Keeping Up With Shoes

Put your shoes in your room.

Put your jacket where it goes.

These are two rules in my house. It has been the rules for several years. Despite this being a long-standing rule, it often goes forgotten or ignored. I often remind the boys when we get home, “If you take off your jacket or shoes be sure to put them where they go.” Yet inevitably one or both will take off their shoes in the living room and toss their jacket on the couch or, worse, the floor. “Finn, take your shoes to room.” “Caden, come get your shoes out of the living room.” These are near daily occurrences.

These rules are rules for a reason, the primary reason being so that when it is time to leave our house we can easily find shoes and coats to expedite leaving. Since we are often either right on time or running late it’s essential that shoes and jackets be easy and quick to locate and throw on.

These are rules so that mornings like the one that occurred today don’t happen.

So — at the appointed time to leave this morning, Caden couldn’t find his shoes. He looked for them to no avail. I exhausted the list of places where shoes usually are when they’re not in his room — in the living room next to the couch, under the kitchen table, in the back play room, in his brother’s room, in the bathroom, under the train table, in the car — and resorted to “You’ll just have to wear your old shoes.” I spent 15 minutes searching for them, and at some point the search had to stop and we had to go on with our day.

Note: Now I woke up early today — 5:45 — so I could exercise before work (which I did) and get Finn up early (which I did) so he would not be rushed for the bus (which he wasn’t) and so he could play a little on the computer before school (which he did) and have myself and Caden ready to leave as soon as the bus came (which we did) so I could make it to work by 8 and get off work at 4. This morning was going extremely well until now. The MIA shoes were throwing a serious cramp in my day. Oh, just wait. It gets better.

So, I place on Caden’s feet, while he is sitting in the car enjoying a warm Toaster Strudel and sipping on CapriSun, “old shoes” with the promise to resume the search for his shoes when we return home this evening.

I drive the 30 minutes to his preschool where we get out to go in and he starts crying and he kicks off a shoe. “It hurts my foot,” he whines. Sigh. “Well, Caden, I’m not sure what to tell you baby. We couldn’t find your shoes, these are the only shoes we have, you’re going to have to wear them.” He’s not buying it and  I can tell this isn’t going to work. He’s not going to be able to wear these shoes today without complaining about them hurting and then taking them off constantly, and I realized that if I sent him to school in these shoes I WAS setting up some innocent preschool teacher and Caden for a horribly bad day.

So after getting mad and giving Caden an earful about how frustrating it is that he doesn’t keep his shoes in his room like I ask, I took a few deep breaths. I told myself he’s 5, he didn’t do it on purpose, yes he knows the rule and doesn’t follow it but we’ll just have to find a better way to get it through to him, etc.

And then I took him to Target and bought new shoes.

So now I want to know — what would you do if this happened to you? Would you buy new shoes? Would you make him wear the ones that hurt? Would you have made him go the day in socks only, leaving the preschool teacher to deal with all sorts of complaints but hoping that would make an impression and teach him not to lose his shoes again? Would you not have left the house in the first place until the shoes were found? How do all you moms out there keep up with your kids shoes??




Can You Handle It?

The thought process that lead to this tweet started with the Beth Moore book, So Long Insecurity that I’ve been reading off and on for months. She was talking about how it can be bad for us in our romantic relationships to know too much about each other’s past relationships. While some sharing is necessary and helpful, wanting to know too much is rooted in insecurity because you’re comparing yourself to the former person and seeing how you measure up vs. being confident about yourself. In the process of explaining that, Moore compared that quest to Eve’s original sin, the desire to know more, the desire to know things we weren’t intended to know or that we don’t need to know, “the knowledge of good and evil.” And just like Eve, we can’t handle it. But we don’t know that until it’s too late. God knows that we can’t handle that knowledge so he warns us not to go there.

That got me to thinking about the old adage, “God will never give you more than you can handle,” because if we have the ability to give ourselves too much knowledge than we can handle, then maybe we have the ability to give ourselves too much turmoil than we can handle too. There’s example after example after example of people in Scriptures who have more than they can handle going on. Best I can tell, that adage is an application of I Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

The way I read it, the verse has been taken out of context in that it isn’t talking about problems or stress like we apply it to, but specifically to temptation. God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear doesn’t mean we won’t have difficulties in life that are too hard to manage on our own. God may allow or inflict them on us, for reasons only He knows unless He chooses to reveal them to us. But we are also perfectly capable of — and do — bringing on our share of “more than we can bear” problems. Like Beth talked about with finding out too much about things we don’t need to know — we are capable of finding out information that is more than we can handle. I think we are also capable of getting ourselves into trouble all on our own. We don’t need help to cause problems. We create plenty all by ourselves. And sometimes those problems may actually be more than we can take, but that doesn’t necessarily mean God did it to us. Maybe we did it to ourselves.

Perhaps when we dismiss away some of the issues we face in life with “God will never give you more than you can handle” we are just trying to make ourselves feel better, and we end up robbing ourselves of taking responsibility for our own attitudes and actions that may have got us into a “more than I can handle” spot to begin with. Ultimately, I fear we may end up missing out on the blessing of valuable lesson, too.

Why the knight in shining armor gets dumped on (via Rise&Converge)

I read this amazing blog post this morning, by my high school yearbook editor, on dealing with reality. I particularly embrace Laura’s point that you can’t save someone from themselves, and that you can’t take away their (or your own) “devastating consequences.”

Despite their noblest intentions, Andrew and Thurston ultimately can’t save either woman from themselves. Andrew can’t cure Lucy of her mental illness. Thurston can’t take away the devastating consequences of Linnea’s choice. … Read More

via Rise&Converge

So what does one do? There’s no simple answer, to be sure. I’m in the midst of situations where both of those statements apply, and my approach is to keep going. The cards have been dealt, play with the hand you’ve got. Are there some things in life that we hoped would play out differently? Of course. Is letting those things control us or get us down or stop us from living the appropriate response? I don’t think so. We could go round and round about what should’ve been done or would’ve been nice to have happened, but none of that changes reality. So here’s the reality of the situation. Now what?

Not My Brother’s (Beyblade) Keeper

Every now and then I have one of those glowing moments as a parent when one of the boys does a good, right thing and I think “he’s starting to get it.”

A few weeks ago Finn took one of Caden’s Beyblades to school, and when I found out about it and that he did so without Caden’s permission, I corrected him for taking a toy that wasn’t his to school with him and told him in the future he needed to ask Caden’s permission and/or just take his own.

So Tuesday, I walk him out to get on the bus. He reaches in his lunch bag and he hands me a Beyblade. He says he wanted to take it to school but it’s Caden’s and Caden said no, Finn  couldn’t take it to school. So Finn surrendered, giving the Beyblade to me!

Do you know how easy it would’ve been to have not told me that and potentially had never got caught doing what I said not to do, never been caught with his little brothers’ toy? Very easy, I suspect. It made my little heart melt when Finn, of his own volition, stepped out by being honest.

The Freedom to Write

I watched the movie Freedom Writers this morning, which the racial tension theme in the film fit nicely with today being Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On the surface it’s just another one of those films depicting a rough classroom and a dedicated teacher who comes in to save the day — think Dangerous Minds and the like.

Freedom Writers, though, is based on a true story.

And part of the solution that helps these troubled kids is writing. Which, of course, as I writer, I’m quite fond of. Writing is an amazing tool, whether it be used for informing, self-discovery, documentation, creative expression, or so on.

From the Freedom Writers Foundation web site:

We began writing anonymous journal entries about the adversities that we faced in our every day lives. We wrote about gangs, immigration, drugs, violence, abuse, death, anorexia, dyslexia, teenage love, weight issues, divorce, suicide, and all the other issues we never had the chance to express before. We discovered that writing is a powerful form of self expression that could help us deal with our past and move forward.

Everyone should write, something, somewhere, whether it be a blog or a personal journal or diary, poems or short stories, letters, true stories, anything! Writing can be therapeutic, healing, educational, informative, and even fun!

When people hear that I write for a living they tell me how cool that must be and how they wish they could write. They can! Writing is something I learned by doing it. I like to think there’s some God-given and/or natural talent there too, but one of the reasons I became a writer is because I wrote and I enjoyed it so I just kept on writing.

People say, “Oh, I can’t write,”  and I say that’s crazy. Yes you can. Writing is taking the stories and thoughts that run through your head and putting them on paper or on the computer. That’s all there is to it. Try it. You might like it. And others might like reading it, if you write and share. And more than that, it might be really good for you.

H-E- Double Hockey Sticks

My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes.  The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is hell.

Heat and the fire I think are the things people think and talk about most when they think of hell. That and the devil, I guess. And while that sounds really, really horrific, I think the worst part of hell would be the separation from God. In my loneliest times He has been my constant companion, when I could go to no person with my struggles, He was there to listen to me vent and let me ask why, to send me love and comfort. I can’t fathom that relationship not existing; how miserable that would be. That would be, literally, hell.

Do I Have What it Takes to Be a Big Fat Loser?

No more Starbucks. No more take-out pizza. No more Gigi’s. I’m cutting out sodas too. Bring on the sugar-free, the salads and the water.

The Biggest Loser competition at work began Friday, and I want to try really, really hard to do well and lose weight. Everyone pays $5 a month for 6 months, and at the end of the challenge the person who has lost the largest percentage of weight wins the money everyone has paid to compete.

The money is motivation but also the accountability of weighing in every month. I want to wear a smaller size and thus cuter clothes and feel better about how I look. I’m tired of sucking in or not being able to wear a cute blouse because of my size. And all of those are just vanity, not even to mention the health risks of being overweight.

So, here we go.

My tactic is reducing calories and adding exercise. Reducing calories by cutting out high-calorie items, particularly drinks — soft drinks and fruity drinks and sweetened coffees. Exercise is going to be the treadmill for now until the weather gets nice and I can walk on the track at work again. I want to use my hand weights too and do crunches to build muscle. My muscles are pretty non-existent right now, and more muscle will burn more calories.

I welcome all ideas and encouragement, and of course will update here on my progress (and probably my frustrations too!)