Monday, June 28, 2010

Wine into Water

I read one time that habits form figurative grooves in our brains...much like the grooves on the 45 records of my youth. To break a habit, those grooves have to be un-made, or repaved until we don't continue to return to the place we tend to go. I have a habit, that I will call my Giada time.

Oh! My Giada time is a lovely part of the day. Around 5:30 pm, I begin getting out the ingredients for the night's dinner. I tune the radio to the station fitting my mood...most likely KLove 94.1, sometimes, when I need a little smarty smart, some NPR, or if I'm feeling funky, KISS 95.1. I let my doggy in the house to lay under the prep table and keep me company. Then, I get my wine glass from its little spot, and fill it up from the box. Yes, the box. I have sampled wines from around the world, 2 buck Chuck to Dom Perignon, but I love the Franzia white table wine. It is not too sweet, but with none of that tartness that makes you more thirsty than when you started. Then, I begin to cook and have dinner about ready by the time B walks in. I am relaxed, calm, in my happy place. It may not taste like Everyday Italian's Giada De Laurentiis cooked the meal, but its all about how it feels, you know, the ambiance.

Well, I came to realize that this was EVERY night. I began to analyze, because I was a psych major, this is what we do. I accused, I excused, then I just said to myself, "Self, I don't want to depend on my glass of wine to chill me." I only want to depend on God. And, as an ms'er, I have frequent liver testing due to my injectible meds. I am always looking at my diet and lifestyle and striving to be healthy in body, but mind and spirit too. I got to give it to Montel Williams, the television personality, he doesn't drink at all and is on a super healthy regimen, due to having ms. BTW, I recommend his books...he's a smart and decent guy. Anywho, I decided I needed a wine fast. (That's probably NOT one you'll find in the Bible!) My chi, and my Giada, is a little off kilter right now. Today is day 8. Not liking it one bit. It is h-a-r-d to break a habit.

When I return to the place of habit, around dinner time, I say a prayer and grab a big glass of water. I remind myself of my commitment. And today, I thought about my friend that wants to quit smoking...a tough habit to break.

See you on the flip side. I think maybe I'll go and brew a relaxing cup of green tea...

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I have two followers! They are my mom and my daughter, but hey! I'm being followed. Now the pressure and resulting procastination set in. Truly, I woke today wondering what to write about. I already feel like it needs to matter...this is good. After that thought, I got a delivery...breakfast in bed. My sweet husband of eighteen years today brought me coffee and a bagel in bed. How sweet is that?! He offered to cook me eggs, bacon, grits-aka "the works" Southern-style, but he knows I don't like breakfast until after cup two of morning joe. I love that man!

We traveled to Gran and Pop's later, as is our Sunday tradition, and ate a yummy lunch. Just as I was leaving, my mom reminded me that I still have stuff in her basement. (Please don't even ask why I still have stuff in my mommy and daddy's basement.) I made a half-hearted removal effort, grabbing two more boxes of stuff I'm figuring we don't need since its been sitting there gathering dust for years. One box included old bank statements that I began shredding when we got home, and I came across this brochure from my bank to the left. Do you remember the panic when the year 2000 was several years away? I had friends in the banking industry and they worked their behinds off preparing for the catastrophe that was to come. Everyone worried that all machinery would stop working, no one would be able to access their money, the "grid" (whatever the heck that is) would freeze up, we'd all have to resort to squirreling away food in our basements and loading handguns. Anything computerized would be baffled since it was the new millenium. In other words, for you youngsters;) it would be the end of the world as we know it (thanks be to REM). I might have been in a baby-induced coma-like sleep, but I don't remember any of this happening. Catastrophe aborted.

When I came across this brochure today, I asked B to put it aside for one of my "life lesson talks with the kids that they really don't care to hear". Because, they are always screaming the sky is falling, like many adults, when we should realize that our Father's got big enough hands to hold that sky up, defeating gravity, and hang on to all those stars He mentioned to father Abraham. I tend to be extremely mellow (and I'm probably under-exagerating here), but I was quite a bit more anxiety-prone before I became a Jesus freak. I have found, in the subsequent years, that my God delivers.
"You're my cave to hide in,
my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
I want to hide in you.
I've put my life in your hands.
You won't drop me,
you'll never let me down."
Psalm 31;3-5 Msg
My favorite name for God in the Bible is Jehovah Jireh, God provides. I have a very personal story that I will share with just you. When our oldest was born, I stopped working (for money;) to stay home with her. At the time, B and I made equal incomes, so you can do the math. Not much income divided by two equals half of not much income. Twenty months later, baby girl two came along, and well, money was still pretty tight. (Coulda helped if I'd stayed away from the store with the bulls-eye...) One day, after trying to pay bills and not having enough there for much needed groceries, I just sat down and cried and prayed for God's help. I had the strangest feeling I should check my closet, hopped up, and reached in for an unused handbag. Guys, you won't get this, but the girls will. Women always have a stack of handbags in their closet that are the wrong season, color, or size for their current need. So, back to the purse. When I reached inside, my hand felt something in the bottom of this first bag I grabbed, one I had not carried in probably a year. I pulled out a twenty dollar bill! I jumped up and down I was so shocked and happy.
You might say "so what?" Or, my story may sound unreal to you. The money was there all along. But, I was wondering how to buy food, and yes, the money was probably always there, but I don't leave cash in purses. I am the woman who NEVER has cash. And, as I said, things were tight. I had emptied that purse and left twenty dollars inside, all by itself? Its my story and I'm sticking to it. It is just one way that God has provided for me. Note that He did NOT provide $200 nor $2000. He did NOT provide for me to win the lottery. He did NOT rain manna from heaven every day for the rest of that year...although HE could do all of this if it was His will. He provided for my immediate need and gave me the hope I needed so we could plug away, doing the work, to improve our condition.
"What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met." Matthew 6:31-33
Just wondering what you need today. I use the words "trust" and "faith" interchangeably. So I am going to substitute on one of my fave verses. Trust is believing without seeing. Check it out for yourself...Hebrews 11.
Hope you have yourself an unreal day!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baby Steps

I love to sleep. If you know anything about me, you know not to call me early in the morning when I don't have to be up. Brian and I have inner counters that remember whose turn it is to get up and deal with the kids' needs on the weekends. (I know, you're thinking, but he gets up early all week...Denise, YOU should get up! Again, I LOVE sleep.) I am proud to say that I love sleep so much my kids have been trained from toddlerhood to not have many needs early in the morning that they can't handle themselves.

I love seeing the trails of inherited traits in our children and Lucas definitely got Dad's cooking bug. Lucas has been attempting to cook since he was less than two years old...with varying degrees of success. I couldn't help but laugh when I followed the sound of clinking metal to find him cooking corn on the heated stove in the dog's dish...he was two. So inventive, dangerous, but brilliant! Gracie loves to cook also. The bug skipped Em. At 13 she still expects three square a day fixed for her. I say all this to explain that my kids usually get their own food before I step out of bed. I know, you hate me.

Today, was a little different. Lucas woke me asking if Dad was preparing to mow. I looked at Dad, because he was still asleep beside me. I responded that no, Dad was not preparing to mow. Lucas then said that he needed to know so he could clean up the backyard. OHHHHHH, now I understand. My little man, a rising first-grader, had gotten up, gone to the kitchen, in all honesty probably following big sis, Gracie's lead, read his chore chart (he READ his chore chart!) and saw he was supposed to clean up the back yard with his sisters so Dad could mow. Score one for responsibility! He did his other Saturday chore, empty all the trashcans in the house too. I am a proud Mama:)

Our family's mission statement regarding raising kids goes a little like this...
We hope to raise our kids in such a way that they become God-loving, responsible, self-sufficient, respectful adults.

Now, if I could just figure out how to get Lucas to quit saying b*tch.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Growing Up

I had the biggest cry last night. I think I hold it in until a flood of epic proportions happens. Emma is 13 and on her first mission trip this week. Actually, on her first trip period -- away from us. I was extremely proud that she wanted to go on the mission and proud of the sweet, generous woman she is becoming. THAT is the problem. Do you remember that first day you left your baby at daycare, or preschool, or kindergarten? I had that sad recognition that we have passed a milestone. I think I am just sad period that she is growing up and away. Happy, but yet sad.

That said, some random thoughts came to mind during my thinking time tonight. Meaning, during the only quiet part of my day in the only quiet part of my house...10ish o'clock in the, in front of the mirror.

THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN WHEN I WAS YOUNG (or for that matter, yesterday):

Everyone has a God-sized hole that they fill with something. (Max Lucado said this?)
For much of my life, it was everything but. For a lot of folks, still is. Shopping, drugs, parties, sports, love relationships, career, even causes...good stuff can fill that void too, the problem is eventually we all have a moment when we are completely alone in the world, without a friend, or maybe a dollar, with no where to turn, no where but up. He will never leave you or forsake you. I promise because I have been there.

It is not the end of the world.
When the boyfriend dumps you, the friends say they hate you, your parents yell at you, you fail the test, you screw up..again, you embarass yourself in front of the entire school, you lose the job, or everyone knows what a failure you are. Its not the end when you hear that you have ms, or any other life sentence. It is only the end when it is the end.

A kiss is a really big deal.
Think Britney and Madonna, or when the one you love is leaving town, for a day, or for a year. I think about the last time I kissed my grandmother, most times we don't know when the last is, I thank God that I did. A kiss is a big deal too when our little ones get too big for their britches and refuse to kiss you goodnight. Oh how that shoots an arrow in a momma's heart! I wish my girls would know how big a kiss is when they start dating.

Friendships are one of the few things worth wasting time on.
Wow!--friendships have just gotten more complex as I've gotten older. Everyone comes into relationships with their own set of experiences that shape their every interaction. I have many many people I care about, but less people that I know really care about me. The friends who stop to ask how you're feeling, or who will give you a badly needed ride at just the right time. The friends who notice when you're sad, and make time to figure out why. The friends who will stand outside a hospital and pray with you. The friends who pray for your children. The friends who make you dinner when you are sick. Over time, life exposes your friends in layers, like an onion (thanks be to Shrek). I am a truster, and I am thankful that I have so many beautiful friends that have proven trust worthy.

Marriage is no fairy tale, and its not fair to expect a Prince Charming.
A ton of trials and tribulation could have been avoided at my house in the early years if I had known this! You CANNOT train a man like a dog. I was simply not prepared for the hard work and compromise that is required to make a marriage work. And he was NOT prepared for a wife who couldn't cook and thought money grew on trees....but that is his story. I was blessed with a patient husband who loved me enough to hang in there, and I loved him right back.

And, before I hit the bed, I'll return to my teenager...the middle schooler. I wish I'd known that Middle School is the most painful time of your life (,high school must come in second).
I am still growing. Hopefully, we continue on our journey of growth until the end of our life, and become more complete all the while. None of us are who we will become when we are in 8th grade. I wish I'd known that cause those awful times stick with you, and I was the gawkiest geek. I wish I could wipe away any painful times from my three kids' lives. My eraser's not that big. For now, I guess I'll just keep trying to catch their kisses! And reminding them of their worth...and all of our worth.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him। Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Ephesians 1:3-4 MSG
I am pumped! My first post! No one will probably read it, but it was the result of a revelation. Brian always says I should write a book...but, I have a short attention span. So, voila!, a blog. I can write a little every day, about things other people may care about or get a giggle from, and eventually, a book.
I commit to being completely honest, but trying not to embarass the innocent (or not so innocent), folks in my life. So, I will talk about myself alot more than I usually like to.
I will definitely find humor in things that may offend others. I laugh at life because I believe God gave us a funny bone for a reason, and because I really don't like to cry. Crying makes me feel all weak and vulnerable, not to mention ugly, and yes, I do know it has a healthy place in all of our lives. I love to laugh and have no problem laughing with you at myself.
I have thought about writing a book on parenting before, but found myself lacking in authority. I've pondered writing on multiple sclerosis, as I am, unfortunately, something of an expert after my diagnosis three years ago this month. It can get kinda boring writing about sickness ALL the time. I love to think and talk about Christ, but I don't want those of you uninterested to tune out. So, this will be my random blog. Hope its as fun for you as it already is for me, but if its not, it is still fun for me;)