Sunday, December 20, 2015

The One Where {I. Just. Can't. Even}

And shots ring out when they shouldn't. And hearts ache when they shouldn't. And Wounds. Gape. Open and the past oozes out as if fresh and new. It grabs us by the throat until there is no more sound, until life is gone and hope fades

And it is harrowing and it hurts And. It. Should. Not. Be. Like. This.

And there is no hope coming to save us... to save him

And there is no peace for the weary, the worn out,  the rung out....

There is no hope for those cornered.

And as the flicker of the candle fades, there is no dawn coming.  There is only darkness, there is only hiding, there is only fear.

And God cries out Where Are You? To those who's finding is urgent, for those who are hiding, wrestling, wandering

And no matter where you are or what you are hiding, covering, concealing, carrying. The Finder is always coming.

The Seeking, The Savior is still coming to Seek and Save.  In this and for this hear and now. Especially in this, especially for this, especially because of this. For those hiding, hurting, hoping.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine...  Isaiah 9:2

A light will shine.
A light.
The light.

There is hope.  A hope. Wait for it. Wait for Him.
He Is Always Coming.

This is dedicated to my dad who I miss every day.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The One Where I Quit Facebook

Yea For Real! That. Just. Happened!

I just quit.

I go through seasons where I Facebook is a distraction for me and I pair down my friends and pages I follow.   But this time, it's something different.

There has been a lot of change in my life this year.  2015 in someways can hurry on by yet move in slow motion at the same time.  It has come with it's fair (way more than fair) share of bad news and tragedy.   I'm ready for a peaceful nights sleep and days that stretch into tomorrow without turmoil.

I realize some of the turmoil for me is Facebook.  Because #people.  Yea, people get on my nerves. Some days I can handle it.  Others I'm melting down like the wicked witch of the west.

What A World!
What A World!
What A World!

Such an occurrence reared it's ugly head last Friday.  Someone tweaked me the wrong way and I lost it.   Just.Lost.It over something trivial.   And isn't it all trivial?

So I decided then and there I was done.  D O N E Done with Facebook.   There was one reason I was continuing with this time suck and that season had run it's course in my life.   I'm turning a page.

Literally, as I'm enrolled in two college courses this semester and quite frankly it's kicking my butt.  My daily schedule has been moved around.  I have my nose to the grind.  I run in the afternoon.  I study until it's time to go to bed.  I need less distraction and more time.

Deactivate.  Done.

I feel so free!! I am not chained to news or silly videos or political debates.  I go about my day screen-less!   It's amazing!

If I want news, Twitter is the place to go.  If I want to keep up with blogs, I go directly to my favorite ones, Pinterest for all things recipes, Instagram for a mental break from algebra!

At first I thought I'd do it for a month, then I thought until the end of the year, then I thought, oh, I'll just get back on and only have my family members so we can keep in touch, but there's the invention of the phone and email, I see no reason for the time suck and distraction.

I think I'm done for the long haul.  Who else has quit or thought about it?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The One Where I.Can't.Even - A Series

So, it's been awhile since I blogged.  Since I made my declaration about blogging more and setting up goals a lot has happened.  Well just one thing that has brought down the house... so to speak.

I'd decided to go to bed early Friday, March 20th.  I just needed to rest.  I was so tired in fact that I didn't plug my phone in or turn it on Do Not Disturb.   The phone rang at 11:04pm, I was disoriented so I didn't at first realize what it was.

I woke up, looked at my phone, it was my brother, and he'd left a voice mail.  I didn't listen to the voice mail.... who does that these days?  I just called him back. I got his voice mail.  I text him.  No reply.  But he doesn't have an iPhone he's with Sprint and unable to receive texts if he's on the phone.

I listened to the message.   First he's mad that he can't get either of his siblings on the phone at 11PM, then he says it, the words that have changed our lives.... Dad Is Dead.

And I cry out Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Over and over and knelt down on the side of my bed, unconsolable....

I call my brother back and speak with him.  He doesn't have many details, only what our cousin relayed to him about the "scene"

I get in touch with Mike and here's what we know.  Dad's apartment had flooded a few months back from the upstairs apt., the complex had scheduled him to move into another apartment so they could renovate his.  A co-worker called around 3:30 to say they were on the way to help him move.  When they got there, dad didn't answer.  After several attempts to contact dad, they left and decided to come back later.  Dad works second shift, although he shouldn't have been asleep, maybe they thought he was asleep.

A few hours later they called his boss (and nephew) who went over to the apartment, they called, knocked on the door, knocked on the windows, yelled for him.  No answer.  They called the manager for a well check.  Couldn't get them, so they called the police.  The police arrived around 7:00 PM; after a few minutes came out and said he'd passed away.

My dad lives two states over.  Saturday my sister and I made plans to head to Mississippi to handle the funeral arrangements and dad's estate.  My brother, brother in law, husband and kids would follow later in the week.

That's how it began.... the story unfolding.... the web of lies..... the hole in my heart.... the sorrow..... the pieces fitting together.... the confusion..... the shame...... the burden carried for so long......

The drive to Mississippi was surreal. My sister and I laughed and cried and sang and ate junk food and reminisced about the past and wondered what happened to dad.   It has been years since we'd had an sisters road trip.  It was fun in an odd way.

We arrived at our Aunts house, to a full meal... at 10:30, a full meal! Not left overs. A meal!  That's just how this family is.  Food in important, especially at a time like this.

And they told us the news.  What happened.  And I.Can't.Even.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The One Where I Review

Maybe it's too early to look back on 2015? I'm feeling rusty and it's only March 17!  Oh yea.  St. Patricks Day!  Ooops I'm not wearing green.

Although I wear it often enough.  Green with envy.   Like why can't I write like that, be funny like that, have a blog like that, be "that church lady" the one who seems to float on clouds and is kind to everyone she meets, be "that kind" of parent instead of #thatmom, have that kind of marriage, run a better race, figuratively and literally.

Instead I hobble along.... I have goals, lofty goals, maybe too many goals.  Perhaps it's more than I can realistically complete.    Now that I've left my job, perhaps I'll have better success at the "high-ness" of what I'd like to achieve.

In the book Goodbye Survival Mode, one I highly recommend, she encouraged you to look at the categories of your life and make goals based on those.  As well as time goals.

I'm pretty sure I didn't blog about my oneword for 2015.  But it's Progress (not Perfection).  I need to strive for progress because there's no road to perfection that doesn't leave me battered and worn.

Basic Goals:

Read More
Run More
Date More
Blog More

Breaking that down:

Read More:  The Bible In A Year, SRT Devotionals, 1 30-day book per month, 12 books

Run More: I'm on a team #HeySisterSoleSisters for the Run The Edge Challenge to run 2015 in 2015.  I've also decided not to race this year, but to get healthy and run better.  The Challenge keeps me focused without spending money on racing and really I'm just not that into it.   My Milage goal is 800 miles this year.  That's roughly 67 miles per month.

Date More: I'm not single so I don't mean "dating" but Dating Consistently.   Monthly date nights with my man.  One on one time with each of my kids.  Family Day with my siblings.  Meet my friends for coffee.   Hang out after runs.  Connect with the world around me.

Blog More:  The only way to blog more is to Blog More. It's not like I'm looking to make a career out of my thoughts, although that thought sounds nice.  It's that I need to talk about my kids, my family, my life.  I don't scrap book and I've never done well with keeping baby books filled out.  I journal, a lot, well I used to.  But now that I'm in that purging state of life... what I like to refer to as Clear The Clutter, Find A Life Worth Living.... so those boxes of journals in the attic need to go!  

There's only one thing left, Blog.

So how I am doing?  Well, I'm making progress.

Reading.  Weeeellll, I'm not exactly on Day XX in my bible in a year, but I've made it past Genesis!  I've read one 30-day book thus far.  I read SRT and occasionally participate in the forum.   I've read at least two books this year and three more books are in "process".

Run: Making Progress.  Not as much as I would like but Mother Nature hates me.  More accurately I dislike Old Man Winter.   Winter in Texas can be hit or miss.  Mild weather or ice, sleet, and snow.   This year was ice, sleet, snow and bitter cold  (for Texas).  And I just won't go out in it.  I.Just.Won't.

138 miles for the year.   Not where I'd like to be, but there's progress and Spring is coming!

Dating: Meh.  One Date Night, One Girls Night Out, Two Family Days, One Coffee Date, A few Hang Outs.  I'm making progress!

Blogs: Shrug.  There is room for improvement.  Lots of room.  This is my third blog this month!  My goal is 1 per week, per subject.  The One Where I... #iamTHATmom and Five Minute Friday

Which also brings me to less clutter.  I've been going through closets and boxes.  I'm purging around here.  I've made a lot of progress.  Things tossed, given away and shredded.  I literally have shredded paperwork from nearly 20 years ago!  Seriously, things have needed to be gone through and discarded.    I've taken multiple lawn and leaf bags to the recycle bins.   Progress for sure!

There's still more to do.  Clear more clutter.  Let go of more things that are holding us down. Shredding to be done.   Books to be read.  Miles to be run.  Dates to remember.  :)

Progress.  I like it.  :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Am That Mom - Dating

In this age of social media and text messages and immaturity life can be painful, not only for the kids but for the parents.

Here's a brief history of this school year.   The kiddo started off the year with the same girlfriend (Girl 1) he'd had over the summer... when I say "over the summer" I mean they hadn't spoken since the end of the school year.   So there was lots of anticipation for their relationship status on the first day of school.

A few weeks into the school year she breaks up with him via a mutual friend (Girl 2).   I get it, they grew apart over the summer.  Her parents have strict (read: Good) rules.  No Social Media.  No calling and texting boys we don't know or know their parents.   All good.   However,  amid many attempts on our part to meet them it didn't come to fruition.

Then he "goes out" with the mutual friend, who breaks up with him publicly and "for no reason".  As any mom can imagine she's not on my "favorites" list.   This is followed by a string of other girls. We'll call them 3 - 6.  Much to my disapproval.

Right before Winter Break he's back with Girl 2, and then breaks up with her via a mutual friend (Girl 7) due to extenuating circumstances.

He and Girl 7 seem to hit it off and then Bam! Awkward public breakup at school and "for no reason".  Again, not on my favorites list.

There is no girl on my favorites list.... not because I think anyone is "too good" for my son but because he's at the tender age of 14.   His brain isn't fully grown or functioning.

As I had a recent conversation with some youth girls... the Bible doesn't mention dating only preparing for marriage.   To which she said she's waiting like the Israelites for God.   It was all I could do to say to her.  The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years because of disobedience.

Back to my kid... so there was a bit of an intervention after the last break up.  He chatted with his friends and youth pastor and agreed to stop the game of "monkey bars" for two months.   So at the end of April he can "date" again according to them.    I still think that 14 is too young and too much of am emotional time.  Not that anyone listens to me.

After Girl 7 and his behavior following, we took his phone privileges away for one month.  Once off restriction he broke the rules nearly immediately and now will be off social media indefinitely.

He isn't allowed to friend people he doesn't know in real life.  Not "passing in the school hall" type of knowing.  Real Life, he has classes with them, goes to church with them, they are a relative... yea cuz I Am That Mom!

He isn't allowed to talk on the phone with people he doesn't know in real life.... cuz I Am That Mom!

He isn't allowed to have a girlfriend, an official girlfriend until/unless:

1) We meet her parents
2) Her parents know she is dating, are okay that she's dating
3) Her parents want to meet my son and his parents

Not that I an enforce it:
4) Over 16 years old
5) Is driving
6) Has a job.

I'm not paying for your dates.... cuz I Am That Mom!  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The One Where God Knows My Shoe Size

She Reads Truth... these girls bring it every time.  Every.Time.  And I'm forced to look at the mess around me and I don't want to.

This is just where I am and where I am not.  Needing to repent of my repentance.  Wanted to be washed and yet soaking in a tub of my own striving and pride.  I see the ruins but don't acknowledge them as such.  I see it how I want it to be.  Living in the fiction or fantasy section of my heart. 

Yet the ruins are all around me.  I sit atop the rubble and......  I quit my job because of the toxic environment.....just in time for my teenagers depressed meltdown....just in time to not really want to deal with anything or anyone.   I've wanted to run away more as an adult than I ever did as a child and well, there are books and medication for my childhood.
So I sit here app in hand, coffee in hand, rending.... What I don't really know. 

Amanda. She's my soul sister. I see me...In her writing.  Yesterday she talked about avoiding.

I do that.   I avoid.

Because going through is too hard. And there are a lot of "what ifs" about getting to the other side.

And I take FDR literally when he says, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself' 

So I'm even afraid of fear.    

I don't want to go through. I just want to be on the other side.   I don't want to repent, I just want to be cleansed. I just want Calgon to take me away.   Oops did I really say it out loud?  Did you hear that? I thought it was just in my head. 

I don't want to look at the rubble around me, I want to see what was or what could be. Not what is. 

And so I lament. Wait? I lament? Nooooo.... This is where God takes a cue from Tom Jones and says, 'Act your age, not your shoe size' and I'm pretty sure He's familiar with my shoe size.

To lament means, to mourn, to grieve, to weep or wail, to express sorrow. 

I'm not lamenting.  I'm soooo totally not lamenting. 

I'm not mourning or even weeping.  I'm complaining.  

Why God Why? 
When God When? 
Woe is me 

Why is all of this so hard and when are You gonna fix things (to my standards) and make it a little more comfortable? A little more? Ha! I meant cushy and care-free.  You know the one... right the kind where Hello, My Name Is Child Of The One True King.  Where I sit on the throne and ask God to serve me.  I wear my tiara, the one I gave myself through works and order God around.

Not the one where I sit on the pile of rubble with Godly Grief. 

If I'm honest and when have you known me not to be I don't have Godly Grief. 

I have 'good grief'. 

As in 'good grief Charlie Brown' 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Open

Open the flood gates of heaven!  We say that but do we mean it? Do we know what that would look like? Or only what we want it to look like? Prosperity, Goodness, Blessing, Overflowing Cups?

Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus?  Do we? As He really is and not how we perceive Him to be?   Recently at the If: Gathering one of the speakers said (My BFF Jen Hatmaker): I thought I was confident in God, but I was just confident in my understanding of Him.

I would say only confident in my perception of who I want Him to be, not who He Is.

I say I want to be open.  Opening my hand to the poor, the widow and the orphaned.  Do I?  Why are my fists clenched.  It's not enough to SAY it!! I'm not talking about works here people... but again as my BFF Jen Hatmaker says: We have to stop blessing blessed people and serving the saved!  WOW.  That is from last years IF:Gathering and I'm still shaken by it.  Imagine what might happen if I listened to this years!  :)

What poor and widowed and orphaned do I know?  Oh yeah, my neighbors!  Across the street, next door, in my community.

Open.  My eyes, my hands, my heart.....

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The One Where I Observe

Observe that I haven't had a post in oh... four months!  Observe that I've had week after week after month after month of striving.  Observe that I'm wrapped up in an anxiety ball of what I should be and who I could be. Observe that I am sick and tired of being tired.... there's an exhaustion in my soul that I can't shake. 

All this list making and striving and standing on the tips of my toes trying to measure up.... 

Then walks in Seven. A book that's been on my night stand for months.  I read it, it wrecked me.  In good ways, in bad ways, in frustrating I don't live in Austin.  Jen Hatmaker and I aren't BFF, but she rents space in my head and maybe that's enough.  Who am I kidding?!  That IS NOT ENOUGH!   Maybe I should move?

Eat 7 Foods
Wear 7 items Clothes
Get rid of 7 Possessions. Every Day.
7 types of media, just no.  Tv, Gaming, FB, Tweets, iPhone apps, Radio, Texting, Internet (real phone calls only)
7 Habits for a greener life
7 Places your money goes (only) 
7 Sacred Pauses.  Finished this chapter just in time for Lent. 

Lent, that time of year when my husband announces that we aren't catholic.  DUH!  And I say you don't have to be catholic to observe Lent.  DUH! 

Jen bases this chapter on a book by the same name, Seven Sacred Pauses

Like Jen, I haven't been getting these done exactly, but I'm working on it. 

Enter Day 2 of the She Reads Truth Lent Study/Devotional, Whatever you want to call it.  And here is my "response" my pause today

[Insert deep breath here.] 

It’s no wonder we try to come to Him with layers of lies and pride and every other self-preservation instinct intact. It makes sense, right? Except it doesn’t… because Jesus.  ~~Amanda Williams

I needed to hear this. So much so that my jaw is sore from clenching it. Yea... So there's that. Hard week after hard week and the shame and the guilt and the striving. And the to do lists and the things to check off. 

And then there's the cross, the feet of Jesus beckoning me to just turn towards Him, lay it all down and exhale. 

Noah Webster in his original dictionary defines return as:

1. To come or go back to the same place. 
2. To come to the same state, as, to return from bondage to a state of freedom. 
6. To show fresh signs of mercy. 

Returnable: that may be returned or restored 

Returned: restored 

It is God who does the restoration work. We only turn in his direction.

And so I pause and make time for pauses, because I'm not giving up for/on Lent.  Unless you count sleep.  I'm getting up earlier to pause in the sacred silence.  To read, to pray, to lay it down. Because these burdens, I can't bear them and somewhere I think I've read I shouldn't be anyway. 

I'm observing a modified 7 over the next 6 weeks. 

02/22 begins "Clear The Clutter - Make Space" 
I will purge at least two items per day for 14 days.  Now that's fairly easy for me, not so much for my people, they could be hoarders.  Maybe I'll do this one for them.  I'm really excited to get the garage and attic cleaned out.  I like Becoming Minimalist Blog.  He said and I'm paraphrasing... if you need to buy more stuff to organize your existing stuff you have too much stuff. 

03/08 begins "Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose
Plastic, Paper, Cans, Cardboard 
Get a compost bin and experiment, hope to not attract varmint. 

03/22 begins "Phone Fast" 
Phone can be in use from 7AM - 7PM.  I've already begun this part. The teenager is grounded for life, so that'll help him, not sure about the hubs.  
I've taken Facebook off my phone and I don't access it during business hours. Thanks, Crystal Paine! 
Turned off at 7PM
Dinner at the table, I can hear them grumble now, but really do we need to see another rerun of Big Bang Theory? 
Read Lent Passages
Observe Sabbath, I may have to pull teeth and limbs for this, but it's only two weekends, they can do it!  

More Lent Ideas:
40 Ideas for Lent