a wink and a promise from you know who

Y'all just don't know how many times I've sat down to blog and then did nothing but think about chocolate chip cookies.  And I swear each time I try to come up with something, a little voice in my head says Kristi, please don't tell the story of the rat in the attic again, or that time we had fleas, or that time you went out bra shopping because the boys were all too busy doing their own things that you were lonely and had nothing better to do. 

But then I say to myself, but that's what this whole blog is about... are you crazy and already forgot our unique business model?

Or maybe I've just come to realize that everyone has so much of their own stuff going on that maybe the little ins and outs around here don't add up to much.  But then again, what if it adds up to someone laughing, or saying, Hey, me too!  So today I agreed to sit down for 30 minutes and try to share.

Here's what's been going on as of late.....

1.  I feel like singing one of my favorite Barry Manilow songs, I Made it Through the Rain, right about now  - as I sit here and feel sad for that one lonely day of sunshine that we've had in two weeks.   Here's a clip in case you don't know that one....

I happen to know just about every Barry Manilow song there is, and can sing them with all the feels while holding up a Pick Me sign at a Manilow concert so I can get up there and dance with him during Can't Smile Without You.  Ask Fireman Dave.  He knows.  He tries to hide his excitement each time he takes me to a concert, but I can feel it when he lights up his cell phone and waves it as we sing Mandy.

2.  The kids.  Oh. The. Kids.    The kids have all their things going on ..... and that one that doesn't want me to blog about him anymore - um, what's his name number? - he will be welcomed into the National Honor Society next week and I will stand next to him proudly,  remembering how I ate fish at least once a week while I was pregnant with him.  I read fish makes the baby's brain grow bigger and better and now I would like a National Honor Society honorable mention for my contribution.  He also just squatted the heaviest weight of any player on the football team, something like a million and a half pounds - and being in the body business, I'm kinda just as proud of that as I am of his academics.

Kid 2 waited till the last minute to sign up people to sponsor him in a baseball fund raiser and you just may get a letter or call of desperation asking you to pledge a dime per foot for however far he can hit a baseball.  He is also hitting his school work out of the park this year, and  I am so proud of this kid that I feel like I should stand on my front porch and yell about it.  Also, he's still kind and loving and I like that a whole lot, too.

And Kid 3, bless him, he gets excited every morning now since I discovered Aldi sells frozen pancakes.  He is a simple man with a heart of gold, and a sweet tooth that can fuel a space mission.  He has learned a bit about responsibility of late in the school department - and for today anyway, is showing some real progress in responsibility for his school work.  Stay Tuned.  Maybe I should just promise him a pancake for every grade above a 70 and he'll soar right through to a graduate degree.  Oh.  And he also just got his braces off today and is kinda handsome in an expensive orthodontics sort of way.  

3.  And finally this.  Today.... Today I had not just one lady, but a team of ladies in the locker room ask me how old I am.  I'm beginning to think that many people may have indeed been raised in barns.  

And my answer?  Old enough to have three kids of certain ages.   Y'all discuss and theorize over the rest, but leave me out of it.  I did find it funny that their guesses spanned the range of an entire decade and am thinking on my nightly skin care routine to head off any further guesses at the pass.  

And today let me use my blogging platform to remind the world that asking a woman's age is generally rude, unless you need to make sure she's old enough to buy that cough medicine at Target. 

And now this.....

Here are a few posts that have come out lately on other sites.  All are good, but in differently good ways.

This one is about my sweet friend, Loyce, and Y'all, I just enjoy telling everyone about her. The end.

This one is about something or other and how God is in the mix of all my questions. And it may or may not make you depressed.

And this one hits close to home as it talks about the homeless student population in the Dallas ISD.   

It was written for The Dallas Moms Blog, with the hope of getting some attention shown to the issue, and a bigger hope that people will read it and click on the wish list of needed items in the post.  These items are being purchased for the Drop In Homeless Center at my kids' high school here in Dallas.  And for those of you that already talked to me about contributing, thank you.  Your contribution has purchased backpacks and packaged meals for some hungry souls.

And finally, this is something I've avoided talking about for a while now because I just don't really know how to.  Many of you know that I have been estranged from my mother and brother for several years.  I've actually lost count, but I think we've reached around 6 1/2 years.

And I have to say right up front that I never saw the last six years coming toward me the way that they did, but I can say now, from the other side, that I'm glad that they did.  And it's not like I never doubted my decision, because I promise you that I doubted enough for us all.  But I think that the time apart has allowed me to heal a whole lot of hurts that would've never stood a chance otherwise.

There have been some developments in the case, if you will.  And I'm trying to sit on my thoughts for a bit till they make sense to me, first. 

I will definitely say this, that I am more convinced than ever of personal strength when we need it the most.  And how sometimes though we still, even after a million years, may hear the little voice of ridicule and doubt that was breathed into us from the start - we can manage, with the help of some good strong prayers, and the love of the people that really matter -  to remember the truth about who we are, and whose we are. 

I've needed more than my share of reminders of this, and I cried to Fireman Dave over our shared order of fajitas for one even as late as last week; still questioning the whys of how things just are sometimes.  Y'all, when they have no right to be.  

But then I get up and walk away from that table, and over to the one that sustains and empowers and reminds me that six years went by really fast and a few tears over fajitas is far less than I would've cried had I not been strong enough to stand up for myself. 

And I am reminded this week of this Bible verse  - that I knew for practically ever had to be in there .... and finally found right when I needed it the most.  

For God has not given to us the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

Yes sir and ma'am, y'all... read it.  Then read it again and feel the confidence that God has placed in us to be able to control even the most uncontrollable situations.  I'm leaning on this for now as a wink and a promise from you know who.

so there... that was January

I decided that I had very little to contribute to anyone in January, and since my mind was pretty much blank anyway, I thought a few weeks of mental quiet would be good.  

I did go ahead and write a very brain-forced and pathetic post for the church that little to no one liked, but out of Christian duty, a few people made some polite comments to soothe the sting of feeling pitied by thousands of others.

Oh, and I totally knocked out the Amazon series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, in a matter of days and now have a hole to fill in my entertainment schedule.  I'm taking binge worthy TV recommendations in the comments, please.  Know that I shy away from most British TV that a lot of people like and try to sell me on..... because if you know me and have actually had a person to person conversation, you know that I speak fluent Texan with a very distinct Dallas drawl - and Y'all, I  have a terrible time understanding people with accents.

In kid news, we have one who requests to be removed from my blogging life, so I won't tell you that he got his high school letter jacket and looks kinda' awesome in it.  Another kid made the baseball team and I'm super happy for his good news.  And another kid - can you guess who?  Tried to run his own small business at school  - out of the pockets of his pants - think Snickers bars, all warm from his body heat, but he got caught and had to fold his business after only a few quite successful weeks.  Turns out that the school also has its own sales reps for items other than candy, and when a caring teacher saw my kiddo dealing his chocolaty wares, she thought better of it and spoke to him about his reputation and what may or may not appear to be more than a black market candy company.  I'm thankful for teachers that stand firm in what is right, even if my kid was only doing something a little bit sneaky, and all covered in sweetness while at it, and that she thought enough of him and our family to point out that other people may begin to associate him with something a little more sinister.  Now he's at a loss for income, and if you have any odd jobs for a 14 year old with an entrepreneurial mindset, let me know.

This month we also had our usual share of emotional highs and lows, and a few mean words to go along with them.  I learned a long time ago that the price of being the parent is that we pretty much have to listen to all sorts of craziness because it happens to be in our contract with God.  But  that same contract also states that I have to raise them up in the way that they should go, and sometimes I have to re-think my tactics to get from point A to point B.  So I am reviewing my love and logic parenting skills all over again each week in a group class of like minded teen parents.  You know it's uber importante' if I give up my Sunday nap time to attend a class.

And today I'm sitting here, eating lunch at home, wearing an apron as a bib, and listening to what is probably a giant rat scratching around up in our attic.  But I prefer to think of our house guests as those two little gophers from the Looney Tunes cartoons from forever ago -  the ones with the great manners that should totally teach an etiquette class to my kids and their friends.

What I hear going on up there right now is them serving tea and each politely thanking the other for their gracious hospitality.

And my bib?  Sometimes it just comes to that.

And I'm continually checking email for a reply from a certain school teacher about a certain kid, all tangled up in a certain predicament.  I prefer in this case to not receive a reply, but nervously keep checking anyway out of some sort of built in self defense mechanism.  The kid in question?  Clueless.  No, make that happily clueless.  Like me and the polite gophers.  I actually always thought they were squirrels until I googled it.

Mostly, I guess I've been at sort of a loss on the blog of late  - since it's turned into, in the last few posts anyway, stories of how not to raise your teenagers unless you want to drive yourself off a cliff.  And y'all, no one wants to follow along with that.  Or maybe you do -  because the more juicy the story, or if I say the word naked anywhere in the title or post, my readership soars to infinity and beyond.  Naked Naked Naked.  Um, that was the word I was asked to remove in the last post because it hurt someone's feelings.  I can't win for losing.

But as I tried to think of what really goes on with me day after day - no matter what, where, or when, I have to say that I do my best to say a prayer of thanksgiving for all the exact things that somehow make me lose my mind.  I thank God for the privilege of being called Mom by these three beautiful boys, and thank him that the bumps in the road are giving me the opportunity to choose a path.  Sometimes I choose the wrong path and end up yelling like nobody's business about this, that and everything in between, but the thankfulness comes from realizing the opportunity to be in the mix.  I remember waiting a lifetime to find my official calling.  Trust that as truth, people.  I tried on every type of role I could, every type of face and place and hope for promising tomorrows - and until I became these boys' mom, none of it fit.  

So yes, friends, readers, and even the teen crowd looking for a reason to gossip and fuss - yes.  I am even thankful for you, because you give me the chance to be the mom that my boys need today.  The end.  

And I think until I can get my attitude right at the beginning of every day, I just need to stay in the bed.  That's sort of what January was for me - staying in my blogging bed, and trying to get back to seeing things as blessings instead of burdens.  I'm hoping February is off to a better start, but I'll let you know.  

And let me just throw out another sweet name here - my sweet friend, Loyce, in Uganda, for whom I am truly thankful to know from afar, but love dearly and closely in a way that can only come from a love bigger than my own.  

I wish you could see the videos I received of her yesterday on Facebook from our mutual friend.  Watching her receive her last letter from me, listening to her trying to read it aloud, showing me how her English is improving.  I wish you could see her try to figure out what it was I put in the letter - two sticks of chewing gum.  Her guessing and trying was worth the postage that it cost to send gum all the way across the world.  I am honored and proud to be her friend and I pray for this little one daily that she realize her full potential and grows to be the exceptional young lady that I know she can be.  

So there.  That was January.  

And hey....  a little bird told me that a few of my readers who follow the blog on Bloglovin are having some problems receiving my posts.  If you are, stop the madness right now and keep reading.  I can fix that problem.

And if you are waiting with anxious enthusiasm to receive my posts via Facebook, bad news - you may be waiting till the cows come home.  Seems Facebook is killing most business pages, and has already wiped mine completely out of circulation unless I agree to spend lots of money to promote my posts to you.  I can write wonderful words of quality and wisdom, but I can't guarantee you will ever see them - unless you do THIS.  And it's so easy!

Follow me via email by going to my blog page.   KristiWalters.com

From here, find my Kristi picture - then look right below it.  If you are on a lap top or tablet, you'll probably see me on the right side of the page.  If you are on mobile, scroll down and surprise, there I will be.  Type in your email address in the Follow by Email box... and you will soon get a confirmation email from my service making sure you really meant to do that.  I hope that you will say yes.

Y'all, as much as I doubt my place in the big blogging world at times, it seems that the wonderful and loving God that gives me the gift of online gab never does.  This very week when I tried and tried to get some words on this page and one more time, thought of giving it all up, I had a call from a sweet friend who encouraged and poured her trust into my experience and words.  And I say that with all gratitude and a bucket full of laughter... because any and all words that flow from my typing fingers onto this page could, #1 be very very wrong with a supersized side of inappropriate, but #2, were so heavily prayed over before I ever hit publish.

And I pray regularly that you will find something of value here that I didn't even know you needed.  Then I pray that God will place these words into the view of the people who need to hear them most.  And y'all, he is faithful to do just that.  And in case you didn't know, the greatest gifts you can ever give me and every blogger on the planet is a share.  A share of your time in reading, and a share on social media to put this out there to more people.  Sharing can't make people read it, and it might even make them mad at you for cluttering up their news feed.   - but no one is harmed in the sharing of a blog post, so do it anyway. 

I hope to see you via email soon, so we can be BFF's - blogging friends forever.  

ending 2017 a little bruised and a whole lot worse for the wear

First thing in the morning this past Sunday, New Years Eve 2017, the shower nozzle fell from the sky and hit me in the face.  Good morning to me on that Lord's day.  No broken bones, but it was touch and go there for a minute checking my nose for a status update. And I found this particular incident completely representative of the entire year, a year that left me feeling broken, but because of sheer luck, or God's infinite mercy/sense of humor, mostly just a little bruised and a whole lot worse for the wear.

I'll jump right into this post by saying that the past few weeks have found me climbing and staggering and hanging on to whatever solid hold I could find in and for this family - and y'all, that's just not how I saw this motherhood thing going.  You know what I'm talking about .... those times when you feel all accomplished because your kid did something great or grand or even just passed all his classes for the semester and you threw a happy party for your own awesome contribution in birthing him in the first place.    Or maybe you were in the midst of such an organized and handy streak that you got mixed up  - and confused timing for skill, and experience for the promise of future success.  I can honestly check all the above boxes and add the one that says, Thought she had it all figured out but quickly figured out that she didn't.

I know.  I'm speaking in Kristi code.  It's mostly blog code for things I want to tell you but if I do I can be assured of  an ugly text from an un-named and un-numbered kid saying that he doesn't appreciate me or my blogging super strengths and wishes I would fall in the nearest hole and stay there for a while.  Because it seems there are covert spies all around reading the Kristi blog and reporting back to my children all my faults and shortcomings as a mother.  There are also those that have walked through  my online sites and used pictures to create memes of my kids  - and not in a Hallmark greeting card sort of way.  More of a teens are generally mean and can use anything against you in a cyber bullying situation to make you feel self conscious way.  It's hard when your mom is a tell - all sort of gal, and you're walking through a dark and dangerous time known as school

I've been asked to edit my post from here after being critiqued by the teen crowd.... the crowd mentioned above... that loves to troll my public spaces in search of material to use against my kids.  It totally makes me think of that creepy movie, Gone Girl, where the main character's parents were authors who wrote about the girl's life and drove her to be a psychotic killer.  Here's hoping a better future for you, Kids 1, 2 and 3 - and that I haven't planted blogging seeds of ruin in you thus far.  

Y'all, I wish had some of that invisible, mystery ink to tell you something of great importance, but I just have to leave you with this riddle..... What has now become a popular part of teenage culture recently found its way into our own home.  And what I saw when I discovered its presence made my eyes burn with sadness for the young person involved. I wish for her better things, and a better understanding of herself and all that she has to offer the world other than what can be seen with the eye. 

Anyway, y'all.  Y'all.  These last weeks have found me lost in more ways than one, and I can honestly say that I've been at the point of giving up more than I would like to admit.  We're struggling, and I say that with all confidence because it's just the truth.  We are at a stage of family that is hard to take, and just as hard to explain.  And in dealing with all that goes with five people trying to grow into new and hopefully more mature skins, sometimes we get some bruises along the way.  Much like my face after the shower scene the other day.  

And in navigating the ins and outs of all the people involved,.... teachers, friends, other parents... I've found myself organizing, scheduling, planning and to my complete surprise, defending - not only my kids, but our family, our beliefs and values.  And the saddest part of this story? My character.  

I've been accused, insulted and questioned;   hearing a description of myself from a complete stranger as more soap opera star than the mom that I think and hope my kids see when they see me.  And y'all, this is the absolute truth, and beware because the danger is out there everywhere - when the desperate and broken reach out and try to bring others down with them, nothing is off limits.  This time, my parenting history and practices questioned and ridiculed without even a breath of a pause.   

And yet, here I am,  a couple of weeks out from the conversation; and honestly - after being knocked down a bit from the fight, back to a mid range level of energy to take this ship all the way to its designated shore.  And I'm hoping and praying that the shore we're aiming for is called responsible adulthood. 

These last weeks have been a good reminder to be watchful of my heart and diligent in my faith, because both have been attacked from places that I never expected.  You know that phrase about the devil being in the details?  Um, yes.  I'm reminded more than ever to be aware of even the tiniest break in my prayers for my boys, because it only takes a sliver of space for darkness to creep in. 

I'm not much for the thought of the new year always meaning a new beginning.  I prefer to think of any day being a perfect opportunity to start over or again - no matter when, where or how.  And trust that if I had a dollar for every start over I've done in my life, especially on this low carb journey of the last several months, I'd retire both early and to someplace fabulously warm and sunny.  I tend to think that comes from practice and experience.  And the good news is that new chances and fresh beginnings are all the rage right now in the eyes of a God that graces us with endless opportunities to get things right.  

I wish this was a happier new year post.  Maybe in a way it is, if you twist it and bend it into the shape that isn't as much recognized by us right now as beautiful, but in the end, can turn out to be.  
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