October 27, 2016

The Blogs I could write

Title: Threenager fit-throwing
  • "Mommy won't give me another Bandaid for my tiny scratch that healed three days ago so I'm going to scream to the point of making the neighbors think she sawed off my arm."
  • "Mommy won't take my pants off so I can pee even though I can do it myself, so instead I'll stand here and scream "bad mama" because elastic pull up waist bands are so confusing."
  • "Mommy won't give me a snack - she had the nerve to give me dinner instead.  And when I'm hungry, I want a snack, I don't want food."
  • "Mommy put me to bed and she's watching TV in the living room so I've decided the noise is bothering me so much that my ears hurt to the point that it feels as though someone is ripping them out with a dull spoon."

Title: Healthyish Living
  • On Greek yogurt and how much it doesn't taste like breakfast tacos
  • Also, how much salad doesn't taste like cheeseburgers
  • Eating toppings off of pizza because it's way healthier
  • Knee sweat.  Ew.
  • And a handy tip on not ever carrying a plum in your purse for a healthy snack later - it doesn't end well for the purse
Title: 90 Freaking Degrees
  • This is the worst fall we've ever had in the history of San Antonio because it's almost 90 freaking degrees every single day
  • Buying leggings, boots and long sleeves was totally in vain because it's 90 freaking degrees
  • Wanting to eat yummy things like chili and tomato basil soup, but you can't because it's 90 freaking degrees
Title: Lego Drama
  • The chaos, the insanity, the madness!
  • Hunting for Superman's head because all figures are for some reason, immediately dismembered
  • How it's totally worth it to buy 2 of the same tiny Lego set, because if that tiny set comes with Batman and your threenager loses Batman, then you have a backup Batman and can save the day.  Don't ask what happens when both Batmans are lost.  I don't want to talk about it.
  • Threatening to throw them all away after fight #457 of any given day, but knowing you wouldn't follow through with it because you're pretty sure that you've spent at least three solid paychecks on Lego sets
  • The meltdowns when the little one breaks the big one's ship and no one knows how to put it back together again.  And the only thing worse than a threenager fit, is a seven year-old fit who's brother has destroyed his Star Wars clone carrier
  • Apparently, building Legos is not playing Legos and playing Legos is a whole different ballgame
 Title: Hashtag Blessed
  • Obligatory I'm-so-thankful post on how grateful I am for all of my blessings because even though Greek yogurt tastes like feet and we are having beach weather in October and Lego's are the bane of my existence and my three year old might burst my eardrums with his constant screaming, I really am totally, completely, overwhelmingly blessed.

October 21, 2016

Girl Friday

The thing about loneliness is that it's so lonely.  It's especially lonely when you're a married working mother and you think that having a family and keeping a semi-full schedule means that loneliness should never find you.  I think regardless of how many friends we have or how many children need something from us or how loving our husbands are, loneliness comes with the territory of being a woman that is full of unspeakable longings.

For the last several months, I have to come to absolutely dread Fridays.  Life right now means that Todd either works late and then drives for Uber every Friday.  Or he takes a nap after Friday evening dinner and then heads out to Uber until I'm already in bed.  Saturdays look similar as we need the extra income right now.  All of this had added to my loneliness as my weekends are wrapped up in being alone with my boys with nothing else to do or look forward to or be with.

I've discovered that between work and mothering, I get depleted of all delightfulness.  I'm a wrung out sponge with nothing to soak in. And don't get me wrong - I love, love being a mother.  I love my boys so much it hurts.  And I'm also tired and discouraged and weary.

Last weekend, my youngest was slamming his door open and closed over and over again because he did not like the consequences I set in place after he acted out repeatedly.  At one point he was in his room screaming that he hated me and I burst into tears because he is three.  He ended up being put to bed earlier than usual and I cried as I sang him his lullabies because mothering him has felt so hard lately and I feel like I'm failing at it and failing him and I don't know what to do about his anger anymore.  

Motherhood feels disappointing right now and I don't like the mother that Jacob's anger invites me to be.  I have a passionate, emotional, strong-willed child and he takes all that I have.  I'm ashamed that my oldest has to see these parts of me.  I am aware of all that I try to shield him from seeing or knowing - wanting to spare him from the death and the wounds that I have known from my own mother and trying to be everything for him all of the time.

My Friday self feels sad and broken. She feels done with life and children and everyday stresses.  And she's so lonely.  She blames herself for that loneliness as if it's someone's fault, and thinks of those in her past that she's hurt and excluded and left behind and believes that she deserves to feel this alone and this miserable.  My Friday self usually turns to Netflix and vodka.  Time to numb out, to forget and to stop feeling.

It's Friday morning. As another weekend was approaching I knew I had to do something different this day.  I asked my boss yesterday if I could come in a little bit late today and he gave me the okay. Right now I have the house to myself.  Hot coffee beside me, window open because it's cool and gorgeous outside.  I spent some time journaling and reading and praying.  And crying too.  Being close to God and taking some time to soak up something my soul has been so desperately needing.  
I don't know if I feel any less lonely. But a couple of hours on a quiet morning, sipping coffee and doing some writing without having to referee playtime or change someone into a Batman outfit is good for the soul.  I'm reminded that I have a choice of what kind of Girl Friday I'm going to be.  I get to choose if I'll numb out, if I'll rest, if I'll feel how hard and lonely and desperate it all is instead of run from it.  I get a choice to find moments to take care of myself when I can.

October 11, 2016

When you're tired of political memes

Have you ever felt like you were different than everyone else?  Like you couldn't be lumped into one specific group or category that society wants to put us in?  Like the songs that sings, "I'm a little bit country, a little bit rock n' roll," I often feel that way.  I find myself standing in the middle of opposing sides, landing somewhere in the middle of so many places.  I feel like I'm an and-both kind of person.  With many issues, I reside in gray areas because I don't think everything is so black and white.

Being a deep feeler, I experience the world around me with a heightened sense of awareness, which is both a blessing and a curse it seems.  I hear stories about refugees washing up dead on the seashore and I literally cry out to God in despair.  I long to open up my home to just one family, one child, one person and give them peace and safety, shelter and food, because isn't that what we're supposed to do?  There are other days I can't handle more catastrophic news and look away and want to hide under a rock because the mess of my own tiny world is enough for me to deal with.  And then I'm grieved because this world is a hurting mess and I do so little to show and share the love of Jesus to it. 

When I was younger, my differences made it hard to fit in anywhere.  I longed to belong to one specific group and be known as a big someone within that group.  I tried to "find myself" or whatever it is you call that in your teens and early twenties when you're figuring out who you are.  But, nothing ever seemed to fit and I've continued to discover that I'm not easily categorized as one thing or another. I like ruffles and tattoos.  I'm compliant and a rule-breaker.  I make friends easily and talk to everyone, but I can also be awkward and shy.

Like so many around me, I am grieved by our times.  It feels hard not to fear about the fate of our country, about who will be next to lead our nation, and what that will look like as their presidency unfolds.  I think more so, the venomous words, the ridiculous political memes and people I know who are followers of Jesus joining in on whatever side they've chosen and are using their voices to be loud and sometimes ugly.  We now live in a culture where everyone wants their opinions to be known.  Everyone wants to be right.  Everyone wants to be heard.

Also, can we just take a moment to remember the good 'ol days before there was such a thing as political memes?  ***happy sigh***  Those were truly glorious days.

Social media especially has reminded me of how different I am than so many I know, even within my own family.  When it comes to politics, I'm a little bit conservative, a little bit liberal.  I keep my opinions and thoughts to myself, especially in regards to political issues.  I don't want to be another voice that contributes to the loudness, especially when that loudness feels chaotic and slimy.  Other than my husband, I have two real-life friends that I will talk politics with that feel safe and uncondemning.  One republican and one democrat, I have come to appreciate their understanding of government and worldview even if we differ in certain places.  Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that no one, not even our elected officials, can seem to work together in the same way and both sides are to blame. 

If I have any ongoing, long-term goal, it's that my heart would look like the heart of Jesus.  I would care about the things He cares about.  I would speak the things He would speak.  I would be grieved for the things that grieve Him.  I would love the people He would love.  I don't always do a good job of that, but it is at the root of how I hope to live my life and how I love on and minister to others.

I keep going back to what I know about Jesus - who He was, how He lived, and the things He taught when He was here on earth.  Jesus disrupted the religious leaders of His time and stepped on so many spiritual toes as He did scandalous things like heal on the Sabbath and share meals with the low-life scoundrels of His day.  His teachings were radical and they still are:  If someone slaps your cheek, turn the other for them to hit also.  If someone needs your coat, give them the shirt off of your back too.  If you have hatred in your heart towards another, you've already committed murder.  He cared more about the welfare of the widow and the orphan than about our comfort or happiness. When you look at all of the things He taught and spoke and how we ought to conduct ourselves as His disciples, so much of it was about humility, grace, selflessness, love and kindness.  I have yet to see any of those things in a single political meme.

I have to wonder what Jesus' voice might sound like today.  What political party would He side with?  If He were in America right now and had His own Instagram and Facebook and Twitter - what would He be posting?  What would He say?  What would His voice sound like amidst all of the loudness of our world right now?  Would He be yelling at us to wake up?  Or would He be whispering something that He doesn't want us to miss in all of this political turmoil?  I'm curious, does my voice sound like His?  Does yours?

Whatever box you fit in, party you camp out with, group you belong to, or if you feel a little and-both like me, might we all consider our voices?  Maybe if we stop and at least consider what we sound like when we vocalize our opinions, political or otherwise, we might start filling social media and the world with the humility, grace, selflessness, love and kindness that Jesus is all about.  And that could actually change the world.

October 9, 2016

Sunday Gratitude

Windows open kind of weather.

My favorite tree, heart-shaped leaves, dancing in October breezes.

Tommy's toothless smile and Jacob's expressive faces.

The anonymous cash gift we found in our garage yesterday on a day we really needed it, reminding me of God's faithful provision in times of need.

Pumpkin scented candles.

Warm mugs of coffee on a quiet morning.

Autumn sunlight streaming through windows.

Boys dressed like super-heroes.

Watching my son make healthy choices on his own.

Phone conversations with my Grammy.

Wearing cowgirl boots.

Kindness found in smiles of neighbors and new friends.

A body that feels healthy and active, pain-free and energized.

Ellen's face, her tears, her kindness, her words for me.

Second chances and starting over.

God's grace that never runs out, that multiplies and is always given in abundance.
Family dinners around our table full of conversation and laughter.

October 2, 2016

Autumn Decorating

It's always about more than decorating.  It's not simply changing out throw pillows and putting out pumpkins.  I'm creating a feeling, welcoming in change and a new season.  Adding warmth to my home and inviting reflections of harvest, thanksgiving and gratitude.
With autumn decor, I think less is more.  I prefer fall foliage, a few well placed pumpkins and one or two larger pieces that change from my every day decor.  My focal shelf that sits in our living room is always my most favorite thing to do up for any season and the deer art felt like a perfect choice.

My favorite pumpkin painted by my amazing mother-in-law almost always sits in the same place every year.
I like a change in the throw pillows on my couch. Sadly, they spend more time under my end tables as to not be ruined by the small humans who live here with me.  But they take lovely pictures until they are put away.

 A few pumpkins and knick-knacks get changed out on my bookshelves.
And I always have my favorite picture out of me and my mom in my kitchen in the fall.  It's the season she feels closest to me, and I love this picture as a reminder of the parts of her that forever live on in me.

I set the table like I'm about to have company, when in real life my placemats and cloth napkins are put away as the table is perpetually covered with syrup, crayons, Lego heads and spilled apple juice.
But it feels cozy if you overlook the chaos and mess that comes with having two small children and loving to decorate for the season.
Earlier this week we arrived home in the evening.  Tommy turned on a lamp in the living room and flopped down on our soft leather recliner.  He sighed a happy sigh and said, "Mom, I love how the house looks in the fall.  When you decorate it like this - it's my favorite way the house feels!"

And then my heart bubbled over with joy.  Because he can feel it too.  Because I love creating beauty in my home.  And because it's fall again.