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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

September 8, 2007

Although I have never been to the chiropractor, friends and family members tell me it is a relief to get everything back in alignment. If I don't get an ergonomically correct chair to use while I'm working on the computer I believe I will soon find out firsthand.

I personally have difficulty aligning my schedule because there are just too many things occurring simultaneously. I'm trying to align everything with the clock and the calendar and there just isn't enough time or space for it to fit. I know in my heart that I can't align everything perfectly, but I have trouble convincing…  ( Click for more )

September 1, 2007

I love a good read!

News articles, magazine features, romance or historical novels, biographies, self-improvement, humor, history -- I will read almost anything if it is well crafted and holds my interest.

I read many different genres, viewpoints and styles. When I love something, I want to read it again, although not without some time to savor the delicious taste it left me with. When it's well written and has drawn me into the story, I never want it to end. I also love to recommend it to my friends.

But I'm sure you've read books that made you wish…  ( Click for more )

August 25, 2007

I remember writing notes to my best friend in high school, at the end of class, during lunch or even in lieu of taking notes on a boring lecture. We would exchange them as we passed in the hall or stuff them through the vent on each other's lockers.

I came across a box full of those notes years ago when I was cleaning out the closet in my old room at my parents' house just before I got married. I guess I didn't want to leave anything behind that might incriminate me. I mean, my mother could have rented out the room or my "baby" brother could have gone snooping. I read…  ( Click for more )

August 18, 2007

The temperature is still in the mid-90s, my son just returned home from a week at camp, and our family hasn't visited half of the tourist sites I had hopes for seeing this summer. But, alas, the school supplies have been purchased, soccer and football season have begun and school starts in just a few days. If I didn't have to go back to work at school perhaps I would jump for joy to get the kids out of the house, or perhaps not. This summer just seemed to evaporate under the relentless Midwest sun and I don't feel like I crossed very many things off of my list!

I'm feeling overwhelmed…  ( Click for more )

August 11, 2007

You would think after so many years together my husband and I would be better at communicating. We've been a couple for 23 years and married for almost 17 and there are times when we think or say the same thing at the same time, or when we can even communicate with a look. When it comes to planning and organizing, however, we don't seem to have it down to a science yet.

For instance, the other day I asked my husband to check and see if his parents were available to keep the kids for the day. He called and left a message with his brother, who said someone would call back. I thought…  ( Click for more )

August 4, 2007

Home is supposed to be where our hearts reside, where we all long to be, yet sometimes it's not where our focus stays. I am certainly guilty of this and in a book I am reading I was relieved to find that many other women seem to be challenged by it as well.

How is it that my friend who has a master's degree in counseling couldn't save her marriage or my friend who has a heart for sharing Jesus with the entire community can't reach her teenaged son who has turned his back on the Lord? I don't mean to imply that they are solely at fault in these situations or that they could have…  ( Click for more )

July 28, 2007

I suppose everyone has a different definition of what constitutes a crisis. For my children, someone walking in front of the TV during their favorite show or the vending machine being out of their favorite soda is grounds for getting red-faced and agitated. One Kindergarten teacher I know asks students who are frantic for her attention, "Is anyone dying, bleeding or having a bathroom emergency?" The reply is usually negative and she goes on with her teaching. I suppose most moms have similar criteria. For me to get excited someone probably has to be bleeding or unconscious,…  ( Click for more )

July 21, 2007

I traveled with youth from my church to a convention in Chicago a couple of summers ago, but this memory and its lesson are still fresh in my mind. The group we were with provided all kinds of helpful information to help us save money. One of the top things on the list was to bring the tax exemption number from the church and be approved to use it.

So I dug through some files the night before, came up with the documentation and was all prepared. (The hotel had suggested this to our organization, by the way.) We took an early train (like the sun was still asleep) and arrived about…  ( Click for more )

July 14, 2007

My kids are always ready to go somewhere, but they also are usually ready to come home long before I am. "Mo-om! When are we going home?" starts as a single whine and soon becomes a chorus.

It's always nice to come home (except when you've left the house in a mess). After a hard day's work we want to come home and put our feet up. Sadly, the table must be cleaned off first. Oh yeah, and homework supervised and kids fed and phone calls returned and mail sorted and . . . anyway, it's nice to come home to the comfortable and familiar. Many women take pride in their homes,…  ( Click for more )

July 7, 2007

This week as my family and I returned home from an out-of-state adventure, we stopped for a late lunch, pulling off the interstate into a combo KFC/Taco Bell. I promptly gave my south-of the-border order and headed for the bathroom while my family ordered their chicken pieces. When I returned, it was to find the kids whining to my husband and my husband looking bewildered.

"They're out of chicken," he stated with disbelief. What are the odds? (Technically, they were just out of cooked chicken and it would be more than 15 minutes before any was ready to serve.) Considering…  ( Click for more )

June 30, 2007

There are lots of great songs about friends - a little tune by Michael W. Smith comes to mind, as does James Taylor's seasonal serenade. Turn to literature and there are friendships for the ages: the classic Frodo and Sam ridding the world of evil; on a more contemporary note, Lena, Carmen, Tibby and Bridget, bonded before birth, mailing jeans all over the world. Television and the movies have made a few famous as well: who could forget the boys of Stand by Me or The Sandlot; and remember Kevin and Paul on The Wonder Years sticking together despite bullies and puberty?

I noticed…  ( Click for more )

June 23, 2007

Everywhere I look there are people offering advice on how to make my home more beautiful, my career more fulfilling, my money stretch farther, my children happier and healthier, and my body sleeker and thinner. If I had time to follow all this advice and it actually produced the promised results, I would be the richest, most beautiful, coolest mom with a house capable of almost running itself while entertaining crowds of friends and family with elegance and panache!

Instead, I'm struggling to get one bedroom painted and my husband and I are sleeping on the trundle bed in my son's…  ( Click for more )

June 16, 2007

Those of us who have gone through the labor and delivery of a child remember this term. For me it stirs feelings of dread and relief. With my first child the term "push" echoed around the delivery room for over three hours. With the second, just three times. Little did I realize that was just the beginning of my relationship with the word.

Ahead of me were hours of pushing - a stroller, a swing, a bicycle as my children learned to ride. As inconvenient and repetitive as those pushes could sometimes be, they resulted in a sleeping infant, a smile, or a squeal of delight…  ( Click for more )

June 9, 2007

There's nothing quite like the atmosphere of a festive Mexican restaurant and a deliciously spicy meal. Our little burg can boast an authentic Mexican spot with the crispiest fried tortilla chips (even the guilt won't make you stop eating them) and freshly-made salsa accented with fresh cilantro. I could make a meal of it!

But there are several entrees which vie for my attention and I must save room for one of them. Although I currently favor dishes with a white sauce, I recently enjoyed a tamale-enchilada combo drenched in a tomato-based topping. I didn't even have enough appetite…  ( Click for more )

We've seen the top 10 lists and the 101 ways to (whatever). This list is a bit different. Some of the ideas flow from wonderful memories I have with family members, a few are things that never quite got finished and some are wishful thinking. Don't worry, even if your "child" is over 18, you can still do any or all of these things and have a blast!

The whole point of these memory-makers is that you do them together - that means with your child. Do not send them off on an adventure while you stay home to clean the house. (It's tempting, though, I know!)

1. Visit a…  ( Click for more )

May 19, 2007

Are you a tired Mom? Do you know a tired Mom? I'll bet you do!

Tired moms will rarely admit they are tired, but even when they do they keep on doing what moms do. They finish the project and pack the lunch and fold the laundry and rinse the dishes and - you get the picture. Tired moms don't necessarily like to be tired, but they just don't know what to give up to be less tired: leading the Scout troop; baking cookies (or at least buying the iced ones from the bakery) for the class bake sale; taking the dog to the vet; meeting old friends for supper (with the entire family); helping…  ( Click for more )

April 28, 2007

It's been a busy, crazy week, so here's an old favorite that reminds me of the spring sunshine.

During a youth bible study a couple of years ago I was talking to the kids about the nature of God. They decided He was powerful and loving. Then one of the boys said, "and really bright - like you have to put your sunglasses on."

It reminded me of the song from a few years ago (I'm sure you've heard it in commercials if you're not old enough to remember it on the airwaves), "My Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades." It was was about a scientific genius in…  ( Click for more )

April 21, 2007

With gunshots echoing off the walls of hearts and imaginations throughout America, I felt led to express some thoughts on the violence splashed across the headlines in the last few days. Interestingly, from the opening sentence, this week's column could reflect on Columbine or the assassination of JFK or the Vietnam War, the Civil War, even. Sad but true.

Every time our country experiences a school shooting, I hear someone comment, "It's starting again." My question is, "Did it ever stop?" From Cain's murder of Abel in Genesis to the massacre at Virginia Tech…  ( Click for more )

April 14, 2007

My five-year-old son is fascinated with super heroes and their arch enemies. He has even invented his own super hero identity - "El Kidre". He pulled it from his wild imagination, so I have no idea what it means, maybe just "the kid". Anyway, he claims to have many arch enemies, including at least one neighborhood dog. When he gets in costume and goes in search of a foe to defeat, I wonder if he ever thinks of his real arch enemy, Satan.

I often forget to arm myself for the spiritual battles of the day and sometimes don't spare a thought for how I will defend…  ( Click for more )

April 7, 2007

Have you ever tried to center a picture on a wall or a paragraph or graphic in the middle of a page? How do you know it's truly centered? There must be a reference point.

Whether furniture or page margins, something must be designated to serve as a reference for the center point. Many times when moving scenery, stage furniture and sound equipment, or even flower arrangements on the stage in my church building, I have struggled to make sure something was centered. I am ashamed to admit I'm so easily distracted, but there have been Sunday mornings when I, or someone else, have not…  ( Click for more )

March 31, 2007

Some old friends traveling through town stopped and had lunch with me this week. It was fun to fill each other in on the details of our lives which are not usually disclosed in the standard Christmas card or a brief email. The interesting thing was that very little of our conversation involved reminiscing. We didn't sit around and say, "Remember when . . .". Instead we talked about what is going on in our lives and the lives of our family members and our plans for the future.

I've noticed this happens with good friends. It's fun to have a "remember when" session,…  ( Click for more )

March 24, 2007

It was "T" week in Kindergarten and we talked about everything from tornadoes and transportation to tomatoes and teeth. Since our letter person, Ms. T, has "tall teeth", we used her as a springboard to talk about dental health.

Our first project was a tooth fairy book which showed us how to brush and floss and what to do with those baby teeth when they fall out. Then we read books about animal teeth. Finally, we conducted an experiment to find out how different beverages affect our teeth. We filled cups with water, milk, soda and grape juice. Then we dropped…  ( Click for more )

March 17, 2007

As a mom trying to teach my children what's most important in life, I felt I had to climb on my soapbox this week. (An environmentally safe, no-phosphorous soap, of course.)

It's impossible to turn on the news, open a paper or even pull up your homepage these days without being slapped in the face with dire warnings about global warming. Now, not being a scientist, yet not trusting many scientists, I can't say whether global warming actually exists or whether the world is just experiencing long-term weather patterns which have no doubt been occurring since the flood. What I can…  ( Click for more )

"Mo-om!" begins the litany. When a plea at high volume begins with "Mom" and is uttered in my house I know whatever follows will not make me smile.

Often these utterances occur while we are attempting to rush out the door. Here's one I'll bet you're familiar with: "I can't find my ________" (You fill in the blank with whatever item that someone can't live without has been misplaced in your house today.) Shoes (or sometimes just shoe), book bag, coat, ball glove, action figures, lunch, money, lunch money, study sheet, hat, sleeping bag, Gameboy, and…  ( Click for more )

February 24, 2007

Always having been a fan of the unexplained, I still enjoy watching reruns of The X-Files. (Although I must clarify that I don't believe in aliens and I don't subscribe to the new age philosophy presented there.) So I decided to establish a more positive filing system of my own. Rather than gather up all the questions, I am gathering affirmations. I call it the E-files - E for encouragement.

In this file I have placed letters and thank-you notes from friends, kids in my youth group, and even a few anonymous notes of encouragement. Recently I added a humorous homemade certificate…  ( Click for more )

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