Thursday, March 30, 2006

Breaking up is hard to do

Wendy sent me this picture of William today, she’s trying to break him of his beloved “Elly”. Elly, if you cannot tell, is a hybrid – part elephant/part blanket. He has been with Will since the beginning and is his thumb-sucking buddy. Like an old married couple, they can’t remember what it’s like to spend the night apart. Will systematically inserts his thumb into his mouth, while his other little fingers grasp Elly’s worn and tattered blue tusk.

Unfortunately, Elly is wrecking havoc on Will’s teeth. Assuming that Will would like to continue to house his front teeth on the inside of his mouth, Elly has simply got to go.

My heart breaks for Will because I know how difficult it is to change habits, we all do. Whether it’s giving up something that we shouldn’t be doing, like smoking cigarettes or eating sweets, or doing something that we should be doing, like exercising; change aint easy. Mama never said it would be.

I’m inspired by Will to work on some of my bad habits. If Will can quit Elly without even realizing why Elly isn’t good for him, surely I can change a habit that I know isn’t good for me. Where to begin, though? My life seems like one big bad habit. I don’t eat healthy enough, I don’t spend money wisely, I don’t exercise, I don’t spend enough time in the Bible, I don’t spend enough time reading to the kids, …I could go on!

Is that how bad habits start? When you’re two you only have one bad habit, by the time your thirty-two, your whole life is one bad habit after the next?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

AuntieWendyitis

Last week the kids came down with a case of "AuntieWendyitis". It's a rare affliction in which the children want nothing to do with their biological parents, but instead opt to spend every waking moment with their Auntie Wendy. Pictured left, they're testing out massage chairs in the furniture store.

Really though, what's not to love about Wendy? Who else serves up hot chocolate with whipped cream in a shot glass with shamrocks all over it? All the kids were in heaven as they sipped the warm chocolate treat in their "tiny cups". The caption of this photo: "To Wendy".

...Wendy even works her magic on baby neices. Here she is at Chuck E Cheese, taking Amaya on her first Barney ride!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Don't read until Monday!

I know you won't wait, no one ever listens to me, but you're only doing yourself a disservice if you read this on any other day of the week.

Paul Miller recently sent Jerms and I an e-mail letting us know that his son John is looking for work as a graphic designer. I guess he figured that since we're both in HR/recruitment, there would be a chance that we could get his son some play on his resume. Anyway, his extremely talented son set up a website, sort of an e-resume, which I spent way too much time reading through this morning. Below is a commentary he wrote in his "Mondays" column (which I adore):

Monday Morning.
Waking up for on a Monday morning is like trying to pump yourself up for a root canal.
When I was in college in my freshman year I took three classes in a row: one at 8:30, 9:30, and a 10:30. I had to do it that way because I was a loser freshman and had no choice. By the time I got to my 10:30 class I would sit in the middle of the front row, right in front of the professor, to scare myself into staying awake.
I was fast asleep 15 minutes into his lecture each day. Somehow I managed to get a C in the class. When I got the grade a bubble image of Cookie Monster came into my head singing, "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me," over and over again.
My senior year at Calvin I worked as a Graphic Designer at the Acton Institute, a conservative think tank, in Grand Rapids. I would roll out of bed, put on my suit and tie, drive downtown, take the elevator to my floor, and go into the bathroom. I would stare at myself trying to imagine it was noon and I was wide awake with tons of energy.
I was trying to pump myself up for my first human to human encounter of the day.
To this day, waking up, and thinking nice thoughts about people is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Ask any of my roommates if "Morning John" is pleasant to be around.
One morning one of my roommates said to me, "John, if you wake up, and realize that everyone is a jerk, most likely, your the jerk."
Martin Luther called his body "brother ass." There are the things he wants to do (like being nice on a Monday morning) and there are the things that his body does like it or not (like being a jerk on a Monday morning).
I was reading Blue like Jazz this weekend. Don has a great chapter on what's wrong with the world and his conclusion is right on the money. He describes himself protesting President Bush holding up a sign about a social justice issue coming to realize that his sign is totally wrong and stupid. The sign should have read: I'm the problem.
Then he quotes this beautiful poem by C.S. Lewis:
All this flashy rhetoric about loving you
I never had a selfless thought since I was born
I am mercenary and self seeking through and through;
I want God, you, and all my friends to serve my turn
Peace, reassurance, and pleasure are the goals I seek
I can not craw one inch outside my proper skin
I talk of love - scholar's parrot may talk Greek -
But self imprisoned always end where I begin

My roommate is right. The hardest part about Monday morning isn't my job, my family, or my responsibilities, it's me.
Could you imagine a world where we all knew the basic fundamental truth that what's wrong with the world isn't that other guy, but that it's me? That I'm the one that needs to change?
I think that's why I'm so attracted to Jesus. He's the only one I've ever met who can't relate to this disease, yet he's the most powerful and gentle voice on the topic.
It takes me a while to realize this truth. And in that small moment when I do, all I really want to do with an already crappy Monday is crawl back into bed and wait for Tuesday. When I realize this fundamental truth about how broken I am, how can any one of us get up and face the day?
Have you ever been out on a date and you know the other person isn't really interested in you but they are just being polite? Not that that has ever happened to me, but I hear it's a pretty horrible feeling. My roommate told me.
Have you ever been on a date with someone way out of your league, and yet they, by some freak of nature, are totally into you? Not that that has ever happened to any of us, but I hear it's a pretty good feeling.
That's how I feel about Jesus. I'm late. I'm grumpy. By accident, he overheard me yelling at the cab driver. I didn't iron my shirt. The skinny part of my tie is sticking out from under the fat part. And I just wish I could disappear into the floor boards or hit the reset button and try again. It worked in Mario Brothers.
And each time, to my utter surprise, Jesus sits across from me so excited to have my company that I forget about my wrinkled t-shirt and just talk about my day, my struggles, and my desires.
And he speaks back: words of life, words that have power to help me with my horrible disease.
And instead of going home and hitting the reset button he helps me iron my shirt and try and love someone other than myself that day. It's the most beautiful thing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What really went down at O'Malley's Bar...

I’m obviously overwhelmed with life; my blog is dying. Last night I was thinking about that song: “if you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain..” That’s such a crazy song; it’s actually a story, a crazy story. Click on the link and read the words, it's nuts!

Let’s see, so you’re tired of your wife so you respond to a personal ad and it turns out that your wife wrote the ad you responded to and then you guys just laugh about it and talk about how you never knew that you both enjoyed pina coladas? Ahh, I don’t think so.

In the real world the guy would be like “I can’t believe that you were about to cheat on me!”, then she’d respond, “Well what were YOU doing reading the personal ads, obviously you were about to cheat on ME!”, then the guy says, “I only responded to the ad because I knew it was you!” (which is a total lie). Then they get into a fight, make a scene in O’Malleys bar and wind up in divorce court.

Don’t even respond to this blog, it’s not worthy of your time.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Maine, Alabama ?

I'm sure there's a country song out there somewhere that would give a better caption to this photograph than I can. Since I'm not a country music fan, I'll just shut up and post the picture of my beautiful nephew William.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Question..

Maya Angelou said this:

"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights”

…what would Maya Angelou think about you?


I'd probably pass the rainy day test and I think I'd do alright in the lost luggage scenario, but my lack of patience would be evident once she saw me stuff the lights in the trash and head off to Target to buy new ones, while mumbling something under my breath about "someone" not putting the lights away properly last year.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Saturday

On Saturday the girls took a walk to Rita's and enjoyed our first water ice of the season while the boys went bike riding at Alvethorpe park. Amelle and I enjoyed our Strawberry-Kiwi water ices and had pink tongues to prove it.

Avery had his first swim lesson on Saturday morning. The class had actually started last week, but his mom forgot to take him....something about being consumed with the thought of getting a "B" in one of her classes (which ended up being false anyway). I'm a mess.

Amaya spent most of the day out on the front porch sleeping and enjoying the fresh air. I kind of felt bad about leaving her in her carseat all day, ...but not that bad. It was nice to have two free hands. Jerms washed and cleaned out both cars and was happy to "do what normal people do" on the weekends.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Down to the wire...

Yesterday marked the third time in the last few weeks that Kristy has come in to work, walked into my office, stood in front of my desk, looked down at me, and said “You’ve got a gray, let me get it”. Then she proceeds to pluck the wirey offending hair from my head.

What’s worse, is that I’m losing a ton of hair right now because of the post-pregnancy hormone thing. So not only am I getting gray, but I’m also going bald.

Nice.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

SOLD!

A true testimony to God’s presence in our life and to the power of prayer!

We put a “for sale” sign on the lawn last Wednesday (the same day our phone line went out of service for 3 days) and by Sunday we were signing a buyer/seller agreement for our house after showing it to only 2 people. God even provided babysitters while we held the open house (Seth & Nancy graciously took Avery & Amelle to see Curious George). They walked back in the house as we were signing the last of the contracts.

Over the last two days Jermaine and I have been filled with such joy and appreciation. We’re practically floating on air, after having been stressed about selling the house for the last couple months. It’s so funny, with the stress lifted, we’re walking around like newlyweds, “I love you”, “No, I love you more”… “Oh no, that couldn’t possibly be, because I love you more than anything”…. it’s admittedly sickening.

We’re closing in just 3 weeks and the buyers are great! - A wonderful, young family! They absolutely love the house, in fact, they said that they felt honored that we picked them to sell our house to! As much as I love my house, I am at peace with leaving it in the hands of a family that loves it and will take care of it. The transaction couldn’t be more perfect; God took care of all of the details.

Anyone got any boxes?!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Irish Wisdom

I have to admit, I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who has a “saying” for every occasion. I want to be that wise old sage that passes on wisdom in the form of clever anecdote. I want my children to say, “my mother always said ______” (fill in the blank with something packed with practical wisdom that can be passed down through the ages …something besides, “no eating in the living room”).

Unfortunately I can’t remember any wise sayings or anecdotes. Wisdom seems to go in one ear and out the other. Heck, I can barely remember my kids names (Avery answers to “Fred” and Amelle answers to “Pumpkin Pie”). Whenever I do try to use sayings, I either do so inappropriately or I mess up the words altogether. …“A bird in the hand is worth something in the pot”, “that’s the kettle calling the pot fat”. I’m a mess.

Well, in celebration of Irish-American Heritage Month (made official, not by President Kennedy, but by “W”), here are some Irish Proverbs that I’m going to try to memorize and get right!

I complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet

A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea

A hair on the head is worth two in the brush

Poverty waits at the gates of idleness

If you want praise, die. If you want blame, marry.

Who gossips with you will gossip of you

Lie down with dogs and you'll rise with fleas.

Hunger is a good sauce

Heaven's leac na teine (stone before the fire) is reserved for the poor.

Melodious is the closed mouth.

Who keeps his tongue keeps his friends

There's nothing so bad that it couldn't be worse.

Life is a strange lad.

If God sends you down a stony path, may he give you strong shoes.

So don’t be surprised if you hear me exclaim “Who keeps his tongue is a strange lad”, or “a hair on the head is worth a salmon in the sea”. I know the chances of me becoming that wise old lady are slim, I know my limitations. I’ll probably go down as the coo coo that never made any sense.

I’ll leave you with my favorite:

May those who love us love us. And those that don't love us, May God turn their hearts. And if He doesn't turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles, So we'll know them by their limping.