Permission Given

Not that you need my permission.

But I’m offering it. It seems to help. When we have someone say, “Hey you, it’s okay to do that.”

That’s why we share the memes, and the inspirational quotes, and the funny videos. We want to see someone else feeling the way we do, living the way we do, rejoicing the way we do, and struggling the way we do. We want to know that it’s okay to do that.

So today, I’m giving you permission.

Permission to feel. Any thing. ALL the things. ALL THE FEELS.

Own them.

Feel them.

The good ones and the bad ones. Especially the bad ones y’all.

It seems we don’t want anyone to compare their blessings to another’s blessings. Find joy in your own circumstances. Find the silver lining. Count just one thing that’s good. Look for the light. Sing a song. Dance. Go for a walk. Get the good juices flowing.

YES! All that…. all that is great and wonderful and very helpful.

After you have allowed yourself, given yourself permission to feel the bad first. And don’t, I repeat, DO NOT COMPARE YOUR PAIN TO ANOTHER IN AN ATTEMPT TO TALK YOURSELF OUT OF HURTING. Knock it off. Yes, other’s MAY have it worse. Yes, there are homeless and addicted and abducted and dying and starving and sick and lonely and all of it is very very very bad. I am NOT negating any of their pain or their hurt or their difficulties.

I am simply saying, in all caps, IT IS OKAY TO FEEL THAT YOUR SITUATION SUCKS TOO.

Whatever it is, my friend, it is OKAY to own it, feel it, and say it out loud.

The part that isn’t okay, is if you stay in that feeling for too long.

The negative is what makes the positive so…well, positive!

The light is only bright because we have come out of the darkness.

And if you can’t find anyone safe to talk to, I’m here. Talk to me.

I don’t have answers, but I have ears. Sometimes, we just need someone to listen, and to let us feel, and pray with us or for us while we wait for the morning light.

And the next time someone tells you to “Just cheer up”, “count your blessings”, or tries to remind you that “someone else has it way worse than you”, politely (or not) remind them that you can be blessed and stressed at the same time….I can feel all the feels.

Permission

 

 

A lesson in punctuation.

Ya’ll, I just can’t hold it in anymore.

It seems our society has forgotten the difference between a period ( . ) and a question mark ( ? ).

A period ENDS a STATEMENT.

A question mark ASKS for something.

In the past few weeks, I have experienced people having an issue differentiating between these two punctuation marks. Some have been online, but all too many have been live and in person.  Today, when a young homeschooler posted a funny meme meant to put a chuckle in someone’s day, her post was followed with a ton of  comments very rudely offering suggestions on how to fix the situation being jested about in the post.

NO.

She didn’t ask for advice. She wasn’t seeking help or solutions. How do I know? Because there was NO QUESTION MARK. The meme merely made a statement, a comical statement about one of the many trials of motherhood. She wasn’t requesting help to resolve whatever behavior led to the meme. In fact, IT WASN’T EVEN A MEME ABOUT HER. It was some graphic she pulled off a meme site because…. IT WAS FUNNY.  Any mother would have had a good chuckle and scrolled away.

I have posted funny anecdotes on my personal Facebook page (or had conversations personally with others), in which I shared a trying day. When I do this, I am NEVER looking for suggestions on how to NOT have a trying day. IF I feel I could use some advice I will ask for it, using…. dun…dun….dun… a QUESTION. Most times, I am throwing up the mom gang sign and saying “Hey, other mom friends, other wife friends, other sister friends, other humans-who-have-to-deal-with-people friends… guess what, sometimes people suck, I feel ya, high five… we got this… let’s laugh.” PERIOD. END OF STATEMENT.

So please help me understand why it seems everyone wants to jump in and fix what they perceive to be wrong, when no one is asking for help/advice?  (<–see there is a question, feel free to leave a comment and answer THIS question)

I can promise you, you do not have the whole story in that meme or post or 5 minute conversation. There was more to it. I also promise that whatever the situation was….

I handled it. I just didn’t feel the need to bore you with that part of the story.

Oh, and while we are on that bunny trail…. I am done justifying HOW I handled it. I did it my way and that’s that. (<–please note the specific use of a period here.)

People…. PEOPLE…  why can’t we just support each other? Hug, high five, throw up the Mockingjay sign and show some sympathy, some empathy, some compassion and IF YOU CAN’T….

take that little finger of yours and scroll on by.

 

I still act like a child.

We reset our priorities. We made a plan. We made less selfish choices.
It was amazing. Things were good. Kids were happy. We were happy.
Then there was that one day, that one day when I was tired, tired of not getting my way.
It was just a moment. A frustrated moment. I had done all my chores, made all the plans, fixed all the meals. I had paid the pills and fed the chickens. I had listened to stories and read stories, and broke up fights. I had entertained unexpected company because…well… the kids were excited to play with their cousins. I fielded phone calls and messages, fixed problems, boosted spirits, and comforted the broken-hearted. I played referee between an emotional teenager and … the rest of the world.
It was 9:30pm, and I finally had a chance to sit in my recliner and do something I WANTED TO DO. I’ve been working on knitting the same scarf since last fall. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift. Then a January birthday gift. Now, I’m sure my friend is just hoping she’ll get it one day. The stitch isn’t hard, but it requires paying attention.
Thirteen stitches in a child crawls up beside me.
“I haven’t had any Mommy/Bubby time in forever!”
I put the knitting down, hug him, and remind him that we had cuddle time earlier and that now it was bedtime. I tuck him back in, and say prayers again, and sing the song again.
As I walk across the kitchen, headed for my chair, the other teenager flings her foot into my face to show me that her toenail is hurting again….”it has been hurting me for DAYS Mom!”
You couldn’t have told me that DAYS ago, kid?
I was on stitch 13, right?
Knitting
Okay, let’s go find the clippers and hooky filey thingy and some antibiotic ointment and the band-aids.
10 minutes later, I’m headed back for my chair.
My Mr. turns off the tv and says it’s time for bed.
Um… no. It is not. I stomp over like a child about to have a tantrum and with all the force of The Hulk I press the ON button on the tv remote as if force would make it turn on faster. I throw the remote on the couch and plop down in my seat.
“What’s wrong with you?” he dared to ask.
Oh boy. My rant began. Everyone heard it. My childish, angry rant, went from “Why is it I never get to do anything I want” to “I’m sorry, I love being wife and mommy, I just wanted a few minutes to do something I wanted to do.”
Somewhere in there, I yanked my knitting off the table without paying attention, probably flinging it around for visual effect, and dropped two stitches.
Was it the last two I did, or the two I was about to do?
My Mr. eased onto the couch beside me. Found my favorite show on Amazon Prime and pushed play.
“Okay honey, we can knit.”
 
*********************
Check out the new “Basically Clean Club“!

I don’t regret my tattoo.

Several years ago, after many years of discussions and sketches, my sweet husband took me to get my first, and only, tattoo. To say it was a big deal, is an understatement.

Even though I had friends with tattoos, and family with tattoos, there was something very taboo about me getting a tattoo. I knew people would be disappointed in me. I knew there would be people I would feel the need to hide it from. If it was going to cause that much grief, I wanted to make sure it was worth it. It had to mean something to me, something deep.

At the time, I was struggling with the idea that I was in fact a writer. Calling myself a writer, an author, sounded a little too real. It took me beyond just someone who happened to put words into sentences and let people read it. It implied I had a skill and that I used that skill intentionally to reach out and impact others. I wanted to believe I was a writer. I wanted to be confident in telling others, I am an author.

Part of my tattoo is a quill.

The other part, is a simple word, in one of my favorite fonts. It simply says, “Anyway”.

To explain the word, I generally point to the poem that Mother Teresa had on the wall of her children’s home. It’s titled The Paradoxical Commandments, written by Kent M. Keith in 1968.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

It is so much more than that.

If you think you can’t play Barbies, play anyway.

If you think you can’t play Army Men, play anyway.

If you think you can’t learn something new, learn it anyway.

If you want to sing, but think you’re not good enough, sing anyway.

If you think you have something to share with the world, but no one wants to read it, write it anyway.

If they have given you absolutely no reason to love them, or even like them,

If they have brought you pain, and hurt, and to the point of anger,

If they have no clue the damage they caused, or are currently causing,

draw a line, create a boundary, protect yourself…but love them, forgive them, anyway.

 

For a while, tattoos were becoming popular and accepted in society. Employers don’t always make you cover them up. Few look down on others because of tattoos. Yet, I am seeing a trend returning where tattoos are being frowned upon, and I’ve read articles shaming those who get them.

I do not regret my tattoo. I won’t be ashamed of it. It has opened the door for me to share the story of love and forgiveness that I have received from Jesus. It has allowed me opportunities to explain how I manage to love and forgive despite how little I might feel the offending person deserves it. It has helped me to fully own the title of “writer”.

I write. I play. I try. I sing. I love. I forgive. Anyway.

Just try

I always wanted to try.
I couldn’t stay after school.
It wasn’t a class that led to a profitable career.
I should have started in high school, so it’s too late now.
I should have done it in college, so it’s really too late now.
My daughter always wanted to try.
She’s a homeschooler, not many options around.
*keeps looking*
I’ll give it one last try, in this new town, maybe someone will let her try here.
In a blink, we both tried. Clueless, and terrified, we tried. Way beyond our comfort zone, we tried.
Man, let me just say, it’s everything I always wanted it to be.


 
*images from 246 The Main, community theater in Brookneal, VA. Hunchback of Notre Dame and Catch Me If You Can.

I don’t believe you

{This post is a participation in Daily Post’s daily prompt. Today’s prompt can be found hereIn keeping with my goal of writing 15 minutes each day, I have only allowed myself 15 minutes of free writing. }

Please don’t say I’m good, I won’t believe you.

Part of me will want to, and maybe part of me, deep down, will think maybe it’s true. Still, I won’t fully believe you. It will be hard for me to accept it. I will politely say “thank you” and on the inside I’ll be thinking “boy, you have them fooled.”

My self esteem is fine. I do, in general, think I am good at things. My fear, unfortunately, is great. My fear that at some point, some day, some one will call me out and say “you’re not good! You just got lucky! Look at all these other people better at this than you!”

I fear that by declaring out loud and into the world that I am good at something {seriously, anything, pick a skill here folks} that I will immediately discover that I was wrong, and in declaring something so obviously untrue, I will prove myself a fraud. The humiliation would be devastating.

Instead, I just try my best and pray that it was enough. I am humbled by opportunities that arise from others thinking I am good enough to be asked. I will hide my face and say thank you when compliments are given. I will hope that one day, without fear, I will believe you when you say “good job”.

Thirsty

I’m talking myself in circles today. Nothing new, at least not for me.
It started with a random thought at 6 a.m., where I pondered the lack of any memory involving my grandmother making daily to do lists. Her day planner was one of those $1 mini calendars, the size of a checkbook, and the only list I ever saw her make was a grocery list or an errand list. These lists were typically on the back of an envelope she salvaged from junk mail.
Here’s the part that really just stopped my tired, so very tried, brain in it’s tracks.
She managed to get a LOT of stuff done!
Her house was tidy (and from what I’ve been told it was tidy when her kids were home….all three of them). She picked beans from the garden, and shelled them. She cooked, from scratch, three meals.
**Okay, in all fairness, I think breakfast was mostly cereal and toast most days, but still….**
She sewed clothes, crocheted blankets, did her Bible study, wrote letters, and….wait for it….was FULLY dressed every day!
HOWWWWWW!!!!
Now, I’ve had a couple more cups of coffee and my brain has made a few more laps around in it’s circle and I have a few theories on this matter.
First, the obvious, she had no internet. Nana watched TV 3 times a day. News in the morning (for 30 minutes), news at lunch (for 30 minutes), the 6 o’clock news after dinner sometimes followed by Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. I don’t remember her watching anything else. I remember her momma, Great Grandma Charlie, watching General Hospital. So it’s possible Nana watched that on occasion, but she was probably shelling beans or peeling potatoes or doing something else productive at the same time. She managed to remember all the things she needed to clean, cook, mend, and tend without writing it down. I find that when I’m left alone (totally alone in the house for more than an hour), I can, in complete silence, get most of my house clean without a written reminder that the trash needs to be taken out and the dishwasher emptied.
Second, and I think a little less obvious, is her expectations. She expected a lot from her children. I don’t mean work, at least not just work (like helping around the house). She expected them to take responsibility, to be a participating member of the household not just a hotel guest. She expected friends to be respectful of her time. She did not expect things to be handed to her, nor did she think she was entitled to anything she didn’t work for herself. The greatest thing, in my opinion, is that she had realistic expectations for herself. She knew how to say no, without feeling guilty. She never felt the need to offer up reasons for her no, she just said no. I’m not saying she never did anything she didn’t want to do, because I’m certain she did, on numerous occasions. But she never undertook any task if she knew it would hinder her ability to do the only thing ever on her to do list. Glorifying God/Living For Jesus.
That was it. Taking care of her family was her way of living for Jesus. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, gardening, mowing, sewing, serving, working, building, crocheting, writing….. all that she did was to accomplish that one task.
My to do list is full and long. I have three day planners plus several notebooks. I rarely know if I’m coming or going. I’m often late, or operating in “urgent mode”. When I look at my list of things to do, I see a lot of the same tasks that could have been on her list if she ever made one.
There is a glaring difference however. I am expecting, anticipating, and working hard towards a “good job” and pat on the back when I’m done, if I ever get done, with all the things on my list. When it’s not completed, I feel I have failed. Failed at life, failed at being an adult, failed at being a wife and mother. I am not living for Jesus, no matter how much I want to believe that I am. I am living for myself. I am living and working for praise and acceptance from my husband, my children, my family and friends {even strangers!}.
Here’s the other kicker. No matter how much praise I receive from them, it isn’t enough. Like pouring water into a colander, I am never full. Me and my to do list are sitting with my back to the well with living water, whining about being thirsty.

Yes, my boy will probably have long hair…but

He will NOT be rude about it.
Hubby has long hair.  He’s had long hair for most of our almost 15 years together. He did cut it for about a year, while he worked a job that needed him “clean cut”.  I called him Superman because he looked a little like the geeky side of Clark Kent.  Even had the little curl in the front.  He also shaved it bald once on a dare.  Can’t say that I was fond of the Lex Luther look but it grew back….and I made $20.
His new job doesn’t care how long his hair gets as long as it’s kept nice.  So he has his rock star hair again.
Peanut’s hair is touching his ears and I keep commenting on how I need to “trim it up a bit”. Hubby growls.
I’m pretty sure Peanut will get to enjoy rock star hair.  Hopefully he will have his Dad’s hair and not mine. His is silky, mine is NOT.
One thing for certain, I will teach him to be kind and understanding and how to “laugh it off” with a smile when sweet mama’s mistake him for a girl.  Unlike the rude and cranky little sir in the karate gee Monday night, who FLIPPED HIS HAIR at me and growled “BUT I’M A BOY” then glared at me when I said his name was pretty.
I was just trying to be nice. I didn’t even really hear what HIS name was; just noticed the contempt in his voice over it. He had LONG FLOWING LOCKS of blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes and he was asking me questions about the baby and the baby’s soft spot and could the baby do this or that and well….
I didn’t think boys typically gave a rats patootie about the development of random strangers babies. So I thought HE was a girl. I’m sorry. He’s going to make a HOT Hair Band Rock Star one day.  If he doesn’t get punched by some tired momma first.