Saturday, September 30, 2006

What is Normal?

I've been thinking today about the word "normal"...what does it mean? Who and what does it encompass? Did I spell encompass correctly? These are my questions....this comes out of a conversation I had with a few people the other day. I was talking to them about Will's new preschool and how I love how diverse it is. We have a child from Bangladesh, one from Persia, Jewish kids, Christian get my drift. I was just going on about how beautiful that is to me and how I love it because, other than the parents at my kids schools, I don't have any friends outside of church, etc. I spent a long time the other day with my Persian friend who has just lived in Japan for 11 years amazed by her diversity and the fact that her 4 year old is currently learning English as his third language. People are amazing! So anyway, after the comments about the Iranian possibly being a terrorist (said in a joking manner, but still..) one of the people commented - "I think I just like normal people best" and the other person said "You're probably one of the only normal ones left". I had to stop the conversation right there as these were all people older than me and I didn't want to get into an argument with them that would be disrespectful. The only thing I said was that I often like the people I meet outside of the church better than some that I meet inside, they are often nicer.

Anyway, after I picked my jaw up off the floor I started thinking about the word "normal"...what is normal and who decides what is normal? By our Judeo-Christian standards, I have a very normal family. Both sets of parents are Christian, still married, grandparents were all Christian and married until death. I am married with two kids (a boy and girl even). But if you look closely in my family you will find alchoholism, people who have had brushes with the law, disfunctional relationships. By the world's standards, I am not a "normal" weight...I have a blind daughter, who is not normal. As a side note, in the circles we travel in with Lora, you would never say "normal" or "abnormal" - it has become an offensive word.

Jesus wasn't considered "normal" by His days' standards and he definately wouldn't be by ours...He was homeless, ran around with a bunch of men, hung out with criminals, told people to sell everything they had and give it to the poor, chastised the established church for being hypocritical, used confusing stories to teach truths, loved everyone, even the lepers and outsiders. Need I go on?

I don't know what the standards are for normal, but I doubt that any of us meets them. We have all been affected by sin in our world, we have all experienced tragedy and pain, we all have areas of abnormality in our lives. All of these things have shaped us into the wonderful, diverse population that we are. So maybe the next time we see our neighbor, who has a combination of bright orange and dark black hair in preparation for Halloween...instead of avoiding her like I did the other day, we (I) can say "HI" and try to get to know her. Who knows what I could learn from her and maybe she could even learn something from me....or maybe she's just a really nice person. I may never know.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Puppy Fever

I want a puppy. I know, its nuts. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I have no business getting a puppy, but I want one. I found the cutest puppy I have ever seen on the internet. It is a Lhasa Apso/Miniature Schnauzer mix. I'm in love, my heart hurts it is so cute. I've already named her Zoey. I even e-mailed the lady that breeds them, knowing I don't have the money...I'm crazy in love.

I even tried to convince Lora tonight to tell her GG on Saturday when she sees her that she really wants a puppy. I am evil, but I'm in love. Mark is convinced that if we get a puppy he will end up taking care of it...I assure him, like a child with a parent that I will take care of her, feed her and take her out to go potty. He doesn't believe me, and I must admit, I don't have a great track record...But this one is really cute! I want to be one of those crazy women who takes her dog with her everywhere in her purse...maybe I am sad because my babies are growing up and don't need me as much anymore....there is no analyzing it...I'm in love.

Anybody know a way I can make a little money quick? Legally???

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Scary Church

I went to a wonderful church service today...we sang some great songs, read some great passages of scripture and heard a great word from God...through my husband. We started a fun new kid's ministry, have a great nursery and fun people of all ages that meet each week together. We are all of about 60 people, if you don't include the two other language groups that meet in our building. I don't know why people aren't flocking to our building - I know it isn't about numbers but I think what we have is really great...a little known secret in the greater Seattle area.

Then, I read a blog today from a local pastor - he pastors a very large church in our area - let's call it "Fars Fill". He is extreme in his fundamentalism, believes that women were created "equal but with distinctly different roles from men in the church and home", does not believe in women being ordained, discredits what he sees as mainline protestant churches at every turn. And, for some unknown reason, people flock to his church. I don't get it. I personally think he's scary. I was talking recently talking to a guy from a church in West Seattle that was purchased by "Fars Fill". This was a great emerging church that had a wonderful cafe in its basement that was reaching out to the community, inviting them to play music, hang out and eat with them. He said that "Fars Fill" closed the church down after they purchased it in order to "ready" it for Sunday mornings.

They also closed the cafe and will be eventually reopening it as a space for their church people to use - not as much the community. I just don't get it. Someone explained to me once that young people of my generation and the one after me are flocking to fundamentalism because they are looking for boundaries in their lives, they grew up with parents who didn't give them boundaries so they are searching for them at every turn. Maybe that's it. People want absolutes, lists to follow, black and white. If only life were that easy.

The only absolute that I'm positive of is that God is love, He sent Jesus to prove to us how much He loves us. Jesus told us to love God with everything we are and to love others as much as we love ourselves. In some ways, that is more difficult to do than to follow a list of rules...but if we could do it, truly love others as much as we love ourselves maybe, just maybe we could make a difference in our world. Or, we can sit in our scary churches with our list of rules that people have to submit to before we will let them join the club. WWJD?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stress has a new name....Co-op

I'm stressed fact, so stressed that my chest sort of hurts. Is that bad? Last week on Wednesday I went to Co-op to help clean the classroom and was rooked into being Secretary of the co-op board. At least I'm not scrapbooker anymore which is good since the zoom on our digital camera is broken. ANYWAY, then on Thursday we took Will to meet his new teacher, who he loves. Then, on Friday I went to North Seattle Community College for two hours to learn how to be the secretary of the Co-op board. I mainly learned that most of these moms are way more serious about co-op than I am; strangly most of them didn't pick it because its cheaper than any other preschool I've ever heard of; and that I know nothing about co-op or how to be the co-op board secretary. I left feeling a little overwhelmed but a little more informed to.

Then, I got home to an e-mail from the co-op reminding us about getting our TB test done, turning in Will's immunization record, getting together his earthquake preparedness kit together and filling out two other forms that we haven't done yet. SO, tomorrow morning at 8:00 I am running up to the Community Health Department to have my TB test done, coming home to get Lora ready for school, Mark and Will are going to drop us off at school and run to Group Health to get a copy of his immunization records. (We seriously considered filling out the part on the form that says that we didn't have him immunized because of religious reasons, but figured since he's already gone through the pain he may as well get credit). Then, Mark will pick us up at noon and I have to be at Will's school by 1:15 for orientation. This is orientation for me, to learn how to be a parent volunteer in the class.

Then, on Tuesday night we have another orientation from 7:00-9:30 for which I just found out I'm supposed to bring snacks and speak on three topics as secretary...two of which I know nothing about at this point, plus take minutes at the meeting.....This is after I've made soup for 12-15 people for our Bible Study on Tuesday morning...Then, finally, Will gets to start school on Wednesday afternoon and I'm not sure, but I think I have to volunteer in his class on that day, even though Monday is normally my day.

I just needed to write that all out and complain about it a little bit. Mark keeps telling me not to stress but I want to punch him every time he says that. I think I have anger issues. I'm sure its no different than anyone else's life but right now, I'm a little overwhelmed but the chest pains have stopped....that's good, right?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Life List....

I've watched the new season of the Ellen Degeneres show a couple of times this week and she has been talking a lot about "Life Lists". She had a gal on last year that had a list of items that she wanted to get done before she turned 40 and Ellen helped her cross off about15 of her items....from drinking Cristal champange to riding on the Orient express to owning a pair of Jimmy Choo's to being backstage at a Dave Matthew's was a fun show. Ellen had the girl on again yesterday and they talked about why she started her life list, in her case it was because she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child and has a short life expectancy...but this has spurred Ellen and many of her viewers to create these lists and also, throughout this season Ellen is going to help more people fulfill things on their lists.

ANYWAY, this got me thinking about my life and whether I have things that I want to accomplish that I haven't done so far. Ten years ago...getting married, having sex and having babies would have been on my list...been there, done that! So what is there now? Other than the obvious...raising children who love God and respect others...having a good marriage...I think it would be fun to have a detailed list of things that I would love to accomplish. I really want to go back to Europe someday...I want to take another cruise with my husband...I want to weight 140 someday.

I think somethimes that I get so caught up in the day to day ordeal of raising two young children that I forget about my own life and what I want to accomplish, if there is anything. So, I think I'm going to start a list. Maybe when I'm done I will post it, if its not too personal. Then I can keep you up to date with how I'm doing.

Anyone out there with a Life List of their own??

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fall into fall....or sprint into fall

So, we're off and running with our fall...starting today. As I mentioned previously, we FINALLY found a pre-school for Will that we can actually afford, at least on paper. He's going to be in the Wallingford Co-op preschool, actually we're all joining the co-op since part of the "deal" is that one of the parents works one day per week, etc. What I am finding out is that there are many obligations with the Co-op situation. I start today by going to clean-up day at the school from 1-3:45, then tomorrow we have our new student orientation with Will's teacher, then next week on Tuesday we have the parent orientation where we all find out what we are and aren't supposed to do in the classroom...THEN, on Wednesday the "slow start" begins, some sort of staggered start so all of the kids aren't in the classroom at the same time to start, I guess so they don't overwhelm the teacher? Then, finally we actually start the next Monday...and from then on, either Mark or I will be working each Monday in the classroom.

But, beyond that, once a month I have to go to a class about early childhood education since, technically, I'm enrolled at N. Seattle Community College. (and will be getting a grade, by the way). Then there are the every-other-month social get togethers AND I have a committee position on the co-op board.

This is the funniest thing of all....not that this has been too funny so far....but, the committee position that I have been given is that of "Scrapbooker"...for those of you who know me, this is hilarious because I do not even have baby books for my children. I am supposed to take pictures randomly this year and at the various events and then put them together into some sort of yearbook, memory thing at the end of the year. Last year the person gave everyone a picture disk and even a movie to take home...the zoom doesn't even work on our digital camera! So, I'm pretty much screwed and destined to be the laughing stock of the co-op. But it was either that or a maintenance position which is even funnier...

I just have a feeling that these parents are going to be way more serious about all of this than I am. Its like the time that i brought strawberry yogurt for Lora for a snack at Boyer and was promptly told that kids that young weren't supposed to have strawberries...let alone the Princess Fruit Snacks and Smuckers Uncrustables that I also brought (promptly being told that peanut butter was also taboo) I just don't know or don't care as much about all of that...and, so far, my kids are still alive and eating popcicles at 9:30 AM...right now!

I think its my old High School insecurities coming out...the cool moms aren't going to like me, I'm too fat to fit in AND my husband's a about your conversation ender!

Then, Lora starts back to school next Monday...So, we have school all day mondays; Tuesday morning is "Souper Study" with the old people at chuch, which I make soup for, school in the afternoon; school and church on Wednesday; school Thursday, Mark, Lora and I are going to visit people on Thursday afternoons and then we have "Living Room" on Thursday evenings; and nothing on Fridays!!! Which is why today, we are all still in our pj's watching Barney at 9:45 just getting set for the craziness! Bring it on!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

Last night, my husband and I went on a date. Yeah! We went and saw one of the best movies that I have seen in years, "Little Miss Sunshine". I would give it 5 out of 5 stars. Such a great, sweet, funny, moving film that tackles issues like drug use, suicide attempts, death, dissapointment in a way that is humerous and touching. The acting was overacting or over-the-top antics, just sheer perfection. I will warn that there is liberal use of the "f" word and one scene that has some graphic talk regarding sex...that was for my mom, but well worth sitting through some language to experience this wonderful little movie. If you couldn't tell, I really liked the movie!

On another note, I didn't blog on Wednesday, but it was Will's 4th birthday! It is so amazing how grown up he is getting....he came out at 3:54 AM on 8/30/02, weighing all of 6 lbs 2 oz....and 19 inches long. Yes he was skinny....but cute, at least to me. He is so much fun, bright and funny. He had his first sleep-over on Tuesday night and then we went to Chuckie Cheese's on Wed, it wasn't as bad as I remember it and he had a blast. But today, he is saying that he doesn't want to be 4 anymore, he wants to be 3 again. There is so much pressure the older you get.

On another note, tomorrow is Mark's 44th birthday...We're having a little dinner for him with family and a few friends...Brisket Sandwiches and Strawberry Shortcake was his request...

Happy Birthday to both of my boys!!!