Monthly Archives: October 2010

Friday Five: “Politician Is My Middle Name” edition

In a nod to this weekend (when many dress up as something other than what they usually are) and to the upcoming election (no comment on people being other than what they usually are), I give you ….

FRIDAY FIVE: The Political Edition!!  Or, who the Ewoldt family is most likely to be in current* politics.
*note:  current = I can’t be Margaret Thatcher. [muffled tears]  I’m over it … really.

BobRep. Aaron Schock (R, IL)  — Mr. Schock has the notable distinction of being the youngest member of the U.S. House in the 111th Congress.  Mr. Schock’s career started when he challenged his school board over a physical education credit.  He assumed a position on the school board at age 19 after defeating the incumbent board president with a majority of almost 2,000 votes.  Oh yeah, he was also a write-in.  [editorial sidebar:  A young, brainy Republican who challenges establishment in his free time?  I’m sure I don’t see any resemblence whatsoever.]

EllieNikki Haley (R, SC, gubernatorial candidate) —   Ms. Haley is the Republican nominee in the South Carolina gubernatorial election.  She has set the record for the best performance of a female gubernatorial candidate in the state’s history, and is a fiscal conservative with an emphasis on education.    [editorial sidebar: And she is a female politician who is NOT Sarah Palin or Christine O’Donnell] 

DarcyKelly Ayotte (R, NH) —    Ms. Ayotte is a New Hampshire lawyer who is the current Republican nominee for the Senate seat about to be vacated by Judd Gregg.  A quick look at her Wiki bio indicates that she’s verbal and tough.  She’s got opinions and she doesn’t mind sharing them.  Plus, she’s from New Hampshire.  Did I already mention that?

Aidan:  Rep. Anthony Weiner (D, NY) —   Mr. Weiner is the Representative from New York’s 9th district and is a Democrat (see how bipartisan we are?).  According to his bio, Mr. Weiner is considered to be the most intense and demanding member of Congress.  Don’t believe me?  Watch this.  Hey, even if you do believe me, watch it.  It’ll blow you away.

Chase:  Howard Dean (D,VT) —   Former Vermont Governor and ill-fated presidential campaign runner (2004).  It’s all about screaming for attention.

If you were a politician, who would you be?

A Moment of Truth

There are some moments that are as clear as if they were 60 seconds ago.

I always think better as I drive. Driving and thinking. Normally, it’s a peaceful time for me, but not this late summer day.

My thoughts raced. It had been several days since I’d told him and I still had no concrete answers.

I’m going to lose everything. Everything!

There is the inevitable loss of reputation and standing. I’d undoubtedly lose friendships for the deep deception I’d played out. I knew that my parents would stand by me – because they’d always told me that I could come to them no matter what happened in my life – but I didn’t imagine for a second that our relationship wouldn’t be severely damaged. There was more … more than the reputation and relationship, there was also my job. I worked for a Christian institution and did not for a second think that I would be allowed to stay. I had only been on their payroll for two months and there was no precedence for my “situation” – which meant two things: no money, and no insurance.

The situation was so hopeless that I could hardly breath as it closed in on me. In that split second of thought as I drove I began to think that the only answer was an abortion.

I have to do this. There is no other possible way this will ever work. This will be the hardest thing I ever do, but I can do it and then I can move on with my life.

My palms got clammy. Can I do this?  I have to. I have to.

I’ve heard epiphanies often come with light and sound, but mine was silent. The next breath; the next thought.

No.  I can’t do this.

The answers were still miles away, but in that moment, the complete resolve of my spirit was much stronger than my weak and selfish will:

This pregnancy will not end by my hand. Every other obstacle can be worked out, but a baby will be born.

Prologue: It Confounds Logic …

It confounds logic. How does someone who was raised in a God-fearing home not fear God? How does someone raised by an abstinence counselor not abstain? How does someone sheltered from so many degrading aspects of our culture slip the protection to go wallow in the degradation?

 If I knew the answers to each of these question, and moreover, how to keep these things from happening, I’d be publishing a book on the sovereign parent’s 12-step plan to raising your kids right … but we aren’t sovereign and we aren’t saviors … we’re parents … and God is the only one who ignites the fire in our kids’ hearts to love and obey Him. We can do everything right and the truth may still appear to elude them, so what’s the answer, and where’s the logic?

God is the only answer and He is the only logic.

“But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven.” [Ephesians 2:5-6, contemporary English version]

 Two weeks ago, I posted “Chapter I” on how the Lord first prepared my heart to meet my future husband.  Posting that story was also the kick-off of a much bigger endeavor — my story.  Or rather, God’s story …

 Two pink lines. The test was really just a formality. I’d known what it was going to tell me, yet my hands shook, disbelief raced through my brain. Is it possible to know something and be shocked by it at the same time?

Pregnant.

I was almost incapable of thought.

The words were a sing-song chant in my brain: “How did this happen? How did this happen? How did this happen?”

I could count on both hands the people who were aware of this man’s existence in my life, and I only needed one hand to count the people who knew that he was more than a friend.

How did this happen to me?

Compromise.  When there is rebellion towards truth, boundaries are no longer necessary because everything appears relative, and selfishness, bitterness, and every other vice easily push aside whatever moral resistance should have been in place.

Days passed. I didn’t want to tell him. This couldn’t possibly go well and I had no answers to this problem, but it was the right thing to do. He deserved to know.

“Hey, we need to talk. Can I stop by?”  Such a long car ride.  What do I say?

I’m pregnant. There, the words were out. 

While there is relatively little of this conversation I recall, I do remember the litany of insults … one doesn’t usually forget those.

Was I scheming?

Was this a grand plot to get him to speak of marriage?  No, I thought.  I don’t want to marry you.  It was all wrong.

It’s funny how all that was so fun and seemingly mature was suddenly stripped away in a true crisis.  The adult was gone and in his place was an angry, selfish man-child.  …the first of many moments when I realized how totally blind I’d been.

More questions … Was this black-mail? How could I do that to him? And then, the final verdict … head in hands, crouched as if someone had just kicked him in the stomach, he uttered,“You have to abort it.”

Me:  Don’t ask me to do that, please. I don’t think it’s right. It goes against everything I’m about! For goodness’ sake, it goes against everything you say you’re about!

Him:  You have to do this!  There is no other option.

Me:  Don’t tell me that … as if I don’t know that already!  But my family … your family, especially your mother… nobody believes abortion is right.

Him:  Don’t talk to me about my mother! With this action, you have brought her one step closer to her grave.

Me:  Alright!  Fine!  I’ll consider it.

More accusations … more argument … no conclusions.

Finally, emotionally spent, we decide that we’ll talk in a few days …

 And still, the constant litany in my brain … but now, a different phrase; “What am I going to do?”

Friday Five: the food edition

Ah, the whimsy of “The Five”.

Today, in a celebration of the absolutely non-sensical, I bring you … [drum roll] … Food.  Favorites.  Five.

[By the way, this post is brought to you by the letter “F” and the number “5”]

B: Steak and a good salad.

E: Hummus with pitas and veggies.

D: Chicken nuggets and grapes.

A: Almost anything if it doesn’t eat him first.

C: Whatever Aidan is eating.

Hey! before checking out for weekend fun, take 30 seconds and post your witty suggestion for another “Five” category for the Ewoldts.  The winning suggestion will be the subject for my 10/22 post!  :)

Chapter I

So alone.  “Lord, I don’t want to be alone.”

I remember it as clearly as if it were this morning.  Pitch black early November morning … it couldn’t have been more than 3:00 AM … the sound of a small baby’s breath in the crib next to my bed … the sound of my heart pounding in my ears.

For months, I’d been so certain, so sure, even at peace.  This was my life.  God had called me to be a single mother and minister to others.  And now, quite suddenly, my surety was gone.  And in it’s place … lonliness.  Not in a “I’m at a party and nobody’s talking to me” way, but rather like watching the hero of a movie die and thinking “No! That’s not right! Life shouldn’t be like that!” … that is the  feeling I remember.

And then, silence.  And in that silence, there was a direction, as clear as if someone had spoken the words outloud to me:

Pray. Pray for a kinsman redeemer.”*

Is that you, Lord?  A kinsman redeemer?  Really?!  I feel crazy even saying that I heard that — let alone repeating it.

Pray for a kinsman redeemer.

Alright. Lord.  This is crazy, but I’ll pray …

The closing of one chapter and the beginning of another.  Saturday, October 13, 2007, and counting …

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” ~ Psalm 36:5

*Kinsman Redeemer — See the book of Ruth to read the full account of Ruth and Boaz.

Why Talking Can Be Better Than Listening

This is Aidan. 

Mr. Mischief

Aidan struggles greatly in the area of patience.  When he does [generally every few hours], I find myself doing the thing I swore I would never do [years ago when I was young and foolish].  I channel my mother.  Chiding him gently, I break into a little song from my own childhood about patience. 

 “Have patience, have patience.  Don’t be in such a hurry.  When you get impatient, you only start to worry.  Remember, remember, that God is patient too, and think of all times that others have to wait for you.” 

The result of this “musical correction”?  To this moment, whenever I utter the phrase “Have patience, Son“, Aidan [bless his tiny heart] breaks into a song-like chant: “Hah peh-it, hah peh-it, hah peh-it” [have patience].  Ironically, I no longer sing him the song but it’s almost as if he needs to tell himself to patiently keep a lid on whatever it was that he was about to start screaming over.  I find myself smothering a laugh whenever he does this because it’s so cute.  However, cutie-cute factor aside, as I contemplated this behavior last week, I realized that in his own little way, Aid was preaching to himself.  “Have patience, have patience!”  — which reminded me of a great quote: see below —

This little anecdote has become a lovely reminder for me.  When there is something that I’m both supposed to do, and struggling against … when I’m tired … when I’m angry … when I’m hurting … do I listen to myself, or do I preach to myself? 

When the “have patience” moments come, I pray I will choose to remind myself of all that I know to be true.  [Philippians 4:8] 

Will you?

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says,: “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, [Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1965] p. 20).

Friday Five

This week, I decided to make the “Friday Five” about our reading life.  Here is what we’ve just finished, what we’re currently reading as well as (for the adults anyway) what’s next up on the list.  Have a great weekend everybody! :)

B:  “Gospel Powered Parenting”, William Farley (just finished) “Sheet Music”, Kevin Leman (current), “The Road To Serfdom”, F.A. Hayek (up next)

E:Don’t Make Me Count To Three!“, Ginger Plowman (just finished), “Gospel Powered Parenting“, William Farley, “The Pleasures of God“, John Piper (simultaneous current), “Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be“, Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck (up next)

D:  “Uncle Wiggily’s Story Book, Howard R. Garis (republished 1920’s chapter book about the adventures of a “gentleman rabbit” and his woodland friends)

A:  “Curious George and the Puppies“, H.A. Rey

C:  “Squishy Turtle, author [of this small fabric chew toy/book] unknown

A Note From the Trenches

I received a message from a dear and wise sister in Christ seeking counsel (from several women) on balancing life after you have more than one child.  I deliberated for way too long and finally wrote this morning.  I decided to repost some of my motherly musings here as well.

These are a few of the practical things that have helped me in life with multiple children.  They are numbered, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate their significance … just the order in which they came out of my head.

1) CHANGE IN ROUTINE AND HOUSEKEEPING

Start wrapping your mind around a smaller routine and possibly a less clean house.   This sounds a little harsh, but the load and time needed for each task increases exponentially with each child.  Getting anything done (including getting dressed!) is a MAJOR accomplishment and should be celebrated as such. :)

2)  MENU PLAN

If you don’t menu plan, consider trying it. Eliminating the “What’s for dinner?” stress is big, especially if  you have a little, little one (late afternoon/evening is often a really crabby time of day).


3) CROCKPOT

Crockpot.  ‘nuf said. :)  I don’t know how people feel about soups/stews, etc, but I find myself using my crockpot a lo-hot these days. I fix it while Chase takes his morning nap and Aidan and Darcy either play or watch a DVD.  That way, no matter what turn my day takes, there’s a real dinner.

4) ACCOUNTABILITY

Seek accountability regarding time in the Word. It seems crazy to even consider a Bible study or an accountability group at this point in life, but I can’t think of a time when I’ve needed the Lord more than I do right now — and needed the knowledge that other women are waiting to hear what the Lord is teaching me from the Word.  [wonderful, amazing idea: check out the Good Morning Girls concept here! ]

5) MOMMY FELLOWSHIP

Find other moms. Whether through your church or in your neighborhood, avail yourself of fellowship times and play dates.  I don’t know about you, but it is always such an encouragement for me to talk with other moms and realize that what I’m going through is what we all go through.  It’s also a great and practical way to pick up advice and parenting tips.

6)  MOMMY TIME

If your husband’s work schedule allows, plan for “Mommy Time”. This can be as often as once a week, or as little as once a month — just get away!  Have your hubby watch the kids, and even if it’s only 60 minutes in-between a baby’s feedings, do some grocery shopping, grab your Bible study and head to the local Starbuck’s, even take a walk or run!
7)  BEWARE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES & BLOGS

Say what?  You’re posting a blog in which you tell people to ignore/beware Facebook and blogs?!  Yep!  Facebook and the like can be a great networking tool, but I feel that, all too often, I’m found wanting when I read what other people are doing.  There are a few truly blessed super women that I know, but speaking from personal experience, it’s really easy to post the great recipes or exciting things I’m doing with my kids … what people CAN’T see (thank you, Jesus!) is that it’s 10:00AM and I’m still in my old sweatpants, oh, and I think my carpet is growing things because it hasn’t been cleaned in … I forget how long…  These venues of communication can too often easily encourage the good, but not always the REAL.  …well, or rather, the real, but not always the whole picture.

Beyond the practical points —
Entrust your days and even moments to the Lord. What you’re doing as a mom is the most noble thing. Never lose sight of the daily opportunity we’re given to point our children to the cross. If you tell your kids about Jesus and His love, if you discipline them wisely and train them with every ounce you’ve got, well then, it matters not one bit if you’re still in PJs at the end of the day and eating PBJ sandwiches for dinner.

Signed,  Another Mom In the Trenches

** I’d love to hear from other moms!  What are practical and biblical things that keep you going as you parent??**

If four year olds could vote …

This past Saturday, I took the kids to Starbuck’s while Bob was at a men’s conference.  While sitting in the “comfy chairs” sipping our organic milks and americanos [guess who had which one!], Darcy suddenly turned to me and asked: “Hey Mom, do you think Barack Obama likes to read magazines?”

When I was a kid, we wrote to the president all the time.  I still have their letters and pictures somewhere — Reagan, Bush, Clinton — I think it may be time for Darcy’s first letter.   And I’m rather glad she has a few more years ’til she can vote!

Is there life after chocolate?

The “official party line” of the Ewoldt household remains — “if it doesn’t have chocolate, it’s not dessert“.  However, I truly believe that there is one exception to this rule.  A recipe so luscious and lemon-y that it’s guaranteed to make your socks roll up and down.  …well, not really.  …but still, it’s really, really, really, really good.

You’ll need …

1 box of standard yellow cake mix

1 small package of lemon jello

3/4 cup oil

3/4 cup water

4 eggs

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl (wonder how many times I can work the word “mix” into this sentence?) or mixer (ha!) for about 4 minutes and then pour into a greased 13×9 and bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes.

As soon as the cake is baked and removed from the oven, take a roasting fork and poke holes all over the top of it.  Then mix 2 cups of powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and glaze (while cake is still hot).

Oh my … there are no words …

 

Lemon Jello Cake aka: all that is good and right about this lemony world