Thursday, June 30, 2005

Blessed are those who know they are blessed.

My thoughts are all over the place lately. I'm distracted from the needs of my children, who are getting only divided attention at home. With Scott so available, I feel this pressure to be productive creatively, and yet I can't seem to focus when I do have the chance. I made a list of goals and ideas the other night, but I've been fighting feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, ungratefulness, unreconciled desires and values...

All my desires are being fulfilled, and yet it makes me feel uncomfortably spoiled. Is it possible, I find myself wondering, to drive a new car, have a nice house, be spoiled rotten by my mother and still keep my crunchy Christian values? Can I desire fame, fortune and a stylish diaper bag without becoming a materialistic capitalist? (Is there such a thing as "Crunchy Chic"?) More importantly, am I doing enough for others? Am I loving everyone I meet? Am I open and honest about my failures? Am I grateful enough for everything I've been given?

I've been contemplating the Sermon on the Mount this week thanks to Phillip Yancey. And I think I finally got something this morning on my way to get my hair cut. Yes, I've been given a lot. No, I'm not doing enough in return. And that's the point. Even if I do the one thing for my mom that she really wants and finally get her to Chicago to see Oprah, even if I catch up on all my thank you notes to everyone who has been generous to my family this year, even if I sneak over to my neighbor's house to polish her furniture and organize her closets, even if I give my children undivided attention every minute they're awake, even if I publish a book that makes people laugh, cry and changes how the world treats children, it will still not be enough. I will still have received much more than I've ever given. That's Grace.

The standard is high -- much too high for me to reach. All I can really do is strive for gratefulness, live each moment to its fullest, and pray that God continues to work on me so I can serve and love Him better. Because the more I get caught up in my inadequacies, the more I fail to overcome them.

Today I realized my biggest blessing is recognizing that I don't deserve the many that I've been given.

Now about those thank you notes...

Vacation briefs

Yes, we're back from the coast. Had a lovely time, gorgeous weather, got plastered with sand and saltwater, ate too much ice cream, saw lots of cool animals, spent too much money on toys that got lost too quickly, and almost made it home with no major meltdowns. (ALMOST... Boy #1 was ready to come home and had no interest in interrupting his nap to stop for dinner halfway back, even though he was quite hungry. His stubborn parents were also suffering from low blood sugar but had no interest in drive-thru burgers. They eventually found a common preference in take-out stir fry, patio seating, and high-glycolic lemonade. The rest of the ride home was completely tranquil.)

The problem with having such a fabulous life is that there's very little that's interesting enough to write about. Either that, or I'm too exhausted to remember anything but a blur of blue skies and happy faces.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Has anyone seen my sense of humor? I swear I used to have one, but I haven't seen it anywhere for weeks. I really hope it shows up soon. I'm terrible about looking for lost things. Sometimes I become so terrifed that my favorite whatever-it-might-be might be lost forever that I go straight into denial and don't look at all. Other times I have such strong faith that whatever-it-might-be will return, I completely deny the necessity of searching. Usually this is my keys, and usually they show up within five days. It's really not that much of a bother.

My husband, on the other hand, looks frantically and blindly for TEN WHOLE MINUTES before assuming his wallet/cell phone/whatever has been STOLEN, and calling to cancel all credit cards/report stolen phone/schedule appt for new license photo. And then I find it under the dresser the next day while vacuuming.

My sense of humor might have returned. My keys, on the other hand, have been missing for a week. BUT -- I did find Scott's wallet and all his cancelled credit cards safely inside. The hair on the top of his head, he notes dryly, does not appear to be returning soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Be back tomorrow late.

We're heading out to the beach today, zoological gardens tomorrow, home tomorrow night. Car's loaded with sand toys, suitcase, the boys' favorite books, K'Nex, numerous CDs, including They Might Be Giants' "Here Come the ABCs" and "Veggie Tales Sing-along: Bob and Larry On the Road Again." It's only a 2 1/2-hour drive. Pray we haven't forgotten anything important -- like diapers and wipes.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

TCS updates!

Hey, Taking Children Seriously finally has updates!!! Not that you care, but I might be busy reading them tomorrow. I haven't been talking very nicely to my boys lately. I could blame PMS, but that would only cover yesterday. Yesterday was really bad. I was fine at 2 p.m. But by 7:30 I was yelling at them to go play in the other room and stop being so freaking loud 'cause I wanted to watch the end of "Lemony Snickets" and I couldn't hear a thing. When I calmed down I realized they probably felt like the orphans in the movie. Neglected, unwanted, abused. So, yeah, I could use some scolding myself.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Big dreams, lost goals

Before I started this blog, almost a year ago, I was working on the beginnings of a local alternative parenting newsletter with two friends of mine from our homeschooling group. I bought Microsoft Publisher, got a few people to submit articles, and then... well, I'm not exactly sure what happened next. I put together a Christmas letter to practice using the layout program. And then the newsletter got stuck in the "Great Ideas I Have Never Followed Through On" file.

Other things in that file include the beginnings of a huge article on home birth that I did hours and hours of research for before going on maternity leave from my newspaper job. I did the research, went home to have my baby, and then gave my notice.

This week's great idea was to open a kids' cafe like the one in Portland my cousin told me about. (See My mom, the boys and I are going up to visit next month, and it sounds like such a cool place! I think something like that could be really successful where I live. Family-friendly restaurants are busy every night of the week here, and there aren't that many. There aren't ANY that offer specifically organic or vegan food.

So, maybe sometime between caring for my family, writing a book, having another baby, and becoming a midwife, I could squeeze in opening a new restaurant. It doesn't sound like too much, does it?

I love you. And I want to keep you.

I just want to say that I am truly grateful for those of you who read my blog by pure choice. (I am also extremely grateful to my friends and family who read whether or not they want to just to be supportive, of course.) Because there really are a plethora of fabulous mom blogs out there. No, I'm not going to mention any. I want to keep you here. Mostly I avoid reading them, actually, because I don't want to start thinking that mine sucks in comparison.

That said, I am SO happy to share that this blog has been randomly selected by Radical Mama Designs for a MAKEOVER!! You can't imagine how excited I am about this. Another reason I don't look at other blogs is because they're all so much cuter than mine, and there's nothing I can do about it. (Yes, yes, I know that's a silly thing to be insecure about.)

So, if you have any suggestions on improvements to request, please let me know so I can share them with the designers.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pretty feet, Quiet night, Next summer

Yesterday as I sat reading about Jesus in Philip Yancey's "The Jesus I Never Knew," I was also having my feet washed by a stranger.

My mom decided to celebrate a great month at work by taking my sister and I to the coast for a day of eating, pampering and shopping. She started with a round of pedicures in a posh, but quiet salon where we felt comfortable bringing our books and not forcing conversation with people we didn't know.

Despite my former years as a reporter, I'm not a natural conversationalist. Scott and I used to joke that he should take my job. He can get people to spill their guts about anything. I have to work up my curiosity and overcome a strong sense that other people's lives are none of my business if they don't volunteer it. Sometimes I feel odd asking even my closest friends about their thoughts and feelings. (And yet I have no trouble sharing my own online with strangers, go figure.)

I'm the person next to you on the plane who smiles politely and sticks my nose in a book the second I'm belted in. I'll make as much small talk as necessary to not seem rude, but no more, unless we happen to discover some remarkable thing in common. In any case, I would have been happy to sit and enjoy my pedicure and my book and say nothing but "thank you very much, that was fabulous" at the end.

Except that it didn't feel right to be reading about Jesus and ignoring the person who was caring for my feet.

So, eventually, when I heard a baby coo from across the salon, I smiled and asked the woman tending to my toes if babies come in often. She returned the smile and said, "Yes." I noted her wedding ring, and asked if she had children. I learned that she had two girls, ages 13 and 10, and that they're growing up too fast. I shared a little about my own boys, and that was about the end of the conversation. I knew she spoke Vietnamese from some dialogue between her and another employee; she probably had quite a fascinating life story. But for whatever reason, I was satisfied with the knowledge of our shared motherhood.

I have felt extremely fortunate this week. It started with my skincare pampering party on Friday. The house was clean, candles were lit, dessert, wine and coffee were served. We tried out sea salt scrubs, cleansers and lotions until we smelled as delicious as the berry cobbler and as fresh as that imaginary breeze blowing the clean laundry in detergent commercials.

Yesterday's salon visit was followed by a leisurely lunch in a hip Italian restaurant, an afternoon of shopping, and dinner on the wharf watching sailboats come into harbor. Then I came home to an orderly house, with children already tucked into bed and sound asleep. But the most surprising was the fact that my baby (my two-and-a-half-year-old baby!) slept until 7:30 this morning without waking to be nursed.

If the boys hadn't reassured me of their need for me by refusing to let me leave them in bed alone tonight, I think I would have entered a state of maternal shock. Or immediately attempted pregnancy.

Thankfully, Scott's given me until November to increase my net worth as a mother. As we sat watching the boys climb the slide at the park the other day, he asked me, "How long is your gestational period, exactly?" (Only my husband would know that phrase.) When I asked him why he wanted to know, he said, "Because I want my baby girl to be born on my birthday."

So, there you have it. Next summer, it is, God willing. (Though I did try to explain why choosing the exact day is pretty much impossible.)

Need html help

Anybody know what I did to mess up my right column? Ever since that quiz entry, the second column has been relegated to the bottom of the page. Thanks in advance to anyone who knows what I'm doing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Before and After

It's been so long since I've posted photos, I had to download an new version of Picasa to do it. Anyhow, thought I'd share the before and after photos of my living and dining rooms. The new blue is hard to see in the photo, but it looks a lot better than the old brown and green, imo! Now if only I could afford new sofas...
Aren't before photos great? All the furniture is pushed to the middle of the room... note the cappucino brown in the living room, and sage green in the dining room. So long, farewell, au wiedersehen, good-bye!
The color is so pale, it's hard to see in the photo, but this is the light blue.
Rainbow the Wrasse flits about too quickly to see him clearly. The new Australian red anemone is in the upper right, green mushroom coral is in the foreground.
Baby Fish in a rare full view.
Nemo, Marlin and Purple come out for dinner.
Nemo and Marlin (what else could we name them?!) in their new home.

A blessed life.

Thanks to everybody who took the theological profile quiz! It was fun to see where you each fit, and how similiar we are. Praise God that we can know Him, love Him and enjoy His salvation despite our lack of perfect knowledge!

I realized I haven't posted much about our new aquarium, and I have photos to share, so I'm going to do that next. Franklin asked for a fish tank for his birthday in April, so Scott hit his mom up for help accomplishing that. He's wanted to have a large saltwater aquarium for some time, so this was his chance. And besides, we have a responsibility as unschoolers to provide this type of learning opportunity, right? ;)

So, we now have a 60-gallon acrylic tank in the boys' bedroom. (And yes! They're actually sleeping there at night!) It's filled with live rock, a bunch of snails and hermit crabs, a few interesting plants, and five fish so far, including two clownfish, a colorful wrasse, and a bright purple something-or-other. Franklin's next door at my mom's or I'd ask him the exact name.

Other news around the homefront... the vegetable garden is growing like mad thanks to the continued efforts of Mark Harris. I haven't been much help except to make a few peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches for the kids, and then enjoying the fruits of his labor. (I've even let my pansies die in the name of conserving water.) We've got cherry tomatoes, corn, green beans, summer squash and zucchini prolific right now, and melons of all kinds are on their way.

I'll post some photos now.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Home Improvement and My Theological Worldview

Three weeks ago I found out Scott was going to have the whole summer off, no summer school this year. At first I was leery of what that would mean for my days. I tend to want to play all day when he's home -- neglecting basic housekeeping, laundry, etc. But it's been fabulous.

The first week we cleaned out the pantry and the bathroom cabinet and held a yard sale. Last week we met our homeschooling friends at a huge waterpark two hours away, and the boys had a blast. Then I painted my living and dining rooms. The living room took a day and a half and three coats of paint. The dining room took me all of one day, but in spurts because Scott wasn't home the whole time to take care of the boys. I love the new color -- pale blue with a hint of turquoise. But the kelley green carpet looks even more hideous, and it is now obvious that the woodwork and ceilings are in desperate need of fresh white paint as well. So I'll be doing that piecemeal over the next month before we rip out the carpet and Scott installs new wood flooring.

For now, I still have to get pictures back on the walls, and clean the house in time for an Arbonne skincare party I'm hosting tommorrow night. But first I wanted to share a little quiz I found via A Progressive Christian. The quiz is called "What's your theological worldview?" My results are below, and sound pretty accurate, though I've never heard of Karl Barth or P T Forsyth. Also, I'm surprised that my Charismatic/Pentecostal score is so low, since those are the kinds of churches I grew up in. I guess my years as an Episcopalian have taken over! I'm curious about the descriptions of the other categories. So, please take the quiz and post your own results in the comment section!

You scored as Neo orthodox. You are neo-orthodox. You reject the human-centredness and scepticism of liberal theology, but neither do you go to the other extreme and make the Bible the central issue for faith. You believe that Christ is God's most important revelation to humanity, and the Trinity is hugely important in your theology. The Bible is also important because it points us to the revelation of Christ. You are influenced by Karl Barth and P T Forsyth.

Neo orthodox


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Roman Catholic


Classical Liberal




Reformed Evangelical




Modern Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
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