Monday, September 29, 2008

Boy Oh Boy!

Today I had the all to rare opportunity to hang out with some of my dearest friends for lunch at Chili's. As I sat back and observed the different personalities surrounding me I quickly placed them in two categories...those raising boys and those not raising boys. It was quite obvious to me the differences. Next to us was a table with our darling children happily coloring and wiggling and making odd noises. Those without boys were quick to notice the odd noises coming from the adjoining table while the mothers of boys seemed blissfully unaware that one of the testosterone driven types fashioned a mega phone out of his placemat and went happily about grunting and growling at the passers by.

I can remember being relatively young like in High School and having a conversation with God. I was basically puting in my "order". I wanted to have four children, three boys followed by a baby girl. You see, I had five brothers myself. Four of which were older than me and I just thought they were the funniest people I'd ever met. They were so intriguing to me and also, quite protective. I wanted the same thing for my daughter should God choose to bless me with one. So, when I became pregnant for the fourth time I just knew it was going to be a girl. I had even purchased some little pink outfits and had the nursery all planned out.
Now that I am a mother of three wild, noisy little dudes of my own I have come to the conclusion that there are two ways to parent them...

1) Be completely horrified, terrified, mystified, grossed out, overwhelmed and exhausted.

2) Or like my darling friends...Be completely amused and infatuated and frankly, in a constant state of AWE. (All the above still come with this package by the way but not quite as frequently)

I consider it an honor that God thought I could handle this great responsibility. Raising boys is definately not for that faint of heart. They come with a lot of strange smells and odd sounds and hair raising, death defying acitvities. I don't think they have any respect for gravity whatsoever. As a mother of boys you must accept the fact that trips to the ER are going to be a fairly common occurence. You must appreciate bodily function humor and not get queasy at the dinner table when, inevitably, the conversation turns that way. Along with all of that comes a lot of sweetness too. They are naturally protective of their Mama's and they wanna be just like their Daddy's. They are also good to have around when giant mutant spiders jump out of the closet.
I've heard a phrase at church that has been thrown around a lot recently. "It stole their joy" A good friend and mentor of ours out in California (Our sweet Ben Evans) corrected us on that. He said "Nobody, no situation or circumstance can STEAL your joy. You give it away" No where in my life has that been more true than now. When my boys are hanging upside down at the dinner table or running through the house pretending to be spider men, I have two choices...I can either give my joy away by scrunching my shoulders up around my ears and squishing up my face or I can watch in wonderment the incredible creation of BOYS! What was God thinking?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Invisible Moms

This is for all my "Mommy" friends. I love you all so much and you are all doing an AMAZING job raising your babies...

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously, not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone! One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ..

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.' In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.' At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.
It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.' As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. Great Job, MOM!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


The photo below captures a disturbing trend that is beginning to affect wildlife in the USA .
Animals that were formerly self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democratic they have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance.