Thursday, July 31, 2014

Life Water

I recently read that if you take your weight (which should be taken in the morn to avoid any confusion as to how much you actually weigh) and divide by two, you get the number of ounces of water you should be drinking every day.

Since I am a pretty literal person, who tends to take everything I read as black or white with no grey areas, I promptly took what I think I weigh, divided it in half, and came up with a magic drinking water number. I do well when I have solid numbers to go by, but then I tend to go extreme and live my life by them. (I'm working on this.)

So, yay! A number for the amount of water I should be drinking each day. Totally doable.

By 7:00 yesterday evening, I had consumed 120 ounces of water (no lie--in various forms, though, I'll admit that I had a 32-oz Powerade Zero) and had gone to the bathroom no less than 36 times (perhaps a slight exaggeration). I had followed the rule and exceeded the expectation. Victory!

One would think that I'd be good til bedtime with no more to drink.

But one would be wrong.

Because by 8:00 last night, I was so thirsty I could hardly stand it.

This is, of course, news that must be texted to close friends.

"Do u have diabetes?" came the reply text.

Nope. I am just so thirsty I feel like I could drink another 120 ounces of water. Or Powerade. Whichever I could get my hands on first.

Thirst is, obviously, a constant in life. Did you know that humans can only survive about 3-5 days without water?

Sometimes I think I can go to church, read a few verses from the bible, attend a bible study--a prescription I'd give any body who asks--and think I'm good to go with with life. I've checked the boxes, I've done what's been asked, and at the end of the day, I'm on my way to life everlasting. The Promised Land.

Thirst-free.

But nothing can truly satisfy my thirst for life like a relationship with Christ can, and when I find myself spiritually thirsty even after I've checked all the above boxes, well, it puts my soul in check, too.

I want more out of life than just going to church and reading a few verses from the bible. I want that spiritual thirst to be satisfied. And for me, only Christ can do that.

...but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. 
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a 
spring of water welling up to eternal life.
{john 4:14}

Nobody can live without water. It sustains us.

It gives us life.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GPS

I have lived in my hometown for (most of) my whole life (save three unfortunate months at a college located one city to the east and many bad choices to the south). In today's world, with the ease of mobility and the fluctuation of jobs, when people find out that I have, in fact, a) lived here my whole life and b) have no plans to move from here, they look at me with a mixture of surprise and pity (they feel sorry for me, never having experienced living in other places--or any places--and being stuck here in my little bubble).

Here's an observation about my town (but not necessarily a fact): it's segregated. Divided into little segments that people hardly ever leave. At least not unless they want to go play Putt-Putt on the north end of town. Obviously, where you work plays a part, so someone who lives in North County might work downtown, but this says nothing about the stink that was raised about the final location of the brand-new (well, brand-new a couple of years ago) rec center. If you live here, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

So you'd think that someone who has lived in the same town with the same confusing roadways (ours tend change names but are actually still the same road quite often) would know her way around fairly well.

Well, here's a news flash for you: I don't.

So when my dermatologist appointment came up, and I looked at my calendar for the name of the office, and I discovered that I hadn't written it down, nor had I chosen to include the name of said new dermatologist, and then I had to google local dermatologists in the hopes that her office would come up AND I'd somehow recognize the name of the doctor I'd made an appointment with three months ago, well, I was understandably flustered. Sometimes I'm just not successful in life. This was one of those times. The good news is that I found her and her address (still didn't write it down, but whatever, that's not the point), but I had no idea where the heck I was going. The corner of blank and blank did not ring a bell with me. So there I was, riding down the road, kids safely strapped in, hoping this GPS was taking me to the doctor's office and not a lake or pond somewhere (you'd have to have seen The Office GPS episode to appreciate this).

Thank goodness for a phone with GPS capability. That's all I can say. (Which got me to the building; however, I still had to ask where the dermatologist office was, because the sign of the office I had gotten to said "Treatment for Kidney Disease and Dialysis".)

google images

I know my way around "the Christian walk". I grew up in the church and know most of the rules. I've actually stayed in the church for most of my life (save a few summers ago where I just quit going, period, and then that same stint in college where church was the absolute last thing on my mind). I feel like I know what's expected of me, I know most of the books of the bible (but not in order, well except for the first 5 books of the New Testament, and there are a few random ones like Nahum and Haggai that I had no idea even existed--note to pastors around town to concentrate more on these, just so we'll be in the know), and I know how things work. But nothing can substitute for the directions that God's Word offers.

I've discovered that His Word brings a very astute and specific knowledge to the generalities of faith and religion that I think I know. And while I thought I had it all figured out, God has proven to me that 1) I did not and 2) I still have a lot to learn. His Word is there for life directions. Like a life-map.

A GPS, if you will.

But just like with anything, you have to be smart when you use it. Learn it. Keep it close to your heart.
Remember it.

Write it down.

Fix these words of mine 
in your hearts and minds;
 tie them as symbols on your hands
 and bind them on your foreheads.
{deuteronomy 11:18}


Monday, July 28, 2014

All Of Me

I am so sick of John Legend and his "All Of Me" song.

It seems like every time I turn on the radio, it's on, either in it's woefully sad and slow version (maybe that's supposed to be romantic), or in it's newer, poppier version.

So, at the the end of the school year, the fifth grade at my kid's school always sings a song at their graduation. Preferably one that speaks to what a fifth grade graduation is all about. Do you know what my daughter's class chose? All Of Me. By one John Legend.

Thankfully the music teacher didn't think that song was appropriate for a bunch of 10-and 11-year-olds to be singing at their graduation. So they sang "Happy" by Pharrell instead, which is equally as annoying, but somehow not so much when your own daughter is up there singing her heart out.

Week before last, my husband and I celebrated fifteen years of wedded bliss.

Fifteen years.

We should have been singing "All Of Me", but singing to one another isn't typically how we spend our anniversary, seeing as how neither of us can sing. (Actually, I think I sound a little better than him, but when the radio is up as loud as I take it when I sing, who doesn't sound good?)

A lot has changed over that period of time. When we first met, I was an immature college student, he was a working professional. We met because he needed a tie, and he thought the girl selling them was cute. (Yes, that would be me.)

Inside, I was fraught with insecurity and anxiety, and I was looking for someone to love me and fill all my needs. He was fraught with impatience and had a quick temper, and in the early years of our marriage, we each possessed our own pieces of the marriage jigsaw puzzle, trying to figure out how they went together to form a beautiful picture.

Who am I kidding? We are still trying to figure it out.

Some days are easy. When the kids are well-behaved, and the weather is nice, and the timing is all right, it's easy to look into the eyes of my husband and feel nothing but love. But then work demands more time, a loved one is sick, money is tight, the kids are fighting--suddenly those eyes I adore become eyes I turn away from.

I thought marriage would be easy. I thought the people who told me that it would be one of the hardest things I'd ever do were dead-wrong. I thought all you needed was love and you were a-okay.

All you need is love,
All you need is love,
All you need is love, love,
Love is all you need.
{the beatles, all you need is love}

It wasn't until a several  years ago that I figured out that loving my husband wasn't only a feeling, it was a choice. Because let's face it, we don't always feel like loving someone else. At least I don't. I get grumpy and mad and disgruntled with life, and during those times, no. I do not feel loving. I am not even friendly or polite.

"Remember that you're in this together. 
It's not you against each other. 
It's both of you against the world."
{thomas bradbury, PhD--professor at UCLA}*

Yesterday, Parade magazine featured an article titled "Happily Ever After"--Once the cake has been cut and the bouquet tossed, what are the secrets to an everlasting marriage? And I was very curious about what Parade could possibly offer as to the secrets of an everlasting marriage, because with roughly half of us getting divorced after we tie the knot, "everlasting" and "marriage" don't seem synonymous anymore. Here's what I found:

1-Remember that you're a team.
2-Try a little tenderness.
3-Soften conflict with humor.
4-Support but don't smother.
5-Celebrate each other.

Mutual goals are far more important than mutual interests. 
It's not where you come from that matters, but where you're going.
{anton & phyllis grosz, married for 50 years}*

I have a hard time remembering that I'm part of a team, tenderness doesn't come naturally to me, when I'm mad nothing (nothing!) is funny, and I'm not supportive (at all) when I'm only thinking of myself.

There is a certain amount of self-sacrifice that comes with relationships, and while at times I don't like it, I also believe that it's an important component to actually making the relationship work. I think that when it comes down to it, feelings are important--but not an indicator of love and happiness. It's all about the choices we make within our marriage that will truly make the difference between "happy" and "not so happy".

I am so proud of us. I'm proud of the things we've learned that we've put into action. I'm proud that we've been married for 15 years, and that we are still going strong. I'm proud that we've overcome obstacles along the way, sometimes clumsily, but we did it.

And I'm proud that we are looking forward to another 15 years.

Together.


*all quotes taken from Parade magazine article "Happily Ever After" by Francine Russo

Friday, July 25, 2014

Til Monday

Oh, good grief.

Once again, good intentions have turned into...nothing. I always have the intention to write a blog post, mostly because I just like writing my thoughts down, and a little because sometimes it's so nice to hear that I am not alone. I'll even think about what I'm going to write while I'm doing chores around the house, or driving down the road, or even talking to a friend (sometimes--I can barely chew gum and walk, much less think about one thing while talking about another). But today, my good intentions never got realized because a shower for me was essential, my kids had friends over and I tried to get my car cleaned out (I, for one, would like to just have the thing detailed, but every time I think I'm serious about it, I just can't pull the trigger on the $100++ price tag for something I can do reasonably well myself. I would also like for someone other than myself to clean my bathrooms because I hate that job-- #first-world issues. A mission trip might be good for me.), and then I had to drop the aforementioned child off with her mother, and make my pizza dough, and here comes the end to another day where I look around and wonder what the heck I did all day.

And now I'm starving.

If you were at my house, eight minutes ago you would have found me standing--no, hovering over--the oven, waiting for my cauliflower (a.k.a. "stinky pizza" to my kids) to cook to I can gobble it up.

Hang on.

The timer just went off!!

So while I'm waiting for the tasty combo of parm, mozzarella and feta to melt (five to seven minutes, I think I can wait), I'll finish this out by telling you that last week my husband and I celebrated out FIFTEENTH wedding anniversary and I wanted to tell everybody just how much that means to me. More on Monday.

By the way, I had a coupon for Dunkin' Donuts coffee, and it was on sale at the store, so I got Chocolate Glazed Donut, thinking that I might turn into a coffee drinker yet.

It was so disappointing.

I'll tell you one thing, if you're gonna call something Chocolate Glazed Donut (especially for someone who hasn't had any glazed doughnut in forever), you should make sure it tastes like it sounds.

I hear my timer, and my stomach is saying MUST. EAT. NOW.

Til Monday!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Um. Ouch.

At the gentle prompting of a friend, I recently decided to contact Proverbs 31 ministries, headed up by president Lysa Terkeurst, to let them know of my interest in writing devotions for them.

P31 serves women across the globe, and as I worked myself up to actually write the email to them, I thought about how cool it would be to see my name attached to my devotion on their website. Yes. And then more people would probably check out my blog, too, which would be even cooler. Besides. I'm authentic, right? Perfectly capable of writing a devotion. Or devotions. I purposefully sent all negative thoughts packing and sent the email.

And thirty seconds later, I got one back.

How efficent of them.

They politely thanked me for my interest, then, with the finality of the last nail in the coffin, said "thanks but no thanks", and offered me the best of luck in my future writing endeavors.

Well.

Ouch.

I have to admit. The rejection stung a little. I mean, heellloo, I had even prayed about this. Isn't prayer supposed to guarantee a success?

Apparently not.

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
{from the play The Mourning Bride by William Congreve}

As my mind waffled back and forth between the negative (see, I knew I wasn't good enough) to the positive (ha! as if! clearly they don't even know what they are missing out on!), it became clear to me that obviously, the email I got back had been one of those auto-reply emails, and that once they actually read my email and my blog, I'd get another one explaining the mix-up.

(I'm still waiting for that email. So much for efficiency.)

As I moped around all afternoon, being gloomy and kicking things on the floor, I thought about how much disappointment and rejection can sting. And I thought about God. Doesn't He want what I want? Shouldn't He want what I want?

Oh, dear. It seems I may have gotten this one a bit bassackwards, as my mom would say.

Prayer doesn't magically ward off rejection, or disappointment, or any other seemingly negative emotion. But it does provide me with a center, a place to air my frustrations and give them to God. He's not my genie in a bottle, doing what I want when I want. He's God. How presumptuous of me to assume otherwise. Even if it did seem like a good idea.

On my way to put some clothes away, I peeked into my closet, full of suitcases and bags and dirty laundry (see, I chided myself, you can't even keep your closet clean, you wanna-be writer), and I decided that I may as well get something right and proceeded to dump my bag out on the floor. With all the junk came a small, turquoise devotional called Craving God by none other than Lysa TerKeurst. When I picked it up, the pages opened to a devotion toward the back of the book, aptly called "Disappointment".

Well. How divine.

Disappointment only stings as long as I let it.
{lysa terkeurst}

The above was the thought of the day.

I think I wanted to be disappointed, and grouchy about it, because the book made me mad.

So I slapped it shut.

Normally, I find nice spots to display my books, especially pretty ones like this.

This book did not deserve a nice spot. This book deserved to be dropped on the floor in the middle of the living room, just to prove a point. Which is where it sat until today. When I had to pick it up so I could remember exactly what Miss LT had said about disappointment.

Another reminder.

Harrumph.

But.

I cannot deny that although I feel a little burned by the disappointment, hanging on to it only lets it last longer, darkening my soul and my thoughts. And what's in one's heart comes out of one's mouth, and I try really hard to not be a negative person.

As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart.
{proverbs 27:19}



I had a decision to make. Be mad at P31 forever, or take it stride and work toward being a better writer. I had to choose the latter because honestly, the former has a long-term stink about it.

Disappointment only stings as long as I let it, right Lysa?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Things Make Me Hap-pay

I love to shop. I do. I know it's not kosher to admit it, but I really do think that buying things makes me feel happy. I also know that things aren't supposed to make you feel happy, and if you do admit that buying things makes you happy, then this makes you sound materialistic and greedy and (gasp!) secular. As in not spiritual.

Confession Time.

Things. Make. Me. Happy.

Sometimes deliriously happy. Sometimes happy for a moment. Sometimes happy for days. Weeks. Months.

I love to shop. I love to shop for my house and I love to shop for my clothes and I love to shop for my shoes and I especially love to shop for everything else that I haven't mentioned in the above "I love to shop for" categories. The only things I don't love to shop for are things like guttering and air conditioners and parts for garage doors, because we all know that stuff is very boring.

Yesterday, we made our Official Back-to-School shopping trip. It's better if you just get it out of the way.

The younger of my two offspring, who does not love to shop, was disappointed that we were choosing to use our time in such a reckless fashion.

"We've got five more weeks!!" he was howling from the backseat. "FIVE. MORE. WEEKS!"

(What, you ask, would we be doing if we weren't shopping for back-to-school supplies on a random Monday afternoon? Sitting at home, playing Minecraft. Well, not me. It makes me feel something akin to invertigo when I look at the screen.)

However. The older of the two tends to get ecstatic and slightly frenetic (I don't know where this comes from) when the prospect of shopping (for herself, that is) comes up. When we walked into JC Penney to look for some shoes (I had a $10 off coupon for tennis shoes that I would not let go to waste, plus they were on sale--$37 for a pair of $80 Nikes? What what!), she already had the I Love Shopping gleam in her eye.

This could be dangerous.

But I couldn't help but smugly smile when the Staples employee gave me a fist pump for saving a chunk-o-change by doing all my school supply shopping at one time, because I saved 25% on my entire purchase.

Do you know what I love almost as much as I love shopping?

A good deal.

The oldest got a new book-bag, which is not something we buy every year, much to her distress and hints as to the implications on her social life, as she has been carrying the same book-bag since third grade. In fact, she came home mid-year last year with one of the straps cut, claiming it "just broke" (as if I'm an idiot who fell off the turnip truck yesterday) and she desperately needed a new one who's strap would be intact. She was so happy about the new bag that she was literally jumping up and down. I've never seen such over a book-bag, but we've all got our vices, and hers just may be bags. (She has promised to carry said new bag all three years of middle school. I'll get back to you on that in three years.)

As happy as shopping and clothes and shoes make me, the feeling never lasts long enough for me. And I have a suspicion that if I were completely honest with myself, I'd admit that I'm searching for more than just new shoes. If I could be completely honest, I think I might admit that "searching for" and "significance" might go together. Perhaps I could add "value" or "merit", and I could probably throw in "beauty", too. But in all my searching for these things, I've never found a thing, or an item, that is completely fulfilling, even when it's in the plural form.

Some people, eager for money, 
have wandered from the faith and 
pierced themselves with many griefs.
{1 timothy 6:10}

Wandering would imply that it wasn't on purpose, wouldn't it? I'm not a bible scholar, and don't pretend to be. What I share comes from my own experiences, but I can't help but think that it's a slow process, like wandering down a path you see that looks interesting, and maybe getting a little bit lost in the process.

It's true. I have been in my life eager for money. Like excited about it. Like wanting more of it. Like jealous of those who have it. Does this make me materialistic and greedy and (gasp!) secular? Probably. It's not where I mean to be. It's just where I've ended up. Because I've made one big mistake: thinking that money and things can fulfill me and that God cannot. But that's an awfully big gamble to take, especially considering that God promises to fulfill our every need.

And my God will meet all your needs 
according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
{philippians 4:19}

When I make my way back to God, I think I begin to realize that the true desires of my heart aren't necessarily shoes and accessories, but things like joy and peace, which not even a pair of the best jeans can offer. So while I've been a bit like a weeble-wobble, tottering here and there, the truth of the matter is that only God can truly give me what I'm looking for.

And I am so into that.

Take delight in the Lord, 
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
{psalm 37:4}

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dodgy

I do not own a scale. I know it's not good for me.

My initial plan would, of course, to keep tabs on my weight by weighing myself once or three times a week. But I know I'd weigh myself three times a day, just to see how my weight changes.

I know I'd obsess over said weight change to the point of, like, scary.

And I know I'd be upset over a victory (weight loss) and rattled over a loss (weight gain).

As it happens, I visited a place recently that not only sported the word "luxury" as one of it's many finer benefits (which lead me to question why? and how? can someone possibly list "luxury", along with "blender" and "boat dock" as an asset? Because to me, luxury describes something, so luxury cannot actually be something. And anyway, if you had seen this "luxury", you would have laughed like I did, because the place had seriously not been updated since 1983. I am no designer, but I do have access to catalogs that prove that we have moved on from a sit-on-the-floor, large-screen, wood-framed, box TV.)

Anyhoo.

Back to the scale.

Which I discovered, hidden behind a cabinet. Is it weird that I felt a little excitement as I pulled that thing out? Yes. It is. But this is precisely how I felt. Joy at the sight of a scale.

I ain't right.

But I proceeded to weigh myself with gusto, and not just in the morning when you're supposed to so you can feel okay about yourself, but almost every time I went into that cursed bathroom. (Not really, but it was often.) I mean really. How often does a person need to know exactly how much the body they are stuck with happens to weigh at any particular point in the day?

So as it goes with most people, my weight fluctuates, a fact that I found to be a) fascinating and b) disturbing. (Yes, I obviously know that my weight would fluctuate, just not to the degree that it did.) I will not share my precise poundage, but I can tell you that by the last time I met with that scale, I was thoroughly disgusted.

I mean, just ugh. Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

And then I caught myself calling myself names.

I wouldn't talk to anybody else that way, at least not to their face (oh, I'm only kidding!-maybe not, I can be mean and I don't even mean to be), but I somehow see myself as a prime target for unashamed bashing.

I've just finished reading a novel written by an English author, and you know what she would call that sort of behavior?

Dodgy, that's what.

Somewhere along the way, I've confused a number with  self-worth. Meaning, the number goes down, my self-worth goes up. The number goes up, my self-worth goes doowwwwn.

Somehow, the ups and downs don't equal out, and I always feel a bit more down than up. Even when the scale does read a number that I am not happy with but could be satisfied with.

So if weight equals happiness in my book, when will I ever feel happy? Because weight constantly changes. And so does my happiness. Morning? Yay! Afternoon? Oh. Evening? You suck, scale.

Can I just tell you from personal experience that this is no way to live? Because you start to forget about everything else, like blue skies and boat rides and playing games and having fun, all in the name of trying to be happy based on a number on a scale.

But when you're stuck in a rut, you're just stuck. And my rut is so deep, I can't even see over the sides.

Please don't tell me I need to get over it.

I just told you I can't even see over the sides, so there's no catapulting out of this thing.

I'm gonna need Someone who's capable of just knocking the whole rut down, flattening the thing out, to get me out of this.

But I've got to decide that I believe Him over the lies, and let me tell you, that's some tricky business, deciding you believe God more than yourself and the lies you've fallen for.

Dodgy.

But tearing my eyes away from that scale and putting them on Him, even if for just a minute, is putting me in the right direction.

I'm not always headed in the right direction. In fact, I'm often heading in directions that make no sense whatsoever, and I feel lost and adrift. But for that minute my eyes are on Him, I know. I know.

That's the direction I want to be.

I just need a little help getting there.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
{psalm 119:37}


Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Smell of Vaca

Hey.

I'm taking a few days to myself, to just relax and spend time with the fam. If I can post, I will (so keep checking back!), but I may not get around to it. If we don't talk this week, we will definitly catch up next Monday. See ya'll soon :)


google images

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I don't even know why I was crying

We came to the library today so that the Minecraft Junky could play Minecraft on a screen that is bigger than 7 by 5 inches. When we couldn't find Minecraft on the library computer, his eyes started to glaze over and his hands started shaking. We can see other Minecraft Junkies talking to their computers and mining away.

Enter Super Mother. (Super Minecraft Mother.)

Thursday afternoon crisis averted.

Of all the things in the world to be addicted to, I never imagined it would be a game that looks like it was created in 1982.

My daughter woke up with pink eye on Wednesday morning.

I know, I know. I feel sorry for me, too. First lice, then pink eye? Really? The universe is getting back at me for thinking a bad thought(s) about the driver in front of me last week.

Karma. It's real.

Anyway, I took her in to see the doctor today, and I decided to go ahead and let her get the shot she needed for middle school. Apparently they won't even let you walk through the front doors without this particular shot, which I think might be going a little overboard, but what do I know? (And also, just out of curiosity, what about those people out there who don't give their kids shots? I guess they don't go to school?)

The nurse walked in, needle on a tray, and snapped her plastic gloves on her hands.

The girl nearly jumped out of her skin.

A little nervous, are we?

It was like she was in a boxing match. Every time the nurse came near (with just an alcohol wipe, mind you), my daughter would put her arms up and twist around, guarding herself against the nurse with the plastic gloves and her nefarious needle. At least I can see that she could protect herself in the event of an attack. Nurses with needles beware.

So the nurse asked me--me!--to hold down her arms. The girl is strong. If she doesn't want her arms held down, ain't nothin' I'm gonna be able to do about it. But I obliged, and tried (haha) to calm down the volcano erupting in front of me. I'm talking tears, sobbing, the works. What do you say? It won't hurt that bad? I don't even like shots, and I am a grown woman. Somehow, Nurse got the job done. It's over, it's over she kept saying to my daughter, but she kept crying for about 30 seconds after. (Yes, I said she's going into middle school.)

On the way out to the car, she looked at me and said "I don't even know why I was crying. It didn't even hurt."

Must have been all the anticipation, thinking it was going to hurt, that did her in. And to find out it wasn't even all that bad!

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
{matthew 6:27}

But I wonder how often I do the same thing. Anticipating the pain of future events (i.e. worrying) is something I'm very good at, especially when it involves my family. But does it really do me any good?

I work really hard at adding hours to my life. I work out, I eat a healthy diet, I try to deal with stress  (Sidebar: I am on a library computer that only gives the user an hour at a time and there is a bright green bar timer counting down the seconds and minutes that I have left. This stresses me out.Why the timer? I don't like it. I keep looking over at it like it's going to blow up.) and I get 8 hours of sleep every night. So why waste the time I've been given by worrying about the things that might or might not happen? It's crazy, but I do it all the time.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
{matthew 6:34}

(Yeah. Like pink eye.)

I need to work on remembering this advice. Spending my time worrying doesn't add any hours to my life, and it certainly doesn't give me the peace and joy I often find myself searching for. In fact, I believe that worry can steal those things, leaving a person sad and uneasy.

{TIME REMAINING: 16:18, 17, 16...}

Someone should seriously redesign this program.

The Minecraft Junky is happily building away to my right. I think he could stay here all day long. I, however, just worked out and am in desperate need of a good shower and a really good shampoo (I recently got a keratin treatment and Dakota says not to wash your hair as often so it'll stay in longer. It's been since Monday. I'll be keeping Bath and Body in business because I'll need a ton of body spray--Beautiful Day is my new jam--to keep this hair fresh-ish. Too bad for the library I don't have any on me right now.)

{TIME REMAINING: 10:48, 47, 46...}

Here's the good news. Minecraft Junky thinks he's not allowed to stay when the time on his computer runs out. So it's not so bad after all.

{TIME REMAINING: 0:30, 29, 28...wait, what this? An extension? Looks like he saw it, too...}

Worry less. Trust More.

Enjoy life.

{TIME REMAINING: A LIFETIME...}

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Greater Part of Life is Sunshine

Yesterday, I had the attitude of a crotchety old woman, so I didn't write a post because I knew that it would be all complaints and negativity and darkness bleeding from my black heart.


It's true. Ain't nobody got time fo' dat.

Thank you, Sweet Brown, for a wisdom that can be inserted into nearly every situation.

Last night, I got to go out (read: go out equals a cup of tea at Panera Bread) with a friend of mine that I haven't seen in years. I honestly thought that I had done something to offend her, because the handful of times that we have run into each other, interactions were somewhat stiff, maybe even awkward, and I would walk away wondering what had happened. The girl was one of my bridesmaids, for heaven's sake. I've known her since our early gawky teen years, and now we couldn't even have more than a cordial "Hello" conversation at Kroger.

So when I saw her (at Kroger, obvi, you see everybody there) and she mentioned getting together, I thought it would be good to be open about any sort of offense or misunderstanding that had happened between us. Of course, I was a little anxious, because I didn't know what I had done to perhaps put her off, and conversations that detail what I've done wrong are hard for me. (Sad, but true story. Some of you know this about me.)  But it's not worth permanently losing a friend over something that may have happened five, ten or fifteen years ago, and if I had in any way done something to make her sad or angry, then it was time to apologize.

We sat. We talked shop (read: kids and husbands and life) and when we finally came around to the topic that neither of us was super excited to talk about, we realized that after all these years and polite "Hellos" at Kroger, we were dealing with nothing more than two girls whose lives took two different paths for a short while, who didn't take the time or the effort to take care of a friendship. No offense. No misunderstanding.

While my heart felt lighter when I left Panera, I couldn't help but feel guilty for just letting a friendship fizzle out and all but die. I had let my life and my own priorities get in the way, to the detriment of other relationships.

It makes me sad.  I've lost a lot of friends this way.

But friendship is precious, 
not only in the shade, 
but in the sunshine of life, 
and thanks to a benevolent arrangement 
the greater part of life 
is sunshine.
{thomas jefferson}

A new day, a fresh perspective.

Don't let your relationships go.

They are precious.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Yes, I Guess I Am Mean

Tuesday

I had to take my car in to the small-town dealer where I originally got it because there was a recall item that needed to be fixed.

What a total pain in the rear.

So I figured that as long as it was there, I'd get the oil changed and the 50,000 mile inspection done. (My car just turned over 50,000 miles. Sniff, sniff.). We've already done the blah, blah and the blah, blah (air coolant and something else?), so all we need to do is the fuel injection, he says.

Okay!

I am so dumb sometimes.

Because that fuel injection inspection (does or does not inspection mean to look at something? I'm looking it up.) ended up costing me $149. When I saw the line item, I questioned it, because the labor (for looking--no, inspecting said fuel injection pump) was $96 and there were parts involved, which I totally did not expect for a simple look-see. I don't know what this car jargon is supposed to mean. So the guy, of course, says to me "Let me go talk to Wayne and see." And when he came back from talking to Wayne, he says "Wayne says that he told you about the fuel injection inspection and that you said okay."

Okay. So I did, in fact, say okay.

I really need to learn to ask more questions.

On the way back from Wayne's, I made the kids go 'round an antique store with me (is there anything worse for a kid? But we got some great pictures of must-haves, you'll see) and they obliged and we actually had some laughs walking around that place. But I felt like they deserved some sort of little treat, so I stopped by the next town's small-town gas station/deli/ice-cream parlor/grocery store/souvenir shop/hardware store where they make hand-dipped milkshakes, pizza, fried chicken and sell hammers and meat.
 I have no words. But this is quite a lamp.
Huh?

It's a table and a phone!
And then there's this guy.

If you've ever idealized a small-town gas station/deli/ice-cream parlor/grocery store/souvenir shop/hardware store and thought that the people there must be friendly and smiley and all small-town nice with plenty of Southern hospitality, I am about to burst your bubble. Because they are not.

At least not to outsiders.

Because there was plenty of smiling and conversation happening with the locals. "Heeeeeeeeeeeeey, sweetheart, how y'alll doing, hooooney? What can I get for ya, and how's Maude? Oh, bless her heart. So good to see ya. Take care of that back, now, and I'll see y'all later, sweetie."

With me? "Hi. How can I help you?"

Not. Friendly.

Polite.

Not friendly.

So maybe it was the fact that I told my kids they had to share a milkshake (gasp!) and they could not agree on a single flavor (there were 10 flavors, y'all.  TEN.) and maybe it was a tad bit annoying to the girl making said hand-dipped milkshake. Maybe it was because I asked for two cups (although she said people do it all the time). Maybe it was time for her to leave. I don't know. But the smiles weren't coming my way, I can tell you that much.

So on to the milkshake.

Have you ever heard of the Stubborn Child? Perhaps you have one residing in your very own home. Perhaps you yourself can claim the Stubborn Child title. I have one. A Stubborn Child, that is.

Who had her mind set on one flavor. One. (Moosetracks.) Who could not agree to any other flavor. None. Who was being A Very Stubborn Child.

I don't know about you, but when I was a kid and my mom stopped by a store to buy me and my sister a hand-dipped milkshake for $4 (a very, very rare occurrence), we were quiet. We agreed. We said thank you.

I have obviously done something very wrong with these children.

She finally agreed to Butter Pecan (begrudgingly) because I threatened to leave with nothing, and she drank the thing, but she was not happy. Mad about it, yes ma'am. So when I got in the car and asked her what the heck was wrong with her and why was her head stuck up her rear (I didn't really ask that, I only thought it), she refused to answer. Nothing. So I, being the mother that I am, pulled over on the side of the little country back road we were on and sat there, car running, waiting for an explanation of said attitude. Said we weren't leaving til she said what was wrong with her (i.e. admitted that she was mad about not getting her number one choice of ice cream), and you know what Stubborn Child did?

Sat there.

Calmly. (Well, calmly at first, but this child does not stay calm in these types of situations. It all goes downhill fast.)

She will not win. I will not let her win. (My thoughts. Probably hers, too.)

I stopped counting after minutes number 20 and 25 had passed.

Wednesday

I had to teach a class, plus I had a hair appointment (got my hair chopped off--it was scary and freeing all at the same time--it was down to my waist and now it's up to my shoulders!), so a friend of mine offered to take my man-child for the day whilst the woman-child was at a babysitting class offered by the Red Cross (which she loved, BTW).
The New Hair!


Perfect!

When I got to their house a full 30 minutes after I was supposed to be there (sometimes Dakota and I get into some deep convo, plus I got--for the first time ever--a keratin treatment to keep this unruly mess of a head tame-ish), the boys were playing outside, but my friend was getting a pretty bad migraine headache, and playtime was up. So I dragged my son away (he was not happy about this) and shoved his sweaty, attitudinal head in the backseat and drove away.

"How was it?" I ask. "Did you have a good time?"

No response.

Did that boy climb out of the car when I wasn't looking??

So I ask again.

No response.

This time, we weren't on a country road where I could easily pull off (and besides, this was not the most effective method I've ever used), so I demanded a response.

"I wanted to stay and play. You're mean."

Wait. What?? Did you just call me mean?? Are you suggesting that I'm mean because you had to leave your friend's house--after letting you play for SIX HOURS?

And anyway, I explained, his mom had a headache. It was time to go.

But we wouldn't have bothered her, he says.

And you're mean.

So. Mean is:

1) Offering to spend $4 on a single milkshake, but telling you that you must agree on a single flavor of tasty Hershey's ice cream because you don't need an entire milkshake at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

2) Sitting in the car demanding that you at least admit that your grouchiness over not getting the flavor you wanted is absolutely absurd.

3) Making you leave a friend's house after playing there for six hours.

And finally,

4) Demanding a retraction of the phrase "you're mean" over number 3.

So yeah. I guess I am mean.

BTW.

Happy Fourth of July :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Life Is Good

Y'all, I am dragging today.

D-R-A-G-G-I-N-G my tail.

My kids came home from the beach last week with lice.

Yes.  Lice.

I COULD NOT believe a) they had lice or b) they had lice. It is so gross.

So far the adults have been in the clear, but I woke up last night convinced that I could feel bugs crawling around in my hair, and I couldn't go back to sleep after that.

Thus the feeling that I am going to fall asleep sitting up.

Don't worry, those of you who have been around my kids--they've been combed and shampooed and thoroughly searched, and I have had more exposure to the bugs than I'd prefer, but they seem like they have been cleansed of the nastiness. (Let us hope to the Lord that they have been cleansed of the nastiness.)

See, I wasn't even going to tell anyone about the "incident", because I'm so embarrassed that it happened, but I place the blame squarely on the house we stayed in at the beach. Besides, it is what it is, and now we can place another notch called "Lice Incident" in our belt of Things We Don't Ever Want to Deal With Again.

A shower cap worn at night when traveling isn't a bad idea.

This, and the menacing threat of bed bugs, hardly makes it worth it to travel (to me), which makes me wonder why I idealize vacations in the first place, even though yesterday I wrote about fear taking over my willingness to act. Yes. Now I have to add fear of lice (and bed bugs, because you never know, and I hate the very thought of them) to my list.

Moving on.

My daughter likes to hide and them jump out and scare her family members. I don't know why this is a source of entertainment for her, but when she is successful in her scaring endeavors, she laughs and laughs like it's the funniest thing she's ever seen in her whole entire life. This morning, as we were coming in the door, she hid in the kitchen and then jumped out at me, yelling GOTCHA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHA in my face.

Okay.

THEN she hid AGAIN and jumped out at her brother, who was NOT expecting this surprise at 9 AM, and he nearly jumped out of his skin.

He screamed. Not out of surprise, but out of pure, unadulterated "I-am-so-PO'd-at-you" fury.

She just laughed and laughed at her success.

This PO'd him even more.

T-R-O-U-B-L-E

Before I could say anything motherly at all, I had an all-out war happening in my kitchen.

I don't like war.

Especially in my kitchen.

He screamed and yelled at her "YOU'RE SO MEAN" while she just Ha-Ha'd away, and then! Then he started to cry. I don't believe he was sad. I believe he was royally PO'd, in a big way.

After a hug from me, the charge from him that "she's mean, she's always mean", and my explanation that I really didn't think she was trying to be mean (WERE YOU?? I asked, because a parent can never be too sure), I made her say (a very insincere) sorry. And all the while, she's standing right in front of me, trying (not very hard, in my opinion) not to smile (she even went so far as to pull her cheeks toward her mouth, smashing her lips into a perfect little bow, mimicking the "I'm so fat, my mama's fat, my daddy's fat" joke to prove that she was really trying hard).

Then.

Slam.

And

Slam.

Both grievously offended parties marched off to their respective rooms, slammed the doors to make one last point (one must get the last word in or the argument is no fun), and here I am in the Land Of Peace and Quiet.

I even thought to myself "I don't care if they stay in their rooms all day", but then what kind of parent imprisons their children in their own rooms for the entire day?

Unless, of course, the prison sentence is self-imposed, and then I have zero responsibility in that regard.

But alas, the younger of the offended has emerged from his dungeon of doom happy (excited, no less) to be alive, and I can hear the two chattering about the next game they will play and what to have to lunch.

As a parent, I don't really know what I'm doing. I just try to roll with the punches. Lice. Scare tactics. War. Peace. Love. Hugs.

Life.

google images