Nov 242014
 

Sometimes it feels like you are just going to snap. Keeping calm is not an easy thing, and motherhood can be so demanding. But if you allow the breaking to be cathartic, you may just be able to clean up the glass and move on.Sometimes it feels like you are just going to snap. Keeping calm is not an easy thing, and motherhood can be so demanding. But if you allow the breaking to be cathartic, you may just be able to clean up the glass and move on. It might even feel pretty amazing when you get all the tears out...I love my kids. I love the way my son works passionately to understand EVERYTHING and how he insists on praying for China at dinner because he is fascinated that it is already breakfast time there.

I love that the knees on all my daughter’s pants are stained and worn because she throws herself into playtime with vigor and how she gives me sweet little back pats when I hug her because it’s a Mommy-thing to do.

I love their laughs, their smiles and even their messy backpacks strewn all over the kitchen. It’s evidence that they are growing, learning, and thriving, right?

I think of making cut-out sugar Christmas cookies with them and the flour getting stuck into the wooden floor cracks for weeks, and I still love them. Right after I bang my head against the wall for a few minutes.

Despite all this loving, they wipe me.

Some days I don’t know what is up or what is down or which way to even start looking if I did have time between apple juice refills to figure it out.

This life is not an easy thing; it’s not supposed to be.

That’s okay.

But some days when the demands are raging, and the middle-of-the-night cries were plentiful, breathing in and out becomes a bit tricky. It’s a feeling of being swallowed into a complete loss of sanity, strength and self.

One day recently, my daughter was having A Day. You parents know what I mean. It can be tempting to check a child’s behavior as faulty discipline or poor boundaries, but after hanging out in motherhood for a few years now, I have learned that there are the children who break into an emphatic hour-long rolling tantrums because the color of the plastic Goldfish bowl they were handed is not pink and there are children who just eat the Goldfish.  There are children who can remain in a generally seated position throughout church and those who spontaneously turn into a wild climbing monkey as soon as the pastor begins speaking. I know, because I both types of children.

My daughter is more of the tantrum-ing monkey variety.

I do not want to point the finger at her exclusively. On this particular day, I was especially over-tired, my son was struggling with homework, and dinner was burning. In fact, I had already called my husband in tears twice that day, threatening to quit. Quit what, I’m not sure, as Motherhood allows no take-backs and my only boss is myself; I can’t imagine how pissed she would be if I handed in my resignation.

In any case, I sent the children out to play and decided to take one small productive step for my day; I would put away the dishes. I opened the cupboard and a glass flew out at me. It shattered all over the open dishwasher, counter, sink and floor.

It shattered all over my last tether to stability and I fell to the floor, sobbing. I crouched there, among the broken glass and just let the wails rack me, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this any more….Ican’tdothisanymoreIcan’tdothisanytmore…” Over and over and over again.

If anyone had been watching, it would have seemed a dramatic movie scene. The sheer, unprovoked action of the glass throwing itself out of the cupboard at me seemed horrifically cruel. It felt as the weight of a thousand impossibilities was exploded at me and were escaping through my my cries.

It felt cathartic.

It felt real.

And as some innate part of me found its way through my hysteria to carefully clean up all the glass shards before they met tiny little toes, I knew this one truth: I was right; I couldn’t do it any more.

For that day, it was too much. I had been stretched and pushed too much, and I broke. But in the breaking, the well of of all I was holding in found a way out. And that part? Felt wonderful.

I will always love and care for my children. Even when I think I can’t find a way to tidy up glass shards, I somehow will.

I will also break sometimes, and that will be okay. And on those days sobbing it out will feel pretty darn good.

And on those days I will quit. After I clean up the broken glass, of course.

 

Image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:2534803, copyright:sirylok

Nov 052014
 

I am always, always scared of taking big leaps, but I've learned this is the smartest thing we can do in this world. Be open to new things and go for it!It was typical Tuesday night. I was desperately trying to crank out some overdue blog work while hollering at my husband to just give up on the chicken nuggets and “get the kids in the bath already!”. Then my phone rang, and it was Stephanie Giese of Binkies and Briefcases, “Hey, do you want to go down to Texas and be on Glenn Beck with me?”

For those of you who don’t know Stephanie, here’s the short story: SHE IS ROCKING THE WORLD. Her recent post about the astounding inappropriateness of girls’ clothing on the mass market went beyond viral. While she’s busy managing the response to this, she’s also running full speed ahead with the Blog U 2015 conference (the second annual installment of the insanely successful conference she founded last summer), and oh, raising three young children.

So basically, when the scary-fantastic Stephanie asks, you say yes.

Glenn Beck wanted us to come on his show and discuss appropriate Halloween costumes from a mom’s POV. I could do this??

Forget the chicken nuggets; I called out to my husband, “Hey babe, how do you feel about me popping down to Texas?”

We live in Pennsylvania.

Fast forward three weeks and a lot of finagling, and I found myself on a plane. And then in a green room. Like, a legit green room–you’ll excuse me while I pee myself a bit here.

And while I was hanging out in the very green room, forcing myself not to on-air nervous puke, post-show pal-ing it up with Glenn Beck and his very sweet daughter (who thanked me for doing the show because it “meant a lot to her dad”) and then madly snatching souvenirs for my kiddos in the airport while we dashed to our plane, I had some important realizations.

I have people. Not as in a “my people will call your people” situation, but as in, I’m not alone in this world. When Steph first asked, I thought, “yeah, right–I could never actually pull this off”. And then my husband offered to take a day off work, my mother-in-law drove out to help with the kids for a night, and my friend jumped at my plea to pick my kids up from school. When I asked my dad for airport transport, he simply told me give him the times–of course he would do it. Another friend was willing to cover a few-hour gap in childcare if need be and yet another friend quickly started helping me research Glenn Beck and reviewing talking points.  Hundreds of people on Facebook took the time to weigh in and help me sort out attire dilemnas–the most import element of the entire trip, obviously. The support and encouragement of others as I prepped for and then went on this wild-to-me adventure blew me away. And that people actually took the time to tune into the show and then encourage me afterwards? My eyes welled with tears as I checked my phone that night.

I know this life can all too often feel lonely, but sometimes it’s when you most need people that you realize you aren’t alone. Through this trip, I felt caught. I felt blessed. I felt grateful.

This life can be so mundane...fantasizing about how the other half lives can be so fun...really fun! Hop over for a minute with me!

Jumping is ALWAYS boss. I was the kid in college who had to take Ativan before any presentation so I didn’t faint away in panic of public speaking. Needless to say, this appearance on Glenn Beck was NOT “right up my alley”. It was very far removed from my alley, several lanes over, in fact. That and despite the nerves that left me literally shaking a few days prior and post-show, I will never, ever regret that I did it. Truth told? The green room, private hotel room and car service were pretty sweet perks that just make me feel boss. I’m okay with that.

I know how hard it is to manage this life. But listen, carving out a few minutes for friendship is one thing you will never, ever regret.  Do it now! Trust me ;)Real friendships are good. Steph and I have done a lot of huge life experiences together–cranked out a blog conference, thrown book signings, hosted a ladies’ night out, family-timed it up on the Fourth of July, and endlessly supported each other online. She wows me, of which I’ve made no secret.

The thing that you may not know is that she’s terrified of flying.  And I’m not uber-touchy-feely. I love greeting with hugs and kisses, but beyond this, not so much…Steph and I held hands on every take-off (and with lay-overs, there were several). As soon as the cameras cut on the show, she walked across the stage and I squeezed her hand for dear life. I needed support–emotionally and so I didn’t fall over in my heels. We prayed together before we went on set, and I endlessly told her how proud I was of her for accomplishing all that she has. We shared a messy steak sub in the airport and ignored the crumbs on each other’s faces. When I froze on camera, I will never, ever forget her mouthing “Isaac’s costume” from across the set to cue my talking points and help encourage me.

And none of it felt weird.  At 35, I’m not sure I was supposed to meet a genuine real-for-life friend that I can totally be myself around. But I did. And I don’t have the words to express the realness of this blessing.

I am also realizing the value of full-on supporting someone else in this world. I am so proud of what Steph is doing, and the opportunity to be there for her and help her promote her message? A gift in its truest form.

Regardless of what happens or doesn’t happen going forth with this whole blogging business, I will forever be grateful for the time I hung out in the green room with Steph–and for all the too-important lessons I learned while we were there.

To Texas, Glenn Beck, and crazy life experiences you were never supposed to have.

You can catch a longer clip of the 10/28/14 show and read about it here, but please pay the $1 and subscribe to 30 days of The Blaze TV so you can watch the whole show–I say way more semi-intelligent things in the second half so I don’t look quite as vapid. xo ;)

Oct 272014
 

I spend so much time being scared of the next move I should make, when the truth is, I should channel the fearlessness of my daughter and just jump!A fan of change, I am not. I’m still working to wrap my mind around this whole Sunday package-delivery jazz, and my husband knows if WordPress updates to a new layout, it’s best to just pass me a paper bag and walk away.

To me, life is full enough as such; the added stress of adapting to new things only exhausts energy. Energy that I don’t have, and if I did have it, I’d rather spend it tackling that inane junk drawer. Or, let’s be honest, catching up with People Style Watch.

But the darnedest thing is that life doesn’t stop. God kind of designed it this way, an ongoing cycle of flux and flow. So the nasty beast of change crops up.

New things.

Firsts.

Being the calm, pulled-together mama that I am, I tend to handle any new event with a hefty dose of hysterical fuss. Consider this an open apology to my husband, family, friends and people I run into in the school parking lot for having to put up with me. I am really sorry.

It can be for big things. I was very open about how much the start of Kindergarten slayed me.

It can be for smaller things. I phoned three other moms last week begging them to explain proper Book Fair protocol.

You see, we had never done a Book Fair before. As it turns out, we survived. It was also not horrible, kind of fun, and next year I will likely spend less time the night before undue panicking over cash versus credit card. But for this year, it was new, and so it was scary.

I don’t think it matters if you have kids or not, or how old the kids are if you do have them. Or if you work outside the home or in it. Or if you are 5 or 65.  As long as you’re living and participating in this life, there is always going to be something new coming down the pike. A first. And if you have any measure of my nervousness in you, it might feel frightening, even overwhelming at times.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t do it.

It's scary to leap into the next part of life, but making that jump isn't only necessary, it's the smartest thing you can do for yourself. Take the jump!

Many firsts we don’t have a choice about–my son’s class was going to the Book Fair and I was expected to be there. Other firsts are fuzzier; agree to a national TV appearance? Burying self in hole under bed feels so much cozier.

Since my mother died, I’ve gotten better about pushing myself off the ledge and simply jumping. Part of it for me is that, in many ways, the worst already happened; The Horrible is no longer a first so I fear it less. The other part is the brevity of life became too real.

I highly doubt I will stop crowd-sourcing the merits of Dress A vs. Dress B on Facebook any time soon, but I do know I’m going to pick one of the dresses and just put it on. And go.

Go. Jump. Move. Staying in the same place is just so five minutes-ago.

 

First image credit: Thanks to Jen B. Studios for capturing my daughter’s fearlessness all in one picture!

Second image credit: Depositphotos.com, ID:4754565,copyright:monkeybusiness

Oct 202014
 

To-do lists are daunting! Actually getting stuff done is so hard! I finally figured out this one trick to not letting these lists loom scarily large over my day.I love my husband a lot.  He’s a good man.  He’s a smart man.  Some of the things he says makes me want to scream. Sometimes I do scream.

You see, he has this lovely gift of practicality and perspective. God decided to skip those traits in me.  I got ginormous thighs and a bent towards being ferociously emotional instead.

Often the things that I’m most passionately frustrated over my husband eradicates with a simple sentence. This is both a gift and highly annoying.

Most recently, I’ve had my panties in a bunch over my perceived lack of hours in the day. One particular evening, channeling my inner-Caillou, I broke into a rather heated whining rant, “There is just no way I can get everything done! I am slamming out every second of the day and still can’t keep up…I can’t keep doing this.”

My husband answered easily, “Then don’t.”

The screeching as my mind did an about-face was almost audible.  Whaaa?? “What in the world do you mean?”

“Stop. God didn’t design your life to be this way, tired and stressed all the time.  There are 24 hours in a day, and if you can’t get everything done you need to in that time, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Scary red flags of indignation started waving wildly.  How dare he? Who does he think will drop his children off at school and wash the excessive number of dishes he insists on dirtying? Would his boxer shorts start washing and folding themselves?

I huffed away. I was right, and he was wrong, of course. Certain of his cruel insensitivity to the magnitude of responsibility I shoulder each day, I thought loads of helpful thoughts, like “Typical man!” and “He will never get it!”

My thoughts weren’t wrong; he is a man, and no, he won’t get it–just as I will never fully get his work.  But, as it turns out, as I allowed my rage to chill (frantic slamming of pots and pans around the kitchen always helps), he wasn’t wrong either.

In fact, he was very right.  Right in the punch-me-in-the-gut kind of way.

Crap. Darn. Shoot. I loathe it when he’s right. I more loathe it when it’s time to revamp my way of thinking because I’ve been completely wrong.

When your husband is right @meredithspidel

For days, for months, for years even, I have been approaching each day as a beast to be tackled. Something that if I plan just a little bit more, a little bit harder, I can form it into something smoother. Maybe even easier?

Wrong. The truth is, this life is never going to quit. There will always be another task that needs to be done and another ask from someone seeking something. Whether it’s my children needing their bums wiped or the Home and School committee looking for Book Fair volunteers, it’s never going to end.

I will always have a to-do list.

It will always be long.

I won’t get it all crossed off.  As long as I’m living and engaging in life, I’ll never get it all crossed off.

Huh.

So this is just the way life is.  And last I checked, there were no plans to add more hours to the day. And God is pretty darn wise; He knew what He was doing when He designed this whole ball game. 24 hours was and is the length of our day–the way it was meant to be.

Knowing that the circumstances of busyness nor daily time limitations won’t change, it appears there may be a distinct truth to my husband’s words. If the circumstances aren’t going to change, that means I have to change.

I don’t know how to make my days or my lists manageable, but I can handle waking up every day, and saying a silent prayer, “I don’t know how to do this. Let what is important get done. Help me not to panic about the rest–or at least send a sturdy paper bag my way to breathe in.”

And do you know what? When I do this, when I say this prayer, when I finally let go, the frenzy of the day dissipates.

No, my to-do list doesn’t magically shrink. There are no sweet miniature helper elves who come to my aid. Darn. But I am able to put one foot in front of the other.  And somehow the important things, the really important things manage to get done.

So that is my secret, my trick to finally, for once and for all, not allowing your to-do list to dominate your life. Let go of it. Allow a peace to prevail.

It’s a choice and you can do it–paper bag in hand if you need it ;)

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:21915393, copyright:gpointstudio

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:49375597,copyright:Dmyrto_Z

Sep 102014
 

Knowing how to take the next step can be daunting and overwhelming. Please don't feel alone! You really CAN keep pressing on, even when all seems hopeless...I feel dishonest of sorts.  You see, while I have shared about the challenge Kindergarten has presented to us, I have failed to tell you how it has utterly, totally slayed me.  I slam out my mornings in a vigor known only to moms terrified of misstepping the intricate school system and then, by the time lunch is squared away and I demand “rest time” of my kiddos out of desperation, I too am passing out come 1pm.

Entirely unproductive.

As I watch my professional life slide to the wayside and laundry pile up to my eyeballs, I feel stymied.  Will I ever find order again?  More importantly, will I ever remember to restock on mouthwash at the grocery store or am I destined to a life of halitosis?

I am tired.  My feet flail in efforts to find the ground and truly, the notion of a routine fled somewhere between the folds of preschool drop-off and Kindgergarten pick-up.

Also there is Letter L Show-N-Share day.  Good gracious. Why do we not have a stuffed ladybug readily at our disposal??

Vulnerability, true in state, can be a tricky thing.  Very few people are a safe landing spot, but when I shared my current disaster with a kindred spirit, she encouraged me, “Treat this like you did the early days.”  You know–the post-hospital days of horror, when you had no clue how tomorrow would figure itself out.  When you just had to trust that somehow, it would figure itself out.  That things would somehow start to make sense.

That if you just put one foot in front of the other, circumstances might start to sort themselves.

I have no idea why the emotional, physical, logistical, and social impact of this transition has been so traumatic for me.  For us.

That’s not totally true.

I have learned that big events in my life, post mom-dying, tend to bury me.  I lose all sense of logic, tend to burn things, and self-destruct in a cloud of unorganized grocery store lists and random Kohls promo codes.  Honestly, I think this disorder might prevail even if my mom still lived–chaos is a natural state for me.  

But…but.  I recognize it.  I get up every day, hopefully mix up my protein shake and fantasize that today will be The Day.  The Day That I Finally Get It Together.

It will not.  I will likely remember Show-n-Share and pick my son up on time.  I will remember to feed my babes apple slices with their lunch and push water intake.  I will then pass out post-lunch.  But, God-willing, I will manage to tackle one small thing on my to-do list.  It will not be a big thing, but the important thing is that I will have tried.

I will have put one step in front of the other.

Even when I didn’t know where that step should go.

Even when I didn’t know what the road would look like, where it was going, or what kind of footwear would be appropriate.

Even when I was scared, confused, and overwhelmed.

At least I made the step.

 

Image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:53667609,c opyright:miramiska

May 112014
 

There are very few things in this world that make me feel as boss as blogging.

It was never something that was planned.  It just happened.  But it quickly became a saving grace as my daughter grew from newborn to infant, as my mother died, and as my son found himself in a body cast.  And then it didn’t stop. I found a voice, I met some of the best friends of my life through the blogosphere, and I continue to daily challenge myself to new things–vlogging? Why not? Plan a blog conference? Sure. Put on a pair of printed leggings and snap a pic of myself for a sponsored post?  I may have to get back to you on that one…

Long and short–BLOGGING IS A BLESSING TO ME.

So when I saw that Cristi of Motherhood Unadorned had made t-shirts specifically for bloggers, I was elated as my fingers madly fumbled over the keyboard in a dash for my Paypal account.  When I understood that Cristi designed them herself and she was doing it as a fundraiser for suicide prevention, I was in awe of her.  She’s sharing her story below, and friends, settle in because it’s a neat one.

And then go buy one.  For yourself, if you’re a blogger, as your own Mother’s Day presentbecause let’s be honest, do the hubs and kids ever really get it right?  Or order one for a blogger you know.  Worried they already have one?  Don’t be.   As I told Cristi, I want it in every style and would proudly wear this shirt daily.

You see, I am a blogger.  This is me.  This is what I do. And this Mother’s Day, I’m taking a moment to just be proud of that.  Proud of myself.  I know my mom is smiling down on this one too.

After all blogger is a pretty darn boss thing for a mom to be.

Blogger Tee Pride @meredithspidel

******************************************************************

In Cristi’s words:

In 2010, I lost a dear lifelong friend to suicide. It really rocked my world, particularly because I have mental illness myself and had been suicidal in the past. I started blogging that year to sort of write out my feelings and grieve, but very quickly it took on a life of its own. At that time I also started raising funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Back then I admit, I really didn’t know much about the foundation. It was yet again a way for me to “do something” with my grief.

But since then I’ve learned so much more. I started volunteering and this year I joined the Board of Directors for our local chapter. I can say without a doubt the AFSP is doing great things for suicide prevention and support for those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

You can find out more here about what the AFSP does and why I’m raising funds for their national Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk. This amazing event is a 17-mile walk literally over night from dusk till dawn. I did it for the first time in 2013 in Washington DC and the event truly changed my life. When they announced that this year’s walk would be in my hometown of Seattle I was thrilled, but also nervous about raising the funds since I had just done it last year. So I got a little creative.

Yes, sometimes I just stare at the words in this graphic and feel validated.  TRUE STORY.

Yes, sometimes I just stare at the words in this graphic and feel validated. TRUE STORY.

I decided to reach out within my blogger community and sell shirts with original artwork by me about being a blogger. I call it the Butterfly Blogger t-shirt. If you look closely it says the word “Blogger” in the body and within the wings you’ll see words that represent the many “hats” we wear as bloggers and social media influencers. The art itself actually has nothing to do with suicide prevention, its just my way to raising funds for this important cause. Each year 38,000 people die by suicide and around a million make an attempt. Its the 10th leading cause of death in our country and that is unacceptable. If you and I can help bring suicide out of the darkness I truly believe we can stop suicide.

Please consider buying a t-shirt or tank top to support my suicide prevention fundraising. 40-50% of the sales are directly donated to the AFSP. If you can’t buy, please share this link. To me this is also about raising awareness. The more people know that its okay to talk about mental health and suicide, the more people will reach out for help. They’ll feel less alone. They’ll be less ashamed of their very real illness.

Cristi Comes is a mom, wife, mental health advocate and writer at Motherhood Unadorned. She’s also a member of the Board of Directors for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Washington State, and is on the editorial leadership team for Postpartum Progress. You can reach her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

****This post is not sponsored, I am just very proud of Cristi and her work with these tees! Though I may be actively trying to persuade her to send me the tank top version because that wasn’t an exaggeration, I really do want it in every style…****

Apr 142014
 

Knowing When Your Family is Complete @meredithspidelI’m listening to my children play “camping” above me in my daughter’s room.  Basically, it sounds like a herd of noisy elephants who like to laugh a lot has been let loose.  And a lot of opening and slamming doors is apparently required for this camping endeavor too.

I’m exhausted.  They have won today. A day full of outside play, preschool drop-off, temper tantrums, 16 different lunch requests, spilled juice boxes, and a thousand readings of the same story.

Yet I am also at peace despite the fatigue.  While I’ve never made any secret of that fact that this age and stage of young kiddos is challenging for me, my kids are getting older and this is getting slightly, very slightly, easier each day.  A year ago, I couldn’t have let them both go upstairs and play together. If my daughter didn’t decide to bathe in the toilet, she would have fallen down the stairs in an effort to fly like a fairy.

But it’s not just these small slices of independence that leave me breathing a little relief.  You see, we’re done.  And not only are we done having children, we know that we are done having children.

I am NOT saying that it’s wrong to want more children. Or to have more children. Or to be uncertain about what your plans are.  I’m simply saying that we’ve found a peace in finally knowing we’ve got our family where we want it to be.

Go ahead and jump a little--it feels good to be settled!

Go ahead and jump a little–it feels good to be settled!

Different things are always right for different people, and I love rejoicing with my friends as they welcome new little angels into their families.  At the same time, I have looked at my friends with older children who had already most definitely closed off the procreation efforts, and watched with an awe as they set about the business of raising their kids and just moving forward with their lives. I felt like I was watching from a confused mountain heap of messy diapers and cute first words with one leg caught in the yoga pants I’d only had time to partially pull on. Kind of mired where I was standing, yet wanting to do it again.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave the house, literally or figuratively.  But when my husband and I definitively made the decision that for us, for our family, we were complete, it was as if the air freed up a bit.  Suddenly energy that had been spent on figuring out where we wanted to go with our lives could just be spent on figuring out our lives.

It’s a tremendous blessing to have a “full family”, and I’m grateful for this every day.  And who knows who or what God might bring into our lives in the future, but today, I’m feeling very peaceful about being satisfied with things as they are. About for us, being able to “call it a day” and move on with things.

Being able to “call it a family”, if you will.  It’s a good place for us.

Happy with room for giggles

Complete with room for giggles

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:13765341, copyright:andresr

Mar 312014
 
"I'll cut you if you hurt him"--captioned by the fantabulous Stephanie Jankowski

“I’ll cut you if you hurt him”–captioned by the fantabulous Stephanie Jankowski

I wish I had my daughter’s spirit and energy.  In her two-year old wild perfection, she barrels and life and doesn’t stop.  If you’ve met Elyse in person, you know exactly what I mean.  My son has the most gorgeous heart I’ve witnessed on this earth, but he is a sensitive soul.  More like his mother that way–for the good and for the bad.

When the dentist tells him he needs to get a cavity filled, he will cry.  And he will worry and panic, but his sister will plop herself right down beside him and hold on, as if to say to him, “We’re doing this together”–she doesn’t care.  She’s his bestie, and she doesn’t have fear.  To the dentist, she is saying, “I’ll cut you if you hurt him.” (Thanks a bajillion times over to my love Stephanie of When Crazy Meets Exhaustion for this perfect caption of my daughter’s thoughts).

We found out last week that my dude needs eye surgery.  Well-prepped for this reality, I was super-brave in the office and on the way home.  I remained calm, cool, and collected.  But then after settling them into lunch with their grilled cheese triangles, I started to read the paperwork.  Surgery. General Anethesia. Recovery. Post-op. Suddenly there was a lump in my throat and too-fresh memories of the horrid hell we went through with my son’s broken leg came flooding into focus.

Because, you see, in my human fallacy, I am fearful.  I trust the doctors and the necessity of this surgery, but I’m scared.  I’m scared of the “what if”.  The big and scary events of life–deaths, surgeries, unknowns, tend to shake this fear out of hiding.

As my husband peels out to troll the European wonders of Austria on a business trip, I’m left here, panicking.  Not sleeping for weeks prior to his departure.  You know me–I will never jump for joy over the prospect of having to navigate this beast of young kids solo, but it’s not that that leaves me clock-watching in the wee hours.  It’s the terror that something will happen.  And if it does, what will I do?

My dad and sister are fantastic–they want to help, but they have their own jobs and resposibilities.  And I have friends–good ones, but the primary truth of it is that the kids and I are alone here.  And this scares me.

I live my life in fear of the bottom falling out.  My mother’s death taught me this–because it did.  The bottom fell out.  Yet it also taught me that life will go on if/when the bottom does fall out–because it does.

My prayer every day is that I zero in on the truth of this momentum of life.  It’s not going to stop, no matter what–somehow things will keep moving.  I wish that I could cling to the fearlessness my daughter lives with.  I wish that I would not only hear the words of the song below, but that they would penetrate every corner of me.  Because the most real truth is that God will always have my back and be there to walk through the dark with me–scary moments in the middle of the night when I’m feeling all alone included.

It will be okay–somehow.

And my husband better bring me back a rockin’ treat from Austria to make up for all the diaper changes he missed.  Not that I’m insanely jealous or anything.

With my God?  Let’s do this thing.

Dec 252013
 

Perfect last year, perfect this year.  You’ll excuse me while I take a “week off” and repost some of the oldies, but goodies from last year.  None more appropriate that today’s post.  Merry Chrismas and xo, dear readers…

Silent Night.

Holy Night.

Christ the Savior is Born.

Oct 212013
 
Source I have no idea where to go from here

Source
Not sure where we’re going next around here

It’s not looking good around here.  Laundry is piled up beyond days, and I have a vague notion of a place called “the grocery store”, but I can’t quite remember what it is.  When I have called my husband at work, sobbing for the 2nd time in a week that “I just can’t keep up”, he gently suggests it may be time to “quit the blog”.

The thing is, he’s right.  I’m in no place in my life to take on an “added responsibility”, albeit one that is paid poorly to nill.  I am tired.  I run hard after my 2 and 4 yr. old all day, and generally count any day sans the smoke alarm going off 16 times as a definite victory.  I am one hot, freakin’ mess.

And it’s not just The Blog that causes stress (and my husband knows this)–it’s keeping up with two active kiddos, and their playdates, and the snacks needed for preschool, and the Bible Study homework, and remembering the dog’s vet appointment.  Everybody’s landscape of stress looks different, and some manage it so much better than others, but I think it’s a pretty rare thing to find a mama who doesn’t teeter in to stress-case territory once in a while.

As for this “added responsibility” that’s clouding up my own stress-scape?  (don’t so many of us have an “added responsibility” of some sort?) The darn thing is I feel firmly called to use this (very weird, for sure) voice I’ve been given.  I claim that it’s not about me, and while this isn’t 100% true, it is 95% not-a-lie and the thought of abandoning this unique platform that God has granted me makes me feel more than a little sick.  I have worked so hard to build this and when even one person says something like, “You make me laugh so much” or “Thanks for helping me feel normal”, my heart kind of swoons and it all feels…worth it??

And if I’m honest, it’s not the time writing that is the problem.  This part is healing, therapeutic, fun.  It’s touching base with a love for writing that I let lay dormant far to long.  The problem is the CONSTANT PUTTING MYSELF OUT THERE.

See, the thing is, every single post, be it blog, Facebook, or Twitter is a “laying on the line” of self.  This might work awesomely well, except I am a decided introvert.  I heal, repair, and restore through Alone Time. (as you might imagine, this aloneness isn’t readily forthcoming in the life of two young kids) Throwing myself out into the social media-sphere every few hours is not my comfort zone.  It will never be my comfort zone.

Yet I remain convicted that our time on this earth is not about us.  If this is something I am Supposed To Be Doing to encourage or give foot to faltering others…pass the laptop, this blog is on. Maybe I can just find a way to do it in a deep, social-less hole??

So where does this leave me?  In the deep depths of my stress-scape, loving and respecting my husband and our family, striving for balance.  Praying and working to minimalize all the non-necessary corners I can (no, my ceiling fans haven’t been dusted since we moved in, and yes, that’s really gross) and to prioritize the important stuff, like trips to the park with the kids and Duck Dynasty nights with my husband, and the rare moment I snag alone to rejuvenate myself.

But there is always pressure over how to manage it all, and there is always confusion over what the heck to do with the pressure…

What I do know?  I appreciate each and every single one of you who pop by and humor me with the posts I write, and who support me as I navigate this nasty beast of Facebook and social media.  I am learning, growing, and I know not where this venture will take me or where it is meant to go, but I so appreciate you being here with me.

And I’ll take ANY stress-scape management input you have…or just company as I hang out here, trying to figure it all out. xo.

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