Because in my younger years I didn't think. And I also wore teeny sizes.

Sometimes I get on the blog and wonder why on earth people read this.  Or that.  Especially this.... chapter 114 of Nothing Much Going on Around Here.   I figure people read it for the same reason my mother always read my diary.  This blog really is my diary, after all....and I learned that if someone's gonna sneak around and try as she might to find out some good or not so good stuff, may as well just be an open book.  So I am.  And it is.  The blog.  And thank you for being nosy enough about my life to read all about it.  

Husband just called from the fire station suggesting that I take a look at a house nearby listed for somewhere in the half million range.  Maybe a first hint that he's going crazy.  THAT, and he confused the words ice cream and chicken not long ago.  I've never gotten those two confused.  Yet. 

Then he popped the big news of how he found his dream vacation property in Ben Wheeler, Texas.  And for all you that live in or near Ben Wheeler, I now know where you are and that you are the Wild Hog Capital of Texas.  And more than anything I would like to visit you and learn as much as I can about those hogs.  Husband thinks it would be lovely out there.  We'd even have our own pond.  We'd just have to haul off that old trailer ourselves.  That's part of the deal.  

Have y'all ever heard me mention how big city firemen - I think all of them - eventually get the itch to move to the country?   Buy some land to hunker down away from the ills of the city and just fish a lot.  It's a direct result of what I think must be post traumatic stress from the job.  And I'm not joking about that one.  

But the rest of the story..... the good stuff that you really stopped by to read.... I had a dream last night that my husband and I were sitting on the couch - along with some faceless, shapeless lady - and he was just chatting her up all crazy like.  And maybe I made this part up in my post dream haze, but he may or may not have been rubbing her shoulders.  And in the dream he looked over at me, then at his lady friend, and told her .... not what you might think.... he told her that maybe we shouldn't have such intelligent big word conversations..... so Kristi can talk too.  Weird.  Or maybe sad.  (And to put your mind at rest, know that my mind is already there.  I have no buried fear of my husband rubbing anything that he shouldn't.  And it would be A-OK with me if he uses as  many big words as he likes as long as I don't have to study and prepare to participate.)

But it wasn't the actual dream that stuck with me so much.  It was the fact that I dreamed, again, of something that placed me on the outside of whatever - looking in at something that I wasn't a part of.  Kinda like I felt this week when my oldest turned 14.  Without fanfare.  And almost without me. 

We just sent him off to scout camp this weekend  - with what we think was a head nod.  Not a full goodbye.  And I knew that would happen so I hugged the heck out of him before he left the house.  And he returned the hug with a one arm kind of thing.... like his other arm was missing.  One time in college when I had to do my laundry in the apartment complex laundry room there was a bulletin posted ..... be on the watch for a one arm man approaching women in the laundry room.  Maybe that man gave one arm hugs as well.   Like my son.  

So I guess the real topic of this post is change. And the phases of life.  And how this new chapter of me is a work in progress.  

Today the TV was on in the gym and my mean girl side showed to the world.  When I announced through my headset microphone that Nikki Newman from The Young and the Restless is just too old to still be suffering such anguish.  For gosh sake she's been a prostitute and stripper, joined a cult, and has married and divorced her on screen love, Victor, 4 times in her character's history.  Now I think she's the CEO of some giant cosmetic company, recently discovered a long lost son,  and has taken up needlepoint.  Anyway, I think I said she's looking a little tired from the drama and maybe she should retire and get a dog.  And what it all boiled down to was that I judged miss Nikki and declared her too old for all the nonsense, no matter how pretty she dresses it up.

And later that day as I sat resting by the pool I thought about how someone made me feel a little out of sorts with the same kind of thinking.... Or at least I thought she was thinking some stuff.  With her young college aged eyes and pre baby body.

This week I went shopping for work clothes, workout clothes for me.... when my young sales helper confessed to me her teeny sizes as she handed me mine.  And then she asked me if I teach?  Yes, I teach, young miss.  A little sweatin to the oldies I guess to you.... And I could hardly try on my new beautiful clothes because of the giant chip on my middle aged shoulder at that point.  And bless her, she didn't do anything but act her age - which I did, too, when I was 18.   And as much as I consider myself experienced and accomplished at what I do, I came out feeling like I need a diet and a cane.  But I bought the cutest running skirt anyway.  You should get one.

It's a crazy mixed up world we live in where the healthy, strong and beautiful walk among us but feel insecure and generally icky - for no good reason. Phased out.... put out to pasture in Ben Wheeler, Texas.  To be eaten alive by wild hogs.  

But I know I didn't ask myself at age 18 what I would be like in 30 years.  Or even ask myself what I would want to be like.  And I know at age 14  I probably gave my parents a fair number of fits - and maybe they wanted to cut off one of my arms.  

Not till I got to here did I look around to see who I became.  And not until I had kids of my own - that I hope to give an open minded perspective - did I ever have one myself.  I think.  Because in my younger years I didn't think.  And I also wore teeny sizes.  

And I don't know why I consider all the new changes as a phasing out... why am I not seeing it all as an adding to?  Adding to my resume' of character and experience.  I don't think God looks at each of us and thinks about knowing us back when..... I think he looks at us and thinks about knowing us then and now and forever.  

And I'm waiting for the day when I quit seeing myself through the eyes of others and finally see myself through my own achievements and growth.  But more than anything, I'm waiting on the day that I can finally see myself through the eyes of a God that made me with these exact strengths and flaws and talents.  I'm waiting to see myself as beautifully loved and accepted by the the one who truly should be the only one that matters.  Notice I said waiting.  

So shame on me for doubting myself and questioning stuff that was never a question.  And shame on me for picking on daytime diva Nikki Newman for her life choices.  

To you, Nikki,.... I apologize for my judgmental words today.  You just keep doing what you do in that big ol mansion every day.  Keep wearing beautiful dresses and that gorgeous blonde hair as your crown.  You wear it well. 




 

Today I've been a mom for 14 years


I read a lovely Facebook post recently dedicated to Mothers Day.  Such an un-Kristi-like kind of lovely that it made me feel left out of the lovely mothers club.  It was a gal remembering her birth experience by visiting her midwife, re-living the moments together at her private birthing center..... and following a trail of memories in the form of baby footprints  - left somewhere by someone who had enough calm and wherewithal to put ink on a baby foot and stamp it on a wall for posterity.  

I also saw a book at the library not too long ago about designing a beautiful birth plan.  And I almost checked it out to see what I missed out on.   Or at least what the heck it was all about.... because I can't imagine.  I've done it -  birth - 3 times - each unique - and each without a written plan.  And each delivering me a beautiful baby.  But not a single experience counted as peaceful and beautiful by my definition anyway.  (And would I do it all again?  Absolutely.)
  Kid 1 surprised us by coming 5 1/2 weeks early.  And I was so upset and scared that I remember his birth mostly through a highly sedated haze.  It was either that or hit me over the head with a hammer.  So we went with medication.  Don't be offended.  And husband says the kid arrived in our lives with a  shockingly misshapen head, and loves to tell the story of how quickly he put a cap on him to save me from fear and/or heartbreak.  

Kid 2 came minutes shy of being born in our car.  And my biggest memory of that particular one was telling the doctor that hell no... I don't want to wait for my husband to get here and share the experience.  Let him park the car and meet his kid later. 

And kid 3 almost killed me.  With too much epidural medicine coursing through my body - enough to shut down all my important functions - like breathing and heart beat - I was saved by some quick thinking and well prepared medical staff.  Hallelujah. 

So as I remember their births and consider becoming a mom - those are memories that will forever be with  me.  But I think of becoming a mom more, really, when I started sharing my life with my boys each day.  For me, the mothering is in the days shared, the years passed, the lessons learned and taught.   

So I let Mothers Day pass without any blog acknowledgement.  Maybe because I couldn't say it right - yet.  Then one day our power went out in a hellacious storm ... and I thought I might have to write like Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie fame - by candlelight and home spun wisdom - and it all made sense...

THAT, right there,... the rolling along just fine, all good and normal, and suddenly the lights go out.  That's real mothering.  Kinda like when we moms think we have this parenting thing all figured out -  but the baby changes his mind and the agreed upon plan.  The whole she's got the house all organized and daily dinner on the table by 5 - till the kids all of a sudden turn into busy bodies and we're eating a poptart on the way to karate class.  



It's the orthodontics, the skinned knees and broken arms.  The book reading and kisses goodnight and the first days of school.  It's the joys of new beginnings and listening to disappointments.  It's the day to day togetherness and growing together that builds a family and makes a person a parent for a lifetime.  Birth or however you arrived at loving your child.   

It's the closeness and the willingness to let go.  And I have to pray for the strength to do that every day.  And at the end of each day I guess I should ask myself if I did anything at all good in pointing these boys in the right direction. 


Today I've been a mom for 14 years.  Happy birthday, my sweet Ethan.  And at first, I felt kinda' left out of his birthday hoopla.  Because there just wasn't any hoopla this time around.  No party, no pretty wrapped presents, no special plans or wishes - just a request for waffles for breakfast.  And a new hat to take to camp this week.   

But after the day together doing not much of anything out of the ordinary or special to mark the occasion - it makes pretty good sense to me that way after all.  None of us want to be celebrated on just one day.  Maybe it's just better to make each day the special occasion that it should be.  And when the actual day rolls around on the calendar each year, make sure and eat cake.   

This is a really short post.... because. Just because.

An old college boyfriend asked me not long ago if he ever took me on his famous date of antiquing followed by a sweet small town picnic.  And sadly, I had to tell him that I missed out on that one.  And then I had looming self doubt about why I didn't get my picnic.  Anyway,....  it made me think that every young man should come prepared with some creative dating ideas and a good handle on romance and the finer things in life......thank you my sweet friend for the inspiration. 




So I spent a day this week teaching my older two the fine art of antiquing followed by a little afternoon rocking chair sitting.  And I must say they did good.

And also this week we....

enjoyed a kid showing us his best ..... followed by a concert at our beautiful symphony center.  Very proud of him. 



Worked a little and painted a few more things blue around the house.  Delightful, I say... But the boys think their real mom must've been abducted by aliens and replaced with a crazy home improvement one from Mars. 



And we sent one kid off to camp for half a week for the time of his little life.  It's good to be 10.


 
 So this is a really short post.... because.  Just because.  

I'm trying to soak in every moment with these fellas this summer.  And that means spending less time sitting here at the computer.  I'm still around - here and yon, probably painting something else blue.  But at least doing that, I'm home and I can hear their noise sweet words, their games, even their fights.  I can clean up the million drinking glasses they use each day and vacuum up chips out of the couch.  But I'd be in such a different place without all that.  And I'll take chip crumbs any day over the alternative.  


So if I'm not on here as much this summer... never fear.  Maybe nothing interesting's going on, maybe I have no wisdom to impart, or maybe the boys have me tied up in the closet.  Or maybe I'm just taking it all in and enjoying the days.  

here's a short version of life lessons learned from my dad. Or maybe better titled, I'll drink a beer to that.

I never knew I had one ear that didn't match the other till I was in high school.  Maybe my junior year,... when a  friend noticed and and acted all horrified.  Like I was the bearded lady at the circus.  And up until that point I had never - ever - noticed it myself.   Cutie pie short haircut and all.   Funny how that happens sometimes - or a lot - when people think they need to say things that really don't need to be said.  For our own good, you know.... (And my ear?  It's out there now so let's discuss.... It does stick out a bit more than the other, not quite an identical twin, but a good ear just the same.)  And I decided back then that it was okay.  And I pierced that guy 4 times to accentuate what?  The positive, of course.   

And several years ago at work a lady started off a conversation by telling me that I am a beautiful young lady.... but I'll want to do something about ......... and she pointed out a flaw that I may or may not had taken note of on my own.  But up until that day I stood in front of a hundred or more people every day able to carry my head and my _______ high.  And even though I thought her back handed compliment and advice was as mean as anything I had ever heard, I didn't cry.  Not then.  But later.... and a lot. 

And this past week I received a comment on the blog, that if I let it, could've discouraged me.  And for me and my delicate sensibilities, criticism - when not so much about the quality and content of my work - but more about me as a person - can for a moment provoke doubt. But a moment is all it got, y'all.  And then it got a gracious reply to the sender with well wishes and a sincere hope for a better day tomorrow - and then it got the delete button.  

 

 So I took that comment, along with so many others over the years and piled them all into a growing tower of courage, character and contentment.  With a touch of crazy mixed in for good measure.  And just like the rest of us, I can look back on days filled with ugly and beautiful, hard and soft, loud and clear messages and lessons learned that have brought me to HERE.  To NOW.  And to the road leading me to the next OPPORTUNITY.  And with it being Fathers' Day, here's a short version of life lessons learned from my dad.  Volume 1... or maybe better titled, I'll drink a beer to that.  

He showed me that everyone's gonna cry sometimes.  But don't do it for long.  And go ahead and listen to the wise words of a good country song while you're at it, a cry in your beer song as he called it.  Then get back to doing what you do. 
 

He showed me with 3 fingers on each hand and short arms that it's okay to be different.  And different doesn't mean bad.  It just means YOU.  Just tailor your shirts - and your strengths - to fit, and you'll be standing out in a crowd for all the right reasons.  

He showed me that problems are here, there and everywhere.  But that it's not okay to make your life about your problems.  

And he showed me that leaving a bad situation can be good.  And that sometimes sticking with it through tough times can be even better.  

He taught me to put all else aside now and then... and just sit.  And that a good Willie Nelson song is good company to sit with.   Here's my favorite.  I can smell the cigar smoke and the steak on the grill in the memory of my mind with this one.  I miss my dad. 

 

And I guess mostly he taught me that being me is okay.  I saw all this through a life lived in quiet participation and observation by a man born with certain limitations, and more added as he went about his business.  But in the end a man that fished away his troubles and hunted for alternatives and found a good fit in just being who he was.  

So to my critics out there, here's what I know as big and powerful as the day is long.  It takes more courage to be the one putting yourself in front of the crowd and taking a risk for the chance that it just may turn out to be good - than it does to be the lonely voice of negativity hiding in that crowd.  I choose to stand in front.  

And I know that I would rather choose contentment with where I am today and keep developing the ability to recognize the sometimes ever so subtle gifts that may be there waiting for me.  I choose to look up instead of down.  And thankful that I have a choice.  

And the little bit of crazy?  It runs in the family.  Really.  

Philippians 4:11
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Contentment#sthash.xSMa3Ciu.dpuf
(My dad was born with 3 fingers on each hand, short arms, one permanently bent with a non functioning elbow joint, no wrist, and a hand.  The other arm was as long as to my elbow and was made of a shoulder and a hand to work with.  He also had a tremendous curvature of the spine and for the last 20 years of life, had to maneuver the best he could on crutches or a motorized scooter having lost his pelvic bone, hip and thigh.)
 
...........And was still the best hunter and fisherman these parts ever knew.  Just needed a little help getting in the boat.

Philippians 4:11-13

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I had a dream last week. One of those bad mom dreams where I yelled a lot and then a whole lot more and...


I had a dream last week.  One of those bad mom dreams where I yelled a lot and then a whole lot more and then ended up flying out of the driveway late for school and knocking down the backyard fence.  Thankfully just a dream.  Especially since I can't afford the 12 year old's orthodontic cost of a million dollars AND a new fence. 

But in the dream as I yelled and screamed and totally lost it.... I looked at my kids and they were little.  Like they used to be when they totally depended on me to get them dressed and shoes on and buckled into their car seats.  So I was a bad mom yelling at helpless sweet faced kids in cute pajamas.

And I'm not really sure what that dream was trying to tell me.... dreams are mirrors of our minds or souls or something like that, I think.  Maybe the last week of school was bringing out the unrest and stress of all the days of the year.  Or maybe I have a split personality.  

Last night we watched that old Bill Murray movie, What About Bob - where multi-phobic Bob follows his new psychiatrist on a family vacation and ends up driving the doctor crazy... And while playing video games in the next room, I heard the 10 year old saying he was doing baby step therapy through the zombie attack of  whatever game they were playing.  But funny that he quoted the movie and stuck it into his day.  Which, boom... right there.... shows that kids are just little ears and eyes, sponges sucking in all the world around them.  Especially the world of their parents.

But outside of dreams, we don't yell at our house.  Other than my husband during a Dallas Cowboys game or the natural loudness of the kids - like an all boy band beating on a thousand drums, ....we speak.  In words.  Words spoken in a way that would be worth  repeating. 

As a parent I refuse to yell to be heard.  It decreases the message and places the focus on the one doing the yelling.  Not the issue and the conversation at hand.  Which solves absolutely nothing unless you're yelling for someone to jump out of the way of a runaway train.  Or saving them from a lion attack.  Or an alligator.

And over time I've noticed that God doesn't really yell at me either.  The quiet of his voice can be heard if I really listen.  Today it was the message of rest.  A day where I needed to stay at home and take a nap and not do much else. 

But I also know from experience that the loudness of the world can drown out the quiet of God's voice.  And I become caught up in it and try to catch up and keep up and end up nowhere.  Nowhere I'm supposed to be anyway.

But I think that in our quiet times and still times and gentleness of voice and message to others in the way we live our lives, God is able to speak his loudest message to the world.

So for the upcoming week, my hope is this... that when my words are wrong or altogether absent of meaning, I have to trust that in my silence God can find an opportunity to speak.  

adorable art courtesy of Erin Leigh's sweet blog. Visit here.

Sometimes being still and knowing your place in God's great plan is the biggest accomplishment of them all

Today a lady came to class with her entire mid section wrapped in plastic wrap.  She said she thought it would help her lose weight faster.  So I told her it may help a bit just as long as she never eats or drinks again ... replacing her fluids... because she's just sweating it out a little more under that sandwich wrap - like if we put her tummy in the oven.  Anyway, there's a perfect example of the many lies this world loves to tell us every day.


And today was the last day of school.  Maybe you heard loud and  joyful yelling coming from our house.  Followed by an afternoon of endless video games to celebrate.  And topped off with burgers and chocolate malts as any good celebration should. 

And I didn't take lots of pictures and Facebook share them with the world.  Pictures of certificates and medals and sports trophies just aren't important enough to me - today - to make that the focus of what my kids are about.  Another one of those lies the world likes to tell us, I think - that we are our accomplishments....  


Not to say  that I'm not proud of their grades and progress .... I absolutely am.  But I'm more proud of the things I can't take pictures of.

Like the days when choices were made for good.  Times that words were spoken in kindness to others, times of growth in maturity and responsibility and trust.  And proud of the times, 9 times out of 10... or maybe 8 times out of 10... that when these boys are out of my viewing area, they're the same boys that I see at home.  Maybe even better.  


I'm proud  of lessons learned.  Lessons spoken in an almost failed year of Spanish class, lessons with new band instruments, and even a couple of lessons in love.  Proud, also, not so much of the sports that they played, but of the courage to try out and risk the never ending question of Am I good enough to make the team?  

And yes, sweethearts, you were good enough for the team.  But bigger and louder and more important than that is that you are more than good enough.  You are good.  You are good inside, outside and all around.  Good in thought, and action, in love and caring, in laughter and rest and quiet and loud ..... and in all the mess of being 10, 12 and 13.... you are good.  


Your accomplishments this year are more than you can ever imagine today.  You started out the year hesitant and even afraid.  Wondering and wishing to be home instead.  You started out the year with high hopes, but also with a mark on you already - the memories of years past that made you wonder if this one will be any better - the mark of a learning difference that challenges you each day of your life.  You started new relationships and left others behind.  All while learning some do's and dont's along the way.  

You went on new adventures and gained more independence... widening your world to bigger than you ever dreamed the first day of school.  You tested some boundaries and my patience more times than I can count.  But I'm not counting.  



So boys, never listen to the stories of the world telling you that you have to achieve and move faster and forever forward to be a success.  Sometimes being still and knowing your place in God's great plan is the biggest accomplishment of them all.   You are exactly the person that you were always meant to be - already and right now.   Made to do amazing things that awards and certificates in the 4th, 6th and 7th grades can't even begin to hint about. 

You are at this beautiful age, looking into a giant well of possibility and opportunity in this life when you listen and choose your perfect calling.   And joy.  Joy, the award of all awards.   



And boys, my heart is forever full of hope and fear, of concern and praise.  Of tired and new-found energy for another day -  because you are worth it. 

For Ethan, Christopher and Sam.... so proud of you because you are you.  Happy summer break. 
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