The cross is the greatest example of humility and devotion in the universe. Jesus put your needs ahead of His own. He considered you more valuable than Himself. - Chip Ingram

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Didn't Choose Wisely....

Well, I am 44 years old ( hurts to say that) and I still don't make wise choices sometimes. Yesterday was one of those times. I was at Trish's house yesterday and I got a peek at her new patio. It is ABSOLUTELY GEORGOUS! Seriously, down to the smallest detail, it is beautiful. I was so happy for her. She has waited quite awhile for this patio.

One difference I noticed between Trish and myself is that she studies. She researches until she knows exactly what she wants and then spends her money wisely. I, on the otherhand, rush into things to get them finished. I AM going to stop doing this. It is my New Year's Resolution in September!

Although I was thrilled for Trish, I chose to be jealous. Yep....GREEN with envy. That doesn't happen to me that much. I'm not a very jealous person. But when I am jealous, I like to admit it. You know, kind of get the cards on the table so that you can move on. When I left her driveway I immediately called my husband to whine that my patio doesn't look like Trish's (poor guy....he actually listened and didn't even hang up on me).

You may have noticed I used a certain word in describing my feelings. I used the word CHOSE. I guess that's because I realize whether you feel good or bad about something, most times you are making the choice to feel that way. This brings me to a writing by one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado. I try to read this when I am making poor choices in my attitude.

(By the way, bear with is long, but worth it!)

It's quiet. It's early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

In a few moments, the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose.

No occasion justifies hatred;no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical…the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings,created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. I will be kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be of myself.
I am a spiritual being…After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

To my friends, in this season of harvest....ponder the fruits of the spirit!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Could You???

Hey, I posted three times today! I have all kinds of crazy thoughts running through my head today, so I guess it is best to blog them while they are fresh!

Today I was talking with Trish and we were thinking back to our childhood and our memories of growing up. This question came to mind.

If you had to down-size....REALLY downsize, do you think you could handle it?

My answer is YES! Absolutely. I have come to realize that although I love my house, I don't LOVE my house. I love the people in it. And yes, I will even admit that I love some of the possessions inside the house. But most things, I could live without. I attribute this to my value system. Somehow we have gotten away from simplicity and have put all our efforts into achieving. It is kind of sad.

When we were growing up (as I stated before) we weren't rolling in cash. But I have some really cool memories about growing up WITHOUT CASH! For example, I remember asking my dad for a belt. He went to the garage, got a piece of rope, burnt the ends , put it through my belt loops, tied some "boy scout" knot and away I went. I TOTALLY have a vivd memory of that and my dad probably doesn't even remember!

I also remember my mom making us stuffed animals. She would buy the least expensive fabric, fill them and make tails, manes, etc. from left-over yarns. I remember having a horse made out of the left over fabric mom used to make a dress that Pam wore for my Aunt Linda's wedding. Mom was also great at making Barbie clothes. They were so intricate, they even had tiny buttons down the front. I never missed having a store-bought Barbie outfit.

Do you remember the fine art of Macreme'? I think ALL my friends had owls or elaborate wall hangings displayed in their houses that were created by their moms. Remember the dolls with croche' skirts that fit inside toilet paper rolls? Have you ever received a Lilt Home perm? Did you ever brush with baking soda?

Do you know that I never had a large, elaborate wooden swingset (although MY children have)? We had a metal swingset that would thump from the leg lifting everytime we would swing too high. We would have to be careful not to cut ourselves if there were raw edges exposed and rusty.

The only people I knew with a gardener was The Brady kids (ala Brady Bunch). You never hired someone to paint your house or to be an exterminator. Bees were a part of life and you could count on someone getting stung at least once each summer.

We did have a treat each week. On Friday nights, dad would take us to McDonalds while mom worked at the hospital. We never ate IN McDonalds, but sat in the back of the car in the parking lot. There were no drive-thru windows. People actually got out of their cars EVERYTIME and went into McDonalds to place their order. I always received a plain hamburger, a small fry and a small orange drink. NO HAPPY MEALS. No such thing.....but we were happy! Otherwise, we didn't eat out that much except for a fish dinner on Good Friday.

Did you ever knot the ends of dandilions together to make crowns? Did you have to pull a chair up in front of the sink to wash dishes? NO DISHWASHERS!

Do you remember only having three television stations? I remember WAITING for Wild Kingdom and Disney every Sunday at 7:00 p.m. I can even remember my mom teaching me how to pin a cloth diaper onto our dolls for future reference (wink, wink).

I think my dad phrased it best. He told me that he was always clothed and never went hungry. God always took care of his needs. Not always his wants, but always his needs.

Therefore, I think I have faith in God enough to ALWAYS take care of my needs.

Yep, I can down-size.

Finally.......An Answer!

I am one lucky girl. Do you know why? My husband has all the answers! Really! Honestly! He does know everything!
As a matter of fact, for YEARS doctors, theologians and even politicans have argued and tried to determine how people become homosexuals. They have argued for years as to whether people are born or choose to be homosexuals. Well, put all your questions aside because my husband has the answer!
And it is......................

SLIDER! Thats right. You heard me. You see, my sister Pam was getting rid of a few things and wondered if Trent may like this Slider. I said "sure," so Pam put it in our car one afternoon while we were gone. When we returned, I took it out and Mike almost had a cow. He doesn't want our kid to have the Slider because it could make him "girlie." You don't think he is insecure, do you? Seriously, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I think this Webkin stuffed animal stage Trent is going through has finally gotten to Mike. He has lost all his senses. So, I found another home for Slider.
You know, we wouldn't want to take any chances..............................

Oh, For The Love of Tomatoes!!!!!

Every year when school begins, do you know what time it is? IT IS TOMATO PICKING TIME! Yes, there is a small window of time each year, when you can go into the fields to pick canning tomatoes before they rot. It seems like everytime this "window" rolls around, it is either raining or hot as blazes. This year, it was hot as in 96 degrees.

Dad called me last Friday to tell me that we had to pick tomatoes on that very day or they would be rotten from the upcoming rain. So, pick we did. Did I mention that Dad had blocks put in his back that day? Oh yeah, and he wasn't supposed to do anything strenuous like bending and lifting. I did try to help my dad. I left the car running and told him to sit for awhile in the air conditioning. I decided to do all the lifting. I was tired and feeling a little dehydrated but no biggie. BUT (and you knew it was coming) Dad STILL had to make comments about the "bad" tomatoes I picked. Apprently they were too hard and green. Gotta love him, don't ya? Of course, I was more than willing to take those remarks, BECAUSE AT LEAST THEY WEREN'T ABOUT MY WEIGHT! (ahem....Dad.....ahem)

Anyway, Dad and I canned 24 quarts of tomatoes together. Actually, it was a good time. Dad is super good at canning and I want to take in all of his information. I did notice, however, that he seems to think he has the difficult job when he moves the tomatoes to and from the hot and cold water. I was the one who had to skin and cut all the cooked tomatoes. Next year, we are switching jobs, dad! Do you hear me????

The cans of tomatoes are so pretty, I don't even want to put them in the pantry. I think I will work on fresh green beans next (thanks to Trish's mom) and I would like dad to teach me to can fruit!!!

And this lovely photo??? This was dad, following the canning. He needed a little nap. What a lightweight! (hee hee)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

3:08 A.M.

Being the parent of a High Schooler is no easy task. Most days are "okay" at best. Then, some days are just plain jaw dropping. I literally go to bed thinking...WHAT??? Well, today was one of those days (or should I say LAST NIGHT).

Austin decided to spend yet another night at Andrew's house. Apparently his parents are WAY kinder than we are and they have food!?!?!?! Oh, and Andrew has a room off the the back of their garage where they can hang out. In other words, we are annoying, I need to grocery shop and Austin needs his space! HA! Anyhow, back to LAST NIGHT.

In addition to Austin being away, Paige decided to spend the night at Callan's house, across the street. Trent fell asleep about 9:00 p.m (never made it to the Brown's Game) and Mike and I went to bed around footbal game.

At 3:08 a.m. I am awakend by loud voices and a bright light. Honestly, it looked like a UFO Light streaming through our bedroom window. I rubbed my eyes to wake up and look clearly. Out on our basketball court is about 10 High School Kids and 4 cop cars with the lights going!!! I was trying to wake Mike and couldn't really even get my thoughts out of my mouth. He quickly threw on clothes and I threw on a hoodie and we headed outside.

Apparently, Austin's friends decided to park his car on our basketball court so that he and his friends could toilet paper down the street. Well, there was apparently a lot of noise from the kids in the house and those toilet papering. The kids took off running, the neighbors called the police and the police searched with those huge lights through our development (hence the alien light thing I mentioned before). The police had already called the parents of each of the kids. I guess they were out in our driveway for 1/2 hour BEFORE I even awoke!!!

Well, all of a sudden we were acceptable parents....except for the fact that Austin wasn't there to witness it and will therefore continue his opinion until leaving for college. Those kids just loved us when their butts were on the line with the police!!! HA!

Needless to say, a little more drama than I like at 3:08 a.m. BUT, just a part of the territory in raising highschoolers!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Back to School!

As evidenced by the pictures, it is back to school time!!!! We survived all of the school supplies and school clothes shopping. I think I would actually enjoy this experience (I totally love school supplies) if it wasn't so expensive!!! And to be honest, I hardly bought anything for Austin!

You will see by Austin's first day of school picture, that he has sports performance first thing in the morning. This is actually good for him. He can literally crawl out of bed, throw on a baseball cap and leave for school. He showers and dresses after class. Pretty cool, eh? It is SO weird having a senior in high school. I thought I would be really excited to see him experience this year, but I am actually afraid. He is one of those people that really doesn't enjoy school and it is a struggle to keep him interested. That being said, he is one of the smartest, funniest, charming people I know. You just have to get him to show you that side of him. I have started to pray every day that God just puts the right people in his path.

Paige and Trent did well their first day. Rumor has it that Trent has a new blonde girl sitting across from him. Hhhmmm........ Let see if this whole "interest in blondes" thing is hereditary. He likes his new teacher, Mrs. Fuchs. She is funny and fun!! She was Paige's favorite teacher. She uses a colored card system for discipline. You know, a yellow card means five minutes off of recess, etc. Well, Trent is deathly afraid of the black card - going to the principal. Gosh, I hope that lasts.

Paige is tolerating school. She made it through her first day with Mr. Lehrke. She said she has a hard time knowing if he is joking or not. Yesterday she yawned and he told her he doesn't tolerate yawning in class. I guess she apologized and he had to tell her he was joking. :/ I pray every day that she find someone to be her buddy. Her class is pretty small (11 kids), and it a different group of kids. I think it is the first year she hasn't been with her friend, Megan, which is a little different for her.

I'm going to work on cleaning the house and getting it ready for fall. Vera said when she reads my blog it sounds like I am always cleaning! I guess I proved her right. Although, would I REALLY blog about just sitting in front of the TV and eating? HAHAHAH! Yep, have those days too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pretty Self-Explanatory

Well, I read this and had to share! It speaks for itself!!!

What Women Want In A Man:

What Women Want in a Man, Original List (age 22)
1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises
10. An imaginative, romantic lover =========================================================
What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 32)
1. Nice looking (prefer hair on his head)
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries
10. Seeks romance at least once a week ========================================================
What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 42)
1. Not too ugly (bald head OK)
2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
3. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I'm talking
5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends =======================================================
What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 52)
1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn't belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn't borrow money too often
4. Doesn't nod off to sleep when I'm venting
5. Doesn't re-tell the same joke too many times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9. Remembers your name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends =========================================================
What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 62)
1. Doesn't scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he's laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it's the weekend ========================================================
What Women Want in a Man, Revised List (age 72)
1. Breathing
2. Doesn't miss the toilet.


Monday, August 20, 2007

The BIG House

Austin had his visit to "the big house" today. Okay, well....not really. BUT he did go to court for his speeding ticket. It wasn't too bad. The judge waived the "unsafe vehicle" damage (due to the windshield being cracked) and his speeding ticket was $25.00. The court cost? Ummm.....$103.00. Yep...that one hurt his wallet. As Austin stated "those judges make more than $10.00 a minute!" Luckily, everything will be off of his record in 8 months when he is 18 (pending no more lead feet).

When Austin returned home, I wanted to take his picture with his speeding ticket. Take note: I DID NOT photograph the day he received the ticket. I didn't want to make light of the situation in attempts to be a good mother. But, after the dust settled, I figured it was safe to pop a few pictures. know Austin's sense of humor. Above you will see Austin's "mug shots." Totally his idea.....of course.

Also, went to the May Family Reunion this weekend (Mike's Mother's side of the family). It was kind of a bust. Usually the kids enjoy this trip. Mike's cousin has a beautiful lake house where the kids can jet ski, tube, water trampoline, fish, etc......but it was rainy. We spent the afternoon in the house, watching the Indians Game. Trent was so uncomfortable!!! The amount of strangers was too much for him. He kept going outside to sit on the porch IN THE RAIN alone. It broke my heart. Then, he yelled at me for "putting a cool t-shirt on him" because it made everyone notice him. On the plus side, I did manage to snap a few pictures of the scenery. It is a beautiful lake called Lake Mohawk. If any of you have a lake house that you would like to will to me....feel free. It is kind of my dream.........but not looking too good.

Paige begins volleyball today and Trent has to visit his teacher in her classroom. Only a few more days of summer vacation. None of my kids want to return to school, so this should be interesting. Of course, I worry the most about Paige. She has already made her unhappiness known. **sigh** Austin has no desire to return, except for the fact that it will mean graduation is around the corner.

Try to stay dry today!!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sleep Walking..................

Apparently, there isn't enough activity in our house during the night. We have, as does almost everyone, all the usual creeks and thuds that a house makes during the night. Then, of course, there is Austin's return home at midnight. But now.......we have a sleep-walker. And the sleepwalking has become more frequent and a little more funny.

Last night, Trent (aka. The Sleep Walker) walks into our room and climbs onto our bed and falls asleep between Mike and I. We didn't say anything (mistake!!!....I barely slept). In the morning he pops up and looks around as if he is startled. Then he says "Don't tell me I just slept walk in here!"

This morning, Paige tells me that her friend sleep walks really bad too and that she unlocked the doors to the house and walked around the block!!! UGH! I don't want that to happen! my usual fashion I now feel that I must investigate this whole sleepwalking thing.

Had lots of fun last night! Trish and Jen took Austin's senior pictures. They just amaze me. They act like the talent they have is nothing while I stand with my jaw dropping at the pictures they take. And those pictures.....they will be more precious since they were taken by the two of them. I must admit though, I came home feeling a little down on myself. I would LOVE to have the talent and creativity of these two ladies. Even more, it totally bonds them. They "get" each other. Meanwhile, I secretly WISH I could do what they do! Eh....I'm lucky they are my friends!!

Our old neighbors Chris and Angel stopped in town. Okay, really.......Trent let them in the back door and when I walked out of the laundry room they were standing there. Did I happen to mention that I hadn't showered, had NO BRA, and was still in my pajamas? Yeah....REALLY PRETTY! Of course they laughed! At first I couldn't adjust my eyes to see who they were (needing glasses..i know) and then I was mortified. I didn't even invite them in!!!! I was so rude I just said I would get a shower and see them later! Anyways, we met at Jodi's. All the kids played together and it was so cute to watch them all! BUT....I especially love the sassy Miss Rodriguez........Elaina Rodriguez. This little one is not only ADORABLE, but she has her mom's spark and sass. I hope they move back quickly. I really would like to see those two grow up before my eyes. Darling, darling kids.......

Lastly, I must apologize to my dear friend Barb. I am sorry we weren't able to make it to Alex's graduation. I guess I don't have to tell you that some days aren't that easy here.........I would have loved to have seen your family again. I will talk to you later and hopefully be able to make it up to you and Alex.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

She's 14 and It's All She Wanted.......

HELLO! I am back. We (the Blackburns) have finally fixed some computer problems, so I am back.

The news? Well....there is quite a bit. Most importantly, Paige had her 14th Birthday. And, in the words of my dear friend, was the usual week-long celebration.

The best part? She saved her own babysitting money to take herself and a friend to the American Idol Concert. The plan was that my husband (now known as father-of-the-year) would take Paige and two friends to CSU and meet the idols after their arrival in Cleveland at 9:00 a.m. Then he would take them to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and to lunch. Well, let's just say that they left at 9:00 a.m. and saw their last idols around 4:00 p.m. Getting the whole "father-of-the-year" thing?

Anyways....if you are breathing and living in the Avon area you MUST know that Paige is totally in looooovvveee with Blake Lewis. (Hey, don't complain. At least it isn't Sanjaya) Well, she met the whole lot of them. She had her picture taken with many of them and got their autographs. Do you see the very interesting signs the girls made the night before? May I personally admit that Chris Richardson is a doll?

Mike was hilarious. He totally doesn't get the whole "celebrity love" thing, not having sisters, etc. This was so foreign to him. But he did well. A couple of times I did get a "what do I do?" phone call. Especially when one of the girls cried because Sanjaya wasn't giving autographs. Blake Lewis told Paige she had a good dad and even went over to tell Mike himself. Mike was very surprised that he was one of only two parents at CSU. All the other kids were dropped off for the day. Hhhhmmmmm.........

We met back home about 4:30 p.m., had a quick dinner and left for the concert. At least I got to go to the concert! The concert was good. I was a little annoyed that so many "older" concert goers were ticked when the girls would dance or sing. They even told the girls to not sing along with the songs!!! What is that about? They were just having fun and NOT anywhere near being out of line in the behavior department. Wet blankets!!!

OH! And there was an article about her love for the idols and Blake in the Cleveland Plain Dealer! How cool is that? One lucky birthday girl! She got all she wanted this year!