Google+ Badge

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Converse, Size 13, Red Please

The ride home took about seven minutes.  Test results in hand, I think we both knew what the other was thinking.  We'd done all we could and left the rest up to you and the decision was made.  Those numbers matter and while you can't quite understand it yet, it was largely on you TO understand it and do better.

College-bound or no.  We've had this discussion 17 million times and you've morphed from resistant to angry to accepting to agreeable.  We all had the same goal in mind.  Play those numbers and play 'em to win.

Over the past year, we've seen you grow in maturity and understanding, wisdom and grace and as you've grown more into who you're going to be, we've done the same.

Being your parent is hard.

Beautifully, wonderfully, agonizingly hard.....and not because of YOU, but because of us.

You see, son, we want the best for you.  We want every breath you take to filled with passion and purpose and we sought that goal from the day you were born!

From the video tapes with classical music with black, white and red shapes floating across the screen to classes specifically geared towards screen-writing for your budding video passion, every move has been to help you become the person we KNEW  you could become.

And you have.

It just doesn't look like we thought it would.  And what we just realized tonight, for the first time, is we've parented you with this odd combination of both hope and fear.  Hope that you'd do all the right things and fear you'd do it all wrong and yet tonight we're left wondering who's actually been right and wrong all along.

You live with this passion and gusto.  Self-motivated.  Kind.  Caring.  Genuine.  Loving.  Creative. Inspiring. Tenacious.

Every single thing we hoped and prayed for.  You are everything we are, but better.  Times a thousand.  You don't let fear of the unknown cloud out your hope of the same and I think we forgot how powerful that can be because we were taught to be very afraid.

We've tried instill this desire to make this one go around on the planet worth your while, to be the best you can be and I think we missed it actually happening because we were so worried that it didn't look like what we thought it should look like and truth be known, a little afraid of what "they" would think if we became fully vested in allowing a man-child to pursue a passion that takes him down the path of HUGE resistance.

But it's not your job to walk in my shoes or down any of the paths we've chosen.  They're your shoes and your life and they are some pretty big damn shoes (and hip to boot!)

So while we totally expect you to maintain your responsibility to society at large (you know, schoolwork, chores, family relationships...) we accept your choice to give your passion all you got.  We can't be those people who say we're about living outside the box and then systematically force you into our own.  We can't truly believe that God makes us who we are and then ask you to be someone else's version of the perfect child just for the sake of looking the part of the the perfect parent.

You aren't and neither are we.

There is no line drawn that can't be erased and no path that can be doubled back on.  Not yet.  You're young and with that comes a certain ability to be a little braver, stronger and smarter than us old folk who got so busy worrying we stopped dreaming.

Don't stop.  Not yet :)

Go for it.

Love,

A mom who will  never be sure I'm doing the right thing, but tonight I'm more sure than I've ever been.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Surprise Me....Not!

Please and thank you.

So, my anniversary has come and gone.  There was much anticipation about this day because the "surprise" lingered for days and weeks (it seemed.)  There were hints and more hints and everyone was in on it but me....... and you know what?

I hated it.  Hated it.  Me and surprises?  Nope.  Hate them.

And I know it's odd, but to me surprises feel like a betrayal.  Everyone is in on this thing that you are left out of and then you are supposed to be all happy and give just the right reaction when really you want to be like "Really? I had no input, no say so and I've said I hate surprises no less than a million times.....so really who is this for??"

Seriously, Jamie could come home and tell me that we're all going to Paris, everything arranged, all needs met, all cares attended to and my reaction would be?  Fury.

I'm a horrible person.  I know it.

My husband was trying to do something lovely for me.  But he included other people in on its and left me out of it.  To "surprise me" and my reaction was appropriate until I had to be honest the next day that it really hurt me to have communicated time and again that I hate being surprised and to have him, time and again, not listen.

However, all things that happen....yes, I analyze them to death and this was no different.  I asked him to listen and we talked.  I asked him to really think about why it was okay to gift someone something you have already been made aware they will not enjoy. In a relationship with two people if only one person enjoys what is happening (in any case) that's no longer a relationship.  All things being equal who bears the burden to change?  The person who is doing the thing the other person hates or the person who hates the thing being done?  Is it my burden to get over it and/or lie about the thing, or his burden to not do it?  I poured out my concerns that I was being unfair and unkind by not enjoying this surprise (or any surprises) because I recognized the intention as pure and good.....but with knowledge that something is unwanted, giving it to the person is really NOT a good and pure intention....it's actually quite selfish.  He had a really good idea, one that he actually flubbed up because he didn't quite know how to execute ( I did) but instead of including me in it, he wanted the glory and the credit for doing it.  He asked me how we could fix this from here on out and I explained that the idea was beautiful and I would have loved it if he had gotten the supplies for this idea, boxed them up, presented them as a gift and said "Let's do it together..."

No sneaking around and fussing at me to stay in the house.  No people coming in and out while I sat and waited and they giggled because  they knew something I didn't.  I asked him to pray that if this was a pride issue on MY part it would be removed from me, but that if it was a pride issue on HIS part, the same would happen.

No surprises in my life have been good ones.  I have clear issues with this and I could pinpoint where they manifested with  ease.  Mostly surrounding death and people not thinking I knew what I already knew, then sneaking around me, whispering so that I would hear them talking about things I knew they were talking about.  Maybe this is why I've grown to value the truth, as hard as it is, as ugly as it is.  I want the *truth* and "little white lies..." and "fibs" and "insert excuse for not telling the truth" piss me off hugely.  The older I get the less I can tolerate being lied to.  But I digress.

Also with age, I've gotten a little braver in exploring these things. Before I'd either be really mad at Jamie for "screwing up" or really mad at myself for being "mean.." But neither are true.  I have a preference that I truly need to be honored to feel secure in our relationship and he has chosen to take that to heart and really see MY intentions aren't to be ungrateful (he has told me often he wishes he could find joy in the same simple things I do) but simply to be included.  At the root of it all, I hate being left out and made to feel like I am not welcome.  Surprises invoke that feeling in me.

So while I love that he loves me (thank goodness he loves me)....surprise me?  Surprise me not.

Monday, September 1, 2014

And the truth shall set you free...kind of

So I am sitting here grinning at the irony of a person inspiring a blog because that person thinks my blogging about things I go through is "exhausting" and something else I can't quite remember (I think maybe the word was annoying)  The weird thing is after being told that I considered closing down my blog because well....this person obviously didn't approve.  I didn't really examine that any further. They didn't approve so obviously I needed to quit.  I didn't consider whether or not that person had any authority to approve or disapprove of anything I chose to do....but when I did...finally examine it..I realized I had handed that kind of authority over to this person for years....

How I should wear my hair.  What I should name my children.  What furniture to buy for my living room.  I asked and actually listened to this person's ideas about MY life.  Because that person was living a life I admired and wanted to emulate?  Not really (if I am to be completely honest). Because that person was so loving and kind and important to me?  Important yes, kind....I'm sad to say I can't use that adjective for this person after hours of thinking back over our relationship.  Because they had some stake in the end result of my choices?  Not at all.  So why? I've been thinking about that for a full 48 hours (well, actually a little over a year now, but in spurts) and the answers are a bit more daunting than I'd like to admit.

I wanted approval.  I asked for it.  And that person needed me to be the type of person who needed approval and when I finally got to a point in my life that I didn't need or want it from them, everything broke down.  When someone has a controlling personality, when they lose control...of you....they lose control of themselves.   Watching the situation play out with that in mind, I was horrified I let it go on so long.

I got no credit for the right things I had done our entire relationship but 100% of the blame for the things I had done wrong.  That fact alone made me realize how absolutely toxic the relationship had always been.  We only worked if I kept myself in line and if I stepped a bit over that line I was told what a horrible person I was.  I said the words "I'm sorry I..." multiple times whereas the other person said "I'm sorry but you..."

Catch that?

The thing, the truth will always be the truth.  At the end of the day, when we lay our heads down on our pillows and we are left alone with ourselves and our thoughts...the truth is simply the truth...even if we argued ourselves out of the other person knowing or believing that truth, it still exists.  We can twist it with words, we can blow smoke up everyone's ass from here until eternity, but it doesn't change truth's existence.  It doesn't matter if we convince 99 out of 100 people to believe our bullshit.  The truth isn't decided on popular vote, it simply exists.

Here's mine.  I tell the truth.  I haven't always, but I was always aware of when I wasn't.  I justified it as being "socially acceptable" and well, I don't always want everyone to know everything about me because most days I suck.  I don't feel the need to document my every move or thought for everyone who knows me to examine, but conversely I don't feel the need to say anything other than what is real to those who ask.  I will answer you with "I don't think you need to know that" if you don't need to know that but I will not lie to you, or about you, or WITH you (about you) to make you feel better about yourself.  That's not my responsibility. It's YOUR responsibility to fix whatever it is that's bothering you so much that you are having to lie about it.  If you need to lie, fine...that's on you...but don't include me in it cause I'm not going to play that game.  But this I CAN promise you....being truthful....with yourself, with your friends and family, and the strangers at stores that you "fib" to...to get a return or a better price on an item...is exhausting and not worth the soul damage you are doing to get whatever it is you think you are getting out of it.

I never quite understood the phrase "Oh what a tangled web we weave..." until I started knitting and realized the word tangled is one of the worst words in the English language.  Tangles are awful.  You can't tell until the very end of the untangling where the issue began.  You just keep removing string from knot after knot, little by little and it's honestly not worth the effort a good deal of the time.  Lies upon lies become so compounded that the second you open your mouth in an attempt to navigate your way out of it, you trip up on the last one and really the only thing you can do at that point is toss the yarn (friend) in the garbage (or you know, unfriend on Facebook) because you realize there's no way out.

Unless you tell the truth.  You know, admit you lied.  And apologize.  But we all know that ain't gonna happen.

And that's okay.  That's the last truth I need to accept.  And it has indeed.....set me free.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Aweariness

When I was a very small girl we had a firefighter come into our....oh I don't know...second grade class?  I can't even remember, but we were taught all about fire safety and how to escape and how we should have a plan to get out and not die if our house was engulfed in flames.  After all that merriment, we were asked to draw a picture of how to survive a fire and my drawing won a prize and got hung in the local Long John Silvers.  (And I never saw the prize.  It was cash.  No wonder.  A better prize would have been a certificate for therapy after all that, right?)

From that day on, I was very aware of the reality of house fires.  I actually had a little bag I packed with all my most important possessions and at the tender at of like....eight...I remember sitting on my bed contemplating packing my favorite stuffed dog because I really just wanted to sleep with it as I always had, but then....what if there was a FIRE....and I left it behind.....I did put that stuffed dog in that bag the first couple of nights it hung on my door and I slept terribly.

But I was aware.

Then when I was about 11, I read this horrible article about how many animals were put to death in our local animal shelter and the picture in the paper showed an employee placing dead animal bodies (wrapped up) into the incinerator.  I sat down with pen and paper and wrote a strongly worded letter to the paper....it was published and thus began a years long obsession with everything animal.  Spay and neuter people!! (That was a directive about PEOPLE spaying and neutering, you know...their animals...not themselves, although that isn't always a bad idea, but I digress...) Until I left home I would deliver my left over newspaper to the animal shelter because it was something I could actually DO.

Fast forward a few years and I had made myself aware of all kinds of travesties, tragedies and horrors. Hurricane Katrina had me in my shower bawling until I couldn't breathe, with thoughts of loading up my entire van with bottled water and granola bars....even though I couldn't get to the people who needed them.  I've organized drives for cloth diapers, sent money for rare diseases, and prayed for everything big and small that has crossed my path.  I am an empath and  it's both blessing and curse

So when the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" started invading my newsfeed, I thought "Wow...everyone knows what this is?  Why don't I?"  And I admitted it.  (I know the PC thing to do is just do the challenge and pretend like you know what it is but I doubt the point of an awareness campaign is pride of self.  Just saying) I had a couple people who were like "Really you didn't know...I had a friend...or this person.." and I get that.  If you know someone who's gone through something I imagine seeing an awareness campaign dedicated to that cause is both healing and empowering.  But I'd like to offer a flip side of that coin...

Do you know what scheuermann's kyphosis is?  How about Thanatophoroic Dysplasia?  I'm sure you've heard of Lupus, but you probably don't know much about how it affects daily life unless you actually KNOW someone who has it.  Hashimoto's?  SPD?

No?  These are the things that have affected the people in my immediate family.  One was deadly and took the life of my infant son and the others just all around suck and cause limitations on quality of life.

When you say these things out like, the normal human reaction is..."Well at least..."

Think about it.  We all do this.  We assign levels of how terrible something is, and thereby judge other people all.day.long  With every breath we take, with every word we utter about an illness, disease or condition, we tend to compare it with something else, declaring one a winner for the "worst thing ever.."

I know the world wants me to be aware.  I am.  I always have been.  I always will be.  I'm most keenly aware of the fact that I know next to nothing about most of the things that people, all people, are suffering with on a daily basis.  There simply isn't enough room in the human mind, or human heart, to digest and process every single sad thing that exists. I believe that the circle God has given me is the one he wants ME to attend to.  The people who are struggling in MY LIFE with the things THEY have to deal with.  I am aware of my humanity and my limitations and having accepted that I can't care about every single worthwhile thing there is to care about, I feel MORE empowered to do something with what I do know.

I use all of my energy, time, love and some money to do the things I have personally been called to do.  I am aware and involved.  Active and passionate.  Awareness is good, Aweariness is not.  It's up to each individual to find their cause, their mission and their path.  Fortunately, ALS was not in my circle inner, or outer.  That's why I had no idea what was going on.  But that's okay because I WAS made aware.  I did look it up.  I did take a moment to really internalize what that must be like, not only as the person suffering, but the people watching it happen.  I said a prayer, made note to pray again and then I clicked off the page and got back to the mission I'm on....working for Cuddle Cots, which is MY circle, my passion and my path.  My baby died.  Yours didn't  I wouldn't expect anyone who didn't experience this particular thing to spend their days or nights working with the same intensity I am.  Because that's not their path ;)

And as far as the ice-bucket challenge, well, I was TOTALLY up for it, but since....you know....I'm holding a tiny infant most of the time.....I'm opting out.  I think money was the point anyways and that....I can do ;)


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

If Money Can Fix It...

It ain't a problem....

This is a quote that has stuck with me, hard core, since its truth hit me one unexpected day.  I felt so enlightened with this tidbit filed into my brains Rolodex and remember sharing it with two people I was close to, at the same time and the elder said "Oh I don't agree...money could fix a whole lot of my problems..." and the other party was like "Right on sister..." and I was like...seriously you guys...you just don't get it.  I guess I could mention that both parties were riding the poverty line whereas my family is/was not and no matter where I went with that conversation, I was the loser.  I was a "have" and they were "have nots" and of course *I* would think that way since I had that luxury.

I'll be uncomfortably honest here for a moment.  Money couldn't bring back my deceased son.  It couldn't fix the gaping holes grief left in my marriage.  It cannot heal broken hearts, or cure cancer or even buy a smile if it's not attached to a good intention.  Money, on its own is a worthless concept we've created.

But it's necessary.  And I get that.  But....

Reaching back into my past, I've not had a good relationship with money.  My whole childhood there was this idea...this...hope, if you will, that we would win the lottery and all our (my parents) dreams would come true.  MONEY was the answer.   Not hard work, or self-control or resourcefulness.  Just money.  Easy money.  It's no big surprise that my parents have issues with gambling.  It's no surprise that when you ask them how must it cost to "win" that $100 they give you a blank stare or peg you as some negative nelly just trying to rain on their parade (even though you're just you know...doing math....but whatever...)  My mother's whimsical fantasy, which she spoke of, often was always some sort of deal with the cosmos about the GOOD she would do "If only I won the lottery.....I could help SO many people..."  With money.  Money. Money. Money.  Barf.

(and shudder).

And then I began my family broker than broke.  But happy.  I think this was the first time I ever really understood how money never did buy happiness.  Jamie and I had none, but we had so much.  Livin' on love I suppose.  It didn't stop us from doing, being, helping and loving people.  As our family grew, we needed more to take care of more and so we did what we thought best...worked harder.  No, seriously.  We did.  Lots of things, too much to detail  here, but eventually we got to a place after years and years of doing what most people aren't willing to do to reach a state of financial okayness.  (I don't like the term financial security because...well...security is so vague..."if money can fix it...it ain't a problem..." and all...)  We're okay.  We save, slowly. We work on retirement crap and we feed, clothe and educate our children...but so do people who make much less and so really it's not money that I'm thankful for, it's opportunity and God and resourcefulness and hard work....

But now I'm in between a rock and a hard place.  I've signed up to sell something and I'm making money with it and this is VERY different than freelance writing because the potential to make a LOT of money is there, lingering.  I'm not some pie in the sky dreamer who fantasizes about big riches and glory.  If I am to be completely blunt (which is what y'all expect from me anyways) it terrifies me.  (As an aside every now and then Jamie will buy a lotto ticket and my dread is that we'd hit ANY of the numbers that brought more into this house than we'd reasonably see in a lifetime.  I would consider it a curse, not a blessing.)  I'm supposed to be building my team and signing people up and I've looked at the numbers and done a little research, a little studying and I'm pretty damn sure that anyone who gets in on this opportunity within the next couple of years is going to be very glad they did and those who thought about it and didn't...are going to be very sorry they didn't....I've always shrugged off things like this because I DETEST bullshit.  (Again, sorry about the bluntness) The "Sign up today...easy money...work from home..do nothing..." Just no.  I can't do it.  And I'm not being asked to, I can assure you of that.  The company and my leaders, at least, are pretty honest, which I value.  But the thing is, we have to...we simply have to present the financial aspect of the opportunity and I've seen the numbers myself...and well, they are appealing, if money appeals to you.  But I feel so...like..right now just typing out this blog, SO ANXIOUS about even "going there" with anyone because I so badly want to say 'Okay this thing...it's going to require hard work and stepping outside the box and putting yourself out there...but I can only sign you up if you are honest and will promise, promise to help your customers and not make a quick buck off of them AND....please understand this...you are probably going to make a good bit of money and you're going to like it but please, please understand....it will NOT fix the problems you think it will fix.  It will make the grocery store less scary and clothes shopping less stressful and maybe you'll be able to spend a weekend somewhere besides your bathroom scrubbing off the nasty gunk because you'll have hired someone else who needs the hob to do it but PLEASE....do not think it will fix things.  If your marriage is in trouble, this won't fix it...and if you have a rocky relationship with your kid or kids, please work on that instead of buying them shit they don't need...."  And y'all this isn't my job and I get that, but having to face this...it sucks.  And y'all are probably thinking "Dude, it's selling nail wraps, how on earth can you get so emotional about uhm...nail wraps..." and I get it, it's lame, but this is how I really feel.  Like if I flaunt the numbers and the idea of financial blessing, I am saying "Money fixes shit..." and it doesn't.
And I feel all these feelings over something that doesn't actually require me to feel anything like this...but here I am.....I am really struggling with this.  Like I have to have a pre-marital-Jamberry-sign-up counseling session.  Like one of the big selling points in sharing this with people is "you really can make money pretty easy as long as you wear the wraps..." and I have a hard time saying that because I picture this poor soul wearing them for like five days and giving up because they didn't "make a ton of money..."  Because really it's not easy. This isn't easy.  You have to care about people long after the sale.  You had to have cared about them BEFORE you ever made the sale.  You have to care about them..if you NEVER make a sale...and well, if you don't...or can't...you will fail at this and ....at life....

I'll never make what Jamie does and I never want to.  I've seen that man bust his arse for 17 years to make that "six figure income" (God I hate that...like when we sold Herbalife people said that all the time.  They never said I make such and such a year...always "six figure income..."  that one phrase is like nails on a chalkboard to me...but again, I digress)  But I do want to be successful at this because I love it. Because it's fun and because I want to help other people and this is a way I can do, but it feels like as soon as money is involved, as soon as I saw my commission...I felt guilty and bad like I didn't deserve to make any money and that's a whole other ball of wax.....

I still believe, with every ounce of my being, that money doesn't fix things.  It doesn't fix the BIG things anyway.  It certainly didn't fix mine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

And The Banned Played On

There's this thing we talk about in Christian circles.  A little catch phrase for when things are looming above us....seems so big we can't possibly tackle it.  "Facing Our Giants" is something we talk about a lot.  You know the little dude David, quite sure he could kick Goliath's tush, not because he was strong and able, but because he had faith in the Lord.  That kind of faith is so empowering because really, we all have those giants.  Not the hairy, scary Philistine kind, but just normal, everyday people and situations that threaten to overtake our peace.

And so I was banned from a group I really enjoyed being a part of.  And it makes NO sense.  I mean, I can't get my mind around it.  My friends are shocked.  *I* am shocked.  But it's the same old story.  Girl World.  Play nice, play fake, do not TALK about anything and it will all  be okay.  And I already knew all this, but what shocks me is how this is coming from a person/people I looked up to as righteous and I realized it was so wrong to put ANYONE on a spiritual pedestal.  I just figured if I ever wronged someone who was a Christian, we'd talk about it, resolve it, have communion.  This whole shunning thing is beyond me.  They can have their group and pretend everyone in it is all happy and well and not human and all that, but what KILLS me is another Christian treating me this way, treating ANY sister in Christ this way. No dialogue at all?  Nothing?  No words, no even TRYING to sort it out? I just can't even (hahaha, Amber....that's just for you right there...)

And so I gave it up. I gave up the idea that this could be resolved.  I am crushed, not because I really care about the group,but because of how this was handled by people I always felt like....were so much better than me.  That loved God and loved people who loved God, but in the end, loved the faux peace that came from pretending it wasn't happening.  So I put it to rest, only after...(y'all know me...) I wrote a letter that wasn't even read to a person involved.

You see, poor Jamie took over the email while I was grocery shopping. He thought the whole thing was silly, but wanted to help me out because he's that kind of guy.  He got the same responses over and over again, more and more maddening "If she broke the rules, it's okay....we forgive her."  It couldn't POSSIBLY be that I didn't and that the reason they couldn't get to the bottom of it was because the messages that "broke the rules" were deleted by the mods before anyone could verify what they were.  I always say when you have two totally different stories from two different people, you have to ask yourself who has the most to gain from lying?  In this case, it wasn't me :)  I didn't say something ugly about a group of people who are following a book I am helping promote and then pretend I didn't say it, only agreeing to apologize in private.  I am just the girl who called it out because it was wrong.  It still IS wrong.  Like Jamie said, "You need to moderate a group? Fine.  Moderate.  That doesn't mean gossiping about the women who are posting in private.."  I am still really uncomfortable with a group of women moderating another group of women who are sharing very personal information about their weight and weight loss journey talking in private about those women, but hey, that's just me.  I think it's unloving, unkind and unethical.  But then, again, I'm a total troublemaker that way ;)

And so I sent my last word to explain MY position...and to give that person a chance to examine my side and prayerfully consider that maybe, just maybe...this Momma who stood up to that moderator might ACTUALLY be the wronged on and I know...oh I know...that creates a bit of a sticky problem when a person you like and is doing something for you has done something wrong.  No one wants to deal with that, but unfortunately, that's what being a grown up is...and so since my message wasn't even read and we've heard nothing back from anyone...and the group is still hidden from me....I will use this blog to say my peace.  This is the letter I wrote, all names removed because it's not my intention to call people out, just to get  IT out because what happened to me is wrong....And it will most likely happen again.

******************************************************************
Person who is involved, Oh my. What a mess. I was following the messages between you and my husband and feel like I'm trying to untangle a big ball of lace weight yarn after my cat got into it. There are some GLARING misunderstanings happening and my poor husband was trying to sort through it all for me. I do not expect a reply and quite frankly if I got another "Let's just all be friends" sort of reply, I would cry. I am so hurt that this is happening. And stunned. I cannot use that word enough. First, I did not try to sell or start a group to sell anything. This is making me batty. I said, yes in public, "I wonder if we should have a group for (product being discussed) consultants that love (book) to talk shop." THAT IS ALL I SAID. How on earth can that be construed as trying to sell anything or saying that (book)somehow endorses a product? Please examine the logic here. A group, that wasn't even yet named or formed, for consultants....trying to sell? To whom would we sell to if we all sold the product? "Talk Shop.." was that somehow misunderstood as shopping? Talk shop=talk business. I truly felt like I was saying "Hey, y'all....this topic is really bothering people, so why don't we take over to that booth over there..." Next thing I know, I am being pinged for soliciting. I was not removed from the group after this went on. As a matter of fact, everything in question (that had nothing at all to do with (products being discussed) at this point in the thread) was removed and it went along fine. It wasn't until I replied to the private message I got saying I understood how hard it was to moderate, but I felt like lying during all this was not okay...then I was banned. When I refer to lying, I am referring to the mods saying they deleted messages that were solicitous. They never existed in the first place...and the mods know this. It was a measure to justify the actions of deleted the "shark" messages...when other members stated they saw no spam, the moderators explained that's because they were so quick to remove them. No. Just no. I was on the thread the entire time and there were no solicitous posts. And the "quick to remove" is an interesting choice of words seeing as how the moderators left the private message up for a good 5-10 minutes without realizing it was there. There was nothing being hurriedly deleted for the good of the group, I can assure you of that. What WAS deleted? My post saying "Was that supposed to be a private message? Are we being discussed in private? I am really uncomfortable with that..." A public reply to a pubic post, but the mod doesn't get in trouble...only the member who says something about it. That's interesting isn't it? I would like to point out that yes, I understand the moderators volunteer their time and that is a lovely service. However, let me also point out that every single contributor to that forum is also a *volunteer* Every single person that encourages, gives ideas, solutions, recipes, answers to questions....WE ALL "volunteer". That word should never be used as a free pass for bad behavior or being above the law and that is exactly what is happening here. This has been said many times over in this situation..."She volunteers..her time..it's hard..." I understand. I really and truly understand,but I can't get on board with the idea that this is even part of the conversation when it comes to behaving badly. Your volunteer called the members in that thread a name. She then posted that publicly when it was intended to be private gossip. The exact words were "Like sharks to chum...I called it didn't I?" Can you understand how uncomfortable it is knowing that things you post are being discussed, in an ugly manner, by people you don't even know? I do accept her apology to ME, and it was a very sweet and humble apology, but I do not think it's okay that only went to me and was done so quietly. She owed an apology to way more than one person. That is not "drama." That is righteous behavior. Next, "threatening to blog..." I am sitting here thinking, really? Me? A Threat? ME? Melissa? If you only knew. If you knew me...my friends upon reading that last night in our own private discussion thought this was FUNNY. I am not "that girl." I think the phrase I used may have been too familiar "I am so upset about this I even blogged it.." Very common place in my life. It's a measure of how excited, upset, happy or sad I am about anything. I WAS blogging about this. That was my confession to her "This upset me so much I am even blogging it..." That was me pointing out how strongly I felt, not a threat? I am not sure how on earth it could be one....I mean....what exactly is threatening about that? I am just so...shocked. I mean I am really just shocked. I think we can all agree that there has been some huge inconsistencies in understanding and getting to the bottom of this. That tends to happen when evidence is destroyed before a neutral party can examine it. I tried to discuss this with the moderator,but when the misdeed was brought to light, she fled. I don't understand that way of doing things. To me, there is no "drama" in discussing something until a resolution is reached. For me, especially as a Christian, "Hug and make up" is not acceptable. We are called to repentance each and every time we sin. This person, while I am sure is lovely (I am not calling that into question, my children are the most lovely creatures on earth....They are my soul...I still spend many hours of my day bringing them back to righteousness as is my duty) has done wrong, and done wrong while representing (book) My banning was because I addressed it with her (in private no less....I was not banned for my public comments. She did so only after the private message) I saw the messages bounce back and forth once I got home from my grocery shopping last night and I wasn't sure if I should send my own message or not, but I had to this morning to speak my peace. I am not going to say "Ohhhh....how cute....let's just hug....let's make up...peace, peace, peace..." Do I want peace? Absolutely. But the sweeping under the rug so the room looks pretty is not my way of doing things. Let's actually clean up the mess. I am aware of the no soliciting policy. I didn't solicit. I told a mod in private I was so upset that I was blogging (she banned before she asked to see that and also blocked from further discussion with her. She completely just blocked me.) My crime? I called sin, sin. I didn't break the rules and I think once everything is examined, you will see that. I have been pushed out for standing up. Had that private message calling us sharks not been posted in public, all of this would be a moot point. So essentially this situation has the member who stood up for the other members banned, and the moderator still able to moderate. I hope you can see the huge injustice in that. It wasn't *until* I stood up about this comment that all the other accusations came to fruition, which is....concerning. I feel like I do with my children. I ask about what they did wrong and instead of a straight answer, I am given the 15 things the other child did to deserve what they got. I find it interesting that when you got involved and asked about what was happening, now all of the sudden there are all these things I've done. Were those an issue, enough to be BANNED, you'd think I would have been talked to about them prior to us contracting YOU. Were they? Nope. Only when we asked you was I able to face my accuser. I have been a (book fan) since it was offered in (magazine it was offered in) I have followed the Facebook group FOREVER. I get most of our recipes and tweaks and hacks for the plan from there, so I am asking for the ban to be lifted. This ban will affect my being able to stay on this and show it to others and I am horrified that someone's pride is being allowed to steal something precious away from my family. I am praying fervently that your moderator can see how her actions, a small thoughtless irritation, has caused such a ruckus. Grace abounds, my heart is soft towards her, but in love, I will not say "Oh it will be okay, let's just let bygones be bygones..." However, she has to bring this to the cross. We can talk about who did what and what was said until the end of time, but at this very second the Lord knows our hearts and who is truly in the wrong in this situation. I think we should all really, really think on that truth and how none of the specifics matter. They truly don't. We all love the Lord and this hurts His heart. I forgive her for her comments to me, but until she can admit the dishonesty in representing my actions, I can't forgive that because she hasn't asked. Instead of facing that, she banned me.... This is truly the last word I'll speak on the matter. I already know your position and that this had to be frustrating for me. Should you wish to reinstate me, I would be please. Should you not, I will mourn that loss and bring it to God. Only He can soften hearts and that will be my prayer. Thank you for reading. I would appreciate no further reply as I really do feel everything that needs said, has been said. With hope and love,

Me (and yes, in hindsight I feel SO stupid for saying I am blogging about it but a certainly didn't see it as a threat because I knew that I wasn't blogging specifics at all, or trying to call anyone out...and like...only 7 people read my blog LOL so the thought that saying "This is so upsetting I am even blogging about my feelings on it.." was a threat was weird to me, however, I do see where it could be taken as that and well, I get it but I knew what my intentions were and what I meant and had I been asked, I could have cleared that up.  Fascinating thing about DISCUSSION...it tends to do that clearing things up thing quite nicely.  Shutting down and refusing to communicate tends to do the opposite and that is what the mod did.  Blocked me.  For asking to discuss it...Awesome.  Also her apology was not THAT sweet. I read it once, thinking oh that's nice...but then I read it again and basically it was "You have to understand I VOLUNTEER....for up to 8 hours a day...and so I was tired and grouchy and I am sorry if you thought my comments were directed at you....they weren't."  Okay, so another straight up lie because when the comment appeared, she had copied and pasted the entire thread, so there really was nothing left to interpretation as to who she was speaking about......I hate "I'm sorry YOU felt that way apologies....")

Anyhoo, so I am moving on and moving up.  Got a lot of praying to do for those involved because a lot of selling out on beliefs in order to keep up appearances is happening and that is never good.

So I'm banned.  I'll deal.  And move on I will....

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Good Little Girl

My world is kind of like a rubberband.  Small on its own, but ready to stretch to limitless lengths at any given moment.  I may stay home most of the time, but my universe expands through the magic of the internet.  I love it.  People!!  Talking!!  Okay, so not face to face, and I love that too but it's not doable everyday for me.

So I participate in my own virtual reality.  Facebook being a huge corner of my fakey fake (but totally awesome) bigger world.  I love catching up with old friends and chit chatting with whoever feels the need and just socializing in general.  I'm sure if you're reading this, you concur.  It's got its upsides.

But now, business groups and forums and all nature of things that aren't individual people have a presence on Facebook and of course, I participate in those as well.  There's an element of weirdness when it comes to be a participant in a larger group where some "powers that be" can tell you what to say, how to say, to whom it can be said and if "they" don't like it, poof your existence just vanishes into thin air.  You broke a "rule." but no one can tell you how exactly and then when other people say they never saw the rule breaking happening the mods use their powers to convince the masses the whole reason that the world is a happy place is because those questionable posts were removed BEFORE the masses could be molested by them.

Big.  Fat.  Liars.

(Actually I'm quite unsure of the person in questions actual SIZE but the lie was impressive in stature)

I am one pissed off Momma today.  Number one, top pet peeve....the sand in my shoes, the nails across my personal chalkboard is LYING.  Seriously my world comes to a complete halt when someone lies and then they try to cover it up and basically throw themselves over you like you're a live grenade.  Damage Control.  Tape her mouth shut,....shhhh....quick, delete, delete, delete.

But we all know when anyone gets any kind of power, at some point, they are going to wield it irresponsibly.  That's just being human and I get it.  But what scares the crap out of me is how placid the followers are when this happens.  I am talking complete non-resistance, with almost a faint buzzing sound of worship of the Powers That Be...with praise about all their "hard work"  (It's an INTERNET FORUM.  Please, for the love of all things Holy, get OVER yourself if you think moderating an internet forum is some sort of great deed you are doing for the planet.  I get it...it takes some time..but let's just keep it where it is in terms of greatness shall we?) And if you say ANYTHING against the wrongs happening, you are "starting drama..."  It's not DRAMA, its responsible adult behavior. I am so sick of any dissention being labeled as drama these days.  It's become synonymous with "I don't like that you just caught me in a lie....called me out for a hypocritical opinion....held me accountable for my actions."

These days, it seems the live and let live is going a bit too far.  If someone is behaving badly, and it affects not just you, but multiple people....it is not only our right, but our responsibility to speak up about it.  What makes me so ill is that I am one of those speaker-upper people and I get LOTS of private affirmation (I am SO glad you said that...they were totally wrong...I can't believe...) but those people say nothing to the people who need to hear it.

And y'all might be thinking...so what?  So what if moderators on an internet forum use their powers of deletion and then saying that because they can delete (their own nasty comments about the members that were intended to be delivered to another mod via PM in a copy and paste gone horribly wrong) that is WHY the forum is so great.  Zero.  Accountability.

Think on those two words.  Zero Accountability.  Those two words frighten me beyond measure because it seems, as a collective, we are totally and completely getting comfy with them.  They are our ratty jeans, our fleecy slippers, our fat day sweatpants.  We don't want to speak up because it's uncomfortable, "doesn't involve me" or any other reason that has us watching the scene unfold with huge interest, but we're too busy holding our popcorn to jump in and lend a hand.

We are getting way to compliant and complacent and mindless.  We are lifting up people who abuse power, even SMALL amounts of meaningless power and shaking our heads at anyone who dares say "Hey, not cool."  We're Good Little Girls who do as we're told, when we're told and how we're told.

I challenge every single one of you reading this to stick up for the right thing the next time you get the chance.  Speak up.  DO something.  Don't be one of the faceless, mindless, voiceless warm-blooded space takers.  Be a person, with a voice and an opinion.  Compel other people to be the best version of themselves rather than accepting the worst.  Be kind, but be firm and stand your ground.  Otherwise, y'all....we're screwed.

Seriously.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Let's Be Direct

Once upon a time, Jamie and I got on this crazy bandwagon selling Herbalife products.  We had both lost weight and experienced huge amounts of energy and well, there was money to be made and we were so swept up in the possible fortune that could be made that we never really questioned the "system" as it were.  We weren't money hungry or anything, just desperate to stay together.  You see, this was right before he was gearing up for deployment.  He joined the Navy a single dude, then met me and we became three and the thought of leaving us was more than he could bear.  He wanted out and thought if he could do something else, he'd be able to do that instead (He didn't plan to like leave the Navy, but at that time felt he would be career Navy and was looking for an alternative.)  Anyhoo, so we sold this crap and did okay.  Okay enough to make it to the national conference thing that is supposed to get you pumped up to sell even more by parading millionaires and success stories in front of you for two full days.  It was fun, but didn't really inspire me to greatness.  All I could see was this stadium filled with hopeful people being told if they just "worked the business" they too would be millionaires. It left a bad taste in my mouth....for many, many years.

First off, I will say, at this point in my life, I don't think selling health products just because you bought a kit is a great idea.  That's an entire realm of personality responsibility that really doesn't lend itself to willy nilly representation.  You kind of need to know about the human body and nutrition and the reality that eating ANYTHING besides crap will usher in positive changes so that magical powdered shake may not really be doing what it says it's doing....it may just be the abstinence of the customer's daily Big Mac doing it.  So yeah, I'm not a huge fan of selling magical health products to people just because you signed up to sell it. (Now, I will say that some people selling these products absolutely DO know what they are talking about and are very knowledgeable and worth talking to!) I just think there needs to be more to it than that....but....My disdain for direct sales based on this past experience has been misplaced.  This is something I've been thinking about a LOT lately, even before I signed up with a company that employs this type of marketing.  Just the topic of consumerism in general fascinates me. Why do we buy what we buy and why do people sell what they sell?  Is it to make a quick buck?  What drives our decision making in all things money? I LOVE talking about that.

The other day an article came out bashing women (and just for the record, moron, it's not just women or "moms" selling products, so that was just dumb) who use social media to sell products they represent.  I kind of understand because some people are hugely obnoxious when it comes to what they are peddling (shut up...I can be counted among those people right now, but for good reason, which I'll explain below) but when you really examine what direct sales MEAN, it might change your perspective a bit.

What are direct sales anyway?  Long story short, the people who create or design these products skip Walmart and use people, like actual PEOPLE, to sell their products.  And this benefits YOU the consumer, hugely.  Why?  Well let's just examine that, shall we?

1. The salesperson is (most often) a customer themselves.  Go to Walmart. Pick up anything.  Now go ask an employee how to use it, how they like it and what they think of the product in general.  Chances are, they are going to shrug, look at you like you've lost your marbles and mumble some version of "I just work here..."  If you are buying from a direct sales company you are going to get way more information about what you are exchanging your money for.  You will be talking to someone who has actually USED this product or products from this company.  It's kind of like trading stocks with inside information (Shout out to Martha S. right here!!)  You aren't taking as much of a risk with your money when you purchase from a direct sales company...period.

2. But that person is just SELLING can totally b/s me, can't they?  I mean OF COURSE they will tell me this product is great...they just want to make money.  Uhm..dudes...direct sales representatives build their business from their inner circle on out...We don't start by selling to random strangers.  We generally share this great thing with the people we like the most first and we would not be taking the risk of pissing off our favorite people and stealing their money by selling them crap that doesn't work.  And...our "people" know each other.  If this thing is crap and not worth the money, our people will tell our other people and then we're hosed.  This is HONEST marketing.  We bank on the fact that what we are offering is worth it.  Otherwise, it wouldn't work.  You would sell this crappy thing to friend A who would tell friend B to steer clear...and then you are forced into early retirement a week after opening your doors.  The only way...and really let this sink in...the ONLY way direct sales works is by offering a product that does what it says it will.  It's based ENTIRELY on word of mouth.  Think about that for a few minutes....

3. But you're offended by this friend "selling" something to you...talking so much about it..."trying to get ME to try that crap"....Okay, but you're NOT offended by mutli-million dollar companies paying ga-jillions of dollars to pay other people to convince you your life completely sucks because you don't own whatever crap THEY are trying to sell you on?  Really?  You are more offended by that girl you went to high school with telling you about this amazing kitchen gadget that she has USED and that WORKS than you are by that guy shouting at you to "CALL RIGHT NOW for this LIMITED TIME OFFER???"  You live in a world that tries to separate you from your money every second of every day.  It's amazing to me that people are more comfortable giving their money away to complete strangers than to people they know selling a product they are using themselves and vouching for it's worthiness. All you see is a salesperson, not a happy customer. The reality is you are looking at BOTH.  If we lived in a world that required every product sold had to be used by the seller first, can you imagine how much different the world would be??

4.Well, why are there SO MANY companies selling so many different things?  It's annoying....right??  Have  you SEEN how many kinds of cereal there are in a grocery store?  We are a society that wants choices....and oh boy, do we have them.  You probably know someone who sells bags, someone who sells makeup, someone who sells house decor and someone who sells nail wraps (You know ME, so you know someone who sells nail wraps) and you might wonder....why?  Why is this person selling this particular thing? Well, why do you do what YOU do?  I have friends that sell a variety of different things but if I ask any one of them why they are selling that thing, the answer is always the same "We love the products.."  For whatever reason, the item WE are selling spoke to us, made some sort of difference in our lives.  It could be the quality surpassing other similar products we have used, it could be that the product changed a specific aspect of our lives (this is me with the nail thing...my nails sucked SO bad and this product completely obliterated this thing that embarrassed me for so long...), it could be sheer happiness the company or the product afforded us....but there's always the bottom line of "We love this and truly want to share it with you...with everyone!!"

The thing is, with direct sales, it's direct.  It's personal.  We mean what we say and say what we mean and it's astonishing to me how many people are uncomfortable with that.  We're okay with someone recommending a restaurant or a movie or even an entire neighborhood if we're house hunting, but the second someone tries to share a product with you that they are SELLING, we're looking up the ACLU, quite sure at least one of our rights is being trampled on.

I can't speak for the entirety of direct sales reps in the entire country, but I'd bet the vast majority are people like you (like me)  Honest, hard-working and actively seeking to live the best life possible.  The product they are vested in is part of that picture.  It's really as simple as that.  Think about something in your life that provides pleasure, comfort, entertainment or sheer joy!  How many people know that about you? Are they offended that you post pictures of your motorcycle, the awesome cake you decorated or the curtains you just found on clearance?  Hopefully they aren't.  My passions have been blasted across facebook every day for the past few years.   I've put up hundreds of pictures of our remodeling efforts, my children, yarn (and more yarn and well....just LOTS of yarny things), our chickens and goats and vegetables and links to things I've found hilarious, beautiful or inspiring.  I share ME with my friends and right now that includes what I'm selling (before my writing gigs dried up and become inappropriate, I shared that too!)  Not to offend but to include...

The thing is I wouldn't put my name on ANYTHING I didn't believe in.  For me, the end game is this question "If money was not even a thing, would I want to put this product/thing/hobby into the hands of the people I love?"  And the answer is yes.  I would want to give Jamberry to ALL my friends, I'd want to teach them to knit, I'd want to invite them over to see our latest home project and to play with my kids.  I truly believe in sharing any good thing I've found and I love it when my circle of people does the same.  We might live in a world that is more comfortable with passive, elusive and deals better with third-party randomness than face to face directness, but I really think we should question that on a grand scale. I think we should embrace as much of the personal (even how we shop) as we possibly can and rail against the system that has us "Pressing one for English." (and that's not a dig on Spanish speakers, it's a dig on "talking" to freakin computers by pressing buttons!!!)  I guess what I'm saying is what's wrong with getting a little personal, a little real, a little honest?  Intentional.  Passionate.  And direct!

Monday, July 7, 2014

That White Dot....Is Still $hit.

I used to be head over heels in love with another man. Now, now, this was pre-Jamie, so don't get your feathers all riled up by this admission.  Besides the dude was wayyyyy too old for me.  And famous.  And, well, married, so yeah, things just weren't going to work out but a girl could still dream.  As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure the number of women in love with this particular dude is well over a million but that's okay too, because I found my one and only.  You want to know who right?  Well, he sings, and was in one movie that I can recall, Pure Country.  You'll have to look it up if you want to know.

Anyhoo, in the movie there's a mix up and he appears to the main characters that he's a big old piece of crap...and one of the characters says the thing about that white bit on top of chicken poo....it's still poo.  A good bit of moral wisdom there right?? :)

One of my most glaring personality flaws is my optimism.  I know it seems like a good quality at first, but it's kind of like the Midas touch...it gets old really fast. A healthy amount of glass half full optimism is good, lovely and helpful.  A chronic inability to recognize the half empty part can have you all sorts of frustrated your entire life.  Believe me, I know.

When things happen to me or around me, I always use the opportunity to examine.  Why did this happen?  Why do people do the things they do?  Why do *I* always end up disappointed, frustrated and angry?  Well number one, I appear to be a poor judge of character and at the root of it is pride. (Just follow me here a minute)  I tend to give people more credit than they have due because they may have some kind of similarity to me (and I've written about this before) so my pride tells me because they are LIKE ME in some random area, they must be good. (Wrong)  Who am I to say my particular set of qualities equals GOOD in the first place?  What I value the most may be what someone else values the least and in that, I might be the type of person THEY wonder about, get frustrated with and angry at (I'm sitting here thinking you should never end a sentence with a preposition....and there I go, ending a sentence with one....and also, my son is absolutely adorable, just had to say that!)

I suppose it's all about perspective AND it's all about knowing when to stop expecting someone to change.  I value change.  HIGHLY.  I love rearranging my furniture, painting something a new color, trying a new food....becoming a better person.  I value change very much.  Freshness.  Newness.

Time, for me, always gives the illusion of change.  If enough time has passed, I think I can return to something or someone that let me down in the past and everything will be different.  After all, in that time, I've learned, grown....changed...and I always expect the other element has as well.  Time has a funny way of washing just enough dirt off of something to make it appear attractive again, but it's just trickery.  If you set that object back in the dirt, it WILL get dirty again.  And you WILL be disillusioned again....and it sucks.

Until you realize you are the dirt.  YOU are the element that makes that object unattractive again.  It's not the dirt's fault.  Dirt is good in its own right, but it just doesn't mix well with certain other things and once you realize that...once you realize you are either the dirt or the thing that gets dirty, you have a decision to make. Commit to washing periodically or stay out of the dirt.  It really is that easy.

And somethings are worth washing over and over again.  Some are not.  The key is to be aware that you always have to make that choice.  For yourself.  Eventually a pattern will etch itself into your brain and you'll get better at making that determination a little quicker.  At least I have.

It sounds so cliche, but life is too short to include people who constantly drain you, suck the life out of you, bring you down....if you spend anytime ranting about how absolutely maddening a person is, it really is better to just completely cut it out.  Remove.  Cauterize.

Today, after a reminder of this...(I'll keep that reminder to myself thankyouverymuch) this kept returning to my brainspace...

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly (Prov 26:11)

So the lesson is....the white part of chicken poo, although it appears different than the rest...is still poo....and only a fool returns back to the putrid castoffs his body wisely rejected....and if someone is any of these things...(so that we cover all nasty bodily functions here) you can tell that snotty, stinky loser to....piss off ;)

Or a more polite version.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nailed It!

Here's an embarrassing confession.  As old as it is, if I see the movie "You've Got Mail" on...I won't flip past it.  I know what happens.  I know every darn word in the whole movie, yet I'm like "Oooo...when will she find out it's HIM...ohhh..."  Dumb.  My favorite part is when she goes off about that line "It's not personal..it's business..." 

I just jumped into a business and I can say "It's not business...it's PERSONAL..."

I've said this many times over (trying to explain myself...to myself...) "I'm not a buyer..or seller..." because I'm really not.  I like pretty things, I really do, but I usually don't feel like buying something unnecessary is responsible behavior.  I have food to buy and clothes to buy and toilet paper, 2x4s and kitchen appliances.  I just don't BUY stuff.  I'm a hard, hard sell.  If something looks like a fad, I'm backing away, quickly...

But these...they got me and I have tried to wrack my brain as to why.  I've never been excited about a product like this.  I am just not *that girl..*

So I started thinking about my hands and why I've always been funny about them.  And this really vague memory came floating into my consciousness.  My older brother, who I don't know very well at all....him saying to me that you could tell a lot about a woman looking at her hands...her nails specifically.  It was just something he said as I was going to get a manicure for his wedding.  I was at his house for his wedding in New York.  Such a sweet memory from my childhood.  I got to fly up there, stay at his house and be treated like a kid for a week.  A kid that people liked.  It was one of my first exposures to class.  To a classy woman.  Not a snobby woman, but a CLASSY woman.  The woman he was marrying (still married to!!) was amazing.  She dressed nice, looked nice, talked nice and smelled nice and just seemed a step above the people I was used to interacting with.  

Isn't it funny how such a small blip can make such a big impact?  I remember after that paying really good attention to my nails, and thinking back to how I FELT, it was like I was getting approval from someone I really admired each time I took that time to pretty my hands up.  I was in 7th grade and from that age on, I always paid very close attention to my hands.  I knew I smelled like cigarettes and I didn't have the greatest skin in the world and I was not skinny, but I could do pretty hands.  

Once I was old enough to drive, I was at the salon every two weeks getting my nails maintained.  I usually went for french tips, but every now and then I'd get a funky design, most often for an event that required a fancy dress.  I stopped doing my nails when I got married and no longer had a job, but I would polish them every now and again.

Once I became a mom, that halted.  Like completely.  I might put some clear polish on every now and then..but I just didn't care.  I had a few phases where I'd lost a lot of weight, then I would be interested in my nails again, but they just weren't that high on my priority list.

Now I have a teenager who is nail obsessed.  Her collection of polish rivals a salon.  So I have grabbed some polish every now and then, played around a little, but have been so frustrated with how quickly they look like crap.  I just do not have time for that kind of maintenence.  It just doesn't exist.

So now I am wrapping my nails.  I am still in a bit of disbelief that this is actually a thing. Like...this is for real.  I can do my nails quickly and they look amazing for a long time.  For cheap.  So I am a little obnoxious right now with it.  This is such a huge blessing to me.  It's uplifting.  I might be postpartum chubby with raggedy hair up in a bun...I might have to do a rush make-up job that skips half the steps...but my hands look nice.  Pretty even.  I might even venture to say stylish.

So I have to say this company completely nailed it.  They just did.  This is for every woman, not just the skinny ones, the rich ones, the cool ones.  Pffft on all that.  Beauty is for everyone!!

I got my kit, got my website and business cards and catalogs and samples. I'm in it.  LOL!! I am really IN it.  So sorry for those who see me in real life.  You'll have to put up with my flashing my pretty nails and raving how they are TWO WEEKS OLD and all the things I did while wearing them.  I'm stoked.  Completely!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What They Don't Know...

This morning I hurried around my kitchen, trying to beat the clock that is a hungry baby.  I was making Trim, Healthy Mama muffins which I usually pop into the microwave, single serve, but I wanted to make a dozen and yeah, it took twelve times as long.  As I was washing out a bowl, a feeling overtook me... a thought that I wish I could make these for my mom.

My mom??  What?  We haven't talked in about a year, but these moments just creep up on me, out of the blue and I'm sad all over again.

I could just call her up, right?  Say "Hey let's just forget everything and be buddies and not talk about all the things we never talk about...."  Right?

That's when I really start to mourn because the fact is what I want from that relationship....what I ALWAYS wanted from that relationship....has never existed.  Never in the space of all my years.  There hasn't been one second where that mother daughter thing happened.  I've learned to live with that, a little at a time.  I wouldn't say I've accepted it or healed from it or whatever a mental health professional would deem it, but I've learned to live with it.  Like a limp.

My mother was not good to me.  Ever.  Maybe it's because her mother wasn't good to her.  I really don't know.  But I've had to be able to say this out loud because if I couldn't acknowledge how horrible it really was, then I'd be at risk for repeating that cycle with my own children.  If I said "Oh it wasn't/isn't that bad..." that starts me down a path I cannot go...that which justifies everything I went through as "okay" and I can say that it would never be okay for my children to receive that treatment from me......

Cycle broken?  Maybe.  But oh does it get sticky.  You see, you hear all the time about hurting people hurting people....and you think "I have broken that cycle by doing the opposite....we are safe..." but you aren't safe.  This is why abuse perpetuates and continues because going left instead of right doesn't mean you are going straight.

This is a conversation my BFF and I have frequently.  Our aggravation over our own children.  Because our own children don't "get it..." They don't understand the work we are doing to not yell, scream, nag and belittle because in all honesty, it would be so easy to do.  When we are annoyed at our children, we could absolutely repeat what we lived through...to get that small break, that small relief that comes with wounding a child's spirit just enough to get them to comply with our wishes instead of taking the long way around and compelling them to appropriate behavior by example and with love.  It's so much easier to belittle a person who wants your approval into doing what you want rather than staying still and quiet and explaining for the fifteenth time that the tone of voice they are using isn't loving or appropriate.  But that's what we do.  And we feel better for it, as we should, but there's also...

Bitterness.  Oh how easily it creeps up.  That feeling that our children should be SO GRATEFUL to us for the life they have, which is the polar opposite of the life we had...and how dare they not appreciate that.

But when you think about it the only way they could understand the contrast is to have lived through both and the entire point of "breaking the cycle" is to not let them live through that.  I catch myself saying "If...I..had..." as if they should be *thankful* that *I* didn't slap them across the face for that snotty remark.  AS IF that were EVER an acceptable action.  AS IF....they should know how LUCKY they are.

Oh my.  My horrible, awful, sinful self.....my healing, acknowledging, doing better with knowing better....self....still stumbles.  And I stumble because it's painful on a daily basis to have to make a CHOICE that has my mind constantly revisiting the alternative.  There's no other way.  Your child responds to a request harshly and in that moment you have to choose....Do I react the way I want...or the way I promised myself I would react?  In that moment I am my mom and that child is me and I must go back and be that nurturing person I needed....but without the comfort.  Yes, it's healing, but not comforting because there is a minute amount of envy that the child standing in front of me is getting what I so badly needed and takes it for granted.

But no one talks about THAT.  No one tells you that when you are healing from abuse while parenting....actively choosing to be kind to someone who is being harsh feels like abuse all over again and you spend most of your mental energy in those interactions sifting through the actual words, tone of voice, intention (if you can even determine that....) and asking yourself...is this person attacking me or simply being human?  And yes, even the two year old goes under that microscope.

Breaking a cycle is more than putting your hands in your pockets and choosing not to hit.  It's more than counting to ten and taking a deep breath and walking away when your mind and mouth want to spew all your frustration and fear out in a tantrum of epic proportions.  It's more than avoiding what was done to you...It's realizing that the people who will benefit from the cycle being broken....

Will never know.....because what they don't know can and would hurt them.  As it did you.  That they don't know is a GOOD thing.  It really is, but that's hard to swallow.

You want those gold stars.  But if you really think about it...you don't.  "Thanks Mom for not beating me until I had welts when I was nasty to you the other day.  That was really awesome of you..."  My children don't even know that kind of treatment is a possibility....and that's the success.

Righteousness for the sake of righteous really is the only reward we can shoot for.  Anything else...demanding an acknowledgement for how great we are for not being our parents is allowing that abuse to permeate our parenting, in a different way.  Same nuts, different flavor.

It's an everyday battle. An everyday mourning of what should be. What could be, but never was. And a daily choice to be brave enough to be the kind of parent you never had, reaching beyond the bitterness and sadness to give something that was never given to you. Perhaps it's from this emptiness we are meant to draw from. Perhaps when we completely empty ourselves of those expectations and experiences we are also emptying ourselves of the poison that was portioned to us so that we don't pass it on, even unknowingly.

I really don't know the whys or hows or whats...I just know that it's worth the work and the pain for my children to be devoid of the knowledge. What they don't know.....is what I hope they never do.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Immobile Life

Word on the street is....when you have a lot of babies...you will most certainly face dire consequences as your body wears out from all the abuse you are heaping on it.  Because everyone knows...a uterus is like a disposable razor.  Only meant for a couple uses ;)  After that, it's worn out...shot...done for.  Right?

Or so I'm told. And this pregnancy just might have convinced me of this if I didn't know better because those last few weeks....

SUCKED!!!! Hard!!!

I've had a few questions I'll address here for my five readers, just to clear the air.

First, am I ok?  Yep.  Perfectly perfect.  The pelvic issues I had suck and dear lord, it hurts, but it does not cause me any long term harm.  I was immobile, pretty much, the last two weeks.  Before that, I still got around, just painfully.  And the truth is...I did *everything* wrong.  I should have known better.  As soon as I started showing, hell, before that, I should have limited my activity to a reasonable level.  That doesn't mean sitting on my duff doing NOTHING, but I really shouldn't have been tearing out walls, shoveling chicken poo, moving hog pens or getting attacked by aggressive goats.  There were so many things I could have done to prevent the pain I ended up in, but I was stubborn.  I felt fine, so I WAS fine in my mind and I shot myself in the...well...you know ;)  If there is a next time, I have been sufficiently scolded in a way my brain finally understands and I won't be doing stupid stuff when growing any future babies.  Lesson learned.

Also, this issue isn't about how many babies you've had.  Women get this with their first, second...and so on.  It's just a thing.  I am really excited that there's even a book (several actually) about this "thing" and in the UK it's such a "thing" that they have charities and websites around it's awareness. Bottom line, I'm not dying, there is much I can do to alleviate any future misery and I'm good.

Now, did any of that have anything to do with my NICU stay?  Uhm, no.  Not at all.  Corban had some issues with his lungs.  I don't know why.  I intend to research until my eyes bleed to get some answers, but my heart is really trying to brace itself for what I'll find.  I think I already know.  Interventions.  He needed to come when he was supposed to come, not evicted BUT supposedly he and I both had high blood counts upon his birth, so maybe he needed to come so he wouldn't get sicker.  I have no idea.  Those are answers I don't have yet, but there was a 19 year old year in the NICU with her first with the same round of issues.  Exact same.  One of those "shiz happens" moments that you just try to get through as best you can and let me tell you I handled it with way more grace than I would have when I was younger.  I was a basketcase over EVERYTHING and with this, I told myself (and I actually listened) "Take it one day at a time...one day...one hour...everything will be okay."

Nothing went as planned, but I am reminded as I follow a friend's blog....building a family is never some quick, easy, always joyous thing.  She's in China right now, adopting their baby boy and they are delayed because he had a mysterious rash that needed cleared up.  They knew they'd be there for two weeks, but that was extended until it was all sorted out.

Two weeks in a different country, with a different language, away from some of your children to bring home a new family member.  I had twoish weeks of sitting around, playing with yarn, being waiting on (which I freaking HATED, but not really a hardship).  I am again reminded of those who travel far and wide to bring home a child, those who spend months and years on a waiting list and spend far longer than two weeks just jumping all the hurdles to adopt here in the states and those who go through the lab rat scenario of doing IVF or any other medical thing to get pregnant...and realize, mine hurdle is somewhat minor.

The juice...yep...still worth the squeeze.  Were my issues something that could permanently damage my body...or if Corban was born with some "thing" that would be repeated....we'd be talking about changing course, but right now, we're still good to go.  Family fully intact, marriage still good, babies still cute.  We're good ;) (By the way....he was met with great fanfare.  I caught the two older girls discussing all the firsts they were excited to see again with their new baby brother.  My teenagers love my babies, though they are on the fence about toddlers and sassy 7 year olds...)

So on one of my last days, I decided to document what I did while I could barely move, for me....for the baby on his way into the world....for my children already here, so we could remember....

That it didn't last forever.  That having a servant heart is the path to blessing, that a short season can be a time of refinement even when you aren't DOING anything, but just being present in every single moment in a way you can't be when you are constantly moving...

All in all, as much as I was ready to be done with the nonsense of sitting...it wasn't that horrible.  I am super thankful I don't live a permanently immobile life, but maybe everyone should take some time to sit and smell the goodness of the lives they are blessed with......


When I first wake up I stretch, stand up very slowly, take care of business then listen for the sounds of any little person stirring.  When I hear silence I know it's okay to grab some yarny project.  I'd usually read my Bible but I can't find it, must be downstairs.  I only go down the stairs once....and up the stairs once...per day....for now...Right now I am alternating between making granny squares from scrap yarns and weaving in the ends of my big blanket I want to take to the hospital, just to keep things from boring me to tears.....




The girls are already up and milking the goat, which is their chosen farm chore.  Miraculously no one has argued over who does what because they all  had certain preferences for which chore belong to who.  Calla hears me walking around and asks if I want her to "make" (microwave) some breakfast.  She bought foodz, Eli brought coffee which I consumed upstairs this morning because I have several things I need to do up here before I come down for the day....




Soon, I start to have visitors.  A cuddle buddy (Noah), a show and tell, (Eli-he made this chicken all by himself) and someone who isn't quite sure what needs done before her meeting with Dad tonight because they've switched some days around for checking and assigning work.



And then the Roo monster woke up and "chicken littled" Cassidy.  This is what they call it when she sees them first thing and wants only them and no one else, not even Mom.  One day I got so frustrated with her not wanting ME when she woke up that I made everyone stay out of my room and wouldn't let anyone in until she "chicken littled" me.  She does this every morning.  If you happen to be the first one she sets her eyes on, well, tag, you're it....She will throw herself down and have one mighty fit if that person even THINKS about setting her down and walking away. It's weird.


Alright, now time to get some work done.  I have to fix a couple mistakes the girls made on their books, so I am using nail polish remover and q-tips to get the paint off..


I also have to glue in the pictures they drew onto the pages they go with.  When the girls used markers or watercolors, I had them draw on separate paper so that nothing would bleed through the pages.

And since we had no idea if I'd make it to the last few classes, I bagged up all the craft stuff and wrote out instructions for what we'd be doing each class so that a stand in teacher could just pick up my notes and go.


My little helper :)


All done, packed up and ready for my next class.  I felt like it was important to have everything all neat and tidy just in case labor happened and I had to pass my suitcase off to a sub.  I did end up missing the last two classes and I haven't heard anything bad so I am assuming they went well ;)

Now to check on the man-child.  He's been awfully quiet.  He's "caught" doing school.  Pefectly perfect.  Asks if I need anything.  Awesome.  
Now back to my room to start the big dig for some fabric.  Today I told the kiddos I'd walk them through how to make drawstring bags.  We ran out of time before they were totally done so we still need to finish them!


In the meantime Noah has gone potty and gets his bribe.  The bunny is Mom's but I just wasn't into sweets at the time so there it sat.  He got a lollipop. I'm not above bribing children when it works and when you are sick and tired of dealing with icky pants.  Incentive sounds better than bribe, but any way you cut it...it works.  His pants are clean.  


Finally we head down and Cassidy decides to make Ramen noodles for lunch, which....I hate because  it's not even food, in my opinion, but this is the very end of this season and Ramen it is.  I'll make them eat their weight in Brussel sprouts later.  


So I take the high road and eat a hot pocket.  Shut up.  It had broccoli in it.  


Then, WE GOT MAIL.  Not just envelope mail, but PACKAGE mail.  My order from SnugglePunkin has landed.  Oh my!! I did NOT order the bows.  Those were a freebie, which I didn't expect, but hey...no complaints here!!


And they were pretty and the kids loved them (see below) but these....oh my...these...When you've had a lot of children and don't technically NEED anything...and you have clothes and bottles and sheets and blankets, these are a very cool thing to order.  Burp cloths.  Very pretty ones, CUSTOM ones!  They are a pretty print on one side and very super soft terry on the other.  Let me tell you what, if my bean is going to spit up on me or drool or do something gross with snot, I'll still be smiling using THESE to clean up that nastiness.  Gorgeous and so affordable!


Aw, Noah loves the bow.  I personally think he rocks it!


And this picture didn't even GET the bow that she's sporting, but THAT FACE....sigh.  So cute!


Mom, I feel SOOOO Pretty!!!


After ten rounds of put the bow in and take the bow out...put the bow in and take the bow out, we were all sick and tired of the bows and bribe number 2 for the day came out.  "Peeps Big World..." which I always call "Peep Show..." and let me tell you what...It sounds really wrong to hollar down the stairs "Hey Calla, could you please put on the peep show for Roo?"  Yeah...


With toddlers happily distracted, we get down to business.  Showed them how to cut and sew and iron their bags....



Sat down while they did their thing on the machine and hollered at the walking q-tip to quit chewing my feet.  Thankfully he got busy licking something up off the floor....


Before I knew it....he was home....:) And wondered why the heck I was snapping a picture of him....


Worn out toddler!  Man, I hope she goes to bed okay tonight.  She's in between needing a nap and not needing a nap and she typically falls asleep way too late in the day!


We had dinner which I didn't document and then Dad did the Math routine.  Here, I'm pretty sure he's explaining to Kyle that all those pages ARE necessary because math is a  SKILL you need to PRACTICE in order to "get it..."  I hear this same conversation every single time they go over his assignments.  This time I"m like "Okay, just shush up.  No argument is going to get you out of it, so let's just skip that part...." He shut up.  


As they went through Math and then Bible study, I did this.  What I always do.  Keep those hands moving.


Then I wandered into the laundry room to switch it and took a quick glance...yep more laundry...needs done.  Those baskets should be empty if I was on top of things, which obviously I am not..Want to see??


No idea what has happened here?  I didn't SMELL any kind of explosives, but obviously some sort of bomb went off.  Such a total wreck.  This will be tomorrow's focus....


And then, Emory and I did a quick clean of the bathroom because it just wasn't clean enough for my liking.  I typically get so flipping tired of sitting by this time of night that I have to clean SOMETHING to keep my sanity intact.  


Before I head upstairs, I tidy my little couch nest for the next day, putting things back where they belong....


And tell Noah to pick out a book to bring upstairs...Apparently he's gone a bit pirate for this shot....and is still obsessed with the Halloween I-spy book despite owning 12 others.  No idea....

And then everyone piles into my room, loudly, jumps on the bed, tickling and screaming and going insane...because that's how they like to end the evening apparently...Jamie might be the biggest troublemaker of all and when he starts in, the whole crew just winds up SUPER fast ;)  Sometimes I mind...sometimes I don't....tonight, not too bad because they are filtering into the room in shifts instead of whole huge ball of craziness.


And tomorrow it will begin again....sit, knit, cuddle, talk....rinse, lather, repeat.

Looking back it wasn't HORRIBLE, but I do like being way busier during the day.  I like getting things DONE, getting my own coffee, being outside, etc, etc....

I end each day with a bit of quiet time in my rocking chair, reminding myself it won't be too much longer before I'll be up (half the night) and cleaning and sewing and creating and teaching...once again....