Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mission Accomplished

I'm sorry for leaving the last post up so long.

My husband said last weekend, "You haven't updated your blog."

Lani asked yesterday, "Didn't  you do Monday Mugs this week?"

Last night Christina said, "Your blog needs updated." 

Talk about pressure. You'll be happy to know that I didn't have writer's block and no new emergencies popped up. I simply had my nose to the grindstone (what an awful cliche if you stop to think about it) and have been working on a digital scrapbook for the last the last nine days.

I've wanted to go to a scrapbook retreat for the last year but finances and schedules haven't cooperated. Last week I drove my four youngest daughters to my son's camp. Since it's a six hour drive, I just stayed down there all week.

Knowing my kids would be busy all day and I would have long delicious hours all to myself I pondered how to best use that time. I was so tickled to come up with....drum roll please...

My own personal scrapbook retreat.

So while Andrew and Rachel worked, and my daughters camped and rode horses, I scrapbooked and had the best time. I get a wee bit OCD with these kinds of projects so ended up working on it after returning home. I finished 25 minutes ago, just squeaking under the wire for Shutterfly's deadline.

I'm excited because I've never done a 12 x 12 digital scrapbook before due to the cost. Shutterfly had a Father's Day special for 50% off a 12 X 12 photo book which made it affordable. At least I'm hoping Keith will feel that way when I tell him I had to spend $63 to save $72.  I'm really liking a Father's Day special where I get to buy a photo book for me.  Sweet.

I've had Andrew and Rachel's wedding pictures on the computer for the last nine months and wanted to put some in an album. I made small wedding scrapbooks for the Grandmas at Christmas but wanted something for us. Shutterfly recently launched a newer, for the most part, nicer way to do digital albums.

Now that I'm done, I can blog, buy groceries, cook meals, and do housework again.. After I get a good night's sleep I'll be around to get caught up on your blogs again.

Our cars may be messy, our shoes are often muddy, the floor hasn't been mopped this month, and thanks to my husband, you know I have a messy underwear drawer, but my pictures are in order. The beauty of a scrapbook is it stays done, unlike housework which is undone almost as soon as I've finished.

If you're interested you can take a peek at the finished product.  If you see any mistakes I don't want to know about it. I'd prefer to be in denial until the book gets here. (On the options tab, you can adjust the slide show speed.)

2:30 am and all is well. Signing off for today. I mean tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pass It On

Woke up in a contemplative mood this morning. I'm spending a week with Andrew and Rachel while my four youngest attend Andrew's camp, two as campers, two as counselors. Everyone is busy and I have blissful hours on end ALL TO MYSELF. I start to feel guilty, then remember that I'm busy all the time at home and it's really, really nice to have a break.

I recently read a book on mentoring that referenced the book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hogsdon. The story is about bratty, spoiled Mary Lennox who is orphaned and sent from India to live in her uncle's imposing mansion on the wild English moors. Raised by servants, Mary is rude, and demanding and her new home is cold and lonely. Her maid Martha befriends her and introduces Mary to her brother Dickon. Together Mary and Dickon help her sickly young cousin, Colin, who has been shut away in a hidden Manor room, to blossom, and in the process Mary finds her identity and melts the heart of her emotionally distant uncle.

If your eyes are starting to glaze over at this point, please stay with me because I promise to get to the point here real soon.

My favorite character is Martha and Dickon's mother, Susan Sowerby. Long before the Duggars had their 19 children, Susan raised 12 children in a humble yet happy home. In stark contrast to the quiet, gloomy neighboring mansion where Mary lives, the Sowerby home bursts with life, love, and energy. Poor in worldly goods, Susan is rich in things that matter. She is wonderful and wise and imparts a wealth of good things to her children.

So here's the cool thing. Susan influences her children for good. Dickon mentors Mary who in turn reaches out to Colin, which spills over to the Uncle, and ultimately transforms Misselthwaite Manor to a happy place.

That's a wonderful picture of how our lives impact others. Like a big cosmic game of leap frog, we are helped by others, then we help others, who then in turn help others. When we are weak, our friends and family nurse us back to physical, spiritual, or emotional health. When our friends and family fall down, we help pick them up. As our lives entwine, we give and take and hold each other up.

Years ago, I commented to a dear friend who had gone above and beyond to help my family after my back surgery, that I felt bad that people had to give us so much help. She wisely responded that someday I would have a turn to help someone else. How true that has been. I love to have opportunities to pay back the friends who helped me by helping others.

This week my husband is at a Leadership conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin. He's spending quality time with a group of pastors he's trusts who have become a safe place for him. My husband gives much and helps a lot of people but there are times when he needs to recharge. I woke up this morning, happy that he was in a good place and knowing good things will happen.

We'll both prayerfully examine the pieces of our lives, assess what's working, identify what's not, seek divine wisdom, interact with people we like and trust, recharge our batteries, and return home refreshed and equipped to engage, sleeves rolled up, ready to do the work God next sets before us.

And others will help us, and we'll help others, who will in turn help others. And so forth and so on.

It was in another garden, many years ago that God first said, "It is not good for man to be alone." I like to think that He was referring to more than just finding a female companion for Adam. Truly we all need each other and He never meant for man (or woman) to be alone.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Breaking News

1 Tall strong guy


1 Frisbee


 1 broken nose. 

My good friend Susan wrote a limerick in Christina's honor.

When ultimate frisbees let fly,
I've heard you can get a black eye
Or an off-center nose
For a sad Facebook pose
I'm hoping that soon you'll be fine.

(The boy who threw the fris-bee
Should aim his shots more careful-ly.
And when he breaks noses,
He ought to bring roses
To offer his apolo-gy!!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Making Mama Happy

I said to my dearly beloved last week, "I know you love me but it hurts my feelings that you regularly blow off Mother's Day and my birthday. I know I'm not your mother and I don't need anything, but I wish you would help our girls do some- thing for me.  Some of them are young and don't have transportation or the financial resources to do it on their own."

Part of his problem is he's a pastor and Sundays are busy days for pastors and Mother's Day falls on a Sunday. Part of the problem is he's hard wired differently than me.

There are some things it seems like he should just know. If I have to explain or ask it takes all the fun out of it. But he's not a mind reader so instead of being frustrated or resentful I talked to him.

Since Keith leaves lots earlier than I do for church, we usually drive two cars. The girls left right after church and I drove home with Keith. The girls had gone shopping and packed a picnic lunch. When I got home I was told to change into hiking clothes.

I can't think of a nicer way to spend Mother's Day. We went to Copper Falls State Park in Northern Wisconsin and spent a couple sun-soaked hours traipsing the trails. Kiah had to work so couldn't go but the others laughed and giggled and teased and goofed off. Keith bought me a Wisconsin State Parks Pass.

I gleefully looked through the Wisconsin State Parks booklet, overjoyed at all the possibilities. There are 99 state parks in Wisconsin.  I so love options. 

Often it's like pulling teeth to get the girls to go hiking with me. Trying to find a time when all six of them are available is like looking for one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets.I was so blessed that they willingly went hiking and enjoyed themselves.

Of all the awesome scenery we saw, my favorite was a line of girls winding through the woods. I smiled thinking those are all my daughters.

So different. So full of life. So mine.

Thanks family for the gift of time. For doing something that isn't necessarily what you like to do, but what I like to do. Thanks for a wonderful afternoon and the making of good memories.

And please, next time. Could we remember to bring the memory card for the camera?  (Sigh! No pictures.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm So Sorry

Dear Mothers of My Youngest Daughter's Friends,

I know that when you bring your daughters to our house on Monday afternoons for a Spanish class taught by my oldest daughter Christina you have every right to expect that when you pick them up they should look more or less like they did when you dropped them off.

How was I to know that after class was done, when Erica asked if the girls would like to fingerpaint that trouble was sure to follow?

I'm sorry for not supervising, but when a 19-year-old offers to do something with the younger girls you sort of assume things are under control.

When I did finally check on them outside painting in the driveway, I hope you'll see what I saw. That they were exceedingly cute and having a rip-roaring time. 

I hope you're able to see Art and not mess.

You may rightfully ask yourself what this has to do with learning Spanish. Perhaps they learned the names of the colors they so joyfully applied to each other. Amarillo, Naranja, Azul, Verde?

Please know this child insisted that it was okay to decorate her pants and said that her Mom wouldn't mind. She truly seemed happy with the finished product.

If it makes you feel any better they probably used $10 worth of paints and it's anybody's guess when Erica will get around to putting the paint back up.

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me and that this has not damaged our friendship. If you allow your daughters to return next Monday, I promise to keep a better eye on things. 

A Negligent Mother