How do I believe?

I have spoke here on several occasions how I was having a spiritual crisis and I am not sure that crisis was the right word. It isn’t so much about do I believe or not believe. Instead, my focus is more on what do I believe? And how do I believe? Religion is full of contradictions for me. More specifically, the people that practice religion are full on contradictions and for me that has always been a tough pill to swallow. I know God’s word to be pure. I know those who sometimes speak it struggle (myself included) in that pureness.

I was raised in Catholicism with a strong sense of what it meant to be Catholic. I studied bible verses, went to church and went to VBS/Church Camp and Sunday school when I had the opportunity. When I had the opportunities is the key phrase. I was raised in two separate homes and because of that getting to church was the hard part. Believing in the message at church always came easy. Grandparents, friends and neighbors went out of their way to be sure my sister and I were raised in religion versus the church. There is a clear distinction in that statement for me. I was raised to believe in God. That God would accept me however I came and church was an addendum to that not a requirement of it.

And because of my various exposures to various religions I had awesome opportunities to not only be exposed but to accept that all religions are truly headed for the same goal (yes I know I can likely be contradicted on that in some fashion but for my purpose). Some Sundays were spent at the Catholic church and others were spent at the Baptist or Non-Denomination. I always did the summer church activities, but it was usually at the closest church we lived to at the time. I never placed religion with a label and I think that is so different for others a lot of the time. They see themselves as an extension of their churches and I saw myself as extension of God.

Now here is where I make my proclamation: I don’t know if my beliefs are right. I don’t know if they are always okay with what each of my various churches has taught me. But I do know I have always been okay with being a God lover first and church goer second. I do see the advantages of fellowship and congregation. I have always enjoyed the social aspects of church and the message given I have always felt strong about. But I felt it no matter what church pew I sat in.

Romans 15  Verse 7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

For me though the struggle was that it was fulfilling that social need instead of the spiritual need. A spiritual need that I learned to carry out in my own way through reading of the bible, living it’s word or by admitting I often fall short but it was not from a lack of trying. Maybe those faults lie within me. I am okay with that. I am trying.

As I grew up and became adult and felt more of my social circle become more centered around a church I tried to play the part. I went every Sunday and I participated just like I thought every wife/woman/mother did and should. We had our girls baptized because we truly believe that God does exist and that they needed to know we committed them to that belief that they can later confirm. But what has been fundamentally wrong for me is no part of my religious beliefs are about playing a part, so why muck it up that way?

There’s the rub for me and maybe where I will begin to come off either completely off base or holier than thou. But who I am on Sunday morning is no different than who I am on Saturday night. My relationship to God is so personal and so private, but so meaningful that I don’t believe that I have to change who I am to suit a denomination or church as long as it suits Him.

Job 19 Verse 27 “I myself will see him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

He is called a father for a reason to me. A father loves us no matter what. I am not perfect and I have no doubts that my actions sometimes don’t further what I believe in my own heart. Accountability is my struggle here. Am I accountable to Him or to a church? Or both? Or maybe it is that I live in a much more conservative town than I was raised in and they see church differently that I do. There is no one thing or person at fault but it is a very gray area for me and one that I struggle making sense of and where my named crisis lies.


A Fine Mess!

Okay since the outbreak of H1N1, what say two falls ago, my kiddos have been sick every stinking fall. The H1N1 fall all of my family got H1N1. #1 got it horrible and they believed it made it to her lungs. Thankfully all’s well that ends well but it was most certainly a month long ordeal.  Then last fall it was some weird… how might I say this eloquently…poop bug. We were all fine but for a month straight everyone had horribly upset distressed colons that even Imodium couldn’t fix. We even had our water tested for parasites and almost everyone needed drugs to get things back to normal.

Now this fall two weeks ago today my # 2 came home with a high fever later diagnosed with strep. And this strep just keeps on giving. She is two weeks after diagnosis and back in the trenches again with another round of strep and high fevers. Now here we all are: fevers galore, snot monsters, energy zapped and red throats. Thankfully, no one else has tested positive for strep but her. However, we have all tested positive for the sickies. And to add insult to my own injury I have stinking poison ivy! I want to dig into my skin and make it bleed to get it to quit itching.

So where is the humor in this? You say the mom who has OCD  and her kids get perpetually sick right? Over and over. It makes me crazy. I feel like when I tell people my kiddos are sick again and it is going like it is going they are like “yeah, right!” I honestly feel like I couldn’t write a better story. However, I must admit what a boring one right?

Why can’t my kids be like other kids? And just get sick. They always gotta get dangerous high fevers, need emergency visits to the ER for these illnesses. It finally felt like we were out of that windmill cycle of sickness and antibiotic. And boom! So can you be too clean? As an contamination OCD’er I know that I clean all the time with antibacterial soaps. Add in the hand sanitizers and I just wonder if I don’t bring some of this on myself and my family.

Meet The New Girl

When MR asked me a few weeks ago if I would be a guest blogger, I was completely flattered and very excited. Like MR, I am a family girl they rule my world. I have a hubby and some rugrats, I even drive the minivan to soccer practices. The only thing missing is the classic “Hello My Name Is” sticker with MOM sharpied on it.

I adore my life completely except for when I don’t. At those times I really wish that I had a second home on the other side of our town, preferably next to a low-fat bakery. Thankfully, it usually happens that only one person in our family has a meltdown at a time. That role is usually split between Hubby and Youngest. Those two have a knack for stirring up the trouble!

Besides motherhood, I have quite a few interests like reading, crafts, food, health, and education, that I will share more on in the future. My most recent obsession however is I highly recommend this wonderful site if you love to waste huge amounts of time online. It is very addictive if you like to look at basically anything from clothes to cupcakes, gardens to gift wrap ideas, braids to bedrooms, makeup to mittens…

Looking at all the beautiful pictures is very inspiring, but sometimes for me that is all it is. I have a bad habit of dreaming up projects, but not actually getting around to doing them. This week though, I found a knitted owl pillow that I could not resist starting right in on. I made it only a few inches though before Youngest got bored and wanted some attention.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the future, dear MR readers, but for now – back to pinning!

There will always be a reason.

While thinking about food and my eating of it this weekend and then watching Kathy Ireland on the Doctors suggest you should use mayo on your hair versus in a salad. I realized just how much food relates to my mood and that there will always be a reason to eat.

For example, I had an extremely emotional week last week. To me that meant it was okay to comfort myself with food. This week I am sporting a snot nose and therefore here comes the comfort food again. Out to dinner Saturday with friends, we were out for a much need parental break, well then, you better eat up!

Are you sensing the pattern here? If pressed I could easily find a reason for every little morsel I place into my mouth. Even my BF and I talked yesterday about how we even sometimes blame that we live in Indiana where a healthy diet can sometimes be scarce.

It is easy to blame those things but one part of the blame misses from each of the equations. It is my hand that places that food in my mouth. However, I realized I have a much bigger problem that has to be dealt with before I can even address the mood eating. My biggest nemesis has been and always will be I am faithfully and lovingly addicted to Pepsi. A day does not go by that it doesn’t cross my lips. The more time goes on the more reason I find to drink. Some days most of my caloric intake can be attributed to the sugary substance my brain thinks it needs to even function.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that when I started teaching my pepsi intake jumped. But now, it is officially out of control. I go on spells where I cut down, but then a kiddo is sick, or I have to pull a graduate student late nighter and I cannot even function without multiple pepsi’s.

I know how to fix this. But sitting down deciding to do it is the hard part. I love pepsi. I love it like I love my children and my guy. I suppose that is the goal of soda industry right? Although I am not one for pointing out all of the evils of corporate America because it is my hand moving it to my mouth.

As I have tried to make less of me in the world I have had various goals. Be a runner. Lose massive amounts of weight. They all yo-yo but one thing that has always existed and I have ignored is my relationship with Pepsi. That is so bad I go out of my way to hide it from others.

Even though it seems humorous to come here and admit I am Pepsi’s Bitch. It actually is not funny at all. I can control what I eat easier than my Pepsi intake. I feel like I cannot function without it. I get irritated if I don’t have it. I mean extremely irritated. I am secret about just how much I consume. I plot and plan when I can have it again. I drink it and then feel better once I have it. And last but not least I always pronounce, there is always tomorrow to give it up. Is this not the making of an addiction?I am thinking it is.

Now that I identified it. Came out publicly. It is time to deal with it.

You better learn to zip it!

Well the snot/strep/sinus/viral infection has hit my house which has made me start about 27 posts and I walk away to tend to the latest kleenex need, fever check, another drink or just plain I am tired and didn’t feel like finishing. The good news we got the once over and I am fairly certain we will all pull through.

You know what I stink at? Keeping my mouth shut. I have a opinions and I guess I feel like everyone should hear them (ha ha considering I have a blog). I, then, speak my truths and walk away feeling guilty as hell I even spoke. And it isn’t that I feel like I need to shut up and never speak. Instead I think I just need to grasp better the right times to talk.

What is the addage? Bite your tongue. Surprisingly, I am pretty good at it in most crowds like school, my colleagues and outer people. But in my crowd…My crowd of close family and friends man do I let my lips loose. I don’t even care sometimes if they want to hear me. I just speak it because they are in my crowd and that automatically means they should want to hear it, right?

What I gotta get is a better handle of if they want to hear it or not. Figuring out when to shut up and be supportive and listen or when they are truly asking and want my opinion. It is no secret I have an opinion on everything. My opinions have opinions. That does not mean every single one of them has to right to be heard, spoken or yelled.

And in my own experience most people honestly just want to be heard and are telling you their opinion to be heard. Not to hear your opinion on what they just shared. But it is so hard sometimes. Sometimes I don’t always agree with what they say or I think I have something to add onto what they share. Truth is I just need to zip it.

And while I realize reading about my bad manners may not necessarily be the most exciting blog read ever. It provides an awesome jumping point to make a big announcement. In practicing my learning to zip it and just listen sometimes I have invited a guest blogger that will be blogging here at Mommy Rhetoric at least once a week. There will be more details to come but my guess is this writer, like myself, has lots to say.

Stay tuned for more!

I am not one of them. I am me.

The only difference between a tattooed person and a person who isn’t tattooed is that a tattooed person doesn’t care if you’re tattooed or not. ~Anonymous

It is funny what happens when you see someone with a tattoo. Some people love them and some people hate them. It certainly separates the crowd into us and them. An us and them that I have always tried to resist. Because honestly I never fit in totally with the us nor the them. I am kind of just me and the older I get the more comfortable I am with that.

In becoming comfortable in who I am I have had a longing or want for a tattoo. I remember when I first started dating my guy and early on making our way to a tattoo parlor where I proceeded to chicken out after it was my turn. It was always something I regretted. But I honestly was not ready and I am so glad I waited.

Since I have had Annabelle I had an idea in my mind that I would be tattooed. I didn’t know when but I knew it would happen and I knew what I wanted.  I wish I could say it was some deep spiritual reasoning or I am just gonna be a tatted up girl. Both of which aren’t the case. It was pretty simple. I wanted to mark a significant change in my life.

I have spent the last 11 years of my life dedicated to my three A’s. I have carried of them the best I could, I have nursed and feed them the best my body could. I have been a stay at home mom and been there for each of their early year firsts as much as I could. None of those sacrifices are going to change and I will continue doing the best I can as their mother. As a mother, I will continue on as I always have. But this tattoo was my way of paying tribute to what I have done within my own body and taking my claim to it back. Nothing about this tattoo is about anything other than the parent child bond that was created when I was pregnant with each of them. And the pure love and joy I had for caring for each of them once they were born and stood in amazement of what my body was able to accomplish each time.

To mark this change I got my version of A cubed to represent each of my A named daughters. It is the letter “a” with a square around it. And yes I know mathematically the cubed means a cube but a cube was not near as artistic as I was hoping for so it was a square. I love it and I am so glad I did it. Even better my guy, my very best friend in the whole world and her guy were right there with me. It was a rite of passage for me and the first people I wanted to show were my girls.

This will be my one and only tattoo. I was so nervous to get it because it is so outside of the box for me and I was worried what others would think of me. Then I got over it. This isn’t about flaunting a gang symbol or some fancy saying that is deep and I am not getting a full body armor of tattoos (not that there is anything wrong with those things) They just aren’t me. This was about my girls. Now I believe I have firmly landed myself right in the middle of us and them. It is a little place called just being Shannon, the mom to my three beautiful girls and the wife to my guy who I love so much for giving me them and making us a happy little family and who loves my tattoo and accepts me for who I am.

And for the nitty gritty…it did hurt. The most painful part was the bone part. But it was nothing compared to the pain of having my girls. It was nothing because it was less than 10 minutes and it was nothing because I had tremendous amount of support around me and that meant more to me than any little tattoo needle. It was cheap. And I did let my parents know to give them warning, not really asking for permission, but to let them know I was defacing what they created. Once they knew the reasoning they were excited to see the end result. And I can hide it easily with clothes or a watch. So I got a tattoo in my style.

Egg in a Basket, Chicken in the Hole, Egg in the Hole, Chicken in a Basket

You can call it whatever you want but I call it good. When I tell people I love this I get the most comments and questions on what exactly it is. I have realized it also has many varying names.

After reading several cooking blogs I realized I have one major flaw here. I don’t offer up much of a recipe. When I thought a little longer about it I am kind like of like Sandra Lee on Food Network (but cooler right?…No tablescapes for me). What we do have in common is how we handle a recipe. We simplify and don’t sacrifice taste. So I apologize for the lack of 50 ingredients. No time. My recipes are always opened up for you to make it work for you.

So we have today I am making my family’s version of Egg in a Basket. I grew up with this and I still make it. The only added touch is my guy’s grandmother’s biscuit cutter bent and all.

You need a biscuit cutter (or cup works) 2 slices of bread, 1 tbsp of butter (cooking spray will work if you want healthier), dash of salt and pepper, 2 eggs and a frying pan.

Take your cutter and cut out the dough in the middle of the bread leaving a “basket” for your egg.

Melt your tablespoon of butter and run all pieces of bread through it so they toast. Crack your two eggs right into the center of your “basket”. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook your egg to preferred doneness. I usually like no creamy whites but a creamy yellow usually 4-5 mins. Sometimes I flip sometimes I don’t depending on my mood. Make sure your whites are cooked to avoid food borne illnesses.

Serve up with a fruit cup and glad of orange juice and you have a nice breakfast. YUMMY!

Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, shared something similar on her foodnetwork show.

Saturday Sharing…Mid Septemeber

Today is a big day. For reasons I will soon reveal but not yet. In the mean time I have to ask:

What is it about this post? No.No.No. That is read worthy? This post is my highest ranked post. It has been read an absolute ton. And while I would love to indulge myself in self important thinking I am not sure that this post was so much better than any other. Maybe I just said what others were thinking, I don’t know.

For today’s sharing I am gonna do a blog roll. I love to read blogs and have read them forever so why not share the love…

The first one’s I will share are people I consider old friends. Most of whom I have never met nor will likely ever met. But they have been fixtures in my internet life for a long time and I share as much with them as I do my real life friends.

Friends Sharing

A Ham Kin-Jen is an amazing mother and midwife. We have been through it all together. Now here we are both doing what we love and raising our kiddos. I admire Jen’s ability to sit down make up mind and do something. That is her blog too. She just does it all. There isn’t anything I don’t think she can accomplish.

PithyDithy-Who I have shared before. I met her the same place I met Jen. I am hesitant to share her actual name because since her husband’s tragic death she has been trying to be a little more anonymous on the net. The journey’s I feel like I have held her hand through are numerous and they don’t stop. She is another amazing Momma and on the tenure track as a professor. Since her story is so ever changing I am hesitant to put her into any sort of role for you. She is an awesome read.

And Baby Makes 6-Andrea and I met in the same spot as the above two. She too is amazing mother of four kiddos. Her military life with her kiddos is a humorous read. She shares my sense of humor.

Savings Sharings

We all know I am an avid couponer not to be confused with extreme couponer. Remember I don’t do that. I actually play games with myself weekly trying to save money. Some days are good and some are bad. But there would be no days without the help of my coupon bloggers. And don’t forget that coupon browser app for online deals that I told you earlier about…Drop Down Deals.

Baby Cheapskate$5 DinnersKrazy Koupon LadyBargain BrianaMoney Saving Mom

Regular Reads Sharing

What that means is I stay up to date on these blogs because they share my interest which are teaching, cooking, parenting, OCD or just plain good to read.

A Patchwork LifeMoosh in IndyThe Spohrs Are MultiplyingAdventures in BabywearingSecret Agent MamaCooking With My KidWords Are My GameWriting On The Margins

Now I could share all day long ones that I read semi regularly but I won’t do that to you. Your hand will get tired from all the clicking.

One last share…

Had a unintentional girls night out last night with the BF. Her daughter and my daughter are BFs and we decided to all get together and have some fun. No guys! If you are a woman this is so necessary. We yacked about anything and everything. We played occasionally with the girls but they mostly entertained each other. Baby girl # 3 hung out with the Mommas. We had the pizza we wanted with onions and all. YUM! We topped it off with a movie. That is my sharing.

Run don’t walk to watch Bridesmaids. It has some extremely crude humor but it was so gut busting hilarious. It was not at all what we expected but man was there a pay off. It was light and allowed both my BF and I to sit back and tie off the end of this week in a much better way than it started.


Get a glimpse of where I surf regularly? Go to Saturday Sharing.


Me and My Clown Crew

The lowdown dirty on the MR crew is pretty simple. But without each and everyone of them my life would not be where it is at. And just how cliche is that for the English teacher to say? Can I tell you in just how many papers I have read and just how many times I read the line, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without them?”

There is my MR Dad who lives in Indy who has the down home Chicago Roots. My memories of my dad are kind of funny when I think about them now. He is a speedo man proudly. When not wearing a speedo rest assured he can rock a neon color short and cut off shirt like no one’s business. I grew up remembering him playing the harmonica and vaguely reminding me of Tony Danza. But nothing was better than his Billy Ray Cyrus’s Achy Breaky Heart phase…Rat-tail and all!

My Momma is my rock. She is the woman who always made my problems hers (and still does). To this day she knows when things are hard for me and she out of the blue calls me. My memories of her are finding the humor in life when it wasn’t always humorous. For instance, when I was down and out about getting braces she dawned her own homemade pair out of ol’ Reynolds. What a look that was. Or the time lice was rampant in our house between all my sisters and I. She saunters off to the kitchen douses her hair with salt and comes out saying, “Man, these guys are getting every where.” She can find a smile when you don’t really want to.

My guy is who is my everything. He puts up with me and loves me more. We have been together for 145 years. We met when I was 20 and had such a unique meeting and love story. Now we just get one another. And yes marriage takes work and it isn’t always easy but I have never imagined, nor do I want to, my life without him. He makes everything better. He is a quiet man which is good cause I talk enough for the both of us. He secretly thinks he is still young and hip and tries to keep up on the technology with me. Sad thing is…I am not sure even when he was young and hip he was ever actually there. That is why I love him though. His uncanny ability to be who he is and not care.

Then my beautiful girls….#1, who is 10 and in 4th grade. She is awesome at golf and softball. She is all tom boy. Her nickname is Boogs and Boogie because she loved to dance and still does. # 2 who you all know way too much about. She is 7 and a 2nd grader. She has the brain and personality of a 50 year old but her sense of style and personality are irresistible. You just always want to be where she is. She is my attention grabber in more ways than you see on here. She always pushes the envelope just a little too close to the edge. Lastly, # 3 who is my sparkle in my eye. The baby I didn’t know I wanted. My miracle baby who should have been born with problems and issues but came out perfect. She completed our family and is such a sneak attack in so many ways. She sneaks up on you in every sense of the word. Once she snares you, you are done.

There’s my best friend who I adore. I have always wanted a best friend like her. She has seen me at my worst and my best and still rocks my world with her awesomeness. She pushes me constantly to be a better me and is always on the other end of my next dramatic text. I have known her since I started dating my guy because her guy and my guy were roomies at Purdue and they all three went to high school together. Funny thing is though…I thought she was a snob. I thought she didn’t like me. We didn’t become friends until our oldest were in kindergarten and I had to call her to bring treats for a party. From that moment I don’t really remember her not being a part of my life in some way shape or form. A call that I am forever grateful and lucky.

Last but not least…my in laws. I am so very lucky to have them too. They make parenting easier and make my life easier….A LOT. They have pretty much single handedly been the reason I was able to return to school. Each of my girls first school was Grandma School. My girls get to live 5 minutes away from their grandparents and share a unique relationship.

The reason I share all of this is because these are the people that matter. Of course, there are many more and my list could go on. But these are the people that keep me going when I want to stop and help to make my dreams come true. When I set out in August of 2002 and decided to be a school mom it wasn’t just a commitment from me. It was a commitment from all those around me. No words can thank them enough!

All things graduate student.

Today’s post is brought to you by a very frazzled and caffeinated graduate student who has spent the last two weeks feverishly searching through scholarly databases, books and other writer’s work cited pages for research that prove what I want to say better than how I can say it because I have not yet achieved that status.

So right now the MLA and The Owl, as I lovingly refer to it with my students, are my best friends. They lead me where I need to go and beyond.

What that means for you readers is that MR is on a break today. Certainly not a writing break, but a blog writing break. I promise to return to the scene tomorrow with mad appreciation for those who I surround myself with because they are freaking awesome.

You know what makes all that above possible? My freaking awesome support network that doesn’t get near the credit they deserve. And I am off….

If you need another read, I am not afraid to share. Heather Spohr is a amazing woman and has quite a cool story to tell. Please go read The Spohr’s are Multiplying and Enjoy!