Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Let it Go

I am reeeeally late to the party, but I just wanted everyone to know that I do not totally live under a rock. I have two young children, so yes, I have seen Disney's Frozen. Once ever. I'm pretty big on inclusion, so I hate to separate myself from the masses like this...I didn't think it was all that good. It was not horrible, but let's be honest, people. It was not awesome either. Even my six-year-old daughter left the theater asking why Elsa had ice powers that made both clothing and life. I feel like that information was really missing from my fairy tale plot line. (And don't even get me started on the magic-love-rock-trolls...?!?!?) If I had it my way, I would let us all re-watch Tangled and forget this confusing animated musical ever happened.

Unfortunately, me not liking the movie has nothing to do with the fact that my children are completely infatuated with it (which I find totally confusing, because my son is the only one who has watched it more than once. He totals in at whopping two times, in fact.) But thanks to peer pressure and media hype, they too know all the words to all the songs and request the soundtrack playlist for our dinnertime music, putting on fully choreographed dance numbers afterward.

And so all of my readers without children are fully understanding---yes. Our children are STILL singing the "Let it Go" song

To share the sentiments of a fellow mom: they must be inserting subliminal messages into this music. That's the only way any of this makes sense.

Tonight as I was being serenaded by my children once again with what can now only be described as every mom's least favorite anthem the most beloved musical score of all time, I realized that the entire time Elsa is singing her song about "letting go" of her problems, she is actually running away and barricading herself in them. (I didn't need yet another reason to dislike the movie, but there it was.)

And while I don't want to admit that I let my thoughts wander instead of listening to my darling children belt out their favorite song, I couldn't help but think of an even better song about letting go.

(Well, actually I thought of two. This is the first one. (That's right, Disney! Tim McGraw thought of it first!!!))

But the one that stuck was this one:
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

(And this is the part where I apologize for getting all deep about this over-rated kid's movie...)

I have not led a perfect life. It is not a secret. I don't hide it from people, and I make it spectacularly easy to find.

Fun fact: when my husband receives his clearances, they always ask him if having a child out of wedlock would be valuable intel for someone. To which he answers: well, I hope not. Because that would probably make them idiots. (Man, I love him!)

My one happy thought is that Facebook was in its infancy when I was in college. Though I still have myself a few of these fine gems which often help to explain the previous picture:

And of course there are no pictures to document certain parts of my life that I wish nobody knew about me.

Even so---not in part. But the whole.

I can't run away from the past--no matter how shiny the ice castle or fabulous the dress.
But I can let it go, because He's already taken it from me. (Praise the Lord!) That's what it means to be free.
Here's hoping we never let yesterday's mistakes overshadow the promises of eternity...And that we never have to listen to another reprise of "Let it Go" ever again :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

For Nathan

Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. To quote my husband: it seems like it should be longer.
Thanks honey. ;)
In his defense, though, it really does feel like it should be longer. (Mainly because we had a daughter and lived together for a full year before we were married.) So congratulations, babe. We've actually made it to the 7-year-itch phase!!!
I tease, I tease.

My husband is without question the very best person I've ever met. He is also my favorite, so that works out nicely for us. In no way do I want to suggest that we are unhappy together. However, when I thought about what I wanted to write to my husband in our anniversary blog, I decided not to do the whole story of how he's perfect and wonderful and we live in a land of lollipops and rainbows and bliss. Because that is not what our love is like. (Even though our son eats lollipops almost daily, our daughter likes to wear all the colors of the rainbow at once, and we used to live at Fort Bliss...)

We are in the "meat and potatoes" part of our marriage, so to speak. The real stuff. The stuff that is not always pretty or fancy or exciting to talk about. But it is the part that sustains you and fills you up.

And that's why when I thought about our marriage, I thought about mowing the grass. Here's to us, babe. :)

This anniversary, like so many others, will be spent apart from one another. I will say there are certain perks to being married to a military man. For one thing, he just looks so darn handsome in this uniform:

And while the separations do suck, I get a lot more love letters when he's gone. And the presents and surprise deliveries are pretty spankin', too. It's not that he doesn't love me when he's home; it's just that there is a realization that both of us have to work harder to keep the romance alive when we are oceans away from each other.

Most of the time, our life together can be summed up like this:

But there are some slightly dangerous parts about being married to a military man, aside from the most obvious ones. Separation is hard, but for other reasons than you think. People throw around the cliche' all the time, "I just couldn't imagine my life without you." Well, not only can a military wife imagine it, she lives it. A lot. And she survives. All of the things she was positive she would never have to worry about or was never really sure she was capable of doing before are flung in front of her as her responsibilities and duties. But she pushes past fear and then she does them! It is empowering!! She don't NEED a man!(dun dun dun...)
Take THAT spider!! Take THAT ridiculously heavy wooden piece of furniture! Take THAT overflowing toilet/broken sprinkler system/washing machine in flames! Take THAT children who have inherited entirely too many personality traits from your father! Take THAT lawn!
Bet y'all thought I was never going to get there...
Here. Enjoy this horrible picture of me as compensation for your time so far.

By the way, so glad I have friends who celebrate the fact that I look ridiculous with photographic evidence ;)

I've mentioned before that my husband and I have purchased our first home--a fixer-upper. I can't remember whether or not I have mentioned on this blog yet that my husband actually toured the houses on his own, and I never even stepped foot inside of the house until two days before we closed on it. I am not too proud to tell you that shortly after I took the first walk through, I cried. Big crocodile tears. I probably made my husband feel like a piss ant. (Because that's how we roll here in lollipops and rainbows land.) I was certain beyond a doubt that my husband had chosen our house because of this:

But after a while, I realized it was actually because of this:

Our house sits on a third of an acre in the heart of the city, which is awesome enough on it's own. But the part that's even better is that once you're back there, you don't even realize that you are only .4 miles from a Starbucks. Perfection.

Or at least it would be. Except I married a military man, and I have to mow that son of a gun all by myself. With a push mower.

While other moms may use childcare for gym time, or coffee, or grocery store errands, this mom put on her finest ball cap, sundress, and boots and snaked back and forth for an hour and a half mowing the lawn. And that's when I remembered...

There's a lot of stuff about our wedding day that I don't remember. Brides, you're with me on this. You plan and you plan and you plan, and then the actual day is kind of a blur. My husband and I joked one time that we don't even remember what we said to each other in our vows. "I'm pretty sure there was something about mowing the grass??" he suggested. And here's the thing. YES! There really was!

Our officiant had told a little story about mowing the grass. (I remember I liked it because I got to joke with my husband that lawn care was part of our wedding vows.) But when I got about a quarter of the way through the lawn, a part of his story came back to me like a flash. He had said:
People often concern themselves thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. They never bother to think that maybe the grass is greener because those other people are mowing it. If you want your grass to be green, you actually have to do a little yard work.

I cried like a baby cutting that grass. Big crocodile tears again. But this time, they were happy ones.
There are parts of every marriage that need tending to, and ours is no exception. But some things are worth putting in a lifetime of extra elbow grease for. Because I love my husband. Because I want our love to grow.

Sure, sometimes we will neglect things for a little longer than we should: But I will always be willing to weed through the bad stuff with you.

Side note: Please no one tattle to BHG about the abysmal state of my garden!

Sometimes, forces will come from the outside and knock us down: But I will always be willing to rebuild with you.

Sometimes, prowlers will try to attack us: But I will always be willing to smack them on the nose :)

Because I know we have a lot of good worth fighting for:

And because if being a military wife has taught me anything, it's that I may not always need you here; I just always, always want you here.

I totally should have gave the thumbs up in my reflection. Would have really brought this thing full circle. ;)

Happy Anniversary, Soldier. Miss you!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fixin' Stupid...Again

There are certain principles of happening in our world that we have dubbed the laws of physics. Among them are scientific gems like:
What goes up must come down. An object in motion stays in motion. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction...which is like the first one but with not as much gravity in it. (I don't really know. HA!)

In my world, however, things operate under the laws of Liz-ics:
What is glass must fall down and be broken. And object in motion (i.e. a child) will stay in motion unless you are running late; in which case it will lay on the floor like a cement lump. And for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction--namely, if you write a blog about being smart, the very next one you write will have to be about how stupid you are.

This afternoon my daughter came home from school with her usual pile of first grade homework papers. We whizzed through the spelling practice together and then I left her to her own devices to complete her math assignment. I asked her to try it first and to holler at me if she had any questions. Instead of a holler, she met me about 20 minutes later with tears of frustration.
"It's just too hard," she told me.
"Okay, baby. Calm down. We'll look at it together."
After an additional 30 minutes of study, we were still at a loss. So I did what any good mother would do...I got on Facebook.
And I posted this picture asking for help:

Tricky, isn't it?! Impossible, right?

(Wait for it...)

The minute I figured out my mistake, I took my picture down off of Facebook. Not because I was embarrassed or anything, but because I was totally embarrassed, but because I didn't want some turd to take my photo and put it onto one of those lists of the stupidest people that have ever posted something to Facebook. I mean, it's not like I confused Stonehenge with the pyramids, people. I just confused the #6 with the #9, okay! So back up off me!!

(Also, so you know, the minute I told my daughter about our mistake, she was kind enough to let me know that my #8 was upside down as well. Thanks a lot, kid. Love you too.)

I wish I could say that this was the only stupid thing I've done today, but it wasn't. I may have brought a skateboard to a park with a group of four-year-old boys and let myself be surprised when one of them injured himself luging down the sidewalk on it. And I may or may not have told a solicitor trying to sell me a home security system that it was not a good time to bother me because I was on the phone with my husband who was overseas.

But probably the dumbest thing I did all day was get mad at myself for breaking my "one week" rule.
What's that?? Glad you asked.

My one week rule gives me permission to be a total emotional nutjob the first week after my husband leaves (in the privacy of my own home, of course--don't wanna be looking like no idiot on the Facebook!) After one week is up, the gig is up. I have to put on my lipstick and mascara and pull myself together and be delightful. Thinking on it now, that's a stupid, stupid rule if I've ever heard one.

I met my one week mark today, but I still got all weepy in the car. I would like to think it was because a sweet song came on the radio, but I'm pretty sure it was for absolutely no reason at all other than my husband is gone and I miss him. I heard someone jokingly talk about how rough this "deployment" was in a very sarcastic tone. Bless her heart. No, my husband is not in a war zone, and I praise God for that. But he is still gone. And life is still happening. And 6's still look an awful lot like 9's. And I still miss him, so doggone it I WILL CRY IF I WANT TO.
(In the privacy of my own home, of course, so as not to look like a fool on the Facebook.)
(Or on my blog, which is also very, very private...)

Sometimes I feel like I have to learn and relearn the same stupid lessons again over and over. I don't know what to tell you. Some days I feel like I channel the Dali Lama and the very next day it's Homer Simpson.

But even on one of my stupidest days, I got to learn something:
I am not strong.
I am resilient, but I am not strong. Those are two different things, my friends. Strength demolishes obstacles and powers forcefully over them. Resiliency is banged around by them, and then stands back up. I roll with the punches, I "embrace the suck", and then I carry on. Not because I'm super tough, but because I have no other choice but to bend.

Thankfully, physics proves that the trees which bend in the storm are the ones that are able to stand up afterward.
(And Liz-ics also seems to support this finding thus far.)

(Don't worry. Still not feeling smart.)

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Here's hoping you are boasting loudly and feeling empowered!