Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Definition of a Bum. Updated.

This post was originally published last year as the first guest post my Spouse wrote. Several readers have referred back to it on occasion, so I thought it was worth a repost.

While walking the streets of Downtown Houston it is not uncommon to encounter some of the many homeless who live on the streets in this city of more than four million people.  Melissa and I have found through conversations that they have names, stories, and life experiences.  

My girls and I have had extensive conversations about the love we can show to the homeless here in Houston: a conversation, a meal, or just acknowledging their existence.  

However, if I bring up the word “bum” my girls get a much different picture.

I often remember hearing people refer to homeless as “bums” when I was younger, but my definition is a little different than my dictionary app on my iPhone and this is what I teach my girls.   

1.  Person who avoids work and sponges on others; loafer; idler
2. Over-enthusiast of a specific sport or recreational activity, especially one who gives it priority over work, family life, etc.
3.  An lazy, but able-bodied person
4.  A drunk
5. A selfish person

I want to make sure my girls and those in our college ministry understand 
what a bum looks like:
  •       A bum is unwilling to support himself.  No job = bum.
  •       A bum is too lazy to open the door for a woman.
  •    A bum will put his physical desires ahead of what is best for a woman.
  •       A bum leaves the trash can full of trash. Call me “old fashioned”, but a lazy man will have a woman taking out the trash and mowing the lawn.  I tell my girls, “You decide, do you see your mom having to do that?” ("Having" being operative word here.)
  •       A bum spends a large portion of his time idle in front of a computer, television, or video game.   The IMB (International Mission Board) is sending more women than men into the harsh, dangerous areas of Africa because our 20 something boys refuse to put down the controller and become men.
  •       A bum allows his hobbies or sports interests to consume his life. These things have or will become his idol and he will have no time to worship the true God or lead is family to worship.
  •       A bum will allow family and work to take second seat to his ego and comfort.   A man who loves unselfishly will work whatever job it takes to support a family. 
  •       A bum is incompetent in the handling of Scripture.  He cannot expect to lead biblically if he is illiterate himself.
  •        A bum will allow alcohol to dilute his senses, leaving a woman to worry that he will not be in sober mind to both defend and protect her in any situation. 

·      Top three musts of a dateable man
  • He must know and walk with Christ daily.
  • He must have a drive to work and support his family no matter what that job may look like.
  • He should be mentored by your dad or another strong Christian male figure in your life!    
God has a man for you, he is preparing his heart, but you will need to be patient in waiting on God.   Have men in your life, if not your father, that love you enough to identify a bum and believe them when they say it.

Paul described love best in 1 Corinthians 13 this way:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, and does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…. Vs 4-7

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reasoned like a child 
when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  Vs 11

A bum will look a lot like an overgrown child…


Whew! Love it! I know there is somebody who needs this word!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Health & Fitness Contract for Kids.

The Sisters want to earn some money. Being the cool junior conservatives they are, they don't ask for allowance or a handout, they ask, "Mom, can you make some jobs for us so we can buy a hamster?"
I dig that.
We have certain chores in our home that are to be done because it's part of being in a family. "Earnin' your keep", some would say. Others might say, "Learnin' to serve." I agree with both. Still, there are some paid jobs like, $.50 per load of folded and put away laundry (best money I ever spent), for example.

But, they were looking for a little more and the fact is, I've got something I'd like us to get back on track with and I'm at a place where I'm willing to pay for it. Not for long term, but for a time.

Here's how I came up with the plan:

I'm about thinking outside the box here, with this parenting gig. I know kids need to be motivated, and I've been given insight on how to motivate mine: financially.  So, I see all these Cell Phone Contracts and Driving Contracts that parents are having their kids sign and, well, they seem like grand ideas, so what about a Health & Fitness Contract?

The Sisters love their sports, but they (like me) are lacking in some conditioning areas. I blame myself for complaining about running all the time. They are both pretty good at it, but I have taught them to hate it.   Fantastic. Big Sister loves her fruit and drinks a lot of water, but doesn't love the greens. Little Sister tears up some salad and carrots and green beans, but her only fruit is an apple. They inherited a love for chocolate chip cookies, Chicken Minis, & ice cream. Also, there's the fact that 2012 was a bit of a different year for us, with all the zip codes we were in and all, so we were inconsistent with our fitness.

So, Mom got a plan.
I'm sharing it with you 'cause I like you and I believe it may be useful to somebody, somewhere.
Health & Fitness Contract & Payment Schedule.
Feel free to use/share, I took all the numbers out so you can customize.
Just be nice & give credit to the author.
****Updates Below****
Let me be clear:

  • I'm not bribing. Bribing is paying before the deed is done. I worked on this for a couple of days, had Spouse help me tweak it and whatnot, before presenting it to the Sisters. There are no freebies, here. I feel like this would even be Dave Ramsey approved. :)
  • I'm not a doctor, nutritionist, fitness expert, or guru of any kind. I'm a mom. Period.
  • I don't even know how much H20 kids should drink a day. I just chose what seemed reasonable to me. 
  • There are minimums. If the minimums aren't met for the week, there is no payment. Boom.
  • To many of you, the fruit/veggie thing isn't enough servings. I get that. Tweak it to fit your current needs. 
  • "Jog a mile"- This requirement is because I know their level. You adjust.

Big Sister is choosing to get her veggies by drinking them. She's drinking the Green Juice* and gettin' her done. (There are a ton out there, below is the recipe we use. I just like one with veggies AND fruit. So, you just pick one.)
Both Sisters are very financially motivated right now, so we are four days in and going strong! :) I'll keep you posted!

*Green Juice Recipe
Handful of Kale
2 small green apples (if you only have red, use em.)
Half cucumber, peeled.
2 whole carrots
2 celery sticks
Half peeled lemon (optional, I like it, Big Sister doesn't.)
Put them in a good juicer, in any order and stir. Cheers!

Feel free to offer up suggestions and ideas here! For real! Help a sister out!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentines, Motown, Jesus.

My kinda Valentine: sandy.
As far as I remember, Spouse and I haven't really gone overboard for Valentine's Day. He's not really the oogly- googly type and all I see is dollar $ign$. :) I'd rather get unprompted Oakley or Adidas paraphernalia  on a random Tuesday or Bruce Springsteen's birthday- he was Born in the USA on September 23, 1949, Kids- than candy I don't need on February 14th.
(Not an advertisement, by the way, that's just what came out of my fingers.)

It's funny now, though, because my girls care about it. They like to see that Daddy romances Mom and Maddy-ever the wife-in-training- would likely express great disappointment if Spouse were to blow it off completely.

Their investment is mostly commercial, for sure; we've spent very little discussion time on historical significance. I should probably do that--if nothing more than for a little cultural literacy. I read that the martyred saint would allow soldiers to marry. I'm pretty sure Geoffrey Chaucer (I know you are picturing Paul Bettany right now.) was the one to bring some romance to what before was a day of remembrance to the saint. I'm totally talking out of my bum here, so feel free to correct me. Any of you actually good homeschool mom/teacher types know a good website for reputable info?

Anyhow, it is crazy that with very little television, they've picked up on the traditions of the holiday.
I admit, Spouse and I are quick to label holidays like this "Hallmark Days" and not participating, but it is important to use these opportunities as talking points with our not-so-little girls who are watching our marriage and no doubt dreaming of a One Day. I shudder.

{a pinterest pic}

So, as we are struggling through the construction of our Valentines Boxes for the parties, we can crank up some Motown Radio on Pandora and chat it up. Motown offers great, even biblical talking points on our current holiday season.
  • What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? Jimmy Ruffin. 
    • Who are the unloved in our world? The forgotten? What can we do? 
    • "Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40
  • Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
    • "We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Aretha Franklin
    • "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Colossians 3:20
  • Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
    • "For I am convinced that neither life nor death, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 (This one was too easy. Too easy.)
  • Tracks of My Tears, Smokey Robinson
    • "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4
  • Wonderful World, Sam Cooke
    • Remember this one: Don't much about history, don't know much biology...
    • "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3
Alright, go ahead. Get your Motown jam on.

Happy Valentine's Day!
 Vintage Baseball Valentines. I dont' know the source, but it is too cute.
Happy Valentine's Day to a sweet young man, JB in PC. I would watch baseball for you. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

BIG BELIEFS, Little Beliefs

I believe...

Everybody's got a story. 
If and when and to whom they choose to tell it is theirs to decide, 
but rest assured, everybody's got one.

The Granthams put the noble in nobility.
Downton Abbey, Friends. I'm totally drinking the tea.

It's good to be known.

This is what nostalgia looks like:
Have a soft spot for the Frogskins.
Spouse bought me my first pair in high school. Awwee.

Boys need the opportunity to 'give chase' in a dating relationship. 
They need it, Girls. Make 'em work a bit. ;) (And by boys, I mean men.)

Chocolate milk never goes out of style.

Love is a decision.

The biggest lie about homeschooling: you need patience to do it. 
Ba. Ha. Ha.

"Kickin' it old school" needs to be more than a pop-culture phrase. 
We need to get back to some old ways of thinkin' and livin'.

Divorce is the easy way out. 
(Most of the time.)

Dimples are cuter on a baby's bottom than mine.

My Blender Bottle makes me feel so fine. It keeps me rockin' all of the time.
(Red, Red Wine. Neil Diamond to UB40 to Bob Marley.)  

Texas is nothing like I thought it would be. 
It's way better. It's the people. I'm all about the people.

A rainy day nap is just further evidence of God's favor on me.

Parents should use every social network that their kids use.
This is not just for safety, that's a no-brainer. This is also to teach social networking "social skills". 
For example: Do not "like" your own photos or comments, 
do not "like" every. single. photo. that your friend posts,
do not post requests for texts, do not air family private business, etc.

Prayer is powerful.

Parenting is a multitude of split-second decisions that only end at adult-thirty.

You never get too old or too godly to do something stupid.

Sunshine is the best form of Vitamin D.

The answer to leadership issues, family issues, injustice, social issues, and government is Jesus.

What do you believe? Any of these resonate?
I love to hear from readers.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Bare.

It's time for another Five Minute Friday!

Here are the rules.

If you have a blog--you should so do it.

It's Five Minutes of pure blog adrenaline.

Five minutes of writing on one word. Period. No editing. No nothing.
This week's prompt is Bare.

Ready? Set.


Really, Lisa Jo? Really?

Here's what I know: the only cutesy dimples I know of are the one on Maddy's left cheek and the ones on a baby's bottom. Any baby. Pick one. Pick any toddler. Dimples on the naked baby bottom are edible.

The dimples on my thighs? I do the world a service by keeping my bare necessities covered up. You're welcome.

Seriously. There seems to be no amount of lunges that will wage war on these little cottage cheese-like beasts! We'll see if this 5k per month gig will help it out.

I've tried making peace with them. I've tried embracing them. My spouse assures me that he wants me to "look like a woman and not a 12 year old boy, so stop worrying about it". Sweet, sweet lies. Probably added another dimple right there. Blessed assurance.

I'm going to Bootcamp.
Really. Right now.

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa.

You're killin' me, Smalls.


I'm so excited to check out Most Illustrious Mother to see what actual wisdom she came up with for this horrid word. :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

This Is War.

**Disclaimer: Adult-Only Post.**
If you are under the age of, say 18, show this to your momma right now.
A few days ago, a friend and I were shopping with my girls when I spotted these gift books called "Porn for Women".
These are little gift books and coupon books depicting buff looking men doing household chores, changing diapers, cooking, etc. It looks like they've been around a while, but I'm just noticing.

All photos are copyrighted material by Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative. All credit goes to them and whatnot.
Sounds fab, right?! 
Listen, my Love Language is Acts of Service, so I can certainly appreciate the beauty of a man that knows how to handle a mop. I heart this. There are few things more lovely than my Spouse unloading a dishwasher or putting away laundry.

Now, the books in this series, as far as I can tell, are not pornographic in the sense that there is nudity other than the occasional male bare chest.

Still, let us define pornography, shall we?

Dictionary.Com defines pornography as "obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, especially those having not artistic merit."

The New World Dictionary defines it a bit differently:
1. writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement.
2. the production of such material.

"Designed to stimulate sexual excitement."

I get that these books are sort of tongue in cheek. I understand that they are for fun. The books depict men doing helpful household chores. These acts of service are encouraging, supportive, and helpful. Yay for encouraging, supporting and being helpful! It is essentially the nonchalant use of the word porn that I have such issue with.

According to the site Porn Harms,

America is suffering an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography. According to many studies, children and adults are developing life-long addictions to pornography; American children begin consuming hardcore pornography at an average age of 11 and act out what they see on siblings, neighbors, and friends; four out of five 16 year-olds regularly access pornography online; growing numbers of men in their twenties are developing “porn-induced sexual dysfunction;” girls consuming pornography are several times more likely to engage in group sex than those who do not; 56% of divorces now cite Internet pornography as a factor in the breakup of the marriage. More on harm can be found at PornHarmsResearch.com.

Make no mistake, we are at war with the porn industry. War. 

Books like this, seemingly harmless, just desensitize us to porn and we momentarily smile, maybe chuckle, and forget that pornography is destructive. I remember when my friend, Joy, first told me that the use of the words pimp and pimping as compliments was so dangerous. 

Pimps are slave-owners. They are criminals who beat, starve, and sell our brothers and sisters and we should have never allowed the phrase "pimp my ride" to fly. Pornography even  perpetuates the slave trade. We can't say that porn is helpful in relationships, but modern slavery is wrong. They work together. We can't let anything about pornography be fun or positive or anything less than an abomination.

We can't.
We no longer have the luxury of nonchalance when it comes to unhealthy sexual practices.
We no longer have the luxury of just shrugging things off as 'in fun'.
We no longer have the luxury or the right to 'lighten up'. (A phrase I detest, by the way.)

We need to call pornography what it is: a tool by your enemy and mine meant to destroy you and me, our families and children.

We are at war. This is a battle. This is how I fight it.

But you, Man of God, flee from all this, and pursue 
righteousness, godliness, faith, love, 
endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. 
Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called 
when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 
1 Timothy 6:11-12

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Identity Crisis

"I don't even know who I am anymore!"

Anybody ever said it? Thunk it? Anyone? Anyone?
<Insert Ben Stein's voice here.>
Annndddd, I just lost 4 of my 5 readers.

So, none of you ever said or thought something and immediately chased it with a shot of "Did I just say that? And mean it?"

Yessss you have. Just admit it.

Got a few scenarios for ya:

Girl who didn't want a baby until the day she found out she was pregnant. Until then was all about some self and some work. Then, she was all like, "I want to be a stay-home mom." Whattt?? Then, was a bona-fied PTA Board Member before said child had a first day of Kindergarten. Work? You mean, for pay? Who has time?!

Boy who probably got married cause it seemed like the next logical step was not all that into the girl in the dreamy sense. God did a work on the both of them and Boy is now a Spouse who is ridiculously into the girl. *She grins.*

Girl volunteers at a pregnancy care center and helps launch an education program for teens. I would speak in local schools & faith-based organizations on the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage. Awesome job. Identity came with it: The Sex Lady. No joke. Middle and high school students from all over would catch me out in public and holler, "Hey, that's my sex lady!" I would smile, wave and say, "Now, explain to your momma why you just called me that." And they would proceed to tell them that I was the lady who came to health class telling them that sex is awesome, but you have to wait til you're married. Amen. "Yes, Ma'am. That's true. I said that."

Girl, now Homeschoolin' Momma, can't imagine anything else. Another work that God did. She now uses phrases like, "do school" rather than "go to school".

Doing school on the trampoline back yard in Florida.
A few more pics from our back yard in Florida.
Girls' garden they grew with Spouse.

Mac. He was good. On the grill.
We had a couple of rabbits (sometimes more than a couple!), some chickens, and a couple of ducks.
Also, is she the cutest ever?
GoKarting in the pasture.
Now. These photos I share for a reason. This is decidedly country living. We were very comfortable in it. Rarely did we get solicitors or other - ahem - door knockers.
We walked outside in bare feet, without makeup. Let the dog and kids and dirt and weeds run free.

Then today happened. I was reminded once again that I don't even know who I am.

I am typing this with manicured, acrylic nails that are the product of an idiotic, insecure impulse. And, that's not even the worst of it!

I walked out to take the trash and found this in my yard.

This. This is the poop that prompted today's post.

I laid eyes on this poop in my yard in my deed-restricted subdivision with an HOA and I let out an audible GASP!  Somebody did not clean up their dog's excrement in my yard!? There is dog poop in my freaking yard! Good Lord, who are you? You came from a yard with all kinds of poop in it at any given time and you are now one of those people who fuss about poop in the area of the yard that you have yet to step foot on!? 

I wanted to beat my own tail with a flip-flop for being ridiculous.

I am not a person that cares about dog poop in the grass. It's OUTSIDE! I have been the person that lol'd about well-meaning, responsible dog owners carrying a plastic poop bag, saying, "I'm not going to live anywhere that I have to pick up dog poo in a bag!"

What a magoo.

Oh, the Nevers I've choked down. I laugh. Ridiculous.

What about you? Any life situations of today that prove to be completely opposite of your lofty plans?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Afraid

It's time for another Five Minute Friday!

Here are the rules.

If you have a blog--you should so do it.

It's Five Minutes of pure blog adrenaline.

Five minutes of writing on one word. Period. No editing. No nothing.
This week's prompt is Afraid.

Ready? Set.

I'm pretty sure I have a fear of being afraid. And, a fear of my girls being afraid.

I'm not brave, I just don't want fear to paralyze us from obeying God's instruction.

We closed the door to the girls' nurseries from the beginning. When they were in bed, door closed. No nightlight business. I figured they were in the dark for 40 weeks, they were fine with it. I believe that a lot of fears are learned.

They didn't watch Veggie Tales "Where's God When I'm Scared?" because I didn't want it to occur to them to be afraid.

We didn't use those safety rail things on the big beds. "What if they fall off?" Well, the first night or two, I put a couple of pillows on the floor, although they didn't need them. Some mommy friends guilted me in to the pillows.

Spouse worked a later shift during Meghan's toddling and preschool years. He made it to many park days. When Meg wanted to climb the crazy climby spiral thing, he taught her how. Let her go. Mom's went all bat crazy and some were annoyed at us: now their kids wanted to climb! She was 2. They were 4!! Dude. Really?

I got mad when another child asked my child if she was afraid to fly. What?? Nooooo!! We pray for our pilot and crew, but we are not going to be afraid. I mean it, it never occurred to her to be afraid of it until then.

SCUBA diving and zip lining and riding all the horrid unsafe rides at the Strawberry Festival and fairs and when we wore out a trampoline, we bought another.

We sit on toilets and wash our hands for the love of Cher.

Go. Do the hard stuff. Climb ladders and mountains and tell the story of Jesus.

Again. I'm not a brave person. I'm going to do what I can to see that my girls are brave to make Jesus known.

Ughhh!!! There's never enough time! I'm just getting fired up! :)