Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I have a confession to make.

I have been blogging elsewhere.

Every so often I long for the feeling of starting something completely new and detached. Apparently blogs are not immune to this.

This has not been going on for long. A week maybe a day or two longer. I've even taken a post directly from The Empty Sky and used it. Gasp!

The new blog does not connect to my real name, and though I'm not going to shy away from myself, should anyone ask or should I someday want to say - hey, go buy my book. But, I think I like the very precarious anonymity that I have there.

With the end of 2009, I've decided to pretty much end The Empty Sky.

Please, please, if you've been a regular reader and want to follow me to the new blog, just send me an email (email is in my blogger profile) and I'll happily send you the link. It would, of course, defeat the purpose if I put it right here in this post. But I'm not trying to lose touch with anyone and you can certainly update any links you had to this blog with my new one, just preferably without mention of "Mella".

Here's to new beginnings!

(PS: If you're wondering why the title Five for this post - today is Alex's birthday.)

Monday, December 21, 2009
Christmas Scenes

(The gifts here are ones that The Boss and Bean "bought" and wrapped at Children's Church to give to each member of their family.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Had the kids Christmas pageant tonight. I smiled so much my cheeks hurt. Who knew you could do that while watching fidgety children sway to a soundtrack and singing along off key?

You can't tell in these pictures, but Alex raised the roof like it was his job and Lila belted out Go and Tell like everyone in the back row was deaf. Videos may follow.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Because I Have Sooooo Much Free Time
I decided to spend the afternoon setting up a little Etsy shop. Yup. One more distraction to add to the list.

Sunday, December 13, 2009
If Our Neighbors Didn't Hate Us Before Tonight...
...they might now.

I could have also titled this post, My Husband is Superman, but we'll get to that later.

In the middle of preparing dinner and encouraging naked children to clothe themselves post-bathing, our house went dark and silent. The refrigerator stopped humming, the heat stopped running, dinner stopped cooking. Blackout.

Even more troubling, a quick glance out the windows showed me that we were the only house on the block that was dark. Across the street Christmas lights still twinkled, our neighbor's on both sides were all aglow. It was only us.

Now, in the past month, I have handed all bills and financial woes over to my husband. The sheer stress of trying (and failing) to balance our meager budget was making me ill. And so my very first thought upon seeing the rest of the neighborhood alit whilst I was toiling away in the dark with naked child bottoms scurrying and squealing past my legs, was that someone (not naming names here) had forgotten to pay the nice electric people their due and now we were in trouble.

Not the case. A quick call to my husband at work revealed that our account is in good order. Next thought? Did we trip the breaker or blow a fuse or whatever it's called when you have the Christmas tree, stove, lights, pellet stove, heater, dryer, etc, etc, all blowing through electricity like it's going out of style?

Husband explained where to check and how. Still black.

While we waited for him to phone the electric company, the kids and I lit candles and sang Christmas Carols. Asher, who had been slumbering when the house went dark, decided that being awake and into everything would be much more fun, especially in the dim lighting with the chance that he might, if he played his cards just right, be able to start a fire.

All this to say, my hands were full.

Turns out, there is a breaker box outside our house, the electrical people finally informed us (upon our second or third call in). I set out into the dark night and crunched over the snow crusted yard to check things out. Sure enough, there was another "Master" breaker right out there for anyone to stop by and mess with. And so, I clicked it off. Waited a beat. Clicked it back on. Turned to our house, still dark. Tried it again. And again. Nope, still dark.

Husband decided to come home from work to see if he could figure things out. Half an hour later and seven Christmas Carols down, he arrived, poked his head in the door and asked, "Did you do the box closest to the road, or the one closer to the yard?"

It was the one facing our yard, I told him.

He had tried it too before coming in. Only, he, being a guy, who likes to understand what buttons and switches and knobs do - what they connect to, how things are wired, what will be the effect of the cause, etc, etc - he was wise enough to look both ways when clicking on and off that switch. And he noticed that in our efforts, we had been actually turning OFF and ON the electricity going to our neighbors house.

Less than a minute later, he was back out by the road and had our house up and running in the flick of a switch.

In the end, the kids and I got to make candle lit memories, our neighbors probably wound up calling the electric company to complain and my kids are all further convinced that their father is a superhero, capable of all things. And I am too.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009
Time Flies
My son planted a branch, cut from the bottom of our Christmas tree, into the snow. I'm planting a tree, he explained, in the snow. He paused for a moment to look down with pride at the bristling green pine needles poking up from a small mound of white-white snow. It's going to grow up and be a snowball tree and we'll have snowballs all the time.

This is my Boss man.

He is less than two weeks away from turning five. Five. The number is incomprehensible for me. It's both impossibly old (afterall weren't we all just here a moment ago?) and impossibly young (how can it be that this most integral extension of myself was not yet in existence a mere five years ago?)

Just now, I looked back on posts labeled The Boss. Man, he has always been a source of inspiration. I should probably spend more time here, reading, writing, keeping myself going.

Here are some of my favorites starring The Boss...

Boss Vs Hardwood Floors.

Learning to get dressed.

Turning Two.

And of course: How to Be the Boss

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Thursday, October 15, 2009
Goal for the Day
My daughter is a river. She is whitewater and I am a canoe, struggling to stay upright. I can't let the speed, the turns, or the swirling caps of white foam drag me under. My daughter is two going on ten going on sixteen, twenty-one. And I am at a loss, hoping to stay afloat.

How does one tame the wild without squelching the spirit? How does one balance in chaos? And how can I navigate this relationship so that I won't wind up wild in the throes of this river myself?

Every motherly cliché reads before me now with perfect clarity. The collective words of wisdom of the ages: of stubborn, fearless, brilliant children; of the bedraggled parent, exasperation, sleepless nights, and mother’s guilt.

My goal for the day is to not let the current take me under. One day with no yelling. One day with enough time spent in quiet reflection and prayer that I won't feel overwhelmed when the plastic cup of apple juice hits the floor - or when the second one splatters across the table. Or when the pull-up that should be dry, is drenched. Or when the clamoring calls of Mama, Mama, Mama come when I'm just trying to have five minutes to myself behind the closed bathroom door. Or when she tells me flatly, with eyes glazed over and hands firmly stuffed into her armpits – I don't like you.

This is my goal.

My daughter might have different plans. Her plans will probably involve finding my make-up and hiding in the corner quietly so that I won't hear her as she spreads foundation over her cheeks, her neck, over the fine strands of her hair, clumping them together like mud. She will probably follow this with an acrobatic bath time that will leave the bathmat sopping wet and my nerves frayed. Sit. Down. Please.

At meals, she will probably test my will by refusing to pray before she eats. By crossing her arms and declaring that she does not like the X that's on her plate or the Y that I've poured into her glass. Both should be chocolate flavored or peppered with rainbow sprinkles.

But before all of this: I will pray. I will commit my ship, canoe, vessel, whatever the case may be, to the Lord and let him direct my path over this uncharted territory. I will have peace. I will have patience. Because this is a river he has forged, this is a life that he has breathed his spirit into.

And so am I.