Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Ah, Winter. How thou doest test my fortitude, my resolve to remain absolutely bubbly cheerful all the gray days of my life, my meager attempts at sanity.

Who am I kidding?

I have absolutely no resolve to remain bubbly cheerful all the gray days, there are too many of them. Genuinely pleasant, sure. I shall try to remain genuinely pleasant.

What I'd really like to resolve to do is move to London and acquire a wonderful accent, such as the one Emma Thompson has. She has such a lovely voice. And the other day on NPR's Morning Edition I heard some British cook with an equally delicious accent, and I thought: it would be awfully wonderful to be able to speak like that.

The unfortunate thing is that should I attempt to converse with a British accent at the moment, people would think I had lost it, or at least that I was pompous, pretentious, and perhaps mad. I could blame the weather on the mad part. You know, the 'meager attempt at sanity', it could just blow out the window. But any one affecting a British accent must surely be a snob. And I try to avoid being that.

Oh all right.

Sometimes I don't avoid being a snob. I have been rolling my eyes at the ungrammatical use of "prettiest" on the cover of my Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Also, at the Pedialyte advertisement inside. I won't bother to explain why.

Chalk it up to my refined British tastes, and my ability to be genuinely pleasant, even in the face of cold, gray, unpleasing Winter days.

image on Flickr

Monday, January 26, 2009


responsible, honest, caring, honorable, intelligent, artistic, industrious, practical

petty, inflexible, possessive, dogmatic, gullible, stubborn, critical, intolerant, materialistic

Welcome to the Year of the Ox, according to the Chinese Zodiac; in other words, the easy Monday morning blog post. May you have industrious and practical yet artistic experiences, full of caring and that other good stuff. Try to temper the possessive, inflexible and gullible ways of the year. Just a suggestion.

Friday, January 23, 2009


She's a precocious one, my little baby. She's not really a baby any more though. Just beyond a year and a half, this little girl learns quickly. She thinks, then executes. Need to get some bread from the counter? Then pull up a chair and go for it! Want a bowl of cereal. Take your brother's! He was done with it.

She is a scavenger of drawers, pulling out receipts, papers with important notes, her sister's journal which she then proceeds to draw in. Her favorite place to raid is my make-up drawer.

This morning I walked into the front room, where two nights ago she had emptied out an entire bag of cereal. My innocent child was sitting on the floor trying her hardest to open up my pressed powder compact. I say her name with a lilt of indignance and before one can blink she has thrown the compact under the chair and tossed the powder brush behind her.

Yes. All innocence.

I see her little face glance up at me and I swoop her into my arms, snuggle her close and roll onto my back. We both laugh.

Precocious. Yes. But not just. Also, so precious.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

the truth of the matter is this:

Because we inexplicably fed our children garlic bread this morning for breakfast I got to have this conversation:

Me: Go brush your teeth before you leave for school because your breath smells like garlic.*

Her: Do they have garlic toothpaste?

Me: No. They don't.

Her: But what if someone made garlic toothpaste?

Me: Trust me, they wouldn't. Go brush your teeth.

And because our air quality is currently in the toilet:

Me: Did they let you outside at recess?

Her: The other day was a red day so we couldn't go out. But yesterday they said you can go out unless you have air breathing problems.

Me: Okay.

Her: I don't have air breathing problems, so I can go out.

*disclaimer: I do have her brush her teeth regardless of any garlic that may or may not be present. I do manage to be on top of that morning detail. But of course, this morning the smell was paramount!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

begin again

Yesterday much of the nation watched Barack Obama being sworn in as our 44th president. (Though technically. He is the 43rd man to hold the office--Grover Cleveland was our 22nd and 24th president, a rather amazing feat, if you ask me.)

While that momentous occasion took place the stock market tumbled and the Dow closed below 8000. No one mentioned that in the inaugural coverage, however. Which is good. It's not like we don't know we are living in troubled times.

There was a little bit of frenzy all over the internets about Michelle Obama's dresses. It's good to know we can still be frivolous during such historic and difficult moments. We're still grounded, America! (I type that, tongue in cheek. With a little bit of a chuckle, and a little bit of a sigh.)

In anycase, we have a young(-ish) man in the White House, with an enormous burden of responsibility on his shoulders, and if he has preached a gospel of hope, he will surely need it now. But he has the gift to make people pay attention and to give them the desire to participate in heeding a call to action.

There have been many official prayers said over the past week for our new president. I will join with them my own unofficial prayers.

God bless America; and may we endeavor to deserve it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

goals for today

  1. Stay warm without turning up the thermostat.
  2. Watch some Inaugural Events.
  3. Get Ella to dance on time.
  4. Consider going to the store.
  5. Opt out of going to the store because it is too cold.
  6. Be cheerful.
  7. Have a good time with my kids.
  8. Organize the pile of stuff on the kitchen counter.
  9. Go to bed early so I can get over my cold/sore throat.
  10. Sleep well.

If you like the picture, the poster is available here.

Friday, January 16, 2009


When presented with a situation that is causing me difficulties, my instinct is to trudge through.

And when I find that this does the job, but leaves me feeling sort of bleh (a technical term), my instinct is to recognize that an attitude adjustment might just be the trick.

And it often does help. Approaching things with a cheerful heart often helps turn mountains back into molehills.

But, as one has limited capacity, I am well aware that there will be days when all I will be able to manage is the trudging through. And when I am trudging, it's easy to view being cheerful as more of a burden as opposed to a help.

I am aware that just trying to have a happy attitude about spilled milk, while it is helpful, is not really what I am after.

It occurred to me the other day that there is a third option, and that is simply to change. It is to persevere until I am stronger.

But where to find the strength to do so? Is change really ever simple?

I love motherhood, but it is exhausting. And it is taking a toll on my ability to be a good mother. Ironic, isn't it. I am well aware of things I need to change. There's a problem, however. I feel too overwhelmed to really attempt anything.

As the New Year approached with the opportunity to resolve on a good many things, I had the energy to acknowledge that they were there and that I could use some resolutions. But I couldn't possibly write them down. And if I didn't have the energy to even do that, how in the world was I going to overcome and accomplish?

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, says Christ.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28 - 30)

In other words, turning to Christ has transformative power. Becoming more like Him allows us to overcome what obstacles may be placed in our way. Because He has overcome the world--all of it--he can help us to change, through his redeeming power. And while we are in the process of changing, he can and will continue to help us carry the burden.

And so, I resolved simply to do this: seek out Jesus Christ through prayer. I said: I am not doing this motherhood thing very well and I need to. You know what needs to be done, I know what needs to be done. But it is beyond me. Help!

And you know what? As I have asked for Grace, for that is surely what I need, it has been gifted to me. I am making changes in incremental steps. Small, to be sure. Small enough that I think I will be able to hang on to the changes as I move forward. Very small. And yet, something. Something! All from simple little prayers that say "help me!"

When that is all you can do, it turns out, that is enough. The ball gets rolling. I am grateful. And I am now finding that I have been gifted strength for other things.

* * * * *

The word hosanna is something one shouts in praise of God. Hosanna! It is joyful; it is worshipful. In Hebrew the meaning of this joyful expression is this: Save us.

Hosanna! God, save us!

In our most joyous moments how do we praise God? By proclaiming our absolute and utter need of our redemption through him. This is fascinating to me.

Saving grace through simple prayers. Hosanna. Hosanna!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

why things work

"Mom," she said to me in a thoughtful tone, "I know why our remote didn't work at first."

Our television remote had disintegrated into the dust, not from over-use, just by being ancient according to today's technology standards. The t.v. at our house is the one Ben and I bought on a newlywed budget when we married. We had recently aquired a universal remote and it took a little time to get it working.

My daughter continued, "It is because it had to learn to control itself first! And then it could work."

Pretty perceptive for a five year-old, learning to work her own 'internal' remote control.

* * * * *

Actually it would be nice if all of us older than five could learn that little secret, too. Our lives would be much better.

Monday, January 12, 2009

kosher sidewalks

We've been going through some pretty, I'd say, wintery weather. It's cold. There is a lot of snow. And with the snow, ice. We get a nice patch right outside our door thanks to the icicles hanging off the roof and sometimes partially melting throughout the day.

There has been so much snow that the cities around here have pretty much plowed through (hee, hee) their salt budgets like, well, like a city that has recently experienced a l o t of snow. Which is problematic. If it snows again.

But, let us be optimistic. Perhaps it won't snow any more this year! And if it does, maybe it will be that kind of snow that lands on the grass and stays, but melts at any sign of cement or concrete or blacktop road stuff.

Maybe with the salt-budget shortage, bagged rock salt will begin reappearing in the stores, because heretofore (it's fun to use words like that) there has been no rock salt anywhere. There has, indeed, been a shortage. None at the market. Or Walmart. My neighbor grabbed the last bag at Lowes.

And so our walkway has remained rather icy.

Except, sometimes, I pull out my magic weapon.

It's great for gourmet cooking, too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

a little break? okay.

Regularly scheduled programming for Bells On Their Toes will be back starting on Monday, January 12th, 2009.

In the meantime, we invite you to follow Allysha on Twitter, if you so desire, for short and sweet updates on her daily existence. As well as other things, sometimes.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Welcome, 2009. I'm glad you're here.

{Now, off to clean, and think about Resolutions...}