A Tale of Two Children.

Y’all. I wonder if Charles Dickens had children. Like, listen:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”

Wow. That pretty much sums up parenting right there.

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You know that carnival ride where you sit in a big huge pendulum thingie and it swings you baaaack and forthhh and baaaack and forthhh until you puke all over your seatmate and start sobbing?

That’s children.

Also, there’s some glee in there. At least for some people, who actually like carnival rides, of whom I am so NOT. I think carnival rides are the tinker toys of Satan.

Anyhow. I digress. My lack of adventuresome spirit and anti -Let’s ride this crazy pendulum of death attitude is tough when it comes to parenting. Parenting needs a bit of the crazy. It needs the nutso person who will shell out twenty dollars for a chance to puke and then eat fried Snickers bars. Parenting is Carnival Heaven. I am more of a “let’s sit at home and watch something with subtitles” which makes my children cross.

But, once in a while, I ride the rides. I get on, pull down the roll bar that was constructed by a toothless man with a t-shirt that says, “Lovin You All Night is All Right.”  The rides, especially Pendulum of Nutball, occur at certain times of the day, like bedtime. Or when we go on vacation. Or…

Dinner.

Here we go:

Blonde: (warily) What’s for dinner?

Red: DINNER! I LOVE FOOD! I LOVE DINNER! I’M NOT WEARING PANTS!

(Swoosh)

Blonde: This food has stuff in it.

(Bigger swoosh)

Red: CAN I EAT EVERYTHING HERE? AND YOURS?

(Deep breath. Swooshiness)

Blonde: The stuff is unacceptable. I will now eat air for the rest of my life.

(More swooshing)

Red: I’m done with the food on my plate and I would now like to start on the food in the refrigerator. I want pickles and some yogurt. Together. Pronto. Starving here.

(Gulp)

Blonde: Air, and the occasional chicken nugget, are fine. Don’t worry about me. Yes you can see my ribs. And yes, I know you worry that I am wan. I don’t even know what “wan” means but you seem to use it a lot. And yes, I know you don’t think air has any vitamins in it but I am EIGHT AND THEREFORE I KNOW IT ALL. LIKE, ALL OF IT.

Red: All I know is that I need more syrup. For my pickles.

Blonde: If you start bargaining with me about food you have failed. I will now nibble on my broccoli so daintily I will look like a wan rabbit.

Red: Do I detect a slight nuttiness in this sauce?

Blonde: NUTS? I CAN’T EAT NUTS! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?

(Swoosh, swoosh, swooshity-swoosh)

Red: Mom? I have eaten everything available. Can I go next door and ask for their food? I’ll make sure to tell them that I’m starving and that my mommy doesn’t feed me. We cool?

Parenting. It’s not for the faint of heart, y’all. You stand in line, and buy the tickets and strap in, and the next thing you know, you’re screaming unintelligibly.

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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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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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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say You’re Sorry.

 

Did you know? When you are surrounded by other humans, there is often trouble.

It’s a rotten world.

Ok, that might be a bit of an overstep. I mean, we have wonderfulness, here in this world. We’ve got purple Spring flowers. We’ve got funny cat videos. We’ve got chocolate. We’ve got people who are kind and loving and generally peaceful.

But also? There’s rottenness. I’m sorry, but we all act rotten every once in a while. You know you do. Don’t argue.

The other day my husband came home late from work. Dinner had been served. The dishes cleaned. We had “moved on with our lives,” and he was not too happy about this. Also, I think he was hungry, so you know. That doesn’t make for a good behavior sometimes.

Anyhow, he came into the living room where I was participating in my nightly ritual of folding ten million clothing items, and asked, “Is there… food?” He tilted his head towards the kitchen. “In there?”

I smiled and said, “We already ate, but I’m sure there’s something.” And he responded with this gem:

“WHAT. LIKE AIR? ” And stomped off.

The husband. A master at the one-liner. I snapped a pair of underpants and felt my insides simmer.

Now, granted, usually I have leftovers. But tonight’s meal had BEEN leftovers and we had hoovered them. All that was left was a sad carrot stick and some… Air. So, perhaps I should have, as the Dutiful Wife, made him something. Yes. Totally,  I should have done that because that would have been the nice thing to do. I totally didn’t. I forgot because my brain gets wispy after 7 pm.

But also? The AIR comment was a bit uncalled for. Don’t you think? I mean… how rude.

Sorry-ness usually happens because two people are involved. Usually. It doesn’t occur all alone. I mean, rarely does a rude tree in the forest and everyone else around him heard it, because RUDE.

Ok, I don’t really know if that analogy works, but bear with me.

My POINT (thank goodness, I know) is that … Brian felt tired out. He came home late which means, work, you know. I think he goes into that building sometimes like it’s one of those Roman coloseums. Except no real lions or spears or death. That’s a plus.

But, I could have at least left him some applesauce. Everyone deserves applesauce after a hard day at the coloseum.

So, later the husband approached. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m grumpy.”

“Me too,” I responded, vaguely. This kind of answer is totally superior because it doesn’t really elucidate if I am SORRY or I am GRUMPY, therefore I have TOTALLY STILL HELD ONTO NOT HAVING TO APOLOGIZE.

And so therefore…

I WIN THIS ROUND. I TOTALLY WIN. I WIN AT BEING MARRIED!!!!

Ok, now that THAT’s out of the way, it’s possible I also muttered,
“I’m sorry too. I love you. Here’s some applesauce. And I put some cinnamon on it.”

AND WE ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Until the next opportunity for saying “sorry” occured. Which was probably within a twenty minute time span. That’s how we roll.

Also, I must share with you this little preshusness:

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I found this in Blonde’s backpack. It seems his buddy had the HORRIBLE AUDACITY to correct my eight year old on cultural relevance. Therefore… I think there must have been an argument.

An eight year old version of an argument goes like this:

Blonde’s friend: Sate Patrc Say. YOU DON’T KNOW.

Blonde: Yes, I do.

See:

YOU. DON’T. KNOW.

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I know. It’s totally got you on the edge of your seat, doesn’t it? This could be a script for The Good Wife, I tell you.

So… Blonde’s friend wrote him a little apology note. Which is adorable.

We can learn a lot from the eight year olds. They get mad, about holidays mainly, I think, and then they are over it.

I’ve watched my six year old go through all five stages of grief about some horrible thing his brother did to him in thirty seconds. Seriously, you could feel the wind off of those stages. He whipped through them. It was awe inspiring.

But perhaps… this just sums it up best.

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The End.

Weak

Linking up with my favorite people today!!

It’s Five Minute Friiiiiiiiiiiday!!!!

The theme?

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Ok, the so obvious route to go here would be the plague-sickness that had descended on our family since what feels like Christmas. The weakness, you know. Wee tired cherubs, and one taller version (the husband) weakly asking for juice and popsicles and Tylenol all around.

But for some reason I am tired of writing about… being tired.

So, instead, I am going to write about my cat, Steve.

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Steve has serious swag.

Steve is a large. Like, if he was a car, Steve would have passed comfortable mid-sized sedan a long time ago. Steve is a Hummer. With fur.

In the morning, when I head downstairs to some coffee and quiet, I hear Steve get up. What I mean by this is: He is upstairs and I CAN HEAR HIM WALKING DOWN THE HALL.

This is no delicate flower, this cat.

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He’s holding my hand.

But, there is something about Steve that is a bit… lacking in natural cat-ness.

He can’t purr.

Somehow, Steve totally missed the bus on the purring thing. He emits this sad whispy sort of wheeze, instead of a purr, when he is petted (which is often). It makes me feel like I should offer him an inhaler, or at least some Vicks Vapo Rub or something.

Here he is, the king of the house cats, but when he purrs he just loses all credibility. He sounds like a squeaky toy.

Ok, so my point here…

What looks strong can sometimes have a really weak end game.

But also this: weakness is SO not the point. It’s what we DO with the weakness that matters. Steve does not seem to care two claws about his death-rattle purr thing. He still struts around like he owns all the kibble in this house. Also, he lives his life like this:img_6120

Steve is a cat of love.

He is giving his human a hug in this picture. I mean, just look at him. His whole body is purring. Pathetically, but you know.

I think I have a pathetic purr too, in many areas of my life. Like, my wimpy attempts at keeping the house clean. And my parenting skills after 8:30 at night. Or my battle with my squishy tummy.

That sort of thing.

We don’t honor weakness.We should. We get to give it to God, after all. He WANTS the weakness. And anything that He wants, I am more than happy to give.

If he wants our weakness, he must want us. We are pretty weak on some days. It’s ok.

At least you don’t sound like a squeaky toy when you purr. That’s just silly.Grumpy-Cat-Purring-Meme.jpg