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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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 Days of More

Hey, did you hear?

I gave up alcohol for Lent.

Yep. Also, I gave it up for December. And rainy days. And birthdays.

So, also, you know, the rest of the year. And forever. That sort of thing.

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So. Moving on.

It’s just a teensy bit possible that I have not really given up anything else for Lent in a long while. Unless, of course, you count last minute trips to Paris, or goat farming or walking gracefully. I totally gave those up ages ago.

You see, I am just so horribly bad at Lent. I do not get A’s in Lent. This bothers me. I would plan something for it, and journal about it, and chirp about it to my so-good-at-doing Lent friends, and then, BAMMO, in about four days I would have totally forgotten.

Maybe I could give up memory for Lent?

I have made my peace with it. Jesus forgave me a long time ago for my inability to half-heartedly give up chocolate for four days. But, Jesus wasn’t done with me on this subject yet. That’s just His way. You have obstacles in life? He is there. But He also says things like, “Here, let me work with you on this… for a really long while…”

Sometimes I just wish He would say, “Here. Let me COMPLETELY FIX THIS THING FOR YOU. ALL DONE! PRESTO WHAMMO!”

It would be so cool, if that were His way. And, I have heard that sometimes it is. For some reason, I never get to have the “presto whammo” version of fixing things with Jesus. I wonder why? Just once, I’d like to get the PRESTO WHAMMO. It would be so cool.

Anyhow, this year Jesus and I had a little talk about Lent. It went like this:

Jesus: No, I am not talking to you in an audible voice. I know some of your readers are gonna think I showed up in your living room, all glowy and talking.

Me: THAT WOULD BE SO COOL WHY DON’T YOU DO THAT?

Jesus: We’ve discussed this before. I think you might get distracted by the glow. I’ll stick with still small voice today, okay?

Me: Sigh.

Jesus: It doesn’t work, the grumpy thing. I’m too holy. Just bounces right off. Let’s talk.

Me: Ok, Lent? I don’t like it? It kinda feels like 40 days of gritting my teeth over not drinking Pepsi, when You fasted for 40 days in a desert with Satan bugging you, and then, AFTER that You went and died for us. I dunno. Pepsie? It seems a bit… underwhelming.

Jesus: Ok, for the readers here who did give up Pepsi, I totally think that’s awesome. She’ll get on track here. Stay with us.

Me: Oh. Yes. Sorry. Sorry, Pepsi people.

Jesus: Look, if you don’t think your fast is legit enough, then why not totally fast for 40 days?

Me: Uh… totally? Like no food? Did you have water? No water? Again, you’re sure? No food???  That’s impossible. I mean, true, YOU’RE JESUS, so YOU could handle it, but…

Jesus: Yes. I am Jesus. But it wasn’t all fun and games for me either. Ok, well let’s dial it down then. I could provide some locusts and honey?

Me: Ew.

Jesus: So… the Lent thing. It has to be under your control, huh?

Me: *crickets*

Jesus: How about this? How about you add to your life? For 40 days, you study what Lent is about.

Me: Hey. Yea. I like that! I could ADD to my life, for 40 days. You are so SMART, Jesus.

Jesus: I get that a lot. So, you’re not officially fasting, but I’ll take it. Maybe we can think of it as “fasting from distraction and adding focus.” And then, maybe, one day you can really give up chocolate for 40 days and not overthink it so much.

Me: Still doesn’t seem very comparable…

Jesus: LOCUSTS AND HONEY. I WILL SEND THEM. DON’T TEST ME.

Me: OK. Bible Study. Every day, for 40 days. I’m in. Call off the locusts!

So, this year, I found myself mired in some bad habits that had me stuck. And I realized, as one who just SPOKE AT A CONFERENCE ABOUT OVERCOMING BAD HABITS that irony was going to come up and smack me upside the head if I didn’t get my mind right.

So here is my 40 Days of More Lenten Package for you:

  1. Up at 5:30 am.
  2. Study the bible
  3. Run
  4. Eat an egg for breakfast*

* I know. The egg seems totally random, but it matters. I need something to help with my blood sugar. Like, lately, I have found myself eating Frosted Flakes and cheese. If there was a restaurant called Cereal and Cheese, I would be there. Every day. This does not make Momsie’s brain or body happy. And each time I try to make sure I make a protein shake with more than two ingredients, I want to curl up on the floor with coffee and a Ring Ding, and cry. Ingredients are HARD at seven in the morning.

I am allowing myself to run a minimum of one measly mile. If I want to go longer, so be it. I usually do because after one mile I’m all warmed up and singing along with Toby Mac and ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Or not.

That’s the plan. I’ll keep you posted. If you walk past my house and see a FedEx box labelled LOCUSTS AND HONEY you’ll know.

I’m still hoping that some day Jesus asks me to give up tightrope walking for Lent. I’d be so in.

Presto whammo.

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I Just Wub You.

My kids. They used to be so cute. Allow me to show you:

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I  mean, that is some good genes right there. They have my looks and also, my adorable ability to make paper Valentines Hearts.

The cleft chins come from their papa.

All in all, my kids’ insane ability to blow the cuteness meter all out of the stratosphere is MOSTLY DUE TO ME. IT’S ALL ME PEOPLE. I MAKETH GOOD BABIES.

Yes. I know. Back away from the coffee, Momsie.

IT’S VALENTINES DAY. DID YOU KNOW? IT’S THE DAY OF LOOOOOOVE.

But, did you know? I used to kinda hate this holiday. As a bit of backstory:

I didn’t get married until I was 36. I know. I was so old I could barely make it down the aisle. They had to set me up with some oxygen and one of those scooter thingies. Also, I don’t think Brian remembers the event at all because HE WAS A WHOLE YEAR OLDER THAN ME AND I WAS ALREADY REALLY OLD so… you know. For him, dementia had set in.

But anyhow. We were married. And it was freaking awesome. Even though we were so old.

Also, though? Kind of not. Kind of not awesome all the time. In fact, today, even, as I tried to make conversation with two wee cherubs at 6:30 in the morning about whether or not they can have chocolate for breakfast… And I’m there in my robe and praying for the coffee to perk faster so it can catch up with the nutball children who TALK SO MUCH IN THE MORNING… I thought, “The awesomeness is not strong today. But hopefully the coffee will be.”

I ask you. How DO they talk so much in the morning? How? It’s a medical mystery.

Here’s my point (The lawyer, who has been absent a lot from my posts lately because of paycuts, gets to finally, FINALLY, add his “WELL IT’S ABOUT TIME.” to this post):

Valentines Day is a day to express love. The apex of love is NOT marriage. It’s not even kids although we all know they can be rather consuming in that department. I mean, did you SEE the picture above? Who could NOT love that? But also, might I add? The blonde one just spent a better part of this morning, walking around the house in aimless circles singing the Star Wars theme but with the word “Poop” interjected as lyrics. So… not so cute, huh? This moment was also accessorized by Red bending over and adding sound effects and you will thank me for not going into any more detail than that.

I’ll just let your imagination fly.

Ok, so back to my point. Valentines Day.

Love is not about sex or making babies (also sex ) or getting married or even, dare I say, the passionate weirdness I feel for my cats that means that every time I pass them I must grab them and hold them close, to check their furry status and all that. This is harder to do with Bob, the small nervous one who tenses up so much when I pick her up that I think she might break into a million tense and furry pieces.

ANYHOW. What I’m TRYING  to say, is that Valentines Day is about recognizing where all that love comes from. God created us to be like Him, after all.Which means…

He loves us like crazy. And, as I had observed this morning with the Poop Musical going on in my foyer, His crazy love is very apt for what He has to deal with on a daily basis.

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Also this: When my boys were little they used to come up and hug me and say, “I just wub you, mommah.” It’s one of those sweet things I remember, as a well-folded, frayed at the edges Valentine that I keep tucked away in my memory. All moms do this. We store them up, a memory box of adorable reminders.

I wanted you to know that I wub you too, my readers. You have been such a blessing to me.

And a tiny extra shout out to:

My dad. Who reads each and every post.

My mom. Who reads each and every one and then writes me letters and comments back. 🙂

Christy. Super Friend. Super Editor. Super Everything.

Julia Putzke. Super Friend Who I Have Not Actually Met Yet But Thank You Internet for Introducing Us.

 

I just wub you!

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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!

 

Connection

 

Linking up with my favorite people today! Five Minute Friday.

The theme?

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Ok, there are two ways of looking at the world:

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and…

 

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Ok.  I do realize this MIGHT just be a bit over-simplified. I haven’t done any actual research on it. But I am super smart so you know? Trust me. Two ways.

So, I wrote a book. And started writing more articles. And, along with that, I started speaking. Not just randomly speaking, like in the car, or to the grocer guy, but

PUBLIC SPEAKING. Like, IN FRONT OF GROUPS. 

(Say it with an echo after; helps the effect.)

Anyhow. It makes me a bit… twitchy. I am a shy person (this is when some of you who know me burst into peals of laughter). I AM. Shy people just know how to accessorize with nutball behavior and a penchant for snort-laughing in public. This shy thing has been around for a while. I covered it up once with lots of wine. Now, I speak about how I covered it up with lots of wine. This is very ironic, eh? Irony happens to me ALL THE TIME.

My last gig was wonderful and amazing and here is why:

1. The first speaker (sharing about a home for recovery for women in the area) used this phrase: “You have to learn to care for yourself before you can care for others.” This is the exact same thing my sponsor told me at the beginning. At this point I feel a tiny nudge.

2. The musician, Emily, apologized for her first song choice. “Not the best for a snowy day,” she smiled. And then she sang the song that I have always thought of as my “theme song” for getting sober. I Can See Clearly Now, by Johnny Nash.

            Hmmmmm.

3.   And then, the sweet lady next to me, right before I spoke, said,
“You’re up next, and just so you know I’ll be praying for you the whole time.”

God’s leaning in.

4. And finally, the closing song:

I Need Thee Every Hour.

The song I used to listen to and whisper/sing/cry to as I rocked upstairs while by boys slept. My version was on a Fernando Ortega cd. I would sing it, pray it, as tears dripped down my face, sometimes with a sleeping boy cuddled up, all heavy and warm and snotted on, in my lap. That song told me it was ok to be sober, an hour at at time. Not even a day at a time. Just an hour. I just needed to keep saying, “I need you.”

I connect with others through my speaking and writing. It’s part of my job now, to reach out, to speak, to connect even when a little shy or tired or tongue-tied. And, I love to do so because I am learning that the reaching out, the connecting? It helps me. It keeps me sober. It keeps me pointed true north.

But yesterday? God wanted to make sure I knew that He was connecting with me.

I know. He is available all the time, but on some days? Like yesterday? My sweet Lord sent me a Hallmark card, a letter, a telegram, an airplane banner in the sky:

“Hey! Dana!” says the banner. “I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK, DID YOU KNOW THAT? PROBABLY MORE. I SHOULD KNOW, I MADE THE MOON.”

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And also, this. I am thinking a similar outfit for my next speaking gig. No? Too much? Ok. Probably too much.

Hello, my name is Dana, and I can’t wrap presents.

Momsie, Christmas 2016:

This year I will make sure we do a meaningful and very spiritual Advent activity every day!

This year, we will not fight or argue during our Christmas break because Jesus is about to be born and he needs his sleep! Peace! Goodwill! Etcetera!

This year I will make fudge that actually ends up as fudge, not glorified frosting!

This year, I will wrap the presents BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE.

THIS YEAR WE WILL DO ALL THE CHRISTMAS THINGS!

 

Bet you can guess how I’m doing on my list, eh?

You know that sledding scene from It’s a Wonderful Life where George’s brother careens right into the pond? Well, that’s how our Christmas can go if we are not careful. Right. Over. The Merry Cliff.

I am pretty sure Jesus did not have this in mind.

Anyhow, what will happen is that I do make the fudge, and we eat it with a spoon and it’s YUMMO.

Also, I will make divinity for my dad because he is the best dad EVER and he’s reading this right now, and I am maintaining my status as the favorite child.

Also, I will put off wrapping because when I wrap presents? I seem to channel my inner idiot savant (what? We all have one. Don’t judge) and my presents end up looking like this:

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I would like to state for the record that there is no booze in this post. The item in the sock is “stunt liquid” – perhaps some olive oil, or a lovely bottle of Sprite. Perhaps a nice 1997. That was a good year.

Anyhow.

Wrapping. Wrapping happens. It’s unavoidable.

NETFLIX TO THE RESCUE!

Netflix has soooooo many new shows to view, I don’t even know what to start. If for some weird reason your children* are a part of this whole wrapping thing (rare, and also very painful for all involved. I mean, have you ever WATCHED a six year old try to wrap a box? It’s like green and red paint drying.) You can watch these two gems:

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Tim Allen is so JOLLY in this one. It’s perfection.

 

or : 61456a59-f862-446b-bc27-9e0fb05c8332_1-40f4d8069640ced9fde27ccd4522295b

This bunny one? It’s adorable.

And, like the tag says, “Everybody needs some bunny to love.” SO TRUE. We could all do with more bunnies to cuddle! Bunnies for everyone!

Also, the movie also stars Florence Henderson in one of her last roles, and she is so gruff and real and NON Florence Henderson-y in it;  she really was awesome in this movie. The story line is about adoption and fostering children. I am such a fan of those families who open their hearts and homes to children – even the “tough ones.” Just watch it. Bring kleenex. Or, maybe a bunny to hold onto while you watch. To wipe away the tears.

*Um, it’s also possible that the boys whilst watching the movies will be so transfixed by Christmas goodness that you can slooooooooowly slide the presents out of their sweaty little hands and then wrap those suckers for them in two seconds. I’m not saying I’ve done that, or that I’ve even done a good job IF I’ve done that, but we needed to be done wrapping that ONE BOX by 2017.

If you’re not watching with the babies, and you are also husband-free (he seems to avoid the whole wrapping thing because he knows better. I get surly. Plus, his style of wrapping, as an engineer, involves a level and measuring tape and, I think at one point there was some math formulas from an app on his phone involved) I go for the Hallmark-channely, romantic Christmas wondefulness stuff that is fluffy and happy. I like fluffy and happy. Heck, I’M fluffy and happy, so there’s that.

Here’s an example:movie-poster-back-to-christmas-563e51c486673-cb49ecc125dffb8d4491e3688e98609ba30f8aca-1“Sometimes you do get a second chance.”

That is cinema gold, people. We all need second chances, and if you’re a It’s a Wonderful Life-Ebenezer-Miracle on 39th Street kinda girl, you might realize –

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SECOND CHANCES.

Jesus would agree.

And finally? I give you my second chance at wrapping:

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My masterpiece.

 

Merry Christmas! Sit back, relax, spoon up some fudge, and enjoy the season, with the help of Netflix.

 

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