Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Now About Your Kids God...

Motherhood is filled with so many unique experiences, thoughts and patterns. Just recently, someone impressed on me the fact that my children are not mine: they're God's.

I thought, oh that is so nice to know!

I made a mental list of all the things God's kids did that day and decided I should just start telling Him about these kids of His. Because certainly, if I had children that were doing such unbelievable things to some other kind lady, I'd want to know about it.

So I told God all about His kids.

I told Him how when I was trying to make supper for my husband the other night, I came into the kitchen to find Landon standing at the stove...

"I'm making supper, Mom," was all he said.

Don't God's kids know better than to play with a hot stove? They must not have stoves in heaven.

Sitting on the floor next to the stove was that little girl Janae. She's so cute and innocent and her big blue eyes are so angelic. What a darling angel!

But wait! Sitting on her lap was my husband's dulcimer that I had told her was a "no touch" over and over and over that day.

I guess you must allows your kids to touch instruments in heaven, God.

The other morning, I went into our bedroom where we keep Landon's things. I guess you could call that room "his" room while God loans him to us. When I went into the room we've kindly loaned to God's son, Landon, I found a tragic crisis.

From the time Landon got up until I went in to get him, he had removed his dry diaper (yes, dry), peed on the floor (you read that right), donned a shirt and put on underwear.

Obviously, when God gave me His kids, He didn't make sure they were potty trained. He also didn't teach them how to keep their diapers on until they're told they can come off. And God really doesn't allow His children to pee on the floor, does He? I would think not. But maybe I'm wrong.

And then there's Janae. I think her angels must be slacking off lately because she's had more bumps and bruises and cuts and blood. I feel like I save her life all the time. I think God should send down a couple extra guardian angels for her or else have a talk with the ones that are already watching over her. She is literally going to kill herself.

She put her tooth through her lip the other night when she barely ran into the corner of a piece of furniture.

They must not have sharp furniture in heaven because this poor child is very unaccustomed to these earthly pieces of heavy things we store in our living rooms to sit on.

Hardly drying her tears from that awful and painful collision with the piano bench, she runs and bangs into a wall and gets a red, swollen shiner on her head.

They must not have walls in heaven because this child is just not used to them.

Janae is also very weepy. I'm just not sure what to do about her, God. She cries at the drop of a hat. She is very selfish. She doesn't like to share. She whines and wails everytime she spends any time in her car seat. I can't believe one of God's kids would act like this child. But, obviously they do.

Oh, and before I forget, your children God, do not obey me when I tell them to pick up there toys. They are so easily distracted, pick a fight with each other and then up and leave the room without even putting away one toy.

Didn't you ever teach them to put their toys away? If these are your kids God, I don't know who raised them.

I haven't told you about Landon yet. When he's done with the food I give him, he's been throwing it on the floor. Do you allow food throwing in heaven? I wouldn't think so, but maybe You do. We're also trying to get him potty trained. He seems to have a new fasination for diapers, underwear and anything that has to do with going potty. Just now I went into his room assuming he was sleeping and found he had manually picked apart his soiled diaper and spread it around the room in a million tiny pieces. Every where I looked were wet, jelly-like particals from the inside of a soiled diaper. He had put on a new diaper to boot too. Where did he learn how to do this?

He's also afraid of this fake butterfly I have in a plant. He thinks it bites. I'm not sure where this fear comes from but I wouldn't think butterflies are mean in heaven. They're not mean here so I don't know how he came up with this fear. He will stare and point and wail at the crazy thing and we go through the same scenario about everyday.

The butterfly is nice, I'll tell him.

"The butterfly is mean, Mom," he informs me.

The butterfly is pretty, I say.

"The butterfly will bite, Mom," he says back.

Just leave the butterfly alone then, I suggest.

"The butterfly will get me, Mom," answers this silly boy.

Who would think God's child would have such a earthly fear over a butterfly? This little boy sure does.

But God, if you're wondering if I want to send them back to you, no, I don't. I love these children dearly... as much as I would love my own. Their laughter, tears and scampering little feet throughout our home are a warmth and comfort to my heart. I love being their mother. They are precious to me and I will forever feel unworthy of the two treasures that You gave me.

I cherish the moments of cuddling.
Janae's hilarious kisses.
The way she squeezes my neck when I get her out of bed.
The way Landon squeals and runs when we try to kiss him but then he comes back wishing we'd try again.
The way Landon greets all our friends at church by name.

And then it pulls at my heart during the times Landon sits in his car seat as we drive down the road and exclaims out of the blue, "Everybody will be happy over... THERE, Daddy!"

If I ever wonder what heaven will be like, I just look at this life through the eyes of these kids You've lent us God, and I don't wonder. Because I know that everybody will be happy over there.

Just ask Landon.

Beloved, Let Us Love

"Beloved, let us love one another:
for love is of God;
and everyone that loveth is born of God,
and knoweth God." 1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love. Is this word so hidden in our heart that it is impossible for us to sin against our God
whose name is Love?

It should be quite impossible even to think an unkind thought about another. To misjudge, or to put the worst interpretation on what someone has said or done, should be utterly impossible. If this great word, Beloved, let us love, is hidden in our heart it will prevent unkindness of any sort from slipping in.
Sometimes, of course, we have to speak of wrong things, but if we can speak of wrong in another without pain -- that is unlove.

-Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Good Way To Start My Day

I woke up this morning facing my day with yesterday's laundry still waiting on the dining room table and another load patiently waiting in the dryer. I had forgotten to start the washer early enough in the evening last night in order to finish the entire job by bed time. But, laundry always waits.

The house is slightly cluttered from our busy weekend though I've worked endlessly to get things back to full order.

Curtains still sit on the table waiting to be hung.

Vacuuming still needs to be done.

The bathroom still needs to be cleaned.

The garbage still needs to be brought to the dumpster.

Janae's room still has wallpaper waiting to be peeled off.

The dishwasher needs emptying, the kids' closets need to be organized, the office area needs to be cleaned, the roof leaks, fleas are coming back, the ants came marching home again... etc.

So, unfortunately, I wasn't too thrilled about getting up this morning.

I hadn't told Toby my list of things to do but I think he could probably see at least half of the jobs.

When I came to my computer this morning to check email, a little yellow sticky note sat on my desk bearing familiar hand writing on it.

And there, waiting for me to get up, was a sweet little love note from someone special who always knows how to help me get off on the right start each day.

I don't need caffeine to get me motivated in the morning; a love note does far more to me than even the most zappy cup of coffee.

Coffee doesn't give me reason to get my laundry done; a love note does.

Coffee doesn't inspire me to just hang the curtain; a love note fills my head with all kinds of window treatment ideas.

Coffee doesn't motivate me to get the dishwasher emptied; a love note reminds me that I need to get all my work done before that someone special comes home.

Coffee doesn't make me want to get out of bed in the morning; a love note makes it hard for me to stay there.

Thanks Toby... and I love you too.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In Sickness And Health

This past weekend, Toby became ill. It started on Friday night when we were at his folks' house for supper.

I could see it in his face as soon as I saw him. He was flushed, sore and rather passive and quiet. I asked what was wrong and he explained symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection.

I pawed my way through the vitamin cabinet in his mom's kitchen and found cranberry pills. I filled a glass of water and gave him a handful of pills to swallow. He looked at me, looked at the pills, looked at me again and apparently knew he wasn't going to argue his way out of this one so he quickly swallowed them down and drank the water.

Meanwhile, a half finished bottle of Mountain Dew sat smugly on the kitchen table. Toby's dad, mom and wife were on the warpath against that vile drink and declared it the culprit for his ailing health. 3 against 1 made it hard for Toby to hold much of a case for himself so we condemned the wicked bottle to eternal banishment and coerced him into believing he needed to end the awful practice of drinking that stuff.

Toby just had a "whatever" look on his face. Poor guy... his whole family was against him that night.

On the way home from his parent's house that night, I delved into a long tale about the importance of him cutting pop out of his diet. I reminded him this wasn't the first UTI he's had and for a guy to get UTI's that reoccur, is not a normal or a good thing. It's not good for women either but it is more likely for us to get them because of our anatomy.

"Yeah," he said.

I explained that the pop had to go. Just like if a person was diagnosed with a severe liver disease and then took up drinking alcohol, their chances of survival were very slim.

"Well, yeah," was his reply.

(I could tell he was getting convicted by now.)

I reminded him that the last time he had this, we were able to recover his health without going the medical route. I told him I had antibiotics that the doctor said he could use and we could go that route or we could do the natural.

"Let's just go the natural route," he said after thinking for a moment and then he finished with, "And I'll stop drinking pop from now on."

I told him I was more than willing to do that if he would agree to stop drinking pop. Not just for now but forever. That meant he had to start right now to agree that he would never drink pop again... like maybe, one pop a year.

He said, "Okay, but I'll start that the day after tomorrow."

Then I'm not going to help you get better, honey. He had to stop drinking that sugar concentrated drink today. I couldn't help him get better if he didn't agree to eliminate the problem. He finally agreed.

We shook on it and he signed the dotted line. Not really, but you get the picture. He then quickly jumped into a deep theological topic and talked up a storm the rest of the way home. Hmmm, I wonder why.

As soon as we got home, I did my usual scrounge through my vitamin bin and came up with quite a concoction. Cranberry capsules, wild oregano oil and apple cider vinegar. And this was just the beginning. I topped off my large handful of pills with a warm apple-cider-vinegar-with-honey-drink.

All Toby said when I gave him the whole package deal was, "Do I have to?" I gave him the look that said, me or the doctor and he swallowed it all like a good boy.

A little later, I asked him where it hurt, while holding an imaginary medical form.

No swollen lymph nodes.
No cold or congestion.
No fever.
No bleeding gums.
No indigestion.
No abdominal pain.

But he did have a headache, achy all over and urinating caused pain. I repeated the former dose again before bedtime. It's always a good idea to get on top of illnesses right when they start.

The next morning I repeated his pills all over again and added a few more. He took a deep breath, swallowed them and shook his head as his spine shivered. Though I felt sorry for him having to gulp down such high amounts of pills, I was inwardly excited about all the nutrients entering his pop infested body.

That day we were gone all day helping our friends move but every hour, I brought him water and another handful of pills. He would usually say, "I'm fine honey." Or, "I just took those 2 hours ago." His excuses didn't defeat my purpose though.

By that evening, he was in pretty bad shape still. When I asked him how he felt, he'd say, "I just feel blah."

"What do you mean by blah?" I'd ask.

"Oh... my back hurts..." He replied.

"Does it still hurt to go to the bathroom?" I asked, digging a little deeper into his medical problem.

"Well, I think..."he said.

So, I scrounged some more and came up with a new and improved prescription: fresh garlic cloves. That would surely nip the "blah" feeling in the bud.

Poor Toby moaned and groaned and assured me he was better but I was determined to get him completely healed. I held the spoon in front of his tight lips and told him it was either this or go to the doctor and he quickly opened his mouth and swallowed everything, washing it down with more vinegar honey water.

Later that night, I was concerned since there hadn't been much improvement yet. Surely by the 24 hour mark, he should at least be getting better if not already well. I did more research and found he needed acidophulus, vitamin B6 and higher doses of garlic.

I decided to start pin pointing his sickness... maybe this wasn't a UTI?

"Does it hurt if I poke you here?" I asked as I felt his abdomen.

"Maybe it's a little tender," he said, indecisively.

Maybe was not the answer I was looking for.

"Well, does it hurt or not?" I pried.

"I guess," he said.

So, I went on the internet and did another search. Surely by now if this was a UTI he'd be better.

I finally decided to just go ahead and have him diagnosed him with chronic prostatitis. That was surely what it was.

And then I decided it was just a UTI.

And then he told me he thought he just had the flu.

I then chose to just treat him as if he had a common cold since maybe that would eliminate his pain.

Who knows, maybe this was lyme disease or some other incurable illness. Maybe he had malaria, for all we knew.

I gave him more cranberry and garlic (those seem to be my main standbyes) and we went to bed. By the next morning, Toby was still sick.

So, I combined all the illnesses we discussed the night before and went to my vitamin bin with fresh vigor. I chopped garlic, warmed honey and vinegar, dumped loads of pills out and made fresh cranberry juice. I brought the entire brigade to him and set it in front of him. Five minutes later, a half dozen pills still laid there.

I brought them out to where he was eating breakfast and reminded him he still had to take them. Then I left for church.

When I came back, they still sat there. How was I supposed to help him get better if he wouldn't swallow his pills? Maybe I should've just intubated him then.

Through out the day, he perked up. I could tell he was feeling better. He said he felt like a druggie with all the pills he was taking. Landon walked around the house repeating, "druggie" while I continued bringing pills for Toby to take.

By that night, I brought him one last dose of everything and he assured me he was better.

"Does it hurt to go to the bathroom?" I asked, while coaxing him to take his vitamins.

"Nope," he quickly said.

"Does your back still hurt?"

"Maybe a little," he replied, not realizing this was a bad answer.

"Then you need to take these because if you still have pain there, you still have a UTI," I said while putting the capsules in his hand.

After he swallowed everything down, I repeated my first question.

"Now tell me if it hurts when you go to the bathroom."

"Yeah, it still does... a little," he admitted.

"I thought so," was my wise response.

It doesn't take long to be married to a guy to know what they mean when they answer the way they do some times.

This morning before work, he assured me he was better. I still gave him his pills, just for good measure. During work today, I asked him how he was feeling.

"I just feel blah," he said.

"What do you mean by blah?" I questioned.

"I just feel blah all over."

Oh dear. It'll be more than just a kiss that I greet him with when he comes home from work tonight.

Later this afternoon, I talked to his mom on the phone. Over the lunch hour, Toby had gone to his folks' house to eat his lunch. His mom had offered him some juice.

"If that's cranberry juice, I can't drink that," he quickly said, indicating he was filled to over flowing with that UTI combating drink.

I'm afraid he's in for a long haul tonight. And it'll be more than just cranberry juice that he'll get.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This Is The Way We Make The Coffee

Toby is home doing bookwork today so what better way to celebrate his day home than to enjoy a cup of coffee. Of course, he was up to that so I set out to make up the bean juice.

But first, I had to make breakfast for the kids. While I stood by the stove frying eggs, the kids grabbed a hold of my skirt, wrapped up in it as best as they could and chewed and bit at my skirt. They must've been pretty hungry this morning. They seemed to be competing over who could get the biggest bite at it. Thankfully, they spared my legs.

I quickly finished the eggs, trying not to trip over the little people wrapped in my skirt and served the food to my starving kids.

I then go to the coffee pot but on my way there, Janae dumps her bowl of eggs on the floor. I detour her way, picking up eggs as I go.

I decide that Janae's eggs are finished and that she's ready for her cup of juice.

I go to the fridge and get juice and then reach for the sippy cups. They're in the dishwasher which reminds me that I still need to empty the dishwasher. I give Janae her juice and then Landon wants some. I go back to the dishwasher, find another cup, fill it with the rest of the juice in the picture only to find that there's only about a swallow of juice in the cup. I retrieve Janae's cup from her and empty half of the contents into Landons cup; providing both of them with equal juice.

And then I remember the coffee.

I head back to the coffee maker, take out the pot and proceed to rinse it in the sink. As the water runs, while I wait for it to get warm, Landon asks for another egg.

I shut the water off and fry another egg for my starving boy.

I make my way back to the sink and resume my coffee task. By this time, the kids are finished with their eggs and playing down the hall in their bedrooms. As I rinse the pot out, I hear distressed cries coming from my darling children.

I shut the water off and go work out the problem between my children. Landon apparently took Janae's ball from her but before I got to them, Janae bit Landon and he started crying. So then we have that issue to resolve.

As soon as that situation dissolves, I head back to the kitchen to get back to the coffee. While I rinse the pot and clean off the coffee stains, Janae disappears into the bathroom.

I shut the water off again and head to the bathroom, just in time to see a little pajama clad girl toddle down the hall with a toothbrush in hand. I extract the kidnapped toothbrush, remind the little thief that a toothbrush is a no-no and then put the toothbrush back, shutting the door behind me when I leave the bathroom.

I finally get the pot filled with water and just as I'm about to pour it into the coffee maker, a hurt cry is heard from a far bedroom. I set the pot down neglecting the coffee once again.

As I investigate what happened, I could find nothing wrong or damaged but a simple kiss seemed to calm the sobs. So, I kissed and set the ailing child down and headed back to the coffee.

The water fills the coffee maker and I set the pot on the burner. I still hadn't filled the grounds basket so I attempted to accomplish that task. While I get the can of coffee out, Janae climbs up on a high stool in another room and somehow manages to not fall off before I rescued her. I set her back on the floor only to come back and find Landon vigorously sniffing the can of coffee grounds. The fragrant grains move easily in the breeze and onto the table.

"Landon, WHAT are you doing?" I ask.

"Smelling coffee, Mom." He replies, as if I couldn't' tell.

And then I remember back to one night when we were all together with Toby's family and Aaron started telling us a theory he had seen (and tried) at a perfume counter. You smell one scent after another and pretty soon they all smell the same. So, somebody found that by smelling a small tin of coffee between each scent, your scent buds are renewed with each whiff of coffee.

He claimed it worked very well.

So, somebody brought a small scoop of coffee to the table and we all tried it. Landon apparently was all eyes and ears for this experiment and seems to enjoy trying it out whenever he can.

I filled the coffee grinder and grind the coffee down. Landon continued sniffing the coffee so I had to stop and intervene with him. I refilled the grinder again and finally, the last of the coffee grinder was heard as it whirred to a stop. We were getting closer to the end of our project.

Just then, Janae comes marching into the kitchen with her mouth filled with one of those "Lacing Sweets." (a round, object with a letter on both sides and a hole on both ends.) I extract the foreign object from her mouth and remind her again that those are a "no-no" for the mouth.

I emptied the contents into the grounds basket and put it on the coffee maker. I quickly shut the basket, put the pot under and dashed for the "on" button before another catastrophe happened.

While the coffee brewed, the kids continued their lively exuberance towards life. The smell of coffee was wafting on the air and filled the house with an aire of nostalgia -- if you can feel nostalgic when your kids keep finding the very things they aren't supposed to get into.

At last, the coffee was done and I poured Toby a cup. As I filled my cup with milk first (I was going for a latte), I noticed the sides of my cup were coated with a white, powdery, anthrax like substance.

I smelled it (of course) and deemed it unsafe for drinking purposes so dumped it down the drain. I reached for another cup, filled it with coffee first, dissolved my sugar and then topped it off with milk. And then I brought Toby his cup and forgot about mine.

Ten minutes later I came into the kitchen and found my cup of coffee. It was cold by then so I put it in the microwave, only to forget about it there as well.

I reheated it again and came back for it 5 minutes later.

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother making coffee... especially when Toby only took one small drink of his and told me it was too strong. His dad came later in the day and made my coffee making adventure worth it. In a short time, he finished the whole pot off and did I ever feel accomplished.

If you ever visit my house and I offer you a cup of coffee, know full well that coffee around here comes with a price.

But really, coffee is a breeze compared to blogging. I won't even begin to tell you how many times I've been up and down from writing this simple story nor could I ever count how many times I've saved lives and rescued small children from dangerous places in just a short time.

I need to go get myself a cup of coffee now.