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!