Thursday, January 29, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Out in Left Field

Do you ever feel like you're the only black sheep in a whole field of white fluffy sheep? I feel like that quite often, to tell you the truth. Most often, I feel this when I'm having some form of biblical or spiritual discussion. Sometimes I agree with everything that's being said, but many times my point of view is way out in left field. Maybe it's my very liberal upbringing and the lack of biblical knowledge growing up, who knows?

Let me give you a specific example. In our Sunday morning class, we've been reading and discussing "The Shack". One of the things we discussed among our small group one morning was the Trinity and whether or not there was a hierarchy present. Let me just state now that I don't think this is a matter of salvation; I don't believe it will be required knowledge on the day of judgment. It was just a sharing of opinion whether we all agreed or not. The gentleman I was talking to firmly believes that there IS a hierarchy among them, I do not. What's funny is the same passages he cited in having studied and come to this conclusion, I can point to and use to support MY opinion, which, of course, is in opposition to his. Again, in this specific example, I don't think it's a matter of salvation. I just think it's one of those things that I'll put on my list to ask God when I get to Heaven.

In our small group on Sunday evening, we've been going through the book "The Sinai Summit" by Rick Atchley. It discusses the ten commandments and we happened to be on "Do Not Murder." I brought up a question partly to play devil's advocate, partly to get others discussing and partly because I struggle with this particular issue.

Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of literally killing anyone. My concerns lie more in the area of capital punishment. God established certain laws for his people and with those laws came consequences. But we also live under a new law that says the most important thing is love your God and love your neighbor. If we love our neighbor, how can we sentence him/her to death? I've heard, "Well, it's the law of the land and we're supposed to obey that law." Yes, but what if the laws of the land go against God's teaching? Abortion is legal but I certainly don't follow that law. "We're protecting other families from this criminal." Do we know for certain that he/she will hurt someone again? Is this person who was formed in the image of God, but isn't living for Him worth less to God? Are we absolutely sure that God has no plans to turn this life around and use it for good?

I'm not looking for answers on this particular topic. I'm not even sure if I agree with the arguments that I brought up. The point is, I don't always see things in black and white. Most of the time I chalk it up to my lack of scriptural study. As I've said before, I'm very shallow when it comes to reading. I tend to be content with what's on the surface and miss out on any deeper meaning. I admire those who have a firm stance on an issue and can argue their beliefs with conviction, those who've studied and read and prayed and have come to those beliefs through much learning.

I tend to be swayed by those who are more "studied" than myself. I figure they've read more, they've obviously been around more and understand things better, they MUST be right. So I find myself agreeing with whatever opinion has been expressed...until I get home. And then I think, "Wait a minute. I DON'T agree with that. I just don't see it that way." I realize that the only way to be sure of what I do believe is to sit down and study a certain topic. But I have to admit, I'm not really at a point in my life that I sit down and open my bible and say, "OK, let's see what God says about capital punishment, and while I'm at it, I'll look through 5 different commentaries and research it on the web, too." No, thank you.

In all things essential, I believe that I'm on the right path, everything else is just background noise. Sometimes I listen and sing along and sometimes I just block it out before it becomes too overwhelming.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

So Many Books, So Little Time

If you know me or you've read some of my previous blogs, you know I love to read. I can read a book in a day or even an afternoon. When CJ was gone for 10 days at Christmas, I would stay up reading instead of going to bed alone. I went through 8 books.

I used to read like this all the time. At least I did until I had Corban. I remember that I started a book when I was pregnant with him, but then after having him and getting busy with baby, I didn't pick it up again for another 3 years. That was pretty much the way it went for a few years. I didn't have time to commit to a book. When the kids started going to school and I had a little bit of time, I started reading again. But I always made sure that I was reading a book written by a Christian author, something faith based or it was a book about Autism. I figured my free time needed to be spent learning more about God or my son. How dare I think of reading just for entertainment's sake.

Then one day, I was at a friend's house making plans for an upcoming retreat. She was speaking to one of the other ladies there about a particular book. The book was Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross. It sounded funny, like I would enjoy it. I found myself wishing I had time for pointless reading. As I was leaving, I said something to that effect to my friend. Her response has always stuck with me. She said, "You have got to get over your guilt!" and she sent me away with the book. Well, I took her advice and read it. Of course, it was the first in a series and so I had to keep reading the adventures of Miss Julia. That snowballed into what is now my current obsession with books.

I still don't have time everyday to read but I squeeze it in when I can. I try to make sure I always have a book with me when I'm going somewhere so that I can sneak in a page or two while I'm in line or stuck in traffic. The problem I have now is that I have too many books waiting to be read. And I keep borrowing good books from friends so I now have their books laying around as well.

Some of the books waiting so patiently for their turn are Wicked, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, Mother Warriors, The Almost Moon, and Born on a Blue Day. These are the ones that are calling the loudest to me right now. I also have dozens more on shelves waiting to be picked up.

My reading preferences change according to my mood. I used to read mostly romance, then I moved on to horror and suspense (at one point I owned all of Dean Koontz's books). Lately I find I'm drawn to memoirs and books dealing with tragedy. I've never actually dealt with any kind of tragedy so I'm not sure why those hold a particular interest for me. My favorite so far has been Angela's Ashes. Frank McCourt's whole life is one tragedy after another but I love his books. I love his style of writing; it's unlike anything I've read before.

The Notebook is another one that I loved. I haven't seen the movie yet and after reading the book, I'm having a hard time getting myself to willingly sit through it. It was the saddest, most heart-wrenchingly romantic book I've ever read. I just can't get myself to experience all that emotion again.

The last book I'd like to mention is The Shack. If you've never read this book, YOU HAVE TO! It's so good. It's another tragedy but this time it comes from a God-centered point of view...sort of. It was written by a man named William Young. He made up this story to try to explain the Trinity to his kids. It's fascinating. You may not agree with everything he puts in there, but it really gets you thinking. It really made me think about how we put God in our little boxes and we limit what He's capable of. It also made me think of the Trinity in a whole new way. Like I said, you don't have to agree with it, but read it and see what you think.

So, for now, I will continue to squeeze in pages, or even paragraphs, whenever possible. Whether it's just brain candy or something of substance, I am trying to keep my mind active (even if the rest of me isn't!).
Friday, January 16, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

What Makes You Happy?

The other day as I was visiting with a friend, I was reminded of a challenge that I came across in a scrapbooking magazine. The challenge was to come up with 100 things that make you happy. It sounded like fun and so I did it. I thought it would be hard to come up with so many but once I got going, I easily passed 100 and had to make myself stop writing.

I would like to post this challenge to you. Can you come up with 100 things that make you happy? I would hope that you can.

What you do with the list is up to you. The magazine suggested you scrapbook the list. (I, however, can't even seem to find it.) Maybe you could post it up somewhere so you can see it often. It's a reminder that there are so many good things in life.

While I can't find my original list, I do know some of the things on it, and I'd like to share of few with you (in no particular order).

I love the smell of Crayola crayons, fresh cut grass, and new shower curtains.

I love the sound of the ocean waves hitting the beach and Bubba's laugh.

Gadgets for organizing make me happy, so does a freshly made bed sprayed with Lysol.

I'm happy when I make my husband laugh.

I'm happy when I hear Sassy singing a worship song, sitting at home in the middle of the week.

Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter and Chocolate ice cream makes me happy (fat, but defiantely happy)

I love sitting in front of the fireplace and listening to Enya while it rains.

I love when Howdy holds my hand, even though he would never admit to doing so.

These are just a few of the things that make me happy. What makes you happy? I imagine this challenge will be easier for women. I think our brains are just wired to think along such paths. But try it. I would love for you to share some of them with me, but you don't have to.

Sometimes we get so bogged down in the news and circumstances of the day, that we forget life is full of good things. So, grab a pen and paper and try to come up with 100 of the things that you look forward to in life. And I hope that you have to force yourself to stop writing because you're running out of paper.

Thursday, January 15, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Break Out the Rubber Boots...Again

Dear friends, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I've actually done both. It was quite a job cleaning up after our basement flooded last week, but we finally got it done. I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week trying to make sure nothing mildewed. My craft room is in the basement and I have every inch of it packed. I had to move everything out of one area, mop everything down with bleach water, dry it out, move everything back, and then start on the next area. It took a long time but I finished it. (It helps that I had a friend coming over and I didn't want her to see it :) )

But then it happened again. At 5:30 this morning, our friend/basement tenant came up to tell us that it had flooded again. My first thought was, 'But it hasn't rained!'. No, it wasn't because of the rain. This morning's flood was brought to us by the friendly folks at Old Pipes. It seems a connection in our pipes had come loose and literally poured water all over place. When our friend woke up this morning, she heard the water and thought someone was in the shower because it was so loud.

CJ had a great wet/dry shop vac that we used during the last clean up and it was still downstairs. However, it was right underneath the waterfall and the motor had completely filled up with water leaving it useless to us. The water was widespread but not deep enough on the floor to allow the pump to work. So we got to clean it up the old fashioned way--with towels and buckets.

Cleaning up the floor and drying out the storage areas were actually the easy part. You see, I have a large shelf unit along the wall where the water originated. On the shelves were totes that I store my craft supplies in, totes without lids. All of those 56 quart totes filled up with water. I took both of us to get one tote off the shelf because they were so heavy. We had to pull each item out of the tote, dry it off (or throw it away if it was too damaged) and then set it aside. Many items were wood and we had to lay them out on towels to air dry.

I felt that I lucked out during the previous flood. I had several boxes of craft books that got wet but I only lost a few books. There were a few that got wet that I had set on the bottom of a bookcase with a fan blowing on them to dry out the pages. Unfortunately, this time around, the water came down with such force that it soaked everything that was within 2 feet of the floor. Those books are now wet, along with the dry books and magazines I had stacked with them.

But it could have been so much worse. We didn't lose anything precious, nothing that couldn't be replaced. The fan that I had on to dry out the books was still plugged in, turned on and sitting in water. And it seems that we had water pouring into our breaker box. One breaker tripped but that was it.

Am I sick to death of mopping up water? Uh...Yeah! Do I want to bulldoze this house and move somewhere, anywhere else? Definitely. But I am so thankful that this is nothing major. We're all fine, and the problem was actually fixed quickly and without expense.

Our friend heard us laughing while we were cleaning up the mess and she commented that not all couples are lucky enough to have these things to go through to bring them together. Ahhh, the power of positive thinking.
Friday, January 9, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

It's Always Something

My husband finally returned home to us on Monday...late, of course. I was so happy to have him back. I thought, "Hey maybe now I'll get some sleep." Well, I did get to sleep in the next day (Thank you! Thank you!), but then it rained. Not just the typical WA rain, but a flooding rain. Our basement has been converted into an apartment that we rent out to a friend of ours. She had to come upstairs and wake us up at 3:15 in the morning on Tuesday? Wednesday? (They all run together for me.) She had got up to use the bathroom and found herself standing in water. We spent the whole night bailing out water and trying to find a way to keep it all outside instead of all over the basement floor. All of Wednesday was spent doing the same thing. Hubby finally came up with a way to keep most of the water out--he's so smart! Wednesday night we worked in 2 hour shifts mopping up the water that was still seeping in (I had the 12am-2am shift...zzzzz). By the time Thursday morning rolled around, the rain had stopped and so had most of the flooding. (Hey, I think I actually just made a long story short! Go me!) Now we just have the task of drying everything out before it starts to mildew, always a fun job.
We feel very blessed and grateful that we didn't have a major crisis to deal with. We didn't lose anything of value and the water isn't much more than a nuisance now. To anyone else that is still dealing with the flooding, you are in our prayers.