Monday, March 29, 2010

Back in the saddle again, ready or not

I have been attempting to take a day of rest, and Sunday happens to be that day this semester. I did do one thing yesterday afternoon that I probably shouldn't have, raked the leaves in the front yard. The purpose (of taking a day of rest, not raking) isn't merely and pathetically to maintain sanity and rest, which is partially the case. The other half of the story is I want to make sure I am building and growing in my relationship with the Lord. You see, it is insufficient and unacceptable, personally, to be a card carrying Christian, where someone has any hope of detecting I'm a Christian by some card I carry hidden in my pocket or anything closely resembling that. I want my faith to be evidenced in the life I live; part of that involves growing in my knowledge of the Lord and my relationship with him. Then there's making, maintaining, and growing relationships with others.

Where was I going with this? Oh yes, well, today, much work was glaring me in the face. Cooking, dish washing, clothes washing, etc., etc., all whilst tending to the girls. To make all that all the more fun, Saturday afternoon, I fell really, really hard on my behind, to the extent where I wondered whether I could have busted my tail bone. My husband said it was hardly likely if I was still walking. What? It hurt, it was excruciating, to sit, bend, crouch, walk up or down (stairs). Walking was no cup of tea either. So much for being the fun, light-hearted, sock-wearing mom, who was getting ready to startle/play with the older one. Wearing socks on hardwood floors whilst running and suddenly stopping spell TROUBLE. Pray that my bottom heals in a timely fashion. I desperately want to thoroughly clean our upstairs floors before my spiritual formation group meets at my house Wednesday evening.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Thus begins Holy Week.

I have been trying to figure out a simple yet significant way to explain Easter to the girls, who are still to young to comprehend, grasp, wrap their little minds around any sort of resurrection. Death alone isn't something they get, on any level. Honestly.

Instead of focusing on the events of passion week, perhaps a better approach is to speak with the girls about Jesus coming to save us. . .

***

In other news, one of friends, at the age of 21, accepted Christ within the last week. Initially we were introduced and partnered as international friendship partners. She came from China to get her undergraduate degree and plans on continuing here (in the U.S.) with graduate school. Every two to three weeks, I take her grocery shopping; and we try to hang out together from time to time. From the start, I have kept my relationship with her open and honest. It's been an honor to see such a diligent, fine gal grow.

***

I am certain of very few things in life. Remember the saying - people in high school believe they know everything, people in college believe they know most everything (they admit there is some stuff they don't know), and people in graduate school realize just how little they know. Well, that couldn't be more true for me, the blunt realization of just how little I know. Especially after studying philosophy, so intensely, for so long. One thing that is a sure thing . . . we're not finished with life when we die here, and Jesus gave all of us a chance to be saved by dying on the cross for us.

***

Ending on a sweet, cute little note, I had no idea that our church planned to have all the children stand at the front of the sanctuary during one of songs of worship and praise, holding palm branches and singing, melted my heart. Isabella was the youngest in this particular service, and at one point, Naomi, the second youngest in the crowd (who's 1 year older than Isabella) gently patted her shoulder. Be still, my heart is smiling and swooning.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beauty in the morning

I channel anything BUT beauty in the morning. Especially these days when I'm recovering from being sick; I'm snotty nosed with junk in my throat.

But I know a couple other little ladies, even with drippy noses and endless requests (for eat out of this or that cup, to wear this or that clothing, to play with this or that, to desire help doing this or that), who exude beauty. And cuteness.

Enter Exhibit A:

2010-3-25

Enter Exhibit B. These little beauties don't appear trouble or mischief at all. Yeah. Right.


Enter Exhibit C. One of many wardrobe changes this morning. Sporting jeans she's been asking for for weeks now. And? She pointed out this morning that she was wearing jeans, like her daddy was wearing jeans. Very astute comparison from that three year old child.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A shock but not a surprise

At first glance, the title may appear a contradiction in terms, and I would blame no one for such interpretation. After all, it is I that lives at the mercy of what I consider unmercifully early awakenings, because my daughters think 5:30 or 6 o'clock at times is a perfectly appropriate and acceptable time to conquer the world and reign.

Moving on to the events that motivated the title of this post. Most of yesterday was in the gorgeous 50's. My husband walked to school, I took the girls grocery shopping at three different stores, and we saw spring knocking at the door. My husband came home from work early, so I could study. Whatever the heck that means. My mind has been living in a zero-visibility fog since I have been sick, and though I had coffee yesterday, the assistance failed. I was physically alert, but my higher faculty functioning was still protesting. Rain was falling steadily and it was far from a mere drizzle when I arrived at my point of study.

Somewhere between five and ten minutes, suddenly, without a whisper or hint of the change, lots of rain became insanely abundant amounts of snow being swooshed in quickly from a sheet, to a blanket, to a heavy comforter covering the ground.

When I saw what was happening outside, I knew that prudence was dictating that i cut my study time short. Immediately.

2010-3-23

The walk to the car was no fanciful, enjoyable walk, admiring how each snowflake is unique in appearance, size, and shape. The wind was proudly announcing who's boss, and the snow was running a competition, seeing which two directions in which it was falling speedily would win. I had to work quickly to clear the snow off my windshields and windows, not only to keep my digits from falling off, but because a new layer of snow was quickly forming on the glass.

I was shaking the entire drive home, not because I was cold. The visibility was so terrible, and I was already slipping and sliding in the mess. Thankfully the drive wasn't more than three miles. My right leg was shaking so uncontrollably that once I stopped at a red light, I had to put my car in park. Um, that was to keep the car from hugging the car in front of me, since I couldn't keep my foot steady enough to keep it on the brakes.

Folks, these pictures were taken not even an hour after it had started snowing. That's what I mean, fast and furious was the winter storm. By the time I arrived at our house, I couldn't distinguish our lawn from our driveway. Fabulous. As I attempted to turn on to the driveway, I heard my tires spinning and I was sliding. Great.

Had to call my husband out to park the car for me. I was too much of a wreck to do anything productive with our vehicle.


We were given fair warning with a winter storm warning. And, I'm not even complaining about the snow or Colorado's schizophrenic weather. I actually am, at the very least, appreciative and perhaps fond of the changes. I am merely pointing out I have absolutely no grace, precision, or ability to navigate in slippery, icy conditions.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good days and bad days, quick fixes, and priorities

I started this post Wednesday of last week, and well, it's four days later and I can't remember what was on my mind so I'm going to roll with it.

Good days

On good days, the opinions of the (ominous) society don't bother me - whether it's about what I'm supposed to be doing, what my children are supposed to be doing, etc. Instead, I'm focusing on my kids' character formation, being an anchor for my family, and continually growing as a person. Tending to fun little tid bits - taking lovely photographs, making mouth-watering, delicious food - helps, too (the clean up and washing dishes, not so much).

And little additions, like this shamrock plant, brings excitement, too.

Bad days

Oh I don't know, what I do with bad days vary greatly. Sometimes, like last Wednesday, I began with a cup of spaz. And. . .

I ended up doing 5 loads of laundry, cooked a meal, did a few mountains of dishes, amongst other things. Petered out by mid-afternoon.

Other days, well, some things remain an enigma.

Quick fixes

Quick fixes invariably come with a price. Coffee, well, we won't go there. Coffee is a temptress with promises of temporary euphoria and a nearly guaranteed wakefulness. However, that quick fix, in the past, imprisoned me in an addiction that resulted in ugly, disgusting, get-out-of-dodge withdrawal symptoms. So, I'm not willing to succumb more than twice a week.

This weekend, I was nearly out of fixes. One of the girls passed a bug to me, but by the time it got to me, it became a mutant, leaving me without a voice, with an inability to smell or breathe through my nose, and a throat housing a family of frogs. Let me just say Friday night and Saturday night sent me into a world of discomfort that I haven't felt in some time. Was so anxious about not being able to breathe in a horizontal position, the merely thought of going to bed terrified me. Though I've been going entirely drug-free through my colds, flu, etc., I decided that I needed something, something, please. NyQuil. Didn't knock me out like I had hoped, but it at least put me at ease so I would not be so nervous about laying in bed with a stopped-up throat with loads of gunk in my throat. Today's the first time we've ever missed church while living in Colorado and we've only missed a handful of times attending church ever, if that's any testimony to how crappy I felt.

Priorities


We must not forget the wonders and majesty of life.



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A helmet for a tooth and a not so wise wisdom tooth

My very first dentist was a pediatric dentist who was neither patient nor kind and who strapped us to the chairs. I kid you not. It wasn't long at all before my parents ditched that guy like a bad habit, but some damage had already been done. I don't have very clear recollections of seeing this guy, besides being involuntarily restrained and not being treated very well.

Since then, I have dreaded, DREADED, DREADED! dentist visits of any kind whatsoever. My parents switched me over to their family dentist, and he, by contrast, had a fabulous bedside manner. Very kind, very friendly, very careful, etc. Even sent me a wedding gift. But, still, anxiety struck me as I knew my time for an appointment drew near. Doesn't help that I have genes for bad teeth. My husband will eat before bedtime and not brush his teeth when he's done eating (and he doesn't floss regularly), and he has no cavities. Teeth of steel, he has. Me? Not so fortunate. I take care of my teeth, trust me. Still I have problems.

My fear of visiting dentists is probably exacerbated not only by seemingly constant problems (translate cavities, and more recently crowns). Doesn't help that while in Texas, when I was 38 weeks pregnant with my first child, I chipped a fifth of a tooth off and had to immediately get a root canal and crown. Seriously, people; that was so freaking unpleasant. I was already having problems breathing, since my little munchkin was munching off of my supply, but I also had a cold (also a nice little preggers perk). And? The dentist said he really wanted to put a block in my mouth to keep it open, because I kept narrowing my mouth. Hello??! I had trouble breathing and catching my breath; give me a freaking breath.

***

We went to a dentist here on recommendation from one of my husband's colleagues. Great dentist, great staff. With the sort of teeth I have, can't dare to miss my 6 month check-ups. When they did x-rays, they said one of my wisdom teeth might have decay on it and several teeth that already had fillings on them needed to be replaced, some with better fillings and some with crowns. Since I didn't know this dentist for long, my skeptical self kicked into place.

I won't go into details of how I came to believe he's trustworthy, but he is. Remember that tooth that needed a root canal and crown? It was a tooth that had a filling on it previously; the mercury filling eventually expanded enough to crack the tooth. Hold that thought.

***

The dentist, about a year ago, told me that two teeth that had fillings in them needed to be replaced with crowns. Through the x-rays, decay could be seen underneath. Great. Got the more problematic one taken care of first. You see, even with dental insurance, insurance only covers 40% of more significant dental work (up to $1,000 of dental work a year). We had to wait until the next year started to do the other crown.

I've been anxious about this appointment for a few days, and it has nothing to do with this dentist or his staff, like I said. Something about drilling around all sides of the tooth so we can put a cap on it (a "helmet," in the moments I'm attempting to think more positively) to protect it from further damage just doesn't make me twirl and jump for joy. That tooth was in the very back, right next to a wisdom tooth. After closer examination he was able to confirm that the wisdom tooth, next to the one he was working on, had decay in two spots; so while I was numbed and dumbed (just kidding about the latter), he put a filling in the wisdom tooth.

The staff and the dentist went to great lengths to take care of me and to take care of my sensitive scared-to-death-of-the-dentist self. And, they took their time to do a really good job. They didn't rush and took great pride in exact measures and fittings. Sad to say, though, they neglected to report, at my last cleaning, that a tooth on the bottom of the same side of my mouth has a filling that needs to be replaced. With another filling, not a crown. Whew. He'll take care of that when he replaces the temporary crown with a permanent one.

***
I am glad the dentist and his staff took really good care of me, and I can tell their business isn't just about making money. To that note, I was encouraged to see the dentist give one of his employees who has been working with him for 20 years a generous gift. He is sending her and her husband to the Bahamas for a week!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

From pool fun yesterday to snow today

Remember my post from yesterday? Sunny, warm weather? Playing on the playground? Enjoying time in the pool?

2010-3-13

Not the case today. Whilst in church, we could see the snow falling hard and fast. Am I complaining? Nope; absolutely not. My husband asked if I now missed South Texas. Miss the friends, yes; the weather, NEVER. I don't mind moving from nearly 60 degree weather to not even 40 the next day. I am, though, glad the girls got to spend plenty of sunshine, warm outside time yesterday.

Not much time to explore the falling snow here. After church, lunch, food, sustenance, warding off irritable moods is more crucial.

The youngest in the family is nearing 22 months old now. She jabbers, talks, screams, squeals, delights, makes her desires known.


2010-3-14


The older and younger. Well, sometimes each looks after the other. Sometimes one attempts to steal and take advantage of the other, and vice versa. But, they're sisters. Many think they're twins at first glance. There's a 20 month difference.


And then the older one. To converse with and discuss, is a great delight. She answers back, describes what she likes, and wants to do so much. She has also told me, on occasion, that she will take care of me. Wow, what a way to move a mother to tears.


Plant, plant, I got a plant

2010-3-14

Yesterday, I took one of my friends grocery shopping. Saw this at Sunflower Farmer's Market and HAD to take it home. This lovely little purple shamrock plant was whispering sweet nothings and captured my attention. In fact, while the girls ate their dinner, I quickly gave it a welcome home present, transferring it into a larger pot with new soil so its roots can grow and the plant can flourish.

Rewind a number of years back, before our two little monkeys came along, I was a lover and caretaker of plants and flowers. I must have had easily 15-20 plants. Then after Isabella joined the world, one by one the plants bit the dust. Kaput. Died. It was as if I was incapable of keeping people and non-people alive and flourishing. My cat of 17 years also, well, tolerated life no more. We had to put him down not long (a couple weeks perhaps) after we brought Isabella home. This is probably testimony to my pathetic incapability of maintaining responsibility for the tender lives of so many things. One of the saddest losses was approximately 8-10 lucky bamboos I was given, as a birthday gift, by one of Troy's old roommates and the roommate's girlfriend. But, I have to say, the death of those poor little things had nothing to do with me. I was far away from them, on a plane, getting our two daughters from Texas to Colorado. The lucky bamboos were on a hot moving truck with my husband, going from South Texas to Colorado for many miles over a two to three day stretch.

I'm itching to have plants around again. Hopefully I'll be more responsible and the girls won't treat the plants as if they're toys or items to be shredded and destroyed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beautiful Day and Fun in the Sun

The day before yesterday was my husband's birthday. Unfortunately, Thursdays are busy for both of us this semester. I have class from 8-10:45 am, and Troy has to teach in the afternoon. I had planned on giving him two gifts, but only one of them was ready. I gave him a poem that I wrote to commemorate his birthday and the time we've known each other. Normally, I don't attempt rhyme or meter, but this poem had some rhyme (but not really any meter). The other present? Still not ready. Geez. For his birthday meal, per his request, we had pizza. And um, he ate nearly two entire pizzas before the night was out. Wow.

***

Today, for family time, per Isabella's request, we headed towards the Children's Museum. Once we parked and started walking towards the Museum, we didn't get past the playground in front of it. That's just fine with us. It was and is such a beautiful day, and I wouldn't miss an opportunity to encourage the girls to be themselves, kids having fun and getting dirty.

To continue the fun fest, the temperature seemed more amenable, relatively speaking (warmer than 30 or 40 degrees), for the girls to try out our new kiddie pool. And, Isabella has been asking and asking to wear her swimming suit and to go swimming. That's what the girls did before having lunch and taking their naps. Threw in plenty of hot water from our kitchen sink, and the girls seemed to thoroughly enjoy playing in the pool, running in the grass, and "making meals" in the pool.

2010-3-13

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Friend in Jesus and Friends in the Midst

Hello folks. I've not been in the custom of sharing my personal writing on my blogs whatsoever, for a multitude of reasons. However, I've had a change of heart. From time to time, I plan on sharing some of my personal writings if it might amuse you or benefit you in some way. . .

I must warn you in advance that I am not normally one to follow rhyme and meter when I write. And certainly I am no Edgar Allen Poe or Emily Dickinson. However, not unlike myself as a performing musician or artist, I put myself out there truly, madly, deeply (remember that song?). Seriously, I put myself out there, candidly and with openness and honesty.

Friend in Jesus and Friends in the Midst

Indeed, I have a friend in Jesus
who knows, who has endured
questioning, doubting, betraying, despising, forsaking
by ones who embraced and followed him.
Indeed, a friend in Jesus
who desires nothing less
than for me to take my sins, griefs, pains
and come, whether weak and heavy laden,
and bring all to him.
Indeed, a friend in Jesus
who remains faithful, who is my refuge, who shields me.
But the friendship does not stop there.
He has provided relationships in my midst,
where pieces of him shine brightly.
Find these friends I must now,
some are old and some are new.
Share some pain I must do,
share some sorrows there, too.
Need not be weak and heavy laden,
alone and nobody there to care.
Solace in Jesus and in friends.

Lily Chang
Copyright 2010

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Goodbye importing notes to facebook

Hello folks. This is just a quick announcement for all you loyal facebook readers. I really do appreciate your comments on my postings. Truly, dearly, anticipatingly (yes, I just created a word). However, I am severing my blog ties with facebook. If you have enjoyed reading my blog posts and wish to continue doing so, please go directly to them:
Let me know if leaving comments on them is a pain, and I will attempt to adjust accordingly, without letting spammers and soliciters crowd. There are also links to a couple of the blogs underneath my profile picture on facebook.

Anyways, this is the last post that will be visible on facebook. Come join me on my blogs and become a follower if you dare! So, from the blogger side of things, fare thee well, facebook.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The leech in facebook

I've been taking a Lent hiatus from facebook and twitter, and quite frankly, the break has served me well. Facebook at times smells like middle-schoolish or high-schoolish competition; and I don't need that in my life. This is no disrespect to those who live and die by facebook. The extra time to contemplate and pray and correct the significant things in my life has been difficult and great (from a growth perspective).

Sometime ago, more than a year ago, I linked this blog to facebook. In recent times, I wanted to sever that link and have been unsuccessful at any attempts. I'm honored that people have commented on the posts via facebook, but I would rather people visit my blogs directly. Plus, I don't like the privacy changes to facebook, including potentially claiming any copyright on photographs posted there. That being said, anyone know how to kill the leech attached to my blog?

A treasure trove full of toys

One of my friends' spouses actually believed that their home should look as if little ones do not occupy or live in the home. Even with two little ones, he held to that. What the crap?

We started accumulating a mountain of toys in the dining room corner, cascading towards our hall way. Me being the penny saver I've become wanted a toy chest, but I wasn't willing to shell out any serious cash for it. Took my time looking at Good Will, scoping the stores for sales, but didn't see anything that caught my eye until this past Friday.

I was at Babies R Us with the girls, picking up some diapers (with coupon in hand, of course), and I saw a sale sticker on top of a toy chest in the nursery section. Not getting any hopes up, mere curiousity led me to stroll in that direction.

Originally $70. Now on sale for $50. I had a coupon, which was left at home, for 20% off one item. Still wasn't convinced it was worth $40. We're talking brand new here. So, the next day, I wanted to drag my husband out to see what he thought. Turns out, it had been marked down to $40, so I got 20% off $40. And, I had a gift card with a bit of mulla left on it. We paid about $20 out of pocket for it. Not bad eh?

2010-3-6

So far, it's been a hit with the girls. Perhaps part of the intrigue is the novelty of the thing. Still, it's a treasure chest full of toys. It's a bench. And, it's a stepping stool with which to see the world.

What else is so nifty about this treasure trove? Isabella can't slam her sister's fingers in it easily. It doesn't close quickly or open quickly.

And, folks, I believe we have a winner. My darling husband assembled it quickly, almost in the time it took me to heat up the girls' lunch and for them to eat.

Need a couple more of those little treasure chests.