Monday, October 12, 2015

Heather Stories

Readers, I am in crisis of epic proportion. Every time I sit down to write, a blank screen stares back at me. Blinking cursor. NO WORDS. But when I get up to go about my normal day, stories flood my brain and I cannot stop. My thoughts are organized into stories. When I go to sleep, I think about things like "I am the unfortunate owner of a black mod-granite kitchen sink. This was a devastating choice made by the former owners who had a great affinity for black sinks, faux marble, and oak. Lots of oak. These same owners could not have known that a white porcelain apron-front farmhouse sink would have been my choice." I think these things and then write them down and am exceptionally unimpressed by my own ability to convey more than a single thought. An old boyfriend, whose parents and brother I knew especially well, used to call these particular short stories "Heather Stories: Short and No Point". They laughed. I was a decidedly good sport about the mocking.

We have four people in our family and one computer. At homework/blogging/work time, there is a race to see who can secure the computer and log in before the horde. Jack made it to number one today, partly because he had to practice his math and then just didn't give it back to me. I finally got all authoritative on him. This works when you're the mom. I'm lucky #2 isn't home yet to voice her loud opinions on "needing more computers" (because that would not be excessive) and "needing to do real work" (because no one else does work on this computer).

I have my screen saver set to show pictures when my computer goes to sleep.

My daughter likes to take selfies.

So my screen saver is really just selfies of Anna.

Sometimes I get caught unawares in the background of said selfies. This makes me look like Parent of the Year. I should get an award. Especially when the selfies show that at 8:10, 8:13, 8:15, and 8:21, I was looking at my phone. I'm sure it is always something Very Important. (Sometimes I tease Jon about his phone and say obnoxious things like "is the President texting you" and he gives me a "I hate you this is actual work" look. Clearly I have it all together and can judge Everyone Else In The Entire World. All 7 billion of you.)

Sometimes people talk to me and I answer them and then I don't even know what we just conversated about or even if I actually spoke because I AM TRYING TO SEND AN IMPORTANT EMAIL ABOUT BABY SHOWERS. Doesn't anybody understand I'm just trying to keep chaos from erupting?

I feel pretty guilty about letting a minor in the house watch Modern Family. It's only because they manage to insert references to underage drinking, teenage sex, show excessive cleavage, and use 7 different forms of "son of a bitch" all in one 23-minute episode. Never mind that Haley is officially the new favorite character. (Mitch and Cam for me.) Also the slurs. (I hear worse in the hallway, mom.) But I do laugh at least seven times each episode, and it gives us something to connect over. (Did you see the episode where Gloria lost Stella and got Cam to help and he screamed in the little girls face? This is what we talk about.) Am I a permissive mother? Maybe. Some things I care very much about. (DO YOUR DEVOTION. TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. WASH YOUR FEET.) Some things I have completely given up on. (Modern Family. T.I. Pandora Station. Explaining that shampoo needs to be used in order to properly clean one's hair. The importance of hygiene. The fact that "tooth brushing" falls under "personal hygiene" and is actually an important part of life.) Will this ruin their lives and make them start drinking at age 14? I'm going to go with no. Lots of things ruin lives. Fictional TV and Top 40 radio will not. Thinking deodorant + antiperspirant is optional might.

Most of the time, life just happens and I learn things in the small, unassuming moments, and it doesn't necessarily make for a great story. I learned this weekend that we often try to find a cheap substitute for God. Things like popularity and Insta likes and appearance and apron-front sinks and Modern Family are just cheap substitutes for the acceptance, love and completeness we are looking for. I know this. Yet I still gravitate toward what I think will bring me what I'm looking for. And I also learned that we are prone to stray even though we already have what we are looking for. Incorrect thinking leads to corrupt action, according to Jennifer Rothschild, and I have lived it enough to believe it. But when we guard our hearts to keep from falling into corrupt actions, we will gravitate toward the truth. We can't stay fixated on the dailyness of life, but instead keep our minds focused on the Lord. And every time we think "my way", we should interrupt and think "thy way". Because we are constantly aware that this isn't all there is. There is more to life than just thinking about myself, and giving credit where credit is due helps me from running toward my own destruction, which only leaves me wounded and enslaved. (Hosea by Jennifer Rothschild)

We have identities as ones chosen and beloved! To remain self-focused means to walk away from that identity, to not recognize what we've had all along. We don't need cheap substitutes. We have already been accepted, loved and completed, and we can get up today and walk in that with our heads held high. And since Jesus said to 1) love God and 2) love people, we can go out into the world with all that love and show it to everybody else. You have what you need. You do!

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