Monthly Archives: October 2012


Matthew is our middle child, and true to form is the main comic among the children. Why is this phenomenon so pervasive that middle children become the clowns of the family?

Karl is a news hound. Warning: the previous sentence was an understatement of unimaginable proportions. As is his habit, he was scrolling through the latest in news at the end of breakfast, doing his thin ice trick. Will he find something fun to encourage the children to get finished and get out the door for school or will he serve as a bigger distraction and make everyone late? Each day we find out which kind of news it will be. Today’s news was material for Matthew’s latest comic routine.

Disney has bought Lucas Films – think Star Wars. Upon hearing this news from his father, Matthew blurted out, “What’s next, Star Wars Fairy Tales? Taste my sparkle saber!”

Everyone should have a morning laugh. The benefits of the oxygen intake alone are worth it. I have my youngest son to thank for today’s morning laugh. Perhaps for Christmas, I’ll even get him a sparkle saber!

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Give and Take

I am so not interested in a give and take relationship with Crohn’s Disease, but so far that is what I’m getting.

Yesterday I did all kinds of things that had to be done with energy to spare (you have to know I’m joking), and today my body is demanding rest to catch up. These are the days that sneak up on you with discouragement reminiscent of Pilgrim’s Progress and the Slough of Despond. Up to my chin about now.

But the good news is that help does come. I’m waiting. Don’t know how long I’ll be waiting, but I’m waiting.

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40 Degrees

Why in the world would I sit in a camp chair in 40 degree weather this weekend? Because my oldest son was playing in a flag football tournament.

He’s not the most athletic child out there, more of a brainiac, but he gave it is best shot. The program has been good for him this year and so yes, I will sit out in 40 degree weather to watch him play just a little bit of a few games in a tournament (he was assigned to special teams).

Crohn’s Disease tried to get me down later that day, so after sleeping for nearly three hours, I got up and went to a school fundraiser for my younger two children. Why do we do this? Because we love our kids. Why do I do it? Because I care and because you can.

I care about my kids and so I support them. I also want to show them that some things are worth fighting for. I want them to know that some things are worth taking risks for. Shivering in 40 degree weather with 10 mile an hour plus winds isn’t the smartest thing to do for Crohn’s Disease, but it was the best thing I could do as a parent. I hope they see that you may have to adjust things and schedule your day differently, but you can. Yes, you can!

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The Valley

I was reading today a passage from the book of Romans and how God leads us to repentance. It got me to thinking about the difference between repentance and condemnation. I think of it as a valley.

Imagine yourself walking through a valley. You feel all alone, but echoing off of the grassy slopes of the mountains surrounding you are the merciless cries, jeers, taunts, demands for retribution and proclaiming of all of your faults by angry and revengeful people. This is condemnation.

Imagine yourself walking through that same valley, but the voices are different. The accusations are the same, but they are spoken in pleading tones, as if the person just wants you to acknowledge your wrong so they can forgive you. All of your faults and failures are still there and still trouble you, but Jesus walks along beside you and says, I have forgiven you and if you stick with Me, we can make it right and make something good come out of it.

For me, I would much rather travel through the valley of repentance than the valley of condemnation.

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My husband and I grew up in a generation where we were told what to do and what not to do, often without any reason or explanation as to why. While our great grandparents prided themselves in obedient children who just did what they were told, somehow our society has created in us the need to know why.
So as we discuss life choices with all of our children, and especially the teenager, we remember to throw in the “why’s” of the reasoning behind our positions. It’s not because we are bad parents and haven’t trained our children to obey without question. It is instead making sure our children know enough to have a reason to take that position for themselves in the future when they are on their own.

One of the latest issues discussed – public dancing. I’ve seen some very beautiful folk dances over the years, including ones with particular songs that taught life lessons. I’ve also seen what dancing with “bumping and grinding” can do to a friend of mine back when we were teenagers. We’ve told Michael, dancing today is so sensual and skin contact creates a lot of things that often aren’t supposed to be there. A husband and wife swaying to some music in the privacy of their own home – that’s their deal. Good for them. I don’t need to see it in public please and i certainly don’t need to see people not married to each other doing it.

So this article appears and I share it with my son. Yes, there are reasons why we don’t show off tons of flesh and press skin against skin when it’s not with the person we are married to. It leads to many problems, of which the producers of Dancing With the Stars have to spend money fixing after every season. Here’s more.

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Exceeding the PEL

I work for a general contractor. The main part of my job is to maintain his safety grading on a third party website for safety review and verification. One of our clients requires monthly safety meetings. Another client requires documentation that we have covered specific safety issues with our workers. So I spend my time making sure the boss is in compliance with his clients through this third party safety network. Fun times.

As we go through these safety meetings, discussing how many parts per million (ppm) of certain chemicals are allowed within a given work environment before safety measures have to be taken, it is always interesting to learn the levels of safety. If the chemical is within the permissable exposure limit (PEL) then little or no safety gear or personal protective equipment (PPE) is required. If it slightly exceeds the PEL, then perhaps a small face mask is required. Greater amounts lead to a mask with a respirator and of course the most dangerous levels require you to look like something from a B movie with all of the required safety gear.

It made me wonder about our marriages and our kids. Do we realize that there are certain things that if we are exposed to greater amounts of them; they could potentially put our marriage or our relationship with our children in jeopardy? How many parts per million is allowed before we realize: hey, I need some kind of protection here or I’m going to lose my family!

How many long, lingering looks at that flashy coworker before you need to put on an eye patch to block your vision? How many times will your brush off your kids and stay on your computer or smart phone before you realize you need to shut it down and spend time with them?

Here’s a challenge: sit down with your spouse and you children and determine what is your family PEL and then make sure you have safety measures to make sure it is never exceeded.

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The Table

As a parent, there are few joys like watching your child overcome with the awesomeness of a new (to them) discovery. Today’s discovery involved the teenager, his chemistry book and the periodic table of the elements.

As Michael did his assignment, the beauty of the table and its properties became evident to him today. In an atom, electrons are on “the outside.” The protons and neutrons being on the inside. The electrons going about exist in “shells.” The maximum number of electrons in the first shell is 2. In the second shell, the maximum number is 8. the third shell is 18 and the fourth is 32. What Michael discovered for himself today, is that the way the elements are arranged on the chart, if you were to subtract the atomic number of one element from the element immediately below it, you would get a number that equals one of the numbers in the electron shells. In other words, the answer is always going to be 2, 8, 18 or 32.

For example: If you subtract the atomic number of silver (Ag) which is 47 from the atomic number of the element immediately beneath it on the chart gold (Au) which is 79, you will get an answer of – wait for it – 32, the maximum number of electrons in the fourth shell. You will find this across the board. Michael is totally thrilled with the integrity, mathematical predictability and sheer evidence of intentionality about the makeup of the elements that are a part of our world. I love his excitement over this discovery. I love that he wanted to share it with me. I love being a mom.

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