Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Generational Dispair

Lately, I have been scratching my head, wondering when America's values have vanished to? Why is it such a crime to be a stay at home mother? Why are Mothers walking around grocery store dressed as hookers, with children in tow? When did this become acceptable??? Why aren't modern day Mothers models for goodness?

Of course this is partly that I am over 40, and I'm sure every generation witnesses something they would consider *shocking* by the younger generation. At one time *bangs* seemed to be risque' to the mothers of daughters who were taking scissors to their foreheads. Those daughters went on the have girls that laughed at the horror of their Mums.

But that isn't the type of horror I'm facing, and I've been facing it my whole life: The *ME* syndrome. It goes something like this; "When do *I* get a break? When do *I* get to follow my dreams? *I'm* not happy in this relationship anymore. MEMEMEMEMEMEMEME. I see it in a male family member who won't apply himself to even WORK and he's over 50, and can work, just chooses not to.. .but lays around complaining and asking *why is this happening to ME?*... He just lost his house and wife... she isn't divorcing him, she just isn't going to support him in his self-absorbed misery.
Additionally I see my children struggle in their relationships. I feel like it's my fault, and I know Scott feels responsible too. We know that out of 5 children, if some of them fail in marraige, it's because we didn't teach them follow-through and endurance at an early age. They may get it right later on in life (We've done our best to be honest about our shortcomings and failures), but it is agonizing to watch them struggle. But God knows our heart... if only those who I pray fervently for would TRY to please God above themselves, they would have a fighting chance. But it's hard when generations before you have failed many times over. I don't blame them. I blame me.

I am guilty of this. When I was young, divorced. I had been properly trained to do so by my parents who divorced when I was 10, and they were also trained by my grandparents who were both divorced on both sides. I'm seeing a trend here, are you?
I can honestly say that when I was young, I didn't have the skills that spelled: ENDURANCE, because I had never witnessed in my own youth by my own parents. It's like a generational curse.

As I look at family and friends who are also saying what I said (some young, some have NO excuse), I hear the old familiar voice of the devil whispering: *Your unhappy, you deserve a different set of circumstances, walk away and it will make you happy, you made the wrong choice* on and so forth. It makes me almost sick. Families are disintegrating NOW at an alarming rate. When I was a child, my dysfunctional brood was the exception. Now we would be considered normal.

How did Satan steal our desire to BE a family? Is it because our country is so over-stimulated, over-fed, and self-absorbed that we no longer think we might need to sacrifice our own *happiness* (whatever that is), for our children?

I know in my early 20's, I didn't have any follow-through, or perseverance. I had never witnessed a marriage that lasted THROUGH perseverance in my childhood, so I lacked the ability to reason it through. If I HAD have seen my parents work through their issues and not just walk away, I wonder if that would have enabled me to keep pushing on?

The beauty of becoming a new Creation in Christ is; You get a second chance to learn how to do things right. If Christians would stop engaging in self-gratifying entertainment and go back to working together as a family (*Yes, I am speaking about video games, concerts, etc), and teaching children CONTENTMENT, we could actually produce a new generation of contented adults. This isn't revolutionary thinking, it's biblical. That's not to say that every source of media & electoronic entertainment is sinful, but over-indulgence in any entertainment is not healthy, physically, mentally, and most important: SPIRITUALLY.

I have many regrets, but also many joys. My children are forgiving and embracing. Our lives have been mended and we are all close. My ex-husband and I are even kind to each other. My new husband and I are happy and yes, even content, and when the going gets tough, the tough get on their knees and display humility and ask God to govern their marriage. We have learned through the horrible pain of regret to hang on, plough through, and count our blessings.

But I am perplexed. How do we pass this on to our youth??? How do we teach people who are discontented to become humble and appreciative, when they do not have the hindsight we do? How do we teach Mothers and Fathers to be self-less?

I sometimes think an Economic Depression would be good in the long run, because we would get off our high horses and learn, one way or the other how to appreciate the simplicity of family, the joy of unity, and stop looking for self-gratification. No more going to the movies on a whim, no new videos, no cable,... Just good old fashioned board games, family singings, home gardens, and hard work that teaches everyone to appreciate everything they have and the value of family.

Let me know what you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Perhaps it's the Irish in me? But I have a ferocious temper. I'm not proud of it, and it has gotten me in plenty of trouble in the past...but BLESS GOD I'm going to learn to keep it in check!
Everyday, I start my day with prayer. It's not terribly formal, and sometimes, I am getting ready for work as I ask God to order my steps, and guard my tongue.
My day always starts out good...with good intentions.. But eventually, I am challenged to be kind to someone. Usually that person is having a bad day. It's usually one of my customers. 90% of them are very nice and a pleasure to do business with. But give the other 10% a full moon and a little too much caffeine and they are *spring loaded* and ready to fire off. I don't take it personally, because if they actually KNEW me, they would know I am a kind person and only doing my job. But this is where the rub is.
Everyone has a place where the rubber meets the road. It may be that we snap at grocery clerks, or people on the road. We may be sharp with our children or husband, but sweet as pie to the ladies at church.... I'm sure these aren't BAD people who cut us off on the road or bad children that try our patience. They are normal people in a bad moment.
So I summon all my patience and remember my Mothers words: "Pretty Is As Pretty Does"... I think Forrest Gump said it too, but my Mom beat him to it. It never made sense to me until I realized how ugly people are when they are angry. Am *I* that ugly when I am mad?? Probably uglier. My husband says; "Jealousy and Anger are ill-fitting suits for me"... can you tell I have a lot of people giving me their advice? Well, I believe God gives us all strength to overcome our weaknesses. I am not so angry anymore... I let a lot of stuff go. I pick my battles, and I try not to *react* to other peoples frustration. I also try to look for opportunities to turn bad situations around. But sometimes I fail... and I am face to face with that wicked looking woman in the mirror.
Luckily, I am an optimist by nature. It doesn't take much for me to pick myself up, and dust myself off and start off on the good foot again.
What are your weaknesses? What do you work at daily? What challenges you to your very core every day? Do you choose your attitude, or are you ruled by emotion? You can have victory over your tongue, moods, and attitudes. Just ask.... God is there to help. It may not happen all at once, but if He is the potter and you are the clay, ... God can mold you into a positive, kind, and caring person, even if the person in the mirror doesn't resemble any of those things on some days.
So keep in mind:
If *Pretty Is As Pretty Does*, remember: beauty is only skin deep. Ugly (behavior) goes all the way to your toenails.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Spoodle To Call My Own

I am REALLY missing Muttley.
I did better than anyone (including myself) ever expected when she died in May. I am fairly sure there was enough drama going on at the time that it minimized the impact.
My step-brother had committed suicide a couple of months before that... his mother when into the hospital for depression, and 2 weeks after that, my best friend goes into rehab... Muttley dies, and 4 days later my Aunt Terry dies unexpectedly. It's all kind of a blur to me now. But time heals all and I am ready to love again.:-)
So I have been scouring the papers and looking online for a *Spoodle-like* (Cock-A-Poo) female dog. I put an ad on Craigs List and apparently there are many unwanted MALE spoodles, but few females. Oh, I could go and dish out $400.00 and BUY a dog, but that's not my style. I want to rescue one, and yes, I will pay for all the shots, and to spay her, but I don't believe in dropping hundreds of dollars for a DOG, when they euthanize hundreds, maybe thousands daily in shelters across the US.
I have received numerous e-mails and phone calls begging me to take a male... but the problem is: I have a male Rottweiler. He's hyper-alpha-male too. So why torture the new guy?? Hutch (the rot) won't hurt him, but he WILL spend the rest of his days policing the little spoodles every move... because that's what alpha-male-rottweilers DO! We are very good pet owners and very pro-active and responsible. Part of this responsibility is to realize our own limitations. Another male dog isn't a good option for the dog. We would welcome it, but Hutch won't.
I have received numerous pleas from well-meaning people to adopt; Males, special needs puppies, older females, and other breeds. This is my point: SPAY AND NEUTER!! Regardless of how many dogs of every description there are that need homes, I still want what I want. I am SORRY the ugly, old, or sickly dogs get taken last, but I am not a one-woman-charity. Ya know?? I looked on the euthanasia sites, (because of the numerous guilt-ridden e-mails begging me to) but didn't see the cute, fluffy, female-furball I am dreaming of. I saw dogs that had heads like German Sheppard's, and bodies like Jack Russell Terriers. No thanks.
I do know that people are just trying to help. I don't doubt that. But placing a special needs dog with someone who doesn't have the time to address the special needs isn't a very responsible decision. Putting a male in my home with Hutch isn't either.
AND- While I am NOT promoting Euthanasia, we need to remember: it beats starvation. I don't LIKE it, I don't encourage it, but I don't like seeing animals tortured either. That's what starvation is. Irresponsible pet owners should be fined out the wazoo for not spay and neutering their animals. To counteract euthanasia, encourage responsibility... fine the daylights out of the irresponsible. Better yet; JAIL TIME! Put them to work doing community service the first offence and any after that will warrant a stay at the crossbar hotel!
I don't have answers...Ok.. maybe one or two.. In the meantime I'm still looking for a FEMALE, PUPPY, under 25 lbs,... no exceptions. No special needs older dogs, no males.
And make mine fluffy please.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random Acts Of Kindness

*RAK*, or Ransom Acts Of Kindness. Think about it... let it soak in... now go do something nice for someone just because you can.
Think of it as *Paying It Forward*, or jerking a knot in Kharma's tail.
I know what your thinking: Kelly's been hugging too many trees. Not at all... I am just weary of *attitude* and obliviousness.
Once again, on my way to work today, there is a woman in a nice sedan talking on her cell phone, in the FAST LANE, doing about 61 MPH, and oblivious to the 9 cars who cannot safely pass behind her. I needed to exit, so I take a chance and pass on the right... It took ALL my self control to not make a face, roar by, hit my bright lights 19 times.... and instead, I said a prayer for her. This was not easy. I am not very *saintly* in traffic. But she's completely consumed with her conversation and not the least with anyone elses saftey. She needs that kindness. Yes, I am aware that my little prayer isn't a monumental feat.... I am not feeding the hungry or dipensing medical supplies to in Ethiopia.. It's just a prayer. But that's my point; It's a place to start. It's something we can ALL do. Can't we???
Moving forward:
Later in the day I face the same problem I face everyday: Our office bathroom. I stroll into the ladies room and I'm met with a ferocious odor. Ok,. I know that every skunk knows it's own hole, but I am dumbfounded that grown women either do not KNOW about a *courtesy flush* or are, once again; oblivoius to everyone else around them and do not care if others suffer.
So, my solution?? OZIUM!! It's an air sanitizer found at most Wal-Marts, & Targets. It's pricey; About $5.00 for a small thin canaster, but boy is it worth it! It's slim container fits snugly in my purse, (it's about 5" tall) and doesn't mask the odor, it eliminates it with ease. It takes only one or two spritzes in the air to reduce the worst odors and replace them with a lovely vanilla, or new car scent. (Hey it beats the alternative)
That isn't much... a prayer and a spritz... but its a start. At least I didn't rage at either situation. I just took it upon myself to be proactive. See, these are common situations that I can easily anticipate and act kindly towards. I know every morning that someone will be hogging the fast lane, so I allow for extra time, and offer up a little prayer. I know in advance that there are women who are not the least bit offended by their own stench, and apparently are quite proud of it, so I am prepared to be kind enough to assist with my handy can of Ozium. It's a RAK. It's turning a negative into a positive.
But with that said; Isn't it amazing that women do this? Having a housefull of boys, this isn't a new situation... I always thought it was just a boy-thing.. or perhaps just a male-thing... I always think of women as naturally more sweet-smelling in general, and more *conscience* of the issue. Again; what happened to a good old fashioned courtesy flush???
What I have a bigger problem with is applying the RAK theory to unexpected situations. A co-worker who is ugly to me, or a customer who is unkind. Rude people on the street, mean teenagers, a neighbor with a sour attitude, or a mean streak? The list could go on for quite a while, but I think you get the picture... Everyone have encounters with challenging personalites and situations.
I guess the bottom line is: Do I pay them back with equally ugly behavior? What am I SUPPOSED to do? The Bible says I am to pray for my enemies and repay unkindness with kindness. The Bible is loaded with RAK theories, and was Pro-RAK before we ever gave it a name. More than that; we are actually be non-resistant and offer up the opportunity to slap us one more time. (just a reminder of how far we need to go to be gracious)
So, get started today. Blow the dust off the bible on your nightstand and start reading it in a whole new light. Look for ways to bless those who don't deserve it... you may just lower your blood pressure and bless yourself in the process. Until then, I'm praying for you:-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Quiver Full Mania: Is It For Everyone?

First, before all the QF Mothers gang up on me, let me say this: I believe any baby conceived is a blessing. I love children and have a large clan myself. But I didn't birth them all.

Lately, the question has come up about the *Quiver Full Movement*

Please see:

While procreation is as old NEARLY as Adam, the Quiver Full Movement by name is relatively new. It is sort of a backlash against feminism.

Am I Quiver Full minded? Lets just say; I think we all have to follow our convictions and not try to BE every one's Holy Spirit. There is NOTHING wrong with a large family. The Duggar's from Arkansas have captured the nation's attention and affection.

But, they are resourceful, organized, and the husband CAN provide for his family.

I'll admit; I had a very unsavory experience on a Yahoo-Group that was QF-Minded. That wasn't the focal point of the group, but more of a peripheral subject that I don't take exception to. The groups focus was to encourage Titus 2 women. I was doing fine on the group until I mentioned that I have 5 children, and I was knocking on 40. The question came up: "Aren't you going to have anymore???"... I told them NO, that I had my tubes tied when I was 21...

The next thing I know, I am BLASTED on and offlist with e-mails about how I can reverse my tubal (Hey, thanks for asking my husband FIRST), and how many women have babies over 40.
I was sent the *Blessed Arrows* site : with no one bothering to ask me if my infembriated ends of my fallopian tubes were still in tact? The answer to all those who weren't listening: No... they are burned. It is not reversible.

Additionally, my husband doesn't want any more children. If God, who opens and closes the womb wanted me to genuinely have more children, couldn't He just MAKE it happen? I mean, women who have tubal ligation's still get pregnant all the time!

Then there was the guilt: Heaps and heaps of it. "You are in sin,,, ,you must restore your body to it's former glory...on and on it went.. no one listening, no one caring if this choice was something we were genuinely convicted about.
You know, you get more flies with honey.

So, I support all my QF friends. No, we never had anymore children, but our Quiver is quite full. We also have 6 grandchildren and counting.

I totally understand the QF mindset. I think there are exceptions: Health, mental stability or the lack thereof, disease, and yes, if you have 10 that you CAN'T FEED...holy mole, ABSTAIN, until you can get your finances under control and feed the ones you DO have.
This whole; God will provide thing is true if you do YOUR part. I know a QF mom of 12 who works from home. I know another QF family who live below their means. They have 13 children in a 900 square foot house. They are saving for an addition, or other home. Children sleep on sofa's and bunk beds. Little ones family bed.

Am I against this? Not at all. Let me tell you what I am FOR: Good Stewardship... In order to have a family one MUST provide and not be so foolish as to think God will just shower provisions on them regardless. I believe God helps those who help themselves. Most well-managed QF families work as a team. Children help in family businesses as soon as they are able to help on some level.

I didn't understand all this as a young person. How could I? I didn't even have a relationship with Christ. One thing at a time.

So no, I am not against The QF Movement. I am all for well-planned families produced by people who can feed and clothe every baby they produce for a minimum of 18 years.

What I am against is: the QF Fanatical, Obsessing, Judgemental mothers who forget that not all of us come to the same understandings at the same time and some, simply do not have the organizational skills, or mental and emotional capacity to DEAL with 12 or more children. Harassing women into believing this isn't Christ-like. Praying for them is. If one person had stopped e-mailing me, and started praying, who knows? Maybe my husband would have been convicted to at least adopt? Maybe that isn't what we, as a family are supposed to do at all?

Maybe I'll wind up helping raise my grandchildren? Trying to back-track into God's Good Graces is ridiculous and nullifies Christs sacrifice... it makes it rather pointless. If the slate isn't wiped clean, ... if I all my sins aren't washed away... A song rings through my thoughts: What can wash away my sin??? Nothing but the blood of Jesus...What can make me whole again?.....NOTHING but the blood of Jesus...

By the way, I did a Google search about *Quivers* (the actually carrying case for ancient arrows)... while there were a few that held up to 30 or more, the average carried 6.

All those over-zealous women who make it their business to tell everyone else what to do and how to do it... can you just hold up a minute and just worry about yourself? Shouldn't your life speak for itself? You live your life the way YOUR convicted and answer questions as they are asked. Be happy and content in the way your following your convictions.

And remember: There are mothers of 1 disabled child that are doing all they can do to meet the needs of their precious offspring. There are Mothers who can't bear many children for physical reasons, or health issues. Sadly, I have heard people say that shouldn't stop them. Walk a mile in their moccasins please. There are emotionally disturbed (Think Andrea Yates) women who are probably not in the Will Of God and have no business bearing more children until they are stable themselves...

Some people simply have harder choices, and while you may be totally convinced to be QF, and following though to the *nth* degree... maybe your not following other convictions that another woman who isn't so QF minded is. ???

All human life is valuable, and precious. But if God will provide, why isn't He providing in Africa? India? Even here in the states? People can't feed their children. Help me here... I am struggling for an answer and don't you dare say they don't have enough faith. Pioneer mothers 100 years ago had plenty of faith. This is just one of those peripheral issues that BOTH a husband and wife must be in agreement with or you ARE out of the will of God.

Sidenote: I am not advocating birth control. That is a personal decision. I am advocating self control.:-)

So, here's my suggestion to everyone who stumbles upon this blog and those who read it regularly: Be kind to each other. Pray for each other. Love each other.
Don't judge, be content in your own conviction.

Those aren't my rules.

A Homespun Holiday

When people ask me what I want for Christmas, I usually draw a blank. I have no idea what I want because, to be truthful; there isn't much that I need.
When I ask my father this same question, year after year, I am met with the same answer. Apparently we are both blessed with contentment.
So, I began thinking about what really means the most to me at Christmas time? The answer is: Anything that someone put their heart into.
So, with that in mind, I am suggesting a homespun Christmas, just like they did a hundred or more years ago. Ma's and Pa's, sisters and brothers, would work all through the year on a special homemade gift to give to the ones the love. Keeping it a secret was all part of the fun.
I think part of the STRESS of the holidays is the popular concept that we must please the people we love with expensive gifts....something that is on the cutting edge of technology. I have one answer to that: Calculators. No, don't buy them a calculator! Think back...WAY back, when calculators, and digital watches first came out and they cost close to $500.00!! Then the market was flooded with them, and now they sell them at Dollar Tree.
I don't know of anyone who has been given a digital watch, (or other new-fangled gadget) that 10 years later thinks back fondly on the gift and gets it out periodically to reminisce.
But I DO know of homemade gifts that have meant the world to me: Embroidered pillow cases, baby blankets, and tea towels.... quilts, and crocheted afghans that someone spent time on...thinking of me with each stitch.
So, I am suggesting that we all think about projects that MEAN something from you for Christmas, not just something that fills a void. Like we need more stuff???
Quilted potholders... that is my first suggestion! Anyone with basic sewing skills can accomplish these with little money invested.
This is the one in the picture above.
More crafty, frugal ideas coming soon.
Now get sewing! Christmas will be here before you know it!