It’s time to forgive


Our lives are filled with many people happy to tell us how we’re doing things wrong.  Lord knows, I’m really great at getting things wrong.  But, today – I want to tell you IT’S OKAY!!  That’s right.  I am sharing with you the joy of knowing that even if you’ve messed some things up – you are gonna be fine.  I’ve noticed that we women are great at giving advice.  And, we’re even better at pointing out how people could have done things better.  But, do you know what I’ve found to be true?  Jesus loves me.  He loves me even if I didn’t do things just exactly how my friends all thought I should.  And, he forgives me for my mistakes.  It’s about time we forgive ourselves, don’t you think?

How is it possible we live in a society that is so judgmental about things that really have nothing to do with anyone else?  When I got married I was young.  So many people told me not to get married because I was ruining my life and I wouldn’t be able to have any fun at all if I wasted my time getting married instead of doing ‘college things’.  The truth is I couldn’t imagine anything I wanted to do without my husband.  I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d want to go without him.  We’ve been married 18 years and I still can’t think of anything I’d want to do without him or anywhere I’d want to go without him.  I really hope people have forgiven me for not making the choice they wanted.  On the flip side my friends and family who got married later heard lots of advice and reasons why they should have married sooner.  They should date more (or less).  They should try to look nicer or maybe try different hang out spots.  Really?  I’m pretty sure most people who are waiting for the right someone are not just sitting there being hideous trolls and slumming it on creepy places.   They are living their lives and trying to do their very best.  How is that not good enough for everyone around us?  You know what?  Forgive yourself for not finding a mate sooner.  You’re on God’s time.  He has a plan and will bring you the person in His time.

When I had my first son everyone had advice on how I should teach him to sleep, eat, and really how do everything.  My mom’s way was different than my mother in law’s way. But, amazingly between the two of them they raised several healthy (mostly) normal adults.  But, even before we got to that I was told how I should birth him.  My natural loving friends told me I should never have my children in a hospital because that’s where sick people go and he’d catch something and die (this literally happened and I was so shocked I didn’t even respond).  My modern marvel medical people thought any home birth was a one way ticket to damaging my baby and more than likely a complication would happen that would kill him.  I seriously considered both options.  But, you know what?  Here’s to the moms who had a birth plan and followed it to the T.  Whether that birth plan was to have them with a midwife, in a bathtub, or with pain pills in a hospital bed.  And, here’s to those moms who really wanted to follow their birth plan but had complications and they had to give up something that really wasn’t that big a deal and just be happy their babies were born healthy.  That’s right.  The goal is always a healthy baby.  We all have our ideas on which way that should happen, but I can tell you nothing is more hurtful or annoying that those who hear what you’ve chosen and decided to inform you that you’re a terrible parent before you’ve even given birth.  Feel free to forgive yourself for not following all the advice of everyone in your life on the birth of your child.  It’s okay.  You want the best for your kids and really that is more about prayer than it is about birthing choice.

To all the moms who struggled over whether they should work or not.  Or, those who couldn’t even struggle over it because it really was the only option to support their family.  I know you drove away from daycare the first day with tears running down your face.  I know your heart felt like it was breaking when you put your sweet baby into someone else’s hands and went to your job.  Forgive yourself for doing the best you can to support your family.  That’s okay.  To all the moms who chose to stay home and lost their place in the rat race – forgive yourself for sacrificing your dreams for your children’s well being.  It’s great that you’re in a place to even have that decision.

To all the moms of toddlers – it’s okay that you cannot even consider reading Goodnight Moon one.more.time.  It’s okay that you let everyone eat Goldfish crackers for lunch today.  Forgive yourself for  doing what you need to do to hold it together.  Forgive yourself for pretending to be deaf in the car when your toddler is asking “why” for about the 456,928,345 time on the 5 minute ride somewhere.  You know what else?  Forgive yourself for that early bedtime and the delicious pre-made margarita you enjoyed while sitting alone on the couch for the first time all day.

To the mom of elementary students – realize it’s okay that you laughed directly at your child when they told you “Today we had a hardcore game of 4-square at school”.  I’m positive they will forget that damaging moment in a mess of other moments of their childhood.  And, it’s okay that when your child says “I’m the only kid in 5th grade without an iPhone”  you do not immediately go buy them one.  When your child says they are the only one who has to help with chores or pay for their own toys or whatever else, feel free to forgive yourself.  You’re trying to instill real life experiences in them and that’s a good thing.

Moms of middle school students – when you can’t hear one more word from the conversation about ‘cute’ boys (or girls) in your child’s class and you tell them phone time is up, you know that’s okay.  When you read every.single. text message just so your kids know when they get to high school that should be considered the norm and your kids are frustrated with you – it’s okay.  You’re being the best mom you can be and that’s the job God gave you (not being the best friend your child can have).

When your high school student feels like the curfew you set is just not gonna work for them and you have to ground them from something they really want to do so they tell you they can’t wait to move out far away – forgive yourself for being so hard.  When they tell their friends you’re mean and strict – forgive yourself.  It’s okay to be known as the parent who sets boundaries.  Seriously, Moms – let’s be MOMS.

You know those days when you set the entire schedule for the week, including doctors appointments, sport practices and games, family time, hangout time for kids, and everything else and then your husband says to your kids ‘No, we’re not doing that.  I’ve planned something different”.  Forgive yourself for the glare you give him.  Or, even more – forgive yourself for saying “Oh, are you taking over the schedule now?  Here’s the list of what needs to happen this week.”  You are human.  You are doing your best.  And, above all – your heavenly Father forgives all these little moments.

It’s time we moms band together.  No one, NO ONE is going to do it like we think they should.  There isn’t a single person on earth who agrees with 100% of what we think.  But. we do have forgiveness in Jesus.  We have someone who loves despite our petty moments and sins.  How awesome is that?  Now, to work on letting go of our guilt and shame for doing our best.  right

 

 

Home Ownership


So, I feel like I am basically an expert on owning a home now that I’ve owned one for 3 months. HAHA  But, really – owning has been so exciting for us.  I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things we’ve discovered since we moved.

We have always worked hard and we have always wanted our own home.  Now that it’s a reality it’s been so FUN to do things that would seem lame and hard before.  Yard work is not my gift (see previous post about my plant reaper status).  Yet, to see our yard looking better day by day (mostly thanks to my husband) is really exciting.  And, I’ve even ventured out to help a bit by pulling weeds, throwing down some grass seed, and watering.  I have to say I have really enjoyed the Xhose.

xhose_thumb

I know.  It seems silly, but it really is awesome.  It’s light, it doesn’t kink, and it shrinks so small when it’s not on.  Love it!  Wish I had another one for the other side of the house.  I am a firm believer that if I have things that WORK I am more willing to do things.  My husband knows this and so he splurged on the hose and it was a genius move.

House cleaning has become much easier too.  I HATED cleaning our house before.  We had so much stuff and we had zero place to store it.  Now that we have a place for everything I can easily put things away and keep everything looking nice and neat.   It’s glorious.

My favorite new cleaning product I’ve purchased is the Goo Gone oven and grill cleaner. It is amazing.  Our downstairs oven looked like someone had baked a pie without a pan or something and then add cat hair. I’m sorry was this a cat pie?  I don’t even understand!  But, the whole thing was black.  You couldn’t see through the window because of how gross it was.  And, I was scared to cook in it for fear it would catch on fire.  We tried some other oven cleaner and the disgusting black stuff did not budge despite multiple applications.  My brilliant husband bought this for his grill and decided to try it on our stove as well.  It literally melted through the gunk in less than 5 minutes.  I just wiped it out and völva!! the stove looked brand new!

stove

(Disclaimer: I did have to clean the window twice)

I had used the Magic Eraser before we moved, but I am still amazed by it and thought it should be featured here in this post of things I love. So, here’s to the magic of the Magic Eraser.  I keep them on hand for bathrooms, kitchens, walls, and pretty much everything else.  (left side – original banquette bench when we moved in the house before Magic Eraser.  right side – after a little Magic Eraser was used. A-MAZ-ING)

 

bench

I’ve been told recently I really need to start working harder at keeping my blog up to date.  I will work on it. :)
 

 

Logical Conversations


When I was in about 4th grade at a small town public school a girl showed up and she was very ‘cool’.  She had cool clothes.  She was mouthy & disrespectful.  And, when I hung out with her on the playground she told me that she was allowed to cuss and swear at home.  Being raised in a Christian home the idea was shocking.  All of my friends had Christian parents.  But, it was also tantalizing.  She was from a different world.  I had to learn more. So, I hung out with her for about a week.  She shared her favorite curse words.  I said “Yes, I use those too.”  She said “I cussed my sister out.”  I said “Oh, I do that.”  She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said “Really?  Tell me what you said.” I thought quickly.  There were only a few cuss words I even knew existed.  Finally, I settled on just repeating the few I knew.  I finished my made up tirade and looked at her.  She was smirking. She was not convinced and I was embarrassed.  I did not hang out with her again.  The whole experience was short lived, but I still remember it to this day.  As the years went by I realized the importance of friend choices.  I’ve always had amazing friends. *blessed*

Probably in the 5th grade the word ‘weird’ caught on.  Everyone was saying it.  I decided I’d say it too.  A girl has to constantly work on keeping her coolness up.  I started using it at home the first day I decided to introduce it into my vocabulary.  My father said, ‘What does weird mean? What is the definition?’  My sisters and I looked at each other.  Um.  “It means strange”.  My dad said ‘Go get the dictionary and look it up.  You shouldn’t say words you don’t know the definition of.’.  I still remember looking it up and reading the short definition. ‘Weird – magical or unearthly.’ I have even told my kids that definition without looking it up.  Funny how that stuff just sticks with me even years later.

Not long after that, maybe a year or so, I decided that ‘sucks’ was a word I should include in my vocabulary.  Other kids at school were saying it.  And, I heard it often enough that I could make it sound normal in conversation.  I started small.  I used it in group settings of friends.  No one batted an eye.  Excellent. I’d pulled it off!  My ascension to coolness was on its way!  I continued to use it out of my parents earshot.  It became engrained in my speech.  One day my sister and my friends were at my house.  I was probably in 6th grade by then.  My sister said something and I replied loudly “That sucks!”.  My dad looked at me.  I instantly got red.  I was in for it.  I knew it.  My dad sat down and said “Do you know what sucks means?”  We said “yes, it means like awful, or stupid or something.”  He said, “no.  It comes from a sexual reference” and he went on to explain.  My sister, my friends, and I just stared at him. What was he even talking about?  It may have that meaning to some people, but it certainly didn’t to us.  In fact, why was he trying to be so logical about the whole thing?  We were simply being cool and using the common lingo.  I remember staring at him and thinking ‘this conversation is really bizarre.  I am never going to remember this and it’s not a big deal if my friends & I are saying cool things. I can’t wait to be a parent so I can just let my kids do whatever and never correct them about stupid stuff.’

Now, I’m a mother.  I have three amazing children.  And, every once in awhile they say something or do something that brings out the logical conversation moment.  Just the other day they all three downloaded a fun new app all their friends are playing.  It’s called “Make it rain”.  They asked me.  I looked at it.  It seemed harmless enough.  It’s actually pretty lame.  They constantly have to ‘fling’ money on their screen.  Each of them was trying to outdo the others and their friends. Whatever. No biggie.  It’s not like they are sending inappropriate photos or anything.  My husband was in the kitchen while they were talking about it and he said ‘wait, it’s called what?’  My oldest said (slowly for his poor OLD dad to hear and understand) ‘Make it rain’.  My husband said ‘Do you know the what the phrase make it rain means?’ and he began to explain that gang bangers use that term in how they spread money to strippers.

And, immediately I left the room to go in my own room and have a chuckle at this full circle my life has had.  From the pre-teen to teen who was positive logical conversations would have no bearing on my life (and yet I remember them decades later) to the parent who explains things logically in hopes that it will make a difference somewhere in the kids’ brains.  Sometimes yelling is the go-to, but sometimes I try to sit down and be calm and logical so the kids might listen.  We will see.  They just might…

Gardening


My mother always had the most amazing yard.  It didn’t matter what the ground was like or what she picked to grow – she had the ability to make anything come up beautiful.  I do not have that gift.  In fact, my husband calls me “The Plant Reaper”.

But, we’ve moved into a house that hasn’t had anyone taking care of the front yard for a bit. Basically, there were multiple dirt patches that obviously were gardens and we decided we should fill them.  The conversation between my husband and myself went something like this:

H: We should plant something out front so it doesn’t look so barren.

Me: I agree.

H: What do you want to plant?

Me: *blank stare*

H:  What kind of flowers and stuff?

Me: Bright and cheerful ones that will still grow when I don’t remember to water them…?

H: I’m not sure that’s a thing.  Let’s go to the garden center and see what we can find.

So, I followed him to the gardening center.  We looked at tons of plants. He hemmed and hawed about the cost of mulch, planting soil, and rock.  Then, we went to look at plants.  He pointed out cactus (ew!) that would grow nicely in the environment I described.  He also pointed out some bush type plants that I didn’t love either.  He kept asking “do you like this?”  And, I kept looking around feeling lost and wishing I could call my mom.  She was aware of my gardening lameness and would have told me exactly what to plant – or even better she would have had me plant something great and then come over to be sure it survived.  Finally, I picked out a few things and we made our way to the register.  The first line was really full, but there was a little grandmother like woman standing at the other register.  We made eye contact and she waved us over.  We stood in line and she looked at me and said “Do you want to know a secret? Want to know what plant is really cheerful and bright and its nearly impossible to kill?”  I’m sure my expression was total amazement as I nodded yes.  She left her register (there was still no one else in line) and took us out to the garden.  She helped us pick lots of seriously beautiful flowers.  She patted me on the back and said “these are not any work at all.  Just put them in the ground and you can simply water them when you think of it and they come back every year!”  Daisies.  I love daisies.  Who knew they were low maintenance?  We also got some snap dragons.  By the time we finished I had tears streaming down my face and she just smiled and patted me and rang us up.  My poor husband didn’t know what to make of the tears so he just got the car.  When I got in he said “Don’t worry about it – this store makes me want to cry too”. HA!

We spent most of Mother’s day weekend planting my cheerful flowers.  The front of the house looks like someone lives there now!  And, what a fun splash of color.

flowers

 

There’s still so much to do, but I feel like we’ve made serious progress.  And, I feel like I may need to go visit the garden center every once in awhile now too.

 

Selling Memories


This weekend we had an estate sale to clear out a lot of my mother’s things for my dad because he’s moving to a smaller house.

The amount of stuff my mother had was unbelievable.  We all knew she had a lot.  We’d even seen all the stuff at various points of our lives.  But, when we pulled it all out and compiled it – the sight was amazing.  In fact, the task seemed overwhelming.

estate1

We decided to have a two day sale.  (In retrospect we should have had a three day sale, but hindsight is 20/20 so whatever).  We had flowers from four weddings, huge amounts of Christmas decorations, more wicker basket options than you’d find at any home store, an entire library worth of books, and the most insane amount of fabric you could imagine. Those were the main items, and then we still had toys, games, clothes, furniture, and household items.  My sisters and I added a few of our own things to sell and we all plunged in head first.

flowers

A small amount of the flowers we had.fabric

 

A corner of the fabric section

What I found the most amazing (aside from the billions of items we actually had for sale) was the different emotional response we all had to selling off items our mom picked out for us and for herself.  There were very specific varying degrees of attachment and response.

1. Detached except for a very few select items.

This was me.  I have very little attachment to things.  I love photos and memories.  I don’t need the physical item to remember and I don’t feel any closer just by having those items around.  After I made the first sale I teared up.  I didn’t want the stuff, but it was hard to see people walking off with my mom’s things. And, I caught my breath when my old cabbage patch kids were pulled out of the bin. I distinctly remembered working hard to earn the money to buy them and the site of them brought immediate memories.  But, it wasn’t difficult for me to set aside the nostalgia when it came time to do what we needed to do.

2. A blend of attached and detached, but reasonable.

My little sister was all about letting go of things and cleaning out for my dad.  But, she was also honest about grabbing things and saying “I know it’s completely unreasonable, but I want this and am not letting it go.” She only did it a few times, and a few times she would say something like “I really want to keep that, but I can’t use it and don’t need it.

3.Attached to every.single.item.

Our oldest sister struggled each time someone bought something.  She’d go take things out of people’s hands and say “sorry, that’s not for sale.”  She would recount stories of items and half the time I’d forgotten the story until she shared it again.

It was amazing that we were all raised in the same house and had such varied responses.  We all saw different value in all the items.  It wasn’t a matter of who was right and who was wrong.  It was just an excellent study of the differences of humans in the same situation.

The one thing for sure – we were all emotionally drained by the end of the weekend.  We knew we had a big job and we did it.  I’m so thankful it’s over.

girls

 

 

Twelve years and counting


Somehow my twins turned 12 today.  It sneaks up on me every time they get a year older.  I feel like the fast forward button is stuck on!

Last night as I worked in the kitchen baking 60 brownies to send to school today (with a few leftover for big brother and dad because they claimed it was ‘torture’ to have to smell them baking without eating any) I was thinking back to the old days when having twins was still fun, but much more difficult.  I’m glad to be in the stage where it’s pretty much just fun (except when it comes to school projects or paying for shoes).  While I sometimes miss the moments spent in the glow of the nightlight staring at my sweet babies while they slept in my arms – I am so thankful for full nights of sleep and no diaper changing.  And, it got me to thinking about the many things I’m thankful for with my twins…

  • Cheerful loud voices on every car ride.
  • Singing all the time for no reason other than they love music
  • Healthy and active
  • They are good friends to the people around them
  • They make wise choices in choosing friends
  • Hard working
  • Thoughtful and caring of each other (most of the time)
  • Hugs
  • Sharing their dreams – even when they are a bit over the moon
  • Intelligent AND have common sense (most of the time)
  • Good at sharing
  • Loyal

Our lives have been so blessed by these two people.  They are worlds apart in so many ways, but when it comes to important things they are both quite similar. While I hate to watch them growing and getting ready to live their own lives at the same time I can’t wait to see what wonderful things they do with their lives.  Being a mom is really amazing…even when I have to bake brownies for two classes.

12

 

 

My Full Plate


It’s happened.  I’ve finally reached the point where I feel like I can’t fit one more thing in my life.  I wondered if that was possible – if I could get to the point of being completely overwhelmed.  It can.

The strange thing is – I like being crazy busy.  I like feeling like I’m living life to the fullest and helping my family in all that they want to do.  Our lives are pretty scheduled and they are full of fun things we enjoy doing.

But, the past few weeks (or maybe a month?) have been a wild ride.  My sweet Mama went to see Jesus, we had her service and were able to celebrate the amazing person she was and all the lives she touched while she was here, I got promoted at work which has lead to a ton more responsibility and busyness,  helping out my dad and sisters clean out my mom’s things, and we are buying a house and moving.  Yeah, that’s a lot.  That’s all on top of our usual crazy lives filled with school, basketball, choir, field trips, and whatever else we can fit.  It’s just all happened at once.  To a certain degree I’m loving it.  And, I’m trying to soak in all the moments that are coming with it.  But, some days I can’t soak because I’m drowning.

The beginning of this week I started stressing about things that I needed or needed to get rid of before we go to the new house.  A friend suggested I make a list.  I did.  And, it’s amazing how calming that was for me.  Order.  I need some order.

One of the best parts of moving is that I get to clean out the whole house and not have guilt about throwing things away.  I’ve cleaned out so much paperwork, old books, and clothing.  Sure, there’s tons more, but I’m loving all that I’ve already done.

shelf

And, I’ve been able to have a few wonderful things of my mom’s.  She had a collection of plates with the love chapter on them.  She bought them because one reminded her of me when I was little and my sisters let me have the set.

plate

So, my daily objective is to make progress without stressing over things I can’t control.  I can’t start painting or moving until we can actually move in.  I can’t know what exactly I need until I move in.  I can only pack so many things in a night while keeping up the rest of my life.  No one is judging me, but myself.  I wonder why I expect so much of me?  In the spirit of giving myself some grace – here’s my verse for this season of my life:

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work