Friday, May 11, 2018

The Ferris Wheel of Motherhood

With Mother's Day on the horizon, I can't help but think about what it means to be a mom. I have learned so much from motherhood, mostly that God has a hilarious sense of humor, but simply put; It's hard! Some days are hearts and rainbows and other days are full of crying face and poop emoji's.

I hate the Ferris wheel. It is by far the scariest ride at the fair to me. A few years ago we went to the fair and a bunch of Colby's friends wanted to ride the Ferris wheel but they had to have an adult ride with them because of height restrictions. I was the only adult who had a wrist band that night. Guess who had to take one for the team and ride the Ferris wheel with about 7 kids and pretend they weren't scared to tears? You guessed it. I reluctantly got in line and waited to ride the circle loop of doom. The Ferris wheel isn't so bad when its moving, its when it abruptly stops at the very top and you get stuck there for what feels like forever before it starts moving again that is scary. That's what parenting feels like to me. It's fine when life is moving and is full of fun and adventure, but when it abruptly stops at the top, it's so easy to get caught up in the drama, chaos and the fears of the unknown and find yourself stuck there for a minute.

I find myself getting stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel a lot. Every year of being a mom has presented itself with new challenges. Sometimes I face them head on with my big girl panties on, and other times I find myself on my front porch at midnight sobbing to Jesus for answers. Sometimes I go to sleep at night and pat myself on the back for being a great mom that day, and other times I start counting all the ways I messed up from sun up to sun down. Sometimes I have it all together, and sometimes twice in one week my kid calls me from school to remind me I didn't pack him a lunch. Some days I am his biggest cheerleader and other days I realize that particular day I had been his worst critic. Some days I am fun mom, and other days I am crazy yelling mom. If I am being honest, both of those moms tend to show up on a daily basis.

Sometimes the top of the Ferris wheel is lonely. Whatever event that made my ride come to an abrupt stop begins to consume me. I begin to compare myself to other moms. I compare my kid to others his age. I take mine and his disappoints and try to let them define who we are. I let bad moments make me a bad mom in my head. I troll social media on a self destructive path to make me feel even worse about myself.

In Hebrews 12:11-13 it says "No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight the paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead." Being at the top of the Ferris wheel can seem painful, but what a beautiful reminder that every thing we go through yields fruit. Not just any fruit, but the fruit of peace and righteousness. No matter what has happened to make our Ferris wheel stop at the top, He is teaching us and training us for His divine purpose.  How we react at the top of the Ferris wheel will define what kind of fruit we will yield from it. As moms, we have tired hands and weakened knees. 4th grade math was quite possibly the weakest my knees have ever been. There is healing in the brokenness though if we watch where our feet take us. If we remember that bad moments don't make bad moms. If we remember that if we train our child in the way that God will have them to go then he will never depart from it. To find joy in every day because you can always look hard enough to find some. To never stay at the top of the Ferris wheel but to move on so that what is lame will not be dislocated, but healed instead.

The good news is that the kids and I had prayer meeting at the top of that Ferris wheel that night and eventually the ride continued and we came down. I wasn't stuck there forever, it was literally a small blip in time no matter the eternity it felt in the moment. My hands were shaky and my knees were weak, but I survived. Colby thanked me for it afterwards. He knew the sacrifice it took for me to get on that ride and persevere my way through it. As a mom now, I can look back and see where my own mother sacrificed and I can remember many a time where I had her at the top of the Ferris wheel. It is amazing the appreciation and gratitude you form for your own mother once you become one yourself. There is so much joy found in motherhood that even on the worst days, it still outweighs the alternative. I have watched seeds that I planted years ago at the top of the Ferris wheel begin to take root and yield fruit. I have planted more seeds this year than all the ones added up in the past and cling to the promise that God will do the same in years to come.

So to all my fellow mothers out there who have boarded the same Ferris wheel, it may be the scariest ride you will ever board, but it is oh so very worth the ride. Happy Mother's Day to each of you! I hope that each and every one of you get what we all crave as a mother, a GREAT Mothers Day nap.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

To my baby sister on her wedding day

      You knew this was coming right.....I can't tell you how many times I have sat down to write this and just couldn't. When I prayed you into this world, I could have never imagined the relationship that God would bless us with. Not everyone is fortunate to have a sister that is their best friend, but how lucky are we! To say I have struggled with you getting married is a huge understatement. That is in no way a reflection on Ross, I thank God daily for blessing you with such a wonderful guy who I can talk football too, but it's the realization that you are all grown up.

        The thing with our age difference is I've been able to watch everything in your life through the eyes of an adult instead of a child. I saw you grow from a baby, to a child, to a teenager and then into an independent young woman. I've watched you grow in beauty and grace. I've watched you go though heartbreak and rise above it. I've watched you grow in your relationship with your Savior.  I've watched your passion for people move you. I've watched you take 3 children who lost their precious mother and love them through it. I've watched you tackle a competitive major and come out successful. I've watched you fall in love and find happiness. I've watched you do so many things that make my heart swell with pride, including what I will witness today. Today I will watch you get married. Today I will watch you make a vow before God and all those who love you. Today I will watch you smile and laugh and dance and then leave different than when you came. It gives me such peace to know that I can watch you today and know without hesitation that it was a wonderful decision that God hand crafted into existence. That peace will allow me to weep tears of joy today instead of sadness.

           I could give you a book of advice but I will leave you with this one grain of wisdom: Love isn't always a feeling, sometimes Love is a choice. There will be days, contrary to what you feel now, that you will have to choose each day to love Ross. Some days that choice will be easy and other days it will be difficult, but I can promise you that your marriage will always be better for it. Marriage isn't always full of happiness, rainbows and carriage rides into the sunset. Marriage will test every single cell in your body. Marriage is work that is very much worth the extra effort. Always remember to choose love, even when your mind doesn't want too and especially during football season.
          Today will pass in a blur. Savor every single second of it. Don't find yourself stressing over little things, everything will come together smoothly. I can't wait to spend every single moment with you today and savoring ever second of it myself. It will be hard to watch you leave tonight. A piece of my heart will be heading to Disney with you. I can't wait to see what the future holds for the two of you and what I get to watch next! I love you more than you love cookie dough.

                                                                                              Your Big Sister

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The blubbering ball of goo

I'm an awkward person. It's my identifier. When someone starts to cry my first instinct is to crack a horrible (and usually inappropriate) joke just to make them stop. I do not handle crying well, my own included. A friend of mine came to me heavy burdened once, weeping and heartbroken. I knew I needed to comfort her, but All I could think to do in that moment was to google "what do you do when the weight of the world is on your shoulders?"  So I did. We laughed and decided a boat to Mexico and some margaritas would be an easy fix but maybe staying around and roughing it out would be the wisest choice. I may not be the best person for advice but I'm always good for a sarcastic comment and a fiercely love abounding hug. I say all that to say this: few things are sentimental enough to me that it causes me severe sadness. The kind of sadness that I don't push back to the outskirts of my brain because let's be honest, if we don't think about it, then it doesn't exist right?!? I must say the first day of school gets me EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Watching that kid walk into school by himself reminds me how fast time really moves and how precious it truly is. I have to turn my head everyday (after the first day of course) and not watch him walk in or I turn into this huge blubbering ball of goo. Some days, just to torture myself, I will sneak a peak in my side mirror thinking "You can handle this" just to realize "no you can't". I do the same thing when I watch Steel Magnolias when I know good and well that movie makes me ugly cry. When he starts a new chapter, I start a new chapter. Although it's fun and exciting, the reminder that you have to close the old one is gut wrenching. Today he has decided he is too old for me to walk him to his class. Maybe it's because he is my only child, but the realization that he is big enough that he doesn't need me to walk him in on his first day today has  made me physically ill. I wanted to park the car and pull a full on recon MacGyver kind of mission where I follow him with my camera and take pictures without him knowing and photoshop myself in the picture later. I will never walk my child into school again. I will never have a picture of him at his desk in his class on the 1st day of school again (unless I can bribe a teacher friend to go snap one for me). Chapter closed. Door shut. Insert any other metaphor you can think of..... Life is moving forward. Time is ticking and I can't slow it down. So yes, I'm heading to work today with mascara stains on my face, a heavy heart and a complete emotional ticking time bomb but I also know that there are fun and exciting things just around the corner. Every new year brings something new to discover, explore and try out. I now know why my mentors in life always told me to not wish my life away. I see now what I never saw in my youth. You do blink and suddenly you wonder where has the time gone. So to all you other moms who were blubbering balls of goo today too, you are not alone...... and I am sorry if this made you cry again....just go cry somewhere I can't see you okay?!?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

That one time we made slime....

I've never done a "How To" blog, that's really not my scene, so today I'm gonna add my own "Real mom" step by step take on a semi-fun, really messy, wish they would have done it with grandma at her house craft that I just had to clean up.

The kid wants to make slime. He's been begging for months and I've been putting it off for months hoping he would forget about it. Now before you criticize me, I'm all about making memories with my kid but something about working with glue and food coloring has BAD IDEA written ALL over it. So what happened instead to change my mind you ask? My mother. That's what. He asked NANA to buy him the stuff to make it so she did and sent it home with ME. So here we are on a Saturday, the week AFTER VBS I might add, making slime. So here is a step by step guide on how to make this ooey gooey glob of nastiness. 

Step 1

Say a quick prayer over these items... lay hands if you must. 

Step 2

Pour 1/4 of a perfectly good jar of Elmers glue into a bowl that you don't ever care to use again. 

Step 3

Pour 1/4 cup of warm water into glue mixture. Side note: Make sure you feel the water first to make sure it's warm and not scalding hot before your kid throws the measuring cup across the room screaming that his hand is melting...

Step 4

Add food coloring of your choice. Don't ask me how many squirts, just wing it. 

Step 5

Add 3 heaping (that means overflowing to the point you have to stop and clean after this step because it looks like sugar exploded on your counter) tbsp of Borax. 

Step 6

Find a utensil you never want to use again to stir this nonsense up. I chose a skewer stick. At this point with the red we realized that it was in fact a fourth of a cup and not 1 1/4 of a cup of water so we had to start all over

Step 7

Make your kid pick up the mixture and knead it until, well, it turns into slime. You will hear a lot of "this is gross" and "can you please just do it" at this point and that's when you say "this was your idea kid!" 

Step I've lost count

You start ALL over with a new color 😫😫

Your almost done step

Spend 10 minutes washing their hands with baking soda because they will look like permanent skittles. 

Your almost done step

Put nastiness into individual zip lock bags and mash away! 

Step your done

Put slime in refrigerator below the Little Ceasers pizza that has been there for almost two weeks and let it sit there until it grows mold and you remember to throw it away because your kid has moved on to something new and forgot it was ever even in there until you actually DO throw it away and they have a melt down because "They weren't done playing with it" three months later. Did you read that huge long run on sentence in one breath?

✔️ memory made, documented and hopefully never to be repeated again. Now to think how to get my mother back. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Why am I so domestically challenged?

My mother made Paige and myself a cookbook several years ago for Christmas that had to have taken her hours and hours to put together. It was by far the most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given me. It was full of all of her recipes that Paige and I request for her to make on holidays. Paige got the baking gift but it skipped directly over me. In the back of this precious book, my mother made a "Google Mom" page with all the ridiculous questions I call and ask her complete with thorough and sometimes sarcastic answers. Yes one of those does in fact read "How do you boil an egg?"

It isn't just her that I annoy either. I had to call my friend Brandy from Kroger one day because I had the genius idea to make cornbread for the first time, found a list of ingredients online, and couldn't find the first one in the store. I think I may have called her 5 times before I left the store. Flour comes in more than just the color white? This item pictured almost sent me into a full fledge 2 year old toddler meltdown. I couldn't find it anywhere and had walked all over it a million times.

Today from inside Dollar General, I had to ask my friend Jessica where the Baking Soda was because I couldn't find it either. I'm not even going to mention that I was looking for it beside the household cleaner because the only time I really recall using it was once when I had a grease fire on the stove and I somehow knew to throw Baking Soda on it.  I'm a special kind of special. You get the picture right.

My friend Ashley loves to tell me about these amazing dishes she cooks and I am tempted to look at her and say "Well let me tell you about this superb dish I cooked the other night that came straight from Hamburger Helper that was DIVINE!" Jason requests this gourmet dish at least once a week.

And this one....

So how did this amount of ignorance come from such a wonderful mother who's Chicken and Dumplings will put ANY of yours to shame? I live with a house full of picky eaters that's why! Their inability to eat anything that isn't a hamburger or cooked from a box has made me domestically challenged. One day I decided enough was enough and I decided it was time for a change. I tried 3 weeks of cooking from Pinterest and cookbooks, hence the cornbread fiasco. I broke out my crock pot, blew the dust off and put it to work. One night Jason walked in with a Dominoes Pizza because he had waved his white flag. Out of the 20 meals I cooked, only 4 were eaten by all three of us. They were the most basic 4 meals out of all the others. I cried defeat and went back to business as usual.

So Paige, moms legacy will fall upon your shoulders. I am glad Ross will eat pretty much anything you put in front of him. Count that as a blessing sweet sister. When we are old and you are cooking the holiday meals, know that I am good for the Rolls and Sweet Tea.

On a side note, my cornbread turned out awesome. It was the first and last time my iron skillet has ever been used.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Repeat after me.....

I am writing this blog at the request of a friend who said she desperately needed to hear it. While laying in bed last night with all the thoughts of what I wanted to say to her running through my head, I grabbed my phone and shot her this quick preview and reassurance before I went to sleep, because I KNEW she was still up studying with her son and preparing for a test they have today. So here is my pep talk my friend.

So after reading that text, I know you do realize that in fact some kids performance does in fact reflect their parenting, or lack thereof. I'm not talking to that group of people. What I am talking about is when we choose to lump ourselves in with that group of people and begin to judge OUR success on the shoulders of our children's success.

At football practice or games, we moms tend to sit around and gripe about homework, studying, tests and playground bullies. As each mom starts to rattle off their kids issues and problem areas, we find comfort in knowing we aren't alone in these issues, but we start to feel inadequate when our kid struggles where another has excelled. We start to shrink down in our chair when one parent is concerned with B's and you are struggling with F's.  We start to feel like a failure when we hear the scores their kids made on that hard test and yours was significantly lower even though you studied just as long and just as hard. We watch our children on the field and start to judge our success on how much play time they received. When they make a mistake, we take it personally. When whether or not our child made the honor roll determines how we feel about ourselves as parents, there is a problem.

Here is the realization that I think could radically change our perspective on this issue if we would allow it to fully center us in every thought we have running through our mind. Our kids success DOES NOT define who we are as parents. Here is a bigger news flash. We aren't all raising kids who will become doctors, lawyers, or CEO's of banks. When my child is older, he may not can tell you the difference between a declarative and interrogative sentence, but he may can fix your car when it breaks down. He may not be able to save a life in an operating room, but he may save a life from a burning building. He may not hand out orders from a big mahogany desk somewhere but he may be able to take a piece of mahogany and build you something beautiful with it. God made each one of our children with a different skill set for His divine purpose and once we realize that, our mood starts to shift.

Who ever knew that of all the things we would struggle with in the 4th grade, subtraction would be one of them. Something that seems so incredibly simple to me completely eludes my child. He doesn't understand large number subtraction. Period. Homework that week was a complete nightmare. After HOURS, homework ended with only 4 problems completed with 16 more to go, me crying at the kitchen table and him storming off screaming to his room. I had lost my temper with subtraction. I had lost my religion with my child. I had sat there all night and took it personally that my kid didn't understand something as simple as large number subtraction. The worst of it all is I completely overlooked the fact that he was struggling. After I had managed to semi put myself back together, I went in his room and crawled in bed with him. With just that one simple gesture my child fell apart. As he cried he said mom I can't help I'm so stupid. It was like the wind had been knocked right out of me. Math didn't make him feel stupid. Subtraction didn't make him feel stupid. My projection of his failure to comprehend in this relatively simple skill made him feel stupid. I turned him over to face me and proceeded to tell him he was to never ever in my presence ever refer to himself as stupid again. I apologized to him for losing it over something he could not control. The truth is he desperately wants to understand large number subtraction, the light bulb just hasn't clicked for him yet. The next day I emailed his teacher. She kept him in from music and gave him some one on one time with subtraction. We still went over it at home, and the light bulb still refused to click. He took his subtraction test a few days later and made a 67. The thing I realized after that experience is that 67 does not define him. It doesn't define me. I don't need to rely on my parenting victories to come from his success in math or how many tackles he made or how many base runs he hits or if he gets invited to every birthday party or for the love of all that is Holy his citizenship grade. I will wear that 67 like a badge of honor because I know the hours and tears that went in to that grade.

Let me tell you where my parenting victories come from. When a child on his team scores or makes a good play, my child is going to run and give him the biggest hug and chest bump you have ever seen. He comes home to tell me that at recess he asked a certain kid to play on his team to make him feel better about himself and make that kid feel included. His teacher emailed me to say that every single day he asks to take her lunch tray to the trash for her. When he is nervous, I see him start to count his fingers and repeat in his head with each finger I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He tells me he loves me a bazillion times a day. He holds my hand in the car. He helps our elderly neighbor take her groceries in from her car without being asked. These are my parenting victories. This is what defines him. Whether he turns out to be a scientist or he works at Wal-Mart, his character at the end of the day is where we find our peace. Is he perfect all of the time? That's a hard no, but the seeds we have planted are still there taking root and sprouting each and every day. Should we still challenge our children to do better? Absolutely!  Should we settle for F's and just be ok with that? That isn't what I am saying at all. Even though I am writing this, do I have a firm grip on it? Come to my house next week with a fresh set of homework and you will see for yourself how good of a handle I have on this. The struggle is real my friends. The good news is THIS TO SHALL PASS.

So to my precious friend who is struggling right now, let me tell you that you are raising a fine young gentleman. He has the best manners of any kid his age, he prays the sweetest prayers I have ever heard (even when he is hungry haha), he has a deep love and compassion for animals and his smile and laughter is contagious. You are a wonderful mother. This season of our life is pure survival. I am thankful to have you in my life to lean on when these moments seem to consume us. We shall get them to graduation, one way or the other. I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Half way to 70....

Today is my 35th birthday. I can remember a time when 35 seemed so ancient to me yet here I am, 35 and still feel 20 something. Jason has repeatedly reminded me over the last few weeks that I was slowly approaching the halfway mark to 70 years old. At first when he said it a sting shot through me... Was this life halfway over? The more I thought about it, and remembered people in my life that are 70 years old that I still think are very young, that sting started to lessen. 

A few weeks ago I had to fill out a questionnaire for a doctors appointment and one of the questions asked me what my current emotional state was. It gave me a lot of options including stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, etc. For the first time in a very long time I smiled and checked the box that said content. I wasn't able to check that box because everything in my life is smooth sailing and because I do not have problems. I checked that box because being content is actually a choice, One I made not too terribly long ago. Being content is not reliant on your circumstances but plainly on your perspective. Is my life perfect, no. Do I have everything I have ever wanted, no. Do I have some dreams that I had for my life that I'm having to let go of? Yes I am. But I'm choosing to live a content life and I will gladly tell you why. 

In February this world lost a sweet precious soul. I was lucky to be able to call her friend. Jodi left behind a husband and three beautiful children, two of which she spent her life praying for because she was repeatedly told she would never be able to have children. She was a mother, a wife, a daughter, a teacher, a friend, a role model for my sister, a confidant, an advisor and she was always good for a smile and a fierce hug. I miss her terribly. At her wake I looked around and saw all the lives she had touched. Three hours we stood in line just to reach the room. In that time I pondered all the things she would miss. Birthdays, weddings, first and last days of school, anniversaries. Suddenly any problem I have had or will ever have seemed so small. 

So I choose to live content because I can. I choose to forgive because I can. I choose to love others because I can. I choose to not sweat the small stuff because I can. I choose to take a nap when I want too even though I have 100 other things that need to be done because I can. I choose to love my child unconditionally every single day even when I want to ring his neck because I can. I choose to be happy even when the world isn't going my way because I can. She can't, But I can. 

Paul said it better than I ever could. He found the secret to being content. It was a secret that I have allowed to take residence in my very core. It is life changing. Perspective altering. Soul quenching for the parched. It's simply this. 

Thank you for the Happy Birthday wishes today. I plan on smiling today because I can. Spending the day with family because I can. Cherishing each and every second of this short life that I can.