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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?”

baby me

TODDLER me

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.

school girl me

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

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Less Miserable

1-DSC04403Last year, Richmond Civic Theatre announced that it was one of a handful of community theatres that did not miss the opportunity to nab performance rights to oh, I can’t stand it….Les Miserables.  Ever since, I have been trying to contain my “estaticness” and resist the temptation to act as crazy as some of my theatre friends who have Instagrammed, Twittered & Facebooked all manner of fanaticism since before  the movie was released in December. Y’all are ridiculous. And I love it! I have been preparing myself mentally to audition for Madam Thenardier. I know I can sing the part (I sound fantastic in the van) and the character would be a blast to play!  People who know me know I would have fun with it.  I purchased my soundtrack CD, picked up audition materials, YouTubed the piece to rehearse and wrote audition dates on the calendar. This was going to be a once in a lifetime thang, ya know?

As the audition dates have approached, I began to feel conflicted and wasn’t sure why. I’m not afraid of auditioning. I’ve done it before, had fun, got a part, had a blast with Pirates of Penzance! I’m ready to do it again.  Recently, I was listening to my Les Mis soundtrack and the youngsters were around so I skipped “Master of the House” because it has “bad words.” It hit me that, even if I were to get the part of Madam Thenardier, my little kids would not be able to see me in the play because of language and heaviness of subject matter and, if they were to see it, I would have to justify to them why it’s okay for mommy to use “bad words” simply because they are being sung and fit the character.  Wow. What was I thinking? True, the language suits the character but it doesn’t suit mine. Another time last week, little 3 year old Seth was sitting on my lap in the evening, as he usually does, and the thought hit me that I would be missing several months of our evening routine of cuddling. No biggie to the theatre or the rest of the world but it means everything to Seth in the evening. Especially since we started our catering business, I have to be gone sometimes during the day. Then it was time for lullabies. Seth likes to hear the one I wrote for him, “Teach Me Lord” or “Deep, Deep” then his lullaby is followed by Isaiah’s regular, “Amazing Grace.”  That, too, would not be happening for awhile as I know a rigorous rehearsal schedule is in store for those who get parts.  Then there’s the hilarity that emanates from the kitchen when the kids are doing dishes in the evening or my huge homeschooling, business-owning, catering to-do list. BUT, I’ve been telling myself, this is a once in a lifetime chance!

It was from the deep recesses of my mind that that phrase re-emerged from the past. I heard it on TV. It was Regis and Kathy Lee.  Yes, I used to watch the show on occasion. On one particular show, Kathy Lee was talking about how she was going to be hosting the Miss America or some other Pageant and, in order to fit the dress she wanted to wear, she was weaning her baby. Say wha? She was weaning her baby to fit a dress. Why? Her words still ring in my ear; “It’s a once in a lifetime chance.” I remember thinking, “Isn’t being your baby’s mommy a once in a lifetime chance?” So here I am, struggling with my once in a lifetimes, looking at each of them and, while I think working with the people at the theatre is fabulous, my little ones are precious and I have to be away from them enough as it is when we cater. I was able to do a play before because we didn’t own a business…that changes things quite a bit!

SO, I will be excited for my friends who get parts and I will continue to wear out my soundtrack. I will help with costumes and come see the play in August (as should everyone else) and I KNOW it will be fantastic! But I will be passing this round. I was feeling a tad miserable over missing out, but then I remembered what I would be missing out on if I didn’t miss out on Les Miserables and then some of us would really be miserable. Did you get all that? BUT, theatre peeps, please hold off on Fiddler on the Roof for a few years because I have sworn to my family that I WILL BE GOLDE!!! Well, I want to at least try. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

UPDATE: If I sound over-confident about getting the part of Mdm. Thenardier, it’s only because I’m not auditioning. IF I were, in fact, auditioning, I know good and well that the odds of getting a major role are slim (I not that cocky). I believe in shooting for the stars so as hit the moon. In this case the moon being the probable role of a whore (as listed in the audition materials) and then I’m back to my little kids asking, “Mommy, what role did you get?” “I’m a whore.” “Mommy, what’s a whore?” Sigh…Sound of Music is next..maybe I could be a Nazi…that would fun to try to explain, too…

Praying for our Kiddos

NOBODY else loves our kids the way we do. Of course, God loves them more but I’m talking in the human realm. NOBODY knows our kids like we do and in many cases, we know them better than they know themselves (especially when they’re young). NOBODY can or will pray for our children the way we can.  It’s easy to get busy and forget but our children need us praying for them from the time we know they’re there to pray for.  I have a morning routine that includes pulling out my prayer journal that’s only purpose is to jot down my prayers for my children (I do have another one for general prayers but this is just for my kids). I do this to help hold me accountable. I know one day, at least one of my kids is going to get a hold of these journals (if you start this, you’ll go through several) and I don’t want them finding skipped dates. They will, though. I get into funks like everyone else. If I have a breakfast catering gig and have to get up at 4:30 am, I don’t sit down with coffee and my Bible – I run out the door inhaling coffee through my nose and putting mascara on at stoplights. SO, there are MANY times I fail to pray deliberately.

I’ve taught myself, since I know those days are going to happen, to give myself visual cues to remind me-self to pray for my kids throughout the day: The Speed Limit 70 sign reminds me to pray for their safety, the bars remind me to pray they will stay from temptation and for their choice of future spouse! You can pick your own but you get the idea.

When I am able to sit with my journal, I pray either according to what’s going on in their lives, what’s going on in the world or I use a prayer guide I picked up from a church some time ago but it’s hard to come by. It’s called the Holy Spirit Helps Us Pray for our Children by Charlotte Parker.  I found some newer versions on Amazon and Abe Books. It’s 31 days of prayers and some are kind of wordy. I break it down and either pray one of the Scriptures over my kids and/or just one of the areas listed. You can get a book like that OR Tom Harmon has a simple list for praying over your children.  You can get a WHOLE bunch of other stuff at his website and I highly recommend you add him to your favorites, GO hear him speak and read anything he has written.

Anyhoo, here’s his list:

I have conveniently linked the above image of his list to his website so you can cruise on over there after you’re done here with very little effort. You’re welcome.

Pray for your kids. Pray for your grandchildren. Pray for your children-in-law. Pray for the family you will never meet.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

 

This day in 1988

It’s not just Lenae Michelle’s 24th birthday, it’s the 24th anniversary of our lives being turned upside down. Just like anyone else who becomes a parent, everything changed overnight. Literally. She was born just after midnight (12:22 to be exact). From March 29, 1988 on, things that didn’t matter that much before took on a whole new meaning. Politics mattered, who was on the school board was of most importance, nutrition, child training, making a home, being a better person, the list goes on. Most importantly, things eternal trump all things because of the life-changing event of becoming a parent. Thank you, Lenae, for being the catalyst for all the changes that matter. Yes, I know this was God’s idea – I thank and praise Him first and foremost for each and every life-change known as a baby He has given us. I love being a mom.

I was told throughout high school that “these are the best days of your life.”

1. Thank God that’s not true because my teen years were tumultuous at best. (I often wondered, “If these are the best days then what is there to look forward to?”)

2. The years I’m in right now are the best days of my life. They lied. “They” just wanted to sell lots of memory books, yearbooks, and class rings.

I am the mom of toddlers, youngers, middlers, olders, and young adults. It’s a new season having young adults and I’m still a little nervous as a mom as how to “mom” at this stage but it is such a privilege to see all the years we’ve muddled through together come to fruition. Lenae is a blessing and I am so thankful as I watch God work in her life. I am grateful God placed her in our family.

Happy Birthday Lenae!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Mom Sells Toys on Ebay for punishment! Love it!

And this is being a bad mom why? Very creative!

People confuse us all the time…

I’m speaking of Angelina Jolie and myself….of course. As I checked out at Wally World, I saw the cover story – “Angelina is pregnant…again!” I just know that friends of mine who go through the check-out lane have to stop a minute and remember which name goes with which face. After all, they’ve said it many a time, “Michelle is pregnant…again!” Alas, this time it is not I that bears glad tidings but that rich, homely chic. One can only hope that her and Brad have read “To Train Up a Child.”

Anyhoo, it has been VERY peculiar, not being pregnant or having a tiny one in my arms by now. Very strange. Some “friends” have likened me to a barn cat due to my predictability – every 2 years, a baby. I use to get the rude questions, “Don’t you know what causes that, yet?” “Aren’t you worried they won’t get the attention they need?” Some are just curious; “Are you done?” “How many are you going to have?” “What does your husband do?” “How old were you when you had your first?” The past year I’ve been getting, “Do you have any news for us?” “Are you expecting, yet?” A friend told me the other day that eventually, one does stop having babies without any external intervention. It really does stop. Most folks decide what size family best suits them, and that’s fine, we’ve just fallen in love with let God do what suits Him and have been abundantly blessed!
If we had done things “my way” (up until I was married, I wanted 2 and no more), we would have never met jolly Jillian with her incredible singing voice, cheerful disposition, peacemaking abilities and the ability to love anyone unconditionally.
Or adventurous, tree-climbing Natalie, another great singer who loves to learn (on

 

 her own) about and how to do out-of-the-norm things like scuba diving, pirates & ships, and how to play bass. (She also enjoys memorizing useless facts like New Jersey is the biggest exporter of eggplant. That one won us a Papa John’s pizza so it’s no longer useless.)
AND, if we had stopped at 2, we would never have had boys! I could go into describing each of my children but will save it for the book (JK) as this would get very lengthy. You get the idea, though, especially if you know our family. If you know my children, you shudder to think of the world without them! They are incredible people!

And so, that is why I don’t feel at all excited at the possibility that I may be “done,” as it were. I would love to have more. One of
 our answers to “how many are you going to have?” is “We’re collecting the whole set.” It just doesn’t feel like we have the whole set.
What’s not shared is lost,
Michelle