Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Christmas wish for you...

Okay, so this was a poem that I wrote and included in a select few cards last year (this time of year..most people "can't handle the truth!")...I know many of you would appreciate this...so here goes:

May you find the best parking spot while out shopping,
May your hubby pick up on the hints you've been dropping.

May your presents be perfect, your spouse do the wrapping,
May your children not need any holiday slapping.

May your hearts fill with love, your homes fill with laughter,
May your husband not try to "get anything" after. (Wink.)

May your kids go to sleep, and you not stay up late,
May your in-laws get stuck in a storm out of state.

May your houseguests all come with their arms full of wine,
and do every last dish on which they did dine.

May your cocoa be warm, may your cookies be sweet,
May your hips not remember a darn thing you eat. (Amen.)

But most of all, friend, may your holiday season
Be filled with the savior who gave us the reason!

Merry Christmas Bloggers!
The Maid and Butler and family!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas...Acapella Style!

We really enjoyed watching this last year...and many of you have already seen it...but it is awesome so watch it again. And thank me later.

:) The Merry Maid

Friday, December 12, 2008

Merry Barfmas! Oh, and Happy Chunkikah!

Hello everyone! I am alive, despite blog rumors of my death. Don't pay the ransom!

What have I been up to you ask? (Humor me.)

Well, I have been enjoying holding the most precious baby boy (and most probably the last) I get the privilege of raising! He is beginning to really respond and smile. He raises his little eyebrows and is beginning to know his brothers and sisters. It is priceless. I even think he is trying to talk to me. I'm pretty sure he said I was beautiful. Either that or "Your boob is full." Haven't figured it out yet.

With him comes lack of sleep, newborn doctors appointments, circumcision appointment (ouch), midwife appointments, lots of shopping (you always run out of stuff when you are too sleep-deprived to plan ahead and to disorganized to be able to find the stuff you have!), a little bit of sleeping, oh, and throw in a little case of the flu. (So far not the baby or myself, but about half of the kids have had it now. 24 hours seems to be the extent...praise GOD!)

We are half-way through the month, and my list of "to do's" is a mile long. (As I'm sure yours is too!) Sadly, lots of my items are basic cleaning items. Like how it would be nice to walk into and through the garage to get my Christmas pitcher and serving dishes without needing a tetanus shot or the ability to run and jump over hurdles.

I'm enjoying this season with my precious Christmas Gift (he is now over 9 pounds...woohoo!), and also enjoying the simple things. It is amazing what can happen when you really can't spend money! I feel as if the pressure to buy, shop and give is OFF. And the interesting thing is that I am probably the one who puts the pressure on myself in the first place. We have picked up a few things (VERY few), but for the most part, we are just hoping for a Christmas miracle. LOL. (Remember, my sweet butler is a commercial real estate agent.)

Instead of things and tangible gifts, we are trying to give each other experiences this year...memories! Some good, some lame, some really bad...but when you add them all up...it is REAL. It is what life is about. It is what makes you laugh!

I have memories of Christmases past when things weren't perfect, but they were memorable. Like the time I was in Jr. High or High School and I had baked my brains out...and just collapsed on the floor proclaiming to my mom..."I hate Christmas." Again...all that baking agony...self inflicted! I also remember a time about 4 years ago, when we delivered a plate of goodies to a neighbor on Christmas eve and she opened the door, rolled her eyes, and said..."Oh god, not more junk." (Her husband was mortified and thanked us, but we learned that they were one house we could skip next time! LOL)

And I'm sure we all have memories of making Gingerbread houses on tiny milk cartons or from store bought kits. (Those darn things never work right...they are always baked funky and don't fit together the right way. Where can I file my formal complaint? Santa?)

Since I missed posting at Thanksgiving, let me just tell you a few things that I am so thankful for right now, despite our pitiful financial status:

1) Coupons. Dude...I have been "saving" so much money on groceries and miscellaneous items we need, that I could call Sally Struthers and sponsor a child.

2) Christmas music. I am loving the sweet, peaceful music that is on all over the place...and the occasional dose of "Jingle Bell Rock."

3) Lights. I love the twinkling of the lights all over the place. It just makes the nights feel special and come alive. I can't wait to drive around and see more!

4) People in Santa hats. I love hats, and I love when people don't care if they look absolutely stupid.

5) Fire pits. I can't wait to fire up a log or two and act cold and roast marshmallows!

6) Giving. Not only do I like to give, I love to watch as other people give. People just seem more generous this time of year. (Except the dirt bag who cut in front of me a Costco the other night. I waited patiently for my spot and rather than wait behind me, the bimbo went around me and "cut" in line. Merry Christmas lady, that one is a freebie...next time I will bruise your ankles with my cart.)

7) Speaking of generous...I was at the grocery store and a lady (customer) asked how much my total was and gave me a $10.00 off coupon for my order. Just because she wanted to. Do you realize what a blessing that was? My family will eat cereal with milk for free for a week because she was so thoughtful. Yep. Wanted to hug her, but that would be weird. (Unless you are Will Ferrell...Buddy the Elf could have pulled that off.)

8) Candlelight Christmas service at church. Love that. Nothing more beautiful than watching how one flame, one candle at a time can light the world. Literally. It only takes a spark people...don't you remember the campfire song? We can share the love of Christ and light the world. (Oh, and I also like to play with the candle wax at church. I know, not supposed to, but when else do I get to hold FIRE in the sanctuary?)

9) Packages and Christmas cards in the mail. (Hey, even if the package is simply the Christmas cards I ordered...it is fun to open the mail this time of year...I might even send myself a Christmas card.) (Correction...it is fun to open "CHRISTMAS mail" this time of year...it still sucks to open the bills.)

10) Food. I know. It is shocking. The maid likes to eat holiday treats. Even crappy store-bought ones. Slap some green icing on it and red sprinkles, and I might even eat broccoli.

11) Anticipation. I love the planning and anticipation that goes into this time of year. With that sometimes comes disappointment, but it is part of the season...and I don't ever want to stop feeling that hope and "what if" feeling on Christmas day!

12) Magic. Whether you believe it or not, there is magic out there this time of year. People who give what they do have...and better yet, people who give what they don't. Caring about other people...it should be how we live every day, but it is just amazing to see it happening all around us. It is magic....mix all of the smells, the tastes, the feelings, the twinkling lights...and voila! It is the equivalent of fairy dust!

13) Indulging. I love that this time of year I can offer a sweet and yummy treat to someone and they almost always get giddy and gladly accept...and EAT it! None of this, "I'm watching my figure....cholesterol...weight...blah, blah, blah." People eat dessert...know what that means? I don't indulge alone! LOL

14) Kids. It never ceases to amaze me what my kids do, ask for, share, don't share, want to give, and how excited they get. I hope that never stops!

There is so much more that I am thankful for and look forward to at Christmas...but I will end with the absolute best of all....

15) Jesus birth! Because of my faith...I rejoice that Jesus, Messiah, Emmanuel....was born in a manger all those years ago and lived a sinless life and ultimately paid the price for my sins. Talk about a gift! I am grateful and I pray for Jesus to stir that gratitude and faith into every moment of my holiday.

Merry Christmas bloggers!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More beds to make...

Greetings Blog Friends! :)

The day has come, the time has arrived, the boy is here!

On Tuesday, 11-11-08, at 2:58 a.m....Little Mister Maid was born. He was an 8 pound, 10 oz miracle boy with lots of dark hair and a cute little chubby face. He was born in the comforts of home (born and comfort don't belong in the same sentence, however.) by a very talented and wonderful midwife and friend. We chose a name that means "Man of Prayer" or "Full of goodness"...and have already given him a nickname! :) He is wonderful!


We are absolutely blessed and grateful for God's precious gift and look forward to watching him grow up into a spectacular little man! Thank you to all of my friends in blogworld who have been thinking of and praying for us!

Next, let me just say how extremely grateful I am that all of this birthing stuff is OVER! :) We have moved on to the recovery phase. (Which sounds like a homicide investigation doesn't it? You move from rescue to "recovery"... when loosely translated means looking for bodies not survivors.) Well, that is where we are at now. Trying to sum up the collateral damage that has been done to my body! LOL

It is curious that mom's can forget the pain and discomfort and all of the little symptoms and annoyances of pregnancy and birth...and opt to do it again. I have done that so many times before! But something changed in my heart, soul, mind and spirit this time. I do NOT want to do it again. I am fully aware and fully experiencing all of those little pesky aches, pains, and just plain nuisances that are associated with the before, during, and after of childbirth.

Not to mention the frustration of being mentally willing and able to do something that your body is too pooped to do. I confess that 24 hours after giving birth I was walking through Target with the Butler...getting newbie his very own fresh, new carseat and stroller. Can I get a giant slap across the face right now? Duh. (This is where I would be telling all of my friends..."You just gave birth woman...go home and rest. " Not smart!) Yep. I stood there checking out at the register and began to realize that I am not a young chick anymore and I needed to go home and stay home...for at least a week! LOL.

And might I also mention that trading in a nice round, firm pregnant belly for the flabby mess of mom-tummy...not so much fun. I mean, I envisioned morphing into the supermodel body of my dreams, as sort of a reward for carrying the precious life I just birthed. I mean fair is fair, right? But no such luck. It will be months, maybe years, before I can wear a bathing suit...or anything that isn't black...again. (Good thing you all know how much I love black.)

In the end, however, it is all so extremely worth it. As I look at my precious boy, and marvel at his perfect features, his sweet temperament, and his God-given ability to know how to nurse like a pro when he was just minutes old...I am reminded of the sanctity of human lives...little or big, white or black, perfect or flawed, wanted or unwanted. If only every baby would have someone to look into their eyes and promise to love and protect them...they deserve it! Thankfully this boy made the journey from the womb to the world, when there are so many that don't. God is good, and this Maid and Butler are so very grateful!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Democracy Rocks!

Okay, so I am 39.5 weeks pregnant...do you hear the discomfort in my voice? :)

Still no baby yet...and after delivering my last baby 10 days early...I was hopeful! But, this child is either waiting to find out what his name will be before he comes out, or he needs the results of the election first!

We waddled up to the voting place today...at 6:10 a.m. Did you catch that? I have not been sleeping...at all...and actually had breakfast at 4:45 this morning with my husband and we went to go vote. Of course, I was thinking we would be some of the first few to get there and would be out in no time. Wrong. People the sun wasn't even up yet and there was a line about 50 people long.

Still, why does it take so long for people to vote? Do they get there and read every line on the ballot? Didn't they practice at home? LOL

Seriously...we have been decided on 95% of the content of our ballot for months now...and all we had to do was fill in the bar with the black magic marker and VOILA! Get your sticker and get the heck out of there!

So why on earth is it such a long process for some people? Are they coloring within the lines all perfectly? Are they reading and re-reading the propositions to make sure no one pulled the ole switcheroo on them? Or is it a really long game of eenie meenie minie moe? I don't get it. From the time I plopped my ballot down in the little stall, it took me about 2 minutes. Do you hear that slow pokes? 2 MINUTES! In fact, I suggest that they have a time limit on this deal. If you haven't finished after 5 minutes, you should be ejected and your vote shouldn't count. Yep, that is democracy MAID style. Get in. Make the beds. Freshen the towels. Get out.

If I had been thinking clearly, I would have faked labor...and tried to get to the front of the line!

At any rate, I waddled out to my car, and drove away proudly wearing my "I voted today" sticker to proclaim to all the world that even though I am a frumpasaurus right now...I still have the same rights, privileges, and convictions to support my country. The same rights as that guy who was on his cell phone the whole morning making himself soud really significant. (Dude, get off the phone...the world can carry on without you.) Or that lady who was all decked out on her way to some really important job, no doubt. (Why do these kind of people always look annoyed that they have to stand with the "public" in such a humiliating display of mediocrity?) Or what about the lady who was on the phone asking the caller to tell her how to vote? (If I was that ignorant come election day, would I want the entire line of people to know it? Um, big no.)

Yessir. I still have the same rights while boldly wearing that sticker as each and every one of you....

Free coffee at Starbucks.
Free ice cream at Ben and Jerry's.
Free donut at Krispy Kreme.

Yep. Democracy rocks.

"I voted today."

Now gimme my donut.

The Maid

Friday, October 24, 2008

Waiting on the Lord...

I don't like the word wait. Or the word weight. But when you are 38 weeks pregnant and ready to deliver any day now...well, they are both four letter words in my book. I'm not just talking that dreaded "waiting room" experience where you sit and try to pretend like you aren't completely miffed that you are not being tended to already...and that your doctor/dentist, whoever, totally overbooked their day! I am speaking of waiting on the Lord, however, which can be just as "painful" for lack of a better word.

This has been a year of great waiting for us...waiting to see what the Lord does is such a difficult task. I have had such a hard time committing things to prayer and waiting. And waiting. And, yep, more waiting.

My husband made a job change this year that we thought would be a good one. That still remains to be seen. We are waiting for God to give us wisdom in that area. We are waiting for something awesome to happen there. "God, can you hear me?" (Me, tapping fingers impatiently.)

We tried to sell our home this past year...for a variety of reasons, all which seemed logical and seemed to line up with what we thought would be God's will for our lives. And, yep, you guessed it. We waited. To no avail, no buyer, nothing. So after 8 long months of waiting, hoping to sell and hoping to make some exciting changes...we pulled the plug on it. That was about 5 months ago, and we still sit here wondering why we didn't sell and waiting to see what God does with our home and in our current situation.

This has truly been a year of waiting. At this point, things don't look good. I'll confess. My husband is facing a decision about his very career. One that has served us well for 8 of the last 9 years. We have been truly blessed. He loves what he does, but it is becoming increasingly clear that change is coming. And I'm not talking about Obama.

As we wait for the Lord to direct us, and for that decision to be made, whatever it is, it is almost as if I can hear the second hand on the clock ticking every moment of every day. It is becoming louder and louder and ascending into what sounds like a ticking time bomb to me. Maybe it is my current physical state (uh-hem, superpregnant) that makes this seem so loud and intrusive in my life right now, but waiting for something to happen in almost every area of my life (physical, spiritual, emotional, financial) has become all-consuming.

As a woman, I need safety, security, stability, especially when a new life will be on our doorstep in a matter of days. The only comfort I have is knowing that what I can't see, God can. What I don't know, God does. But I shudder to say this out loud, and that is, I don' know how much comfort that brings me right now. God feels far away. In the waiting there is such a deafening silence.

God promises us that for those who wait upon the Lord their strength will increase. That being said, I must be getting stronger every day! LOL

In the meantime, if you believe in a sovereign God, say a prayer for this maid. It is getting harder to push my cart through the hotel these days...and you can just forget about me fluffing your pillows. You'll be lucky not to find me sleeping in them! :)

The Over-"wait"-ed Maid

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The truth shall set you free...

Okay...so for the couple of you who actually tried to figure out via my last post what may have been the real deal, here is a quick reveal for you:

The lies are:

1) Flew to Hawaii with Raul. (I know, it is not that far-fetched, right? Except for the fact that I don't have a pool.)

9) I went four days without a shower. Eeeeewww. People, come on. I can not even stand a 48 hour showerless existence! LOL

12) I lost $200,000 in the stock market. However, we have lost about $200,000 in equity in our home. Suck a duck.

15) I bought a pair of Jimmy Choo's. First of all, I wouldn't even know where to shop like that, second of all...I already have over 50 pairs of shoes...so I think my hubby would shoot me!

17) I saved enough money with coupons to pay my car payment. That would require quite a mountain of little clippings I tell you.

24) I washed my car, by hand. With 7 kids, I assure you I will never wash my car again. What do you think I birthed all of these people for anyway?

28) I started training for a marathon. Some day I would like to...as for now, my marathon will have to consist of get up, shower, clean, laundry, sleep. Sigh.


Okay, so the funny part is...I asked my husband to figure out which ones were true and he didn't even get them all right! He actually thought I could have saved $629.00 in coupons to pay the car payment. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Interesting tid-bits about some of the truths are:

* We did have to boil water to wash dishes. Can you believe that? Why do you think I was plotting the demise of the Home Depot general manager? It took them over a month to replace a broken dishwasher (4 months old) that nearly burned my house down! The boiling water...well, what they fail to tell you between picking up the old dishwasher and bringing the new one is that in that 7 days you can't use your hot water. Oh, and that there would be water damage under the sink from them failing to close off the right lines/hoses or whatever! Do you see why I might have told an orange apron wearer that I wanted somebody's _____ on a platter? (I'm still bitter, I know. Pray for me.)

* Yes, I did find a Benadryl that tastes good. It is a melt on your tongue strip...vanilla mint. Sad, but true. At this stage of pregnancy...Benadryl is in my arsenal of OTC meds.

* I did get two pedicures in less than 30 days. I have the best mom on the planet...both were gifts from her! Woohoo! (Now if I could just find that pool boy to peel my grapes for me.)

* I did shred paperwork that for some odd reason I had saved since 1988...one of my first jobs...paystubs, tax returns etc. The sad thing is that I worked for $3.65 an hour and thought that was a great job! (My teenager is bummed that starter jobs in our area for him would only pay about $8.50 an hour. Smack. Him. Would. Ya?)

* Note to self: Shredders burn out. Quickly. I only got 9 garbage bag fulls of shredded paperwork before having to bury ours.

* I did tell a store employee that his store was yucky...disclaimer: I said worse than sucked. This is a PG blog, however, so I won't tell you what I really said! (In case you are wondering, it is a store where they have fork-lifts and orange aprons.)

* I routinely do 2-3 loads of laundry a day...more when we have excess sheets and towels to wash. So...sadly, that is a true story.

* I also, despite my disdain for the iron, did press some shirts and pants for my dear hubby this month. He has taken on a second job (yep...real estate is not cutting it lately...poor guy) and I see very little of him. Which means...I try to do more to make his life easier...and he has relaxed his standards as well...he LETS me iron for him. I truly stink at it, but I think he figures he'd rather have an imperfectly ironed shirt and another 30 minutes of sleep! LOL

* I did (tear) throw away (sniff, sniff) my favorite pants. They were warm up pants (black with red and white stripe on the sides) and they had seen me through many years and almost two whole pregnancies. Can I get some sympathetic soul to play taps for me on their bugle? I mean it was a really hard loss to grieve...one that only someone who hates to shop for clothes and who has had a "favorite" pair of pants could understand. (Have you ever loved a pair of pants so much that you would rather keep your legs crossed and wear them with holes anyway?) See. I told you. Sad.

Thank you Betty and Happy Mommy for your educated guesses! ;) You guys were darn close!

And Betty, please don't stop liking me because I actually did steal money from my children!

Happy Mommy...well, I am sorry to burst your bubble...but I did gain 2 pounds in 30 days. My pregnancy weight gain has been 11 pounds to this point (36 weeks) because I can't eat a lot of things I would love to eat when I'm pregnant...it stinks! (Heartburn, nausea, and all of those wonderful things....see what you are not missing? LOL) Oh, and since I have enough fat stores to feed the Gosselin sextuplets, I don't think that the baby is missing out! LOL!

Love you guys! Happy Happy Weekend!

The Maid (Who cannot see her feet anymore!)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How I may have spent the last 30 days....

I realize that when I started this blog, that I posted more frequently...and probably more coherently...but let me assure you that underneath this tired, maxed out, pregnant mom, zombie facade, there still lies a sharp, detail-oriented, eloquent, and sometimes witty mind. I am just sleep deprived and overwhelmed with life. (Yeah, I know, cry me a river.)

Because I am currently wading in the shallows, well, expect nothing more from this post. A little look into what may or may not have kept me from posting a whole lot in the last 30 days. Much of it is truth, but see if you can guess which of the 30 statements might be just a little white lie...

1) I flew to Hawaii for a glorious vacation with my pool-boy, Raul.

2) I ate 90 Tums...give or take.

3) I went to traffic school. (Duh)

4) I stole money from my children.

5) I sold and shipped a bunch of crap on ebay.

6) I gained two pounds.

7) I had to boil water to wash dishes.

8) I discovered that I like the taste of Benadryl.

9) I went four days without a shower.

10) I learned about calcium content in various types of milk.

11) I developed a love/hate relationship with cable news.

12) I lost about $200,000 in the stock market.

13) I just cracked up about number 12, as if.

14) I plotted the ultimate demise of the general manager of Home Depot.

15) I bought a pair of Jimmy Choo's.

16) I got two pedicures.

17) I saved enough money with grocery store coupons to pay my car payment.

18) I shredded paperwork from 1988 to present.

19) I killed the shredder.

20) In a fit of disgust, I told a store employee that his store sucked.

21) I lost at least 100 hours of much needed sleep.

22) I realized the only gold medal I will ever own is a bag of flour.

23) I cut 4 out of 7 of my kids' hair.

24) I washed my car...by hand.

25) I did over 90 loads of laundry.

26) I ironed for my husband.

27) I threw away my favorite pants.

28) I started training for a marathon.

29) I baked at least 5 dozen cookies.

30) AND I have been kicked from the inside on a daily basis.

***So whatcha think? Which ones do you believe? Hint: there are more than five, less than 10 little white lies. :)

Have a great weekend!
The busy, tired, and lying Maid.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to spend 200 dollars and 5 hours...

I know you are expecting something really great.

Like a drive to cool country just for an elegant meal, or a relaxing day at the spa.

Sadly, a couple of weeks ago, I thought the BEST way to spend my Saturday was to go to traffic school. (See my confession here.)

So where do I start? Let's see...how about the fact that the closest traffic school that met my court date requirements was 45 minutes away...oh, and it started at 7:30 a.m.

Did you know that there was a 7:30 in the daytime? Dude...I thought the twilight one was it.

So being that I am the insomniac who stays up for a nightly infomercial fix (really), I knew that I would have to FORCE myself to bed by midnight. I know, it is just so early. So, I watched what I ate and drank, got into my jammies and brushed my teeth. I crawled into the nice cool sheets to soak up my 6 hours of sleep before I would be ripped from dreamville prematurely.

This is where I would love to tell you that I drifted off quickly and easily, had sugar plum visions, and woke rested to the sound of singing birds. Yep. Didn't happen.

I layed there. All. Night. Long.

I tried to sleep. I counted sheep, said hours of prayers, and even tried to go potty one last time.


I tossed. I turned. I itched. I scratched. I sighed. I moaned. I cried. I was SOOOOO frustrated...because I knew...KNEW...that I would be tired and cranky and so not into the fun and educational day of Defensive Driving Instruction. (Dripping with sarcasm.)

Well, dawn broke...as it does apparently every day while I am blissfully unaware...and the lighter it got, the more obvious it was that I was not going to get any sleep. So I did what any good student would do, I got up, showered, complained to my husband, got dressed up (yep...just in case I could persuade the instructor to let me go early), and kicked the dog on my way out the door...at 6:30 a.m. - A. M. - A. M. PEOPLE!

(Oh, and we don't even have a dog...so in retrospect, I'm wondering who I kicked?)

What is one inclined to do when traveling to an obligatory day of interaction with the socially inept? (I'll get into them later.)

You guessed it. Sonic. You have to drive through Sonic.

Breakfast burrito and Diet Coke with that amazing ice. I might even be able to stay awake until 10 with that stuff.

So I get my Sonic, painfully aware that I am sitting in the very stall that I slammed into with my Suburban months prior, when the happiest species of perky young female skates out with my goods. Wanna hear her words of wisdom? "Have a nice day." Yeah, I know. The nerve.

My thoughts begin to scream at her..."Do you know where I am going, dear carhop? Do you?"Traffic school. I think I would rather be rolling car to car delivering breakfast burritos and legal addictive stimulants. I was encouraged by her pluckiness, but not enough to actually tip her. I feel bad about that now, but give me a break, I was on NO sleep...okay? And pregnant. And hungry. And totally uncaffeinated at that point.

So as I pulled out of Sonic, probably muttering something pathetic, I was on my way. Well, my 45 minute drive took almost an hour...and I was stressed. I had been told to be there on time, because they might lock me out if I wasn't . Because that is the way the people who run these things work. They are of the "tough luck" mentality. You got busted, pay the fine. You are late, reschedule. We don't want your interruptions...just your money, right?

Just a quick question for you? Why is it that when you are in a rush...you hit EVERY red light? Every single one. Oh, and you don't see stuff...like the poor construction worker I nearly plowed over when I whipped a frantic right turn. I'm sorry dude, I didn't see you. (Gave him the sorry wave...Do you think he saw that?) Get off me. (He even stepped into the lane I was driving in to watch me drive away... I am convinced that another ticket is in the mail by now.) Sigh.

So I pull into the parking lot of the massive church that the instruction was being hosted at just in the nick of time. It was 7:28 a.m. (I still am so proud of myself that I got somewhere, showered, dressed, and make-upped...all before 7:30)

Sadly, it took me 10 minutes to find the dang classroom...there were a gazillion buildings and finally I found a campus map and walked through the classroom door.

I did not find an instructor speaking, teaching, and otherwise beginning a class...no I found about 60 people in a room...looking incredibly bored and pathetic as they waited for the lone Traffic School guy to check in and register every student. Yep. It was a classic case of hurry up and wait.

I stepped in line behind this tall guy...who was carrying his gym bag and was bragging that he had already been there for hours playing basketball. (Dude...shut up.) Like I was supposed to be impressed. (Okay, I was a little impressed, not about the basketball thing...but he was up...early. Apparently there is a whole world out there of people who actually wake up early. Puzzling.)

All the while that this guy is chatting with me, he is scanning the room. No doubt looking to see if his day wouldn't be a total waste of time...checking the room for babes. Seriously, could he make it any more obvious? And I know I am totally pregnant and married and everything, but what am I? Chopped liver?

So as we near the registration table, we begin to put a face with a voice (the one that has been shouting at us for 20 minutes to have our checks and our tickets ready along with our drivers license...oh, and make sure they are all facing the same way...yada yada yada). It is a skinny, greasy, retired face...who somehow thought he was a stand up comedian. I don't know what is worse, the fact that he thought he was funny, or the fact that he was a realtor and tried to sell us all a house. (Seriously...put in a plug for his business...nerd.) His catch phrase seemed to be "Work with me People," when he wouldn't get a laugh...he said it. I think I counted about 50 times.

Now as a mom and wife, I am no stranger to boredom. Let me clarify. I realize that there are things that have to be done...over and over and over. Things that don't exactly excite, but you just do them. Traffic school was one of those things. But can I just reiterate how incredibly boring it was to sit through one hour and 40 minutes of rules, introduction (of himself mainly), and the mundane reading of each and every ticket...outloud...to the class. Uh-huh. It went a little something like this:

"Oh, here we have a 42 in a 25...near Star Valley. Does everyone know where Star Valley is? You don't? Let me tell you...."

"Oh, and here is a red light ticket...in Peoria. Oh, and no proof of insurance."

"Do you guys realize that if you don't have your insurance or registration...you can get multiple tickets?" (I know, he is a genius. I learned so much.)

So it went on like that for over an hour. I never thought the trips to the restroom to go pee would be the most exciting parts of my day.

Being that I am in my third trimester of pregnancy, one of the issues I'm plagued with is hot flashes...I tend to get really hot and need air. So thankfully, we were in the Senior Aerobics room (not even joking) at this church...the blessing was that there were oscillating fans everywhere. Just one small glitch. They were not turned on.

So as I am dying of heat, I am scheming. "If I could just get one of those things to blow on me, I might survive this Traffic Survival School...or whatever it is called." So I discreetly get up and wander to the back of the room (which the instructor has given us all permission to do...get up walk around, stretch...just don't leave). Being the brilliant maid that I am, I see some stacked chairs at the back of the room and a fan. Oh yeah. Bring chair A to fan B and I am set. So I get all set up and then I do the brilliant part...plug in and turn on the fan. (Picture this, I am a good 15 feet back from the very last row of students...so I really am not disturbing anyone...yet.)

I say yet, because, apparently all of the fans in the room were from the paleolithic era. And, well, when the discreet maid tried to turn it on...well, if you can imagine the most annoying humming/buzzing sound of motor trying to start...oh yeah. I'm pretty sure that EVERYONE in the room turned and looked at me. Ordinarily I love attention. I pretty much would have rather taught the class than sit through it, but picture the type of people that were in the room with me:

- Young, old, fat, thin, nerdy, your typical narc, your rebel, and other social outcasts.

All of those people glancing back to see WHO was making such noise...and why.

Turn around people. I'm just trying not to pass out...wait a minute...maybe that would make this thing go by faster.

Well, as Mr. Know it all shared with us during the class (you all know the type...the type who has to interject something relevant and what he deems interesting at EVERY pause), at least we only had to endure a total of 5 hours and not 8 hours. The classes used to be 8 hours until some unlucky state legislator got a ticket and had to sit through the class. He vowed to write legislation to reduce our "time served" to a more reasonable punishment. Thank the Lord above for that guy's ticket and the beautiful legislative process (Hey, we may not be able to balance the state budget, but we can get those poor traffic survival school folks out of the pits of hell)...I mean we were there until almost 1:00 p.m. and I was foaming at the mouth.

So after all eyes were off me, I found myself in the interesting position of being able to watch everything. It was great. I had my private fan and seat at the back of the room...and a view to boot.

Here is what I saw:

*2 older ladies who got up every 15 minutes to stretch. I mean it was as if they were embarking on a jog...bend, touch your toes, reach over your head to the left, to the right...oh sit down already.

*Old guy with a pocket full of almonds...yep. Oh and apparently a bad sciatica...he was up and walking and stretching for almost the last two hours...eating his nuts. I mean the almonds. And if that wasn't bad enough, at one point he bent over...spilling those bad boys all over the floor. Did he pick them up? Nope. He just tried to discreetly kick them into a pile in the corner? What the heck? Dude, didn't yo mama ever teach you to pick up after yourself?

*Mr. Basketball, who plugged in his laptop (he wanted people to know that he was more than an athelete, I suppose) and his ipod to charge. He was constantly looking around trying to make eye contact with people and rolling his eyes out of boredom. He was making friends with body language...twas quite interesting.

*Mr. Know-It-All, who decided that he wanted to change his name to Mr. Narc. Yessir. He raised his pathetic hand to address Mr. Greasy and said this: "Um, will you tell this guy over here to get off his laptop and his ipod? He is really distracting those of us who are trying to pay attention."

Oh - yes - he - did.

The funny part is that I was the eye in the back of the room and as he and Mr. Basketball argued in front of the teacher over that...all I could think of was: "Ooooh, fight at recess."

And I know who would win...it would not be Mr. Narc. Seriously, for the last hour of the class, the songs from West Side Story began to run through my brain. I guess I was ready for a rumble.

*Mr. If I Wasn't Married. Okay, disclaimer: I am happily married to a handsome and wonderful loving guy, but this wasn't about me...this was about this guy. You know the type...if I hadn't been wearing a wedding ring and wasn't obviously pregnant, this was the guy that I know would have asked me out. Not because I am all that or anything, but because he gave me all the signals. Eye contact, smiles, more eye contact, watching me walk out of the back of the room, watching me walk back in, more smiles, and even a friendly exchange at the end of the class to see if I would bite. (After all, as I explained earlier...I had gotten dressed up...my toenails matched my shirt and my shoes...and I had full on hair and make-up that day...I probably was one of two women that day who showered! Note to self: next time wear sweats and a pony tail.)

So as the day came to a close, and Mr. Greasy Real Estate Agent/Instructor was handing out our certificates of completion (why is this necessary? It is not like we graduated or anything.), I found myself wishing only one thing...why couldn't I be an A. You know...in the alphabetical sense. My last name is unfortunately towards the end of the alphabet...and I was waiting...and waiting...for my stupid name to be called so I could go the heck home. Yep, we always want what we can't have...why couldn't I be an "Anderson?"

Better yet? Why couldn't I have avoided the darn ticket in the first place?

This was my day at traffic survival school...and that is exactly what I did...survived it. Be warned my friends, photo radars are here to stay. They are everywhere...so drive carefully, and if you happen to go to traffic school, take my advice and find a seat in the back, pull up a fan, bring a really big Diet Coke, and just watch, giggle, and learn.

I may not be any wiser on the road...but work with me people...I survived traffic school. (T-Shirts coming soon.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Questions for you?

1) Why is it that the minute the sheets are clean or the toilets are scrubbed, someone pees the bed or barfs in the toilet?

2) Why is it that the minute I buy something that I have been needing or wanting to buy, it goes on sale the next day? And when will I learn to save receipts and make my returns promptly?

3) Why is it that the idea of pregnancy is so much more fun than actually going through it?

4) Why is it that I can look at my kids and love them even with boogers, but someone else's perfectly spotless child gets on my last nerve?

5) Why is it that daily devotionals, daily story-reading to my kids, and daily family mealtimes so often get replaced with McDonald's, reality tv, and a glimpse through a magazine?

6) Why is it that so often when you get what you want, you find out it isn't really what you wanted?

7) Why is it that even though it is not humanly possibly, each year we long to create a perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas?

8) Why is it that we always want what we can't have? (i.e. - snow in Arizona at Christmas!)

9) Why is it that no matter how much money we make, it is never enough?

10) Why is it that I can be out of the house for 8 hours and never once have to go pee, but the minute I walk through the door of my bathroom I nearly wet myself trying to unbutton my pants?

11) Why is it that even though I am not naive, I want to believe what people tell me?

12) Why is it that the first and last bite of something always taste the best?

13) Why is it that no matter how careful we are, we seem to always have vegetables to throw away when we clean out the fridge?

14) Why is it that even though I know I won't use them, I still cut coupons?

15) Why is it that the laundry is never done?

These are the things that are rattling around the Maid brain today.

What questions do you have?

Monday, September 8, 2008

To All the Blogs I've loved before...well, almost.

Dear Happy Mommy...

Hello blog friend. I wanted to address you in a quick post because for some time now, I cannot read your blog. Every time I go to your site, it pulls it up and then goes straight to your background fabric. I cannot read the content of your page. I have tried from my home computer as well as our laptop, and I don't know why I can't see it. :)

I wanted you to know that I have tried to come visit, but for some reason cannot. ??
Let me know if others' are having a problem too.

The Sad Mommy,
The Maid

Dear Bunch of Bullers...

Haven't seen anything new in a while, and haven't had a comment or email from you in fo-e-va.
Are you still alive? Or are you trapped under something heavy and cannot get on the computer?
Since I can't get out to Tennessee to make sure no more runaway cars have encroached on your property and maybe struck you or your muffins in a ditch, please check in with me.

Deeply concerned,
The Maid

Dear Queen April...

Please. Slow. Down. I cannot post as often as you...and you are starting to make me look bad...especially to all the Bunco babes who might actually read us both. LOL

Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to see a comment from you again. After all, you are the one who got me started on the whole "comments are crack for the blogger" thing.

Eating your dust,
The Maid


Dear Bogart...

I know that you are busy running all over the country with your cookie-baking bride-to-be, but haven't seen you lately either. Do I offend? I mean I showered just yesterday.

And when are you going to get married already? Inquiring minds want to know.

Married misery loves company,
The Maid

PS - If the butler reads this comment...I am not miserable...it was a joke.


Dear EplusT...

Quit reading books and tell us another funny story. Like the time you thought you gained 10 pounds and must be dying...only to find out it was your scale malfunctioning.

Turning on the tv now to be less like Jesus,
The Maid


Dear Julia (My bloomin' life)...

Your last post (over a month ago) suggested that you had four ticks on you...that you were tired...and that you had some health issues. Are you okay? I mean, the ticks alone would have sent me over the edge. I hope you are not neglecting your chickens too.

The Maid


Dear Poop and Boogies (William)...

I am pretty sure that the reason you have not stopped by lately is that you are still flirting with the geriatric sample giver at Costco...when you have a minute to visit me, leave me a comment...even if just to tell me what aisle the honey was on...if not, well, I will tell you where to put your 5lb can of honey, honey.

The Maid


Dear Coffee Bean...

I know that you recently started a political blog, and it must be so time consuming, but if I can come and get sucked into almost daily political debates (snore) with your bloggy friends, and actually enjoy it, then you can come by and leave a computer kiss. I mean, you have become the ambassador to the bloggy nation. :) (Smile and wave, elbow - elbow...wrist - wrist...)

Conventions are over...come on down,
The Maid


Dear Almost Paradise...

Blog. More. Often.

I enjoy your writing...even if it is sometimes about American Idol...and your professed love for the one who "brought chubby back."

Requesting more of you, in a good way,
The Maid


Dear Malinda...

You are awesome. One of the few homeschooling parents I know that actually seems to enjoy it as much as your kids do. When you are not busy being supermom, superteacher, and superprayerwarrior...stop by and visit. (If you can peel yourself off of facebook.) LOL

Inspired by you,
The Maid


Dear Katie...

What can I say about you...how about you make me some muffins or something and deliver? I mean, since I am not inclined to actually cook for my family, and since you are organized enough to have everything done on time...well, bring. me. muffins. or cookies.

Okay, I'd settle for the occasional comment.

Super pathetic comment seeking,
The Maid



Well, what are you waiting for. Leave me a comment.

What you say? You need a topic? Okay, answer this:

"How many pairs of underwear do you own? And is it enough?"

That ought to be interesting.

So not washing YOUR underwear,
The Maid


Oh, and Dear Chris at Diet Coke Rocks...

I recently read a post about your new underwear, where you actually took photos of them all pretty and neatly laid out on the bed...so I know I could go find the photo and figure out the answer myself, but humor me and answer the question if you dare. :) LOL

Hope your fanny is fantastic now. And that you are all settled after the move.

The Maid

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Give me the stage for a day...

I love music. I absolutely love it. I am also a lyric junkie. In fact, my teenager recently downloaded an application for me to apply to be on "Don't forget the lyrics," because after watching me master the lyrics from show after show (where, I might add, I have won millions of dollars from my living room)...he thought I should try it live. Well, this Maid is a little camera shy...and won't be signing up for any tv shows, but I really do know I could rock the show and win big! Just ask my son!

So the point that I am getting at is this: I think I have been ministered to by the Lord more through music in my life than through sermons. Even when I read God's word, I often encounter scriptures that have become familiar tunes and the tune kind of takes over. I actually find myself able to memorize verses of scripture more easily when set to music. (Probably lots of you are like that...I think that is pretty common.)

At some point in my life I want to write lyrics. I want to be the author of the music that inspires others and that ultimately God uses to bless people. I have written a couple of songs...or should I say God has written them through me (since I know the way that kind of writing often flows is a gift)...but I haven't been given the actual "music" to them. (One song was inspired by a friend who took the spotlight in Hollywood, and kind of let the Lord take a backseat to the glamorous life...and the other was inspired by the backlash we experienced as a result of leading our nephew to the Lord. It was kind of an "angry" rock song...with a positive message. Which kind of sounds ridiculous...but it was all about how we'd rather face persecution from people we love, and lose their love, than to fail the Lord's commandment to share His love.)

But let me tell you, if I could have written this song, I would have. And if I could be Natalie Grant for a day, and belt this one out, I would sing it to anyone who would listen!

Over the past few weeks, this song has blessed me. It really sums up what I have gone through this year. A mixture of what I know, what I feel, how I've acted, how I've failed, and the victory that is mine because my savior has promised that though I WILL stumble (not IF), He won't let me fall. Praise God! And how awesome it is of God to let another person (through music) remind me that I am not alone in this struggle. (And neither are any of you!)

Read this sweet bloggers...and then turn up your speakers, click the link below, and ENJOY!

I have been a wayward child,
I have acted out,
I have questioned sovereignty,
and had my share of doubts,

And though sometimes,
my prayers feel like they're bouncing off the sky,
the hand that holds me won't let me go,
and is the reason why:

I will stumble,
I will fall down,
But I will not be moved.
I will make mistakes,
I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved.

Bitterness has plagued my heart,
many times before,
My life has been like broken glass,
and I have kept the score
of all my shattered dreams,
and though it seemed,
that I was far too gone,
my brokenness helped me to see,
it's grace I'm standing on.

I will stumble,
I will fall down,
But I will not be moved.
I will make mistakes,
I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved.

And the chaos in my life,
has been a badge I've worn,
and though I have been torn,
I will not be moved.

I will make mistakes,
I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved.

"I Will Not Be Moved." By Natalie Grant

If you have a comment to share about the song, the lyrics, the video, the content, whatever, please do. It is so awesome to hear that I am not stumbling through this crazy time in my life alone. I would love to pray for you! :)

The Maid

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thank you for being a friend....

You know who you are.

You are the one who calls all of the time. Even when I don't answer...you persist. You make sure that I am okay. Your timing is often perfect, but even when it is not...your friendship makes up for it.

You are the one who spent almost three hours on the phone with me. In that time I experienced laughter, tears, sarcasm, humor, commiseration, encouragement, Godly advice, wisdom, love, depth of feelings, nurturing of wounds, more sarcasm, joy, pain, flushing toilets, and well...just plain old good company.

This is the friend that when I say I need to go, hears the cues in my voice. The shaky voice that says, "I think I might cry, and I don't want to embarrass myself." This is the friend that pleads with me to not hang up, but to talk. I didn't even know that I wanted to talk about it. I didn't even know what "it" was. Apparently, I needed to talk. And she wanted to listen.

The good kind of listening. The kind that affirms, encourages, equips, and loves. The kind of listening that instead of saying..."Maybe you should....blah blah blah"....says this..."Your plate is full. You cannot accept that on your plate. You cannot take on one more thing, emotional, spiritual, physical. What you have to deal with is enough...and God will take the rest from you."

Why do I forget that? Why do I forget that when I feel I have nothing left to give...that I am doing all I can, doing more than I can, that God is waiting for me to ask for help. Not only to ask for help, but to say..."Lord, I'm not going to accept that on my plate...You didn't put it there...so please take it off."

You know, he does it.

His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

Why do I forget that?

I think it is because I fall into comparing myself with others. Or maybe I don't want to let anyone down. In the end, I am letting down the most important people of all by weakening myself and my mind with the lies of the enemy. The enemy that is saying, "You are not good enough. You are not doing enough. You are not doing a good enough job." Ouch. All of those things bombard me daily.

God has not commanded that I master all things, only that I take all things to my Master. He wants to be the one to order my steps. He wants to be the one to give me my value. He wants to complete me, as I seek Him.

Thank you dear friend for reminding me that just because something is said, doesn't make it true. Thank you for reminding me to take my thoughts captive. Thank you for reminding me to weed out the crap, turn it over to the Lord, and carry on. Thank you for reminding me that my God wants to not only lighten my load, but carry it for me.

I love you.

The Maid

Monday, August 18, 2008

Church would be great, if it weren't for the people.

This is going to be short...and sweet.

Sweet for me. To get it off of my chest.

If it is not so sweet for you, well move on. I mean this blog is my place to dump, so I encourage you to all sift as you read. Or leave. (In love of course.) :)

My pastor is awesome. He often says things that just resonate deeply.

He wasn't there tonight, but the one who filled in was just as great.

The message tonight was an encouragement...that when we want someone to disappear because they are bugging us...they don't fit our little mold for a perfect life or they are a nuissance in some way, we often just want to ignore them. He suggested that those are the times and the people that are screaming out for help the most. The people that need Jesus and for us to show the love of Christ the most. Awesome. True.

We do need to overlook the transgressions of others in love. Period.

But what about when those people are already Christians? Do we apply the same standards? I say absolutely. The people that we do "church" with every week, that are friends or acquaintances of ours are capable of hurting us. Often. Our pastor often jokes that he as a shepherd has experienced the painful bites from his very own sheep.

And so have I. Sheep bites. From fellow sheep. Sheep who sit under the same tutelage of the pastor/shepherd. Sometimes the bites are playful bites. You know they aren't intended to harm, but they do. (Example: "Hey, you guys just gonna keep having kids until you get your own Discovery Channel tv show?" or "Are you working on getting your own zip code?")

Yeah. Funny. Ha. Ha.

Sometimes the bites are deep. They leave marks. They leave deep wounds.
(Remember the friend post?)

But the conclusion that I have come to is something I have known for a while, but just seem to keep getting lab lessons in, is this: When you live in a fallen, sin-filled world, there is no safe place. Not even your church. There are not safe people. Sometimes you cannot even go to church and worship peacefully. The sheep are there...ready to bite.

So what has our pastor said that has left a lasting impression? Well, my husband and I have often thought about leaving our church. Starting fresh somewhere else. Joining a fellowship where we can go to church and be a little more anonymous. We can get in and worship and get out. Without the dumb comments. Without the painful memories. Without the flock that has left it's mark on us. What our pastor has said is this: "Church would be great, if it weren't for all of the imperfect people there." Oh and this..."If you find a perfect church, by all means, don't join it...you will just mess it up."

So that is where I am at right now. I love our church...it just feels like some of the people there take the joy out of it. Why does it have to be that way? Why can't people just accept you as you are...and love you...for 90 freaking minutes each week. I am not even asking them to socialize outside of church...just smile and nod, an occasional hug, and...MOVE ON.

Why do people feel like they have to point out your flaws?

Do they not know that we have a degree in that? Yessir. I know which areas I really struggle...I don't need you to point it out. I am learning about grace and forgiveness and overlooking sin...and that kindness leads to repentance...why aren't you learning that? (You biters know who you are. Not saying that any of my blog readers are biters...just throwing that out there.)

Yep. Church would be great, if it weren't for all of the people there.

PS - Don't ask what caused this post...I won't say. I am working on overlooking transgressions...duh. See how spiritual I am? (Tongue firmly planted in cheek.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Seven days makes one weak.

We have all seen that saying before.

Usually plastered on a church marquee. Inviting you to come in and be refreshed. Okay, so maybe it said something like this:

"Seven days without God makes one weak."

And let me tell you...especially if it is the week before school starts.

Can I just admit how ready I am to send the squealing estrogen monkeys back to school...along with their brother? And who says you have to be 5 to go to kindergarten...I mean I have a perfectly capable 4 year and 8 month old daughter whose mother would really benefit from her being in school.

This past week has been a challenge. Eye rolling, fighting, screaming, tantrums, slacking off from chores, and making demands. And the kids have been worse.

Call it boredom, togetherness syndrome, the heat, whatever, but we are all ready for them to go back to school.

Which makes me wonder, why on earth did I ever want to homeschool all of them? At once. I blame the hormones. It takes nothing short of a miracle these days for me to make it through the day with a song in my heart and a mouthful of encouraging words. ("Good job honey, wow what nice handwriting (on the wall), could you turn up that program because I really love the Cheetah Girls?")


So I am truly looking forward to the new year. The smell of fresh crayons, new backpacks, and the air of excitement...it will be such a great day. Until they leave.

I know, it sounds stupid, but I can't wait to plant their little butts on the school bus and blow a kiss, but the minute I walk back into the house...and it is a little quieter, and I am left with my daily responsibilities without a dose of "Why can't we have McDonald's?" it will be strangely sad.

I still enjoy the kids that will be home with me, but the chaos that makes me so crazy also makes me feel normal. I know where everyone is. I can hear them.

Put those people on a bus, and...well....I worry.

Will they make it home safely? Better yet, did they even get to their classroom today? (I mean who else out there worries that some pedophile could have them half way to Mexico before the school calls to say they never showed up?)

Will they make friends?

Will the kids with glasses get picked on?

Will they get enough to eat?

Is their teacher kind?

Or is she old and cranky and ready to retire?

(These are the things you often don't know until it is too late. Like last year...but that story is for another blog!)

Will the teacher let them go to the bathroom? (Oh, and boy is there a story there!)

And what about the bus ride home? Will they have a place to sit?

Did I mention that I don't like that I worry?

I really don't. I wish I had the laid back attitude that my husband has...which is usually that everything is and will be alright. Until it's not. Then you can worry.

Thanks honey. That helps.

So aside from the emotional drain that this past week and the impending week have been, let's talk about the financial drain.

With three of my seven going off to public school this week (1st, 3rd, and 5th grade)...here is the list of supplies that the school, uh hem, requested. (Translation...if you don't bring these things in, the teacher will be forced to eat cup o noodles all year because she had to buy your kid crayons.)

Ready...you're gonna love this:

5th grader:

1 (2”) 3 ring binder
1 pencil case
Several red correcting pens
1 package of colored pencils/ water based markers/ crayons
4- 8 highlighters (pink, yellow, blue, green)
***Looked everywhere...only had packs with blue, yellow, pink and orange...sigh.
#2 pencils-regular (at least 36)
***One or two pencils can last me six months...what the heck?
Erasers (pencil top and pink)
Glue sticks (at least four)
3 boxes of family style tissues
**My kids don't need kleenex...they use their sleeves.
Dry erase markers (4-6)
Loose leaf writing paper-not colored ( at least four packages)
4 Spiral notebooks (One subject)
5 pocket folders for each subject (homework folders will be provided)
Ruler that has both metric and customary measurement
Disinfectant Wipes (at least three canisters)
***Excuse me? Three canisters from each child? Dude...aren't there janitors there? Are you sending my kids to clean the restrooms during recess?
Sheet protectors
Gallon Zip Lock Bags (1 box)
Copy Paper (1 ream)
***Yep...no need for the school to even provide the paper that they print out they syllabus on anymore...just ask each kid to bring in a REAM of paper. Geesh.
Old Sock
***First reasonable request on the list! Do I get brownie points for sending in old underwear too?

Third grader:

1 pencil box with a lid
Small pointed scissors
Pencil Sharpener with lid
Colored pencils (set of 12 or 24)
2 boxes of 24 count crayons (one for August and another for December)
***Could we ask for December supplies like in December? We have enough to deal with in August.
A clean sock or dry erase board eraser
1 composition notebook-any color

Items to be collected and shared:
(Translation...some parents won't cough it up...so we all get to cover their slack. Sounds like communism doesn't it?)
2 packages of #2 pencils (please no mechanical)
1 package wide lined filler paper
1 package of pencil top erasers
4 dry erase markers
2 highlighters
4 glue sticks
1 box of Kleenex
1 bottle of hand sanitizer (opt)
1 container of Clorox or Lysol wipes(opt)
1 box of Ziploc baggies (opt)
***This teacher at least mentioned that some things were optional. Translation: If you don't send those things in, we will assume that you are also on the free lunch program.

First grader:

***Note this may not have been the longest list...but I was cracking up at the anal retentive nature of the list, as well as the gigantic expectations! Oh, and not printed here, but there was a disclaimer: This is a suggested supply list and there might be additional supplies requested by the teacher during the first week of school. Which also could be interpreted as...Supply list: Round One!

4 boxes of 24-count Crayola Crayons (to be used 1 box per quarter) ***Crayola brand was bold and underlined...in other words...don't cheap out on us and send in the Schoolio Von Hoolio brand that you got for a penny at Office Max.
20 glue sticks (if you’d like to purchase more that would be great) ***Yes, I believe I would like to purchase more, because I really believe that my child will be using a full glue stick every week this year and I haven't spent enough money! Dipwad.
2 boxes of tissues (Sigh.)
1 inch, white 3-ring binder clear-view pocket on the outside of binder
1 box of number 2 WOOD pencils
2 pink large erasers (not pencil toppers)
1 box of Ziploc sandwich baggies and 1 box of gallon sized Ziploc baggies ***Again...please make sure that it is ZIPLOC (bold and underlined on her list!) brand...we don't want the cheap Wal-mart baggies that could actually save you a few dollars.
1 container of baby wipes (boys only)
1 container of Lysol disinfectant wipes (girls only) ***At least we shared the wipee burden between the genders here...thank the Lord for coed classes.
4 thin-line, dry erase markers & an old, clean sock (for wiping) (blue, red, green, or black-but not fluorescent)
1 pair Fiskars, child-sized scissors ***Again with the name brands...geesh.
2 wide-ruled single subject spiral notebooks
backpack to carry papers to and from school (NO WHEELS-please)
$5.00-$10.00 donation per student for SCRAPBOOK film development
***What? Oh yes, please let me assist you in making a small fortune to go scrapbooking in the name of "teaching." LOL

Let me issue one small disclaimer here: we love our kids' school. They do a great job with our kids and in including the parents with special programs and lots of fun field trips. (Second mortgage will come in handy to finance all of those field trips, etc...but it is great fun, nonetheless.)

If I didn't believe in what it is that they are doing for and with my kids, I would excercise another option in their education. (Hee Hee, I said excercise.) We are truly blessed. They have excelled and absolutely loved their time at their little school. (With the occasional disgust with cafeteria food, homework, and being disciplined...but that is what puts hair on your chest, right?)
So, I did it. I sent my kids off to school with my last $2000.00 neatly packed and invested in the contents of their backpacks. We took pictures, we prayed, and we called Countrywide to let them know that they won't be getting our mortgage payment this month.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Well, book the cruise!

I just wanted to share the good news with all of you.

In a series of emails over the last few weeks...seems like I may have already won $10,000,000.00.

I know. I can't believe it either.

Our dear friends over at Publisher's Clearing House have assured me that I don't need to buy anything to win, and that I could very well be the super-prize winner of $5000.00 a week for life.

So, if I suddenly begin posting photos of exotic locations, wearing big diamonds, dining alfresco with my husband, a nanny, and our brood of children...on seafood when it is not even a holiday, and can fill my whole tank with gas at once...know that I didn't fall into drug dealing or begin an illegal immigration ring. Ed McMahon simply came through.

And all of this news couldn't come at a better time, what with the terrible economy and housing market and all.

All I have to say now is "Glory Be."

Oh, and book the cruise.

I'm going shopping.

I mean I have already gotten at least 3 emails a week, and it said that someone with the initials B.S. was definitely going to win.

Oh...maybe I should read between the lines...this whole PCH thing IS the B.S.

Dang it. I would have looked so good with that Prada bag and those diamond encrusted sunglasses.

Guess it is back to reality...does anyone know how to get formerly soggy but now petrified cheerios out of the grout?

The Maid

PS - Thank you Jesus for our many blessings...I know you are faithful to provide...even if sometimes it is with a sense of humor! Amen.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Peace in pieces

I often wonder what peace feels like.

You know, the peace we read about in God's word. That peace that is supposed to surpass our own understanding.

The peace that guards our hearts and minds.

Well, I witnessed a little bit of that peace online tonight.

I had read about Pastor Greg Laurie and the death of his son this past week in an automobile accident. Christopher was 33 years old and married and expecting their second child in November. It was a horrible accident, obviously, to take his life. His wife and his daughter are both beautiful. (Their photos are posted on the Harvest.org website.)

Thursday this happened people. Unexpected. Sudden. Immediate. Final.

Today, Sunday the 27th...just 3 days later, Greg was in front of his congregation, sharing His faith in God. Sharing his peace. Sharing that although he is heartbroken, his faith is not broken. He stated how he feels closer to heaven now, and that He knows where his son is, and what glory it will be when he gets to see him again.

He got teary and shared that it is not a day to day journey, but a moment by moment one. But the calm, composed Pastor kept it all together and pointed everyone back to Christ. An anecdote he shared about his son had new meaning for him, as he insisted that although he doesn't understand why, he trusts His savior to "choose" for him. Like a loving father who wants to lavish good things on his child, he will trust HIM.


I don't know if I could respond with such spiritual maturity. Such an eternal perspective.

I hope to never have to know the depth of that ache...a parent losing a child.

I do know that I have walked through pain in my life that I never thought I could, however, and in bittersweet moments have also been given that peace. I guess I do know what if feels like, but in the absence of such trials, I forget. Would that I could carry that peace always, I truly would. I think it is given to us in measures that are needed. Not a Costco-sized supply, but in small bites. To keep us constantly going back to the throne of Christ and seeking Him. Isaiah 26:3 promises that God will keep us in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on Him. God wants us to put on a heavenly perspective, especially in the midst of trials. He wants us to return to Him every moment we have a need, and to trust and remain focused on Him.

We don't have the grace for tomorrow's trials today. We are given what we need just for today. Our daily bread.

We are given our peace in pieces.

If we lose a job, a piece of His peace is added, when we seek Him.

If we fall into worry. A piece of His peace is added, when we seek Him.

If we watch our children suffer. Again, we seek Him. And we are able to walk through it with peace.

If we are in financial ruin, and we come to Him, with an eternal perspective, we truly receive a peace that we don't understand.

I am thankful that in our weakness, He is strong.

And that He is there for us, moment by moment, day by day, piece by piece...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, and thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:7

Here is hoping that all of you have a great week, count your blessings, and do something for someone who needs a piece of peace.

In Christ,
The Maid

Monday, July 21, 2008

A kingdom far, far away...okay, not far enough.

Once upon a time, a lovely maid and her fellow maidens decided to attend a retreat. It was a glorious idea, as previous retreats had been quite the blessing with time away from family and commitments. In the time away the maid often enjoyed cooler weather, being waited on by resort staff when there was a fresh towel needed or some icy good Diet Coke, and spiritual refreshment that can only be experienced in such a setting.

As the date drew near for the retreat of the year two thousand and eight, the maid pondered attending as it would be not in the cooler climate as in times past, but rather right here in the desert with the scorpions, snakes, spiders and other pests. But alas, a decree came from the house of the maid, which insisted that she attend. The royal butler had made every arrangement to care for the maids dwelling place and any remaining peasants, and thus, the maid and her maiden friend embarked on their spiritual journey.

It was a lovely drive to the resort and the clouds in the sky promised to make it not such a dry heat afterall. In fact, over the weekend, the maid would discover the beauty of said dry heat as she and her subjects were exposed to much humidity, and even with room temperature lowered to 60 degrees the dewey maidens could not sleep a wink in their semi-private chambers the first night of their journey.

The next morning the maid emerged from her resting place drenched in sweat and hurriedly prepared to meet the other maidens for the 7:30 breakfast. Twas no time for relaxing bathing or showering, so the maid participated in what is commonly known as a bird bath* and threw on her clean garments.

Being that the maid is accustomed to the night shift, she doesn't often awake singing praises. In fact, it is often best in her maid's kingdom that the peasants refrain from speaking to her before noon. Needless to say many maidens of the morning variety were happily eating their breakfasts while the birds chirped, and they all appeared to have actually slept quite well. The maid did not fit in, but quietly ate her swine, fruit and leavened bread. She was, after all, grateful that she did not have to prepare it nor do a single dish. Ahhh, the beauty of retreat.

Even in her quietness that morning, the great King who appointed the maid to her position alongside the butler, and who ordains and directs every step of her life allowed her to see the blessing He had for her that very morning. Maidens from the land of the dry heat were appointed by the King to come and speak with and fervently pray with the maid. There were tears of joy and appreciation and the maid felt the presence of the King, and healing in many of her relationships.

As the morning went on, those who were to deliver the King's messages did a lovely job and further blessed the maid. There was laughter and encouragement and even vindication in their words. The maid was reminded that although she stumbles, the King will not allow her to fall. That her life is exactly what and where her King wants her to be. She is not under the law, but under grace. And those who point out the sin in her life are failing to remove the log from their own eyes. Wow. What a great King. Our lives of worship for our king, no matter what land we come from, are to be identified by how we love one another, and how we love God.

Oh there was much more, but the maid and her maidens were embarking on their journey to lunch. On the way out, even money was lavished on the maid by a sweet sister maid. Again there were tears of joy and gratitude. And the maidens departed to a far off place to dine on pheasant...I mean chicken and rice...or to Eat Fresh.

What a great time the retreat from retreat turned out to be for all of the maidens. We enjoyed our meals, laughed, and talked and soon ventured out to the carriage to head back to the enchanted land of the scorpions.

Oh, but what did appear on the windshield of the maid's horse and buggy? A note. T'was penned on the back of a library receipt of a do-gooder of the land. It did say the following: "Yer tire is flat."

Ah, but the wisdom was already upon us as we saw the carriage was leaning and the buggy would not make the journey without summoning the Knights of the roadside assistance.

The maid would soon discover what ambitious maidens she dined with that day, as within moments they were assisting, neh, taking over changing the very tire themselves. As one of the maidens proclaimed, "Where, ye, are all the peasant men of the land to assist us with our buggy?" In just moments, one came riding up on his white horse, (i.e. - compact car) and offered his assistance.

He was an older subject with bald head and many years of wisdom. He swiftly parked his carriage and attended to us in our distress.

Moments later, a young lad and his maiden stopped to assist with the buggy as well. Apparently it is a custom where this young man hails from to remove your clothing and expose ye old undergarments and tatoos while in the company of many maidens. Gratitude welled up in all of our hearts and a couple of the maidens lovingly gave a sack of coins (Subway gift card) to the young do-gooders. We were saddened as we left that we couldn't have done more for the peasants: some incense, feed for their horses, or maybe new undergarments which weren't from the kingdom of old.

(I think I now know why our mothers do teach us to wear clean (aka: new) underwear when we venture from home.)

It would soon be that the maidens were back at the retreat in the desert, preparing for their twilight meal. Many had come from far away lands to serve the ladies, I venture to say, even from another country where the language of the maidens is not spoken. It was yet again another fine experience where our food was presented to us all and we neither had to kill it, cook it, or clean it. Yes, t'was a beautiful thing.

But the maid encountered something rather disturbing at the table, as just into the salad course, a fellow table mate commented about the computers (aka: cucumbers) on her salad. We laughed as only mom-maidens can laugh...for we knew the state of sleeplessness that causes such a fumble. The disturbing part is, although this maiden is an aquaintance of your blogging maid, she apparently is a blog reader. Immediately after commenting about her "computers" on her salad, she eyed the maid in all seriousness and said, "Oh, no, you are not going to blog about this are you?"

There I sat, at dinner, in a land far from my cottage and was exposed. It seems that there were several at the maid's table that evening who knew intimately her thoughts. It appears that they, too, knew of the blogging tales of the maid.

Of course that was just one of the many, as another maiden commented when the maid emerged from the little maidens room, "I'm surprised to see YOU using a PUBLIC restroom." There are maidens from lands far and near watching me. They are reading me. They KNOW me. I quickly flashed ye olde hand sanitizer at them, and hurried back to my bed chamber.

The maid was tired that evening from all of the scurrying and scampering about that only happens when the giddy maidens escape from their cottages where they must tend to the wash, the ironing, the chicken plucking, and keeping their peasant children happy. It was a beautiful kind of exhaustion. It was sleep deprivation mixed with gratitude and blessing.

Looking back, even with the bugs, the early mornings, the lack of sleep, the humidity, the flat tire, the sheer fatigue that came with this retreat, I truly considered it all joy. Our King can truly bring beauty from ashes.

And I suppose that knowing that, I can live happily ever after.

The End

*Disclaimer: Not much mention of the two unknown roomies that shared the room with the maid and her maiden friend...we just want to apologize right now for using your shower gel. The day that we were all packing up to leave, we realized that we had been using your goods over the weekend...we laughed in embarrassment when we figured that out. And a note to you and your lovely daughter: next time you room with two people you don't know, they probably wouldn't mistake your stuff for the hotel's stuff if you didn't leave EVERYTHING laying out EVERYWHERE!

Oh, and for those of you wondering just what exactly is a bird bath, well, as a dear friend once told me...that is where you only have time with wet washcloth to wash up as far as possible, down as far as possible, and then you wash "possible." After all, isn't that what they did in ye olde peasant days? :)