PTSD and Me

Why am I fighting for veterans and spouses/partners/caregivers?  Do you know what PTSD is?  Well, neither did we.  Nor do we know how to live with it.  Except to learn trial by fire, if you will.  First, not all veterans have PTSD.  And there’s no way to predict who will “get it” and who won’t.  There is no training manual.  So we figure it out as we go.  Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong…and then it sure does feel like everyone loses.

And pardon my rant, but I wish more people differentiated between combat-PTSD and other types.  The PTSD that combat veterans struggle with is not your civilian or non-combat PTSD.  And now many of the symptoms for combat-PTSD are being used with non-combat-PTSD and it doesn’t even make sense.  Take for instance the avoidance of crowds.  The avoidance of crowds is not associated with all trauma.  These combat vets experienced trauma directly relating to crowds because that’s where suicide bombers, snipers, IEDs, etc., could be found.  To a combat vet, a crowd can very quickly equal death, and if not, it certainly equals a high alert situation. So, if the trauma doesn’t relate to a crowd then the PTSD symptom shouldn’t be crowd-related, but rather related to the type of trauma that was actually experienced.  Anyways, PTSD is becoming all the rage and a rather trendy diagnosis.  The thing with combat vets is that they experienced trauma and being on guard for months and months at a time.  It was not typically an isolated incident or two.  I get so mad when people claim to have PTSD because it feels like it waters down the combat-PTSD that these veterans face.  And yes, I judge people who claim to have PTSD.  I shouldn’t, I realize, because I probably don’t know their whole story.  But when you live with combat-PTSD and a veteran you get a little jaded about these things.  I probably should work on that, but I’m not making any promises…just add it to the list of things I need to work on…down at the very bottom…right underneath, get through the freaking day without yelling and without a meltdown from someone in the house.

Ok, rant over.  I don’t suppose anyone is going to re-write any official diagnosis or definition, but at least you’ll know why I use the terminology of combat-PTSD.

The reality is that these guys can’t go to war and not be changed.  No one would argue with that.

And the other reality is that those of us who were here waiting while they were at war are changed too.  Some of us spouses/partners/caregivers…came along after the war experience was over…and bless them, they can be even more in the dark than those of us that walked through it with our soldier.

While he was gone I hated putting on my shoes.  I’d get ready in our apartment and prepare to face the day.  Finally, when I’d done literally everything possible to do, I’d sit in front of the closet with my shoes in front of me and just cry.  I knew that when I put on those shoes I’d have to walk out of that apartment and pretend like life was normal and that I was ok.  I’m not sure I’ve been ok since.  Some seasons better than others, but it always seems to be a roller coaster.

We all have a different story, a different struggle, a different path to take.  Walk along with me as I try to find my way.  And hopefully the way will lead to freedom and healing and peace.  I’ll need to lean on you along the way.  But I’m here for you too.

This is for me, for us…my veteran and my house and your veteran and your house…and those of you cheering us on.So Glad He's Home

~ SarahFae

I Might as Well be Gay

I feel the need to preface this post by reminding you that I’m no theologian.  I have no degree or formal training.  I am, however, a believer with the Holy Spirit as my counsel.  I have been given a brain and a heart and I believe God intended for me to use them.  I have thoughts and questions and concerns just like all humans.  All that to say that I’m both unqualified and qualified, at the same time, to discuss the subject matter at hand.  You should also know that I’ve taken my nighttime meds and I’m drinking my sleepy time tea so if I ramble or seem drowsy it’s because I am.  And I figure as smart as the internet world is I better just state that up front because they’ll know if I’m drowsy while typing this.  I mean, after all, the internet world knows everything.  And gosh, can you imagine the fury of internetland if they find out I’m typing while tired.

So, I’m sure you’re probably wondering where this is going.  Is SarahFae gay?  Well, no, I’m not.  But I might as well be.  And you might as well be too.  Unless of course, you don’t sin.  Then you won’t be.  People get all up in arms about people who are gay, or I’ll just use the acronym LGBT, which you should google if you don’t know what that means.

Well, there’s something that you should know about me.  I’m a yeller.  I’m angry and controlling.  I like to get my way and I’m pretty prideful.  And to my knowledge, I’ve always been this way.  Or at least since I was of sound mind and could think and reason for myself.  I mean, shoot, Hannah got a bus write-up last week and I couldn’t let it go.  It wasn’t enough for me to just talk to Hannah about it and sort through it with her.  Nope.  Not good enough.  I had to push the issue with the principal that they didn’t handle the procedures right when she got in trouble.  I mean, there simply should not be kids getting sent to the principal over bus write-ups when the bus driver didn’t first issue a verbal warning and try to handle it himself first.  He didn’t follow proper protocol.  That’s the problem here.  Let’s focus on that.  Oh, and also on the fact that when we approved the handbook pages at the beginning of the year they made us sign the pages that had the rules and guidelines on it so now I don’t have the information I need to tell Hannah what will happen if/when she gets in trouble on the bus again.  So, I also felt it necessary to ask the principal if they could change the handbook procedures so that next year we get to keep the pages with the rules and guidelines instead of turning them in.  All I had to do was remind Hannah that we don’t hit other kids on the bus.  And teach her the lesson that, even if you weren’t standing while doing it and the other person was, you’re now guilty by association.  You guys, I’m ridiculous.  I literally couldn’t let it go that their procedures were wrong and clearly inefficient and obviously other people weren’t doing their job properly.  #mykidstartedit #howdaretheydotheirjobwrong  #iwillwin  As you can clearly see, I’m a prideful sinner who doesn’t like her kids to get in trouble because it might make me look bad.  But I digress.

My point is that I think we all have sin tendencies.  We tend to sin more in some areas than in others…note, mine is control, anger, and yelling.  #alwayshasbeen #notanewdevelopment  And yet, I have prayed and begged and read Scripture and asked for help and had accountability and tried working through it with people around me…to no avail.  I still struggle with control, anger, yelling, and pride.  I love Jesus.  I don’t like my sin…well, some days I don’t.  Some days I like it just fine and enjoy going off on people.  I don’t always work on it.  I sin.  I have deep paths in my brain that go straight to anger, control, and yelling as my go to response.  I have carved out those sin paths over years and years.  And as of yet, I can’t figure out how to be different.  I think I was made this way.  I certainly came into this world a sinner.  Maybe you didn’t and that’s why you don’t understand the struggle.  It’s hard to be an angry yelling person for your whole life and not really have hope for change.  And, gasp, even worse, to sometimes like it.  But you’re probably different than me…better than me even.

So what makes my sin different than someone that is gay?  What makes the heterosexual couple engaging in premarital sex different?  What makes the heterosexual couple where one of them is addicted to porn different?  What makes a remarriage different (hello, adultery)?  What about the marriage that starts with an alcoholic…continuing to be drunk daily?  What about the marriage where…wait a minute, I see what’s happening…doesn’t every single marriage begin in sin?  I mean, I have yet to meet any marriage that doesn’t start with sin…because you can’t take two sinners and have them get married and expect no sin.  And then, wait for it…that same marriage continues in sin.  I guess the church just likes alcoholics, yellers, demeaners, porn addicts, sex addicts, sex-before-marriage people…and on and on…people better than it does LGBT people.

When was the last time your church told some of those other types of sinners they weren’t welcome?  That they couldn’t serve, be greeters, teach Sunday School, lead a community group?  Do we truly welcome LGBT people, wherever they are on their faith journey into our communities?  Because try as you may to say that we do…I’m gonna say, “Hell no, we don’t”.  It’s time to call a spade a spade.  And you know what church, when does the church get mad?  Uh, maybe when it gets accused of something that it doesn’t want to acknowledge.  Now, people have twisted this ridiculous Jen Hatmaker thing (here’s the original interview) into something absurd.  I get it, I’m a truth fighter…on the truth and grace scale…I’m like 90% truth, so don’t think I don’t know how you feel.  But the reality is that church is getting called out on the way we treat LGBT communities and instead it wants to fight its own on what Jen said.  I mean, I hear ya…my response was to fight the bus driver and principal and procedures instead of focusing on my own kid.  I’ll be the pot and you be the kettle. #iamoneofyou

But, how about maybe looking ourselves in the faces and asking where the kindness of Jesus is?  Where are we showing up for the LGBT people we say we love and would welcome in?  How about instead of being assholes about what Jen said, we actually act like the Jesus we say we love?  How many of us have sang the words, “It’s your kindness Lord that draws us to repentance” (song by Chris Tomlin, Kindness) or “Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in” (song by Big Daddy Weave, My Story)?  And yet, now, how kind are we towards Jen or the next one that doesn’t share our exact theological beliefs?  Are we really just going to keep throwing our own to the damn wolves?  And, shhhh, here’s a little secret…some of our own are the wolves.  They look like sheep, but they’re leading us astray and we’re just letting them.  #whatarewedoing???

Gosh, guys, I can’t imagine why the lost don’t want to be part of us.  Shocking, really.  Sad that they don’t know how amazing Jesus is because all they can see and hear is us fighting and being jerks.

I guess I say all this to say…there’s a lot of gray in the world and in the Word.  And maybe we can learn to live in the gray and be ok.  Better yet, be kind and loving and generous and gracious and, oh yeah, like Jesus.

#whatifyouarewrong  #whatifsheisright #whatifwewerentassholesanymore #howmanyhashtagscaniuse #internetlandbenice #ireallydolovejesus

One Word…Peace Sucks

So, I read about this whole thing.  Well, actually I sort of stalk my Aunt on YouVersion and she read the plan, so I copied her.  #givecreditwherecreditisdue  #yesmyauntisawesome

Well, I knew pretty quickly what my word was.  God may as well have shouted it…peace.  I pretty much have zero of it these days.  I’m a type A kinda girl and I’ve been given a type B kinda plan for the next year (ok, well forever, if we’re being honest).  I have very little peace these days and it’s not exactly working out well for me…or those around me.  #fail

A few years ago I was going through something super painful and was in a world of hurt and anger and despair over it.  Looking back, the despair may have been an exaggeration, but it sure felt like it at the time.  There’s a possibility that I’m a bit of an extremist when it comes to my emotions…which makes me either super fun or super miserable to be around.  #truestoryfolks  Well, anyways, I took to running and praying to get me through the hurt and unknown territory and also some good friends walked me through it. #andsomedaystheycarriedme  As I was running, literally, God began to teach me to pray through it.  I prayed over and over and over and over, I can’t even tell you how many times, “God, give me grace and take away the pain.”  I began to pray that simple phrase over and over anytime I got stuck on the pain and hurt and couldn’t get my head or heart to move on.

And over time, He did.  #shockingIknow #Godisactuallyfaithful  He taught me how to pray and how to get my head to move and eventually my heart moved too.  Now, I believe that God is the changer of hearts…because I’ve tried and can’t quite seem to muster it.  (And also, I learned it on Frozen, “The heart is not so easily changed, but the head can be persuaded.)”  I believe that God honored my prayer.  My prayer was, in part, to have grace on the person that hurt me and to take away my own pain in the process.

So…peace.  Peace sucks.  It’s so hard.  And, truth be told, I don’t like it.  If I have peace it means that I relinquish (“it’s just a fancy word for lose”…name that show??) my control and fear and effort, and let God have it and trust him with it all.  That’s pretty much a no go for me because my motto is pretty much “I got this”.  (And also, #idontneedyou)  But it turns out when I do it my way, all I get in return is anxiety, stress, tension headaches, anger, and yelling (and sometimes a few extra pounds from the ice cream and rum…but not together).  #andthatsucksworse  So I guess I’m about to decide that what I’m doing and what I’m getting is actually a worse deal than the peace of Jesus might be.  #brilliantiknow  #slowlearner

Over the last few days when I feel like peace is nowhere in sight and I’m about to have a grade A, full 0n, adult meltdown, I’ve started praying “God, give me peace and help me breathe deep.”

This is where I boss you around a little bit.  #itsmyblog #icanifiwantto  It’s not enough to choose a word or a resolution of many words or, heaven help you, more than one resolution.  You’re gonna need help.  #youcantdoitalone  You need God and you need people.

So what’s your prayer gonna be?  Better decide now before shit hits the fan and your little word is out the window and you’re back to all your old habits.  #yourmindisnotgonnaretrainitself

Who are your people gonna be?  Find you some good people that are gonna help walk you through it.  #pickthestrongonesbecauseatsomepointtheywillhavetocarryyou

But trust me, it’s better this way.  Better with Jesus.  And better with people.

#notsorryforallthehashtags  #ilovehashtags #narratingyourownstoryisawesome




The Church Plant We’re Not Planting

I guess you could say that we’re not going to be church planters after all. At least that’s not what God is calling us to. We’re still moving to Mt. Vernon. God has called us to that place and the people there and their culture.

The process has been a struggle, that’s for sure. We have been struggling to align what God is calling us to and the current prescribed church planting best practices. Church planting in this day has a pretty consistent formula. It goes something like this…feel called, consult mentors, be assessed, improve on the weak areas, fund raise, admin stuff (start your business kind of stuff), gather 40 people (small groups/community groups/missional communities/etc.), buy your trailer and all your set-up for Sunday services, hold preview services, and then launch your weekly Sunday service/gathering.

This prescribed way seems to be universal right now, even across denominational lines. But the thing is…it doesn’t seem to be gelling in our hearts and with our call. It’s certainly what most church planters are doing and how most church plants are happening.

I need you to take it back and think old school Sunday school for a minute. We actually feel more aligned with, and would probably call ourselves, missionaries. I’m hoping this comes across in a vintage sort of way, but I have a feeling it sounds outdated and lame. It does to me too, truth be told.

However lame it is, that’s where we’re at. We want to move to Mt. Vernon and love people, engage their culture, love the things they love, hurt when they hurt, be a light to their (our) city, and live our lives with them. So, if that makes us missionaries, then so be it.

We want to gather with people and be part of a faith community. We want to live the Gospel in word and deed. We want to be part of a community of people that serve and sacrifice for each other, the saints and the yet-to-be-saints. We want to walk with people on their faith journey…no matter where they’re at.

And in time, that will probably lead to larger worship gatherings, aka, a Sunday service of sorts. But it probably won’t look very typical. And it’ll be messy for sure.

We’ll gather in community
Real people with real stories
Worship with music and art and each other
Communion, the breaking of bread,
Preaching and teaching, but think Ted Talks
Confession and repentance                                                                                              Celebrating and Parties…good parties with wine and other strong drink

But not alone and certainly not mostly on Sunday. How much time, energy, and effort do most churches put towards their Sunday morning gathering? I’m a numbers girl, so roll with me for a minute. Let’s say the average church service lasts 1.5 hours. And then lets say that the volunteers and staff spend about 3-4 hours at the church building on Sunday morning (especially if there are 2 services or Sunday School). So lets say 4 hours on Sunday morning for the time spent at church. 7 days/week * 24 hours/day = 168 hours/week. 4 hours of the 168 hours in a week spent at church on Sunday morning. That’s 2.4% of the week. 2.4%, folks. And how much energy and effort are spent by staff, volunteers, etc. during the week to prepare for that time?

You see, it just seems backwards that churches spend so much time preparing for the 2.4%. What about discipleship, what about life, what about hard times, meals for new families, meals for families with new ones, meals for loved ones grieving, what about supporting each other when times are messy and you need to phone a friend, what about parties and celebrations and life events and school events and community events? When is the church being discipled and trained and walked with on the other 97.6% of their week…which translates to most of their lives. 97.6% of peoples’ time is not spent at the church building. How is the church loving the saints and the lost during the 97.6%??

Well, we’re going to try to make some adjustments to account for the rest of peoples’ weeks. That’s why things will look a little different for us. It may take us who knows how long to get to a large gathering. It certainly won’t look like a church plant or what most people call church. Our hearts are longing for a different kind of church. We’re heartbroken by the lonely and those facing the hardest shit of their lives alone. We want to be in the trenches. We want to love Jesus and love people. And we’re doing it, I guess, the old fashioned way.

–Chad & SarahFae

And It Turns Out That Some Days Don’t Suck And Sometimes People Don’t Either

It stopped me in my tracks tonight.  I feel loved.  Absolutely loved by the God of the universe.  That’s crazy talk.  Kairos moment.

The anxiety has subsided.  I’ve been able to listen more.  I’ve been reading my Bible app.  And, who knew…if you actually read the Bible on a fairly consistent basis, it actually works.  I mean, for real.  I actually hear more of God.  I’m able to see Him working…around me and in me.  I, mean, it’s like it does what He said it would do.  I know, I know, I can tell you all the live long day, but you won’t believe it til you do it yourself.  And the thing is…the ball is in your court.  You have to actually do it.  Read it.  Open the book or the app, your choice.  And, He’ll help you.  For reals. (And add me on your YouVersion…it’s like facebook with Jesus and Bible verses.)

Anyways, all that to say, tonight I got it.  Over the last few days when I should have “gotten in trouble”, in my opinion, instead I saw love.  I mean, unconditional love from God, from people, actual gifts from people…2 books I’ve been dying to have!  Good conversations (my love language) and lovely laughs and what we like to say in church talk…good community.

Thank goodness for Jesus and his people.

I know that the giver of good gifts showed up in my life…through His word, life, and his people.  And, you guys, it.was.awesome.

I wish I could bottle this up and give it to you.  And also that I could keep it for myself for the next time I’m all anxiety ridden having a panic attack, but I don’t think it works that way.  Because then, lets be honest, we’d all get greedy and hoard it and keep it just for ourselves.

But this is when the rubber hits the road, folks.  This is when I get all stupid.  #igotthis #iamawesome #idonotneedgodoranyone  #imakethingshappen #iwin

And then I slowly stop needing God.  And I stop reading my Bible app.

This is when I do what I do.  I start doing my deal and living out of my goodness.  I start living like I’m doing all the great things and wanting people to think I’m all great so then God sees and He’ll think I’m all great because the people think I’m all great.  Except all the people don’t, apparently, think I’m great.  And also, apparently, that’s not why God thinks I’m great.  I keep doing it backwards.  And I start feeling all the pressure.  And I start down a path that I don’t really like…with panic attacks and yelling and worry and a lot of hateful words and stressful nights.

So, today…I am going to engage.  Keep engaging God, his word, and his people.  And carpe diem the best moments…being thankful for the kairos moments that I get.  (google momastery for the story)  I’m going to be grateful.  I’m going to be loved and live out of that.  Because my backwards way…really sucks.

To those of you in my life…thank you.  I love my people.  #mypeoplearethebest  #andsoismyjesus

My Carpe Kairos Moment

Sunday afternoon we had a lovely wedding reception for my cousin and his new bride.  It was awesome and purple.  They let me decorate and I pretty much love them for it.  It was all burlap and lace and purple and lovely and delicious.  They didn’t put me in charge of food though, that was all the power of my lovely Aunt.  She makes the best punch.  And rice krispie treats.  And pretty much everything.

We had a fabulous time and the girls got to play with their cousins, which is pretty much the best day ever for them.  I mean, the reason they don’t want to move to Mt. Vernon is because we’ll be farther from their cousins.  That’s how they base their decisions.

Hannah had a little accident at one point and fell over backwards while playing and got a little knocked out.  I panicked, of course.  Chad stayed calm, of course.  (Note: She was fine and started getting better though out the afternoon and evening.)  It was finally time to head home…there were tears, leaving the cousins always invokes tears.  We drove like 5 miles and stopped to get gas.  Leah needs to go to the bathroom and wouldn’t you know…throws up…a lot.  Ugh.

So we get her cleaned up and head out of town.  5 more miles…and more puking…but not in a restroom this time.  (Ironically Hannah had just asked me if being a mom was hard.  Go figure.)  We turn around back to my moms and she’s asleep by the time we get there, of course.  Anyways I take her in and get her cleaned up and then we head back home.  About an hour in to the trip…yep, more puking…again, not in a restroom.

You know what that means for mom…laundry…lots of laundry.  One of the innocent victims was the husky puppy stuffed animal.  So, he got washed, folks.

And then, walking by my washing machine, I had a carpe kairos moment …

He, apparently, wanted out.
He, apparently, wanted out.

Too Many Trees

There are many seasons to life.  Many twists, turns, uphills, and downhills on the road of life.  I’ve been reading different blogs lately that remind me that it’s not so much of a road as it is a path.  Roads are nice.  They’re paved and smooth.  They’re organized with lines dictating which lane you’re in and which direction you should go.  They have markers to tell you how far you’ve gone.  They have signs letting you know the rules and what’s coming ahead.  Life…not like that at all.  At all.  It’s much more of a path, mostly unmarked, rough terrain, tumultuous, hard work, and really unplanned.  I like planned!  I like rules!  I like knowing where I’m going!  Stupid path.

Well, I’m off the road that’s for certain.  I seem to be wandering along wondering where the road went.  I guess it’s a mirage.  I keep thinking I see it up ahead and it keeps disappearing.  All I see is this blasted path.

All that mumbo-jumbo to tell you all that I’m on a stretch of the path that is apparently lined with trees on both sides as far as I can see…because I sure can’t see where I’m going.  I keep thinking that I’ll reach a clearing soon.  It’s already been a long time with hurt, pain, change, and disappointments.  Myself, my marriage, my kids, my family, my friends…so much hurt and disappointment lately.  It seems every time I turn around there’s more hurt.  And there’s no clearing in sight. *sigh*

I can’t hardly focus anymore.  I feel the anxiety and depression seeping back in.  It’s hard to breath.  It’s hard to sleep.  It’s hard to just get through the day.  Shoot, even the girls having a bad day at school feels unmanageable these days.  Things aren’t as I would have them to be.

I know there are lessons to be learned.  Joy to be had.  Grace to be received.  Grace to be given.  Comfort to be received.  Comfort to be given.  Sometimes I learn them.  And, guys, sometimes I throw a little temper tantrum.

How exactly do we get through these stretches of “path”?  I’m not sure it’s even a path at this point.  Maybe just a little scuff in the dirt is all.  Next to all the trees.  Where’s the prairie already?  Or a mountain?  Or something beautiful…a stream or something glorious?

Maybe…I hear God whisper…look out your window…step outside.  Maybe the glorious is found at the creek at the end of your yard…you know, with the old toilets and mini-blinds and wheels floating around.  But, it’s also full of happy children.  Splashing around, catch crawdads, throwing rocks…being kids and reminding me that we can love life…in the creek.  It’s ok if there’s an old toilet or some hub caps laying around.  The ugly things don’t have to stop us from being with friends and enjoying where we’re at.  The undone house and sleep deprived nights and painful moments don’t have to be all there is. They can just lay there off to the side as a friend stops by or as we put a care package together for a friend of a friend who’s in the hospital.  They don’t have to take all the attention.  They don’t have to steal the day or define all the moments.

I read this most enlightening blog post by Momastery.  Carpe diem sucks.  I don’t want to seize the day…at least not every moment of all the days.  Some of those moments suck and I don’t want them.  But, I can carpe kairos…I can seize some of the moments and treasure them.  I can pause and enjoy the moment and love the little bit of life/grace/hope/love/joy/laughter that I’ve just caught.  It’s these carpe kairos moments that I can find even in the midst of pain and despair.  I can seize these magical moments and be reminded of the grace and hope and joy that are always there…just waiting for me to grab them.  Though, truth be told, some days it’s much harder than others.

I’m still hoping for a clearing soon.  But until it comes, I’ll be grateful for the creek and I’ll catch my carpe kairos moments as they come.

As always, thank you for reading the ramblings of SarahFae as I sort though life and understand how the Gospel has redeemed and is redeeming me.

PS (I hate laying vs lying, lay vs lie.  And don’t bother trying to correct my usage of it.  I’ll never understand it so I simply don’t care.  Also, if most other people get it wrong then I’m ok also being wrong in this case because most people won’t notice it.  I’m over it.  Who made up this language anyways??)

And sometimes there's a tree in the creek.  Literally.  And sometimes there's a chainsaw in the creek.  And that's always better than a husband in the creek.
And sometimes there’s a tree in the creek. Literally. And sometimes there’s a chainsaw in the creek. (And that’s always better than a husband in the creek.)

The Time Has Come

When you have little ones running around the house and you’re more tired than you’ve ever been and you’re working harder than you’ve ever worked and you’ve picked up the spilled cup/toy/plant/laundry/books/everything for the 18 millionth time there’s a part of you that starts to believe that life will always be this way.

I’m not sure I thought this day would ever come. You know, the day where they are all in school and you have some freedom and your house stays clean for more than 5 minutes and you can actually hear yourself think.

Well, it has come. And, come to find out, I’m not sure I was ready. It feels like a major rite of passage…yes, I know, I know, it’s “only” kindergarten. But it feels like so much more.

I’m sure by the end of the week it will be our new normal and our mornings will be chaos and we’ll be yelling at each other again.  But for today, it was a good morning.  It’s a good day…full of nervous smiles and tears (although that was mostly me)!  I want to savor the moment of where we are today.  I want to feel all the emotion of today before it’s gone.  I want to engage today with where I’m at and where the girls are at and where our family is.  It is what it is.  And I want to let it be and not rush it.

She is beautiful and ready!
She is beautiful and will do great!
They are going to miss each other something terrible!
Me and my baby girl…at least the tears hadn’t started yet.
She loves her daddy!
My other daddy’s girl!
My mini & me!

And if you happen to see me out and I burst into tears you’ll know why.  My babies went to kindergarten and 2nd grade today.  And at the end of today, I’ll be glad this day came and I’ll be glad to have it over.

Facebook Parenting Sucks

So, I just posted this facebook status, “My little Leah-bear learned to tie her shoes today. (feeling old and proud).”

And then I had this internal debate.  What if someone reads that and thinks, Leah-bear can tie her shoes at x-age. Well, my kid tied their shoes at less-than-x-age, obviously my kid is cooler and smarter.  What if someone else reads it and thinks, my kid tied their shoes at more-than-x-age, obviously my kid is not cooler and dumber.  And this whole thing makes me really sad about facebook parenting.  It kind of sucks.  Why can’t we all just celebrate with Leah-bear that she can tie her shoes without it making us do a comparison of children’s accomplishments and milestones?  I’m certainly guilty.  I know it’s human nature and I shouldn’t blame facebook and all, but sometimes I(we) let facebook magnify things and multiply their occurrences.

All that to say, please celebrate with Leah-bear…or the next kid that you read about that accomplishes something.  Lets take back our minds and not let them turn other children’s accomplishments into mental debates that lead to pride or condemnation.

Also, can we all please celebrate with Leah-bear’s mommy who did not yell at her even though it took much longer to get anywhere today?!?  No yelling.  That’s an accomplishment in and of itself, folks.  Short-term slowness is still hard even when I know it’s long-term gains for speed and independence.

It’s a win-win in my book.  Two big accomplishments.  I may celebrate tomorrow, probably with sugar.

Christmas is NOT Cancelled, It’s ON!

So, I read this article/blog post about cancelling Christmas.

And then I got sad.  And then I panicked because what if I’m-a-lesser-Christian-because-I-haven’t-cancelled-Christmas-for-my-own-sinful-children.  They take after their mama.  But I’m sure not gonna cancel Christmas for myself.  Nope, I like presents.  I guess I’m entitled.

Now we did try the 3 symbolic gifts last year for gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And it felt very religious of us, but it didn’t feel right, for us.  We’ve certainly debated Santa (and the verdict is…he’s coming!).  In fact he’ll be arriving early.  He’s coming on the 22nd because he knows we have very special family that we like to spend the holidays with.  So he comes special for us so we can have our Christmas at our house and have Christmas with all our family.  He sure does like family.

And I’ve certainly debated how many presents are enough and how many are too many.  Should we do a set number or a set dollar amount?  Should we?  Shouldn’t we?  Should we?

And I think I’ve landed on the other side of the fence.  We’re doing Christmas!  The more the merrier, right?  You see, one of my love languages is gifts.  I love to give ’em and get ’em.  I plan all year for this, literally.  I put money aside out of our budget every month to save for Christmas.  I buy gifts all year long as I think of things and see things that I think the people that I love would love.  I have lists and lists for this.

But back to my children and the child psychologist that I am NOT.  They get two days a year, Christmas and their birthday.  Or, one, if you’re my Hannah.  I really just have a hard time believing that it’s going to completely ruin them and turn them into entitled sinners if they get too many presents for Christmas.  I mean, they’re already entitled little sinners before all this Christmas stuff even came into discussion, right?  So, maybe it’s not so bad for us to give them presents on Christmas (and their birthday and any other day we want).  Maybe it’s okay for them to know that they’re special and that people who love them spent time and money buying/making them presents.  Maybe they’ll be ungrateful.  Maybe they’ll be thankful.  Maybe they’ll cry.  Maybe they’ll laugh.  And maybe, in the end, it’ll all be ok.

And, honestly, I like to buy presents for my kids.  My kids, my entitled, selfish, spoiled, hateful, mean, and sinful children.  Why?  Because I love them no matter what.  Their getting of gifts doesn’t depend on their attitude or behavior.  You see where this is going, right?  I happen to think that I reflect the Father a little when I give good gifts to my children.  He certainly does this for me.  And the reality is that he outgives me every time.  (Matthew 7:11 “ If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”)  Now, I’m no Bible scholar or child psychologist and I’ve not done any studies or surveys, so surely don’t just take my word for it.  But, I think I turned out ok.  And we had a nativity and Santa growing up.  I love Jesus and Santa.  I mean, not in the same way or anything, but still, they both give me good gifts without me asking or deserving it.

P.S. – And please don’t cancel Christmas just because some chick and some dude in blogland did and it got posted on the Today show website.