Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekend Update

In Myers-Briggs testing, my results have consistently labeled me an ISFJ...which may not mean much to you. I won't go into the shpiel...'cause I still don't understand it, but the first letter designates me as an introvert. 

In most cases I agree...I can function socially, sometimes comfortably, most times awkwardly. I love people and I just might grill you about your experiences if you sit still long enough. On the flip side, I'll tell you just about anything you want to know about me...veering into TMI territory...yep, awkward.

There is a limit to my fill my tank again I need to withdraw. Each day, I yearn for some me a book, veg in front of a TV, go for a walk, take a power nap...whatever it is, I like to do it alone. I've been known to craftfully manipulate a schedule to fit solitude in. 

But in our travels I have learned that I prefer to vacation with others. Introversion does not apply. Our little family's trip to Florida taught me a lot. It was nice...not thrilling, but nice. We had some fun in the beautiful sunny weather. But I still really wish we had just saved our money and the travel trouble and gone camping with friends somewhere. It's really all I want to do.

So there is my vacation groove...I love the community of camping...the I'll watch your babes on the playground while you clean up your breakfast dishes...Let's chop the onions for dinner and cry together...Hey, you have s'more ooze dripping off your face...and should you really have eaten that third one? 

I don't seem to need the me time so much when we are surviving the wilderness together. 

We did more than survive this weekend...we had rub some spit on it - laugh 'til you're red or is that sunburn - stay up too late - everyone throw a proper tantrum but sleep like babies  fun.

We'll be camping a lot this summer. I wish I could live this way all the time.

I think the kids had fun, too. Be warned...there are lots of pictures to follow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hittin' the road

Tomorrow morning will be here soon and the babes and I will be loading up and moving out. Pulling away from this really great town of Cedar Falls/Waterloo. What a great five weeks we've had. Gonna miss the cornfields...everywhere. Gonna miss the rhythm of our Iowa days.


Moving towards home. Towards family. Towards friends. Towards a fun weekend. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Be glad these don't speak a thousand words

I have buttons...buttons that trigger emotion ie: relief, anxiety, anger. My children are beginning to discover husband could draw you a schematic. He knows the spot on my thumb that helps diminish my headaches. He knows I don't like being told I'm wrong. He knows. 

My babes seem to like reminding the people closest to them that they have made mistakes. That's a button for me and became their favorite pasttime Thursday. They're just learning, so the first few times, I ignored...the next time, I reminded them their jobs are not to tell people what they've done wrong...but after about the 13th time that day, I'd had at that point, I got a little wrong.

My bubble burst and out of the rupture oozed my irritation. On the highway at 60mph, no less.

Within a half hour of that eruption, I unloaded on my husband...he hadn't even pushed any buttons...I just wasn't done spewing. Hot lava and ash fell on everyone that day.

I needed to tell him he was wrong because he spent money on something I deemed foolish. He knows now...that regardless of the hard work he does to give us all we need and more, he can't make his own decisions about spending $30. Am I right or am I right?

I really know how to make the most of the little amount of time we get to spend together, donchathink?

So, who's the fool? Who's wrong?
Don't answer that.

Anywho...I found this place near Sweet Man's office that has amazing light at sunset. I planned a little photo shoot.

I don't record videos of the kiddos very much...because instead of documenting the bickering and cajoling... with photographs, I can choose my own idyllic narration. Readers, feel free to do the same...add birdsong or giggling children to the soundtrack...actually, that is what we were hearing in addition to my shutter snapping.  So, I can look at these and delude myself:: we hadn't had a no good, horrible, very bad day...right?

Nope, doesn't work...I will probably look at these and always remember the day Mt. Momma blew her top...again.

Then I remember,

A thousand times I've failed
Still Your mercy remains,
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in Your grace.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Empty the brain

::My two boys are shorn. Daddy got crazy with the clippers. Bring on the summer sweat! I still am doing double takes when I see my boy. And with that, the tears from the daily morning taming of the curls decrease by half...still have to deal with Bean's.

::Swimming lessons are going well as week-long free lessons can go. They are both being challenged a little, being asked to do things out of the norm with me or Sweet Daddy or Grammy...their usual swim-help-adults-people.

::      ♬ School's out for summer ♩....almost.          We'll be finished with school in 5 more days...hopefully before we head home. I love summer, you know. I may be more excited than him.

:: We've enjoyed two mornings out...Messy Morning, the weekly fave and then a reduced admission day here. Staying busy.

:: My mood is so much better now that Sweet Man and I have some flags on the horizon....plans with dates attached to them. I'm pushing the limit of metaphors:: I've felt like a marathon runner (ha...never!) who's been in the race for a while, but has no idea how long she's run or how much farther to go. Having a stake in the ground marking a destination in time shores up my motivation and joy.

So, the next flag coming into focus is for Memorial Day weekend when SM has another long weekend. Many decisions to be made about that one...stay here? go home? camp....oooo, I hope so...? Staying here makes me want to go home and going home tugs my heart to stay here. I know...I'm sick in the head. My mind reels with possibilities. Think I'll let Sweet Man make the final decision.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunny days are here again

After school, we played in the children's garden at Cedar Valley Arboretum. Then off to swimming lessons at the  YMCA.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I promise

I'll shut up here for a while after this...and try not to be melodramatic and self-absorbed. But I want to share a little struggle with you. Here's a little emotional-thinking-in-writing for you me::

I've felt it sinking in this week...thinking it was the rain and a little hotel fever. Now that the sun's out and I still feel soooo tired and unmotivated...I'm not sure to what to attribute this malaise.

I'm off of caffeine...but could really gulp a gallon or so, right now. Could be that I've been staying up way too late.

I think I'm a little worn out, from being Momma-on-duty while Sweet Daddy works so hard and so much.  And the day he doesn't work, he needs to rest, of course. My kids could use some friends to play with...I think they're pretty sick of me...and sometimes each other.

Wow, my heart goes out again to single parents and armed forces do they do it?

I started to do some research for Moms' groups in the Cedar Falls area and found a group that meets 5 minutes away on the 2nd Thursday of the month. Today's the 2nd Friday of the month....bummer. I usually start looking for those groups as soon as we land in a new place...why did I wait? 

Who's trying to teach me that He is sufficient and will supply all my needs? 

Maybe it's homesickness? We've been here 3 weeks and that may be a bit off a mental threshhold for me. 

My own MOPS group is having its last meeting of the year this morning. A couple of weeks ago, I thought we may be back home by now. Our family is missing a wedding, a banquet, a spring tea, and church, all happening tomorrow. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again:: we chose this job and this life and felt sure. We are so thankful for Sweet Man's great position and the privilege for me to be an On-Duty Momma. This life is giving us opportunities we would never have been able to have otherwise. I have the chance to engage in these moments of their lives as we live and learn together.

I have everything I need and more. So, why don't I feel it today?

Okay, enough of that...maybe say a prayer for me. And let me know how to pray for you...I'd love to. I just glanced and I'm seeing fun notes in my inbox...thank you, sweet friends and family. Why should I be surprised that you are hearing God's whispers in your ear?

We're gonna get outta here and go play in the sunshine.

{Update: Our quest to find the best playground in the Cedar Falls area was rewarded today. The kids made new friends, I caught up on some reading...we stayed for 4 hours. We're gonna be okay. But I still miss y'all.}

Wedding colors

Pop over and visit Lisa's site...she's dedicated this week to weddings and today posted about her own wedding 11 years ago. These days, she's busy with two cute boys and her beautiful jewelry and photography.

And she's having a giveaway! 

{She's on my sidebar, too. Love her.}

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

cRaZY about these people

Faced with another rainy day in this hotel room, I assessed my choices...

#1. Hide in the tiny closet, curled up, sucking my thumb, waiting for the sound of Sweet Daddy's key in the door.

#2. Make a run for it...while the kiddos are lulled unawares by PBS and their crackling rice krispies...leave...them here.

#3. Road trip! Drive 75 miles to the greatest mall evah! Well, at least, in Iowa. Okay, the best in this Cedar Rapids part of Iowa.

Aren't you glad I chose....

{wait for it...}

...#3? We got outta Dodge! {Good call, momma.}

No sense keeping this gripe-fest to ourselves. Let's squabble out in the world! Funny thing soon as we leave the confines of our home or vehicle they begin to behave...some don't quite believe that they can be punks. But some of you have had front-row seats to their mischief, so you believe me, don't you?

{Head's up:: lots of embedded links coming. Just click on them.}

We had a fun day. We're weren't going to just any is a mall that houses the Iowa Children's Museum and it just may be my favorite kid's museum. Believe me, I've been to plenty...just counting 2009 excursions alone. Remember...see addiction is full-blown.

Some exhibits were similar to some we've seen at The Works, COSI, or other museums. {Sidenote: Licking County peeps:: The Works and Dawes Arboretum are treasures...enjoy them, support them if you can.} Many were  very original and fun. There was a whole aviation room where we built airplanes and rockets out of paper and launched them. We probably spent the most time there and in The Notion of Motion roomABC Forest was cute. There was a LEGO room...Bug wasn't interested today...which kind of surprised me.

A whole City Works space had an ambulance, doctor's office, dentist's office, radiology room complete with lab coats, stethescopes, crutches, etc. and a grocery store, pizzeria, post office, and TV station. Bean kept wanting to revisit the grocery store, of course. I confess, I found a bench and my knitting on our third go 'round.

And in the mall, there was...{trumpet fanfare}...a Chik-fil-A! We walked out of the museum, turned right, past the open-year-round ice rink {told ya it was the greatest mall, evah!}...had lunch and waddled back into the museum.

The kids would not allow me to go to Eddie Bauer...yea, what up with that? who's in charge here?...but maybe there'll be a next time.

Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Naptime Giveaway

Don't expect anything much out of me today...

rain + hotel + hormones +squirrelly, squabbling siblings + Bug lost all screen time privileges by 8:30 am = rough morning & looooong day

But Naptime always delivers and makes me smile. She's giving away a $50 gift to Initials Inc. Cute stuff...go see her.

I think I'll watch that "Gift of an Ordinary Day" video again....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Wish I could hug you, Momma....

And a little something to make you smile or cry or whatever you want to do.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book review

*Forgive me, friends. I reverted to my college paper-writing days...well, I was more coherent then...achieving this trancelike state (get your own lunch, kiddos!) and just writing. So, read on if you think you might enjoy this book or click onward into the blogosphere if you think otherwise. And to my homies: you may have to wait to find this book at our library...I will return it upon my return  Smiley *

P. S. Click on the embedded links to find out more about the author or the books.

p. 23...from my favorite author, Lisa Samson in The Passion of Mary-Margaret

I chose to embrace the spiritual because already, by that age, I knew I needed something more. More than coming home to an empty apartment after school. More than my tired grandmother and my tired aunt who came home after shucking oysters or picking crabs all day at the cannery. More than shoes that pinched my feet. It seemed like less effort for me to bring God into the pitiful circumstances of my life than to demand a fancy, all-encompassing do-over. I thought perhaps that might be too hard for God. I confess, sometimes I still think some things are too hard for God. I mean, deep down I think that. But thankfully there's an even deeper down. Unfortunately, crawling down into that well hurts like the devil because we know God can do something and yet doesn't, and we don't have many choices after that realization, and none of them are one hundred percent easy-breezy.

Loved this book. Love Lisa Samson...she's a Christian author...but not the sticky-sweet, contrived plot, sanctimonious sort. Oh, yeah, I said it...had enough of those books. She's genuine and she deals with ugly issues with frankness and humor...kind of what I want to be when I grow up...not an author, heaven's no...but a woman, dealing face to face with grim doubt and human ugliness with compassion and without judgment. My heart is not there, yet.

Here are snippets...hopefully just tantalizing enough without giving too much away ::

Mary-Margaret is an orphan on an island off the coast of Maryland, brought up by her Catholic grandmother and just-a-bit-touched aunt. She is told she was conceived in rape. The sisters of the island's parish educate and embrace her. Also on the island is a troubled boy, Jude, living in an abusive home. He takes a shine to her, in an obnoxious sort of way, but she is in love with Jesus. She chooses to become a religious sister, serving in many ways, but mostly enjoying teaching art and expressing herself through painting and sculpture. She and Jude follow their separate paths with interesting intersections of lives and time. We follow the threads of her faithful service to Christ, her quest to find out about her mother and father, and Jude's redemption. Mary-Margaret writes the book as a memoir to be read posthumously and describes 4 or 5 different timelines...which I must confess, tripped me up a little. 

The essence of the book emerges as Lisa describes Mary-Margaret's sweet, intimate, warm, deep friendship with Jesus. He visits her and calls her by her real name, which is never spelled out for us readers. She eagerly anticipates His visits, and He shows up unannounced to encourage her, share a cup of tea, or give her a specific task. He evades most of her questions but sometimes reveals funny little bits of a beloved's story, keeping her on a need to know basis. He honors her special requests like her plea to die while she is on her knees in prayer. They know and love each other well.

If you have read The Shack, Passion similarly helped me understand the Trinity more (will I ever get it? not this side of heaven...,) fleshing out how a relationship with Christ looks and how Our Father loves us. I liked this way better than The Shack, btwHer portrayal of Christ is the way I think He wants to interact with all of us...but we're I'm not paying attention. Questioning her grip on sanity, Mary-Margaret suggests that God may more easily communicate with those the world considers touched as they are not bound by convention and assumption.

Trading soundness of mind for her connection with Christ would be an easy choice for her...but be assured Mary-Margaret is very rational. She's funny, down-to-earth, compassionate, hard-working, joyful and steps out of her cloistered life often to get down and dirty in the muck of this world. She looks for Christ in every situation while acknowledging that we are permitted to really mess things up over and over. She questions the substance of faith out of fear vs. faith out of love vs. lack of faith.

The whole story indicates to me just how much Lisa gets it. She describes what a my relationship with Christ and my active faith can look practical, of-this-world-but-eyes-on-the-things-above terms. I knew that if by p. 23, her words resonated with me, this book is going to be used by God to entertain, encourage, challenge, and change me. Really good book, in my book. God, bless Lisa Samson.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Situational ethics

Is it okay if ::

:: my barometer for a good church fit is if I cry during worship? If so, then we found another good church this Sunday. Those Vineyards get me every time. I know that true worship can be found anywhere, anytime and frankly, I need to participate in that more often...but there's something about hundreds of people swept up in the Spirit. The kids had a great time in their respective classes, too. That helps.

:: I was so desperate to get a library card in Cedar Falls that I mailed myself something at the hotel address, then spoke to the help desk clerk in couched terms like, we're new to the area and this is our temporary address...? All's fair in the quest for the written word, eh? C''s a really good library.

:: I drive to Cedar Rapids...about an hour get my fix at the closest (how can it be?) Trader Joe's, Half-Price Books and Chik-Fil-A? I need them...stat.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

We had a great weekend with Sweet Daddy...taking it easy after the big adventure south to the Amana colonies for Maifest. We moved into another hotel across town...bigger room, kitchen, nice laundry's amazing what makes me happy. Monday & Tuesday:: Uno, swimming, thrifting, playgrounding, and errands kept us busy. And now, he's back to work... boo. Sunday, we'll have another chance to relax with him. After church, of course.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dazzling day


Happy May Day!

Saturday, May 1, 2010