Devotion

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I usually keep my thoughts on my devotional to myself.  And I haven’t been reading my devotional like I should.  Like I want to.  I let other things get in the way of my relationship with God.  Today my devotional struck a chord with me that I can’t ignore.  I haven’t even finished it yet, and I need to write it out.  I have a journal that I usually write this stuff in, but something’s telling me to put it out there.  Maybe someone can learn something from my thoughts.

God wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him.  He wants us to draw near Him at all times.  I’m really bad about only going to Him when I need something.  The rest of the time, I pretty much take charge for myself.  I used to not know when I was doing this.  Recently I have known though.  And I even told Him to leave me to my own devices.  First I told him to change me, fix my thoughts, and then leave me to myself.  He’s changed my heart like I asked, but He hasn’t left me to myself.  He’s been there, waiting for me to realize that I need Him all the time.  I haven’t talked to Him much, but the last couple days I have cracked open my devotional.  Today it said this:

“However, from time to time, you overstep your bounds, forgetting who I am.  You talk to Me carelessly, even slanderously.  While our intimacy is hindered by your irreverent attitude, My love for you is constant.  When you remember My majestic Presence  and return to me repentantly, I not only forgive you, but I rush to meet you and enfold you in my embrace.  I celebrate with you the Joy of being close again as we walk together down the path of life.

Oh my word.  It has left me in tears.  He forgives me.  He loves me.  He WANTS to walk with me, even after I screamed at Him.  What reassurance.  And I so don’t feel like I deserve it, but how in the world can I turn that down.  I have spent way too much time lately yelling in my house at myself in mirrors that I didn’t need anyone but me.  I didn’t need to rely on anyone but myself and that included Him.  I don’t have to do that though.  How powerful is that??

“Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on his faithfulness.  Delight yourself, also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart.  Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.  Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret, it only causes harm.” Psalm 37:3-4 and 7-8

I know He has been waiting for me.  And today, just now, I feel like I have turned around and run back to Him and it feels good.  I feel calm.  Sad and ashamed, but calm because I know I am loved.

 

Stuff Sneaks Up

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Sometimes stuff sneaks up on me and I didn’t know it was bothering me until I’m a crying hot mess.  That happened today.  I’ve been feeling overwhelmed this semester.  And it’s not even that my class load is all that difficult.  I think I’ve got a grasp on things as far as the content of the class.  I don’t even mind doing homework.  It’s the fact that I don’t see Aubree much, even less than normal, which is something I have always struggled with.  I hate that I have to work full time and be away from her.  I never thought I would want to be a stay at home mom, but I kinda do.  I want to work, but I don’t want to spend so much time away from Aubree.  And it seems to be affecting not just me, but her too.  She is so clingy lately and when I don’t get to daycare right at five (which is never) she apparently gets really distressed.  She doesn’t know why other kids are getting picked up and she’s not yet.  And I’m talking, I get there at 5:15 or 5:20 and she is already a MESS.  And the daycare workers are soooooo helpful.  “She just cries for you whenever a parent comes in and it’s not you.”  Thanks… I didn’t feel bad enough already.

We get to hang out on Monday and Friday and Saturday and Sunday.  And she may or may not be in a decent mood any of those days.  Saturday she can start off in a great mood, and then after nap time she is a whiny mess, so then I’m annoyed and she’s whining and it’s just awful.  Tuesday and Thursday I race to daycare, race home, throw her at the babysitter and then race back to campus for class.  She’s already in bed by the time I get home and I miss her.  I miss her sweet little face when I don’t get to see it very much.  And I feel like we eat like crap.  I grab whatever here and there and sometimes the only thing she will eat is a granola bar…  I’m sure none of that helps our moods.  Wednesday we have church.  I love going to class and church, but why are there not more hours in the day and the proportionate amount of energy provided to handle all that!  I don’t know when I’m supposed to get everything done and it’s getting to me.

And then on top of all that, there’s my incredible pride and lack of ability to ask for help, even the help I know I’m entitled to, and having to break down and ask for it just pisses me off.  Like… LIVID.  And having to deal with people who don’t care about me, don’t care about Aubree, don’t even care about their own jobs cause they have to deal with people like… well… me.  That precipitated a very tearful conversation with one of my good friends, who at the end of it said “You need to call your counselor… now.”  And I did… I have an appointment this week so I can keep from feeling like I might spontaneously combust…

I think the people around me think I’m crazy, and I sort of wonder if they’re right today.

Who would you be if you weren’t who you are?

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A dear friend and I were talking about this the other day and I have been ruminating on it ever since. (I love the word “ruminating.” It has to be one of my favorites.) I can’t speak for my friend, but she had a very interesting description of who she would be. I’ve been thinking about who I would be. Don’t get me wrong, I like who I am. And, I have made myself more fun, what with the blonde hair and the tattoos and the nose piercing. I like the look. It makes me feel edgy. I’ve never been edgy, and I feel edgy, which makes me sassy, and I like it. But I feel like I’ve always been, and still mostly am, the girl next door. I have to maintain at least a semi-professional appearance. The nose piercing and the wrist tattoo may be pushing it a little. So, I have to dress business casual, my hair has to be groomed, and not a crazy color, and makeup is usually strongly recommended. (Didn’t happen today, but you win some, you lose some.) Who would I be if I wasn’t who I am? I think I’d be lots of people.

First, which is not so much of a stretch, I’d be a horseback riding, hair flying in the wind, boot wearing, cowgirl. I’d rope those little doggies till the cows came home, with a thick Texan twang and all. I have the boots and the twang. I’m lacking the horseback riding, hair flying thing. Oh, and also the roping, but I sure think it would be fun.

Second, I’d be a sleeve tattooed, lip pierced, eyebrow pierced, dark eyeliner, guitar ripping, sassiest rock girl ever. Unfortunately I am lacking in any discernible musical talent. My profession won’t really allow the sleeve, but it doesn’t keep me from wanting it.

Third, I would be an organized, empowered, career woman, soccer mom extraordinaire. I mean I’m a mom and I’m on a career path… but organized, pfft. It’s never going to happen. I’m a tornado.

Fourth, I’d be a crafty, creative, Susie Homemaker, stay at home mom. That actually may be my dream persona. Even more than the rocker girl. She gets to spend a whole lot of time with Aubree, and that’s my favorite.

I’m pretty great too. I think I have some of the components of all those people. I’d have to. They came from my imagination! So I will be the boot wearing, twangy, tattooed, nose pierced, career oriented, crafty, bakey, awesome (hopefully) momma. She kinda rocks. Sometimes she’s a hot mess, but I like her. I’ll keep her. She’s probably who I would be if I wasn’t who I am. Even though she is who I am!!

Who would you be if you weren’t who you are? How many versions of you are there? Time for some self reflection, kids!

Fear and Confusion

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If you have ever read Eat, Pray, Love you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t man you’re missing out. I’m currently reading it for a class assignment. It is my all time favorite autobiography. Sometimes, sometimes it hits a little too close to home. Sometimes, I swear I’m Elizabeth Gilbert… minus the traveling the world, sadly. (Not so sadly, I love my life by and large.)

There’s this chapter in the book, though, that gets me every damn time. It’s the chapter where she talks about Depression and Loneliness tailing her home and relentlessly interrogating her. Asking her why she deserves to be happy when she couldn’t get her life together and how dare she ruin her marriage.

Wait… you mean I didn’t write that? Then how am I living it. I know Depression and Loneliness. I think mostly I’ve sent them packing. Loneliness tries to invade my life occasionally, but I have more effective coping mechanisms these days.

It’s Fear and Confusion that are tailing me right now, taking up space in my mind despite my best efforts to fight them off. And let me tell you. I. FIGHT. Today I’m losing though. I’m so close to having yet another elephant taken down and they’re just getting in the way. They have interrupted my hunt. And they both look like Andrew!! It’s not fair. They have these mean snarling faces. Fear likes to remind me of my failures and tell me how I’m screwing up my daughter’s life and how she’ll hate me for it. He also has me convinced that I’m pretty much the most selfish person on the planet. And he laughs when he tells me these things.

Confusion must be his twin brother, since they both look so alike. Sometimes I can’t tell them apart. Confusion uses Fear’s tactics of reminding me of my failures to make my brain all fuzzy. He twists the facts until I can’t tell if I’m up or down, wrong or right, left or right… You get it. I want them to go away. They pretty much have me all messed up today. I’ve chewed the insides of my lips all raw. I know I’m worrying about stuff prematurely, but this elephant is such a big elephant. It will change mine and Aubree’s lives forever. I can’t let Fear and Confusion slow me down, and sometimes I just don’t know how to clear my head.

(On a side note, there’s a guy with a REALLY foul mouth and who seems very aggressive in the SUB and so that must be my cue to leave. More on this later.)

What’s your *THING*?

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I was always so jealous of my mom and sister, and yes I know that the following is a silly reason to be jealous.  But they always had a *thing* and I never did.  My mom loved pigs.  I don’t know if she loved the actual animals (until she got one a couple of years ago (who consequently, sadly disappeared :( )), but to me that was always her turning something negative into a positive.  My dad was a police officer, and for some reason they call police officers pigs.  I actually don’t know why, I’ve never bothered to look.  All I knew was that it seemed disrespectful, and I don’t really entertain stuff like that.  Anyway, my mom loved pigs.  Pig salt shakers, little piggie decorations, piggies all over.  I loved it, it was so cute.  My sister loves anything and everything ladybug.  Earrings, my Grampa Jim got her a pair that she used to wear all the time, stuffed ladybugs, ladybug piggie banks, ever just anything that had a ladybug on there.

I was always so jealous because I didn’t have something that I liked that much.  I had things that I like, of course, but not things like that, that I just LOVED.  Until elephants.  Elephants have changed my life.  I never cared so much about them before.  Not until my life fell apart.  And then, thanks to my wonderful preacher and friend, the elephants made their way in.  First it was subtle.

“Try not to worry, Sunshine.  How do you eat the elephant?”

“I’m sorry… eat the what?”

“You heard me.  How do you eat an elephant?……….  One bite at a time.”

That was a daily reminder for me.  That got said to me EVERY DAY.  Then it was a couple times a week.  Then it was once a week, and now it’s just ever so often.  But the elephants had already worked their way into my heart.  I got my first tattoo, an elephant tattoo on my left wrist, on the inside so I could look at it when I needed a reminder.  His name is Tantor.  (Yes, I named my tattoo.)  When I was sad one time, my sister got me an elephant stuffed animal to make me feel better.  That was pre-tattoo and right before Valentine’s day last year.  Then my awesome step-dad got me an elephant pillow pal.  I love that thing!  That was my v-day gift from him, that my mom didn’t have anything to do with even!  Then he gave me some TY elephants, two of them.  Elephant clock, elephant charm, elephant necklace, elephant tea pot, and now another TY elephant.  He hangs out in my crochet bag.  My friends in my group for counseling even got me a couple of elephants.  They have a special place in my room.  And now I’m not jealous of my mom and sister anymore because I have elephants.  I may have taken it too far, and ordered an elephant nose stud, but I just can’t help it, I’m so excited.  Who would have thought such a simple conversation could have changed my whole perspective!!

So….  What’s your *thing*??

Parenting Skilllllllllllls

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I read this hysterical blog today about the signs of sub-par parenting and the things this mom has “totally not done.”  (http://shortwinded.net/signs-of-subpar-parenting/)  It got me to thinking about the things that I have totally not done.  I just thought I’d share.

1.  I don’t laugh at my child EVERY time she runs into something while looking the other way.
2.  I did not hide in the kitchen eating pancakes the other night so she wouldn’t see them and immediately stick her fingers in my plate.

3.  I didn’t just give up last night and resign myself to the fact that she IS going to drink the bathwater.

4.  We don’t eat McDonald’s more than I care to admit.

5.  I do not put her to bed early sometimes so that I can go to bed.

6.  I do not sometimes put her in her crib and put a movie on so I can grab a quick shower on the weekends.

7.  Aforementioned movie is not ALWAYS The Jungle Book because that’s what is in the DVD player.

8.  We do not watch Supernatural in lieu of cartoons on Saturday mornings…

9.  I did not give in and allow her to have 3 chocolate covered granola bars that one time…

10.  I don’t go to the grocery store and listen to my music in my earphones on full blast before I pick her up from daycare most of the time.

I think 10 is enough of the things I definitely don’t do.  Parenting is hard, but I love it.  Sometimes I want to rip my hair out or would kill for two seconds of silence, but my sweet baby is awesome.  How much can I really complain.

 

Not a Rant

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I was going to write a rant, but I changed my mind.  I decided that it doesn’t matter, what I was going to rant about, it just doesn’t matter.  I decided this post would be MUCH better served if it had something like…….. Fun Christmas facts!!  I’m going to single handedly spread more Christmas cheer than anyone can handle because Lord Almighty, people are in need of it!

First!  I heard this really awesome thing about NORAD today! CONAD started tracking Santa in 1955 when Sears printed an advertisement and instead of including a number where children could call and talk to Santa, they put the number for Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center.  A colonel there, Harry Shoup, instructed his staff to give children who called a current location for Santa!  This tradition continued on and NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) took over in 1958.  How neat is that! They could have just shoved these kids off?  Instead they told them where Santa was flying!  Talk about getting into the Christmas spirit.  Now ever year, children wait and watch to see where Santa is on their local weather channels!  (I do too!!  I wanna know so I can make sure I’m asleep before he comes to my house!!) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NORAD_Tracks_Santa)

Traditional Christmas colors are green, red and gold.  Green is a symbol of life and rebirth, red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light, wealth and royalty.

Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a Legal holiday in 1836 and Oklahoma was the last in 1907.  I tried to find out when Texas did, but I was not successful.

Candy canes were created by an inventor in Indiana who wanted to spread the name of Jesus around the world.

The scientific name for reindeer is Rangifer Tarasndus.  (That’s probably not interesting to anyone but me.)

Santa’s elves never get cold.  And they live in tiny colorful cottages in the North Pole.

Children’s happiness and belief in the magic of Christmas keep Elves healthy.  (Keep believing!!)

Obviously I believe there is way more to Christmas than this.  This is the time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  More than that, the fact that God loves us so much to have sent Him to us.  And that He died for us, so that we could go to Heaven and be with God.  That’s the really important part.  All the rest of it is fun, and brings joy, and couldn’t we all use a little joy.  I had a test of this this weekend, choosing joy over anger.  I don’t know that I necessarily chose joy as well as I should have, but hopefully I was more helpful than harmful.  Hopefully you enJOYed this little blog.  (Yes I know it’s spelled wrong, that’s what makes it cute.)

MERRY CHRISTMAS