Thursday, May 28, 2009

Things That Bug Me In Public

There are lot of things that bug me when I’m out in public with my kids. Now that summer is approaching and I will have the whole crew with me when I'm out and about it’s only going to get worse. So I’m practicing some witty responses to what some strangers actually have the nerve to say.

Stranger: “Wow! Do you run a day care or are all these kids yours?”
Me: "Why on earth would I bring my day care kids shopping with me?"

Stranger: "Boy do you have your hands full!"
Me: "I can get one free long enough to..."

Stranger: "Someone’s not happy."
Me: "Yeah and that someone is me so I suggest you get out of my face!"

In the busy, grocery store parking lot:

Lady: “I’m going to be backing out now. I just wanted to be sure you were watching her.”

Me: “Really Lady? After unloading your groceries in the huge truck, you are going to get in and leave? Thanks, because I never thought that there might be danger in the parking lot. I usually just let my kids run free."

I think the two worst places I go are the library and the Girl Scout Store/office. I feel instantly judged when I go in there with my kids.

The girl scout people don’t seem to like children. They should be kissing my feet when I go there with my FOUR daughters. I mean I am stuck being involved in this organization for another 12 years at least. Don’t cut off the hand that feeds you ladies.

Then there’s the library. One of our favorite places to go. We like books, we like story time, but most of all we like checking out movies for free. The last time I went, I forgot my library bag so I knew it would be a challenge to carry all the books and wrangle Maren and Annie at the same time. I had already chased Maren while she was attempting to run out the door. But you see they have the handicap door buttons which she cannot resist pushing. So while I was chasing her and bringing her back in kicking and screaming the lady says, “Would today be a good day to learn our new self-checkout system?”

Me: “Does today look like a good day for me to learn to do anything??” Just get over here and check me out so I can get out of here!” Actually, I said
“No thank you”.

Then when I was gathering up my books I let Maren go push the button. I was literally three steps behind her when this man goes running after her and picked her up. I politely said, “Thank you, I’ve got her”

I was thinking, “Put my kid down, whoever you are!” I again “thanked him” and said she was fine and he said,

“That’s a really long leash!”

Me: "Are you kidding me?!!? Did I ask you for your advice? Do not touch my kids or judge my parenting. Just go back to using the free internet and leave me alone."

I never actually say those things. But it’s fun to imagine what it would be like to actually say it. I like to soothe my nerves by thinking up all these responses on my way home and laughing evilly to myself.

Seriously, people, when you see a mother struggling through a store with kids this summer, resist the urge to comment and further point out the misery. Be nice and kind and compassionate and just....keep your mouth shut.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I've got to DO. SOMETHING.

A while back I posted about the difficult time I was having dealing with Maren. I opened up to my bible study group and they looked at me like I had a curse on me. I was in a very vulnerable place and needed comfort and encouragement. It was not easy for me to admit I couldn't handle things. They may not have realized how I really felt, but not once after that did anyone call to see how I was or offer to help. In fact, no one mentioned it ever again.

Things are getting better with Maren. I definitely have a better grasp on dealing with her and don't feel like I'm ready to fall off a cliff anymore. I realized that I felt bad that no one seemed to care. I can think of a million times that I thought about a need someone had and never took action. There are some times we just have to do. something. And remembering how I felt when no one did anything, pushed me towards doing some things that were difficult, out of my comfort zone.

I have an old friend who has pancreatic cancer. She is having her second round of chemo right now. I don't talk to her anymore, our lives have just taken different paths. I have been following her Caring Bridge site and keeping up on how she is doing.

When she found out her cancer had returned a few months ago, God put a burden on my heart for her. I felt awkward and nervous about contacting her. I haven't talked to her in a over a year. Most people that live in this area have a religious background. They might not go to church or follow Christ but they would welcome your prayers for them in any situation, especially sickness. My friend however seems antagonistic about Christianity and matters of faith. And being a pastor's wife, that puts me at odds with her world view.

I worried about calling her at a bad time and not knowing what to say or how she would respond. So I put it off. But the burden would not go away. I finally called her last week and left a message. I didn't hear back for a few days and thought maybe I was off the hook. But Friday morning she called back and I was thrilled. She was obviously touched that I called. I offered to bring her family some food. She thankfully accepted.

Five days after chemo she crashes and today was that day. I brought a lot of food. It's not a hard thing for me to do. Goodness knows, I already spend most of my life in the kitchen anyway. We had a great visit and I hope to be able to do it again soon.

When I got home I had an email telling me the time had come do a little outreach with someone Mike has been working with from the Veteran's office. They needed a non-military woman to listen to someone's story. So I fit the bill and had to take off right away.

I did not want to go. This is a totally new and uncomfortable area to me. There are some things in this world I just do not want to know about. But I took my Bible and armed myself with a list of verses about hope and forgiveness and prayed the whole way. It took four hours and the lady wouldn't come out to talk to us. When I was driving home I felt like I had wasted my time.

Last night, I realized that offering ourselves and our time to show God's love to others is never wasted. It doesn't matter if they receive it, like my friend with cancer did, or reject it, like the struggling vet did. All that matters is that I offer it. When it isn't convenient, easy, comfortable I am more humble and dependent on God.

Sometimes we just have to do. something. God wants not only our words, but our deeds to honor Him. When Jesus was on earth he often used the opportunity to meet physical needs to show Himself as Savior. When I don't know what to do, the answer isn't to do nothing

Ephesians 2:8-10
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
My deeds do not save me. However, my deeds should point to the One who saved me.

Phillipians 2:1-4
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Out of the joy and love that Christ has poured into me, I want that to overflow and fill up the lives of others.

Tomorrow, I am going to watch the little 3 year old of a friend of mine from church. She is 6 weeks pregnant and feeling crumby. Oh boy, do I remember those days. I am hoping she can get a break and some extra rest while he runs around our backyard with the girls.

Get out there and Do. Something.

May the Mind of Christ my Savior
Kate B. Wilkinson

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Monday, May 25, 2009


When I was younger and skinnier and richer I loved shopping. I worked at several retail stores and spent A LOT of money of clothes, shoes and purses. My sister and I used to tease our Mom about her clothes. She wore the stuff we wouldn't be caught dead in anymore and always had her "uniform". It was her go-to outfit which she wore for everything.

I realize now that I have come to follow in her footsteps and she in mine. She is much more fashionable and trendy than I am. Sometimes she gives me a little friendly advice about things I should stop wearing. And now, I like to have a uniform. However, mine must be given to me free or found extremely cheap. Then I wear it all the time. Sometimes I think, oh no, my sweatshirt is dirty whatever will I wear. Or, I better not wear my sweatshirt today because I'll definitely want to wear it tomorrow when I have to ________. (take out the garbage, go to the grocery store, do laundry, go to baseball.)

This has been my stand by for the last couple years little while.

I bought it on clearance for $10 at the mall. I wish I would have bought 6 more so I would have a clean one for every day of the week. The hooded zip up is great for so many reasons. Lots of pockets, plenty of fabric for covering and living near beautifully frigid Lake Superior you always need something warm and yet it can be wrapped around the waist on those few warm days. But I am getting a little tired of this and need more options when it is dirty so I went to a second hand store and picked up my new uniform. In fact, I have it on right now. It's a little dirty because I've been wearing it since I bought it.

As luck might have it, I also found a long sleeved t-shirt. I was in a hurry since the fam was waiting in the van, but I was taken by the picture of pizza on the shirt so I added that to my purchase and went home. When I tried it on I realized I had overlooked a few things.

Yep, there's a pictures of a scantilly clad lady on it and a slogan about something rising which may or may not be referring to pizza crust. How could I have missed that? I don't know but pizza always distracts me - which might be why I am always wearing big baggie sweatshirts! So I was thinking I couldn't wear it and I was devestated. You can't return things to second hand stores. I thought for sure it would have a place in my new uniform. But then I realized I would be wearing my blue sweatshirt anyway! It won't show. See, that's why I love it so, so much.