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My life as I seek to offer Christian hospitality to both friends and strangers

14th May 2009

Handsome’s favourite commercial

For those of you that don’t know me in real life, my husband is an IT guy. He’s geeky, but in a cute sort of way. He loves this commercial! Like, really loves it.

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8th May 2009

Meeting the neighbours

**I thought I had already posted this. Originally written on Tuesday.

After all the fuss on Monday night about Precious not being able to go out and play with the kids down the street, we spent an hour outside with them last night. We had taken the dog for a walk and as we passed by the neighbours’ house we noticed all their toys and stuff outside, including a chair and a pair of shoes, so we knew they’d be back. As we were walking home we saw that they were outside playing again and Precious asked if she could play. I said no problem and she ran up to the girls and announced “I’m here!”

Their family has five kids and our family has three kids. But there were also three girls that live down the street that came out to play too so it was quite a crowd. The neighbour girls were very inclusive of Precious even though she is the youngest one. She had a really wonderful time.

Handsome was talking with the dad while he threw balls to his son. I talked with the mom and we both looked after our youngest ones. At one point I was talking to their neighbour about the new roses that he planted and we discussed a juniper bush that he wanted to plant (I hate junipers so I really hope he doesn’t put it right in front!)

At one point the girls started riding scooters up and down the street. Precious isn’t veyr proficient on a scooter, but boy did she try! She seriously lagged behind but she didn’t give up. She just kept scooting and scooting. By the time she was finished her face was bright red and she had some scrapes on her legs, but she was so happy.

The whole time this was going on I was so worried for her. Not that she would physically hurt herself but that she would be emotionally hurt. I remember so well what it’s like to be the odd one out, to not fit in, to want to be cool. If there is something I can do to help my kids not feel that way I want to do it. But of course they also need to learn that being cool doesn’t determine success or happiness. But when you’re a kid it sure does make a difference.

So we ended the night very sweaty and smelly but the kids were so happy. I’m always glad to get to know the neighbours more. It’s important for my kids to have other friends outside of our family. And with every person I meet I think “I wonder if they know Jesus?” I think it might be time for a block party.

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8th May 2009

My kids

I want to write for posterity’s sake, rather than for general public consumption. But you can read over my shoulder if you wish :)

I have three children, ages 5.5, 3.5, and 2. And I am so totally in love with my kids. It’s a lot of work to be their mommy. There have been periods of time when I wasn’t exactly excited to be around them all the time and actually dreaded spending another day wiping snotty noses, dirty bums, and handing out a million drinks of water.

But things are changing. My children are changing.

Precious, my oldest daughter, has made friends with some kids down the street and they have loaned her a scooter. Every day, nearly every moment, she wants to be on that scooter, practicing so she can keep up with the big kids. She keeps asking me when she can get a scooter of her own. Yesterday she asked if she could go down the street to play with the other kids. We could see that they weren’t outside but the mom had said she can always come and knock on the door and ask to play. I thought about it for a moment and realised that she could go down there by herself. I wrote a note to the mom and sent her off. I stood on the front lawn and watched her. She asked permission to cross the street first, after she knew it was safe. Then she scootered her way down the street, very serious about this new responsibility. A few minutes later she scootered back, after very successfully crossing the road, to tell me that the mom wasn’t home but the older brother would come get her when mom got home.

She was over the moon. I had let her go down all by herself. The whole time I watched her I was thinking - my little girl is growing up! She’s almost finished with kindergarten. She’s learning how to flip pancakes. She can sew buttons. She says hello to everyone she sees. She’s polite and respectful. She is so repentant when the Holy Spirit convicts her of her sin. She reads fluently. She is a pleasure to be with (most of the time). I love my Precious.

Cutie, the 3.5yo, is also changing. She’s getting taller. She can reach the water in the refrigerator door. She’s losing the super chubby legs she’s had since she was 4 weeks old.  She’s fantastic at sharing everything she has. She’s so empathetic toward other peoples’ pain. She is a little prayer warrior. She’s learning to read basic three letter words. She can write the first two letters of her name. She wakes up in the morning with a thousand questions, all before 7am. She is so proud that she now has her own real Bible, not just a Bible storybook. And she’s the best snuggler.

Then there is Little Boy, my 2yo. He got his first real haircut today - a buzz cut given by a friend of mine. He’s always got a twinkle in his eye and I have to stay on top of him to make sure he’s learning what it means to obey the first time. The other day he captured a small spider and just held two of its legs and watched for several minutes while it squirmed. I found him in the corner of the vegetable garden, throwing snails down and smashing them with his bare feet. He loves asparagus and cheese. He speaks more in sign language than with real words but that’s slowly changing. He is still using a pacifier at nights and sometime will sneak back in his room during the day and get it. He’ll come back into the living room, walking backwards so I can’t see it in his mouth, giggling the whole time so I can’t help but notice him.

I love my kids. I am blessed to have them in my life. I hope I have many more stories to tell in the future.

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4th May 2009

Just call me Mean Mommy

This evening, right before bedtime, I had to do something that I knew was going to disappoint Precious, my 5 yo. Earlier in the day she had balked at finishing her math work because it was a little on the difficult side. Instead of pushing her I said she’d have to finish it later. Later ended up being right before bed. So we were sitting at the school table while she finished it up. She discovered it wasn’t any easier :)

While we worked a couple of girls that live down the street rode past on their scooters. They are sisters, aged about 7 and 9. Precious has been getting to know them. A neat family, also homeschoolers and Christians too. But because they have a larger family with older kids, their schedule is quite different from ours. Our kids go to bed around 7:30 whereas these kids are in bed after 8. When Precious saw them ride past she got excited and asked if she could go out and play. I said no, she needed to finish her work. Normally I’m not really that strict but we’re trying to buckle down because we’re seeing a pattern of laziness develop that we’re hoping to nip in the bud. She started furiously trying to finish it up, making a lot more mistakes, because she thought she’d be able to go outside if she was done.

I explained to her that we weren’t playing outside tonight. I also explained that she needs to understand that when Mommy says it’s time to do schoolwork in the morning, then she needs to do it. She made a choice and she is reaping the consequences. Because if she had finished her work earlier in the day I probably wouldn’t have had a problem with her playing outside for a short time with her friends.

So. She cried a lot of tears but I believe she understands. At bedtime I prayed with her and talked to her and she still thinks I’m the best mommy.

But inside my head I’m hearing a little voice saying “Mean mommy, mean mommy!” I don’t suppose that ever goes away, huh?

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3rd May 2009

It always pays to ask

Those of you that live in Northern/Central California are probably aware that Longs Drugs was bought out by CVS. The takeover came into effect in March and they’ve been slowly moving over. I noticed today in the ad included with the Sunday paper that they actually included a CVS ad, rather than the standard Longs ad. It’s still not the normal national ad, but it’s still a CVS ad. I’ve been highly anticipating this because CVS has some rockin’ deals. I signed up for their loyalty card several weeks ago in preparation for the changeover. When Handsome and I went to So. Cal a few weeks ago I was able to use it because there was a CVS across the street from our hotel.

Today I was able to make a trip to our local store and I walked away a very happy customer. They had select Kellogg’s cereals on sale for $1.88, which on its own is very good. But I had $1 off coupons, making each box only 88 cents which is pretty darn good. I also needed to buy a few other things so I picked those up.

When I walked into the store I noticed that they had canned pumpkin on clearance for $1.20 a can. For anyone that pays attention to prices, this isn’t really much of a deal. During the Christmas season it’s often found for $1 a can. I’ve been wanting to buy some but I just hate to pay full price. I’ve always known that it never hurts to ask if they’ll lower the price, even if it’s a chain store like CVS. I figured it was a clearanced item that they wanted to get rid of. I offered to pay 50 cents a can and said that I’d buy 20 cans. The sales associate called her supervisor, who then talked to the asst manager who then called the store manager! The answer came back yes. So I was able to get a very good deal on a product that will last until 2011. But to make it even sweeter I got a $3 off $15 purchase coupon from the CVS coupon printer inside the store, so I received an additional $3 off my purchase.

So, have a look at your local Longs/CVS store. Many good deals to be had. And much smaller than Target or Walmart so it’s easy to get in and out.

And sorry for the poor writing - I’m not editing because I need to get to bed so I can get to the gym in the morning. It’s long overdue.

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27th April 2009

Be careful little eyes what you see…

Do you remember that song? From your toddlerhood?

Be careful little eyes what you see

Be careful little eyes what you see

For your Father up above

Is looking down with love

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Recently I have been very aware of what I’m watching on telly or listening to on the radio when the children are around. It’s not that I’m watching anything I’d be ashamed to watch around my grandma, but I’m aware that there are lots of things that I watch or listen to that I wouldn’t want my kids to see or hear. Handsome and I are working hard to be sure that they are being raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord and we try to control what they’re exposed to because, frankly, they’re really young.

So while I’ve been careful to change the radio station from country music to KLOVE while we’re in the car and make sure we don’t watch Fringe until the kids are actually asleep in bed, God has been talking to my heart. I’ve bee hearing things like…

Michele, if it’s not good enough for your kids to watch, why are you watching?

Michele, is that song worthy or admirable or lovely?

Michele, what valuable thing is this television show teaching you?

And don’t get the idea that I spend a lot of time watching TV. We don’t actually have a TV so we watch online. Our big computer is in the school room so I’m often on my computer doing other things and watching at the same time. I never watch during the day and rarely without Handsome being there. But still. Is this the best use of my time? Is God honoured by the programmes I watch?

So. That’s where I’m at. If we actually had a TV I’d probably be selling it about now. Since we don’t I do believe that I’ll be finding other projects to do in the evenings or at least being very very selective about what I watch.

I’d be interested to hear your opinions. Do you watch television? What do you watch? Are you ever concerned about your kids coming in at the wrong time?

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22nd April 2009

My afternoon at the beach

I have had the privilege of being away, alone, with just my husband for the last three days. Although there have been unexpected hiccups (like a trip to the ER for Handsome) it’s gone reasonably well and I’ve enjoyed being away.

This afternoon we went to Laguna Beach for Jeremy to meet with someone for work. While they were meeting, I mosied on down to the local library. Lo and behold! A Friends of the Library bookshop!! I got several great children’s books for our homeschool and just for reading, for only 25 cents each. I love that.

I still had some time so I went up to the library and found a book on the new release shelf and started reading. Unfortunately Handsome called me far too soon to tell me that he was finished. And now I can’t stop thinking about the book! I want to know what happens!! I went online just now to check my local library system to see if I could reserve it. There are 35 other people already in line to reserve it, so it might be a few weeks. They have about 30 copies of it so hopefully I’ll get it sooner rather than later. In the meantime I’ll have to read something else. Sigh.

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21st April 2009

Multi-tasking Mom

I just finished reading this post at The Happy Housewife. If you’re anything like me you’re trying to get a lot of things done during the day and often feel pulled in several directions. I can attest to the fact that when I actually really focus on just doing one thing it makes a huge difference, particularly with my kids.

Go have a read. You’ll appreciate it.

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16th April 2009

My Rock List

I am a big fan of Preschoolers and Peace. Kendra is my go-to girl when I have a question about balancing homeschooling with everything else in life. She has recently posted a short series called “Drowning in Home Management”. As a mother of 8 children and a homeschooler as well, she knows what it’s like to be surrounded by preschoolers or young elementary kids.

In the first post of the series she talked about a Rock List. You know how if you want to fill up a jar, you put the largest things in first and then fill it in with smaller things? Kendra explains that it’s the same with our day. If we can determine what five things we need to accomplish each day (the same things each day) then we can start to sort out our priorities. She said that there have been times in her life that she has only done those five things because she simply couldn’t fit in anything else. And the joy of it? That’s okay. There have been other times when she was able to do much more.

So I started thinking about my Rock List. I came up with a brief list. And then I asked Handsome what he thought my five things should be. Guess what? They were different. :)

On my list I had 1) time in prayer and Bible reading, 2) exercise, 3) reading aloud to children, 4)meal prep, 5)keeping kitchen/living area tidy.

I chose #1 because I know that when I start my day with the Lord, things run smoother. Maybe not easier, but I have the tools to deal with whatever happens.  #2 is because I know that if I’m to run around with my three kids I need to be as healthy as possible. And all those endorphins are a good thing. #3 because if we do no other school work during the day I know that reading quality books aloud to my children is sufficient. #4 everyone has to eat! But I don’t include gourmet cooking here. This is just eating basic meals to survive. #5 because I know that everyone, especially Handsome, appreciates a tidy living area and it reduces the time spent looking for things.

Now. Handsome’s list for me - time with the Lord, educating the children, keeping kitchen clean, recording my expenses on our computer, and working toward some kind of alternate income source. Please note that his list did NOT include any kind of food. I asked him about this and he said “Michele, if I came home from work and you hadn’t done any dinner prep but you had done all the other things, I wouldn’t care. We’d all work together and get dinner done. ” In his mind the things he listed are things that only I can do (or are my responsibility to do). Food preparation is something he’s capable of but I’ve just always done it. (And don’t worry about the alternate income source, it’s just something we’ve been talking about. He’s not going to send me out into the coal mines. If there are even coal mines where I live.)

I found this to be a very interesting exercise. I believe that I need to talk with my husband about these kind of things because it’s my experience that he often sees my life in a different (and more positive!) light than I do. His opinion is highly valued and he can help me see what is really important and what I just fabricate in my head.

So what’s on your Rock List? If you could do just five things each day, what would they be?

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13th April 2009

Question for my readers

I have a question and I’d like some honest responses from my readers. I realise that this might be somewhat controversial, but that’s okay. I’m up for controversy. But this is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot.

As a Christian I believe that s*x outside of marriage is a sin, as is clearly taught in the Bible. I don’t believe that God judges any one sin greater than another. I do not condemn people for their sin as it’s not my place to do so.

Here’s the question: what would your response be if you had visitors coming to spend the night in your home that you knew were involved in a physical relationship outside of marriage? Would it make a difference if the couple was gay or heterosexual?

Let me hear from you. I’ll respond in a few days with a post. And let’s use our kind, grown up words, shall we?

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