Monday, January 17, 2011

Food for Thought and I Enlist Your Help

My pastor's sermon was very thought-provoking and very timely for me yesterday. She was talking about the virus of violence in our world and how what we, right here in our very own lives, can do to help stop it. Her suggestion was to follow the three rules of the Methodist Church:

1. Do no harm -- While on the surface, this seems like it would be pretty easy, right? I mean, none of us go around hitting or otherwise physically harming others. But what about those words we use? They say "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me," but we all know that's the biggest lie there is. Words are sometimes more painful than actual physical hurts because the sting of words can last far longer any physical ailment. The pain of childbirth is but a distant memory, but I can still remember the emotional hurts of years ago.

2. Do good. This, too, at first seems easy. I think the majority of us go about our lives trying to be good people. There is a difference between being good and doing good. "Doing" implies activity, not passivity. It is not enough to BE good, we need to DO good.

And 3. Stay in Love with God. This one seems easy, too, especially when you've just left a particularly moving sermon or a great worship service. But when life gets really busy and we get stressed out, it is easy to feel one's self losing that close relationship with God, losing that connection. We start to feel as though God has left us, but it is generally we that have left God.

All of these messages struck home with me yesterday because my own home hasn't been feeling particularly peaceful as of late. I don't know whether it's the continued lack of any kind of schedule because of the Christmas holidays and then no school for a week because of the snow, but Punkin's behavior has deteriorated. It seems as though we had a great couple of months and had a lot of forward progress, but lately we're back into the daily tantrums and the yelling, oh the yelling -- it kills my soul.

Yesterday in the car on the way home from church, I made a vow to my kids: No more yelling. BUT, I also said, I needed them to do their part and do what they're told when they're told. Now for Bubba, this isn't really a problem. Bubba is a model child. If I'd ordered him from an order form, I don't think I could have done any better.

But remember that "mind of her own" of Punkin's? Well, that mind rarely, if ever, wants to do what it's told to do. It never puts on it's pajamas when asked. It never brushes it's teeth, instead piddles in the bathroom forever. It doesn't put on it's socks in the morning, pretending intead that it doesn't know how. It falls down (in the most melodramatic fashion possible) to keep from having to do something it was told to do.

And y'all? I don't know what to do. I've tried everything. Knowing that reward works better than punishment I made a chart, complete with little pictures of all daily activties. Punkin got a sticker if she completed her task when asked. Once the chart was filled, she would get a prize. Guess who got a prize? Bubba! Who also got a chart in order to head off the "why does she get a prize for doing something I do all the time" complaint.

I've threatened to send her to school in her pajamas/sockless/naked if she doesn't get dressed.

I've used a timer, which works, but which causes so much anxiety and tears in Punkin that it's really not worth it.

So, I turn to you. What's a non-yelling mom to do? Englighten me, O brilliant readers.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Wonder Where She Gets It

So, Punkin's strong personality is well documented here on this blog. I recently heard this song by Frances England and it so perfectly captures what I imagine is going on her mind.

Take a listen....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Updates from the Snowy South

So, after a gentle nudge in the comments of my last post from a longtime reader, I realized that I haven't posted in a while. I realized that this happens to me when I have something unbloggable going on. It's like my brain thinks that if it can't blog about x, then it can't blog at all. But I think it's safe now to blog some of the details, so here goes.

We have made an offer on a house.

Let's all let that sink in for a moment, shall we? Now let's all do a happy dance!

But don't get all Saturday Night Fever on me just yet. The reasons I haven't blogged about this happy occasion are these: 1) the possibility of jinxing the whole thing and 2) the fact that the whole experience has been frought with frustration and negativity. Except for the part where we loooove the house.

I still can't get into all the details because you just never know who is related to whom around these parts, but the sellers have been somewhat....difficult. Yeah, that's the word I'll use. There's no realtor involved and the sellers have poured a crap ton of their own money trying to save this house from going into foreclosure for their son and they have what can best be described as PTSD in regards to this house, which I totally get, by the way. However, every time we have tried to negotiate the best deal possible for US, they view it as us trying to screw them over.

We have almost walked away from the whole deal twice and it could still happen. We should see the attorney's contract today and depending on what's in it, the whole deal might be off. The weird thing is, if it is? I'm totally okay with it.

So, obviously, I'll keep you posted.

Most of y'all are probably aware that we are currently experiencing Snowmageddon 2011 around here. For those Northerners among us, please attempt to refrain from guffawing at us and our inability to deal. In our defense, I can probably count on both hands the number of times it has snowed in my entire life, and yet in the last three years we've had two snowfalls that have basically crippled us. Both times, including this one, the snow turned to ice once on the ground. When you live in a hilly geographical region as we do, well, ice and hills just don't mix. To sum up, we are not prepared.

So, I am basically looking at the 4th day in a row in the house with the kids. TV has been watched, video games have been played, books have been read, Wii bowling tournaments have been played (and lost! #$#$%)#$%) and I can slowly but surely feel my brain turning into mush. The truly sad thing is that all these negative experiences with snow (you might remember this one) have killed my love for snow. It feels like part of my inner child has died.

Come on spring!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's a Conundrum

This afternoon, Bubba asked me what a roommate was. We gave him a quick explanation, but it reminded me of something that's been running through my mind recently.

When I went off to college, I planned to share an apartment with my best friend from high school. Everyone warned me "DON'T live with your best friend. It will ruin your friendship."

And sure enough, it didn't go that well. Well, at first it did, but then things kind of went haywire.

And then later, I lived with another friend and everybody warned me: "Don't live with your friends!" And sure enough: good at first, later = haywire.

But tell me, what is the #1 advice people give you when you're looking for a mate? Marry your best friend.

But how is that supposed to work exactly? Marry your best friend. But don't live with them? 'Cause it will ruin your friendship? Gee, that doesn't bode well for marriage now does it?

I guess the only saving grace is that at least we're not fighting over boys.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, y'all! Last night the family and I capped off the year (at 7:30 p.m. no less) with a sparkling grape juice toast that highlighted our hopes for the new year.

Quick aside -- Dear Welch's, WHY did you do away with the champagne-like cork on your sparkling grape juice? That was the fun of the whole thing -- getting to pop the cork! Unscrewing a top is just NOT as celebratory. Get on it!

Anyway, when I made my toast, I said that I had a feeling that 2011 was going to be a banner year for this family. We've got lots of things in the works, and I can't wait to share with y'all everything that's coming up.

This feeling, combined with the word I've chosen to signify the new year, renewal, have me feeling very positive. What do think is in the works for you in 2011?