A Love Of A Lifetime

In June my parents will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.  It fills me with so much pride (not the bad kind) to be the daughter of such a legacy of love.  But you know what I don’t like about this – that most people gasp or say “wow, that’s amazing” because in today’s society it is almost unheard of.  (It was almost unheard of for them on more than one occasion.)  However, it truly isn’t just a legacy of love they have begun – it’s also legacy of commitment (to one another and to God).  It takes so much commitment and love to make it through this knee jerking roller coaster called life.  They have demonstrated that so well.  Their story didn’t even begin 45 years ago; it began when they were in seventh grade.  They have literally spent all but the very first few years of their lives loving and caring for one another.  And they truly are one flesh.

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Is This a Joke?

The finality of those words from our doctors came crashing down on us – “it is unlikely that you will ever be able to conceive a child even with fertility treatments.”  Is this a joke?  We have done everything right so surely their assessment was wrong.  I mean, people give birth every day.  There are tons of children needing homes for crying out loud.  It was like a horrible April Fool’s Joke.  Except it was our reality.

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I Found Jesus at the Dentist

Now before you get too excited and start to think I had my salvation experience at the dentist – I did not.  That happened eons ago (to my child) when I was probably around his age and now I’m landsliding into forty.  You do the math.  I cannot because I don’t know “new math.”  And I’m still using my old Texas Instruments calculator from engineering school and unsure that it can be trusted anymore.  I’m totally digressing.  Circle the wagons, Jen, circle the wagons. I didn’t literally find Jesus at the dentist yesterday.  I didn’t even see the old oil paintings of him like many of our grandparents have in their homes depicting what we believe him to look like.  Although it is a Christian office and they do play Christian music.  I think that’s just some tom foolery they have to put you at ease before they break out the demonic drill Roto Rootering to your brain. 

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Time Changes, Pollen, and the Abundant Life

I feel almost speechless after the weekend I had.  First of all, I have a case of the Mondays.  (Again, if you haven’t heard of Office Space or seen that movie, you may very well be dead to me.  I won’t poll my tiny almost non existent audience though.)  I literally scared myself when I looked in the mirror this morning.  It was a combination of college years hangovers (that I largely regret), Mufasa, and the Bride of Frankenstein.  A weekend of worship and fellowship with some of my closest friends, late night talks, food comas, time changes, and the ever dreaded “everything is now yellow and my eyes are almost swollen shut” south (aka, pollen or the devil’s dust) has all run me over like a freight train.  And it went in reverse and hit me again.  My son even asked to stay home from preschool today.  Uhm, NO! You will get your happy pants on and go so I can siphon coffee until your pint sized tyrant self returns in four hours.  And all the mommies said “AMEN, HALLELUJER PRAISE THE LORT!” (I obviously have a thing for movie quotes). 

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The Devil Went Down to Georgia {on Sunday}

I used to think Mondays were the hardest days of the week.  Until we had a child.  Then I realized the wool had been pulled over my eyes all those years.  Such a façade.  Monday is no longer as dreaded because let’s face it, some days it feels like freedom as a mom.  The little minions are back in school and you feel like skipping back home in your yoga pants.  Not that you don’t love them.  You do.  But man can they suck the life right out of you.  Bless their hearts. (Caveat – if you are a work-outside-the-home-mom like I once was, Mondays do indeed still come with the dread that equals having toenails pulled right out.  Because then you have to face the real children at work).

I’ve recently realized that Sunday is the hardest day around our house.  Why?  Because clearly the devil went down to Georgia (and every other state in this great nation).  

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Life Lessons from Some Old Dinosaurs

This past weekend we finally took our son to see The Good Dinosaur at the discount theater.  I know it’s on DVD already but some things (like dinosaurs and animals) just deserve the full experience to him.  I have to say the movie surpassed my expectations, and Disney once again siphoned tears out of me that I didn’t even shed at my own wedding (mainly because I want to inappropriately laugh when I’m a bag of nerves). Even more, I was amazed at the life lessons that I, as a nearly middle aged (oh my gosh is that hurts typing it) woman learned from Poppa, Arlo’s (the main character’s) dad.  He even had a bit of the James Earl Jones voice which we all know has to be a close resemblance to God’s voice.  Bear with me here.  I’m actually going somewhere with this and not just doing a movie review.

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Jesus Take the Wheel (and Put Out the Flames)

’m not sure this even warrants a blog post.  And grandparents you probably should stop here because it’s all about “the precious.”  But alas, here I am writing about it so humor me and follow along if you dare.  Last week I wrote a charming and witty (just play along here and pretend it was) post about being a Fire Breathing Dragon Mommy.  You know those moments we all have as moms where we unleash terror onto our family.  Because, for the love, they just can’t get it together and they are losing their ever loving minds.  You snap, come unglued, expel things out of your mouth that non one can comprehend and makes you sound akin to the Tazmanian devil from Looney Toons.  No one really knows what you are saying, including yourself, but you blast it out and it sounds serious and scary (queue Marshmallow from Frozen again because honestly that’s the only movie any of us know anymore). 

Well yesterday I had one such moment – make that 30 minutes – that bordered my child needing to be put in a straight jacket, or an exorcism (it was a close toss up there), until his demons fled his body (either through prayer or through him meeting the hand of Jesus in the form of the mom swat from front seat to back seat).  For crying out loud (which my four year old loudly did) we had to leave the park.  The tragedy and abuse that comes from a parent saying “it’s time to go.”  The struggle is real for them y’all.  The world is ending.  They have first world problems.

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Fire Breathing Dragon Mommy

True or False (ugh...the most loathed quizzes of all time).  Each night I go to bed so proud of my mothering skills for the day.  My son listens and exudes love and obedience.  I never lose my cool with him or my husband.  I have the energy of a thousand suns.  I am super mom who never wears leggings as pants.  I feel like Joan Cleaver.  Life is unicorns and rainbows.  We all know it’s all lies – all lies I tell you!  Yet, it’s the expectations we put on ourselves for some crazy reason (well except maybe the unicorns and rainbows part).  Then what happens? We tend to erupt like Mount St. Helens when life is real instead of an episode of Leave it to Beaver.  Or maybe that’s just me.  I ooze (okay, spew) fire out and become fire breathing dragon mommy.  And my voice sounds more like Marshmallow (the scary snowman) and less like Olaf.

Me...

Me...

...June Cleaver

...June Cleaver

I’ve struggled with reining my angry reactions in.  And it seems the older I get, the worse it grabs hold of me.  I attribute much of it to my ever increasing approach to the threshold of menopause, which is super fun by the way and a whole other topic.  The uncontrollable urge to punch someone in the throat is just lovely.  I totally get Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes now.  Temporary insanity is a real thing.  Not to mention the sweating – ALL THE SWEATING!  But the reality is that satan knows our weaknesses and where we are vulnerable and man, he can bring out some ugly in us when we aren’t on guard.

So what is it exactly that turns us into the little girl from Poltergeist?  Sweet one minute, possessed and spewing pea soup the next.  Honestly I don’t have a clue.  I’m not a doctor or psychologist.  But I am a woman – and a wife and mom – who is in the trenches of life just like the rest of us.  We are normal.  And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired (SO TIRED) and I don’t want to be the fire breathing dragon mommy every day.  That’s not what I want my child to remember me being like.  Yes he is going to send me to the brink of insanity each day – uhm, because that’s what boys do – but my reactions don’t have to be in competition with that. 

We all have different triggers – things that turn us grumpy as my son says.  But I will share with you three things that tend to make me go from sane to psycho in 60 seconds or less.

The Condition of My Heart

This sounds so “churchy” and something we all know, yet it is the hardest thing for us to control.  Our heart operates on auto pilot much of the time, but controls much of our body – including the filter from brain to mouth.  When I am out of fellowship with God, I can feel it and so can everyone else around me.  My defenses are up, I’m grumpy, and thus starts the day of battle after battle with everyone in my way.  Right out of the gate, I come charging out like a bull searching for the first clown.  But on the days that I get up those few extra minutes early, soak myself in the Word, and commune with my Savior the enemy has to flee.  He and God cannot co-exist.  That doesn’t always mean my mornings go perfectly and that my son listens and doesn’t act, well like a boy.  It just means that my reactions to his antics and disobedience looks a whole lot less like satan himself with apitchfork and more like a mother giving gentle correction (and not losing her ever loving mind).  Because for the one hundredth time, GET DRESSED.  Am I right?  It’s the same routine every day.  I don’t get it.  But I digress before my heart freezes again.

Emotions, Hormones, and all that Other Fun Stuff

I curse you Eve for eating that piece of fruit!  Seriously she set us up for failure.  I blame her for it all – the emotional instability, the hormones, the hot flashes – all of it.  Women are ruled by their emotions.  I mean we do make it fun for our husbands in a demented sort of way.  Bless their hearts.  But this “stuff’ rules me so much of the time, and the worst part is that it’s largely uncontrollable.  And it makes us certifiably crazy.  All you young moms in your twenties – enjoy it.  Because sisters when you approach forty, you lose your ever loving mind to the brain eating parasites called hormones.  I’m not remotely kidding.  You can’t remember anything, and you long for the days where you were smart.  All of this fun stuff – emotions and hormones – take control of our hearts, minds, and our mouths.  And if we aren’t careful they will take control of our marriage and our relationships with our children.  They turn us into ugly and emotionally unstable beings, or at least they have me.  We have to manage it before it manages us.  If you are struggling with this (like I have and do), please seek counsel and medication.  Yes, God is there for us and we should rely on Him, but He also gave us people who are able to help us manage that ugly in ways that we can’t do on our own.   

Life, life and more life

Life happens.  Crap happens in our lives that stinks worse than my son’s feet (pun intended).  Bad things are going to happen and life is going to deal us some hands that we can never be prepared for.  And what do we (read I) do?  I throw a tantrum that can put some threenagers to shame.  I become that butt face that my child called me last week (he met the hands of Jesus for that).  Circumstances can catapult us into crazy land.  We say and do things completely out of character because we are in reaction mode.  And everyone in our path suffers from our nuclear meltdowns (I threw that in there for my nuclear hubby).

I don’t know how to completely avoid breathing fire and spewing venom altogether.   I’m a human and I’m going to make those mistakes as a mom.  But what I don’t want is to end each day in shame and guilt over having more bad than good moments.  I don’t want my pillow soaked with tears every night.  Our kids are going to disobey, life is going to happen, hormonal imbalances are inevitable, and we are going to have a lot of less than stellar moments. But with a whole lot of Jesus, coffee (and/or wine), and encouragement for one another we can’t go wrong. 

Also, there is a great new book out that I’m loving called Triggers, written by the MOB Society's Amber Lia and Wendy Speake (you can purchase it here).  It is speaking directly to my soul.  It makes me feel normal and in less need of a straight jacket and muzzle.  Just like me, they love Jesus and their families, and desperately want to get this thing right.  They offer some great Biblical responses for those fire breathing dragon mommy moments.  You are not alone, mama.  Keep fighting the good fight.  God gave us the children we have for a reason – because He trusts us and knew we would be the exact mom they needed.  We will trip and fall flat on our face (especially if you are less graceful like me), but He’s always there to pick us back up.  His mercies are new every morning.