Friday, January 31, 2014

Meltdowns and Moses

I texted my husband: "Today is a bad day."

Because it was.

First the child woke up early, bright eyed and bushy tailed squealing "I woke you up! I woke you up!" And I was all...

                                     Princess Anna  Frozen  gifs

Then we needed to get going to take Daddy to work so we could have the car for the day and a certain 45 inch tall person didn't wanna go out in the cold. And I was all...

A Collection of the Best Disney Gifs the Internet Has to Offer

Making a choice for breakfast was a drawn out process. Apparently the choice between oatmeal, apple slices 'n' cookie butter or yogurt was just too much for one little person to make. And I was all...

After finally getting her to pick one, getting her to EAT the breakfast she chose (apple slices and cookie butter if you were dying to know) was an uphill battle that took up most of our morning. And I was all....

angry (2116) Animated Gif on Giphy

Next we needed to get moving if we were ever going to make it to swim class, but getting her to focus on the simple task of getting naked was apparently beyond her grasp. And I was all....

We wrestled into the swimsuit, got the sweatpants and sweatshirt on and the wild hair was as neatly put up as it was ever going to be that morning. The only thing she had to do on her own was put on her socks as I grabbed the pool towels upstairs. And I was all...

When I came down (after a quick, much needed, round of candy crush) she was deep in play with her My-Little-Ponies with no socks on her feet. In fact the socks were nowhere to be found. And. I. Was. All..

No joke. I lost it.

For whatever reason those socks were my tipping point and I melted down.

I'm not proud to say that my voice went a few decibels louder than usual or that I threatened with a punishment I had no intention of following through on or that I foamed at the mouth a bit.... maybe I was just imagining that last one. But I was not a happy, nurturing, loving Mommy at that point.

But I wasn't really as angry at her. I was angry at me.

Because I had failed.

It was all over.

We could all label my parenting career a failure because of the socks.

The socks told me I was not made for this, apparently. I was not able to perform the simple tasks of feeding my child and getting her dressed in a timely manner. I'm pretty sure they don't let you leave the hospital without being able to do both of these and here I am 4.75 years in and I couldn't do it....because of socks.

The socks told me she's never going to learn how to really read. I mean if I can't even hold her attention long enough to get her to put socks on there's no way we're going to get past lesson 8 of McGuffey Primer. Ever. Counting past 15 isn't going to happen either or handwriting anything past the four similar letters of her nickname. Forget history, science or anything that required logical, independent thought. She would peak at a 3rd grade level at 14 years of age... because of socks.

The socks told me that anything I have been trying to instill in her was all for naught. She would eventually shun her childhood beliefs for the pleasures of the world. Eventually she would leave our Jesus-loving home to move in with some guy named Mike, who insists on being called "Blaze", a 24 year old who works behind the counter of a bowling alley biding his time until he gets discovered for his "installation art". (Which is supergluing pocket change on the floors of malls and shopping centers.) He'd get sick of the art scene here in Syracuse and the two of them would move out to Portland to live in a warehouse with "some guys he knows". She'd stop answering our calls on the cell phone we bought for her when we told her we weren't sending her any more money until she came home for a visit, eventually trashing it and falling off the radar. No matter how many phone calls we made to the Portland authorities they wouldn't be any closer to locating her than we were when we flew out twice a year just to look for her for two weeks. Six years later we'd get a call from a shelter in LA from a broken woman that was once our daughter asking to come home...... because of socks.

I, apparently, needed someone to talk me off the ledge.

My husband did the best he could. He reassured that I was a good mom. That she was ultimately a good girl. That we were just having a rough morning.

I wiped the tears from my face, blew my nose, squared my shoulders for the battle ahead and went out the door.

Off we went to the Y: the girl, myself and my doubts.

Eventually we settled in on the bleachers (miraculously a few minutes early) and she started chatting with her friend, the only other girl in the class. They were comparing swimsuits, the conversation went like this:

My Girl: "Oh, I like your swimsuit."

Friend: "Thanks, iz got princesses on it."

MG: "Yeah! It's got Rapunzel.."

F: "An' Snow White AN' Cinderella!"

MG: "Yeah! You should have Ariel on it, too. She swims like a fish."

F: "No. No Ariel on it."

MG: "Do you know Ariel? She used to be a mermaid."

F: "Yeah! I have the Ariel movie at home!"

MG: "Oh, I don't..... But you know what? I have Moses!"

F: -silence-

MG: "You know Moses?"

F: -shakes head-

MG: "You know.... Moses and Rameses and God in the bush?"

F: -silent stare-

MG: "From the Bible? Do you know the Bible?"

F: -shakes head-

MG: "The Bible! You should read it! It's about God and how much he loves us. Jesus loves us, too! He died for you but you don't hafta be sad because he comes back because He loves you!'

Right about then the swim instructor started class.

And I just stared at my daughter in disbelief. Did she just share the gospel with her friend? At four? With no fear? Or doubt at all?

I'm pretty sure I've never done that and I'm a few years older than her.

OK. So we're gonna be OK. She's gonna drag her butt when we need to run. She's gonna run when we should be staying together as a group. She's gonna need to pee at the most inopportune times. She's gonna be "full" when it's time to eat and starving when we're in no place to stop for a snack. She's gonna challenge us and frustrate us and cause me to burst into tears of rage if she times it just right.

But we're gonna be OK because ultimately that very smart girl loves Jesus. And loves the people around her enough to tell them about Jesus and God and how much He loves them.

In the meantime I just gotta get her to swim class once a week.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What am I doing with my LIFE?!

Can I just say I adore you? Once again I'm blown away by your support and outpouring of love.

I love knowing that you're out there being blessed. Once again I'm getting positive feedback and encouragement where I didn't even begin to imagine it. I'm being blessed by your being blessed and then you're blessing me back and now I'll try my best to bless you again.

And in all this God's just smiling saying "See.... I told ya!" with his bullhorn.

So if you're being blessed feel free to share this on your Facebook page or with a friend who doesn't know me personally or someone not on Facebook. (Are there still people out there NOT on Facebook?! Good job resisting temptation you peoples.). Then the giant circle of blessings can continue!

If you're not feeling blessed, let me know. Email me. Message me. Text me. Let's talk. Over cookie butter; everyone is blessed by cookie butter.


I have some very wise people in my life. They probably don't know they're so wise, in fact I'm pretty sure that one particular four year old can't even spell "wise"... but they're there. Feeding me things I didn't even know I was starving for.

Case in point:

My Mother in Law. No... I mean it, my Mother in Law. I love this woman. For the past 15 years she has been my mom where the gap lay. She's my best friend and closest confidant. My sounding board and filter. (My filters are broken.) So for the rest of this and all future posts she will be referred to as "Mom". Yes, this can be a bit creepy if you think about the fact I consider my husband's mom to be my mom too much so let's not linger there very long...  Back to what I was saying.

My Mother in Law: We were having a conversation over dinner last week. I was in the middle of a slump, a lull, a funk. A honest Eyeore's-Lost-His-Tail grumpfest.    

I was feeling overwhelmed and useless as the chaos of keeping up a home was crushing and futile. When there must be more to life than the never ending laundry and the constant sinkful of dishes. Then I tossed out this gem. 

(credit: Homestar Runner. Seriously.)

Mom looked at me and with inadvertent wisdom said "What do you mean 'What are you doing with your life?' You're doing it."

Woah. Mind. Blown.

That's it. Whatever I'm doing with my life is what I'm doing. Every day, every moment. 

If I'm homeschooling or doing dishes or laundry or doing PT or being a wife (Mmmmm..... Dat Beard) or scrubbing floors or making beds or vacuuming or taking my girl to swim classes or cooking dinner or paying the bills or organizing my daughter's toys for the 1,000,000th time this week or blogging or doing MOPS stuff or....


That's what I'm doing with my life. 

The fact is that I'm into my 30's. I've bought, financed and paid off cars. I can file my taxes without a single bead of sweat. Not only do we have a mortgage.... we re-financed this past year!  I'm as "adult" as I'm gonna get before entering the "old" zone. 

THIS is what I'm doing with my life. 

The mundane stuff of life can sound so depressing. 

Shouldn't I be doing MORE? I mean, I personally know ladies who have their own businesses and who are in the process of publishing books and some who have more letters after their name than are in the alphabet... oh and they're wonderful moms, too. (Of course they are, those perfect ladies. Jesus loves you and so do I.)

What happened to those dreams I had of being a photographer or author or social worker or business owner or publicist? How did I go from making that "When I grow up" collage in late elementary school to changing diapers all day, every day?! (Well, not anymore... she's 4.... but you get the idea.)

When people I meet outside of my Mommy world ask me what I "do", I WANT to say more than "I'm a stay at home mom". I want to say "I have my own Etsy shop." or "I'm a freelance writer." or "I started writing this little blog and it just sky rocketed into a national speaking tour." (Dream big, sista. Dream big.)

Several times in the last several years I tried to MAKE things happen. Take on new opportunities just because I could. Things I was good at. Things outside the house, beyond the SAHM life, things that I sold my time to be paid in money or power or prominence or even a better position in heaven. 

Now, before I start getting nastygrams let me clarify a few points: 1- Working outside the house as a Mother is not a sin. Mommyhood takes many paths, each of them specifically for each mother/child(ren) combination. Mommy wars closed, OK? 2- I never did anything inappropriate, from the outside everything looked on the up and up and many of these were "godly" pursuits. (read: No. I was not a stripper....... Why are you laughing?) 3- I know I am saved by grace and not by works now. But I have a heavy Catholic background; old faiths die hard. 

But what was desperately missing from each one of these ventures is that I was not called to them. Let me repeat: I. Was. Not. Called. To. Them. 

Not. Called. To. Them.

Yep, not even that ministry. Yeah, the one where I'm good at stuff. Where I have long learned skill and ability. The one that looks to everyone on the outside a perfect match for me so I should do it. And be happy about it..... but if I am not called by God to serve there. If my focus is no longer serving God but making false idols of pride and vanity. If my own motivation isn't to obey God but seek the praise of man. .... then it will cause me to fall. 

And I fell. 


Into a pit of angry. 

And THAT was depressing.

After I processed the "guilt" that came with leaving each of these jobs/ministries/volunteer positions (Remember: heavy Catholic background) I had overwhelming peace. That cloud of anger and resentment dissipated and I was able to focus on Him and hear His plan for my life. I knew that whatever I was "supposed" to be doing with my time would happen. That if a new opportunity came by and I prayed and waited for a clear answer from God then it would be blessed. 

This means timing the jump just right. In some cases I've already jumped, and it's been awesome. Beyond awesome. Pure awesomesauce. Not all the time, but enough of the time so I know without a doubt He's in it.

In others I'm just waiting for what's next. Waiting but not obsessing. Because when I know, I'll know. 

So in the meantime when the question bubbles and churns in the back of my head. When I find myself the midst of sprawling toys and dirty laundry mountain ranges and dealing with whatever that funky stuff is behind the toilet. When I catch a glimpse of myself in the toothpaste covered bathroom mirror still in my PJ's while the wild beast takes her afternoon nap.... "What am I DOING with my life?!"

I will not spend another moment being depressed. I will stand up straight and proud and unshowered in my 3:30 pm pajamas and say "I am doing THIS because I am called to THIS."

I will let His peace cover me because I am where He wants me to be. For now.

And then I will take a shower.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So this is happening.

I love me a good blog. I mean, if you're reading this and you write a blog.... chances are I stalk you read it.

I just enjoy reading good writing, and as a mama I don't necessarily have the time/opportunity to sit down and read a book. I mean, I may get an hour on a random Tuesday to read a bit but by the next time I have a chance to immerse myself in said book I have to spend 15 minutes of re-reading to remember why Jamie is imprisoned in the Bastille and Claire has to throw herself at the mercy of the King of France.... sorry. Outlander moment.

Anyway, I don't have time to read big sweeping novels (AND maintain a home/ homeschool/therpaize my child..... in a satisfactory manner) and I'm thankful for Bloggers who take the time out of their hectic lives to share a slice of their real. So I can feel a connection with another human adult. Whether it's a high profile blogger like Ann VosKamp ( or Jill Smokler ( or a new wife/mother on blogger sharing her heart with anyone who passes by.

Thank you. There are many of us out here who love/need it. Don't stop. Keep going. Keep writing something I can read while I find myself with 5 consecutive minutes to myself and don't feel so alone. Thank you.


Recently I was given the opportunity to share my real at my MOPS group. A testimony, if you will. It was raw and real and rough. For me. A few weeks prior I had written out my thoughts, just for myself (as I do many times in many situations) and God whispered to me, using a spiritual bullhorn, urging me to share these particular thoughts with an intimate group of about 35 ladies. (and a well known local licensed clinical social worker who was that week's speaker. I'm sure had a field day analyzing me in her head.) *

A little part of me wanted to call in sick... praying for the stomach bug. In fact, minutes before I was to speak I had a mini-panic attack and with help of our MOPS co-coordinator (and good friend) found the strength to get up and share.... without crying or puking.

The response that followed was mind-blowing.

I did not expect anything I received for sharing my heart and the journey I had been on. Over the next couple of days I had mommy-friends hug me and thank me for being so real. I got facebook messages and posts with positive comments and full of love. I heard so many "me-toos" and even an "I needed that."

I needed that.

And God whispered to me with his bullhorn "See.... told ya."


A seed was planted to write a blog of my own. Not like the one I already have; a mommy blog cataloging my little one's life.... but sharing my normal so others can not feel so alone in the normal of their own.

I kept it to myself, quietly praying for His will. A few nights ago I shared with my husband at the dinner table what I was thinking about. I ended my spiel with ".... on one hand it seems pretentious to even think that anyone would care to read it. On the other I feel by not doing it I'm running away from God."

My 4 year old piped up "Oh, Mommy. Don't run from God. You need to run TO God. That's what He wants."

And the decision was made.

I have no illusions of grandeur. Most likely, I will never be guest speaking at Women of Faith. I won't be going to Liberty to get a degree in theology so I can share a deeper understanding of the Bible in the original text with you. I can't imagine publishing a book out of any of this.

But hopefully, I can help make you feel less alone as we do this life. As we find our normal

(Realistic dramatization of Jessica at her computer)

*Someday soon I'll get up the guts to publish that testimony on this blog. For everyone to read. At their leisure. For all of eternity. (barf)