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Monthly Archives: July 2012

It’s County Fair Week and Who’s Excited?? This Girl!!

So, I may live in suburbia, but I love love love the county fair!  Seriously, cows, pigs, horses, tractors, lemon shake-ups, homemade ice cream, taffy, funnel cakes, corn dogs, carnies galore, queen pageants, tractor pulls, rodeos, demolition derbies, rides, and so much fun I can’t hardly stand it!

I have fond memories of being a kid and going up to the fair office with my uncle and grandpa.  We got to go behind the scenes and went almost every night to the fair.  My brother and I loved it!  I will say that I was older than I care to admit when we went to the rodeo and I made my Granny B take me home because I couldn’t handle it.  Still can’t.  Rodeos make me nervous.  I know I’m going to see someone get maimed and then I’ll be scarred for life.  Or I’ll pass right out in the middle of the grandstands.  Ugh.  Nobody wants that, so I’ll skip the rodeo thank you very much.

But seriously, if you want to find me this week.  You might just want to check the fairgrounds.  I’ll be the girl with 8 boxes of Malone’s State Fair taffy.

Just Another Store…and Other Unrelated Things

Today was eventful.  Here’s a recap.  Not sure I can handle any more than a brief recap.

I loved Ikea.  I love the stuff I bought.  At the end of the day, it’s just another store.  And I now have more stuff.

I watched a BMW drive by and thought of the wise words of Husband.  It’s just a hunk of metal, plastic, and other parts…just like all the cars.  Since when did a name make it more cool.  I think God must look at us like we’re a bunch of crazies chasing after metal and plastic and stuff just cuz it’s painted certain colors with certain letters on it.  Lame.

A crazy creeper came to the fountain where Hannah & I were sitting and spread out random business cards along the rocks.  Then they blew away.  People are weird.

I have a strong-willed child.  I am a strong-willed child myself when she throws fits and I can’t force her into submission.  I then usually throw a fit myself because she won’t obey me.  I am not a great example of how to restrain your emotions.  Ugh.

I often respond out of ANTICIPATION of others’ judgement of me.

I don’t sleep.  Well, not well anyways.  Sucks that I have a sleep disorder.  I finally am starting to accept that I probably will never sleep well and that 8 hours of continuous pain-free sleep is a myth for me.  😦  😦  (That’s a double sad face in bold because I’m really sad.)

I have an ugly sinful heart and my God loves me all-the-time-no-matter-what.  And that’s what I tell my Banana, “I-love-you-all-the-time-no-matter-what.”

How do I live in that place instead of in the place of anticipation of others judgement?  Does anyone’s judgement of me matter?  ha  I am not judged a sinner condemned to hell by the God of the universe because the gospel and blood of Jesus covers my sinful ugly heart.  So, why the the hell would anyone else’s judgement mean a damn thing to me if it can’t, in fact, damn me to hell?  And you know, all I can think as I type those words is fear of people’s judgement of that sentence.  Ridiculous.  Jesus, change my heart, because, you, God of the universe, already love me “all-the-time-no-matter-what”.


Do you fear judgement from others?


Ikea Today

I. Am. Going. To. Ikea. Today!

It’s my first time.   I’m armed with a list.  A list of “stuff” that I “desperately need”.  ha

Wish me luck.  Luck at keeping my “wanter” in check.  It may go a little bit off the charts today.

I am excited.  No kids.  You’re really jealous now aren’t you.
My mom, sister, and sister-in-law.  Gonna be a great day folks.  Gonna take it as a gift from God and enjoy every minute!


Balance.  I am bad at balance.  I tend towards all in or all out.

Lately I feel all out of balance.  I don’t understand how to be content.  Content with where I am…with my marriage, my children, my family, my house, my body, my life, this world  vs. where I want to be.  How do you balance and accept where you are while desiring to be better or have better?  Lets take parenting.  Motherhood.  Ugh.  I spend a lot of time doing it.

So, what happens when I have a “bad” day of parenting, a day where I am lazy, crabby, yell at my girls, don’t pay attention to them, give my time to myself (or others),  make the wrong decision, fight the wrong battle, hurt their feelings, don’t pray with them, don’t teach them, the list really could go on and on, ridiculously long, because I do a lot wrong.  I have bad days.  Should bad days define me?  In my head, I hear “NO”.  In my heart, I live, “YES”.  I beat myself up and feel really bad and hide who I am from God, myself, Chad, and anyone else that I come into contact with, because in my world bad days define me as bad.  And, if I can hide and punish myself then I will have done my penance and then I can go back to God, Chad, or the girls.  Once I feel guilty enough, feel bad enough, beat myself up enough, promise to do more, be better, read more, and promise to be perfect, then I’m ok.  Except that I’m not.  There’s never “enough” punishment.  I can always heap it on more.  It never helps.  I always just feel worse.  And I don’t go back to God, Chad, the girls, or anyone.  I just keep hiding.  Unbalanced.

So, what’s the other option.  Redemption.    This is what I’m learning.  RedemptionInProgress.  I am new.  I am being made new.

The option to go to God first.  To say to him, this is where I am.  I’m having a really bad day and I don’t want to change.  And, to hear him say, I love you.  You are loved and accepted.  And allow the questions to come.  Allow God to ask my heart some questions.  Why am I having a bad day? Why am I yelling at the girls?  Why am I so mad and so frustrated?  Why am I losing my patience with them?  What am I afraid of?  What am I reacting out of?  Where am I hurt?

Honestly, sometimes it’s because I am mad at something or someone else and I take it on the girls by being short with them.  Lame.  That’s really crappy, but true.  Or, I get mad at them, not so much because of their behavior, but because their behavior is making me look bad.  They make me look like a bad parent, so I get overly mad and harsh with them.  I respond to them and to their sin out of the sinfulness of my own heart and I sin in my response.  It’s one big sinful ugly mess over here at the Stuehlmeyer house.

I’m not looking for a pat on the back.  I’m a good mom.  Most days I know that and live in that place.  I’m not a perfect mom.  I’m learning how to be ok with that.  But some days I have a bad day and live in condemnation and punishment from myself.  I want to stop living in that place.  God has freedom and acceptance for me.

You know what, it’s not all tied up.  There’s no pretty little bow.  This isn’t a lesson I’ve learned, mastered, and moved on from now that I can live it perfectly.  It is where I am.  I’m processing it.  I’m moving…some days.  Other days, I have to ask Jesus to change my heart because I simply don’t want to change it.  And can’t.  Only Jesus changes hearts.  Thank goodness.


Where are you most out of balance?


Not that you asked, but now you know.

So, I might be a little bit crunchy to some, and not at all to others.  Regardless, I like natural and healthy things.  I like local.  I like to re-use and be kind to my household, my health, my self, and my environment. (I also like Schick Intuition razors which are not that great for the environment but I’m not giving them up.  It’s just not gonna happen.)

I think God wants us to do the best we can with what we have.  I think he wants me to enjoy life and be as healthy as I as be.  I’m trying to make the best decisions I can.

So, for those of you who want to look in my medicine cabinet, so to speak, here’s your chance.  Here’s a glimpse into what I  do.  It’s ever-changing as we figure out what works for our family and what doesn’t work.  These are the decisions I’ve made as of now.  And I reserve the right to change them at any given time.  (And, I think God’s ok with that.)


“Conditioner” – So, this is not real conditional.  Shocking, I know.  Conditioner in a spray bottle?  Yep, mine is.  I read this really great post on shampoo and conditioner and now I’m converted.  I usually add some orange essential oil to help the apple cider vinegar smell a little more bearable.  Not for the faint of heart.  Vinegar is vinegar.

Soap – This is the most amazing soap I have ever used!  I used to use more lotion than you can imagine.  And, I’m not talking about cheapo lotion, I mean $15/month on CeraVe that my dermatologist recommended.  I still itched all the time and just used more lotion.  My skin is super-sensitive and required a lot of lotion.  I used a lot of lotion.  Every day.  Lots of lotion.  Are you beginning to understand?  I used a lot of lotion and still had itchy dry skin.  I love this soap.  I only have to use lotion now if I shave.  I don’t itch and my skin doesn’t burn.  My skin isn’t red and blotchy.  This soap is so great.  You really ought to buy yourself a bar.  It’s local.  My terrific friend, Charity makes it herself.  It smells great.  It’s the first time I’ve ever been able to use soap that smells great!!  I can hook you up if you’re interested.  And you should be interested.  You can catch her here.

“Shampoo” – Yep, not real shampoo.  I use a modification of this.  I have decided that I like a little lather, so I’m probably going to add in some sulfate-free/organic shampoo.  I am really pleased with this.  If you didn’t catch it from the soap explanation, I have super sensitive stupid skin and that includes my scalp.  I have always had problems with my scalp itching and being red and dry.  No more.  Apparently, it’s not stupid skin, but stupid detergent, I mean shampoo.  My scalp feels so much better, no more itching, no more dry, flaky scalp.  I will warn you that this is definitely different than using shampoo and, again, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Well, that’s enough for now.  That’s what I started with.  You should start there too (but only if you want to).


What is your favorite shampoo?


Fireworks of a Different Sort

So…yesterday was my birthday.  I’m sorry if you missed it.  31 is kind of a big deal, you know.   I must tell you that every stinking time I say I’m 31 I think of the stupid bags and it’s kind of annoying.  I’m hoping this wears off, otherwise 32 can’t come fast enough.  (Not that I think the bags are bad, I would just prefer not to think of them literally every time I think of my age.)  Ugh.

Moving on…

We had a lovely dinner at Cracker Barrel, it’s my favorite, and yes, I’m basically 60 on the inside.   Then, we had some amazing Dairy Mart, which I highly recommend if you’re ever in Salem, IL.  The lemon will rock your face off.  I had a heath volcano, which was delish, but still, try the LEMON.

Moving on…again…

We packed up and began our caravan back to our house.  I saw some fireworks off in the distance and tried to point them out to Hannah.  Of course then they were blocked by trees and corn and she couldn’t see them.  Tears and sadness followed.  She really was disappointed that I got to see fireworks (all 3 of them) and she didn’t.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, suddenly there are flashing lights behind us.  Hannah is getting very excited.  Pink and blue fireworks behind us!  Woohoo!!  Except only one of us was woohoo-ing, the other one of us was busily trying to explain that they were not fireworks.

I’m getting pulled over.   Awesome.

She keeps getting more and more excited and I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation.  So, by the time the police officer made it to my window, the first thing out my mouth is, while softly laughing, “I gotta tell you, sir, my daughter is pretty excited right now because she thinks there are fireworks behind us.!”   Anyways, he asks if I knew that my tail light is out and so I told him I had no idea.  He told me that’s why he pulled me over and I respond with, “oh, ok, I wasn’t really sure because I didn’t think I was speeding”.  Maybe not the best response, but he seemed pretty chill.  Of course, I couldn’t find my insurance card, so he just took my drivers license while I did a mad search for my card, which I never did find.  Oops, probably should find that.

So, he comes back, I tell him straight up that I can’t find my card, but at this point Chad has pulled over too.  So, after he asks if the truck is with me and I explain that it is my husband, I offer to get him Chad’s ins card.  Again, maybe not the greatest response.  And of course my car is loaded down with all kinds of stuff so he asks where we’re headed.

This is where I have a brilliant idea.  Not that there’s any indication of a ticket, but better to be safe than sorry, right?  I tell him that “today’s my birthday and we were celebrating with my family and now we’re headed back to our house in Glen Carbon.”  He says, “you’ve got a lot of stuff.”  “Yes, I have a 2 year old and 4 year old and they come with a lot of stuff.”  Luckily he tells me he has an 8 year old and 6 year old so he can understand that.  He gives me back my license and suggests Chad follow me so that I don’t get pulled over again and so that we get home before the storm hits.  Hannah is still excited about the fireworks behind us and keeps talking about the pink & blue flashing lights.  Leah just covers her eyes and hides.

I think the best present I got all day was that nice policeman not giving me a ticket.  And now, I should probably have Chad fix that taillight…


What is your funniest police encounter?


Officially in my 30s

Well, I turn 31 today.   Big day, I know.  I must admit though that so far I much prefer my 30s to my 20s.  I feel a little more settled, a little more comfortable with myself, and life just seems a little more stable.  Although as I type that I get this sinking feeling that stable is a joke and things might not stay that way.  ha  I’m going to just brush that off and move on like things are going to be nice and smooth and quiet for the unforeseeable future.

So, what I’m trying to say is that I’m 31.  I’ll take that deal and I won’t even cry about it.  I’ve got big things planned this year, you know.  Horseback riding lessons, learn to make soap, start sewing again this fall, send my oldest off to preschool, learn to stay within budget, another Redemption Group, healthier eating, more natural living, enjoy people more (and value tasks less), and I’m sure God has some stuff for me this year as well…more tearing away the old crappy me and hopefully giving me more of His goodness (and I’m sure those around me are asking Him to give me more of his patience and gentleness.  ha).

Anyways, its gonna be a good day.  Meals with family and celebrating me.  ha  That makes me wanna throw up a bit to type that.  A bit awkward to be the center of attention and who doesn’t feel more than a little strange to be the only one not singing the “Happy Birthday Song”?  Well, I do for sure.  But, don’t you worry, I’ll suffer through the song in order to get to the cake part.

I hope you find a way to celebrate yourself today.  Go ahead and do the awkward thing and sing Happy Birthday to yourself.  I know I will.


What was your favorite birthday?