Monthly Archives: July 2008

Get a Leg Up

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I am a to-do list Queen.  It’s apart of my anal nature.  I was inspired to post my list after reading Just a Glimpse,  thanks for the idea!  My list contains what I would like to have done before school begins for me on August 8th.  Some are more practical in nature while others more personal.  I try to do any and everything I can to make the school year go a little more smoother.  Rarely do I use summer for vacation purposes.  Here is my beginning of summer to-do list and the progess I have made:

1.  Take the kids to dentist and well child appointments. 

I’ve taken Jazmine for her immunizations and both Nicholas and Evan to the dentist.  The well child visits will come toward the end of the summer. 

2.  Work on scrapbbooks

I haven’t spent as much time as I’d like scrapping.

3.  Have fun with the kids

I think I have managed to do this.  Of course, I’ve used Cheap Summer Thrills as my guide.

4. Read what I want that is not related to a 12th grade English curriculum!

I’ve read several books that I have enjoyed this summer.  I am currently reading Teacher Man by Frank McCourt.

5.  Organize Evan’s Academic Binder

I have managed to get it sorted.  It is just stuffed with his educational papers and my notes.  I am still afraid to tackle this head-on!

6.  Organize the kitchen cabinets

Last week I had Nicholas and Ethan do it for me while I did the laundry.  I had them create an alphabetized spice list on the computer that I am going to hang inside the cabinet, get rid of mismatched dishes and containers with missing tops and vice versa, and organizedthe pots and pans by size and usage.

7.  Clean out the garage!

Done! I did it as soon as school was out!

8. Gather and donate all used/unwanted items

Done!

9.  Schedule a diabetes test

Done!

10.  Finish and press poetry book

Done!

11.  Do touch-up painting where necessary

Not yet

12.  Potty train Jazmine

In progress!

13.  Have lunch dates with adults

Sadly, I haven’t had a single one!  It is very hard to find “me” time.

14.  Give my car a deep detailing and take care of any other pressing automative needs

Done! I even took it to the dealership to get the handle repainted after they failed to do so when it was in last time for a repair.  After getting painted, they sent it over to the service department to address a recall need.  I love killing two birds with one stone.

15.  Clean the carpet

No…but it really needs it!

16.  Map out curriculum for the upcoming year

No…but I really should!

17.  Attend an advanced writing workshop

Yes, and it was wonderful!  We got paid to write whatever we wanted for a whole week!  This experience was too delicious for words.

18.  Organize loose photos

Not yet.  I have sooo many that it is overwhelming.  I don’t know whether to use albums or boxes…decisions, decisions

19. Go Green!

Yep!

20.  Mend fences where they are broken

In progress.  This one is really important to me because life is too short to hold grudges.  I don’t  want any more enemies; Satan is enough!!!

21.  Prepare things for Evan’s homecoming

I’ve been reading a lot of literature, setting up counseling, researching schools, holding his current school accountable, and I’ve even redocrated his room!

22.  Frame and mat Nicholas’ artwork

No…summer isn’t over yet!

23.  Continue exploring the Word

Actually, I’ve been pretty steadfast about this!

24.  Drink more water

I’ve progressed moderately with this one

Really, Who Are You?

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Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is Youer than You. ~Dr. Seuss 

We all think that we are wonderful beings—my tags are evidence of this.  And it’s not that I think we shouldn’t.  To quote Ethel Waters, I know I’m somebody cause God don’t make no junk!  Pretending to have low self esteem is form of false pride.  While it appears to be humility, it is actually using martyrdom to attract attention. Sometimes we can get too full of ourselves (narcissism) and become blind to our faults and flaws.  But we are a mixture of good and bad–every single one of us.

 

I  do wonder if others would use the tags that I have used to describe me.  If not, I have a problem.  I suppose it is all a matter of perspective, but still, you should live your life in such a way that your beliefs and virtues shine through.

During my first year of teaching I had the ambivalent pleasure of working with Ms. Johnson, our English department head.  She was very good at her job.  She was highly competent and efficient as well.  She knew both her subject and her teachers.   However she was a force to be reckoned with–especially when she was in a bad mood.  Yes, Ms. Johnson was a mercurial Miss.  And sometimes she was downright rude.  Her mouth was most caustic and biting.  I often avoided the English office in fear that Ms. Johnson would be having a bad day.

 

She retired the next year much to my relief.  It meant no more walking on pins and needles.  Last year I did happen to run into Ms. Johnson at a funeral.  I approached her and gave her a hug and expressed my surprise at seeing her singing in the church choir.  She laughed and explained that she had been raised in the church.  She also said that people were often shocked that she was a Christian because of her rude demeanor.  Ms. Johnson went on to explain that after assessing herself that she realized that she was not Christian in her actions.  She concluded with more laughter saying “I spend too much time at church for it not to show!  So I’ve embarked on a character make-over!”  After that converstaion with her I developed a newfound respect  for my former boss.  I was impressed that she was able to recognize her actions spoke louder than her words.  There was an obvious disconnect between who she said she was and who she REALLY was. 

 

With this in mind I want to live my life in a way that my self-imposed tags are obvious to those around me.  It’s one thing for me to think well of myself, but if no one else does, then it is all for naught.  In the past, Eliza probably would have tagged me with the following labels: public enemy #1, control freak, children stealer, my footstool, new wife, second choice, arrogant witch, meddling missus, uneducated paralegal (this is a direct quote), gossip monger…ouch!, but she is entitled to her opinion.  However, I hope that her perspective of me has changed somewhat.  I have let my actions and character do all of the talking.  I realize that I am simply a work in progress falling with grace.  This is the way Bud Lightyear so eloquently summed up his lack of flying abilities–grace being the key word.

 

 

You’re Naked!!!

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I love to go shopping.  At least once a week I am at the mall.  Kierra has taken on this hobby and always wants to tag along with me.  Imani evens likes to go shopping.

On one of our outings to the mall Imani and I went in one direction while my husband, Ian, and Kierra went in another.  I had taken Imani to use the restroom.  On our way to meet back up with the family I stopped off at New York and Company.  As I checked out the sales, Imani was showing off as she normally does.  She loves music and feels the need to dance when ever she hears music.

After choosing a few pair of pants from the rack I headed to the dressing room.  I was so not prepared for what happened next.  My back was turned to Imani while I undressed from the waist down.  I instructed Imani to make funny faces in the mirror in order to keep her occupied.  Out of nowhere she slapped me on the rear and said (really loud), “Mommy you’re naked!”  I turned to look at her and was completely shocked!  I was a little embarrassed when I heard laughter coming from the other dressing rooms.   After the shock wore off, I chuckled as well.

Yes, I had on underwear.  I was not naked in the dressing room.  The bottom of my shirt covered the fabric of the thongs I had on.  To Imani it looked like I was naked.   Even after showing her my that I was in fact wearing underwear, she still had a look of disbelief on her face.  Then she proceeded to tell me that my butt was fat!  More chuckles from the dressing room.  Great, she was on a roll!

Imani did not want to leave the dressing room.  She pouted all they way to the register but stopped at a rack of pants saying, “You didn’t try these on Mommy!”  More laughter from other shoppers.  That only fueled her clowning.  At this point she is dancing around making her funny faces, enjoying the many “Oh, she is so cute!” comments.

When I caught up with my husband and told him what happened, he laughed as well.  We spent a few more hours shopping.  I decided to try on a few more pieces and every time I headed to the dressing room;  I’m sure you all can guess who was on my heels.  IMANI!!!  LOL!!!

Pray Back

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Even though Rhonda wisely cautioned me not to open Pandora’s box, I did.  When writing the post Her Footstool, it wasn’t enough for me to recall the hurtful comments that Eliza had left on our voicemail three years ago in her “footstool” sermon.  And because I have quite a memory for detail, there was really no need for me to dig out the old tapes and listen to that message or any of the other ones that I did for that matter.  I guess in a way, it was a test.  I wanted to see if I was truly “over” the past.  Unfortunately I did not ace the test.  I only listened to five or so of the messages, but it was enough for the old wounds to fester and burn.

 

Listening to her biting lies and fanatical commentary really cut me.  It was like reliving the nightmare over again.  I recalled many of the things she did, not only to me and my husband, but her crazy attempts to involve Nicholas as well.  I contemplated how and why things got so bad.  I wondered how one person could have so much hatred for another.  I was indignant at her nasty, superior tone laden with accusations.  In her “footstool” sermon she declared “my kids don’t even like you.”  That instantly upped my ire.  She knew as well as I did that they were conditioned not to like me.  In short they were forbidden to like me.  I finally had to put the tapes away.  I had heard enough.

 

 This past Sunday when I took Ethan down to visit her; I was in a weird kind of mood.  After they chatted for a while I sent him to gather snacks for the three of us. I took that moment to share with her something that I thought she needed to hear.  In a sober tone I said “Recently I came across some of the old voicemails that you left for me.  Those tapes have further confirmed for me that it is only with the grace of God that we are sitting here today.  It has been nothing but God behind this.”  This wasn’t what she expected to hear.  I figured she would rapidly change the topic, but she responded by agreeing with my statement.  She also admitted that she probably has done some mean things to me due to my loyalty to her ex, my husband.  She also said that she did not know me back then.  Eliza finished by preaching about Matthew 7:5.  Touche, I stand corrected. 

 

For the rest of the visit we played our customary game of Scrabble.  I allowed her and Ethan to carry the conversation.  At the conclusion of the visit I gave her a heartfelt hug just to let her know that I did not hold anything against her.  She hugged me back tightly and told me for the first time in person “Morocco, thank you for bringing Ethan down, thanks for the snacks…I appreciate all you do.”

 

I was not expecting any grand revelations from her about what I said to her.  I knew she would be too proud to apologize.  Believe it or not, an apology is not what I wanted.  I think I wanted her to simply acknowledge the things that she did.  Once Eliza is released from prison I’m sure I will never have her ear again.  She won’t have to listen to me.

 

I experienced a lot of emotions on the drive home.  I felt so vexed that I had to email a good friend for her support and advice.  Stacy, formerly of the Perfect Blend, really helped put things into perspective for me.  She also suggested that I do an exercise creating a timeline of the events that transpired with Eliza.  With each event she suggested that I write about how each one made me feel.  I started working on it yesterday. 

 

I don’t know why it has been so hard for me to forgive Eliza, especially when Jesus so freely forgave us and still continues to do so.  There is no sin that can’t be forgiven…70X7 is what I believe he said.  With this in mind I have made up my mind to let go of the past once and for all.  I know that I don’t have the right not to forgive her. 

 

Initially after hearing the tapes I felt a surge of vengeance.  I could hear James Brown in my head singing his song about retaliation.  I wanted payback.  But after having the space to think about things I realized that I don’t really want to pay her back.  That would just keep the bitter cycle going.  Besides, she is already suffering enough and wanting her to hurt more is just cruel. 

 

 

Instead I am choosing to “pray her back.”  After my exercise is completed, I am going to pray her back for each incident on the timeline.  I am going to pray consistently that God change her heart.  I’m praying that she experiences the true glory of God. But I will be praying for myself as well.  I am going to pray that God gives me the strength and grace needed to be as quick as He is to forgive others.  I am praying that I am finally able to release the hurt that has caused me to have an unforgiving spirit once and for all.

 

My Tags

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As we all know, tagging is an important part of the blogging process.  Your tags provide clues concerning the contents of your post.  Therefore I decided to “tag” myself.  Hopefully my “tags” will adequately describe the content of my character.  Here they are in no particular order:

Daughter of the King, Child of a Queen, proud wife, amazing mom, sister to 5, aunt to 8, cousin to many, beloved niece, faithful friend, Master teacher, avid reader, passionate writer, eloquent speaker, constant caregiver, lifelong student, budding landscapist, determined dishwasher, creative cook, struggling listener, lady laundress, anal organizer, family fire-fighter, level-headed, very driven, lady cab driver, home owner, safe driver, effective facilitator, gifted scholar, daring dreamer, memory-maker, global traveler, skilled scrapbooker, freedom fighter, budget fashionista, attempted encourager, mighty mentor, family and friend support specialist, amateur interior designer, healer of wounds, woman warrior, natural nurturer, eye-candy, humble helpmate, picture taker, tea drinker, story teller, loyal confidante, budget-friendly, prayer warrior in-training, beautiful ballerina, Prince fan, kid @ heart, gracious giver, instant inventor, practicing problem solver, word lover, burgeoning blogger, ardent poet, friendly neighbor, Scrabble Master, family centered, simple life lover, blessing counter, determined ommy, book worm, deep thinker, sensitive soul, forever neatnik, involved parent, mountain mover, heartfelt servant, recovering perfectionist, broken but saved sinner…

Respect Your Mother

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I am delighted to announce that we are going green at my house!  I’ve wanted to do it for a while but I thought that it would take too much energy with the sorting and hauling.  Not to mention actually remembering to do both!  But once I really thought about it, it simply made sense for me to do my part to help protect and preserve Mother Earth.  I didn’t even have a hard time getting the gang to jump on board.

My husband, who still likes cartoons and animated movies, was watching “Happy Feet” and I happened to enter the room on the scene that shows the penguin with the six-pack holder around his neck.  That image confirmed the importance of recycling for me.  It’s really not very complex and worth the effort. 

Last week I purchased three containers for the plastic, paper, and aluminum items that we will be recycling.  The bins filled quickly.

One benefit I have noticed is that we don’t have as much trash as we used to.  The kids also feel proud that we are doing something positive to contribute to the environment.  We don’t even have to go very far to deposit the recycled items because there is a bin located on the grounds of Evan’s school–not even five minutes from our home!  I drive past his school practically everyday so it has hasn’t inconvenienced me at all.  We are also  very close to another recycling center that accepts a wider variety of things.  Most cities provide a curbside service option available for a small monthly fee.

Here is a site that provides helpful information about going green: http://earth911.org/  I found out many things that I did not know about the actual drop off process, such as the fact that you can not recycle the conatiner that you carry your items in–even if it recyclable.  Go green!

Her Footstool

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My Footstool

My Footstool

I am only five feet tall and therefore I often need the assistance of a footstool to reach things in high places.  I use it almost daily in the kitchen, often in the garage, and in our bedroom to reach my shoes when my husband is not available.  My simple, gray Rubbermaid footstool really comes in handy.

As I was standing on the stool this morning I recalled a nasty message that Eliza had left on the voicemail several years ago.  The message was long and incoherent. She quoted numerous Bible scriptures in a rambling diatribe admonishing my evilness.  She was upset that I had inquired about Evan’s wellbeing after he had been grazed by a car.  I had learned this information from a former acquaintance of hers.  After sharing this news with my husband,  he tried calling Eliza, however, her number had been changed!  Therefore we decided to verify the information with social worker.  I made the call, which in turn made Eliza furious because I was “meddling.” 

I am assuming that she feared that this would get her into further trouble with CPS since she had not informed them of this incident.  I’m really not sure why she thought this because the court had already closed the case.  The social worker was simply monitoring her on an informal basis as she finished her report.  Besides by then she had won the caseworker over.  But she claimed that I could have called her if I really wanted to know.  Yeah right.  I guess she forgot the fact that she had changed her number and didn’t share it with us.

I remember that she quoted Matthew 22:44, heavily emphasizing the words “enemy” and “footstool.”   She also rebuked me in the name of Jesus, “because we fight not against flesh and blood, but principalities…”she then proceeded to plead the blood of Jesus on my behalf–how kind of her.

I was rather puzzled after listening to the message.  Honestly it sounded so fanatical and bizarre that I didn’t know what to think.  Humorously I wondered what my life as her footstool would be like.   Back then I thought to myself that it would be a beautiful day in Hades before I ever stooped low enough for her to place her dirty hooves on my person.  It was a thought that I didn’t find too appealing. 

Flash forward to 2008.  Now I understand that sometimes we need to be footstools to others.  It is how we cultivate a servant’s heart.  Maybe in leaving that message years ago she knew something that I didn’t.  In a sense I am a footstool to her while she is in prison.  I don’t see it as her “stepping” on me in a negative manner, but I see myself as giving her a little assistance just as my stool does for me.  We can all benefit from support now and then.  If I didn’t have my stool, I would be forced to climb the counters to get what I needed.  Likewise, if she didn’t have me, I know she would be climbing the walls.

Boarding the Potty Train

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I am sooo excited!  Today at 5:05pm Jazmine used the potty for the very first time!  I thought I had lost my touch because she didn’t seem to be responding to my initial efforts.   It has been quite a long time since I’ve had to do anything like that and I felt a little intimidated.  I was starting to get discouraged, however, I’m glad I didn’t.  We are starting to see the fruits of our labor. 

I even wrote Jazmine’s mom to spread the good news and Jazmine also scribbled a note about her big day.  I can’t wait to tell my brother! Yay for Jazmine!