Saturday, April 29, 2006

I Dream of Panini

Wouldn't that be a great title for something? I have to use that one day for something other than a blog post. And this post is indeed about Paninis. I've gotten kind of hooked on Lean Cuisine's new Panini sandwiches. Pop them in the microwave and in a mere 3 minutes and fifteen seconds you have a hot and melty sandwich.

And today they were on sale for 1/2 price at Giant. I love 1/2 price specials. What mom of three kids doesn't like sales. Only I can never find the Paninis! That shelf is always cleared out - all three varieties (I don not eat the ones with mushrooms - mushrooms are evil & nasty things) completely missing from the freezer case. And it's not just like that on sale weeks. No. I must not be the only person who likes them because they are always gone.

I know I'm in a rut. I have other Lean Cuisine meals I could pop in the microwave, but frankly I feel like pouting over not having my favorite one. I tend to like something a lot for a while and then I get tired of it and move onto something else. There has been a long line of food casualities over the years, abondoned to my short attention span. But never have I had such a difficult time buying the thing I liked.

I think there should be some sort of Panini limit. I mean, it's not fair to the rest of us if some people are stock piling Paninis - don't you agree? And yet, if I find them again - on the shelf- I'm going to be sorely tempted to buy them out too! I realize that my lack of paninis is hardly a crisis, not even worth having a rant over - and yet I feel compelled to.

I could even attach some spiritual lesson over it if I wanted to think about - but it's Saturday night and the brain seems to have taken a vacation.

So you're stuck with Paninis for tonight. Or not stuck with them as the case may be.

P.S.- For those of you who have graciously been praying for my daughter, I will post the pics tomorrow so you can see her progress. She's doing much better - but I'm still watching that wound on her forehead very closely to see how it heals. So join with us and keep praying that it heals so well no one will even be able to see where it was:-) Thanks.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Human Obedience

Cross-posted from 4:12 LIVE!

I took my dog to a her first obedience training class last night. It was the first time I have ever gone to one of these - I grew up with Engligh Springer Spaniels and none of our dogs really needed any training. We mostly just tripped over them. We adopted a Weimeraner (the gray dogs that get photographed in people's clothing) named Darla late last year and she's a bit more energetic that any dog I've ever owned, hence the obedience training. That and she doesn't come when she's called, is scared of her own shadow and generally doesn't listen to anything we say.

So I'm standing around a padded room with a bunch of dogs and their owners trying to get Darla to sit. She seemed really confused and terrfied by the whole thing. We didn't really do very good at it and they were already working on "down" while I was still trying to get her to sit. She didn't even really care about the treats I was trying to bribe her with. I felt like I was the one being trained - not her.

And that got me thinking about about our relationship with God. Sometimes we Christians can begin to act like trained dogs. We are so busy "doing" all of the things that we think God wants from us - praying, worshipping, reading the Bible, etc. - that we forget God just wants us to be with Him. He's not out to have us jump through some hoop or do some trick to say "Look what I got her to do." and pop a treat in our mouths for doing all those things. Nope, He's in this because He loves us, He wants to know us and He wants us to know Him. Sometimes we do get rewarded. He loves to bless His children. But other times I think He wants knowing Him to be our reward.

So the next time you find yourself "doing" something for God, ask yourself why. Are you doing it because you just want to love on Him, or are you doing it hoping for that reward to pop in your mouth? I know I've been guilty of thinking that if I want God to bless me I have to do all sorts of things to earn His blessing. But it just doesn't work that way.

And I for one, am really glad it doesn't. It's awfully nice to know that even if I mess everything up - He's still going to love me - and He's never going to let me go.

Now if only I could get Darla to actually sit.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I think it's the prayer.

I feel a little better today. Not so panicked. When I looked at my daughter's wildly purple face today my heart didn't feel like it was an orange being squeezed for juice.

I think she'll be okay.

That's just the prayer talking though. Other than making that quick post right after it happened, I didn't tell any real people (as opposed to the Internet people) what happened. Yesterday, after a day of crying on the floor of the kitchen (insurance companies are so MEAN!), I finally sent out some e-mails to Internet people and a few real people to tell them what happened and to ask for prayer.

And today I feel better. Like I'm going to be able to get through this. That my daughter will get through this. Hopefully my checkbook will get through this as well.

Some of us have natures that make us reach out to others, and some of us have natures that make us withdraw. I am obviously the withdrawing type. Unless I feel really close to someone (and I've mentioned how that is going) I won't reach out (or make really little pathetic attempts.) So it wasn't till the e-mails yesterday that I finally asked for help.

And I actually feel better. Go figure.

It's not over with yet...but if people are praying (real and otherwise) then maybe I can let God carry everything.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Emergency Room Mom

I heard the crash.

It didn't sound good and I was there in less than half a minute and yet I came around the corner to find my beautiful three year old covered in blood. She had pulled a small table on top of her and it landed on her face. She had a deep gash in her forehead and much smaller one next to her nose. Her older sisters were terrified by all the blood.

To tell you the truth, I was too, but forced myself to stay calm.

Pressure to the wound.
Get her dressed.
Get her to the emergency room.

She cried so much - all the way to the hospital. Every time someone looked at the wounds. And when they wrapped her up to restrain her for the stitches...she cried and screamed so much I had to leave the room. My husband helped hold her down. I came in near the end, just to let her know that I was there, but I couldn't bring myslef to watch what they were doing.

My heart feels like it's been squeezed, and even now, to see her swollen and bruised face makes me hurt inside.

It could have been so much worse. I am grateful that it didn't damage her eyes or her teeth. That the wound was straight. So many things I am thankful for.

If only I could have taken the pain from her and carried it myself.

And all at once I remember the suffering of Christ, and what God must have felt as He watched His son die. For us.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Freaky Things

I've been tagged by Robin to fess up about the freaky things I feel compelled to do.

Oh dear. If she only knew who she was asking! My mother has always said I'm neurotic. As someone who has been in the psych field for a number of years, I know that most people have some obsessive things they do, so even though I know I'm not alone...who wants to actually admit it? What the heck.

1 - I don't like my food to touch. I'd rather starve than eat something that's run into other food on my plate. And if something is really runny (like the vegaetables didn't get drained or something), I will sop up the extra with napkins lest it contaminate the rest of my plate. My parents used to tease me about this by buying the plates with compartments.

2 - I eat Crunch Berries in a complicated, too-humiliating-to admit way. Trust me - you don't want the details. Not only will you be bored out of your mind but you will also begin to wonder about the things I'm not confessing to.

3 - Despite the fact that I own dozens of very nice necklaces, I only wear one of them. I'm not superstitious or anything, I just feel weird without it on. The clasp broke a while back and I went without it for a bit and finally couldn't stand it anymore because it was missing from my reflection. I love my necklace!

4 - Clutter Threshold - I have three kids so my house is hardly neat as a pin but I have this undefineable threshold for clutter. When I cross it, that's it, everything must be cleaned - right now! (this usually occurs when I am on deadline for something else - funny how this happens) Instead of cleaning in regular and scheduled doses, I go on cleaning binges. And I will also get tired of the binge right in the middle of it and then leave a project half finished until another cleaning binge strikes me. It's really very sad. My kid's summer clothes are right now in the upstairs hallway, spilling out of the plastic storage containers - victims of a recent bout with a cleaning binge that ended before the project actually got finished.

5 - I actually could have come up with six things that are all about food - I have so many issues with food it's scary. I am on "On-the-side" kind of girl. Remember Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally? Well, I'm not quite that bad, but I do ask a lot of questions about the food if it's not something I'm used to(Imitation crab meat, mushrooms, nuts of any kind, sauces, certain spices, the list of banned foods go on and on...) Hence, I tend to stick with what I know and rarely order anything unusual. Case in point. I went to this crepe restaurant in Santa Cruz. The concept intrigued me and I went in there all gung-ho to be adventurous. It just goes to show that my neurotic tendencies are a lot stronger than my desire for adventure. The fact that I ate any of it all shows that I tried, I mean - it was all mixed up inside of there together! I picked at it and pushed it around, but couldn't bring myself to eat more than a few bites. The fact that it was a $14 meal didn't bother me. There was no way I could eat that thing.

And so, to protect my feeble reputation I will stop there and let you think that I am a normal adult in every other way.

Yeah. Right.

Anyone else in the mood to admit to your own freaky nature?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One is silver and the other gold

I do have friends. There are people I talk with; moms who chat with me at Chick fil A while the kids are playing. I go to Bible Studies. I'm not isolated. Yet I always feel just a little frustrated with my relationships because I prefer deeper friendships than the ones I have. I long for friends with whom I am involved in their lives and they in mine. People who share their hearts freely, and allow me to share mine. People who are willing to be real, to be honest. To simply be there.

I long for close friendships.

At times I just give up, thinking that the status-quo relationships I have is all there will be. And then there are days like today that remind me that there are kindred spirits out there. Like a great marriage, great friendships, I think, are the exception.

So what kinds of relationships do you tend to have with those around you? Are they the surface kind where you simply talk about the dailies of life? Or are they deep relationships that you can count on to help you wrestle through the traps and snares, the ups and downs of life. At this point in my life, I have come to believe that deep relationships aren't really something that you can create or pursue - they either are deep or shallow from the beginning. Shallow ones - usually - don't become deeper simply with the passage of time.

I had a conversation with a dear friend today that I have known less than a year. She lives halfway across the country and we don't even get to talk to each other very regularly. But even during her short visit, it was like a refreshing dip into a deeper pool. It made me long for more.

And in some ways, I suppose, it's a reminder that here on Earth, we live in the shadows of what is to come. What we see dimly here, we will see clearly when we get to be with God. I am fairly practical - I know that I may not have the friendships I long for this side of heaven. But today, for a few hours at least, I am reminded that it is possible. And sometimes, that's all the hope we need to make it through.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Real World

Red Eye flights can mess with you! The fact that I'm still feeling sleepy is my fault I know. I wanted to make the most of being at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference so I stayed up late, got up early, and never took naps (though it was tempting!)

One day I may look back at this particular conference and say that it changed everything. Since I tend towards the dramatic, I suppose I appreciate it when God does something amazing.

I doubt many would be interested in the whole story - which begins with humiliation and ends with a generous dose of favor - but let me assure you that it was the kind of thing only God could do. Lots of things could still happen and it may not work out as I hope - that's always possible. But I feel like the money, the time, the sacrifice of going - it was all worth it no matter what happens.

It's also hard to come back to the real world after being in a place you can have long discussions about character conflict and being a career author. I'm finding it difficult to coax up the motivation to clean my house (the clutter apparently took over while I was gone). I feel like I need a few days to simply think - decompress -pray - praise.

Along with everything else, I learned two important things about myself.

1 - I need to interact with writers occasionally. Other than my husband, no one in my every day life understands what I do or the unique pressures that being a writer brings. It helped so much to be around others who are in the "limbo stage" of being without a contract. It was wonderful to know that I wasn't the only one who was uncertain about where God was leading me.

2 - I pack entirely too much junk! Granted, I didn't know whether it would be warm or cold. But I brought twice as much as I needed. Next time I go I'm going to have to figure that out because it was no fun dragging two suitcases straight up a hill and then carrying them down a trail that wasn't made for suitcases. There is such a thing as being overprepared.

I pray that as we celebrate this Easter weekend that we will remember the sacrfice of Christ. Back when I first saw "The Passion of the Christ" (which BTW I haven't been able to watch again), the thought that stuck with me was that He could have stopped it all at any moment. But He chose not to. He chose to sacrifice everything - for us. Blessings to you all this Holy Easter.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'm leavin'... on a jet plane

But I'll be back next week! Yes, folks, mama is flying the coop. The coop is only moderately clean and I'm worried the kids will eat nothing but McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A for the next six days but who cares! I get to go away and be me for a few days.

It is hard to leave in some ways. I don't really believe that anyone can take care of my kids as well as I can. But I am in desperate need of some refreshment. I get to go to a writers conference in the beautiful California Redwoods. I'm going a day early and I can't wait to go and just be with God in the quiet. There's nothing like being around other writers to get me to remember why I love being one. I can forget sometimes in the midst of potty-training, laundry and trips to the grocery store. I love being a wife and mom and wouldn't trade it for anything. But I also love being a writer because it's part of who God has created me to be.

So it will be quiet around here for a few days but they'll be plenty to talk about when I return.

Hasta La Vista!

Monday, April 03, 2006

That's Not Fair!

I have an overactive sense of fairness. I get frustrated at the carpool lines when one lane is allowed to go one forever and the other lane - MY lane - has to sit and wait. And I got made at the DMV this morning. Could that place be any more ridiculous? I had a B number. Only two people were calling B numbers, while the D numbers had four people calling. Now, yes, I realize that it could be that some computer makes it fair...but I really don't think so.

After waiting more than an hour with my three year old (which really translates to the equivalent of five hours) I had to leave before they got to my number. What were those people doing up there anyway? One guy was at one window for the entire time I was there.

Surely there has to be a better system.

And you know that parable about the workers in the field (Matthew 20)? The one where the workers who worked only a little got the same wage as those who worked all day? That is so not fair! Jesus uses this parable to point out envy in our hearts and ultimately, how even those who choose to follow God with their dying breath will receive heaven just as those of us who walk with Him daily will.

The Scriptures also talk about how God "does not show favoritism" (Acts 10:34) And yet, it is easy to think He does. Why does my friend get to have a four hour labor and I go on and on for twenty hours? It just doesn't seem fair.

I believe what God says. I really do. But some days are easier than others. Am I willing to be treated unjustly knowing that God sees everything? Am I willing to let go of the things that don't really matter? (What is it to me when someone gets in the 15 items or less lane with a cart full of groceries?)

So I confess! I get upset when things don't seem fair. Yet I have a sneaking suspicion that the things that upset me this morning aren't going to matter even a few days from now. God may be just but this world we live in - not so much. And for now, we have to be willing to take the rain and the sunshine.

But I'm still not going back to the DMV anytime soon!