Enough, Already.

Linking up with my favorite people over at Five Minute Friday. The theme?

It’s a good one.

Totally fitting.

Kinda scary accurate, actually.

It’s like Kate Motaung totally knows me. That poor woman.

 

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Ok, so this week I explained to you my Congo fast, right? I think we’re at almost half way, and so far it’s been a piece of cake.

Cake. I miss you.

And, if you know me at all, you realize that all this glib talk of pastry is just a call for help. This is tough, people.

This Congo fast? There’s not really a truly hungry element here. I am not starving. In fact, the author of the book we’re using, Chris Seay, makes it very clear that quantity is fine. It’s just WHAT we’re eating makes me kinda… itchy for cake. It’s not a hunger we’re dealing with here. It’s a restlessness.

So, also: I cheated.

Last Saturday, something snapped and that night I found myself scarfing graham crackers, off-brand cheezits from Dollar General, and marshmallows.

Y’ALL. I DON’T EVEN LIKE MARSHMALLOWS.

Also, my husband was in the other room, and I found myself SHOVING FOOD IN MAH MOUTH as silently as possible, like a stealthy chipmunk.

A very guilty chipmunk.

So, way back, long ago, when this whole thing started (that was thirteen days ago, my friends. It seems like it was 2014), my friend Kate (Aka the master manipulator who totally bamboozled me into this whole thing) told me it was ok to write about all this. Wow, that is a humdinger of a sentence.

I asked her if the Congo fast had a place in my blog. Would writing about it be too “HEY LOOK AT ME I AM FASTING HOW COOL AM I? SUPER CHRISTIAN WOMAN IN DA HOUUUUUUUSE.” Because whenever I blog about anything I like to channel 80’s hip hop diction. It’s how I roll, yo.

Kate said it would be fine. It might help others and there’s always accountability.

Sigh. Accountability Shmacountability.

So, I had two choices today. I could tell you how marvelous the whole Lenten Congo Fastapalozza is a spiritual walk in the park. And… therefore…

This would be me:c4ecc05d66ba61b6ce0a2590f6efd0e8_well-isnt-that-special-feb-19-well-isnt-that-special-meme_736-649.jpg

Instead, I am gonna fess up and tell you how a graham cracker and some stale marshmallows broke me like a twig.

Oh my goodness. GUYS. I just realized. I  coulda at least made a S’MORE with my rebellion. WHAT is wrong with me? If I’m gonna screw up I should make it COUNT.

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MY PRESHUS.

 

See? Isn’t it a good thing I’m being accountable here? Because then you are welcome to watch me unravel before your eyes. I’m a cautionary tale, in human form.

I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully there will be no more marshmallow shenanigans.

THE POINT:

I have Enough. We all have more than Enough. We don’t even know. I was so used to always having MORE than Enough that I lost sight of Who is Enough.

Enough is enough.

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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!

 

Save Haven

“Wait… don’t you mean ‘Safe‘?”

No. It’s not a typo. Saving haven is what I want to talk about today.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday, and today’s theme?

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We all talk about “safe haven.” Taking it, I mean. We like to make sure we have one in our homes and our hearts, where we can hide out and get away and be, well, SAFE.

I wonder. How do we carve out those places? How do we create them? And what are they centered around? Mine orbits around books, a bed, my computer, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. The peanut butter cups are optional, as sometimes they get lost in the bedcovers and then later you find what looks like poo in your sheets and freak out, and then realize, it’s just melted chocolate. And then you stand there, weighing the options, that you might just lick melted chocolate poo off your sheets and THEN you realize you have finally hit your bottom and it’s time for counseling. Really makes you think about your life choices, that whole licking the bedsheets thing.

Anyhow. I digress. Chocolate can do that to a Momsie.

The other day, I was going to do some editing of a blog post but I accidentally typed in “momx.”

Sigh. Oh internet.

Now, let me state here: Oh the places you can GO on the internet! It can be so awesome! I find myself drawn to you when I’m tired and I think, “I’ll just poke around here for a minute and find a recipe for cheesy corn because I so need that right now!” And 45 minutes later I’m watching videos of cats. It always ends up with the cats.

Unless, of course, you google the wrong thing and your computer barfs porn all over you.

I know. I KNOW. I do know it’s there and it’s bad and I guess… I guess I just didn’t really want to think about that special category of ill that involves the words “Mom” and porn. You get the idea.

This post is icky. Sorry.

I just think… our world has so many OPTIONS for everything now. And we don’t realize, sometimes, that all those options don’t have Safe Havens as part of their package deal. Like, did you know? Bad stuff is pretty much spread all OVER these options, like germs.

So, here’s what I decided:  I’m just going to take my boys and move into the basement and eat rations and read the bible, and when we long for entertainment we will sit around and hold hands, strum the guitar and sing hymns.

Of course… It’s possible this plan is not going to work because I can’t play the guitar and the husband won’t come down into the basement with us because ESPN.

We need to save the havens. Somehow. I don’t really KNOW how, but we do. My job is basically directed and led and festooned all OVER the place with the internet, so I do get the irony here. If I moved to the basement, how would my beloved readers get access to the exquisite-ness that is Momsie?

It’s a double edged sword. We seek haven. But sometimes we need to run, no SPRINT away from what we rely on as comforting and safe.

What is the Haven that you are willing to fight for? To do battle for? To save? Because, in this world, those places are going away.

Unless we fight for them.

We must fight for them.

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Tales of the Very Loud and Very Small

Linking up with my beloved Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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My children seem to suffer from a strange ailment that I cannot cure:

They are Loud Talkers.

Not all the time, mind you. If you need to ask one of them why they decided to whack the other one over the head with the croquet mallet? This merits soft whispery responses that make you lean closer and closer until you realize you have crawled up ON them to get a straight answer. Which is what they wanted all along. Because now you are cuddling and so it’s all ok.

Ok, let me give you a brief sample of the Loud Talking:

Dinner table:

Me, asking the Most Useless Question Ever: So, how was everyone’s day today?

Boys, answering with Universal Useless Response: Fine.

Blonde: I SAW YOU. I SAW YOU. RED WAS PICKING HIS NOSE. THAT’S A DOLLAR.*

Red: NO. NO I WAS NOT. IT WAS A SCRATCH, NOT AN ITCH. MOM. MOM?

Me: Hold on. I’m just… can I get an Exedrine? The walls are shaking.

Blonde: THIS SPAGHETTI? IT SEEMS TOO… RED. I CANNA EAT RED FOOD. IT’S AGAINST MY BELIEFS.

Red: ME TOO BUT ALSO DID YOU KNOW THAT A NINJA HAS THE POWERS TO READ YOUR MIND AND ALSO KILL THINGS?

Blond: WE DON’T TALK ABOUT KILLING AT THE DINNER TABLE! BAD MANNERS! THAT’S BAD MANNERS! GET HIM MOM.

Me: Get… who? I can no longer discern who is speaking it’s the Thunderdome in here.

Husband: I CAN GET IN ON THIS. DID YOU SEE THOSE WILDCATS! THEY WON? AGAIN?

Blonde and Red, really all riled up now because of the husband, also known as The One Who Keeps Making Things Worse: WOOO HOOOOOOO, LET’S TRY TO MAKE MOM FALL OFF HER CHAIR!

Guys, I like things quiet. I listen to music, quietly. I ponder things, quietly. I like cats, because they GET what it is to mull! Bless their furry, sullen little hearts, they are QUIET.

My house? It is often not very quiet. And, the other weirdness? It’s LOUD about things that don’t merit noise. At least to me. Does it really seem fitting to be loud about things like putting on socks? Socks are, essentially, quiet things. Why do we have to bellow about them?

This is what I am trying to embrace in the Loudness:

  1. I tend to miss the Loud Talkers when they are not around. I thought, perhaps, when they leave for school that I might sit around and listen to the “Sounds of Silence” and maybe some Gregorian chants, and just wallow in the Still. But, you know what? I kinda miss the little air horns. I do.
  2. My children live life on a Whole Hearted level that I have forgotten how to do. On a volume level of 1-10? They go to eleven.
  3. I can learn from them. They Dive In. They go Whole Hog. They Embrace. They have GUSTO.
  4. They live like they sound. It’s not a bad way to exist, I tell you.

I want to live with a Whole Heart. There are lots of ways to learn this: following Jesus, reading His word, talking to Him a LOT, praising Him for the good of life, and the bad of it…

And also? Watching children. And then, I Sound my own barbaric yawp. They do it about socks, for Pete’s sake. They are expert Yawpers.

We should all be so lucky.

#YawpOn.

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*In our house, if I spot a child picking his nose, I charge him a dollar. So far I have made about forty thousand dollars.

Also? I leave you with this. Because, it’s perfection. And it pretty much sums up my existence with my two small rockers, every day:

We are little and God is Big.

Sitting at a table right now, selling my book. This is weiiiiirrrrrrd, y’all. Never thought I’d be saying that – “Here I am, all la-dee-da, selling this book I wrote and yep, it’s like got pages, and a cover…”

WOW. Every once in a while I have to shake myself and just go a little Jerry Lee Lewis on all this. I mean…

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE THERES’ A BOOK HERE AND I WRITED IT.

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The above shows you my totally savvy media skills. They are off the HOOK. I mean, lookit:

  1. Picture is so dark it looks like final scene in The Blair Witch Project
  2. Backwards writing b/c well, yes, I dunno how to fix that.
  3. Glowing ac register above me… all “Look into the light, Caroline…” (Poltergeist quote. Cuz, who doesn’t think scary movies when at a women’s conference about addiction and recovery? Har har har).
  4. Deer in the headlights look. Really really really a normal look for me these days.

Ok, this conference ya’ll. I have to tell you. There are these fabulous women here, that I am working with and talking with and, like, riding around with in CARS and GETTING COFFEE and they are LIKE LETTING ME IN THE CAR WITH THEM I AM SO IN SEVENTH GRADE AGAIN!!!

They like me. I think they really like me.

Also this:

I have been listening to women talk about their pain and their stories. So much of our lives are pain, right? And then we need to tell the story.

We all have something. We ALL have something.

Praise God we can talk it through.

Anyhow, just wanted to tell you all how it was going and how I feel like Jesus has been holding my hand the whole time.

At some point I’ll also tell you how I ended up convincing my workshop ladies that we would be doing interpretive dance to work through our troubles…

I so had them at jazz hands, y’all. I did.

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. Can I hear an amen?

AMEN. 🙂

Can you tell I am on a three-hours-of-sleep-women-talking-sharing-hugging-crying kind of high right now? I won’t be able to SPEAK for days when I come home.

For that, I am thinking my husband will be pretty grateful.

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When

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Linking up with Five Minute Friday today.

Today’s theme:

When .

 

Oh boy. I think I might get cranky on this one. Now remember, readers, this is MY crabby. All mine. You do not have to own it in any way. In fact, if you are all, “Oh no… she’s gonna get all crabby here and I don’t have time for THAT,” then you have complete permission to back away slowly.

It’s just how I’m feeling today.

So, here goes:

 

When are we going to stop fighting about yoga pants?

When is the polarity about that 50 Shades movie going to end?

When can we stop yelling at each other about immunizations?

When will there be some quiet on how much we hate our governor?

When will we be able to meet and talk?

 

I deal in social media. It’s my job. But sometimes, I think social media has created a whole lot of shouting heads. And not the good kind. I prefer the kind of shouting where you’re at a great church service and “I’ll Fly Away” is the hymn, and the band is going crazy, and we just shout along with the love of all of it.

Sometimes, I go on the great interwebs, and I come away thinking, “Everyone is so darn mad.”

And you know? We totally have every right to be mad. I get it. And even express it.

But today? I would like for us to just be able to realize one thing (and yes, I realize too, that I am now giving MY opinion and am stepping hard into the irony of all this. But I’m not yelling. When I yell, my voice gets all shrill and I kinda sound like Meg Tilly, but not in a good way.)

Today: I would like for the great interwebs to ask:

When could we meet for coffee and talk about all this? I’ll wear my yoga pants and you’ll bring your immunization flyers and we will try, somehow, to talk politics.

Or maybe, form a book club for that 50 book.

Or not… I think I would blush so hard I wouldn’t even be able to speak; book clubs like it when you talk, I think.

 

When are we going to get there? The talking part, instead of the shouting?

As my sister would say, “Honey, when Jesus comes, I imagine.”

 

True, yes. Especially the book club part. But, it’s nice to think about, isn’t it?

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Keep the peace.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The word is:

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Well, here’s another post about the never-ending story of sickies that has descended on our house. It’s a suspenseful tale of all night cough fests and very little sleep and, at one time, a great plot twist involving poop.

I KNOW. Can’t wait to read it, can you?

Wait. WAIT. Before you leave me for something vastly more interesting on the interwebs, let me apologize. I have tried at numerous points all week to write something really fascinating or inspirational or at least solidly funny, but each time I had a thought like this: “Well, look, the boys are doing something rather adorable, it will inspire millions, I should post about this!”

Then THIS would happen: Something involving children’s Mucinex all over the bed, or I would forget the cuteness because I haven’t, you know, SLEPT in about five days, or the cat would catch on fire*, or something.

The doctor had told me that Blonde was no longer contagious, and we simply had to wait it out.

And so. We are waiting. We all still feel a bit under the weather.

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I know. This may be a bit dramatic. But it really is kinda how we are feeling around here.

I do love it, that waiting. I’d put it right up there with doing my taxes. Or constipation. Or doing my taxes while constipated.

So, yesterday, I woke up with the blonde firmly shellacked to my side in a sticky pile of six-year-old grumpiness (sticky – because I tried to give the kid some cough medicine at three in the morning. This is never a good idea. Six year olds seem to lose all fine motor skills after midnight. You can look it up in the DSM-V under Annoying Inability to Get Medicine in Mouth Because Tired.)

Ok. I was a bit…off kilter. Off balance.

Ok, I’ll admit, I was GRUMP-Y.

So, I did what I always do when I am grumpy (also, when I am sad, tired, overwhelmed, impatient, freaked out, or basically any other sort of wack emotion) – I prayed. Rather listlessly, and with a heavy side of whining, but I prayed.

And then, I got up and put on skinny jeans. This helped too, somehow. First of all, they sort of lift and tuck all the bits and pieces that need, um, lifting and tucking. This makes me feel like a real person.

And so here’s what happened next:

1. My morning devotional was about being a slump. Yes, the kind where you feel all blah and tuckered and just spent, like the world is a big huge puddle of sadness. I read it over twice and felt heartened.

2. I got a letter from my Mom. It was about step work. No, I’m not talking square dancing (which would be fun, wouldn’t it?) It’s about 12 step recovery; some notes she had written down when I was a kid, and KEPT all these years and then sent to me. I felt encouraged.

3. I was able to lend a hand to a student with something for class. And I felt… helpful.

Life is hard. It involves sickness and tiredness and sometimes the occasional mornings of grumpitude. I guess all I have today to add to that is that we need to hunker down and stay close to God at those times.

Well, don’t we always? In good and in bad? We need to keep close and He will do the rest.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.

Isaiah 26:3, KJB

Not, “so-so peace,” or “kinda-sorta peace,” or “peace in pieces.”

Nope. “PERFECT PEACE,” people! (Say that fast three times!)

That bible, it seems to have a lot of answers, doesn’t it. Perhaps, all the answers. To all of it. Even for tired babies and tired mommies and tired mornings.

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* Ok, no cats were actually IN FLAMES at all during this post. Or at any other times. Like ever. Back off, PETA.