30 April 2008
We continue to have situations even outside church where others through guilt and manipulation attempt to derive a specific outcome, behavior, or cooperation. Why can't people just live and let one another live in peace? I am faced with the stark reality that I too have often done these same dirty deeds.
It seems that we are all afraid of each other. We struggle to give one another the freedom to move. In religious circles it seems we often don't want others to do things that we don't allow ourselves to do or enjoy.
I try to picture Jesus with the personality that we often like to give to Him - "Come to me, or I'm not gonna give you this good thing here in my left pocket." "Blessed are those who washed their hands before supper." "Come to me all who are weary or heavy laden and I will tell you what ten things to do to get yourself out of this mess." I just can't picture Him that way, and so if we want to be increasingly becoming more and more like Him, why do we do this to each other?
It sounds so simple to ask what would Jesus do, and just a little different to try and live it out. I'm no theologian, but I definitely think we have lost our aim.
29 April 2008
Yesterday at co-op we were asked to turn in surveys regarding the dress code. We had gotten a list stating that most moms at the co-op favored the stricter dress, but there was an anonymous list, assigning numbers to each mom and then articulating what their thoughts were on the dress code. This was a bit odd, as my friend Shannon and I both thought that we were Mom #4. I personally did not feel that any of the statements represented my thoughts fully. I don't believe anyone intentionally misrepresented what I said, however, my biggest issue at the time is that a discussion among the group for a greater understanding amongst us was still missing. The stuff of relationship building, fence-mending, peace making, and unity producing.
Can there be unity even when there is disagreement? I think there has to be.
Then in the afternoon one mom asked me if I was interested in looking at some verses that she pulled out of the Bible after feeling burdened by a conversation between several of us last week. I have to admit, I had seen this paper on the copier earlier in the day and felt an instant aversion to it, not that I am averse to the Bible, but to the way people use it to shove their viewpoints down one another's throats. I didn't know who it was that had compiled this list. I now know that the woman who did it approached it with the most loving heart and best intentions, so when she asked if I would like to read a copy, I did, gladly.
When I started to look up the verses in the Message, which I have just started to read again, they really spoke to me about a few things regarding this issue.
From Romans 14 -This was pretty profound. This is what has happened in our ranks that is so much bigger than how we dress or what we eat, but the pervasive critical spirit that seems to always be present in groups of women. I can say this with the confession that I have been a part of the problem more often than the solution.
v1. Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do, and don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with - even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
v2-4 For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell into criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
More from Romans 14 -Think about this in terms of how we treat sexual behavior. My friend Dena could tell you that while Christians should have the most healthy sex lives, we have often allowed something God made to be holy and pure and for the edification of our marriages be contaminated by culture, and even our churches. It has been perverted.
v13-14. Forget about deciding what's right for each other. Here's what you need to be concerned about: that you don't get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I'm convinced - Jesus convinced me! - that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, or course by the way we treat it or talk about it can contaminate it.
Even more from Romans 14 -The survey that was sent out asked more questions about sleeve length, striped or not striped shirts, if open toed shoes should be permitted, or whether or not socks should match the clothing or could they be any color. It still missed the mark. The atmosphere of placing judgment on one another is only being strengthened by these things. I am learning through this about my own judgments - not so loud-mouthed or belligerent as they maybe were before but just lingering quietly in my spirit, in my heart as I interact with others.
v15. If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don't eat, (Julie's insertion: or what they wear or don't wear), you're no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember are persons for whom Christ died.
Father put this to rest in me. Let me be a companion in love to all.
27 April 2008
Leslie is hosting a Ultimate Homeschool Expo sale. Even some ebooks by yours truly will be there including The Plan 2008 both Homeschooling and Unschooling Edition, and the Homeschool Co-op Planner. There are tons of resources for homeschoolers, but also a lot that my unschooling friends will find of great value - including books about frugal meals, menu planning and spring cleaning.
I am going to keep the button up on my sidebar for the duration of the sale, so feel free to click on over. Make sure you tell Leslie that Julie sent ya! No you won't get anything free for dropping my name, but my friend will know that I support all her hard work! Go Leslie!
Travis was so calm and fun to be with which made it for an especially good day. I can't remember the last time I liked his company so much. It is hard when you have hit a major rough patch to remember that this was a person that you liked at one time in your life. In fact you liked them enough to commit to spend the rest of your life with them, and have a couple of babies together. Well, today I remembered.
We walked a while, and then we sat in the middle of the Big Thicket and listened to birds. Later we looked at some carnivorous plants, animal tracks, wild ferns, etc. We talked about college and the revelation that my awesome, rockin' friend Stephanie helped Kendra with this weekend. (I'll share that in another post later this week.) We talked about dating, and how much Kullen is learning from his sisters that will pretty much make him the perfect catch when he gets older. We talked about astrology and the magnetism of the planets - actually Travis talked about this and we listened and asked questions.
After the hike we came home and grilled hamburgers on the front porch and sat out there and talked some more. Pretty much the perfect day in my opinion - at least as much as it could be without some of my best friends around me!
26 April 2008
We made three different types of bubble solutions - one using just detergent, the second one using detergent and gylcerine, and the third using detergent and corn syrup. The second step was to blow bubbles and see which ones were stronger by seeing how long they lasted. We did have to fight a bit of a breeze outside, but it seemed that the results were fairly consistent.
Now all he has to do is make a project board which his artsy-fartsy sister said she would help him with tomorrow.
In the fall the kids all had to do a history project. If you've been hanging out here at my blog for a while you might remember - he made a Salem Witch Trial cloth witch hanging from the gallows. We did not make a project board - in my opinion it was not necessary. When he was asked to present it to the class, he said, 'no thanks'. I don't know what his teacher thought of it, but I don't force my kids to do things like that. He did say however that he will present this one in front of his class. Maybe he thinks it is cool. Maybe it is just because he knows some of the kids better. I'll let you know how that goes.
Now he started to clean his hands off with the hose and this is where that headed - man I love that boy! Crazy thing. Three guesses as to what he is pretending that hose is???
25 April 2008
I digress. What I really wanted to post about here was not the superhero crazy mom, but give you an update on our co-op dilemma regarding the dress code. The board took a survey to find out how people were feeling, and sent out a notice stating vaguely what Mom #1, Mom #2 and so forth felt about the decisions that was made. Most did overwhelmingly support the uniform dress code, according to the document that we were sent, but it is a little suspect in that a friend of mine and I both thought we were Mom #4, so I am not sure how well what each person has said was represented. Just the fact that a discussion hasn't been entered into with all parties still falls short to me. I think we're probably not going back.
Perhaps I'll write my first short feature of Emo-ther, fighting legalism with one hand tied behind my back while covering up a black little emo heart with a hot pink cape!
It is getting more and more expensive to buy groceries every week, causing me to have to be more and more creative with what I'm feeding my family which takes more time. Travis said he heard that economist are predicting a large jump on the price of food, oh goodie! The worst thing is that our income is unchanging. It seems the only thing that is static while everything else is fluctuating.
Then I got an email from my friend pointing me to this link. I have actually seen the book it references before called What the World Eats / Hungry Planet because it is by one of my favorite photojournalists, Peter Menzel who did two life-changing books called Material World and Women of the Material World. It helps me remember how blessed I am even when it seems difficult. It reminds me that people the world over are so joyful with so much less - and that maybe it is because they have so much less. I am going to choose to be thankful for this day, this bread, this moment, this smile, this conversation, this warm breeze. God is all over every one of these things. He may be doing the most wonderful thing in the midst of all that seems so discouraging. Sometimes I just need a good bonk on the head!
Thank you Father!
24 April 2008
Here is a little tutorial with pictures of course:
The instructions say that you can use Ivory soap instead of Fels Naptha - and I had to since I couldn't find any. You grate the amount of soap you want - it said 1/3 for the Fels Naptha - but since I used Ivory and the bars are smaller -and I made a double batch, I used the whole bar. It is soft and grates very easy.
Put the shredded soap in with 6 cups of water. Remember I doubled it here so it looks like a lot more. This part was kinda fun. You heat the water only long enough to dissolve the soap, which was very quickly. I wasn't sure why it looked blue - because when it all dissolved it was a translucent white.
While I did this, the girls made homemade lip gloss - and it took on a nice pinkish red color - but it is very, very sour - and we can't figure out why - so we'll experiment with that a little more later. I'm not sure how to sweeten it without using artificial sweeteners. I thought maybe honey - but it would definitely change the consistency - which they really like. They have friends whose mom is a real homeopath, and they don't use any commercial make-up - but make their own. Kaitlyn has said she would really like to start making more of her own cosmetics. Imagine all she can learn. Just another day of unschooling.
AND on top of all the other hoopla today, I got three comments on this blog from my friend Kathie this morning, and it made me miss her so dang bad I had to do something "Kathie-ish" so I made strawberry freezer jam! Over the years Kathie introduced me to a lot of good food, and great recipes - but this is the first one I ever remember hearing about from her. She is such a neat lady - and I am so homesick, I would give just about anything to make freezer jam with her. Anyway - I got a little Kathie-fix without the Kathie. I also made homemade bread that came out of the oven about 20 minutes ago - and should be just about cool enough to cut - so I'm going for a little bread and jam! Hope your day was as productive as mine felt!
Oh yeah, and my friend Melody - I am so blessed to have met her. She evidently knows what a girls best friend is next to chocolate - and took me out for lunch today at Chili's - complete with some terrific margaritas! Ah! I really needed that. Thanks Mel!
Sound the alarm! Call Scotland Yard!
In all seriousness - I can't even imagine using fabric softener ever again! And to think that last year we were rubbing the sheets all over our skin to keep bugs away. I think I'll take my chances with the mosquitoes thank you very much. This information applies to both the liquid fabric softeners AND the dryer sheets. I love my clothes to be soft and smell good, but this is terrifying. I have a friend who doubles the amount of liquid she puts in her wash! Ahhhck!
Here are some alternatives - which I haven't tried yet - but will shortly and blog about them.
1. 6 cups water + 3 cups white vinegar + 2 cups of hair conditioner
2. 2 balls of aluminum foil thrown into the dryer
3. dryer balls you can buy at the store
4. 24 drops of your favorite essential oil mixed with a jar of vinegar (didn't say what size jar)
If you prefer sheets to putting the liquid in your washer, some said they spray the liquid concoctions on a washcloth and throw that into their dryer.
I am going to definitely be looking into this and blogging about it. Neurotoxins? Petroleum based products against our skin all day everyday? Carcinogens? It occurred to me that perhaps they could just make liquid cancer, flavor it with grape Kool-aid and we could just all drink it straight down and get it over with???? I know I am being a bit dramatic - but this really upets me! Can you tell?
Why does chocolate never last long enough?
Why is the distance to a new roll of toilet paper just out of arms reach?
Why are the most profound thoughts I ever have so fleeting?
Why do we always have to learn the most painful lessons the hard way?
Why is it so helpful to read in the bathroom?
Why don't libraries forbid people to read public books in their bathrooms?
Why do I always have to wonder this while I'm reading a library book?
Okay so I was unable to sleep this morning because I needed to pee. I'm not sure where the chocolate one came in, I guess it's just always on my mind. (*insert Willie Nelson's voice here*)
23 April 2008
In an interesting side note - when he went into the attic to look at the coil they said needed cleaned and replaced, he found that the screws were slightly corroded, meaning the repairmen never even took the case off of it. To give them the benefit of the doubt, it might just be that they have enough experience to know what it is, but at the same time, if you pay them $60 to be here for 4.5 minutes, you'd at least like them to look at the problem, and not make a guess.
Maybe some have found my blogging disrespectful, raw, gruesome. It is - I know because I'm not just writing it, I'm living it. Some have said it was powerful, brave. It is because they could relate. It is real, and that is all I can be, authentically me. My introverted friend said, "stop telling people stuff!". I don't think that will ever be my style, but I love her for wanting to protect me in the way that she naturally defends herself. I am not a secret keeper. The truth is that I never really had a veil at all except that which others imposed on me. I am going to walk this road through the good and bad right beside you my bloggy friends. If it helps you to be a better person, so be it. If you find it annoying, whiny or repulsive, fortunately my turn around time is pretty quick, and I should be back to blogging about good stuff in a couple of days. You might wanna check back in a few.
Oh really? Not quite the truth - but close.
I have seen a family of 17 in the front seat of a pick-up truck with the windows down in weather that feels like you're on broil in an oven. You see little houses where people are sitting on the porch, front door wide open in the evenings fanning themselves to keep cool. So not quite "ever-thang".
We have joined the ranks of the not so air conditioned in Texas, and let me tell you - it is miserable. Thankfully we have the one little unit in my bedroom, and that is where I shall stay until we get it fixed.
The AC repairmen came earlier and said that our coil needed cleaning. Excuse me? I don't have a coil. Oh you meant my air conditioner? At any rate, it is a bigger deal than just charging the thing up. Travis and our neighbor Tom are going to work on it tonight. I hope they are able to get it done - otherwise, we'll have to come up with $200-250 to get it done. Yikes.
Last night, I was telling Travis about how hard it has been for me to breathe lately. He was listening. Really listening, kinda like he cared. He has a window unit in his back room. He started asking me if I wanted him to put it in our bathroom window, saying we could close the bedroom door and it would keep that one room in the house cool enough.
Usually he finds anything like this an imposition. Giving up comfort for the room he has chosen to live in the year and a half since we moved into this house, refusing to engage and to the complete neglect of his family (which he hasn't entered in 3 days) is a huge personal sacrifice. I can see something in him has broken. Whether this is permanent or temporary remains to be seen. I am just ready to get off of the ferris wheel - and at the first sign of temporary I will be jumping - even from the tippee top.
It seems a simple thing but it made me cry, the air conditioner, and how it must seem so natural for others to have their most basic needs so easily met - like the need to breathe. I realize in a deep way that I am not accustomed to having anybody take care of me, at all. I am tired of being the one sitting on the sidelines wondering what it feels like to join in the dance, to be swept up in love, to be nurtured and cared for. Emotionally I have felt like the dirty little girl with the ripped dress and no shoes for so many years.
22 April 2008
The worst part is that he was supposed to go home with his friend, Max for a sleepover. Even worse was that the last time they had one planned, Max's mom had to cancel at the last minute. Oh boy. He was so upset.
We had to take the girls to co-op and I had to teach one class, and hand off my lesson plans to someone else for my other class. I had him on a futon in the back of an empty classroom. By the time I got him home, his temp was 101 even with Tylenol. He had started getting chills, and could not get warm. I snuggled up on the couch with him (on a microfiber sofa that is very warm, in 80+ degree temperatures with no AC on) to help him get warm. Poor guy.
21 April 2008
My depression is situational. I have a very bad marriage. Things are not going to get better. I left a circle of friends who loved me, loved my kids and were there for us good or bad to try and give CPR to a relationship that has long since failed to have a heartbeat. I refuse to get to the point where I have to numb myself in order to live with him. The moment I have to consider such a thing, it is time for me to go. Believe me, it is way past time. I have no hope. I have no joy. I have no sense that repeating the cyclical history of 20 years gone by will bring a different result. Hey, I figured out that if I stop bashing my head against the wall, it stops hurting. My heart does ache, because deep inside of me is the girl who wanted so much to meet a boy who adored me, and made all the pieces of life finally fit together. I guess I had some expectations too. But slowly, one at a time I have had to let go of them all.
I have also had the suggestion to read this book, or pray this prayer, go to a counselor, etc. etc. etc. These are all phases we have been through. We have been down each and every road. I literally have nothing left to give. I don't even have any passion behind these words. I just want to be set free. I don't want another man. I just want me, and my kids, and quiet and calm. I want to get up every day and not have anybody else's chaos to manage, or anybody else's neglect to suffer through.
Thank you so much for all the heartfelt suggestions. I know you mean well - all of you. But I am not going to dull my senses so that things that are horrific in my opinion don't look so bad. I have to fight for something better.
20 April 2008
I have struggled to blog about this because this is so personal. It is so unbelievably painful. There is a line I will not cross here in what I share, but at the same time, this is real life, and perhaps someone else can learn from my experience, or more likely my mistakes. Perhaps there is something in the sharing that will bring a word of encouragement from the lips of the Father to the ears of my soul.
At the same time, let me make this simple request - please do not sermonize. Share what you feel may be of benefit, and leave out pat answers, long recitations of scripture, and formulas that say, do this to know what God wants for you.
I told my husband this morning that I wanted to put our house on the market and go our separate ways. This morning he agreed with me. Throughout the day through many painful, tearful conversations, I have explained in great detail what has brought me to this conclusion, as he has insisted that he loves me and doesn't want me to leave. I can think of nothing better.
I left everything that really mattered to me when we moved here almost two years ago now (aside from him and my kids), in a last ditch effort to improve my marriage because it seemed he was really having a hard time living for so long away from his family, and yet nothing has changed between us. I am so lonely for companionship. I am far from being a saint myself, but I know that for 20 years I have been the one hauling our relationship like the weight of a dead elephant up a hill. I have been trying to be a better wife -thinking somehow if I took care of him better to the envy of other men that know us, he would see what a catch I am and a light bulb would go off.
All of the things I said today have been said ad nauseum and fallen on deaf ears. I am not sure which road I will choose. I think I have to choose sanity, peace, a place where even if I am alone it is by my own choice, and not because I have been abandoned again. I have had a whole life of abandonment. I'm all done. Would someone please give me my "get out of jail free" card???
19 April 2008
I made minestrone soup and garlic bread for dinner. We took the dog with us to take Kendra to work about 5 - and afterwards, Kaitlyn and Kullen and I went to walk one of our favorite trails in the Big Thicket. We stopped a couple of times and just listened to the birds. It is evidently a great birding area. We also watched bees landing on the pitcher plants, and hoped we'd get to see one gobbled up, but we never did. There were also a LOT of animal tracks, and a strong odor in one area of cat urine. I don't think it was a teeny tiny housecat either!
When we came home, Kaitlyn wanted me to let her drive the car, so we went to the junior high school on our block, and let her drive around and around. Then, I controlled the gas an brake and let Kullen drive a little as well, from the driver's seat. You should see me straddle between the two front seats to do this! It was fun.
My kids are the best medicine.
When I try to push back and get others to assist me with the division of household responsibilities - I get very little in response. In fact, I get disdain for my presence because I have expectations of them - but they are the majority and I am one.
My husband got up this morning - and after years of this has not figured out why it isn't funny to me. I have my arms in soapy water up to my elbows and am trying to clean out the refrigerator, and wash dishes. He wanders in and says, "Where's breakfast? I thought with all the beating and banging in here you surely would've cooked something." Then he tries to turn it all around on me while I am fuming and make it look like he was just joking and I'm crazy, even though I've attempted since 1988 to establish that I did not find this remotely funny first thing in the morning.
Sorry - hardcore blogging here - this is the reality of my life.
Then he grabs poptarts and says, "I'll just scrounge like I do every morning." (wouldn't you say the fact that there are poptarts in the cabinet means that someone isn't left to scrounge????) And then a few minutes later, "Can you I at least get me a cup of coffee?"
This is a man who has not noticed that I have been struggling just to maintain anything in the last week or so. I actually spoke the words to him last night - I.am.depressed. I know he doesn't notice, but articulating it to him only increases the frustration as absolutely nothing will change in what he expects of me, nor will he lend a hand to make sure I don't get buried. He only notices the shortcomings and failures in a critical sense.
I don't understand that while he gets up every single morning of his life and is afforded the luxury of thinking of only himself - what he'll eat, what he'll wear, what he'll do - why I have to make the world the way he and the kids want it? He goes to work most days - but everything else - literally every single flipping thing falls to me.
Why do I have to be the Proverbs 31 woman and he gets to be Archie freakin' Bunker??????
I don't understand why I am expected to be Martha Stewart, Pamela Anderson, (I am not even close to either!) a doctor, physician, a gourmet cook, lawyer, accountant, etc. etc. etc. all rolled into one. The expectations are growing every day, and I am crumbling under them.
I am about to make a run for the hills - the Blue Ridge Mountains that is, and I'll probably never come back. It isn't Texas, it's my life. I tried to get away by coming here, and it just followed me. I left the wrong things in the dust.
18 April 2008
Our conversations in the car were interesting. She was telling me how she has really no desire to have a boyfriend but doesn't mind the idea of dating. It is really hard to let her grow up. Somehow we got on a conversation about men's idea of what a woman should look like, and how hard it is for a woman to measure up. It was a little tense at one point when we disagreed about my opinion of women wearing make-up because of men. She says we do it to feel pretty. I suggested that is because it is what our culture tells us that pretty is, and she disagreed. Eventually we agreed to disagree. It's okay. I'm alright with allowing her to be wrong.
We went to lunch at a great new Mexican place that a friend had recommended. The lunch prices were very inexpensive. Kendra had a chimichanga, and I had a beef burrito and a chicken enchilada. Terrific. After lunch, we shared a dessert. We decided to branch out and try something new - so we got Flan. It was pretty good - but neither of us were CRAZY about it. The best part was hanging out together, and eating and talking.
The shopping wore me out. Stepping into the mall is like sensory overload. The smells, sounds, the people. It is an artificial environment. I had to make myself remember that the day was about enjoying my girl - and that I did in spite of any post-traumatic stress disorder that may linger afterwards. I even went into Merle Norman with her! I didn't stay long - I had to make an emergency exit. Imagine that.
But I think I am battling some mild depression right now.
I am starting avoidance behaviors - I don't want to answer the phone. I am serious - it has made me shudder in the last few days when it rings. But since I know it is unhealthy, I only allow myself to reject the call for legitimate reasons, like if I'm in the middle of something.
I don't want to do anything. I can't remember the last time I really "did" my hair or put on make-up, although having always had an aversion to body odor, and poor hygiene, I have been bathing, brushing my teeth and combing my hair - but why does it seem to take so much effort?
(this is when, blessing or curse though it may be I am thankful to be working at home)
I have felt like I want to stay in bed, but haven't allowed myself that either.
There are situations and circumstances that I know have contributed to this bump in the road. I just thought it might help someone else if I share where I am.
My daughter wants to go to the mall today - and sadly since we do not reside in the happy plastic euphoria of credit card debt, there will be no retail therapy. But, I think hanging out with my girl might do me some good.
Ugh, I gotta go do my hair. (I only do it for the rest of the world that has to look at me!)
Go ahead, just click it!
16 April 2008
Today she stumbled on a website of random facts, and has been sharing them with me all day:
- nutmeg is poisonous if injected directly into the bloodstream
- cows produce more milk if you play music while milking them
- you are more likely to be stung by a bee in windy weather than in any other
- it was once against the law to slam your car door in Switzerland
- a statue of a man on a horse will have one leg raised if the man has died from being wounded in battle, and the horse will have two legs raised if the man has died while in battle
- some toothpaste is made with antifreeze
- there are more chickens in the world than people
- a cat can make 600 noises in its throat but a dog can only make about 10
- there is a Superman in every Seinfeld episode somewhere
- our tongue prints are all unique - just like our fingerprints
Applesauce - $1.68
3 pkgs. Jiffy corn muffin mix - $.36 each
Pepper Jack cheese slices - $2.28
1 lb. lean ground beef - $3.54
1 gallon Foremost milk (no antibiotics or hormones) - $5.22
1 pint half & half - $1.32
2 jugs of drinking water - $.68 each
American cheese - $3.68
1 lb. butter - $2.28
10 lb bag sugar - $4.22
rump roast - $10.90
large 36 pkg. of eggs - $4.66
Mustard - $.67
Flour - $2.44
Bananas - 2.51 lbs @ $.64/lb - $1.61
Plums - 1.60 lbs @ $1.50/lb - $2.40
2 tomatoes - $1.46
12 pk. hamburger patties - $6.27
Sliced chicken lunch meat - $2.98
Chicken breasts - $6.97
Sliced ham lunch meat - $3.98
1 pkg. 10 tortillas - $4.22
Grapes - $3.70
Dried red beans - $1.08
Tomato sauce - $.78
2 boxes pop-tarts - $2.92 each
Refried beans - $1.54
Cumin - $1.96
Vanilla yogurt - $1.76
1 can diced tomatoes - $.52
1 can green chiles - $.78
Brown rice - $.98
Suave Shampoo - $1.97
Suave Conditioner $1.97
Glass cleaner - $.97
Trash bags - $2.94
Fine point Sharpie markers - $1.42 (needed for Science projects)
Pencils - $1.50 (on clearance)
Pens - $.92
3 handsoap pumps - $.88 each
Dawn - $2.47 (I don't compromise on this)
2 tubes of Colgate toothpaste - $2.88 each
Our one luxury item - 2 liter Pepsi - $1.38
My meals for the week consist of:
Hamburgers and fried potatoes (I already have them)
Salmon patties (I already have the salmon - and I'll use bread crumbs from stale bread)
Pot roast and potoatoes
Chicken tortilla bake
Taco ring made with homemade crescent rolls
At least one night of leftovers - or a soup, sandwich, quesadilla, cereal, pancake, whatever night!
I also have to feed five breakfast and lunch to five people. My husband's standby is poptarts for the morning, and other than eggs I didn't get any "breakfast"foods. I do have extra hamburger patties for a lunch one day, and a couple of Ramen noodles and mac & cheese in the pantry for some other lunches. I am also partial to egg salad - which is great on toasted bread. All of the food here will be consumed in a week. My groceries totalled $120.80.
I will likely have to go back to the store mid-week for flour as Kaitlyn accidentally baked my crescent roll dough that was rising with the bread I asked her to put in the oven. (Ugh!) I am also hoping that the 4 rolls of toilet paper that we have in the closet will last the week. Maybe we can just run to the corner store to use their restroom if we run out! I am just going to refuse to go back to the store no matter what. That is another big money drain - you walk into Walmart and magically walk out $20 - 30 lighter.
I really, really want to get it down below $100. I need some suggestions on how to do that. The bottom half of the list is technically "household" items and not grocery and it adds up to about $20 - but I would still like to keep that under the budget.
Meatless meals aren't an option for hubby. He is also a big eater, and I'm not telling a hungry man that he can't eat until he is full. Fresh produce is not optional. I know I could save $2 automatically if I just bought the hormone and antibiotic laden milk, but I just can't. We haven't gotten away from the meat yet, but we're working on that also. So here's what I'm dealing with, and I'm so frustrated because I can't seem to balance healthy and frugal.
There are some who find it their duty to correct what is in their opinion every wrong thought, opinion, perspective, etc. I often blog as I am forming a completed thought, and wish that those people would understand that I am not saying that everything I blog about is right and true and good or even Biblical. Just being a Christian does not mean that every expression I make as a human being is going to be theologically sound. I am being transformed into His image - I am not already there - and neither are you.
All of this to say, while I agree with Henry wholeheartedly, I have recently been on the other side of the reject and delete button. My comments were benign, friendly and even in support of the blogger whose blog I was commenting on, so I really have no idea why my comment was rejected. I can tell you this, if conversation is not open, I am not likely to comment again. I don't have the time. If I had said something controversial or harsh, I would expect such treatment.
Just as Henry quoted we should say only that which is useful in building one another up (bang rubber mallet into own head 10 times) and get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, malice and slander, we also need to all learn to be slow to be offended. (bang rubber mallet into own head 10 more times).
So there it is - it is about relationships - they are a kind of dance. I step on your toes some and you pull back, then you step on mine. (It is a different thing when someone wears steel toed boots and it intentionally trying to flatten your whole foot, which was more Henry's experience.) But in friendship, with cyber-buddies or real life friends, we dance. Each friendship takes on a rhythm of its own. But we seem to get better at it the more we keep in step with one another, twirling to slow, quick,quick, slow, quick,quick.
I'm definitely going to lose Henry on that quick,quick part, but that's okay, I'll catch her on the next slow!
15 April 2008
This past Friday night, Kullen and I were both tired, but not sleepy. We wanted to snuggle up in bed and watch a movie, but we didn't have any new DVDs here, so we decided to browse for a movie on Netflix and stumbled on a gem. We watched Of Mice and Men. The book, by John Steinbeck is one that I have always wanted to read. I can remember fond times holding it in the library thinking, one day I'd like to read this book before putting it back, or mentally cataloging it on my "to read later" list.
The version we watched was done in 1992, although originally it was made into a movie in 1939. It is the story of a retarded young man named Lenny, and his friend George. Everywhere they go, Lenny manages to get himself in trouble. They end up having to travel from place to place looking for work as farm hands, but they dream together of one day having a place of their own where Lenny will get to "tend the pigs". The movie never really tells us how George becomes Lenny's caretaker, but we see their friendship and deep commitment to one another. The movie has a shocking ending, that makes you gasp, and want to cry. Kullen hid under the covers sobbing for about 10 minutes, but he still says it was a good movie.
We enjoyed it - or maybe what we enjoyed most was watching it together.
One is that I may be killing my son by giving him Singulair, or at least making him want to kill himself. He has taken this since he was about 4 years old for his chronic, severe asthma. It is so scary. The worst part about this report is that they have known of these side effects for a long time, but they never included it because the side effects didn't manifest during their clinical trials. It is under FDA review. The drug is reported to bring in something like $3 billion dollars in sales a year - so of course it hasn't been pulled from shelves. I can't in good conscience keep giving it to my son. But I will say that we have run out and been unable to fill it for a few days and notice a dramatic change in his breathing. It is pretty scary to think about taking him off of it.
Then I read about the flu vaccine which he also takes every year because no matter how mild the illness, he always has strong respiratory reactions. Even though the vaccine admittedly only covers about 40% of the potential strains it has seemed a prudent decision. This new information will cause me to think again. (Google it - there is lots of info. out there.)
And yesterday at co-op, Kullen's chemistry class was making soda. They were using raw corn, and soaking it, to produce corn syrup and I learned through a discussion with the teachers how corn syrup is made. It is coaxing the starch out of the corn using sulfuric acid (I can't find any internet sources to directly back this up - but it is in Kullen's science book) and then adding a couple of enzymes. A friend explained to me recently that this is a mainstay of the American diet, rearing its ugly head in the majority of the processed foods that appear on our grocery shelves, pantries, and restaurants, and is a major contributor to the diabetes epidemic. We have made some major steps towards removing it from our diet - but it still rears its ugly head in ice cream, ketchup, even in salad dressings. It is everywhere.
Could someone please beam me back to 1900??
(On second thought - nevermind. I think there were risks to living back then too!)
12 April 2008
But serioiusly - silence - that complete silence where all you can hear is your own breath and maybe your heart beat - freaks.me.out!
I am sitting ont he front porch right now and if there weren't birds twittering in the trees, kitty cats crunching on their food or the gentle clanking sound of my wooden windchimes, I might freak out.
I have a theory. After my parents divorce, I stayed at home alone a LOT. I was only about 10 by the time my brother went to live with our dad. I don't think I ever told anybody how scared I was to be left alone. My mom would get angry at me if I made her feel guilty for going out at night to the clubs she frequented, so I never told her that I was terrified. One thing that helped me feel better was to have either the TV or the radio on at all times.
Eventually I got older and stopped being scared, but I never got over being freaked out by the silence. Even today it is an issue. I can't stand the quiet.
And there is one thing a writer needs great amounts of, which would be my greatest tool and that is uninterrupted silence. Now that I really really want it, I can't seem to get it.
I have passed this on to my children who all seem to have to have something audible going on at all times. Today we were hiking some of the trails, me thinking that being connected with nature would help me reconnect a little with real life and help the writing process. We are walking along, having nice gentle conversation, hearing leaves rustle, looking at cobwebs, when all of a sudden some sort of gangsta music starts to play - it's Kendra with music blaring from her cell phone.
At least until I shot her the evil eye.
She said it helps her enjoy nature more - I beg to differ.
10 April 2008
Went to the doctor yesterday - she said I have come to Texas to die.
Well she didn't say exactly that - but evidently although I have not really had seasonal allergies before - viola! I do now. it is settling in my throat, my nose, and now my chest.
The only sound emanating from my lips this morning is a squeak-like sound that can't actually be considered words.
When I tried to say Good Morning Kendra what came out was "ooh uh eeh uh". Fortunately she knows "squeak speak".
In further medical news, the UTI appears to be over. (I know you were all wondering.)
Although some may have country music aversions, that I myself am prone to from time to time, I have to share the link to this video of Trace Adkin's new song "You're Gonna Miss This" that my friend Carol sent to my daughter Kendra. Even though none of my family really knows my kids, we do have "family" that loves them and knows them so well even if we aren't related by blood. Carol knows that Kendra has been ready to grow up since she was born. Each year on her birthday she tells us how old she is going to be next year. This video was perfect - it was a great message for a little girl who grew up too fast. (She isn't grown yet.)
I used to really loathe television. I hated the idea that I had to be in my living room, on the couch at a certain time and day to watch the shows I liked. I have been so happy to find that the major networks are hosting their most popular shows online. (although the most recent episodes of LOST have not appeared!!) I have begun watching Desperate Housewives, and am ready for their new season, as well as Brothers & Sisters. The best part is that I can watch them when I want. Woo hoo. That's my kind of TV.
I am working steadily on my script although right now I don't like where it has gone and I am not exactly sure where to go from here. I know that sounds weird - but perhaps if you have written a story you know how it can take on a life of its own, and go places you never really dreamed. Strange. Never a dull moment.
08 April 2008
The best advice was truly using the "butt in the chair" method. I'm trying.
But, here's the deal. I was writing my story and it took an ugly and unexpected turn. There is a car accident. I had one fairly minor, although terrifying car accident years ago. Nobody went to the hospital - but my car was totaled. I am going to have to do some research - but am afraid of answers, or to dig into the subject thinking I may never get in a car again. This really isn't an option. So I'm throwing this out there - does anybody have any ideas of how I research what happens at an accident scene, how police contact a family member. I want to know how my main character who is pretty torn up in the accident gets her purse and cell phone back. I have no idea how that would play out. Any ideas? I do have a neighbor who was a DPS officer who told me once that the worst part of his job was to go to the door of someone's house and tell the parents that their child wasn't coming home and I can't even imagine. I think I could ask him - but I am not sure I want to entertain those thoughts or feel those feelings. I am not sure this will stay in my story - but it is where I am right now.
Just thought you would like an update.
And for all of you who promised chocolate - I am still waiting.
I can't pee without pain.
My nose, ears, and head are clogged.
I can't breathe without wheezing.
As you can imagine, I'm pretty miserable.
06 April 2008
The newly-turned-17 year old girl was meeting up with a few friends for an impromptu "eventhoughwe'rehavingapartyinafewweeks" let's do something fun on your actual birthday.
Here she is in all her 17 year old glory:
First we went to a really cool new coffeehouse called, "The Barking Dog". The guy that opened it used to be a youth leader - and they want to have a lot of live music, etc. It is really retro-style - with huge pictures of New York city, a faux fireplace and a bunch of books, among which Kendra found her favorite, "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller. It was that moment that I knew she was in love. Here are a few pictures:
Callie, Kaitlyn and Kendra
(I have no idea why she decided to do that thing with her hand - I think a birthday high!)
The Guys - Trent, Daniel, Jonathan, Dylan and Kullen
After the movie, we were invited to Kendra's friend, Daniel's house to hang out. By hang out I mean that his mom prepared tons of delicious food, complete with Turtle Cheesecake and 17 candles, and a Happy Birthday banner hung in the window. It was so much like having some of my WV friends around, loving my kids. We taught the gathering all of the party games we could think of - almost - and then they taught us a game called "Silent Football" which sounded at the onset like sports torture, but ended up being really fun. The object of the game is to try and make the other players laugh while keeping yourself from it. The girls and I didn't fare so well. Kaitlyn ended up with this "cruel and unusual punishment" (photo at left - please note the clenched teeth). We assure you - no BVDs were harmed in the playing of this game or the taking of this photo!
In other news, this lovely boy to the right has secured my utmost confidence in his ability to handle himself at the gas pump! His mama may never have to pump gas again! What a great day for a mother! I just sat in the car
(thankfully so because I am still suffering the symptoms of a vicious urinary tract infection) while he filled 'er up!
We didn't get home until 2 am - it was almost as long as the day I was in labor with Kendra. I guess she's worth it. We all had a blast.
05 April 2008
A few random facts about this lovely young woman:
- she referred to herself in third person consistently until she was 3 years old, saying things such as Kendra can't want ketchup
- she can blow her nose like a sounding trumpet, causing the whole family to wince and often yell in unison, "Kendra!"
- she has unique self-taught study habits - reading her entire biology chapter out loud in the middle of the night - she says it helps her commit it to memory
- she loves Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera - the movies and soundtracks, which she makes us listen to ad nauseum ....the Phantom of the Opera is there...inside my mind......
- she is a bookworm - and from the time she was 11 until she discovered boys a few years later (or should I say one boy in particular) we forgot she had a lower half of her face, as all we could see were her eyes over the top of her book
- when she eats ice cream, she still wears it on her upper lip like a mustache, and never knows that it's there until you point it out
- when she was 2 and I was expecting her sister, her father who was supervising her in the building while I was having an OB appointment let her slip away from him and she rode down a glass elevator alone - waving and smiling at him as she went
- she exited the womb speaking in complete sentences
- I do not think she has ever slept one night of her life in a room alone
- she loves most vegetables and was known when she was small to have a melt-down in the produce section at the grocery store - but she loathes broccoli
- she bites her fingernails, and when she was younger, her toenails as well
- she has one of the best senses of humor, and is even able to laugh at herself
I will be updating this throughout the day as her dad and siblings share their random thoughts. If you know Kendra - please comment with your own random facts, and I will add them here to this post!
04 April 2008
All of that to say that I think at 38 I have finally entered my rebellious phase.
Rebellion is good sometimes - think of Martin Luther nailing his thesis to the church door, Corrie ten Boom rebelling to spare the lives of numerous Jews, or anyone else who took a risk to change the world. If I am going to be lumped with anyone, let me be lumped with them, rebels that they are!
It feels a little gloomy right now in my life. Sometimes there is nothing like a good cleansing rain and thunderstorm to kind of scrub the surface and set things right again. Then when the sun comes out, you appreciate it more than before. This can be true in life as well - but for some reason in the midst of the storm, I forget that it is really what seems the most terrible thing that is making it better. So today I intend to enjoy the gloomy weather. I am sure I have at least one kid who will sit on the porch swing in the thick of it with me and watch it roll.
I am so damn tired of those who call themselves Christians having nothing to do but annihilating one another.
The sad part is that in that whole sentence, I lost many of you at the word damn.
Damn Damn Damn
Hopefully those of you who are so sensitive have stopped reading and I can resume with the audience that wants to know what is really on my mind.
The thing is that so many people are out to look at fault in one another - and if you look hard enough you are going to find plenty - especially if your microscope is pointed in my direction. And you know what - the smallest of all will be that I used the word damn - what now like five or six times on my blog.
I feel righteously indignant.
I am worn to the core of being involved in fellowships of various kinds who hold up a flaming hoop for me to jump through. It is wrong.
Do not slap God's name on whatever you decide to do and think that makes it right - because if the same Holy Spirit is in both of us - it should resonate. Lemme tell ya a little secret -
Lean in closer -
IT AIN'T RESONATIN'!!!
03 April 2008
What about biblical authority? I can just hear that question floating through cyberspace. As parents, we have never wanted our children to be blindly submissive to every authority. Hitler's regime taught us that there is a time to question authority. We also do not want our children to be subversive, just for the sake of rebellion. This has even meant allowing them to question us, their parents, and we have found their arguments for equity, their quest to be heard to be often right and good. Sometimes their logic is flawed and we point that out, but sometimes our logic is flawed.
Our desire for our children has always been to discern right from wrong, truth from error, and when to take a stand. I think it may be one of the reasons that even if the kids are okay with the new level of control just so they can continue on at co-op, I may not be. If through the processing, I determine that it is wrong, I am not sure that I can just let it go. I might be able to for their sake but I have a feeling that every Monday morning, it would sicken me anew to feel like my kids have to pass through inspection, and be deemed worthy.
One major error I have encountered among Christian parents is the desire to indoctrinate their children, which often is quite cult-like behavior. While I want to have an influence on my children, I never want to usurp their ability to think for themselves. I am not afraid of the hard questions, or the ones for which we have no answers. I don't do this perfectly, but it is an ever present goal.
I am not sure where I will land with this. I know that it all makes me very uncomfortable. The question was tossed out at the meeting that if we are a co-op, why were we not all involved in the decision making process. The answer given was that "leaders lead", which in my opinion didn't answer the question. I believe there was a second part that went unspoken, leaders lead, the rest follow without question, which sends a shiver up my spine.
02 April 2008
When I think of black, I think that monks, and nuns, and those who are grieving and not necessarily the whole gothic/emo movement. I love black - it is skinny-fying. I for one thing we need to take this color back.
I decided to remain an observer at the meeting and listen to what others had to say. I had to take some time to process what was wanted. I honestly do not like another level of control. My first reaction was that I hated it. I like individuality, even if it bumps up against my personal tastes and preferences. It was said that some of the smaller children were frightened, and I wonder if they keep them in a box, because the kids at our co-op look nowhere near as scary as I see on the streets.
Regardless, the processing time proved beneficial. Even if I don't like the rule, I can respectfully disagree. My kids and I will have to decide how much control we want others to have of our lives - and if participation in the co-op is worth abiding by something we think is ludicrous.
Hearts never change from the outside in. I am not scared to see people go through times of darkness, curious exploration, and questioning. Unfortunately that is not most of the Christian world that I am surrounded by, so we have to decide to be in or out of this community. My kids, to my surprise said they didn't like it - but they would comply in order to continue on at the co-op. We even found a way to have a positive outlook - Kaitlyn said it would make it easier to get dressed on a Monday morning.
I wanted to amend this, this morning to say that the code goes so far as to stipulate what kind of jewelry, length of hair (for boys), hair color, even down to what color of socks, etc. is acceptable. It is a shame because it is one of the things that was so appealing to me originally about the co-op is that the kids didn't look like "homeschool clones". I guess I'm still processing. It really goes beyond clothing style, and I hate the idea of the atmosphere this level of scrutiny will bring to the kids. Instead of one of grace and love it will bring a "do I meet the standard" anxiety. Guess what y'all? In Christ we all meet the standard, right where we are - no matter what we're wearing.
I feel a naked protest coming on! Just kidding just kidding!
01 April 2008
You have been a huge part of my life but now it is time to say good-bye. I have loved being here, writing down my thoughts or sharing the events of the day. I've met many friends, most of them are simply cyber friends. Others I've gotten to meet in real life. I've enjoyed making friends and reading about your lives too! The community and connections with other people have been immensely exciting.
Now it is time to move on. Life has gotten too crazy with working, writing, and trying to spend time with my family and a moment or two on house cleaning. Maybe I'll even find time to read a whole book now and then. So, I will just say Good-bye dear blog. Thank you for being a fun part of my life.
Please leave me a comment so at least I will know I'll be missed.
I would like to add just one comment here at the very end. April Fool! Have a nice day and leave a comment anyway! Let me just tell you before you start leaving "hate comments" that it is all Karen's fault! She started it!