Thursday, May 28, 2009

Perfect Ten

10 years of marriage:
9 different addresses
8 house plants that did not survive my green thumb
7 years in the Air Force
6 anniversaries spent together
5 vehicles (Escort, Altima, 2 Jeeps, minivan)
4 precious daughters
3 states (Colorado, Florida, Texas)
2 cats

Mark and Anissa, married May 28, 1999

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I had a revelation today in parenting! For some reason, I have been thinking that first-time-obedience (you know, the "you say, they obey, right away" expectation) came with only one round of training. That I would only have to train them in a matter one time, and then, if I am a good and successful mom, they will obey, right away (and with a happy heart) each time thereafter.

But now I have a new thought. Perhaps parenting is less about achieving perfect first-time obedience and more about fighting bacteria! When my little one gets a bacterial infection and I go to the doctor, he doesn't hand me a quick fix, he gives us a bottle of pink goop to be administered three times a day for the next 2 weeks! And I can't stop when the symptoms clear in one week. I have to keep administering the meds until the bottle is empty.

Now, I am not too good at keeping up with antibiotic dosing, and it appears that I am far worse with discipline dosing! My daughter dawdles in finding her Sunday sandals. I think that with one stern lecture and consequence I have given her a big enough dose for the medicine of discipline to work Instead, perhaps I need to have the same compassion for her that I have in time of illness. Come along side her, walk with her, watch the symptoms of her slowness and find out the true root issue. Then, for the next two weeks three times a day, apply the training as I guide her in improving her ability. And even when, after the first week, when she appear to have killed off the dawdling bug, I must not let up but continue to help her improve.

If it takes 2 weeks to kill off a little buggy causing an ear infection, I am sure it takes at least 2 weeks retrain a habit that is causing an infection of the soul.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Counting to 3

I really get a kick out of parents who count to three. Most of all I love how the count is never the same. I mean, how long can the number two really be drawn out?

I don't count to three with my kids, but I am realizing that maybe I need to. I have been a little too quick to judge my children lately. Rather than observing and listening, I have been quickly passing judment on their actions and their motives. I need to count to three, I need to slow down, watch what is happening and give myself time to think. So if you see me just staring at my kids as they begin to run circles madly screaming in line at Chick-fil-A, don't worry, I'm counting to 3.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I have a t-shirt with Grumpy the dwarf on it. Kaiden asked me one day why I was wearing it. I wittingly answered, "Maybe it will remind me not to be grumpy!" She thought about it, tipped her head slightly to the side and replied, "Could you wear that every day?"

Wow - I needed that. I am glad my four year old has the subtle boldness to let me know I have an issue with being grumpy! I have been thinking about it since then, and it seems that I have a knack for being all the 7 dwarfs throughout my week. And since there are 7 of them, maybe I could get 7 shirts - one of each dwarf - one for each day of the week.

I have my Happy days (when we go to the playground just because), my Doc days (when I am in control and fixing everything), my Sneezy days (and who in West Texas doesn't with the constant dusty wind), my Bashful days (when I want to hide in my Mommy chair and write in my journal), my Sleepy days (a three our nap on a Sunday afternoon), my Doopey days (when I finally let myself be a kid again), and of course, my Grumpy days.

Today, if I had one, I would put on my Doc shirt. I've got a pile of laundry to conquer and breakfast to accomplish. Hi-Ho Hi-Ho, it's off to wash I go.....

Friday, May 15, 2009


While dropping Kaiden off at a friends, she turned to me and said, "Bye Dad-Mom!"

The Apostle Paul said in First Corinthians that he has become all things to all people to help in sharing the gospel. The same can be said for Moms! To Emma I am a sleeping pillow, to Jordan a hugger, to Kaiden a super-duper jump-and-spin high-fiver. And for this season of deployment, to all of them I am a Dad-Mom.

At first, I put off doing the special things that Dad used to do with the girls (eating Oreos, going to the Jump Castle playground, going out for donuts, going to Burger King) but I realized that only made them miss him more. So for the next 2 months, I will continue to be all things to all my girls, including an Oreo eating, Burger King loving Dad.

Now, I am not meaning to equate Mark with Christ, but waiting for Mark's return is similar to our wait for our Savior's return. For my girls, I love them like Daddy does, to help them endure until he comes home. For others, I must love them as Christ does, to give them a taste of the glory to come. Being all things to all my girls (and all things to all people) for the sake of their hearts and the sake of the gospel is no easy task and leaves little time for my own agenda. But the blessing of seeing the joy and peace on my children's faces is worth every moment of service.

I Corinthians 9:19-23
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm an F-15

Tactical Discipline -vs- Carpet Bombing
While correcting one of my daughters yesterday, a young friend commented... "Nice Tactics, you are an F-15". I gave him a perplexed look and he said, "F-15, it's a tactical fighter." I replied, "Thanks, but I sure wish I was an F-15E, it has 2 people in the cockpit!" (I am flying solo right now with Mark deployed, but looking forward to his return at the end of July).

Every mom has felt the eyes of a crowd watching her as she attempts to discipline her toddler, the eyes of "oh I am glad that season is over for me" and eyes of "get that kid under control." Sometimes the looks are full of pity, sometimes of contempt, and rarely, sometimes of encouragement. But this young friend, just 11 years old, gave me the greatest encouragement I have had in a while.

Being an Air Force wife I began to think about my various parenting efforts in terms of air-power. Sometimes I am the F-15, a technically advanced tactical fighter, accurately assessing and targeting specific issues. But sometimes, unfortunately, I am more like the carpet bombers of previous wars - dropping a large slew of bomb over a wide swath hoping to eliminate any and all threats.

I can tell my carpet bomber days - when my girls tense a bit as I say their names, or when my 4 year old sounds the air-raid siren ("Shhh, mommy's coming) as I walk past their room. Toddlers don't need carpet bombing, they need the careful, intelligent, directly applied correction of a tactical fighter mommy.

Lord you know my daughters hearts, delicate hearts that while needing training do not need the destruction of ill-applied discipline. Lord please give me wisdom today as I walk alongside my girls. Give me supernatural radar to detect the issues even before they arise. And as I seek to correct, give me the guidance to understand the heart of the issue in order that correction may be properly given.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Ring Circus

It has been almost 2 months since my last writing - why? Life is a three-ring circus around here! The three rings are named Kaiden, Jordan, and Emma, and I am the girl walking on the tightrope between all three!

Mark has been deployed now for 46 days (but whose counting?) so I have had to perform quite a balancing act between the needs of each of the girls as well as my own needs (and wants, and cravings...).

Being a tight-rope walker is not easy. If even one step is slightly off, you could plummet to the ground below. Being a mom right now feels the same way. If I sleep in a bit, or am late with the girls snack time, or neglect getting them to bed right away, or forget one piece of the bedtime routine, or forget to follow through on a promise made to them, I am bound to fall of the tight rope!

Sometimes the tight rope act is exhausting. You just want to say to heck with it all, jump off the rope, run to the ice cream store, stuff your face and let the circus animals run wild on their own. But when I do that, I find that the indulgences didn't taste as good as I hoped, and the rest I longed for wasn't so relaxing. And when I look at my three little circus monkeys, I realize that my neglect of them for meeting my own selfishness has only created greater struggles.

The tight rope is actually a blessing. A challenge, but a blessing - and only because I am not in this alone. I am only the high-wire act, but God is the Ringmaster. He knows each step I need to take and is more than available to guide me as I walk.

So how do I survive as a temporarily-single mom of three littles? By walking the tight rope, holding God's balancing bar, and asking him at every moment where my next step should be.

Thank you Lord for the challenge of this life. Without this struggle, I know I would be wandering aimlessly, pursuing only my own self-interests. Thank you for not only requiring me to die to myself, but for walking alongside me through these dark waters. Lord I do fear falling away, I do fear not making wise choices with my time and having my family suffer as a result. So Lord, as I begin this day, please make your voice clear to me, and guide my every step. And Lord, thank you for being the Ringmaster. Thank you for caring for my little monkeys. May you give them the grace to endure my errors!