Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Me Monday

Some Monday fun!! I'm still new to blogging but I love
MckMama's Not Me Monday's, so I had to give it a go!
  • I did not bribe the boys with candy Sunday at church. I am not the mama who will try to keep them quiet any way possible. I mean, really, NOT.ME.
  • I did not eat a half a bag of Doritos knowing full well that Hub will not even kiss me if I faintly smell like Doritos. I did not go on to eat the rest of the bag later.
  • I was most certainly not the mother overhead saying "If you will behave and quit running around all crazy, I will take you to Sonic for lunch" in the shoe store. That was not me.
  • And I definitely did not spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how to link to MckMama's blog for this post without just leaving the http:// stuff all in there. I did not get all bent out of shape when I couldn't figure out how to make the link all pretty like I can make it look on my message board. I did not get mad and mumble not nice words under my breath. I did not!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In-law Woes

My in-laws love their son, and their grandsons, they really do. I know it. I do.
It's just, they don't like me so much.
As a mother, there are things I can see now about that, that I understand more. My MIL does not want to share her son. And now that I have three sons, I can see that. But my sons are little, and I don't have to share them now. But my job as their mother, is to raise them to be good husbands and fathers someday. And how can I do that if I don't learn to share?
The first time my MIL met my mother, a few months before my wedding, MIL asked my mother a question. Mom wisely did not tell me about this question until many years later. MIL wanted to know if I was going to get in the way of her relationship with Hub. My mother stammered out some sort of reply and the conversation moved on. Mom told me that inside, the answer she was gave was, "I sure hope so!"
You see, I was taught that when you get married, your spouse became the person who came first in your life. After all, God even says so:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24

But it's not actually true for my MIL. I remember many conversations I have had with her over the years. She has said that her children are more important to her than her husband. She even did her darnedest to raise her two boys to dislike their father and think he was a mean, spiteful, vengeful man. To this day, Hub worries about how his father will react to anything he might tell him that is different than FIL wants to hear, but always thinks his poor, delicate, flower of a mother is always there to soothe his brow.
My MIL sits on her sons' laps; she lays her head in their laps and caresses their faces. I have even seen her play footsies under the table with Hub. It is often disturbing.

Unfortunately, the past year and a half has been even harder to deal with my MIL. You see, now she is physically sick. She was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in March of 2007. She had a good first year of chemo but now things aren't going as well. This illness has made her even more manipulative. She and my FIL are working on their wills. They have a considerable amount of money and land to leave to their sons. At one point, everything was to be split evenly between Hub and his brother. Now, not so much. One day, about 6 weeks ago, MIL finally told Hub why his 50% inheritance had dwindled to about 15%. She is very angry because he did not move back "home" when she got sick.
My sweet, soft-hearted husband, the peacemaker in his family, is heartbroken. He already feels guilty because he can't be there more often, but to have it spoken, and thrown in his face in such a way is terrible. His brother is even chewing him out over it as well. Every time we see them now, or talk on the phone, there is some reference to how Hub isn't doing enough.
Because Hub and I (together, I might add) have chosen to live a simple life, to put our faith and trust in the Lord instead of the world, Hub is told that he doesn't understand about money. That he is too simple minded to "get" the real world. And that he needs to be back home where his family can take care of him. I am viewed as an outsider, an interloper, weird and different. They think that I have corrupted him. After all, he never talked about God answering prayers, or homeschooling, or working two jobs so his wife could stay home with the kids before I came in the picture.

When Hub and I first met, we wanted the same things. We wanted a big house, nice cars and the money to take a nice vacation every year. We even discussed going on a long European vacation.
But then God started working on us. We were both raised in Christian homes, even if those Christian homes were just for looks. We knew God, and had both even made a commitment to follow Him. But only in the general sense. Then we started talking about having children. We knew we wanted to raise them in church, but we weren't actually going to church. But that still small voice was there telling us there was something different out there. And we started searching. We eventually landed in a non-denominational, full gospel church, where Sunday service started at 10:30 and ended whenever the Spirit let us end. Both of us having been raised southern baptist, this was a change, a drastic change. If not for the fact that my mother and step-father were attending the church, we would have run for the hills. But God had plans for us.
And we stayed.

I had decided to go back to college a few years before this and was in the midst of getting my bachelor's in accounting. Hub was teaching 6th grade. So, we were still on the career driven path. But then Dino came along. And everything changed. My world shifted. Suddenly, I realized my role in life. No longer was mediocrity okay. God had given me the greatest gift and I wanted to be worthy of it. Of course, there is no way that I can ever be worthy. I am here by grace, there is nothing else. But I came to realize that no one else would be able to instill in my child the love of God like I could. And if I started from the beginning, maybe I could spare him untold heartache. I know that I cannot protect my children from pain, but if I can lead them to God, from the beginning, and help them realize that He is the only thing in this life that truly matters, then I have done the greatest thing a mom can do.
It is all about God. He is the one and only thing that matters in this world. No amount of money is going to get me to heaven.
But even more than that, I want to be intimate with Him. Just getting to heaven, just getting in the door isn't enough for me anymore. I want to be close to Him, I want to know that I have done all that He has asked of me, I want Him to be pleased with my life.
And how wonderful it will be to know that I helped my children along their journey too.
What more can I do? Or even better, how could I do less?

There is nothing I want for my children more than intimacy with their heavenly Father. And if I have to give up the world and it's money to do so, then so be it.
Most importantly, my husband, the head of my household, feels the same way. He is striving toward a closer relationship with God. And together, we have found that what the world thinks is important, isn't quite so important. Gone are the dreams of big, fancy houses and big, fast cars. The dream of traveling through Europe isn't gone, it's just postponed until God gives us the green light. Maybe someday, it will be a mission trip instead of a trip-around-the-world. And that's okay. In fact, it's even better!
But I can't ease Hub's pain and the words of his family. Every time we see them, every single time, FIL takes Hub aside privately and tells him that he has to make me go to work and put the children in school. And now that MIL is sick, everything has the added pressure of doing things to make her happy. And nothing would make her happier than if Hub and the boys moved back "home."
Yes, that's right, her happiest would be without me. But she would grudgingly accept it if I had to come, too.
But that's not what God wants for me and Hub and our children. And my in-laws just don't understand.

It's taken me a long time to be able to let go of some of my anger toward my in-laws. And as this post shows, I still haven't let go of all of it. When my MIL was first diagnosed, I couldn't even pray for her. I have finally worked through that and I do pray now. And I pray that I can let go of my hurt and anger toward her and my FIL. It is what I know God wants of me. God wants me to be the best wife and mother I can be.


Time seems to move by so fast sometimes. A week goes by and I think just a day or two has passed.
Dino and Frog have swim lessons right now; Monday and Wednesday, at the Y. They start at 5 and end at 6:30. Frog goes first, then Dino. I get in the pool and entertain the other while the other other is having a lesson. Wait, back up, did you read that right? I get in the pool! That means I put on a swimsuit!!!! Before this summer, I had not had on a swimsuit since I was pregnant with Dino, back in 2002. Yikes! I do not look good in a swimsuit. But I decided it was more important to swim with the boys than to maintain some misplaced sense of dignity.
So, Monday and Wednesday, we have swim lessons. And Monday, Hub has bible study, so by the time we get home from swimming, he has gotten home, showered, eaten and left again. Tuesday is a normal day, generally speaking. Thursday is our busy day. We have a homeschool group meeting. Last week, we had a Spanish lesson; the week before, we went on a field trip. This coming Thursday, I am doing a science experiment. Yikes!!! I still have to get all my stuff together for that! But, to get back to the busyness, Thursday evening, mom and I have bible study. Hub gets home and gets a quick shower and then I leave. Often, I don't get home until after he's in bed. Then Friday is usually a normal day. Saturday's are always up for grabs. Sometimes Hub works, sometimes not. And then Sunday's are always full. We go to Sunday School and church in the morning, somehow manage a bite to eat and a nap in the afternoon. And in the evening, it's back to church. During the public school year, we have AWANA. The kids all love it. Hub helps out with the 3rd-6th graders. My mom helps out with the 3-4 year olds, and I go to a prayer group meeting for the first hour and church for the second hour.
Phew! I'm out of breath just thinking about it all. And that is just talking about the evenings.

Hub works four 10 hour days a week. His normal schedule is Mon-Thurs, 7-5. But he will occasionally work Friday and Saturday. He works outside so if there's is too much rain, he has to miss work, so it will be made up Friday or Saturday. And those days work as comp time for him if there aren't rain days in a week. And he has a part-time job as well. The pt job is in a retail store. He will work maybe 20-30 hours a month. But with the holiday season coming up, he can work more. The past month, we have had a lot of rain, so he has missed several days of work. He's gotten paid by using his comp time, but we were hoping to save it up. But he has also gotten to work at his pt job during the rain, which has been a huge blessing!

So, this pointless blog entry has accomplished nothing I set out to accomplish. I intended to write about homeschooling. I guess I can start now.
This year, Dino is in first grade. Last year, we used Sonlight curriculum. I really liked it. I liked that it was laid out for me, day by day, and told me exactly what to do. And I liked that it was literature based because I like to read. But it is very expensive. So I wanted to look at some other options. I decided to try My Father's World this year. It is much less expensive, which is nice, and it also lays everything right out there, telling me what to do when. It does rely more on the public library for the literature, which is why it is less expensive than Sonlight. And that has been the one drawback for me. We don't get to the library very often. It's hard when there are at least 5 children (4 of whom need carseats all the time) here every day and other things to occupy your time. I haven't yet figured out how to make a weekly trip to the library. But we'll get there. In the meantime, we have plenty of books here to read. I love books! And I would love to buy every book we use for homeschooling, but it isn't practical, or economical. So we'll make it to the library more often!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


It seems as if these days you can't turn on the television or internet without seeing something about the upcoming election. And it is driving me nuts!!!!
I am not a political person. I will even admit that I have only voted three times in my life; once when I was 19 and in college, and the other two times were the previous presidential elections. Not a stellar voting record.
And most of the time, I don't really care to get involved. I care about our country and the lack of morals and values we have now, but I've never felt burdened to do anything about it. Maybe it was because before I had children, I was a very selfish person and nothing that didn't directly involve me didn't matter as much.
But since I have had children, so much has changed. Sounds cliché, but true nonetheless. Now I want to show, by my example, the way things work. I don't believe our government always works but I should be involved. The problem I am finding now, is that I am not exactly your average American. I don't line up completely with either of the two main parties. That said, I am registered republican and do mainly agree with that platform. But I haven't yet discovered what I really want out of my government.
No questions asked, I am pro-life and I believe the Bible to be God's Holy Word and could not knowingly vote for anyone who favored legislation that tried to bring our country further from the Word. That fact alone prevents me from even wanting to vote democrat.
But from there, things are different. In theory, I am against big government but, unfortunately, people aren't doing their part the way they should, and many people are doing without so much. I feel like there should be some help for people who need it, but I also feel that so many take advantage. I'd say, I fall more into the libertarian camp there.
As for war, I feel as such a strong nation, we should be available to help struggling countries. But I'm not sure exactly how and when.
I do feel that gun control isn't going to do what some people think it will. And we are given a constitutional right to bear arms.
I guess, I have many feelings about many issues, but none of my feelings seems to match up with any party or candidate.
At this point in time, if we were to vote tomorrow, I would be voting for McCain. He is closer to my way of thinking than any other.

But the main thing I feel right now is anger. I have spent way too much time on the internet reading way too much information that makes me mad. I have been involved in a few online message boards for a few years. One of the sites is a big one that I use some of their software but don't chat with the other ladies all that much. And then the other two sites I frequent, I chat a lot and have made quite a few friends. The big site has a place for conservatives and liberals to talk, separately, and then a debate board for them to discuss. This is mainly where I get the angriest. The liberals I have run across here are just hateful. Anyone who has a different opinion is uneducated, close-minded, racist, or just plain dumb. And it's making me so mad. I know, logically, that I just shouldn't read, but I find myself drawn there. It's getting ridiculous.
I am now trying to avoid places like that that get me going. I realize I have this blog and I am going to use it to get my feelings out and then give it to God. I can't take on the world. It's not my personal job to make this country a Christian country. I can do my part but only go so far.

And now I realize that maybe in the past, I wasn't involved in politics because of this very reason. I make it personal. If someone doesn't agree with my beliefs and make derogatory remarks about those beliefs, I take it as a personal slap in the face.
I asked the ladies in my bible study group to pray for me, to help me let go of the anger. And I do feel a bit better now. One of the ladies gave me a verse from Chronicles that has helped a lot. 2 Chronicles 20:15-17

And he said, Listen, all Judah, and you people of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! So says Jehovah to you, Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude. For the battle is not yours, but God's.
Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz. And you shall find them at the end of the valley, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
You shall not fight in this battle. Set yourselves and stand, and see the salvation of Jehovah with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for Jehovah will be with you.

It is not my battle! Wow! That's so great! It's not my battle. And even if a the democrats win this election, it's okay. God is with me. And He still gets the glory. He can use anyone, even the enemy, to His divine purpose. So I have no reason to be angry. God is good, and He's good all the time, in all circumstances. Hallelujah!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Little Background

So, our family is not the norm these days. Hub and I and the boys live with my mom and step-dad. We originally made the move just two days before Frog was born, and out of necessity. The house we were living in was going to be sold and we were not the ones going to be buying it. We could have waited a bit longer to move, but we felt that it would be easier to just bring Frog home and not have to move when he was a couple of months old. (But I would not recommend moving that close to delivery.)
After some time, we all began to see what a wonderful plan God had in store for us. It became very clear that His idea was for us to live together always. It has been a tremendous blessing to live the way we do. The biggest blessing has been the fact that I am able to stay home all the time with the boys. Had we not lived here, there would have been many instances where Hub's salary alone would not have carried us. But we do live here and I am able to be home with my children. There have been many sacrifices along the way, but they have all been worth it. There are actually things that I find I don't really miss all that much. TV, for one. We still have TV but we have cut it down to just a few channels. If you had asked me 8 years ago if having a handful of channels was something I'd be doing, I would have bet against it. I was addicted to the television. Once I started giving my life, my whole life, over to the Lord, He started making some big changes in me. My desire for TV has been one. Movies as well. Used to be, Hub and I could go into a video store and would have a hard time finding a movie to rent that we hadn't already seen. Now, I don't even recognize any of the movies on the shelves. Well, actually, I can't remember the last time I went into a video store, and when I did, I had no idea what any of the movies were about. Before I met Hub, and before we had children, I loved to stay up late and watch the Academy Awards. I would even try to not have to work the day after. I planned on making it a family holiday when I had kids; we would all stay up late to watch. I figured that they could just miss school the next day. How far I have come! Not a clue what goes on in the Academy anymore. And don't want to know now, to tell the truth.

So, back to the original start of this blog, our living situation. My step-dad goes to work M-F and Hub works M-Th and sometimes on Friday. He also has a part-time job that he works one weekend a month"ish". My mom stays home and has some children she looks after. These children are now family. She started keeping K eight years ago. His parents lived next door and kept asking mom to watch him. She kept saying "No." But God finally got through to her. K's parents split when he was 6 months old and until he was two, they spend most of the time hiding him from each other and fighting over custody. At one point, my mom and step-dad invited K's mother to move in with them and gave her money for a lawyer. Both of K's parents were unbelievers and had been raised believing that only the weak need God. When K's mom moved in with my parents, her life changed. She is now saved! Praise God! She was able to get joint custody of K with her ex-husband. But he only wanted full so he stopped seeing K. In the six years since the custody hearing, he has only seen K a handful of times.
K's mom got remarried five years ago and they have two children- H(4) and G(2). Mom still takes care of them while their parents work.

So, at 7:15 each morning, we get three more children added to the fun. Mom takes K to school and is back home by 8:30. And from then on out, it's five kids to chase around. So when people wonder about the socialization of my wild homeschooled bunch, I just let them know it's like a daycare every day at our house.