Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just Your Average Tuesday

It's Tuesday.

I think maybe the video I meant to put in my last post, doesn't show up when you pull the page up. Figures. This is why it's imperative that I stick with words.

It is 23 degrees outside. Before Thanksgiving. I am 27 shades of bitter about it.

I've been up since 4 a.m. with my favorite little puker. Her stomach is a hot mess. I have no idea if it's a bug (there is one going around) or her reflux. My bet is on reflux, and I'll spare you the details of what makes me think so. You're welcome.

I'm happy to report Drew and I both survived his first ever school project. You would be so proud of how non control-freaky I was! We both had so much fun. Nothing says nerds like a mom and a son who love a good school project.

For this project, Drew had to choose his favorite song, research it and make a poster out of it. He chose the song "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman. I did not make suggestions or try to get him to pick this song. It truly is one of his favorites. A few days before his project was due, the kids in his class started talking about the songs they had chosen. It was a this point Drew figured out he was the only one who chose a "church song". I could tell by his face when he was telling me about it- he was struggling. A debrief was in order.

After some talking I came to the conclusion that the main issue he was having was "no one" knew the song he picked. I tried to encourage him by telling him how awesome it was that he chose a song that honors God. I reminded him that his faith is important to him, and it's ok to tell other people. I told him there might be someone in his class who needs to hear this song.

This is what happens when your kids goes to a preschool where they are serious about growing your child's faith. They thing everyone's favorite song is "10,000 Reasons". Why wouldn't it be?

Finally, Big Dan talked with him and shared about a time he chose to share a story from the Bible in a class during high school. It was a story I hadn't heard, and it was so sweet to hear them talking about it. Whatever Big Dan said, they were the magic words. Drew was excited to work on his poster.

Y'all. I did not even mention one thing when he glued all of his text boxes to one side of his poster. But, I did breathe a huge sigh of relief when he drew some music notes on the other side, because, balance.

He was very proud of his poster. I was proud of him. His report at the end of the day was that actually a few more kids did know the song. One kid even got the song stuck in his head, apparently!

It's a tough thing to watch your oldest child's bubble of innocence start to burst. I am only praying that these small moments will fortify his faith. I want to point him to the Lord in a way that helps him really believe all the things God believes about him.

I can't wait to remind him of this story some day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just, Whatever Man

Have you seen this yet?

Sidenote: Look how fancy I am posting a video up in here!

 This video made me laugh and laugh and laugh. Why? Because the time change SUCKS. Apparently, I'm like a little baby toddler. My body cannot get adjusted to a ONE HOUR time change. #grandmamoses.

I am ready to climb in bed as soon as I put my kids down. You know, at SEVEN. Because here, in Nashvegas, we live right on the line of the time zone change. This means it gets dark here by 4:30 p.m. Like, DARK, dark. Which means the sun starts setting by about 3:45. No wonder I'm exhausted by 7. If I stay up to, you know, complete a chore. I feel like I'm pulling an all nighter. It is utterly ridiculous. My hatred for the time change began when I had a baby. The malice has only grown since then.


We've had all manner of happenings around here. I hosted an after school play date for Emily today. She has a current friend that she is obsessed with. It's a boy. He's adorable. He was in my class a couple of years ago, and I loved him to pieces then. When Emily came home and told me with certainty she was going to marry him (and live in our house, but not with me and Big Dan, but with their kids) I didn't even get nervous. He's delightful. They have both been asking me for a play date forever. I had a lot on my plate for a couple of weeks, but once I cleared off some space, we made it happen.

Most of the kids who go to our preschool live near the preschool. We, however, do not. So, it can make it tough to play together regularly. My Emily? Major extrovert. I'm not AT ALL versed in extroversion, but I'm trying to seek out ways to fill her little bucket. This was definitely one way. They had the best time. We settled on cheese pizza for dinner (fake cheese for princess no-dairy) and Wild Kratts for entertainment. It was especially cute.

Next up on the docket this week is helping Drew complete his first ever major project. He's excited about it. He does not enjoy input from me. We had to have a long discussion about the "writing process" and a "rough draft" tonight. Don't you wish you were my kid?? True to form we have not budgeted our time wisely for this project. I'm just patting myself on the back that we didn't leave the whole thing until tomorrow night. #winning

You can be sure after an extra play date AND a project I'll be down for the count all weekend. Have I mentioned the super special polar cyclone of doom has settled over the region? If you need me I'll be under four blankets, most likely asleep.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

World's OKest Mom

Today's blog title is brought to you by a friend of mine in book club who introduced me to this phrase. I have not stopped laughing about it yet. She's a hilarious person and I really wish we had more time to spend together. That list? Of people I need more time with? It's long.

This week I washed my son's Pokemon cards in the washer. Don't panic! You did not accidentally time travel back to the mid-90s. It turns out Pokemon cards are popular again. At least in my little corner of the world. And, I don't need to hear from you if you think Pokemon cards are from the devil or Illuminati or whatever. I can promise you my kid does not believe pocket monsters are real. Nor does he believe that Pokemon powers are real. We've covered it. We even discussed some bad theology in the Pokemon cartoon theme song. I wish I were kidding.

ANYWAY. Let's just cut to the chase and I'll tell you that I am a terrible pocket checker. Heaven knows it is all I can do to get the clothes clean and dry. Do not try to add any steps like checking pockets. It does not even cross my mind, ever, to check a pocket when I'm doing laundry. And I realize this is like playing the laundry roulette every time. I wish I was more conscientious. But I'm not. Therefore, my child's entire stash of Pokemon cards went through the wash cycle.

When I realized what I had done, I was calm and rational. No, wait. It did not go that way at all. I freaked totally out. And then I hid them. All the mangled, faded, sad, curled up cards got stashed out of sight. I have no idea why I didn't just throw them out. I could not bring myself to tell him what happened, so I kept mum.

In the meantime, he was not mentioning his cards. And, I can't be sure, but I think it's because he thought they were lost and was afraid I would be mad about him losing them. So, he hid.

Do you see what happened here? I could see it all along. Hiding the truth because I didn't want to deal with the emotional reaction. And, to strip it down even more? I didn't want him to be disappointed in me. He didn't tell me the truth because he didn't want me to be disappointed in him.

Pokemon cards are no big deal. But our reactions were a big deal. I definitely do not want this to be our pattern of reacting. Because one day the stakes will be much higher.

I spend a lot of time trying to keep from kids from experiencing pain. I think there is good in this. I think it is instinctual. Babies survive because mothers have an innate drive to keep them alive. Part of that includes keeping them from harm. This is important. But, the truth is, pain will come. This is the way of life. Sometimes they will be forced to face things they should not. What we do in these moments matters most.

I only have one answer for this. The only thing I know to do when my kids are facing any kind of hurt, big or small, is teach them to turn to God. When I experience pain, am I honest with them about how I feel? Do I hide? Or do I let them watch some of the process-the crying, the praying, the turning to God. Not in the trite way of turning to God, but in that way you do when you don't know what else to do. I want my kids to know that facing pain is a normal part of life. But, we are not left to do it on our own.

I am kinder to myself when I realize I'm going to blow it with my kids. Probably multiple times a day. World's OKest Mom is a title I will proudly bear. I will remind myself with each misstep that I am giving my kids the chance to rely on God a little more each day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Sometimes your weekend looks nothing like you hoped.

Sometimes your week ended up being way more than you could handle.

Maybe by Friday afternoon, you were ready to crawl to a corner and assume the fetal position.

Maybe you are a big, fat feelings sponge. Maybe when you are in an emotionally charged environment, you soak it all in and leave 10 pounds heavier. Even if the emotions have nothing to do with you, really.

Sometimes you find out that you are having overnight company the day they are coming. Sometimes they are two people who are strangers to you and you literally cry because you know you are going to have to drum up some sort of conversation. Oh, the awkward. Sometimes you wish you were an extrovert. But, you're not. So, you awkward it up and try to make up for it with queso and brownies.

Sometimes, by the end of the week you are so tired you don't think you can go another day. But, then you do, because, well, you have to. And you think to yourself, "Next weekend I'll really have time to rest." Deep in your bones you know you are telling yourself a really good joke.

Sometimes you spend money you don't have on dinner out with friends because adult conversation is a good thing every once in a while.

Sometimes you go in the bathroom right after work and stay a long time even when you don't need to. Because, privacy. (I learned this trick from my Dad!)

Maybe Friday night you don't sleep at all because your child with the sensitive stomach is up all night puking. And she wants you right there tickling her back while she pukes. You think to yourself, "How is it possible that this particular child has not yet met her lifetime puking quota. She's basically been puking all her life."


Sometimes you get a free ticket to see Chicago on stage. Sometimes you don't even really care what the show is because you just love live performance so much. (You also, sometimes, secretly dream of being a dancer. You might be good at telling yourself jokes...)

Sometimes you're tight on time so you show up to the football field and freak people out because you're wearing a dress and you've fixed your hair. Because you have set a low bar people pay you lots of major compliments.

Sometimes at that same football game your son has the game of his short life. You've watched him work so hard (because white boys are slow) and finally he is seeing some fruit. You cry when he throws his first touchdown pass, not because you care that he's scored a touchdown but because you know how much he cares.

Maybe when the game is over you high-tail it out of there, barely telling the kids good-bye because you've got dinner and a show. You probably roll your windows down (not too much-the hair) and sing at the top of your lungs. You're mostly excited you're not listening to the Frozen soundtrack.

Sometimes things do not go according to plan.

Sometimes it's better that way.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mom M.D.


There is no hell like pediatrician waiting room hell. I have a friend who might argue 6th grade homework hell is worse, but I don't have that to compare other hells to quite yet.

Yesterday I took my kids for their check-ups. These check-ups were embarrassingly overdue. We had quite a run of wellness and I feel like every time we step foot in the door of the doctor's office we get sicker. (Or, my kids are magically healed of whatever I took them in for) So, I didn't take them in for a while.

Our streak came to an end last month when Drew started getting these weird bumps on his skin. The short version of that story is that I thought he had scabies. If you don't know what scabies is, I recommend you NOT google it. Suffice to say I was planning to just go ahead and burn the house down. The good news is, I'm not prone to extremes.

Turns out it was good old run of the mill poison ivy. I have never been so happy about poison ivy in all my life!! That was on Friday.

On Saturday night, just before Drew went to bed, his cheek looked a little swollen. He had been complaining about his cheek hurting. I assumed it had something to do with a cavity and planned to take him in to the dentist. The next morning he woke me up early. He was in a lot of pain and his cheek was huge. I'm still thinking it's a tooth. And I thought a tooth causing that much pain and swelling needed attention. Naturally, it was Sunday, so we headed to the ER. Because I thought we were going to get a tooth pulled I let Emily come along and left Big Dan to enjoy sleeping in. This was a gross miscalculation.

After multiple examinations, it was determined that Drew did not have a tooth problem. Instead, he had a soft tissue infection of some sort. Because it was unclear where this came from, he then got to have his very first IV and a CT scan. Did I mention I'm the only adult in the room? Did I mention I thought it was a tooth problem? I was mildly freaking out. No matter the situation, I think it is probably always unsettling to watch your child get a CT scan. And also leave your other child down the hall with the nurse.

The good news is that it was just in the soft tissue of his cheek. The bad news is no one knows how or why it got there. Our saving grace is that he wasn't running a fever so we did not have the honor of staying for IV antibiotics. Drew was glad. He had one thing on his mind. Making it to his flag football game. Only a super subpar mother would let their son play football with a vaguely diagnosed soft tissue infection.

I did. He was fine. #world'sOKestmom

So, we were right back in the doctor's office the next week. We had not been (besides check-ups) for TWO YEARS. Now we were there twice in one week. If you're going to break the streak you might as well do it up right.

Which brings us to yesterday. Yesterday we were in the waiting room for FIFTY MINUTES. 50. Do you know how long that is to wait with kids who have nothing to do?? I have never waited that long at our pediatrician before. I honestly thought they forgot about us. I still think they maybe did but just didn't admit it. This does not include the time we spent in the tiny room waiting. Where there is even less to do and more things to break. Like computers.

This sums up why I don't take my children to the doctor.

By the time their check-ups were done, I answered a million questions, they both sniffed live flu virus up their noses, and Emily got 4 shots? Done. I was sweating buckets and on the verge of a low blood sugar flip out. My kids were long gone over the edge of sanity. I kept saying to them, "Just get to the car. We'll talk about all the things if you will just walk quickly and quietly to.the.car."

I feel that any and all of our medical needs have been sufficiently met. Except for maybe the stroke level blood pressure I incurred as a result of yesterday's visit.

Too bad about it. Deep breathing will have to do.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Boxes of Shame

Before I get to the real topic at hand, which are actual boxes in my closet and not a metaphor, I'd like to let you in on what's happening in the world of my kid's elementary school right now.

For the last 6 school days they have been on Fall Break. I guess a full week of no school was not quite enough so they had to tack on one extra day, just to really sucker punch those parents who work. So. 10 days out of school. 10 days of not seeing friends. And THEN. Tomorrow is the first day back to school and it is the start of spirit week. And just in case all of us are not yet driven to our knees? The the first day of spirit week? "Matchy Matchy Twin Day".  That title is in quotes because it is the actual title that came out in the email. On top of having to come up with something different for my child to wear I also have to COORDINATE with another parent to make sure my kid has a spirit week twin?? Oh. I have so many words to say about this. But, I figure by the end of the week, there will be at least a whole post's worth of stuff about spirit week to say. Stay tuned.

So. My boxes.

Last year, we got Christmas taken care of just in the nick of time (get it? Nick? St. Nick?) By the time all the things were purchased, hidden, assembled and opened it was time for my Day After Christmas Nap. And we all know that nap lasts all day. In my rush to get things done, I crammed a bunch of boxes behind a chair in my room. These boxes contained things that "Santa" brought the children. So the boxes needed to be hidden. I thought I would sneak them out with the rest of the Christmas trash the next day. But then the aforementioned DAC nap occurred and I promptly forgot about the boxes. As I do. A few times over the last TEN months, I've noticed them and thought about taking them out. But then I didn't.

Skip to about a month ago. Drew had been in my room having some alone time. Later that night I went in the room and noticed the towel that had been covering the boxes was no longer covering the boxes. GASP! I haven't had the heart to ask him about it!! (Worst mom ever...) Then, Big Dan and I did some major cleaning out in our room. I came in one evening and Big Dan had moved the chair around and the boxes were just there in the corner for God and everyone to see! I hyperventilated and threw the boxes in my closet. They have been there for the better part of five days, mocking me.

Tonight though? I end my battle with the boxes of shame. There may be a tornado warning, but dangit those boxes are going in to the trash. The trash that runs tomorrow.

My bad Santa habits will be hauled off with the garbage.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parenting, Like Whoa

Just now I was sitting on the couch. I am currently in the midst of a church sabbatical. Which is a dressed up way of saying I'm not going. There are many issues here. We'll wait and explore those another day. Get excited.

Anyway, Emily was playing outside and came in with her stroller. She said, "I was just pretending that my little girl had a bad attitude at the park." Interesting... So, I said, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Did you give her a consequence?" She cut her eyes at me and said, "NO!" To which I replied, "Well, how is she going to learn her lesson?" To which she answered, "I decided to show her grace." Then she burst out laughing.

This is where parenting finds me most days.

Every stage of parenting is so different. In some ways, when you enter a new phase, it's like traveling to a foreign country. And you are stuck trying to figure out the language and the customs all over again. For someone like me, who is pro status-quo, I never handle these transitions well. In fact, we are usually halfway through a phase before I even realize what's happening.

We are in a new stage around here. And, let me say right up front, that I really, really like it! Y'all know the baby/toddler days were super hard for me. I feel like I'm in my wheelhouse right here. Soon, my oldest will be an adolescent and I will be left flailing again. But, for now? Big Dan and I are both REALLY enjoying hanging out with our kids.

The challenges though, are many. And mostly, it's because I feel like the real work of pointing my kids towards Christ begins now. As I work through my own issues with performance and works (see note about church drop-out above) I am aware of all the times I emphasize "good behavior" to my kids. And this is the rub. Because, make no mistake. I absolutely expect my kids to behave at school. To follow the rules, to be respectful, and to be kind to their friends. I struggle with people who think rules for kids are too confining. The thing is, we are not alone here on planet earth. Our actions and choices ALWAYS effect those around us. When my behavior negatively effects those around me FOR ANY REASON, it should give me pause.

When my kids are annoying each other in the backseat of the car it goes something like this: Kid 1 is singing or making weird noises. Kid 2 comes unglued over the noises. Kid 2 asks Kid 1 to stop. Kid 1 does not. Kid 2 tattles. (If I were reading this on someone else's blog and I knew their kids, I'd be dying to figure out who was who. Please note: it goes either way all.the.time.) When I reprimand Kid 1 there is usually an answer of "But I'm only singing/humming/popping my cheek/reciting stats/etc. ad nauseum. And really, they are right. It's probably not a big deal. But, the thing I keep coming back to is, if it is bothering the other person, think of them. Think of how you feel when you are the one being annoyed. Then, maybe, consider putting their needs ahead of your own. (As if noise making is a need...)

So, yes to the thinking of others and following the rules.


I have two performing, rule-following kids. And I know that I have taught them by my actions that they are more acceptable to me when they are "good". And this makes me so sad. In case you were hoping that I give you the magic formula for walking this line, I'm not gonna. Because I have no idea. I want my kids to know that messing up and making mistakes (sometimes big ones) is a part of life. I want them to know that "being good" is not the goal. But man, this is hard to teach when, at my core, I am still struggling to believe it.

I keep asking God to show me when I blow it. And mostly, what He has led me to do in these moments is apologize. Name what I think has happened between us. This happened just the other day. I shut down a sad moment for one of my children because I didn't want them to make a scene. By that evening, I knew I had really messed up. So, I called both kids to me and told them that I thought there were probably times when I made them feel like it wasn't ok to be sad. I told them I was sorry about making them feel that way. Then, we talked specifics. With the child who was sad, I explained that just expressing all the sadness didn't always work in the moment. What could we do instead?

After that conversation the "flow" between both kids and I was so much better. It was like something that had clogged the lines between us had been cleared. Don't we all just want to know that someone gets it?

There are going to be days when my interactions with my kids look nothing like this. This was a pure act of God. In my flesh, I am a task master.

I think Emily might have been sending me a message today!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why I Haven't Been Writing

Well, well.

Look who's back. (Back again)

Can I just start by saying I have some of the greatest people in my life? Those of you who have mentioned you've missed the blog have made me feel so good. You have filled my bucket as we say in preschool circles.

I have taken a long, on-purpose hiatus from writing here. I'll try to explain as best as I can, fully knowing that any of you who read here know my level of crazy is SKY HIGH. You'll be comforted in knowing that has not changed. Not.one.bit.

Reason # 1:

The internet is on my last nerve. I mean, LAST. I sort of feel like all the things that could ever possibly be said, have been said. Three times. I've whittled my blog reading down to about two blogs and I only keep reading those because they make me cackle.

I'm kind of over big, serious, hard issues being tackled from behind computer screens, you know? People, I think, sometimes take on the air of an expert, when really they are just a regular old person.  I know this is kind of mean to say. And, I'm no expert. I'm just saying I'm a bit worn down by it all.

Don't even get me started on my love/hate with social media.

Reason #2

My emotional bandwidth has been completely full. Some writer type people say things like, "If I don't write I have no emotional peace. I must write. It's like breathing to me." I've thought a lot about this and decided I am not one of these people. In order for me to write anything, I have to have a big ol' bunch of free brain space. This is sort of a snapshot of my life. I just need more space, more breathing room, than most to function like a normal human. I don't love this about myself, yet, but I'm on the path to accepting it.

My current life does not leave any room for contemplating anything! And even if I'm just jumping on to tell a funny story, somehow I need margin to make that happen.

Reason #3

I can't decide what I think this space should be. Is this like my Doogie Howser-esque journal situation with a blue screen and a blinking white cursor? Is this a big thought puking ground where I come to rant about all the things that are currently on my nerves? (See Reason #1) Is this just a place where I rat out my kids and tell about how naughty they are (albeit funny)?

I just don't know for sure. When I started this blog I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler. I am in a vastly different stage of life. I feel like we're at the point that I need to ask my kids' permission before I post funny stories about them. (Don't worry. They will likely say yes. When I ask Drew to post a picture on social media he says things like, "Sure. Just tell me how many 'likes' I get." Jesus take the wheel...)

In all these months of being away from here, I've thought a lot about the things I like, and therefore what I might like to write about. Here is my current list:

Funny stuff
Friends (both my real ones and the show. Duh)
God stuff

I also super value good community with people that I love. So, if you feel so inclined, comment on my posts. Not because I'm keeping count or trying to be a "blogger". We all know three blog posts a year is not going to get you anywhere. But, just because I really like a conversation better than I like my own blabbing. (I know. This doesn't seem like it can be true.)

I don't know how much of my "real life" will show up here. But, I promise not to paint a picture like my life is all books and episodes of Friends (oh, but were it true!) If times are hard, I'll tell you. But I'll tell you in that way that leaves out things that probably shouldn't hang out on the internet. Like, say for instance, I had a son who has reached a really challenging phase. I may say, "This week, parenting is going to be the death of someone. It's still up in the air who it's going to be." But I probably won't tell you the exact details of what this hypothetical child is doing. Because that's not fair to him. I mean, you know, if he were real.

So. Here's to ye olde blog. Kicking off the start to many random, unrelated, seemingly pointless posts!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just a Turn of Luck

Have I mentioned it's Spring Break?

It is still Spring Break.

Yesterday Drew and I had a day all to ourselves. I've missed some other days with him this week because I've been subbing. We talked about spending some time together and what exactly the budget would allow. Which, let's be honest, is not much. Please see: underemployed.

Luckily, my kids are easily entertained, pretty grateful with small gestures, and I'm real good at stretching a dollar, y'all.

I mean, like, really good.

I don't like to brag, but making do with what I have is a skill I have long held. I can do it with clothes, food, crafts. Whatever the situation calls for. This has worked well for me in my life. I have spent many seasons of my 37 years needing to stretch the dollar.

So. We put a plan together. We would go to our very favorite store: McKay Used Books. Like I had to even say it. I'm so thrilled my kids have developed a deep love for the store I love. Which, side note? My boy kid has fallen in love with reading!!!!!!!! I can't even describe my elation! I hold it close because if I were to even hint at the thrill I have seeing him lay on his bed and read, he'd quit in a hot minute. He is devouring chapter books and will sometimes choose to read over locking his eyes on a screen of some sort.

Back to the plan. We gathered up some books and headed to McKay's to see what we could get for our haul. This would determine our plan for the remainder of the day. We were hoping for big money, no whammies.


This is when our luck started to go sour. The system at McKay's was down and they were not able to process any orders. I'm sorry, what? I have been going to McKay's for 20 years, since it was a tiny hole in the wall, slightly shady establishment on Kingston Pike. Never, in all my years of going there, have I heard of this happening. Drew and I just looked at each other. What were we doing to do now?

Drew had a gift card to Sweet CeCe's burning a hole in his pocket and determined that fro yo for breakfast sounded like a great idea. (He also said, "Mom, I'm just going to get one topping so I can buy something for you, too." This boy. You have no idea) We pulled up to Sweet CeCe's and it was closed. Apparently, not enough folks want fro yo for breakfast. Now what??

We decided to go next door to TJ Maxx where I tortured Drew by looking at purses and shoes. Then I decided this was turning into the very worst mom/kid day ever for him. He asked if we could go to Game Stop. While I would rather gouge out my eye, I told him of course we could. We decided to walk, which was one of the best decisions of the day. Crossing the very busy road at a dead sprint hand in hand turned out to be the most exciting event of the day! (As the day went on our crossing got more and more treacherous each time he told the story. No idea where he gets it)

After I almost fell asleep standing up in Game Stop we headed home to have some lunch and bide our time before the yogurt shop opened. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and watched sports. It was the least I could do.

We finally ate that fro yo and his pride at buying me a treat was just about more than this mom heart could take.

We only had a little time left before we had to pick up Emily from school so we headed to a playground that is sort of on the way. We swung on swings side by side. And then we decided to get out his baseball gear and toss the ball around a little. Only, his baseball bag was not in the car for the first time in about 3 weeks. Seriously. We were not having the best luck. And how there was not a random ball in the back of my car is beyond me. Had we needed most anything else, we could've found it. The back of my car is home to a wide assortment of stuff on a regular basis.

In a last ditch effort at fun, we ran across the parking lot to a new store where everything is less than five dollars and bought a ball. We invented a game and spent the next hour smacking a little foam ball around a big field. It was awesome.

I know for sure my kids will not remember most of the stuff I buy them. I do hope they remember some of the fun things we did together. I'm serious about making memories. And while we cursed our luck yesterday, I think in the long run the day will seem pretty lucky after all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It Wiggles!!

We are in the midst of a two week Spring Break. TWO WEEKS. Here's the thing. I am not bummed out about spending extra time with my kiddos. The problem is, two weeks is too short to establish a new routine, but it's too long to just languish in the relaxing. You know? We are, without a doubt, routine people. I guess my kids are probably that way because I'm that way and they've spent most of their waking lives under my direction. Whatever the reason-nature or nurture-we all run better with a plan in place.

Last week I hosted Spring Break Camp for my friends and neighbors who perhaps needed just a tiny break from all the quality time. But even that didn't go as planned. I had a stomach issue (I say issue because I'm still not clear on what it was...) and had to cancel one day. Add to that the WEATHER (snow and freezing temps) and it has made for a less than stellar situation all the way around.

I've been trying to embrace the haphazardness of it all and just go with it.

Yesterday, I got a text from my brother (did I mention he's back in NASHVILLE?? He is. I'm totally pumped. I've already seen him more in a two week span that I did in the six months previous. Holla!) asking if we could meet up for an extension cord drop. Emily had dance class in the neck of the woods where he works, so we planned to meet after her class.

We met Uncle Sam at McDonald's. The kids had a beverage and then headed to the indoor playground. This was a great plan. They could do what they do best-run and make mayhem. Sam and I could do what we do best-sit and flap our jaws. All was well until Drew came running out of the playground fish tank letting me know that Emily was crying.

I should let you know that this is not an unusual occurrence. I did not run in panic to find her because if I did that every time Drew reported she was crying I'd have a torn ACL. But, there was another Mom in there, so I felt Mom shame and went to check on her.

Y'all. She was having a full blown panic attack. When you're a mom you know the difference between your child's cries. Emily has quite the repertoire. This was her whole-body-shaking like she'd just seen a mascot cry and it does not bode well for anyone involved in the situation.

She was waaaaaaay up in the play structure. Like at the tippy top. When I finally got her to calm down enough to talk to me, I asked her what the problem was. She wailed like an ambulance siren, "IT WIGGLES!!!!!!!!!" Say what now?

It took me a solid two minutes to figure out what in the world she was talking about. Finally, she moved a little and I could see that the "pod" she was in sort of tilted a little when you crawled through it. Sort of like a teeter-totter. I have no idea why. To add to the thrill? Anyway.

I thought for sure if I sent Drew to rescue her she would pull it together. Nothing doing. It was me going to get her, or she's living in the wiggly pod. For.the.love.

Never have I been more thankful for my leggings, which is saying something because I love them like a part of my body. If by some weird chance I had managed to put real clothes on that day, there's a good chance I'd be going to visit Emily at the Green Hills McDonalds!

I'm going to be brutally honest. Those are some snug spaces in that play structure. I was nervous. Of course the other Mom was watching all of this unfold. I know what she was thinking. I know because it's exactly what I would be thinking if the leggings were on the other person. "Whew. Thank goodness that's not me."

I finally made the climb to Emily after one wrong turn, and found her shaking and stuck to the spot she was in. I basically had to reach in and lift her out of the pod, which is no small feat when you're sitting down.

About that time my brother walked into the play area. He was due back at work and brought my stuff to me. He had a look on his face that can best be described as, "What in the actual heck is happening here?" I wish I could say I've never seen this look on him before. However, his nieces and nephews pull shenanigans that blow his mind on a regular basis.

I retrieved Emily and made the announcement that we were leaving. My children acted indignant. Are you serious? Did they miss the fact that I just shimmied my way through the play structure. Emily insisted that she would be brave if she could traverse the structure on Drew's lap. And bless his heart, he let her. He would basically rip off his right arm and give it to her if it meant she wouldn't throw a fit. We're working on that.

So, the moral of this story is, if you plan to hang out with me and my children, prepare yourself for absolutely anything.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yoo Hoo!

It's the world's worst blogger, checking in to say I'm alive and breathing.

My last post was two days before Mom's birthday. Last year I walked into my season of grief with a plan. This year I wanted to pretend it wasn't happening.

Two years. It's been two years since my Mom left earth. I somehow thought I'd be "farther along" the grief trail by now. Maybe I didn't need a plan because I had already been through all the "firsts".

I case you're wondering, grief is not a trail. It's like a weird fog that creeps in without you really noticing. You only notice it once it's totally clouded your view. It can come any time. There is no time limit.

I know. I know no one really wants to hear about the grief. It's uncomfortable. Even though I have experienced deep grief, sometimes the grief of others makes me uncomfortable. I feel like one of my gifts is encouragement. I want to use my words to help others feel better. When my words fall short, I get uncomfortable.

So, I get it.

But, all I can do is pretend it didn't happen or tell you about it. Lucky for you, I'm telling you about it. The good news is, you don't have to look me in the eye. :) You can read and feel uncomfortable all by yourself!

The pattern of grief for me begins in December. December is when my mom got her diagnosis, and really, it was that day, not the day of her death, when everything changed. The weirdest part is, my BODY remembers. Even when my conscious mind is not paying attention, my physical body begins to grieve. Are you weirded out yet?? And, it seems that each time it's going to take me at least a week to figure out what's going on.

By the way, December is a really unfortunate time to be struggling. Around here it is brutally busy and there is no time to be under grief's fog. As Anne Lamott says, "Sometimes grief can look a lot like narcolepsy." (I could hear some of you getting heart palpitations at my mention of Lamott. Relax. I have not subscribed to her beliefs. I just like people who tell the brutal truth.)

The good news is, I have these two amazing kids who make it impossible for me to stay in bed for three months. I have these two kids who are seriously awesome. And hilarious. And tender-hearted. Someday when they're old enough not to be weirded out, I'll thank them for bringing me through times like this.

Outwardly, I kept going for those three months. My conscious continued to try and ignore the situation. My body continued to let none of us forget.

Y'all. Missing her does not get one tiny bit easier.

I don't like to admit that I still really struggle with every tiny bit of it. My poor sisters have to rehash the same doubt filled conversation with me about once every six months. But, it's where I am.

Some of you are racing to your prescription pad to write me a prescription for some nerve pills! Believe me, I'm keeping close tabs on the medication needed line!

Last week, God and I had a moment of grace and the fog lifted for now. I'm looking forward to a time out in the light!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nothing New Under the Partly Cloudy Sky

You see what I did there? The actual saying goes, "Nothing new under the sun". But since we haven't seen the actual sun in nigh on 50 days or so, I went in another direction.

There's nothing like over-explaining a lame joke to make it more lame...

I'm going to be honest. I don't really have anything to say. I decided to write down some words because I'm trying to do things to avoid losing my sanity. I hate winter with my whole heart. I have to work hardest during the winter to just be a normal person. Please note, I have to work fairly hard at this when it's not winter. You can imagine why I'm exhausted. Every spring I feel extremely proud if I have any friends left. I've mentioned that I'm a hard person to be friends with. It's waaaaay worse in winter.

Can we pause and let me just tell you that if one of my children gets up out of the bed again tonight, this post will never get published because I will have thrown my computer through the window? Which would be counterproductive in so many ways. I would have no computer and I have serious doubts about whether my children would be in bed. However, they might be scared of me just enough that they wouldn't cross me again for at least fifteen minutes...

I was away over the weekend, leading a retreat for the staff at the preschool. Before you imagine me being a fancy retreat leader, let me say that this is a group of about 15 ladies, most of whom are my dear friends. My former boss indulges me and allows me to share whatever I've been learning or whatever I think might be uplifting to the group. When she asked me to do it this time, I told her no. Please note this is not a woman you say the actual word "no" to. But, I told her I was in a pretty rough spot spiritually. I had nothing uplifting to say. In fact, everyone's spiritual life would probably take two steps back if she let me say anything. I was sad about it, because teaching is my ticket to go on the retreat. Since I'm no longer an actual staff member, I shouldn't be allowed to go. But, because I taught last winter when I was on staff, she asked me back in the fall. And then she asked me again. I don't know. She's a glutton for punishment. Anyway, she literally would not take no for an answer and said, "Well, seeing as it's not up to you, but up to the Lord, I think you are supposed to do this regardless of what state you're in. This will force you into the Word. It will be good for you. So, I'll put you down."

See what I mean? You don't say no. And, as usual she was right.

I definitely want to share what we talked about over the weekend. It's going in the file with the Dominican stories. I have to really muster it up to write about those things. In the meantime, re-entry was fairly brutal. Clearly, my kids were saving up all the angst for my return. Kids do this to moms, you know. You go away and then when you come back you get a little bit punished for the going away. Like they think if things are rotten enough, maybe you'll never go away again. Maybe you'll just sew yourself to them and never leave their side. Maybe you'll get a sweatshirt with three head holes so you can just walk around all together, all the time. I'm kidding. I'm sure they don't really think that...right??

Real life. If you can find HIM there, you can find HIM anywhere!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


When you're a parent, there are some things that you know for sure you're supposed to do. Sometimes those things sound fun. And then you actually do them. In the doing of the things, you realize sometimes you're supposed to do them because it is helping your children become better little people. The goal then becomes my not becoming a worse person in the process!

The sentiments above are how I feel about playing games with my kids.

You can think me a witch. If you do it's because you don't have kids, or you have tiny kids. I know. I was the same. I couldn't wait for my kids to get old enough to play games. I LOVE games. And, I don't want to ruin it for you. But maybe if I give you a little glimpse into reality, you'll be, shall we say, prepared, for your own game playing days.

The thing about playing games with your kids is that it is the most interminably SLOW process ever in the whole world. Not only does it just take kids longer to do everything, they have very small attention spans. Being able to wait a whole round until their next turn is like you and me sitting through an hour long lecture on deep space.

For Christmas my aunt got us a Bingo set. I was SUPER excited about it because it has the cage and the handle and you turn it and the ball comes out the bottom. I know!! It's OK that you're jealous, because who doesn't want their own Bingo cage?

I was excited about this game, because it is really a simple concept. There's not counting of spaces, there's no strategy to teach, very straight forward. I had high hopes that this game would not make me lose my mind.

As the holy scripture says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." My hopes have been deferred.

First, when we pull out the Bingo, there is the fighting over who gets to spin the cage. I'll be honest and tell you that it is tempting for me to declare myself the all-time spinner. I fancy myself like the lotto girl who comes on after the local news. If only my Bingo cage were bigger...

After we decide who the spinner will be, we have to make sure the spinner can actually make the cage spit out the balls. Sometimes I have to hold the base of the cage because the spinning gets too vigorous. Sometimes the spinner will spin the cage in the wrong direction, seemingly deaf to my calm requests that they spin it the other direction. They only catch on when fire shoots out my ears and I scream, "Turn it the other way!!!!!!!!!!!" "Oh yeah," is usually the response uttered. I mean. I just...

Finally, when the spinner finally gets the ball out of the cage, one of the younger of us may have some trouble reading the higher numbers. Which is fine, because said family member is young. What is not fine is the refusal of this person to have help. Also, this same person might fall into fits of laughter in between the reading of every.number. Sometimes both of my children will just completely stop what they are doing and just stare at me! WHAT???? Spin the dadgum cage!!!!!!!! And, of course, the grand finale comes when the loser throws a complete fit as the winner prances around the family room. What? I get excited when I win!

You can imagine that I'm very fun to play a game with.

I wonder how my kids would describe this same game. Probably something like, "Yeah, Mom, she's a nightmare to play a game with. She sooooo impatient. Just chillax already." Just kidding. My kids don't say chillax. I was trying to project into the future and give them a teenage voice. But I suppose teenagers won't be saying chillax by then. It'll be something just as delightful. I can't wait to throw the word around just to annoy them!

I'm counting on the fact that all these hours I'm logging playing games with my kid is like character building double duty. We're working on them, and we're definitely working on me.

If only I could figure out a way to work wine into our game...

Monday, February 3, 2014

When the Weekend is Too Long and Not Long Enough

Saturday started with a broken bowl.

One of my real life, grown-up bowls that I picked out before I got married. One of the bowls that I can no longer find because dish companies like to make ladies lose their minds. And buy whole new sets of dishes, but can anybody really do that?

I did not yell. Or freak out. Because the child who dropped it? They knew. And they were really, very sorry for what happened. When I feel like someone really understands why I'm upset, I really am very mild in my reactions. There's a whole treasure trove there just waiting for some professional to dig into!

Saturday is my one and only true day off. Because I work on Sundays and have to be at work at the ever lovin' crack of dawn, Saturday is my only day that I'm not running the gauntlet. Except, by the nature of life, sometimes Saturdays have their own gauntlet. Activities and what not that require I leave the house and be dressed presentable. Ish.

By the time the Broncos got drilled in the Super Bowl last night, I was ready for a weekend do-over. Just one more day. I needed just one more day. And by some miracle I got it! There was an impending millimeter of ice forecast, so school was cancelled! BONUS DAY!

And, people, it has not disappointed. My kids have played together the entire day. No fighting, no tattling, no exasperation. I have had the pleasure of sitting and listening to them play while I manage to be productive. Ish. Earlier today we had our very own NBA draft. I overhead Drew giving an "interview" before he was drafted. I couldn't hear everything he said, but I for sure heard him say, "Oh yes, I was born ready." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? And then he proceeded to call out the top ten draft picks complete with made up names and the universities they attended. I'm so glad he didn't know I was listening. It was the most entertainment I've had in days!!

Later, Emily came downstairs carrying a few pairs of her shoes. She put them in the shoe basket and told me she was playing shoe store upstairs. A few minutes went by and she called me upstairs. She had actually been cleaning her room. She was thrilled with herself that she had played a trick on me!

I'm really not trying to brag. This does not happen everyday. Or even close. Somedays your good bowls get broken and you scrape oatmeal up off your kitchen floor. Somedays you wonder if your kids will really ever love one another. Somedays you wonder why you didn't move to Colorado and work in a coffee house.

But somedays, you get a day full of grace. Somedays you sit really still, knowing that if you breathe or try to sneak an Oreo, the whole bubble will burst.

Today I'll be sitting here, holding my breath, thankful for the two rascals I get to call mine.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Art of the Matter


I have been rendered useless by Polar Vortex II.  Not only is it ridiculously cold, but apparently Nashville is under some sort of snow repellent force field. If it's going to be this freaking cold, I'd at least like to go sledding.

I went to visit a friend yesterday that I haven't seen in far too long. You would think the occasion would call for real pants. Nope. I sent her a text that said, "I'm dressed like a hobo" because I was. I was also wearing the same fleece jacket for about the twelfth day in a row. I am so tired of FREEZING.

I think my children might be suffering from a touch of the SAD as well. Especially Drew. I think the fact that he has been able to play outside two days out of the last, like, 20 is starting to make him moody. He said these actual words today as he stomped off in a huff, "Nobody even cares about my life!" Sun? Please come back? And not just your faker self who looks shiny but emits no heat. I mean real, burn your skin potential sun. ASAP.

When Drew is not suffering from SAD, he does a remarkable job at handling life. Especially for a kid who is highly sensitive. Life comes at him through his senses at 100 miles per hour all day, everyday. This was really tough when he was younger, but he has learned a lot of good coping skills and is a champ at taking things in stride. I'm SUPER proud of him.

But sometimes, as we all do, he has days when things just seem too big. And one of his major hates in life is art class. I know. Is that not the saddest thing ever? Who, at seven years old, hates art class? I'll tell you who. Seven year olds with art teachers who are too intense for their own good.

Drew had this same art teacher last year, and many tears were shed. When I talked to his kindergarten teacher about it I said, "Seriously?? Shouldn't kindergarten art class be the happiest place on earth??" Don't worry. She totally gets me. I can say things like this to her. I never talked to the art teacher about it, because, frankly, I'm not really a talk to the teacher kind of mom. I'm still trying to decide where the line is on that. My mom was very much of the camp where she tried to help us see how we could persevere in the situation. I can't remember a single time that she contacted a teacher when we cried foul.

Lately, Drew has been a stressed out mess about art. ART. In FIRST GRADE. I mean, I can't even. So, every Tuesday he dreads school. We have started praying about art on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Yesterday, we prayed on the way to school. I prayed that the teacher would be in a happy mood. Apparently, he's a yeller. When I finished Drew said, "Why did you pray he would be in a happy mood?" I said, "Well, maybe if he's in a happy mood he won't yell." To which Drew said, "Well that will never happen." Optimism runs in the family.

I took the moment to tell him that you never know what God might do. I think he was skeptical.

So, yesterday afternoon when he got in the car I said, "Sooo, how was your day?" He smiled huge and said, "GREAT!" Well. I did not see that coming. "How was art?" I asked, tentatively. He laughed (!) and said, "We had a sub!! And she passed out candy!"

Sometimes we ask God to do something we don't really believe He'll do. And sometimes He doesn't do it.

Sometimes He does immeasurably more that we've asked.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Too Bad About Mondays

Remember my prediction about grumpy, frumpy troll? Yep. She totally showed up today. Don't you worry though. I took good care of her. Every now and then I will have a Monday that finds both my kids in school and me with no pressing under-employment obligations. Today was such a day. I did a total of zero things unless you count sitting on the couch reading and catching up on my programs a thing. My programs. Like I'm 85.

I'm not gonna lie. It was delightful.

I feel like TV went through a slump there for a while. A time when the shows I liked got stale and nothing new was really any good. I feel like, now though? There's been some kind of good TV renaissance. And we mostly have the British to thank. Is anyone else completely obsessed with British shows of all kinds? I cannot resist. Here's some of what I'm watching these days:

Downton Abbey-I mean, do I even really have to say this? Of course I am watching, because it is the best show on TV. As I watched today I tried to figure out why I think it's best. I think because it's kind a slow moving show, and it lulls you into thinking things are just flitting along and then BAM someone dies, or cheats, or drops the  quipiest, best character line ever in a show. And, it's about a time period that no other show is really about. And the characters. Seriously? I would say you can't make that stuff up, except THEY TOTALLY DID.

Sherlock-Are you watching this??? Because, it is also a British delight. I think it is a smart show that will leave you completely in the dust if you are not REALLY paying attention. Let's say you are, hypothetically, cruising Pinterest or playing a game while you watch. You're gonna need to rewind. If you don't give it your 100% un-pinterested attention, you're not going to know what in the bollocks is going on. (That's a British word. Who says TV isn't educational. I'm practically bilingual.)

Call the Midwife-Did I tell you I binge on British TV?? This show is also pure gold. I was a little concerned I wouldn't love it because it's about birthing babies. I can remember before having kids how much I loved shows like "A Baby Story". Somehow, though, when you've actually DONE it, you don't really care to watch anybody else do it. Just me? Anyway, there is birthing in this show, but somehow it doesn't take center stage. The characters are great and the show is HILARIOUS. You don't see it coming, do you? No show with midwife in the title screams funny. But this one totally is.

Doctor Who-This show is not currently on, much to the hurt of my heart. This show crept up on me. I am not a sci-fi person at.all. My sister started telling me about this show, and she is much cooler and hip to the scene than I am. I did not anticipate liking the show. I mean, it has crudely designed robots that repeat "Ex-ter-min-ate" in an old-school robot voice. Why would I like that? You know what else I didn't anticipate? Becoming so attached to each Doctor that I CRY buckets of tears at least every other episode. And when the Doctor becomes a new Doctor I go through the seven stages of grief before I can even like the new Doctor, whom I will later mourn with more buckets of tears. If you have steered clear of this one, you should get on Netflix (and set a side a good chunk of time) and watch it. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Parenthood-GUH. All.the.emotions. That is all I can say about it. Except one more thing. I LOVE how the characters on this show have evolved. Good, good, good.

Black List-This is the newest show on the list. I watched one episode and I was FREAKING OUT in the best way possible. In the past I have not been a fan of James Spader at all. In general, I hate every character he's ever played. But this one? I love him. And he makes me a nervous wreck. And I feel sure I can't trust him. But I love him. And that's just the one character!! I have pulled Big Dan in on this one. We are a few episodes behind, but I know when we finally binge and get caught up there will be a lot of me saying, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh! OH.MY.GOSH!!" I'm a delight to watch TV with.

So, this Monday has been a day of sloth. You can be sure the piper will be paid in some scramble later this week. I'll leave you with a quote from Emily to end your day.

The scene: Emily is sitting on Big Dan's lap when he gets home from work. They are talking and he is tickling her. It gets quiet for a minute. She cuts her eyes at him and says menacingly, "I've been telling my friends about you."


Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Day Spring Came Calling

My word.

At the risk of sounding 85, can we just take a minute to discuss the weather? Honestly, I have whiplash. Between polar vortexes and unseasonably warm days, I just can't keep up!

Today, the temperature was in the 60s. I wore my flip flops outside. My kids played in the actual out of doors and wore shorts! Tomorrow? Yeah, it's going to be 19 degrees at noon. NINETEEN. How in the real world is that even a little bit possible? I mean, it has to take more than 12 hours to cool down like 41 degrees, right?

Basically it boils down to happy, optimistic, productive today; grumpy, frumpy troll tomorrow.  I just want to bury myself in soup and fuzzy socks.

I don't know if you know it, but my kids are hilarious. Well. They are hilarious to me. I'm not exactly sure what they are to others!

Yesterday in the car Drew was giving a talk on height. I say giving a talk because while he asks a lot of questions, I really don't have much to add to most of his topics. He knows A LOT of information about a wide variety of topics. He, like most boys, spends a large amount of time thinking about how tall he will be when he grows up. As he was discussing this topic he said, "I mean, how tall is Emily? Like 2'8"?" To which I said, "I have no idea..." Emily then said, "Yeah, but how tall am I in HIGH HEELS?" Dear divas everywhere-be afraid.

Drew is also SUPER obsessed with sports. Mostly football, but also any other sport. His random knowledge of sports facts has become a favorite party trick in the family. He talks a lot about being a professional athlete when he grows up. We talk about it all.the.time. Listen, I'm not a crusher of dreams. I tell him he can totally do it. Go for it. Work hard. Be smart. And then I tell him that if he always walks closely with God, God will show him what he was made to do. I guess he's been thinking about that because yesterday he said, "Mom. Do you think God wants me to be an NFL player or an NBA player?"

Good to know God has options.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ugly stools

In case you're worried this is a post about poop, it's not. I think those days, thankfully, are behind me!

This post is about a barstool.

Right now, I'm on a hiatus from Facebook, the reasons are not overly spiritual and have nothing to do with how my heart is affected by Facebook. The reason is solely based on the fact that Facebook, for me, is giant, sucking time vortex. Because I'm the world's nosiest person. Ever. So, me and the FB are on a break.

I have not taken a break from Twitter however, because it is not a time suck for me. So, the other day I was rummaging around Twitter and a pastor I love put up a link to a post his wife wrote. I have a soft spot for a pastor's wife, so I clicked the link and started reading the article.

Basically, the article was about how this woman had a stool in her kitchen-an ugly stool-and it had sort of just stayed in the kitchen because she didn't really notice it anymore. She had not meant for it to stay, but she got used to it being there and stopped noticing. She made a big point about how ugly the stool was. And then she went on to talk about how often times we have things in our life that are ugly, but we sort of stop noticing them. It implored us to get rid of those ugly things. The next thing that came up when you scrolled down the page was a picture of the ugly stool.


I am the proud owner of not one, but TWO ugly stools!!!

Well. As you might imagine this brought up all sort of feelings in me. Knowing that I was the owner of two stools that had been used in an illustration about SIN ISSUES is likely to stir some emotions. Seeing this made me feel a few different things.

First, I want to throw a comment grenade into her comment section. I wanted to say in all caps I HAVE THAT STOOL. TWO OF THEM. Then I thought I might leave a scripture reference about the shallowness of material things. And a Jesus juke. (Do you know what a Jesus juke is? If not, you need to be reading more Stuff Christians Like.)

Second, I wanted to call Daniel right away and demand we go stool shopping that.very.night. No one wants to be the owners of the stools of sin. A little less funny is the feelings of shame I felt about my stools. My face got red! I mean, if that doesn't point to some issues I don't know what does.

I didn't do either of those things. Instead I just sat in the middle of how it all made me feel, had a couple of good laughs, and walked away thinking I might need to do some digging about why it made me feel that way.

In case there was any question there will no interior design posts coming soon. Clearly it's not my gift. Too bad you can't decorate your house with sarcasm.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Yesterday I mentioned that when I was busy staging Elf shenanigans I did not always work "as unto the Lord." Which, obviously was just to make a point because even I have a hard time seeing how Elf shenanigans could bring glory to God.

But working "as unto the Lord" is a real thing. Like, from the Bible and everything.

I'm in what you might call an "awkward phase" when it comes to work. You might remember that I left my job at the preschool to go on staff at the church we attend. Things started to get really weird around October (which for the record is when our whole life got really weird/hard for a few months. I'm convinced it's because we decided to go to the DR). Anyway, as you know I leave out all gory details in this particular space. I think I will just say that it was kind of an experiment to hire me in the position and it turns out they probably don't need a whole person in the job. Which, is too bad since I need a whole job! My hours have been drastically reduced. This has been hard financially, obviously, but I have also been really sad about the whole thing.

You might know that my first "career" was working in a church as a Children's Minister. It was really hard a lot of the time, but it was a job where I really got to use all of my gifts. I definitely needed a break when we moved away from Knoxville, but when this opportunity came along I thought this might be God leading me back into church work. I can't really explain what happened and that's the honest truth. So. Anyway. After quite a while of licking my wounds, I dived into sorting out what direction I might go in next.

Which finds me where I am today. In a state I would describe as "underemployed".  I languished around in this situation for a long time. The timing was, of course, super unfortunate since it coincided with the holiday/grief/seasonal affective disorder of it all. Last week I was with a trusted friend and we were hashing out life, as we like to do, and she gave me the gentle nudge I needed to stop it already.

I've spent a lot of my languishing time really thinking about what I want to spend my life doing. And then I read an amazing article about how God's calling on my life is not about me. It's about what I can do for others. As dumb as it sounds, I think I've been looking at it wrong my whole life. Which, you know, is always a delightful conclusion to come to.

The first clue came when I was subbing during December. I realized (again) how much I love being a teacher. The second clue came when reading a different article about "calling". The article said one clue to your calling is that people ask you to do this thing. It's reinforced from those around you that you are really good at this thing. Sometimes you may not even realize it's a "thing" because it comes so naturally to you. I've been trying to think about the things  a) I am passionate about and b) have served others before.

I will let you know working through these things has not produced a magical, perfect job. It is surprising, isn't it? But, it has given me some good direction.

So, back to working "as unto the Lord". I have realized in the time I am not working for cash money, I should be using the time to serve my "neighbor" with the gifts God has given me. This is not looking like anything drastic at all. It is basically just trying to be intentional with my time-either working towards the next step, or working in my "calling". It's an interesting place to be. And, it requires some {UN}afraid-ness, because at this particular juncture, leisure time does not pay very well.

I know you are on the edge of your seat. I can't wait to tell you all about my next step. You know, whenever I figure out what it is! #mystery

Can't stop. Won't stop.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I'm back

Somebody better toss some confetti because I managed to make it back here two days in a row!

I need you to know that I really, REALLY wish I had the capability to use emojis on here. Yeah, I'm almost 40 and I said emojis. So what? (Did you gasp a little when you read that I'm almost 40? I know. It's so hard when I'm basically 25 in your mind...)

I hope you had a great Wednesday. HUUUUMP DAY!!! I'll refrain from posting the video, but don't think I don't want to!!

We are blazing right along, and it is completely hard to believe January is almost over. Given that I almost didn't survive late November/December, I feel proud of how easily January's gone down.

What was so bad about the holiday season? Well, it wasn't bad necessarily. It was just much. First, five days before Thanksgiving, Daniel and I flew to the Dominican Republic for a sort of mission trip. Which means the entire month (at least) before was filled with frantic planning and around 5 panic attacks a day about leaving my kids. Ahem. Issues. (Also? MUCH more on the trip soon. So much more. I'll give you fair warning so you can SETTLE IN). Then it was Thanksgiving. In case you're wondering if the holiday/grief situation was better this year? It wasn't. Mere days after Thanksgiving was my birthday. I was a basket case for at least a week. Also, during December I was subbing at the preschool for a teacher whose husband had surgery. And, it was not a class for the faint of heart. The assistant in that class is brand new and together we had approximately zero idea what we were doing. We had one main goal: everyone survives. That, friends, is what we call a low bar.

What seemed like five minutes later Christmas came swooping in. The funniest thing I did this year was cram every Christmas tradition we have into about three days. GIT R DONE was my cheery philosophy. Luckily, my kids were none the wiser and we did manage some merriment. Our Christmas shopping got off to a late start (which, I know...shocking) and two late night trips to WalMart were almost the straw that broke the back of my mental sanity. We are still dealing with the Santa element around here, which makes things complicated. Also, we have an Elf on the Shelf. And he pulls shenanigans every night. My proudest holiday accomplishment is that I didn't forget even one night. I can't say that I was always working "as to the Lord" with my attitude, but I did not have to lie to my children about why the Elf didn't pull shenanigans. I realize it's rich of me to be concerned about a lie when basically the whole thing is one big LIE. Whatever.

Those of you who've been reading here awhile know that my favorite day of the year is the day after Christmas. And it did not disappoint. I would tell you all about it, but considering I slept almost the whole day there is not much to tell.

I was so looking forward to the week after Christmas. Such a good time to decompress and hang out. Unless, you know, the entire family is sick. Then, it's fairly stressful. Crabby kids+mom who can't get off the couch=lots of sin nature. Mostly mine. There was a fair amount of irritation. AND THEN the polar vortex struck and school was out for a million more days, and my kids hated each other and OH MY WORD, WHERE IS THE SUN???? Boiling point, I think is what they call that.

We are finally settling back in to a routine of sorts, which is good for all my people. We are sorely missing walking to school. I'm constantly seeking out a sliver of sun to bask in/never leaving home because COLD.

I want you to know I did some {UN}afraid things today! I'll not bore you every time I do something that feels brave but in reality is, you know, normal. But, I will give you some updates about this little journey. It's good stuff-not of mine, but God's.

For tonight, though, I'm going to bask in the fact that I'm not packing any lunches. #livingthedream.

FYI-I also love a hashtag.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

{UN} word of the year

Hi!!!!!!!!!!!! I know. Worst blogger ever. Special love to my friends Ashley and Jinny who like to read my words and tell me so!! :)

I have a bajillion things to catch you up on. I've even made a schedule of topics to write about. Let's hope it works!

Today, though, I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm linking up on someone else's blog and writing about a specific topic. This is what you might call OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE. But, I have been reading all week at Life in Grace and man, it is like a big megaphone right to where I am in my life currently. When I saw the link up today I decided to do it. Because it's fitting.

My {UN}word of the year is {UN}afraid.

Some of my earliest, strongest memories have to do with being afraid. I just hate that. I really think I was born with a penchant to be afraid. I don't know if it's genetic, generational, or coincidence, but it seems to be a common theme with lots of members of my family.

I have made some strides in this area over the past few years. That's the good news. The bad news is that God used some incredibly painful things in my life to chip away at the fear. I mean, I guess that's technically good news. Tell that to the me who was going through it! Ha!

It is clear that God is leading me to a place of deeper trust. I'm hoping He might have a different strategy this time around! I think that's probably completely irreverent, but it's totally honest!!

I'm watching and waiting and trying to live out of a place of deep faith in God. I'd love to think I could have complete victory over fear in my life!!

Wait patiently wait
God is never late;
Thy budding plans are in Thy Father's holding,

And only wait His grand divine unfolding.

Then wait, wait
Patiently wait
Trust, hopefully trust
That God will adjust
Thy tangled life, and from its dark concealings,

Will bring His will, in all its bright revealings.

Then trust, trust
Hopefully trust

[Confession: I wrote this in my notebook and I have no idea who said it!]

So, it is with some mild trepidation I launch into the year {UN}afraid. See what happened there? I'm mildly afraid of trying to be unafraid. Super.

I do hope to be back here much more often. So many good stories to tell!