Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Insanity and some scissors

Please don't ever ask me to cut your hair.  I don't mix well with scissors.  In fact, if you see me coming at you with a pair of scissors snipping in my hand, you'd better run.  I might even try to convince you that I can do a good job because at that time, I probably do think I can be successful cutting hair THIS TIME.  But, it never seems to fail- I always end up...embarrassed.

I remember when I was in my twenties and wore my hair in bangs.  I would try to trim the bangs myself so I could save some money.  I always started out with good intentions, which I still do, but the bangs would be uneven every time.  In order to even them up, I had to cut more and before I knew it, I barely had any bangs left.  I was in complete denial about my incapability.

One time a friend asked me to trim her hair while it was in a ponytail.  I tried to convince her to put it down, but she was adamant about having that ponytail (she wanted to still be able to put her hair in one).  Let me tell you, she had thick hair and all we had to use were dull as all get out scissors.  I had to work very hard to get those suckers to cut through her viscous hair; it sounded like I was sawing wood or something.  I started laughing hysterically, as she said carefully, "Laurie...what are you doing?"  Then she started laughing, too.  The whole thing sounded much worse than it was because her hair actually looked kind of cute all layered up.  She later sent me a clipping as a memento.

When I had Katie, I tried to trim her bangs, but gave up as soon as I admitted I had a problem cutting hair.  I did not want to mar my beautiful daughter's appearance.  Then the boys came along and I thought that surely I could snip around the edges successfully this time- boys don't care, right?  I even went to a beauty supply shop and bought some professional haircutting scissors, since it must be the scissors that were making the hair turn out the way it did.  Guess what?  The scissors weren't magical; I always end up having to take the boys for a haircut to fix Mommy's mess.  (Actually Pete is the one who has to take the boys because I am usually in complete denial over my fallacy). 

Andrew has been letting his hair grow out (it's the IN style for boys) and he really looks good with longer hair.  This morning he wanted to wear his bangs brushed down over his forehead instead of to the side like he usually does.  Well, the bangs were so long that they "tickled his eyeballs."  I'm sure you can guess what I did.  I lured him into the bathroom like I was Medusa or something, took out the scissors and began with the intent of just snipping away the eyeball ticklers.  Well, five minutes later, I had trimmed the whole front of his hair.  It was short and yes, I'll admit, crooked.  OUCH!  He is such a good sport and didn't say a word as I fixed it just so to cover up my mess.  I think Pete was more bothered about it than he was.  Maybe I should offer to take Andrew to the hairdresser this afternoon, you think?

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.  Ahem...I guess I really do have a problem here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two Years
by Laurie Kolp

It’s been two years
since I got the news
that Easter Saturday.

Eggs dyed soft colors
as you died in red,
a moment of peace
turned into shock
like clouds of darkness
with the storm,

and time stood still
as questions whirled
in my head; why did you
have to kill yourself?

Two long years of grief,
unanswered questions,
struggles within-
and now I feel
peace again.

Today I got the big purple
crate from the attic,
dust and cobwebs
disguised the box
like they fogged my mind.

I cleaned the box and
set out with a smile
all the Easter trinkets
my kids love so;

two long years led
me to that smile,
but it's been
a long road to tow.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where's the beach?

We have done some fun things the past few days, but it has been much cooler and windier than I expected.  Thursday night we went to the fair and the wind was strong and cold.  We were glad we had our jackets with us.  Then Friday we made a trip to the beach on the Bolivar Peninsula (or what is left of it since Hurricane Ike).  The sun was out, but the wind was biting cold.  I had to stay in the car for a while and put on my warm-ups.  I had a cold, but now am suffering from laryngitis and a cough.  No matter what Pete says (that weather can't cause sickness), I believe being outside so much made my condition worse.  The kids were not to be stopped by the cold water, though; they stayed in it for a while and had fun letting the waves splash their legs.

We went on a walk perusing for sand dollars (remember how many we found last year?), but found none this time. We did get some other beautiful shells, though.  I was reminded of the time we stayed in a friend's beach house during the summer and had fun walking Jake, who was a puppy then, up and down the busy beach. It is sad that the house and so many other beach houses are gone. A little wall is being put up near the highway to try and keep the beach from washing it out.

 The picture of Andrew above shows my car parked on the shoulder of the highway on the right and the beach on the left.  That is all the of the beach now.  Closer to the ferry going to Galveston, some of the houses withstood the hurricane and more are being built, but it will take a long time to get there.  Until then, we will park and walk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Life
by Laurie Kolp

Is your new life
treating you well,
or do you wish
for better times long gone?

Once upon a time you were
a loving, considerate
and thoughtful soul
who put your family first,
but now you are
out of control
hurting everyone
who really loves you-
your parents,
your family,
and me; kicking
us out of your life
for a controlling witch
who is brain-washing you.

Are you losing your mind,
or simply going through
a mid-life crisis from Hell?

When will you come back to me?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Time is...
too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice;
but for those who love, Time is eternity.

~Henry Van Dyke

Zoo memories

I have been working on a five-part series entitled Spring's Precious Miracles.  Each day I focused on a different aspect of spring and how to involve children in learning about it.  I discussed butterflies, birds, flowers and foliage, weather, and animals.  Since the South Texas State fair opens today, I incorporated that into the article on animals since there is a petting zoo and livestock at the fair.  That is how I came across this picture of Katie on her first trip to the fair.

It seems like just yesterday since our first trip to the fair with a child.  We have gone to many petting zoos, fairs and carnivals since 2000 (when this picture was taken).  Here are a few recaps of family outings at the zoo:

1.  When Andrew was a baby and Katie a toddler we evacuated to Waco for a hurricane.  My parents went with us, and one day we all went to the zoo.  While visiting the petting zoo, my dad was holding a map of the zoo and a goat came by, snatched it right out of his hand, and ate it in a matter of seconds.  We still laugh about that.  Here is a picture of us at the Waco zoo:

2.  Unfortunately this is connected to a hurricane evacuation, too.  This time it was Hurricane Rita, and we were staying in Richardson with my cousins.  When we went to the Dallas zoo, they let us in for free since we were "evacuees".  We had so much fun since it was a cool fall day and most of the kids were in school.  It was almost like we had the zoo to ourselves.  Here is a picture from our trip to the Dallas zoo:

3.  Of course we have had many trips to the Houston zoo.  Each year that the kids were in kindergarten we went with their class on a field trip, and we have gone several times to meet up with relatives.  When the swine flu scare first came out, the children were not allowed into the petting zoo during their field trip.  Here is a picture of the kids with their cousin Ricky on our most recent trip to the Houston zoo, which was last November:

Hopefully we will not have anymore hurricane evacuations for a LONG time- we have had our share.  The last evacuation (Ike), the closest we got to a zoo was riding in paddle boats at a park with ducks.  We were at the house of the brother of my good friend in McKinney.  Pete had stayed home for work.  Here are a few pictures of that:

I love strolling down memory lane.  Do you?

Monday, March 22, 2010

RIP Mary
by Laurie Kolp

Today I said a prayer for you
thanking the Lord above
for the time I had with you
now sweet memories I love;

I prayed for your family
that they may be kept well,
always remember the good times,
not the times that you fell;

and while I was praying
by your grave so seriously,
I asked that God continue
signs of your eternity;

thanking Him for the cardinals,
the dreams, the feelings and orbs
that have brought great comfort,
new spirituality to absorb;

Today I said a prayer for you
thanking the Lord above
for the time I had with you
now sweet memories I love.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Everyone has a story

Jules has given me this special blogger award.  THANK YOU, Julie.  I feel very honored to receive this award from you. Check out Julie's blogs on cross-stitching, poetry and photography.

The Beautiful Blogger award does not come without guidelines to follow, though.  Here are the things I must do and those listed below will have to do:

1.  Accept the award- check
2.  Thank the person who gave you the award- check
3.  Add a link to the person who gave you the award- check
4.  Put the award on your blog- check
5.  Write 10 things about yourself others may not know about you-
6.  Pass the award on to 10 others-

Okay- the first four were easy...now let's work on the last two.

Ten things about me you may not know:

1. I don't like writing ten things about myself.
2. I had a stalker when I was in my 20s, teaching in The Woodlands and living alone in Houston apartments.  He climbed onto my balcony one morning while I was getting something from the storage closet.  I had to lock myself in the closet (he had his hand on the doorknob and tried to resist my pull) and I was scared to death.  I finally got the nerve to open the door, hammer in hand.  There was no sign of him anywhere except leaves from the bush and two holes where his legs were.  I got out of my lease and ran as fast as I could.
3. After that, I put all my stuff in storage and headed for a fun summer in New Orleans.
4. I have had many interesting jobs- summer day camp counselor, nanny, salesclerk for Dillard's, hostess in a restaurant (sometimes I had to wait tables if someone didn't show up), teacher, dyslexia specialist, tutor, substitute teacher and preschool art teacher.  My #1 favorite job of all...drum roll, please- being a mom and wife, which allows me the time to pursue my life-long dream of writing.
5. I have volunteered at a blood center, with GSA (girl scouts) and at the Salvation Army.
6. I had to kiss a lot of rotten frogs before I found my Charming Prince Pete.
7. God has pulled me through some very difficult times and given me the strength to let go of some deadly dependencies in my life.
8. I had to have three c-sections because my oldest was breech and it was highly recommended that the subsequent deliveries be c-sections, too.  During one of my deliveries, the anesthesia did NOT work and I suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.  All of it was worth it though, and I would go through it all again for my sweet child.
9. Hmmm...this is hard...when I was hired to teach 2nd grade in The Woodlands, it was on Halloween.  I was in the middle of my student teaching, interviewed in a clown costume and started teaching before I graduated from Texas A&M.
10. I gave up a nursing scholarship to Lamar University- Beaumont to go to A&M.  This was probably a good thing because I have a queasy stomach- something I found out later.

The ten blogs I have selected for this award all come with a story- how the special writer and I crossed paths at certain times in my life is very significant and meaningful to me.  As someone once said, "Everyone has a story."  Maybe someday I will share with you how I met these great people.  I have alphabetized by the blogger's by first name.

1.  Carol: Grandma's-On-The-Go
2.  Holli: The Aftermath of Happily Ever After
3.  Jake: It Is What It Is
4.  Jeni: Memories to Cherish (extra-special to me)
5.  Jessica: Praise, Prayers and Observations
6.  Judy: I'd Like to Say
7.  Lisa: Blessings Poured Out
8.  Nancy P: Discriminating Reader
9.  Nancy W: VoiceOver
10. Peggy: The Work of His Hands

I guess I can finally check off the last two rules.  By the way, this has taken me forever.  I'm quite tired now.  I have had to pause and save to go pick up a bridesmaid dress for Katie, rearrange some furniture, do laundry, go to the grocery store and eat dinner.  Not to mention the zipper-getting-caught-in-dress-we-had-home-for-five-minutes-and-almost-ruined ordeal, or talking and interacting with the family.  Sigh...until we meet again.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spending money to save money

When I was single and on my own, I would go shopping with my friends on Saturdays.  We would peruse the malls in Houston for hours and even make deals with each other, such as spending at least $100.00 or buying at least three new things.  It seemed, at the time, the thing to do.  I was teaching and supported myself, so why not shop on the weekend?

Well, now I hate to shop.  I would much rather spend my time with the family at home or writing, writing, writing.  I know Pete is grateful for that!  He has put things in perspective for me through the years.  I used to come home with an item that was "a steal" because it cost so little.  Pete didn't say much at first, but once we started having kids and the space in our small home began filling up, he started speaking up.  My wonderful husband told me this profound statement that now resonates through my mind frequently:

"How is spending money to save money really saving money?"

All of the captivating sales techniques that lure in suckers like me are simply tricks to get consumers to spend.  I must admit when I do have to go shopping for our growing children I just have to stop by my section, too.  I often waste time going through the sales racks and trying on clothes.  I collect a pile of clothes I don't really need and then end up putting them back before I leave the store.  All because I hear Pete's logic echo through my head.  Old habits die hard, but they do eventually die (if you try).
Beautiful Spring
by Laurie Kolp

I feel the warmth
wrap around me
and thank God
for the beauty I see.

Little white petals
fall to the ground
like snowflakes
without a sound;

a subtle tickle
touches my nose
like a feather
in plainclothes;

Spring’s sweet beauty
excites my eyes
like a rainbow’s
prismatic surprise;

I feel the warmth
wrap around me
and thank God
for the beauty I see.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Charlie Brown" flowers

This week, Tuesday- Thursday is teacher appreciation week at the kid's school.  Tuesday the kids are supposed to give their teacher a flower; Wednesday they are to write a note or draw a picture for the teacher: and Thursday they will take the teacher a piece of fruit. 

I must say it is hard to appreciate the teacher who called Andrew's work "pitiful," but I put my differences aside and sent him with a flower from our tulip tree ( Japanese Magnolia) today.  I had to laugh out loud  when he got in the car this afternoon and said his flower lost all of its petals before he got to the classroom this morning.  Katie's lost petals, too.  (Nicholas was home with me due to strep throat). 

Anyway, we all called the flowers "Charlie Brown flowers" and now the kids are working on tomorrow's activity.  What do you think the teacher will have to say about a teacher appreciation picture?  I feel strongly she won't use the word "pitiful" or even "loser," (which is what another teacher that was in the news called his student).  I only hope she will say, "that's beautiful!"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Cardinal Friend

There is no creature, regardless of its apparent insignificance, that fails to show us something of God's goodness.
~Thomas A Kempis

Thank You, Father, for Your goodness that I see everywhere. Help me to remember that no one is insignificant in Your sight.

Opening day of baseball

Yesterday was a long day at the baseball fields. The opening day of Little League baseball began at 8:30 a.m. with a capping ceremony for the boys. Then, both of the boys (who ironically are the same number this year- 9) had team pictures spread out in-between games. Nicholas had a game at 11:15, and Andrew had a double-header, with one game at 1:00 and the next at 3:00. Here are some of the pictures from the big day.

The first two pictures show Andrew playing. He is now in kid pitch, so his games are an hour and a half this year. He had a great hit that led him to second base, and he also did a wonderful job pitching. What great imrovement he has made since last season.

The next two pictures show Nicholas during his game. He did well, too, considering that he was getting sick. When we got home last night he had fever and felt horrible (he woke up with congestion that morning, but an army would not have been able to keep him from playing his first game of the season).

The last picture shows Katie and Andrew practicing during Nick's game. Katie was so excited about going and wanted to straighten her hair, but she woke up too tired to fool with it. She did carefully select her wardrobe, though, in hopes of seeing some of her "friends." Is she really at the age of wanting to hang out at the ballpark to scope out boys? Almost, but not quite (thank you, Jesus). She got bored after Nick's game and went over to her grandmother's house for the rest of the day.

All in all, it was a great day. The weather was beautiful and everything ran smoothly. Cheers to Little League baseball!

Friday, March 12, 2010

by Laurie Kolp

Enjoy the view, love what you do
never give in to strife,

walk a mile everyday
eat food cooked from scratch
drink plenty of water
and never light up with a match,

enjoy the view, love what you do-
you might just be saving your life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What did he say?

My little Nicholas is such a hoot. He is forever telling "stories" about things and is so convincing that many times he can trick people into believing they are true. For instance, several weeks ago he came home from school and insisted that his teacher's mom was in the hospital. Nicholas told me the same thing several times after that. One day he said, "Guess what? Mrs.___'s mom got home from the hospital." When I saw his teacher one day at lunch, I asked her about her mother. She was clueless- her mom had not been in the hospital (but her dad had surgery before Christmas and she was a few minutes late one day).

This is just many of a thousand examples. He has done this since he was very little, making up stories about driving in a big red truck when he was in high school. Pete and I have often wondered what Nicholas' active imagination will come up with next. We have also thought about what kind of crazy things he may be saying to his teachers.

Today was priceless, though. I think this one tops it off. We were in a spring conference before school with his teacher. We know her very well because Katie and Andrew had her for first grade, too. The teacher turned to Pete and asked with sincere curiosity if he and Nicholas had killed a bear last weekend. We laughed so hard. Nicholas also said they killed a squirrel and a fish, too...right here in town. We elaborated on his creative imagination for a while and then discussed the wonderful progress he has made. Before I left, I wrote a note to my youngest to tell him how proud I was of him and left it on his desk.

Then, while waiting to pick the kids up, the teacher came out to tell me that a boy in their class had put his hands around Nicholas' neck in a choke-hold during recess. She said Nicholas wasn't hurt and the boy got in trouble, but she wanted me to know that if Nicholas got in the car and told me about it, he was not telling one of his stories. Does this sound a little like the boy who cried wolf?

And you know what else? Nicholas is my sweet, sentimental child. He had folded up the note I left for him and carried it around in his pocket all day He wanted me to put it under his pillow tonight. Sleep tight, my baby.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh, how I wish...

Sometimes I wish I could magically turn myself into a different person; someone who could go up to that unscrupulous tramp and ask her how she could obliterate a whole family with her lustful, conniving ways. I would be able to tell her where to go, which would be far, far away. And if I were in a disguise, I might even show up at her work place and give her a piece of my mind. Then I would use my magic wand to make her disappear. After that, I would turn back the hands of time to six months ago, a time when a family was not yet destroyed; no divorce or separation and isolation, no ill feelings and hateful words. I would cast a spell of healing and create a magic potion that makes love grow. All would be back to normal and this whole thing would be a nightmare.

But I'm not magical and this is real. So all I know to do is pray- pray for my loved ones to be healed and for acceptance of God's will.

When a person is at his wit's end, it is not a cowardly thing to pray. It is the only way to get into touch with Reality. ~Oswald Chambers

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Nature’s Symphony
by Laurie Kolp

birds are singing in the air
flowers blooming everywhere
blue skies and mild weather
children play outside together
so fly a kite or climb a tree
and enjoy nature’s symphony

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A big surprise

I have some very exciting news. But before I tell you what it is, let me explain to you how it all came to be, which I believe was divinely inspired.

Katie was sick quite a bit in January and had to miss several of her dance classes. Apparently while she was absent, a note had gone home about a man from New York that was coming to her studio to speak to the girls and their mothers. I knew nothing about this event until the owner sent out an e-mail about it, reminding those who were going to dress nice and be on time. So I replied and asked her about what it was. She is very busy and did not answer right away. But when she did, I was busy with some deadlines and read the e-mail, then forgot about it.

The day before the man was to come, the secretary called me to tell me what an inspirational speaker he is, and how he talks about believing in yourself and that anything is possible. I decided it might be worth our time, so I asked Katie if she wanted to go and she did. We dressed up and arrived on time (7:00 p.m.).

Let me tell you something- this man, Peter Sklar, was wonderful! He is a Broadway producer and has discovered many stars, such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Reese Witherspoon. He spoke until almost 9:00 and then invited the girls who wanted to be interviewed to stay (moms had to leave the room). Katie REALLY wanted to stay. I knew it was a school night, so I called Pete. He said it would be okay- this is a rare occasion. Well, boy am I glad we did, because Katie was one of the girls who got chosen.

This is where my good news comes in- Katie was selected to attend a summer workshop in New York, where she will study voice, dance and acting. It will be for a week and she will stay in a dorm with the other girls. They have very strict regulations and teach them the benefits of eating healthy (for more energy, not just to be thin) and taking good care of yourself. She will have an adult "trainer" with her at all times.

The whole miracle of this is that we weren't even going to go to the lecture, and now we're going to New York in August. I will stay with my dear friend Jeni for the last part of the week and get to do some fun things, too.

We did not get home until 11:30 that night, and Katie was very tired when she got home from school, but it was so worth it. Thank you, Jesus!
You Will Never Measure Up
by Laurie Kolp

She heard the words so many times
that they became real to her,
“You will never measure up,”
to what, she wondered,
some imaginary line in the sky,
or is it that she was not
as perfect as her big brother?
“You will never measure up,”
is that what they really said,
or was she imagining the worse,
obsessing on her own failure
to live up to the standards
she set for herself?
“You will never measure up.”
Were the reactions they had to
her misfortunes in life
indicative of what they
really wanted to say,
those words that ate at her very soul,
“You will never measure up,”
bringing her to her knees time and time again?
She believed the words they never said
because they did not have to-
their disappointed looks and sneers
were enough to make her believe,
“You will never measure up.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Meditate on God's grace

I really enjoy marveling in the beauty of God's creations, so I wanted to share with you the magnificence and wonderment I observe in nature. These photos bring me warmth and joy as I take in the omniscience of God's handiwork. I hope they do the same for you.

How can one doubt the existence of God after viewing these pictures?

Watch for good times to retreat into yourself. Frequently meditate on how good God is to you.
~Thomas a` Kempis
Words Unspoken
by Laurie Kolp

shattered, broken
words unspoken
the game we play
deceive, betray

shattered, broken
nightmares woken
the secrets we keep
are wild and deep

lives shattered, hearts broken
when lies reveal words unspoken