Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Prayer Confessions

Since we’re on the subject of prayer, I thought I’d throw out another shocker to you. In the Royal house, we don’t pray consistently before bedtime or at meals.

I know! That's outrageous! And you are wondering how someone who doesn’t do that is on staff at a church, huh? Especially someone who would admit it. (Of couse, I'm admitting it on my blog which is not read by very many people, so it's not like I'm shouting it from the rooftops).

Here’s the deal. I love to hear stories about families who have these great devotions and prayer times together. I really do. I think it’s incredible to see God move in the hearts of a family at the same time, in the same place. What a great bonding time as well as growing one.

So, I’m not knocking those of you who are consistent. In fact, a part of me envies you. But if you’ve read anything else I’ve ever posted on this blog, you’ll know that I have issues with the standard to which I measure myself and my family. I have spent too much of my life looking at what others’ are doing and trying to make myself or my family fit that mold.

I used to think everything was black and white. And some things still are. But there’s a lot more gray and purple and light blue and bursts of orange and red in there. Praying is one of those color spots for me.

I want my girls to grow up understanding the value of prayer and for me, if I lead them in prayer before we eat every time, I’m devaluing that prayer. Keep reading, I’ll explain. If I tell God I’m thankful when I’m doing it because I’m supposed to (and not really because I mean it), am I leading my girls well?

We’ve all had to prompt our kids to tell someone thank you. I just think It takes the value of that expression away when it’s not from the heart and spontaneous. Sure, it’s a good lesson to teach them to be polite, but for us here at the Royal house, that’s not a lesson I want to teach my kids about God.

I want to teach them to talk to Him at ANY time of the day or night. I want to teach them to tell Him “Thank you” whenever they feel like it and not just at certain times of the day. I want them to ask for His help all day long.

Sometimes, they ask to pray at dinner, and we do. Sometimes, I want to pray with or over them at bedtime. So we do. So, while I know we don’t spontaneously pray as much as I wish we would, I think they are getting it. And that’s what matters to me. It’s the reason God gave my specific girls to me. He has given me wisdom and power for every situation—including my precious, crazy girls—and it’s my choice whether I use it or I go with the flow.

So, please don’t send me hate mail if you pray with your kids every day. I am not judging your authenticity, just my own if I did it that way at my house.

Why I don't wanna Tell God Thank You anymore

The other day, I realized I always start my prayers like this:
“God, thanks. Thanks for…”

Every time.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with thanking God. In fact, I’m assuming He thinks it’s a good thing—as long as it’s sincere. And I think I’m somewhat sincere. But what I find is that I say “Thanks” when I’m praying sometimes because I'm not sure what else to say yet.

Pretty crazy, huh?

I was taught to pray the ACTS way A(doration), C(onfession), T(hanksgiving) and S(upplication). For me, the adoration thing has always been hard, so I’ve used that time to thank Him more than I have to acknowledge His omnipotence, grace and mercy.

So, whether I’m praying in a group or praying on my own, I always thank Him first. And then I pause to think about what I want to thank Him for. And sometimes, I tell Him thank you for something I’m not really thankful for--that thing that I know I SHOULD be thankful for--maybe even want to be thankful for--but I'm not really.

So, for a while, I’m going to consciously NOT thank Him when I start of talking to Him and work on thanking Him throughout the day. Like I do when I’m asking Him for something.

And, hopefully, I will be surprised at just how thankful I am.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friends...Part 2

Several months back, I wrote a post about friends and how hard it was to make and keep the really deep worthwhile ones at this stage of life. (Again, if I knew how to link you to it here, I would, but that’s not gonna happen because I’m technically-deficient. One of these days, one of the 7 of you who follow me are gonna figure it out and tell me so you don’t have to listen to me babble on about this anymore).

Whew—I wrote one sentences and started rabbit-trailing…this is gonna be a good one, huh? Hope you took your ADD meds!

So anyway, I am a comparer. I constantly look at what other people have and measure myself by it. I know it’s wrong. I know it steals my joy. I truly have even turned over to God… a few times. And while, I don’t do it as much as I used to, there are some things that are triggers for me.
Friends are one of those things. From the outside looking in, it always seems that others can make friends so easily. In fact, there have been several times where I have introduced people that I like, and they become best buddies. Love that for them, but there is a part of me that just feels sad and the insecurity rises inside and Satan starts whispering how unlovable I am.

Ok…enough into my crazy mind. I could go on for a loooooong time here.

Last night, I gathered with some friends. I won’t tell you where or what, cuz it’s kinda a secret thing. But, it’s fun. I’ve been doing it for about a year now. One friend invites a few others over. The number invited has grown. And it’s one of those nights that I look forward to for weeks before it happens. Seriously. I plan my week around it and think I would cry if I was out of town and couldn’t make it. (I know, I know, I cry about everything so that’s not really a big deal—but it REALLY is to me).

As I was driving home last night, those insecurities started up again. Did I talk too much or not enough? Did I mesh well with others there? Did I say some things that were just awkward? There were a lot of people, am I gonna lose my spot to some of the other cooler people? All those things you think in high school and should grow out of.

And for a moment, the joy of the evening was sucked out of me. BUT, then I had to text my friend to let her know that I got home safe (something that is probably silly to some, but somehow feels nice to me). And went to bed with a smile on my face.

As I thought about my lamenting my lack of deep friendships a few months ago, I realized that God had really answered my prayer before I prayed it. He placed such wonderful people around me—many with whom my friendships have simmered and not jumped right to boiling (not sure that word picture makes sense here, but that’s the best way I can describe it). Not necessarily the “best friend” like I had in high school who I called about everything. BUT, He has provided several friends for different aspects of my life. Friends that I really LOVE!!!

I texted one friend yesterday and asked her to pray about something for me. And I know she will. I chatted with another on the phone—who’s in a total different life stage than me—and hung up feeling a kindred spirit in her. I saw another for the first time in several weeks and while we didn’t get to talk much, it was just reassuring. Another hugged me for a long time—something we’ve never really done (contrary to what you would think—I’m really not a hugger) and I just felt the warmth oozing out of her.

So this morning, when I woke up, the smile was still on my face. Sounds cheesy, but, if you read this blog often, you already know I’m a cheesy-kinda girl.

LOVE that God provides things/people for us—even when we fail to acknowledge or understand what He’s done. Reminds me of grocery shopping. (I know—totally random—just stick with me here a minute). I go to the store every week (well, almost) and I buy food that I think Brian and the girls will eat. Sometimes, I buy the crap they want, but not most of the time. Usually, I buy the things that I know will help them grow healthier. And they complain. “Do we have to eat chicken? I want McDonalds!” But, every once in a while, they realize how yummy that grilled chicken really is. And they clean their plate. And they acknowledge it was good and that I really do know what’s best for them (okay, the last part was a lie—they don’t ever think I know what’s best for them).

But more than that, they realize how great the stuff they already have is. And they are grateful—even for just a moment. But I LIVE for that moment.

I wonder if God fells like that with me when I pray for a “best” friend and after fun nights like last night, I give up my pre-conceived thoughts and just acknowledge the beauty of the very different friendships I have.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Opposites Attract

Brian and I used to think we were alike. I'm not sure if we were just punch-drunk on love or what, but we are really quite different.

...He has a green thumb; mine is blacker than black
...He has no problem just sitting and watching a movie; I gotta have something to do with my hands
...He doesn't mind sweating; there are few worse feeling things to me than that of bead of sweat rolling down my shirt
...He snuggles up with the girls on the couch; I have my own chair
...He can make something yummy from strange ingredients in the pantry; I do the basics like spaghetti and tacos (with no improvising on the ingredients)
...He loves going barefoot; the closest my feet come to being free (outside the shower or bed) is flip-flops and house shoes
...He is easy-going; I'm serious
...He excels at sports; I was the “most improved” player
...He's an impulse buyer; I agonize over a decision to buy a big item
...He's spontaneous; I'm a planner
...He's "go with the flow;” I’m intentional
...He's laid-back; I'm driven
...He throws things away; I hoard
...He loves to fish; I bring bad luck every time I go
...He likes to try new foods; I want my basic meat and potatoes (which has been replaced by meat and salad these days)
…He hates to read; there’s not much more bliss to me than immersing myself into a book
...His reality TV consists of Swamp People & Man vs. Wild; Mine is Cupcake Wars and Next Food Network Star
...He likes to play; I like to win
...He is one of the physically strongest men I know; I'm so weak it's beyond pitiful
...He likes things put away in cabinets; I like it all out on the counter where I can see it

And the biggest difference of all...He squeezes the toothpaste from the bottom and I squeeze it from the middle.

I guess opposites really do attract, huh?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Deep Thoughts about Eyebrow Waxing

This afternoon, I had my eyebrows waxed. As I was sitting in the chair dreading the moment when the tape gets pulled off, my mind started wandering and wondering. Who comes up with these ideas? Who decided that women shouldn’t have excess hair on their body? I’m not saying I don’t agree that it’s way more attractive that they don’t, but I just wonder who first decided to do that.

Just like I wonder who decided that women needed make-up but men didn’t. Again, not complaining about wearing it or seeing other women wear it.

Along these same lines—who invented nail polish and why didn’t they invent it for men?

And another totally random thought...Who came up with cuss words and how did they decide the meaning of them?

I’m sure I’ll come up with others, but these are enough to keep me pondering tonight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


It’s official. I am truly the mom of a tweener. I really thought I was going to get off the hook with this one until Caroline was older, but something has recently possessed my oldest daughter.

Before our 5 hour (which I knew would end up being 6+ hours with 2 girls in the car) car ride last week, I had to run to the store for sunscreen and Hope wanted to come with. First of all, this never happens—she usually abhors shopping (yep, had to pull out the more descriptive word there because hate wasn’t strong enough). Especially grocery shopping (not that it’s my favorite thing to do, either, but this family thinks they need to eat occasionally).

So, as we’re walking through the store, I somehow ended up on the magazine aisle and Hope wanted a suduku book. Not sure she even knows how to do those, but she insisted she did, so I let her look. After picking up several suduku books, she put each one back, moved down the aisle and grabbed a “BOP” magazine.

Let me back-track a bit. First of all, I’m so old, I remember when “BOP” was called “Teen BOP.” Second of all, how do you go from something that stimulates your brain to mushy crud in the matter or 2 minutes? Okay, back to the story.

She immediately started begging and explaining that it was the same price as the suduku book she was looking at and it would keep her occupied the whole time—she promised. So, I did what any tired, ready to get out of the store mom would do and I caved (I mean, she promised--everyone knows how much that phrase meens to a 9 year old!). Yep, I can’t blame this on her friends—her own mom bought her first teen-crush magazine.

I have to admit, it did keep her entertained the whole way. It also made her realize she really DID like Justin Bieber (I think the fact that her 13 year old cousin is “in love” with him also helped). The dilemma now is that the pull-out poster (remember those???) had Justin on one side and some Cody-guy (again, showing my age year when I asked her if it was Cody from Zach and Cody)on the other—and she loves them both. This means that she carries the poster around instead of tacking it to her wall (Yes, this IS the same girl who chose to go duck-hunting over the Daddy/Daughter dance).

Brian’s always said that he was buying a hunting lease and moving into his own shack once the teen years hit our house and I’ve always told him, I’m a-gonna join him or find some peaceful commune somewhere.

The scent of teen drama is getting stronger at the Royal house…guess we better start looking for some land.

Friday, July 1, 2011

You Know You’re Old When…

• The shows on Nickelodeon don’t make any sense at all to you (but your kids love ‘em)
• You try to convince yourself that your gray hair is really just old blond highlights
• When you stand, you snap, crackle and pop more than a bowl of Rice Krispies
• You choose sleep over going out with friends
• When you see kids out late at night, you wonder aloud where their parents are
• You put on your jammies as soon as you get home from work
• You find yourself saying, “When I was your age…”
• The oldies station on the radio plays all your favorite songs from high school
• Book club replaces going to the club
• You have to explain to your kids what a typewriter or rotary phone is and how life worked before microwaves
• The 99 cent menu at any fast food place no longer sounds good to you
• You get excited about a new appliance
• You wear clothes over your swimsuit at the pool
• You sit up at midnight typing up a list entitled “You know you’re old when…”
• Your kids tell you that you are

What would you add?

Vacation 2011

Our vacation this summer was a short one. We went to a family reunion in Gruene and took an extra day to see the sights in San Antonio. Here are some of the things I'll remember from our trip:

Traffic in Austin
Dinner in Buda
Quick run-through at Cabelas
Warm cookies at check-in
Swimming at night
Hope's favorite smelling soap
Sleep Number beds
The Alamo (and the cheesy photo I bought)
Bad Mexican food on the Riverwalk
Finding a hat for me
Mexican market
Hope's purse
Searching for Caroline's souvenir and buying her name (something we could buy at a mall at home)
Mom, spell pig backwards
Low fuel
Blinker dinging
Gruene Homestead Inn
Dinner at Rudy's
Swimming at night...again
Catching a frog
One bathroom for 6 people
Making fast friends with cousins the girls had never met before
Hearing Hope tell Aunt Brenda that her mom only cooks macaroni and things out of cans
The self-checkout lane at Wal-Mart at 8am
The Rockin R forgetting 2 toobs and offering our 11 year old cousin a "boobs and toobs" t-shirt to make it better
Floating the river
Double toobs
Jonah in his own toob
Caroline has a fish in her shoe--oh wait, it's just water
Lunch on the deck of Pats Place (where Brian had his 1st order of onion rings)
Family picture--complete with tiaras
Loud dinner at Clear Springs Restaurant (where Brian had his 2nd order of onion rings)
Sweet Landry and her cute bows
More swimming at night
Musical Beds
Outlet mall and boots for Brian
Lunch at Centerpoint Station (where Brian had his 3rd order of onion rings)
Caroline tooting and burping every time we got in the car--or was it Brian?
Stopping at Auntie Bren's
Seeing the peacock
Ick Donalds for dinner in the 'boro