Names have been changed to protect the ridiculous

Once I had a blog comment that was so mean and nasty that it made me a little bit sad - for the person who wrote it,... not me.  But then I breathed and decided, WHAT THE HECK?  

It was basically a full page rant about how I portrayed our life in such a way that made dear reader feel bad.  So I tried to figure it out and couldn't so basically replied to said reader that I was confused.  More so than usual.  I also told her that I wholeheartedly believe my children to be three-fourths rotten and that my shower is held together with duct tape, so her comment must've been a case of mistaken identity.  

Then this week I received this one from a reader named Jim. Names have been changed to protect the ridiculous.  This was in response to me mentioning volunteering a few hours in the concessions stand at school over spring break.   Y'all - the post was about Jesus!  And I just don't remember Jesus stopping by for a hot dog that day.    Anyway, basically,... here's what I opened up for dessert on Friday night while on weekend away with Fireman Dave.

  "Spring break!?! For the past 8 years mine and Kate's life from February thru May has been spending countless hours in that boring concessions stand. ....... Blah, Blah, Blah  ....... We have learned to put our desires aside for the needs of the boys because before you know it they will be gone! .......  We have never tooted our own horns but did this out if necessity for our boys. Thank you and Fireman Dave for stepping up for such a meaningless task as the boring concession duty."

Good Lord.  What if I had suggested we add organic and vegetarian options to the concessions stand menu?  I shudder to think.  ....   

So I replied with words of confusion, plus some others.....and really just wanted to ask him what Jesus would do if he was irritated by one of my blog posts. 

"Hi Jim, thank you reading the blog and joining hundreds of others who are looking for humor and community in the every day. I try to respond thoughtfully to each comment and especially wanted to spend some time on this one. This post had zero to do with baseball and nothing at all to do with parent involvement. I just liked the picture of the concession stand so it made it into the post. The post, however, was entirely about recognizing our weaknesses in this season of Lent - and giving those over to the power of the risen Christ in all his Easter glory. But you did give me an idea for a future post about how to chase away new parent volunteers and discourage the future progress of established programs. I was hoping I could quote your above comment?"

Y'all....  as a writer, I want people to react.   And I want people to see themselves in my words.  But I lean toward hoping that might happen in a positive way.  But no matter what, it's always a bit enlightening to me to see how a reader can find himself lost in the details of the topic, yet totally miss the topic. So today, this particular exchange made me think of a couple of things,... things that I think are important for all of us, no matter your stage of life.   

1.  Bullies love to hide behind screens.  

I've seen it before and God bless them all, I know I'll see it again.  But y'all, here's what matters - I get to choose my response.  And I get to choose how much head space things like this will take up in my brain.  I also get to choose to aggravate a situation or to calm it.  With what you say?  With grace.  Grace of the etiquette and politeness variety, and a big ol' giant helping of grace from above.  Let me remind myself here exactly what that word, grace, means.  Grace is what is given to us by God though we do not deserve it.  Though we did not earn it or work for it or even warrant time in his heavenly appointment book to ask for said grace.  Because you know what?  He just gives it.  And on this occasion, as with so many others, I choose to accept it.  

But I hope you'll especially remember one thing - whatever your calling, your purpose or your mission, you just go ahead and do it with pride and confidence because someone out there needs it.  And it takes a thousand times more courage to put yourself out there to share your gifts than it takes for someone to sit at a keyboard and try to break your spirit.  Grace, y'all.  Give it to others and then take some for yourself.  

2.   The good, bad and ugly of volunteering - or in other words, No.  I don't need a bigger plate.   

Y'all, I have always enjoyed working for the good of the school or the church or whatever comes along that calls my name.  And though I can list a thousand things my parents did wrong, in this area, they were amazing.  They taught me how to give to others by investing in the success of our school.  

But when it comes right down to it, I've had to learn over the years to say no.  And then to not feel bad about it.  I give what I can.  I do what I can.  But when its time to draw a line between volunteer work, and time given to my family,  I will always choose my family.  I'm of the firm belief that years from now, on my dying day, and over the sounds of angels singing, ... I will not look back and regret all the volunteer hours I failed to do.  But I would so regret even a minute not spent investing in this family.  

I've heard it said that I need to get a bigger plate to hold all my commitments.  Have you heard that one?  OH MY GOSH - That's just crazy talk.  Don't you dare believe it.  Not even for a second.  We all have the same 24 hours in our day, and what we hold close as our personal values never has to compete or even match what someone else holds as theirs. 

And on this point, I actually do agree with my blog reader, Jim.  Yes, before I know it, my boys will be grown and gone.  Which is exactly why I try to spend as much time with them as possible.  My priorities have always been to make a comfortable, safe and happy home for this family.  Loving with food is my game, and I love to play it through expressions of cakes and cookies and the like.  And I adore whatever time I get to watch TV or just sit on my bed with one of the boys and hear about his day.  I actually do these things in between yelling at them to clean their room and to get that pile of wet towels from behind the commode. 

I've always likened myself to the furniture around here - particularly the couch - not because it's sagging in the cushions and starting to show some wear - but in the way that everyone loves the couch, but takes it for granted till it's gone.  I want to be the mom that is so present in the home that I would be missed if I were gone.  That is my priority.  Because, yes, one day the boys will be gone and I can't get these times back.  Today is the day I need to invest in these relationships so I can still have one with them in years to come.  And if that means that I don't get to PTA as much, or help with every sport my kids play, I'm totally okay with that.  I don't need a bigger plate, I just need to fill the one I have with what matters most.   

Am I saying that you shouldn't volunteer?  Absolutely not.  I fill my days writing for several local publications, working, writing my own ministry right here, and trying to do what I can to help the school.  So no, I'm not at all 100% doting on my angels, pirates and thieves.  I'm just saying I think it a good ratio of time invested in and out of the home, if we devote only our available time and energy to help with our chosen activities.  So yes,.... teach Sunday School, be on the PTA board, and sell the heck out of those concessions.  Because you're building something wonderful in those areas where we can all benefit.  

But I'm standing firm in my power to say no.  No to over commitment, no to feeling pressured to accept someone else's priorities as my own, and most of all, my power to say a well placed NO, to make room for the things that matter. 

But I can fix that problem!

A couple of mid week housekeeping things.... and I'm not talking about vacuuming. 

In the first two days of this week I have managed to access a very graphic porn site (more on that later) and get an unexpected in-office medical procedure.  Which are two things I have always said were my favorite ways to start a new work week.

The porn thing - was totally accidental.  Totally eye opening.  And totally time consuming as I then had to run a malware scan on my laptop to make sure I didn't get any more porn surprises.  Y'all, here's a quick lesson in internet safety.  DON'T TRUST ANYTHING.  Basically, just do yourself a big ol' favor and when you do a google search for places in town that buy old gold jewelry - don't choose the one at the top of the list.  There might be something on there remotely related to gold, but I'm pretty sure it's probably being worn by a naked woman named Candy.

But all is well now, and lesson learned.

And the in-office procedure thing.....  totally not what I went in for, but came out with anyway.  Now I'm spending the day at home with a bag of frozen green beans on my affected areas and trying to tell myself that I won't always look like Beast from Beauty and the Beast.  But I got to go back to bed after getting the boys off to school, and then I spent the day at home in hiding, cleaning closets and filing important documents from years gone by.

But we've run out of milk and some other necessities so I plan to teach Kid 3 how to use my debit card this afternoon so he can go in the store and I can lay low in the car.  But he's the natural born shopper out of the three and now that he has my personal spending info, I feel I'll need to check on my bank balance more regularly.

And lastly, let me say how much I appreciate everyone who comments and emails and such about blog posts that speak to them in a personal way.  There's always a pattern with my posts - the ones that are the saddest or contain my tell - all stories, get the most reads.  That means my darkest secrets get out to the most people.  I understand that.  I also understand that I have always thought of this blog as a mission, not so much as a message platform.  I'm always happy to know that the things I say here go on to better places.

BUT... it's also important to know that even if you LIKE me on Facebook - or my Angels, Pirates and Thieves Facebook page - that Facebook chooses who to share my posts withThat means you aren't guaranteed to get them each time.  In fact, if you have LIKED my Angels, Pirates and Thieves Facebook page, and I post on there, Facebook shares it only with a tiny percentage of my readers.  Sometimes they share it with ZERO - then they ask me to pay them to share it with others.  That's exactly why some of the bigger bloggers out there get so much press.  It's usually paid press - or, in Facebook words, a sponsored post.  

But I can fix that problem!  I can tell you how to subscribe to my blog posts via email so you can be the very first to know about my preferred porn sites fun and eventful days.  Sounds promising, I know.

Subscribe to Angels Pirates and Thieves email posts HERE.

I hope you'll think about it.  Once again, I can't see who reads or who subscribes, in case you're wondering.  And email addresses go through a subscription service, which is good because I'd totally forget to email you when my swelling goes down.

Y'all have a good week and be careful out there.  Life is such an adventure.

what on earth is she wearing... and some other things

Y'all, every time we travel I spend more time on social media than any other time in my life.  So last week I completely enjoyed everyone's spring break photos.  I lived vicariously through your photos of islands and snow and everything in between.  Because in real life I only saw Houston.  For 2 days.  One of which was in a hotel room that injured my shoulder with its hard as the floor mattress and lack of personal space.  But I did get to take a cute picture with Kid 3 trying to make the most of the situation.

This was the morning following the night where I came within millimeters of being knocked down on the sidewalk outside a pizza place as the boys sought revenge on each other for things gone wrong in said hotel room.  Seems I spend half my life looking out for my own safety and always on guard for things that can break even more than my spirit with these boys.

Kid 2 had baseball games all week so we had a very short window of time to travel.  I never knew high school teams played on school holidays but now we're totally in the mix and even selling concessions.  Which isn't really much fun at all - but I don't want to ever hear anyone say Kristi Walters is above selling hot cheetos for the good of her children.

And Howdy from Aggieland - my long ago home...On the way back to Dallas we took a good campus walk and ate lunch and tried to explain how college works to kids who have no clue.  Y'all, I loved College Station back then, and I really think I could probably grow to love it again, but it's so big and different now.  I really think I'm just a small town girl at heart.

So.  Lots of pictures, and they even include pictures of moi.  Which,... have you noticed?   I rarely share.  And THAT is the meat of today's post.....

Spoiler alert - stop reading now if stories of mental anguish and internal conflict bother you.  But keep reading if stories of strength and determination are encouraging. 

On our first night of the trip all five of us had to share a bathroom.  And we slept on the world's hardest mattresses, and Fireman Dave snored so much I wanted to smother him with a pillow.   I'm pretty sure I've said that exact same thing a million times.... Sleep deprivation turns me into something completely inexcusable.  And I think we both yelled near obscenities at each other in our middle of the night exhaustion, and prayed that the light of day would change our hearts.  Maybe it did his, but my shoulder was hurting something awful when we got up so I was still mad. 

Then we met our beautiful niece and her boys in Galveston and found out that it was way too cold to do much as far as beach behavior goes.  So we went to the candy store and a few other places and ended up piling into our car for a car picnic with a beach view. Then we went to an amusement park in a town called Kemah and let the boys do their thing while we waited and shivered in the wind.  And to end the day we ate at a place that Fireman Dave heard about on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, and that's when our story really begins. 

Y'all, I heard parts of me yelling out loud certain things that I try to hold back every single day.  Because my niece took a picture of us that night.  And I'd like to say it was because it was so cold and I was forced to wear Kid 1's big ol' jacket with my long skirt so I looked like an Amish woman who forgot she wasn't supposed to cut her hair... but it wasn't.  It was because no matter what else was going on and how much I love this family, all I could see was what I thought everyone else was going to see in that picture.  

What on earth does that mean, Kristi?  .......  

All I could see was what I wished I looked like in that picture. Because that's what its like to feed the negative fire that lives in me - ALL . THE . DANG . TIME.  Forget all the other things I could notice about the day and that picture - the fun, the family, the food, the opportunity to be somewhere out of our normal and to be there together.  That all disappears when put through the filter of my self doubt. 

And I laid there in bed that night and worried how many people were going to see that picture on Facebook and think to themselves, WOW... what happened to her?  And what on earth is she wearing?  ... And,.... some other things.  

Because I've just about decided that I don't know how to be nice to myself.  I still hear the voice in my head from my growing up years, yelling and telling me everything bad a child should never be told.  And on occasion I forget all that I've become and I still see the Kristi that I was introduced to back then.    Y'all, I think my brain knows the truth.  But the message gets all confused from mind to heart and back to the mind - all in an instant of worry that someone will think less than beautiful thoughts about me.

I've taken a lifetime of pride in being nice and friendly and the one who greets and smiles and gives.  And totally not trying to brag, but I've won heavenly awards for being the biggest over sharer of all time.  Yep.  I deserve a trophy, but I also find the best of conversations and sweet exchanges in the every day that way.  Um, hello sweet man in the express lane at the Tom Thumb last week.    But somewhere in the mix of what I love to do and what I think other people see in me - I get scared.  And I get sad.  And I lose sleep thinking that if I could just be this or that - or lose this much or wear the right clothes - that the world will see the perfect girl.  Or maybe I'm just hoping I'll finally see the perfect girl.

That half day we spent in Galveston, we walked by the hotel we were in when I had my first giant panic attack.  I had been having small hints of panic for months, and had called Fireman Dave to bring the ambulance to me on more than one occasion.  Bless that entire crew who patiently listened to me each time as I swore I was having a heart condition and that they just didn't know what the heck they were talking about see it yet on their fancy ambulance equipment.  Bless them for not just saying, um,...Mrs. Fireman Dave - our diagnosis is that you're dangerously teetering on the corner of bizarre behavior and off the deep end.

I've decided that we are our own worst enemies.  I say we meaning me because I think you're beautiful and have it all together - and would never wear Kid 1's jacket with a maxi skirt and flip flops.  I'll never live down that decision.  I also think that again, in this season of Lent, as we walk toward the cross of Easter, and as we reflect on our weaknesses - God given or hard earned - that we can use every situation to make a choice.  Do I let these annoying quirks of mine win the war?  Or just the occasional battle?

post script - this is NOT a post for you to comment on my inner beauty or my amazing combination of brains and strength all topped with a crown of platinum blonde hair.  So please, I do not want comments about me.  I want comments, if any, about how we can overcome ourselves and those mean little voices that slow us down from becoming awesome.   

post post script - part two of our two day spring break story to follow.  And you can guarantee that it contains some juicy insight about teenage phone addiction and the heartbreak that ensues when they have a mean mom. 

Happy almost spring...

You know what?  Spring is in the air and I can't wait to spend some much needed time with this family over spring break.  So I'm not writing a lot and for long, because you have to get busy lovin on your own people and soaking up every minute you can with them, too.  I hope it's doing something fun.  I'll try to post a few pictures on Instagram of things we see and do.  Or just of our kids looking bored.  You never know.  @angels.pirates.and.thieves

This week I just have a couple of little news reports  -

1.  the antique mirror hanging above our bed fell again and could've totally chopped my head off.  Luckily I was not in the bed - loosely translated meaning, I narrowly escaped death by said mirror for the second time since I bought that thing at a garage sale.  I'm not risking a third.  And another rug is history - once again, just helping us to clear the excess out of the house so we don't have to pack it or move it come construction time. 

2.  I had the nicest conversation with a man in the express lane at the Tom Thumb.  He let me go ahead of him in line, in exchange for him commenting on the unhealthy food choices in my basket.  Think cookies, donuts and ice cream sandwiches.  I assured him that I would not eat it all by myself, and that in fact if I would like even a single cookie, I would have to hide it in a top secret location to protect it from the boys. 

But then we had a lovely time talking about this and that and it left me feeling like we're both a little bit lonely for good conversation and a friendly smile at the grocery store and beyond. 

3.  And Kid 3 got thrown in school jail, In School Suspension, for not having his ID badge.  But the school didn't call to tell us that he would be in a holding pattern the entire day and missing all his classes, so I had to take care of that in the conversation with the principal to follow.  Turns out Kid 3, in his desperate attempt to save himself from lock up,  also tried to borrow a friend's ID badge and claimed that it belonged to him.  However, I just don't see the resemblance.  He chose a friend that looks an awful lot like like this...

So I can understand the principal's frustration at telling the two of them apart and all - but my point was that no kid should have to spend the entire day in school jail and miss all his important classes for not having his ID.  Especially since said kid has been going to that school for 2 years and it would be very easy to walk him to any teacher or administrator and identify him as a student on that campus.  So all said and done, conversation complete - Kid 3 was restored to the regular student body for the following day and all his unexcused absences that were given were forgiven. 

But thinking about my conversation with the man at the grocery store one minute, and minutes later, my talk with the school, what came to mind was that Y'all, we lack community.  We are terribly lacking in connection and understanding and togetherness.  And those are a few of the things I think every single one of us is looking for. 

I think that when the school or work or wherever gets so caught up in the policy of a subject, that they lose sight of the actual subject? ...... no one wins.  I miss the days of being familiar with family and neighbors and the manager at the grocery store.  I miss the days of everyone knowing the names of people around them, and putting faith in the fact that being around each other means a whole lot of something. 

Fireman Dave and I have been enjoying the spring weather lately as he's been landscaping the yard.  We've had at least 2 front yard picnics under the tree, and one just sitting on the porch steps.  One day he commented on how much better things would be if people would just sit on their porches again. 

Y'all, I totally agree. I plan to do my part to fix the problem. 

Happy almost spring time to everyone.  Maybe I'll see you on Instagram this week

I heard about praise

A couple of things that just popped into my head..... don't even ask why...

First, that if I accidentally hit the camera button on this laptop as I sit here and type in my bed on this sleepy Saturday night, the sight of me could scare the pants off even the bravest of someones.  Sad but true.  I think my presentation hit rock bottom right after my shower, which was right after my second trip to the grocery store and the cooking of two frozen pizzas. 

And second, as I laid here reading a book, and wondered what words I might have to share, I remembered a particular drive home from college.  Or from somewhere else when I was in college.  Y'all, it was college.... I could've been anywhere. 

I was either in my first ever car - looked just like this one - but then I wrecked it - again, .... college.

Or maybe it was the classy white Thunderbird whose window broke in the up position so I had to open the door to do anything - like to pick up drive through food, parking garage dealings and the like.  Our family always had used cars, but only used cars that broke down in the most inconvenient of places.  I think I already told y'all about the night the timing belt went out on my little black car on the way to the bank with the earnings from the gym, me in my leotard and suntan tights, broken down in front of a K Mart in the dark of night- .... good times.  And there was that time in southish Dallas where the car left me stranded between a gas station and a pay by the hour motel.  There was also that engine overheating incident on a busy freeway where I had to exit where no lady should have to exit alone.

But on one particular trip home from wherever, I think College Station - um, did I ever  mention I'm an Aggie?  It was the middle of the night.  And for the entire trip I was accompanied by the same 18 wheel truck.  Where I went, he went.  Same speed, side by side in our car and truck best friend lanes.  Until I got close to home where the truck and I parted ways for the first time in hours.

And the funny thing was that I never even had to stop to go to the bathroom - not even once.  Which is totally weird and out of the ordinary and something cosmic had to have been happening at that time.  The truck stayed with me until my exit off the freeway and I drove the rest of the way home alone.  And when I parked the car, it never started again.  The mechanic said there was no way that car should've made the trip that it just did.  And had I stopped at all, it would've left me stranded out on the freeway - back in the day of no cell phones.

And I've always thought that particular instance gave me a story worth telling time and again.  I like to think I had a guardian with me that night.  Because I also like to think it was an angel and not a crazy truck driving stalker following a young lady down the freeway in the dead of night.  I also like to think I had a companion, a guide, if you will, out there in the dark where I would've been terrified all alone.  And right now I think I just had a sad flashback of why I was out there in the first place - but that's an entirely different story,....

I like to think that things could've been different, in so many different combinations of possibilities.  But that the right one is the one that happened.  And that was just that I made it home safely.  I think this particular story comes to mind to me right now as I feel like I'm a little bit lost and alone on the road of parenthood.  And I feel like I need to just keep going, but part of me is just so ready to stop.  Maybe even for a bathroom break and a diet coke like I used to make at the one clean McDonald's between Dallas and College Station.

Or maybe I like this story because I feel like right now I need a guide.  Maybe I just need to be as trusting and brave as I was that night.  Or was I just young and ignorant?  All of the above, maybe.

But I learned after the fact that there were just parts to the story that I couldn't possibly know yet.  And that I didn't need to.  And that something made me keep going. And if nothing else, I know I need to find a little bit of that same mix of trust and ignorance blind faith that made the best parts of me back then.

Y'all, I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need to stop.  I need to stop working so hard and trying so hard, and stop worrying so much about how my house looks and how I look, and if my kids are going to turn out to be alright. 

Cut to Sunday afternoon, once again sitting in my bed typing.... nap time just minutes away.  Because even the Lord rested on Sundays, and I think he had a good idea.  When I wrote all that other stuff last night  I had no idea where it was going or how to end it.  I was just talking to myself.  But then I heard something twice this morning and I know it was meant for me  - both on the way to church and during church.  I heard about praise.  No, I was reminded about praise.  I was reminded of the importance and the power of praise, in every situation - despite the situation, in spite of circumstance, and especially in the face of doubt and fear.  

Y'all, true story.... one day I was walking through the ladies locker room at work, and happened to pass by a lady saying these exact words..... God inhabits the praises of his people.  And OH MY GOSH, that message was meant for me at that exact time.  Another chance reminder when I needed it most.  Because that day I was kind of in a similar spot of ...... being stuck. 

I don't know about you, but we Baptists have a lot to learn about the season of Lent.  I always thought Easter just showed up on a Sunday along with a ham and a variety of desserts.  But it turns out that we are to walk the journey with Jesus to the cross in the season of Lent, leading us first to Good Friday and then, thank the good lord - Easter.  And for those of us not completely understanding what or who or why.... here's the short version:  Basically we're the lost ones just keeping Jesus company as events are about to unfold.  Because we got all sorts of happy and confident with the birth of the baby Jesus at Christmas and thought all the world's problems were just gonna stop and roll in sugar for us.  But no.  The world is still lost and we are here wandering around in it trying to find a way to stay the light in a world full or darkness.  

So for Lent - and this is all I know about it  ..... we either give up something to make us better understand the suffering of Jesus' journey, or we take on something to lighten or brighten the load of someone else.  I'm actually not a big observer of Lent.  Just put me in a Born and Raised Baptist t-shirt , but I think it a dandy idea to take on something this year, though I could indeed do with a little carb-fasting that's for sure. 

I'm choosing to take on an attitude of praise even in my most confused of states.  For me, right now, that would be the United States of Motherhood.  So today, I am praising God for his mighty hand that has power to do and say and move all the things that I can't.  And to provide mystery trucks to drive beside me in the dark of night.  And I'm praising him for his surprises that have carried me this far.  

post script - speaking of Baptist churches... Here's a fun little story of how I got that first little black car of mine, written for the church blog last week.  

our house kinda looks like a makeshift hobo camp

Life lately,...

Over the last few days I started thinking about how I need a haircut.  And just like that kids book, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie,.... where if you give him a cookie, then he wants milk,... and if he gets milk then he'll want a straw, and if he gets a straw,..... well, someone handed me a  new hairdresser and a picture from Pinterest that I'd had my eye on for quite some time, and I came out a brand new me. 

Actually, I came out shocked at the brand new me, and possibly hurt the feelings of my new hairdresser, but I plan to text her later with a declaration of how I now love my hair and how sorry I was for that glazed look in my eye and the doubt written all over my face about her qualifications.  I think I also owe her a bigger tip.  

Basically, off went the hair.  Y'all it was time.  And if you've known me for very long, you know I vary my styles between lengths some would call short to what others would call, You've got to be out of your mind, short.  But now I can again wear all my assorted piercings and let the world see that underneath this mom facade, is kind of a fun girl. Who is still in conflict over lots of things - thus all the piercings in the first place. 

And the dog is sick again, going on about four days.  She has in the last month, ruined two of my new rugs.  Not that I'm blaming her, because just like her mommy, she has a touch of the irritable bowel syndrome.  But I can control mine enough not to ruin the carpets, of course.  But my sweet Rita has been in a struggle this last week and Fireman Dave is hoping he doesn't have to give her another dog IV.  

The rug replacement, though,.... I thought ahead this time and bought what looked to be beautiful, but were in actuality, faux-beautiful, super thin, $49 rugs from that I bought several of and duct taped the underneath sides together to make them look room sized.  It totally worked and fooled the eye into thinking I'm a big spender when we all know that aint nothin but a lie.  Maybe cutting my hair off short freed my brain to think more creatively. 

Anyway, now our house kinda looks like a makeshift hobo camp.  We're in the planning stages of a whole house remodel - which means we have the best contractor with an amazing vision and plan, but we'll have to move out for about a month or two to do the work.  So I'm sort of happy that Rita helped me get rid of a few more household items so we don't have to move it or store it.  And that being said, we will be having a garage sale at some point,... and just putting in out there, if you would like to host a reckless and loud family of five for about 6 weeks, let me know. Insert devious laughter here.  

Next, lots of other things have been going on.... but nothing life altering.  Kid 2 and I are totally turning into TV junkies and binge watching the TV series, Nashville.  It's kind of our quality time together, and you know what?  I love it, and Nashville, and I'll take what I can get these days.  He's the only kid out of the three who didn't fail at least one subject this six weeks so he's my favorite he still has some privileges.  

And speaking of lost privileges, Kid 1 announced to me this morning that he will voluntarily surrender his phone to me after school.  Which, to that I say, You bet your boots you will, Mister,..... but his willingness to give up his lifeline is sending chills up my spine.  It's also telling me he has a plan B up his sleeve.  I just don't know what it is yet.  So if any of y'all see Kid 1 sending smoke signals to his girlfriend anytime after the school day, let me know.  

And Kid 3... God bless him.  God bless us one and all.  He has officially entered his surly phase as a new to the kingdom teenager.  And he's using his powers to push me right over the edge of insanity.  And I know 100% for sure that that's why I'm having a stress acne episode. 

And Fireman Dave is all by himself re-landscaping the front and back yards.  He loves outdoor work when it's nice outside like this, but longs for the days of a stronger back -  and truth be told, maybe some money to pay someone to actually do the work for him.  Just a hunch.  

And that's about it this time.  No explosions, no broken bones or hearts, just us going about what people go about doing.  And the fun part?  That we all do it,... and on the way, I get to see all of y'all who stop and say thank you, and tell me about all your own normal stuff,... and I get to share what we're all thinking.  Thinking that we wish we could just pay someone else to do all of our hard work for us.  Thinking that we wish our kids made the National Honor Society like that gal who just told me about her sweet granddaughter..... Thinking that we wish we had plans for dinner and for tackling the ever growing list of to-do's.  Thinking that a day is kinda long when you have to spend it all alone.  And that a house is a little small when there's the great divide going on in our relationships.  

But I'm thankful today for time on the couch with Kid 2, us binge watching our stories, as my grandmother would've called them.  And I'm thankful that Kid 1 texted me his good news that he got promoted to the varsity locker room to start his new path for the upcoming football season.  And I'm thankful that as surly and sleepy and argumentative that Kid 3 is, that he still hugs me like nobody's business.  And I'm thankful for a husband that didn't gasp when he took a look at all my hair cut off - but instead said it reminds him of when I was in high school.  Yes, he's a sweet talking man.   And yes, memories are alive and well, and a big part of what keeps us moving forward.  

And I'm thankful for this home, in all it's messed up glory - think giant hole in the shower wall, giant hole in the hallway wall, misbehaving dishwasher, worn out couch waiting for the next big trash pick up and only one rug still standing after the dog sickness..... I'm thankful that in one month we will have been in this place for 14 years, and in that time, I've had the privilege of seeing the ages and stages of lives being lived out for a purpose.  My prayer every day for these boys, and for myself, actually, is that each day is one step further on the path that God has created for us.  That every lesson is a lesson in discipline and faith, that every experience is an opportunity to trust that it all means something, and that it all means something worth doing well.  

I hope you have been well the last couple of weeks.  Remember that I am only one comment or email away.  What can I pray for you today? 

post script - Kid 1 asked me last week if I have ever had a nose piercing.  Lord help us if he's even considering that thought for himself, .... but my answer was no.  I happen to have 8 piercings total - all on my ears.  Please remind me of that old TV show, Eight is Enough the next time I head into the piercing place with any grand ideas.  

post post script - make that 3 rugs ruined.... as we speak.  And my bathroom floor.  Yuck.  My sweet little Rita isn't doing so well today.
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