Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My youngest asked what else we were having for dinner. I told him veggies. He said,"veggies?! Veggies! I've had, like, a thousand veggies in my life! How many more is it gonna take?!". I guess he thought we were trying to meet a quota.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Overheard my 7 year old say to his brother:

"A bunch of snot was unleashed, and came running out of my nose."


Friday, September 24, 2010


Earlier today I had a yogurt that my youngest wanted.

Youngest: "why do YOU get one and I don't?"

Me: "because I'm special."

Youngest: "why are YOU so special?!"

5th child: "because she's the mother that gave us birth!"
(which sounded like "berf")

Yes. I am the berf-er. The end.

Monday, September 20, 2010


About a month ago I agreed to do a postcard exchange among members of one of my email groups. I thought it would be neat for my kids to get postcards from all over the place.

But I wasn't thinking about how many people might sign up to be a part of this, or the cost of postcards and postage.


50 people signed up. So....that's going to get a little pricey.

And then I couldn't find postcards anywhere that I thought sold them.


I found one place online, and it was going to cost over $40 to order the cards I needed. And then of course I would have to address and write about our state on every. single. card.

Plus pay to mail them.

Oh lawsy.

As I was about to bite the bullet tonite and fork over $43 for the postcards, I thought of vistaprint.

Oh vistaprint, how I love thee.

Thankfully, it was not too hard to find a postcard in stock there that had horses on it, which is one of the things Kentucky is famous for.

I found that vistaprint offers a service where they will mail your cards for you.

Bingo! I designed my own Kentucky post card, had our message with interesting trivia about Kentucky printed on the back, and entered all of the addresses of the recipients. For just $2 more than I was going to spend on *just* the cards, I am getting the cards, the printed message, the postage, AND the whole thing FINISHED AND NEVER COMING TO MY HOUSE TO WAIT FOR ME TO DO IT.

And I like that a whole bunch.

Now I have learned my $45 lesson to never sign up to do this again.

But we are enjoying the postcards that are coming to us from all over. Very cool!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Feel a Need for the List

I'm feeling very overwhelmed by the amount of things still on my To Do list today, so have decided to make one of those wonderful lists of good things I have done today:

Single-handedly got the kids to church today, participated, visited with friends there, coordinated one social outing for a teen, plus kept the four youngest kids longer than anybody else their age, in order to help take down all of the chairs and equipment. It was a good opportunity for them to serve.

Resisted the impulse to buy pizza on the way home. Instead pressed on with four hungry boys and ate lunch at home. Managed to make it fun, too!

Had a phone call with the husband discussing some issues that needed to be dealt with. Tiring, but ended up good.

Had my afternoon hijacked by an unforeseen problem that required me to drive an hour, spend an hour, plus take up a lot of physical and mental energy, but did it anyhow and managed to have a good attitude about it.

Fed all children and pets. And self.

Endured a conversation with one of my children about a recurring theme, and stuck to my guns, did my best to strike a fine balance between encouragement and tough love. Did not go bonkers like I actually wanted to.

Had kids do some chores even though they are not being very cooperative and I am tired. I could have let it slide, but things are getting pretty messy here, so I had to get *something* accomplished to beat back this mess.

Good deeds that remain to be done this evening:
-completing middle school paperwork for tomorrow morning
-helping new middle schooler pack her lunch and backpack
-hopefully going to bed at a decent hour

The End

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This Might Just Be the Undoing Of Me

A teenage daughter. That's what.

I see now how lucky I was. My first teenager was my son who is so much like me and it is very, very easy for me to understand him and for us to get along. We are two peas in a pod in many ways.

When he got into the teen years, yes, I will admit that there were tricky times. Overall, though, I was the Teen Whisperer. My husband would be frustrated and bewildered, but I possessed the natural skills to calm the stormy seas between the two of them, and to act as an interpreter when they could not understand each other.

How nice that was.

Now, I suspect it may be my husband's time to shine, because the way things are going so far with my daughter.....clearly I am outside of my skill set.

I would say that out of ten times that I engage in talking to her, trying to include her in something, or in any other way communicate with her, 6-8 of those times will be met with one of the following:

-a look of extreme boredom
-rude behavior of some other sort

I am not a parent who accepts getting run over by crap behavior. Although I certainly do understand the hormonal difficulties and other troubles of this age, I also believe that we can choose to have kind behavior to one another.

So I mention it. I coach. I lovingly correct. I discipline. I come down hard when I need to.

But, this is a child with a special strength to her personality. Which is very, very good in many ways. But not good when it results in strong resistance to being corrected.

She seems stubbornly committed to snotty behavior. And it might just be the end of me.

It feels like it has been going on for a long time now. I am not the only victim of her bad attitude. Her siblings deal with it all day long as well, so I have ample opportunities to continue to correct, defend, model appropriate behavior, and so on. (and get argued with, and get eyes rolled at me, and to have her stay in her bedroom as much as humanly possible)

It isn't catching on, people. Not with this one. Not right now.

Logic tells me that she will outgrow this. Experience tells me that this child doesn't always outgrow stuff. (I thought she would outgrow her picky eater stage as a preschooler. She didn't. And now she has serious difficulties with eating normally. It's not fun for any of us.)

Yesterday I took her out to shop. We have decided to let her go to middle school. Monday is her first day. She needed shirts with collars in order to meet the dress code. So off we went, in search of shirts. Which you would think would make a teenager happy.

It was hard to find the kind of shirts she needs. It took a long time. We were wilting. She got snottier and snottier as the day wore on. It was horrible. I was doing my best to hunt down the right kind of shirts and dig out her size and show them to her and of course never (ever!) act like I care if she picks this one or that one because it is a rule for mothers of teenagers to not try to pressure them into dressing a certain way. (thankfully, I really don't care what she wears, so I have no internal struggle on this. The trick is to not let any inflection of your voice make the kid even suspect that you are trying to talk them into anything....)

At one point she had been so rude, unthankful, and unpleasant that I seriously, seriously considered turning right around and marching back to the car and ending the shopping trip. Under other circumstances I would have. Under these circumstances, this was our only opportunity to get this done before she needs the clothes, we live a long way from the mall, and I could not foresee a time in the near future when her father or I could take her back to continue the hunt.

So it went on. With me working at not bursting into tears.

All-in-all, we finally got some shirts, I got a seriously aching back, we got to have a fight in the car on the way home, and I got to cry myself to sleep over this.

Yes, seriously.

I'm sure some psychologist would say that my daughter and I are both afraid of the upcoming changes of her going to school, or of her growing up, or some other thing.

Somebody else might blame it on PMS. (thankfully there are only two females in our household who can synchronize our menstruation, and thus our PMS as well....)

I don't know what to blame it on, but I don't like it. Not one bit.

As I recall, my snotty-teenager days were short-lived, and I think ended when I was 13. I had witnessed some very loving mother-daughter relationships at our church mother-daughter banquet, and realized that I could make the choice to just enjoy my mom, who I already realized was a really fun and cool person. While I'm sure I was not a perfect angel for every minute of the rest of my growing up, I know that the choice I made that day stuck with me and served me (and our whole family, I'm sure) very well. It would sure be nice if my daughter could figure something like that out.

My husband had (yet another) talk with her today, after listening to me cry last night. I don't know what he said to her, but she has been trying to be nicer today. It has gone well. Somehow, I feel like a person afraid of getting bitten by a snake. I am thankful that she has been nice, but I am kinda nervous around her.

It's not how I want to feel about my own kid.


"Can't go under it...
Can't go over it...
Can't go around it....
Gotta go through it!"

Pray for me. She's only 14. God have mercy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ten Easy Steps to Leaving Town for Vacation

Step 1: Diligently pack van the night before, and wake up on time for an early departure.

Step 2: Excited children announce the water is all over the floor in the family room. Discover that the hot water heater has decided to die.

Step 3: Call husband who is driving home from work to let him know the "good news" and listen to his near-hysterical cackle in response to the excitement. Turn off water to house. Have children assist in mopping up water and picking up wet items from all over the family room. Bonus: There are now at least two new loads of laundry to deal with before your trip!

Step 4: Husband arrives home. Dovetail efforts to A.) drain hot water heater, B.) keep cats out of the house (we do NOT want a stowaway cat left in the house while we are gone!), C.) finish packing, D.) answer the "how much longer?!" questions from every child under the age of 20, and E.) keep people gainfully occupied and burning off their pre-trip excitement.

Step 5: Husband and oldest son drive to fetch new hot water heater. They return in about an hour. Proceed to wrestle gargantuan 80 gallon dead hot water heater out of the house, and wrestle the new one in. Children are instructed to get some bricks from the back yard to achieve desired height for new hot water heater, but they are very slow because of their fear of the spiders living near the bricks. (sigh)

Step 6: Desired height of hot water heater achieved. Husband succeeds in hooking it up to the water, water to house turned on again. Let the filling begin!

Step 7: Complete filling almost achieved when a leak (a leak!!) is revealed. Resist desire to say bad words. Call Whirlpool to find out what next. Good news! They will replace the unit. Bad news: You have to drain the *new* unit, wrestle it back *out* of the house, return to store, get a new one, and start all over again. (the first time was only a drill! Second time is the real deal!)

Step 8: Get new unit and return home. Field constant questions from children like, "What time will we be leaving?!" Feed children at fast food restaurants since all the food on hand was eaten in preparation for being gone away for a week. Husband-wife pow-pow to discuss relative merits of leaving today (12 hour drive) and arriving in the middle of the night, vs. waiting until the next morning to leave. Husband and son install yet another hot water heater. Let the filling begin again!

Step 9: Oh-so-very-bravely decide to do one of those loads of laundry plus run the dishwasher and get to (finally!) flush the toilets, to get things going and see how the new system holds up. So far, so good.

Step 10: Husband declares himself fit to travel after this already strenuous day. Family departs at 3:15pm. Studly husband drives the entire way, arriving safely at destination around 3am. What a man!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Favorite iPhone Apps

Not being a technology enthusiast, I never jump on the shiny-new-latest-greatest bandwagon. I had the same tricycle cell phone for probably 5 or 6 years, as it was gradually falling apart. Eventually it died 100% and I had to break down and buy something else. And the guy at the store convinced me that an iphone would actually be the easiest thing for me to get used to, so I decided to give it a try.

I was enamored with my new phone within about 5 minutes of driving away from the place. And now I feel like my iphone is as important to me as a computer with internet service. If I had known how it could help me be so much more efficient, organized, informational...well....I would have got one awhile back. Nobody told me that stuff, so I had no idea what I was missing.

Well, now I do. And I love this thing.

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite apps so far. Most have been free. A few I have paid $1-3 for:

Facebook: makes it quick and easy to stay in touch on FB

Pandora radio: create your own radio stations based on the music you like. Just enter the name of an artist you enjoy, and the station will play that music as well as similar stuff. You give it a quick thumbs up or thumbs down to hear it again or never again. I have stations for various moods and genres that I enjoy.

iBooks: Easy to download books, and much there is free. I have not had an interest in buying a kindle or nook or reading this way, but now that I have experienced it, I like it. I do not think it will ever replace my enjoyment of real books, but it is nice to always have a book (or dozens of books) handy, and nobody lost my bookmark!

Kindle (same as above)
Nook (same as above)

Grocery IQ: Super cool! Easily scan the bar codes on the groceries you normally buy. This app makes categorized lists for you so forevermore you will actually have your shopping list on hand whenever you end up at the grocery store. Easy to use, easy to tweak. Love this!

ToDo Tomorrow: I like To Do lists, but more often than not, a whole lot of it ends up rolling over to the next day. This app makes it easy. I add the stuff to my list, and at the end of the day when I give up on the two-thirds of the stuff that didn't get done, I just tap an arrow and shove it all over to the next day. A procrastination supporter at it's best! :)

P Tracker Lite: Hmmm....why am I cranky and emotional? What day is it? Is my period almost here? Just check your P Tracker to see how many days out you are from P-Day.

Memory Pro Free: Do you or your kids like to play memory match games? This one is portable and easy to do! Can be adjusted from super easy to more complex.

Talking Carl: Worth every penny of the dollar or whatever that it cost me. This lovable character will talk back to you in a funny voice, plus you can poke and tickle him and get him making funny sounds. If you believe laughter is the best medicine, you need this. The giggle is contagious for all ages, and definitely gives a lift anytime you need it. Fun!

Whirly Word: I found this while looking for an app for Text Twist, which I like to play online. As it turned out, at least while I was looking, Text Twist seems to not have a good working app, so I gave this a try. I enjoyed it, although I played it so much that eventually the same words were coming up again and again.

Jumbline: After I wore out Whirly Word I found Jumbline which cost a dollar or two, and I like it very much. You can choose 5, 6, or 7 letter words. They are more challenging than Whirly Word or Text Twist. I like to give that part of my brain a stretch, and this is a fun way to do it. Also fun for the kids, especially emerging spellers.

Complete Sight Words: Dolch sight word flash cards for my kids, plus a hangman game. This cost a couple dollars and was well worth it. The flashcards can read themselves to the child, or can be set to be silent unless the child taps the word to hear what it is. Has all levels from pre-primer up to 3rd grade and the nouns. Very helpful, and SO nice to always know where *all* the flash cards are!

Unblock Me free: An interesting and challenging puzzle game. We all play it, ages 7-40. Great for logic, spacial reasoning, and a good brain stretch.

ePuzzle: Another good puzzle for the brain. Remember those slide-y puzzles with the little squares that you moved around into the one clear space until you made the right picture? This is like that, except with numbers. You have to get them into the right order.

U Connect: A different kind of puzzle game. Soothing and challenging as well. Interesting for all ages at our house.

Tangrams LE: a free tangram program. Fun for all.

Fandango: Are you ever in the car or in an area you are not familiar with and think that maybe you would like to see a movie someplace? Having Fandango handy helps a whole lot! Search for the movie you want, and in many cases you can even purchase tickets in advance instead of having to wait in line!

Netflix: Now you can watch Instant Play movies on your iphone. Sweet!!

Positivity: A free app that shares uplifting and inspirational quotes. I love it.

Flashlight Free: Do you ever need a flashlight? This app is for you! Easy to use. Also offers crazy lights like strobe and other fun stuff.

Goby: If you are looking for stuff to do and don't know what's going on or where to go, Goby will help.

Onion News Network: If you have a sense of humor that appreciates The Onion, you will love this. Laugh your head off at their latest videos on your phone.

Web MD: Medical information with me at all times. I like that. Search symptoms, conditions, drugs and treatments, first aid information, local health information, etc.

ITriage: Gives info on symptoms, you can store your own health info there which can be great for remembering facts while visiting various doctors, call 911 right from the app if you need to, etc.

Bible from Life Church TV: Easy to use in church, easy to use to study, reading plans available too. Nice!

Vacation Photos

Cauliflower Curry

I don't mind telling you that I'm not an adventurous eater. I am not a person who wants to travel the world to taste food everywhere. I have never lived anywhere that had Indian, Cuban, or any other authentic ethnic cuisine. I grew up on all-American food, with Americanized Italian food on the side. :)

So, all of that to say I have little-to-no experience with curry. Normally, if I had seen this recipe in a book I would not have even considered making it. If I had looked at the ingredients, double that. But thankfully, my mom made this while we visited her last week and Oh-me-oh-my! this is Soooooo Gooood! My husband and some of the kids loved it too. And I have been dreaming of making it here at home ever since.

Today's the day!

I love crock pot recipes that don't ask me to do much beyond throw everything in the pot. If I have to pre-cook stuff, to me it kinda loses the point. Well, this is one of those easy-peasy recipes, so, give it a try! (ok, you will have to chop some stuff....can you handle it? :) )

Throw into the crock pot:

4 cups cauliflowerets (fresh or frozen)

3 medium tomatoes seeded and chopped (2+ cups) or the equivalent of canned diced tomatoes (get cans without BPA please!)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 14-ounce can coconut milk (not cream of coconut) (I'm not really sure how healthy this is, so report back to me if you have anything to say about it. There is no sugar in it, but there were some preservatives. I found mine by Chinese food at the grocery store.)

1 Tablespoon soy sauce, or you could substitute Bragg's liquid aminos

1.5 teaspoon (not 15!) curry powder

half a teaspoon sea salt

half a teaspoon dried crushed basil

Cook on low 4-6 hours.
Shortly before you want to eat, stir in 6 ounces fresh organic spinach. Cover and continue to heat on low for 10-15 minutes or so.

The perfect accompaniment to this is organic brown rice. If you have a rice cooker and will not be home while this is cooking, use it!

Experiments I look forward to trying with this:
-throwing already-cooked rice into the pot for the last hour of the cook time
-you could add cut up bits of cooked chicken to this as well
-the recipe book I saw this in suggested topping this with chopped peanuts, raisins, and/or shredded coconut. I would not have thought of any of those, but now it sounds really yummy.

This is very warm, soothing, comfort food. Perfect for fall and winter! Be brave and give it a try. Let me know how you like this. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tight Spaces

We were recently on a road trip that takes us through tunnels under mountains during the journey. My kids love going through the tunnels, but for me, I do some extra deep breathing and keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I do not like tight spaces, and find that my uncomfortableness with them seems to have increased in recent years.

Tonite I was thinking about some things and realized that there is a parallel between my discomfort with tight spaces and how I have been feeling lately: overwhelmed by the needs of others. Or, over-needed, perhaps.

Between the needs of the kids, the home, my husband, homeschooling, not homeschooling, learning disabilities, guidance of older teens growing into adulthood (and needing much more guidance than you might expect!), businesses and customers, my employment as a caregiver to a handicapped person, friends, and so on, it can feel like a lot. Although I consistently work to simplify, I also consistently work to do well at serving the ones I love and meeting the needs they have in good ways. But, when one is over-needed, there doesn't seem to be a way to get a break.

You could call it a tight space, I think.

This is one thing about life, marriage, motherhood, and all the rest that I find interesting: you cannot necessarily anticipate how long of a marathon you can run, or how well you can run it. You may start out slow or fast or medium speed, with varying levels of style, form, talent, and energy. But you don't know when you might get a hitch in your giddyup, shin splints, or come upon a road block or landslide. And then what? Nothing stops for you---you just have to figure out how to continue to carry on.

It doesn't really seem fair.

And then you realize that you're on this treadmill for life. Which doesn't help.

Thank God that we usually get a second (third, fourth....) wind. We sure do need 'em, don't we?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

It Will Cost You, and Rightfully So

My kids aren't all grown up yet. The oldest is 18, but as far as proof in the pudding and all that jazz, I don't have that much of it. (proof or pudding) Yes, my kids are pretty cool and are doing well in many ways. I'm pleased with who they are. But most of my deeper parenting issues are still in the wait-and-see-how-it-will-turn-out phase.

While I try to have a healthy amount of modesty and self-depreciation about my parenting, there are some things I am willing to be brave about and dare to say how I think it should be. If it turns out I'm wrong, maybe I will post a retraction here on this blog in five or ten years. Tune in to see!

What I want to talk about is sacrifice. Good parenting requires personal sacrifice. Many people think they understand this, but they are not really ready to dig in their heels and continue to sacrifice when it goes in directions that are too inconvenient and costly.

Good parenting requires strong leadership and strong character. If you do not have one or both of these traits, hopefully you will develop those muscles as your parenting journey unfolds. If you don't, I hope that you have been blessed with good-natured, hard-working, stable-minded children who will be able to thrive despite those lacks.

We've had a couple things come up recently that I thought I would share as examples of the kind of sacrifice I have found necessary in order to teach and lead my children in the way I think they will most benefit from.

Our oldest son got his driver's permit when he was 16, but the deal was that he was not going to get his license until he could afford to pay his part of the car insurance. While I do not think this is a must for every family, in our case we thought it was important. I had been encouraging him to seek employment since he was 14 or 15 in order to save money for this time in his life, and he had not done it. So now he had no money and no prospects for earning any. And right away he was saying to me, "I see now why I should have tried harder to get a job back when you were telling me that." Uh huh. Yep.

Reasons why we wanted him to pay his own insurance:
-To connect the privilege of driving with the financial responsibility, as well as the personal responsibility to seek, obtain, and maintain employment

Sacrifices we made to wait it out while he got to this point:
-We were driving him around for 12 months that he could have been eligible for a license, including taking up two days every week of driving him 45 minutes each way to some classes he was taking, and disrupting our homeschool schedule and complicating other schedules. This was happening while gas prices were getting pretty crazy too. It cost us a lot of time and money and inconvenience. It would have been cheaper for us to just pay for his insurance ourselves. But the long term goal was more important that the short-term ease.

Eventually he got some odd jobs and earned some decent money and was in a position to pay for his insurance and he got his license. He now pays us monthly for his part of the car insurance, and has also taken over paying his portion of the cell phone bill. Little by little, we will both encourage him to become an accomplished saver, as well as to take over the costs of his adult life. We're raising a man here, not a boy.


My new licensed driver got a speeding ticket, going 24 miles per hour over the speed limit. Not cool. At all. He gets to appear in court (the only option was court) to deal with this ticket and whatever consequences there are. He will be paying for the entire cost of the ticket, and it is possible that he might even have his license suspended because he was still a probationary driver when this happened.

Know what? We're not going to try to fix it or make it softer for him. We will go with him to court. We are not angry at him. We will encourage him to accept whatever happens. He needs to experience the consequences of this. If it means he has no license for 90 days, so be it. Then he can see how that will impact his life. Kinda hard to have a job and pay your bills without a driver's license, you know?

I'm not a hard-hearted parent. I love my kids like crazy. I love 'em enough to let them experience the consequences of their mistakes, because I would rather have him fully experience the costs of his behavior now, rather than be an irresponsible husband or father someday because he never had to face up to his actions.


We have taught our kids for as long as they could understand, about saving, paying cash, and staying out of debt. With our oldest son we are now where the rubber meets the road with this stuff. He is still in his final year of homeschooling, but is 18, so has adult options in the wide world. We will not be buying him a car, but are encouraging him to work and save his money to buy one. What we have done is kept a third vehicle of ours for him to drive since when he works it would be difficult for us to just have two vehicles. We're not giving him the car, but it is available to him on a temporary basis while he gets up on his own two feet with a car of his own.

My husband started considering some other options for what to do about this third car. He was seeing financial benefits to us of selling the third car, buying something adequate for our son with the proceeds, and then letting our son pay us for the car in installments. Later in discussing it together, we realized: this was missing the point. I neither want my son in debt for a car to a car dealership or a bank OR his parents. I think it is important for him to work, save, discipline himself, make a purchase within his budget, and reap the satisfaction of having a completely paid for car that he earned by the sweat of his brow. I believe he will appreciate it more, take better care of it, and more importantly, he will have gotten over yet another hurdle in how to manage his money and make wise financial decisions that will have a huge positive impact on the rest of his life and his own family someday.

What it costs us to live this out:
-The cost of maintaining a third car.
-Also, the third car is a gas guzzler, so that costs my son more to drive.
-The risk of our son damaging the third car (which he already has, mildly) and us losing the resale value even further.

What I believe will be gained by sticking with it:
-A young man who knows how to work, save, discipline, plan, and appreciate what he has.
-A young man who sees that he is capable of doing what it takes to be smart financially.
-Helping him live out what we have taught him is important.


Tonite was a new one, this time from my 12 year old son. Back in June we were at a Christian music festival, and a speaker was recruiting new sponsors for Compassion international. My 12 year old was moved (maybe manipulated) into raising his hand, and eventually standing to his feet, to take on the responsibility of sponsorship for a child in Ethiopia. After discussing it ourselves, my husband and I talked to our young son about the cost of sponsorship ($38/mo), and what we were willing to do to help him take this on (we would pay half), and what we were willing to do to help him do his part (provide extra chore opportunities that he could earn money from). Basically, if our son works for 15 minutes a day for 19 days in a month, he will have earned his part of the money.

He was all for it.

We paid for the initial payment.
His birthday money paid for his half of the second payment.
And in three months he has never once asked for an extra job so he could earn money. And I have been waiting to see what would happen when this month's money was due, because I knew it would be crunch time for him.

This child avoids work more than any of my other children, and is the least likely to take the initiative to earn money through work. This has been his tendency for as long as I can recall. So I felt that this was a wonderful opportunity for him to have to work, as well as having to be generous.

Well tonite it all caught up with him. He came to me, starting to cry, because he felt overwhelmed at the thought of being financially obligated to this child in Ethiopia. He was sad because he does not have money to do fun things, and had recently experienced having no pocket money to do something fun that his siblings did have money for.

While I can really appreciate how he was feeling, I pointed out to him the strength and ability he has to rise to the obligation and to be able to bless and care for a child who needs help. While he could agree that he is certainly able to work for 15 minutes most days, the bottom line is that he doesn't really want to any more. *Now* he feels the fruit of emotional manipulation (which I will rant about some other day) and wants out.

Well, I'm not giving him a way out. I am going to provide him with an opportunity to grow and be strong and overcome some of his lazy tendencies.

What this will cost me:
-$19 a month to do the half sponsorship
-coming up with extra jobs for him to do that he can earn $19 a month
-dealing with him doing jobs that he might not do well (either because of attitude or ability) with grace and continue to encourage him and guide him even though I might really prefer to have someone else do the job, or do it myself
-helping him remember to write letters to his sponsored child and taking the lead for all such efforts
-listening to him cry, be sad, feel misunderstood, or whatever for as long as it takes

What I believe we will get for our efforts:
-a child in Ethiopia getting an education, health care, and more
-a son who will learn to work even though he does not like to
-a son who will hopefully come to value his ability to bless others through his strength and heart
-a son who will be wiser in the future when emotionally manipulative speakers try to sway him (he is an easily influenced child), and who will hopefully learn to think clearly and logically about decisions
-hopefully the other kids will see the example of this, and honestly I hope that they all decide to sponsor kids through Compassion. I would go halfsies with each one of them and help them do jobs around the house, too, if they could catch the bug for service, sacrifice, and hard work


I think it is important to remember the big picture, long-term stuff when it comes to parenting issues.

It is important to take the blinders off as much as you can, and see the character strengths and weaknesses that your kids have, and be willing to work on what needs work.

It is important for parents to be able to muster the emotional, physical, mental, and financial STRENGTH to do what is best for each child, even when it comes at a high personal cost. The best things in life do not come for free. When it comes to preparing our kids for the rest of their lives, it's true even moreso.

Good luck to all of my fellow parents! Whether you have one child or a whole bunch, it is a job that demands (and deserves!) the very best we have to offer. Phew!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Yay Me, Day One

So I'm reading a fun book: Helping Me Help Myself: one skeptic, ten self-help gurus, and a year on the brink of the comfort zone. In the book the author, Beth Lisick, attempts to improve herself via various modes of self-help resources, even though it's never really been appealing to her to do so before.

One of the suggestions she reads about is to look at yourself in a mirror at the end of each day and tell yourself all of the good things you did that day. After my recent evenings of just feeling overwhelmed with all of the shortfalls and failings of the days, I thought that it might actually be a nice thing to do for awhile, if only to attempt to retrain my thoughts to drift toward the positive instead of the negative.

So, alas, a list of good things for today:

-I went to church even though I did not feel like it

-I got my work papers taken care of even though there were obstacles in my way

-I took a long nap which I desperately needed

-I did not say all of the grouchy things that came to mind, which was a lot for some reason

-I finally gave 3 of my boys haircuts, which they have needed for weeks, even though I did not want to. I have calculated my earnings for this task as $72 an hour. Which makes it seem more worthwhile than it sometimes feels. (on the upside, I really do like having the time to personally do their hair and spend the time with them and talk to them and look at their cute faces. I must try to remember this for next time.)

-I worked on getting caught up on laundry, which had become a gigantic pile. We are now on schedule for having laundry all caught up by tomorrow, which is needing to be done.

-I took care of some customer service issues AND got some business newsletters finished and scheduled for the next week

-I got the dishwasher caught up and ready to receive newly dirty dishes for morning

-I arranged to borrow something from a friend that will make my family's life easier for the next week or so.

I will now resist the urge to tell about any things that also needed to get done but didn't and will go to bed soon. Good night.