Monday, January 31, 2011

Shut It, Crazy Lady!

Zip it!!  Shhhhhhh!!  Hush!!

Okay, dear readers...My name is The Rat's Nest and I have a problem. 
I can't keep my mouth shut. 

I mean, I love, really love to tell other people what I think is best for them.  I love with a capital L-O-V-E to tell my friends, and even strangers, what they should do next in their personal journey of life.  I will step up to friends and strangers alike (I don't discriminate in my craziness) and offer guidance even when it has not been sought.  It doesn't seem to faze me that no one asked about my opinion.

Case in point, Saturdays are all basketball, all morning for the older two Curlee Hairs.  Either The Committee or I will take the boys to their games.  We have to divide and conquer, so one of us stays home with Wild Hair and Tiny because they totally get lost in the shuffle among all of the basketball players and families. 

Last Saturday, it was my turn to deliver the boys to basketball (much to Straight Hair's chagrin...he felt I was very unworthy to be at the games, practice maybe, but games should be reserved for The Committee only).
Back on track, sorry.  Well, I met a new mother of one of Straight Hair's team members this day.  She was very sweet and totally unsuspecting of what was to come.  She has just moved to the area in the last month and had some questions.  Oh, wow!!  These new friends are my favorites.  She sought me out, so certainly she must need me to lead her along the way.  No, this isn't the case at all, is it??  In the middle of our conversation, I heard myself say, with great glee, "Oh, I'm going to get your whole life planned out."  Who says this??  Me, that's who.  I offered her so many different ideas on where to meet people, etc.  She kindly wrote down my phone number surely never to call, eh? 

Why?  Why can't I just have a normal conversation without trying to solve everyone else's problems?  I know it is annoying, yet I can't stop myself.  Before I go out with all of my girlfriends or a couples' dinner with the Committee, I have to have 'a talk' with myself about the importance of keeping my mouth shut.  This seems a bit abnormal.  Maybe there are others out there that could join me at my next meeting of Talkers Anonymous.  If so, please tell me! 

One of my New Year's resolutions is to let others run their home as they would like, while I focus only upon my house.  But, it is soooooo hard for me!!  I can't help but run my mouth and 'fix' everything for others. 

I. have. to. stop! 

I could go on and on forever with examples.  There are so many quotes and Bible verses dedicated to this very issue.  But, I will share just one.  I will try (very hard) to stick to my resolution and live according to these words each day.  Really, I will!

If you keep your mouth shut you will never put your foot in it. 
~Austin O'Malley

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brought to you by the letter W

Today's mess is brought to you by the letter W.
...When I asked The Wild Hair why this happened, he said, "I'm never allowed to hold eggs, and I just wanted to hold one."  Well he did, and it didn't work out too well! 
{Please note: I was in the shower when this happened.  Take special notice of the self-clean-up job he did with the paper towel.}
Gotta love him, though!

Other Wild Hair-isms...
Wild Hair: "Mom, when are we going back to the Flipper Store?"
Me:  "What are you talking about?"
Wild Hair: "You know the place where we do handstands and flips!"
{We went to a birthday party at a local gymnasium...aka The Flipper Store!}

Wild Hair:  "Mama, I'm still not going to college."
The Committee: "All Curlee boys will go away to college."
Wild Hair: amongst sobs..."NO!!!!!"

After watching the new Alice in Wonderland several times...
Wild Hair:  "Off with your face!"

Wild Hair to my mom: "Caki, can we talk about feebers?"
My mom: "Feebers? What are feebers?"
Wild Hair: "You know they live in the woods."
My mom: "Do you mean beavers?"
Wild Hair: "Yes, Feebers.  When will they die?"
(He's on a mortality kick.)

Wild Hair to The Committee: "Daddy, can we talk about brains?"
The Committee: "Sure, what do you want to talk about?"
Wild Hairs: "Do cowboys have brains?"

And from the Straight Hair...
Me:...Wandering out of my bedroom into the den one early morning...
     "Morning, Bear."
Straight Hair: the most Eeore type voice you can muster..."Mom, do they
call it your birfday because that was the day you were birfed?"
Me:  "They sure do, buddy."

After watching The Wizard of Oz several times...
Me:  "Daddy is going to Kansas next week again."
Straight Hair:  "Eww, Mommy.  Is it only grey in Kansas?"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Sweetness is in the Middle

After almost 8 days of snow breaks from school, the boys are very used to snow.  We have seen fresh snow, melting snow, and even yucky gray snow on the side of the road.  But one afternoon last week, the Curlee Hairs all got out of school early for yet another patch of winter weather.  We were at home enjoying all things warm, when a snow shower quickly started outside our window. 

I've never seen the boys get so excited so quickly.  They were spellbound.  This struck me so strangely.  You see, snow isn't something that is new to them this year.  It's old news.  The thrill is long, long gone.  But, they were still so pleased.  Then it hit me, the thrill is in the process.  Most of our snow days have been the result of a late night snow shower.  I'm pretty sure they haven't seen the snow really come down all winter.

“Wherever you are, be all there.” Jim Elliot
“May you live all the days of your life.” Johnathon Swift

I started to reflect on how the joy isn't really in the conclusion, but yet, we find true satisfaction in the evolution of an event.  For example, would a mama's love be as strong if it weren't for a long gestational period?  Isn't a new home much more delightful after it has been sought out over time?  A lovely beach vacation is even more magical when we have spent some time planning and researching the perfect location.  The sweetness is most definitely in the middle of the process, and the outcome more treasured because of the loving attention.  It is in the living that we find our bliss.

As the boys watched the snow fall, their excitement grew because of what was to school, building snowmen, drinking hot chocolate, daddy working from home, and spending endless hours playing the wii in our cozy den.  They were able to see the process and each moment was true glee.

So, as I go about my day, I think of other examples of how I have overlooked finding the joy in the small moments that will join together to form the big picture.  I get so wrapped up in making the big picture a masterpiece, that I quickly forget it is the simple strokes that define the beauty and the contrast.  The masterpiece is completed over time with effort from the artist.  It is in the effort where the picture takes shape, changes direction, and is transformed from a blank canvas to a work of art that we find true love grow.  

That's where life is lived...we move from a blank canvas to a work of art somewhere amongst the strokes

Our life is made beautiful in the difference of the strokes.  The colors both bright and bold wash over a clean, white sheet to change the composition.  We find the contrast in the daily ups and downs.  The sweetness can be found in the middle of the process.  The glory can be given once we have completed each bit with care and attention to what is good.  It is this process that is given to us each day to savor and mold to make our life into a masterpiece.   

So be truly glad.
There is wonderful joy ahead,
even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
~I Peter 1:6

{Can you remember watching Bob Ross create his happy little trees stroke by stroke on his blank canvases?}

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cold, Cloudy Days

Some days you've just got it going on.  You put your feet on the floor and think, I'm gonna own this day.  Then some days, you realize that this day is gonna own you.  I love the imagery of the idea that some days you are the windshield and somedays you are the bug!  It brings it all home in one sentence. 

My oldest child and my youngest child are moaners. Neither of them really cry all that much, but they just let out this small moan when they aren't having the greatest day.  It sums up their feelings in one stiffled, little sound.  I totally understand how they feel when I hear it. 

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant:
if we did not sometimes taste of adversity,
prosperity would not be so welcome.
Anne Bradstreet

In this weather, I hear the moans more and more and they aren't always coming from One-of-a-Kind or Tiny.  They are coming from me.  When  I was teaching, I read an article about how teacher/student burnout is most common in the month of February.  Maybe mommy/son burnout is most common in this time as well. 

My body physically aches for the warm sun to light upon my neck.  I want to see little buds start popping out on the few trees I have outside my kitchen window.  My children long for warm recess filled school days.  We are fair weather friends that are yearning for warmer afternoons and sun-filled days. 

Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter.
Who would think that those branches would turn
green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.
But, it isn't going to happen any time soon.  We still have several more months of this winter weather.  It's ok.  It's the nature of the beast.  Spring will be here in time and the waiting will make or hearts grow so much fonder of the fair weather.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Center of the World

He can hear my voice and find me.  I can peek around the corner to check on him, and he instantly locks his eyes with mine.  They call it tracking.  It seems important.  My pediatrician asks me about it on each scheduled visit.  I nonchalantly nod my head that this does, in fact, seem to be happening in our house. 

I am the center of his world.  The Tiny Hair can spot me across a crowded room.  He can hear my voice and a smile spreads across his face.  It is a smile he holds just for me.  His eyes light up searching me out.  Mine is a voice that he listens for intently and calms his cries. 

I think to myself, do I have this center to my world?  Am I searching for a small voice that can ease all my worries?  Is there a something I am searching for that is held just for me?  Is my heart trying to find something, in this crazy, hectic world, that will lead me to be more than I am? 

I do.  It is Him.

He is the voice that will calm my fears.  He was a Son that was given to soothe all of my sins.  His Father gave Him to me to be the center of my world.  I am searching all through this world for answers that will subdue my questions.  But, never will my inquiries be appeased if I don't seek Him.  I am tracking Him and His path.  Some days it is easy to follow.  At other moments, I find myself walking through the tall brush that lies on either side of this clear trail.

In the clearing it is easy to trust.  It is easy to rest.  It is easy to follow.  But, how quickly this ease can turn to doubt.  We can look around and see Him working in the lives of others.  Others are able to follow the path effortlessly, while I am struggling with my way.  My way seems blurry, bumpy, and broken.

As I was talking with a dear friend the other night, she said she is so in love with His words...with His way.  She can't get enough of His stories.  She wants to pass His wisdom on to her daughters with ease just as her mother and father did for her as a child.  Oh, how wonderful this sounds.  How richly blessed to have a heritage such as this.  How can I get there?   

For the past 35 years, the center of my world has generally been me.  I have focused upon my needs, my wants, my desires.  I have never really given up on myself.  I have made sure that I have what I want.  But, what if there is more?  How can He use me to be more?  To give more?  To help more? 

It is heartwarming to be the center of someone else's world.  Yet, a tricky place to be as well.  I am moving through my days trying to fill big shoes each day.  I am trying to follow Him while leading them.  I want to pass the center of my world on to be the center of their world.  I am hoping that in following the good, I am able to let the bad fall away.  Focusing on this center is hard.  Please don't let me give up.  And, I pray that He won't give up on me.

Who is the center of your world? 

{The words of this song are simple.}
{They echo my inner thoughts.} 
{In fact, they could be my daily prayer.}

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finding Our Home ~ Part II

We have looked all around.  We have visited once and sometimes more than once.  The churches have all seemed very nice and welcoming.  But, we haven't found the exact "fit" just yet.  But, I'm done.

I'm tired of analyzing.  I am weary of looking in the shadows for something that might or might not work for our family.  I have heard different viewpoints.  I've listened to the happy stories of others about how they have found their home.  I'm done.

I've decided that our church may not be just one place out there.  In fact, it might be many places.  It's like an old patchwork quilt.  Our spiritual inspiration will be comprised of different locations, just as an old quilt is made of many different pieces.  Where we find solace, will be an interweaving of all sorts of places.  So, this is what will have to work for us at this time.  We'll just have to be okay with knowing that it might not be the perfect answer, but it is our answer for right now.  It will have to work, because I am tired.  I am done.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Double - woot!!  Today is a good day.  I got a shout out from author Sandy Coughlin on facebook today when she linked my blog about entertaining to her account.  She wrote the wonderful book, The Reluctant Entertainer.  It's a great read if you are a lazy, reluctant entertainer like me!!

Reluctant Entertainer Reluctant Entertainer ...Hospitality - she makes it sound really beautiful and easy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We're Moving On...

I'm done with the snow.  It was gorgeous on Monday morning.  There is nothing more wonderful than waking up to a winter wonderland.  All of my Curlee hairs were at home snug in their beds.  We all stayed right here in the house all day.  It was great. 

But, the thrill is gone.  We are now on day 4 of the schools being closed.  It is too cold to get Tiny Hair out, I had to sacrifice my hair appointment for this morning, and now I'm just bitter.  I don't have the energy to even surmise if we will be in school tomorrow or not.  I'm just defeated.  I know there are bigger problems in the world, so I'm moving pity party is over.

I've decided to focus upon planning the rest of my year.  So, I'm starting with putting the ideas listed below to good use.  My mom sent these to me by e-mail.  Generally, I don't read her forwards because they have little pictures of cats saying, "Hang in there!"  But, due to boredom and way too much free time these past few days, I'm starting to open her e-mails.  I was pleasantly surprised...hope you will be too!!

1.       Drink plenty of water.
2.       Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3.       Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4.       Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5.       Make time to pray.
6.       Play more games
7.       Read more books than you did in 2010 .
8.       Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9.       Sleep for 7 hours.
10.    Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile. 


11.    Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12.    Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13.    Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14.    Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15.    Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16.    Dream more while you are awake
17.    Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18.    Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19.    Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20.    Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21.    No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22.    Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23.    Smile and laugh more.
24.    You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...


25.    Call your family often.
26.    Each day give something good to others.
27.    Forgive everyone for everything.
28.    Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 &  under the age of  6.
29.    Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30.    What other people think of you is none of your business.
31.    Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch. 


32.    Do the right thing!
33.    Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34.    GOD heals everything.
35.    However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36.    No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37.    The best is yet to come..
38.    When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39.    Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Learn Something New Everyday!

Okay, I know I've been doing this for a couple of months now, but sometimes I'm a little slow.  Today, I finally figured out how to allow comments from anyone and everyone.  I've had people tell me they can't write their thoughts because of a glitch.  Well, hopefully I fixed that today.  So, come on...give me the best you've got!!  :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I said, "Sit!" Good boys...

If only they would all listen and obey my commands all the time!

Thank God for Gun Malfunctions

I'm really trying to rectify the atrocious assassinations that occurred in Arizona last weekend.  In the midst of reading all of the news about the events, one thing that keeps coming back to me is...thank you God for gun malfunctions.  Apparently, after round one of shooting, this wild man tried to reload and was momentarily sidetracked because of a gun malfunction.  In the meantime, he was taken down and held until authorities could make it to the scene. 

As horrible as this shooting was, even more people could have been killed had he been able to shoot the next 31 bullets without fail.  I've read the viewpoints from the left and right sides.  I'm trying not to listen to either.  I think in this time it would be much more prudent just to pray for those that died, those that were hurt, and for the future of our country.

I'm the last person that should ever talk about guns, because of ignorance of the facts, but I'm just not sure why a civilian would have a need for semi-automatic weapons or a magazine of ammunition that could shoot 31 bullets in rapid fire?  There only seems to be one scenario where this type of gun would be necessary, and to me that scenario is horrific.

Again, I am by no means an authority about any of this, so I'll just stick to what I do feel comfortable with...praying.  Praying for the good and the bad.  Praying for the hurt and the unhurt.  Praying for the left and the right.  Praying for our country and our world.  Praying for you and for me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

For Love Alone

The Committee.  I've told you he is reticent by nature. He's quiet.  He's a gentle giant.  He's a man of few words.  I could go on and on.  He comes from a long line of men who have a love for silence. His father is a quiet one, and I'm pretty sure I've heard that his father before him was a man of few words.  They all have a saying that they hold to be true, "Don't ever write anything down.  If it is important enough, you'll remember it."  For a chatter-box like me, these words are not always easy to hear or remember.

Last week in church, we welcomed a visiting minister.  He explained how important it was to write down noteworthy words or phrases.  I could see The Committee squirm out of the corner of my eye.  The minister said that the majority of the people listening, would forget what he said by Tuesday.  The pastor was well spoken and had a good message, but it wasn't his spiritual advice that echoed in my heart.  No, it was the last few lines of a Bible verse that he chose to read.  Well, I didn't write it down, but it is still rolling through my head.  So, it seems it is important enough to me to share with you.

1 Corinthians 16:14 ~
Let all that you do,
be done in love.

How could we go wrong if all of our actions came from the heart?  If love is driving our thoughts, actions, and words, wouldn't our soul rest easier at night? 

As a child, my grandparents on my mother's side would come down and stay with us for several days.  My grandmother had a funny sense of humor.  She always rode in the backseat with us, and she would often show things to me that I hadn't often noticed.   As we were riding down the road, she once pointed out some old, southern plant.  She told me that if you were to fall asleep in kudzu, it would cover you because it grows so quickly, by the time you woke up in the morning.  That was a crazy idea to me, but believe me, I didn't doubt her and never stepped close to a kudzu plant.

What if love grew like the kudzu?  Imagine a world covered so lushly by love that it would smother you.  How could we go wrong?  It would be impossible for violent events to occur.  The simplest act would make all the difference because it would be coming straight from the heart.  I can't help but think of the lyrics from the song
"Love Like Crazy"....
Be your best friend, tell the truth,
and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best,
don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin' knees get lazy
And love like crazy

I'd be willing to fall asleep in that kind of world, and wake up covered any day of the week.  After the recent shootings in AZ this past weekend, I'm pretty sure our world could use a little more love and a little less hostility.  If nothing else, it might solidify the future for my children.  It might help me rest at night.  It would definitely make a difference in our world.  Written down or not, it's definitely important and hopefully will be remembered by me. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

It doesn't take much...


Yesterday was bad.  It started out pretty good, but went south oh-so quickly.  My mother, mother-in-law, and sister all got my wrath.  It was absolute chaos!

The Committee and I have come up with some New Year's resolutions.  Some are traditional, some aren't.  I am trying so hard to live by the "rules" we have set for ourselves.  I had given it my all yesterday, and I was fed up!  I had had enough!  It just wasn't working out for me.  But, rather than give up, I tried to keep on keeping on. 

You are thinking to what?  Get a grip.  We all have days like that.  You are right.  We do.  I think it is what we do in the throws of everyday life that make us who we are.  Usually, I'm one to walk away and give up.  I love to throw the towel in and go to my happy place. 

But, yesterday that just wasn't an option.  I had those little creatures on my shoulders murmuring in my ears about giving in or going on.  I also had that little voice inside my soul telling me how easy it would be to let the productivity die for the day.  But, I'm starting to change that voice.  I'm starting to put on my big girl pants and keep on truckin'. 

One of my personal resolutions is to worry only about my house and what we will do each day.  I tend to be a fixer.  I spend too much time worrying about those around me and fix all of their problems.  This leads to a lot of wasteful energy...people are going to do what they are going to do regardless of my worries.  So, as for my house, we will keep our nose in our own business, our mouth shut, and our nose to the grindstone!

"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, and do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." ~Matthew 6:30-34

Well, at every turn yesterday, this resolution was tested.  I'd given it my best, but I was starting to give up on my internal vows for the New Year.  Sometimes, I think we have to stop, assess what's around us, and try to get our head back in the game.  That's what I did...and this is BIG for me!! 

At the end of the day, I was getting ready for my shower.  I was proud that I had kept it all together.  I decided to treat myself...nothing major, mind you.  You see, all around my house is boy...little boys, big boys, boy dogs, boy toys, boy food, big boy drinks, all boy!  Except for my girl dog...Shelby-doodle.  She is my one girl comrade...but, she's not that much help.  She's crazy.  So, the one girl on my side is nuts.  Love her...but, not too much help! 

So, occasionally, I have to let my girly side take over.  It's never anything gigantic, because my girly side isn't all that gigantic.  But, on this night, I came across these sweet, little pink washcloths I had purchased a while back.  They are soft and deliciously pink.  They make me happy.  They were my treat after a long day.  They made my heart happy.  This will ease me down off the ledge in order to face the world another day.

So, long story short...give it all you've got til you can't give anymore...then go back to the basics...find your inner happiness and regroup...then get back on the saddle another day!  Good luck in your resolutions...I sure need any luck I can find in sticking to mine!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Little Gifts...

{Two years ago, if you asked my husband or me
if we would ever be needing to buy another high chair,
we would have both said no!
Here's to learning that our lives aren't always ours to plan
and some of the best gifts are not always what we think we need!!
Bring on the cheerios!}

We were certain that we were in control with all that we had going on in our lives.  As a family, we had just moved to Nashville to start a new life.  The Committee was working hard.  I was raising our three boys contemplating when I might go back to work.  Then our lives were changed when we went to a wedding in Chicago.  We went away as two carefree parents ready to enjoy a child-free weekend in the Windy City, and without knowing it, we came back with a whole new future that would include a new baby boy the following winter!

Living on this side of it all, I am able to see how wonderful things are for us now.  The Tiniest Hair is full of such joy!  He brings a smile to my face every day.  His small tricks are monumental to me.  I didn't really take the time to smell the roses with my other three boys like I do with my Tiny Hair. 

To give it all up and let my life go in a direction that I hadn't planned, has been hard yet amazing.  The Committee and I both surrendered to God's plan and prayed each day that whatever is His will shall be His way.  I don't feel as though I always agree with His way, but so far this plan is so much better than one that I could have come up with on my own.  I have many thanks for my many blessings!