Just a Few (or 15 ) Things

I’ve been chasing my tail, this merry month of December. Anyone else?

But, I wanted to pop in and tell you a few things before you flat-out decide I am done for.

1. I’m not done for.

2. I don’t even really understand that phrase.

3. Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha = a small sip of heaven.

4.  It also equals a small increase in the midsection.

5.  I was just too lazy to combine numbers 1 & 2 and 3 & 4.

6. My favorite Christmas song is “Silent Night, Holy Night”.

7. To that end, I have been playing The Oh Hellos’ Family Christmas Album on repeat. Number 3 is about worn out. And, number 4. And number 2. And…

8. As we speak, I am only 50% finished with my Christmas shopping. This causes some stress.

9. Stress and I don’t get along.

10. My favorite (and the first) things to put out, when decorating for the season, are our stockings. Each one was lovingly cross-stitched by The Nana. She is an artist! Each has our name across the top.

Stockings

11. Our Christmas tree is up and decorated. This being a year when we are down in Florida with Ahab and The Nana, for Christmas, I call that a win!

12. THESE! –> SnackFactory_PretzelChips_Choc

13.  THIS! –>   Mitchells_Fresh_SalsaDip

14. Do you do the whole #EOTS (Elf on the Shelf) thing? Don’t. Start. I’ve begun to rue the day… Anyhoo, we let the kids play with Jack, our elf, the first day he comes out. They get All The Touching out of their system and then we begin sweatin’ it out looking for new ways to hide and position the little elf dude. Looks like Sweetgirl’s gonna do just fine when it comes time to play this game with her own kidlets. She clearly has far better ideas than we do. (Although, I’m not sure Jack approves.)

Elf_Hangin_Missindeedy

15. Sweetman’s family introduced me to the tradition of watching “White Christmas” each year, to kick off the holiday season. I. Love. That. Movie! Our sweet little family, however, likes far less cultured movies: Elf and Arthur Christmas. We’ve watched these 5 times, already.

It’s only December 10th.

Lord, help me.

And, on that prayer, that’s a wrap!

See what I did there?

Now, if only I could do that with All The Presents.

It is a season for miracles…

Yes indeedy!

Five Reasons I Don’t Jump to the Comments

Social Media and blogging accomplish much. For me, it provides opportunities for connection as a writer, as a Believer, as a Mother of an atypical kid on the Autism Spectrum, and as a Bama’ Alumnus. My interactions with people online have led to forming some mighty strong bonds of friendship – friendships that have only been encouraged to grow, as I’ve been able to meet some of these people in real life, over the years.

But…

I’ve learned that there is also dark side to the Internets.

It’s found in the comments and replies.

While there is a beautiful place for comments that encourage and support, and even question, it is one that needs to be entered with Light. With all The Light within.

Here are just five reasons why I choose not to jump to the comments, in some places.

1. If the article, post, or tweet is even remotely precocious, the comments are extreme. Extreme makes me break out in hives.

2. Comments on an inflammatory issue rarely include facts. And when they do, they are often absent of the grace that laces productive conversations. Grace, like oxygen, seems to be sucked right out of the environment. I like grace. I need oxygen.

3. As, quite possibly, El Presidente`of The Feelers Club, my emotions can run high all by themselves. And when my emotions start outrunning the facts, voila`! My already limited ability to be tactful or sensitive in certain situations is quashed. It’s not pretty. I’m not pretty.

4. Have you ever gotten into a commenting war with someone presenting the other side, and gotten to the end and said to yourself, “Why yes! That was the best 3 hours of my life!” Me either.

5. Every time I encounter a commenting hater, “Shake It Off“, by Taylor Swift, is stuck in my head for far too long. Touche` haters. Touche`.

This doesn’t mean that there is no place for comments. Or for debate. Lord knows that I love a good healthy debate! And, here, in this space, I’ve only encountered encouraging, helpful, and graceful comments. (And made more than a few life-long friends, in the deal!)

It does mean, however, that I will often read a piece written by one of the Internets and either jump down to my reply space to encourage or question the writer, or walk away considering it further. Because, the older I get, the more wisdom I find in these truths:

They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions” 1 Timothy 6:4 (NIV)

“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” Titus 3:9 (ESV)

“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.” 2 Timothy 2:23 (NLT)

Those are some good Words, right there.

I’m sure you could add a reason, or four, that I’ve never even considered. And that is one of the many beautiful benefits of the commenting areas.

But, maybe that’s a post for another day.

Yes indeedy.

Thanksgiving Is Most Certainly NOT for the Birds

You know who has nothing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day?

The turkey.

It’s kinda a rough day for that dude.

Unless we’re talking about a martyr turkey.

And somehow, I highly doubt that once a turkey gets wind of what gets cut off and where it all gets stuffed and cooked… Well, I don’t much think we’re going to see many turkey’s yelling “Pick me!” for that experience.

All turkey business aside, I know full well how very much I have to be thankful for. And, although I’ve been practicing thankfulness with more regularity since first reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp a couple of years ago, it does me good to purposely set aside time each year for an extra helping of thankfulness.

So, in the spirit of reflection and thanksgiving, this morning I am so very thankful for:

  • You.  Yes, you. I come here and use words to work through things and you come and share right back. I’m so grateful. Flannery O’Connor said that “I write to discover what I know.”  You help me discover that. Thank you.
  • Sweetman and my sweetkids. They drive me batty. But for every new bat-like symptom I acquire, for every new twitch they inspire, I am grateful that they are mine. And I am theirs. I wouldn’t trade anything (You know what I would trade? A cast. I would trade that, actually.)
  • Italians. Si`. My “fache` booka`” loving sister-in-law, who thinks nothing of stopping an 11:00 pm card game of Rumino to call her sister (or one of 4 brothers) in another state to make sure no one is cheating, and my mother-in-law, who will cook up a storm and bake love into every single delicious bite.
  • Freedom. I’m not talking about the freedom that living in The United States provides, although I have no doubt that I don’t even understand how blessed being an American really is. I’m talking about the freedom to write what I want. Post when I want. Think how I want. It’s a gift, tenfold. I am thankful.

I’m going to end my thoughts right there. An Italian is calling from the kitchen telling me that breakfast is served. “Andiamo!”

“I’m coming!!!”

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

When the Landscape of Your Mothering Hood Changes

“I’ve got a job interview!”, a sweet mama friend recently announced.  She was in a mixed state of shock and elation.  And, truthfully, so was I.

It seems like each time I walk out the door to another meetup for coffee, yet another friend from my mothering hood informs me that she’s heading back into the working world.

There is a natural progression of feeling. First, I feel sadness as I consider losing yet another confidante` and partner in motherhood crimes. I almost always feel angry, next, that this economy has forced so many of us to have to go this route. And then, I instantly feel ridiculous for assuming anyone “has to” go back to work. Inevitably, though, I hit the acceptance stage, as I reluctantly admit that change is a part of life.

While I dole out congratulations with a mix of excitement for them and sorrow for myself, I redraw my friendship circles.  This one goes into the “I can meet her for coffee before we head out for our day” circle.  That one goes into the “we can meet at night for dessert, once in a while ” circle. And so it goes, because work schedules are as varied as the friendships themselves.

I find myself shaking and sifting my own daily schedule to accommodate the quick lunch downtown, the Skype session between meetings, or the neighborhood girls night out. And, every jig in the schedule is worth it, because I miss them.

Regardless of whether they re-enter the working world by choice or not, it’s obvious that the landscape of my Mother Hood is changing. Much like the transition from Fall to Winter, it is a bit upsetting to watch. I’m watching friends drop out of the picture like leaves blowing away in the wind.

But, there is new beauty to see, too. Watching mammas transform themselves with a renewed sense of care, is like watching the trees of Spring begin to clothe themselves in bright green splendor. As their children have flown away from the nest, or simply grown up enough to afford them time, they’ve been able to realize dreams that have long lain dormant.

No matter what the reason for each decision a mama makes, it’s clear that each of us is doing the best we can with what we’ve been given. And, I don’t think we give each other enough credit for that.

One of the things that I most admire about a landscape is its ability to transform with the seasons. The changes can be months in the making, like the dormancy of winter bringing about the brilliance of spring. Or, they can be as quick as a strong wind scattering a puffy white dandelion across a field, leaving a lone stem in its wake. I see our mothering decisions much the same way.

landscape_creationswap_Missindeedy

Weathering the changing landscape in my mothering hood is going to require looking for the beautiful in the new. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that a layer of grace makes everything more beautiful.

Indeed.

Change is inevitable. So, when the landscape of your mothering hood changes, seek out the beauty in the new. You will find it. There is so much beauty there.

5 Lessons I Re-Learned About Parenting While Filming a Video

I made a mini-rap video for a sweet group of friends, recently. I needed tech support. And a back-up dancer. I recruited Sweetgirl for the dancing and Sweetboy as my videographer. Seemed legit.

And, it worked well enough.

Until I messed up.

By the seventh “take”, however, my filter started to slip.

Then, I remembered that I was in front of little ears. I was reminded that even the tamest of DADGUMMIT’s could be imitated in all the wrong ways.

When the “filming” wrapped up (after Take 14, by the way), I had re-learned a few precious parenting lessons.

1. Whatever dance moves you are attempting, whether poorly or worse-than-poorly, the six-year-old will emulate.  This is not the time to attempt those fly moves (do people say that anymore?) from J. Lo’s latest music video. And for goodness’ sake, it’s not all about that base!

2. Your reaction to a flub up will be on video. The person filming you will be watching intently as he films you. Therefore, he may start stomping around and screaming “DARNIT DARNIT DARNIT” the next time he makes a mistake. You will think he looks ridiculous, and start to tell him so. Until you remember where he got it.

3. The backup dancer is closest to the under-the-breath mutterings. She will hear them. She will ask questions. Questions you didn’t intend to have to answer for your six-year-old.

4. Making up your own words to a song like, say… Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” is all fun and games. Until one child, or both, asks if they can see “the real song” on The YouTube. That’s a whole lot of behinds. And bad hair. And explaining. They get enough of All The Real with media pushing pictures of champagne corks popping and backsides. You will regret choosing that song. You may also end frantically looking up pictures of puppies, instead, with promises to talk to daddy about getting one. To divert their attention, of course. Possibly.

And…

5. Your videographer and back-up dancer will have enjoyed the experience so much, that they will ask you to show them other rap songs that they can change the words to and make videos of themselves singing. You will realize the scarcity of appropriate songs. You will rue the day.

Oh, yes indeedy.

Rappin_Missindeedy

*A note to The Nana, Ahab, Gammy and Grampy – I did not let them actually see the “real” video. They were far more interested in the adorable French Bulldog puppy video that I was able to switch over to, oh-so-quickly. If we end up with one, I blame myself.

*Also, a note to Sweetman – we may end up with a French Bulldog. I’m sorry.

Let’s Recap, Shall We

Last week, we were all about this:

Hot_Pink_Cast_MissindeedyBecause, Lord knows there’s not enough drama around here. And, I can now add reason number 237 to my list of “Reasons Why I Detest Trampolines”. All I can say is, thank goodness for Hot Pink Castery. (I’m becoming my own veritable dictionary, aren’t I?)

Thankfully, the weekend was more celebratory!

First, this happened:

masquerade_missindeedyWe attended a fundraiser for our kids’ elementary school. It was nice to get all gussied up, talk to other parents (sans children), and hit the dance floor! (I don’t want to brag, but I do a mean Y.M.C.A.) And, although I had to practice wearing heels (again) for a few minutes a day for the week leading up to it, the night was a huge success.

Then, Saturday, it was all this:

Bama_Movin_MissindeedyThis move up in the AP Rankings made me all sorts of happy, because

SEC_Funny

We ended the weekend on this note:

B_day_MissindeedyAnd, I don’t feel even a little bit older. I will say, we counted up the number of teacups and saucers that my grandparents have faithfully sent The Birthday Flowers in over The Years, and… there are a few decades worth. That can age a person real fast.

In the ebb and flow of life, though, I’m feeling like the tide is pretty high. (You see what I did there? No? It’s a Bama thing.)

Yes indeedy.

An Open Letter to the Pest Control Man

Dear Pest Control Man,

I want to thank you for coming, faithfully each quarter, to check on the status of our critter control issues. I also want to thank you for braving the deepest recesses of our unfinished attic. Your willingness to climb a ladder and root around up there on your knees to make sure no varmint have intruded on our homey bliss, endears you to me.

Can we also talk for a moment about how kind you are when you catch me running out the door, forgetting we had a standing appointment? Every. Single. Time. You are so kind. Thank you for that.

And now, I must offer my deepest condolences for what took place on Tuesday. I realize that I cannot make you un-see what you saw.

I had just finished telling the children how wonderful it would be to spend the Veterans Day off of school, in our pajamas for as long as we wanted. I was, in fact, padding to the kitchen for my second leisurely cup of coffee, when you rang our doorbell. My mind was clearly not prepared for your arrival.

Neither, most unfortunately, was our home.

As usual, you were gracious as I opened the door to you, exclaiming that I had forgotten that you were coming for your quarterly inspection.

And, OH MY SWEET MOSES, how I had forgotten!

You see, it was only after you left our home and drove away that I ventured upstairs to put the ladder you used, out of our closet and back into the garage. I know you try not to see my messy bed and clothes piled up on the ironing board and bookstacks, a mile high by both sides of the bed. I imagine you must valiantly try to focus on your destination, as you travel through my master bathroom to get to my closet, which is where the attic door is located. I know that you have seen dirty pajamas, and other things, that didn’t quite make it into the laundry hamper.

And this time, I was able to see that I had left, for your viewing, three freshly laundered bras hanging from the towel rack. Directly in front of the only door you could walk through.

Please, please forgive me!

I will not allow this to happen again.

I will, however, need to greet you the next time from behind a mask. Please, try not to think of how strange it will be.

At least, I hope it is no stranger than walking through a curtain of ladies undergarments to go hunting for evidence of critters.

Most Sincerely,

Eternally Embarrassed

P.S. Siri and I have agreed to alert me to your next quarterly appointment, no less than 10 times in the hour leading up to your arrival. I hope this will prove helpful. For both of us.

P.P.S. Your eyes were filled with an extra measure of mirth, as you left. I believe I know why.