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2008 April » Philoxenos


I do it!

24th April 2008

I do it!

My life as a mother has reached a new phase. I’ve been trying to deny it, which has caused a lot of fuss, because it requires a lot more time and effort on my part.

Our second daughter, Cutie, age 2.5, now wants to make her sandwich by herself. Precious, age 4.5, often makes her pb&j all by herself and does a decent job of it. But of course that’s because she’s been practicing. She wasn’t always like that. But with my first child I had more time. I didn’t have two other children crawling or walking along the floor making other messes. But when Cutie told me again today that she wanted to make her own sandwich, like big sister did, I had to really force myself to say “Okay” and then take the time to show her how to do it. And then watch her take 10 minutes to spread the peanut butter. I’m not kidding. Precious had already finished her sandwich by the time Cutie was ready to spread the jam. And then I wiped enough peanut butter off the counter to make another sandwich.

I’ve been evaluating this current stage for a few days. I’ve known that things were changing and that our Cutie was ready for some more training. But I’ve been resisting it. A LOT. I just haven’t wanted to take the time to train her to do more things. But more than that I haven’t wanted to take the time to follow up and inspect what she’s done. Because if I don’t take the time to inspect what the children have done they are never going to learn to do it properly.

I know, I know, a little bit of time invested now will reap amazing benefits in the years to come. But time isn’t something I seem to have a lot of right now!!

Anyway. Cutie made her sandwich, ate it proudly. And I imagine that tomorrow she’ll want to do it again. And hopefully each time she’ll get a little better and I won’t have to take stock in a peanut butter company.

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21st April 2008

a day to myself

Last Wednesday, at the end of BSF, we were sharing our prayer requests as per usual. One mother was asking for wisdom and patience in disciplining her preschooler. I could tell that she was probably in a similar place as I am :) I made a comment about moms needing respite care every once in a while. It’s been a particularly challenging couple of weeks, which of course coincide with my parents being out of the country. I’m sure that there is a correlation.

Anyway, one of my friends came to me afterwards and said “So, you want me to watch your kids for you?” And I’m like, um. all three of them? And she said, sure. So we decided on today, Monday. She offered to take them overnight and I said that wouldn’t be necessary. I’m also aware that her husband’s business is very very busy right now and the last thing he needs after working 12 hours is to come home to a house full of extra kids!

So, in about 15 minutes I’m going to be dropping them off at her place and then I’m alone. ALL. DAY.  I’m not going to pick them up until just before dinner. By the way, I’m bringing her a delicious vegetable lasagna that I have in the freezer so that she can put that in the oven and have a hot meal she didn’t have to prepare.

What am I going to do with all this time? I’m not exactly sure. Handsome and I are going to have lunch together. And I need to go find some golden syrup so I can make ANZAC biscuits this week. And I’m going to the craft store because they have a huge package of craft foam for only $3.99 this week. I thought about going to a movie. And I’m going to be taking our stuff back to our apartment so when the housecleaner comes to my mom’s house tomorrow it’s all ready for her.

But other than that I think I might take a nap. What I’m not going to do is read a book. Because if I start reading a book then I will literally sit there all day until it’s finished and then I will have done nothing. And nothing is good, but not today. I’m going to get out and get some fresh air. Think without being interrupted. Eat without food being taken from my plate. And hopefully not hear any children crying or whining from the hours of 9am-5pm.

I love my kids but, sometimes, I need a break. And the time has come.

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20th April 2008

I’m sorry, but our church is full

Can you imagine being told by the church that you recently started attending that there was no room for you?

I have friends that moved into the area just shortly after we did and they are attending a local church, somewhat biggish in our local terms. The husband works weekends so isn’t able to attend Sunday services. They wanted to get involved in a home group/small group so that they could be involved together. They tried to get into one of the six homegroups but were told that they were all full. FULL. Sorry, no room for you here. Go somewhere else.

First, a church that runs probably 1000 only has six homegroups?? What’s up with that??? And then to be told that they’re full?? WHAT? “I’m sorry, go be a Christian somewhere else because we don’t have room for you.” Honestly, if I was ever told something like that I would very quickly start going to a difference church.

And then I was talking to another friend of mine yesterday. They recently declined a full-time ministry position at another church (for various unimportant reasons), different from the one where they are attending. I asked her if they would continue to go to their present church and she said oh no, we’re definitely looking for another church. You know why? Because essentially they were told that the only positions for service available were working in the nursery or being an usher. Again, this is a large church. And my friend and her husband have been in the ministry for years, although are currently lay people. He has a Masters of Divinity. And he’s not a weirdo or anything. Although Handsome said that he’s no more a weirdo than Handsome, so I suppose there is some weirdness there.  But he’s a well-trained, well-grounded man who wants to SERVE. And he’s been told that he can be an usher.

Now, working in the nursery and being an usher are important, valid ministries. However, we are not all called to work in the nursery. I, for one, am not called to work in the nursery. My dad finds this is a bit odd. After all, I have three small children. It’s like I run my own little daycare. But I normally choose to work in the nursery LAST. I do, however, fill in when asked.

I told my friend that she and her husband MUST at least visit our church. Our church is growing. We are seeing people get saved every week. Our pastor said this morning that five people chose to follow Christ in salvation this week (not just Sunday, but during the week.) People are being baptised and discipled. People are reaching out to their families and communities.  Lives are being changed all because people are following Christ. That’s what a church needs to be involved in! We need more people, mature Christians, who can lead these new believers and teach and train them. It’s an awesome church to be a part of.

I think that when a church tells a family that they aren’t welcome into the home groups because they’re full, then it’s time to close the doors. It’s become more of a social club than a church.

**I realise that this is harsh, but I figure it’s my blog, so I’ll write it the way I see it :)

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15th April 2008

The tale of the missing luggage

Yesterday, about 4pm PST, I received a call from a man at Royal Jordanian Airlines in Chicago. He shall remain nameless, as much as I’d like to blast him all over the internet. He called my parents’ house, where I am housesitting while they are away in Jordan/Israel. He asked for them by name and, of course, I responded “I’m sorry, they’re not available right now, may I take a message?” Just like I was trained to do from the age of eight or so. Because of course you can’t say that your parents aren’t home or they weirdos might find out! In my house, if we answered the phone like that it meant they either weren’t home or were using the toilet and neither one was appropriate to tell people on the phone. Or so I was told.

Anyway. No Name told me who he was and where he was from (although I couldn’t understand what the heck he said) and said that he had my mom’s luggage. IN CHICAGO.

Friends, my parents left on Saturday for Jordan. And he had her bag in CHICAGO on MONDAY. That’s not good at all.

When I told No Name that she wasn’t here and she was actually in Israel he was like “oooooohhhhh” and, of course, he put me on hold.

Apparently there were no identifying airline tags on it, so the little bar code thing must have been missing and supposedly he didn’t know where it was supposed to go. He also said that he found no record of a lost baggage claim being made.  I found this all a bit suspicious for two reasons. 1) Every time I asked a question he had to put me on hold and find out the answer. And it wasn’t like I was asking questions like What is the value of Pi? 2) My mom would NEVER not put in a baggage claim. She was intending to be gone nearly two weeks. She’s not going to go without most of her clothes (even though I do think she overpacked!). Even if she only packed a bag full of old newspapers, she would still put in a baggage claim simply on principle.

He asked me what I wanted him to do with the bag. At this point I started to panic. I realised that my parents hadn’t left an itinerary. I couldn’t believe it!! I only had a cell phone number for the tour guide person, who is a friend of my parents. I told him to ship the bag back here to me and I would pick it up from the airport. After much fumbling on his part, and of course putting me on hold multiple times, he told me when to expect the bag back here in our town’s airport. He was about to hang up and I was like WAIT!! Can’t I get an ID number or something? He gave me a number, but I knew it wasn’t going to help me. And then I asked for his name and he gave me just his first name and I was like, um, and your last name please?? He spoke so fast I had to ask him three times to repeat himself. And then I asked for his phone number and YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HE SAID!!

He said, “What? Don’t you have caller ID?”

I was honestly speechless. I’m thinking to myself, wait this must be a joke. Surely this isn’t actual customer service. And guess what he did? Of course he put me on hold.

He comes back, gives me the number sans area code so I have to ask him for the area code. He quickly goes through the information and hangs up before I can ask another question and he is forced to put me on hold for the tenth time.

And what’s happening while all this is going on on the phone? This of course.

After I get off the phone with him, I call the cell phone of the tour coordinator and leave a message. I also text her. No response, which isn’t surprising considering it was about 2 am their time. I then call the office that arranged the trip and got the hotel details so I could forward the bag to the correct place.

This morning about 3am I got a text message from them to say yes, they want the bag and forward it ASAP. I text back, asking for instructions on where to send it. Never hear from them. I get on the computer and send an email, hoping that she’s getting email on her Blackberry. No answer.

About an hour later, I got another text and I texted back. Nothing.

Finally this morning I call her again and leave another message. Then I called the hotel where they were staying and left a message on the phone at my parents’ room. I called American Airlines and got instructions about what I needed to do. I called them after calling FedEx and discovering it would cost $500 to ship the bag and it wouldn’t get there until MONDAY.

And a few minutes later I got a call from the tour coordinator.  She is able to give me the lost baggage claim number  and the name and address of the hotel where it needs to be sent. And I spoke to my mom who is doing fine and managing with only half of her clothes and no makeup :)

I arranged for someone to watch the two younger kids while they napped and Precious and I drove to the airport, which is about a 20 minute drive. We get to the baggage claim area at the appointed time and watch the bags go round and round. We played a game called Spot The Red Suitcase. Surprisingly it’s a popular colour.

I’m sure you know what’s next. No red bag belonging to my mom. I walk dejectedly over to the American Airlines desk, armed with all these ID numbers, hoping one of them is the magic key to finding my mom’s bag.

I spoke to a marvelous woman named Joyce who was able to track it down. And then she told me the best news I’ve heard in the last 48 hours (because of course what could be this?) She said that the bag was already in Jordan, delivered today. But then I realised - she’s not in Jordan!! Not to worry, Joyce says, just have mom contact Royal Jordanian Air and give a new delivery address and they’ll have it delivered.

What a day. And that’s not all I did, but I just can’t manage any more!

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15th April 2008

I have no title for this post

I am pretty sure that there is a blood vessel about to burst behind my right eyeball. I can feel it throb throb throbbing. For the last three nights I have gone to bed with a rip-roaring headache and tonight is no exception. I’m taking pretty strong medication to get rid of it and also help me sleep but all that means is when I get up to go to the loo in the middle of the night I either walk into the corner of the wall or else almost fall off the toilet because I’m so doped up. Fun times.

The cause of the headaches? Not sure. Could be a few reasons.

1) Stress from managing house purchase details. This, apparently, requires HOURS on the phone. And we all know what happens when mommy gets on the phone. The bodies of all three children decide to release bodily waste in one form or another and, somehow,  none of them manage to put it where it’s supposed to go. OR their brains start to malfunction causing them to scream at ear-piercing levels. OR they become demon-possessed and they start to attack one another to the point that one expects to find clumps of hair missing from their heads. My solution? A lot of Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch, which my mom records multiple times a day on her DVR. I think my kids’ eyeballs are going to fall out from all the TV they’ve watched the last few days.

2) We had a bit of a heatwave over the weekend and I’m feeling all dried out and sometimes when I get dehydrated I get headaches.

3) Or could it be all the DRIVING I’ve been doing. I can honestly say that I consistently drive far more here in California than I ever did in all my years living in New Zealand.  Why is that??? I do live in a bigger city now than when I lived in New Zealand. And my children are older so we’ve added in swim lessons once a week. But when I look at my calendar we’re not out of the house any more than we were. But the key is that, in New Zealand, we walked a lot. We walked to the shops to buy milk and bread. We walked to church frequently. We walked to our friends’ houses. Here, we drive because it’s just too far to walk. There’s a lot to be said for small towns.

I have more to say but I’m going to put it in another post because it’s unrelated. When did that ever stop me before?? ;)

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14th April 2008

A prayer answered

Through each of my three pregnancies  and since I have prayed that my children will come to a place in their lives where they recognise their need for a Saviour. Yesterday, one of those prayers was answered.

I bring Precious, our oldest daughter age 4.5, into the first service with me and then she goes to Sunday school during the second service. She’s been sitting with us in church since she was a baby, it’s very familiar to her. One difference is that our church here has an invitation time, where the pastor asks people to make their decisions public. This is how I grew up and it’s familiar to me.

Yesterday, at the end of the service, our pastor was giving the invitation. He always explains how a person can have a personal relationship with Jesus. This is also not unfamiliar to Precious. We have talked about it many times with her in many different ways. As Pastor Matt was talking, Precious looked up at me and said “I want to ask Jesus into my heart.”

I was surprised, but very calmly asked her a few questions. I asked her why she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart and she said because she wanted to go to heaven. I asked her how we know we can go to heaven and she said only if we ask Jesus to forgive our sins. I asked her what sin is and she said the things that we do wrong. And I asked her again if she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart and she said yes. I asked her if she wanted to go talk to Pastor Matt and she said yes. So we trotted off down the aisle.

Our church is pretty small, it seats about 120 comfortably, so the aisle isn’t very long :) But as we walked down the aisle I caught Handsome’s eye (He leads worship so he was singing the invitation song) and smiled at him. He had this surprised/happy look on his face. Pastor Matt also had a very happy look on his face. He talked with Precious for a few minutes and lead her in a prayer.

After it was all over and I was taking Precious to her class, she was bouncing around telling everyone that she asked Jesus into her heart. We took her out for a special lunch at  IHOP (she ordered the special Hoo-Cakes, which looked like a big sugary mess).

That afternoon Handsome and I talked about it, realising that this is the moment that we have longed for since becoming parents. I have often said that, as a mother, there is no greater mission field than my children.

And I also feel even more keenly my responsibility to be an example to my children. The pressure and privilege of being a parent.

And now it’s Monday and life goes on. But the difference is that one life is changed, never to be the same again.

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11th April 2008

House Hunt update 2

We are nearing the completion of our final negotiations on the house deal. I would love to give you all the link so you can see pictures but that would give away far too much information about where we live. Um, like our address :) But I will post at least one picture when we move in.

Thanks to all who have been praying. And, barring any weird things happening, we will hopefully be moving into our own place at the end of May. Yippee! We will be cave dwellers no more!

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9th April 2008

Another way to waste some time…

94 words


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8th April 2008

Oh yeah, that’s why I never do this

***I originally wrote this several months ago. Probably before Christmas. Can’t remember. I found it in my saved posts so I thought I’d post it.

I was expecting to stay home for most of the day since I was scheduled to babysit for a friend of mine. We swap babysitting. She watches my son on Wednesday mornings when I’m at BSF and I watch her son on Thursday mornings while she works. Good deal.

This morning she texted me at 9am to say that he was sick and she was going to take him to work with her so he didn’t infect our family. Of course we’re already sick and he very likely got sick from the same source. But anyway, I found myself free. I also have the car today as Handsome is out of town for the day at some software training thingy. I halfway considered just staying home because the girls were playing soooo well and Little Boy was having a really great morning nap. I called my mom to see what she was doing because I knew that she was planning on going to Costco probably today or tomorrow. Turns out she wouldn’t be free until at least 11am.

I let Little Boy sleep, the girls played happily, we did a bit of school work. I thought, you know, the kids are doing great. I think we can manage to go out. Little Boy awoke about 10:30, I fed him some morning tea, the girls got their shoes on, I packed up our bag, making sure I had everything I needed like extra snacks, nappies, a cup of water for the boy. I had my checkbook, had my Costco card. We’re ready to go.

Got to Costco about 11:30, got everyone strapped in or holding hands and away we went, happy family off to buy big boxes of food.

What I should have done was stay home. I should have enjoyed the leisurely morning that we were having and not thought about interrupting it. But interrupt it is what we did!

Normally my stories tell a lot of tales about the two girls because, well, they create a lot of fodder for stories. But this story is all about my son, who is growing out of the baby stage and into early, early non-baby stage. I wouldn’t call him a toddler yet, but he’s certainly learning how to not be a baby.

… and that’s the end! What do you think he did that day? I certainly don’t remember! Probably good for me to remember that, no matter how bad the day might seem, I’ll forget eventually :)

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8th April 2008

friend with a chicken farm

Would my friend with the egg farm please email me because I have lost your email address. It had something to do with the computer overhaul a few weeks ago and now it’s gone. I tried remembering it but I obviously don’t remember well.

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