Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Now I REALLY Win the Bad Mother Award!!!

My daughter has pneumonia.

And I would never have taken her to the doctor.

Thank God for Hubby who has more sense than me.

She's been coughing for a couple of weeks now and it has been getting worse, but I figured it was just something she couldn't shake. No complaints of chest pain or anything. It never even occurred to me to do anything but give her an OTC cough medicine.

Please pray for her. She is going to Jordan on Friday with the youth group for an outreach trip during her spring break. She is supposed to stay home from school for the next two days, but she insists she HAS to go tomorrow because it's her 14th birthday and she doesn't want to miss her friends celebrating it for her. So I guess I'll let her go and then stay home Thursday. But if you wouldn't mind praying for a speedy recovery so she feels better for her trip and is able to fully participate in all their work they've got planned.

And you might want to pray for her mother to be more discerning and sensible.

I'm just sayin'.
Saturday, March 28, 2009

An Unwanted Companion

Lately, I have found myself with a new best friend. Except it's not really a good friend. There are no encouraging words being communicated. No loving embraces. No friendly phone calls.

Just a constant nagging. Incessant, annoying reminders of an unwanted presence. No matter where I go, I find my new "friend."

You may think I sound harsh. After all, I'm still fairly new in town and I could use any friends I can get, right?

Except that this constant companion I've found myself being pursued by is worry.

I've never been one to worry much. I just have always kind of gone with the flow and allowed things to progress however God lets them turn out. It's worked well. But in the last couple of months, I find myself having a constant gnawing feeling in my stomach and realize that I am always worried about one thing or another.

How my children are doing academically. How they are doing socially. How I'm doing socially. Money. My parents as they have health issues. My marriage. My new job. Taking care of the house. My weight. Money.

It seems like it's a constant merry-go-round. Just when one area settles down, another one presents with a whole new crop of problems. It's like the mythological Hydra, a many-headed beast. Once you think you've got one problem slayed, there pops up another.

It's an uncomfortable and disconcerting feeling. I know in my head that I just need to turn over all of the above-mentioned problems to God. But letting them go and actually trusting that He will handle all of them is harder than it seems.

Tonight I picked up an old favorite of mine, "Hind's Feet on High Places." It's the story of a poor, lame shepherdess who wants, more than anything, to escape her life of fear and worry and climb to the high places with The Shepherd. He promises to give her a new name and remove all her fear and worry. Her journey though, will be a hard one. He promises to provide her with two companions to guide her and help her through the steep, rocky mountain paths.

When she meets the chosen ones, she is dismayed to find that their names are Sorrow and Suffering. Why, she wonders, couldn't The Shepherd have given her Joy and Peace to be her guides? He assures her that He has chosen exactly the ones she needs to make the journey to be made new. Trust me, says The Shepherd.

And I do, I cry out; myself just a lame shepherdess. I feel like I am on my own path through the mountains and I have been given similar companions. I know that this is the way God has chosen for me to go and all the circumstances are ones which He can use to whittle away all that is not glorifying to Him. So I choose to trust, and walk forward with my hands stretched out to receive whatever tools God has chosen to give me to help me on my way.
Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Ok, as you read this I'll be busy at work on my first day of employment in 14 years. Beginning to work will now require me to be even more organized than I've ever been. I'll get home around 4 pm most days, so there will still be time for dinner prep, but shopping and thinking it through in advance will take on new importance. Here's this week menu plan:

Sunday - Sticky Chicken, garlic & onion mashed potatoes, garlic green beans

Monday - Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread and a caesar salad

Tuesday - Mahlouba

Wednesday - Swedish Meatballs over egg noodles and a tossed salad

Thursday - Hummous, kubbe, cheese, bread, pickles, olives

Friday - Jambalaya over rice

Saturday - Chicken tacos in the slow cooker (recipe below)


For the chicken tacos, I toss a package of chicken breasts in the slow cooker, toss in a can of mexican style corn, a chopped onion, a can of rotel, some cumin and salt and pepper. I let it cook on low all day and then about 30 minutes before we eat, I toss in a can of either black beans or kidney beans. I serve it up in either tortillas (for soft tacos) or taco shells (for hard tacos). Easy!

For more menu plans, be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie!
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Let's Try It Again

Remember this? Way back when, I came up with a list of 101 things I wanted to accomplish in 1001 days. I got about half way finished with it. Kind of disappointing, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. As most of you know, it has been a tumultous thousand days. So much has changed in my life that I feel like a huge success story just for surviving it!!!

Still, I'm in the process of working up a new list. I think it was really helpful for me to have things put down in writing rather than just stray thoughts that run through my head to the effect of, "Yeah, I should do that some time." You know that old saying, if you aim for nothing, you are sure to hit it. Or however it goes. (I'm not real strong on cliches.)

If you'd be interested in doing a 101 in 1001 list, let me know. We can start on the same day and encourage each other. I'm planning on starting mine as of April 1, so that gives me about a week and a half to collect my thoughts and make a plan.

And hey, even if you only get half of the things on the list accomplished, that's still 50 things more than you would have accomplished without the list!
Saturday, March 21, 2009

My 70's Childhood Memories Come Alive!

Oh, yeah, baby!! Sing it, girl!!

Well, it seems as though I am spending my last days as a woman of leisure. (Ha!!!! Who on earth thinks stay-at-home-moms are women of leisure!?!? People who have never done it, that's who!!!)

The "trial day" went very well on Thursday. I enjoyed the work that I would be doing, as well as the people with whom I'd be working. It was fun, actually. The salary leaves quite a bit to be desired, but when you balance that against having the same schedule as my kids and being able to see them occasionally throughout the day, well, I guess it's worth it in the end.

I haven't officially accepted the job yet, as I am waiting for word if they will include a break in either tuition or some of the fees as part of my compensation package, but I'll probably accept the job either way. (Boy, I hope the human resources manager isn't reading this right now before she decides to offer us that break!!)

So today and tomorrow are my "clean the house like a maniac so it has a hope of staying clean since we will all be out of the house all day" days. I've got a huge to-do list and have to get cracking on it.

Then, of course, I'll have to don my slinky nightgown and high heels and make googly-eyes at Hubby tonight and "never let him forget he's a man!"

'Cause I'm a woman.

W-O-M-A-N!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday



I just did a post yesterday outlining all the happy things that happened to me on Tuesday. I have to say, life is at a good place right now. It feels great to be able to say that.

One year ago next week, my children and I left everything and everyone we knew and loved and set out to join Hubby in our new life here in Doha, Qatar. It's been a year of tumultuous change. We have had to adjust to a new culture, a new climate, and a new home. We've gone from Hubby working long hours 5 days a week to working somewhat shorter hours 6 days a week. I've had to learn the currency and I'm still confused as to how much money I spend each week on groceries! My much-loved 8 week menu plan has been tossed out the window, as it's virtually impossible here to predict what items will be in the stores on any given day.

I've gone from a committed homeschooling stay-at-home mom, to being a mom with two kids enrolled in school who is actively seeking to rejoin the workforce. After 14 years of being at home, that's no small matter. I'm nervous and excited and scared all rolled up into a bundle of jangled nerves.

I've lost access to Target (:::sob:::), the library, rational grocery stores, decent customer service, and honestly, some of my sanity.

We've had to give up our friendships and then try to build new ones here in a land where most people come and go within 4-5 years at most. Many of the friends we've made within the last year have already moved during the course of our year here or will be leaving this summer.

And yet, now one year later, we have survived. I don't know that I would say we have thrived, but we haven't withered on the vine either. And for that, I give all the glory to God. He has helped me learn to be content in whatever circumstance I find myself. He has been teaching me patience, a trait which I am sadly lacking in and have been praying for as long as I can remember. He has comforted me when I was desolate. He has been the one I rejoice with when I'm happy.

He is my rock. I love him and am so grateful for the fact that he led me here to this wilderness to use it as a time of teaching and growth in my life. Everything that he removed from my life has been restored in some form or fashion. Well, except Target. But I can live with that!

So today I am grateful for a God who will do whatever he needs to do to make me more like him.

For more Thankful Thursday posts, be sure to visit Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yesterday...

all my troubles seemed so far away!

Seriously, yesterday was a pretty great day.

Not only does it appear that I may have found a great job (I will know for sure tomorrow), but there were all these other cool little things that happened that just made me smile.

  • * I found a box of Triscuits. Triscuits!!!! I love them and haven't seen them in months and months. I won't admit to what I paid for them, but they were worth every little dirham (our penny)!!!
  • * I made some yummy black beans and rice for dinner.
  • * Lost was on. Need I say more? How can any woman not love Sawyer?
  • * The ladies on the Women's Ministry Leadership Team were so sweet and encouraging when I informed them I would probably have to step down because of my return to the working world. I hate backing out on a commitment, but they were so gracious and wonderful.
  • * I had a nice chat with one of the other "church" moms last night. Not a big deal, but this is a woman who has kind of seemed to run hot and cold and it was nice that she came over and sat with me and chatted for about 20 minutes.
  • * I got to go to the mall ALL ALONE last night while Emily was at a team meeting for her upcoming missions trip.
  • * During said trip to the mall, I found it! I found it! What, you ask? The newest Jodi Picoult book, Handle With Care. And, to make it even sweeter, it wasn't THAT expensive. More than I would have liked to pay at around $17, but I love her writing so much that it's worth it.

So overall, it was just a sweet day with lots of little moments. And now, I'm off to do my grocery shopping a day early so that I can spend the day tomorrow at the school investigating the new job prospect. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Interview with a Principal

The interview went well, really well. I told my husband that a monkey could have walked in there and they would probably have hired it. LOL!!

After reviewing my resume, he just had me tell him a little bit about myself and then basically asked if I would be interested in working in this area or that area. When I mentioned something about my experience, he out and out said, "I have no worries about your experience, I'm just trying to see where you are interested in working." He seemed most interested in using me in the 4 year old class, saying it was his hardest to staff, but because of my experience running the preschool program at our church in Miami, I'd be perfect for it.

When I mentioned that I hoped to eventually move into something full-time in administration, he mentioned that several positions in the school library would be opening up in the next school year. So I left thinking I'd sub (pretty regularly, from the impression he gave me) until that happened.

As I was driving home, my cell phone rang. It was the vice-principal of the high school, telling me that he is interested in hiring me for another position. It would be working with the school's computer program which is used to update students and parents with all kinds of information, from grades and attendance to announcements and more.

I will be going in to meet with this man on Thursday, so I'd covet your prayers. It sounds like it would be great, but I want to make sure I do what God wants me to do.

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, It's Off to Work I Go

Well, not exactly.

In just two hours, I have a job interview. It's been a looooong time since I've done that. Like, 15 years. I'm nervous and still trying to decide what to wear. Do I wear the beautiful pink blouse that I grabbed yesterday for a steal? Or the black and white print blouse my hubby likes? I think the pink one is more professional (button down, long-sleeved) than the black and white (short-sleeved, kind of funky print, pretty open at the throat), but hubby thinks pink is not professional. (Ok, just reading back on those descriptions has pretty much convinced me to go with the pink.)

I'm still torn about the whole issue of working, to be honest. I know that with subbing I can choose when to work and it probably won't be overwhelming. However, eventually I hope (NEED!!) to find something more regular to bring in the money we need to cover the kids' school expenses. That's what scares me.

If you've ever visited Jess' blog, you will have fallen in love with her just like I did. Well, Jess recently went back to work. And it was hard for her. Hard to find the balance to maintain her home, be there for the kids, take care of herself, and still be loving and kind to her husband. That's what I'm afraid of.

I'm worried that my house will be even more chaotic and messy than it is. That we won't have clean clothes to wear. That dinner will end up more nights than not a pizza ordered in.

But still I know that this is the right thing to do, so I'm trusting God that He's going to provide the right job and provide the time that I need to make life work.

After all, He's in the "making-life-work" business.
Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


This morning after dropping the kids off at school, I'll be off to get a new haircut and to try to find a smashing outfit. Why, you ask? Well, I have my first job interview in years tomorrow! It's just for substituting as an elementary school teaching assistant, but I'm hoping it leads to something more. What I'd really like is to get something on a permanent basis in the administration department of the school. I'll let you know how it goes.


In other news, teenagers are not easy to live with.


I believe that needs no explanation.


So, onto the real point of today's post - the menu plan!


Sunday - Bezella (an Arabic stew) over rice with a chopped salad

Monday
- Beef Stew with biscuits

Wednesday
- Salmon, steamed broccoli and a tossed salad

Thursday
- Roast sticky chicken, mashed potatoes and garlic roasted green beans

Friday
- Tostadas

Saturday
- Mexi-Chicken in the crockpot, served with tortillas

So that's what we'll be having this week. Like always, it's shaping up to be a busy week, so things are being kept simple and easy.

Have a great week!!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm Fired

My last post was a week ago. There I was, once again whining about balance and struggling to make my life work. I felt very defeated, very much like an unorganized failure. I know that there are women out there who manage to do it all, effortlessly it seems. I couldn't imagine ever being like that. I was convinced that I had to handle all the different facets of my life and make them work.

Thank God for Beth Moore.

As I mentioned before, I'm working through her new study on the book of Esther. It's been such a blessing to me, but last week she made a point that I found so freeing. She was discussing how Esther had already had the king, her husband Xerxes, as well as her enemy, Haman, over to one banquet and had invited them for another one the next day. We don't know the reason why she didn't reveal the dire circumstances she faced as a result of Haman's order to slaughter the Jews. Perhaps it was all part of the plan. Perhaps at the last minute she chickened out and blurted out an invitation for the following day to buy time to figure out what to do.

Regardless, picture Esther laying in bed that night, fretting about the next day, knowing that not only her own life, but the fate of her people were squarely on her royal shoulders. It had to be overwhelming. (Now, I'm not saying that the fate of a nation weighs on my shoulder, but I did feel overwhelmed.)

As she lay in bed, her husband was wide awake. The Scriptures say, "The Lord took away sleep from him." To soothe himself, he asked that the chronicles of his reign be read to him. Now, he'd been king for quite some time - perhaps as many as 10 years. And yet the portion of the chronicles that was read to him that night included something that would turn the situation on end. Xerxes learned that Mordechai, the prime target of Haman's rage and whom Haman planned to execute in the morning, had at one point saved his life by revealing a plot against the king. Even more, Mordechai had never been rewared for his good deed. Long story short, Mordechai ended up being honored and Haman ended up being on the wrong end of the king's wrath.

Esther did have her second banquet, during which time she revealed the truth of her heritage as well as the plot against her people. Her willingness to do whatever she could was rewarded.

In the same way, I just have to be faithful to do what I can do. As Beth put it, "it's tough being a woman who feels responsible for the how." The end result of any circumstance is not really up to us. It's up to God. All we can do is to be faithful in the details of what He has called us to do and let Him work. Oftentimes, it may be something as mundane as causing a sleepless night.

It was so freeing to me to read that I am not responsible for how things turn out. I do my best and let God work. I spend so much time worrying and stressing and trying to make everything perfect. Beth gave me some of the best advice I've ever heard: Fire yourself.

And so, to borrow a phrase from Donald Trump, I'm fired.

Fired and free. Free from the stress and anxiety. Free from the need to be the perfect mom and wife and woman.

All I have to do is my part. Thankfully, God promises that He will not give us more than we can bear. If I am faithful, He will use me to accomplish His will and He will be glorified.

That's a good thing.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spinning Plates

Balance is something I've always struggled with. Lately it seems that struggle has been rearing its ugly head more and more.

Now that my children are in school, I really want to be involved. PTA, Parent Advisory Forum, Booster Club - the opportunities abound. I feel so disconnected from my kids and I want to be part of what they do all day. Not just for my own selfish reasons, but to make sure that they are getting the best. The best education, the best opportunities, the best life.

I'm also struggling with trying to keep up with the house. I thought once my kids were in school, I would have all this time to clean house. I pictured myself like June Cleaver, in dress, heels and pearls, baking fresh cookies and welcoming my kids home to a sparkling clean house with dinner in the oven. Somehow that hasn't happened.

I find myself getting more and more involved in church, which is a good thing. Besides teaching Sunday school on a monthly basis, I'm also a weekly volunteer in the youth group, facilitate a women's Bible study each week (which necessitates another weekly meeting to prep), and am co-leader of Bible Studies for the Women's Ministry Leadership Team. While I love all of it, I'm wondering if (and my husband is certain that) I've gotten too involved, too fast.

And then there is the issue of caring for myself. I keep saying that I'm going to do it, but I always put myself on the back burner. I'm exercising, but not as much as I would like too. And I am still putting off that visit to the doctor. I just want to make everything great for my family and feel selfish taking that time for myself when I know that the house is a mess, nothing's planned for dinner, laundry is piling up, and kids need help with their homework.

To add to all that, I know that I need to get a job to help pay for the kids' schooling. Even though I just need something part time, the thought of adding one more thing to my life terrifies me.

So here I am, like the sideshow of a circus trying to keep all my plates spinning, knowing that at any minute one is going to go careening off its pole and to the ground. As I type this, it's obvious to me what my problem is. I'm not giving any of this to God. In my own strength, I am so weak, unable to keep those plates spinning for more than a short time.

If I could just come to God every day, offering up my time and my energy and submitting to His will and plan for my day, I would have peace and balance. I would know my priorities - and they'd be the right ones, because they would be His priorities. We are promised in Scripture that we can do all things in Christ. We are told that He gives us strength and helps us to not grow weary. Well, let me tell you, I am weary.

Weary from struggling to be perfect. Weary from kicking myself for my faults and failures. Weary from trying to be all things to all people. Even though I've been getting more sleep lately than I have in years, I'm more tired than I've ever been.

So from now on I want to drop all the plates. I want to ask Him to give me only what He wants me to carry. Some of the things I mentioned above I've already decided that I will have to let go of. Others I may or may not. But it's not really the amount of things I'm doing that's the issue.

It's Who I'm doing them with.
Monday, March 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Welcome back!!! Can you believe it's Monday again and time to think about our week ahead?! Time flies, doesn't it? I'm running a bit late today getting the kids off to school, so here's our menu for this week with no-frills.


Sunday - M'sahkhan (Fried chicken and onions, mixed with sumac and served with pita bread)

Monday - Uncle David's Spaghetti & Meatballs, garlic bread, caesar salad

Tuesday - Salmon, couscous with red pepper and onions and a tossed salad

Wednesday - Cottage pie

Thursday - Tostadas

Friday - Potato Lover's Salad

Saturday - Curry Cajun Chicken, green beans, salad


Simple, yummy, delicious!!!

In other news, nothing to say except life is good. We are busy and happy. I think everyone, even the kids, are starting to feel more at home. Putting them in school has been a good decision which has helped them make friends and build connections here in Qatar. While it was an agonizing decision, it's proved to be the right one.

And now I'm off to make lunches, find PE uniforms, make the school drive and get my day started. May your day be blessed!!!
Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oops! I've Done it Again!!

Ok. It's time for me to just face facts and admit I know nothing about blog design. I can't even handle importing those free designs without messing something up. I had realized that for some reason the picture at the top of my old design (the one with the camels) had disappeared, so I was trying to fix that (couldn't!), so then I tried to get something else pretty and I ended up with the combination of two things here.

I'm going to keep working on it, but right now I've got to take my daughter to the mall to meet friends and do a little shopping myself. One of these days I'll convince Hubby to let me spend a little money to get the blog professionally done. Sigh...One of these days...

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