Movie Monday (because it is still Monday here)

So, we were perusing through our DVD collection today only to discover we own several kid movies we’ve yet to watch with our kids. Some, it has been an issue of maturity, the movies were just too sophisticated for such little kids. Others, got lost in the fluff. So, for the next few Monday’s I’ll be giving my un-compensated review of a movie we’ve chosen to watch. Most are not recent commercial successes although some will be…

This Monday’s selection is a Disney live-action movie from the 1970’s starring Darren McGavin and perennial Disney favorite Don Knotts as hapless safe crackers who end up with Academy Award winner David Niven’s grandchildren who are running away from their grandfather during a school break they thought they would be spending with their mother played by Agent 99 herself, Barbara Feldon. Oh and the kids have a pet. A skunk.

The kids think their plan is fail-safe, they plan to hide out with Duke (McGavin) and Bert (Knotts) and exhort money from their grandfather to finance a trip to meet with their mother in Hong Kong where she is on business and to help Duke and Bert pay off loan shark Big Joe for his money he invested into their failing garage. They had returned to their life of crime hoping to rob an airport safe (do airports still have safes?) in an effort to get money for Big Joe only to end up tripping an alarm and ending up in the same cab as the kids. Unfortunately, their grandfather’s butler sees the kids jump in a cab and follows them and thus, he is onto their plan all along. The police are also called in, the same detective assigned to the safe-breaking case is also assigned to the “kidnapping.” All the while, Duster, the skunk, provides tons of unusual antics for the crew to be involved in.

Ultimately, things do all work out for all involved and best of all, the children and their grandfather begin a new and hopefully better relationship. There is no profanity in the movie and it has lots of silly laughs (mostly at Don Knotts’ expense), a car chase that is more hijinks than danger and the only thing close to scary is Big Joe breaking a pencil. I highly recommend this movie for families to watch together as one of the main themes is the danger of a parent’s work overtaking their role as a parent (there is no mention at all of the children’s father which is different for Disney, typically it’s the mother who goes missing or dies). Enjoy!

Small Successes

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1) We got through Shelby’s first ever dentist appointment. And her teeth got cleaned. It was wonderful, so much better than the experience I had been dreading!

2) The end of Jeff’s school year is in sight. School will be out for him on June 9 and he will be home for the summer June 14…less than a month away! 13 days, but who’s counting! We made it, a whole school year.

3) I am hesitant to share this because we had several such promising false starts, but this time, it seems to be taking…Joseph is successfully potty training. He has now had nine consecutive days in big boy underwear. We’ve had some poop accidents but no pee ones and we have made it to the potty to poop at least once. I am keeping him in diaper at night because I do not trust his nighttime bladder control yet, although about 3 am on Tuesday morning he was banging on his bedroom door yelling, “NEED TO MAKE PEE ON POTTY!” which is very promising. And as Will observes Joey he has spontaneously taken his diaper off and used the potty a few times already (oh that this child would potty train himself, I would be in heaven!).

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.~Danielle Bean

Small Successes is now hosted by Sherry Antonetti here. 

Please support Betty Beguiles aka the beautiful Hallie Lord

Hallie, one of my mostest favoritest people in the whole wide world (and that is the God’s honest truth) is launching her own personal shopping business. Click here to find out more (she links to it in her post) and find out how you can win a give-away! I would consider it a personal favor if you just click and look and if you know someone who might need her services (or if you do) consider passing her name along!

Yum!

Last week while reading my book and knowing I had pork chops to cook and had never cooked them before…I got inspired to do this:

Fry pork chops. I’ve never prepared pork chops at all. I didn’t want to mess with the oven or grill, so I made an executive decision. I was going to take the training wheels off without Jeff. So, I seasoned my flour with salt and pepper, I cracked an egg and I prayed for the best. I didn’t poison anyone. They were tasty AND all 3 kids ate them and asked for seconds. Really, someone wake me up, please, that didn’t just happen!

Then today I did this. I made drop biscuits for the first time ever. I love them because they are fast, tasty and I already have everything I need in the house to make them at a moment’s notice. For buttermilk I keep the powdered stuff in the fridge and just make a cup or so when I need it.

I am thrilled that I will be able to start cooking “real meals” like Mattie Riggsbee. Now to always see in my fellow man what she does in hers….

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

I’m taking a cue from Munchesmom over at Four Blessings Academy and doing yet another meme.

This one is hosted by Judy.

Here is what you are supposed to do: share five things this week that you are truly thankful for. Love sharing these!

1) I am thankful for a wonderful pediatric dentist in our area who specializes in special needs children. She made Shelby’s first dentist visit memorable for the positive attributes.

2) I am thankful for my wonderful friend and “Big Sister” Sherri. She always makes me laugh and smile. I just wish we lived closer.

3) I am thankful for the prayers and thoughts of so many wonderful friends for my family.

4) I am thankful for my husband’s job even though it means he spends long hours away from us. It means we also have a roof over our head, food in our stomachs and clothes on our backs.

5) I am thankful that my husband prioritizes his time at home as time to be with the family.

Please join everyone over at A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings for inspiration and gratitude.

Prayer Request

My uncle Jeff is undergoing surgery for a detached retina today. He is legally blind and his continued independent living and holding down a job are dependent on the outcome of this surgery. I appreciate all your prayers!

Yarn Along

Although Ginny may or may not be putting up a new post today because she may or may not be welcoming baby # 6, I couldn’t miss this week.

Walking Across Egypt was Clyde Edgerton’s second book. It is the story of a 78-year-old widow in ficitonal Listre, NC who finds herself first with a stray dog and then a stray boy showing up. Mattie Riggsbee, the story’s protagonist, is a woman who lives in the presence of God. So, when the stray boy turns out to be an escapee from the youth correctional facility and the deacons and elders at Listre Baptist Church feel that her involvement with him disqualifies her from her leadership positions, Mattie realizes God speaking in her life. In her Sunday School class they are studying Jeremiah 31 and the verse that jumps at her is Jeremiah 31: 34 No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.  Mattie then remembers that Jesus gave the call to serve the least of his brethren in the 25th chapter of Gospel of Matthew: And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Mt 25:40. Mattie, once the person in charge of collections for international missions, realizes that Jesus’ commandments were called for at home too. Mattie, who bemoans that her children remain unmarried and childless, realizes that her brothers and sisters in Christ need her as much as her children. Mattie chooses to live out her faith as opposed to the many at her church who choose to talk about it figuratively. My favorite part of this book aside from Edgerton’s clever dissection of theology is the food. Mattie’s meals made my mouth water! And I’ve decided that while Jeff is home this summer, we’re going to have some real meals. Please hop on over to Ginny’s even if Yarn Along isn’t happening this week to check for baby updates!

Do We Honor ALL Vocations Equally?

A single friend recently confided to me, “I just feel like everyone is pushing me to marry even though I don’t feel called to marriage and if I express that then they ask me what orders I’ve looked into.”

I have to admit, I get so caught up in my vocation, that of wife and mother, sometimes I forget there are others. That a vocation to the single life is every bit as valid and should be as celebrated as that of mine. That although some may be called to be wives that some wives may not be called by God to be mothers (through no choice of their own).

I find that in most Catholic circles we tend toward a dichotomy of women’s vocations: the home and the convent. I have, in my time, though met a few (and it seems there are very few) women (and men too) who were not called to either. They were called to be single. They have lived and continue to live fulfilling lives. Lives full of Christ. But not traditional lives by most standards.

Similarly, I have seen many families who have not been blessed by biological or adopted children who fulfill their marital vocation sharing their love in beautiful ways. For those whose sadness has been profound, it seems they have some of the most beautiful expressions of love through their marriage. I think of a military couple that attended my parish a few years ago that were unable to have biological children due to an injury the husband suffered while deployed and when they found out his condition precluded adoption spoke of showing their love through volunteer experiences and making trips together to pilgrimage sites around the world to mark their anniversaries.

Unfortunately, on the flip side, I have seen marriages falter and end, in which later the husband or wife states they felt pressured to marry by family, friends, even priests, even though they did not feel called to that life. And that is a real tragedy.

Perhaps instead of always praying (as many do) for a spouse for a friend we should pray that they are best able to fulfill whatever vocation God has set out for them. That they answer His call, not the call of persistent relatives or gossipy friends. We should remember that our lives were made for us alone and theirs will be as well.

It’s Begging to be Asked…

How do you deal with adversity and your kids? Do you address all possible outcomes or only preferable ones? Do you downplay negative outcomes?

These questions come on the heels of two personal events that I am currently seeing personified in other families: cancer and deployment.

When my cousin Andy was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2007, of course the best possible outcome was that chemotherapy and radiation would shrink and/or destroy the tumor allowing Andy to lead a long and fulfilling life. My aunt and uncle honestly did not want the alternative discussed. They also did not want to hear of cancer stories that ended in death. On their caringbridge site there was some monitoring going on of stories of friends or relatives who had passed from cancer and whose intercession was being sought. As my mom put it, “death was not an option.” On May 9, 2008, God brought Andy home. I remember reading the caringbridge blog in the days leading up to Andy’s triumph over cancer (although we don’t always choose to see it that way, being brought into God’s loving embrace is ALWAYS a triumph). As my aunt and mother blogged about Andy being taken to ICU step-down many good-hearted well-meaning Christian people mistook that to mean he had made a drastic improvement, when, in fact, it actually was a sign that medical science had reached his peak, and only the working of God would create the miracle of Andy being cured. It broke my heart, in a way, that so many people could not see what I had been forced to accept months earlier, that God’s Will was the only right way, not our imperfect human desires.

Last year, my brother deployed with the USMC to Afghanistan. Because my children are very young and his daughter was born at the end of his deployment, we did not have to have any talks with them or her about what their uncle/daddy was doing overseas and the possible negative outcomes. But future deployments will test that. My brother is very anti-protecting children from the facts of war as far as knowing that their father/brother/cousin/uncle may not come home alive. While he doesn’t think they should know the gory details of what is going on, he believes in transparency. I have found, though, living in close proximity to a base; that not all soldiers, Marines, seamen or airmen believe the same is true though for their families. I have known many military families who tell their children that Daddy or Mommy will be coming home regardless.

These two events have challenged me in my parenting personally. Not just with how much to disclose but how to disclose it and whether to downplay negative outcomes. I tend toward discussing all possible outcomes with Joey (at this point, he is the only child able to have a grasp of the gravity of situations). I don’t go into graphic details that are too much for young children, but we discuss things like war, cancer and other life altering changes in terms of what may happen and trying to accept God’s will. I certainly do not expect any of my children to have a full grasp of what it means to accept the will of God in our lives as the greater good. Most adults can’t do that. I emphasize mostly that God loves us and will only allow to happen to us what is best. My reasoning for even introducing negative outcomes is that it hopefully will give my kids a basis for understanding if the “worst case scenario” does occur. It’s probably selfish of me, but I don’t know how well I would do with these understandings and explanations at the “moment of impact” without a foundation already in place for the kids.

And we don’t discuss these things ad nauseum, but as they occur in our lives and reveal themselves as topics of discussions. Also if the kids ask about them.

That’s not to say I think that is best for all families. So I’m curious, how have these realities being dealt with in other households with children?

I love everybody but…

With some people, not having contact through electronic means, is a must for my continued love. Over the past year, unfortunately, I’ve had to delete and/or block three people on facebook because communicating with them via these means led to hurt feelings (mostly mine), misunderstandings, and an overall breakdown in communication vs what it was supposed to be.

There is a certain segment of the population that are not autistic or have aspergers who know you in person yet, in writing, cannot tell when you are joking. And you know it’s not just you because lots of other people were able to figure the joke out. These people, I avoid on facebook and in email. I’ve been lashed out at by at least two people who did not understand I was joking even though there were several comments indicating that. Sarcasm equally evades these people (and I’ve found in real life a lot of these people don’t do well with sarcasm either). Okay, I for one know that I have to tone the sarcasm down a bit, but should we all have to stop joking because a few people only view what is in writing as literal? I realize that a lot  of this is subject to tone in person which cannot as easily be portrayed via the internet, but again, we are looking at a few people who don’t get it and a majority that do.

I’ve noticed that, unfortunately, some people also insist,  because it is electronic communication, that they drop in on things they have no knowledge of or no business getting into and, sadly, can upset someone they do not even know.  I’ve had someone post something on my wall on facebook only to  have someone they do not even know comment on it and cause hurt feelings. I’m then left to smooth things over with both parties. For a while I tried blocking people from seeing the posts of friends, but that didn’t really work because people who were friends both which each other and me couldn’t communicate as effectively. Then I began to realize it was the same few people who were doing this and just got rid of the problem people. These same people have also hijacked conversations that did not include them and made for very awkward situations. In real life, these people never would have butted into that kind of conversation. We’re still friends in real life, but we don’t facebook each other anymore.

Then there are those known as the “facebook police.” Friends who insist they “need” to tell everyone how to use their personal facebook pages to best suit another person. Recently I’ve witnessed people posting that people need to stop tagging in photos because they don’t like the constant alerts on their phones and people should not post youtube videos (the argument there being that they only want to see status updates and not youtube videos). My extreme irritation with these “facebook police” is that they are acting out of their own annoyance and that they could very simply block these things through facebook’s settings. In fact, they don’t even have to use settings to block them, they can do it right from their feed in 3 steps or less. And I’ve seen them do the same things they are accusing others of.

I think, as time goes on, it is becoming more and more apparent that facebook is great, just not for some people. People who “don’t get it” probably shouldn’t be using it. People who demand that everyone use facebook the way that they do, probably shouldn’t be using it. And people who seem to believe that the virtual world should not have to follow the same etiquette as the real world, definitely should not be using it.