Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This is your mother, get on the path and stay there!

After years of just serving on a worship team, and not doing much else for my church, I find myself with the time…and the energy to be involved in a Bible study class.  I’ve had many opportunities to do this before, and I used to do it a lot when I first became a Christ follower but as my children grew something happened along the way.  

While my children were still at home, I spent most of my time with thoughts of them, what they needed, what they wanted…should they want that… how to keep them living for Christ when I wasn’t breathing down their necks…etc.  It’s not that I didn’t read the bible or pray… because I did…I had too.  It’s more like I didn’t have the energy to share a study with … other people.  It’s like God gave me the opportunity to “control” how my children turned out but … I never really felt like I could control it. And I was consumed with that thought. 

If my children did “good” or behaved “morally” I felt “oh good…I got something right”.  But… if they behaved badly I felt…ugh…guilty… “what am I doing wrong?” At times (many times) I felt like I wasn’t doing the job God gave me, which was to raise holy children.  All my energy was spent doing this monumental duty.  “How do I guide them the right direction?” “How do I keep them from falling off the path?” and when they do fall off the path, “How do I help them get back on?”. Raising holy children.  It’s not something that can be done without God’s help that’s for sure.  On top of that I had a full time job outside the home… more guilt.  I didn’t understand how others could do all that they did…I still don’t, but I knew I couldn’t.  Looking back… I can’t point to any one thing I did that I knew was right… except … pray, pray, pray… and then pray some more.  I prayed for smooth paths, or rough paths. I prayed for hedges of protection from others and … from themselves.  I prayed that when they did something wrong that they would get caught.  And I mean when, because "All have sinned" why would I think my kids were different?  I also prayed for strength to keep wanting them to get caught…which got harder and harder the older they got.  Was it enough?  I pray that it was because now ….I’m done. 

I am proud of my children… they are doing awesome!  I am relieved and terrified to not be in “control” of their future anymore though.  Now their good and their bad is between them and God.  I’m not part of the equation… I still give bits of advice now and then but I’m on the outside of them now.    So consequently… I find myself with a bit more energy.  I have taken up learning the piano …again, and a Sunday Bible study class called Walk With Me.  It’s been along time since I’ve been in a classroom … I hope I can remember how to study.*wink*     

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dogs, Dogs, and More Dogs... (our dogs and how we got them)

I promised in my last blog to tell you how Rodg and I became proud parents of our very own puppy dogs.  Here's the story:

Ever since Gracie became a part of our family we planned on her having puppies.  She was such a cute little thing and every where M brought her elicited a request for a puppy just like Gracie.  Gracie has had several litters but in this blog I will tell you about her second litter.
Ozzie, Lucy, Hershey

Joe a neighbor and friend had a Shi-tzu mix male named Zeus.  Zeus was 5 yrs old.  Rodg thought Zeus would make a great baby daddy for Gracie's pups.  So we borrowed Zeus with Joe's permission for a few days during Gracie's special time.  And wah-la 2 mos later we had four little puppies.  Unfortunately one of them didn't make it... but we named him "Tomorrow" and had a little funeral for him.  It was very important for the kids.  The other three were just fine.  Before they were even born we had owners for two of them.  Lucy, the runt, was mostly black with a little brown, and Ozzie, the next to the smallest, he was all brown.  But we had one other little girl puppy that was the biggest of the litter and when she was next to her brother and sister who were very small, she looked even bigger.  No one... and I mean no one wanted her.  All because of her size... umph!  So of course we kept her... what else could we do?  I ask you...huh?  We just didn't have a choice... tee hee.  We named her Hershey.  And you know what?  We got the best one of the bunch!

Well that's it for now... I will return with the third installment of our dogs and how we got them  soon.  Oh, I almost forgot.  My parents are visiting us for a few weeks, and guess what?  They brought two of their dogs!  A little shi-tzu named Rascal (who just happens to be Jersey's brother) and my dad's hunting dog Butters, he's an Irish setter... yes it's true!   We now have SIX critters in our home.  More dogs then people!  Haha, isn't this fun? =]]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I have FOUR dogs! (our dogs and how we got them)

I actually only have two dogs but... with the girls in college and unable to take their dogs, I now have four.  My oldest daughter (J)'s dog is 17 yrs old his name is Muff and my youngest daughter (M)'s dog is 12, her name is Gracie.  These animals have been a part of our family since they were tiny little babies.  I think it's better for them to stay home with us rather then move half way across the country with my girls.  And, of course, Rodg and I each have our own dogs, Jersey and Hershey. 

We got Muff for "J" as a Christmas present when she was just a little girl.  Then we decided ...to be fair and get "M" her own dog, so one year shortly after Christmas,(thanks to a wonderful friend of mine) Gracie became a part of our family.  It was just Muff and Grace for a long while.  Oh we had other pets that came and went but they were temporary.  There was Candie the guinea pig, Jack the German Shepperd, Blondie a beautiful dog of what kind I don't know.  There was Princess a poodle that everyone called Pooter, Newby the albino leopard gecko, Squeeze the boa constrictor (yes it's true, I can't believe I actually let this one in my home), Ed the baby chicken and various types of fish.  All this and I only had two daughter's I can't imagine how many different pets would we have had if our children were boys.  Of all those animals though, only Muff and Gracie remained, but don't worry the others all found very good homes.  I will tell you the story of how Hershey and Jersey became a part of our family in a later blog.

Now that the girls are away from home and its just us and the dogs, I have a bit more time to spend with them.  They are all helping me adjust to not having anyone to mother.  What a blessing pets are.  I am amazed at how easy it is to make them happy...how easy it is for them to love me... Each night when I get home from work, these animals are so happy it's like I've been away forever.  I literally have to stop, drop my stuff and greet each one of them or else they just can't settle down.  I know they can be trained not to do that but... I kind of ...like it.  It makes me feel special.  After I sit and relax it's not long before they are all laying at my feet.  And if I get up to go to another room, they follow.

Each of my little doggies have a unique personality.  You, who have pets know this is true.  Muff is our Pomeranian mix and he  gets so excited to greet you he can't stay still long enough for you to even pet him.  Everyone that sees him thinks he's the youngest because of the way he bounces around.  Gracie...poor little thing is such a lover she can't keep herself from whining ...when she's happy!  And then there's Hershey who thinks she's king of the hill even though she is the second youngest and her under bite is so bad she looks like she's smiling upside down.  And last but certainly not least is our youngest boy Jersey.  Jersey is so lazy he will lay down to eat out of his bowl.  His whole face will be buried out of sight inside his bowl that at times, I think, he's even fallen asleep.  And can that boy eat!  He is the heaviest of our dogs, and really should lose some weight.  Rodg and I will need to get on that.

Rodger takes the 'kids" on a walk each day... or tries to.  They love it.  He also is the one that feeds them.  He's been able to teach a couple of them some tricks.  Gracie will spin around on her hind legs three times when Rodg says "three"...it's like a little dance.  Jersey will sit up and beg.  Rodger's trying to teach Hersey to lift her upper lip to the command "smile" but that's taking a while.  He doesn't make Muff do anything because of his advanced age but still that dog will leap and run and jump so much he makes himself cough.  They all know what "Let's get the bowls", "lets go to the kitchen" , "It's time for a snack" and "do you want to go bye bye"mean.  And when we sing "Hershey baby" to the tune of "Santa Baby" Hershey knows it's her turn to eat.

At any rate that's my current pet family.  I've attached some pictures.   I hope you enjoy them.  I've also attached a video of Jersey begging for food that I KNOW you'll enjoy.  That's it for now.  Talk to you soon.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Have An Empty Nest

I have an empty nest. Though 5 years apart in age my two girls have left the state to go to college with each other together. Our house has NEVER been this empty. It has never been just Rodger and me... even after we were first married.

We spent our wedding night in the hospital because Rodger had a kidney stone attack on the day of the wedding.  He bravely made it through the ceremony but we ended up taking the limo to the hospital.  The next week was spent at a friends house and then we soon ended up moving in with my parents in Washington state.  My oldest daughter was born while we were there.  When she was a year old we moved back to California and lived with my brother and his wife for a bit.    A short while later we moved next door to Rodger's mom and a little while after that she moved in with us. Then our youngest was born.

Rodger and I have never lived alone with just each other before...now.

When the kids were young, Rodger and I took a weekend trip to the Redwoods.  We camped out in a borrowed tent trailer and took a day trip from the campground to the coast.  It was just us... I told Rodger then that I felt like... well... like a kid.  We did silly things... like chase little hermit crabs that were stranded in shallow tide pools. We weren't mean to them...we just kind of made them run around.  We looked for shells and skipped rocks.  We went to Glass Beach and sat for hours, playing with the smooth glass beads on the beach or digging in the sand to find long buried treasures that were more junk then treasure.   When we walked along the trails back at the Redwoods we stopped and read each and every tourist info sign at each of the points of interest without hurrying.  It was cold and we didn't worry about catching a cold. We skipped meals or ate really late... laid around in bed when we first woke up instead of getting up and starting the day. We weren't concerned with nutrition or vitamins,  or about staying up too late or anything... that a responsible PARENT person would be.  Do you know what I mean?  
During that short weekend years ago we experienced the together time...the getting to know each other as a married couple time... that we had missed when we first got married.   It's not like we forgot about our kids, or wished we weren't parents.. Not at all!   But it was different... we were revealing other layers of ourselves to each other. Persona's of ourselves that we almost forgot were there. Those aspects of our personality we had covered up with the "parent" personality.

We love our girls. They are all grown up.  They're doing great. They are both happy and... busy.  I was sure we would be talking or Skyping with them everyday... but it's not happening like I thought.  And... it's OK.   Now Rodg and I are back in that place again ...except this time we have more then a weekend.  I wonder what surprises await us.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Empty Mayonnaise Jar

I received this charming story in an email from my aunt.  I don't know who wrote it but it struck a cord in my heart.  I've since learned that it's been circulated in emails and blogs for years.  So I decided to post it.  Mostly because true or not it's such a great story... but also because it has inspired me to look at life a little different then I have in the past.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

The Moral of the Story
The professor waited for the laughter to subside…

“Now”, said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things… God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.”

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your home, your car.”

“The sand is everything else… The small stuff.” If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with those you love...play with your children. Take your partner to dinner. Play another 18. Take time to get medical checkups.  There will always be time to clean the house or fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities, the rest is just sand.

One student asked, “What about the coffee?" The professor responded, “No matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend"

Remember… Every day is a gift, and the quality of your life is your gift to yourself.

Now doesn't that make you want to go out and have a cup of coffee with a friend? Remember don't sweat the small stuff... It's just sand.

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