Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wrapping Wars

I don't think wrapping paper likes me. I think it seems my incompetent fingers coming towards it and laughs. I've seen it preform beautifully under other people's creative touch but it decomposes under my folding and taping.

Wrapping paper and I get into full on battles with weeping and gnashing of teeth...mine. Though I'm armed with scissors, I'm the one that comes out with paper cuts and tangled in tape.

Score - Paper: 10    Me: 0

Think I'm exaggerating? Ask Matt who witnessed my wrapping battle and just sat there chuckling at my pathetic attempts to cover the evidence of the gift itself.

Right now I've got a floor littered with dozens of scraps of wrapping paper big enough to wrap a small fridge because I can't correctly measure what I need for a small matchbox car.

I went through 2 rolls of tape on a grand total of four presents. I'm the person the wrapping paper industry loves because I use up way more supplies on a handful of gifts than any full family group in North America needs for several years of Christmases.

I guess everyone has their "Bah Humbug" moment and wrapping is mine. I just don't see the point of neatly tucked corners and perfect ribbon curls which will die a quick death in a matter of seconds and be buried in the bottom of a dumpster hours later.

But it wouldn't be Christmas without the living room floor buried under a tidal wave of paper remnants and wading through it to find buried gifts.

So I'll head to the store to fight for the few remaining rolls of tape and continue my wrapping paper warfare to leave my not so pretty packages under the tree to be ripped and torn by excited boys on Christmas morning.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What I Learned From Mary Bailey

1. When a man offers you the moon, take it. Sure, it's frivolous. Sure flowers die, candy gets eaten, the moon won't fit on the mantle, but a man's sincerest gestures of thinking of spontaneous purchases to shower on his lady need to be appreciated, adored, cherished, lest they disappear all together. from one too many comments about price, sensibility, or occasion.

2. Never use any womanly wiles to punish your man for a decision you wouldn't have made. Running off to your office right after saying your wedding vows sure would leave a score hard to come back from, but Mrs. Bailey created a honeymoon retreat while her new husband was hard at work and rewarded him with love and respect beyond words.

3. If a woman can have four kids, run a war effort, and remodel a home, I can find some time to complete some of the home improvement pins I have on Pinterest.

4. Encourage your children to pray for their Daddy. Every man needs to know his spouse is lifting him up in prayer, but there's got to be something to knowing she's leading his children in prayer to their Heavenly Father for him that does a man good.

5. Don't sit around wondering what you can do to help. Mary bailey saw a need and used your good senses and wit to come to her husband's aid instead of wringing her hands. Don't wait around to be told what and how to figure out a problem, jump in and be the help God created you to be.

6. Respect your man unconditionally. Live it out before your children, family, and friends. You will be your husband's princess and most cherished possession and it truly will be a wonderful life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Surrender to Southern Living...

...and Pottery Barn, and Martha Stewart. I surrender to HGTV, to my Christmas decorating Pinterest board, and to my romantic notions of decking the halls with only boughs of holly. 

I have this simplistic approach to holiday falalala-ling that involves understated natural elements to create a casual elegance that gently hums "O Holy Night".

But I'm surrounded with men whose idea of trimming the tree screams some rambunctious garage band/beat box version of "Jingle Bells, Bat Man smells" with an added dose of chaos. 

But over the years my love of white lights and rustic fresh cut greens have transformed to include construction paper ornaments, anything bright red or green, and frosted window pains created from pb&j residue.

I may never have a tree themed "Glorious Christmas Night" or "The 12 Days of Christmas", but I'm strangely proud of my "Hail to All Things Erratic" themed tree complete with homemade memories hanging from the branches and its seizure inducing flashing iridescent neon. 

I love that all of my men, every one of them, gets giddy with dusk when the colored lights shine brightest.

 I love that our tree is covered in stories. 

And I love that all four of us have a part in rebelling from magazine perfect trimmings and decking our halls our way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hello, My Name is: Never

I would have been bright eyed and filled with wonder wrapping chubby fingers around yours.
I would have smiled at you.
I would been a little ballerina with tip toes twirling on your hardwood floor.
I would have sweaty little ringlets at the back of my neck after running around the playground with you.
I would have reached in the brownie bowl for a lick.
I would have held your hand to cross the street and call to you from my room when the shadows got too big at night.
I would have played soccer and beam a toothless grin to you when I kicked my first goal.
I would have been giddy on Christmas morning as I saw my new bike with sparkly tassels.
I would have needed you for all my questions about make-up and outfits.
I have painted nails with you.
I would have gone shopping and told you about my recent crush.
I would have hugged you for believing in me as I crossed the stage for my diploma.
I would have called about the new ring on my left hand.
I have needed you to go dress shopping.
I would have been a radiant bride in a white taffeta gown beaming up at my groom.
I would have been an incredible mother to your grandchildren.
I would have become your very dear friend.

I would have...

But now I am a child of Heaven, forever in the arms of Jesus.
And because you took away what I would have been,
I now will always be a hole in your heart and a void for the rest of your life in...

...what could have been.

A voice of the unwanted, only because she was a little girl. Written in response to the gender selective abortions being carried out across our country

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Overachiever Housewife

I'm always looking for ways to save time, multitask, kill 5 birds with one stone kind of thing. My mom used to refer to that as being an overachiever, I like to think she meant superwoman.

After burning the candle at 3 ends (do the math, it doesn't add up) as a newlywed, I figured it was time for some practical changes.

One, my husband just needed me when he got home, not a dusted mantle, not a four course meal with full China place settings, and certainly not me all stressed out that I hadn't organized the linen closet or run five miles.

Two, me being joyful with a smile on my face to greet my hard working hubby went way further than the overachieving madness I had spun myself into.

Now with two boys, four times the laundry, double the mouths to feed, and double the square footage of that first year of marriage apartment, I have a list 2 miles long...hourly.

Not that all days run smoothly (they don't), not that the boys are always dressed and clean (they aren't), but I feel after 7 years of marriage I'm finally figuring out how to get some of those birds with one stone...even when I can't see to aim.

While there's moments I feel like I've got 12 projects going at once, I'm learning the ins and outs of management and know what's going on where...except for when my oldest is chowing down coffee beans and the baby is programming the DVR.

I feel good on the days I've got fresh bread rising, spinach smoothies made, laundry and ironing done, dishes washed and dried, dinner marinating, boys fed and clean, 5 miles run, and have make-up on, hair brushed, and a smile on my face when Matt walks in the door.

But I feel even better on the days when we are bursting with stories from humorous mishaps, stains on our clothes from adventures outdoors, and when Matt gets homes we all collapse in a pile of laughter amidst the to-do list realizing sometimes memories are bigger than the messes. 

Monday, April 30, 2012


I'm currently training for a race. It's not a long race at all, but if I don't stay conditioned I won't be able to run it as well as I know I can.

I'm a bit of an excessive fanatic anyway, so throwing some extra miles into my workout routine isn't a big deal. After workouts I feel stronger, proud, and I could run another five miles, but I'm not that crazy...almost, but not quite.

I realized lately that being a Godly wife is a lot like working out. I can study and read and seek counsel on how to be a good wife, but if I'm not "working out" daily by applying it, I won't ever be conditioned and fit as the wife my husband needs.

I can't do a quick five minute wife workout and expect results. I can't even run one wife marathon and expect a life time of marital bliss. That's not what getting in shape and staying in shape is about.

My husband sure does appreciate how I keep my body a lean, mean, fit machine. He is really good at letting me know how much he likes it. But what he likes even more is when I work out my wife skills. He notices my gentleness, respect, and support long before he notices my abs.

So I've challenged myself and I challenge you...before you get your miles in or your sit-ups done, workout your wife/husband/mom/dad/employee/daughter/son self. And do it's the only way you'll grow stronger, get better, be more efficient, and fit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mom in a Future Farmerless America

Dear Department of Labor:

I want to write to thank you for taking the time to consider the overworked and overburdened children of rural America. As a former country farm girl, your newest proposal takes a huge load off my shoulders. After so many years of harsh and abusive circumstances of rural farm life, it's a relief to know there are lawmakers like you keeping tabs on things.

Just a pity it took until now.

I'll never be able to reclaim the lost years of my life. I spent my young years being denied the privilege of sleeping in and lying around on the couch and watching TV while my parents did all the work. This new rule totally makes sense. I wasted so much time learning abusive lessons about hard work, responsibility, and team effort as the family worked together mowing, changing timing belts on tractors, and weeding corn.

To think of all the times I could have been practicing lack of initiative and self-centeredness my overbearing parents were more concerned about character development and had me out in the hot sun hoeing, digging, bushwhacking, and weeding.  If only the Department of Labor had been around with these child labor laws sooner I may not now enjoy the mushy feelings of contentment after putting in a hard day's work, or learning how to handle bigger responsibilities.

And where does 4H come off being able to instill a sense of responsibility and value in impressionable young kids. Why in the world would we want a 100 year old institution with a mission grounded in building responsibility and initiative teaching young kids how to have the confidence and skills to join in the team effort of farm life. It would be much better for say, a large, out of touch, ill-informed branch of Federal government to be teaching kids these important rural life skills.

I mean, I for one would have loved a Federal Government training course to teach me how to change the belt in our tractor. What a stupid waste of time it was for my mom and I to spend hours on the dusty ground trying to rip the shredded belt out, driving to the local Tractor Supply, and coming home to spend more hours figuring out how to reinstall it. All those hours we spent together problem solving, applying science, math, physics, and economics only to be rewarded by standing sweaty and dirty admiring what we accomplished.

I for one, am just glad to know that if my husband decides to up and move us to a farm next year, my boys would never have to know the value of sweaty hard work, the proud feeling of blisters earned and the amazing taste of food you planted, weeded, nurtured, and harvested. I'm glad I won't have to be afraid for them attending a 4H meeting and being forced into situations of having to care for a goat or even worse learn how to show a cow at a county fair.

 As a mother, I'm beyond relieved to know Future Farmers of America meetings won't be teaching my boys to safely operate farm equipment. I feel much better knowing a qualified Federally trained operative is handling all that instruction. I'm sure that once my boys reach 18, the age the Department of Labor says is ok to start pitching in, they will be more than willing to hop up off that couch and jump right in there with mom and pop working the land. What adolescent wouldn't want to just switch from being self indulged and having no expectations on him to being a hard working, roll your sleeves up, go get 'em, teen? I wouldn't want them to waste their young years building character, competence, confidence, and initiative becoming valued members of society. They're just too young to pitch in there along side the family.

For hundreds of years America has seen the family working together on their farms and so far it's been a disaster. I can't believe it took this long for the government to step in. As I'm sure we'll see, once the government finally gets involved things turn around and the backbone of America's agriculture will, I'm sure, disappear as we know it.

Our future generation of poorly educated, gratified, self indulged, and undisciplined children will now also thank the Department of Labor for adding lack of initiative, irresponsible, undependable, and does-not-show-effort to the growing resume of Americans.

Thank you Federal Government for worrying yourself with horrid things like 4H and family effort. I'm glad to know you focus your energies and my tax dollars on such overarching issues. Things like the budget deficit, rising oil prices, and the housing market are just too much to handle so I say, why not just mess with something small to feel you are making a difference. Thanks for caring so much.

Mom in a Future Farmerless America

Friday, March 16, 2012


As parents of young kids I find we are always documenting and anticipating our children's "firsts". Their first steps, their first bite of real food, their first bike ride, etc.
Recently I was reading a book where the character was thinking back on her adult children's lives. She had been so busy waiting for their "firsts" that she missed their "lasts".
It made me stop and think. I hear all the expressions about "enjoying every minute", "it goes by so fast", "one day you'll blink and they will be grown and gone." I try to do that and hang onto every precious day I have been given with my boys. But after reading that book, there was something deeper planted in my boys' "lasts."
The last time they will want to curl up in my lap...
The last time they will want me to tuck them in...
The last time I give them a bath...
The last time I get them dressed...
The last time I read them a book...
The last time they hold my hand to cross the street...
There will come a time when they won't need me for any of these things. I don't want to ever take for granted the little things I do on a day to day basis that will one day come to a stop. I don't want to look froward to their "firsts" so much that I miss one of the "lasts" and I didn't take time to enjoy it.
So Harrison might want me to tell him a story right when dinner is burning, my phone is ringing, and Jefferson is crying, but I'm going to find a time to do it, because one day he won't ask anymore.
Jefferson might like to just cuddle with me when I have a ton to get done, but one day will be the last time he curls up beside me and I don't want to miss it.
It sure has made the hectic days sweeter as I soak up the moments that will one day be a "last".

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Evolution of a Want

When I was younger all I wanted was a 10 speed bike.

When I was a teen all I wanted were name brand jeans.

When I got a little older all I wanted were designer handbags.

When I was pregnant all I wanted were nice things for my baby.

Now...all I want is central vac... things change :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012


One year has passed since we crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since we said goodbye to home. Since we began this adventure. One year ago we were scared, nervous, and doubtful. One year ago I felt isolated, abandoned, ready to turn and run.
During the firsts weeks of our move my husband had gone to a business dinner. Since we knew no one to babysit I stayed home to put our son to bed. With moving boxes still unpacked in the corner of our bedroom I curled up on our bed. Feeling the kicks of our youngest son inside me made me think about all the things he would miss out on not being born closer to our families. I wrapped myself in disappointments. Later that night my husband came home to a tangled, emotional, tear streaked wife. We held each other as we cried our doubts out. We prayed, we let go, we decided to stop looking backwards. We went to bed and we woke up. And then we did it again, and again, and again. Then before we knew it 365 mornings had come and gone.
Now life has anticipation, familiarity, peace, and contentment. We now know the comfort of friends, favorite restaurants, looked forward to events, and the closest Starbucks. We know the shortcuts and the back roads. We have a church, we have fun, we have hope.
We will never stop longing for home, but we have stopped looking backwards. We will always hope for our heart's desire, but we will find joy and contentment now.
365 days has bought us road trips, baseball games, zoo memberships, picnics, birthdays, and blessings. This year gave us Jefferson, incredible friends, and memories to cherish.
As awful as it started, as hard as some of the days in it became, it ended better than I could have pictured that night curled up on our bed.
365 days brought healing, brought smiles, brought hope. 365 days grew us, blessed us, and bettered us.
Here's to the next 365...bring it on.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The dark gray clouds hung low over the highway. The cars moved Westbound in no particular hurry as the rain began. It was fitting to have rain fall today. The dreariness only matched the mood. As the traffic covered the miles moving them further West fog moved in to further cloud all traces of smiles. The car was packed with luggage, ill fitting boxes, and overstuffed bags. It was bursting with memories of the recent past, matchbox cars, and sand from beach trodding bare feet. They were all looking back as they headed forward willing themselves to continue. No one wanted to go, no one had a choice. There were still things waiting for them when they got back. No doubt there would be several loads of laundry, a Monday morning project deadline and unpaid bills. They had responsibilities to meet so they wouldn't act on their impulse to turn around.
They talked of dreams for the future as the rain pelted the windshield. They talked of ideas, which turned to plans, which turned to hope. They passed the state border as they plunged further West and felt tears sting their hearts. All they wanted was to go home yet they had to finish what they started.
Only God could orchestrate a change and so they prayed.
Then they praised.
Then they smiled.
The sun teased at the back of the clouds. Welcoming beams penetrated the dark cover welcoming their hope. They would continue the Westward story, but the rain would end and soon be over. They would return, they would be swept back home and the miles would disappear behind them as a memory of God's faithfulness.
And so the beam of light escaping the darkened sky grew,
and along with it,
their hope.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happily Never After

Happily ever afters are more rare than a cold day in June. It seems tears and anger slice through wedding bands and tear off bliss faster than they could see it coming. "I want" replaces "I do", and the story ends long before the book runs out of pages.
We have a war waging on the home fronts we don't see coming. It arrives in a small lie and leaves carnage in its wake. Wedding rings are thrown out along with the disappointment and devastation of love lost.
What did you think "I do" meant?
What did you believe "I do" was?
When he works late nights...I do
When dinner gets cold...I do
When bills are due...I do
When the water gets cut off...I do
When the car battery dies...I do
When the baby is up all night...I do
When he is grouchy...I do
When he seems distant...I do
When he falls asleep during the movie...I do
When he forgets...I do
When you get lost on a road trip...I do
When you are late...I do
When you are so mad your head spins...I do
When he isn't the man in your romance novel...I do
When you don't want to...I do
The only way you won't end up as half of a broken heart is to cling to the truth of the vows made before God. The God who created marriage, reflects marriage, and ordained marriage.
Hold fast to God, hold the hand who took yours at the alter, and hold to the promise and blessings of living happily ever after.

Friday, January 27, 2012

On the Other Side

Before my boys came along I worked as a pediatric nurse. The years I spent giving vaccines to thrashing children, starting IV's on dehydrated babies, and passing out stickers to brave little patients taught me a ton about when to stay calm and when to panic.
But I'll never forget one day in particular. A mom had insisted on an appointment for her child even after I had given her advice over the telephone. Knowing the doctor was only going to reiterate what I had said I settled them into the exam room. Her child had a virus and clearly did not feel well. Mom was on the verge of panic when the doctor did not prescribe her an antibiotic. It was my duty to go back in, calm her down, and move them out so we could stay on schedule. I tried to compassionately educate about virus versus bacteria as the mother reached near hysteria. She finally lashed out, "You don't have children do you? You won't really know what you are talking about until you are a mother!"
I felt slapped in the face. I never forgot her outburst. I had all the book knowledge when it came to sick kiddos, but no heart knowledge....until now.
It is very different being on this side of the stethoscope. I feel my babies hot skin when they have fevers, I hear their terrible coughs, see them curled tightly against my chest looking pitiful. While I know there is no magic drug like that mom wanted for her child, I do understand now the knowledge that mom accused me of not possessing. It's the heart of a mom who would do anything to help her child. It's the drive to protect and willingness to go to the ends of the earth.
No matter how many walls get dented, jeans get ripped, books get drawn in, and milk gets spilled, a new determination is born inside of you along with your child.
While she could have been a lot nicer, that patient from years ago branded me. It made me think about being a mom one day and the passion it would involve. It made me reach out in a new way to the little patients I worked with. It made me think about our Heavenly Father and the heart He has for His children. He did stand in the way of death for me, He fought for my life. Now as a mother I understand the fierceness of His love, the desire to see me whole, and His joy to see me His.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hello, My Name Is...

I'm no one famous. I'm not an expert in any field. I don't sing, dance, act, or compose. I didn't go to graduate school, or even a four year school. I am not an authority on any subject. I've never traveled abroad, much less across America. I don't speak any foreign languages, and I can't slice an onion to save my life.
But I have



and words...

looking for a place to land.

My mind can't keep it all contained and I feel like a tangled mess. While I can't guarantee this blog from sounding like a mess, it will be completely unpredictable.
I hope you laugh, contemplate, question, and smile. I hope my thoughts don't scare you away as you discover the Mind of a Mrs.