Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Anniversary...

I blogged today over at Girls, God and the Good Life!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

When I was a kid...

A dear friend of mine just posted an interview she did with me that is unlike any I've ever done before.

It was fun, so if you're interested, hop on over to the Chat N Chew Cafe for a look!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Super mom

After my experience at the house of the "bird lady", I realized I have a problem. A very serious condition for which I have found no cure.
So here's the scene: I'm exploring this woman's basement, peeking in the cages, looking at the little bird babies and I start asking questions:
"So how did you get started learning this?"
"How long did it take you?"
"Is it something I can do?"
(At this point I am envisioning my house filled with cages of all sizes and rescuing animals for a living.) And before I know it I have her business card in my hand and am all ready to sign up to be a "wildlife rehabilitator apprentice". She said she's be glad to teach me.
WAIT A MINUTE! Now, a few days later, I know this is crazy. I have more "jobs" than I can handle now without adding in a flock of birds that need to be fed every fifteen minutes. I can't even get a few loads of laundry done in a reasonable amount of time and yet here I am ready to take on a whole other career?
The real trouble is, this is not the first time it's happened. Nope. I have come home wanting to breed Russian Spaniel dogs. I have been talked into leading whole ministries simply because I get excited about them. I have agreed to teach classes on a whim. I visited a friend I used to teach with and in a mere twenty minutes she nearly convinced me to go back to teaching. I started a jump rope club at my daughter's school, because, well, they didn't have one.

Oh yeah, and last week, I downloaded the information on the classes I would need to take to become a personal trainer.

I realize I am being compulsive because I feel like my writing career is sinking into quicksand right before my eyes. I haven't had a contract in more than two years. For the first time I looked in the mirror and felt old. I keep writing but I'm not sure it will ever do any good. Basically, I'm feeling kind of hopeless about it. So I see these chances to do things that I know I can succeed at. I'm great at learning. I'm confident that I can learn to be a personal trainer or a wildlife rehabilitator. Success is practically guaranteed.

Not so much with writing, and that lack of success can be very draining and tiring on those of us who thrive on accomplishment. I feel as though I am not accomplishing anything so I look around and grasp for anything that might make me feel...valuable.

Because it's easy to relate what you are doing to your worth. It's ridiculous, of course, but we all do it. And so what I've learned to do is let myself turn these things over in my head and heart long enough to consider them but not long enough to sign any contracts. Because I know, even though my soul is feeling anxious and unsure, my spirit knows that even in the silence God is at work. And even though I may not know the plan, God does. And I can rest on that assurance, and persevere through the valley.

Anyone else get tired of being in the valley, though? Take heart, it can't last forever. Right, Lord?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Oh Baby!

This past weekend was simply beautiful here in Virginia. My husband got it in his head to do lots of yardwork and when he went to untangle the hose, where it's been left since the end of last summer, he found that a bird had built a nest inside the hose...dispenser? I don't know what you call those things but it helps wrap up the hose:-)

Anyhow, when he moved it the nest fell out, and so did five little baby birds, just hatched. I know, I know! We were upset and worried and did the best we could to replace the nest and get the baby birds situated back in there. And we all prayed that the momma bird would come back.
On Monday, I finally got the courage to check on them and found that all of them had tumbled out of the nest and were flailing around at the bottom of the hose thingie. One had died, but the others were moving fairly well. So, I rearranged the nest and put the other four back and prayed again.

When I got home this afternoon (Tuesday), we checked again, they weren't in good shape. Another one had died and the one live one I could see wasn't moving around much.
I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to let the poor things just die out there, because at this point I figured the momma bird had abandoned the nest. So I called our animal shelter to try and get some information and was given the name of a woman who does wildlife rescue. She said I could bring them to her and she would take care of them.

In ten minutes I had the kids back in the car, and the three live baby birds tucked in a shoebox. My heart was pounding the whole way (and it was a LONG way!) thinking that I should have done something earlier.

We arrived at this house and my two littlest girls and I were invited into the basement or as I call it "rescue headquarters". There were dozens of baby birds (we learned that our babies were finches), four squirrels, several older birds...and a swan swimming in the bathtub!
It was amazing. Our little babies were quickly nestled under a warming lamp, along with others that were about the same age. I felt such a sense of relief that someone was going to be able to care for them properly. I could have tried, but ultimately, I don't know anything about feeding newly hatched birds. But this woman did. I knew those babies were in good hands.

As I was driving home I couldn't help but think about how prayers aren't always answered the way we think they should. The obvious answer to me was that the momma bird should come back. But God knew about this woman even when I didn't. He knew they would be taken care of - but I had to actually do something. Praying is good, but there are times that God is calling us to add action to those prayers. Sometimes it's just not enough to pray for someone, sometimes you've gotta go wrap your arms around them and cry with them. Sometimes you've gotta bring in some help when you know you're in over your head. It's still God at work. He knows what each situation calls for. But we have to be willing to jump in and be a part of what he's doing.
So, I hope this week, you each get a chance to "jump in".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

American Idol

I've really been enjoying American Idol this season. There is some amazing talent represented each week and with so many great contestants, I am watching each and every week.

I'm also voting this year because unlike other years, I am concerned that the best may not win. The Sanjaya effect is keeping him on week after week. Despite some of the reports, Sanjaya is not as horrible as everyone claims. He actually has quite a good tone to his voice, if you like that Michael Jackson-like voice. The problem is that when you compare him to some of the others up there, well, he just doesn't measure up. I would chalk it up to his age except if you look at Jordin Sparks, well, she blew me away last night; not only with her amazing vocals, but with her maturity on stage. She's only seventeen, too.

My understanding is that Howard Stern and other websites are pushing people to "vote for the worst". How sad. I realize that there are probably legions of 11 and 12 year old girls legitimately voting for him, but why do people feel compelled to undermine the show? I mean, if you don't like it - don't watch it! Whether or not you like the show, you can't deny that the appeal of a show that can take a single mother who works as a bank teller and make her a household name - that's pretty powerful stuff. It's making dreams come true. It's giving people a chance who would typically have no chance. Why undermine that? Because you don't like the marketing? The hype? Simon? Again, don't watch it. But why would people hurt someone else's dream to make a point?

It upsets me. And so I vote, every week, for my top four favorites.

Jordin (who was amazing last night)

Melinda (also amazing)

LaKisha (not as amazing last night but the girl's got serious pipes!)

Blake (whose album I'd buy in a heartbeat)

So, who's your favorite?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Oops I did it again

A few weeks ago I went to PetSmart with my kids. My husband was at home sleeping because he had worked an overnight shift at the hospital.

I let them talk me into adopting a puppy. Her name was Bella. I say "was" because we only kept her four days. She was very sweet but very rambunctious and she couldn't seem to leave the cats alone. Everytime they came within eye sight she took off after them. It was all in good fun - she wasn't trying to hurt them, but still.

There were a lot of issues that made me realize my mistake early on.

I can be impulsive at times, and that impulsivity has gotten me in trouble more than once. I'm the kind of person who has to force myself to stop and think before I act. But being aware of that is half the battle. The dog wasn't such a big deal because the adoption policy allowed us seven days to "try it out". I knew before I left that we could bring her back if it didn't work out. But for other things, my hubby and I have an agreement. We talk about things. Seems pretty simple but in his counseling practice, he finds that an awful lot of couples don't talk to each other. At least not about anything important.

Jeff's caution balances my impulsiveness. And vice versa. It's a good system. And as long as I don't go to PetSmart unsupervised anymore, we should be good.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Part of History

Today, my husband and I took our three girls up to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. I was amazed to find out that egg-rolling in Washington has been going on since 1872. Amazing. The event was...crowded, and pretty cold for April in DC. Of course, it wasn't as cold as the ten+ hours I spent outside - in the snow - early Saturday morning so that I could get the tickets to even attend the event.

If I could figure out how to get the pictures off my phone and into my computer, I could show you what it looked like - the Night of Waiting in the Snow - but alas, I am technologically challenged in this area. But trust me, I was trying to figure out what the symptomes of frostbite were since I was losing feeling in my hands and feet. They have this system that requires you to stand in line so that you can get the tickets, which are free, but there are only so many available. Even though I arrived at 2:15 in the morning we were still pretty far back. The first people in line had been waiting since 1 am on Friday morning - 30 hours before tickets would be handed out.

And if I had understood how the event worked, I might have gone out there a lot earlier - armed of course, with a heater and tent. The line started at the visitors center, circled the entire ellipse (a huge grassy area in between the Washington Monument and the White House) then continued on down an area on the other side of the road. I was on the other side of the road. And I didn't have a tent. And it was snowing. On April 7th. I was very wet, and very cold. And being so wet and cold, I really never even thought about how tired I was. Trouble is, they gave out timed tickets, so the farther back in line, the longer you had to wait before you could go into the event.
And that's why i wish I understood how the event worked.
Our biggest disappointment with the day was that my kids missed seeing Miley Cyrus, or Hannah Montana, - by 15 minutes. We didn't get inside the gates until 1:20 and she went onstage for the last time at 1:05. Did I mention how excited my kids were to see her? They watch every one of the shows, they know the music, and they were more excited about seeing her than anything else that day. And we missed it. By 15 minutes. We could hear her. But we couldn't see her. And the security guards weren't going to let us get over there until we had been thoroughly searched.

They did get to see The Jonas Brothers, who they know from the Disney Channel as well. They had fun at the short concert and Lydia (my 8 year old) said she really enjoyed it. My four year old layed in the grass in a delirious stupor from missing her nap, so I'm not sure how she felt about the concert:-)

They had a great day, despite the cold, and missing Miley/Hannah. They did roll eggs down the lawn and we were right next to the White House (and a lot of men in black suits roaming around!) They got to pose for pictures with Curious George, and eggs and bunnies of all different kinds. They even got to roll down a steep hill over and over until they were dizzy and breathless. All in all, it was worth it. Though I learned a lot of good lessons this year. Next year, I'll be ready.

And it would be great if Hannah Montana came back and gave us another shot!