Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rocket science... or not

Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake. To borrow another phrase, I may not be the sharpest tack in the box. That is the only reason I could have lived in the same house for over a year and only today had my "ah-ha moment." And no, it did not take a rocket scientist!

The source of my ah-ha moment was with the shower. We have one shower. We have seven bodies using that one shower. Thus it is logistically impossible to get every one of those seven bodies clean and ready for church on Sunday morning. Not only do we quickly run out of hot water (not too bad in the summer, but very much a bummer in the middle of winter), but we also quickly run out of time! If you figure 15 minutes per shower (and that is conservative when six women or women-to-be are showering) times seven people, it takes almost two hours of constant use, just to get bodies clean and that doesn't include time to dry off or wipe down the shower walls!

Though I knew a household of women would need a second shower/bath in time, it wasn't until today that I realized just how badly we need one. If we had a second shower, we could reduce the necessary shower time by half (though it would do nothing to reduce water usage or the available amount of hot water) and reduce the burden on our main bathroom.

Unfortunately for us, I have no idea how long it will take to get that second shower or even where to start. I have an old clawfoot bath tub and we have a place for a shower/bath, but getting from need to concept to design to implementation is a process I can not even imagine right now. So, we'll have to figure out another creative solution. Hmm, I wonder what time the Y opens on Sunday mornings?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas memories

I love Christmas!! It is such a special time, filled with precious memories, traditions, and (my personal favorite) time with family!

Actually, this year was extra special because we had extra time with my husband's family. Everyone is pretty tired by now, but the time over the last week has been very sweet. To top it off, today we celebrated Christmas with my side of the family, too.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You really CAN take it with you

I'm a pretty proud parent, in a subtle, unassuming sort of way. I love, no, I absolutely adore my children and have invested my entire life in caring for them and preparing them for adulthood.

I also love Jesus and believe the Bible is true. I believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell, and I believe some people will choose to go to Hell (because God doesn't choose to send anyone there-we can talk about that later). Because I hold these to be facts, I am also investing my life in teaching my children about Jesus. And the reason is simple; my children are the only treasure to be in Heaven with me.

You've probably heard the comment that not many U-hall trailers are pulled behind a hearse. The reason is, the person riding in the hearse doesn't need their "stuff" anymore. They could not take anything with them; it all got left behind. Many different cultures tried to send provisions with the dead, but all attempts have been futile. That is why treasure hunters find treasures in tombs.

But, since my children are my greatest treasure, and since those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved and go to Heaven, then all my children who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ (5, to this point) will go to Heaven. We will be there together. My greatest treasure will be with me. I can't imagine a more wonderful way to invest my life, or a more worthwhile return on my investment.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Turning Forty

It is official. Today I'm 40. As one who has marked the major milestones of my children's lives with great enthusiasm, my children are marking this major milestone of my life with just as much enthusiasm. They are more excited about my birthday than I am! But, I wonder. Does turning 40 mean I have to grow up?

Honestly, I think becoming a grown up happens over time. It is a gradual process that doesn't suddenly occur because of some arbitrary date on a calendar says so. It happens day by day, as lessons are learned and choices are made. Maybe turning 40 is a big deal because many lessons have been learned and wiser choices are being made (hopefully).

I certainly like being on the easier side of the learning curve of life, recognizing how to avoid (for the most part) experiences that are terribly painful. I also like understanding the process of the seasons, knowing that though the cold, dark months of winter have frozen the landscape, spring is coming. No matter how hard the winter is or how long it holds on, flowers will bloom and summer's heat will bring the bountiful harvest of fall. No matter how painful life is now, or how awful circumstances seem to be, Jesus really is walking with me each step of the way and it really will get better.

My favorite lesson comes from my dear mother-in-law; it is never too late. It is never too late for learning, growing, or changing. So, whether turning 40 means I'm finally a grown up or not, I am not going to stop growing and learning. I am confident God is going to keep His promise to finish what He has begun in me and that in time I will be a perfect reflection of Jesus

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The value of thumbs

I was using a knife recently, a very sharp one! I slipped and the knife sunk into the fleshy part of my thumb. Thankfully it was my left thumb, but it is still greatly affecting my life! Suddenly, I am recognizing the tremendous value of thumbs.

I've never thought much about having thumbs. I've heard that thumbs are what set us humans apart from other creatures in the animal kingdom. But, it was of little value to me. I only have two thumbs and they don't get noticed that often. Suddenly, now that I am not using one of my thumbs, it is VERY noticable and creating difficulty in my life! Yikes - how do animals survive without thumbs?!

Have you ever heard the phrase, "all thumbs?" People say it when they are having trouble using their hands for whatever reason. It is generally a negative thing. After my experiences this week, though, I have a new perspective. Oh my goodness; I'd rather be ALL thumbs than have no thumbs! Right now I'm noticing my thumb more than I have for years. When I bump the injury, it hurts. If I use my thumb (or even my hand) wrong, it puts tension on the laceration and it hurts. For a while after I cut it, it just throbbed.

By God's grace, my thumb is healing quickly. I'll probably be able to go band-aid free in a few days. Suddenly, I see the value of thumbs and I'm very thankful for the two I have!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Christmas carols revisited

As I type this, I'm sitting in Starbucks, listening to the latest holiday release by Sting. Though it is difficult to capture, the strains of an old Christmas carol float in the air. The only difference is, this is a holiday album, not a Christmas album. The inspiring words of this Christmas carol, which was written to proclaim Jesus as the Savior of mankind is not a part of the melody.

As the holidays approach, my heart is deeply grieved. We have all the traditions that surround Christmas, but they are mostly devoid of the meanings they once held. People sing songs that have eternal value and significance, chasing after the etherial "meaning of life" never realizing that the meaning they are looking for is captured in the songs they sing at this time of year.

Our Gospel isn't hid; it is in plain sight, in the form of Christmas carols, "but the god of this world has blinded the minds of unblievers, to keep them from seeing the Light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." 2 Cor 4:4 ESV. People need Jesus. He is the answer to every question and the ultimate solution to every problem. But, those who are most desperate for the answers He offers are the most unable (or unwilling) to see Him and what He offers.

I pray that perhaps even through the "winter holiday songs" on the new Sting album, people will be pointed to the One who is the way, the truth and the life, and through whom you can know God.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Value of being Invisible

I heard the poem "The Invisible Mother" Mary Lynn Plaisance at a MOPS ( meeting and wanted to share it with all the moms I know. It was very encouraging.

If you want to read it, please visit It is my guess that you will be greatly encouraged and blessed.

If you are a mom, remember, you are building greatness when no one sees. The little things you do to bless and serve your family really do matter to God.

Friday, October 16, 2009

You know you're getting old...

I will soon be 40 years old. It isn't a big deal; my best friends have turned 40 already and they survived. I don't feel old enough to be almost 40, and I am no where near grow up enough to have achieved such a significant milestone. I've never been terribly vain, so most of the time I don't worry about how I look either. Many people have told me I look very young and believe neither that I am the mother of seven nor that I am almost 40 and that is good enough for me.

Recently, though, my oldest daughter (a teenager) removed any doubt as to whether I am indeed getting old. She exclaimed, after pulling a white hair from my head, that I need to go see Lisa (my stylist) soon because I need my hair colored!! Can you believe it? No subtlety, no hints, no gentle comments. She didn't leave any doubt as to her opinion; I'm getting old and I need to color my hair.

I will, of course, heed her suggestion. Lisa is a dear friend (and over 40) has already told me she has a plan for making my graying locks look fresh once more. It will not, however, turn back the clock or stop the progression of time. I am getting older. My hair will continue needing help to cover gray until I decide to go with, as my other daughter calls it, my silver lining. When that will happen, I don't know. It will depend on if I decide to grow old gracefully (not very graceful, so I don't know how that will work), or if, like Lauren Bacall, I'll fight it every step of the way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spinning Plates

Today I had the pleasure of attending MOPS (, where the speaker compared parenting to spinning plates. Having seen a person spinning plates at the fair, the comparison worked well for me. I realized I have a few plates spinning, and if I'm to be successful with what God has given me to do, I need to be intentional.

The first step to being intentional is to figure out just which plates I want to keep spinning and which ones I should retire, even if just for a while. Of all the plates I try to spin, the one I'd most like to retire is housekeeping. Unfortunately, that is one that just can't be dropped. So, I've been trying to figure out what not to do and how to say no so I can accomplish those few things that are truly important to me. It is proving to be more difficult than I expected. Sometimes being intentional is one of the most difficult tasks in the world.

Of course, just when you think you are set to go with being intentional, something comes up which you could not anticipate and which requires you to throw all your plans for intentionality up in the air in a desperate attempt just to live life. Since I don't want any of the plates I'm frantically trying to spin to go crashing to the ground, and since I don't seem able to figure out which ones can be retired, I'm stuck looking like a clown in the circus as I run back and forth between responsibilities.

In the end, what I've decided is that I am totally incapable of keeping the plates spinning that represent my life. To that end, I've been meditating on a couple of passages from the Bible. The first is Matthew 11:28, 29 and 30. The Marchauna's Revised Version goes something like "Come to me (Jesus) all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly, and you will find rest for your weary soul. My yoke is easy and my burden is light." The other passage is in Philippians, and goes something like "My (Jesus is speaking) grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." I am definitely weak!! I can totally relate to a need for strength beyond myself.

The amazing thing is, as I've poured out my frustration and desperation, Jesus is giving me what I need! He is helping me keep all the plates spinning; none have crashed to the ground yet. I've almost crashed a few times, and a few of the plates have wobbled dangerously but everything is still spinning. I won't know until I die (or my children are grown, which ever comes first) if I succeed at what I'm attempting. Right now, though, I have hope that God will keep His promise and finish what He started.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

experiencial knowledge

Years ago I heard a sermon about "experiential knowledge." I'll spare you my butchered attempt at the Greek word, but know that a Greek word for experiential knowledge does exist. And, the word draws emphasis to the experience part of knowing as opposed to knowing something because you read about it or took a class on it or watched a movie about it.

That differentiation of knowledge has stuck with me, though I do not remember the passage it was based on. Recently, God gave me a powerful reminder of the truth I'd been exposed to so long ago.

As a mom, I've cared for many kids who were stung by a bee. As a former child, I had compassion because I'd been stung by a bee. But, I'd forgotten just how painful a bee sting could be. Then, I gained a new level of experiential knowledge; I got stung by a bee! As the pain radiated from the sting on my hand up my arm past my elbow, and as the pain continued to increase with each passing second, I gained a whole new appreciation for the agony my children experience when they are stung.

Then, I began to think about some of the things God has been showing me this summer. Though I've always known I am a sinner and imperfect, I expect a level of perfection I know is not possible. When I fail, I am very disappointed. Recently, I lost my camera AND my cell phone. The two items were worth hundreds of dollars, and I couldn't afford to replace them. Worse still, I was trying so hard to be diligent and careful, yet I'd failed. Heading into a worship time, my heart was surrounded by a wall of my own making and the joy that I usually experienced was notably absent. As I poured my heart out to God, explaining my disappointment in myself, it struck me; God KNEW I would fail. That was why He sent Jesus. It isn't just because I am a sinner and sin seperates me from God, but because I'm a sinner and even my best efforts are woefully inadequate.

I'm still wrestling with what all this means; I'm still very much struggling with my humanity and tendancy towards failure. But, in the midst of it, I am gently reminded that Jesus died for my failures. Jesus died for my successes. Jesus knew before He died for me that I would be damaged goods and that nothing I ever do will be enough to pay the penalty for my sin. And He doesn't care. He accepts me anyway. He always will.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Regression, or why some species eat their young

There comes a time in every child's life when his or her parent suddenly realizes something; there is a reason some species eat their young. I had such an epiphany, with my young son. He knows how to use a toilet. He did so successfully for several weeks. Then, abruptly, he forgot.

Each day, as I find puddles of potty on the floor, throw yet another pair of wet pants down the laundry shoot, or start a load of smelly clothes in the washer, I contemplate those critters who eat their young and know there must be a good reason.

We are actually on our third round of "regression." Two other times, my son has successfully kept pants dry for days, even weeks at a time. Then, for no obvious reason, he suddenly is wetting his pants several times a day. I have given up trying to be creative. We have extra pull-ups and pants in each car and the diaper bag. He already has his toy for getting off the potty train, so can't do that again. Don't know what I'll do, but eating my son is definitely out of the question.

In a recent conversation with a dear friend, we agreed the difference between something being tragic or funny is about 6 hours of sleep. Maybe this can all be funny if I just get a really good night's sleep.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Babysitting Blues

Having been a mom for more than 13 years, part of my life experience has been hiring babysitters. Recently, I've been able to leave my little ones with one of my older girls, making life much easier. But, while at a recent conference, I didn't have that luxury. So we found a young lady who was willing to stay with our two-year old son.

The first evening of the conference, after having most of two days to recover from his traumatic experience with the thunder storm, we planned to leave our son with the babysitter. The transition was a little rough, and as we walked away I learned my husband had failed to leave either of our cell phone numbers with the babysitter. But, we'd never had any trouble, so we were optimistic things would be fine.

Things were not fine. About halfway through the evening, our son turned into a terror! Disappointed in not getting his way about some trivial thing, my son threw a fit. If only one thing had happened, it wouldn't have been too bad; I'd have been embarrassed and irritated, but it wouldn't have been so bad. But instead of one thing, almost everything went wrong. Our little boy, who is usually pretty well behaved, hit, spit on, and bit the babysitter! And, she couldn't call us because she didn't have our numbers. Maybe our son has an evil twin and that little monster was the one who traumatized the babysitter.

The babysitter is not going to press charges, the bites didn't scare, nor is she planning to bill us for any therapy that may be required as a result of her traumatic experience!

Now, instead of leaving my son with a babysitter and attending the meetings I traveled across four states to attend, I'm in our apartment, writing this post and listening to the conference online! But, my son hasn't used his teeth, mouth, or hands to do anything other than what good little boys are supposed to do. Actually, this is working better. My baby girl is asleep in her bassinet, my son is playing and being a little boy, dinner is in the crock pot, and I had time to publish this post. Maybe some day we'll look back on this little experience and laugh. One thing for sure; I'm always going to make sure anyone brave enough to stay with our son has a phone number with which to reach us! I don't know if we'll find anyone brave enough to stay with him, but if we do, I'm going to make sure they can call if his evil twin shows up again.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Travel Travails

Every couple of years, I head to Colorado for a conference. This year, to save money (and my sanity), I decided to leave five of my seven children at home. You'd think it would be easier to travel with only two children; you know, only two kids to get through security, only two kids to buckle into seats, only two kids to keep entertained and to keep track of during layovers. Well, I guess I picked the wrong two!

Having flown several times, I knew the whole security drill. At least I thought I did. You know, can't take anything that contains more than three ounces (including new tubes of toothpaste) everything has to fit into quart-sized zipper bags, and you can't take anything that might be used as a weapon; no crochet hooks, scissors, Texas toothpicks, or Bowie knives. I made sure we didn't need to worry about the zipper bags; everything like that was packed in the checked luggage. Flying with young children (a five month old and a two-year old), I had a bottle (it was empty), a sippee cup (it was also empty) and my drinking cup (also empty), two car seats, a diaper bag for the baby (but no diaper oinment - it was too big), my purse, and a backpack with some toys and snacks for my two-year old. But, it didn't take too long to get everything unpacked and ready for scanning.

Having thought ahead, both my son and I were in flip-flops (the baby was barefoot), so we could easily remove our shoes. What I didn't think about was what the all-metal Hot Wheels car would look like going through the scanner. Let's just say it didn't look good and required multiple trips through the scanner before finally being removed from the backpack and thoroughly examined. Maybe the TSA guys just needed to reconnect with their childhood. At least they gave the car back.

Air travel was only the first leg of the journey. The second leg began as, after about an hour's wait, we greatfully boarded a bus that would deliver us to our final destination. The huge bus windows provided a beautiful view of a thunder storm. It was awe-inspiring as we watched lightening illuminate the countryside. Funny thing about that thunder storm; it brought hail. The hail actually cracked the windshield of the bus. It also brought rain; lots of rain!

Funny thing about taking that bus; it didn't deliver us to the door of our apartment. It delivered us to a "transfer station." We had to leave the bus, in the middle of the downpour! Never having experienced such rain, my son was actually very frightened. I ran him to the van that would take us to our apartment and threw him in. His carseat filled with water in the few minutes it required to move it from one vehicle to the other! The baby made it without getting too wet; the sun shade on her car seat actually worked pretty well as an umbrella. And, of course, by the time we actually reached our apartment, the rain was over! We'd gotten thoroughly soaked - even clothes IN the suitcases got wet! I was completely soaked - it was like I'd just stepped out of the shower, seriously!

By God's grace, we made it to our final destination all in one piece. The wet clothes dried, my son survived his experience, and I'm enjoying my conference very much. If our two-year old remembers his traumatic rain experience when he is older, we can pay for his therapy. Best of all, I have a few more days to recover before we do the whole thing in reverse.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Memories

Holidays are supposed to be memorable. Families gather, special foods are served, and precious memories are made. Easter is especially fun because it holds the promise of spring and we celebrate a risen Savior. It is a favorite time of year for us. This Easter has been very memorable, but for far different reasons.

First, my son found himself connecting with nature in a rather painful and traumatic way; he stepped (with his bare foot) on a thorn that was hidden in the grass where he was hunting for Easter eggs. After he'd finally calmed down from connecting with and being disconnected from the thorn, he somehow got a piece of Easter candy up his nose; way up his nose. The candy is still there, but the on-call doctor assured me, as long as my son was breathing ok (which he is) we could wait until morning to have it removed.

Before the evening was over, the baby blew out her diaper, a kid had put a foot into the leftover jello sitting on the floor of the van, the sound of tears filled the van part of the way home from Nana and Papa's, and someone wet their pants before exiting our vehicle. Though memorable, none of these were the memories I planned to make this holiday, or at any other time, for that matter.

Now, everyone is in bed. The house is finally quiet. The jello has been cleaned up, the injured foot is bandaged, the wet pants changed and the car seat taken care of. The candy, however, is still firmly lodged in a certain toddler's nose. I'm enjoying a moment of peace before I fall into bed. Tomorrow, if my son still can't breath through his left nostril, I'll take him to the family doctor to see about getting the piece of candy removed. School may be a field trip to the hospital, where we'll learn all about the consequences of sticking foreign objects up your nose.

A comedian said that the difference between tears and laughter in a situation like this is about six weeks. So, I guess you can check back with me in a few weeks to see if I think it is funny yet or not. Either way, it will still be memorable!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Day in the Life

Life at our house is never boring!! How can it be with two cats, a dog, and seven children?! Lately, though, a whole new dimension has been added. I don't know it is because my husband has been traveling more, or because of how old my children are, or if it is because of how old I am and how much slower my response time is. Whatever the reason, life has been full of surprises, and not necessarily the kind I enjoy.

Take the other day. Things went fairly well for most of the day. We had the usual accidents by a potty-training toddler, squabbles and such between per-adolescent girls, the dog trying to exert dominance over the cats and the cats reminding him who is really in charge. Somewhere in there, several eggs were dropped on the floor and not cleaned up enough to prevent someone (Mom) from slipping. Then, dinner didn't quite go as planned, and we were eating much later than expected. While we were cleaning up dinner, the mason jar of homemade vinaigrette broke. You guessed it, the oily, smelly mess went all over the floor.

When mason jars break, they leave shards of glass everywhere. Sure enough, we found glass everywhere. In the end, I had to throw away the towels we soaked up the oil with - the thought of trying to find and then dispose of all the glass was much too overwhelming. I can buy more towels!

After cleaning up the floor, it was past time to get kids in bed. By the time kids were in bed, it was past time to get Mom in bed! So, the rest of the evening was fairly uneventful. The next morning I woke up without a toddler wetting the bed, no jars of anything broke during breakfast, and I think it was dinner before a cup was spilled. Having so thoroughly cleaned the kitchen, I can now say spring cleaning is definitely well underway. Only a few more weeks before it might actually be spring so kids can play outside, and I can regain a semblance of order and inner peace.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Joy of being TV Free

My family has been "TV free" since we became a family. Even before children came into the picture, we decided the only thing we'd watch on television was an occasional movie. When kids came along, that was amended (at the recommendation of a mentor) to allow for one movie a day.

Now, generally speaking, our children watch a movie while they fold laundry in the afternoon. Rarely, they will be allowed to watch both a "just-for-fun" movie AND an educational movie (educational movies are determined by Mom) in the same day. But, that happens VERY rarely. Their average time in front of the television is 60 minutes a day; much lower than the national average of between four and six hours, not including computer games.

Because we haven't ever made it a habit to watch television, we have developed the habit of finding other things to do. A recent weekend is a perfect example. After dinner was finished, around 7pm, you could find the various members of my family engaged in various activities. My oldest daughter was working at the computer on a school-related project. My second oldest daughter was on the floor beside my youngest daughter, getting some "face time." The third girl was washing dishes (her chore for that week), the fourth daughter was calling a friend, and the last two were playing with Daddy in the living room. Over the course of the evening, books were read, games were played, jobs were completed, we even made cookies. All that before kids were tucked in and lights turned out at 9pm.

Our family is far from perfect, and we've fudged on the tv time occasionally, but for the most part, a typical day includes FAR less than four hours in front of the gray babysitter. Instead, we spend time together as a family, making memories and having fun. That is why I enjoy being tv free.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Never too late

I've been doing this parenting thing for a long time - more than 13 years. In that time, I've learned much about myself, like how little I know about parenting, how very selfish I can be (and have been), how amazing my mother was to put up with a child like me, and how very much it requires to be a parent.

I've also gained a valuable perspective on life. As a child, if I wasn't good at something, generally I quit. If what I was trying didn't come easily to me, then I found something that did. The steepness of the learning curve greatly affected my desire and willingness to learn. In retrospect, I missed out on quite a bit because of my poor attitude.

I felt like if I couldn't do something well right away, then I should leave it to people who could. I didn't understand that I could ask questions, or that others had spent time feeling just like I felt; like a failure.

As a parent, quitting isn't an option. Instead of simply walking away and finding an activity that was easier, I've had to persevere and push through the challenges. In doing so, I've learned a most valuable lesson; life doesn't stay hard. After making LOTS of mistakes, I began to learn how to not make those mistakes anymore. At some point the learning curve lost some of its steepness. I learned. Then I began to realize that life is that way. You make mistakes and you learn from those mistakes. Somewhere along the way, the learning curve levels out until you get to the point where you've learned!

Now I'm enjoying the freedom of knowing that I can make mistakes without the world coming to an end. I can learn to do what it is I need, or want, to do. To quote a very dear lady, it is never too late.

The problem with dinner in the freezer

I recently delivered baby number seven. With so much practice, I was finally able to accomplish my lofty goal of getting some meals made ahead of time.

In anticipation of needing dinner when I had better things to do, I dutifully laid out the recipes, purchased the supplies, and had a power-cooking marathon with my very wonderful and very helpful older daughters. Long before the baby arrived, my freezer was filled with tasty casseroles and pre-made lunch treats just waiting to be pulled out and served to hungry children.

There is, however, a caveat to this success story.

To be successful serving dinner when it is in the freezer, you must take it out of the freezer before mealtime. More than once, when it's been time to put dinner in the oven, I've realized that dinner is still in the freezer. Hungry children don't enjoy eating frozen food that is designed to be eaten hot. You can pull said dinner out of the freezer and soak it in hot water in a vain attempt to get it thawed in time to actually serve it before breakfast. Or, you can simply pop it in the oven in hopes that perhaps it will defy the laws of Murphy and get hot all the way through. Unfortunately, neither option is very successful. I know. I've tried. Maybe next time I'll leave dinner in the freezer and serve breakfast instead!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Quick secrets for going gray

As a mother of many between the ages of 2 weeks and 13 years, I have lots of experience with the adventures of parenting. Until recently, though, I had very little gray hair. Unfortunately, I don't have any secrets to share about why my hair wasn't gray because I don't know why it wasn't. But, do notice the tense on the verb in the last sentence, "wasn't." The reason for the past tense is that recently, I've noticed several gray hairs. Other people, including my children, have noticed as well. And, I'm going to let you in on the little secret for why those gray hairs are cropping up all of a sudden.

Doctors may have more scientific methods of solving problems, but I'm convinced; the reason for my gray hair is allowing my oldest daughter to buy gerbils. If it was only having gerbils in our house, it probably wouldn't be too big a deal and it wouldn't be causing me too much stress. But, in addition to my thirteen year old daughter, who is very responsible and completely capable of caring for gerbils, I have a two-year old boy. He really likes gerbils.

Something I've learned about two-year old boys; they are not very gentle. Actually, they don't even know what the word "gentle" means. I'm not sure their brains are capable of understanding it! What I do know is that two-year old boys can be very hazardous to the health of small, cute, fragile gerbils. Thanks to the diligence of my oldest daughter, nothing has happened to the gerbils she worked so hard to get. We've taken extra precautions to make sure the youngest male in our house doesn't have unsupervised visits with the gerbils, including multiple locks on his sister's door. Unfortunately, those actions were not taken early enough to protect my hair color; I've started going gray!

The Bible says that gray hair is noble, an indication of honor and character, and in many ways a good thing to have. It is a new experience for me, and I'm not above turning the clock back with a little help from a box. But, if you are looking to have that sophisticated mature appearance so highly spoken of in Proverbs, one quick way to get it is to have a two-year old boy and a gerbil in the same house.