Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stock Up Stumbles

Extreme couponing has become quite popular, and with good reason. You can save some serious money. I, however, am not into extreme couponing. It's not because of a personal aversion to coupons or saving money. I LOVE saving money. Instead, it is an issue of logistics; I don't have the brain power to manage coupons at this stage of my life, even if someone else is telling me what to do.

That, and I really hate to shop, so I like to make it as streamlined and simple as possible. Which means I buy basically the same food every month. Knowing about how much we eat, I stock up at a local restaurant supply store, where I can buy bulk veggies for less than $1/lb.

Lately, though, I guess we haven't been eating as many frozen veggies as I thought. Today, when I went to grab something out of the freezer, I had to dig through several layers of frozen veggies before I found it. And, underneath the item I was looking for was... you guessed it, more frozen veggies! I have veggies for soup, veggies for stir fry, veggies for side dishes, veggies for whatever. I have LOTS of frozen veggies!

So, I'm going to adjust my shopping plan for a little while, at least. I'm NOT going to buy any more veggies. The restaurant supply store I shop at also carries yummy frozen desserts. Maybe I'll have to buy some of those instead. They probably won't stock up like the veggies have, and even if they do, I have the feeling no one here will mind at all.

If you happen to drop by for a meal in the near future, don't be surprised if we have frozen veggies for more than one course. At least you know what to expect for dessert, if I remember to pull it out in time (see my post on the problem with dinner in the freezer from March 2009 for more information ).

Maybe I should try the extreme couponing, as long as I don't try any deals on frozen veggies.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

He's Not Me, Thank God

I've been reading through the Old Testament as part of my daughter's high school curriculum. Because of the craziness of my life and the challenges of having seven children plus a baby plagued by reflux, I've gotten quite behind. Whereas my daughter is almost through the minor prophets, I have barely reached the period of the kings of Israel.

My reading has taken me to the reign of Saul, the first king of Israel, a man generally despised and noted for his less than kingly qualities. As I was reading this morning, two passages stuck out to me. The first is 1 Kings 15:22, which says (in the English Standard Version) "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams..." That passage is a familiar one to many who have grown up in church. If your childhood was anything like mine, then you heard the following passage as well. It says, "For rebellion is as the sin of divination" or witchcraft, in some translations. Either way, the message is clear; rebellion is bad news.

Samuel is confronting Saul for his rebellion against the Lord, and he is mincing no words. Saul is in trouble, and he realizes it too late. His response, however genuine and contrite it may not be (he does, after all, blame his subjects for his rebellion, vs 24), echoes the cry of my heart when I'm confronted with rebelling against the Lord's direction, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD... Now therefore, please pardon my sin...that I may worship the LORD." Samuel's response is one to make a grown man shudder,"I will not return with you...the LORD has rejected you..."

Now, Saul was rejected from being king, which is far different from being completely rejected. But still, I'd NEVER want to hear those words, from anyone, about anything. Obviously, Saul was less than thrilled. For him, however, it was too late. For the rest of us, today, thankfully, it is not.

Centuries after the above described discussion, Paul (formerly known as Saul) the Apostle, wrote a letter to the Church in Rome, in which he described the challenges of living according to God's standard and how truly difficult it is. He ended one section with the cry, "Wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death?!?" Romans 7:24, ESV. But, he begins the next chapter with the thrilling words, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ."

In so many ways, I'm not better than King Saul, choosing to do what I want to do instead of what God commands (usually in the form of loving myself and not loving my neighbor), or to not do what I should do (which is to love my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself), but instead of rejecting me as He did Saul, God wraps His arms around me and says, "I don't condemn you." What a wonderful gift to be me instead of King Saul, who was rejected by God.

That makes me think of a passage in Isaiah, where it describes what happened to make it possible for me to experience God's grace instead of the wrath I deserve. It says, "He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Isaiah 53:3 ESV.

King Saul, who was rejected by God for his rebellion, is not me, thank God!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Difference Between Boys and Girls

I have a four year old boy. Yes, they are an entity unto themselves; if you've had one, you know what I mean.

Earlier today I was in my son's bedroom (one that he must share, since we have twice as many kids as bedrooms), helping him clean up his clothes. Over the last several months, I've done a poor job training my son to put his clothes away correctly so they spend most of their time on his floor. It's had something to do with homeschooling, pregnancy with all it's particular joys, and now the added pleasure and excitement of a "gerdling" whom, with his frequent episodes of silently refluxing and gagging/coughing/choking when not in an upright position, requires most of everyone's time. But, I digress.

We were picking clothes up off the floor, trying to determine if they needed to be washed or folded (except for the clothes on the floor that WERE folded - those were easy to deal with) so I asked my son to sniff a couple of items. He sniffed, then he sniffed again. We're talking serious sniffs, too. After which he announced, without a grimace or a frown, "This needs to go in the laundry. It stinks!" Well, OK then.

Can you imagine a girl sniffing stinky anything more than once? Can you imagine a girl responding to a frontal assault on her olfactory nerve WITHOUT grimacing and making sure everyone knew how assaulted she really was? But for boys, it seems not to be a problem. I'm not sure if that is a good thing... But, it is a clear demonstration of the difference between boys and girls. I'm really glad I have mostly girls.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Joys and Challenges of a Cool Mist Humidifier

My son is battling yet another infection that plugs him up and makes breathing difficult, because of his reflux. So, I have spent yet another night parked under the cool mist humidifier with him in my arms. Because of how congested he is, I have the humidifier going full bore.

Of course, this means that a significant amount of humidity is in the air for both of us to breath. Consequently, I have stumbled onto a slightly ticklish situation: as I breath the humidity, it condenses on the little hairs in my nose! Oh my goodness, it tickles.

I haven't figured out a solution to this situation, but since JJ has a stuffy, goopy nose, I have tissue close by and can wipe both our noses as often as necessary. If I wasn't so tired, maybe I could come up with a creative design to prevent the problem. Since I'm exhausted, maybe I'll just buy stock in Kleenex instead.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Is It Too Late?

The last few months have been quite difficult, primarily due to the severe reflux plaguing our youngest son. Today was one of those days when life was just crazy. So, I pondered the question, "Is it too late to rethink this whole large family thing?"

I sent a text with that question to my sweet sister and a dear friend, both of whom I knew would enjoy my twisted humor. The texts read,

"Is it 2 late 2 rethink the whole large family thing? I am going to LOSE. MY. MIND!!! Ahhhh. Try'n 2 do school & NOBODY. IS. LISTENING. Either the baby needs 2 eat or a diaper change or the toddler needs 2 sit on the potty or she missed and we have a mess 2 clean up or somebody is fighting or b'n rude. Ahhhh!!"

The reply was, of course, that it is most definitely WAY too late to rethink this whole thing. I'm committed. Or maybe I should be committed. Regardless, I am committed to finishing the race God has set before me. Sometimes I can't see the great cloud of witnesses through the piles of laundry, dust bunnies, and waves of spit up flowing down my shirt, but I know they are cheering me on because the Bible tells me so.

Days like today, so full of futility and frustration, are why I have chosen Galatians 6:9 as my life verse. The Marchauna Revised version says, "And do not grow weary in parenting, for in due time you will reap a harvest (of grown, well-adjusted, contributing members of society) if you do not lose heart." The key words are, "do not lose heart." I experienced great frustration today, but by God's grace and because of the love of two dear people, I did not lose heart. Maybe they are part of that great cloud of witnesses described in Hebrews.

It is most definitely too late to rethink this whole large family thing. But, the more I think about it, now that my large family is all quiet, asleep in their beds, I wouldn't trade my life for anything. It isn't an easy life, but it is my life and I really do love it, most of the time.