Women Who Move Mountains

I ask you, do you have any mountains you’d like moved?

I have a few.

Last month I kept a manila file in the office for far too long. It sat there and sat there, sullen and unopened, for far, far too long.

I’d really like to provide a gut-wrenching suspenseful scene here with something fascinating IN the folder, but well, it was our taxes. Receipts, forms, all sorts of paperwork, signifying money.

I let that file sit there because I was afraid of dealing with money. I cannot help but feel that as I file through all the papers and forms… that somewhere, a paper will flitter out, fall to the ground, and on it a statement:

“This is your bank statement. You are totally out of money. This means you will end up in a van down by the river and all is doomed.”

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Ok, I realize there are a few flaws in my thinking. Let me provide a short list:

  1. We have money.
  2. If we didn’t have as much money we’d still be okay.

This money thing is because money = stability. And, did you know? Stability means that

Everything Must Be All Right All of the Time No Matter What.

Catchy, right? I’m going to needlepoint that on a pillow.

Making sure that Everything Must Be All Right All of the Time No Matter What is rather tiring, did you know? Also? It’s impossible, so there’s that.

I recently had the honor of reviewing this book, and I would like to recommend it to you here:

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You guys. This book is super. There are so many things I like about it, but to be brief:

IT IS JUST WHAT I NEEDED.

Ok, the book addresses the issue of prayer – something I have always struggled with and for good reason. By this, I mean I tend to pray a lot like this:

Dear God – WHYYYYYYYYY CANNNNN’T YOUUUUUUUUU…. (fill in the blank) AND ANOTHERRR THING….

And so on.

Now, this is NOT bad. Praying + whining is acceptable to God. God knows. He made us after all, and if he made some of us, ahem, a bit more pessimistic and screechy than others? So be it. But when I whine/pray (Prine? Whray??) it just ends up with me feeling sad and twisty when I hang up with Him.

Detweiler’s book offers clear, practical advice on how to pray in solid, joyful FAITH. Yep. FAITH with BIG CAPITAL LETTERS. The kind of faith, that, well,  you know.

It moves mountains.

I highly recommend this book if your prayer life needs a little sprucing up. If you’re feeling like every prayer is uttered with all the verve of Eeyore. If maybe, just maybe, you have some mountains to attend to.

If you’d like to know more, or take a closer look at Sue Detweiler’s book click here, and get moving. 17903556_10155247020512206_6837944691568322308_n.jpg

 

 

Fight the Good Fight

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Sometimes being afraid just takes up too much time in the day.

And sometimes, we can fear the strangest things.

Y’all, I am fighting off some gunk lately. It is real, biological gunk as I think I might be getting the horrible plague-flu that is going around the boys’ school. I substitute there, and just yesterday a little sweetheart came up and coughed in my general direction and I swear I could SEE the horrible plague-germs attack me.

Also, sadness and confusion. I am fighting that. And a complete lack of confidence. I am a lump of all of that.

Here’s the deal. I am working on book 2. This is wonderful and exciting and such a straight up gift from God. So, you know Satan has to get in on it, don’t you? Satan’s all:

“This is the worst drivel you have ever written. You just googled The Spice Girls, to put IN your book, are you kidding? Who is going to read this crud? Maybe Scary Spice but that’s IT. And, you know? It’s really, really important right now for you to go on the facebooks and waste about 30 min. scrolling, scrolling, so you can mush-ify your brain a little more, BECAUSE YOU CANNOT WRITE.”

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Satan has a very good way of instilling fear, distracting, and then lumpifying me. Allow me to show you in a cool graphic display:

Step One:

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Step Two:

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Step Three:8182018_orig.png

 

Also, this morning I received an email rejecting my writing. It happens. It happens a lot, actually. If you want to be a writer, oftentimes you have to hold your writing out for others to see, and that merits some rejection.

Still hurts, though. Still makes Satan just rub his hands together in glee, so he can now sprinkle “SEE? I TOLD YOU SO. YOU CAN’T WRITE. GET A CLUE AND START FILLING OUT APPLICATIONS AT JC PENNY” onto my already mushy brain.

Not that working at JC Penny would be terrible. It’s just… retail does not really speak to me on a creative level, you know? And I decided, some years ago, when I laid down the wine and said, “Enough,” that my new addiction would be creativity. So, I have to have it.

I just have to. Or I wither.

Here’s the deal. Satan tries to wither us at any corner, any small space, any bit of emptiness he can wiggle into. He slides in, sneaks by, infiltrates oh so slowly, and next thing you know? You’ve start to feel fear. And then, you react.

I react by throwing a blanket over it, so I can pretend it’s not there. I try to numb it out. I poke my fingers in my ears and sing “La la la la la!!!” like I’m six.

I try all of these things and scroll on the facebooks too. It does the trick, for a while. But all the time, the fear is still there, shrouded, and waiting. So very, very patient.

Instead? Well, I want to breathe in God and breathe Him out and just sit with Him and talk about all this stuff. I forget to DO that. Such a simple thing.

Kelly Balarie’s book, Fear Fighting, gives us reminders and wisdom about all of this. It is a book that speaks to those of us who long for Control. Who Worry. Who hate Waiting. Who have felt the sting of Rejection. (These are all her chapter titles, and I re-read “Rejection and Opposition: They Have Issues just this morning.)

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I also want “rhythm with God.” I want to sit with Him in all of this, and then, get up and walk with Him and work it out. I don’t want to evade or cover up or sink into mushy, distracted, tired brain.

I am grateful for this book and for Kelly’s compassion. She’s been there. Oh, has she been there (Read her book; she’ll tell you all about it. )

Go do something un-mushifying today. I will too, with the help of too much coffee, Jesus, some good music (Sara Groves, of course) and this book.

Join the good fight. #FearFightingbook #DolifewithGod

And all God’s women said,  Amen?

Amen!

 

Hello, my name is Dana, and I can’t wrap presents.

Momsie, Christmas 2016:

This year I will make sure we do a meaningful and very spiritual Advent activity every day!

This year, we will not fight or argue during our Christmas break because Jesus is about to be born and he needs his sleep! Peace! Goodwill! Etcetera!

This year I will make fudge that actually ends up as fudge, not glorified frosting!

This year, I will wrap the presents BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE.

THIS YEAR WE WILL DO ALL THE CHRISTMAS THINGS!

 

Bet you can guess how I’m doing on my list, eh?

You know that sledding scene from It’s a Wonderful Life where George’s brother careens right into the pond? Well, that’s how our Christmas can go if we are not careful. Right. Over. The Merry Cliff.

I am pretty sure Jesus did not have this in mind.

Anyhow, what will happen is that I do make the fudge, and we eat it with a spoon and it’s YUMMO.

Also, I will make divinity for my dad because he is the best dad EVER and he’s reading this right now, and I am maintaining my status as the favorite child.

Also, I will put off wrapping because when I wrap presents? I seem to channel my inner idiot savant (what? We all have one. Don’t judge) and my presents end up looking like this:

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I would like to state for the record that there is no booze in this post. The item in the sock is “stunt liquid” – perhaps some olive oil, or a lovely bottle of Sprite. Perhaps a nice 1997. That was a good year.

Anyhow.

Wrapping. Wrapping happens. It’s unavoidable.

NETFLIX TO THE RESCUE!

Netflix has soooooo many new shows to view, I don’t even know what to start. If for some weird reason your children* are a part of this whole wrapping thing (rare, and also very painful for all involved. I mean, have you ever WATCHED a six year old try to wrap a box? It’s like green and red paint drying.) You can watch these two gems:

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Tim Allen is so JOLLY in this one. It’s perfection.

 

or : 61456a59-f862-446b-bc27-9e0fb05c8332_1-40f4d8069640ced9fde27ccd4522295b

This bunny one? It’s adorable.

And, like the tag says, “Everybody needs some bunny to love.” SO TRUE. We could all do with more bunnies to cuddle! Bunnies for everyone!

Also, the movie also stars Florence Henderson in one of her last roles, and she is so gruff and real and NON Florence Henderson-y in it;  she really was awesome in this movie. The story line is about adoption and fostering children. I am such a fan of those families who open their hearts and homes to children – even the “tough ones.” Just watch it. Bring kleenex. Or, maybe a bunny to hold onto while you watch. To wipe away the tears.

*Um, it’s also possible that the boys whilst watching the movies will be so transfixed by Christmas goodness that you can slooooooooowly slide the presents out of their sweaty little hands and then wrap those suckers for them in two seconds. I’m not saying I’ve done that, or that I’ve even done a good job IF I’ve done that, but we needed to be done wrapping that ONE BOX by 2017.

If you’re not watching with the babies, and you are also husband-free (he seems to avoid the whole wrapping thing because he knows better. I get surly. Plus, his style of wrapping, as an engineer, involves a level and measuring tape and, I think at one point there was some math formulas from an app on his phone involved) I go for the Hallmark-channely, romantic Christmas wondefulness stuff that is fluffy and happy. I like fluffy and happy. Heck, I’M fluffy and happy, so there’s that.

Here’s an example:movie-poster-back-to-christmas-563e51c486673-cb49ecc125dffb8d4491e3688e98609ba30f8aca-1“Sometimes you do get a second chance.”

That is cinema gold, people. We all need second chances, and if you’re a It’s a Wonderful Life-Ebenezer-Miracle on 39th Street kinda girl, you might realize –

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SECOND CHANCES.

Jesus would agree.

And finally? I give you my second chance at wrapping:

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My masterpiece.

 

Merry Christmas! Sit back, relax, spoon up some fudge, and enjoy the season, with the help of Netflix.

 

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Banish Worry and Anxiety in Five Easy Steps!

Gotcha.

I hate to say it, but worry doesn’t go down that easy. It doesn’t do “steps.” Sometimes, it doesn’t even do logical.

And it doesn’t play fair. Does it?

Some of you know my whole story – the one that digs back behind the funny parenting posts and tells you that I am an alcoholic, in recovery. And here is the rub:

Worry was my THING.

And sometimes, it still is. The holidays are a time of festivity and lights and our Savior’s birth, but did you also know? For a lot of us, the holidays are fraught with fear, anxious thoughts, worry. Sadness. Depression. A whole cocktail of tangled thinking stirred with a cute little swizzle stick of “We SHOULD be totally happy right now! It’s Christmas! NO ONE can be sad at Christmas! It’s un-American!”

In some ways, worry is an addiction all its own. It can be picked up and put on, like one of those big puffy coats that make you look like the Michelin Man – it buffers you from all else. It wraps and constricts and, at the same time? It might just be what we think keeps us warm and safe. If we worry, that means we just might have a shot at fixing whatever worries us.

We think we can fix, with worry.

Instead? We only damage more.

Lately I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing this:

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Here is a bit of wisdom (in the form of a list! You KNOW how I love lists!) from the author, D. C. Berkel, CPA:

Worrying has never:

  • Paid a bill
  • Turned around a failing relationship
  • Made a sick person well
  • Improved anyone’s physique
  • Changed anyone’s mood to one more positive
  • Made a job more fun or secure
  • Taken out the trash
  • Mowed the grass
  • Painted the house
  • Or kept the mother-in-law away

Now, not all mother in laws are worry-inducing. But, this list? It makes sense. We worry. We worry about all sorts of things. And Christmas? Sometimes, in all this joy and celebration, it crashes up against us and makes the worry hit back. This workbook? It has a lot of help to offer. It defines anxiety, and worry, and tells us why we sink under it. It gives us some very practical advice, in a written workbook format, step by step. It takes it slow.

And that’s how we deal. We need to take a breath, do some writing, some thinking about our past, some work. Maybe because we owe it to our future.

I still worry. But, I don’t let it control me. And I don’t suffer from it, like I used to. It doesn’t cloak me, and my life, like it once did.

Did you know? About six years ago, every time I got in a car with my family to go on a road trip, I would envision our little vehicle ending up in a terrible crash. I would see it, the metal on the road, the ambulances, the terror. I would breathe deep and clench my fists and pray like crazy, but that, my friends, is some palpable, evil anxiety to deal with. So, today? I do every thing I can to work on it. I gather my tools and I keep them close. God asks us pursue wisdom, and knowledge, and live right.

This book is one of those tools to live right. I highly recommend it.

If you are interested in getting a copy, click here.

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Top Ten Netflix Picks for Your Family This Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving. The best holiday of the year. Wanna know why? Well, let me provide you with a list:

  1. No presents. No shopping. No wrapping. None. Nada. Zipp. Glorious.
  2. My momma’s oyster dressing.
  3. Gravy. Like, all over the place.
  4. Dressing up the dog and taking pictures of him. He loves this so much.
  5. Football. That’s more for the boys but I enjoy it as background noise. It pairs well with #6.
  6. Napping. All over the place. Like the gravy. Because of the gravy.
  7. No other plans. Like, for two whole days. No shopping, no going, no to-doing, no cleaning (except baths. There will be baths.) We are just going to … be. We will play board games and take the dog on walks and be. THIS IS AWESOME.
  8. The Macy’s Day Parade. Of course.
  9. My father in law’s Keurig. It’s elfin magic.
  10. My children’s faces when they first see the Thanksgiving table. It’s like Christmas morning, but without it being morning and there are no presents and it’s just food but you know. It’s food.

I do realize that “family” made it in the middle of the list. Should have been first, I think. I think my focus is on the NON gift giving aspect of this holiday because, holy entitlement, my children have ENOUGH STUFF.  They would disagree, of course. Little hoarders. They have an entire drawer full of half broken Chinese plastic pieces from McDonald’s Happy Meals and I swear, those Happy Meals toys procreate, y’all. The drawer is growing.

But, I digress.

Ok, so this Thanksgiving I wanted to give you another list. This one is for those of you who like to throw on a movie, or three, while you are relaxing and eating turkey sandwiches. It’s not a proper Thanksgiving for me unless there are copious movies. And, I want the kinds that make me all happy and grateful. Like a big happy hug of a movie. So, here goes:

MOMSIE’S TOP TEN NETFLIX PICKS TO MAKE YOU FEEL ALL WARM AND FUZZY ON THIS THANKSGIVING:

  1. Angel in the House. Toni Colette and Ioan Gruffud (of Amazing Grace) play bereaved parents, trying to conceive, until 7 year old Eli shows up on their doorstep. Prepare to cry. The ugly kind, but still, in a good way.a68a3700-6378-4dfe-9a89-3218246b0253_1.5eed56ebc5bb24b6654615b138e97e10.jpg

 

2.

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Love. Lessons. Loneliness. A little magic and French accents. Also, Jeff Bridges.

 

3.

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You think by #3 it might have lost its… mojo. But no. And the animation is incredible. Just a visual feast.

Also, Bryan Cranston and Dustin Hoffman and that Jack Black guy. You’re welcome.

4.

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Um… I know this isn’t exactly family fun. My kids would protest. But… I love it. Can’t help it. It’s full of schlock and silly romance  and that dude from that one show from the 80’s… Also this: my gosh people, if my dating life had been at ALL like this life would have been grand. Course, then, I would not have married the current hubs because he is so NOT that one dude from that 80’s show… But you know, reality and all. It’s here to stay.

5. 936full-miracle-on-34th-street-cover.jpgStill one of the best. The Macy’s Day parade scene? Classic. And the part with the letters at the courthouse? Still makes me cry. Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.

6.

 

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King Julien? He is my alter-ego. I mean, just look at him.

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7. Holy puppy chow. The cuteness. Also, watched it with my rescue dog, Hosmer, all up on my lap. He told me it was two paws up.

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8.

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Ok, the production value on this is a bit lower – it is produced by a Christian film company that is still small, and you can see that, BUT: I love films like this. I don’t care. It’s wonderful and the message is perfect for all of us. Everyone deserves second chances. Always.

 

9.

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I LOVE THIS SHOW. IT’S FOOD AND CUTENESS AT THE SAME TIME.

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And finally!!!

 

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Best adaptation ever. Best soundtrack. Best lion voice. Best witch. Best child actors. Best MESSAGE.

May we all know the deep magic.

 

Much love to you and yours this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the feasting and the festivity and cuddle up with your family and enjoy the Netflix. God bless us, everyone.

Oh, and ALSO!!! Gilmore Girls!!! They’re coming!!!! November 25th! Squeeeeee!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving, from Netflix and Momsie. 

 

“I would eventually have to tell.”

Let me show you how God works.

In my case, God does not work in mysterious ways. He knows, with me, he has to be a lot more CLEAR. He has to be, because I am, well, stubborn.

Y’all. Seriously. I’m “stubborn” like Richard Simmons is “Sassy.” We work it.

Anyhow… A few years ago I lost my mind. I drowned myself in a lot of wine, on a daily basis, and then, when the wine was over my head and I was choking for sanity, I grabbed onto more bottles and just sank even lower.

God worked: He got me out of there. He helped me out, dried me off, and we keep walking together. In fact, I am stuck to Him like really needy and sober GLUE until I get to meet him personally.

God worked. He got me writing gigs to keep me busy, and He asked me to start talking about the near-drowning stuff. He said, “Now. You need to tell.”

I now have a gig writing with Nazarene Publishing House. A column, for The Community, a blog that “provides content, insight, training, and conversations that inspire spiritual growth.”

I am totally freaked out that I am writing a column for anything that involved “training” and “spiritual growth.” I’m the one who used Richard Simmons earlier in this post, as a sort of analogous mentor, remember?

But yet, I’m a part of their crew. Ok, God does work in mysterious ways.

Now, I don’t usually do this, but I’m gonna ask you a favor. If you would, go peruse? Maybe subscribe? Follow on facebook, twitter, you know the drill. Perhaps I am biased, but there is some really good writing on there.

If you want to see my article, click here. Then, take a look around. It’s a good community.

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Princesses and Pirates and Popcorn.

Ok. I guess you could say I am a Princess kind of person. I don’t necessarily like pink or tea parties or even tiaras (those are fun on birthdays because then people bring you presents) but if I had to choose…

It’s really by process of elimination. I cannot climb ropes. I don’t like high places. I certainly don’t get all this general swashbuckling about. It’s beyond me. I might be able to swash or buckle, but certainly not both at the same time.

I can rock a mean black eyeliner though. And an eye patch. But that’s another post for another day.

Last week I had two extra boys at my house. We were busy. It was a Star Wars day, which meant we were playing Star Wars legos and Star Wars tag and Star Wars bikes and Star Wars pretty much anything as long as there could be a Luke and someone with a blaster. Steve the cat was Chewbacca. I always got to be Leia. That kind of thing.

It was all fun until that dreaded time after lunch where everyone gets Tired of Each Other.

And then, that’s when I decided to snag them with my Secret Weapon: Princesses.

I know. I know it’s a stretch, stay with me.

I explained that I had been asked to review THIS, which I brandished at them with much flair, and Princessey splendour.swan-princess-dvd-754x1024.jpgThere was some silence. And then I offered popcorn, and they shrugged and said, “Ok!”

I know. This doesn’t sound very promising but here’s the deal: I love watching movies with my kids. And I grew up on Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty… and let’s just say those don’t get a lot of play at our house. And this afternoon, my boys sat and watched a princess become a pirate and this was what they did:

 

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They were totally into it, y’all. Total silence. Except for small-boy inhalation-munching of popcorn.

And also this: WHY is there a basket of laundry in EVERY picture I ever take? Curse you, laundry. Diva photo-bomber.

 

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The movie had pirates. It had weird beasties. It had high seas and music and adventures and also some moments where we all got the giggles. I snort-laughed at one point. That is a really, really huge compliment, by the way. It means I am invested in the pirates and beasties, which doesn’t happen all time when watching with my boys. It also means I need to work on my social cues, but that’s another post for another day.

Hey, Swan Princess, who knew?
It was all rather surprising.

Popcorn, a movie, pirates, princesses, and a basic lesson on how we shouldn’t pile on expectations. Done. All in one afternoon.