Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What do you do?


My heart pounds when the question is asked. I never know how to answer.

"What do you do?"

I do a lot of stuff. I'm working on a master's degree. I help with two Bible studies. I speak to women's groups and community organizations. I write and direct our church's Christmas musicals. I play in a community orchestra. I sing in worship team. I meet with people. I blog. I write. I parent. I wife.

And yet, when "What do you do?" comes, I don't know what to say. There is no succinct answer. I don't have a title or place of employment. If I start listing my activities, I worry I sound like a self-absorbed housewife (no comments from the peanut gallery, please). I'm tired of the "it must be nice not to have to work" because I think I DO work, just not for money, and my family has sacrificed because of it. I think what I do is important and though I question God sometimes, I know I am right where He wants me.

So why do I waffle with "the question?" What is my problem?! Why can't I tell people what I do? Why do I feel nervous about it? When I do mention it, why do I feel apologetic afterwards? What's so wrong with telling people the facts? What am I afraid of?

I did it recently with some well meaning women, women I grew up with and hadn't seen in 20-30 years. They asked and I choked.

"Hmmm . . . what do I do . . . I don't know . . . My husband works for a church so I hang out at church a lot . . . "

There's no need to chide me. A friend already did and she really got me thinking. What am I revealing about my worldly attitudes in not answering honestly? Do I think others won't value it because it doesn't bring in money? Do I think it has no value because it doesn't produce a pay check?! But here's the kicker: Much of my work is centered around God. Am I denying Him when I can't talk of it freely? Am I slapping Him in the face with my cavalier approach?

In not proudly stating what I do, am I dismissing God's work in my life?

Ouch.

When I minimize His work, I minimize Him.

I guess I need to rethink how I answer, "What do you do?"

How do you handle, "What do you do?" 



Friday, October 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 297)







I don't know why I didn't think to post this video last week. Ladies Man recorded another beatboxing video. I've had lots of people ask, so I'll tell you straight away he is NOT hitting the table or anything out of camera shot. ALL of these sounds are coming from his mouth or throat. Amazing!


Yep! That's my kid!






I had a very bonding conversation with Drummer Boy this week and after he got home, he posted this to Facebook:

Sometimes you just gotta go home, talk to your mom, and get hugs.

Now, who wouldn't ADORE a 24-year-old guy who isn't ashamed to write that on Facebook?! Drummer Boy, you melt my heart. I am so proud of the man you are.






I learned some more teen vernacular this week as Princess Dawdle commented on her brother's Facebook status.

Princess Dawdle: Yeah, Drummer Boy's a baller.

Yes, you read that right--a baller. She tells me basically it means he's a stud. And if you think a little bit about that, you'll probably understand the root.

But I'm not taking you there myself. That might be considered . . . inappropriate.






None of my kids' fall breaks coincided this month. Ladies Man's was last week on Monday and Tuesday, Drama Queen's was this week on Monday and Tuesday and Princess Dawdle's was yesterday and today. And Drummer Boy has phased out of fall breaks. (He's the one who should be complaining about "adulting!") At first I was kinda bummed about it because it meant the kids wouldn't be home at the same time to enjoy each other, but I did find an unexpected silver lining. I got to spend time one-on-one with them. I'm finding this to be a really a good thing at their ages because they are all learning to be adult individuals and it's pretty easy to fall back into old roles when the family is all together. One-on-one lets them each talk about what's important to them, not slip back into who they are in our family. For instance, around the dinner table when everyone is around, Ladies Man is the entertainment, Drummer Boy teases him mercilessly, Drama Queen provides the color commentary and Princess Dawdle sits back and watches. There isn't really an opportunity for talking about what they're thinking about or struggling with or hashing over. But one-on-one is a totally different story. And I LIKE it!

I'll always like the silly banter around the dinner table, but hearing their hearts is what I really crave. Thankfully I've gotten to do that with every one of them in the past week or so. I'm not sure how to be more purposeful about making those times happen, but I sure do appreciate them. Have I mentioned how awesome I think each of them are?! They have certainly kept me on my toes (and to be honest, did me in occasionally too), but I would not be the person I am today without them. The older I get, the more I see how deeply I love them.


So here's to you, my dear children, thank you for enriching my life in ways I could have never imagined. I am ALWAYS on your team.






I saw a very interesting video on Facebook this week. Don't be weirded out that it's a commercial for feminine hygiene products. The statement it makes it pretty profound.


What do you think?






Princess Dawdle finished her stint in the Wizard of Oz. The kids did an outstanding job and really gave our town some fun entertainment. Awesome job BHS Music Department! Here's a scene from Oz. Princess Dawdle is the munchkin in the front row, far left, wearing the mauve shirt, and light blue puffy skirt.


Isn't my little munchkin cute? Good job, babe.







Next Tuesday is the Beatrice Regional Orchestra's first concert of the season.


My darling husband will be doing a local radio interview this morning at 8:45 Central time if you're interested in hearing more. You can listen online by clicking here.



That's all for me today, folks. I've got a CRAP TON of stuff to do today before we and our church choir head up north to be backup singers to David Phelps. Tickets are still available if you live in our area and are interested in joining us! Enjoy your weekend and find more fun at Conversion Diary.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

4GOTN



The license plate hung at a slant off the back of the beat up little truck, a couple pieces of old wire hanging on for dear life as it swung ever so slightly. If it weren't for the word I saw there I would have thought it unremarkable, but there it hung, making this bold announcement to the world on a dented old pickup.

4GOTN

As I passed, curiosity got the best of me and I snuck a peek at the driver. He was a young guy, I'd guess not yet 25, hair buzzed, clothes too big and very dirty, tattoos gracing his sleeveless arm. He looked angry, like one of those punks on the cop shows who whip out a gun because they're scared and want to make a statement.

Except this kid made the statement with his license plate.

4GOTN

We've all known that feeling, haven't we? We feel it and maybe sigh. We brush it aside and go on with our day. But this kid felt it so strongly he paid to put it on his license plate.

4GOTN

It made me want to cry. This angry, tough-looking guy I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, reduced to five characters giving a glimpse of the struggling boy within.

4GOTN

How many people have I passed on any given day whose hearts bear the same message? I think of the efficient checker who rarely looks at the customers and carries a chip on her shoulder ensuring you don't ask. Is she feeling the same thing?

4GOTN

What about the woman who slips into church five minutes late, sits in the back and hightails it out of there before anyone can speak to her?

4GOTN

There's the young mother feeding the infant at 3:AM, so sleep deprived she can barely work the remote, doing her best to gear up for another day of sticky fingers and fighting toddlers. Or that person whose problem is too deep to articulate, who knows their spirit feels off and has prayed for God's deliverance only to land in the same funk again. There's the family who's suffered another layoff, wondering why.

4GOTN

It's me some days too, when the phone doesn't ring or my efforts seem unappreciated, when the plumbing's screwed up and the car won't start, when the words are hard to come by, or the pain of working through the junk feels too hard. It's the days when I'm tired of the busyness, or I don't know how we're gonna pay for everything, or I am all too aware and weary of my humanness. I, feeling like a member of the 4GOTN club ask, "Why does it have to be so hard, God?"

And God simply says, "It doesn't."

. . . My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

. . . In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


Weary?

Yes.

Troubled?

Yes.

Burdened?

Yes.

4GOTN?

Never.

Friday, October 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 296)







I was a happy, happy mama as all my chicks congregated for Sunday dinner last weekend. Our parents and the significant others joined us for a rip roaring good time. I must admit, however, that I have to readjust some to the noise level when they're all home again. Do you know how hard it is to follow all the conversations going on at a table for 11? How did I live with so much commotion every day for so many years? How can I already be getting used to a degree of solitude?

And when can we do it again? Love you guys!






For DECADES I whined to Kevin about how unfair it is that he can eat ANYTHING and not worry about it. And I mean ANYTHING. I spent so many years being SO JEALOUS. Until I finally accepted it's just how it is and quit my complaining, I never made any headway in my own weight loss goals. I thought I was over it. Mostly. But this week I was reminded of the disparity in our eating choices when I stopped and looked at what we had on our plates for lunch.

Here's my lunch: leftover chicken pesto over wild rice accompanied by carrots and avocado slices.


And for Kevin? Two hot dogs smothered in chili and cheese and chased down with a hearty serving of Cheetos.


It still doesn't seem fair, but I can honestly say his lunch did NOT appeal to me. That's progress for me, right? And maybe a coronary for Kevin. Yikes.






Drama Queen got me hooked on old episodes of Parenthood this summer. Now that the new season has started, I miss having her around for her color commentary. She's been too busy to watch "with" me so I've been texting her my updates to let her know what's going on. Last week's "updates" went something like this.

Me: Sarah's boyfriend totally fits her . . . mumbling, interrupts with "i know" and "I mean" and nothing crap. Ugh.

If you've watched this show you know the weird speech trait I'm speaking of--Sarah's whole family can't seem to complete a sentence without starting and stopping with absolutely nothing and they end up not really communicating at all.

Drama Queen: Hahaha new boyfriend or still dopey teacher guy with a mustache?

Me: Ray Romano weird photographer guy. And Grandpa's having surgery and they're all acting like he'll never make it. Oh brother . . .

Drama Queen: Oh she's dating the photographer . . . creepy. How long are they gonna drag out the surgery? Geesh.

Me: Amber and her brother went to Wyoming to find her boyfriend, Ryan, the one she called Buddy. (Side note: How weird is that? Who calls their boyfriend Buddy?!) She told him she was pregnant and he was really happy. And Ruby (creepy photographer's daughter) shoplifted lipstick.

Drama Queen: Oh the drama!

Me: Crosby just got mad and left the hospital on his motorcycle and lost control. He's sitting on the side of the road clutching his leg.

Drama Queen: Oh for the love!

Me: Julia just told Joel she was seeing someone right after he was calling to see how she was while waiting on her dad's surgery. Last week we found out he was the one who left. Wow, a smart moment for Amber. She just told Ryan they couldn't be together. And Crosby stumbled in. Here's the surgeon. Grandpa's surgery was good.

Drama Queen: Joel left? Like just moved out or what? What was Amber's reasoning for not being with Ryan?

Me: Idk what happened with Joel. And oh brother we're stretching out this surgery business soooo long. Ryan is strung out on prescription drugs. She was gonna stay in Wyoming until her brother told her she couldn't change Ryan.

Drama Queen: Atta boy, Drew!

Me: He's got the weird family speech trait but he has a good head on his shoulders.

I could go on and on. And did. Can you say soap opera?! Yes. But it is so much fun to hash it out with Drama Queen. I don't know what it is about this show, but they manage to bring me to tears in nearly every episode, even if they are a little dysfunctional and I want to smack half of them.

Maybe they make me feel better about my own dysfunction. Let's not think about it too much.






And speaking of Drama Queen, I came home Wednesday to find this on my Facebook wall.

Drama Queen: Mom, I don't wanna adult anymore. It's dumb.

Sorry, sister. It happens to the best of us!






Princess Dawdle has inherited her father's penchant for driving me crazy leaving little bits of food that no one wants to finish.


It's hardly a spoonful! What is the point of that?! Don't they know that little spoonful is going to call my name all day? And I'll consider it because it's just a little. I'll pass through the kitchen and think, "Hey, I could finish that. It's not too much. Couldn't be that many calories." And then I'm forced to eat it and left with guilt the rest of the day.

Don't these people realize what they're doing to me?!!! Just finish the stuff off, people! Don't torment me like this!






Have you seen the new Starbucks ads? They are totally capitalizing on the "Do we know how to relate to each other anymore?" dialogue and suggesting real live communication. At Starbucks, of course. I just love it.


What do you think?






Princess Dawdle makes her debut as a Tot in her high school's production of Wizard of Oz tomorrow. Think, "We represent the Lullaby League, the Lullaby League, the Lullaby League . . . " I'm looking forward to seeing her little dance on her knees. It's super funny to think of my daughter who's a teeny bit taller than me playing a munchkin. Break a leg, babe! Show times are Saturday and Sunday at 2. Monday and Tuesday evening at 7. It should be a good time!



And with that we're calling this done, folks. I hope you have super weekend and read more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

What The Kids Don't Take When They Leave

Suddenly the bathroom is all mine. The house is quiet. I can come and go as I please.

My kids are growing up and leaving me.

I never thought this day would come. As a young mother with four little kids I couldn’t imagine an hour of quiet. A full night’s sleep only occurred in my dreams. I felt destined to endless days of whining and poop and snot. I thought my life would be on hold forever.

And now my children are gradually migrating, leaving a slow leak in my heart. I just moved my third kid to college. There’s only one left. How did this happen? How am I supposed to switch gears when my life has revolved around these people? For a quarter of a century I’ve run every decision through the sieve of them and now I’m expected to just let them go?

Find the rest of the post at Deeper Waters.


Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 295)







I ended up spending a lot of time with Ladies Man and his girlfriend over the weekend. Woot! Woot! It was homecoming weekend at his college and they were playing our alma mater, so Kevin and I attended the game and got to see him in action with the Mighty Tiger Marching Band.


On Sunday I attended his Homecoming Concert with The Girlfriend. We enjoyed some wonderful selections and got a good laugh out of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble's performance of "Extraction Number 9" which mimicked the panic and fear one may feel in a dentist's chair. At one point in the piece a guy came out with a lab coat on carrying a chain saw and laughing like a crazed lunatic. Apparently it was all very effective because as soon as the piece got over there was a little kid in the audience crying like he was scared to death.

Later as we left the music building, Ladies Man was carrying his choir robe and complaining about his garment bag.

Ladies Man: It just broke today. I went to zip it up and the zipper just didn't work.

I wasn't really feeling panicked about his garment bag. There are such bigger things to worry about, aren't there? But he didn't let it go.

Ladies Man: I thought about asking for a really nice garment bag for my birthday.

Me (not believing what I'm hearing): Oh?

Ladies Man: Yeah, you know you're getting old when you want a garment bag for your birthday. And also when you like the fact that you own your own towels.

Ha! I was too afraid to ask why.






A woman in my Bible study asked me about the Bible app I use on my iPad and the Bible translation called The Message. I explained to her that it isn't something for serious study, but sometimes when I'm confused about a passage I like to read it to see if it sparks a thought and then take that thought back to a different Bible version to compare. When I pulled it up on my iPad she laughed at the abbreviation used.

Bible study friend: MSG! Too much of it isn't good for you, but it sure adds flavor!

Perfect. Don't you love it?!






I've been trying to get my gang here all at the same time for a family dinner. The best way to communicate about such things is on our private family Facebook page. Our little "discussion" reminded me why I love my kids so much. They are so much FUN!

Me: So . . . we have a free Friday night this Friday. How about a family dinner at our house?

Friday night was a bust, so I took a suggestion by Drama Queen.

Me: Does Sunday work for everybody?

And crickets chirped for 23 hours. No response. At all. Finally Drama Queen broke the ice.

Drama Queen: SUNDAY WORKS FOR ME SO EVERYBODY ELSE SHOULD COMMENT SO I CAN WRITE THINGS DOWN ACCORDINGLY IN MY PLANNER.

Which I DIED laughing at because this is so her--aggressive AND organized.

Me: Oh man, Drama Queen, I am dying!!

Drama Queen: #eventplannerprobs

And suddenly Ladies Man chimed in . . .

Ladies Man: #carrots

Me: So, is this a yes, Ladies Man? And hello, Drummer Boy, what say you?

Drummer Boy: Could probs do dat!

Oh my . . .

Drama Queen: I could hook ya up with a ride Drummer Boy.

Drummer Boy: Not an issue but WOOOOOOOOOOO!

Ladies Man: Well ya know I am a pretty busy and important man on campus soooooo....yea that works great.

Drummer Boy: Does dingus need a ride too?

Drummer Boy: dingus = Ladies Man

Ladies Man: Nah i think I'm coming down Friday.......maybe

I can already imagine the craziness that will be ensuing at my house on Sunday. Can't wait. LOVE YOU GUYS!






Kevin and I saw a movie trailer for Best of Me. From what I could gather, it's about a couple who fell in love as young people and then for whatever reason were separated for twenty years and came back together for some amazing love affair. I must have been feeling old and cynical that night.

Me: Oh brother. Does that really happen? Do people really pine away for each other for twenty years? Do they wait for someone that long or pursue them that long? Really?!

My husband has always been a romantic and proved it with his response.

Kevin: I don't know. I was just lucky to find the love of my life and have her with me always.

Cheesy? Yes. Did he still score points? Oh baby!!






My darling, cheesy husband has joined the Dollar Shave Club. Facebook finally wore him down with their smartly placed ads and he signed up. I couldn't believe how excited he was to get his first shipment. This company was made for men, I tell you. I want to work on their promotional staff as they must have a blast coming up with their materials. The package of Shave Butter (yes, that's really the name of it--SHAVE BUTTER) included these instructions:

1. Empty butter into palm. About a half dollar-sized amount is ideal.
2. Gently pat the butter onto your face and spread. You want a nice layer across the entire area.
3. Let your face marinate in the butter for about 15 seconds, approximately enough time to remind yourself how much ______ you're going to kick today. Now Shave.

The description on the Shave Butter says, "Dr. Carver's easy Shave Butter unforgettably transforms the dread of shaving into the joy of softly wiping whiskers off your face. Like the friend you've been missing your whole life, you'll wonder how you managed with anything else. . ."

Uh, WOMEN are dramatic?!

And then with each shipment you get the latest edition of the Bathroom Minutes which Kevin dutifully placed.


Yes, on the back of the toilet. Sheesh. I think they're really hooking men with their MEN ONLY products (hello, women shave too!) and the fact that they get a little box in the mail addressed to them every month. It reminds me of how excited I got as a kid when I knew it was almost time for my magazine subscription to come in the mail. Or school book orders. Yeah, it's like that. For grownup men.






I'm trying not to be offended, but Kevin wasn't nearly as excited when our new P90 exercise video series arrived in the mail yesterday. He's been whining forever about how he "should probably do something" in the exercise realm and being the loving, in-tune wife that I am, I simply tried to find a way to accommodate those desires. It had nothing to do with the delicious abs Kevin had a few years ago after completing P90X with Ladies Man. This is about HEALTH, people. And maybe also a little fear. I want this guy around for a while so he's gotta do what it takes to stay healthy.

C'mon, honey, you got this! Do your best and forget the rest. Remember? No fuddy duddy husbands!






Lest you feel sorry for poor Kevin with his exercise nazi wife, here's a story to prove he is dearly loved and appreciated. Princess Dawdle came home with a hankering for some Mexican food and begged to go to out for supper. I told her she needed to ask her dad. Their texting interchange went something like this.

Princess Dawdle: Playa for dinner?

Kevin: What did Mom say?

Princess Dawdle: She said to ask you.

Kevin: You both know I'm a sucker.

Princess Dawdle: Haha. Is that a yes?

Kevin: If I must be drug there, I suppose.

Princess Dawdle: Baha you must. I don't know if you're gonna survive this one.

Kevin: I might not.

Princess Dawdle: I'll hold your hand every step of the way old man ;)

Kevin: I hear you cluckin', big chicken!

My favorite part of this scene? Her comments to me DURING the texting.

Princess Dawdle: Dad's the best. I like Dad. I'm a lucky person, you know?

Yes you are, babe.



So are we all! We love you Kevin! I hope you have a great weekend enjoying the people you love most. Give yourself a break and read more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.



Friday, October 03, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 294)







Well I missed you all last Friday. I had one of those old person procedures whose prep knocked me for a loop. I can't remember the last time I felt so icky. Thank the good Lord that time passes and for creating drugs and food.

And now let's move on, shall we? Who wants to hear about my bodily functions? Kevin will accuse me of talking like an old person again. Nope. Not. Gonna. Happen.






In the last edition of Quick Takes I was whining about missing my kids. I finally got to see them and boy was I one happy mama! We had a lovely dinner together to celebrate Kevin's birthday. As soon as I saw them I just kept mauling hugging them saying, "It's so good to see. I missed you. How are you? I'm so glad to see you! This makes me so happy!" I must have been bad, because Princess Dawdle told me a few days later that Drummer Boy actually asked her, "Is Mom okay?!" Well I am now!

We stayed at the restaurant over 3 and half hours chatting it up and just being us. I loved it. I've got some great kids, I tell you.


Pardon me for a second as I leave a note for my children: Save your mother's sanity and come home now and then, okay? Love you guys!






On Husker home game Saturdays, we often watch Drama Queen's band rehearsal at Memorial Stadium. There's always a bunch of people there and we often wonder if she even knows we're in the stands until we meet up with her afterwards. She assured us she does.

Drama Queen: I can always find you in the stands. I tell my friends to look for the guy talking with his hands and it works every time. Even the ones who have never met you will be like, wait, is that your dad? And it always is.

Ha! Kevin's busted!

This last Saturday Ladies Man and The Girlfriend came along, as well as my nephew. We joined The Boyfriend and another friend of Drama Queen's to watch the rehearsal. It was so sweet seeing my nephew enjoying his spot between Ladies Man and The Boyfriend.


It was an awesome day hanging with my gang (although we missed Drummer Boy) and the weather was perfect. Sigh. Life can be really good, no?

Also I have to mention that if you haven't seen it yet, you've got to click on this link to see the highlight of the marching band show last Saturday night. We've got some creative band directors.

And I love whoever handles the Facebook page for the band because they post awesome pictures like this with my daughter in action!


Thank you Mr./Ms. Mystery Facebook Administrator of the UNL Bands Facebook page!






Kevin and I did a little shopping for his birthday. He was trying on a bunch of stuff and when we met up later he showed me why hanging out with him is so fun.

Me: So, find something?

Kevin: Yeah, I'll get these jeans. The other ones fit, but they had a little too much party in the back.

Which means there was more stuff on the pockets than he likes. This guy never ceases to make me laugh. Love you, babe!






Today would have been my dad's 73rd birthday. I'll never forget this week nine years ago when the oncologist left the room and Dad said to me, "Well, I think I'll make 64, but I don't know about 65." We never could have guessed he'd be gone in less than 6 weeks. The loss of my uncle and now this birthday has put Dad on my mind a lot lately. So on Wednesday I visited his grave and left him a Butterfinger bar, his favorite. I was shocked that the cashews I left him around Memorial Day WERE STILL THERE! I thought for sure a groundskeeper would have scooped them up and thrown them away with a scowl a long, long time ago. That cemetery is swarming with squirrels too. Wouldn't you think a bag of nuts would be an easy target? But there wasn't even a rip in the bag. Weird! While I was there, a flock of geese wandered through, and I mean a FLOCK. I bet there were twenty of them. How in the world have those cashews survived?

And how many times can I leave little things like that before the grounds crew gets annoyed? How many wrappers have to pile up on a grave before they're removed?

And what in the world is my problem that I take time to think about silly things like this? Oy!






Kevin and I were discussing a dear woman who's always had a gentle, calm way about her, like someone beyond her age.

Kevin: She's always seemed older than she is, you know?

Me: I know exactly what you mean.

Kevin: Yeah, like she'll be a really great elderly person.

Me: Yeah! She's gonna really come into her own when she turns 80.

Something about that just tickled me and depressed me at the same time. Who wants to wait to be 80 to reach their prime?!






We're looking at a busy, busy weekend with our clan scattered all over the place. Drama Queen leaves this morning for Michigan to play with the band at the Michigan State game. It's homecoming at our high school tonight. Tomorrow Drummer Boy accompanies the drum line he instructs to Iowa for a competition. We're attending Princess Dawdle's marching band competition in the morning and evening, and in between scrunching in the homecoming game and parent's day at Ladies Man's college where they'll be playing our alma mater. Sunday is SUNDAY at our house which means we spend most of it at church, but this week I'll be ducking out of a rehearsal or two to catch Ladies Man's concert. It should prove to be worth it as he warns me the band plays a piece involving a chain saw. A few weeks ago there was a youtube video of his band director in a lion suit singing, "If I Were King of the Forest," so who knows what the guy may have up his sleeve. I'm looking forward to it!

It just occurred to me this proves we are a family of band geeks. True story. And we love it.



And thus ends another edition of Quick Takes. I hope your weekend includes whatever you need and that you'll take in more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.