Archives for September 2011

Boots and Blog Sugar

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

So I went to a conference this last Sunday for mostly female bloggers with my writer friend/hero Dani called Blog Sugar. Strangely enough, one solo dude braved the dainty pink estrogen laden gala…not sure why???

But I had to erase my speculations because they weren’t uplifting or good and true and noble.  (They were snarky and bitchy and bad) and one of the things I learned was to be very careful what you put on the internet cloud.

(This is more difficult for some of us)

 Regardless, it was fun to network and scope out the ladies who were dressed to the nines and tens and maybe even elevens.  Seriously, I was in awe of their high fashion ensembles; the blown out hair, sparkly shoes and va va voom accessories. 

I had a small moment where I realized how little I think about fashion and maybe that’s bad and I should care more about my attire because I look rather dreadful a good fifty percent of the time. But caring requires effort, that maybe I’m not willing to give, except for an occasional party when I can pull my crap together.

 

Source: None via Samantha on Pinterest

 

I wore my new riding boots (not that I ride anything except for…right, hit delete now) which I was very excited about and a bright yellow necklace from Egypt my husband bought me on our honeymoon that can only be called a conversation piece.

So, I felt cute and confidant and for being a slightly socially awkward person, I fared as well as could be expected.  I learned some cool blogging tricks, made some new she-buddies, and ate way too many sweeties and got a tummy-ache.  It was awesome– in a girly, Princess of Genovia, Annie Banks sort of way. 

Source: None via Samantha on Pinterest

 

When I got home late in the evening, I spilled over with excitement to my husband and oldest son(who should have been in bed), about all the pretty women and the cotton candy and the decorations and how my new boots got many compliments.

My teenage son looked at me with a frown, “So let me get this straight, the conference was pretty and they liked your boots, but did they like your writing mom?”

 I glared back, steam rising from my nostrils. “Yes, no…it wasn’t like that.”

My husband and son fell over laughing.

 

And while I love my boys, they just don’t understand.  Blog Sugar was an experience different from the serious writing conferences I have attended in the past.  It was lovely and nurturing to the female soul and mostly, it just made me happy.

And someday, I aspire to have gazillions of readers and give motivating messages about just being yourself and using your blog for the greater good.  (Ok, what does that really mean people?  Not the good part, I grasped that despite my blonde hair, but all of the really successful writers say, “just be yourself” and the rest of us all scratch our heads dumbfounded because we are ourselves, it’s just they like you better)

Someday, when I am a famous novelist/blogger, I will give clarity to this statement. I’ll say, “Don’t suck, work hard, watch more Pink Panther, find your funny bone, take long walks and talk to Jesus…” Super clear, right? Actually what I think they mean when they say this is to find yourself, because many of us are still trying out and learning our voice and sometimes it takes us a while to figure it out.

In the mean-time, I think blogging rocks because it tells the unfolding story of people and we all need encouragement in our faith, an occasional slap in the face, and to our pee our pants laughing on a regular basis.

And that’s why I blog ♥

Helga the Cleaning Nazi

Seventy-four days ago I decided to be a good steward, get rid of our bi-monthly housekeeper, and try to shave off some rather unnecessary expenses from the budget.  Seventy-four days ago I realized I have some big issues, and seventy-four days ago (I now acknowledge), I became Helga the cleaning Nazi.

I blame it on my step-mom, a darling German woman who believes tidiness is sacred and dirt is of the devil.  I grew up in one of those homes-the kind where the living room was off limits-and if the mere trace of an errant footprint was spotted on the carpet, somehow frau-mama knew who had done it.  I rarely saw her without a broom-seriously, I think she slept with it.

One time my best friend in high school climbed in through the window and had a small but secret soiree when our family was out-of-town.  My friend cleaned up so well, none of us could tell the house had been violated, but my step-mom knew instantly, like one of those canine narcotic bloodhounds, she could smell the perpetrator and discern that her vacuum strokes on the carpet were millimeters off the usual pattern.  It was CSI, Bourne Identity, and Murder She Wrote all wrapped up in her calculating sweep of an eye and I was in serious awe of her super-power cleaning prowess.

But now here I am, years later, with a home full of mess-makers (i.e. my husband and three kiddos) trying to maintain the elusive façade of cleaning Holiness that was modeled to me in my tender and formative years. 

I have to be über clean like frau-mama. Right?  It’s my step-birth-right; my pseudo German legacy.

My husband pointed out that lately I have been muttering under my breath ferocious threats to the dust balls as I stroll around our home fixated on destroying suspicious specks with a Clorox wipey.  He says my obsession makes him feel like he can’t relax in his own home, because he might actually (gulp) mess it up. 

And if I’m really honest, he’s right. Sometimes when he walks in the door I just look at him and get mad. When he appears, it feels like he immediately starts creating havoc.  His backpack winds up on the floor and clothes too, his keys are dropped somewhere where he will never find them, cords are everywhere from iPhones, iPods, laptops and techie gear, cabinets are opened and never shut, dishes are left out,

And the best part is-he doesn’t even notice. I don’t know how, I mean it’s right there-this ginormous mess, like “how could you not see this?”  But he doesn’t. It’s like he’s blind to it.

And my kids do the same thing-all three of them.  It’s me against the dirt of the world and I’m so tired and it’s utterly exhausting being the only soldier in this battle, and I really, really…really miss my housekeeper, because she was my ally and I love her and I need her.

Because I miss being able to see a fully clean house (not half clean) and release it with a happy heart to get dirty again, because in the back of my mind I know it will be clean again in two weeks.  And I can still clean myself in between and then it will be really really clean. And cleanliness is next to Godliness-right?

Does anyone share my pain?

And does anyone have the number of a good cheap housekeeper? Because if I don’t get some help soon, the therapy alone for my cleaning neurosis will be more than the money I saved on getting rid of the help.

 

The Dreaded Halloween Costume

As the leaves turn golden and the first chill in the morning gives way to scorching Southern California afternoons, it seems we have slipped into the fall season, which I mostly like, except for one particular event that makes me cringe-the dreaded Halloween costume shopping.

Now, I take great delight in picking out baby’s costume (this year she is a puppy), but the big kids are another story all-together.  First they beg and plead for me to drive them to the mega-land Halloween store which I’m pretty sure is the main clothing resource for serial killers and prostitutes.  I seriously despise these places.

Generally, I make the kids stay one aisle behind me as I scope out the next, that way I can deter them from a particularly raunchy or gruesome stretch.  People look at me like I’m nuts; “Kids, abort, abort…don’t go down this aisle. It’s The Girls Next Door meets The House Bunny.”

I know my son get’s an eyeful every time we go to these places, despite my stalking around like an over-protective mama bear.  Can someone please tell me why Halloween has become a socially acceptable day to dress like a slut or better yet Freddy Krueger? ( And yes, I do remember dressing up as a sexy Red Riding Hood one year in college.  I know the pot’s calling the kettle black here, but I’ve matured people!)

Faith is at the awkward age between little girl costumes and the dubious Jr’s section.  Anything in Jr’s has big gaping pockets for the tween’s chest, and since most ten-year olds are still growing, I can only assume the boob pockets are to hold candy?

Two years ago she was little Bo Peep, which means mommy had to do some altering of the sexy sheep girl’s ensemble.  First we bought big, so the skirt covered her bum, then we laced her up tight and made her wear a shirt underneath.  We also had to do some creative pleating along the top and add some big bows to cover the gaps.  She looked adorable once we were done, but the effort was hardly worth the fifty dollars they charge for this riff-raff.

Last year she dressed as an eighties girl and I breathed a sigh of relief. She looked like a cross between Cindy Lauper and Madonna, with a hot pink tutu and green streaked hair, but who was I to complain? At least she was modest.

Kyle on the hand dressed as a priest with black sunglasses.  Was it irreverent? Possibly.  This year he’s going to be a Mexican Bull Fighter. I know, right? It just gets better and better.

At least I get to dress up the baby in whatever I want. Next year I’m rolling out the princess gowns. Whoopee!!!!

 

 

OC Couple Fined $500 for Bible Study- Seriously?

An interesting article came across my inbox this morning from a  friend and I almost fell over. I guess the days of persecution and End Times Big Brother are hitting closer and closer to home.

September 20, 2011 – cbs2.com

MISSION VIEJO (CBS) — An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering.

Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what one city official called “a regular gathering of more than three people” that requires a conditional use permit, according to Pacific Justice Institute, the couple’s legal representation.

The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further “religious gatherings” in their home, according to the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI).  “We don’t like lawsuits, but we have to stand up for what’s right. It’s not just a personal issue,” Stephanie Fromm told The Capistrano Dispatch. “Can you imagine anybody in any neighborhood, that one person can call and make it a living hell for someone else? That’s wrong … and it’s just sad.”

After city officials rejected the Fromms’ appeal, PJI, which represents both the Fromms and other Bible study participants, will appeal the decision to the California Superior Court in Orange County.

Neighbors have written letters to the city in support of the Fromms, whom they said have not caused any disturbances with the meetings, according to PJI.

Officials with San Juan Capistrano did not respond to requests for comment.

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This blows my mind. A small gathering of people gathered in a home to study and worship God is breaking the law?

What about monthly poker nights, mothers’ play dates, bunko gatherings, holiday celebrations, wine groups, book clubs and my personal favorite, Monday night football groups?  Do all these count as a regular gathering of more than three people? I think so!!!!!!!

Or is it just the name of Jesus that get’s people’s panties all up in a wad?

Bit by bit, our freedom to worship God, is crumbling before our very eyes.

I am generally not prone to getting involved in politics, but I will be writing a letter to the City of San Juan Capistrano in support of the Fromms’ appeal because I certainly don’t want some yahoo calling the cops on me for my crazy Christian shin-digs; like ministry meetings, New Believers picnics and so forth. (wild…I know).

Very soon, Bible Studies may have a cover charge if we don’t stand up to this absurd ordinance. Next thing you know we will be meeting in underground house churches like the Chinese.

(Then again, maybe we need a little persecution to light the church on fire and help us remember exactly who we worship) A Very Big GOD!

Thoughts?

Signs along the Road

So I’m driving to work, shooting up some popcorn prayers to the big guy, when I turn my head and see these cool signs. I roll down the window, grab my iPhone and snap a shot.

I’m transfixed. There’s a sign that says ONE WAY with an arrow that got a wee bit cut-off in the picture and another sign proclaiming WRONG WAY.

It’s like God is whispering to me (maybe because he knows I’m attracted to danger).

Sam-You can go down the wrong way, the long way and the hurts like hell way to find me or you can jump straight into my arms baby girl.

I sat at that sign until the cars honked behind me.

Each day I get to choose between life and death, beauty or destruction, love or selfishness…

Choices, decisions, judgements…

I can choose to make the extra effort and snuggle into to my husband’s arms tonight or pretend to be asleep. (Yes…I’m referring to sex for all of you scratching your head about what snuggling means)

I can bite back my critical comments when I come home to a ginormous mess after a long day at the office and instead simply say, “Hi there kiddos, I missed you.” (Breathe in peace, exhale bitchy mommy)

I can make the effort to call my friends when I’m sad or I can park my butt in front of a basket of chips, salsa, and a skinny margarita nursing my emotional boo-boos all alone at Casa Ranchera (Not that I would…just saying I might).

I can choose to take baby Kolby to the park, rub Faith’s back, or listen to my son Kyle go on and on about expensive blue Nike’s  until my head spins or I can check my Email and be distant mommy.

I can choose to not launch back verbal abuse to my co-worker after he has just asked me to cut up his steak for him at an office luncheon. (Ok, maybe that’s too much to ask of anybody?) 

I turned my car towards the ONE WAY sign.  At least for today, I’m heading in the right direction.

 Oh Jesus–I need HELP!

Goldilocks and the Three Outfits

It was the second day of school when my fair maiden Faith scurried down the stairs and into the kitchen. The baby was parked on my feet, double fisted with sippy cups of juice and milk, whining to watch Yo Gabba Gabba. I danced around her little body, trying not to step on her while packing lunches and making breakfast.

A blur of dark golden hair and an extensive length of thigh whizzed past me.  “Stop and turn around.” I demanded.

Faith looked at me like a deer in the headlights, feigning wide-eyed innocence. “What mom?”

“No way are you wearing that outfit.” I stated firmly. “Did you really think I would let you out of the house in that?”

Faith turned and looked sheepish, then flounced away in her skimpy, spaghetti strapped polka-dot sundress. As she turned to stomp up the stairs, I caught a glimpse of her pink panties.

(I could just see the mom’s at school gossiping, “Yep, that’s the pastor’s daughter, the one over there in the hootchie outfit.”)

‘But mom, its soooooo hot outside,” she whined from her room.

“You’ll be cold in that outfit” I shouted up to her.

A few minutes later, as I poured a (much needed) strong cup of coffee, in she traipsed again, now wearing her most prized and overpriced jeans with a grey cowl necked sweater. I put the cup down and looked at her in bemusement. “Faith, it was over a hundred degrees yesterday. Don’t you think you might be a little too hot?” I suggested.

She shook her head and looked in the mirror admiring her outfit. “I’ll be fine, mom.”

“Try again,” I said, shaking my head in exasperation.

She gave me thewhatever” look combined with a loud sigh and rolling of the eyes, then ran up the stairs once again.

Somewhere between little girl and all grown up...

As I heard her feet clomp down the stairs for the third time, I got a wee bit apprehensive. I could feel a headache coming on from all the drama and my son hadn’t even appeared yet with his rapper crap, (I mean the cool gear) he tries to pull off so nonchalantly.

But then Faith appeared and a wave of relief washed over me. She had on denim shorts (that actually covered her bum) and a pink diaphanous blouse that was a light cotton but still modest.

All of a sudden the Three Bears came to mind. It had been her favorite fairy tale as a munchkin.

“You look just right Goldilocks. Not too hot, not too cold, you are just right- sweetheart.”

And my fair maiden smiled and everything was the way it should be for at least five minutes (until my son came down wearing a sombrero the size of an inner-tube).

I really wish my kids wore uniforms.

 

Baby Kolby and the Bad Word

In our home, we have two distinctions for withholding the truth.  One version is called a secret or a lie. Secrets are bad and we heavily discourage this type of sneakiness (except for mommy’s little beauty secrets, and those are between her and God).  We have serious consequences in our family for telling lies of any kind.

The other type of truth withholding is a surprise.  Surprises are good. In this case, the intention of the truth withholder is to simply bless the recipient, with zero malice on the agenda.

Now our daddy is the king of surprises. Tim loves to play tricks and create outlandish diversions to illicit a joyful response.  But, sometimes he takes it a little too far (though he usually has the best of intentions) and by the time we are actually surprised, we might also be slightly pissed off.

Labor Day was a day for surprises.  Both Tim and I wanted to create a memorable family day with the kids to celebrate the end of summer, thus the element of surprise was essential. We lounged around the house in the morning and finally got the whole family ready and into the Expedition by 10:00am. The kids knew food was on the agenda because we didn’t feed them breakfast, but this was the extent of their knowledge regarding the day.

About twenty minutes into the drive, I realized my husband was not taking the freeway to our Newport Beach destination, but was instead taking the scenic route along Pacific Coast Highway, a gorgeous drive, but double the amount of travel. I looked in the backseat and the kids seemed happy (for now) but I wasn’t too sure what would happen over the next hour without food. 

Kyle started in on the complaining first. “Where are we going? How long is it going to take?  I’m starving!” he whined.

Then Faith joined in, “My tummy hurts! How much longer?” she asked.

Tim just kept on driving and driving and ignored their comments.  An hour and twenty minutes in to the drive and my own tummy was growling, but I knew we were close to the ferry and our destination on the Balboa Peninsula. 

But Kyle was getting frustrated.  “Where are we going?”He demanded frostily, devoid of any fun or frolic in his voice.

Tim (now cranky himself) shot back, “We are going to Long Beach and it will be another hour! Just stop your whining or I can let you out and you can walk from here.”

Both Kyle and Faith went quiet, but our sweet little baby Kolby piped in from the backseat, “F… You!”

Tim and I looked at each other in amazement. Then again we heard her little voice ring out even louder.

“F… You!”

At first we weren’t sure if we were hearing her correctly, but she continued her diatribe louder and with more intensity.

Tim and I, than Faith and Kyle burst into laughter. We laughed until our insides hurt and then we laughed some more.

Now generally we discourage foul language in our home.  In fact, I’ve only heard my husband swear once or twice in our whole marriage.  If a bad word flies out, it’s probably mommy that let it slip, but the F word isn’t really one I use. (If the baby had said the S word, everyone in the car would have called me out)

We think she might have been trying to say “off shoe” but we aren’t really sure.

Maybe baby Kolby simply had enough of daddy’s tricks and wanted to eat brunch?  Either way, the truth is, she articulated what we were all thinking, maybe not in that vulgar of terms, but we were all pretty much done with daddy’s surprise of the day.  We just wanted to eat.

So maybe surprises can go a little too far sometimes. And maybe we should keep an eye on our verbal (i.e. sailor mouthed) baby.  She seems to be taking after her mother.

 

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