Monday, May 7, 2018

Roses

It's "Give your teacher a flower day" for teacher appreciation week.  I love this week.  My boys are reminded to do something thoughtful for their teachers.  Very sweet.

Today each boy took roses from our rose bushes outside our house.  My husband is the green thumb and I don't really have an interest.  However, today I offered to "dehead" the rose bushes for him.  Before marrying him I didn't know deadheading was a thing.  He's explained that for roses to bloom again you have to knock off the dead bud.  I asked if there's a wrong way to do this.  No.  I went to work with some kid scissors and a bowl to put the old buds in.

I don't typically enjoy garden work but I really enjoyed this.  It was prayerful for me.  I thanked God for the beauty of the morning, the blessings of a spring day and my family.  As I was cutting some thorns poked me.  It reminded me that in beauty there are also thorns. 

This morning I put the paper towel roll out on the table, thinking my husband would wrap the rose stems in paper towels to avoid my boys from being poked by thorns.  Nope.  One did get poked right before we left and while fixing him a paper towel handle I told him about the classic song "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."  He didn't seem impressed.

The rose bushes are now ready for new roses.  I'm not one who generally stops and admires nature.  It was nice to do it this morning.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Flavored coffee

My last post was heavy--it dealt with adoption.  I felt much better after writing that post.  For me, blogging isn't about trying to save the world, sell a product or build an audience so I can launch a book.  (All of those are great things if it's what you're doing.  It's just not my road).  I blog as a form of expression.  I feel things deeply and by using words I can let the feelings go.  If someone happens to read these words and be blessed by them, that much the better. 

On a side note I have found Christian Yoga on You Tube.  I'm not great at being still.  Yoga is a challenge for me, but when I do it I can tell I'm more relaxed and not as quick to snap at my family.

I enjoy coffee, but it needs to be jazzed up a bit.  My husband is a coffee purist.  He likes his coffee black.  I like flavors with a little cream and sugar.  Granted, I don't use much cream or sugar but I like a bit.

The other day I ran out of coffee and thought I would try something new.  I chose a cinnamon flavor with a hint of churros.  What was I thinking?  I like churros but I don't want them in my coffee.  It tasted not great.  Oh well.

Every once and a while I get to go to HEB which I love.  There was a "mystery flavor" bag that was a dollar and some change.  I got it and am really enjoying whatever it is.  I think it would be a fun game for them to put the answer of what I'm actually drinking at the bottom of the bag where I'll see it, but to date I have no idea what the mystery flavor is.  I don't think it's churros because I'm really liking it.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Stirrings from adoption

As a baby I was adopted.  I grew up knowing and I will give my parents credit for raising me with a good sense of who I was as an adopted person.  At about 5 I asked if my mom had nursed me because I heard on the news that children who had been nursed were better athletes.  She told me in simple terms that she had not because I had been adopted.  I remember she recorded an episode of Sesame Street that talked about adoption.  I accepted that they chose me out of love.

But somehow I decided my birth mother had rejected me.  I now know it's common for adopted children to feel separation anxiety and on my own, I can go down that path.

In junior high I chose to give my whole heart to Jesus and give up my insecurities about my adoption.  The thing about that is I have to revisit that decision from time to time, even as an adult.  Around that time I chose to forgive my birth mother.  I had no contact with her but in my heart I chose to let go of the disappointment I felt at being giving away and chose to feel thankful instead.  One of the best decisions I've ever made.  (Small bunny trail--I made that decision at youth camp during an altar call.  Had I not been at that camp I don't know that I would have addressed that pivotal issue in my life.  Thank goodness for youth camp).  A few years ago my birth mother contacted me. I sent her a picture and letter telling her to be at peace--God blessed my life with my parents and I'm thankful for all the amazing opportunities I have.

A close friend is going down the international adoption process.  While talking to her the other day I was reminded that when my parents filled out their paperwork they had to fill out if they would take a redhead, native American or Afro-American baby.  (My mom told me this).  Being an optimist, I like to think it was so that the parents could choose if they and their adopted child would constantly not have to answer the question of "Where did your red hair come from?" like I did since I'm a redhead and no one else in my immediate family is.  My mom used to tell people her aunts and grandma were redheads and she and my dad wisely coached me to say "It came with my head."

But even still, at 39, when I see a redheaded woman on TV I'll ask my husband if I look like her.  He's learned to say something kind like "a little, but you're more beautiful."  Awww.  My sons look like me in their eye shape but aren't redheads which is fine.  I've known many redheads and we all seem to have high emotions.  A house full of highly emotional people would be exhausting.

At the core of this issue (which is why I'm blogging about it--to put a name on it, grieve over it and release it--) is the issue of worth.  Life is sacred.  It's created by God.  My parents were gracious, loving people who chose to open their home to a baby girl who needed a family.  They didn't specify that the baby look just like them.  They accepted a redhead, loved her and raised her as their own.

It's amazing that love can be that big.  I am in awe that my friend feels called to adopt a child when she already has others.  I don't feel called to more children;  my own challenge me daily.  I'm having to remind myself that God called me to my road, not hers.  I'm to raise my boys, be a loving and faithful wife, and honor God in all my other responsibilities as well.  This is my path.  And accept that I'm loved and enough.  I don't have to earn my worth in God's eyes.  Being me is all I'm called to be.

I have a children's music collection and I was playing through it the other day.  Kermit's "It Ain't Easy Bein' Green" touched me.  I've never really liked it before, but it's about contentment.  It made me feel a little better that Kermit struggles with the same issue and I'm not even green.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

My road

I'm really bad at comparing myself to others.  Where do we learn this?  Why do I think I have to be perfect at everything I do?  I don't expect of my kids but somehow I expect it of myself.  Silly.

Last night instead of teaching the kids music at church, someone else taught while I helped with behavior.  Back in the fall, K asked if she could teach the kids a special Mother's Day song.  She is an elementary music teacher and doesn't get to teach this song anymore at school.  She wanted to teach it to our kids.  Lovely.

Last night was her first night with them and she was magical.  I love when I get to watch someone who loves what they do and is really, really good at it.  This was what I saw.

The parent in me was thrilled that my own sons were in the group of kids who were blessed by this lesson about moms.  The insecure perfectionist in me wondered why I'm not as magical as K.

Well, K is a professional music teacher and has been for 25 years.  She has taught this song and huge groups of kids very successfully for many years.  This is what God called her to do and she does it joyfully.

God called me to other things.  Not her things.  I have to remind myself to stay on the road God made for me and not try to jump onto someone else's road.

I wish my road were more glamorous sometimes but I'm learning that contentment with the road God has given me is the lesson I need to learn now.  I'm figuring out a new job.  Not easy.  My boys are moving into a new phase of growing up which requires me to change a bit in the way I parent them.  Boo.  I just barely got a handle on the last phase and no one asked my permission to change things up.

My prayer:  that I can lay my pride down at Jesus's feet and instead of feeling comfort in my own successes, lean into Him to navigate my own road to His glory.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mad

A few years ago I read that if your "mad" seemed disproportionate to the things that were upsetting you it was probably worth some thought. 

Well, I'm a passionate person.  My "mad" ignites quickly and I can go from 1 to 9 very quickly. If I could use it for good it would be an awesome super power.  It's not. 

I married a man who is the opposite.  I like to say I'm the fire to his ice.  Sometimes I think he doesn't really value my passionate spirit and nature;  I think it's more annoying than anything to him.  We now have a tween who can also go from 1 to 9 annoyingly quickly and I get how it's not a personality trait to admire.

I heard someone advise once that when you find yourself at a 9, take a moment to take a deep breath and remind yourself that in the grand scheme of God's eternity this was really not a 9.  I actually make myself think (and say out loud if I'm with my boys) "in the grand scheme of God's eternity, this is really a __".  Usually it's about a 0.3 if I'm really honest.  Just going through this helps diffuse my mad.

That was in momland.  I'm now in the working world where I have to behave professionally.  Boo.  The other day I was teaching a college class and I got irritated with something and I snapped.  Not a huge deal;  I doubt the students really noticed that I snapped.  I hid it well.  But the mad was still there.

So why am I mad?  Injustice.  Disrespect.  Meanness.  Bad drivers.  Awful fashion trends.  Getting grey hair.  Uncomfortable shoes.  Having an out of tune piano and forgetting to call the piano tuner.  Entitlement.  The fact that food that tastes really good many times isn't very good for you.  Mass shootings.  Those really throw me.  I pray for the safety of my family, but it's still a horrible reminder of just how awful this world is.  I tell my boys often that on this side of heaven, life is going to be unfair.  It's one thing to say it to my kids and another to trust God with the uncertainty of tomorrow.

I'm sure my passionate nature serves me well;  I think I my "highs" are higher than those of my husband.  However, on the flip side I'm sure my "lows" feel lower.  I think the lows are connected to the "mad."  Writing on this blog helps me shine the light on the mad, analyze it and then let it go.  I also like to play the piano and sing really loud to get the mad out.  I typically do that when my family is gone.  It's not terribly lovely but it sure helps me feel good.

Dabbing Unicorns

Ah, unicorns.  As a mom of all boys I don't get lots of opportunities to be in the world of unicorns.

Side tangent...we play Dungeons and Dragons as a family and I have the honor of being the Dungeon Master.  (If you're unfamiliar with this, it means I'm the narrator of our adventure and I can throw weird stuff in when I feel like it).  I was joking with my husband that I would enjoy this adventure more if there were unicorns.  Alas, he showed me in the Monster Manual that there are in fact unicorns and if I choose to bring one in they'll be in our adventure.  Score!

Anyway, at Christmas I put a handful of "Choose kind" t-shirts on my Amazon wish list.  I love the book (and movie) Wonder and like the thought of reminding the world to be kind through my fashion choices.

My youngest son was looking over my shoulder as I chose and noticed a pink shirt with a rainbow-colored unicorn doing the dab.  Oh my.  It looked like something a 9-year-old would wear proudly.  And somehow I got it for Christmas.

When I wear this t-shirt I feel like I'm dressing too young for my age and I feel a little silly.  However, my son loves it when I wear it and even more than that, it reminds me to embrace the fun of life and not care what others think.  There are so many rules in life that I feel like I have to follow.  It's fun to just wear a silly shirt.

At the donut shop the cashier told me she loved my unicorn shirt.  :)  Me, too.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Unfair

The term "first world problem" reminds me that my frustrations are such small matters in the grand scheme of life.  My family has food to eat, a nice home and stability.  But yet I still feel frustrated today.

It's Saturday, the day for cleaning our home.  Back when I was home full time with small kids we did the cleaning together on Mondays.  It was a good system because I had complete control and a low bar for how much they would help.  The house got clean.

Now, I work part time and yes, I could do all the cleaning which in the short term would be easier for me.  My house would get clean and I wouldn't have to fight with my family.  However, I HATE the entitlement of the current generation of kids so I expect my boys to clean.

We have figured out that I become very unpleasant when delegating cleaning tasks.  My husband has taken this from me.  He assigns the jobs on Saturdays and boys do them.  I've had to choose to let this system be the best it can be and not become a she-dragon.

Small caveat:  when the house has to be clean I give myself permission to do it so I know it gets done well.  Not a perfect system but it works well enough.

What's unfair is I'm the only one who cares if our house gets clean.  Why is that my job?  We have 2 indoor dogs.  The dog hair is obvious but somehow only bugs me.  Oh well.