Friday, November 12, 2010

The Struggle . . . . . .

I was thinking today about a couple that I knew from college, the Pittmans. I didn't know them well, but I know who they are. The wife, Jessica is undergoing major brain surgery today. Click here if you want to know more about that. I have been checking the updates and tearfully praying for them. I can't imagine what they are going through, the fear, pain, and uncertainty.

Whenever I hear of someone I know having a major struggle like this, my first emotion is shock, and then certain thoughts always fill my mind. How can this be happening? How are they dealing with this? Why did this happen to them? How can someone get through something like this? What an incredibly difficult, and scary situation. And I pray.

The older I get, the more I see my friends, family, acquaintances, and friends of friends dealing with the hardest parts of life, and it seems like I hear a new tragic story everyday. It made me realize one thing. Everyone has "a thing." I don't really know what to call it, a struggle maybe. It's that thing that changes your life forever and really, shapes who you are from then on.
My college roommate lost her brother to cancer before she was 30.
My best friend from college now has Lupus.
Another acquaintance from college lost her husband in a car accident about a year after graduation.
A high school friend of mine recently lost his newborn daughter.
A couple I know is dealing with devastating marital issues.

A divorce, an illness, a child born disabled, a rebellious child, families that don't get along, the devastating loss of a loved one. All of these things make us secretly think to ourselves, "I'm so glad it's not me." But most of us have our own struggle even if it's one that no one sees like addiction or chronic depression, and we deal with it in our own way, with God's help.  Everyone has a struggle.  Well, I suppose there are a few that sail through life unscathed, but not many.  As difficult and devastating as these things are, the sun will still rise tomorrow, and God leads us through.  God is faithful.  Unfortunately, having one such struggle doesn't exempt us of another one. It reminds me of the song "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen."  Remember this song?  Although I don't agree with all of the "wisdom" here, there is one part that always comes to my mind when struggle has found someone I know.

Don't worry about the future.
Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Many of you know how true that statement is. Painfully true. There is no point in worrying.  The Bible makes that same point time and time again.  

I guess I don't have much of a point today.  I just had Jessica Pittman on my mind and it turned into a blog.  Please pray for her.  What ever struggle you have been handed in life, trust the Lord.

Matthew Chapter 625 "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life...........27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?.............30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 "So don't worry about these things,....................32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God* above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.


Monday, November 1, 2010

How I Really Feel about Halloween (You Might be Surprised).....

Well, Halloween is over, and as much as I wanted to blog about this before Halloween, honestly I just didn't have the guts.  I know this post is going to open a can of worms, and cause debate.  I hate debate.  I'm not one who likes to argue.  I also know that in posting this, there will people that I love and respect that will be disappointed me, for having this view.  That being said, I feel I must make my feelings known, and share how I really feel about Halloween.  The truth is................... I don't hate it.  GASP!  Fellow Christians and Pastors, please, hear  me out. 

Point #1- You can take part in Halloween, without taking part in evil.

Don't get me wrong, I fully understand the roots of Halloween, and what it meant to most people hundreds of years ago, and a few people today as far as satanism and paganism etc.  And I fully understand the scriptures people use to support their stance against Halloween.  I understand that scripture says to flee even the appearance of evil (1 Thess 5:22). 
But here are a few things I would like you to know about some common "acceptable" practices.
1.  The dates that we celebrate Christmas and Easter have pagan roots.  Do I care?  No.  I don't care what calender day we set aside to celebrate the birth and resurrection of Jesus.  What's important is that we DO celebrate those things.
2.  The wedding ring you are wearing is a pagan symbol.  (Google it for it's many ancient meanings.)  And the fact that we have bridesmaids and groomsmen in a wedding is an ancient pagan practice.  The belief was that on the day of the wedding, evil spirits would try to overtake the bride and the groom.  The extra people by their sides, who would at that time be dressed identically to the bride and groom, were meant to confuse the spirits as to who the actual bride and groom were.  Are these the same reasons we practice these traditions today?  Of course not.  These things mean something different to us now. 
3.  Saying "bless you" when someone sneezes is a pagan practice.  The belief was the when you sneeze, evil spirits would enter your body through your nose.  People said "bless you" to keep that from happening.  We don't believe that today, it is just good manners.

Just as the meaning of language changes over time, so does the meaning of our common practices.  The origin of these traditions, does not make them evil today.  I do realize that Halloween is a little different in that we still see people dabbling in evil with haunted houses, creepy costumes, and scary decorations.  But friends, we as Christians do not have to, and definitely should NOT be a part of those things.  The Bible says to flee even the appearance of evil (1 Thess 5:22).   I really don't see that my two kids, dressed as Spongebob, and a butterfly, visiting our neighbors and eating candy, as any kind of evil.  But, many will say in contrast that if we take part in Halloween at all, that we celebrate all of it, evil included.  With that logic, we should never shop in grocery store that sells alcohol, and we should never see a movie in a place where R movies are also shown.  I don't know about you, but I saw Toy Story, and liked it! And I can't find a grocery that doesn't sell several things that I would NEVER buy. 
Also, (stepping on my soapbox) adults, if you are in the habit of watching TV shows like CSI, and a number of others, that glorify murder and violent crime, and you are now standing up against Halloween, you are being a hypocrite.  (stepping down)

Now, you may see all I have said as nothing but as excuse to take my kids trick-or-treating, but here is what I really want you to understand. 

Point #2  As Christians we should not "hide out" on Halloween.

Halloween is a social event.  It is the one day that your neighbors will come to your house and ask for a small treat.  It is also the one day that it is acceptable to knock on their doors asking for a treat.  Your neighbors will also be out on the street with their kids, having a good time, and talking to people.  How much time do we spend in meetings trying to figure out new ways to connect with our community, only to turn off our lights and pretend not be home on the one night when people want to interact with us?   This is our chance to open our doors, be friendly, get to know our neighbors, and meet new ones.  If your are not handing out candy, you are missing a ministry opportunity.  And really, really, is there any harm in handing out candy?  We have often printed out cute invitations to children's church and given those out with candy too. 
Some churches are having harvest parties as an alternative to Halloween.  What?  Having kids dress up, and come to your church to play games and get candy is not "doing Halloween"?  And can we be so foolish as to think that they will not trick or treat before they come, or after?  The event is a good idea actually.  I think we should hold fun events for kids, where we can share Jesus with them.  But lets pass on the condemnation and guilt that comes with it, for those families who will still let their kids participate in other Halloween activities as well.   Having a harvest party is at least better than hiding out in our homes.  But friends, why are we all congregating in one place, on the one night when everyone else is out on the street.  We are truely putting our lamp under a bowl (Mat 5:15) We are hiding our light.

Here's my point.  Do I hate devil worship?  Yes.  Do I hate costumes and candy?  No.  In my opinoin, I think the best approach for Christians on Halloween is:
1.  Let your children dress up in cute costumes, not devils, witches, gouls, vampires, murderers etc. 
2.  Turn your light on and show yourself friendly and hospitable to your neighbors when they come by for candy.  If you don't do anything else, at least do that.  Maybe handout tracts, or invitations to church too!
3.  Get out on the street with your kids, meet some new people, and build better relationships with those you already know. 
4.  If you like to decorate, use things that are fall-ish like pumpkins, fall leaves, and scarecrows etc.  Skip the tombstones, skeletons, and witches etc.
5.  If you want to hold an event to share Jesus, do it.  But, don't intend on people being there the whole evening.  And, make sure that you don't need, or expect your whole church to be there.  Otherwise we've taken all the light, and put in one place.

Friends, the world see us as stuck-up, hypocritical, and no fun.  Let's show them otherwise, and show them the love of Jesus while we're at it. 

Your comments are welcome.  Love to you all!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Where's My Blog ?!?!?!

AHHHH!  Where's my blog?  I'm just kidding!  I am happy to be a guest blogger over at my friend Beth's blog "Our Typical Life."  So, if you want to keep up on the life and times of the McCains.  Come on over and read!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The wonderful healing power of God, and his tool, time...

An interesting thing happened to me the other day.  I was on Facebook, and  I read a status from a friend.  It was casual, not life altering in anyway, and I commented, along with many other people, in an equally casual way.  About 5 seconds later the most freeing, and quite life altering thought came to me:  I'm not mad any more.
You see, this particular person, several years ago, hurt me so deeply, so intensely, and offended me on such a level, that I really, honestly, thought I would never be able to think about this person without rage overtaking me ever again. But, it happened.  I'm not mad anymore, and it feels GGGGRRRRRREEEAAT! (in my best Tony the Tiger voice, of course!)I don't know exactly when it happened, but God has healed this wound, over time.
Whilst (yes, whilst) thinking about this, it occurred to me that God has completely healed another wound in my life.  When Karis was born 2 1/2 years ago, her diagnosis crushed me to my core.  I remember sitting in Red Robin with Tim while she was in the hospital, and weeping.  I thought we would never again be able to sit in Red Robin, or any other public place, and just be the anonymous American family.  We would always be "that family," receiving stares and making others uncomfortable.  That just isn't true, I know that now. But at the time, I was devastated.  However, now, 2 1/2 years later, I delight in my daughter, not despite her disability, but because of all that she is.  Having Down Syndrome is part of that.  I am so excited to see what God will do in her life, and what ministry opportunites will be opened to Tim and I, because we have now been down this road.  After all, one can not lead someone out of the desert unless he has been there himself.  I am so overjoyed to have her in my life.  Did anything change?  No.  But, God healed that wound, over time.  He has truely turned my mourning in dancing.
Psalm 30:11
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy  (NLT)
What has occurred to me, while pondering these two things, is that life is not a snapshot.  (I actually stole that phrase from a song because it so accurately states my point, and if I could think of what the song is, I would post it, but I can't!) Life is not a snapshot.  Life is not defined by what you see right now.  God is always working, and it time you will see the bigger picture of what he is doing.  God heals wounds, calms storms, does miracles, and changes us over time. 
Some things devastate us because they are permanent.  A diagnosis, death, a tragic event, things that can't be changed (unless God does the impossible!)  It can often seem as though our life is now defined by that one thing, but God is still working, and in time, how you feel about a certain situation may, and probably will change.  Now don't get me wrong.  You'll never be happy that a loved one died, etc.  But what will happen is, in time, God will grant you peace. God will help you forgive. God will help you move on to a place of joy, not devastation, not anger, not rage, not sorrow. Life is not a snap shot, give it time.
The only reason I am writing this, is that I know someone needs to hear it. Including me.
Here I am, in a similar situation, at odds with someone, and it rips me apart. (Haven't we all been there, even pastor's wives!!!)  As hard as I try to give it over to God, that's so hard to do.  But, I know in time that God will heal us both.  The previous two situations show me that He will. Thank you God, I praise You for that!

Are you in the desert right now too, even in just one area of your life?  Give it time.  Life is not a snapshot.  Things will not always be as they are. 

This was a hard one for me to write.  Deep Breath.  One.. Two.. Three.. POST!

Share the love, leave me a comment!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Coffee talk: adoption and tutus!

Well, this morning I am sipping my coffee, and putting off so many things that I need to do, because I am waiting to watch a live web cast from the White House on the adoption tax credit.  There is a lady that I know, only through facebook, that is speaking (click HERE to see the webcast).  Her name is Bethany Balsis, and her daughter Nika, was adopted through Reece's Rainbow.  Nika has Down Syndrome, and is one of the most beautiful little girls in the world! You can read more about that family here.

I am so glad that our government is taking steps to make adoption more affordable for every family.  Adoption is so important!  And, of course, my heart bleeds for the adoption of orphans with Down Syndrome.  In the US, the abortion rate for babies that have been prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome is somewhere around 92%.  Let that sink in...... Only about 8% of the beautiful children with Down Syndrome even get the chance to live life.
The statistic is not as high in other countries, but the fear and rejection are the same.  Many children with DS end up living in orphanages until they are 4 years old.  Then, at that young age, they are sent away to live out the rest of their lives in a mental institution.  They often only live a few more years.  The ministry of Reece's Rainbow, exists to help families adopt these precious children.
I have told you all about Reece's Rainbow in previous posts, but if you want more information visit them at

What can you do to help?  You could adopt!  Things like the adoption tax credit (currently $13,170) and ministries like Reece's Rainbow, really help lower the cost.  Not for you?  You could donate to Reece's Rainbow!  Today I have another suggestion for you!
My good friend Erin Buche (an old college buddy!), who also has a heart for Reece's Rainbow, is selling homemade tutus to raise money for the cause. 

Just in time for Halloween (if you hurry!)!!!!

Aren't these CUTE!!!!  You can pick your own colors.  You know you need one!  The cost is $20, plus $5 shipping, and remember, all the money she makes, after materials,  is going to Reece's Rainbow.

Click here to get one now!

Or Here!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Her Sweet Charm . . .

Happy Fall!  I know you haven't heard from me in a while, but this is my first attempt to get back into the habit of writing again.  I was inspired last night while reading a post on facebook.  More on that in a minute.
The kids are doing well.  Keaton has, after several rocky weeks, become well adjusted to school.  I am so glad that he likes it.  I'm no longer distraught with worry for him all day long!  
Karis is doing well also.  I was actually getting very frustrated that she hasn't had any therapy since April or May (because this area currently has no therapists, UGH!).  She seemed to be falling hopelessly behind, and I was begining to wonder if there was any way she was going to be ready for preschool in April.  However, all of the sudden, like she always does, she got on a developmental roll.  She has made some quick progress in a lot of areas, including this one milestone that has eluded her for a long time.

Yes, Karis can finally get food onto a spoon, and into her mouth.  She could do one, or the other, for a while now, but not both.  Some foods are still a challenge, but I'm happy for the progress she's made because she was about a year behind on this skill.  I love my daughter, and I'm so incredibly proud of her.  She brings me so much joy, laughter, and pride that is deeper than I ever dreamed possible.  Even in her challenges, she's so sweet and so cute, you can't help but love her. 

That thought brings me to the facebook post I mentioned.  You have all probably read the poem "Welcome to Holland," especially if you are in the special needs community.  If you haven't read it CLICK HERE!  
This poem is so moving and so eloquently puts into words what it feels like to have a special needs child born to you.  Even though I really like that poem, I came across one on facebook that moved me to tears.  I think that the Holland poem pretty accurately described the feelings I had when Karis was born, but this poem, "My Old House"  really articulates how I feel now, how I adore her and her "sweet charm."
This comes from a blog called Journaling Leah, you should check it out!
Here it is...  

My Old House
For years, you save for your dream home and the time has come to buy! You walk through several houses, many of which are interesting, but not quite perfect.

Finally you find THE house. The location is great. It has 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, hardwood floors, and one entire wall is a giant window showing the most breath-taking view that you have ever seen.
Everyone you know is happy for you and your new house. You can’t wait to move in.
On the day you are scheduled to close, you receive a call from your lawyer explaining that the homeowners changed their minds and have decided not to sell.
You are shocked and sad. You have planned, waited, and prepared for this house, but now it is gone. You picked out new paint colors and decorated it in your mind at least a million times. You wonder, “How could this happen to me?” You think you will never find your perfect house again.
You remember a cute little house in the city that you walked through a few months earlier. There was something about that house which was comforting when you were there, and the need for a home of your own is still strong. You decide to put an offer in for this house. Your bid is accepted. You move in within weeks.
When you tell everyone about the loss of your “perfect” house and plans for moving into the second one, you receive many condolences. Everyone is sad for you and all of your friends and family wish they could “fix it.” Nobody thinks it is fair.
You go to the new-older house immediately after you close. You wonder why you didn’t realize that it was so close to your favorite store. As you walk in the front door, you see a beautiful window, full of stained-glass artwork, which was hidden by a curtain before. As you continue to walk through, you notice the stained and dirty carpet, decide to look at what is underneath, and are amazed by hardwood floors which are even more elegant than those in the other house. There are only 3 bedrooms but two of them have adjoining bathrooms with awesome claw-foot, porcelain tubs which are very deep, and you can’t wait to soak in them.
You begin to realize what made you like this house initially. There is sweet character here. It is unique. There are rooms attached to rooms and many hidden spaces that you never expected to see. This house will need work and there are things about it that aren’t quite “perfect,” but you kind of like the imperfections; they add to the personality of the house. You immediately develop pride and love for this house because it is yours, imperfections, beauty, character, and all.
You can’t wait to tell those you care for how much you love your new home. You want to show it off to everyone and let them know how very excited you are. You don’t want to feel sadness anymore; you love this house and wouldn’t have it any other way. The other house would have been nice too but the one you were given will bring you just as much joy so there is no need for condolences. This home is where you belong, you know it, accept it, and love it. You will be happy here and look forward to the experiences you will have within its walls.

Wow, I literally could not have said it better myself.  Her "sweet charm."  Doesn't that describe her perfectly?  And I admit that I do kind of like showing her off.  I do like that I have something that most people don't have.  Yes, she has her challenges, but they are worth it to have this unique beauty in my life.  No need to feel sorry for me!  Feel sorry for those that can't see it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Mid-Crazy-Summer Update. . .

Hi all!
I'm so sorry I haven't blogged in like 2 months!  Our summer has been, as usual, crazy busy.  Between all our travel, and uberhuge VBS, I just have not had time.  So far, we have had a 9 day church camping trip, and 2 trips to Tucson.  Coming up, 9 days in Illinois, a week of VBS set building, then a week of VBS, a week long trip to Vegas for our 10th Anniversary, and then, hopefully, one more camping trip before school starts.  When I'm home, I'm pretty much cleaning the house, and doing laundry to get ready for the next event.
However, today, even though I should be cleaning and doing laundry, I am making apricot sorbet, and blogging.  I wanted to take a few minutes and brag on my Kariscakes.

Karis has been doing amazingly well lately.  She is signing more, understanding more, and talking more all the time. Here is the current list of signs that she knows:  more, milk, eat, up, down, cracker, bagel, baby, goodnight, hat, all done, please, outside, help, open, play, she points, she waves, and she has her own sing for itsy bitsy spider.  That's 19 in all!  She'll also do a few combos like "eat cracker, more eat, or milk please."

She is currently saying, Bubba (that's what we call Keaton) Addy (daddy) Budgy (the dog) Bah-doo (love you), Buh-tnnn (button) , puh-puh (up), Ahh-dnn (all done), and hi!  She'll also say "Hi Bubba," "Hi Addy,"  "Hi Budgy," and "Bahdoo Budgy." 

She's also understanding so much.  She's getting really good at following directions like, "put that back," "put that down," "go with Bubba," "give me a kiss," "sit down," and other basic things like that.

I'm so proud of my girl, she's just 26 months old, and doing so much.  I just wanted to share all of that with you!  I also wanted to share these cute pictures of my kids camping, dirty as can be and loving it!
Happy crazy Summer everyone!


Monday, May 3, 2010

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things Part II"

I posted in March about some of my favorite healthy foods.  And, as I promised, today I am sharing about some of my favorite things outside of the grocery store that are helpful to me in my quest to be healthy-er.  

Cooking at Home

We love Mexican food at our house and we eat it a lot because it's so easy to "healthy it up."  For example, we often have big taco salads with lettuce, green peppers, cucumbers, black beans, lean ground beef, a small amount of cheese, home made pico de gallo (fresh chunky salsa), and my homemade sour cream dressing. It rounds out to about 500 calories, which is a good dinner.
Here's how I make my pico.
-6 roma tomatoes-diced
-6 green onions sliced
4 rings of jalepeno peppers (I use the kind that
   come in a jar)-diced as small as
-Cilantro to taste- I use
   about 1/4 of a bunch.
   Bunches vary in size so I guess
   about 3-4 tblsp
   chopped very small.
-A little salt
-A little garlic powder.
This is so flavorful and yummy!  It makes any Mexican dish delicious so you can go easy on the cheese and greasy meat.  We put it on tacos, burritos, anything.  When I make taco salad, I dump a ton of this stuff on, like a cup and a half for a big salad!  Pair this with healthy tortillas, and you have some great dishes!  This is all veggies, so I don't bother to count the calories.

Want a thinner, more resturant style, chip dipping salsa?  Try this...
In a food processor or blender mix the following:
1 large can (28 oz) of tomatoes, well drained
1/2 of a medium white, or yellow onion,
4 rings of jalapeno peppers, the jarred kind
A small handful of cilantro
Salt and Garlic Powder to taste (sometimes I use fresh garlic here since it gets chopped and mixed well)
We typically eat this on quesadillas.

Sour Cream dressing,
There's no measuring in my kitchen, so I'll take my best guesses here. Wisk well, the following.
-1 cup of sour cream (I just get the regular because you don't save many calories in
  the low fat kind, and it
  tastes awful, in my opinion)
-Milk, (I use 1%) start with about 4 tblsp, add more if you need it thinner.
-2 tblsp (approximately) of lime juice.
-salt and garlic powder to taste
  This has about 25 calories per tablespoon, which is way lower than any salad
  dressing that tastes good, and it tastes great on a taco salad!

Are you more of an Italian food lover?  Try this low cal version of Chicken Parmesan, my family loves it.  Pound out some chicken breasts thin, spray them with Pam, the grilling kind if you have it, and season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.  Then cook them on your grill. 
Use a healthy spaghetti like Ronzoni, and a low cal spaghetti sauce. Look for one with 50-60 calories per 1/2 cup.   Here are a few to look for.  Just remember, you can't go by brand alone, you have to read the calories on the back of each type.

Then, just go easy on your portions, and on your cheese.  I use Parmesan cheese and skip the mozzarella to save calories.

There you go, some of my favorite healthy dishes to cook at home.  Do you have some favorites?  Please share!!

Stay tuned.  Next time, we're going out to eat!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Overwhelmed. . .

With everything we have going on in our day to day life, lately I have just been feeling like I can not keep up.  Dishes and laundry endlessly abound.  And, I feel like keeping the house clean (or at least picked up) is like playing a one man defense against a three man offense.  I never make it to the goal, and I struggle just to keep the melee on my side of the 50 yard line.  Two kids, 4 1/2 and 2.  Whining, crying, "Mommy look," Mommy watch,"  "Mommy, I want..." cry, cry , cry, whine, whine, whine.  It's impossible.  Thank you, coffee, for your unwavering support.  If anyone's on my team, it's you my friend!

Add to that the fact that I'm trying to work with Keaton daily to get him ready for kindergarten (because his preschool teachers say he isn't).  Then there is Karis, who I am supposed to be working with daily, teaching signs, modeling words, reading books, doing fine motor and gross motor exercises, and a whole host of other tasks.  Also, Karis was recently diagnosed with Asthma.  So now on top of everything, I have to give her 4 breathing treatments a day untill her lungs clear up, and then once day after that.  For how long you ask?  Until the cows come home I guess.  I can't get a straight answer from her doctors.

Did I forget anyone, oh yes, me!  Yes I have needs too!  It seems that sometimes my cup of coffee is the only one who cares about that.  I know that I have got to get this weight off, and if you know me personally, or at least follow me on facebook, then you know how hard I try, how much I work out, how carefully I count my calories, how diligent I am at cooking healthy meals for my family every day.  It's all so much work, and it seems to get me no where.  I have church responsibilities too, but they really don't require too much of me except that I be there, and I don't forget how to sing or play the guitar.  But, I need to be doing more with that ministry and others, can I borrow some of your time?  I know, I know, you don't have any either.

The thing that really overwhelms me is that I feel like I cannot slack on any of these things.  We have such a tiny house that just a little bit of clutter looks like a lot.  If I don't keep the house clean, and sometimes I don't, then the house tells me about it!  If I don't do the laundry, we attract flies as we walk down the street.  If don't work with Keaton, he'll be behind next year.  And if I don't work with Karis, I may not see a negative consequence today, or even next week.  But the repercussions will follow her the rest of her life.  And if I am going to live long enough to support her into adulthood, then I am going to have to get this weight off, and remain extremely healthy.  I am 30 years older than her after all.  It's important, just like all these things.   I can't let anything slack.  I'm sure you've had the same feeling, that you need to cut something out of your life, but there just isn't anything that can go.

I have some friends that are true super women.  Full time jobs, kids, graduate degrees, fitness plans, homeschooling, spotless houses, responsibilities at church and other civic organizations, you name it, they can do it, and do it well.  It seems that more you throw at them, the more energized they become.  You know the old saying, "If you need something done, ask a busy person to do it."  There's some truth there.  I, however, am not one of those people.  When my plate is overly full, I shut down, and it seems like I can't do anything.  Stress paralyzes me.  Then, at some point, I snap out of it, and then I'm in a mad rush to keep up the bare minimum.  This makes me grouchy, my poor family!  I had one of these weeks this week.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband stepped in and helped me take care of some things.

So one night, I sat in my bed looking at my Bible, with no idea what to read and where to look.  I needed some inspiration, some word that I hadn't seen before about parenting a special needs child, or holding it all together when it feels like I'm falling apart.  I didn't find anything.  Frustrated, I slapped my Bible open, resigning to read whatever was on the page, and it opened to Proverbs 31 (for real, this happened).   "Oh good grief!  Not the superwoman chapter!  Thanks a lot God!  I need help, and I'm led to read about a woman who has it all together!" Sigh, so I read.

10. A wife of noble character who can find?
       She is worth far more than rubies.
 11 Her husband has full confidence in her
       and lacks nothing of value.
 12 She brings him good, not harm,
       all the days of her life.
 13 She selects wool and flax
       and works with eager hands.
 14 She is like the merchant ships,
       bringing her food from afar.
 15 She gets up while it is still dark;
       she provides food for her family
       and portions for her servant girls.
 16 She considers a field and buys it;
       out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
 17 She sets about her work vigorously;
       her arms are strong for her tasks.
 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
       and her lamp does not go out at night.
 19 In her hand she holds the distaff
       and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
 20 She opens her arms to the poor
       and extends her hands to the needy.
 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
       for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
 22 She makes coverings for her bed;
       she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
       where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
       and supplies the merchants with sashes.
 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
       she can laugh at the days to come.
 26 She speaks with wisdom,
       and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
 27 She watches over the affairs of her household
       and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
       her husband also, and he praises her:
 29 "Many women do noble things,
       but you surpass them all."
 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
       but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
 31 Give her the reward she has earned,
       and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Now that seems a little, well, ancient.  Because it is.  Most people don't work at the spindle these days.  So, God led, I drafted a version of my own, a modern day paraphrase if you will, and it goes like this.

A good wife and mom is rare and valuable.
She takes good care of her husband, and he trusts her completely.
She's good to him, always, and never does anything to hurt him, or put him down.
She works hard at keeping her family well dressed on a budget.
She keeps her cabinets and fridge well stocked.
She gets up early and makes sure her family and staff have a breakfast before they start their day.
She makes wise business decisions, and grows some of her own food to save money.
She works hard, and has the strength to handle all that's on her plate.
She makes good money, and she's good at handling money.  Her bills are paid on time.
She's talented and hardworking, especially when it comes to sewing.
She generous, and cares about others' needs, including the poor and needy.
When winter comes, she's not worried because she already bought nice coats for the family.
She's a good decorator, and a snappy dresser!
Her husband is a well respected leader in the community.
She is profitable in the wholesale business.  Everyone wants her brand!
She's strong, smart, and confident.  She has no worries for the future.
She's wise and gives sound advice.
She takes care of her house, and doesn't waste time on facebook.
Her husband and kids adore her, and appreciate her.
Lots of women have it together, but you are Super Mom!
A smooth talker will only fool people for a while, and good looks will eventually fade.  But a woman who whole heartedly lives for God is really to be admired.
Appreciate her, reward her, and let all she has accomplished be an example to everyone.

Oh boy, I am so far from being this woman, so far.  But, though I didn't expect it, I was comforted by this passage.  There's an underlying theme here,  that a supermom takes care of what's important, and God supplies her the strength she needs.

I need, we all need, to really rely on God for the strength to get through the day, and through our to-do list.  I hate to just say "rely on God" because it seems like such a sunday school answer that really means nothing.  It's an abstract thought, and I like concrete ideas.  So let me say it this way, as concretely as I can.  When you're going through your day, feeling overwhelmed, and wanting nothing more than to just crawl into a ball on the couch, just keep going.  Do what you have to do.  Do as much as you can and trust God, that he's going to pick up the slack and take care of what you leave behind.  Trust that He's ultimately in control, and that as long as you keep your focus on Him, He's not going to let things spiral down the drain.  He's not a "you made your bed, now lie in it" kind of God.

* A special note to parents of special needs kids.*
God gave us these kids, they weren't a mistake, and they weren't delivered to the wrong house.  They are ours because He has a purpose for them, and you, seperately and together, and He will see that purpose through.  And, although it is important for us to do everything we can do help our children's health and developement be the best it can be, let us not think for a moment that we are in control of all that.  God is, and because of that, we don't have to worry about what will happen if we take our eye off the ball for a minute.  Trust Him.

Psalm 121

 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
       where does my help come from?
 2 My help comes from the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth.
 3 He will not let your foot slip—
       he who watches over you will not slumber;

Sorry such a long post tonight!
Love to you all...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Good Laugh for Wednesday...

Here's a good laugh break for the middle of your Wednesday.  If you have a few minutes, you won't regret it!  Brain Regan is a family favorite in the McCain household!

Happy Wednesday

Monday, April 12, 2010

And the Grammy Goes to....ME!

Today's blog could have been titled "notes from the couch" because I have finally given in to the fact that I am sick, and have taken a day to rest and recover.  Sitting on the couch all day, and trying to remain entertained, makes me realize just how seldom I take the time to to stop, sit on the couch!!  So as I attempt to keep my kids content from the comfort of my sectional, I decided to catch up on some DVR'd episodes of "The Celebrity Apprentice."  I know, I know, who still watches this show?  Well, I do.  I have to have something recorded to entertain me on the treadmill! (On days that I'm not sick of course)  In this kind of setting, celebrities, and a few has-beens, are almost always doing what they are doing to benefit a particular charity.  The celebrity apprentice is no different.  This year's big ones are the "Make a Wish Foundation," the "American Diabetes Association,"  two celebs are raising funds for Autism awareness, and several others.

Admittedly, I tend to have an over active imagination.  For example, when watching the Grammys, I find my wandering to what my acceptance speech will be when I am finally recognized for my talents and receive the award for best new artist (eat your heart out Taylor Swift).  What will I wear?  Who will I thank?  Come on, you do it too.  Or maybe you think more about what you'll sing in the finally of American Idol next too.  In much the same way, while watching this kind of celeb/charity show, I wonder just who I would donate my winnings too, if I should ever be so lucky to win.  My grammy would get me on the show for sure, right? 

Such a tough decision, so many choices!  Would I chose a charity that I have been the benefited from personally, such as the Ronald McDonald House?  Or one who supports a cause I really believe in, like The National Down Sydrome Society?  Maybe I would send the money to some great missionaries that I know and love like Jay and Celeste Brown, or Freddy and Terisa Vasquez.

As tough as it is to decide on a worthy cause to become the beneficiary of my day dream, I know where my heart is pulled to the most.  Reece's Rainbow.  Reece's Rainbow is a ministry that aides the adoption to, and raises money for, the adoption of orphans with Down Syndrome all over the world.

More on that in a few days.  But today, as I am stuck on the couch, I really need some entertainment, so I really want to hear from YOU?  1- What charity moves your heart?  Or, 2-what weird, pie in the sky, day dreams do you have when your mind wanders to uncharted places?  Come on, you can tell me!

Question 1 or 2, or both, leave me a comment today!  (Humor a sick lady!)

p.s. Notice there is a new poll over there--------------->

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Blogging My Sorrows Away. . . .

Well, today was the day.  We went to the school to register Keaton for Kindergarten.  We were there for about 30 minutes, and he had gone through 2 of the 5 or 6 stations he needed to go through only to find out, when his preschool teacher happened to walk in, that we didn't need to be there at all, since he already attended preschool there.  Oh well, Karis had fun terrorizing the place haha!

If you know me, you know how hard it was for me to send Keaton to preschool.  I know it's only 2 hours a day, but it was, in my point of view, the beginning of the end.  And now, starting in August, I have to send him away, all day, everyday, to be influenced by people I don't know, and have experiences I know nothing about.  He's not mine anymore.  Not just mine anyway.  I have to share him with the world, and hope the world treats him well.  The poor little guy will only be 5 years old, and will have a full time job.  What saddens me even more is knowing that there is no going back, and that I'll only see him a few hours a day from now on.  He will keep these hours until he leaves me for good in about 13 short years, that will pass as if they were just minutes.  How did the time go by so quickly?

My son, being my first born, taught me to love in way I never thought possible before he came into my life. Never have I known such love, joy, laughter, pride, frustration, guilt, the whole gammit of emotions, on steriods, all wrapped up in one little round face.   The feelings I have for him, I have for no other person on earth.  He's my baby, my first born, my buddy, my stinkeroo, my sweety pie, my big-time-tooter, my peanut.  My son.... my only son..... and it's time I let him go.

Please stand by as I cry my eyes out. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

They took him away for a hearing test today, and when he returned he said to me, "Mommy, I was bwave (brave)!"  I thought to myself, "oh boy, if a simple hearing test in another room is cause for bravery, how in the world is he going to survive all that he will experience in the next few years."  He'll be fine, I know he will.  But it breaks my heart to think of him being scared.  Keaton's such a sweet, tender hearted little boy, a little more sensitive than most, but so was I, and I found my way.  He will too.  I just wish I could hold his hand through every bump and turn, but I can't.

I'll survive this, I suppose.  Most moms do,  About the time I get over it, it will be Karis' turn.  The thought makes me shutter.  Meetings, therapists, IEP's, not just a simple "sign up" for Kindergarten.
So, I think I'll focus on enjoying this one, the "easy one", and try to put on my bravest face for my son.

On second thought, I think I'll just sign myself up for Kindergarten and go with him (age discrimination is illegal right!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Manure Stinks, No matter how You Bag It......

The weekend was so nice, nice days, sunny, warmish.  Friday, not so much.  Friday a colossal dust storm rolled in and planted itself on our town, leaving me with an allergy attack unlike any I've had  in years.  Don't worry about me.  It's nothing that nasal spray and Tylenol-daytime-cold combined can't handle.   This weekend, my husband decided it was time to get the garden in gear.  He started emptying large bags of cow manure compost in the garden, and he said to me "this stuff smells like Karis' diaper pail".  Understatement of the year.  This reminded me that I wanted to share with you just how all that cow manure compost made its way into our fine garden. But I had such a busy week, I had forgotten, until now.

Tuesday, I had to make my usual weekly trip to Safford (an hour away).  And although we usually go together, Tim decided that he and the kids would stay home.  I asked him, being the thoughtful wife that I am *smile* if there was anything he needed at Walmart while I was there.  I wish I had never asked.  He typically asks for simple things like pepsi, or a gallon of water, maybe some popcorn.  Not today.  Today he wanted... 8 bags of.....cow....manure...compost.  My reaction was, I think, a reasonable one. I asked, "Is it going to stink?" He assured me it would only smell like dirt.  My husband is an honest man.  I believed him.  My first mistake.

Tuesday was a day much like today, warm and sunny.  And I was enjoy some time to myself, going to my appointments, doing some grocery shopping, and taking my time.  That was my second mistake.  If I had gotten my "rear in gear" I could have completed my tasks and made it home in time to make dinner, as was my plan.  Instead, I took advantage of the fact that no none was asking me "are we almost done?"

By the time I had all my groceries in the car, a storm had blown in.  It was now 50 degrees, windy, and raining, cold, tiny, stinging rain.  I still had to get the cow manure compost, 8 bags of it.   So I drove my car from the grocery side of the Walmart parking lot, to the gardening side of the parking lot.  (What did you think I was going to carry 8 bags of cow manure compost clear across the parking lot?  Sheesh.  No!)  Mind you, I thought this was going to be an easy task, but I looked all through the gardening section of Walmart, and there was no cow manure compost to be found.  So finally, admitting defeat, I asked an associate for help.

What she told me was only "helpful" in the one sense of the word.  Because the information was not "helpful" at all.  The cow manure compost was located in the outdoor area of the gardening section.  Remember what I said about the current weather?  What would have been helpful would have been something like "how much do you need, let me get it for you."  No such generosity was offered.  In fact, I think she even snickered, knowing what I was about to do.  Determined to fill my husband's request, I headed out into the 50 degree wind and stinging rain, and found the 20 lb bags of garden poop.  They were, of course, in the far corner, and, much to my dismay standing in 4 inches of water.  There was no getting around it, I rolled up my pants and sloshed on in to the mini-lake.  I was wearing my crocs flip flops, thankfully.  And suddenly I recalled a friendly warning from another blogging momma ,that in and around water, these particular shoes had a tendency to turn into surfboards.  Can you see me, as I lifted a 20 lb bag of manure, falling rump over tea kettle on the concrete floor, flat on my back into an ice cold puddle of water, and being showered with 20 lbs of garden poop.  I could see it too.  Don't worry, that didn't happen.  I was careful.  But I did roll up my pants and bravely venture in.

If you have ever bought potting soil, or something like it, you know the bags are more like hair nets than they are bags.  They only keep most of the contents in. Because of the rain, the 20 lb bags of cow poop were now wet, and now smeared with, well, you know.  I needed to heave-ho eight of them into my cart without getting the contents all over myself, yeah right.  Remember my husband promising me they wouldn't stink?  Well, there's no other way to say it.  He was dead wrong.  They stunk.  They were also quite weighty, and required me to hold them against my chest, in my new shirt of course, in order to get them in there.  When I was done, I was covered with, well, you know.  At this point I was thankful for the pond I was standing in, because at least I  had some way to rinse the "compost" off my hands.  I did just that with a hearty splish-splash, and headed back inside to checkout.  At this point the scowl on my face was hard to hide.  I even unintentionally made eye contact with another lady, who I know, thought I was giving her a dirty look.  I paid for my 160 pounds of poop, and headed back out into the elements to the car.     

This process repeated itself from the cart to the car.  There was also an ugly encounter with a large, hairy, black spider.  The problem now was that I had no pond to rinse my hands in and I had mouse-and-hairspray-encrusted-half-wet-sticking-to-my-face-poking-me-in-the-eye hair.  I had to close the hatch, walk back inside, through the garden center, through the pet supplies, past the pharmacy, past the jewelry, and through the cash registers with my soiled hands held out in front of me, just to get to the bathroom, to wash my hands, to get my hair OUT OF MY FACE !! UGH!  ....Deep breath.... I was sure in that moment I would come across some new member or recent visitor to our church, who at that point, would think twice about returning at the looks of me.  That also didn't happen, thankfully.

My hands were clean, my hair was mess, but out of my face.  My shirt was... I zipped up my jacket.  I started out one more time into the rain and wind, to my car, that was on the other side of the planet, thinking the worst was over.  But, what seems obvious now, hadn't occurred to me until this point.  For all my efforts, my reward would be making the one hour drive home with 160 pounds of cow poop as my only companion.

beep-beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep.  "Hi Honey".... "yes I found the cow manure compost"...."Go ahead and put a frozen pizza in for you and the kids, I'm not gonna make it home in time to cook dinner"..."love you too."

There is no universe in which I would cook after all that.

Subway, here I come.

Friday, March 26, 2010

10 Things That Make Me Happy....

A blog I follow, No Greater Gift, posted a challenge to look on the brighter side of things today, and find 10 things that make us happy.  I'm doing just that!  If you are a blogger too, and want to join in the fun, we're going for a free give away here!

10 Things That Make Me Happy...(in no particular order)

1. The way my daughter laughs uncontrollably at every little thing when she gets tired at night.

2.  When my son learns something new and says "now I know everything," and means it!

3.  Coffee.  Iced or Hot, love it!

4.  My husbands shoulders.  In a figurative sense, he carries so much and does it well, without complaining.  In a literal sense, rrrrrrrooowwww!

5.  Sunshine, we've had so much rain.

6.  The pink blossoms on my apricot tree.

7. Tulips, any and all colors!

8.  Dinner out with my family.

9.  Our amazing, loving, and awesome church!

10.  Hearing my son pray.

There you go!  If you read this, please leave me a comment with at least one thing that makes you happy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (at the grocery store)....

As many of you know, I am constantly striving to be healthier, eat better, exercise more, etc etc...  Many people have asked me about my eating plan, especially since my doctor told me to eat more, and it actually has helped me lose weight.  The pace is painfully slow, about 1 lb a week, even with daily workouts, but it's something.  My plan is pretty simple.  I eat 1600 calories a day, high on fiber and protein, low on sugar, fat, and bad carbs (white bread, white rice, potatoes, etc).  When I was eating 1200 calories a day, I wasn't losing anything, for months! So, my doctor told me to go up on my calories.  I thought she was nuts, turns out she was right!  As for exercise, two days a week I do Tae Bo, and three days a week I walk 3 miles, either outside or on my treadmill.  I'll admit that often on the treadmill I poop out at 2 miles, and I don't work out on the weekends.  So flog me, I'm doing what I can.

Today I want to share with you some of my favorite foods.  These allow me to eat more so I can be full and satisfied without breaking the bank.  There are plenty of great diet foods out there that cost an arm and a leg.  Can't do 'em.  There are many low cal recipes that take 15 ingredients and 2 hours to prepare.  Can't do those either. I have to balance nutrition with cost, and time.  A forewarning, many of these foods are more expensive than their generic, unhealthy counterparts, but they are not unreasonably priced, at least in my opinion.  Here we go!

1.  Orowheat (or Arnold in some parts of the country) Sandwich Thins.  These are basically a hamburger bun that's really thin.  I like them because they are pretty big, so you can fit a chicken breast on them easily.  And, they are sturdy and hold up to a burger.  Only 100 calories.  They come in 100% whole wheat, or whole grain.  I honestly don't know which is better for you.  They both taste good.

2.  Vlasic Kosher Dill Stackers.  These taste like the yummy pickles that they put on burgers in restaurants.  I really like the Claussen Kosher pickles that you get in the refrigerated section, but these are much cheaper.  These taste very different, much tangier, but I love them.  There is nothing "diet" about these.  But, put some of these on a sandwich or burger, and the flavor and moistness cause me to have no need for mayo, which is why they are so helpful.

3. Great Value (Walmart Brand) High Fiber Chewy Bars.  Not much to say here, almost nutritionally identical to the Fiber One brand, but much cheaper.  All the yummy goodness of a chocolate chip granola bar, with 35% of the fiber you need in a day.  A great snack that keeps you satisfied for a long time!

4.  Coffee Mate Sugar Free French Vanilla Creamer.  Pretty self explanatory.  Most regular creamers have 40 calories per tablespoon, this only has 15 calories.  It doesn't sound like much, but most people without knowing put 3-4 tablespoons of creamer in their coffee when they don't measure it, yes really.  If you have 2 cups that's a difference between 320 calories and 120, if you use that much.  That's a lot!  This also comes in Hazlenut, and Vanilla Carmel.  Coffee mate usually costs less that International Delight. This isn't quite as sweet as the regular variety, so add a little splenda!

5.  Nature's own Whitewheat bread.  This bread is only 50 calories per slice which is really good, and it has no bleached flower or high fructose corn syrup.  I bought this bread on the recommendation from the book "Eat This, Not That" by David Zinczenko.  Did you know that most wheat breads have molasses in them? That's why they are so dark brown!  This bread is not bright white, but tastes very good.  And, (I love this) one loaf of bread pleases the whole family, healthy eaters or not.  Note: go through the loafs on the shelf and get the freshest one you can.  Since it's all natural, it's won't last quite as long in your cabinet as other breads.  You're good to go for about a week. 

6.  Frozen fruit.  I buy a big bag of frozen mixed fruit that has grapes, strawberries, pineapple, and peaches.  It's 70 calories per cup, and really delicious.  I like to eat it thawed, as a dessert, Or, I'll leave it frozen, microwave it for 20 seconds to soften it slightly, and then put it in the blender for a quick smoothie (I add splenda, and sometimes 1/2 cup apple juice to 2 cups of fruit.)

7.  Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry Herbal tea.  For tea lovers with a sweet tooth, add splenda, yummo!

8.   Cilantro.  If you've never cooked with cilantro, it's time you learned.  Nothing makes Mexican food taste more authentic and delicious, and with no calories, you can't go wrong.  If there's any interest, I'll post my recipes for fresh salsa, and tortilla soup, both of which are guilt free, and depend on cilantro for their full flavor.

9.  Great Value (Walmart Brand) Peach Tea drink mix.  If you can't get off of full calorie drinks, try this.  Everyone who has ever had it at my house loves it.  It's zero calories, caffeine free, and so delicious.  I actually like this better than the Crystal Lite brand.  It has less of a tea flavor, and it costs much less.

10.  Ronzoni Pasta.   I promise you'll never know the difference, but this pasta is so much better for you than the generic white pasta we are all used to.  It's enriched with lots of fiber, calcium and vitamin D.  We still don't eat a lot of pasta, once or twice a month, because I just want to eat myself silly on it, and you just can't do that, no matter how healthy the noodle.  But, if you're a pasta lover like me, you can't go wrong with this product (unless you eat too much!).

Well, there you go, some of my favorite grocery store finds.  Stay tuned for "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things Part II", where we venture beyond the grocery store.

Have a favorite product?   PLEASE share!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"9 Reasons to Go to Church" By Thoedore Roosevelt.

The Assemblies of God USA posted this on Facebook today, from the Pentecostal Evangel (the AG's weekly magazine) from March 9, 1958.  This article by Theodore Roosevelt was of course not written in 1958, he died in 1919.  This was a retro reprint even back in 1958.  I can' find a date for when it was originally written, but this timeless wisdom bares repeating.

It was "Teddy" Roosevelt who said, "If a man is not familiar with the Bible, he has suffered a loss which he had better make all possible haste to correct."  From his writings the following document has emerged:

1. A churchless community, where men have abandoned, scoffed at, or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid downgrade.

2. Church work and church attendance mean the cultivation of the habit of feeling some responsibility for others.

3. There are enough holidays for most of us. Therefore, on Sundays go to church.

4. Yes, I know all the excuses. I know that one can worship the
Creator in a grove of trees, or by a running brook, or in one's own
home, just as well as in a church. But I also know as a matter of
cold fact that the average man does not thus worship.

5. One may not hear a good sermon at church.  One will hear a
sermon by a good man who, with his good wife, is engaged all week in
making hard lives a little easier.

6. One will listen to and take part in reading some beautiful passages
from the Bible. If a person is not familiar with the Bible he
has suffered a loss.

7. One will take part in singing some good hymns.

8. One will meet and nod or speak to good, quiet neighbors. He
will come away feeling a little more charitable toward all the world,
even toward those excessively foolish young men who regard church going
as a soft performance.

9. I advocate a mans joining in church work for the sake of showing
his faith by his works.

These are nine good reasons. There are more (including the fact
that the Bible itself commands us not to forsake the assembling of
ourselves together-Hebrews 10 :25). But please notice the last few
words of the ninth point, " . . . showing his faith by his works." It
is Scriptural to say that we demonstrate our faith by our works
(James 2 :18). It is also Scriptural to say that we are saved by our
faith and not by our works (Romans 4:s). Church attendance is an
excellent habit but it cannot take the place of saving faith. Each person
must be converted and experience the New Birth in order to become
a Christian. Therefore, when you go to church be sure it is
a church where the gospel is preached. Believe the gospel, accept
the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, and you will say
with the Psalmist, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go
into the house of the Lord."  (It's not clear whether this last paragraph was written by Roosevelt or the writer from the Pentecostal Evangel, I assume the latter.)

Well said Teddy!  I love this.  Truth, is truth, even 100 years later.

What are your thoughts?  Leave me comment!

Here's my source by the way.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Red Sea Rules...

What a great weekend I had!  We went to PHOENIX!  Phoenix is about a 4 1/2 hour trip (before lunch and 2 potty stops), so we don't go very often, but I love it!  I live in a very rural area (an hour away from the closest Walmart people, ru-ral!).  So, a trip to Phoenix involves many things that I love and usually do without:  restaurants, places to shop, and my parents.  Yes, I love to go to Phoenix.  If you know me, you know my favorite place to shop in the city is Target, and I'll proudly admit that I went to three different Target stores in three days!  Every dollar spot is different right?!  We picked out Easter clothes for the kids and then decided to extend the clothing coordination to the whole family so that we could all look nice for the family portraits that we are getting at the end of April.  Actually the reason I was in and out of so many Target stores was in search of my husband's shirt in the right size.  The 3rd Target was the charm.  Of course, I couldn't find anything to match the family at Target, but I was so blessed to find just the right thing at Lane Bryant.  AND, I had a gift card to buy it!  (Thanks Momo and Papa!)  Whoohoo!  What a good time!

The reason we went to Phoenix this particular weekend was that I had plans to attend a Ministry Wives Breakaway.  This was a short retreat for wives of Assembly of God pastors, which I am!  It was so nice to visit with some old friends, and make some new ones.  Our speaker for this retreat was Kay Dekalb Smith.  She is a Christian singer, speaker, and comedian.  And I have to tell you she was HILarious!  I haven't laughed like that in a very long time.  If you get to a chance to go see her, I highly recommend it.
She has a serious side too, and, in her time with us, gave some great insights into dealing with difficult times. I want to share with you something that she shared with us this weekend.  It is a guide to dealing with hardship based on the book The Red Sea Rules, by Robert J. Morgan.  (copy and paste that address if you are interested in a copy of the book)
When going through trying times, or difficult situations, we often wonder where God is.  Why isn't He listening to our prayers?  He is, He knows, He is there.  God may seem to be so distant, but He is so close.  It may seem like He doesn't care, but He does, even more than you do!!  Take heart that God is still with you, and still working in your life no matter what your circumstances.  The Red Sea Rules can help us take the right attitude to weather the storm.
Here are the Red Sea Rules:
1.  Realize that God means for you to be where you are.

2.  Be more concered for God's glory, than for your relief.

3.  Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.

4.  Pray!

5.  Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work. 

6.  When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.

7.  Envision God's enveloping presence.

8.  Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.

9.  View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.

10.  Don't forget to praise Him!

I love it!  What a fresh, helpful perspective.  The second one is my favorite, don't we all want live our lives to glorify God?  I hope you do.  He loves you and wants, more than anything, to be a part of your life.

Does one of these rules speak to you?  I would love to know.  Leave me a comment (about this, or about Target haha!!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Mother (But first a disclaimer!)

I'm still new to blogging.  I'm still in the process of figuring out what I want to say, how I want to say it, trying to be interesting, truthful, coherent, and not pretentious.  I have found myself try to cater to different groups of people in my life, and not alienating the others.  For example.  I don't want my Christian friends to think my blog is just all about Down Syndrome.  Likewise, I don't want my fellow DS moms to think that my blog is just a religious rant.  I fear that if I poor out all that's inside of me, some people will think "who does she think she is?" (Especially those who knew me as a silly, foolish teenager, and may still see my that way.  Know what I mean?)  If I take all these thoughts into consideration while writing, the end result is a blog that is about as interesting as low sodium saltine cracker.  These thoughts have been keeping me from blogging much lately.  No longer.  From now on the only thing that will keep me from blogging is either a lack of time, or lack of comprehensible thoughts.  So readers, if what you read on any given day just isn't your "cup of tea,"  fear not, something different is on the way.
On to today...

I've been wanting to tell you all about a little girl that I know, and how she made me realize a that major change had happened inside of me.  Here's the story.
Every day I take Keaton, my 4 year old, to preschool at the local public school.  Every now and then I come across a young girl, with some kind of impairment, who's personal aid is an acquaintance of mine.  (To protect her, I'll call her Janie, and I won't be too specific about her)  Janie walks differently, with her knees turned in.  She's not terribly shy, or outgoing, but when we talk, she often wants to show me her favorite little toy, and share it with Karis (when Karis is with me).  She doesn't really have a speech impediment, she just talks, well, differently that we do.  I don't know what her diagnosis is, It's none of my business.  But one day when Karis and I stopped to talk to her, and her aid, a thought occurred to me.  There is no way I would have done this 2 years ago.

In my pre-Karis days, I was one of those people who was very uncomfortable around people with disabilities.  I was afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, constantly in fear that I would hurt their feelings or embarrass them, or myself!  I just didn't know what the rules were, and I was certain I would break 10 of them.  So I stayed away.  I went down the other isle at Walmart so I wouldn't be engaged in conversation.  I walked and waved, if they were with someone I knew.  If they were in the living room, I was in the kitchen. (I'm so sorry friends, it's true.)  I am embarrassed and filled with remorse over this, now.

On that day (that I was talking to Janie), I pondered why this change in me had occurred.  Why am I suddenly at ease in this situation?  It had to be more than just the fact that I had a baby with Down Syndrome.  Karis seemed just like any other baby for the most part.  It was something else.  Eventually the answer came to me, and even though these reasons seem obvious, they eluded me at the time.  Here we go...

1.  People like Janie never meant to make me uncomfortable.  They were just always going about their days, like I was, being themselves, acting normal.  The ones in Walmart probably didn't even notice me.  They certainly didn't have an agenda to try to embarass me.
2.  They aren't "the way they are" on purpose.  Let's face it, some people with disabilities can act differently than those who don't.  It's not right or wrong, it's just who God made them to be, and that's ok.  They aren't like obnoxious teenagers who go around raising a rucus just to get attention or to get a rise out of people.  (Please don't be offended at the comparison, I'm just trying to make a point).
3.  The rules I was afraid of breaking don't exist.  People with disabilities, and their families, are among the nicest, most accepting, and easy to talk to people you'll ever know.  You can talk to them if you want to.  But you don't have to.  They have been where you are, and are sensitive to the fact that you might be uncomfortable.  As long as you have a basic grasp of manners and tact, you aren't going to say the wrong thing, trust me.
4.  My final observation that should have been obvious was as follows.  Janie has a mom.  I have seen her in the parking lot.  And Janie's mom, I assume, didn't want this for her daughter.  Janie's mom probably cried when she heard the news, just like I did with Karis.  But Janie's mom loves her and is proud of her and all that she has accomplished.  I saw Janie, like I see Karis, through the eyes of a mother.

All of these thing have changed the way I feel about people with disabilities, and how I treat them.   Now, I want to show them love, and compassion, and patience.  I want to know them, and be their friend.  Because now I know that, just like my sweet little Karis, they are absolutely wonderful.

So don't worry folks.  There's nothing to be tense about.  You don't need to ponder the "Do I look, or not look, I don't want to stare, but I don't want to ignore."   Do either, we probably won't notice.  Ok, don't stare, that goes back to the basic grasp of manners and tact.  But just know that we aren't waiting for you to mess up.  I guess what I am saying is that when you come in contact with someone with a disablity, think about the 4 points I made today, and most of all, RELAX!

Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Winter Blahs Guide to Survival.

The winter blahs.
Or the winter blues, as you may call it, but I don't often feel blue, I feel blah. I'm not convinced colors have feelings.  Does one ever "feel" purple, or maybe burgundy?  Haha, anyway...  So many of my friends are telling me that they are piled under feet of snow.  And, just about the time it melts, or gets shoveled to a manageable level, more snow.  We haven't had any snow here in my corner of Arizona, but we have had TONS of rain.  The only thing worse than winter snow, is winter rain.  Cold, wet, gray outside.  Well, if you read my blogs (of course you do right!) then you know how I feel about rain.  No sir, I don't like it!  It makes me feel like I am trapped inside a cloud myself, and not a nice, white, puffy one.
Too make matters blah-er, it has been so cold!  Now I know what you are going to say "It's Arizona, how cold can it be?"  Well, first of all, most people don't know that the year-round warmth that Arizona is so famous for, is reserved for those who live in the Phoenix area, and south.  If you live north, or east of  "the valley of the sun," you will not have a 70 degree winter.  That being said, mid 30's is about as cold as it gets at my house, but cold is relative.  The reason people can survive in nothern Canada is, that -40, while indeed cold, is the norm for them.  They're used to it. But they would die in the 115 degree heat that we love, we're used to it.  It' been cold here, and wet, and gray, and I feel blah.

I suspect that you too have felt less than stellar these last few months, low energy, low motivation, feeling well, low.   So, today I offer a few winter weather, snow trapped, gray skies, froze from your nosies to your toes-ies survival tips. 

1.  Our bodies need vitamin D to survive.  It improves our mood, our energy level, our heart function, and it helps us absorb calcium into our bones.  Vitamin D comes from two places- the food we eat, and from a chemical process in our bodies when we are out in the sun.  So, get out in the sun! I know, I know, it's C.O.L.D.  Here is what I suggest:  Bundle up in some warm clothes, go outside and scrape off a chair, (or a swing weeeeeee!).  Take a hot cup of coffee, or tea, and sit with your face in the sun.  Do this for about 20 minutes on each day that the sun comes out, and you will see a great improvement to your mood, guaranteed!  If you have kids, 20 minutes of peace and quiet with a hot cup of joe may be just what you need.  This is also a good time to catch up on some much needed time with God.  Sounds good eh?

2.  Get some exercise.  If your streets are paved, go out and take a 20 minute walk.  You don't have to hoof it, just take a walk at your normal mall-walking pace.  (Doing this could knock out point #1 also!)  If going outside just isn't an option, strap on your ipod to some jammin tunes and just dance around the house a bit.  Your kids might enjoy this too!  Crank up their favorite tunes and get silly! 

3.  Have a cup of coffee.  Caffeine can give your mood a boost, but don't over do it, you don't want the shakes!  Also, beware, this boost is temporary.  Try a new coffee creamer!

4.  Try an herbal remedy.  Have you ever heard of St. John's Wort?  It's an herb that helps "support a positive mood" as it says on the label.  St. John's Wort doesn't work for everyone, but I have taken this herb every day for years instead of an antidepressant.  This herb won't make you giddy.  What it will do is take away that shoulders sunk, *sigh*, kind of feeling, and it never makes me jittery.  I highly recommend it.  $4.00 in the vitamin isle at Walmart.  (*A note of warning.  St. John's Wort may reduce the effectiveness of Birth Control pills, or other types of hormonally based birth control.  you're welcome.)

5.  Make a lunch date with a friend.  Many of us really need a break from the hum drum of the day-today.  Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom like me, or you're locked up in an office all day, you could probably benefit from a great lunch, and some time to connect with a friend.  Why don't we do this more often?  Well, it takes effort.  Effort to find a babysitter, to take an extra half hour from work, effort to set a time and place with an equally busy buddy.  Make the effort.  It will exercise a social  part of your brain that may have been sitting dormant while we have been stuck indoors.  No man is an island, we need each other!

6. Finally, as the song goes "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!"  I won't go into detail, you know what I mean.  Philippians 4:8 says-"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Let's do it together shall we?
I'll start.  Here are a few of my favorite things!
1.  When a new magazine comes in the mail.
2.  My favorite coffee cup.  It' pink with lady bugs, and really holds 2 cups!!  Haha, I know, girly.
3.  Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry Herbal tea. Yum!
4.  Reading a Francine Rivers novel.
5.  Going to Target.
6.  The dollar spot at Target!!!
7.  A colorful new pair of socks.
8.  Kung Fu Panda, in HD.
9.  Pretty new jewelry, even if it's super cheap!!
10.  Fresh flowers, I don't buy them, I just look through them at Walmart.   Sometimes I buy a potted flower and plant it outside.
11.  Iced Mochas
12.  XM radio, The Message, 90's on 9, and Flight 26.
13., to focus on things that are lovely.
14. The Chaos Diaries, when you need a good laugh!
15.  Hearing from you.  Please comment and share any winter blahs survival tips you have, and some of your favorite things!!!!!