June 30, 2009

Mother-In-Law

Q: Why do they bury mothers-in-law 18 feet down, when everyone else is buried 6 feet down?
A: Because, deep down, they really are very nice people.


Q: What does a mil call her broom?
A: Basic transportation.


Q: What is the ideal weight for a MIL?
A: About 2.3lbs, including the urn.


The clock fell off the wall. If it was a minute sooner, it would have hit my MIL. That clock was always slow!

Two men were in a pub. One says to his mate, "My MIL is an angel." His friend replies, "You're lucky. Mine is still alive."

(These were all "borrowed" from this link: Mother-in-Law Stories)

What is a mother-in-law? Oh, I know she's your husband's mother, but why does she have to be in your life? Other than free babysitting, what's her purpose? Once you say, "I do" this virtual stranger is forever, until death do you part, a part of your family. You have to share your holidays with her. Your husband. Your children. At some point you may even have to care for her. You may be the one to do her laundry, cook a meal for her, or give her a ride in her wheelchair.

Now that I'm "older", I've been thinking about what it means to be the mother-in-law. I want to make sure my daughters-in-law don't take advantage of that wheelchair ride and dump me in the nearest lake. I asked a young friend of mine what she liked about her mother-in-law and here's what she said:

Here's what a mother in law has been to me:
*someone who takes my child to the zoo, the train museum, and buys him things that I cannot afford for his birthday...in a humble way-- not a show-offy way
*someone who makes sure my son has clothes that fit every season-- but first she made sure she knew what style of clothing I liked for him.
*someone who may not understand my decisions about the way I gave birth, breastfeeding, cosleeping, non-vaccinating, the food I choose, the toys I choose-- but who respects and honors them anyway, and trusts God to give me the wisdom to do what is best for my child
*someone who treats my birthday as special as my husband's
*someone who asks (and seems to care) about my family
*someone who came to my grandpa's funeral and let me hug her really tighly for a really long time afterward while I cried a little bit
*someone who does her best to be cool about it when I do things that are just weird
*someone who doesn't force me to participate in games when I really don't like them, even though games are a very **** thing
*someone who doesn't hog the holidays, but is honest about what matters to her and what doesn't (like, I would really like to see you for Christmas, it would hurt if I didn't, but it doesn't have to be ON Christmas, etc.)
*someone who has a life outside of grandchildren and children with her husband (they started taking ballroom dancing lessons about a year and a half ago and go to dances twice a month-- they didn't want to just sit in front of the tv and grow old like her parents)
*someone whose advice is never given without request, or, if it is, very humbly without the expectation that it will be taken


So, what do you think? Do you have anything to add? Any advice you'd like to share with me? Anything your mother-in-law does that drives you nuts? What does the bible teach about how to be a mother-in-law? What do you love about your MIL?

June 18, 2009

12 Stones

Nope. This isn't another post about my heart rock collection. It's about 12 "invisible" stones I've collected over the past 48 years. Stones I wanted to share with you.

A few months ago I was reading the book of Joshua in my bible. Chapters 3 & 4 describe the eventful day when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the promised land. The Lord caused the river, (which was at flood stage) to stop flowing so the people of Israel could cross on dry ground.) After all those thousands of people had crossed over, the Lord commanded them to take 12 stones from the middle of the riverbed and pile them up in a place called Gilgal. The 12 stones were to serve as a constant reminder so that, "...all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord."

I've been thinking about that ever since. This last year has been extremely difficult for me. Most of it has been my own doing-it was a constant struggle for me to sit down and read my bible, or pray, or repent....I lost sight of who God is and really wrestled with despair and depression. I neglected to tell myself the Truth about who God is-that He is sovereign. He loves me. He is in control. Instead, I "emptied out" spiritually and emotionally. There was nothing left in me to give to anyone.

OK-back to the stones. This post is about the stones I would pick to remind me that the hand of the Lord is powerful. That He has constantly been intimately involved in my life since the git-go.

I sat down this evening and made a list of 12 specific things the Lord has done that I will never forget. 12 things that only a loving God could've done.

1. He gave me a good beginning. When I was little my family seemed solid and healthy. It appeared that they loved each other-we had laughter, traditions, respect, a safe home. (Apparently I was wrong because my parents divorced when I was 8. However, the memories I acquired when I was little were embedded in my heart. They gave me something to shoot for when I grew up. I knew what a family could be and that's what I've prayed for and, with my husband, what we've worked hard to create.)

2. The bible promises that God will be a father to the fatherless. After my parents divorced I stayed with my mom. Looking back I can see so many instances where the Lord was guiding and protecting me. I had a very tender conscience which kept me on "the straight and narrow" even before I became a Christian. While my brothers got into drugs and promiscuity and the whole "hippy" scene, I wanted something better. Even at the ripe old age of 12 I could see that those things weren't fulfilling them....
I also desired purity. I wanted to save myself for my future husband and be a gift to him. I didn't want to give away any part of me to just any guy who came along.

3. When I was 13 I began contemplating suicide. Long story, but I was a mess. That's when the Lord opened my eyes to who He is and showed me that He loves me. That He wanted to be my father and heal my hurts....

4. Shortly after that I began meeting with an older, wiser mom-type woman once a week for counseling. Like I said, I was a mess. I hated my parents and my step-mother. I hated myself. I was an angry, hurting girl. That woman sat with me week after week for 9 months-she taught me how to pray. How to repent of sin. How to love unconditionally when that was the last thing on earth I wanted to do. She pointed me to scripture and to the Lord for the strength to do those things....

5. After that I entered high school. I joined a great youth group where I had some good bible teaching, a lot of fun, made some good friends and received even more healing. I learned that I could be a likeable person.....

6. The Lord has blessed me with an incredible husband. There are not enough words out there to express the love and appreciation I have for that man. He is my other half. Our sons should be included here-our family is one of the sweetest gifts I've ever received.

7. Our youngest son would be another stone I'd pick. Someday I'll tell you how and why we "ended up" with him, but in my thinking he's a miracle.

8. 7 months after we were married I had an ectopic pregnancy. The doctors I had had no clue what was wrong with me. For an entire month they messed around trying to figure out what was going on with my body. They finally sent me to a specialist-he was the best OBGYN in the country at the time. One of the top surgeons around. If I hadn't seen him and had emergency surgery one of two things could've happened. I could've died. Or, I could've lost the ability to conceive...

9. Hang in there. I'm almost done!
Before my dad died in 2002 the Lord restored our relationship. We became a father and daughter and a lot of healing took place.

10. 5 years ago I went through a really nasty time of rebellion toward the Lord. He loosened my leash, let me wander around in my misery, then brought me back to Him. That's been one of the sweetest stones in my life!

11. He's restored our marriage twice. Once when I didn't see we had any hope at all. I would've left if I'd had anywhere to go and any income to go on. (That was during my "time of rebellion".) The second time wasn't as ugly, but was bad enough that our relationship was just yucky. Only because of prayer, repentance, and forgiveness did we make it through those times.

12. The last stone would be named, "Lessons Learned". Especially as a home school mom. I have felt so inadequate, so fearful, so weary at times over the past 18 years. I've seen His faithfulness over and over again as we've walked this road...

I can't figure out how to end this post. What does one say after writing something like this? Thank you for taking time to read it. That's one thing I'd like to say! I'd also love to hear about your stones if you want to write either a post about them or leave a lengthy comment. It's so good to read about what the Lord has done in other people's lives...it encourages me and gives me hope...

(PS-Big doofus-for some reason I can't leave a comment at your blog. Every time I try I get kicked out of blogger and sent back to the Google home page. Just thought you might like to know.:-) )

June 17, 2009

Boys.

OK-
just in case you don't know it, I am a typical female. I fret about my hair. Worry about my weight. Cry because, "I have nothing to wear!"
There are times when we leave for church and our bed is strewn with discarded outfits because they all. Made. Me. Look. Fat.

See, typical.

Well, this afternoon my 7 year old son and I took my 17 yr. old son in to town to pick up his new glasses. It's a 40 minute drive each way, by the way. That gives us plenty of time for those heart to heart conversations boys so dearly love. Or not.

Today we opted to listen to the radio. My teenage son just happens to love Natalie Grant-when we turned on the radio, low and behold, there she was! Giving her testimony. Did you know she used to be bulimic? Apparently she wrestled with bulimia for over 6 years before the Lord set her free. At the end of her story she talked about statistics. She said that 1 in 10 girls struggles with some sort of eating disorder. She also talked about how very deeply, truly, and unconditionally the Lord loves us- no matter what we look like.

I've always struggled with my "self". Feeling like I'm not loveable. I'm not pretty. I'm not good. My uglies are inside and out and I'm a mess and at times I've been pretty vocal about my insecurities.

So, hoping for at least one tiny moment of "deep and personal" with my teenage son, I turned to him and said, "Alec, what's something boys struggle with? If girls struggle with self-esteem, what kinds of things do boys struggle with?"

From deep in the bowels of my huge van my 7 year old son pipes up, (in an exasperated tone of voice) "Boys struggle with listening to girls talk so much about their struggles."

June 11, 2009

Why?

They say what's in the well comes up in the bucket. Well, my well must be dry. I can't think of a think to write about. Hence, no posts lately.

The only think that comes to mind is the actual act of blogging. Why do we do it?

I started this blog on a whim-didn't put much thought into it at all. I just jumped in. The main reason I did it was because I wanted somewhere to share my faith. I also wanted a place to emote, to talk about home schooling, and to have fun interacting with other bloggers.

Oh! I was also hoping my extended family would read it and it would be a way of sharing our day-to-day mundaneness with them. Almost my entire family lives on the west side of the Mississippi while I live on the east side. I thought a blog might be a way for us to meet in the middle. Ha! They don't read it. My sons don't even read it. The only way I can get my husband to read it is to push him into the computer chair and say, "Hey. I wrote something today! Read it and tell me what you think."

I have one sister-in-law who does read it. I think she dutifully checks my blog every day and sweetly leaves a comment on each and every post. Thank you D!

Please don't think I'm having a pity party. On paper it does sound that way, but I'm not. I've accepted the fact that the people nearest and dearest to my heart don't care about my meanderings and have better things to do. (I may not be having a pity party, but being Italian, I do know how to lay out a good guilt trip! (Just in case one of them does happen by today.) )

I even have one close friend who feels that blogging is almost sinful. She feels that computers, blogs, and email are stealing away the sweetness of "real" friendships. People used to get together and chat over a cup of coffee or meet to teach each other how to sew, bake bread, or fix a limping marriage. Now people can "Google" all those things, and thus lose the joy of actually growing and learning with "real" people.


OK, now that I've wasted 5 minutes of your day, I have a question for you. Why do you blog? If you don't blog, but you jump into cyberspace to read them, why? Do you agree with my friend, that modern society is losing something precious because of new technology? Or, do you think it's possible to participate in both worlds without losing on either end?

June 3, 2009

Plink

Up until a year ago our youngest son had no idea his mommy was "an older" mommy. I was just "Momma" to him. However, thanks to our neighbor, my head, and a librarian, he now knows the truth. His mom is old.

Our neighbor was the first person to open his eyes to this fact. One day last spring my little guy asked me if we could take a walk. "Sure!" I replied and off we went. We were feeling so happy and carefree, enjoying the sunshine and warming temperatures after a long winter. But then, as we walked past our neighbor's house a sudden chill crept down both our backs.

As we strolled past the neighbor's house we noticed she was out doing some yard work, no doubt enjoying the lovely weather herself. My son looked at her and called out, "Hi!"
"Hello!", she replied. Then she looked at me. "So, who is this little guy? Is he your son or your grandson?" She never knew what hit her. No. I'm just kidding.
"He's my son." I replied a bit defensively. I looked down at said son and noticed his face. He looked a bit confused and slightly dismayed, but didn't say a word.

Then, about 6 months later a librarian put more "old mom" ideas into his head. We had spent about an hour at the library and were finally ready to head home. We piled our books on the counter and the librarian began running them through the scanner. She was having a hard time reading the computer screen and she kept fiddling with her glasses. Finally she looked at our son and smiled, "Does your grandma have trouble with her glasses too?"

My head is the last bit of proof he needs...
every afternoon, about 1:00 P.M. I take a nap. I can't help it. I'm plugging along, doing my thing, and suddenly I've had it. I have to sleep. So, I plop down on the couch and within minutes I'm off to dreamland.

Well, shortly after the day at the library I was taking my usual nap. I was warm and cozy and snuggled deep into the cushions of our couch. Just as I drifted off into a nice deep sleep, plink! My eyes flew open as a sharp, needle prick of pain hit my head, then nothing. Silence. My eyes fluttered shut and I once more began to drift off into a deep sleep. Plink! Another pin prick of pain on the top of my head. My eyes flew open but I didn't see anything amiss and I quickly succumbed to sleep once more. Plink! This time I flew up into a sitting position and there stood my son, right near my head. "What on earth are you doing?" I growled.
"I'm plucking your grey hair for you mommy. Then you won't look so old."

June 2, 2009

Beauty & the Beast



The Beast: the weather. About 43 degrees and a steady pouring rain.

Beauty: a little boy sitting on his slide, just waiting for a bird to land on him so he could study it.


(BTW-he sat out there for about 30 minutes, patiently waiting for even one little bird to visit with. Meanie Mom finally made him come in and take a hot bath!)