Lofty goals for a wanna be superstar



 I was thankful recently to spend time with a new friend.  One who makes everyone feel important and interesting and hand made by a God that filled them up with goodness.  

And she is able to do that because she is filled with a goodness of her own that comes from a divine and powerful source - a strong belief in a God that has walked her through life experiences, taught her perseverance and shown her grace and love.

What a beautiful person I can now add to the list of beautiful people I know.  

And I hope, as one of my many life wishes, to be on someone's beautiful list one day.  I really don't care whose.  Well maybe not a crazy person's list.  Or anyone scary.  Lofty goals for a wanna be superstar.

And super small world.... I ran across these words that I had written some time ago.  Maybe, just for a moment,  we can all find our value in things other than what the world is telling us?  

I think I'll try.  I need to try. 

For your week... may you know that you are loved, valued, appreciated and thanked for all that you are.  And all that you do.  May you know without a doubt that you are in this moment, in this place, right now.... for God's glory.  May you find joy in the coming days.  May you find peace and rest in God's beautiful love for you.  

May you feel your worth and value - and shout to the world that their opinions don't matter.  Because you are chosen and treasured, valuable and cherished. You are beautiful for the gift that you are. 


 

And so a piece of my past that I hadn't thought of in ages walked straight out of 1980 something and right into my kitchen


Sam had a writing prompt at school..... If he were chosen to travel on a space ship to another planet, what three things would he bring?  And he said....

1.  Suicide pills in case he gets captured by  martians
2. A weapon to defend against those same martians
3. A 10 ton bag of food.  Which I imagine he would need the help of the martians to carry. 

And I felt a little bit on blogger Mars last week - as I fielded comments, questions and hurt feelings.  As I was shunned in public places and met in private with questions of intent and meaning.   And I had only one decent weapon against it - truth.  Because I totally forgot to pack my suicide pills in case of such an event. 

So I dance around lightly this week - backwards, high heels and all - wondering what to share.   And what to NOT.  

On lighter topics I guess I could write about how I dropped a 10 lb dumbbell on my finger and how it hurts to drop a 10 lb dumbbell on any part of me.  Or how I then dropped a knife on my foot, because I'm good at dropping dangerous things.  

And I guess I could mention how, like every spring, I get the homemaker bug and try to start throwing out the old and bringing in the new.  And how a disproportionally large part of my week was spent trying to find the perfect table runner in just the right shade of spring time blue.  Throw in a few new pillows for the couch, some nice colors here and there - and it was all met with a shirtless 13 year old sitting in his underwear amidst all my new pretties - pouring chip crumbs from bag to mouth.  

All this has to be safe enough blog talk.  


But that's not what's really on my mind right now.  Separation from others due to disagreement, hurt, anger - or whatever the cause - is just a bad spot to be.  In a pickle we might say here.   And I've been in a strangely large pickle for several years running. 

My husband ran into another fireman the other day... small world... because they work for the same department, but had never met.  But turns out I went to high school with the fella.  So conversation ensued, they exchanged fireman pleasantries, and somehow it turned into....  Oh yeah says new fireman friend.... she went out with  ....

And so a piece of my past that I hadn't thought of in ages walked straight out of 1980 something and right into my kitchen.   Not a bad memory at all.  Just a surprise one.  And I had to take a quick inventory of any other loose pieces I may have left laying around the last 30 years.  

And some memories I've intentionally left behind.  Some I've just avoided or forgotten.  For the best, I like to think of it.  But maybe for the worse for a gal that's been desperately trying to remember pieces of a road that brought me -  here.  With no one around but me to confirm or suggest or assist with any pieces of memories I find, I have to trust some, try harder to remember others, and do a little research for the rest.  

 I've had lots of dreams lately where my old home and neighborhood show up.  Minus the people that belonged there.  Dreams that seem and look and feel so strangely and comfortingly familiar - but then I  can't remember why. 

I found myself with a really strong want to go home the other day.  Back to my childhood home which is less than 10 miles away from where I am now.  This apple never traveled far from her tree. 

So I sat in front of my old house for a little bit and noticed details that maybe only I would notice.  Those same house numbers have hung on that lamp post since I was a kid.  Saw a big beautiful familiar tree and noticed another one missing and replaced with new.  I looked on my knee for a scar that has mostly faded now with time - a scar from where I fell down our super steep driveway - as a less than graceful, yet well dressed teen.  And I remember mostly crying over my ripped pants because they were really great pants.  

I saw red geraniums on the front porch - just like my mom put out every summer.  I looked at my bedroom window and wondered who lives in there now.  And I wished I could go in and just look around.  But I was kinda afraid that the overwhelming sense of same and change all mixed up into a different family living there just may be too big for me.  

And I miss having a family to help me remember.   Little things, really.  But in the big scheme of things - like a life - little things that are exponentially large in making me who I am today.

 

Obviously a little blog disclaimer is necessary. Just found that out....


Long story.   

Y'all my intention is for this blog to always be a good place.   And I promise you that if I write it on here, it's my attempt at positive and thoughtful - not mean. 

Really.

My heart.  And my thoughts.  And my history and experiences.  And my creativity.  And my wickedly awful sense of humor all added up together equals =  ME.

I am what I am, as Popeye the sailor would say.

And I really do crazy love my kids.  More than words in a million blogs could ever say.... And no, I wouldn't really throw them out without an XBOX to their name.  But I would consider throwing the XBOX out with them.   

My kid stories?  All from a filled to the top joyful mom heart.  But a heart that is capable of honesty, truth, reality, and hope.  All that together equals = LOVE.  (Except this morning when the 13 year old had to redo closing the car door 3 times before he finally lost the attitude and did it right.  No love lost between the 2 of us in that deal.) 

And y'all.... if I mention someone on the blog,... you, maybe.... it's because you became a part of my day or days.  You became a big enough part of things to occupy places in my mind.... and make me start to think about how it all fits in.  And I guarantee that if I mention you on here, or anyone on here (except for crazy Miss V at the gym who thinks I wear see through pants to work) -  it is never meant for negativity, or complaints or harm.  You have my word. And it makes me a little sad that I even have to say that out loud. 

Today I was reminded how a message that I hear in my mind ONE way, can be received in completely another.  Because we all come with our own stuff.  Stuff that has built our perceptions and beliefs and make us lean our thoughts toward good or bad.  And really, it doesn't matter how good the message is... it's only as good as it is received.   

And finally, yes the things I write on here are true.  The boys really do those things.... you know which things.... refer back to almost every entry..... (And yes, I've been told I have a flair for the dramatic.  I like big hair and big stories.) 

And the spitting and hitting and name calling and whatnot?  From here till eternity I'm gonna group all boy antics into the category of whatnot ...... for the most part, I soak it all in as part of the deal.  And honestly, I wouldn't know what to do if it were different.  Except for the spitting, hitting, name calling and whatnot.... 

So, call it complaining or fussing or whatever .... I call it living the high life with my angels, pirates and thieves by my side.  Sometimes so high we soar with joy, others so high I'm afraid they'll push me off a cliff.  

So all that being said....  Popeye and I are standing strong in our declarations of character.  Love me or leave me.  (But really crossing my fingers and hoping you don't leave me.) 

And I considered tossing these handsome fellas in their new Easter shirts right out the door. Without an XBOX to their name.

Husband and I are really like old people in middle aged bodies.  A  lot of cafeteria eating, a lot of TV watching, a lot of wishing for a nap.  

Not long ago we were out on a lunch date at the neighborhood cafeteria and I overheard this little man yelling into his phone to someone - guessing the wife.... They have beef stew, but I know you're not supposed to have beef stew.  And I totally had a vision of our future where one of us yells at the other about hip pain, forbidden foods and the like. 

But I sat there and ate my squash casserole and green beans to the soothing sounds of Wind Beneath My Wings played on the piano.  Followed by a medley of show tunes.  And my squash was delicious and the vinyl booth absolutely comforting.  

And it occurred to me that I've always been sort of an old soul.  An early to bed kind of gal even in high school and college.   And how that old soul spirit has crossed over to old style parenting.  

I'm not my kids' friend, but rather their mom.  I'm not a short order cook to please their fast food palates - but a set the table and serve a real meal kind of gal.  Not a let the boys do whatever the heck they want when they want - even when it would just make my life a whole lot easier.  And for almost 14 years, minus a melt down or two... I've stood pretty firm on all that and more. 

Till today.  Easter Sunday 2014.  When no one wanted to get out of bed to make it to church on time.  When no one could manage to sit up in the pew instead of treat it like a hammock.  And no one could smile or say nice things or just be, in general, a decent human being.  So I got mad on this super holy of days.  Because I had high expectations for us.  Maybe too high for them at this age. (Remembering the sharp fingernails my mom used to put into my own misbehaving arm in church as a kid)  ..... And I cried a bit of my mascara off after church - note the lack of eyelashes in the family pic by the cross.  I looked SO much better before.  And I think it made me puffy.  

And at that moment  I declared my independence and said To each his own and starting next Sunday y'all can just sit at home and watch your little souls descend straight to hell. Because I and I alone will continue to go to church and worship my savior, dammit.   Or something like that.



And so it took a level headed husband to calm the nerves and the spirit and keep me from tossing these handsome fellas in their new Easter shirts right out the door.  Without an XBOX to their name.  And he gave me an eye to eye kind of look, followed by a reminder talk that went something like this.... 

We're not done yet.  These boys are a work in progress and there's gonna be both good and bad along that road.  We've never let them decide or tell us what they will do.  And we can't start now. 

And he thanked me for all the moments that I have created tradition for our family.  And for all the so many times unseen and un-thanked jobs and touches around the home.  And for the time and attention given to the raising of these boys.  And a reminder that though the kids may not come right out and thank me for all the blood, sweat and tears..... that their thanks come in those small moments of surprise hugs and kisses.  Of laughter and play.  Of comfort in a home that they know they are always wanted and welcomed.  Of good reports from teachers and friends and those who observe them out of our sight.  Of years of good choices in the things that really matter - each a building block for those larger life altering decisions and choices that will certainly come as they get older.  

So I wiped the tears, packed up the picnic and we went for a day of together time on this kinda rainy Easter Sunday.  And we had fun.... and it turns out that kids of any age will hunt for eggs as long as they get cold hard cash out of the deal.  


And smash confetti eggs - or really anything for that matter - on a brother. 


And really all I want is a little sign on occasion that I'm doing a job that makes a difference.  That the job that I've done up till now has already made a difference.  And maybe, really,  the results are already in.  And I need to do better at looking with open eyes.  Eyes willing to see the small every day blessings that keep me going on to the next day.  



a broken tooth, a kid in a banana suit, and our very own ant colony - an Easter story

So this week brought week 3 of my injured calf muscle.  Still wearing a compression bandage and really wishing I had bought it in black instead of white.  Much more attractive all around than a tight white tube sock.  And kid 3 hurt his knee in football practice and has some selective swelling and pain.  Mostly when he doesn't want to do something.  And I'm seeing a doctor visit in our future for that one. 

And the broken tooth from basketball a year ago with kid 2?  It broke again.  So it hurts and he can't eat anything till we get back to the dentist for another repair or maybe an entirely new tooth.  Or whatever.  I'm kinda in a whatever kind of stage right now.  Need a new tooth? Whatever.  Wanna run off and join the circus?  Whatever. 
 
And if you've been following our ant saga, .... dear Lord, we still have them.  And turns out they will travel miles for cake.  I saw one of them taking a crumb of pound cake up the drain pipe all the way on the other side of the house and darn if that's not their entire metropolis.  So Fireman Dave got up on the roof and did some things that'll hopefully do some things - about the ants.  

And  last night I was the mom on duty for a group of 8 kids at a giant neighborhood wide field day event - almost 900 kids involved - where every single kid dressed in orange.  Except for one in my group who wore a banana suit around most of the evening.  Which turned out to be a novel way to keep up with them.  


Hours of fun followed by a sleepover, an early morning football game, baseball practice and a baseball game.  And one kid is out of town on a scout trip making my load a little easier. 


So when this afternoon rolled around and I felt a nap calling, I slept in my heavenly bed while the kids watched the ultra violent Transformers movie.  Because we're only 95% good parents around here.  The other 5% goes out the window when I'm sleepy. 


But that's family.  Ours anyway.  And sadly, with all that's been going on.... my mind has not wandered toward Easter or holy week or much of anything else really.  Well, I did at one point think about what we might want to eat on Easter.  Probably some more of my pound cake because it's good enough to be  ant approved.   




But y'all it's time.  Time to put aside all the other and get my heart right where it needs to be this holy week.  And God knows, he really really knows, that my heart fluctuates with the wind.  

It's time to walk through the loneliness of my savior's rejection, the hours of doubt, questioning, and hurt -  and get to the point where I can realize just how big a gift I am given - every. single. dang. day.  


And as much as I like to think of God as a loving and merciful god, one all caring and providing of his love and grace even in my least moments, he's also very much a God of justice and of answers and collection of debt.  A God of wrath, for those who deserve it.  And I deserve it.  Because I never did anything not to deserve it.   


So thinking along those lines.... What if God made us answer for our shortcomings?  ... What if he were to pour out his wrath on mankind - in answer for each moment we have fallen short of his wish for us?  


Well... turns out, He did.  And THAT's where the gift was given. 

On that day, on the cross, on the bruised and beaten body of Jesus.   Who took my place.  To make peace with all of history and my future so that I am fully able to receive the gift of his grace.  

I am truly thankful this week for the gift of feeling.  The power of memory.  The gift of realization and recognition of my shortcomings.  And most thankful to be welcomed into the arms of someone who has erased it all from view.  


And as I try to focus on the importance of the days ahead, and forget the day to day of being me, ... I'm trying to make thankfulness my goal.  Trying to remember the acceptance that was given to me, undeserved, yet poured out daily again and again.  Because of the season of Easter.  

And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
 

Ephesians 3:18


Today you touched a life without even knowing it. Because you were you.


One day husband asked me, What color would your hair really be if you didn't do anything to it?  Why not just ask me how much I weigh, you crazy man?   Straight to the heart, folks.  Then we went to lunch, and time to pay?   He looked over at me  - expectantly -  like I was gonna do it.  Another of many opportunities to ask him the question I tend to ask him most.....What's WRONG with you?  
 
I think the more comfortable we get around each other, the easier it gets to just say stuff.  Stuff that maybe shouldn't be said.  Stuff that we wish we could take back. (And it goes both ways.  It gets easier to not say the things that maybe we should.)   And it's not just at home...   


This week my mouth spoke before my brain had time to stop it.  Not unkind words, but definitely careless.  Words possibly heard by  a coworker and completely insensitive to a loss suffered in his family.  Totally unintentional on my part, but that doesn't matter.  I still said it.  Ears still heard it.  And then I felt horrible - about 2 hours later - because darn if it didn't take me that long to realize.   And I apologized for insensitivity and carelessness and thoughtlessness and all the other bad things I could label myself with in said apology. 

So once again words weigh heavily on my mind.  Good words and bad, words with careful thought and words spit out spur of the moment.  And realizing again that our words carry the weight of the world in them - even when we have no idea their impact.  And thinking today about kind words and thankful words and opportunity to share them with those around us.   

A while back I received the nicest compliment from a gentleman at the gym where I work.  Something about my approachability, and a kind of beauty that will never fade.  And I think my mouth fell open in shock.  Amazingly good stuff.   And I just took it all in.  Like a compliment hungry sponge.  And it could've totally been a senior moment for him, and he might take it all back tomorrow..... But I take what I can get.  


How wonderful to be pulled aside for a conversation of thanks, not complaints.  For praise, not criticism.  Because y'all .... there's plenty of that stuff out there.  

These particular kind words came from a man that recently had a serious health scare.  So now with a renewed love of life, he appears to be making sure he uses his days for good.  And my heart heard his kind words.  And I had to say, WOW... he sees THAT?...  In  ME?  


And knowing that growth can't come without challenge, here's one for all of us today.  Let's see how easy is it to lean right over and say something nice to someone.  Go ahead and try it now.  Now.  And then maybe that person will lean right over and say something nice to someone else - or even back to you.  Or maybe both of you will venture out a little further and say something nice to someone on the street or at the gym or at work or at the grocery store which is totally where we all need a big dose of nice words.

Maybe you like the way your friend does something so great, or how she makes others feel comfortable and happy when around her.  Maybe she makes the world's best chocolate cake.  So say it.  Tell her.  Because she needs to hear it today.  She really wants to hear it today.  And she's waiting for you to be the one to start the conversation. 

So I'll start.... you are pretty darned amazing at what you do.  Emptying the dishwasher twice, the four loads of laundry - and still not all caught up, the cooking, teaching, and errand running, the day to day of your job, the way you smile, laugh, and do that other thing all your own.  

Today you touched a life without even knowing it.  Because you were you.  And all that love and time you put into your family and friends today?  It made a big difference.  Because with those little moments, you left a big piece of good behind in them. 

Blessings to you today.  

(and in answer to my husband's hair question.... blonde.  But maybe not exactly this shade.)

So I've had to ask myself some things. Things regarding the why of the blog. Do I want to worry if you like me or not? No I do not.

There are times that I feel overwhelmed when I just shouldn't feel overwhelmed.   And times I feel like I've taken on more than I should have.  And when I feel like I'm just doing stuff all wrong. 


And this little place, my corner of the internet used to be a place of sweet rest for me.  A place of comfort and security and thoughtfulness.  But as of late, it really hasn't been.   Too often lately it's turned into a place of worry and stress and what ifs.  And why nots.  And I don't knows.  

So I've had to ask myself some things.  Things regarding the why of the blog.  

Because it all started out as a place for me to write simply for the gift of writing.  And for my kids to get to know me better as they grow old enough to read along.  But then it became something else, too.  It became a public place - where everyone knows my ups and downs and all arounds.  And I love y'all knowing all that.  Because all the time I hear people tell me that what I write makes them feel normal.  Because I am 100% grade A normal - nothing more, nothing less.   And truthful.  And some other things.

But I'm at a place where I have to wonder if I'm doing all this for the right reasons anymore.  Because my words used to come faster than I could type.  And they came from a place that I never even knew I had.  And along the way I realized that those words were not mine at all.  That I was just the one doing the typing.  

And lately I've had a little ugly feeling that maybe I've lost sight of the original plan for this little space.  My little spot got lost... and if I may, and you know I must, quote the lovely Miranda Lambert on this one.... I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am. So I promptly administered the heart of Kristi survey....

Am I a writer?  No I am certainly not. 

Am I a blogger? Kinda and only sometimes. I'm good for about one post a week. Maybe two.  More than that and I risk sacrificing quality control and my soul along with it. 

Do I want to continue to share my days with you?  Yes I do.  Absolutely. 

Do I want to worry if you like me or not?  No I do not.  

Do I want to worry if I am growing a booming readership?  Uh Uh.  Nope. 

Do I want to write for the hearts that need to hear what words I am blessed to share?  Yes.

(And on another note... Do I know what to feed the kids for dinner tonight? No I do not.)

But I think the survey of my heart has called me by the right name. A child of God that when and if my heart is in tune to the right place and motivation, I can do some kinda good things.  And the survey also says  - with my whole heart -  that this place has to be a place for worship.  And a place for sharing.  And for caring and giving, and telling and encouraging.

And it can't be made to be more than that.  Or bigger than that.  Not now anyway.  So as you read along on occasion, please help a girl out.  Pray for me as I listen for the words I'm asked to say.  That my heart will be open to the right motivation and message that is needed to reach into this giant world today.  

And y'all.... you and you and you, too,.... you can do the same.  With the kindness of spirit that God has placed in you -  you can change a day and maybe even a life for the better.  

Thank you for each time you share a part of your day here.

My heart of darkness... and in times of chaos, a violent streak

Yesterday I sat on the school playground while kid 3 played. And I kept myself busy texting a friend on the lifelong dilemma of women everywhere... the hypothetical topic of marrying a man that I don't love - but who is proclaiming his love for me - on his death bed.  Would I marry him or not?  
So first a quick fact check.... 
 
1.  Is this happening to me now or going to happen to me soon?
2.  Will the man I don't really love die sooner or later?
3.  What do I get out of the deal?

And based on my research, I totally decided to marry him on the spot.  Because he'll be dying very soon and leaving me his war pension which I could really use to pay for kid 2's braces.  

My heart is obviously filled with darkness.

And just the night before, in the midst of our evening chaos, and as my words came out before I could stop them, I may or may not have made a threatening gesture at my husband with a frying pan.   Followed by a not very nice text later that evening as I continued to harbor my anger. Because I didn't like the look he gave me when he walked in and witnessed the 12th circle of hell in our kitchen. 

Once again, heart of darkness... and in times of family chaos, a violent streak. 

But the worst part is that husband was returning from the grocery store.  With food.  And goodness for our family.  

As a new wife and mom years ago, a wiser woman than I told me that all works well if we can just focus on the hundreds of things our loved ones do well, and over look the few they do wrong.  

So David's response to my meanness?  He replied to my message the next day... I am erasing your less than loving message and writing you a much happier reply.  I love you even when ...........  Have a wonderful day today.   

And I have to wonder how many times each day that a loving God forgives the tons I do wrong, and gives me chance after chance to get it right? 
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