Thursday, October 11, 2007

How Many Times???

I think this is the fourth or maybe even fifth time that Michaela has cut her own hair. We just can't seem to pin down WHY she keeps doing it. She agrees that she's never given herself a good haircut...

But what's done is done and now we try to figure the best way to cover it for the formal wedding she'll be in at the end of this month. I'm thinking about just stapling a hair bow or flower over it...

My very punctual, talented and sought after friend Brook has created a digital page in honor of this sad occasion. You can also view it on her blog - along with dozens of other fabulous digital and paper pages.
I called Michaela in to take a look at the page Brook made (exposing my kids' antics to my friends on the web seems to be a bit of a deterrent to future bad behavior...)

This was her reaction...

Don't worry, (BridezillaRonni ;0) I wanted it to look as bad as possible in these photos - we were headed to church and I didn't want it to go unnoticed - I was hoping for embarrassment therapy!

I've cut it (adding a few more bangs from the crown) and with enough hairspray to glue it in place it covers pretty unnoticeably.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There's A New Sheriff in Town

I've heard about this place - but this is the first time I've actually BEEN here.

I guess maybe I was having a bad day last Friday - one of those "spin your wheels" kind of days where no matter how much you do it seems like nothing is getting done! The kids were not being cooperative (read: not doing what I wanted them to do at a speed that satisfied me) and I reached the proverbial boiling point, or took that last straw on my camel back and I'd simply had enough.

I try to be very careful about the threats I make - knowing full well that if I don't follow through and make good on them I've lost all credibility with my kids. But there are times (on occasion) that I speak without actually thinking about how the consequence will effect ME in the end.

This was one of those times.

Have you ever almost been able to see your words leaving your mouth like the smoke rings from that bong toting caterpillar in the Alice In Wonderland movie? This is what was happening to me - and just like the smoke rings, I couldn't snatch them back. I heard myself saying, "if you can't take care of your property I'll remove it so that you don't have to worry over it anymore - I'll strip this room down so fast you'll think you're in prison!"

And the reply I got was, "So... Go ahead - I don't care."

Grrrrrrr..... I hate it when I give myself more work, but the Dr. Phil in me had been awakened.

It had to be done - so I started with having Zachary assist in carrying out his own punishment. We began with him stripping the decidedly male patterned navy, green and maroon plaid sheets from his bed and replacing them with a lovely peach flower motif. Getting the ruffle in the right spot proved to be the most difficult aspect of the task. While he finished remaking his bed I grabbed a box and emptied his book shelf, bedside table, hat rack and closet rod. Even the blocks spelling his name and his baby pictures were removed. His underwear drawer was emptied except for one extra pair of tightie whities and a pair of socks. His favorite camo clothing was replaced with one of my hot pink T-shirts and a pair of sweat pants.

The only books we left for him were the ones that Jacob likes to read and his Bible and lesson quarterly. (We were hoping for some sort of conversion experience here...)

The menu for dinner also changed. Now instead of Eggplant Parmesan he was having bread with peanut butter, raw broccoli, an apple and a glass of milk. (I won't be needing any comments about how he got the better end of the deal there...)
Initially, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth, but then things settled down... improved even, when he realized mom was really serious. After the other kids had gone to bed he came to me to talk about some things that had been troubling his heart and I think he actually listened. In fact, I KNOW he did because he took my advice and applied it (with positive results!) earlier this week. Go me!

I let up a bit and didn't make him wear the pink T-shirt to church, but he didn't get to wear what he wanted. Instead of his blue blazer, dress shirt and tie and black cowboy boots, he wore what he calls his nerd outfit - the polo shirt with coordinating sweater vest and his black sneakers. I couldn't help but beam when the head deacon asked if Zachary could assist in taking up the offering. He'd already asked me if he could sit in the mother's room where nobody would see him :0)

Saturday night and Sunday weren't easy with him basically being on bed arrest, but on the other hand, he was doing a lot of reading.

Things are easing up a bit - but he's still sans his property and clothes are doled out one outfit at a time (my choice). And the best part is, now when I ask him to do something, and he starts with the whining, I just tilt my head and wrinkle my brow and I hear, "never mind - I'll just do what you said mom."

I'm also benefiting from the trickle down effect it's having on the other two.

The biggest drawback is that I was so distracted as I was dealing with Zachary that I completely missed Michaela climbing up in my bathroom cabinet, getting down my haircutting supplies and whacking a big chunk out of her bangs - three weeks before she's a flower girl again...


Sunday, October 7, 2007

358 Left

I'm a week into my 40th year now.

Let me explain to those of you that had some difficulty computing when the millennium began... My 39th birthday was last Sunday - so I'm now 358 days from the 40th anniversary of my natal day.

My 39th year wasn't too bad. I don't have much to complain about, and I won't bore you with those complaints here. If you know me well you've already figured out how to ignore them anyway.

I had a fairly uneventful birthday - which isn't a bad thing at all. There are years that this is a welcome thing. The last several months have been so full (and the end of the year promises to be full as well) that not having a cake, candles or the birthday song is just fine by me.

I've talked to my husband for years about how neat I think it is that my friend Stacie's husband will go into her scrap room and make cards for her using her tools and supplies. It's finally paid off :0) This year Brian made me a little coupon book. He printed the medium blue cover and mustard yellow pages on the printer (using a cute font...) and then held them all together with black fabric covered brads. I'd take a photo and post - but there was a lot of identity theft type info on the front.

The coupons were for "a haircut, mani/pedi and massage" and for a "girls day out", which he quickly informed me was taking place THAT day. I had already arranged to go to a crop with my local scrappy friends at Journey Lane in Fredericksburg. But I was glad to just have the day without kids - so I agreed.

My wonderful mother-in-law gave me a great hand mixer that I had been admiring. It's a KitchenAid that I had an opportunity to try out when I was in L.A. last April. I was impressed with the amount of power it packed in such a lightweight package. Since I received it early (in August) I've had a chance to use it several times and I'm still impressed.

I also got a neato surprise from my friend Maria - she sent me an awesome adhesive gun that she bought at our mutual friend Christina's online scrappy store. I've been admiring these for awhile now and have actually been DOING some scrapping - so figured it was time to get myself one - and I fully intended to - but Maria beat me to it! Thanks Maria! And for the cherry on top - Christina put in a fat jar of Prima flowers to add to my collection. Living with a girly girl there is always room for more flowers.

And finally, I treated myself to a few things while I was there at Journey Lane. Not a lot - but a few nice things. Mostly paper (is there EVER enough???) and some items I picked up for projects I'm making for other people. I provided my own birthday "cake" making a trip two doors down from the scrapbook store to the Fredericksburg Bakery for a cherry fruit ring, some pecan pinwheels and chocolate dipped shortbread cookies (diet be damned...) to share. Unfortunately - there weren't as many croppers as we expected - and I had to eat way too much... Then when I got home my family had already eaten dinner, so my sweet hubby took me to Mamacita's for take out fajitas and then took care of the kids while I watched Desp. Housewives. I did a little extra time in the gym the next morning.

So I'm on my way to 40 now. Bring it on - I'm ready! Those of you that know him can remind my husband that it's coming up soon - and he'd better get the band booked and the hall rented ;0)

Monday, October 1, 2007


I saw something very powerful yesterday. I got an email with a link to a video clip. Some days I look at them right away and some days I wait a bit - just depends on how busy I am, who's in the room at the time, who it's from - things like that. This particular clip was prefaced with a hope that it would strengthen my relationship with Christ.

The clip is of a skit done at an apparent youth rally called Winterfest, last winter in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's performed with the song Everything by Lifehouse. I'd never heard of them - but I enjoyed their sound.

After viewing the clip I looked up the lyrics on the web.
Everything by Lifehouse.

Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light that's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

You are the strength that keeps me walking.

You are the hope that keeps me trusting.

You are the light to my soul.

You are my're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.

You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.

You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.

Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

'Cause you're all I want, You're all I need

You're everything, everything

You're all I want you're all I need

You're everything, everything.

And How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?


Now - YOU should watch the clip. It appears right above this post (Oct. 3) and always at the bottom of the page.

I received a slightly different message than was probably intended when I watched. My original viewing was a little choppy, so I went looking for another one online. I found MANY more clips. The original clip on You Tube has been viewed well over 1.1 million times. And that's just this particular one. The skit has be "copied" by youth groups all over - wanting the share the important message. It seems the goal is to bring an awareness to the things that are out there attacking our kids.
  • Sexual promiscuity - or self worth found in a relationship (physical or not) with someone else.
  • The want of money
  • Drugs like alcohol - giving the promise popularity, release and "fun"
  • Self worth found in our physical appearance. The need to be like "everybody" else and do whatever it takes (including forcing ourselves to purge)
  • Self injury (like "cutting") - which has affected more of the youth in America than we care to admit and of course the end all beat all
  • Suicide - Giving in to the lie that there is no Hope.

But there is a Hope.

It starts out pretty much like a lot of skits do - it's nice. Looks like there will be a nice moral at the end.

We have a Creator that provides everything for us. He started the beating of our hearts. We were so close to Him that we could move in harmony with Him. He provided food, water, beauty in the things He's made only for our pleasure like the flowers and birds. He gave us everything we needed - and we were happy. We danced. How could it be any better than this?

Then we become distracted - something comes between us and Christ. The affection or flattery of someone else, perhaps. Our feeling of inadequacy (thrown at us by satan - telling us we were unfulfilled and need something, or someone, more) begins and we turn to be fulfilled elsewhere. We turn our focus from Jesus and now we dance somewhere else. Now there's a distance.

But He's still there.

Maybe it was money. Who couldn't use a little more money? As I viewed this I wasn't thinking of doing something immoral to get money - just the pursuit of it. If I just worked a little harder or a little longer. If I had a better degree... What's wrong with wanting to better yourself and make life a little "easier"? But now that has become a distraction and pulled us farther away. Now there is something else between us and Jesus.

But He's still there.

Maybe now we need a break - we need to forget or need the feeling of just not worrying about the stuff of life for awhile. We need to escape. The quick fix is drugs or alcohol. Ultimately it just exponentially multiplies the problems. And we're farther away now. It's hard to even see Jesus any more.

But He's still there.

We let the world tell us how we should feel about ourselves. We're just never good enough. Not pretty enough or talented enough. We're not smart enough or thin enough. If we were, then everything would be OK again. So to fix this we shove our fingers down our throats - to make things better? We're farther away again - and we're losing Hope.

But He's still right there. Begging us to come back - calling to us and holding out His open arms.

Our feelings of inadequacy have overtaken us. We hate ourselves and what we've become. There are a lot of things we can do - a lot of red flags we can raise - trying to get someones attention. Some (more than I realized) use self injury. Of course this only makes things worse again. Then satan comes in and tells us we're hopeless. We've gotten so far away we can never get back - and even if we did we've screwed things up so badly there's no point. No point in even going on.

This is the oldest battle. Good and evil. Jesus won it though. The outcome has already been determined. The only thing satan can do now is take God's children from Him. That's the absolute worst thing he can do to hurt God. Take them. Distract them. Put as much distance between them and God as possible and then kill them before they hear Jesus voice calling them back and return to the safety of His arms.

satan doesn't care WHAT it is that keeps us from Christ. I've told my kids - if the devil's not after you trying to discourage you or distract you from your relationship with Jesus - you gotta wonder if that's not because he's not worried about you. He feels like you're already in his back pocket. He'll use whatever tools he needs to get you. It could be drugs, alcohol, pride, fame, flattery, success or doing good for others even. It doesn't matter what it is... it just needs to distract us from Jesus. Just long enough.

And Jesus is still there. He's never moved - WE'RE the ones that have moved farther and farther away. He's still there with wide open arms.

But what if we hear God's voice calling to us? And we throw down whatever gun is about to destroy us and run back to Him? Is that it?

NO. satan won't let go that easily. Every hook will be put into our flesh, every road block will come down - every distraction is thrown in our path - anything to keep us from getting back to where we NEED to be. Every force of darkness is pushing us back telling us we'll never make it, we'll never be good enough and it's too late.

And this is where I started sobbing.

She wants to get back. She feels the tug - the pull - Jesus is pulling her back, fighting for her life. And she's fighting and doing everything in her power to get back what she had. But it's not enough. There's no way that she can ever defeat satan and break his hold on her.

But when she calls out to be saved Jesus steps in and shields her. She's broken free and HE takes on everything that was keeping her from Him. She relies on Him for protection and safety. She can finally feel peace and restoration. She has accepted the gift. Jesus said He'd fight for her if she'd just give up her own fight and accept His victory. And that battle is over. The power of darkness is defeated and cast off.

He picks her up and brushes her off. Their relationship is restored. Hope is restored.

And they dance again.

It wasn't too late for her.

It moves me to tears every time I view it. And I've lost count of how many times I've seen it now. What a powerful witness. Not only for teens - but for any of us that have let anything come between us and Christ.

Praise God - He fights for us. Fights to reach us and then fights our battles for us. If we'll let Him.

My Mom sent me this quote taken from the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings on page 71.

"The Father's presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell
Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here
was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of
Christ, abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Savior
who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him
except by our Lord's permission, and 'all things' that are permitted 'work
together for good to them that love God. '" Romans 8:28
There is another good version of this video here. Share it - give someone Hope. Since I started writing this a couple of hours ago there have been another 20,000 hits on the version that I originally viewed.

Another side story... Yesterday I was so moved by this that I immediately wanted to share it on my blog. I cleaned up the blog - reduced the number of posts on the page - and tried to add the code of the video.

My computer locked up. Wouldn't move.
Every time I tried to log back in to You Tube to get the code IE would just disappear and my email program would shut down.

I re-booted my puter twice. Same results. I'd never seen it do this before. I'd type the first "w" of the web address and IE would disappear again and the email would shut down.

My 7 year old said, "satan doesn't want you to put that on your blog mom."

So we anointed the computer through prayer!!! And there you have it. Praise the Lord!
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