Monthly Archives: March 2017

I Am An Adult!

unnamedPosted on the door of my studio was a sign that I scrawled out on a piece of paper.  It says, “Screaming, “I am an adult” means that you are NOT!!”

I took it down because I felt it contained a negative message and the fact that I saw it every time I entered the room did not put me in the positive mood I try to maintain.  SO, the note came down, but the message still rings true in our house.

Our son turned 18 in October.  It has been a journey since then.  He has battled with us and probably with himself over if he truly is an adult or not. We should’ve expected this process to involve more than the date on the calendar. Though we celebrated his birthday with family and friends the Sunday prior, he celebrated his actual birthday while my husband and I attended a church meeting.  A typical Thursday night, we return home from the meeting and our house smells like cigar smoke.  WHAT?!  We don’t allow cigar smoking in our house.  But, his reply was, “I’m allowed.  I’m 18!” We’ve been trying to teach him the difference between being legal and being allowed ever since.  He’s taken up smoking, enjoys R-rated movies even more and buys an occasional lottery ticket. He does all of these things for the thrill of showing off his state ID (He doesn’t have a drivers’ license.) He loves to show others that he truly is an adult.  That’s what the laminated card proves!

I wish it were that easy.  I wish we knew what stage in life we were in simply based on our chronological age.  It would sure take the guess work out of things.  We would enter school at age 6, no wondering if we should send kids on the younger side of the cut-off date.  School would be entered at 6. Three would be the age that kids were allowed to view television, potty training would be successful at 2, iPods could be gifted at 12, iPhones at 14, ears pierced at 10, learners’ permit at 15.5, license at 16.5, dating at 16, etc.  I think it would be wonderful if maturity simply matched actual age.  It would save me from quoting things like, “You are acting like a two-year-old,” and “That looks like it was done by a toddler.” Not to mention, “I don’t care if she has a cell phone or not, you aren’t old enough to have one.” There is definitely a lot of gray area in all of this.

So, my son is an adult.  The government says he is.  (He is, however, an adult who is still not able to consume alcohol.) I think instead of a State ID to deem this, though, we should have a Maturity ID.  I read a great definition of maturity.  Maturity is: The ability to stick with a job until it’s finished; The ability to do a job without being supervised; The ability to carry money without spending it; and The ability to bear an injustice without wanting to get even. When he can achieve that I’ll get him the laminated statement of his adulthood.  Heck, I’ll even engrave it on a medal for him to wear around town.  I am so looking forward to him becoming an adult and a mature adult at that!

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.  –Hebrews 5:14

 

 

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Today’s Chuckle

make-me-laugh

Four-year-old Kevin was fascinated with a dead fish floating in the river.  After studying it for hours, he asked his mother, “Will the fish go to heaven?”

Knowing she was out of her theological league, she said, ‘We’ll ask Pastor Dave on Sunday when we get to church.”

“Why? Does he know lots about fish?”

Originally published in Nov/Dec 1994 issue of The Christian Reader.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.   –Psalm 126:2-3

 

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Miserly Moms Recipe – Baking Mix

recipe-575434_960_720In an attempt to clear the clutter of my home, I looked to my bookshelves.  So many books, so little time.  And, my cookbooks?  I’ve mentioned them here before.  I LOVE books and I LOVE cookbooks and there has been one book on my shelf for years that was a little of both.  Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy. I read it cover to cover once and wanted to share it with a friend.  I didn’t give it to her, however, because there were a couple of recipes in it that I wanted to save for myself.  Every morning as I sit to journal at my dining room table, I see the title and think I should give that to my friend so she can learn from it too.  But, I never take the time to look for the recipe to copy down. Last week that day came.  I got out the book, I scanned the index, I found the recipe (& a couple more) and I made copies of the pages I wanted.  I delivered the book to my friend explaining that it was intended for her for years.

Today, I again, face clutter.  Now, instead of one book on a shelf, I have 5 pages of paper with recipes on them from the book.  Highly unlikely that I will use any of them…except for perhaps the one that I sincerely wanted and meant to copy in the first place.  So, to clear the clutter again, I am copying the recipe here and the wasted paper and loose pages will leave my home….never to be thought of again.  Oh, and next time, I’ll give the book away and just search the internet for a recipe!

Baking Mix (Similar to Jiffy Mix or Bisquick)

8 C Flour

1 1/4 C Nonfat Dry Milk Powder

1/4 C Baking Powder

1 TBS Salt

2 C Shortening

Combine flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt in a very large bowl. Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Store in tightly closed covered container in a cool place (cupboards are fine). Makes about 10 Cups.

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Spring. Here Today. Gone Tomorrow.

220px-Colorful_spring_garden

Isn’t that what it feels like?  Today the sun is shining and tomorrow it may snow and temperatures will drop.  Oh, life in western Pennsylvania.  Many of us choose to live here and when asked why we say, “I like the four seasons.”  However, truth be told, we like some more than others and it usually depends on the season we are currently in.  For example, winter is great during that first snowfall when the flakes fall big and fluffy and cover the ground in a pure, clean, blanket of white…..AND Christmas hasn’t arrived yet.  The same type of snowfall in March causes people to get angry!

Summer is a joy when it is 75 degrees and sunny and you have the day off and are sitting in the shade beside the river.  The same season is unbearable when it is 100 degrees with high humidity and it’s the day you had scheduled to take the kids to the zoo.

Fall, my favorite, with crisp air, cinnamon apple scents in candles, pumpkin spice in everything and a sweatshirt to chase the chill…however, sometimes Fall is invaded by an early Halloween winter like snow which makes leaf pick up a nightmare.

Spring.  All things bright and beautiful. The daffodils are poking through the ground, the buds are forming on the trees and yet some of them will be nipped off with that lingering surprise night of frost.  Spring, please don’t come too soon, but please don’t make us wait!

Today I read a scripture I don’t remember reading before. Hosea 6:3:  Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

Actually, we should acknowledge the Lord in winter rains, spring rains, autumn rains and summer rains, since as surely as the sun rises, he is appearing there….he created them all!

 

 

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Stage Mom – Theater Memories – Part 2

theater-masksWhen I drove my daughter to rehearsals every day last week, I was struck with a different memory each day.  You can check out my blog from yesterday to get caught up, but I’ll share some more fun ones today!

When my oldest was selected to be a munchkin for the Sound of Music, I dreaded creating her costume.  I’m not a seamstress (as you can tell from yesterday!) and I fretted and worried where we would come up with her colorful costume.  I called a bridal shop and they were happy to sell me a garbage bag full of old bridesmaid dresses for a reasonable price.  These dresses were adult dresses in large sizes and my daughter was in elementary school and very small.  How would I ever cut the dress down to size and have it look right?  As I stood looking at my daughter in this huge dress and complained to my husband, he simply grabbed fist fulls of material in the back, got out a pair of scissors and cut straight down the middle of the back of the dress.  While my daughter stood there, he stitched the dress up with her in it and told me that this was a costume and that no one would see the craftsmanship of the sewing from the audience.  This valuable lesson carried me through many shows and that costume was worn as a Halloween costume on more than one occasion and also got to appear in a different production of The Wizard of Oz!

Being cast as a lead as a freshman was a huge honor for my daughter.  I had never heard of All Shook Up so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Her grandparents were in Florida and I asked the director if I thought I should fly them home to see this show.  She gave my daughter rave reviews and thought that Mimi and Papa would hate to miss it.  Not wanting them to have to miss too much of their already scheduled vacation, we made arrangments for them to fly home, spend two nights here and then return to the sunshine.  A whirlwind trip.  It looked so good on paper, but then a huge winter storm hit.  They returned home, but the roads were so bad, we weren’t even sure that “the show would go on!”  Thankfully it did go on after an hour delay (to make sure that all the cast arrived) and though inconvenient and extremely stressful the performance was definitely worth it. (There is even a story about the flight cancellations and rerouting that my mother in law could share that involved her running through the airport without her shoes on because she was so rushed to catch her flight, but that is her story to share!)

Show week always involves a very demanding schedule.  There is school, homework, rehearsals and rush, rush, rush!  Always running late to get to the dressing room for makeup and warm ups.  Always a blur but usually successful in the end.  One night as we raced as a family to get the chores done, dinner on, homework completed, costumes ready, etc, I sent Paul to check on the chickens while I cleaned the kitchen.  The chickens were fed, our bags were gathered and we headed out.  As we entered the school and were walking down the hall, Paul pulled an egg out of his pocket!  An egg?!  He said, “I forgot to leave this at home!”  What are we going to do with an egg as we had tickets to watch the show? I told him to take it out to the car which he did and we took our seats in the audience.  After the show, we gathered our actor and headed out.  Paul called out, “don’t forget about the egg.”  I didn’t forget about the egg, I unlocked the car door and took my seat behind the wheel.  The minute I sat, I knew where he had left the egg before the show….on the driver’s seat of the car!  He reminded me of the egg, but I just didn’t think he would put it on my seat!  Never a dull moment in this family!

I needed to schedule shoulder surgery one spring during “show season.” I was concerned about my recovery because I didn’t want to miss any of my daughter’s involvement in this show.  I asked the doctor if he thought I would be recovered by opening night which was a week away and he said, “Seriously? You’re not IN the show, are you?” I said that I wasn’t in it, but that I wanted to attend.  He assured me that I would be well enough to attend. I don’t think he understood how important a mom is to a high school actress on show week. I’m sure he didn’t know that I would be an important part of her performance.  Moms set the tone for the family and we are sometimes in charge of hair, costumes, makeup, and rides, but we are also integral in handling jitters, frustrations, lost props, criticisms and all the other drama that the Drama Club entails.  Only a Stage Mom would understand for sure!

 

 

 

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Stage Mom – Theater Memories – Part 1

theater-masksK was in the pre-show for our local high school’s production of Fiddler on the  Roof last week.  It was an awesome show and the kids did a great job.  As I was arriving in the parking lot, I remembered all the experiences I’ve had with theater at this school.

It started when the school was a different building, but it sat in the same spot and instead of my kids it was me on the stage.  The show was amateurish, to say the least, and it wasn’t well respected or well attended.  Things have changed since then and now the show, a musical, is always very professional and always sold out. Rehearsals begin months in advance instead of weeks in advance and the cast is being prepped at a much younger age. That is why Broadway Juniors was developed so that kids in elementary school get a taste of the stage to increase their desire to participate when they get older.

My oldest daughter was very involved and was the gifted lead in more than one production.  She made an awesome Cinderella, a fun Frenchie in Grease and much more.  Her involvement in theater stretched me in many ways and gave me memories I will always cherish.

I will never forget her first audition.  It was more cut throat than I had expected for the little ones and as the director was trying to prepare a line up for the children in The Sound of Music, she would just point and say, “You stay, you go, you stay, you go.”  The audition at that point was looking at only height and trying to create a believable sibling group.  Too small children began to cry and too tall children’s mothers were getting angry and sending their child back onstage barefoot to make the cut.  It was very nerve-racking and I gathered my daughter up and tried to exit as quickly as we could so the experience could remain positive.  I thought we had made it as I buckled her in the car and backed out of the parking spot…..directly into the car behind me.  The evening ended with me in tears after all.

She was not chosen for that production of The Sound of Music, but she was able to play Brigitta in a bigger production for a neighboring town’s community theater.  I’ll never forget the night her bracket for the braces on her teeth came undone and was jabbing the inside of her cheek.  The stage crew took pliers and pulled the wire out while a cast of Nuns in costume stood over her praying.  It was an awesome opening night!

Not everyone gets to go wedding dress shopping with their 16 year old who isn’t getting married, but that’s exactly what I got to do when she portrayed Cinderella.  We got to choose a glittery poofy ball gown and also a gorgeous wedding dress complete with veil and train.  This was a real blessing for me to get to dress her like that because her taste in clothes will prevent me from dressing her as a princess ever again! The wedding gown was gorgeous and a perfect fit. The only alteration that was needed was to create a way to bustle the train for dancing.  The costume chairperson suggested I sew a loop around a dowel rod so that the loop could hang on a button.  I didn’t have a dowel rod, so my husband and I gathered the full skirt and stitched around a pink permanent marker.  As we sewed and sewed we didn’t realize that the cap had come off and we were making scribble marks in pink permanent ink on the back of the dress.  Panic!  Screams! Google Searches of how to get permanent marker out of a dress resulted in quarts of acetone dumped on the dress on opening night.  The dress was then hung in the rafters on stage so that it could float down out of the sky at the perfect time.  Prior to the start of the show, the fire alarms in the school sounded and they said that someone saw smoke on the stage….I was terrified that the acetone had caught the dress on fire in the heat of the stage lighting!  I was wrong, it was only a false alarm and by the way, the faint pink stain on the dress was not visible to the audience.  Whew, what a relief!

My daughter’s wise music teacher sent us on an audition one time and she said that the Mom should remain silent throughout.  She had been the director for many previous shows and said that directors often look for children with strong voices and mothers without one.  I got what she meant and I have always tried to go unnoticed as I support my kids. However, I did NOT remain unnoticed at one show.  Moms were in charge of the children backstage and got them lined up to enter stage left.  After the kids were on stage, we moms quietly opened the auditorium doors and stood at the back for the opening number to see our kids perform hoping to not catch the eye of the director in the sound booth as we snuck in. We had made it in and were standing as we waited for the show to begin when the auditorium house lights went up.  People were squinting in the bright lights of the previously darkened auditorium. What had happened?  It appears that I ( Yes, ME!) had leaned against the light switch and turned them on!!!  All eyes were on me as I turned the lights off and quietly snuck out of the auditorium. Let the show begin! (FYI the light switch is now covered by a clear plastic box that prevents this from happening again!)

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Choosing to See

IMG_6900The sun is shining through my kitchen window and I notice a crystal dangling from the teapot ornament that hangs between my windows.  It’s glistening and I notice all the colors that it is displaying.  I don’t remember that.  I never noticed that crystal before.  The whole ornament looks new to me today.  Why?  I reach up and take a look at it and realize that the ornament has been twisted around and is backward.  I can no longer read the saying “Our friendship is like a cup of tea, a special blend of you and me” anymore.  I am looking at the back of the teapot with no words, yet the crystal is sparkling.  You see if I hang the ornament right side out, the crystal can’t catch the sun’s rays and won’t sparkle, but if I leave it this way, the familiar words won’t be showing.  Which way should I hang it? What do I want to see?  The familiar saying and reminder of a dear friend or a surprising multi-colored rainbow in my kitchen?  I get to choose.

The same is true in my relationships.  You see, I’ve been struggling lately with noticing the negative things about others. On the surface, I’ve seen the same person I’ve always seen, but I am now noting things that I feel they should change.  Aren’t these the same people I’ve always known? Why am I seeing this now? I’m ashamed of myself for doing this.  I believe it is simply the way I’m looking at them.  Just like the ornament, there are always two sides to everything.  I can look for the beautiful saying or I can look for the sparkling crystal, but I will see what I choose to see.  And, just like the ornament, both sides are good, even if you can’t spot the rainbow in the making right away. Instead of looking at the ornament and seeing the back side of it, I noticed the crystal…I can certainly do the same with the people I value.  Today, I hope to change my perspective, to see the good in others no matter which way I am looking at them. I vow to not spend another day looking at the back side of something without looking for the sparkle!

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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  –Phil 4:8

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.  — Romans 14:13

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