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

 

 

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When Reality Hits, Give It a Timeout. With #Netflix #Streamteam

Y’all. Life is hard.

I pretty much fully realized this little nugget of wisdom when I realized that giving birth meant discomfort.

Here is a visual of how life is hard: (Don’t WORRY. No birthing pictures here. I am not that crazy.)

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Anyhow.

Our family had a great weekend.

I know, my leader set you up to make you think that this was going to be another post of misery and woe, because there are toddlers in the house, but it was actually not so bad. And I do realize they’re not really toddlers that much anymore, even though I insist on calling them so. And, why was our weekend so awesome?

The Wonderful Husband Played The Game of LIFE With Them for Three Hours Straight, and I just sat and watched.*

The Game of LIFE (this is how the boys refer to it – it must be called, full on, with much fanfare, The Game of LIFE. Much like that one dude has to be called now The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Or, how I refer to my twenties as The Time When I Could Eat Whatever I Wanted. The name matters, y’all.)

The Game of LIFE involves mortgages and buying things and basically putting yourself in crippling debt, and what five year old wouldn’t think this is a blast? They have no concept of reality, folks. Of course they don’t. Their job is to bludgeon US with reality.

The husband, sweet clueless blonde, decided to be a farmer for his profession. Thus, he lost his patience with LIFE around the time his crops were lost in a freak monsoon, and he was left with five dollars and a roller skate for transportation. But he bravely continued. It was his row to hoe. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?. I HAD TO.)

The two boys fared better. Overheard:

“I wanna buy another house! I wanna buy ALL da houses!”

“Is that the luxury model of dat car? Cuza I have no luxury model. I need it.”

“Baby! I have der baby! I’m all married now and I get a baby! Bring on da babies!”

“More! MORE MORE MORE MORE! Must have ALL THE THINGS!”

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Visa. IT’S EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE.

It’s a great little game. It teaches fiscal responsibility, how to deal with depression, and that babies can only occur after you hit the jackpot of MARRIAGE!!!!! on the Life Pod. This gadget replaced the original spinner. And, this game has CREDIT CARDS. For reals. Life just got rather real-ish. Nuthin’ says grownup like huge plastic debt.

I must admit, the baby one really kind of threw me for a loop. They were so terrifying thrilled with the idea.

After three hours, two bowls of popcorn, and rapid aging on the husband’s part, we were done. Blonde had won. He had finished the game with same amount of money as our national debt, plus three children.

Red was quick to point out that ending the game of LIFE pretty much meant they were all in heaven. Wow. That killed the moment a bit (AGAIN! I know, right?).

And the husband collapsed on the couch next to me, exhausted from all the bills and mortgages and car payments and career struggles.

Momsie, the eternal band-aid fixer of the family, remedied the situation with this:

1. Ice cream

2. Netflix.

Boom. All better!

After the boys were in bed**, we watched this:

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This little show is a gem. Better Off Ted satires the workplace in a way that I haven’t really laughed at so well since, well, the husband had to become a sharecropper. The main character (aptly called, Ted) works at Veridian Dynamics, a research company that creates… I’m not sure. And I don’t think the workers there know either.

Each episode of BOT (my acronym. Like GOT, but, not) gives us a glimpse at life, work, career, and just how nutball all those things mixed together can be, with sizzling accuracy.

I don’t often laugh out LOUD when I watch television. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s not demure, which I am, of course. Or it’s because there just isn’t much to laugh at anymore because, well, bad television,

But I LAUGH a lot with this show. It’s medicine for the soul, I tell you.

And if you don’t take your medicine… well then, you could lose your sense of humor when you end up on welfare, while playing a board game with your two millionaire children.

Watch the following. Why? Because it’s chock full of antibiotics, for your soul.

* Ok, I didn’t just sit and watch. I also: folded laundry, graded papers, and wrote this post. Moms don’t just sit and watch. It’s not in our contract.

** This show does have saucy bits, just so you know. The hubs and I accept the saucy bits. The Game of LIFE rather forced them upon us.

Monday Manuscript with Organize Now! And a Side of Mom Guilt.

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We’re on week 4 of Organize Now! by Jennifer Ford Berry.

Good gravy did this chapter give me a wuppin.  In a nice way.  But still.

Here’s how it starts:

“Does it ever feel like you spend all your hours and days doing but not living?”

Hmmmm. No… (shuffles nervously and glares at the lawyer who is starting to comment.  As always).  No! I never feel this way!  I am completely fulfilled in every way.  All the time.  I am also so busy that at times my daily calendar flops over from too many entries and waves its tired feet in the air in surrender.  But… still I’m doing GREAT! Thanks!  Um.  How are YOU?

Ahem

Here’s the tips from this chapter:

*  Read your top ten list (of your most important priorities) on a regular basis.

*  Minimize time spent with negative people.

*  Don’t forget to pray.

* Make a list of things you and your family like to do that costs little or no money, and do as many of these you can a week.

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Lately I have been playing a fun little game called:  Mom Guilt Monopoly.  I ROCK at this game.  All the hotels are mine, and I do believe I own Marvin Gardens AND the Waterworks.  And that other really expensive one that’s purple.    I also am the proud owner of:

I Can’t Contribute Place

Really, I’m A Failure Avenue

What If We End Up Living in a Van Down By the River Railroad

You get the idea.

Week Four in Organize Now gently suggested that I really REALLY think about what I want to accomplish in my life, list it out, and then compare that list with what I am going NOW.  Gulp.  Like comparing apples to oranges.  Or, more accurately, like comparing really BIG apples with a lot of stress, insecurity, and anger issues that constantly smush the oranges and punt them to the curb.

I leave you with a quote Jennifer Ford Berry included in this chapter by James Truslow Adams:

“Perhaps it would be a good idea, fantastic as it sounds, to muffle every telephone, stop every motor and halt activity an hour someday to give people a change to ponder for a few minutes on what it is all about, why they are living, and what they really want.

Wow.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  Luke 10:27

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”   Psalm 37:4″

Now I just have to have the courage.  Good thing I have God , otherwise I’d still just be OK with mushy oranges.

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G is for Grateful.

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Got a phone call this week from a librarian; she reminded me wearily of an audiobook we had checked out over a month ago.  It’s due.  It’s been a month.  Good people return their books on time, missy.

“Oh my word, of course, yes!  I will return it tomorrow.  I am a good person!  I AM!”

Madame Disdainful:  “There’s a two dollar late fee.  Bring cash.”

“Of course!! I’ll bring THREE dollars!  A donation!  I am a good person! Super Good!!”

And the scurrying began to locate The Book.  Also, I needed to locate my self worth because I just do NOT have late fees.  Nary an overdue anything, until, oh, well you know…

I had kids.

There’s just one small problem.  Our house seems to have eaten the audio book.  Um.   And, it’s gonna cost us 72 dollars to replace it.

Holy budget, Batman.

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Also, there’s this:

I cannot find our hide-a-key.  It’s somewhere in our house, again. It’s probably snuggling up with the love of its life, the Audio book That Should Have Its Own Payment Plan.

And…

A strange noise has started emanating from my car. Not a really serious sound or anything, no grinding or smoke, so probably nothing.  It just makes the noise (a sort of sputter-wheeze) whenever the car is, you know, running.

Today, I have HAD it.  I am not feeling this, missing key and wonky car.  And YOU,  blingy Audio book that is all upper east side, you just need to stop taunting me with your disappearing act.  I need everything in this house (or parked outside of it) to start BEHAVING now.

I mean NOW.  (The Mom Voice paired with a cocked eyebrow seals it. )

Or… not.

The day passes along and it doesn’t seem that anyone, inanimate or not, is actually listening to me.  Escalade driving, fully loaded Audio book has probably left the premises for the Hamptons.  My keys, rejected and alone, are siding with the car and giving up on life.  And me?

I am Ticked. Off.

Muttering now, and stomping a bit (muttering and stomping do help, mind you), I am cleaning my sons’ closet.  This involves maneuvering around the Jenga game that is Fall Clothes and Some Weird Toy Bits. I am not really sure why I chose to attempt this most frustrating task on the planet when already I have the mental fortitude of someone in a Breaking Bad episode.  The muttering  has increased in volume and realize I am, rather tersely, having a “meeting” with God.  (“Meeting” with the hooked “quotation marks” fingers is the “word” my “husband” and I use with our boys when really, we are, you know, “arguing” or “snarking it out with each other” because “please, stop being such a big fat pain.”)

I get to start the meeting.  And here are some introductory statements:

“You know… I really don’t need this right now.  We are BROKE. Broken down brokety BROKE.  I am TIRED OUT (God listens better when I give him the old caps routine, I am pretty sure.  In fact, I am rather surprised Jesus never attempted caps in the bible.  I mean, come on.  Don’t you think the Sermon on the Mount would have a bit more “umph” with some caps?  Even, dare I say it, BOLD FACE ALL CAPPED ARIAL FONT?  Maybe would have upped your “likes” Jesus; I’m just sayin.)

Back to me.

“I’m TIRED OUT.  This stupid (gasps from the play room.  They heard the “S” word) YES I SAID ‘STUPID‘ CUZ IT’S TRUE.  DON’T EVEN.”  This is followed by some fervent whispering from the train room and loud scooting over to the far side of the room.  I sigh heavily and continue,

“Yes, uh- huh, I said ‘STUPID’ situation with the book and all… come ON.  I can’t work like this!  It’s enough I have to, like, wake UP every morning and maintain, (flurried gesturing now) THIS, and keep two, heck who are we kidding, THREE other human males alive, so can’t we just have a bit of a break from riff-raffy situations like Audio books that are LIVING A BIT BEYOND THEIR MEANS?  Great cupcakes, this is not acceptable.”

Here’s where I get a bit shrill.  Just a bit:  “I WAS TRYING TO EDUCATE MYSELF!  IT WAS A GOOD BOOK!  I THINK THE AUTHOR WAS ON OUR SIDE!  A TEAM PLAYER!  THIS. JUST. ISN’T. FAIR!”

A good start, all in all.

I am stuffing my hand in one of my fifteen diaper bags, trying to figure out if for some reason Little Blingy Audio Book maybe now wants kids and so has decided to cuddle up with some stray diapers and a linty paci.  I have, for all intents and purposes, gotten sorely off task and lost my ever-loving mind.  72 DOLLARS ARE LOLLING ABOUT SOMEWHERE IN MY HOUUUUUSE.   I was working up to a full octane Pathetic Festival.

I do have those.  Pathetic Fests.  Next time I’ll advertise better and you can come.  Bring a blanket and hunker down.  They’re intense.  They’re sorta like the Lilith Fair, just as hormonal;  just as angry. *

So it’s at this point in the meeting I find the toy in the diaper bag.  It’s just a red plastic play phone.  I bought it for the blonde one over four years ago.  In fact, it was one of his first toys and he loved it, as did the redhead.  The yellow buttons rang and beeped and buzzed!  It fit just so in their fat fists!  It spoke!

It spoke.

See, the phone had a recording device, and you could press and record.   And then, with a box of Fall clothes falling in over your shoes and your four years later children in the next room bashing at each other with matchbox cars, you can start to cry and laugh.

“Mommah?.  Up?? Up? UP??”

My blonde one, he’s talking to me.  He would flap his arms and laugh, waiting to be flown up in my arms.  I would place his fuzzy head just under my chin, and we would play itsy bitsy spider.  The hands would grasp at me fierce and soft. His feet fit warmly in the palm of my hands.  And he would laugh because my lap, my arms around him, that was all and enough and amazing.  Full.  Grateful.

Full of Grace.

Well.  Thank You.  And You didn’t even have to use all caps.

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*Lilith Fair attendees – don’t be mad.  I love the Indigo Girls just as much as you do.

E is for Economics. Thank your lucky stars it’s not for Explosive Diarrhea*

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LOOK! This E has BLING! Alas, the only bling my life now is in the form of glitter glue.

So, I called a business meeting the other day, just me, the wee Blonde and Red.  We convened in the conference room after I scraped its floor and made sure the Cheerios from earlier were not within throwing distance.  I passed out sippy cups and a few Goldfish crackers.

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I need some suspenders. They would listen if I had suspenders. I just know it.

“Okkaaaaaay. I called you both in here today to just briefly touch BASE and make sure we were all on the same PAGE, so to speak, mmmm kay?  And when it comes to our annual BUDGETING for the year…   It seems we might be running a bit over our prediction scenarios, and so…”**

“He has more Goldfish than me.  I wanna more Goldfish!”

“Sure, just a minute, let me just get my flipchart here loaded up.  My powerpoint seems to be running a little bit slow…”

“Coputer?  Can we playa game?  I WANNA DA PIGGY GAME! ”

“YEAAAA! DA PIGGIES!  DA PIGGIES!”

“NO. We arent’ playing da, ahem, the piggy game.  This is important.  Swine have no part in this.  I don’t think.  So, ahem!  It has come to my attention that our monthly revenue does not in any way coincide with our losses and – ”

“Piggy game has music in it. And CROCADIWILS.”

“OUR LOSSES.  It is imperative that we press on towards our goal of saving about (shuffling of papers)  about…. oh here it is , wow.  We are on target to try and save about 2 dollars and 47 cents a month.  Good gracious.  That’s just awful.  Wow.”

“But HEY!  Here’s the Powerpoint!!  Let’s press forward!   And it’s got MUSIC!  Look!  Look here!  Music?  Today’s presentation is entitled:  SAVING YOUR DOLLARS ONE TODDLER AT A TIME!  or:

Capitalism is afoot in DA HOUWWWWWSSS!”   (Note the eye catching display of color.)

Eye rolls.  From toddlers.  Deadly.

Blonde pipes up:  “Ima gonna get money.”

“OH!  Good!  Are you going to help save us?  I mean, us save?  Money?  Please?  ‘Cause the threat of college is looming ya’ll.  We need to get On Board and Start Being Responsible.  Starting, like, now.”

<crickets chirping> Deafening silence.

“I, yes, mommah, I think I need some money.”

“Yessir!  Shall we set up a fiscal plan for each of you and get a spreadsheet going?  ‘Cause I just figured out how to use this really cute little program that makes some awesome printables about savings.  See!  Cute clip art with a piggy bank! I found it on Pinterest!”

“PIGGIES!!!!”

Banks – to SAVE…”

“I NEEDA MORE MONEY MOMMAH TO BUY DA COMPUTER GAMES?  I DON’T HAVE ANY AND I NEED THEM.”

“Ah hah!  Learning moment!  NEEDING and WANTING are two different things, sir.  We’ve discussed this in previous meetings…”

“No.  I NEED computer games.  I WANT to play them.  Der.”

“Ok, I can see we are getting a bit off track here.  Let’s just go to slide five on this powerpoint – ”

“Der are no piggies der.  Can I have some grapes?”

“No.  This meeting is not catered.  Stick with your water and crackers. Have you been to a store lately?  WE CAN’T AFFORD FRUIT ANYMORE.   Here.  Here’s some paper.  Draw pictures of fruit. ”

“Just… pictures?”

“It’s called delayed gratification, kid.  Embrace it.”

“A store!  Where da donuts are?  The donut store?  WE’RE GONNA GET DONUTS!!  WHOO HOOOO!!!!”

The CEO is glaring:  “- Er, our bills are mainly piling up because of inflation and, well, milk alone is like a crackamillion dollars a gallon now, and don’t even get me started on trying to keep ya’ll in Pull-ups at night.  In fact, NO MORE Pull ups, gentlemen.  It’s time to bite the bullet and pee for free in the toilet like everyone else.”

Blonde one starts braying, which startles the CEO a bit.  “She said ‘pee!'” and then he dissolves into more donkey-like laughter.

Red: “Whadda we gonna bite?  NO BITE!”

“FOCUS, gentlemen.  The bills, outlined for you on slides four and five are here. And Here.   And HERE.  As you can see, our spending these past few months has been EGREGIOUS and – ”

“Jesus?  He spenda the money?”

“No, I -”

“But, Jesus SAVES!”

“Well, yes, but – ”

“We just need to ask Jesus to save da bills!  He will do it.  He loves us!”

“I do agree He loves us, but the bills – ”

“What is bills, mommah?”

“Bills are small pieces of paper that Momsie sends back to companies with our life’s blood and savings written on them.  And everytime I put them in the mailbox to be sent away a little piece inside of me shrivels up and wants to cry.”

“Oh.  Ok.”

“Can I have some grapes now, pleeeese?”

“PWEEEEEZ??  Da organwic ones dat cost, like a crackajack dollars?  Der in da fridge.  Top shelp.”

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They practice this look in front of the mirror.

Sigh.  “Sure…Meeting adjourned.”

*  By the way, explosive diarrhea is not an urban legend.  It exists.  And it makes house calls.

** I have no freaking clue what I’m talking about here.