/> Raising Angels: March 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

1. I'm waiting for the repair man...again. My washer and dryer have been out of commission for two weeks now and we're leaving town tomorrow. This was not part of my Lenten plan.

2. We head to Florida for the week in the morning. Next week is Masters Week here in Augusta, GA. It’s one of the most beautiful weeks of the year. We always stay in town and go to the tournament but this year our Spring Break coincided with two other friends of ours so we're all heading to the beach together. Should be wild and crazy fun.

3. Last night Mackenzie pulled her first "all nighter" (she was in bed before midnight but that’s super late for her) because of school work. Today her research paper is due. This was my fault. She had that paper finished yesterday around 4 and asked me to proof it before she rewrote it. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to do that until 9 PM. Lord bless her! Let me tell you, that girl can write....better than some of the juniors I've taught over the years.

4. After going kicking and screaming into my first major fundraiser endeavor, last night I reached the $10,000 mark. Yes, I did the happy dance around the kitchen (and house...several times...taking the kids with me). When God puts you where He wants you, He gives you everything you need. You go God!

5. As I was jumping up and down about the numbers after making numerous stops, calls and emails yesterday, one of the kids asked, "What do you get for doing this Mama?"

"Nothing," I quickly replied and jumped up and down some more.

Simple lesson in service.

6. With all this fundraising, I've gotten a much better picture of what Nelson's work life is like. I didn't believe I could think he was much more incredible than he already is, but I do. Babe, I can't thank you enough for what you do for us!

7. Now I'm seriously agitated that not only has my repair guy not come, but he hasn't called. Let me tell you (like I told him on the phone last night), I plan on letting him make this up to me by writing a very big check to our Glory Run!

I'm done waiting but if you're not, go here for more Quick Takes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Letter to the Lord

Dear Jesus,

I am discovering that volunteerism is a full time job. Interestingly enough, the things that are taking the most time are not the things I volunteered to do. They are things that more or less fell into my lap. In fact, my whole Lent has shaped up to be something very, very different from what I planned.

Seems this is the way you want it to be with me these days. What can I say? You warned me. Well, you stood on the shore and I (yes, I did) invited you into my boat. I’ve heard over and over again that my boat is sailing at high speeds and all I have to do is hang on for the ride.

I just have one request Jesus. Can you throw me a life jacket? It sure would make me feel better. I know I can’t drown in a boat, but these days I feel like I’m going so fast that I can’t catch my breath and well, it kind of feels like drowning.

Actually, I have two requests. Can we make a pit stop on a beautiful beach somewhere? Maybe then I can rejuvenate, get my sea legs back and continue on, because, as hard as that wind is blowing, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to go wherever it is you have in mind.


Monday, March 26, 2012

The Answer to One of Life's Biggest Questions (Preceeded by an Appropriate Warning)

You know how they say that kids say the funniest things? It's true.

You know how they also say sometimes you should keep things to yourself? Also true.

I am warning you now that I am about to violate the latter to demonstrate the former and I apologize in advance for offending you, if you’re the easily offended type. If you are, you may want to skip this entry all together.

Mmmhmm…knew that would only force you to read further. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Tonight as I was bathing Max he stood up and pointed to his, uh, "private" region. "Mama, what are these?"

And in one of those parenting moments that you rarely get right, the kind you make in a split second and later regret, I answered quite honestly, "Those are your testicles."

"Oh," he said, completely unphased by the term, "I like to play with them."

As his desire to constantly hold himself became ever clearer, I ventured, "Why?" (Come on, don't tell me that women everywhere don't ask themselves this very question about guys and their fascination with, well, you know.)

"Because," he explained while demonstrating, "when I squeeze them, they move around just like balls."

I’m guessing based on my laugh until I cried reaction that the fascination will not soon end.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Talk

The pictures that follow are of me doing what I do best, talking. Of course I had no idea anyone was taking my picture, but apparently the photographer thought I was animated enough to merit a series of photos. And after looking at them I can see that I am, well, animated.

I remember that the bride had asked me something like should I take my thank you cards to the hotel with me tonight to finish them, ergo the exaggerated animation during which I was telling her something along the lines of, "Absolutely, not! You only get one honeymoon and it's not for writing thank you notes."

Apparently, she was relieved to hear this due to her big smile. That or she thought I looked hilarious while I was telling her this. Which, I must state for the record, I absolutely did.

I'm glad to see that although, I was adamant, I was at least happy. Funny how seeing yourself through someone else's eyes puts a whole new perspective on things.

I've been asked to speak at a retreat at Belmont Abbey College this weekend. A retreat that the student director informed me currently has 350 registered to attend. I'm excited, honored and...under attack.

This week I've gotten calls from two different teachers about things my children have done, a note from another one, my washing machine and dryer broke down, the fourth grade play is anything but smooth and my computer just crashed with my talk not saved.

I've done this enough to know that all this means that I'm probably doing exactly what God wants me to do. And, as you can see, I love to talk. I’m especially excited about my topic, which is near and dear to my heart. I’m hoping and praying I don’t mess it up! Please join me in this prayer.

Postscript: In the time it took me to type this, I’ve recovered my talk and just got a text message praising the same kid I got the call about earlier. Wow! You haven’t even prayed and already God is on the move.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pecos Bill

Here's a photo of Aiden's play, Pecos Bill, that was last week. And yes, that's Dawson in the front row. His class made cameo appearances as coyotes and children because we didn't have enough third graders.

Looking at this again makes me smile. As long as I've directed plays (15 years or so), the cast has always become my kids. Even before I had kids of my own, I felt a mother's pride when I watched them blossom on the stage.

This play was no different. Well, except for the fact that two of the actors were actually my kids. All of them were exceptional that day and it was amazing to watch.

Friday is the fourth grade Shakespeare play. Here's hoping I feel the same way after that one!

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patty's Post

Yeah, so it's not St. Patrick's Day, but who says I can't pretend I didn't post this on the 17th?

This year I woke up remembering where I was last year on this day. Oh, how I wish I was back there. What a trip that was!

The day was full. It started with some exercise and my first attempt at homemade Irish soda bread. We donned our green and hit the parade down town. I dropped the kids at my parents and rejoined Nelson and some of his coworkers for a few drinks before having corned beef and cabbage with my folks. One of my dear friends had her 40th birthday party so we finished the day with friends, drinks and karaoke...a dangerously fun combination.

The older I get the less crazy I am about packing my weekends full of stuff. My life lends itself to some necessary down time every once in awhile. However, time with friends and family will always trump rest. I'll catch up on sleep later.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Win-Win Situation

This afternoon Nelson said yes to the kids' request to turn the sprinkler on while they jump on the trampoline. Around here, this is the end all, be all of fun times outside.

Max came running to me, out of breath with excitement. "Is this bathing suit okay?" he asked with an extra wide smile.

"That's fine. Let me cut off the tag of your swim shirt. Okay, have fun!" I said.

"You too!" he exclaimed giggling and shaking all over. Then, as he turned to run outside he shouted, "You're awesome Mama!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Play On

I've been under a bit of pressure lately. The kind that comes from spreading myself a little too thin. Like always, it's all good stuff. It's just that it all happened to convene in the same time frame and it's wearing me out.

Today though, one of those commitments came to an end. I've been directing Pecos Bill, the traditional third grade play at our school. It just so happens that Aiden is a third grader. This is good on many levels. It was my chance to make up for this and to be in a situation that allowed me the chance to praise my son and his classmates.

On my way to the school, I decided to take a moment to pray because, you know, when you work with third graders you never know what might happen. I had barely turned my thoughts to the Lord when I found myself fighting back the tears.

Let me take an aside here to explain that lately this is my M.O. I have made a concerted effort not to stress out about stuff and I have done really well. However, the fall-out of holding back all that stress is that at the most inopportune times, I spontaneously burst into tears. Take for instance how I made it through the entire Advent season without spazzing out or complaining too much about all that had to get done. Christmas morning however, as my entire family descended upon my house, I burst into tears because the egg casserole had leaked out all over the inside of my refrigerator. I made it through the entire preparation process for the rehearsal dinner (including having someone drop an entire crock-pot of the sauce the night before and having to remake the batch at midnight), and found myself fighting back the tears when someone asked me where something was in the kitchen. Consequently I wonder which is worse, stressing out or spontaneously combusting into tears.

Anyway, back to the story. As I cried in my car, I thought here I go again. I knew that I had the seven minute car ride to pull it together because the third graders would not know what to do with my tears.

But the tears this time were much more than a stress reliever, they were tears of gratitude. Tears that came from a moment of clarity realizing how much God loved me to give me this opportunity even though I wasn't looking for it (a theme for me lately). Tears of joy knowing just how much this meant to my third grader who told me after the production, "You're the mama who saved the play!" Tears of gratitude that I live in a place where I get the chance to do what I love.

This little play, with all its sacrifices and time, was a gift to me. Even better, those sweet little kids nailed it…twice. They were so good I almost cried again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

To my Anonymous Commenter

Wow, it's been busy! It makes me sad when I neglect the blog but sometimes, life gets moving too fast to talk about it too much. I have a few posts brewing but when I signed in tonight, I saw there was a comment here that needed moderating.

I read it and it took my breath away. I was stunned and reread it several times to make sure I was reading it correctly. It hurt. Still hurts.

Of course my first instinct was to delete it.

I don't get many hateful comments but every once in awhile I get one that stings a little. This did more than sting.

However, rather than deleting it, I decided to address it, if for no other reason than to allow myself to let it go. I have a tendency to hang on to things like this and it's not healthy.

First I'd like to explain that the purpose of this blog is to document my life and the lives of my children and husband. It started it when I realized that their baby books were being terribly neglected.

Over the years it's become a hybrid of a personal journal, family album, and baby book. It's also a public forum. It's a place where I've met some really great people and heard from some interesting ones as well.

I've shared my thoughts, my prayers, my dreams, and my faults (okay, not so heavily on my faults – I am human after all). So mostly, these pages are me.

What it isn't is a place where I air other people's dreams, thoughts or struggles. When personal things happen to my family members, I don't talk about them here unless I have their express permission. When my dad had his surgery, he asked me to take pictures, but when I asked him if I could write about it here, he wanted to think about it. I didn't push. I waited for him to let me know. I'm grateful he did.

However, there are other things that happen in the lives of the people I love that greatly affect me that I don't write about. Sometimes, writing about how someone else's pain affects me, is not the best thing for the other person...even though it may be cathartic for me.

In this case, I’m not free to talk about the specifics of the situation. I could tell you how I spent the better part of that day at the hospital with him – brought him his car, wallet and some water. I could tell you how I raced down to the cafeteria to get him some food before it closed and then made dinner to bring to him when they got home that night. I made them dinner the following night as well.

I could tell you how I spent the better part of an hour on the phone with him crying and consoling him after he heard the news. I could let you know that after about five hours of sleep, I got up before dawn in the cold weather so that I could make it down to the course to cheer them both on and encourage them in anyway I could that day. I could tell you about the people I contacted after the race (with his permission) so that they could pray for them. I could explain how I walked home from that flash mob with one of his best friends while we prayed for him together.

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows about the love I have for my brothers. They are my best friends. I would do anything for them and I think they know that. We tell each other how much we love each other on a regular basis. We have each other’s backs. When we are in pain, when we are crying, we lean on each other. Family is everything to us.

Please know, oh anonymous commenter, that I did not write about my brother’s pain out of respect for him, not because I was ignoring it. I am sure he would agree and that’s good enough for me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

O Captain, My Captain

Nelson and I attend a Catholic Coffee and Conversation class while the kids go to Sunday School. Lately we've been watching a fantastic video series. It’s education, entertaining and inspiring.

Last week the topic was sainthood. The short of it is that sainthood is what we should all be working towards. Being rich, not so good since you can't take it with you. Being famous, really a waste of time. Being a saint? Go for it!

But that begs the question, how?

Remember that Bible story when Jesus is in the boat with the disciples and He tells them to throw their nets to the other side? Of course you do. They bring in more fish than they thought they could handle. It’s a happy ending, miracle-making kind of story.

However, there is another part to this story. You see back in those days, when you lived by the water, you were a fisherman. So, you built a boat. And that boat? It was your livelihood. It was the most valuable thing you owned. It was what you did. It was who you were. And…it was yours.

If you want to be a saint, if you really, really want it, you have to let Jesus into your boat.

If you have the opportunity, get this video series and watch it. It will be time well spent.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Just Desserts

We piled the kids in the car tonight to surprise them by a trip to a local place that's known for its desserts. We're talking slices of homemade cake that are literally as big as your head. Crazy good!

The kids are not fans of surprises and they were grilling us to try to find out where we were taking them. They came up with all kinds of guesses - the zoo, circus, fair, Blue Man Group and the like. The final guess came from Aiden.

"I know, you're going to take us to that Princesses on Ice show."

"WHY...would he do that?" quipped Dawson.