Balancing the Demands of a Busy Friday

As I continue with my commitment to post every day for NaBloPoMo (oh, my gracious, when will this month be over???), I’m faced tonight with nothing.

Well, very little, at least.

I have a few ideas rattling around in my head, but they require work to compose. You know. Research and thought and wordsmithing (is that a word?), and well–I just can’t muster that up tonight.

So, I think I’m just going to brain-dump, a la, my diary circa 1985, which would give you whiplash just trying to keep up with all the characters and goings-on.

***

Today was nutty. I have a deadline to meet for writing a unit for Bible Lessons for Youth. It was due today. But I didn’t get it turned in today. Monday, people. Monday. I will finish it this weekend.

(And I say that here in this public forum for my own accountability.)

***

After I deposited the boys at school, I scurried to the church office to work on the books (I pay bills and balance the account–one of my four part-time jobs) and get a financial report to our officers. Then it dawns on me that:

  1. I haven’t eaten a thing.
  2. I am starving.
  3. I have a headache that feels like someone is sawing my neck at the base of my head.
  4. I have to get a book order form to Sus’ school TODAY.
  5. I have to leave for a hair appointment in 15 minutes because I look like Shaggy.

Like crazy, I rush home and change for my appointment. I decide to go through McDonald’s drive-thru (true confession time here) for a bite to eat. I gobble down 600 mg of ibuprofen and a Coke (more caffeine).

My headache eases and the appointment is enjoyable. I have just enough time to jet back across town to school and drop the envelope, then pick up the boys, then go back to school to join the pick-up line.

Whew!

I hate days like that, but also?

I’m secretly proud of my multitasking, multischeduling, most-efficient use of my time.

Some days, I really confuse myself.

***

Random parenting tip: If your child wakes screaming/crying with leg cramps, give the child ibuprofen. Get the child up into your lap to snuggle or rock. Rub the leg. Lightly cover the child in bed and/or turn on a fan to make sure the child is not too hot.

All of our kids have these from time to time, and this always works. Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s going on. I can almost time it–about 10 minutes after the medicine, the child is visibly more comfortable and can rest.

Sensory Overload

It’s been one of those days where my brain is on overdrive and I can’t think/talk/write/cook/eat fast enough. Do you know what I mean? Do you get like that?

So the day started with my finding a rather terse email in my inbox, which was a comment to one of my comments left on someone else’s blog post. I couldn’t type fast enough with my thoughts. But not being one to post rashly, I am still working on it. I like to make sure my facts are straight, and I have research/Scripture/references to back up my assertions. So, I don’t know when/if I’ll get it posted. I kind of get to the point where I wonder if it’s worth all my effort anyway.

I rushed through those initial thoughts before they left me but didn’t “get it all out.” You writers will know what I mean. I needed a few more minutes to feel a real catharsis. But I had to move on to the next thing.

So then I helped a friend with some computer/blog/video/audio post questions but I couldn’t quite figure those out. We accomplished a lot with a process of elimination–we know what doesn’t work–but ultimately I was disappointed to run out of time on that project, too.

I met a blogger friend for lunch and had a FANTASTIC time getting to know her and hear about ways to grow my blog. She had wonderful suggestions for ways to make my blog more monetarily successful. We also had some brainstorming sessions on creative approaches to blogging. What a great, inspiring meal! I wanted then and there to crawl into a library corner for the rest of the day and just work on my blog. But alas, I had to go to Target …

… where I saw Scott Hamilton. Scott Hamilton? Yes! Ice skating champion Scott Hamilton. And he looked so ordinary in a windbreaker, jeans, and sneakers while pushing a cart full of soft drinks and bottled water that I did a quadruple take. It was just so odd. I saw him get into his Lexus SUV that had Tennessee plates. After a little reading online, I discovered he and his wife live in Franklin.

Then I was off to pick up the kids from school, where I discovered one child had said something hurtful to another child (though not intentionally, I’m certain). One of my other children, however, had a trouble-free day after a teacher’s note yesterday told of this child’s ultra-social and silly behavior.

So, I’m kind of done with today. I think I’ve been sapped of every emotion: anger, inspiration, worry, anticipation, confusion, frustration, disappointment.

Looking forward to sleep tonight.

Kroger Grocery Baggers and How George Costanza Relates to Grapefruit: Tonight’s Random Rants


I love my Kroger reusable grocery bags. They are practical and sturdy. The handles are roomy enough to sling the bags over my shoulders.

The Kroger baggers, however, need to heed my bagging instructions.

Do NOT bag “like with like.” When you bag three 2-liters together, I can’t lift it. When you bag two 10-pack juice boxes with one 2-liter, I can’t lift it. When you bag two gallons of milk, I can’t lift it.

When you bag a bag of chips, a box of plastic sandwich bags, and a bag of croutons together, I become angry.

Proper bagging technique is this: a heavy item on the bottom, a few medium-weight items in the middle, and a light item on top.

I’m happy to give you a bagging demonstration, if needed.

~~~

I’m concerned that each time I want to slice a grapefruit in order to scoop the fruit with a spoon, I always cut it in the wrong direction.

It’s most troubling to me since I analyze and contemplate the cut—convinced I’m doing it right—only to discover that I’ve done it wrong again.

I think I need to follow George Costanza’s lead in the “The Opposite” and just do the opposite of my initial impulse.

At least when it comes to cutting grapefruit.

(This clip makes me laugh out loud. I post it because I really need to laugh out loud tonight.)

~~~

My kids sucked me dry today and I am in the middle of Diet Failure.

Here’s looking forward to reset and reboot tomorrow.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Before I had children, I was such a good mom. I think a book was published a few years ago by that title or something similar. I only wish I’d thought of it first. It’s a sentiment that resounds loudly with me and most moms (if they are being honest) I know.

I mean, I had it all figured out: the “right” things to do and say to make my kids into perfect little angels.

I was so self-righteous.

Ironically, I’ve become the woman I used to judge. Because parenting—especially Christian parenting—isn’t quite so cut-and-dried.

I’ve now had a solid week to evaluate and ruminate over the oft-debated, sometimes controversial, issue of Christians’ celebrating and observing Halloween. We did celebrate it this year—and will continue to do so—and I think now I can articulate our reasons why and how they relate to our faith.

Growing up, we always celebrated this holiday with costumes and jack-o-lanterns. It was fun and always a family time with my aunt and uncle and some of their friends.

As I entered adulthood, I began to encounter Christian parents who chose not to celebrate Halloween. My goodness. I had never heard of that before! They cited the pagan roots and rituals from which Halloween came as their reason to shun the holiday.

Well, of course, I decided then and there that I would not partake of such evil, and my children would not, either.

And then I had kids.

As with most decisions of this ilk, I was determined to explore the issue and come up with my own defense as to why we would or would not celebrate this holiday.

Could we celebrate in good faith? Could we trick-or-treat to the glory of God?

We did decide the answers to those questions were “yes” and “yes,” based on a soup of various experiences and convictions:

The first year we opened our door to hand out candy to our neighbors, I loved—absolutely loved—the community feeling. I loved chatting with neighbors and seeing cute little kids and meeting new friends. Like it or not, we in our neighborhoods rarely visit those who live closest to us. Our family tends to run in the same circles, and though we are called to be salt and light to those around us, I fear we rarely are because we just don’t get into the lives of those around us. Halloween night is a terrific opportunity to meet, laugh, and love on your neighbors.

After that first night of camaraderie and community, I decided that indeed it was a picture of the gospel. We gather with neighbors and caravan trick-or-treat through the neighborhood. We have the best time laughing and talking and eating and drinking. We are investing our lives in our neighbors, many of whom are not Christians.

I think the context of Halloween has changed such that deciding not to participate in a contemporary event based on how it began 2000 years ago, is kind of like abiding by Paul’s admonition that women should not have braided hair or wear gold. Contextually and culturally, the roots of the holiday are irrelevant. (Yes, I know that there are those people who practice witchcraft and celebrate such occult aspects on Halloween. But aren’t there persons who don’t believe in Jesus who celebrate Christmas? Should we not celebrate Christmas on that basis?) Halloween was adopted by the Church in an effort to redeem it. I say, let’s continue that redemption and reformation, Christians! And to be consistent, if one chooses to abstain from Halloween based solely on its pagan roots, then one should also not celebrate Christmas and Easter and throw out their calendars, as the months of the year and days of the week derive their names from pagan gods and goddesses.

• Abstaining from Halloween because of its “evil” associations is for me a stumbling block. That’s right. That abstention actually contributes to my sin.

I am such a Pharisee at heart that I’m quick to grasp anything that may make me feel superior or more holy or more righteous. I want to point to one something that I do or don’t do that shows everyone else I’m a Christian—and a good one at that. For me, it’s much more humbling and a greater exercise in dependence on Christ to participate within the boundaries of Christian liberty. It stretches me more as a Christian (and as a Christian mom) to participate while teaching the children about freedom in Christ and doing all to the glory of God.

We’ve had discussion after discussion with our six year-old about the difference between the delight, fun, and creativity associated with dressing as a make-believe fairy or princess as opposed to celebrating or calling attention to evil or demons. So, even within the parameters of the celebration, we are able to give Christian lessons.

• We also observe Reformation Day on October 31 with our kids. In 1517, Martin Luther set the Protestant Reformation into motion by nailing his 95 theses on the Wittenburg Castle door. That one act forever changed the Church and all of civilization.

I read an interesting post that has been floating around the Internet since 1996. Basically, it states that Halloween’s pagan origins have been grossly misunderstood and Halloween began as a Christian celebration of Christians mocking at Satan as he is defeated by Christ. I certainly applaud this sentiment. The problem is that I’m not sure if it’s true or not. I question the guy’s scholarship because I can’t find any original source anywhere. I will continue to research this, though.

Finally, I do not judge nor condemn parents for any decision they make for their family. For Christians, we are free in Christ. Whether you sit at home on Halloween night, take your little princess and pirate to the church fall festival, or trick-or-treat with the neighbors and roast marshmallows at a bonfire, it is a matter of personal conviction.

As with most everything in our self-gratifying, idol-worshipping, need-meeting culture, all holidays have become sensationalized and commercialized. Redeeming the holidays with a focus on something other than self and acquiring more, more, more! is a daunting task. But I think God calls us to be culturally relevant without compromise of conviction. Let us not forget that he has ordained all, including the time and place in which we live.

Photo credit: flickr.com by solyanka

And in Other News …

My post regarding more questions on predestination and election is coming. I’m figuring out, though, that when I work on theology posts, I take a little longer than the average “here’s what my kids did today” posts. I want to be accurate and include sufficient links to back up my assertions. Thus, my delay in getting the “questions” post up. Stay tuned …

~~~

My sweet retired neighbor—”bless his heart,” as we say in the South—was vacuuming dead leaves from his yard this afternoon. If you live in Nashville and spent even 10 seconds outside today, you would conclude he is a crazy man. And you would be correct. Today, we had 30mph winds. The wind whipped and spun and slapped everything relentlessly all day long.

Dude. Vacuuming your leaves today was kinda like trying to drain the ocean with a thimble. Got news for you. As soon as you were done, your yard was covered again. With leaves from my yard. Yep. I’m positive.

~~~

I’ve been wanting to tell you all about my new lifestyle eating program (I’m trying not to use the word, diet), Transitions. It’s a low-glycemic plan that is done in stages. This week is my first, with the detox/cleanse week. All veggies and fruits. That’s it.

Well, the first of the week went well. I have added a little protein here and there, though. Today was not so great, but I aim to finish on a positive note this weekend (yes, even with Halloween candy).

I am encouraged, however, and can certainly feel the benefit of whole foods in my body. The energy levels are much more even and the satisfaction lasts longer.

It’s an adjustment because we (as a society and my family, too, and I DO cook!) rely so much on processed and convenience foods. Yuck! Really, people. There’s gross stuff in those boxes and it kinda just clogs up in your body and makes you fat and lethargic.

I’m ready to not be fat and lethargic anymore.

I’ll keep you posted.

~~~

Bellevue’s TJ Maxx on a Sunday Afternoon

I ventured out to TJ Maxx this afternoon because—really?—I needed some new undies and there’s no where in Bellevue to buy such items anymore since the mall closed.

Now, TJ Maxx on a Sunday afternoon is kind of an odd place.

Lots of MEN following around women, which in and of itself isn’t terribly unusual (except my husband would rather have his nose hairs plucked one-by-one than be forced to trail me through TJ Maxx).

But these men were shuffling through the LINGERIE section. With their wives. I did a double-take when I saw cute little middle-aged Mister Rogers-looking man holding a blue lacy 34B bra.

What????

I overheard another woman trying to convince her husband that they needed a new set of mixing bowls (orange as they were).

Y-A-W-N!

I found chocolate-covered pretzels in the size 7 high heels area and leather gloves on the ladies’ blouse clearance rack. I almost tripped over a pile of home goods that had been discarded in the shoe section.

(OK. Which reminds me of one night when I was shopping at Kroger. A woman was picking up a “few things” without the use of a cart or a basket. As I entered the checkout lane, she was nearing the front of the store and suddenly became distraught. “Where are my groceries?” She frantically asked a checker. “I left my groceries right THERE.” She pointed at the end of one of the checkout aisles. Like at a spot on the floor.

Ummm. I don’t know, Lady. Like maybe someone who works here put them AWAY, since the store is about to close. ‘Ya think?

She actually kept muttering, “That’s so strange. I left them right there. I wonder what happened to them?”

Had she only been at TJ Maxx, they would still be there causing browsers like me to stumble while trying to find new shoes.)

So, anywho, the store was incredibly warm today, which, as you know, really bothers me and makes the whole trip terribly unpleasant. But I DID find:

  • new athletic shoes (since my old ones were WAYYYYY too small)
  • new black clog-looking casual shoes
  • undies (6 pair for $4!)
  • a cute little “sign” (vintage-y looking art)
  • a really cool lamp that was missing a shade (I can get a shade) and was $16, marked down from $35
  • T-shirts for the boys on clearance that I will wrap for Christmas

Oh, and some dude in a flannel shirt sneezed a lung out on me. No joke. I just tried to hold my breath and doused myself in hand sanitizer at the first opportunity.

Quiet? Me, Quiet?

“Are you OK?” a friend at my ladies’ Bible study asked. “You sure were quiet today.”

Quiet?, I thought. I never feel that I’m quiet. Most of the time, I think I’m hogging the discussion in my Bible study group.

At my small group discussion on Tuesday, I did “tornado” in late, was distracted by a phone call that I received just as I came through the door, and had a pretty painful headache.

Still my friend’s comment was unexpected.

I love Bible study discussion and always answer the questions and add my “two cents.” Most of the time, I say helpful things (I hope!), but I’m always kind of wondering in the background if I’m talking too much or saying irrelevant things.

If you knew me in high school or college, you may be stunned to read this. I never—NEVER—spoke in class or answered questions. Ironically and surprisingly, I guess, I was an excellent student, but—AHEM—I was rarely prepared for class discussion.

That’s right. I was the kid who never read the assignments.

I’m pretty sure I failed every pop quiz I ever took. I’ve really never read Oliver Twist, To Kill a Mockingbird, or For Whom the Bell Tolls.

And those chapters in history and science textbooks? Are you kidding me?

I remember skimming through Jane Eyre and most of Shakespeare’s plays. Pretty sure I only hit the highlights of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Those yellow and black Cliff Notes books were my best friends, and I learned a wonderful trick to get through 350 pages the night before the book report is due: Read the first sentence of every paragraph, and you’ll get a good gist of what’s going on. Good enough for a book report, anyway.

So, being the poorly-read and under-prepared student that I was, I didn’t have much to add to any discussion and was always terrified the teacher would call on me and blow my “cover.”

In my college sorority, I even won the “Most Likely to Be There but Never Heard” award in my pledge class.

These days, I read and read and answer my Bible study questions and ponder the nuances of the lesson.

I’m ready every Tuesday for thought-provoking, soul-stirring discussion.

Making up for lost time, I guess.

News Round-up

In Nashville, it is expected to dip below FREEZING tonight. It’s this time of year when I can’t remember when summer ended and when fall began. It blurs in my memory.

And Christmas comes next.

~~~

The Titans stink. They lost to the Patriots, 59-0. My husband–and most every one of my friends–are giving them h*ll. I understand their criticism. I just kind of feel sorry for them. I suppose it goes with my non-competitive nature. But, hey, when you are making that much money, you best live up to peoples’ expectations.

What’s wrong, Titans?

~~~

The Balloon boy saga from last week was all a hoax. I was stunned to read that headline. I watched the event unfold on Twitter: mothers, mainly, expressing concern and offering prayers for this boy’s safety. At one point, someone started making jokes and was quickly shot down. Then I saw a post from one mom who said her husband wasn’t concerned or sad at all, since he thought it was all staged. Boy, was he prophetic.

What’s wrong with people?

~~~

The Bernard kids have chosen their Halloween costumes. Su will be a candy corn witch; Sp will be a pumpkin; and Se will be Batman. Su and I went to Party City on Friday, and I was horrified to see all the evil, ghoul, and gore. I am terribly concerned about the type of person who would buy a $200 ginormous Satan hanging mobile thing or decorate their party with dismembered body parts. This is entertainment?

What’s wrong with people?

Moms: Does Eternity Influence You?

If you read this blog with any regularity, you may conclude that I hate doing laundry.

And you would be correct.

In fact, I despise housework pretty much altogether. And I’m not terribly good at it, either. (I am desperately trying to “fly” with FlyLady, though.)

The hardest part of being a homemaker/mother/wife, I think, is doing the same things over and over and over again. And waking up the next day and doing them over and over and over again. Again. And, again.

Does any of it really matter?

My friend, Jennifer, once posted about how even taking care of the family’s basic necessities is a blessing to them and glorifies God.

She’s right, of course. But we forget. And we get trapped in our humanity and the immediacy of this world. At least I do, anyway.

If you ever feel this way, you MUST read this post from John Piper. He so beautifully speaks of the mother’s work as eternal work and how every little thing is just a part of the bigger picture to come.

We were created for more. Bigger. Better. Future. More.

A Little Grammar Lesson

I just have to remind all you dear readers of a grammatical goof that absolutely bugs the snot out of me. Since I have a policy of never correcting my family members’ or friends’ conversational grammar, I will get everything off my chest here on my blog.

OK. When speaking of yourself and another in the subject of a sentence, put the other person’s name first and yourself last, referring to yourself as “I.” The pronoun, “I,” is in the nominative case. The nominative case is used as the subject of the sentence.

Correct:

Mary and I went to the store.

Incorrect:

Me and Mary went to the store.

And, to be fair, most people get this correct.

But here’s the part that really bothers me: the use of the objective case pronoun. When you and another are used as indirect objects in a sentence, put the other person first then refer to yourself as “me.” “Me” is in the objective case. Objective case pronouns are always used as indirect objects.

Correct:

The woman gave Mary and me two tickets to the play.

Incorrect:

The woman gave Mary and I two tickets to the play.

You wouldn’t say, “The woman gave I two tickets to the play.” This is a handy little test to see if you have chosen the right pronoun; just remove the other person’s name and see if the sentence makes sense.

Thank you for reading.

This post brought to you by Grammar Nerds of America.