Crossroads

I’m pretty sure this is going to end up a verbal vomit-ish post, because I feel like I have all these thoughts swarming around in my brain, and I just need an outlet to get them all out.

Thank God for this here blog.

I feel like we’re at a crossroads.

Have I said that before?  I feel like I’ve said that before.  But this time I really, really mean it.  Really.  I don’t know how to explain it except to say that it’s a stirring in my heart that won’t go away.  I know that sounds hyper-spiritual (especially if you’re not the spiritual type, but deal.  Mm, kay?)

We’re just in this weird place where everything is up in the air and every time I think it’s going to settle down, it doesn’t.

A month ago, I honestly felt like our life was spinning out of control.  I was so stressed out that I got a cold sore.  That is how you know Erin is stressed out.  Ignore her words of being okay and “giving it to God.”  If you see a huge disgusting growth on her lip, she’s stressed. Hug her.  Just avoid the cold sore.  They are highly contagious.

Anyway, here I was with my cold sore, thinking that our house was going to auction, we didn’t have enough income to go anywhere but my mom and dads (which would be perfectly acceptable in any other country but America, by the way) and it felt like there was no way out.  Then things started falling into place.  The bank postponed foreclosure and was looking at approving us for a short sale.  I interviewed for a job and it went really well.  Geric started applying at churches, feeling he was ready to get back into ministry.  We were on a path.  It was good.  New directions.  Yay.

But now the bank is silent again, taking their sweet time and having us jump through short sale hoops.  The awesome interview I had has also led to silence, actually an email a few weeks ago saying that the candidates would know by the end of the week, and then silence.  I’m taking that as a no.  Silence from the churches Geric has applied for and questions in his mind… is he too old to be a youth pastor???

And now everything is up in the air again.

And I’m praying my cold sore doesn’t come back.

I feel like God keeps taking us to this place.  And I’m really trying to figure out what it is that He’s teaching me, because I’m sure once I do He’ll lead me out of here, right?  Right, God?  I’m talking to you, Big Guy. 

But then it crossed my mind this morning as I was doing my quiet time, that maybe God keeps bringing us here to this place, because he has other plans for us.

Okay, here comes the crazy. 

I’ve always felt drawn to missions.  After my first trip to Mexico (when I was in junior high) I wrote in my journal that I wanted to win a million dollars so I could give it to the people we met.  I remember feeling like I wanted to give up everything and GO!  And I did almost every summer.  My senior trip wasn’t a wild party in Cancun or Hawaii, it was a two week mission trip to Honduras.  After college, I was directionless, and my first thought was, I should be a missionary, and it felt right.  I remember sitting on a hill at the park, and it was just right.  And I did.  I packed up my stuff and moved to Honduras… to endure the hardest three months of my life.

And then I met Geric.  I met him right before he left to go be a part of YWAM (Youth with a Mission) in Australia.  He came home after his trip and ended up going back to work in Indonesia.  And when he came back from there we really got to know each other when we were on the first missions outreach team at our church together.  And then you have to take into account the place where we fell in love… on a missions trip to Mexico.  I remember (once again) sitting on a hill and watching him dig out steps to the front of a house that we had just built and thinking, “I’m gonna marry that guy.”  And lo and behold,  I did.

Crazy, right?

Because missions are scary.

Honestly, I don’t want to go.

I don’t want to drag my kids to God-knows-where to do God-knows-what.  And raise them to be weird missionary kids.  (No offense Carrie.) I don’t want them to be in a place that’s considered “dangerous.”  I don’t want to take them away from their extended family only to see them once or twice a year for a couple of weeks.  That one seriously breaks my heart. I don’t want to be forced to learn another language, because that’s really hard.  I don’t want to meet new people who are nothing like me and my American ways, and then try to be their friend.

But at the same time, I love Jesus.  And I’ve come to realize that the only reason I’m here on this planet is to serve Him and glorify Him.  And all I really want to do is run hard after Him and His will for my life.

I haven’t even talked to Geric about all of this, although I know he would have our suitcases packed in 10.2 seconds if I told him I wanted to go.  Go where?  Another unknown.

Now that I’ve typed this I want to delete it.  Because I feel like now you’re all going to hold me to it.  Like if I see you out on the streets (out on the streets???  That made me laugh.) But if I do see you out on the streets I feel like you’re going to come up to me and ask when I’m leaving and where I’m going, or if I wussed out.  Don’t do that, k?

I told you in the beginning, this is all a bunch of verbal vomit that may or may not lead to action.

So, yeah, we’re at a crossroads.

 

Advertisements

The Big White Sign of Shame

It came yesterday.

It actually didn’t get hung on our door since Geric was out front fixing a sprinkler, but it got handed to him.

In case you’re lost, “the big white sign of shame” is the sign that gets hung on your door when you’re in foreclosure and they set a date of sale, the date your house gets auctioned on courthouse steps.  Our date is November 3rd.  I’ll be sure to wear my cutest outfit for our date.

Here’s the ironic thing.  Yesterday morning I woke up early (and the kids slept in… praise God!) so I had some time to do a quiet time.  I did my Bible study and read a couple of devotionals and then I felt led to Proverbs 31, so I read that, which is the chapter about the wife of noble character.  I got hung up on verse 25 which says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”  I love this image.  Here is this amazing woman who daily clothes herself in strength and dignity, holding her head up high.  I want to be like her.  Not only that, but she laughs at the days to come.  She lays her worries aside and knows that God holds her future, so why worry?  Laugh!  Be filled with His joy!

I was so touched by these verses that I actually texted them to a few of my friends.  And while I hope they were encouraged by them, I realized when the sign of shame came, those verses were for me.  I had to keep reminding myself yesterday that God is in control, not me, not the bank, not my real estate agent.  God, and God alone.  And because of that, I can relax.  Not just relax, REJOICE!  He’s not out to get me.  He loves me.  He loves my family.  He wants good for us.  I can laugh at the days to come because He is in control of those very days.

So this morning, I remembered a sermon that Pastor Glen gave one Sunday at our church.  He was talking about 2 Corinthians 4:7-9.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

We are those jars of clay.  Just a bunch of boring jars of clay.  Yes, we were shaped by the Potter’s hand, but a jar of clay is pretty mundane, pretty worthless.  What makes us special is the treasure inside.  It’s Jesus!

Those verse go on to talk about being pressed, but not crushed, which is exactly where I feel like I am today.  But here’s the amazing part.  Yes, I’m being pressed on every side (like a mafioso with his head in a vice) and I’m not being crushed, but I am a jar of clay, so there are some major cracks forming in the surface.  But you know what shines through?  The treasure inside!  Jesus will shine through today!  I choose Him!  I will not be brought down by my circumstances, but I will lift my eyes to my Maker, My Creator, My Sustainer, My Redeemer, My Restorer, who gives me hope daily and fills me to overflowing with His joy!

Today I choose His joy!

And today I choose to look into His eyes when my circumstances overwhelm me.

And today I choose to hope in Him.

And today I might get a pair of new shoes for our big date.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Homeschooling

So, I officially have two weeks of homeschooling under my belt (not full time homeschooling, just two days a week.  So, that would be a whole four days of homeschooling.  Which deserves some sort of an award.  Which is why I’m telling you all this.  Someone give me some praise, would ya???)

I’ve learned a few things in the last couple of weeks about homeschooling and I thought I’d share.

First, it’s not as bad as one might think it to be.  When I say “one” I’m speaking of myself.  I know, you’re thinking, Erin, aren’t you a credentialed teacher that taught full time in a classroom of thirty students?  Yes, yes I am.  Then why are you so scared of homeschooling your one measly child?  First, of all, he’s not measly.  Geez, that was rude.  Secondly, because teaching your own kid is way different than teaching other people’s kids.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret here… teachers rely on you parents.  They aren’t kidding at Back to School Night when they say that they are on a team with you.  We, as teachers, know that we will only have your kid on our class for one (maybe two) years, and we rely on you to fill in the gaps that may be missing or tie up the loose ends, if you will.  And if you don’t, well, it’s your kid.  We can only do so much, and if you don’t care, then we can’t really pass over that wall.

But with homeschooling, it’s all on me.  And that freaked me out.  If my kid grows up to be dumb, I can’t blame the public schools or government instated standards… I only have myself to blame.

But in the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized it’s not really that much pressure.  I think I’m blessed with a kid that really likes learning, so, so far, we haven’t had to fight many battles in order to sit down and get to business.  Also, the joy of homeschooling is that we can take breaks when things feel too stressful for him (or me) and I can always change my approach to teaching a new concept, because I can.  I love that!  Plus, I can see first hand what his strengths and his weaknesses are, and cater my lessons to those.  Love that, too.

The second thing I’ve learned in the last couple of weeks is that homeschooling can be anything, anywhere.  We went to the zoo on Tuesday for Caden’s birthday which is supposed to be a homeschooling day, and it still was!  Go ahead and try to tell me that trekking around the San Diego Zoo doesn’t count as PE.  I dare you.  And of course it was science.  We even came home and made a big elephant poster with all the pictures we took and the facts we learned during our bus tour, and he brought it to school to share with his class today.  Tell me that’s not awesome!

The last thing I’ve learned about homeschooling is that this here blog may suffer in the process.  Homeschooling is fun and I love it and I really think it’s the best option for Caden, but it requires some organization and thinking ahead and planning (even though his teacher sends me her lesson plans.) And on top of that I still have my regular mom duties (just like the rest of you.)  So, writing is taking a back seat.

Motherhood = Sacrifice

It’s a lesson I keep on learning.

So, I’m not getting rid of this here blog by any means, but just know that the updates may not be as frequent, then again they may be.  I’m just taking the bloggy pressure off of myself for right now.

Here’s a question for my fellow homeschooling mommies: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from homeschooling your kids?

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

A Guest Post: Lunchbox Oops!

I’ve got another guest blogger for you guys!  I like hearing new voices here on my blog and this one is chalk full of GREAT ideas… that I am going to put to use immediately!  This is written by a friend of mine, Jenn.  If you like what you read today, go check out her site!

Hi all! I was asked by my friend and fellow Blogger, Ms Queen of the Jungle to bip on over to her blog and write a little something for yʼall. I am a mommy, wife, RN, and real foodie who loves to blog about health, nutrition, yummy clean recipes, and of course what goes on in our crazy household. You can check me out at my website/blog www.rnforwellness.com anytime you are looking for any of those things I listed above.

So lets get to it! Being a mom of two crazy boys and a real foodie means life is always interesting in our house. When you live the life of real food your ideals do not always match up with the ideas of a 4 or 6 year old. I am constantly faced with the challenge of getting my kids excited about eating clean healthy food over prepackaged salt and sugar filled treats.

My husband also struggles with this and it was quite evident the other day when he packed my oldest sonʼs lunch. Now because we have to do this lunch thing five days a week my husband and I share the dreaded task of packing the lunches. When we were new to eating this way I would assist my husband along but now that we are a few years in I let him figure it out. I do the shopping and food prep so I make sure there are lots of options in the house that would not only make me happy but Jake as well.

Sooooo that brings me to Monday two weeks ago. On Mondayʼs I help out in Jakeʼs class. At the end of reading lab all the kids grab their snack form their lunch or line up for a classroom provided snack. Jake came up to me and asked if it would be OK if he got the class provided snack instead of his own. Looking over I see that the class provided snack is a standard boxed cookie from the market. I let Jake know that he could not have a cookie (partially because those are for kids who did not bring a snack and because the snack was crap) and that he needed to get his snack from his lunch. He proceeded to glare at me, cross his arms, and stomp to his backpack. I ignored the mini-fit and headed out as well. When we got to his backpack he began to get more and more upset, tears were very close. I peeked into his lunch and this is what I saw:

1. Sandwich (turkey/cheese)

2. pretzels

3. string cheese

4. tangerine

5. water

UGH! I immediately thought Doug! are you kidding me? How completely boring and unappealing. I wouldnʼt want to eat this either. Of course Jake wanted the cookie!

Now because Doug and I always try to look like we are a united front I encouraged the string cheese and tangerine and coaxed him to the cafeteria. Jake followed suit and begrudgingly ate the snack. I reassured him that I would make sure daddy understood  that he needed to add some fun food in there as well. When I left the school I immediately called Doug and started with WTF buddy what are you trying to do get our kids to hate us and hate healthy food. I kindly reminded him of the most important key component to raising nutritionally sound healthy kids. As parents we need to make it fun, tasty, and appealing on multiple levels. He of course agreed (kind of ) and then said he was just being lazy. Well lazy aint gonna cut it big guy. So let me repeat again…

Key point!!! What you feed your child must be fun, tasty, and appealing on multiple levels. If it is not those things they will seek food elsewhere. And better yet, lie to you to cover up. I want kids to get to be kids and not feel like they are missing out. Now because I know we all struggle with this I wanted to include a few lunchbox solutions to help you out.

1. Snackanimal cookies

2. Kettle chips/sweet potato chips/veggie straws

3. Organic graham crackers (these do not have HFCS or PHO)

4. Yogurt (greek fruit in the bottom)

5. Applesauce

6. Different types of cheese sticks

7. Homemade trail mix (you can find a recipe on my blog)

8. Granola Bar (Kids Cliff or TLC)

9. Cliff kids twisty fruit bars/ Anneʼs bunny fruit snacks

For more suggestions you can check out the blog or subscribe to my monthly nutrition newsletter by emailing me at wellnessrn@sti.net.

Thanks Queen!!

Happy Birthday Caden

I can’t believe that six years have gone by.  No, six years have flown by since the day you were born.  Crazy.  Because I remember it like it was yesterday.

65419_1651489807079_1232017670_31787506_3806894_n

I had done the whole “dress rehearsal” thing at the hospital the day before, and they had sent me home where I spent the whole day walking around the neighborhood with your Maw and your Auntie B.  But nothing happened until early the next morning.  I made really, really, really sure you were coming this time before I woke up Daddy and we drove to the hospital.  And 13 hours later (after some excruciating pain, that I swear I am not holding against you) you changed my life forever.

Not only were you born on my birthday, so I had a birthday present that could never be topped, but you completely shattered the world I once knew, in a good way of course.  You are my first-born.  You are the kid that made me a mommy, my best role in my whole life.  The one that will never be topped.  In the days after you were born, nothing else mattered, except our little family.

And you were perfect.  I had no idea (because you were all I knew) but you were such a good baby.  You rarely cried, and you even put yourself on a schedule… that I took all the credit for.  Don’t worry, your brothers both made me see that it was actually all you, and not me at all.

You’ve always been a Momma’s Boy.  From the get go. You always liked me the best.  (It’s true!)  I said it was because I was the one that fed you, but I think we just have a special bond.  Probably because for a good twenty months while Daddy was working, it was just me and you.

ry=400

Then your brother came along.  And at first you had a rough time with that.  To be perfectly honest, I was a little scared to leave the two of you in the same room while I ran to the bathroom, because you had a bit of a jealousy streak.  But eventually, you realized that he was a pretty fun guy.

2179823666_35d02c7af9

And now, he’s your best friend.  I’m sure of it.

IMG_1879

Caden, you have a heart of gold, my son.  Can you be impulsive?  Yes.  Can you get excitable and aggressive?  Of course.  But overall, you are our protector.  You never run too far away from mommy, and I don’t think you’re afraid you’ll get lost, I think it’s because you want to keep your eye on me.  You always know where you brother is at all times.  You never forget to pray for your friends and family.  You help your little buddies out on the playground when they are too small.  You have such a big heart, Monkey.  And I love that about you!

2213377806_00984692d8

You are also our little adventurer!  You definitely lead the way in the imagination arena around here.

IMG_1055

Swing sets are pirate ships, bunk beds are caves, and bikes are motorcycles that you ride to China!  Your mind is so creative!

IMG_1133

And your artistic abilities cannot be beat.  You have made me some of the most beautiful paintings and drawings.  If it wasn’t for you, I would have just a boring old white refrigerator.

IMG_2623

Your favorite place to be is in the water.  You started swimming when you were three years old, and you’ve never looked back!  You do back flips off the diving board and you swim in the ocean, when the waves are small enough.  Mommy and Daddy were both swimmers, so it makes sense that you’re a little fish too.

Then…

5730_1222571884399_1232017670_30647049_393048_n

and now…

IMG_2198

When Elijah came along, you could not be more thrilled.  You still had a hard time sharing me with one more kid, but you and Elijah had a special something between you two from the start.  You loved to sit on the couch and hold him and you’d ask me all these questions about him.  Once he was a little more alert, you could make him laugh like no one else around here!  He loves you!  When he wakes up from his nap, if you walk in to his room first, his face lights up and his bounces up and down in his crib.  I have no worries that he will eventually fit right in to the little posse you and Jacob have already started.

IMG_1956

I love you with all my heart, Caden Matthew, but you know you have a little bit of a naughty streak to you, as well.  You are a destroyer, which I think just comes with having testosterone running through your veins.  But you have been known to get in to things that I never would have imagined a child would ever get in to… like this…

2718953504_216bd12992

and this.

3243985939_aa29033cd4

I can’t forget the special relationship you have with Daddy.  You guys definitely do “man things” together that mommy has no part of.  You like to help Daddy with yard work,

2634790867_5bc95497e9

and you like to wrestle together, and try to conquer super Mario brothers together.  Lately, the two of you have been playing baseball together (with Jacob, too) and you are becoming quite the little athlete!  I love going to your games and cheering for you!

IMG_1132

One more special guy in your life has to be Pop.  I know this might hut Maw’s feelings, (sorry, Maw) but Pop is definitely your favorite.  Don’t believe me?  Remember THIS?  I don’t know if it’s because you’re the first or it’s because you’re the first boy (poor Pop only had girls!) but you guys love each other a lot!  Your relationship with Pop is one of the biggest reasons Mommy frowns when Daddy talks about moving to Australia.  Crazy, Daddy!

gramps-and-caden

Well, my Caden-boy, I love you more than words can say.  You amaze me everyday and I am truly, truly blessed that God picked me to be your mommy.  I know that He has big plans for you!  He has a destiny for you that is so great and so awesome, and I know that you’re going to run full force for it!  I know that you are growing into an amazing boy who will one day be an amazing man, and I am so blessed that I get to watch it all unfold.

Happy birthday, Caden!

I Miss Donna Reed

I actually wasn’t ever alive when Donna Reed was on TV for reals, but I remember watching the show on Nick at Nite or some other channel that played reruns.

You know what I miss?  The fact that she wore a dress everyday and vacuumed in heels?  No.  The way she walked around her kitchen in a really cute apron pouring coffee for her pediatrician husband as he read the paper?  No.  Her perfectly groomed teenage children that were perfectly perfect?  No.

What I miss is the innocence of Donna Reed.

I don’t know exactly when it started, but as a society we’ve enjoyed shocking each other.

Maybe Madonna started it.  Yes, let’s blame Madonna and her pointy bras.  Madonna started it, I’m sure of it.

Regardless of how it started, our culture has spiraled out of control.

It was so in my face the other day as I was watching Dancing with the Stars, which is supposed to be a family television program… right?  It was the show where they kick someone off, so they had a group of dancers to fill the time and the dance was so, so, so, so sexy.  And I don’t think I’m a prude (well, maybe I’m a prude.  But I’d rather be a prude than a hussy.) But I was watching the show while the boys were in the other room playing video games and I thought, “Good thing the boys are in the other room, because this is so inappropriate for them.”

Seriously, was it Madonna?  

When did this all start?  How did it get so out of control?  Sex is everywhere.  Television shows, movies (even “children’s movies”… hello, did anyone see Hop with the playboy bunnies???), commercials, magazine covers at the grocery store, advertisements in store windows at the mall.

And why do we all turn a blind eye to it?  We used to be shocked.  The shock value is gone.

I get it that in the days of Donna Reed there were a lot of things that went unspoken that probably should have been spoken about… between a mother and daughter, or a father and son… but not on a national television show.  We have taken the sacredness of a covenant relationship and completely trashed it.  And that is sad.

Not only sad, but scary.

What is our world going to be like 50 years from now?  WIll it be acceptable to have sex in the park next to the playground?  I know that sounds like a stretch, but I bet Donna Reed never thought the things we watch without batting an eye would ever air on television.

I miss you, Donna.

What do you think?  How did this all start?  When did it get so out of control?  And is there any way to stop it?  Or do you think I’m just a big prude?

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Deals, Deals, Deals!

I just got approved to be an affiliate for Groupon, which is great for a couple of reasons.

First of all, maybe this blog will finally make me some money, instead of just serving as an outlet to release all my crazy thoughts into the blogosphere.  I probably shouldn’t have said just, because I love ranting on here and hearing all your comments to let me know that I’m not alone in this whole motherhood journey.  Also, I probably shouldn’t lead you to believe that I haven’t made any money off this blog yet. Because I have.  I have made $11.61 in the last two months off of those google ads that you see every once in a while.  Which is just enough for one venti iced vanilla latte a month, which is fine by me.

Secondly, Groupon is great!  They offer some amazing deals in different cities that should seriously be taken advantage of.  For example, right now there is a deal in the Inland Empire (or the IE or the 909 or the 951, as we affectionately call it) and San Diego where you can get two tickets to any UltraStar Cinema and a large popcorn for $15. That would normally cost you $31!  That’s a steal.  Someone should buy it!

Click here to check out the deals in your city!

Even a better deal (and this one is nationwide) is two tickets to the movie, Warrior for only $10!  I’ll be honest, it’s not a chick flick.  But maybe you owe your man one for sitting through The Help or Bridesmaids, so buy these tickets and take him out.  You can use the tickets at any theater you want.  And it does look like a good movie, a little Rocky-esque, with the characters being boxers and all, but the storyline seems a little more dynamic.  Although I saw some kissing in the trailer, so there must be a love story somewhere in there.

Groupon: Get the Best Deal in Your City Today!

Groupon also offers some great deals on different getaways to several different locations, so if you’re planning a fun trip, you should check them out.

So, go click one of those buttons and treat yourself to something fun and exciting, and really cheap!

Happy Sunday!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Roots of my Heart

I have an amazing friend. Her name is Carrie. Part of what makes her so amazing is that she grew up in Africa. Amazing, right? I asked her to write a little somethin’ somethin’ for this here blog and she did. Here it is. When you’re done reading this, go check out her blog. It’s amazing!

Hello, Queen of the Jungle Readers!  My name is Carrie.  I’m friends with the Queen of this domain and she invited me to write a little something for you, her readers.  Normally you can find me blogging over at roots of my heart about my childhood in Kenya.  You’re welcome to join me there any time you like.

If you came over to my house in California today just for a little coffee and a chat, I would be delighted. (You’d have to excuse the mess because housekeeping is not my strong suit.)  If, when you came, you brought me a little gift, I’d be even more delighted.  If that gift was a large bunch of green bananas, I would smile politely and thank you all the while wondering if you’d lost your ever-lovin’ mind.

But in Kenya, you see, a gift is not something you go and purchase in order to please your friend.  A gift is something you already have that you choose to bestow upon your friend; like a bunch of green bananas off of your banana tree, or a few ears of maize out of your shamba (vegetable garden).  We always took a big bag of loose-leaf tea or sugar when we went visiting.

This is a picture of my cousin and me nestled among the bountiful gifts our family had just received.  The maize and bananas were undoubtedly freshly picked from the shamba that very day.  Local women often delivered milk to us.  My mom distributed these glass bottles that had once contained Tree Top concentrated orange drink.  If she didn’t distribute the bottles, women often brought the milk in a gourd that was sterilized with coals, leaving the milk tasting quite smokey.  We were clearly content to munch on the delicious sugar cane.

Over the years we received goats, chickens, pumpkins and other produce.  But perhaps the most memorable gift was a freshly killed warthog!  My mom canned most of the meat.  It was surprisingly delicious, especially with barbecue sauce on a bun.  It tasted a lot like a pulled pork sandwich.

There is nothing better than a gift given sacrificially from the heart.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory