A Favor

Tomorrow, I leave at 4 am for the airport, and then I fly to Maryland.

There, I will be speaking at this conference: W3-Video-Graphic

I have been working on my presentation for days. I keep waking up at around three a.m. with really brilliant ideas… and then I look back at those ideas in the morning light and go, “Wow. Really?” I am not kidding. Last night I had an idea involving my KU snuggie. Like, wearing it. I know. I don’t really know what I was going for on that.

Anyhow. I think I am a bit wonky about all this.

I mean, I have got to go in there, all Sobriety Ninja Woman! and SAVE THE DAY!

It’s not me. It’s God. He has this and He is the one that saves the day. Not me. So, prayerfully working on this workshop and realizing, too, that every time I do one of these things I learn a TON about myself, my teeny tiny faith, God’s huge, omnipotent power, and everything in between.

I ask a favor. If you are the praying sort, would you? Would you pray for this conference? For the broken ones (I am on that list) and the scared ones (yep, on that one too) and the ones in charge of all the details (thanking my lucky stars I am NOT on that one).

Would you pray? For peace and strength and courage. For courage. For all of us. To show up, to be real, to accept healing. To accept God’s love. Would you pray?

The conference is this Friday and Saturday. We (the workshoppers) want to give our presentations, but I know, what we really want? Is to get out of the WAY and let God take us where He wants us to go.

Amen?

Amen.

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Thank you. I love you, my readers. It is such a blessing to have you. You encourage me so much more than you know. And, also, I am pretty sure you would be kind enough to tell me NOT to do a presentation while wearing a Slanket. SO not a good idea.

But… what about my idea about telling my recovery story, using sock puppets? Do you think I should try that? Hmmm?

(Just kidding. This idea had me at hello at four am the night before last. Sanity returned in the morning. Well, as far as sanity can return to me, I guess.)

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I CAN be Wonder Woman. With help from #NetflixKids.

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I think I have convinced my children that I have super powers.

I do think, also, that all mothers actually DO deserve a cape. And maybe a sparkly head band or blingie metallic wrist bracelet thingies. I can rock the boots and big hair, I tell ya.

But along with the cute outfit, comes these wonders:

  1. Ears that can hear Sharpie being applied to a cat from fifty yards.
  2. Eyes in the back of my head. Always thought this was kinda creepy. I get it now.
  3. Ability to discern fake crying from real crying in less than three seconds.
  4. Ability to use the phrase, “Eat some raisins. They’re nature’s candy” with total aplomb.

In fact, I am the bomb at aplomb.

(Sorry, just had to. How often does one get to use ‘aplomb’ in the day to day? I am giving this gift to you.)

Anyhow.

The only* area of Wonder Womanness that I am failing at these days is, um, getting my kids to be generally nice and, well, kind and patient with each other. But… So NOT a big deal, right?

Basic kindness is overrated anyway. Just watch reality television for five minutes and you’ll see.

However, as I am aiming for utter perfection in my world at all times, I have found myself rather stuck on this problem with congeniality. They love each other, yes. They are related. Yes. But after school? They come home and just sort of hate on each other’s guts until dinner.

Okay. It’s driving me freaking crazy.

So once again, I have dialed up my favorite parental tool for help:

TELEVISION TO THE RESCUE!!!!

I snark, but I also must explain: my kids do only get to watch an hour (oh how they covet that one hour, my preshus) on the weekdays, and usually it is administered when they slide in the door after school because their little brains are all mushy and they have the social skills of a tired rattlesnake at this time of day. We eat a snack, and then we cuddle, and then they watch this new offering from the Great Netflixes:

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Can you imagine the meeting at Dreamworks for this?

Chris Gall (author of the illustrated children’s book series): Hey. What do kids love to watch?

Dude: Uh… construction trucks. Also, the donuts being glazed at Krispy Kreme.

Gall: Ok! Also, dinosaurs! They like those too, right?

Dude: Yep.

Gall: So…

Dude: Um, so… what you’re saying is…

Gall: Combo package!!

Dude: Dinosaurs Order Krispy Kreme? Co-branding! Brilliant! It’ll be a hit!

Epilogue: Chris Gall is still happily working and successful. Dude is NOT.

Netflix’s new show Dinotrux is set in the Mechazoic period, and it features Ty Rux, part T-Rex and excavator, who has a really, really good grip on how to be KIND.

In fact, Ty Rux WORKS WELL WITH OTHERS!  He SHARES HIS STUFF! ! He remembers that HE IS NOT ONLY FIRST!!!

And so on. You get the point? If I utter all the above phrases… it sounds like this:

“BWA WAH WA WAH HA WAHHH WAHHH I AM MEANEST MOTHERRRR EVERRRR.”

If Dinotrux gets in on the action? It soaks in. A little.

I’m not saying I’m using Ty as a surrogate momma, but these days, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Dinotrux also features this grumpy guy:Screenshot 2015-08-20 09.43.13

Notice his catch phrase. “What’s in it for me?” Now, this is rarely said out LOUD statement at our house. No one would actually have the audacity. But, it’s there.  This whole “ME ME ME ME” thing is pervasive, and, much like my laundry room after things start piling up, a bit rank. When my kids get tired they tend to… put themselves at the front of The Great Big Line of What’s Most Fair in Life, and they don’t understand when someone barks at them: “Hey, NO cutting!”

I am second,” is something my husband and I talk about. And TALK about. And we pray about it. I go in after they’re sleeping and lay hands on them and say, “Lord, PLEASE fix them. Just make them KIND! YES! Be HEALED! Like, now? Thanks! Amen!” **

Also: I subliminally insert “I am second” into their dreams re a hidden tape that plays at night… (Please don’t tell them. I read about this once in the great book, How to Brainwash Your Children, and we’re hoping it works.)

Thank you, Skrap-it for backing me up. Skrap-It is a Back-it, as it were.
(I am so sorry. I know. First the whole ‘aplomb’ cheesiness and now this…)

Your littles will enjoy Dinotrux. And you will enjoy it because it’s all about teamwork, playing fair, and PATIENCE. If we watch a bit more, I might be able to shut off the subliminal message tape.

But, I did notice the other morning that Steve the Cat meowed, “After you, my sweet friend,” to Bob the Cat at breakfast bowl… so perhaps not.

Thank you, Netflix!

As a Netflix Streamteam blogger, Netflix asks me to watch their fabulousness and them chatter about it. It's a great gig.

As a Netflix Streamteam blogger, Netflix asks me to watch their fabulousness and them chatter about it. It’s a great gig.

*Thank you to the lawyer for not making fun of my use of the word “only.” As if.

** So far this type of prayer has worked to make only ME a TEENSY bit more patient. It has not made the children perfect yet. I am thinking Jesus might be holding out on me for that one.

Wanna watch a trailer for Dinotrux? Click here!

First, when there’s nothing but a slow glowing dream.

Warning: Unless you know your 80s music, this post is gonna make about as much sense as listening to five year old try to describe the Super Mario Dragon Ballz video game he played at a friend’s house. Lotta passion. Not a lot of point.

Walking into Zumba class…

Cue the music…

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That your fear seems to hide deep inside your mind

I snap my spandex back into place, check my bangs.

There is music in my soul, but it’s the polka.

All alone I have cried, silent tears full of pride
In a world made of steel, made of stone.
Ok, I get it. This is metaphorical city talk.  She’s alone, in a gritty world of welding and tiny, frayed outfits that only fit on one shoulder.
I live in a small town in the Midwest. There is corn.
Also: I cannot take off my bra while my shirt is still on. If I attempted this while my husband was watching he would:
1. Say, “Oh, honey. You poor thing.”
B. Start laughing because you got the clasps stuck in your hair. Again.

Well, I hear the music close my eyes, feel the rhythm

Nope. Nope. Nope. Well, there’s rhythm and yes I can hear it. But as far as feeling goes? I am still a white girl that has switched from the polka to The Muppets Show theme song in her head.
I am trying to shake my booty. I really am. The instructor is shaking hers. Where is mine? I look about as if it is going to come up and tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hi there. I am your booty. Please SHAKE me and get DOWN with your bad self. Ok? If not, let’s just step-ball-change our ways outta here cuz there is Latin music all OVER the place and you are doing your old drill team moves from 1987. It’s embarrassing.

Wrap around, take a hold of my heart

Pretty sure I shouldn’t have worn a thong under my yoga pants. Alas, yes, there is wrapping. The thong has rhythm, y’all. In fact, I think it’s starting to hum along and is gonna dance for its life right out from under the spandex. It’s facing south, southwest. I am sort just facing west… We are not in sync. But at least it’s taking hold of something, just pretty sure it’s not my heart.
What a feeling, being’s believin’*
Well! That’s true! Whatta feeling!
Now if only I could manage to get everything feeling in the same direction!
Oh Lord have mercy now she’s shaking her bosom all over. And this, I guess, means we are to do this as well.
I look like I’m having a seizure. There is nothing there to shake. It’s like trying to get coconuts down from a maple tree.

I can have it all, now I’m dancing for my life

She just did a grapevine! Hello step aerobics from 1995! I can do this! I am music now!

Take your passion and make it happen
Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life

Well, I don’t know about passion but I just did a booty shake AND a bit of a twerk in the same 8 count and I think I am just the sexiest thing to happen to middle aged white moms since… I don’t know…  There are no television moms that I can relate to anymore!
Well, not since… Samantha from Bewitched? Or maybe what’s her face, the I Dream of Jeannie lady? And I do realize both of these have supernatural powers so I am thinking there is some therapy that need doing in there somewhere…
OH! I know! Lucy! I am Lucy Ricardo! Because also, Latin music! Now let’s go drop it like it’s hot!
Now, I hear the music, close my eyes, I am rhythm
Don’t, whatever you do, close your eyes. This will only cause me to injure to the other poor souls in this class. Except for the blonde chick who is so good at this that I think I might have to try and trip her before the hour is over. She is all about the rump shaking and I don’t think it’s appropriate.
Great thumping bass there she goes with the hip stuff again. I didn’t know this was Bollywood film, people. I just wanted to lose a few calories.
Hmm. I think I am doing what is called, “Sexy Dancing” now.
It is a moment in history.

In a flash it takes hold of my heart 

Not really my heart. I am thinking I have a side stitch, so that’s all.
My booty is on one side of the room, and I am still over here. That’s different.
Helloooooo chest shaking again. Paired with some “Ieeeayyyyyeeeeeee!!!” That sound does make the chest shaking part work better for some reason.
I can have it all
My Lord. Please forgive me.
I just twerked a little. I really can have it all.
Zumba is fun. But not for the faint of heart. If you have no booty? Dust it off and shake it anyway.
Thank you, Irene Cara for your constant input. At one point in the class I finally, FINALLY started to enjoy myself and let’s just say I started to bounce what the good Lord gave me all about, all willy-nilly. When I did look up the entire class had moved on to a softer, gentler step-ball-change, and there I was all Showgirls in the corner. All I needed was some hair glitter.  “I am a DANCER!” I hissed at the others, and sashayed to the front.
And then reality smacked me upside my vibrating bum,  and we took it down a notch. My bum thanked me later, as we both collapsed on the couch and felt a bit sore. “That was really crazy back there,” my bum said. “Thanks for not, you know, overdoing it.”
“Safety first,” I responded grimly. And sat on an ice pack.
But deep down.. I know. I KNOW. I can have it all.
I am dancing for mah life.
And now I must go. It’s time to shake what my momma gave me. Thank you, Zumba.
*Being’s believin? WHAT ON EARTH DOES THAT MEAN?

Learning Curve

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today!

The theme is:

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It’s a teensy weensy bit possible I have an issue with perfectionism.

I know. It’s one of those “okay” issues. Not like some of the other, *cough* BIG ‘isms’ I have problems with…

This is the one that you can tell people about, as your cross to bear, when they interview you and ask for your flaws.

“Well…” you say, eyes downcast, with humility blaring out of every pore, “I tend to have a bit of a problem with perfectionism…”

And then, WHAMMO, you get the job! Because, you KNOW, and they KNOW that this is GREAT! Who wouldn’t want someone working for them that is willing to wear themselves down to bloody nub to make sure everything is Just. Exactly. Right!??

Unless, of course, you work for these bozos:

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This is their normal attire. The dress code around here is INTENSE.

Anyhow. I think it’s about time to lay down the perfectionism and give it up to God. Really. REALLY. For once and for all – I gotta let it GO.

But.

My main problem with that is, well, I tend to be rather all-or-nothing on life skills. (I do realize too that this directly stems from, um, OTHER ‘isms’ in life… like, yes, I’ll say it, the alcoholism…

Not to mention the:

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freakingoutaboutsmallstuffism

totallyoverexaggeratingism

grumpyatfiveocklockism (ooo that’s a bad one)

and…

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But, I’m just gonna go for one thing at a time!

So, today? I will accept that my five year old has his underpants on backwards. It’s his second day of kindergarten. Small potatoes.

Also, that the haircut I gave my six year old kinda makes him look like the guy from Dumb and Dumber.

That the lunch I packed for Blonde does not look like something from Pinterest. Nor will it ever. EVER.

That I cannot, for the life of me, keep this house in the pristine condition that I see in my MIND all the time (darn you, Pinterest!)

That I overuse garlic and underuse basic common sense in cooking.

That I refuse to get in shape because it might hurt.

That… oh heckfire. The list goes ON and ON. You know the list. We all have them.

I think today is a good day to write them down and burn them. *shakes fist with fervor* BURRRRRRN themmmmm I say!!!!!

But, while I’m doing so? I try no tot notice the jungle-length grass and that my backyard looks like a Toys ‘R Us  Graveyard for Old and Broken Things. (I do suggest burning list OUTSIDE, ok? At least I have that much sense. Burning the house down in an effort to vanquish perfectionism kinda works against itself.)

When the perfectionist fairy comes flying by and sweetly reminds you that your life is rather nutty? Just swat her away and repeat after me: “Coffee and Jesus. Coffee and Jesus… That’s all I need.” I am learning, with His help to let go.

Tomorrow? I’m gonna work on the grumpyism one. Wish me luck. You know what I am learning? That there’s a steep learning curve in this house, and for that I am VERY GRATEFUL.

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But, I’m trying! Progress, not perfection ya’ll. Thank goodness.

What I learned this summer. Again.

Throw Back Thursday, y’all. Isn’t it funny how time just keeps marching on by?

Maybe not so funny. But life. Just life, afterall.

Soon I will post about my baby going to kindergarten. But, not today. Today I am just gonna look at old posts and pictures and glory in God’s blessings. And perhaps, feel a little heartbroken.

And take a very long nap.

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What I Learned This Summer

By: Momsie

Posted originally: July 31, 2014

1.  Do not fear The Big House Project.  Put on your Lord of the Rings soundtrack, bolster your Frodo resolve and hobbit courage, and begin your quest to vanquish the disgusting carpet in your living room.  You may be small, and the carpet may be evil, but fear not.  Goodness will prevail.

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That flying object above my head? It’s a sander. I don’t really know how it got up there, but no Momsies were injured during the Battle of the Shag Carpet.

2.  Sparklers still kinda scare me.  I have three boys (hubs included in this number, as always.)  I am out numbered on this notion.

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3.  Riding a carousel at the Royals game tends to make Red rather thinky.  After the ride was over, he looked up at me and said, “I wanna ride it again.  But a different horse this time.  So we can go farther.”  Poor dear.  Physics and all.

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4.  There will be shenanigans. Lots of them.  However: in this case, the wee ones were contained.

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5.  On a hot day, Momsie’s all “Let’s put out the sprinkler!  Now run through it, dear ones! Frolic!  Frolic about!”

The boys (aka savages) are all:

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Good heavens.

I just went inside to get some lemonade.  I returned to this.  What happened to the frolicking?

6.  My son got to be catcher.  IMG_2866

Which really just made me think this:

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6.  There will be actual naps.  Like, for real.  IMG_2914

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7.  Popsicles are a must.  Every day.  They cover a multitude of sins – even bad haircuts because sitting?  Very still?  Dis is hard.

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And, when you take your five year old to ENROLL FOR KINDERGARTEN this morning, you bow down low and thank Summer.

Thank you, just for the sweet, sweet blessing of time.

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summer, 2012

Time is a game played beautifully by children. ~

Heraclitus

Won’t You Take Me to Dramatown

Y’all. We are in the last days of summer.

There is mixed feelings all around. I find myself dipping into hormonal moments of nostalgia. I start humming, “Sunrise, Sunset” and then snare a stray child, clutch him to my chest, start rocking and sorta moaning, “Mah babieeeeeeeee. My pweshus widdle cherub… Momma wuvs you so much,” until we both get nauseated by the baby talk and lack of oxygen, and said child breaks free and slinks off to do something annoying to balance out the situation.

But also, every once in a while, I act like this guy:

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Why?

Holy Braveheart, you have ask???

FREEDOM, Y’all! It’s not just for political ads, ok? It’s for mommies, the frazzled, the worn OUT,

Give us your tired, your poor, your huddles masses of mommies… THE KIDS ARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!

And for you home schoolers out there. I salute you. You don’t really get to revel that much in all the chirpy back-to-school commercials and over-merchandising and backpacks that are grossly overpriced, but we still buy them because, lo, our children will take those backpacks and LEAVE WITH THEM!  I really don’t know how you do it, but I salute you anyway because you kinda terrify me.

Anyhow.

I have two extra boys at my house these days – and evidently drama is their thing. No, I mean really. They like to put on plays. So far I have seen Joe vs. the Scary Thing, A Very Long Play About Really Nothing, Something With Dragons and Joe Again, and then a piece so avant-garde there wasn’t even real children, just an audience who tried to secretly multi-task, and a weird dialogue that took place IN AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ROOM. There were some problems with that one – something about stage directions.

Also, there are costumes. Like (dramatic flapping of hands to add flair) THIS:

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Note the shoes. These pink mules with cute little bows from Nordstroms (back when I bought shoes) were donned to help with the sound effects. Blonde informed me that he was a ninja warrior but the shoes added a thunder sound. Of course.

Also, (more flapping of hands) THIS:

photo 3I apologize for the horrible pictures. I was laughing my butt off.

In this image, our main character is a troubled and conflicted soul who really, deep down, is TRYING to be mysterious and scary, but just, you know, for some reason, can’t pull it off.

Also, yes, there is a ninja with a Nerf gun lurking in the background. But, isn’t there always?

So, after about fourteen of these Oscar winners, I finally decided to get in on the act. (SEE THAT I KNOW THIS IS WHY YOU READ ME, ISN’T IT??) and I, of course, decided to make this a Teachable Moment! Because! I am a Mother!

So, I talked to the director, a budding James Cameron, about his plan.

“I think we will do a play about kids. Kids and Santa. Maybe also a Ninja.”

One actor sidled past and muttered, “No ninjas with Santa. Dats not ok.”

Actors are so temperamental.

Anyhow, with an encouraging, Mom of the Year smile, I offered MY brilliant plan:

“I know! Why don’t you make a play about Compromise!? We have had to really work on that in our house lately.”

The director eyed me. And then said,

“No. I don’t want to.”

And… cut.

Irony. It is wasted on the young.

Right now they are singing “Ding dong the witch is dead!” It’s part of the big showstopper at the end.

It’s fitting.
(MORE IRONY.)

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Postscript: To the teachers, ALL of you, I am one of you. I get it.  You are dearly loved and prayed for. :)

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Well, here we are.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today.

The theme:

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When I was a child, my dad had a brilliant way of summing up any sort of awful situation with his usual vigorous sarcasm.

He would eye me, smirk a bit, and then say,

“Well. Here we are.”

Let’s say we are fixing a water gap at the farm, * and the tractor got stuck and the mosquitoes were swarming and it’s possible there was a snake thrown in there somewhere, in the brown murky water that we were sludging through… and he would grin and say, loftily, “Well, here we are!”

It always worked. I would smirk back, and the moment, in all it’s mosquitoe-riddled yuck, would lift a bit. The snakes were still there, but they would be charmed by dad’s wit, and would smirk too… and then sidle away.

To this day, when I find myself in some sort of pickle I say it. We’re at Aldis and both children are whining for Pink Sugar Diabetic Bomb Cereal? “Well, here we are!” We’re going on a “fun” family bike ride and both boys are tired and hot and then are riding at a speed slower than our computer loading up when it has a virus (which is often)? “Well!!!! HERE WE ARE!!!!!”

Recently, when the whole poop in the bathtub situation  happened, I looked at the bathtub, then at the husband, and said, “Well, here we are.” It made it bearable. Kind of.

By the way,  if you are not updated on this lovely saga in our house, I realize no one should ever EVER have to be subjected to the words, “poop in the bathtub situation.” I am heartily sorry.

Ok, so here I am. And here we are. Friday morning. Four boys in my house. They are working on a play that involved costumes and lots of swords and now they are asking to be filmed, because this is Spielberg material, they are sure.

I am trying, desperately, to just get some work done. I have deadlines. I have a lot of them lately. I have all these things that I have said YES to and I just… need… some time to THINK.

*growl* So. Very. Frustrated.

The four boys want to make costumes. Why? They want to perform a play that ends up to be some sort of avant-garde experimental theater thing that makes my head buzz when I watch because plot? Where? I know I shouldn’t be picky, but this thing is like an Andy Warhol production. But there is a lot of bowing and clapping that has to happen.

I can’t clap, y’all. I need to type. Like, fast. And typing? That involves both hands. And my brain.

This is not one of those posts where I set my computer away, and smile, and God blesses me with this wonderful moment of peace and realization that I need to stop, slow down, savor the moment. All that.

All that is really good stuff. But this is not one of those posts.

This is here we are. Me, trying to scrabble for time to think and write. Four boys, dancing around me in lion masks with swords and something about a racoon, the Chosen One, who fights the evil Darth Turtle. Or something.

Sometimes the HERE is so frazzling it makes my brain itch.

This is my here. I have no moral of the story or how it gets all better. But I will tell you this: TELLING YOU. Just writing it DOWN and sending it out there? IT HELPS.

It HELPS. Why? Because I know, I KNOW, that someone else out there gets my HERE. You get it. In all its low patience, annoyed, gritted teeth, not-so-good mothering moment, you get my HERE.

Thank you.

I am now going to watch Part Two, where Darth Turtle tells him, “Luke, I am your father,” and there’s a lot of shouting.

Lord, well, here we are.

I need Your help. Because my here, right now, is not my best moment.

Zephaniah 3:17  The LORD your God is in your midst.

Even right here.

*Water gaps: a fence over a crik (not creek, crik) that keeps cows IN but not snakes or mud or bugs or slimy monsters that swim where you can’t see them.  Tend to only get snaggled with tree limbs and debris on the hottest days of the year. Tend to be coated in mosquitoes. Tend to be swampy and murky and awful and have their own soundtrack from Deliverance.