August 31, 2011

I Took on Too Much Today.

bubbles! OF TERROR! hahaha.

I took on way too much today.

I didn't really mean to, it just all kind of... happened. TODAY.

It all started with a trip to the grocery store early this morning after Ezra was at school. We needed one of everything... you know how it goes... and I had an infant strapped to my chest and a 2 year old in the cart who has recently moved beyond "challenging" into the realms of "batpoop crazy".

We had to walk down every isle. And then I had to go back down a couple that I somehow missed things on, all while listening to the constant badgering from a certain 2 year old about the "tiny batteries" that I promised to buy him for his train.

(I fear I may have post-traumatic stress over the "tiny battery" torture that I endured this morning. If I ever hear the words "tiny batteries" again, I'm just going to scream and run with no preface whatsoever. Just so you know.)

Anywho, we did mostly OK in the store, despite stumbling upon the WORLD'S! SLOWEST! BAGGER! at the checkout, when I was mere inches from the finish line. She was as sweet as could be, and I really did appreciate her taking such care with my grocery items, but also? This baby ain't gettin' any lighter and this 2 year old ain't gettin' any quieter sweetheart. JUST THROW THE STUFF IN THE BAGS. I AM REALLY OK WITH MY BREAD ITEMS TOUCHING MY FROZEN ITEMS RIGHT NOW.

(Heck, I would have been okay with my food items touching my poison items at that point, hahaha.)

MYER: "Where's my TINY BATTERIES go mama??"

ME: *eye twitch*

So, I get all the (perfectly bagged!) groceries home and as I'm pulling into the driveway I remember the thing I always forget. I have to bring all this stuff inside somehow.

I realize that there are probably a few people out there who don't own a gaggle of children who are thinking in their perfectly coiffed heads, "...and?"

These are the people who have never had to juggle a sleeping infant in a carseat and a loud child or two in the other seats and a car full of frozen items that are quickly becoming baked items in the 111 degree heat and the concern over if a policeman happened to drive by and one's kids were all still strapped in the car while one was lugging armful after armful of groceries inside, how much time would one serve, exactly? And would the jail cell be relatively quiet where one could potentially hear one's own thoughts without having to maintain banter about "tiny batteries" for hours at a time?

Hmmm...... Wait. Why do I suddenly hear a ukulele playing in my head?

I leave the kids in the running car and bring in the endless bags. Then I bring in the children. Then I put everything away while also making lunch and setting up the pottytraining stuff and feeding the baby.

THEN I remember to go turn the car off. hahaha.

That brings me to THING TWO. Myer finally expressed an interest in potty training today. I was not about to let that opportunity slip through my fingers, so I girded my loins and pulled the dusty potty chair out into the living room. I set out juice boxes and fun Lightning McQueen undies and crazy straws and M&M's, and I dug in my heels.

Things were going great! For about... 20 minutes.

He went potty once after much coaxing, and was excited about the progress, but then something shut down in him. He wanted NOTHING to do with the potty after that.

What is a mother to do? Do you strong-arm your way through toward the goal? Do you give in the a child's desires and slap the diaper back on?

I tried the strong-arm approach.

I... pretty much lost. To a two-year-old. He's waaay too strong for me to fight right now.

After dragging a second "potty success" out of the child this evening, I checked my energy reserves. The tank was completely empty, and I had just fed Myer a half pound of M&M's right in the middle of dinner, just so he would stop freaking out and pee into a green plastic frog.

Not my finest parenting moment, let's just say that.

Oh, and THING THREE: I took all three kids to the library in there somewhere. I can't remember how it all worked out logistically. It's all a blur at this point.

So... yeah. I took on too much today.

Thank the sweet Lord Jesus that tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow I plan to stay in my jammies and change lots and lots of glorious diapers. That sounds like *heaven on earth* right about now, it really does. haha.

August 23, 2011

The Screeching Season.

**this post is inspired by this book and part of my continuation of hunting for more gratitude in my everyday life. I've started a series on Instagram & Flickr called #1000thanks where I am documenting the things I am thankful for, via images, throughout the day! Join me there or on Facebook or on Twitter if you'd like!**

These days have been battlefield days... the kind where every moment feels like imminent victory or imminent defeat, with no middle ground in between. One moment I am soaring high with thanksgiving on my lips, gratitude singing in my heart, joy lighting my face... the next I am hiding in the bedroom- breathing hard and reeling.

There is such a tension in my heart... like a violin string... held somewhere between singing and snapping sharp, coiling back.

I feel like this is all stemming from my dogged determination to dig up gratitude in the hard soil of my heart. It is... extremely hard work. Harder than I ever imagined it would be. But if you think about it, it is sort of akin to throwing a speeding car in reverse on the highway, isn't it? I have been driving so long and so hard and so far in discontentment! I have been wandering the road for 29 years, grumbling all the live long day! To throw my life suddenly into the direction of gratitude has not been easy. The tires are screaming and leaving melted layers on the asphalt. The smoke billows and every heavy ounce of kinetic energy is fighting the shift.

I am pressing against the momentum of an entire lifetime.

I'm in the screeching season.

I remind myself that it is just that... a season. It WILL become more natural, over time. As I do the hard work and hard practice of finding thankfulness in every day, every hour, it will become more like second nature. The momentum WILL eventually shift. Oh, I long for that to be the direction of my life!

But for now, it's the screeching season.

I will keep fighting. I will keep breathing. I will keep framing up these snapshots of gratitude... little memorials of God's goodness to me, to my family... preserved in time so that I can look.

(thanks for this verse, sweet anna joy!)

So that I can look and remember.

August 17, 2011

When the Jungle Drums Stop Pounding.

There are days when I can totally picture myself having another child. (In the not-so-near future, of cooooourse.) Then there are the other days in which I am thrilled to have my body (mostly) back to myself and I have a hard time picturing the pregnancy/labor fiasco all over again.

I am happy with three boys. I would be happy with four boys. I would be happy with three boys and a girl!

My husband is not ready to think about such things right this second... you know, because he is sane and possesses all of his faculties and whatnot.

I just really feel more and more confident that I was made for this. Not because I am good at it (guffaw!), but because it feels deeply right that I should be laying down my life in this way for this season. It's like a gut instinct that I am right where I am meant to be... in my home, with these boys.

It's not exactly the life I had always pictured for myself in my head while I was growing up... it's not exactly the life that the world and the media are telling me I should fight for and desire...

...It's only about one bajillion times better.

That's not to say that I don't have days where I want to fly the coop for awhile... get in the car and drive until I feel the jungle drums stop pounding in my head...

I do have those moments. But they are becoming fewer and farther between. Because I no longer feel the need to chase anything "greater". What I am doing in my home with these boys IS great! How could I have ever believed that this was...not enough? That I needed to contribute more and be more and do more in order to be... seen? Valued? Worthwhile?

It is a miracle that those jungle drums have ceased pounding through all of my days. They were driving me to a breaking point. I used to wake to them every morning and fight my way back to sleep through them at night.

I don't know exactly when they stopped hammering... those drums of war... but in their absence I can finally hear the truth:

I was made for this. It may not be easy and my life may not be featured on the cover of any glam magazine anytime soon... heck, I live in Oklahoma in a small brick house on a quiet little street... but what my life may be lacking in flash & pizazz, it more than makes up for in richness and depth. This simple life has deep churning oceans of eternal worth.

And there is nowhere else I'd rather be.

August 9, 2011

Grain by Grain.

Joy is buried down in gratitude, like a treasure chest in the sand.

Some days I find it, this treasure that is rightfully mine. I get down on my knees and dig down into thankfulness until I strike it. The feel of it surprises me every time. Other days I cower in the shade and complain that the sand is too hot... the labor too demeaning... the treasure too deep. The joy is there right under my nose... I choose not to see.

Every single breath, every day of good health, every time my husband bends to kiss my neck... these are things in which I am learning to see God's extravagant goodness.

Grain by grain, a slow and steady unearthing.

Lord, help me to keep digging. Grain by grain. No matter what. No matter where. For all the days of my life.

August 3, 2011

I Almost Died in a Tar Pit.

The one and only thing that I can say I am enjoying about this ridiculous heat wave falls somewhere along the lines of "Misery loves company".

I have always hated the heat. I have always dreaded the Summer. I have never liked the feeling of the sun blaring down on my skin. It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it! bleeegweee!!

I have felt entirely alone in this sentiment for all the years that I can ever remember.

Whenever I would mention the fact that I, ahem, *strongly* disliked the sun, people would balk. They would stare aghast and ask how on earth I could not love the Summer...

What about the pool days?
The beach days?
The sun bathing?
The tank tops and shorts and flip flops?
The ice cream trucks??

No. no. no. no. yes.

I could write passionately about how much I have always disliked the heat and how my very soul seems to wake up and sing when it is cold or overcast or rainy or snowing, but I will spare you my soap-boxy long-windedness.

All I can say is that this heat wave has suddenly made me feel like a whole lot less of an outsider. It has been the hottest two months on record for this state, and we are smack dab in the middle of the worst drought in 90 years. We've had 68 days straight of higher-than-norm temps. It's drier than the dust bowl days here, folks! And just today? It was 113 degrees and my flip flop stuck to the pavement when I hopped out to get Ezra from school.

THE TAR IS MELTING. Hide yo dinosaurz.

Every thing is brown. Everything is miserable. Everyone is grouchy. Yet somehow, I find myself... smirking inside.

It seems that all everyone wants to talk about these days is how awful the heat is. And all I can do is try not to nod so hard that my head falls off and smile and emphatically agree.

It takes all that I have in me not to yell at the top of my lungs, "I TOLD YOU HEAT WAS EVIIIIIIL!!!!!" and dive head-first into the nearest ice box. Or ice cream truck.

Misery may love company, but she also loves her Rocket Pops.