Self Talk

I pulled up to Meijer this afternoon to do some school shopping. Nearby, a man was leaning over the passenger seat of his car, and I assumed he was changing a baby’s diaper. As I walked toward the store, the man started yelling, presumably at the poor child whose diaper he was changing.  I hesitated, concerned for the child’s welfare.  The more I heard, the more worried I became.  F-ing this and f-ing that, GD this, and GD that.  I was horrified.  I approached the car in a circumspect manner, wanting to see if there was, indeed, a child in the car.  Fortunately, there was not.  Indeed, this man’s tirade was directed at himself.  I can only guess that he had lost his keys after putting his purchases in the car, and since his car was filled with junk (does he live out of it?), it was going to take a lot to find them.

This man continued to carry on as I walked toward the store, berating himself for being an F-ing idiot, and lamenting that God had even made such a piece of sh…

Immediately prior to my shopping trip, I had spent nearly an hour in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, praying for one of my children who is going through a very rough time emotionally.  This wonderful child seems to be developing a more and more pessimistic view of the world.  Sadly, the things we do to try to build our baby up seem to go unnoticed, while everything that could possibly bring the child down is the start of a downward spiral that sometimes takes hours or even days to hit rock bottom.

As I walked into Meijer I prayed for this man.  How sad to see a person beating himself up over such a human mistake.  (Only last week I left my purse and cell phone in the shopping cart at Kroger and didn’t realize it till twenty minutes later!)

As I walked out of Meijer an hour later, it struck me that, if we don’t figure out a way to help our child now, our child could one day be the man outside of Meijer, beaten down under a barrage of negative self talk.

And so I set to work with renewed vigor.  Perhaps its the lack of routine over the summer?  So tomorrow we’ll have a schedule.  Perhaps we’re not spending enough one-on-one time?  We’ll be sure to get that scheduled (although, we tend to see flare ups on days when we’ve spent the most time together.)  Perhaps I can whisper happy thoughts while the child sleeps?  Sure, I’ll give it a shot.

I am a beloved child of God.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

My God is awesome, and I am made in the image and likeness of my God, so I am awesome too.

Mom and Dad love me.  God loves me.  Jesus loves me.  There is so much to love about me!

What d’ya think?



Some women PMS.  I ovulate.  ARGGGGH!!!!!

OK, sorry.  Is that TMI?

Well, here goes.  Women talk about cramps, but mine are minimal. Ovulatory pain, on the other hand, can have me bending over and crying out in agony.

And the mood swings associated with “that time of the month?”  For me, nothing compared to the anxiety attacks and uptightness I experience at my version of “that time of the month” – ovulation.

I’ve learned to keep it under control by using a bio-identical progesterone cream which puts an end to any number of awful “female things”.  But I’m out, and I’ve been out for over a month, and apparently two cycles without my Prolief is a REALLY BAD IDEA.

Ray’s gone golfing, the Dude had a melt down this afternoon, which put me sideways for quite a while, and just as I was beginning to recover, bedtime rolled around, complete with baths and showers.  The Dude, exhibiting lingering after-effects of the meltdown, was failing to do ANYTHING I asked/told him to do, which had me on edge.  When Boo begged for a book at bed time I caved, even though it was nine thirty, which would have been fine except that then she wanted to “read” it, which led Bear to want to “read” it too, which meant that first I read the words, then Bear repeated them, then Boo repeated them, and then the Dude and Bonita commented on some aspect of the book, threw a ball across the room, asked why a ring was in Boo’s bed, or turned on some crazy psycho babbling stuffed animal toy that Boo got for Christmas which I swear must be possessed by demons.  WHY DIDN’T I TORCH THAT THING MONTHS AGO????!!!!!

[Deep sucking breath]

OK, OK.  I know!  This is just standard mommy stuff.  But somehow during that time of the month, it becomes totally overwhelming and I can barely breathe and I can feel the adrenaline running through my veins. I know that I ought to just drop to my knees and pray a Rosary, but my perverse mind would rather just sit around and stew about it all.

Note to self:  Buy progesterone cream.

[Deep calming breath]  OK, I feel a little better.

Martha on a Monday

How appropriate!  St. Martha’s feast day this year falls on a Monday, when, having attempted to observe the Sabbath, I am most likely to be “anxious and worried about many things.”  As always, this day presents me with a good opportunity to pause and consider whether I am sitting at the Master’s feet, or scurrying around, so busy that I forget the goal behind the work with which I have been blessed.

So, with all that said, the Martha in me is making the list of all the things I want to do before the kids go back to school next Wednesday.  My plan at the beginning of the summer was to make it the best summer ever, and I must say that I think we’ve pulled it off.  The kids have gotten along well, we’ve done lots of fun things – fishing, camping, hiking, zoo, pool, pool, pool…  I can honestly say I don’t have a single regret about the summer.  I feel that we’ve grown as a family and enjoyed many memorable moments together.  I confess though, that all of my plans to have a schedule, stick to a routine, blah, blah, blah, never materialized.  I have decided that, for this summer, at least, I kind of like it that way.

I’ve been thinking all summer about giving myself a challenge to write a blog post every day, where I’m never allowed to spend more than an hour on the post.  I tend to be a perfectionist in my writing, so this can be very difficult for me.  But now I’m writing it down and thus I’m committing.  This is the week.  Six blog posts by Saturday.  I think I have enough posts buzzing in my head to make this easy, but we shall see…

A few other goals for the week:

      • Finish the furniture re-do that I started while Ray was in Germany.  More about that later – I think it will make for a fun post.
      • Scrap book with the kids.  I’m going to have them pick out photos from all the summer’s activities and then help each of them put them together into a page or two for their own personal scrap book.  I had meant to do several pages over the course of the summer, but since I’ve put it off till now I’ll be happy if we get one or two pages per child.
      • Begin to transition to a “whole food” diet for the whole family, with limited dairy and meat.  While I’ve had great results from my own diet change in November, I’ve let the rest of the family remain on their traditional diet for simplicity’s sake, as well as concern that they’d waste away to nothing if I tried to get them to eat what I’m eating.  However, after watching Forks Over Knives last night, I realize that I’m doing them a disservice.  More on that later, I’m sure!  (The link below is an affiliate link – Thanks for your support!)

So, here we are, two hours later, with the first “one hour” post of the week.  Of course, in the intervening hours, I’ve also made breakfast, wiped bottoms, chased a dog around the neighborhood, watered the grass, made snack, and goodness only knows what else.  Lesson learned – wake up early and post before the kids are up!

I’ll part with a prayer to St. Martha that I found over on Catholic Online:

Saint Martha, pray for us that we might serve Jesus better.

Help us to overcome our distractions and worries

to listen to his words and be present to him this day.



Big Brother is Watching

I just got an email from our electric company.  I think they believe they are doing me a favor by informing me that I am using more electricity than my “more efficient neighbors”.

Huh.  Really?  You mean my family of six uses more electricity than my empty-nest neighbors?  I’m shocked.

Geez.  You mean, that I, who am home all day, use more electricity than neighbors who go away for ten hours?

I mean, come on!  With whom are they comparing us??

Our “more efficient neighbors” have, on average, two children!

Our “more efficient neighbors” leave the house and go use electricity elsewhere all day long!

I know that the government is probably monitoring my Verizon account.  They may very well be reading my emails, and goodness knows they are well aware of every “contentious” person on Facebook (a label that could surely be applied to me, though I post so infrequently that I’ve probably escaped their notice.).

But somehow this idea that Big Brother is monitoring my electric usage gets to me more than anything.

It gives me the creepy-crawly feeling that, one of these days, Big Brother’s gonna come a-knockin’.

That one of these days he’s gonna tell me to use less – or else.

That one of these days he’s gonna say a person shouldn’t have four kids, because they use too many resources.

I’m not a fan of Big Brother.  I don’t want his hands on my phone records, my emails, my electricity usage, or my tax records.  I certainly don’t want him controlling my children’s education.  I don’t want his drones flying around.  I don’t want his medical care.

Sadly, despite being “pro-choice,” Big Brother doesn’t give us much choice in such matters.

A Woman’s Place is Barefoot and…

In the garden, of course!  At least, if that’s where she wants to be at that particular moment.

This morning, that was precisely where I wanted to be.  The older three had a sleepover at Nana and Grandpas, so it was just me and Boo.  Having stayed up until nearly 2, I chose not to set my alarm and let Boo wake me instead.  Unfortunately, I got a little freaked out before going to bed and the shot gun was sleeping in Ray’s spot.


Don’t worry, the shell was not in the chamber!

Anyways, when Boo came to wake me up, she crawled up Ray’s side of the bed and my first reaction was to wig out because I don’t even want her touching that thing.  Happily, after I had put it away, we settled in for a nice cuddle, complete with a reading of No, David!, one of my very favorite books to read to kids her age.

Once we finally stirred and had had breakfast, Boo joined me as I went outside to set the sprinklers.  It was already scorching (I know, terribly inefficient watering), so Boo put her swim suit on and played in the water for a bit.  Never one to sit around, I decided to finish planting the  remainder of the languishing flowers, one of which had been stuck in its plastic pot since Mother’s Day.  A certifiable case of plant abuse, if I do say so myself.

I realized once I’d been at it for about an hour that I was gardening while barefoot.  Is this something other people do?  I already know that I’ve given my neighbors a few good laughs as they often see me gardening in a skirt, but this might be the first time I actually did more than a few minute’s worth of gardening without shoes.  I kinda liked it, I must confess.  Very organic and simple.

The best part was that Boo helped me garden.

She especially loved it when I told her she could just use her hands.  We had such a great morning together.  It was a small taste of what life will be like when the big three start school in a few short weeks, and while I’m terribly sad to see the summer coming to a close, I’m looking forward to spending lots of time with my precious Boo-Bear.

The Cat’s Away…

The cat being Ray, of course.  Off across the globe, enjoying malted beverages and weinerschnitzels.  The mice have played quite a bit, and I must confess that, while I do miss my DH, a week on my own does have its benefits.  As much as I enjoy our evenings spent relaxing with a glass of wine on the deck, or cuddling on the couch to watch a movie, I find that I am much more project-oriented when he is out of town.  He hasn’t traveled in nearly a year, so it was high time for me to tackle some projects.

OK, OK.  I confess.  The kids have been staying up till ten, and by the time they’re in bed, I have little energy left to do much of anything, but I did get to watch the Twilight movie the other night without having to listen to his opinion of the silliness of the plot or the quality of the acting.  I adored the movie, and am waiting with baited breath to see if maybe, just maaaaayyybe, my hold request will be fulfilled tomorrow so that I can watch the second movie when he gets back.  Is it wrong to pray for such a thing?  😉

Having gotten over my disdain for the pool, I’ve been having a blast swimming with the kids.  I finally jumped in on Monday, and Bear finally overcame his fear of the water.  He realized that he can, indeed, touch the bottom of the pool, and that the floaties really will hold him up.  Bonita is finally jumping into the deep end, and Dude is diving off the diving board.  Boo had already discovered a week or so ago that she could have lots of fun floating in the pool, and watching her kick her tiny little legs madly, trying to get from point A to point B is an absolute stitch (yes, I just said “stitch.”  Can you tell I’ve been spending time with my mom?)

The kids have also been having lots of fun collecting tomato-eating caterpillars off of my tomato plants.  The caterpillars have a comfy home, which is currently on my living room table.  Ray would have a cow, but I’m just happy that they’re not eating my good tomatoes.  Fortunately, the kids have been very responsible about cleaning the cage, as these are some seriously poopy worms.


OK, back to productivity.  Look, I’m posting to my blog!  I have also crossed off many “to-do” items for various volunteer commitments, as well as Arbonne business.   I’ve planted flowers that had languished in plastic pots for weeks.  Today, I reorganized the towel closet, throwing away a mountain of tacky old towels that I had been hanging on to in my depression-era mentality.  The closet looks great!  I’ve started refinishing the hall tree that serves as a space-filler for the powder room, and am excited to be replacing the mirror with a fabric memo board.  (Guests don’t have to look at themselves while they sit on the pot anymore! Yahoo!)  I’m itching to get my hands on the kids toys and just throw, throw, throw stuff away, before tackling some major reorganization of the toy storage.  I’ve got three dressers to paint, and the basement storage room to reorganize as well.

Sooooo, no chance I’m getting this all done before Ray gets home.  Perhaps he can fly back to Germany for a week in August? 🙂

Our Recent Trip – Part I

In mid-June, we headed down to southern Alabama to visit Ray’s parents.  We started the trip with a two night stay at Tim’s Ford State Park in Tennessee.  We had a beautiful campsite, within view of the lake, which the kids and I walked down to that first day.

Ray’s camping trip can be summed up as “worked on fire, slept, worked on fire, ate, worked on fire, went to pool, worked on fire…  Breakfast Sunday morning was the only time he was able to cook a “real meal.”

Because there was no fire until about ten o’clock on our first night, the kids hadn’t been able to cook s’mores.  So, here they are making s’mores for breakfast.  I figure it’s not any worse than donuts, right?

While Ray worked on the fire, the Dude learned to use a pocket knife, kids hunted for bugs, went to the playground, and Boo celebrated her new flip flops.

We headed to Mass at a lovely little church in Winchester, TN.   A quick trip to Walmart afterward turned into an hour long extravanganza – ’cause what trip to Wally World doesn’t? – and when we came out it was pouring down rain.   Questioning whether I had really closed all the windows on the tent, we headed back to the camp rather than hitting the Jack Daniels distillery.  Windows were closed.  Tent perfectly dry.  Thank you, Coleman.

We ate lunch in the tent while it rained, but were blessed with clear skies for a couple of hours, during which time we hit the pool.  We were especially excited to see Bear overcome his fears of the water and even stand in the big pool with his life vest but no death grip on my hand.  Somehow, though, the baby pool held the biggest attraction for the bigger kids.

A storm chased us from the pool, and we spent the remainder of the day and night sheltering from the rain.  Fortunately, I had brought a few board games and books along, and the Dude generously shared his iPod.

It wasn’t until Ray and I were ready to call it a night that I started to think about all the possibilities…  we were now alone in the campground – all the other campers had packed up that morning.   In my tired mind, this opened up all sorts of possibilities for bear attacks and axe murderers.  The storm added the possibility of tornadoes, lightening strikes, and trees falling on the tent.  The fact that Ray brought his hatchet to bed with him did not allay my fears.  I didn’t discover until morning that he had also tucked his pocket knife under his pillow.

By morning, the rain had cleared, leaving us with a very wet campsite to pack up.   The entertainment value of whittling and hunting for bugs had long ago been exhausted, and the kids took up the universal cry of boredom while Ray once again struggled with the fire.  I finally convinced him that we could get our coffee at Starbucks and didn’t really need the fire (little did I know that the south is incredibly devoid of Starbucks.)  We packed up the site – a job that only took about three hours.  Everyone was on edge, and it was not a pretty experience.  The crowning glory occurred when we finally got in the car, Ray turned the key, and… nothing.  The battery had died from leaving the doors open with the lights on.  While we waited for our jump to arrive, I made lemonade from lemons and took the kids on a little hike – I actually think the dead battery was God’s way of providing the hike I had been longing for but hadn’t been able to sneak in during the packing.  While it didn’t last long, it was one of the best parts of the weekend.



Inordinate Attachments

When Lot’s wife glanced back at Sodom, and was turned to a pillar of salt, what do you think was she looking back at?


Was it her house?  Furniture?  Clothes?  Friends? Livestock?  Land?

I remember hearing the story of a saint who was very upset with herself when she realized she had become overly attached to a lovely water pitcher.  At the time I thought, “You lived in a cell with nothing beautiful around you.  Of course you liked that water pitcher!”

Then one day we had company staying with us.  One of our guests woke before I did and used my favorite coffee mug.  When I saw that she was using my mug, I did a double take. That was my mug. I was actually a little bit miffed to see someone else drinking from my mug.  Then I realized that this was my version of the saint and the water pitcher – my “inordinate attachment.”  I made a point of not using the mug for the rest of the week, so that my guest could use it, and praying that I could be generous with all of my possessions. Silly, huh?  Being so attached to a stinkin’ mug.

The Mug in Question

I guess we all have those little things – things that we care about more than we should.  I’ve gotten over the coffee mug (though its still my favorite) but I still see other things in my life that matter to me more than they should.

Whatever Lot’s wife was looking back at, her attachment led to her immediate and dramatic demise.

I’d like to make sure there’s nothing in my life I would look back at.