I’m the Dog. I’M THE DOG.

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Best. Movie. Ever.

So, in today’s post, one of us is going to be the dog.

And, as so often the case, I really REALLY think if you just stay with me, it will all make sense at the end.

That’s how I feel.

Really.

Today I’m linking up with my oh so happy place, favorite people: Five Minute Friday!  The theme??

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Right now, I am writing this on the couch, because I can’t move. I can’t move because of two neurotic and highly co-dependent beasties have wedged themselves in on either side of me so closely that I can use one as an armrest and the other ones heartbeat is thumping up against my thigh. That sounds kinda weird, but she has a really pronounced cardiac rhythm going on. I am kinda impressed. She must have just finished her bootcamp  workout.

I give you… exhibit A:Photo on 4-28-17 at 11.59 AM #2.jpgI loooooooooooove you. That shiny, silver thing has come between us, yet again, but still, I loooooooooooooove you.

And, also, exhibit B:

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I loooooooooove you too. Not quite as effusively as the Missing Link dork-dog to my left, but you know.

Anyhow. Here I am. Stuck in the middle with you.

And, as I am typing away, I hear it: A sort of squeaky rumbling. It’s a weird sort of gurgling, actually. I look around the room for the culprit, but my living room doesn’t house a lot of things that… gurgle.

It’s the dog. I’ll just take the suspense away, right here. Hosmer’s stomach is jangling with such intensity that, clearly, he’s hungry. Like, LOUD hungry.

Honestly, it’s hard to type over all this racket.

But, yet… he remains varnished onto my side. His precious bowl of Doggie Lickums is right there, in the other room, but he’s seemingly content to sit here and rumble.

It is rare that I ever allow my stomach to get to this stage of gurgle (Hosmer is at, like, DEFCON level light red or two or whatever is really, really highly bad), but if I did… and about ten steps away was a bowl of chips? I would get up and go to the chips. It doesn’t really matter if I was cuddling with the husband prior or not. Food wins, when the stomach is in high alert.

Besides, I know too that I can always eat a few chips and then GO BACK to the husband on the couch.

So… basically? The dog would rather starve to be near me.

Perhaps I am exaggerating a little, but you’re not here. The rumbling is like that scene when the T-Rex finds the poor people in the jeep in Jurassic Park. Ominous. Thumpy. Has its own soundtrack. Jeff Goldblum is involved. That sort of thing.

Ok, so HERE IS MY POINT (Hallelujah!)

We need to be the dog. We need to be like this with God. And… since I am so happily wedged into my Congo fast these days… I get it. I am needing to be more dog like. Content. In the moment. Furry and sacrificial. That sort of thing.

I apologize for making you the dog. It’s the best I’ve got today. And truly? Dogs are awesome. We all know that.

 

And then, there’s this guy:Photo on 4-28-17 at 12.13 PM.jpg

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Momsie is a G rated blog. And she’s recommending an (almost) X rated Netflix show.

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WAIT. Just stay with me, here, Ok?

This was me about five minutes prior to posting this:

Me: NO DON’T DO IT. CRAZY SAUCE. WRITE ABOUT PUPPIES.

Y’all. I’m not gonna write about puppies.

With the help of Netflix, I’m going to get serious with you.

I meant to post about some great Netflix shows for kids and teens and other heartening options, because yes, there are many there. I have gobs and gobs of things on Netflix that I watch that warm my soul and make me smile and make my children chortle with laughter…

Today is not such a day.

Today, I am recommending this:maxresdefault.jpg

Guys. This show broke. My. Heart.

Two years ago I spoke at the Whole Women’s Conference – a gathering for women who felt broken, lost, addicted, and all of the above. There, I met Annie Lobert, an ex porn star who had found Jesus, and whose mission is to offer assistance and ministry to women stuck in this industry.

And, yes, “stuck” is the right term.

I think… I think this post is going to upset some of y’all. I am so sorry. I’m going to post it anyway.

In this era of social media, amateur porn is blowing up. Did you know, Twitter still has NO sorts of filters, so basically anyone who has a Twitter account can access porn, free and easy, whenever they like?

The minimum age for a Twitter account is 13. The average age for a person to be exposed to porn? 11.

That’s in three years, for my oldest.

Amateur porn is here, and here’s one of its spokespersons:

“Amateurs come across better on screen. Our customers feel that. Especially by women you can see it. They still feel strong pain.”

So, here’s the deal. This show does not take an easy look at this. It’s not clearly anti-porn or pro. It is fairly unbiased. And for that, I am kind of grateful. Because… the girls’ faces. They don’t need to ask the leaning questions or mess with the dialogue or twist the events or MESS WITH IT AT ALL. THE GIRLS’ FACES.

Nobody really wants this life. And yet, it’s happening.

 

The website Fight the New Drug tells us: The main job for these girls? To look young. “Teen” is one of the top keywords in porn searches.      (http://fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind/)

Guys. The IWF tells us: “Child porn is one of the fastest growing online businesses.”

It. Is. Everywhere.

I’m not a fan.

Maybe… you disagree. Maybe you see it as a choice, as a part of healthy human sexuality, as a part of expression and just being plain honest with ourselves. Maybe it’s empowering.

Maybe. But. Just look at their faces, ok? And, there’s so many of them. These girls. They don’t look like victims. They’re smiling. There’s hundreds of them. Or more. So… how can they be victims if SO many of them are signing up to be a click away for someone?

Just watch Hot Girls Wanted. And, there? Just look at their faces.

I do warn you – there is nudity and all the rest of it here. The film does not show the porn in action, but yes, nudity happens.  It’s not an easy film to watch. But, I did. And I cried. And, then I asked God three things:
I have two boys, and I cannot help but wonder – what will this industry be like when they are 11?
And also,  is there any way I can help those girls? Is there any way I could just hug on them, and tell them, somehow, what they’re worth? What they are really, really worth?
And, God, there are so many. Why? Why did we let this go for so long? Why weren’t we paying attention?
Ok, finally.
I read up on the definition of “exposed.” You know, to reveal, to uncover. To leave cold.
The antonym for exposed is “protect.”
And the final definition? Waaaaaay down the page, at the bottom, where you would miss it unless you’re an English teacher like me and kept reading?
Exposed: to leave a child to die.

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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I’m pretty sure they don’t have chicken nuggets in the Congo.

 

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Ok, here’s the deal.

I never have done Lent.

There. I said it.

I have, perhaps, said I was going to do Lent… you know, chocolate. Or Coke. That kind of thing.

But then… I would go home and open a Coke and eat some ring dings and my brain just kinda went, “La lala la la laaaaa, Jesus loves me it’s all good,” and carried on.

I just have a really, really hard time with discomfort, y’all.

Discomfort is so… uncomfortable.

So, some of you may know that this Lenten season my pastor’s wife totally suckered me into teaching a class on fasting. I don’t like her anymore. She is manipulative and our friendship is done. DONE, I tell you.

No, not really, but still. She has a newborn, and I think I was cooing at her (the baby, not Kate) when she asked me to co-teach, and honestly, I woulda said yes to anything at that moment because babies are all sparkly so basically SHE USED HER BABY TO GET ME TO DO THIS.

I’m eating like the Congolese for 40 days. Lord help us all.

The Congolese do not have:

  • chicken nuggets (that’s a kid thing, but more on that later)
  • butter.
  • La Croix
  • Strawberry jam
  • and the worst – hazlenut creamer

They also do not have clean water and readily available medicine and soft mattresses and schools on every corner and, oh my goodness. The Congolese are so far away from my heavily coffee-creamered life, I tell you.

Every morning, as I drink my black coffee (which they do have, thank you, Jesus from whom all blessings and caffeine flow), I am reminded of this. Also, as I eat rice and beans for lunch. And, as I eat rice and beans and a banana for dinner.

The book that we’re using for the class is Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table.

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Notice, there’s a cup of coffee in the background. WITH NO CREAMER.

Ok, so either this Seay guy is nuttier than a fruitcake (which they also don’t have in the Congo, go figure), or he is onto something here.

Because here is what I am learning, on day eleven of my fast:

  1. Comfort is an idol. It’s actually just as big and hairy and hulkie as food or alcohol or shopping or any of those other, more see-able ones.
  2. I thought I could not do this because I gave up alcohol, so how DARE anyone ask me to do MORE – I did my Lent. I do it all the time. I don’t drink anymore, Ok? So I’m good down here!
  3. I’m not good down here. The weeks and months prior to this had been a tangled time of leaning on a bunch of things for comfort and they were taking over.
  4. Rice and beans are not that bad.

Sometimes I like to think that my life is this giant checklist, and that once I get one big God task done, He checks it off, gives me a star sticker and we’re done. I like star stickers. I live for them. Uh-oh. That might be another idol. If there’s anything I’m addicted to, it’s the great big Star Chart of You’re Awesome. This whole fast has taught me that as well.

Seriously. This fast has taught me about fifty majillion things. I will be sharing them with you once in a while, as well as my newfound and very deep love for bananas.

Bananas, y’all. Did you know? They are soooooooo good. I never really KNEW. I used to think they were just a vehicle for ice cream and hot fudge but when you’re really hungry? They are all yellow and delightful.

And don’t even get me started on the avocado. Praise you, Jesus.

Ok, so I’m going to say here, on day eleven, that Chris Seay is not nutty (also not a lot of those in the Congo. Especially hazlenuts. Of course.) And my friend Kate is not evil (she’s a pastor’s wife, so evil is not a part of her genetic make-up.) And that I will continue to be smushed up, and stretched out, and pulled and pushed in all sorts of ways because God doesnt really do star charts. “We’re not done here,” God tells me. “But I love you like crazy, so if you really want a star chart just grab a banana and go out at night and look up. Boom. Biggest one you’ll ever get.”

God is a bit of a smart aleck sometimes, isn’t he?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace the addict

Linking up with my favorite people again today for Five Minute Friday. The theme?

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I know. Writing about addiction again today.

Where, Momsie? Where is your funny self? Where are the cat pictures and endless throwing of children under the proverbial bus because they are maddening and adorable? Where ARE you?

Oh, don’t worry. I’m here. Hanging out with my inner addict.

We all have one. We do. You can argue with me all you want, but then I might say, very annoyingly, “Well, perhaps your addiction is control. Or being right. Or, God help you, some combination of both which we all know WORKS SO WELL.”

I wouldn’t say that to you because it would be rather self-righteous and, as I said, annoying, and we are friends. But you better believe I’d be thinking it.

I have an inner addict. I named her Esmerelda, and she likes to speak up at times when I am Hungry. Or Angry. Or Lonely. Or Tired.*

Sadly, I am any combination of these at about forty majillion times a day because life is not fair. Life is hard. Sing it with me folks. Oh blah dee, oh blah da… life goes on.

Yesterday Red had a total conniption because Blonde did not help him clean up EXACTLY EQUAL TO HIS CLEANING UP after lunch. If you have kids, you know. Anyhow, if I could have split the dirt and crumbs and smears of peanut butter down the middle with yellow crimezone tape, it would have helped, but … dare we go back to that wonderfulness that is:

LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

It was day four of our spring break together. Red was underslept and oversugared and basically? He lost his sh%T. Sorry. It’s a bad word but in this case – nothing else really suffices. I, as Mother In Charge of All the Things, had a few choices on how to deal:

  1. Smiting
  2. Timeouts with the Smiting
  3. #2 paired with a lecture, possibly a powerpoint presentation on Life Really is So Unfair.
  4. Run away.

I did none of these. I don’t know why. I was just… tired myself. So, I sat down on the floor, dusted away some crumbs to make room, and patted the floor for Red to come sit with me.

He eyed me, suspiciously. This was a different tactic. Perhaps I was gonna hog tie him when he approached and take him away to Military Unfairness School?

Nope. I just patted the floor, and when he came over, I grabbed him and held on. Then, I smushed his little fact in my hands (not too hard, but the good, Mom smushing) and I looked in his eyes and said, “Breathe. Just breathe in. Breathe out. I love you. It’s ok.”

The kid slowed down and looked at me, and remembered who he was.

And stopped freaking out.

I know. Perhaps he needed a timeout or some sort of discipline, but right then? I needed to hug him.

We behave badly sometimes. We grip onto things that are wrong. We rail and rant. We do things that are awful and unfair and shameful.

We want and want and want some more.

And… repeat.

It’s the whole bashing up against our sinfulness that is life, and did I mention? Not very fair.

But He is fair. And right then, He told me to hug my boy. Amidst his mess.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is be kind to the one who grips onto something too hard. He might just be falling apart with all the unfairness of it. Embrace him. Embrace yourself, if that’s who we’re talking about here. You better believe, I’m who we’re talking about here. (It’s my favorite topic, you know. Me.)

Embrace the addict. She knows it’s not fair. She needs a lot of love.

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*HALT. One of those acronym thingies I learned in recovery. If you start to fizzle out on your day? Are you HALT-ing? Or, if you’re me, are you SHALT-ing (sarcastic, hungry angry… etc)

Recovery has all sorts of those thingies. Like, One Day at a Time. And …Keep it Simple.

And, Be still and know that you are so not God.

I kinda made that last one up. But I did kinda steal it from a higher authority.

I’m Mad.

I found out yesterday that a friend in recovery died. He relapsed, and was found in his car, covered in vomit, in the fetal position. Dead.

I know this is not how you start a blog post. I guess. But I don’t really care.

He was young, and he had boys, and he had a smile that lit up the room.

And he’s dead.

Last Sunday I was helping in the yard, and it was hot. I had been working with the hubs and the boys for hours. The sound of the lawnmower hummed in the background as I pruned and weeded and raked. It was a glorious spring day.

And I was mad. I was mad at the grass and the fact that it made me itchy and that we had run out of bags and that my rose bushes had the audacity to have thorns.

I was mad at our blackberry vine because it needed to be cut back and I was mad at it for that. I was mad at my boys for giggling.

I was mad at the sun for being so hot.

As it happens, others around me felt the madness. This is always the way. Mad doesn’t like to be quiet or sit by itself, so, logically, I got mad at Brian.

I think it was because of the way he asked me about lunch. His tone was wrong and I got mad about that. And he blinked at me a bit which also made me mad and then I stomped inside because I was also mad, it seems, at the ground.

And then I did this:

I said, through gritted teeth: “God I don’t know why, but I am TICKED OFF. Please. Help. Grant me the serenity, Ok? Oh, I don’t even WANT to say the rest of it! I’m SO MAD.”

And then I stood there and waited for some sort of God miracle of goodness and light to come fix it. No such miracle. My dog circled my feet a few times but I felt no better. Still mad.

“Fine. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the FREAKING DIFFERENCE I AM STILL MAD.”

And, as usually happens after the serenity prayer, I stood still with my feelings, and turned them over in my hands, just for a moment. And as I turned them, I saw what I was mad about.

I wanted to take my husband a beer.

Back in the olden days, when I drank, on hot summer days I used to always take the hard working yard husband a beer. This meant, I was a good wife.

It also meant I was ok with beer- it was a harbinger of good will and slaking thirst after hard work in the sun. It was like all those Bud Light commercials with hikers enjoying a beer at the summit because beer is the next thing to Gatorade. It’s got wheat in it. IT’S GOOD FOR YOU.

And that beer that I brought to the husband also meant, evidently this past Sunday, that I was still very much an alcoholic. Because? It had taken up a whole lot of head space and had drug along with it a whole lot of negativity and emotions that don’t really belong anywhere near me anymore.

So, I realized all that in the kitchen on a hot Sunday. And I had to smile because every once in a while I try to tell myself that I am really ok. That surely I’m not an alcoholic. That I’m probably just fine… And that memory of that beer made it all very clear.

I walked out to the husband who was now trying to fix something broken in the garage. I stood in front of him, and said, “I’m sorry.”

He tilted his head to side, all labrador retriever-ish, and said, “Why? What did you break?” And I thought, he doesn’t even realize I was being a putz earlier. I should leave now.

But instead I said this:

I wanted to bring you a beer. I remember how I used to do that. And a part of me wishes I could still do it. We used to do fun things like that.

And he said,

Well,  I miss it too, a little. But not all that much. And we do lots of other fun things now, that we never could have done before. So that’s better.

I totally don’t deserve him. Also, he will make me mad again and he won’t nearly be as cool about it as he was in this post, I promise you. But for now, he said the perfect thing.

I hugged him, and spoke into his sweaty tshirt that smelled like cut grass, “I am so an alcoholic.”

He didn’t answer because I think he was realizing this was one of those Dana moments where it is very very much about my self-therapy, but I’m pretty sure he was thinking,

DAMN STRAIGHT YOU ARE.

So there was all that therapy last Sunday. Because of the sound of a lawn mower and some sun rays.

And then my friend, Jesse dies.

And I guess? I am still mad. Not mad anymore at the wrong people or the memories of long ago, or my own tangled brain.

I know who I’m mad at now. And today my anger feels like a loaded gun.

I hate you, alcohol.

That’s all. Thanks for listening.

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!