Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rewards and Challenges of Being Mom

Challenge: Choosing not to make Elizabeth's bed.
Reward: Elizabeth decides to keep a neat room for no apparent reason.

Challenge: Saying No.
Reward: A random hug.

Challenge: Trusting Amanda.
Reward: Being able to trust Amanda.

Challenge: Buying the right shampoo.
Reward: a big hug.

Challenge: Letting Allison make mistakes.
Reward: Hearing Allison pray to God.

Challenge: Letting Paul do it his way.
Reward: Watching Paul succeed.

Challenge: Making a supper everyone likes.
Reward: I believe in miracles.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Case of the Disappearing Aortic Aneurysm

"Marian, I have something to tell you," Sheila bubbled. She had bought four (buy three, get one free) Blooming books from me the week prior. Sheila had given one of the books to Phyllis, her 84-year-old neighbour who was suffering from an aortic aneurysm.

The doctors had put Phyllis through a battery of diagnostic tests and she was scheduled for an appointment with a surgeon. She had been told she would need a risky operation. Not to do the operation would mean possible rupture which would cause severe pain, as well as internal hemorrhaging which, without prompt treatment, could mean a quick death. Phyllis was scared.

Phyllis would read a couple of pieces from Blooming every night before she went to sleep. One night after reading about some of the answers to prayer in the book, she prayed, "Lord if you did it for her, you can do it for me."

Soon after that she saw the surgeon. He proclaimed her healthy and well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

* PS # 2: The Questions of Life

Have you ever had one of those Mondays? I think God sends them to test endurance. I mean a day when the baby (the same baby you bragged about to your friends last night) whines and cries all afternoon while you are up to your elbows in apple peelings that belong to a bushel of over-ripe scabby apples that your sister-in-law decided to bless you with.

Is it good stewardship to throw the little ones away? Is it poor stewardship to spend seven hours peeling what amounts to enough applesauce to keep a family of six supplied for four store value $8.00? Oh well, there is nothing quite like homemade applesauce. Never mind the apple stains on my fingers guaranteed to remind me of this day for the next three weeks.

While the applesauce debate is running through my head, my three-year-old has a private brown-sugar feast. How much sugar can a three-year-old boy eat in ten minutes without a spoon?

As the day slides by, I have more questions. Is it a sin to let the Mary Kay lady on the phone think I am writing down her number? I mean I might have written it down if I didn't have applesauce all over my fingers and on the phone and if I had a pen.

Or, I might have let her know I was totally uninterested except that she sounded so hurt when I told her I'd thrown out her letter which came with the Baby Welcome Wagon months ago. Can I help it that I'm married to a man who likes a tidy place? It's difficult to be rudely truthful to someone who happens to like the name Michelle which just happens to be our baby's name.

Which recalls another question: was I being rude when I told the lady from the Kinsmen Club, who wanted a small favor (she didn’t say what), that she was interrupting lunch and to call back later? She did ask if she was interrupting anything. She hasn't called back yet.

The big question of the day arrives with the school bus. How many times may a grade-two Christian-school student correct her mother's pronunciation of “Ahithophel” without causing her to lose her temper? I found it hard enough to ask Bible review questions loud enough to be heard over the noise of a food processor, a preschooler and a baby, without concentrating on my pronunciation.

Was it a blessing in disguise when I gained 20 minutes in supper preparation time because my husband was busy picking up the 500 books that toppled with the new book shelf when he walked into the sunroom shortly after coming home from work? Books I had spent Sunday afternoon arranging according to the Dewey Decimal System (sort of). Or, come to think of it, does it mean I shouldn't work on Sunday? Last time I tried to do a load of laundry on Sunday, I ended up flooding the basement.

Why on a day such as this does my three-year-old finally for the first time in his entire life decide to tell me he wants to do his big job on the toilet and then actually do it? My brother would call it a bit of luck. My sister-in-law would say it was a blessing. I say it's proof that God does care. It definitely saved the day from being a total write-off.

Knowing that I may not be sending the kid to school in diapers after all, I can even smile when I brush my teeth with Marty's toothbrush before I lie me down to sleep. I wonder where my toothbrush went?

A Christian follows Christ. Christ never did anything wrong. I call myself a Christian, but I can’t figure out the difference between right and wrong.

Go to Pruned Story #3

Ten Things for Thanks Today

1. Marty (alias Dave) makes my breakfast just about every morning. This morning he put my plate on the table for me.

2. The weather's so warm today I'm starting to think about opening the pool.

3. I've got 44 friends on facebook. (On facebook you're encouraged to poke people. Is that like poking a campfire? I haven't been brave enough to find out.)

4. My kids have let me write about them if I use their second names.

5. I won't be driving to Montreal to pick up Amanda from McGill because Michelle volunteered.

6. Amanda will be home for the summer (more joy, more bliss, more laundry).

7. It's almost the end of tax season. That makes my accountant husband happy.

8. We've booked one week in August at the best possible campsite on beautiful George Lake in Killarney Provincial Park, the best provincial park in Ontario, thanks to Amanda's computer savvy booking. (Now Amanda has to write a deferred calculus exam right in the middle of that week. We need an airplane.)

9. I am thankful for Vinyl Cafe on CBC Saturday mornings.

10. Ellie's Blog called Counting My Blessings is helping me appreciate the everyday stuff.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Improving my Blog

Help! I'm doing the "31 Day Challenge to Build a Better Blog" offered at ProBlogger. Today I am on day 5. Our challenge is to respond to a recent comment to one of our postings. I don't have any recent comments. So, if you are reading this, please respond. I'll be happy if you just say "Hi."

Monday, April 20, 2009

10 Reasons the Bible is My All-Time Favourite Book

1. It's got great quotes.

2. It's full of promises.

3. It inspires hope and faith.

4. Exceptional theme.

5. Lots of drama.

6. Good conquers evil.

7. Best author ever and forever.

8. Words are alive on the page.

9. Mother of all redemption stories.

10. It's all true.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

* A Mouse in the House

When I put my book, Blooming, together I had stories which almost made it in. This is one of those.

We first realized we had a mouse in our house when a guest nonchalantly pointed it out to us,

"You know you have a mouse, eh."

"No!" I squeaked in mild panic.

"He was right on your basement steps. He showed me to my room."

The mouse, a small furry scampering creature and prototype of thousands of loveable characters in children's storybooks, has capabilities beyond all proportions to frighten me, a full-grown, middle-aged women. It's not logical.

What can a little mouse do to a grown woman? I mean besides chew at my garbage, eat holes in my bag of flour, and leave little black droppings among my pots and pans. I'll tell you what it can do. It can make me scream, jump up on the furniture and yell for Marty.

Marty decided we would trap this particular mouse. Before retiring the evening after our observant overnight guest left, Marty set two with cheese, one with peanut butter. In the morning both traps were still set. The cheese was untouched, but the peanut butter had disappeared.

A smart little mouse, with definite tastes, we decided.
Marty tried again...three times. Each time the peanut butter was gone, the cheese went untouched and the traps were still loaded.

Rat poison, we decided.

We set out a plastic margarine tub filled with rat poison. I printed RAT POISON on it. Marty heaped the white granules into a small mountain. If a mouse visited the poison we would know. Night after night we set out the poison. Night after night it went undisturbed.

"Maybe the mouse can read," I wondered.

"But, it says rat poison," comforted Marty.

Then one evening as I was quietly lounging in the living room, engrossed in a Catherine Cookson novel, I was startled into reality by Marty whacking about in the kitchen with a yardstick.

"What's going on?" I came rushing to the kitchen.

"He was under the fridge. Now, he's under the stove," yelled Marty. "You stand in the doorway to the dining room and make sure he doesn't get through," he grinned.

I screamed and climbed up on the dining room table. After several minutes, all was quiet. I cautiously peered into the kitchen. Marty had the stove pulled away from the wall and was staring at a jagged two-centimetre hole in the wall where the baseboard ended at the corner.

Several minutes later he had the hole boarded and nailed over. He returned the stove to its position, after retrieving a spatula, a toothbrush and a candy thermometer. Now how did that stuff get back there?

That's when we set a few grains of poison, unmarked on a plastic lid under the stove.

That Saturday when we returned from an afternoon outing, the lid was protruding from beneath the stove. Marty checked. It was empty. We refilled it.

Sunday morning it was empty again.

Now we were laughing.

That same evening Marty stuck a plastic pail under my nose. "Look what I found," he exclaimed. I glanced at the bucket.

"What?" I questioned impatiently.

"Just look."

I peeked into the bucket and screamed.

There was a little dead mouse curled up on its back. Even when they are dead, they frighten me.

"Go away...and don't put it in the kitchen garbage," I warned.

The next morning the poison had been nibbled and there were fresh droppings in my cupboards as well as a peculiar musty odour in our basement, like something died down there. I wondered how many mice we had–living and dead.

That evening I happened to read a newspaper article about roof rats terrorizing posh neighbourhoods somewhere down south. It made me feel less harassed.

Go to Pruned story #2

Friday, April 10, 2009

500 Copies of my Blooming Book

On Tuesday afternoon the UPS truck came with 11 boxes addressed to me. The delivery person wanted to know if he should put them in the garage. "No way," I said. "Put them right here in the front hall." These were my long-awaited books. I spent the rest of the week sending out 25 promotion packs and flogging books to friends, Dave's clients and whoever else came across my path. It's called seeding the market. It kind of feels like planting crocuses beside a big rock in hopes of affecting my world or at least my neighbourhood.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bye, Bye Car

Sunday is the last time we drove home from church in our second-hand Volvo, the one we got less than a year ago. I should correct that: we almost drove home. We were just one half block from home, when one of our neighbours decided to set off for the store to buy some milk. So you might say if it wasn't for Sunday shopping we would still be driving our Volvo. Or if we hadn't stayed at church quite so long or if all the lights had been green or....

Our neighbour was in a hurry to pick up that milk. He waited impatiently for a car from the left to clear his driveway. He could see that if he gunned his vehicle, he could beat the next car coming from the left. What he neglected to consider was that we, his neighbours from four houses down, just might be driving past from his right. He creamed our left front fender and blew our right front tire as he crammed us against the curb.

Today we learned that the insurance company doesn't consider this hunk of steel, which happens to have the most comfortable leather seats we've ever experienced in a car, worth fixing. The good news: they're giving us more than we paid for it. And in hindsight, the really good news: the neighbour didn't back up just a second or so later, when he would have hit our car right in the door. At the speed he was backing up, he could have done severe damage to my husband.

All in all we are one grateful family. Now if we could just carve out some time to go car shopping.