Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's 3:00 a.m. Do you know where your Elmo is?


Here is a true Monday Moment – it happened just last night. I was up last night (or this morning) at 2:00 a.m. with HORRIBLE pregnancy heartburn. I took as many Tums as I could and drank a few glasses of water. I was flipping thru some informericals and had just turned them off to settle down with some of my Bible reading when I heard it.

The voice.

It took me by surprise and I jumped, causing my unborn son to wiggle and kick inside of me for the next few minutes.

I heard it again – a high-pitched voice, somewhat faint, but very clear.

“Let’s try and use the potty! Hee,hee,hee,hee!”

I realized then what it was. We had bought K-Bug this Elmo potty book with the push buttons when she was potty training last year. We had started to use the book again for Lorelin, and had left it placed by the training potty for her easy access reading.However, K-Bug had an unfortunate pee-pee accident on Sunday, which left the Elmo book, shall we say, drenched. Not being able to save the book, I had thrown it in the trash. Apparently all of the dampness had now caused the book’s batteries to go crazy, so that Elmo’s voice was speaking without any of the buttons needing to be pushed.

I laid on the couch, hoping it would stop.

“Let’s-try-and-use-the-potty!Let’s-try-and-use-the- potty!Let’s-try-and-use-the-potty! Hee,hee,hee,hee!”

Now determining that Elmo wasn’t going to stop, I waded through the trashcan until I found the book. Here I was, almost 3:00 a.m. with a endlessly talking Elmo book. I examined the slimy book and thought through my options.

The batteries on the book were button cells, with a screwdriver needed to access them, and lots of warning about mercury contamination (how did I not notice this before…this is a children’s book!) Anyway, I figured that a pregnant woman dealing with mercury in the middle of the night was NOT the way to go.

So, I placed the book directly outside the kitchen door inside of the garage. No good – I had planned to go lay down on the couch for the rest of the night (my pregnant back sometimes does better that way) and I could now clearly hear Elmo echoing throughout the entire garage.

What to do? What to do?

Thinking quickly, I grabbed up the book, opened the front door and heaved Elmo far out into the night. It landed somewhere in a bush in our yard. Closing the door, I could still hear Elmo’s voice, ringing through the night, “Let’s try and use the potty! Hee,hee,hee,hee!”

Going back to the couch, I began to laugh, and then belly laugh, about the whole episode. I could just imagine some poor person going for their morning jog being surprised by the small muppet voice coming from our yard.

I am happy to report that this morning the batteries seem to have made their final push, and the book is silent. The book will go back in the trash, and I made it through the rest of my night in peace (and even with some sleep!).

Beware the Elmo…
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Questions...

Happy Friday everyone! I decided to take a a few minutes to answer this fun questionairre about Christmas traditions and preferences.Enjoy!
1. When do you put up your Christmas tree? Usually a day or two after Thanksgiving.
2. Favorite Christmas Goodie: Hmmm…that’s a toughie. I LOVE all of the homemade breads (especially my friend Brandie’s banana nut bread!!), but I also really love things made with peppermint. I really like peppermint bark – a combination of white chocolate and peppermint candies. YUM!!!!
3. Favorite Christmas Carol/Song: “Breathe Of Heaven” – it’s a beautiful song that is sung from the point of Mary as she contemplates being a Mother to Jesus.
4. Least Favorite Christmas Carol/Song: Ok, I’ve already blogged about this one. “I Want A Hippopotomus For Christmas” Nuff said…
5. Do you like egg nog? I LOVE the stuff! My dear hubby and I used to buy it by the gallon when we were first married – we’ve since slowed down a little. I also like the Egg Nog Lattes at Starbucks….mmmmmm
6. Oddest Christmas Present You’ve Ever Received: This is a very tough one, as my lovable Meemaw (my Mom’s Mom) never fails to disappoint in this area. Last year, she gave me multicolored granny panties (that were WAY too big) and some powder from Walgreens…definitely an odd combo
7. Best Christmas Present You’ve Ever Received: From the same woman, no less, a large amount of money (I won’t say how much…let’s just say it was jaw dropping) written in a large check – it was such a blessing to my hubby and I that Christmas. There was also a year that my hubby did a princess theme to all of my presents – it was so fun and special!
8. Most Memorable Childhood Christmas Present: Probably my rollerblades or my Debbie Gibson “Electric Youth” perfume!!
9. Favorite Color of Christmas Lights: White/Clear
10. Tree- real or artificial? My family had always done artificial, then when I married Bri we did real (like his family always had). Then last year, my Mom bought us an artificial tree with the lights on, so we’ve used that last year and this year. So, I guess my answer is I’m using artificial, but I prefer real. Love that smell!
11. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? We open just our immediate family’s presents (us and the girls) on Christmas Eve and then do dual celebrations with both sides of the family on Christmas Day.
12. One of YOUR family’s favorite Christmas traditions - past or present Hmm….
Past - it would have to be making gingerbread men. My Mom would let us decorate them with all kinds of candies, raisins, and icing and then we would spend one whole day delivering them to family and friends. I LOVED it!
Present - Spending time with just our own immediate family on Christmas Eve, always eating chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese for dinner that night (that’s what my dirt poor hubby and I did our first Christmas Eve together – and that’s what we’ve had every year since…) and reading the Christmas story together as a family. There are several other traditions that I’d like to start as the kiddos get a little older too.
I am tagging ALL of my bloggity friends - Carmen,Jen,Tabitha,Lindsay,Tracy,Andrea,Jen,Brandie,Scott,Crock-Pot Mom, Nickle-Pickle, and Jules (and EVERYONE else) to post their answers to the questionairre on their blogs - can't wait to hear about your own Christmas traditions!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Smiles

As I started to sit down to type this post this afternoon, I could hear K-Bug out in the hallway (she often naps there in the afternoon) reading books to herself. She had opened one of our books about The Christmas Story, and was re-telling in vivid deatail about Mary,Joseph, baby Jesus, the sheperds, and the angels (she especially likes the angels). I had to smile to myself as I heard her telling the amazing story of Christ's birth through her preschool mind-set.
My Mom blessed us with an AMAZING Nativity set this year too - it's Fisher Price, and all the pieces are bright and fun and most of all, NOT breakable. Both girls spend time each day playing with their "Na-tivvy set" (na-ti-vity set is kind of a mouthful...:) Somteimes the baby Jesus ends up riding in the back of a wagon pulled by a sheep (when Lorelin's playing), and sometimes the Wise Men will spend large amounts of time asking Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus if they'd like to come and play.....
of course, AFTER the wise men give baby Jesus their gifts of "gold, grain, and fur" (as K-Bug called it tonight. K-Bug has taken the "na-tivvy" story one step further though. After she saw a DVD telling the Christmas story a few weeks ago, K-Bug has asked me almost every day if I can help her "be Mary"

This task is accomplished by getting one of her blankets and placing it fully on her head (this was ALL her idea, not mine!) I found a little clip that works well for holidng the blanket in place. Then, we must wrap her "baby Jesus" in swaddling er....blankets...:) She will then carry baby Jesus from place to place lying him in various places around the house. I've even found her on her knees with her hands folded in front of her in a most reverant position. :) I love, love, LOVE the fact that my preschooler with the vivid imagination is using it to place herself in the Christmas story - it has made the story come alive for me in new ways this year.
Putting up a Christmas tree has long been one of my favorite Christmas traditions. This year the girls helped me take the ornaments out of their boxes and place them on the tree. No-one loves the Christmas tree more than Miss Lore-lin though! She absolutely ADORES the fact that there are so many different types of ornaments hanging from the branches. A few days after the tree was up, we also noticed that the ornaments seemed to keep finding new homes - moving from place to place. We've since had to keep a closer eye on Lorelin and the tree, but it's been so incredibly fun to see how much Lorelin loves this Christmas tradition. :)Here's a picture of Lorelin in front of the tree with an amazingly huge smile on her sweet pixie face (she's probably thinking about which ornament she'll try to move next! :)

For those dear friends and family so far away, we miss you and wish you could be here to help us make Christmas smiles in person. Until then, we hope you enjoy this pics of the smiles we've been making at home!
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Dry-Part 2

It was a December morning (2006) at Compass Church, and our daughter was playing a sheep in the Christmas program. A chain of events had led to our pastor stepping down for what I thought was just a few months, and although I was looking to transition out of my church job, I was still currently loving every minute of it, and loving in every way my church family, and my place inside it.

I remember doing the announcements that morning with genuine excitement and joy. I remember announcing that we were having a church family meeting that evening to discuss the situation surrounding our Pastor’s current step-down and return.

The evening came, and as the meeting progressed I watched for one of the first times in my life as a few sheep of God’s family proceeded to verbally rip to shreds the man who was my co-worker, my pastor, and most of all, my friend. Something crumpled in my spirit that night, and I will not grace the months that followed with many comments except to say that it was one of the more miserable experiences of my life.

Please know that although I questioned God as to why this was happening, I didn’t blame Him ever, at all, for what happened. I didn’t even realize that I was allowing (and would allow) this wound to distance me from my Heavenly Father.

The months that followed that meeting were full of my husband and I seeking new direction from God. Some of our oldest and best friends had felt the call of God to start a church plant sometime in 2007, and they asked if we would come and be a part of it. They wanted my husband to help lead worship. We weren’t sure though, since we were strongly considering a move out-of-state to Oklahoma, where my sister and her husband both lived.

We felt like our family was ready for a big change, and so on our anniversary, March 2007, my hubby and I flew out to Norman to visit my sister and brother-in-law, look at houses, and spend some time in prayer about what then next step would be for our family. In short, we loved it, but after a LOT of prayer, we both felt that God was asking us to stay in Phoenix for now and be obedient to help start the church plant.

I can’t say I said "Yes" to the church plant with joy, though. In a way, although I knew we were obeying, I was angry at God for saying “No” to Oklahoma. Most of you who know me well know that I desire a smaller, slower pace-of-life outside of Phoenix, and have for some time. I couldn’t understand why God said “No” to such a big desire of my heart.

The river drained dry just a little more, as I allowed more distance to develop between my Lord and I.

So, in September 2007, we helped open the doors for The Way Christian Fellowship.

And my heart has been stuck in a muddy, dried-up place ever since. I am currently doing children’s ministry, which I really, really, really, don’t feel called to, and am struggling with guilt over because I just don’t enjoy it at all. I won’t stay there forever, I’m sure, but with a church so small there really is no-one else to do it. The core families’ wives that helped to start the church plant are the ones working nursery/kids right now (including the pastor’s wife) because it has to be that way. And my husband is leading worship again, but I have struggled with all of the time commitments that means – including worship band practices, extra church meetings with the pastor, and not getting to see and/or go to the church with my husband on Sunday morning.

And, looking back, I can tell you this – I MISS my church family at Compass. My original, beautiful, vibrant church family. Where I watched church softball games, and had my girls dedicated, and listened to the truth being spoken, and singing “How Great Is Our God” at the top of my lungs with both arms raised high. I miss it SO much, and pockets of my heart still ache for it.

And most of all, I miss the JOY and INTIMACY that I have always had with my Heavenly Papa.

.......I want it back.

Please pray for this season of spiritual dryness in my life.

Dry - Part 1

So many of my blog posts have happened lately while I’m on the run – running to do my errands, running to finish my grocery shopping, running to finish my housework (or start it, such as the case may be..), running to birthday parties, or Bible studies, or baby showers, or Christmas shopping… as I stay busy, I sadly often stay too busy to really even feel the impact of what effects my spiritual walk with God day by day

So, finally, on Thanksgiving, as our family was up at the cabin – away from all of my daily obligations of cleaning, laundry, etc… away from even the computer (which I admit can be a distraction), with a couple of free late hours on my hands, I found myself sitting on the back porch of our cabin, watching the moon rise over the forest, and really talking to God and allowing myself to take stock of where I am spiritually right now.

The answer.......dry

Dry as a bone. Dry like the desert….dry

And maybe for the first time in months, I allowed tears to fall about the state of my deeper heart. This is where my husband found me, on the back porch, crying.

Poor guy - he was probably thinking that the hormones were running strong in his big, pregnant wife (which I'm sure is true)

It was good though, because he grabbed a blanket too, and we were able to have a really long, and probably overdue, discussion about where both of us were spiritually.

My revelation came as we were heading back down the mountain, driving along in the van, when my hubby turned to me and asked, “So when WAS the last time that you can remember feeling vibrant, excited, and joyful about where you were with the Lord and what you were doing for him?”

And I could remember EXACTLY, down to the day, that I felt that way, and also saw for the first time the chain of events that had led me to this spiritual state of dryness. It wasn’t all at once – like pulling the drain on a sink. Instead, it was more like a river, slowly drying up, without me really realizing that it had happened.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Want A Hippopotomus For Christmas...

I don't have a lot of time here, but my friends Scott (who cares not to listen to one more line of Feliz Navidad) and Nickle-Pickle got me to thinking about annoying Christmas carols. My own personal vote is for "I Want A Hippopotumus For Christmas" When I use to work at Hallmark, our manager made us turn it to the All-Christmas music station the day after Thanksgiving, which for you Phoenix people who know what I'm talking about, doesn't it seem like they play the EXACT same versions of every single song every single year??!! Well, that one RIDICULOUS hippo song would play over and over again and get stuck in my brain at the oddest times (like now....)


Anyway, in my own little search on the web for annoying Christmas songs, I found a writer over at a site called Platypus Comix and his own take on my friend Nickle-Pickle's personal pick of all-time annoying Christmas song, "The Christmas Shoes" I thought it was very funny...


The newest and absolute WORST entry in the Christmas Song Collection. I can't stand it and I won't put up with it. If it comes on the radio, the radio goes OFF. If it comes on the supermarket PA system, I blow up the supermarket. No one is going to subject me to this wretched thing without a fight.

See, when you're making something Christmassy, what usually works is keeping the sentimentality subtle. This wasn't the approach when they were making "The Christmas Shoes. They were setting out to smash the audience with an emotional anvil so deadly, you'd have to be a cheerleader in Texas to have any hope of survival. "Okay, his mother's dying. No, we have to make it worse! Okay, she's dying AND they're dirt poor! NO! WORSE! They're so poor they can't even afford a lousy pair of shoes from K-Mart! And the kid is at the counter, crying because he sweetly and naively thinks she needs nice shoes to get into Heaven! Hoooo, terrible! Now we got a winner!"

As Christmas carols go, this isn't the one you'd pick to sing at your neighbor's door. It's not exactly "jolly." Many people can't make it through this song; some even break down crying whenever they hear it begin. This is a problem for all of society.

"Billy, you stay close to me and don't wander off....oh no, it's that song again....sniff, I never make it through this....OH IT'S SO SAD! BWAAAAHH HAA HAAAA!! Okay, it's over....wait, where'd my son go?"

"All right, this next part of the heart surgery is very delicate, so we have to be very fast and precise once we open this valve.....oh, The Christmas Shoes is coming on the hospital music speakers! Oh no, this always makes me cry! BWAAAAHH HA HA HA HAAAHHH!! ....Oops.....

"The Christmas Shoes" is a threat to our health and safety, and the only solution is a nationwide ban. Join me in the struggle, and together, we can make a difference.

What's your vote for most annoying Christmas song of all time?