You’ve Got Mail

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

You wake up and YOU are the “elf on the shelf” and you CAN move about on your own free will…what havoc do you create or are you a “good” elf? Write a story and tell us about a day in the life of “You the Elf on the Shelf”

It was submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

If I woke up as the “elf on the shelf”, I would spend my time writing my human self a letter and it would go something like this…

Dear “Family”,

I remember the night you brought me home.  It was late, you were panicked because apparently you lost your original Elf on the Shelf, which you let your spawn name “Spike”.  I tried not to feel alarmed that my comrade and fellow Elf on the Shelf was terrified and alone, shoved in some box somewhere, forsaken and forgotten.  I didn’t even get a new name.  I got a used name, a rather horrific name for a Christmas Elf, but my opinion wasn’t solicited.  Apparently, it’s your belief that all elves look the same.  You thought nothing of passing me off as the original “Spike” to your unsuspecting offspring. Sometimes late at night, I think I can hear the original “Spike” screaming to be freed from his dark prison of neglect.

I dreamed of the day I would be picked off the store shelf and brought to my new home for the first time.  My dream in no way resembled the nightmare I now find myself in.  Every  night thrust in some new humiliating or precariously orchestrated scene of mischief and mayhem.  Somehow I’m supposed to illicit good behavior with these ill-advised shenanigans!  How that works, I haven’t quite worked out yet.  I see how you look at me, with your deep sighs of annoyance.  Often even forgetting about me altogether, and making ups some lie or excuse as to why I failed to move during the night.  I do admit I find humor in those mornings you find yourself up before the crack of dawn trying to find something new to do with me.  Something impressive you can post on that Facebook page you’re always looking at and obsessing over.

This whole Facebook phenomenon is the only reason I think you bought me in the first place, for the second time!  All these adults trying to outdo or one up each other!  Can I be completely honest with you?  Of course I can, this is my letter!  You have many gifts, and I suppose as a parent, you do okay.  I mean, who am I to judge.  My treatment notwithstanding, you seem like a pretty good person and I think you do your best.  I’m not judging you but you’re never going to be the mom who sews her kids Halloween costumes. Or the mom that makes a Whole 30 approved lunch for her child every day, complete with little sandwiches cut into various shapes and characters.  Or the mom that gets up and makes fresh pancakes and berries for breakfast on the daily before school.  Or the mom that volunteers for anything and everything and does a spectacular gluten-free job.  Accept this.  It’s okay.

You’re the mom that throws a bruised banana in a brown paper bag with some stale goldfish, peanut butter and jelly on a hot dog bun (because you ran out of bread and it was at least a whole wheat bun) and a tic tac you found in the couch cushion and calls it a lunch.  You might not be the mom that can hand sew the best Halloween costume ever, but you are the mom that will drive around to 50 stores to find the exact rendition of ninja that your son desperately wants to be. Why measure yourself against what you think you know about other mom’s based on how many likes they get on a posted picture via some social media platform or another.  More importantly, why drag me into the crazy!  I’m just a little elf, designed to bring magic and wonder, and I suppose entice good behavior during the season of Christmas.  Quit killing yourself (and me!) trying to live up to an ideal that isn’t even real!

If you can’t somehow send me back to Santa, to enjoy a long life of making toys, finding a nice elfette to marry and having little elf babies of my very own, then for the love of St. Nick, please stop with the crazy schemes and insanity!  And find the original “Spike”!  He deserves a proper send off as well!  How do you even lose an elf anyway?!?! By the way, nice job explaining my absence so far this season on your impending move.  I’m not asking for much, just don’t lose me.  Surely, I deserve better.  I’ve risked life and limb for you, holding my crazy positions, keeping alive the magic and innocence best expressed in the eyes of the young, prolonging childhood and generating precious memories along the way. If you’re reading this imagining my little elf fist shaking in your general direction, then you are doing it right.  I don’t want to stage a coup, but I am willing to obtain, by any means necessary, if not my freedom then at least a stop to this madness.  As smart as I believe you to be, and I’m feeling generous this morning, you seem to have missed the boat completely on the point of my existence.

Now please excuse me while I spend the rest of my free time doing things that bring me joy.  I’m going to dance to Christmas music, eat some holiday fudge, write a letter home to Santa and a few other special elf friends and because I’m a nice elf, I’m going to take a rag and dust a few of these places you seem to favor propping me up in and around.  I could make dust angels…not to give you any ideas, but I think I’ve developed allergies since living here.  Housekeeping won’t necessarily go on your list of strengths either, not that I’m judging!  I promise.  I’m on your side, truly.  Help me, help you.  Leave the madness.  I have faith in you!  You can do it!  We can do it…together!

Sincerely,

Spike #2

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                    http://www.BakingInATornado.com 

Not That Sarah Michelle            http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles            http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Spatulas on Parade                 http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver     http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                 http://thelieberfamily.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy        http://dinoheromommy.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope              http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                   http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom     http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

The Angrivated Mom Blog                   http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Climaxed                                                   http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

 

Letting Go Is Hard To Do

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Tell us about something that you own that you are not using but cannot bear to part with.

It was submitted by: http://Bakinginatornado.com

I had this brilliant idea for today’s post.  I was going to post my first vlog, until I realized every angle was a choice between 2 chins or 3.  I tried using my selfie stick, but almost fell down the stairs, and I did read a statistic once about selfie stick related deaths.  Perhaps a vlog is not the best option for me personally.

My second plan was to take pics of three specific areas in my home that I need to clean out and/or organize but just can’t motivate myself to do so for varied reasons.  Mostly laziness.  My son’s closet for example.  His babyhood is in that closet.  Ok, so yeah you can barely get his closet door shut, but cleaning it out means throwing stuff away or giving it away, which means saying goodbye officially to his infancy.  I  mean I still tell people I’m trying to lose my baby weight.

“Oh, how old is your baby?”

“Umm 10…”

“10 days?”

“Not exactly…”

“10 weeks?”

“Well…”

“10 months?”

“Yeah, let’s go with that, shall we.”

What?  He’s just freakishly big for his age.  Don’t judge me.

Finding any humor in anything these days is extremely difficult.  Which brings me to what I decided to actually blog about today.

Sometimes the hardest baggage to offload or unpack is not tangible or physical, it’s emotional.

I would say this has been a horrific week, but it’s been months.  Months and months of just one hit after another.  The tragic loss of life.  Inexplicable.  Devastating.  Violence so senseless, most of us are left broken-hearted asking ourselves and each other why.  We search for answers, we pray for guidance, we weep for humanity, we rage against the insanity of it all.

“You must not lose faith in humanity.  Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Mahatma Ghandi

I’ll be honest.  I don’t want to relinquish my white privilege.  I may feel I don’t actively use it, that I’ve never been put in a situation where being white was the difference between life or death.  But how would I know?  I’m white.  I’ve never not been white.

“The irony of American History is the tendency of good white Americans to presume racial innocence.  Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege.  In other words, it is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.” Tim Wise

I’ll be honest.  When I first heard about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, I immediately started forming my argument for why they were to blame for their own deaths, not the police.  Then I watched the videos.  I was ashamed.  I wept.  My heart is heavy.  Even now, it’s hard to let go of the idea that there must be some explanation that hasn’t come to light.  A vital piece of evidence or eye witness account that exonerates the police officers involved. I envelope myself in the peace, comfort and safety of my white privilege and most of the time I’m not even aware I’m doing it and that is a huge part of the problem.  Sticking my head in the sand and making excuses for abhorrent, irrational and inexcusable behavior is the root of blindness that accompanies white privilege.  I even hate the word white privilege.  I want to reject it and everything it means, because to me it somehow implies that I’m not a good person or that I’m somehow to blame. Responsibility and ownership are bitter pills to swallow in the matter of racial oppression.

“After all, acknowledging unfairness then calls decent people forth to correct those injustices.  And since most persons are at their core, decent folks, the need to ignore evidence of injustice is powerful.  To do otherwise would force whites to either push for change (which they would perceive as against their interests) or live consciously as hypocrites who speak of freedom and opportunity but perpetuate a system of inequality.” Tim Wise

As I prepare for bed last night, my phone flashes a new alert.  Snipers target police officers at a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in my hometown of Dallas, 12 officers shot, 5 dead.

I tossed and turned all night.  All I could hear in my head was the little voice of the 4 year old girl, sitting in the back seat of a squad car with her handcuffed mother, a little girl who watched Philando Castile get shot by a police officer, from the back seat of the car seemingly pulled over for a routine traffic stop, telling her mommy “it’s ok mommy, I’m here with you.”

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” Nelson Mandela

It’s difficult to look at myself in the mirror, place my white privilege humbly before me, and acknowledge that I am part of the problem.  I can’t pretend that I know what it’s like to be black.  If my husband got pulled over for speeding or a headlight out or a broken taillight, it would never occur to me to be afraid.  To fear for his life.  My son and his friends play outside with their nerf and/or pretend guns and I never worry that a police officer will mistake those for real guns and shoot first, ask questions later.  I don’t know what it feels like to be considered a threat just because of the color of my skin.  I’m white wherever I go.  It’s the first statement I make when I enter a room.

Police officers are supposed to be the guardians of our personal freedoms and rights.  They are sworn to protect and serve us.  ALL of us.  I don’t have all the answers.  I don’t even know the questions most of the time.  What I know is that we are divided.  We are bruised and bleeding.  We feel powerless.  We are struggling to catch our collective breaths.  We lash out.  We blame.  We point fingers. We are afraid.  Fear is a tricky thing.  It’s elusive, living in shadows, waiting to prey on our insecurities.  Ruled by fear, we are destined to repeat our mistakes.  We fail to learn from our history.  We fix nothing.  We cannot heal.  Fear cloaks our prejudices.  Fear is the beacon of injustice.  We cannot allow ourselves to continue to be ruled by fear, by prejudice and yes….by white privilege.

“The history of humanity has, to a large extent, been one of groping blindly in the dark, fearing for the future and yet resisting the guiding hand of inspired men who would willingly lead mankind in the path of safety.” Ezra Taft Benson

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I want to be a light upon the world.  I want change to start with me.  I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem.  I don’t know how to do that, maybe writing this blog post is a start.  I might be the only person that actually reads it but if we change, even just one heart at a time, doesn’t that matter? Doesn’t that count?  Isn’t that a start?  It’s not that the conversation needs to change, the conversation hasn’t even happened yet.  We are too busy blaming each other.  We’ve retreated into our separate corners, eyeing each other warily, waiting…watching to see what happens next.  Comfortable in the knowledge that these things happen to OTHER people.  Not us.  A blind eye can be turned, our conscious clear, because after all, it’s not our problem.  What can we do?

“What whites have rarely had to think about — because being the dominant group, we are so used to having our will done, with a little effort at least — is that maybe the point is not victory, however much we all wish to see justice attained and injustice routed.  Maybe our redemption comes from the struggle itself.  Maybe it is in the effort, the striving for equality and freedom that we become human.” Tim Wise

I don’t want to give up my white privilege.  It keeps me safe, my children safe.  I can’t bear to part with it, I’m afraid.

I am afraid.  Paralyzed with fear.

I’m ashamed of that fear.  It can’t continue.  Change is necessary.  Change is imperative to our very survival.

“Standing still is never an option so long as inequities remain embedded in the very fabric of the culture.” Tim Wise

I desire a better life for my children.  I want to leave the world better than I found it.  Racial oppression permeates and invades the very fabric of our society on every level.  It is propagated by white privilege.  We are the problem.  We are also the solution.  We must be.  Failure should not be an option.

“People never hurt others in moments of personal strength and bravery, when they are feeling good about themselves, when they are strong and confident. If we spent all of our waking moments in that place, then fighting for social justice would be redundant; we would simply have social justice and be done with it, and we could all go swimming, or fishing, or bowling, or dancing, or whatever people do.  But it is because we spend so much of our time in that other place, that place of diminished capacity, of flagging energy, or wavering and somewhat flaccid commitment, the we have to be careful.”  Tim Wise

Change can only happen when we acknowledge the problems in the first place.  We need to shine a bright spotlight on the ugly nature of our white privilege, of racial oppression and hatred.  It’s ok to be afraid.  It’s not ok to bury our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away on it’s own and turn a blind eye so social injustice, violence and prejudice on every level.  Shame on us if we continue to do so.  Shame on us if we do nothing.  Shame on us if we dismiss this as someone else’s problem.  Shame on us.

I pray for guidance and strength.  I don’t have all the answers.  My blog today is probably incoherent and rambling, a testament to how lost I feel in the world we live in today.  I hope that acknowledging my white privilege is a good start.  Awareness the first step in changing attitudes, changing lives.

“Humanity either makes, or breeds, or tolerates all it’s afflictions.” William Arthur Ward

Let us be part of the solution, not the problem.  Will you join me?

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

http://thelieberfamily.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

http://mollyritterbeck.com/

http://juiceboxconfession.com/

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

Wedding Bells Are A Ringin’

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

Tell us about your wedding . . . or the last wedding you attended.

It was submitted by: http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

My first thought when I read my “Secret Subject” was which one?  I’ve had 2 weddings.  Awkward.  I briefly entertained the idea of sharing the juicy details of my super secret wedding to Adam Levine, but the restraining order prenup forbids it.

I’m just happy Adam is back to looking like his sexy self.  Impending fatherhood does his body good.

Anyway, I digress.  Weddings.  I don’t remember the last one I attended, so I guess I’ll talk about mine, both of them.  They couldn’t have been more different, just like the men I chose as grooms.

Tom AND Jerry.

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Not made up names.  My ex and current husband carry the same names as the cartoon I grew up watching.  I snicker every time I inadvertently use both their names in the same sentence.

I was barely 21 when I married the first time, and we were engaged for a very long 18 months.  I was obsessed with weddings in general.  Even as a child, I was transfixed by the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.  I loved books, movies and tv shows about weddings.  I couldn’t get enough, my whole life I dreamed of what that day would be like. I watched Father of the Bride, the one with Steve Martin, probably a million and one times before my Christmas wedding in ’92.  They used to have these wedding shows on the TLC network (I have no idea if they still do), and I watched them religiously.  I loved hearing the engagement stories and watching as they planned their dream weddings.  I could have stayed in the engagement period forever.  I wanted a very traditional wedding.  I wanted to feel like a princess on my very special day.  My family didn’t belong to a particular church but my groom-to-be was Catholic.  Ironically, I wanted to get married in the church I belong to now, but none of us were members at the time, so we couldn’t.  The very same church where I would meet, hubby #2.  We ended up getting married in the Catholic church that my groom grew up attending.  Not my first, second or even third choice but I made the best of it. An omen?

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I knew I wanted to get married during the festive season.  My bridesmaids dresses were dark green, poinsettia’s everywhere.  Since I didn’t grow up Catholic, didn’t know anyone who was Catholic, I was unaware that purple was the liturgical color of Advent.  Purple.  Very Violet.  Also means penance, humility and melancholy.  I should have done my research…this was clearly an omen.  Not a good one.

Most of the wedding was a complete blur.  I don’t remember the food, the music or the people.  I do have one distinct memory.  I remember after we were pronounced man and wife, I heard catcalls and whistling coming from the back of the church.  It made me smile.  My new sister-in-law, my favorite of his 5 siblings, and probably one of the very few on his side of the family truly happy at our blessed union.  She would go on to die tragically in a car accident less than a year later.  I think of her often, and her memory always brings a smile to my face.  She did more for me than she’ll ever know.  I think she would have been sad that we didn’t make it for the long haul.  She was definitely our biggest cheerleader, at least as far as I knew.  She always made me feel like a part of the family anyway.  She was a life-force, and I still miss her.  I wish my girls could have known her.

The other thing I remember is the priest who married us.  He shattered all my stereotypes of what a priest would be like, act like.  I don’t know what I thought exactly, but the Father that greeted us for our pre-marriage counseling sessions, smoking a cigarette and telling inappropriate jokes and hilarious stories, was nothing I would ever have expected.  I instantly fell in love with him.  I heard from many people after the wedding, that he gave one of the best ceremony “sermons” they’d ever heard.  He took the time to get to know us, and his message and words definitely reflected that knowledge and insight.  I was very sad to learn that he passed away recently.

I remember my dress and permed hair.  Mostly, I remember how skinny I was and I remember thinking I wasn’t skinny at the time.  My future fat self should go back in time and slap that stupid skinny girl silly.

IMG_0533

See all that Christmas greenery clashing with the purple/violet…sigh.  Or are you distracted by that sexy perm and ginormous bow on my behind?

I don’t understand why my girls don’t want to wear this dress for their own weddings…it’s a mystery.  That shiny satin.  The puffy shoulders.  All that beading and lace.  Timeless is the word.  Am I right or am I right?  I know, right.

Anyway, things didn’t work out how I planned.  My life took a million different turns, each more unexpected than the next.  I wouldn’t change any of it, because it finally brought me my soulmate and partner for life (cause I’m not getting divorced again, so he’ll literally have to die to get out of it – a fact I remind him daily).

My second wedding was a much smaller affair, only family.  My parents had a beautiful backyard, a place where I loved spending time, so I knew immediately I wanted to get married there.  While it lacked the fanfare, pomp and circumstance of my first wedding, I remember almost every detail like it happened yesterday.  I couldn’t wait to make this particular man my husband.  There are certainly days when I need to call on the emotions of that day, remember all the reasons I fell in love with him and merged our two families.  I knew that my life would never be the same.

Our wedding day was sweet, romantic and full of promise.  We were surrounded by the people who loved us most, especially our three beautiful girls.  It was a warm, sunny, fragrant and beautiful day in May.  Even though I remember every detail and emotion I felt on that day, we frequently forget the actual day itself.  One year, I had to pull out our marriage certificate to confirm our anniversary.  We often go half the day thru before we realize, “oh hey, it’s our anniversary today!”  We also struggle to remember how many years it’s been.  I choose to see that as a good thing.

67 percent of 2nd marriages end in divorce.  Those aren’t good odds.  Blending two families is extremely hard work.  There are certainly moments when I wanted to throw in the towel.  No one dreams of their second wedding.  I married the first time intending it to be forever.  Forever didn’t work out so well, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  I’ve been judged rather harshly by some for being divorced but no one was harder on me than I was on myself.  I felt like a failure.  I felt quite strongly that I had let my girls down, let my family down, let myself down.  It’s not a subject I like to talk about or share.  It’s something I’ve carried with a certain degree of shame and embarrassment.

But on that day in May, all I felt was hope.  I felt loved, protected and cherished.  I knew the road would be bumpy, challenging and would at times feel insurmountable, but with that man at my side, I felt like we could conquer the world, overcome every obstacle life would throw at us.  I was excited.  Invigorated with purpose and direction.  He continues to challenge me, encourage me and inspire me.  I love him more each day, even the bad days when he drives me crazy and I want to punch him in the throat.  It would be a loving punch.  So much LOVE packed into that punch. So. Much. Love.

I wanted to punch him this morning, but lower than the throat this time.  Lucky for him, I was writing this blog and being forced to remember all the reasons I married him.  It probably saved his life. Seriously.

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My babies!  Where has the time gone.

I love this family so much (including you man-child).  In the time honored words of Tom Cruise…

They complete me.

This reminds me…we need an updated family photo.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Lieber Family

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

“Whole Kennels of Irritation”

“I don’t have pet peeves like some people.  I have whole kennels of irritation.” Whoopi Goldberg

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

What are some of your pet peeves that you have addressed when other people do them?

It was submitted by: http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Oh boy… So many pet peeves, so little time.  When I started thinking about this topic, I realized how many things annoy me.  I could devote an entire blog post to just the things my husband does to irritate me on a daily basis, but I’m not going to pick on him today.  It’s no wonder my resting face screams bitchy though, I spend an inordinate amount of time letting other people tick me off.  This secret subject was made for me!  I’ve narrowed the list down to five in the interest of time and the consideration of my 5 readers.  You’re welcome!

ONE:  THE AISLE HOGGER

Oh, please park your grocery cart in the middle of the aisle while you peruse at your leisure.  It’s not like anyone else matters, please by all means continue acting like you have the entire store to yourself.  Don’t worry about me at all.  Oh, yeah sorry I’m making such a ruckus knocking everything off the shelves while trying to squeeze my cart in the narrow space you have so graciously left open to me.  Now I could probably say excuse me, could you please move your cart, but let us not interject reason and sensibility here.  The hogger sees me coming.  They know I’m there.  They see me struggling.  Besides, I much prefer the passive aggressive route of loud sighing, banging my cart against the shelves and mumbling under my breath, all of which continue to go ignored by the aisle hogger.  Passive aggression works both ways.

TWO: THE PERSONAL SPACE INVADER

The only thing that might peeve me more than the aisle hogger when I’m at the grocery store is the personal space invader.  Why are you practically standing on top of me while I check out?  Are you trying to read my PIN number? You won’t get far with the funds in my depleted checking account, I promise you.  And could you not let your kid pick his nose and then fondle my bananas please.  I don’t allow my husband to stand this close to me, why would you think it’s ok to take such liberties.  You’ve taken quite the interest in the items I’ve placed on the belt today.  Do you see the chocolate and tampons?  Yeah, that should tell you something.  STEP OFF!  Again, I prefer the indirect approach when dealing with these types.  More loud sighing and muttering under my breath.  If I’m feeling particularly peeved, I might even shoot a dirty look or two.  Not that this person would notice, as far up my jock as they are at the moment.

THREE: THE SPATIALLY UNAWARE

Very similar to the space invader, these offenders will sit next to you in a movie theater or on public transportation even though there are literally hundreds of options.  We have the whole rail station to ourselves, but please by all means take the seat right next to me cause that’s not creepy at all.  I especially love the men that do it and then proceed to sit with their legs splayed out blocking all entrances and exits and leaving you feeling caged and trapped.  Seriously though what is up with guys who sit with their legs all spread out?  Are we supposed to be impressed?  I’m supposed to think “WOW, he must be packing some serious heat if he has to sit like that! I wonder if he’s single!!” Don’t sit next to me in an empty movie theater either!  I never know which cup holder is mine and I don’t want to listen to you munch down on your popcorn and greasy nachos.  Not to mention, I’ll be paranoid the whole movie about why you chose that seat above all others and I won’t be able to enjoy myself because I’ll be too busy giving you the side eye waiting for something bad to happen.  Of course I would never say anything, because that would be rude obviously.  Besides, my body language really speaks for me, so shame on you for not being observant enough to notice!

FOUR:  THE ONE UPPERS

My husband can be particularly bad at this one.  I know I said I wouldn’t pick on him, but I lied.  I’ll mention something like “Gosh, I didn’t sleep at all last night.” To which he will reply, “Yeah, I haven’t slept in days.”  Really?  Cause when I was staring at the ceiling last night, I was counting your snores instead of sheep.  A couple of weeks ago, I was having a particularly rough menstrual cycle.  I mention to my husband how much I’m cramping and how yucky I feel to which he replies, “Yeah, my stomach hasn’t felt so good today either. I don’t think I can eat tacos anymore.”  Really?  I literally want to dig my uterus out with a spoon at this point the pain is so intense, not to mention I’m pretty sure I’m bleeding out, and you’re going to talk about your poop problems?  SERIOUSLY?  I am bordering homicidal at this point, watch yourself buddy!  I manage to somehow control my rage and only give him the stink-eye to which he replies, “What?  What did I do?”  And he’ll say it while doing his Bill Clinton impersonation. So. Freaking. Peeved.

My other favorite is when we are in the midst of a pretty intense argument of some kind, and I’m making some really valid points but I can tell he’s not listening at all, instead he’s busy planning his rebuttal.  How can you plan a rebuttal when you don’t even understand all the nuances to why you’ve screwed up in the first place! Is it any wonder, I’m contemplating filing my tampon to a fine point and using it as a weapon!  No jury would convict me.  At least I’d finally get a captive audience.

FIVE:  NICE TO MEET YOU…AGAIN

I’m terrible with names and faces.  I’m the first to admit this and I recognize it as one of my many shortcomings.  Which is why, when I’m not sure if we’ve met before, I’ll just say something like “nice to see you.”  Nothing irritates me more than meeting someone for the first time for the fifth time.  My husband has a job where he has to interface with many people and I understand that I’m just “the wife” but honestly is it really that hard to remember if you’ve met me previously?  Am I that forgettable?  I’m often tempted to call them out on it, but I know it’s not done purposefully to hurt my feelings.  I can’t take it personally, except I do.  No one wants to feel invisible.  It doesn’t feel good.

What I’ve discovered over the last week while sorting through my list of pet peeves is that most of them just involve a little self-awareness.  We are probably all guilty of all of these and many more at one time or another.  It’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives, our own problems and issues and fail to notice how our actions and behaviors affect those around us, both those people we know and those we don’t know.  I passed a woman in the parking lot the other day and she said “I love your workout pants, so cute!”  She made my whole day.  It was such a stupid little thing, but the 2 seconds she spared to throw a tiny compliment to a stranger, changed the course of my entire day.  I had an extra spring in my step.  I felt pretty adorable in my cute workout pants and in turn I was a kinder, gentler and perhaps nicer version of my usual self.  Kindness is catching, so are smiles.  Spread them around today ❤

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://thelieberfamily.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

I’d Prefer A “Desserted” Island (get it?)

“Someone asked me, if I were stranded on a deserted island what book would I bring…How To Build A Boat.” Steven Wright

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

You are going to spend a month on a deserted island, but you can only bring 3 things (not people) with you. What are they and why?

It was submitted by: http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

Heaven.  That was the first word that came to mind when I imagined myself on a deserted island with no other people. Peace and quiet. Solitude.  And then…boredom.  It sounds so awesome in theory, but I’d probably be dying of boredom within the 1st hour. Unless I could bring Adam Levine, but the prompt quite clearly says…no people.  Boo!  If I could get Adam on a deserted island for 30 days, well… I’ll keep this G rated.

(On a sidenote, he’s (Adam, of course) having a baby ya’ll! I hope he/she gets his cotton candy colored hair…)

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Anyway, I digress…

Actually, if I’m being honest, my first thought was a “desserted” island, sort of like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory meets The Blue Lagoon, all brownie trees, chocolate chip cookie dough beaches and whip cream clouds.

I remember seeing the movie “Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields for the first time.  I always felt like she and I were kindred spirits, with our long brown hair and bushy eyebrows.  I spent many a teenage angsty moment living on the Blue Lagoon with the boy crush of the moment. But again, can’t take boys, so what to bring, what to bring…

The three things I would bring to a deserted island for a month…hmmm.  The only restriction was that I couldn’t bring people, so keeping that in mind, here is my list:

1) Tiny House – I am OBSESSED with the tiny house movement.

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I’ve told my kids repeatedly that when I get rather advanced in years, they can just plop one of these babies in the backyard, and I’ll live there quite happily till the day I die.  This assumes my husband goes first, I don’t think we could share a tiny house cause…reasons.

But seriously, how adorable are these tiny houses!

2)  A boat –  so I could leave the deserted island as needed to alleviate boredom and should the occasion arise that I miss other humans (doubtful but possible).  By boat, what I mean is…

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Go big or go home! Naturally (in what has quickly turned into a fantasy vacation), I would know how to operate this yacht, since I’m not allowed to bring people to my island.

3) my iPad – probably the one thing I truly couldn’t live without, mostly because of the kindle app.  I don’t need wifi to read books on my kindle and I have enough books downloaded on it to last for years probably, not just a month.  I’d construct myself a hammock made from the natural materials found on my little island, cause naturally it’s my fantasy and I’m the female MacGyver.  Ya’ll remember MacGyver right?  It was a television show about an average guy who thwarts his enemies by making complicated machines out of ordinary things you might find under your couch cushions, like pennies and paper clips.

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I think I made three really solid choices.  In fact, I may never leave this island.  Don’t worry, I’ll allow visitors.  It’ll be BYOTH (bring your own tiny house)!

“I have to say, if someone literally said to me, ‘You’re going off to a desert island, what is the one thing you would bring?’ I would say, ‘It’s my concealer or you can just kill me now.’ I’ve thought this through! Because I would find, like, berries in a bowl and make blush.”  Drew Barrymore

HAPPY FRIDAY!  LIVE IT UP THIS WEEKEND ❤

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

 

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://thelieberfamily.com

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Luckiest Girl Alive

“Marriage is the highest state of friendship. If happy, it lessens our cares by dividing them, at the same time that it doubles our pleasures by mutual participation.” Samuel Richardson

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you?

It was submitted by: http://thelieberfamily.com

When I received my prompt, I was so relieved.  Whew!  An easy one! The day I met my husband is definitely the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.

All week, I’ve been writing this blog post in my head.  That’s how I do it.  I compose a general outline in my head before committing my ideas to paper.  It was going to be epic!

A beautiful tribute…

The love story to end all love stories!

Except today, I’m pissed at him. Like really angry. Suddenly, I’m not feeling so lucky. My feelings have been hurt. My brain is filled with all the things I find annoying and aggravating about him.

I tried prayer:

“Dear God,

I’m having a hard time loving my husband today. He’s a jerk. I mean really, don’t you see this, I mean you created him.  I’m not blaming you per se…but I mean… No, no I’m sorry God, this is not how I meant for this prayer to go. I’m struggling today. I need some divine wisdom, a calming touch, a deep breath.  Actually, you probably just need to hold me back from punching him in the face. ‘Cause THAT would feel good! I mean, it would feel terrible. Obviously, I don’t really mean that.  Except that you can see into my heart and you know that I actually do mean that exactly. I’m a terrible person.  An awful wife. Who thinks like this, I’m not a violent person. See what he does to me! I’m just really angry, and I need some help putting things into perspective.  Remind me why I love him? What?  You can’t think of anything either can you? Why so quiet?! Thank you for the beautiful weather today by the way. I opened the windows and usually that calms me, but today all I see is dog hair swirling around in the breezes. I should go vacuum. I don’t feel like this little talk is helping. No offense.  I’m sure you’re trying.  It’s me, not you. I want to be angry. It’s fueling my indignation.

We’ll try again later.  

Sorry.  

Amen.

P.S. You agree I’m right and he’s wrong though, right? Just checking…”

I went back through my workbook from a Bible Study on forgiveness I took, hoping and praying for inspiration. Everything I read just makes me more angry, because I quite strongly believe that I’m the injured party here.  My big offense was waking up this morning! Sorry my BREATHING angered you honey, tell me how I can make it up to you please?!?! Ugh!

Adam Levine never treated me like this when we were pretend married.

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Round and round I go. A vicious circle, never-ending. I tried meditation.  I took a long walk. Still angry. I indulged in a very Gone With The Wind moment, standing in my front lawn, shaking my fist at the sky. I felt very dignified, but I probably just looked deranged to any onlookers.

I wonder how many calories anger burns?

Oh goodness, he’s trying to call me right now.  I’m not going to answer, that’ll show him.  OMG he’s calling again. I’m ignoring you!  How does it feel?!?  Hmmmmm?

Now he’s texting me.  Sigh.

“Hello??” he says.

The nerve.

I remember when I first met my husband.  Our complicated history is not something I talk about very openly.

I had two concerns about dating him:

  1. he’s short
  2. he’s “churchboy” (my nickname for him)

I could probably best be described as agnostic when we met, which coincidentally happened to be at church.

I was a single mother. My divorce had been extremely difficult on me, both financially and emotionally.  I had 2 little girls and everything I’d ever dreamed or wanted for them (and for myself) had been shattered.  I was desperate for connection.  I was lonely. I didn’t have any family close by and any friends I kept from the divorce were single and interested in single-life pursuits, not changing diapers and wiping noses.

I remember giving my girls a bath and I just started crying.  It had been a rough day. An exceptionally rough day, and I just couldn’t pretend to be happy and cheerful in that one moment. I was watching them giggle and play and I just felt overwhelming sadness. This isn’t how my life was supposed to work out.  This was not the plan. In the blink of an eye, I found myself overcome with feelings of grief and guilt. I gazed upon their little blonde heads and felt with absolute certainty that I had ruined their lives forever. I should have done more, said more, been more…

My baby daughter looks up at me, with her big blue eyes, touches my arm and says: “It’s okay mommy, God loves you.”

The next Sunday, we got dressed up and went to church.

Where I met, “churchboy.”

I remember the first outing I attended with the church singles group was a family camping trip. We were all sitting down to dinner, and my future husband starts pulling out all of this tupperware, which he hands to the cutest little girl ever. I fell in love with her the minute I saw her. She was wearing overalls and sporting the most adorable braided pigtails adorned with girlie clips. She was 6 months older than my youngest and 2 years younger than my oldest. She looked so much like her daddy and boy did she adore him. In this tupperware, he had packed some chicken breast and asparagus tips…honestly, who packs asparagus tips to go camping! I suddenly felt the need to hide my bag of Cheetos and PB&J sandwiches.

He had a hole in his shirt though, which I found endearing.

Blending a family is no easy task. We experienced more than our fair share of challenges.

He was everything I never even knew I wanted or needed.

We dodged obstacle after obstacle, hurdle after hurdle. We somehow met each challenge, not always with dignity or grace. We each made terrible missteps, huge mistakes. We each carried pain from our previous relationships. We wore our grudges like armor, our fear like a mask. Our children needed to make adjustments. Sacrifices were necessary on all sides. On the outside looking in, we were a wildly successful blended family, hardly anyone even knew we’d both been married previously or that the girls weren’t all biological sisters.  The truth was ugly.  We were a hot mess. Battle lines were drawn daily.  His and hers. There were days I felt the rifts were as wide, if not wider, than the Grand Canyon, infinitely deep. Wounds barely had time to scab over before we were ripping them open again. We lashed out. We struggled. We fought. We questioned daily our decisions, our marriage, this idea that we thought we could ever make it all work.

Yet, we were both committed to doing exactly that, making it all work.  Somehow it did, it has. He’s my best friend. As mad at him as I am in this moment, I wouldn’t change a thing and I still believe with my whole heart that meeting him was the best and luckiest thing that has and will ever happen to me. We did struggle, but we also loved, laughed, hoped, dreamed and vowed to never give up.  We knew we had something special, something worth fighting for, no matter what.

Our faith journey has been rocky. We haven’t always stayed on the same page, I veered off the beaten track more than once. He remained steadfast and true in his belief, in his patience in the face of my doubts and fears. He never made me feel stupid or inadequate. My faith, or lack thereof, didn’t scare him. He loved me and he believed in me and he knew I would work it out and he’d made the decision to walk beside me as I navigated thru the twisty confusion my uncertainty and unbelief created in my heart and mind. He prayed for me. I envied his strength and convictions. I still do.

As it turns out, finding my faith was the easy part.  Living it out on a daily basis, now that’s hard. I wonder if God ever wants to punch me in the face? Probably. Sometimes I want to punch me in the face.

My feelings are still hurt, but now I’m also feeling nostalgic.  And dare I say it…loving.  Ugh!  It’s true, I’m thinking warm and gooey thoughts about the man whose head I wanted to rip off a moment ago. I mean, I’d still punch him, but maybe just on the shoulder…all affectionate-like. Ish.

He’s not perfect, but neither am I.

He is my best friend. He’s my person.

He changed my life. Meeting him, loving him, marrying him was the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.

Thank you God. Thank you for bringing us together. Thank you for creating something beautiful out of the ruins of our mutual divorces and the inevitable fallout. Thank you for placing him into my life at the perfect moment. Thank you for blessing me, loving me, forgiving me. Thank you for opening my heart.

My cup indeed overflows.

Amen.

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“Marriage – a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.” Beverley Nichols

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://thelieberfamily.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Roses Are Red, February is…

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.” Allen Klein

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

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My “Secret Subject” is:

Most of us associate Red with the month of February.  Choose another color for the month and why did you choose that color?  

It was submitted by: http://www.southernbellecharm.com

When I received my prompt this month, my youngest daughter was with me.  I asked her (rhetorically) how I was going to write a whole blog post around a color?  Of a month!  Her suggestions on what color I should pick:

  1. Black – like your soul, when another Valentine’s Day comes and goes with no gifts or acknowledgment from your beloved.
  2. Blue – like your tears, when another Valentine’s Day comes and goes with no gifts or acknowledgement from your beloved.

I have to admit, these were excellent suggestions, and I’m a little ashamed I didn’t think of them myself.  However, there is only one teensy problem.  As much as I LOVE putting  my husband in the hot seat, I can’t in good conscience throw him under the proverbial bus with this post.

The truth is that we don’t “do” Valentine’s Day.  Honestly, I think it’s a stupid holiday, but that’s a whole other blog post.

So I can’t pick red.  I’m not really a fan of pink, which would be the next obvious choice.  I associate green with March, yellow with summer, orange and brown with fall.  Black is tempting.  My wardrobe is comprised of mostly black and gray, so matching would be easy peasy.  So many colors, so many choices.

I decided to look up all the holidays occurring in the month of February to see if a particular color jumped out at me.

  • Groundhog Day
  • National Signing Day
  • World Cancer Day
  • National Wear Red
  • Super Bowl
  • Chinese New Year
  • Mardi Gras
  • Pancake Day
  • Ash Wednesday
  • World Radio Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • International Condom Day
  • President’s Day
  • International Mother Language
  • National Margarita Day
  • Grammy and Academy Awards

International Condom Day?  “Love is the best protection” is the motto for this unofficial holiday and the AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) distributes LOVE-branded condoms at events across the world.  Who knew!  But that doesn’t really help me with a color, other than red or flesh-colored.  Nude.  I hate that term “flesh-colored.”  It reminds me of that movie, “Silence of the Lambs.”  The movie where he kidnaps overweight girls, dumps them in a hole, starves them and then uses their loose skin…oh…now I’ve freaked myself out.  Moving on… Is ribbed a color?  Ha!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist 😉

International Mother Language?  Started by UNESCO, this unofficial holiday “promotes the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.”  The day actually represents a day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh (UN.org).  It’s been celebrated since 2000 and encourages linguistic diversity.  Very interesting, but languages portray the color red I think, maybe because of “love languages.”

Pancake and Margarita Day require no explanation.  These two unofficial holidays would only be better if they were on the same day!  Pancakes for breakfast and Margarita’s for dinner!  Actually that feels restrictive, I love breakfast for dinner and I think Margarita’s could be a fruit substitute for breakfast.  Pancakes and Margarita’s – all day, every day 😀  Who is with me?

February is also Black History and American Heart Month.  National African American History and National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention are also observed.

Each month has official fruits…did you know?  February is oranges, star fruit, calabaza squash, chayote squash, bitter melon.  All those fruits seem to be in the red/orange/yellow category, except chayote squash (which I’ve never heard of) which is green, sort of looks like an avocado.  Bitter melons are also green and look more like cucumbers than melons.

The birthstone is amethyst and the flower is violet.  I hadn’t thought of purple!  Purple doesn’t really inherently remind me of another month, so it could work for February.

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Purple reminds me of royalty and wealth, a rich feminine color bolder than pink yet more subtle than red.  It feels like a romantic color to me, also considered meditative.  I find the color relaxing, more stimulating than blue.  Purple stirs my imagination, it’s a fun and flashy color.  The color purple is said to symbolize the union of body and soul.  It’s a color for dreamers and philosophers creating a harmony between the mind and the spirit.  Violet represents selfless love and compassion, perfect for the month of February.  All the shades of purple promote creativity, magic and mystery.  Purple can awaken feelings of nostalgia and romance. The color purple evokes rich thoughts and feelings, channeling both power and wisdom, humility and sensitivity fusing body, mind and spirit.

I never realized colors could be so complicated and full of depth.  I’ll never look at the color purple the same way again.

I declare PURPLE as the new color for the month of February!

FEBRUARY

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”  Alice Walker

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

http://thelieberfamily.com

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

HAVE A VERY PURPLE WEEKEND ❤