Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oklahoma! OK!

O-O-O-O-OKLAHOMA where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain 
and the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain...

Seriously? When you say Oklahoma, that's what I think of.
Not just because I'm a music and theatre lover, but because I was in a production of Oklahoma my senior year in High School.  I still have the crazy amazing skirt my Mom made me for my role.  I totally had the best one :-)

I even remember some of the script from that show.  The songs are easy to remember; they have meter and rhyme.  The spoken lines are different, especially when I didn't have any :-) But I do remember some of one part of the play, Laurie says to someone "you're silly." Only in this case, what she said was, "you air a silly!" Combine that line with a good ole NC accent and it's quite funny!

Here are some great songs from Oklahoma that make me smile.

As a secondary thought, I do think about the State of Oklahoma.  I visited family there when I was in kindergarten.  My family drove there from NC for a week long visit to my Mom's sister and her family.  We packed up in our tiny little Honda Accord hatch-back and drove our happy selves across the country (well most of the way across, anyway).

While we were there, my brother and I contracted the Chicken Pox from my cousins.
On the way home, we were miserable.  My Mom lowered the back seat and my brother and I slept lying down in our sleeping bags across the entire back of the car (no carseats or seatbelts for us - GASP!).  Not sure where we put our suitcases...

But seriously, in light of recent events, my heart goes out to the residents of Oklahoma.
I don't personally know anyone there, but I cannot imagine how it feels to lose everything you own and possibly loved ones too.
My prayers are with them, not only for strength during this trying time, but also for a sense of peace and comfort as they try to rebuild.

What do you think of when someone says Oklahoma?

Linking this up with...

Mama's Losin' It
Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!
The Prompts:
1.) 15 Reasons You’re Awesome. (inspired by LouLou’s Views)
2.)  Give us a tour of a room in your house you love. (inspired by Neon Fresh)
3.) But it’s got a great beat! Tell us about a song you loved growing up even though the lyrics were ridiculous.
4.) Oklahoma. (inspired by South Main Muse)
5.) Your week in Instagram photos! (inspired by Live, Laugh, Read)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

{Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop}: Six Random Things

Mama's Losin' It
Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!
The Prompts:
1.) A time you felt validated. (inspired by Adventures in Alyssaland)
2.) List six random facts about yourself.
3.) Talk about a trend you don’t care for.
4.) The last thing you lost.
5.) Pinterest Inspired! Share something you pinned and actually tried.

SIX Random things...

So I've kind of written this sort of post here to read my list of 22 things I've done.

I'm really trying not to duplicate here, but I also have this list of gifts that I was born with (or received from God at a very young age).
Again, I'm trying to find things I haven't talked about before.

So here goes: I plan to write as quickly as possible on the first 6 things that come to mind and make as few edits as possible.


1.) I am painfully self-conscious, but many people who meet me (even some family members) are shocked when they find out.  Somehow they perceive me as confident. I have an Uncle who is a Pastor and he uncovered some of these confidence issues in me during premarital counseling for my marriage.
Readers may know this, because it's easier for me to admit and share these things from a perspective of anonymity. 

2.) My memory...
it's unbelievable really.  I can meet someone once, at a party for instance, and remember their face and name indefinitely.  Even 10 years down the road, I can see someone in Walmart and, though I may not remember her name, I can tell you when and where I met her.  
While I don't have a photographic memory, I do recall written materials easily.  That made it easy to test well in High School, but didn't help me much in college when the pace of everything was much faster :-(

3.) I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't want to be a mother.  I wanted at least 3 children and was mortified when E told me before we got married that he wasn't sure he wanted any!
Then I got pregnant with Sweetpea and the pregnancy and delivery were so challenging and drastically different than what I'd expected, that I didn't EVER want to do it again! I resigned myself to having an only child until my husband practically begged me to have "at least one more!"
What happened there?! 

4.) We all have them, but my family seems to have lots of black sheep and lots of "issues."
The kind of issues most of us try to hide.
Alcoholism, multiple incidences of children out of wedlock, drug abuse and prison time.  In the interest of authenticity (as well as helping myself deal with it), I have written about some of it here on my blog.
Please don't misunderstand my words as judgements - they aren't.  I just often have a heavy heart for anyone who struggles with hardship; my heart is heavier for family members.

5.) I'm funny!
Like in a ha-ha kind of way as well as a peculiar kind of a way.
I used to be really sarcastic; to the point that I hurt the feelings of friends pretty often.
To this day, I can revert back to that sarcastic tone easily, though I never meant harm or hurt to anyone.
I have learned to refine my humor a little and when I want to, I can crack up a whole room! Of course, I have to really loosen up for that since I'm usually too self-conscious to try (see #1).

And sometimes, I'm just odd! We all have our little idiosyncrasies, and I used to try to hide mine, but I'm learning to share them.  If people laugh, I understand why and I try to join them and laugh at myself too.

6.) In a similar vein, I think I am borderline OCD.  I mean, I like things to look a certain way.  I used to eat M & Ms ONLY 2 at a time and then I would debate whether to eat any leftovers or throw them out (I hate odd numbers).  Sometimes, I would even match them in two's by color as well.
I don't really eat M & M's anymore since I try to eat clean and low-carb and all that, but the M & M's are just one funny example I can think of.

Another thing is this: I wish the screws in my light switch covers all had the middle line precisely horizontal.  I know that's nuts, but it still drives me crazy if I can't make it happen.
Now don't misunderstand: while I am OCD about many things, it backfires on me when it comes to an always-neat-clean-uncluttered house.  Since I never have the time to do it like I want to, I often just don't do it :-)
I wish I were a better house keeper, but I am working on it (sort of a compromise really).

What about you?
What random things can you share?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Some things have to marinate a while...

It's the day before Mother's Day, when my Mom says out loud what I've been thinking all week...

"You have to wait a long time to really enjoy Mother's Day..."

and then I think she said something like, "but it's easier when your kids are grown and have kids of their own."

And just the day before that, a friend posted on Facebook how humorous she found it that all her friends with kids simply wanted to be AWAY from those kids for Mother's Day.

These and my own thoughts about what I wanted for Mother's Day {prompted by my husband's constant questions on the subject} had me thinking quite a bit about Mother's Day.  
What it means...if it means I should spend MORE time with the little people who make me a mother...if I should spend LESS or NO time with them so that I can recharge and be a better mother.

And all these thoughts were floating around for so long, just waiting to be posted.  I could not make them into a cohesive train of thought, much less a post that held together.

But then I read this and I realized how I set myself up.  Grand expectations for unrealistic events - based on what? Certainly not history! A Hallmark commercial? Sappy greeting cards?

And I chuckle at this chain of thoughts because isn't that the definition of insanity? Doing the same things but expecting different results?

I know my kids and my husband.  While they are sweet and I KNOW that they love me, Hallmark material - they are not!

And I am ALL FOR going into the next holiday DAY with no expectations and definitely no sense of entitlement.  

That entitlement monster is one that really gets to me.  It's kind of like the Hulk - 
"You won't like me when I'm feeling entitled!"

And I find that it's an emotion (?) that can come so easily.  When I'm feeling so tired, running on empty, and unappreciated, what generally follows is...

"I deserve better than this..."
"I deserve to be appreciated..."
"I deserve a break now and then..."
"I deserve..."
"I deserve..."
"I deserve..."

And that's not really fair {for lack of a better way to say it}.

Don't I have so much MORE than I deserve?

Didn't I beg and plead with my husband and with God, to BE a Mother in the first place?

How dare I complain that I can never get away from these little people who call me Mom? How dare I complain that the best gift I got was a nap?

I. GOT. A. NAP!!!!

So regardless of the fulfillment of the day someone else deemed "Mother's Day," I am doing my best to enjoy every day as a day that I am blessed with two beautiful kids. 

I don't want to get to those Mother's Days down the road, when it {maybe} feels easier, and wish these days back.  I want to look back, proud of the way I enjoyed all the moments - easy and hard- that make me a mother.

I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day as well as wonderful "mothering" days since!

Friday, May 17, 2013

{Five Minute Friday}: SONG

{Five Minute Friday} AWESOME Song

So last week, for the first time ever, I linked up with Lisa Jo and did a Five Minute Friday post.

I liked it so much that here I am again, on Friday, writing for 5 minutes!


So I have a thing about the word, "awesome".  I think it's a word that our society WAAAAAY over uses, and I'm not even sure people know what it really means when they do use it.

If you click here, you'll see the first definition of "Awesome" means:
inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fearcausing or inducing awean awesome sight.

Is there anything in existence that should cause this "overwhelming feeling of reverence" or "admiration" more than God himself {and all His creation, of course}?

 I started to notice the "awesome" trend a few years ago...
teachers use it to encourage students...
parents use it to encourage their kids...
we say it when we get really good news...
we just say it because sometimes we don't know what else to say when someone shares something THEY are excited about, and maybe we aren't :-)

But aren't there other words we can use?
How about amazing, terrific, fantastic, fabulous, great?
I could go on...

Every once in a while {and I mean less than once a month, truly}, I still catch myself using it in one of the above ways.  But I have taught myself and my kids to use it only in reference to God and His doings rather than everyday human things.

I know someone will probably argue that everyday human things are also "awesome" because they all come from Him.

I see your point; trust me, I do.

But isn't it the heart behind the speech that really matters?
If we KNOW that we are using the word "awesome" in reverence to Him and all of His greatness, doesn't that set us apart from others who use it differently?

And I think that the way we hear, think, and speak the word "awesome" {in our hearts AND from our mouths} is a beautiful song to sing to our Lord.

Don't you?


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Baseball with my Son

Mama's Losin' It
Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!
The Prompts:
1.) Introduce a pet.
2.) Share something your child said or did that surprised you.
3.) Tell us about the story of your birth.
4.) Create a “May Bucket List”…what will you accomplish this month?
5.) The other week we some of created a list of Reasons My Son Is Crying based on the popular tumblr page. This week create a list of reasons your child is laughing. (inspired by Hollow Venture Ventures)

My son will be 5 next month and I figured a boy never turns down outside time right?  So yesterday, I took my son outside for awhile with the premise that Mama needed some vitamin D. 

Do you think that happened? Not so much!

Every time I sat, or tried to lie down on, my beach towel, there was an all out crisis that I HAD TO COME AND FIX.
His joy with the bubbles was short lived; plus, he spilled some of them-bringing on the tears.  "Mo-om! I spilled my bubbles!"
You would have thought he'd just wasted the last drops of bubble solution on the face of the planet - but no! Plenty of liquid left in the bottle, but he decided the lid most go on tightly, and RIGHT NOW!
Then it was on to the frisbee.  I reminded to be careful of the dog poo at the edges of the front yard, so he decided to throw towards the house.
Did I mention the grass was a little tall? Last weekend we spent time with both my Mom (an hour east) and my Mother-in-Law (an hour west) so hubby had no time to cut the grass. Buddy kept tripping over the grass and the towel I'd laid on the grass and he got frustrated pretty quickly with the frisbee.
Then he wanted to play baseball and comes out of the garage with his soft toy bat and several matching baseballs.  I offer a compromise: I'll set-up the automated baseball pitcher/net in one!
After 20 minutes of trying to get it working, I gave up with no luck.
I told him to throw it up in the air and hit it when it comes down {I know, I know - Lazy Mama! But I only had 30 minutes and I wanted to spend it soaking up sunshine!}.
He tried, bless his heart, he really did! It just didn't work for him! 
I took pity and starting pitching to him {I kinda suck at it, BTW}.  After the first round of pitching, he collects the balls and throws them back to me.
As he's doing so, he says, "I'm taking it easy on you, Mom, since you aren't a good catcher!"
Thanks, Buddy, thanks a lot!
What do your kids say that surprises you?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

{Proud Mama Moment}: Sweetpea and Inner Beauty

Hey, there!
I have had a mean case of writer's block recently.  The only posts I've written have been based on prompts...someone else's subject that I just jotted down a few words about.

But today something happened that I must write about.

Sweetpea came home and asked me, “Mom, what would you do if you found out something you weren’t supposed to know and then the other person found out you found out?”

Say what?
I didn’t have any idea how to answer that, so I asked her to be more specific.
She said that Sam came up to her during the school day and told her that Tiffany was going to “ditch her.”
{I've written about this situation before, yet here we are again, just a couple of months later.}
Then later, Tiffany found out that Sam had already told Sweetpea so she came to her at recess and “dumped” her.
Sweetpea was upset and crying as she told me this.  I tried to engage her in conversation to get more details.  I told her that her value, her worth, would NEVER, EVER be dependent on what someone else said or thought about her.  God made her the way she is because He created her special. 

I reminded her that she is very likeable and that she makes friends easily, as she has every year so far in school.  I reminded her of the kind things her friends have said about her or even shared with their Moms about how caring and kind Sweetpea is to people that other people are not kind to.
I told her what matters is what she thinks of herself and what God thinks of the person she is and how kind she is.
I asked her if she knew what I was saying about her was true.  She confirmed for me that she likes herself.  That’s when she brought up her birthmark on her face.  It’s a bright red spot right under her nose (almost like a port wine stain, but it's a different kind) and I have called it different things at different times - sometimes an "Angel Kiss" sometimes a "special spot.".  She told me that Tiffany (as well as some other friends at school) have asked her about it and suggested she get it “paled” or taken off.  Sweetpea said she told them she didn’t want to do that; it was part of her and she liked it because it made her special {YAY! This made a Mama feel good!}.

I confessed to her that her Dad and I had considered laser treatments before, but we wanted her to know that God gave her that mark for a reason – it set her apart.  We felt like it would be refusing a gift from God if we removed it; that it might hurt Him just like it might hurt her earthly Father’s feelings if he gave her a gift and she threw it away. {Not to mention that it might give her the wrong impression about appearance and true beauty!}

I shared with her some events that happened to me when I was in second grade – things that I now know were bullying  - by other girls in my homeroom class.  In that case, I knew the girls who picked on me were jealous.  I got to leave the classroom for academically gifted periods and that’s when they stole my notebooks and wrote mean things on them.   I was so hurt by it and it was essentially the last straw for my Mom.  She called the teacher and the leader of the bullying got in a lot of trouble the next day at school.   She was in tears by the time the teacher called me into the hall and made her apologize to me.  To this day, I don’t know what that teacher said to her, but the entire situation was a little more drama than I would care to repeat.

I asked Sweetpea if she thought Tiffany was mad or upset about something? She said she wasn’t sure.
So I said that sometimes anger comes as a result of other emotions – disappointment, fear, sadness.
That’s when saw the light bulb; Sweetpea said that the last time she spent the night with Tiffany, Tiffany shared with her that she was really sad.  She said it made her really sad that her parents would “bicker” every time they were together {this girl's parents split up over a year ago; they are separated and Tiffany spends time mostly with her Mom visiting her Dad on Wednesdays and weekends}.

I told Sweetpea that often when people are hurting inside, they tend to take it out on other people.  I suggested that we pray for the situation and for Tiffany, to which she quickly nodded in agreement.

It's not a great situation to experience with your daughter.  It was really hard for me to talk to her because I was crying almost as hard as she was.
Later she asked me, "Mom, why are you crying too?"
I told her one of the hardest parts of being a mother is trying to keep your kids from getting hurt.  Remembering the hurt that other girls inflicted on me, makes me want to keep Sweetpea protected from all that.
I know I can't, but I am so grateful I could be honest and open with her about it.  We had a great talk and she impresses me so much with her maturity on some matters.
Next week, we celebrate her 9th birthday - she is growing up way to fast.
Days like today, give me a little confidence that I am doing something right.
And all us Mama's need that once in a while, right?

Friday, May 10, 2013

{Comfort}: 5 Minute Friday


I'm sort of ashamed to admit that the first thing that comes to mind when I first read this word is a big steaming bowl of Macaroni and Cheese...

or Loaded Baked Potato Chowder...

or some other gooey, cheesy, goodness.

I think it's because the warmth is comforting and it fills you up with that warmth; makes you feel better quickly, even if just for a short while.

And I hate that it took me most of my 37 years to realize that macaroni and cheese shouldn't be the thing providing that fill-me-from-the-inside warmth and comfort.

It's not like I didn't know that He should be the one filling me and providing those things.

I knew.

It just took a while to make it from my head-thought to my heart-thought.

And I must wonder too, when did this happen?

I wasn't always this way.
Sure, I loved cheesy anything as a child, but I never used it as a means of escape.

Maybe college?  That certainly was a time when I had lots to run and hide from...mainly myself and my self-image.

Many of you know I have struggled with my weight as an adult.  It took me years to realize that until I changed the inside of me, any outside changes would be temporary.

And I'm still working on it.

But everyday, I get a little closer to having the one true comfort with me.
To being able to reach for that when the going gets tough.
That thought, in itself, is comforting.

Linking up with Lisa Jo...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Prayers for the Positive...

This morning I could hardly drag myself out of bed.
I made it to the kitchen only to find the sink still full of last night's dishes and unclean counter tops waiting for me to wipe them.

I can't figure out why I am so exhausted! Maybe it's the allergies, or maybe it's the medicine I'm taking for the allergies, or maybe it's phase 1 of the south beach diet and my exercising that's just wiping me out.

Maybe it's the weather.  It has rained here EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. so far this week starting with Sunday.

And it's been a doozy of a week!

My grandmother's health and mental capacities are rapidly diminishing.  I saw her on Saturday and was relieved that she seemed to recognize me, but I'm not sure she recognized my kids.
Things have gotten worse since then; she fell and ended up back in the hospital.

Both my kids have also been sick and missed school this week.

It's been a tough week to stay positive.  The rain has made it worse.

But just when I think I can't take any more rain, I notice how very GREEN everything is.  I remember how the last few summers have been rather dry.
So I stop and thank God for all this rain now, because who knows if this summer will be dry too?

I've gotten the message several times this week, that no matter what, we have to find the positive in a situation.  We have to remember that there is always a purpose even if we can't imagine good coming from these current circumstances.

And even now, I laugh as I think about how difficult being a mother can be, and my cute sweet son calling me stupid at the top of his lungs this morning.  He told me several times and then he told me I was stupid forever even when I died, but I wasn't going to Heaven, I was going to Hell.

He usually says, "I'll love you forever, even when you die and go to Heaven."

So I laughed because at least he knows the difference between Heaven and Hell. Later, I tried to use it as an opportunity to talk about that difference.  (In all honesty, he asks more Bible and theological questions than my almost 9 year old daughter.)

And all around me, I see things that are hard to deal with (children dying); or hard to hear (several new occurrences of cancer); or hard to see (like that Gosnell abortion clinic atrocity).
And while there may not be something good IN all of those things, I trust God that something good can come FROM all of those things.

So on this, The National Day of Prayer, my prayer is this:

Heavenly Father, you see our hurts.  You see our Nation's struggles and failures.  You know our hearts and you know when our words don't match what's in our heart.  Help us to always seek you first; to trust you for guidance and wisdom; to listen for your answers.

Help us, Lord, to step out in faith, or speak out in faith as needed.

Remind us that in every negative, you can make a positive.  Help us know that all things work together for those who are called according to Your purpose.

Thank you for all your blessings, even the incessant rain :-)

What and who did you pray for today?