Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mother Bear

Hell hath no furry like a mom who THINKS her kids have been scorned.

Yesterday at the YMCA Pool I thought the Y Camp Counselor said a racial remark whilst his Camp Kids were swimming. The Mother Bear in me came out with both paws swinging. Once he clarified his remark and I realized I had misunderstood, I backed down, apologized, and admitted that I over-reacted. I was embarrassed at this point, and wanted to quickly walk away and hide under a rock. But the situation escalated until he threatened to report me (to whom?). Ten minutes later I left there having let him get the best of me, and I was feeling like some crazy, whacked-out mommy monster.

Let me explain, he wasn't the type to accept someone's apology and be done with it, he continued to belittle me and I let him add fuel to my anger. Have you ever tried to talk to someone only to have them constantly interrupt you? That's him. Apparently, nobody ever told him to use "I" statements.

Anyways, what's your Mother Bear story? When have you gone to bat for your kids, justifiably or not?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mower Man

Every night, usually more than once, we detect the presence of Mower Man riding down the street on his riding lawn mower. We always hear him, even if we're in our house. He usually doesn't emerge until dusk and we've heard him as late (or early) as 2am. It's just an unusual site for living in the city..... seeing a man riding his lawn mower down the street on a daily basis.

Does he use it for his primary transporatation? Does he mow lawns with it all day? Are that many lawns within "drivng" distance for consistent work every day?

Regardless, Mower Man remains a mystery.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Healthy Snacks

With summer here and us on the go more, I feel like a walking pantry. I need water and snacks for the pool, the zoo, the park, baseball games, and so forth.

What are your healthy, portable snacks (besides fruit) ?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who's Got Your Back?

Who do you want with you in a time of crisis? A bunch of women, that's who!

Today while having coffee with 6 other women, I had the priviledge of being part of a team with them. One woman who is 9 weeks pregnant fainted in the bathroom. What followed was a team of women going into action for a crisis.

One woman called 911.
One woman called the husband.
One woman wrote down a list of meds the pregger's woman was taking.
One woman grabbed her wandering toddler.
One woman got the purse and diaper bag.
One woman put cold rags on her forehead.
We arranged for her kids to be picked up from VBS.
We even managed to get her a refund for her untouched $4.00 coffee drink.

All before the EMT got there.

Nobody told anybody what to do, we all just looked around and did what needed to be done. Nobody was in charge. Women just see a need and meet it. End of story. It was a Steel Magnolias scene in action. I just love that about women.

Name That Feeling

During one of our recent Feeling Checks at supper, Nia shocked us all by actually saying something other than, "I don't got no feelings." She'd had a particularly rough day accepting the fact that her dad bought her brother a baseball without telling her ahead of time. Her response to this took up at least half the day before she could move on.

So, when her turn came at supper to say how she felt, she said, "I feel guilt and shame for being jealous this morning." Good grief!! This is huge!! She's never so much as admitted anything wrong unless pressed by us to do so. We tried not to react by falling out of our seats, but insteada to remain calm and say, "That's great, Nia. Thank you for sharing. Do you feel your guilt starting to go away now?"

This was such a gift to me because I wasn't sure she had really heard any of my words earlier in the day. I wasn't sure anything was connecting with her.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Feelings, Woa, Woa, Woa Feelings....

Each night at supper we usually ask the kids what their favorite part of the day was. We've mixed it up lately and are asking them how they are feeling. Here are their choices:

Anger, Fearful, Hurt, Shame, Guilt, Lonely, Glad, Sad

Tonight Jacob said he was feeling Fearful. Fearful because of the man who was shot Friday night at the church where I lead Bible study. This led into a conversation about people being killed in Liberia. I'll never know this side of heaven what Nia's young eyes have seen, and what she does reveal to us is just w-a-y too much for anyone to bear. What she shared prompted Clive, 7yo, to excuse himself from the table and go pray on the front porch for Liberians. Later, he came into my bedroom for a "private talk" and told me he wanted to give his Bible to someone in Liberia. He pulled a Bible from a Kroger bag and handed it to me. He said he wants people there to learn about Jesus. My soul sings!

We did address Jacob's fears of being shot, by the way. We talked about how most people who get shot in our neighborhood are involved in illegal activities and generally hang around bad people. I've taught the kids to say this whenever they are afraid, "What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in You." (Psalm 56:3) I use it myself from time to time.

Why We Moved Here

When we sold our house in January of 2006 and decided to rent for a year, our goal was to find a nice chunk of land on which to build our dream home. This would be home our kids would come home to on college break, bring their spouses to, and someday their children. We'd have a pond, a great big swingset, and lots of other country fun for the whole family.

So we set out looking. We had fun tromping around wilderness pieces of property creating memories of our kids exploring the wild. But nothing worked out. Nothing.

After living in our rental for about 9 months, God started changing our hearts. We'd read some Randy Alcorn books, like Dominion, about inner city living. We'd talked to friends who already lived in the inner city and were drawn to their daily plight. I read a book called And You Call Yourself a Christian by Robert Upton (I think the title has since been changed). And so God was planting the seed in our hearts towards living in the inner city. We were hooked. We bought a house that was 107 yrs old at the time and had been converted into a quadplex for the past 50 years. And so the renovation began....

Friday, June 13, 2008


Reality of my neighborhood hits home every now and then. Yesterday at 5:10pm I was sitting on my front porch and clearly heard 5 gunshots. Sure enough, sirens quickly followed. A 23yo male was shot in the parking lot a block from our house at the church where I lead a bible study. I drove over and found yellow tape blocking the entire intersection, police cars everywhere, and a news van on the scene. Apparently, it was a drive-by shooting. I don't think the guy died, but the fact that this was done in broad daylight at the corner of the park with intentions to kill is unnerving.

We need these reminders to be cautious of suspicious-looking people and cars in our 'hood. When we moved here a year ago I lived on High Alert all the time. Admittedly, I've relaxed some and needed this reminder. I don't think we should live in fear 24/7, but just live smart.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Great Fundraiser Idea

This morningthe girls and I went to a Bag Sale. A friend of our's collects bags of all sorts each year and sells them to raise money for digging wells in Africa. It's not as time-consuming as a yard sale because you just lay all the bags out on blankets the day of the sale. She organized them into price categories, from $1 to $40 (Prada and Coach). They had everything from backpacks, suitcases, wallets, beach bags, purses, cosmetic bags, duffles, and basically anything that might hold something. Inside each bag was a flyer about the Fundraiser that people would find once they got home and opened up the bag.

Prior to the sale she sends emails and postcards to everyone she knows and asks them to forward the info to others in order to collect all the bags. She also gets her boys involved in helping out in order to teach them about a bigger world than the one on their street.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Another Baby

I was at the YMCA pool yesterday with all the kiddos. My friend's baby boy was in his stroller pitching a mild fit while his mother played in the pool with his big sisters. So, I thought I'd just push him around the pool for a little stroll. As I passed my kids in the pool, each one of them climbed out and followed me. Here is what ensued....

"Mom, what are we going to name him?"

"Aw, he's so cute."

"Where is he going to sleep?"

"Where did you get him from?"

"We have to buy him some clothes."

Sunday, June 01, 2008


First of all, you people thoroughly intimidate me with gardening and canning. I decided to stick with 3 tomato plants, red bell pepper, banana pepper, and some herbs. Michelle, 25 lbs of pinto beans? Already? Mercy me.

So summer is here. This year we are fortunate to be members of our local YMCA, which includes their lovely pool. All of a sudden my kids don't want to get near any schoolbooks or pencils. They just want to swim. And eat popsicles. I've made a list of things we can do to pass the summer effectively (that means something that helps me not to feel guilty as a mother). There's always the zoo, a plethora of VBS to attend, free outdoor concerts here and there, the library, baseball.

When I was a kid I just played outside from sun-up til sun-down. My feet would be greenish-brown on the bottom and I could run on shrapnel by the end of the summer without flinching. Sometimes we'd get to go to the pool, as long as no church members knew about it. (Some of them didn't approve of sinful sunbathing). At night I'd catch fireflies in a Mason jar, fill it with grass, and poke holes in the lid. They still died. I'd practice turning cartwheels and teach myself how to throw up my own baseball and then hit it with the bat. I also loved to wash the cars. Sometimes my dad would let me drive the tractor around our yard. But I was still enough of a little girl to bring my Barbies outside for adventures in the tall "jungle grass" filled with all manner of dangerous bugs and ants. I could never figure out why my mom wouldn't let me start a real live campfire for my Barbies when they were in the wild fending off beasts.

I know this sounds all rose-colored, but I really do have good childhood memories of summer. We didn't have a lot of neighbors, so I spent a lot of time using my imagination. Maybe that's why I'm still pretty good at creating memories before they even happen. I can buy a house, hang curtains, and celebrate birthdays in the backyard.....all in my head.

So, let's talk about YOUR summer, either past, present, or imagined.