Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All Moms Are Liars

Ever had one of those days when your child decides to pick their nose in public, then offers his “finds” to the person behind you in the Wal-Mart check-out line? Or how about one of those days when your toddler asks why it’s okay for you to spank him, but it’s not okay for him to spank his friends? How about one of those days when you try to change a “questionable” diaper in the car, only to realize at the wrong moment that your toddler wasn’t finished with said “questionable business” and thus, proceeds to “finish” all over the front seat and your new Miss Me jeans? As crazy (and disgusting) as all those scenarios sound, I had them ALL 3 this morning. That’s right…..it’s Wednesday, but REALLY, it might as well have been another Monday for me. Usually things like this only happen on that one dreaded day of the week.  I just want to shower, to go back to bed, and start over….
But I press on. I AM supermom, you know! I do have it all together and all is under control. At least I like to pretend so. Because even after mornings like the one I just had, that’s what you do. You run into a fellow mom at the mall or supermarket who asks you how things are going. You respond, “Fantastic!” ……..LIE. “Pretending” sounds much more innocent, but that’s not what’s going on here. Cause we’re ALL liars. Every last over-achieving one of us. ALL MOMS ARE LIARS.
 We would all like you to think we are the best of the best at all things “parenting”, when, in reality we are just giving you our own opinions and experiences. Those “experiences” are foggy though, but we force our two-cents on other moms so that they won’t know that we have had gruesome, normal, Mommy-mornings like the one I just had. Let me give you an example of our good intentions gone bad:
 You: “Oh, your daughter isn’t sleeping through the night? That must be awful. My son has always been a good sleeper. He sleeps like, 12 hours now. It’s kind of crazy.”
 Your intention:  I want this person to know that sleep IS possible.  That one day it’s all going to work out and she’ll have a fantastic night’s sleep. We’re all in this together!
 How she’s taking it:  I’m a failure.  I’m never going to sleep again.  My life is over.  I hate myself.  My roots are growing in and my footwear is horrendous.
 See how easily your good intentions have been misunderstood? But here’s the thing you’re forgetting:
 You’re LYING. Again.
 You don’t mean to. And yes, we do believe that your child is sort of sleeping but it took you a heck of a long time to make that happen and you forgot to mention that. You crossed out that little tidbit of info in your maternal memory bank because you don’t want to remember how you lost clumps of your hair and consistently told your husband that he was a douche face. You were stressed! Not sleeping is a form a torture. Look what happened to Lady Macbeth! Who wants to remember how hard it was when you can focus your energy on how awesome you feel that you only wake up once or twice now (which technically isn’t sleeping through the night, but never mind.)
 So here’s the up side: Anytime another mother gives you information about her life that in turn makes you feel like you are FAILING MISERABLY as a parent just whisper under your breath: “she’s lying”.   Because it’s true. She is lying. But not just to you, also to herself. And she doesn’t even know it. (And even if she’s not – who cares – you’ll feel better) So forgive her for not remembering what really happened and find comfort in the fact that there is a chemical in our brains that eliminates pain memory.
 Because one day it WILL all work out. You will go to sleep and you will leave the house without Cheerios in your hair. You will once again find the matching socks to wear instead of matching a pair that just look kinda sorta similar. And, yes, you will one day wear a bra without flaps on the front – a bra that keeps your boobs pointing UP and not DOWN.
 But at this point you should probably just offer to buy her a coffee because, seriously, you both deserve it. Just think how different life would have been for Lady Macbeth had someone just given her a hug and offered to buy her a mocha latte. A lot less drama that’s for sure.
 Why aren’t we honest? Why can’t we say, “Well, I’m doing alright, minus getting pooped on, spit all over, and overcoming the constant public humiliation that my toddler puts me through on a daily basis. Thank you for asking.” We don’t have to be supermoms. We also don’t have to have better kids than every other mom out there. The more honest we are with each other, the more we can learn to survive this crazy journey of motherhood. Let’s hold our tongues and hold each other up more often. We’re all in this together, clothes stained with poop and all. You know it’s true.
(This post was originally posted on my dear friends website. Click on over and visit her here at Raising Inspiration. She'd love to have you stop by! Tell her MBP sent you!!)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Things I've Learned This Week

We be stylin'

Recalling 30 reasons why you are Thankful is only hard in narrowing it down, and not in finding reasons. It's all about perspective. See My entire list HERE; "For This I Am Thankful". :)

If being in my pajamas all day is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

It’s pretty scary that before facebook… All these thoughts and stuff just stayed in peoples heads.

Apparently I contracted the "screaming-intestines-writhing-to-escape-my-body-through-every-possible-orfice" bug. So glad that nightmare is over.

I hate it when people use big words just to make themselves look perspicacious.

When you’re a kid, you hate those moments when there is absolutely nothing to do. As an adult, you live for them.

I hate when girls see each other outside of work or school and scream and make these noises that only dolphins could understand. Please tell me I've never done that....

I need an app that just screams “Put the phone down and go do something, idiot!” whenever I pick my phone up.

Whenever I'm driving, and someone lets me go in front of them, I always feel the need to go as fast as possible, so they don't regret their decision. I won't let you down, Mr. Mercedes Man, I won't let you down.

How to dress like Lady Gaga for Halloween: 1. Go to ikea. 2. Pick a object that doesn't belong on your head. 3. Put it on your head.

I guess I prefer Subway because they make me feel like I'm making a healthy decision when I order a loaf of bread with 18 meatballs on it.

If you had a terrible childhood..... you're gonna be REALLY-bummed out by Bank of America's options for security questions.

"We are all living in cages with the doors wide open." -George Lucas

Not that I expect 100% truth in advertising, but shouldn't those women in the tampon commercials be wielding chainsaws and burning stuff down, not laughing and dancing?

Writing for others is a lot more fulfilling to me than writing just for myself. Don't forget to check out my new weekly articles on EPIC PARENT!!

**Despite what I may think, God never gives me more than I can handle. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Simplifying Life: Possessions.....Am I A Pack-Rat?

photo credit: www.weheartit.com
It's sad to say that I have a bit of a problem. As "Clothes" month is a wrap and I begin Month Three: Possessions, I realize that I should have joined "Pack-Ratters Anonymous" years ago. I blame my mother. And I'm sure she blames her mother. I come from a long line of clutter bugs. We just can't help ourselves. Less is not more. More is more. We have issues.

I am coming to grips with it as I sit here in my kitchen looking around at all my "possessions". Though they don't define me (or so, I think), they certainly are there. Every single counter top in my kitchen is LINED with knickknacks. The entire refrigerator is COVERED in magnets. Every drawer is FULL of junk. Speaking of junk, my husband wants to know how many "junk drawers" is too many junk drawers? Apparently, I have the quota. It's true. I'm a bit of a hoarder. The madness must stop somewhere.

Enter Month Three: Possessions. Give away SEVEN items EVERY DAY. That's 210 items over the entire month! Is this even possible?!  We shall see.

I'm just now wrapping up week one, and I have to say, I haven't "given away" a single item yet. I'm still in the "take inventory" stage of things. I've been cleaning and organizing closets and realizing just how much stuff I truly have. 1600 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two-car garage, big backyard, four closets, 25 cabinets, four dressers, and a million "bins" FULL of STUFF. Do we really need them all?  Probably not. And for this month, I'm about to go from "pack-rat mode" to "super-dumper mode".  210 items, out the door and into new hands. I'm about to see my stuff move the heck out and unclutter my life. It's going to feel good......if I could only just get started.

The thing that bothers me most as I walk through this house and think to myself, Where did all of this come from?, I remember.......I bought it ALL. With real money. I suppose acting like someone snuck in while I was out at a bible study and filled my shelves and closets full of clothes and toys and things against my will is quite ridiculous. Sometimes that's how I view it, though. Where did it come from? I've got to do something about all this stuff.....as I rush out to the stores to add more to my collection. Well, the truck stops here, folks!.....the moving truck. That's right, I could really use a U-Haul right about now to help with the clutter I'm about to disperse from my life.

This next week, I'm about to work on the Clothing Clutter that seems to be an ongoing issue. I've started the sorting and piling and organizing, but quite frankly the "keep pile" is still way to big. How many black shirts does one mama need?! Half of the inventory has got to go. During last month's clothes fast, I realized that I've always used clothes to define me when my genuine identity was fuzzy. When I didn't know who I was or what I was here for, I dressed like someone who did. I dolled up the container, but I'm learning now that I'm really just a jar of clay. Just a vessel to share love to people and it's never really ever been about what's on the outside. It's what's on the inside that makes me beautiful. Sooooo, with that said, it will be my pleasure to give all these beautiful, well-crafted clothes to someone who needs them. Because I don't need them anymore. My goal for the week is 21.  I want to give 21 clothing items that meant a lot to  me to someone else. Wish me luck saying good-bye. It's always been something I struggle with.

Until next week, you can probably find me knee-deep in a closet somewhere. Have a great weekend friends! And remember, no one likes a "clutter bug"! :)

Continue following my de-clutter process:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Day We FORGOT We Were Parents

photo credit: http://blog.gracobaby.com
I think it's time we embarrassed my husband, don't you think?? When he has a wife who is a blogger, it's sort of just par for the course, isn't it? I mean, he's made it this far seemingly unscathed. It's about time for his rite of passage being married to a writer who wishes to divulge all of my families deepest, darkest secrets online. . .here's a doozy for ya!

When we were new parents, we were a bit scatterbrained. This is an understatement. We brought our new baby boy home from the hospital and oohed and aaaahed over him and sat and stared at him breathing and just "being" for days. Isn't that what all parent's do? And we sat and talked about how crazy it was that we were parents. . .that God actually entrusted a tiny human to us and that so far, we'd kept him alive. Go us!  This was a miracle in itself! (Thank you grandparents for the first few weeks. You may not have toddler grandchildren if we had been left to our own devices. . .what with colick and acid reflux and sleep deprivation. . .)

So here we were, on week 6 of keeping a tiny human being alive and we experience a catastrophe. Our dog, Daisy goes missing. Now this is actually kind of a funny thing, since we actually found her (apparently lost) in an empty parking lot in the snow and ice only three months prior. She was new to our home but had adjusted nicely, taking up residence under the baby's bassinet. She had become part of the family. Some days, we resolved to the fact that she was a RUG. . .perfectly content to lay and sleep her existence away at our feet. It was quite a convenient arrangement that we had, considering we were still trying to make sure we didn't kill an infant everyday and didn't have time to devote much attention to a dog. Until. . . .she escaped. 

That's right, the dog pulled a Houdini and was out the fence and into the neighborhood faster than we could catch her. In fact, it wasn't until after we woke from a nap (much-needed!) that we realized her disappearance. I was immediately devastated and set out to find her. I left Mr. Thinks-He-Wear-the-Pants home to tend to the baby while I drove all over the neighborhood in search of Ms. Daisy, all the while, keeping in contact at home via cell phone. "I can't find her! I don't know what to do! She's probably so scared! What if she gets ran over?" My husband was on pins and needles as he listened and was there for moral support. Finally, we decided, as darkness was quickly approaching, that we needed more ground covered in the neighborhood and hubby would have to set out in his own vehicle to look as well. We drove up and down street after street, communicating by phone and making sure we hadn't missed any roads. She was nowhere to be found. Finally, I decided that we should give up for the evening, and head home to make flyers to distribute for tomorrow. All I wanted was to come home to the hubby and curl up with the baby and---wait a second. . ."Honey, what is the baby doing? I haven't heard a peep out of him this whole time. . ."

Silence. . . .then. . . ."OH. MY. GAH. . . . We're parents."

That's right friends. My infant, a mere 6 weeks old was left at home. Alone. 

Cue D.H.S. and Child protective services. 

In all fairness, he had only been left for about 20 minutes. My husband was MORTIFIED that he actually FORGOT for any length of time that we were parents. Can you imagine?! How did he FORGET??!!  

Upon returning and finding my son STILL in his bassinet sound asleep, I allowed myself to laugh at the situation. It could have happened to anyone, right? (I'm telling you, sleep deprivation can do crazy things to your mind!). And surprisingly, I've had conversations with numerous parents who did something very similar. 

Today, my son is happy, healthy, and won't be in a room alone without an adult. Yes, he's still traumatized. :) 

No really, he's totally functional and doesn't suffer from any PTSD. I promise. His parent's eventually stopped beating themselves up over it. 

I'd love to hear some of your stories. . .any parenting failures of this caliber? Let's compare notes!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life's Little Cages

“We are all living in cages 
with the doors wide open.”
George Lucas

Does this quote resonate with you?  Ever since I came across it yesterday, it has become more and more alive to me. 

Don't we all feel trapped? Stuck in the routine of life running around the same wheel day after day, maintaining the same lifestyle, making the same mistakes, figuratively beating our heads against the wall and looking around ever so often and seeing no end in sight. We are caged.  The crazy thing about it is that we have the keys to the door. We can get out anytime we want. I've only recently come to this realization.

You don't like your job? Change careers.

You don't like where you live?  It's merely geography. MOVE. 

You don't like the direction that your life is headed?  Turn around.  It's never too late. 

This is so easy to say or think, but it's not as easy to pull off. I'm caught up in it too. 

I wake up at 7 a.m. every day to kids yelling and arguing about breakfast cereal and who gets to use the potty chair first. I spend my mornings wondering if I will ever be able to write a blog post, let alone a book. There's too much to distract me. . .too much laundry, too many dishes to clean, too many toys to sort and pick up, too many errands to run. I sit down and do the budget and wonder each and every time where in the world the money is going to come from to cover all the costs for a growing family of four. The rest of my days are spent making lunches, cleaning up lunches, housework, MORE LAUNDRY, more stressing about money, buying and unloading groceries, facilitating nap times, story times, bath times, bedtimes. . .my race on the daily hamster wheel of life seems to go on and on and on and doesn't end after the little monsters have fallen asleep. It starts again every single morning. . .Mom's can you relate?

I am in no way saying that parenthood is the cage.  What I'm learning, friends, is that our perspective is the cage. 

The way we view our life, or jobs, our homes, our money, our priorities.....we keep ourselves trapped and thinking there is no way out, when at any time, with one change of our minds, we can change the entire course of our lives. I don't think we are supposed to live a "caged" life, especially when the doors on the cage are wide open. 

I'm not sure what that means for you. 

Here's what it has come to mean for me:

I'm rearranging my daily schedule. I'm not going to get sucked into all the things that take up so much of my time and do not yield any lasting results. I'm going to clean less and play more. I'm going to watch less tv and read more books. I'm going to write instead of take daily naps. 

I'm taking charge of my health.  I'm going to do something about all the toxins that I subject myself to. I'm no longer going to expect anyone or anything else to do the job that only I can do in creating a healthier me. I'm not going to rely on quick fixes and a horrible diet to get me by.  I'm going to invest in daily nutrition and exercise. 

I'm creating margin in my life and in my budgets. My budget through finances and my budget of time. I've been horrible with both. I'm cutting the things that no longer matter to the larger plan of living debt-free and un-caged. I'm deciding what stays (family time, education, crafts, travel) and what goes (a two-vehicle lifestyle, cable television, eating out every meal, government health insurance, and an overstimulated recreational life). 

I'm going to write. I'm going to stop talking about writing and actually pursue my greatest passion as if I can't fail.  I will write a book. I will push myself to become real on paper and not allow myself to make up excuses any longer. I will write until I discover myself. Until I prove myself. Until I inspire myself and hopefully others along the way. 

I'm going to live hands-free with my family. I'm going to stay more disconnected and free for family time that is uninterrupted. I'm giving my kids the best of me and not just what is leftover after social media, hobbies and interests, and after a long, hectic, exhaustive day. I'm going to rise earlier in the morning to plan and reflect and retire earlier to take better care of my energy level. I'm going to be more focused, more aware, more PRESENT with my family, every day. 

These are just stepping stones. I have even greater plans for my life and the life of my family, but I have to start somewhere. I can't change my destination overnight, but I can change my direction overnight.  I have to make that first initial decision for change. Sometimes, even when you're not sure where you want to go, progress is made simply by deciding that you are no longer happy with where you are. It's all merely geography, after all. And genuine resolve. It's one day at a time, one small step away from the cage and into the life of your dreams. I'm not even completely sure what the life of my dreams looks like, but I know the life I'm living. . . . .constantly consumed by societal pressures and expectations of what is normal, is not working for me anymore. I want something better for myself and for my family than the daily grind. Lord, give me the strength to make the small decisions today so that I can make even larger ones tomorrow. Each will have a lasting impact. 

Feeling a bit "caged" lately?  Choose to walk out of the cage doors with me, will you?  They've been standing wide open this entire time, after all. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Things I Learned This Week

My booty is gonna beep when I back up if I don’t amp up my workout routine again soon.

Mr. Grouch's future wife is going to be one lucky lady. Never will he hear, "I just wished you talked to me more." In the meantime, where can I buy a muzzle in size 5T?

Sometimes, the amount of self-control it takes to not say what's on my mind is so immense I need a nap afterwards.

Someday we'll all find out Pinterest was a huge conspiracy created by a group of men who are tricking women everywhere into cooking and cleaning and working out.

Sometimes I want to comment on a photo on Facebook but then I don’t wanna have to explain why I’m in your ‘Random Party Pics 08′ album at 4am.

"I think everybody should get rich & famous & do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer." ~ Actor Jim Carrey

Has anyone ever watched a movie or a comedian or speaker that has that one line that they always say a hundred times in any given segment? I feel like one of them today, but instead of something funny like, "That's what she said!", my repetitive phrase is, "Wanna go pee pee?" . . . ."Wanna go pee pee?". . . ."Do you need to go pee pee?". . . ."Don't you DARE go pee pee in your pants. . ."

I'm wondering when The HACKERS of the WORLD are going to do something really useful like changing the prices at the gas pumps to $1 a gallon ??

We're getting mighty close to that time of year when women think its acceptable to go outside in their underwear and children are encouraged to take candy from strangers....

Afternoon naps are habit-forming. I'm trying to quit.

So much housework, so little time. Okay there is plenty of time, I just don't want to do it.

When you're making positive strides forward, there will ALWAYS be someone doubting you. Just make sure it's not you.

Everybody in sweatpants and jackets needs to chill out right now. It's still 80 degrees outside. No need to get crazy.

Realizing the importance of being positive today. In other words, instead of saying "There's nothing in my house to eat", I shall say, "What an awesome opportunity for me to be creative with peanut butter, pickles, and paprika".

*Despite what I sometimes think, God never gives me more than I can handle. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Simplifying Life: Clothes--That's a Wrap!

photo credit: dreamstime.com
I find myself just mere days from being done with Month Two: Clothes Fast. It's been a somewhat different challenge than I thought it would be. There were times (most days) when wearing only 7 articles of clothing was no big thang (yep, in the south, we say "thang"). I learned that although I thought in the beginning that everyone was noticing my repetitions and whispering about my wardrobe, surprisingly, the were not. People don't obsess about other's attire. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe people think about me a whole lot less than I always thought that they did. I've been a bit "put in my place" as of late. The only one who cared that I wore my Thunder T-shirt 22 times in 30 days was me. 

I've gained some internal perspective about myself. I'm a bit vain. There, I said it. I feel sometimes like I should say it in front of a group of addicts just like me and have them nod in sympathy at my epiphany. I am vain. It doesn't taste good coming out in the open. I truthfully was not aware of this before. And maybe I struggle with vanity even less than a lot of people, but for me, it's a frustration. I do care what people think of me. That's been made clear this month and I am taking the steps I need to take to get God's help in this matter. It will probably always be something that I struggle with, but I'm learning to let God take my insecurities to teach me that though I like to dress up the "outside of me", He totally sees past all the fancy clothes and make-up.  It's a scary and lovely feeling all at once.

I'm glad I learned to live this month unattached to "looking cute" and no one died. Family was unimpressed. Life carried on.  I realized that I could live my real life on a fraction of my previous wardrobe, and nothing significant would be altered. In fact, most days the simplicity of it all was a blessed relief.

This whole month brought me closer to a God who is calling me up to do ministry and belong to a community that is known for a different kind of beauty, the kind that heals and inspires. I am constantly reminded lately that Jesus was a simple man, plain-looking by human standards:

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrow, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  (Isaiah 23:2-3)

Jesus wasn't looked at in the same way that we view Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling.  He wasn't attractive or flashy or tried to draw attention to himself. But make no mistake, He was definitely noticed. He was approachable to everyone, and that's why people flocked to be near him. I recognized this month the "approachable-ness" of people. Some people can intimidate others merely by their wardrobe. Some can attract people too. But I feel a specific empathy to help those that are poor and broken and depressed and need to hear that God is looking past the outward appearance. That was the message that I so desperately needed to hear a year ago and I'm thankful that I found "approachable" people who I didn't feel like would judge me based on the way that I looked. Jen Hatmaker says in her book "7" that I'm basing this fasting from, "We cannot carry the gospel to the poor and lowly while emulating the practices of the rich and powerful.  We've been invited into a story that begins with humility and ends with glory; never the other way around." I finally get it, Lord. Less flash, more sass. It's more about perspective and personality that it is about the glitz and the glamour. I plan to realign and live accordingly. :)

Read all about Month Three's Project Here

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Married to Rip Van Winkle

(image: www.weheartit.com)

I don’t know how it is in your household, but in mine, there’s a WORLD of difference between when I get sick and when my husband gets sick.  We’re talking night and day contrast, people.  You see, he turns into a 30-something-year-old baby when he’s under the weather, whereas I must continue with life as normal, sniffles and aches, be gone!
It was just last week when my other half came home and dramatically announced to the family that he had come down with my son's cold.  He then proceeded to collapse onto the living room sofa and pass out for the next TWELVE FREAKING HOURS.  Meanwhile, the dog had chewed up Stinker’s new sandals (AGAIN!!!) and my kindergartner was having a four-alarm, no holds-barred meltdown over a homework assignment.  The next town over could’ve heard all the commotion, yet, miraculously, Rip Van Winkle managed to sleep his way through the entire three-ring circus!  Seriously, WTH, dude?!  How do you NOT hear all those wails and shrieks?!
And even though I promised myself that I would absolutely, under no circumstances come down with the same ailment, I, too, eventually caught the stupid germs and achoo’d my way through the entire weekend.  However, I still had to do laundry, go to the grocery store, and host a monthly book club meeting.  Ya see, the show must go on even when Mama’s feeling like poo.  Injustice anyone?

Monday, October 15, 2012

God Is Running Late

As a mom, punctuality is not generally our strong suit. It's not because we don't want it to be. It's not even because we are incapable of it. I'd like to believe it is because of a simple three-letter hindrance. . .K-I-D. Plain and simple, they always seem to know even the stealthest of stealth techniques for ruining a perfectly good fashionably tardy ticket anywhere. Without fail, I will awake in the morning with three hours to spare before an appointment. Plenty of time, I tell myself. It never fails that as I am walking out the door ON TIME, someone will poop his pants, let the dog escape out the front door to run rampant in the neighborhood, or flood the house somehow. And so, my track record for being the "girl-who-has-been-late-since-giving-birth" continues. I will walk into my appointment, frazzled and out-of-breath with profuse apologies and promises that "said catastrophe" will never happen again. We all know it will though, don't we ladies. . .

Lately, God's been running late too.

I feel like I'm the single friend, peering at my watch every 30 seconds, wondering when and if He's going to show up. I'll do what she does and act like it doesn't bother me that He's not "on-schedule" for the appointment I thought we made. After all, it's not like I can be mad. It's just lunch.  But it isn't just lunch sometimes, is it? Sometimes what we are waiting for, what I am currently waiting for is something that He promised to me and I just feel like He couldn't possibly be using His time less wisely. I'm ready to get this show on the road. I'm ready to be what He called me to be, do what He called me to do, and tackle this huge mission and passion that He's placed on my heart and yet all I can do is just sit back and tap my foot and wait for Him to show up and take me on to the next phase in this life journey. I feel "stood up" at times by God. I feel like I'm "on-hold".  I feel like God is just running late.

And then He enlightens me. And do I ever feel like an impatient toddler when He reveals that TIME is the greatest way He is testing my faith in Him.

Sometimes He holds us in places that are invariably NOT our "promised lands". We are ready for God's leading and direction into the next phase of our life, the part we've been waiting in anticipation for, and we follow eagerly only to be led into a place of uncertainty. "This can't be it, God. This isn't part of the plan. This stop wasn't on the map."  Invariably, following God can initially seem to get us into bigger messes than we thought we were previously in.  These are God's "tests of TIME". I've thought many times along the way, especially lately, "I think God might be a bit lost".  I'm finding that we can sometimes be in the bulls-eye of God's will for our lives and things make utterly no sense until that ugly, five-letter word. . .later.

Did you know that Christ also had to deal with the test of time?  Remember that He didn't perform His first miracle until He was 30 years old!  I'd like to say, God, you were running a little late there, don't you think? Considering Jesus only had three remaining years left in His earthly ministry?  NOPE. God was right on time. Even Jesus had to experience a season of preparation; of calling and anointing and sifting. These are not the fun parts, especially when we can taste the promised land and almost see it just around the bend of our lives. We're tired of being "on-hold". We're ready for the next step. We're desperate for Him to show up to our appointment already! Oh, how you and I miss the point of this time of waiting by wasting our time. We're not taking advantage of where we're "temporarily stalled" on our way to our ultimate place of purpose. God's not running late.  God created time and never wastes it. Unfortunately, we do waste it when we spend so much of our moments complaining about where we are and not preparing for where we will be.

Kids seem to teach me this lesson so often. They inevitably always want to be where they can get the most hurt. They want to play in the street, they want to touch the hot stove, and sometimes, they want to play in the backyard that is ridden with thorns and stickers. As parents, we want them to be able to play freely and enjoy the backyard. They could have so much fun out there, running and jumping and playing in the grass. The problem is, sometimes the grass isn't ready for them yet. It has to be tended to; mowed, treated for stickers, and rid of possible threats. No matter how well you try to explain it to your toddler, their desire to go outside in the backyard far outweighs the patience it will take to wait for you to ready the yard for them. So they kick and scream and throw an all-out tantrum about not being able to be in the very place that you wish they could be. . at the right time.

We are so much like our kids. Constantly throwing a fit because where we are isn't where we want to be.
Constantly thinking God is with-holding the best from us, when in reality, the "promised land" isn't ready yet. Or more precisely, WE are not ready for IT. The best way to prove to God that I'm prepared for the next phase is by being a good steward of my time right now.  I need to learn to bear fruit in the desert before He can trust me to create a garden in the promised land that He has for me. It's not a fun phase to be in, this test of time, but I'm going to grin and bear it. And try desperately not to tap my foot in annoyance and look at my watch every 5 seconds. God is getting the backyard ready. He is waiting for just the right time to lead me to the place He has for me. Patience, Michelle, and no tantrums. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Things I Learned This Week

If I had nothing left to complain about, I'd complain about that. Ever have one of those days?

I would pick up a hitchhiker wearing an “I Heart Murder” t-shirt before I’d pick up a call from a blocked number.

Things you learn when you go on a date-night with your mother: all about menopause, spanx, and how near-60-year-olds still like to "make-out". These are the things you don't learn in school, folks. I'm taking notes....

Highlight of my kids Halloween season.....watching the movie/show with whom their costume corresponds while they sit and yell, "Look, it's ME" every time they see their character. Do you know how many episodes of Power Rangers Samurai there are? I could be hearing this phrase for weeks!

I'm realizing the importance of vaccinations. It's very important that EVERYONE I know gets a flu shot this year so that I don't have to.

Smoke detectors need to be tested from time to time. So sometimes I cook something.

The Internet is a lot like ancient Egypt, people writing on walls and worshipping cats.

Words cannot describe the joy I've received from shaving the Hundred Acre Woods from my overgrown legs. Your welcome for the information.

Stages of beard length: 1.) sexy stubble 2.) sea captain 3.) prisoner of war 4.) homeless person 5.) wizard

You’d think the crescent roll’s packages would have a warning like: May blow your hand off if opened correctly.

My kids are SO demanding in the mornings. Just for the record, don't ask me for pancakes before I've had my morning pee. It sets the whole mood off, kid.

When people say, "I'm not getting any younger!", I wonder what other basic life principles they just now got around to learning.

I’m positive that somewhere out there exists a video montage of me dancing alone in various elevators, cars, and public restrooms.

I do my best proofreading after I hit send/post.

Pretty sure God gave me laryngitis. Things have been so much calmer in my household without my ability to "correct and rebuke" so loudly. Well played, Lord. Well played. But really....can I have my voice back yet?

Despite what I may believe sometimes, God doesn't give me more than I can't handle. :)

Happy Weekend Friends!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Simplifying Life: The Power of Veto OR Clothes 3.0

I'm just going to get real honest with ya'll and admit just how much this week sucked. Almost every area of my life seems to being going absolute bonkers and as much as I try, I can't seem to reign it in. I've done decently in the clothing department. I DID have to use the "Power of Veto" once.  One of the shirts that I had chosen as one of my seven articles just wasn't working for me. Actually, I hadn't worn it yet. It was chosen to go with my leggings as a more "dressy" item, but I made the mistake of not trying it on before this month began and as I went to put it on for the first time, it wasn't happening. It has shrunk or I have gained or something because it was WAY too small. What's a girl to do?? At this exact same time, I realized how none of the shirts that I'd picked out for this month's fast were long sleeved and surprisingly, Oklahoma decided that it was done with fall and moved right along into winter without asking for my permission first. (Which I wouldn't have given, so that's probably why it didn't ask. . .) It got bloody cold pretty darn fast and I was left shivering in my short-sleeved Thunder shirt. So when I found out that this one shirt was NOT going to get me by, I decided to trade it in for a hoodie. Thus, making it my new permanent everyday shirt. Things are warming back up a bit, so I still have options, but who knew Oklahoma was going to skip the Fall season?

Anywho, back to my crazy-bad week. I've been in "blahsville" with no expectation of leaving anytime soon. All week long, my mood has worsened and worsened.  I touched a bit on the funk that I felt I was falling into last week, but this week, I allowed myself to waller in the funk a bit. Shame on me, I know. Apparently, clothing says a whole lot about my mood. I think I may have a hint as to why. . .


I am a creative person. I love making things new. I guess, in a silly way, putting on a new outfit everyday gets the creative juices flowing for me. Allows me to wipe away the funk from yesterday and start again on a blank slate. I feel a bit like my wardrobe is an outlet that I use in which to describe myself. I wish I didn't rely on it so heavily, but it's true.  If I can't change the outside up a bit, I get to feeling mighty stagnant and stale on the inside. I cannot tell you how many people this week asked "Are you okay?". I must have this look on my face that says that I'm depressed of sorts. I'm not, and actually, more in my life is RIGHT than has been in a very long time, but apparently I've been borderline walking zombie status among others.  I hate that the outward adornment makes that much of difference.

So, with that understood, I'm taking my pink hoodie and my other 6 articles of clothing and I'm headed for some R&R.  Some girlfriends and I are headed to the mountains this weekend to veg in a cabin in the woods and read and write and gab and play board games and watch chick flicks and stay in our pajamas the entire time. Of course, MY pajamas will be my black, running shorts and Thunder shirt (shocker, I know!), but who's keeping track?  It should be fun and give me a chance to start my last week of this Clothes fast off right. No need to impress. No reason to go out. Just baring our souls to other chicks who may feel a little "in a funk" lately too. I'm looking forward to it.

Above all, I'm looking forward to wearing something different in T-minus 10 days and counting. I may just throw on a feather boa and cowboy boots and head to Wal-Mart, just because I finally can. And I've been meaning to put those two accessories together for awhile. I just know they will be the next "black".

Have a fantabulous weekend, friends! Leave me a little message! Let me know what YOU'RE up to this weekend. . .

Read the conclusion of my 
month-long Clothes Fast Here:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Capturing the Moment

I have been accused of many things in my life.  Some accusations were true, some very false, and some outright ridiculous.  But one thing is certain.  No one can ever accuse me of not taking enough pictures.  Just ask my children.  They will most definitely tell you that their Mom cannot see an Oklahoma sunset OR a random toilet, and not take a picture of it.  It's all Apple's fault really.  They made it much too convenient to carry around our camera by putting it inside our cell phones.  Not only do we have the ability to snap a photo, we now have the ability to edit it on our phones and upload it directly to Grandma as well as 30 different social networking sites. Our missionary cousin in China can feel included in our slide-time at the park within minutes. It's fabulous!  Well, to the photographer.  Because if you questioned my two little monsters, they would probably tell you that they are a quarter past OVER stopping every 30 seconds for a photo-opp. Poor things.  One thing I will say. . . . .they sure can work the charm and dimples the MILLISECOND paparazzi-mommy demands "Cheese!".  

I often like to look back on the 2,562 photos that I have stored in my iPhone memory and relive each glorious minute with everyone that will give me a second to boast. So many adorable moments that are captured forever.

What did people do without cameras back in the olden days?  They were probably much more concerned with churning butter or doing their laundry over the rusted washboards down by the river.  Or trying not to get eaten by mountain lions, right?  That would explain why, in the few old photos we dohave, all the people look mad.  They were just worn plum out!

Anyhow, it's safe to say that I'm just a tad bit obsessed with my family and will jump at the chance to capture any and all memories that I can on camera to save and savor for years to come.

With that said, wanna "ooooooo" and "aaahhh" with me?

Sure you do!  Oh, lets!

This photo was taken months ago at the OKC Zoo.  The moment was proceeded by Mr. Grouchy Pants circling the poor goats and "checking them out" nervously before finally stating, "Mommy, come here!  You gotta see this!  Come look at this goat's REALdiclious bottom!"  It was the funniest thing I think the petting zookeepers had heard in a long time! LOL.

 Bathwater is my little monkey's beverage of choice.  Gah-ross!

This summer my little Stinker fell off the ladder at the playground at daycare and broke his arm in two places.  He was such a trooper though, for the teachers didn't notice any swelling right away, and chalked it up to a pulled muscle.  Stinky had lunch, took a nap, and had snack before the pain got so bad, we took him to the hospital to get checked.  I think I gave birth to the Incredible Hulk (minus the green-ness, of course).

"You're so vain!  You probably think this song is about you!". . . .my talented hubby, winning over the hearts of. . .about 145 at the wedding reception.  Ha.

 Looks like someone (Namaw) got to hear the "Banana Pants" joke one more time! LOL.

"Go ahead, make my day!"  I keep trying to tell Grouch that one of these days brother is going to outgrow him.  And when this happens, Stink will have every right to paybacks.

If I were to guess, I would have to say "briefs". :) 

Thank God for waterproof casts, electric air blowers, mile-long garden hoses, and sibling rivalry. Ah, summertime.  

Who says you ever outgrow sink baths?  That's how we get down at our crib!

Just when I forget how to enjoy life, my kids help me remember.  Take time to play in the rain, wish on a star, sing along to the radio and dance around.  No matter where you are or who is watching, take someone's hand and dance around. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Have Laryngitis. . .God is Hilarious

There are moments in life that I just sit back and cackle at God. "Cackle" as in laugh like a witch on Halloween. Those are the only people I know who actually "cackle". And now I'm sidetracked. I have been all day. I think it's the sore throat meds I'm on. No voice and I'm feeling a little loopy.

Back to God.  He's flippin hilarious.

I made the mistake a week or so ago of starting a new prayer regime about my parenting. You see, it's the only job I've ever had in my whole life where I've got 5 years experience under my belt, but I show up every single day and don't have a clue what I'm doing. I'm such a failure at raising humans. Someone should really teach a class or write a Parenting for Dummies book. I would be the first in line to get an autographed copy. But God doesn't write self-help books on parenting.  He's doing this silly thing called "Leading by Example" and I'm just a Really. Slow. Follower.

So I begun to pray about all this a week ago.  It started out with me praying that God would wake my kids up to what a fantastic person their mother is and help them realize that I have their best interest at heart and help them become little robots who hear the words that come out of my mouth and comply without argument. In Jesus Name, Amen.

That prayer seemed to fall on deaf ears. I tried a different approach.

Lord, help me to be able to reason with them.  Give me the right words to say, the toddler-ese slang language that their little hearts understand.  Give them a supernatural desire to do what I say. Please and thank you, Lord. You are able.

But apparently, He wasn't willing. I'm not sure why He wouldn't want to answer that momma's innocent plea, but I'm willing to try again.

I should pray for patience. Loads of patience for these little monsters that seem to rebel with the mighty passion of demons someday. God, grant me the patience of an elephant. For I know, Lord that a 22-month long pregnancy is more than any human could bear and that kind of strength and patience is exactly the kind that I need to make it through this frustrating phase of Terrible Threes I have going on at my house. Rain down your patience on me, God. Let me be drenched in your patience when the dynamic duo decides to paint my bathroom walls again with their own feces. Drown me in renewed patience when my kindergartner tells the checker at the grocery store that he thinks she's having FIVE babies at once cause her tummy is so big. Cover me with patience abounding when I have to answer for the 478th time that why it is NOT okay to strip down naked in front of the UPS man. Heaven help me! Give me more patience!

It seems as though none of my prayers were being answered. Not a single, blasted one. This parenting gig is beyond me. I'm tired of correcting and rebuking. I'm exhausted at the thought of training and disciplining for even one more second. "Put that down!. . .Don't pee on the dog!. . .Don't jump off the coffee table!. . .Don't drink mommy's coffee!. . .What are you wearing? Take off Mommy's bra. . .Barbies do NOT go in the toilet!. . .You may NOT say the word 'buttface' to your grandma!. . .Don't make me come over there!. . .Use your inside voice!. . .Stop tattle-telling!. . .Eat your vegetable. . .Don't eat marbles!. . .Poop does NOT go in your hair!. .."  Most days, by the time bedtime arrives, I'm so relieved because I'm literally SICK of the sound of my own voice.

Enter God's solution. . . . .Laryngitis.

Well played, Lord.  Well played.

It seems that in the last 24 hours, my household has been calmer and quieter than it has been in weeks. These little monsters seemed more focused and attentive because they have to be in order to hear my squeaks and whispers of the everyday delegations. I find it pointless to point out grievances that I normally would jump on in a split second, just because it would cost far more physical energy than it's worth. I may be more frustrated on the inside than usual, but they don't sense it at all because there is no fluctuation in my voice. There's just no voice at all, plain and simple. They are loving it. Surprisingly, without my ranting and raving and a-screamin-and-a-hollerin that I do on a daily basis, parenting has been hilariously easy today.

God's thoughts are not my thoughts and his ways are higher than my ways. . .

He's one smart dude, I'll tell ya.

I'm going to relax and enjoy the next few days. My voice may not return for a bit. I'm learning to parent differently in the process. This time of adaption is good for me. It's really showing me that kids truly are a product of their environment. When tensions are high and voices are raised and criticism flies rapidly, they are on edge, more defensive, and follow suit with "loud" behavior and words. Today, all was calm, all was quiet. So were these boys. They really are more "connected" to their mama than even I realize. These prayers all week were unjustified because there was no willingness to change MY perspective.

Must God always have to teach me things the hard way? Apparently so.

I'm learning folks. I would shout it from the rooftops if I could.  "I'M FINALLY UNDERSTANDING THIS PARENTING GIG!!  IT'S JUST AS MUCH ABOUT MY GROWTH AS IT IS ABOUT THE KID'S."  I would tell the world, Lord. . . .but I need my voice back first.


Monday, October 8, 2012

My 5-Year-Old's First-World Problems

Some mornings I wake to heavy breathing, hot on my forehead only to look up into angry eyes.  "Why didn't you charge my iPod?!?! It's DEEEAAD!"


Since when did I become the keeper of all things electronic? Apparently it was an unspoken rule that as Queen Bee over this hive, I was in charge of "the charge". I had forgotten to throw the iPod on the dock as I went to bed last night. Heaven help us ALL if Mr. Grouchy Pants can't get his Angry Birds fix first thing in the morning!  These are the first world problems that I deal with on a daily basis with my 5-year-old.

Can anyone relate?

From a very ripe age of terrible two, Mr. Grouch has been tech-savvy. Teaching ME how to change my wallpaper on my iPhone and showing his Aunt Sissy how to advance to the next level of Angry Birds Space. With eye-rolling and a sigh of,  I can't believe you are only to level 10. . .  Careful Grouch, Sissy buys you Christmas presents. . .remember your manners.

He's always been sensitive to visual stimulation, wanting to watch and re-watch and watch AGAIN each episode of Dora the Explorer in order to memorize every Spanish phrase and next location on the map. He knows the difference between 3G and WiFi and is easily annoyed when we go to breakfast at IHOP instead of Denny's because then he can't access the free Internet to watch youtube videos while he waits for his short stack of pancakes. Heaven forbid!

Before you go pointing fingers about how engrossed my son is in media and how bad all this is for him, let me go ahead and agree with you. Yes, I get that kids need to go outside and play and not stare at a television screen. I totally get that all these video games can "fry one's little brains" and all that jazz. I don't necessarily love the fact that he continually steals my phone and uses up all my data downloading the latest version of Jetpack Joyride. But you know what I also know?  The fact that he can teach anyone I know how to navigate through google maps is impressive!  I also know that he can build tunnels and pixelated houses in Minecraft that may rival my husband's attempts!  I also know that he gets plenty of exercise jumping from building to building pretending to be Spiderman on the Wii. He may not be the most athletic and outdoorsy kid on the block, but his little mind is growing and learning to problem-solve faster than any other kid his age that I know. I'm exceptionally proud of him!  I still try to curb the constant screen time with active play with others or board games or time at the park. At the end of the day, if all he wants is to stimulate his mind with Alphabet Matching Games on the iPad or a round or two of Doodle Jump, I say power to him!

We're going to have to give him access to the charger dock though. I can't handle any more first world problems before my morning coffee.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Things I've Learned This Week

All moms should wear capes. You know it's true. 

Experts say caffeine is bad for you, fat is bad for you, sugar is bad for you. . . But don't worry, because that's bad for you too.

There's a thin line between "I should do a status update about that" and "I should talk to a therapist about that".

I'm much rather buy all new Tupperware than even bother to open this one to clean out whatever this used to be. 

An 103-year-old woman in Wales is officially the oldest Facebook user. It just goes to show you that you are never too old too waste your precious time.

Every time I look in the mirror, I see this old woman staring back at me. I think my house is haunted.

Fall is Awesome. Except for the rain. More precisely the kids boredom with the rain. The cabin fever. This called for desperate pre-planning measures. Solutions can be found in a little post I like to call: 

If falling asleep on the couch was a job, I’d be up for a constant promotion.

I’d appreciate it if the city just delivered the phone books straight to my recycle bin.

It's hard to have street cred when you know every word to all the children's show theme songs on The Disney Channel.

My 3-year-old really needs an "airplane mode".

Having sleepovers when you're an adult is just as fun as when you were a kid. Except after a couple of glasses of wine, you tend to not stay up as long as in years past. 

There is no surface in my home high enough that my ninja children cannot reach.

Despite what I may think at times, God never gives me more than I can handle.