Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Dream Grocery Shopping Trip

I believe I've mentioned a time or four hundred how frustrating grocery shopping can be here in Doha.  Yes, it's the richest country on the planet, but they can't seem to get things on the shelves with any regularity.  A friend of mine told me of an experience she had at one of the local markets frequented by Westerners.  A certain item was stocked rather irregularly - as soon as it got on the shelves it was cleared out by eager buyers.  And then she couldn't find it for a long time so she asked the manager why.  His reply?  "Oh, madame, we couldn't keep it in stock.  As soon as we got it, it would sell.  We had to stop ordering it!"

So...the object is apparently to stock things that will sit on the shelves and not sell. Interesting business philosophy!

Anyways, here's my list of things that I dream of one day finding on the shelves here:

* Crystal Light Lemonade
* Digiorno Pizza
* Bryer's Peach Ice Cream
* Pepperoni (ha!!  that one will NEVER happen!!)
* Newman's Own Viniagrette
* Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal (this is really Daniel's dream!!)
* Totino's Mexican Style Party Pizza
* Salted peanuts in the shell
* Yogurt covered pretzels
* Hot dog chili (of course, since we don't have hot dogs that may not be that rewarding!!)
* Poppycock's Just the Nuts

Surely there is more, but such treasures are already fading from my memory.  :::sigh:::

Anyone want to send me a care package???
Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thank You for Your Prayers!

Over the past week, I've been sharing with you some difficulties that believers have been facing here.  Six families whom I know personally, but as many as 30 total, were given orders to leave the country last week.  

This morning, we got word that the prayers of people around the world were answered and those deportation orders have now been cancelled!!  I just wanted to let you know that your prayers worked.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Saturday, May 23, 2009

Drano is Starting to Look Really Good (And Other News)

So, I realized I haven't mentioned my epic battle with death lately.  If you recall, I recently went through a bout of the plague.  At least, that's my opinion.  Actually, I'm convinced that it was whooping cough, after being tipped off by an alert reader.  I laughed then, but upon reading the symptoms, I'm pretty sure that is what I have (had).  I do feel infinitely better, but still have coughing fits a couple of times a day, which generally end in me gagging.  Very attractive.  

Right now, the worst part seems to be my throat.  I don't have a sore throat or anything, just this icky, thick coat of slime there.  (Aren't you so glad you stopped by today?!?!  LOL!!)  I can just feel it when I swallow or lay down.  It's really nasty and nothing I do seems to help.  So I'm thinking that Drano might just be my only option to clear up that crud.  The only thing stopping me is that, apparently, I might die.  Well, I'd probably die.  So I guess Drano's out and I will just have to struggle along with my slimy throat.  Anyone have any ideas that don't involve industrial-strength chemicals?

In other news, it's hot here.  Really hot.  Yesterday we got in the car after church (around noon) and it was 117 degrees.  It's so hot the toilet tank in my bathroom is hot from the water inside of it.  It's so hot I can hang my clothes out to dry and they are done in 20 minutes.  It's so hot...well, you get the picture.

I'm hoping that things have settled down here with regards to the number of families leaving town.  In case you missed it, throughout this week several families have gotten called in and been  asked (well, told, really) to leave the country.  The only common denominator is their faith.  The number of families from our House is 6, but there are more from other Houses.  I'm thankful that they are handling it with grace and still able to show love when they are being treated unfairly.  The last youth group of the year was the other night and it was a real tearfest.  Half the group will be leaving, as well as the couple that is in charge of it.  Next year will definitely be a time of rebuilding.

And in my final little bit of information that you probably couldn't care less about, we're going shopping today for a dress for Emily.  Not just any dress, mind you, but her 8th grade prom dress.  The thought of my baby going to any kind of a prom, let alone WANTING to wear a dress just knocks me for a loop.  I really can't believe that she'll be going into high school in just a short while.  It was just yesterday that she was asleep in my arms, that she was swinging on the playground, that she was taking naps.  Oh, how I long for the days of naptime!!!  Don't you all agree that teenagers should still take naps?  Perhaps it would improve their mood a bit?  Just an idea.

Well, that's the update around here.  Please continue to pray about the House situation if you remember.  I've heard stories that it may not yet have completely played out, so their are other families who may still have their lives turned upside down.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!
Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thankful Thursday


(Ok, some of you may have gotten just a blank post if you are using a feed reader. Sorry! I was doing this early in the morning, still half asleep and I hit enter too early!!)

I have so much to be thankful for today. Though this has been a tough week, I still know Who is in control. It's been emotionally draining, but I have a Comforter. It's been scary, but I have a Protector. It's been sad, but I have a Healer.

I'm not at liberty to say all that's going on. We are fine as a family. There's no illness or anything like that. But many of our friends have had a traumatic shock this week and it's hurt us as well. I had posted about it late last night, but in the harsh light of day it seemed to be a bad idea. The post has since been deleted as I'm afraid it may have already compromised us, so I apologize for the vagueness of all this. There were a few glitches with my Blogger account that kind of freaked me out and I'm still not sure what happened.

But the thing is, through all the unsettling stuff that's been going on, I'm growing. I'm learning. I'm going deeper. And I know, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that one way or another, I'll be taken care of. For that I am truly grateful.

Be sure to stop by Spiritually Unequal Marriage for more Thankful Thursday posts!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So How Hot Does It Have to Be...

On the way to school this morning Daniel lost a tooth.  A nice, big chunky molar.  

Since we were in the car and I didn't really feel like carrying a bloody tooth around with me all day, I told him to leave it on top of the little storage box in between the front seats of the car.  Then tonight we could leave it for the "tooth fairy" (which he's much too old to believe in but if it means he gets money out of it, he's quite happy to pretend he still does!).

So we get in the car this afternoon after school.  I crank the air up and glance at the thermometer in the rearview mirror - 108 degrees.  That's the outside temp.

Daniel suddenly screams, "My tooth!!!"  

I look down and see that the tooth has shattered into 4 separate pieces.  Apparently it got much hotter than 108 inside the car.  So the question is, how hot does it have to be to shatter a tooth into little shards?

Or maybe the real question is does the tooth fairy have to leave money for 4 teeth?!?!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Shift in the Paradigm

I've been doing a little thinking lately and I've realized that I've been handling becoming a "working mother" all wrong.  Since I started working about a month and a half ago, our home life has basically been allowed to go to seed.  Here's just a little snippet of what it's been like lately:

  • "Mom, there aren't any clean forks!!"
  • "Honey, do I have any clean shirts?!"
  • "Uh, Mom?  Why do your legs feel like a Sasquatch?!"
  • "Sandwiches for dinner again???"

It's not been pleasant.  

I've been falling into the trap of our day - allowing the urgent to take precedence over the important.  I feel like I do nothing but run from one fire to another, trying to put them all out before my house burns down.  

Last week I was thumbing through one of my Elizabeth George books, Life Management for Busy Women.  Boy do I feel like I need this book more than ever!  I was reminded that, even though I am now working, my priorities should not, can not, change.  They must remain now and ever more God first, husband second, children third, home fourth and anything else after that.  I need to start to take steps to reclaim my life and not let myself get overwhelmed by the busy-ness I now encounter.

Even though I'm now what the world refers to as a working mother, I have decided not to think of myself in those terms.  Instead, I'm trying to reteach my brain to think of myself as a mother who works.  It may seem like silly semantics, but I think it will help me to remember that my first call is to my family.  

The whole reason I'm working is for my family.  Financially, it's no longer feasible for me to be home what with our real estate investments having gone south and having put the kids into a great, but expensive, school.  But what good is it if I can't pull myself together enough to be a good wife and mother?  If I'm too tired to be kind and loving?  If I'm too disorganized to provide my family with the basics?  

So the question is how do I go about not just changing my way of thinking, but applying it to real life?  I mean, the reality is that I have to keep working (although it would be lovely if Hubby said I could just come back home!).  Just calling myself by something different isn't actually going to make the workload any lighter.  I have to work smarter, not harder.  

One of the first things I've done is to purchase a white board which I've used to manage all the information I need to use each day.  I divided it into 8 boxes - one for each day plus an extra box for making note of things I need to add to the grocery shopping list.  Within each day's box, I make note of what we'll be having for dinner (in red), events or afterschool activities (in green), who is in charge of preparing devotions (in black - and please don't think we are so super-spiritual because of this.  We've only been doing it for a week or two and purely out of sheer necessity for the Word of God to regain precedence in our home), and major homework projects or test dates for my kids (in blue).

In just the week I've been using it, the board has helped me tremendously.  I have it on display in the kitchen and each morning I am reminded to thaw something for dinner, or that we will be at school late due to rock climbing club.  I no longer find out about an exam the morning of the exam on the way to school.   It's simply helped me to breathe a little easier and to not feel so panicked all the time.

And as for that workload?  Well, I have to admit that I've been very blessed to have a husband who will jump in and help out.  He's helped out with laundry, dishes, mopping and more and I don't even have to ask.  Even better, he doesn't mind at all!  

I've also learned that there are some things that I have to let go.  While I would love to provide my family with a spotless house all the time, it's probably not going to happen very often right now.   But I can focus on the big things that need done and get to the rest when I can.  I may not be able to cook meals that are as elaborate as those I used to make, but with proper planning I can provide healthy, tasty meals that will nourish us.

It's a matter of priorities and balance.  Yes, I'd love for everything to be perfect.  But in all honesty, it wasn't perfect when I was a stay at home, homeschooling mom either.  It's easy to romanticize how things used to be.  However, the time has come for me to stop being wistful about being a stay at home mom and roll up my sleeves and get busy.  
Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day Award!!

Oh my gosh!!!!  I'm so excited!!  I've been given a really cool award. 


Thanks to those who nominated me and who supported me along the way!!!


(And if you don't figure it out - it's a pretty funny joke!!!)
Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Advent of Summer

There are certain things that bring to mind certain times of year. Bearing in mind that I've lived in warm climates (Arizona, Southern California, Florida) since I was 8 here are some of the seasonal landmarks that I've lived my life by.

Fall: Leaves falling to the ground; getting back into a routine after the break of summer; carving a pumpkin and roasting seeds.

Winter: Cool temperatures; doors and windows flung wide open; sweaters, maybe even coats; Christmas decor in the stores (though this seems to have suspiciously moved into fall); baking; darkness setting in early.

Spring: Slowly warming temperatures; brilliant blue skies; flowers; birds singing.

Summer: Heat; a slower pace with regular events off taking a break for the summer; barbeques; fireworks, mosquitos.

Here in Qatar, there are a few other signs that mark the beginning of summer.

The main topic of conversation is where you are going for the summer. Very few people stay here for the whole summer due to the oppressive heat and humidity. Most of the wives and children pack up the day or so after school is out and return just before it resumes.

I've begun consistenly using the remote start feature in my car. When it's been sitting in the hot desert sun and temps have been about 110 degrees all day, having the air running full-blast when I get in makes a huge difference.

And finally, in what I see as the biggest sign it's summer, I turned off our water heaters today. The sun is doing a dandy job of pre-heating all our water for us and no longer needs any help. This means we will be switching over to using the hot water tap (those tanks are in the house and therefore they will be kept cooler with the heater turned off) for cold water and the cold water tap for hot water. Even so, we will still need to wait several minutes for the water flowing through the pipes to be tolerable.

It may not rival fireworks and barbeques, but it's a sure sign it's summer!
Friday, May 1, 2009

A Work of Art

This morning a teacher sent out an email to the staff and faculty of the school promoting a "Staff Art Show."  I read it and snorted, thinking to myself, "Art is definitely something not in my genes.  I don't have any creative talents."

And then the Lord gently nudged me and told me that I did indeed.

Perhaps it's not in the way that the world recognizes.  I can't paint, sculpt or draw.  I'm not good at putting together things in an artful way.  Scrapbooking is simply way too time-intensive for me.  I never learned to knit or crochet or do needlepoint.

The creative talents the Lord reminded me of are those of a mother.  I don't mean those little kid crafts that every mother, at some point or another finds herself drug into.  Nor do I mean those horrible art projects that we end up doing in the wee hours of the night because our child has suddenly remembered that it's due first thing in the morning.

No, the creativity that I'm speaking of is that of molding and shaping future adults.  It's really an amazing thing when you think of what parents do.  To take a tiny infant - a blank slate - and teach them everything they need to know to not only survive, but to become godly, successful adults, well, that's a work of art that rivals those of Michelangelo and DaVinci.

What we do as mothers is infinitely more valuable than a mere statue or painting.  While art contributes beauty to the world, the raising of godly children has the potential to change the world.  If you consider the sphere of influence that one person can have, the knowledge of what a family of God-fearing people can do is tremendous.  To know that we can raise a generation of people who want to serve God and others, and to understand the impact you can have upon generations of family is to truly understand the calling of godly mothers.

I challenge you, and myself, to keep our eyes on the goal we have as mothers.  It's all too easy to get bogged down in the daily-ness of life: laundry, meals, wiping noses, and running errands.  But if we are able to keep focused on the long-term goal of our parenting, we will be rewarded in the end.  

We are living in a culture that is full of ugliness.  Sin and destruction abound. Let us be the ones who are bringing our own form of great works of art to the world.

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