Sitting for a Portrait

Sitting for a Portrait

Last night, I was called upon to sit for a portrait. Obviously, I was flattered. The downside was that I hadn’t really done my hair or makeup yesterday so I was a bit concerned about how it would turn out.

I stood in the artist’s studio and did what I was told. I was very still. Held my position. Looked smart, witty, insightful and relaxed.

The artist was so good, though, he didn’t even have to look up from his work except for once or twice. I was allowed to leave for him to put the finishing touches on and about ten minutes later, my work was revealed.

Stunning, right? I’ll allow you to catch your breath.

I would give him a B+ for accuracy. I do have tiny elf ears that kinda stick out. I do have square glasses and my hair is parted right. Look how even the cut is, y’all.

I’m not sure about the wiggly mouth. I think he accidentally switched my “nice mommy” face with the “OMGI’MGOINGTOBITETHROUGHMYLIPBECAUSEYOUWON’TSHUTUP” FACE. Just a hunch.

Jason was up next, only he didn’t have to sit for the portrait. Henry Henri retreated to his playroom studio to draw him. Alone.

This is probably why.

Allow me to help you understand.

First of all, Jason’s hair that he DOES have isn’t that long.

Second of all, he doesn’t wear tighty-whities. He’s a boxer man.

And his boxers don’t say Jos. A Bank on the elastic, they say Nordstrom. But good job, Jos. A Bank for advertising so much a 7 year old knows how to spell your company name.

His legs ARE hairy. But that’s typical when there’s no hair on your head. It has to go somewhere, right?

I give Henri the Artist a D for accuracy but a big fat A+ for awesomeness on this one.

He’s for hire.

Email janasthinkingplace@me.com for more information on how YOU TOO can have a masterpiece by Henri!

The Great Upstairs Shake-Up

The Great Upstairs Shake-Up

We got a wild hair this weekend to switch things up upstairs.

Henry’s bedroom and the room next to it, which was essentially empty, are huge. His (former) bedroom has built in shelves and a window seat in it that are fantastic! Then there is his (former) playroom. It’s a small square. It was cramped and not conducive to being a playroom.

So it was time to switcharoo some stuff upstairs.

Henry’s room became the playroom. The empty room became Henry’s bedroom.

The playroom became MY OFFICE!

I know…

I’m so stinking excited. I’m in here right now writing this. I’m no longer coming to you live from the dining room table. This is so exciting, y’all.

I decided against putting Henry’s desk in his playroom or bedroom. I don’t want his computer to get ruined and I don’t want him to have to do his homework in his bedroom. So he’s got a little corner in my office.

We recycled some cheapo pieces from his playroom for office storage. And I’ll be using the closet in here as soon as I get the closets switched out. (I could only do SO much in 48 hours.)

So here you go. A few pictures of our new layout.

Henry's Office

My Office Space

The Playroom

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do!

 

Unanswered Prayers. Or Are They Really Answered?

Unanswered Prayers. Or Are They Really Answered?

Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.

~~ Garth Brooks~~

Why yes, I DID just quote Garth Brooks lyrics. I didn’t really want to, but it’s really the most fitting set of lyrics I could find. Plus, ever since I read this post by my friend Julia about When Prayers Go Unanswered, it’s been in my head — just like this post has. It’s been two weeks now since she wrote that. My brain hasn’t been able to turn off the thoughts in my head thinking about this question.

What DOES happen when prayers aren’t answered?

prayer ribbons

Prayer Ribbons -- photo via flickr user notspavin

 

(Disclaimer: When I say “praying,” I mean praying to anything… God, Buddha, Mohammed, Mother Earth, Father Time, garden gnomes, whatever your choice is. I’m non-denominational on this here blog as far as all that’s concerned.)

I guess the first thing to ponder is what do we pray FOR? I’m sure we’ve all prayed to win the lottery or get a new car for our 16th birthday. It’s likely some of us have prayed to start our period when we didn’t want to be pregnant or to NOT start our period when we did want to be pregnant. I’m sure you’ve prayed for someone who is sick — most likely for healing.

Some of our prayers are big and huge and for really scary things. Some are small and seem trivial after the fact. But they’re things that you feel strongly about and want to ask for help with.

I truly believe that through prayer, and through gathering people together (either physically or remotely) to pray for one person or situation, well, prayers CAN be answered.

But sometimes they’re just not.

For instance: I prayed so very hard for Charlie to be healed while he was in the hospital. There were hundreds of others who were praying right alongside me and Jason and our families for the same thing. I wouldn’t say I physically dropped to my knees in prayer (maybe I should have), but I prayed with all my being to God or whoever would listen, for him not to be taken from us.

Those prayers were 100% unanswered.

And I was pissed. I still am, really.

I’m sure you’ve prayed for the same types of things. Right now, I would love to pray for healing for a wonderful woman who is fighting a fierce battle against Cancer. But I’m scared to. Instead, I pray for peace and comfort for her. I pray for extra moments and memories for her husband and children. I hope that by doing that, those prayers can and will be fulfilled.

But what if those prayers that go “unanswered” are actually the answers to prayers? (confused yet?)

What if your unanswered prayer is the answer to someone else’s prayer?

What if God (seemingly) ignoring my pleas to save my son actually led me to a place where I could be the answer to another person’s prayer? Hmm…

I’m just using myself as an example since this is my site, but the same holds true for so many people I know. By not receiving the answer to my prayers, I have become a shoulder to lean on and an ear to bend.

I learned from our family’s heartbreak how to be compassionate and loving and open and caring.

I learned that it’s ok to go to a total stranger’s house to hold their hand as they grieve their son or daughter who died 10 days earlier — maybe they were praying for someone who “got it” to reach out to them.

I learned that talking about it helps others to open up about what is hurting their heart. Maybe they just needed it to be ok to say that something was wrong.

Sometimes I pray for specific things but most of the time I don’t. Maybe I’m just so afraid of my prayers being unanswered. I don’t know. Even knowing that they can be used as a blessing to others, it still hurts me to the core. It makes me wonder if my prayers don’t get past the ceiling or if my faith isn’t strong enough. Who knows, maybe they don’t and maybe it’s not.

But I can honestly say that I feel like when my prayers went unanswered, it became a way to help others along the way — and maybe even be the answer to their prayers (in a very small way).

How do you feel about unanswered prayers?

Do you pray for specific things?

Do you feel like your prayers are always unanswered or answered?

(It should go without saying, but please be respectful of any differences in religious views. I have a variety of beliefs represented by my readers and all thoughts are welcome here.)

 

 

 

When Migraines Go Wild

When Migraines Go Wild

Yesterday I took a self-imposed and much-needed social media and Band Back Together holiday. I didn’t turn on Twitter (except to check on Susan who is fighting a tough battle with cancer and has hospice in. Check out her site. Her story is inspiring and heartbreaking. Also, her struggle makes this post seem very insignificant.) or Facebook. I didn’t turn on Instagram or Google + or Linkedin or anything. I barely even checked email.

There was a very hefty list of amazing things I was going to get done. I was going to work on some Buck Jones Nursery stuff for about 3 hours. I was going to run pick up prescriptions. Mopping, laundry and dishes were on the list. This place was going to be so freaking clean and amazing by the end of the day.

Except. Enter the Migraine. Gone. Wild. (Did you read that like Girls Gone Wild? I hope you did.)

I took HL to the corner to school at 7:30, came home and made myself a cup of chai. I drank about half of it while thinking about what to have for breakfast and BOOM. Like a fork (see image above) into my brain, a migraine hit. Usually they come on slowly and are fairly mild these days.

This one, however, was like a small bomb went off in my head. For a minute I thought maybe I was having a stroke or aneurysm. I don’t know what they feel like, but I can imagine now it must be worse than that.

So forget breakfast, I’m going back to bed. Pit stop in the bathroom to take a Relpax (which normally works instantly) and within 5 minutes, threw it up. Went back to bed with the sheets over my head.

A morning of sleeping, throwing up, taking advil and throwing up more. I looked up and it was noon. I texted Jason through very blurred vision that I was so so sick. More throwing up. More advil. More throwing it right back up. Crying. More crying.

Oh my god, the pain. I can’t even describe it.

Somehow I managed to wake up in time to get Henry. I stood on the front porch and when he saw me, his little face panicked. He said, “Mommy are you ok?” I told him no, I had a really bad headache. He said he would eat his snack and watch cartoons while I would go back to bed.

He’s really so so good when I’m sick, which is rare. I didn’t hear a peep out of him except the few times he called up the stairs when I was throwing up to ask if I was ok. (Adorable, I know.)

Around 3, I got panicked. I hadn’t eaten all day. Was in more pain than I could imagine — this was the worst migraine I’d had in at least a decade. Maybe longer. I got scared that I would pass out or maybe die from the pain and would be there with Henry and he would get scared. And since I don’t have Life Alert, I couldn’t say, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

So I did what I NEVER do. I called Jason and asked him to come home. He said hello and I couldn’t even speak. All I could do was cry. He asked if he needed to come home and I got out a very weak, “yes.” He must’ve driven 100 all the way home because in no time he was home, getting HL’s shoes on and whisking us out to the ER.

I threw up most of the way to the ER, but luckily not again once we got there. I shuffled Henry and Jason out after about an hour because I didn’t want them having to wait on me. We’re only about 10 minutes away so they could come back and get me when I was done.

I’m going to hold my comments on the wait at the ER because a few who got ushered in ahead of my during my 3 hour wait were legitimately ill. Some, however… well, I’ll leave it at that.

I was finally seen after 3 hours. I was given a gown, blanket, dark room (so I could finally open my eyes), an IV and a wonderful nurse.

A bag of saline, and then a cocktail of 5 other meds were hooked into me. I don’t even remember what all… steroid, pain stuff, benadryl, nausea stuff and something else. Within minutes I was dozing off in a benadryl-induced haze and the stabbing in my head was subsiding. I could open my eyes. I was going to live to see another day.

Jason and Henry came to get me around 9 and I went straight to bed. I woke up this morning feeling like a new person.

I’m going to be stepping back from things that are stressing me for a little bit. At least the rest of the week. Stress is the trigger for my migraines for the most part so I’m going to focus on ME and MY HOME above all this week. I’ll toss a small bit of work in there for good measure, but I’m going to watch my stress level.

I missed everybody yesterday. Let me know if I missed something fabulously important!! I am super proud that I didn’t even tweet or FB or anything from the ER. I mean, it probably helped that I couldn’t open my eyes, but still… I stood my ground and kept with my hiatus.

 

 

Lessons From The Pinewood Derby

Lessons From The Pinewood Derby

Saturday was Derby Day. And no, unfortunately I don’t mean the Kentucky Derby (which I WILL get to one year, dangit). It was Pinewood Derby Day. A time-honored Cub Scout tradition.

The first Pinewood Derby was held in California in 1953. The cubmaster’s son was too small to participate in the Soap Box Derby so he decided that racing small cars would be fun. And a tradition was born.

Boys are given a block of wood, 4 wheels and 4 nails. They are to whittle, saw, whatever these blocks of wood into cars. They can weigh up to 5.0 oz and have to meet certain requirements.

Parents (I’d say dads but one of the most awesome cars was done by a mom in our Den) help the boys carve, paint, sand, decorate and lubricate these little machines.

Henry and Jason worked hard getting their car ready. Many hours went into building the car. Craftsmanship was learned.

There was a lot of discussion about how it was Henry’s first year and they weren’t experts in making cars. We talked about the fact that some kids would win trophies, and some would not. We prepared him for the obvious things.

What we didn’t prepare him for were the lessons he would learn.

We weighed in on Friday night. They were proud that they got the car to 4.99 oz and we left the car to be impounded until race time. This is where the lesson of Following Rules was learned.

Saturday was race day. We walked over to the school with honestly NO idea what to expect. What we found was a room full of excited boys in uniform, and Cubmasters who had worked hours to prepare for this day and have it set up absolutely perfectly. There were moms with cameras and Girl Scouts selling snacks (Henry’s favorite part).

Den 8 was chosen to perform the flag ceremony. Henry was in the Color Guard. He was so excited. We practiced a few times at home before we headed over. He understood it was a very serious task he had been given. But I believe it taught him to be more Patriotic and Respectful.

Then it was race time. Four cars raced at a time. There were 80 cars total (whoa) so each heat took a while. This forced a lesson in Patience.

In the first heat, Henry’s car placed 4th.

After the first heat, the announcer told the crowd that the car that won the first heat, setting a track record, was no longer able to compete. His car had hit the box at the end and a rear axle came off. The rules say that a car cannot be repaired mid-race so he was out of the running. All the boys, but especially that particular one, learned Disappointment.

The races continued. Whenever the names would come up on the screen, the Dens would cheer for whoever was from their group. Even though this was an individual race, the Teamwork and Team Spirit that was shown by the boys was amazing.

Henry placed 1st in another heat and then 4th in the last two (I think) (Jason knows). He wasn’t disappointed and I was extremely proud of that.

HE was proud of his car. Pride was flowing in that cafeteria. The boys were proud of their cars and the parents were proud of their boys. The Dens were proud of their members.

Trophies were awarded. Each boy waited eagerly to see if their name was called. About 20 trophies were given out. But I didn’t see a single boy pitch a fit that he didn’t get one. I love knowing that our sons are learning that in all games in this life, there are winners and there are losers.

Each boy left with a Pinewood Derby patch, a ribbon, a canvas bag, a smile on their face and pride in their heart.

It really couldn’t have been a better day.

ps: The day was great for me. I got to know a few moms better and got invited to Bunco without playing Bunco (aka drinking without husbands or kids) tonight. So I’d say I won.

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