Thursday, October 27, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's Elemental: Growing Pains: Yes there is growth in divorce

It's Elemental: Growing Pains: Yes there is growth in divorce: The communication between us is becoming singularly about the children. Reaching milestone ages and events in their lives cause me to face the inevitable day when there won't be a reason for us to have that relationship. That is part of the change and growth of a divorced parenting situation.

Growing Pains: Yes there is growth in divorce

I woke up one day and realized I am not interested in what my ex is doing with his wife, as long as it doesn't affect 1) my children; 2) my child support, and 3) my plans. This is a true growth moment.

Our teenage daughter is tall, growing more lithe by the day, and had her eyebrows waxed as a gift from her Aunt last week. She is getting older. Our 7 year old son is having 'talks' with his 12  year old cousin, and counseling him, usually ending in encouraging him to pray about the things that they have discussed. He is growing in faith and wisdom. They won't be babies forever.

Our children are what keep us in communication on a personal level, as divorced parents. We work hard to iron out communication differences between ourselves so that we can raise healthy happy children, because we already feel we have slighted them by failing at marriage. We deal with each other more kindly because of them, but there is also an underlying camaraderie between us while we parent together. Small triumphs, victories, laughter over funny moments, joy over successes. Moments parents share in.

Slowly but surely, the relationship becomes more about the children and less about what we had together as a family before the divorce. The communication between us is becoming singularly about the children. Reaching milestone ages and events in their lives cause me to face the inevitable day when there won't be a reason for us to have that relationship. That is part of the change and growth of a divorced parenting situation.

This also got me thinking in terms of how I want to spend the latter years of my life. Do I want to be married again? I know I asked that question of myself a few posts ago, but I have to be sure I am being honest with myself. In my pondering, a better question is am I ready to date. I found out after asking myself a few real questions that I am not. I haven't reached that growth point yet. It would be unfair and selfish of me to date anyone if the purpose of dating is to entertain a possible future relationship. I am currently unwilling to give even 50% of my attention to another person.

So, while growth comes on some levels, it remains stunted on others. Living divorced is a continuous journey of revelations and successes. And some setbacks. But it is yet living.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trip to the Amusement Park: Focus on the Kids

I am writing this while waiting for my children to shower for church on a Sunday morning. Yesterday we went to Kings Island, THE amusement park to conquer every summer if you live anywhere near Cincinnati, Ohio. We do, so it is a must. In the past 2-however old my teenage daughter is, her wonderful Auntie has taken her on this delightful trip. Her Aunt is in hiding right now, (you will have to visit my other blog Black, Divorced & Virtuous for more on that) and has left these trips to me. Oh, hurrah, hurrah!

Yes, my parents made these trips with me yearly. Yes, I hated them. The trips, not my parents. The only part I ever really enjoyed was the then Hanna Barbera Land (Yogi, Boo Boo?) that has subsequently been Nickelodeon World and, to the chagrin of my teenager, is now Planet Snoopy. That was my magical kingdom.

You can imagine the anxiety of planning a full day at the amusement park with my 13-year-old daughter, 7-year-old son and 6-year-old nephew. Oh, and my 77-year-old mom. That is 4 people with kid mentalities, and one adult between them. Jesus be a fence is my constant prayer. And on this occasion, He was.

I took the time to plan and pray. Then I didn't tell my Mom until 2 days before the trip. That was crucial, because if you know anything about the elderly, they begin to digress into many emotionally charged multiple personalities with names such as early onset dementia, early onset Alzheimer, fear of losing control, or just general eye rolling snappiness. Also, just happens to be that my mom LOVES Kings Island. As long as she is not forced to be in the heat without shade for too long, she is good. She loves the Safari ride and the shows more than anything.

Secondly, my sisters family went as well, so that gave the teenager riding partners. Freedom from teenage angst is a beautiful thing. God was extra awesome because the teenagers was feeling extra fly and looking extra teenage awesome, so she was on board for all kinds of extra helpfulness. Thumbs up on that end.

The next part of my plan was to focus my day on making sure the two boys had a good time, which could have been the dynamite that detonated the full day into tiny shards of discontent and balls of furious boy anger, . I believe this is where adults go wrong at amusement parks. Yes, you have to refocus your kids from all the marketing efforts to get your money, but you have to focus your attention on making sure your kids are having a great time. It helped that we went with my sisters job, so we had discount tickets and they provided our lunch. We carried water, Gatorade and the like, and my kids already know they get to choose one item to take home with them, but the amusement park is about having family fun, not retail therapy. Getting that straight with your family is important at the start. So, with all that done, I stayed focused on these two little boys who held the key to our good day.

We had a couple near melt downs. My son wanted to ride a twisted tunnel water ride;(which would have ruined my hair and cause me a mental breakdown, but I was gonna do it) I went all the way to the very front of the line with him where he decided it was too scary and we had to walk all the way back down the climbing metal staircase. Me -Not happy. Him, hand holding with Mommy who actually was gonna ride that monster with him.

My nephew won a key battle between his early start at the beach or my moms safari ride to see live animals. She gave in because he was as obstinate as she, and I just stepped back and let them stare each other down. I even tried my one phone call for assistance - his "Nanny Girl". She was a fail. He won and we headed to the wave pool with the rest of the family. I parked my mom on a chaise under a shaded umbrella, where she was most satisfied to people watch and locate folks who were on Jerry Springer, "I Swear", or should be on Jenny Craig, while playing with my 8 month old niece.

Planning and focus paid off. We had an awesome time; so much so that the boys slept all the way home, and the Mom was so satisfied. Now, when I want to ride roller-coasters, I will leave the kids at home with the Mom, and take a rider to Cedar Point - the other amusement park you HAVE to conquer if you live in Ohio.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's Elemental: nobody told me - Join the New Sexual Revolution

It's Elemental: nobody told me - Join the New Sexual Revolution: "Buy this book! As books go 'nobody told me' , by Pam Stenzel and Melissa Nesdahl , is groundbreaking. I wish I had 100 copies so I could..."

It's Elemental: nobody told me - Join the New Sexual Revolution

It's Elemental: nobody told me - Join the New Sexual Revolution: "Buy this book! As books go 'nobody told me' , by Pam Stenzel and Melissa Nesdahl , is groundbreaking. I wish I had 100 copies so I could..."

nobody told me - Join the New Sexual Revolution

Buy this book!
As books go 'nobody told me', by Pam Stenzel and Melissa Nesdahl, is groundbreaking. I wish I had 100 copies so I could give them to not only girls and boys, but men and women. The truth about sex and intimacy is hiding from America wrapped up in a scary word called education. When we educate ourselves about the myth that having sex is the defining act of adulthood and independence; the quickest way to instant gratification; or the way we say 'I love you',  we change the outcome of our lives.

In a Christian aspect, we get the true story about what sex is meant to be; in a non religious aspect, we get the truth about what sex has become.

There are some basic truths we need to accept, and any person who has had sex knows that they are just that: basic truths about sex.
  • There are physical consequences to having sex before marriage
  • There are emotional consequences to having sex before marriage
  • There are Spiritual consequences to having sex before marriage.
  • It is okay to say this out loud and reason together about it.
Even the style in which the book is laid out is user friendly and encourages reflection and conversation. I am passing the book on to my 13 year old daughter so that we can discuss the findings together. Then she will pass it on to her 21 and 23 year old cousins so that they can join the discussion with us.

This is a great opportunity to create a network of people with which to discuss the "New Sexual Revolution". Build your network and make informed decisions. The best decision is abstinence, and you can join the new revolution today. Be a rebel. I did!

You can link up with Pam Stenzel on Facebook: Like Pam Stenzel
Follow Melissa Nesdahl on twitter: Follow Melissa Nesdahl

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I AM the parent, You are the child or Train a Child Up

Okay, so yes, that is a little petulant and somewhat whiny; yet I find myself saying it to my 'tween daughter repeatedly.

"I am the parent, you are the child. Now, do what I asked you to do."

I give her an instruction and she either gives ME an 'better' idea or continues on with whatever important 'tween thing she was doing at the moment, as if what I was saying was optional. Then, when she does take up my command, she does it at the slowest pace imaginable to womankind, and with the least degree of follow through. This means I have to go back, repeat the instruction coupled with a threat, and get the 'sighs' from her as she marches off to do the chore or assignment again.

Recently, I have made progress at being a good disciplinarian with my children. I don't mean that I beat them senseless, but that I employ methods of discipline which they will take with them through life to set boundaries and limits when they are outside of my authority. This practice will lead them to seek wisdom in the things they do.

Most who know me well, know that I am not naturally good at discipline. I have been talking to my kids since they were in utero and expect them to understand what I am saying, and move on that. As far as I am concerned, they knew my voice before they were born, so they ought to take heed to it. When my daughter was 4, if she whined I would tell her to use her words, because 'Mommy doesn't like whining'. She did, and all was well. This is the way I thought it should work. However, when my son came along, he did not follow suit. I would say "don't whine, Mommy doesn't like that." He would look at me with two fingers in his mouth, dumbfounded as to why it should matter whether or not I liked it. This was about him, not me. What worked so well with my daughter was now failing miserably with my son, and a mere glimmer of what was to come. Who knew they were not going to follow my ever command? I had to regroup, fall back, seek assistance.

The children of this generation are not moved by threats, only by action. I threaten my kids regularly. I tell them if they start to tell a lie I will hit them in their windpipe to cut off the air of the devil before his work can be done through them. I have made so many insane statements such as these, that they use some of them for folly now. When I have to repeat a directive I have given them, I usually accompany that with another preposterous threat of which there is no way I can or will follow through.

I wouldn't have ever warranted a repeat order from my parents, unless I was considering going toothless as a fashion statement. The funny thing is, I got one whipping in my full life that I can recall. All my Dad had to do was raise his voice, and I was done, and I somehow believe that my mother has both an evil eye and close ties to the black mafia. She didn't ever have to worry about us getting too far out of line. If worse came to worse, she could just say "I am going to tell your father as soon as he gets home."

Why, oh why does my child not have this same reverence for me? How have I failed to instill the fear of God into my children? Is it too late? How can I recoup lost ground?

My nephew told me I need to get the Jesus belt and bring all of this to a halt, a stand still, an immediate end. What is the Jesus belt? Oh, that is the wide and thick leather belt that Father's usually own that will make an errant youth cry out to Jesus in repentance with promises to return to the path called straight.

That got me to thinking about what was different between now and then. My Dad could carry his around his neck and we girls would get right on our responsibilities - it was just the mere threat. What was it about my parents disciplinary tactics that worked?

First, the rules were established. These were the rules of this house and it was not a democracy. I was giving my children to much power to vote and veto in my household. They don't work all day, worry and pray, provide and nurture. I do that - I am the head of this state, and there is no vice president.

Next, my parents had follow through. If they said they were going to do something, they did it. If my father wanted to punish me, and he told me I was going to clean out the hallway closet, I did it - right there and then. Not later, and not with his help. I did a thorough job, for fear of that Jesus built around his neck.

Finally, I feared the Jesus built for two reasons - because they followed through on everything else they said they would do, why would I doubt there would be follow through on that issue? Secondly, the reputation of the built proceeded it's coming. That is another reason it is named such that it is - I had heard of it even before I ever saw it. Oh, the tales of the tail that had encountered the Jesus belt - a lot of them mythical even until this day.

So, history had given me the formula: Authoritarian household, establish the house rules and the clear leader of the house. I am the parent and you are the child. Follow through - make promises I can keep. If I say I am gonna take the air out of a wind pipe, be able to back that up with a few breathless moments for an unsuspecting child (JK), but you get the idea. Prove that I will do exactly as I say. Leave no room for doubt. And, use what is already branded. The Jesus belt was branded long before my children were even a thought. The nieces and nephews lay the groundwork - they have told the stories of 'the belt', and I am ready to upgrade from my John the Baptist belt to one with full authority and the power of life and death in it's mere appearance.

Now the changes in my disciplinary tactics have not changed over night. I mess up sometimes, but I fall back and regroup. I remind myself that if I don't provide clear discipline and boundaries for my children at home, then the world is waiting to do so with all kind of unpleasant and some even fatal lessons of its own. I remind myself that education and discipline together are key ingredients to a successful life, and prime the recipients to be seekers of wisdom in all of their ways. I remind myself that it is my job to be the parent, and not the child, so I should have something to say if I am going to tell them what to do.

I was listening to Walther Smith's Street Soldiers on 107.5, and a caller suggested that we needed to go back to the lessons learned in the past from such groups as the Black Panthers. His point was not that we needed to become uber militant, but that we needed to become a cohesive working community of providers and nurturers, building an inter community socio-eco-agricultural network that will sustain. I agree with that caller - we need to take the lessons from the path, and as my Father would say "eat the meat and throw away the bone."

Follow me as I walk this path of discipline in my household. I am going old school on 'em...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why I Enter Sweepstakes

Because I love to receive new packages in the mail, unexpectedly. That is all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Life Changing Moments

Okay, so by now you know that I am a reader of nearly any genre and/or topic. I have been reading since I was 4 years old. Reading, for me, is like thumb sucking (to which I also subscribed) - escapism. Opening the cover of a new book, or now - clicking to the first page of writing on my Nook, is one of the most exciting moments in life.

As such, you can imagine my horror when my current health challenges affected my vision. I was as panicky as a baby bird fallen from the nest in the path of a feral cat. I adjusted my glasses, got closer to the e-reader screen, brightened the light - anything that would allow me to see the words clearly on the screen. None of these things worked. I even enlarged the print, thinking maybe I am getting older even though mentally I feeeeeel 32. Still, unclear vision.

After a 10 minute deep breathing exercising that nearly ended in hyperventilation because nobody needs to deep breath for more than 3 minutes, I tried a 'real' book, only to find the same end result: blurred words, unclear vision.

Now that I was more calm, I prayed:

Dear Jesus, I know I have done some things wrong, but I repented and tried really hard to turn from my wicked ways. I am sorry. PLEASE don't take my vision. Please. In Jesus, your, name. Amen.

I called my doctor, because the atypical migraines do affect my vision for a short period of time, but not this long, and (voice rising) I should be able to read, shouldn't I? I mean I have to see to read, right?

After more ambiguous and expensive co-pay testing, the Doctor explained in basic English and in medical shenanigans, that he has no clue WHY my vision is affected although he can tell me this is a side effect of the migraine. We will continue with the prescribed method of treatment of the neurologist until we find some solution. However, because my vision does return to clarity after anywhere from a few hours to a few days, the suggestion is that this is a temporary side effect. Not permanent. Nope. Not forever.

Does this tell you the same nothing it tells me? Good - we are on the same path of discovery then. My good friend pointed out to me that my Nook is equipped to read to me. God bless America and the friends that I love.

As usual, I am now reading up on these migraines and what I can do naturally to help myself. I am grateful that my neurologist is also a believer in natural remedy over medication. I am doing some new things that seem to help alleviate the strength and length of each episode. There are more specific tests scheduled for my vision and my body. Most of all, I am writing - because this life changing moment has taught me that I am taking far to much for granted. Like vision.

Friday, February 11, 2011

This story will keep you involved and on the edge of your seat until the very last chapter. Cameron Stracher pulls the reader into the story, and we are on the quest for answers and freedom with the main characters.

Imagine, in our world of immediate gratification, not being able to quench thirst or alleviate hunger at free will. Think of the plight of a homeless person, except personified by 1 million and spread to the multitude. That is the result of a world ravaged by environmental abuse and war in Stracher’s “The Water Wars”.

In a United States with only 10 remaining republics and limited clean water sources ruled by capitalist conglomerates, real H20 is for the elite, and those who have the talent to find it. The rest of the population is relegated to water rations and synthetically created foods. They are dying off, unless they can be used to mine for real water. With no real communication except that supplied by the so-called government, they are mind washed to believe there is no more water to be found in the earth at all.

But as young minds will, Vera and Will quietly question the propaganda, and believe the water is actually killing their mother. When they meet up with the enigmatic Kai, their zest for the possibility of a world where water is free to everyone is further ignited. Then Kai disappears and the adventure begins.

Along the way, the author injects renewed hope in the basic kindness of people, while at the same time encouraging the reader to reject stereotypes and question propaganda. The greatest underlying message is of course environmental. The story allows us to envision the reality of global warming and environmental abuse as it exists today. It gives us a look at what happens when the earth doesn’t wait for the inhabitants to get it together. It is not a pretty picture, delivering a pseudo wake up call to the previously asleep.

I read this book in one day, because I had to see how the story played out, and what would be the end.

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Purchase at

Patience is a Mother.....virtue...

I birthed my children late in life. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this phenomenon. I have more patience than when I was 20 or 25 years old. I fear that I would have smacked my 6 year old back into the birth canal at the age of 18, having to help him through this simple math, which he has done three nights a week. "Repetition only works if you work it." I tell him this as if he is in a 12 step program.

Tonight I am feeling slightly under the weather, which cuts my patience by 1/4 and tolerance by 1/2. I pull out my Dad's old leather belt and sit it between us. Elijah looks at it, because he knows I never do this unless I am going to use it. I reserve that decision for times when you may have mortally injured yourself or someone else with your actions. Tonight, I am the 'someone else.'
(Pause for station identification: I am a terrible disciplinarian, but I do believe that it is my responsibility to whip my child's behind if he/she puts himself or herself into danger or someone else, and/or revolts against authority. If I don't do it the world will when he/she reaches just about 16 years of age. Call whatever services you want. Unpause.)
Sitting at the table next to my 6 year old, doing basic math. I am struggling with the onset of a cold and winter fatigue, enduring the caterwauling of a pre-teen singer pretend auditioning for American Idol, and a one sided migraine. However, my biggest struggle at this moment is math with Elijah.

"Elijah" I say, "If you have 8 and you gain zero, how many do you have?"
"Uhmmmm," says the spider to the fly, "zero".

Breathe. Rethink. Go again.

"Okay, Elijah", I say, "If you have 8 cookies and I give you no more, how many do you have?"
"uhhhhhh...8" he says and writes down the number in the appropriate square.
One down.

"Okay, let's use our fingers. If you have 3 and you add 2 more, how many do you have?"

My mostly hyper son, well on his way to mathematical genius, screws up his fingers and his face and does this weird bending thing of several fingers and says:
"Elijah." I say "How many fingers do you have up?"
Silent prayer to Jesus who helps mother with math and 6 year old. Come now.
"Soooo...start again. Put up 3 fingers."
"Oneeeee, Twoo....Three," he chants as he puts up his double jointed fingers in freaky contortions.
"Now, add two more."
More chanting "Onnnneee. Two."
"Now count them all together." This is me thinking how easy this is, right?
"Onnneeee...Twooo...Thr...wait....Oneee...Twoo...Threee...Four....Five. Five." Happy writing in the appropriate box is underway again. I look to check the box.
"Elijah, what is that?"
"The number 5," with exasperation at my idiocy.
"Why is it backward?"
"Oh" Erase. Erase. Erase some more. Thought. Intense Thought. Finally.....a written 5.
Jesus who helps mother with math and 6 year old, be a fence.
At this point we have only solved two problems. There are 10 more on the page, and the opposite side to complete. I am thinking that I may take up drinking as a result of motherhood. Elijah is thinking, "Bobbi is watching American Idol tryouts and laughing. I am going to miss them all." I know because he tells me this as he whines and slides down the seat half way into question number 3.

Elijah likes math. He does not like it when he doesn't want to do it. That is when we start writing numbers backwards, counting to 8 on one hand like we are a Martian child with extra digits, and yawning repeatedly. Tonight is that night.

In my youth, I would have snatched this child up and done some major irreparable damage. God knew. That is why he withheld children from me until He himself could endow me with some sense and clarity. I had a little talk with myself.

Self, I said, look at this child. You will be sitting here forever if you don't find a way to help him catch on. Think outside of the box. Be creative. Do not envision yourself standing said child in the middle of the room with hands outstretched for an hour counting from 1 to 10.

"Elijah", I say "go get your cars." He runs to get his collection of matchbox cars. "Count out 10 cars". Oh, happy happy, joy joy. He starts counting, and playing, because he is distracted from math homework and thinks it is all over.

Not so.

"Okay, what is the next question on your math homework? 6+2. Count out 6 cars. Now count out 2 cars. Put those all together and count them. How many do you have? Write it in the box."

"Now do the rest of your problems the same way."

"Okay, mom." says excited 6 year old, fingering most important and prized possession cars, "I can do it with my cars."

Oh happy happy, joy joy. I think. I lay back down on the sofa.

Until he gets to the word problems on the backside of his math homework. Really. Word problems. In the 1st grade.

Dear Jesus who helps mother with math and 6 year old. Come now.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tied to the Planner...

Woman doing a survey - Stylized vector illustration of...I sat down in the big easy armchair and laid my head back. I was generally at ease for a few minutes. But, like most people, my fruitfulness is self measured by achievements that can be crossed-off, highlighted, or moved to the next day's agenda list. Some popular planning system with the initials FC is the devil. My life is tied to the planning system, it is a mind focusing, detail oriented, Task Master. I am lost without it. And I have only myself to blame.
I was always a list maker, from childhood. My short term memory is for the birds, and prioritization on paper helps me stop bits and pieces of information from swirling in my  head. If I don't make a list, I will be trying to remember what I needed to do, only my mind acts kind of ADD'ish when it comes to that.

In any event, it was logical for me to grab onto this popular planning system and all the great time management and project management training, right. Already a list taker. Check. Needs to prioritize. Check. Can't find her blip blip if not attached to her body. Check.

So, I signed on about 8 years ago. I took my first class and got my first planner. I lived by the planner. Only I did not really employ the planning techniques for prioritizing and quadrant living. You know, where you balance out the four quadrants of your life for a more effective, stress free, efficient life? Yeah. Chucked those with the box to the planner.

But I used the planner for the next two years. It was the law. If it was not in my planner, it was not happening and never occurred. But I was still a little stressed with time and project management. Aha! I will take the training again and this time actually USE the information I learn. Hmmm....why not? So, I gave it another shot.

I went to another class, with my planner in hand. I bought a new cover and insert as a part of class registration, but I wanted to have my active planner on hand so I could learn realistically.

First problem: The instructor seemed as if she used every single one of the effective habits on an hourly basis. I cannot do that. She seemed as if her life, career, family and finances were all magically in order because of her superior and specific use of every element of the planning system. I cannot use every element of a recipe, when it comes all together in a bag. I am the person who puts together a bed and always has one extra screw. THIS IS NOT GONNA mind was screaming.

But, my job had paid for me to have this full day of training with treats and beverages, so dag on it, I was gonna learn this system inside and out. Initially, after my hyper reaction subsided, it was all good. Turn to this page, Ms. Management would say, and do this...okay, now a group exercise.

To use a planner? Let me freshen my tea first, and maybe eat my apple. I feel fatigued. It is 11:00 a.m. already.

I participate, and make some great new contacts and acquaintances, even getting an invitation for drinks later from a group from out of town. I perk up a little and learn how to prioritize my day using the right symbols and categories, and how to use my monthly page to catalogue entries I may have made that I might want to get back to quickly. That never worked so well for me. Making a note about a note seems redundant, and just plain, well, strange.

By mid afternoon, after an hour lunch....I am going down. I have drank several cups of tea and coffee, and am now working on ice water. I have at least two more planned bathroom breaks. Great for me that I have my coveted crossword puzzles from the New York Times, USA Today and the Columbus Dispatch. I spend nearly an hour working on that while Ms. Management discusses the 4 quadrants and how our lives fit and overlap amongst them, and perkily 'what could we do to manage this better? YES, focus on another quadrant. Typically Quadrants II and IV.' Sigh.

At 3:45 p.m. on the nose, the instructor begins telling us about all the lovely materials we can purchase and she happens to have them on hand RIGHT HERE on sight. Yes, and your company can buy them all for you for today's special price of $298.33, but only if they act within the next 72 hours.

That is my signal to start packing up my puzzles and return my tea & coffee cups and water glass. By the time 4:00 comes, and the instructor says 'It was so lovely....I have my jacket on, and having already exchanged business cards with the interesting people, am at the exit door waving goodbye. I grab my certificate from the front desk on the way out of the building, and hit the interstate with a sigh of relief. It's the weekend, because of course I schedule all of my training classes for Fridays.
Girl with love on her mind - A beautiful African-american...On Sunday after Church, I sit down with my planner. I figure if I am going to retain any information, this is the time when I will be able to put it to use. I begin planning my week, and ohmygosh - these small nuances are incredible. Look what I can do: I can break my list of to-do's up in seven critical areas, list what my goal is for that area, and then list everything that needs to be done. I can prioritize THAT list with letters and or numbers, and immediately see where I should be focused. Then, I can make pertinent notes right across from that area (but I cannot make a note about the note on another page. #fail). I can color code!

After spending about an hour on my plan for the week, I do not have the energy to go on to the other areas I should work on, like one of my core areas of interest, blah, blah, blah.

I feel awesome when I am done - my week is right there in front of me. I did learn a couple of new ways to use the system, and even managed my Outlook email to maximize time and add ease to project management. Who knew I would retain all that while doing crossword puzzles?

In my mailbox, I saw the pamphlet with upcoming training classes listed. Project Management. I am registering as soon as I get back to the computer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Mommy Punk

So, tonight I participated in a focus group for a local parenting magazine and website. My children got to play for 2 hours at one of their favorite venues, and I got to sit with like minded people and listen and interact. I loved the social interaction, and even made some good contacts. I was also surprised to see a good friend who worked for the parent company of the magazine. Plus, they had food. That was a win/win situation.

After two hours, I went to collect my kids from their playtime. Of course, Bobbi had made new friends who knew her by name. And ELIJAH was stripped down to his first layer of t-shirts. He has taken to layering t-shirts over his undershirt, and tonight being no different, was down to the crayon blue Phat Pharm t-shirt. His jacket was sitting at the area entrance desk, and he was holding his first layer t-shirt in his hand. I was wondering why my child had stripped when he handed me a soaking wet t-shirt, and said in a giddy voice "Mom, I played in the water."

My mind, already recovering from migraine mayhem, begin to twirl out of control. I think I stood still for a full minute looking at this little person, wondering from whence he had come so I could send him back there.

Now, you must understand that earlier in the day I had gotten an email from Elijah's teacher about his in class behavior, and how he reported that she could tell me if she wanted, because nothing would happen. He may as well have flashed in neon "I have a Mommy Punk" for a parent.  He was already on My List. Of course, public displays of near child abuse are not socially acceptable. I just got him all zipped up in his warm jacket and put on his coat over top.

I carried the wet shirt to the car and got him in and seat belted. All the while I was thinking, Lord, why must I discipline this child? I abhor disciplining my children. But if I don't do it now, the world will do it later.

Elijah must've been thinking to himself in that backseat: We have spent tons of time playing at C.O.S.I. I know I am not supposed to get that wet. Oh man, I forgot about school. These thoughts had to be twirling through his mind, because he suddenly fake yawned really big and said "I'm tired. I just want to lay down."

I am often amused when my babies try to work their way out of a web they weaved. Not tonight. Telling a teacher that you don't care about authority is a no-no in this house. I am on the teachers side.

On the way home, he was quiet. I was actually glad about the quietness because I was bone tired. I have not participated in much since these migraines started and I was fully engaged at this event. Maybe I would just talk with him and put him to bed.

Then, to my surprise and consternation, while getting out of the car to go into the house, Elijah takes his wet shirt and rubs it into the snow mountain on the ground. I was flabbergasted. It would never occur to me, after nearly missing discipline AND getting to play at a place I love for over 2 hours, to remind my tentative abuser  parent of my capacity to misbehave.

That did it. I was going to give him exactly what he deserved, whether I wanted to do it or not. He had crossed the line of no return, and stubbornly believed he could get away without repercussion.

He basically was calling me the Mommy Punk. He pushed the chip off my shoulder. It was on! Spanking time. We had hung our coats, and Elijah sat on a heap near the sofa, sucking his two fingers, and doing a one man performance of  the depth of human tiredness. He yawned, he pulled sofa pillows around him. He lay over to this side and that side. All the while I was straightening the living room, making sure Bobbi finished her homework and thinking to myself  'why do I have to discipline this child?'

Then I remembered that it is my responsibility to oversee this child and provide him with guidance and instruction. If I don't give him correction now, he is going to be out of hand repeatedly. He would be right - nothing as going to happen. I put on my disciplinary hat and got busy.

Now, I just want to hug him and tell him he can sleep in Mommy's bed, but I restrain myself. I will not be the Mommy Punk in this house. Will not.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Purpose: present in the midst of the storm

Randy Alcorn's The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering is a classic look at living Christ like through pain and suffering.
He has joined the spiritual context with a modern dictum and personal experiences on walking out kingdom purpose in the presence of pain. I doubt that anyone who has suffered anything can come away from this reading without having left some heaviness behind, and gained a sense of renewed purpose.

Alcorn does not wax poetic about the real pain those who suffer endure, but thoroughly provides scripture reference that allows every believer, as well as non believers, to find that God will use even our most painful moments to create an avenue of salvation for somebody, somewhere. He provides for us the basis of God's purpose in us: to draw all men unto Him to receive salvation. To create an eternity opportunity for a lost soul. To save us.

Conveying this ultimate truth, Alcorn gingerly expounds on the way God uses our suffering and how suffering doesn't permit us a break from being ambassadors of Christ. In our suffering, we are even more drawn to Christ, and He is visible in us more than at any other time. In our suffering (weakness), Christ is made strong, and more transparent to us than ever.

Assuring the reader that suffering is not without spiritual results and purpose, Alcorn does not deviate from the Word of God. He so expertly provides scriptural evidence that God is good, even when we feel at our worst, that the reader cannot help but come to the conclusion: these things will work out for my good. God has given up way more than I have lost just to save my soul.

This book gives the reader a deep sense of purpose, a renewed joy in God's words and ways, and a chance to reason through a difficult time and conclude that God is indeed good. There is a comfort here, that can only be found in God.

The Goodness of God by Randy Alcorn: NOOKbook CoverThe Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering by Randy Alcorn, can be purchased at many outlets in both book and electronic reader format, including: (book or Kindle version)
Barnes & Noble (book or Nook format)
Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Little things that make me ask Who Does That?

I just want to talk, real quickly, about the meaning of the word 'eleven' and America's proclivity to take anything harmless and turn it into something self fulfilling and eventually, deadly or debasing. It is like corn on the cob - here is a simple food. But in America, you can get it deep fried, rolled in butter, and salted. Who does that? We do.

Back to the number eleven. It means 'one left over' or 'one over ten'. There is even a term 'elevenses' that refer to a mid-morning snack (after 10 before lunch - i.e. - one after ten). Check this out.
In England, the term “elevenses” refers to a mid-morning snack, such as biscuits with a cup of tea. The Spanish term las onces, “the elevens,” also refers to a refreshment taken around 11.

Eleven brings the gift of spiritual inheritance, is gifted as the "Light-Bearer". It is the number of the Light within all. Strengthened by the love of Peace, gentleness, sensitivity and insight. Greatest facility is the awareness of universal relationship. Is related to the energy of Oppositions and the Balancing needed in order to achieve synthesis. Eleven is The PeaceMaker... Colours : Gold, Salmon, Prune, White and Black. (

Seems perfectly viable, right? Yeah.

Eleven can also represent sin; transgression and peril. Ten being the perfect number, eleven represents the exceeding of both.

American's - taking the awareness of universal relationship to mean the relation of the universe to establish and sustain all things of human folly.

The word “elevenses” was used in America as well. It referred to the now abandoned custom of a pre-noon whiskey break. Why? Who does that? We do. We took a mid afternoon snack of possibly a biscuit and tea, or a sandwich and drink, and turned it into what? a custom of a pre-noon whiskey break.

This has been another episode of "Only in America - land of the gluttons, capitalist, and pleasure seekers." Land that I love.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bloodlines...familiy through thick and thin?

Bloodlines by Dasaya Cates: Book CoverOh the tangled web we weave, when at first we do deceive...the new addition to Dasaya Cates novels, Bloodlines, is a tale of deception and deliverance. We have all heard about bloodlines, family ties, and the deadliness of family secrets. Or how about the epitaph "What happens at home stays at home?" Cates unravels the reality of the impact secrets have on every party whether the keeper or the ones kept in the dark.

Cates writing pulls us into an intriguing family of wealth and prestige, with a secret. Several dynamics are at hand, and rhetorically, Cates touches upon the idea that our behavior is learned and trickles from the head (parents) down (generational). While Lena, the matriarch of this family, protects her own secret closet by any means necessary, her son is on a journey of secret building in his own life that could be catastrophic to the family name.

It is immediately clear to the reader, when Reynolds Bryden Colby Lang is stuttering over his vows to the beautiful and socially desirable Blair Lindsey Cannon, that there are problems ahead. But Cates is so sly in leading us through different corridors of the maze, keeping us off kilter about who the real secret keeper is that the reader willingly pursues. Eventually, and the reader is amazed at the depth to which Lena Lang, family matriarch, will go to hide something of which she is ashamed. Her concern over public image, societal standing, and immersing her past so deeply that it cannot be dug up cost her sanity, in the end.

Once I was into the novel, I was invested - I needed to know what the secret was that Deena was hiding. Then, I needed to travel with her children as they got closer and closer to the truth about who their mother was, and in turn, who they were as well.

I am impressed with the development of Cates characters, as they grow throughout the story, and the dialogue is so smooth you can almost hear dialects change. Although I felt there was more I needed to know about some of the characters, like Lena's sisters and the fleshing out of their shared past, I see many of the characters having story lines of their own in the future. I cannot wait to be a part of them.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Gods ways are Higher than ours: The Pirate Queen, a book review

Patricia Hickman has captured such an important message for readers – God can and will change an impossible situation into a blessed situation, in real time. Giving the reader both hope and promise, Hickman subtly spins the tale of God breathing life back into something dry. The Pirate Queen starts roughly, but it shortly segues into a well written story that makes the reader become engaged with this family, rooting them on, pulling them back, but most of all, waiting for the unfolding of the blessing with each turn of the page.
Saphora Warren is at the pinnacle of a life spent compromising herself and love for the well being of her familial relationships. Although she can recall falling in love with her husband, it is his character flaws that have changed their marriage into a quiet, well decorated prison. Saphora is a privileged woman by all accounts and a good wife and mother – but she has lost herself in all of these pursuits. Her husband, Dr. Bender Warren, shows no tenderness toward her and there is no residual left of his love for the mother of his children, bearer of his dreams.
 Now with their  three grown children all established, and nobody left to give care to – Saphora has determined that it is time for her to pursue a life free of the bondage of a loveless marriage and the demands of adult children. She is all ready to go – except as God will, He diverts her attempts with His plan.
As God will, He uses other people and circumstances to direct His people. Young Tobias, summer friend of Saphora and Bender’s grandson Eddie, shows them how to love in a new way, and how to open their hearts and find each other. The people of Oriental, where most of the story unfolds, embrace both Saphora and Warren, and change both their lives in the midst of circumstances from which only God can create a miracle.
Hickman takes us on a short journey with a family while God is working out His perfect plan. It is well worth the trip.

Review: At Death's Door - An Alex Troutt Thriller

NEW RELEASE.... It's the perfect system -- for the rich and powerful. But who has the guts to take them down? All it takes is a...