Monday, November 22, 2010

Counting my blessings: 30

Branch Of Wisdom

People who are bold in their faith in Jesus

Words simply cannot express how thankful I am to have experienced first hand the love of people who are eager to share Jesus' love. I'm not talking about people who will preach to you what they believe or why you should believe it too. I'm talking about people who will lovingly share what they believe, accept that you believe differently, but you can see the combined passion and sadness in their eyes - passion for what they know in their heart and sadness that you don't realize it yourself. The "you" I speak of is really me in high school.

I have several decades-long friendships with people who accepted me for who I was and didn't judge me for being different - and wanting to be different. Some of them may have shared Jesus with me here and there or asked me why I believed differently. I'm sure they all played a role in God's plan for me to know Jesus and have a relationship with Him. God works that way, orchestrating position and conversation to work on some one's heart. But there is one person in particular who was bold to share God's Word consistently and yet never express judgement on me. She told me a couple times that she was disappointed in decisions I had made and shared her different opinions, but she did so lovingly. She invited me to church sometimes, yet didn't preach to me. She shared the love of Jesus in her words and in her actions.

One day this friend gave me a cassette tape with a song on it. The song has played in my head for over 20 years. It told me how badly she wanted Jesus in my heart. Every birthday for years, the birthday card from her contained one simple scripture verse. Not the same verse every year. It was just enough for me to know that she wanted Jesus in my heart. She never gave up hope that one day I would ask Jesus into my heart. She didn't know that I did when I was much younger, I just didn't really know what that meant or what to do with it. It wouldn't be for several more years that I would realize how to let Jesus in and make Him Lord of my life. But I did over a decade ago. I am so thankful that my salvation and eternity were important to her. She blogs at Our Ordinary Life and the song she shared with me is this one:

I've met so many more people since then who are also bold in their faith and I have become bold as well. I pray that I am also loving in how I share it, for the way my friend shared it with me couldn't have been more loving. She has taught me so much over the years and she helped me realize the blessing of knowing people who are bold in their faith in Jesus.

This same friend is also participating in the Counting My Blessings series hosted by Branch of Wisdom. She inspired me to participate as well. Do you know your blessings? Would you like to share them or read the blessings of others? If so, stop by Branch of Wisdom.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Counting my blessings: 29

Branch Of Wisdom

Good Cleaning Products

Is it shallow that I consider good cleaning products a blessing? I hope not. I like to not be wasteful and some things, if they are not cleaned well, just shouldn't be used again. I think cleaning products are something we often take for granted, don't you?

I found a great cleaning product. Now, let me back up and be honest. I have no relationship at this time - or ever in my past - with the company that manufactures and distributes this product. I am in no way affiliated with this company. I gain nothing from sharing this experience with you - other than, perhaps, helping you discover a great cleaning product as well

Basic H2 from Shaklee is the best stain remover I have ever used. It is super concentrated, so 3 different products can be made from it - and they last A LONG time. It may cost more upfront, but it will be the only grease cleaner, glass cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner you need. I also use the grease cleaner (sometimes the all-purpose cleaner) as a stain fighter in our laundry. It removed a two-year old chocolate stain from a child's sweater. I don't have pictures of that.

However, I do have pictures of this:

That is my prom dress from my Senior Prom. I wore it again to a company dance in college and went to a bar after. I have no idea what spilled on the dress back in about 1992. I recently came across the dress and figured it was ruined. I hadn't had it cleaned and these stains have been there for 18 years!

Figuring that if the dress were ruined, I couldn't do any more damage to it by trying something. I pulled out my Basic H2 All-Purpose cleaner and sprayed it onto a paper towel. Then I dabbed at each spot. Here is what it looks like now:

Can you believe it? Here's another shot so the shadows are different:

Did I mention it's an all-natural "green" product? You can even use it to wash your vegetables. Non-toxic. Yes, it's a blessing to me to have such a product in my cabinet!

Be sure to stop by Branch of Wisdom for more Counting My Blessings.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Counting my blessings: 28

Branch Of Wisdom


(It's a scene from the game show Family Feud, hosted by Steve Harvey. Don't let the title throw you - it's clean.)

Isn't it amusing how quickly that answer came to him?

I laughed so hard I nearly choked on my dinner (hubby showed it to me on his phone.) I accused him of trying to kill me. But it was hilarious. I would have appreciated viewing it while not eating, but the laughter was great, really. I love laughing. There were a few years when I didn't laugh much at all, so it is a real blessing to laugh. I love that God gave us laughter. He didn't have to, you know. It's one of those things I didn't think much about until I just couldn't bring myself to laugh. And I missed it. I am so glad to have it back in my life and try to laugh daily.

I even completed a project in college about the effects of laughter on health and productivity in the workplace. I knew the effects of laughter just a few years before I lost that joy. Children laugh a lot during the day. There was a time when I knew the statistic of how many times children laugh in a day. My memory fails me and I cannot share that number with you right now. Just know that it's a lot. Adults experience a drastic decline in their frequency of laughter. Mine plummeted. When it came back, it felt so good. I love laughing.

Do you laugh every day?

Branch of Wisdom is hosting this meme. To participate or read others' blessings, hop on over.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Counting my blessings: 26

Branch Of Wisdom


We visit our library several times a week. It's not just for checking out books, you know. Although we do borrow a lot of books.

My local library not only has a great selection within their own bookshelves, but also has a relatively comprehensive inter library loan system. The selection of books, movies, magazines, music, software, audiobooks and audio devices, and much more is quite extensive. They have several computers available with internet access.

The library in my town also has several story time sessions each week for children of various ages. For those who are already fluent readers, there are other programs available such as drawing for the library's youth art magazine, mystery or science programs where kids have hands-on experience making goo, play dough, identifying fingerprints or encoding and decoding messages. They even have times set aside especially for tweens and teens, who feel the need to be unique and special during the ages they are. These times include book discussions or more advanced crafts. Fridays are "fun and games day" at my library and kids can "check out" a game or puzzle to play while in the youth department. When they are finished with that game, they can play another or turn it back in for their card.

I love the interpersonal skills of the librarians, as well. They show an interest in the kids, have open discussions with them about interests, and make book recommendations as well. The librarians in my public library are pleasant to be around and seem to enjoy their work.

I am thankful to have the service of our library available to me and my family and I am also thankful for all the various options available through my public library.

Don't forget to stop by Branch of Wisdom today!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Counting my blessings: 23

Branch Of Wisdom

Indoor Plumbing

Yes, it may seem obvious, but indoor plumbing is a blessing. Really. There are so many people in our world who still do not have indoor plumbing. When they wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, they have to go outside no matter how cold it is. Now, I don't know about you, but if I get cold, I have a hard time falling back to sleep. I cannot imagine having to bundle up to go out to relieve myself.

In fact, even though the temperature dropped in October and many people around me turned their furnaces on a month ago, we just turned ours on November 1. Until then, the temperature in our house ranged between 60-65. I woke up one night to go to the bathroom and it was cold! I was so thankful that I didn't have to venture outside.

What are you thankful for today? Have you stopped by Branch of Wisdom to share your blessings?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Counting my blessings: 20

Branch Of Wisdom


I am thankful for communication: the ability to communicate, be understood, understand others, and communicate with them.

With current technology, we have vast methods of communications. We can speak directly with someone, use the phone (with or without a cord, in our car, on the sidewalk, even in places we shouldn't), email, instant messaging, short or ongoing conversations on sites such as Facebook, face to face through a computer (Skype). You name it, we can probably do it. Pretty amazing, huh?

When we can't use speech or don't want to, we can use body language or sign language. We can write for communication. I am thankful for my blog and the blogs of others for communication.

Can you imagine not being able to communicate? Just wake up one day and not be able to communicate at all?

I know this is something I take for granted every day. I have been able to communicate for as long as I can remember and I just expect that tomorrow will be the same as today. But something as sudden as a stroke or car accident can change that in an instant. So I am thankful that I can communicate. That I can tell my family that I love them. I can laugh with them. I can say hello to a stranger. I can ask questions to a doctor or pharmacist. I can offer words of encouragement or receive words of support.

I've been enjoying reading other bloggers' words of thanksgiving. How about you? Have you stopped by Branch of Wisdom to read or participate?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Counting my blessings: 18

Branch Of Wisdom

My husband is home again

I'll just keep it simple when I say that my husband doesn't travel much for work. I am thankful that he has a job that enables him to stay local. In the last few months he has had to take a few short business trips, the most recent being this week. Today he came home. I am so glad he is home. I'm thankful he's home safely. I love when we spend the evenings together as a family, watching a movie, or sharing a family discussion, or playing a game, or even just sitting and reading together.

Don't forget to stop by Branch of Wisdom to read more blessings.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Counting my blessings: 17

Branch Of Wisdom


For a long time I didn't have any hobbies. In my younger days I had some, but I gave them up as I got older and my interests changed. It took my quite a while to find anything that I enjoyed outside of work. Then it seemed that parenting was my whole life. It still is, for the most part.

However, now I do have a couple activities that I enjoy away from my family. And it's nice. Once a week I get together with some ladies across the street who knit. I only know the basics, but it's a good starting place. I've only been participating for a few weeks now and I plan to continue.

I started my other hobby about 6 years ago. A friend of mine opened my eyes to scrap booking. Honestly, I wish I had just stuck with photo albums because scrap booking takes so much time, but I do enjoy it. It's a time of reflection on my kids' lives, enjoying them without the aspects of parenting that aren't so fun. It's actually therapeutic for me because I am a pretty frazzled parent much of the time.

I am thankful for these times to get together with other women, many of them moms, not all of them at the same stage of life as myself. I am also thankful for the sense of accomplishment with these hobbies because there is so much in my life that is in a constant state of "in the works" or undone nearly immediately after being done.

Don't forget to stop by Branch of Wisdom to read more blessings.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Counting my blessings: 16

Branch Of Wisdom


I am so thankful for K-Love Radio. K-Love is national and listener-supported, which means they are funded by their listeners and Christian sponsors. For me, that means no commercials and positive news.

The radio in the kitchen is almost always on in the background. When we're in the van, we listen to K-Love, Christian kid's music, or audio books. I simply cannot count the number of times that my kids have heard a song on K-Love and asked me to turn it up. Songs that are not about drinking, drugs, sex, or violence. No, they don't focus on the pleasures of sin and make it sound desirable. The songs focus on God's love for us and our love for Him. They help us keep our focus on Him.

One day last year my oldest daughter turned on the laptop and she found K-Love on the computer. From the dining room, she exclaimed, "Mom, I have positive, encouraging K-Love on the computer!" She was so excited that she could listen while working on some of her school work. All 3 of my daughters ask to listen to K-Love. If they are going to listen to music, I can't ask for better music than worship music!

I stopped listening to pop/rock in the early 90s when a song had the lyrics, "I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me." That was the breaking point for me. People can argue that lyrics don't mean anything, but for many people they actually do. The more someone hears something, the easier it becomes to believe it. I don't care what the rest of that song says, that one line was enough to turn me off. Since I've been listening to K-Love, I have gone back and listened to some of the music I used to like and I just don't like it much anymore. There may be a good beat and talented musicians, but the lyrics ruin the music for me. The music on K-Love is uplifting and keeps my focus on Jesus. However, if you don't love Jesus, I can understand why you may not favor K-Love.

Let me jump aside for a minute and share a short story with you. There was a time last year when I was having a really bad day. I was in the kitchen with tears streaming down my face. K-Love was on the radio and the phone rang. I don't know why I answered it (well, I do now, but didn't then) because who would want to answer the phone while crying? I was prepared for a sales call when I was greeted by my name with a question mark. Hesitantly, I confirmed it was me. On the other end of the line was a K-Love prayer partner just calling to thank me for my support and ask me if I had any prayer requests for which they could be praying. Wow. What timing could be better than that? I don't believe in coincidence.

God uses K-Love that way. There have been many times when a song comes on that speaks directly to me. A couple months after my third daughter was born, I had pain. It was an unspecific abdomen-side-going-straight-through-to-my-back pain on my right side. It was worse than labor. Really. I thought I was dying. It was taking my breath away. I didn't know if I was having a heart attack or appendicitis. I don't remember much of the ride to the emergency room other than "All Because of Jesus" by Fee was playing on K-Love. I remember feeling so distant, but recognizing the song and saying outloud, "Yes, it's all because of Jesus I'm alive." The timing of that song got me through the ride. There are countless other times that the timing of a song could only be explained by God's timing. (In case you're wondering, all turned out fine that night. Fluids helped - there may have been pain meds involved. I may have been dehydrated, but I also had kidney stones and soon after found out I have a hernia that is exacerbated by some food choices. Lots of water and being more cautious about what I eat resolved the problem rather quickly.)

If you don't have K-Love in your area, you don't have to miss out. If you want to give them a try you can listen online.

Tamara is hosting this Month of Thanksgiving. To read what others are thankful for, or to link up your own post of blessings, hop on over to Branch of Wisdom.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Counting my blessings: 14

Branch Of Wisdom


I am thankful that God has provided a variety of animals to accompany us through life. All my life I have had at least one cat. Well, except for just over a year when I first moved to Chicago and again since February this year. For many years I had a dog or two when I was a kid. Even the dog that my dad insisted wasn't ours, but we fed him and he slept in our dog house; Wags was my dog, I think. Countless fish, a mouse, a gerbil, and a hamster have even been at home with us at some point or another. About a year and a half ago we adopted a bunny named Snoopy.

Presently, Snoopy is our only pet. She a is really neat pet, snoring loudly and ramming her cage door with her head when she wants out. She used to be able to knock the lock loose that way, but we changed the lock so she cannot escape. She's big, too. "Mini-lop" does not refer to the size of the rabbit, just the size of the ears. Just so you know. When she gets excited she hops and turns in mid air, kicking her feet up as if she were trying to fly. When she's petted, she flattens herself to the floor and just relaxes. She likes to have her ears scratched. Every now and then, if things aren't going her way, she'll thump and it feels like she's shaking the house. It's really funny to watch her and we enjoy sharing our lives with her. She's a great bunny, but she is not a lap-bunny.

I miss having a cat. That's an understatement. But it just isn't God's timing for us to have another one yet. We visited a local animal shelter today and enjoyed meeting the dogs, bunnies, birds, guinea pigs, and, of course, cats. I had my eye on one in particular that I had seen online, but once we met her, I don't think she is the right fit for our family. It breaks my heart. She is 9 years old and the sweetest cat. She's been there since June. Her previous owners gave her up because their baby was allergic. I really wanted to give her a home. She is calm and easy going and likes to be held and will purr so softly while being petted. An older cat tends to be more calm, which I prefer. Many people prefer a younger cat, but a nine year old cat still has 5-10 years of life to share. Unfortunately, she will not be sharing her life with us and I will be praying that God leads the right family right to her. She will be a blessing for someone, that I am sure. In the meantime, we are considering a different one that we met. We are not quite ready, but I am so thankful that when we are ready, God will provide the right cat for us.

For me, cats are relaxing. When I am tired of listening, a cat won't talk to me (meowing not included.) When I am needing to sit, a cat may sit with me, or it may not. Cats aren't too needy and like their space. Some cats like to play with cat toys, which will delight the kids. I enjoy thinking about the cats we've had, and I miss them terribly.

I don't feel like this has been a very well organized post, but it expressed my thoughts. If you've had pets, I'm sure you agree that they are a blessing. If you haven't had pets, it could be that you don't know what you are missing or that you are just blessed to be without a pet.

What kids of pets have you had?

Many others are counting their blessings, too. To read what others are thankful for today, hop on over to Branch of Wisdom.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Counting my blessings: 13

Branch Of Wisdom

The difference between a deep breath and a shallow breath

Is it OK that what I am thankful for today is totally selfish? It's been one of those days. You know, the ones that you would like to just stay in bed under the warm covers, when you just want to tell everyone to leave you alone. Have you ever wanted to tell your kids that? Is that just me?

I always have a hard time when it's that time of the month. No, not that time. The beginning of the month, when I pay the bills. Years ago, we got on a monthly bill paying routine. Not as the bills come in as some families do, not twice a month to correspond with paychecks. Nope, the beginning of the month. See, we both used to work full-time and we got paid once a month. It's hard to get on that schedule because initially there are a few weeks with no pay (because the pay comes after the work.) It was so hard to get onto this schedule that I decided we'd just stay on it so we won't have to do this again if our pay schedule changes again.

What's the big deal, then, right? We're already on this schedule. It just takes so long to get everything organized and write all those checks*. And I actually balance my checkbook. About 2 hours of my undivided attention. If you're a mom, you know that time is almost impossible to come by. I try to have everything paid by the 5th. Today is the 5th. I couldn't get it done sooner because we have a Monday evening activity, Tuesday Hubby was working the election, and Wednesday Hubby has a night out. So, I did it last night. It was exhausting. And I didn't even get into the stress of praying that our budget stayed within the parameters of our income.

So, this morning I just wanted to stay in bed. And I took a deep breath. How many other jobs can you sneak off and enjoy some peace and quiet at lunch? Not this one. I wanted to quit. I wanted to send my kids home after school, except they were already home. I took a deep breath.

Several times today I took a deep breath. I've felt like I'm on the verge of a panic attack all day, so I keep taking deep breaths. It's helped. I learned about this when I took childbirth classes. Taking short, shallow breaths can actually reduce the intake of oxygen, thereby increasing the level of pain and inhibiting the ability to focus. Long, deep breaths, on the other hand, increase the flow of oxygen and reduce the level of pain. My middle daughter has been learning about various types of breathing to help her focus and reduce her stress.

So, today, I am thankful for the difference between a deep breath and a shallow breath because it helped get me through the day. And I am praying for a relaxing and refreshing weekend!

*For those of you who will question why I still write checks and balance a checkbook, let me explain that I am a former software developer and my husband is in the network security profession. We are all too aware of security breaches, computer glitches, and developer error (although most developers are too arrogant to admit to that one.) Additionally, I have heard stories from others about how banks would rather pay the fines for the loopholes in their systems rather than pay the cost to correct them. Additionally, when I balance my checkbook, I only have my own risk of error, not countless others involved. So, if you are comfortable with those risks, that is your choice. I will stick to mine. Thankyouverymuch.

Many others are counting their blessings, too. To read what others are thankful for today, hop on over to Branch of Wisdom.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Counting my blessings: 12

Branch Of Wisdom

The joyful memory from a child.

So many times I will have a fond memory and keep it to myself. I don't know why, but I just like to savor it. Or maybe I think that someone else won't share the same joy or that it will bring a hint of sadness. So I just keep it inside. You know, when a certain time of year comes along and a loved one who passed away comes to mind, or a specific place brings back a memory of being there together with someone. Sometimes I'll speak up and share that memory, but most of the time I just reminisce within my own mind.

But children. Oh, the honesty of a child. And they don't really think about what they are going to say before they say it - it just pops out of their mouths, doesn't it? My 7-year old often just says things without too much thought. If it pops into her head, it comes out her mouth.

And her sense of smell is so strong! Many scientists have tied the sense of smell to memory and Child B would add to their proof. Upon entering a store one day, she got a whiff of something. No one else was coming or going through the doors, no one to leave the hint of perfume behind. But it was the same kind of perfume my grandma used to wear. I noticed, but didn't say anything. It was B who spoke up with a deep inhale, "Mmmmmmm, Mom! That's the smell of Great-Grandma!" Then she went on to ask why there was the smell of Great-Grandma, to which I explained that sometimes God lets us smell her sometimes so we might think about her and remember her at times when we otherwise might not.

The smell of autumn also brings many memories of Great-Grandma. While we were walking through some trees that had been shedding leaves, B closed her eyes and said to me, "Mmmm. Mom, God is letting me smell the same smell of the last day we spent with Great-Grandma while she was still alive. I'm so glad God is giving me this smell today!" I am, too. And I'm glad she shares it with me and her sisters. Although I hadn't connected the smell of dried leaves, crushed and blowing in the wind, with my grandma, I do now. And today, while driving past the place where that memory solidified in my daughter's mind, I got that same smell. And I thought of my grandma. And I thought of that cold day that we spent together with her, my dad, my husband, and our three girls. What a great memory that is. If my daughter hadn't shared how that smell evokes her memory, I wouldn't associate dried leaves with my grandma and I would not have the appreciation of that memory. I am thankful for the joyful memory of a child!

Many others are counting their blessings, too. To read what others are thankful for today, hop on over to Branch of Wisdom.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Counting my blessings: 11

Branch Of Wisdom

Being able to bless others.

Through participating in this blog meme, I find myself noticing various blessings throughout the day - trying to notice them. Asking myself, "Will this be the blessing about which I write today?" It was a little harder today to come up with something different. I have ideas in my mind that I would like to include, but then it was put before me, right in front of my very eyes.

Last night I received a text message from my neighbor. She was giving me a heads up to keep an eye on my kids because hers have strep throat. So far, we've been fortunate to not have strep throat. I'm hopeful that we won't this time either. However, they still have strep throat. That means crabby kids, parents who may not feel well or who might be exhausted from taking care of kids who feel crummy.

Yesterday I had a hankering for a baked chicken. I love baked chicken. I usually have a little over 1/2 a chicken to freeze or use within the next few days. I also usually make a crock pot full of broth from whatever isn't used for leftovers, which is what I did overnight.

Perfect timing. God's timing.

Today I made chicken noodle soup. A huge pot of chicken noodle soup. At close to dinner time, I took a pot of soup to my neighbors. Jesus has taught me to love my neighbor as myself and I know I like chicken noodle soup on a cooler day when I'm not feeling well. I am thankful for having opportunity to bless someone. We are supposed to share The Lord's blessings with others. I am thankful, too, that they accepted the blessing.

I thought it was neat that my friend, Annette at Our Ordinary Life, posted today about the blessing of others who help. It's great how God intertwines our lives and brings us together to be helpful and also to be in a position to be blessed by helpfulness.

Many others are counting their blessings, too. To read what others are thankful for today, hop on over to Branch of Wisdom.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Observations from McDonald's

I spent a couple hours one-on-one with my almost-5-year old daughter, Child C. I can't believe she is almost 5! It was a fun and lovely time. Her giggle is contagious and I smiled so much my cheeks ache. Her facial expressions make me laugh from my belly. I love those moments.

What I don't love are some of the things that I observed in the play place at our local McDonald's. In sharing these observations, please understand that I am not judging anyone. I am intrigued and concerned. If you can shed light on any of these scenarios by commenting, please do. I'd love to have a better understanding or your opinion.

Observation #1: Men who sit alone or with a male friend in the play place area.
Not that I spent a lot of time in the play place area, but in the 10-1/2 years that I have been there a couple or few times a year, I don't think I have ever observed a woman sitting alone or in a group of women where none of them had a child with them. If I had, this would apply to them, too. Why do men sit in the play place seating area (eating or not) when there are several children playing, it's loud, and there are plenty of seats available in the other part of the restaurant? It's not as if this is a quieter place to sit, because it isn't. So, why?

Observation #2: People who talk on their cell phone in the play place area.
OK, if you have children who are playing, I understand that you wouldn't leave them unattended to take or make a call. But this isn't a quiet place to be on the phone, which means you have to speak louder and many people will hear your call - including children. Why wouldn't you keep it to, "Hey, I'm at Mickey D's with the kids, can I call you back when it's quieter?" This evening, this took place with someone who also fell into my Observation #1. Unfortunately, this man also was using profanity in about every third sentence. I did gently approach him (just as I would a child, because I was intimidated to confront him based on his language) and he agreed to be more careful with his language. But, should one really need to be approached about such a thing in a play place?

Observation #3: People who eat their food in the play place area, but then go sit in the other part of the restaurant when finished eating.
This just baffles me. Why would you choose to eat your food in a closed off room where kids may have been coughing and sneezing, running around all the tables and wiping their hands on all the chairs? Why would you want to eat where the kid music is blaring and the shrieking is so loud that you can't hear the music or understand the kids? If you don't have kids with you, I just don't understand this one. And see Observation #4 for why you might want to reconsider and sit at a table that is more likely be clean, because just because it looks clean, doesn't mean it is clean. By the way, Profanity Guy from Observation #2, fell into this observation as well. Of course, he wasn't on the phone once he left the play place.

Observation #4: Parents who don't supervise their children in the play place area.
Don't all parents look forward to the moment when they can turn their kids loose and let them be kids without having to watch every move they make? I know I do. I have a daughter with a lot of energy. She was so exhausting when she was a toddler and up until the age of 6 or so. I couldn't wait for a moment when someone else could watch her or when I didn't have to keep reeling her back in. So, I understand how when those play place doors close, some parents sort of shut their kids out of their minds. I've done that. But I always kept one eye open. Maybe because I'm paranoid that something will happen - someone will get hurt or someone will disappear. So, help me understand how a mom with an older boy (around 11-13) and a younger boy (2 or3) would not notice or care when the younger boy was pushing repeatedly on the emergency exit door. You know, the one with the alarm? What about when he started playing with the fire alarm on the wall by the door? If it hadn't been for my gasp, to which the mom still didn't turn around to see about what someone was gasping, I am sure he would've pulled that alarm and playtime would've been over for everyone until the fire department came to turn the alarm off. And finally, how do you not notice or care when your younger boy is climbing on several tables, crawling and walking around on the tables with his shoes on, and jumping from one table to the next? Isn't the play place sufficient to meet the climbing needs of a child? OK, maybe your child doesn't like confined spaces, but then perhaps he should wear a coat and be taken to a park. Maybe the older boy was supposed to be watching the younger one. I don't know. Maybe there is an explanation that I am overlooking, so please help me understand what may have been going on here other than the obvious assumptions.

Am I alone in "things that make you go hmmm" at McDonald's (and I'm not talking about the food)? What can you share?

Counting my blessings: 10

Branch Of Wisdom

One-on-one time with my daughter.

I have to admit that I noticed a lot of things today for which I am thankful; however, it wasn't until this evening that any of them penetrated through my pouting. Yes, I spent the day trying to figure out how I could make something work and I just didn't come up with a solution. You see, I wanted desperately to attend Dawn Meehan's Book Launch event. When I first saw the invitation, I knew it was on election night and Hubby would be working late for his seasonal part-time job. I would need to find a babysitter in order to go. Not only that, well even more, I really don't like to drive in the city. I like to stop at stop signs and slow down to stop when the light is yellow, not speed up through the intersection. If I had someone else to drive, I would've done more to secure a babysitter. So, I was pouting because I didn't have anyone to drive, which made me a tad bit upset with myself for being so uncomfortable driving downtown.

So the plan was that after the kids finished their lessons, the older two would accompany Hubby on some of his rounds. They really enjoy being a part of what he does and they are eager to learn about the election process. It hadn't yet been determined if they would go individually or together, but our oldest, A, would participate in closing down an election site. She has the procedures down to a T! Once we decided that they would go together for a little while, Child C eagerly asked me where I was going to take her: "Somewhere FUN, Mommy!" Sigh. I was hoping to lie down with her for a short nap. I had a chicken in the oven and she wants to go somewhere... Hubby suggested the play place at our local McDonald's. Yippee. {sarcasm intended.}

But what started out as something I was not enthusiastic to do turned into my moment(s) of thankfulness today. This has been a long way of saying, I am thankful for one-on-one time with my daughter. I forget how much I love the ages 3 and 4 and 5. She is almost 5 and started being a bit of a handful when she turned 3. She competes for my attention, which is when times are hard with her. But when it is just her and me, we have a great time. She makes me laugh so much. Her honesty is hilarious and she comes up with the funniest things to say or facial expressions to make. We spent close to 2 hours together and I enjoyed every minute of it. Had I gone to the event I had hoped to attend, I would've missed out on some great quality time and deep belly laughs and contagious giggles. I don't often have opportunity to spend a few hours with any of my girls individually and that needs to change because not only do they each deserve that one-on-one time with me, but I do to. That's when their individual personalities really shine through.

Many others are counting their blessings, too. To read what others are thankful for today, hop on over to Branch of Wisdom.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Counting my blessings: 9

Branch Of Wisdom

Yes, this is Day 9. I did not blog on Days 7 and 8.

Rest. Today I am thankful for rest. I didn't blog over the weekend, which was contradictory to my plans. I did, however, have a dentist appointment, sorting the kids' clothes (2/3 done!), cooking, dishes and laundry. You know, the usual. Most of it was on Saturday. I was so thankful to not have to add one more thing to do.

Friday evening, I was blessed to be able to go across the street to my neighbor's birthday party. It was a casual get together, which provided a nice opportunity to relax and have some time that didn't involve children talking my ear off and trying to talk over one another or fight for my attention.

When I don't get enough rest, my entire family feels it. Rest is rejuvenating and helps me be able to tackle the next task, chore, meal, argument, even the next joyous occasion. If I am not well rested, I do not even want to enjoy something. Some times I am so tired that my eyes fall shut as soon as my knees bend and my bottom takes a seat. Even God rested! And He knew the importance of rest by telling us to rest: "This is what the LORD commanded: 'Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD....'" Exodus 16:23

Sunday was also restful, except for when my kids were bouncing off the walls with excitement while waiting until time to trick-or-treat. They were limited on how many houses from which they were able to receive candy, but they visited many more houses than that to collect food for a local food pantry. This was how God led us when I was struggling with how to give up recognizing Halloween at all. We could use this day when people expect us to come knocking anyway to collect food for those who don't have enough. It's a way to turn a day considered to be unGodly into a day of good, to bless others. This just may turn into an annual tradition in our house. I am thankful for God's voice and for His suggestion. (This may get a post of its own outside of this series, because I am that excited about it!

Many others are counting their blessings, too. To read what others are thankful for today, hop on over to Branch of Wisdom.