Monday, December 24, 2012

Love

I don't know if I wrote about this before.

When I was teenager I was in the psych ward at Children's hospital (and several other times at Franciscan). The time that just came to mind was the first time I was hospitalized. I had tried to kill myself by overdosing on a hnadful of different medications. After they treated me medically I was put in the ward.

I don't remember anything in particular that I learned in my sessions or group therapies but I do remember some of the hurting people I met. Chris, Dale the girl who thought she was fat, Tequila, little Mike... tons of kids ranging from 4 years old to 17 years old.

The thing I remember most is that my parents came every day and that they arranged for my whole youth group to come visit me. 17 people, it was the most visitors any patient had ever received at one time a nurse told me. My parents wanted to make sure I felt loved even though I, myself was pretty unlovable at the time.

That is a real picture of God's love I think. Loving someone who rejects you, even though it is in inconvenient.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Slob Update

Marley: You know what's great about making new friends? You have new friends and old friends and you can make them both work!

(meaning you can make both relationships work but I like it better from a delegation/overseer mentality).
...

The other night during the meteor shower I saw three shooting stars. Same night Bob got offered a job at Metropole, a fancy shmancy restaurant that specializes in some artsy with a side dish of fartsy. I couldn't be more excited. Bob doing what he wants to do in an urban forward-thinking establishment which functions as a hotel/contemporary art gallery/restaurant. Pumped.
...

I scrapped yet another version of my book. I had to look inside myself to harness my chi/ exorcise my demons/ own my verbs and find a new plot for my beloved (other)world. So I made a new timeline and lo and behold... I actually managed to think of a conflict (actually several of them). Something I could not previously produce without sticking a big nasty ugly stick into the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. I killed my original sidekick who I was in love with (meaning he no longer exists) but something had to give. I would have made it the main character if I could have managed it. I did get pretty concerned when I was roughing out the new timeline when I couldn't think of a better word for "frenemy." Somestimes it isn't just heavy machinery we should avoid when tired. It is the internet, our homework and other people in general.
...

I finished my first semester back to school and at least 5 of my 6 professors would probably not shoot me on sight. I'll count that as a win!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kabalarian Report- Pretty accurate actually.

The name Meghyn gives you a very inquisitive, restless, seeking nature. You feel impelled by intense desires that you cannot comprehend or satisfy. You have had the desire to accomplish something outstanding and to do something very worthwhile for humanity, especially early in your life. This name gives you a versatile, clever, analytical mind, but unfortunately you cannot direct your interest toward an undertaking for long, as you do not have the patience and practicality for systematic hard work and attention to detail. You resent obstacles, delays, and restrictions. This name gives you ambition, high ideals, and much creative ability, but the intense dynamic nature is too often spent in feelings and in moods, rather than in constructive action. You desire to be your own boss, yet you find it difficult to stabilize your life and to settle down and be accumulative. Your feelings swing from optimism to pessimism. When conditions are favourable and you are in a good mood, you are very generous, courteous, considerate, and thoughtful toward others. On the other hand, you can be very cynical and caustic, and you subject those around you to outbursts of temper and moods of self-pity. Your home-life particularly would suffer. This name has given you an appreciation for refinement, and the better things in life such as art, music, and literature. You can express a very friendly, debonair personality to strangers which invariably makes a very favourable impression. This name creates a high-strung, temperamental nature. You find you must wage a continual fight with yourself to control your lower nature. It has been your experience that once you lose control to indulgent habits, for example smoking or drinking, or to emotional outbursts, it is very difficult to regain control. You would be affected in the health through a sensitive solar plexus and nervous system. When in an overwrought state, you are subject to premonitions and uncontrolled thoughts which may lead to impulsive acts that you may later regret. Nervous disorders, nervous indigestion, and stomach ulcers are likely to appear.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Milo

Sometimes it makes me feel sick that I cannot do the things that people need to do for themselves. I cannot transfer any of my energy, my faith, or my drive to them when theirs is gone. Worse that there are things that I did that cannot be undone that may have made things worse.
Laziness, boredom, apathy. These things (amongst others) were sewn in the garden of Eden that fateful day. That cursed day.

"This time of year is the hardest for me."

Loving people is so much work. It requires so much. All day long, all night long. I fail at it daily, nightly. I get too lazy, too bored, too apathetic. Too busy.
No appropriate words for the melancholy right now.

I praise God for the joy I have. That this is not it; I'm not home yet.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Literature

This is my literature paper comparing two children's books. The information for the first book is all accurate. I changed or omitted the names of the book I didn't like to protect feelings in case anyone takes to googling themselves.

Two to Three Books

Two to three books. That is our average bedtime routine. Not for myself unfortunately, but for my kids. I use to have exclusive rights to the choosing of titles but recently I have let them choose for themselves as well. Sometimes my two year old picks out a book about the geographical features of Japan and sometimes (and this is much, much worse) my four year old picks out Dora the Explorer books. As a parent I want to forcibly instill values into my unwilling children by sneaking them in through literature. To do this the books need to do three basic things. Agree with my personal philosophies, be age appropriate, and entertain my children so they will listen and not race around the room making jokes that all have “underwear” as the punchline. It is easy to find an age-appropriate book with a message that encourages children to act in a responsible and pro-social manner.  Less handy is the book that does those things and holds their attention long enough to jam the message into their cartoon-damaged psyches.

So when my daughter Marley picked out Mo Willem’s “Can I Play Too?” I thought “this must be by that pigeon guy”. My assumption based on illustrations was correct. Pigeon guy it was but this book turned out to be a much finer thing than the slightly neurotic accounts of the pigeon who wants to drive a bus. We read it that night. It stood out amongst the other selections (not all that difficult as my son Solomon continues to choose only Lego City books or books featuring a ball of any type on the cover).

It met all three of my criteria for a winning book. My kids could follow along, they knew what was happening and they laughed at all the right places and better yet, they demonstrated the sympathy they felt for the characters. The book is about an elephant and a pig that are playing catch; a snake comes along and wants to play. The two do not agree at first to let him join then hesitantly explain to the snake it is because he has no arms and therefore cannot play catch. The snake pretends to be shocked but this turns out to be a joke and he expresses a willingness to try and play anyway. What follows is preschooler slapstick gold. The snake’s attempts result in many bonks to the head and ultimately to a feeling of failure. The snake begins to slink away but then pig buckles down and sets determinedly out to resolve this unfair predicament of nature. The issue is resolved when Elephant and Pig include their friend in the game of catch by using the snake as the ball, throwing him back and forth. Everyone is happy. Pig, Elephant, Snake, Marley, Solomon, and myself.

What does such a silly book show us? It clearly isn’t a page from Aesop’s Fables because it ends happily for everyone and the audience is still awake at the end (although this may not be a point in its favor considering its being read at bedtime). There is a message hidden comfortably within the light hearted play of the talking animals. Elephant and Pig are able to play catch because they have arms and Snake is physically unlike them, unable to partake in the game as they do. This is not unlike the child who may have a disability; be it poor vision or being confined to a wheel chair. No matter the degree of the difference between a child and what is considered by culture to be normal there will be an effect on that child’s development and how they interact with world around them.

When the Snake became discouraged in the book my daughter clucked disapprovingly at the situation. It offended her understanding of fairness that the Snake should be unable to do something the other friends were doing. When Pig decided that s/he would not accept the situation for what it was and set out to make it so that Snake would be included, Marley cheered. She was recognizing the behavior as being kind and correct. Exactly what I would want from her if she was faced with a situation where a disabled child wanted to join in on her play. I would want her to not accept defeat or the exclusion of the child but to seek out whatever change was necessary to include everyone. This sounds a bit idyllic I know. But teaching ideals is what I do and when the lesson is wrapped up in an adorable tale of talking animals, all the better.

Unfortunately, it is not all idylls and acceptance on talking animal island. You know when your relatives buy your kid a book and you peruse the thing making sure there isn’t a cusswords or misplaced syringes in the pages? Last September after checking a book given as a birthday gift to my son I had to pull a slip-it-under-the-couch maneuver. The thing was awful. By the third page I was ready to pull out my soap box (luckily the box is banned at birthday parties and other noncompetitive family-functions).

I can see why my sister-in-law purchased it. It is an appealingly sized hardback book with adorable illustrations and the dog in the book has the same name as our family dog. Obviously this book was meant for us, right? Well, it would have been if they had forgone all the words… or at least about three quarters of them.

“OHNOTWINKIEZ” begins with a picture of a yellow dog spending time with his owner BELINDA. Harmless except he is on a treadmill trying to lose weight because he is fat. Now I would have said overweight but the book actually uses the word fat. It also implied that ESCABAR became handsome only after becoming fit and losing twelve pounds. All of this happens on the first two pages. After ESCABAR becomes a more beautiful version of himself and loses the weight BELINDA gets him into agility training. Each task is timed or if failed met with a pronouncement of “fault!” Occasionally some disconnected information about what ESCABAR and BELINDA do besides train is interjected. It does nothing to make me like either of them more, only confuses the storyline. BELINDA hears about a dog show and ESCABAR agrees (via tail wagging) to compete. BELINDA grooms him and brushes his teeth because “…nobody likes a dog with bad breath.” I personally disagree with this statement. If my dog didn’t have bad breath (aka dog breath) I would suspect he was an alien imposter sent to overtake our planet and not my dog at all.  And if I did agree with it, I would certainly be more polite in saying it to my poor dog.

So they go to the competition, BELINDA scopes out the obstacles, six other dogs are competing, ESCABAR goes third, they walk to the starting line… (wondering why waste time giving such detailed nonessential information? I was wondering that too). ESCABAR completes the course perfectly but not fast enough. ESCABAR is unhappy to receive the third place ribbon, BELINDA is happy. They end with BELINDA suggesting they increase the treadmill time from 20 minutes to 25 minutes. See? Awful.

Besides the fact there is serious writing and storyline flaws there are other more insidious things at work here. Teaching children to refer to sensitive topics such as weight indelicately and worse, to associate weight loss with attractiveness. Let children be taught that beauty is achieved through health and the pursuits of the heart and mind and not a 20 minute run on the treadmill. I flipped through the book ignoring the words and looked only at the pictures. The story is much improved except the one image of a portly disgruntled and unhappy looking dog staring down at the dial on a scale.

Two to three books. A small window of opportunity to fit sneaky ideals and values into my children during their formative years. How long before they choose their own books and read them without my supervision? What books will they be inspired to read after reading “Can I Play Too?”? Atwood, Lee, Salinger? And what literature follows stories like “OHNOTWINKIEZ?”? Elle, YM, Cosmo, Stephenie Meyer? Thankfully some 22,000 children’s books are published each year and I have the luxury of being  hyper-vigilant and selective and I can still come out with maybe 5000 books to safely read and enjoy with my children. So even if we do manage to read two to three new books every night (instead of the same books over and over and over… and over) I would still have some 4000 to spare.

My point in this report is that a message need not be overt (like a fat dog needing to lose weight) to affect children. The more subtle message leaves room for introspection and personal interpretation, making the experience more relatable for the child, easier to apply to their own lives. Children often flourish with structure and parameters for behaviors but they don’t long to be preached to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I survived Gator camp 2012

Marley: What do you call a clock?
Solomon: Ummm... Daddy!
They both laugh.
...

So on Saturday morning I take the kids and we head to Dunkin Donuts. I decide to drive past Dater to see if the line for first-come first-serve registration has begun. I wasn't 100% sure but I had a feeling that someone had started the line. I had driven by at 2am and there had been no one there. Well apparently they set up their tent at 3am.

There were 7 people in line by the time I got there at 8:30am. By noon all 7 of the preschool spots were gone. Which later it turned out there was only 6. I had the 3rd spot (for Solomon). I had the 5th spot for kindergarten (for Marley).

One by one the line just kept growing. There was a lot of speculation about how many spots there were for kindergarten, how many for preschool, what the process was when we finally got in the doors, what the rules about everything were, whether there would be line jumping drama... or a knife fight. People talked about their kids and their ages, where they went to school now, why they like Dater. They talked about their jobs, their spouses, all that stuff.

Each night we sat around fire pits. Every time we needed to use the bathroom we walked to Mercy Hospital's ER or UDF. Either our individual posses delivered us food or the collective arranged for communal food. A lot of  very kind people paid it forward and delivered us bagels, soup, sandwiches, tacos, cookies, brownies. Amazing kindness. It would have been easy street if it were not for the night and day of rain and the night when it was 28 degrees.

Now the 4th day- that is when it got interesting. That was registration day. The Dater principal had mercy and decided to open the doors at midnight rather than waiting till the next morning. We had to strike our tents and get rid of the camping stuff because kids were back in class (they had no school on Monday because Veteran's day). So we all got in our official order on the sidewalk in our chairs. Pretty dull until 4pm when the principal led us all up to wait by the doors instead of on the sidewalk. The reason it was exciting was because we were bodily moving towards our goal. Other than that nothing really changed. People were getting really anxious. Worrying more about line jumping drama (and potential knife fights). Sticking to their assigned spot in line.

Some of us didn't handle the change with rigid amounts of stress. I made a friend Jenny and she had a nervous energy to match my own. The fact that it was freezing helped because only moving helped to keep us warm. Jenny and I ran a foot race from the building to her car. She won because she ran through the extremely treacherous wet sand of the baseball diamond. Some people reportedly said that if we both got hurt or died that we forfeited our spots in line.

We decided to continue the epic battle for awesome supremacy. We engaged in slide-racing (three times, three ties; judged by a onlooking 6 year old). Speed peeing contest. Competitive art-critiquing. Thumb wars. 20 questions (no one won, that is an awful game). Dance off.

Then we played this really awesome game called Werewolf. There was about 13 of us playing. If you have never played Werewolf, I suggest you look into it and get a game going in your life. I was lynched multiple times and ravaged by werewolves. Probably owing to the fact that I have a loud annoying voice. We DID NOT play Red Rover. People were concerned that they would get hurt and have to go ER and that it would cost their spot in line.

At around 9:30 the principal let us into the building and we went to the auditorium to wait. Until Jenny discovered the gym was open and that the gym had a huge closet full of awesome stuff to play with. So after a race on little wheeled square things, a game of dodgeball was organized. 6 vs. 6 with a referee and many onlookers. My team was the losingest team but I blame my turtleneck, snow boots, double socks and pants.

After everyone was exhausted we decided to be a bit more tame. We played kickball. I was on the winnigest team that time. Much better game in my opinion.

Then it was time to sit quietly and try to stay awake until the magical midnight hour when we all got called in groups of ten to fill out our applications. I secured Marley's position as a 2013 Dater Gator and discovered that my preschool position for Solomon was lost because I was applying for free tuition. So he got waitlisted.
Can't win them all.

I met a lot of awesome people and loving parents.

I wonder how the rest of the campers are transitioning back to normal life in society. Not easy to go back after being the Mayor of Dater or the secretaries of fire stoking, grocery, defense, kickball, etc.

 
#occupydater

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Future and Fear

Blogger and IE both suck.
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I am not thrilled to be taking science courses (two of them). But this semester I discovered that I can accomplish math courses, with the help of God and no one else. Next semester I hope to discover that some sciences do not have to be a mind-numbing bore. Maybe.
I was SHOCKED to discover I needed additional Arts and Humanities courses. It feels as though I have only taken arts and psychology courses ever. So I enrolled in the Music of the Middle Ages class. I am pretty excited about it because the only music I listen to with any regularity is classical (although sometimes Pandora tricks me into straying). My favorite composers to date: Debussy, Hayden, Borodin. Borodin is especially interesting to me because he was a weekend warrior composer; he was a chemist to pay the bills. It makes brings some realism to the otherwise fantastic. If that makes sense to anyone but me, I don’t kno
So to finish the Associate of Arts I need the two science courses and one arts credit. In addition to those courses Cincinnati State requires a Co-op or internship. The plan is that I do the internship (read: unpaid) because it can be finished in one semester instead of two. This is desirable because it will be in a school and if I don’t finish in spring I will have to wait all summer to finish in fall. With the internship I can finish in spring and graduate in summer.
I am looking forward to the internship. It well help me to make sure this is what I want to do. Hopefully push away any lingering doubts about going into administration or business. Also the networking will be nice, since I don’t know many people in the CPS district and that is where I want to work. I am going for a seminar in literacy training in December with Cincinnati Reads. I am pretty excited about that as well as it will be my first concrete training in teaching.
Today during meditation at yoga I had some very powerful insights. It came to me that many of my problems (both internal and external) are caused by fear. Ex: I nag Bob to find a higher paying job because I worry about bills and food and expenses. I yell at my kids because I am afraid that if I don’t they will grow up to be gang members/inmates/prostitutes/politicians. I turn off the downstairs lights and then sprint up the stairs so nothing gets me.
It is all fear and it is all detrimental to the quality of my life.
Why would I push Bob to return to IT? He HATES IT. I hate when he is miserable. So how could that possibly improve our lives? By paying the bills? That sounds like a secular game of fending off misery with misery. Jesus told me I do not need to worry. If my faith is great why do I doubt that he will provide for me in His way, His time? He has provided for us for years during dire financial hardships. Through the generosity of family, through miraculous timing and other ways could be just called luck. He didn’t have to but He has earned my trust. So I am casting out fear. It may sneak back in. I will cast it out again.
In yoga my mind kept replaying the words “No more fear.” While it may sound like a bad motivational slogan, it really felt freeing. I don’t need fear, I have faith.
Speaking to that point… Bob and a coworker have been in deep discussions about going into a business venture together. A restaurant. Not much new there. Bob is always discussing entrepreneurship with someone. The difference is that they are developing a concrete action plan, writing an actual business plan. On Sunday they are going to view a location downtown. I am not convinced of the location but it has a good history of thriving restaurants. The previous occupants expanded and bought their own space in OTR. We will see. I shall not fear.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”… If God is for us, who can be against us? From Romans 8
 
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
(last line omitted)
Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I am just going to eat brownie mix and have done with it.

There are inherent risks of being involved with a foodie. The obvious one of course is getting fat.

But some of the problems are not as obvious. My darling husband is a foodie. Some of you think of him as being a guy who enjoys the finer things, others of you happen to know my husband will eat just about anything if you give him a dollar.
Something you might not know is that my husband willingly harbors paranoia towards all things food-related (and politically-related, and woman-related, and Hulk Hogan-related).

He is never happier than when he is sitting in front of a screen playing the latest food conspiracy theory movie. Some movies you know, like Supersize Me and Food Inc. Others are incredibly obscure and low budget (I think he prefers these because the crazier people make them). I take no issue at all with him watching these movies. Do I poke fun at him when he eats the occasional Big Mac? You bet I do! He does not have any apparent qualms with engaging in gastronomical hypocrisy.

Him watching the movies is not the problem. No the problem is he watches them at our house... Where I live. I walk through the living room and suddenly I feel like maybe I might be the worst mother in the world because I gave my kids something truly sinister like... corn.

I can't eat foods with GMOs because I will be eating synthetic poison, I cannot eat organic foods because I will be ingesting organic poison, I can't eat meat because I will then be subscribing to fat-sucking chest-pounding animal murder. I can't eat corn. At all. Ever. Ditto, Wheat.
Chicken will kill you. Potatoes (strawberries, grapes, tomatoes) may or may not be a tool of oppression, Cows should be given the vote. Spinach is good for you.

Wait. What! A food I can eat? Well I CAN eat it but it has to be raw because cooking it just sucks all the good nutritional qualities right out of it rendering it useless intestinal fodder. Well I can just have it in a salad. Of course, a salad.

BUT NO DRESSING AND DON'T YOU DARE PUT EGGS, NUTS, OR CROUTONS ON IT.

EGGS!? Are they good or bad for me this week?
What if they are raised locally? Grain fed? Free range?
What the heck are those eggs doing ranging around anyway?

 So as far as I can tell, the only thing I can eat that will sustain my spiritual, physical and cognitive being is (organic, locally and sustainably harvested)  blueberries. And I think they are gross.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankfulness every day and Life updates

Day 1. Thankful for being able to go to school in the same building as my kids.
Day 2. For my desk.
Day 3. I am thankful to Crayola, RoseArt, etc. for making art affordable.
Day 4. Day 4...? I am thankful for my husband who tells me what day it is (but he is downstairs and cannot confirm the date and I really can't be bothered to mouse-over the clock right now.)
....
So we did not win a spot at Dater Montessori via the "Your-area-school-is-not-so-good lottery" but we are on watch to see if/when the camping begins for the first-come first-serve registration. Doors open at midnight on the 13th of this month. I heard there were 25 spots, 20 spots and most lately 22 spots. I have no doubt we will be able to get to the camping line in time to be in the first 20.

Bob: I want to camp but I'm not looking forward to it with a bunch of crazy moms.
Me: I am!
Bob: Uh huh.
...
Solomon takes longer than Marley to fall asleep and tonight he was working on falling asleep and singing Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes and the Birthday Song. He can say a lot of words but he is in the stage where I am the only person who can understand most of them.
"I want orange juice."
"Mommy I'm tired."
"Marley hit me." (Their favorite game is kung-fu these days) (also known as the game where they take turns saying "S/he hit me!")
"Water in cup."
"Baby powder."

Mommy I'm tired is by far my favorite phrase. Not just because it gives me hope that he may slow down long enough for me to grab him and stick him in his bed but it is adorable. It smacks of that quickly fading baby-vulnerability. It makes me sad knowing that this is likely my last 2 year old.
...
My book is going swimmingly, except when the plot confuses me. That is bad. The plot should not confuse the author, in my opinion.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why I quit quitting drinking

So I rarely drink. For New Years I made a resolution to quit drinking entirely. 7 months, no problems. But then I started noticing when I was around people while they were drinking I would have to explain "I don't drink" and sometimes even the why I didn't drink. Now it was actually preferable when someone wanted to know why. Then I could talk about my faith and how I didn't want clouded judgement leading me to behave in a crass way. But it was beginning to become a thing. Causing me to stumble because I was caught up in maintaining that thing rather than really addressing the behavior that I sought to prevent. It wasn't having a drink that caused me to gossip viciously or be lewd. It was the people I was having that drink with. My behavior around them is not what I want for myself. Aside from the physical damage that drinking alcohol causes the real problem was the effect my company was having on my soul. (I don't mean to say anyone besides me was ever responsible for my behavior. Just that theirs influenced mine in a negative way that I was not resisting.) I've decided that it is a situation that I have to draw away from. Not withdraw my love but withdraw my enabling of behaviors that I believe to be ultimately damaging to the body, the soul, and society.

Setting rules for yourself can be important but ultimately it is communication with God and recognizing things within yourself that will keep you on the right path. The letter of the law was blinding me from the truth. I thought I was safe because I followed the rule but really I was missing the essence of the spirit behind it all. To act in a way that glorifies God and does not cause others to stumble.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

These days

Celebrated the two year wedding anniversary this past weekend. It was like going on all the dates we forgot to go on before we were married. Ate lunch together, went to the Art Museum and saw the (highly overrated) Herb Ritts collection, saw Seven Pyschopaths (bogo tickets!) It was wonderful. Ate brunch at Vitor's (thank you city of Cincinnati for the coupon via Recycling rewards!) and that was my favorite part. We listened to all the people around, foodies and traveling business people. Everyone talking about where food is good.
...
Solomon said his longest sentence a few days ago. "...Mama, I have a butt."
So proud.
...
We entered a lottery to try to secure Marley a spot in one of the Cincinnati Public magnet schools. Should find out this week if we got one of the 16 spots (8 at Dater, 8 at our second choice SCPA). Not sure what we will do if we got a SCPA spot. There is a good chance we will have to camp for the spot we want, which we are willing (but not prepared) to do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

If/when I die, show this to my kids.

Marley & Solomon- You are children of God, heirs with Christ and my beloved children too. You must never think you have gone too far or done too much for God to love you because no matter what, if you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins, then it is good between you and God.
 
He keeps all of His promises and Jesus said it is accomplished. Meaning your salvation. You have a hope. Be sincere in your belief and let your lives show evidence that you love Him. Love is the actions you take, the words you speak and the thoughts you allow yourself to ruminate on. Be faithful, He will be to you.
 
Never underestimate what you are able to do because God will strengthen you. You can do all things. You are beautiful. You are wonderful. I have wept with joy looking at your faces. I have seen my mortality and my legacy when I look at you. You look more like your dad but you each have some traits that are like me too. Marley is dreamy and sometimes has to hear something a few times because she cannot be distracted from whatever her imagination is conjuring up. Solomon is energetic and undauntable, a trait that will move one forward if you can also practice patience.
 
What you do with your lives will become part of God's masterplan for the whole world. Be good guys. Do not let apathy or dogma keep you from caring about others but never sacrifice the truth. Be introspective, be humble, be bold. I have prayed for you since the days you were born. 
 
Solomon- that you would become a man that would lead others, strong and loving, that you would be a righteous man who genuinely loves God and serves Him, motivated by that love. That you would have generations after you who would be similarly lead, a light in this world.
Marley- that you would not be caught up in the sickness of this world. It is a cruel place for women. You do not need anything this world can offer to make you perfect in the sight of the Lord. Your face, hair, body are all perfect. Your eyes are a pretty blue  and they have shades of lavender in the sunset. Your face is the sweetest I know. I pray that you will know one day the miracle that is having children, that you will abstain from the bickering back-biting that personifies so many of this world's relationships.
 
Look to God to fufill the sometimes seemingly impossible expectations we learn to put on intimacy. No significant other will ever be able to fill your romantic or familial needs all the time. So go to God when you feel let down, or better yet, before you feel that way.
 
Neither of you should ever forget how special you are. How cherished you are. You are the greatest blessings I have ever received. I thank God for you both and for the time I have been given to spend with you. It is better fun to think of the great possibilities of your lives than it was to imagine them for mine, so be great!
 
Smile in pictures, clean up litter even if it isn't yours, be careful in cars; you may feel like you're sitting on a couch but really you're sitting in a giant bullet.
 
No words to describe my affection for you. I don't know how Heaven can compare to my happy moments with you two but I am looking forward to finding out and then sharing it with you some day.

Love,
Mom
 
1 Timothy 1: 15-17
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patienceas an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal,invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 21
 

Math Shmath

So there is some song that they use to play on the radio with the lyrics "Because you're a god and I am not."

Not winning any awards with those lyrics (I hope). But I thought of them today as I was studying Probability multipication rule. I was working this one type of problem over and over and over. I tried it maybe 10 times (about 30 minutes) without being able to get the first part of the question answered (it had two parts). I just kept plugging away, trying to make the rule make sense in my head. Finally I just looked up to the ceiling (you know, where God hangs out) and said (aloud) "I cannot do this. You have to do this or this isn't happening. Please help me." Tried again, got the first part right, second part wrong. Tried again (it remixes the stats every attempt) and got it right. Again, right. Again, right. Again, right.

After getting it right the first time I was a little overwhelmed with joy because I had decided I could not move on until after I got it right. I looked back up the ceiling and said (aloud), "You're amazing at this. I am not."

....

Now I need to apply this prinicple sooner and to every other struggle I come across. God heals things, God makes me able, God strengthens me, God does my math for me! Now if I could just humble myself enough to let Him do the work in my personal life. I had an awful day and all I did was fight Him all day.

...

For the record, tonight is Solomon's first night with out the snarfer (pacifier) in a long time. He took longer to settle down from the Marley-Solomon gigglefits but no other "problems".

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Taking a break from math homework.

I have been studying my Stats homework even more faithfully since I got a 100% on my second test. I feel more compelled to do well in a subject that I am doing well in. Really supports all those things I have heard about "setting yourself up to succeed" and "math isn't all bad" (but of course, REALLY... it is).

On two occasions today I caught myself engaging in behaviors that just didn't make sense. Those were just the times I caught myself. I am fairly certain that there were more but I'm too weird to notice them. I will share the two I caught.
1. I found myself standing on the toilet seat putting on Bob's deoderant (on myself, not Bob).
2. Sitting on the dryer eating a protein bar, staring out the window.
...
I find myself in a position where I need to produce a resume and it makes me feel wholly unlike myself. What could I possibly need a resume for?

BUT I DO NEED IT. For an actual purpose and I find the whole situation combination terrifying/exciting. I would imagine the thrill is akin to what some people feel when they ride rollercoasters (all I feel is nauseated).

(fyi I need the resume for an FYE (that instructs one on resume building/writing and job seeking strategies)(such similar acronyms) class and for my co-op coordinator who is going to be working on finding me a position at a middle school here on the good ole' Westsiiiiiide.

Afraid I may end up teaching your kids? You should be.
...

I am working on my latest fiction project and I must say that I am 27,000 words in and on fire with what is coming next. I have been working on not focusing on what will eventually be cut and just getting everything I want down. One of my professors is an author and has several books published and she had an open forum where we could ask her questions and I thought the best advice she gave was that a best thing an author can do is practice BIC (Butt in Chair).

So that is why I have moved from writing in bed to writing at my desk. Unfortunately my chair and desk are so ill suited that I find myself kneeling at the desk, clacking away.
...

October, October. Not quite the holidays.
Enjoyed the Sunflower festival with the Deubbers and Goodridges.
Looking forward to Hallzooween and the Duebber Halloween fete.
Celebrating two years of matrimony to the Beard. Strangely enough the hardest year for us financially and the easiest on our relationship (not that relationships are ever actually easy).
Cannot wait for Holiday Junction at the Museum Center either. Ralph & Debbie- you better join us for some Festive Choo-choo buggaloo.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Money. Marriage. Heart

Money is a battle every day. We find our struggles change. Battle for the house. Battle for independence. Battle for food. The goal shifts slightly, the aspect changes, the root is always the same. There is of course a purpose. I just don't know it.
...
Bob and I have managed to love each other through (from what I can tell) what most people get divorced about (poverty and parenting). I can only believe God keeps us together, because neither  Bob nor I are stoic romantic heroes. I don't mean this to reflect poorly on our relationship,  on the contrary. I think God created a thing of beauty out of something unlovely and I think he did it to serve a great purpose. Whether that manifests tomorrow or in 3 generations I do not know but I'm grateful for the intervention. Bob probably would never put up with me otherwise.
...

I pray God would open Bob's eyes so that he would recognize what looks like foolishness to the world is actually wisdom.
...
God lighten the feeling of my heart.  Amen

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ketchup

God I am grateful for...
The melodic sound of wind chimes.
The smell of fresh picked basil.
Almond milk.
Eating lunch with Lindsey.
Doing yoga with Marley and Solomon.
Generous parents.
Pretty fabric.
Sitar music.
Lovable in-laws.
Cloudy skies in the morning so I can drive and see at the same time.
Almond milk.
Marley and Solomon loving each other so well.
Getting to enjoy the hot springs with Mom.
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Riding home from school today we were listening to Beethoven's 6th symphony and Marley piped up, "Mama this music/song is blue and pink." I am so proud. She may look and wake-up like Bob but she has some me to her too. :)
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I had a revelation that I needed to put Marley and Solomon in the same room at night. It eases my mind because I divide my love and consciousness into anywhere my immediate family is. With Solomon and Marley sleeping in the same room, it gets divided less. This may make no sense to anyone. The first night bedtime was a breeze but had the same sleep disturbances as we have the last few weeks. Bedwetting and angry seeking of snarfers. 3 disruptions in all, 1 of them being prolonged. Tonight bedtime was a breeze again. Disturbances yet to be determined.

Bedtime #1: teeth, toilet, pjs,/spiderman costume, books, praying, Jesus loves me x2.
Then after I left the room they giggled for awhile and then I heard the unmistakable sound of monkeys jumping on beds. Went back in, re-tucked them with a reminder of quiet. They were KO'd two minutes later.

Bedtime #2:  teeth, toilet, pjs,/spiderman costume, books, praying, Jesus loves me x2.
Then after I left the room Marley was teaching Solomon how to talk. Saying words then bidding him to repeat them. She got him to say with very good clarity "I need help." Unsure how that will affect my life. I guess it will be revealed at the same time as the sleep disturbances.

They are both very happy to be in the same room.
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I went to a very wonderful wedding this weekend. Krissy Winslow and Nick Rommelfanger had a wonderful and unique ceremony and reception. My favorite things:

1. The bride in full length gown, tiara, veil and heels climbing to the top of a rocky mountain without eating it and managing to look poised and perfect the whole freaking time.
2. The quiet collective laughter when the officiant said the "in sickness and in health" vows because the groom has chicken pox. Which may not be at all amusing to him yet. And in all fairness it would have a very sad event except both the bride and groom handled it perfectly, with grace and reason.
3. The break-dancing 4 year old who was spinning like a 90mph top.
4. The food!
5. The cake!
6. The fact that it was at Shangri La. Which FYI is in the middle of NothingbutCornfields, Indiana.
7. And of course my favorite thing at all weddings... the flower girls.
8. This is a long one. The fact that my father in law Ralph knew what I was talking about when I detailed my harrowing experience that morning. Which involved a brand new bottle of listerine, subtle shifts in fingertip pressure, a geyser, both of my nostrils and pain. It is good to have someone who knows that you may not have been completely to blame for shooting high pressure streams of listerine up your nose.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ok I am going to listen to those wind chimes now.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Go.Go.GO.

Didn't anticipate how affected I would be by my grades. I got a 48/50 on a paper and I was embrassingly upset about it. I had a test that I wasn't fully prepared for and I still have not gotten over that. I'm still waiting for my grade on that one. *twitch twitch* I did, however, do completely awesome on my first Statistics test. Yeah!

Our weeks have been looking something like this.

Monday- Do devoitonals, take the darlings to their classrooms, go to Statistics, meet up with Lindsey, eat food, go to Yoga, get the darlings, head home (count the busses we see on the way). Hang out at home, do some chores, go to the Y and work out, come home and eat dinner, eat dessert, do bedtime. I do homework, I pass out.

Tuesday- Devotionals, Darlings to class, I go to Adolescent Development,  I have a break where I either work on my book or do homework, go to Children's Literature, Go to Child Development, Get Darlings, come home, hang out with Bob, go to the Y and work out, come home eat food, hang out, do bedtime, work on book/homework, pass out.

Wednesday- Do devoitonals, take the darlings to their classrooms, go to Statistics, meet up with Lindsey, eat food, go to Yoga, go to Career Explorations class, Go get darlings, head home, eat dinner, watch cartoons and hang out, do bedtimes, homework/book, passout.

Thursday: Devotionals, darlings to classrooms, Go to Adolescent Development, work on homework/book or watch Naruto on break, eat food, go to Children's literature, go to Child Developement, get darlings, head home, eat dinner, hang out with family, do bedtime, work on homework/book, pass out.

Friday: Devotionals, darlings to classrooms, go to Statistics, work on homework for 30 minutes afterward then get the kids, head home, hang out, desperatly try to clear a path through the dishes and laundry, hang out with Bob, go to the Y and work out, come home eat dinner, hangout as family, dessert, bedtimes, Bob goes out, I work on my book.

Weekend: JUNKFOOD, CARTOONS, GOING TO THE Y, CHURCH & FOOTBALL.

That has been the general syllabus of my life. I'm enjoying being out in society except for dropping the kids off. That is always pretty sad for me. We sing a song on the way to school that we stole from a kid show:

Whereever you go
Whatever you do
I'm always going to come back for you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Good Day

Had a wonderful day today. Which would have not been possible without divine intervention. I went to bed late-ish last night and I am in the mood danger zone and Bob left at 11a to go camping.

First Marley and I colored the tips of our hair with markers.

Then we went to the grocery store and got almond milk and other stuff (but who cares about other stuff). Solomon started crying in the store  because I told him he could have a doughnut in the car but since he's a two year old boy all he heard was "You can have a doughnut" and then none appeared. I was at that point starting to get hungry (which usually makes me hot tempered and/or fainty) but I handled it. God held all my pieces together. We all enjoyed a doughnut in the car. Marley had a powdered sugar kruller for the first time and Solomon had the world's largest stickiest chocolate frosting and sprinkles doughnut. YES I gave him a doughnut after he cried about it, AND it was right before lunch AND he had a mini cookie from the nice Kroger bakery people. This is my wonderful day, I'm ok with it. I learned from my mother that when dad is out somewhere you are OK to do things in a "special way". Like pizza and watching TV during dinner every Friday night during Fall because your dad is coaching that one sport with the lemon-shaped ball.
... I think I just digressed on a digression. If only THAT was a sport.

Then we came home and had lunch and Solomon went down for a nap. I suspect he played in his crib for an hour first because he was in his crib quiet from 1:30 till 5. I think 3.5 hours was his previous record. Marley and I played plastic animals on my bed for awhile and we sat by the sunny window in my room in the wingback chair while I jotted down ideas and Marley colored dinosaurs and told me about stuff. The wind was blowing in the window, Marley's eyes were almost purple in the sunshine. When Solomon finally did wake up, I had the world's best store-bought pizza ready. Freschetta Harvest Supreme. Then after we each had 2-3 slices (it's thin crust!) we went on a walk with the wagon and the trash bag. Honestly by the end of the walk I could have gone without it but at least we picked up some trash. Headed to the backyard to play the preschool variety of hide and seek. Which does not even really require moving. I sat in the hammock with them and then they went down the slide for awhile. Solomon became very pleased with the amount of echoing his shout received.

I tempted them inside with dessert and on the way back up the hill we stopped to pick some oregano. Put the oregano inside and had an ice cream sandwich (for Marley) and 3 cookies (for Solomon). I know, we ate a bunch of junk today. The cookies were Who-nu's (fiber and calcium enriched!) if that helps anyone stop judging me.

We went back up to my room and the sun was setting, the light was falling prettily across their feet on my bed as they watched Special Agent Oso and I tied strings of oregano up to dry.

Then I put them both down to bed with no fussing and here I am. Listening to ambient music streaming on Pandora blogging before I write some fiction. Fiction where no one is going to have a particularly wonderful day.

Praise God for interceding between my mood and my kids!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Read my homework!!!*_0

My first writing assignment in Meghyn-returns-to-college! The assignment should be fairly evident. My life as a reader.


            My life as a reader may seem to be a fairly modest one, but only as it compares to other’s who either “work as writers” or have more contented children. My humble opinion is that the things I have read have lent me a fairly glorious existence. My mom and dad both took the task of reading to my sisters and I seriously. I remember reading Goodnight Moon, Mickey in the Night Kitchen and every manner of Dr. Suess book. Shel Silverstein’s collections were also something we read, along with those two good ladies Amelia Bedelia and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. We first read them together and then, later I would read them for myself when anything on the bookshelf would suffice, so long as I was reading. Most notably I read the Bible (NIV) cover to cover.

            When books became something I could do for myself (behold the power of that little red card), I would take ten and twenty titles out at a time. Sometimes I managed to read age-appropriate material and sometimes I would sneak in something a bit mature for my tender years. So lurking under Babysitter’s Club, Anne of Green Gables, A Song in the Silence would be a copy of The Vampire Lestat. I loved them all. Now that I have developed equal senses of humor and shame I realize I loved not wisely but too well.

            In high school I had more to prove as my circle began to care and ask “What have you read?” Being unwilling to mention Rice or worse I had to read something else and quickly. My life was changed for the nerdier when I tore my way through every novel in the Dune series. I don’t mean just the Frank Herbert novels either. I read the prequels, the original series and every book that followed until I was forced to be satisfied with what became of the real Kwisatz Haderach. The Post-Dune self could only handle fantasy and science fiction series for some time. I needed characters that wouldn’t abandon me for three or four books. The Kushiel’s Series, The Sword of Truth series, The Sun Sword series and more that I have forgotten, which fell into the category of fictional fodder, only written well enough to help me bide time till I found something I actually liked.

            I read things outside the realms of series as was necessary. I read the must-read classics: Alice in Wonderland, Ishmael (this was a classic to my group at any rate), To Kill a Mockingbird. All the titles you read or you just don’t care about fiction and culture. Books like The Poisonwood Bible, the Soul of Rumi, Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old like a Skank, The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit, and every book ever written by Neil Gaimen and/or Terry Pratchett were all books that I read to fulfill a mood (and loved).

            Lately (the last 3 years) I have not done as much reading. When I have spare time I indulge in that great self-exultation called writing. I occasionally reread something or get into something Janet Evanovich has pumped out or read something from The Cat Who series. A recent favorite is Angry Conversations with God, which is a hilarious account of a woman who goes to a marriage counselor for her relationship with God, completely brilliant. The large part of my reading now is my own work, my children’s choices, the Bible and nutrition labels. I assure myself that all of life moves in phases and that I will someday return to my escapist hermit tendencies and maybe by then there will be some new science fiction worth reading (but I doubt it).