Thursday, October 15, 2015

What I Just Cannot Savor

I have become one of those women in the grocery store line who looks at the mama with the screaming toddler and the baby strapped to her chest and the preschooler clearing out the gum department and says, "Oh, it's going to go so fast! Enjoy every minute!"

How do I think that is even a little helpful??? It is not. That poor mama just wants to wipe the tears off my face by punching me. Rightly so.

In reality, there are some things about those years that just cannot be savored. Can. Not. 

Let me give you permission here to not savor some things.

One a.m. diaper explosions? You do not have to savor that.

Vomit in the carseat that takes eleventy billion hours to disassemble, wash and then reassemble? Don't savor it.

Dragging, literally dragging, a snot covered child out of the chick-fil-a play place? It's ok if your face turns red and you cry and wonder what happened to the college degree you worked for and the respect you used to command.

And for all of you who are already irritated with me thinking I don't love my children, please know I know these years go fast, I know these children are a gift, I believe God gave them to us on purpose and orders our days, even days that involve more time-out than time-in. That is why we kept them. 

And if you are irritated and think those moments should be enjoyed because it goes so fast, you have forgotten what those moments felt like or you are delusional and need some psychiatric assistance. 

The days of those major meltdowns are behind us, for now, and we seem to be in the "golden age" of parenting. We are pretty much drama-free, the kids love us and want to be with us and think we're awesome (although one did call us both "really old" last night - didn't savor that moment), everyone tends to obey, the days we have to dole out consequences are getting further and further apart.

However, there are still some things I just cannot savor. And I know these things go on at your house, too, so I'm just going to say them out loud for us. And if they don't or never did, then you are a better mom than I. Brava. 

But in this house, Darling Daughters, Mommy cannot savor:

Rolled up, sweaty socks
Unrolling socks is apparently excruciatingly hard. I know this because there has never once been an unrolled sock in the laundry basket. I am very wise, though, and can teach you this life skill. In fact, I feel sure I have shown you many-a-time. This cycle may be hard to break as it is apparently genetic. Daddy really struggles with this, too. 

Crumbs.
For the love of Pete's sake lean over your plate! Six feet away from the table is not an ok distance. Are you trying to leave a trail so you can find your way back to the supper table tomorrow night? Because I will give you a tour of our house. I'll show you where our dining room is. Crumb trails are not necessary, Gretel All Three Daughters.

Q-tips/tissues that almost make it to the trash can.
So close. So, so close. But the floor right next to the trash can isn't actually the trash can. I know it's confusing: in, out...which is it? Here's an easy way to remember: if it doesn't fall into the small white cylindrical bucket, it's out. Also, whoever tried to throw away a partially eaten box of last Halloween's Nerds? Didn't quite make it. I can tell because I CAN SEE THEM. Can you? You don't actually have to wait until Saturday to sweep them up. Cleaning, although generally done then, can be done any time you see a mess. 

Hair everywhere. On every single surface.
You know how Daddy is pretty much bald? Apparently that is happening to you. Or maybe it's just that you are cleaning out your hairbrush in places like the kitchen where all our food is made and then getting so, so close to the trash can with the resulting hair wad (see previous non-savory item). I have occasionally been startled and a little frightened by the appearance of a coyote or possibly even a buffalo in the corner of the living room only to discover it is a hair ball. I know you don't want Mommy to be afraid in my own house, so again, all loose hair goes in that little white container.   

Empty toilet paper spindles. 
When Mommy chose the toilet paper holders for this house I chose ones that are levers. You merely raise the little thing, slide off the old tube, slide on a new one and then lower the lever. There's no more of this rocket science stuff where you have to push and lower and try to figure out how a spring works. That kind seemed hard even for Daddy. Show me your hand. Now raise it an inch. That's it! You can change the toilet paper. College, here we come.  




Books turned sideways and lying on top of other books.

Again, what a good effort. But see all that empty space at the end of each row? Well, if you will just turn the book, just a tad, no, not all the way around, just a slight turn, you can stand it up in that empty space, and it won't get all bent up or lost behind the other books. This will require a paradigm shift, but I am sure you can do it if you focus.

Gallons of shampoo used nightly.
Now as far as I know there is no shampoo shortage, but for each of you to use an entire bottle with each bath is just a little much. And even though we use the cheapest shampoo the Shampoo People make because of this very reason, Mommy and Daddy may have to cancel Christmas in order to pay the shampoo bill. I know this would make you sad, so maybe we could drop the shampoo usage to half a bottle a night, or even better, a dollop the size of a quarter, which we have demonstrated for you nightly since birth

Furniture as Trampolines
This is a really hard concept. This chair, although it may look like a trampoline, is not. In fact, it is the only nice thing left in this house. Mommy picked it out back before you were born when we weren't having to spend quite so much money on shampoo. It is made of the softest leather, but here lately seems to be a little sad. See how the back cushion is sagging? That is not a natural phenomenon but is instead caused by behinds who are confused and think that part is the seat. Not so. And the wrinkles in the once taut leather on the actual seat? That is from little jumping feet. Again, the resemblance to the gigantic bright blue trampoline in the backyard is uncanny, but know that this is the chair, not the trampoline.
 
If we could just work on those things, maybe Mommy will let you live here until you graduate. K? K. 

Now I know some of you mamas who are past even this stage will tell me I will miss the laundry, and chairs can be replaced, and supper will be so quiet without them and be glad they have access to shampoo. I know, I know. In ten years I'll be that mama, too. 

But for today, can I say --

OH MY GOSH THERE'S A COYOTE!!!

Nope. Just a hairball. 

Grace for Little People in Stinky Socks,
Martha





Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Just Keep Breathing

I literally have allowed myself until the granola bars are done to write this post which gives me:




So I'm going to go fast.

There are so many horrible, horrible things going on and so many of my Dear People are on so many different sides of the issues. So the big thing here is just to Pray, Pray, Pray, without stopping, breathing prayers in and out all the live long day, and if we are all doing that and loving Jesus, then that is all we need to have in common.

So today, through all the mean posts and ugly comments and devastating news stories, I am going to "Live Right On" which is a quote from Wendell Berry's Hannah Coulter, best book ever, that a dear friend is getting tattooed on her wrist, fully supported by her husband (PRESTON!), and has become a motto of sorts. I think our generation would do well to learn a little more Living Right On and a lot less Wallowing. Do we or do we not know the end of the story? Let's live like it!

Anyways, living right on for me today includes a vacuum cleaner taped together and a vacuum bag so full of Rainbow Loom rubber bands I could...well, I don't know what exactly, but I could do whatever it is you are supposed to do with 87 million tiny rubber bands. 


See the tape on all pieces of the handle? 
Vacuum needs 
some oils or prayer or something. 

It also includes a costume for the oldest girl, who will give a report on the Greek goddess Demeter tomorrow, who is the goddess of the harvest. Lots of my Mom People are also putting this together, and can I just say the texts going around about this are HILARIOUS? While at the same time, infuriating. Nothing brings out mama's dark side like a good costume. Lucky for me my girls love some dress up, and we have two laundry baskets full of randomness for just that reason. 



I am also breathing in and out for a newborn babe with a blocked retina, a three year old with a sudden thyroid disease, three cavities in my own mouth that will require fillings and cursing, refugees whose husbands were lost at sea, elderly parents, wisdom, people who find themselves with water in their living rooms and no insurance to fix it, safety for my babies in their school, adoptions to go through.

All those things are HUGE! So enormous.

And God cares and is working and always will be working in those gigantic things.

But God, in His beautiful beauty and unmeasurable grace and love beyond my imagination also cares about the things like getting to school on time when car trouble has forced us to turn around - and we did get to school on time! 

And He cares about Greek costumes.

And He cares about alternators.

And He cares about vacuums.

Keep breathing, friends. The end is so good!

Grace, 
Martha

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What I'm Loving and Loathing

Loving:

1. This meme. Which makes me laugh hysterically. It's just one of those things that makes me crack up every single time I look at it. Who knew? George and Mix-A-Lot. And when I shared it with my other Mom People, one said, "Why is it that I can sing all the words to filthy rap songs from high school and struggle to memorize Scripture?" Amen, Mom Friend. 

2. This stuff right here is the best thing in my life. You kinda feel like you are drinking Fanta or Crush, but it's WATER! Yay, LaCroix. You keep working your magic.
3. This is my guy. I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Carson speak at a fundraiser for our kids' school, and I just love him. He is class personified. And he's been there. He knows. For the first time in history I am putting a bumper sticker on my car, which I generally dislike. (Bumper stickers. Not the car. Well, I don't love the car either since it's a van, but I meant I dislike bumper stickers.) I really think this man has what it takes. Look him up.


4. The single pear one of our four baby pear trees produced. This picture kind of makes me want to be a tree hugger. Look at those beautiful wooden salad utensils! Look at that countertop! Look at that pear! Thanks, Trees.



5. This cookbook is awesome. It was written by Leanne Brown who wanted to help people receiving government assistance eat well on their $4 per day allotment. They gave these to everyone at our kids' school, and this book is my love. I have gotten some great recipes out of it already. There were several celebrities who tried to live on the food stamp amount for a week and gave up after a few days. One said that making his own fried rice emotionally drained him. I wanted to hurl this book at him through my computer where I was reading about him on People.com TheWebsiteSmartPeopleRead.com. I think this book could be life changing for some people. 


6. Rolls of hay sprinkled across southern fields. Farmers getting ready for the winter. The country life. (Although not that many nights ago we were enjoying the peace of the most magic hour of the day, i.e. when the children go to bed, and were accosted by the howling of coyotes, the return howling of our dog, and the moo-screams of all the mama cows who were spending the night alone after the round up saw the calves hauled off and sold at auction. Preston looked at me and said, "I thought we moved out here for the quiet!")


7. The time of year for fires with friends, s'mores, kids running wild in the dark. And standing on the picnic table. Why, children? Why do ya'll do the destructive things you do?


8. BSF. If you are not involved in a Bible Study check out bsfinternational.org.We are going through Revelation this year, and it is phenomenal. They have classes for every single age. And it's not childcare. Every child, down to the teeniest babies, hear the lesson, place their chubby little hands on the Bible, are sung to and prayed over. Bible Study Fellowship has been a huge part of my life, and it's like a sigh of relief to be back in it after a three year hiatus due to my youngest child who would scream so much her teacher told me, "We would love to comfort and help her...if she would let us touch her." We did that for 8 weeks and then decided enough. Her teachers were praising Jesus the day they got our drop notice, I am sure. 


9. This right here is a billion dollar idea.


10. This game was introduced to us by a college friend at our annual lake weekend (aka #spaghettifor31please). It is so, so fun, but involves some quick thinking and trickery. I am shocked at how well our girls play this game and what good little liars they are, which does not bode well for the teen years. Let's all pray for the teen years.


11. Eva used this photo of my Grandma and Grandpa King to complete an art assignment to sketch "an old couple." This is going with me if our house is on fire. 



12. My girl's diorama project. Mama's hands did not touch this, nor did Daddy's. I wish I'd gotten a better picture of the details, like the crack in Benny's pink cup. Bravo, sweet-baby-whose-parents-won't-help-you-because-we-already-did-2nd grade.



13. I have wanted a tattoo since I was 19. Not anything major, just a little body art. First my dad was super opposed, and now the other important man in my life is super opposed, but wouldn't this be so pretty on the inside of my wrist? I love it so much. I researched the font I want. I looked into tattoo parlors. I have spent wasted so much time on this. Maybe you could just casually mention the awesomeness of tattoos next time you see my Mr. Conservative? Thanks so much.
14. This little nugget I found when I got to the bottom of the Pile Of Paper That Is Eating Our Kitchen. You have one of those piles. Go through it. Hopefully you'll find something like this and not the cutoff notice I found from AT&T, which I kind of forgot about and ignored because I had paid the bill and knew it was a mixup but then our service got cut off for a few hours until Mr. Conservative called their customer service and really let someone have it talked calmly and rationally to the person on the other end and got it all figured out. I should make myself write something like, "Don't speak until you have called Preston and run it by him" about 250,000 times. He is so my opposite in his ability to be calm and rational, and he is definitely the more holy one in areas of the tongue. But I say "holy" a lot. It just isn't usually followed by a holy word. And this note right here is proof that the Lord is working in spite of the holy words I say.  


15. And ending my love list with this. What else should we be giving our lives to except discipling, parenting, raising our children so that one day they would run towards the blade (I just can't get away from that) for Jesus if need be? So that they spend their days being the hands and feet of Jesus so that more people come to know Him? So that they understand their own sinfulness and their great need for a Savior? So that they fall so in love with this Savior that He is the most important thing in their world? The 20 or so years we will spend in this intense parenting phase is but a blip, a vapor within the vapor of our lives, but how distracted we get by the things that pale in comparison to this calling. And parenting can be so inconvenient! It cramps my style, man! But this gift. These little people He gave to Preston and me, for now. Sometimes I feel as if my heart will explode from the love of them. What could possibly be more worthy of our time?  


Loathing:

1. Ragweed. Ragweed is the root of all evil. All of my energy I use for loathing is used up on ragweed. 



Grace for All (and Especially All My Fellow Ragweed Sufferers),
Martha