Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Brother

Dear Brother Bear,
Today, you are 8 years old and when we sang Happy Birthday to you in the car this morning I got tears in my eyes because you are growing up so fast!  It won’t be long and you will be as tall as I am.  We had your birthday Saturday and all of your friends came and it was such a great party.  I am so proud of you.  You are such a handsome young man with a kind heart.  You and your sister couldn’t be any more different.  You are way more reserved than she is which means, you are sneakier!  You have done so well this year at your new school.  You have only got your name on the board a couple times and your grades are good.  Your teacher even said you are a joy to have in class!  You enjoy reading the Bible by yourself and listening to me read it to you.  You always say your prayers at night when we pray together as a family.  You are about to start basketball at the youth center and I cannot wait to watch you play.  You are really starting to like basketball which warms your dad’s athletic heart!  You are already talking about what kind of cell phone you want when we allow you to have one and you have even told us what kind of truck you want when you turn 16 (SLOW down bucko!).  I hope you enjoy your childhood and don’t try to grow up too fast.  It’s already going too fast for me.  Everyone told me when I was pregnant with you not to blink because I would miss something and they were right.  I have enjoyed watching you grow and change over the past 8 years and while it makes me sad that you are already 8, I know I will continue to enjoy watching you over the years to come!  Until then, here are some things that come to mind when I think about the years that have flow by:
·         You HATED the full size swing, but you loved the portable one.  I loved watching you sleep so peacefully in it. 
·         You pooped on Nana in Wal-Mart when you were just a few months old.  She hid in the bathroom with you while I went and bought her a new shirt.
·         When you were about 6 months old your dad decided to let you taste a lemon from his water.  You made the worst little sour face I had ever seen and your dad barely made it out of the restaurant alive!
·         The first time we took you on vacation was to Panama City Beach and you love the sand so much we couldn’t make you take a nap during the day!
·         Last year was the first year you played basketball.  I just loved watching you improve with every game.  You did push another boy down and admittedly, I laughed, but then explained why you can’t do that!
A lot has happened in 8 years!  So much that I can’t list everything because there’s just not enough time or room in this one post.  I just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday and let you know how truly blessed dad and I are to have a son like you!  I love you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


So, I gave the bum at Wal-Mart $10 yesterday.  Hubs and I decided we need to crack back down and stop eating out so much so I decided that I would get a cheap meal off the famous $1 menu at Mickey Dees.  As I’m pulling in I see him there on the corner by the stop light and I think, eh, I don’t have any cash anyway.  I’m off the hook.  I pulled into McDonald’s and ordered my side salad and daily double which by the way was atrocious.  The lettuce was slimy but that’s neither here nor there.  As I am pulling out, I see him again.  And I again justify not giving him any money because I don’t have any.  I even double checked to see if I had just a dollar that I didn’t know about and no, nothing.  Suddenly, my heart just broke for him.  The thought did cross my mind that this guy could be a professional bum and make more money begging than I do working an honest job but that thought was quickly replaced with a command.  “Go to the ATM, get $10 and give unselfishly to this man who has been reduced to begging at the Wal-Mart street corner.”  It was clear and I knew immediately who was speaking to me.  I mulled it over in my mind as I was driving to the ATM.  What if he buys drugs with it?  What if he is a fraud?  What if he was a father who begs by himself to save his wife and kids from the embarrassment?  What if he had a good job and lost it like so many?  What if, what if….?  The directive was clear and it was so strong that I couldn’t deny it.  I worried about how I would give him the money.  After all, he was standing on the wrong side so the driver would have to hand the money across the car and out the passenger window.  I wondered if I would have time to ask him his name.  I didn’t.  I pulled up to him, rolled down the window and he reached in and grabbed the money.  This was his reply, “Thanks, dude, God bless you.”  Dude?   Really?  I guess I was driving my husband’s truck which is a “man truck”.  It was liberating.  I just knew I had passed “the test”.  I prayed all the way back to work that he would spend the money on food or some other need and not drugs or smokes.  I prayed for his well being and that he would find a job so that he could get off that corner.  I could worry about whether or not I just contributed to the meth trade in this area, but I choose not to.  I know I was a blessing to that man and when I looked at him, I realized, I’m not better, just blessed enough to have a great job.  It’s not my place to judge, just to love unselfishly just like my Father loves me. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Change of Plans

We were going to squeeze in one last camping trip in "Stubby" (our tiny 15ft camper) before winterizing him for the season, but it looks like this is the forcast...

Soooo, instead we may hanging out at home!  We will probably flip on the tube Saturday to to call the pigs.

Maybe, they can put their game faces (they seemed to have been missing during the Lousiana Monroe game) on and BEAT BAMA! We may also have some good friends over to grill.  There is always fun to be had where friends and food are involved!

Speaking of camping though, I think we are going to try some cold weather camping this year.  We are going to buy a tent for cold weather, build a fire pit down by the creek and try it out.  I envision a smoldering fire, roasted marshmallows and smores, hiking, riding the four wheelers and snuggling down deep in the covers for the night.  In reality, we will probably be bundled up so thick our arms will stick straight out like that kid on The Christmas Story!  If nothing else, I'm sure a good story will come from it which will undoubtedly end up here. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Midweek Recharge

Last night was midweek service at church.  Babes worked until after 11pm Tues night and was exhausted and after a long day at work I wasn't particularly feeling it either, but we had committed to greeting so we went.  And how glad I am that we went!  Isn't it amazing that we will sacrifice major blessing in our lives for any old excuse?  It was "first Wednesday" last night so all four us of went into the service as a family and the preacher taught on Miracles.  I am a note taker so of course I was jotting as fast as I could jot.  I looked over and Brother Bear was doing the same thing!  He was copying my notes onto his paper.  He sat there and soaked in the entire service.  At the end there was a normal tithe taken and then any loose change or bills went to our Mercy Mall.  Brother had found a penny earlier and had it in his pocket and he could not wait for that bucket to come by so he could give the only money he had on him to this great cause.  I mean he was on the edge of his seat making sure that bucket didn't pass him up!  I can't tell you how swelled with pride I was but at the same time I realized, he's watching me.  He's hungry and I'm so glad we are in a church that feeds his young faith but me and Babes need to continue to feed it at home.  I thought, wow, that's the kind of faith I want.  The kind where I'm not afraid to put my last penny in that white bucket as it passes by me!  Of course I need to brag on SisterLu too.  She's not one to sit still, but she was quiet as a mouse during the entire service and only waived at the preacher one time! 

So, I already said the lesson was on miracles and how to see God's miracles in your life.  The pastor asked this question: "What is your disability?  What keeps me from getting well?"  The verses we studied were John 5:1-10 where Jesus tells the invalid to "GET UP!"  Why am I not getting up and doing what God is leading me to do?  I want to experience the miracles that Jesus has in store for me and I know the areas of my life that keep me from doing that.  I know I feed those areas with the same excuses that almost prevented me from receiving the blessing that this Wednesday night service was.  Here is what I will be working on:

1.  Patience with my children - God chose me to be Brother Bear and SisterLu's mother and I can't think of anything else I would rather do, but I have got to learn how to parent the way my Father parent's me.
2.  Self control - particularly in the area of eating.  This doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is to me.  I eat for fun, not for life which is okay sometimes, but not all the time.  Just because I WANT a BigMac vs the ham sandwich I brought doesn't mean I should run out and get it.
3.  Priorities - I can pray all day about a deeper relationship with God, but it's just not going to happen unless I prioritize a quiet time with Him.  Reading a few verses before I go to sleep isn't cutting it.  He's right there waiting for me to make the first move.   

There are other areas, but I'm going to stop at three because I think these three will result in major growth for me.  Next Wednesday starts the adult classes in conjunction with the children's classes and I am so excited and expectant to apply those lessons to my life.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Morning Go Round

This is how my mornings go:
6AM – alarm goes off and Babes fumbles around until snooze button is found or alarm falls off nightstand…whichever comes first
6:04AM – dog begins whining and barking desperately on my side of the bed to let me know that if I don’t drag my lazy rear out of bed and open the front door for him, it is all over for the carpet!
6:05AM – crawl back in bed for two more minutes
6:09AM – alarm goes off again after being “snoozed” the first go round…I lay in bed and think, why do I torture myself like this??
6:10AM – get out of bed a second time and schlep to the kitchen to fill Crock pot with tonight’s supper…at least I won’t have to cook tonight!
6:30AM – put on outfit number 1…nope muffin tops hanging over the pants just aren’t attractive…bring on outfit number 2..we have a winner!  Leave outfit number 1 wadded up on the bed instead of hanging it back up.
6:45AM – drag kids out of bed and tell them over and over to get dressed, put on their shoes and brush their teeth
7AM – brush Sister Lu’s hair and put in pig tails as requested…she looks so ornery with pigtails and I love it!!
7:15AM – mad dash to the car because we have got to get Brother Bear to school in time to get breakfast…kids get distracted half a dozen times on the way down the sidewalk to the car and I can feel my blood pressure rising!
7:17AM – “JUST GET IN YOUR CAR SEAT AND HELP YOUR BROTHER STRAP YOU IN; WE ARE LATE!!”…and there it is…the mother I pray every day not to be shows up right on time…every time…never fails…the feeling of failure sets in and I think to myself, “I always said I would never yell at my kids when I had them because I remember what that feels like…easier said than done.”
In my opinion, this is one of my biggest failures as a parent.  I lack patience and that translates into me yelling.  It is my prayer that I can change this.  In the meantime, I won’t let my failures define me.  I will learn from them and try to correct them!  I may be a yeller but I don’t want to raise yellers.
7:35AM – drop Brother Bear off and tell him I love him and to have a good day…he’s way too cool to kiss mom in the drop off line so I don’t push it.
7:40AM – drop Sister Lu off at PreK and hug and kiss her and tell her I love her.  She not too cool to kiss me and I enjoy it now because I know the day will come when she is too cool for me too!
8:10AM – I bust through the doors at work and head straight for my desk only to see my manager standing there chatting with someone.  Busted!  10 minutes late.  Rather than acknowledge my lateness I just go about my business like I was on time and head straight for the coffee pot!  This is going to be a great day!! 
There is a lot that happens in the first two hours that my eyes are open and I try to take in every last second because I know that one day I will wish I had to rush around and get two sleepy eyed kiddos ready for school.  I know I am blessed beyond anything I could ever deserve!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Can Someone Please Tell Monday that Today is Tuesday??

Today has been challenging to say the least.  The events that occurred this morning made me question some decisions that the husband and I prayed so hard about and were so confident in.  First of all, Brother Bear woke up in tears saying he didn't want to go to his new school and wanted to go back to the old school and see his old friends.  We tried to calmly explain to him why he couldn't go back and the tears escalated into a full blow meltdown of epic proportion.  He shouted at the husband and even balled up his fists.  I have never seen him act this way before.  He is normally very reserved and quiet.  After punishing him for the disrespect, we consoled him for his sadness.  We tried to make him understand the decision to switch schools was made because we want what is best for him and his sister.  We want him to have the best education possible and have more opportunities.  He started to settle down some and the car ride to the new school was better.  He started to act normal again.  Then, came time for me to walk him to the lunch room where the kids meet before going to their classrooms.  We walked in the door and there were hundreds of chattering children all sitting with their friends.  My mind flashed to one of those movie scenes where you see kids standing in a sea of faces with their lunch tray and no one will allow them to sit by them.  A look of sheer panic went across Brother Bear's face and my heart broke for a second time for him.  I helped him find his class and hugged him and told him I loved him and walked out fighting back the flood that burned my eyes like fire.  After getting Sister Lu back in the car I slid into the driver's seat and turned the key.  Nothing but a click.  On the verge of an emotional breakdown a gentlemen and his wife saved the day with their set of jumper cables.  The battery was so dead they had to leave their vehicle hooked up to mine for several minutes before my car would even turn over.  Sister Lu was late to her second day of preschool.  After the school drop off debacle, I drove straight to AutoZone for a new battery.  Wouldn't you know it, the only one they had in stock was the most expensive Duralast Gold with the 8 year warranty.  Perfect.  I'll take it.  Par for the course.  Thankfully, the company I work for is very family oriented and I have the type of management one can only dream about so being more than an hour late to work wasn't a big deal.  However, once I got there I went to the ladies room and proceeded to have a meltdown of my own.  Hot tears streamed down my cheeks and I just kept telling myself, "you have got to get it together, you have got to pull it together, NOW!"  And so I did.  I pulled it together long enough to get a cup of coffee and load it down with creamer to where it tasted more like cappuccino, plug my ears with Christian radio on Pandora and say a prayer at my desk.  Within a couple of hours Brother Bear's teacher emailed me to let me know he was doing just fine.  Things are looking up; thank God. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Birthday Girl

Note - this was supposed to be published  Just pretend it was posted yesterday!
Dear SisterLu –
                Today, you are turning five.  FIVE!  How did this happen?  It was just a few months ago that you were a little baby sleeping peacefully on the couch with your brother lying right next to you keeping constant watch.  I can’t believe how fast time has flown.  You are such a blessing to me and your dad even though you might possibly have the sassiest mouth I have ever heard on a 5 year old child!  In the past 5 short years we have already created so many memories.  Here is some of my favorite (some of these will probably be the ones that you will want to kill me for later in life!):
1.       I remember the day we brought you home.  It was 110 degrees outside!  It was also the only day you rode peacefully in the car.  You cried from point A to point B during every car ride thereafter and your poor brother would say “mom, please do something!”
2.       Potty training was quite the adventure.  You did not use the potty unless you wanted to.  I remember the first time you wanted to wear big girl panties.  It was the day of a birthday party at McDonald’s and the whole potty training thing just wasn’t going that great.  I decided, against my better judgment, to let you wear your panties and you know what?  NO ACCIDENTS! 
3.        The time that we had friends over and we were sitting in a circle watching you, Brother Bear and your friends swim and you came flying out of the pool, pulled off your swimsuit and squatted and peed right in front of everyone!
4.       Your first best friend was (is) your babysitter’s granddaughter.  You guys call each other sisters.
5.       Your first day of preschool was so hard for me because I wasn’t ready for you to be a big girl.  Your backpack was as big as you were and you were so excited.  Now, you are only a year away from Kindergarten – gasp!
6.       I just love when you get mixed up on the names of things; it’s so innocent.  Here are some of the funniest – beef turkey (beef jerky), Wet Burger (Whataburger), Woodpeckers (Fudpuckers), Milk N Shake (Steak N Shake) and amblience (ambulance).
7.       Your love for Justin Bieber.  I thought it would be a passing phase.  Well, we are going on a three year relationship now with no end in sight!
I could go on all day with the wonderful memories we have created with you.  You are such a joy to watch grow and change.  You are definitely your own person and have a very strong personality.  You are sassy, sweet, girly, tomboyish and beautiful (you take after me!).  You are very busy and never want to sit still for too long.  If we are at home for any amount of time you are ready to go do something, anything to get out of the house!  Even though you and Brother Bear fight constantly, you really do love him!  You like to sleep in his room in “the tent” and pretend like you are camping.  I love you more than you will ever know and I am so proud of you.  I pray every day for your safety, happiness and most important your salvation.  Happy Birthday Lulu! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

If You Can't Clean it, Fake it!

It’s a necessary evil, but I hate cleaning my house; LOATHE it.  I will spend hours cleaning it and fifteen minutes later my kids have it destroyed again because for whatever reason I can train the dog to go get his ball, but I cannot train my kids to put their clothes in the dirty clothes hamper!  I’m convinced people who say they enjoy cleaning their house are liars.  I’m also convinced when I go to someone’s house that has kids and it is spotless that they just did a mad cleaning session prior to my arrival because that’s exactly what I do!  Yesterday, my mother in law and her husband were in town and tried to get in touch with Babes, but he was busy making a living and couldn’t return their call.  They decided to mosey on over to our house to take a gander at our newly remodeled kitchen and dining room.  This is what people do in the backwoods.  No doors are locked in fear of things being stolen so family members have the constant go ahead to just come on in.   Normally, this is not a big deal, but considering I didn’t have those 15 minutes prior to their visit (because I too was at work) to make my mad cleaning sweep through house, my mind immediately rushed to the disaster that greeted them when they came in.  I’m not talking a few dishes in the sink.  I’m talking a stack of boxes leaned up against the wall that needed to be burned, two sinks full and one leaning tower of dirty dishes, a trail of dirty clothes (underwear included) because as previously noted my kids have forgotten where the dirty clothes bin is, food particles of what looked like was once corn on the dining table and last but not least a swarm of gnats that had taken up residence in said dirty dishes.  Surprisingly enough, there wasn’t a stench...that I know of.   Don’t judge, you know your kitchen has been in a complete state of disarray at one point too!  This is why I have created the below list of things to do when guests decide to drop in or when you are just being plain lazy and want to fake a clean house!
1.       Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher.  Forget rinsing, that takes too long and you can chisel away any food particles that remain off later.
2.       Wipe down counters.  If you have antibacterial spray use it, if not, who cares!  If the mess hasn’t caused any sort of airborne disease, then skipping the AB spray isn’t a crime and if a disease has occurred, you’re too late anyway.
3.       If you have gnats, break out the bug spray. 
4.       Arrange that pile of bills and junk mail into a neat pile and then stash it in a cabinet.  Just don’t forget about the bills if you intend on keeping your lights on.
5.       Vacuum and sweep.
6.       In the bathroom, stuff all dirty clothes in the closet.  If you don’t have one stuff some in the washer and put the lid down and put the rest in the tub. 
7.       Close the shower curtain; VOILA tub’s clean!
8.       Swab out the toilet.
9.       Slide everything on the bathroom counter into a drawer or cabinet and wipe down the sink and counter.
10.   Have the kids close their bedroom doors because there is no way that mess will take anything less than a hazmat suit and a couple of hours, neither of which you have.
11.   Make the bed in the master bedroom and slide any clutter under the bed. 
See, that was easy!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's a Start

Welcome to Skip the Sugar.  This blog has no central theme so I guess it would be considered eclectic.  From the title, you may think it’s about my addiction to sugar (which is very real), but it’s not.  While I like to eat sugar, I don’t like it when giving or getting advice or opinions.  I don’t sugar coat.  Nothing in this blog will have a layer of sugar on it.  I constantly have a pool of thoughts swimming around in my brain and hopefully I can unleash some of them here.  I will write about life in rural America (we’re talking population 88 here), family, my faith in Jesus, things I have learned, etc.  If you stumbled here by accident, I hope you will stay a while; maybe even click that little “follow” button!  Here are a few random things about me to kick things off:
1.       I am cheap.  Some call me a tight wad, though I have been called worse.
2.       I try to love people even when they are unlovable because that’s how I am loved.
3.       I have 2 kids.  They will be referred to as SisterLu and Brother Bear in this blog.
4.       I also have a husband who I will call Babes most of the time. 
5.       I can’t stand when people chew with their mouths open.
6.       I like to pretend to not care what you think about me, but deep down I really do.
7.       I laugh at the most inappropriate times.  Advice – don’t trip and fall in my presence.
8.       If I’m not careful, I will pee my pants when I sneeze.
9.       I am a college student. 
10.   I hate when people throw trash out the window as they are driving.
Thanks for stopping by.  You might as well put you sweat pants on, kick up your feet and stay awhile!