Saturday, February 24, 2018

Things That Keep Me Awake at Night

    Mr. Pepper and I got some nice sturdy oak furniture when we got married many moons ago. It's still nice and solid, but the years of use have not been kind to the varnish. Last summer I decided it's time to strip off the old varnish and redo them.
    I spent quite a bit of time researching the how-to's of furniture stripping and armed with the knowledge I found on the internet I went to buy the needed supplies. Steel wool, scrapers, sand paper, and a jug of orange stripping gel.
    I labored over that furniture daily. It was a lot of hard work, but I was pleased with the results. It was soon clear that I would need to by more of the stripping compound in order to finish the project.
    On the top of my shopping list I scribbled "stripper gunk" and when Mr. Pepper and I went shopping later that week I got some more.
    A few days later one of our friends called. Her husband was out of state on business and she was having some type of mechanical issue. Would Mr. Pepper please come to her rescue?
     I joined Mr. Pepper as he went to see if he could help out. It didn't take him long to discover what the problem was. A certain part had to be ordered. "Do you have a piece of paper to write the part number down?" he asked me.
     My purse is usually loaded with anything you can think of, but in all my rummaging through it all I came up with was my used shopping list with neat little check marks next to all the items.
     Mr. Pepper took it, scribbled the part number down, and to my consternation, handed it to our friend so she can order it.
     The words "stripper gunk" seemed to grow bigger and bolder at the top of that paper and I wanted to disappear.
     Last night I woke up with that memory going through my mind, and I shuddered in embarrassment again as I wondered what awful images went through our friend's mind when she read those words.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, New Resolutions

    For years I used to resist the whole making resolutions for the new year. Why wait for a new year to start bettering yourself, and work toward goals? I saw it as an excuse people use to not start losing weight now, not worrying about breaking a bad habit or building a good one. A procrastinator's dream really, this whole new year's resolution racket.
    Somehow though things have changed a little. I still don't think it's a good idea to push off bettering yourself until a new year, but I am enjoying creating my own list of things I want to accomplish in the new year.
     The past few years the children and I have set goals we want to achieve. Learning some new craft or cooking technique and various other enjoyable things. We broke those lists down into more manageable monthly goals and month by month we would enjoy learning something new.
     Last night found me putting the finishing touches on my list for 2018.
     One item in particular stood out to me. It was 'Read more. At least 26 books.'
     How did that ever get to be a goal? Me, the complete bookworm. As a teen I was on bed rest for quite a while following an accident and I devoured four books a day. Even after I got married I still read voraciously. Nursing a baby? I'd read. Putting a toddler down for a nap? Books to the rescue as I lay on bed waiting for them to fall asleep. Evenings after dinner? Read. Bathroom breaks? Time to read. Sunday afternoons? Read, read, read.
     Somehow though with passing time I started reading less and less. Other than the Bible my reading in 2017 consisted of six books. S.I.X. Six! A day and a half worth of books in my teenage years. I miss it, and have decided to intentionally focus on reading more once again.
     How about you? Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Prayer .... Fun?!!!

      Opening my email this morning the subject line of a new email immediately jumped out at me. Turn Prayer Time into Monstrous Fun! It fairly shouted at me, and I recoiled in my chair.
      It was from a homeschooling newsletter I subscribe to. I hovered over the delete button, but then decided to read the email first. They were sharing books about little monsters who pray, to get your children excited about praying and how much fun it can be.
      Reading the newsletter didn't make me feel any better about the subject line. How have we become a nation of "Christians" who need and seek entertainment ALL.THE.TIME. A generation who is all about feelings and fun.
      When I teach/taught our children to pray, fun was the last thing that entered my mind. No, I didn't and won't approach it with the mindset of what can I get out of this, let's have fun. No, no, no!
     Our heavenly Father deserves much more than that. I don't approach Him to have fun, and there is no way I'll be teaching that to our children.
    I want a relationship with Him. I want to worship Him. Talk to Him about anything and everything. Pour out my praises, present my requests and pleas. Feel the joy in His presence and awe at the wonder He saved us.  .... But fun ... no, never! It's so much greater and better than fun!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

MLM and Dr. Suess

     Our youngest loves Dr. Seuss. When ever we go to the library he will head straight to the shelf that holds the Dr. Seuss books and he'll select a few to bring home. His favorite is a 3-in-1 book, and he'll check it out every single time it's there. I've read it to him so often that I basically have it memorized.

    As I was sitting there the other night, reading it to him once again, my thoughts ventured off the pages I was reading and connected the message of the story to life.

    I've addressed MLM (multi level marketing) before, but as I was reading about King Looie Katz for the 100th time and I couldn't help but connect it to those involved in the MLM community. The way to make a living is to sign people up. Yes some people make a great living doing this, but what about the people that sign up much later, after most of their friends have already heard about it and either signed up, or made up their minds it's not for them.

In the MLM scene I definitely identify most with the small cat at the end of the line, the cat who has had enough, the cat who refuses to go walking all over Katzenstein keeping other cats' tails from dragging on the ground.

The story goes on with all the cats realizing that they should each take care of their own tails instead of getting their friends to carry them around.
I don't see that happening with all my MLM obsessed friends, but it's a pleasant thought. Maybe someday.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hills and Valleys

    So far 2017 has been an intense year, but in the midst of everything I have found my faith strengthened. I've been working on letting go, and letting God. I'm still very much a work in progress, but I can see I've come some distance this year, and for that I'm grateful.
    A friend, knowing some of the things we've been facing recommended this song and I have really been enjoying it. Truly God is with us whether we're living on a mountain top or going through the valley, and a Christian life has it's fair share of both. Right now I feel caught in a whirlwind of both, which is a strange sensation.
    If I focus on only my immediate family I'm on a mountain, but life somehow reaches out and includes so much more. Close friends have lost their children in tragic accidents, siblings going through divorce, my little brother in rehab after being arrested, and that's only touching the tip of the iceberg.
     So I cling to God, hug my babies, cherish the time with my husband, and listen to good music.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When the Heart is Full

     Sometimes my heart is full and yet I find it is a struggle to find the words to utter what is in there.   
     How do I find the words to describe the feelings I have of watching my children grow, spreading their wings, and experiencing new things? It's such a mixture of happiness, sadness, nostalgia, excitement, and fear.
    How do I find the words to describe what I've felt as for the first time in my life I've had to navigate the scary world of court dates, bail bondsmen, and everything the underbelly of America has to offer?
    How do I find the words to describe what I feel when you see broken dreams and promises scattered across your path?
     How do I find the words to describe what it means to have a strong Godly husband next to me? His love and support mean the world to me!
      How do I find the words to describe everything that has been going on in my life?
      So thankful that His mercies are new every morning. God is good all the time!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mrs. Pepper Enchanted

     In the movie, Ella Enchanted, a fairy places a spell on baby Ella, and until the spell is broken she is doomed to obey every command she is given.
     Of course her wicked stepsisters take advantage of this, and tell her to give her the necklace her mother gave her, plus lots of other horrible things, and she does them even though she doesn't want to.
     I can relate to Ella way too well. When I am in the presence of a stronger personality (most of the population, it seems), especially one of these people who automatically tells everyone else what to do, it's like I'm under a spell and I have to do what they say.
     It is awful. And I get furious at myself. But I have no idea how to break the spell.
     When my pastor's wife calls and tells me what parts our children will be playing at the Christmas pageant, I find myself accepting their parts even though we had decided we won't be participating.
      I round the corner at the grocery store and meet the sample lady. She offers me a green seedless grape and even though I don't like them, I find myself reaching out to accept it, and then eat it, and when she tells me they're only .99 a pound this week I put a pack of them into the cart. As I unpack the groceries I could kick myself for buying them, and they languish in the fridge where I force myself to eat a few every day, but the majority of them will spoil before I get them eaten.
     A real estate agent contacted us today about another farm he found that he thought we would be interested in. He was oh, so persuasive and once again I was under that spell. Honestly, it was like something was compelling me to drop everything and go and I had no choice. Finally by a great mental effort I forced myself back to reality, yanked my mouth open, and explained that I can't possibly set up an appointment without discussing it with Mr. Pepper first.
    Maybe there's hope for me yet. Every time I manage to say 'no' feels like a victory.