How I Can Tell The Kids Are Growing Spiritually

How I Can Tell The Kids Are Growing Spiritually

Setting: The kids and I were having storytime afterschool one day when suddenly Orion passed gas. That lead to an interesting debate between me,  him (5) and his 6 and 7 year old sisters.

Orion: Excuse me.

Me: Excuse you for bumping my arm or did you just poont?

Orion (nonchalantly): I passed gas.

Me (leaning away from him): Orion! Oh my goodness!

Orion (angry): Well I said excuse me. Everybody poonts, Mommy! Including you and Daddy! So why are you acting like that?

Me: Cause you stink, that’s why!

Lauren: Daddy poonts? I have never heard Daddy poont. I don’t believe he does that.

Lainey: Well, Mommy sure does. She stinks too.

Me (nodding): It’s true. I have. Orion’s right, everybody does it. Including Daddy, Lauren.

Orion: See!

Lauren: Does God poont, Mommy?

Me: Uh…

Lainey (smirking): What about Jesus?

Me (thinking out loud): Well maybe when he was here on the earth in human flesh… because that’s what our bodies do. But he’s gone now, right? So not anymore.

Lainey: Yeah, he’s in heaven now. I wouldn’t poont if I was in heaven.

Me: Me neither, Lainey.

Lauren: But does God poont?

Me: I don’t think so, Lauren. They are not human like we are. So why would God do that? I don’t think he would go around lighting up heaven when he can keep it nice with fresh air. No. God, Jesus and the angels definitely do not poont.

Orion (walking around): Well I know for sure that Abraham poonts up there.

Lauren: Abraham Lincoln?

Orion: No, Lauren! You know, Abraham from church.

Me: Are you kidding me? We just said nobody is poonting up in heaven, Orion!

Orion: How do you know? I still think Abraham does. I bet he walks around poonting everywhere. (Orion wiggles his butt like a turkey and makes a pff,pff noise.)

Me: You mean like you do?

Everyone: laughter.

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Those kids crack me up. They also question everything and challenge me. Here are some of their other mysteries:

Does God like chicken nuggets? If God made everything who made God? Does God sleep? What is the Holy spirit? I don’t mind answering.

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time

It was 18 years ago, today. I was 18 years old. I wish I could say I knew then that he was the one. But when he introduced himself I was smug. Trying to pretend that I was neither affected nor concerned and that I would remain indifferent if he sat beside me or if he moved past. As I already possessed the knowledge of good and evil; garnered by chance and bad choices. But he was cunning, witty, smart –handsome. He sat down and in a sing-song voice said, “Can I tell you that, I just love you.” I had sense enough to know that this was a line. It couldn’t have been reserved for me. But the moment he said it, his hand lighted, briefly upon my knee. He was sincere; his touch correct. I was undone. We shared a Physics class and had passed each other in places. But familiar, we were not. Not even to know one another’s names. But the two hearts knew all. It was confirmed as we watched the movie together; the movie that we had not planned to see. Gritty, complicated, intense emotion splayed on the screen. Love, hate, lust, happiness and grief. At some point I tried muffling the subconscious communications with the stranger by shifting and fidgeting in my seat. But the questions were already being asked, silently. Us? It was our own indecent proposal of sorts. But the two hearts didn’t care. They mingled and brushed against each other, kissing wildly, touching, conversing…wrapping fingers in hair. Do you really want that? Can we be that to each other? Even that? On this our first meeting there was no denying the fact. I knew him and he knew me. Forever.

©P.Brooks 9/3/2011

Maybe Baby

Maybe Baby

I am wondering if I’ll be a good poet if I’m transparent. The reason I ask is because I just want to say whatever I want to say. Must I be highly mysterious for your entertainment? What I’m really after is your reaction. I wanna know if you feel it like I do or if you don’t understand what I’m describing then I want to do it in a way that you can grasp it. I want to let you in on things. I want to let you know that the range of human emotion is deep and wide. Reaching depths and ranges that astonish and excite me. And maybe you too, if you know. Putting down these feelings is serious business. I rebuke what they say! I don’t have to hold it in and be unaffected. I can express it, and be unphased. I can be naked–plank on a page.

Sho Nuff

Sho Nuff

In the middle of the day I sat down to write. Yep. I called off all the other stuff and sat there. At first my mind was blank and it was way too quiet in the house. But then it came to me and I didn’t hold it back. I wasn’t ashamed that day. So I just sat there and let my fingers put it down. I saw the hideous words going across the screen. They were old and scary things. But I kept on typing until it was out. I ended that scene with a boisterous comment. A nasty, wretched truth. But when I read it aloud it hardly hurt at all. Instead of pain I felt better. That’s when I knew I had tapped into it. I felt my voice coming out for real this time. I just let the words sit there and I didn’t erase them. I didn’t cover them up. No. I hit “save,” and put the computer to sleep. Then I grabbed my keys and went to pick the kids up from school.

Splendid Gray

Splendid Gray

Flabby belly and spread out hips

Juicy bottom with dimpled cheeks

So this is me—

 Now?

No faking?

No hiding?

Wow!

All grown up in womanly glory

Scars and lines that tell a story

Mirror image not quite right

Nothing here looks too tight

And there were times I’d not believe

The aging body that I see

Belongs to me

To me…

Suddenly

No longer repulsed

I stop and…

Look at the Splendid Gray

Growing older everyday

And wiser (at times)

And happier (with life)

More beautiful and blessed

Radiant

Sunset

©P.Brooks 2010

7 Successful Habits of Highly Reproductive People

7 Successful Habits of Highly Reproductive People

Kids can do a number on relationships between even the most compatible mates. But what, if anything, can you do to keep the romance, excitement and love burning hot in your marriage? The followoing is not a call for more intimacy, but rather a plea for sanity. Drumroll please…

#1 -Ignore the kids. You may want to call the authorities on me, but before you do try this out yourself.  Even if it’s just while they brush their teeth. Choose a  task –any task, and don’t hover. Pop in a short DVD for toddlers who won’t sit down. Take back your freedom a few minutes at a time!

#2-Be a help mate. There’s always a task that would go much faster if you both got involved, like unloading the dishwasher together. Clean dishes can prompt laughter and happy conversation. What else can you two tackle?

#3-Respect each other’s time.  If your spouse is busy then leave him/her alone. It is not couple time. Deadlines and tasks that must be met will only make them bitter if you interfere. Practice the golden rule.

#4- Play switcheroo! Who says you always have to read stories to the kids or he always has to take out the trash? Do the laundry? Cook? Some of my happiest days are when hubby (who can cook, but doesn’t) announces that he is making his famous chili. And don’t let him put hot dogs on the grill. I’m subject to cry.

#5- Do you. No, seriously. DO YOU. Absence does makes the heart grow fonder. If you aren’t taking time for your passion, hobby or some plain old me time, then do it now.  Never aim to neglect your partner, but do have a little fun without them every now and then.

#6- Invite your mate to bed. By bed I mean sleep. Plan a sleep date or just take your honey by the hand and say, “Screw the rest. Let’s go to bed early tonight.” Only include lovemaking if you can end soon enough to get great sleep afterwards. A sleep date can trump a late night romp. While lovemaking is sweet, who couldn’t use some extra zzzz’s?

#7-Cut each other (and yourself) some slack. You’re married with children now! There is no way to always keep up with everything. If the house isn’t spick and span so what? I say a good day is when everyone has on clean underwear and had at least one bowl of cereal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You agree? Yeah! Pat yourself on the back then rush out to buy more Fruit Loops.

What tips can you add to the list?

Already Been To the Water

Already Been To the Water

God’s love for us is so strong. Yesterday during the invitation, five-year-old Lauren decided she wanted to be baptized. She tried to go up to the alter on a previous Sunday and I stopped her. This time she was adamant. Lainey, who just turned seven, decided to join too –way back in March 2010 during the kids’ praise service she attends while I’m in the sanctuary. Well her paperwork got lost so I used that time to see if she really meant it. Despite her and her two siblings waging all out war here at home, Lainey’s been taking communion regularly and maintains that she wants to live for God. So looks like both girls will be baptized on the third Sunday. What about the boy you say? Let us all just bow our heads right now and pray. We tried to get the preacher to lay hands on Orion, while we were there, but he wouldn’t stay still long enough. 

 I can’t say I would have wanted to commit my life at such a young age, but it definitely moves me closer to God, now, knowing that he can affect little children in this way. So I have no reason to hold out on him. I believe it’s good for them to know as much as possible about God. Sure will need him in this life. Though, a part of me wonders if this is just about their right to take communion…the kids think that wafer and grape juice are a feast for kings, if not the “born again.”

After talking to the youth pastor about this life-changing process Lauren said, “The pastor says when I come out of the water I’ll be like new. Does that mean I’m going to turn into a baby again?” This is almost the exact question asked of Jesus in the bible (John 3:1-7). I found it incredible. Yet these same children never hear us when we say pick up your toys, or go get ready for bed. Hmm… I think I will tell them that baptized children always pick up their toys or they go to the devil. Speaking of the devil, he probably played a major role in pushing them to God’s side. They watched that episode of Tom and Jerry where Tom goes down to the “red dog” for torturing Jerry all his life (my most favorite episode of all time!). Likewise, they’ve seen the shadow man in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, get gobbled up by hideous creatures seeking payment for his bad deeds. After that they didn’t want to go to hell. God does great work through use of cartoons. I ain’t mad at him.

Back to Cash

Back to Cash

 

Mo Money

Last week I started an experiment to see if I could save more money by only using cash.  That, instead of charging everything and paying it off at the end of the month. True I collect points on my card and all…but I thought —what if I’m spending more money just to get the points? So I’ve been doing all my normal spending with a week’s worth of cash at a time. So far so good. I was able to stretch the money much farther than I imagined.

Now of course some places only take a credit card and  if I’m online, forgedaboutit!  It’s the only way I shop. In most stores I’m good with the dollars, but most cashiers struggle and curse me under their breath because they can’t count real money anymore. It’s okay. I’m patient.

Having real cash in my wallet is liberating! Nowadays I feel more responsible and richer.  In control of my destiny. Hmm. I do believe that was the whole point. Would you try using cash only for a tighter budget and potentially better savings? Hit me up.

Ups and Downs

Ups and Downs

Since tomorrow is Monday and in my mind, the first day of the week, I am making an effort to start it off right. Last week , I overdid it and I admit it. It was my youngest child’s birthday and although we had celebrated over the weekend, I just had to make him feel special on the actual day he turned 4 years old. So I baked and made ice-cream from scratch. Yes it was delish, but I learned my lesson. The point of a weekend celebration is to keep the week from being crazy.  But somehow I missed that point.  I’ve got to learn to let well enough alone. Really, kids don’t need so much. It’s just mommy guilt kicking in all the time.

That was Monday. By Friday I was back on track and for the second week in a row, I had the kids help sort, wash and putaway their clothes. It was a great accomplishment. However, it was quickly negated when I ignored my middle child’s warning that she had a cold. She didn’t seem sick so I let her play in the beautiful fall weather for about an hour on Saturday –lightly dressed. Then it turned cool unexpectedly while we were still out. Now she’s down with a nasty cold and will not be able to go to school tomorrow.  I feel bad about it, really I do. But at least her brother and sister are still well. I can manage with one being ill and perhaps focus on the TLC that she deserves. Inevitably, kids get sick. I thank God for being able to care for her with minimal distraction. Before too long she’ll be back in her kindergarten classroom; happy, healthy and smiling.  I’ll be smiling too, while all three go to school. Hey…they don’t call me Pollyanna for nothing. Be optimistic!

Kids Pay for Deeds of Wild Parent

Kids Pay for Deeds of Wild Parent

I hear all sorts of complaints from my kids because they want to do whatever the other kids in the neighborhood do. Now, I’m not crazy strict, but I’m pretty strict.  The one thing I don’t compromise on is them being outside alone.  They are 3, 5, and 6 and believe they should be able to go by themselves because they want to play with the other children. I feel for my babies some days while I make dinner and listen to them whine. It brings back memories.

My grandma took care of me, my younger sister and our cousins. We spent the bulk of the day outside. Alone.  She said we could play unsupervised as long as we stayed on our block.  But staying on the block meant we could ride our bikes all the way around the whole block –where she couldn’t see.  I can’t count the number of times I was nearly hit by a car entering or leaving the gas station or the bank located behind our house.  Not only that, but I’m pretty sure we learned to cross streets by trial and error AND without permission.  We often risked our young lives to go dumpster diving at the printing company and furniture store, each prevocatively located the next street over.  Oh, and let me not forget the time we wandered a few blocks away.  Our quest landed us in a studio flat belonging to a strange young man with a guitar.  I thanked God that day after the man performed one song, then let us go unharmed.

Yeah, I have more scary scenarios to share, so it’s safe to say my kids won’t be going out alone unless it’s to our tiny fenced-in backyard. I have my own childhood to reflect on for guidance. It’s too bad, but my children must pay.