deb says to us ladies that her mentor challenged her to be in the Word everyday. And I mean IN IT. Like no messing around but seriously get your butt out of bed early and go get yo' self in the Word because God wants to change your life and He's just waiting for you to get serious about having a quiet time with Him so He can get busy. She talked for about 10 minutes about how her morning quiet times are rocking her world and changing her core and making her love Jesus like she's never loved Him before.

Now let me stop right here for a second. I've been a Christian a long time and I've been listening to other Christians tell me for 21 years that I should get up early and have a quiet time. And no matter how good they made it sound I never was convinced that a morning time was all that different than the bedtime quiet time I was owning. I love sleeping in; I'd sleep until noon everyday if I could. In my perfect world I would stay up really late blogging and writing and then I'd sleep late and get up just in time for lunch. I don't know that I can ever think of a time where my kids haven't been up before me; for over 3 years my kids have been greeted with, "5 more minutes. Just 5 more minutes." Poor little darlings.

So now you can imagine my surprise when I felt the Holy Spirit doing His Holy Spirit thing while I was listening to Deb. THEN, she pulled out the big guns: yep, that's right, a "challenge". As in, "Ladies, I challenge you to carve out some time to have some quiet time with God, away from the busyness of your lives and families. Any time of the day is better than none but there is something really sweet about doing it first thing in the morning". That last part, that first-thing-in-the-morning part? That's where I usually check out but man, she was passionate. I couldn't help but be interested. A little giddy actually.

I came home last night and set out "31 Days of Praise" a book I went through in '06 and LOVED. Its daily readings are short and totally focused on giving God our praise as an act of worship. I love how it shifts the focus from myself to Him. I set my alarm for 6:00 (gasp). I went to bed before 11:00 (gasp, gasp). I was ready.

The alarm went off this morning and I quickly hit the snooze but that's when something CRAZY happened. I didn't go back to sleep. I started praying, as Deb suggested, for God to wake me up. AND HE DID. Here's my favorite part of the story: I went downstairs to find Hot Jeff already showered, dressed and reading the paper with coffee (ugh, I married a morning person) and he looks up and sees me and says, "Are you sick?" Ha!

I realize this is getting long so I'm going to skip some of the details about my morning breath and thread-bare pajamas and skip to the good parts... As Deb suggested, as I settled in with a blanket and coffee I prayed that God would meet me and that our time together would be sweet. I prayed He would protect our time by letting my kids sleep until 6:45ish. I prayed He would keep my mind clear, focused and un-drowzy. Guess what? HE DID! Here's where I get all mushy on was one of the sweetest times with God I can remember. Ever. The house was quiet, it was still dark out, I hadn't yet started to wrestle with kids, laundry, emails, phone calls, etc. It was just amazing.

One of the scriptures I read during my Me n' Jesus time (it was referenced in the reading of the 'Praise' book) was Psalm 23. How many times have we all read Psalm 23? 1 gajillion times, right? Me too but I tell you, my God is soooo cool because this just jumped out and got me, "He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul". Mmm. Good stuff eh? It was like God made Himself really tiny, met me in my living room and wrapped this verse up in a little box with a pretty satin bow. I could almost feel Him in the room, looking at me tenderly with love in His eyes saying, "Thank you for meeting Me here, I know its early but I got you something and I've been waiting until I could give it to you in person".

Maybe you have encounters like that with the God of the universe every day. If so, you're lucky. Its been a while since I have and it CHANGED MY DAY. Not much changes my day. I'm a mom of 2 little ones who like to eat and nap at pretty much the same time every day. I'm in a bit of a rut when it comes to who I see, who I talk to, what I think about, the words that come out of my mouth, the tone of my voice so when something changes my day I take notice.

I don't know why Deb's suggestion was any different than anyone else's in the last 21 years. Maybe its because I sensed she was doing this early morning routine out of relationship and not out of guilt. Maybe its because I'm at a point in my life where I'm desperate and I'll try anything, even something insane like getting up before anyone else. Maybe its because I'm finally realizing the Holy Spirit isn't something to be feared but Someone to be welcomed*.

Whatever. I'm hooked. He leads me by quiet waters, He restores my soul.

*quote from John Stumbo's sermon this weekend

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I gotta be honest, I have about 862,391 things to do tonight before I go to bed. Its 8:20 and my brain absolutely will not work one minute longer (well at least as far as writing is concerned).

One of my favorite things to do is make others do the "work". So here's what we're gonna do: you're gonna write the prayer this week. You're gonna go to the comment section and write a 2 or 3 sentence prayer for your kid and as we all come to this site we'll read the comment and pray for your kid and make it our prayer for ours as well.

If you don't have an account, leave the comment under "Anonymous" but be sure and write your name. Unless you're praying for your kid to stop smacking around a neighbor kid and don't want us to know its your kid; then feel free to keep it anonymous. We'll pray for you just the same.

Don't you just love delegating?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Full Disclosure

Don't you just hate it when I get on a blogging streak like last week and post every day and then I go and pull a stunt like this week and don't post anything for 2 days. I got an email today from a hostile fan saying she was tired of looking at my "green bean friends" and it was time to get a new post up. I can assure you it wasn't Rachel. She has been quite happy being front and center with her green bean stir fry recipe making you all drool.

This post is going to be a little bit of catching you up on a few topics as I don't really have anything else interesting enough to write about.

1) Since writing about Eric the Bastard in this post I have become Facebook friends with him. I know. He's changed his last name since college and when I asked him why he didn't respond. I am convinced he's on the run from the law. Shannon's husband Drew has an old college flame who is now a man. Eric the Bastard being on the run from the law would be awesome but not quite as awesome as if he had become a woman.

2) Speaking of attractive...I had the most steamy dream about Kevin Jonas last night. As in Kevin Jonas from the Jonas Brothers. As in he was born in 1987. As in I think I could be arrested for that. And here's the super weird part of this (well besides the part that I barely know who the Jonas Brothers are yet I'm having sexy dreams about the oldest) I was telling BFF Maryanne about my dream and she was all which-one-is-Kevin so I googled him to show her a picture and we discovered that TODAY IS HIS BIRTHDAY. Is that kinda weird or what? Like do you think Kevin Jonas had an X-rated dream about me last night and has spent his whole birthday searching for me? Do you think he'll be at all disappointed when he locates me only to find out I'm a 33 year old mother of 2 who pees when she coughs? Maybe a little bit.

3) I've started seeing a therapist because of all my Dad issues. I had my first session last Tuesday and yes, she does have a couch. Its not leather like I had pictured it to be; it is instead a floral print that Shannon would have slip covered so fast it would have made the Dr.'s head spin. My favorite part about going to therapy so far is telling people I am going to therapy. It seems like such a trendy thing to do and if I get a little less crazy out of the deal then I will consider it a real win-win. That's a little shrink talk for you: "win-win". No charge. You're welcome. I need to come up with a clever pseudo name for her and will try to do that before I write about her again. I imagine she'll get some good posts and maybe even her own label.

4) Wednesday BFF Kara and I have decided to start trading babysitting on Friday nights so we can have dates with our husbands! It was Kara's idea and back off because she's my Wednesday BFF and I hear her other days are booked. Kara is going to Nevada next week so it probably won't start up for a while. Also, Hot Jeff is taking the first of 4 CPA exams on November 29th so most likely I'll only be sitting instead of dating until December rolls around as Hot Jeff studies ALL THE TIME.

That's about it for now. Well except for this: it is Thursday night and I'm blogging instead of watching good Thursday night TV. And yes, I am bitter. Perhaps I'll talk to the shrink about it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Green Bean Stir-Fry

I'm fairly certain my friend Rachel never thought she would see her picture under the heading "Green Bean Stir-Fry". Sometimes we just never know what is going to make us famous.

This is my friend Rachel Thurman and her husband Glen. And I'll be quite honest with you, I'm not exactly sure Rachel's husband's name is Glen or if he spells it with one N or two because he's a Greek Orthodox minister and always goes by Father Matthew. Don't you love that? It always strikes me funny that Rachel is married to a minister because she's really irreverent (one of my favorite qualities in a person) so I think Glen, or Fr. Matthew, must be a pretty cool guy. I've never met Rachel's husband, as you may have gathered because they live in Ohio. Rachel is a pediatric nurse and gives fabulous advice over Facebook; you should friend her for her really great pediatric medical advice and Mennonite recipes.

Here's a fab picture of Rachel and I being all cute and cheeky in our college days at Montana State. Neither of us can recall what we were doing in this picture but firmly believe that it must have been fabulous since Elvis was involved.

Alas, the Green Bean Stir-Fry recipe. A picture of this recipe on her Facebook page had me drooling for days (her picture was a lot better than mine). With the exception of canned, I've never met a green bean I didn't like however my family would positively sell me to gypsies if I didn't add carrots to the mixture because they aren't nearly as keen on the green bean as I am. I served it over steamed rice and topped it with toasted sesame seeds. It was Awe.Some. Hats of to Rachel for her dee-lish recipe!

Stir Fried Green Beans

Combine in small bowl and set aside:
1 t. salt
2 t. sugar
2 t. corn starch
2 T. soy sauce
1 c. water or soup stock

Heat in a skillet:
2 T cooking oil
Add:1 lb meat (beef or chicken, cut stir-fry style)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. onion, diced
Stir-fry over high heat until beef begins to change color. Remove beef, onions, and garlic from skillet and set aside.

If necessary, add more oil and reheat skillet.
Add:1 lb. long green beans (fresh or frozen works)
Stir until beans become bright green. At once add reserved soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring until clear. Cover skillet and cook over medium heat until beans are just crisp-tender. Return beef to skillet, stir well and remove from heat. Serve with rice (I mix white and brown rice, cooked with stock or with some bouillon added).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Remembering the Marginalized

Last week the kids and I were meeting Shannon and her kids at a McDonalds playland and on our way there we saw a man on the side of the road holding a sign reading he was hungry and homeless. As I was stopped I looked in my purse for a few bucks only to find that I didn't have any cash and as the light turned I realized I could get him lunch at McDonalds and take it back to him.

At McDonalds I asked Shannon if she would watch Samuel and Emily in the playland while I ran the meal to him; it was raining and I didn't want to load them in again. She said no problem but suggested I actually should take them so they could see Christ's love in action. It was a great idea and Samuel was able to fully understand why we were taking that man lunch and asked some really great questions on our way home.

Please don't misunderstand this story; I don't tell it to pat myself on the back but to instead to highlight Shannon's great idea.

The New Testament is filled with exhortations to care for the poor, feed the hungry and love our neighbor and you don't have to read very many of the words in red to know that Jesus' heart was for the marginalized and the forgotten. "On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.' (Mark 2:17).

Hebrews 13:3 reminds us, "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." I love Shannon's idea that the earlier we teach our kids lessons of compassion and generosity the more likely they are to practice it later. One thing to do as these winter months are coming upon us is to check with your church or local rescue mission to see if there are age-appropriate ways you and your children can serve the poor and homeless. Can you deliver meals to shut ins? Can you donate toiletries to a mission? Maybe your kids can color pictures to give reminding those people that they matter, someone is praying for them and that Jesus died for them. Make a call--you may be surprised how little time and effort it takes to make an impact on others and your kids.

Lord of love, You sent Your only Son so that we may have hope and I confess I all too often overlook the poor, the lonely and the needy because I am too swept up in my own world. I pray for __________ to have Your heart for the marginalized. I pray You will spring up compassion and mercy in her heart and that she will look at those who are less fortunate around her and want to be kind and generous. I pray _________ will never take her blessings for granted and always know You are the One to whom she owes thanks. Amen.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

There Will Be a Special Place in Heaven for Jesus-lovin' Liberals

...and it is going to be a nice, BIG place because I just found a whole passel of them.

Burnside Writers Collective is an online magazine "presenting an alternative to franchise faith". Even their description gives me goosebumps. It is hands down my new favorite website. Next to mine. Um, hello.

Now I gotta say, if you think Glenn Beck is "right on" and President Obama is the anti-Christ then you're probably not gonna love this site. However, if you liked Blue Like Jazz and/or The Shack then you will most likely really, really enjoy some of the essays BWC publishes.

If Burnside Writers Collective is the Burnside Portland Burnside as I infer it is then you can pretty much count on it becoming my Mecca and me flinging myself on their steps and staying there until they publish me. Or until my husband drags me by my ear back home and insists I stop this nonsense that the kids are begging for hotdog wraps (which I made tonight and my children now rise up and call me blessed).

BWC is where I read about Pete Gall, author of My Beautiful Idol, which I cannot order off of amazon fast enough. Two reviews that sold me read, "St. Augustine invented the confessional memoir. Modern examples are shorter and funnier (think Anne Lamott and Donald Miller). Now comes Pete Gall, who somehow gathers the messiness of his life into an enduring account, one both poignant and whimsical." -- Philip Yancey, Author "[My Beautiful Idol] is a delicate reminder to denounce all that dazzles that does not look like Jesus. It is an invitation to say no to all other lovers and counterfeit hopes, and to put our faith in the God that is blessing the most downtrodden people of this world, the God whose Gospel is good news to the poor." -- Shane Claiborne, Author & Activist.

So hats off to you Burnside Writers. You get the very first post under my new "Things I Like" label. You're welcome.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Got Me Thinkin'...

These are our friends Jeff and Kara. Kara is my Wednesday bff and Jeff is one of our church's worship leaders. Kara blesses my socks off every time I talk to her and Jeff is bringing sexy back with his eyewear and mad guitar skills (Jeff is unknowingly giving credibility to my 15 year old argument that eyewear on a man is dead sexy). And you shouldn't worry because Kara knows I think her husband is hot, because I tell her, it may however come as news to Jeff and make our next meeting awkward. For the record, I think Shannon's husband Drew is hot too but no one thinks Drew is as hot as Drew does so it kinda loses its potentency with him.

Anyway, I digress. It was Wednesday and Kara and were hanging out, covering 186,000 topics in a 2.5 hour time span (it really is dizzying) and her 2 year old son Caleb did something he shouldn't have and she told him to stop and he told her 'no'. Gasp. I know. My kids never do that. I judged her harshly over it to her face AND behind her back. Ha!Ha! What I DID do was marvel at what she said to Caleb, now lean in because it was short and sweet and you'll miss it if you're reading two blogs at once, "Caleb. I don't tell you 'no', I say 'no thank you'. Please don't tell me 'no'." I tried not to act impressed but instead played it cool like I-always-talk-to-my-kids-like-that but 2 things jumped out at me...

1) Keep it simple. I have a tendency to talk and talk. And if you think I'm bad...well Hot Jeff puts the lecture in lecture. I was reminded when I heard Kara to just keep it short. They are little and they don't have the attention span for a dissertation on behavior. You moms of older children, well have at it; this is your God-given moment to make your kids miserable. I recommend doing this while in a car when they can't get out!

2) My kids are going to talk to me and to each other the way I talk to them. When I ask Samuel to pick up his cars and he says 'no' I can't really blame him when just 10 minutes earlier when I was making lunch and he asked me to play Candyland and I said 'no'.

I remember when Samuel was 11 months or so and started getting in to everything. His pediatrician said instead of saying no I should distract him with other things. Clearly that pediatrician is on crack because when you're nursing a baby and your kid is trying to sit on a lamp shade you are not going to DISTRACT him with any thing other than your voice at a decibel he has never heard before. I do, however, like this idea of adding 'thank you' to the end of 'no'. Its polite but practical.

Polite: good. Practical: good. Polite AND practical: Very Good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

She May Be Pure Evil...

My Mom and Jeff have been saying it since they laid eyes on her: "She's going to give Samuel a run for his money". There's something about her shining blue eyes, her sweet dimples, her angelic little voice, the way she clobbers her brother... Screech. Back up. The way she clobbers her brother? Yeah, little M may not be as sweet as she comes across. In fact she may be totally aware AND plotting the way she comes across just so she can be evil and get away with it. In fact I'm pretty sure she's smarter than all of us.

One more thing: she's not even 2 yet and she threw a tantrum today that rivaled Samuel's. It was quite impressive. It started with screeching, went to arms banging knees and then full out throwing herself on the floor. It was a dandy.

And she's not even 2. And I already have a strong-willed child. And it is going to be a long life.