Don’t Mess with the Little Ones, They’re Vicious

In our house the oldest sibling could be called, The Big Boss. She’s not as big as Mom, of course, but, whether the younger three sisters like it or not, they toe her line.

Heaven forbid you mess with The Big Boss (or TBB’s stuff), you see, she will come after you. And once she is after you there is only one place to go, The Biggest (and nicer) Boss of all, i.e. Moi. Somehow, I transform into “base.” TBB can’t touch you if you are attached to the “base,” or at least, she gets in trouble if she does; which is almost as good.

There is usually a lot of chasing around the house and quite a bit of squealing, “Mommy! Mommy!” and then suddenly I am body slammed by a  little person in full retreat from The Big Boss who is on a rampage, usually over somebody touching her stuff.

Horrors. I know.

After an incident this morning consisting of a chase, a squeal and a body slam into “base,” the littlest drew this picture on a napkin moments before leaving for school:

clazy hair

It is a picture of her biggest sister, The Big Boss, with “clazy hair” (sic).

“I x-ed her out,” she said.

There is some vicious emotion expressed on this napkin. You don’t want to mess with this little peanut, she can hold her own. Especially when peaking out from the relative safety of her mother’s knees.

It’s best to keep on her good side, otherwise, she will X You Out.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Big 'n Little

Big ‘n Little

You don’t want to mess with them, they’re very expressive.

 

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I Am What Happens to Your Stuff

I called my brother the other day and reached his voicemail. He must have still been at the burial site and couldn’t pick up. I was waiting at the country club trying to find out how soon everyone would arrive from the cemetery so I could let the chef know when to bring out the food. The sooner the better, I had a five year old to pick up at a bowling themed birthday party at 1:30.

It was Saturday and I was working. I had three children with me because there was a minimum of 35 for food and we were crossing our fingers to get 25 at the funeral and lunch. I figured somebody has to eat all those stuffed shells and beef tips, it may as well be us. When you reach 94, you’ve outlived most of the warm butts who would normally attend your services. It happens.

This is what I do. Everything and anything, from funeral luncheon arrangements to disposing of storagebelongings, including but not limited to, clothing, food, china, furniture, vintage Pfaff sewing machines, decorative plates and mid-century blaupunkt radio turntable liquor cabinets that everybody and their brother’s grandparents once had displayed prominently next to their chenille sofas. And jewelry. Jewelry is nice.

I search for hidden cash in ancient Tupperware containers and in envelopes taped under dresser drawers. The treasure hunt makes up for the times I must empty disgusting fridges and clean up other people’s bathrooms. They don’t make rubber gloves large enough for that.

Over the years I’ve found money and cut gems, massive amounts of vintage jewelry and enough bows to top Christmas presents for the rest of my life. I don’t get to keep anything, except the bows, and the dryer sheets and loads of tissue boxes. But, all in all, it’s not such a bad way to make a buck.

Longing for the Apocalypse

It’s no secret that I love a good Zombie flick. Maybe they resonate with me because I consider myself a survivor, so much so, that I would never consider participating in a “Zombie Run” or the like because,

A. I would never want to “be” the zombie (I’m a Survivor of course.)

B. I have no desire to run from zombies – if you can’t kill them, what’s the point?

Since we are coming into that zombie time of year (October and the return of The Walking Dead) I decided to research Zombie origins to satisfy my curiosity. I am in no way an expert and my “sources” have been gathered exclusively from the wonderful world of The Internet, and my own brain.

Zombies can be classified into two categories:

Category A: Zombies: Corpses raised from the dead by magic or witchcraft as by Haitian voodoo.

Category B: Zombies: Fictional undead creatures originally found in mythical literature, such as that age old classic, the ancient Mesopotamian Epic Poem – Gilgamesh, where we are told “the dead will go up and eat the living.” Or, in more recent centuries, Shelley’s Frankenstein or the novelette’s of H.P Lovecraft. These undead creatures appeared in fictional written and oral traditions until the 20th century when the zombie genre expanded to include film and TV (i.e. 1968 Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead.)

The Zombies that fascinate me are the second category, fictional creatures. I believe voodoo, witchcraft and satanic forces exist in this world. Demons are real. I have first-hand knowledge. They are not funny. They are not cool. I do not choose to derive pleasure from anything satanic, nor will I ever. But that is a topic for another post.

When I refer to zombies, it is the creature who, usually by the introduction of some sort of infection or virus has killed the host (i.e. – the human is dead) and the zombie virus now inhabits the body. There is nothing satanic or demonic at work, but rather a super nasty, and deadly, disease that utilizes a corpse.

So what is it exactly that fascinates me (and literally millions around the world) about the zombie genre.

Could it be the Fear of death?  Does our fear of death present in such a way that not only do we fear our own deaths, but we take it a step further and fear those things that are dead? Possible.

Yet, I do not fear death. On the other hand, I definitely do not want to get eaten alive. That would be horrible. Zombie or shark or remote jungle cannibal – really, who doesn’t fear getting eaten alive?

As I considered my fascination with the zombie genre a little longer I realized that it was not so much the zombies themselves that fascinate me but rather, the idea of Apocalypse that I find most often goes hand in hand with modern zombie stories.

If I were to ask a stranger on the street, to define “apocalypse” I believe most would define this word to mean a specific catastrophic event in which the world as we know it is destroyed and the ensuing struggle for survival in the aftermath of the event (i.e. zombie virus, Biblical prophecy, world-wide death due to flu virus, world war/bombs, collapse of the internet/electricity, etc…) Truthfully, this has become the modern definition of the word.

However, the original meaning of the Greek word, apokalypsis (apocalypse) according to Strong’s concordance is:

def 

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon describes apocalypse to mean:

  1. laying bear, making naked
  2. a disclosure of truth, instruction
  3. concerning things before unknown
  4. used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all
  5. manifestation, appearance

It seems to me, the essence of apokalypsis (apocalypse) is the action of something that was once hidden and is now being revealed.

As in: Jesus revealed God to man.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father?”’” John 14:9

If this is the essence of apocalypse, no wonder millions are fascinated with it. What is more deliciously frightening than the unknown?

I believe we have deceived ourselves into believing that what we know is all there is, and what we do not yet know is simply, undiscovered – yet, discover-able by us. However, on some level, the thought of an unknown, the revelation of that which we have never known before, or ever could know on our own, terrifies, exhilarates and ultimately utterly fascinates us.

We search for truth in that which is not true (like zombies taking over the earth) because there is something inside of us that knows there is a veil over our eyes, that there is more than we could ever come to know on our own short of a some sort of miraculous unveiling.

I suppose my fascination with the zombie apocalypse genre is more than just your everyday, common fascination with creepy stuff; I believe it is a longing for the revelation to, at last, be revealed. A crying out of my flesh and my spirit, in my own unique way, for the restoration of how things were meant to be. It is a longing for an end of this temporary existence and a stepping into the eternal existence with God, through Jesus, that has been The Creator’s intention since the beginning of time.

Call me crazy, you won’t be the first, but it won’t curb my longing for the apocalypse.

 

These are my thoughts, I proclaim freely that I am no expert, just a simple soul who loves Zombie stuff and longs for the day when the veil will be removed and all will be revealed.  I welcome discussion and corrections!

I am no Greek or Biblical scholar, but until today, I did not realize that the Greek word for apocalypse was used in the Bible. (Rom 16:25, 2 Cor. 12:7, Gal. 1:12, Eph. 3:3, Rev. 1:1 to cite just a few locations.)

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Joy in the Noise

joy noise

I send them off with a “Walk fast” and “Don’t be grouchy.” At last, there is silence. But these first few moments of quietness as I watch them walk to the street corner are merely an illusion.

The truth is, if I were to lock myself in my bedroom and hide my head under my pillow, silence would be as illusive then as if I were to seek it in a Bombay train station.

The main culprit is my internal assistant, AKA – my brain. And I talk to myself. A lot. Much to my children’s chagrin. For years my daughter thought I was talking to Jesus. Actually, I’m just working things out in my head.

While I am working them out, I like to walk our local bike path and just be quiet. No iTunes, or audio books – just me and my brain in the “silence.” I talk to God for a while. I think. I blog in my head. Here too, the silence is an illusion just as it is in my home, or car, or church or anywhere else. A whole day of duties awaits me and the internal assistant is an expert at keeping my mind a step ahead, preparing me.

Bingo 1000

Though I labor, she is never satisfied. After the cleaning and shopping and Halloween Bingo playing and more cleaning and office work and dinner out and more Halloween Bingo, I LONG for silence and solitude. I bundle the children off to the upstairs and say, “Stay.”

The truth is,  I am raising four girl humans and they talk. A lot. Usually at the same time. Sometimes they get annoyed that a sister is talking at the same time as them. Then they whine. Then they stop talking because they are whining because they want to be talking.

My head spins like a Bingo cage.

I become aggressive in my search for silence. From a floor away I still hear their shrill tones raised in play (?) argument (?) It won’t be long until I hear, “MOM!” cried out from the top of the stairs.

Do they need me? Doubtful. They just want to know I’m around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I occasionally wonder if the silence I seek is even out there. Would I need to be stranded on a boat alone in the middle of the ocean for weeks and weeks with no sound save the lapping of the waves against my raft to find the silence? Would the internal assistant finally use her vacation days? I wonder.

I wonder what I would find in the silence.

I wonder if I am capable of silence. I’m not talking about survival. This is Life. This is living. It’s parenting, providing, creating, building relationships, resting, loving.  I think about what would have to occur for me to find a place where my mind was free to be silent, were it possible. Would I give up conversations in the car with my children – the place where the most significant and meaningful discussions in our family occur? Would I give up nights of Halloween Bingo when I should be cleaning or working (or blogging) to find it?

At what cost would I obtain this illusive silence?

I imagine it would be more than I am willing to sacrifice. The joy in the midst of the noise sustains me.

This is life. This is a journey. I suppose I must walk a little faster and try not to be grouchy along the way…

TuesdayI was inspired to write this post for Tuesday at Ten. Prompt word: Silence. This post was difficult for me to write, I had to push myself to make it happen and that’s not bad. Reflecting on silence helped me obtain a smidgen of clarity in my usually cluttered mind to focus, not just on what inspires me and flows outward all on its own, but to work with minimal inspiration and create something that is still me. Whew.

Because I Remember

I hope because I remember.

I didn’t want to walk through the fire. To stay there for months and years on end. But the fire was where I found God.

I didn’t want to be bound. To kneel before God, the Almighty Judge, and plead for deliverance day after day. But in my bondage I found sight and saw Him clearly.

I didn’t want to be pitied. To be in need of charity and assistance. To have my life scrutinized and examined. In my pitiable state I found grace and learned of its power.

I have not forgotten and because I remember, I hope.

And those who have hope, survive.

romans 5

Today’s post was inspired by:

Five-Minute-Friday-4Five Minute Friday, Link up here. 

TuesdayTuesday at Ten, Link up here.

Good News For Writers

I love to write. Occasionally, I have to force myself to do it, but I’m always glad I did. I even enjoy reading what I’ve written. I’ve been known to “like” my own stuff. Sometimes, I even make myself cry.

So, I was pretty interested when someone introduced me to the following article.

sci

Find original article here.

The following are quotes from the article:

“No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms.” – Crazy!

“…writing can make physical wounds heal faster” – Are you serious?

“…this act of expressive writing allows people to take a step back and evaluate their lives. Instead of obsessing unhealthily over an event, they can focus on moving forward. By doing so, stress levels go down and health correspondingly goes up.”  – Totally

I love this article and I’m inclined to believe the science behind it. The fact is, yesterday was my 41st birthday. I don’t love birthdays. I especially don’t love celebrating my own. In fact, I once cried at my own surprise party, but that’s a story for another day. However, using my birthday as a springboard to inspire my writing (like my past two posts, In Days Before– and 29 Forever. Not Hardly.) -well, that’s something I can feel good about. That’s something even I can love.

1%. Or 5.

The kids and I watched the movie, Blended, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore the other night.

blended_movie_poster_wallpaper

While it was showing in the theaters I saw that it didn’t receive great reviews but we figured that for a Friday night family movie, it was worth a try. This Is Not a movie review post, but I will say that we, kind and uncritical people, loved it and my kids want to own it. For a single parent, like myself, it was hauntingly accurate and funny; as well as being funny and sweet and, did I mention, laugh-out-loud funny? (Disclaimer: it does contain the regular dosage of Sandler crudeness, but mostly in brief spurts.)

On to the purpose of the post… At one point in the movie Sandler & Barrymore are agreeing that, as parents, you must give your kids 100% of yourself. They finally agree to 99%, with 1% withheld for the Parent’s personal wants.

If you are a parent, especially a single parent, you are probably shrugging your shoulders in reluctant agreement; or , possibly, you don’t agree at all. My own children have not seen their father in over 3 and half years. He calls them about six times a year. What I’m saying is, sometimes parents – peace out. Even my own daughter disagreed with the 1% thing.

“Mom, I don’t think that what they said in the movie is right. It’s not 1%, I think it’s more like 5%.”

Okay. I’ll buy that. Yet, is it really possible that 95-99% of our time goes to our children? Do we really only have 5% (or less) of ourselves and our time to pursue our own interests?

Let’s explore this. This weekend my colleagues are traveling to MN for a three-day conference. I would have liked to attend. My colleagues also would have liked for me to attend. But I won’t be attending. – Because I am a single mother. I have four children. And no one to watch them for that many nights.

On the other hand, I am glad that I am not going because it frees up my weekend, because if  I were gone my children would have missed a birthday party (or I would have had to arrange transportation.) I would miss a meeting after church about youth group, (which is important to me.) I would have missed all kinds of important things. And ALL of them kid-related. 

Do you see what I am saying? – even the HIGH points about not being able to attend the conference this weekend are positive because they benefit my children

That 99% is starting to seem a lot more realistic.

For single parents, is there time and room in our lives for romance? Apparently so. At least it seems so in the movies. I haven’t found it true in my own life, but then again I often say, there is a Whole Lot of Female Awesomeness  in this family. It would have to be a special man to be willing to blend in some of that.

What about activities, hobbies, free time? I suppose I have that. I do love to write. Then again, my kids influence my writing – a lot. (eh hem – this whole post and most of what I write.) I like to crochet – generally scarves and beanies – for my kids. Occasionally, I create other things, especially around Christmas, that usually end up as gifts, for teachers, of my children… Hmmmm.

I go to the movies alone sometimes…

Before you start getting all poor Rebecca on me consider, when I left my husband I asked God for my children. Nothing else. Not a portion of our five bedroom/five bathroom home, our lucrative business, vehicles, land, savings, or anything else. We left him (I write a bit about why here and a little bit here) and carried away with us a single suitcase. Eleven years of living. Five people. One suitcase.

The rest of the possessions were, and still are, his.

Hear this: I Totally Got the Better End of That Deal.

Imagine a scale that weighs everything left behind or unrealized in my life on one side and my children seated on the other side. Yeah, no comparison. None.

I asked my chubby little seven year old tonight if she liked watching movies with us on Family Movie Night and she shrugged her shoulders and said, “I just like ‘nuggling with you.”

I’m delighted with my 1%. Or 5.

And hey, it’s not going to be 99% forever, right? They do grow up, don’t they…?

me writer

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I Blame the Mummies

My 11 yr old child: “I don’t know what I’m going to be.”

Me: “Good, I’m glad you brought this up. Healthcare. Healthcare is the field to go into. There will be more healthcare jobs needed in the coming years than any other profession- doctors, nurses, all kinds of practitioners. Right now is the time you need to start thinking about these kinds of careers. OR you can be a Coach. Not a sports Coach, a Coach who coaches CEOs of large companies and helps them achieve more in their professional and personal lives. This field is exploding right…”

My  bewildered child: “Huh? What? I’m talking about Halloween.”

Me: “oh.”

It’s recently become clear to me that I had no clue about the real world as a young person. I had direction, but no guidance. I blame no one. It’s not anyone’s fault but my own. You see, I didn’t ask for guidance. It never occurred to me to seek out council. At 9 years old on a class trip to UPENN Art & Archaeology Museum I decided to be an Archaeologist. It was the mummies. The mummies got to me.

I take it back. I blame the mummies.

Mummy-UpperClassEgyptianMale-SaitePeriod_RosicrucianMuseum

Twelve years and 90-some thousand dollars later I held a Classical & Near Eastern Archaeology Degree in my hot little hand but had now decided not to pursue my doctorate (like I ever was gonna). I had a new direction for my life. I was going to become a foreign missionary.

I’m not talking about regret today, I’m talking about zipping happily through this life without a clue and not stopping to ask for one.

I suppose now, at 40, my eyes are finally opening to how things work. I’m passionate about guiding my children in ways I never was – whether they ask for it or not.

Now that I think of it, dressing as a mummy for Halloween isn’t such a bad idea…

mummy2

 

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Ready for Something New

Out In

For the first time in almost fourteen (14!) years I have seven (7!) hours a day with no children at home.

I knew once September rolled along things would be different. I knew/know something new was/is awaiting me. I’m not sure yet what it is but I have that feeling that doors are about to fly open.

And I’m ready.

With my new found thirty-five hours a week I’ve decided I need to have some sort of daily schedule to keep myself productive and to also carve out some time for creative activities. Doing what I love – just because I love it. I wrote about it earlier in the week here.

Friday is all about Creating. Laundry can wait. Cleaning the kitchen can wait. Office work can wait. Shopping can wait. Today, I create.

And I’m ready.

Today I will write. I will pull out and “dust off” a novel I wrote ten years ago. I will format it so it is neat and pretty. I will read it (for the first time in 8 years) and I will send it to a friend for her to read.

I am ready.

Ready for something new.

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Five-Minute-Friday-4This post was written for Five Minute Friday, Link up here

I Teach My Children To Be Rude

You read that right. I teach my children to be Rude.

These little angels? Rude?

1032a

1037

OK. I didn’t teach them that kind of rude. They were born with a complete knowledge of how to be rude to their siblings.

If you hadn’t noticed, I have FOUR daughters. Four girls. Four female children. And I am compelled to protect them.

Many years ago when I was barely twenty I traveled around the Middle East with friends. In Egypt, I traveled with two girlfriends. Two of us were Caucasian Americans and one of us was an Asian American. The two of us who were easily identified by Egyptian men as “White American” were targeted constantly. Men would walk up to us in a museum and grab our hands or brush against our bodies. In tight spaces or taxis men surreptitiously put their hands on us attempting to touch our breasts or bottoms.

Yet our Asian friend, as much American as us two white girls, was relatively untouched. The sleazy men didn’t identify her immediately as “American” and seemed somewhat in awe of her.

Here’s a fact, Middle Eastern men do not treat their own women this way in public. They did not treat my Asian friend this way. I’ve noticed the same phenomenon all over the world.

What is it about American women that make us targets?

Here is what I think. Women in other parts of the world are raised to be RUDE. If a man “accidently” bumps in to her, she hauls off and lets him have it with a verbal tirade. I’ve seen it – and the sleazy man slinks off. These non-American women have no internal restrictions that keep them from acting rude in order to let a creepy man know to Back Off.

American girls/women have been taught: Don’t make a scene. Don’t disrespect our elders. And because someone is a friend or relative of a friend that we need to listen to and respect them.

I say NO. And so I teach my daughters to be RUDE.

This has become more crucial in recent years because my girls are getting older. They go places – Without Me. Birthday parties, sleepovers, camping trips, etc.

Nowadays our conversations go something like this:

Me: “If a friend or relative of so-in-so is bothering you in the pool or keeps talking to you and picking you up and throwing you around, what do you do?”

Daughter: “I say, ‘Get off me. Stop doing that. I’m going to tell my mom.'”

I let my kids know that there will be NO negative consequences for being Rude to a person who is making them uncomfortable, harassing them (even jokingly)  or bothering them.

They have been taught their entire lives to be kind to others. I know, I was taught the same thing. I didn’t know I could or should open my mouth and make a scene.

This world is full of predators; to keep my daughters safe, I teach them to be Rude.

Don’t get me wrong, I do want my children to be kind as well, I’ve written about it here.

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