Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A bi-polar Christmas.

My daughter has referred to Christmas 2012 as our "Bi-polar" Christmas.  Up and down, up and down.   On December 3rd, I should have heard that roller coaster "click, click click" that always proceeds the loop-de-loops.

Ryan jammed his finger at school.  That was it.  A simple injury, nothing more.  Then Jon got sick.  He stopped going to school December 5th, and although we tried, he could never get well enough to return to class.  Then Ryan got sick.  Then Ryan got sick again and landed in the emergency room.  And then things got worse.

Not for my family, but for a family I have never met, I probably never will, but because of my job and connected friends I know more than I should about their pain and their loss.  My daughter is crying and her heart is breaking, not because she lost a close friend but because so many of her friends lost a close friend and she has never experienced this kind of gut wrenching grief from the second row.  It isn't fair.  It isn't right.  It shouldn't have happened to anyone. 

We both sat at Midnight Mass, crying, laughing and praying.  It was a strange hour as so many different emotions swept through our heart.   I kept telling myself to just push through.  We did.  We went home and opened gifts and laughed and experienced the joy that Christ was born, to save us all.

Soon, I hope, I will stop crying long enough to pray about God's will.  I am ready for a come to Jesus with those sitting behind the big desks. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Miracle #2

A couple years ago, when our washing machine went on strike for having to work overtime, I began washing clothes across the street at a local Laundromat.  My four children thought this was the height of fun (shows how pathetically we attempt to entertain them) and always wanted to accompany me.

Of course it was only after we arrived and loaded all the machines with our dirty laundry that I realized I had forgotten the laundry soap at home.  I told my kids we would walk to the convenience store next door to grab some snacks and some detergent, but as we headed for the door a man approached and stopped me.

"Do you need some soap?", he asked.  I said yes but we were headed next door to buy a bottle.  He handed me is half empty jug of soap and said, "Here.  You can have the rest of mine. I am done with everything I have to do."  Gosh, how nice of him.  Was he sure? Yes, he replied that it was fine.  I thanked him and filled our machines, plugged in the quarters and turned to give him his soap back but he was gone.

I grabbed the kids and we headed next door for drinks and chips, but as we walked into the store we all froze.  The cashier was doubled over, her forehead was bleeding and another teenage employee looked to be in shock and wasn't moving. 

We had just missed being smack dab in the middle of a store robbery and, in fact, if the nice man hadn't stopped and offered his laundry soap all four of my children would have been with me, in the store, during the robbery.  We arrived in time to assist the cashier, get ice for her head and call 911, but missed the robbery itself.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Anything for our Kids.

I had said and have heard others say "I would do anything for my children."  And I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  Would I really do anything for my children?  Would I step in front of a bullet?...I hope so.  Would I wrestle a bear?...probably.  Would I punch another little kid in the face for bullying one of my precious bundles...without a doubt.

Is that everything?  No. Of course it isn't.  Would I really do ANYTHING for my children?  How about change who I am...

I don't really have to change anything at this point in my life.  I have a super duper husband whom I love.  I have great kids and a job that I enjoy.  I am almost 40 and my character development is ready to grab the t.v. remote, sit back with a bag of Doritos and take a sweet afternoon nap. 

Uh, whoops.  Hang on a second and lets put down the Doritos.  Am I willing, really truly willing, to step out of my comfort zone and do something great for my children? 

For example:

Am I willing to get up at 5am and go with them to the gym?  Am I willing to exercise along side of them, knowing that healthy habits mirrored by their parents are more likely to stick?  Am I willing to put down the crap food and pick up the broccoli, knowing that actions speak more loudly than words?  Would I do anything for my children?

Am I willing to put down my evening book or shut off the movie I am watching and encourage my family to come together for prayers and time for God.  I am ashamed but will admit that my boys nighttime prayers last night were said inbetween episodes of Avatar.  I actually said, "Lets say your prayers real quick before your show starts again."  Have mercy on my soul.

The answer is no, but I hope it turns to a yes.  I want to be a mother who would do anything for her children.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

To Never Be Quiet

I am raising my children to be activists.  It didn't start out this way, for a long time I just wanted to find a way for our family to fit in somewhere.  Now I know, and am comfortable with, the fact that we just don't fit in.  We are a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural family with odd priorities and strange views of the world.  It used to bother me but why fight what you are really proud of?

Injustice is so clear to children.  They don't have a lot of external responsibilities or burdens, so their vision of the world is not muddled with bills and schedules and prejudices.  I trust my children when they see something is wrong that needs to be corrected. 

Next week my  quiet, unassuming daughter, Jessica, will be attending the PETA rally downtown and I will be driving her there.  She has been a vegan and animal rights activist for over a year now and I couldn't be more proud of who she is.  She withstands a lot of teasing in our home as we threaten to put pork in her salad, but we are all really impressed with all she has sacrificed.  We all know, don't we, that animals suffer horrible abuse just so we can get our $1.00 hamburger?  I may be too lazy and stupid to change my ways but I will support my daughter as she tries to change the world and drive her wherever she needs to go to do it. 

I am proud when Rachel refuses to take money from parents for tutoring their children.  She believes that all children should be able to read and parents shouldn't have to pay for it.  A couple times a week she sets time aside to tutor kids in our neighborhood and I am so thankful that she does.  She and Jessica both are looking forward to careers that bring justice and hope to those who have neither.

My boys are coming into their own, recognizing that which is unfair and oppressive.  They are developing empathy for those around them and a desire to help.  My son Jon, who is currently a brown belt in karate and can throw a pretty damaging punch, won't throw it.  After a year of bullying and some pretty stressful moments, he hangs on to the fact that hitting is wrong.  He forgives and prays and does his best not to hold grudges.  And although both my boys are still pretty young, I can't wait to see where their focus lands.

We will never be a silent family, and really, why would we want to be?  I am a very proud mother/ wife and very thankful to God for His work in them.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wow! Do I Suck.

Not gonna lie, it has been a rough two weeks.  Physically and emotionally I have been stretched to my limits and, sad to say, I am still not a candidate for sainthood.  Apparently adding  just a wee bit more to my already full plate of activities and anxieties is enough to push me over the edge and send me on  a sinning spree.  

Ugh I hate this side of me.  The short tempered, demanding, snapping, cranky, gossiping, unforgiving, judgmental, un-compassionate side of me that, a few years ago, used to dominate my personality.  Now it usually only makes a brief appearance on really hot days in traffic. But the past two weeks I let the beast loose.  I hurt people that I love.  I hurt people that were already weak and hurting.  I was mean to my friends and to my family.  I embarrassed myself.  The wake of damage is wide and I am so sorry I can hardly stand it. 

I finally called it quits yesterday when I noticed my ever-patient spouse was losing it with me.  There are days, and this is one of them, when I am almost convinced that God's mercy is so close I can practically breathe it in. 

If you were one of the victims of my misery, words cannot express the regret and sorrow I feel that I made things more difficult for you and caused you pain.  I pray that you will forgive me. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I won't tell.

I can't say what I need to say. In a somewhat pathetic attempt to avoid pride and selfish behavior, I just can't say everything that is going on.  The good and the great and my bad; they are all sitting here in my head and on my heart and I can't talk about them to anyone.

The frustrating thing is how badly I want to talk about it. But there is a chance that someone will credit me for these miracles and those are dangerous waters for me to be swimming in.  It is too easy to say, "yep, I am pretty great.".  Taking credit comes so naturally for me and before I know it I am going to be wandering around Israel for 40 thanks.   So I can't say anything.  As much as I would like to. 

The other, even more, frustrating thing is how much I want people to hear what is going on in my life.  How incredible God is and how I am convinced, more than ever before, that He loves us all.  I am so grateful and I am not sure if I have ever been sincerely grateful for anything in my whole life.   It is a vulnerable state to be of gratitude. But that is where I am tonight; sitting outside, watching the 4 most amazing children on the planet; in a state of gratitude and amazement for God, for His mercy and for His love.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Goodbye Tulsa Zoo

I can’t remember a summer in the past 16 years that our family has not gone to the Tulsa Zoo at least once.  Several years ago we began purchasing their family zoo pass and we were there in the sun, the rain and the snow.  I am very sad to say that these days are about over  The Tulsa Zoo has gone from a relaxing, enjoyable way to spend time with my family to one big downer of a day. 
Unless you are ready to spend a couple hundred bucks or only have one child, be prepared to say “No” a whole, whole lot.  I used to have to say no only one time, as we walked by the gift shop.  Now I say no to:

The Gift Shop
The Second Gift Shop
The Rock and Mineral Dig
The Camel Rides
The Rock Climb
Whatever that frog game is next to the rock climb
A food cart every 200 feet or so
A multitude of penny and 3.00 coin machines
And just when you think you are safe, a final gift shop-cart near the parking lot.

Today I also got to say no to 3 buildings that were shut down. Nope can’t go see Nanuk or the Cave or the Florescent Lights Display.  The exchange center, their very favorite place, was closed too.

Somewhere between the WAY overpriced fun and food, the terrible smells, the displays that are always under construction and that bear who looks like he needs antidepressants, I realized that we are done.  I don’t like having to spend an entire day saying no, no, no to my kids. Tulsa is a great city.  We will find something else to do.