Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG
May 31st, 2007
Lessons From a Bee


Today, Sir James (age 3) was inside the covered porch (which we affectionately refer to as ‘the cage); he was watching his brothers’ speed around on the four wheeler.  All of a sudden I looked out the window and I saw him in the cage sobbing. Just SOBBING.  So, being the overly sugar coated soft hearted fairy princess mommy that I am, I went out, put my hands on my hips and said, “Boy, you better stop that *right* now”, for you see, I assumed that he was being a big crybaby because his brothers went riding off around the other side of the house and I figured he was bored since he couldn’t see them anymore.  And I was a little astonished, because we don’t put up with that kind of “my-feelings-are-hurt-so-I’m-gonna-have-a-cow” nonsense here at The House of Igarashi.

Well, the boy kept crying, and as I approached he was able to (somewhat) clearly explain, “I no like de bee. Dat bee bite my feenguh”  And yep, sure enough, there was a defiant looking bee bouncing against the screen.  So I kissed James little head and said, “yes, that’s right, you mustn’t touch a bee because it will sting you”.

I asked him later on that evening if he wanted to go back outside and touch a bee and he said, with much consternation, “Bee? NO! Bee big twubbah”. Yep. bees are big trouble. I doubt he’ll purposely touch a bee ever again.

I don’t think it’s an accident that God put these sorts of life lessons (like bee stings, kitty scratches, poison ivy, etc) in nature to parallel how we, as parents, can be effective in our training. In one quick ‘lesson’ my son was ‘trained’ not to touch bees. Snap… just like that.  How?  It was because the immediate result that came from touching a bee was unpleasant enough to make him stop for good. 

Equally important, it should be noted that in order to get the point across to James, the bee did not have to shake its little fist, scream and rant, abuse him, injure him emotionally, frown sternly or make a long speech about "how it hurt his little bee-heart to have to sting poor James but blah blah blah".  It’s simple cause and effect.  It works everytime.

I wish more parents could truly understand this concept.  Their life (and their child’s life) could be so much easier if they simply stopped bad behaviour in its tracks instead of repeatedly battling life-long issues half-heartedly.  Long drawn out battles (especially over the same bad behaviour) are wearisome for both parent and child.  And it also has an added danger of fostering resentment, bitterness or just a plain dislike (or hatred) for one another. 

‘Time-outs’, angry looks, withdrawn affection, or speeches of how "it hurts mommy’s heart when you do that" certainly are unpleasant… but generally *not* going to stop repeated bad behaviour (such as whining, defiantly saying no, throwing fits, hitting others, moping, or not obeying cheerfully the first time). 

Lastly, I cannot stress enough that any consequenes given should never *ever* be done in anger/violence.  Angry discipline will always reap bad fruit.  If you cannot control yourself, that needs to get under control like, yesterday. 

I don’t reckon this entry will get many comments on account of it being one of them-thar ‘touchy’ subjects that scare people.  None-the-less –  I hope some of you will find my little Bee Story interesting and thought-provoking.  I tell you the truth, it’s one of the proven philosophies that has served my family well. 

May 31st, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 30 Comments

Memorial Day is my new favorite holiday —  I wish I could say I was less selfish and it’s because of a great poignant moment when I reflected on all the brave and mighty who have fought to keep us free – but the truth of the matter is that this weekend was simply phenomenally fun.

On Friday we went to the Roys to meet the Carrs and have a cookout with deer kabobs.  The Carrs were totally late so we said, ‘forget them!" and started mowing thru the food.  It was *very* good.  Maria is the best cook ever.  We did finally meet the late Carrs that night and I was a little disappointed because Shay is gorgeous and looked like a cute little Southern Belle super
model, and I generally can’t stand beautiful people. And while her avatar is cute, it does *not* look like her.  It is funny how my first impressions of people are always wrong. I did the same thing when I first met Annemarie and she totally became my best friend. Likewise, despite the fact that Shay is ridiculously pretty, me and my whole family have officially adopted the Carrs and we are actively campaigning for them to move right next door to
us.  They are the *neatest* family!

The next day everybody came over to my messy house for a bar b que – plus we got the added bonus of my other best friend Angie, who dropped over.  Ryann started off the festivities by catching a lizard and then attaching it to her ear.  Actually, that’s not true.  Shay kicked things off by bringing me a present. I love presents. Angie brought me one too. Coie got the best present of all time from Mr. Roy, but I will let her tell that story.  Here’s Ryann before the lizard attaching

Even tho it was mighty hot that day, us ladies were brave and didn’t complain and single stitch.  See us in my air conditioned, newly painted dining room?  We just stayed there and ate all day while everybody outside caught a bevy of fish from the pond

Angie, Maria and Levi, Me, Coie and Shay

The Carrs slept over that night and the next day, bright and early, we showed up at the Burggrafs unannounced.  We figured if we brought food then they’d be less likely to send us packin’.  I wish I would have caught the water fight that Mr. Burggraf started with Coie.  But alas, here at least are some less interesting ones

Me and James playing in the stream…

…until James ditched me for a more entertaining playmate.   Here he is with Shay and Richard’s youngest, Martha Bryan.  There is a cool story behind that kids name but it would take to long to type out.  Someday Shay will have to tell it on her blog. 

We had a lovely time at the Burggrafs. Us ladies visited and ‘talked herbs’ with the beautiful and gracious Mrs. Burggraf while her husband led the rest of our crew on a hiking expedition.

The Carrs stayed over again on Sunday night (because we hog-tied them and would not let them leave) and then on Monday we drove down for A.T.I.C. Heavens to Betsy I got a lot of loot.  I got a beautiful mirror, some very trendy drinking glasses, shoes for my son, a train set, a bunch of A Beka workbooks, a full set of little cars and a bunch of clothes.  There was GOOD stuff there.  I think it went really well.  Shay kept turning things over looking for a price tag at the bottom "hello Shay.. we keep tellin’ you, it’s
all FREE" I wish I had some pictures of the day there By the end of the weekend we were exhausted.

The Carrs went on their way and we were winding things down when I heard Coie reading outloud to the kids. She was reading them her two favorite childhood books, The Wrong Way Rabbit
and The Best Loved Doll.  I snuck a picture because they all looked so sweet.

I hope your weekend was just as lovely!

May 29th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

May 24th, 2007
Free Stuff and Funnies

I hope you are making plans to come out for A.T.I.C this monday!  What’s A.T.I.C. ?  It’s a FREE garage sale.  Yep, a big group of us are getting together and bringing all sorts of stuff we don’t use anymore — clothes, books, lamps, rugs, curtains, roller skates, whatever.  It’ll all get laid out nice and neat-like on some tables and then everyone who shows up is free to take anything they want and as much as they want — and it’s all for free.  neat, eh?  Email me or Maria if you need more info.  I really hope you can make it!

*** And now, just for fun… my friend Jen G emailed this to me – and if you are writer, or an aspiring writer, you will appreciate these sublime analogies.  If you ever get writers block, perhaps you can swipe one of them as your own.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was room temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph. (My personal favorite)

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

My personal favorites were numbers 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 16, 19, 20, 21, and 22.

May 24th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

This morning me and Coie got into a hair pulling, karate chopping, slap-down fist fight over a certain New Testament passage.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite *that* violent, but it was a fun visual (and just for the record, I could *totally* take her if it came down to it). Ok, anyways, I was trying to find the passage where it says “we are not only called to salvation by Christ but also called to suffer for His sake” and I knew it was in Philippians, but know-it-all Coie kept insisting it was found in 1 Peter.

So after a quick search, it turns out we were both right:

Philippians 1: 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake

1 Peter 2:21: For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps 

I let her know (begrudgingly) and she replied with something like: “yep, I KNEW it! In your face, mama!”

Incidentally, if any of you are interested, those passages also correlate to: Revelation 1:9; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; Acts 9:16; John 16:33; John 15:20; John 15:18; Mark 10:30.  Don’t believe me?  Go look them up.  I dare you.

* In less violent news, today we are going to our very excellent friends’ housewhere my daughters get to act in a highly professional Sherlock Holmes production. They are fully wound up about it – it is sure to afford us all with a plethora of chortles, chuckles and snorts. 

* Lastly, I have two prayer requests–  and I thank you ahead of time because I know a lot of you will actually honestly remember to pray and it is *much* appreciated.

Our friends, The Dawsons, are going thru a severe trial.  This is a dear family and the dad is undergoing an intense and excruciating battle with cancer.  Please pray with me that this wonderful man would regain full strength and recover completely.  His children and his wife have been an incredible testimony of faith and endurance during this time.

Secondly, please remember to pray with us for the church in Ethiopia. Our friends, Dave and BeckyLynn Black are leaving again (in mere days) to go back into Ethiopia and minister to these dear brothers and sisters in the Lord. Please pray for their safety, for wisdom, for strength and that God would continue to work mightily thru them while they are there.

We are blessed, as Christians, to have EACH OTHER.  We truly depend on the body of Christ – it is how God decided to set things up.  Let us never grow weary in doing good, especially in the household of believers. Let us encourage, bless, support, pray for and edify one another.  We are called into service, and prayer is most certainly not the least of these acts of love.


May 22nd, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

May 19th, 2007
Happy Father's Day!


Holy Mozers, what a weekend.  Geoff and the big boys were off camping with Mr. Burgraff’s Father/Son group for the weekend.  So while they were gone, us fairer, gentler Igs busted out the power tools and turned the house around for a big early Father’s Day surprise for Geoff the Great.

Coie did a more than thorough job on her blog pg explaining and photographing the tremendous feat we accomplished (complete with a hideous picture of me), so I won’t retell it.

Instead, I will tell you this: my favorite part of the project was finding 16 Ig Pics to fill two separate artsy picture frames, which now adorn our newly un-uglyfied walls.  Since Coie did all the other splainin’ of what we did, I will simply share the pictures that we framed

We filled the eight open spots in the first frame with the following:





And then we filled the second frame with these (I like these far better)



 That pretty much sums us up in eight frames.

And lastly, I found this picture of me and coie a few months back.  One of my favorite things about my 18 year old is that she’s not too big to still snuggle with the mama

I love my family! 


May 19th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

May 17th, 2007
Somebody Get Me A Bucket


Ok, barf alert.  My son is in charge of cleaning the toilets, so what do I catch him using today?  He was scraping the deposits off the inside of the bowl with my favorite metal cake-frosting spatula.  And he was just dismayed that I would be so hysterical about such a thing.  “Can’t you just wash it?” the boy asked.

“How about I serve your mashed potatoes in there?  How would you like that, toilet boy?”   He still didn’t get it, but at least he apologized profusely and promptly ran away to boil it.  And no, even tho that was nice of him, boiled or not, I will *never* again frost another cake with that thing

And then, literally minutes later, Dippy came in to tell me that James peed in my pretty ceramic flower pot.  Ok, despite the fact it is called ‘a pot’, that boy certainly KNOWS better. I was going to put a tomato plant in there. Actually, come to think of it, last month some of you may remember when he peed in the crock pot.  … ok, it’s all coming together now.  Perhaps you will want to think twice before inviting us over for a pot luck – and if you do, don’t serve pot roast or chicken pot pies.  This all sounds like a twisted Sesame Street segment.   I will simply have to console myself with the fact that my son is an un-toilet trained word-pattern genius.   This has been a weird day.  Where’d I put my box of chocolate covered Tylenol PM? 

May 17th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments


I started getting emails at the beginning of the week from people commenting about an article that I had written a few years back.  I was sort of at a loss until somebody mentioned that had sent it out.  So that was sort of fun – especially since they were all ‘nice’ emails.  I am hesitant to mention the article because when it originally came out, it was (legitimately) misunderstood by a few people who felt it had a judgmental tone (some from very dear friends whom I love tremendously and I felt awful for making them feel badly).  

Anyhow, the crux of the article was dealing with depression and anxiety and what had helped me during a particularly hard time in my life — and it was ironic that decided to send this article out NOW, because I had completely turned into a Mad Cow only the week earlier.  

I don’t know about you, but I have had days that seriously frighten me.  My husband has code phraseology during these times and asks “if he should go camping”.   Anyhow, like I said, it hasn’t been very long since I’ve had one of those Special Sweetheart weeks and it is always a downer coming face to face with the fact that as much as we love God and long to be steady and reliable… we are human and can be very weak.  Although I must admit I also appreciate those awful times because I need that stark realization of how much I cannot do things on my own and how desperately I need the grace, love and mercy of a Saviour.   

Yep, He even came to save crazy Mad Cows. Incredible, isn’t it?  How good and unbelievably patient He is.

I love my friend, Angie, because she is so honest and so totally real.  Yesterday I was at her house and asked how she was doing.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she had also been having a Mad Cow day.  I don’t know why, but it is strangely comforting to find others from the same herd.  We were both able to laugh and thank God for friends who will encourage us.  We also talked about how in the midst of it all, it is really hard to remember:  

A)    Not to take yourself seriously when you’re obviously not you

B)    Not to say or do things until the Mad Cow Frenzy lifts

C)    And it is hard to remember that you ever have actually had ‘normal’ days when you’re frothing at the mouth

All of this to say…. I hope you are not having a horrible day / week / month / year; I can testify that God is faithful and trustworthy (even when we are not).  Immerse yourself in His Word during these times.  Stay away from outside influences that would tempt you to have a worldly perspective (movies, music, television, radio talk shows, etc).  And if you are not a Mad Cow today, praise God for His mercy and take this opportunity to benefit His Kingdom.  Encourage a friend, instruct your children, love your husband fully and don’t take ‘normal’ for granted. 

The controversial article can be found here: part one  and part two   AND as a TOTAL DISCLAIMER the stock photo of the lady at the top is not me.  I don’t know why they do that. 

May 16th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

May 14th, 2007
Watch Your Mouth

If somebody you know starts to gossip, kindly ask them to stop. And if you are tempted to gossip, staple your tongue to the table.

 This is a personal study of gossip in an effort to realize how much God hates this sin – and a prayer to hate it as much as my Lord does.  I want my life to be characterized by grace, kindness and wisdom.  Gossip, in any form, has the power to utterly destroy.  It has the power to devastate others, and it will most certainly always destroy the gossiper herself.  How do we know if we’re gossiping?  Imagine that the person whom you wish to ‘chat about’ has some sort of power to instantly destroy your house or your children or your personal supply of chicken curry mix.  You wouldn’t want to say anything to irritate them, would you?  Imagine them listening in as you share your frustrations or ‘concerns’ about them (or their family).  And picture them holding a magic Destroy-You-Instantly-Wand.  Is it a silly little trick? Yes, maybe so; but if it works, use it.  Do anything and everything in your power to keep your mouth from saying things that you ought not.  Does a little bit of "sharing" or "venting" or (so-called) just getting "counsel" from a series of close friends really matter that much?  As I studied the verses below, it was very helpful determining how serious gossip actually is.  I hope it is helpful for you as well. 


 Proverbs 11:12-14 

 12 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor,
       but a man of understanding holds his tongue.

 13 A gossip betrays a confidence,
       but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.

Proverbs 16:

27 A scoundrel plots evil,
       and his speech is like a scorching fire

28 A perverse man stirs up dissension,
 and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 18

7 A fool’s mouth is his undoing,
       and his lips are a snare to his soul.

 8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
       they go down to a man’s inmost parts.

 Proverbs 20

He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. (do people need to avoid me? What sort of speech do I hear from others that should I be avoiding?)

Proverbs 26

 20 Without wood a fire goes out;
       without gossip a quarrel dies down.

 21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
       so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife
(do I make my problems – or others’ problems — bigger by fueling them?)

23 Like a coating of glaze [over earthenware
       are fervent lips with an evil heart

Romans 1

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful.  (Gossip is a serious enough sin to be lumped in with murdering, lying, God-haters.)

Look who gossip is sandwiched between in 1 Corinthians 12:

20For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder

In first 1 Timothy 5  there is a clear picture of what a Christian woman should NOT look like:

13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander

 Timothy 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

Timothy 5:13
At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.

2 Timothy 3  2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

Titus 2:3
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,

Psalms 34     

12Who is the man who desires life
 And loves length of days that he may see good?
 3Keep your tongue from evil
 And your lips from speaking deceit.
 14 Depart from evil and do good;
 Seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 37

30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.
31The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip.

Psalm 39

I said, "I will guard my ways  That I may not sin with my tongue;
         I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle

Psalm 52  (what will God do to those who will not control their tongue?) 4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. 5 But God will break you down forever; He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent, And uproot you from the land of the living.

Proverbs 10 19  When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise. 20 The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little.

Proverbs 12 18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12 13An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will escape from trouble.

Proverbs 13: 3 The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 17: 4  An evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue YIKES, we are not only judged for what we say… but also judged by what we choose to pay attention and listen to.

Proverbs 18  7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul

Ecclesiastes 10:12
Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him

James 3:

4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!  6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

James 1: 26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.  (this is a terrifying thought to me)

Does God hate gossip?  Yes, he abhors it.

….Do we hate gossip?  If we are His, then we must recognize it for what it is, stop making excuses and/or justifications for speaking ill of others and change right now.

Lord, thank you for giving us the faith and the ability to change where we need to change. Forgive me for being guilty so often in this area.


 gos·sip : ‘gä-s&p
Function: noun
1 a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others
2 a : rumor or report of an intimate nature b : a chatty talk c : the subject matter of gossip

i.e. To put others in a bad light whether with things said or things unsaid, gossip can also be done by making inferences with looks or by using certain tones. 

May 14th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

Happy Mothers Day, friends!  I pray that God would bless and strengthen every one of us throughout this beautiful foot-path called ‘motherhood’


I’ll Take The Life Behind Curtain #3

It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it ruins my day. It generally takes place when I am in line at the grocery store, or scrunched between my five kids in the sales aisle searching for the best price on boys’ underwear. The scene goes something like this…

I look down and realize that my oldest son has two different shoes on— a rubber yellow boot and a brown sandal. My youngest daughter is pulling long, stretchy strands of gum out of her hair and sticking them to the back of her sister’s shirt, who, at the realization, begins protesting (wide-eyed and grossed out) way too loudly. In the meantime, the wet two-year-old on my hip begins sneezing uncontrollably on account of his weird habit of winding locks of my un-brushed hair around his finger and shoving the ends up his nose. And when I look up at my oldest daughter with my much used "could you help me, please?!!" stare, I realize that she’s standing there, frozen-dead asleep-eyes open, but snoring.

And that’s when "SHE" walks by. The woman with the perfect hair, with the stunning, unwrinkled (Taco-Bell-sauce-free) suit. She strolls by with an easy step without tripping over children or dragging along stragglers by the collar. She has perfect nails, matching shoes, diamond earrings, and lightly holds the keys to her two-seater BMW in her clutter-free hand. She does not have baby wipes or subtraction flash cards poking out of the top of her bag. She is not in a hurry, she is not frantically searching to get what she came for and then get out before the "screamer" goes off. She seems so "free." And on my worst days, I abandon all that I know to be true, and follow her in my mind, by jumping onto the "What If" bus.

I know where the "What If" bus goes. It travels from "I Could Have Been" to "If Only," stopping just long enough to tour the supposed highlights of glamorous possibilities that were forsaken when I signed up for Christ, and then said "I Do" to the man that my Heavenly Father brought me. The "What If" bus takes me to prestigious colleges, to journalism school, to quiet libraries, to an exciting job in a plush office at a top selling magazine or major newspaper in a busy high rise, or to hot, sandy beaches where my tummy isn’t squishy, or "oogelly-googelly" (as my five-year-old coined it). The "What If" bus promises to be a tantalizing tour, but when I get back from my little trip, I am irritated, impatient, discontent, and sour. It always brings emptiness.

The prince of this world encourages us to covet, to become discontent, and to believe the grass is greener on the other side by using subtle strokes of "If Only…" He gives glimpses of a leisurely "good life" that we deserve. How is it that I can so quickly lose sight of what my blessings are, and see them instead as a hindrance, or as a small six-by-ten cell? It is a good thing that my husband yanked out the TV antennae, because I am too easily deceived by empty perceptions. The days that I struggle maintaining my focus are without a doubt, the very worst.

What I fail to remember, when I climb those steps onto the "What If" bus, is that I don’t know the "ins and outs" of the lives of those women who I envision as "free." Are they happy? Do they lie in bed every night giggling with glee to be where they are at in life? Is their life even what I imagine it to be? Probably not. But even if they do have perfectly wonderful lives, what would it have to do with the precious life my Father has blessed me with?

One day, a while back, when I was rummaging through a dusty, little novelty shop, I came across a great poster of a beautiful and unique, full, vibrant flower, which was planted in a plain, brown, cracked pot; the saying written beneath it has become one of my favorites. It said, "Bloom Where You’re Planted."

God has put me where I am at for a reason. I know that He has a purpose for my life, and I know (despite my occasional "trips") that I’m blessed. I know that I would not trade my crazy, hectic life for anything. The thought of not having my children around me, the thought of not seeing my girls spin in circles with their "princess dresses," or the thought of not being woken up by my son with his little hand on my cheek, whispering, "You’re the fairest one of all," is overwhelming. I could not imagine my life without the joy and pride I feel when I see my two oldest daughters serving our family out of their love for God. And my littlest son, even when he is sticking my hair up his nose, is the most precious and darling gift that I could wish for. What if I did not have them? Who would they become if I were dashing off to carry out a life of self-fulfillment? Could any type of glamorous life replace what I have? Is there any dream that pursues "self" that can give the satisfaction and joy that my family brings? I am where God has placed me; I can "Bloom where I have been planted" and make my life beautiful in this little garden as I grow in the love and knowledge of my Lord, stretching upward to honor Him with what I’ve been given.

The World would have you believe that you have sold yourself short if you have given your life to God, to your husband, and to your family. The World would have you believe that the role of "homemaker" is archaic or even barbaric and that women should be out realizing their full potential. But truly, when I am old and gray, I could care less if I never hear, "Mrs. Igarashi, you’ve just made CEO of XYZ Company," or "Mrs. Igarashi, you’ve just won the ‘Best Dressed and Nicest Nails’ award" or even, "Congratulations, Jen, you’ve just won the Pulitzer Prize." No. What I really want to hear someday is, "You were always there, Mom, even when it was hard or boring or messy and exhausting. You must have loved us so much." And when my time here is up, and I leave my little Garden, I want to hear from my Lord, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

God bless you as you remember why you follow Him, and be strengthened with the knowledge of His love and perfect purpose for your life. May I remember as well.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.(Proverbs 31:27 – 29)

Printed Originally in The Old Scholhouse Magazine

May 12th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

May 9th, 2007

There is nothing grosser than stepping into a bathroom with carpet.  Especially if the bathroom carpet is wet and you have socks on.  Ok, so today I couldn’t take it anymore; our toilet has been leaking all around the base… you get the idea.

So after a long stint of sweetly asking repeatedly in a very rapid high pitched squeal for a solution, my husband took a razor blade and vv-wwwwwiiiiiiip, slit a fissure in the heavy layer of hideous-vomit-inducing-mold-shrouded-carpet, and said, “Have at it”.  

After gingerly pulling back a corner (fully donned in a Hazmat suit) underneath we found very very ugly tan linoleum just waiting to be discovered. SCORE!  It was a fabulous improvement. 

So me and Ryann worked for a couple hours pulling out all of the nasties and scrubbing down the new and improved ugly bathroom floor.  And when I say “me and Ryann” what I really mean is “Ryann did every bit of it single-handedly while I looked on and kept my nose pinched shut”.  Here we are hard at work:


 And in other news, Dippy had an important day. The picture is pretty dim, but can you guess what’s missing?


May 9th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

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