Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I have a few quiet moments this morning. The last few, I'm sure, until after Thanksgiving festivities and the trip to pick up my big kids.

It occurs to me that Thanksgiving is the perfect kickoff to the holiday season. Who is there to thank but God? The day of thanksgiving to Him kind of calls my attention to His work in my life and begins a time of reflection upon what He has done for us all by sending His son, the birth we celebrate at Christmas.

So this year, I'm determined to see Thanksgiving as simply the beginning of a season of celebrating God's blessings to me. Our Thanksgiving day will be full of commotion, food, laughter, noise, and fun...and of course Saints football. And I will celebrate the way God has lavished me with wonderful people, beautiful babies, happy moments, an amazing family, and so much more. I'll kick it off on Thanksgiving day with a bang and continue to celebrate throughout the holidays.

I have so much joy, how can it all be properly celebrated in one day alone, or even two? It deserves a month or more, and so it will be.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Letting Go

After a lot of thought and consideration, the choice was made to open my hands and open my heart and let it go. As of now, I no longer play keys at Riverside. I've learned so much there. I've learned that real love is possible, grace is for all of us, and that sometimes God's people DO come through. I've also learned that sometimes it's just plain time to let go. I'm learning that sometimes it's just plain ok to let go and walk away, regardless of what people think or whether the true situation will come to light or whether everyone will know my side of the story. Not always, mind you. There are times and places to stand firm no matter what may come. But there are times when the best thing for all involved is to release things before they become a total heartbreak. I let go of wanting everyone to think I'm right.

I let go of something today. It's something that was once precious to me, and I've long wrestled with the guilt of not enjoying it as much as I once did. I've long wondered what's wrong with me and what to do about it. It's grown into one big sticky emotional tangle in my life. And today I let it go. No more trying to untangle the strings. No more trying to make myself fit in a place where I don't fit anymore. I let go of my need to fit in.

I had a LOT to say about it. I had plenty of feelings to express. I wrote them in a long email and then deleted the whole thing. I realized that voicing my feelings would not bring a result and it would be more painful to communicate those feelings and then realize... nobody cared, than it would be to leave them unsaid. So I let go of what I had to say. And it's interesting how those negative feelings didn't really see the need to stick around once I let go of them.

And so I say only a fond farewell to my Riverside family. To those of you who know me, you know it's also a farewell to the last bit of a tattered and torn security blanket of all I once knew and believed about following God. I let go of my need for other people to approve of the way I worship. Perhaps now I'm ready to really worship for the first time in a long time.

Now I'm following God to entirely new places and it's good. He's taking me even further out to the edge, and, breathing freer and moving faster due to my lighter load, I'm ready.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All His

This is my Father's World
Oh let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet.

Sometimes the wrong does indeed seem so very strong. Sometimes it's easy to get so irritated by the inconsiderate people in life, especially ones I feel should know better. Sometimes it's easy to focus on the disappointments, the heartbreaks, the stresses in life. Sometimes I forget whose world this really is after all.

It's my Father's world. It's His. It' doesn't belong to the people who hurt me. It doesn't belong to the rat race and its delirium. It doesn't belong to the tragedies, the evils, the stressors. It belongs to the One who loves me and my family and gave His life to buy my freedom. It belongs to my Father... it's all His and He's going to have the final say.

That's a peaceful thought in the middle of my crazy life. Wanted to share it with you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

It's Veteran's Day, a special day at St. Francis Villa Assisted Living. It always makes me kind of emotional to think of it. I spend each day in the company of several veterans of World War II, a brave group of individuals, living historians who are fast disappearing from our country.

I wrote a little diddy for our ceremony today and thought I'd share it here too...

Hope you enjoy it, and find time to honor a veteran today.

On Veteran’s day we pause a while to think of those who died
We honor those who worked so hard, our freedom to provide
We tell the stories once again of soldiers brave and true
We think of those they left at home, the trials they went through

In times like these our hearts are heavy with the loss we feel
But then in spite of heaviness, hope rises true and real
We celebrate the courage had that no war could destroy
Each time we throw back our heads and laugh with freedom’s joy

Our very way of life each day gives merit to the fact
That our soldiers are the ones who keep our freedom here intact.
We pray, we vote, we work our jobs, we stand up for our rights
All because of work well done by those who had to fight.

In sounds of children laughing, even shouts of strong debate
We hear echoes of freedom soldiers gave all to create.
So out of sadness we will rise to celebrate and live
Lives that treasure freedom that our soldiers died to give.

By Rebecca Jeffries-Hyman

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Re-groups and Rewards

OK, so I couldn't let the Devil's Jukebox be the last word. Not that I've sorted it all out or anything. I have come to one small conclusion. I see my over-obsessing drive for perfection as just one more flaw and obstacle to overcome in my quest for perfection. Wanting too much to be perfect is something else to work on that keeps me from being perfect.

Is that sick or what?

Other than that, I've simply had to table this. Some tangled emotional messes just can't be untangled all at once. Sometimes like a jigsaw puzzle, you just have to come back to it later and you'll see it differently and maybe find a piece that fits.

So in the meantime...

My big boy is EIGHT! Can you believe it?? We had a marvelous time at Chuck E Cheese after all. Levi continues to be an absolute joy to be around. He's INEFFABLE in his charm, his wit, and his zest for life. I love that kid. One of my favorite glimpses into his heart as of late:

Levi (in the car on the way to Chic Fil A for lunch on Saturday): "What's Caleb gonna eat there?"
Me: "Well, I brought him some baby food."
Levi: "What if he's still hungry and wants something else?"
Me: "Well, I guess I could find a little something there he could eat. Maybe they'll have applesauce or something."
Levi: "Mom, when YOU eat does it make more milk?" (taps me on the arm to make sure I know he's talking about my body's milk making processes)
Me: "Ummm Yes, when I eat, my body uses the vitamins to make the milk for Caleb."
Levi: "So maybe you could go and get charged up on the chicken and then if he's still hungry you can feed him some milk."

And that settles that. I did indeed get charged up on the chicken by the way!

Can't stay down for long when God has blessed me in this way. If children are a reward from Him, then He has chosen to reward me indeed.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Devil's Jukebox

I have a nail in my tire. The front passenger side. Don't know where I picked it up, but it's glaring and obvious, it even has a green circle-ey thing around the head of the nail. So I'm riding around with a green circle nailed into my tire.

This morning I sent my son to school without his book report. Again. It was due Friday and he and I completed it and left it on the table where it remained as we departed for school Friday morning. This morning I did it again, left it right there waiting to be placed in a backpack and turned in. What is wrong with me?

This morning I also fed my kids bananas and Little Debbie cakes for breakfast. In the car. We were running late, no time even for cereal. I only had one granola bar, but I had three bananas and two Little Debbie cakes. And bottled water. I did make them eat the bananas first.

My baby slept nearly two hours past his wake up time on Sunday morning. Instead of relishing the extra sleep, I stressed about what could be going wrong to make him sleep so much. He's overdue for immunizations and could be contracting some dread disease. So when am I going to take off work and take him in for shots?

My big boy's birthday is tomorrow. I have cupcakes ready for his class, but I never called his teacher to tell her. I hope she lets them have the cupcakes. I attempted the call several times, only to be thwarted by some urgent thing or another. So the call never got completed. He's going to be eight. I haven't planned a big party with cute invitations and treat bags of junk for all his friends. I never can seem to pull that off. It's just going to be us and Chuck E Cheese. He really wants Chuck E Cheese and since there are no treat bags and friends for a party, Chuck E will have to do the job. I'm not going to think about the mom who gave out hand made halloween themed burp cloths to everyone at the daycare. But I bet she'd have treat bags of junk and 20 kids at the party.

I printed a newsletter at work. I went against my gut and my better judgement and chose the cheaper company to print it. And I hate how it looks. It's well written but looks terrible. Why didn't I listen to my instinct and go with the other company? I saved a hundred bucks but my newsletter looks crappy.

I have only one bottle of milk for the baby for tomorrow. I can't seem to figure out the right amount of milk and right pumping schedule to be able to keep extra milk on hand. I try to pump at night but for some reason my body refuses to let the milk go. And mostly I'm too tired.

Plus I have a nail in my tire. Did I tell you about that? I'm driving three kids around in a car with a nail in the tire.

This blog is horrible and terribly negative. You are probably alarmed at its tone. I like to think I'm an upbeat person, generally happy, with a positive outlook. Yet the preceding litany of condemnation is precisely the way I speak to myself. It's the playlist in my head. The devil's jukebox selections and he never seems to run out of quarters.

I have to wonder if my constant barrage of self inflicted condemnation has an effect on my mood. Ya THINK? But how do I stop? The bottom line is, I want to be better. I want to host cool, fun birthdays for my kids. I want to feed them nutritious breakfasts, hot ones, with time to digest before we lurch toward school. I want more milk than Kleinpeter Dairy, and I feel like if I fed my baby better (more milk?) maybe he would be... what? Bigger? fatter? healthier? He's healthy and happy, just like my other two are. See, I don't even know what I want. But I still can't let myself off the hook. I just said I want to be better, but the truth is, I have an unrealistic desire to be PERFECT.

Maybe every mom has it, maybe I'm one of the few, the proud, the insane enough to admit it. Or maybe I just have issues with perfectionism. I don't know and even this moment I resist the urge to resolve this post with a happy little ending, all tied in a bow. I don't know what to do, and I'm tired of wearing myself out. I desperately want to let it all go, but have no idea how to let it all go without... well, letting it all go, if you know what I mean.

Somebody pray for me. My joy is buried somewhere in this pile of thoughts and worries. Tomorrow's a new day, and will bring new mercies, I know. But tonight is looking like sack cloth and ashes.

And there's a nail in my tire.