MIA and LEMOI (Loving Every Minute of It)

I can’t say that I have had such a busy summer that I had no time to sit on my computer and blog.  I can’t pretend that I was camping in the deep forests, away from the internet.  It would be a lie to say that I haven’t had anything to blog about.  The truth is that I am uninspired this summer.  I didn’t feel like blogging, and since I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t do it.  That is how I roll.  I did other stuff.  I will post pictures someday.

We are about to go back to torture school.  Some in our family are excited about new schools (I will probably blog about that whole process another time) and some of us dread going back at all (read:  Crazy Man and I are dragging butt big time.)  I HATE this time of year.  HATE.  I have blogged about it before.  I am one of those moms.  But a couple days ago, I had myself a little slap in the face moment while straightening my hair.  (Yes, I still do my hair in the summer…sometimes.)

I was wondering to myself if the staff of the schools my kids will attend understand how awesome my kids are.  I wonder if they see past/passed (which one?  I don’t know and I don’t care right now) their report cards and test scores and try to learn who they are.  I wonder if they deserve the time they get with my kids.  And then I started to wonder if those staff members are dreading going back and my kids (and all the others piling into those buildings) are not on their lists of awesomeness like sleeping in, boating, and camping are.

And then I felt that little slap because I am being a hypocrite.  Parents all around my little town are wrestling with the same deal – they are sending kids to our school in about a week and wondering if we will take as good of care of their precious children as they do.  They are wondering if we deserve their kids.  They are wondering if they will be loved and safe in our school building.  And I felt a little guilty because right now, my attitude needs to change and it needs to do a 180 in about 7 days.  So this week, I am working on truly understanding deep down that I am working with the most precious children in the world and in doing so, I will also be praying that the staff at the other schools who will interact with my children will be doing the same.

I am crazy in love with my children.  Every year at this time, I become keenly aware of that.  Another summer down, another sad week for me as I let my own go again, understanding very fully how few summers we have left as a complete family together.  Here is to a great last year of middle school, and a great first year as a Mustang sophomore.  Have I mentioned how fantastic my kids are?

Having my Cake and Eating it Too

Yesterday was a layer cake from a box store.  It looked great from the outside, but left me feeling very disappointed.  You know the kind, tastes like nothing, so all you can think about while eating each bite is the calorie count and that nice glass of milk you need to wash it down.

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The first layer was the crazy home life of yesterday: kids who left stuff at home and needed it delivered to school; kids who, because we go to church on Wednesday nights, had homework until 10 PM; kids who are dragging because this repeated getting up early and having subject matter foisted on them all day is wearing them out.  Between 7:30AM and 5:15 PM, and then again from 5:30 until 8:00, I wasn’t home.  That is normal for many people, but it isn’t our family normal, thus nothing, and I mean nothing was accomplished around here yesterday.  My mother-in-law is coming tonight and she will see our dirty cluttered house in all it’s glory and she will clean it all for me, and I love/hate that.  She shouldn’t feel the need to clean my home, but trust me, she will.

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The second layer was yesterday’s school day.  So many things to list, but I don’t want to sound like a nag, so I will only list one: No, you can’t push your friend off the playground equipment, taking him flying through the air, and landing on him like a WWE hero.  You might hurt him, or in yesterday’s experience, you just might hurt yourself.  Awesome Love and Logic lesson learned.  You would think anyway, but to do it again, yikes.  You must be a kid of the boy variety.

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This monster cake was covered by a beautiful fondant.  You know the stuff…it looks smooth and slick but leaves a bitter taste in your mouth – I fell asleep listening to Clinton’s speech.  “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  Well, in response, I can’t think of you as someone credible.  Ever again, Bill “Fondant” Clinton.

Here are some cake hints from me.  First, go with a simple sheet cake.  Layers look prettier but make the cake more difficult to cut and serve.  If your plate is as full as mine, you must go for the quicker method of getting stuff done.

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Second, don’t save the cake topper for a anniversary.  It gets old waiting around for another day.  Deal with it that day. 

Third, make sure your cake is from The Cake Boss.  He makes good cakes worth the calories.  Don’t eat fluff just because it is in front of you.  The Boss is the only way to go.

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Fourth, don’t order fondant.  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  If you fall asleep listening to garbage, you just might find yourself tossing and turning all night.  This goes hand and hand with the cake topper stuff – fall asleep in peace so your crappy cake day doesn’t lead you into another.

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And lastly, skip the cake, and go with ice cream.  That’s where true joy is.

Why do we…???

I have had a week when again I wonder why I work where I work, doing what I do.  I have said it in my blog before – I am/was a science girl.  I cleaned rat guillotines for the med school as my work study job.   Good stuff, but now I am tired, I am running on empty, honestly I have sat in a bubble bath in tears twice this week already and it is only Wednesday. 

I work with some pretty fantastic kiddos who battle bigger demons than any child should.  I work with overcomers.  I support children who win just by being in school on any given day.  It is not easy.  It drains me emotionally.  But when I ask myself why I choose this way to spend my days, I only get one answer – because I am called to.

I have talked with Bill about going back to school and getting back into a science-related field.  I wrestle with this issue a couple times a year, the times when I allow my “self” to get in the way rather than allow God to put me where He wants me to be and do what He wants me to do. 

We also provide Family Support to families in need.  We are often asked why we do this, “You are busy. You chase four of your own kids. How do you find time?”   Here is what is boils down to:  we do it because we can. 

Psalms 68:4 – 6a

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.

5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families…

So if we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and be an example of compassion, how do we not?  If the lonely need families for God to set them in, how do we close our home and keep all we have to ourselves?  How do we know of the needs of children in our community and walk away from that when we are equipped to serve them?

I don’t want to hear the words to a song like this and know that I am not doing what I can.  I hope to NEVER feel that way.

 

 

I am thankful that this week, as I wrestled with this issue, I heard this song on the radio.  It was perfect for me, it was God telling me to put on the armor, because I am not getting out of this fight any time soon.

Forget not!

The mini-van sweet mommy ride had a little date with the fix-it man last week.  It took an overnight stay to make her all better, and slightly more money than she is worth.  Well, not really, but it was a painful amount.  It was also that day that the Denali went in for his “Holy crap, we have loaded the miles on this year” check-up and system flushin’.  Yep, I was without wheels one day, Bill rode his bike at 6 degrees, and by the time we paid the bill for them both, Christmas gift futures were looking scarce and my old jeans suddenly had renewed life.  No biggie.  It is just money.

1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Today started with a non-flushing master toilet.  Ummmm, who did what in there?  Neither of us.  That was followed by the boys’ toilet not flushing (which is pretty much a non-event, can I get a holla?) but then when Bill decided to do the magic plunger dance with it, the sewage decided to revisit us via the downstairs shower.  YUCK!  Before I could even update my Facebook status, the sewage backup was in our mechanical room, laundry room, seeping into the family computer lab, and within time, under our stairs.  Sewage, I tell ya, sewage.  It was a city issue, so other than cleaning our basement, which we needed to do anyway, no loss.  Except for peace of mind if we allow.

It was decided that I would go to work and Bill would spend the day home.  I got in the van and attempted to leave, but, oh that’s right, today is “Manic Monday” and our garage door opener decided to call it a day also.  It’s all good, Bill is home and he can just open it for me.  Enter Overhead Door repair man. 

Ya know what? 

2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—

 

Bill and I laughed together. 

In church, we sang this song this Sunday, so tonight, the girls and I showed off some dance moves because HE IS GOOD!!  It has been a long time since a dance party rocked the whole neighborhood. 

Sometimes, God speaks through refugees from Africa to remind us that everyday as an American, I need to remember all the benefits He has provided to me.

Thankful today for basements that are finished beautifully, garage doors that keep our collection of toys safe, a neighbor who brought supper, and for opportunity to put into practice the challenge set before us, “Praise the LORD, my soul!”

3 Pillars of my Existence

The trifecta that defines my success level of life is as follows:

1.  To be the best mom/wife I can be.

  • This includes allowing my kids to make dinner for themselves almost every night because, hey, I can’t go with them to college.
  • I also am teaching them how to do laundry by insisting I don’t.  (I wish that worked.)
  • My children all can clean bathrooms because I surely don’t plan on stepping foot inside those little tiny windowless rooms to clean them if I don’t have to (read:  unless company is coming over.)
  • I also send them to bed early some nights to read so I can watch the inappropriate TV shows I have been missing all evening.  (Ask around, I am raising myself some good readers.)
  • Bill has been trained with similar tactics just in case something ever happens to me like I disappear for the month of January and mysteriously come back with a deep tan and amnesia.

These people are independent, and I think that means I have completed my job about 5 – 7 years earlier than expected.  I will just sit back with my feet up during the teen years.  Job done.

2.  To become the ultimate Non-Amish Amish.  Now that I have been to multiple Amish auctions and studied the Amish people intently, I have a simple list of what it will take for me to be just Amish enough to be labeled the “Ultimate non-Amish Amish.”

  • First, I must cook stuff.  Look here and here.  Cook good stuff?  Check.
  • Second, I must make quilts.  Obviously, this weekend, I crossed that off my to-do list.  These quilty things I whip out with no effort will fetch huge money at the non-Amish quilt auction.
  • Thirdly, I must get good at lighting matches.  I am afraid of them.  I also do not like the dark.  Do Amish use Aim-N-Flames?  Hmmmm, something I will have to search out next time I visit the Amish.
  • The last thing I need to do to become Amish is get used to wearing dresses with stockings and old nurse shoes.  That is going to take some sort of miracle.

3.  To be a better Christian.  I know I cant earn my way to heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9) but I can do things to strengthen my faith.  These things include reading my Bible more often, serving others more, and praying more.

  • Actually, the praying thing comes pretty naturally to me since I took out all the fluff.  Gone are the thou’s and thee’s and all that gibberish, and now I often pray things like, “This situation sucks, God, give me wisdom.”  Really, He doesn’t need the details, He kinda already knows everything.  Short and sweet, just like me.
  • Serving others more – well, I signed up for the nursery.  Why?  I don’t know, I really thought I would never change diapers again after diapering four at once.  Something about other peoples’ crap that makes me hurl.  I donno what that is, oh yes I do.  It is poop, people, smeared all over, and I am responsible for getting rid of it.  YUCK!  Oh well, I am going to give it a try.  If I throw up, I will know it was not God’s plan for my Sunday mornings.
  • Reading the Bible is really a tough one for me.  I just don’t get into it.  Is that way too honest?  I have read most of it, honestly, I have.  I just have never found a way to make daily reading habit.  I don’t know if you have figured out that I am just not a disciplined girl.  But now I have a plan.  Our Pastor’s wife preached last week while he golfed in Thailand and she said she reads while doing something she does every day – for her, it was eating cereal, but since I often skip breakfast (I know, I know) that wouldn’t work for me.  Instead, I think I will read it while taking a bath.  Bubble bath with God.  And then I will leave it open on my dresser so I can grab a little Godly wisdom as I get dressed in the morning.  I am hoping this works better for me.

You may wonder why I have 3 pillars instead of 4.  I had planned on 4, but I couldn’t think of the fourth thing – and so I edited my title and opening sentence.  It is my blog and I can do whatever I want with it.

He shows up every time

Does anyone else go through times in life when you wonder where God is?  Not necessarily hard situations but maybe just dry times? Times when life is maybe uneventful or boring?  Times when you feel in between the big events and you wonder what is suppose to be filling that time?  I am in one of those times.  After the major event of the summer that I am not allowed to blog about was over and it was time to find the new normal, it seemed that life settled into a lull. 

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I am tired.  I don’t really even care that school starts tomorrow.  Really.  I am usually all a flitter with having everything lined up and outfits ironed and food plans made, but I don’t have a clue what anyone is wearing tomorrow and for all I know, I might wear the outfit laying on my closet floor from last week and supper might be toast or some great mixture of the stuff in the freezer.  The only thing I have packed up to go into my locker is…gum – because I cant expect to be in a student’s personal space showing them the art of long division with nasty dragon breath.  At least not on the first day.

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When life is like this, I don’t feel much of anything, other than the need to take more naps, which is the story of my life.  It isn’t that I am in a bad place.  I am just in a non-place.  Life just is.  It isn’t full of funny.  It isn’t full of excitement.  It isn’t full of possibility.  And yet, it isn’t full of anything bad either – no sorrow, no hurting, no over-stressed…none of that. 

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And then…in the middle of my afternoon, right after AIR1 played my favorite two songs back to back (Forgiven and then Dare you to Move) and my radio was so loud I am sure all the cars around me were wondering where the teenager was, I got a phone call that made my day even better.  It was a phone call that solidified that Piepers are in the right place doing the right thing, and God has us in His hands all the time, even when we are in the lulls of life. 

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I don’t ever really doubt that He is around.  Sometimes He is just quiet.   Or maybe I am blasting my radio too loud to hear Him. 

Looking Ahead

I was driving my sexy minivan down I-94 last week loaded with the kids.  Yeah, mini vans are the epitome of sexiness.  I mean, who doesn’t, at age 17, dream of driving a kid hauler around loaded with a collection of empty candy wrappers, drink bottles, and dirty socks when they grow up? For some reason, I wanted a lot of kids but planned to haul them around in a really good vehicle like a Corvette.

I am on my second van.  The first was a pimped out leather deal with all the bells and whistles a van can offer (minus a TV, because we don’t give a rat’s butt about TV.)  We replaced it with a stripped down version because come on, a van is a van, and we got a good deal.   We like deals and see no reason to buy new vans because a new van is no more “cool” than one with 30,000 miles on it, just $1,000’s more.  Our vans have been very functional.  Because that is what they are made to be.

Anyway, as I was turning south off the interstate, I got behind a sweet orange Mitsubishi Eclipse and my mind drifted to what was yet to come.

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Some day, when my days of hauling kids are over, I want a car.  Sure, I would like it to look like the Eclipse because who doesn’t want a sleek car that screams awesome?  I will only be able to hold one passenger, so Bill is in luck, but the rest of you, sorry.  And I will be able to fill the gas tank for $50 instead of $100.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

I was busy picturing how cool I am going to be again some day.  Way more cool than the old hairy guy I watched get out of the car.  Why is it that only old hairy guys get out of those cars?  Well, them and their 16 year old kids who borrow them trying to look like men but falling way short of the goal?  My LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG legs will stretch out of the door and my long hair will spill out causing all those around to “WHOA” and all that…

I continued to picture the awesome future as I pumped gas into my sexy mini-van.  Oh, the lifestyle change.  Doing whatever I want, going wherever I want.  The freedom a sweet car will bring is amazing.

I followed the kids into the gas station, high on my dreams.

I pushed my sunglasses up on the top of my head, smiling both inside and out as I thought about how freakin’ cool I am going to be once I ditch the mommy van.  I used the bathroom – even the simple act of using a public toilet couldn’t dampen my mood.

As I pulled the toilet paper (you know, those big round dispensers that have the toothed edge you have to pull the paper across to rip it) I pictured the air flowing through my hair.  After all, maybe I will be sure it is a convertible.

Suddenly, God gave me a slap in the face, literally, via the toilet paper dispenser.  Why do they mount them at face level?  The whole dispenser opened, nailing me in the face, sending my sunglasses flying.  My dream came to a crashing halt.  Getting humbled by a toilet paper dispenser knocks the wind out of the sexy dream sails.

I giggled, skipped back to my van, told the kids my story, and counted my blessings.  Not everyone who wants a van full of kids gets one.

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