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What should freak me out

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I’m a spaz. I tend to freak out; I have mini panic attacks. If you ask my kids, mini is not the word they will use. But I know it and I’m gradually getting a grip. When I have to make snap decisions on the fly, I “usually” am all over the situation. I’m great at problem solving in most circumstances which comes in very handy with catering. However, I’m not always “calm” in said situation. I don’t start yelping like a chihuahua or anything but I do get intense and can bark at people i.e. my kids. I make things worse when I second-guess myself. For example yesterday, as I drove off to take my cadets to their Civil Air Patrol squadron meeting an hour away with a side-stop to drop off my ballerinas to their sister’s for their ballet lesson, we heard a BAD noise. We had only driven about thirty seconds away and pulled off into a neighbor’s driveway. We had a flat. I was on a schedule and my kids were depending on me. My first thought was to go let the neighbor know I was in the driveway and ask him if he needed me to pull out into the road so I wasn’t blocking the drive. My second thought was to call Triple A. My third thought was to call my husband and ask him what I should do. So I called him first. He said to talk to the neighbor then call Triple A. Hmmm….wish I’d thought of that. o.O

SO, I walked up the driveway and an older gent and his buddy were chatting while having a brew. Wouldn’t you know that the friend who JUST so happened to be there had an air compressor on his truck? Yep, he filled up that tire and we were able to drive the 30 seconds home, throw our stuff into The Great White Beast and get back on the road. God spoke to me through the two old guys and the air compressor. AS SOON as that man said he had an air compressor, God said, “You’re first thought should have been ME!” He gives me this situations all of the time. That He cares that much about me to take time out of His schedule, that is what should freak me out first and foremost. I should also freak out that this flat did not occur on my way to Indianapolis with my two little boys on board or on my way back. I had only been home an hour from that supply run when we left for Ohio. Ohio, where I could have been when the flat happened. But, NO, I was less than a quarter of a mile from home! That freaks me out! Thank You, Lord, for taking care of us! Also, thank You that this was not our flat:

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I’m learning to not be shaken, thank you, Building 429.

While it’s the HARD things that try my faith, it’s these little things that remind me God is on my side and if He will take time to fix a tire, He wants to work through the big stuff, too. I need to REST in that. Fretting and freaking accomplishes nothing. It just makes each situation more stressful. Years ago, I bought a little card with a Helen Steiner Rice poem and it’s a prayer I’ve been praying since I was a yoot:

“God, teach me to be patient,

teach me to go slow;

Teach me how to wait on you

when my way I do not know.

Teach me sweet forbearance

when things do not go right

so I remain unruffled

when others grow uptight.

Teach me to let go, dear God,

and pray undisturbed until

my heart is filled with inner peace

and I learn to know Your Will.”

I’m not there, yet, but if you walk in our commercial kitchen when I’m faced with a deadline or a fondant piece just fell off of a cake or there’s no money for the bills or the kids are fighting again or I forgot to buy sugar, you will catch me muttering, “Unruffled…unruffled…letting go….inner peace…unruffled…”

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

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My Big Fat Mouth

I come from a long line of complainers on one side of the family and a long line of critical hot-heads on the other. I’m not worried about any family reading this because they will either know I am right or complain and criticize no matter how gently I put it. Left to my own devices, my mouth is a going concern. I am a complainer and have been critical of others. I have let expletives escape and I, man, can I gossip.

My mouth has been getting on my nerves. That realization occurs whenever I notice that other people’s mouths are getting on my nerves. I hear their tone or talking smack of others and ask myself, “Self, is that what you’ve been doing? Do you speak in that tone to YOUR kids?” When the answer is yes, I sometimes reel it in or I criticize and complain about the people who aren’t controlling their mouths. You all do it, too, you know it.

 God gave us mouths for his purposes and to eat pizza and chocolate. Our mouths should be used to encourage others, share what God has done in our lives, teach, pray and sing. However, God did not make us robots and will not control our mouths for us. A lot of people blame God for all the evil in the world. Do you know how we know? Because they used their mouths to tell us so. If God put a muzzle on every critical complainer, folks wouldn’t have the freedom to be atheists or mean, verbally-abusive husbands or foul-mouthed gang members making a drug deal in a back alley or the church leader persuading his followers to believe a falsehood as gospel. Blame God all you want, it’s our choice to control what comes out of our cakeholes and it ain’t easy.

James 3:3-5 says, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

 When I think about how this comparatively small muscle covered in taste buds and used to make goofy faces and lick ice cream can steer what direction the rest of me turns toward, it makes me a little nervous. A lot nervous. This thing we use to sing lullabies to our baby we also use to lie, cuss, and manipulate. I came across a pile of MEMLOCK cards this morning. Memlock is a Bible verse memory system we use with our kids. It uses cards with “trigger pictures” on them to help you remember the verse. Anyhoo, the card on top read as follows, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

Here’s the trigger picture:

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SO, when I hear my kids’ mouths doing their thang, I tell them to eat a “Let Donut.” Finding these cards on the tongue was a smack upside the head. I’ve been letting my mouth do the thinking for me much of the time. There are several other verses in this pack of cards categorized as “TONGUE.”

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

You don’t have to be a believer for these verses to make sense! There are so many more but suffice it to say that the very BEST way to get control of our mouths is to use it to pray for our mouths. For me, I want what comes out of my mouth to steer me in a direction that blesses others, helps the hurting, encourages, empowers and, to me, most importantly, leads my children closer to Christ each day. I want to be an example worth following and I’m not sure I’ve been that.

How could a Third Day song NOT come to mind? Nothing At All was the first song my husband heard from this awesomesauce band and drew him in. The pictures used in this video certainly depict what I’ve been talking about (click HERE for lyrics):

 Then, of course, we can’t forget Thumper:

 My admonishment for the week – “What did your FATHER tell you? Eat a LET DONUT!”

Be blessed,

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

My M.O.P.S Days are Over

My last day as a Mother of a PreSchooler was Monday. I haven’t attended a MOPS meeting in several years but, if we still had a group in our area, I could still be attending. I have been the mother of a baby and/or toddlers since 1988. It’s not complicated math; that’s 27 years.  Almost 30 years of mothering babies and toddlers. Now that I just put those words in print, I’m flabbergasted! Time flies, they say, when you’re having fun. Time flies faster with each child added to the family. My head is spinning! I cried a few times Tuesday as I saw my baby boy grin from ear to ear each time we referred to his being 5, now. Yesterday, he was playing the GeoSafari and exclaimed, “I’m FIVE, now, and this is so easy for me!” Ha! He’s loving being a big boy.

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In the meantime, I was feeling so very sad. Bittersweet was the mood of the day. I’m sentimental. I cherish the memories with my kiddos. It didn’t help at all that I went looking for baby pics to post but most of them were lost when my laptop AND my backup external crashed right about the same time. Most of my Seth baby pics are gone. That’s a tad heart-wrenching to this Katy Kodak. But I did find some, thank you, Facebook….

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It was a blessing to babysit my newest grandbaby and her big sister the same day Seth turned 5. I got my baby fix. 🙂

But, alas, it’s a new season and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Unlike most tales of terror about “the baby of the family,” our younger kids are the best behaved ones of the bunch. Seth is one of the most, obedient, sweet-natured, self-controlled youngins I’ve ever met. His big brother, Isaiah, too. They still act like children and throw the occasional fit but they have been well-trained by mom, dad and a team of well-trained siblings. We’ve learned a “few” things having so many like “learn from your mistakes.” It seems like common sense but common sense is sparse these days. We’ve been learning the whole 27 years and we’re still learning. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, I’m here to tell ya, you don’t. There’s always somebody you can learn  from. On the other hand, to those young moms who have 6 month old and a 2 1/2 half-year old and want to share their wisdom with me, shut up. Close your mouth and listen for a change. We all know them. They’ve read the latest books on parenting and are enthusiastic, zealous and, yes, I was one of them at one time, usually wrong. Not about everything but a lot. I realized early on that I didn’t know what I was doing and sought out moms with older kids that I saw as well-trained, happy, well-behaved, etc. and started taking notes. I wouldn’t trust an expert that wrote a book unless you’ve seen how their kids turned out…as young adults. Okay, my two cents….end of rant. Back to the birthday boy and being a mommy of many….

I have some regrets but I will NEVER regret having so many children.  As I posted on FB on Seth’s birthday, “People say they can’t imagine having so many kids.We can’t imagine life without Seth.”  Is it hard work? Heck yea. Anything worthwhile is hard work and there is nothing more worthwhile than children.  And, oh. my. wurd, do we have fun together…

So…my youngest is five…I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it. We’re having a Minecraft Birthday Bash Sunday but we celebrate the “official” day with a menu planned by the birthday child and they get out of chores for the day. Seth chose donuts for breakfast, something we don’t eat a lot.

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The sugar buzz helped him get through a grueling day of unlimited Minecraft time. We had his Pizza Rolls and other health food while watching a movie then he opened his cards and a gift I picked up at the local children’s consignment shop, Cradle and All. I’d like to take a moment and pat myself of the back for spotting said gift. I looked it up on Amazon. I need you click on that link so you can see how much that piece of plastic costs new! $12.50, baby. Thank you very much.

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Yes, it’s another piece of furniture to take up space but Seth loves Batman and he was delighted. He’s still delighted; he told me today how much he “weally likes the Batman toy I got him.”  So much fun!

And so begins, yet another, NEW season of life. Every time I turn around, I get hit upside the head with a new season! My babies are growing but there are still babies and toddlers in the house! And the grandbabies are so much fun!

Happy Birthday, little man!

Me: "Why are you holding your fist up?" Seth: "I'm Batman getting ready to punch somebody."  Yep...that cute face with the Minion hat is SO intimidating! LOL!

Me: “Why are you holding your fist up?”
Seth: “I’m Batman getting ready to punch somebody.”
Yep…that cute face with the Minion hat is SO intimidating! LOL!

 

 

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Music Monday – That Old Wheel

Yes, I’m still here. I continue to do that “thing” where I tell myself I’m going to reward a finished to-do list with sit-down-with-my-blog time. Yea…right…12 kids, 3 grandbabies, catering business, homeschool, laundry.  In light of the fact that I still have taxes to prep, I’ve decided that if I’m ever going to post again, I better sit down and do it then get on the list. Everything important eventually gets done and the things that don’t get done are the things that never get finished anyways. That being said, I’ve had A LOT on my mind! I could have 50 posts since the last one if writing was my job. I’ll get there…I won’t give up!

On my mind, recently, have been a few peeps who either are deliberately trying to hurt me or are carelessly and/or selfishly wounding my family and I. An ongoing struggle has been a family member that I sincerely wish would be involved with my children and myself but has spent years making excuses then blaming me that we don’t spend time together.  There’s more to it but suffice it to say, it hurts, it’s frustrating and I’m about fed up.

Others on my mind are some folks who I once thought friends but, because they believed the gossip of others without ever contacting me to confirm that what they were hearing is true, decided I was unworthy and “don’t pay me no mind anymore.”

Finally, I am a business owner. I own a catering and custom cake design business with my family. We have worked hard to create a legitimate food service industry business. There’s a whole other blog post on what that entails but for this one, being attacked by another for no other reason than we’re competition is aggravating. The quality of my product has been questioned and even lied about and it’s been implied that I and others in the business have been trying to sabotage this person who has a reputation for playing dirty.  The other thing about me is I try to be a nice person! I don’t “get” people who aren’t nice to others. And when they come after my family or me just because they’re mean, I kinda want to get mean back.

So these situations have been popping around in my head like popcorn and my thoughts have not been passing the Philippians 4:8 test, I can tell you that. Last week, as I was running errands and running amuck, I popped in a cd I haven’t listened to in a while, Jason Hoard’s The Road Ahead.

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That Old Wheel came on and I had to listen to it over and over again (there’s kind of pun there – if you listen to the song, you’ll get it.) This album was released in 2011 and That Old Wheel was originally performed by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr., so it’s  certainly not new but this song in particular was just a friendly reminder to hang in there; what comes around goes around. The lyrics don’t mention it but it reminded me, also, to “do unto others as I would have them do unto me” and “do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Tsk, tsk….anyone who knows us knows that we’re some of God’s favorites so I feel somewhat sorry for those who want to muck with us.

I’m going to keep hanging in there and keep my chin up. For every person who wants to see me down, there are a bunch more who keep me up and I want to do the same for them. I’m going to try to remember to focus on those friends and family instead how low those “other” people can make me feel.  I hope you will hang in there with me.

Click on the album pic for the I-tunes link. You won’t be disappointed!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Normalcy

Normalcy may never return. Life was crazy before but the insanity that comes from children becoming adults, having a big family, owning a business that is scraping by, a marriage that isn’t picture-perfect* compounded with health issues is oppressive. I’m sure my perspective would be greatly improved if I weren’t neglecting my spiritual walk a.k.a. my relationship with Jesus. I would love to blame my lack of blogging on the fact that, yet another, of my computers crashed a few months ago and is irreparable, BUT God saw fit to provide us with another laptop (a later post of God’s provision) so I’m gonna have to come clean and say I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve literally been waiting until we get our act together and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. (I’ve also been waiting on spare time…a laughable prospect). Yea, so, that’s not any time soon and the “holy nudges” to “get back to it” have increased in their nagginess so here I am.

“I don’t know where to begin” is a phrase folks use when attempting to introduce the start of a tale. Well, my blogging tale began long ago in 2003 on Homeschool Blogger (my earlier posts are long gone) so I’m just going to say “I don’t know where to middle.” We have been on a ridiculous roller coaster ride that sometimes seems to spiral endlessly downward then swoops up a steep incline then plateaus barely long enough for us to catch our breath. I’m not sure I will try to “catch up” here but I know our family enjoys many adventures, experiences trials a.k.a. “growth opportunities,” playing in the kitchen conjuring up scrumptious recipes and edible works of art, has great taste in music, has a house in such a state that I will have DIY and organization projects to provide an endless supply of post material and does too many weird things to not share. In other words, whether I post retroactively or not, my life is way too entertaining and educational to not write about; the good, the bad and the ugly, it makes life…interesting.

SO…if you’re still there, I’m still here. I’ve posted several times about not posting so at least that’s consistent. I will try to do better and provide some variety. I really do have a ton of recipes to share so once I find a recipe plug-in I’m happy with, I will get right on that.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

*(I’ll expound on that later but no worries, we are not going separate ways – we’re just flawed people still learning to live with each others’ flaws…and if that doesn’t work, we’ve made a bargain to kill each other because that’s easier on the kids to deal with than divorce).

39.95 plus shipping and handling

“I have decided that I am not a 40 something. I am 39.95, plus shipping and handling.” That was one of my tweets today on this, my 45th birthday.  It’s also Thursday which anyone on social media should know is Throw Back Thursday #tbt.  SO, having  a birthday that ushers me further away from 40 and closer to, gulp, 50 ON Throw Back Thursday is just asking for sentimental notions, denial and a midlife crisis.  We see our kids turn 10 and we say, “Oh, they grow so fast!”  I see me turn 45 and I’m thinking, “Where did the time go?”

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Holy cow.

There’s a saying that goes “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.”  Add that to one of my responses to inquiries about the number of children we have, “They keep me young,” and we have a formula for a fountain of youth.  Now that grandbabies have entered the scene, there will be no end to my shenanigans!

It’s been through being a mom that I have, quite serendipitously, re-discovered my “inner youth” and have tried to get it right this go ‘round. For example, when I was a school-girl, I would bring home those arts and crafts books from the school library, look at all the cool projects I wanted to tackle then promptly NOT make a single one of them.

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This school girl here. The 70s, the height of fashion….

 I believe that was due to my serious lack of self confidence…among other things. Then comes along the Fecher kids

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who don’t know they’re supposed to be intimidated by trying new things, have creativity and talent oozing out of their ears and I’m a new woman…girl. They have been contagious.  Now, when I get on Pinterest, I see a project I want to attack, make a supply list and the next thing we know,  the kids are asking each other, “Why is Mom painting clothespins?” (True story).  I have a refreshed appetite for adventure, travel, friends, creativity and play.

I also have a constant reminder of what child-like faith looks like.  I get stressed out.  But something has been reprogrammed in me that keeps the worry at bay. Like a kid, I see and feel God taking care of me and I know that even when there’s absolutely no money available for business bills, God will come through somehow and I watch and wait for it. I get antsy when bills are past due or I don’t get a much-needed catering job. I fret when a child is injured or sick or when the youth of our household make less-than-ideal decisions (we’ve had open discussions about how people are all stupid, us included, and this expected). But each time I venture into “worry-land,” the “que sera sera” comes over me like a wave.  Kids love anticipation. I do, too. Something the kids have taught me is that the problems that normally cause worry should create anticipation for what God will do.  I wish I could remember which Christian speaker it was that I heard talk about problems. (If you know who this is, let me know). He said, “All God’s people got problems. If you don’t have a problem, you come forward and we’ll lay hands on you and pray God gives you a problem. Because if you want to see a miracle, first you gotta have a problem! You can’t have a miracle without a problem!”

One of my mantras is “Never a dull moment!”  Big family + new season of grandbabies +a business = problems-a-plenty or, what we affectionately call them, “growth opportunities.” Also opportunities for miracles. Never a dull moment.

I’m looking forward, with anticipation, to another year of growth opportunities…and miracles. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Music Monday – Rise Up

So on Wednesday after a discouraging election, I got online and hit Twitter. Twitter does provide information, laughs and conversation but what I needed I found via Matt Maher. A simple blog post for November 7. A couple of Scripture passages. I found encouragement and then I found the challenge, the call – his video for Rise Up. There are some who don’t understand why some of us see dark days ahead. Don’t worry, you will. Then you will need encouraged and empowered to push through. Come back here and join the rest of us in rising up with Mr. Maher.

Thank you and God bless you Matt Maher!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Love is not blind

“Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.” –Rabbi Julius Gordon

I’ll be honest. I’ve always thought that phrase “Love is blind” is stupid. On the one hand, if you love someone without knowing (seeing) them, you don’t really love that person; you love your idea of who that person is or you love pretending to love or you “really have a good impression of them and could possibly love them….eventually.”  On the other hand, if you REALLY know someone, odds are you see crud that isn’t very loveable. If a person REALLY knows you, they see the same in you. Makes love a tad inconvenient, I think. And, frankly, exhausting at times.

So much has been written about unconditional love and commitment, I’m not sure I need to add to the list but I do have a different angle at the moment. My thing is- why do I bother? Why do I keep loving or trying to love people who make it difficult? Especially when they don’t return the favor.  I just want to be loved where I’m at. You know? Unconditionally? I don’t need every stinking shortcoming pointed out.  OH, and how I love it when I hear I’ve been mentioned in conversations where I was not present. (It’s okay – I know they’re just jealous they’re not as awesome as me.) I have been stabbed in the back, belittled, berated, exasperated and exhausted from folks not willing “to see less because they see more.”  I want to “return the favor” sometimes and often, I do. Other times, I just give up. But something keeps bringing me back for more.  I could just leave these people behind. “Eat my dust.” That’s what I want to do. But, apparently, I’m a child of God and He won’t let me. I say apparently because, I confess,  I see how bad I can be, like those folks who see more, and I hear the voices say I really can’t be adopted or I wouldn’t be so bad.  Quite often, I’m the exasperating one who loves conditionally and can be difficult to love.

But Christians have the Holy Spirit in them and I know He’s in me because He won’t let me quit, grows love in me when I want to hate, gives me joy when I feel depressed, lifts the guilt when I know I’m guilty and helps me find love in others when “those” others show how me NOT to love. So why love?

Jesus loved me enough to die for me. I didn’t do anything worthy of that. In fact, quite the opposite. Motherhood has given me a taste of why Jesus did what He did. These little people can drive me crazy but I love them like crazy! They can act stupid, annoying, & infuriating (kind of like me) but I love them enough to die for them. I don’t claim to love as unconditionally as Christ (as evidenced by this post) but I can say He has done something in me that doesn’t make any sense – He loves me and His love is in me. It sounds weird but it’s the only explanation for why I love the jerks in my life.  That doesn’t mean I have to be a glutton for punishment – one of my mantras is “I have enough of my own drama. I don’t need anyone else’s.” But it’s a comfort to me just to know I love another because I can’t help myself – it’s a Jesus Freak thing.

SO, ya freaks, just ‘cause I love ya doesn’t mean I don’t see how rotten you are, too. It just means us brothers and sisters in Christ can be rotten together and know that when God looks at us, He sees what Jesus did for us so that’s what we should see, too.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Farewell Aunt Corky

My Aunt Coralie died yesterday. Due to the fact that she hadn’t been to church in years and didn’t have friends, it was decided there will be no funeral. I have mixed feelings about my aunt and her passing away. She babysat me, came to the hospital when I had my first baby and brought a large, pink bunny due to Easter being the following week…I think she may have visited with at least one other birth. She was tickled each time I had a baby and just thought it wonderful we had so many. Somewhere along the line, she was introduced to alcohol and started drinking herself to death. When her health started to decline and she became near blind and housebound, unable to go out to get her booze, she replaced that addiction with food. She was already overweight but her drinking and dietary habits sent her body to the point of no return. I think she was 55. That’s pretty young, IMO. I was angry with her for awhile as her health became a burden on my mom. My mom took care of my bedridden Grandma and Grandpa for years and she found herself trying to take care of a bitter, miserable, sick alcoholic who was ungrateful and witchy to my mom all of the time. Yes, she had been sweet and still could be but alcohol ruins people. Though I would get angry at her I kept finding myself just feeling sorry for her and praying for her. I prayed she would remember the seeds planted when she had sought after God, was baptized and attended a church. I am heartbroken that a person can go through life only to come to the end friendless and feeling so miserable you’re willing to drown your sorrows in booze until it takes your life. I pray I live in such a way that friends and family will want a service of some kind to say goodbye not because I want to be popular, but because I want to be a blessing to others. This is not to say my aunt wasn’t a blessing. Obviously, I was blessed by her being my aunt or I wouldn’t feel grief. I just wish she had found herself by looking outside of herself and looking to God.

1 Peter 2:12
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.