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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Complaining

When Enough Isn’t Good Enough

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Taking a three-week trip from Texas to Michigan and back again with five children is nothing to sneeze at, especially if one is crazy enough to drive. It was the most ambitious trip we’ve taken to date, and by the end we were all getting on each other’s nerves a bit. Okay, a lot. Especially the last few days in the car, everyone was on edge, complaining about every little thing. When I handed back granola bars for the kids to snack on, they grumbled about which kind they got. When we stopped for dinner, they fought about how many chicken nuggets they received. When it was time for a movie in the car, inevitably one of them was mad at the selection. At one point I was so fed up with the constant whining that I said, “Would it be too much to thank your dad and me for everything we do for you, rather than complaining that it’s not exactly the way you want it? Do you have any idea how spoiled you sound?” But even as I said the words, I was convicted. Because, you see, I’m the same way.

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Replacement Tools

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It was not a good start to the week. My baby had been fussy all weekend long, waking multiple times during the night, which is unusual for him. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, and his crankiness during the day was not fun to deal with under such circumstances. Then on Sunday evening, my fifth grader started complaining that his ear hurt. That night was his turn to be up multiple times, crying because of pain in his ear. Come Monday morning, I loaded them up and hauled them off to the doctor, to find that both had rip-roaring ear infections, and that my ten-year-old’s eardrum had actually burst. My four-year-old had fluid in her ears but it wasn’t infected, but that evening she started complaining that she had “crumbs” in her ear. Off to the doctor we went again the next morning. No, she didn’t have an ear infection. She had strep. Lovely. With three sick kids, a house full of germs, and myself going on zombie hormones to begin with, it was shaping up to be a pretty awful week.

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Sunscreen and Sand

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The smell hit me in full force as soon as I walked in the door.  We were returning from a spur-of-the-moment overnight trip to the beach, and we were all hot, tired, sandy, and greasy from sunscreen.  All I really wanted to do was take a long shower, give the kids a bath, and put everyone to bed.  But that was not meant to be.  It didn’t take me long to realize what the awful smell was.  Our dogs had left us a lovely package in their cage, which was smeared all over the place, hardened by now, making for unpleasant cleanup at best.  So rather than get that nice long shower I’d been dreaming about, I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing out their cage.  Welcome home.

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Taco Bell Blues

Over the weekend, our family went to a nearby rail trail for a nice long bike ride together.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the temperature was just right for the task at hand, and some of the trees that framed the trail were turning color already.  It was perfect.  That is, until one of our children, who shall remain nameless, asked us when we were going to Taco Bell.  My husband and I told said child that was not in the plans, as I had a roast in the Crock Pot at home.  That bit of news sent him over the edge.  The whining, crying, and demands that followed were not pleasant.  Somehow it was our fault, because he thought we had promised this, although in fact we hadn’t, nor were any of our other children led to believe this.  So for a good 10-15 minutes this blaming, crying, and sniveling went on as the rest of us tried to ignore it.  The thing is that he was missing out on the beauty around him by focusing on one thing that wasn’t going to change anyhow.  Thankfully, after a while, the tears subsided and he rebounded to catch back up with the rest of us and have a good time for the remainder of the trip.  And wouldn’t you know it, when we got home later and sat down to eat that roast he thought would be “disgusting,” he took a bite and looked up in surprise, saying, “Wow!  This is actually really good!”

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