I Tweet, Therefore I am.

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Y’all. I’m supposed to be fasting from social media right now.

See? See how well that’s going? This is me… fasting.

Allow me to explain:

When I started the Congo fast because my evil friend Kate suckered me into it without my full knowledge, comprehension, or understanding, and I did it out of the goodness of my heart and because I am totally spiritual and my goodness this is all a load of hooey.

ANYHOW. When I started the Congo fast w/ Kate for our Sunday school class… I thought… Well. Food. I have to fast from food for 40 days. That’s nearly impossible and as we all know I have caved like a Neanderthal about twenty times in the 40 days, but who’s counting?

As God is my witness, I thought the tortillas were going to be it.

But, as Kate has so patiently reminded me, also about twenty times, the Sunday school class does exceed 40 days. So, what are we gonna do for the other portion? Just sit around and talk about how fabulous we were for fasting?

Ok, so along with Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table, we read this gem:

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I use the word “gem” because I have so few of them now, BECAUSE JEN KEEPS TELLING ME TO GIVE STUFF AWAY.

Ok, seriously. Here’s more explaining: We decided to also tackle, along with food the other items that Jen mutinies against. There right there on the cover for you: clothes, spending, waste, stress (har har har), waste, and MEDIA.

MEDIA.

YES IN ALL CAPS.

Guys. You can take my clothes and help me recycle and give me a budget and make me eat corn tortillas ’till the cows come home (that we can’t eat)

BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY MY MEDIA FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.

Here is the very real conversation I had with Kate about this whole media thing, yesterday:

Kate: I’m fasting from media and it’s going okay. How about you?
Me: *leans forward to the microphone* I cannot recall.

That’s a pretty fabulous Ollie North, right? And for those of you who are too young to understand my cheap mimicry of the general and his memory recall issues, what I REALLY said is something like this:

Me: NOOOOOOO. This is so HARRRRRRD. I’m eating rice and beans – you can’t make me NOT watch Netflix TOOOOOOOOOOO.

The wailing, I tell you, was heard one county over.

I ask you, what about all my quips? Where will the quipping go, if I cannot post about it? It will be like I don’t even exist.

Really. How can I live without the tweetings?

What if my children do something adorable? (rare, granted). Or the cat? What if the CAT does something adorable (hourly). How will I live without talking about it?

So, here is my announcement: Our Congo fast and its 40 days is over this Sunday. After that, I will be walking away from my computer for a week.

I will miss you *she waves weakly* Don’t you worry about me… *fading away* I’m sure I’ll be… just… fine *drops to the floor in a heap and makes sure her pose is flattering for a selfie*

Social media, y’all. It’s addictive stuff. I mean, really. If a tree falls in the forest and no one takes a picture of it for Instagram, does an angel lose his wings?

Or something like that.

Now, the only people I have yet to tell are the children. They’ll be joining me in this fast. No Netflixes. No Wii Rockband.

The cries will be heard from two counties over.

Pray for us.

Save

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

 

 

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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