Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving and poopoo?

In August I had the opportunity to hang out with my mom, my daughter, and my granddaughter for a few days. We had a four generation rockin good time in Iowa:) seeing family and friends.

Four generations!

I was so thankful for that time- and interestingly, this fall I attended a bible study at my church that encouraged us to write down 1000 gifts from the Lord that we are thankful for. It was a simple concept, and the video speaker discussed with us the entries in your  "thankfulness log" could be anything from the sun coming in the window to a robin chirping.

Much to my disdain I could not seem to get going on my thankfulness log, I had not written down even one, let alone 1000. 

 That first entry seemed to be thwarting me:( 

I didn't want to just write "the sunshine" I wanted my first entry to be more.....



As I was racking my brain for something monumental- my mind went back to August in Iowa, and I remembered an incident in the airport. 

Anna  my daughter and little  6 month old Emmie left a day or two before I did.  As Anna was checking in at the counter, I went to the bathroom to change Emmie's diaper.

Folks, she had delivered the Montezuma of all poo-poos.  I used 27 wet wipes to clean her up:) YIKES!

Emmie's latest snap -what a little smarty pants!

Later we said our tearful good-byes, I knew I would not be seeing my precious grandbaby again until she had mastered many more developmental milestones. (they change so fast when they are little!) AND the goodbyes do not seem to get easier.

Amidst my tears, with a huge lump in my throat, my mom and I walked toward the exit of the airport. Then I looked down at my shirt and LAUGHED. 

There,  down the front of my shirt was a massive poo poo smear from my angelic Emmie:)

So my friends....

I now have the #1 entry for my thankfulness log.

OK, I know it is pretty weird, and kinda gross, but I really was thankful for that poopy shirt, on that day when I said goodbye to loved ones...once again.

So now I am on my way


 with my thankfulness log.

 Winging my way toward Thanksgiving day, when we all remember lots of fabulous things we are thankful for.

Hopefully, I will not overthink the next 999 entries.

If you are willing, come along with me on this journey, and keep track of 1000 gifts from your God

 that you give HIM ALONE the glory for.

and by the way....

I did wash off my shirt before I left the airport that day:)


Monday, September 30, 2013

Dignity, Integrity, and Role Models in Sports?....NOT

I am one of those rare bread of gals who love sports. 

Always have.

At Superbowl parties when all the chicks are in the kitchen gossiping, I am in front of the big screen screaming. 

 I played hoops in high school and college, right around the time the Title 9 stuff went down.  I was no Brittney Greiner, but I was OK, and proud to be a part of Women in Sports history in the making.

of course I made this shot:)
Back in the day, there seemed to be more athletes who exhibited dignity, integrity, and a solid work ethic.  Sports through high school and college taught me these hard learned life lessons.
I am thankful for that.
 A great role model of yesteryear is Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player to participate in the MLB.  During the volatile time preceding the civil rights movement,  he was the man for the job. 
At all times, even when he was not allowed to eat or sleep or even go to the bathroom with the team, he kept his dignity and his integrity in tact.
His story, however is about so much more than baseball.
 If you don't know how he led the way in the 50's to the much needed civil rights movement of the 60's you can watch his story in the recent movie "42" (here is the trailer)
Number 42 was arguably one of the best baseball players of all time, a hero, and a fine man.
Today however,
the troubling truth is- we have college and professional athletes who lie, cheat, juice, (illegal performance enhancing drugs) signal the "money for me"  or "throat slashing"  in the end zone, or even commit murder. 
Kind of the opposite of dignity?  YUP
Not such great role models? TRUE
Don't even mention integrity.
I could be tempted to say
But I will not, because thankfully,  we still have a few athletes who possess a little dignity. The Mannings are good guys and great football players. RG3 is a role model worth mentioning.
 Say what you will about Lebron James, but he actually is a pretty nice fella.
Last week, however, as I was watching my beloved Tampa Bay Rays on TV, I had a chance to witness a legend, hero, and fine gentleman throw his final pitch before retirement at Yankee Stadium. The experience for me was historical, and moving.
For baseball lovers, it was epic.
"Mo" throws his final pitch after 19 years in the Majors.
What?  a real present day role model?
Mariano Rivera, the best relief pitcher/closer in baseball (until he retired last week) grew up in poverty in Panama, Central America.
His soft spoken dignity and integrity is rare for a famous athlete in today's world.
He wears his genuine faith in his Savior on his sleeve daily.  What comes out of his mouth, does not degrade other athletes, but glorifies His God. His spotless reputation as an athlete and a man is not disputable.  ESPN doesn't have any dirt on him, only praise. (and that is rare) He personally, and his foundation give thousands of dollars yearly to charity.
The guy is a class act, (as the sports talk shows say:)
What about you? 
Who do you admire?
Who do you consider a present day hero?
Better question: Who are you guiding your kids to look at as a role model?
 I hope and pray it is not misguided cocky college football players, or a shallow Hollywood star.

 Even with all of its flaws, I still love sports.

I still live for College Gameday, March Madness and the World Series.

Mariano Rivera (deservedly so) is the last baseball player who will ever be allowed to wear
 the coveted #42,
the same number Jackie Robinson wore. 
There will be no others.
I pray, though, in the future,
there will be athletes that might deserve it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sexual Identity and Teens: the Double Standard?

Recently I read a blog post by a 40 something mom of teenage boys that was WIDELY applauded in the Christian community.

Mom was writing an open letter to an unidentified teen girl, letting her know that because of some provocative poses on her facebook/twitter/instagram (not sure which one) accounts, her three teenage boys would be blocking her.  These were not naked snaps, but snaps of this little gal in her jammies, probably doing something stupid like giving a sex kitten look into the camera?  Maybe, not sure exactly from the post.

Self righteous mom did make some good points in her post, and I did agree with much of what she said, in terms  of diligently policing her kids social media. 

 The interesting thing, (and incredible) however, was that she posted a picture of her teen guys on the beach, making muscles in their low slug swim trunks, inferring her family was the epitome of what a "healthy family" looks like, and acts like. 

 Sayyywhat momma??  Say even, WHAT IN THECATHAIR?

 Do you think that NO girls, teens or other-cougar might have sexual thoughts while looking at your sons making muscles in swim trunks?

If you do, think again. 

This well meaning mom of teenage boys is either extremely naïve, or is functioning out of a super-sized double standard for teens.

OK before you get me wrong, please know I would have probably had my teenage son block this misguided chick too.

But I probably would have thought twice about posting a seemingly innocent snap of my guys in swim attire and making muscles. (at least not on the same blog where I was blasting a misguided teen girl)

The fact is teens are developing their sexual identities.

Like it or not, they are sexual beings.

That is the way God made them.

As parents, we strive to guide them through these tumultuous times of Hanna Montana gone rouge, and the crazy blitz of new social media every day.

A "healthy sexual identity"  they are developing might include:

1.Talking to them OFTEN about things they see in the media, or on social media (because they WILL  see it) What is OK?  What is NOT OK?

2.Trying hard to help them NOT to develop a double standard. (guys or girls posing provocatively BOTH need to be blocked.)

3.My hunnie and I raised 2 girls and a boy.  As they grew up, we discussed their sexual purity with them often, (not just the girls) and still do with our 20 year old son in college.  None of my kids have engaged in pre-marital sex, as far as I know, and I DO KNOW because we talked about it.     ALOT. 
 We still feel NOT having sex before marriage is the biblical standard, even in this day and age. 

4.When my kids wanted to watch an R rated movie growing up, (I am being honest with you now) we allowed it, on the condition they watched it with us:)  then we TALKED  about what was OK, what was NOT OK.

5.Teenage girls (and boys) want to look attractive. That's OK.  Just don't post a "meow" picture of yourself online or anywhere else for that matter.  You CAN dress in an attractive manner without giving the looks of all of your body parts away...

6. The "don't look, don't look don't look" standard for Christian teenagers is confusing and hard. How can you decide if you like the looks of someone if you never look at them?

7.Don't get me wrong, I don't condone ANYONE viewing sexual images on the internet, or viewing people on social media in different stages of undress. 

 But as people grow up, they look at others and do decide if they are attracted or not.

And like it or not, doing that is sexual. 

Helping your teen do this in a appropriate way

 is a good thing.

By no means were Tim and I perfect parents.  We made lots of mistakes.  Our God helped us a lot. We laughed and we cried. 

 And we still do.

Now I am concerned with mastering grandparenthood:)

I am sure afore mentioned blogging momma is a good mom.  But we all need to be careful of the double standard.

And I know we are all raising our kids to the best of our ability, one day at a time, gulping deep breaths all the way:)


There is no better calling.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Pity the Fool!...Myself?

Hey kids- do you remember Mr T and his "I pity the fool"?
My honey wrote his missions fortnight about self pity this week- it was so good I gotta share it with you now-  you might see a little of yourself or someone you know below.  Wise words from the counselor:)  enjoy!
If you are in my office, you are probably upset.   That’s a given.  Upsettedness (I just invented that word) is why I show up every morning.  I expect upset.  My job is to sort through the issues of upsettedness and encourage people toward more accurate perceptions and proactive life solutions.  Numerous Christian and secular counseling strategies claim superiority for achieving those goals.  I won’t debate the validity of the various approaches.  That would create a really long Mission Fortnight that would draw a decisive and well deserved “delete” from my readers.    However I will venture to say that while there are numerous methods that can move us through our upsettedness, there is one approach that always makes it worse.  This response actually feeds and nurtures upsettedness.  I am talking about self-pity.  Self-pity is steroids for upset.  It always increases the size and strength of upsettedness to Hulk-like dimensions.
Now, keep in mind:  Pain and suffering happen.  Heaven knows, the people I counsel in missions have been through difficult circumstances.  Feeling upset is a normal response to the inevitable sorrows and wounding that characterize everyone’s life from time to time.  On the other hand, staying upset because you feel sorry for yourself should not be a given.  If you enjoy upsettedness, then feeling sorry for yourself is THE solution to your suffering.  If you’d rather not prolong life’s upsets, keep reading.
The following are some misbeliefs that hold people in a self-pity tailspin.  As you read these items take inventory of your own tendencies to feel sorry for yourself:
·         My circumstances are specialFew people can understand my unusually difficult hardships.  Most self-pitying people believe that everyone else is leading a charmed existence of favor and abundance.  They see themselves as being singled out for uncommon suffering.  
The truth is:  Everybody lives in the same fallen world.  Tragedy and sorrow is an equal opportunity experience here on Planet Earth. Generally, people lead mixed lives of joy and sorrow.  Nobody escapes with a pain free existence.  Sorry to break it to you but you are not special.  “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen” is a lie.  The most honest response to hard times is:  In view of the realities of what is happening, what do I need to do?  Being proactive and engaging the situation is the opposite of feeling sorry for yourself.
·         I am constantly beleaguered by unfair people and events that cheat me out of happiness.   Self-pitying people see unrelenting unfairness pouring out of everyone except themselves.  They believe that fair is a universal law with their needs and wants at the center.
The truth is:  Fair is a weather forecast or a fun summer event with rides and cow awards.  Fair is not a God-given right that allows you to get what you want when you want it.  Trust me:  Your version of fair only spills over into someone else’s version and causes mutual indignation.  There is no fair in this life, only grace
·         I am hideously at the mercy of stupid and incompetent people who refuse to see the wisdom and rightness of doing things my way.  Self-pitying people complain incessantly about their bosses or pastors or supervisors or political leaders.  They are convinced that they would do it right if they were in power.  Until then, they feel abused by powerful people who are guilty of making their lives difficult.
The truth is:  Realistically, even though small minded and inept people exist, they are not conspiring to thwart your happiness.  Honestly, if you were in charge, you wouldn’t do any better.  You would probably make a worse mess of things.  Be a blessing to the people in leadership in your life. Your complaining and resistance is not helping anybody including you.
·         The mean people must be punished for hurting me.  Self-pitying people are constant victims.  Someone is always mistreating them.  Getting payback against the evil doers is imperative.  At the very least, it’s necessary to withdraw all affection and support until the bad people see the error of their ways and give you the treatment you deserve.
The truth is:  You really aren’t as victimized as you think you are.  Real victimization exists but probably not in your case.  Sorry.  It’s true.  The minimum wage fast food worker who gets your order wrong doesn’t deserve your wrath.  You aren’t living a Shakespearean tragedy.  Payback usually ends up hurting you more than the object of your justice.  Let it go and move forward.  Being a victim wastes time and energy you need to actually accomplish your goals.
The antidote for self-pity is faith.  Self-pity says God is inadequate, impotent and/or disinterested in my plight.  I cannot trust Him or His plan and feel sorry for myself at the same time.    Self-pity denies the incredible blessings that God has given and indicts Him for taking inadequate care of our needs.  James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you suffering?  Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.”  Prayer and thanksgiving are appropriate beginning points when you’re drowning in self-pity.  Try it.  You will probably feel embarrassed that you were complaining in the first place.
Final note:  Most of our struggles in the USA are “first world problems”.  Have a look at the First World Problems website.  It is about the weird stuff we pampered Westerners complain about.  Most are pretty funny and sooo true.
But gee….it’s fortnight.  There is nothing to feel sorry for yourself about during fortnight.  Go out and enjoy your first world problems…. 
Kind regards in Christ,
Tim Sieges, PhD, LPC, NCC
Clinical Director
Wycliffe USA Counseling Ministries
Yup- he is smart!  for more words of wisdom- check out our website-

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If I perish....what's worse than dying?

Recently I went to Toronto to celebrate my sis's 60th birthday.  What happens in Toronto stays in Toronto...

 of course

but I do want to tell ya'll about my pilgrimage to Niagara Falls.  

Riding "The Maid of the Mist" within a few feet of the falls made my life flash before me, and my rear end pucker:)

my sister and I were on this boat- Yikes!

It's hard to explain- but for about 10 minutes of my life

I was silent.

Most of you who know me know that is an almost miracle:) 

As we drew closer and closer to the thundering, I felt surrounded by the white-hot majesty  of my Creator, in the horseshoe of His creation.

 In my mind I knew thousands had survived this journey, but in my heart were the words:

 "Really God?  This is flippin outrageous!  I'M GONNA DIE!"

Since I am currently leading a study in the book of Esther in the Old Testament,  her immortal words kept coming to my mind

 "if I perish, I perish." 

Esther was smack in the middle of THE defining moment of her life. She knew it as well as I know the natural color of my hair. Her uncle Mordeci reminded her she was created "for such a time as this" destined to either die, or save her people from extinction. (Esther chapters 4 and 5)

While my defining moment over the weekend in the bowels of the Falls was nothing noble or life saving, it did change me.

I marveled at the splendor of my Creator's creation, of course,

but it was more than that.

I was ready to die.

And all at once I knew there were far worse things than dying.

Knowing that in your life you have never lifted a finger to honor your Jesus, or help humankind.

THAT, my friend, is a far worse fate than death.

Esther knew it.

I know it.

So, as I look back on my fab time in Toronto with my sisters and my ten minutes of  silence, marveling on the Niagara River,  I purposed to do whatever I can to seize the day. 

And You?

Carpe Diem. 


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hallmark or Hell?

Life changing events can be life-shattering.  Like the sudden death of a loved one or a natural disaster. 

Life changing events can also be the grooviest-like a marriage or the birth of your first babe.

A couple of months ago now, my  sweetie had major back surgery.  It was pretty life shattering at first- with several complications and severe pain. As time went by his back got better, and thankfully today only a few irritating side effects remain.

He lost a few pounds and is cold much of the time.  With his smokin' hot wife  (in the menopausal way) it's a little difficult for us temp-wise... 3 fans on my side of the bed and 3 blankets on his:)

 Also the Hallmark TV station has become his "go to" spot.

you know- John Boy Walton, Pa Ingalls, and ALL those  movies like "Love's Valentine"!  He watches it endlessly...

Are you thinking WHAT IN THE CAT HAIR??? 


This is a guy whose favorite Christmas movies used to be Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. 

His surgery changed him.  No more action movies for him, just schmaltz:) And that's OK.

The other day we were watching an episode of Little House where blind Mary and her blind husband have a stage coach wreck and then a fire almost kills them and the pregnant woman traveling with them. (who is in the process of giving birth) Of course Pa sees the fire from afar and saves them.


 As I was scratching my head and wondering is this Hallmark or Hell?

It came to me.

Life changing events change you forever...

Hence the name.

As I am careening at breakneck speed toward that day when I will stand before my Savior and Creator, I worry and wonder.

How many more life changing events will I have?
Will I see my grandkids grow up?
Am I doing enough for my family, my friends, the autistic teenager I work with?
Am I living my life the way my Jesus would have me live it?

If the hardest thing I will have to deal with is watching Hallmark Movies the rest of my life- I am in pretty good shape:)

But I fear there are more life changing events to come for me.

I plan to embrace them with a fervor, and thank my God I am here to have them happen. 

Tomorrow my husband is having a life changing event much more important than back surgery or Hallmark.

He is giving the eulogy in Montana at the Memorial Service for his beloved twin brother Terry. Terry passed away last week,  I pray for Tim's  strength tomorrow, and the same for Terry's sweet wife Betty, and her three grown sons, Mason, Adam, and Andy.

This life changing event has changed us all forever.

Rest in Peace, Terry, we love you.

Terry and Tim 2009

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The ART of hanging out...


 I am NOT going to talk about the evil of electronics and how no one TALKS face-to-face (in person, I mean) anymore.

 not much anyhow...

There are several lost arts, that as a kid growing up on a farm in Iowa, I pretty much perfected. 

some of these include:

canning 100 quarts of every imaginable vegetable known to man,

moving hogs and cattle home from the far field,

"scooping the loop"  in my little hometown of 556 people,

or going to the county fair & holding hands with a hunny on the ferris wheel.

Most of these joys,  (a blog for anther day)

I fear my grandchildren will never have the opportunity to experience. 

But there is ONE lost art, that CAN happen today with a little effort

 and a rope. 

The ART  of hanging out.

Clothes, that is.
On a clothesline.
 Ever heard of it?
 Growing up on the farm, we had 10 people to do laundry for, and probably washed 4-5 loads a day.  AND no clothes dryer until I was in high school.  So as a kid, we all hung out, in more ways that one.  My little sisters stood on a step stool. 
We all hung out together... until it was done.
Then we had a family baseball game.
Actually I have done a little research on this topic, and found that 89% of the world does NOT have electric dryers and "hang out".  In Papua New Guinea we hung  out on bushes:)
Last week, my son hung out a rope for me between 2 trees. 
YES, I have a new clothes line.
And not the Kardashian kind, the hanging out kind.
I am in hog heaven.
 I don't hang out everything, but am averaging about a load every other day. 
Glade, Airwick, and everyone else has tried to reproduce that smell... but they cannot.
NOTHING smells better than freshly dry clothes from a clothesline.....
except maybe Heaven?
Listen up! (especially you young moms!!!!)
1.Get a rope
2.hang it between 2 trees
3.Buy a pkg of clothespins for $1.29
4.Hang out! not everything, just 4-5 items, (pajamas are great)
5.Do this with your kids, and talk to them about the good old days.
6.Hang out, while you are hanging out with your kids...
 7.Ok I admit you may have to kind of HIDE behind your house in the trees, away from the homeowners association narcs:)
Speaking of hanging out, my entire family will be together for a few days next month. 
We will hang out.
 We like to hang out with each other.
It's fun.
So try it.
Hang out with your family or friends.  Put away the electronics for a couple of days.
I will rise up and call you blessed, and
You may just get a quick glimpse of Heaven.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

FOR SHAME! Popcorn ceilings and Formica counter-tops!

Recently my hunny had a major back surgery which kind of forced us to buy a king size bed.  We had been sleeping on a queen for years, but I was afraid of kicking him in the back, so we scraped some cash together, my mom helped us a little, we bit the bullet and got the bed.  Since I bought it off the floor I got $1000 off but getting it home in the back of our  1990  F-150 truck, flapping in the breeze, is another blog for another day:)  

To be quite honest with you I LOVE the king size bed. 

 It is heavenly! 

But it got me fired up about the rest of my house and major improvements that we need.  I looked up at my popcorn 

ceilings, and down and my Formica counter-tops, and heaved an enormous SIGH.

Any self respecting home decor specialist would run screaming ANATHEMA!

Or TSK TSK  me until they are blue in the face...

Popcorn ceilings and formica counter-tops are so last year they reek of 1960.  You know, when the Brady Bunch had that hip house with both. 

Oh yaaaa.... Alice used to scrub that formica countertop til it shined!

Thinking about this immediately put me into a WHAT-IN-THE-CAT-HAIR frenzy of gnashing my teeth and wringing my hands. 

It's true 

My house needs a makeover.  

At best I call it shabby chic:)

In my mom's era, it was the friend who had a gas furnace instead of a hand fired wood furnace in the basement like she did.....

I don't think I have a friend who has popcorn ceilings OR formica counter-tops....Ladies?

A few months ago a good buddy of mine who is a 20-something was telling me about her sis who just bought a house.  

"They are getting some of it re-done before they move in, and getting rid of those god-AWFUL popcorn ceilings!"  

She is really nice, so I did NOT tell her to look up. (she was sitting in my kitchen:)

As I walked through Lowes, and gazed at all the sleek granite counter-tops, it dawned on me that I really don't care.  

I am good with my popcorn ceilings AND formica counter-tops. 

 I might just keep them until Jesus returns. 

Including my gamecock red chicken wire cupboards.

Actually I am almost certain in 10 years they will be all the rage.....

Sometimes I wonder what my women friends in Papua New Guinea, who live in grass huts would think about all this hullabaloo...What in the Cat hair?

When I get to Heaven, it seems to me we will ALL  have fabulous granite counter-tops and smooth as silk ceilings.... 

or better yet we just won't care.

Actually, I care much more about who is coming from Texas to visit me tomorrow!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The evil cheap-butt? Or extravagant fool?

I admit it I am cheap-butt.

I prefer to call myself "thrifty".

I rarely buy anything at the grocery store or clothing stores for that matter-that is not on sale... big time.    If I have a double off coupon, I am filled with glee.  If it is a SUPER DOUBLE coupon, AND on sale, I chortle loudly in a fiendish way....rolling my fake mustache.

Do ya'll remember Snidley Whiplash?
Weirdo, I know, but I somehow fool myself into believing I have beat the system. Ya know, stuck it to "the man".
Being a missionary and living on a missionary income for the last 25 years helps my thriftiness.  I remember when we first came home from overseas I did not allow myself to buy things like garbage bags, using paper grocery bags  in my trash cans instead. I stopped short of re-using paper plates...
Yes I am a cheap butt.
Sometimes I am smug and judgmental of those I don't think are thrifty enough.  Besides being a cheap butt-
I guess I am also a dumb butt. 
 I need to Thank my Jesus for the un-cheapness,
for the generosity
for the extravagance
of God's people who have supported financially the Sieges Wycliffe ministry
 For the last 25 years.  Without them, Tim and I would be more than cheap butts, we would be destitute.
The last few months, we have been saving for a new vehicle that we know we desperately need. We just got word yesterday that an extravagant person who does not even know us ( a friend of a friend)  gave us a gift that put us over our goal. 
When is it ok?
We all know God wants us to be wise stewards of what He has given us.  I try to do that.  Last week Tim and I bought our FIRST EVER flat screen TV.  It seemed kind of extravagant to us, but decided it was time.  (Of course it was on clearance)  We only had to call Vizio 3 times to get it set up:)
It is OK to be extravagant when: 
1.God says so
2.Doing something nice for a friend or loved one, just because...
3.Buying "stuff"  for your new baby granddaughter:) 
God's precious love toward us is EXTRAVAGANT.
Go ahead, all you cheap butts out there-
 just for today:
 be a little more like HIM.