• family

    Embracing Mother’s Day

    10-7-2011 11;43;00 AM


    Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and for too many women this isn’t a day they want to celebrate. We’re bombarded with commercials portraying the perfect image of a mother, but what about the women who deal with infertility, or the women whose mothers abandon or abused them, or the women who grieve the loss of a child, or the women whose children have walked out of their lives. For these women, Mother’s Day hurts.


    I was once told that a day would come when I would be thankful for my infertility. The words sounded crass and out of place, but then it happened. Infertility brought me three of the four greatest blessings. Infertility moved us toward adoption and the children God always knew were meant for our family. I’m made a mother through my infertility and my fertility, but mostly by love.


    Mother’s Day is about celebrating the nurturing nature in women. It’s about the woman who teaches Sunday School, the one who holds the premature babies in the hospital nursery, the one who reads to children at her local elementary school, and the one who puts aside her freedom to encourage, buildup, or support another person, no matter the age. It’s about compassion and being a shoulder to cry on, but also celebrating good times and laughter.


    This year I honor not only my mother, but the step-mother who worked hard to keep a father in my life. And my Granny, who wasn’t biologically related to me, but chose to love me with her whole heart, and with that love, changed my course. And the mother-in-law who encourages me to keep moving toward my dreams. And the sweet woman from my church who disciples me and loves my children like they’re her grandkids. And the birthmothers who put themselves last and my sweet children first.


    So, women, can we make this Mother’s Day not about posturing and comparison? Can we honor all mothers, the moms who are still waiting, the moms who are mourning, the moms who made mistakes, and those who did their best? Can we stand beside our sisters who are hurting and love without exception? I think we can.


    Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

  • family,  ramble

    It’s the Simple Things: Reclaiming Time

    Last March, that’s five months ago, our dishwasher gave out. My husband, who believes in the ability of all appliances to return from the grave, suggested he could fix it.


    Again, that was five months ago.


    The kids don’t stop using dishes because there isn’t a magical box below the counter to vanquish the gunk.


    “No big deal. I’m tough. I can handle this,” I say in March. And really, it isn’t a huge problem. People are facing all kinds of horrific challenges. Washing dishes by hand isn’t a trial or a hardship. It’s only a time snatcher.


    I came up with a creative way to get the kids involved. Grandma and Grandpa like to spoil them with sugar cereals. After one of their visits I put a requirement on this indulgence. In order to have a bowl of the yummy stuff, five dishes had to be washed. This was wonderful until I reached for a glass from the cupboard and my fingers slid along the surface. GROSS! In an effort to save us all from food poisoning, I went back to the suds…alone.


    After many failed attempt to revive the dishwasher, my husband called in a professional. It took only minutes before the man declared our machine dead. No longer able to be revived. Pull the life support and let it go.


    You have to know that by this time my husband had taken the dishwasher into the backyard, put it up on blocks, and wired it to the electricity by a long string of coax sprawling through my kitchen. As if our creative fencing and dryer repair hadn’t already given us the gold stamp of redneck approval, we’d now hit a new high (or low).



    All that’s behind us now. We brought in an installed the new washer last week. It’s beautiful, quiet, and washes the dishes with such ease. And my time has exploded.


    Let’s take a look:


    5 months without a dishwasher.

    110 episodes of the Dick Van Dyke show watched on my laptop while washing dishes (help keeps things in perspective).

    Each episode equals 25 minutes. That’s 2750 minutes.

    I watched (really listened) to the program only a fraction of the time I washed. Let call it half to be generous. That brings our total to 5500 minutes.

    Five months is approximately 22 weeks. Which means I spend about 250 minutes per week washing dishes. That’s 4 hours and 10 minutes a week!


    The kids are back to loading their own dishes and taking turns unloading the dishwasher. This may not have worked out so well for them, but for me, it’s wonderful.


    In four hours I can:

    Write 4,500 words.

    Edit 40 pages.

    Write 5 blog posts (it takes me much longer to blog than to write in my manuscript).

    Critique 4 submissions from my critique group.


    Life is so good!


    Hey, take a second to notice the new gizmo at the top right of the screen. If you could add your email to my list, it will make you eligible for future giveaways. Trust me, you will not be sent a bunch of email and I will never share your information.




  • family,  ramble,  writing




    Have you ever felt that way?


    It’s not the same as unhappy, angry, tired or even frustrated.



    You can be overwhelmed and still be so blessed you’d never trade places with anyone…ever.


    My life is busy. It’s busy for most of us. When I had four very little children, I was overwhelmed with all their needs. Nothing made me happier than being their mother, but it’s a lot of work with very little respite.


    As the kiddos grow, my role in their lives has changed. I’ve taken on new challenges and life is no less busy. Where once I filled sippy cups and wiped up sticky fingerprints, now I drive to and from classes, cheer through numerous sporting events, arrange activities for the Senior All-night Party, homeschool and help with homework. And then there’s my writing. And my husband. And that cat who keeps vomiting as soon as anyone lets her in the house.


    All great things. Well…maybe not the part about the cat.


    I’m sure you know that feeling. It creeps up from your toes, squeezing you until you can’t take a deep breath. Finally, you hit the point where standing in the field and screaming while it’s pouring down rain seems like a logical solution.


    And while this may help for a moment, once you’re back in the house and dried off you’re still in the same situation.


    Years ago a friend gave me some advice that really helped. She suggested writing down my top three priorities.


    Okay, that’s not so hard, right?


    Here’s the tricky part, the part I seem to let slide.


    Never (or very rarely) say yes to anything that doesn’t positively relate to one of those priorities.


    That means saying no. It sounds so easy, but when some sweet lady is asking you to do something that seems like a good thing, it’s so very hard to muster those two letters. N.O.


    There are many wonderful things we can do with our time, but if we continue to divide our days, the pieces become too small to make a difference.


    What do you think?


  • family,  ramble

    Another Nelson Improvision

    I hesitated to post this story. After reading, “How We Became Redneck Ranchers,” you may already wonder about our crazy lifestyle. You may even picture my home as held together with a combination of duct tape, wire and spit. It’s not really so. Well, not everywhere.


    We’ve been having some issues with the dryer. When the weather is cold, the thing won’t start. It tries, but like a car that’s not quite getting enough gas, it doesn’t turn over.


    Funny thing, this only happens when it’s cold. So, being the brilliant folks we are, we put a space heater near the dryer and warmed the area so we could make it start.


    This was supposed to be temporary. But in our busy lives, temporary can ride very close to permanent.


    After months of this “temporary solution,” our friend Brian came over to help my husband rewire the outlet. How disappointing to find it wasn’t the wiring. Turns out, something in the panel (looks too much like a computer for my liking) is the elusive piece that isn’t quite making connection.


    The guys discovered that a blast from a hairdryer was just the thing to fix the problem.


    So that brings me to their solution:










    This is what you’ll find in my porch, a clothes dryer with a hair dryer attached to the back. I have to turn on the blow dryer a few minutes, then start the clothes dryer.


    Silly, but it works, and it didn’t cost a fortune.


    Maybe it’s tacky, but doesn’t frugal have a better ring?


    I’m just glad we don’t live in town!


    So, tell me the truth. Do you have any odd fixes in your house?