Well. I’m back. It has been so long since my last post, even I forgot that I have this blog. I’d like to be able to say that there is a good reason behind my neglect. Something epic. Like, I was backpacking through Europe or “deworming orphans in Somalia” (Quick! Name that movie). But, it wasn’t anything like that. I was just being lazy. Oh! And homeschooling three of my four children for an entire school year. That’s pretty, epic, right? It’s not? Drat.
Even though I was taking a long break from my own blog, I was still hanging around the blogging world. I still pop in to read a few highly enjoyable blogs on a daily basis. I never comment. I’m one of those annoying blog lurkers, who do nothing but lurk. It’s not that I don’t have comments. I have lots of those. It has more to do with the fact that a couple of the blogs I read are HUGE. They have so many people leaving comments, I just wind up being one, tiny voice in the midst of a roaring sea of voices. I hate that. I’m an introvert by nature, so when I finally muster the courage to voice my opinion, I like to feel, heard. Is that too much to ask? I didn’t think so. ;)
There are (as always, in my world) a few exceptions to this rule. I have two friends that I know in real life, who write blogs. I love these blogs because it’s like sitting down and having a nice chat with a couple of gals I really like. Of course, these chats are decidedly, one-sided, but that’s part of the fun, so I don’t hold it against them. What I love is, that I can hear their voices when I read their posts. Because I know them, well, I can even hear the inflections in their voices. I find this to be a highly enjoyable experience. The best part is, when I leave a comment, they read it and know it’s me. Their friend. It leaves me feeling, validated. And I think we all know how much I need to be validated. :)
That’s all I’ve got for now. Totally random, I know. But, that’s part of my charm.
Until next time…
P.S. Pop on over to my friend, Emily’s blog. You can find her here: http://keepthefaithgoing.blogspot.com/
P.P.S. Beware of excessive sarcasm. She is the master of snark. Just kidding, E! Sort of. ;)
Happiness is… your little boy running along the shore, while crisp cool water splashes around his ankles.
Happiness is… chasing after big brother with an even bigger stick.
Happiness is… making as big a splash as possible.
Happiness is… being four and insisting on your right to be the center of attention.
Happiness is… believing you are strong. Even when you feel small.
Happiness is… capturing a moment in time and marveling at its beauty.
Happiness is… watching your little boy metamorphose into a man, every time you turn around.
Happiness is… taking a deep breath before you take the plunge.
Happiness is… being in love with your best friend.
Happiness is simply this– finding joy in the beauty of every day life. Basking in the sunshine. Splashing in water that has turned to liquid gold as the sun slips beneath the horizon. The sweet, intoxicating laughter of your children. Stolen kisses from the love of your life. Holding hands in the pews at church. Daily devotions. Bedtime prayers uttered from small lips with deep hearts. Happiness is all of this. And so much more.
Happiness is… LIFE.
Go and live it.
Until next time,
Sometimes there are no tears. Even as I yearn for them, I am empty. Empty and dry. Aching and dry.
Dry. Dry. Dry.
A desert looms in my heart, tonight. Its vastness consumed by bleakness. I wander this desert, alone. Seeking out the well-spring of all my pent up tears. Understanding that once I find it, the floodgates will burst… and I will drown.
I’ve always thought it a peculiarity of mine, to feel alone in the middle of a crowd. Or, in my case, the middle of my family. One StudMuffin plus 4 munchkins, does not a loner make. But, I don’t have a large group of friends– just one or two with whom I share a connection. Soul Sisters, if you will.
In my lifetime, I have had 3 of these rare friendships. The very first began when I was just 4 years old, and she is the closest thing I have to a sister. There is absolutely nothing this girl doesn’t know about me, and in spite of that, she still seems to enjoy my company. Must be love.
The second, a young woman I met at church after she and her husband returned from Papua New Guinea where they were missionaries. I’ll never forget the first time I met her. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, with huge, light green eyes, and long brown hair. She wasn’t even wearing any make-up, a fact which made me the teensiest bit, envious. She was all serious manner and quiet reserve, but I saw something in her that I clicked with.
I must have overwhelmed her, because after that first meeting, when the service was over, I handed her a slip of paper that had all of my information on it. And I do mean ALL. Address, phone number, cell number, e-mail address… you name it, it was on there! She looked at me a little wide eyed, thanked me, and I thought to myself, “I just scared her to death. She’ll never call!”
Then the unthinkable happened… at least from my point of view. I got pregnant with my FOURTH munchkin, and it turned out that she was pregnant, too! It was a done deal after that. Women who grow babies together form an unshakeable bond. A friendship born of life. And the girl I first met that would barely string three words together to form a sentence, became the friend with a lifetime’s worth of words and experiences to share. And I… I was the lucky recipient.
The third is a rather new-ish acquaintance, but we both have an affinity for McDonald’s Filet o’ Fish Sandwiches (that she remembered when they were called, “Fish Wish Sandwiches” made me ridiculously happy), books, Scrabble, word tattoos and pastries. This makes her soul sister material, in my book. I will also mention here, that kidney stones and visits to the ER, follow her around like a really big, scary-ass shadow! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
J- you know I love you, but nothing’s sacred in the blogging world! ;0)
All of this to say… I miss going to each other’s houses. Hamburgers at Mimi’s Cafe. Playdates at the park. Playdates at The Stockholm Bakery with all those lovely pastries. I miss chocolate chips with peanuts. Trips to my aunt’s cabin (which may or may not have involved, guacamole, margaritas, bagels and my “special coffee”). I miss window shopping– browsing around for hours, and never, not once, buying a single thing. I miss hitting Target to stock up on snacks and sneaking it all into the movie theater. I miss giggling like schoolgirls and laughing so hard you pee your pants. I miss late night games of Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary, and how it always befuddled our husbands when one of us would draw a couple of triangles with lines coming out of the top, and the other one would shout, “Ballerina!”– and it was the right answer. I miss talking until you’re sure you’ll run out of words, but instead, find an endless well of conversation that continually bubbles up and overflows. I miss picking up the phone, knowing that if I need her, she’ll jump in her car and come right over. I miss sharing my heart, knowing it to be in safe hands. I miss all of that, and so much more.
I miss my girls.
I miss… us.
If you’re reading this, and you are one of the three mentioned above, I want you to know… your friendship has been a treasure to me– priceless in its offering, matchless in its beauty, and valued beyond reckoning. You are loved.
Until next time…
I’ve started reading Anne Lamott’s, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Reading her words feels like she is summing up my life. Only, she makes me sound a lot more interesting.
As I was reading, I began filling up my little notebook with quotes from her book that stood out to me, in some way. Like, shiny-yellow beacons, hailing me to come just a little closer. To examine all of the cracks, peaks and valleys that make up the inner workings of my mind. Sometimes I am afraid of what I’ll find there. Painful memories that are hiding in deep, dark recesses; shrinking back from the light. Fearing exposure. Fearing the truth.
“Good writing is about telling the truth.” That is the very first quote I captured in my little notebook. The way I see it, truth is a powerful thing. It shines a light on the lies. Calls them out, and demands restitution. Seems to me, that truth is never to be taken lightly. It is a responsibility. Maybe, even a burden.
I am trying desperately, to become a better writer. I have in mind so many stories that want to be told, but are nothing more than swirling pipe-dreams, beating down on all of my synapses. What really holds me back, though, is fear. Fear of dreaming another life for myself. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of failure.
Fear is a one way street that doubles back on itself. No matter how many times you travel its path, you will always end up where you started.
Fear is another word for perfectionism. They’re like linking verbs; attaching one to the other in a way that can’t be separated.
Ugh! I sound like I’m writing definitions for Merriam-Webster. Bad ones. Sigh…
I’m going to quit while I’m ahead, and close with two quotes from Anne Lamott, that I loved:
“Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend.”
“Perfectionism, on the other hand, will only drive you mad.”
I couldn’t have said that last one, better myself.
Until next time…
Today has been a so-so-day, and I’m tired. Emotionally, and therefore, physically, drained. My heart is burdened right now, for my mom and grandparents, and my sister and brother-in-law. To put it bluntly, a lot of crap is going on in both mine and StudMuffin’s families, right now. Stuff that isn’t easily fixed. Stuff that makes you want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over your head, and sleep forever. Except, I can’t do that. I have StudMuffin and 4 munchkins who need me to be an active and present force in their lives. I can’t afford to indulge the more, morose side of my nature. Not when others are counting on me to be strong.
I am going through the book, Crazy Love right now, and I stumbled across something today, that really spoke to my heart. In chapter 2, Francis Chan writes, “If life were stable, I’d never need God’s help. Since it’s not, I reach out for Him regularly. I am thankful for the unknowns and that I don’t have control, because it makes me run to God.” As a self-diagnosed, “control-freak”, this really resonated with me. When my illusion of control takes over, I forget all about God. When I find myself in desperate circumstances without that “comforting” illusion, God is always at the forefront of my mind. This is the one area in my life that I really struggle with. To surrender myself (and my loved ones), wholly and completely, to God. This is the true purpose of, “Less of Me.” I really want my day-to-day life to be, less of me, and more of Him. Because let’s face it, to live this life as if it’s all about me, is the ultimate act of arrogance and narcissism. As Francis Chan phrases it, “…life is all about God and not about me at all.”
So today, instead of eating my emotions, and going all “crazy white girl,” on the Ben & Jerry’s in my freezer, I have elected to cast all of these fears and worries, at the feet of my Savior. I also elected to eat Triscuits with Lite Laughing Cow cheese, instead. Awww… look at me, being all grown-up and crap. My mom would be so proud!
The Countdown in the Year of Less (of Me):
I have stayed on plan, and have NOT eaten my swarming emotions. Woot.
I am a child of God; made in His image.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” -John 1:12
Short-term – Giving this day, and all of its subsequent fears and worries to God.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Phil. 4:4-7
Long-term – Living my life for God, instead of myself. A true, “Less of Me and More of Him,” transformation.
“He must grow greater, but I must grow less.” -John 3:30
Mood o’ Meter:
Overwhelmed… by a God who pursues me with a relentless love.
Until next time…
A few posts ago, I blogged about a light bulb moment, that I called, “The Year of Less.” To be honest, I haven’t been doing any of the things I set out to do. Sigh… I get frustrated with myself when I set goals that I don’t keep. Part of my problem is, that I give myself so much to do, that I quickly become overwhelmed. I look at my “to-do list,” and can’t for the life of me, figure out where to start. Being a serial perfectionist, doesn’t help much, either. I’m one of those “all or nothing,” people. Meaning, if I can’t do something exactly the way I think it should be done, I won’t do it at all. Ugh. Some days, it’s a chore to be me. But I digress.
Today, I took a positive step in meeting one of my goals in the Year of Less. Or more specifically, in the Year of Less of Me. Today, I joined Weight Watchers. For the 4th or 5th time in my adult life. But that’s beside the point. The point being, that I actually took a step forward in attaining one of my goals. I even paid for one full month in advance, so I wouldn’t back out. Now that’s commitment, baby! What’s more, I have full and complete support from StudMuffin. He is going so far as to attend meetings with me, even though he is not a WW member. This is a HUGE encouragement to me, because I am an introvert– and I hate, absolutely hate, being alone with a bunch of people I do not know! There are few things in life that freak me out more; unless it’s birds, snakes, spiders, frogs, cockroaches, or being in tight spaces! So today, StudMuffin was my hero, and I fell in love with him, all over again. Today, it felt good to be me.
The Countdown in the Year of Less (of Me):
6:00 p.m.- Became a WW member. Woot.
Height- 5ft. 8 in.
Current Weight- 192.4 lbs. (typed with quivering fingers and a boat load of internal whimpering!) Gah!!!
Short-term – To lose 5 % of my current weight… 184.2 lbs.
Long-term – 140 lbs. Gah!!! (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…)
Tomorrow- Journal what I eat, keep to my points, exercise…
Mood o’ Meter:
A little apprehensive…
A little bit afraid…
A little bit afraid that I’ll fail…
A little bit excited, too… (let’s hope this is the mood that prevails!)
Wish me luck, y’all. And if you’re the sort that prays, I wouldn’t mind of few of those, thrown my way!
Until next time…