Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Not Great

Loveys, this was me yesterday. It was a rough day. At one moment, I found myself standing by the kitchen island, mindlessly eating an empty taco shell I had found, wondering how I got to this point.

This is another reminder that my diet is not working. Another reminder of this was my lack of self control at the birthday party I went to yesterday morning. I was sitting by my friend Shari, and when the girl brought over two pieces of Star Wars cake for us, I LITERALLY reached across Shari to grab her piece of cake because it had 3 times more frosting. And then I ate the whole thing in two seconds. (I'm sorry, Shari. I'm a bad person sometimes.)

The truth is I've been on the edge lately. Lily has been crying a lot (teething most likely). I cannot seem to keep up with anything. Do you know these moments? Where you just don't have the energy for much? So you hunker down and put on your pajamas and find yourself suddenly eating empty taco shells?

By the end of yesterday, I told Jeff we need to move and have a fresh start. (He didn't really respond to that but he was sympathetic at least).

Here I am today. Still in pajamas but no taco shells at least.

How are you, lovey?

I am staying home. My hair is terrible and my clothes are from the nineties. It's a difficult time.

I know next week will be better. It has to. But I've given up on this week. Humiliating moments (more than one in the span of three days! Lord help me). Frustrating moments. Too many car drives with screaming children (this can bring me to the brink). Motherhood crying moments. Epic failure moments.

It's not my week.

I will start fresh on Monday, (even though Jeff won't let us move, I will just have to do the best I can).

The truth is that I've had weeks like this before (though none come to my mind at this moment). And all moms feel tired and discouraged, for sure I know this. I also know all moms have had embarrassing moments--for one reason or another (often brought on by our children). And the crying and whiny-ness can get to even the most patient woman (which I never was to begin with). I also know there are worse things in the world.

But today, my capacity is at nil. I know it's been building slowly. Long days for Jeff at work (the market has been crazy). Teacher meetings with not great news. Fussy baby. Hurting feet and physical therapy. Grocery shopping and forgetting toilet paper.

We reach that point every now and then (usually by Thursday) and we start to twitch.

That's where I'm living right now. In the twitching place.

Also, I'm hungry for lunch and it's 10:42.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Grief and Hope

Loveys, my friend died.

She was Jeff's administrative assistant for four years, and I think he and I are just still shocked by the whole thing. She and I are the same age. She has a lovely teenage daughter and an adorable two-year-old son and a sweet husband who's been through this kind of unimaginable grief before. My heart hurts for the three of them.

The phone call came Saturday night, and I covered my face with my hands and cried. Jeff just seemed stunned. After all, he'd spent every day with her for years. How can she be gone? A beautiful life. A special person. I keep thinking about this moment two years ago--we went to see her in the hospital after her baby was born. Such a happy day. Perfection. A little family in a hospital room, filled with love. No one could have known that day that just two years later she would take her last breath.

It. Is. Devastating.

These kinds of things scare me and frustrate me and fill me with both raging and plummeting emotions. I don't want this to have happened.

Loss. Grief. Sorrow.

Life is a mixed bag. Our friend who passed away lived near us. Just a few streets away really. It seems surreal. Houses filled with families, eating dinner, watching movies, laughing and talking and playing. Except in one of those houses, everything stopped on Saturday night and a mom went to meet Jesus and things will never be the same for that family.

Rewind to a week before.

Sunday morning, Jeff and I look at each other across the kitchen island. I raise my eyebrows. "Are we going to church?" He answers me, "Yeah, we should go." We pack up the kids (this process feels very similar to packing up to go to another state for a week), and head to our church. I'll be real with you, loveys, it's been a rough few months. To get really real, it's been a difficult year. We drop all the kids at their respective classrooms and go sit next to each other in church. Do you know those moments? Where just getting there has been enough to make you need a nap? You're desperate to hear from God, but you don't even realize it. You just hope you hear something that will help.

Our pastor started speaking to those people listening who need a comeback.

I didn't have to look at Jeff. I cried during the whole service. I needed every word like a drowning woman needs air. A marriage comeback. A lifestyle comeback. A faith comeback. We got to the car afterward, and Jeff and I cried and held each other while the kids were chaotic in the backseat.

Every now and then God does this. He shows up when I didn't even have the wherewithal to ask him to.

Fast forward a week later. It's Sunday and we're headed to church again. Just hours before, our friend breathed her last. I still feel shaken by that. By the reality that we can be perfectly happy and busy loving our family and living life--then everything can change and suddenly we're dying and it's fast.

Worship begins and we're singing out that God is the breath in our lungs. And it means something different to me. Because I'm just so grateful to even have breath in my lungs when my friend doesn't anymore.

Life is a gift, lovey.

Her life was a gift too. We're grieving for her. We're heartbroken for her family. We'll miss her.

I closed my eyes on Sunday and lifted my hands and sang out that God is the breath in my lungs. The Author of life. The Giver of good things. The Receiver of the ones who pass on.

Every breath is a gift. We can't go on without it. When we reach a moment where our every breath is God in and around us, where every breath is gratitude, I think it's a moment of awareness and beauty. To me, that time of worship was so comforting. And there was the reassurance that when I no longer breathe on this earth--God will be my only breath.

Loveys, it's hope amid grief.

That's what faith is. Hope.

These moments give us clearer perspective. Some things matter a lot less than others. People get all worked up over all kinds of things.

Sometimes, we need to just take a breath . . . and be thankful we're here.

Pray for the hurting. Love our families.

Do you see the picture above? I've been to that cemetery in Galveston. It's kind of amazing actually. All these gorgeous flowers. Life pushing up around loss. I told Jeff to slow down as we drove past because I couldn't stop staring.

We ALL need hope sometimes. Whether it's hope for our marriage, hope for our future, hope for change, and so on.

Here's the thing lovey, as long as we're breathing, we can make changes. Even if it's as small as just changing our perspective. There's hope. God shows up sometimes when we're not expecting him to. Life goes on even though terrible things happen.

Things stop. Things change. I know this to be true. So do you.

The past week has been an emotional one for us. It's also brought perspective and truth.

I've wanted quiet. I've wanted solace. I've wanted to hold my babies tight and be glad I have breath in my lungs. I've lifted up my friend's family in prayer over and over. It's a reflective time. Sometimes we need that. Slow down. Breathe deep. Be thankful. Worry less about the now and consider the vastness of eternity. After we heard the news that our friend had passed, Jeff just reached over and we held hands. And I was so glad he was there. Thankful for another night together. Thankful for the three beating hearts in the other rooms upstairs.

I'm thankful for my friend's life. So many people loved her. I wish she was still here.

One of my favorite hymns says, "God leads his dear children along. Some through the waters, some through the flood; some through the fire, but all through the blood. Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long."

I love those words. I keep singing them. It's like that moment of worship--so comforting. I've been thinking about worship ever since Sunday, and the different experiences I've had with it. Brother Dale at Calvary, singing steady and calm. Kim Smith at East River, keeping time by stomping his boot. Hundreds of voices at LBT, with all the men singing out and holding their Bibles up in the air. The passion of that moment almost unnerving. Singing the benediction at Grace in Lynchburg. Standing and singing at Milldale during campmeeting. Louder and louder.

Calling out to God because we're desperate for something.

Hope is a beautiful thing, lovey. It lets us breathe a little when we feel like we just can't.

Love is a beautiful thing, too, lovey. And it lives on forever.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


I'm joining Andrea today and talking about Momfessionals. It's where we confess a few details of real momlife. Here are mine for today:

I ate all my kids' Starbursts and I'm hoping they forgot about them.
It's true. Last week during Downton Abbey, Jeff and I were desperate for snacks. I pulled the kids' Starburst bag from the cabinet and we went to town.
I purged clothes from my closet this past weekend and came up with three bags for the Task Force. I tried on at least three pairs of jeans from college and mourned the fact that they cannot be part of my life anymore.
True story. But I got to keep two pairs that I was sure wouldn't fit! So that made me feel better. Plus, there was one pair I couldn't bring myself to give away. Michelle and I bought them together and I love them. So they're staying no matter what.
I look forward to physical therapy because I get to go by myself. That's terrible, I know. I'm willing to go through pain just to have time on my own! You take what you can get, lovey.
Seriously. The last fifteen minutes I just lay there while they ice my feet. And I get fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time to check Facebook. Gotta appreciate that.
I go to Supper Club once a month and from the moment I wake up, I'm counting down until dinner that evening. I absolutely do not get tired of drinking wine with girlfriends and swapping birth stories. It's basically a whole night of momfessionals. 
During supper club this past Sunday, we celebrated my friend Shari's birthday. Extra fun! There's something magical about sitting around a table with other women, drinking wine and eating delicious food, sharing life together. It's the boost I need before diving back into days filled by being a waitress to my children. Moms need nonjudgmental friends. It's a must for survival.
I had basically a humiliating mom-moment last week. I went to dinner with my fantastic new literary agent. She's super cool; she also happens to be quite a bit younger than myself and she's not part of the mother-hood yet. So after we've had dinner and we're about to go, I know that she's got a pretty good drive ahead of her. We're putting on coats and I say, "Do you need to go to the bathroom before we go?" Tragedy. Yes, it's standard for me to say this to my kids every time we leave anywhere, but not cool to say to other grown ups. She just looks kind of taken aback and says, "Ummm, I think I'm okay." Of course you are. You're a grown-up woman. I'm just a mom who is so conditioned to asking people if they need to "go potty" that I now ask other adults this.
Erin, if you're reading this, I promise not to ask you if you need to go to the bathroom next time we have dinner. Chalk it up to momlife.

That's all I'm confessing for now. ;)
I hope your week is off to a good start, loveys.