Friday, March 26, 2010

If It's Wednesday . . .

Yes, I know it's Thursday Friday. I'm not that far over the edge.

But I want to talk about Wednesdays.

Our Women's Bible Study meets on Wednesday morning at 9AM. We meet in Fall and Spring. And in Fall and Spring, my Wednesday mornings are disasters. A few recent examples . . .

My phone rings as I am getting out of the van. It's the school. Sound familiar? That's because I blogged about this a few weeks ago . . . scroll on down to read about it.

Last week, I make it to Bible study. I actually make it until 10:45. When my phone rings. Right in the middle of Beth Moore saying something important. Are you kidding me? Nope. School nurse. Again. Emma hasn't spoken a word all morning. (Admittedly, this is bizarre behavior). I stay to the end of Bible study (since James is taking a nap and there's no point in having 2 grouchy children - see how I rationalize things?). I get Emma home and she plays all afternoon like she doesn't have a care in the world. For those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook, you might take note that this was the same day of the dog poop/ice cream scoop incident.

This brings us to two days ago (see, I told you I had my days straight). The morning started out OK. I got up without falling out of bed. But at 7:25 I remembered that the carseat wasn't actually "in" the car. I mean, it was sitting there. Just not fastened to anything. So began the frantic, hyperdrive carseat installation wherein it is possible that I might have lost my temper. Once. Twice. OK. Fine. Three times.

Brian leaves with Emma only slightly late and James and I are facing a whole 90 minutes to get ready and head out the door. All we have to do is shower and dress and fill 10 Easter eggs with treats and surprises for Emma to take to school. No problem!

I couldn't find the eggs. You know how this goes. You are at Wal-mart and you think "should I buy that $1 bag of Easter eggs" and you say "NO! I have 100 left from last year when I forgot that I had 50 from the year before and bought another bag. I do NOT need more eggs" and so, you don't buy them. You pat yourself on the back for your frugality only to find yourself standing in your storage area, looking at 20 rubbermaid containers. None of which give you a clue as to which one is holding your Easter decorations. And the 100 eggs. I may have slammed the storage room door in frustration. Because I did NOT HAVE TIME to look for those blasted eggs.

I get James into the car. I get the diaper bag. I get in the van. It's 8:50. We are doing great! All in all, for a Wednesday, it hasn't been too bad. And then it hits me.

I don't have my cell phone.

And I know who had it last. I turn to James. He grins at me, but has no idea where he left my phone. I search through every bag in the car. I search James. I search my own pockets. I retrace my steps. No phone.

I email Brian and my mother-in-law, begging them to start calling my cell phone and keep calling until I pick it up.

It's now 9AM. Bible study has started. And I am not there. I'm wandering my home in search of my cell phone. And I really don't need any lectures here on how this is my own fault because I shouldn't let James play with my phone.

Somewhere in the midst of this, I knew, with a certainty that I cannot fully explain, that I absolutely, positively HAD TO GO to Bible study. That something was going to happen, something would be said, some insight would be shared, and it was imperative that I be there when it did.

This did not lessen my frustration as I continued to run around the house listening for my phone to ring and praying I had not left it on vibrate.

At 9:10, I heard it, snatched the traitor from behind the toy box (why I didn't look there first, I'll never know) and ran for the car. Brian was thankful I had found my phone and started saying all sorts of soothing things like "Honey, you need to calm down. You are on your way to a Bible study, honey."

I can appreciate the irony here without any assistance.

"Honey, if you don't let this go, you won't get anything out of today's lesson."

It really irks me when he's right.

I wish I could tell you it got better before it got worse, but . . . the next thing I heard was a beep. My sweet mother-in-law had just sent me a text telling me she'd had to put her beloved dog to sleep during the night. I sat in the van for a few seconds and just shook my head. As far as Wednesdays go, this one was making a strong play for "worst ever."

I made it inside, tried not to be too disruptive as I took my seat at 9:25, and slowly began to get in the frame of mind I should have been in from the start.

Oh - you're wondering about the big insight? Yeah. It came. Around 11:15. When Beth Moore looked straight into the camera and said "Esther was called to obedience. She was not called to figure out how it was all going to come down . . . And you are not responsible for how this thing works out."

I felt like someone was shining a spotlight on me as she spoke the words. I literally got chills.

Because I've spent an embarrassing amount of time in the past few weeks trying to figure out how to make this work. How to write, edit, re-write - this strange new thing that I feel increasingly called to do. But how to make it work with the more than full-time job I already have . . . with my core roles of wife and mother . . .with the house that needs to be cleaned and the laundry that needs to be done and the meals that need to be cooked.

I'm a planner. I'm a fixer. I've been trying to figure it out.

"It's tough being a woman who feels responsible for the 'how'." - So true.

But praise God!! I'm not responsible for the how. Just the obedience.

Good thing. James just threw my phone in the trashcan.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

There are rules?

There are rules? Shouldn't somebody have mentioned this before now? (This is a loose quote from a book - which will remain unspecified lest I be laughed to scorn).

My first experience with a writing group went quite well. Or at least, I think it did. I wasn't humiliated. Everyone was friendly and supportive. I received positive feedback and truly constructive criticism of the newly re-written first 4 1/2 pages of my manuscript. All in all, it was a wonderful experience. Especially because I was surrounded by ladies who don't think I'm loony.

But, in the midst of my critique, one of the ladies made this startling pronouncement . . . While you can start the book with the bad guy, one of the rules of romance writing is that the guy and the girl have to meet in the first chapter.

Excuse me?

Did she just say . . . Rules? There are Rules!? (One of which is to never ever use a question mark and an exclamation point together. I'm a rebel.)

Yep. She said rules. And from what I've been able to gather over the past few hours of random web-surfing (while I should have been doing laundry), there are quite a few of them. Things like the heroine must have inner beauty that the hero finds irresistible. And the hero must be flawed, but not fatally. I'm fairly certain, hopeful, praying that I have followed most of the rules purely on an intuitive basis.

Because let's face it. I've read a lot of books. A Lot. And many of them have been romances. (That is not a typo. I do read books that aren't romances. I do. Stop laughing!) I'm hoping the rules have sunk in by osmosis and just managed to find their way into my manuscript without conscious effort on my part.

While it would be nice to think that writing is an art and as such cannot be constrained by rules, if you want to be a published author that is not the case. So, I'll be brushing up on the rule book this weekend. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If You Write the Words, You Will Eat Them Within 24 Hours

I've had a horrible day.

It started out fine. Brian took Emma to school so I had a bit more time this morning. I got the car washed and pulled into the church parking lot at 8:55AM. And then my phone rang. It was the school nurse.

Emma has a cough. Yeah. I know. She'll be coughing from now until June. So will I. She inherited my allergic cough. Nothing I can do about it. She's fine.

I went on to Bible study, but was distracted by maternal guilt. What kind of mother tells the school nurse she is NOT going to pick up her child from school? But I was at Bible study. And we missed last week because of "snow". And I really, really, really needed to be at Bible study. I needed to talk to adults. I needed to hear whatever Beth Moore had to say. I've spent the last week taking care of everyone in the house with various illnesses, while not feeling well myself and not having anyone interested in taking care of me. I needed to be refreshed and renewed.

My phone rang again at 9:45. This time, it was the teacher. And this time, I could hear Emma coughing in the background. A LOT of coughing. Every 30 seconds or so.

I managed to get her an appointment with her allergist for 11AM. The problem with an 11AM appointment? Nothing. For Emma. EVERYTHING for James. He fell asleep 30 seconds before we got there. He did not wake up happy.

I'll spare you the details of the next hour, but they included a lot of crying (mostly by James, maybe a little by me), Emma's ADHD meds wearing off, me being clawed on the neck by James' fingernails I meant to trim yesterday, etc.

Somewhere in the middle of it, I thought "This is NOT what I had planned for today."

And then I remembered yesterday's post and that Voice asked me if I was, perhaps, throwing a fit because things weren't going my way.

Now, in all fairness, my thoughts about throwing a fit when things don't go as planned were more along the lines of the big things. You know, having a child with a rare genetic syndrome or losing three family members to cancer in the space of six months. BIG THINGS.

But, apparently, God meant it for the little things, too. I wish I could tell you this insight made a huge difference in my morning, but I'm still struggling with it. I still don't see the point in my entire week going down the toilet (as I told the nurse).

So, the moral of this story is simple. If you have the nerve to blog about some sort of spirtual insight, you should expect to get to test it out in the real world. Probably the very next day. You have been warned!

(I have to go now. Emma is trying to remove my hands from the keyboard. She wants to play Starfall.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

If You Say No, I'll Scream

My son has reached a fun age. Most of the time. He is teaching himself how to jump – hilarious. He is already exhibiting a tenacious independent streak – like mother like son. OK. Like his entire genetic line, but I digress.

But at 18 months, he's reached a place where his receptive language far surpasses his expressive language. In other words, he totally gets it when I say no, but he has no words to express his outrage.

So, he falls out in the floor and cries.

This drives me insane. He needs to learn that being told no is not justification for a tantrum. He needs to learn to obey in spirit as well as in action. He needs to learn that if he falls out in the floor and throws a fit, he'll be spending some time in “time out” because mommy is NOT going to tolerate this behavior.

So, on a recent morning when he fell out in the floor, I scooped him up in my arms as I commented to my husband that “I will not have a child who behaves this way”. As I carried him into his room, I said to him, quite sternly and parent-like, “James, you are going to have to learn that when Mommy says no, she has a reason for doing so. Just because you don't understand the reason doesn't mean you can throw a fit about it.”

And then, as so often happens when I'm having a self-righteous moment, I heard it . . . the Voice.

And I'm telling you, He was laughing as He gently, but firmly, put me in my place.

“Really? You aren't going to have a child who behaves this way? You think it is inappropriate for a child to throw a fit when he has been told no. You think your son should obey you willingly and without complaint, even when you have made a decision he doesn't understand? That is very interesting.”


I kissed my son and put him in time out. Then I went and put myself in time out.

How often do I behave like a spiritual 18 month old? How often does God look at me and shake His head and wonder when I will outgrow this infantile behavior. Because I can tell you right now, I'm all for doing God's will, I just have a tendency . . . OK, a general predisposition . . . OK, I pretty much throw a fit when His will takes me down an unpleasant path. Because I want to know WHY!

     “I'll obey Lord, just, please, explain it to me.”

     “Father, I want your will for my life, but could you give me a glimpse into the plan, here?

     “This would be so much easier if I understood the logic.”

But just as there is no way for my 18 month old to fully understand my logic, there is no way for me to fully understand the infinite wisdom of God.

But my son can learn to obey even when he doesn't understand. He can learn to obey without falling out. And he will. Have you ever seen an 18 year old fall down in the floor and cry when his parents tell him no? I hope not.

So what do I do now? I can learn more and more about my Savior. Because the more I know Him, the more I'll trust Him and the easier the obedience will be.

I guess I need to grow up!

2 Peter 3:18 – Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.