Mums: Satan's Flowers

Thursday, August 27, 2015

We have now survived TWO days of school, y'all.  TWO!  We're learning our groove of getting around in the mornings.  Yesterday was totally different from Monday, because Bart was in Little Rock.  That means I had NO help with the dogs or especially getting our non-morning person girl out of bed.  I made Dory wake her again, but Dory decided to curl up in bed with Ladybug.  We got around decently, eventually, but ran a little late and got into HEAVY traffic.  So, Lorelai was a little late to her second day of school.  I blame a lot of the slowness of getting around to the fact that L's allergies kicked into hyperdrive Tuesday night, and girl does not deal well with boogers.

I blame our sinus/ allergy problems on the flowers Bart for her first day of school.  They contained mums.  Mums, I believe, are Satan's flowers.  If not for my taking Zyrtec almost religiously, I am fairly certain that my eyes would have swollen shut Monday night.  As it is, Bart left home Tuesday morning congested, and Ladybug has had nasal congestion the past couple of days.  The flowers, pretty as they are, have been sent to the garage.

Back to Day 2 of school, while I was dropping off L Wednesday morning, I stopped by the office to talk to some friends and finally get a correct i.d. tag so I could start car line.  My first car line went smoothly until L started to get in the car and dropped into full drama mode. I managed to get her to tell me that she lost her lunchbox.  So, we held up the car line and found it right where she had been sitting with the other kids, waiting to be called.

All in all, I think things are going well.  Ladybug doesn't directly answer my questions regarding school, but she lets little things slip in conversation.  Like what the other kids do or how they hurt their teacher by not listening to her.  Right now, I'm fervently praying that she doesn't come down with the stomach bug that took down her bestie yesterday.  I imagine if she gets it, I will as well.  What with teaching Sunday School and everything else, ain't nobody got time for that!

Yesterday was National Dog Day, or something along that manner.  Lucy and Dorothy celebrated as they often do.  They watched for squirrels outside the windows, we played games in the back yard once L was home, and Dory went with us to Chick Fil A.  A young man thought she was so cute with her head hanging out the window, that he reached in to scratch her head.  Thankfully she was pleasant about it.  Most of the time they're friendly girls, but they're also protective of their family.

As it is, today is a yoga pants and ponytail day, and I'm not ashamed of it a bit.  I don't have to be anywhere until Sunday morning and may just choose not to leave the house at all.  Well wait, I have to take Bart to return his rental vehicle Saturday morning.  Oh well, at least we'll get a lunch out of that ordeal.  I HATE waiting at the car rental place.  The parking there is terrible, and I'm always having to move the car around, out of the way while waiting.

Yesterday had a pall over it once I learned of the horrendous shooting of a reporter and photog live on air yesterday morning.  It make me think of all of my friends who have put themselves in danger to cover stories, of each and every one those days we all worked in a television station with absolutely no security system whatsoever.  We had our share of close calls with unstable types.   It makes me thankful for the life I have now and the days I spend with this girl.

Very First Day of School... EVER!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Yesterday morning I woke up at 5:15, showered, dressed, and prayed a special prayer for my Ladybug.  I prayed that she would not be scared or sad.  I prayed that she would be joyful, brave, and good on that, her very first day of school... EVER.  Then I had Lucy and Dory go upstairs to wake her, because she's nicer when they do it for me.

Bart got up early to help get her dressed and just to see her before we left.  We had already decided that I would drop her off alone, because it would be weird for both of us to.  We wanted it to be as painless as possible, and quite honestly I don't know if soft, old Daddy could have done it without tears.  Often he's the more sentimental of the two of us.  I mean, HE'S the one who posted a picture of her from the day she was born on Facebook yesterday.

Once we were all dressed and gussied up, we ventured into the back yard to take the first of many First Day Of School pictures with a sign I made on all on my own (which is why it wasn't centered to Bart's tastes).  Lucy and Dory were gracious enough to photobomb one pic by both urinating in the frame.  I didn't process that one from beyond RAW.  I like to think I have a little taste.

Normally when L and I ride in the car together, there's a fight over what we listen to.  Yesterday, as soon as I figured out how to work things in the loaner Rav4 I had while the Camry had some recall work done, I played all of the music from VBS this past summer.  She loves it, and it's basically Praise & Worship music on a case of Red Bull.  The way she sang all the way to school, I chose wisely.

When we got there, I chose to forgo car line, because it was Ladybug's first day (and my tag was misspelled).  We ran into my old friend, Dana and her son B.  B is in Ladybug's class, so we had them take their picture together outside the church and went in together.  I was worried L would get upset when I left her.  After all, she had been asking me for the past couple of weeks if I would miss her while she would be at school.  However, L and B both gave their moms a curt, "Bye Mom!"  Knowing well enough to leave while things were good so as to not make them bad, we left our babies and checked them in for the day.

As I drove that monstrosity back home, I couldn't help but notice how empty the back seat was, and how quiet the house was when I came home to Lucy and Dory.  The poor dogs missed their girl and were depressed.  Both spent time in her bed Monday.  People ask what I did, well...  I did housework and got my car back from the dealership.  That pretty much took up the hours.  I missed her, but after three and a half years of being attached at the hip, I haven't minded the alone time.  Besides, it's only two days a week right this year.

The thing is, we're blessed that our church offers a preschool.  Ladybug doesn't know all of the kids in her class, but she's friends with several after having known them since they were in the baby room on Sundays.  We know most of the people who work at the preschool from church.  I couldn't have chosen a better place to begin Ladybug's educational journey. The best part is that she didn't want me to pick her up when the day was over.  She loved it and can't wait to go back tomorrow.

To celebrate this momentous day for our entire family, I took her to Build-a-Bear and got her a reasonably priced Wonder Woman dog.  After all, she is my Wonder Woman, and I want her to conquer school like Wonder Woman conquers bad guys.  Bart brought a vase of flowers, all purple and pink (her favorites) when he came home early from work.  Is she going to get gifts the first day of school every year?  No, but this was a big day for all of us.   It was a happy day.  No tears were shed by any of us.  I think I'm saving the tears for when we drop her off at college in fifteen years.  Wait, I think I'm crying right now.  No, no.  It's just my allergies because of the mums in Ladybug's bouquet.

Keeping It Classy Since 1980

Monday, August 17, 2015

A week from now I will have already dropped off and picked up my only baby from her very first day of preschool.  This week we're taking it easy, just chilling together before the bid day arrives.  I am completely a jumble of emotions over this.  I'm thrilled, I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm nostalgic, I'm sad, and I'm completely perplexed by the complexity of modern day packed lunches.

L and Chewy enjoying a morning of Disney Junior before our life is far more scheduled.

— I haven't packed a school lunch in probably twenty-three or twenty-four years.  It's probably been since the first George Bush was in office that I've bothered with it.  When I did take my lunch, it contained a ham and cheese sandwich safely placed in a ziplock sandwich bag, some sort of Frito Lays potato chips, a Little Debbie snack cake of some sort, and some sort drink like Hi-C Ecto Cooler, Kool Aid Burst, or my favorite a Squeezit.  If none of those were available, I would buy a chocolate milk at school.  Maybe occasionally there would be some apples or grapes, but not usually.  All of this was encased in a Jem and the Holograms lunchbox curtesy of Aladdin.

Today, so I've learned, lunches are something far more elaborate.  Milk is supplied at school, and I'm pretty sure Michelle Obama herself would breath fire if anyone wanted chocolate.  We must have a protein, dairy, fruit, vegetable, and a starch.  So, Ladybug is going to have either ham or chicken, cheese, apple slices, baby carrots, and crackers.  She will not have her food lovingly packed in Ziplock bags.  Oh no, I've ordered these things called Bento boxes to place her food just so in her personalized Wonder Woman lunch box from Pottery Barn Kids.The big question will be if she eats any of it.  She is a notoriously picky eater, but thankfully she is trying new things every day.  I'm not at all against my daughter eating a balanced meal, but I kind of hate how the government has overstepped their authority in dictating what I can and cannot pack in my child's Wonder Woman lunchbox.

— Beyond all of my emotions regarding Ladybug starting preschool, I have suddenly found myself in the position of mom who volunteers for things.  Ladybug is starting Children's Choir at church next month.  I was of the opinion that since I would be taking her every week, I might as well help.  That isn't the biggest thing I've volunteered for though.  Our church is in serious need of parents who will step up and teach Sunday School, especially in the preschool department.  Ladybug's teachers last year did a great job, especially considering they had roughly twenty or more 2-3 year olds every week.  We even started a monthly rotation of parents coming in to help control the chaos.  When it was time for them to move up to the 3 yo class and get new teachers, they needed enough teachers to be able to split the group into two classes.

I saw request after request for teachers, because they only had one out of four needed and I prayed about it.  I really didn't want to leave our awesome Sunday School class or leave Bart alone in there, and I honestly don't feel equipped to teach preschoolers.  I prayed about it and prayed about it, then told the preschool director that I would step up.  Thankfully my friend  Kerry did too, so we're muddling through this together.  I never thought I would volunteer to help a preschool class. I've always related better with teenagers.  I even studied secondary education in college.  However God prepares us for where we need to be. I have spent a lot of time with almost all of these kids, and I just love them.  I think God has been preparing my heart for this.  They're a great group of kids and doing great in the smaller class setting.  It's going to be a great year, but please pray we can teach them about Jesus and not screw up royally.

— On a lighter note, Sunday as we were driving to church, Bart mentioned that it sounded like we had some sort of rope flapping against the car.  I looked down and noticed that I had shut the car door on my dress.  Ever so discreetly I pulled it out of the door.  I asked Bart if the flapping stopped, and he asked what it was.  I told him, "Oh, that was just the bottom of my dress, flapping down I-49."  That's me, folks.  Adrienne Gilbreath, keeping it classy since 1980.

Hands Raised: Worship Like a Little Child

Monday, August 10, 2015

Driving down the road, just Ladybug and me, my old iPod Nano plays "Jesus, Son Of God" by Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels rather loudly over the Camry's sound system.  Ladybug and I are singing along with the lyrics, really getting into them, but when I glance in my rearview mirror I see something more in the back seat.  I see two arms lifted high, as if they're reaching up to God.  At a stop sign, I turn my head to get a better look and see something absolutely beautiful.  Ladybug has her eyes closed, and is lost in a moment of pure, unadulterated worship.

No one taught her to do that.  We attend a Southern Baptist church where some people raise their hands, but most of us don't.  We stand up during worship services, we sing the songs, but we never do what I caught Ladybug doing and have caught her doing a few times since then.  Why is that?

I was grew up in an interesting time in church music, I think.  I have very vivid childhood memories of the older members of our church in Heavener, Oklahoma complaining when the youth choir, The Believers, would perform because their movements were a little too close to dancing, which many still forbade.  Songs by Amy Grant, Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith, and the like were debated because they had a beat.  It was only much later when I was in high school that it started to become acceptable to have praise songs in services along with traditional hymns, and it was then that we also started to lift our hands during worship.  Somewhere along the way, we stopped worrying about being too charismatic and started to become authentic.

In college, it was not only acceptable but also sometimes expected at some services to worship this way.  This was also the point to where some worship leaders at student events sang about eighteen choruses too many of some songs and I began to wonder at the sincerity of some of it all.  At some point in my early twenties I began to question if what I was doing was truly worship or if I was doing it because everyone else was.  I will admit that it was a bit of both.  So as not to be hypocritical, I have mostly refrained from doing so ever since.  I wouldn't want to be labeled as odd in church, after all.  Of course that shouldn't have mattered at all, since I didn't regularly attend church for the greater part of my twenties.  I think I may always regret that.

I've thought a great deal about true worship and authentic Christianity in recent years, as I've started regularly attending church again, plugging into different ministries, and especially being more intentional in my daily walk and quiet time.  This past spring I even went through James MacDonald's "Authentic" Bible study.  In that, we delved into what makes real, authentic worship.  I love this definition:
“True worship is the conscious, direct, specific adoration of God. That’s authentic worship.”
Excerpt From: James Macdonald. “Authentic.” iBooks.
That means not caring or paying attention what anyone else is doing or thinking.  It's focusing solely on praising, adoring HIM.  As to lifting up our hands?  Well, I have a thought on that as well.

What does it usually mean when someone lifts up their hands?  Surrender.  Think, "Stop right were you are, and come out with your hands in the air!"  It means letting down our guard and exposing ourselves at our most vulnerable.  It is the giving up of our bodies, heart and soul to whomever were are surrendering to.

Lifting of hands is also like a little child, reaching up to be carried by a loving parent.  That's just it though, and why we don't and can't seem to do it.  Ladybug isn't concerned with traditions, or what people will think of her.  She's only concerned with singing praises to her God, whom she loves and trusts.  Jesus said,
And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all].
 Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
 And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me (Matthew 18:3-5 AMP).
I may be teaching Ladybug about God and to love Him, but she's teaching me how to worship Him.  I wish she would always worship Him so freely and purely.  Sadly I know that growing up and our sinful nature will change that.  It will be up to me to continue her example.
But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed (Matthew 19:14 AMP)

So It Is August

Monday, August 3, 2015

And so it is now August, the month our family has simultaneously looked forward to and also somewhat dreaded.  Ladybug starts preschool three weeks from today.  As I turned the Frozen calendar in her bedroom from July to August this weekend, I pointed out her first day of school to her, "This day is your first day of school."  That revelation was met with a resounding, "YES!  I'm going to LOVE that day!"  I'm thrilled that she's so excited about starting school.

It wasn't all that long ago I was worried she would never want to go to school or do anything away from home.  I feared she would be so painfully shy that being out would be just miserable for her. Thankfully, I think, she has come out of her shell almost entirely in the past year and resembles more the happy baby she was before teething and fear periods took over for a while I was worried that she would have a difficult time making friends, but so far I've had several people say that their kids happily tell them that Ladybug is their friend.  Of course so far she's only been places where she's comfortable.  I'm hoping that she can take this comfort and confidence with her wherever she goes.

So far her biggest worry about starting school is, "I don't have any school shoes yet."  This was said after her declaration that she would love the day she starts school.  Bart and I took her shopping for clothes this weekend, buying just about everything she could need to wear until at least January, but decided to wait on shoes to see what she would need to go with her clothes.  I assured her that she would have probably several new pairs of shoes and boots before long.  I have a tree-year-old clothes horse, y'all.  She's very much my child in that she loves to be comfortable at home, but if she's going to be out and seen, she wants to look good.  She's definitely more into accessories than I've ever been.

More important than being more stylish than me, I love that at the age of three and a half, she is fairly confident already, able to make friends easily, and is just generally outgoing.  I sometimes wonder if would have been more comfortable making friends and being in new situations during my elementary school years had I been given the exposure to other children and experiences that Ladybug has already had.  There was no preschool in Heavener, Oklahoma until I was in the third or fourth grade, just head-start for some.  I had  a few occasional neighborhood friends, but at church there were only a couple of other kids there my age, and they weren't very regular attendees.  My sister was so much older than me that as a child, I could relate with teenagers and young adults far better than my own peers.  I was sometimes accused of being an adult in a child's body.  I don't think that I was ever truly comfortable in my own skin until high school, and then that was only as much as any teenage girl can be.

I want her to be confident and comfortable in her own skin, but not conceited. I love that yesterday at church a little girl in L's class said, "She's my friend!"  I want her to be popular, but not in the manner so many young girls are.  I want her to be known as a friend.  I want her to be known for being kind, friendly, and caring to all.  I hope she never loses that.

Meanwhile, my only baby is starting her educational career soon.  I'll try not to get too sentimental this next month.  Maybe it's a good thing our church is hosting a night devoted to anxiety the week L starts.  I'm thinking we'll do a lot of celebrating that weekend, with a cookout, maybe some leftover sparklers, and possibly a Razorback Volleyball game, since Ladybug seems to think she's into hat now.  Goodness, can you believe this baby is going to preschool this month?  At least we've broken her book-eating habit.

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