Friday, May 30, 2008

Christian Education

I've mentioned before that I teach the 4 & 5 year-old Sunday School class at our church. J's a part of the class. I like to ask him about the lesson afterward to see how good a job I did communicating. Earlier this month, we were sitting around the table with my parents after church. Our story had been about Passover that week. I tried to keep it simple and non-graphic, given the audience. I wanted to acquaint them with the idea that lamb died to save the lives of the Israelites just like Jesus died to save us. I started asking J about it. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Do you remember what the story was about in Sunday School today?
J: Yeah, you painted on the door. (Ok, so that was memorable)
Me: Right, the Israelites painted their door frames too. Did they use regular paint?
J: No, they used blood.
Me: Yep, God told them to kill a lamb and paint their door frame with the blood. Do you remember why they had to do that? What would have happened if they didn't? (Expecting something along the lines of "someone in the house would have died instead.")
J: (Pause) (Shrug) Well, the lamb would have just kept being happy!

I was laughing so hard at that point that the questions were definitely over.

English 101

I'm convinced the English language would be much simpler to learn if they'd just consulted a few more children when coming up with the rules.

Here are a few contributions from our kids:

H: "I've got my hammer. I'm hamming!" Well, you wash with a washer. You mix with a mixer. Why wouldn't you ham with a hammer?

J: "Daddy, would you plug in my night light? I'll plug it out later."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Whatever it takes to get through the store

Warning: If you do not happen to be my son's parent or grandparent, and are therefore not naturally inclined to find everything he does cute, save your time and go do somthing else.

I, however, found these hilarious. J joined me on my weekly trip to Meijer yesterday. I shelled out a dollar to rent a video cart to help keep him amused. The space for groceries in those carts isn't quite as large as in a regular cart, so I put my purse next to him on the seat. He likes to check it out whenever he gets the chance to see if there are any gum or snacks inside. This time, he found my camera instead. He proceeded to document our entire shopping trip. I probably could have saved the buck for the cart if I'd known how entertaining the camera turned out to be.

Here are but a few of the 125 photos of Meijer I found the next time I downloaded my memory stick:

The video inside the video cart. There were about 30 different shots of this. I'll spare you the rest.
The view out the window of the cart
Frozen food aisle

Who even knew there were so many varieties of gummy snacks!

I'm sure this was in my honor (ha! ha!)
I never even noticed there was advertising on the floor tiles before.
A fellow shopper. "Nice pants."

This is where we played the game: "See if you can find a picture with broccoli in it. How about one with corn." I needed a little more time and he was getting antsy.

"Mom, can we get some of these?"

Skid marks on the floor

Hmm. I don't even remember going past this section. I hope that lady never finds my blog.

The fish - always a favorite stop when the kids are along.

Finally checking out!

The artist.

Moses' Prayer

Moses was tending his father in law's sheep. From what we can tell, he seems to have been comfortable with that. It wasn't glamorous. No doubt it wasn't what he'd dreamed of while he was growing up in Pharaoh's palace, but he'd had to flee Egypt in fear years earlier. He'd seen his people being horribly abused there. He killed a man in anger, and then he ran to hide from the consequences of his sin.

Moses made a new life for himself in Midian. He got married. He had children. He found a job. He probably would have been content with that for the rest of his life. But one day, in the desert, God changed all that. He called Moses to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. That was the last thing Moses wanted to do. His last memories of Egypt were bad ones. He was afraid to go back there for any reason - particularly the reason God was asking him to go. Moses knew Pharaoh wouldn't want to let the Israelites go. They were cheap labor for him. And beside that, Moses was afraid of public speaking. He told God his concerns. God addressed them. Moses agreed to go.

I've heard a lot of preachers give Moses a hard time for arguing with God at the burning bush (as did God, I concede - Exodus4:14). I give him so much credit for actually doing what he'd been asked that I can't find it in myself to criticize him for expressing his concerns about it. He left his life of relative comfort and went back to a place he'd fled in fear and shame to do tell the most powerful man in the world to do something Moses knew he didn't want to do. I'd like to say I'd have obeyed God if I were in Moses' situation, but I really don't know.

Moses mustered up all his faith. He faced his fears, obeyed God and trusted Him to work it all out. I know the end of the story so well that I tend to forget what actually happened next. Moses goes to Pharaoh, God sends the 10 plagues, the Israelites leave Egypt, God opens the Red Sea, and they are safe and happy on the other side. Right?

Not quite.

Moses went to Pharaoh and gave him God's message: "Let my people go." Pharaoh responded by accusing the people of being lazy and blamed Moses for keeping them from their work. Did he let them go? No way! He increased their work load by an impossible amount, then had them beaten when they couldn't keep up. Moses' obedience brought more suffering on the people he was trying to help and made them hate him. Not exactly what you expect God to do when you obey Him.

I love that the Bible records Moses' next prayer. I love it, because I can relate to how Moses felt then. (SJ paraphrase of Exodus 5:22-23): "Lord, what are you doing?! Ever since I obeyed you, you've brought nothing but trouble, and you haven't rescued your people at all!" I love that God doesn't rebuke Moses for saying that.

Some people who find themselves praying that are in the place Moses was - just about to see God unleash an amazing display of his glory and power. Others are in the place that some of the Hebrews 11 heroes of the faith were - living out their whole lives without ever getting their questions answered. They "die in faith, not having received the promises (Hebrews 11:13, KJV)."

I don't know which of those places I'm in. I just pray that my faith will remain unmoved whether or not I ever understand in this life what God's purpose is.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Confessions of a Speedy Mom

I'm not Catholic, but I did do a little confession at church yesterday.

At the end of the service we were having the typical honor-the-mothers thing that churches like to do on mother's day. They didn't give flowers to the woman with the most grandchildren, the newest baby, or the most children. This year they got a little more creative. There were categories honoring a mother who had been a caregiver for her own mother; the woman who most recently found out she was expecting; the mother who had most recently made homemade cookies for her family.

The final category was for the mother with the most speeding tickets. I'm not sure who decided that was a distinction worth receiving flowers. I suspect it was just a ploy to entice confessions so folks could know who to look out for in the parking lot and who not to let their kids carpool with.

I was pretty sure I could be a contender for the most, but debated whether or not I should fess up. This blog notwithstanding, I'd like to keep some semblance of respectability at church. On the other hand, we were going to my parents' home after church, and what with work being so busy lately and planning for H's birthday party this weekend, I hadn't gotten around to getting my mom a gift. (I'm a real slacker of a daughter, I know). I thought maybe this was my chance to win some flowers to take to her. So after seeing that lots of other women were willing to publicly admit their run-ins with the law, I stood up too.

My memory was a little fuzzy on the spot, but I could clearly remember 3 different tickets I'd received. There ended up being three of us tied for 3 tickets each. They broke the tie by giving the flowers to the woman who'd gotten her ticket most recently. Not me. So in essence, I publicly shamed myself and had nothing to show for it.

Here's where I try to salvage my reputation: All my offenses occurred while I was in high school or college. My last ticket was 14 years ago. I can remember that because I was driving through WV on the way home from my brother's wedding. Dad was driving his car. My mom and I were following in my brother's car - which happened to still be decorated with "Just Married" signs. I'm not sure what the officer thought, but he wasn't about to cut me any slack. The "I couldn't have been speeding, Officer, I was following my dad and he never speeds" argument didn't cut it.

So I'd like to say that although I used to be a bad driver, I'm really not anymore. Really.

Except that when I thought about it a little more last night, I remembered a fourth ticket (still more than 14 years ago), so I should have won the flowers after all. I guess my friend Lori sensed that, because today she brought me the flowers she'd won. She had gotten them for something far more noble that I had done. They're beautiful and smell lovely too. Thanks a bunch, Lori!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Free Photos

Want a whole bunch of free photos? Head on over to the CVS photo center. If you open a new account, you'll get 20 free 4x6 prints. Enter your CVS card number and they'll throw in another 30 4x6's for free. Don't have a CVS card? Well, you should, so go here and get yourself one of those first. While you're ordering, pick out a 5x7 and 8x10 print as well. Enter "Enlarge" in the promotion code slot at checkout to get those free too. Select the pick up in store option to avoid shipping costs.

Your total for 50 4x6's, one 5x7 and one 8x10 = Zilch.

Pretty cool!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

PSA #2 - Hold On Tight

This is an especially important message, near and dear to my heart. Heeding it's advice will save you (and whatever doctor is on call the night you didn't do it) a lot of grief.

If you for some reason, any reason, feel the need to stick a foreign body into any one of your orifices, for Pete's sake DON'T LET GO! Maintain firm control of at least one end of the object at all times.

I mean it.

I learned this lesson early in life from watching my brother taken to the ER to have the magnets extracted from his nose. He thought it would be fun to stick two little magnets about the size of Smarties together on either side of his nose. Only problem was, he had the like poles facing each other and they flipped each other over way up high into his nose. Bad move.

I've taken a few coins out of the stomach or esophagus of children. They're the ones most likely to put things in the holes on their heads. One day I got a call from the ER about someone who had sucked a thumbtack down his windpipe. I asked how old he was.
"No, 23 years."
I thought people knew better than that by then. Apparently not. The poor guy was quitting smoking and had taken to chewing on anything and everything to keep his mouth busy. He went to cough and ended up sucking the tack down. I think he took up smoking again after that night.

Then there was the man who decided to swallow his crack pipe to hide it from the police. In case you were wondering, crack pipes do not pass easily through the digestive tract. They often require surgical assistance. Don't do it.

And finally, if, heaven forbid, you were ever entertaining the idea of sticking something in one of your lower openings, please STOP! You'll so wish you hadn't when you have to go to the ER and explain what happened. I'm sorry, but the nice people who care for you there will not believe you when you tell them that you just happened to sit on it. And they will most certainly giggle at you when they leave the room. It can't be helped. Particularly if said object's batteries have not yet died.

Just saying. Hold on tight.

Monday, May 5, 2008

No,in fact, I didn't know that

J (pointing at the two pink circles on his chest): Mommy, do you know what these are called?

Me (while pretty sure that they're called nipples, yet curious to hear what he would say): What?

J: Pepperonis!

He didn't disappoint.

That Was Fun!

I just got back from CVS-ing. I got 2 bags of cat food, foundation, nail files, face powder, and 10 4x6 prints. I spent $1.64 out of pocket and got $10 in Extra Care Bucks back.
I think that's enough to make even Crystal proud.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

There's no free lunch

But sometimes there's free bowling. We were blessed to get some today.

J woke up this morning with a hankering to bowl. So, after I finished at work we met at the bowling alley near the hospital. The bad news was, we just happened to walk in as they were getting ready to lock up. They're hosting the after-prom party tonight and were closing early to get ready.

The good news was, the very kind lady who owns the bowling alley said, "You know, I'm going to be here for a while doing some things. I'm going to let you go ahead and bowl." It was great. We had the place to ourselves.

Have you ever been the only one in the whole place bowling? It's pretty loud when you throw the ball without any background noise to drown it out. Especially if you prefer the overhand technique to throw the ball like J often does.

When we went to pay, she said it was her treat and then promised J that next time we came she'd take him in the back to show him how the pin machine works. How cool is that?!

Thanks, kind lady!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

PSA - Quit blaming your Mother's doctor

I've decided to do a series of public service announcements. I feel it's a contribution I can make as a good citizen to share some of the knowledge I've gleaned from my years in the medical profession. Don't worry, it won't be anything too boring or technical. There are some common misconceptions that need to be corrected and some common mistakes that need to be prevented.

So here's my lesson for today:

The shape of your belly button has nothing to do with how the doctor cut your umbilical cord. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. If it did, do you really think they would be letting brand new Daddies do the honors these days? I think not. The same guy cut both my kids' cords (Daddy B). One has an outie, one has an innie. Did he learn how to do it better after the first attempt? Nope. He did a fine job both times.

Whether you have an innie or outie depends on whether your umbilical ring (the hole in your abdominal wall where the blood vessels from the umbilical cord went though) closes up. It doesn't matter how that cord was trimmed. It still turns into a nasty little shriveled up brown stump however it's cut.

And while we're on the subject, there really aren't "innies" and "outies." There are people who have umbilical hernias and people who don't. J's got about 6 more months to close his ring before he's past the age where it's likely to happen on its own. I've been reducing it for four and a half years now trying to encourage it to close. Now he's old enough that I usually get told, "Mommy, quit pushing on my belly button!" It's just a hard habit to break now.