Plan B

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I love meeting young people who have a plan.  They have known since they were five years old they wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or a mommy or a teacher. 

They are the PLAN A types.

My dad drilled this idea into my head starting in pre-school. 

“Sammy, what does PPMF mean?”

(imagine me as a three year-old with blond pigtails and a seventies smock with knee socks)

“Daddy, it means Piss Poor Planning Means Failure.” 

“That’s right honey, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Big wink and thumbs up dad!

But sometimes our plans and God’s plans collide.

I was the Type A kid on the mommyhood track.  I had a plan to marry, have kids and graduate from college in a certain timeframe.  In fact, I was 8 months pregnant when I graduated from UCLA.  I took my last final, came home and laid out my cap and gown and cute little maternity dress.  Then I worked on decorating my girly nursery.  I gently folded the delicate baby girl clothes I received at my first baby shower and placed them in my new baby chest of drawers. 

But instead of going to my graduation ceremony and party that weekend, I ended up in the hospital with a kidney infection and pre-term labor. 

During my fifth ultrasound of  my stay in the hospital, the tech looks over at me and says, you know what sex baby you are having right? 

I tell him yes, I am having a girl.  And he starts laughing. 

“Lady, I see a penis.” 

“The heck you do, I’m having a girl.” 

And he keeps laughing because the evidence is nonnegotiable

Plan B is my awesome amazing son Kyle Riley who was supposed to be Alexis Whitney.

We like to make plans and we want them to align with God’s plan. 

(It makes things so much easier when we are all on the same page, right?)

But how do we determine God’s will for our life?

How do we know what job we should take or what person we should marry or where we should live?  How do we know what kindergarten to put our kid in or what church to attend?

Questions like these get even harder when we think we are following God’s plan and then everything falls apart.  Maybe we misunderstood God or misinterpreted the signs. 

But it’s never really that simple. 

Knowing God’s will for your life is not a science.  There is no equation. 

No “I do this =and God does this for me.”  It’s often just a matter of trial and error. 

But I’ll let you in on the secret:  The answer to knowing God’s will is to KNOW GOD; because when you know God the questions change.

Chapter 16 of the Book of Acts tells an interesting story about Paul who is preparing to go to Asia to preach. 

He believes its God’s will and we all know Paul to be tight with God.  If anyone is going to get this right it’s going to be Paul.

But something is off.

Think about when you plan a mission trip.  You raise support, send out letters, plan, pray, plan, buy a ticket and get on an airplane.  And that’s modern times.

Paul had to raise support, wait until spring (because traveling in the Mediterranean in the winter is a recipe for death) and find a crew and a boat.  It was complicated and it involves a massive amount of prayer and planning.

Acts 16:6 tells us:

“Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there.  So instead they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. 

So Paul heads for Asia and ends up in Troas?  That’s disheartening.  He thought he heard God but maybe not. 

Was he wrong?

You may remember a time you have hit a roadblock like that.

You got into a great college, but you can’t afford it.  You meet the perfect girl and then right before the wedding the relationship unravels.  You get the job you always wanted and then you hate it.

You were pretty sure you were going in the direction God wanted you to go in and then all of a sudden you are filled with doubt because it didn’t work out the way you expected.

So when the Bible says Paul was stopped by the Holy Spirit, it’s not exactly clear what that means.

We are never told how he was told not to go –was it a storm or a vision or a buddy who said, “Paul, I’m not feeling up to Asia.”

We just don’t know.  But then he ends up in Troas and he doesn’t know where to go next.

This comforts me.  I’ve been in that Troas place lots of times.  I thought I knew where God wanted me and then all of a sudden it’s Troas time.

Sometimes our God plan doesn’t work out.  Sometimes we end up with a blue nursery with circus animals instead of a pink one with daisy’s.

And then we hit Plan B and it’s hard and awkward and we are uncomfortable.

But if we sit around, complaining and second guessing Plan B, we miss something important along the way. 

Erwin McManus, one of my favorite authors and the pastor of Mosaic Church says when Plan B hits; part of the problem is that we ask the wrong question.

Paul doesn’t know the what, when and the where of his circumstances. He doesn’t know what he is supposed to be doing or if and when it will happen. 

But he does know the most important thing, he knows the why.

His purpose and his mission are to bring glory to God with his life.

Most of us though freak out about the other questions…

  • Where am I going to live?
  • Will this relationship work out?
  • Is this the right job for me?

We are so focused on the what, when, where and how that we forget about the “why”.

Pastor Pete Wilson suggests…”Often in life, the what, when and where are not going to turn out the way you want them to.  You don’t always get to choose, but you do get to choose the why.  You may not get to choose where you work, but you do get to choose why you work.    You may not get to choose what your future is going to be, but you do get to choose how you live.”

If you can keep your focus on the why, the other questions tend to sort themselves out.

Proverbs 16:9 reminds us:

In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps.

In this life, many of your questions will remain unanswered.  But through it all, God will never change.  This is why our faith must remain on his identity and not his activity.

Our task then is to do what we would do if we were confident God was with us.

Once we know our purpose and our mission, “who, what, when and where” become less important.

We become people who care more about the why.

Is there a situation in your life right now where understanding the why might change your perspective?

 

Cross references:

  1. Proverbs 16:9 : S ver 1; S Job 33:29; S Ps 90:12

 

5 Things to Know About Turning 40

group Jen's bday

I celebrated another friend turning the big 40 this week.  We went out on a  Duffy boat, danced in the Newport harbour and laughed and loved and affirmed our girl Jen. 

And it made me think about what I really wanted to tell her (if I was honest) about hitting this big milestone -now that I’m an expert nine months in.

Dear Jen, and all my peeps nearing 40,

Things happen to you when you age –sneaky things, weird things, and terrible awful surprises.  And when you are in your thirties NO ONE TELLS YOU the whole truth.

There was a movie out recently –This is 40.  And while funny, it wasn’t honest.  Because 40 in all reality and not Hollywood land doesn’t look like that.  In fact, I would suggest Hollywood makes us all feel MORE OLD because without a team of surgeons and trainers and LASIK, the rest of us look –well…40.  The real 40.

Jen

So, I’m letting the cat out of the bag. 

Here are the top five surprises to hitting middle age.

1. Spots.  Are you scared yet?  It’s true.  Red spots, brown spots, more freckles, random dots.  In fact if your kids are bored give them a pen and let them connect them for a fun car game.  It’s like your dermal layer checks the time map, notes that you crested over the hill and BAM, a little age fairy tip-toes into your room at night and get’s out the markers.  When I asked my dermatologist about it he claimed it was due to hormones, genetics and sun damage.  He also mentioned he would be glad to laser them all off for a small fee comparable to my mortgage.  (I’m guessing the tanning bed in my late teens was a very BAD idea)

2. Your metabolism hits the Sh*tter.  Those cupcakes on the weekend –straight to your ass-ter-kosher.   Margaritas’ and chips?  You will pay.  All of those years when you could indulge over the weekend and then be good on Monday are now OVER.  Your vehicle is burning fewer calories and the high-speed octane days of the 2:00am Del Taco run are a distant memory.  Unless you are eating A LOT less and training more, your body will change.  Depending on your fortitude and state of mind you may want to fight this inevitable battle of the bulge or embrace the middle age spread.  Good luck!

3. You become a SANDWICH.  Did I throw you off on that one?  By sandwich, I mean you get to deal with aging parents, teenagers and because so many of you waited to have kids until your late thirties –diapers too.  You are hitting hospitals, prom and play dates all in the same week.  You get to fight with your teen about innapropriate parties, search for the lost pacifier and manage your parent’s finances and healthcare all in the same day. 

And the stress coming from every angle will make you a little CRAZY, which is why you will…

4. Adopt bizarre coping mechanisms.  Like floating underwater in the bath and pretending you are in the Caribbean (until you get repetitive ear infections and your doctor confronts you), or you notice your husband disappearing to the mancave/bathroom for long stretches of time –and you know he’s not pooping that long and must be playing an online poker game. Maybe you become obsessed with a drink at Starbucks, indulge in the mommy sippy cup of wine or a nice meal out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Maybe you pull your hair out, dress your kids in matching outfits to self soothe through image management or sit on the floor and cry because your house is a mess.  However you deal, avoid or succumb to the overwhelming feelings of chaos –life just seems to get more complicated as we age.  

5. Your uterus tanks.  I’m aware this is a female issue but this affects the dudes too.  All of a sudden, instead of being so careful to not get pregnant and using birth control, you are forking over hard-earned cash for IVF and Chlomid to get one last shot at a baby.  You used to buy condoms now you buy ovulation predictors.  Your OBGYN is on a first name basis and you know all the ladies on the pregnancy forums and chat rooms –even if you never officially log in.  And when did sex become so stressful?  (Because when it’s go time –it’s go time)

(I also want to give a shout out to laugh lines, well-loved but sagging breasts, and random whiskers that appear on your chin.  I don’t want to forget the beer gut, thinning hair, bald patch, and lowered levels of Testosterone for the guys.  But, I couldn’t cover it all and it’s too freaking depressing anyway. )

So here’s to 40!  It’s messy and challenging and wonderful.  And there is no better way to celebrate than with your friends! 

card

–Sam

Hobbits and A Double Standard

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My three-year old quoted JR Tolkien yesterday-Bilbo Baggins to be exact. 

Kolby swiped at her runny nose and waved her arms around for emphasis.  “Stop, stop.  I’ve forgotten my handkerchief.  We must go back.”

The whole family burst into raucous laughter as we pulled out of the driveway.

If you know the Hobbit like we do you know this tiny kid has a serious sense of humor.

 We do cover her eyes for the Ork and Goblin scenes for all you parents out right now tsk-tsking us for introducing violence to our young impressionable child.

I had to laugh the other day as I recognized the hypocrisy in my parenting.  We were at the beach and our young friend-Luke, who is obsessed with Star Wars, was asking question after question about the characters.  Luke is not yet allowed to watch the movies.  Seeing that he is only four years old this seems very appropriate.

But the problem is that our three-year old, a much younger child (in his eyes), has not only seen the movie but can also quote Darth Vader, Han and R2D2.

“Kolby has seen Star Wars?” our young friend wailed with indignation.  “But she’s smaller than me.”

‘I know buddy,” I replied.  “But she’s our third child and the third child has different rules than the first child (like you are) and someday you will understand the conundrum.”

Luke looked at me blankly, adorably pouted and dragged his sweet little feet in the sand.

I felt like a schmuck.

What I should have said is, “Here’s the deal Luke, the third child watches everything the first child had to wait years for.  As the first child, you will have more rules and be the guinea pig for your parents.  I’m sorry bud, but that’s the plight of a first-born.”

Or, maybe I’ll let him figure it out on his own.

Our son Kyle, my first-born, wanted to watch Harry Potter in pre-school.  And I as a young Christian mom I freaked out.

So, I made him wait until he was six years old and then made him read the novel along with the Bible passages on witch craft before he could watch the movie.  He also was required to explain the difference between fantasy and reality and promise to never engage in spells or incantations.

By the time Kolby rolled around, we just hid her eyes when “He who shall not be named” was on the screen.

Oh the double standard is terrible!  But it’s so hard to kick the baby out of the room when the teens are watching PG13.

Have you noticed a double standard when parenting your first and last kids?

The Real Neighbors of Ladera

Ladera Post

“Mom, you and dad do what? What’s this “crazy” business all about?”

My son stares me down as his eyes peep over the newspaper in his hands.

Weak Smile and Change the SUBJECT

**Note to self** Remember the words you write before you let your kids read it in the newspaper.

Here’s my last article from 4/19/2013.  I actually wrote this a while back but it just got published. Fortunately, I am out of the diaper stage, but I remember those days all too well!

THE REAL NEIGHBORS OF LADERA
By SAMANTHA KELLER

FOR THE OC REGISTER/LADERA POST

I bumped into a cast member from “The Real Housewives of Orange County” at the Pavilions in Ladera Ranch the other day.

This lovely lass from Bravo’s hit reality show is my neighbor, if you count her living in the tract across the street as living in part of my hood, and I do, because somehow that makes me cooler.

We both had three kids trailing at our heels and our eyes met in a moment of “Lord have mercy on me,” or at least that’s what I was thinking with a crying baby, my son begging for coconut water that costs $5 per eight ounces and my daughter trying to assemble the perfect cake-making materials to create an atomic particle (will somebody please tell me how the heck to make positive ions out of frosting?).

Right about then it hit me who she was.

Trying not to be too obvious, I snuck glances. She was dressed in fancy workout clothes and her long blonde extended tresses were flowing around her shoulders. She had gobs of makeup on and was a perfect shade of bronze.

I, on the other hand, am proud to say I did not have snot or poop or baby barf on me.

It was a good day.

After checking out she walked up to a white BMW in the parking lot and then realized
it wasn’t hers.

She started mumbling cuss words under her breath and for the first time I saw a
“real” woman. The scenario was funny and dumb and something I would do.

And for a moment, I connected with a normal chick who struggles to remember where
she parked the car.

I loved it! I loved the messiness!

What I really want is a REALITY show where moms act like real moms -not dance moms
or cheer moms or duck moms -just moms.

I want to see a show where real women drive the 3 p.m. carpool in pink monkey
pajamas with bold panache.

How about a show that depicts the parents pretending to be asleep and then calling
each other names in the middle of the night as they fight over who will get up for
the third time with baby?

A show where parents turn on “Yo Gabba Gabba” and park their baby in front of the TV
and get crazy in the bathroom for five minutes because it’s the only time they have
to be intimate.

I want to see the show where real Ladera Ranch neighbors bawl and hug because it’s
been a bad day and we pull out the Skinny Girl margarita mix and encourage each
other to forgive and forget.

Where real mommies and daddies fight and make up and laugh at each other’s jokes,
because mommy thinks daddy is hysterical and adorable and the best thing that has
ever happened to her.

Real housewives do live in Ladera and our unscripted lives are infinitely more
interesting than a reality show that strives to capture our mommy “mojo” and falls
so far from the mark.

–Samantha Keller is a Southern California native, freelance writer, blogger, JSerra
High School football mom and local speaker on dating and relationships. She lives in
Ladera Ranch with her husband, Pastor Tim Keller, and their three children. Visit
her blog at scrappysam.com.

Courage is Not the Absence of Fear

courageI feel pretty confident as a writer –it comes naturally and it’s in my wheel house, but public speaking on the other hand, has been a long process over the last ten years of trial and error, practice and more practice and an unfailing trust that God has got my back even when I’m TERRIFIED.

I used to be one of “those” people they quote in statistics; you know the ones who would rather die than get on a stage and open their mouth?

Clearly God has a sense of humor about my current occupation as writer/speaker.

So, I’m finally to the point where I’m mostly comfortable up front and can laugh and joke and poke fun with the crowd, but I’m still learning how to handle the unexpected without getting my feathers flustered.

Like last Monday night at Frister’s when the powers of evil tried to take me out in the women’s restroom.

I pulled up to Yorba Linda Friend’s church a few minutes early and managed to get lost in the massive worship center before I located the area I was to speak for the young women’s group.  Then I searched for the bathroom. 

Not to be too graphic…but I had to tinkle –BAD.

Yep, I was doing the potty dance and when I finally located the long bay of restrooms I ran in with great relief. 

And since I had a really full bladder, I figured I had a minute or two to check the Twitter feed on my iPhone for the Boston Marathon bombings.

(No judgment please)

Within a few seconds, I was totally engrossed in the news and pictures and terrible sadness when all of a sudden the lights turned off.

And it was pitch black, darker than dark.  

I’m not kidding –it was the absence of all light.

No windows existed in the cavernous ladies restroom of the Friend’s Church and I couldn’t see an inch in front of me except for my trusty iPhone.

I managed to button up and stand, slightly panicked, when my tiny source of illumination and hope flickered out.

My iPhone died.

Seriously?

Now real panic set in.

I figured I was in one of those bathrooms where the lights are triggered by motion.  So I frantically waved my arms around like a crazy person.

BAD IDEA SAM.

This resulted in bone crushing pain to my right arm but still no light.

Clutching my arm and purse I finally got the lock open on the door, staggered out and crashed into the sink. 

As I howled in pain, jumped up and down and dropped more BAD words than the FRIENDS probably ever heard, the lights FINALLY turned back on.

I glanced in the mirror and groaned. 

There I stood, three minutes before go-time, with black mascara and tears streaming down my face, hair and clothes completely disheveled and an arm I couldn’t lift.

How was I supposed to pull this train-wreck together?  I was pretty sure my arm was fractured. 

And then I thought about the marathon runners in Boston who gave blood after running 26 miles and the rescue workers trudging on and the people fighting for their lives with blown off limbs.

And I knew the power of a God who raised Christ from the dead could get me through the next hour.

Seconds later I walked out of the bathroom from HELL and did the job God called me to do. 

Fast forward sixty minutes and now I’m praying with a young girl in tears convicted to end her life of promiscuity.  It was humbling and healing and so REDEMPTIVE.

And I thought about our responsibility as ministers and representatives of Christ.

My job is not to entertain or put on a show or dazzle with words. 

It’s really just to show up –real and wounded and raw. 

And somehow, in spite of all our fears and clutziness and epic bathroom debacles he uses the scared and the weakest of these to show HIS glory.

 

How does God show up in your weak moments? 

Finding Peace in a Mother’s Chaos

Christmas 2012

Almost a year ago I made the jump from working at the office full-time to freelancing. 

One day a week, I pull out my old work clothes and attempt to de-Momify.  One day a week I am a professional.  The rest of the week I wear yoga pants.

Here is what I learned about working mostly from home –it’s (insert bad word) hard. 

There are no boundaries between work and home, just blurry lines and lot’s and lot’s of compromise.

I erroneously thought it would be easier to be at home more.

Even though I used to be a stay at home (for the first six years with Kyle and Faith), I forgot how managing a home and toddlers and teens will suck a woman dry. 

Kind of like the Dementer’s from Harry Potter. SWWWOOOOOSSSHHHH.  Can you picture it?

Sometimes I feel like I have an identity crisis.  I work outside the home and inside the home.  It’s like two-full time jobs competing for my attention.

I still have to clock in the 20-30 hours of paid work so we don’t starve.  But now I have no housekeeper to take the edge off.  I still have to cook meals and make lunches and drive 21 trips to or from the kids schools a week.  I have to maintain sports schedules and wash stinky football clothes and bring snacks.  I am still a team mom-although I really shouldn’t because I am so NOT that mom)

Some weeks I manage it all and sometimes I want to sit on my dirty floor and cry.

As I sit down to write I see dust bunnies floating by –taunting me as only a dust bunny can do.  My bathroom is messy and the laundry piles up and out the door. 

No guest is allowed to enter the upper chambers.  I can keep the downstairs immaculate but I’ve pretty much given up on the upstairs.  It’s a disaster in progress.

I have friends that joke about how I can do it all.  I just shake my head and drool.

A mother of a large family simply survives.

Mom’s simply work and work and work until they fall down from exhaustion and then they watch HGTV or the History Channel (because their husband has canceled all the good channels to save money) and they lie like a zombie on the sofa until their kids throw things at them and demand to be fed and taxied to the next event.

Every day I am forced to choose between keeping up with the house or making enough money to have a house. 

I read the other day that although work equality has “come a long way baby,” (since the 1960’s) household management has not seen any change.  This means most women now work and carry the full load of housework and kids.  Dads might help more with baby and kid’s activities but guys feel completely entitled to park their butts in front of a football game and let mom serve them.

Of course I’m talking about national averages here.  My husband is the exception.  When he is home he always pitches in.  Unfortunately, until he finishes graduate school and juggling a million pastoral duties…well you get the drift.

But even though I still feel overwhelmed with motherhood, being at home more is well worth the struggle.

Because there is a place in my heart now that used to ache and now the ache is gone.

A year ago, I missed my kids desperately and day after day being gone for ten hours at a time was killing me.  (Along with the commute)

I really don’t think you can put a price tag on peace.  And a mother’s peace is different from a man’s.  There are certain desire’s of the heart only a woman understands. 

For the first time in ages, I am home when my big kids get home from school.  I am home with my toddler more often than not.  I get to go to the park and the pool and take bubble baths and read books and watch Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas four hundred times. 

I get to be present with my kids. And even though it’s really HARD it’s good. 

So…although my house is dirty and I have to squeeze in work and writing assignments during nap time and at zero dark thirty, I know I am not missing a thing.

And for a modern mother it doesn’t get much better than this –identity crisis and all.  (Although if anyone knows a free housekeeper…it could be a teeny-tiny bit better)

What things in your life do you need to change to find peace?

Formal Drama

It’s been a week of ‘formal drama” –Winter Formal to be exact.

My freshman son asked a girl to the dance.  This isn’t a big deal normally, but the girl he asked is kind of a big deal.  She is a gorgeous professional surfer and model currently living in Hawaii. 

Clearly my boy has no problem aiming high with the ladies.

Kyle asked her through Facebook and amazingly the blond beauty said yes.

Until she said no.

Her dad, also a professional surfer decided to add a competition on the day of the dance and therefore delay their families return.  The mom (did I mention she is a model too?) did not want the family flying apart and so the hopes of my boy were crushed.

The girl texted him to let him know she wouldn’t make it.

In the back of my mind I always doubted this date would occur.  When I look at the Facebook photos for their family I see stunning celebrities partying on the beach and living the high life.

I struggle to understand how THAT life intersects with ours. 

Pastors and Pro Tour Surfers?  Sounds a bit complicated…

In our “Catholic school reality” we have STRICT dress codes for dances.  No cleavage, no short dresses and no skin allowed.  From what I’ve seen of her skimpy wardrobe and itty bitty bikini’s, I’m guessing this girl doesn’t own a dress that would get past our Nuns.

Now I can understand why my son would want the golden girl to accompany him. 

But I can’t understand why the super awesome family wouldn’t rearrange their entire life so my darling son could take their daughter to the dance. (Yes…this is me being sarcastic)

Kyle took it well, but I was bummed. I might have even cried a little when no one looked. 

But because my son is a fighter, he got right back up in the saddle and asked another beauty to accompany him.

And this one said yes!

Not only did she say yes, she filled out the permission form within twelve hours and had her principal sign it.  She and her mom hand delivered it to my son’s school, bought a dress and ordered a corsage within a day.

I love this girl! 

This lovely young lady attends Santa Margarita, another Catholic high school in the area.   And…I didn’t even have to explain the stringent dress code.  She already got in trouble at another dance so she knows the routine.

Although Kyle’s initial dream date didn’t work out, I’m proud of the way he handled his disappointment. 

And who knows?  This one might be the real catch…

Have you had a recent disappointment turn into a blessing in disguise?

Fred, George and Goldilocks

Christmas 2012 Kolby 4

Fred and George still haunt me.

Not in the way they used too, I mean I’m not afraid of ghosts anymore, but their names still bring back delicious terror.

You see…daddy told me when I was a wee tot that two ghosts lived inside the walls of my bedroom and if I dared to climb out of my bed they would get me.

Let’s not even bring up how demented this is.  When I’ve suggested it was a form of child abuse to my dad he still falls over laughing. 

But one day I realized, like Jim Carey in the Truman show, that no apparition appeared if I defiantly stuck out a toe or a limb.

I caught on pretty quick that my reality was not REALITY.

Eventually I worked up the courage to run like a bat out of hell out of my room and sneak over to my mom’s side of the bed who always let me in for a cuddle.

I thought a lot about Fred and George last night because my toddler refuses to stay in her bed.  And after two weeks of not sleeping and now fighting off illness (probably from massive sleep deprivation) I’m almost ready to ask Fred and George for some advice.  They keep appearing in my feverish hallucinations taunting me with a whole night of un-interupted slumber.

Kolby moved into the BIG GIRL BED a few weeks ago.  We took the crib down, stored it in the garage and unknowingly kissed sleep goodbye.  Most of the time I take the hit for Tim, because out of the two of us I do better without sleep, although he had to step up last night as I borderlined pneumomia.

It’s the second time we’ve tried the BIG GIRL BED.  After a failed attempt a year ago, we aborted mission and put her back in the crib.  Last time it was because she potty trained and needed help to use the restroom in the middle of the night.  I couldn’t handle waking up every three hours to help her tinkle, so up went the porta-crib again in our room so I could at least keep the lights off as I guided her tiny butt to the potty.

But now she is physically too big to stuff in the porta-crib.  The fact that she was complaining about her legs and arms hurting might have been an indication we had played out that card a little too long.

In goes Kolby into the BIG GIRL BED and within one hour she has snuck back into our bed to go horizontal on us and kick one of us in the head or the kidney.  She lies on me, throws elbows in my chest and breathes her sweet baby breath in my face.

I put her back to bed.  Tim puts her back to bed.  Press repeat over and over until we are so exhausted that Tim goes to the sofa around 3:00am to salvage any sleep whatsoever and then Kolby kicks the crap out of me until 6:00am when I have to get my teenager ready for high school.   

I am a ZOMBIE and I am way too old for this.

I’d toss her out like a sailor if not for the fact that I love her soooooo much.  This third baby of mine has both daddy and I whooped, sucker tied and wrapped around every phalange. 

She is terrifically spoiled and we are wimps when it comes to her little grin and Goldilocks.

Is bribery the next option?  Will it take a puppy to get her to sleep in her bed?  I’d gate her in but she shares a room with her sister with an adjoining bathroom to her brother’s room.  She’ll just walk right through into his room and find us.  She’s smart like that.

This kid needs incentive…

What makes a toddler want to stay in bed?

All advice will be considered except ghosts and spanking.

 

The Agony of Finals Week

P1020004

It’s Finals week and all the crazed and neurotic mothers have come out of the woodwork.

I know I am not alone.  I can see it in their eyes and Facebook posts.  Mom’s are on the edge.  (It’s when kids secretly text that mom has turned into a big bad word starting with a B)

Somehow we mama’s must make our kids buckle down and STUDY, a challenge not unlike removing a wad of sticky gum plastered to the bottom of the dryer.

Help! How do I channel the vision of a first-class college degree and the impact of a strong GPA onto a fourteen-year-old who just wants to get buff so he can sack quarterbacks and score hot chicks. 
 

I see him graduating from Stanford.  He imagines himself running out of Autzen Stadium in Oregon.  I see Summa Cum Laude.  He sees Grabba Thigh Beta.

I suggest he is a student/athlete,  while Kyle see’s himself as an athlete/student. 

Don’t get me wrong, my son is a sweet and Godly kid but puberty has hit hard.  He weighs 182 lbs and is just shy of 6 ft.  He looks and smells like a burly man.  And yet he is still an impressionable child in many respects.

Can someone tell me how to get through the layers of muscle and hormones to reach the logical side of the brain?  I’ve heard teenagers are  brain-damaged (AKA immature) until they reach their early twenties.

How do I teach rational thought to Jello? Every nugget of wisdom bounces right off him. 

“Mom, barely any of my friends even study for finals.  Stop stressing.  I’m way ahead of the game,” he says with a laidback smile.

Inside I freak out some more.

Right now I’ve improvised with complete and utter bribery.  I ply him  with food, protein and what we call “party grades.”  This means Kyle has to get good grades to attend all social events.  There is no iPhone this week. FaceBook is off limits.  We force him to make flash cards and actually review them.

So far it’s sort of working although it’s a VERY painful process.

We’ll see how he (and mama) survives Finals week.  Two more days of torture!

How do you motivate your teen to study?

 

 

Doomsday Eve

I feel a little discombobulated today.

The protocol of Doomsday Eve is a bit uncertain. I’ve never experienced the last day before the last day of the world –unless you count Y2K and I recall that evening as REALLY anticlimactic. Nothing exploded, NORAD didn’t go off, and the champagne fizzled. 

But back to today…should I do anything radically different? 

I’ve considered going big.  Maybe downloading some new books on my Kindle, charging a few items on my credit card (since I’ll never have to pay the bill, right?) and topping off the evening with lots of kisses and cuddles to my munchkins and hubby.

Since we are starting a new tradition here, now that the end of the world seems to be predicted every ten years or so, maybe we could light a few candles and say a few prayers to all the doomsday Jackwaggons who have profited by instigating mass paranoia, hype and fear among the nations.

I read today that the real Mayans aren’t stocking up on food or guns.  Since half of the prophetic tablet is broken, they aren’t looking for decimation but instead towards a new season where they can fill in their own calendar with soccer games and Mayan celebrations.  I like their simplistic philosophy –while they happily live in huts and avoid the rat race, we in the more developed nations read their ancient antiquities and freak out.

A comment on one of the Doomsday sites from Mike Vidovich had me in stitches.

“Calendars change throughout history.  Caesar added leap year in 45BC. The Mayan calendar didn’t account for it. That added 514 days (1 every 4 years). By the Mayan calendar, today should be near the end of July 2013. Technically the world should have ended 7 months ago by the Mayan calendar.”

Mike, that’s comforting.

If one was to predict a real Doomsday, I think we might all be better off keeping our eyes on the nukes in the Middle East, preparing for more super-storms and taking earthquake and tsunami preparedness a little more seriously. I’m more afraid to send my kid to school these days then to worry about aliens coming down to some mountain in France tomorrow.

None of us is promised another day.  Lord willing, we will all have one more day to love and serve and make the world a better place.

So today, I will write, I will love and I will finish my Christmas cards.  I will clean my house which has gingerbread cookies crumbs everywhere and I will find the time to buy more presents that I can’t really afford for my beloved family.  I will snuggle my kids and wrap my arms around my darling husband.  And if this is my last day, then I will have no regrets.

And Saturday morning I will try not to mock the people who are disappointed to see another sunrise. “Try” being the optimum word.

 

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