on behalf of the mess.

Sometimes, if you walk downstairs to find an apocalypse of worldly goods has exploded all over your house that you’re pretty sure you just cleaned yesterday, it’s okay to demand your husband gets out of bed to help you. It’s okay if you don’t ask it quite right– it just matters that you’re both now in a tit for tat battle to clean more quickly than the other. You’ll win, you did the dishes AND the laundry. Good job, sis.

Until you cure cancer, get a life coach, start cooking all your meals from scratch and become an entirely different person, you’re never going to get the hang of “keeping things in order” or “not being disgusting.” You’re just not. Anne Lamott says she doesn’t buy into the mania of de-cluttering; so, you don’t have to either. You have three children who are too busy having the TIME OF THEIR LIVES being raised in a fun house to help you yet. Soon, you’ll master the art of guilting them into cleaning, but you’re not at the level of Robin Winfrey just yet.

In all seriousness, all those sayings you see on tin Hobby Lobby signs are true. Kids are only little for a time. You can only do a few awesome things a day, and you’d probably rather them be connecting with your kids than the pile of unmatched socks.

Magnolia is 3.

Dear Magnolia,

What on earth has happened?

You’re my last planned baby, kid. You’re it. Today the doctor told me you were now considered a “Child” instead of a “Toddler” in their system; so, I have no idea what to do with myself.

I prayed so selfishly for you to be a girl. It’s shameful, really, all things considered, but man, were you wanted. You are already so strong, so powerful, so brave, so kind, so damn sassy. I’m over the moon obsessed with you, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

People say, “Ooooh! Just wait til she’s a teenager!” to me ALL. THE. TIME (people overstep and say super ridiculous things all the time to make polite conversation, you’ll learn this), but they are SO WRONG. I don’t have to wait til you’re a teenager, you’re already a handful, girl! You have SO. MANY. OPINIONS. Currently, you are on a leggings or dresses only kick. I have a RIDICULOUS amount of adorable short options for you (What with us living in Texas and what not). Guess what? You don’t care. You REFUSE to wear them. You will (mostly) only wear sparkly shoes. You have thrown knock down, drag out, sob fests over a pair of red sparkly shoes that are MOST DEFINITELY too small for your feet, but we just shove those puppies in there and pray you don’t get blisters. I recently donated them, but we don’t have to talk about it.

You are so smart, Mags. You love learning new things, and you’re constantly asking why and how things work the way they are. You shock me daily with the things you’re picking up, paying attention to. I cannot wait to see the amazing things you do with your beautiful brain.

You light up our world, girl. We adore every single part of you. Don’t ever become that teenager all those random strangers warn me about. I cannot wait to see the magic you bring in your third year of life.

So I got the job…

I’m so nervous I could just spit.

I was worried about a million variables that all worked out like MAGIC, which is what, I think God does when we’re on the right path. He/She lines up with giant flashing lights and tells you, “THIS WAY, ya dummy!” Although, I’m sure God thinks I am a genius, we all need a little help sometimes.

I go to bed dreaming about the signs I will make for my room. I dream about my classroom expectations, the books I’ll be teaching, the kids who will enter my life. I feel terrified and pathetically hopeful at the same time.

Here are the things I am struggling with right now:

1. Why am I such a mess?
2. Why are my floorboards never clean?
3. Why is there never an end to my laundry, and why do all the nice outfits I buy for myself end up with grease stains? How do you get grease stains out?
4. Why do I yell at my kids, when I am just as bad about getting out the door with all my shizz together as they are?
5. Why was watching OITNB more important than just about EVERYTHING this weekend?
6. How on earth am I going to juggle everything next year? Can I?

… God BLESS IT.

I’m going to do laundry right now. xo, self.

J.O.B.

Oh, hey, space I meant to write in DAILY at the beginning of the year. MY BADNESS.

My head and heart have been tilt-a-whirling lately.

About a month and a half ago, I made the very conscious decision that it was time for me to go back to teaching this fall. Here’s what I remember: I put Magnolia down, and walked out to find Eric sitting on the steps outside the boys’ room, waiting for them to give in. I sat down and just said, ” I think a lot of why I am restless, short and weird about my day to day life is because I have put my passion on hold to be home with these kiddos. I think I may be even growing resentful about it. I really think I need to be back in the classroom this fall.”

I felt like I’d broken through to some ethereal transcendence. Honestly. It may have just been a late night cup of coffee kicking in, but I had figured it all out!

So, I started applying for jobs and felt pretty much like a perfect failure: my certification is expired and from ILLINOIS, I haven’t taught in 7 years, every application took SEVEN MILLION YEARS TO COMPLETE. I have applied before, in years past, when I’ve thought I was ready, but I have never had a call back.  But, this time was different. I really wanted it. Paul Coelho’s “The Alchemist” talks about how the Universe conspires to help you achieve what you want. I REALLY wanted to get this show on the road, lock this down. Even though I had a lot stacked against me, I got four calls for interviews this year. WHAT? OPTIONS.

I’ll spare you the stories of the other interviews, but I was GEEKED to interview. I was prepared to a fault and probably more giddy than my interviewers knew what to do with. CUT TO: THE INTERVIEW OF THE CENTURY. I got there by the skin of my teeth right on time, but it also turned out to be THE EXACT END OF THEIR SCHOOL DAY. So, picture me walking through a SEA OF AWKWARD TEENS (my dream life). Every high school movie soundtrack was playing behind me. I walked into the main office and for the next 20 minutes, doppelgängers of all my favorite past co-workers walked into the office. The secretary reminded me of Ms. Diaz, the janitor reminded me of Arsenio, the dean reminded me of Mr. Kohlman. It was almost uncanny. They finally called me back and I felt so at home from that time in the lobby, that I joked and carried on probably WAYYYYYYYY too comfortably, but here I am with a job offer, a one year certificate and a bunch of new thrifted blouses.

If all goes according to plan, I am going to be teaching American Literature to a room full of JUNIORS next year. I am attending a curriculum planning meeting in a few weeks, and I am generally so excited that I keep pinching myself.

There are a lot of “What ifs” for me about going back, a lot of worries and doubts– mostly about having the all the kids in school full time. I have so loved being home watching my babies grow. Each day has been sacred, most days have left me spent and crazy, but mostly the holy stuff. I have cherished every day home with these adorable humans, but I cannot wait to be back in a room full of kids who are looking to me to teach them a few things. I also cannot wait to be back in a room full of kids who are actually not looking at me at all, they’re looking at their cell phones (IMA COMIN’ FOR YA, ya PUNKS)!

33.

In high school, I worked every summer as a lifeguard and activity coordinator at Camp Kearney’s summer camp. Each afternoon, I walked about a mile out to this tiny pond and took campers out on canoes. As I walked up a small hill to that quiet pond, I disturbed cranes who took off in flight. Each day the same: turn the corner of the trail, feet in mud, up the small hill, see birds, birds see me, cranes fly effortlessly away. Then, in the silence: God. God showed up there for me everyday.

I tried to find God a lot when I was younger. But, every prayer I prayed felt to echo in the walls of my own brain. My world was mostly about me and how I thought other people were thinking about me. My earliest memories are seriously so pathetically self absorbed, I don’t even want to give it to my 8 year old self to discuss them. To make things more fun for future therapy appointments, I was also a pastor’s daughter, and I was pretty much “too much” for that role. So, not only was I obsessed with the idea of myself, but I had a pretty large mirror placed in front of me by my parents, the church, the Bible, teachers, random strangers, to constantly remind me that I didn’t measure up to what people expected of me.

What I’m trying to say here is that faith was not some magic road for me. My faith is messy and was filled with a lot of what other people told me it and I should look like for pretty much the majority of my childhood. But then I have these moments. I have these surreal, crane moments that have swept me to some other reality, that have cut through my trying to gave me real, quiet revelations of a grace and peace so different than what I was playing at they ruined me for faking it forever.

It’s funny that one of my most memorable real God moments happened at summer camp, because my faith was pretty wrecked there, too. The whole story is arduous and grimy. I don’t like sharing it, because it makes me cry and feel nineteen again. But, suffice it to say, I put a lot of trust in some spiritual heroes that turned out to just be human, messy and not God. That discovery and experience left me so hurt, ashamed and cut I felt unable to go on believing, honestly.  My family went on a small vacation soon after this experience. I remember curling up in the bathroom in the middle of the night, listening to Everything by Lifehouse on repeat while tears streamed down my face. I was not okay.

Find me here,
And speak to me.
I want to feel you,
I need to hear you.
You are the light,
That’s leading me,
To the place,
Where I find peace again.

You are the strength,
That keeps me walking.
You are the hope,
That keeps me trusting.
You are the light,
To my soul.
You are my purpose,
You’re everything.

How can I stand here with you,
And not be moved by you?
Would you tell me,
How could it be,
Any better than this?

You calm the storms,
And you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands,
You won’t let me fall.
You steal my heart,
And you take my breath away.
Would you take me in,
Take me deeper now.

And how can I stand here with you,
And not be moved by you?
Would you tell me,
How could it be,
Any better than this?

And how can I stand here with you,
And not be moved by you?
Would you tell me,
How could it be,
Any better than this?

Cause you’re all I want,
You’re all I need,
You’re everything, everything.

You’re all I want,
You’re all I need,
You’re everything, everything.

I had spent nineteen years building up a pretty impressive faith. Though I got kicked out of the Awana program when I was ten, by the time I was a teenager, I led Bible studies and worship circles,  I prayed the loudest and hungriest prayers. But when I was alone? I was still in the echo of my own head.  I did not know how to have a real, soul shaking faith of my own. The next year of my life was my breakdown. Everything that I thought I believed was challenged. God put very special people in my path who challenged and stared down my faith in ways I had never experienced before. The mirror I found myself looking in actually reflected the truth of my soul for the first time, and that was that I knew nothing except that God was still where the cranes were. I knew that God wasn’t in some other human telling me who God was, God was in those real experiences that I had. No one could and will ever tell me that is not true, because I know it through my toes. That knowledge has grounded me through even the toughest and scariest, the darkest moments of my life. I knew that with every fiber of my being.

Here’s the thing: a secret maybe. Since I was that twenty something year old girl, I have been stuck in that place. Now, that’s a lot of beauty and truth to be stuck with, to know that God is real. I have had a lot of those crane like moments. They have found me time after time throughout my life, they have sustained and encouraged me, but when they are absent, they’ve left me wanting.

Thich Nhat Hahn says in Living Buddah; Living Christ, “People are stable and happy only when they are firmly rooted in their own tradition and culture. To uproot them would make them suffer. There are already enough people uprooted from their tradition today, and they suffer greatly, wandering around like hungry ghosts, looking for something to fill their spiritual needs.” That’s me, a hungry, uprooted ghost.

I’ve been going through this quarter life crisis lately. I’ve been so humbled by the things I am learning. I’ve had so many beautiful God moments. I’ve started something, and though it’s been hard, I know I am in the right place doing the right work: my work.

I’m thirty-three. The clock just changed and it’s midnight. It’s my Jesus Year, y’all. I really love Jesus, but like, the gritty Jesus. The real one. I don’t love shiny Jesus. I don’t love easy Jesus. I love table-flipping, wine making, whore loving Jesus– I love that one. This is the year I meet Jesus where the cranes are and we take root.

We Survived Spring Break.

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I survived a full week with these yahoos bringing their full crazy each day. We did next to nothing. We stayed pretty much in our pajamas and ate a lot of dry cereal. I don’t know if any of these children were bathed except by the water table in the backyard or the river. We parked it a few days, and we had some awesome little playdates with neighbors, but MAN did we need a phone it in week.

I cannot tell you how many times I have driven myself near crazy making *MAGIC* happen for these babies. I’ve run myself ragged driving 2+ hours to walk around a crowded zoo, in tears with anxiety all the way home. That type of mommin’ is not sustainable, my loves. It’s not. I can’t hang with it anymore. I’m about that lazy life right now. Sane. Happy. Lazy.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times that you have to lock and load, dig deep and do the big stuff for all those memories and what not, but not at the expense of your sanity.

I knew that this week had to be LESS rather than more, and it was awesome. In keeping with that, I finished Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. It was just what I needed this week. My phone has been doing this weird thing where it will only charge when it’s turned off (I know, but like, what am I going to do, take a bunch of kids into Verizon to get it fixed?). So, my phone was off a LOT, put out of reach. I had the best time just hanging with my kids. Playing. Reading books. Coloring. Sleeping in.

It was awesome, y’all but so was dropping Hendo back at school today. 😉

Spring Break

Today is one of those bright, blue days and everything feels absolutely possible and new and fresh. We had a completely lazy morning, followed by a trip to Burger King for nuggets, a lunch by the turtle pond and a long time playing at the almost completely empty park. I laid in the grass, my fingers finding the flowers around me, my babies running over to lay on top of me and show me bugs. We then came home for naptime and cuddled up under the sheets, which were cold against our tired, hot bodies. The toddlers went down easily, but then I followed the boys upstairs and read to them while I fell into a soft sleep, smiling at their banter back and forth, blessed to be present, so thankful to be alive.

Without fail, hours like this will be followed by some type of test of my patience. This reservoir of peace is usually short lived and then contaminated by some fight, some battle of wills, a screaming sibling And that’s okay, too. That’s part of my life as well, the ugly and messy daily struggles make days like this all the more beautiful, and for that, I am so thankful.

And also, always this:

“i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)”

e.e. cummings
1894-1962

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Dear Roscoe,

 

You’re five years old, kid. Five. We rode a ferris wheel together tonight, our fingers digging into each other’s arms in fear as we inched up to the top and around. Then, once we started going, our hands shot up and we screamed and screamed in joy.

 

You’ve become so much more yourself this year. So funny, so kind, so daring. You love nothing more than scaring someone or mooning them, anything to get a laugh. You’ve tried out a few new laughs this year, hysterically barring your teeth and shooting your head back as you cackle or wheeze or whisper giggle. Doesn’t really matter the style, you light up the world, kid.

 

Your kindness is so humble and real. You climb down at the level of anyone sad, wrap your arms around the slightest hurt, whisper words of comfort to anyone in pain. Your love radiates through every inch of you.
You are a terrible rhymer, but obsessive about figuring out how things fit and work together. You love to color, and are so furtive about your process that it’s magic to watch you create something from nothing, having to wait in the next room ’til you’re completely done. You have to have a perch above whatever you’re working on. So, if you’re sitting at a table, you’re quickly on top of it, teeth clenched, brow furrowed. I find myself staring at your artwork, seeing genius in every line, and though I try so hard not to be “that mom,” I can’t help but imagine your first gallery opening.
Tonight, your brother and dad went on Gravitron. You went on, too, but something didn’t feel right. So, you ran off the ride before it started, sobbing into my lap that you just were too scared and you didn’t want to go. I told you what I always tell you. The bravest people aren’t those who go along in fear. The bravest people are those who stick up for the voices inside of them, who listen to their heart and who run when things don’t feel right. I don’t think you’ll ever let yourself down.

 

So in love, forever,
Your Mom

Five.

February in Review.

February was quick. Like, ridiculously quick. This year is flying. We’ve had a TON of sickness in our house this month. As I speak, my boys and their germs are fighting the heck out of a croup cough that is so fierce and disgusting it is hard for me to love them. I JOKE, but for realz.

I read a LOT this month. March 1, 2 and 3, The Circle, Forward, The Happiness of Pursuit and I am trying to finish up The Kindness Project tonight.

I feel free-er this month. I don’t miss Facebook like I thought I would. I’ve stolen Eric’s phone a few times to scroll through and see what I’m missing and other than seeing what people have said on some of my Instagram shares, I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing much. I see most of the people I’m close to over on Instagram (which is WAYYYYYYYYY less crazy political and more fun, I think), and I honestly don’t feel nearly as pained to be away as I did at first.

Something I am exploring a little bit is the idea of going sober? Like, giving up my glasses of wine at night, drinks with friends etc. I don’t think I have a problem problem, but I am not always in control when I have a glass (or two, or three), and I think it could be beneficial to do a month without alcohol. I keep running into podcasts, authors, documentaries on the subject. So, maybe God is trying to give me a little hint… Maybe even give up my Diet Coke. Maybe that first. At any rate, it’s on my miiiiiiind. I mostly think there’s something to be said about showing some potential vice that it doesn’t have any control over you.

I’d love to do some more purging, but I am proud because this month I cut my closet down to around 100 pieces of clothing. I’d like to do another cut and maybe invest in a few new pieces that I really and truly LOVE instead of just whatever is on sale that I found for some event I was sure I needed it for… My life feels way crazier when I have less stuff. So, you know, a lot more needs to go because I’m still crazy.

I did Yoga this month, which is something I want to do more of. And by did yoga, I mean for three days I followed a YouTube class and then I also stretched randomly on a few other days. I am by no means practicing, but I really do feel healthier and more calm after I’ve spent some time on ye ole mat.

I feel less scattered, though I am pretty constantly late and routinely forgetful, I feel myself offering grace to myself instead of anxiety when I’ve made a mistake. I can’t tell you how much room that gives me, but it’s a lot and I needed it.

I’m looking forward to a lot in the month of March, mostly more self love and forgiveness. I turn 33 soon, insane-sauce .

xo.