Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 HAS to be Better, Right?

Just so that y'all know I haven't dropped off the face of the planet or died tragically in a nuclear accident... I'm here. Still breathing....snottily and wheezily.

So, last week we had what I guess ended up being Rotovirus - 6 days per person of the most horrible stomach bug ever, complete with high fevers and horrible muscle aches. Which we then spread to my entire family and ended up causing Christmas to be canceled. Which made my children even more depressed - they were already extremely upset that their dad refused to come see them at Christmas time. They were heartbroken, and this did NOT help.

Then, at the tail end of the Rotavirus hell [12 days from when the first of us got sick until the last of us were finally well], two of my children started up with fevers and horrible sounding hacking coughs. That was Christmas Day.

One of those children [the 6yo] was sick for 5 days and is fine now. One of those children [the 8yo] has continued to run fevers on and off for almost a week now and has developed a truly concerning cough. AND the two little girls - the 1yo and 2yo - got sick 3 days ago and have been sicker than any children I've ever seen.

So, we made a trip to the Ped today who verified that we have the Flu. [The girls did NOT appreciate the nose swab...] The "regular" flu, not the swine flu [which, of course, we already had in October]. The two little girls have both got horrid ear infections - the doc said the 1yo has the "worst ears" he's ever seen. And the 8yo has pneumonia. All 3 are on antibiotics now.

Two remaining children have not yet gotten the flu - I pray they won't. We'll see.

I have, of course, gotten the flu. And I'm trying to take care of 6 children with no sleep for 2 weeks straight and just trying to survive and ... just damn.

For those who are keeping up out of a morbid sense of curiosity - we have now had pneumonia [8yo and I] in Sept, Swine Flu in Oct and now Rotavirus last week and the "Seasonal" [or "regular"] flu this week, in addition to various other little colds and coughs in between. On top of everything else [which would be QUITE ENOUGH on its own without sickness].... I mean seriously.

I feel like looking up at God and asking "Really?!!!" [No offense God, but truly... are You trying to KILL me or what?!]

And I have my family here that wants to help, but then I have to live with the guilt of making THEM sick [we had to cancel Christmas, remember, because of me and my sick kids infecting everyone]. :( And, of course, the flu can be fatal to older adults, so wouldn't that just be the most horrible guilt trip in the world if I accidentally kill one of my beloved parents?

I also got news this week that is completely breaking my heart [it is not my news to share, forgive me], so if you wouldn't mind, just offer some serious heart felt prayers up for my "Special Intention" - I promise you it is the best cause to pray for that you can imagine.

A prayer or two for my fortitude, endurance, and sanity would also be quite welcome.

I can't wait to see the end of this year... Bye Bye 2009. Don't let the door hit you in your booty on the way out!!!

Wretched Year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Contemplating Job

I have done a great deal of reading in the Book of Job in the Old Testament. [For some odd reason ;) ].

I was reading it again this morning, and specifically contemplating Job's answer to the Lord in the last chapter:

Job 42
Job's Confession

1Then Job answered the LORD and said,
2"I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
3'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
"Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
4'Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.'
5"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
6Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes."

[Notice how the words: "You suck God! How could you do this to me?!" are NOT part of his speech? LOL!]

Many people over the years have compared my life to Job [which is ridiculous really - Job endured trials far beyond my ability to endure - for example, if my children all died there would not be one shred of sanity left within me].

But I think people don't read to the end of the book.

The story of Job is actually a *Comedy* [in the classical sense], NOT a *Tragedy*.

Job perseveres. He loves the Lord no matter what befalls him. When he has lost everything and even his own wife is telling him to curse the Lord, he perseveres.

The book of Job ends with the above prayer and then with a final bit that tells of the many gifts the Lord bestows upon Job for his faithfulness - Job becomes twice as wealthy as he was, twice as prosperous, he is widely respected. He has seven sons and three daughters who are beautiful above any other women in the land. Job is, incidentally, one of the only men in the Bible who gives an inheritance to his daughters [and not just to his sons], and his daughters are some of the only daughters mentioned by name in the Bible: Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-happuch.

The book of Job ends like this: "and he saw his children, his grandchildren, and even his great-grandchildren. Then Job died, old and full of years."


The story of Job is not a sad story about some pathetic guy who loses everything - it is a story of hope and beauty, about a man of character and courageous Faith who remains steadfast and loving in the face of terrible adversity. A man who, in the end, comes face to face with his God and is blessed beyond measure.

The next time someone makes a tongue in cheek comment about my life being the life of Job, I will smile broadly and say "Thank you!!!".

Today I Praise God for all the good in my life, for the hope found in the Book of Job, and I look towards the next chapter in my own Comedy - with much Hope and Gratitude and Love for God.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thoughts on Twilight??

[spoiler warning: if you haven't read those stupid Twilight books and you plan to, there are spoilers below so skip this post].

Public school is going great for us now - it is actually a good experience most of the time these days, and I'm so happy about that.

I haven't seen near the negative pressure from the other kids at school that I was expecting - over all, the kids at my children's school are very nice children. [The one that was bullying and ridiculing my oldest so badly the first few weeks of school had the courtesy to move away. Wasn't that nice of him? LOL!]

We do have one issue that is coming up though: the Twilight books.

According to my oldest child, "Everyone" in her 5th grade class has read them and she's just devastated that she hasn't and doesn't know what they are talking about. [And she has the added handicap that she's my child - the idea that there is a book out there that she can't read is just beyond bearing. Books MUST be read! LOL!]

I have a HUGE issue with this one though.

I read all four of those books in about 4 weeks [which is about 2200 pages of book...ugh!]. Other issues aside, they are just poorly written - they stink. I feel that the author had some very good, fairly unique and interesting ideas, but her actual execution of the books is just miserable.

The first book in the series, "Twilight", is the best of the four I believe [and it was bad IMO], and they go dramatically down hill from there - culminating in book 4 which is one of the worst books I've ever suffered through - I hated it.

Poor writing aside though, I think these books are bad because of the characters involved.

The main character, teenage Bella, is pursued by a Vampire named "Edward" who is an obsessive stalker. Seriously, if he was human and not a "sexy Vampire", he'd be in jail. He is *insanely* possessive and controlling of Bella's life and a really, really sick model of a "romantic character". And teenage girls the world over LOVE this character now - he is THE model for what they are looking for in a man - which scares me half to death. I was once engaged to a guy much like Edward - only not a Vampire ;) - and it is NOT a romantic thing, it is a living hell.

Then there is the other main character, "Jacob", who is a Native American Werewolf who also loves Bella. In my opinion, she uses him badly [he is my favorite character in the books though, so maybe I'm biased] and breaks his heart over and over just so she won't be lonely while she waits for Edward. Then, in one of the most bizarre twists of any plot ever, he instantly falls madly in love with Bella's infant daughter in book 4 and waits for her to grow up so he can be her husband .... which was just stinking creepy IMO.

And let's just talk about book 4... because that's really where it gets too bad to read. The one good thing I can say about the series is that there is no pre-marital sex, however - TEENAGE Bella does marry Edward in book 4 and the first part of the book is a soft core porn romance about their honeymoon - no vivid details, but definitely enough steamy-ness to get every teenage girl on the planet going places she shouldn't in her mind.

Then, TEENAGE Bella becomes pregnant instantly, is extremely sick while pregnant [she DOES forbid an abortion of the baby, which was actually cool], and is dying in childbirth until Edward has to "turn" her into a blood sucking Vampire to "save her life". [Bella has been BEGGING him to turn her into a Monster for the whole 4 book series, she finally gets her wish].

Then the baby is some sort of bizarre human/Vampire half breed who has super powers and... gosh, it just gets more and more bizarre....

I just don't want my 11 year old reading these books....

What are other moms doing? [And I know some of you will disagree with me because, obviously, these books are EXTREMELY popular and well loved by millions].

I am not one to ban books, and I will be comfortable with her reading these later [hopefully after she's 16 or so ... even better, after she's 21 LOL!].

Comments? Opinions? ;)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Quote of the Day:

"Happiness Is A Choice" - Randy Disher

I needed to hear this tonight. It is very true, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Happens In Heaven

This is not a deep theological piece, but a very "dead on" piece that was emailed to me by a friend. I think we could ALL benefit from reading this. Hope you like it as much as I did:


I dreamed that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.'

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.

The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth..

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section, my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed." How is it that there is no work going on here?' I asked.

"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments"

"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked..

"Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."

"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.

"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy."

"And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity."

"If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day. "

"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... You are ahead of 700 million people in the world."

"If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world."

"If your parents are still alive and still married are very rare."

"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair......."

Ok, what now? How can I start?

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you care to, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

ATTN: Acknowledge Dept.
"Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people with whom to share it. "

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Hallow's Eve 2009

We had such a fun Halloween!!! It was a very busy day - pretty exhausting but sooo much fun!

We started early. The Monkey Aunt came over in the morning and we went to the children's elementary school at 10am for their "Fall Festival". They had Jumpy Jumps there for the kids, a rock climbing wall, games and "fair" type food. The kids had a lot of fun.

Then we left and spent the afternoon taking the three older kids to their Basketball and Cheerleading orientations. I was very impressed with the program - they seemed very positive with the kids and very well organized. I think it will be a success and the kids are really excited!

After that, we came back to our house to prepare for Trick or Treating. I carved two pumpkins with the designs the kids drew up [really fun!]. The kids and the Monkey Aunt had decorated our house extensively on the outside of our house - it was soooo cool looking.

Both of my parents, Sister, and Brother all came over to "do" Halloween with us and it went so well.

We got the kids into their costumes. They all looked so cute.

Here is Monkey1 as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz:

Here is Monkey2 as "Commander Cody" from Star Wars: The Clone Wars:

Monkey3 as a "Kitty Cat":

Monkey4 as a "Sorceress" [which, as far as I can tell, means "Witch in a fancy dress" LOL!]:

Monkey5 as a Lion:

And here is Monkey6 with me. Monkey6 was going to be a kitten, but I lost her little hat with her cat ears, so we decided she was a "Scottish Fold" kitten [a type of cat where the ears fold in toward the cat's head and you can't really see them LOL!]:

We did end up really missing our old neighborhood when we started Trick or Treating. In our old neighborhood, it was a really fun community event - at least half the homes gave out candy and we used to go through the neighborhood in a big group with several families from our cul-de-sac.

Not so much in our new neighborhood. I almost wonder if it is because of some big push from some of the Fundamentalist Churches around here, but most homes did not give out candy - I'd say one house in 10 or 15 maybe. Which meant we walked a LONG way and the kids had almost no candy. Finally my Sister and Brother decided to load the kids up in the car and drive them around [we live in a HUGE subdivision] so that they could trick or treat more homes than we could walk to since they were so few and far between.

The kids ended up having a great time and so did the Grandparents, Aunt, and Uncle and I. We had a TON of Trick or Treaters at our house [hundreds - I've never seen so many!]. I had bought $50 worth of candy and ended up running to Walmart about 7:30 to buy more because we had run out!

All in all, it was a very fun day. It ended with several of the children having their obligatory "I ate too much sugar and food dye and I am exhausted" melt downs around 8:30 when they got home, but by 9:15 everyone was in bed asleep - so that's a good night in my opinion! LOL!

Hope you had a Happy All Hallow's Eve yourself!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Lived To Be 40!!!!

Today is my 40th birthday!

I never thought I'd live this long. [Weird, huh?]. I have two beloved cousins who died in their 30s of cancer, I've had so many near death pregnancies, I've had other near death experiences [including cancer myself when I was only 24 years old] - I just never thought I'd live to see 40. In fact, for the past few months, I've been living life feeling like a "marked man" LOL!

To wake up today alive and well and 40 years old is so cool!

In reflecting back on my life, I am very happy. This isn't where I expected to be on my 40th birthday, but I feel a deep sense of contentment and happiness none-the-less.

My kids have been absolutely adorable about it today - I woke up with a beautiful hand made card on my pillow and I've already heard countless renditions of the "Happy Birthday" song [including the one where I smell like a Monkey LOL!].

I woke up to a clean house too - my wonderful SIL came yesterday and helped me clean house all day. It was very nice. I LOVE a spotless house, but with 6 kids it is an endless battle with the Chaos Monster.

We are having two of my favorite young ladies over today to do a spend the night party for my oldest daughter - her birthday party got postponed a couple of times for health reasons, and it just worked out that today would be a good day to reschedule, so we did!

Today I am looking around at my life and feeling very happy - today I am celebrating a happy, simple life, one filled with people who love me.

Praise God for so many Blessings!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Say Hello To The Mystery Machine!!!

We have a van!!!!

Check out the Mystery Machine:

My brother [pictured below with two of the Monkeys] really outdid himself. He is *famous* for being able to get a good deal on everything he buys, and he's been looking for a van for us for a few weeks now. He found plenty of things that would be "good enough" but nothing that met his standards for "awesome" and "a good deal".

Then, on Friday, he found our new van! He talked the guy down 1/3 on his price [meaning I paid 2/3 of what he was asking - it was a *phenomenal* deal!]. And the van is really awesome - we just love it. It is really big on the inside, but it is easy to drive - drives like a dream. I think it is so cool looking [and yes, it definitely reminds me of the Mystery Machine, only burgundy, every time I look at it!]. It has what I call "character". :)

The kids love it too! They are so excited - we all are.

My brother brought the van to us yesterday and he my SIL stayed to play with the kids. It was so fun!

My brother played catch with my two older kids. Which was great - my brother got my son his baseball glove for his birthday and it was awesome for them to be able to play catch. My son [or my daughters] have never had anyone to teach them to catch or throw - ever. I'm so happy they have a guy around who will do that stuff with them now. My son caught on really quick and did a great job throwing and catching - WooHoo!

My SIL played with the younger girls while the older kids played catch - that was awseome to watch too. Monkey3 has a real natural ability when it comes to gymnastics and it was fun watching her show her aunt what she could do [back bends, cartwheels, one handed cartwheels, etc]:

And having my SIL play "air plane" and spin them around was definitely a favorite activity:

I have to say, life is really coming together for us here. Things are good. We are all happy - we are all enjoying life again.

God is Good and life is beautiful.

And Monkey1 is silly:

I hope you had a great weekend!

God bless you!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Divorce Is Like A Zombie Invasion

In order to survive my divorce in a relatively sane manner, I have decided to seek help from from books and a therapist and through a support group, and it is really helping me process my emotions and thoughts about divorce.

And I've come to understand that Divorce is like a Zombie Invasion.

We were talking last night in my divorce class/group about grief and the fact that divorce is very much like the death of a spouse - even though the person doesn't actually die, it is the death of your relationship and you lose that person just as surely as you would if they had died. The instructor was saying that most divorced people face extreme pressure from everyone they know to just "get over it", but research and experience show clearly that it takes most divorced people about 5 years to completely heal from the divorce. The instructor was saying that nobody expects a widow to just "get over it" and start dating within weeks of her husband's death [to "get back in the saddle again" as they often put it], but that with divorce people often say such ridiculous things to you.

I thought about this more, and, while I do agree that it is a kind of death in a very definite, concrete sense; I think divorce is actually worse.

Divorce is like a Zombie Invasion - suddenly, the person you love more than anything on Earth "dies" and they are taken from you against your will. The person who you most relied on, most enjoyed being with, the person who promised to love you *FOREVER* is Gone.

But, it is worse than if they just died, because you turn around and the Son of a Bitch has turned into a Zombie and is trying to eat your brains. They have become someone *else* - someone different, someone who wants to hurt you, someone who is alien and no longer shares your hopes and dreams - who, even more, wants to destroy those things and take them from you.

Divorce is the worst kind of betrayal. It may sound incredibly horrible for me to say this, but I would MUCH rather be a widow than a divorced woman. I often worried myself sick about my husband dying during our marriage because he was so ill at times, and that was something that was almost a phobia for me - that something would happen to my precious beloved husband and he would die. But the reality is that it would have been INFINITELY preferable - because in death he still would have loved me. He still would have been my husband. He would not be the number one active source of pain and hardship in my life - he would not be trying to screw me over at every turn. He would not be going out of his way to find ways to hurt me. He'd just be... dead.

Divorce often entails a personality and values change in one of the partners. Suddenly the partner abandons the values and morals they held for all the long years of the marriage and they start acting in ways that just a few short years ago would have been abhorrent to them. They *become* the exact same kind of person they would have fought to protect their children from before. One minute your partner is shooting the heads off the Zombies to protect you and the children and the next you turn around and he's a Zombie himself trying to eat your brain and the teeny tasty little brains of your children.

Geez. And in divorce [unlike Zombie Invasions], you aren't allowed to blow his head off, even when it seems very appropriate to do so. LOL!

Divorce also tends to make your friends disappear much like a Zombie invasion. You look around and suddenly realize "Hey, where'd all my friends go?!!!". Now, if you are fortunate, you have your core "Zombie Invasion Buddies" that stick by you no matter what - those guys are worth their weight in shotgun shells, believe me. :) But you will see many of your friendships just kind of dissipate. Not necessarily intentionally on the part of your friends, but simply because the situation has changed and things aren't comfortable any longer [fortunately at least they don't usually turn into Zombies and then try to eat your Brains in Divorce like they would in a Zombie Invasion - unless, of course, you are one of the unlucky people who has your partner leave you for your best friend :( ].

In a Zombie Invasion, you often have to leave your home because it has been made uninhabitable by Zombies. In divorce you often have to leave your home because you are so stinking poor there is no way you could afford to live in your home any longer.

The Zombie Invasion effect is even worse for children - they suddenly look up at the parent they have always adored and trusted to put their best interests first and instead of good old "Daddy" or "Mommy" they see a Monster who totally destroys their lives - forcing them to face what seems like insurmountable loss all at once. And not just the loss of their Family, which is indeed completely devastating, but also the loss of friends, their home, neighbors, favorite things and places - most especially if the custodial parent is forced to move.

Just like a Zombie Invasion, Divorce is the death of a family, of a future, of a Dream. Whether your partner is turned into a literal Zombie or whether he or she voluntarily jumps on the Zombie Train and divorces you of his or her own free will, the effect is the same. The Family is annihilated - everything that your family was, everything it stood for, every goal it had, every Mission it sought to fulfill, every "inside joke" you shared - is OVER. The survivors try to pick up the pieces, to find meaning, to find some way to move forward - but no matter what they find or how well they eventually heal, that Family is destroyed. Nothing will ever be the same - all of that Family's expectations and hopes for the future are gone - vanished in the blink of an eye.

Just like in a Zombie Invasion, Divorce can really make you question everything and want to just give up. After blowing the heads off so many Zombies, you start to just feel like it isn't worth it any more. You feel exhausted, you feel alone, you feel devastated, you feel like the only human being in a sea of Zombies, you feel like nothing will ever get better, you question everything you ever believed, everything you thought was true. You question who you are - CAN you do this? Is this whole Invasion your fault somehow? And WHAT is wrong with you anyway that you are here in the middle of a Zombie Invasion to start with - does God hate you or something?

Sometimes [a lot of times?] you just want to drop your shot gun and give in. But of course, in the Zombie Invasion you don't get the peaceful rest of death, you become a monster too and go on to wreak havoc in your own right. In divorce, especially with children involved, to give up is to become another Zombie in the lives of your loved ones, and most especially in your children's lives - to condemn them to a Hell you wouldn't wish on anyone.

Either way it Sucks.

So, to all my righteous Brothers and Sisters out there who are with me here trying to Survive the Zombie Invasion, I say turn up the Bob Marley and keep on keeping on. You are NOT alone and one day the Sun will Rise and the Invasion will be a thing of the past. And then we get to walk in the Sunshine and re-populate the planet, right?! ;)

God bless you!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life on Mars

I'm seriously considering changing the name of my blog to "Life on Mars" because that's really so much more descriptive of my life these days.

I am torn a lot about my blog. I have made a real effort over the past almost 3 years of blogging to be "real". To be honest and genuine. I've taken criticism at times for how honest I am on my blog, but that's OK. I have been contacted over the years by a lot of different women who have found support in reading my blog - women dealing with mental or physical illness in a partner, women dealing with a partner who abandons them and then wants to reconcile, women who are so relieved to hear from a homeschooling mother who is up front about having a messy home and feeling overwhelmed at times, women dealing with PIH and Pre-Eclampsia and looking for support - all of these women have found my blog and have found something here that made them feel less alone. That made them feel less like a freak. That made them feel a part of the human family - they felt supported.

That is important to me. I want to support others who may be going through things I've already survived [or am surviving]. I want to be a voice out in blog land saying "Hey, it isn't all Shiney Happy out there, but man is it still GOOD!". Because at the end of the day, that's my life - sometimes my life just plain sucks. It really does. But as a general rule, Life is Good and God is Gracious and nothing is going to hold me back from becoming who He wants me to be. I want to share that spirit and that recognition - that witness of God's love if you will - with the world.

But now I'm in such a weird place - because I am, quite literally, an Alien in almost every single social situation.

I was already a Freak - I have 6 kids. I am a Christian that actually believes all that stuff in the Bible. I was a Homeschooler. I'm a little bit of a Hippy with definite Granola leanings. I'm a bit of an environmentalist. I'm an avid organic gardener and a chicken lady. I mean, I already had a lot of "weirdo" points stocked up before this all happened.

And now I am a "Devout Christian Divorced Mother of Six Children".

I don't fit in *anywhere*.

I don't fit in at Church. The people at Church are *polite*, but that's as far as they are gonna take it - my whole situation seems like such a mess that I think it quite genuinely just scares people off - nobody wants to deal with it. [Heck, *I* don't want to deal with it]. It really isn't anyone's fault, it is just the reality of where I am.

I don't fit in to the secular world, because I do have these crazy ideas about God being real and loving and all of this.

I don't fit in with Single Moms, because, so far, nobody I've met who is single has 6 kids. Or anything even close. Every single mom I've met looks at me and thinks "Geez, at least I'm not THAT lady" and they pity me. Which really stinks. I don't want to be pitied - I treasure my children and I feel completely blessed to have them.

I don't fit in with the married moms either. I think in some subtle way I am a reminder that their worlds could come crashing down too - not likely, fortunately, but possible. I feel like I bring a sense of vague unease to women every where I go. Because if I could end up like this [as committed to making it work as I was], then maybe anyone could end up like this.

I don't fit in with the feminists. I am the *poster child* for their campaign to get women to leave children in day care and *Work*Work*Work* because you can't ever depend on any man to take care of you. While they may be right about that "you can't depend on a man to take care of you" thing, I do NOT regret leaving the work force to raise my children - I think my children benefited in myriad ways and they will reap the rewards of that for their entire lives. TOTALLY Worth It as far as I'm concerned.

I learned tonight that I don't fit in at the Divorce Support Group either. Only one other person there even had kids and that person only had one older school aged child. They were all looking at me like I had 3 heads. They were all nice, but not eager to make friends, lets just say. [Again that overwhelming feeling of people thinking "Well, my life sucks, but at least I'm not THAT lady!" . ugh.]

So, here I am, living on Mars and looking around at all the Earthlings - not knowing what really to do with myself. I feel completely alienated from every other living human being - I feel like I have a big Scarlet "A" on my head, only it stands for "Alien" not "Adultery".

And I'm torn over how much to share here.... in the past I've always felt I would be helping others by sharing how I dealt with my struggles and by sharing my joys, but in this case - who am I going to help? I don't think there ARE any other "Devout Christian Divorced Mothers of Six Children" out there - and if there are, the odds of them happening upon my blog are pretty slim I'd wager.

So, Geez. What do I do? Do I share what is "real" even though it is really raw right now? Do I turn the blog into a "Shiny Happy Blog" [GAG] and pretend everything is all nicey-nice here in Wonderland? Do I shut the whole blog down and let it go?

I don't know.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Children Are Picking My New Husband

[Ha - don't panic, I'm not serious!]

A frequent topic of conversation around our house is that Mommy should start dating and re-marry and get a new husband. [Is that weird? I don't know - I didn't expect it, but all of the kids feel strongly that Mommy should not be alone. I, on the other hand, have my doubts about matrimony ever being a good thing in my life again - marriage is HARD! And, in my personal experience, painful, exhausting, gut wrenching and it still may turn out badly even when you give it 110%!!!]

I think the situation is kind of funny though - what they have to say is *really* revealing about their character, and it is amusing to hear what they come up with.

So, for those who are curious, these are the specifications The Monkeys have set forth for my new husband:

1. He must already have children. His children must be nice kids and he must have done a good job being a dad to them. It does not matter how old the children are - my children say they would love some older siblings, but they also luuuuuuv babies so younger kids would be really cool too. Some of each would be even better.

2. The more children he has, the better. Up to 6. My oldest says she does not want me to marry a man with more than 6 children, because more than 12 children all together would be "too many". [ROFL!] My younger children have requested various numbers of children, up to and including 15, because they thought it would be really cool to have 21 children in the home. [Why 21? I have no clue! ;) ]. But, the minimum they will accept seems to be around 4. 4-6 kids seems to be the ideal range for the hypothetical Monkey Step father to possess.

3. A man with at least one son is very important. The son does not have to be the same age as my son [though my son would prefer this ideally he says], but he should have at least one son. The absolute ideal would be a man with 5 sons and 1 daughter and then we would have 6 of each. LOL! [I am proud of my daughters' compassion and concern for my lone boy!]

4. He must be a Christian. He must attend Church every single week that he is able to and have a strong faith.

5. He does not have to be from the United States originally, but it IS very important that he speak English. If he speaks two [or more] languages, that's even better.

6. He cannot be gray. [ROFL!] Skin tones of choice are: black, white, brown, yellow, red... even purple, but he must NOT be gray according to my 6 year old. That is the forbidden color. So, as long as I steer clear of those Gray Guys we will be fine. ;)

7. He must have a good sense of humor [or "be funny" as my 6yo says]. They will have no overly serious men in the running. ;)

Finally, the children rule that they get final say so. IF there should arise a circumstance in which I find any man that I might think is even possibly suitable for marriage, he must meet them and THEY get the final say so on whether he is acceptable or not.

I really found this very amusing tonight [this was our dinner conversation LOL!]. I'm really proud of the children I'm raising - these kids have their heads on straight - they are generous, loving, accepting and they know what IS important and what is NOT. [Notice, money nor race nor good looks was a deciding factor - but faith, humor, and good fathering ability WAS!]

You know, looking over their list, if I should become insane and decide that re-marriage is a good idea, then I think I *WILL* let my children pick the guy - they will do a MUCH better job than I could do I think!


Have a great weekend and God Bless you!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Public School...Worse Than I Thought Actually!!!

[In which I rant extensively about how bad public school really is!!!]

OK, first, let me start by saying that if you are homeschooling right now - take a moment to thank the Lord for blessing you! You are right where you should be. Believe me! :)

Public school has been not as bad as I expected and yet, way worse than I expected - in very bizarre ways. This is our fourth week of it, and I'm praying it settles down soon.

The kids in public school have, so far, been WAY better than I expected them to be. They've been pretty awesome actually. What I expected from the public school experience was more bullies and less friends. What I've seen so far is a bunch of mostly sweet kids and my kids are making good friends.

There has been *some* "bullying". My sweet little Monkey4, the 4yo, got a big bruise on her chest the second day of school when a boy in her class pushed her and hurt her pretty bad. Then he hit her again the next day. Then I had a talk with the teacher [who ignored Monkey4 when she tried to explain what happened and who wasn't watching closely enough to witness either assault in her preschool classroom, nor was her aide], who then explained to the offending boy that he should not do that. Apparently nobody had explained this to him before, and now he and Monkey4 are buddies and he hasn't beaten her ever again. Go figure.

But over all, the kids have been nice.

What I did not expect was to have so much trouble with the teachers.

My parents both taught public school for 30+ years [**Applause**]. I admire them both a lot, and I generally think of teachers as being people like my mom and dad - wonderful people who really care about kids.

Ummmm...not necessarily.

SOME teachers are like my mom and dad. Some are definitely not.

Take Monkey1 for instance. Brilliant child, sweet girl, very obedient to authority figures, LOVES learning with a thirst that amazes me and everyone around her. She has always excelled in her group classes and always emerged as a "teacher's pet".

She's had, BY FAR, the hardest time with the divorce and the move and with being placed in public school. I expected her to have trouble socially - being smart doesn't help in school socially speaking. And she was having a lot of trouble even trying to relate to new peers because she really, REALLY doesn't want to be here.

But I expected her to do well with her teachers. I think she did too. She went into school and worked her heart out academically - she has made 100 on every single test she's taken [dozens already in only 4 weeks!] except one - she made a 91 on that one. She's tried her hardest to do what the teachers have asked and has participated in class discussions and has really given her all.

Her teachers hate her. Well, not all her teachers. Her music teacher loves her. Her school counselor [who I've asked to talk with her to work through some of the issues from the divorce] adores her - thinks she's just amazing. But her academic teachers hate her.

I really couldn't understand it - I had gotten the feeling at the "Open House" night when I met her home room teacher that there was *serious* prejudice against home schoolers [based on the fact that she totally changed her demeanor and was rude as heck to me after she found out I had homeschooled my kids prior to their enrollment]. But still - I expected Monkey1 to win her over quickly.

Not so. I couldn't understand it until two of Monkey1's teachers jumped me in the school yard one morning [I was there to meet with Monkey2's teacher about his reading problems - more on that in a minute]. They started going on and on about how much of a problem Monkey1 was in the classroom, how horrible it was having her in their classes, etc.

I was SO confused - I finally asked "Could you give me a specific example of what the problem is?". You know what heinous crimes this child committed that had these teachers hating her guts and being mean to her? [Yes, MEAN to her] She.... got up to sharpen her pencil in the middle of class the first week of school because she did not [GASP!] know that children were not allowed to do that.

And then, there was the day that she answered the teacher's question. The teacher asked a question out loud in science class [a subject she's very passionate about and interested in] and she thought she wanted an answer from the class....she spoke up and gave the answer [the *correct* answer]. The teacher got angry with her. The other kids laughed at her and said "Way to go! Good job moron" etc. She began to cry [this was her 3rd day of public school]. At which point the teacher said [in front of the whole class] "Oh, give me a break!!! SUCK IT UP!!! Go to the bathroom and wash your face!". At which point my child fled from the room ....

I can see how this would instill a love for learning and a passion to learn more, can't you?

She has spent almost every day in "Detention Hall". The first time she was sent because the school counselor called her out of class at the end of the day and a homework assignment was given while she was gone, so she did not know about it. When she came back the next day without the assignment she didn't know about, the teacher sent her to D-hall. [and got *angry as hell* at me when I questioned her about it. Later, the guidance counselor was *furious* when she found out about it, and she actually engaged the principal at that point - and things have improved since then]. Then Monkey1 was sent to D-hall the next day because she missed 4 questions on the work she did the day before in D-hall [probably because she was crying and upset at the unfairness of it, which I would have been too]. She was then sent to D-hall for not logging on to a certain website the night before [it was part of their homework] - the thing was, the teacher TOLD them the site was buggy and they might not be able to get on. She and I tried THREE times that night to log on and the site wasn't working - the teacher didn't care [I had written a note letting the teacher know this even!], she sent her to D-hall anyway.

It has gone on and on and on - this child has been sent to D-hall almost every day and she's never actually done anything *wrong*, much less *malicious*. It is INSANE.

Then there is my poor son - Monkey2 - who is a late reader - just like my father, me, and Monkey1 before him. My father failed 3rd grade 3 times because of his late reading, and went on to achieve the equivalent of a PhD and to become a literally world famous teacher who innovated new ideas on how to help children learn [The "Classroom in the Wild"] and was featured on a Disney channel special as one of the best teachers in the United States - oh, and yeah, he's written several very well respected text books and some great fiction as well. Me? I was in the "slow" class at school and told I was stupid until I finally learned to read at the end of second grade and became a straight A student - graduating with honors from college and doing very well academically from that point on. And Monkey1? That kid couldn't read a stinking Bob book in second grade. Then, suddenly, it "clicked" for her and she went in four months from not reading at all to reading "Eragon" cover to cover in 5 days. NOW, she holds the record at her public school for having the very highest reading level in the whole school - an entire year higher than the "former" record holder!

So, Monkey2 is right on target for our family - he's bright as a flippin super nova, can figure out anything, build anything and is making straight 100s in math. But the kid can't read. So, of course, he's in the "stupid" class - they don't call it that now. Now they give you a pink dot if you are stupid. But Monkey2 [not actually BEING stupid] knows what that means - he came home crying telling me that he was dumb and that the only other kid in his class who had a pink dot was the kid from Mexico who couldn't even speak any English yet. :( :(

So, I had the "conference" with his teacher [who is a very sweet woman, don't get me wrong] and the school principal [who I also like a great deal]. They told me nothing I didn't know already - but don't seem to have any plan to help the boy. Well, actually, they DO have a plan - *I* am to work with him intensively every night after homework.

And don't get me started on the homework thing - my goodness! My poor second grader has 2-3 hours of homework every single night. And I know it is partly because of the reading delay, but even the good readers have GOT to be spending 1-2 hours on this amount of work. It is INSANE!!!

Somehow I'm supposed to work in extra reading drills after those 2-3 hours of homework - AND I'm still expected to feed and bathe the kids at some point. [They had an "assembly" today at school where the "doctor" told them that they all have to take baths every night. Really. That's what they are doing with their time....maybe that's why they have so much homework - no time for academics during the school day?]

So, Monkey2 is averaging 100 in math and something around 20 in reading, and about a 60 in spelling. [hard to spell when you can't read]. I just can't wait to see his report card, let me tell ya.

Oh, and my favorite thing of all - he keeps getting put in D-hall too almost every single day because he can't read well enough to finish his work "on time" in class [and no, the homework he is bringing home is not work he didn't finish in class, it is other work specifically for home work that all the kids get].

Again, he hasn't behaved badly EVEN ONCE since he started school [his teacher *loves* how "sweet" and "obedient" he is], yet he spends almost every day in Detention.

This helps him how?

And my First Grader, Monkey3, is having a lesser version of the same problem - she can't read yet either.

ALL the emphasis in public school is on early reading - kids who can't read early are failed. Literally. Monkey4 has a 5 average in spelling right now - you didn't misread, that's a FIVE. She made a zero on the first test and then made a 10 on the second test - after extensive drilling by me at home every night on her spelling words [hours of it!]. :( :( She just doesn't *get* it [YET]. But she, too, has a 100 average in math.

Then there's lots of other things - like my 4yo being told she was not allowed to pray at school *even silently to herself*. Like the constant pressure to send in money for fundraisers, to sell things, to give the kids money for junk food every day [sales benefit the school], etc etc etc. I could go on and on, but I better reign it in I guess - it is getting late! ;)

Soooo.. I don't know. I don't know what to do.

I've got to start back to school myself in January [I'm going for my RN/BSN at a local college, with plans to later get my CNM and become a midwife once all my kids are in school]. I really *can't* homeschool any more right now.

But this public school thing has been a fiasco. My children are either afraid to perform well or they are being told they are stupid. :( :(

I am just waiting, hoping, praying it gets better. Surely it will....

That's our big update for now. It has been a crazy, stressful, agonizing month, that's for sure.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Public School....Not So Bad, Actually!

The kids started public school this week [even riding the bus!]. It went really well - sooooo much better than I expected!

All 4 older kids are going [5th grade, 2nd grade, 1st grade, and GA Pre-K]. They all seem to be doing really well, they've all made friends already, and they all seem to be enjoying it over all.

I like their school - it is a smaller, "home town" type school [unlike the "Mega" schools we just moved away from]. It has a smaller, more cozy, friendly feeling. So far I really like the teachers and the principal. I'd say over all it has been a very positive experience [so far - only on day 4 of course LOL!].

Even the school bus has been a fun thing - they all have enjoyed riding it. I debated the school bus long and hard with myself - so much bad stuff can happen on buses. But we are almost the last stop before they get to school [we are only 1 mile from their school], and it seems to be working well.

If I ever get my computer back on line [I'm on the kids computer right now] I'll upload some of the cute shots I got of them waiting for the bus.

It has been fun being home with just the two little ones during the day. For Monkey5, who is 2.5 years old, it has been cool to watch her get to be the "Big Sister". She's loving "her" baby and taking care of her [Monkey6]. She does ask me about 57 times every day where her brother and big sisters are, where her daddy is, where her grandparents, aunts, uncle and cousin are... over and over. The transition to "Just" her and the baby and I has been a weird one for her I think. But I think she's adjusting well and I think it will all turn out fine. [Oh, and the first day the kids rode the school bus she was completely freaked out by the big yellow bus pulling up and then swallowing all her older siblings and then disappearing! Oh MAN did that throw her for a loop!].

I am doing well over all. I'm pretty overwhelmed at bedtime [OK, completely, obscenely overwhelmed at bedtime] but that is the only time I'm really struggling.

Mostly I'm struggling right now because the school enforces "nap time" for the Preschoolers at the end of the day - so my little 4 yo is taking an hour nap right before she comes home and now she doesn't want to go to bed at night. AND, because the house is pretty small, she's keeping *everyone* up with her antics. The older and younger kids are all exhausted because they aren't getting enough sleep. I'm not sure what to do about it other than take her out of school, which I'd rather not do, she's really excited about going.

I am also really struggling with my oldest child right now - she took the divorce the hardest, but was coping pretty well I thought. Then we had an unfortunate problem crop up with another adult in her life saying and doing some things that caused a huge rift between her and the rest of our family - a very, very damaging thing [and a betrayal of MY trust in that person]. My daughter doesn't even want to be *part* of our family at this point I don't think. :(

I've been struggling with her a great deal this week - it has been very bad, very exhausting, and very frustrating [since the last thing we needed right now was MORE strife and more hardship to cope with]. I'm hoping that this negative influence and the negative "Reign of Awfulness" it has inspired is going to wear off soon, I'm praying it does. I am worried about my oldest - very worried. She's gone from a bright, happy child to an extremely negative person who is isolating herself from everyone who loves her. She's an awesome kid and I don't want to see this situation destroy her. :( [She IS doing well in school though at least - and making friends. So, I'm hopeful.]

My family here has been amazingly helpful in all of this. [In fact, I took my oldest to my parents' house after the first day of school when she came home behaving horribly and I realized I was about to just completely lose it with her - it is SO awesome to have my parents close enough that I can do that!].

So, over all, things are great. I'm very concerned about my oldest child and I'm completely exhausted being a single parent of 6 at bedtime, but otherwise things have gone much, MUCH better than I expected. If I can get my oldest back on track, I think life is going to be very good. [I'm assuming the bedtime issues will settle down over time!].

Anyway, that's what's going on here!

Monday, June 8, 2009


Need more laughs? This is our favorite site. LOL!

Monday, June 1, 2009

LOL - Quote of the Day

[Suddenly, things all become clear at the Monkey House....]

So, at lunch today I went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries and picked up some lunch to bring home for DH [who is working from home] and the family. We won some gift certificates to Five Guys at the Scout auction last week, and I couldn't let those go to waste....

As we were sitting having lunch together, I said to my husband "You know, I'm old. Really old."

And he said "Why do you say that?"

And I said "Well, in Five Guys awhile ago, they were listening to hard core Punk Rock, and they were listen to what used to be my favorite bands. And I was just standing there, waiting for my order, and thinking 'Why did I ever like this music? It just sounds like a lot of noise and screaming'... and that's when I realized I was just really old."

My husband stares at me open mouthed and says "I don't even know who you are any more! You have lost your Chaos!"

**silent pause**

Then my oldest child pipes up "Yeah, she pushed it all out in the form of 6 children".


And suddenly, it all makes so much more sense.... ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I've Finally Found My True Patron Saint!

I love the Saints. I really do. I always have.

While I often can't relate to someone who was "born without sin", or even someone who was the Son of God made flesh, I can totally relate to other human beings [who kept screwing up and still managed to find God].

I have several patron Saints.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is one of my favorites - she was a convert, a teacher, had a bunch of kids with a husband she adored but who was profoundly ill, they ended up losing everything in bankruptcy, he died and left her widowed with a bunch of young kids, and yet instead of being bitter and angry, she still managed to love the Lord and serve her fellow human beings.

St. Mary Magdalene is also one of my favorites. I can really relate to a "bad" woman who found Jesus and got her act together. Plus, she was the first to see the Risen Christ and one of the only 3 people with the [ahem] balls to follow Jesus to the foot of the Cross. She rocks. ;) Still wish I'd named one of my girls Magdalena. ;)

St. Padre Pio is also a favorite of mine. You ever read his biography? That poor man! He suffered and suffered and suffered and still remained cheerful, with a great sense of humor and unfailing devotion to God. I am NOT like him [I'm not that strong and I complain way too much], but he sure gives me hope.

But I think I've finally found my TRUE Patron of Patrons. I never even heard of this Saint really until I ran across his story on Sister Mary Martha's blog.

St. John of God.

That's the guy. Patron Saint of lunatics. ;) St. John also almost lost his faith because of Catholics behaving badly, but managed to get through and continue on with a life filled with love for the sick and suffering and insane. [Being insane himself at least for a time it seems]. He also tended to do the right thing no matter what without fully thinking it out or considering the consequences [I've been known to do that from time to time. ;P ].

Here's a guy who put up with some crazy bad luck in his life and persevered till the end.

I want to be like that. I want to move beyond my current discouragement with my beloved husband's ill health and all the silly never ending sickness and financial woes and stress about which church is "right" and ... all of it.

I want to make the choice to "suck it up" and "drive on", loving the Lord and serving His people in spite of it all. I want to always do good in spite of the crazy stuff that happens constantly in my life.

Because really, that is all we control. We don't control the kind of "luck" we have - whether we lead a charmed life or run through life like our pants are on fire like St. John of God - from one catastrophe to the next. SOOOO much of life is external to us - we have no choice. We don't choose "illness or health" "wealth or poverty" "pretty or ugly" "smart or stupid" "sane or insane" - we don't choose any of it.

The ONLY choice we have is how WE respond. We can choose despair. We can curl up into angry little balls of malice and poison everything we touch. We can roll over and play dead and do nothing that ever impacts anything. Or we can rise up and reach out and make the world a better place - even if it means putting out the fire in the Asylum with our bare hands and an ax.

That is all we have. It is all we control.

As for me - I choose the better part. I choose to make the world a better place in any and every small way that I can. I choose to move beyond the sadness and discouragement.

I choose Love over Hate, Action over Inaction, Hope over Despair.

I think I'll ask old St. John of God to help me. I bet he will. ;)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Are We Doing More Than Demons?

I've spent a lot of time pondering of late, considering "What does God want of me?" and "What does it mean to worship God?" and even "What does it mean to be a Christian?"

Jesus is very clear on this matter. We are to *help one another* to *love one another* and to *work to bring each other to Salvation*.

It isn't an "iffy" kinda thing. It is a Command.

Take, for example, James, chapter 2, verse 14-20: [no, don't let your eyes glaze over - read this Scripture and really *think* about it - allow it to speak to your heart right now!]

14What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,

16and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

18But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

19You believe that there is one God; You do well; the demons also believe, and tremble.

20But are you willing to recognize, O Vain Man, that faith without works is useless?"

Christ puts it more simply in John 13:35:

"35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

1 John 4:20-21 tells us:

"20 If a man say 'I love God', and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also."

I could go on, but I won't. You get the idea - the Bible is full of Scripture Commanding us to love one another - the Greatest Commandment second only to loving God.

In our current cultural climate, it takes real courage even to say "I believe in God".

But, I think sometimes we can get so caught up in our *personal* worship of God, and feeling SO prideful about the fact that we believe, that we have a strong faith, that we pray, etc that we forget - Jesus says that these things are worthless unless we do works. He tells us that even the *demons* do as much!

Think about that for a moment. The one thing that separates us as Christians from DEMONS is loving one another.


That fact hit me a few weeks ago, and I've really been thinking on it.

I fail at this so miserably! Most days, it would probably be a lot easier to convict me of being a Demon than of being a Christian, based on the evidence I'm providing to the world. Isn't that terrible? It is Shameful!

My personal spiritual goal now is to make sure that I am loving to *every* person I meet. Obviously, being human, this is impossible to achieve 100%. But I am going to strive for that.

I have been very confused these last months about my faith - confused about what to believe, what Church to believe, etc.

But I have learned some things - God has gifted me with some very *clear* revelation these past few months.

I have not been loving as I should have been.

I have been somewhat decent at showing love to my fellow Christians - most of the time anyway [failing miserably and spectacularly at other times :( ].

But I have not been loving to God's *other* children. I have been too wrapped up in my own little world, composed almost entirely of those who share my religious beliefs, and I have not reached out to others beyond my circle in many years.

I am ashamed of myself.

I'm not sure how I got here. In my 20s I spent a few years volunteering at an AIDS hospice, which certainly gave me the opportunity to meet and care for a very wide variety of people. [I only quit after 3 of my favorite residents died all in a 2 week period and I just couldn't take it any more emotionally. I get very attached to people.].

I have come to see clearly that in most things I have been busy ministering to the sheep in my own fold and I have not gone outside my own little pen to see what the other sheep may need from me, or what the goats are crying about out in the darkness [when I carry THE Light]. There is no excuse for that.

So, personally, I see that I must LOVE others and I must broaden my own horizons to reach out to those who are different from me.

I am not sure how I will accomplish this considering my current station in life - I can't minister at the AIDS hospice nor at a Prison nor many other things with 6 small children in tow. Those opportunities will come later, when I am in a different season of life. And I will make sure I am ready to say "Yes" when that season comes.

For now, I am making it my goal to *always* speak charitably of others, especially those who are different than I am.

I am making it my priority to smile at other people when I am out and about - just a smile. But some days when your world is crashing down around you, a friendly smile can seem like a life preserver on the stormy sea [I know this from personal experience].

I am making it my priority to *notice* the people around me in the grocery store, on the street, or where ever I may be - and to *notice* if they may need my assistance in some small thing. [or some large thing if it presents itself].

Those are my personal [small, inadequate] goals for now.

But there is also another side to this coin.

Not only MUST we love one another, but we must ALLOW others to love us. We fail at the second even more often than we fail at the first!

I was talking to a sweet Catholic friend of mine last week and she was saying that she felt like she should be doing more to help people, but she felt frustrated because even when she offered to help others they just said "No, we don't need help" and refused her charity even though they obviously DID need it.

I pondered on that a lot.

This is one key difference between the Catholic Church and the LDS Church and how the believers behave.

In my personal experience, in the Catholic church people DO often refuse your help, even when they desperately need it. In fact, some Catholics I've offered to cook for [or whatever I felt I could do to help] have been downright offended that I would suggest such a thing! As though it were a personal insult that I was insinuating that they could not "handle it all" by themselves.

In the LDS Church people do not do this. They say "OH yes! PLEASE! Thank you so much!" and they graciously accept the help you offer.

This is as it should be. I think Catholics [all Christians actually] could really learn a lesson here.

God calls us all to Serve one another, but the only way we can serve one another is if we also *accept service* in a spirit of humility and gratitude.

In 1982, LDS President Marion G. Romney said "Each of us should strive to help others in areas where we have strengths. At the same time, pride should not prevent us from graciously accepting the helping hand of another when we have a real need. To do so denies another person the opportunity to participate in a sanctifying experience."

A very faithful Catholic priest once said something very similar to me. He told me that by denying others the opportunity to help us in our need, we are denying them the chance to practice Charity - which they are commanded by God to do.

This admonition crosses all lines of beliefs. Human beings are sanctified through their love for others - human beings are made *better* through their service to others.

God intentionally created us as social creatures.

He *intentionally* created us to NEED one another.

If we think we can "do it ALL" [or even that we *should* "do it ALL"] then we actually commit the sin of Pride - a grave sin against the Will of God - because THAT is NOT God's Way. Not at all.

We are ALL called not only to love, but to accept the love that others offer us.

Think on that for a moment.

I hope that we will all continually look for opportunities to love ALL the children of God all around us.

I hope that we will also strive for humility and the ability to gratefully accept the help of others when it is generously offered in the spirit of love.

I hope that we can set ourselves apart from the Demons and bring the World the Light of Christ.

God Bless you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pumpkin pancakes

I wanted to share my new favorite recipe - a great way to get some pumpkin into little kids!

Pumpkin pancakes

1/2 can of pumpkin [I've even used the whole can before, it makes them very dense - I still liked them though]
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 & 1/2 cups of milk
3 cups of self rising flour [or, for healthier pancakes use 2 cups whole wheat flour + 1 cup all purpose four + 2tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt instead]
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger

Thoroughly mix the first 5 ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cook on griddle and serve.

This makes enough to feed our whole family of 8, but if your family is smaller they keep well in a zip lock bag in the fridge or freezer.