Thursday, May 30, 2013

Behavior Modification

It's not that I think my house should be perfect all the time. Honestly.

(OK, well, it may be true that I wish my house looked like the pages of a Restoration Hardware catalogue, and it also may be true that I attempt to discard useful and practical household items--take an alarm clock for example--because they don't match the look I'm going for. But all this is beside the point.)

I genuinely want my house to be a calm, quiet refuge away from the craziness of the outside world where we can relax. And you can't have calm and quiet or relaxed when you've got a person's personal belongings strewn from one end of his or her room to the other. Not to mention said person or persons' belongings flung across kitchen counter tops, barstools, and left in a heap beside the toilet in the bathroom where they changed two days ago.

Un. Acceptable.

The thing is, trying to change someone's habits and behaviors is hard--especially when the person you are trying to modify doesn't see any reason for the modification. You tend to get some push-back.

"I like my room messy like this," my daughter has been know to say. "I can find things easier that way. Besides, I can't help it."

I'm sorry...what?

I find myself in the same situation with God, though. I have this habit of comparing myself to other people, especially when I think they are pretty or have something that I want (like tan you know what a big deal that would be if I could just tan?). I know it says in Galatians 6 that I shouldn't compare (without comparing themselves to someone else, verse 4), but sometimes I just can't help it.

Just like my kids "can't help it" that mayhem resides right in their very rooms.

It takes more than a flimsy promise to change. It takes commitment, and it takes perseverance. I know that God doesn't want me to live a life of comparing myself to other people. It takes the peace right out of my heart, and puts doubt (and maybe a little fear) in the place where He was building confidence and security. It's going to take a brave trust in Him to step out of the shadow of my doubt and rest in the peace and security of knowing that He has made me as the apple of His eye, not my own.

This is one subject that I'm glad we don't see eye-to-eye on.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This Is the Stuff

Mo' money, mo' problems.
{Notorious B.I.G.}
Well, as my mom always used to say, the more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to break.
In a country where wealth is paramount, many people (save a few good souls who seem to have their heads on straight when it comes to their bankroll) strive to buy the biggest and the best that they can afford (or not)--and I include myself in this category. It's true that I pine over Pottery Barn catalogues and Houzz rooms, and it's true that I dream of what I cannot have.
But it's okay, because I was brought back down to earth this morning as I stepped into a (very!) cold shower. I knew it right away. That dern hot water heater was out again. I wanted to scream, or yell, or tell somebody how frustrating it is to have an appliance that is supposed to work right just quit. Kaput. Done. And then to have to spend all of one's time dealing with a service technician, ordering a part (and paying overnight delivery fees-wow)...well. I'm sure someone out there can relate. As Francesca Battistelli sings This is the stuff that drives me crazy, this is the stuff that's getting to me lately, in the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed...
But, like I told the service technician, I have clothes on my back, food on the table, and people who love me. Life is good. Even when a hot shower isn't readily available.
Anyhow, here I am, late in the day, blogging about my frustrating hot water heater when I supposed to be fixing dinner, but I had to let you know. I took a little break over the weekend (hope it was a fantastic weekend, by the way), and tomorrow will be taken up by a field trip, but check back on Thursday. I'll meet you here!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tripped Up

I really wish today was still Wednesday and I could share yet another story on my Midweek Confessions post, because here is what happened to me just this very morning:

It was a normal morning, got up, showered, got dressed, then went to wake up the babies. When AB opened her eyes (finally! I was beginning to think we were going to miss the bus), she said "Mom, I think you have a tag sticking out of your pants...wait, I think they are on wrong-side outwards." Now, being an adult and figuring I know how to dress myself by now (however, I'm not always the most observant person in the world, but still), I say no way, no how are my pants on wrong-side outwards. I even looked down at them. No, she says, go look at your behind in the mirror, mom, I'm sure they are on wrong-side outwards. So, I oblige (and I'm glad I did), and lo and behold my bleeping pants were on wrong-side outwards. WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED?? Granted, they were workout pants and easy (I guess) to put on wrong-side outwards. If she hadn't told me, it is entirely likely that I would have gone around all day long with my pants on wrong-side outwards. I mean, honestly. Pull yourself together, woman!

In other news, I have one fingernail that is painted (a lovely shade of Blackest Red), and it will probably stay that way until it starts to chip and I finally redo the whole manicure.  AND I got a voice mail on my cell from a different area code than mine saying that I was getting a summons and to have two forms of ID ready. What? Clearly a wrong number, but still. Very odd.

{Sigh} I'm a mess today.

I was thinking back over a conversation I had while I was visiting a friend of mine. We were sitting out on her front porch, enjoying the sun and the breeze and chatting about nothing. I love visits like that. Unhurried, relaxed, calm. While we were talking, I commented on my legs. They are a source of much consternation for me, because they are pale, pale, pale (sunless tanner is my friend, see my Midweek Confession on using self tanner here), plus I had some unsightly veins that I had operated on, only to cause more unsightly veins to appear, plus the ones I had to look worse AND I have tiny scars from the surgery. Nice. I won't be going back to that doctor. But I digress. Anyhow, I just think my legs are ugly and they are enough to make me want to hide my head and moan like Kramer on Seinfeld, "Look away. I'm hideous."

When I start feeling like that, I realize too late that I have lost my focus on God. Searching for security in this world is futile, resulting in anxiety and restlessness. Instead, I need to remember to come to Him with all my needs. When I come to Him, little by little I learn to trust Him with my whole being, and then nothing can separate me from His peace. It's true that I've prayed for Him to miraculously make me tan (wouldn't that be cool), and to also heal these hideous veins, but I've learned that problems (small or big) are a part of life, and it's unrealistic to strive for a life free of them. Instead, I can ask Him to equip me for whatever difficulties I will face on any day. Remembering that He is on my side allows everything to slide back into focus and instead of constantly fighting the inevitable, I can trust Him. Sarah Young in her devotional Jesus Calling reminds me that when I remember to turn my focus to Him, the problem will fade in significance, and it loses it's power to trip me up.

Nothing is too much for Him to handle, and that's good news for a girl who often gets tripped up on small issues (like veins and incomplete manicures).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Midweek Confessions

I'm linking up today with E over at E, Myself and I for Midweek Confessions :)

~There doesn't seem to be such a thing as "satisfying a craving" for me. I've heard in certain magazines and on shows that if you have just a small bite of something, it will satisfy your craving. Not for me. If I have something sweet, especially something like chocolate, then I only want more. If I didn't have self-control, I would eat sweets all the time, because, frankly, they taste better than vegetables--and most other food groups (even the ones I love).

~I expect my husband to be a mind reader, especially when I'm miffed over a minor infraction. However he, being a human being and all, is not a mind reader and is therefore perplexed by my mood. But wait, there's more! He'll perceive a slight change of countenance and ask me what is wrong, and I, being offended by the very question (because he should already know, see...) will say nothing but then be displeased overall that he didn't already know. And no, there is absolutely no method whatsoever to this particular madness. (And no, it does not work, so I don't recommend handling yourself in this manner--but am I the only woman that does this??)

~Last week at the grocery store, I was in a hurry (who isn't?) and in my angst to get out of the produce department, I slammed my basket into the banana case. It made a big noise, and everyone turned to stare at me. At least there were no banana casualties.

~I went to visit my grandma last week, and as I was leaving, she gave me a hug and said something about "needing to put some meat on my bones". As I have expressed before, I have plenty of meat on these bones, and told her as much (even how much I weigh). She looked at me in shock and disbelief that I could possibly weigh that much and then proceeded to walk around the house insisting that we find her scale so she could weigh me and prove that I do in fact weigh that much. Thank. You. Grandma. (We never did find the scale, so I didn't have to prove it to her after all.)

~We still watch American Idol (yay Candice!) and my current favorite show is So You Think You Can Dance. In fact, my other favorite show (all the reality shows with Kim K in them) is on hiatus, which makes me realize that I watch more reality tv than I do other tv...besides Good Luck Charlie, my kids current fave (I think I've seen every episode, up to new ones with Toby, who isn't a baby anymore. So sad for the Duncan family. They grow up so fast.)

~My daughter lost a tooth 3 nights ago, and dutifully put the tooth in her special tooth pillow and laid it beside her bed (we've had conversations about how the tooth fairy can't really reach all the way under the pillow, being that she's so small and all). Now, my daughter is 10 years and 6 months old, and I'm thinking she probably knows that there is no actual tooth fairy, but she hasn't admitted that she knows, so even though I just really want to come out with it all (you know, there is no Santa, there is no Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy is not real, and our Elf on the Shelf is just a doll), I don't. However, our Tooth Fairy happens to be a touch on the forgetful side, so the aforementioned tooth sat in it's little pillow beside AB's bed for two straight nights before the TF remembered that someone was waiting for the tooth to be exchanged for some cash (this isn't the first time this has happened, by the way). The following conversation occurred:

Me: By the way...that Tooth Fairy. Has she gotten your tooth yet?

AB: Nope.

Me: She's a little forgetful, huh?

AB: Um, yeah. [slight pause] My tooth has been there waiting for two nights.

Me: Yeah...

AB: I'm going to put the tooth under my pillow. I think that's the problem.

Me: Riiigghhttt...maybe she'll come tonight...

So far AB hasn't mentioned the strange coincidence that every time I remember, the TF also remembers and takes care of things straightaway.

~Finally (this is the last one, but what can I say? It's been an eventful week in the R household), I opened the door to the laundry room last Friday and discovered a ginormous cricket-bug-thing behind the dirty laundry hamper. I had absolutely no time to deal with it (and besides, I have no use for bugs. I hate them.), so I walked away. Just walked away. Left him in there with free reign of the place. I just knew he was waiting in there to attack me with his gangling antennae and monster back legs. He hasn't been seen since.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Silver Linings

Normally Monday really takes me by surprise (I don't know why, after all, it comes every week, right after Sunday and before Tuesday, but whatever). I never get everything accomplished that I want to and then Tuesday arrives, making fun of me because I'm working double-time trying to get it all done.

I thought I'd write today about a quote I got from the movie Silver Linings Playbook. (and if you're wondering, yes, I just watched this. We never watch movies when they come out in the theatre, and even though we have a family movie night every week, Silver Linings Playbook is hardly a family-friendly movie, so I'm a bit behind on all the good movies that are out. I haven't even seen the newest James Bond, which is dreadful.) However, I couldn't get much out of the quotes without bleeping out half the words (they really do like a certain word in that movie), so I said forget it. I'm offering no words of wisdom today, no insight into where I think the silver lining really lies or what it means. No. Today, I turned on my computer and have just been staring at it, hoping that perhaps it will come up with a better post than I will today. Mind you, I have other things I could be doing, like studying for my AFAA certification (!) or cleaning the house, but instead I'm sitting here, writing my thoughts about nothing to you.

Which reminds me of The Nothing in the movie The NeverEnding Story (which was one of my favorites, but I had a hard time getting past the part where Atreyu's horse dies--I cried every single time. It's such a dramatic scene, with the horse sinking in the mud and all, and they really draw it out. Plus, horses were and are my all-time favorite animal, and I always thought I'd live on a farm and have horses--and ride bareback with my long hair flowing behind me, of course. I'd probably cry now if I watched it.). The Nothing is a void of darkness that consumes everything, and it's coming for Fantasia (I wonder if the singer Fantasia is named after the land of Fantasia??). My kids tried to watch the movie, but The Nothing and the Gmork (that wolf-beast with the crazy eyes) scared them, and we haven't gotten it out since. I think the writers of The NeverEnding Story may have been on to something, though, because if anyone has ever experienced depression or anxiety, it kindof feels like a void of darkness that will consume you.

Nope, still don't like him.

I soooo wanted that horse.

Thinking back on a time when depression ruled my life makes me sad, and I need to remember to thank God every day, because it's only by His mercy, peace and grace that I'm able to sit here and write about my depression in the past tense. Sometimes I ask why me? because I really never sat down and asked Him for help; my plea to Him came kindof came after the fact. I didn't really even realize I was depressed until a few years into feeling sad and blah all the time. All. The. Time. Now I can look back and see I was in a total fog, and He brought me through it.

And now I can sit here and blog about my past experiences, and maybe there is someone out there who is feeling just the way I did (okay, sometimes still do, but I'm a work in progress)--sad, insecure, and not sure which way to turn.

I can relate. And I can pray for you. You're definitely not alone.

God can bring good from not-so-great circumstances (Romans 8:28), and I'm learning to trust His promises that He will do just that.

There's my silver lining.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I Am My Mother

Me: Keep your door open. You may not lock it.

AB: (a roll of the eyes, a toss of the hair, and a deeeeeeep sigh) Why?

Me: Because I said so. That's why.


It looks as if the predictions were all true. At some point, you do become your mother. I have just proven it to be true.

AB got in trouble yesterday because she was on the phone with a friend when she should not have been, and the worst part is that she tried to hide it from me. And that makes mama very unhappy. So, she lost the privilege of having a friend over today, which makes for a very grumpy girl during the afternoon hours when she should have been playing with her friend. Especially when your mother makes you do laundry and clean the living room instead of playing on your iPod or talking on the phone to the aforementioned friend who couldn't come over.

Her reaction to the news that her friend couldn't come over: My life is NOT fair!!


I am my mother.

When I told a friend the story, she shared with me something she used to tell her own kids when they were young: I discipline you with love. When the world disciplines you, it's not with love.

I could understand where she was coming from.  The world is harsh, it's rules sharp, and it's punishment caustic and bitter. I'm trying to protect my child by disciplining her...but she doesn't see it that way. It's okay. I remember my own indignation at being disciplined by my mom, the way I rolled my eyes, stomped my feet, slammed my door and yelled It isn't fair!! I'm sure that she thought herself being somewhat punished by the way I was acting. But she didn't let up.


I am my mother.

And I couldn't be more proud.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Memory Lane

As I skipped up the steps to my grandmother's house, I felt like I was 10 years old and carefree again.

Her house looks the same as it did in 1988 (no joke), but instead of looking through the critical eyes of a 30-something wanna-be decorator, I saw it through the eyes of yesterday, when I was young and didn't know the difference between marble and granite counter-tops. When all I wanted to do was spend time with my beloved grandma and granddaddy, getting dirty in the garden, feeding the horses, washing up for dinner and watching Wonder Woman on TV.

When she answered the door, she hugged me with those hugs that only your grandma can give--good, solid, I-don't-care-if-you-just-worked-out-and-you-smell-really-bad hugs. She's not worried about what I drive, what I'm wearing, how much make-up I have on, who my friends are, or what activities my kids are involved in. She's just happy I'm there to visit.

This is actually not me--it's my sister with my grandma--but I love this picture!

As we walked to sit down, her body showed all the signs of a well-lived life--sagging skin, gray hair, wrinkles, a slow shuffle to her step. But as we chatted, her mind danced down memory lane, flitting from story to story about her job as a nurse and about my granddaddy. He was an extraordinary man, she said as her mind landed on a memory that only she was privy to, a faraway look in her eyes. He loved you so much. They don't make many Clints anymore.

As I got up to go--after all, I have bathrooms to clean, kids to taxi, phone calls to make--it struck me again, as it always does after a visit with her, that my time is what I make of it. I spend much of it in a hurried, anxious, got-to-get-it-done-now state. It's good to slow down and remember to focus on the people in my life, because when it comes to the end of the day, they are where my heart is.

When my last breath is drawn, I don't want the people who were close to me to only remember how I really, really, really, really wanted to paint the living room, or how I was a diligent devotee to the color-coded closet. What I would love for people to say about me is this: She was an extraordinary woman. She loved her family so much. They don't make many like her anymore.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Honestly, I don't know what made me think of it.

But I can assure you that I was deeply embarrassed when I did.

Several years ago, a friend of mine found out some juicy gossip about a mutual acquaintance. I've never been one to turn down a good piece of gossip, and have spent plenty of time running my own mouth. Nothing to be proud of, but the truth nonetheless.

This time, though, the gossip that my friend shared with me was deeply personal. Our acquaintance was going through a rough patch and had ended up in rehab. I didn't have any idea that this family was dealing with this, but instead of extending sympathy toward our friend's plight, we made light of it.

Thinking about my reaction to the fact that we relished the taste of gossip on our tongues makes me rethink my reaction when a juicy bit comes my way these days. I don't always turn my head; in fact, there are times when I still sit and listen (and it's not so I can learn from the other person's mistakes...). I don't know why. Somehow, it's entertaining in a sick sort of way to hear of someone else's broken circumstances.  I have, in a way, embraced what the Psalmist calls a sharp tongue: "They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips." (140:3), and I have proven that in this regard I have little sense (Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue. [Proverbs 11:12]).

It really doesn't make any sense to squeeze enjoyment out of someone else's pain, and as I thought over that conversation from years ago, my conscience told me that it was time to be more aware of the power of my tongue.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
{proverbs 12:18}

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Child Is A Child

Grown don't mean nothing to a mother.
A child is a child.
They get bigger, older, but grown?
What's that suppose to mean?
In my heart it don't mean a thing.
-Toni Morrison
Google images
Happy Belated Mother's Day

Friday, May 10, 2013

FMF: Comfort

There are days I'm comfortable in my own skin, with the decisions that I have made, with the way that I look, the conversations I have, the way that I feel.

Let me tell you, sister.

Today ain't one of those days.

Every decision I make I have agonized over (Should I drink water or Diet Dr. P? Should I work out? Should I keep the rug I just purchased? Should I look for another one that's a touch bigger? Should I wear jeans or sweatpants? Am I hungry because I'm eating or eating because I'm hungry?). I feel like a slob in my sweatpants and tee-shirt (see above). I feel out of sorts. I just can't seem to pull it together.

Definitely not comfortable.

And just when I think I've had enough and the best place for me is my bed for the rest of the day, I hear a quiet voice speak over the din in my head: I Am your Peace and your Comfort.

He is where it begins, He's where it ends, and He's all over the in-between.

The definition of comfort.

Linking up with Lisa Jo over at for Five Minute Friday!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

So. Annoying.

I'm feeling a bit peevish today, so I'm wearing my favorite tee in the hopes that it will improve my temper by osmosis.

I really didn't want to take a picture of my face, but a headless me looked really weird. In fact, this picture is pet peeve #3 because it ain't no good. So. Annoying.

Pet Peeve # 36 is that the shirt under my HAP-PAY! shirt (the aforementioned favorite--do you know what show this is from??) keeps riding up over the top of my jeans, presumably because it is too small. This annoys me (although not enough to actually change), and I've been jerking it down all day long.

Pet Peeve #59 is that while cleaning my son's bathroom, I came to the realization that gifting my children with their own bathrooms may have been a miscalculation on my part, because I thought I could teach them good cleaning habits. Don't laugh. With that being said, after cleaning, I also would not want to share a bathroom with either of my children. What we have here is a lose-lose, ladies and gentlemen.

Pet Peeve #82 is that the only time I remember that I need to make an appointment to take my car in is when I am actually in the car, at which point it is very inconvienent to schedule said appointment. So annoyed with myself about that.

Pet Peeve #117 is that it's been raining for 3 days straight, and we are experiencing here at my house what we have termed "extra energy". It causes pencils to fly across the room at any given second, children to mysteriously fall right out of their seats at dinner time, words to be YELLED instead of spoken, and running, tickling, and attack games to be played underfoot whilst I attempt to prepare dinner.

Pet Peeve #201 is that I have a breakout on my face.

It came to my attention today that a young lady, only 25 years old and married for a year, is battling brain cancer. She and her family have recently decided to stop all treatments.

Let me take a minute to let that one sink in.

Let me take a minute to think about all the life I experience today that she may never get to.

Pet Peeve # 1 is that I allow little annoyances to make me uproariously ill-tempered and I rarely stop to think about and appreciate what a blessing life is.

Google images

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Letting Go

"All you have to do is let go and fall back."

I looked at my instructor dubiously from my perch on the rock wall.

"I actually had to fail someone because they couldn't make the fall," he warned.

Just let go and fall back. I knew the harness would catch me...but my mind kept coming up with excuses and what-ifs. What if there is something wrong with the harness? What if it's meant to work but has a glitch? What if I fall flat on my back and break every bone in my body?

My heart was beating rapidly. The guy was looking at me expectantly, waiting to either pass or fail me.

I'm scared of heights! I wanted to yell.

One might question the wisdom of climbing a rock wall when they are scared of heights.

It looks fun from the ground...

God sometimes asks me to do the same thing. To just let go and fall back. He assures that He will catch me, but I look at him with suspicion in my eyes. Does He really mean that He'll catch me? What if I fall? What if it's meant to work but His system has a glitch? What if He fails me?

I'm scared!! I want to scream at Him. Surely He'll understand if I don't let go because of my white-knuckle fear.

His gentle nudging continues. Let go and fall back. My arms are full of grace and mercy. I am your Savior, I am what you need, I am your safety and your protection. I can be your harness. 

I will catch you.

I can look around all day, but I'll remain stuck on the wall if I can't trust Him enough to just let go.

Let go.

Easy to say. Hard to do.


In one fell swoop, I decided to go for it. Took a deep breath. I let go. I fell back.

My heart was beating out of my chest, my knuckles were still white, and my breath was caught in my throat.

And my harness caught me.

Friday, May 3, 2013

is defined not by position nor resume,
but by one's
attitude and service.
{IVP New Testament Commentary}

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Killing Us Softly 4

Yesterday I talked a little about how I looked (and felt) in a pair of slim fit pants I bought. I joked about it, and honestly, it didn't bother me all that much, but I have to admit, I did use the full length mirror in my closet to peek around and assess my backside. Even though I'm coming around to believe that there is more than one narrow definition of beauty, I still have moments where I want to look just like the size-zero model with size D's on the cover of Victoria's Secret.

But when I watched the following excerpt, I understood more that the Victoria's Secret model probably wants to look like that girl on the cover, too.

Watch this excerpt from Killing Us Softly 4, where "Jean Kilbourne takes a new and refreshing look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity".

Maybe we can all start to reassess where our worth comes from.

Miss the link? Go to

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Midweek Confessions


I believe that everyone has their own little quirks about them that make up their very own beautiful personality, but sometimes, I think my own idiosyncrasies are a bit much (even for me).

*I do not like it when I see a car that looks just like mine. The color that I chose for my car actually seems to be a popular choice, so I see it a lot, and I have to admit, I am a bit offended when I see someone driving the same car as I do. The nerve! I especially do not like it when the twin car is beside me, in front of me or behind me in traffic, and I will go out of my way in order to get away from the offending car. I do not really know why I have this odd dislike for twinsie cars, nor do I understand why I am deeply and personally offended when someone drives by in "my" car...

*This morning during one of my aerobics classes, the song Do Ya Think I'm Sexy by Rod Stewart came on, and I announced that no, I do not think Rod Stewart is sexy. Yes, I had my microphone on. Then I proceeded to tell who I did think was sexy (of course I said my husband!). Not your usual church aerobics conversation, but the ladies were in such a fit of giggles that I thought one or two might fall out of their plank. And really, when it comes down to Rod Steward and this guy, is there any real comparison?

*My son was complaining that his tummy hurt today, but he often has this complaint, and he is usually fine. So I sent him off to school without a second thought. When the school called during my class, I ignored the call (I was teaching, after all), figuring they were calling to tell me that his stomach was hurting. When they called again (I was done with my class by this point), they said that he had thrown up at school and needed to be picked up. Obviously, I misjudged. Oops.

*Yesterday, I bought a pair of super-cute pants that have a print on them. Usually, I don't buy printed bottoms because they tend to make your derriere look wider somehow (when the derriere actually fits into the pants). They were a size larger than what I would normally wear (I triple-checked), but I'm fairly certain these particular pants would be considered irregular (does anyone remember when that's all TJMaxx carried?) because when I tried them on, I couldn't even sit down. If I were going to a function where all I had to do was stand and not move, I would be golden. Unfortunately, most of life requires one to move.

They're cute, right?! Too bad.

Note to Self: Do not buy slim fit pants because your caboose does not and will not ever fit into them. Like, ever.

And I'm okay with that. I'm just bummed I have to return the pants.

**I'm linking up with E over at E, Myself and I for Midweek Confessions!