Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Soli Deo Gloria

My sister in law, Emily and I used to talk about how much we loved children and were we really finished.
"Oh yes! Absolutely through...totally...pretty much...maybe."
Last year, Emily and Moody's "pretty much" turned into a "not really quite finished" and they began the process of adopting not one but two precious children into their already busy home of six. They felt the pull of the orphans of Ethiopia and have been on a journey to find their children.
They have indeed found them, friends, and couldn't be more beside themselves with joy!
We are celebrating with them and look forward to the day we can meet our newest family members face to face.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Max

I consider myself a glass half-full kind of person but, 2008 is turning out to be a pretty bad year for the Hill pets. We've gone through no less than 4 hamsters and have now lost our great cat, Max.

About two years ago, Tee and I were driving home from school and we saw something rolling under a truck. As the truck kept driving, we saw a little black cat run out and into the grass on the side of the road. Some crazy instinct took over and I pulled off to see if the little guy was o.k. He was without a scratch but starving and definitely ready for a family. Our family, sniff, sniff.

Tee kept saying "Mom, we can keep him? But, I thought you were allergic?".

It was maybe a slight exaggeration I had told my children each time they had asked for a kitten. For the record, they also think I'm allergic to snakes, skateboards, and tackle football, and I'd appreciate you having my back on those. This wee one, however, had survived being run over by a truck and amazingly, cured my allergies. A real-life kitty miracle!

Max was a hit from the start and everyone was in love. Especially Max, with Trey. Max loved my husband with a love that sometimes even bordered on creepy. No matter who wanted to pet him, he would crawl up on Trey's chest and purr like he was in his little cat heaven. "Purrr. I love you, man." Even Trey was moved. Usually to another chair to get away from Max, the love cat.

He grew into the troubled teenager we pray we'll never have in our children. He'd go out just before we were off to bed and would come home as I was going walking in the morning. He'd arrive war-torn with scratches and cuts from apparent cat-gang fights then would want to eat and snuggle and sleep all day. We got really worried when he started wearing a little blue bandana and got a "Crips" tattoo. He was trouble with a capital M but we loved that cat.

About 4:15 Friday morning, Fern started barking like crazy so Trey ran downstairs to see what was going on. He looked out the window and saw a pitbull with Max in his jaws. He ran off with Max before we could get the alarm off and door opened. A neighbor, John, found the little guy's body the next day.

John was really upset because he's lost two cats lately as well and the pitbulls are owned by someone who also lives in the neighborhood. He's been unable to get in touch with the owners of the dog so far and wants us to help him. I will make a stereotypical comment now that may or may not apply in this case but it's my blog so I'm taking the liberty:
People who own cats and love them and people who own pitbulls and leave them chained up in their backyards typically have very different personalities so it should make for some interesting conversations at the next homeowners association meeting.

Meanwhile, Sadie, in mourning, has said we need to get a microphone. For Max.
Through tears, "But, baby, Max doesn't need a microphone. He can't *sniff* sing anymore."
"No, momma, so we can sing songs about Max...can it be a pink Barbie one?"
I love that - taking a tragedy and turning it into a chance to get a toy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hallelujah!!

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior….
Titus 3:5,6

Friday, March 21, 2008

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

When I was little my mom sang to me at night to help me fall asleep. Her favorite lullaby was Edleweiss from the Sound of Music. I can still hear her beautiful voice singing it. Even though I did not inherit either her or my father's gift of song (I'm not being modest, several very close friends have told me so. I think they're just jealous.), I still sing to my kids before bed. This is my very favorite hymn and my children's most requested song. I pray the words will penetrate their hearts and draw them before the throne of their Almighty Father.

And, I hope you have the most blessed Easter.

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon His cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Hard Rain

It's raining buckets today. Sideways buckets of cold cats and dogs pouring down and soaking every square inch of anything daring to venture outside. There's no umbrella big enough to keep you dry today and no sprint fast enough or short enough to prevent you from getting totally drenched.

I've been thinking a lot about Quincy today. Ya'll remember Quincy; our surrogate child who has been a part of our lives and poster child for our ministry since we moved in. We have watched him grow from averting his eyes whenever you spoke to him and being unable to express his complex emotions to laughing at himself, at life, and being able to both ask for and extend forgiveness. He was the only neighborhood child at the Mercy Street staff Christmas party because he said, "I work here, too.", and he made his own business cards out of Trey's extras.
Quincy Hill, Helper.

Last week, he moved from West Dallas. Like so many we see, and have seen especially lately, our kids' broken families move to try to escape a difficult situation, neighborhood, relationship, or school system hoping the next will be a way out. It will be better, more affordable, more stable, and more fair. Sometimes it is better; most times it is the same with a different backdrop. I had a friend tell me once that it doesn't matter where you go, you still have to take you with you. The issue is not the location, it is the condition.

Sure, we'll get to see him some but I miss him. I miss him stopping by on his way home from school running around the house with the kids. I miss hugging his neck and kissing his forehead telling him we were having spinach and brussel sprouts for dinner and would he like to stay. As it pours down today, I wonder how wet and cold Quincy will be when he walks into an empty apartment this afternoon. There are strangers above him, below him, and on either side and nothing is familiar.

I pray that he leans into the One who knows him most intimately and who never moves or changes. I pray He will extend our reach far beyond this zip code.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Put your foot in what?

I have issues. I'm a people pleaser and I long for approval when it comes to my cooking which can be a sanctifying combination with six children living in my house. My husband could be the easiest to please. He's just thankful that I've cooked something so his appreciation comes as easily as opening a box.

Approval has been especially hard to come by lately, though, when two of those children are teenagers who have a momma that can cook like nobody's business. She can't take care of them but man can she cook. Sorry, that was rude. They actually called her one day so she could tell me how to make something. Humbling to say the least.

I have fried more cuts of meat than I ever thought possible and many without great success. Last night I made fried catfish for the first time ever with the help of my daughter Olivia. (She's reading this over my shoulder insisting she gets credit.) It actually turned out really well and I was excited to have tackled yet another vat of oil with one small victory.

On a side note, there is apparently a way to convert a diesel engine to run on used vegetable oil. At the rate I'm going, I could supply the oil for a small school bus to take my kids to school. Hmmm.

The other morning, I made breakfast and thought I had received the greatest insult so far. The boys said, "Mama Melissa, oooh, you put your foot in this! I mean you put your big toe in and stirred it all around."
"Is that bad?"
"What? You never told your momma she put her foot in something?"
"Um, no."
"It means it's really good!"
Whew! What a relief.
So, if you're ever in the neighborhood and want to stop by for breakfast. Come on in.
I make some mean Malt-O-Meal.
Sigh.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Someone is obviously out to get me.


I've always wondered how much a car says about the personality of its driver. Obviously, a red sports cars speaks volumes about the driver, as does a fifteen passenger van (sorry Em). I've been wondering lately about the personality of the drivers of Volkswagen Beetles. I think they may hate me.

Wha??? But they're so cute! So colorful! So fun with the whole flower vase in the dash thing! Surely, the drivers must be cute, colorful, and fun too!

I think they may be a part of an evil cult that hates mothers of small children.

Your thinking I've lost my mind.
Did something happen in her long, unintentional break from blogville? Did she finally crack under pressure?
No, I assure you, it's deductive reasoning and I think I can convince you, too. Just read the conversation that took place in the car with my kids. I'm using the word 'conversation' lightly. Very lightly. You'll totally agree.

"CONVERTIBLE GREEN SLUGBUG NO TAG-BACKS!!!"

"Hey! I already got that one!"

"You didn't say convertible so it's mine!"

"THAT'S NOT FAIR!"

"That's the rules! I have 4, you have 3! NA NA NA NA NA!"

"Whoosh!"

"What was that?"

"A slugbug sucker. I sucked up your slugbugs. Now, you don't have any and I have 7."

"Hey...you can't...BAM BAM BAM... HA! That's a slugbug sucker breaker with a magnetic slugbug attachment so now I have all of mine back and yours. VOOOM. Now, I also have a forcefield so you can't take mine again. I win!"

"MMMMOOOOOMMMM! Tee broke my slugbug sucker and took aaalll my slugbugs and now he has a forcefield and won't give me mine baaaack. He needs a consequence!"

Convinced?
Mmm hmm. I thought so.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A little lower on the Totum Pole

Ya'll remember Quincy, right? The kid who had me at "will you buy me a fish?", and who has ever since referred to himself as Quincy Hills. He adds an 's', I don't know why but it endears me to him even more.
Several months ago, we got some new neighbors. Mindy and Garrett, who work at Mercy Street, moved into the hood and stole Quincy from me. How, you ask? They went and gave Quincy his own room in their house! Now, let me be clear, it is a closet but still. They even said he could paint the thing any color he wanted as long as he kept his grades up. Who can compete with that? Definitely not a mother of four who is using every square inch of space in her house for heating pads, medicine, roller blades, baseball gloves, and apparently something that smells really bad.
I'm also a little picky about the color of paint on the walls. It's not nearly as appealing to a sixth grader when you say, "Sure Quince, you can paint it any color you want as long as it's neutral with yellow undertones."
Though I love Mindy and Garret, their move into the hood dropped me a little lower on the totem pole that is Quincy's heart. I am fine and truly, having them here is worth the price I've had to pay.
Today I am predicting another drop on the totem pole for ol' Mrs. Hills (sometimes I add the 's' too now just to feel one with Quincy). Quincy is about to get himself a new neighbor who also has some extra closet space.
Hannah is moving into the 'hood. She has worked with Mercy Street since it's inception and has poured her life out before the Lord to be a light for Him wherever He may desire. He has delighted in using her here in West Dallas to be a mother, sister, friend, tutor, advocate, counselor, nurse, coach, chef, and concession stand manager to hundreds of children. I know the last one doesn't sound like a high calling but if you could see the way the girl makes nachos, you'd totally be with me.
In spite of all her time in West Dallas, her time at my house, and her time on my blog, it was still her greatest desire to live out God's call on her life while living among the people He has given to her. She's packed up her great furniture and her Kevlar vest and is on her way. We couldn't have talked her out of it if we'd tried. Which we didn't.
We have prayed for this day for years and we are thrilled to have to privilege to now call her neighbor.
Ok, gotta run. I've got a crazy day but I think I'll whip up some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for Quincy.
I'm not going down without a fight.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

21

Lucky number? My age? Number of pets living in my house?
Not exactly.
That would be the number of cavities my dentist found between three of my children last week.
I have no idea what the problem is. We brush twice a day with Hershey syrup and rinse with Kool-Aid.
I know it's not customary oral hygiene but at least no one (except my husband) can blame it on the incredibly weak enamel they must have inherited from their mother.
DARNIT!
So, this fine, fine morning, I accompanied Tee and Graham to the dentist for some good old-fashioned drilling. They got little toys, happy juice, some laughie gas, and I think a Margarita, frozen, with salt. Oh, nevermind, that was me.
I kid.
While they were having their "sugar bites" filled on their baby teeth (a.k.a. teeth that will fall out within the next year), I went into the bathroom and flushed some money down the toilet just for fun because, you know, that's what I like to do.
Then, on the way home they looked so pitiful I got them each a strawberry milkshake for comfort.
Will I never learn?
Sadie goes in next week. She'll be sedated so the recovery should make for some comedy. Sadie on tranquilizers: I can't wait to write about that.
Olivia on the other hand had zero cavities. She got 30,000 cool points for that! Fo' shizzle.

Monday, March 3, 2008

You learn something new every day.

We're learning some new lingo over here at casa de Long Way from the Theta House and suffice it to say, we are feeling a little over the hill.
These boys definitely have a way of saying things that is totally hilarious but can be even more funny coming out of the mouths of my babes.

CLEAN or TIGHT:
anything cool or good looking but you have to say it like this...
KALEEN or TIIITE

Now, my children say it all the time. "Mom, Spongebob got himself a new jellyfish net. It's TIIITE."
or
"That tie-dye frog Webkinz is KALEEN."

MUG:
Pronounced "Muh". This means practically anything and is almost always used in conjunction with Clean or Tight. Sometimes, Tee will get really into it and shout, about say a cupcake or a new Lego action figure; "Dat MUH KALEEN!" Unfortunately, Trey and I looked in the Urban Dictionary today only to find out that MUG is short for a really bad word. So bad I can't even put a little of it on here or I'll get kicked KALEEN off the Family Friendly Blogroll. We'll be replacing that one and are open for suggestions.

30,000 COOL POINTS:
D and Darius tell the kids they're earning 30,000 cool points for doing cool stuff like flips on the trampoline or getting a new haircut.
30,000 cool points? Oooh, how do I get some?
Apparently my fly Nike kicks earned me some and so did my boots with the fur. My dancing apparently made me lose 30,000 cool points and so did my Lemon Linguini with Shrimp and Asparagus so now it looks like I'm back to square one. Misery loving company and all, this morning, I questioned the cool points of the kid we saw on our way to school. He had on some KALEEN jeans so he got 30,000 cool points for those but he was saggin' so much he was walking funny just to try to keep his pants from falling down. Shouldn't he lose cool points for that?
I lost another 30,000 just for asking such a stupid question.

HARD:
Describes the way they like their jeans.
"Like heavy starch?"
"No Mama Melissa, HARD. Like they could almost stand up by themselves...with a crease." There's no doubt in my mind the boy mentioned before was walking funny because he had some serious chafing issues going on.

BOOSIE: A haircut that is shorter on the sides and longer on top. According to the boys, Trey has this haircut. Here is a picture of the originator of the Boosie. While you're visiting this site, don't forget to vote on your favorite size rims.


and here's a picture of Trey. I totally see it.



For another example of the Boosie, here's a picture of Simon Cowell.


I think Trey might have just earned himself 30,000 cool points!

Ads

Thousands* of you have emailed me or commented about the ads now appearing on my blog. Rest assured, my blog has not been hijacked. I signed up with BlogHer ads and honestly, don't really know how they work but I'm going with it.
A little bird told me I could earn a wee bit of income when I blog so I thought I'd try it out. Feeding, clothing, and educating six children is putting a serious damper on my pedicure budget.
If you'll promise to keep reading, I'll promise to not to start doing product placement** in my photos and having weird distracting pop-ups while you're trying to take a relaxing soak in the high-quality literary bath that is my blog. Deal?

*ok, not exactly thousands.
**any photos including Diet Coke do not constitute product placement ads. The Diet Coke is just an extension of me; like an appendage, with aspartame.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Why I love 4


Today is Sadie's fourth birthday.
For weeks we've been asking her what she wanted for her birthday and the item was ever changing...
Hannah Montana Electric Guitar
popcorn machine
disco ball
lip gloss
blendy pens
rip-stick
Barbie phone
Barbie camera
Barbie laptop
to be in a rock band
to be in Hannah Montana's rock band

What we got her was the Disney Princess Cool-Bake Magic Oven.
She had never even seen the thing before but still she exclaimed, "Yes! It's just what I always wanted!!!"

UPDATE: The Disney Princess Cool-Bake Magic Oven is neither cool or magic but an expensive toy refrigerator that chills nasty "cake-like sludge". Sadie actually gagged. We will be returning it this morning. Good times.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Me or something else.

Apparently, Graham had a little scuffle at school yesterday. His buddy's mom, who is also Olivia's teacher, emailed me about the drama that unfolded on the playground. When Trey and I asked him about it, the explanation went something like this...
"Graham, did something happen between you and Luke on the playground today?"
"Yes, ma'am. Um. Either me or something else pushed Luke and then Luke hit it."
"You or something else?"
"Uh huh. I think it was something else that pushed him."
"So something pushed Luke and then did he hit the something else that pushed him?"
"Um. Yeah. Um...uh...it might have been me that pushed him and not the something else, but I'm pretty sure it was the something else. Then, I think he hit me back and not the something else because I think I pushed him and not the something else..."

It is so easy for us to see how long it takes the little buddy to finally take responsibility for his actions in conversations like this one. I'm convicted that so very, very often, in my conversations with the Lord, it must be even easier for Him to see me doing the exact same thing.