Saturday, May 28, 2005


I am falling down on the job. The job being housekeeping. My "good excuse" is that I've been so run down and sick from this medicine this week (and before) that I've let some things slide. It's nothing major - the department of health probably won't be stopping by any time soon. But I'm putting off the dishes a little too long, "forgetting" to water the flower beds, just giving a cursory swipe to the know, just letting things back up a bit.
Now I do usually cut myself some slack when I'm sick. And hubby is very understanding. But my job is to keep this house and family running smoothly and quite frankly there aren't too many sick days allowed. But why does it matter? Why not just let the house go to pot (as my Grandma says) and start over when I feel better? Is housework even vaguely important? And if so why?
Well, for one thing, my God is the God of order. Since He dwells with us, I like to keep the place neat for Him. And then there's my hubby. He's quite the neat freak:) Now, like I mentioned, he's very understanding when I don't feel well or when we have a really busy couple of weeks, but part of what he loves about having me at home (and part of why he's happy to work so hard to keep me here) is that he loves having a clean, orderly, happy home to return to. Another reason is my kids - it sets a good example for them to see me doing my work cheerfully and thoroughly. They're also better behaved in a neat house. I know that sounds like a stretch, but it's true. Levi is quite a live-wire, but when he's in a clutter-free environment he's much more focused.
Keeping house is part of my job - an important part. I love to come home to a beautiful home and I know my family does too.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Brenna is learning to talk!

She's been saying "bye-bye" and waving her little hand for about a month already, but now she's added to her repetoire - mama, dada, and bubba. I think she's trying to say "more," too. She makes an "mmm" sound when she does the sign for more. I've really enjoyed teaching her a few signs. I think I got more involved with signing with Levi - Brenna definitely misses out on some things (the second child syndrome). But she's talking a pretty good bit sooner than he did, so maybe she won't be permanently damaged by not being first:) At the very least she should be happy to have her own personal entertainer 24/7. Levi spends a big part of his day trying to make her laugh!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


When I first started feeling the pull to stay at home some of my very favorite daydreams were about all the fabulous entertaining I’d have time to do. I couldn’t wait to sit up late chatting with our friends over a spectacular hand-made dessert or grill succulent steaks while all the families in the neighborhood hung around our yard. I just knew I’d be a perfect hostess and everyone would think my parties (house, children, husband, food, etc) were the absolute best.
If I have to tell you that it didn’t work out that way, then you probably haven’t been at home long. I quickly learned that hospitality is a lot of work and its purpose is not to make the hostess look good. Actually, it seems I am most called on to be hospitable when I am least prepared for it – you know those days when you haven’t had time to sweep up the crumbs from breakfast or lunch, or when the baby was up all night teething and now none of you are out of your jammies. And, while I love having company, hospitality isn’t always the fun stuff – the barbecues and parties. Sometimes it’s being a shoulder to cry on even when you don’t have time. Sometimes it’s taking in that niece or nephew whose parents have just given up. Sometimes its having an elderly relative come to live with you or inviting the "latch-key kids" next door over to play after school.
So why do we do it at all? Why is hospitality such a big deal? Well, because it can be really great. I love to open my home to others and have them share in the love of our family. But more than anything we do it because we’re commanded to. 1 Peter 4:9 says "Be hospitable to one another, without grudging." There is no better place (in my humble opinion, of course) to share the Gospel or to nurture new believers than in the home. We do it by living out our religion in front of our guests. By sharing His Word with them. By meeting their practical needs so that they can hear.
So how do we go from theory to practice? Well, …practice. Start small by having friends over just one or two at a time then build your way up to inviting those you don’t know as well or hosting a Bible study. It’s always a good idea to be prepared. Keep snacks on hand – out of site so they’re not a temptationJ . Something easy to keep around is a can of roasted nuts. If you heat them in a little olive oil or butter with some cayenne or cinnamon, they taste special and require next-to-no effort. I usually try to keep the fixings for a quick meal on hand too. If you have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer with a loaf of french bread, you can make spaghetti and garlic bread pretty quick without making your guests feel like you just threw something together. Keep some olives, pickles and cheeses on hand – they go great with crackers. And always have vanilla ice cream on hand (even if you have to hide it behind the frozen broccoli). It’s like a little black dress – you can dress it up with something. Topped with warmed peanut butter and/or melted chocolate chips it seems like you knew they were dropping by and planned something special.
I believe hospitality and charity go hand in hand. When we open our home to the needy we’re engaging in personal one-on-one charity and really helping that individual. Not just throwing money at a beggar hoping they’ll go away. I am always reminded of a story in Edith Schaeffer’s The Art of Homemaking. She tells about the "hobos" that often came to her door looking for a handout. Instead of turning them away or just giving them a few dollars, she had them sit on the steps and wait while she fixed them lunch on a tray – hot soup, a sandwich on thick cut bread. She even tried to include a flower and a small New Testament for them to take with them. While it may not be safe to do today (and probably wasn’t entirely in her day either), can you imagine how that man felt as he left her steps? God’s Word tells us "Do not be forgetful of hospitality, for by doing this some have entertained angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2).
The key to hospitality is to always to keep in mind that your focus is doing what God wants you to do. If He’s led these people to your home, do what you can to make sure they feel wanted and welcome.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Health problems

Last week was not the best I've ever had. I've been having some problems for the last few months related to my polycystic ovarian syndrome (if there are any men reading this, you can probably see where I'm heading ... feel free to check back in later :) ) . Serious fatique, unexplainable weight gain, ovarian pain, did I mention the fatique? I felt like I was trying to walk with a lead suit on. So I had a lot of tests run and it turns out I have all kinds of problems. They're all related to the PCOS in one way or another - insulin resistance, hypothyroidism, DHEAS deficiency, and a great big cyst on my ovary which may require surgery and a biopsy. Yuck.
Luckily, I've found out about all of this now when there are still things I can do to reverse most of it. It means I'm going to have to start taking care of my body. Something I'm not very good at. I've already started a few new habits that I seem to be sticking with like watching what I eat and trying to get some exercise everyday instead of just a few times a week. And hopefully, with this new medication, I'll have more energy to make more improvements. I want to be healthy enough to really run and play with my kids (and to have some more!) so that's pretty great motivation.
But in the end, what I've been thinking most about this week, is that this body - health - is not the end-all, be-all that we make it out to be. When I get HOME I'll have a new body - an immortal one without these problems. One that won't hold me back. So, while I feel like taking care of my body is important because it's a temple of my King and because He calls me to be a good stewart of the things He's given me, I'm not going to obsess about it. My God is more concerned with the state of my heart than that of my body and I should be too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lacey Renee is born!

My very dearest friend in the world had a baby girl today. We've been friends for a long time - oh, wow, half my life, I just realized. And I am so happy for her that I could just squeal:) I can't wait to see pictures - they live in Texas:( And I can't wait for a visit. We're planning to go out in September. I'm so excited:) God is so good!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mommy Brain

For all of you who thought this post would surely be about some of the dumb things I've done in a state of combined sleep-deprivation and stress, I'll throw a couple things out there for your amusement. I once left the house and drove to town with the door of the house wide open. Once I nursed Brenna in the parking lot and forgot to button up before we went in Walmart (you know it seems like one of those greeters could've made themselves useful and pointed it out). Once, at a big family lunch after my daughter's dedication, I sat down to eat and forgot my baby (she was safely with my dad) until my little boy said "where's baby sissy?"
So okay, being a mom may fry your brain sometimes, especially the first months after a new baby's born (let's blame the hormones). But I've always thought that overall motherhood is making me smarter. And I finally found someone who agrees with me:) This article is reviewing a book called The Mommy Brain by Laurel Robinson.
I personally am a lot smarter than I was before I had kids. I've had to really think about what I believe, what I know, how I know it, because I can't pass on to my children what I don't possess. If I want them to be smart, to love learning, and most of all to know and love God - then I have to do all that too. And the everyday challenges of running a house and raising two small children are making me smarter. I know the world might not agree, but I think it takes brains to figure out how to entertain a toddler without the use of your hands (because you're nursing a baby and making lunch with them) or explain to a three year old how God can be everywhere at one time or how birds fly or the nine million other explanations they ask for over the course of an afternoon. I also think the process of keeping up with kids as they daily learn new things and new skills makes me smarter. I'm just better all around for being a mother - more organized (as a matter of pure survival), more interested in the world around me, clearer about what I think and where I will and won't compromise. I communicate better with others (well, maybe not in writing - haha) and I definitely have gotten better at multi-tasking:)
I've also had much more time (now that I'm over that 1st year or so where I didn't have a clue how to do this whole mom-at-home thing) to develop skills and hobbies than I ever had when I was working (BK - before kids). I've taught myself quite a bit about making gourmet meals (although I rarely get to practice), sewing, knitting, refinishing furniture, making a budget and sticking to it, about nutrition, herbs and health, about the environment (thanks to Alice for getting me interested), and government. And I'm learning more all the time. And there's so much more to learn!
So, now that I've given it some thought, I don't think all those little "mommy brain" moments -like the time I started talking to my son in the backseat only to remember he had stayed home with my husband- mean that my brain is turning to mush. I think I may actually be gaining some ground:)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

A day in the life...

I appear to be using up most of my brain power over at Alice's new site so I thought I'd regale y'all with a blow-by-blow of what goes on around here on an average day (as if there were such a thing with a three year old and 10 month old in the house). If nothing else you'll have concrete evidence that I really am slightly (at least) off my rocker.
The day actually starts around 5 when Baby Sissy wakes up starving. In the good old days I'd just stick her in bed with me and she'd nurse away while I went back to sleep, but since we had to switch to bottles I have to get up and get the thing and stay awake while she drinks it. On all the lists of good reasons to breastfeed that I ever read not one listed what I consider a really big benefit. Breasts don't spill - leak a little maybe sometimes, but not a bottle being shaken all over the bed. At any rate, my little man usually stumbles into bed with us at some point between 5 and 7 when Daddy gets home and we all hop up so he can get some sleep.
Then it's off to fix breakfast - smiley face oatmeal for Levi and Brenna and something easy for me. We all get dressed and the kids play (usually quite nicely) while I clean up the kitchen and start supper. That's right I start supper after breakfast. We have that whole "witching hour" thing going at our house big time in the evenings so I just avoid the dinnertime hassle all together.
We usually play outside for a little while or go to storytime and the library or whatever until Brenna's naptime and Levi's "school" which isn't really much like school at all. As a matter of fact we could probably just call this reading time and be a lot more accurate. We read our Bible story for the week first and talk about our memory verse (btw, kids this age amaze me with their ability to memorize) and then we read more books - stories, nursery rhymes, phonetic readers, books about counting cheerios and books about how thing work - transportation is a big theme at our house these days - stories about policemen and firemen. Usually, after we've read a bunch of books, we pick a craft to do and get started on that. Then I can get Brenna up and start on lunch while he finishes. School time is probably my favorite time of day with Levi.
After lunch it's more playtime and housework and running around if neccessary. Then rest time for everyone! Levi thinks he's outgrowing a nap, but Mommy still needs him to take one:) We've compromised and instituted quiet time on the couch while Sissy naps and Mommy has Bible time (as Levi calls it). He usually reads, but this is the time of day when I don't mind him watching a movie or tv show. We're picky about what he watches, but I'm picky about how much too. He almost always falls asleep anyway:)
By the time the kids wake up, Casey's awake. He works at his business most afternoons or plays with the kids while I play catch-up with the housework. I used to occaisionally spend this time watching Oprah:) But no more. Not just because I'm anti-Oprah, but also because it's a gigantic waste of time. Even if I have nothing around the house - which is rare! - I can always use the time to read or get on the computer or dig in the garden or talk to my husband.
We try to sit down for supper around 6:30. Our new thing is eating supper on the back deck. When we lived in our last apartment there was literally no where outside to sit down or grill out or let Levi run around and play so our big thing was getting a house with a yard! But of course the first year we lived here it seemed like we hardly had time to enjoy the nice big yard ( a whole acre!). So this spring Casey and I got serious about fixing up the yard and trying to enjoy it. Anyway, that's supper. Then there's bath time. Okay, I'm going to make a big confession here and I'm trusting you people not to turn me into DFACS - I don't give my kids a bath every night. I'll wait to let you catch your breath. Brenna's to small to really get dirty and Levi usually makes do with a good washing off. I started when he was a baby only bathing him about three times a week because he had ezema and the doctor said... And now I just don't think it's neccessary. I actually read an article not to long ago that suggested it might help build a child's immune system to bathe a little less than every day.
After baths (or not), we play on Mommy and Daddy's bed. The kids pile in there and we talk, Casey and Levi wrestle, we all play with Brenna. Then Daddy reads a story to Levi and Brenna hits the sack. Then we say prayers and Levi hits the sack. Lately he's been hitting the sack about three or four times before he sticks so we're working on that. After that Casey and I spend some quality time together and he heads out to work. Then I get some quiet time to think or blog or read or ... well you all know what I mean.
Lots of days there's church or sometimes I have a planning day when I read or plan (curriculum if you can call it that, menus, spring cleaning, projects, etc) all day and the house runs on the bare minimum. And we tend to invite people over pretty often - once a week or so. We have a lot of family and friends who aren't believers so we try to invite them over to see that a Christian family can be fun and we don't eat live chickens or anything:) Not that we think our family is the perfect example of a Christian family, but I think it's good for people to see a couple that loves each other and loves their kids.
Well, that's our day in a nutshell (a BIG nutshell - I rambled a bit). If you've waded all the way through that you're either a family memeber who loves us very much or a really nice person who felt like it would be rude to stop reading in the middle. In either case you have my permission to go do something interesting now:)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

My Grandmother

This isn't what I planned to post today at all, but sometimes I get a thought in my head that won't go away until I get it out so ... We just found out that my grandma will have to have a heart catherization done on Tuesday and the doctor is fairly certain that they "will find something" so they'll probably do heart surgery (or the balloon thing) then too.
I'm not usually much of a worrier. I really try to leave it God's hands and I usually have a peace about things. Even loved ones who have died - I grieve of course but take heart knowing that I'll see most of them again. And that would certainly be the case with my grandmother - I've never known a woman more in love with God. But this time I'm really worried. Not only at the thought of loosing her, but just at the idea that she's sick. I'm so used to her being so fit and active - she's a pretty young great-grandmother, 66. She babysat my wild children last week for cryin' out loud. I guess it's just the idea of losing a real rock in my life that has me so shook up. She's always been such a huge influence on me and she's so supportive of me - a rare thing around here.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day...

to my mom and my granny and my grandma. And to my mother-in-law. And to all my aunts and my friends' moms. And to all my friends who are moms. I've had a little time to think today (my mother's day gift!) and I've thought a lot about being a mom - not very original I guess, but what do you people want from me? :) I thought about my own mom and how blessed I am to have her. And how blessed I am that she had me. I came along a little earlier than she had planned. And a couple of years after Roe v Wade. There was no law that said she had to have me. I'm sure having me wasn't easy for her, but I thank God everyday that she did. I have had a magnificent life (and that's just so far). Possibly the only gift that rivals the gift of life itself has been the gift of motherhood. It took us awhile to get pregnant the first time. For almost three years I prayed for a baby and tried to "leave it up to God" (all the while trying to help Him along with charts and thermometers and even fertility drugs). Every month I sunk into a deeper and deeper depression. When I did, finally, really truly pray "not my will, even if it means never, not my will, but Yours" and we did finally did get pregnant - I don't think my feet touched the ground for months. My head was in the toilet, but my feet weren't on the ground:)
Being a mother is now completely a part of me. It took me awhile, even though I feel in love with my son before I ever saw his face, to get the hang of being someone's mommy. And then I went to the other extreme for awhile and couldn't remember how to be anything else (woman? wife? lover? Shannon? - what was that?). And just when I thought I had it figured out, God threw me a curve ball in the form of my baby girl:) And the figuring it out started all over again. I love these babies. I can't wait to have all God will give me. I love being a mother. It's the most challenging, rewarding, demanding, intense and beautiful thing I ever could've chosen to do with my life. But, you know, having said all that, it isn't everything. I think sometimes we (I) set up motherhood as some sort of idol to be worshipped. Motherhood is incredible. But it's not my all-in-all. Would I give my life for my kids? You bet. Without hesitation. But my kids are not my life. My life belongs, wholly, to the One who gave me these kids (and this husband, by the way) to serve. The One who bought me at a price. How often do I put off my time with Him (or him, as in hubby) because the kids need me? But when it comes down to it, they will all pass away. My kids will move out, start families of their own. My hubby will go on to Glory (although I selfishly hope not before me). I need always to remember that my calling first is to Christ.

Mother or not I hope you all enjoyed this Father's day and every other one you're blessed with:)

Monday, May 02, 2005

A new baby is here!

My wonderful friends Debbie and Steve had a beautiful baby girl bright and early this morning - Riley May. She was 8lbs 151/2 oz. Just 1/2 lb shy of my baby girl (her new best friend). We stopped by for a quick peek this morning and she is so pretty. Makes me want to rush God along:) But I know he has a plan for me and I'll just have to wait and see if that includes a new baby. Levi seems to think so:) He said "now can it be our turn?" He was also very annoyed with the nurse for washing Riley's hair under the running water. He thought it might be cold on her little head.
I get so excited about new babies!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A post on abortion

First - just a little heads up. The article I'm posting about includes pictures of an aborted baby. I found them very moving, but if you are very sensitive you should probably not read the article.

I really try not to get in people's face about this topic or any other. I just generally have the attitude that you can't bully people into agreeing with you. But this story really affected me. A basic synopsis (for those who don't want to read the article) is that a single mother with two kids decided to have an abortion at 22 weeks for reasons that seemed sufficient to her at the time. She says she wanted to kill her baby in the "most humane way possible" and had planned with a funeral home to have the baby cremated - even choosing Bible verses to have read over him. That's right she calls herself a Christian. She went to the clinic and had the baby, who she expected to be stillborn. He was, in fact, alive however. She says that at that point she tried to get someone to call for an ambulance - hoping to save her baby by getting him to a hospital. But she is now considering legal action because the clinic workers did not call an ambulance or do anything else to help her keep her baby alive.
The first time I read about this I was just so sad for poor little Baby Rowan. How cruel - to be pushed out into the world from what should be the safest place on earth, so long before he was ready. He managed to survive his premature birth only to be born into a toilet. And then managed to hang on. Anyone who has seen a premature infant knows just how hard they struggle to live. I can only imagine that little Rowan must have tried to breathe on his own with his tiny undeveloped lungs. Who knows what this little boy could've grown up to be? It just breaks my heart to think about him.
But the next time I read it, I got mad. I usually have a lot of compassion. I've held the hands of several friends who went through crisis pregnancies of their own. I know the panic. I understand just how overwhelming it can be. And I know people make mistakes that they wish they could go back and change. Let me tell you, there but for the Grace of God go I. I've made many mistakes myself and I don't ever forget that. It doesn't help women or their babies to say "what were you thinking?" or "how could you do that?" But I am mad for Rowan.
I am mad that a mother with two kids at home - a woman who calls herself a Christian - chose to kill her child. She knew this was a baby. A real, living baby. She felt him move the same way her first two children had. She carried him for 5 1/2 months. She named him. The she planned his funeral and she killed him anyway. How can anyone with even a passing acquaintence with Christ ever imagine that this is okay? And she says "I know you're thinking, 'How can a Christian possibly make that decision?' – but I think it happens a lot more often than you think."
How does that explain it? How does that explain why a follower of Christ can treat the life of their own child so caulously?
I know it can be hard to bring a child into this world. Some of us have nearly died doing it and still committed to doing it again. It's hard to admit that you've made a mistake that you can't "fix" or hide. But a baby deserves a life. Adoption is a good option for women who can not care for a child. So is temporay custody while you get you're life together. For that matter so is getting your life together fast so that you can care for your baby. We need to do all we can to help mothers so that they can raise their children or help them to find families who will cherish the baby that they are about to dispose of. And we need to remind society at large that children are a blessing - every child all the time. And we need to make murder illegal again. Every murder. All the time.