Women Who Move Mountains

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

I have a few.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IT IS JUST WHAT I NEEDED.

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

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

And so on.

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

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

It moves mountains.

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

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

 

 

Fight the Good Fight

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

And sometimes, we can fear the strangest things.

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

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

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

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

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

Step One:

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Step Two:

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Step Three:8182018_orig.png

 

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

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

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

I just have to. Or I wither.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the good fight. #FearFightingbook #DolifewithGod

And all God’s women said,  Amen?

Amen!

 

Banish Worry and Anxiety in Five Easy Steps!

Gotcha.

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

And it doesn’t play fair. Does it?

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

Worry was my THING.

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

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

We think we can fix, with worry.

Instead? We only damage more.

Lately I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing this:

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

Worrying has never:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Choosing to Change

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Y’all. All of life is a choice. All of it. And lately?
I have been choosing to take a slow train ride to Slugsville.

Slugsville is a pleasant, albeit slimy place. It is a place of stillness. There’s lots of carbs involved, usually the ones with the double-stuffed centers. There’s a lot of pillows.

Also, some self loathing. But, the milder kind. Like, the kind where you watch twelve straight episodes of Property Brothers and think you should get some granite counter tops because everyone else has them, but first you might have to clean the kitchen first, but we just had breakfast so it looks like a crime scene, and maybe you will just eat half a box of Nilla Wafers instead. That kind of self-loathing.

“One day,” you think, “One day I will FIX ALL THE THINGS.”

So, I’ve been in a rut. It’s kind of understandable. It’s summer and I’m surrounded by nutball boys and wet swim suits and the endlessly tedious job of Putting Tiny Legos Back Where They Don’t Really Belong Because There Millions and They Keep Having Lego Babies.

Also, I have been a bit heartbroken about our world. So there’s that. And being a “little bit” heartbroken is kind of like saying, I’m just gonna watch E.T. and I might cry just a “little bit.”

Change, it seems, can be good. But, as one who has dealt with a “little bit” of depression all my life (yes, I know, I am being rather blithe about the depression thing, but not really. I am just talking about it in the way that is familiar and chatty, because we are very, very comfortable with each other, depression and I, and I am NOT going to write a depressing post today about depression. There is enough angst already, y’all, on the internets.)

ANYHOW.  As one who has dealt with depression, I recognize the road to Slugville.

And I want to turn the heck around.

Here is what I do when Slugville looms on my horizon. I start to make little changes – watching my sleep. Reaching out to friends for lunch dates. Baking cookies. Making sure I walk the dog every morning. All those little shifts in the daily in and out help.

But also? I read.

Well, I read all the time, anyway, but I make a point to find something new, inspirational, and probably waiting in the large pile of books by my bed anyhow, just sitting and waiting patiently for me to open its covers and get some help.

And so, I present to you:

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*Truth? It is an e book so it wasn’t waiting in the pile by the bed. It was waiting in the computer. Same diff.

I met Tam when I spoke last year at the Whole Women’s Weekend in Maryland. She is adorable. And she is really funny. AND she is a powerhouse for Jesus, so my goodness, she is just straight-up GOOD PEOPLE.

And here is what her book is like:

You know when it’s been a hot, muggy summer all… well, summer long? And then one night there is a really huge, torrential downpour, and you go out onto your porch before dawn and you can smell it, a coolness, a hint of Autumn, and everything is washed down and clean and even the flowers seem to stand up straighter?

That’s her book. It’s a deep breath. It’s a shift in the weather. It clears out cobwebs.

Tam starts out by asking three simple questions:

  1. What do need to CHANGE?
  2. What do you want to BECOME.
  3. And when will you CHOOSE to begin?

And then, she answers with three truths. And I’m not gonna tell you any more because the book is super short and super good and I want you to read it for yourself!

Tam’s book is available on amazon if you want to take a look. Click here.

Also, if you want to know more about the lovely Tam, click here.

What do you have to lose? Because, despite what the slugs say,

“Change is good.”

 

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Protect and Serve.

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It’s like she knows me, that Kate.

It’s our favorite Five Minute Friday!!!!!! And today’s theme has been heavy on my mind lately.

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So… we are going to see family this weekend. My dad’s birthday is July 3- which just means we start blowing stuff up a day early. Because nothing says “Happy Birthday!” like a bunch of pyro technics and one nervous mother.

I just don’t like the 4th of July, y’all. I just don’t.

I mean, I like it in theory. In the patriotic sense. I am so really grateful that the British don’t own us anymore because our idea of monarchy would involve some reality television stars, I bet, and that’s just classless.

But. The blowing up of the things? WHAT IS UP WITH THAT.

The tradition continues: My children run around, all hyped up on popsicles and fire, and blow up seventeen million firecrackers, while I sit somewhere, in the background, all sweaty and agitated. If I could get my own thundershirt, I would. (It’s a thing. For dogs. Who freak out about fireworks and thunderstorms. And yes, that makes me the dog. I’m the dog.)

Last year I watched my husband basically set both my children on fire about four times because he too loves fireworks. This is an admission that you can file under the umpteen posts about his maturity level. And yes, he knows how I feel about this. And yes, when I TELL him, “You are such a CHILD, Brian,” he gets kind of a gleeful look on his face. Like he’s tallied up another Immaturity Token. He wins a day of lazer tag at Jumpin Joes eventually, when he gets 100 tokens. At least in his mind.

Anyhow.

This post has no underlying deep message. Not one. There is nothing about how we have so much weight on us, us mothers, us parents, to protect and serve. To keep our little, grimy charges fed and watered, oh and also, BASICALLY ALIVE. It keeps me a bit nervous and quivery, that thought. Like parenting should come with its own Thundershirt. They should hand ’em out at the hospital.

“Congratulations,” says the Hospital. “Here’s your scunchie-faced newborn. And a Thundershirt. Because you’re so gonna need it. Especially after you see our bill. Ha ha!”

Nope. I’m not going there. Sometimes just thinking about all this protection stuff makes me kind of light headed and I wonder how I got the responsibility for two little ones when at times I can’t even figure out how to program our air conditioner correctly. (This is a constant argument at our house. Daily. It is hard, people. It’s a really new fangled air conditioner thermostat thingie, and there are a lot of buttons , and I just would rather it be something out of the Frozen movie upstairs instead of trying to deal with all the pushing.)

Yep. I got nothing about how I can’t protect my sweet boys, but I must. I got nothing about how this world seems to have done lost its mind and I have two boys that still think, maybe, just maybe the tooth fairy is still real.

I got nothing.

But I got Jesus.

And a big huge bucket of water that I set next to my camping chair.

And, this fabulous new-ish tradition (started over three years ago)  — NO big to-go cup full of vodka. So there’s that. (Did you know? The fourth of July? Some of us folks in recovery remember it to be, perhaps, one of those oh-so happy excuses for Let’s Drink All DaYYYYYYYY! because other folks were. And  I have to admit – a nice cold one helped make all the booming and basic armageddon happening all around me a little bit … softer around the edges. Sigh. Now, I just drink a bucket load of Tazo Calm tea and grab a hose and hope for the best.)

Now – remember, moms. Keep a bucket of water handy. Pray a lot. Keep an eye out for children running about, all hopped up on the power of fire and a late night and holy HECK DON’T YOU DARE POINT THAT AT YOUR BROTHER! DO YOU WANT TO PUT HIS EYE OUT? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I WILL CANCEL THE 4TH OF JULY RIGHT HERE IF YOU DO THAT AGAIN, YOU HEAR ME?

Ahem. Sorry. Was just kinda getting too in the moment there.

Happy Fourth. Stay safe. Be vigilant. Protect. It’s what we do. Even if we do a rather lousy job of it and it entails a lot of pointing and shouting and possibly spraying down with a hose.

And, maybe remember:

1. Thank your troops and our service men and women- all those who serve and protect, and have served – for keeping us free.

2. Thank God that he’s truly in charge of all this nutball. And we’re not.

3. There is, always, eventually bedtime. Thank you, Jesus. For bedtime. Oh the quiet of Bedtime. Blessed be.

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