Friday, December 29, 2006

9 years

9 years and 1 day ago, I married a young man. I had no clue what marriage was about, all I knew was that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. 9 years later, I don't know a whole lot more what marriage is about...but I have read a lot more about it from Paul and Peter....but I know that I still want to spend the rest of my life with him.

God, continue to help me find that respectful, gentle, quiet wife that you call me to be.

(visit the link for the bed and breakfast by clicking on the title. we stayed in the rose room.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Blessings

Hi all! Merry Christmas! I wish I could say that I had pictures, but unless someone emails me some THEY took, I can't share them with you...(our digital camera was stolen when my debit card number was taken...hmmm....) ANYWAY, it wasa good day today, and I needed a good day. My kids were THOROUGHLY convinced they saw Rudolph fly the other night, and they heard him stomp on the roof!! :) I LOVE IT!

Among my favorite gifts:
1. My new MP3 player....yes, I hadn't entered the 21st century yet. (We just got the computer in February, so what do you expect?) My husband got me a really nice one, and I'm really happy about it. It took me a while to figure things out but I think I'm on my way. I have lots of music on it already! Including some Israel (of course), Aerosmith, Little Big Town, Third Day, Avalon, Chicago, Air Supply, Journey, Guns and Roses, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Harry Connick Jr (OF COURSE), MercyME, PCD (oh yes, Dan, relive the Hosanna van!), Roberta Flack (influenced by my mom's old vinyl I'm sure), Thomas Dolby (BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE), Jeremy Camp (Hoosier - born!!), SEVENGLORY, Van Halen, Kari Jobe & Lauryn Hill (because of Auds), Lakewood Church, Fernando Ortega, Dire Straits, AND MANY OTHERS...Quite ecclectic, if I do say so.

2. My new coat. Drew and Evan picked it out by themselves, and it is great! It fits really well and it is a pretty chocolate brown. Comfy and warm!!!

3. My new kitchen table and chairs. It seems odd to be so excited about something like a table that you instantly cry, but for those of you who know my house, you know it's TINY and that there are several things we have done without for a long time. One of them is kitchen chairs. My kids eat standing up, except one who gets a seat...they fight each meal over who sits, no matter what I tried...I hated it. I even bought little lap trays (as SANTA, of course) this year almost forgetting that Mom had mentioned that she might get chairs. The trays would allow them to eat where ever we allowed them and they had cup holders, for fewer spills. When I was told that the chairs and table (coming tomorrow) would be condusive for 6 of us (not the 4-seater we had) and it included 2 benches that could slide under the table when not in use (conserving space), I lost it. I was so excited I cried. My kids were confused, of course, but we tried to tell them I was crying happily. :) Of course, they looked at me as if I had green skin and had just walked off a spaceship marked with "URANUS" on the side. I was excited about the prospect of POSSIBLY getting chairs, but wasn't sure how it would work around the small table. It's so dumb, in some ways, but my inadequate table was something that nagged at me inside daily. I felt like somewhat of a failing mother who couldn't even let them sit down and eat. I know in the scheme of things, sitting or standing probably doesn't matter since they were AT LEAST eating, but at the same time, it made me feel like I couldn't teach them about table ettiquette, and that has taken it's course. Every Sunday when we go to my Dad's and Jenny's to eat we struggle with how they have to SIT to eat...they are so UN-accustomed to it that it is almost embarrassing. I can't really blame them when I haven't PROVIDED the means for them to sit...but I CAN now! It almost makes me excited to clean up the recently ignored kitchen and cook!!

4. Last night, as I started this entry (it got so late I went to bed without finishing), I felt a little tiny tap on my shoulder. Now I have mentioned on here before how sensitive and caring my oldest, Luke, is, but he floored me last night. I know deep down it was probably a diversion from having to go to sleep, that he probably had started to DRIFT back in to sleep when he realized he was about to miss those coveted night hours so he got himself up, that he had been a stinker all day at his grandma's house and didn't deserve NEAR the liberties he and his twin brothers received. Nonetheless, when I turned around, opened my mouth to say "Whoever this is had BETTER get back to bed!," and saw that twinkle in Luke's eyes as he tilted his head to the side and up, as he placed a half-smile on his groggy-sleepy looking face, as he put his hand on my hand and whispered, "Do you know how much I love you?" --- I couldn't scold him. I just choked up and said, "How much?" He started his hands out in front of his tummy, and slowly stretched them out and apart as far as they could go until he had to wrap them around behind his back in his awkward 6-year-old little way. I don't remember what I said, but I know I smiled at him, with a lump in my throat, and I hugged him until I thought he would burst or I would...then I sent him off to bed...a little more gently than I had intended to when I turned around.

5. You know how every family has their "thing" before opening presents? Some families watch football. Some play games. Some yell and scream (yikes). Some sing. My dad wanted to be sure that my boys hadn't missed the MEANING of Christmas when we were at his house on Christmas Eve after church. After lunch, he gathered us in the living room. He said that before we opened presents, he wanted to talk to Luke, Drew, Evan, and Gabriel. He began to ask them questions and talk to them about Jesus and His birth. He asked if any of them knew why we opened presents on Christmas. Without too much hesitation, Luke said, "Because we were given the greatest gift of all when Jesus was born." WHAT A RELIEF! Not only was I more proud than I ever had been of him, I knew that SOMETHING I had said or a Sunday school teacher had said had HIT HOME. The conversation continued with Luke and Dad pretty much dominating the discussion. They went through the reason the Wisemen would have given him gifts. Luke's answer? "Because Jesus is the King." It all brought tears to my eyes....and a few of the others in the room as well. It was a touching moment I hope I never forget.

6. I'm thankful for the almost 9 years (on Thursday) that I will have spent with my husband. Of course things have not always been a bed of roses. Of course things have been stressful. Of course things have caused heartache. Of course. That's what marriage is about. We've been together for 11 years. And although I have not been the dewey-eyed blushing bride or the sickly sweet all-gooey-inside girl he married every single day of my life, I still love him more than anything. He still can make my heart leap by just looking at me with that grin. He still can make me laugh more than anyone else I know. We're not the same people we were 9 years ago. 4 kids and 9 years will do that to you alone, and I can say that besides those factors, I am definitely stronger than I once was with God and as an individual in other ways. Despite that, I am clinging to the hope of spending 90 more years with him. I hope he sees how much I love him. I hope he sees that I melt each time he tells me he loves me. I hope he sees that no matter how life alters my circumstances and my emotions because of those circumstances, I will always love him at the end of the day. 9 years ago if you would have told me tonight I would be sitting here while my 4 kids (including TWINS and NO GIRLS) dreamed of monkeys and dinosaurs, as they often do, and that I would be finding that I love working for my church, and that I was an ELEMENTARY music teacher instead of a high school music teacher, and that I was still madly in love with Chad...the ONLY thing I would have predicted was the part about loving my husband. I probably would have committed you to the loony bin for suggesting that I would live this lfe!!! I may not show it the way I should all the time, but my BIGGEST prayer and goal in my life is to be a good wife, a GODLY wife, and a nurturing, Christian mommy.

There are so many things I could thank You for, Father. There are so many things I am blessed by. Your loving kindness is better than life. Please help me to make it evident that ALL I do is about You, Lord. Show me the ways to be a loving, successful wife and mommy for the man and little men in my life. I want to be just like You, God: merciful, gracious, fair, loving, self-controlled, patient, peaceful and content, pure and blameless. Forgive me for the times I have failed Chad and for the times I have failed Luke, Drew, Evan, and Gabriel. Forgive me when I fail YOU. Lord, I am overwhelmed by your blessings. Thank You for a WONDERFUL Christmas. Thank You for allowing me to be a part of telling my kids WHY we had a Christmas. God, help me to be the wife and the mom You have called me to be.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I am tired. It's official.
Tired of wrapping presents, getting presents, trying to be cheerful, trying to fix things that I can't fix....
I'm ready for renewal....of so many things.
I have been broken down, broken down, broken down...and despite the 3gifts blog entry a few minutes ago, I don't feel very fortunate, I don't feel excited. I'm finding it hard to feel at this moment. That will change in about 2.5, though, 'cause I'm me...
Besides all of this, I'm just tired.

I can't find one of the Christmas presents I bought. My house ate it. I'm frustrated by that. And that is like the least of all my worries, yet, it's so huge and yet so little.

How long do you hold on to something that may have already drifted away? How long can you tread water before being swallowed up by it all? How long do you fight?

I'm tired...tired of holding, treading, fighting, feeling, pretending.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Drew and Evan

Drew and Evan's Christmas program for their preschool was last night, and I could barely hear them, but they were CUTE CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATORS! (That was their part! :) ) Drew is in the maroon shirt and Evan is wearing the striped sweater.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

drugs are good...

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS that is. If it tells you anything, I don't remember Friday afternoon. The doctor hooked this busy mommy up! Unfortunately, it makes me pretty loopy any other time.....that's not good. MY piano playing for worship band was not the best today, but the communion music was pretty good. I played "I Wonder as I Wander." IT's one of my favorites. It has such great lyrics, and I think of my mom when I hear it. She must have sung it when I was young. The melody is so haunting. It's simple and effective for that use. I liked it.

Anyway, Luke, Drew, and Evan sang this morning at church. Since my digital camera was stolen a while back, I don't have pictures, but I took some with my Dad and Jenny's camera. When I get them, I will post them. I even took a video, and if I can figure out how to post it, I will. It was cute! They were adorable, of course.

I know it is hard to see them, but Evan is in green, Drew is in maroon, and Luke is in light blue. They are standing behind the two soloists.

Also, had the opportunity to get with Audrey last night! It's good to catch up. It was a fun night with home cooked food, OREO BALLS (Email me for that recipe!!!), and gifts! Thanks to Audrey for a fun evening!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

And now back to our program already in progress

1. I have had a fever since Monday. I feel better but it lingers.

2. My washer flooded our kitchen AGAIN. The grand total is 6 times. I have been pushed around, ignored, lied to, overlooked by Best Buy. Shout it from the rooftops! Doesn't matter if you buy the repair policy....their service stinks. Maybe more on this later. Suffice it to say that I'm looking at a minimum of 2 weeks without using my brand new brand new $1000 machine.

3. I have missed either a partial or full day of school every day this week. I'm beginning to think I may not be welcomed back. I have missed all the parties that I planned on the Christmas committee. I will miss the gift giving when I was in charge of one very special gift, probably one that will bring tears. I'm bummed about it....but I'll live.

4. Christmas is coming and I have not gotten all of the people bought for, and the illness is setting me back.

5. I ache all over.

6. Gabriel had shots on Tuesday and has another round on Jan. 23. He screamed really loud for one really long burst, but that was about it. I think everyone within a block had to have heard it.

7. I'm ready to see my family members traveling in for Christmas in a HUMONGO way! I don't know if it is the fever talking or what, but sometimes you just miss your mom....and of course, I miss Todd and Micah! :) They won't believe how big my boys are getting.

8. Luke wrote me this note yesterday, all by himself, obviously:
Dear Mome (pronounced "Mommy"), I hpope (hope) you r felwlng (feeling) goud (good). Love, Luke. I LOVE IT. It was accompanied by 27 cents. He's getting so big.

9. I'm ready to go lay down now....I've been up a lot more than yesterday and I am exhausted.

10. Please pray that I can get back to the norm soon. Chad has been Mom and Dad the past few days, and I think everyone is ready to go back to routine. He's done a great job and hasn't complained once, and I appreciate it!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ferie retribuite, part 2

Well, those of you who have expressed concern over my post (2 posts ago), most of everything is taken care of. The account has been credited all of the Italian expenses and all of the fees that happened as a result of the drained account. That's a definite load off my mind. The only residual effects lingering now is that we are debit card-less. Have you lived without one of those for a while? I didn't realize how dependent I was on it until it was gone. It will probably be 2 weeks before the new one arrives, so all the accounts that automatically get paid each mongh using those numbers will have to be updated and called to say "This is why you didn't get your money and the card denied payment..." Boy, is that fun! :)

I can't complain too much, though. God came through. I have a few extra things to do now around the already hectic Holiday season, but it could always be worse, I suppose.

Thanks for the prayers. Although I'm not out of the woods on ALL of it, at least that small part has been taken care of.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Alternative to Myspace

So, some of you may have seen or heard of or are a part of the Myspace frenzy. A friend of mine told me about the Christian alternative to Myspace called Ditty talk. It has a Bible search area, prayer requests, and pretty strict rules about your profile. I went ahead and checked it out. I hope it takes off like Myspace. What a statement it would be for the Christians of the world if those who claimed to be a Christian kept their websites as clean as God would....hmm....

Thursday, November 30, 2006

ferie retribuite

I started my day with 100 4th graders in a small room rehearsing for a concert that my heart is not in. Later, I got a phone call from my twins' speech therapist which put me in near tears...not because they were misbehaving but because poor Drew is having such a difficult time, and a lot of his trouble is because Evan won't let him fail, thus, won't let him try anything. He is trying to help Drew so much that Drew is frustrated and upset and pouty. This is becoming an ongoing pattern with my little guys, and I hate that it seems so evident that one is brighter than the other in academic ventures. We're going to have a rough row ahead of us with them, I think. I hope God will give me some answers to my parenting questions....

My day progressed with disheartening issues, like the 3rd grade sexual predator whom I had taken under my wing in a sense...he'll probably be kicked out tomorrow because he went to the girls' restroom. He had been doing so well that all of us had been informed to begin giving him SOME freedoms, and I had such faith in him. When he asked to go to the restroom, one of his other teachers (thankfully I won't be called in about it) told him he could go unescorted. Oops. Bad decision. I was beginning to think the case worker that told us it wasn't a matter of if he acted out but when he would act out was going to be proven wrong.

Among other things that have me down the past few days, I ended my day checking my online bank account. Thus, the title of my post. Click it. Go ahead. Find out what it means and come back.....I'll wait......

Yep. That's right. Ferie retribuite means "paid vacation," and I chose the Italian language because apparently I have paid for someone in this world to go on a Roman Holiday....

They have drained my account and then some, and in the mean time, I have had to contact anyone I have written a check to and ask them to hold it...embarrassing...and I have to rush home from school tomorrow (without the kids) and get to the bank and then go all the way back out to the babysitter to get the kids.

On top of that, I have to deal with a frozen debit cards, nothing...until it is resolved.

If only that was the least of the things I face...hurry up, Lord, I need You.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Okay, if you know me, you know I pretty much dig Christmas. Seriously, I love the whole thing. The presents, the season, the music, the Gift....ALL of it. But today DEFINITELY put a damper on my holiday cheer. Chad had to work, so I had the boys all day. No big deal, that's not out of the ordinary. After all, the summer is pretty much me and the troops 24/7. After lunch, I decided, "Hey, it's the day after Thanksgiving. Time to put up the ol' Tannebaum." I put on my best Christmas music, and sprinkled in a few old faves like Air Supply's "All Out Of Love," Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break," and Journey's "Open Arms." I also downloaded Avalon's new album, so I was taking this opportunity to get out the ornaments and listen to some good music.

The boys and I worked diligently getting the boxes up from the basement. Now THAT is a task, let me tell you. Nevertheless, we made it. All of it came up without blemish and I didn't even lose any of the boys down the steep stairs. All was good. We then took the next 2 hours getting the tree put together. I know that seems a little long, but have you ever done this ritual with 4 boys in toe? 2 hours later, we were all done but the shoutin' (as my dad would say). We all were cleaning up boxes and trying to get re-organized. I found one box that had about 4 or 5 more ornaments in it, so the boys and I grabbed those out. Next thing I know, CRASH!!!! I turned around and the product of my afternoon was toppled over on the fish tank. THANKFULLY, there was no damage to the fish tank....oh my word, what would I have done? However, many ornaments were in pieces and needless to say, I was a little bit frustrated. I know the boys had nothing to do with this disaster because they were with me in the other room.

I then was trying to hold up a Christmas tree, locate the reason for the fall, shoo away four boys because of broken glass, and asking for help from the ones I had shooed away because I knew that I could not hold the tree and find the problem. With all the ornaments and lights on, it was too heavy for Luke, my oldest, to hold up on his own. Drew and Evan were not able to help, so they say. Therefore it was me and Luke - the army of 2 - to face the world...well, that's what it seemed like. I looked at the clock and realized Chad could be home at any minute which gave me a couple of thoughts:

1. oh good, some help..if I hold it long enough Chad will show up.
2. oh shoot, i really wanted to have this cleaned up when he got here so he could come home to a freshly decorated Christmas house....
3. oh crap, he called a while ago and said he was going to shop after work and didn't know when he would be home.

Shortly after this, I managed to locate the problem. I don't know WHY it fell, but it fell, nonetheless. The result was (other than broken spirits and ornaments) a completely shattered base and the bottom of the pole was broken as well.

So it began. I started ripping the tree apart. I was throwing ornaments in a box Evan got for me. Evan and I were ripping out pieces of the tree, limb by limb. We took lights off as we went. It went up in 2 hours, fell down in 2 seconds, and came apart in about 2 minutes. No kidding.

We bagged up most of it and put the bigger pieces back in the box. Took it all out to the trash. Tomorrow I hope the waste department of Howard County will gather it up and haul it away.

At this point, I jumped in the shower thinking this was the only thing left that could truly calm me down. 15 minutes later, the kids and I were headed to Kokomo for a new tree. We came back with a pre-lit tree that needs no set up. It's one of those skinny-looking ones. I'm sure if you look at Dan and Angie's pictures on their blog you will find one similar, since they have like 153 trees in their house....But when I picked out the tree, I completely was NOT thinking about how to get it home. It doesn't break down. So I got to the van and thought, "Great. This is exactly what I need a tree and have to leave it in the parking lot" (not that I would have). I ended up shoving it through the middle of the van over the tops of the two back seats and up between my seat and the front passenger seat from the back hatch. Anyway, it's now 6 hours after my trip to Kokomo, but the house is decorated. I'm pleased with the top of my piano. I'm also really pleased with the ol' tannenbaum. (Can you tell I'm enjoying that word? "Tannenbaum" - it's just fun. I bet some of you use it this week and think of me....)

Some other funny points from the evening:
I was clearing off the top of my piano, where I decorated with all my breakable snowmen stuff (because I love snowmen and because Gabriel is at the age where it's all a toy to him). I wanted to dust it, and I was standing up on the bench. I asked Drew to go get me the dusting stuff. He came back with a butter knife. I'm not sure where he goes in his mind, but he is definitely one that keeps me on my toes.

After the kids got in bed, Chad was telling me about the kids watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade yesterday. I was cooking or something at this point, but I had watched it with Gabriel a little before that. (He had a good time waving to the Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, and Scooby Doo balloons.) Chad said that the kids were watching and when Hannah Montana (one of the newest characters on Disney Channel, daughter of Billy Ray Cirus and Luke's girlfriend, one of a growing list) came on the parade, they all stopped what they were doing, mouth agape and watched in silence until she was gone. When Chad noticed that, he said, "What are you doing looking at my girlfriend?" It sparked a big argument over whose girlfriend she actually was. Chad's story about it ended with him saying, "That Hannah Montana. She IS a sweet and adorable little girl." Now, "sweet" and "adorable" aren't words Chad uses often, so I turned around and just gave him this all-knowing look that I have. He said, "What? I'm not saying that in a creepy way." I didn't say anything, just kept up with the stare. He grinned, tucked his chin under, and said, "Okay, maybe I have a little crush on Hannah Montana." It may not be as funny to you as it was me, but I needed the comic relief after today's tree incident.

I'm sure my Holiday Cheer will return. I probably just need a nap.

(There you go, Jenny...was it all you hoped it would be?)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Gloomy days

I was reminded by reading through some blogs today that the weather is going to become more gloomy and gloomy until spring. Sure, we'll have occasionally sunny and crisp days once in a while, but most times, it will be like it has been lately around here. Dreary. Cold. Windy. Misty. Dark. Grey.

Then I read the blog from WhateverHeSays today, and her entry was about seeing beauty on a walk she took amidst all of that gloom of November. My first reaction was, "Man, I hate this weather, how can anyone find beauty in it?" And then I started thinking about something I haven't thought about in a long time.

I wonder if God looks down on me and my sinful life and says, "It's so dreary around there. All grey haze, no Sonshine. Everything is cold and lifeless. I can't wait until new life comes again."

God, when I am surrounded by the aftermath of my bad choices or feeling down or letting the world close in on me or get to me, deliver me from it. Help me to see the beauty in Your creation. Help me to be beautiful in Your Eyes. Forgive me when I am not.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Amazing Art

I had to get my oil changed today, and while my 3 youngest (Luke was at school) were playing at the dealership's toy table, I was flipping through a Readers Digest, and I came across this amazing artist, Guido Daniele. They were featuring him in RD, and I was thoroughly amazed by his ablity! Check these out! By clicking on this post's title, you can go to his website. (NOTICE - some of his painting on the website is BODY art, as pointed out by my friends the McEvoys - enter at your own risk...)Take a really close look, they are all painted on hands....

And then, just for amasement's sake, go here... You don't have to admit it, but I know you are all going to be rigging up lights and white sheets to try these out!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What a great weekend...

I went on a shopping trip and forgot to bring my camera. About 24 ladies or so went from my church. It was so great to get a break from life...even if for 35 was fun. I learned a LOT about some of you out there!! :) If you are reading, I promise not to let the cats out of the bags. The best part of the weekend was seeing my sister-in-law, well, technically my former sister-in-law be pampered. Imagine an entire day with friends who are there to coach you and support you and tell you how beautiful you are before re-entering the world of dating....what a boost in confidence. It was so overwhelming for the normally standing at the side (not the back), watching and supporting and serving friend that I have. I was so happy for her that I literally busted out crying in the mall. I don't even remember what store. She was looking so pretty and I was so happy for her...and so saddened that she would not be at the Christmas gatherings...I love that girl! Anyway, before it was done, we had about 4 grown women experiencing their own therapy session right there in the department store. Good memories...

The funniest point was at Kohl's in Indianapolis. One of the ladies who wears about a size itty bitty got a pink cammie that had this wrinkled, according-like look to it. I put the hanger over my head and stretched out the fabric and then squeezed in with my best according immitation. After about 12 hours of shopping, this was hysterical. We were all at that loopy point. When we were checking out, the guy working at the register said something like I needed to come back and put the lingerie back over my head and do something or other...that was a little strange... So we made enough commotion with our cackling to get noticed. Then my step-mom said I only get let out once a month (maybe twice, can't remember) and it took that many of them to watch me and keep me in control. I just answered, "I'd LOVE to get out twice a month!!!" This weekend trip was exactly what this weary mommy needed.

Today at church, I had organized (with several people's help) a Veteran's Day service. We were busting at the seams! There were tons of people there! The choir sang 3 songs, our locally famous quartet featuring Peter Heck sang a couple of songs, we had slides shows with music, the Color Guard was there (my uncle Gary was in it, and I had NO idea he would be there---it was good to see you - I know sometimes you see this), as each person left the building, they greeted and thanked all the veterans who had come to the service who lined the auditorium. I loved the whole thing. For more about my thoughts on it, see this. It was sombering, humbling, uplifting, and just an all around good service.

That's about it. (Except the fact that I can end this wonderful weekend with the last half of the piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake that I got from the Cheesecake Factory..mmmmmm!!!!)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Ok - what's up with splitting the season in half? I mean...I'm not so sure my heart can handle TWO cliff-hangers in a single season.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006



Audrey, thanks for letting me advertise your blog a little...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Carefree and joyful

The idea of being carefree and joyful has been one that I have really wanted to explore musically lately...I think it's because I feel the need to let God's joy be MY joy and to let God handle the big stuff and the small stuff...Why worry? Christians are some of the gloomiest people I know. Why is that? I think the world would be full of MORE of us if we weren't so sour...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What part of fall am I?

You Are Apple Cider
Smooth and comforting. But downright nasty when cold.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Goodbye, Eko

My heart was saddened at the passing of my favorite character last night. I hope he comes back in some ghost form of some sort as the writers of Lost have done in the past.... He was by far the most intriguing character for me. I loved the battle against flesh and spirit that he endured because it is so real...He didn't make the right decisions all the time...who among us does? He had a dirty past. Who doesn't? I actually cried.

I will miss you, Eko.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloweeners! :)

The Monize's went trick or treatin'~ and we had fun, although Daddy was a little scary.....

So, here we are....Luke was a tiger.

And this was Chad....

My busy little bee, Gabriel...cute as a button.

The buzzer (he had a stinger in back) getting ready to get in the van.

Drew was Buzz Lightyear. He kept saying "To infinfinfy and beyond!"

More of Lukester (before whiskers)

Gabriel...I just couldn't stop snapping the pictures. He was SOOOOO adorable. He would get out of the van each time and say, "a buttet" (bucket)... "a buttet." I'd give him the zebra basket for his candy, and he would thank me. "Dane du." Then after the goodies were acquired, he would get back in the van, climb in to his seat, and hand it back, "Here, Mommy." Love it! LOVE HIM!

A little better shot of Buzz Lightyear. When we were in the van en route to one of the stops in Kokomo (family), Chad was saying something to me. I probably said a sassy comment or something, you know me....and then he said I should stop because (in his best transylvanian accent), "I vill eat you." Drew (copying the accent) said, "Yeah, mommy, he vill eat you you vith hot sauce." It was the BEST!!! Drew is hilarious! (And if you knew Chad, you know hot sauce tops EVERYTHING....mashed potatoes, chili, sandwiches, vegetables....everything...)

This is a good glimpse of Evan in costume. "Towabunda, Dude" he kept saying...
The whole gang.

We have SOOOOO much candy! Think about how much you get with your two or however you have, and multiply it by 4 kids. It will be Mother's Day before it's gone...well, maybe.... :)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

I have decided it's my decision

Like many other things, I have been recently reminded of something I already knew. It's my decision, my choice whether or not to have joy. God's joy, after all, is freely offered. It's one of those things where you can be a "Glass-is-half-empty..." or "half-full" - kind of gal (or guy).

Here are some of His thoughts on the subject:

ISAIAH 12: 4 - 6 "...Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."

ISAIAH 52: 7 - 10 "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!' Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God."

JAMES 1: 2 - 4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. "

I PETER 4: 12 - 13 "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

NEHEMIAH 8:10 "...Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

PSALM 5:11 - 12 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous, you surround them with your favor as with a shield."

PSALM 16: 9 - 11 "Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

PSALM 30: 5 "For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

PSALM 98:4 "Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music"

PSALM 126:5 "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."

...and there are so many more references....just look it up.

But all of this has led me to believe that it's my job to ask for it (James 1), wait for it (Psalm 30:5), proclaim it (Psalm 98:4), and that it may not always come without trials preceeding it (Psalm 126:5).

My biggest threat to my joy? Is lonliness. My readers probably think (all 3 of you - haha), "How can a person with two jobs, a husband, and 4 kids ever feel lonely...especially when you consider the house in which she lives?" Well, it may not be clear to you, but that is probably the biggest obstacle I face for joy. I battle it almost every day. I'm reminded of the story of Elijah when he had fled for his life for fear of Jezebel. He was exhausted, he was alone, he was afraid. He even said to the angel of the Lord (my paraphrase), "I've been gung-ho for God. I've done a lot for Him and His Name. People have rejected God's word. They have destroyed the work I've done. They have killed others like me. I'm the only one left. Now they want to kill me, too." (At this point, I'm humbled thinking I have never been hunted down or run for my life and been that lonely...) The Lord's answer? Go back. Get a few others, anoint them with oil, prepare them for this work. There are 7000 there for you! 7000 who believe just like you. You're not alone.

And as a person so heavily involved in music, the book of Psalms is especially amazing to me. Psalm 41 says "...Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. But you, O Lord, have mercy on me; you raise me up...In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever." I'm never alone. I'm always with Him.

But sometimes, it doesn't feel that way. Someone once told me that Satan can't read our thoughts but can influence them. He exploits our fears.

Jesus himself felt loneliness when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. All He had asked was that His closest friends sit up and pray for Him...and they couldn't keep their eyes open.

Paul was alone. He said in 2 Tim. 4 "at my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth..."

Passages like these help me put things in perspective. It's not like anything I am doing is landing me in jail, stripping my kids and family from me, making me bear the sins of mankind, or even putting me in danger. Even though I know that, I struggle with finding joy in my daily life. I usually can give over the big things and smile through them. Don't get me wrong, I have days when it all seems insurmountable. For the most part, I can not worry. I got THAT part of Matthew down! The lillies don't have a thing on me....yeah, right!

It's finding joy in the mundane. Joy in the laundry. Joy in the organizing. Joy in the backstabbing at work. Joy in the weariness. Joy in the dishes. Joy in the taxi-driving to and from activities that are only just beginning....

I've come to the conclusion, though. It's MY choice. MY decision. No one can change it. Why do I look at it as if it's some strange thing happening? (I Peter 4) It's GOING to happen. I'm GOING to face this. The next time I am tempted to let the emotions engulf me, I pray that I can just picture Paul in jail for simply believing and proclaiming God's salvation plan, singing praises to His name.

OKAY - ONE MORE THING: Read about this boy...TODAY, when he saw me on my way out to my van after school, he ran to me, threw his arms around me and gave me a hug. When I told the librarian about it (who was waiting for her ride by the back door), she was shocked!!! I couldn't believe it!!!!! It completely made my day!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

What a Day, What a Day!

Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here are as many as blogger will let me put on....Of course, these events happened in the exact opposite choronlogical order...first two are sideways, but between all this, running to Kokomo, rehearsal at church and bleaching my entire bathroom today, I'm too beat to fix it. First three are Gabriel opening 2nd birthday presents.

The girl in the stripes is my lovely niece Sammy. (above)
Drew looking on making sure Gabriel has the proper gift-opening technique.

Gabriel Robert and Pappaw Bob....they look alike. Can you tell in this picture?? Gabriel, Pappaw Bob, and my mom's father, affectionately called Granddad. He and Grandma had just flown in from seeing mom in Montana.

Evan after birthday cake.... :)

My home-made (and thus FRUGAL) birthday cake.

Gabriel was so embarrassed after we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him that his bottom lip quivered and he started to cry...until he GOT some cake.

Before the party we raked leaves. This is Luke buried in them.

And Drew took his turn being buried...but Evan wouldn't let it happen. Didn't like the leaves on his no picture.

Luke Jacob

Evan Stanton

Chad Andrew, or "Drew"

They had a blast! At one point, they were swinging and flying off the end of the swing into the leaf pile! I was sure we would have broken appendages...but God portected...and they laughed and laughed. Drew's first attempt was REALLY ugly...

This was before the first jump....(Drew, Luke, and Evan...but you probably can't see him - he blends in...hehe)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Score, Slip, Blend

Just something God is using lately in my life to work on me...

Apparently this is a technique used in sculpting clay....I can't help but think that God has been doing this in my life recently.

1. Scoring: It's basically where you poke little tiny holes to rough up the surface on two pieces of clay that you want to adhere together. I don't claim to describe this accurately, just the best I know how based on my experiences. God's been allowing things to roughen the edges of my life for a while now...things creep in that I don't understand. Situations arise, and sometimes they don't go away for a while. Sometimes I let them get me down. But it's all part of the process...a process I desparately need.

2. Slip: This is where you use a watery mixture of clay and water to go over the roughened surfaces before pushing the two pieces of clay together. I think this comes in the form of prayer from friends and family. Listening ears of a good friend. Glimpses of God's goodness in every day things, just when you least expect it. They soothe the rough edges somehow. Give you the strength, the gumption, the tenacity to move ahead.

3. Blend: This is the last step to getting two pieces of clay prepared before the drying and firing process....and boy, do they each have their own analogies...Blending. I think God has taken those prayers and friends, pushed it together with the things that have caused heartache, stress, hurt, pain, and then He has taken His Word and His promises to blend it all together until we can see the bigger picture, the one that we may not completely understand because it has not been matured to its final state. It hasn't been dried and fired and glazed...

Maybe more on this later....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Just trying it out...

No success stories yet, but we gotta start somewhere, right?!?!
(Aunt Micah, please notice the necklace that has still never been removed....even at bathtime...)

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne, Ph. D.

Well, I am beginning a professional development workshop tomorrow at school in which we will discuss the book that shares the title of this post by Dr. Payne. I'm usually not one for research, statistics, etc...but recent observations have piqued my interest in this study.

When you grow up in a teaching family (10 teachers in the extended family and immediate family), school is VERY much a part of your life. You are expected to do well in school, you are basically blessed with an expert in every subject if needed, you probably don't HATE school as many of today's youth do. In my personal household growing up, my dad taught high school math (yay Algebra Zealots across the nation) and held a principal's license along with his master's degree. My mom held a variety of positions in the education world including classroom teacher, principal, college professor, and now she is an administrator in the corporation office in a large school system out west. The only thing that separates her from being called "Dr. Michelle's Mom" is basically a signature signing off on her doctorate.

Although my brother and I didn't have ALL the latest in toys and clothes, we did quite well. I do remember a particular night when my dad came in to say prayers with me as he did every night, when he was so upset that he cried by my bedside because he couldn't afford a new pair of black pattened leather shoes for church for me. I'll never forget it. I was so confused at the time. As a parent, I understand completely.

I went to college in a town where the local public high school is averaging about 20% poverty levels, but my college built a new building every year and still continues its growth. The facilities were great (with the exception of Teter...ah...remember Teter's squeaky floor boards and voice lessons upstairs?...memories...the numerous signs on the door that Prof was gone again and couldn't teach my voice lesson...hehe). Student teaching was done in this town, and I experienced a lot of different socio-economic levels with those experiences....but to be honest, I was really thinking of my upcoming wedding date when I student taught so not EVERYTHING sunk in....

Teaching at my school corporation didn't really strike me as unusual based on my experiences in my farming community, educational-saturated family. After all, when I started my teaching career I was pretty optimistic. I taughth the kids that WANTED to be there becfaues 100% of my classes were electives. For the most part, I didn't realize that there were too many economic differences between the students I taught. In those rose-colored eyes, every student was the same, no matter what they wore, how they groomed themselves...the only thing that mattered to me was their commitment to singing and their vocal quality (aside from those relationships I cultivated because I wanted to be their friend, too).

It wasn't until I decided the elementary music classroom would be easier on my busy, large family that I really noticed the profound difference between some kids...and some classrooms. It seemd as if some classes were full of those less fortunate. Then all of a sudden I became all to familiar with the "free and reduced lunch" label. This phrase kept popping up in the teacher's lounge, the faculty meetings, the research and goal writing. I began to take notice of the profound difference between students who looked like I would have at that age and those who didn't.

Then one day, I was conducting what I thought to be riveting lesson complete with instrumetns, listening activities, singing, dancing, had it all! And the flow was great, and the correlation between activities and the standards being taught was impeccable, if I do say so myself. Yet off to the right side of my room, there he was, ASLEEP! I couldn't believe he could nod off with the drums and Orff instruments clamoring beside him. Of course, I did what any self-respecting, well-prepared teacher who was impressed with her excellent planning would do. I asked why he was sleeping in my class. The fourth grader replied that he was out really late the night before because his parents had taken him grocery shopping. I said, "When did you get home?" He answered that it was somewhere around 1 AM. Shocked and appalled that any responsible parent would have their children out so late to do something like grocery shopping, I asked why on earth they would have gone in the middle of the night like that. I should have dropped it. I should have left it alone. I should have reported it to his teacher or counsellor. What was I thinking? His answer changed my views on teaching altogether.

He put his head down and quietly said, "Because that's when the grocery stores throw out their old meat and there is one that leaves it on clean cardboard for my dad to get every week."

Thus, my enrollment in this workshop a year later.

Chad and I are definitely not rich. We struggle more than most in our town, I would say. When you have 4 kids and they all need diapers/pull ups or they are all in some kind of child care during the day, and when half of a paycheck pays the sitter, you're bound to struggle. And although we have been close to running out of food, God provides. We have had our electricity turned off, our heat, our water, our phones....we've done without...but never for more than 2 days at a time (well, with the exception of the phone).

We're in a particularly rough time right now, and it has been really easy for me to look at God and honestly, openly, and emotionally express my raw emotions. Why do we struggle like tihs? Don't we serve? Don't we work hard? I have two jobs, for goodness' sake! I'm tired of my boys sharing a tiny room and not having places for our clothes in our drawers and the one closet that we have. I'm tired of this...I'm sick of that... And then, God's perfectly timed finger taps me on the shoulder and I turn around to face Him and realize:

Things could always be worse. My kids could lack role models, Christian role models. My kids could have to learn to defend themselves on the streets to establish their turf. I could feel like my only option was to steal or cheat. I could feel like my only option was to...well, let's just say they could always be worse. And for Kyle and Daniel and Joe and Brittany and Jack and Dylan and...things are.

God, thank You for the opportunity to be reminded of Your provision, Your blessings. Forgive me when I lose sight of reality and the way You always answer prayers. God, make me an instrument that helps these children as long as I come in contact with them. Help me not to turn away. Show me what I can offer them...even if it isn't financial. Continue to help my family and provide for us. I am amazed by Your grace and mercy. I'm humbled by Your love and generosity. Amen.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Frquent Flier Miles on the toilet

No this isn't one of those games where you take a phrase (or a hymn title) and add "on the toilet" just to make you laugh....

I can say that Gabriel has officially entered the world of potty-training. He knows when he is wet or dirty, he comes and tells me with diaper in hand. It's the first day of many, but I put him on the seat. He is not thrilled, even with the small cheering section crowded in our tiny bathroom beside him. I'm sure I'll keep you updated! :)

As of today: 0 potties on the toilet....but we're at least showing up. That's half the battle.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Seriously, this has to be the most amazing video footage out there....check it out! Every music lover (or even enjoyer) will like this.


(I wanted to post this actual footage, but I couldn't figure it out. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated....)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I henceforth request that thou peruse upon my prose

I sat on the couch beside my husband tonight. My 2nd son, Drew, was quietly bathing in the bathroom. Luke and Evan were already finished with their baths. Gabriel was waiting. I realized Drew had been in there for long enough when I looked at Evan and said, "Evan, go tell your brother that I said it was time to get out of the bathtub." He started off quickly, when Chad called him back, and said, "No, Evan, tell him 'Dearest brother, our mother requests that you remove yourself from the bathing facilities.'"

As Evan began to scurry again, Chad stopped him once more and asked, "Now what are you going to say to Drew?"

Evan smiled and said, "I'm donna (gonna) tell him Mommy says to det (get) out of the baff (bath)." He ran off. Chad and I burst in to laughter again.

Maybe this is one of those you-had-to-be-theres, but to us, it was a highlight of our evening....just one of the many.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The ride home

Today, I picked up Luke like I do every day from my dad's and Jenny's house. It was obvious that either they had been involved in an age discussion or at the very least, Luke had been thinking. (If this came strictly from his logic, I believe we have a gifted child...for a kindergarten student...) He got in the van and announced, "When Gabriel goes to Kindergarten, I will be 10." I praised him for his math skills, assuming that the discussion had started at my dad's. He then went through the rest of the family and how old they would be when Gabriel reached that magical Kindergarten age, stopping with me. He paused and asked, "Mommy how many will you be when Gabriel is 6." I answered, "34." His first reaction was an incredulous "WHOOOOOAAAA!" He quickly recovered and with as much compassion and sincerity as he could muster, he offered, "Don't worry, Mommy, I'll still love you."

He didn't quite understand my burst of laughter....

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Be thankful...(*editted*)

Today, I held my nephew, Oryn Anthony, for the first and last time. Although this is not a picture of Oryn, it is a picture of a baby about the same age. Oryn was born alive with a heart beat. It was all so surreal. Oryn was about 16 weeks old. I just keep thinking if he could have hung in there for another 4 - 6 weeks or so, MAYBE he could have had a fighting chance....

I don't understand it all, but I know God had a purpose in all of this. I pray that my brother-in-law will learn to trust Jesus with his whole life.

I can't begin to imagine what they must feel right now. I am SOOO thankful for my little ones. This experience has given a whole new meaning to the times when someone has said to me, "Thank God they are healthy..." or something along the lines of that when I was disappointed with yet another boy...(who has turned out to be a joy - not a disappointment at all!)

Someday, when I get to Heaven, Oryn will greet me with a smile. It was nice to know that he left this world in the hands of his mommy, daddy, and grandma and was directly delivered to Jesus'.

I wish those crazy, misguided people who are pro-choice could have been there and seen that Oryn had a mouth, ears, 10 fingers and 10 toes, ribs, and so much more. I have never been more convinced that there is only one God, one Creator, one Savior. And I have never been more convinced that pro-life is the ONLY way to go. I will NEVER be able to support any type of abortion, for any reason, whatsoever. When I was pregnant for all of mine, I have always gone in to labor telling Chad that no matter what, the baby's life MUST come first. I'm more convinced than ever.

Despite my conviction, I know there was a reason that little Oryn's body was rejected and there was a reason the first time his mommy dressed him was for his funeral and there was a reason they held him until his heart stopped beating. I just pray that God will bless them and use this time in their lives to show them that He is the only thing that they need. I pray that they come to have a saving relationship with Christ. I pray that this will not harvest a bitterness in them that cannot be calmed or a rage that cannot find peace. I don't believe Chad's brother and his girlfriend are saved. I believe that they believe in God because they asked everyone they knew to be in prayer for Oryn. It shows that they recognize a higher power....but I don't think they KNOW the Higher Power. Maybe that was Oryn's purpose all along...

On a side note...

I have created a new blog that I will use to focus on the positive things in my life. It's listed as the first link over to the right or you can click here.

CLICK HERE for proof of the One Creator.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Early Retirement

So, yesterday was my father-in-law's last day of a 30-year stint at Delphi in Kokomo. He got a badge holder, and they took away his WHAT is the point of the badge holder? Anyway, it's gotten me thinking. He said tonight that going through it seemed so long, but now that it is over, it seems like just yesterday when he began. I can see that the more I get older. In 7th grade, the school year lasted forever. Now I can blink and it's Christmas again. Then I get my Christmas props put away, and it's time to pack up for the summer. Every Sunday night, I think, "I just don't even want to go back..." I know I would miss the kids and I would miss a few colleagues, but for the most part, I could handle it. I used to say that I could NEVER be a stay-at-home mom because it would drive me up the wall. I have to admit, though, it's starting to look better and better. I wish I had a gob with some flexibility, where I could set my own hours, make time for my kids - to go on a field trip, take them to school and not send them off for someone else to do that, pick them up for school and be able to be the FIRST one to ask them how their days were, not have to leave for work before the sun has even begun to wipe the sleep from its eyes....I really think what is best for me is a job with flexibility. I want so badly to be full time at the church. I never would have thought that in college or in high school. When I was asked, I wanted to teach high school choir. That was always my thought. Never second-guessed it. Now that I really cannot do that because of my family life, the one thing that gives me the greatest joy is working in the music ministry at my church. I know I can't quit my teaching job, or I would certainly by dooming my family for bankrupcy within about 2 months.

I just don't want to look back at the end of 30 years and with my badge holder and say, "I wish I could have done more with my kids and been more active with them" or "It went by so quickly....I should have been able to do this or do that...for Chad or for the boys..."

With the way the schools are headed in Indiana, I don't see that I could stay sane and do this for another 20+ years.

Sunday night, I'll go to bed thinking I'd rather be able to wake up with my boys in the morning and get them a nice breakfast and clean the house and take my own kids to school and...and Friday afternoon, I'll say, "Is it Friday ALREADY?"

So anyway, I think I want to retire from teaching early...say like 20 years early. I really hope God opens the doors for me to be able to do that. I used to think I needed to do that to fulfill what I NEEDED to be. Now I think I need to do things that will allow me to be a part of what my family NEEDS to be instead. I'm not so sure that working for a public school is it. I know I have to make money. It's just a little discouraging when 1/2 of the income goes DIRECTLY to makes me feel like maybe we COULD do it if I didn't work...I mean, after all 1/2 is out the door from the beginning.

I know this was rambling on and very unorganized in is just something that has been weighing heavily on me for about 6 or 7 months.

God, give me Your direction. Open doors that are okay for me to walk through. Help me not to lose sight of Your will for me and my family. If I have already, please show me that I am wrong to feel this way. God, I need to feel secure, and I need to know that I am doing what is best for my little guys. Show me the way. Show me how to juggle everything in my current situation and not drop the ball for them. I want to know You more. Renew my passion for teaching, if that is where You want me to be. Thank You for Your faithfulness. God, I love You. Amen.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Happy Halloween!!!

I know it's wrong, but sometimes I just can't help but pass these along...Can you imagine actually DOING that to yourself??!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Kids say the darnedest things...and back talk

On the way to the babysitter's this morning, Drew and Evan started singing songs they are learning in preschool. After their songlist was nearly expired, they busted out a hardy version of The Pledge of Allegiance with gusto. Drew's version goes like this:

I pledge to Regis to the flag United States Amerita from which it stands under God, indibisitor with justice all.

We don't even watch Regis! :) Promise!

Evan's version goes like this:

I pledge allegiance to the flag United States to Amerita, and to the rebulic which it stands under indisible and livety, justice for all.

I love it....

A prayer request for you: Chad has been having some severe back pain for months, and this week, he has been unable to stand straight or sit straight in a chair. After the initial doctor's visit and xrays, they called him today to tell him he has 1. Arthritis 2. Degenerative Disk Disease 3. Disk Narrowing. The options at this point, according to the first doctor are 1. Back surgery 2. a series of shots in the spine for therapy.

None of these are good news. He is supposed to see a specialist next and go from there. Please pray that there is something else they can do INSTEAD or that it will go away, miraculously!

As a side note: we paid off all medical bills Monday. (Very funny, God!)

Monday, September 25, 2006

My celeb look-alikes

Whew! I'm SURE glad Chubaka wasn't on there....although I'm a little baffled by Florence Henderson! Maybe it's because I am close to having a Brady Bunch of my own....

Thank you, Auds, for the little bit 'o' fun tonight!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Warning to 1st graders around the world...

You've heard the old "If you don't stop making your face like that, it's going to stick that way..." Well, here's a variation for you.... Beware 1st graders around the world!

Bully Update 2 after the kicking in the face incident, I called the teacher. It must have been Wednesday morning. Luke's teacher said I wasn't the first parent to call about this child. I assured her that I would not be one of "those" parents that called about everything because, as a teacher, I know she can't see everything at one time...

Well, on Wednesday night, my sister-in-law asked if anything new had happened. I explained briefly and in "code" because all the kids were around... :) (You know that adult code we use...) She said, "Just to warn you, my kids invited those two kids (meaning the bully and the brother) to church tonight." I told her I'd be fine. I'm a teacher. I see this all the time, right?

So it gets time for worship and we are waiting on the sound man and powerpoint guy to finish tweaking. We have about 2 minutes, so I walked off the stage and up the child to cover their eyes with my hands. I whispered down next to the right ear, "Hello, do you know who this is?" The child froze. All the other kids at the table knew what was going on. They knew Luke had trouble at school. Luke was grinning from ear to ear! I uncovered the eyes and leaned down around so that I could be seen. I whispered, "I know what you have done at school during recess to Luke. Don't you think it is a little mean? (shakes head yes) Do you think you could be a big kid since you are now in kindergarten and treat Luke like Jesus treats him? (shakes head yes again) I would be sooooo proud of you if you did that." That's all I said. I stood upright, looked at the kids at the table and made some general comment like, "You guys ready to sing? I picked some songs I'm going to need you to sing REALLY loud on because I know you know them and not everyone in here does. Can you help me with that?" blah blah blah...

Then I patted the bully on the back and said, "I'm so glad you came tonight." Inside, I was screaming, "LEAVE MY LUKE ALONE! HE'S TWICE YOUR SIZE AND COULD KNOCK YOU FLAT ON YOUR BUTT! HE PRACTICES ON HIS BROTHERS EVERY DAY!" But I practiced a little of that self-control that Luke has shown me through this.

Two days later, I'm happy to report Luke has had no incidents at recess. Thank You, God! I'm sure this is the first of many times I will want to spank someone else's kids.... HA!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

at the end

At the end of the day when they are tucked in bed
Will they remember the words I said?
Will they be responsible little boys
And remember to pick up all their toys?

Will they distinguish between right and wrong
While that bully at school stands so strong?
Will they be able to stand up and fight?
To make it their goal to use His might?

At the end, will God say "Well done?"
Will He see me from afar, smile, and run?
Have I taught them well, have I done my part
To make them men after Your own heart?

When he drives away for the very first time,
When he gives her that ring with the luster and shine,
When he must make a choice between heaven or hell
Will he focus on victories or the times when he fell?

And at the end of my time when I walk the line...

Will I distinguish between right and wrong
While that temptation I face stands so strong?
Will I be able to stand up and fight?
To make it my goal to use His might?

At the end, will God say "Well done?"
Will He see me from afar, smile, and run?
Have I taught them well, have I done my part?
To make them men after Your own heart.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bully update

My son's bully kicked him in the face today. No marks or bruises or scratches, but mommy has sat by long enough. Tomorrow I am going to call the teacher....calmly. I know she can't see everything all the time. I sure can't....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Time for the random....

So...I think it is time for some random thoughts about the life of a Monize....

1. My dog barks for no reason. What is it about them that makes them bark when no one is at the door, no one is outside walking, no one is around at all? They can awaken from a dead sleep and bark their fool heads off...just to make you crazy.

2. My mom is a great person. She comes from great people. As far as parents and grandparents go, I come from some pretty good ones, if I do say so myself. If there was ever a time I just needed to talk to my mommy :) - today was it, and it was nice.

3. Can 30 year olds still say "mommy" and not look pathetic?

4. Israel Houghton and New Breed is my new favorite worship experience. I love it. Thank you to the great folks in Maryland for opening my eyes. I can't get enough....

5. I love working for my church. I think aside from being a part of my children's laughter, it is the greatest thing I have ever done. Even when it's a struggle and people frustrate you, and even when I feel inadequate or frustrated, it is the single-most amazing thing I have ever had the privilege to be a part of.

6. If you ever have a birthday party at Hacienda, I HIGHLY recommend the birthday cake. It's a chocolate mousse/cake/thing...whatever it was, it was YUMMY.

7. I love Lori. She's like one of the best friends ever. I wish she was around here....I like the way she always makes me feel like I have not been forgotten.

8. As far as service departments go, I cannot -with good conscience - recommend Best Buy. Sorry....HOWEVER, their technician, George - a balding, pushing-50, jolly man - is one the nicest and sincere people I have met...the people on the phone??? I could do without.

9. Sitting alone in the dark sounds creepy...but it is truly therapeutic.

10. My favorite book of the Bible is probably Proverbs or Psalms. It's a toss-up.

11. Grey's Anatomy season premiere is Thursday...that will be nice. Lost is coming soon! That will be fantastic.

12. I think my favorite superhero is Batman. Me and Drew are two peas in a pod.

13. Gabriel is pleasant. He's happy. He's goofy. He's wonderful. He's a great gift. Who knew that a pregnancy that was met with so much worry and anxiety could bring such a beautiful and wonderful little boy? He was appropriately named.

14. Luke is so tender. He is being bullied by a classmate at kindergarten, and when I ask him why he doesn't ask the classmate to stop pulling his pants down and kicking him between the legs and calling him a "doofus," he says it's because he doesn't want to be mean....he just walks away. I think I could learn from his self-control.

15. Evan is non-stop. That's really all I can say about this season in his life. It's not as if he is overactive. He's just non-stop. Well, his MOUTH is...he talks constantly. And if there is nothing to say, he starts repeating what others around him are saying...just to be saying something. Here comes the ol' "X-in-the-'refrains-from-needless-talking'-box" - he's a chip off the ol' me.

16. Chad's a good daddy. He has found a lot of ways to spend time with his boys this summer, and I have been impressed with his new-found patience.

17. Gabriel is not asleep. He's been in his bed quietly listening to Israel Houghton with me from his room...every once in a while, I hear him try to mimic the song or coo something. It's been more than an hour.

18. Some really cool lyrics, you ask? I just so happen to be listening to a very cool you go...

I'm not a man/ I cannot lie/ I know the plans for your life/ I'm asking you to dream again/ To believe again and take the limits off of Me/ I'm not a man/ I cannot lie/ I know the plans/ They're My design/ I'm asking you to hope again/ And trust again and take the limits off of Me/ All I'm asking is take the limits off/ Take the limits off/ Release Me to accomplish what I promised to do/ Take the limits off/ Take the limits off/ No limits/ No boundaries/ I see increase all around me/ Stretch forth break forth/ Release me/ Enlarge my territory/ Ask for rain it's time for rain/ Ask for favor/ My favor is falling....

19. Is there anything too difficult for the Lord? You will have increase...that job is not too hard, that building is not too hard, that promise that God gave you years ago is not too hard. What God promsed? It's mine. What God said? It's mine. This is the season of increase....It's a new day!

Luke with Kindergarten Buddy!

This is Luke and his friend, Zach. Zach goes to kindergarten with Luke and church with us. Zach's family was with us on the camping trip over Labor Day weekend.

Friday, September 15, 2006

reality check

One of my little 2nd graders came up to me a few minutes ago and said, "Mrs. Montize," (he says it wrong...has been ever since 1st grade) "I am doing my very best today." I said, "I know you have, Sweetheart. I can tell. You have been paying attention and following directions. I am proud of you." He answered with, "Yeah. You know why? My mom is coming home tonight!" Completely unaware, I said, "That's great! Where has she been?" I was expecting an answer like a business trip or grandma's house or maybe even the hospital....but I got this: Dylan put his eyes down and said really softly, "Prison."

Instant reality check and lump in my throat.

As cheerfully as I could, I said, "Oh honey, that is wonderful. I bet you are really happy! She's going to be so proud of you when you tell her that you were so good in music today." He then proceeded to tell me that she had been gone since (are you ready for this???) his 7th birthday. She was actually put there ON his birthday.

Upon further investigation, I found out that last school year, his dad was in prison as well...but he is home now.

My heart breaks for these little ones.

Their kitchen floor may be soggy (see previous post), but their father and I are still living with them and married and they have clothes and food and a church family and fantastic grandparents/ kids are fortunate...even living in a tiny bedroom that doesn't hold all their toys and clothes...even without a big backyard to play in...

Thank You, God, for my current situation...that my children are well-dressed and well-fed, and that I can be with them.


I was gone yesterday from school because of the washer ordeal and stuff, today I found out after school that one of the teachers that works here with me delivered her baby about 4 months early, and he was stillborn.

Father, forgive me when I am ungrateful.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Go to Lowe's

Well, the neverending saga of misfortune is still running full gear at the Monize Homestead.

Our washer and dryer are brand new, as of Feb. 24, 2006. I know this date because it has been told to me so many times in the past 2 weeks, it's ridiculous. It was a week ago on Monday night that I was doing my evening ritual of laundry. With six people in a house, it is very important that I do at least two loads a day to keep up. I usually do one load in the morning and one load in the evening. As we were getting ready to wind down the evening, we noticed the flood of water from the washer in the kitchen. We got all the mess that we could, and I said that the following day (Tuesday), I would call Best Buy. After all, the washer IS under warranty. When I called I was slightly disappointed that they said the soonest they could have it serviced was last Saturday. That meant 5 days without being able to do you can see, that was about 10 loads I would be behind. Besides the fact that we would be swimming in dirty towells and other clothes, I was very upset that I could not get the carpet cleaned in that room until after Saturday.

We managed, and on Saturday, the technician called when he said he would, he showed up 15 minutes early. Things were going ok. He watched it run without clothes, and there wasn't a single drop of water. So, he laid on my wet floor with the front panel off the bottom of the washer and watched a load of clothes from beginning to end. No drips anywhere. He decided after looking at my detergent that it was because I was using a cap full of detergent. (Heaven forbid! Apparently the cap is for aesthetics only, because when you have a high effeciency washing machine, you really only need 1/2 a cap. And in my case, since I have All 3X Concentrated, I was instructed to use just 1/3 of the cap.) So all was well, and he went on his way at no cost to me.

I started catching up on the loads and loads of dirty clothes. It was about 1 PM. At 8 PM, Chad walked through the kitchen, that I have since dubbed Best Buy Creek. It had leaked again, and so I immediately called Best Buy. They said there was no way they could have any technician to my house until today, Thursday. UGH! 5 more days!!!!!! With what I had done that day, that means I would be approximately 12 - 13 loads of laundry behind AGAIN!!! I was NOT happy, but what could I do?

That night, while Chad and I laid in bed, I heard something, and thought it sounded like water running. I asked Chad if he had turned on the washer before he went to bed. I was amazed that he would after all this...he answered that he hadn't. I walked out, and there were suds all over the room. The creek was on the rise! I was very upset. Not only was the floor getting soaked for a third time, I could NOT get the washer to stop, turn off, or the door to open!! It was possessed. Chad unplugged it, but that locked the door with the clothes that were still in it from the first flood - I guess I had forgotten about them. So the next morning, I cautiously plugged it back in and got the door unlocked. Those clothes are now dry. So much for the too-much-detergent theory.

Now it was Sunday, and I was kind of out of luck. We were getting ready for church, and after I showered, Chad jumped in. When we were done, I was in front of the mirror or something and Chad asked what that was by the toilet, had the kids spilled a drink? No. They hadn't had breakfast or any red drink for a long time. Red drinks are evil. Well, their staining power is...It literally looked like something of blood's consistency and COLOR was oozing from the base of the toilet. Remember from the previous posts that EVERYTHING in there is brand new!!!! This has since happened one more time, and we don't know what it is...but it REALLY does look like a horror movie is happening in there...back to the washer.

Well, as unhappy as I was, I took today off work and waited. The technician was supposed to call between 7 and 9 AM. No call. I called in. He was supposed to call back. There was some kind of note in the system that he may not be able to keep the appointment, but they would get to the bottom of it and call me back. 3 PM. No call back. I called...I was furious. I had taken a day off work. Now they were saying they didn't know where the technician was and that they weren't sure he could make it at all but that he had an opening on SATURDAY!!! I told them I wasn't changing my plans again because of their irresponsibility and lack of communication. In the mean time, my kitchen floor is not fixed and we PROBABLY will have water damage. We are getting a $100 gift card from Best Buy, but that is a drop in the bucket if the kitchen floor rots out...not to mention the smell of mildew and mold in the house. Safe, huh? I am so angry with Best Buy right now.

My advice? Go to Lowe's. In the mean time, I am borrowing several people's washers and dryers tonight to try to get some stuff done. Well...there was the buzzer. Time to start another load.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Today I went to pick up the kids from the babysitter's after school, and when I got there, all three of my youngest and one other little girl were completely enthralled with something on the porch. They didn't notice me pull up the 1/4 mile drive way, didn't hear me jammin' to Israel Houghton, didn't hear me get out of the car or walk I just listened to them talk for a while. Isn't it great to listen in on childhood conversations when they don't know you are there...especially while they are so innocent? So it went kind of like this:

Gabriel: Touches something I can't see on the side of the porch. Squeals in delight after drawing his finger back really quickly.
Evan: It's soft! And fuzzy!
Drew: This one is a bid (big) one. He's orange. I love him.
Evan: Yeah, this one is bidder (bigger) than the baby one over there.
Delaney (the little girl at the sitter's): Let me touch him again!
Gabriel: Touches it again and turns and grins at Evan with a huge cheesy smile.
Evan: When my mommy dets (gets) here, I am dowing (going) to ast (ask) her if I tan (can) teep (keep) him.
Drew: Yeah! My want to teep him, too!
Gabriel: Tapilwa! Squeal
Delaney sees me, and shows Evan.
Evan: MOMMY!! Tan we teep him??? PLEASE?!?!
Drew: Yeah! Mom! Pwease?
Gabriel: MOMMY!!

When Gabriel called out for me, he got up, and I could see that all this excitement and wonder had been over a very fuzzy orange catepillar...who was really booking it to escape them. After explaining that the catepillar needed to live outside because that's where his food was, etc, I told them it was time to go get in the van. Realizing that Delaney would still be left behind on the porch, as we began to walk away Drew turned back around and said:

Drew: Laney, tan (can) you tate (take) tare (care) of my tatepillar when I am gone, please?

There was something so innocent and sweet about his question. Kids. They are so great. After Delaney said she would, Evan turned back around and ran back to her, because at this point we had gotten 2/3 the way to the van. He hugged her and said, "Thank you!" I love it....I wish I could bottle up that innocence and "teep" it forever.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Time for a picture update!!!!!

This was at Luke, Drew, and Evan's birthday party. Their friend, Taylor, is behind Luke. Notice they are sporting their alter egos on their shirts. When they play, they use superhero names. If you ask them ANYTHING about what they want for gifts or how they are going to play, the answers are ALWAYS about these 3 superheroes!

Luke's first day of Kindergarten. You can feel the excitement, can't ya!!??

For his birthday, Luke wanted a guitar, and Daddy had to oblige! :) Luke can already play a few chords, like E and A...and if you know ANYTHING about guitar playing, what else do you need besides E and A??? :)

This is Gabriel with his "security banana." By the time he dinally gave up on it, it was definitely dirty and blackened. He curled up with it and fell asleep!

Our picnic table.

More "security banana."

Our tent. The front has a "screened-in" area. There are two rooms in the back.

This was one Sunday on the way to church. Drew is the twin leaning up. Evan is in yellow. Gabriel in white and Luke in orange.

They are pretty cute, if I do say so myself!