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Monday, October 28, 2013

The Mom Thing

Oh, the joys that come with obedience. My son "rose up and called me blessed" last night ... and oh, how I needed that.

It's been a tough few months. Trials with parenting and home ownership have been demanding and costly. As a result, I've felt my energy flagging, and have been giving in far too often to the lure of "my drugs," AKA, my escape idols - food, sleep and TV.

Last night, after a particularly grueling day, I felt legitimately entitled to zone out. I tucked in early and pondered my options. Halloween candy was calling from my son's attic room, where I had hidden it from myself. The square box siren began its trilling thusly: "You know you deserve a good movie. Even a questionable one. You're a grownup. You can handle it. At least a sitcom. One of your favorites is probably on, and maybe the language and plot line won't be too crude this time. C'mon! What're you waiting for?!"

For those who may be new to my blog, I've explained before that food and entertainment are for me snares that lead to over-consumption and lingering, hangover-like symptoms that sometimes last for days. This may seem legalistic to some, but these things are traps for me, and I know it. Romans 14 does an excellent job of explaining that what one believer finds just a tasty morsel, his brother may encounter as a gluttonous, ferocious task-master.

Ah hem. Getting back to the point. I chose to ignore the seduction of the sweets, and tune in to a Charles Stanley message rather than whatever garbage was on TV. I got maybe 20 minutes into his "Fight Your Battles on Your Knees" when the phone rang. It was my older son, Aaron, calling for the second time in one day. He's been somewhat AWOL lately, so I was thrilled with this sudden burst of attention. Get this: he was calling to thank me for the faith-filled upbringing I had given him - not over-the-top, he stated, like the religious fanatics portrayed by Hollywood, but just a strong, Biblically grounded core - and added that, despite the many stressors he's encountering, he's been counting his blessings (another principle I tried hard to instill in both my kids).

Talk about over the top! I felt like I was on a mountaintop! How would my reaction have been different, I wondered, if this call had come in the middle of a food-fest hosted by moi, attended by Tinseltown's finest. One, I wouldn't have wanted to pick up the phone, since it would have interfered with my idol worship, and I never like to be interrupted during a worship service. Two, guilt would have intermingled with the joy that this news produced. Instead, I drifted off to satiating sleep after an hour-long, praise-filled, edifying dialogue with my son.

The mom thing? With God, I think I can do this!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mice in the Kitchen

I spent most of this past summer upgrading my kitchen. It was a labor of love ... and money. Lots of it. Not that I begrudge the outflow of cash; it needed to be done and, frankly, the room deserved the attention. It has played host to many a holiday meal and gathering, and sucked up (literally) a myriad of spills, oven disasters, even the horrid pungency of microwave-burnt popcorn that I'm pretty sure was the latest form of torture adopted at Guantanamo Bay.

So you can understand how aggrieved I felt when I detected evidence of the pitter patter of little rodent feet on my spanking clean counter tops. I mean, how rude! Don't these creatures realize how much research and shopping time went into the selection of those solid surfaces? And how dare they infiltrate my custom-built pantry, with its pristine shelves and varnished edge work? Did they really think their midnight romps through my galley would go unnoticed and ignored?

Towards the end, they became very blatant in their intrusiveness. My son reported daytime sightings of scampering paws and flying tails doing 60 mph into the dining room closet to get at the unchosen Butterfingers from last Halloween. It was then that I realized they were mocking my appeasement strategy, and I would have to get tough or be bested by vermin weighing less than an ounce and boasting the intelligence of a spatula.

I took myself over to Ace Hardware and invested in warfare equipment. I caulked up whatever holes I could find in our not-so-impenetrable fortress and put out some bait that I expect gave the critters a rude awakening (well, actually the opposite). In short, I took the measures - arguably cruel, but in my mind necessary - that seem to have solved the problem. For now.

This is an important distinction. I hold no illusions that these steps are a permanent fix. I've been unpleasantly surprised too many times before to let these trespassers hoodwink me now. What I do put stock in, though, is that what has worked in the past will continue to work in the future.

Just as diminutive beasts at times invade my physical dwelling, tiny chinks periodically make their way into my spiritual armor. My helmet of salvation slips back, leaving my mind and vision vulnerable to Satan's temptations. I forget to don the breastplate of righteousness and take up the shield of faith, rendering me heartless and gutless when the battle intensifies. My belt of truth and sandals of peace unbuckle, causing me humiliation and immobility. Worst of all, probably, I leave my sword at home; I am thus unable to fight back against Satan's assault weapons, which he invariably selects with great care to target my most disadvantaged parts. In short, my game is perilously off, and I'm an arrow away from annihilation.

The tools, though, are at my disposal. I need only to utilize them. And the best part is, I don't even have to go to the hardware store.