This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Break Ups

 I've spent the week being unpleasantly surprised, perked up and encouraged followed by a swift punch to the gut. 

But isn't that usual? It's always typical after you start to make some headway or God asks something of you, and you say yes. 

I've said yes to about eleven things lately. So naturally fear has attempted to lay claim to my psyche. Let's not even mention my heart, my mental stamina, and my intestines. I'm stressed, and the only good thing that can come of it is my favorite jeans might soon fit me again. Worth it? I think no. 

This weekend, I am fighting back with my thoughts (by speaking God's truth), my actions (by driving to Sacramento and going to a Joyce Meyer convention), and my words (here. With all of you. Just a few of my favorite people). 

Last night, Joyce said she wrote a new book. What's new? That lady pops them out like I popped out babies in the first decade of 2,000. I have yet to read one that isn't great. Keep it up sister. In her latest book, she writes a letter to fear. She pulls a Kevin McCallister and screams at the preverbial furnace and shouts, "Did you hear me!!? I'm NOT afraid anymore!" 

And because recent events have threatened my peace, I'm doin it, too. 

Here goes:
Dear furnace in the basement-er, dear fear,
I wish you were a furnace in my basement. Something I could take a quarter-pipe to and dent forever. I could use an electrical drill on your vital parts. Piece meal you bit by bit until you were disassembled and strewn about the yard for the neighbors to see. But you aren't brave enough for that. 

You parade around in our lives like you have some sort of power, as if you have a say in anything we do. Anything I do. 
You whisper and point and attempt to draw out insecurities. 

But you aren't even brave enough to be an animated or inanimate object. It seems you're more scared of yourself than I am scared of you after all. It's a terrible place to live to be afraid of ones own shadow. 

So, I just thought you should know, I'm breaking up with you. I know. It. Just. Hurts. And not in a good way. (You're sick by the way). But there just isn't room for three of us. I'm not going anywhere, and I've just remembered God isn't going anywhere either. He won't. He can't. He promised. And that's not an empty word to him like it is for some people. 

You haven't the stamina for this road I am on. Remember, you had this road, but you chose the basement. 

Meanwhile, I am out for a pleasure cruise in eel infested waters, and I'm about to take an excursion. I've stepped out of the boat. Before you get too excited, remember I am not alone. I will continue to look in the eye of my maker. The one who loves me more than I love myself most days. 
I sense you're getting agitated. Just relax. You have no authority here. Maybe you'll find someone who is better suited for you. 
But we have to break up. 
It's not me. It's you. 
You suck. 
Most Sincerely, 
The Girl Who's Not Afraid of You Anymore

Today, I reread a passage in Jennie Allen's book Anything. She was quoting a fella she knows, and he was talking about what he would do if he was the devil. Sound scary? Wait till you read it. 
It's called "If I Were The Devil":

If I were the devil, Id tell you what I'd do. I would try to deceive you and get you into error. I would get you off base. And if you still stayed true, I would try to disqualify you. I would get you immoral. I would get you where no one would believe what came out of your mouth. I would make you a tabloid, where nobody would believe you. I would remove your confidence until you were afraid to speak because your life was such a shamble. I would get you into sin. I would prowl like a roaring lion to devour you morally. 
And if I couldn't do that, I would try to make you successful. And I would dristract you if I couldn't disqualify. I would get you busy. I would get you so distracted to the gospel that no longer would your prayers be about holiness and souls. They would only be about the bottom line on your business. 
I would get you materialistic, and no longer concerned about the spiritual nature of life. If I couldn't do that, I would divide you. If I couldn't divide you, a I've almost lost you. You know what I would do then? I'd discourage you. And then if I couldn't discourage you, I'd try death. I would try my best to kill you. That's what I would do to take you out. 

After I read this for the first time, and picked my jaw up off the table, I went through what I can only describe as the seven stages of grief. Only it wasnt grief. It was beside-myself-ness. I was speechless, angry, offended, understanding, and all done being a pawn. Ok, that's only five stages, but the sentiment is the same. 

I'm done with leaving the winner's trophy in victory circle waiting to be collected by its rightful owner. I AM its rightful owner. I'm not sitting around waiting to see what scheme the devil has next. I'm staying the course. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

18 and Counting

No. Not kids. I'll leave that craziness to those Duggars. 
I'm counting years of marriage to this guy. 

We've been together for 20 years. I almost can't fathom that. We have been together longer in our lives than we have been apart. We met when I was 17, and he was dating my best friend. A few answers:
No, she and I are no longer friends (my bad)
Yes, he was totally worth it
And, yes he is still a handsome beast. He's better actually, because now he's more than just a pretty face. 

We went out on the town these last couple days. We packed every minute full of something; my Firefighter doesn't appreciate down time, yet. I'm confident he will come to love naps as much a I do soon. 
But after 18 years I realized a few things. Dates aren't always wild times on the town. I mean, who are we kidding here? There's nothing overly wild about me next to my hairs. I'm a good girl, I am. So it made sense that we began our date with a meeting with the lender. We are trying to buy a house, and it made sense that we should meet. I mean, we had the sitter. Then we got a smog check, went to the bank, went and registered our car and tent trailer, and finally made it to the hotel where I asked if I could take a nap. Mr. No Downtime was against it. I powered through and got into my cute clothes. 
I was a little worried for us. I'm amazed that I still get butterflies about that guy. I think it's actually a plus that I get excited when I hear him pull his jeep into my driveway. And sometimes, even though you know me as the wittiest conversationalist this side of New Hampshire, sometimes I have to think of things to talk about with this guy. I still don't know what he's thinking in there, behind those quiet eyes. 

We talk kids, work, plans, and we reminisce. And then it gets quiet. Not uncomfortable. Just quiet. Maybe we are rubbing off on each other: I will learn that there can be pauses in conversation and he can learn to nap. 

Any way you recap this midweek getaway, it was great. I remember how much I love and want and need this guy. And he takes time to hold my door and hold my hand and sit in the freezing cold so I can watch baseball. 

He's my lobster (Phebe from Friends). We used to be so different. Different families. Different values. Different goals. But we are the same now. 

If you're a bird I'm a bird, mister. Happy anniversary, Husband. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bipolar News Reporters and Choking on That pepper

There's a side to me I haven't shared with a lot of people. Even my husband will give me a sideways look when I, seemingly out of nowhere, weigh in on something contravertial in the news.

 I don't watch the news. This is the side most people know. I hate the news actually. It jumps from weirdly upbeat to overly depressing in a strange minute by minute pattern for thirty minutes right before I go to sleep. I don't want to lay my head down on my pillow right after I learn that some teacher in town got his student pregnant and in other news it's almost time for the rubber ducky race down the Truckee. And if the news anchors changed their expressions and tone in everyday conversation like they do on the nightly news? Well. We would call them bipolar. 
Anyway. I read. I read news. I follow newsworthy stories on well written blogs and websites. I read the news paper when I can get my hands on it. I also listen to news on the radio. 
In fact, I get so engrossed on my way to work listening to some of these stories that I forget I am eating a spicy pepper and I suck the pepper, and its satanic seeds, down my windpipe. Then I cough and gag and pull my car over on the side of the busiest street in the city until the burning sensation passes, my eyes are bloodshot, and I literally have a scorch mark in my throat. Yah. It doesn't come any more politically aware than this cool cucumber. Don't worry. I had my phone in my hand once I realized my throat was rejecting the seeds by closing. I've got this covered, and I am winning at life. 

I was relaying this experience with my eldest child. She's sixteen and wise and speaks without thinking. 
She asked why I get so involved in these cases anyway. I didn't have a quick answer, but after a few minutes I thought "because I have a voice. Not everyone does, but they could, and I could help." 

What I did tell her was that when I was a kid, I often thought I would become a lawyer. I also told her that I have prayed twice in the last two weeks about being a lawyer. Not just any sort of lawyer. The kind that works on cases that impact our country and our rights. The ones that remind certain presidents that his pen and his phone were given to him by voters and he has been allowed to keep them because of God. And God doesn't like ugly. 
Cases where a soldier/student was threatened with a court Marshall if he refused to take down a scripture off his personal white board outside his dorm room when several other students quoted scriptures and passages from the Korahn and the Torah and old guys from Italy. 

Or cases where a pastor has been arrested in Iran for being a pastor. Not an Iranian pastor. He's American. And he was arrested, and he has been sick and hurt and put in Iranian prison, but no one here seems to know or care and our government has a mumbled answer to every direct question regarding him. 

And my newest favorite case. The one where certain presidents feel it's worthwhile to "share" control of the Internet with other countries. Other countries who are not nearly as interested in our first amendment. Other countries who already severely limit what gets through to citizens on their version of the Internet. Other countries who think communism is still a worthwhile venture. Thanks Obama, but I'm siding with Bill Clinton on this one. I'm ok if we don't hand over our security and freedom of speech over to China, who incidentally has a frighteningly skewed view of every war they have been involved in posted on their internet. Me thinks Vladamir Putin and his overly welcoming reception at the Olympics might have different ideas than Americans when it comes to censorship. 

And hey, Hobby Lobby, stay strong little roots. I don't think even Obama stands a chance against the pope. Well. Maybe this new guy. He's a bit of a wild card. 

My point is that I care about the people bullied by strong arms and deep pockets. I could do some real damage. For Jesus of course. I've always had a problem keeping my mouth shut when a little guy is picked on. Maybe this is just a case of being protective. Maybe that law school I looked into is just a neat idea. Maybe I am just supposed to sign petitions and use the internet to stay updated on what's really going on. 
Maybe. 
Well. Certainly I am supposed to stop eating peppers, but we will see about the rest of it. 



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just For You Mom: Suffering

Grief. That nasty five letter word. We all feel it at some point, and none of us really knows how to do it. People act crazy at weddings because they are losing something (someone). They act crazier at funerals. It's true. I once went to a funeral where a woman in a bathing suit cover-up announced from the stage that she knew her father would be smiling down at her with every rainbow. My seven year old pointed out that rainbows in fact are more like a frown. He's totally accurate, really. 

At the same funeral, a man was asked to give a quick eulogy of his friend. He brought his guitar and said he could only think to sing a song. He sang three and then told us where we could buy his CD. It was amazing. I hope he sold out every copy.

He grieves his way, and I grieve my way. This article is a short glimpse into a very real time of grief for my family and me. When I began the article, I thought my grief was handled. I had to stop several times to pray and thank God for being so close.

The funny thing about grief is that it takes a while, and just when you think you are done, someone says something or you hear a song or you are reminded of what you have lost.
For me, it's every time I go to the doctors. They ask me benign questions like my age and if I am allergic to anything. But there is a spot on the paperwork that gets me a little choked up. They ask how many pregnancies I have had and how many live births. For me, like so many women, these numbers do not line up. Not even close actually. But I am learning about suffering and grief and God's ability and desire to supersede all of it.

SUFFERING

Friday, March 21, 2014

Linking Up: JOY

The rules are simple. You type for five minutes straight and five minutes only. No backspacing or over thinking. Then, link up, read who came before and after you. It's nice. Like paying it forward: it being a candy bar. Please give me a candy bar.

Ready.
Steady.
Go.

Today's topic? Joy.

Fear may knock at my door all night long, but I know what is promised me in the morning. You guessed it. JOY. Sometimes I sit at my desk and type, and other times I stew about what to write. It all seems heavy in the moment, but since I am such a fan of nonsense anyway, it all seems to work out in the end. Like now, rambling. and door bells are ringing and texts are dinging, but I am ignoring all of it. I am typing to you people, and it's the writing, I have decided, that brings me joy. Do you know why? Because this gift of words is a treasure I never want to lose. Writing makes my heart whole and makes me feel as if I have a voice that will carry. Even if I were using a pair of paper cups and a very long string, if I can convey it through writing, my point seems to get made more clearly. So, I've been thinking. Maybe I should be a writer when I grow up. At least part-time. And it's working. Yesterday, I edited 6 chapters. Yep. Six. Then I drank a cup of coffee and started writing a new article for a mom's website for which I write. And I wanted to end that sentence in a preposition. Because I have a rebellious streak. I should have said, "...for a mom's website I write for, LADY." There. That's not a preposition.

STOP.

Visit Lisa Jo and add your own five minutes of joy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Eating Habits

Today I may come across as cross-eyed and frazzled even though my hair is quite small and in an untidy braid. I ate too many almonds. But they were so delicious I overlooked the serving size and kept eating. I have regrets.

Then, I didn't pack a large enough lunch. I am volunteering at my youngests' school. This is an eating environment. All I want to do is eat. So, I did. I was like the Very Hungry Caterpillar on a mission. I ate through several almonds, two cups of coffee, two cutie oranges, one string cheese, one banana, one granola bar (wheat free oats), and one bottle of water. I wanted to eat my way through the doughnut sitting here, but it isn't mine. And I am allergic. And we broke up. Doughnuts and me? We broke up. We had a conflict of interests called my waistline. I want it smaller and fried pastries want to take it in a different direction.

Also, I obviously eat when I am inactive, bored, have nothing else to do with my hands, am concentrating, distracted, busy, sad, happy, tall, short, feeling pudgy, tired, slow, under an awning, at a booth, on my way places, and instead of fasting.

Also, almonds. How dare you.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The writer admits the picture has nothing to do with this place, but she knew you'd want to see it.

It's happened. The day has come when I realize this day isn't unusual. This is the new normal. Two kids are taller than me. Three have bigger feet than me; two have bigger feet than my husband. We are busy and driving and in my car all the time. I make noises when I sit. I make noises when I stand back up. I don't get all the pop culture references. I wear light layers because in the morning when I leave it's 35. By afternoon I'm down to my tank top and skinnies. And then the sun starts to set while we wait for one kid to finish swim and I have to get dressed again. My kids have cracked my once over their heads code and one even hollars "that's what she said" when little ears are out of shot. It's happened. My kids became teenagers. I am peering over the plateau that is midlife, and it scares me a little. I have nearly equal amounts of dark and grey hairs. I have become resolved to things I may never accomplish, but I recognize the urgency of the now when it comes to others. I've decided to take my husband to a bar for our anniversary. I cried in a movie and during a commercial. It's happened. I crossed over. I care about things. 

What do I do now? Anyone with a heart? Advice welcomed.