But did you say it…..,

I haven’t slept well for years. And not just because I have five children. I also have some insomnia issues that stem from some health problems. What that means is I have spent the last several years in a functional coma. Yes, functional coma. It’s a medical term…. look it up. ( You won’t find it. ..but you can still look it up if you want to. ) However, recently , and by recently I mean the last seven days… I have made some dietary changes that have helped….. oh…. and taken a sleeping pill. That may also have played a part in the fact that I feel more concious than I can recall feeling in FOREVER….

Sooo, imagine my children’s confusion when for the second day in a row I required them to be physically and mentally active ALL DAY LONG.  Day one wasn’t so bad.  They were so bewildered that they just sort of allowed themselves to be carried on the wave of my productivity. By day two, however, frustration and crappy attitudes were in full swing. Just as I was about to yell at them to change their tones and speak lovingly to each other or else, I remembered I was a Christian… So,  instead I calmly pulled them aside, apologized for my three year long functional coma,  and explained that we would now be living life as responsible , hard working citizens! And with a good attitude….got me! They nodded that they indeed “got me”  and went back to their chores.

unfortunately,  the oldest did not get me the way I wanted her to get me. That meant a private session was required. Praise God, for that…. no, really. I actually mean praise God. Because that led to one of the most significant conversations we have ever had.

We talked about prayers….. the ones that don’t get answered….the ones that take so long to be answered you feel beaten up, hopeless, and half dead by the time God says yes… the ones that get answered in the most painful ways.  We talked about our plans vs God’s plans. We talked about the story of Joseph. .. we pondered about how many times he must have pleaded with God to change his situation… And God didn’t. ..for years . God didn’t,  because while Joseph wanted God to rescue his individual life, God had plans to rescue millions of lives. But, that plan included so many difficult and painful things for Joseph.  I told her about the night I miscarried my first child. I told her how I begged for God not to do this….”PLEASE,  DON’T DO THIS. ..” But, He did.  And because He did, the timing allowed her to be conceived.  And, now, here she is …changing the world.

Now, the point of this particular blog is not about how God’s plans are greater than ours and we need to trust Him through the pain. They are and we do. But that’s not my point. My point is this…. what happened after I told my 12 year old her existence is changing the world.

She asked me how. And I told her. I told her how her existence has changed her best friend’s life… brought comfort and encouragement in a way that will help her bff grow in confidence.., which will alter her future.  I told my daughter how she has enriched our family….how her prescence and gifts have made things sweeter for us, thus changing the kind of people we become. Then I told her she is only 12 and has alrwady impacted so many lives…. imagine how much she will impact the world by the time she is an old women!  And guess what…. she believed me. Every word….she believed me. Can you imagine what a girl who believes she is valuable to the world around her will grow up to be??????  My heart bursts at thought. …

But what if I hadn’t told her? It would have all been true but she wouldn’t have known it. That means it would have been, for her, as if were not true….

We have to use words people….we have to say the words . Or they might not know…they might not know the things they need to know so they can grow up and change the world.

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PSA….

You know how when you have to have a really important talk with someone incredibly dear to you, but you don’t want to because you know it could cause discomfort and possibly strain the relationship…  So, you put it off as long as possible, and when you finally have the talk it goes so well and the two of you are closer than ever.  Well, I really hope this goes that way.  I mean really…like really, really...

 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving…. which should be like a Norman Rockwell painting.  Unfortunately, for many of us , it won’t.  It will be exhausting…physically and emotionally.  It will be draining after miles of travel and tons of preparation….and it will include strained relationships and unaddressed hurt feelings between family members.  It will be chaotic as kids scream, and run through non child friendly homes with cousins they haven’t seen in ages.  There will be resentment and insecurity at so many Thanksgiving tables this year.  For many, it holds the potential to be so…painful.

I want you to know that I get that.  I am so sorry for that.  If we were together right now I would hold your hand while you cried…or ranted…or worried in silence.  I get that holidays are not sweet…not something to be thankful for, for so many of us.

But that is not what I am writing this for….that is not the Public Service Announcement.  The PSA is this….Screw Black Friday…

Now, I can see you scratching your head a little bit on the jump from “painful family holidays” to “stay away from stores”.  But, they are related.   Relationships are valuable….and fragile.  Many of us will see the deep needs and hurts of our children, spouses, and ourselves as we come together these next few days.  We need to pay attention to them.  We need to give time to restoring them.  We can’t do that if we are spending all of our time , money, and mental energy on when to get to the store and how to make sure we get the desired thing before they are all gone.

I promise you, nothing you stand in line for this week will heal a single person in your family.  The 40 inch tv on sale for $179 will not heal your marriage.  The Play Station that is 50% off will not make your child so happy that they will love their siblings and treat others with more respect….The $29 tablet will not heal the wound in your teenager’s heart now that they have been repeatedly exposed to graphic pornography and violence.  If you truly want to have a real chance of meeting these real needs, put your credit card away and be with them this week.  Sit with them….talk with them….play with them….cry with them.  Live life with your people this week….not your retailers.  I swear….your family is not hurting because you don’t have enough stuff.  And giving up this precious time this week could , in fact, really add to the harm.  Numbing ourselves with things so we don’t feel the hurt will only give the wound more time to grow.

Love your people this week.  Give them yourself….not plastic and wires.  Give them you…

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…. more than just a pretty face…….

Have you ever been sitting in a group and felt like you just had to make a comment?   ….just could not keep your big, fat mouth shut and let the feeling pass?  Because. …. if you had been able to show the tiniest bit of self control you would not be feeling the overwhelming since of regret and insecurity that is coursing through your veins immediately following ….   I am sure you are all going to be very surprised to find out that I have lived that moment MANY times over in my 39 years. The number of sunday school classes alone could fill a book….   I over share….over advise……over estimate my own wisdom.  And each time I do I am filled with remorse.   But, apparently not enough to make a difference because here I go again!   That’s right ladies, put your seatbelts on because we are about to take a ride on the ” sure to offend half of America ” express!

 

So, about that “why my girls don’t wear makeup until they are 80” post…  Ok…not eighty…but pretty late compaired to most of their peers.  The reason is not a religous one.  It has nothing to do with modesty. I think makeup can certainly be applied modestly at any age.  It’s because makeup in our culture is so often about attraction….particularly for a single woman.  In our culture makeup is a signal that a girl is now ready to be noticed…paid particular intrest to…pursued even.  It says that childhood has ended and that the girl is ready to enter a world for women.  It’s tempting to think I am over thinking it…but I’m not.  I’m not talking about a childish afternoon of playing dressup with your mothers things.  I’m talking about a 12 year old girl walking into her bathroom mirror everyday and altering what she sees in the mirror because she thinks it will impact how she is excepted by her peers, those older than her….boys.  At 12, to start everyday with the subconious thought that who and what you are is not enough….  That is enough to make me have a “policy” on makeup….but that’s not all.  When she comes out of that bathroom the world will have a say about what they see…boys…older boys…perhaps even men will have a definite response to her.  Now, as we grow, and mature we learn to read people…we learn to discern people’s good intentions vs bad ones…we learn to read a guy and know the differnce between lust and genuine interest in us a person.  Twelve , thirteen, fourteen….these are not the ages that occurs.  Think of it this way…if a man walks up to you wearing a police officers uniform what are you going to think?  I am going to think he is a police officer…I will expect from him what I expect from an officer.  But, what if he just put the uniform on that day…not because he has been trained as an officer, but because he felt like it.  That is going to lead to trouble  Makeup is not a toy…. Think of why you put on makeup everyday….or more importantly, why you don’t want to go anywhere without it…  Growing into a woman is serious, heart changing, image forming, self awareness and accepting business.   It does not begin with applying makeup.  Before my daughter looks into a mirror everyday and applies creams and colors to alter her appearnece I want her to begin to be aware of her heart….and the beauty….and not so beautiful parts of that. If I let changing her face be her first rite of passage into womanhood then I am basically saying that her appearence is the thing that matters….that if she can cultivate a pleasing outside she has met the goal.

The other day I was talking with my oldest daughter about a writing opportunity she had.  She was having trouble with it.  I told her to just write in her own voice. She said, “but, mom, …I don’t know what my own voice is…”.  It hit me…of course you don’t…your 12….your are just beggining the season of learning who you are…why would you know yourself yet?  There is, and will be so much to learn about yourself….your gifts, your interests, your abilities, your fears….your sinfulness…  If I let her cultivate her makeup skills before we have even really begun the journey of transforming from child to woman then she could create an outside that looks the part and an inside that is not.

For those who might think I am making a mountain out of a mole hill…who are thinking, “what’s the big deal…it’s just make up”….  The big deal is this.  Being a woman is such a beautiful, mysterious, amazing thing.  A woman’s contribution to the world around her is not her appearence or her sex appeal.  I want my daughter to be very clear on that.  Rachel Katherine, the benefit you bring to this world by your existence is NOT, by no stretch of the greatest of imaginations, encapsulated in your face or physical body.  It is not in how pretty or sexy you may or may not be.  It is in how well you reflect your maker…in your kindness….your inteligence….your artistry…..and so many other things about you….things you will learn about over the span of your life…as you get to know CHRIST And yourself better….things not found in a bottle…. things discoverered through tears…and pain….loss….love…humility…

And, that is why we don’t let our daughters wear makeup … for now.

 

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I’m naming my next child after Trace Adkins…

So, I haven’t written a blog post in about a million years.  The main reason for that is I have been…sad.  And apparently, I don’t feel like blogging when I am sad.  I do , however, feel like eating.  And I did that…. I wish I was an emotional blogger instead of an emotional eater…  And, to be totally honest…I’m still a little sad…. Clouds have not cleared….rainbows have not appeared…I am still sorta living an Eeyore kind of life right now.   But…..I saw an “inspirational” movie.  “Mom’s Night Out”.  I laughed out loud over and over…and thanks to Trace Adkins I even did the ugly cry right there in the theater.  It’s a really good movie and my husband WILL be seeing it sometime soon.  One of the things it inspired me to do was to blog… I know exactly what you are thinking right now …” Thank you God, for Trace Adkins.”.  😉

So…. what is my first blog in a thousand years going to be about???  Well, I thought about something while I was working my chauffeur job  spending valuable time with my family in the suburban.  And I kid you not, it brought me to tears.  Now, my hormones are TOTALLY OUT OF WHACK right now , so that may or may not have contributed to the saline flood but I am going to go with the “it was the spirit” line of thought.  Unfortunately, by the time I sat down to write (which I could not do until I reset my password….which was not necessary until after I was finally able to recall the name of the website where my blog resides…) I had of course, forgotten the thing that I had cried over.  People…it has been a hard time…we are tired in our bones.  The fact that everyone is alive and I have not left a man behind is, in truth, a testament to the grace of a gentle and loving God.  But, good news!  It has taken me so long to write this that I finally remembered it!!!  But, bad news… I am too tired to write about it right now…

So, let’s sum this one up with a little paraphrased wisdom from my good buddy, Trace,…

I try to use humor as often as I can in life.  However, these last couple of years, as God has graciously, and gently ( although it felt anything but gentle in the middle of it) pulled idols from my white knuckle gripped hands, I have struggled to see the good…the fun.  I have wrestled, begged, tried to fake compliance, worked to manipulate….done anything I could think of to try and get God to stop taking the thing I loved most….control.  It has not been pretty.  And, it has most definitely not been funny.  It has left me exhausted, sad…and so insecure.  Insecure of my identity and my value.  Once my feeling of control was shaken…so was so much else.

I am not at the end of this lesson.  This is not the, “Thank the Lord, that’s over!” post.  It’s the “I am beginning to see that what I valued so highly and found so much identity in wasn’t real…wasn’t true” post.  The idea that having “control of my life” indicates value……proves to the world that I am not worthless, was a false notion.

The truth is, I am not worthless because Christ gave me all of His worthiness.  I have value because His love changed me into someone worth giving all they had for.  And this is true on days when I am living a life pleasing to those around me…and it is still completely, totally true when I am not.  When I am failing…when I am quitting….when , no matter how hard I tried , it just all fell to pieces.

 

So, my blog post on why we make our daughters wait until they can join the AARP before they wear makeup will have to wait…  But, don’t you worry.. I will give you all the life changing, inspirational , unasked for “advice” very soon…if I can remember it.

 

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The real thing….

This weekend was a really good weekend.  Which was great because life has been exhausting for…..forever.   Step got a three day weekend (after weeks of 11 to 13 hour days) and we just really enjoyed having him home.  There was lots of kissing.  And I mean the good kind…;) .  Last night, as we were talking in the kitchen (I mean somebody had to stand in there with him while he washed dishes…:) I realized that our kids never made fun of all our kissing.  There were no gagging noises or exaggerated pleas to cease and desist.  In fact, on Sunday, during naptime we let them watch a movie while we rested (our room is right off the living room) and when they saw us kiss they literally piled on top of us and just laid there  until I begged for oxygen.  Isn’t that strange…don’t kids usually get embarrassed by their parents public displays of affection? Ours were drawn as if by magnetic force to us everytime the saw us cuddling….

I have a hypothesis…. 

We are really strict with tv.  We significantly limit what they see.  What they are allowed to watch has to be age appropriate for the youngest person in the room (Noah is three) and if we are unsure we watch it with them.  Also, when people kiss…particularly when they are not married, we ask them to close their eyes.  Not because it is ugly…not because it is wrong…but because it is private…personal….intimate.  

Intimacy is a big deal to us.  As humans, we are made to need intimacy.  That special connection with few that allows us to be open to others in a way we cannot with society at large. We work very hard to make our home a place where intimacy thrives.  Where you can be known, and vulnerable and connected to others.  Where you don’t have to hide or withdraw.  

Now, you might be asking yourself how these two things impacted the way our children reacted to our open expressions of romantic affection….  I think that by protecting them from the awkwardness of seeing the false intimacy of total strangers on the television paired with raising them in a home where real intimacy is expressed between all members (through hugs , and kisses, and snuggles, and sharing our hurts…and respecting one another as we work through our selfishness)… I think that creates kids who are able to enjoy their parents affection.  

I think that is something that is not common for our culture….being comfortable with real intimacy.  We have multiple pornographic publications….sexually graphic movies and televisions shows….even PG 13 movies that show quite a lot….but, the same culture that spends millions of dollars to watch other people be sexually intimate with one another gets very uncomfortable watching a real, live  mother quietly nurse her infant on a park bench.  We don’t give enough credit to the impact images have on us….that by watching certain things over and over it changes who we are and what we think.  

By being so purposeful about our children’s media consumption they are now very uncomfortable watching people they don’t know on television that do not have a real relationship express intimacy.  They are, however, apparently VERY comfortable getting up close and personal to real life intimacy with the people they feel connected to.  I really like that….. 

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No Filter….

Ok…be forewarned….I have not thought this post through.  I will be writing these things as they come to mind and then I will probably press publish before overly considering what I have written. And, to top it off, this post will cover a very controversial topic…babies.  There….forewarning has been given.  🙂

So, I have been reading a book about over consumption and that has made me begin to think about all the ways I consume and the what and why of it all.  One of those things being media.  I watch a lot of Hulu….so, in trying to change that I have started with a lateral move…slowly switching from tv shows to TED talks. (This is made easier by the fact that most of the shows I watch have had their season enders…)  Being a psychology major I have listened to a lot of social scientists and have also learned a  lot about child development and education…two of my P-A-S-S-I-O-N-S.  It has been like a drug…I get a little high from all this new, fascinating information.  So, while I have made no progress in reducing my consumption of media at least my brain is benefiting rather than turning into sludge…

One of the talks discusses the impact religion has on number of births per family.  But, in tracking the stats from 1960 to today it makes a really interesting observation.  While Christian and Muslim families tend to have the most children per mother that number significantly declines the wealthier a family becomes.  In fact, similar trends are found within other religions as well.  So… so what?  I could have told you that…that having more children for almost everyone means having less stuff.  This was not the eye opener for me. I am living that statistic…. in stereo.  What hit me as I watched those graphs change over the years they represented was ” oh crap…we don’t have more children because we want more stuff.”   Think about that for a moment….we restrict our families to one  (or two at the most for most American families) because we would rather have stuff….cars…trips…houses that allow us all our own rooms so we don’t have to share ANYTHING… We choose to not make people so that China can make more stuff and we will have the money to buy it…  wow…

When people meet my children…when they really spend time with them they always comment on how different they are.  They comment on how kind…affectionate…polite…thoughtful…intelligent…creative… the list goes on.  Now, I do not say this to brag…we can give multiple examples every single day about how each person in this family is a bonafide sinner and in need of the redeeming love of Jesus Christ, but the previous list is true too.  And I will bet my bottom dollar (of which we are very close to ) that a MASSIVE  reason for that is the amount of people we have to share life with and the lack of stuff and activities in our life.  My children have never been on the American definition of a vacation…no one is currently taking a lesson or activity of any kind…95% of their clothes are hand me down…they are homeschooled…the eat the same breakfast and the same simple lunch almost everyday…the girls share a room and the boys share a room (they regularly ask to all be in the same room).

This summer our children will have access to more personal technology and activities than they have ever had before and while I am really happy for them I will be watching them like a hawk to see if it is helpful or harmful.  Our six year old recently choose to put her money towards the purchase of a used Ipod touch….she has wanted one for a long time.  She has to share it with her brother…it is “theirs” not “hers”.  I did that for her benefit….it would be so tempting to pull away from her family and “guard” this item if it were just hers..because she is a co-owner she has to share it, and thus the experience of using it , with someone else…she will not be isolated…she will not be alone.  That is good.

To be honest, I don’t have an issue with small families.  I am an only child.  After the age of 9 I don’t think I minded not having siblings.  I am very close with my parents and I really like our little clan…not so little now since, by marrying, I added six people to it…but, still, the point is I do not have a problem with small families.  My concern is a society that limits family size for the express purpose of having MORE STUFF.  That is concerning…that is a big, sad deal…  That is very dangerous…for society…for the family….for the individual soul…

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In the eye of the beholder…

I love Pinterest…how awesome is it that you can pin a picture and you don’t even have to do, make, etc anything because just pinning the item onto your board makes you feel as if it is already accomplished?!?!  Pinterest was made for people like me…all idea….less bringing it to fruition.  While I was pinning to day I came across so many pins labeled “great inspiration for fitness”… all the photos looked the same…girl in either underwear or unbuttoned jeans….bra or bare chested with strategically placed hair….ridiculous come hither look.   People…this is not fitness…this is lust.  

If you are pinning all your hope for inspiration on a soft porn picture of a women whose goal when taking that photo was most certainly not to inspire millions of women onto health then you are going to most likely stay unfit….because guess what… when it comes to the difficult task of regaining your health we (women) are not built in way that overwhelmingly values looking like a sex symbol.  And that is a good thing…because sex symbols exist only to provide pleasure to those who look at them…and to create a desire in men.  Is that our “fitness goal”…to shape our bodies in such a way that people no longer see us as a soul but just something to entice those around us?

Ladies, getting fit is a great goal…because when we are fit we feel better and are more involved in the lives of those we love.  Strong bodies give us the ability to participate in the lives of others more fully and richly.  You do not have to look like a pin up girl to achieve this goal.  

Let me ask a question..what if we saw our husband s looking at these kinds of photos?  It would hurt…because so specifically defining what beauty and attractiveness and “fitness” is dangerous.  It is lying to yourself…and that lie prevents us from enjoying things that are real…and really good.

 

I am over weight…and slowly but sincerely, I am trying to address that.  In all the years I have been married my husband has told me I am beautiful and sexy…and most days I have not believed him. ( I know…we have five kids…clearly, there were several days I believed him…)   By not trusting him…by believing the lie that I am not those things to him, I have kept myself from him at times.  Which has, at times, denied both of us the opportunity to enjoy the real good that is ours to have in sharing physical intimacy.

So, here is my suggestion…Let’s put away the practically pornographic pictures of “inspiration” (hint- If we wouldn’t want our husbands, or sons, or young daughters staring at them then we don’t need to either…)…let’s pursue health with the goal of loving and participating in life more fully…and while we are at it, let’s remember that being beautiful is about sharing ourselves fully with those we love.  

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If I have not love….

Well, Facebook has been youtube’s advertising agent this week.  I have had more “watch this” updates…and not the spammy “I can’t believe she did THIS ” with the half naked teenage girl leaning over with her backside all up in your grill.  These were legitimate videos  and links with thought provoking, and yet clearly conservative leaning messages.  Several of them had a clear christian tone.  I really enjoyed them.. Which makes sense…I am a christian and while I like to consider myself a moderate, I am a moderate that leans to the right.  There was one that I found particularly impactful.

Rosaria Butterfield is a former lesbian.  She has a phd in English…was a tenured professor of English and of Women’s Studies.  She is a published author and wrote some things of significance in her field.  However, it is in spite of Christians that she is a believer.  God had to woo her almost entirely by himself…and because of the way his children acted it was quite the challenge. In her experience Christians were people who used scripture “to end a conversation rather than deepen it”…and (I am reading between the lines here) used anger and accusing words when their evangelism did not produce the appropriate amount of repentance and conversion. For her, Christians could be recognized by their hate and unwillingness or inability to defend their faith in a patient and thought provoking way.  When I read some of our facebook comments…see some of the more prominent religious leaders’ public comments….see the way we treat those whom we think sin worse than we do…and heaven forbid, think differently than us politically…well, she’s not really too far off the mark.

Fellow brothers and sisters…in our fear of what is happening around us we have seemingly forgotten something.  We seem to have forgotten how to love.  And, it is not just in the way we speak to those on opposing sides of politics, abortion, homosexuality…  It is in the way we speak to and about each other….the despising way we speak to our spouses…the way the anger in our homes flows onto schoolyards across the country…those rude, disrespectful children we are all complaining about got that attitude from somewhere.  One of my favorite movies is a football movie set in the segregated south called Remember the Titans.  The black and white students are having to be on the same team for the first time and there are obviously problems.  The white team captain complains to one of the black leaders about their attitude.  The black teammate responds “Attitude reflects leadership.”  Parents, we are the primary influence in our childrens’ lives…when we see problems in them the most effective place to start is reflecting on our behavior.  And our behavior as a group…well…to be very frank, I think American Christians may be one of the angriest groups going right now.  I’ll go one further…I think I know why.  God isn’t giving us what we want.  We want comfort…and God is taking that away…and we are mad.  So, we are taking it out on each other and anyone else that disagrees with us.  Which is clearly unbiblical.  God says love your enemies…love your children…love your neighbor…love your wife…  That is alot of lovin that should be going on here folks. In fact God says we will be known by our love.  Are you known by your love?  I am not sure I am…

Love does not mean agree…love is not approval…love is not a silencing of your beliefs and convictions.  We have a “rule” in our house…You can say anything you want around here….you cannot say it any way you want.  The way we communicate our beliefs and the respect we give to others to have their own goes a long way when sharing the Gospel. Remember…God does not tell us to change hearts…that’s His job.  He tells us to love.  And in case we cannot easily recall what love is, here is a good start…

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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Am I really like that???

Ok…the title of this blog is If I were being honest…ergo, it won’t exactly read like a brag book.  However, in my “real life” I do that…brag…boast…go all peacock on everybody.  Which only highlights my hypocrisy (which is a whole ‘nother post…)because I am constantly reminding my children not to boast to one another…  Anyway….one of the things I take an inappropriate amount of pride is our family’s ability to communicate.  I like to preach  encourage others to be really mindful of the way they communicate and interact with each other and their families so that they will enjoy healthy relationships.  Well, after today some might say I fit the stereotype ” Those who can’t, teach.”.

Today I got to spend time with a friend…a new friend.  And this friend tried to do something very brave…particularly considering we live in the Bible belt.  This friend took a chance on revealing herself, her true self, knowing it would reveal significant  differences between us…our politics…our values…our faith.  She realized that I had made some pretty sweeping assumptions concerning our similarity …and she chose to be incredibly honest…knowing that if I didn’t like what I heard it could mean the end of the friendship.. for us, and our families.  She wanted to be known…and loved, for who she really was…not who I wanted her to be.  

Well, you would think Miss Healthy Communication over here would have handled this beautifully…but she didn’t.  I didn’t.  I barely listened…because after the first few minutes I was so intent on letting her know that I would enjoy being her friend no matter what our differences were that I really didn’t give her a chance to tell me who she was!  Here was someone saying, “I am not a pretender…I want a real friendship…”  which is so incredibly rare…and I just blew it.  I could have listened…reeeaaalllyyy listened…if I had then I could have spent tonight writing ya’ll an “I told ya’ll I was awesome ” post…Instead, I have to write how I am a selfish, ego centric, condescending, arrogant person who hopes, truly hopes, that tomorrow , when I apologize for all of that, that she will extend that opportunity to me again.

Which will then lead to my second problem.  What do I do with that kind of friendship?  Tonight, as I have agonized over my response I have come to some realizations. In the last ten years  I have spent a relatively small amount of time with  people who did not have to obey me… let that sink in for a minute.  Do any of you know someone who is a drill sargent for a living?  Have you ever noticed that when they are not at work they still seem to communicate with civilians in a drill sargenty kind of way?  ….yeah….  I have spent the vast majority of the last ten years relating to people with whom I am training…  What if I don’t remember how to be the other half of a normal friendship?  I have a dear friend, Paula…and I would say I am pretty “here’s what I look like in my emotional bikini” with her…but she is so sweet…she’s probably not going to tell me that I treat the world as if it is one big kindergarten class…

And, people, this is one of those things that just acknowledging you have a problem aint going to solve it. So, tomorrow, when I call, apologize, ask for another chance and assure her that her “liberal” views and my “conservative” will not be the end of our friendship…well, then I am going to have to turn around and ask her if she can still be friends with a compulsive bossy pants / gotta be in charge of every flippin thing …with me.

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Good Advice ….

I love to advise.  In fact, one of my dreams is to have a radio advice show….preferably on the Oprah Winfrey radio station.  I love to tell people what to do….cause I am a control freak,  because I love them and only want the best for them.  The thing is, I am actually pretty good at giving advise.  I have pretty good instincts, a strong understanding of how people work, and I come up with some pretty freaking awesome  (can you tell I just learned how to use the mark out line feature 😉 ) , usually helpful ideas.   The problem is I am not good at following advise….mine or anyone else’s.

I somehow think ,on a less than conscious level, that my life will work out even if I don’t do the difficult things necessary to bring it about.  An easy example is weight.  I have food issues, ya’ll.  I would say it was my friend but friends don’t to friends’ butts what food does to mine.  Food is my blanket…the one I pull over myself when things are stressful and I don’t want to face the reality of it.  It’s my comfort…my consolation…my entertainer…my companion…my addiction…my idol…my “alot of things food was never meant to be”…  I have never been so aware of that as I am now…now that things always seem to be stressful.

I have put off looking at this issue honestly for so long by telling myself a lie…the lie that I was the only one this hurt.  I told my self that since I had taught my children to enjoy healthy eating and everyone else in my family was a healthy weight then it was okay to continue having my “food issue” because it didn’t impact anyone else.  But that’s not true…  because I hide from my children when I eat….I get upset with them if they find me…  I work to deceive them and they know it.  That is incredibly dangerous… to us as a family and to them as individuals.  They are seeing that apparently it is okay to hide because the mother they trust does it….that it is ok to hurt yourself in secret and separate yourself from those who you live life with most intimately…to bear your burdens alone with whatever measures you deem appropriate…to ignore their consequences and require the same from those dearest to you.    And then, they grow up and do it too…only with alcohol…or sex…or drugs…or pornography…or spending…or any other thing that can damage and destroy.

All this came to mind because today I gave someone I love very much some advice that will significantly contribute to the sweetness of their life (at least I hope it will) if they follow it.  If they don’t, then their current situation could bring so much harm.  As I talked with them I realized the same went for me…I could follow wisdom to difficult but saving places or I could drown in the river of least resistance and take some of my precious family with me.

Knowing this does not make it one ounce easier…but, being honest about what I am really doing makes me willing… willing to take the good advise I have been given and start a journey I don’t want to go on because it will be so hard.  Because that is what people who love other people do, especially when it comes to the little people we love so much… we leave places we don’t want to leave when we see the damage it does to those we love.

So, pray for me ya’ll…I am going to need it.  And, just fyi…sell your Hershey Company stock …they are about to see a dip in sales…;)

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