Friday, July 29, 2016

Entitled Me

I have a book on my nightstand that I've started reading.  It's by my favorite blogger and is called "Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World."  It's mocking me today because I'm realizing that I'm the one who's entitled.

Last night, my car died.  Again.  It's not really a surprise, we've known it has had issues for a while now.  In fact, it's had issues since we bought it.  We got "taken" and I'm still angry over it.  It was by a friend of a friend, so that makes it even harder.

Anyway, I was on my way to the outlet mall to look for some clothes I need for my new job next week and it started acting funny so I turned around.  I was hoping I would make it all the way home, but no such luck.  It died in the middle of 380.  At least it was close to a 7-11 and there were 2 kind men who pulled over and pushed me into the parking lot.  And my friend who manages an auto repair shop came and took a look at it and took me home since Brian was out of town.

This morning, I dropped off Hope at the barn and decided to go try to start it again.  And it turned over, but had a bad knocking sound.  So Brian went back and sure enough it started, but sounded like it did a few years ago when it "threw a rod" and the engine died (don't ask me exactly what the rod does and why it shouldn't be thrown--all I know is that when it is, it's reeeeeealllly bad). 

So my emotions have been on a roller coaster.  I go from being grateful that I didn't have to sit in the middle of the road for long to "why does this always happen to me?" pity parties.  And I've been praying all morning, but I'm not really sure how I should pray.

God tells us He wants to pour out our heart to Him and be honest.  Well, I honestly want a fun car.  And if it started with J and ended with EEP, I would be over the moon.  But should I really pray for that?  Or should I just pray for a car to get me to and from where I need to be?  Should I just be grateful for 4 wheels and an engine and not worry about what kind or what it looks like? 

The entitled part of me wants the Jeep.  And even feels like I deserve it--I've worked hard and have earned the right to sit in a car that makes me happy. 

Then that small voice creeps in and I'm reminded of all the blessings I currently have.  The fact that we have one truck that runs great is more than many people have.  And that we both have flexible schedules and can share a vehicle if needed for a while.  And that my car is paid for so at least I don't have to pay anything on it while it's dead. 

But I still want to stomp my feet and cross my arms over my chest and throw the biggest tantrum you've ever seen.

So maybe I don't need to read that book for my kids.  Maybe I need to read it for me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dear Fitbit

Dear Fitbit,

I never knew a piece of jewelry could change my life.  How do I love you?  Let me count the ways.

I love that you have cute covers that make me look somewhat fashionable. I have people ask me all the time if I'm wearing you and where I got you.  They don't have to know you were on sale at Target and it took me months to work up the guts to buy you.

I love that I don't get mad about the far parking spot when I'm wearing you.  It just means I get a few more steps.  I also love that I have finally found a way to look forward to shopping--I get lots of steps in when doing that activity that would otherwise make me cranky. (ok, so I still sometimes get cranky while being dragged from store to store by my teenager who has no money to buy anything anyway, but that's probably a whole book chapter there).

I love that you have provided me one more way to be competitive.  I can look at my friends list and cheer when I have more steps than my friend Barb.  Of course, I am always irritated that no matter how many I get in, Dawn and George are always at the top. One day I WILL beat them.

I love that on days when your battery dies, I can pretend that I was more active than usual.  "Oh, it hasn't been counting my steps.  I'm sure I got at least 8,000 earlier today walking from my desk to the breakroom."  Even if my friends don't see those steps, you and I know they are there.

I love that I can use you as proof to my doctor that my weight gain is a complete mystery and there MUST be something else wrong with me other than laziness and bad eating.  "I may not be exercising every day in the traditional sense, but look at my step count.  I'm VERY active.  I even raised my daily goal to 12,000 steps."

Thank you for coming into my life and for the extra "steps" I used to get when I was sitting on the boat being bumped around. 

You are a rockstar!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dazzling Doors

I recently turned in my resignation to a job I've had for over 10 years.  That in itself is a big story for a blog post (or 12) on another day. The most amazing thing has been happening though, the last couple of weeks. 

It started with a prayer. 

I told God I would walk through every door He opened.  This hasn't been as scary for me as I thought it would be.  It's been really simple.  When I was given job leads or was connected with people/companies who were hiring, I decided to say, "Yes."  As people have crossed my mind--some while I was praying and others just while I was going about my day, I have shot them a text or email or fb message.  When I felt the prompting to write a book, I decided to start pursuing it instead of just talking about it.

Not only has this been fun, it's been almost overwhelming to see God work!  Now, I know that God does not just bless us when we are obedient and that there is nothing I can do to make Him more or less proud of me.  BUT, since telling Him I would walk through those doors, I think I've been more aware of His goodness. 

I see it everywhere!

In trying to figure out a word for it, "Dazzling" is the one that keeps coming to mind.  I've been dazzled by the beautifully worded references people have written about me.  I've been dazzled at the people who have wanted to interview me.  I was dazzled at my first job offer.  I was dazzled by the opportunity to throw my name in the hat for a another potential job--consulting on something that is right up my alley.  And I've been dazzled at the joy and excitement my friends have had for me.

When I turned in my resignation, I braced myself for hard.  And it may still come, but right now, I'm soaking in every dazzling door God has put in front of me.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Yeah, me Neither...More #Askingforafriend Posts

Have you ever based your outfit for the day on what clothes don't need to be ironed? Yeah, me neither

Have you ever realized at 8pm that you've been walking around all day with an empty fitbit band? Yeah, me neither

Have you ever put sunglasses on your head even though it was cloudy and rainy outside because you couldn't stand your limp, flat hair hanging in your face anymore? Yeah, me neither.

Have you ever been afraid of being mauled by a flock of chickens because you fed the dogs before you gave them scratch? Yeah, me neither.

Have you ever honked at somebody who kinda cut you off on the highway and then felt bad about it afterward? Yeah, me neither. #thisiswhyidonthaveafishonmycar

Have you ever ended your family Christmas with your brother-in-law teaching your kids how to play blackjack? Yeah, me neither

Have you ever cried after dropping your kids at school because the radio is talking about sick kids and you are just overwhelmed with the blessing of healthy daughters? Yeah, me neither

Have you ever been worried that one of your new baby chicks wasn't gonna make it so you went to the feed store and came home with medicine AND another chick? Yeah, me neither. #Askingforahusband

Remember that time at the lake when I thought I could balance on a piece of styrofoam and a rope but I fell in and got a mouth full of debris-filled water, and lost my phone and shoes? Yeah, me neither (gurgle, gurgle)

Have you ever gotten in the shower and realized that your kids used the last of your favorite shower gel (the one you thought would last until Friday when you would have time to buy more) and the only choice left for you was to use their over-the-top, perfume-y gel? neither

Have you ever been so angry at your husband because he made it safely to work over an hour ago and forgot to call you, so you've been imagining all kinds of accidents (even to the point of trying to figure out how safe it would be for you to go to the hospital to visit him and whether you should tell your daughters)? Yeah, me neither.

Have you ever started to panic because your Kindle won't work and you just started a road trip? neither. ‪#‎firstworldproblems

Have you ever rubbed your eye--even though you knew you shouldn't because you just cut a jalapeno? Yeah, me neither

Have you ever parked your car on Sunday afternoon and forgot you left your windows down when a huge stormed rolled in overnight, and came out to the interior of said car being just plain wet and making an already hard Monday morning even harder? Yeah, me neither ☔️🚘 ‪#‎mondaymorningfail

Have you ever skipped dinner and then "sampled" all the Trader Joes purchases you just made while waiting on your daughter to finish soccer practice? Yeah, me neither.

Have you ever had that moment of panic when you are too far from your house to turn back around and you have no recollection of putting on deodorant that morning? Yeah, me neither.

Do you ever find that when you are alone all day, you talk out loud to yourself? neither

Have you ever crushed garlic in the morning and found yourself smelling your hands all day bc you like the aroma that's still lingering from it? ...asking for a friend

Have you ever talked a friend into doing a Bible study with you and then you lost your book and keep forgetting to tell her so you make it your status update on Facebook?

Does anyone else think their "To Do List" gets more stuff put on it than marked off it on some days?

Have you ever left your house in thick, warm zebra Jammie bottoms, fluffy striped socks (that don't necessarily coordinate with the zebra pants), a plaid scarf and your husbands camo coat--praying that you don't have to get out of the car when you pick your daughter up from bball practice?

If you were going to color your own hair to cover the gray, what brand would you buy? I'm obviously asking for a friend

Passive Aggressive leads to Humility?

Most days I have something rude I want to say.  I know, I know.  I'm a Christian and I should be above that.  Believe me, I tell myself that and a lot of other stuff--every time I think the mean things.

I find myself wanting to fight a facebook battle.  I want to post some obscure thing that only the person I'm frustrated with will "get."  Because, you know, that will fix everything.  They will read it, see the error in their ways and come begging me to forgive them.


In my head, I know it won't do any good, but my flesh really wants to be right.  To feel better by making them feel as small as they made me.  But to do it in a way that doesn't make me look bad. 

So instead, I stew.  Or I call a friend I know will take my side. And I fight the urge to pray about it.

Because when I pray, things come back into perspective.  And I see things through Christ's perspective and that comment someone made isn't going to make a difference a year from now--or even an hour from now in most cases. 

But, in praying, I'm often also humbled.

And I don't like that feeling. 

But I know it's necessary.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Just Listen

A few years ago, I found myself at an impasse with a dear friend.  Neither of us saw a way to save our relationship.  As we started trying to figure out why we had such deep feelings of resentment and anger toward each other, it got even uglier.

One morning, I woke up with a heavier heart than normal.  I realized that I had been feeling so "justified" in my anger toward her for so long that I never really stopped to listen to what she was saying to me about her resentment.  I thought I was listening.  But I was really just waiting for her to finish so I could rebuttal or bring up another injustice or condemn. 


Like all the times before.

And the heaviness of not having her in my life anymore was too hard to bear.  So I went to her and apologized. 

Now when I say, "apologized" let me explain. 

I thought I had apologized in the past.  In fact, I felt like I had done that every time we talked.  But, as much as I thought I had, I had never really owned the fact that I didn't listen. I apologized for mean words I had said.  I apologized for some uncalled for actions.  I even apologized for perceived misdoings. 

But I didn't apologize for not listening.  Oh, I HEARD her.  But I didn't LISTEN.

I have felt that same heaviness as I contemplate the events of the last week in our country.  I wonder if that's our same problem.  We THINK we understand the issues.  We SAY we want to do different.  We TALK about all of the symptoms. 

But do we HEAR or do we LISTEN?

And here's another issue.  I believe real listening is active.  We can't just go back to our lives when we truly listen to a person's fears.  We may not understand them, but if we listen to them, we are at the very least--aware. 

It's been said before, but bears repeating.  Yes, we have a racism issue in our country.  But instead of trying to fix things on the world level, what if we all looked at the relationships in our lives and asked ourselves to LISTEN to them the next time they spoke instead of just hearing them. What if we just made things right with those closest to us?

For me, that's my husband.  And daughters.  And co-workers.  And friends. 

I can tell you right now that there are a few that I have closed myself off to because I don't want to listen to their side of things.  And worse than closing myself off? 

I have done that on purpose. And have been unwilling to take the step to listen because then I would have to forgive and I like feeling superior.

I wish I could say I'm moved to call that person and have a conversation.  But I'm not yet. 

And so, I am part of the problem our country is facing right now. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Rebels aren't all bad

It's the 4th of July and I'm sitting in my room, listening to all the illegal fireworks going off around me.  I find myself going back and forth between cheering the people on and hoping they get in trouble with the police. 

Kinda weird, I know.

It's really loud and I know it will continue through the night--the last couple of years, I've heard them up until 2am.  And there are some big ones right behind my house so I'm a little worried about sparks falling this way.  So that's why I want them caught and stopped.

But, on the other hand, I LOVE fireworks.  If the mosquitos weren't so bad tonight, I would be sitting out there watching them.  I also love people who rebel.  Not in a let's rob stores and run from the cops kind of way, but in the stand up for something you love sort of way. 

As I think back to how our country started, I'm reminded of the people who went against the current system and stood up against King George.  They stood up for what was right and fair.  And they didn't back down--even though it seemed insane that colonies as small as they were would win freedom from the big and powerful Great Britain.

They stood against laws that didn't make sense.  Not because they were in it for themselves, but because they wanted better for their families and friends.

I, for one, am so very grateful that they did. 

And they inspire me to be brave and make me want to stand up against the wrongs I see instead of just going along with the status quo.  Not because I want to cause a ruckus or draw attention to myself, but because there are people coming behind me.  Some can't stand up for themselves and some need to see bravery in order to have some of their own. 

"Lord, give me wisdom to know when to stand and fight and discernment to know when to submit to authority.  Purify my motives and show me when I am doing things out of selfishness/pride."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Writing a Book

For most of my life I have wanted to write a book.  The problem is that I am so random I've never been able to narrow down what I want to write about. 

And then I read Jen Hatmaker.  And JK Rowling.  And Jennie Allen.  And Sue Miller.  And  Annie Downs. And I think, what do I have to say that hasn't already been said?  Is my point of view that different?

I don't consider myself an entrepreneur.  In fact, I get irritated when people start something new and there are already several organizations doing the same thing.  Or when we create a "Christian" version of something.  Don't even get me started--this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.

So, I'm struggling with the idea of writing a book without a clear direction.  A friend encouraged me to do short chapters that were old blog posts and that's actually what I had been thinking.  But I want it to flow and have a purpose and selfishly, I want people to read it and it change them.

But maybe that's not the purpose.  Maybe the purpose is for me to get words out there for myself.  Not for life change in others, but for the change that will happen in me. 

Lots to think about...

Friday, July 1, 2016

Why Saying Yes Matters

Sometimes as a parent you feel like your main job is to say, "No."  Seriously, some of the things my kids ask me make me a little bit scared for the future.  And even worse are the things they DON'T ask  ("Hey--lets tie a couple of boogie boards together and slide down a hill of ice and take out a few dogs and ram into the brick house on the way down--it'll be so fun!)

Moving to Aubrey has been a rough transition for Caroline.  She had a great group of friends at our old house and we didn't even think to worry about her when we moved. She's one of those kids that you just want as your friend because she's loyal and loves well.  Aubrey is a small town where many of the people have roots that go back generations here.  They don't mean to exclude, but part of the small town feel is that people stick together and don't always go out of their way to include newbies. 

Add the fact that she was diagnosed as dyslexic her first year here and you have a perfect storm. 

I've worried and manipulated and prayed about what to do.  I still feel at the end of most days, that I am failing her because I can't fix it.  (I know, I know--that's not my job, but I'm good at fixing things so I turn her stuff into my own identity crisis.  Narcissists are good that way.)

Caroline is our animal whisperer.  She can get chickens to fall asleep in her arms and turtles to calm down.  And she knows how to use the internet.  So she is always bringing us screenshots of animals that she wants.  Always.  Every. Single. Day. 

About a week ago, Brian approached me and somehow made me agree that a puppy for her was the best thing to teach her responsibility and give her something of her own.  So she upped her search and had him calling on several little "puffball" kinds of puppies--little bitties that won't grow bigger than your two hands and can fit in a bag.

Then, I'm on my way home from getting a haircut and I get a call from Hope.  "Mom, you gotta get home quick.  First of all, Dad got a call back about a dog and we are going to get it when you get here.  Secondly, dad put salt in the bb gun and is shooting flies." 

I don't make this stuff up.

After telling her to let him know he was cleaning up any mess he made (to which he shouted in the background "Make me!" I asked Hope which dog.  Somehow, Caroline fell in love with a Brittany spaniel and THAT was the dog we were going to get.

Ummm...what happened to the puffball?  Brian insists he had nothing to do with the change of heart, but I still think he secretly showed her a few and whispered things to her when she was sleeping. 

So, I found myself in the back yard of a lady in Gainesville, holding a sweet little puppy.  And laughing at her on the way home as she chewed Caroline's hair.  And feeling that exhaustion that comes from being woken up all night by cries and barking. And sighing at how sweet she looked when she finally fell asleep.

We will probably have many regrets.  I KNOW she will be work.  I also know that helping Caroline "parent" her will not be a piece of cake.  But it's one more step to raising daughters who can enter the world and know how to take care of themselves. 

And I *might* have already used it to tell her how having a baby is even harder--just to throw the abstinence reminder out there.