Thursday, August 27, 2009

Watch this!

Watch the God's Chisel video by The Skit Guys first, then read. I’ll wait. I have all the time in the world. This post isn’t going anywhere.

This post isn’t about the kids. If you were looking for something funny or cute or crazy, then you will not find that here today. This is totally serious and heartfelt. It’s important to me and I’m hoping that this video (below) will be forwarded to others who struggle with human-junk in their walk with The Lord. It hits home and is very easy to understand, but hard to watch. No, it’s not gory or gross. It’s personal. That’s where it hits you – inside.

After watching this video I didn’t sleep very well. I never sleep well when I need to be praying more. God wakes me up and draws me near in the middle of the night. A time when I would rather do nothing else but sleep. It’s hard. I want to pray for sleep. I want to pray for feeling rested. But that’s not what I pray for. I use this time to pray for everyone but myself. Except after watching this video.

But after watching this video, prayed for myself. I apologized to God for not trusting Him. I like control – over my house, my kids, my life. I realized by watching this video that my most prized possessions are my kids and my husband. But they don’t really belong to me. They are merely on loan. Even though two of my three children have been dedicated in church, I considered that more of hubby and me dedicating our lives to raising our children in a Godly manner and to raise them while seeking God’s direction in our parenting. I also considered those baby dedications to be a commitment from church members to lift us up and support us in raising our children. Not so much, did I consider it giving my children up to God and trusting Him with them. I know God loves each of us more than we are capable of loving each other. I don’t doubt that one bit. But I hadn’t realized that every time I yell at one or all of my children, or ignore them because they are bickering and I am tired of listening, or invoke some method of discipline while I am still angry that I am doing that to God’s daughters. Yes, I gave birth to them, but only by the grace of God. He entrusted me with this job and I feel like have been letting him down (even though I never held Him up in the first place.)

So I prayed that God would guide me clearly through this venture. That He will give me more patience – not put me in situations that require more patience and wait for me to seek Him, but for Him to be gracious and generous with the patience He just bestows upon me so I can be a better mother and be a better influence. My children learn from me every day. I am their teacher, but I am also their mother. They are learning how to be a mom from how I treat them. I asked God to please calm the anger in me and help me teach them more love. If someone else treated my children with anything but love, I’d be very upset. I can only imagine how God must cringe at times with my parenting. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children! We do all kinds of fun things together and have a lot of joy. But I am human and I am a sinner. I have said things that are hurtful, just as any parent has. And it is hard not to when a child says mean things to you. But it’s not right to say something hurtful in return. In fact, God tells us to be content in all circumstances. Is saying something hurtful or pretending not to hear a child tell a story being content? Not really. Not at all. At least I hope I’m not content when I react that way!

I prayed a lot and asked for forgiveness for how I’ve treated God’s daughters that He has loaned me. He so generously, and apparently confidently, trusts me to raise them for Him. Now I need to trust Him to lead me through.

If you didn’t watch the video, please do. Really. And please share it with others. As believers we are not only supposed to lift each other up and worship together, we are also supposed to hold each other accountable. This video really hits the personal stuff. How did it affect you?

This song is a wonderful complement to the video skit:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Careful use of Ebay while making Apple Crisp

Because kids say and do cute things and those moments get fewer and farther between as they grow older, I am going back in time to bring you this information. Did you know I have a time machine? It lives in my email folders. This particular folder is named “Ebay Disputes.”

Ebay has been one of my best friends for 9 years now. I love Ebay. Ebay loves me. They send me coupons (really good coupons, but not as good as the ones they send my father-in-law). Ebay has everything. They have new things, old things, useless things, weird things. You name it; most of it can be found on Ebay. I can shop for just about anything without lugging the kids along and without finding things in the cart that I didn’t put in there! Uhm. Yeah. Right. Until October 27, 2006, that is. I was watching a few items that were scheduled to end within the hour and I didn’t want to forget to bid. I had already bought a firefighter costume for Halloween and some other things for the kids. But I didn’t want to miss those other auctions…

I remember it so clearly. We were making Apple Crisp (recipe below). It’s an annual tradition after we go apple picking. Each of the kids has a role in the apple-crisp-making. We all peel. Child B cores/slices. Child A uses a super-sharp knife to cut the slices in half (because we like it that way). Child C piles the slices in the pan. Everyone gets to do something. (OK, if you’ve done the math or thought much about it, you know that Child C was only 10 months old that year. So, she really wasn’t helping much. But she did throw in some apple slices, ate some, and threw in some more. You may also be wondering why on earth I was letting my 6yo use a super-sharp knife??? Yes, she was 6 at the time. A is very responsible. And careful. Using a dull knife is more likely to result in an injury. Then she’d never want to use a knife again! She was taught to place the sharp part of the knife on top of the apple slice, then place her other hand on top of the knife and push down. This way there are no fingers under the knife to accidentally remove! Would I recommend this for all 6yos? Absolutely NOT!)

I guess at one point A got bored and disappeared to the family room. I suspected she was watching tv. Wrong child. She wasn’t watching tv, but I didn’t know that. And she came back out to finish helping, so I didn’t have to go looking for her. After the Apple Crisp was in the oven, I went in to check on the auctions. All the auctions I had already won were already paid. But I noticed that I had 2 auctions awaiting payment. That seemed peculiar, so I refreshed MyEbay, thinking maybe I was looking at a cached page. Nope, I still have 2 auctions awaiting payment. Obviously intrigued, I click through to see what I needed to pay for.


My heart stopped. I had a little, mini heart-attack right there. I might have peed my pants. I know I stopped breathing. How can Ebay think I bought something for eight hundred eleven dollars and eighty-two cents?

Apparently, while I was still making apple crisp, A was looking at the MyEbay page and saw the costume I had bought. She then clicked on it and clicked on the link within that auction to view the sellers other auctions. She saw auctions for:

Star Wars XL DARTH VADER SUPREME Costume *IN STOCK* for $399.99

She clicked the Buy It Now button and then confirmed. For both auctions. Lovely. I felt sick to my stomach. The auction said that non-payers would be reported to Ebay and the credit reporting agencies. I had never seen that in an auction before, but I was freaked out.

I called hubby at work, in tears. I emailed the seller and their email box was full. Messages bounced back. I tried calling them. Their voice mail box was full. Then I looked at their address. The shop is in a town only 15 minutes away (if I were able to hop in the car and go straight there.) OK, it took us about 45 minutes to get the kids out the door and into the van and us over there (and don’t forget the Apple Crisp in the oven!) We kindly explained the situation and A apologized. She was so embarrassed, but I was convinced that she really needed to in order to understand in her 6yo mind how wrong it was for her to use mommy’s computer and click on things without mommy knowing about it. The costume shop people notified Ebay that both the seller and buyer wanted to cancel the transaction. (At the time, I didn't even know you could do that!) We didn’t have to pay $811.82 for adult costumes we didn’t need or want. They didn’t have to pay Ebay fees for A being a little click-happy. Whew.

So, when leaving your computer unattended in the presence of children, don’t stay logged in to any shopping site. I don’t know what I would have done if the business hadn’t been local. Other than cry. A lot.

That Apple Crisp sure was tasty! (But NOT worth $811.82!)

Apple Crisp
Enough apples to slice and scatter all piled up in a 9x13 baking dish (I use 6-8 large)
Honey to drizzle over the apples (1/2 -1 cup if you like honey like I do)
Flour (2 parts) *
Sugar (1 part) *
Butter, melted (1 part) *
Spray olive oil (or any other oil you like)
Cinnamon, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray the oil to coat the bottom of the baking dish.
3. Peel, slice, and core the apples. Scatter and pile them in the baking dish.
4. Drizzle honey over the apples slices, sprinkle with cinnamon (if desired) and toss gently with a spoon.
5. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and melted butter. Stir until moist. Then crumble over the apples.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

* Example: 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup butter OR 3 cups flour, 1½ cups sugar, 1½ cups butter. For however much flour is used, ½ of that same amount would be the measurement for sugar and butter.

(This is NOT my recipe and I do not claim it is. It is a super easy recipe I got from one of my local La Leche League Leaders years ago and I have no idea if it's hers or not. It is, however, delicious and easy!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Me Monday!

I didn’t make my kids a smoothie with fresh fruits, organic milk and yogurt, and flax meal, sneaking in spinach, too, and then ask them if we should try adding spinach one of these days. Nope, not me. I wouldn’t ask them if we should do something I already did.

While we weren’t at Kiddie Land this weekend, I didn’t go skyscrapers high with 2 of my kids to go on a raft ride. While up there, I didn’t listen to a tween boy review the two different tubes of the ride, after he’d proclaimed to ride each one at least 30 times. I didn’t then proceed to tell the same tween boy behind us in line that the only reason you can see light partway down in the pitch black tube is because the ride is so old it’s falling apart. Those are the cracks where it’s breaking. That’s why Kiddie Land is closing this year. (I did, however, tell him I was just messing with him when he had a look of horror on his face.)

While shopping at Target the other day, there were 7 carts inside the front door of the store. They were in 3 groups: 2 groups of 2 carts and 1 group of 3 carts. The carts were each stuck to another cart and I couldn’t for the life of me get them separated. With my own 3 kids in tow, plus a neighbor girl, I didn’t load everyone up with a basket and tell them they all get to help carry the groceries. Nope. I wouldn’t make the children all help out and actually carry the groceries. Not me.
To find out what other mom's aren't doing, hop on over to MckMama's blog. She has a great Not Me Monday carnival and it's funny to read about others, be able to be brutally honest, and not feel a bit ton of guilt about it. We are all human and take shortcuts, make fun, and sometimes just get by. It's OK and it's great to share!
Check back Thursday for a [long and amusing, but] simple suggestion about using Ebay and a super easy, very tasty recipe for Apple Crisp!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not a reason to swear

Last night Child C had a little tiny owie in her foot. Just a dot of blood and a lot of tears. We got a baby wipe and, when I started to clean it off, she whispered very emphatically, "Ow, dammit. Dammit." I was a bit startled and just looked at her curiously. Did she just say what I think she did? Has she heard it that much? Well, between hubby working from home and my parenting frustration, I guess she may have heard it more often than I'd like. Wow. My eyes were opened to having to be more cautious verbally.

Then she looked up at me, as I was wiping her foot again, and she said, in that strong whisper, "Dam, Mommy." I told her gently, "Sweetie, you don't have to say that. You can just tell me it hurts. I'll be more gentle." Then she spoke up and said it more loudly, "Dab! Dab it, Mommy." The clarity brought a sigh of relief. She wanted me to d.a.b. her wound, not wipe it.

She wasn't swearing at all, simply wanting me to be more gentle. Whew. It's really hard to retrain a child to stop saying something once they start. We will learn this lesson without having to learn it the hard way, for now. (Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to reflect and learn!)