Sunday, December 16, 2012

I have a 'shpiel' for everything!

I wish I could explain how I feel about some of my friends. The world likes to take people's expressions and contort them and twist them into mutations of the original thought.

I was on Facebook just a few minutes ago looking through some pictures that an old college friend posted. They were of her, her partner, and their triplets. As I commented and "liked" a few of them, I thought, "I wish the world could see that a conservative Christian can wholeheartedly and truthfully 'like' and even 'love' a friend and their pictures, even if they are gay." That doesn't mean that I am a hypocrite or don't stand for my beliefs or anything besides the fact that I like my friend and think her kids are adorable.

As the mother of 4, 1 of which is in high school and another just a breath away from being a teenager, I have to have my "shpiel" ready when the kids have questions about topics that are touchy in the world's eyes. Being gay just happens to be one of them. It's touchy in the worldy world, the Christian world, the churchy world, and the home world. So here's my 'shpiel'.

I don't believe that people are born "gay". But, I do believe that every person is born with tendencies, talents, gifts, things to overcome, and personal temptations.
I believe that any kind of sexual or sensual involvement with the same gender is a sin. But so is lying to someone about what their butt looks like in that awful pair of jeans, sharing answers on a test, talking badly about someone else behind their back, taking office supplies from work, not claiming all of your income on your taxes, etc. And I'll be honest, I've done many sins in my life, today, this hour and will continue to sin throughout my whole life. The good news is that as a Christian, I know that I am forgiven and I will always continue to try to sin less and less.

I don't believe that the guy I saw at Kroger the other day, with the feminine mannerisms and lisp, is gay. I don't believe that the guy who likes to cut or play with hair, design clothes, arrange furniture, cook, or dance ballet is gay either. I do believe that he might have feminine characteristics, or enjoy doing something that the world might consider a feminine occupation, but that doesn't mean that he wants to have sex with another man. I also believe that if that guy feels unaccepted by the heterosexual or even so called Christian world and is consistently called "gay" or taunted, teased, etc, that he might feel like he fits in with the gay community and is finally accepted there. Therefore taking on the traits of that lifestyle.

I also believe that girls can love each other so strongly in the teen and young 20s years that they can be tempted by the world to assume that their love for each other must be sexual/sensual. Not so. Girls at that age, just truly rely on each other so much for advice on their life, their hair, their choice in boys, their choice in clothes, their feelings about that dragonfly they just saw, etc. Sometimes that friendly love can even become territorial or possessive and can become dangerous, I totally agree. But girls need to know that they CAN love another girl-friend whole heartedly, want to hold hands and skip together through Kroger, hug each other and be there for each other without feeling like the world is telling them just to "experiment" and "see if they like it". Would we want our kids to just "experiment" with stealing to "see if they like it" if they were curious what it would feel like to steal that beautiful and expensive sweater in their favorite store? No. If they did would that make them thieves for life? No. Is it okay to dabble in sin? No.

So. That's the short version of my 'shpiel'. I'm sure my kids would tell you it was much, much, much longer than that. :)

Listen. No one likes to be told that they are doing something wrong. No one likes to be criticized. I get it. But shouldn't that be a red flag that what you are doing just 'might' be wrong? Just an opinion. Just a thought.

For the record, I love my friends. I love to see pictures of my friends smiling, having fun; pictures of their beautiful kids, pictures of them happy.
If they can forgive me when I do things that are wrong, and still love me...then I can do the same. But I expect and hope that if they see me do something wrong, that they would love me enough to point it out lovingly and help me do the right thing.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Um...did he just say "douche-bag"?

Did he just say "douche-bag"? Yep, sure did. Here's the story:

One night on the way home from soccer practice, it was just #1 and I in the car. He had hopped in after practice and was awfully quiet. That usually means it was a rough practice. So I said nothing. A few miles down the road he blurts out, "_______ is such a douchebag!"
I think I choked on my own spit, I was so caught off guard! After regaining my composure, I asked him why this was so? He went on to say that one of the team members would say not-so-nice things about him just to make the other team members laugh.
What I said next might be controversial. I said, "yep, he sure is a douchebag."   Now hang on, I do redeem myself...a little. :)
"...but you really shouldn't call him that." was my follow on response. We went on to have a lengthy conversation about the kid and why he might be saying those things, what #1 might have done to prompt those things (because he sure isn't innocent), and what #1 wanted to do about this predicament. Thankfully, he didn't want to give up and quit the team. But he did want to punch him in the face, hard. I told him that maybe we could come up with something different, although part of me wanted to punch the kid in the face too!!
I started to tell him about a lady at my work last year. (Inside my head I knew that the last thing he wanted to hear was a long lecture about 30-40 year old women at a school, but he needed to hear the end of the story.) Here's the gist of the story:
        Last year there was a lady at my school that I just didn't click with. She didn't seem to like me much and threw me under the bus once. I didn't like her. But, I knew that I as a Christian, my job was to 'love my neighbor'. That sounds so much better coming out of my mouth to my kids than from the Holy Spirit in a convicting way.....   Anywhooo. With a not-so-happy heart, I started to pray for her last year--nothing too eloquent or in depth, but still prayed for her. Throughout the year, I intentionally was polite to her when I didn't have to be. And by the end of the year, my heart had softened towards her. We now aren't best friends or anything, but there was no festering sore or drama. That's what I wanted him to hear.
So I simply told him that even if he didn't want to hear it, my advice to him was simply to pray for the kid.
So after the next practice, he hopped in the car and I gently asked how practice had gone. He replied that it went much better and had decided to try taking a different approach with the kid--to laugh along with him and take his comments in a lighter manner than taking it so sensitively. I'm hoping he is praying for the kid too. I am.
Mom of the best 14 year old in the world (and 12 year old, 9 year old and 6 year old, too!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

"I don't want to be part of this family!"

I think every kid has said it--"I'm running away!" or "I don't want to be part of this family!"

Well yesterday was #4's turn to say it.

Thursday is the day of being tired, in this house. At that point, we've made it through 4 days of school and 3 days of after school activities, which makes us all tired.

Yesterday was no exception. After 3 agonizing tries, 9 +9 was still = 20, on his math homework paper....and then he lost it.  I tried to calm him down, redirect, give him a minute to settle down, and threatened. That led to getting a spanking, at which point he screams, "I don't want to be part of this family!!"several times.
My response? I told him that since he didn't want to be part of the family, he needed to remove the clothes and shoes that I bought. As he headed upstairs, I gently reminded him that our family lives upstairs, so he would need to leave. Well, he did. Walked right out the front door butt-naked. I peeked out the front window, and there he was sitting on my chair on the front porch peeing.
I opened the door and gently reminded him, that the porch and lawn belonged to our family, so only we were allowed to pee on it.
He then ran to the van. I walked around the van and found him standing there, naked and crying. I asked him, if he felt a little silly standing outside naked. He said yes. I told him that even though he didn't want to be part of our family, I would be glad to share some of our family's clothes with him, so that he didn't have to be naked anymore.
So we walked inside. I started asking him if he needed to borrow anything else, like a pillow or a blanket, or maybe some money, since he didn't have any.
He sighed really loud, frowned, and said, "nevermind. I do want to be part of this family. I'm sorry."

I still can't believe he peed on my front porch.
What's a mom to do?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summertime...and the livin' is easy?

So it's summer: the kids are home, I'm home. That means-togetherness...lots and lots of togetherness.

So far, it hasn't been too bad. They are beginning to get on each other's nerves a little, but so far so good. It is helpful that #1 sleeps until noon. :)  But since we know that we only have about 8 weeks until school starts back and dad deploys, we are going to do our best to spend these weeks well.

I'll keep you updated.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm so sneaky!

I'm so sneaky, oh so sneaky.

Normally I am not a food-sneaker. That being said...there are 3 things that I make that I do sneak food into.
1)Chili. Whether the kids like it or not, I make chili. It's cheap, it's wholesome, it's easy to make, it's versatile. My chili is special in one more way....pumpkin. Yep, a whole can of pumpkin. Why? Well...why not? You can't taste the pumpkin. It adds a whole other layer of fiber and beta-carotene to the already good for you chili, so really it's a win-win situation.
2) Fettucini Alfredo. #2 LOVES fettucini alfredo or any other kind of alfredo. Now, while I do know how to make alfredo sauce and have made it before, it is one of the only jarred sauces I buy. Mostly because anything alfredo is a last minute meal idea here around our house. However....*cue the sneaky alfredo sauce has pureed great northern beans in it. I take my handy dandy wand mixer and puree up a can of great northern beans and add it right to the Alfredo sauce. Why? Fiber. Lots of fiber. We've got to keep these kids regular!!
3) The infamous weight watchers chocolate muffins. 1 box Devil's food cake mix. 1 can pumpkin, 1/2 cup chocolate chips (who are we's more like 1/2 the bag!) Mix first two, add the chips, bake in either a 9x13 pan to make brownies or muffin tin for muffins. Why? Fiber, baby!!

Make sure you've stocked up on toilet paper and then get to cookin'!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is Sex Bad?

Last night at youth group, they had the last talk in a series on Love and Dating.  It was concluded by a time of Q & A. Questions that the youth had anonymously turned in over the course of the month. As I was talking to #2 (my only girl-11years old and in 6th grade) this was our conversation:
Me: Were there any questions that you want to talk about with me?
#2: No, they really explained everything well.
Me: ok.
#2: Well, there was this one. It was, "Is sex bad?"
Me: What do you think?
#2: Well, they said it was created by God, so it can't be bad, but Satan has twisted it to make it seem bad.
Me: Yeah. They are right. Think about when Adam and Eve were in the garden, and God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. If he wanted there to be lots of people on the earth, and the only way to make a person was through sex, then do you think he would make it un-fun, like getting a root canal, or donating your left kidney??
#2:*giggles* no...
Me: Right! So sex has to be fun and feel good, so that people will do it and fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
#2:*gross face*
Me: It's like ice cream.
#2: *huh??? face*
Me: Ice cream is great, right? Is eating ice cream ever wrong??
#2: yeah if you're on a diet.
Me: ha-ha. But seriously, is it every wrong?
#2: only if you tell us not to.
Me: exactly. If I buy ice cream and tell you that it's for your birthday, so please don't eat it until then, and you eat it before your birthday, then it's wrong. It's a sin, because you disobeyed, right?
#2: right.
Me: but if you wait until your bday to eat the ice cream, then it's not a sin, right?
#2: right.
Me: now, if you eat the ice cream before your bday, you will still probably get ice cream on your bday too, but it won't be special anymore. It would just be ice cream again. But if you wait until your bday for the ice cream, then it's special. You've obeyed too, so you can enjoy your ice cream without any guilt or shame. Sex is the same. If you wait until your married, then you can have sex without guilt or shame. But if you don't wait to be married, then you have disobeyed and it's wrong. You'll still have sex when you get married, but it won't be as special as if you had waited. Does that make sense?
#2: yeah.
Me: Let's keep going with the ice cream is one of my favorite foods! Let's say we were really poor and had never had ice cream before. But we saved and saved and eventually bought some vanilla ice cream. You loved that vanilla ice cream. And that was the only kind you ever tried...Well, until the day you died, anytime someone mentioned ice cream, you would always think about that vanilla ice cream and it would be the best ever. But....let's say you had vanilla, but then you also tried rocky road, then a gross sorbet thing, and then chocolate cookie dough. Then if someone talked about ice cream, your mind would go to all those different kinds that you had tried. AND each time you tried a new flavor, you would be comparing it to the other kinds you had tried. It's kind of like sex. If the only person you are ever with is your husband, then sex with him will be the only thing you think about and same about you. But if you have sex with more people than your spouse, then your mind will go to all those other people you had been with. That is why sex was designed to be with only your spouse when you get married. Does that make sense?
#2: Yes. Why do all your analogies go back to ice cream??
Me: I'm hungry. :)


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wake up sleepy heads!

Every school morning, #1 and #2 get up first and get on the bus. Then I have 20 minutes before #3 and #4 need to wake up. The last two are not easy to wake up....unless it is Saturday morning, but that's another story. I've tried going in their rooms and waking them up nicely, speaking softly, turning on their light, speaking loudly outside or inside their room, taking the covers off, get the picture. They fight me tooth and nail. They whine, ignore me, pull the covers over their heads, whatever they can do to get another wink or two of sleep.
But today I tried a different approach.
I walked into their room, turned off their fan (we use it for white noise) and sat down in their quiet room and began to play with their toys. I took a bucket of little army men and lego men and began playing with them--taking them apart, putting them back together, etc. After one minute, #3 sat up and looked at me and said, "What are you doing?" :)  Then he sat down beside me and told me about each and every lego guy. During this, #4 sits up in bed and looks at us to find out what's going on and who is playing with toys!
He comes on down from his top bunk and tells me about one or two of the guys also. After a minute or so, I asked them to get dressed and brush their teeth, and then we went downstairs for breakfast. It was such a calm beginning to the day!
~~I might try this technique again tomorrow, but with different toys. We'll see if it works 2 days in a row!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hair is not a moral issue

When my kids were little, and I was still idealistic, one of our neighbors had teenagers. I was shocked that she had let her sons wear their hair so crazy--colors, length, etc. (Keep in mind that we are military, and were living on an Army base where kids' hair is usually kept to military standards. :)
She said some wise words that have stuck with me over the years--Hair is not a moral issue....the heart is.

Wow. She and I went on to have a discussion about how to discover if the hairstyle (color, length, etc) is being influenced by a heart issue (rebellion, specifically) or just a normal teenage desire to try new things, fit in, etc.

I have "pondered these words in my heart" for several years. And beginning last year (7th grade), I finally had a chance to put feet to those words. #1 decided he wanted to grow his hair out. Some would say it was to be like Justin It's not about being like J.B., but it is about fitting in, being noticed, wanting to look different than you did in elementary school.
Those wise words were so helpful to hubs and I as we waited patiently and supported #1 with haircuts that were "trims", just to adjust the shape and finetune the evolving style. I was so proud of my husband for being willing to stick this one out.
Last week, #1 made the middle school soccer team. When he saw the final list online, he first went to facebook and posted it...but THEN he came into the kitchen and annouced that he wanted to get a haircut...a real haircut. He said the hair gets in his way when he is trying to play soccer. When hubs got home, I relayed the message as calmly as I could, while inside I was grinning from ear to ear that our child had just made a huge decision all on his own. :)
We took him to get his haircut and hubs and I stood there watching as all 6 or 7 inches of hair fell to the floor. I was so proud. Proud of him making the team. Proud of him making the decision on his own to get a haircut. Proud of his dad for not needling his decision or telling him "I told you so". Proud that #1 is open enough with us to feel like he can change his mind and try new things without us berating him or belittling him. Just plain proud.'s the before:

And here's the after:


Spit happens

My husband spits sometimes. It grosses me out, but he does it outside. When my boys do it inside or on one another, that is a totally different story.
Last year, I found out that 2 of my boys (#1 and #3) had spit on each other, while being hateful to each other. I was livid. So I made them sit on both sides of the trash can and spit for 10 minutes.

A month or so later, #3 spit again. This time he had to spit at the can for 20 minutes.
I really thought we had fixed the problem...until last week.
We brought along a neighbor's kid to church with us on Wednesday night. In the van on the way home, I heard the kid say that #3 had spit on him. Oh, no he didn't! Yep, he did.
So after a profuse apology to the kid, and I dropped him off at his house, we went home. #3 sat and spit, and spit, and spit.... until I had enough. (no photo taken this time, I was too mad!) We moved from there to another form of discipline, since it was discovered that he lied about the reason for the spitting....
I am not naive enough to think we've solved this problem, but I sure am hoping that it doesn't happen again for a long time. Until then....spit happens.