Because is a hard word

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today over at Heading Home.

 

Today’s word:

 

FMF-Because-300x300

It’s been a tough day.

 

Red had just cut fringe in my table cloth. All around the entire table. I asked him WHY?

“Because…” he stared at his handywork. “Because, it’s pretty. Look? Mommah? See? And, well,  da scissors were there.”

 

Blonde had a moment of total meltdown when I asked him to help with the folding. I asked him, WHY?

“Because I can’t DO IT. I can’t make the squares! I CAN’T!”

 

Red decided to slug his brother. I asked him, WHY?

“Because he hurted my feelings! And I needed to tell him so!”

 

Hubs is late again. I ask him, WHY?

“Because.” (heavy sigh). “It’s been a hard day.”

 

I keep looking for reasons for things. For all things. The “because” should fit in, logically and clear, like the last puzzle piece. But so often, the because is veiled with hurt and irrationality and random scissor attacks.

Becauses often leave me cold.

Whys are loaded with expectations.

Good heavens this world asks a lot.

 

Asking a toddler WHY after he tries to flush his matchbox car is kind of silly.

Asking your husband why he is tired after a 14 hour day is just goofy.

Needing the answers is not the answer, BECAUSE I want them to be tidy, neat, and fitting my expectations.

 

Sometimes people do stuff that doesn’t fit my plan. Ok. Maybe not sometimes. Pretty much all the time. My answer to this?

Because we are all broken. And yet, we can ask for grace. And GET it.

Why?

Because He loves us more than, and despite of, and through all our brokenness.

That’s the only solid answer I know. 

 

 

 

Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman

-1

 

Joining up with Allison K. Flexer on her Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman Blog Tour today!  I am thrilled to be invited along!

Let me present to you a brief, yet captivating, timeline of my life:

19something: I was born. And the world was never the same.

1998, sometime in November: I finally, FINALLY became a Christian. My mom had been praying for 28 years. She could relax. Jesus take the wheel! Woohoo!

1998, sometime in November the next day: I was pretty sure my sweet Lord would now be bringing me my husband like, tomorrow.

1999: Nope, not yet.

2000: Well, not yet. But no Y2K so that was good.

2001: Yea, not yet.

2002: Hello, God? This is Dana.  I don’t mean to pester but I’ve been good. Is there an extra bible study I need to do?

2003: *humming tune from Jeopardy*

2004: Ok, really, I get it. Patience. Got it. Lord, I am thirty-four years old. That’s like, Sarah and Abraham old. I won’t be able to walk down the aisle without a cane.

2005: I AM STILL WAITING. WHAT THE WHAT.

2006: Met Brian.  THANK YOU. I AM EXHAUSTED.*

2007:  You know, the rest doesn’t even matter. I’m married! All done!

Allison K. Flexer’s book, Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman, is a book that I really wish I could have gotten my marriage-hungry hands on back in 1998. She tells her story with humor and vulnerability, and gives practical advice to help women who struggle with the “I’m single and I’m waiting” mantle. When I was single, I felt like I had a huge flashing sign over my head, a gigantic arrow in lights, flashing I’M HERE. RIGHT HERE. HELLO, OVER HERE! All the while, so focused on finding the “one.” It was distracting, and painful.

Here are a few things that really made me rather tense when I was a single:

1.  I hated being called “a single.” People don’t go around and say, “Hi, I’m a married. And you?”

2. People telling me that I was married to Jesus and that is enough just made me want to cry a bit.

3. Christian singles events and gatherings can be just awful. You can cut the desperation, accompanied by a lot of Chris Tomlin, with a knife.

4. Sometimes dating is just hilarious. I once dated a fellow, very nice, who kept speaking in different accents during our date. It was awesome. We never dated again, incidentally.

Allison Flexer gets the tension. She understands the heartache and the waiting and the questions that can be asked when, repeatedly, you keep checking “single” on your tax return each year.

But the best part is how her book debunks many myths and lies that we tend to believe when we are “a single.”

Some of her chapters are entitled:

  • Because no one has chosen me, I’m not valuable.

  • I’m not beautiful.

  • Getting Married will Solve All My Problems. (This one is paired with a loud guffaw from all the married peeps reading right now. Can you hear it? It’s DEAFENING.)

 

 

Today, I would like to focus on Allison’s chapter called:

THE LIE: IT’S TOO LATE FOR ME, SO I SHOULD SETTLE

It is 2002. I am at a Barnes and Noble, on a date, with a very nice fellow named Roberto. (Ok, I changed his name. I always wanted to go on a date with someone named Roberto.) We are drinking coffee prepared by a surly barista. It’s very hip. The music is hip. My leather boots are hip. The books we were talking about were hip.

The date, however, was not hip. It was a total disaster.

All conversation felt like it was being pulled out of us, like some dentist had set us up in chairs and was extracting sentences, painfully, for an hour. It was so bad that I had to pull the, “I have to get up for work early tomorrow,” card and leave early. It was 5 PM.  I think I left him with the impression that I had to get up at 2 am or something.

That date should have had a copay. It was that awful.

Anyhow. The point here is that I really, really wanted to like Roberto. He was the my list:

    Nice shoes (savvy)

    Good teeth (clean)

    Reads things (smart)

    Had a dog (sensitive) but not a cat (weird cat guy)

    Owned a house (J.O.B. need I say more)

    Loved Jesus (Ok, this should be first on the list. I always check the shoes first; it’s a weakness)

He TRIED. I TRIED.

And as I walked to my car, at the late hour of 5:13 pm, in defeat, I just gritted my teeth and prayed, “God, REALLY? He’s fine. Why can’t I like him? Why can’t I just relax? Why can’t you send me someone that when we talk it doesn’t feel like I need to get a shot of Novocaine first?”

Allison Flexer’s book would have told me the answer. And here it is, nice and simple:

“The loneliest place is being stuck in a bad marriage.”

Boom. That about sums it up.

Flexer’s chapters all end with a series of lies that follow the chapter heading. She then trounces all those lies with scripture and a lot of honesty. This is not a “let me just tell you Romans 8:28 until I’m blue in the face and we’re good” kind of writing. (And yes, I know, Romans 8:28 is like the Superman of verses and it has its place!) This is gutsy, real, and really helpful stuff.

Truth: You can trust God with your life.

“You’re completely safe in His arms. You can trust him, remain close to him, and abide in him. Relying on God is the key to achieving peace in our dating lives and preventing us from settling.”

I would venture to add, He will prevent us from settling in any capacity. Married or single or young or old. Whatever walk we are on – He wants the Best for us.

I read Allison’s book thinking of my single friends who are looking, looking for that peace that marriage brings. I found her book spoke to me, right now, an old married lady with two kids.

Funny how that works, huh? Every time I review a book for this Beacon Hill Press gang, it ends up just trouncing me. In a good way. A God bounce. Thank you, Allison.

flat,550x550,075,f.u2

To sum up: God knows what’s best. I believe, Lord, help me in my unbelief.

 

 

If you are interested in ordering Allison’s book, click here.

If you’d like to meet her at her blog, Anointed with Grace, click here! You will be glad you did!

 

-2

*I would like to add, for the record, that marrying my sweetie was the best choice I have ever made. However, it has NOT been a cakewalk, people. He is my knight and I am his princess, true. But our castle is kinda wonky and we argue over things like forks in the dishwasher sometimes. Camelot is a song in a musical, y’all. Marriage is TOUGH.

Hold up

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today!

The word is:

HOLD

 

images

Red is approaching me. He’s wearing a creased red cowboy hat, tipped waaaaaaaay back on his head.  He kinda reminds me of James Dean in Giant. Except for two things:

Red is not, nor will he ever be, a brooding kind of guy. It’s impossible for him.

He is only wearing his underwear, along with the red hat. Oh, and a cape. There’s a cape there too.  So really, not so James Dean after all. It would have definitely been below Dean’s artistic sensibilities to do the whole cape thing.

 

Anyhow. Red is currently pointing a popsicle stick at me.

“Stop. Wight. There.”

“Dis is a hold up, mister.”

I mention that he has no handcuffs. For it to be a proper hold up, don’t I need to be handcuffed? (Now, I do realize that those of you who are actually paying attention to this might interject that noooooo, that would be an arrest. But it’s 8:37 am and I have not had enough coffee to get my criminal behavior ironed out.)

Red also solves the whole handcuff issue by telling me he tried to put them on the cat, but his paws were too small. So der under Steve.

It’s 8:38 am. I need to:

wash things

clean a bunch of stuff

maybe sweep up some floors, like all of them

wipe down the stickiness that is on every conceivable surface

try not to fall back asleep while making my bed

not slip into despair

brew more coffee

 

Instead, I stop and hold up my hands. I am going to play with Red. I might even teach him the finer points of silliness – the cat can be kidnapped and we can work on a ransom note. Steve’s up for it as long as he has a surface on which to sleep and a square of sunlight.

My sons keep me in the squares of sunlight.

I hold up my hands to You. Help me to remember what is important, what to hold up to you. What to give over. What to give up.

 

And thank you, Lord, for coffee and this house and all its stuff that I clean. I am grateful even for the sticky linoleum, because that means maple syrup happened, and it’s only by your grace we are able to afford the stuff. It’s like 400 dollars a bottle.

 

 

 

11So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.    Exodus 17:11-12

6153262_f248

 

Thursday Throwback and Netflix Streamteam – Wonderfulness

I have an addiction.

To school supplies.

I have a straight up, no chaser, hold my credit cards, holy cow MORE POST-ITS PLEASE addiction to anything office related.  Every fall, you might find me deeply inhaling the sweet pink rubbery goodness of a handful of bubblegum erasers (and yes, I KNOW that sentence sounds rather… wrong. But I stand by my statement. I’m not ashamed.)

Pink Pencil Erasers

I mean, look at them.

As some of you know, this was the first year for school for Blonde. It was epic. But really, every year in June  (or is it late May?) when the great television gods start up with their JC Penny and Target ads and even, I think, Sharper Image gets in on the game, I get all goosebumpy and happy.  It’s a glorious thing, School.

We should just skip all this summer nonsense and school all year long.

SORRY.  NO, I DIDN’T MEAN IT.

I was breathing in my erasers rather heavily and got a bit dizzy there. What I MEANT to say is:

One month, preferably July = Summer

All the other months= School. Because, pointy new crayons!

Except for December, obviously, because, well there is a lot to do.  Trees to decorate. Santa to contend with.  And baking all those cookies, ya’ll. There’s cookies just exploding outta everywhere  in December.  And I gotta try to figure out how to wrap a bike, usually, or maybe a new kitten.  Oh, yes, and the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Sometimes I forget that one. It’s busy.*

Oh, and also February. No school in February because that is just an awful month and we should all just go away in February to some place that is as non-February as possible. Even a new Trapper Keeper isn’t gonna dress up February.

Oh! but yes, School in February 14. Of course! Because these:

611ARBXTH6L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

And we get to decorate a box to put them in! Which means? Glue! Markers! Maybe even… GLITTER.

 

 

Ok, so I’m getting a little confused here myself. I think I need to make a calendar. I know! With new Sharpies! And A RULER!

 

Since I have the honor of being a Netflix Streamteam blogger, I was thinking of what kind of shows would pair well with my back-to-school fervor.  And immediately, this gem came to mind:

 

the-wonder-years

 

Kevin is adorable. Winnie is just… winsome. The Wonder Years was a simply perfect show.  It had depth and also humor, and some episodes could give you a knot in your throat the size of Toledo, unless you were heartless or just completely unmoved by Kevin’s brown-eyed earnestness.

Do you remember the episode where Mr. Collins, Kevin’s beloved teacher, just.. he… I CAN’T EVEN. I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU.  It was the best ugly-cry, cathartic, I don’t need therapy I just need to watch this, kind of show ever.

And don’t even get me started on the soundtrack.

I binge-watch shows that are about angry dragons and angry politicians and REALLY angry ex-science teachers…  I’M GONNA BINGE THIS ONE.

It’s … well, it’s just wonderful.

 

Netflix_StreamTeam_Badge

*No. I don’t ever forget that one. I promise.

I Can’t Stand It

IMG_3057

 

I have a confession to make:

My children are absolutely adorable and I love them like crazy, but sometimes I would like to go mail them to Quebec. Or at least Wisconsin. Just for a few hours. I understand the post office won’t allow us to mail fireworks or bleach (I cannot understand how anyone would need bleach mailed to them. How does that situation ever occur?) but maybe… toddlers? Bubble wrap? Proper postage?

(PLEASE I AM KIDDING REALLY I WOULD NEVER.)

Case in point: (please add the “doink doink” from Law in Order here. Whenever anyone says, “Case in point” it’s kind of required)

My children feel it is their toddlered obligation to stand on things. Namely, things that were never meant, in any basic capacity, to be stood upon.

ITEMS MY BOYS LIKE TO STAND UPON:

or, if you wish to be grammatically correct but hopelessly bungled:

ITEMS MY BOYS LIKE ON WHICH TO STAND:

(And yes, you better believe I’m devoting a whole blog post to this. This is important, people.)

 

Candyland (box and all assorted items inside)

Hi Ho Cherryio (lid only – I don’t know why)

any of our other mangled game boxes that now are held together with duct tape and grim resentment

my purses, especially if my glassses are in them

my glasses

glasses. Like drinking glasses. Why? WHY?

the cat

the firm foundation of our Lord Jesus Christ (now, true, yes, but I just threw that one in there to see if you were paying attention)

Legos!   (karma  AND comic relief at the same time)

laundry, folded and waiting to be placed in the laundry basket

unfolded, strewn laundry accompanied by yelling from Momsie

my feet. MY FEET. Almost every day, my feet get smooshed by toddler feet.

 

Why, oh toddlers? I wail and beg of you, with my best Nancy Kerrigan:

WHYYYYY MUST YOU SMOOOSHE MY FEEEEET?

It hurts.

And I KNOW, in the grand spectrum of things, that my pain level from a daily smoosh from fat little toddler feet is not epic or anything. It’s not kidney-stone, baby birthing, appendicitis, tax season kind of pain.

It’s just paper cut pain. Or, listening to Caillou’s voice pain.

But, I am taking a stand. (SEE THAT? SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I KNOW, RIGHT? YOU’RE WELCOME.)

No more, fat-footed toddler, shall you smoosh on me. I know it’s some sort of inherent need, wee one, to hoist yourself up those one and a half inches to, you know, get a better vantage point of the world, but CUT IT OUT.

And no longer will I respond with a gentle, “Could you please not stand there? Those are my feet. They aren’t for standing on. They’re for… um standing. You get the idea sweetie. MOVE IT.”

I will, instead, spray you with the water bottle that is labelled “BAD CAT.” Hopefully, this will cause you to skitter off with one backward glance and a flared tail. If you start using the litter box? All the better. LESS MESS.

 

*the lawyer has interjected here to inform you that no toddlers were actually sprayed with our BAD CAT bottle.

** But I have to add that parenting along with the BAD CAT bottle actually sounds kind of tempting.

 

And, dear readers, I leave you with this. Cats and the theme from Law in Order. Never gets old, I tell you.

I need to listen to spam more

 

blogging

Linking up over at The Extraordinary Ordinary today!

 

Every time I post a blog I get lots of spam*. It’s part of the deal with blogging. You accept it, like mosquitoes. It’s just part of the blogging package.

I delete the spam with a clever button my WordPress site called, you guessed it,  “Delete Spam.” It’s a wonderful thing – I just click it and whoosh! Spamola is gone, flushed away.

I wish sometimes I had a Delete Spam button for after dinner dishes. Or whining. Or bills. Or alarm clocks. Or tv shows that involve people sitting at desks yelling at other people.

But today, as I was cleaning up my spam with the zeal, I noticed something:

“Great job here!”

“This site is amazing and wonderful!”

“I am in awe. This is the best information I have read all day. I must tell my brother.” (I don’t really understand how spammers are always talking about their family, but I imagine they just must be really into their kin. In a robotic, electronic way. I guess.)

The thing that caught me is that, as silly as all those messages might be, I couldn’t help but smile at the compliments.

Lately I have found myself in that darkened room that is walled by negative self talk. The conversations that I have with myself are binding. They keep me in the room, as much as I hate it there. It’s gloomy, and honestly? Rather boring. But yet, here I sit:

“You are not a good mom.”

“This is just awful.”

“I am embarrassed. What kind of parent am I? Other moms are so together. You are all apart. What’s wrong with you?”

And so on.

 

Today I am going to learn from the spammers.  If I can’t say anything nice about me, I am going to say something illogical and strangely endearing, like, “This blog is the image of perfection and has meticulous learning in it!” This, I know makes no sense, but thank you anyway, robotic spammer from the interwebs. If I can’t be kind, I’ll try to spout enthusiasm at least.

Or perhaps I could just focus on some words:

“Great.”

“Here.”

“Amazing.”

“Tell”

 

I cannot be great, but I can try.  I am here now and with my God. And yes, you know that rest. He is amazing.  And every day, all the time, He tells me He loves me. 

 

So, go forth, bloggers. Listen to the spam.  If you get a message like this today:

“Wonderful news here! This news is important and  forthcoming. I will return entirely!”

Take it for what it’s worth:

 

You are wonderful. 

You are important.

Return to Him, and to that, entirely.

 

 

*These spam remarks are copied directly from my spam comments. I know, right? They’re kinda whackadoodle.

canofspam

 

 

 

 

 

Whisper Louder, Please?

Screenshot 2014-08-28 08.46.02

 

Linking up with Kate over at Heading Home today for Five Minute Friday.

Today’s word:  WHISPER

 

 

IMG_2630      Red likes, very often, to whisper in my ear.  There does not need to be any sort of secretive attempt.  His     whispers can be about a daily commentary on the weather or his underpants or the fact that his eggs are too hot.  He just really likes my ear, it seems.

It all goes something like this:

Red: Mom, MOM, mom mom MOMMA MoTHER MOMMMM commere I gotta whisper sumthin in your ear.

Momsie:  Ok, go for it.

Red: warms up to the intel by breathing heavily into my ear for a few seconds.  This is strangely pleasant but weird.  It reminds me of when my hubs and I were dating and he was trying to be cute and seductive and all I really wanted to do was wipe my ear off and tell him to stick to kisses.

But again, weird.  Because, you know, it’s my son and he’s four and Ok,we’re moving on here because he has started the dialogue.

Red:  shesiwhissiisppesishiommicharliiesand ? Hisspppshehhriirr stevieandhwhenscanwegopweeasssssshhhh? OK?

Momsie:  Um.  Ok?

 

Yep.  That’s about it.

Red has the concept of the whole “this is just between you and me” thing down, it’s just the delivery that needs work.

And by delivery, I mean: I can never understand a darn thing he says during all this hot whispery breathing cuteness.

But I still love it.

 

I think sometimes this is how we talk to God.  We have intentions, and a whole lotta desires, but our delivery is… muddled.  I get shy sometimes with God. I feel fearful or even ashamed to ask, to cry, or to pry at Him.

Not all prayers should be whispery laments or trembled attempts at putting together our thoughts, I know.  But when they are? Pray them, anyway.  And have confidence that He hears and understands when we tug on him and want to share our long, tangled stories.

He loves to lean down and listen to us whisper in His ear.

 

10108178d46a0fb2afc175e780bb301c