What a Momsie Believes.

I was up at 5 AM folks. FIVE.

That’s when, like, ARMY PEOPLE get up. To go run hills and save the world and all.

I did not run hills, nor save the world, BUT I did laundry and read the bible.

Not at the same time. But still.

And THEN I ate a completely healthy and hearty bowl of steel-cut oats (the oats for hipsters!) and blueberries and I felt all BAM! I’m gonna kick some serious BEHIND today. I’m on FIRE! I had OATS that were cut by STEEL!

And then, in about an hour, I noticed this:IMG_7401-1.JPG

Yep, that’s my laundry installation. It’s got a great aesthetic, and I’m going to leave it in the living room for a very long time, I think.

I call this sculpture, Expansion.

Or:

I Washed A Bunch of Clothes But Folding Them Makes Me Feel Sad

And so, instead of dealing with reality, I decided to take the dog on a walk. I figured when I got home, the laundry will have flown away, like laundry does.

Ok, it never does that but it’s a really pretty day. So there’s that.

And I took the dog and we spied this:IMG_7350.jpg

And I wondered if somehow the laundry was trying to tell me something? It made me feel better. Even if it wasn’t about the laundry, somebody, somewhere, was trying to be nice about something. And so, the universe smiled. As the universe does.

THEN, I came across this:IMG_7400.jpg

And I was all, I GOT YOU UNIVERSE; I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING HERE.

And the dog and I strutted home, in the fall leaves, all crunchy and awesome. And I was feeling crunchy and awesome. And Hosmer managed to completely match up his little prancy paws with my ipod.

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Who knew that The Doobie Brothers were Hosmer’s  JAM, y’all?

He was all prancy-prancy and “But what a fool believes, he sees. No wise man has the power to reason away!”

And I was all, “What seems to be, is always better than nothing, than nothing at all!!!” And I think we kinda freaked out an older gentleman who was trying to get in his truck, but I just smiled and waved a lot. And kept singing about fools believing.

And THEN I got home and the universe still had not put away the four tons of clothes in my living room.

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I get it, Universe. There’s only so much that you will do for me. You’re not an enabler, I’ll give you that.

But it still was an awesome morning. So far the art installation of kids’ socks and Star Wars beach towels has not moved. I think it adds a certain touch to house. I might add my whites’ load to it later, to go for a little more height.

And here we are. This is the best song in the history of songs. And there is SUCH good hair going on. Give it a listen, and you will feel all I LOVE YOU, UNIVERSE, too.

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Joy in the Midst of Heartache

Well, that’s a downer of a title, isn’t it?

Stay with me.

Linking up with my favorite bloggie family: Five Minute Friday.

The theme for today?

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Ok, so, right now the world has that extra bit of merry and bright going on. This makes total sense. We are counting the days before our Savior’s birth.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year, after all.

But, I notice a few things:

I have lights up, all over the house, inside and out. Strings of them, colored, white, all aglow, all day long.

Christmas music plays non stop. Mostly, I choose the soft, lingering melodies of George Winston. They are soft and soothing and I keep them on all the time.

I go to bed pretty early these nights, usually around 8:30. Flannel pajamas are my thing.

Next to my bed is a pile of books and my Ipad and Hershey’s kisses. I keep them stockpiled, and crawl into my bed as a sort of cozy fortress.

I take naps more often.

I make comfort food for dinner. Rich, heavy dishes with lots of calories. Salad does not happen. Chocolate happens.

I watch endless Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. My husband will not watch them with me, but the dog does. Hosmer loves the story line, mainly because they are all very similar. He’s a simple dog, with simple tastes.

I love this time of year. But, you know? It reminds me of those who are gone. It only makes me miss them the more, and I cannot think of Christmas without my brother.

Sometimes all this merriment makes it harder.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come.

So, let me receive it. Joy is deeper than all of this and the Joy Maker is through it and under it and above it.

Joy is all around.

Happiness, bliss, merriment, festivity, those might wane. We might experience a soul poverty at this time, but Joy is not from us. It’s from Him.

It makes me think of this carol, one of my favorites:

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can, I give Him –
Give my heart.

Christina Rossetti

I have not posted in so long, and so wanted to come in with trumpets blazing, full of fun and funny. But instead, I wanted to write about the deep joy that answers all the questions.

What can we give him? Just give Him our hearts.

When we fall down.

So mommas, it will be real today. No funny business. Sorry.

The other day, my son and I got in an argument. A straight-up, no chaser, fight. With a seven year old.

Because fighting with a seven year old is what a forty six year old women chose to do that day. Because the seven year old didn’t really chose it – he doesn’t have the emotional synapses yet to say, “Hey. Yea. I am choosing this.” Most of his stuff is still kinda… on automatic. Like, his synapses say, “Hey. SQUIRREL.” And we’re done.

Anyhow.

What happened was, the kid acted like a sullen kid. And misbehaved. And then, I took the reins and took OFF on making sure he knew it.

There are times when my mothering goes astray. And it just kicks the sides of that old, dead horse and tries to run off with it. Which is a terrible metaphor but I was trying to go with the “reins” thing. Which kinda means I want you to visualize me riding a dead horse. Off a cliff. Of bad mothering.

Good lord I hope this will make some sort of sense.

If you are still with me, picture me on that poor dead horse, galloping off, on a road towards my cliff. And there’s a sign by the side of the road that says, “CAUTION. STOP HERE. BIG HUGE DROP OFF COMING. TURN THE HECK AROUND.”

Perhaps I should name the cliff. The Cliffs of Insanity.

Or, perhaps:

The Cliffs of I Must Be Right.

I think the Cliffs of Insanity sounds a bit more catchy, but Princess Bride got to it before me.

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Oh. My friends. His face. After all the I-Must-Be-Right-ing and lecturing and trying to make my POINT because it is so important, his little face. It just crumpled in on itself. And he told me,

“I’m just a bad kid.”

And that’s just the awfulest thing. It’s just not not the truth.

It’s just Satan. With my help. And I am so sorry. I had to tell you because I thought, you know? I am so funny and this is so NOT and you need to know. I just so screwed up.

We all screw up. We cannot help it. It’s the tangle of motherhood. We are participating in a daily battle and sometimes I get too involved in winning MY side. When, really, the winning is not the point.

The point is that I watched his shoulders sag, and he said what he did, and then I went over to him, picked him up and put him on my lap like he was my baby, because he is. And I stroked his cheek and I said,

“You are my child. I love you more than I love my life. And you are a child of God. And He doesn’t make anything bad.”

I sat and rocked him. And kissed his cheek and wiped the tears and said, “I am sorry. I love you. You got that?” He nodded. And asked me to play Yahtzee.

And we got through that mess. And probably there will be another one coming soon, because motherhood. Kids. You know.

I wanted to share because I wondered if you needed to know – we all mess up. And then we all can say sorry and go play Yahtzee and eat popcorn and hug on each other. Because, motherhood and kids.

Can I hear an amen? Thank goodness I can. It’s the only thing that keeps me afloat, y’all.

Let It Be.

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This post is brought to you by the Great and Mighty Netflix. Sometimes I blog for them, did you know?

But also, this post is brought to you by deep neurosis and a sudden longing for donuts with sprinkles.

Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Ok, so a few weeks back I up and left my family, just ABANDONED them, so I could wedge myself into a hotel room and work on my book. I wrote and outlined and organized and worked very hard. Also, I ate a LOT of donuts. And I NEVER HAD TO SHARE.

I wrote a book. Did you know? I wrote a book. And now, I am writing Book 2!! That’s how it works. I plan to have a whole series of Books All About MEEEE when done. (That’s a possible title).

Anyhow.

When I absconded from my poor sweet babies, they happened to get a box in the mail.

And the box was from THE GREAT NETFLIX! SENDER OF BOXES OF COOL STUFF!

I was kinda bummed. I missed it. I MISSED THE WHOLE THING. I was off all writey-writey while a box of goodness was being festooned all over our house, y’all. And, as you know, the boxes from Netflix can totally ROCK.

Ok, I don’t mean to be anti-climatic, but it was not another television. It was THIS:

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Blonde started rocking out on the harmonica. He turned into a wee version of that dude from Blues Traveler. Or ate least that is what the husband tells me, but how would I know? THE HUSBAND TOOK ABSOLUTELY NO FOOTAGE OF ANY OF THIS.

And I, of course, have now taken over the tambourine because:

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Music is my jam, y’all. Well, not really but I love the outfit and she has EARS. SOOOO cute.

So I missed all the cuteness. It was tough. The husband took absolutely NO pictures of my beloved prodigies as they started created masterpieces, so it’s like it never happened at all.

When you are a mom and you leave your children… sometimes, as much as you WANTED to leave them, and NEEDED the time away… you STILL want to be around them. You know?

I dunno. Maybe that’s just me. I had to let it be.

*cue the music*

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Netflix’s new show, Beat Bugs, is simply adorable. I mean, how could it not be?

Beatles music + cool artists + cute bugs = television magic.

(Small moment of total squee: Beat Bugs has Robbie Williams. Like, Robbie Williams from the Ego has Landed. Which was a really, really REALLY good album.)310GJFDG06L.jpg

Watch the trailer below to see the magic unfold! All the feels! I can finally explain to my kids who the Beatles are, which, as any good parent knows, is part of the trilogy of parenting:

THE TRILOGY OF PARENTING:

  1. The Beatles are the best.
  2. We will always watch the black and white Scrooge.
  3. Jar Jar Binks shall never be discussed in this household.

 

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Talking is So Easy When You’re Married

fva-1000-wedding-portrait-a-cat-shutterstock-83582038-600wI am married, did you know that?

I know. Sometimes it even surprises me. He (The husband. The Married) shows up all unannounced and is skulking around in the refrigerator, and I turn around and think, Wow! There’s this dude in here, all up in my refrigerator! How did that happen?

I would also like to make clear: “All up in my refrigerator” is not code for something. In case you were wondering. We DO have codes for things, like, “Honey, you are the BEST.” This is code for, “I’m going to write about our relationship again today. Please forgive me.”

Anyhow.

Recently, my beloved and I went out on a date. Like, a real one. With a restaurant and cloth napkins and no complaining about the green stuff in the sauce. I stared at him from across the table as he sipped his water. He is tall. Blonde. Blue eyes. He is a cutie. And right at that moment, as I stared into those sweet, blue eyes, I batted my lashes and realized something rather important:

I had absolutely nothing to say to the man.

It had happened. We have been married for all of eight long, grueling years, and now? We had used up all our conversation.

Don’t worry. We made it through. We faltered through some banter about the Royals. No, not the ones in Great Britain. The baseball team. Hubs happily informed me about all the trades and pine tar, and I gave my brain a moment to take a full on vacation, knowing that if I nodded here or there, hubs would be all, “This is conversation! And it includes baseball stats! This woman completes me!

All is not lost, ya’ll.

Because, as the date continued, and we listened to some rather amazing music – Phil Keaggy; have you heard of him? He’s awesome.  I sat next to Tall Blonde, and put my head on his shoulder and thought,
There is no one I would like to tune out to baseball statistics with than this man.

 

As the evening was drawing to a close, Hubs and I were heading home. A song came on the radio, and I hummed along.  And then what followed was what I like to refer to as:

The Ninth Inning Grand Slam of Talking:

Me: I love this song! Is it Cat Stevens, or James Taylor?

Him: No. No… It’s that guy that wrote that ship song.

Me: The Doors? Crystal Ship? This isn’t even in the same genre!

Him: No.. NO! The ELLA Fitzgerald one.

Me: Wait, What? Ella who?

Him: (slowly) ELLA. FITZGERALD.

Me:  (Sitting up. We are at critical mass here because I have found Something To Correct Him About.) Dude. Ella Fitzgerald is a jazz singer.

Him: …

Me: You know, like that Wonderful World Guy

Him: …

Me: YOU KNOW! Like that guy? The great Sassmo? Something Armstrong.

Him: Lance Armstrong?

Me: Yes! Maybe. No. I don’t know.

Him: Livestrong.

Me: What? Me?
Him: No. That’s Lance.

Me: (Looking around the car as if Lance was with us). NO. He sang that song, that one song. YOU KNOW. THE ONE AT OUR WEDDING?

Him: (Fearful. He is in scary territory. If he admits to not remembering this song, our marriage is a total fraud.) Right. That song. It’s a good one.

Me: Louis! LOUIS! He sang, “What a Wonderful World!” We DANCED TO IT AT OUR WEDDING! (Volume helps make me right.)

Him: Yes. Yes. We did.

Me: I am going to ignore the fact that you have no recollection of this song because we need to go back to the earlier part where you are also wrong. WRONG-O, buddy. The jazz singer lady. It’s Ella. She sang… she sang jazz stuff. A lot of famous stuff. And I don’t remember any of it.

Him: (Reaching for radio. Perhaps baseball on somewhere.)

Me: BUT wait. WAIT just a minute, buster. It’s not her. The one that wrote about the ship. About that poor ship that drowned.

Him: Gordon Lighting! (He is ecstatic! He is right! Finally!)

Me: You are not right.

Him: Ok, well Lightening something…

Me: McQueen?

Him: LIGHTFOOT. THE SHIP OF THE ELLA FITZGERALD! GOT IT!

Me: (Going for diversion). So, what did Cat Stevens sing, then?

Him: He’s a Christian.

Me: NO. He’s a Muslim now. You are WRONG AGAIN.  But he sang that song about the cats.

Him: In the cradle!

Me: Well, that’s just sad. To sing a song about cats and then not being able to keep your name, “Cat.”  He changed his name, you know. After he converted.

Him: (Still rather hoping we could just talk about baseball.)

Me: If he coulda kept it, it woulda been purrfect. (Punching him in the arm because I am funny, but he didn’t laugh. Punching him informs him to laugh. That’s how we operate.)

Him: Ouch. You just call out my name.

Me: Huh?

Him: James Taylor. He wrote some stuff. You just call out my name.

Me: Honey?

Him: And I’ll come running! Wherever you are…

Me: Oh. You’re singing. You’re singing the song now.

Him: Yep. And he sang that Mockingjay song.

Me: Mockingbird.

Him: That too.

Me: Well, now you’re just trying to be funny.

Him: I’m not trying. It comes natural.

Me: Ella Fitzgerald wasn’t even born when that ship went down.

Him: Well. It’s something like that. Ella FitzSimmons?

Me: No.

Him:  Elmer Fitzmerald?

Me: …

Him: Ugh. This is really gonna bug me.

Me: …

Him: The Ship of the Elvis FitzPresley?

Me:

THAT’S IT!

 

Fin.

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Monday Manuscript, of sorts. With a little song and dance.

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So, if you were up with me last night you had to deal with a lot of obnoxious Tweetings about the Tony’s.

I couldn’t help it, I tell you.  I tweet, therefore I am.  I got all twittery when the Les Mis cast started us out, and then.. Sting!  and LL Cool J rapping the Music Man! (for real, I’m not kidding, he did.) And nobody messed up Idina Menzel’s name!

And Alan Cummings had that delicious accent all over the place.  And his weird, zebra-ish suit.

Why, you ask, Why Momsie do you get so worked UP about this show?

Well, I’ll tell you.

When I got my first teaching gig a few years ago, I was all young and enthusiastic and rather, um, overly eager shall we say to get into a classroom and get GOING with the teaching career.  So, I accepted a job teaching English, yes, my major and all.

(*cough but also debate forensics and drama all areas that I had absolutely NO idea how to teach, or certification in, or any clue about whatsoever.)

Now, before the lawyer gets all in a hizzy, I will tell you this:

I DID pursue certification in those areas. I did.  But for the two years or so of my first dip in the pool of Real Employment as a Real Teacher and All…?  I was completely out of my element.

Fish outta water.

Flopping around on the shore with some lesson plans and a lot of idealistic, um, ideas, and not a lot else.

Except:  I had a whole lotta free time, and I really loved teaching.  So there’s that.  And I had learned a very valuable lesson from my dad –

Just act AS IF you know what in the heck you are doing, and everyone else will totally buy it.  And after a while?  You will too.

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My first production was You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  I broke every rule possible.  I wrote in parts, added musical numbers, (sorry copyright – please don’t arrest me.  I know better now, but back then I think I just had the idea that since I was the director I could adjust as needed.  I have now learned that adjusting scripts that are already written?  NOT LEGAL.  It’s like wearing a bad bra that you keep having to adjust the straps on.  If the bra doesn’t fit, get a different one.  Don’t keep tugging.  And yes, I did just compare Charles Schulz’s and Clark Gesner’s awesome musical to undergarments. This is typical for Momsie.  Classy broad.)

Even though I was a complete imposter, and also that I was basically walking the line between teacher director and illicit rebel of the copyright, I’m still glad I choose Charlie Brown, even with all my tinkering.  I think my doghouse for Snoopy was dangerously leaning for quite a bit of each production but this just added dramatic suspense (Will Snoopy survive the next musical number?  Stay tuned!) and…

People came.  They clapped at the end.

My cast had a great time.

Even though Snoopy had developed a nervous tic by the end of each show.

 

So I stayed up late and watched every bit of the Tony’s.  I even got my toddlers in on the act (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?  SEE IT?) at least until the saucy Cabaret number then we started up for the world’s quickest bedtime routine (set to music.  I sang ’em to sleep with “Do You Hear the People Sing.”  Or… maybe they just played dead, so I would stop.)

I love the Tony’s.  Pretty things – shows with songs and dance, or plays with heroics and tragedy – they’re, well, they’re pretty but some would say they’re ephemeral.  Not important.  Not practical.  I disagree.  They fill us up with life and meaning – a straight shot of ART for Art’s sake.  And that is why they are so necessary.

We need to embrace and appreciate beauty in this world – not for its uses or its lessons…  Sometimes we just need to stop, sit, and take in a play and enjoy it for no other reason than it feeds our soul with sweet things.  I feel the same way about trees and mountains.  But I think plays and books and paintings the human trying to create a mountain of her own.  Sometimes it works, sometimes our Snoopy doghouse sways with each chorus, but still, we tried.  Like taking a break from your day and staring out the window while you eat a chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven.  That kind of action is necessary in daily living or we desiccate.  Warm chocolate chips and the sweet sounds of “Happiness” are an antidote for daily living.