Thursday, February 25, 2016

Celebrate the Good Days (because all days aren't worth celebrating)

Ever have those moments when you think, "Oh my goodness!  Can life get any better than this?!?!" And you want to post about them on Facebook or tweet them on Twitter or throw up a pic on Instagram, but you stop yourself because you don't want to be "THAT" bragging person. 

I am authentic to a fault, but I can't always post the stuff that happens in my house.  I like my family too much (most days) and really don't want to intentionally cause any more reasons for my kids to sit in a counselors office than I already do unintentionally.

Celebrating is good. 

And it's needed. 

But I'm not very good at it...

I'm not the half full or half empty glass person.  I'm the person that is trying to figure out if there's enough water in the glass for whoever is drinking it.  So I often get caught up in how to make things better and forget to just bask in a moment.

Life is crazy right now.  Even though we no longer have the insane soccer schedule, we still find enough to fill our days full. And I'm guilty of coming home and enjoying sitting behind a closed bedroom door with little to no margin for my family.

Yesterday, I locked my keys in my car.  Again.  Except this time it was in Frisco and unlike Aubrey, I don't think their fire dept would take mercy on me (yes, I DO know from personal experience that the Aubrey fire dept will come unlock your car for you if you leave the keys inside--just one more reason I love small town life--but that's a story for another day). 

ANYWAY...I had to call my hubby to come unlock my car and umm... bring me lunch.  Which he did.  Without complaining or making me feel like a fool or even acting like it was a pain for him to drive 35 minutes each way in the middle of his work day.  And if that wasn't enough, he sat in the nail salon to get a gift card for Caroline's bday--without me even asking him to do it!  (Now, I did get several texts while he was there about how stinky the place was, etc...)

And this morning, I walked in to see Hope curling Caroline's hair for her.  On a school morning.  When she is NOT a morning person and rolls out of bed just in time to drink her coffee and get out the door.  She even re-did several strips that didn't pass her standards.

Most days, I get irritated with Brian because we aren't as romantic as I think we should be.  Our dates consist of hole-in-the-wall burger joints, him fishing and me reading--with little to no words spoken between us, trips to the lumber store, breakfast in downtown Aubrey, and violent movies that have way too much blood.  I don't get random flowers for just being a good wife and I can't remember the last time we dressed up and went to dinner (unless you count funerals and the food brought for the family afterward).

And most days, I wonder where we went wrong in parenting.  Our girls fight.  A lot.  And most mornings, there is at least one door slammed. And if you listened in, you would think yelling is our superpower.  And, as much as I WANT kindness to be our go-to, usually it's replaced with mean, sarcastic words and tones.

So, when I say that today, I feel blessed, please know I realize it won't last.  Tomorrow won't be Caroline's bday and there will be screams over who unplugged whose straightener.  And Brian will leave early for a work trip and might forget to kiss me goodbye until I make a snarky comment.  And I will get angry because someone's pineapple juice from the day before leaked all over their lunchbox and I have to clean it up. 

But today, I'm holding on tightly with all my strength to the overwhelming love I feel right now toward my 3 people.  And after I've yelled and apologized tomorrow morning, I will bask in it again.

Friday, February 19, 2016

At the Carwash, Baby

I came out of the house to head to work the other day and my car was covered with sawdust. #lifewithacontractor  As dirty as my car often is, this was really too much to just ignore, so I headed to the carwash.

As I was sitting in the wash ( didn't think I meant I was going to hand-wash it, did you??), I was hit with childhood memories of doing the same thing.  I know I'm dating myself, but I remember when the first automatic carwashes came out.  I thought it was the coolest--how the car moved by itself just stumped me!  I used to love to put my hands on the inside roof of the car as the roller went over the top.  And, the carwashes that had the rainbow soap were just beyond awesome!  Getting to go to the carwash was seriously one of my very favorite things to do--as silly as it sounds, it awakened in me a sense of wonder.

My experience as an adult was a bit different.  First of all, as the car started moving forward and the soap bubbles completely covered all my windows, I panicked.  I literally did not have any control and couldn't see where I was going, where I had been or what was around me.  There was no sense of wonder.

It caused me to question what other things used to be fun that I couldn't enjoy anymore because of fear.  It made me miss the days of riding my bike all around the neighborhood without a cell phone in my pocket to check in every so often.  Of not being sure what the day would hold or who I would meet along the way, but feeling a great sense of anticipation.

I don't know if wonder is something we just lose as we get older because of life or if there is anything we can do to preserve it, but there are days I miss it. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Confidence and Horses

We promised Hope horseback riding lessons for Christmas when she was 7 or 8.  Due to a full soccer schedule and not enough hours in the day to drive to lessons, she never got them.  Until a few weeks ago.

One of her friends from church takes lessons @5 miles from our house and invited Hope to come watch one day.  That was all she wrote--Hope was once again smitten with the horse bug and started finagling how to get lessons.  And yes, she played the "You guys promised and never followed through" card that made us feel about 2 inches tall.

Needless to say, she has been over the moon since she started these.  On her 4th lesson, she got to jump for the 1st time.

It's been fun watching how giddy she gets on the way to lessons and even just talking about them.  As we have been discussing realistic expectations about what we could afford to pay for and what she would have to earn, I've been amazed at her motivation and lack of complaining. 

I love watching her play any sport, but this has been different.  The confidence I am seeing is not something I've seen in soccer, or basketball or volleyball or even cross country/track.  I was trying to put my finger on it after watching her take the horse through a couple of different jumps.  I think a big part of it is her trainer/teacher--Jen.  Jen is sooooo encouraging--even when it took Hope several tries to get Cowboy (the horse) to make the first jump.  She never yelled, she never got irritated, she just continued to positively reinforce what to do. 

Honestly, it made me tear up.  As I was thanking her afterward, her comment was something like "the horse knows when you're not 100% confident.  The rider knows what to do, she doesn't need me to criticize her over and over."

I can't tell you what a breath of fresh air that was to hear and observe.  We've had some really good coaches.  And some not so good ones.  I've told every one of them that Hope needs to know you believe in her and she will perform.  If you yell at her or beat her down over a mistake, she shuts down and loses confidence.  This is the first time I saw what that really looked like and it reinforced what I knew all along, but was starting to doubt. 

As I was watching the confidence ooze out of her, it was bittersweet.  I love this for her, but I also wish I could give every teenage girl horseback riding lessons.  I wish they could all be as sure of themselves as I have seen her to be--even when she's not doing it "right."  I realize we are still in the honeymoon phase and it will get harder and require more discipline.  I also realize that we lucked into an amazing trainer. 

But it's more than that.  It's a posture and glow and a sense of something that I could never teach her. The only word that comes to my mind is "Freedom."   

Being Right

I like to be right. Actually, I LOVE being right. Like seriously--When I think I could be wrong about something, I will dissect it to death until I can find a portion I was right about. Yes, I know this is not only annoying, but it's a huge pride thing for me--which actually stems from an insecurity--which is really all just SIN.

It takes form in the normal ways of parenting, making decisions, work, etc. it also takes form in a weird way. Surprises.

While I really do like good surprises, I like to figure out the surprise even more. Poor Brian never has a chance. This Christmas was one of the only times I can remember being surprised by a gift (and I LOVE my metal chicken that he got me to sit on my front porch).

A few years ago, he ordered Sharis Berries for our anniversary and he completely surprised me. Last year, he did it again for Valentine's Day, but I saw the confirmation so I knew they were coming.

The other day, I got a UPS notification that my package would be delivered on Friday.  I thought it was a book for work, but when I opened it, it was for a couple of boxes of Sharis Berries for me and the girls.  I found myself feeling disappointed. Talk about wonky!!!  I mean, who isn't over the moon about strawberries????  I love them, and couldn't put my finger on why I wasn't just thrilled.

So yesterday, I got another notification that they were delivered but Brian was working out in the garage so I knew he must have intercepted them. I assumed he would put them on the kitchen island for all of us to find. But when I went to get a bottle of water from the garage fridge later in the day, the boxes were all stacked up in there.

Here's the crazy part:  because I like to be right, I almost made a joke about it to him and ruined the surprise he thought he was giving.  Later in the day, I noticed he had rearranged the garage a bit so that one of his tools was blocking the fridge. He truly wants this to be a surprise.

Then I realized why I wasn't excited about those yummy meant, in a way, that I was right again. That I knew more than others thought I did. That I had once again, ruined a surprise. And it made me sad. As much as I like being right, a part of me really wants to be wrong. To be surprised. But only with good things, of course.

So my challenge now is to be surprised when he gives them to me and not ruin the joy he has in keeping his surprise. To not feel the need to be so right that I tell him I knew and make the situation so wrong.

Because sometimes, right IS wrong.

DAWG Day ambushed...or not?

Some days don't start out as you planned.  Today was supposed to be a DAWG (Day Alone With God) Day.  I was challenged to take one day a month where I cleared my calendar and just listened to God.  Today was supposed to be my 2nd but, one of my girls started throwing up last night and after 10+  intimate moments with the toilet, is finally asleep in her own bed.  Brian is delivering a job in Oklahoma, Hope is at school and my day with God has turned into a day with God and Caroline. 

As I was thinking about the day and how it would look differently than I had originally planned, I was struck with the thought that spending time with God may not mean just being alone with Him, reading, writing, listening, etc.  A part of me believes that being with my family is just as honoring to Him.  That, taking in the moment and not being frustrated with my child for the change of plans, and just being PRESENT--not only in body, but also in mind, can be just as holy.

Because when you think about it, my day is starting with open hands and isn't that where God desires me to be anyway? 

Friday, February 12, 2016


I heart glitter. Like really. It makes my husband crazy and has even given me a bad rap with some of my friends who don't think it makes everything better (but we know they are secretly not right in the head-shhhh).

My favorite is to combine rustic with glitter--wood plank signs that have some sparkle on them. Kinda like burlap and lace.   I'm in the middle of thinking through things I can make for our house and there just isn't enough time, y'all. I seriously think I need a 2 day work week so I can find some time to craft and read and clean my messy, messy house.

I'm getting ready to re-do Caroline's room for her birthday. She's tired of the bright pink wall and wants something more neutral. But she's a kid that has always shined from within--even the last few years as she's had a tough time making good friends in our new community.

I want to do a sign like this: 

I think I will change wherever to everywhere and am still figuring out colors. Should I just do it on wood or paint it first and then add the words?  If it goes anything like my current project, I might still be working on it when summer break rolls around.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cry out to Jesus

I found this post in my drafts. Not sure why I never posted it--such a powerful song no matter what season of life we are in

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
When you said goodbye.

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus
Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They've lost all of their faith in love
They've done all they can do to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus
Cry out to Jesus

When you're lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out
You just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus
Cry out to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus
Cry out to Jesus

-Third Day

Getting to the Heart of it

I tend to parent with consequences. "If you don't do that, then this will be your punishment."  It's been very effective for me.  NOT.

I tend to get an ego at times because of my job. I get to go to conferences on parenting. I read blogs and books daily on parenting. I'm around "experts" all the time.

But the truth of the matter is I suck at parenting.

The good news is that when I realize and embrace my failure, I let God take control and He is the best parent ever!  Sadly, that's not easy for me to do. I want to put a plan in place that's orderly and laid out.

Brian, on the other hand, shouldn't be good at parenting. He doesn't get exposed to even 1/16th of the stuff I do. He builds and demolishes and plans but he doesn't talk with his subs about what age is good for a snapchat account.

But he is great at it. He approaches it from the opposite of how I do it. He uses kindness.

What a concept.

Kinda like God Himself does.

It's so simple that it's hard. I miss it over and over again. This morning one of my girls couldn't find an item she needed for school. He patiently went in her room to look with her and when he couldn't find it either, he told her he would take her to school and come back home and keep looking for it and bring it up to her. Me?  I immediately went to "If you would have laid out all your stuff last night according to the system I've put in place, we wouldn't be scrambling this morning."

And even though I was right, he was more right. His kindness calmed her on an already turbulent morning and diffused the situation instead of making her feel defiance or shame or anger.

I'm running out of time to get this parenting thing right.  Four and a half years. 226 weeks until my oldest graduates from high school. 226. That's not much. And the younger only has 330 so it's not like I have a bunch of extra time there either.

Do you respond out of kindness or anger/frustration?  I'm talking about the majority of the time--most of us can point back to a time of each. Do you have any non-cliche things that work for you?  What's your biggest struggle in parenting?