Finding Joy in the Everyday.

finding joy in the everyday

“Mama?  Where do baby bees come from?”  Elli’s inquisitive mind always wants to know where something comes from, or where it’s going or where her next thought is coming from.

“I like flowers, mama.”
“Pink ith my fav-o-wit color.”
“Daddy ith my hero, mama.  Becauth he’th tall and ‘mart and ‘trong.”

Being a mom will make you simultaneously smile and pull your hair out, but wallowing in the first will definitely make you miss out on the other.  It’s not always a bad thing, but focusing on the “why” usually steals our joy.  Don’t try to understand the way children think.

“Why did you put peanut butter on the cat’s paws?!”
“So she can eat when we go out.”
“You’re only going out to play on the slip n slide!”
“I know.”

Kid logic.

But I’ve found there is joy to be found in the everyday things.  Yes, there are days they make messes faster than tornadoes and do a little more damage than one too!  But those are honestly the days I am typically found smiling the most.

But why?  I would go nuts with all that mess….
Yeah, some days I do.  Ask anyone know knows me in real life- I try to be a good homemaker.  Try being the key word, but if I lost my mind to worrying about what the neighbors thought about my home constantly, I’d be a miserable soul indeed.

Since that’s the case, I’d rather focus on the things that bring me joy.

Like the sunshine in Ziva’s hair that makes it look like Rumpelstiltskin himself grew it for her.  Or the way Judah can  say something and make me laugh at just the right time with either a nerd reference or just something funny.  Like when we were at Cracker Barrel and Charlie ordered a chocolate milk for Nate and said “chocolate milk for the little one” and before he could take a breath again, Judah said “Chocolate milk for the big one, too!” while pointing at himself.  He was 6 at the time.  He’s a funny kid.

Or the joy when Chavi smiles up at me while nursing, milk drooling out of her mouth and no matter what I’m doing, feeding her forces me to slow down and take my time and really see her.

Abi’s soft, sweet nature wanting to sit next to me on the swing to hear me sing her favorite song.  (I modified Dumbo’s song to say “Abi, mine” instead of “baby, mine”.)

Zoe’s joking with me and getting more adult humor and while part of that breaks my heart, I seek the joy in her growing older.  She is becoming more independent and in it comes joys of their own.

I find joy in the horrible jokes that Nate tells, trying so desperately to be funny.  Or that, he’d rather pick a weed that has a flower on it to give to me.  Actually, he has started a rock collection for me- every time he finds one, he’ll give it to me.  He does the same with shells.  It’s a wonderful thing that he only does with me.  I find joy that he picked up a rock and instead of getting rid of it, he chooses to think of me.  To me, that is the most joyful thing of all.

I challenge you, dear ones, to find joy in something today.  A flower growing in adversity- heck yeah, concrete!-  A dog’s quirky look.  A child’s touch wanting to learn your ways.

Until next time.

When You Hate Being a Mom Pt. 2

When You Hate Being a Mom Pt. 2

 

It’s intense business when you pour out your heart in your blog.  It’s hard.  It’s raw.  It opens up feelings that you didn’t think you’d feel and then you wonder are you being too vulnerable, so you think you should pull back- but then you wonder if that actually helps anyone, so you don’t.  And you leave it out there for the world to view, praying that you’re ok.

Yesterday’s post was really hard for me to write.  Of course, I had to write this follow-up.

I wanted to keep going with my thoughts.  No, not the guilt-laden, “omg, my drudgery will never end” thoughts, but how I help myself deal with them.  Let me preface this with this:

I am NO WHERE NEAR where I want to be as a parent.  I want to be a better mom by leaps and bounds.  I struggle, sometimes daily, particularly with depression and anxiety and feelings of incompetency.  There is so much that I want to do and so much I want to be for my children.  This is how I cope.  If you are struggling with any of the aforementioned problems, I beg you- please, talk to someone who won’t judge you.  Let them know and work on a plan to get through it.  I don’t want to give you the (very) false impression that I’m some sort of Sister Superchristian who has her crap together.  No where near that chick.

“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”  -PS 121:2

Ok, great, Heather.  You mentioned that yesterday.  So?  What help?  This isn’t one of those “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” crap blogs, is it?

Ha, no!  Sweetcheeks, God gives you WAY more than you can handle so you can learn to rely and trust in him.  True story.  Right now, my ex husband is over $14,000 behind in child support.  I’m trusting in God to help me get through this, considering I was just let go from work (after having a baby and not coming back fast enough.  For the record, she’s not yet 4 months old).    They said I’d have a job when I wanted to come back, but the logistics of being able to feed her is something I have to work out.  Oh, and my husband retires next year from the Army and will be in school full time.  All I can do is trust that God had our backs and will provide for us.  And I can plan ahead like an ant for winter.

Ok, but how do you renew yourself?  How do you not blow your top when you’re in the bathroom with the kids banging on the door like they’re The Walking Dead extras?  Honestly, I grab a cup of coffee (shocker, I know.) and I sit on my front porch under my ceiling fan and on my swing, and I crack open my bible to a few choice scriptures.

Isaiah 40:31 for starters.  “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Cool.  Translation?    It’s not in our timing, but God’s and when we realize that we can’t make everything happen when we want but when we wait in God’s timing, we won’t wear ourselves out.  When we as children obey our parents, we would get good things- the same principle is here.

I also go to the part in Luke about Martha and Mary and Martha’s decision on what is most important.  There are times (often, who am I trying to kid here?) that I get bogged down in the things that I have to do, and things that “have” to get done, that I don’t see the forest for the trees.  I don’t take the time to listen to Nate tell me the difference between a therapod and a sauropod and why the Jurassic differed from the Triassic or the Cretaceous  (no really- he’s known that since he was 3!) or how Ziva’s hair sparkles like golden threads in the sunlight.  All because I’m more concerned with the dishes, or laundry or scrubbing the floor.

Now, I’m not saying they’re not important things to do, but are they MORE important in this moment?

I can’t tell you how much I can’t stand hearing the same story repeated about how Sofia the First has a talking bunny or how all the horses in Equestria just LOVE Princess Celestia and they want to go to Ponyville to be with Twilight Sparkle.  Now, I love their imaginations and I want to be a part of that.  Not at the expense of my sanity, though.

But back to Martha and Mary.  Jesus told Martha that she was too attentive to details that don’t matter.  What mattered was listening to him and taking it in.  Everything else would get done.  And of course they did.

But that brings me to another point about moms (and I KNOW I’m not the only one here that does it!).  Guys- er, girls in this case- we can NOT over-schedule ourselves.  We will only screw ourselves in the end.  Show of hands- who else feels like a failure when you don’t get your entire impossible list of things done?  No?  Just me?  Riiight.

Ladies hear this now and please- take it to heart.

YOU WILL NEVER BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE AT ALL TIMES OF THE DAY.  Did you hear me?  You can’t.  You’re not designed that way and that’s why you feel the way you feel.

So my suggestion to us women is stop trying to make ourselves crazy and just rest.  There really is something to be said for rest.  It’s healing.  If you break your arm, you have to rest it so it can be used once it fixes itself.  It’s the same with our spirit.  We can’t just “walk it off”, we need to rest and care for ourselves.

Maybe we won’t hate motherhood so much if we didn’t try to do everything on our own the way our current society expects us to.

Until next time, Dearies.

When You Hate Being a Mom

When you hate being a mom

 

Full disclosure:  this post is hard as hell for me to write.  But I get it.  I get it so. frigging. much.  This post isn’t designed to the perfect Susie Homemaker, wakes her children with harp music she composed herself and never has a problem.  To the Stepford mothers- I envy you, but this isn’t for you.

You see, I have had so many miscarriages.  Each one I lost was a human being.  A life.  My offspring.  My child.  A beautiful gift that was fearfully and wonderfully made.  A perfect little person that was wanted.  Someone I had loved since I saw that 2nd little pink line.  Someone who had already sewn themselves onto my heart.

And then they weren’t there.

Our society dismisses that aspect of motherhood because it’s uncomfortable.  That loss is always dismissed with placating words of “well, you can always try again,” or “everything happens for a reason,”  (I always fantasized about punching people in the face when they’d say that to me.)

But then, by some miracle you carry a baby to full term.  And you are joyful and up long nights, and even longer days.  You have no idea what to expect.  You get through the initial pain of breastfeeding, or the stress of bottle feeding, and they grow, and smile and you think “psssh!  I got this parenting thing down!  No sweat!” and it’s wonderful and you are absolutely in lala land because you have no idea what looms ahead.

You smile lovingly at tantrums your child throws dismissing it as developmental and “their need to express themselves” and you take in stride all of the ..ahem.. “advice” thrown your way and you keep plugging away.

And then one day you realize something.  You absolutely hate it.  You hate the anxiety, the worry, the one-more’s.  You know what I mean, there’s always one more.  One more diaper, one more sippy cup you didn’t get a chance to wash, one more load of laundry, one more eye roll, one more “NO!” screamed in your face as if you’re the worst person to ever exist.

I hate it.  There are aspects of motherhood that I hate.  I hate the times when we’re late and we are running out the door and the twins can’t find their shoes… again.  If only I had a special place they could put them every. Single. Time. they take them off.  (shoe rack by the front door, btw.)

I hate when we’re grocery shopping and of course everyone has to pee… in rapid succession, instead of all at once.  because 39 seconds ago when everyone was asked and we were standing right by the bathrooms, no one had to go.    I hate when they slap each other or play too rough, or fight with me, or a million other things.

Yes ladies- I get you.  I get your emotions.  I get that you just want to check out of motherhood.

If there were a magic pill we could either take or give to them to be the kids that we think they should be, I’m pretty sure 99.99% of us would have done it by now.  And of course, this is where I feel guilty.  Guilty for being human.  Guilty for having the feelings I have knowing that I have children I’ve never met because of their untimely death before their birth.  Guilty because I don’t want my children feeling they’re not good enough for me.

So, I plug away at my daily life.  But how do I do it without becoming bitter?  So often we feel more like a slave to our household and our families than we do the one to be the queen; the guider; the loving protector that we are called to be.  And it’s ok to feel that way.

I am currently in a season of tantrums (from the little ones) and backtalk from the older ones.  Now, I’m not going to dismiss it as “oh well, that’s just them expressing themselves”.  No.  Right this very second Abi is having a meltdown because she can’t be on the kindle.  (It’s a kid’s tablet that is on our cell phone plan.)  She is screaming at levels that I’m fairly certain I’m going to have to watch out for the police as my neighbors will likely have called due to the sounds of torture that I’m surely doing… it’s just her screeching to get her electronic fix like I’m her Wifi dealer or something.

Zoe just decided to yell at me to my face, though we just paid $250 so she can cheer- paid it yesterday, for her uniform, registration, and all her accessories.  Don’t you just love pre-teens who think they’re on the same level as adults and can get away with talking to me as though I’m her housemate instead of her mother?

Yeah, truthfully, I am exhausted from motherhood right now.

We moms are supposed to be wonder women.  Particularly in this “I can do it all” age that we live in.  We have more conveniences than we’ve ever had and less time to do anything.  Seriously, it’s been a while since I beat my clothes against a rock down in the river to get them clean, how about you?  No, I have a dishwasher, a laundry washing machine (and dryer!) an automatic electric stove, crockpots, coffee pots, etc.  I have conveniences that women of the Bible only dreamed about, but I also have something else they didn’t have.

I have the disconnect of community performing the exact same tasks and the feeling that we will never get it all done because we don’t have a way to join together during that time.

Used to be that women did their chores in groups.  We’d have “servant girls” to help.  We’d be able to teach our daughters our way of life and show them.  Now, we not only have a million and one (ok, slight exaggeration) labor saving devices, but we also have a disconnect of the things we have to do.  So, because we can throw a load of laundry in a machine to have it do our washing for us, we assume that that time that we’d usually take to do it can be spent doing something else.  And we’re right.

But I’m starting to get off track…  My point of this was that we as moms tend to hate being moms because of all of the demands on us daily.  Yes, it gets overwhelming and that sucks.  But my God is a big God.  In fact, he’s bigger than any problem I’ve ever faced.

Motherhood is one of the most complex things that we will ever do.  It’s hard.  It’s nuanced.  It’s so subtle and detailed at the same time that we become exhausted from it on a daily basis.  (Poor Abi.  I have chanted to her “Mommy’s not here, she’s working” about 100 times while she’s whining at me for a little bit of attention.  Great.  More guilt.)  But there is help.

Wait, hold the phone- what did you say, Heather?

There’s help.  And it may not be how you expect.  Psalms 121:2 (KJV) says “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

The entire universe.  Everything in it.  Everything that ever was or ever will be, and God felt it right to make you and put you in place so that you would be your children’s mother.  He cared enough to make me fit to both bring forth and nurture and raise up and guide 7 children- what makes me think He doesn’t care about me enough to help me with the task of raising my children?  God wants to help me in whatever situation I’m in and if that means I’m in my overly-exhausted, end-of-my-rope point with my children, I only need to call on Him for help.

I think I’m going to stop it here, but I’m going to touch more on this later.  There is definitely something to be said for rest and refilling yourself.  Because you can’t feed your family from an empty pot.

With love, Dearies.

Why I No Longer Make My Own Laundry Soap.

laundry soap

For years I made my own laundry soap.  I researched several recipes.  You know the ones- with a grated bar of soap, and oxygen powder and borax and washing soda…  Yeah.  I made it for years.   Laundry soap for a penny a load?!  I’m all over that.

 

And then… we started stinking.  Wasn’t huge at first, it was subtle and musty.  I couldn’t figure out why.  Then it got stronger the more we went on.  Why are our clothes not smelling fresh?  I even added the cap full of the blue popular scent booster- you know, the same one that says it makes them fresh for up to 12 weeks.

Still musty.

I ended up soaking 1 load and the color the water was was nasty.  (I wish I had taken a picture!)  It would have grossed y’all out.  I’m sure you can find a picture if you want to gag.

I did more research into it.

Basically it’s water softeners with no where near enough soap to clean anything, let alone an entire load of laundry!  I knew it was too good to be true. But it gets worse…

Oh God.  What did I do to my babies?!  They ended up getting burns from the ammonia left in their cloth diapers.  I foolishly believed the EXPENSIVE soap company that claimed that they were for diapers and you only used the tiniest amount to avoid “detergent buildup”… NO MORE!  I still cloth diaper, but I have learned so much.  My poor babies.  I don’t ever want them to feel that again.

Since I switched, my kids don’t smell funky anymore.  Yeah, that’s a hard truth to take when you become nose-blind to it.

What do we use now?  Well, without getting paid, I switch between Tide and Gain, depending on what I have a coupon for.  I still use the cap of smell-good stuff.  And I’ll use the oxygen powder on occasion too- when my husband’s uniform is just too dirty from work or my kids are “extra kid-ish” that week and need some ground-in-mud removal.

And yes, I still have my washboard and the bar of laundry soap for “special” occasions (like when the power goes out or I have to hand-wash something).

The Ultimate Secret to Being Happy

pablo (7)

 

If you do this one simple trick, you’ll be happy too!
Ew, don’t you hate click-bait?  I do.  I loathe it, but seriously y’all- this is true.  It works.  I have been nothing but honest with you in my blog, so why would I start lying now?  I have the secret to happiness.  And for $0.00 down, and $0.00 dollars a month, you too can be happy!  In fact, if you do it right, you will only have to pay nothing just once.  (side note:  like the coffee beans?  They make me happy!!!)

Yup. I have the ultimate secret to being happy and I’m fixin’ to share it with you.  (Yes, “fixin’ to” are real words here in Alabama.)    But first, let me set this up:

I knew a missionary family once.  I don’t remember where they were -I think it was Eastern Europe, but I remember them telling me the story of how they were in the missions field, and they had just lost their house and all of there stuff to a fire that someone set.  They weren’t even able to grab food for themselves.  They had their blankets, pillows, clothes on their backs and whatever they could carry- which being at night was pretty much just the children.  8 of them living in this van in a country where no one spoke English, nothing to their names, trying to share the love of Jesus.  They were living in their van for a few months.

They were happy.

I, with a life of relative comfort and ease was no where near it. For YEARS I have been miserable, and it’s 100% my own making.  You see, I always relied on someone else to make me happy.  We’re a society that loves blame and I was good at blaming.  Oh, I became a MASTER of the fine-art of misery.

I blamed teachers for my not understanding the subject instead of my own lack of self-discipline. I blamed friends for not having a good time and bringing me down on things that I wanted to do, not what they wanted to do.  I blamed my siblings for getting me into trouble.  Well,to be fair, it did happen, but not as often as I liked to blame them for it.

Then it hit me.  God, I was miserable.  I hated how I had let myself get that way.  I used to have such joy.  Here I was wallowing in self-pity and anger and misery because I was pointing the finger at other people.

Then I stopped.

I changed my attitude.  Instead of “great, another poopy diaper” it became “I’m so grateful that my child is healthy and I can provide good food.”  Instead of “I JUST washed this dish!” it became “Praise you, Lord- we have food to eat and plates to eat off of,”.  Instead of “Another bill?!” it was “I’m so grateful that I am working so I can have the money to pay this off!”.

Did you catch that?  I had to change my attitude to be thankful.  Seriously, an attitude of gratitude.  (Cheesy? Yes.  Corny?  A little.  True?  Abso-froggin-lutely!)  Look, our attitudes as moms (and dads, and any other adult in the house) determines how the day goes.  When you wake up and hit the floor, you stumble out of bed and stub your toe on the dresser on your way to the bathroom.  That sucks, but you’re there and you see you’ve gained a pound or two.  Oh, and there’s water on the floor from your husband giving the kids a bath the night before to give you a “break”.  Your attitude determines how the rest of the day goes.

I’m not saying that you have to be all “woohoo!  I whacked my toe and I feel the pain.  AWESOMESAUCE!”.  Don’t be fake, just find something that you’re grateful for.  When your husband pisses you off find something you enjoy about him.  Even if it’s “I love the way your butt looks when you walk away from me”.    Just find something that you DO enjoy and go from there.

There are two sides to every situation.  Find your gratitude and watch your situations start improving!

There you go, the secret to happiness.  It’s all, 100% your choice to be happy.  Pretty cool, huh?

How to Find Your Passion in a Passionless World

pablo (6)

 

What are you passionate about?  No, I mean what are you die-hard, no holds barred passionate about?  Is it parenting, or environmentalism?  Is it animal rights, or motorcycles?

I am finding so much in today’s society and we have become a passionless people.  We’ve given it up for complacency and some cheap laughs.  Don’t misunderstand me, I love laughing!  My wit is razor sharp… most days.  And not on my blog for some reason.  I think it’s because typically my sense of humor comes with a healthy dose of “not-exactly-on-the-Christian-side”.

We have become a society that has extreme posture problems and a large part of it is due to staring down at our belly buttons while we do almost everything.  From walking, to talking, to eating lunch you’ll find people everywhere with an electronic device in their hand starting at the blinking and bleeping.

The latest craze is this Pokemon Go.  I’m all for something that gets you out of the house and moving, but my question to those obsessed with it (because my obsessions are different and I truly don’t understand this game), is how will it help you?  How will it help you better yourself?

Yes, full disclosure:  I have hobbies and passions that don’t do anything but bring me pleasure.  In fact, I am pretty sure I have an adult form of ADD and constantly doing something with my hands helps me to focus.  That’s one reason that I blog.  Typing 90+ WPM also helps with that.  In fact, I’m going to be bringing you one of my hobbies in a few days with some free die-cutting machine .svg files when I can get them made.

But back to the point- what passions do you have?  Will these help you in the future?  One of many passions I have is for learning.  Yes I’m Twilight Sparkle, y’all.  I LOVE books.  I admit it freely- total bibliophile!  But more than just books, did you know that there are other avenues you can learn?  It’s true!

You can take ANY MIT course for free.

WHAAAAT?!

Yup.  I’m actually looking into improving my theatre skills through MIT courses offered.  Now, they’re older and I don’t believe you can actually get a degree from their free courses, but they have everything from finance to fine arts!  Business to Mathematics and Medical courses!  How awesome is that?  I’m so excited about it!

Seriously this is frigging cool!  Oh, and full disclosure:  At this time, I am NOT making any money off of this blog and I can assure you that no one has paid me to post this link for MIT free online courses!  I truly love helping people and I want them to succeed in every aspect of life- that’s why I have this blog up.  If there’s something I know, I want to share it with you.

So, if you don’t know what exactly you’re passionate about, check out that link.  You never know, you may find a new passion.   You may better yourself and start a business and become a hero of your own community.  I think I’m also going to take some business management courses to help me with my Virtual Assistance.

Have a great day, and I’ll see you guys later!

A Day in the Life of Our Very Large Family

Having a large family isn’t for everyone.  This is an ideal day in the life of our large family.

Let me get this out of the way right now:  No, I’m not trying to “out-do” the Duggars.  I am content with 7.  Just like I was content with 2.  Then 3.  Then 5 (twins).  Then 6.  Just like I’ll be content if God sends me more.  My husband and I believe that God is the one in control of our family and that all children are a blessing.

Fun facts:  United States statistics say that the average family (as of July 2016) according to Answers.com, the average household is less than 4 people, with average children in the home being 2.4  Round that off, that’s 2 kids per household.

We are 3 times the size of today’s American family.

What would happen if you increased your family size by 3?  Would you lose your mind?  Yeah, I kind of do daily.  I joke that there are days when my last will and testament will be written on the back of the bathroom door in broken crayon chunks because everyone’s pockets seem to be stuffed with them.

But people tend to see the “bad”.  They don’t see the good things.  They immediately go to the horrors of raising such a large family.  They think of the 5+ loads of laundry a day, or the dishwasher constantly running, or the grocery bill.

(Y’all, I started this blog to highlight my thoughts on life and from our family perspective.  For example:  I feed all 9 of us around $700 a month (give or take) but I digress.)

People don’t see the good things.  The Bible talks about how debt is a curse and children are a blessing, and yet in our society we see it the other way around.   The majority of the people in this country have debt.  And why not- after all, the shiny, new, bigger, better, higher definition, surround sound, ultra slim, make-your-life-easier THING is available.  Oh, and if you can’t get it right this second, you can always pull a Wilma and Betty- Chaaaaaarge It!

People see us getting in over our heads and depleting the Earth’s resources.  Um… no.  We use much less as a large family than most people with only one or two children.  Why?  Because we recycle more than the average family.  We reuse almost everything.  We hand-down clothes and we purchase almost everything second hand.  (I won’t buy someone else’s underwear, bras or shoes. Yuuuuuck!)  Heck, I make most of everything we need.  From blankets to shelves, to wall-decorations made out of cereal boxes (I’ll post that sometime!).

This doesn’t mean that I don’t want the “finer” things in life, it means that I do one of 3 things.  I either save up for them, I make them myself, or I find something comparable cheaper.

I feel like I had to add that addendum so you can understand what a day in our life looks like.

4:45- Charlie leaves for work.
6:30- I get up and start my day.  Typically Zoe gets up about the same time.  Coffee.  COFFEE. COFFEE, COFFEE! EVERYBODY SHUT UP- Coffee.  No, but I do enjoy a 2 cups or more.  Hence the blog name.
7:30-8- the rest of my minions get up and migrate to the living room.
8:30- breakfast and cleanup from breakfast.  Free time until school.

9:30- school starts.  Older two get their work, and if they need help, I’m accessible.  Middle 3 are starting school this year but up until then they play.  While everyone is doing their school/play, I migrate between blogging, writing, VA work and checking on them.  Will also put on a crockpot dinner if that’s what’s on the menu.  (I’ll have a freebie menu planner up soon!)  This is where I also do about 4 or 5 loads of laundry.  Less if it’s raining- I try to take advantage of the clothes line as much as possible.
11:30(ish)- starts lunch.  Typically Zoe will help out and make sandwiches or noodles, or soup, or leftovers, whatever is on the menu for lunch for us.  We also do lunch clean-up.
1:00 (ish)- our kids do more school work, but it’s not written work, it’s either on the computer, or it’s hands-on.  Heck, there are days they build things.  Homeschool for us is not school-at-home.  Yes, there are basics they learn, but it’s not public school education done on our couch.  Learning is a very different thing for my children, but again- another blog post for another time.  (Don’t worry, I’m writing down all of these subjects to write about!)  After school work is done, it’s free time.
3:00 or so- start dinner unless it’s in the crock pot.  It’s here where I pause what I’m working on and spend time with my minions and husband who has come home from work.  If it’s grocery day, we’ll go grocery shopping about now.
5-6 (ish) dinner.  Kitchen duty and walk-through are done at this time.  After that, it’s free-time.
7:00- starts baths.  We bathe our kids every other day, (every day if they’ve been playing in dirt and mud; which is most days!) and yes, we assembly line.  The boys take care of themselves and Zoe obviously takes care of herself.  Chavi I bathe in the kitchen sink- takes me less than 5 minutes to fill, bathe and drain for her.
8:00- bed time for younger 5.
8:30- Judah’s bed time.
9:00 Zoe’s bed time.

9:01- Charlie and I collapse in a heap on our couch or bed.
9:02- Chavi wakes up and wants to be fed/held/play for hours.  Sigh.

Now you’re looking at this going “wow, she seems efficient”.  Nope.  This is our IDEAL schedule.  In our most ideal situation, this is how it would go.  Everyone would be pleasant and kind to each other, and in my Donna Reed fantasy, I’d wear heels and vacuum in pearls.  Most days I feel like I’m struggling to meet Roseanne standards.

“Well, you brought it on yourself, having that many kids” a mean old lady told me one time.  Yup.  Sure did.  Just like ANY mom who had children.  We brought it on ourselves.  Here’s an idea- stop judging my family size and seeing all of my faults (which I’ll gladly share and post about!   I’m transparent and will freely admit that I don’t have it all together.  Heck, my ducks tend to wander off on their own; there’s no “row” for them to be in at all.), see that I’m like any loving mother who wants what is best for her kids who is trying to keep her head above water.  Whether you have 2 or you have 20, being a mom is a tough gig!  There are days your heart is going to burst with pride, and there are days where your heart will burst from trying to hold in the laughter because you’re supposed to be the responsible adult and not the one laughing because your (then 8 year old) wrote on her brother’s forehead in lipstick, but wrote the word “fierce” and you just want to crack up but you can’t because she would see that as condoning it.

Kudos to her for spelling “fierce” correctly, though.  Boo to her for using the MAC lip stain where I can’t get it off.  Double boo that we had a doctor’s appointment and he had Fierce stained on his forehead.

They are the reason I keep my sense of humor.  If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry and who wants to go through life crying?

Black Vs. White. Why It’s Red That Matters.

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The US is in turmoil right now.  And it’s breaking my heart.

I am a white woman.  I grew up in the suburbs of Wilmington, DE.   For those of you who don’t know, Wilmington, DE is the murder capital of the country.  If you wanted to get away with murder, seriously that’s the place to do it.

People like to say I have “white privilege”.    They don’t know that there were several times growing up that my parents were on food stamps to feed us.  They don’t know that there were times our clothes came from second hand stores and my mom would go “dumpster diving” for furniture.  They don’t know that to ensure we had heat in the winter, my parents would turn on the oven and prop open the door so we wouldn’t freeze to death in the cold, snowy winters.  We had no air conditioner in the summer.

The same people who tell me I have “white privilege” don’t know that for years, we had no working kitchen and there would be times that we had to heat water on the stove to take baths.

If I had “white privilege” someone forgot to tell us.

Before my parents were in a position to buy their home, we lived in rentals.  I babysat my siblings while both parents worked.  We lived in bad neighborhoods (I had one of my neighbors force himself on me one time) and at times we also lived in good neighborhoods.   I’ve had a gun held to my head before and I’ve been in fear for my life multiple times.  For someone to tell me I was privileged, was wrong.

I was bussed to an inner-city school where I was hurt by teachers and students alike.  (I still have a darkened spot on my arm where my teacher grabbed me and dug her nails into my flesh.)  “Integration” they called it, all in the name of not being racist.  Look how progressive they thought they were.

In January of 1995 (my junior year) my high school was set on fire by an arsonist.   This was the same year that OJ was found not guilty of murdering his wife Nicole Simpson and her guest Ron Goldman.  It was a racially tense time for us then, too.  In fact, so much so that the principal came on and made an announcement about it.

When you think of white-middle class suburbia, you think large houses, spaced apart.  Manicured lawns, and white picket fences, 2 cats 1 dog and bicycles by the front door.  You don’t think living in murdertown and going to roast s’mores in the cafeteria and gym.

I don’t say this to get sympathy, I wanted to let you know where I came from to make my point.

Through all of this, I have never blamed other people for my circumstances.  In fact- ask anyone who knows me personally- I have said for years “People are where they are by the choices they make.”.   People.  All people.

Not just black people.  Not just white people.  Not just yellow or brown, or pink or blueish, or people of a certain nation, or people wearing yellow, or people who dig in dirt.  All people are where they are by the choices they make.

ALL PEOPLE.

I’m tired, y’all.  I’m tired of being told that I have to feel guilty because of the color of my skin.  I’m tired of being told to fear black people.  I’m tired of the media driving what most people say, think, and believe.

Y’all, Jesus came to save souls, not skin.  (Something else I’ve said for years!)

We are a broken nation here in the US.  Every time there is something political happening, the media stirs up racial tensions.  I’m not the only one who sees it.  I can’t be.  We all bleed red.  

Did you know that there are 4 types of blood with either positive or negative after it?  O, A, B, and AB.  Personally, I’m O+.  I’m a universal donor.  Which means anyone with O+ blood can donate to anyone else.  Does it matter who the blood came from if you needed it?  It doesn’t to me.

Do I think black lives matter?  Yes.  I think they matter.  I think that people who target people for the color of their skin for nefarious reasons are worthless and should not have any position of power.  Do I think black lives matter MORE THAN other lives?  No.  Not at all.  Just like white lives don’t matter more than other lives.  But they still matter.

I am trying to keep this blog away from politics- I could get started and not stop.  I will only say this, when the powers that be want to control us (or distract us), they turn us against each other in divisive groups.  I won’t do it.  I won’t play in their game.  I choose love over hate ANY day.  I love my fellow humans and I extend my hand to anyone who needs it.

Will you join me in love?

Honoring Your Husband When He Doesn’t Deserve It.

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Honoring my husband when he doesn’t deserve it.  News flash- he doesn’t.  And neither do you.  Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean!

Full transparency:  I hated writing this post.  Not for the content, I fully believe we should honor our husbands, but for the memories it brought up when I had to write it.

Charlie and I don’t fight often.  Yeah, we’ll have little arguments most of the time, mainly disagreements, but only a few times a year if that (and I can count maybe on two fingers!) will we have a huge screaming match.  Usually it’s in an unavoidable period of stress.

You may call us “lucky”, but in truth it’s not that.  No marriage I know fails willingly.  People don’t go into their marriage on their wedding day with a heart full of “I don’t give a crap if this works out or not”.  They go into it with hope that everything will be amazing as if life is a giant prom float.

You see, Charlie and I maintain our marriage, but that isn’t what this post is about.  I’ll write about that in another post which I will link here.

This post is about how to honor him when he doesn’t deserve it.

There are so many things a man can do to ruin his marriage that he doesn’t even realize.  I won’t go into them because honestly I don’t want to fight with my husband over the subjects that he does (and even the ones he doesn’t) do.  If you’re fighting with your husband it’s usually one of 4 things:
1- he disrespected you, or won’t stand up for you
2- porn/cheating
3- money or stress
4- children

Yes, there are reasons other than these, and of course I’m not a marriage guru.  I leave that up to the so-called experts.  But I do know having had a failed marriage before (actually for all 4 of the reasons mentioned!) I know what a bad one looks like.

I also know what an amazing one looks like and that’s not because by some miracle I married a “perfect” man.  HA!  Far from it.  Sorry, Charlie.  (His name is Charlie, I wasn’t ripping off the Tuna Fish’s tag line.)  We have an amazing marriage because we both work at it.  He does his part and I do mine.

But sometimes, we fail at our parts.

So, how do I honor him when he doesn’t deserve it?  Patience, my pet.  It’s coming.

Love is putting someone else’s needs above your own.  Even when you’re mad at them.  Do you love your husband?  Of course you do.  If you didn’t, you probably would have skipped over this post.

Why do most moms want to have a drug-free birth?  Because they love their children and don’t want the medications given to interfere with their children.  (heart rate dropping, O2 stats, etc.)  Why do most pet owners say they’d give up a meal if it meant their dog eating?  Because they love them enough to sacrifice for them.

Love is the reason you’re going to honor your husband when he doesn’t deserve it.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is shut up.  Yes, I know, women’s lib.  Feminism and all that and “ain’t no man gonna tell me what to do…”  Just shut up.  Shut up and listen.

I make no mistake about it, I am a Christian and as such I have a Christian perspective on my blog.  Above all else, I believe the Bible.

So, honor your husband.  Do the little things that make his day easier.  He could be the world’s biggest jerk, but you married him anyway.  Here’s a painful truth that some need to hear:  You’re not the easiest person to live with either.    There I said it.  I’m sure some will read it and will try to crucify me, while others will read it and go “you know what, I know people who think they aren’t.” and still others who will see it and say “yup, totally me!  100%!  Solidarity, my sister.”.  Wherever you are, just know that you’re not perfect.

But when two imperfect people marry each other, they can still have a Godly marriage.

How do I honor him though?  What specifically?

Start off by smiling at him.  Seriously, who wants to come home to a mean wife?  Just smile at him.  Fake it to make it if you have to.  Write him a love note.  Make his favorite dinner.  Who knows.  It could lead to fun elsewhere.

When you have the basics down, move on to more.  There will be times when he doesn’t deserve it.  There will be times when he deserves a brick thrown at his head.  But there will also be times when the same can be said for you.

Have a blessed day, y’all and I’ll see you back here tomorrow with another post.

You Will Never Be Happy Chasing “Perfect”.

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Perfection.

We have become so obsessed with the concept of perfection that it has ruined our lives.  No, seriously.  You’re probably thinking “no, I’m not obsessed with things being ‘perfect’.  This chick has lost her mind.”  And you’d be both wrong and right.  Yes, I have lost my mind, did that several years ago.  (that’s a joke, people, insert the laughs.)  You’d be wrong in the fact that I’m almost guaranteeing that you chase perfectionism in one way or another.

For some it’s the “perfect house”.  My husband and I have an 8 year plan on our home.  By then, we should be totally out of debt, with our house paid off.  (20 years ahead of time, TYVM!)  After that, we plan to fix up the house (make it worth about double what we paid), flip it and move out of Alabama.

One of my past times is looking up house plans that will fit our family.  We want to buy about 30 or so acres in the country somewhere and have our house built.  “perfect”.  But would I be content with a smaller house than the ones I’ve been looking at?  Would I be just as content if God decided that we’d move into a 3 room house?  There is a part of me that says “of course” but would I really?

How about the “perfect body”?  How often do we look at our diet and exercise routine as “getting there” instead of for our health?  Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food,”.   We are so obsessed with counting calories, and intake/output, and buzzwords that we forget that if we just eat what nature has, we’d be just fine!

How about the “perfect look”?  Or the “Perfect job”?  Or…..

Stop!

Seriously, stop trying to “keep up with the Joneses” by chasing perfection!  We will NEVER be everything that everyone else is.    When you compare what you have to someone else, you will never be happy.  When you compare them to you, you likely feel superior.  True story.
Enjoy what you have (or don’t!  Seriously, you don’t know if your neighbor is in debt up to their eyeballs and they just lost their life raft!).  Embrace what you have without putting demands on “perfectionism”.

We always have this delusion of grandeur that says “when I have a house in the country, it’ll be better.”  Yeah, until your power is out from a storm and you have no backup and for a few days because the county can’t get out to you.  “Well, yeah, but it’ll be so much better when the kids are older.”  Yeah, until they have missed curfew and you are stressing about where they are because they won’t answer their phone.  (Luckily, you can low-jack them now and track where they are, but that’s beside the point.  You get my drift with the kids.)

Everything will be “perfect” if I get that new job.  Or we drive that new car.  Or (insert excuse for your chasing “perfect” here).  No.  Not it won’t.

Is that how you want your children to live?  Never being content where they are, in the moment they are?  Why are we humans ALWAYS wishing our lives away?  We want to be somewhere else (I do too!) we want something different.  It’s human nature to want, but why are we letting it spoil what we have in front of us.

My children have a way of making me see the joy in every day.  They make me wish that they’d stay little so I can enjoy them now.  Yes, by the time you’re reading this, I’ll likely have started another blog post (or hey, you could be reading this years from when I wrote it and I’d have started several hundred!) but I’m actually doing this for them- and you!

I absolutely love helping people.  So my goal, my wish, my prayer for you today would be that you stop chasing that unattainable carrot in front of your face.  You only see the advertisement of “perfect”.   You don’t see the fine print that comes along with it.