Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Marriage Ref

Have you seen this show?  I just saw it recently - hysterical.  Three couples come on with a dispute and a panel of three celebrities, some of whom are not married or are divorced, determine which spouse is right and at the end the audience decides on the most right spouse and that person gets a billboard in their city that says they were right.  I would totally go on this show. 

Let me say this, the disputes are never over anything big (the one I saw, one of the women was spending too much decorating her doll house), and the celebrity panel very frequently sides with the woman even in situations where there is no way the woman should win the argument.  This is why I would be a perfect contestant.  Odds are, I would win given the predisposition toward women, and Bray and I aren't fighting over anything big. 

But we have gotten frustrated lately.  Over little stuff.  I didn't like his schedule one week or he didn't like that I was too opinionated on how the kids ate something at dinner.  These petty disputes are just annoying, we're not dealing with adultery or addiction, so these aren't issues that could end a marriage - or could they? 

I can only speak for myself, and maybe speak a little bit for women in general, but I think we sometimes let little things go too far.  These aren't "bet the farm" disputes, so we (either spouse) decides it's not worth it to get into a wrangle over it - we'll just be a little short in conversation or we'll ignore it or we'll forget to kiss the other one goodbye that morning.  No big deal. 

But it adds up.  One. Thing. After. Another.  And it wears away at the fabric of a marriage.  Until the fabric frays and eventually tears.  Lysa TerKeurst, in a book called Capture His Heart, calls it the dangers of a leaky faucet.  I studied this book in a summer bible study and it revolutionized how I thought about my marriage and how I treated my marriage and Bray.  For a while.  But work got busy, I had triplets, and the drip drip drip began again without paying the attention I had previously to that leaky faucet.  When Bray and I went to hear Gary Chapman speak this summer (author of Five Love Languages) he said, "Marriages either get better or worse.  They never stay the same."  Boy, that statement hit me.  I'd allowed myself to believe that as long as I wasn't doing anything proactively to hurt the marriage, it was okay that I wasn't doing much proactively to help it.  But it's one or the other, your marriage today will be better or worse than it was yesterday.  And the next day.  And next month.  And next year.  You have to make the decision which way it will go. 

In Capture His Heart, Lysa starts the book by saying that even the best husband makes a poor god.  She talks about how she would leave her driveway crying wondering, why does it have to be so difficult, why is everything such an issue, what's wrong?  She became so consumed trying to figure out how how to make everything right and figure out how to get the love she needed that her husband became her god.  And this is what she ultimately resolved: "My spirit should not vacillate between joy and sorrow based on how Art and I are getting along.  Instead, my soul should always rest in the safety of Jesus' unconditional love and acceptance." 

If you have some drip, drip, drips in your marriage, then let me present to you the same challenge that I've given to myself:  (a) don't let our husbands become our god so that our emotional well being is entirely dependent on how the marriage is going that day (for good or bad), (b) make an effort every day to affirmatively improve upon our marriages, because it will get worse if it doesn't get better, and (c) take the time to fix leaky faucet issues before they systematically erode the beautiful relationship that God has given us until death do we part.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day (of many) of School

Drama, drama, drama.  You would think the kids were going to kindergarten with all the drama of the first day of school this morning.  Lord have mercy!  The boys, who do not exactly speak with verbal clarity yet, when asked by Bray if they wanted to go to school this morning responded with the clearest "no" you have ever heard - and pronounced with feeling.  (The little lady on the other hand, said yes, she's always been the least dependent.)

So we started MDO this morning - a Monday/Tuesday, 9 am to 2 pm, program at the church where Bray and I were married (if you recall, it was quite the effort getting them in to this particular program).  We visited their classroom and teachers on Friday morning and there was a fair amount of crying and groaning about that 45 minute adventure even though both Miss Maria and I stayed with them.  Over the weekend, we decorated their giraffes with pictures and stickers and colors to hang on their classroom wall (they are the "Giraffe" class so we were told to make decorating our weekend family art adventure).  We got their nap mats ready, their clothes laid out, and their lunch boxes labeled.  Quite the endeavor. 

None of these painstaking efforts were appreciated by the boys though.  They made it clear that they love mommy and daddy and any attempt to stick them with a teacher away from home would be met with serious resistance.  They cried all morning.  They cried getting loaded in the car (hence these lovely first day of school pictures you see).  They cried getting ready.  They wanted to be spoon fed ONLY by mommy at breakfast.  What drama.  Both Bray and I were snappish because there's only so much howling a family can endure before you get a little edgy.  FYI, snappish parents make for even MORE hysterical children. 

Nonetheless, the first morning of school is now history.  Hallelujah.  Now, let's hope I can survive the second day. 
Our Meet the Teacher Friday

Our Attempt At Family Photos On The First Day
Lillie Dancing Upon Arrival in the Classroom
The Boys Playing Puzzles with the Teachers (T Minus Meltdown)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Animals Take Over The Zoo

Honestly, how many posts can a woman write about the tactics of a disobedient toddler?  Well, you're about to find out because here is YET another one (in case you missed it, here was the last one, and I'm sure there will be more to come....).

Let me begin by saying that this weekend was not all mayhem.  The kids, after a pretty rough few weeks, were so loving.  Lots of hugs and kisses and cuddles and reading in my lap.  On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend with them which is more than I can say about a few of the past ones (I know, I'm terrible, but seriously, you would not enjoy 48 straight hours with 3 speedy noncompliant 22 month olds either!).  But lest I forget that they are only at the beginning of the independent/test-your-boundaries phase, they threw a few new tactics in my direction.  Here's my top 5 list of the hijinks that ensued as the animals began to take over the zoo:

No. 5:  Screaming is now used as a periodic tool to either express anger or need for attention.  The eldest, while I personally think he screams less than the other two, does do it with a force and pitch to be reckoned with.  So now the baby has added the eldest to his repertoire of sounds, i.e., "How does the duck go?" with a "Quack Quack" in response; "How does the horse go?" with a very operatic soprano version of "Neighhhhhh" in response; and "How does your brother go?" with a "AAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH" in response.  The eldest does not seem amused.

No. 4:  I wear more make up now than I did in the '80s because the little lady, in addition to her punching people (most frequently, me) in the eye, has taken to scratching the living daylights out of my face.  No matter how short I cut her nails, whenever she's in a snit about something, she grabs my face in her little fingers with a fierceness reserved for middle ages battles.  The process of extricating your every aging skin from her stranglehold often results in scratch marks across your face.  Quite the picture of femininity. 

No. 3: Our furniture in the living room is pushed up against the gas fireplace to keep the kids from playing in pipes filled with toxic gases.  This apparently is not a deterrent but an invitation.  They just SCALE the furniture, couch or chair, and stand up on the little stone ledge of the fireplace behind the furniture laughing and clapping and sinking down behind the furniture should you hazard to try to extract them from the aforesaid danger.

No. 2:  I purchased a book called Hands Are Not For Hitting this weekend because of the recent rash of hitting (see No. 4).  We all curled up in my lap and began to read the book (which is now a house favorite).  The story basically says, hands are not for hitting, hands are for hugging and helping and waving, etc.  It repeats this "hands are not for hitting but hands are for..." message about 3 times throughout the book.  Every time I speak the words, "hands are not for hitting," the eldest promptly begins to beat the tar out of the book.  Great.  That was effective.

No. 1:  The Baby, or Dennis the Menace as my husband likes to call him (or the evil genius as I infrequently employ), climbs up on the dining room chair, then climbs on top of the dining room table and takes a stick and begins beating my crystal vase.  I say, "no climbing on the table or you go to time out," and pull him down.  To which he responds with gales of laughter and a prompt climb back on the table.  I say, "okay, you're going to time out," where he goes for 2 minutes.  As I pull him out he goes running as fast as his chubby little legs will carry him and climbs back on the table looking at me and laughing.  I say, "no, no, this is dangerous, you have to go back to time out now."  I pull him out and......well, you get the idea, apparently, punishment spurs him on.  Fun for all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

20 Years - Then and Now

As I've mentioned once before, I don't really write about my life in high school.  It was a challenging time, poor teen dealing with newly divorced parents, and I am now a different person who doesn't spend a lot of time pondering the days of yesteryear. 

However........after changing my mind a dozen times, I walked into my 20 year high school reunion Saturday night.  That different me, the one living in northwest Houston in May 1991, came flooding back.  It wasn't a bad me or a good me, but the insecurities sure reared their ugly head.  My husband watched me flip-flop about whether to attend the reunion right up to the time when we parked at the hotel.  And since he was no fan of high school, he thought my decision to attend was a little wacky. 

We walked in and saw a couple of folks I knew.  As the crowd grew, I visited with a few more people from the days of old.  I saw a boy I'd had a crush on, a girl who I'd studied with, and a few people who I've kept distantly up to speed with via Facebook.  What made the entire outing completely worth it was seeing one of my best friends from high school who became my college roommate and who I had not seen since my wedding!  But otherwise, as I told my mom who babysat for us, it was painless to attend but I would have been perfectly fine skipping it too.  Apparently, I still look the same (that's probably not a compliment if you grew up in the 80s), but the outside is not at all reflective of me now (except for my improved fashion sense)..........

So what did I come away with?  A sense of gratitude.  A sense of overflowing appreciation for the Lord's rich bounty poured out over my life.  If you look at statistics, girl with divorced parents at 12 with lower socio-economic status, absentee father, body image issues, etc., then the charts don't project my current life.  The me of today wouldn't turn up on the statistician's graphs of likely results.  But I don't worship a God of statistics and averages.  I serve a God of miracles.  Big miracles.  So I loved being re-confronted with the 1991 version of myself.  It was a blessed reminder of the goodness of God.  I have a good life.  With a faithful husband, healthy children, supportive parents and friends, a fulfilling job, and the once-elusive stability.  Those two hours at the reunion were fine, nothing in and of itself for me to write about, but the reunion's spotlight over the past 20 transformative years was worth every penny I paid.  I've got a long way yet to go in this journey I am on, but I know now more than ever that any success or happiness I have found is because of of a great God, full of grace and surprises.

Ephesians 3 - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory...
2 Samuel 7 - “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign LORD, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant—and this decree, Sovereign LORD, is for a mere human! “What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign LORD. For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant. “How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears...“And now, LORD God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.  “LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”

Friday, August 19, 2011


Wanderlust is defined officially as a strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.  But this simple definition doesn't fully capture the emotion of wanderlust, a sensation with which I am acquainted.  I wish there were a more captivating word than longing. Merriam Webster's thesaurus says that longing is synonymous with an appetite, a yearning, a thirstiness.  These are physical words which describe what truly can be a physical sensation. 

Wanderlust, as a notion, has its pros and cons.  It might lead you to hike Mt. Everest or visit the ancient pyramids or raft down the Colorado rapids.  But it also can lead you to leave. To pick up and go.  To abdicate responsibilities. To exit without completing what you have started. 

I don't experience wanderlust with the frequency I did as a single adult but it still hits me periodically.  It's most frequently incited by music.  A song I remember from my single days when I could pack up and move to a different city or travel to a faraway place all by myself without checking in with anyone or feeling guilty.  If there was money in the bank, off I could fly to Alaska or Cape Cod or the Colorado mountains - and I did.  I traveled carefully, but alone.  I was raised moving.  Before settling in Houston, I had lived in Southern California, Northern California, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, and Tennessee.  I never went to a school more than 2 years in a row until high school.  I think my father had wanderlust.  But he and I both saw that the grandiosity of his ideas rarely translated to the practicality of day-to-day living here on earth. 

I was listening to one of my favorite musicians in concert on t.v. last night while Bray was out of town and the kids were in bed.  And I could feel the wanderlust stirring.  A vivid recollection of the days of old, with less responsibility and busyness, and it incited some longing, some yearning, some thirstiness.  Have you experienced this?  A wanderlust to pack a bag and linger over a glass of wine overlooking Grand Canal in Venice or sip a cup of coffee while watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu? 

Here's the trick.  Don't try to bury it.  Acknowledge it.  It's particularly human to long for an escape when things are hard work at home and work.  It's human to idealize a time gone by even though when you were in the midst of that period you may have actually been longing for a relationship or kids or stability. Then do something about it.  Plan a short getaway.  Revisit an old haunt with a friend over an evening out.  I think what leads to folks eventually leaving their kids or their spouse or their job or their life is that they spent years trying to bury legitimate feelings instead of finding an outlet for them.  And as for that trip to Machu Picchu, it may not be in the cards this year, but start saving for your 40th birthday party trip or your 10 year wedding anniversary. 

There's this great old hymn we used to sing in church called Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and one of the verses says:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

This must have been written by a wanderlust.  He knew that the best cure for a wandering heart is a seal from God and a measure of grace. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This is not a post I want to write.  Quite frankly, I don't even know how to write it.  But so heavy is it weighing on me that I had to get out of bed last night to scribble down these thoughts. 

I write periodically about a book I am slogging through, not because it is not riveting and beautifully written, but because it is challenging what I think about my faith and how I act on it.  Last night, I tackled some more of it.  Rich Stearns, the author, uses quotations to open each chapter, and these two grabbed my heart:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  Martin Luther King Jr.

"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it."  "Well, why don't you ask Him?"  "Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question."  Anonymous.

As I chewed over the words in my head I kept returning to a grave concern I have:  How will my children see the world?  As my children grow, will they be able to retain their now current ability to love anyone, regardless of their color, gender, race, religion, or social standing, with reckless abandon? 

When I was young, I lived in Los Angeles with my father and mother, a minister and a daughter of a minister.  I honestly had no concept of prejudice.  All I knew was, "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight."  My father and mother worked with everyone - from a homeless minority man to a mentally ill young woman, old and young, black/brown/white, poor and rich, they were all the same.  I wasn't even introduced to the concept of prejudice until much later in life. 

Cut to the present day.  I know prejudice now.  I see it both up close and personal and on a global scale.  And it terrifies me. 

I can not reiterate how sick I was last night thinking about it.  How deeply held prejudices are shredding the fabric of this and many other nations.  Assumptions made about a entire class of people because of the actions of an individual or a group.  Black and Mexican, Muslim and Jew, Poor and Disabled.  Blindingly distorted perceptions that must make God shudder. 

This comes across as harsh.  And everyone, including me, is guilty of some form of prejudice.  It's human nature.  But it is sinful human nature and not something God sanctions or condones.  Prejudice is not just about race either, it can be about any category of people.  As a new freshman in college, I was pretty judgemental.  I had lived a very sheltered life and I suddenly encountered people who did not look or act like me (thank Heavens!) and who I deemed were "unGodly."  Oh, the ignorance of youth.  I passed judgment on a certain segment of guys in my college and I walked by their table with my nose held high in the air because clearly I was a better person than these heathens.  Lord help me.  Well, a few years later, I started doing some pretty nutty things.  I was running from God and experimenting with some bad behaviour.  But there will always be a part of that time I do not regret because it did two things: (1) it allowed me to become friends with people I would never have encountered had I remained the sheltered judgemental version of myself, and (2) it allowed me to see that we are all, at the very deepest level, the same.  I was at a party one evening and one of the guys who I used to pass with such judgment walked up to me.  He said, "I'm so glad to see you here.  You're so much fun.  You used to just walk by our table and never even look or talk to us.  But I'm glad I got to know you."  There's a ton of things I could expound upon with that simple statement, but for purposes of this post what I'd like to highlight is how totally off base and out of whack my prejudice and judgment was.  Here was a really decent person, he did turn out to be a super kind human being (and WOW - can we say what forgiveness he showed?), that I had made assumptions about that colored my perception of him and all around him.  How sinful.  How shameful. 

Prejudice is judgment.  Judgment that is based on anger or fear or lack of knowledge or bad experiences.  We are called not to judge others but to love others.  Prejudice is so destructive.  Not only can it destroy you but it destroys those with impressionable minds around you and it impedes our ability to make progress in our world.

It is my prayer today that any prejudice that exists in my heart would be stripped away.  It is my prayer today that any prejudice that exists in the hearts of those around me and my children would be stripped away.  It is my prayer today that my children will always love my friend's black abused disabled foster daughter with the same reckless abandon they do now.  Please God, guard their hearts. 

Matthew 7 - Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

I John 4 - Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us...We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011


This morning was decadent.  There is no other word for it.  Maybe blissful.  Or restorative.  But decadent seemed most apropos. 

Let me set the stage.  The past few weeks have been rough.  I'm an environmental attorney who has been absolutely buried at work this summer.  I'm grateful for the work but pretty overwhelmed right now.  I've also just begun my year as Chair of a foundation as well as being on the Board of the Women's Energy Network to run their upcoming charity lunch.  Plus I'm starting a women's bible study in the fall.  Then we had our nanny out for a week.  Which resulted in all of us getting sick.  And I had to leave town to give a major speech.  Then, I hit my brand new car pretty nastily yesterday when rushing out of my parking garage to get to a client meeting.  Oh, and we leave at three am tonight to drive to Oklahoma with the kids to see my dad.  This morning I was completely fried.  However, we'd pushed our trip back a day so I could stay home and clean a few rooms that are CLOSING in on us.  Three toddlers have stuff that seep into every crevice in your house.  I started feeling like I would get featured on Hoarders soon if I didn't do something.  But I've not taken a week's vacation since my honeymoon in 2006 so I knew a day would be all I could negotiate for now. 

This morning, I had a list of errands that had to be run, all before 10 am so I could tackle my home projects.  But to pat myself on the back for surviving the summer I said I could go grab breakfast.  Nowhere fancy, just a place up the road where they have good coffee and wheat pancakes.  I sat for a half hour and enjoyed my breakfast, coffee and newspaper.  Then I looked down.  My feet were a WRECK in my very open toed sandals.  And I was about to be around a bunch of people for the weekend in very open toed sandals.  You guys have had this happen right?  No time for a pedicure and you're at work in shoes that allow it to go a little longer than ideal.  Well, I glanced down the little strip center and lo and behold a nail place.  And it was open this early - who knew some opened at 9 am???  Score!  I ran inside and there was nothing but availability. 

Then life slowed down.  This place, a totally unassuming strip center nail place, was a gift.  They had great music playing.  One of those big comfy massage chairs.  And all sort of deluxe extras you only get at a spa like wax treatments for your hand and hot stone massages of your feet and legs.  OH, and they had the most recent issues of People magazine.  I'm sorry, but that is a MUST at a nail place.  As I sat reading about Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez, I started going limp.  The magazines literally slid off my legs onto the floor as I half slept, completely guilt-free since the place was empty, while these miracle workers spent AN HOUR pampering me.  No splash and dash mani/pedi like I get downtown in a rush, but the whole enchilada.  Holy moly.  It was fabulous.  As I started coming out of my coma, I explained that I had a day off from one year old toddlers and, after getting over the shock, they nodded knowingly at my reaction.

After that, I was in no rush.  I went by a department store to return some online purchases and allowed myself to peruse the swimsuit section.  Now I have not purchased a new suit since I had the triplets and we have a pool in our backyard.  Yes, that look on your face is absolutely appropriate.  Everything in the store was 65% off and...........wait for it............I found not one but TWO absolutely adorable swimsuits (gasp, have you ever even said those words before?).  I ran the remainder of my errands almost luxuriously, gassing up/picking up dry cleaning/last minute grocery pick-ups with a zen-like happiness, and returned home at 12:05.  Yes, it was two hours later than I had "planned."  Yes, I didn't get quite as much accomplished as I had "planned."  But I am a totally different person.  I was exhausted and stressed out and frustrated, and a few hours of decadence worked wonders.  It didn't take a week at the Ritz in Paris; it took a couple of hours and about a hundred bucks for a yummy breakfast, a long mani/pedi, and two cute swimsuits.

If you're near the end of your rope, then give yourself a little time.  Work it in somehow.  I'm the poster child for not being able to fit this kind of stuff into my life, but after coming off of this morning, I can tell you, it's so worth it. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Post......

I regularly read this blog.  After reading it last night, I had nothing else I could possibly write.  So if you dare to be challenged, I encourage you to head over to Lysa's blog and hear her words today:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bad Mommy (sort of)

Ever since the disaster that was Wee Camp week before last, there is full fledged separation anxiety at my house.  Led by the eldest with this freakish high pitched screaming like nothing I've heard.  Lately, as in the past several days, this piercing sound is now being put to use in an assortment of situations, including not getting his way and going to bed at night. 

Now, I realize two things.  One, if you give into this behavior and do whatever it takes to stop the screaming it will continue until he goes off to college (or so they say).  Two, a bedtime routine should be followed and if I start getting him out of bed then the other two will employ the same technique which will result in utter chaos and no alone time for me and Bray at night.  With all of that sound parenting knowledge firmly ensconced in my mind, I decided to completely and utterly ignore it last night.  In my defense, the screaming really is terribly sad-sounding, and it's almost bad parenting if you DON'T do something.  Additionally, poor little bit could not get to sleep because the eldest was doing the screaming whilst standing over her crib. 

Regardless of all that, pros and cons, I have to say I don't regret grabbing him out of his crib and hanging out with him for over a half hour in the play room.  I had already turned on Design Star (don't you just love all the HGTV/Food Network Star shows, it's the only thing I watch these days) and poured my glass of wine to settle in for an hour of peace.  But rescuing him from his 22 month old horror, whatever it was, to cuddle with mommy was pretty blissful for us both.  I let him watch t.v. (gasp! no, they've not seen t.v., I've tried to wait until after they turn 2), and lounge in the big leather chair with his feet propped up on my knees.  We took turns giving each other sidelong glances and then bursting into giggles.  He scrunches his head down into his neck and laughs so big that his face just cracks open and this dimple appears under his eye.  He must have given that performance over a dozen times.  It made me crave alone time with the kids.  It made me realize how little we have had of it.  And it made me see how better behaved they are when they get it.  Not one single solitary instance of disobedience after these last few wretched weeks of testing their limits. 

So bad mommy or not, I'm going to take the opportunity one night a week to let someone hang out with me for an extra half hour.  These days, it's the only time we can carve out for some one-on-one.  They don't have to go to work, they can sleep in - and I can sleep more soundly knowing they are confident that they are loved as individuals and not just as a group. 

Monday, August 8, 2011


It may have seeped through in a post or two lately that my trio have been testing their boundaries.  To put it mildly.  My words are meaningless.  In fact, generally my words have the ill-effect of creating the exact opposite result of their intent.  This brings great merriment upon three wily 22 month olds while creating a combination of exasperation and fury in their ever-aging mother. 

Blatant disobedience.  Actions taken, not under the cover of night, but in the full glare of the sunlight (aka momma).  I understand there is a reason for the phrase "Terrible Twos."  But I believed that (a) my angelic children would not experience it as fully other more devilish imps, (b) it wouldn't strike early, but rather, it would strike later, and (c) some of the lore surrounding the Terrible Twos had to be exaggerated and that it likely wasn't quite as extreme as some would tell.  I can admit when I'm wrong.  And I'm admitting it now.  Now, don't get me wrong, these precocious children are not without their high points - they laugh these fabulous contagious laughs, they are extremely affectionate, they are quite attached to their father and me, and they have these beautiful faces that make you resist throwing them in the backyard.

While I am not a terribly impatient person, I have become so in the past few weeks.  Very very impatient.  And honestly, I'm just frustrated.  Why can they not "get it?"  Hitting is bad.  Trying to stick your head in a heating oven is DANGEROUS!  Jumping off the arm of the sofa will crack your head open.  And hiding under the middle of the big dining room table just to avoid getting a poopy diaper changed really will only make YOU more uncomfortable.  I am trying to protect them.  I am trying to keep them safe.  I only want what is best for them. 

So with all of these issues running on a loop in my head, I made my way into church Sunday morning after missing it for the past several weeks.  I began reciting the prayer of confession, "We humbly confess our sins and ask Your mercy.  We have not loved You with a pure heart, nor have we loved our neighbor as ourselves.  We have not done justice, loved kindness, or walked humbly with You, our God."  With each confession, I felt a pin-prick in my heart.  And then we had time for individual silent prayers of confession.  And I had a laundry list of things I needed forgiveness for on that Sunday morning.  In addition to failing to do all of the things in the recited prayer, I had so many other areas where I was reminded I had failed in my faith.  I had been blatantly disobedient.  Actions taken, not under the cover of night, but in the full glare of the sunlight (aka God).  But the real kicker.........I am 37.  Not almost 2, but almost 38.  I wonder if God was warned about the "Terrible Thirty-Sevens."  Or the "Terrible Twenty-Fives."  Or the "Terrible Fifty-Threes." 

Here I am, throwing up my hands in utter and complete exasperation and anger over my kids testing their boundaries, when God, my Faithful Father, has patiently forgiven me despite my disregarding His repeated warnings and guidance to make different choices. He is trying to protect me. He is trying to keep me safe. He only wants what is best for me.

Not only was I immediately convicted to be a more patient mother, but to also be a more obedient child.  To walk where He leads me.  To keep my head out of that oven.  To listen to His patient instructions.  And each time I see my child rear his or her head in frustrating disobedience, I pray it will serve as a reminder of how I should focus on my own behavior and make sure it is conforming to the patient, gentle, and protective guidance of my Heavenly Father. 

Deuteronomy 5 - So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.  Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
John 14 - Jesus replied, Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."
Proverbs 3 - My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fall Back Into Faith

I'm so excited to write about a new adventure I'm embarking upon this fall that I've been praying about since February.  If you are a working woman in the downtown Houston area, please join us for a monthly study geared to provide some quiet time for reflection on your faith.  Here's the flyer for the upcoming events - I hope you can join us this fall:
Fall Back Into Faith
A Quiet Hour for Busy Downtown Working Women

Join Gindi Vincent and other downtown working women this fall as we reconnect with our faith to find restoration and renewal in our busy lives.

Walk a few blocks, meet other women grappling with the same issues you are, and be reminded that God is in the middle of it all to help us get to the next day! These monthly meet-ups are designed to enable you to leave your office at noon and be back by one.

Final Thursdays of the Month (except Nov/Dec date): 12:07 p.m. to 12:53 p.m. Hosted at 909 Fannin (2 Houston Center - 2nd Floor Lobby, San Jacinto Room)
August 25th
September 29th
October 27th
December 1st

For more information or to RSVP, contact Gindi at gindivincent@yahoo.com - drinks provided, please bring a lunch.

Monday, August 1, 2011


There is no possible way that I can count how many times I must have said "C'mon ________![insert name of whichever of the 3 children were disobeying at the time]" over the course of this past weekend.  I feel confident this is the approach all the parenting books must suggest.  Exasperatingly grousing "c'mon" which we all know is the equivalent of "really?" or "seriously?" followed by "get your stinking hind end over here."  But it came out all weekend as "c'mon!" 

Let me set the stage.  Last week was insane.  Our precious nanny was on vacation so the kids' care was a combination of a "Wee Camp" (where they screamed BLOODY murder when I left them in the morning & was certain it would involve years of expensive therapy later in life because I went to work and abandoned the poor darlings) and my mother and mother-in-law watching them after camp let out from 2 to 5 pm.  Both our moms are older and were completely exhausted by the Texas Tornadoes, as they aptly nicknamed them.  Upon completing this Monday through Thursday schedule mix up, we then traveled to the family farm on Friday for the weekend to wrap up Bray's birthday celebrations.  Well, of course, the baby had contracted some nasty disease from being around a bunch of snotty Wee Campers, he is very susceptible to respiratory ailments, so we proceeded to move into the terrible hacking/fever/crying/sleepless phase.  At the farm.  Then.........the mosquitoes were as thick as thieves in Louisiana, and while the children just wanted to hang out with the cows and tractors, even slathered with bug spray, the mosquitoes nearly carried them off to their lair.  That doesn't even factor in the heat.  Which left us inside, in a home filled with beautiful breakable collectibles, with sick 22 month olds.  And yes, by Sunday morning, all FIVE of us were sick.  Happy birthday to you, right? 

Which brings us to the oft-repeated "c'mon!" 
"Let's go put your shoes on.  C'mon A!" 
"Let's get our hand out of the toilet.  C'mon B!" 
"Let's not carry around priceless crystal.  C'mon C!" 
Everything was followed, eventually, with c'mon because I do not believe I am exaggerating when I tell you they did not follow any command given to them the first time it was given this weekend.  At home, my kids are pretty helpful.  "Let's put our books away before we go outside..." and off they go throwing books in our bin.  "Please bring me your shoes so we can go walking......" and off they run to find their shoes.  "Hop in your chair, it's time for snack..." and running they go, pell-mell, climbing into their chairs eagerly anticipating Annie's Bunnies (this a is a whole other post, but God Bless whoever Annie is, those Annie's Bunnies are the most valuable commodity on the planet in toddler land and I feel moderately less guilty since they're organic wheat.....).  But oh no, not this weekend.  They literally laughed in my face at any command.  And that was the only time they laughed because they didn't feel good.  How can I make my children cheer up?  Give them a command they can freewheelingly disobey. 

I am exhausted.  And a little under the weather.  And after our doctor's appointment this morning, it turns out that joy of a Wee Camp left us with a respiratory infection and pink eye. 

But........it's a new week, my nanny has returned, my children now have medicine and a happy home to co-exist in, and I leave Wednesday to speak at a conference in Austin which (sadly) is being hosted at the Four Seasons where I'll be forced to stay for two nights with no children :)  I'm sorry, this is Austin not London, so I'm really not all that sad about this brief departure after the past week.  I hope that doesn't contribute to their therapy bill............