I jerked awake a full forty-five minutes before my alarm sounded. A glance at the time emphatically informed me, It's going to be one of those days.

I groggily lifted my head from it's pillow and searched the room, wondering why my mind screamed at me, "WAKE UP! It's important! Hurry!" A few minutes of thorough introspection yielded no reason for this urgency, and I drifted back into dreamland.

My phone rang ten minutes ahead of my alarm. My arm dragged lazily towards the ringing object, my eyes remained closed. Bang. I heard the phone hit the floor. Oh man. I moved my body until I could see over the edge of the bed. My arm hit the ground heavily and attempted to grip the phone. Blood flow seeped into my lifeless hand causing stinging pricks up and down my fingers. By the time I could lift the phone to my ear, the caller had given up.

Yep, definitely one of those days.

When my alarm finally sounded, I groaned and dragged myself from the bed. It wasn't until I had finished several morning routines and stood in my closet choosing an outfit that I realized the cause for my earlier sense of urgency.
  1. An important potential client was meeting with us at work first thing in the morning which meant that I needed to arrive at work earlier than usual.
  2. The girls and I were meeting some friends at the pool in the afternoon which meant that I had extra preparations to complete before we could leave the house.
  3. My oil change appointment was for this morning which meant that I would need to leave the house even earlier than early in order to drop my vehicle off and be given a ride to work.
I looked at the little clock sitting in the bathroom. "Oh no!" I groaned aloud.
It IS one of those days.
For the benefit of the potential client, I chose a dressier than usual outfit. Then I rushed through dressing and hair-fixing. I searched in vain for our pool bag (which I think I remember packing into a box a few weeks ago) and finally stuffed the pool supplies into plastic bags. I ran through the house from dryer to counter-top rolling up towels and wadding up bathing suits as I ran. I shoved snacks into lunch bags, trying to pick out a well-balanced, baby-friendly, non-messy, meal that we could eat as a pool-side supper later. With all of that accomplished, I opened the girls' bedroom door to greet my daughters. "Good morning!" I chirped to them.

Liberty stared at me. She removed the thumb from her mouth long enough to say, "Huh-uh." Then she popped it back in and pulled her blanket over her head.

Oh. I told myself. It's going to be one of THOSE days.

I ignored her and lifted Mercy from her crib planning to come back for Liberty later. Mercy immediately grabbed my fancy necklace and yanked, giving me a taste of what was to come. My dangly earrings enticed her little hands, and I ducked and dodged through the diaper change and new outfit donning. Somewhere in there, I recognized the creak of Liberty's bed as she climbed down and the little sounds of exploration she created as she searched the kitchen for her breakfast. Knowing that all food was out of her reach, those sounds did not stir a feeling of alarm as it should have.

With Mercy now fully dressed, I put on my game face and went to find Liberty. The quietness of the house should have disturbed me, but it didn't. Therefore, I was unprepared when I finally came upon Liberty from behind. Her back looked innocent enough. Then she turned and revealed my favorite lipstick smeared around her mouth. The disfigured tube still clutched in her paw. "Yook, I pitty yike you, Mommy!"

What could I say? I already knew it would be one of those days.

I took her picture.

Then told her that she needed to ASK me before she touched my lipstick again. She really had done a remarkable job of keeping the makeup relatively close to the lines of her mouth. Part of me was proud of her (obviously above average) coordination; part of me wanted to laugh at the face displayed before me; the rest of me was becoming more and more late for work.

I scrubbed her mouth, fought her clothing onto her body, then strapped both girls into their car seats and grabbed a couple Tupperware containers to pour cereal into so that they could eat on the way into town. It wasn't until I had reached the highway that I realized I had not brought anything for them to drink.

I sighed. "Well, it's just one of those days."

Amazingly enough, we reached Sonja's house with a small amount of time leftover. If everything goes completely smoothly, I might be able to drop off the van at the shop and still get to work either right on time or only a couple minutes late! I consoled myself. I unbuckled Mercy and carried her over to Liberty's side of the van. I unbuckled Liberty and with my one free hand, reached to help her out of the van. "No!" she told me and ran to the very back seat. I stood at the door quickly considering my options and just at that moment, Mercy upchucked down the front of my dressed-to-impress outfit. Warm liquid oozed into my shoes and squished between my toes. I simply stared at the mess.

Now, why did it have to be one of THOSE days?

I finally arrived at work a little over ten minutes late. Now that I've had sufficient time to reflect, I have realized that I forgot to pack a spoon for my suppertime yogurt and diaper wipes for any messy diapers that occur at the pool. My mom called to say that a second house that my dad was scheduled to work on has caught fire so he is once again without a job, and Jeremy called with the news that we still are not signed up for health insurance and he needs to see a doctor. The realtor brought me yet another paper to sign and informed me that so far there has been no expressed interest in our home and we probably need to host an open house but that those do not usually generate buyers. She is not feeling optimistic.

You know what?

God says He will "satisfy us in the morning with [His] unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (Psalm 90:14)

I'm so glad it's one of those days! :-)

PS> You can read about the hilarious conclusion to this day here.
Four days until Daddy comes to visit!!!!

Liberty and I have drawn a calendar on the white board and every morning we cross off another day.

Oh! I can't wait!!!
Who really wants to see a clean house, anyway? When you are touring a home that you might purchase, wouldn't it be much better to see it when it's trashed so that you can get a realistic picture of what the house might look like after you have started living in it?

This is my new theory. If only I were brave enough to test it out!
A few mornings ago, while I happily forced my way through the muggy air towards work, I noticed an extension cord draped out of an open window. I followed the cord most of the way down the block. It connected to another cord, which in turn connected to a power sander being used on one of the walkway railings. The operator of said sander had positioned himself out of sight around the corner and was busily working away at the railing. The plug to said sander just happened to connect to the extension cord right at my eye level.

A thought POPPED into my brain. Unplug the cord and hide!

My footsteps faltered. A grin spread over my face. I looked around. There were no witnesses. I pictured the two of us - myself and the sander guy - laughing together at the practical joke.

Then I pictured the two of us marching across the street to the police station, his hand firmly gripping my elbow.

I forced myself to move on without molesting the cords.

A few more steps put me on a direct path with an oncoming pedestrian who - I totally promise you - looked EXACTLY like the cartoon character Maxine, the old lady with the bad attitude. She had to have been the inspiration.

"Morning, Maxine!" I called out cheerfully to her in my head.

She nodded back and smiled, "Good morning! Beautiful day, isn't it?"

Rats, maybe she wasn't the inspiration after all.
Labels: 1 comments | | edit post
God has been very nice to me. He's sent friend after friend to check on me, encourage me and help me out. Long distance friends have emailed and called just to say they care. Close by friends have come over and physically helped, or given a big hug and let me cry in their arms. People all over the place keep stopping their lives to show me they care about me.

Since Daddy left, Liberty has had nightmares that keep her up and crying many hours out of the night. I'm not sure how to help her other than holding her and reminding her that she is loved and will never be abandoned. Daddy calls several times each day to talk with Liberty and Mercy and to reassure them that he loves them and that he will return as soon as he can. He calls again at bedtime to tell them night-night. I tell Liberty every night when I tuck her in that I am still in the house, and we will see each other again in the morning. When she cries out in the night full of terror, I snuggle her close and rock her back and forth, back and forth, murmuring quiet words of reassurance, until her sobs subside and her body relaxes and I can tuck her in again. Many times, I need to tuck Mercy in again, too.

Last night, Mercy unplugged the baby monitor (because the house was in showing order, and her crib had been pushed too close to the cord). This morning, I found out that Liberty had spent the entire night screaming for me, but I never came because I didn't hear her. Liberty is an emotional mess right now. Mercy is exhausted from listening to Liberty all night. My heart hurts because I failed my daughter.

And God prompted my friend Sue to send this email to me:

Morning Missy,

I’ve been praying for you ever since we visited on Sunday. Praise the Lord, that our God is with us and in us! We can count on His presence!

Ps 46:1 - "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble!"

Isaiah 40:27b-31 - "Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out, he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

Rise above your stress, not be under it! See this time as a challenge and rise to the occasion! March on O my soul, be Strong!

In the Shadow of His Wings,

Can I repeat myself? God is very good to me!

I challenge you who are reading this blog: Who in your life needs a verse sent to them today? It is easy to think about encouraging someone. Take some time to actually do it. It may be necessary to their mental and spiritual health.
The house is in complete order (if you don't count the plastic tub full of Jeremy's high school treasures that was too heavy for me to slide into a closet.) Our neighbor Chuck mowed the yard again and weed-whacked. The basement is gorgeous thanks to my friend Kari. We rearranged furniture and decorated. We stored and stacked bins. Everything is in place. I drained the pool and stored it in the garage for the day. I even set the dining table with two place settings and a vase of flowers. The virtual tour photographer should arrive at the house around noon, and the tour for all of the realtors should also take place sometime today.

Then when I go home with the girls, we can mess it all up!

We'll get the pool out of storage and splash and laugh. We'll cook supper and throw our food at the walls. We'll leave wet clothes all over the floor. We'll strew books and toys around the house and in general make a mess.

We'll giggle and tickle and roll around on the carpeting and finally collapse into bed taking with us the peace that only comes from knowing that pictures have been taken. Therefore recording forever the one day that EVERYTHING was in it's place.
Our house is officially "on the market!" I just checked out our website, and I have to say that our realtor must be the best one because the music she picked for our virtual tour is SO much better than the other houses' music.

She is a keeper.

My friend Kari is abandoning her family to spend the night with me tonight! We are going to go grocery shopping together, cook fun creations, organize the basement and stage the house so that it is ready for it's virtual tour photographer. (Right now, only the front of our house is shown on the website.)

It's everything a sleepover should be.

Minus the barbies.

What? You never organized a basement at your sleepovers? I'll let you know what you've been missing out on after I do it.
Liberty slept through the night with no crying! This is the first time since Daddy left last week that she has slept, which in turn means that last night was the first night that I slept through the night since Daddy left.

Oh, sleep! Blissful, wonderful, sleep!

But I think I got bit by a fly while I slept. I noticed him lurking on my ceiling just as my eyes were closing. I thought about the flyswatter hanging on it's hook in the kitchen.

That's all I did. I thought about it.

This morning I woke up with two little red spots on my chest. I hope I poisoned him. Flies are not my happy friends.

Tonight before I sink into my mattress, I will sneak up on him. Armed with my fly swatter. "To the death!" I will shout.
Our neighbor, Chuck, mowed our grass yesterday afternoon and took some breaks to play with Liberty and Mercy. They loved it! He also left behind a present: he dumped our grass clippings into a pile at the edge of our property, and Liberty has claimed it as her own personal mountain. She runs through it, climbs on it, lounges in it, jumps on it. A whole new world of joy has presented itself to her, and she is intent on discovering every aspect.

She got into my sewing box on Saturday and created a "spider" out of my spools of thread. This black, blue, orange and cream spider has become her best friend, and she tells me often, "Sss! Spida seeping," or "Yook, Mommy, my bug is happy fins." (happy friends)

Mercy stood by herself on Saturday and TOOK a step! She balanced by herself for 0.7 seconds. [I counted ;-)] She's talking now, too. So far, I have heard her say, "I love you." "Uh-oh." "All done." and a few others that I can't remember now. I guarantee you, she's said a lot more than that, but it's all I can do to decipher those words. So the rest of what she's telling me just gets nodded at.
Jeremy left for Indiana yesterday morning, and I spent my first night alone with the girls. It was a strange feeling.

My family has also been living with us for the past week. Dad just about single-handedly put the house in selling condition: painting, staining, minor repairs. His skill and energy level amaze me! My sister Faith took care of Liberty and Mercy while Jeremy and I ran errands, met with realtors, conducted conference calls with the relocators (a new word) and focused on projects. She even cleaned and did laundry for us a few times! My brother Pete cooked for us every night and did the dishes. My brother Zach kept us all entertained, especially Liberty. But they all left when Jeremy did, and the house is suddenly empty and quiet.

My brain is making lists, and life will probably run relatively smoothly after I get my routine organized again. Since January, Jeremy has been running the household and keeping the girls’ on track. Now, those tasks are my responsibility again. “I’ve done this before,” I keep telling myself. “Remember? When Jeremy was on night shift? It is possible to do.”

Last night, after the girls went to bed, I stood in the kitchen and stared around me. Jeremy always took the garbage out for me. Now, I need to remember to do that. Jeremy always filled up my gas tank before I hit empty. Now, I need to remember to do that. Jeremy always locked the house up at nighttime. Now, I need to remember to do that.

The edges of panic seeped into my heart. What if I forget something important that he used to do? What is the worst that could happen, and how can I plan for that?

Peace! God jumped into my consciousness. I am still here. You are not alone.
My friend Annie tagged me for the following list.

Here are the instructions: This can be a quick one. Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

1. The Bible by God

2. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (My dad read this to me when I was little, and I've read it several times since. Among other things, it has helped remind me that God ALWAYS does what is best, and that no matter the circumstances -- man is not in control.)

3. In My Father's House by Corrie ten Boom (I read this for the first time last year, and it really brought home how influentially God can use a Godly parent to prepare a child for His future use.)

4. Little Women, Little Men & Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott (I read these books repeatedly when I was in grade school, and it showed me the concept that children should strive to be excellent in spirit and in actions, that I didn't need to wait to grow up before I began "working" on my inner man. It also watered a spirit of hospitality and fun open-housed-ness.)

5. Biography (maybe autobiography?) of Amy Carmichael by I'm not sure who (My dad read this to me when I was little, and what stuck out to me the most was the fact that God's way is better than our way.)

6. Biography of Gladys Aylwood by I'm not sure who (I heard this book read in chapters over the radio when I was a kid. I was impressed with Gladys' sense of adventure and love for "her" kids, and by the fact that she just did it, instead of waiting for others to say it was okay.)

7. Biography of Hudson Taylor by who knows (I was required to read this for a book report one year for a church club that I was in. What I took away from it was the love that Hudson had for the Chinese. He didn't try to transform them into his acceptable culture. Instead, he blended into their culture and told them THEY were valuable to God.)

8. God at the Controls by Jean Dye Johnson (My dad read this book to me when I was in grade school, and I've read it to myself more times than I can remember since then. What God always teaches me is the importance of WAITING and SPRINGING INTO ACTION. Both things I struggle with.)

9. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot (I was required to read this in eighth grade as part of my literature class, and I fell in love with it. The quote by Jim Elliot --possibly mangled by me-- "He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose," has replayed itself in my brain ever since.

10. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (I still have not read the entire series. In fact, I think I've only read the first three or four books, but every time I pick one of them up, I am amazed again at the object lessons springing to life all around me. God is huge, and somehow, aspects of Who He is and how He has designed this life to work are woven so understandably into these stories by C. S. Lewis. I get blown away.)

11. Seeking The Secret Place by Lyle Dorsett (This is a biography of C. S. Lewis that I picked up at a garage sale [or maybe from the free books at the school library?], and what has impressed me the most about this book is the demonstration of the power of God in a person's life. Mr. Lewis was not someone who walked with God early in his life, or even someone who knew much about God. I love watching the transformation slowly unfold that changed him from what he was into what he became. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Second Corinthians 5:17)

12. Biography of George Mueller by Faith Coxe Bailey (This is another book that Dad read to me when I was little, and what stuck with me is the fact that God can be trusted even in situations that look impossible to us.)

13. Any Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Oh, how I loved these books. When I was in high school, I devoured every bit of them. Then I pretended I was on a case. Constantly. Yeah, I needed a muzzle for my imagination. Observation is the part of these books that stuck with me. Observation which in turn feeds my imagination. People-watching. Stalker? I'll stop there, but know that these books which started this habit has greatly enriched my life, or at least the entertainment that I get out of life.)

14. The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers (I read this trilogy for the first time when I was a sophomore in college, and I haven't been the same since. The one thing that always comes back to me is the importance of following God even if you are nothing. God uses our small decisions to influence others for Him. It's humbling and sobering. Also, God showed me how important it is to LOVE, whole-heartedly, unselfishly whomever happens to be around us.)

15. The Secret of the Rose series by Michael Phillips (I have only read this series one time. I discovered it on the sixth floor of the library the summer of my sophomore year in college, and I would love to read it again, or own it [ahem, Jeremy]. While I was reading, God was tugging on my heart over and over about different things. The author puts various tidbits and object lessons throughout the story, and the truths are not always about the same thing. At one point, God had so convicted me that I had to put the story book down and get on my knees before Him. I took two things away from reading that series. The first is the fact that God should not be separated from my daily life, my entertainment. The second is the conviction that any books that I ever write need to be woven with Truth.)
Labels: 1 comments | | edit post
I turned 30 on Sunday, and Jeremy found the perfect card.

On the front it says "THIRTY YEARS HAPPY!" When you open it, Tim McGraw sings, "I think I'll take a moment to celebrate my age..."

But the best part is the note that Jeremy wrote: "Happy Birthday! I look forward to spending the next 30 years with you by my side. Just imagine the adventures we're going to have!"

Oooh! I can't wait! :-)
I just read this post by Fiddledeedee, and it brought back a wonderful memory. In fact, I commented on her post, and then decided to paste my comment here as a post of it's own. (It certainly was long enough!)

I very distinctly remember the moment about 26 years ago when I learned to read.

I was in kindergarten, home-schooled, and I do not know what curriculum my parents were using then. I had a small paperback book with rows of pictures. Under the pictures were words like hat, wet, bug, etc. I “read” that book for ages and I always got everything correct except for the word “wet.”

(In reality, I was not reading, I was simply looking at the pictures and saying what they were. The “wet” picture was water pouring from a bathtub faucet so I always guessed “water” or “faucet” or “pipe” and I was so frustrated that I wasn’t getting it right.

One day, I sat snuggled against my dad’s side, tucked under his arm while he held the book. I did my usual guessing, and when I came to “wet” I hesitated. I knew it wasn’t water, but I couldn’t remember what it was. My dad patiently used his index finger to reveal the letters one at a time to me while I sounded them out. We sounded them over and over and over and over together. I was saying the word correctly, but not comprehending that it was a word.

Suddenly, it clicked!

“WET!” I yelled out. “WET! IT’S WET, DADDY!” And I realized what reading was. I snatched the book from his hands and turned back to the first page to READ FOR REAL all of the words.

A whole new world opened, and I don’t think I’ve been without a book in my hands since.

Well, except for maybe right now when I need both hands to type.
Labels: 1 comments | | edit post
I consider myself to be a laid back, easy-going, que sera sera sort of person. I enjoy adventure and the unknown. I love surprises; I am very flexible. I enjoy life when someone else has the worries and hassles of being in charge, and I can just come along and look at the pretty scenery. (And maybe complain once in a while, if I find a butterfly that the existing schedule will not allow me to follow.)

This is why Jeremy and I work so well together. He provides the plan, and I provide the fun! Well, he's pretty good at the fun, too, I suppose.

But, if I have to be the responsible one and come up with a plan, my hidden control freak emerges. My plan must be thought out and written down ahead of time. Every event is timed and recorded right down to the minutes. For example: If I drove 72 miles per hour, it used to take me seventeen minutes to get from a parked position in our driveway to a parked position outside of Kimmie's school. Assuming it should take her about two or three minutes to walk from our car and get into a sitting position at her school desk, I knew exactly what time I needed to get up in the morning, taking into consideration that the two little girls usually took approximately twenty-three minutes on a good day to get out of bed, diapers changed, clothes on, hairs brushed and food shoved into their hands. This was all written down in my day planner by the minutes.

You think I am crazy?

You should see the schedule that I wrote in my day planner after Mercy was born. I could be classified as mental.

All of that to say, I am facing a great opportunity for my freakishness to show (no comments from the peanut gallery, please). We have a house that needs to sell. A replacement needs to be found for me at work. A new place to live in Indiana needs to be found. All of these items need to coincide fairly nicely with each other, or our family is going to suffer some type of inconvenience.

So last week, I began planning. I pulled out my day planner, and I wrote, SELL HOUSE. Only, I couldn't figure out which date to put that on. I don't know when someone will want to buy the house. So I decided I would come back to that. HIRE REPLACEMENT was next. Um, but, I don't want to hire a replacement until I am ready to move, and I won't be ready to move until I have something to move into, and I won't be able to afford something to move into until this house sells, and I can't sell this house until I have somewhere else to go...

Can you say

I became irritable and snappy. Jeremy asked what was wrong, and I didn't know. On the surface, I felt no discomfort. What was bothering me?

I talked to God.

Control issues. Mm-hm.

Deep breath.

Alrighty then.

"Here you go, God."

Several memories jumped into my mind where I was pulling strings, creating a pathway for my life, forcing the "right" things to happen. It didn't work. But when I gave up, God moved some mountains, and situations amazingly clicked into place, new pathways were created. Remembering helped me realize...again.

He knows what He's doing. He doesn't need an Events Coordinator. And I don't like that job anyway, so WHY WAS I DOING IT????

For the last several days, I've been sitting back, enjoying the butterflies while God works out the adventure details. Every once in a while, He gives me a task, and I complete it without worrying about the next task or the outcome of this task.

It's peaceful. It's fun. Let's see how long it lasts.
The rain beats down while I type. The pounding sound invigorates my soul. Action! Movement! Life!

God gave Jeremy a job last week. YAY!!! I've stopped writing here because the two weeks leading up to Kimmie's graduation and the craziness surrounding it took all of my brain-power. Afterwards, we were in the process of working out details regarding Jeremy's new job, and I didn't want to let anything slip prematurely.

In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

1. Kimmie graduated from high school. Family came. It was mucho fun-o. Pictures coming soon.

2. Kimmie moved into her own apartment. A nice place with large windows and a great view of big trees.

3. My sister Charity moved out of our house and in with some friends. She is still slowly removing belongings from our house.

4. Jeremy had three interviews in one week. He spent one night during that entire week at home, and I wondered if another interview would force him to miss the graduation festivities. Thankfully, it did not.

5. We accepted a job offer. Jeremy will now officially be using his college degree, and we are moving to Indiana.

6. I left my lunch box in my car (parked a block and a half away). Did I mention it is pouring down rain?

7. I'm starving.