Saturday, April 30, 2011

50 Days

“Daily discipline is the door to full freedom…”

-Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts

I like this quote.

I think it’s true.

For me, daily disciplines create order, joy, and predictability.  The disciplines themselves help me to override my natural tendencies to be lazy, to think wrongly, and to prioritize badly. 

One of these disciplines lately, has been daily posts to my blog.  I wanted to see how many days straight I could post something here.  This little experiment stretched me, surprised  me and made me write when I didn’t feel like writing (thus overriding my own desires).  It allowed me consistency in an area where I wasn’t entirely certain I could be consistent.  But I can!  I can!  And now that I have proven that to myself after 50 days of posting, I am not going to force myself to post every day.  It may happen that I decide to do it anyway, or it may happen that I enjoy a little time off.  Right now, I still have lots of ideas floating around in my brain, so they may be coming out soon—stay tuned!

So, anyway, it’s been a blast—a 50 day blast—and now I am free to be myself—and give my keyboard a little break. 


Friday, April 29, 2011

Not Guilty

I don’t use cloth bags when I grocery shop. I don’t grate my own cheese. I hate to quilt. I detest ironing. I use one of those little wet mop Swiffer things when I don’t want to use my real mop.  Sometimes I even buy little single serving pudding packs even though they are not the most frugal option --sorry Amy Dacyczyn (ever read Tightwad Gazette?) And I don’t always go to Sam’s Club to get my gas even though it’s cheaper there, cause sometimes I’m just lazy.

I feel guilty about all of these things.  Yes, even the quilting one.

Often, I look at the things other people are doing and I judge myself as inadequate because I can’t seem to get it all together.  But really, I just need make decisions on what works for me and stop comparing myself.  God is really the only one I should be trying to please and I cannot become any more acceptable to God by DOING.  I am acceptable to God because of Jesus.  Jesus is the lens through which God sees me—and Jesus is perfect.  Can’t get any better than that! Pretty cool. 

I’ll bet even Jesus didn’t like ironing all that much. 


We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

2 Corinthians 10:12

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time Rules All

(This also is from the 90’s archives.  Apparently I was feeling a little rushed then.  I had a child in ‘91,93,’96 and ‘98.  That entire decade is a blur to me.)


Razzled, frazzled, crazy, flustered, turning, breathless.  Rapid breathing, rapid beating. Time is going. Time is fleeing.  Never to return.

Quick now, run now, speed is of importance. 
Don’t just stand there!  Be productive.  Be effective.  Be successful. Come now, don’t be slow.

Hurry! Hurry! Must not tarry!  Rush, fast, hasten. Time is wasting.  Can we catch it?

Time as enemy.  Time as friend.  Time elusive.  Day must end.

Fall in bed.  Spinning head.  Burning ulcer. Palpitations.  Sleep cannot be found.

Lay there. Turning, tossing, cursing.  When will life slow down?

Up now.  Reading, walking, eating.  Midnight comes and goes.

3 a.m.. Sleep arrives…close those eyes…and peaceful, floating, time suspended, flying, feeling free.  Rest has finally come and has nestled deep inside your being.

Blaring noise!  Constant beeping!  6 a.m. alarm.  Here it comes.  Time is ticking, clicking, counting down the hours.

Get up NOW you sleepyhead!  Be productive!  Be effective!  Be successful!  Don’t be slow!

Razzled, frazzled, crazy, flustered, turning, breathless…

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Storm

(Here is another story I wrote when Luke and Tess were just babies—early 1994?  I was probably 26 here and feeling like a true adult. )

It is 10:30 pm on a Friday night.

Sirens are blaring, winds are blowing.  A tornado has been sighted.  It has torn across Marshalltown, Nevada, and now it is heading for us.  My husband and I are sitting in the living room of our Ames, Iowa home.  We hear the garbage cans rolling away from their spots, the wind whipping through the screen of the porch door, cars zooming speedily past, and the neighbor’s dog yelping in fright.  Should we take cover, disrupting our peaceful evening, or should we wait it out—assuming that it will just blow over as the other ones have in recent weeks?

The children are sound asleep in their beds.  We have decided upon safety and the radio announcer confirms our choice.  We each retrieve a groggy child, and we carry them gingerly to the basement.  The second siren sounds and warns us rudely of impending danger.  We lay the children down gently on the rough gray carpet and wait.

We are the parents now.   We have to do something. We can no longer look to our parents to tell us what to do in times of danger.  We are the parents now, and our children look to us.  It’s a scary realization and we try to act like we can protect our flock—our family—from the evil of this world.  And we try not to act frightened, even when we are.

Baby fusses.  Boy cries at being awakened from his sleep.  Even in their drowsiness, they sense that something is wrong.  I cover each with a flannel baby blanket and sing them “Jesus Loves Me” as Daddy listens to the radio for direction and hope of safety.

Finally, I lay down too, and notice that the children are holding hands in their new-found sleep.  The serene and peaceful picture of their small hands folded together contrasts greatly with the wind and fury outside—like a Norman Rockwell scene superimposed on Picasso.

A silent fear rushes through me as I realize that I have done all I can for them right now.  I slowly realize that everything I have, everything I’ve worked for could be swept away in minutes.  Our lives could be threatened.  It could happen to me.

The unleashed power of nature is far stronger than man’s power, and I know I am incapable of saving myself or my family.  I am but a dot in the big picture of life, and my life is but a breath.  God is bigger than all of it, and I pray to Him for help.  And as I pray to God for our safety, I truly realize how helpless I am and how little control I actually have over my own and my family’s destiny.

The sirens stop.  Finally, we are safe.  I am relieved—but changed, and I know that my life, my world, is not, and never has been, in my own hands.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Learning to Walk

I cleaned out my file cabinet last week and found some writing I had done in the early nineties.  I wrote this piece as an almost 23 year old in 1990.  I had been married for just a year.  Brent and I were helping with the high school youth group at church, and I wrote this piece for their newsletter.  I guess they thought I was old and wise.

The neat thing about revisiting a much younger version of myself is that I can see how God has grown me from this point in my walk with Him.  I used to struggle greatly with contentment and worry—now, not so much—in fact, I might say that contentment is now one of my (God-given) strengths.  Super cool!  As I have walked with God these last 21 or so years, I have fallen more and more in love with Him and learned to trust Him with myself.  He’s still got lots of work to do on me, and I am definitely still a “diamond in the rough”, but someday I will be exactly as He intends me to be.  And He won’t stop ‘till he’s done! 

That, my friend, is exciting!

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6


con·tent·ment :   [kuhn-tent-muhnt] : noun 1. To be content; primarily signifies to be sufficient, to be possessed of sufficient strength; 2. To be satisfied, “contentment with such things as ye have.”

In Philippians 4:11, the apostle Paul states, “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” What an accomplishment! I say this because, for me, contentment does not come easily. God is still teaching me how to “be satisfied” with who I am, what I have, and where I am in life. Here is what I’ve learned:

God wants me to enjoy life NOW! I tend to look back to “the good old days” and say “if only it was like that again…” or forward to the future with the mindset of “I’ll finally be truly happy when…I’m 18; I’m in college; I’m married; I have a job; we have a family; etc.” When I reach these future milestones, I don’t find contentment; I only continue to yearn for the next milestone—always looking ahead. But God says, “Tori, don’t be discontented by constantly reliving the past or by looking forward to the future! Live life NOW—today! ‘For I came that you might have life, and have it to the full,’” (John 10:10). Abundant life. Life today—not yesterday or tomorrow. Be content.

God also want s me to stop worrying. Worrying is Satan’s way of stealing the Christian’s trust and contentment in the Lord. I tend to spend lots of time worrying about what I think should be happening—i.e. “I think I should have found a job by now”. But God says that HE knows what should be going on, and He will decide what is best for me. All of my worrying is benefitting no one. God is in control, for He says “Trust in [Me] with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge [Me], and [I] will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). It also helps me to review Matthew 6:25-33 (the “Do not worry” passage) regularly. That passage tells me that tomorrow will take care of itself whether I worry about it or not. So, why worry? God’s got it covered. Be content.

Be content. God said it. I’m going to do it. And because “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6), I will be forever rich!

Enjoy life now. Don’t worry. Be content. And be happy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

‘member that time?

You think it’s been cold here?  Minnesota’s colder!  Grab a parka and read on:

‘member when we lived in Minnesota and Dad was always afraid that we were going to get cold?

And member how he made us wear boys’ long underwear? And member how when you bent over at school, kids always said, “You’re wearing boys underwear!” in a sing-songy, taunting kind of way? And member how embarrassing that was?

And member how I always tried to use my meanest voice and say, “I am not!”, but I couldn’t roll up my pant legs to show them because I always had big snowmobile boots on? Member that?

I’m glad I don’t live in Minnesota anymore.

The kids are mean there.

It’s ‘member that time Monday again!  Check out for more memories!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Because He Lives

He is Risen! 

May His new Life be part of your life today.

Here is a old song with timeless words; let them tell you the Truth this Easter.

Because He Lives

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus.

He came to love, heal, and forgive.

He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, All fear is gone.

Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.

But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.


Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, All fear is gone.

Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.


And then one day I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain.

And then as death gives way to victory,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives.


Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!

Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

Words by Bill & Gloria Gaither

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Oh Jesus!

My Jesus!  You are He, that baby in my arms…

When I first held you--carefully, nervously--on that night of your birth, I pondered your perfect nose…your little fists…your tiny toes…your lusty cries--the life that came from my body.

How could I have fathomed the agony of watching you beaten, and bruised, and crucified like a thief--my firstborn, my heart?  Your cries pierced my soul, and as your blood drained, so did my hope. I can give you life no longer.

God has promised you that. God has promised me that. Do I believe Him? 

Where are you now, my Jesus? Descending into Hell?  Are you taking even my horrors, my brokenness, my failures upon you?  I am so sorry, my Son…my Savior.  I wish I could have taken your place; but I am not stain-less, nor spot-less, nor whole.  You are all of these. You were necessary. Now you are gone—from me, for me.

God has said you will rise again—to new Life. God says I will have new Life in You. Do I believe Him?

Your Father God forewarned me of yesterday.  He sent you to die…but it is I who helped to give you life, Jesus. Suffering seemed so far away on that first night. You were my son, too. I ache for you.  He said your shed blood would be the final sacrifice—once for all. 

God has promised that you will defeat death.  God has promised me eternal life.  Do I believe Him?

God has spoken of joy in the morning. but this night is very long—so long. I will not sleep, nor have I since you died, my Love.  My child, I wait for you.  I need you.  Be my Comforter.

He has said you will ascend to your heavenly home—so I can truly go Home. Do I believe Him?

I want to.

I wait. I hope. I pray. I cry.

Breathe again, my child; for me…for all.  God has spoken.

I believe Him.


I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    the Maker of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
    born of the virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    the holy catholic church;
    the communion of saints;
    the forgiveness of sins;
    the resurrection of the body;
    and the life everlasting.


The Apostles’ Creed

Friday, April 22, 2011

Were You There?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

I remember singing this old Negro Spiritual as a child.  What would it have been like if I had been at the foot of the cross watching my Jesus die? 

Would I, through my tears, have watched him breathe His last—willing Him to breathe just one more time?  Would my body have ached, knowing that His pain was unbearable?  Would I have been the one to offer Him something to numb his anguish and assuage his thirst?  Would the blood from His wounds have flowed upon me?

Would the echo of the hammer that was used to nail his wrists, assault my ears with its incessant ring, ring, ring? Would I see His body sag, unable to hold His weight, as they raised His criminal’s cross? Would I hear him gasp as He held my sin?

Would I stand crying as His lifeless body was laid in a tomb—a wealthy stranger’s tomb?  Would I look at the darkness around me and feel my darkness within?  Would I understand that my Jesus died my death for me?

Would I stay, and wait, for His promise of Resurrection?  Would I believe He could do what He said?  Would I recognize my risen Lord as He promised me new Life in Him?

Sometimes this causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Uneven Exchange

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

Do you understand what this is saying?  Do you hear the irony?

On the cross, at his very death, Perfect Jesus BECAME all of our petty, foolish, selfish, idolatrous, broken, wayward, ugly SIN so that weunaware, unappreciative, unacceptable—could be reconciled to God.

…so that werejecting, regressing, reprehensible—someday might turn our hearts toward Him and call Him Father.

God had planned this intersection in human history before the creation of the world because He knew; he knew the hearts of His children.  He knew they would go their own way—a way of destruction, death, and disappointment. He knew His fellowship with them would suffer…and they would die…away from Him…UNLESS He intervened.

So intervene He did.  As only He could. 

A Holy God required a Holy Sacrifice—a Perfect Sacrifice—to pay the penalty for our rotten sins.  And so, that Holy God allowed Himself to become rotten, to become SIN, to descend to fiery Hell, so that the wrath of that same Holy God would be satisfied. 

We couldn’t do this—this perfect offering.  He knew this. He showed us this.  He became our Substitute…so we could become His Heart.

….and while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

On that very day we mocked Him, Christ died for us.  We owe Him our very lives.  The uneven exchange is all in our favor.

In accepting Him, we receive life everlasting. 

In giving Himself, God receives us.

I think we got the better deal.


He was despised and rejected by men,
   a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
   he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities
   and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
   smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:3-5

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Broken Man (repost)

And again…an inspiration from Lent 2010.   Enjoy!

I was struck by Mark 15:21 today when it said that, "A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross." Why were this man's sons listed? And by name? What were they thinking? Were they there to see their father forced into this horrible, yet honorable, task? Here is the story that flowed from my fingertips:

“Abba! Abba! Take us to the city so that we can see all of the festival preparations!”

“And the people! Take us to see the people, too, please?”

“Yes, Alexander. Yes, Rufus. We will go soon. We will walk into the chaos of the Passover celebration! Have you some sandals to wear, Rufus? It is a long journey from Cyrene to Jerusalem.”

“Yes, I have them, Father, and I will not complain.”

“Let us go then, my sons, you must follow me closely. Stay by my side.”


It seems we have been walking for days. My legs are shorter than my brother’s and my father’s, so I must jog a little now and then to keep up with them. My sandals and my legs, covered with dust and dirt, look the same—gray. My mouth is so dry that I can’t spit; I wish I could spit since my mouth feels gray too. I want to ask my Abba when we will get there, but then I stop myself because I remember that I gave my word. I will not complain, and asking about getting there might sound like complaining. I want my Abba to be proud of me—to think I am a man.

Abba said to follow closely. I have not taken my eyes off of him. But now, I am distracted by the high voices I hear in the distance and I look farther ahead. I smell good smells too. I am hungry, but I will not complain. I think we are almost there.

Finally, we enter the village! Bright colors, strange sounds, dirty animals, rushing people! So much activity! But I will stay close. I must not take my eyes off of my father. He knows where we are going and I don’t want to get separated from him.

I see some soldiers with frowns on their faces. Beside them is a man. I think he is sick. Or maybe hurt. His clothes seem dirty and stiff—do they have blood on them? He is carrying a very big piece of timber, but it seems too heavy for him. He looks very tired. I think he has been beaten—see those gashes on his back? He is trying to carry the wood across his chest like he is carrying a baby. I guess it would probably hurt him to carry it on his bleeding shoulders. The log is so heavy, he is just shuffling along. He is not wearing sandals.

I cannot look away. I am supposed to keep my eyes on my father, but I must look at this man. I want to help him! Without asking, I rush into the road where he travels. The mean soldiers stop me and roughly push me aside. My father steps out to grab me, but the biggest soldier grabs him instead!

Alexander yells “Abba!” and starts to cry, but I watch in silence as they make my father take the big timber from the hurting man. I want my father to be proud of me and I do not cry. Now my father is carrying the heavy load. He carries it on his shoulders because they are not bleeding. The soldiers grab the broken man and they pull him quickly along. But he cannot move quickly. His head is down and he is moving slowly and sadly. My father cannot move quickly either and he is scared that he has lost us. I call out to him, “We are here! We will follow you!” and both of them look up—my Abba and the broken man. The broken man looks at me…he is crying… and now I cry.

There are so many people—throngs and throngs of people! Do they not see the broken man? Do they not see my Abba? I am still crying, but my brother is holding my hand. We make it to the top of the hill. It is ugly—this hill—it looks like a skull.

The soldiers take the log from my father and they lay it down beside the broken man who has fallen to the ground. Then, my father rushes back to us. I can smell his sweat as he pulls my brother and I into his scratchy cloak to shield us from the horror.

But I know what is happening. I can hear the hammer. They are pounding big nails into the broken man’s wrists. They are crucifying him. My father told me about crucifying—it is a punishment for criminals. But this broken man is not a criminal. I could tell this broken man was a good man because when he looked at me he cried.

My father is leading us away, but I look back. I see that the broken man has been put up on a cross—his wrists are still nailed to the log my father carried, and his feet are nailed to a post jutting from the ground. I know he is dying. The broken man is dying.

And I am sad. Somehow I know, my spirit has spoken, the broken man is dying for me.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beautiful (repost)

This little story is a repost of something I wrote last year during Lent.  Enjoy.

This morning as I read Mark 14, trying to prepare myself in this journey of Lent, I broke down and wept as I reached these words of Jesus in 14:6;

"Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me."

She became real to me. Here is her story:

"Where is He? Where is my Lord? I must find Him. I love Him! I love Him! It is nearly the Passover and the throngs of pilgrims will soon swarm into our city. How will I find my Lord then? I am weary of searching and my legs are so tired of walking, but I have seen Him in this neighborhood---ahh! I hear His voice! It is the home of Simon the Leper.

I stop and consider what I am about to do. Then I break through my fear and I run beyond reason, uninvited, into this place where I know I will find Him.

My presence is shocking.

There are only men reclining at the table. I am a woman. I am not supposed to be here, yet my passion fuels me. I run to Him. I am still carrying the heavy jar--the jar that is His--the jar that must be broken for Him.

I reach Him and I am weeping. I break the precious jar and pour the costly perfume--the ointment of nard--upon His head--His beautiful head--and my love pours out and scatters around Him like the shards of alabaster that are everywhere.

He is pleased! I have pleased my Lord! In His eyes I see the forgiveness and the love and the peace that paralyzed me at first and comforts me now.

In the background, I hear the other men call me "Wasteful!" and "Foolish!" and "Stupid!"

But Jesus--my Lord--my Love--Jesus calls me "Beautiful."


"I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Mark 14:9

Monday, April 18, 2011

‘member that time?

‘member that one Easter when we ran out to get our Easter baskets and we were all happy and stuff? And member how when we got there we saw that Teri had this huge, solid chocolate rabbit in her basket and how we had puny, hollow chocolate rabbits in ours? And member how her rabbit was named “Hutchy” and how our rabbits had no names? 

I guess Mom and Dad loved Teri more than us that year.

It’s ‘member that time Monday again!  Check out for more memories!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wisdom’s Marinade

“Who you are in 5 years will depend on the people you hang out with and the books you read.”

My friend Kathy shared this quote as she taught about “Influence” at Bible study this week.  She told of a man she once knew who used this as a kind of “signature” statement—kind of like “hello!” or “good-bye” with a little challenge added in.  I like it.

As the Bible says, the people with whom you keep company can really determine the course of your life:

He who walks with the wise grows wise,
   but a companion of fools suffers harm.  (
Proverbs 13:20)

Negative influence is very powerful.  Are you hanging out with Godly friends?  Are you being a Godly friend?  Now is the time to evaluate—not in 5 years.

A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26)

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.   (1Corinthians 15:33)

Good books—the Bible is the first and foremost of these—change the way you think.  The way that you transform your thoughts as a Christ-follower is by feeding your brain lots and lots of truth.  I call this “marinating” your mind.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

When we marinate our minds with God’s truths and not society’s lies, we can more easily discern what we are supposed to be doing in this world.  We gain wisdom from God’s words so that we are able to find out how we can join Him in His work—His good, pleasing and perfect work.

Good books, written by godly authors, are also an excellent way for us to put some meat on the truths that God lays before us. These books, when read and evaluated in the light of Scripture, can help us formulate what we truly believe and why we believe it.  The key phrase here is “evaluated in the light of Scripture”.  We must use the Bible as our “ruler” when reading anything to make sure that what we ingest is truth.  Human authors can err in the area of theology—God cannot.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

Classic books can also expand and grow our minds.  Just like the Bible, sometimes they are hard to understand at first because they were written in a different era.  But, if you take time to get familiar with the nuances and inferences of the language and culture of the milieu, the stories are rich with lessons about human nature, love, and often, God.

Who are you today?

Who do you want to be?

Who will you be in 5 years?

It’s up to you.

And now, I will get off my soapbox, go snuggle in my polka-dotted chair, and with my wise husband by my side (in his own chair, not mine), I will read a book—a really good one—and begin to marinate. 

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
   the man who gains understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
   and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
   nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
   in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
   and all her paths are peace.

Proverbs 3:13-17

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blind Faith

This is my blog so I can talk about my pets as much as I want, right?

As you know, my cat Sandy is blind and deaf.  She wasn’t always like this so this is a new adjustment for her—and for me.

Sandy can’t hear me or see me, yet somehow she always senses where I am and wants to join me in my work.  Because she can’t see what’s in front of her, I am her security and she searches for me with a sense of smell I guess.  Or maybe she has just become so familiar with me that she knows where to find me.  When she is unsure of my whereabouts, she calls out for me in her own unique “mmrrrooww” until I respond and pick her up or pet her. 

When I do pick her up and put her in my lap, she completely relaxes and usually falls asleep purring.  She is so happy to be with me because it is in my lap that she feels completely safe.  In my lap, her blindness and deafness aren’t nearly as scary.  In my lap, she feels secure.

OK, you know what I’m going to say, but I’m going to say it anyway.  I’m going to compare myself to my blind cat:

I can’t see or hear God, but I can become so familiar with Him (by spending time in His Word, praying to Him, hanging out with Godly folks) that I can figure out where He is and join Him in His work.  I really don’t understand how I know He’s with me, but I do, and it’s just kind of an unknown sense, I guess-kind of like Sandy’s GPS smelling sense.  When I am scared or lost or unsure of where He is, all I have to do is call out in my unique, “Abba, I need you” and He will pick me up or give me some encouragement through one of His other kids. 

When I sit at God’s feet and learn from Him, I completely relax because He is unchanging when my world is not.  It is at His feet that I feel secure.  It is at His feet that I I realize my world is in His hands.

So today, I am thanking God for Sandy because her life teaches me much.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Friday, April 15, 2011

Time for Training

I’ve been thinking about something for a few days now.

Wednesday night Brent and I spoke to our church’s family ministry about money and stewardship.  We talked about assigning children jobs—just regular unpaid because-your-part-of-the-family chores.  We also talked about jobs-for-pay; these are any other jobs that are above and beyond the expected assigned tasks.  We pay our kids to do these things.  We figure that they need to have money to learn how to use money.

We explained that it takes time to train children to work well and work hard.  It also takes time to inspect the children’s work to make sure expected standards are met.  We gave the example of lawn mowing.  At the Haverkamp house, lawn mowing is a job-for-pay.  And it is a big job—since we have a big lawn--about 5 hours of time if done well.  Then, there  is the clean up afterward and the time for parent inspection.  All in all, this task can take almost an entire summer day.

Now here’s what made me sad:  One concerned father approached us after class and said,

You know, I like what you said about training your kids to work and all, and I would love for my kids to learn that, but between our jobs, and all of the kids’ practices and activities, we never have a five hour chunk of time.  How can I teach them faster?”

And Brent’s wise answer to this sincere father of three was,

“You can’t.  Training takes time.”

I find it sad that many of today’s families are so busy that their kids aren’t learning to work.  Not only that, but those same kids don’t know how to play either.  I don’t mean organized sports and planned activities, I just mean laying in the grass and seeing shapes in the clouds; playing cops and robbers on bicycles; swinging so high your feet touch the tree leaves; making tents from sheets over the clothesline. 

Play is the work of childhood.  If our children today don’t have time to do this, and do it often, how will they ever learn to be real workers in the real world?

Childhood is short.

Training takes time.

Hard work pleases God.


Just something to think about.


Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Tess just went to prom.

Tess wore a silky black and white gown on the night she went to prom.

Tess’ friends fixed her hair and did her nails and put make up on her pretty face to make her prettier before she went to prom.

And you know what?  Tess felt beautiful when she arrived at prom because she knew she looked great.  In fact, she was stunning. 

Grandma bought Shay an Easter dress.

It is a simple blue and cream Easter dress.

When she modeled it for me, with a silver necklace and patent flats, Shay seemed to glow in her Easter dress.

And you know what?  Shay feels beautiful in her Easter dress because she knows it fits her perfectly and makes her look cute.  In fact, the simplicity of the dress makes her eyes sparkle and her curls shine—pure beauty.

When we feel beautiful, we act differently.

When we feel beautiful, we act confidently.

When we feel beautiful, we act beautifully.

I think if we viewed ourselves with God’s eyes, we would act differently.  We would see ourselves as he sees us—stunning, precious, worthy—and it would give us confidence.  I think that if we truly believed God thought we were beautiful, we would be beautiful indeed.

Whose mirror are you using?

Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
   Forget your people and your father’s house.
The king is enthralled by your beauty;
   honor him, for he is your lord.

Psalm 45:10-11

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Bigger Picture

When going through some documents on the computer, I found this little poem that Shay wrote describing the Body of Christ.  We all fit together…

A puzzle…

Each piece needed to create a grand picture

While some have curved edges and bright colors,

Others are straight and dull

Each of them has their own place in the puzzle,

But each one cannot fit in every place

No one piece is better than another

Everyone is needed in the bigger picture

Just like the body of Christ

Every person is needed to complete the picture of Christ

While some can prophesy or heal

Others can encourage or preach

Every person has their own gift

But one person cannot have every one

Not one gift is better than the other

Everyone is needed in the bigger picture


 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wrong Way


Faster, faster, don’t look back

Abba’s heavy on your track


Farther, farther, down the pit

Close those eyes, don’t commit


Breathing heavy, sweating now,

Shame surrounds your heavy brow


Push through reason, into black

Justify your twisting track


Still He chases, still He woos

Stop, you win, Go, you lose.


“Come”, the Father pleads your case

He, who looks you in the face


And sheds a tear for your blind eyes--

Seeing only Satan’s lies


Running Man! Now! Slow your pace!

…and God will catch you, full of Grace.


I run in the path of your commands,
   for you have set my heart free.

Psalm 119:32

Monday, April 11, 2011

‘member that time?

‘member that time when I was in 4th grade and my friend, Leslie, told me that she had a pet monkey that she dressed in little clothes?  And member how I went home and told my sisters about the monkey that lived down the street?  And member how they made fun of me for believing her?

Then member how Mom told me that Leslie’s family skipped town in the middle of the night and how I never did get to see the monkey?

I’m beginning to think there was no monkey and that Leslie wasn’t the only liar in the family.

(But, then again, if she really did have a monkey, I wish she would have dropped it off in it’s pajamas at my house when she left.  I would have taken very good care of it.)


It’s ‘member that time Monday again!  Check out for more memories!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Molly was cute as a kitten; a little white fuzz ball mewing for attention.  Now, she’s overweight and kind of dirty-looking, and she stays in the dark recesses of her Grandpa-created cat condo most of the time.  Molly is not a big fan of movement.

Even though Fat Molly thinks she is a queen,I don’t think her IQ is super high.  One time, Grandpa installed a light bulb above her little house to give her more warmth in the winter.  Molly loved this added amenity so much that she rubbed her head against it constantly.  And then, when she did emerge from her abode (with great effort), we saw that she had burned all the fur off of her head right by her ear.

Molly is not very fun to hold because she is stiff and she wants to be held only one way—with her feet down.  Now, I like to hold cats like babies—with their feet up, but only Sandy and Sasha tolerate that. If you hold Molly this way, she quickly flips.  We call this being “flippy”.

Unlike Sasha, Molly is very loving if you choose to hold her feet down.  She will rub her partially furless head against your chin so hard that it hurts.  I guess that added weight gives her some added oomph too. Sometimes her loving becomes so violent she loses control and begins to bite you.  She gets the boot outside when that happens.

Sometimes I think Molly is depressed.  She spends most of her days in the dark, she forgets to bathe, and she wears the same sweatshirt for two weeks straight—oh wait—that’s me—Molly doesn’t wear clothes, and she eats way too much.

Molly is very imperfect, but guess what?  We love her anyway and she is part of our family.  We don’t love her more on days when she does a good job giving herself a bath and less on days when she’s dirty.  We still feed her everyday and give her water when she bites us. 

God loves us all the time too.  He doesn’t love us more when we read our Bible that day (although we learn to love Him more by doing that), or less when we lose our temper (although we reflect Him more by controlling it), He loves us the same ALL THE TIME.  He loves us because He created us and made us part of His family.  We are His.

I wish that Molly wasn’t so flippy.  I wish she would learn to relax in my arms when I hold her and not insist on feet down.  But she does.  That’s Molly. 

So Remember: 





He tends his flock like a shepherd:
   He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
   he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11

Saturday, April 9, 2011


This is another pet post.  I know that I only write about my blind cat—and occasionally my formerly crippled dog, but I have two more cats that get very little press. Today I will introduce Sasha and tomorrow Fat Molly (that’s not really her name, but she is really fat).

We got sleek black Sasha at the animal shelter about 3 years ago or so.  When we adopted her, she was sneezey, skinny, and full of dandruff.  She had been in the shelter for 4 months and no one had given her a chance—until we rescued her.  When she came home with us, she seemed to be in shock and wouldn’t eat or drink anything.  The first night, she was so distressed, I thought she was dying, but she pulled through and has been a joy to our family (minus Brent—he just tolerates her) ever since.

The reason we like her so much is that she is soooo cute, and soooo soft, and soooo floppy.  We like floppy cats because they are easy to hold—as opposed to stiff cats that flip when you hold them like Fat Molly.  Come on over to the house and we’ll demonstrate.

Anyway, I guess the reason I am writing this post is because we love Sasha so much that we hold her and squeeze her and shower her with love everyday…but Sasha really doesn’t love us back.  She really is kind of stuck up—like most cats—and she really doesn’t appreciate our loving embraces.  She mostly just wants what she wants and mostly what she wants is food—and sometimes she will bite us if she thinks she needs to eat. 

Basically, Sasha would be fine without our love—she can take us or leave us.  But we find Sasha irresistible and can’t stop loving her.

Sometimes I think God feels that way about us.  He created us and thinks we are soooo beautiful, and soooo witty, and soooo irresistible (I’m not sure if He likes the floppy thing or not), but we act like Sasha and just do things the way we want to do them.  Sometimes we tell God by our actions and our expressions, “I can take you or leave you—no biggie”.

This is OK for a cat, but not for us.

God keeps on loving because he finds us irresistible and he loves to hold us close.  Let’s love Him back by snuggling in.



I have loved you with an everlasting love;
   I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bad Hair Life

I have hair problems.  Because of this malady, I constantly covet others’ beautiful locks—especially my daughters.  Both of my girls have long, thick, curly hair.  And guess what?  This didn’t come from me (I always thought I was supposed to have hair like that, but that God kind of dropped a few stiches when he was knitting me together in my mother’s womb).  Their gorgeous hair comes from Brent.

Now, it would be wrong to say that I married Brent for his hair, but when I met him--his thick, wavy curls reaching to the collar of his shirt—I was in love…with his hair.  Later, I fell in love with him—his whole self. And I’m glad I did…and not just because our kids have really nice hair, but because he’s a really great guy—everyone says so.

Now, several years and 4 curly headed children later, his hair is a little thinner, but I still appreciate his contribution to the gene pool—even if he is kind of gene hog—in a good way.  I meant that in a good way.

I may never ride a horse with my long curly hair blowing in the wind  ( at least in this world), but someday my wonderfully-stitched, bountiful-headed children might…and I will be watching and smiling—my hair living vicariously through theirs. 

Won’t that be grand!

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Matthew 10:30

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Epic Save

Really?  All we have to do is ask?


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

And yes, I am one of those weirdo, born-again, Bible-beating Christians (although I never actually beat my Bible--I think that would be disrespectful—but I do read it a lot). And this is why:

I love y’all.

I found a better way.

It gives me peace, joy, and assurance of life everlasting.

I want to share it with you.

And I’m sorry if that offends you.  Please don’t beat me up.

So you can believe in God all you want, and that’s a good start, but until you believe that you fail miserably like Adam and Eve, and until you see that you need someone else to call the shots in your life, you won’t be able to fully engage with Him because you won’t know how necessary His Son is. JESUS IS NECESSARY.

JESUS IS NECESSARY because He was perfect and we are not.

JESUS IS NECESSARY because something perfect had to die for sin.  Why?  Because God said so.  He is Holy and cannot tolerate unholiness.

JESUS IS NECESSARY because God didn’t want to be separated from His precious children and He devised a way to bring us back to Him. He did this before the beginning of time because He knew what would happen in the Garden. Our failure did not take Him by surprise.

JESUS IS NECESSARY because without His blood shed for our sin, we would go to Hell for eternity because that is what we really deserve for our disobedience.  Jesus died in our place because God allowed it and we couldn’t get there ourselves—even if we tried really hard.

JESUS IS NECESSARY because our efforts will always fail and His will always succeed.


So, there you go.  That is what they call “the gospel”, and this is what they call “sharing it with you.”

All that’s necessary for you is a prayer of belief and admittance of wrong.  If you ask God to forgive you because of Jesus, He will.  It’s really that simple. It’s a gift you cannot earn.

And it will change your life if you let it.  Because once you ask, believe, and commit yourself to the Creator of the World, His Spirit will come into your soul and transform you from the inside out. (It’s a promise!  Check out Romans 12:2)

Just do it. Just let Him.  And then we’ll be meetin’ in Heaven!



For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Epic Fail

On Saturday, I attended the funeral of my Uncle Bud.  Bud, a former marine, was honored at the end of the service with a 21 gun salute—right there in the church yard.  It was very powerful.

But, as the aura of the service wore off, and people were congregating in little groups reminiscing, I couldn’t help but think, Death is wrong. It just is.  Everything about it feels wrong.

It feels wrong to see a strapping young soldier turn into an old sick man.

It feels wrong when families grow smaller and siblings are taken from one another.

It feels wrong when good times are replaced by good memories.

It feels wrong when the people we love the most are no longer by our side.

It feels wrong because it is wrong.  Death is not what God originally intended when he created this world.  Death is something we brought upon ourselves by choosing to disobey God’s directions.  In the Garden of Eden, God said to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3),“But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden,… You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.”  There were probably thousands of trees with fruit they could eat, but we know what happened next; the serpent (who was Satan) convinced them that God was not worthy of obedience, and they ate that which doomed us all to death.  Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death”, so death is what we all get “paid” for sinning.  I don’t like this deadly salary.

I wish that Adam and Eve had been more trusting of the God whom they walked with in the Garden.  I wish that Satan hadn’t convinced them to disobey.  Genesis 2 talks also about a Tree of Life in the Garden.  I believe it was God’s plan to allow them to eat of that if they had obeyed the only command he gave to them.  Maybe this Tree of Life contained fruit that would have allowed them to live forever—and to never leave those they loved.  But…it didn’t happen that way, and now we die.  

I think that’s why death feels so wrong—because it could have been different, and now it’s not.  It could have been perfect except for our imperfect choices. Not only did this choice of our first parents usher in death, it spiritually separated us from our Creator and Father, God, and exiled us from His presence eternally.

This exile means we can’t be with Him when we die—we can’t live in Heaven with Him---UNLESS we understand our condition; like Adam and Eve, we are sinners.  Like Adam and Eve, we need to be rescued.  Like Adam and Eve, we will die apart from God—apart from Peace.   Once we understand where we stand, and that we too, are deserving of this death, we can admit it and ask to be forgiven. And God will do it—through Jesus—the Author of Life and the Sacrifice that our sins required. It seems too easy when compared to our huge offense.

…and that’s another post for tomorrow. 

Death still feels very wrong to me, but now the fear is removed.       Because I know that Perfect Eternity lies on the other side.

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

John 5:24

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On a Roll…

So I’ve been posting every day for awhile and I’m kind of on a roll, and I’m afraid to stop.  Just like I’m afraid to stop boot camp in the early mornings. I’ve gotten myself into a really good routine and I think my whole productive world might come crashing down if I mess with anything.  I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE.  Did you get that last thought?  If not, here it is again: I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE.  at all.

I don’t like changing purses.  I don’t like changing my furniture around.  I don’t like when Fareway changes their freezer section.  I don’t like dieting because it requires me to change my eating habits.  And I don’t like when Panera changes the flavors of their bagels; when is passion fruit coming back anyway? 

CHANGE SCARES ME.  It makes me feel out of control of my cozy little existence.  It makes me feel kind of panicky because I can’t predict how things are going to be.  I’m the kind of person who likes to eat the exact same thing for breakfast every day because it’s the exact same thing and I like sameness—right now that’s a spinach, cottage cheese, banana, peanut butter, chocolate protein powder smoothie (Hey! Don’t knock it till you try it!  It’s actually very excellent), and I look forward to this thing every day—seriously.  I don’t know what I would do if my blender broke—probably cry. 

This change phobia poses problems when I have to adjust to things like moving—which I told Brent I would never do again, kids growing up, and friends moving away.  But it’s also the reason I value God’s unchanging nature.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8)—even when I’m not.  Even though I can’t always predict what He will do, I know it will be consistent with His nature and with how He has worked in my life in the past.  This allows me to [attempt to] fully trust Him because He is always “for” me.  He will never turn against me.  I can predict His protection and count on His grace even amidst the twisting and turning of my life.  That is a huge comfort to me since I can’t see the future. 

He’s got it, and that’s all I need to know.

Ok. I better get rolling, rolling, rolling.  My smoothie awaits. MMMM.


They will perish, but you remain;
   they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
   and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
   and your years will never end.
The children of your servants will live in your presence;
   their descendants will be established before you.

Psalm 102:26-28

Monday, April 4, 2011

‘member that time?

‘member that time when Tanya watched Marcus Welby and it was a murder mystery episode where they couldn’t figure out how a person was killed?  And they did an autopsy and everything and they were really stumped until they decided to remove the dead person’s fingernail polish with like cadaver acetone or something and they found needle marks underneath the fingernails? Then they realized that the person had been murdered while they slept because they were stupid enough to let their hands hang over the bed and someone came into their house with a poison syringe. member that?

Yeah, well that freaked me out and now I never paint my nails because I want to stay alive.

Now check out Paige’s blog for ‘member that time Monday!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Safety Girl

Security is not the absence of danger but the presence of God

You know, I used to be big into safety and all; wear your helmet, don’t get too close to the edge; chew your food slowly, keep your hands tucked under your pillow at night so people don’t shoot poison up your fingernails and then no one would be able to figure out how you died (check out tomorrow’s ‘member that time if you’re wondering), and don’t do anything risky.

But now, after living for 43 years and hanging out with God more and more, I have ceased letting fear (and therefore safety) rule my life.  I more fully understand God’s sovereignty lately and realize that His purposes will prevail whether I wear my helmet or not. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I all for being wise when it comes to cliffs and germs and large angry dogs, but I realize my ultimate protection comes from above.  I’ve decided to believe God when he says that He will protect me.  And when I am feeling unprotected, I choose to believe that all things work together for good—God’s good. Maybe sometimes God’s good is different from Tori’s perceived good, and maybe sometimes God’s good looks unsafe and scary.  But because I have learned to trust God like a child trusts a loving parent, I can now be at peace with the path God takes me upon—not always happy or comfortable, but peaceful. 

And I have also learned that God sometimes wants me to jump into His will when His will is extreme and inconvenient and unpopular.  These are the times when He asks me to bypass my instinct of self-preservation and obey Him with reckless abandon.  These are the times when I must rely on Him alone because I am not enough—but He is.  For He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).

So, I’m going to use this sound mind I’ve got, and I’m going believe in God’s control, and even if someone does come in and shoot poison up my fingernails when I’m sleeping, I’m Ok with that, cause I’ll be sleeping and I won’t even know!  Whew! 

It’s so nice not to worry. 

Try it you’ll like it.


He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling—
   even the LORD, who is my refuge—
then no harm will befall you,
   no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble,
   I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Babysitting my Stainless

So what man (who never works in the kitchen) designed stainless steel appliances?  Especially those nice stainless fridge door handles.  If you have stainless appliances, like I do, you have my deepest sympathy; didn’t we all think we were being all modern and stuff-- putting big silver machines in our kitchens.  BAD IDEA. 

Since my stainless steel appliances arrived last spring, It’s like I have another child.  They require so much cleaning and buffing and polishing (not that I clean and buff my children—that is obvious from the last post, but you know what I mean) and then it’s time to actually use them again.

Anyway, so if I like miss a day or two here, you know where I am—in my kitchen, babysitting my stainless.

MORAL OF THE STORY:  Never buy stainless steel appliances from a suave character wearing gloves.   

Beware or babysit—it’s your choice.

And now you know.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I’m not Foolin’

OK, I’ll admit it.  When my kids were little I had real trouble with some of the more minor aspects of child-rearing. 

It was about all I could do to dress four little children, feed four little children, and keep four little children alive.  I could not plant a garden, I could not make my own baby food, I could not clean up every Lego on my floor ( sometimes, when I was really tired, I just vacuumed them up—don’t tell Luke).  And I did really badly with helping them brush their teeth.  Most of the time, I put a little toothpaste on the brush and told them just to chew on it until it was gone.  Then, when I got around to it, I gave them a drink to rinse and all was well.  (And no, they don’t have a lot of cavities—with the exception of Cole—c’mon, he was the last kid—we probably ran out of good teeth genes by the time we got to him—at least he’s cute!)

Another thing I never did was cut their fingernails and toenails.  I just didn’t.  Don’t judge me.

Sometimes I could talk Brent into cutting those little tiny nails.  I did do the cutting myself once when Luke was very small—well, relatively—Luke was always pretty big—and I cut his finger.  and he wailed.  and I felt sooo guilty.  So guilty in fact, that I never attempted the task again—even three more kids later.

Luckily, my children learned to be nail-biters—for their hands—and nail rippers—for their feet.  Now the problem was solved.  Not pretty, but solved. And unluckily for them, they had to unlearn this nasty habit when they were able to groom themselves, i.e. cut their own nails.

Oh, and I rarely cleaned their ears.  I figure the ears do a pretty good job of cleaning themselves—-and you know, Q-tips are not to be used inside your ear (what on earth are they for then?).  When necessary, though, I rebelled against Johnson and Johnson and used a Q-tip on one of my dirty children’s ears. Apparently my youngest liked it when his dad or I spent time on his personal appearance because one time, when he was just a wee little boy, he came up to me sweetly and said, “Mommy, could you cut my fingernails and toenails and clean my ears?”

And I said yes.  How could I resist a dirty little boy with overgrown nails?

So there.  I hope that makes all of you overworked, underslept, slobber-covered mothers feel better about yourselves and your daily accomplishments.  Remember, “What would Tori do?” and then tell your kids, “If you’re good, I’ll clean your ears!” 

Nothing better than personal grooming to get those dirty little, long-nailed urchins to obey!  No foolin’!