Sunday, September 27, 2009

I should have known better than to vent to Dad.

What is it about parents that can make a grown woman feel like she's 10 years old again? Only my dad has the ability to totally use one sentence and lower my 5'4" frame down to 3' and leave me looking for words to reply with.

The past couple of weeks I have vented about the ex, the fiance, and the church. I've vented on my blog, to Vance, to my girlfriends and to my parents. My dad was done. He stopped me in mid-stream this past week and said to me "Do you want to be responsible for his soul?"


"Sheri, do you want to be standing up at the pearly gates and have to explain to God why in his name, you pitched such a fit about sharing your church and were so angry about it that it forced him to quit going altogether? I want you to think about it THAT way."

I'm sure the dead silence my dad got back was the response he was looking for. He probably heard crickets while i mulled that over. I don't care how much I wanted to be right, i don't think there were big enough panties to wear to stand in front of God and EXPLAIN THAT. See, that's what you get when your grandfather was a preacher, a dad who never missed a point from the pew.

I pulled out my Kristin Armstrong devotional and un-turned one of the dog eared pages and reminded myself of words that she wrote going through her divorce. The verse she based it on was 1 Peter 3:1.

"If any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives."

Listen to Kristin's words here:
As women, we must be alluring, not pushy. Our behavior shown to our husband, our ex-husband, or any relationship should speak loudly without words. A gentle spirit, a peaceful demeanor, a forgiving heart, and an inspired sense of morality are some features of a godly woman.

Even if a marriage is severed, it does not mean that the effects of a godly (ex) wife is diminished. We will always have some role to play in the spiritual journey of the men in our lives. God created women to be alluring, to invite others into His presence.

Because you are no longer together does not mean you are off the hook. Live well.

She said it much more gently than my dad, but i got the message loud and clear. I am not off the hook.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A sneaky little post...

Do you souvenir? I do. But not in a souvenir'ish kind of way - like snowglobes, key chains or tshirts that say I heart _________. We do Christmas ornaments for our tree - NYC, New Orleans, Virginia, etc. from everywhere we visit in the year. We have a pewter Empire State Building, a solid brass Fleur de lis, initial ornaments that i can't remember from where, ornaments from Virginia, you name it. The only rules are that they are tasteful, preferrably look expensive, should NOT be expensive, and remind us of our trip.

But see these? These fabulous watercolors? We purchased these on the steps of the Met. Museum of Art in October from the artist, who was painting while he sat in the shade of the trees in Central Park.These are hands down my favorite pieces I have in my house. Except for my children's albums and artwork. I know they're pretty, and yet, they probably do not scream MASTERPIECE to you. But let me tell you why they are so important.

When Vance and I started dating, I was cynical of relationships, and if you have followed me for very long you know i forgot about our first date, had to postpone because i didn't have a sitter, and generally kept him at arm's length for awhile.

We had not been dating very long - maybe a month? When he surprised me with a trip to NYC. I had been before, and it's a long story why involving my ex, but we never left Grand Central Station, so i never got to see much of the big apple.

We spent 4 days there and this is what i remember; I remember him putting his arm around me pulling me into him and it felt like home. I remember spending time sitting in cafes with coffee and walking through Central Park and talking about everything - EVERYTHING. Why my marriage failed, why his didn't work, what we both wanted and didn't want, about our kids, EVERYTHING. I remember having dinner with him near NYU outside at this italian cafe, with little twinkly lights strewn over our heads and just LAUGHING.

Our last day there, we went to the Museum and it was one of those wonderful fall days with enough chill in the air to warrant a sweater, but not much more. And I saw these paintings. One was a Greenwich apartment in the spring, and the other, a vibrant watercolor of the autumn leaves in Central Park. And i had to have them. They represented such a beautiful trip, such a sweet, perfect, moment in time, when everything felt like it was going to be ok. More than ok. It was going to be great.

He will tell you that I cried when we got home because i didn't want it to end. He promised me it wouldn't.

And so, in the not-so-distant future, we are going back again. I'm packing a little differently this go around, that's all i'm saying...

Friday, September 25, 2009

The post about one of my favorite things, that wasn't, because the picture won't upload so now it's about something else.

Blogger isn't cooperating so i will hold a picture post for tomorrow with hopefully some really linky love for us all to share.

In the meantime - i will do a non-picture post (ugh, these are SO boring. I know, I feel ya. But what are you gonna do....)

So, i thought i would share with you what is on the boys' chore list for tomorrow (insert evil grin and background music here).

1. Dust living room
2. Dust mom's room
3. Empty all trash cans in bathrooms, office and kitchen.
4. Clean toilets
5. Wipe down sinks and counters in baths.
7. Litter box
8. Move recycles from kitchen to bin in garage.
9. vaccuum - divide rooms.

Now, i KNOW it looks like a lot for an 8 and 9 year old to do. But trust me, it's not. They divide the dusting and the vacuuming and everything else... so it goes pretty smoothly.

Yes, it's not perfect, and in fact, i have to actually work the bathrooms with them, because they haven't mastered really cleaning the sinks and counters - they just smear the toothpaste around in the sink - BUT the good news there is that this week i actually heard Walker tell Nate not to be messy with the toothpaste because they were just going to have more to clean on Saturday. they know how I FEEL.

And while we're talking about raising up kids that can take care of themselves - here's an easy CHEAT dinner that we accidentally discovered because i was too lazy to really cook (do you see a theme here, because i'm not really trying to hide it...)

We love eggplant parmigiana - but it is not something quickly done. Unless you cheat. I was craving this the other night but was super tired and Walker wanted to help make dinner and as i have said, sometimes their 'helping' is a time sucker. So we improvised. was it perfect? no. was it edible? absolutely, tasty even. And he felt proud of himself for doing it. even better.

Slice an eggplant.
Grease a baking dish big enough to hold all slices.
brush slices liberally with EVOO
Salt, pepper and italian season the slices. (they have this great italian herb paste in a tube at publix in the produce section where the fresh pkgd herbs are and it's mixed with seasoning - outrageous flavor - buy it!)
Put in oven at 350 for about 15 or 20 minutes - enough to tell that it's starting to cook through
Pull out of oven and put tabs of butter or margarine on each slice - pat around so it's distributed around.
Take Vigo breadcrumbs and sprinkle lightly over butter until slices are dusted thouroughly but not glopped on.
Put back in oven for 5 min or so until butter and bread crumbs are toasty.
Pull back out and pour RAGU or any other jar spaghetti sauce over eggplant.
Top all slices with cheese. I know you're supposed to use Mozarella, but i only had provolone - and it was still very yummy.

yes, kids can do this. easy peasy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baptist Bootcamp..or child labor...whatever you call it, IT'S FREE.

"BUT MOM, I'M IN MY UNDERWEAR!" Why, yes, yes you ARE. But you're VACCUUMING in your underwear so I MUST take a picture - "BUT MOOOOOOOOOOM, STOP..."

Ah....the joys of chores, and allowances, and small children who want things that cost money.

Melissa over at The Inspired Room hosts Beautiful Life Fridays - and let me tell you, kids cleaning house makes for a beautiful life.

When we joined cub scouts I was ELATED to hear the den leader tell them that their cub scout dues of $4 are due every week and THEY HAVE TO EARN THEM BY DOING CHORES.

I think the clouds parted in the sky, the sun shone bright and angels started to sing....ok maybe not....but it was darn near close.

And yes, i have stopped picking up their room too. I get to have coffee and walk around and oversee. THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR PEOPLE, and it is great. I mean look at this pigsty. Nevermind that it closely resembles another person's bedroom...ahem....i mean, i might have a small pile of laundry that needs to go to the cleaners but hey, i pay the mortgage so i can leave clothes wherever i want.

The list. It causes so much competition. Who gets the GOOD chores. Good chores?? There are good chores? It caused so much angst i had to make them take turns on choosing chores, so one kid didn't get "empty trash cans" and "dust" while the other had to clean the litter box and toilets.

In case you're wondering, it takes all morning to clean this itty bitty house because they do one chore and get a 10 minute play break, and then you have to factor in all the WHINING. From me.
But in the end, i get a clean smelling house, and boys that will one day know how to clean their own house and make their own dinner, and hopefully in the future, their wives will thank me for all the whining i had to do, i mean listen to.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

'Standing on the Promises' does not mean the same as 'sitting on the premises'.

In other words, walk your faith talk.

Can you be OUT of peace? You can. Well, you can FEEL out of peace. I am. At this very moment, I am very much not in a state of peace, a state of grace or state of anything other than being.

I have been spending small moments in the morning and before bed praying for peace regarding my ex and my church situation. This morning, when it was just me and my coffee and my bible promise book - not one scripture regarding peace touched me. None of them felt 'strong' enough or 'powerful' enough to hold me upright for being around my ex in church this morning. They all felt small and meek. I didn't want anything small and meek. I wanted my grandfather and his hell, fire and brimstone sermons somehow justifying my righteous stance. Validation - where was my scripture on validation????

So, i then flipped pages under the heading "anger". Certainly I could find something there, right? I did. Unfortunately, they were all saying the same thing. Be slow to anger, quick to repent. WHAT??? I can't be just ANGRY without APOLOGIZING FOR IT? Well, that's not working for me today.

And then, when i decided that i should just hang it up this morning, my thumb stopped on this:

A new commandment I give unto you. That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. - John 13:34

That is going to be hard. But, I put my face in my hands and said God, if i can't get to "love" today, at least get me to "peace."

I closed my bible, swallowed one last sip of coffee and got in the shower and then went to church.

And then, as we were standing on the front steps talking to the pastor's wife, ready to walk in, He showed up with her and my kids. I mean, it's a big church, with more than one way into the sanctuary. He seriously showed up in perfect time with our arrival.

God, where is my peace? Can't you cut me SOME slack? So, in we go, them in front. They chose their pew and we walked past and sat 3 pews up. As i'm getting Nate settled into the pew, i feel Vance telling me to move down. THEY ARE SITTING WITH US? seriously? IS THIS ANOTHER TEST?

They call the kids up to the front for the lead in to Sunday school, and as I'm leading my son to class, the hymn starts.

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll;Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,It is well, it is well, with my soul."

God has a wicked sense of humor.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This was a GOOD shopping day!

If you know me, you know 2 things:

1) I hate to shop.

When I do, i'm desperate. And then I buy in bulk so I don't have to go back. It is a gene that goes into remission and then pops up maybe once or twice a year.

I blame it on the fact that I work in retail operations, specifically merchandising and inventory. I make sure all those boxes get to all those stores across the country and that all those endcaps get all that fancy signage posted by the right dates and in the right spot. I go into Best Buy, Walmart, any other big box retailer so much to check on things that i HATE going in there at any other time - I'm up at 4am with the rest of the crazies on Black Friday - not to shop - god no -but to make sure that our sales systems are working and that all those boxes made it in time for that madness.

2) I hate to spend money.

This thankfully works with number 1.
But let me clarify. I am terrified of not having a safety net. I'm scared to death that one day i'll wake up to find my identity stolen and my checking account cleaned out. Probably because that nearly happened once.
Someone stole my mail out of my car which was parked in the driveway of my first house and got my bank statement. Made an ID with my name and their picture and cleaned me out in 2 hours. Thankfully, the bank replaced all the money stolen out of my account but that fear - it stays with me all the time. It's probably why i go behind Vance and pick up what he leaves in plain site in the car, like his cell phone, or mail or whatever. It's paranoya OCD.

So..this is what makes today SO freakin great. I went to Goodwill to hunt for a silver platter to chalkboard paint - like my post a few weeks back from Bless Our Nest blog. They had a few, but they weren't in great condition and the silver plate was peeling off of most so i passed - but as i was walking out the door, i saw this:

Isn't that the sweetest dress EVAH??? The best part? It was BRANK SPANKIN' NEW WITH TAGS STILL ON. I got it for $9.99! Cashier had to go and tear the price tag so i can't even brag on the price in the pic - but take my word for it!

And these?

They were $8.00!!!!!! These were from Plato's closet - the re-sale shop down the lane!

And can you tell that THEY HAVEN'T BEEN WORN EITHER??

AN ENTIRE OUTFIT FOR UNDER $20!!! I am one very happy girl tonight!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Angry conversations with God.

Not me, no. I am actually having pretty decent conversations with God lately - usually in the car - by myself. I talk out loud. sometimes LOUDLY. At stop lights I used to get pretty weird looks until bluetooth came out - that was freeing, let me tell you.

Anyway, I went into Barnes and Noble today to pick up another copy of Kristin Armstrong's book for my friend who is going through a terrible divorce. I used that book "Happily Ever After: Walking with Peace and Courage Through a Year of Divorce" after my marriage broke up. I leaned on that book and the bible passages so many times the pages had started to fray, and you could see both coffee stains and tear stains page after page. It was, no pun intended, a god send. and I gave my copy to the church to hand out when i thought i wouldn't need it anymore.

But for those of you that are like myself at all, this will make you laugh out loud. I found this book at the book store today beside Kristin's book and googled the author when i came home. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A FREE Kitchen Makeover! And it's all mine :)

At some point pre-war (also known as pre-divorce) my ex-husband and I took on a 3rd remodel. He hired his friend contractor to gut our master bath. This was a contributing factor to our divorce. Of this I'm sure. Anyway - the friend/contractor didn't really get the math part of his job. So he ordered about 3x the amount of subway tile necessary to do a tub surround.

The tile got stashed in the garage and ultimately forgotten about, even in the what's mine is mine part of the divorce negotiation, until my ex-MIL built a new house last year and found it. She asked if she could have it - and i was like, sure, i don't want it, the house was for sale and my sites were set on moving, not putting in any extra effort into a 2 year old house.

Fast forward to the house coming off the market and remembering that tile and cursing the fact that i had let it go that easy. Then last week, she came by and saw a box of subway tile that i got from HD to see how it would look against the counter, and she told me my ex still had BOXES left over - more than enough to do my backsplash!!! know what she did? She went over there today and scarfed those puppies up for me while the ex was at work! Yippee!!!!

While this isn't what i had decided to do - the box that i had purchased from HD was a creamy tumbled marble - THIS IS FREE WHITE SUBWAY TILE!!! FREE!!!! did i say FREE??!? Well, free at this point - at one point i paid dearly for it, but that's neither here nor there.

I think with the cherry cabinets and the dark gray and black counter - it will be ok. It's a very traditional look, and that's what i want. I think i may do a row against the counter (the formica backsplash will come up) and then run a ceramic rope/braid tile on top of that and then do the traditional subway pattern above that.

Here is the tile out of one of the boxes laid against my countertop:
and here is a look at my cabinets:
I'm up for seeing any inspiration pics you might have stashed away - or any ideas you have for the project - the man and I will be tackling this next weekend - when the kiddos are out of the house. I am SO excited!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sharing a Cheap Thrill.

No, not THAT kind of cheap thrill, but come to think of it, i probably AM due for one of THOSE.

No, this is a cheap thrill for your pocketbook.

I love candles. I HATE paying Yankee Candle prices. In fact, i have become the anti-yankee snob. Yep, i just don't even go NEAR a yankee candle store. A STORE for goodness sake - if they actually have a STORE, where do you think they're getting that rent from??? Focus Sheri i was saying...i love candles. but i love my money more. Yep. Walmart. I have the strongest candle burning right now - and i only paid $5 for the large jar. It smells up the main common rooms - my great room, kitchen, dining room and i can almost smell it in my office. it is THAT strong.

Both of these below are very strong - both were $5. The green layered one is Pear,Baked Apple and Spiced Fig - and it is such a nice sugary pear scent. I think it's my favorite. The other is a caramel, cinnamon, baked apple mainstay (I threw away the tag and i can't remember the exact name - but it's the orangey-tan layered one - not the tan/cream one)..

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wait, summer...COME BACK....

Yesterday morning, not quite 9 am. One last trip to the water before summer is officially over...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reminding myself what I love about home.

I don't know what it is about the start of school, and the resuming of packing lunches and un-packing of backpacks (seriously, do they leave ANYTHING at school?? i mean, besides their hoodies, and water bottles, and...) but i start to fall in love with my house again.

This isn't anything new. Maybe fall is my spring. My re-birth. Who knows. Maybe it's just the re-claiming of space that has been occupied by boys non-stop for 3 months straight. Whatever it is, this is about the time I take a look around and go, wow. This is right. This is home.

Standing at the sink tonight, it came upon me like a ton of bricks - that peaceful, cozy feeling. I took this picture (even with the clean dishes that i haven't put away just in view - well at least the colander looks happy there) because it was this simple site that made me happy.

It isn't anything great. It's an old bowl full of fruit for lunches, the back of an old jadeite plate that i put in that stand to hide the ipod stand and remote from the family room side. It will be replaced by something fabulous soon...i promise.

I think i might even have an idea of what i want to do the link and visit her site...isn't this divine? Shannon at Bless This Nest has the warmest home and the greatest ideas.