Thursday, November 30, 2006

And with the first real cold night of the year comes...

Fire alarms. Lots and lots of fire alarms.

It's pretty common to get a lot of burglar alarm calls when it's stormy and windy outside, but last night we got tons of calls where people said "There's a fire alarm going off in my building..." After about the 5th one, I couldn't figure out what that was all about, so when I transfered it to the fire department, I listened for a little bit. People were turning on their furnaces for the first time since February or March! Makes perfect sense! But it sure did keep the fire department hopping!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brrrrrr!!!

I guess it's finally winter! So break out the sweatshirts people, because it's only 53 degrees outside! BRRR!

And now, because it's officially the holiday season, a song for you, Phoenix style -

Sung to the tune of Winter Wonderland:

Palm trees wave, are you listenin'
In the pool, water's glistenin'
A warm sunny day, we like it that way
Livin' in a Phoenix wonderland

Gone away is the blizzard
Here to stay is the lizard
A warm sunny day, we like it that way
Livin' in a Phoenix wonderland

In the desert we can have a picnic
Cactus, sand, rattlesnakes and sun
Christmas dinner is an old tradition
We'll have pinto beans and tacos by the ton

Later on, we'll perspire
Temperatures rise even higher
A warm sunny day, we like it that way
Living in a Phoenix wonderland

(Author unkown to me - words courtesy of my daughter's preschool 5 years ago!)

Wordless Wednesday

Visit the Wordless Wednesday Headquarters for more!

Click on the picture to see it larger and for an explanation

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Because I live with a bunch of kids...

I just can't help messing with my kids! Sassy started it!! We were sitting in a fast food restaurant because the older two aren't going to be home for dinner and I'm too lazy tired to cook for just the three of us (about 4 hours of sleep today...) and she started the "OMGosh! What's that?!" thing out the window with the "HAHA! Madejalook!" SO I HAD TO DO IT. She got up to go to the restroom, and when she came back I said to her "I didn't spit in your drink, honest!" and I had that fake guilty look on my face. Because really, I didn't touch her drink. But telling her I didn't kind of freaked her out. She didn't know whether to believe me or not. It was the absolute funniest thing to see her try to decide if she wanted to take a sip of her drink on the off chance I had actually done something!

That was way too much fun, and I can't way to try it on my 17 year old! Because I'm just mature like that :D

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Church quandry

I love the people in my church. I LOVE them! And as evidenced by my roof, I think they love me too. But I think I want to leave my church. But I don't want to leave my church. I've been thinking about this for quite some time now, and my mind was made up, I was going to leave. But I haven't found another church that feels like home, and I can't seem to break away from this one.

Why I want to leave:
I have issues with the senior pastor. Many things are done after surveys are taken to see what people want. He uses gimmicks heavily - they had a series on inviting people to church and they called it I2 - invest and invite. Then they had a class on Wednesday nights that they called D3 - Digging Deeper with Dave. I cant recall any of the others at the moment, but these are but two examples. Much of the stuff he talks about comes from books other than the Bible, and uses a lot of canned curriculum. He also doesn't make much of an effort to know his congregation. Every time I have approached him, he's said "well, it was nice to meet you!" Ummm, I've been going there for 7 years... and with what we've been through, you'd think he would at least remember that.

I have issues with other pastors. One of the other pastors there has avoided me like the plague since my ex-husband was arrested. Not even "how can we pray for you?" The one day he sat down at the same table where I was for Wednesday dinner because he wanted to sit by someone who just happened to sit at the table where I sat first, he could not face me. As soon as he got the chance, he bolted as fast as he could. I don't understand this behavior. It was obvious uncomfortable "ok well umm, Igottagonowbye!"

I have issues with how the church as a whole treated my ex-husband after his arrest. They abandoned him. Now, I know what he did was horrible and hard for us humans to understand, and that pastoral staff is HUMAN. However, as the body of Christ, if they couldn't help him, they should have found someone who could. He was aching for some guidance from Godly men and got NONE, and took that out on me. Yes, I shouldn't have let him, but I was very vulnerable at that time.

I have issues with how things went after the church did start responding to my ex-husband. After a year, there were people who started to write to him. Then they would come to me and tell me how holy and spiritual he was. If he was so holy and spiritual, why was he still being so nasty to me? They were totally snowed by him. I worry about church leadership that can be that easily manipulated and duped.

I disagree some very important points of their theology. Nuff said.

Why I stay:
I like working in the nursery every other week, huggin' on babies and givin' em back when I'm done.

The kids have friends there. Sure, they'd make friends anywhere, but they've grown up at this church. The children's programs are great, even though the high school leaves a ton to be desired. My high school senior refuses to go there (he disagrees with their theology too.) He goes to a different church regularly, so I let him choose for himself.

The people. My church class that just replaced my roof. My friends there.

That's about it... except... let's be honest... guilt feelings. They've helped me so much, how can I leave now? This church is the reason I still have a house to put a roof on! I feel guilty for wanting to leave.

Typing it all out, my reasons for staying are lame compared to my reasons for going. It's a no-brainer on paper really. So why don't I feel more peace about going? And as much peace as I don't have about leaving, I don't have it about staying either. Please pray for me if you don't mind... for wisdom, and for peace one way or the other. Thank you!

Small Victory

And I do mean small! This morning at work my trainer had to run down the hall (our euphemism for going potty!) so she had one of the operators working an info channel (where officers go to get tow trucks and wanted person information) just listen to me, but not sit by me. While my trainer was gone, one of the officers in my area said he'd been waved down by a man who thought there was someone in his back yard. The officer gave me the address, and I did everything perfectly without help, including asking for more officers to go to that address. I've been having a hard time with knowing when to ask for more officers to respond, so the fact that I did it myself, without being told, is a very good thing :D Maybe I can do this job after all... :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

A touching story, get out the tissues

Carlos over at Ragamuffin Soul and his wife are in Korea adopting a baby boy. They've got the whole trip chronicled in video and posted on his blog. Yesterday's installment includes meeting their son for the first time. It's enough for a Hallmark movie of the week, I'm telling ya, only without the schmaltz! :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

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click on the picture for more information

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I quit.

NaNoWriMo that is. I was on track, I had almost 27,000 words, but a few days ago, I just decided to stop. To take a whole month and devote most of my spare time to writing, especially a month that contains things like Thanksgiving, was just a bad plan for me. So, because I don't want to feel like I should be writing instead of playing with the kids, or writing instead of doing other things I like, like beading, or writing instead of getting an extra hour's sleep, I quit.

And I feel good about that.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Tale of a Thanksgiving Past

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite days of the year. What's not to love? Good food, family and friends, football, and best of all, no gifts to stress over!

So two years ago, the first thanksgiving after my ex-husband was arrested, I was kind of dreading it. I have no family in town, and felt it would be really awkward to spend time with his family. So I was really relieved when some friends from my church group invited us over. They also invited another family from the group. Now family W has a 4 kids, I have five, and family M has 6. Yeah, that's a lot of kids. Each family has a teenage son, and these three boys are best friends. They call themselves the Three Musketeers, we call them the Three Stooges, but, as they would say, whatevs.

The weather for Thanksgiving in Phoenix is usually just *gorgeous* (This is the reason we endure the summer!) and there is usually a lot of outside activity going on. So, two years ago, these three boys decided that they wanted to build a club house. And then they decided that they wanted to build it underground. So teenager from family W asks "Dad, can we dig a hole in the yard?" Dad W answers "Sure son, just make sure you stay away from the back wall." Ok. So after a wonderful meal, these three boys start scouting out locations and making plans. The adults and some of the younger children wandered inside the house to play games and have dessert while the boys did their thing.

A little while later, Teenager W comes inside covered in mud. He was followed by my teenager, who was also covered in mud, and teenager M, who was clean as a whistle. Teenager M was muttering under his breath "I told them not to, they wouldn't listen, it wasn't my fault..." So teenager W approached Dad W and says "Hey Dad, umm, where's the water line into the house?" Dad W looked at the teenagers, thought about dirt+water and said through gritted teeth "WHY?" Teenager W looked sheepish and said "Well, there's only a small hole in it, it's only leaking a little bit..." At this point Teen M got louder with his "I told them not to, they wouldn't listen!" And Mom M and Mom W just started howling with laughter. Dad W was not as amused.

The three boys spent the rest of the day digging a trench and helping Dad W replace the water line. We literally hosed them off when they were done.

This year for the third year in a row we will be having Thanksgiving with these two families. So now we have a new Thanksgiving tradition - we hide all the shovels before we give God thanks.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thankful

Because it's almost Thanksgiving, and because my family and I have been so very blessed, I am going to keep adding to my list of things for which I am thankful. I'm hoping to reach 1000 by the end of November.

Wanna play? Let me know in the comments and we can link up.

1) God's loving care for us. Each and every thing on my list, always comes back to this!
2) My oldest daughter, Allison
3) My 17 year old son
4) My 14 year old daughter
5) My 9 year old daughter
6) My 6 year old son
7) The fact that they've all been really healthy, no major medical issues with any of them.
8) The fact that all of them are good thoughtful kids.
9) My job. Yes, I'd love to be able to stay home with my kids, but if I have to work, at least it's a job I love and is important.
10) A house to live in
***
11) My friend Sarah
12) My friend Becky
13) My sisters
14) My church family
15) My cats Zorro and Chloe
16) That we have food to put on the table
17) Phoenix winters
18) Mountains to hike
19) Amazing sunsets
20) Breathtaking sunrises
21) The smell of the desert after it rains
21) Rainbows (I know there's 2 #21's... just seeing if you were paying attention. Really! Plus, ummm, sleep deprivation? Can I blame that?)
22) Storm clouds
***
23) Friends who are willing to be God's hands and feet
24) Warm running water
25) Electricity
26) Good books
27) The internet
28) Email buddies
29) Blog buddies
30) Chai tea
31) Songs that kids sing
32) Music
33) Hugs
34) Photographs
35) The telephone
***
36) Babies to squeeze in the nursery at church
37) I don't have to take any of those babies home with me.
38) Holiday pay
39) Overtime pay
40) Holiday and overtime pay for the same day
41) The evap cooler (yes, in November, I am still trying to cool my house!)
42) Grown children who are able to stop at Costco for their mother and buy the good chicken nuggets.
43) Having a child who works at a movie theater (can we say free movies?)
44) My camera
45) My pillows
46) My bed
***
47) Clean water to drink
48) Access to medical care if we need it
***
49) That this old dog is learning new tricks, at least at work
50) My trainer at work for dispatch. I lucked out!
51) Kids that still like to snuggle
52) One kid who LIKES to do homework
53) Kids who love to read
***
54) The supervisors on my shift at work
55) The freedom I have at work to do pretty much what I want between calls
56) Email
57) My laptop
58) The fact that my kids don't use my laptop!
59) That my kids have nice friends on the street to play with
60) That when my kids play together, they laugh and laugh and have the best time
61) The FBI
62) Plea bargains
63) Chocolate
64) Mint
65) Chocolate and mint together!
66) Gummy bears
(But I'm not thankful for guacamole.)
***
67) Kleenex
68) Sudafed
69) Warm apple cider
***
70) Paid sick time
71) non-leaking roof
72) warm showers
73) Showers that actually drain
74)
To be continued....

Lisa has a daily thankful list and mouse is trying for 1000 too... What are YOU thankful for?!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

They're at it again

And my 14 year old is sleeping through the whole thing...

An interesting blog post

If you participate in NaNoWriMo, please read this post.

Me, I don't think I'd have the nerve to let anybody read what I wrote, so I'm good! :)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bloggy Blahs

I guess the bloggy blahs have hit me. I'm having a difficult time coming up with things that are worthy to post.

Partially because I've been so busy. Between training at work, having 4 kids at home, trying to participate in NaNoWriMo and just general everyday life, there's not been a whole lot interesting going on.

Partially because I started having a blog crisis of sorts when I read a post on a popular blog that stated something along the lines of motherhood is the art of deception. The post was about how this mother lies to her son on a regular basis and tricks him. The comments started about how funny it was, and the different lies people tell their kids all the time. And people who responded saying that they do their best not to lie to their kids were met with some harshness. I was one of those people who said they preferred not to lie to their kids, and the blog author emailed me privately and said "I'm sorry if it wasn't clear, but this was totally tongue in cheek." I understood that, but it still bothered me that a widely read blog would encourage lying to one's children. I have very vivid memories of feeling dumb when I figured out my parents were lying to me, so I don't do it to my kids. I don't ever want them to feel stupid. So many people were piping up saying "I do that too!" So... if the author was saying it tongue in cheek, and doesn't really mean that she lies to her son like that... then she's lying to her readers. So then I got to thinking, is that was blogging is about? All of these really funny posts you read, are they embellished and enhanced just so people will find them funny and keep coming back? That's not the kind of person I am, and it's not the kind of blogger I am. I want to surround myself with people who are genuine, both in life and as much as possible, on the internet. So I find myself a bit disillusioned at the moment and not as interested. I'm considering what am I trying to accomplish with this blog? What's the point? Is this the best way to accomplish what I want to? What I think God wants me to? I haven't figured out the answers to those questions yet.

So, if anyone has any words of wisdom, I'd love to hear them :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An interesting question



Los at Ragamuffin Soul posed an intersting question today - Say you were given a piece of paper and a pair of scissors and were told to think of one word that describes what God is teaching you lately. Then you had to cut out something that represents that word, what would you cut out? Why?

I would cut out a person because I need to do more to love His people, the least of these. God took care of me when and my family when I could not do it myself. Now I need to give to others what has been given to me.

What about you? What would you cut out? Why?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

See more at WW headquarters!

Anybody want a cat?

That cat that found us? The one that refuses to leave, or even go outside... She really is a sweetheart, we love her just to pieces. But there's this problem...

So, the other night I was sleeping, minding my own business, when I hear this tiny "meow." I did what anybody who has only two nights a week to sleep like a normal human being would do - I ignored it. But then I heard it again, only louder and longer. I tried to ignore it again, but then it became apparent that it was only going to get louder. I got out of bed thinking "There better not be a cat in my room!" I turned on the light, looked at the clock, 3 am. GRRRRR! Looked at the door, and sure enough, THERE'S A CAT IN MY ROOM! So I start toward the door, and the little... ummm... SWEET FLUFFY LITTLE KITTY... darts under the bed! NOOOOO! It took me a few minutes to get her furry little posterior end out from under the bed and toss her out the door, where our other cat was sitting waiting. Oh well, these things happen, and I was so tired, that I was sure I'd fall right back to sleep. I was right, I did. But a few minutes later, I hear the mewing again. And banging. Yes, banging. She's knocking on the door to be let back in. HA! Not stinking likely! But she bangs, and bangs and bangs on the door, until she got tired of it I guess.

Well, now she seems the think this is her throne room or something, and demands to be let in! I'm trying to sleep here and I got this teenager cat banging on my door! Then of course, when I do open the door, she's all sweet and cuddly and *sigh* who can resist?
Never mind, I think we'll keep her a little longer, you know, to see how it goes...(because in truth, while some days I'd like to sell her to the migrant blueberry pickers, she's got a few of us wrapped around her little...ummm...paw!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Aww, he really does care

Because he loves me so much, my 6 year old had some very important words of wisdom for me just now while I was cooking.

"Mom, be careful. You don't want to cut a vein or an artery. You'll bleed heavily."

I asked him where he heard about arteries and veins, because I'm pretty sure when I was 6, I didnt know what those were.

He said "From the dictionary."

I'm not sure whether to be proud of his wonderful grammar, or afraid of the fact that the boy reads the dictionary.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm REALLY thankful for...

These guys.

My roof has been in terrible shape since I moved in to this house 7.5 years ago. For 5 of those years, my ex-husband pretty much ignored it hoping it wouldn't get worse (HA!) It has gotten worse. When he was arrested, the people in my church group really stepped up to be God's hands and feet for us. Two and half years have passed, and I haven't been at church regularly at all because of my work schedule, but these people continue to pray for my family. Today, a bunch of them showed up to rip the shingles off my roof. That's right, they're putting a new roof on my house. They raised the money, and volunteered the manpower, and I had no idea until they showed up. One family even brought everything these guys would need to have dinner! I'm amazed, blessed, and grateful.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

See more at The Wordless Wednesday Headquarters

Feeling grumpy?

Here's the cure!



You just can't help but smile, even if it's not your kid :D

Monday, November 06, 2006

Prayers for a little girl

My job frequently gives me things to pray for, and today there's something that could use a LOT of prayer. I'm not going to say what happened, but there's a 5 year old little girl named Elisa who could use all the prayer she can get, if one or two of you wouldn't mind.

Thanks

Saturday, November 04, 2006

This is Good

My Name Is I Am

I was regretting the past and fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking.
"My name is I Am"
He paused. I waited. He continued.
"When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WAS.
"When you live in the future with its problems and fears, it is hard.
My name is not I WILL BE.
"When you live in this moment it is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM."
Author Unknown

Friday, November 03, 2006

How far have you gotten?

Part 1 - Christmas shopping! Done yet? Picked up a couple things here and there? Think about what you are going to buy/make for whom? Wondering where the other 10 months of the year went, because you can swear it was just Christmas last week?

I have a confession to make. I usually do my Christmas shopping in December. LATE December. Like, usually around the 22. For a long time it was because we lived paycheck to paycheck with very little left over for anything. That was when we had the money available that we could spend. And then, well, it was just because I was am disorganized.

So please don't faint when I tell you, I started my Christmas shopping last week!! Even BEFORE halloween! Are you proud of me?! And, if that's not enough to make the people who truly know me say "who are you and what have you done with the real Connie?" I've even got AN ORGANIZED SYSTEM! I have a set amount for each child that I have available to spend, so I've made envelopes with each kid's name on it and put the money inside. I keep a running total on the outside of the envelope of how much I've spent so I know how much is in there, and when I buy something for that child, I put the receipt in the envelope should I need to return something later on.

We're not going to discuss Christmas cards though.

Part 2 - NaNoWriMo! Are you playing? So far I'm having a blast! This is my first year. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. My word count as of this post is 6285. How far are you?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

HAH!

I was looking through pictures I have stored on CD today and came across this. So come on, let's see your kid pics!!


Stripes

We don't make a huge deal of Halloween, but I do let my kids dress up, and I usually end up taking them to the fall carnival type thing held at our church. It's usually a ton of fun for everybody, kids and adults alike. It's what we did on Tuesday. I was tired to begin with, and then DQ threw a hissy fit (we don't call her Drama Queen for nuthin'!) so by the time we got there, I was already having kind of a rough day. Maybe that went into my reaction when I saw the man in stripes.

He was standing at the table by the entrance, greeting people and handing out maps and goodie bags. I recognize his face from being at that church for 7 years, but I don't know his name. I'm sure to most people, his costume was clever. I didn't find it to be so though, and I was hoping my 6 year old wouldn't make the connection of what the man's costume was. He was dressed as a prisoner. The thing was, he had an actual set of clothes from the local county jail. The black and white stripes, the red letters that say "Sheriff's Inmate - Unsentenced" - it was the real deal. The only thing that was missing was the pink underwear and pink handcuffs mandated by our fine sheriff, but that's a rant for a different day. I don't know if my reaction would have been different if it were a fake costume, or perhaps clothing from a different jail, but I felt a stab of pain shoot through my spirit when I saw his outfit. See, it was the same set of stripes that my now ex-husband wore for almost a year, and it's what he was wearing the last time I saw him. I said hello to this man at the church festival, accepted the map, made small talk... asked him how ever did he get his hands on that get up, but deep down, I was hurting. The memories seeing that uniform brought back...

Then I started having an internal argument with myself. It went something like this:
OUCH! It hurts to see that uniform...
Oh stop being a baby! You're healed, remember? It's all in the past!
But certain things still trigger certain feelings, I can't help it.
You CAN help it, don't let it bother you!
Quit being so mean!
Quit being such an idiot!
and on and on... :P

As we walked through the church campus finding other things to do, my thoughts veered away from the stripes, and the kids had fun as usual. I was still in a not so great frame of mind, but I didn't think about the man in the stripes much until I tried to take a nap before work. I was surprised at how strong the emotional response was at that. They're just clothes! But when I really thought about it, what those stripes meant...

Seeing him in those stripes the first time was so hard. It wasn't like we had this awful nasty marriage and I was glad to see him go. I loved him very much and you just don't turn that off overnight like a water faucet. Christ's cross was for this too, and I was pretty sure God still loved him. So the first time I saw him in the stripes, I knew they meant he'd never be home again. While I wasn't sure I wanted him to be, I was sure I didn't want all that had happened and was about to happen. The last time I saw him was at his sentencing hearing on February 11, 2005. He was wearing the same stripes and shackles. So much had changed since the first time I saw him dressed that way. That last day I chose to keep silent in court rather than make any kind of statement, because anything I could have said would not have inspired the judge to have mercy. Every time that I saw him in those stripes was so emotionally charged - from the day he begged me not to divorce him to the day he was finally able to put in words out loud what he did to my daughter. From the first time I saw him without freedom to that last day when we learned he would not be free again for the next 30 years.

Everytime something comes up that I react to strongly, I spend time chastising myself for not being farther along the road of healing. But this time, eventually I remembered that it's not a destination, it's a journey. Some things are going to be harder than others. I've been trying to force myself to be healed. Then I remembered some other stripes. The ones Jesus bore on the Cross - for MY redemption and MY HEALING. By HIS STRIPES, we're healed! Why do I always forget that?

Thank God for stripes.