Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bug Catchers!

When Joshua's first praying mantis laid her egg sac, she died within two days. His second mantis seems to be heartier. She is showing no signs of slowing down and this morning Joshua wanted me to take him over to his school so he could catch bugs to feed her. With Joshua's bug net and bug cage in hand, we piled into the car and drove to school.
Joshua was quick to show me the best spots to catch bugs, and I watched him wander into the tall weeds after a moth. He returned quickly to deposit the moth into the cage I was holding and asked if I wanted to come into the weeds, too. I just smiled and said, "No, thanks." I could imagine all the prickers in there and wasn't interested in getting a collection of them on my jeans. Instead I enjoyed watching Joshua go after the bugs.
He really is impressive. Sometimes he slowly and quietly approaches his subject, pauses to assess the situation, then quickly pounces and snatches it up victoriously.
Other times he takes his bug net and chases a moth or butterfly, then swish, swish, he has it in the net. I couldn't get over how quickly he was able to get the moths in the net. If there is a skill for bug catching, Joshua has it.
It also made me laugh to hear him talking to his prey. "Ha, ha. Now you're going to be lunch for a praying mantis." Then, plop, into the cage they would go.
At one point I told Joshua I think he's a really good bug catcher. He smiled.
A few minutes later I saw him crouching down looking at something and he called to me, "Mom, do you want to catch one?" I went over to where he was and he said, "Do you see it?" I didn't. He pointed harder and said, "Right there." I still didn't see it. I had seen lots of bugs previously but they somehow all managed to hide from me and I was afraid this one would elude me, too. But Joshua was giving me a chance to catch a bug he found and I didn't want to lose this one. I thought, C'mon, Karen. Look! See the bug! Don't mess this one up. "Oh, I see it!" And I tried to grab it as quickly as I'd seen Joshua move. "Did you get it?" Joshua asked. I had a bunch of stuff in my hand. Leaves and grass, for sure. But then I felt something moving and I said, "I think I have it!" Joshua opened the cage and I, oh so carefully, opened up my hand to deposit the grass hopper.
By then it was time for us to head home, so we made our way back to the car with our cage full of bugs. All totaled, there were three moths, one butterfly (which Joshua thinks he wants to keep as a pet until it dies so he can put it on his bug board) and five grasshoppers. Joshua had a very satisfied look on his face and I was glad I had agreed to take him bug catching. I complimented him on his successful hunt and he thanked me for helping. I replied, "I only caught one bug." Joshua was quick to remind me I had pointed out the moths and one of the grasshoppers to him. "I wouldn't have gotten them without your help," he so graciously added.
We high-fived each other and smiled. Yep. We're bug catchers!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Check This Out!

How fun! Heather has posted an interview with yours truly over at Check it out! (You might have to scroll down to find it...)

post signature

Critter Update

I haven't written about our critters recently, and have a couple new developments to report...

I told you previously about Ring, the praying mantis, and the egg sac she laid. I don't think I mentioned Joshua caught another praying mantis. This one was another female and Joshua did a fine job catching other bugs and keeping her well-fed. (I even caught some lunch for her while Brian and the kids were gone last weekend!)
We now know she had a delicious meal of a male praying mantis before Joshua caught her, because she just laid an egg sac, too. So now we have two! Joshua is beside himself with excitement at this new development. This morning while we were walking to the bus stop he told me he wanted to be sure I did all the gardening I need to this fall. He doesn't want me to do any digging or pulling of plants in the spring. His concern is when the baby mantids hatch, if I start messing around in the garden I might disturb their homes.
I love to "watch" his thought processes regarding these egg sacs. He may not be so excited about school work and chores, but his concern for these bugs shows me he really can think things through and anticipate the future.
(BTW, did you notice we had this conversation on the way to the bus stop? In spite of Joshua's recent request that I don't always walk with him to the bus stop, each day this week he has asked me to come with him. He loves me! *grin*)

The other critter update is about the rats. You may recall my shock when an apparently-normal adult told me - in the presence of my kids - she loves rats and used to have one as a pet. Well, last week I joined a neighborhood Bible study and found myself in a room full of God-fearing Christian women who started talking about rats! Several of them were singing the praises of these rodents as pets. I'm not kidding! I sat there simultaneously laughing and kicking & screaming inside, wondering, God, are You trying to say something to me here? Yeah, if He is talking to me about rats through these new friends, I am definitely doomed!
If I do give in to this crazy request someday, you can be sure I'll post a picture here!

On a different note, I had a great time speaking for a group of moms last night. Once again, God delighted my heart with an opportunity to see Him bringing hope to these women. I love the time I have to share my story and, with all my heart, I desire to be used by God to be a blessing to each of the moms present. However, I think my favorite part of these events is the time after the meeting when I am able to talk with women and hear their stories. It blesses me to hear about how God has used me story to minister hope to other moms!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Too Busy

You know I have been working on my book, right? So today I am posting one of the entries because, well, I have so much to do today. Enjoy!

Too Busy!
OK, I know you’re going to understand me in this situation. You’re going to understand me because you’re a mom, and I’m a mom. So you can relate to how busy I am, right? We moms have a lot to do!
Take care of the kids. Keep the house clean. (Yeah, right!) Do the laundry. Feed the family. Get the groceries. Wash the dishes. If you’re married, you have a husband to attend to, as well. Oh, yeah! Don’t forget the in-laws are coming over for dinner tonight. So much to do!

So on a particularly busy morning, I was trying to get out the door to go to the grocery store. I had asked my husband if there was anything in particular he needed me to get for him from the store and he told me he wanted some snack things. “Snack things?” I asked. “Like what?” He so helpfully replied, “Just snack things.” We then proceeded to engage in a conversation about what particular food items would satisfy my husband’s snacking desires – you know, the snacks which include the right amounts of protein and good fat, are easy to grab and go, and don’t cost a small fortune per ounce. I did want to listen to him and get what he wanted, but the whole time we were having this conversation I was keenly aware of the fact I needed to hurry. Brian had tasks to get done that morning, too, and if I was going to be able to go shopping sans kids, I really needed to get going.
Besides the voice I heard in my head, telling me to hurry up, I began hearing other voices while Brian and I were trying to have this conversation. They were the voices of my children - the same children who know they aren’t supposed to interrupt my husband and me when we’re talking. But my children didn’t seem to care about what they already knew. They just wanted to request things from the store, too. They wanted to know if I would read a particular book when I got home. Could we play this or that game? What were we going to have for dinner? When was I going to be home? You get the picture. Finally, in desperation I held the palm of my hand out toward my kids, turned my head away from them and boldly proclaimed, “Not listening!” It got silent quickly and I heard a little voice say, “That isn’t very nice.”
I stood in my own silence and knew that little voice was speaking truth. It wasn’t nice for me to shut them out. I was feeling overwhelmed at the moment. I wanted to get out the door and accomplish my tasks. I had so much to do! But pushing my kids away and telling them I wasn’t listening to them was not a nice thing.
As I stood there in the silence, regretting my unkind behavior, another thought came to my mind. I’m sure glad God is never too busy to listen to me.
Oh, you can be sure God is busy. Right now He is holding the universe together in perfect balance. He’s watching seeds get planted and He’s making them grow. He is causing the sun to rise over one side of the world and hanging stars over the other. He just brought forth a bunch of birds from their eggs and now He’s watching them in their nest.
Countless prayers are being lifted up to heaven and God is listening intently to each one. Somewhere there is a woman crying over a broken marriage, a husband who has lost his job and doesn’t know how he’s going to face his family with the news, a teenage girl who has just found out she’s pregnant, a young man who wants to go to college but can’t come up with the funds, and a little girl whose heart just broke because her best friend moved away yesterday. Each of these people is crying out to God for help, and He is caring for them.
Then there’s me. Here I sit in my little corner of the world, feeling overwhelmed by one household. So I go to God. Lord, I’m tired and I’m feeling overwhelmed right now. I have so much to do. I need Your strength. Will You give me the grace I need to make it through this day? I need wisdom and patience in dealing with my kids. Lord, will You give me wisdom? Please help me make right choices. Father, I can’t do this mothering thing without Your help. I need You, Lord. Please help me!
In my moment of need, while God is holding the universe together, He does not stiffen His arm in my direction, turn His head away and proclaim, Not listening! He is never too busy. God is not overwhelmed by running the world. My barrage of little requests does not stress Him out. He can handle it!
Whatever you encounter today, you can face it with the confidence of knowing God is able to handle it. He is attentive to your every word and He will never stop listening. Nothing is too big or too difficult for Him. And just as wonderful is the fact, nothing is too small or too unimportant either.

Your Turn: Are you feeling overwhelmed because you have “so much to do”? Do you sometimes feel like you just can’t handle it all? Make a list of all the things burdening you today, then read Psalm 118:13-14. Ask the Lord to be your strength and song. Spend time in prayer, telling God your needs and thanking Him in advance for meeting them. Thank Him because He faithfully cares for you. Remember He never gets tired of you and proclaims, Not Listening! While you’re at it, why not write down Psalm 118:13-14 on a small piece of paper to carry in your pocket, so you can refer to it throughout the day?

post signature

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What a Wonderful Day!

Ahhhh, what a wonderful day I have had today!
Would I seem like too much of a weirdo if I told you it's my birthday and the wonderful gift my husband gave me was taking my kids away with him this weekend so I could be totally and completely by myself all day? Guess it's out there now, so if that makes me seem like a weirdo...Oh well!

Here's the background:
A few weeks ago my husband asked me if I would mind if he participated in a conference the weekend of September 21. I looked at him and said, "Well, except that weekend happens to be my birthday, I guess I really don't mind." He started to back-pedal, but I tried to assure him I truly did not mind if he was gone.
Well, a few days later he asked what I would think of him taking the kids with him to the conference. (It is being held at a camp we went to this summer, which the boys absolutely loved.) I looked at him and said, "Are you serious?"

He was.

So I started thinking about what I would do with nearly 48 hours all to myself. (If only I didn't have to sleep...) I spent all Friday evening writing and sending out a newsletter for my Irritable Mother subscribers. The last newsletter I wrote was on June 19. Funny how moving to a new house over the summer can put you behind on things you'd like to do. Anyway, I was glad to get that newsletter out.
Then this morning, I woke up and took a shower (Didn't do my hair or make up, and I haven't seen a living soul all day so I'm really glad I didn't waste the time!) and I have been sitting in front of my computer almost all day, working on my next book. It has been wonderful! I have my first draft of each of the entries almost completed. Still have to do the Your Turn (application) section on most of them, write the final chapter and do a bunch of editing before I turn it over to my editor. And, of course, she'll have plenty of re-writing for me to do after she gets through with it. But I made so much progress today and I am thrilled. Going into this weekend, I realized I haven't touched this project in two months, so it feels especially good to make so much headway today.

Now, it's 10:02 and I realize I haven't eaten dinner yet. Guess I'll grab something quick and then I'm going to bed to read for awhile. I am participating in a Blog Tour for Tricia Goyer's latest book, My Life, Unscripted. I just started reading it last night and am impressed so far. I'll be posting about it on October 3 and will have a copy of the book to give away, so be sure to check in!

I hope your day was a wonderful one, too!

post signature

Thursday, September 20, 2007

5 Things You Want Your Kids to Know ~ a meme

Claire at One Passion…One Devotion started a meme and tagged me for it, oh, a month ago!!! And I am finally getting around to it.
The meme is 5 Things You Want Your Kids to Know. Those participating are supposed to share the five things they want their kids to know before they “grow up” and then leave a link to their meme in the comment section of Claire’s original post.

Soooo, what do I want my kids to know?

1. I want my kids to know with absolute certainty there is One True God, the Creator of the universe, who is personally and passionately interested in them.

2. I want my kids to know God’s love for them is unconditional, that there is nothing they can ever do to cause Him to love them any more or any less. I do not wish they would think, “OK, if God loves me ‘no matter what,’ then I can do anything I want to and He won’t care.” I just want them to have a grasp on His amazing grace given to us through Jesus, and to realize they cannot earn or lose His love, but can freely receive it because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

3. I want my kids to know God is in control, even when life is hard and things don’t seem to make sense. Having confidence in His control, I want them to come to the realization the only logical thing for us to do in this life is to TRUST HIM.

4. I want my kids to know my love for them is forever. Not that I’m hoping for hard times and bad decisions on their part, but if the day ever comes when they do something really bad, I want them to know I will not turn them away, rather, I will continue loving them.

5. On a much more superficial level, I want my kids to know the table isn’t “cleared” and the dishes aren’t “done” until all flat surfaces have been wiped clean! I would like them to know this standard waaaaay before they "grow up." Like, very soon. (Can you tell this is quite fresh?!)

Yeah, I’d really like Elizabeth to take more interest in a couple personal hygiene issues, I’d like Joshua to master his multiplication tables, and I’d really like Matthew to “know” how to not wet the bed. But if they can only embrace the concepts in this list, I will be a very happy mom!

What about you, Mom? What do you want your kids to know before they grow up? I am not going to formally “tag” anyone, but I will ask you to let me know if you’re going to participate in this meme, because I’d like to read what you have to say.

post signature

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thanks, Annie!!!

Oh, Annie, now you've really made me smile! See, y'all, Annie knows what a hopeless case I am and she knows how to expalin things in Simple Simon terms so I, yes - even I, can accomplish amazing feats on the computer. And now, I can proudly display my awards. Yee-ha!!!

post signature

Thank you!

Have you ever wished you were gifted in an area so you could do something cool, but you just aren't? Have you ever witnessed people do things that look really good, and they make it seem easy, but when you try to do it you just get the big ERROR message?

Me, too.

I have recently had two dear women give me blog awards. Sweet Mummy gave me the You Make Me Smile award which, according to it's originator, is given to bloggers "who have inspired me through their blogging; the stories they tell and the lives they lead with grace and dignity. I visit their blogs for encouragement." I have appreciated the encouragement I've received from reading Sweet Mummy's blog, and it blesses my heart to know she feels the same way about me.

Then Heather at Desperately Seeking Sanity (Don't you just love that name???) gave me the Blog Friend Forever award which is "presented to awesome BLOG owners who keep their readers excited about their posts. Their blog posts are interesting (NOT spammy) and worth reading and keep their subscribers looking forward to each and every post." Heather is a hoot, and I am honored that she thinks I'm interesting. Well, several people think I'm *interesting* but no one has ever given me an award for it before. LOL!

So, there are really cute buttons that go along with these awards, and Sweet Mummy was sweet enough to try to help me figure out how to "grab" it and display it here, but I just can't do it. *sigh* I am completely computer inept. Simple cutting and pasting, I can do. Browsing and uploading are not to difficult for me. But that is my limit. *heavy sigh* And so, I graciously accept these awards (with sincere thanks Sweet Mummy and Heather) and am resigning myself to the fact I just can't display the buttons. *sniff*
But I can pass the awards along, and if you link back to Sweet Mummy and Heather, maybe you can figure out how to get the buttons!
Jenny, Heather, and Annie - You Make Me Smile!
Leigh, Jen, and Shawna - You are Blog Friends Forever!
Thanks to each of you for sharing your hearts and lives with the rest of us in the blogosphere.

post signature

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Testimony to God's Sovereignty

It was almost two months ago when we decided to sell our house and move. Though the housing market stinks right now I had confidence God would sell our house for us. I was praying for the family who would buy it, imagining a young girl who would fall in love with Elizabeth's room and a boy who would love the jungle in the boys' room. Knowing God knew the right family for our house, I prayed He would lead them to us.
We also realized it may be necessary for us to rent our house to someone, so while we were putting it "on the market," we also advertised it as "for rent."

One day a woman, a man, and two kids came to look at the house to rent. I was kind of staying out of the way but did notice the kids (a boy and a girl) seemed to really like the house. The man and the kids went outside and the woman stayed in to talk with Brian and I further. At that time she told me she was in the process of a divorce (The man with her was her brother, not her husband - as I had originally assumed.) and they were looking for a new home so they could start over. She told me about the struggle the past several months has been for them - particularly her son. I felt drawn to pray for, but as she sat down to fill out an application and then said she needed to get back to her kids outside, I chickened out and missed the opportunity. (So I thought.)
A day or two later, she knocked on my door. She came in and said she had a couple more questions and her son wanted to see the house again. I told her I was so glad she came because I'd wanted to pray for her the first time we met and was kicking myself for letting her go without praying. I asked if I could pray for her right then. She got a little teary and asked if her son could join us. He did.
I prayed for them, we hugged, she cried and we experienced God's love together. As this woman and I talked further, her son went outside and climbed up in the tree fort. She told me he really liked the house, especially the tree fort, and that is when I was sure I wanted them to live in our house. I knew this young man was struggling with his parents' divorce and it gave me a certain joy to think of him being able to climb up in that tree fort to just be alone with his thoughts in prayer, experiencing the love of his Heavenly Father.
While I wanted to sell the house, just so we could be "done" with it, more and more I was believing God meant for this woman and her children to live there. They needed a new start, free from the memories associated with their old house and I prayed that God would arrange things as He knew they should be.
Well, Saturday they moved in! This is part of the note she gave to us.

I want you to know that you have and still will be impacting my life and those of my children by renting us your home, by praying with [my son] and I that day, and by simply allowing God to use you in whatever way He will. You will never know how much it meant to me to find you and have everything fall into place so quickly.
We don't always have the privilege of seeing God's hand at work so clearly, but there was no missing it this time. I am so blessed and soooo thankful, and I couldn't not tell you about it.
Are you seeing His hand today?

post signature

BTW, TimeOut was great this weekend. I did get to meet Elisa Morgan - even sat by her at lunch. The best part was the conversation I had with my friend on the way home, all about Jesus and why I have faith in Him. Another example of the sovereignty of our God!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Real Quick!!!

I want to thank each of you for your prayers and encouraging words regarding last night's speaking engagement. In a word, it was Great! It was a lovely group of moms, they were very warm and welcoming to me, and God was definitely on the move.
I'm home only briefly now, as I'm leaving in an hour to go to the TimeOut for Women! conference in Grand Rapids. Since 1997 I have attended this conference with my mil, but this year she can't make it. Instead I am going with the woman who was each of my kids' first grade teacher. She's great and I'm really looking forward to it.
Tomorrow at the conference I will be able to meet Elisa Morgan. (Elisa is the CEO of Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers - for all you non-MOPS types who may not have known who she is...) I am very excited about this opportunity.
Gotta run,now. Have a great weekend!!!

post signature

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Expectation

Thursday morning I am flying to Wisconsin to speak for a MOPS group in the evening. Some of you may recall my post from yesterday mentioning Brian is out of town this week and, being the concerned women you are, you may be wondering who is going to watch my kids while I'm gone. This afternoon I was wondering that same thing.
I had made arrangements for someone to be here when the kids got home from school, and to stay with them until another friend is coming over to spend the night with them. I was so pleased at how it all came together. Yesterday I called to confirm these arrangements and when I finally spoke with the babysitter today I learned she is unable to be here after all.
I panicked.
I had already gone through my list of relatives for help with child care and no one was available. Now I didn't know what I was going to do. OK, I knew enough to cry and pray. Oh, did I pray! Lord, I know You know what I need to do. I know You know who will stay with my kids Thursday afternoon. I know You can work this out. I know You are able. I know it will all be OK. Father, please show me what to do!
And He did. I called my new neighbor who had welcomed me so kindly to the neighborhood, and who told me, "If you ever need help with anything, just ask!" Her son and daughter walk with Elizabeth to the bus stop each day and she was happy to step in for me Thursday afternoon. Whew! Crisis averted!

Needless to say, however, I was on the edge emotionally by this time. Plus, the unplanned time I spent trying to figure that situation out set me back on dinner preparation. Tonight was Curriculum Night at the boys' school so we needed to eat a little earlier to get to school on time. Great, I needed more pressure.
Dinner time brought its own stresses. Then, as we were walking out the door to go to school, I was looking in the mirror to make sure I had successfully wiped away the mascara which had been running with the tears down my cheeks. Elizabeth assured me I didn't look like I was crying. She's so sweet.
When we got home from Curriculum Night and I was saying goodnight to the kids, (and was looking at the dirty table and dishes I'd left behind in an attempt to get to school on time...) Brian called. I hadn't been crying for awhile, but I let it go with him. He prayed for me and the Lord reminded me of what is True. He IS bigger than my troubles. He WILL carry me through them. And one day He's coming back and He WILL remove me from them completely! This time the tears were happy tears.

So why am I calling this post "In Expectation"? Because I am reminded of previous times when I have been on the verge of a speaking engagement and it seemed like everything was falling apart, but then God did a wonderful work in the hearts of moms who are overwhelmed and broken just like me. I am expecting Him to do it again.

As I was writing this out tonight I thought, Man, I sound really pathetic. Guess what?
I am! I am a broken woman. I am absolutely hopeless without my Savior. But I am trusting Him to take this broken vessel named Karen and to use her to minister hope and healing to other broken moms Thursday night. Please pray with me to that end!

And I don't know if Becky (the coordinator of the group to whom I'm speaking Thursday) reads my blog, but if you are reading I hope I'm not freaking you out. I am going to be fine and we're going to have a wonderful evening. To God be the glory!!!

post signature

Monday, September 10, 2007

Now She's Up!

My day started out horribly, but ended wonderfully. Someone, please pass the Super Mom Award. LOL!
This morning Joshua was upset that he couldn't find a bug to feed his praying mantis and was concerned it was going to starve and die while he was at school. (Which, therefore, made school a terrible place to be.) He was upset with me because he didn't think I care as much about the praying mantis as he does. (Got me there!) He thought I was unreasonable for not going to the pet store to buy crickets to feed said mantis.
Well, the good news is Joshua found two grasshoppers at recess and since I had packed a snack for him in a ziploc bag he was able to use the bag to transport the bugs home. And I was given "credit" for helping him get bugs for the praying mantis. Bonus! Spot (the praying mantis) immediately enjoyed one of the grasshoppers, Joshua was happy, and I got placed back on his "good list." Oh, I'm happy!
Then Elizabeth told me she and a friend were talking about going to each other's house to make a cake for their class at school. In trying to decide whose kitchen they should use, Elizabeth's friend asked, "What's your mom like with messes?" Elizabeth said, "Oh, she's OK with it as long as you clean it up." And her friend said, "Then let's do it at your house. My mom is too picky."
What's this? Someone is preferring me as the less uptight option??? That makes me happy!
And when I tucked the kids into bed tonight, Joshua called me back into his room to tell me something *important.* In school today he had to write in a journal about what he's been doing lately. He wrote about the bugs he's been playing with. (For the record, Ring died and is now on the bug board. Spot is the new praying mantis. We have two grasshoppers - of the non-food-for-Spot variety - and one large dragonfly which used to be flying around Joshua's room and is now proudly displayed on the bug board.) Tonight he told me he also wrote he knows I love him because I'm letting him have these bugs in the house. Yep, for the love of Joshua. No way I'd allow it otherwise!
Honestly, I'm not real crazy about these critters, except it does give us opportunity to talk about God's creativity and attention to detail when we examine Jumper close up. More than that, though, it makes me very happy to know these little bugs in the house help Joshua know I love him so much!

post signature

One of *Those* Mornings!

This morning I did not like being a mother. Oh, I still love my kids like crazy, but this mothering thing...I was so ready to let it go!

Brian left yesterday afternoon for Denver. He's there this week receiving training for a new business he's opening soon. (It's a personal training franchise called Fitness Together. Yep, I'm thinking he should walk around with a t-shirt that says, "If you want a body like mine, you've got to train at Fitness Together." That'll bring the clients in!) Anyway, I'm flying solo this week and this morning I thought I was going to crash and burn.
I'll skip the details. It's probably enough to say Joshua was unhappy about everything, Matthew was mad at Joshua, and I was looking for somewhere to run away and hide. At one point, when two out of three of us were in tears and the other one was just grumbling, I honestly wondered if I should let them stay home from school. Not that I wanted to spend an entire day with this chaos, I just wasn't sure I wanted to send them out in this condition. Seriously, it was that bad of a morning.
A lot of prayer and a nice walk to the bus stop seemed to help all of us.

At the bus stop I met another mom and as we were walking home she invited me in to her house for a visit. Oh, there is so much to get done today and I really thought I should pass on the invitation, but I went in anyway. I am so glad I did! We had a delightful conversation and after about an hour and a half of visiting, we found out we are very much alike. When I got home I found that no one had folded the laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, gone to the grocery store, or any of the other things I need to do today. Yep, those tasks are still here. And now I'm going to conquer them all, feeling a little refreshed from time spent with a new friend, and feeling hopeful that God will carry me through even my most difficult mothering moments.

post signature

Friday, September 07, 2007

I Bet This Won't Surprise You

A week ago I posted about the various critters we've had invading, I mean visiting, our house. One of those critters is a praying mantis the kids have named Ring. I mentioned Joshua is keeping Ring well fed (which is why we thought the bug was so fat) and I also referred to this particular bug as he. Well, well, well...
This morning Joshua called me excitedly and said, "Look what Ring made last night!" I went out and saw something that looked like a mini-wheat sitting on top of the cage. Although there was a box of Mini-Wheats on the breakfast table, I knew Joshua wasn't tricking me with cereal. Ring is a she, and she was fat because she had a bunch of eggs just waiting to be laid! Yep, that was an egg sac she made last night and now we have a slender bug. (I should have known it wasn't a male. Haven't all the males mated and been eaten by this time in the season?)

I got on the Internet to learn what I could about praying mantis egg sacs while the kids were in school today. I learned females lay their eggs in the fall (in sacs containing between 20-100 eggs!) and they hatch in the spring. I also learned that some people actually buy these eggs to put in their gardens because the adult praying mantis will eat pests. One site said, "Due to high demand praying mantis egg sacs are unavailable until 2008." Aren't we the lucky ones? We got an egg sac for free!
So the plan is, we're going to put the egg sac in a box in the garage for the winter and will put it among the flowers in the spring so the eggs can hatch and eat the pesty bugs around our yard. (I wonder if they'll eat the off-spring from one of the two bees that stung me the other day. That would make me happy!)
I think I might be as excited about this egg sac as the kids are. It really is amazing to think this thing was produced by a bug over night. And I'm glad for the "science lesson" God has just dropped in our laps. So long as we get them outside next spring before they hatch and take over the garage!

Once again, I live in a zoo.


To Amanda, mother of 4

Amanda, I am so glad you visited my blog and left a comment. First I would say, No! You are not alone. Second, I would love to talk further with you and am praying you'll stop by here again and will see this message. Please email me at

In Hope,

post signature

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Oh, No! It's Starting!

I have always known my children weren't going to stay little forever. I knew the day would come when they would grow up and wouldn't need me, and maybe wouldn't *sniff* even *sniff* want me. *sniff, sniff* But I thought they would at least be teenagers when that happened.

Elizabeth has been doing a wonderful job this week of getting up on her own (though she did forget to set her alarm last night and I had to wake her this morning). She gets herself ready, gets her breakfast, and leaves for the bus without any prompting from me. This behavior is such a change from last year, and I have admired how much she's grown up just over the summer. It did scare me a bit last night when we went to the shoe store though. The clerk measured Elizabeth's foot and, are you ready for this? (I wasn't!) My little girl's foot is a half size larger than mine!
OK, so she's really growing. But she's only eleven. What happened to waiting for her teen years before she started growing up???

Well, at least I still have my little boys, I thought. Then came this morning. Joshua asked, "Mom, do you have to walk us to the bus stop today?" (Background: Tuesday I went with them just so they could find it, but we had to turn several corners along the way and it seemed a bit confusing. So yesterday we went to a different one - maybe a slightly longer walk but waaaaay easier to navigate. I suggested this second bus stop specifically so they would be able to manage going by themselves, but I didn't expect Joshua to ask me to not go with them!) I asked him why he didn't want me to walk with them and he said, "I want to grow up a little." Oh!!! Matthew does want me to walk with them (he even holds my hand!) so I asked Joshua if it would be OK with him if I walked them to the bus today, but didn't tomorrow. He agreed.
So we're walking along this morning and I'm looking at Joshua - he's only 9! - and realizing he is growing up right before my eyes, too. We talked about school and bugs and the neighbor's cat, and I tried to cherish the moment. Then the bus came and even though he's growing up, even though his new friends were standing around, Joshua hugged me and gave me a kiss and told me he loves me. As he boarded the bus we even did our "You Rock!" routine. And as the bus drove away I saw both of my little boys sitting in the back of the bus, waving good-bye to me out the back window. Precious, I'm telling you. Absolutely precious!

I still don't know what to do about this "growing up" thing happening so far ahead of schedule, though!

post signature

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I'm Doomed!

Yesterday was my kids' first day of school. Everyone got up and dressed and was excited to go to their new school. Our new neighbors came over to walk with Elizabeth to her bus stop, and about an hour later I walked with the boys to theirs. It was after school, when Elizabeth and I walked to meet the boys as they got off the bus, that I realized I'm doomed.
Also standing there, waiting for her son, was a neighbor I hadn't yet met. We chatted for a few minutes and she seemed quite nice. When the bus came and our boys all got off somehow the conversation turned to bugs and mice. (Go figure. Joshua comes upon the scene and there goes the conversation!) Something about this woman's demeanor made me think she wasn't so big on bugs and mice and she seemed eager to change the subject. However, before I could do anything about it Elizabeth told her we have pet mice, and she said something about wanting a rat. I thought, Great. Here goes any chance this woman will ever want to come visit our house!
But, no! She smiled and told us she loves rats, that she used to have one. Immediately Elizabeth engaged her in a conversation about the merits of having a rat for a pet and I practically stood there watching all my arguments against said pets, flying out the window. (OK, I really only have one argument. I think their tails look like snakes, and that just creeps me out!)
This woman's testimony about pet rats, coupled with the fact one of Joshua's pet mice died yesterday and the other one has got to be going any minute now, has me fearing I will soon be inundated with requests for a pet rat. This is why I think I'm doomed. A reasonable sounding adult said she likes rats, and my kids heard her say it. We're going to have an empty cage soon! Pray for me friends! I need to be strong. I must resist the temptation to give in to this insane request. I cannot say "Yes" to a rat. Besides, what will my mother say if I tell her I'm going to let my kids have a rat??? She'll never come to my house again! (OK, perhaps that's the real reason I don't want a rat. I'm almost 36 years old and I'm still trying to please my mother!)

I want to thank those of you who were praying for me and the women to whom I spoke last night. It was a great evening. If you are interested, I would love it if you checked out my schedule and prayed for each of the groups for whom I speak. My prayer is always that God would prepare the women for what He wants to say to them, that He would bring hope and healing to their hearts, and that He would reveal to each woman the ways He is using her struggles for good. I have a group of ladies from my church to whom I send out regular prayer requests for my speaking, but I was so encouraged by the comments and emails I received from you about praying that I wanted to share my schedule with you so you could continue praying. Thanks so much!


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Party Time!

When we decided to move, my kids were understandably sad to be leaving their school and friends. We didn't move very far though, and we assured the kids they could still see their friends. Even so, they wanted to have a party to say goodbye.
That is, they wanted to throw themselves a going away party. As in, while I was in the midst of packing our stuff, cleaning and fixing up the house to get it ready to put on the market, and dealing with my own feelings about moving, the kids wanted me to invite over all their friends so they could say, Goodbye. Call me crazy but I thought that was a really bad idea.
Fortunately I was able to think fast and I suggested rather than having a "Moving Party," we should have a "Moved-in Party." I told the kids they could invite their friends over to our new house, and that way everyone would know where we live. (And I could buy myself some time!) The kids agreed, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Well, as you know, we're in our new home. Starting about five minutes after we were here, the kids have been asking, "When can we have our 'Moved-in Party'?" This past week I was thinking about it, realizing school was just around the corner, and declared Sunday afternoon to be the official time for the Moved-in Party. I had the kids make a list of who they wanted to invite and I got on the phone to extend the invitations. We started brainstorming ideas for activities and went shopping to get some party supplies. (The shopping trip was another opportunity for me to be thankful that I have a creative and frugal daughter. She wanted to get a pinata for the party but we couldn't find one at the Dollar Store. The ones at WalMart were $15 and $16 and I just couldn't see spending that much money on something kids were going to destroy with a baseball bat. She said, "That's OK. I'll make one." So she decorated a brown paper bag and called it a pinata.)
Finally this afternoon, after a week of anticipating, fourteen of my kids' friends came over for an afternoon of games and fun. We had a three-legged race, batted the pinata, ate snacks, and played sardines. After the "organized" activities the kids gravitated to their respective groups (the little boys, the bigger boys, and the girls) and did their own things.
I walked in on the girls playing Truth or Dare and taught them how to play HaHa. (Did anyone else play that game at slumber parties?) The bigger boys enjoyed catching bugs, and Joshua thrilled them all by feeding Ring a moth. And the little boys climbed the trees and the sign in our front yard. It was a true joy to see them enjoying themselves so much.
In fact, Joshua just walked through the room and said, "This was a fun day."
Yes, some days I feel like I'm getting it "right." Some days the kids are happy with the things I do for them. Some days I'm a little more able to overlook the crumbs on the floor and the doors that keep getting left open, and I can just be happy that my kids are having fun. Today is one of those days, and I'm going to cherish it!

post signature