Ministering Through My Mess

Here We Go Again (take what?)

I named my blog.

It’s called Ministering Through My Mess.

It’s a line I used back in the Spring when I spoke at my church’s Ladies Salad Banquet and it really stuck with me.

See, I have GREAT intentions on being a blogger that you’ll want to follow.  That you’ll wait anxiously to see what I’m going to share next.  I have a couple blogs that I’ve read faithfully for years, though as the kids get older and no one sleeps on my lap at the computer comfortably while I peruse I don’t even have time to read those.
Anyway, I WANT to be a blogger – the real deal – the person who gets PAID to sit and write what is on my mind.  But to do that, you have to blog regularly (not once a year) and you have to have followers that are total strangers and still suggest you to their friends.  Your posts have to be shared far and wide – enough so to attract sponsors that will pay you to use their products and then write a post promoting them.
I’m so not there…

My world is messy.  The world I live in and my personal world.  I’m a total mess!  I don’t cook well, though I do try and none of us is underfed.  I don’t clean well – I’m not being humble. I’m awful at cleaning and I’m lazy about cleaning so putting those two together is a bit disastrous. (Yet the mess makes me crazy & stressed out so you’d think I’d work on this more.)  My kids are constantly needing me making concentration very difficult.  I’ve already walked away from the computer three times to answer their needs just writing these few paragraphs.

BUT, I believe that God has called me to teach and to share.  I believe that God knows I’m pretty much an open book (He made me, so, duh) and He’s desiring to use that to reach others through me and my mess so that they’ll be drawn to him.  And I love that He’s like that. That He designs us to be who we are, but then expects to use who we are to reflect Him.

I posted an edited picture on Facebook today that was actually two pictures.  Here it is along with what my “caption” is:

Perfection vs Reality 2

Because it’s too important to keep it in focus…
Posting the top picture gives the image of a sister and brother
walking harmoniously down an wooded path.

In reality, little brother wanted NOTHING to do with taking such a sweet picture.
I had to bribe him to do it so that I’d get that sweet picture to cherish for years.

So much of our online personality is edited. Maybe not to impress others
or even to intentionally give a wrong impression.

But who wants to see kids fighting and mom as a sweaty mess?
(Yes, I should’ve taken a selfie for some real reality.)
No one has a perfect life or perfect family and I definitely don’t.

My life is messy, but God wants to use it.

My kids aren’t perfect, but God made them cute and they sure seem perfect when they are asleep (haha).

My marriage isn’t perfect, but God is still at work in it because I invite him there every single day.

So, I’m going to give this writing thing a go again.  Yes, again.
I’m actually going to SCHEDULE time to sit and type my thoughts.
Hopefully you’ll join me for it.

Also – a quick plug for an event I’m taking part in (again).
Oak Hill Christian Service Camp is hosting its second Ladies Day/Women’s Retreat and I’m teaching a break out session.  I’d love for you to come.
It does cost money, but it is money well spent and you’ll be blessed.
You don’t even have to choose my session!  There are four and you only get to pick two.
Pick the two that you think you need the most (class titles and descriptions on the website).  Here, check it out:
Oak Hill Camp Ladies Day

I keep waiting for the sadness to come…

I’ve posted a lot on Facebook lately and suddenly felt like this post deserved to be on my blog.  I’ve missed writing and getting the opportunity to write about my Granny the past 12 days has brought that back to me.  I want to write.

So, the sadness – I keep waiting… and waiting… and waiting…

I had a touch of it yesterday.  We got to Newport News and went in the house the same as always (though through the front door).  Carla was in the back office and I went to talk to her, knowing that we were going to tell Ella that her G.G. died, but not realizing how quickly that moment would come.

When I walked away from her, she asked my mom where G.G. was.  Warren came to get me and I abandoned Carla mid-sentence (hers) and rudely (though understandably) ran through the house to get to my daughter before my mom could tell her.

I made it in time.  Mom had started 11 days before – when Granny fell at Hammricks.  She talked about her hip and the surgery.  By then, I’d picked Ella up out of the rocking chair, sitting down in her place and putting her on my lap, expecting the inevitable.

And it came.  Mom told Ella that G.G. had died and gone to Heaven and Ella started to cry.  Not sobbing, but she turned into me and cried.  And I cried too.  And Warren started as he walked in to sit.  And Aunt Evelyn (E.E. to the kids) did as she walked in.  And I think Aunt Carla did, too…

Ella asked “Why?” and just as mom started to explain as best as she could, Joe realized the piano cover was up and started hitting keys.  Ella sat up, yelled “PIANO!” and jumped out of my lap to go play.  That was it.  Moment over. Tears gone – even mine.

Twenty-six years ago, my grand-Dad died (I write it that way because we just called him “Dad” and that causes great confusion).  I was ten years old and it devastated me.  I was left with horrible separation anxiety.  I couldn’t sleep with my door shut and demanded that my parents’ door be open all night also so that I could sit up and see them there if I needed to.  (Looking back, I’m pretty sure I killed their “romantic” life.  Sorry, dad.)  I got that he was in Heaven, but I found no joy in that thought.  I cried and cried and cried and when I cried in school I told Shirley Hill (the secretary at Trevvett and a dear friend of our family) that my Dad had died.  She panicked and called my Daddy (hence my knowing that I cause confusion).  I was sad in the deepest way.

My grandpa died almost ten years ago.  I had been through his side a lot in his last years of life and I wasn’t there at his final moment.  I sobbed for days.  I sobbed passing Chestnut Grove for a year after his funeral.  I knew he was in Heaven, but his loss hit me like a ton of bricks.

That isn’t happening this time and there is only one reason.

I have found the Holy Spirit in a way that I’ve never let myself find.

To reference one of my daddy’s church posts – I have been CAUGHT by Jesus.

I have loved Jesus since childhood.  A few months ago, I would’ve told you that I’d been caught before.  But my Granny’s illness and death have proved to me that my true capture didn’t happen until recently.

I sat down on the sofa with Aunt Evelyn last night, wanting to be close to our remaining matriarch.  Though not a mother herself, she’s always been our bonus mom and grandmother.  An extra without her own kids to worry over and able to just fuss over us – being part of our Disney trips and Christmases and Birthdays.

We talked about the fact that she’d decided to continue living in the house they own.  That she’s promised to get Life Alert and actually wear it while home alone… especially when she decides to climb ladders into the attic or trim bushes at 6:00 am.  Yes, she’s done both of those things pretty recently.  For 90, she’s feisty and spry.  Trying to explain the word “elderly” to Ella today (thanks, random five minutes of Kid President last night), I told Ella that G.G. had been elderly.  I started to classify Aunt Evelyn in that category and then realized – NOPE! Doesn’t fit.

Anyway – back to the sadness… I asked her if SHE was upset that I wasn’t more emotional upon seeing her, my mother, and my aunt in her house, but without my grandmother.  She isn’t and that is confirmation for me.  She too is a lifelong follower of Jesus and my love comes from her just as much as it came from my Granny.

So here I am… waiting for the sadness that is sure to come.

Although, friends, I’m not 100% convinced it will.

I KNOW for SURE that I will cry at the service on Saturday where we will celebrate her life (almost 94 years of it!).

I know that I’ll finish singing and speaking and then the floodgates may open (note to husband: please have box of tissues at our seat).

But right now?  I AM JOYFUL!

In my Bible study last week, we spent a day focused on JOY and the difference between Joy and Happiness.  Beth Moore’s son-in-love said this: “Joy is happiness without the moodiness.”  That took my breath away because I can be quite moody and yet I consider myself joyful.  So I’ve been mulling it over.  In our discussion our leader, Bev, reminded us that JOY is a choice we make each day. I want to choice to be joyful each day. And I need, desperately, to lose the moodiness when it comes.

But I don’t feel like I’m making a choice to be joyful about this.  It feels natural and complete. It feels like breathing.

MY GRANDMOTHER IS IN HEAVEN!!!

How on earth do I not rejoice in that?

Please do not get me wrong, I am well-aware that I will have moments of sadness.  I will miss her dearly this weekend when we’re all gathered in “her” house and she’s not among us.

BUT SHE WILL BE IN HEAVEN.

She will not be looking down on us and missing us.

Because she will be with Jesus.

She will not see me make the mistakes I will make as a mother.

Because she will be walking streets paved with gold.

She will not know when I make a bad choice.

Because she will be offering eternal praise to God.

I believe that when I reach Heaven, she will know who I am and will welcome me into worship, but I do not believe that she will be watching over me before I get there.  If she was, it might make her sad and SADNESS IS ONE THING WE DO NOT FEEL IN HEAVEN.

OH, what joy and peace that gives me!!!!

My grandmother will no longer be using a walker.  She will no longer get her words mixed up as she has since her stroke.  She will no longer forget a name.  She will no longer fall.  She will no longer hurt.  She won’t have to worry about what to wear because she’ll be in Heaven’s white garments… truly white after being washed in the blood of the lamb.

Oh, thank you Father above for giving me a grandmother who was a follower of Jesus.

A woman who taught her two daughters to love God above all else.

One of those daughters helped pass that belief on to me.

Oh, how I pray to leave a legacy of faith.

May Ella see my joy in rejoicing that her G.G. has gone to Jesus and know that HEAVEN IS THE HEALING.

I am a lover of songs.  I love music in general, but I love a good song – with lyrics that set my soul on fire.  Song like:

I Can Only Imagine (never gets old! CAN YOU IMAGINE???)

Find Us Faithful (an oldie, but a goodie – May all who come behind us find us faithful)

Desert Song (ALL of my life; In EVERY season; YOU ARE STILL GOD; I have a reason to sing)

Clear the Stage (thank you Dustin and Courtney for introducing me to this song!)

Your Grace Finds Me (first heard at Northside – POWERFUL song!)

Holy Spirit (Kim Walker Smith – look it up!)

Holy Spirit was one I was introduced to this summer at Fairmount.  There are times in my walk with Christ and I question if He’s there.  If I’m allowing him to be close to me.

Friends – over the past 12 days, since my grandmother’s fall, I HAVE FELT THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN A MIGHTY WAY.

I have been caught by Jesus.

I know that I will be sad in my and my family’s loss.  I will see my mama, and my aunt, and my great-aunt cry and I will cry when they do.  I will sit with cousins and extended family and remember past times and childhood games.  I will sit with my brother and remember vacations at Granny & Dad’s and know that those days are long gone.  I will sit with Ella and try to explain over and over that it is okay to be sad and no, GG isn’t going to come back.  I will look at my husband who loves my family ferociously and know that his heart is breaking along with ours.

But over all, I will feel JOY because

MY. GRANNY. IS. WITH. JESUS.

A New Song

I’m going to admit right here that the one thing that I get frustrated about at our church is that, often, when they introduce a “new song” in worship, it isn’t new to me.  I sang on the praise team at United for years and we sang a lot of stuff right as it came out on the radio.  Our leader, Colleen, was great about this.  It made it challenging at times, but so much fun.

Image
This picture is missing Jay on drums (he’s to the left), and Danny on guitar (where was he?) and includes a couple extra members… but still, magical

Worship at United was something that I miss more than everything else.  Being in a praise team with Danny, Jay, Thad/Jeff, Becky, Colleen, and Keith was pure magic.  Not perfect… never perfect.  But magical.  When I hear “our” songs on the radio, I cry because I’m not sure I’ll ever experience that again.  Not that God doesn’t move in my worship – he does!  But if you’ve ever been a part of a group that took your worship experience to a totally new level, you understand what I’m saying.

The whole non-new song happened again this past Sunday – and with a song that I felt was so powerful when I sang it with that team at United.  Chris Tomlin’s “Here Am I”.  The worship minister at our church introduced it so beautifully, too.  He talked about growing up a preacher’s kid and singing the old hymns…  how those hymns hold so much meaning.

Here Am I takes all six verses of “Take My Life and Let It Be” and restructures them around one of the most beautiful choruses I’ve ever heard.  It says, “Here I am. All of me. Take my life. It’s all for thee.”

The Fairmount praise team led it beautifully, but there is a beautiful backup part in that chorus… an echo of sorts… that I had the honor of singing with my old praise team and that Fairmount didn’t do.  Maybe it was because it was a new song for the congregation.  Hopefully they’ll add it in in the future, because, besides being beautiful, it helps the chorus build when it is repeated.  As I sang along with them (singing that little part softly because I needed it), I began to cry – just like I do when one of those songs comes on the radio.  I missed the feeling that I had on my praise team.  I am heartbroken that it will never happen again.  I am angry at the reasons why that will never happen again.  I am heartbroken anew by people who betrayed me, my family, my friendship and my trust.  I take these moments of hurt to, once again, turn the whole thing over to God, but obviously I have never left it completely in his care, because I am easily taken right back to that pit.  Almost always by worship songs.  Is there something ironic about that?

Anyway – I was still moping about that echo part not being sung while sitting in Bible Study on Monday morning.  We were wrapping up the study CHASE by Jennie Allen.  In our homework the week before we read Psalm 40.  Each week we read a different psalm and then answered two columns: “Who are you, God?” and “What do you want for me?”  This week, under the second column I wrote “A New Song” – taken directly from Psalm 40.  As we sat and discussed what having a new song meant in our lives, I was smacked upside the head by God. 

I need to allow God to take those “old songs” and reform them in my heart into “new songs”.  I need to stop focusing on what is different and what is lost and try to sing them anew – in PRAISE to him and not just in reflection of my loss. 

I’m not sure how easy this will be.  I told our minister back when he was preaching a series based on “Favorite Songs” that I find songs in nearly every moment of my day.  He challenged me to write about this and I started a year by year list of a “theme song” from each year.  It still has a lot of gaps where I keep meaning to go back and look at the pop charts and Christian music charts to see which songs were playing most often those years.  Anyway… I go there because it is true.  Right this moment I can sing two different songs that deal with singing a new song to the Lord. 

Nearly every interaction and every thought in my head connects me to a song from Children’s Church, Music & Drama, Blessed Assurance, an old hymn, a praise song from camp, and so on.  I sing in my head all day long… and I need to let God take all those songs that connect me to old feelings of hurt and write them fresh on my heart.

Some songs this may not be possible with… and maybe I don’t want God to soften the blow that they bring.  “I Can Only Imagine” brings to mind my grandpa because I sang it at his memorial service.  (I also sang “Find Us Faithful”, but you don’t hear that on the radio).  “I Will Rise” makes me think of Amanda, my friend who died of cancer leaving behind a loving husband and adoring 3-year-old son.  Because I feel like sharing: Easter was shortly after her death and Colleen picked I Will Rise as our song to sing as a special for Easter.  The moment I heard it for the first time, it immediately tied me to Amanda because her scripture during her fight was Isaiah 40:29-31.  I listened to it over and over, trying to help myself box away my sadness so that I could sing it with the praise team without breaking down on stage.  It might have been our Easter special music, but we continued to sing it as a congregation.  The chorus of the song says: “I will rise when he calls my name. No more sorrow, no more pain.  I will rise on eagle’s wings.  Before my God, fall on my knees, and rise.  I will rise.”  Each time I sing it, it becomes easier, but even now – almost five years later – I cry when I hear it.

I don’t think I want to disconnect Amanda from that song, but Amanda is not a hurtful memory.  Losing her was hurtful, but I draw strength from my memory of her.

No, I think God wants me to really give the songs to him that bring negative thoughts and negative memories.  Psalm 40 even references the pit that I go back to with those songs:

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.

Oh God, let me have only hymns of PRAISE to you in my mouth and my MIND. 

Let me release my old songs and learn them fresh.

Or, Let me find ways to take those songs and worship you anew with them. 

There is a reason you are presenting them to me as “new songs” – help me follow YOUR lead.

Give me a NEW SONG!

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge – Best Face of 2013

As I said before, I’m really getting into this photography thing.  And now, thanks to Kelle Hampton, I’ve discovered I Heart Faces.  Prepare for more photos, friends…

Here is my entry for their “Best Face of 2013” contest:

Image

Because Joe’s excitement rocks.

You can’t go vote, but definitely go check out the other entries and cross your fingers that the judges pick this one!

Thanks!!!

Photographs…

I want to be a photographer.  Not so badly that I hire a babysitter to go out and practice… Not so much that I carry my camera every where so that I can practice taking amazing pictures…  But, since I wanted to take blow-up-able pictures of Ella (and other stuff), Jeff got me a Canon just over two years ago.  I love it.  And early on, I could take time to sit around and play with it.

Now, finding moments to “play” with it are much harder.  With two kids to keep alive I don’t get as many “good” shots as I’d like.

But, I’ve gotten a few that I’m extra proud of…

Like this one from November 27, 2011:

Jump
J.J. and Ella Jump

Sure, it isn’t totally in focus (taken on automatic), but at least I got them in action.  And do you see Ella’s curls?

Or this one taken the next day:

Bubbles
Ella blowing bubbles

Seriously – that might be one of my favorites. And I was manually focusing… blew my own mind.

Since having Joe…

Joe Chin
Joe’s dimple

How about this…

Kids Christmas
Christmas spit up

Seriously – I couldn’t have planned that if I tried.

This past Spring I nailed this shot thanks to an old lady squatting behind me…

Tulips
Happy Spring!

And most recently this one:

Kids
Ella & Joe Close Up

It was on automatic, but I managed to get a fantastic picture of both of my kids – something that this blog post has proven since I have so few of both of them where they are in focus, not moving, looking at the camera, etc.

For Christmas this year, Jeff has given me lessons with my camera.  I need to sign up for the class… it is in February!

And then this popped up on my facebook page (thanks to Jen Jacobowitz):

Image

So I’m participating.  I haven’t taken today’s photo, “A Space In Your House”… not sure what space to take a picture of and Jen has already posted one of her sofa.

Here is my “Fresh” (01/06/14):

Fresh
A Fresh Bible Study

And here is my “Cold” (01/07/14):

Cold
Ice on the INSIDE of our kitchen window… waking up to 9 degree temperatures

I love taking pictures and hope that I get time to perfect my hobby this year.

 

 

One of us

If you know me, you won’t be surprised by the fact that I sing to my children at bedtime.  In the past six months, I’ve been using old hymns as well as our traditional family lullabies… In the Garden, Tell Me The Story of Jesus, and so on…

In the last month, I’ve used all traditional Christmas songs – Away in the Manger, Silent Night, The First Noel, O Come All Ye Faithful – and thanks to our music minister, Tracy Thomas, I’ve kept Tell Me The Story of Jesus in the mix… afterall, the first verse says, “Tell how the angels in chorus, Sang as they welcomed His birth, ‘Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.'”

The last couple of nights, I’ve added a favorite from an old Christmas musical called “Forever Christmas” (copyright 1984) by Don Wyrtzen and Phil and Lynne Brower.  My mother directed this musical at Parham Hills when I was young and I have remembered this song since then.  If they did it the year it came out – 1984 – then I was only 6 years old and it burned itself into my young brain.  I also remembered the story the narrator (who I am sure was David Felts, though it could’ve been Lewis Southworth) read.  Here is the story:
One blustery Christmas Eve, a young father sat all alone in front of a roaring fire.  As was his usual custom, his wife and children had gone without him to the candlelight service at church.  It wasn’t that he was especially antagonistic about the whole thing, he just didn’t see any sense in it… and so there he sat!
All at one there was a commotion outside the big picture window.  A small flock of sparrows seeking shelter, and attracted by the light of the fire, were repeatedly flying against the glass.  Helplessly he watched as the exhausted little creatures began falling one by one into the new snow.  Suddenly he had an idea, and grabbing his coat he headed for the nearby barn.  Quickly, he flung open the doors, turned on the lights and started coaxing the birds to warmth and safety.  But, to his dismay, his efforts only frightened them further till finally, in defeat, he turned back to the house.  “If only I could make them understand!” he thought.  “If only I could become one of them I would gladly lead them to safety.”
Just then, in the distance, he heard the church bells as they began to ring in Christmas.  Each chime seemed to be echoing his words, “One of them… one of them… one of them.”  All of a sudden he understood.  There was reason in Christmas!  Christ has come to earth to become one of us to that He might lead us to eternity.  Dropping to his knees, there in the snow, he opened his heart to this One who loved him so.  And, for the first time in his whole life, it was Christmas!

And then the song begins…

Silent Night, Holy Night
All the World is calm, all the stars so bring –
Did it happen on a night like this?
Do you think the angels reminisce
seeing Mary as she gently kissed the newborn King?
One of us, the Holy Child was born,
He became one of us on Christmas morning;
The wonder of it all that in a manger stall
That night in Bethlehem God became a man!
One of us, the Holy Child was born,
He became one of us on Christmas morning;
He became one of us, one of us, On Christmas morning, morning.
One of us, the Holy Child was born,
He became one of us on Christmas morning;
The wonder of it all that in a manger stall
That night in Bethlehem God became a man!
One of us, the Holy Child was born,
He became one of us on Christmas morning;
He became one of us, one of us, On Christmas morning.
He became one of us!

Now… without the accompanying music, it loses a bit of the effect (but just a bit).  The timing and inflection is what made the song stick.  It is a simple song without much change in the lyrics and yet it is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life.

But the story and the words are so applicable… even now, in 2013, nearly 30 years later.

It is because God’s Story is timeless.  The fact that Jesus become a man to save us never grows old.

I struggle with sharing this with unbelievers at times.  I want the music in a portable player so that I can just read the story and sing the song to everyone I know who doesn’t believe and follow God.  But, even with the story before the song, I’m not sure I can convince people of how much God loves them and wants them to be with Him eternally if they aren’t willing to open their hearts to the message.

But, oh, how I love The Message… and oh how I love the way this story and song presented it.  I need to remember not to reserve this story and song for Christmastime – even though that is when it resonates in my head the loudest.  (It was in a Christmas musical when I was 6.)

And I want to go back to Tracy using Tell Me The Story of Jesus in one of our Christmas worship services this December.

Here are the first & last verses of that hymn:
(And yes, I am sitting at the computer with an actual hymnal in my lap… I am a church music nerd and proud of it)

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

The story I want to tell this Christmas – and every day of my life – is that Jesus came to earth, becoming ONE OF US to lead us to the safety that is Heaven.  I want my children, my extended family, my friends, and the strangers that I come in contact with to know this story.  I’m not good at witnessing, but God has laid it on my heart to be better.  Witnessing with my actions alone is no longer good enough – I must witness with words… because I am more than “a good person”.  I am a God person.

And what if it isn’t true?  Ah… that is an argument for the ages.
What if the Bible IS just a story?
What if Jesus WAS just a great teacher?
Well, my daddy once said that even if it turned out that all he believed, all that he lived for, turned out to be false- then he could still look back on his life with not one regret for living it as the truth.  Believing in God, in the Bible, in Jesus – and following in Jesus’ footprints will only lead us in a way of light…
But I believe it 100%.

Thank you, God, for becoming one of us…

Debbie Downer

I know… I’ve already slacked in my blogging.  Here’s the thing.  Sometimes I have something really good to write about – so I do.   Then there are weeks like these last few where I’m feeling like a “Debbie Downer” (so not a good name – I have a cousin named Debbie and she’s definitely NOT a downer).  I think of something wonderful to write about when I’m not sitting at the computer with both kids napping – what is happening right. this. moment.  Then, by the time I am sitting at the computer, it is gone – the spirit, the interest, the funny joke – whatever “it” is, it is gone.  And I feel down and only want to post about something negative.

Like today… I was not a very friendly person to my husband last night.  The kids and I had had an okay day – nothing catastrophic by way of fighting or disobedience… and dinner was going “fine” – Ella actually ate all I gave her of what I had made before requesting something else to eat.  But I was tired and got grumpy over stuff that didn’t really matter.  And then, attempting to be a good husband, he took us all to the mall so he could make a necessary return (time running out) and then watch the kids while I shopped for a bra.  Ella spent 15 minutes in her room getting re-dressed to go out that turned out to be 15 minutes doing who-knows-what because she was still in a short sleeved shirt and skirt when Jeff went to get her.  This actually sent my frustration level sky high as I deal with this every. morning. of. my. life.

Men – you may want to close the window now… but I don’t care if you continue reading.
Women – you know where I’m headed, don’t you?

Bra shopping is the WORST!  Especially if you aren’t willing to spend the dough to go to Kiss & Make Up and have Ruth size you with one glance as you walk in the door.  If you go to a department store at 7:30 when no one is working, you end up trying on a gazillion bras to find ONE that fits.  You then buy the exact same bra in more than one color in an attempt to not be boring in undergarment choices.

So that didn’t help my mood… but I did get two new bras from which my underwire is NOT sticking out.  So, all-in-all, he was a GREAT husband – keeping the kids busy and in a totally different department of the store while I got myself straight.  Then… He. Paid. For. Them.  Yep.  He rocks.  But I was still very, very mean before we left for the mall.

Then today – Ella can be one of the slowest children to get anything done.  Remember a couple paragraphs ago where she spent 15 minutes NOT changing her clothes… Yes – this happens every morning.  Side note: My mother was like this.  My grandmother would routinely walk past her room and say, “now the other sock Sandy” so at least my kid comes by it honestly.

I got her to preschool AT 9:00 and then proceeded to go to Willow Lawn for Mommy & Me.  Joe fell asleep in the car, as I knew he would, so we sat in the car for 30 minutes while I played Scrabble on my Kindle and he snoozed.  Our friends showed up and we went it.  We had a good time and I got a good work-out since Joe wouldn’t stay in one location long and we were seated near the stage (after perusing all the booths).  He just kept walking out of the stage area and heading to the back of the room where Nutzy was.  The thing is – he’s smaller and can get through the crowd so much better – making me step over kids and parents (sitting down) to try to get to him.

But we made it through the morning and were in a pretty good mood going to get Ella and meeting other friends for lunch.  Then we got to McDonalds.  I saw one school bus in the parking lot, but missed the other two in an adjacent parking lot.  There was not a single table open and the people in line were going to have to sit somewhere.  I called my friend and we re-routed to Chick-Fil-A.  But that meant taking my kids OUT of an eating establishment AT NOON and getting back in the car.

Anyway – see what I mean?  I could tell you about lunch and how Joe nearly threw my entire salad off the table… how he chucks his pacifier or “the ball” whenever he gets mad (sending me crawling on the floor to find it)… or how Ella didn’t want to leave the play area (FOR ICE CREAM) because it meant that it was also time to go home – so she took another 5 minutes (felt like 20) getting her shoes and socks on.
DEBBIE DOWNER…

By the time we did get home, I was in a rotten mood and the kids got fussed at for stuff they shouldn’t have.  Joe needed a nap when I put him down, but I just needed a quiet house for an hour so I put Ella down for a nap too.  And she is actually sleeping.

Anyway- maybe you’ll just find humor in all this.  Maybe you’ll find that you’re not the only mom to yell at your kids because they’ve left their shoes in your walking path and you’re carrying an armful of laundry so you trip over the shoe.  Maybe you’ll just realize that you’re not alone.

That’s what I get out of these posts (when I read them on other people’s blogs)… that I’m not alone in what I feel and what I experience.  And that makes my downer post worth it.

Gotta run.  Joe just woke up in a fit.  I’ll blog again sooner.  Hopefully.