Dinners of Shame

We’ve all had those days where we remember were the one in charge of feeding the small helpless people of our home. That their lives require a dinner. That it can be prolonged no further.

I hear the beeper on the oven go off, and am hopeful for a minute… till I remember it’s cake. This may be just me… but I have no problem thinking of deserts, which usually happens (totally inconveniently) around dinner time. I can’t in good conscience FEED desert as dinner, so I find my self fumbling through the freezer and fridge looking for food.

The way my mind works once in this state of “What’s for dinner panic” differs, but I’ll use tonight as an example.

The freezer let’s me down. There really isn’t any good meat that I could possibly defrost in time for dinner. Hmmm… maybe some starchy filling veggies. I remember something. Lame! I was at the wrong store for potatoes ( if I’m gonna pay nearly $8 a bag they better be from Canada)… ooo what is this…. a sweet potato. K, that goes good with carrots and zucchini. A little chopping, little oil, dash of this and that. Nice! the oven is still warm from cake 😁

Into the oven.

I glance at the counter and see I also dragged out some corn on the cob I’d forgotten about. Yes. You can be cooked. Drat you’re still not meat. I examine frozen bags of random meat. Re entertaining the freezer is like going back down the isles of the grocery store. You know full well they don’t have what your looking for, but you darn well gotta find SOMETHING as a substitute. Some how I settle on 4 burger patties left over from a camping trip. I verbally thank the Lord for the presence of all my fingers- still intact- after the separation of all four said frozen patties. They were met with a large kitchen knife where they skidded and danced across the counter top before joining the roasting veggies in the oven.

I was able to put aside my dinner dilemma and phone my best friend. We laugh and chatted and talked about how it’s about that time of year when we should actually start making dinners. We hang up and somehow, this time, I don’t burn dinner. ( I recently had a whole pot of rice boil over so bad the pot was bobbing on an ocean of rice water while the stir fry was attempting making burnt rice paper. I’d gotten carried away in the garden.)

Back at the oven I decide its time to throw corn in the pot of boiling water.

I peek in the oven to see how the burger patties are doin.

Then bam. I look up to this.

How did those dogs get in there?

This is what results of multiple re visits to the freezer, the pickings get increasingly slimmer. But look- meat!

My daughter came into the kitchen to ask what’s for dinner as I pressed frozen wieners further into the water. “Wow, are those boiled hotdogs? Never had those before!” (Oh child but you have…) I shoo her aside and pull out the sizzling patties. Her brow creases, “Why are there burgers? ”

There is a moment of confusion. She tallies up the odd things she sees.

” Corn, veggies, boiled hotdogs and burgers…… well I like all those things!”

And we all live on-

fed for another day.

The side of me that wants to greatly impress you all with my clever cooking is dying as I write this. Because occasionally wonders emerge from my oven. But I think that’s just it. We all have days of brilliance where we wish someone besides the kids could see what we’ve done!

And… (flip side)

we all have those perfectly “interesting” days where we’re glad only the kids have seen what we’ve done.

Besides, dinner panic awakens our problem solving, quick thinking, survival skills. And everyone knows the great importance in those.

So cast aside shame when you throw food at the kids that isn’t what you hopped it would be. Just pray over that dinner,

dig in,

And don’t worry- other side of you will rise again. 😉

(Wait, 🤔 the cake had zucchini in it… it totally would have been an acceptable dinner! Ah well, there’s always breakfast.)

Run!

I don’t peticularly love running, or anything. But I do feel strongly that it is one of those things your body should not forget how to do. Meaning, I need to remind my body that it CAN run.

Ways to achieve this without “going for a run”:

Run to check the mail.

Forget something on your list, then run through the store before all your items are scanned at the checkout and people start spitting at you.

Give your kids squirt guns.

Put your toddler on a bike and point him down a hill.

Climb tall hills and remember you have dinner in the oven- run home.

Race the kids to the driveway.

Run for shelter in a storm.

Run after your spouse/ child with their forgotten lunch.

Never walk up your stairs, always jog.

Play tag at the park.

Be late.

There’s others, but you get the gist.

Don’t confuse these ways with WHY you need to know how to run. I’m getting to that.

If movies have taught us anything, we all know it’s the person at the back of the pack (the one that can’t run) that dies.

Let’s do a quick memory refresher incase you haven’t watched many films as of late.

Reasons to be sure you know how to run:

The big wave. That scene where the people all stand up at the beach holding their hands shielding their eyes looking at the massive wall of water in the distance. Then comes the yell, “RUN!” Sand is kicked up, people are screaming, umbrellas are being thrown into the air, and the water wall blocks out the sun. You better know how to run. Grab a kid or two and put your practice into action.

Or Dinosaurs. Why people in those movies feel safe with them in massive cages is beyond me. They always get out. And they always eat that dispensable character… who usually sucks at… you guessed it… running.

A great deal of time was once spent watching The Walking Dead. Do I recommend this? No, probably not. I fully blame my husband, and the catchy plot. But I still feel nervous when I see cars lined up in big lines in the summer with their belongings strapped here and there. I start thinking of exits. I start thinking zombies. Everyone knows if your unable to run, you’re zombie food, then… we’ll… a zombie- who can only ever walk fast. So yes, RUNNING is more important than speed walking. It’s life or death… and then a life of death stuck walking. So just work on that run.

“BOMB!” Is always closely followed by “RUN!” If you value limbs, which I do, you best know how to move it at a moments notice.

Wolves. There is a movie “The Grey” I unrecommend. But if you’ve seen it; well you don’t wanna be the weak runner at the back. With any predators for that matter.

Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, fires, birds chasing you from the sky (Alfred Hitchcock), alien abductions (Alien series, X Files…), invasions, massive man eating worms that swallow you whole (Tremor videos), burning meteors, galloping bandits… oh the examples are endless!

But seriously, haven’t you found yourself on the edge of your seat begging that character to run faster?

And the danger always comes unexpectedly. You could start workin on your run ya know.

Something worth considering, just sayin.

Well, if the only thing I’ve convinced you of in all this- is the indeedly strange things I ponder and prepare for, or the odd movies I’ve seen- then here’s a practical reason to know how to run,

“Mom, I gotta go poop NOW!”

Gus

Meet Gus Gus. Our new adorable kitten.

My wonderful husband, much to our dismay, really disliked cats. We were given one shortly after we were married in 2008 and for all the smiles it brought me, it WAS a rather odd cat. It was cow coloured, large and came with the name MOO. I called it once from the porch (in my pregnant state) “Moo! Moo! Moo!” And vowed I would never again call the cat that name. I would not have the neighbors thinking I was a cow. So I named it Lou, as it was close sounding. Without going into great detail, however, the cat earned the name Lucifer from my hubby. And after the birth of my first, we gave the cat away.

And so began 9 years of “No cat”.

Sam could not be moved. Not even in the direction of other pets. In desperation the kids and I found some solstice in naming and caring for our chickens. But loving food and producers of food in that way…. well can be pretty hard. And sad. We knew we shouldn’t give them names and pet them, watch and laugh at their crazy antics… love them. But the children’s little hearts desired so deeply to care for a pet, and I longed to let them care for one.

Well let me tell you something about desires. There is someone who hears them. Someone who specializes in heart changing, the impossible, and the hopeless causes. God.

Yes, the kids and I called in the Big guy. Our friend that hears and does what no pleading can ever do- change Dad’s heart. We started praying.

I had hope. I just didn’t think it could be SO good. I thought maybe God would bring a stray to our door, and maybe Sam would let us keep it if we promised it would stay outside and that it would be no bother- he would barely know it existed.

After a few months went by, on September 28th I read Psalm 37:4 before bed

” Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

The next morning when I begged Sam to tell me what he bought our daughter for her birthday the words

“A cat.”

came from his lips.

(I may have said “shut up” and hit him.)

But it was true. He laughed at me in my utter joy and shock.

No stray. He choose us a pet.

I love my Jesus. Listener of little desires and big. He’s no gene- he’s a loving, all-capable,  giver of the great.

And I love my husband. Everything’s about him is an adventure- even the ways he loves. He’s one of the best gifts God blessed me with. And is such an awesome Dad.

So here’s our PET. Gus. He plays and the kids still haven’t grown tired of it. He purs and cuddles and keeps our only daughter company at night.

And daily reminds us just how wonderful Gods gifts are.

 

Top left: Wonder where the cat is?

Two Big Questions

Ok so I’ve got two big questions for you.

Number one:

Is this not the cutest owl?

Don’t feel too bad, I had to be told it was an owl too. He might possibly have a hard time getting in his car… poor owl.

Number Two:

Don’t most siblings make ridiculously random competitions? Seriously, my husbands family (he has 7 siblings) STILL do this every time we hang out with them. And I have all brothers… 4 to be precise. Half our life’s adventures started with the sentence

“Bet you can’t do this!”

Here’s my kids the other night,

And yes, we eat lemon juice on our fish sticks.

And can you tell the bottle has been dropped? That’s the sacrifice one is willing to take when getting a 3-year-old to set the table.

(I also feel like justifying that we’re eating processed frozen food… but don’t we all have those days? Wait… don’t answer that or I’ll have to change my post to 3 big questions.)

Both these random questions originate from the normal ongoings of our household. My fridge sheds pictures like the autumn trees do leaves, and my children are often challenging eachother to perfectly useless uses of their skills. But every now and then I actually notice it.

I’ll look down at the art in my lap and not just say what I say to the million that pass through my hands. Or stop and film their crazy antics because one day dinner will be way too quiet and boring. And realize how full life is with little gifts if I just notice and remember to be thankful. It’s downright easy to fill my mind with annoyances, but my whole being fills with peace when I let all my blessings sink in. And the blessings are right there, always before me- if I only just look with eyes of gratefulness.

Happy Thanksgiving you crazy lot. Hope your eyes see more than turkey this weekend, and your filled with more than food.

Thankfulness is a choice,

and it’s worth seeing.

Parenting… why so… Important?

So a young friend of mine messages me asking for help with answering a question for her project. “Why is parenting the most important job in the world?”


For you parents, you can see how this is such a huge question. You know its so important! But why? I mean, someone will raise your children if you don’t, but why is it important that you do?
I thought about what our Pastor said on Sunday about our children not needing our money. That parents get caught in the trap of working more to pay for things to make their kids happier. But that kids need us. Their parents.
They need our love.
Gosh, it’s such a small amount of their lives they are impressionable enough to understand our deep love for them. (Like look at teenagers- need I say more?)
So here’s what I came up with in answer to her question;

Love is the greatest influence.
Loving enough to care for a child,
teach a child,
discipline and show right to.
Loving them enough to ask forgiveness when you show them wrong.
Loving them enough to take the time, your time,
to raise them.
To pray for them.
To play with them.
Being there enough to be an example.
Feed them God’s word,
and try to instruct them in ways that will develop good character.
And hoping by showing them love,
and caring for their needs,
they will one day go on to do the same.

Oh man, if you could have seen my parenting day today!! I need this encouragement BAD. Some days, today being one of them, I feel so frustrated with the children… and know lots of hard work and changes need to be made in order to fix the problem circuit that just keeps running wrong. Daily. I want to complain (OK i actually want to rant about my children’s bad behavior) and give up (after all I’m only one little me, how much fighting, crying and whining can one person take?). But writing and thinking about this parenting question makes me consider the incredible importance of my job.
SO…
Discipline, Order, here we come. (Please take the time to wait for us.)
And God, can you please take BOTH my hands? (I wish you offered piggy backs…)

So to all you parents out there. Don’t give up. Don’t pull away.
You’ve got the most important job in the world.
And you weren’t asked to do it alone.
The guy who birthed the stars, parted the waters from the dry ground, pulled life from dust, and cares for even the fallen sparrows-
can handle tantrums.
Be of hope.

Seemingly Backwards

It’s this crazy seemingly backwards thing that I’m learning. My nature resists the proofs of this thing and resorts to what it knows best- selfishness, comfort. And yet something in my mind is slowly coming around and can’t help but see this ‘seemingly backwards’ jem as truth.

I’d had a tough week. With my husband starting out his new business, he was home less. Especially in the evenings. I’d grown accustom to his adult presence in my day of children. 12 hrs of me being mother, school  teacher, discipliner, referee, cook, cleaner, driver, listener… was wearing on me. In fact I was feeling pretty sorry for myself right around Friday night. (Earlier in the day I’d attempted to do some “quick” errands with them all in town… walking…) I mentally felt even more sorry for myself that I didn’t have family in town to help my load. And I prayed/ pleaded/ blamed God.

I’d been trying all week to seek “me time”. I need it for my sanity... or so I thought. I’d seek it out whenever I could, thinking my happiness was in some self- fufilling quality me time.

If I’m honest I got lots of short breaks, that I filled with Facebook and other useless pleasures. But I still felt sorry for myself. I didn’t feel happy. Surly this is a problem needing attention.

Sam was able to make it home for a late dinner Friday night but then told me he had to head back out for a bit. I’d dreamed of leaving him with the children and going hot tubbing and sitting in the sauna at the pool that evening. After a sigh, for the sake of sanity, I quickly asked if I could just go for a short walk first.

Which I did.

As I walked I saw kids outside on a  neighboring street and thought of my own children full of energy and wildness tearing about the place at home. I decided the dark and cold were not reasons to stop them from going out to burn off some of that energy before bed.

I’m not sure how it happened, I think it was maybe that my two year old wanted to go outside as well. But instead of locking the door on them and indulging in that precious time all to my glorious self… I found myself whizzing down the hill with them on a sled.

We made trains (which the leader tricked me and took my poor adult butt over a jump), we did bumper cars, pulling and pushing and jumping on others sleds. And my toddler walked up the little hill himself like 10 times and never even mentioned his mitts (can all the moms give me a hallelujah?) and he road contently down with me cuddled in my lap. And the very oddest thing happened-

happiness.

Yes, I felt so alive and full of such simple joy playing with my children! Those 4 little beings I was trying to avoid… we’re fixing my unhappiness as I spent time goofing around with them.

I eventually took Si (my toddler) in to get ready for bed and then washed up the dinner dishes to the sound of the kids laughing in the yard.

That’s so weird. I thought. Why did that make me feel better than I have all week?

Here it is. That crazy seemingly backwards thing I was talking about. I took time to PLAY with my children, not just care for all their many needs… but enjoy them. And I was filled up. I became satisfied.

I think it’s easy, nature, to think happiness is hidden in doing things for ourselves. But it isn’t. The proof is all around us if we think about it. It’s seemingly backwards, but joy is found in enjoying others. Caring for their interests, not just our own.

When we give of ourselves, we take joy in the other persons pleasure at receiving our gift.

Alone time is good, and healthy, don’t get me wrong. But it shouldn’t be my daily goal. “I” should not be my daily goal. Because, however seemingly backwards it seems

loving others is loving ourselfs.

But after all, we were made in the image of someone who defined love. Said love was that he sent his only son to die… for us… while we were still ungrateful little sinners. The most selfless act in all of history. To be a God that can whisper a word and save yourself from all the pain, all heart wrenching pain, and yet CHOOSE to remain and take all our sin on his back. To be made nothing… or worse, treated like a criminal and a lair. For what?

Love.

And when my King rose again, 3 days later, after making the way for us all to be free from our death demanding sin… paying the only price that would ever need to be paid… let me tell you-

he was happy. Oh so happy.

Yes sometimes my kids throw toys at each others heads or argue over who once said that doll was heavy but “I never said that!!” and you wonder how they can fight over seriously, nothing. But they also draw me pictures, say thank you when I help them, snuggle me with stories on the couch, laugh and say the darnedest of things. And as I care for them and give of myself in so many ways for them… they grow, stay alive, become intelligent, kind, and loving of those around them. And oh! They do bring me so much happiness.

It’s easy to get sucked into the woes of ME. But that ME needs to remember- the cure to that is

THEM.
OTHERS.

 

 

 

Philippians 2:4
 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 John 4:9-12
 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

The Song

After a severe case of writers block I’m back.
Who am I kidding? It’s more like Mom fog.
Clusters of thoughts, things to do, and then long stretches of fuzzy BLANKS. (I accomplish this once the children are in bed).
But tonight, while I soaked in a tub of warm water, I re-visited a ‘good feeling’ memory. And the words came, bumping and feeling their way into place.
My memory,
Well I was probably 8.
The details are a little hazy… But the just of what I’m getting at remains intact.
My older brother, whom of all my 4 brothers I argued with most, told me something kind.
He happened to mention that he sometimes fell asleep listening to me sing my made up songs. That they came down to his room from the heater vent in the floor at night. I don’t remember if he said he didn’t mind it, or if he liked it. But I remember the feeling.
And it felt like he liked it.
Like I had a listener.
Anyways, it wasn’t the aroma of the strawberry Disney bubble bath getting to me tonight. The reason this memory popped up as I soaked is that tonight something happened.
Elise (5) with her wet hair, and yellow daisy nighty crept quietly into her room where her little brother slept.
I followed behind.
But the sneaking was in vain. My 9 month old stirred, and spotted me. And he wasn’t in a good mood.
Crying.
So much for my planned bath…
After a while I decided to just lay him back down, go tuck the other boys in, then come back and try to settle him.
As I closed the door I heard Elise break into song in her flowy child voice. She always insists Silas loves it, but often I tell her to be quite, that babies have a hard time falling asleep with noise. But as I was coming back anyways, I left her to it as she created an adorable song just for Silas.
A little while later I came out of the boys bedroom and all I could hear was Elise’s song.
No crying.
I smiled. “We’ll ill just run the tub, then get him if I need to.”
Tub filled.
Silence.
They were both asleep.

And so, that’s why I thought of my ‘good feeling’ memory.
Maybe Silas didn’t mind her song.
Or maybe,
he liked it.

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Submerged

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Complaining about kids is easy to do. Social media is full of stories or video’s of parents pulling out their hair, never getting sleep, and slaving away frazzled under the command of little people and their never ending messes.
It’s pretty entertaining to read. I’ve written exasperated posts myself… and probably will again.
I recently watch a video clip, however, that made me sit back and think. It was intended to be very funny, but left me feeling sad. It portrayed the hard side of being a stay home mom- playing the same games over and over, never ending messes, wanting to just sleep, counting the hours of the clock, negotiating with toddlers, and dreaming of when your husband will come home and save you… from them.
Which is all really real.
But it’s only the hard parts.
Like most things in life; if you only focus on the difficulties you will miss all the joy and beauty.
Toy cars in your boots, necklaces taped together out of shoe strings for your neck, little kisses, family game nights, tickle fights, brushing and rolling silky hair by the fire. Singing belted from the bathroom- off key. Breakfast made for you- bread smeared with butter and globbed with jam. “Momma”. Blankies smelling of your baby. Whipping cream from a can- a pure miracle. Stories with pj’s and little toes. Outrageous clothing choices. Noses pressed against the glass when you drive away. Encouraging words- “wow you look beautiful Momma!” and “it’s ok Mom”. Precious prayers, and honest little confessions. Pictures plastering all boring appliances and most walls. Toys coloring your yard, and gumboots lining your steps. Playing and laughter. Joy. So much joy.
Beautiful little heads to kiss and be thankful for as you fix the covers, tuck in a leg, remove the truck, slide out the book, turn off the night light, and silently close the door.
LOVE.
Not enough said, about the incredible gift of love children bring. God’s gift.
Being a mother is by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

My water pitcher isn’t 3/4ths empty-
It’s the perfect height for a Yellow Submarine.