“With Every Broken Bone…”

I have this thing with words.

I love, like…it’s probably bordering on obsession, the way people can use words to create an image and convey a message and turn the world right on its end. For better or worse.

Well, I don’t love the “worse” part…but it goes without saying, though I’ll say it anyway, that words are powerful. They carry weight and you can tear down or build up with them. And in my life, I have experienced both.

I have been crushed and made to believe that I was “less than” because of someone’s words. Haven’t we all? SOMEone, SOMEwhere has sent your world spinning out of orbit with things that they’ve said to you or about you. And if I may borrow Taylor Swift’s words,  (yes, yes. I said Taylor Swift…I’ve mentioned before that we have very eclectic music taste around here), these are the words that I’ve felt that I’ve wanted to dance around my living room singing into a hairbrush (I AM basically, perpetually 12.) and shout these words over and over and over again to the ones who’ve caused me pain.

You, with your words like knives

And swords and weapons that you use against me

You have knocked me off my feet again

Got me feeling like I’m nothing…

…You have pointed out my flaws again

As if I don’t already see them

I walk with my head down

Trying to block you out ’cause I’ll never impress you

I just wanna feel okay again

Now, I know that I have not always used my words to encourage either. Pot, kettle, black. The end.

So, oh heavens, someone might be out there singing into their hairbrush about me.

And that pretty much makes me want to vomit. 

I’ve said things, and in the age of social media, WRITTEN things that I’ll go back later and think, “Oh bless. That does NOT sound at all the way I thought it did when I first said/wrote it. The world thinks I am amazingly harsh. I should never be allowed to speak again.” (We are own worst critics, right? At least, I hope.)

And on the flip side of being the recipient of harsh words, I have also received notes and cards and, once again…in the age of social media, Facebook posts and emails that I have read over and over and over again…because they make me feel good and loved and warm and fuzzy  and happy like puppies and popsicles on a warm summer eve. (And also, I’m basically, perpetually 12.)

This whole post came out of the fact that on Saturday I was able to spend some time with some of my Georgia girls by meeting them “halfway” in Greenville.

Let’s take a moment and say that Greenville is not necessarily “halfway”…but it’s alright, ladies. It’s alright. You were worth the midnight arrival… Kisses and hugs, friends!

They “made” me hike down to the river and I almost passed out from heat exhaustion and had to later stop and buy deodorant to replace the clinical strength stuff that had already faded thanks to the fact that we HIKED TO THE RIVER… nothing but love, ladies. nothing but love.

I’m a bit of a heavy sweat-er. I have no idea why…but I can just walk out to my van in the summer and I’m all “Water! I need water! I’m hallucinating! Is that a mirage? I’m hallucinating!”.

At one point, we walked into a smoothie/coffee/bubble tea (btw, BLECH!) shop…and I was immediately hit with the smell of “ripe person”.

I thought it was me and decided to stand at least 3 feet from all of my companions for the rest of the day.

Turns out, it wasn’t me. It was just a very organic crowd that likes to hang out in this particular shop. They have amazing pineapple/melon smoothies though. There’s always a trade off.

Not only did I have to repeatedly apologize for what I’m sure was my overwhelming and offensive odor…but I also found myself asking if my eyebrows had melted off. I only naturally have half an eyebrow above each eye. Again, I do not know why. I suffer from Half-Eyebrow Syndrome. My most used makeup product is my “brow fix kit”. Yes. That’s a thing. So I know I’m not the only one who suffers from this affliction.

Anyway, we wandered up and down the main street in Greenville, where they have an obscene amount of restaurants to choose from. (Here’s where I plug Nose Dive. French Toast that was heavenly.)

We were looking for “shops”. You know, where you go in and buy random kitschy stuff that you don’t necessarily need, but can always say “I picked it up on Girl’s Day in Greenville”…so it’s kind of worth the price. Three out of four of us ended up buying some flavored salt and spices from a spice store…Can we say “chocolate sea salt”? Whaaaaaaat? I needed it. NEEEEEDDED IT.

Finally we found the “general store”. I don’t know what qualifications you have to have for a “general store”, but this one contained 1000 square feet of over-priced t-shirts, hiking boots, flannel shirts and sundresses. I kind of wanted to cry tears of heartbreak when we walked in.

But as with most things in life, keep walking through the junk you hate and think “why?? WHY??!!! Who needs this?!”, and you will find the barrels of candy in the back.

Down the stairs and into the glory. Puzzles, and old-timey looking dishes, random kitchen accessories, penny candy barrels.

Penny candy barrels are not really a penny anymore. I paid $9.00 for a bunch of loose candy I could’ve bought for $3.50 at Publix.

I’m a sucker who overpays for suckers.

I really do have a point to this story about “words”, I promise. Stick with me.

So, I wandered to the journals. Heaven help me, I love anything that has paper. And you stick a cool cover on the front and then, be still my heart!, slap a quote on top of THAT, and suddenly I’m willing to dish out $15.00 for a stack of paper.

Two of my girls were already wandering the candy barrel section and buying RC Colas and moon pies when I happened upon the journals. I made an audible “Oooooohhhhhh…” while parents hugged their children a little closer to them to keep the safe from the crazy paper-sniffing lady one aisle away from the over-priced plastic Dollar Tree toys.

And I found one quote that I fell in love with right there. Like I almost melted into the floor. (So long, what’s left of my eyebrows…)

The most beautiful people we have known

are those who have

known DEFEAT,

known SUFFERING,

known STRUGGLE,

known LOSS,

and found their way out of the depths.

These persons have

an APPRECIATION,

a SENSITIVITY,

and an UNDERSTANDING of life that fills them with

COMPASSION, GENTLENESS, & A DEEP LOVING CONCERN.

Beautiful people do not just happen.

That is a quote from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the psychiatrist who first talked about the “five stages of death”.

Now theologically and spiritually speaking, I don’t believe that Mrs. Kubler-Ross and I have too much in common. But I would be very narrow-minded to not think that there are truths, God-ordained truths, that even the loudest critics against Christianity can not deny. And this is one of them.

Pain is universal. And pain can bring beauty. IF you allow yourself to not become bitter.

If you can turn the pain over to God, daily or hourly or moment by heart-breaking moment, you can be SURE that He will redeem it. I can’t explain it. I only know that I’ve seen it.

I am LIVING it right now.

On my drive home from Greenville on Saturday night, my road tunes of choice were mostly from One Republic. If you’ve never listened to One Republic, just do it. You’ll be able to take their catchy tunes and poetic lyrics and over-analyze them to fit whatever situation you find yourself in. (Or maybe just the Word Nerds like myself do that. I don’t really know.)

One of the songs that I hit repeat on, like…a LOT (because I’m basically, perpetually 12 years old), was a song called I Lived. And in short, it’s another one of those songs that someone will play at their kid’s high school graduation all perfectly choreographed to a slide show chronicling every event of their child’s life. And really, we do not NEED ONE MORE SONG that we dedicate to our little children (“I Hope You Dance”, “My Wish”, etc,etc,etc)…but THIS song… Well, THIS SONG…I’m probably going to write out the lyrics to and frame or sew on a bag or tattoo On. My. Face.

The entire song is flipping awesome…but the part that gets me is that when he looks back on his life, he wants to be able to say…oh my gosh, are you ready for it???….

With every broken bone, I swear I lived

Everyone can interpret song lyrics to fit their situations. That’s not lost on me. But THIS one…well, this one said to me that through the pain and the scars that made their marks on me, I chose to keep going. I chose to NOT shut down or build walls or grow bitter and give up on life or humanity.

It says to me that I allowed God to heal my heart. That I took the time to recover and rest when the road broke

and the pain hit

and the people left

and the night fell.

But then, I got up.

Changed, yes.

But for the better…

because I allowed God to rebuild and restore

and to “make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”.

(Isaiah 43:19)

Killing Time and Making It Seem Productive

First of all, isn’t the blog adorbs?

It was a birthday present from my man.

Which means, yeah. It’s been about a month since he’s done it. And about TWO months since my last blog post.

And yeah, it was going to be this whole two-part thing, but forget it.

I can’t commit to that kind of “blog installment” bit.

And also, I kinda lost my train of thought on it. It’ll come back to me, eventually.

But I spend a lot of time waiting for the perfect blog post to just magically land in my head that I put off writing until it’s been so long that I lose my motivation.

And then, I think of something to write about while I’m vacuuming and then I think “Well, I can’t write about that because I never wrote the second installment of that last post. People will think I can’t deliver. Or plan ahead.”

And so I lose what I was going to write about and then I go back to dreading having to write the second part of the my previous post, and then I start vacuuming again (cause basically, that’s all I ever do around here)…and the whole vicious cycle starts all over again.

So finally I decided, “Forget it”…and decided I would just write.

I get all philosophical about writing every now and then. When the mood strikes. Basically…my philosophy boils down to this…

WRITE.

Yeah. It’s pretty simple. I think that for most things in life, we tend to overthink. I know I do. Good grief…if I could get back one-tenth of the time that I spent over-thinking parenting, taking care of babies, how to schedule my perfect day…well, I’d have a lot of time back.

And here’s the thing…grammatically speaking, I am quite possibly one of the worst writers EVER. This is not an attempt to garner compliments, I swear. Because seriously. Just no. I overuse commas. I have a little obsession with ellipses. There is no method of punctuation that I have not employed at some point in time. Semi-colons, dashes, unnecessary periods and quotation marks and parentheses.

All throughout high school and college, I never made higher than a B on any grammar or literature paper I turned in. Because basically, I write like I talk. Which is run-on sentences…abrupt phrases…and way too much emphasis on the wrong words (like Chandler Bing).

And if you don’t know who Chandler Bing is…well, we may need to reconsider our friendship.

So, all of that to say, I’m SUPPOSED to be packing and cleaning and doing umpteen loads of laundry for the camping trip that we are taking this week. But, I got a little overwhelmed with everything….even though I thought I had prepared well for the day….including coffee, cranking the air down to 74 (don’t tell Stephen), and turning on “my jam”. (Please don’t ask what my jam is because I don’t even know. We have the strangest, most eclectic music taste in this house…)

I still got a little fed up. And the tipping point may have been when I realized that I turned one of my husband’s nicest shirts and one of our newest towels into a sickening shade of bubblegum pink. (He doesn’t know yet…shhhh…) And it was because of a cheap red beach towel that he actually TOLD me at the store I didn’t need and shouldn’t buy, but it’s summer and it was $3.00 (where do you get a beach towel for $3.00, I ask you?!)…and it had a pink flamingo on it. AND what’s worse is….this is the SECOND load of laundry that I’ve destroyed with it.

I’m throwing that stupid thing away.

Right after we use it one more time…because it IS all fresh and clean now.

But anyway, you know how you reach that point where you’re all snappy with everyone and everything and you’re getting really irrational about dumb stuff? Like telling your five year old you will throw away his Iron Man cup if you see it land on the carpet one. more. time.? Like that?

Yeah, that was me.

So…I had to take a little break. Regroup.

Also, I had to perform a little self-surgery on my foot.

I think I have something stuck in my heel cause it hurts like…well, like there’s something stuck in my heel. But I can’t see anything and I think I may have caused more harm than good. And now it’s probably going to get infected which is why my whole ankle itches now and it’ll swell up so much that I won’t be able to wear any shoes and I’ll probably have to have major surgery that’ll be just shy of amputating the whole thing.

And if none of that happens, at the very least, I’ll google my symptoms and convince myself that I have some horrible foot fungus that’s indigenous to Southern Australia but can be contracted in public restrooms throughout the southern U.S. and I probably have it and it will likely shut down my entire neurological system within the next two days.

Or MAYBE…I can just claim that I am a cripple and can in no way do anything while on our camping trip except sit in a comfy chair with my foot propped up and several cold drinks by my side and 12 books that I’ve “been meaning to read” since 1999.

That said, I think that I have sufficiently wasted enough time here for now. I guess I should get back to the laundry and cleaning, which….am I the only one who feels the need to deep clean the entire house before you go out of town? I have no sense of realistic priorities, basically.

Oh…and if you have never single-handedly (well, double-handedly, cause I have two functioning hands) tried to clean and pack for a family of five to go camping while three kids were in the house…well. I’m pretty sure that Dante purposely left that out of his Inferno because of the immense absurdity that it is.

It. Is. A. Treat.

I see myself ingesting a lot of ice cream after I make that late-night run to Target tonight. Cause, you know, there’s always some last minute something that you need before you go out of town. And Target? It just SOOTHES you, am I right?

Ugh. I gotta make sure that I get out of here early enough to hit the Target…or else I’m gonna be stuck going to WalMart…But then again, it might not be so bad if I show up at the ole W at 10:00 at night.

Simply because…I always leave feeling like THE BEST PARENT EVER.

Know what I mean?

 

 

For “the others”…Because Being a Mom is Hard Enough…chapter 1

I never intended for this post to be a “two-parter”. I feel like you can only use that technique once every two years, and I’ve already reached my quota.

In fact, while standing at the kitchen sink this morning when the idea for this post popped into my head, I had originally intended for it to be this brief, bullet-point type list.

But I got started on this one, and it turns out I had this “opinion” that was kind of lengthy, and I realized (when the word count got to about 3000), that no one likes reading War and Peace on a blog post.

So while the second part is mostly already written, I’m saving it for a different post. I can’t have all 8 readers here falling asleep on me.

And thus begins…CHAPTER ONE…

If you know a mom, and I’d venture to say that we all do, I have some things I want to tell you. [Read more...]

Where Monster Trucks and Ponies Meet

It’s coming.

The day is drawing near when my little five year old man will start Kindergarten. And our moments together, just he and I, will be gone.

I know that it is a part of life’s ebb and flow and that I am not the only one to weep and wring my hands over their last little bird “leaving the nest” for big kid school.

And it’s not that I didn’t feel sad or a tugging when the girls went off to school. I certainly did.

But…there is something about MY BABY, MY YOUNGEST gaining this independence that I am having a hard time with.

I can almost physically feel the time slip away from me.

And so…I have tried to stop and notice more. I have played and snuggled and let the dishes and laundry pile up these last couple of weeks.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “Once the kids are in school, my house will be clean again!”

But now, I have to stop and ask myself, Did I play enough? Was I there enough? Did I fret too much over housework and chores and dinner prep that I worried away my children’s last few years to be mine and all mine? [Read more...]

Being Stuck (I think I’ve used that title before…)

Some days, I get stuck.

When I say “stuck” what I mean is, I have 1,001 things I want to do…never mind the things that I HAVE to do…and yet, I could sit on the couch and do AB.SO.LUTE.LY. NOTHING.

And while I think that having “down” time is good for the soul, being “stuck” is different.

When you’re stuck, you know that you have the space and time and breathing room for reading that book you’ve got set aside, for indulging in your guilty pleasure of Netflix binge-watching, or taking a mindless trip to Target or TJ Maxx…but even getting started seems like so much effort. [Read more...]

I Hate Mornings (and the truth behind my Facebook post)

FACT: I am NOT a morning person.

OPINION: You can BECOME a morning person.

I have never, EVER been a morning person. I don’t really start to function until 9:00. Until that point, I’m really just going through robotic motions and can not make decisions, recall information, or hold a reasonably coherent conversation.

I do, however, realize that most of society does not function this way. There are jobs to wake up for, school to go to, and all that good stuff. So while I’d rather be snoozing in, I wake up at 6:00 with the alarm and prep the kids for school. [Read more...]

The Shaming Selfie (Brave part 2)

Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.

–Dr. Brene Brown

I just spent two hours composing a post.

And I just deleted it all.

Because it was too safe. It wasn’t even MY story.

It was bits and pieces from other blogs and books and stories from other people.

When I started this blog several years ago, I wrote regularly. It was an outlet and I enjoyed it…and it was easy.

I wasn’t trying to “protect an image”…I think that I stayed underneath some safe layers at times. But I wrote freely… [Read more...]

BRAVE (part one)

…And since your history of silence won’t do you any good…

Did you think it would?

LET YOUR WORDS BE ANYTHING BUT EMPTY

WHY DON’T YOU TELL THEM THE TRUTH???

And say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

To say what you wanna say…

Brave, Sara Bareilles

 

I don’t even know where to start. [Read more...]

Add Another One to the “Greatest Hits Collection”

Man. They’re “totes adorbs”, right? Cute little buncha boogers. (Btw, the hubs took this pic. He’s like, UBER talented.)

This picture was taken today…but let me let you all in on a little secret…

Today was the kind of parenting day that sucked.

But I suppose that you need that kind of day every once in awhile to remind you that, really, most of the other days aren’t always that bad. [Read more...]

Starbucks and some therapy

I ordered a venti.

I NEVER order a venti.

For a couple of weeks now, I’ve seen and heard auspicious rumors that the pumpkin spice drinks are back at Starbucks.

So last week, I decided to grab one while I went to sit in that torture trap known as car rider line. (It’s really not THAT bad, if you just remember that some of those mamas are just gonna wig out on anyone they see during the 2-3 p.m. hour.) [Read more...]