Saturday, December 12, 2015

Parents versus Google

Christmas is thirteen days away, and the number one item on Megan's wish list is a hamster.

My husband and I both know what it's like to care for (or neglect) one of these rodents, and are less than eager to purposely welcome one into our home. Nevertheless, Meg is determined to get her wish.

A couple of weeks ago she reminded me that a hamster was at the top of her list. I assured her that I was aware of this, but didn't think it was going to happen.

MEGAN:  Fine. I'll just Google 'how to convince your parents to get you a hamster!'

ME:  Go ahead. Knock yourself out.

Later that evening she called me back to her room, which is next to the bathroom she and her sister share.

ME:  Yes?

MEGAN:  Have you looked at the bathroom lately?

ME:  No, why?

MEGAN:  Go look.

I walked over and turned on the bathroom light, expecting to see the post tornado disaster it usually is, but was shocked to see it clean and tidy.

ME:  Wow, Meg. Did you do that?

MEGAN:  Yes, I did, withOUT being asked.

ME:  Very nice, thank you.

MEGAN:  Step one - do your chores without being asked.

ME:  What?

MEGAN:  Step one on how to convince your parents to get you a hamster.

ME:  Oh.

MEGAN:  I'll be cleaning my room next, withOUT being asked.

ME:  Great.

The next day ...

MEGAN:  Mom?

ME:  Yeah?

MEGAN:  What is it about hamsters that you don't like?

ME:  The cages are a pain to clean.

MEGAN:  I helped my friend clean her hamster's cage, and it was super easy. What else?

ME:  They stink.

MEGAN:  Did you know that there's lavender scented hamster bedding now that really helps with that?

ME:  No, I did not.

MEGAN leaning in close:  Step two - research.

A few days later, I was sitting on the couch when she sat down next to me with her school laptop.

MEGAN:  Do you have a few minutes?

ME:  Sure.

MEGAN:  Good, because I've prepared a PowerPoint presentation.

ME:  You've GOT to be kidding.

MEGAN:  Nope. Step three - PowerPoint.

She proceeded to show me 5-7 slides, complete with pictures, displaying all the reasons why she should get a hamster!!

You guys. It was all, and I mean ALL, I could do to not take her to Pet Smart ON THE SPOT. I mean, COME ON. A freaking PowerPoint presentation?! Seriously, Google? That's hitting below the belt. What parent could resist such creative tenacity???

I'll tell you who, her father. 

There's a saying, "If it's not Dutch, it's not much." I have found this to be quite true when it comes to my Dutch husband holding his ground. So when I relayed all of this hamster harassment to him, he got a chuckle out of it, but was not swayed in the least. 

And so, it looks like Google may have lost this round, but with Christmas right around the corner, I shutter to think what might be coming next.

And no, I'm NOT gonna Google it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Take THAT, Devil.

I may have mentioned once or twice that I work at the Christian school my girls attend. One discipline that our school instills in its students is the memorization of Bible verses. I LOVE this, among other things.

At Back to School night, the junior high Bible teacher told us that she found a method to help the students not only memorize scripture, but remember it. While I believed her, it was hard to imagine 7th and 8th graders being able to recall so many words! You see, the first week they memorize a passage of scripture and say it in front of their class. The second week, they repeat the first week's verse and add a new one to it. The third week, they repeat the verse from week two plus the new one from week three, and so on, so that each week they're reciting two passages. THEN at the end of the semester, they write out ALL the scriptures they've memorized since the first week. WOW.

This week my 7th grader, Megan, was memorizing Romans 12:1-2:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

As she and I were working on it the other night, she was a little frustrated because all of the 8th graders in her Bible class already knew this long passage from having memorized it the year before. Right about then her older sister, a 9th grader, walked into the room and started quoting it verbatim.

Now while this recitation from her sister only increased Meg's frustration, it absolutely thrilled ME!! To know that these verses are not just being crammed into their short term memory for a test, but actually being stored in the deep recesses of their minds, so they are able to recall them when needed? PRICELESS.

This morning Megan asked if she could practice saying her verse to me while we walked from our car to the school buildings. I agreed, of course. As she began reciting the scripture to me, I envisioned other students on the campus speaking God's Word aloud throughout the day, and I got so excited! I mean, how could scriptures, spoken out loud not have a positive effect on a school campus let alone the students who are reciting them?! 

Megan finished as we approached my office, kissed me goodbye, and as she walked away I said under my breath, "Take THAT, Devil." 

My girls, and so many other kids in our school, are hiding God's Word in their hearts, and that's something NO ONE will EVER be able to take away from them. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sometimes You Just Gotta Grovel

For those who don't have a personal relationship with me, you need to know a couple of things before we get to the heart of this post:

1) My thoughts are written across my face 100% of the time. I don't know how to play poker, but I'm sure I would suck at it. I've wished many times that I were a better actress, and could hide my feelings. No dice.

2) When I'm shopping, I don't want to be bothered by store personnel. That may sound harsh, but it's very rare that I need assistance AS SOON AS I STEP FOOT IN A PLACE. If I ever DO need help, I'm not shy about finding someone and asking for it, especially at hardware stores where I am completely out of my element, but a clothing or shoe store? I'm good, thanks.

Alright. A few days ago I took my oldest daughter, Amanda, shopping for school clothes. We were maybe two feet inside a shoe store when we were accosted by a sales staff person.

Now I would have been fine with a standard greeting:

Hi, hello, welcome to ...

I would have even tolerated a "Let me know if you need any help."

But after that, PLEASE, for the love, LET ME BE. I am an ADULT. I know WHY I'm here and WHAT I need. If after a few minutes you glance over and I'm laying in between two shoe racks in the fetal position, feel free to approach slowly and ask if I'm okay.

That said, I realize that this gal was probably just doing what her manager told her to do. So allow me to address the managers out there:  Please let your people give a quick greeting and then just be available to help those who actually need it. And if, as a manager, you're just enforcing what those at the corporate level are requiring, then I will address them too:  STOP!!! REALLY. It's not getting you additional sales. People like me walk out of your stores when the staff is so aggressive.

Okay, so this is how it went down ...

SALES CHICK:  Hi guys, how are you?

ME:  Good thanks. 

Please go away now.

SALES CHICK:  You here for some shoes today?

ME:  Blank stare, then annoyed smile, because hello ... it's a SHOE store.

AMANDA:  Yeah.

SALES CHICK:  Awesome. What kind of shoes? Are they for school?

ME:  Can't stop gritting my teeth to form a response.

AMANDA:  Yeah.

SALES CHICK:  Do you have a dress code?

ME:  Yes, but not for shoes.  


SALES CHICK:  I had a dress code when I was in school.

Aaaand this would be when I walked away and left my daughter to fend for herself. I couldn't help it. It was for the safety of all involved.

Amanda found what she wanted, no thanks to the over-zealous store employee, we made our purchase and walked out.

Our next stop was Victoria's Secret, because Amanda had seen online that they sell backpacks now. What? Anyway. We get there and as we're walking in I see a sign:  "7 panties for $27"  Well, we were there for backpacks, so whatever.

As we cross the threshold of the store, an employee greets us ...

VS GIRL:  Hi there. Welcome to Victoria's Secret.

US:  Hi.

We walk over to the backpacks, which are only a few feet from her.

VS GIRL:  Just so you know, we have a special going on now: seven panties for twenty-seven dollars.

ME:  Yes, I saw that on your sign.

VS GIRL:  So, you're looking at backpacks?

ME:  I raise my eyebrows and smile at her as if to say, "Obviously."


Turns out the backpacks weren't what Amanda wanted, so we left. 

AMANDA:  Gosh, Mom. She was just doing her job.

ME:  I know, I'm sorry. I just get so tired of having to chat with all the sales staff while I'm shopping. I just want to look around and not be bothered. Why is that so wrong? Ugh.

Fast forward a couple of days and we're in a fast food drive-through. We get to the window which is being manned by a clown. Not really, but her make-up is ten times louder than anything I wore back in the eighties.  Hot pink blush with matching lipstick and bright yellow and blue eye shadow with fuschia accents. I turn to my youngest, who is sitting in the front seat and say under my breath, "Did you SEE her make up??"  Megan just stares at me with bug eyes.

We pull out into the parking lot and Meg says, "That wasn't very nice, Mom." And as I try to defend myself, because CLOWN MAKE UP, it hits me how very right she is, and I feel awful. So awful that I can't shake it. 

I'm now officially in a funk, because I was so mean to someone else. And not just at the drive-through, but at the shoe store, and at the lingerie store, and who knows where else. But even worse than that? I acted that way in front of my girls. I wouldn't have DREAMED of behaving like that when they were younger and so impressionable. Just because they're old enough to know right from wrong, doesn't give me license to be nasty. Good grief. I'm a Christian for crying out loud.

So, I apologized to God and asked for His forgiveness. This gave me a teeny sense of relief, because I know that any time a Christian confesses their sin to Jesus, He forgives the sin and forgets it. It is no longer "out there". He doesn't remind the sinner of past failures. That's what Satan does. However, I knew I also needed to make things right with my girls, so I went to each of them and apologized, asked for forgiveness ... forgiveness like Jesus would give. I asked if they would please forgive me and try to forget my actions, rather than remind me the next time we're at a store or fast food drive-through what I did "that one time".

They graciously forgave me and agreed to forget. Whew.

And now I have to go grocery shopping. 

Pray for me ... 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

To the Dad at Food-4-Less

So there I was, grocery shopping alone and nearing the finish line when I noticed a young dad next to me.  He too was bagging food, but was accompanied by what looked to be like his six year old daughter and eight year old son. I don't know all that transpired before they arrived at the checkout, but it was obvious that the parent side of this guy was DONE.

As I packed my items to go, I noticed that his children were now standing AWAY from the conveyor belt and a good two feet AWAY from him, wearing expressions only donned by kids who have pushed the parental boundaries and lost. 

I gave him a knowing smile.

Dad:  You want two kids?

Me:  I have two already, thanks.

Dad:  Ahh, so you're maxed out then?

Me:  'Fraid so.

We laughed. 

The kids did not.

As I pushed my cart towards the exit, there was so much more I wanted to say to him. Things like, Someday they'll be old enough to stay home and you can grocery shop by yourself!! Or, Keep that sense of humor. It's the only way you'll stay sane in the years to come! Or what if I shocked us all by saying, Sure! Come on, kids!

Instead, I chided: "Have a GREAT day!!" The girl said nothing, but the boy smiled weakly and said, "You too."

Thank you for the laugh, Food-4-Less Dad, as well as the reminder that we're all in this together.

Humor and perspective, right?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Blessing Despite My Unbelief

A post to encourage ...

Our family has recently been given the opportunity to trust God to make up the difference in some lost income.

We sat down with the girls and explained where we were financially, and that we needed to pray for the Lord to come through in a big way. We'd also have to put an immediate stop to any "extras".

Less than a week later, I was asked why Megan wasn't signed up to go to winter camp with the other 6th grade girls. I explained our situation, and was informed that someone had recently backed out and that there was a scholarship for her to go if she was interested.  For real??  I asked Meg if she would like to go with her friends to winter camp. Needless to say, she was VERY EXCITED!!

A few days later, Amanda handed me a registration form for the camp she wanted to attend during Easter break. Early bird registration was $99. 

Now one would think that after seeing what God did for Megan, that I would have had a completely faith-filled response for my first born.


I took the form from her and reminded her, somewhat irritatedly, that we didn't have the funds. She argued that it was only $99. I said, "Well, we'll see what the Lord does."

The next day I mentioned this, in passing, to someone who asked how we were doing. That person contacted me the following day to say that they wanted to cover the $99 registration fee.


I excitedly told Amanda the great news!! She responded with, "Do I get the sweatshirt too?"

OH. MY. WORD.  Way to take the wind out of my sails, kid.

"Seriously Amanda? The sweatshirt is an extra $30."

"I know, but I got it last year."

That would be when I sarcastically retorted, "Well, I guess you better pray for that money too then."

She must have done just that, because when I received the check, the note stated that the Lord had impressed them to add an extra $50 for whatever "extras" might come up.

TEARS people. Big fat crocodile tears at the Lord's goodness to my HIS daughter. Not only will she get to go to camp, AND get the sweatshirt, but she'll have spending money to boot!! THAT is how God works. My entire childhood is a testimony to God providing just like this, and yet, I still struggle to believe He'll do it one more time. 

May this testimony be an encouragement to anyone out there (MYSELF INCLUDED) who needs to know that God sees. God cares. God will provide.

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.