re·form: (r-fôrm) v. re·formed, re·form·ing, re·forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
ma·ma or mam·ma also mom·ma: n. (also m-mä) Informal. Mother.


Score For Me!!!

I decided to brave the crowds (which I HATE) and see what I could find at the local Goodwill. They had all clothing and shoes for just $1. I was doubtful that I would find anything because of the crowd and because there is NEVER anything in my size.

I was wrong to doubt though. I found three shirts and three skirts for myself and two shirts for my hubby. Eddie has plenty of clothes for now, so he only got a book. I spent $9.90 total.

The awesome bargain though was the denim skirt I purchased. It's a name brand skirt and it still had the tags on it. It evidently had been marked DOWN to $52.95 and then again to $39.95. I paid $1 for the skirt -- NEW!

I love a bargain.

Now, I need to add here that I really hope I did not offend anyone with my girlie girl post. That was not my intent. I was only meaning to share my lack of girlie-ness. Know what I mean? And if I did offend, you can laugh at me today because two of the skirts I bought have flowers on them and one of the shirts I bought was pink. So laugh away. I reckon I deserve it.


An Unpopular Opinion

Another message board that I frequent is having discussions concerning sex ed in schools and the new HPV vaccine that can prevent some forms of cervical cancer. Those who support sex ed. in the public schools can only argue that teens are going to have sex anyway, so they should be able t protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and STDs. I see from whence they come, but I do think they are wrong on so many counts.

First, teens don't have to have sex outside of marriage. They can wait -- if their parents and role models teach them valid reasons for waiting. In my opinion, the only valid reason for waiting is because God, who knows all and sees all, said so. He knows what's best for us far better than we do. To not wait is sin. Period.

Secondary to God's sovereignty is the reasoning behind His laws. Marriage is sacred. Sex within marriage is a blessing and is a wonderful thing. STDs and becoming an unwed parent are all risk factors when one engages in extra-marital sex. You get the idea.

Scaring your teen into not having sex won't work. Neither will, "Because I said so." Anecdotal arguments may work for a little while, but probably not.

Second, "safe" sex is NOT safe. STDs are still transmitted and girls still get pregnant. You give your children a flase sense of security when you hand them a box of condoms and tell them they can come to you with any questions regarding sex.

And now, for the unpopular opinion... Thirdly, when condoms and the like do work, you are interfering with the natural results of God's order. (Yes, I realize the implications this has for family planning.) If you sin, you deserve the consequences -- be they a guilty conscience or HPV or single parenthood.

Now, don't get me wrong, my heart breaks for those who suffer these consequences. And I realize that aside from God's grace, I would be in their shoes. I would and will gladly help any pregnant teen or anyone with an STD.

When you interfere with the natural consequences of sin, you start to etch away the law of God that is written on everyone's heart -- Christian or not. You eat away at the concept of personal responsibility. Folks, we are headed towards a skeeeery place when we do that. Think of a world where there are no consequences and no responsibility. Not a world where I want to live. you?


A Toast To Glenn: the best girlfriend a guy could be

HA! (I had to say it Glenn... I knew it would make you cringe.)

A few weeks ago I decided to search on blogger for my old friend Glenn. To my surprise, I found him. I honestly don't think I've ever been more excited to find someone rom my past.

So who in the world is this Glenn?

Way back in the dark ages (my high school days) I was friends with Tiffany. Tiffany's brother was friend's with Glenn. That's how Glenn and I met.

Had it not been for Tiffany, I doubt I would have ever known Glenn existed. He was/is a few years older than me and went to a rival high school.

Glenn was the kind of guy every girl just loves. He didn't care that I was dirt poor and had bad hair. He didn't mind going to the mall. Of course, when we went to the mall, he would pretend like he was interested in buying expensive jewelry and would get the salesperson all excited only to tell them he wasn't interested in buying anything. :)

Glenn looked out for me -- or tried to. And Glenn never took advantage of our friendship.

Anyway... Glenn and I formed this great friendship. He introduced me to some people from his school and I actually ended up dating one of those guys. What a mistake THAT was! Glenn tried to tell me that the guy was wrong for me, but I wouldn't listen. Lucky for me I had a crush on the guy's brother, so I wasn't too heartbroken when we broke up.

Glenn and I would spend our time fishing at Ft. DeSoto or going to hole-in-the-wall restaurants and trying not to step on ducks. HA -- remember that? LOL.

Then tragedy struck, Glenn's mom passed away. I remember that so well. I was heartbroken for Glenn. I was also heartbroken when I learned he would be going to Arizona to stay with his dad for a while. Glenn didn't let me down though. He wrote to me letters detailing his experiences in Mexico and his encounters with Gila Monsters. It wasn't too terribly long before Glenn was back in St. Pete and all was right with the world again.

When he returned he had a gift for me; a leather keychain that said, "bomber." My knickname back then was "The Blonde Bomber." I still have that keychain.

We continued to hang out, but I started dating some psycho guy. Seriously, the guy was SKEERY!!! Glenn tried once again to tell me to ditch the guy and that he didn't like him, but I was stubborn and didn't listen. I should have. That guy and my going fof to USF is what eventually lead to me and Glenn losing contact with each other.

Now Glenn is living in Alaska with his wife and the mooses (why isn't that "meese"?) Maybe he'll find Ed a pilot job there and he and Ed can meet. Or, since h's inde[pendently wealthy (ha ha!) maybe he could fly us out there for a vacation. HA! From what I hear, he can afford only the finest in furniture, so surely he could afford some airfare.

Just kidding.

So, here's to Glenn, truly the best friend (aside from Ed) a girl could ever want.


I learned...

to never, ever ever just click the "next blog" button. You could very well get an eye full of something you don't want to see.

Beimng Critical Isn't Always Bad

While I admitted a day or so ago that I struggle with a critical spirit, I will admit that being critical of some things is not a bad thing.

I am critical of teaching I come across. If it cannot be substantiated by Scripture, I won't fall for it.

I am critical of the bahavior of leaders in the church and in society. I want my church leaders to be seeking God and to be walking according to His Word, not following every new trend in church growth that pops up.

I am critical of books in the Christian bookstore. Too often they are filled with worldly psycho-babble instead of the truth of God's Word.

I think that most of the time my critical spirit in these areas has been a good thing. Sometimes I say too much and that can be a bad thing.

Okay... so why am I tlaking about this? Rick Warren.

I know, I know... all of Christendom loves this man and thinks he is a genious, blah blah blah. He very well may be a genious, but I am thinking that only applies to the area of gaining fame, NOT to thoroughly exegeting Scriptures.

When my own church did the Purpose Driven Life a few years ago, I found the book hokey and I felt like the book was a feel-good attempt at getting people interested in CHURCH, not at getting people interested in glorifying God. Folks, we can play church all day long. We can do VBS and cake sales and "revivals" (that's a joke) all we want, but if we are not seeking to bring glory to God almighty, then we are wasting our time.

I went along and did the study though. Maybe I was missing something. My friends at church told me that they liked the study because it attracted those who were not in a deep relationship with God. I could sort of see that, but the book and Rick Warren didn't sit well with me still.

Fast forward a few years to now and I read that Rick Warren spoke at a synagogue about how to apply the principles in PDL to the synagogue. Not once did he mention Christ in his whole speech. When asked about that, he said that it was not his job to convert Jews. (I'm paraphrasing). Here's a link to the article.

Well now, it's not anybody's job except for God's to convret anyone, but it IS our job to proclaim Christ. Scripture says that if Christ is lifted up, HE will draw men to Himself. So my thought is that either Rick Warren had a bad day and was out to lunch or he is reall yin this gig for the money and the fame. I suppose he really could be misled enough to think that he's doing the right thing by not proclaiming Christ to the Jews, butI doubt it.

We, as Christians, MUST be careful about who we read and who we listen to. Everything must be scrutinized -- using Scripture as the baseline. We SHOULD NOT be encouraging those who teach false things or who do not proclaim Christ. We should be on guard and should be ready to give a solid answer for our faith.

Buying a book and buying into a book because the writer is a Christian pastor or because it's sold in a Christian bookstore does NOT guarantee the book's accuracy.

A Year, Already!!??

Eddie bear will be a year old in just over a month. To me, that is absolute craziness.

It's amazing that Eddie was so tiny and fragile, but now he is anything but that. It amazing that he has no complications from his prematurity. It's amazing that I survived those first weeks after Eddie came home, much less a whole year!

I'm happy and sad all at once when I think of my Eddie Bear growing up. I am also a bit apprehensive about his birthday because i am not sure how I will react emotionally.

The weeks prior to Eddie's birth and the day of Eddie's birth were the most traumatic I have ever experienced. I've been through things that you would think were much worse than bedrest and pre-term labor, but in my mind, those thing pale in comparison to thinking something could be wrong with my son (and to magnesium sulfate).

And then, not having my son at home with me for six long weeks was just added torture.

I hate to admit that I was angry. In that situation there really is only one person to be angry at: God. I happen to believe there is never any righteous reason to be angry with God and righteous anger is the only non-sinful anger. So where did that leave me?

Stuck in a sinful state, working through these sinful, misplaced emotions. God was not to blame for my son's prematurity. He may have permitted it, but He knows what's best, so that hsould be enough for me, right?

As Eddie's birthday draws near, I find myself revisiting those emotional places in my mind. How will I choose to respond to those memories? will I get all angry again or have i learned my lesson?


Girlie Girl

I'm not quite sure if it's because I had only brothers or that my mom was not girly or if it's because i have a problem with conformity, but I just can't be girlie. Maybe it's because I used to be a liberal. :)

I guess I could be more girlie, but I think wearing pink and flowery stuff could actually kill me.

It's not that I don't think those things look nice on other women. They do, just not on me.

So why am I even babbling about this? A few years ago I encountered a woman at a message board I frequent who only wears dresses and skirts -- at her husband's request. Of course, I realize that wearing dresses and skirts does not necessarily make someone a girlie girl, but it's more girlie than I tend to be.

I was intrigued. I started reading about dresses and skirts and modesty and why people choose to wear dresses and skirts instead of shorts or pants. I was truly baffled at their decision. For me, there is nothing better than slipping into a nice pair of too-big yoga pants and a huge t-shirt. Besides, dresses and skirts don't fit me -- none of them.

After reading, I came to understand that many women dress in that manner because of their stance on modesty. I can actually agree with the idea that dresses (in general) tend to be more modest than pants and certainly are more modest than shorts. I actually agree to the point where I've considered re-vamping my wardrobe to include more dresses and skirts and to rid it of pants and shorts.

Yeah, I surprised myself with that one too.

The problem right now is that the only dresses and skirts I own (except for maybe one) are not appropriate for life with a 10 month old rambunctious little boy. I've started looking for dresses that would work for everyday life and I found one last week at Goodwill for $4.75. (I love a bargain!)

I wore that on Sunday to church. I left it on all day. Usually I change clothes as soon as I walk in the door after church. I bet my dear, sweet husband told me how pretty I looked about 12 times one Sunday. It was the last thing he said to me before he drifted off to dreamland.

That's enough to ALMOST make me want to turn girlie girl. I think for now I will just settle for re-vamping my wardrobe to include many more dresses (if I can find them for cheap).


It's Easy For Me...

It's really easy for me to sit back and pick apart things that I see that are wrong. You know... things like girls at church dressing inappropriately, someone spreading gossip, the preacher not using the Bible as much as I think he should, etc...

Unfortunately, I have been cursed with a critical spirit. It's a battle i struggle with daily. Things are right or wrong in my world. There are few shades of grey, let alone any other color. Sometimes that's good and okay, other times it's problematic.

Anyway... I can easily list 10,000 things I see wrong with my church, though I love my church dearly and would not think of leaving there. Funny how when I start to gte nit-picky, God has a way of reminding me why I love my church.

Before my hubby and I got hitched, I met several ladies at our church. I lived in another city, so we had not been attending church together. Anyway... these ladies just welcomed me with open arms. They were the most loving people I had ever met. They still are.

While our church is not perfect, I can say that our church is one that loves. We love people. We love the Lord.

Today I was reminded of that love. I watched as a teen-aged girl who is pregnant was loved on, not condemned as she would be in many churches. Now, her sin is not or has not been validated or excused or anything like that. But the church recognizes that sometimes people know what they've done is wrong and they need to be encouraged to continue back on the RIGHT path, not pushed away and onto the wrong path.

Those kind of things encourage me. Those things, and hugs from people I like. ;)

Links For Other Succulent Sunday Recipes

Lindsey over at Enjoy the jouney has a yummy-sounding recipe posted for Hashbrown Casserole. Check it out.

Canaan posted a recipe for Chicken Rebecca. I may have to try this one out this week.

I am excited about the new recipes I'm gonna get to try out. It's easy to get stuck in a rut where we eat the same things week after week.

NO MORE!!! Time to expand our choices (hopefully without expanding our waistlines).

Thanks to those who participated this week. I hope we'll have more people join us as time marches on.

Summer Sippin'

Summer Sippin'
Since it's summertime and there is nothin' quite like sittin' on the front porch sippin' an ice cold drink on a sultry southern night, I thought I'd share a recipe for ice cold lemonade.

I know, you can buy pre-made lemonade at the store or you can buy that kool-aid stuff in lemonade flavor, but those are just not quite the same thing as fresh squeezed lemonade.

Here's my favorite lemonade recipe.

Ingredients:1-3/4 cups of sugar
8 cups water
1-1/2 cups of lemon juice (variable)

Tools you'll need:
1 small pot1 gallon pitcher
1 measuring cup
1 juicer (or you can squeeze by hand)
1 spoon for stirring

1. Put the sugar and one cup of the water in the pot and heat until the sugar dissolves. The water will look clear once the sugar is dissolved.
2. Juice your lemons. This is the hard part. I use medium sized lemons and it usually takes about 6 lemons to get the amount of juice I want. The amount of lemon juice you use can vary depending upon how tart or how sweet you like your lemonade.
3. Combine the juice, sugar water and water in the pitcher and stir.
4. For added effect, I Put spirals of the lemon peel in the lemonade.
5. Serve over a tall glass of ice and enjoy.


My Plans

There are a lot of family traditions that I have broken, with good reason. However, cooking and eating are two traditions I don't plan on breaking anytime soon.

Everyone in my family cooks. We all eat *a lot* too. My grandpa cooked his entire life. Even when he was sick with cancer and was doped up on morphine, he would dictate recipes to me.

My uncles and dad all cook as well. My dad was a chef in a 5-star hotel for a while. My brothers both studied culinary arts. My cousins bake. Grandma makes the best banana puddin' in the Triad. I could go on and on and on. Given my family history, it's no surprise that I love to cook as well (mostly because I love to eat).

I have some family recipes that I cherish, some recipes that I've stumbled upon here and there and some recipes that I just kind of threw together. I love to entertain and I love to feed people as much as I love to eat.

I also think it's a shame that some of my peers have no clue how to even boil water, much less prepare a full meal for their husbands. Yes, I know that's old fashioned. I don't care. It's my blog and I can say that if I want to. :) (I joke a lot, so take what I say with a grain of salt please. 99.9% of the time, no offense is meant). So, I've decided that Sundays here in my little blogworld will be "Succulent Sundays."

Each Sunday I will share one of my favorite recipes on here. I'll also keep an archive so you can find past recipes rather easily.

Now, the disclaimer. I am no "Emeril." I am just a country girl who likes food. I often measure things by saying a pinch or a bit instead of a teaspoon or a tablespoon. The exception to that will be with baking.

I think cooking should be fun and largely improvisational. Lots of spices taste good together, mix and match things I list to meet your tastes. Have fun.

Okay, I should stop. I've written way too much already. Tomorrow I'll post a simple beverage recipe perfect for these lazy summer Sundays.


ONE MORE THING: Feel free to join in by posting your favorite recipes in your blog. Let me know that you are playing along and I'll post a link for others to see.


Temporary Digs?

Maybe. Maybe I'll keep this look for a while. Who knows? I have a tendency to change the look of things often -- no matter what the project may be.

While working on my blog today I noticed some typos that are kind of embarrassing. I'll fix those one day, but not today. :)

I'm working on my links too, so leave a comment with your blog url and I'll check that out.

I lost my counter in the re-design. That kinda stinks. I don't think I get much traffic, though, so no real biggie.

If you have suggestions or if something is hard to read, please let me know. I'm usually open to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.

Okay... I think I'm off for the night.

A Work In Progress

Obviously, this blog is a work in progress -- just like me. Hopefully one day this blog will look like I want it to. Until then, please be patient with me. I promise I am not trying to mess with your head. :)


Whew, What a Day!!!

Man, am I ever beat?

I was a good little housewife/mom today. I did all the laundry (I even got it put away). I vacuumed, emptied all the trash cans, made fresh bread (in the machine), went to the farmer's market, did dishes, made lunch for myself and for Eddie, took my son swimming, played with him and nursed him throughout the day, and cooked good dinner.

That may not sound like a lot to some of you old pros out there, but that's a lot to me. Before Eddie was here I could do twelve times that amount of work in a day. Now that little bit just wears me out. I think that's because I am half paying attention to Eddie.

Nowadays, even looking decent is sometimes a chore. I have NEVER EVER been one for ironing, so some days my clothes probably look a little wrinkly. Then there's the chore of making my hair not stick up and my face that looks like a pizza.

Today was different though. I managed to look decent (thanks to the $3.75 shirt and the hand-me-down pants I wore). I feel like I am starting to get back to my old self and I like that.

When Ed and I were first married, I primped and all that. I spent time on maintaining the house. I did fun stuff. I was really living.

I know this probably sounds dumb, but when we left NC to go to FL, some part of me went into hibernation or something. I was miserable there and I've been struggling since we got back to NC.

I'll just say it's nice to be back and leave it at that.

No Matter How Small...

Life is ALWAY precious.

Baby Ruby was born 4 months ago in the UK. She weighed 12 oz and was only 7" long when she was delivered at 25 weeks gestation. She is in good health now, weighing 3 lbs 13 oz., and is going home. PRAISE GOD!!!

Her story makes Eddie's story look like a cake walk.

I've always been pro-life. After seeing Eddie, as small and fragile as he was, fighting and strong and whole, I knew there would never be any way that anyone could ever convince me that abortion is okay. Not even in cases where the mother may die or when the child is the result of rape.

Storie's like Ruby's only strengthen my thoughts on the issue.

Life is always precious, no matter how that life came to be or how ill the child may be or how horrible the parents may be.

Psalm 139.


Sad News, But Gonna Celebrate Anyway

I used to work with the middle schoolers at my church. The first year I worked with them, I had a group of girls who were AWESOME. They were also sad. Not one of the 10 or so girls had their biological father in their lives.

Some of the girls were doing well and had managed to move past the fact that their fathers had neglected them. Others, well... it was obvious to me then (as it is now) that the lack of affection from their fathers had scarred them deeply.

Tonight I learned that one of the girls who was deeply wounded is pregnant. She's sixteen or so. I am heartbroken for so many reasons.

This girl should have never had to deal with some of the issues she's had to deal with concerning her biological father. It was clear to me, years ago, that she was searching for approval and love. Now, she's found some physical attraction that she's is accepting as a substitute for real love.

Even though she has been taught that she is fearfully and wonderfully made, and that she has a purpose there is no real substitute for a father's love.

I pray she will finish school. I hope I can influence her in a positive way as far as motherhood goes -- even though I am sooooo new at this gig. I want her to know she is still precious.

So, I am choosing to mourn the loss of innocence and to celebrate the hope that this new life holds.

Father's Day -- 2006

I "made" Ed take the day off work. He rarely gets a full day off. That stinks for so many reasons. I think he enjoyed his day though and that makes me happy.

We went to church where he and Eddie were a hit with their shirts that read "big guy" and "little guy." Ed is so proud of Eddie. He wouldn't let me take Eddie except to feed him. Of course, that was also partly because he didn't want to be standing around wearing a shirt that said, "big guy" with no little guy in sight. :)

After church we headed to the NC Zoo in Asheboro. Boy was it hot!! We had a blast though. Eddie didn't sleep at all during our visit, but he didn't get cranky either.

Eddie is not really to the point where he is interested in the animals yet. He does love to people watch though. We did get a few lucky shots though where it looks like Eddie is pointing to the animals, so...



This will probably be a rambling post. I always think of what I want to write, but by the time I get a chance to actually sit down and write, I've forgotten everything I want to touch on.

Maybe it's old age. Maybe I can blame it on the baby. HA!

I know I need to credit Lindsey with inspiring me to at least start a list of 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days. Of course, I've only got about 50 things on my list that I started weeks ago.

The last item I wrote on that list was to finish the list. :)

I also should mention the Silver Jewelry Club. They list 4 items of silver jewelry every 15 minutes or so on their website. The jewelry is nice quality and is free. You only pay shipping; which is $5.99 per item. Not bad.

I'm broke, so the Silver Jewelry Club will be the source for lots of my Christmas presents.

Speaking of which, I've already started my shopping. No matter if I am shopping for clothes for myself or for gifts or for groceries, I almost only buy items that are on sale -- HUGE discount kind of sale. Being thrifty helps when you're broke.

My brain is toast. It's late. I'll be back to ramble some more tomorrow.


Amen and Amen!!!

This sermon has got me shouting. Absolutely true!

Part of what Voddie Baucham says deals with my last post about family size and part of it deals with a current struggle I am having with my church.

I love my church, but I wish they did not insist on the children being separated from the parents during sermons and Sunday School. If one more person asks me when Eddie will be going to nursery, I may just scream.


How Much Do I Really Trust Him?

It's easy for me to say I trust God. But do I really? And is there ever a line drawn in the sand regarding that trust and my responsibility? I dunno.

I believe God is sovereign and all-powerful and all-knowing. Nothing happens without Him first knowing about it. He either decrees something to happen or he permits it to happen. Ultimately, the idea that I am in control of anything is laughable.

How do those principles get applied in real life though? I can't very well sit around and say, "Well, if God wants it to happen, then it will happen." I have a feeling that would turn me into a huge couch potato.

For example, let's think about the whole birth control issue. I personally think hormonal birth control is bad news for women's health. Because of that I will not take hormonal birth control ever again. Also, many birth control pills act as an abortificant when the primary method of suppressing ovulation does not work. Being pro-life, I cartainly could not risk "unknowingly" aborting a child. This is a decision my husband and I came to shortly after we were married.

So, that leaves us with a few options. I won't go into detail. You are smart enough to figure that out. I will comment that one of those options is to abstain during my fertile times. No, this is not the ancient rythm method.

But, if I believe God is sovereign and will provide all of our needs according to his riches in glory and that all children are a blessing, then do I really have the right to conscientiously abstain during fertile times or to employ other methods of birth control?

I lean towards saying, "No" on that one. Either I trust that God will allow me to get pregnant only when He wants me to be pregnant or I don't. Plain and simple.

But let's throw another monkey wrench into it. What if I have no insurance and believe it is wrong to depend on the government to pay for my choices? And what if I have a history of medically expensive pregnancies and births? What then? Should I be a good steward of my money and of the govt's money and actively try to avoid pregnancy?

This is where the rubber meets the road. Do I trust God enough to say, "okay, I will only get pregnant when you want me to and I trust you to completely provide for this child and I trust that there will not be significant complications with this pregnancy that will result in the birht of another premature child?"

Honestly, my trust is not to that point yet. Prior to Eddie's birth, I had come to the point where I was comfortable having as many children as God wanted me to have. And I want(ed) a quiverfull. Then Eddie and his bills came along, as did a whole host of other financial issues and everything changed in my mind.


But I want to be at the point where I trust God to take care of all of those issues. I don't know how to get there though.

And for the record, NO, I am not pg. I don't need those rumors spreadin'. HA HA!


Between a Rock & A hard Spot

Several years ago, prior to rededicating my life to the Lord, I had heard some jibberish about the SBC and how they had passed a resolution on marriage and the family stating that the wife should submit. I think this was back in 1997 or 1998.

My immediate response was that I would NEVER be "Southern" baptist because the idea of submissive wives was archaic.

Fast forward my life and see how things have changed. I am now a submissive wife and I wouldn't have it any other way. That doesn't mean that sometimes I don't feel caught between a rock and a hard place, but I can pretty much guarantee that my life is much easier this way.

See, I happen to be a very independent, stubborn, strong-willed old mule. My husband, bless his heart, is the exact same way. Could you imagine what our home would be like if neither one of us ever submitted? I wouldn't want to live in THAT house; I can tell you that.

Last night my dear, sweet hubby and I bickered. What we bickered over (okay, outright fought over) is not important though. Just know that what my husband was asking me to do was something that is not sinful or anything like that. And no, it was nothing sexual. ;) However, what he was asking me to do was something that made absolutely every fiber of my being scream, "heck no!!!"

Of course, that initial response, of "heck no!" was not exactly submissive and it was greeted with an appropriate rebuke. The issue was not resolved when we finally turned in for the night.

Often times when issues like this crop up, I pray and then I bite my tongue. Praying is easy. Me holding my tongue is NOT. Unfortunately, I have the ability to rip someone to shreds within seconds just by uttering a few words. That is a battle I face daily. It's not a battle I'd wish on anyone.

So, I held my tongue, as I have in the past, and I prayed. Apparently Ed did some praying too. He probably prayed that God would just smite me -- and I would have deserved that. Fortunately for me, we have a loving God who chose instead to point out the submission issue to me and who also chose to change my husband's heart so that we were once again on the same page. Imagine that.

I can't tell you the number of times that God has been faithful to change both of our hearts so that we are united when our first fleshly response has been to lash out and to divide. It's taken me a while to learn to trust God with my heart enough to trust Ed. My heart and my life are not in Ed's hands, they are in God's hands. If I trust Him and am obedient to Him, the rest will work out. It may not always work out as I want it, but it will work out for the best.

Ed is commanded to love me. If he loves me (and it's obvious that for some strange reason he does), then he will listen to my thoughts and ideas and will consider them when making the final decisions for our family. What do I need to worry about?

That's right, nothing. Submitting is much easier than trying to change my stubborn old husband's mind. And I say that in a loving way, honestly.

One more thought, perhaps if our society was not so bent on the idea of independence to the point of isolation then more marriages would work out. But, that's a rant for another day.



So my secret confession for the day is that while I love being around people and I am pretty social, it is very easy for me, as a stay-at-home mom to become very anti-social.

I don't like that I do that. I don't know why I do that. It's something I must work on.

In Eddie news...

The past two or three days have just been amazing. I can see things starting to "click" with him now. For example, instead of eating his blocks, he is actually looking at them and trying to figure them out. He's shaking his rattles and hitting his bucket like a drum. In the past everyhting has just gone straight to his mouth.

He also started shaking his head -- as in "no." Color me scared. HA!

He's showing signs of wanting to be mobile. He doesn't even attempt crawling. He just wants to run. I put his feet on the ground and he just takes off (with me holding his hands of course). The scary part is that he's wanting me to help him less and less.

Can you say baby-gate?

What's amazing to me is that the doctors told me that it takes about 2 years for preemies to catch up to where they should be developmentally in comparison to their peers. Eddie is a little small for a 10 month old, but we (Ed and I) are small. He's doing things on time and even a little early.

I have a feeling there will never be a slow day with Eddie around.


The Sweetest Word

The sweetest word ever uttered has got to be "mama."

I've been talking to Eddie quite a bit and just waiting on those first words. He is quite vocal but up until two days ago he had not said an actual word.

Two days ago he was being clingy, but I HAD to put him in his high chair so I could make lunch. Eddie was NOT a happy camper. He was reaching for me and crying. Then he said it, "MAMAAAA!!!"

He was looking dead at me and reaching for me, so I am pretty sure he knew what he was saying, still though I decided I would wait until it happened again before I declared that Eddie was talking.

All day long all he did was babble. Try as I might, I could not get that boy to say "mama" again.

I put him to bed and after an hour or so he started crying. I went in to get him and once he knew I was in the room, he called out "Mamaaaa!"

My heart just melted.

There is nothing like hearing your own child call out for you.


Well Color Me Surprised.

Dad did actually show up tonight for dinner. HOLY SMOKES!

We all went to my uncle's house earlier today for a lunch for Grandma's 75th birthday. Before I get into that though, let me explain a little about Geneva.

See, because of my family and because of my personality, I really am NOT a touchy feely kind of person -- AT ALL. I also don't think I am very dramatic. I like things nice and even and quiet and simple. Over dramatizing something or freaking out over small things is just NOT my style.

Uhhh... Geneva is just the opposite. Imagine that. The first time I met her (one of the times shortly after Mom left when I had to track Dad down for the rent money) she gave me a huge hug and called me "Baby Love." I know she probably meant well, but I felt like saying, "No, I am not a baby and I don't know you so back off with the love stuff."

Geneva also tends to make up cutsie little names for people. When I did see (what like 2 times) when I was in college, she called me "Bubble Butt." Now I know that my butt is not exactly small in proportion to the rest of me, but she surely was NOT racking up any brownie points with THAT name.

I think you get the idea about Geneva's personality though.

At Grandma's party today I was in the back room nursing Eddie (because don't you know that it's a bad thing to nurse very discreetly in public) when Dad and Gee showed up. Instantly I had to bite my tongue. I could hear her through the walls with, "Ohhhh... There's my most favorite brother-in-law," and "Ohhhh my goodness gwascious, Kerri, you're all grown up now," and "Where's that cute little Eddie, I can't wait to just gobble him up." (Imagine all that said in the most syruppy, sappy voice possible.)

I couldn't hide in the back room all day, so I decided to just get it over with and go out and greet my dad and his wife.

"Theeeerre she issss. Come here darlin'." Geneva called.

I replied as flatly as possible but with a smile, "Hi."

"Ooooooohhhh, isn't he just the most beautiful baby you've ever seen. Come here to Grandma and let me see you."

"He's really tired, so he will probably fuss," at least I was hoping he would fuss. I didn't want him getting the smell of cigarette smoke all over him.

"Oh no, he wouldn't fuss at his gwandma..."

And he didn't fuss. Sigh.

By that time dad had walked into the room. Man, dad looks rough. Toooooooooo much time in the sun.

People with German-Irish heritage, like dad, should NOT live in FL and if they do, they certainly should NOT spend much time outside. Dad has had skin cancer spots removed before, but he has tons of them on his arms again.

You know how in the Bible those without Christ are described as dead men walking? That's what my dad looks like. The effects sin has had on his life are so painfully obvious. The same is true of my mom and brothers as well. In that respect my heart truly breaks for them.

Anyway... Tonight Dad and Gee came over for dinner -- along with Grandma. It was a nice visit. I showed Dad and Gee pictures from my wedding that they didn't come too. (unfortunately, I too can hold a grudge). Grandma, who walked me down the aisle since none of my immediate family was there, made sure to say several times that my dad missed out and that he should have been there.

Grandma is a feisty one who does not hold back.

Dad said he wanted to come. I felt like calling him out on that one -- especially since Geneva's nephew (the guy who got hitched this weekend) is 40 and just started his fourth wedding.

I held my tongue though. Thats a first.

We all survived the day. So that's a good thing.

And Then There's Dear Old Dad

I suppose that since an email from my mom prompted a post, surely an actual visit from my dad deserves something.

Dad and his wife, Geneva (who I do not refer to as my step-mom), are in town today. They got in early today and will leave early tomorrow. I'm shocked they are even here.

They are just stopping in on their way back to FL after having been in Ohio for Geneva's nephew's wedding. Nevermind that they never even sent a card when I got married, let alone show up. But I'm not bitter or anything.

So what's dad's deal? Ultimately, what it boils down to is that he is a super nice guy and never wants to hurt anyone's feelings. Unfortunately, that often means that he says what he thinks people want to hear and never follows through on that.

Dad didn't have an easy childhood either. Grandpa was an abusive alcoholic and grandma was stuck raising 6 kids (5 boys) on her own. In the end, my oldest uncle ended up caring for my dad as best as he could. That's probably partly why dad didn't finish 9th grade.

When I was a kid dad was always drinking. I don't remember him being mean or anything like that. He was just always an "if-it-feels-good-do-it" kind of guy. That means that he watched inappropriate movies with us kids in the room. He drank a lot. He went out when he wanted to. On and on and on...

Dad had been working as a chef at a 5-star hotel in St. Pete, FL. He is a great cook -- that, along with the drinking, is a family tradition. When mom left, dad no longer had a job. I do not know the details. I'm sure if I asked dad or mom, they would both tell me lies about how it was the othre person's fault.

I was in my second year of college. My brothers were still in high school at that point. I wsa working as a cashier at a grocery store and trying to pay for my education. When everything kind of hit the fan, Dad sort of had a melt-down.

Now I can understand being heart-broken and how that heartbreak may affect your ability to concentrate, but again, we still have choices. We can wallow and wait for things to be made better or we can make them better.

Dad chose to wallow. He was never home -- for months at a time. He had taken a job at a local bar and had met Geneva. Actually, he was pretty much living with her at the time. That means that I had to use what I had of my meager cashier's salary for the rent and track my dad down for the rest.

And my brothers... well they both ended up dropping out of school. I was only 18. I had no idea how to encourage them to continue going to school. And with their learning disabilities, the inability of the public schools in FL to help them with those problems and our parents... it was only a matter of time before they quit school anyway.

I ended up moving to USF right after I turned 19; about 10 months after mom had left. Danny had to go live with a friend and Robbie bounced around between Geneva's house and my mom's house.

Geneva has a son who is about 5 years older than me. Robbie was my youngest brother and was still attempting school. Geneva's son, who had been in and out of jail was allowed to live there with her and my dad, but Robbie was only allowed at certain times.

While I was in school Dad never assisted me in any way. He never came to visit me. He really had nothing to do with me until graduation. He was too busy bailing Geneva's kids out of jail and whatnot. But I'm not bitter...

Add to that the fact that when I finished college and went to get my own apartment, I could not have my phone turned on because Dad had run up a $300 phone bill in my name and you have one ticked off daddy's girl.

Eventually, Robbie came to live with me because neither of my parents had room or time for him. Geneva and I battled it out hard at times. Danny started drinking just like Dad.

I decided I needed to get away from all of that. So I packed up and moved to NC. Right before I moved dad came to my apartment and cried about how he was sorry that he had let me down and all that jazz. Yeah, I bought it. I hugged him and told him it was okay.

Don't tell me you are sorry, show me. Know what I mean?

That was the only time my dad has EVER stepped foot in any place I have ever lived as an adult. It's been 12 years since I moved out. Things never changed. Dad has still bailed out Geneva's kids and left my brothers -- his own flesh and blood -- out to dry.

When Eddie was born, my dad lived only 3 hours away. He never came to the hospital. He never even ventured over to see his grandson. He did send a rather large package for Eddie, but I'd rather have had my dad visit.

He's let me down so many times that I have just learned to not believe anything he says until he actually does it.

I've invited Dad and Geneva over for dinner tonight. We'll see if they actually show or if Geneva suddenly falls ill. I'm certainly not holding my breathe with anticipation of seeing them in my house tonight.


A Few of My Favorite Things

A happy post for today.

This morning I woke up with Eddie Bear sleeping next to me. Can I just say that is the best thing! I watched him sleep for a while (if I get up, he wakes up) and I listened to the birds outside.

There is something so peaceful about birds singing. When we still had our house I would open all the windows and just listen to the birds chirping in the middle of the day. Their sweet melodies was one of the first things I noticed as missing when we arrived in Florida.

Now granted, in our house, we were a little off the beaten path, so birds were not an oddity. In fact, many people I know who live in that area complain about the birds waking them up early. I have to chuckle at that. I guess I am a heavy sleeper because the birds never woke me.

Between watching Eddie sleep, sleeping in on a Saturday and listening to the birds, today started off quite nicely. The only way to top off a start like that is to finish the day with some yummy orange chicken, beef and broccoli and some lo mein noodles.

Pure bliss.


Honor Thy Mother...

Okay, so my family is about as dysfunctional as they come. Seriously. No exaggeration. Perhaps the hardest commandment for me to obey is, "Honor thy father and thy mother." I honestly have no clue how to do that.

I'll just share about my mom today though. Goodness knows I could write for days about our relationship, as non-existent as it is, with her.

My mom was sent to live in an orphanage when she was like 7 yrs old. Her dad couldn't take care of her and her siblings after my mom's mom died. When mom was 16, her dad sent for her. A few days later while he was at work, his new wife put my mom back on a bus to FL and told my mom that her dad really didn't want her there. We later found out that was not at all true.

That's about as low as a person can stoop if you ask me. I only share that, because I do think that those few details about my mom's life offer a great deal of insight into the things she does and who she has become.

I do have some compassion for her because of her childhood, but I also have a hard time with her based on my childhood and on choices she has made.

I understand that she had NO one growing up. I have no clue what life was like in the orphanage. My mom has NEVER spoken to me about anything remotely serious, let alone her childhood.

That said, I don't think that things that happen TO us give us a "get-out-of-jail-free" card when it comes to our actions and/or choices. We still have opportunities to become better people and to break cycles that run in our families. We are NOT condemned to a life of abuse and poverty based on the lives of our parents.

Again, if that were the case, I'd be alot worse off than I am.

There were things my mom did when I was a child that hurt me deeply. I think I have forgiven her for those things, but once in a while, those old war wounds give me grief.

I'll spare the details of my childhood and just say that it wasn't pleasant.

My parents did fight a lot. When I was 18, mom decided to leave. She moved in with Mike and had contact with my brothers, but not me for 2 years. Then when I was about to gradate college, she suddenly wanted to be a part of my life. She and Mike helped me out with some financial things, which was nice, but I always got the feeling I was being bought.

Mom had done the same thing when I was in high school. She tried to buy me off. I think she did that because she had no clue how a mother wsa supposed to interact with her daughter.

It made her happy to be a part of my life, even if it was a rather small part of my life.

Later I found out she had told Mike that dad had abused her. That was a load of mess. My mom and dad fought a lot, but he never abused her. And I'm sorry, but you can't hide physical abuse from the children in the home, I don't care how hard you try. Kids are very perceptive.

She actually told Mike a lot of lies. Mike was, ummm... crazy anyway and I suspect he abused my mom. I know he verbally abused her. He tried that on me a few times. By that point in my life though I had decided I had suffered enoug abuse, so he didn't get so far trying that stuff on me.

Mom was with Mike for about 10 years before he did 2 years ago. My mom has always, in some form or fashion, sought approval and love from someone. When my brothers and I offered her our love as children, she didn't know how to respond. When we became adults and offered her our love cautiously, Mike got in the way. Mike either prevented her from seeing us or Mike and one of my brothers would get into a fight. There was always SOMETHING.

Mike had been ill for years. He had Hepatitis and we knew his time was limited. I tried to share Christ with him. He thought he and "JC" were pals. While he and Jesus were "pals" Mike demonstrated no love for Christ, no changes in his life, no assurance of salvation, no love for anyone or anything but his beer.

I also knew that when mike died, the remainder of my mom's life would become even more sketchy than her life had already been. My mom depended on Mike for love, even though it was obvious that the kind of "love" he offered was not the kind of love she needed.

Ever heard that song, "Lookin' for love in all the wrong places, lookin' for love in too many places..." That song is about my mom.

As soon as Mike died she started going online to meet men. She met a guy and moved in with him within 2 months of Mike's death. I know she wasn't done grieving for Mike though. She told me so.

That relationship failed and mom moved in with another internet guy. Then she ended up back with the first internet guy.

Through all of this, my mom's money management skill have been horrid. She only has a 7th grade education, so her job opportunities are limited. And she stopped doing things like brushing her teeth and eating well when I was a kid, soI fully expect(ed) to get a call saying that the St. Petersburg Police had identified the body of a homeless woman as my mom. I still would not be surprised if at some point that happened.

My mom has always kept in touch via email, and sometimes via phone. I usually hear from her about once a month. I never know how to track her down, but she is usually pretty good about emailing periodically -- even if it is to tell me how horrible my brother is or what wretched thing my dad did.

In Feb. I received an email saying that she was moving on from her current relationship (and place to live) and that she would email me when she landed. I tried contacting her again and was unable to.

On Mother's Day she sent me an email saying that her life was getting better.

Yesterday I received a link to a job listing she sent. The job is in her "field" and is in Charlotte. Mom, to my knowledge is still in FL.

Ed and I fully expec to have to financially support my parents. We believe it is our duty biblically to do so. I admit that it;s not something I look forward to. I have always had to be the adult in my relationships with my parents.

When/if my mom comes to live with me, I will have to treat her as a child. She's 52. I don't know how to lay down ground rules and not dishonor her. I don't think I would be honoring her though to let her live her and still continue in her sinful ways.

And I won't even begin to discuss the financial burden this will put on us. We are already strapped.

I always wanted to have a good relationship with my mom. As a child I thought that when I grew up and made money and had anice house, everything owuld be magically fixed. HA!

Even though things are tight for us now, Ed and I are far better off than my parents have EVER been. I would love to share our blessings with them, but I'm scared of being burned again.