Wednesday, December 25, 2013

When Being {REAL} isn't pretty - Part II

Photo Source


They are all emotions.

They are all sins.

But they are all also REAL.

I'm a REAL person, only human, with REAL emotions.

As ugly as it is, I'm in that pit tonight.
I'm trying my best to stay REAL - true to myself, while also being Christlike in my actions & reactions.

I have this family member who really despises me. Says that it's me that despises them. Has been a part of my family for at least 8 years & this has been an issue most of that time.
Quite frankly, I feel "damned if I do, damned if I don't."

I'm angry because I only get to see my brother once a year. I want to spend time with him & the rest of my family with fun, love, & laughter - no drama. This person sees that there is drama by simply making a point NOT to speak to me. Everyone can see & feel the tension even when I do my best to ignore it.

I'm not jealous of this person, but I am jealous for something that I feel is lacking - quality time with my family & the ability to NOT care what this person thinks of me. Because truthfully, no matter how much this person's words & actions hurt me, I still care that they don't like me. I wish I didn't care - life would be easier if I just didn't care.

I'm frustrated for all the reasons I already mentioned PLUS I thought we'd worked through this two years ago. I'm tired of trying quite honestly. I think adults should act like adults & I'm fed up with juvenile behavior. I spoke "Hello" (or maybe it was "Hey") when I arrived today & was completely ignored.

I wouldn't say I'm prideful about this situation, but it is easy to feel justified & I think those two things are close. I feel like I've more than done my part & that communication works both ways. Why should I have to be the one to make the extra effort when it isn't returned? 

While I feel like my actions, reactions, & emotions are justified, I still want to be sure I'm handling my end of this thing as best I can.

Believe me when I say, I have searched myself over this!

I have asked...
"am I a hateful person?"

"is this my fault/responsibility?"

"am I jealous & reacting accordingly?"

"could I have done (or be doing) something differently?"

When I say I've searched myself, I'm not kidding. I really did some prayerful searching more than once. 
I know from experience that being dishonest with yourself is just a recipe for disaster. 

My honest answer to all those questions was "no."

This person and I even had an email conversation a couple of years ago & I thought we'd made a lot of progress. I opened up and shared that family gatherings & crowds are really hard for me. I'm not a hugger either & it's not because I'm trying to be snobby or standoffish or I'm a germa-phob. I'm none of those things. 

I'm a shy person & I have been since birth.
I don't like being the center of attention & walking into a room full of people is uncomfortable at best.  I cannot imagine that it will ever be otherwise for me; it's just part of who I am.  I'm not rude, but just like a shy child, it takes me a few minutes to "warm up."

I've tried to get to know this person, because as I said, relationships of any kind are a two way street. I completely expect the return courtesy from this person & I don't think that's expecting too much!
Basically what I'm saying is, "Please don't judge me as snobby or rude when you know nothing about me & you haven't even bothered to try to know me."

I really try not to reciprocate the treatment that I get. 

Image Source

I learned The Golden Rule at a young age & I SO want to live it. I just never knew it could be so hard.

My REAL human feelings on the matter have been stuffed down for so long & I wonder how long I can hold them in.
I'm not an angry person, but I can only take so much before I speak my mind.
I don't want to explode because I know it will be REAL, but it will also be UGLY.

This isn't someone I can separate myself from or sever ties with.
I would never ask my family to choose sides, but seriously? Sometimes you just want somebody to stick up for you & ask the other person, "Hey! What the heck is your problem?"

It's a tough spot for all of us I suppose.
It's REAL. It's UGLY. I'm hoping & praying it doesn't get REAL UGLY before it gets worked out. 

In fact, my prayer has been ALL about this person & their needs, & very little about my own (although I'd be lying if I said my feelings weren't wrapped up in it a little). 
I am trying my best to love this person - hard as it may be.

I've come to realize that most of us know very little about love.

REAL love means caring for the other person & putting his or her needs above your own. It means doing this with no thought of reciprocation.  It means doing this in the face of hate.  It means doing this in every situation, no matter what!

Lord, please help me love with no conditions!

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Friday, December 20, 2013

When Being {REAL} isn't Pretty...

source -

Lest you think this is a post about how a Barbie doesn't look like a REAL woman, I'll go ahead and tell you now - it's not! But it is about being {REAL}...

I've spent a lot of my time and energy the past few years learning about myself.
Trying to accept myself for who I am, all flaws included, and bare that {REAL} version of myself to others even when it's difficult and uncomfortable.

I read this book (maybe you have too?) and among others that I've read in the same time period, it radically changed the way I think about and live my life.  The way I relate to other people, the things I care about or care less about, my ability to leave the house without my hair and make-up done.


Yes, you read that correctly.  Until this year, I could count on one hand the number of times I left the house without my hair and makeup done to my satisfaction.  Even to drive my kids to school, I would do at least enough that I thought I might not scare anyone!

You can laugh - honestly, it's funny to me now.

What's not funny is that everyday is still a struggle.

Everyday I even CONSIDER leaving the house without makeup on, I have to force myself to do it.

Truth be told, the days that I cross the threshold without at least foundation and/ or powder on my face?
They are seriously few and far between.

Who knows why I REALLY feel like I can't do this.
I mean, I could give you a zillion reasons why, in my head, leaving without "my face on" is a bad idea.

Last week, (or maybe the week before, they all run together lately) I was in Target shopping.  I hadn't been feeling well and a terrible cold and cough was making the rounds through my household.
Yes, my hair and makeup were done (albeit not as well as most days).
I wasn't dressed as well as I might normally be, but I didn't think I looked like a bum either.

Until this girl walking towards me gave me the head to toe sweep with her eyes.
I saw the entire thing as if in slow motion and I can still visualize it easily now.

While I try to discourage others from assuming they know what someone is thinking, my guess is, anyone who saw her face knew what she was thinking.
Her expression said it all.

She may as well have screamed, "WHAT are you wearing?" "Did you look in the mirror before you left home today?"

At the time, I kept walking.  After all, I had things to do and I didn't want to be there any longer than absolutely necessary.

Since then, I've replayed the scene in my mind many times.
And my heart is heavy for my pre-teen daughter and all the other girls out there in this world.

I don't want my daughter to be the one who thinks it's ok to look at another person that way and I don't want her to be the one on the receiving end of the look.

Just what are we instilling in our daughters?
Are we telling them that God made them beautiful? Just the way they are?
Or are we telling them (with our actions, more than our words) that other things make us beautiful?


Ann writes great words on this subject and I have little to add - certainly couldn't say it better.

BUT {there's always a but}, I say this as a precaution to myself as much to anyone...
the society we live in, WE are part of.
And as part of it, we must take responsibility for the daughters with low self-esteem, both the shy ones and the looks-down-her-nose-at-others-to-make-herself-feel-better ones.

Taking responsibility doesn't mean taking all the blame.

It does mean taking the initiative to do better.  To correct the situation.

I think, if we want to make it better we have to pray earnestly about how God would have us see ourselves, present ourselves to others, and model godliness to our daughters.

Their little eyes are watching and what they see goes further than what we say.

My son likes getting his picture taken even less than I do!

Friday, November 1, 2013


Every year it happens.

IT sneaks up on me. 

IT being Fall.

Fall is my absolute FAVORITE time of year without a doubt and I have blogged about it many times before. 

I anticipate it starting in July - that's how much I love and long for Fall.

Yet, still, here it is November 1st and I am just now realizing, "Oh my gosh! It's Fall! How did it get to be November already?"

I love the trees and the colors of the leaves.

I LOVE how the sky changes and the angle of the sun is just different enough to notice in the morning and again in the afternoon.

I love pumpkins and hayrides and trick or treating.
I love the breezy days and cooler nights and all things orange.

And no matter how hard I try, I just cannot my make the camera on my iPhone {which I normally LOVE} do justice to the colors of the trees 'round here.

But FALL is also more.
It's a reminder to slow down.

For me
For you
For all of us.

I was talking with a friend recently about my love of all things PUMPKIN.  And that led to lattes (another love of mine) and pumpkin spice this and that, and she told me to go try Dunkin Donuts' Chai.

Never tried Chai before and so today I decided to stop and get one.  I chose to go in rather than do the drive through and I'm really glad I did.

They were busy outside and inside.
I waited in line behind 3 people before getting to place my order.
I was told they were cleaning the espresso machine and so I would need to wait for my chai.

I am NOT a patient person y'all.  My to-do list and what I needed to get home for were running mad through my head.
But I said, "ok, no problem," and moved over to wait.

As I waited, here's what I saw...
someone pull up to the drive-through window and wave her money at the attendant as she was pulling up because the girl didn't open the window right away.

The same lady was actually DRIVING AWAY as the girl tried to hand her her change. {And I'm thinking to myself, "RUDE!"}  The next customer at the DT window was just as impatient.

Then a customer who had been in line and ordered before me came back in.  Her nostrils flared and I could almost see the smoke coming out.  She was very noticeably angry.
She stood there tapping her foot as she waited for a correction on her order.

I tried not to stare, but couldn't help but watch.  She shook her head at me as if trying to find sympathy in my eyes.

I just smiled.

A few minutes later, after she asked if she could keep the wrong sandwich too, she walked over to me on her way out and said, "one more time and I'm never coming back here!"

And as I watched these things unfold, I realize I was there waiting, not so patiently {but hiding my impatience well}, for a reason.

I was convicted.  Not just for myself but for all of us.

Y'all we have become so impatient.  So self-centered.
So "I-want-what-I-want-now-give-it-to-me-so-I-can-be-on-my-way."

Some days, I don't even come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

It doesn't say pause or slow - 

it says STOP!

Today was a gift and I share it with all of you and encourage you to take it to heart.

Slow down.


Look around you and enjoy God's beauty.

Show some mercy and grace to those who need it.  A smile, a hug, an encouragement to just stop and take a breath.

Today is super busy for me too.  My calendar is full and time is short.

But when I look back on this Fall season, do I want to remember it in a blur?
Or would I rather remember it as the beautiful,peaceful, anticipatory season I think God means it to be?

I choose the latter.

My wish for you is that we ALL would make that choice.

Breathe the Fall air, sip something warm and spicy, laugh with friends, take pictures of the trees...

Enjoy Fall, enjoy your family, enjoy life.

Slow down.
I just gave you permission.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Just WRITE, right?


As in, compose; put words on paper; make a story.

Not RIGHT, as in correct; the opposite of wrong or left.

But to just write is just so hard!
It’s why I haven’t done it in awhile.

What to write?

A poem?
A Song?
A few words about what’s been going on?

That question has plagued me the last week or two.

They always said in school, write about what you know, so here’s what I know in my last 2 and a half minutes…

I know being a Mom is a daily challenge – one that I welcome- but a challenge no less.

I know my kids are so important to me, and raising them to be good responsible people is an ever-pressing priority.

I know this task seems impossible in the midst of all the other things I have going on.

BUT I also know that I am capable of this task and so many others that God sees fit to bless me with.

I know that HE can help me do all things.   Phil 4:13

Linking up with Lisa Jo 

at Five Minute Friday today.  

You can too; the topic 

today is "WRITE."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Except this acceptance...

What says about acceptance...


  [ak-sep-tuhns]  Show IPA
the act of taking or receiving something offered.
favorable reception; approval; favor.
the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.
acceptation  def 1 .

Do you remember learning about connotation and denotation in elementary school?
I do.
You don't have to tell me I'm strange for it - I remember strange things.

Denotation is the literal meaning of a word or phrase; how it is written and defined in a dictionary.
Conversely, CONnotation is how a word or phrase is perceived.

For example, some might say, "oh just accept that you are never going to..." and that phrase gets a bad rap! It has a negative connotation because it sounds like giving in - settling.

The word acceptance also gets a bad rap - even from me.
I've written about it before...
asking others to accept me and my shortcomings,
and here where I acknowledge that all I can do is accept His mercy and grace, knowing full well I can never earn or deserve it.

Today, I am thinking about acceptance in a slightly different way; accepting from others.

I read an article about raising nice, kind daughters versus mean ones and how our actions as mothers speak more loudly than our words.
There was a point in the article about teaching them to GIVE compliments because compliments are so few and far between these days.

I'm going to propose that teaching them to ACCEPT compliments is just as important as teaching them to give them.
I propose that we teach our children to accept help, mercy, prayers - whatever someone sees fit to bless us with.

I have long had a challenge accepting help, mercy, even compliments from others.
I'm not sure where or when I got the notion that this wasn't ok. That I was supposed to do it all and all alone.  Somehow I perceived that asking for, or accepting, help was a sign of weakness, lacking, inadequacy.

I remember after Sweetpea was born...early and by C-section after 17 hours of un-progressed labor.
I still thought it was my job to take our 3 month old puppy for walks outside every few hours.  Despite the fact that my instructions were to take it easy, lift nothing heavier than my baby, don't drive for 2 weeks. If the doctor had known me better he might also have said, "don't allow your dog to drag you around the yard with the leash!"

My Mom told me not to do it while hesitantly volunteering to do it herself.  She's so not a dog person and I didn't "need any help! I'm fine!" I said.

Why is this so hard?

I don't know the answer to that, but I know this: I don't want it to be hard for my daughter {or my son}.
I want her to accept a compliment with a smile and a thank you.
I want her to know it's ok to feel good about herself, right where she is.  Not because she's working on becoming a "better" her.
I want her to know that it's ok to ask for help when you are struggling.  That's it's not weakness, but trust that the other person loves you enough to help.

More importantly, how can I model trust and faith in God to her, if my actions say that I can't accept even His help?
And if we don't accept that He made us all just as He intended us to be, flaws and all, then isn't that a lack of confidence and a refusal of a compliment?

If Jesus knocked on your door and told you today that

you are beautiful...
you are loved...
you are special...
you are smart...
you are a good wife...
you are a good Mother...
you are a good {fill in the blank with whatever you lack personal acceptance in}...

would you smile sincerely and say thank you?

Or would you hang your head and say, "oh, not really."

Which response do you think He'd prefer?

That's the one I want to teach my children.

a view of the horizon from a plane...

Sweetpea's Art...maybe I've done something right, already?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear, Miley...

Dear Miley~

Let me start by saying that I love you.  
In fact, I’ve loved you for several years, like a Mama loves a daughter.  My daughter, now 9, and I loved to watch Hannah Montana together.  I can thank you for many treasured moments with her as we laughed and cried over Hannah’s latest escapades.  We talked about the lessons Hannah learned like the importance of being honest, being loyal to your friends, and never forgetting where you come from  (‘round here, we call that “gettin’ too big for your britches”).

Image Source

I loved how Hannah wore cute clothes and the latest trends without being immodest; it gave me an opportunity to explain that concept to my daughter.
I loved that Hannah made common teenager mistakes and realized them. 
I loved that Hannah was a good role model for young girls, albeit a little impractical since not ALL little girls can live the “best of both worlds” as a rock star and normal teenager. 
I thank you for those amazing opportunities with my Sweetpea bonding over your show!

When I saw your performance at the VMAs, the Mama in me snapped to attention.  My first thought was to tell you how disappointed I was in you; how disgusting I thought that performance was, and several other admonishing statements.

But really, what it boils down to is this:

I want to tell you I’m sorry.

I am SO very sorry. Truly, I am.

I’m sorry that you are hurting so much for attention that you chose to get it in that way. I’m sorry something has kept you from getting the love and attention you desire from those whom you love.  I’m sorry the world has told you that your appearance and number of video views and rank on the music charts matter more than the person you are inside.

I’m sorry that at 20 years old, you don’t have more self-respect than you apparently do.  If you respected yourself and the married man you were rubbing all up on, there wouldn’t be controversy over the performance (not that I’m absolving him of any wrong-doing).  I’ve heard that you are glad “it’s still being talked about” days later and that people are “just over-thinking it.”  It really wasn’t a big deal you’ve said.  Wonder if your Daddy would agree with that?

I’m sorry that you have chosen not to embrace the tremendous opportunity you have right now to use your influence among young girls for good.  That you chose to abandon the sweet, innocent, seemingly good role model that you once were for this new person singing, “It’s my party, I can do what I want” and “It’s my body, I can do what I want.” I have to say, that’s not what I teach my daughter, and it’s not what I want her hearing from you {or anyone else}!

Most of all, I am sorry that you have placed all your worth in other people’s opinions of you.  I’m sorry you feel you have to “shed the Disney image” and give the world what they want – what sells – what gets attention and astonished looks.  I’m sorry you don’t know your Heavenly worth to the one who created you – who knew you before you were born (Jer 1:5).

 I do not see a happy girl in this picture. Photo source

You have talent, Miley! God didn’t create you for anything other than good things!
{Ephesians 2:10 }  Not for men’s eyes to ogle or men’s hands to grope, but to do good things.
You have great worth, not only to God, but to those of us who love you here on earth.
You have great opportunity to change paths now! You are 20 years old and have your whole life ahead of you.  Your parents and family love you and want to see you happy and successful, I have no doubt.  You have the chance to show the young girl’s of the world, what it means to make a very public mistake, apologize for it, and bounce back even stronger and on a better course.
You have the opportunity to get to know yourself and earn the self-respect you so desperately crave!  You have a chance to work hard, accomplish things, and make yourself proud.  
YOU have the option to choose those things or not.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This is my number one prayer for you, Miley, that you would realize your worth.  Accept yourself as you are {a good and perfect gift from God} and use these things to help others do the same.

I can’t imagine anything that could make you or your family more proud.


* I have been thinking about this post for almost two weeks now. It has rolled around in my brain, I’ve read other people’s takes on the issue, and it has kept me from writing anything else simply because I couldn’t form my thoughts into a coherent post.
The more I thought about this subject and my thoughts on this subject, I realized it was more of a letter than anything else.