Ten Indications Your Husband Is Away on Business Again

10. Your son’s first baseball practice ever is scheduled for the first night your husband is out of town, and you’ll get to tote your 3-year-old and 21-month-old along to experience it.

9. Thirty minutes after your husband leaves, your son wakes up with a rash all over his body. You get to take three kids to the doctor’s office and find out your son has strep throat–all before ten a.m.

8. Your son, who has been looking forward to his first practice for two weeks, cannot go to baseball practice. You now get to carry around the guilt of knowing that your cursing the timing of his first practice with your husband’s trip has somehow caused him to get strep throat.

7. The rare coffee date you scheduled with your friend almost a month ago for when two of the three kids would be in preschool must be rescheduled.

6. Knowing that you’re quickly losing your mind the longer you haul around three small children, you make a short list of items you will need to get at the grocery store while waiting for your son’s antibiotic. While you leave the store with three items that you did not need, you manage to forget the first item on your list–and your brain.

5. You find yourself sitting on your bed twitching and eating M&Ms–and you don’t even like chocolate.

4. Your husband, in his kindness, planned a menu for the week, made a corresponding grocery list, and bought the food before he left. However, he neglected one small detail–that each meal would take two plus hours to make, and you would be feeding the kids dinner at 8:00 p.m. (You’ve never even made one of Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals in less than an hour and a half).

3. During the two hours you spend cooking that first meal when your husband is away, your children conjure up the North Wind to sweep through the playroom. You grab your camera to capture evidence of the catastrophe, but the batteries are dead. You then grab your phone and snap a few shots, but the photos aren’t there when you try to upload them to your computer. The disappointment of not having proof for your husband is worse torture than the actual clean-up.

2. Deciding she can’t make it until she reaches the bathroom, your daughter pulls down her pants and pees on the kitchen floor that you had just mopped a couple of hours earlier–and this daughter is NOT the one who is potty-training.

1. Your youngest child decides that 10:15 p.m. is a perfectly acceptable bedtime.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

What craziness happens when your spouse is out of town? What chaos ensues if you go away?

Feeling Lost

Yesterday, I took my son to the library in the midst of a day full of errands that didn’t get completed on Saturday. While his sisters and, eventually, Daddy napped in the car, we returned a stack of children’s books and made our way to the back of the library to replenish the load we had brought with us.

Caleb had said he would help me pick out some books, but once his eyes caught the empty computers, he zoomed to fill in one of the vacated seats. I hate those computers. Educational games or not, I wish they weren’t there, distracting kids from the purpose of the building. But, wanting to choose my battles wisely, I surrendered to this issue, and began a search on the computer catalog system behind where Caleb sat.

Knowing my past luck, I wrote down the titles and call numbers of about seven Valentine’s Day books that were supposedly located in this library, hoping to walk away with at least one. I stooped down next to Caleb and told him I was going over by the children’s books. He answered me with a non-answer, the zombie, tunnel-vision look that he gets once entranced in an Elmo game had taken hold.

I walked through the open area to the book aisles, directly across from where Caleb was sitting. I looked at my list and quickly alphabetized it in my head, hoping to make fast work of book selection. As I worked my way through Z and W, I realized right away that my luck had not improved, not finding either of the first two books. I popped up from where I was crouching to look at Caleb, still making words on the Elmo game.

I moved on to the next aisle. More scratching off books on the list. I had started to suspect that perhaps I am incompetent on computer searches, or maybe I didn’t know how to alphabetize author’s last names, but I decided, no–the library’s computers are never right. At the end of the aisle, I looked up again at Caleb and continued on with my search.

As I had walked through the aisles, I managed to snag a couple books that looked cute, even though they weren’t on my list. I decided if I didn’t find any of the Valentine’s Day books on my list, I didn’t want to leave the aisles empty-handed. So, as I popped up for the last time, my crouching and searching through books not revealing one of the titles on my list, my eyes immediately zeroed in on the computer table where Caleb was sitting. Except he wasn’t there.

My heart skipped a beat, and a slight panic set in, but I walked toward the computer desk. Surely he was nearby, perhaps in one of the juvenile fiction aisles next to him. As I neared the desk, I noticed him walking away from me slowly, toward the front of the library. And then he turned around, and I saw the tears streaming down his face.

“Caleb!” I called, moving to him. “I’m right here, sweetie. Did you think I left you?”

He nodded, crying. “I didn’t know where you were.”

“I was right over there, looking for books,” I said, pointing to the book aisles. “I would never leave you, sweetie.”

And with my arm around him, I reminded him of what to do if he ever gets lost. I told him to stay put and wait for Mommy or for one of the library workers to walk by. If he walks away, then Mommy won’t know where he is, either.

While we were talking, I felt horrible. I remember getting momentarily separated from my own mother in the grocery store or a department store–I was never lost, but I thought I was–and my heart filled with guilt at causing my own little boy to feel helpless.

I should’ve made him walk the aisles with me. No more playing the computers unless I’m standing right behind him! I was only a few feet away, and I kept checking on him–he wasn’t even lost. But what if he kept walking, and I didn’t see him? What if the wrong person tried to help him?

As I have a tendency to do, I played out the mental boxing match in my brain, getting in a few jabs before I moved on to the next thing. The boxing match continued in the background while Caleb and I searched for a superhero chapter book, as Caleb wasn’t excited with the selections I had made. And he left the library happy, his mother’s arm around his shoulders, a Superman book in his hands.

But I wasn’t. I was dealing with my own feelings of being lost, not knowing what direction I should head next. The weekend ended on such a negative note for me, and I imagine I feel a little like Caleb felt for those few moments in the library–helpless. But as I type, I wonder if, perhaps, I should remember what I told Caleb: sit and wait. Sometimes the act of searching can make one even more lost than when one began. And,  sometimes, one wasn’t even lost to begin with.

*********************************************************************

Without meaning to, I had picked two fruits of the Spirit for our first two weeks in Journeys. While I deviated from that theme over the last two weeks, I thought that perhaps we could revisit the idea:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, New International Version, 2010). Emphasis added

For this week’s journey, we will explore love. Next week, we will pick up with forbearance and move in order until the end. Be ready to share your post on love this Friday!

If you are new to Journeys, click on the tab at the top of the page for more information. I’d love for you to participate!

And if you have a topic that you’d like to submit, feel free to e-mail me anytime: jennifer at matt dash davis dot com

Tears at His Feet

I’ve always tried to do what’s right. As a teenager, I didn’t give my parents a whole lot of trouble, and if I did do something wrong, I normally told them before they found out. Because of the choices I made, my friends in high school nicknamed me ‘The Puritan.’ I wasn’t too fond of that title, but I decided it was better to have people kid me for trying to follow the rules than the alternative.

So when it came to my faith, I didn’t have a dramatic turning point where, having hit rock bottom, I surrendered my life to God to save me. I grew up going to church, and I knew I was supposed to believe in God, so I did. My understanding of what following Christ entails grew as I grew, and I continue to learn today. But, while I am fully aware that I am a sinner (my kids remind me every day), I can simultaneously fall prey to the idea that I’ve done pretty well crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s.

This attitude may have clouded my understanding of Scripture.

The other day, I was reading the story in Luke chapter seven of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume and her tears. Simon, the pharisee who invited Jesus to his home for dinner, thinks to himself that, if Jesus were a prophet, he would realize what kind of woman is touching him. Jesus knows Simon’s thoughts and confronts him by sharing an illustration of a moneylender who forgives two debts–one small and one huge. He asks Simon who will love the moneylender more, and Simon answers that, of course, the person who had the bigger debt.

Jesus then compares the woman to the person who had the big debt–she could not stop kissing Jesus and anointing his feet because she knows what He would have to forgive: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47, New International Version, 2010).

I have read that story many times, and I’ve always walked away with the same understanding: How wonderful that I worship a God who accepts everyone, no matter one’s past! I must not live life like Simon, judging others, but instead, I must extend my arms to those who are outcast, showing them that God’s love is available to all–no one’s sin is too great to be forgiven.

And while these conclusions are valid, I fear I missed the greater point:

I am that woman.

No matter how hard I tried and continue to try to live an upright life, I am so far from God’s perfect standard that He should never forgive me. Compared to a holy and righteous God, I am not fit to stoop in His presence nor stand as an ambassador for His Son.

Yet He does forgive me.

And until I can realize the enormity of my unworthiness, I can never fully love Him who sacrificed all to clothe me in white, making me worthy.

“But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

And whoever has been forgiven little, forgives little. Until I can see past all the right choices that I have made to the depraved nature of my own soul, I will never fully be able to forgive those who have wronged me. Once I see that my sins aren’t placed against another’s on the Scales of Justice, once I stop comparing my wrongs to those wrongs committed against me, I will be free to forgive and love.

Once I take the painful look at myself for who I am, once I see the soiled condition of my soul, I will weep like the woman at Jesus’ feet–not out of despair or hopelessness–but, instead, out of an abundant and overflowing love. For my vision will no longer remain cloudy, my sight blurred by my list of meaningless works. And for the first time, I will see. I will see that my debt to forgive wasn’t small, and neither should be the love that I give He that forgave.

Journeys

Now it’s your turn! How did God speak to you this week in regard to forgiveness?Link up your post, or add a comment below. Share the love, and comment on other blogs, too!


And Then I Laughed

Throughout the week, I racked my brain trying to think of a story to write for this week’s Writer’s Workshop. As I lugged wet clothes out of the washer, I paused to think of the last time I laughed. In the midst of reading about the missing Knuffle Bunny, my mind would wander to think of a time when I was wrong.

Sure, I could think of a couple of times when I had laughed recently, but most were in response to a silly expression one of the kids made or an amazingly correct use of sarcasm by my four-year-old. I’m not sure I could recreate the moment where anyone else would laugh, too.

And then there were the times when I was wrong….hmm…I was struggling with this one a little bit. I was sure there was something–I have a terrible memory–but I kept drawing a blank.

The funny thing is, I immediately thought of at least ten instances when Matt was wrong. I thought of the time(s) when he made us late to church because he thought he could wake up 30 minutes before we had to leave; those days with a newborn in my arms and a 17-month-old running around my ankles and some words uttered 9 months earlier that this situation would not happen; and finally, no matter what he says, I know that the thermostat and/or heater is broken–if the tip of my nose is frozen, and my hands are numb, it is not 70 degrees in the house!

But the last time I was wrong? I got nothing.

So at dinner, I decided to confront Matt with my problem:

“I really want to do that Writer’s Workshop this Thursday, but I can’t think of anything for any of the topics.”

“Really? Well, what are the topics?”

“There was something about prenuptial agreements, but I didn’t want to touch that one…when was the last time I laughed really hard?”

Modern Family.

“Yeah, but I don’t want to write about a T.V. show.”

Matt proceeded to reenact the dialogue that had me laughing a few nights previous.

“You know, there was the topic about the last time I was wrong. I’d write about that, but I just can’t think of anything.”

There was a pause as Matt looked at me with a straight face. His blue eyes began to twinkle.

And then I laughed.

After seeing the left side of his lip curl into a smile and then hear the snicker escape from his own mouth, there was nothing left I could do but join him.

Visit Mama Kat for more stories of laughter or women who can admit when they’re wrong. And don’t forget to get your post ready for tomorrow’s Journey on forgiveness! For more information, click on the Journeys tab at the top of the page.

What I’m Leaving Behind

The other day as I was reaching to change from radio to cd in the mini-van, I had a thought that was very strange for me: I need to download some songs for my iPod to listen to in the van. Yes, you read that right; the thought of me putting songs on an iPod, something people regularly do every day and for the last few years, is strange.

Almost immediately after I had that thought, I thought of a post I wrote a while back bemoaning the loss of my handwriting as a result of using the computer. I admitted that I tend to reluctantly accept technology, mostly as a result of my incompetence. But as I thought through the similarities between my not wanting to use an iPod and not wanting to give up my handwriting, I realized there is something else going on that scares me for some reason.

I’m afraid I’ll have nothing to leave behind.

Yes, a morbid thought, I know, but I can’t help but wonder what my grandchildren will learn about me when I’m gone when all they have are computer gadgets as a source.

I love seeing old records and the album covers that go with them. Are they tattered or in pristine condition? Can I guess the kind of music simply from the cover? If anyone were to see my old cd cases, one would notice many with cracks or the door pulled off of them–I didn’t take very good care of my cds. If one were to look at the mess of cds my husband has, one would realize how important music is to him and how neatness is not his virtue. But that person would get a false sense of who we are–those collections stopped years ago as we brought in new technology.

As our collections age, they develop character, and what we own and how we display it tells the story of our character. Yet, I worry that over time, I will have less and less of my story to show.

I have no desire to buy a Kindle or an iPad. I want to hold books in my hand, feel their spines, smell the distinct smell of their pages. And I want to leave behind a massive collection that shows my passions, my curiosities at the world–not an iPad where one would have to look at the Recent list to see what I had last read (or however that works).

I like the idea of photos in albums but reluctantly gave in to the idea of photobooks. My children won’t have the experience of taking out photos and turning them over to see what their mother wrote on the back. Yes, they’ll see what caption I typed, and, now, they’ll actually have some proof of their existence as children since I wasn’t doing too well at printing photos, but they’ll also miss something that only an old photo can bring.

As I stated before, I don’t naturally understand technology–I’ve had to call my husband at work before because I couldn’t figure out how to play a movie for the kids (I never had problems using a VCR, by the way), so I know my fear influences many of my decisions. And I know that I never bought tons of cds in the past, being content to listen to the radio, so having long lists of songs on an iPod doesn’t fit my character, either. Yet, there is still that part of me that wants to hold on to the old ways, afraid of what I’m going to leave behind…

…or not.

Has anyone else ever had thoughts like these, or am I just a weirdo? What things of the past do you bemoan losing to new technology? Does anyone else think it’s time for Matt to take me on a date?–I’m depressing the heck out of myself, lately! 🙂