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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Extreme Adventures in Mothering... HAS MOVED:)




Hi all.. just popping in to say I've moved the blog over to Wordpress! Please update your links- and stop by to say hi!

Extreme Adventures in Motherhood...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Final Countdown.. to MOPS International Convention!

Shoes- Check. (Let's hope I did better than last year in this arena)

Black pants- Check (after 6 days of searching every store in Michigan for pants that don't make me look like a buffalo in drag from behind..) (well thats only kind of a CHECK...I finally gave up looking in the three-way mirrors.. funny how little I mind my backside if I don't LOOK at it...)
527 tops of which, I will wear exactly: 5. Check (I never know what I'll FEEL like wearing- so I need to bring options.. I need to wear my purple MOPS Polo when "on duty" so the actual times for wearing my "options" will be minimal...)


Laptop and enough electronic cords, chargers and devices to power a third world country- Check. (a girl's got to stay connected for pete's sake.)

Knitting that I know I will have no time to work on- check. (ok- so MAYBE on the plane...)

Name tag- Check (For once I didn't even have to look for it.. someone told me to keep it on the fridge with the magnetic backing- works like a charm!)

Breakfast bars and instant coffee (gross- I know) in case of dire caffeine and calorie emergency- check. (I might pick up some chocolate covered espresso beans to replace the instant coffee-- starbucks has them- the calories would be worth the taste and caffeine:)


Shemergency kit- cause it should have everything I may have forgotten- Check.

My To Do list is shrinking - and my excitement is growing ... I wonder what it will be like? I wonder what God will say to my heart while I'm there? I wonder what weird things my hair will do in the Dallas heat? I wonder how much laundry will accumulate in my 5 day absense? I wonder how my 4 guys will survive on Banquet Chicken and Velveeta Shells and cheese, and pizza carry-out? I'm about to find out all the answers in T-minus 20 hours... the final countdown has begun!

BIG NEWS! I've been asked to "live blog" from the convention- so if you want to know the scoop and see what MOPS convention is really like- make sure and watch the MOPS International Convention Blog for updates!




Dear Lord- I pray that you'd prepare my heart and the hearts of the thousands of Moms who are preparing to come and be refreshed and challenged at MOPS Convention- I pray that you'd be with the MOPS Leadership team- the speakers and families-- Most of all- I pray we see you in everything at convention- I love you lord- amen.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Mom's day out-- gone right and wrong....

My hands trembled just a bit as I buttoned the pink silk blouse. I felt like a busty- rebel. For a nursing mom- DRY-CLEAN ONLY was not just risky-- it was downright DANGEROUS. (Just how dangerous I was about to find out. The Hard way.) This day was special. I was going to a MOPS event, just over the state line. (A regional event in Toledo- Ohio) I was looking forward to entire day devoted to building up MOM'S. That's ME! It was within driving distance and more importantly, within the range of security for a nursing mom. (Just over an hour from home.) A Mom's day out- a Mom's day of refreshment.. The first since my second child had been born.. I needed it-- BAD. I'd been planning and pumping extra milk for days. But, now? I was nearly ready.

I stepped back to take a look at the over-all effect. "Not too bad" I said to myself. Black dress pants.. pumps... pink silk blouse, full make-up AND hair both washed and styled on the same day (*gasp* amazing...I know!). I grinned at myself in the mirror. I double checked that breast-pads were in place and well secured and hidden in my NON-NURSING BRA. (... a bra without flaps-- this was truly a big day out..) I made sure I had an extra set in my purse.

I checked my watch, "Just enough time, for one more nursing before I leave." I grinned at my preparedness. For a nursing mom- "empty before leaving the house" is just as important as for a mom getting a potty-training toddler into the car for a long ride..

I tiptoed into the baby's room sat down in "our" chair and we both enjoyed one more for the road....quiet early morning nursings were some of my favorite times. When we were done- I took him in to a sleepy daddy, I kissed them both.. then went to the kitchen to go over my list one more time.

1) Pumped Milk in freezer- check.

2) Formula and bottles on the counter in case of emergency- check.

3) Diapers- clothes and necessary baby supplies phone numbers and instructions - out and visible so daddy could find them even if he were truly..blind.. check.

4) Cell phone charged and ready.. check. (this was an old school cell phone- about the size and weight of my current laptop.. It's been a while)

I was as ready as possible.

Time to go. I felt a twinge of sadness as I pulled out of the driveway. I headed over to meet my girlfriends - and we drove on together. Guilt and giddiness fought for control of my postpartum emotions as we crossed the state line. Giddiness won. I was out for petes sake!

We arrived on time.. (something rare for a groups of nursing moms) We took our seats- and enjoyed the entire day. There were laughs... there were happy tears as I heard things that reminded me how much I love being a mom... and a few happy tears of relief as learned I wasn't "the only one".

The day offered up everything I'd hoped for, and needed. Fun- encouragement-something to challenege me and make me think, girlfriend time and mommy time. I missed my guys- but was relieved that everything went so well. My check-in calls (oh, probably enough of them billed one minute at a time..to fund the current economic crisis relief plan...) revealed that the frozen milk supply was holding out.. and the diapers were too. Added bonus- I didn't hear crying in the background. (much). SCORE.

When my girlfriend asked if I wanted to stop on the way home to eat... I should have known I was pressing my luck. But- I was having sooo much fun..... and I had everything "covered" with my preparedness...and things were well at home...so I figured, "why not?"

There was one thing I hadn't counted on.. A newborn baby crying at the restaurant.. and the power of milk-let-down on a pink silk blouse. The baby's cry sounded like "Danger, Danger Will Robinson!" But, it was too late. My milk let down like a bad levy.

HELLO. DRY CLEAN ONLY? More like GARBAGE ONLY. There were not enough extra breast pads in North America to soak up that mess. When that tiny baby started to cry-- my Mom-ness kicked into overdrive. In record time- I drenched the entire front of my blouse, which- promptly turned see through. I was now busty- (a bonus to nursing) and see through- OOPSY. Not the look I was going for.

I ran into the bathroom- ""GREAT.. no papertowel" Save the trees, but soak the moms" I thought to myself..I aimed the hand dryer down my blouse in an attempt to dry up the mess.. it didn't exactly work. I made powdered milk. Yuk.I hadn't planned for this. I didn't know what to do... My tears flowed just a little slower than the milk.

The moms I was with, found a sweater for me in someone's bag.. and together- they brought it into the bathroom for me. (Friends, don't let friends, drive soaked.) I slipped it on. It wasn't my sassy pink dry-clean only-- but it was DRY. That's when the silly began. The other moms had all been there- or somewhere like it in the land of Mom...They rolled out breast feeding horror stories that made us all laugh until breasts weren't the only thing at risk of leaking....the bathroom turned into an impromptu MOPS Meeting...

It didn't take long before I felt better. Soggy- but better.

We drove home still laughing.. and talking and giggling... I wondered if my hubby would notice that I had changed my top.. (He didn't,of course.) I arrived home to a hungry baby.. and plenty of milk to feed him. (apparently it doesn't take THAT MUCH milk to soak the front of a silk blouse..)

At the end of the day-- I wondered if it was worth the work..

preplanning- and milk pumping- 10 + hours

writing out instructions and worrying in advance- countless hours..

cost of a trashed clearanced pink silk blouse- $24. (I just couldn't figure out how to explain a breast milk stain the size of Texas)

A day of encouragement, refreshment and connection with other moms?
Priceless.

If you can make it to a MOPS event in your area-- I can't recommend it enough...it's worth the time the expense and the preparation.. a hundred times over... - I also recommend wearing wash n wear.. and maybe a raincoat for a blouse if you're nursing:).... you won't be the only one.. that's for sure:)

PS- if YOU ARE at a MOPS event- or anywhere else for that matter- and see a busty woman in a soaked see-through top---don't hate on her... offer your sweater or jacket to her-- really- she's probably not holding her own wet-t-shirt contest... she's just a nursing mom at the end of a mom's day out....:)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stitches, right and wrong

I'm having eye trouble. I must be. Or maybe, it's visual processing issues.... Maybe I should call the doctor..an opthamologist maybe? Maybe I should try Lasik... but, I'm not sure any medical intervention can help. The problem seems to be more systemic than just a visual one.

See the beautiful purple sock in progress? The intricate twisting of the stitches? The socks are the "Oak Leaf Socks" from the online magazine "knotions". It's a beautiful pattern. It's a beautiful yarn. (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Blackberry) .. I should love them... but I can't seem to see them as others do.

When I look at them.. I mainly see the mistakes. It's almost like they have been highlighted, or circled in red ink. There are probably thousands of stitches already in this sock. and to be honest a very small few in comparison are incorrect. Yet- to me they stand out. BOLD. Instead of seeing the thousands of RIGHT stitches.. I focus on the ten's (maybe) of wrong ones. I nearly ripped them out to start over.

Instead, I put it on my foot, not because I wanted to- but because some wise soul suggested, that before I rip them out, I should put them on and have another look. I was shocked. From that distance, from that angle- I could suddenly see the pattern. IT WAS THERE afterall! Sure, the mis-crossed stitches were still there... but the overall pattern, now caught my eye.

There is something bigger in this pair of socks than a few crossed stitches. There is my ability to choose to gain perspective on my mistakes, and allow my eyes to be refocused. To see the bigger picture. In life- this is not always my first instinct- not towards myself- or towards others. My instinct is to be critical, and allow the few mistakes to distort my view of both myself and others. Sometimes this is wise and necessary.And sometimes, I "rip" a perfectly good person (most often myself) because all I focus on is faults or mis-crossed stitches.

My eyes may have issues.... but it isn't a doctor I think I need... I think it's a change of perspective.... and the only way MY perspective is changed, is through the one who always sees things with truth and grace. I think I'll be asking Him for help.
"Dear Lord, my critical eye is not hidden from you, both it's strengths and it's weakenesses. I ask you to help me gain perspective.. to focus on the right stitches and not the mis crossed ones...both in myself and those around me. I ask for your wisdom and for your grace to permeate my heart and then my world--- I love you lord- amen."

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

While.....

If there is a theme around here, it's WHILE.

While I Wait. While I Work, and In a While.... (sidenote- if you type "while" enough it starts to look like you spelled it wrong:).

We're still in a waiting period.. but not frozen in mid air. There is much to do while waiting. There is coping.. There is working, there is waiting. For coping-- I have prayer- reading, spinning, knitting and people. For working--- I have 3 kids 2 cats, a beagle and the Dh.. they are, as always, keeping me busy:)

While I wait: I am spinning. I decided I could use my go-knits pouch (from the Loopy Ewe) to hold my fiber in process- it works GREAT! and snaps right to my wheel for outside spinning and travel and keeping the pets out of the fiber!

Also feeding people- still predominately with slow-foods:

Yesterday the boys spent an hour shelling peanuts, then we made homemade peanut butter! It was great!

Very simple- home made peanut butter:

2 cups roasted shelled salted peanuts, (skins removed)

1/3 cup oil, (peanut- but I used vegetable oil and a little less than 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup sugar.

pulse in food processor until peanut- buttery! store in fridge.

Later this week we'll be experimenting with peanut butter cups:) YUM.

As for knitting- I'm working on a pretty pattern from the new "knotions" online magazine. It's called the "Oak Leaf socks" a nice foray into twisted stitches, for me. I'm learning a lot and should improve by the time I am ready for the second sock! (assuming there is to be a second sock:)

The sock blocker is from the loopy ewe- just in case anyone is curious:) The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Blackberry.

I'm knitting them on US size 1, Knitpick Harmony DPN.s

So thats what I'm doing---- WHILING away the summer---- While I wait.. While I work and in a while...

How bout you?

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

In Mid Air....



When I blogged THIS a few weeks back, ... I had no idea how appropo' it would soon be. Funny, how that works sometimes:)

I recently took a few "nose plugged, jumps" in my life (ok- some were more like being pushed off the edge of a waterfall.. but, same effect;) I took a few risks, I made a few changes and a few decisions. I closed my eyes, I plugged my nose...jumped... and now? I am hanging in mid-air, waiting to land.

At the waterfall, the payoff was immediate. I plugged my nose, closed my eyes and I felt the rushing water on my toes before my brain registered that I had actually jumped. This time? Not so much. This time? I'm starting to wonder if I'll be able to hold my breath long enough to survive the jump. I don't so much like waiting.

Am I really concerned about surviving? No. Not really. This isn't survival type of leaps.. but I sure am concerned about my comfort upon landing:) For now--- I don't so much like the waiting. It FEELS like I may not make it.. it FEELS like the jump is endless... but, I know it isn't. It's temporary. In the big picture of my life .. this waiting to land will be like the waterfall jump caught in the picture.. a moment in time. Emotional, exciting, risky even maybe pivotal ..and also, eventually, OVER.

My oldest snapped this picture at the waterfall, while I was mid jump. Once I get past the pudgey mom-bod and the unflattering shot, I see something that resonates with where I am now. There is something about the attempt to self protect that is in my plugged nose... something about the closed eyes trying not to see what I'm doing.. and something about the arms and legs flailing about trying to steady myself in the air... it almost makes me laugh. Almost. Because I feel like if you could take a picture of my right now--- and capture my emotions--- I'd look about the same.

My arms and legs are flailing around trying to steady myself with possible plans a, b, and c... my eyes are closed in a lil denial of fear once in a while.. and my nose is plugged to keep out the water of worry that sometimes floods my mind. And, I am waiting to land.

In the picture at the falls- I see a woman exercising faith. Sure- faith based on experience of watching other jump safely--- sure- faith based on taking an exploratory walk around the bottom of the falls to find out where the rocks are.... Sure- faith based on the ability of my body to work the way it was designed... but still, faith.

In the picture in my mind of my current journey in mid air.. I see much of the same. A woman exercising faith. Faith is rarely clean cut and unemotional. Faith can be messy, clumsy, flailing. Faith can be strained..and stretched like a muscle. Through it all? Faith grows.

The truth about my life is this: I've been through enough rushing waterfalls of faith to know that when I jump.... I will land. When I land... I will be different. Stronger, maybe not in myself--- but in Him. Even now--- still in mid air-- I am sneaking in breaths of fresh air.. words of encouragement for people God puts in my life and from their experiences...both living people and peole I've only met in the pages of my bible. Once in a while.. I even pry open my eyes and enjoy the view of the beautiful rushing water of life...

You know--- I think I just might land... eventually :)

A few things I've been reading that have given me gulps of fresh air for the jump:

Matthew 17:20
Deut. 31: 6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified ..... for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

"Dear Lord- I know the jump I am experiencing is eventually going to end in a landing of some sort.... I know sometimes landings are hard- and painful.. I also know that you are always there to catch and comfort me. I don't know what the outcome of this jump will be--- But, I do know that where ever I land- you will be there--- and ARE here.. even in mid air. I love you- Lord, amen."

While I am waiting.... I am focusing on doing the things that give me the air I need for the jump... I'm praying.. I'm reading.. I'm knitting and spinning and spending time with my family...and in the sunshine. Once in a while-- I even sneak in a good cry in the shower:) What do YOU do when you wait? How does it help you?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I can't.... be WE can- make a difference.

I dialed the phone, not sure what to expect. 1 ring.. 2 rings then a click and pick up. I'd never heard the voice behind the smile before. I wondered what to expect.

A sweet but sad voice answered the phone. The voice dissolved into tears... we talked. I heard both her heart and the scary details of her situation..... I felt overwhelmed. This was a bigger problem than I could fix. I listened. We talked through potential solutions.. we prayed together... and then hung up.

What on earth can I do to help? The need was way bigger than what I had to offer in help. What I have to share wouldn't make a dent. I couldn't even wrap my arms around this person and hug her. She is too far away. I took some time to think and pray... I knit. I sat. I wandered around the house wondering how I would feel if it was me.... I felt overwhelmed with the size of the problem...I felt powerless to help.

I remembered the words of Mother Theresa.."There are no great things, only small things done with great love" That is how Mother Theresa faced the overwhelming poverty and need that surrounded her... one person at a time... one small, loving act, at a time, and trusting that it made a difference. It did... and still is. Her ministry of love is known all over the world.... I thought about the knititng in my hands.. and how each small stich adds itself to the garment...and creates something useful. (one stitch--- not so much:)

" Would small things done with love make a difference here? now? for this friend? " I just kept wondering. I thought some more... I prayed. and then I decided to ask her permission to help... and to enlist the help of others. Together we offered up bits and pieces.. ideas... words.. yarn (you knew yarn would be involved at some point) books, thoughts prayers....all the little bits started forming themselves into a plan... and then the plan launched.

The plan was to hold a small fundraiser- simple paypal donations made directly to a family in need of their rent money. Each donation would have the chance to win a prize donated with great love. Nervous.. we waited.... (maybe a bit nervously) Then... the donations started pouring in. Ravelry knitters- especially Loopy Ewe Yarn Shop group members- are giving small things with great love. Sacrifices...small and large ... each whatever they can do... and together making a difference.

The world is full of bad news. Fraud, inflation, economic messes. Watching the news is overwhelming- I try to avoid it, mostly... because I feel at a loss to be able to change it. I know, I can't. Not alone.. I don't have the time, the money or the resources to change the world... or do I? Maybe changing the world means doing small things with great love...maybe changing the world means doing what you can when you can, where you can... maybe it all adds up.

It sure is adding up for one family. As of this moment- we've raised enough to keep them in their apartment. Now- we're working on making sure they have groceries. People are looking to see if jobs can be found.. they are checking their contact lists to see if they know anyone local to help....they are making a difference. Not just for this family... but for the generations that come after this one.. and for themselves.. because they know they are making a difference.

Why share this? Because--- there is hope. There is hope that we can make a difference... hope that God can provide...hope that things can get better--- if we each do small things with great love.

For Ravelry members... you can click here to see what we're up to... and maybe even help make a difference.:)

If you'd really love to help-but are not a rav member... you can look in my sidebar for my e-mail address to contact me and I can share with you how you can make a difference.

I know--- I know.. how do you know this isn't yet another internet hoax.... more people manipulating for profit? I'd say you can take my word... but why? The truth is -- there is always risk involved in helping.. always risk of backlash of fraud.... personally? I refuse to let that stop me from helping... Because if we STOP helping.. stop trying... we all lose.

Most readers know that I am a Christian... someone who desires to follow God. Not just in my words.. but in my actions. My convictions affect my choices. Here is the example I have to follow... and I may be walking with a limp and wandering around... on ocassion... and struggling to even find the path... but I am. One small step at a time.

The good samaritan

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Freedom - observed

A movement in the rear view mirror caught my eye. The driver behind me at the stoplight was bobbing her head, to music I couldn't hear. I smiled to myself. I've been known to traffic dance too:) I turned to peek- and saw that not only was the driver bobbing and traffic dancing, but the passenger was too. Beautiful, full smiles graced their faces....the passenger's hands were dancing, I could almost hear them laughing.

That's when I noticed the deep colored, headscarf. One of my neighbors was out for a drive with her daughter. As always- she was beautifully clad in one of her many headscarves. It made me smile. First, because I love the diversity of where I live- and second? Because I know full well- that this woman was enjoying something special. Where she is originally from- she would not be driving or leaving her home without a male escort- this silly, mother - daughter moment in the car- would have been lost.

She caught me peeking. I smiled. She smiled back. Mom-to-Mom- we connected. A tiny nod said "Yep- I love my kid, too- been there, enjoy". I am glad my neighbor is here. I'm glad she has found a place to both worship freely and live freely.

I am also glad that I can- even though, *by some*- we could be perceived as polar opposites- even- enemies of each others faith. I'm glad there are still places where this is true. I'm glad we both live where we can speak freely and live fully and disagree respectfully- by choice. I hope that you, can too.

Peace.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Extreme Adventures in Blueberry Pie;)

blueberry pie tutorial
Extreme Adventures in Blueberry Pie:

2 pints washed and picked blueberries stems removed
1 cup (ish) sugar
zest and juice from a small lemon (or 1/2 lg)
1/4 cup (ish) cornstarch
pinch of salt
pat of butter

pillsbury pie crust (ref section)

preheat oven to 350

line pie plate with 1 crust

mix sugar, berries, cornstarch, salt lemon zest and juice in lg bowl

dump all into crust. top with the butter cut into bits-

put on top crust, crimp with fork, then brush with a bit of milk and sprinkle with sugar

poke a few vent holes into the top.

bake for about an hour-

best blueberry pie ever. I based the recipe from some filling I bought at William Sonoma- it’s the fresh lemon that makes it YUM.

Enjoy:)

serve with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream:)

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Over-reactive parenting with a side of "I don't know what I'm talking about"

Cleaning, top to bottom, with a deadline, it makes me cranky. As does working in one room, only to enter another, and find a NEW mess.

All of which happened the other day. It was a perfect storm of circumstance and over-reaction. It was not pretty.

I was in the living room folding laundry, while the dishwasher ran, the washing machine and dryer tumbled, dinner was cooking, I was sweating and everyone was supposed to be getting ready for dinner. (Multi- tasking- I am gifted, in it.)

That's when I suddenly noticed "the quiet". Not good.

Quiet, in a house with 3 sons, 2 cats and a beagle, does not equate peace, it is a siren of warning, louder than the weather alert. I looked up from my multi-tasking duties. The living-room got the "all clear". Hubby was relaxing on the couch after a long day, the beagle was sleeping. I walked through the kitchen. No smoke. (this is good) When I hit the foyer, the scent of raspberry handsoap filled my not so sensitive, nose. That was not right. (Our house usually smells like: dinner, a locker room febreeze or a pet shop... not so much, like raspberries.)

Faster than a cheetah on Starbucks, I flung open the bathroom door. Slimey, pink handsoap dripped like honey from the countertop, slid down the cabinet fronts and puddled onto the bath-rug. It took 20 minutes to eliminate the slimey foaming mess. During which, I built up a rather foamy head of fury.

Careful examination of the sticky evidence, clearly revealed the culprit. The lid lie on the counter, removed from the pump bottle. The bottle lay on it's side and perfectly formed, 6 year old handprints outlined in foam, dotted the countertop left uncovered by liquid slime. I'm sure the neighbors fled to their rooms, when I demanded the little delinquent to go there, for his own safety. (WHOOPSY windows were open when the yelling began.)

I heard some kind of defense being raised, by the delinquent, from his jail-cell, but this judge had already delivered her verdict: GUILTY AS CHARGED. I returned to the living-room to inform the husband of the delinquency, via continued tirade. Not quite speaking to him.. (or anyone really) just on a really good (or bad) yelling roll.

At some point, a deep, calm voice sounded. "I took the lid off the soap, when I washed my hands." "Oh." "crap" was my response. Every bubble in the foam of my fury popped and left me a slimey mess. I'd cast judgement on a situation, that I knew nothing about. I was wrong. I hate that.

I called the unjustly tried prisoner, down from his cell. I apologized. I set him free. Of course, part of me wanted to build up another fury towards the actual culprit. And part of my knew that the little handprints were proof that he had indeed participated in illicit acts of mess. I was justified, wasn't I?

The small voice in my gut that is usally right, said "NO." I realized the real culprit, was me. I'd let the stress of current events pump me full of hot air like a bubble on the verge of popping. It didn't take much to turn me into a puddle of momma- fury.

I took a deep breath, let it out slowly. Then, shut my mouth. (unbelievable, I know) The current deadline, is one of my own making. I cannot expect life to not go on, just because I have a goal in mind. Stuff happens. My family lives here. This is not a magazine shoot, it's a party, to celebrate.

I am resolved to try to enjoy the preparation process (and the bumps it may bring... ) without diminishing the event's joy, by creating stress, instead. Oh- I still have my spreadsheet. I still have a deadline, and goal.... but, I've also asked for some help... from friends, from family, and from the only one who can change my cheetah like, anger reflex.....God.



"Dear Lord- please help me to honor you... and not overreact to normal to things just because I have an agenda. God, it's hard to work only to find it totally undone in a moment- it's frustrating! Please help me to be patient.... and not to kill anyone- emotionally, with my fury. I love you Lord- and am glad I;m not alone in this... oh and Lord... good weather for this deadline would really be nice;) amen"

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