Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What if?

>>>WARNING<<<  This is not my normal blog post.  It's not going to make you feel good or give you a warm fuzzy.  If you're my Facebook friend and read this, I challenge you to like or comment on my posting of this blog entry.  Thanks!

Social media is a powerful tool.  If you're reading this, you likely have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram account-seriously though you probably have all of them!  You probably know more about what you 500+ friends are doing than what is really going on in the world around you.  The news you see or read is what appears in your newsfeed or the little video clip you clicked on.  You don't have the time or the inclination to really dig for the truth, you take whatever "they" feed you.  You have plenty of time to like the delicious looking plate of food your friend posted, the clothes she just bought her daughter for back to school and the pillow another friends dog shredded all over the house.  Let's not forget the cute videos of the cat saying "hey, hey, he-e-e-ey," the giggling baby or the stupid human tricks.  All these things are easy.  They don't require any deep thought or even consideration.  However social media can be so much more, it can be a tool, a means to educate and a way to bring about change.  What if you used social media differently?

Last year "Fifty Shades of Grey" burst onto the book scene, it was whispered about in book clubs, knowingly chuckled about at the park as we referred to it as "Mom Porn."  I have to admit I read the first book, opened the second but never read more than the first few pages.  It just didn't seem like the kind of thing I wanted to spend my time on.  Plus having a college daughter, I kept envisioning some worldly, savvy Christian shattering the world of my innocent Anna.  What if she was your daughter?

Several months ago the powers that be began casting for the movie version of the book and social media was again all buzzing with who would make the perfect Christian and Annastasia.  Then last week my newsfeed was again blown up with friends anticipating the movie trailer.  The other day when it was released, it was too steamy for television.  I felt uncomfortable because I KNOW what the book was like and I can't even imagine the movie.  I know I certainly do not want my daughters seeing what is bound to be in the movie or even in the trailer. 

So yesterday when a sweet friend posted a link to a blog from Broken Girl called Fifty Shades of Confusion  I in turn reposted it.  Go ahead, take a couple of minutes and go read her blog.  I'll wait here for you....

So did you read it?  Are you still excited about the movie or do you have a new perspective?  How about you transfer that excitement to awareness?  Between 14,500 and 17,500 are trafficked right here in the good old US of A each year!  It's real!  Girls are disappearing, children are disappearing, women are disappearing but it's not feel good, it's not cute and no one is "liking" the posts informing about it.  The picture of my okra from dinner got more likes!  What if your child was sold?

Women need feminism, we need to speak up and be heard.  Quit letting Hollywood shame us into thinking we are less than, even if we joke about it, it is real to so many.  We don't know who has been a victim, who knows a victim or whose husband, father or boyfriend is making them feel less than.  Take some time to educate yourself about trafficking here in America, post an article, share a statistic, let your girls know they don't have to be used.  You my friend may have the crazy blessed life but there are thousands out there who do not.  Do something to make a difference today.  11 Facts about Human Trafficking can be found at DoSomething.orgWhat if you did something today?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bricks, sticks and memories

You know that summer, that summer between your first childs sophomore and junior year in college?  The one where they come home cranky, full of attitude because they are adults but then quickly mellow and you have a fabulous time?!  Well that's this summer for us.  Deep in my heart of hearts, that place no mamma really wants to go because that's where the stone cold hard truth lies.  The truth that this is the last magical summer you'll likely have with said college child.  I've been pondering this blog entry for sometime now but occasionally events happen that just force it to erupt a little sooner than anticipated.  (Yes, tears are streaming down my face as I type this afternoon.)

Anna-wow, what can I say?  She is my first born.  She and I have a relationship that few people get to experience with their children for a variety of reasons.  First, when she was 3 we moved four hours away from family so she got me (she got her Dad, too but he was at work all day).  Second, when she was 5 we began our homeschool life. And lastly, she is just Anna-those of you who know her know what I mean.  There is just something about her that is unique and special.  I love all my kids deeply, they are all three unique and special so don't get me wrong; they are all different they all have some similar traits but deep inside, they are very different people.

Yesterday morning Anna was preparing for work when she noticed she had a wet spot in her floor.  Not just any wet spot but one that was super squishy.  I went in and began to move boxes that had overtaken her room when she moved home in May which she has been struggling to go through in preparation of moving into her condo in Fayetteville in just a few short weeks.  I quickly realized this was more than just a spilled bottle of water or heaven forbid another kitty no-no accident this sloshy mess was a full blown L-E-A-K!!

We immediately deduced that it was the pipe to our outdoor faucet.  I quickly called our plumber and
he assured me he'd send his guys as soon as they could come.  So I began the packing.  Oh my, no one prepared me for this.  She has lived in this room for eleven years.  The memories flooded like the water from the pipe.  But I had a task so I continued.

The plumbers came and fixed the leak.  The restoration guys came and evaluated the best way to dry the inside of the wall and told me to empty her room as much as possible.  When she arrived home, the packing really began.

While Anna packed, I headed upstairs to make that room ready for an unexpected tenant.  I prepared a place for her bed and the boxes.  When we got her bed up there, she laid on her bed and sobbed.  That did it for me and I've been a blubbering mess ever since.  You see, we knew she was going to be leaving in August, we had talked about the fact that we would be moving one of her sisters into her room and preparing upstairs as a room she could use when she came for a visit.  But those were just words, empty meaningless words...

We headed downstairs to finish dismantling her loft bed, move her bookshelf and couch.  We began looking around her room at all the things that make it so uniquely Anna.

The cow skull on the wall and Mardi Gras mask.

The voodoo doll from our trip to New Orleans, her Georgia O'Keefe inspired painting completed with Crystal Featherson, and her bad dream catcher she bought at a neighbors garage sale when she was a little girl to keep the bad dreams away.

Some roses from a forgotten performance-ballet or theatre, there were so many!!

The shelf high on the wall at the head of her bed.  Special books, journals, her bible and of course her beloved-Miss Kitty.

Her ceiling fan pull littered with treasures-beads, monkey from softball, bow tie and twirly thing.

The peace symbol shoestring she wore in her tie dye Converse shoes.
The gut wrencher-her door!  Her first sign-Beware of Cats, the Mardi Gras decoration with important ribbons, picture of some amazing young ladies that are dear to our family-love you Kambanis family, comics from the paper, stickers and a picture of Junior her cat who passed years ago.

The wonderful restoration company, Paul Davis (who I highly recommend) is owned locally by a great guy, Jim Ford.  When he came in yesterday, he saw a very frazzled mom, afraid of the unknown, feeling like this was just another bus running over me and he said, "Ma'am, it's just sticks and bricks we'll fix her right up.  You're going to be just fine."  It is just sticks and bricks and I am going to be just fine but today I'm going to cry a little bit more and feel a little sorry for myself because now Anna's room is gone.  Sure she may move her mattress back in there for a few nights but the magic that makes it hers won't ever again be there.

As a Mom whose first is preparing to go, my heart feels like it is exploding.  So many things I wish I had done better, so many times I wish I had listened more closely, so many times I wish I had just been...a better mother.  As I expressed this to her last night she said, "but mom you still have two more."

"Yes, my dear I'm crazy blessed to have three amazing daughters but you will always be the one (who made me a mom)."

Sweet Anna, go into this word and leave your mark.  Remember how deeply, deeply loved you are and continue on confidently knowing how much your parents believe in you and that more prayers are whispered, yelled and cried on your behalf that you can ever imagine.  And even if your room isn't yours anymore, know you always have a place in our home and in our hearts.

I love you!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dirty, dirty dishrag.

In my kitchen I have lots of dish rags.  I've got red and white ones, thick red ones with scrubbie stuff on the back, super old stained-dirty, dirty dishrags I've had since we got married.  This morning when I was fixing Handsome some breakfast I had an epiphany of sorts.  Let me try to explain...

I love the way the pretty red and white ones look laying across the divider between the sinks.  They're a bit prissy though and I don't want to get them too messy.  Almost like I'm trying to protect them from the grime of everyday life. The red ones with scrubbie are great for cleaning a messy stove top but they don't really absorb so they kind of just slosh around if you have a spill or very much liquid.  But when I have a really messy job I go for my old faithful dishrag.  It's been there for me all these years without much appreciation.

As a newly wed learning to find my way around the kitchen that dishrag was bright and new.  It didn't have a choice about staying in the drawer because it was the only one.  It had to dig right in to those boil overs, the pot-of-crap beans that I never could boil without scorching and dishes that sometimes didn't get washed right away.

Then the kids started to arrive.  That dishrag got a workout because there was no dishwasher!  High chairs, spilled juice, baby food, and all those meals that were prepared because as a one income family trying to finish college there was no eating out.  Sure there were some new dishrags but old faithful, he felt like a friend.

So here I am 22 years later and I don't know how to throw it away.  And I realize, I'm a lot like that dirty, dirty dishrag.  I'm here, I'm faithful, I clean up messes.  I'm not beautiful or new.  But over time I'm the proven go-to and I'm always ready to step in and do what I can for the good of my family.

My bet is you just might be a dirty, dirty dishrag also.  If so please know you are appreciated and loved even if it seems to go unnoticed.  If you're not a dirty, dirty dishrag then please look around you and find the dishrag in your life and let them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate the way they are there faithful, true waiting to help you out even though they're a little worn!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Proud Mamma Post :)

Our kids aren't perfect.  They're just normal kids-they fight, argue, "forget" to do chores, don't feed the pets, don't empty the litter box, don't clean their room.  You get the picture.  They're ordinary average kids.

But wait, they're something more and that's what I want to tell you about today.  Our kids are regular members of our house, as such they are expected to do awful things like empty and load the dishwasher, clean their bathroom, scoop the cats box daily, pooper-scoop the dog mess in the yard, take out the trash and other mundane tasks that have to be done for any household to work.  They do not receive an allowance (I know all the arguments for giving allowance so please don't use this as a debate starter).  I don't believe in paying kids to do household tasks.  If they don't want to eat then they don't have to do dishes.  If they want to get rid of their cats they don't have to scoop.  You get the picture.  But in exchange they get a home complete with a comfy bed, three meals a day-most days, television with cable, internet access, bicycles, trampoline, traveling volleyball, soccer, swimming, tap, archery, countless 4-H events and trips and to top it all off they are loved deeply and prayed for constantly.  We purchase all their necessary items: clothing, shoes, hair cuts, school supplies, etc.  They really don't want for anything but they know as members of our family there are the above expectations in exchange for their "stuff."

A year and a half ago, my parents moved caddy-wompus across the street from us.  I'm proud to say that our kids have stepped up many times they don't even realize the importance of what they are doing.  At least once a day I hear a kid shout, "Mom, I'm going to Grandma's" and the door slams as they run around the corner.  What do they do at Grandma and Papaw's house you might ask, well sometimes they just pop in and say hi!  Other times they get out ingredients and make a batch of cookies-always cleaning up their mess when they're finished.  They might vacuum the carpets or mop the floor.  Sometimes one of them creates a masterpiece on Grandma's embroidery machine.  And sometimes they just go hang out-play on the laptop or watch some TV.  They just are there, being with their grandparents.  (Let me clarify-in the year and a half they've lived here I can count the times on one hand we've used them as a babysitter-Grandma has been surprised at how we always take care of our kids and make arrangements with friends to help when we need it-I guess that comes from living 4 hours away for so many years.)

With the recent rains, another responsibility pops up, lovely sodded bermuda yards!   Two of them and our yard has the equivalent of two yards by itself!  Again, the kids are expected to help-age appropriately of course.  Melissa is a whiz on the riding lawn mower, she does an amazing job!  Anna and I use the push mower and Jessica empties the bags for me while Ted edges and weed eats.  We work well together, almost like a well orchestrated symphony.  Okay, I lie.  They often complain especially when it is H-O-T outside about mowing OUR yard!  But you know what they never grumble about going and doing it for Grandma and Papaw!  They don't get paid unless you count the love and cookies.  The girls do it because they have been taught love and respect is important.  We have shown them that caring for others is simply a way of life and we are simply crazy blessed to have the ability to do for them. 

I guess what I want to impart this morning is whether our kids are perfect or not, they are always learning.  They pay attention to every action and reaction we have and in turn imitate it.  I don't know if we're doing this parent thing right or wrong but I do know we are crazy blessed to have three young ladies who care deeply about others and are always willing to go that extra mile.