Sunday, June 19, 2011

"No" Nonsense

Well, it's official. My baby boy has learned how to say "no." And I'm not talking about a simple "no" or polite "no thank you," but a full-out head shake "no-no-mmm-mmm." He loves his new word so much, he says it as an answer to everything.
"Jack, you want a bottle?"
"Jack, you want to go play outside?"
"Jack, you want this piece of cake?"
"No-no-mmm-mmm"...(here is where he takes the cake and runs away.)

Have you ever noticed the gumption with which a child says the word 'no?' When they finally realize that they can say it, they say it with everything they've got. And rightfully so. In the word 'no' lies the freedom and power of choice.

Why, then, is it so difficult for adults to say it? I know that I personally always feel obligated to tell people 'yes.' Even my 'no's' aren't exactly that. Instead they are "not right now, but maybe later's" or "Let me think about it's" or "I have to ask my husband first's" or "Let me see how the kids are doing and then I'll get back to you's."

All this 'no' nonsense is driving me crazy. Half of the things I say 'yes' to are things I don't want to do, or am not meant to do. And in fact, they are taking away valuable time and energy from the things I said 'yes' to and really wanted to do. But if I do say 'no,' does that make me a mean person, a bad person, an unreliable person? Say 'no' enough and eventually people will stop asking you to do things altogether, which is not what I want either. It's a tricky business.

Do I want to put forth my best effort in everything I deem worthy of spending my time on? YES
Do I want to break promises? NO
Do I want to spend quality time with my children and husband? YES
Do I want to spend quality time with my friends? YES
Am I going to be able to please everybody all the time? NO
Do I like helping people? YES
Am I able to help everyone all the time? NO

I don't want to be a doormat, but I also don't want to appear shut-off or unapproachable. What it all boils down to is this: we need to remember that in everything, God has blessed us with the freedom and power of choice. It is up to us to decide and then act accordingly on those decisions.

"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Matthew 5:37

I love being in a position where I can say 'yes' alot of the time. I am able to help a friend in need, support a cause, spend time with people I care about, and ultimately, serve myself by serving others.
But sometimes, I really just need to vigorously shake my head and yell out at the top of my lungs "No-no-mmm-mmm!" without feeling laden with guilt.
I'll let you know how that works out for me ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

To My Die-Hard Dad

Websites are buzzing with funny and touching Father's Day stories. I decided I should write a story about my own dad. I'm not sure how funny or touching it will be to anyone else, but here it goes...

I was talking on the phone today with my mother and she told me that she took my younger brother to the Dallas Maverick's Parade in celebration of their championship title; an event my father has been rooting for since before I can even remember. I couldn't help but smile as my mom said, "A good thing about your father, he is a true die-hard fan."

So true! My dad has a knack for loving the worst teams (and I say that with all of the love in my heart, Dad.) The Detroit Detroit Tigers...hiss. Texas hisssss :) He's loved the Texas Rangers through the worst of times. The Mavs when it was embarrassing to love them. But he is no fair-weather fan, which must make it so much sweeter now that he has endured the worst and is able to celebrate becoming the very best.

And he has always been a true die-hard fan of mine. I cannot say that I know of any other dad who did a toe touch in a pee-wee drillteam pep rally for his daughter. He was my softball coach. He played countless games of HORSE with me in my childhood backyard. He drilled me on the math homework I could never seem to figure out. He was my chauffeur to many a practice, audition, competition, and performance. He has been front-row-center to witness many of my victories.

But he has unfortunately been present for a few of my sorrier seasons. The secret house parties, the dead-beat boyfriends, the lame excuses, the multitude of lies, blantant disrespects, selfish acts, and eyerollings...(All you ex-teenage daughters, you know where I'm coming from with these.) I hate thinking that at any point in my life, I could have brought shame on my biggest fan. But thankfully, he is a die-hard, and he just kept right on rooting for me.

Hopefully now as I've entered my rebuilding season, I am able to help him wear his "DAD jersey" with a little more pride. And since we have endured so many losing seasons together, I hope it makes the little victories of mine all the sweeter for him.

I love you, Dad. I know you are my #1 fan. Thank you for the endless support you've given me; it doesn't go unnoticed!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gettin' Good at Good-bye

This has been a month full of good-byes for us.

It all started with my husband leaving for NTC. The following week my daughter had four girls leave her dance class...on the same day. Today was her dance instructor's last day, and in the afternoon we said good-bye to a friend I had made at my MOPS group.

(For anyone who has/has had/has seen small children before:) You know when a three-year-old is having fun at a friend's house and you tell them it's time to leave? That's the reaction I've been confronted with now for about 2 weeks straight...but from my inner-self.

I was talking to someone today about this and said that good-byes are always hard simply because you will miss the person that is going away. But they are also difficult because a part of yourself can't help feeling like you are being left behind. People move onward to their next chapter in life while you're stuck on the same page.

And what I didn't tell her but decided later is that maybe I also dislike them so much because it forces me to make a change myself. I like talking to my husband everyday and having him come home. I enjoyed watching my daughter play with and get to know those four girls (not to mention I really enjoyed talking to their mothers.) I really liked my daughter's dance instructor and thought she was sweet and personable and well-qualified. I liked knowing a friendly face when I walked into a MOPS meeting. I really liked the place I was at and now, suddenly, I have been removed from that comfortable spot. I feel displaced. And honestly, that kind of scares me.

My plan, as it always is, is to keep rolling with the punches. (You kind of have to when you're in the military.) I find peace in the fact that oftentimes "good-byes" go hand-in-hand with "hello-agains." Doors closing lead to windows opening. Sweet endings give birth to new beginnings. And best of all (and the one I'm looking forward to the most) "I'll be back soons" turn into "welcome home, Daddys."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ode to a Tired Army Wife

This bed is too empty
The covers are cold
And these sleepless nights
Are sure getting old

I rush through the day
To wait through the night
For the ten minute phone call
Then I switch off the light

Too lonely to lay there
Too tired to rise
To try a new tactic
So I just close my eyes

And think all about
Just how nice it will be
When you come back home
And are here next to me

I will hold you and kiss you
As hard as I can
Then I’ll sleep like a baby
And I’ll snore like a man :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Bucket List

We've all seen the movie...

No need to preface what's going on here. Just a need to share. (And maybe have a few people hold me accountable on the less ridiculous ones.)

Before I die:

I really REALLY want to go to a country awards ceremony. My husband is aware of this, as I will not leave him alone about it every time we watch one together on TV. I have no preference. I just want an excuse to get dressed up and be in the same room as a TON of my favorite artists in what might possibly be the most fun concert I ever attend.

I want to go to Germany. I don't want to go to some tent down the street...I have taken eight years of German, and I want to use it. I want to be completely immersed in the culture, with a giant beer stein in each hand. (And I would also like a shrunk.)

I want to own a horse. Maybe my Grandma Bell has had a slight influence on me in this arena, but I think horses may be the smartest, most majestic creatures on God's green earth. I don't want it as a pet; I want to learn how to ride it and work it as it was intended for use...which may come in handy seeing as how owning a ranch is on my husband's bucket list.

I want to learn to play my guitar. Since before I can even remember, I have LOVED to sing. And since my early teen years I have wanted to learn to play guitar; not just three chords like for a rock-n-roll song, but for real--like my Grandpa Hartley (or John Mayer lol). I love a lot of things in this world, but few have come close to my love for music...and if I could make my own.....

I want to hold my grandbabies. I know it is not in my power to know how long I'm able to hang out on this earth. But if I could see my babies grow--and hold theirs--there would be little left to ask for.

I'm not asking for too much am I?
Anyone else care to share???

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sing a New Song

Ever noticed how the radio can read your mind? It's like somehow those radio towers are channeling your innermost thoughts and will play the song that most fits with what you're feeling the exact moment you're feeling feeling it. (Don't worry: this is not going to turn out to be a blog about a government conspiracy.)

I have had the most stressful week since my husband has left for training. Nothing major or out of the ordinary has happened, but every little thing has just been driving me nuts. (i.e. The baby that won't stop crying...the kid that has accidents in the ballet classroom...the burnt supper...the never-ending shopping list...the "perfect" timing of mother nature...)

In steps my country music radio station, with just the right songs to turn my foul moods around. These are not my own words (not playing the poet today lol) but they were just what I needed to hear. And just in case you need to hear them too, here they are:

(Jack Ingram-Keep on Keepin' On)
Some things ain't meant to be
The best things in life are free
And tomorrow is another day
Funny how the truth sounds so cliche

Keep on, keep on keepin' on
Push it on down the road
Keep on, keep on keepin' on
Still got a ways to go

Keep on, keep on keepin' on
Push it on down the line
Keep on, keep on keepin' on
Keep from gettin' further behind
(Dierks Bentley-Free and Easy Down the Road I Go)
Ain't no tellin' where the wind might blow
Free and easy down the road I go
Livin' life like a Sunday stroll
Free and easy down the road I go
Free and easy down the road I go

If you only get to go around one time
I'm gonna sit back and try to enjoy the ride
(Lady Antebellum-American Honey)
Get caught in the race
Of this crazy life
Trying to be everything can make you lose your mind
I just wanna go back in time
To American honey
(Miranda Lambert-Heart like Mine)
‘Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine
And I bet we’d get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet He’d understand a heart like mine

I’ll fly away
From it all one day
I’ll fly away
(Sugarland-It Happens)
But it's poor me, why me, oh me, boring
The same old worn out, blah, blah story
There's no good explanation for it at all

Ain't no rhyme or reason
No complicated meaning
Ain't no need to over-think it
Let go, laughing
Life don't go quite like you planned it
We try so hard to understand it
The irrefutable, indisputable fact is
It happens

And let's not forget Luke Bryan...
Aw, country girl, shake it for me
Girl, shake it for me
Girl, shake it for me
(Just because I really like that one right now!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

God, Bless All Mothers

I recently just finished reading a book my grandmother gave me called Legacy of a Pack Rat written by Billy Graham's wife, Ruth Bell Graham. In it she has written a short poem entitled, "God, Bless All Young Mothers."

Here it is:

Bless all young mothers
at end of day.
Kneeling wearily with each
small one
to hear them pray.
Too tired to rise when done...
and yet they do;
longing just to sleep
one whole night through.
Too tired to sleep...
Too tired to pray...
bless all young mothers
at close of day.

This really struck me when I first read it, mostly because I can relate. But after it sat with me for a while, I began thinking about how lucky I am to be a "young mother." I think it is universally accepted and understood that mothering infants and preschool-aged children is hard work. We have so many support groups in place like MOPS and "Mommy and Me" swimming classes, and "Read With Me" storytimes so that we don't ever have to go through it all alone. But it seems to me that when your children get a little older, those support groups fizzle out...not because you don't need the support anymore, but they just don't exist.

So to the mothers with children in all the other age groups, here is my sad attempt to include you in Mrs. Graham's prayer:

bless all mothers
with children of eight or nine.
When they have to listen to their child's incessant whine,
of 'Mom, I'm hungry.' or 'There's nothing to do.'
Give them the strength
to push one more day through.
And give them the sanity,
when school comes to an end,
to make it through the summertime,
'til they begin again :)

bless all mothers
who have teenagers in their care.
Because teens don't give a stink
that they're graying all your hair.
They think their mothers are outdated
and don't understand a thing.
They won't take notice of or say 'thank you' for
their mom's protective wing.
Please help them keep their patience
when their teens ignore them and insult them
And give them understanding
when their babies disappoint them.

bless all mothers
with children that are grown.
Please give them peace of mind
when their child is far from home.
And please give them faith and trust
that their child will come to see them.
And help them keep their patience
because their child will always need them.

God bless all you mommas! :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Girl-y Power

So kind of a funny story...

I was introduced to a couple of my husbands co-workers this past weekend and they brought it to his attention later in the week that they thought it was funny he was married to such a girly-girl. Nathan wondered what kind of girl he was supposed to be married to then, and they joked that they figured he would have settled for a girl a little rougher around the edges.

Now, I am not at all debating whether or not I am rough...I'm not. In fact, I am pretty dang dainty. But I think where they are getting confused is that being a girly-girl is not synonomous with being a wimp.

So here goes my shout out to all my girly-girls. Holla.
I may, on occasion, have to ask a man to open a screw-top jar for me, but I have also screwed the lid back on so tight that someone else couldn't get it off again after me. (Raw power lol)

I may be afraid of bugs, but I have also fearlessly removed a bug from my child's mouth.

I am not much a fan of snot or boogers, but I will remove a hanger from my child's nose without a tissue.

I can't stand the smell of vomit, but I will clean it off of a child, his bedspread, the carpet and myself completely unphased.
(This is also true of stuff that comes from the other end.)

I will eat more jalepenos than most grown men (not including my husband.)

I will not shoot a deer but I have helped my husband process a few.

If you question my physical strength and endurance, check out my daily ruck: A baby on each hip, a loaded diaper bag in the front, a few extra toys my daughter swears she will carry and then doesn't, four full grocery bags dangling from my forearms and an occasional stroller or dog on a leash. (Yes, sometimes I hurt something, but I always push through.)

And now for things a bit more serious...

I carried and bore two beautiful, healthy babies.

I completed my college education with a newborn baby. Granted, I had a lot of help in Nathan, but I still count that as one for me.

I stay home and raise my children every day. Every temper tantrum; Every bad dream; Every accident; Every sibling rivalry; Every meltdown--- I am there to endure, dispute, and settle every single one of them.

I am the mommy and daddy, man and woman of the house every time my husband leaves. (And the Army Wives are with me on this...they are gone A LOT!) I take charge of the kids, the dog, the house, the yard, the bills, the errands, and the emergencies while he's away. I make my bedtime kisses be enough for two parents. I bring my kids comfort when they miss their daddy, even when all I feel like doing is crying myself.
So yes, I am a girly-girl. And except for my daughter, I may even be the girliest girl I know.
But even though I like to curl my hair for no apparent reason, and I over-dress for almost every occasion under the sun, and I cry at sappy movies, etc...
I am also fully aware of how strong I am, and sometimes (dare I say it) how tough.

So if we can agree on nothing else at the end of this post, let's at least settle upon this: Do not walk into my house uninvited. This girly-girl knows how to take care of herself. (Because simply being with my husband has made me a little rougher around the edges.) :)