You Know When You Can’t Find That One Hair?

If you’ve got hair, (and I’m not judging because, Sweetman… well, he doesn’t) then you will totally know the feeling I’m about to describe.

You’re going about your business and you feel a hair that has clearly sprung loose from your head. It’s somewhere right… over… there. No! Maybe farther down your back, right down… there. NO! Dadgumit! Where is that blasted hair?

You can feel it. It tickles the back of your arm every time you turn slightly left. Or bend down to get the stray cheerio off the floor.

Determined to find it, you start grabbing at the back of your shirt in quick grabby bursts, hoping that you’ll nab it.

And suddenly, you find yourself on an all-out assault on this errant hair.

But, then, you’ve had it! So, you remove your arms from the sleeves of your shirt and turn the thing around so that you can do a full-on search for this dratted hair.

AH! There you are… gotcha!

Except, your darling husband walks in to find you standing in the middle of the room, eyes all wild, with neither of your arms through the sleeve holes in your shirt, irritated as all get out, muttering about a hair.

He looks at you like he doesn’t know whether to snap a picture and Instagram it, or potentially have you committed.

So, you say, “You know when you can’t find that one hair?”

And he calmly says, “No.”

And you realize that you are directing your question to the (nearly) bald-headed love of your life.

This leads to a deep sigh.

From both of you.

Followed, thankfully, by laughter.

And that, my friends, is marriage.

Yes indeedy.

It’s Okay, Try Again

I’d just had a rotten argument with my husband. One of those oh-so-un-Christ-like moments during our discussion, I chose to assume the worst. It went downhill from there.

As I huffed upstairs to cry on my bed, I realized that once again, I had led with my feelings and not my mind.

Or, the truth.

This always, always gets me into trouble.

How about you?

But, I go back to a tender and beautiful and true comment that The Gammy made to me, recently. We were talking about how our mouths can get us into so very much trouble, how human we really are. She wisely pointed out that we are loved by a God that, when we come to him with tear-stained faces, says, “It’s okay. Try again.”

And He says it with the gentleness of a soft breeze.

He means it with Ultimate Authority.

He is the God of grace, after all.

I clung to that as I sat on the bed and cried my little heart out. And, we are resting in that regarding the uncertainty of fractured relationships.

We long for healing. For Love to win out over the hurt. For understanding and grace and joy to creep back in.

We’ll wait as long as it takes.

Because, doesn’t He?

What I Learned in 2014

2014 was a year full of new challenges, grand adventures, goals met, lessons learned, and a whole host of moments where dark chocolate was desperately needed! I’m including my favorite posts from each month. But, I have to tell you – it was not easy to choose which posts to include. In fact, reading through each month sent me running for the tissue box more than a time or four (not to mention the stash of dark chocolate chips I realized I was going to need to keep on hand just to get through the month of June!)

So, grab your favorite cup of something warm (or cold) and join me as I reflect back on 2014.

Lessons_Learned_2014_Missindeedy

In January, I learned that I was one in a million. I also realized how very deeply I love my Dermatologist.

February reminded me that Sweetman is wicked smaht, and that I need to pay better attention during our conversations.

March was the month where I finally pursued a long-held goal of mine to enter the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. And, although the outcome wasn’t what I’d hoped, it felt good to give it a go.

And, of course, in April, Dentists became dead to me, as we learned of sweetgirl’s boo-boos on her teeth.

May was where I reflected on the BOOM created by the very different Myers-Briggs personalities in my marriage.

June brought a painful lesson in turning the other cheek, from Sweetboy, and reminded us how Autism can have painful ripple effects for a parent – but that it doesn’t win!

July reminded me that Sweetgirl is always watching, and that Autism can sweeten the interaction between siblings – especially when a yoga ball (or two) is involved.

August is when I finally realized where my mission field is. And, OH, how I yearn to work it well!

September was the month where I learned that I can both set a goal and reach it and set a goal and fail! The women’s triathlon was successful. The goal I set afterwards was not. (There is always 2015!)

In October, I proved that I can indeed get along with Commitment, after all. I accepted the Write 31 Days challenge. Because, Grace, I know Him well.

November was full of masks, casts, and WINS! (P.S. If you need me on January 1st or, LORD WILLING, January 12th, I’ll be parked in front of the television, yelling encouraging my beloved BAMA’s football players to RUN THAT BALL!)

And, December, of 2014, taught me to shop a little earlier for the “classics”, as I reflected on the beauty of the lesson in the The Little Drummer Boy.

Such grace laces my days. I was reminded of that on more than a hundred occasions over this past year. I’m encouraged to keep moving toward new goals, maybe even toward an old one, or two, that got dropped along the way.

Hope sparkles on the horizon for 2015.

I’m praying that it does for you, too.

Yes indeedy!

What were some of your favorite lessons learned in 2014? Please, share them! I’m linking up with the lovely Emily Freeman, over at Chatting At the Sky, for her “What We Learned” link up.

 

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.

Hooked on a Feeling

A study was published, about a decade ago, that intrigued me. It claimed that hugging your partner for 20 seconds significantly lowers your blood pressure and promotes a better stress response.

I’ll speak for myself, here – I. Need. That.

Boatloads.

Hugging_Creationswap_Missindeedy

I know that I’ve mentioned the whole “hugging thing” before. I guess it’s no secret that I’m a Hugger.  There’s a flip side to that, in my marriage, though. When I’m hurt, angry, or disappointed, I withhold the hugs.

And, it hurts both of us.

I need my oxytocin!

Our marriage needs The Oxytocin!

Before you go worrying that I’ve gone down a bad path, oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies that lowers stress. It’s also commonly referred to as a “bonding hormone”. It doesn’t take a rocket researcher to figure out that a marriage can use all the bonding support it can get.

Indeed.

Knowing that a little extra hugging does a marriage good, is helpful. It also means that when I withhold the hugs, it’s a double-whammy.

Not to mention the fact that Sweetman and I desperately need the grace that those extra seconds of hugging bring to our feelings. Because, I don’t know about you, but for me?  Feelings don’t always cooperate with monogamy, commitment, or love-as-an-action-word.

And, For The Love, I wish they would!

But grace courses through our veins when we hug it out. We are given the opportunity to press pause on the marital discord. Fueled by proximity and a whole lot of blood pressure lowering oxytocin, our bond is strengthened.

A cord of three strands is not easily broken. But, when it is, an extra long hug will reattach those strands, and firm up the tenuous ones.

Go on, now… give it a try!

31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

Today is day 30 in the Write 31 Days challenge over here.

One More Day! Wait till you see how hot it gets tomorrow…

Grace Blazes a Trail

I think God likes fireworks.

My marriage can be considered exhibit A.

He knew that putting my Explosive with his Implosive would make for lots of Lively. But, I’ve figured out that what that also means, is that things need to get worked out in a timely manner, or there are going to be some major fireworks up in this house. Or car. Or, wherever it is that we happen to be having a “growth opportunity”, as Lysa TerKeurst calls them.

The noise can be deafening.

But, God also provides the venue for fireworks with my Sweetgirl and Sweetboy. They each have personality traits that work in direct conflict with my bliss. All the live long day, some days. What feels like flat-out warfare on my parenting soul, sometimes comes in the form of my children saying “red” just because I said “blue”.

BOOM!

But wait, there’s more! God also provided me with The Nana and Ahab. I can’t even tell you. Let me try. The Nana thinks she knows what’s best for me. (In her defense, she is often right.) Until I get there, though, I will fight tooth and nail to get my point across. (I also have to remind her, repeatedly, that I’m an adult.) (This doesn’t seem to matter.) (I’m beginning to think it never will with parents.) Ahab and I get into some political discussions that will clear a room. Clear. A. Room! There is a clash of worldview and those opinions blow sky-high.

KABOOM!

And it doesn’t even have to be the fourth of July!

Inevitably, though, Grace whispers “do your best to live at peace with everyone”.

Peace_Romans12_18_Missindeedy

Do your best.

Dang.

It stings when I am confronted with the fact that sometimes it’s me who lays that trail of gunpowder, or fires one across the bow, or lights that match.

That I’m most certainly not doing my best.

But grace blazes a trail of peace as it blows away contentiousness, anger, and indignation. It leaves calm in its wake, with harmony as the goal.

I could take a lesson. Or seventy-seven.

I still believe that God likes fireworks. (Who else would bring James Carville and Mary Matalin together in marriage? I ask you!) But, I also believe that Grace comes quietly and gives us a more beautiful show than any fireworks ever could.

Oh, yes indeedy.

31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This post is day 28 of the Write 31 Days challenge. I think I can! I think I can! I think I can…

Fifteen Years Strong

Sweetman and I have been married for fifteen years.

Can we just stop and take a few moments, please?

I’d like to take one moment to marvel at the fact that this girl, right here, who never thought she’d get married, ever, has settled pretty comfortably into married life with this guy.

Monogamy isn’t something that’s necessarily glorified nowadays, is it? Add Christ into the marriage equation, and most folks find that downright antiquated.

But, here I am – in a marriage that is not only centered on Christ, but that is also thriving.

And I LIKE IT!

I apologize for the yelling letters, but it’s true.

There are surely days that I most definitely do NOT like it, just as there are days that I pretty much love it. I know I’m not alone in that. Some days, we have to apply a thick layer of grace to our interactions. Finances, anyone? And, I’m just going to admit what many of us probably experience – many a married morning starts out with a quick smooch for the day, and that is all that carries us from one to the next. But, just like you would find the average in math, all days considered, I am solidly in the “liking it” camp.

I’d grab another moment just to celebrate and say WOOHOOTY! I mean, as Sweetman always says, that like Thirty Celebrity Years!

Indeed.

And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take one final moment to thank God for yoking me with a man who will bear more than his share of our life’s burdens. Because, he does. Man… does he ever! Grace, modeled right in this house. Almost daily.

The days in and out of a married life aren’t always seamless. We’ve ridden some bumpy roads together, Sweetman and I. But, God, in His desire to see mutual honor and respect in this commitment, has proven faithful to get us through. Together.

I’ve learned a couple of things about staying committed. I’d like to share what works for us, here.

1. Hug once a week. Like, a good long hug. It doesn’t have to be that kind of hug. But, I can assure you, standing in your kitchen after a week of being ships passing in the night, one good 20 second hug will do something pretty great for you both.

2. Have a good fight once in a while. And then make up. I’d like to just remind you that I’m sharing what works for us.  I know there is research out there saying that “strong disagreements” aren’t good for a marriage. But, I’ve looked at plenty more that says the opposite. And, quite frankly, I’ve lived my own stinkin’ study, right here in this house! A good strong disagreement, once in a while, does wonders for the spunk of a marriage. Reminding yourselves, after the making up, how your strengths so nicely dovetail his weaknesses, is a very good thing.

3. Get wise counsel. I’m going to boldly step out and make a statement here that might lose me a few online friends. Your girlfriend that just called off her engagement? No matter how godly she is, that is not the wise counsel you should be seeking about marriage matters. And, men? Your best bro that just signed divorce papers? Nope. Neither is he. That older couple from church that always holds hands, even at 88? Yeah. Them. Find someone who’s been around the block a time or four. Wise counsel knows that those fiery feelings burning a hole in your heart Right This Minute? They’ll pipe down a bit soon enough. And they’ll tell you that.

These few things aren’t going to make a bad marriage good. Nor will they repair deeper heart hurts that require some pastoral care, and maybe a PhD. But, they will help move you in the right direction.

Oh, yes indeedy!

Fifteen_Years_Strong_missindeedy

So, what works for you? Do you have some tried and true marriage tips  that you’d be willing to share here for us?

 31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This post is day 15 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

The Beautiful Boom

If the letters ENFP mean anything to you, then you are my people.

If the letters ISTJ mean anything to you, then you are Sweetman’s people.

Put an ENFP and an ISTJ together, and it can be the perfect combination of BOOM!

You might be tempted to feel jealous of all the boom, but don’t.  Those explosions make for some amazing fireworks, yes. But they also make for some doozies during the clean-up. Think, “lots of time” and “lots of effort” to pick up the pieces, and you’ll get the idea.

me_and_sweetman_missindeedy

If you really knew me, you would know that I love me a grand idea and detest me some details. I also get easily bogged down in those little “d” words.

Tell me to come up with a fun way to rope someone in to volunteering for that fundraising event coming up and I’m on it.  Remind me the following week that it was due on Tuesday and you needed it typed up, double-spaced, in bold font, and I’m liable to look at you cross-eyed. And, forget what you asked of me in the first place. I’m going to start running with the idea before you ever get to finish telling me the rest of the pertinent information.

Okay, so add impulsive.

You know, that might explain why I get side-tracked by squirrels.

Often.

Especially if they fly.

Anyhoo, a couple of decades ago, I took that Myers-Briggs Personality Test.  I’ve included a fantastic Myers-Briggs graphic link showing you the most famous of each type. It’s fun to note that I’m almost equal parts Oscar Wilde and Martin Luther King Jr.

Sweetman is not.

As I mentioned before, it makes for some lively conversations.

What all of this personality test stuff has shown me over the years, though, is that labels do not truly define a person.  Ever.  Labels can help me draw conclusions about how best to approach working with someone who is, ahem, a much more methodical thinker than myself.  But, it can’t tell me who that person really is deep down in their soul. Or what makes their heart beat faster. Or, even, what they’ll ultimately place the most value on, in their decision-making.

This is true of my marriage relationship, too.  Knowing that Sweetman is practical and logical and takes every detail into careful consideration does not help me in Those Moments. You know the ones… I give him a grocery list of six items and state, definitively, that The Most Important Item on that list is bread.  He’ll come back with every single thing on that list.

Except bread.

It’s the practical application of how his strengths dovetail my weaknesses and make us a stronger unit.  It’s about using the gifts I’ve been given to serve Sweetman when he needs time to zero in on flies that keep getting in the ointment.  It’s about him coming alongside me when my weaknesses are shining through, and turning the spotlight more toward my strengths.

Knowing that my husband is a practical problem-solver does me no good if I don’t allow him to sometimes helps me solve my problems.

Knowing that I like to see things through to completion does him no good if he doesn’t provide the time and space to allow that to happen.

I recently had the opportunity to retake that Myers-Briggs test.  And guess what?

Same diagnosis.

Loves people. Enthusiastic. Idea creator. Doer.

Married to thinker.  Tolerates people. Less enthusiastic. Loves logic.

But that only tells part of our story.

The other part is that HE makes my heart beat faster.  I hear tell that I make his do the same.

Whatever serves to unify us is what gets the heaviest weight in his decision-making.  It’s the same right here, too!

And, honestly, I wouldn’t trade his ISTJ for any other letters.

Because, It’s a beautiful boom after all.

Yes indeedy.

Do you know what kind of alphabet soup you are?  I’m guessing it makes for some mighty beautiful booms in your neck of the woods, too, doesn’t it?

Extra Grace Required Here

I’ve been thinking about those Sandpaper People in my life.  You know the ones I mean – those “extra grace required” folks. The ones who take often and need even more often. They rub you the wrong way with just a word. Opinions are spouted. Indignation is their default. It’s their way or the highway.

And you wish, For The Love, that just once,  they’d opt for the highway.

But, as I was thinking on these folks, and asking God for greater patience with them, He showed me something else, entirely. Instead of receiving an extra measure of grace to deal with those people, I received an extra length of rope to hang my pride with.

“Hold your heart up to a mirror, child.”

Oh God! Not me…

He says nothing. But in the quiet moments, conversation after situation after comment rush into my mind. And self-reflection smarts. I’m rubbed raw, in fact, by all of the sandpaper inside my heart. I recognize that I am the one for whom extra grace has been required, lately.

And, my need to get quiet with this Truth right here becomes obvious:

Ephesians4_2_Missindeedy

Love is not always convenient.  And love – real love – takes some mighty and serious sacrifice, at times.   This, I know to be true, because it was modeled for me. On a cross. By The Only One who could model it perfectly. In such humility as I cannot even fathom.

The King made low. Willingly.

It’s modeled right in my home, too. By Sweetman. Until I met him, I’d never met a saint, but I hear they were masters of Bearing With Patience.  And I’m here to tell you that patience like that? It wins every time. Because of Love.

Gentleness, too, is modeled by the friends who come alongside my Harsh and soften it. With their encouragement, with their words, and with their very presence. Because of Love.

I’m desperately in need of grace. With each new realization of my own sandpaper moments, my pride comes crashing down. Sometimes, I’m laid low, so very unwillingly.

Because of Love, the extra grace that’s been required around here is given. To overflowing. And I find that it rubs my rough places a bit smoother.

Those who were wishing I’d get on that highway? The good news is that I’m on it!  And the destination is a place with more humility, gentleness, and patience.

Yes indeedy.

Winners’ Gonna Win

Y’all have given me grace galore, lately.  Thank you.

I wasn’t on top of the book give-away. We have had a rough bout of stomach bugs and sleepless nights – all in the midst of school vacation week. I am thankful for the puke bucket. Both of them, actually.  And for kids that were so wiped out that we laid around like slugs for three days.

But, you can’t keep us down for long. And now that I’ve pulled myself back up by my bootstraps, I’m on it.

That trusty random generator spit out two beautiful numbers and we’ve got two winners to congratulate:

book_drawing_missindeedy_1 book_drawing_missindeedy_2

So, according to time of comments and tweets:

Phyllis and The Charming Fox, CONGRATULATIONS!

If you could email me at missindeedy at yahoo dot com, with your snail mail addresses, and kindly let me know which book you’d prefer, I’ll get those right out to you!

And, speaking of winners, I was a big winner this weekend, too.  My sweet in-laws offered to take Sweetboy and Sweetgirl for the weekend so that Sweetman and I could do something we’ve been putting off for seven long years. And, of course, so that we could have a couple of nights to be Missindeedy & Sweetman and not just “Mama and Daddy”.

I’m a firm believer in those kinds of weekends for parents.  And, I don’t know about you, but ours aren’t easy to come by, with inlaws an hour and a half away and the others 1,000 miles away.  So, when they’re offered, we are giddy and go to great lengths to make the most of it.

We used this precious alone time to empty out a much neglected albatross of a storage unit.  I can’t even.  And then? Well, then we went and had this to celebrate the thing finally being done:

wine_date_missindeedy

That’s a win-win.

Dontcha think?

P.S.  I also appreciate none of y’all calling me out on the bust of an idea with the Thankfuls every Saturday.  I have learned two things out of this. 1) Saturdays are usually a tough time for me to get a regular blog post out. And 2) I’m not good at manufacturing ideas just because I am supposed to (even if it was a self-imposed supposed to!).  If that doesn’t make one whit of sense to you, no worries.  If it does, though, thank you understanding and rolling with it.