nonsensical text

Monday, January 29, 2007

unleavened bread

sleeping with bread

Introvert, yup, that’s me. Perhaps, then I should consider yesterday to be a time when I felt most completely myself. But I don’t.

I work in the nursery at church once a month (twice in months with five Sundays). I’m fine with the little ones. Two year olds, bubbles, crayons, Veggie Tales, diaper changes or potty visits - these are all well within my general job description. I don’t have to stretch too far. The problem comes in when you add other adults to the equation. I feel comfortable with how I relate to the little people; I just don’t like having an audience.

Yesterday, one of the moms stayed with her son who was feeling mildly separation anxious. I couldn’t seem to connect to my normal mode of being. When a little one cried for momma and didn’t want to be touched or looked at by anyone else. I felt helpless. I felt like the mom was judging every action to determine whether I was qualified to be left with her son unsupervised, even though he wasn’t the one crying. Normally, the fussy babes are my specialty. Yesterday, being nervous took the reins. I felt so out of touch with myself on the inside, and I couldn’t wait for the service to be over.

I don’t like not feeling comfortable in my own skin. It seems the insecurity multiplies exponentially once the cycle starts.

This exercise forces me to balance my thoughts. If I can so easily identify a time when I felt least like myself, it should be just as simple to identify a single moment when I felt the most like me. I draw a blank. Perhaps this is because I am in a rut. I so badly want the time to be one which shows a more redeeming side of me. I want to revel in a good virtue – a part of me that provokes pride. Yet, I am forced to face the reality that this episode really does reflect, also, the time when I felt the most myself.

Deep under the surface layers, I am no more than a scared child – daily needing the arms of God to comfort me, His voice to speak to the very depths of my being, “Fear not, for I am with you.”


Saturday, January 27, 2007

in search of...something

I am so boring right now! Okay, I didn't need to tell you that. You probably guessed it by my complete lack of content. I am grateful, however, for heat. Yes, after more than a week with no furnace, we are now happily ensconced in toasty warmth. Granted, it never got REALLY cold in here because of the gas stove (bottoming out at around 57 through the day on Friday), but those few degrees can make a huge difference to morale.

The dear husband and I went out for dinner this evening since my birthday is coming up. Neither of us really felt like doing much. Is that age or just laziness?

I was going to write a post the other day entitled "Did you ever wonder?". The problem was, by the time I got to my computer, I forgot what I was wondering about. Pretty pathetic, wouldn't you say?

A parting shot (dinner entertainment courtesy da husband):

Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Fish.

an oldie

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

day old bread – half price

Way back in the B.C. years (before children), I worked in the customer service field. In our training, we were told that the best way to tell someone something negative is to surround it by the positive. Start with the good, end with the good. Be as specific in detail on the good as you are on the bad. I guess, in a way, Jesus is the greatest customer service representative ever. Through His eyes we are able to see the good, the silver lining, enveloping the not so good.

On blessings:
It snowed Sunday night. It wasn’t much snow. The streets weren’t bad. It was our first taste of the white stuff this year. The kids had a ball. We enjoyed a snowball fight yesterday (even though we had to scrounge every surface to come up with enough snow for it). We all had warm coats, gloves, boots, and hot chocolate for the aftermath. If Norman Rockwell could see us now!

On sorrows:
I. Do. Not. Feel. Well. I am battling a rather sore throat and ear issues. I have a migraine and a sinus headache at the same time. I have a lovely mysterious bruise which I somehow went without noticing for several days. I have insomnia.

The dog has had multiple seizures today, complete with severe loss of bladder and bowel control, in various rooms of the house. One seizure occurred immediately before I went to the vet to refill his anti-seizure meds, the rest waited until after I plunked down the cash – having been forced to cough up for the yearly pet insurance renewal as well.

I am behind on schooling. The kids are bouncing off the walls and in staggered stages of sniffly grumpiness. Our furnace died a week ago, and it looks like it is going to need replacing. We just spent a boatload replacing the chimney liner due to complete decay. The house is a mess; the dishes aren’t done; the laundry keeps growing.

I have moments where I just want to curl up in a ball with a warm blanket and be hugged.

On blessings from sorrows:
Like anger toward one’s children which can vanish in a flash of cuteness, the overwhelmed moments are tempered with comfort. More commonly I hear my inner self just coping. I am not coping with Martha Stewart finesse, or even with the more comedic strength of Erma Bombeck, but I am surviving. More than surviving, though, I am thankful.

I may not feel well, but I have felt much worse with colds in my life. Either I have found new strength to deal with illness this year, or the illnesses haven’t been so severe. Large chunks of the day can go by with successful ignoring of symptoms.

If I didn’t have insomnia, N wouldn’t have had such a wakeful aide to his accidental finger slice last night. J’s nightmares could have gone un-hugged away.

The dog’s seizures were, none of them, on the furniture. I built in catch-up time on the lesson plan before starting the school year. The kids who have already gone through the sickies have recovered pretty quickly, so the germies might not have time to mutate before leaving our abode.

The furnace dying allowed us to find out about the chimney issue, which could have had disastrous consequences if our house was more airtight. We have a gas heating stove in the living room which is managing to keep the house from freezing. All of the money being hemorrhaged away is happening at a time when we actually have it (due to planned upcoming home construction projects).

The messy house, while stressful, serves as a reminder of the multitudinous blessings my children are to me. Case in point: Just as the first in a line of service people arrived today, I looked up to the front door to find that its back side was covered with smeared dirt. The perfect imprint of two little gloved hands stood out on the right panel about three feet from the ground. Those little hands won’t stay small for long. Before I can blink, I will have worked myself out of a job.

Even in the moments when I want to curl up with that blanket, I am not alone.

God has given us so much. Yes, I am thankful.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

i should have

Should haves are big on my list. My biggest should have? I should have resolved to procrastinate with extra flair this year. I didn't, but that isn't going to stop me from pushing the boundaries. I'll just have to sleep with bread a day late (and I might even get rid of this pointless entry when I do).

Okay, who's taking bets on me forgetting tomorrow? Rumor has it the Vegas oddsmakers are jubilant about this one!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


6:55 AM - preschool puke

7:55 AM - pop tarts and fruit juice

8:55 AM - correlative conjunctions and kleenex

9:55 AM - dog pills and kibble

10:55 AM - turn off the furnace before it blows

11:55 AM - home from taxi service, mildly hungry sickies

12:55 PM - rate word problems, adverbial phrases, future tense, and the letter x

1:55 PM - adverbial phrases, the water cycle, 3+1=4

2:55 PM - "Mom, could you come pick me up? I'm sick."

3:55 PM - adverbial phrases, cannon fire, Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Indian, Happy Feet

4:55 PM - adverbial phrases, the Constitution, chicken and rice

5:55 PM - the Constitution, oops, forgot to turn the oven on, cough-sputter

6:55 PM - food, Mythbusting pirates

7:55 PM - forced labor (a.k.a. tooth brushing of the masses)

8:55 PM - "get back in bed!"

9:55 PM - more blankets, older child round-up

10:55 PM - more meds, IM oldest to go to sleep

11:55 PM - type evidence of non-production, IM oldest to go to sleep

beyond: bash oldest with frying pan to induce sleep?


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

anxiety, anecdotes, and apology

Homeschooling brings about some interesting challenges. I should have been forewarned years ago when my eldest was in kindergarten.

Mom: This is the letter ‘a’.

N: No it’s not.

Through the years, I have learned to deal with or ignore most of those issues. Portfolio reviews are another matter entirely. Many years ago I chose to be regulated by the local governing body rather than having what is often called an umbrella group. The major point in favor of that decision was the fact that it is just less time consuming. Twice a year, I have to submit portfolios for review. That’s it.

In the beginning, of course, most of those reviews were done by mail. More recently, they have been face to face (change in administration). This wouldn’t be a problem if our government abided by its own laws. Instead, they try to push things past, little by little. We have had regular issues for the past two and a half years.

Back in November, I got a call scheduling my reviews for today. This is a slight change in procedure, since they usually sent out letters giving about 4 days’ notice. I assumed the change was because we have had so many issues in the past – until I got down there.

These reviews are not just a simple scheduling event for me. First, I place myself in a difficult situation by procrastinating on getting the work in order. I swear I am going to do it as I go along, but I have yet to do so. Second, the law clearly states that the reviews are to occur at a time and place mutually agreeable. They often send me notices for all of my children to be reviewed separately in locations nowhere near my home. I have to restructure my teaching day for every review. This does not work for me. We call to reschedule, they change that scheduling ad nauseum.

So, imagine my dismay when, upon arrival for my review this afternoon, I was greeted by the very woman to whom I spoke on the phone. She had absolutely no recollection of our appointment. “Grrrrrrrrrrr!” doesn’t even begin to express it.

This does lead, however, to the apology. It is really two apologies. I have been absent quite a lot, and even missed sleeping with bread this week. I am sorry. Also, I had promised to get my little art project out to Mary, and thought I was going to do so before the weekend. It didn’t happen. I’m sorry again.

With all of this negative, I just have to leave on a more positive note.

Mom: J, Who is Martin Luther King Jr.?

J: Martin Luther King Sr.’s son?

Yes, I did acknowledge his correctness factor while enlightening him on the finer points of the Civil Rights Movement.

T: Mom! R splashed me! Make her not do that anymore. Towel! NOW!

Mom: One drop of water got in your eye, and it was an accident. And I will not get you a towel if you are speaking to me that way.

T: What are you trying to do, kill me?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

the great tag-a-thon

Okay, well, we might consider that title a tad misleading since there will likely be nothing great revealed, and one can hardly consider two responses a marathon of tagging, but it's all about the hype.

less than normal

Omegamom has issued a general tag - specifically aimed at lurkers (hello, my name is t, and I am a lurk-aholic). Her challenge which can be found floating throughout the blogverse is the six weird things meme. Herein, I will attempt to label six oddities about myself not known by my general readership. This is indeed a challenge since the few souls who ponder my spoutings of nonsense already know how odd I am. Be that as it may, I will soldier forth with great courage and anticipation. If you have to hurl now, the bathroom is at the end of the hall on the left.

1. I cannot watch someone using a table saw without picturing a sharp blade slicing the skin, and feeling - in every nerve of my spinal cord - the intensely numbing pain of sharp steel. I will often shudder for some time after the thought first crosses my mind.

2. The sound of toast being buttered makes my skin crawl.

3. The minute I am told to stay still, I am afflicted by a roaming itch. It is sheer torture to avoid scratching, but if I break the vow of stillness and seek the scratch-filled gratification, I am completely unable to find the exact source of the itch.

4. I hold complete conversations in my head when someone upsets me. In these conversations, I am actually possessed of the bravery needed to express my distress. I then clearly hear their grievances (in the realms of my imagination), and the level of anger or hurt begins to abate.

5. I am prone to accidentally getting portions of my clothing stuck on doorknobs, nails, furniture corners, or other dangerous protruding objects (pencil shavings would be one example).

6. The bones of my hands and wrists are, apparently, so unusual that when I once had an x-ray of my left hand after an injury, they also x-rayed my right hand to be sure they were giving me an accurate diagnosis.

6 x 2 = 12

Not so in my universe. The other meme asks us to bid adieu to the old year by posting the first sentence from the first blog entry for each month of 2006. Since I am relatively new to this blogging business, I have less than twelve months to go upon, but I'm not going to let that stop me. I stole a variation of this one from jouette.

July: Beginnings are bad for me.
Ah, the first post ever. I do have a talent for stating the obvious.

August: So, here I sit, finally bloggable, with not one original thought in my head.
Nothing much has changed here.

September: There are times in which I am perfectly aware that my reaction to a series of circumstances is completely out of proportion to the situation at hand.
Yeah, well, we're going to pretend this one isn't still true. ;)

October: Oh the weight bearing down upon me!
And it wasn't even one of those days in which all of the children decide to climb on top of me at the same time while shouting, "Dogpile!"

November: You know those days where you find yourself rummaging through the medicine cabinet in search of just the right combination of drugs that would knock the kids out without harming them - as a preemptive measure to prevent anyone from serving time for causing vicious bodily damage?
Speaks for itself.

December: Children are strange and wonderful.
Well, duh!

It's a good thing my first blog preemptively apologized for my beginnings. First lines do not appear to be my strength.

Anyway, now it's YOUR turn. Participation is purely voluntary, but expect massive guilt trips should you choose not to comply.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

siding of the blind variety

Today, for various complicated reasons, my closest friend asked me to go to an appointment with her. She is expecting, and being over the dreaded age of 35 by a little over a month, she gets the not so politically correct tag of “advanced maternal age.” In recent years, a new form of non-invasive testing has come about to screen for genetic abnormalities. It involves an ultrasound and a finger prick blood test which assess the personal risk factor, thereby providing the means for a more informed decision about more invasive testing (amnio, cvs – both of which present risk of miscarriage). The results of any of these tests would not affect her decision to carry the babe, so she won’t be planning those additional procedures if the risk does come up high, but she doesn’t mind getting an extra peek at the growing wiggle-worm.

Everything looks fine right now, though she won’t get the official results for about a week, but I discovered something else today. Even though nine years have passed, things still have the capability of catching me off guard. A few simple sentences can cause so much memory to come flooding back to me.

Episode 1:

Friend: Your job must be so amazing.

Sonographer: It depends on the day. I see a lot that is not so good in my job, so some days are harder than others.

Episode 2:

Doctor: How many children do you have? How many pregnancies have you had? Do you have a history of________?” (fill in the blank; there are so many of these)

Episode 3:

Friend: What is the difference between having an ultrasound done here as opposed to, say, ABC Radiology?

Doctor: In the actual test, there is really no difference. It is the person performing it who makes the difference. They are radiologists. We are maternal/fetal specialists with an emphasis on high-risk obstetrics.

Seems like innocent enough conversation, wouldn’t you think? But you see, I couldn’t help but remember my own bad stuff – evidenced so clearly as the u/s tried to find the heartbeat the doppler couldn’t locate. I couldn’t help but fill in the blanks with my own answers – 6 children - 12 pregnancies, history of early miscarriage and stillbirth, enormous family history of hereditary type cancers and heart disease. I couldn’t help but flinch at the words “high risk obstetrics.” I hid it well – but the tears were there - right behind the eyes.

And so, as I think of every expectant mother of whom I am aware at this moment in time, I pray that none of them will ever have the need to understand my trepidation. I struggle to maintain their innocence. I close my eyes and utter a silent prayer.

Monday, January 08, 2007

the bread of life

sleeping with bread

“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24 (KJV)

For this bread, I am extremely grateful, yet there are times when I think my gratitude is not nearly as tremendous as the occasion warrants. That body which was broken for me died in my stead. The gift was freely given in silence.

The life of a mother is often one of small sacrifices. Eating cold food and being awakened in the middle of the night are relatively commonplace. Most of the time, the sacrifices, so small, are well worth it. A single smile from the face of a small member of my gene pool can carry me for days without complaint. But the faces surrounding Jesus on the road to the place of the skull were not full of thankfulness, but jeers. Even those who depended most upon him were filled with fear, doubt, and trembling. And still, he continued with his gift.

Occasionally, my children will come to me in relay fashion. Just as I am finished dealing with the needs of one and I am about to enter into a state of rest, another request will be made known – one which could have been handled at the same time as the previous request had they just been paying attention. The short-tempered mommy monster bares her teeth at these moments - not every time, but often enough for it to be a concern.

I once read that Disney World, in training its employees, tutors with the following instructions, “When someone asks you a question, even if you have heard the same question 3000 times that day, try to remember that it is very likely the first time that particular person has asked it.”

How many times do I sacrifice and give to others with impure motivation? How often am I truly storing up my treasures on earth by seeking gratitude from others, or a warm fuzzy feeling deep inside? How often do I think my motives are pure only to discover, through my own impatience, that giving sacrificially is only appealing to me if someone, somewhere takes note.

Jesus looked down from the cross and said, “Forgive them father; they know not what they do.”


Sunday, January 07, 2007


Okay, you can call off the search party. I am still alive and kicking. I really think I must have accidentally basted the Christmas turkey with my creative juices instead of the pan drippings. I'm all dried up. Just call me Madam Raisin.

I found myself contemplating today - nothing monumental, more along the lines of Descartes' brains in a vat. Many philisophical ideas really serve no purpose other than to allow us to skip off on a merry little journey of "what ifs." There is no proving them, and it wouldn't matter if they were true, because it wouldn't change our lives at all. It is just somewhat entertaining and thought-provoking to ponder them. My little thoughts didn't even aspire to such loft. I just thought it was an interesting train to depart upon.

Last week (or earlier - I have no concept of time as I grow older), we were watching a program about chemistry. As they began discussing the discovery of electrons, I was reminded of a tangent my ADD brain had ventured upon while waiting for my eldest to finish reading a section of his chemistry text one day during school. I started thinking about the design of the atom - how the rings of electrons orbiting the nucleus really are similar to the planets orbiting the sun.

This is where I get weird on you. All of a sudden, I proposed the possibility that all that we know - our entire solar system is nothing but an atom in the fabric which makes up God. I must here state that I am not someone who believes that we are divine and make up a cosmic whole. I am not here proposing that I have finally figured out the true nature of God. I just found the concept tantalizing. Somehow, it gave me a clearer insight into just how limited our vision is as human beings.

Here we are, made in the image of God, and yet we are so small that we cannot see things from His all-knowing perspective. I once heard our vision compared to that of an ant encountering a beach ball. His size makes it impossible for him to take in more than a very small section of that ball. He may not even be able to conceive of its roundness. Likewise, when we look at the world and all of its troubles, we are only seeing a very small slice of the grand design. Our senses simply are not profound enough to comprehend the big picture.

I'm sure I've done a pitiful job of explaining myself in these few paragraphs. Be that as it may, I'm throwing it out there anyway. There's nothing like philosophizing while tired and uncreative, after all.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

sunrise, sunset

Fiddler on the Roof was always one of my favorite musicals. Some aspects of it became even more special after I married a man who has Russian Jewish as part of his heritage. But of course, that has nothing to do with my post.

I just wanted to say one thing which I will then leave hanging in the air so that all emotions and implications connected with the statement will have time to air their importance.

My eldest likes to put little messages next to his IM codename. They have varied much over the past few months. A new one entered the scene yesterday.

"I shaved without cutting myself."

from the land of good intentions

Resolutions are not normally a part of my life at the stroke of the midnight which ushers in the squawking newborn January each year. That said, resolutions are, in fact, a regular part of my life. Perhaps that is why there is no special attention paid to the beginning of a new annual calendar. If I can’t keep a regular resolution for more than a few weeks, what hope have I in actually carrying through on 365 days of life-changing?

I want to be a better mother. Philosophically, I know the right way to handle so many of the issues that pop up in day to day life. Sometimes, though, my mood or my exhaustion level is such that I just don’t follow through on the proper course of action.

I want to be a better teacher. More than anything, I have the desire to foster my children’s love of learning. I never want to be responsible for killing off bits of their natural curiosity. And yet, because of my natural inclination toward procrastination, time often becomes a major factor in determining the quality of my teaching. I find myself falling back on the need to complete a certain pre-ordained set of criteria rather than following the questions of a curious mind to the eureka moment.

I want to be a better domestic engineer. The organized aspects of my mind have so many grand plans on how to accomplish that goal, and yet, I choose instead to twiddle away valuable moments in time.

I want to be a better wife. So often, I let pettiness get in the way of developing an even closer bond with my husband. I allow myself to be sidetracked by minor inconveniences, using them as an excuse to expend less energy.

I want to be a better example. The deepest beliefs of my heart and the compassion I feel are often stifled from fear, selfishness, or inconvenience.

I want to be less selfish. In many ways, I can delude myself into believing that I have few issues with selfishness in some regards, yet my very battles with time management clue me in to the fact that I have so very far to go.

I want to learn to accept forgiveness and great gifts. Instead, I often allow myself to get caught up in my inability to forgive myself, and my inability to muster the self-confidence needed to exercise those gifts.

All of these wants are centrally themed. What I want and need most of all is to learn to depend on the Lord. If I look at too much of the picture at one time, it seems so overwhelming. I lose the ability to see that those situations are planted firmly in the hands of God. If I give up without even trying, I am failing; I gain nothing – all of my effort is wasted. If I refuse to accept forgiveness, I am valuing my own judgment above God’s. If I refuse to exercise the talents I have been given, I am no better than a miser.

No amount of resolving will change the pattern. I can know the proper procedure and become incredibly well versed in its implementation, but unless I learn to have the fire inside which gives the power to move forward, even amid the uncertainty, nothing will change. Stepping from theory to practice cannot be encompassed in a simple resolution. It must be embraced in a full-on love affair with the Spirit of God.