Tuesday, September 30, 2008

i can be thankful...

Even though I miss my kids tremendously, I can find things to appreciate and be grateful for. Here are 10 that I am thankful for while adjusting to being an empty-nester.

1. My house is more picked up. No longer do I have backpacks, shoes, sweatshirts, and other belongings strewn around my house.

2. I do a lot less laundry! Enough said.

3. I buy a lot less toilet paper. Actually, my grocery bills are quite less these days.

4. I sleep in a little later (7:30 as opposed to 6:45) since I don't have to make sure students are getting out the door and on their way to school.

5. Speaking of school, I didn't have to fill out a mountain of paperwork at the beginning of the school year. Neither did I have to volunteer for umpteen things that the school wants you to get involved in.

6. Our evenings are our own. If we want to go out to dinner, we do. If we want to go to the movies, we can. We don't have to schedule our time around the kid's schedule(s).

7. I don't feel as guilty if I don't have dinner planned out. Don is very flexible and we can eat sandwiches if there's nothing in the oven.

8. I get to put my jammys on earlier in the evening. I don't have to worry who might walk through my door at any point through the evening. I can wash my face, take off my b.r.a, and wear comfy clothes long before bedtime.

9. I am thankful for technology during this time. Texting and instant messaging is used constantly and I talk to both of my kids almost every day. I'm thankful that they want to talk to me.

10. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I love when either (or both) kids come home. I cherish each moment together, the laughter that is shared and I can't get enough of the conversations we have.

Ten Things Tuesday is hosted by Jill @ XBox Wife

Monday, September 29, 2008

on my own

I often think back on my childhood and remember how much I enjoyed the freedom I had. I'm talking about the freedom to travel outside my house without my parents having to be concerned of where I was and what might happen to me.

In 3rd grade, I was allowed to walk down several blocks to friend's homes to play. I remember going to a movie by myself. It was a special matinee for grade school students, but I remember being dropped off and walking in and sitting all by myself.

In 4th and 5th grade, I was allowed to play and explore the local foothills for hours at a time. I also remember selling door to door for fundraisers without my parents accompanying me. I remember going over to the local grade school and playing, with friends, on the playground.

In 6th grade, I remember riding my bicycle everywhere... and I do mean, everywhere. Even though my boundaries were pretty lenient, I often went beyond them. I loved the feeling of exploring new places and felt fearless and adventurous. I was also allowed to go to the mall with friends.

And as early as 3rd grade and every year thereafter until I was in high school, I remember walking or riding my bike to the local 7-11 or neighborhood liquor store to buy candy.

I loved this freedom I had. But times changed. The reasonably safe world I lived in as a child slowly stared dwindling away and I could not let my children enjoy some of the same freedom I had when I was their age. I don't think I was an over protective mother, just one with eyes wide open to the dangers that lurk almost everywhere. I was always concerned for their safety. I often wished things were different so my kids could have run and explored their world and then, ultimately, discovering themselves in new and fun ways.

I watched the Dr. Phil show today which was titled "Extreme Moms." There were moms who hovered over their children and monitored their every move. Extreme, indeed. And then there was a mom in New York who had her 9 year old son ride the subway home - not because he wanted to, but because she thought he needed to have the confidence to do such a thing. It's just my opinion, but I feel this is extreme, too.

At the time, this same mom wrote an article for her NY newspaper, "Why I let my 9 year old ride the subway alone," and ended up on the morning shows and pegged as the "America's worst mom." From there, she started a blog: Free Range Kids. I may find some of her methods extreme but I like that her blog opens the discussion on what is extreme and what our kids need. I encourage you to check it out.

As with anything, extreme isn't good. Balance is healthier and happier. And part of parenthood, and childhood, is finding the balance that works for you and your family.

Friday, September 26, 2008

africa in my family room

Earlier this week, I posted on some of my favorite things about this time of year. One of them was the new seasons for my favorite TV shows are starting.

my question is:
What show(s) are you excited for the start of the new season?

For me, it's Survivor. I've watched every season of this show and I always look forward to a new one starting. This season is even more exciting because the group is in Africa and it's being shot in HD (high definition). How incredible would it be to be playing the game in such a beautiful place and amidst all the wildlife.

I'm also looking forward to the start of LOST and 24, both not premiering for another couple of months.

Visit Kailani @ An Island Life for all the Aloha Friday participants.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

thank you facebook

I've been a little obsessed lately.

A couple of months ago, through Facebook, I found two women who I had been friends with during the 90s. They moved away and none of us made the effort to keep in touch. I immediately sent them a message and asked to be their friend (it's a Facebook thing). It was great seeing them and their families through their profiles and we've been catching up on each other's lives.

Since then, I spend some of my late night hours searching for other friends that I've lost contact with. I've used Facebook, MySpace, and Google. A couple of weeks ago I found a very dear friend of mine, again, through Facebook. She was a close high school friend and my maid of honor. We've written to each other, giving the abridged version of our lives for the past 18 years. It was such a wonderful feeling to find a long lost friend; one you've thought a lot about through the years.

And then last week, I found another old high school friend. He was part of the same group that the above mentioned friend was a part of. And he was Don's best man. I found him by googling his name. This method isn't as easy or productive, but this time it worked. It turns out that this friend has a Flickr account and he used his full name on it. Bingo! I found him. It's such a thrill.

So, now I can't seem to help myself. I find myself late at night, sitting with my laptop on my lap, typing in the names of every old friend that I can think of. Isn't technology grand? And I would have to disagree with all of those who say there is nothing good about Facebook. It reunites old friends.

Thank you Facebook.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

fallin' for autumn

Jill @ XBox Wife hosts 10 Things Tuesday where she asks us to list 10 things we're thankful for. I took her cue this week and listed 10 things about this time of year that I'm thankful for.

1. The weather. It's not too hot, nor cold. Mild weather, yet with a slight chill both in the morning and in the evenings.

2. The colors. Leaves turning gold, orange, and red have to be one of the most pleasing sites to me. I try to get up to the mountains at least once during this time of year to see the colors on a grander scale.

3. It's football season. I'm not a crazy football fanatic - I just enjoy watching the game. I'm a Bronco fan and root them on each year (they're looking good this year!). Thanks to Jake, this year I have a new team to root on; the C.U. Buffs.

4. I can start drinking the hot drinks, like coffee, coffee drinks, and hot chocolate (sugar free, of course), and maybe even some tea. It's not that I didn't drink any of these during the summer, but with colder weather on our doorstep, it gives me the excuse I need to drink them on a regular basis.

5. Good movies always come out towards the end of the year, especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Makes me giddy with anticipation.

6. New seasons start for some of my favorite TV shows in the next few weeks. Among them, Survivor, The Office, E.R. (and these are all on Thursday night), Eli Stone, and Law & Order. I'll have to wait another month or two before Lost's and 24's seasons start.

7. After taking the summer off, I'm able to resume meeting with some very special friends. First off, my two movie buddies. We not only see movies, but have lunch and chat, mostly about our kids who are off at college. We also go Christmas shopping together and hit the seasonal craft shows. Then there is my Moms In Touch group. I love this group and these ladies. We meet every other week to pray for each other and our community, as well as support and encourage each other as women and mothers.

8. Craft shows! I love going to craft shows and they are in abundance as we head into the holidays.

9. My birthday is in October, as well as Don's. We'll be going to a Switchfoot concert with our kids to celebrate.

10. I love apples and they are at their best this time of year. It makes me want to eat them even more.

What is your favorite thing about this time of year?

Monday, September 22, 2008

movie time...

As I've written before, I am a big movie goer. I love movies. I come from a long line of movie goers and I'm sure I've passed it on to my kids. I usually go once a week during the school year with two girlfriends. And now that Don and I have more free time, we've been going more. Here are my thoughts on the last three that I've seen.

Don and I went to see Traitor a couple of weeks ago and really liked it. It stars Don Cheadle as a a former Special Ops soldier who is aiding terrorists. I don't want to give anything away so that's about all I'll say on the plot. I think Don Cheadle is such a good actor and his performance in this movie doesn't disappoint. It is rated PG-13 but there is quite a bit of violence and some language that may not be suitable to some.

Last week, my movie buddies and I saw The Women. The all-star cast made this a fun movie and I did enjoy it. I'll have to say that the acting wasn't top notch but the story was good and one that most women can relate to in one way or another. There are some great lessons illustrated throughout the movie. Rated PG-13.

And over the weekend, Don and I saw Lakeview Terrace starring Samuel L. Jackson. It was well done and kept you on the edge of your seat. There were some disturbing parts but they actually gave me chance to reflect on some related (in a round about way) situations in my own life. It is rated PG-13 but I think it probably should have been rated R.

From the previews I've seen, there are some good looking movies coming out soon. I'm looking forward to them. What movie(s) have you seen lately or what movie(s) are you wanting to see?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

you are loved

You are loved. Even if you don't always feel loved, you are loved. Even if you can't always see love, you are loved. Even when you feel alone or lonely, you are loved.

Our society dictates that we show love in specific, tangible, predictable ways - flowers, candy, love letters, rings. These are the acceptable ways of showing love. And yet, the most exciting expressions of love come in those out-of-the-ordinary, surprising, funny moments.

The problem is not that we are unloved: the problem is that we have a limited view of love's expression. We need to broaden our view. We need to improve our lovesight so we don't overlook the subtle, creative, unique ways that love come to us.

Love behaves in many different ways. One person declares love through hard work, providing for a loved one. Another expresses love by carefully choosing a perfect gift and presenting it at just the right moment. Someone else lavishes tender and meaningful words on a beloved - perhaps in a specially chosen greeting card, a personally composed note, or an unexpected phone call. A fourth shows love through encouragement.

Love come to you from many different sources too. Can you doubt the love in a tiny boy's handful of pansies plucked from the grumpy neighbor's flower garden? Can you deny the love in a Crayola portrait of Grandad? What mother would miss the love shown by a teenager who cleaned up his room without being prodded? And what about a friend who offers to help you with a crash project at work?

Love may show up wrapped in the funny papers and twine or exquisitely presented in glossy paper and glistening bows. it shines in silent glances from across the room. it might even come in a soft purr or the wag of a tail. It doesn't matter what form it takes, as long as it comes from the heart.

Even when all these ordinary kinds of love seem to fail, you are still loved extraordinarily. For God's love letter speaks gloriously to you: God loves you so much that he sent his precious only Son to lead you home to live with him forever. Oh, yes, you are definitely loved. Never doubt it.

~Mary Hollingsworth

Friday, September 19, 2008

high ho, high ho... it's off to work i go


Guess what I did yesterday? I interviewed for a job. Man, it's been a long time since I interviewed for a job. But it went well and after thinking about it for most the day, I think I'm going to take it.

I would be a mentor/tutor for a certain program (AVID) at a local school. I still have to decide how many hours I want to work each week and if I want to work with middle school or high school students.

I knew I wanted to get a part time job once Jake went off to school. It would give me something to fill my time and help out financially to put two kids through college. When thinking about having a job, my first and second choice were to work either in a book store or for an airline (you know, for the free or discounted tickets). But working for a school and with kids was my third choice, so I am happy. I'll be honest though... it's going to be a big adjustment for this long time stay at home mom.

So, my Aloha Friday question is:
If you were a stay at home mom (or dad) who became an empty nester who wanted to get a job (still with me?), what kind of job would you want to have?

Aloha Friday is hosted weekly by Kailani of An Island Life.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

listening with your heart [part two]

Tuesday I wrote about listening to our children with our hearts (read here). Here is the continuation of my thoughts.

Working with two different youth groups over the last eight years, I probably heard this phrase more than any other; "My parents just don't understand." Heck, I'd hear it from my own kids. And I remember thinking it when I was a teenager. Part of it is normal for teenagers. But I think we, as parents, can work harder at trying to understand.

When my kids would say this to me, my answer most of the time was, "You're right. I probably don't. Please help me to understand." And most of the time, they would try.

I see communication as the answer to helping us parents understand our children and I don't think you can have too much of it. It needs to be a constant in the life of a family. It needs to be something that is practiced all the time. It needs to work both ways. Each party (parent and child) needs to both listen and be given the opportunity to speak, knowing they are being listened to and treated with respect.

It needs to be used in the everyday so when something more critical comes along, there will already be a precedent. You can't expect to be able to discuss subject "A" if you have no history of talking things out. The more a family communicates, the more each person knows about the others and how they feel about certain subjects. And when something totally out of the blue is dropped in your lap, it can be discussed openly and freely because this format has already been established.

You may be thinking, "Well of course I'm planning to communicate with my teenager." I don't doubt that is the plan for most parents. But something happens when a kids starts to feel their way into [pre]adolescence. They're trying to figure out who they are and their "voice" becomes scary to parents and adults. Parents aren't sure what's going on. They feel like they're losing control. They don't like what they hear and see. Many will try to make sure their child acts "appropriately," according to their own views and agenda. Some will simply find it easier to just tell the child, "Do this" and "Don't do that," without giving the child a voice in the matter. And others will simply withdraw completely as the task is too difficult. They simply give up.

Here's where it gets tricky. I whole-heartily believe that parents should be parents and impart values and discipline. Kids actually want this. But I think parents also need to loosen the reigns enough for the child to grow and learn for themselves who they are and how to make it in this world. And this is where communication makes it all work.

The child learns from his/her parents because the parents are constantly communicating their values, respect, love, and support. When the child sees this and hears this on a regular basis, they will know it in their heart that their parents care about them and wants what is best for them. They then will feel safe to communicate their fears, needs, and desires and will actually appreciate their parent's input and guidance.

This doesn't work perfectly all the time. I am not a perfect parent. You can ask my children - they didn't always feel safe to express their feelings and and often times, didn't. That's part of being a teenager; keeping things to themselves and sharing only with their peers. But if a parent sets out to understand their teenager, it can only help that relationship and ultimately, the transformation of the teenager as they emerge as the person they were meant to be.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

listening with your heart [part one]

I was thinking the other day about how much I dislike confrontation and why. I'm still trying to figure this out but I know that a lot of it is that my nature is one of being a peace-maker. I don't like the feeling of discord when two or more people don't get along.

As I was reflecting on this subject, I remembered that I did like confrontation when I was younger. I remember my turbulent teenage years and my relationship with my parents. I remember, at times, purposely pushing for that confrontation. I remember being conscious about that fact as I pushed certain buttons or wouldn't let a certain subject drop. Seems childish now, but I remember the feelings that were involved at the time and it felt like it was something I just had to do.

Having my own children travel through their own teenage years and working with teenagers, I now understand better what my internal angst was about and why I felt a need to act out.

I think it boils down to the teenager feeling like they don't have a voice in what happens to them or their life. This can be just perceived or factual. Either way, the feeling is very real. There's a saying that applies very much to a teenager's life; their perception is their reality.

Anything I write from here on will sound very simplistic and it really isn't. Every child is different. Parenting styles are different. But I think it's safe to say that pre-adolescent and adolescent children are feeling their way through very rocky years and need to be encouraged, supported, and unconditionally loved.

I think this means that parents need to help them through this time by allowing them to use their voice and listening to them with a heart wanting to understand what their struggles really are and coming along side them as they work through the ups and downs that come their way.

For me as a teenger, I know I felt like my voice wasn't being heard. That my parents didn't care about my feelings, my desires, my needs. As a parent, I can look back and know that my parents did care, but I don't think they really knew what my true desires and needs were. They were so wrapped up in doing what they felt was necessary as a parent (and I'm not saying that this is wrong), that it didn't matter what I wanted or needed.

I think there are ways that parents can be parents but still give their children their voice, which helps them figure out who they are and how to handle the obstacles that come their way.

To prevent this post from becoming too long, I will continue it Thursday. If you have any thoughts on this subject, please leave them in a comment and we'll continue the discussion on Thursday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

valued award

Susan, of Penless Writer, honored me with this award. Susan has become a dear blogging buddy and I can't help but admire her deep faith and how she uses her blog to share that faith as well as reach out to other bloggers. A while back, she felt convicted to start a 24 hour prayer blog. She has rallied many fellow bloggers to participate and oversees this valuable ministry.

Permio al Esfuerzo Personal has been translated by a previous recipient as Prize to the Personal Effort.

Here are the rules:
Mention the blog that gave it to you and comment on their blog to let them know you've posted your award
Publish these rules
Share 6 values that are important to you and 6 things you do not support
Grant the prize to 6 people

Six values that are important to me:

Six things I do not support:
being judgemental
the theory of evolution
cosmetic surgery

I would like to pass this award on to:
Melissa @ Mejojac's Memos
Jen @ Pen of Jen
Deb @ Riding Free with Deb
Heather @ Not a DIY Life
Mary @ Not Before 7
Amber @ Crazy Bloggin' Canuck

Friday, September 12, 2008

dinner and clean clothes...

What are your plans for the weekend?

We haven't planned anything specific for the weekend because.... Jake is coming home. Yay! I have a feeling it's going to look and feel a lot like the weekends we had this last summer. But I am okay with that.

Jake's band mates are planning to come over and jam in our basement on Saturday. Jake and Hollee will probably watch a movie down in the basement (maybe we'll join them!). We'll go to church on Sunday morning and out to lunch afterwards. And before we know it, the weekend will be over and he'll be heading back to school.

Jake told me last night that he was excited to come home. Kidding, I said, "Why? To see your mom and dad?" He said that what he was really looking forward to was a home cooked meal. So you can bet we'll be providing that for him. I may even offer to do his laundry =)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I'm planning on having one.

Aloha Friday headquarters can be found at An Island Life, hosted by Kailani.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

He was there

Meet Me in the Stairwell

You say you will never forget where you were when
you heard the news On September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the
peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it
is OK.. I am ready to go.'

I was with his wife when he called as she fed
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized
he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a
woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said.
'Of course I will show you the way home - only
believe in Me now.'

I was at the base of the building with the Priest
ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He
heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat,
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan...
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew
every name - though not all know Me.
Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the
smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take my hand.'
Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You
may not know why, but I do. However, if you were
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have
reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey
for you. But someday your journey will end.
And I will be there for you as well.

Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment,
you know you are 'ready to go.'
I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

~Stacey Randall

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

who was lee?

I peered into the mirror, finishing putting on my make-up. I was in the bathhouse of the campground. A large room divided by old, crumbling walls and exposed pipes. Four showers on one wall and four toilet stalls on the other. I stood in the middle of the room, leaning over the sink, applying my mascara in the reflection of the dingy mirror.

I did not take much notice of the the little person as she entered the bathhouse and into the stall. I was busy with my make-up. The stall door opened and out flew this little person towards the sink to wash those little hands. There was a slight problem with reaching the faucet and I asked if I could help. The response was nothing like I expected.

"I am a boy!" she exclaimed.
"Really," I said, in my placating voice.
"Yes, I am a boy. My mom made me come into the girl's bathroom."

I took a quick mental note of what this little person looked like. Generic clothing that tended to look more female than male. A medium length ponytail. A typical child's face - no tale-tell signs of boy or girl.

"What is your name?" I asked, hoping that this would be a giveaway.
"Lee. And I'm an Indian." was her (his?) reply. No help there.
"Oh, nice to meet you Lee. I like your pants." They were the one piece of clothing that looked most like it came out of a little girl's closet.
"I don't. My mom makes me wear them and she makes me go into the girl's bathroom."
"Oh," was the only thing I could come up with at this point.

He/She finished washing those little hands, without any help. Then dried them, threw the paper in the trash, and said, "good bye." And that was that.

I thought about Lee for the rest of the day and ever since. Was Lee a girl or boy? Her family were not part of our group, but I did see her mom and dad around the campground. Her dad looked to be full-blooded Native American. He had a long ponytail.

She could have been a girl who wanted to be a boy or knew that her dad wanted a boy, so much that she lived her days as such. He could have been a boy who's mom wanted him to be a girl and dressed him and directed him as such. He/She could biologically be both male and female. There's a name for this; Hermaphrodite. And then at birth, the doctor has to make a decision on a gender and picks one as a best guess (assigned gender). Or she could be a little boy trapped in a girls body. Also known as Gender Identity Disorder (GID) or Gender Dysphoria.

I will never know the answer to who Lee was. I think I will always wonder. If it's the first answer I listed above, there's not much harm and I'm sure Lee will grow out of it and could go on to become her school's homecoming queen. But if the answer is any of the other three, it makes me sad. It makes me wonder what his or her life is going to look like as he or she grows older. What hardships will he or she face and have to overcome?

It makes me reflect on how many times we look at someone and think we know who they are, when we may not have a clue.

Lee was number 19/365 on my x365 project.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

i'm the good kind of stalker

First off, let me say thank you to everyone who commented on my post yesterday to express their feelings on the subject. I appreciate each and every one of them and am thankful that we can share our feelings in an honest way without being attacked for what we believe. I know some of what was said made me examine my own feelings and motives and gave me the opportunity to see the situation from different perspectives. I hope we all could do that. And as one commenter stated, first and foremost, we should be praying for Sarah Palin and this election, which I plan to do and ask that you do, too.


I just found out that Blogger has a new feature. Have you seen it? At the bottom of your dashboard there is now a Reading List. Here you can keep track of blogs you follow and readers who follow your blog. And on your dashboard, next to your blog name, there will be an icon showing you how many readers follow your blog. There's also an option where you can import and export these blogs to your Google Reader. I don't use Google reader so I don't know how all of that works.

On top of that, there's a widget for your sidebar that will display the avatars of all the readers who follow your blog. I don't have the widget installed as I write this post, but maybe by the time you read this, I will. If you'd like to follow this blog just follow the link, "follow this blog." And maybe you'll want to put the widget on your blog to show your community of readers.

So if you see someone is "following" you, don't worry that it's a stalker. It's just me, because I enjoy reading your blog.

Monday, September 8, 2008

my comments have turned into a post

I write this with great trepidation. I'm nervous. I worry about judgement. I don't want to offend. I write this because I found myself stating my opinions as comments on too many blogs. I realized I should just put it out here on mine and invite thoughtful, respectful, and considerate discussion. It's okay to agree to disagree.

I have never been interested in politics. I have my personal views and opinions on the whole political system and the people who are involved within, and I have no desire to discuss that. I will have to say, though, that this election has been so different and I have found myself more interested.

My interest was piqued even more when Sarah Palin entered the scene. Knowing nothing about her before that fateful announcement, I have to say that I think I like her as a politician. She's a firecracker and I think she would be a great addition to the White House. I wonder about her limited experience as a politician but I don't think that disqualifies her to be a vice president and think she can add new and fresh perspective and vigor to a tired, old system. That, to me, is pretty exciting.

A lot of people think she's been scrutinized and judged too much. Maybe she has, maybe she hasn't. I think any candidate is put under the microscope and then the focus is on their personal life and issues as much as their political views. So, for a woman and mother to be put under this same microscope, we're going to get the discussions that we've been having. People say, "we wouldn't be judging a father of 5 if he were in this situation." I think that's true. But it would probably be a different situation. There would most likely be a mom at home to take care of the five children.

And that brings me to my only real issue with Governor Palin. Please keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion. I respect yours, please try to respect mine.

Sarah Palin is a mother, first and foremost. She may want to be a mayor, a governor, or even vice president first and foremost, but she can't. She made motherhood her first responsibility by the fact that she had children. I don't know for sure, but I don't think she would disagree with anything I just said. So for me, it's the priority factor that I see lacking.

I'm sure she would say that her family is a priority and I believe she's done a fantastic job of juggling the family and her political life. I think, though, that taking the office of Vice President would become the priority in her life. How could it not?

I do believe that mothers can work outside the home and still be wonderful mothers and raise well balanced children. But I think it's difficult. I am often amazed at how a working mom can find the energy, time, and desire to be a mom after the energy and time they just put into a job of some kind. I know how exhausted I used to be being a stay at home mom. I couldn't even imagine trying to do an outside the home job, too. Let's be honest moms... motherhood is exhausting.

And even though my personal opinion is that the best scenario is to have the mother stay at home with her children, I'm not saying that all moms should stay home. I'm a realist and I know that we all do what we have to do and I am not here to judge.

So, without trying to judge (I really am trying), I'm having a hard time seeing any mother of five children (not to even mention that two are dealing with special circumstances) take on two such important jobs at one time.

I think of what we, as moms, deal with on a daily basis as a plate. Our plates are all individualized but they are still a plate that only holds so much (we can't make our plates bigger). We have motherhood duties, household chores, maybe a job, volunteer work, or a special project. We have hobbies, kid's activities, things that are important to us such as exercising or church activities. We all know that we can only do so much in a 24 hour period. Oh, how we wish there was more time in the day, but there isn't. We heap onto our plates as much as we can. But, again, our plate only holds so much. When we add something, something else will fall off. We may not even realize that something has fallen off - but it has. Something is being neglected or forgotten.

So back to Sarah Palin. How much of her plate would being the Vice President of the U.S.A. take up? I don't want to pretend to know. But I'm questioning it. I question it because I think that being a mom of five children would, or should, take up most of that plate. I have a hard time not seeing that something important falling off her plate. And I care enough about her children, her as a mother and role model, and the office of Vice President to not question this.

If you are a mom I have some questions for you to reflect on. How many kids do you have? How much energy and time does it take you to be the best mom you can be? What are your children's special circumstances? Do you feel like you've mastered the job of motherhood? How exhausted are you at the end of the day? And two final questions... On top of what you're doing, do you think you could take on another job as big and important as Vice President? What would fall off your plate?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

on my mind...

A few have asked why I haven't been blogging as much and wondering if I'm doing okay (thanks to those who inquired). I am doing okay. Being in an empty house and having both of my kids away at school has definitely been an adjustment. And there are times I'm sad. But I think both Don and I are getting adjusted to this new way of living just fine.

Why I haven't been blogging daily? I guess it comes down to motivation, or lack thereof. It's not just one thing, but a combination of things.

=> I don't feel like I have much to write about. I don't think my well has run dry, just going through a dry spell. I'm not too worried about this aspect and I'll be working on towards my original challenge when I started this blog - posting something every day.

=> Since Jake left the house, I felt like I lost a lot of structure to my day [and life!]. I need to find that structure again. I've been lazy and that has shown in my blogging life. I know I need structure and need to figure out what that's going to look like now in my life.

=> And I hesitate to mention this because I don't want to offend anyone, give you the wrong idea of why I blog, or guilt anyone into doing something they weren't planning to do.

Although I don't feel like I'm comment driven, I do enjoy having people comment on my posts. It is motivation for me. And as of late, comments have been at a minimum.

I know people are busy and and have very good reasons why they don't comment at any given time. I really do understand that. It just feels lonely. I used to feel part of a pretty big community of bloggers. One by one, many have disappeared - leaving the blogosphere or not wanting to read my blog (which is totally okay with me. I have blogs I like and don't like). I feel like my blogging community is very small at the moment and when just a very few people comment, not only do I feel lonely but I question what I write.

Let me just say that this last thing is my issue... not yours (my readers). Just trying to be honest with my feelings.

Ironically enough, I've been honored with a couple of awards lately and wanted to recognize those who passed them on to me.

Sharon, of Quiet Reflections, gave me the Kind Blogger Award. Thank you Sharon. I am honored you thought of me. You are the kind one.

Kailani, of An Island Life, passed on the Brillante Weblog award. Again, thank you Kailaini. I appreciate it, you, and your blog.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

lady in the van

I am enjoying my x365 project. It's given me a chance to reflect on people who I haven't thought about in a long time or ones that mean a lot to me. It gives me the challenge of writing concisely in describing the person or our relationship. But I have found that sometimes 48 words just isn't enough for some people or situations. Here is once such person.

Today's post is Lady in the Van. I don't know her name. I only know a little bit about her, yet she has had a profound impact on me.

I know that she was raped many years ago. She walked into my church at some point after it happened, wanting to talk to someone (probably the Pastor). She ended up talking to another staff member. I casually asked this staff member about about her visit, not knowing anything about it. I was only told that she was recently raped. That's it.

This lady had a distinctive face. It ended up that I saw her at the grocery store some time later and noticed the van that she was driving. It is a very distinctive van - like one of a kind. And since that time, about 10 years ago, I have seen her so many times and in so many places around town, mostly in her van.

I see her so much that I can't help but ask why? I don't see other people at the same frequency as her; not nearly as often. So why do I see her all the time?

From the very beginning, I made a practice of saying a prayer for her whenever I saw her. I figured she would be having a hard time dealing with a rape and I would pray for everything from comfort to forgiveness (given to the rapist). But I've seen her so often, I started wondering if there was something else I should be doing. Why else would I be seeing her so often?

I've been faithful in my prayers for her. I don't know what else I can do. My prayers have changed over the years since I assume she has somewhat recovered from the rape. But I don't know anything else about her, so the prayers are pretty general. It's actually frustrating to not know why I see her so much and not know how to pray or not knowing if I should be doing something beyond praying.

When I come face to face with God, my first questions will be about this lady and why I've been connected to her in such a way. But I have a feeling He'll tell me it wasn't about the lady in the van, it was really about me and my service to Him.

not exactly wordless...

Here's the story...

Last week, my blogging buddy Nancy of More Than Enough posted about a something called a hummingbird moth. I had never heard of it before but found it very interesting. Fast forward to my camping trip this past weekend.

I'm standing in a patch of wildflowers and thistles, taking pictures with my macro lens. Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement. I look away from my view finder to see this same creature flitting from one flower to the next. All of a sudden I find myself standing as still as I can because there were about eight of them fluttering around.

Of course, I can't get a picture of any of them with a macro lens. I need my zoom lens. I carefully back out of the flower patch, change my lens, and tip toe back in. I scared most of them off but a few stayed around and I was able to get some decent pictures.

They look just like a little hummingbird when they're in motion but more like a moth when you can get a good look at them. They were fun to watch and I'm so glad I saw them.

Monday, September 1, 2008

how i spent my holiday weekend


Don and I went camping this last weekend. We really had a good time. I wasn't sure because it was just the two of us when we have always camped as a family. We went with our church to a campground that we, as a family, have camped at for over 10 years.

There are so many memories at this camp and I'll be honest, it was hard to watch younger kids running around, climbing on rocks, building forts, swimming in the pool (the one my kids were baptized in), playing cowboys and indians, or Starwars, or whatever it is that younger kids play. I couldn't help but see my own children in those kids and couldn't help but feel nostalgic.

But Don and I enjoyed our time with each other, out in nature, and in the company of other adults. We realized how much we have missed camping over the past 6+ years while doing youth ministry. We had committed most of our weekends to the church and teenagers. Now we're going to work at becoming campers again.