Thursday, August 20, 2015

The D word

"Stop licking your sister!" "If you don't stop Facetiming right now, I'm taking away your iPad for a week!" "Pause the game! and say sorry to your brother!""Put a bubble in your mouth and do not talk back to me!" "If you don't do what I say right now, I am going to show you what a spanking is!"  "GO TO SLEEP right now! If I hear another noise, I am putting you on the porch!" <- I was really desperate then. Also, chill out.. I would never. Okay, I did. Once, just to scare her into listening. Oh the guilt. It didn't even work.

The D word. Not THAT D word. I'm talking Discipline. oh, discipline. Somebody needs to just help a mama out. My favorite thing to do is listen to the naive people who aren't yet parents, tell me how they are going to discipline. Oh, yeah? You're not going to bribe? You're going to give them options and then let them make a wise choice? Natural consequences, huh? Oh, so if they don't get ready quickly then they'll just suffer from being late.. all the time. Great. Sounds good. You're going to have rules, and consequence charts with little stickers and a time out stool that they stay put on? Gotcha.

...then I sit back and watch. Because y'all have no idea. Most people find a book or a method or a guru of parenting and use that as their holy grail to disciplining their child. Yes, I know THE BIBLE all my righteous people say... Yup, I have a rod I'd like to guide my kid with sometimes... upside the head. (That's probably something I shouldn't say. Like people won't get my sense of humor and will be all.. "she beats her kids". But I have no filter.. So disclaimer: I'm kidding). You can have whatever theory on discipline you'd like to think you'll follow but when your kids are going bat-crap-crazy in the grocery store aisle and one is kicking, and the other is bigger so she's climbing out of the cart and using some sassy talk while rolling her eyes that makes the hair on your neck stand up, all while the baby is crying and the people are staring.. you grab whatever is on the shelf next to you that contains sugar and you open it and threaten their lives unless they sit still and eat it. The discipline tool I think everyone follows is a little something called: Experience. Because you don't know, 'til ya know. You know what I'm saying'? I SWORE I would never do my mom's stank face. I call it, "the Carole look" (sry ma!) and if you have a southern mama, you know the look. It's got one eye squinted, one eye bulged, and the lips are pursed and when you see it... you better stop what you're doing and get your butt within earshot so she can whisper the smack down that she is about to place on you. Well, I pull that sucker out like a secret weapon in all places public. And then I smile like Susie Homemaker at all passerbyers because I'm a crazy person who has it all together. :)

As an adult, we think we are beyond discipline. I mean, the only privilege to having to "adult" all the time is getting to make up your own rules right? This morning God whispered to me... "You need discipline". Suddenly, as that word sat with me for a minute, it seemed evident in every aspect of my life at this very moment how discipline is the theme.

Whoever made up the saying "slept like a baby" didn't have one. We're learning that coffee and low expectations make the world go 'round these days. If I don't discipline myself to sleep at appropriate times and not fall into the trap of my baby's time sleeping being my only "free time" then I am dog tired the next day.

I have a second grader and a little one in VPK. With school starting this week, it has been my first few days of getting everyone up, fed, and DRESSED (pj days fo' life) AND out the door by 7:30 AM.  I have been so frustrated with my children's lack of "quickness" on these mornings that I am rushing them and annoyed by the time we leave. I toss my kiddos into their day with a frantic and hurried anxiety filled morning to start them off. The easy way out would be to blame them. To point out their need for discipline. BUT I need to be disciplined. I need to prepare the night before and wake up earlier. I need to give them the time they need to set the tone for a peaceful and joy-filled day. Getting up 15 minutes before them would allow me a cup of coffee and a moment alone and with God. How hard is it as parents to realize WE need to be corrected.

The Dr. cleared me last week for working out. DANG IT! There does my "I have to wait for the doctor" excuse. Not that I'm trying to rush off this weight or anything (nursing usually sucks it off... quite literally for me) BUT I battled anxiety this pregnancy and I just FEEL better in general when I get to sweat a bit each day. Three kids later, I know I need to manage my time for myself and squeeze in that time. It is my fault if I don't have time, not theirs. I am a better mama when I take better care of myself. End of story. Self, work out.. or sit in the corner and don't whine about it. 

I believe the first child is the "trick ya" child. In my case she was an angel. She slept through the night at a few weeks old, she could form sentences at a year old and she potty trained herself. She naturally "tricked us" into having the second. Ya know, because we thought all kids were that easy. The second baby was my mama's boy. He is wild and a character builder for sure. He basically has me wrapped around his finger and could do no wrong though. Our third baby has proven to be the hardest. She is making sure she is THE LAST. She started this off by killing me softly from the inside during my entire pregnancy and has continued to be a bit tricky ever since. She had a horrible rash which has led me to an elimination diet since I am breastfeeding. I went dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, citrus-free and no spicy foods. It also might be chemical so we changed our lotions, soap, shampoos, face wash, makeup, no perfume, fabric softeners, and different detergents. Basically I am a stinky and starving mess. Talk about discipline. Dessert and cheese are two of my main food groups. Wahhhh... Let's have a moment of silence for Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake from The Cheesecake Factory ...... Thanks. I can't tell you the amount of discipline this has enforced upon me. It is absolutely humbling and horrid.

God has placed a TON of things on my heart lately. I always planned to have my kids and then when they went to school to pursue my things. Well, when we had two children, that was the plan. My oldest is in 2nd grade and my youngest (then. middle now) is in VPK. That would've given me three days a week to be kidless and to pursue something outside of our home. Now we have our sweet Adella with me and that plan got pushed back about 5 years. ha! God is swirling in my heart some thoughts and feelings. Some "you don't have to wait" feelings. Some "do it now!" feelings. All of the sudden I want to grow my husbands business, write a blog, write a book, go back to school, and get moving WHILE I mama. Who would've thought? With that being said, as mother's we give our all to our kids. We sacrifice everything down to our ability to scroll our phone while we poop like our husbands get to do (hello?! who takes 40 minutes to go to the bathroom!?), because there are actual humans in the room talking to us the entire time. Don't deny that friends. Honesty is the best policy. So in order to thrive as a mom and as a person, one does not have to wait, but I need... DISCIPLINE. I need time management. I need to focus. I DO NOT need everything at Target. I DO need to invest in our future. I need to STOP reading blog post after blog post of other beautiful women on fire for God and I need to BE the woman writing blog post after blog post on fire for God. I DO NOT need to talk more about what Jesus wants me to do. I DO NEED to get up and do it!

Just the same as I need my children to be disciplined, in order for God's work in my life to flourish, I need to be disciplined in Him: 

For people who hate discipline
and only get more stubborn,
There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
    but by then it’ll be too late to help them.
Proverbs 29:1

Wise discipline imparts wisdom;
    spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.
When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild
  but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse.
Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did
they’ll turn out delightful to live with.
If people can’t see what God is doing
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals
they are most blessed.
Proverbs 29:15-18

I want to be wise. I do not want to be an embarrassment to God and waste my days in my own head. I want to dutifully raise God fearing children and exhaust the gifts He has boiled up in me. I want to be reactive to God's discipline and not be the little girl "sitting out on the porch" because God said "ONE MORE TIME AND..." I want to be obedient because I know JUST how frustrating it is to be the parent with a wayward child. If that's you, pray with me...

Lord, correct me. Open my eyes to the areas of discipline for me where I am just a toddler kicking my feet on the floor and you are saying "you better do this or else..." Show me where in my life you are ever so patiently counting to three and giving me every chance (2 1/2....) to get up and do what you say. God almighty let me look in the mirror and gently give myself grace but sternly have a reality check. Let me fix me. Let it not be everyone else in every situation that needs to be fixed. Let "adulting" mean more than being serious and boring but to also be brave and compassionate. Guide my steps to your plan. May my mouth not only speak but my actions do. Help me use my gifts for your glory. Help me be focused. Help me to have a mission. Help me to eliminate the noise. Discipline me, oh Lord. Like the caring Father that you are, that wants the best for His child. Me. Your precious child. Lord, make me susceptible to all you want to do in me... and Lord if you could maybe ease up on the rebellion from my own children. That'd be AWESOME. I know they are probably a "taste of my own medicine" but when I asked you to give me patience.. I didn't really want the situations to flex that muscle. I know you understand. ;). Thank you Lord for your righteous guidance. Thank you Lord for your sacrifice. Please God, help me to be obedient. I pray this all in your precious name. Amen 

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It takes a village...

yeah yeah yeah, I should do a "catch up" post since we've been busy and all adding a human to our family and I have given you the silent treatment for a while, but I'll get there. For now, I have to write whats fresh in my head because these days, I can remember NOTHING. So...

1, 2, skip a few, we had a baby.

She's presh. I love her to pieces, I will gush on her another day. But I had to tell you that to tell you this story. Otherwise, you'd be all "what baby" and my life lesson would be lost in the shuffle. But I digress, here she is and today.. she had an adventure.

Say hello to Titus...

He is our wild one, the character builder, the mamas boy. There is not a mess he can not make, an item he can not break, nor a ledge too high for him to jump from. He is covered in scrapes and bruises and normally food. :) 

Today we dropped my oldest off at school and headed home, just us three. I set Titus up on the couch with some cartoons, an orange juice, and his toy puppy while Adella was chillin' out newborn style across the living room in her Mamaroo. (Not strapped in, because she's my third child and I live dangerously). As I noticed the window of opportunity (read: two seconds to pee in peace!) I jolted to the half bath about 20 feet away. I swear I took about 2 minutes total, when I thought I heard the baby fuss so I quickly opened the door and rushed into the living room. A very calm 4 year old was sitting on the couch playing with his adorable 6 week old little sisters feet who was RIGHT NEXT TO HIM ON THE COUCH! 

I took a brief mental second to think if I'm losing my mind and where I left the baby.. but after a sidebar with myself, I quickly realized my four year old had picked up my tiny newborn and carried her across the room, around the coffee table, and placed her onto the couch. My weapon of mass destruction boy who needs a sippy cup because he can not even carry a cup of juice from the counter to the table without spilling it... CARRIED MY INFANT ACROSS THE ROOM. 

Spoiler alert: she's fine. I had a meltdown and was a bad yelling and crying mommy. I checked her limbs and her neck and her eyes. Whew. She survived. After he finished crying from my very precise and studied parenting theory called "put the fear of death in them"... we talked about the rules and what could happen and what he is allowed to do and what he may not do. Then I let him hold her sitting on the coach to earn back mommy points. 

At first I thought, no one will hear a word about this! Number one, DCF would come knocking on my door. If the goose egg of a bruise on my son's face a few weeks ago and the "dead" tooth that he hit so hard it killed the root and turned his tooth gray permanently, didn't have them hopping over to my house for tea, then my 4 year old babysitting the newborn would definitely get their attention. Not to mention, the ladies who always tell me "you're super mommy" will burn my cape in protest at the news of this horrid incident. 

BUT THEN... I shared. I shared what happened because well, I'm an over-sharer. I share everything but my dessert and my glass of milk (gross!). I reluctantly posted my experience online so that other mamas might think twice before trusting their curious older children in the room. I went out on the limb as a mommy martyr. Thinking I would be burnt on the stake for the sake of a warning to mamas. Bring on the judgement and the well meaning alas annoying "advice".

To my surprise, I was not humiliated in mommy court. I was not found guilty or burnt to death with mommy guilt and comparison. The mamas all replied with the two greatest words any mama could ever hear. 

There were stories of when it happened to them with their kids or their mamas! I even had some mama's "up me" in the crazy incident department! I know sometimes we can't always relate to other moms in what they're going through during this crazy thing called motherhood, but the point is we can be there for each other. The saying "it takes a village" doesn't always mean physically. Sometimes it's what other moms DON'T do that is actually more helpful. Like, when they don't judge or dissect a situation but they let you in on a little secret. WE ARE ALL IN THE TRENCHES TOGETHER. We all will not do this perfectly. We will screw up and it is okay. We can support each other by being real and honest and transparent. 

I have no clue how moms in the past without such easy ways of communication survived. Because behind the pretty closed curtains are moms sitting in living rooms thinking, I am the only one, and no one is going to find out about this. My kids will need so much therapy. But the truth? Well, they will need therapy, save for that now. BUT you are not the only one. There is a mama who has been through it, is going through it now, or better put on her big girl panties because it's coming for her. 

It is my hearts desire that all mamas feel the peace I felt when those moms joined with me today in my parenting, without even knowing it, and said "It's okay mama. I've been there." Thank you ladies. Thank you for healing my mama heart of guilt and fear. Thank you for being the feet of God today. For rallying together in our tribe of raising these little humans. You rock. 

Let's do this more. Let's help each other more. Let's give each other grace and support. Let's judge less. Let's be vulnerable and open and transparent because you never know who needs to feel like they aren't the only one. 

Here's Titus giving her some toys and even his precious Hulk as a peace offering.

Alls well that ends well. Adella forgave him and even threw on a little t-shirt love in support of her love for her main man...

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Job well done!

 Yesterday was the first day of daylight savings time. It is absolutely crazy to me that one little hour change can totally rock my world. Like... I wanted to nap ALL DANG DAY. I'm going to blame it on the baby.. because, well, she can't defend herself. **Speaking of baby!** I video'd her yesterday because you can see her move from the outside of my belly now! I'd share the video but my belly button looks like the end of a hot dog at the moment and that's just oversharing.. even for me.

So the point being that bed time for the kiddos could not come soon enough. I put dinner on the table at 5 o'clock on the dot, because, hello... that is like when the worship team comes to the stage during the sermon "THE END IS NEAR". After we ate, and cleaned up, and fed the dog and the bunnies and watered our plants, and took a bath, brushed our teeth, got on pajamas and read our bible (tired yet?) I was literally scooting the kids into their rooms like a snow plow. I told them both to go to their beds and I would be right there. I had a second to myself downstairs in the kitchen before the always-drawn-out process of goodnight salutations, and blessings, and kisses, and "I'm thirsties", and stories I have to tell you right now about a caterpillar from two weeks ago.

In the quickness of that moment, I heard God's voice. As our Pastor said this past Sunday... God is ALWAYS talking, we just have to listen. Sometimes I hear a quick snippet from God but I'm too busy, I'm too distracted, I'm too focused. All too often, I convince myself that it is just one of the voices in my head (yes, there are many) and I move on. This time though, I didn't.

My prayer to God daily is "make my day count" and "give me joy in the mundane". When my head hits the pillow at night, I usually overlook the answered prayers and just think I'll try again tomorrow.   I'm so tired of feeling like a day was "wasted" or insignificant, so I decided NOT THIS TIME. God said, "Celebrate the small. You ask for your days to be magnificent, and they ARE. But you just don't give them the attention they deserve. I've answered your prayers."

Both kiddos had told me about something they were super excited about that day. Sienna got "presidential" on both the running and the sit-and-reach tests for physical fitness in P.E. class and Titus walked on the "tiny balance beam" in tumbling class that's really hard when he normally does "the baby one". Those tasks seemed trivial, of course, when I have blinders on to what a "successful day" looks like in the adult world. However, to my babies, my 4 and 7 year old, whom are God's greatest gifts that He has leant to me as one of my life's greatest missions and purposes for His kingdom and glory, view these accomplishments as acts of grander. I don't know about you but sometimes it would be nice to stand at a sink full of dishes with a commentator behind me clapping and saying "yeah, girl. Wash that dish. Dang you're a good dish washer. BRAVO! You are magnificent!" That would make me feel like what I was doing counted. That would make me realize God has answered my prayers. It is no different for them.

So I yelled out to my little minions.... COME DOWNSTAIRS I HAVE A SURPRISE! I got them each a brownie and announced to each one how proud I was of their accomplishment that day and we clapped and deemed it "a celebration"!!!! They grinned from ear to ear and this ensued...

It all lasted about 5 minutes and then I switched back into GO TO BED mode. Our little celebratory result was just a quick reminder to me that my days are meaningful. My parenting is meaningful. God is answering my prayers. The problem is that we have our own vision of what that will look like. We have our own plan that we need God to play a pawn in. Oh how it doesn't work like that. God isn't a tool to complete my desires or a genie to grant my wish. He is our father, our teacher, our friend. He is molding us to see HIS way not the other way around. He heard my prayer to "give me joy in the mundane" and He answered it, "the joy is there. Are you looking?"

I challenge you today. Let go of what you think is worthy of celebration, and listen to all God is jumping for joy in. He's cheering you on at the sink, at the washing machine, in your cubicle, or car line. Take in that round of applause and return the glory around to Him by gifting that to another one of His children... maybe even your own. ;)

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

We dance.

Words are a gift of mine. Both to me and from me. God uses them to etch away at all the troubles of my heart. He also uses them to help me reach others. They are my jam. They keep me sane. 

I grew up in dance since I was 18 months old until college. I dreamed of being a prima ballerina and watching The Nutcracker and The Rockettes and basically breathing everything dance. I spent hours in a studio and competitions dancing every week. That's why music is my second gift. A good song speaks to my soul in the most honest way. I think it's the combination of the lyrics and movement. You know how a line in a song seems like an arrow right to your gut and you're getting all preachy, like... "Yes!" Everyone must hear this. That's a Facebook status!" I used music and dance as therapy for most of my youth. Most times when I couldn't find the words (I hadn't quite mustered the courage to be so wordy) I danced it out. "Left it all on the dance floor" as we would say. Dancing to a song with amazing lyrics= my euphoria. 

Now that I'm old (okay I'm not old. Just 26.) But having two kiddos and a third on the way makes your body FEEL old. I don't know about you but I feel like 25 is the magic year. Up until 25 my body did what I wanted and I ate like the Poster Child for Twinkie. Then I turned 26 and God's all, "Now you gotta work for it?!" And then all the wonderful genetics started kicking in.. like saddle bags, and cellulite, and varicose veins, and stretch marks. Don't you just wanna see me naked now? Thank you Baby Jesus for Spanx! Anyways, what was I saying? Oh yes, now that I've got more gray hair than I can keep up with plucking (thanks Grams. I hear you passed this down) my body doesn't allow me to do much more than car dancing and lyric loving behind the wheel. So I get down with my bad self at red lights.

Wow, that was a long winded intro. But here's the point. Today I was on the way to preschool and I needed a good ole' jam sesh to drown out the sound of my child to reach closer to Jesus. ;) THIS song is on a completely legal burnt CD from my wise and faithful leader friend, Lisa. She's like the Master Splinter of finding good music. I'm just a teenage mutant ninja turtle basking in her wisdom.

Soooo... I've heard it before but THIS time. We had a moment. God and I. Like He said, "this song IS YOURS. It is so true to you and my relationship. To all we've been through and where you are. LISTEN, and rest in it." Let me tell you I sobbed, and I sang, and I pretended that my big ole' pregnant belly self performed a dance with moves I can only still do in my head." Join me. Read these lyrics while you listen to the song....

It's painfully obvious... HELLO! We Dance! I dance. God's meeting me where my gift is! In dance! And another funny reason "we dance" is such an intimate thing for me is because in my super rad Mama's group we tend to do "visualizing" a lot. We get a song going and we close our eyes and see what God shows us. Some people see a hot Jesus like in the Old Spice commercials (don't judge. it's not nice), some people see Jesus lit up and glowing, some people can't see Him and that's okay too...but ME I always see my living room from the vantage point of standing at the top of the stairs. I see Jesus cradle me in and slow dance with me, my head on his shoulder and His arm on my back and  on my head.... like a dad does to his little girl at a "daddy-daughter dance". Most often times I physically feel my weight sink into Him. Like I'm not even forced into holding myself up. It is intimate. It is magical. It is amazing... So this part gives me that visual...

You steady me
Slow and sweet, we sway
Take the lead and I will follow
Finally ready now
To close my eyes and just believe
That You won't lead me
Where You don't go

All my life, I've fought for love. To get the love I wanted, needed, ached for in ways that were desperate and unsatisfying. How often I feel we all do that. Spend our whole lives fighting to be loved. To meet the qualifications we're told that makes us lovable. To meet the standards of others to make ourselves feel worthy of their love. But the battles already been won. God is Love. He's victorious. He loves us. Here it is..

And I've been told
To pick up my sword
And fight for love
Little did I know
That Love had won for me 

I've had a lot of life packed in my short years. Lots of joy and lots of mourning. My middle name is "Joy" and so is my daughter's. I think God is so clever that way. One of my main objectives and messages to mama's and friends and loved ones out there is to have JOY in the mundane. He's gifted me a rescue, a sunrise in the morning, a hope, a joy after every struggle. It's represented in the life I lead now. Being 18 and pregnant seemed scary and lonely and well, a struggle. But I see my joy.. my Sienna Joy now and she is the biggest light in my journey of life. In her eyes I saw Jesus. She drew me close to Him. God locked eyes with me. He gave me joy...He helped me dance...

Just you and me
And I will lock eyes 
With the One who's ransomed me
The One who gave me joy for mourning
And I will lock eyes
With the One who's chosen me
The One who set my feet to dancing

I know this last part doesn't just speak to me. So often, especially as women, and even more so if you are an emotional and deep person like I am.. life can feel lonely. When you feel things so deeply and evaluate situations so intently, it feels like a burden just to live in such a troubled world. but THIS...this line shows us where our peace can be...

It's nice to know I'm not alone
I've found my home here in Your arms

What's your song that "God wrote for you"? If you don't have one. Find one! I promise when you feel like the creator of the universe has done such a romantic gesture to meet you in the middle of your living room for a slow dance to an intimate song.. it's magical. It's life changing. It's life giving. I pray each one of you can feel the way I feel when I hear this song. When I feel the relationship I have with God himself deep in my soul. 

And just in case you need some cuteness to debrief from the word vomit I just gave you... Here's my sweet girl at her dance recital when she was younger. (She looks JUST like me here). I pray she dances with Jesus always.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


            Today I'm going to break the cardinal rule of "good mommies" everywhere. I'm going to share one of those moments in mommy hood that no one sees.. so we all pretend they don't happen. You know the times where your voice turns into some dragon like sound or you just scream GO TO YOUR ROOMS MOMMY IS GOING TO LOSE IT! Just me? It's okay, denial is not just a river. ;) It's the moments behind closed doors that we are just flawed human beings and we just can't use our Mary Poppins voice to ask "please make wise choices" one more time through a crap-eating grin like we have to do at Chick-fil-a or Publix, or anywhere else the judger-Mc-judgersons are watching.

          I set up the story a bit, well because if not, I just sound like a witch. I caught whatever sickness my kid had last week. It's two days of vomiting and other nonmentionables where you can eat nothing. I'm 20 weeks pregnant so that was my worst nightmare. Not to mention my stomach was contracting in between sessions of nausea in a dry-heave type of way. Got the visual? You're welcome. Basically Hell on Earth. I'm sure of it. A pregnant lady who can't eat a thing and yaks up her entire insides all the while having contractions while not being in labor. Yup. The devil himself created those conditions.

         So fast forward to where I lose my "Mommy of the year" nomination. This was the first morning this week that I woke up without feeling like death, and somehow it looked like my house had turned into a war zone. As I got the kiddos ready and out the door, I already had my days missions and check list and food I was going to eat on my mind. The last thing I yelled as I grabbed my keys and phone was, "Sienna, throw on your jacket and grab your backpack. Then get it in the car. Hurry! You have enrichment before school!" We make it to school at 7:47.. two minutes late to enrichment but that's like basically on time if you know me well, so I considered it a victory.

        "Okay, take off your seat belt, grab your bag, get ready to tuck and roll.." Okay, I'm kidding about the tuck and roll but these safety patrols at carline are no joke. They are all sorts of rushing and it makes me nervous so we have to get ready for the dismount. (Welcome to my children's world. They have a mother who is afraid of 5th grade safety patrols. How did I even qualify for this position?) The look of fear comes over my daughter's face. She repeatedly looks around in the same spots over and over again to avoid eye contact with me and to seem busy... like her backpack was going to magically appear in our car the second time around.

         That's when I did it. I rang her a new one. "How could you forget your backpack?! I said GRAB YOUR BACKPACK! I have so much to do Sienna!? Do you know some girls your age have to fold laundry and clean and help their mommy so much and I just asked your to get your own back pack!" I cry as I type what I remember saying, because immune to it in my fit of rage.. I can clearly see her face now as I remember. Sad, lonely, afraid, feeling like she's not enough, and unloved. "Now I have to go all the way home and grab it and come all the way back! You always want Mommy to do more for you! It's never enough!" Then she said nothing. and I said nothing. The dang short and stumpy dark-haired kid opened the door with a grin... "Good Morning!" he said as his words cut through the harsh tension that flooded out of my car. He quickly looked down and just shut the door. I let my sweet girl get out of the "safety" of our car into the big wide world to start her day without a kiss and a goodbye. My heart breaks. Instant shame. Instant grief.

          I wasn't even out of the school parking lot when I thought about why what just happened, happened. I do that all the time, I dissect things. On a deeper level, always. It's a blessing, and a curse. My response to my girl immediately reflected back to me, and really had nothing to do with her. So often my "issues" with my kids are direct reflections of how I feel.

          The last two days had been horrible. I was bathing kids in between hugging the toilet. I was making breakfast in between being curled in a ball on the bathroom floor. I know you're thinking... stop whining! But even as a mom you think... someone save me! PS: don't grow up. It's a trap. The days of hours in bed with gatorade and chicken noodle soup and cartoons when you're sick... ARE OVER! But deeper than that.. ever since I was younger I've had this pressure to have the mentality of handle it all yourself! Whether those around me intentionally or subconciously meant to.. the vibe I got from the world was, "you don't need help. you need to deal with it." It's funny because I come from a line of STRONG women. They've been dealt hands in life that you JUST CAN'T IMAGINE. And they pride themselves on not needing a dang thing from anyone else. They tough it out. They conquer and kick butt and take names. Man that's a lot of pressure to live up to.

          Maybe I'm more sensitive, or maybe I've had the revelation that each one of them and us as women can only handle this life on our own for so long before it catches up to us. This whole week I've cried as I repeatedly thought all of the lies... "where's my help?" "I'm so unloved" "I just want to be important to somebody!" I envied other people that I could remember who have others "swoop in and save the day" when they have a paper cut. Here I am again, in a childlike state... "you don't need help. you need to deal with it."

          I looked in the rearview mirror at myself. My little girl self and saw eyes that said, "Sad, lonely, afraid, feeling like she's not enough, and unloved." I had been screaming to my little girl the exact harsh words I felt the world telling me. The last two days, my whole life, in all the hard times. I'm regurgitating and repeating the cycle that if she needs help, it's a burden. That I am conditionally here for her and there's a limit to what I will do for her. Do I want my little girl to be independent and strong and courageous and responsible? Yes. But more importantly I want her to be secure in knowing I've got her back. That the world is tough and strong enough without her being tough too. She can be vulnerable, and soft, and sensitive, and forgetful, and I will be there to help her.

        So besides starting a therapy fund along with her college fund.. I came home to get her backpack. I wrote a note that said

Sweet Girl, 

I am so sorry that I got so frustrated that you forgot your backpack. Mistakes happen. It's okay. Mommy makes mistakes all the time. You are perfect and loved just the way you are. I love you. 

Sorry! Love,
Your biggest fan 

        Then I pinned it on the outside of her backpack and dropped it off in the office. I was intentional not to hide the note so she can see that we don't have to be ashamed of our mistakes. We just have to own up to them. I'm praying she forgives me. I know it won't be the last time. I'll have plenty of apologizing in my future to my sweet little girl and the little girl that looks back at me in the mirror...

Just in case no one has ever said it to you....

Dear BELOVED jacked-up child of God,

You are perfect just the way you are. 
Mistakes happen. It's okay. You're forgiven.
The pressures of this world are hard and scary and overbearing. 
You are not alone. 
You deserve help. 
If there's not a helping hand to reach out to because people are self consumed and sometimes
just oblivious to your need (maybe they even asked but you're still used to the generic 
"Awww thanks but I'm okay" answer....
REACH OUT TO ME. Cast your worries on me. 
Tell me all about them. I'll listen. I'll lighten your load. 
My yoke (dunno what the means? Me either. Let's translate: it's the wooden piece on the back of two oxen's back to keep them together while in the field. AKA: the weight on your shoulders!)
MY BURDENS are easy. Let's trade. 
If no one's ever told you... Tell yourself in the mirror,
"You are loved. You are important to the creator of the stars" 
Let me help you. I love you....

So much love.
(I hate to speak for God. BUT I'm pretty sure he'd say that)

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just write

 It's been ages since I've posted on here. I guess you could say life happens. The wind has been out of my sail and my words felt a bit empty. I'm nothing if not sincere, so the reality was I just didn't have anything to say (please someone catch my husband. He will faint when he reads that.) Until last night, I am reading Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton and came across these words,

 "If, anywhere in your soul, you feel the desire to write, please write. Write as a gift to yourself and others. Everyone has a story to tell. Writing is not about creating tidy paragraphs that sound lovely or choosing the "right" words. It's just about noticing who you are and noticing life and sharing what you notice. When you write your truth, it is a love offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone." 

Like a dagger, right to my heart. I felt those words leap right off the page. So I am. Awkwardly fumbling around with a "catch up" blog post 7 months later with no new decor or parties or eye candy to gift you. Just a bucket-ton of emotions and a word vomit of sensitivity and deepness way too heavy to carry alone. Warning: I haven't had coffee yet, and I haven't done yoga yet either. So crap can get ugly. 

It's Tuesday. Ehh, just Tuesday, January 27th 2015. My intention was to post a super inspiring Facebook status about seizing the day! But then I wrote the day up there and personally the date makes me sad. It was the date my parents got married 25 years ago (they're divorced.. feels like recently to me but I think it's 2 years?). I'm timid to write about how I feel today because well a lot of what's going on in my life involves others (uhhh duh? If it were just me and myself here, we'd be having a fantastic conversation about how awesome we are, eating lasagna and chocolate cake and watching Property Brother reruns.) But alas, there are characters in my life and they have stories that intertwine with mine. So I hesitate because I don't want to share their story for them. But here's the thing... My story matters too. And whether those around us want to admit it or not. Their actions, their choices, their stories.. well, they effect us and our stories. So I'm just going to share MY story in hopes that someone else that is out there doesn't feel alone. Because as much as I joked up there about it being great if I were alone, the truth is we all need someone else to be with us... you know, to agree with how awesome we think we are. ;) 

So today I have am overwhelmed. I am aware that I am blessed abundantly but also have lost greatly. I can sulk my day away. But that's not my style. Instead, I can revel in the fact that God rose the sun and I feel it's warmth on my skin amongst the cool wind. I've come to realize with the reality of what my family is today, I've lost in many many ways that make my heart feel unwhole. Most recently I've felt way too broken to "let my light shine" for others. 

I'm an adult, I get it. My parents relationship, and fights with my siblings should roll off my shoulders. I have a family of my own now and should undoubtedly own a pair of big-girl panties. Maybe I'm way too sensitive or maybe I'm still a child at heart or a hopeless romantic but the brokenness, the division, the ideal being washed away has lingered like a dark cloud. 

Often other people's response to any person in the middle of the storm is to encourage them through it. To "speed up" the process to the timeframe that we deem acceptable for the pity party. I catch my self way too often (because I'm super empathetic) trying to do anything to take away the pain from a person but to me that just doesn't feel right. Who are we to rush someone else's story? It's like when you host your child's birthday party at one of those places that allows you 2 hours. And they're all "time for food, time for cake, take the presents home to open them!" and you're left thinking... "uhhh that was the fasted 300 bucks I've ever spent". 

Okay, that's a lie. I once worked all day at an arts festival on Park Avenue only to walk past a mens store that was having a "sale". If you're familiar with Park Avenue you know that you can't even get an OJ for less $10 dollars, so sale means... the slightly less rich people than the rich people can buy this... on credit. Anyways, there was a pair of dress shoes that I imagined my husband walking in (mostly his butt but I envisioned the shoes too) and I knew he had to have them. My stomach knotted up as I saw the price and I realized it would literally be EVERY dime I just earned from working all day, but that man has spoiled me from the very beginning and I barely get to give him half of what he deserves. THAT was the fasted 300 bucks I've ever spent. But man when he wears those shoes (and anything really) I hate to seem him go but LOVE to watch him leave. ;) 

What was I saying? Oh yes, I'm a hot mess. I suppose I just want to say IT HURTS. Whatever your situation, whatever your heartbreak, whatever storm... ENDURE IT. Don't feel pressure to pretend it didn't leave its mark on you. Often times, especially as followers of Christ people expect us to be "healed" or "fixed" or "whole" constantly. That's just not true. In fact the whole reason I am a follower of Christ is because I am completely broken. He is the one who is whole. He is the rock of which I stand. He actually promised that we have troubles in this life. These troubles, these hurts, in our lives will always leave our hearts unwhole. But His love is always chasing after us. It's a love that holds all the pieces of our brokenness together.

So today, I choose to see that the sun has risen. The wind still blows. God still has control. But it doesn't have to look pretty with a bow just yet... I'm still sad. I still miss what was. I still wish things were different. I am forever different because I have lost. I don't want anyone to make it better. I just want it to be, and to embrace the lesson I'm supposed to take from it all. The constant theme that I am coming across in my devotion, Instagram feeds, and book is LOVE. How ironic. Maybe, just maybe my lesson is love. Uneasy love. Unperfect love. Unpleasant love. But fierce, unwavering, unconditional, and unending love for others will help. 

In my Yoga class, the Yogi (is that what you call the teacher? I always think of the bear, so I'll have to come up with something else to call them) has a "closing".. something super crunchy like "the light in me, acknowledges the light in you" or "eat dessert, namaste"... so I feel the need to be super cool and have a peace-out like they do:

I leave you with this: "We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full." 

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Monday, June 9, 2014 too.

Today I posted a picture to Instagram that I didn't necessarily want to. It was a picture of me in a vulnerable moment after crying. Sometimes God leads me and I question His voice, His purpose, His decision.. but this time it was clear. Share this moment. and so I did.

 Most of the time, we use this platform we have on social media to create a very controlled, very favorable, very safe image of ourselves to the world around us. We take a good 10 different pictures at different angles to get the one that shows us in the most flattering way. We post a loving and sweet declaration of love to our spouses on our anniversary's after a two day long non-speaking marathon of bickering and name calling. Our short tempered selves pose smiling and squeezed in close with our bundles of joy. The caption reads "having a blast at the park" which actually means, drowning ourselves in our phone while they run around half-way supervised because we need space from these littles that we love but are driving us so stinking bonkers that we'd rather be anywhere else at that moment. (mom guilt).

It's unfair really. For us to get to determine what we share with others. Like, our highlight reel goes online while our bloopers stay behind the scenes. It's unfair because it really makes us all feel so alone. It makes us feel like the rough days only happen to us. The sad times, the struggles, the burdens, the boredom with life, and the imperfection is only apparent in our own lives while everyone else is tap dancing on rainbows through a magical meadow of skittles and unicorns.

The truth is, the happiest of people have moments. You know, the moments where you come across a picture, a memory, a moment where it all has built up and finally spills over, a moment of frustration or disappointment, and sadness or tears fill those moments. The most joyous of them all have bad days. The very second I posted that picture I thought, I have to delete it. I don't want anyone to think, "she needs attention". I didn't want my intentions to be misjudged or to get a bunch of people asking me "whats wrong". I feel like when someone cries in front of you, you see a piece of their soul. They are vulnerable, they are open, they are humbled, they are so human in that moment. I wanted to share a tear with those on this cheese ball of a "social network" so that when someone else out there, some mom, some daughter, some friend, some husband, some person has tears pouring down their face they can say ... me too. They can see that sadness can come and its okay, but joy can come in the morning. I want to use this platform that I have, to be real. To be broken. To be hopeful. To show grace and to receive it. I want to smile with you all, laugh with you all, have joy and heartache with you all. After all, this life is better when we all experience it together...

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently then ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief... And unspeakable love." 
-Washington Irving 

If I can be the poster child for joy and happiness on here than I owe it to you to humbly share a moment of sadness. Tears are okay. Don't be afraid of hurt, grief, fear, or brokenness. The Bible promises that in this world we will have trouble, yet the greatest news is that we don't have to stay there.... "But take heart! I have overcome the world." Sweet friends, Stop. Breathe. Cry if you must. Sadness is just another emotion, you can experience it but don't like it overtake you. Pass through it like a small town on a road trip, you take in it's beauty but you keep on moving... 
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