Story time.

Linking up with my favorite Friday people today. The theme?

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I just got off the phone with my sister. We slipped into our easy conversations about food and planning for Thanksgiving and who will bring the potatoes. It’s what we do.

And my other sister, well I had to leave her a message. This did not deter me as I left a long, rambling message that involved me singing Stevie Wonder. Nothing too abnormal here.

My sisters and I don’t spend too much time with story-telling. We chatter on about what’s going on right now, bits and pieces of information. Mostly, we tell each other our to-do lists so the other one can commiserate and offer to bring the potatoes.

We don’t tell each other stories, because we know each other so well. Who wants to listen to a story when you can finish the other person’s sentence? Where’s the suspense in that? It’s like when I check out a book at the library, only to find I’ve read it once before. As I travel the pages I start to feel that weird deja vu, and then, it hits me: Scandalous Love is a page-turner, yes, but I already know the ending. He runs off with her and they are fabulous. And in love.tumblr_n2i1d5NmqY1r37w3co8_500.jpgOk. Granted, I didn’t really read Fabulous Love. Like, ever. Not really my genre.

ANYWAY.

Sometimes I wonder… don’t we need to ask, every once in a while…

“Hey. What’s your story?”

Even my sisters, who lived part of my story with me, don’t know it all. And I don’t know theirs.

A story can shift and change and it doesn’t end until we do. Do we really ever bother to ask? Is that just too hard or uncomfortable? Or weird, perhaps. Might be a bit weird. And I do love my chatter with my sisters. It’s comfortable, and we laugh a lot, and it’s easy. Story-telling isn’t so easy. It takes a comfy chair and a good sit down and time. It takes time.

But, I wonder. What if we asked for stories more?

What is your story? We all have one. And they’re all important.

 

 

 

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Depend on it.

Linking up with my favorite writing community – Five Minute Friday!

The theme?

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I have to admit. The first thing that came to my mind were undergarments. We’re going to skip that one, ok?

In fact, I would like to forego any attempt at something spiritually encouraging. Instead, I would like to talk to you about my cat, Steve.

Some of you know Steve. He has his following. Steve is a large white cat who came into our family a few years ago. He adopted both boys as his own, and his large girth has been a well loved pillow, blanket, toy, attraction, distraction, and mascot, ever since. And then, he became quite sick.

Very sick.

I know. He’s just a pet. Just a furry white behemoth that lounges about and kind of reminds me of a slow-moving, furry barge. But there was this moment, when I was carrying him across the room to the bath, he looked up at me with such patient love. The poor dear was in pain, and tired, and covered in filth, and I had bathed him, without incident, a few times already. He never complained. He never fought. He allowed me to lower him into the water and wash his soiled fur, and then gently wipe him dry. He allowed me to administer pills at numerous times during the day. He watched me through all of it with a sigh and shrug, like, “All right, get on with it then.”

So, as Steve and I were working on getting him well again, I was reminded how much this small(ish) creature depends on me, for his food, for a warm place to sleep, for water in which I put ice cubes every morning, because God forbid my sweet babies not have nice, chilled libations for them.

He depends on me, and I am so very grateful for that. We call him Biggie Meows. Or, Sir Meows A Lot. And he depends on us.

This is a good thing.

Steve is all well now, and seems to have gravitated to my side more so than normal. He comes to me whenever I am seated at my computer, and sits next to me, waiting for me to pat his wide head. I swear I see a smile on his face when I do so.

I just love that cat. And that’s all. I have no moral of the story, or bible verse to tie in, or a Jesus moment for you. I just have this:

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Poor dear. He’s tired. And too big for the couch.

And that’s more than enough.

 

 

The sheets hit the fan.

 

This is not my laundry room. This is a stunt laundry room.

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So, the other day, I put in a load of laundry.

I know. This post is gonna rock your world.

 

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Anyhow, the sheets. My goodness. My mother bought me these sheets because she’s a mother and she still buys me stuff like that. It’s genetics. They buy sheets for you because you might sleep on a rock otherwise. She bought these sheets, I guess, at some really nice sheet store. They are super nice and all. And also? They weigh about four hundred pounds. I don’t know what these sheets are made out of y’all, but it seems to be some sort of bonded steel and fabric bricks, two-ply.

Also, when wet, they weigh about as much as four hundred pounds wrapped around an elephant who doesn’t want to get out of the washing machine.

The sheets, y’all. I struggle.

So, the other day, as I was pulling the elephant wrapped around an enigma known as the poundage of wet sheets, I happened to scrape my thumb. And this was the thumb that already had a blister on it because our backyard likes to go all jungle-themed every week or so.

THE PAIN. OH HOLY CAN OF HURT WORMS. IT WAS LIKE A THOUSAND ARROWS, ALL POINTY-POINTY AT MY THUMB AND THEN, ALSO AN ELEPHANT CAME AND SAT ON IT, AND…

Well. It just really stung, y’all. It hurt me. THE SHEETS WERE OUT TO GET ME.

And so of course also the laundry room was all “HA HAHA! I am gonna make this now into a totally horrible situation!” and all the hanging clothes managed to come crashing down (ok, one shirt) at my feet and when I bent over to pick it up, I POKED MY BUTT ON THE CUTE HANGING PEGS THAT I HAVE IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM BECAUSE PINTEREST TOLD ME HANGING PEGS IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM WERE A GOOD IDEA BUT NOTHING CUTE EVER HANGS ON THEM BECAUSE THERE’S NO ROOM BECAUSE OUR LAUNDRY ROOM IS LIKE THE MIND OF A TROUBLED PERSON IN THE ASYLUM.

Notice the creeping up of the all-caps, eh? Oh yea. Just wait.

So, I basically gave myself a proctology exam with the stupid Pinteresty pegs of death and then, when standing, I got a head rush and I felt old. Bending over, y’all. It’s not for old people. We might bend over and never get back up.

So, THEN I decided that I HATED everything, and my thumb HURT and I can’t even begin about my backside, and of course my dog was trying to into the laundry room because he’s like Lassie only stupid, and could hear me bellowing and was all, “Wait! Lemme in there! If I come in there I can pant on you and rub my nervous self all up and down your legs because that will HELP I KNOW IT, I CAN DO THIS THERAPY DOG THING, I PROMISE. JUST BELIEVE IN MEEEEEEEE.” And now the whole thing was all about HIM and he doesn’t even have a degree in therapy dog. We just watched a couple of youtube videos together and I nudged him a couple of times and pointed to the tv and said things like, “See? That’s what you could do if you really applied yourself,” and he would quiver and nod, and then go lick himself in inappropriate areas.

So, Mr. Lickie is all up in my business and my thumb is hurting and the sheets are all piled on the floor which is dirty so now I have wet and dirty just-washed really heavy sheets and then:

(deep breath) MY HAIR GETS SNAGGED ON ONE OF THE DANG HANGERS BECAUSE CLEARLY THIS LAUNDRY ROOM IS POSSESSED and once that gets all dealt with some of it (my hair) also sticks in my lip gloss which is SO ANNOYING. Just… SO annoying. It was like the pain of tens thousand arrows but not really painful. So, it was like the annoyance of ten thousand arrows, landing softly on my shiny lips and just sticking there.

Let me just state, if you don’t get the deal with hair getting stuck in lip gloss, you don’t know. YOU DON’T KNOW. IT’S UP THERE WITH PAPER CUTS AND THEN CUTTING A LIME LATER IN THE DAY AND FORGETTING YOU HAD A PAPER CUT WHICH IS, AS YOU KNOW, LIKE A THOUSAND ARROWS…

Well, you get the idea.

And THEN, as I smushed all the sheets, muttering and deciding this day was just so awful, like South Korea mixed with halitoses with a sprinkling of dentist’s office awful. Just the awfulest of awful, I figured this out, that maybe, it could ONLY be worse if, oh I don’t know, like…

MY WHOLE HOUSE WAS UNDER WATER.

SHEETS AND ALL.

And then, you know, I walked with the laundry basket into the kitchen, and lookie there. I HAD A KITCHEN. And also, there was clothes to put on a BED that I HAD UPSTAIRS.

ALSO, THERE WERE STAIRS THAT WEREN’T UNDER WATER.

And then, the cat came (one of the three billion we own) and pushed himself up by my legs like they do, a furry leg tripper warmer thingie, and I realized

THE CATS DID NOT NEED FLOTATION DEVICES. THEY WERE NOT FLOATING BY ME, YOWLING, IN SHRUNKEN WET-CAT DESPAIR. ALL CATS WERE DRY AND WALKING ON THE DRYNESS.

Also, you know what? I COULD TURN ON WATER FROM THIS THING CALLED A FAUCET AND THEN DRINK IT. RIGHT THERE. I could even use a glass.

And don’t even get me started on the toilet and it’s many convenience factors.

So, IN SUM:

No cats were floating by.

I have warm sheets.

My mom is still buying me stuff.

AND MY HOUSE IS NOT UNDER WATER.

 

THE END.

Revised title of this post:

The Sheets Hit the Fan. You know. THE ONE PLUGGED INTO THE WALL THAT STILL WORKS BECAUSE ELECTRICITY.

Please, pray for Houston. But don’t JUST pray. Also, DO something. Reach out. Donate. Give time. Give hope. Harvey is an a$$hole.

 

Don’t know where to start? Here is a good website that offers some ideas:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/28/546745827/looking-to-help-those-affected-by-harvey-here-s-a-list

 

 

A Blind Guy, a Robot, and Darth Vader Walk Into a Movie…

Guys, Netflix has SO much awesome stuff right now. I have already talked to you about my love for Moana (well, the boys love it too, but mine is a deeper kind of love. I’m in a serious relationship with the song “You’re Welcome.” It especially makes me happy when the occasion merits an actual “You’re welcome” and I get to break into song. My children so love this. It’s like when they fight and I start with the “Let it Go” business. Big showstopper, that one.)

And then, there’s Sing, and I’m humming, “I’m Still Standing” on the daily as well. It’s a good Mom song. By about five pm, we moms all feel a bit triumphant that we’re still vertical.

There’s so much singing going on over here. I’m a regular Julie Andrews, I tell you. But, shouting “I’m SHINY!!” tends not bring my children in concert with me, with matching outfits and Austrian accents. In fact, most times when I start crooning they sort of sidle away with a pained expression, muttering, “Always with the singing.”  But, you know, one day they might join me and we will enter a contest and climb some mountains to flee the Nazis. Don’t even get me started on this possibility.

Anyhow. This month, I am going to give you a non-singing option to dial up for  movie night because OH MY GOODNESS IT IS REALLY GOOD.

I am a total Star Wars snob, ok? The first rule of Star Wars is that we don’t talk about the Star Wars prequels. When Jar Jar speaks we turn away.

And, we actually straight up sobbed in the theater when Han died. (By “we” I do mean me – but third person sounds cooler.) My husband actually had to put his arm around me. And then, I couldn’t speak of it for two days afterwards.

Trust me, the Star Wars is strong with this one.

So, when Rogue One came out, as a “Star Wars story,” I was skeptical. Would it just be another weak CGI’d mess with whiny characters and costumes that are more interesting than the actors? (Yes, Princess Ami-blah blah. Your hair was better than your acting).

Rogue One is so good. It’s sooooo good. It has STUFF in it that just… is SO GOOD.

Is that not a really good review? “It is so good!” They should have used this in their press release:

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The hubs and I had a movie night. There was popcorn. A blind guy took down nearly twenty storm troopers because he can.

A robot stole all the best lines.

And then, there is Vader.

Chills. People. He’s in there. I might have squealed a little.

The movie has lots of neato Easter egg for the nerds who are always on the prowl about this sort of thing. Not me, of course.

But… doesn’t this look familiar?? I mean, HOW COOL IS THAT! (tiny nerd squeak)

 

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I’m gonna tell it to you true – the good guys get hit hard in this movie. Rogue One has really intense battle scenes and some hard moments when the good guys sacrifice their lives. It’s a hard message. Love, bravery, sacrifice, family, courage. Truth. War. Faith. It’s all in there.

But, the good guys keep trying. They keep fighting the darkness, even when the odds are very high that they won’t make it. Very high.

As a mother of two boys in 2017? I need this message. I really, really do.

Save the rebellion.

Save the dream.

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As a StreamTeam blogger, I get to watch Netflix and chat about it. It’s a great gig.

Here’s why I intensely dislike* my husband:

 

You're invited to an*Well, I was gonna say “hate.” But, hate’s such a strong word.

“Intensely dislike” doesn’t have quite the same ooomph, though.

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But, I shall continue.

HERE’S A BIG FAT LIST:

  1. Watching Brian eat chicken wings is the kind of experience that will put you off chicken, and their wings, forever. You know those scavenger ants that crawl all over a big cow corpse and leave it picked clean in ten minutes? Think that, but more gross.
  2. The other day I sat down next to him on the couch and said, “Guess what time I started writing today. Go ahead, guess.” And he didn’t respond so I said, “NEVER O’CLCOCK. THAT’S WHEN.” And then he said, “Why?”
  3. Whenever he goes anywhere, in any car, and it comes to a stop, it takes him like forty minutes to actually exit the car. I don’t know what he does in there, because I usually just leave. Perhaps he’s a top secret spy and whenever the car shuts off he has to reconfig his gps for the spy people. That doesn’t really make any sense. But it’s so annoying.
  4. He walks really slow. Unless I’m walking beside him. Then I can’t seem to keep up with his long footsteps. So, maybe it’s an optical illusion. Or, that he doesn’t want to walk with me. We’ll say option one.
  5. I once was having an existential laundry breakdown and flopped down next to him in bed and said, “Do you ever feel like the days are all just the same thing, over and over, and we’re all on this turning planet just milling about and doing the same thing, over and over, and it will just be like that until we die? Because I just folded and put away laundry and now that’s how I feel.”  And he said, “Yes.”

These are hateful, awful things. Deplorable.

But, that’s marriage.

Here’s my point (which I know is kinda full of snark today but it’s Wednesday, and that’s my snark day. Thursday is for serenity. Friday is for super-spiritual… I have it all written down in my bullet journal).

MY POINT:

My husband is so annoying. Like, sometimes? Just watching him eat makes me want to stab him with a fork. Marriage is like that. It’s like a long overdue pot of rice on the stove that just BOOM bubbles over in seconds and creates a God awful mess. Simply because the rice was rice.

Here’s another metaphor for you. Marriage is like, a petri dish. Here we are, stuck together in all this goo (children), watching each other, and other things (children) and just floating about and sometimes behaving like one-celled organisms.

And it’s so annoying.

But, even with the chicken wings and the melodious sounds of snoring at night that keeps the whole neighborhood in sync- even with that. AND his weird love of Quick Trip hot dogs. AND that if he says, “I’m going to the store for some milk,” I can expect him back sometime before sundown.

EVEN WITH ALL THOSE THINGS:

I will always and forever love him. Forever and forever. Like, forever.

More today than yesterday, in fact.

Because, that’s marriage.

 

Happy anniversary, my sweet love. Every day’s a new day.

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Darling Patrons: An Open Letter To the People Who Read My Stuff. Otherwise known as a blog post.

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I have lovely news, but I keep getting interrupted by other stuff.

Other stuff:

  1. Children. Small children. They NEED things. Even when they don’t they really like to carry on conversations with you. Case in point: This morning Red was coming out of the bathroom, sauntered past me, and asked, “Mom, do you like sausages?” I had no idea how to respond, really. It was the whole juxtaposition of the bathroom*, the nonchalance, and my inability to talk without coffee. I was flummoxed. But, yes, actually, I DO like sausages. Italian and summer are my favorite.
  2. *Just don’t dwell on it too much and it won’t get icky.

3. A furry white cat that was on death’s door a week ago. But more on that later.

4. Laundry. See #1.

I know the other stuff is normal (except for Steve, the cat but more on that later) but the older I get the harder it is to multi-task. It’s like my synapses just freak out and say, “Hey! Everybody! She’s trying to do that multi-tasking thing again! Take COVER!”” And there’s general running about and firing of synapses all over the place and waving of synapsey arms and mayhem.

I was trying to get (shove) my two boys out the door this morning for VBS, hoping for an hour to work on the lovely news, when I noticed that Red’s bed looked like he had piled every single one of his stuffed animals on it. It looked like this because, as I asked him for verification, “Mom, I piled every one of my stuffed animals on it! I have a kaJILLION!”

And that’s when I started in on Mom Lecture #3445, Clean Up Your Stuff Or It Will Go Away And You Will Have to Play with Sticks. 

Me: Red, you KNOW you are to MAKE YOUR BED every morning, and this is a MESS and-

Red: But, Mom-

Me: Hold on dear, I’m not to the sub points of the lecture. And FIRST OF ALL-

Red: But, MOM-

Me: One minute. FIRST OF ALL, it’s important to be RESPONSIBLE-

Red: MOM. MOMMY.

Me: AND ANOTHER THING-

Red: MOM THEY ASKED US TO BUILD THE WALL OF JERICHO IN VBS. IT WAS OUR HOMEWORK. AND I DID. WITH MY STUFFED ANIMALS. STRAIGHT UP BIBLE ACTIVITY ALL UP IN THERE.

Me: Oh. That’s adorable. And, they gave you homework? This VBS is hardcore.

Jesus and Red = 1 Mom = 0

 

Anyhow. I am now writing my little fingers off to tell you about THIS:IMG_6550.png

I’m working on another book. The publishing company actually wanted me to write another book. ANOTHER ONE.

Which, as you  know, means I am really a big deal.

Also, it’s possible I have had the worst case of writer’s block known to all writers in the universe (no hyperbole here) because FOLLOW UP IS SO NOT MY THING.

I’ll keep you posted. But, in fact, I won’t keep you posted as much as I would like because every stray minute that dangles in front of me is utilized in eeking out another painful sentence on this second-book thing. I am serious. Last night I wrote a sentence. Then stared off into space. Then deleted the sentence. More staring. Wept a little. Repeat. This must be what snails feel like all the time.

Poor snails.

I tell you this, so you will feel sorry for me. Just a teensy weensy bit? I always did like sympathy. I’m so not like those people who are all, “I don’t want your sympathy!”

I DO. I REALLY DO WANT IT.

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See?! This writing thing? It’s really hard! (To be honest, I think George might want to consider counseling.)

But, if not sympathy, then your prayers. My family and me need to survive together until the manuscript is done, and this morning I asked Blonde to provide me with a synonym for “glass” and he answered “Um, donkey?” and I just nodded and carried on.

Never ask an eight year old with bad hearing for synonyms.

I’m gonna try and stick with the donkey-half-full ideology that a second book is wonderful and exciting and such a blessing. And, it is happening because of YOU guys. So, I thank you from the bottom of my synapse-misfiring little heart.
I do love you so.

I lift my donkey of grape juice to you.

This book is gonna be so good, can’t you tell?

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Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Really.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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My kid is shaking with anger.

He’s standing before me, brow furrowed, fists clenched. There was some yelling but now he’s quiet, and a big, fat tear rolls down his cheek. He’s collapsing all inward with anger and a really REALLY fierce conviction that IT ISN’T FAIR.

I don’t really know exactly what the IT is, because there is (there always is) another person involved in the fray. There’s a brother involved, and he is also leveraging for his Totally Fair Piece of the Pie.

I just want to go lie down. Maybe with a slice of pie and a cup of coffee.

Once, I think, I tried to recite “Blessed are the peacemakers” at Blonde, in the heat of the battle, but he just looked at me with that tired expression of “Mom, you’re crazy” that I keep getting more and more often. (I have it on good authority that I am not, actually, crazy. But, somedays, that look… it is so CONVINCED of the crazy, that I kinda half believe him. And you know? It’s not so bad to be crazy. A little crazy is what we all need, to be mothers.)

Anyhow.

I recited, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth” at him, and he looked at me in scorn and said, voice shaking, “I don’t WANT the EARTH, Mom. I just WANT MY BROTHER TO STOP BEING A JERK.”

Valid point.

Here is what I have learned in my 8 massively long and short years of parenting:

  1. My mother is a saint. A SAINT. I am so sorry, Mom. You were right. About all of it. ALL OF IT ALL THE TIME.
  2. Reciting bible verses AT someone isn’t the way to go.

Ok. So we have been working on it, this whole getting angry bit, because seven and eight year old kids don’t have the inner mechanisms to adjust the volume on their anger. Adults don’t either, sometimes. Especially on rainy summer days stuck inside with no screens (they’re grounded, for a week) and no wine (mom’s grounded, forever) and no patience for anyone.

Here’s how we work on it:

We talk about it… LATER. Like, at dinner, or while we’re playing Uno, or bedtime. When it’s dark and they’re all cute and smell like soap. That’s when we talk about how to actually be a blessing. Even when we don’t really feel like it.

At the time? With the anger thing? And the yelling? We do our best. We muddle through. I pray and they stomp up to their rooms.

All of this is pretty usual stuff, right? It’s not like at our house we have some massively new and improved way to make everyone just get along for the love.

We try to remember who we are.

“We’re family, honey,” I tell Blonde, as he sniffles in his room, all snot and rage.”We’re a family, and that brother of yours? He is going to be with you for a long time. He is for you. And he’s massively annoying. But he loves you. And, deep down, deep DEEP down, you love him.”

“I don’t feel like it. I kinda hate him.”

“I know. Those are feelings. They change and fade and get all messed up. They’re feelings, and they’re important, but deep down, they aren’t the truth of the matter. Behind it all is the truth. It’s who we are. We are God’s. And He loves us, and He put love IN us. Love is all His department, and He has it running in our veins, just like Jesus’s.”

“Face it, kid. You’re stuck with us.”

Today we will be blessed by being kind when we don’t want to be, and when we screw up, we’ll say sorry. And we’ll try to act like we mean it.

And maybe inheriting the earth will happen, but for today, I’ll settle for a couple hours in a row without fighting. We’re family, after all. I’m trying to be realistic.

 

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