Friday, February 29, 2008

Never Eat Flourless Chocolate Torte Before Bed

Now I can't sleep.
I've been reading "A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII". Then I watched The Bourne Ultimatum. All this spy stuff is cool but I don't think I'd make a good spy.

Agent: "You undercover name is Alice Roberts."
Me: "Can't I be Raven Le Diva?"
Agent: "Will you grow up?!"
Me: "How about Paris Hilton?"

Unfriendly foreign agent: "Tell us what's in the secret file!"
Me: "Nope."
Unfriendly foreign agent: "We'll give you a Caramel Macchiato, a Borders gift card and a foot rub."
Me: "Make that a grande Macchiato and you've got yourself a deal."

Agent: "Where's the secret file?"
Me: "Sorry, Baby got it."
Agent: "What?! The enemy has our file?"
Me: "No, my two year old. He also dropped the surveillance equipment in the toilet with the Polly Pockets. I'm beginning to think he works for the other side."

Agent: "We have a problem in Crazistan!"
Me: "Yeah, well, its 5:30, I've got nothing defrosted for dinner, I'm out of milk and Baby needs a new diaper so don't tell me about your problems!!"

Agent: "We need you to go deep undercover for six weeks in the People's Republic of Uh-oh."
Me: "Can I watch 'The Office' on Thursday?"
Agent: "This is a serious situation."
Me: "But its an all new episode!"

Agent: "The enemy agent is on the move! We've gotta go!"
Me: "Hey, I'm tryin' to blog here, will you stop hassling me?!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On the Verge of Blasphemy...

I used to think that the reason why Jesus appeared to women first is because it reflected how high God esteemed women. My friend Jen pointed out perhaps another reason Jesus chose women.

What would have happened after Jesus appeared to the men first:
Guy A "Hey did you catch that game last night? It was insane!"
Guy B "Yeah, it was. Hey, speaking of games, did you know Jesus is alive?"
Guy A "No, man, that's awesome! Wanna grab a burger?"
Guy B "Nah"
Guy A "Whatever"

What probably happened after Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene & the others:
Lady A "Oh my goodness, I just saw the most amazing thing!"
Lady B "Wait, let me call Martha over! Martha, come hear this!"
Lady A "Jesus is alive! I just saw him, walking and alive and I was sooo happy, I cried! By the way, nice sandals!"
Lady B "Thanks! That's amazing you saw Jesus! I'm so jealous of you! How did he look? Was he feeling ok?"
Lady A "Well, like I told Mary and Elizabeth and Esther, he looked just like a normal person only his hair was shiny and his clothes were white!"
Lady B "White clothes? I wonder where he got those from? Did he say anything to you?"
Lady A "Well, no, but the angel said, 'Do not be amazed. You seek Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified. He was raised. He is not here. See the place where they put Him?' "
Lady B "You didn't tell me there was an angel!"
Lady A "Oh I'm sorry, I guess I'm just too excited. I have to go tell the disciples!"
Lady B "I'm going to tell my sisters and the girls at the market!"

Women...the vastly more effect public alert system.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Point of Clarification...

I don't want anyone to read the last post and think that I go through my day singing hymns or looking adoringly at the latest mess saying, "Oh, aren't those cherubs of mine just so artistic!!" There is a fair amount of complaining that goes on in Casa de Diva. There have even been a few times where the dear husband says, "If I give you this latte, will you promise not to hurt me?" However, unlike the book I reviewed below, I try to keep the whining to a minimum because of what I said in my last post. I think there is value in relating your troubles to your friends. It is right and proper, as they say, to seek the wisdom and guidance of your peers. But I think discussing your challenges and seeking encouragement and insight is different from publishing an entire book of what's wrong with modern mommy-dom with little discussion of the more important big picture.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Book Review!

Maybe it’s the timing. I recently read Shant "1,001 Nights in Iraq" based on his experience being trapped in Iraq for nine years and eventually getting out alive. Its a fascinating tale of a man stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite a horrible situation, which he had little control over, he maintained his integrity and honor, facing adversity with dignity.Shant's book ends with his faith intact and his outlook positive.

Then I picked up Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile's "I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood" This was a non-stop whine-fest penned by two middle class American moms about how hard it is to raise two kids and I knew I just had to break out the big guns.

Why did I read it? I thought the title was intriguing and it's obviously a topic rather close to home. According to the Amazon blurb, this book is supposed to help today's moms discover why they are 1) not happy, 2) overwhelmed with guilt and 3) faced with such huge expectations. I never had so much trouble getting through a book. For those of you who know me (and hugs to you all), that says something. I think the reason I had such trouble is because I was stopping every other page to yell, "Where the hell did you come up with that idea?"

Now the clever person would have sense enough to stop yelling at an inanimate object and put it down, but not me! I kept hoping that if I pushed through, I'd get to the helpful, insightful, uplifting part. Instead I found such gems as, "I thought having a baby would be like having a pet - oh, this will be cute, we'll be this happy little family." (no, I'm not kidding, it's on p.20) or, "I'm continually running away from my children. I love them but they just drain me. There's a poof of smoke at 2:30 pm when my help arrives and I fly out the door." (p. 30).

So now I've read the entire book, wrote a review on Amazon and am fired up enough to blog ("Yay!" says my friend Gail. "Oh Lordy!" sighs the rest of the crowd)

I think the answer to all the angst in the book is quite possibly the best line published in the English language: "It's not about you." (from The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren). Allow me to explain.

The authors start with the dedications that read "For (the children); we simply adore you. And for (the husbands), for being what matters most." Then they spend the rest of the book telling us how frustrated they are being moms and how the husbands just don't get it. This seems to me to be a contradiction. How can you have the deep rich relationships without the hard and dirty work that goes with it? That's what makes relationships valuable, the price you had to pay for it.

And who told these ladies that motherhood was about being happy? I love Leo Rosten's quote (its posted on my refrigerator): "I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all."

Yes, it gets draining: the dirty diapers, the whiney kids, the endless laundry. But the point is that this is the battle for a higher purpose: to be useful and contribute to making someone else's life better.

It would seem from reading this book that a lot of women quoted within do not realize the purpose of children. I don't pretend to have the answer to that question but one thing I do know is that children are not accessories, a check mark in our "List of Things to Do in Life". They are the refineries of the metal that is your character. With the right attitude, you will be a better person for having been a mother. With the wrong attitude, you're just killing time until the next event.

My dear husband, always the voice of reason, said, "Well what book would you suggest?" And that got me to thinking. I really don't have one book to recommend. My ideas about motherhood have been formed from 10 years of experience, reading (both motherhood books and non-motherhood books) and divinely inspired older women. Really, what it comes down to is realizing who God is in my life and what he has planned for me. Knowing what my larger purpose is doesn't make the pee on the floor or the markers on the couch go away (or even make me happy to deal with them) but it does put perspective on the circumstances and helps me cope better with the challenges of raising my five little darlings.

So now I need to be inspired. I'm going to read "The Bielski Brothers" by Peter Duffy. Its about three Jewish brothers, whose own families were taken to concentration camps during WWII, helped over 1,000 Jews (young and old) to escape to the forests of Poland to avoid the Nazis. How can such a depressing topic be inspiring? Because these brothers saw the bigger purpose in their lives, to live beyond themselves and face their challenge without whining.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Some friends were recently on an episode of Wife Swap. Sufficed to say that ABC has an agenda when they edit the material for the show and my friends did not come out on the upside of this agenda. I knew this going in because I too have some ideas that are somewhat "counter cultural" and have had complete strangers ask me the the darnedest things; "Is home schooling legal?" - would I tell you if it wasn't? Or my personal favorite: "Are all those kids yours? By the same husband?" - if I throw this bone, will you go away?

Anyway, little did I know, ABC has message boards for all these shows, and the virulent attacks on my friends are astounding. I wonder if, brought face to face, these people would have the courage to say the same things to my friends. A lot of the posts are calling for the authorities to intervene. These are the same people who would drive by a homeless person, not bother to vote, and ignore the neighbor next door who's struggling with something. Yet behind the wonderful anonymity of the internet, we can call each other names and accuse each other of egregious things and walk away without consequence. Worst of all, I fell into it myself. I started by merely defending my friends and then started to point out flaws in the other family. We're making judgments about people and the futures of the their children all based on 44 minutes of their lives picked by ABC. We have a multitude of ways to communicate, we are invited to voice our opinions more than ever before, we have opportunities to be heard and all we can do is digress into snipping at each other like a bunch of ....well, idiots. I apologize for my part and hope I can act with more grace and mercy tomorrow.