Monday, October 26, 2009
*Somedays I LOVE homeschooling. Somedays I want to find the nearest bus station and run away. Today was one of those days.
* My kids refuse to wear shoes outside, throw their jackets on the kitchen floor and want to eat everything except the food I fix for lunch.
* Kate thinks it's funny when I carry her back to bed for her nap 86 times.
* No matter how much I clean my house is always a mess. As I write this my living room floor is littered with paper, a belt, a book, a baseball, a purse, a dog toy and 1 sock. Just one sock because I might still be sane if we could actually find 2 matching socks in this house.
* Four people stopped by unexpectedly today. People only do this when the trash hasn't been taken out and I am looking like Night of the Living Dead. (Two of these visitors pulled up in an RV across the street to tour the Presbyterian Church. It is an honest to goodness historical site. The lady wanted me to tell her where she could find certain items about the history of Montrose. I've only lived here 3 years and can't remember 3 hours ago. Her great-grandfather had come through in 1884, gone to school, planted a crop and then moseyed along to Georgia. I assured her she knew more than I did and proceeded back to my home to do the 900th load of laundry.)
* I am seriously considering packing us all up and moving to a nudist colony as 125% of my life is now spent arguing with little people about what they are going to wear.
*My roots are showing. I started coloring my hair a while back just because it made my hair shinier. It never really changed the color much. This last time it DID change the color on top and today I noticed that for the first time in my life, I have roots. I look like a black and orange skunk. That's okay because my stinky attitude matched.
I could have reacted to all of these things in a patient, Christ-like manner. I didn't. I showed my hiney. I screamed a lot. I thought a lot of bad things and said some of them under my breath. To top the day off we went to Sarah's dance recital and I dressed all of us too warm. It was 190 degrees in that building. (This post is so mathematical, isn't it?) The sweatshirt that I had fought with Eli to put on came back to bite me as he glued himself to me and I just knew this wicked witch was going to leave a puddle right there in the city hall building. It also took all that is within me not to go off on some of the people and say, "If you are one of the blessed ones with a seat in the front, sit yo hiney down, so the rest of us can see!!!" But, I knew that my hiney is already in enough trouble for the way I had acted all day, so I controlled myself.
What a no good, very bad, terrible, awful day. You know where it got really messed up? The second I decided that it was going to be a no good, very bad, terrible, awful day. It all went down hill from there. Joshua said in chapter 24 verse 15, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Today, I served selfishness, impatience, and immaturity. God's mercies are new everyday and I'm choosing that my house, we will serve the LORD!!!! I will also color my roots and begin tours of historical Montrose this Friday. Come, bring your family and your RV.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I think I may have this one framed. I just adore headless shots with dog food bowls, toys, and vacuums. Don't you?
Pictures like this make me so proud of my teaching abilities.
This is the "library" my children created in the girl's bedroom. I was just so excited they hadn't pulled the mattresses off the bed to make a slide again.
Apparently Kate was ready to jump ship.
I could not even begin to explain this..........................................
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Well, I am taking in this time because I know that in just a few days my decorations will be gone. The beautiful pumpkins we so lovingly hand-picked at the pumpkin patch will so go under the knife. You know what I'm talking about. Pumpkin carving. I don't like it. There, I said it. I've never liked pumpkin carving and I'll tell you why. 1. It's messy. Plain and simple. I don't like messy. 2. It messes up my decorations. Enough said. 3. I am not artistically gifted. What I am saying is I can't even draw pictures, much less carve them into a hard surface. So, I guess it leaves me feeling a little inferior. Especially because my husband apparently has taken graduate classes in pumpkin carving. See what I mean?
A Seminole y'all. I can't even carve the triangles to make a jack-o-lantern!!!!!
Have you ever had one of those weeks that you should've just stayed in bed? I know, everyone has. I thought I would share mine. It seems to make people laugh and I've become convinced that pest control and making people laugh (at me) are my purposes in life.
It all started last Saturday. I was so excited because we were going on a hayride with the youth and I LOVE hayrides. Especially in the country where you can actually see all of the stars. Anyway, I ended up sick at the doctor's office all day and had to get a shot. And I didn't get to go on the hayride. :(
After church on Sunday we had to make a trip to town. Since I was sick I couldn't feed Kate so we had to get some formula.I also had to get my prescription filled. We were also going to get lunch since I am the sorriest wife and mother ever and had nothing fixed at home. We were about 5 miles from Wal-Mart and the jeep started acting funny and it sounded like a helicopter was about to land on us. The kids were very excited to hear a helicopter. But, it wasn't a helicopter, it was the front tire that had just blown. Yay! We pulled over and called USAA. It was going to be an hour before the tow truck came. Then we realized that all of us could not fit in a tow truck anyway. Josh said something about a taxi and that just cracked me up. A taxi in Newton, MS?? Even if we called a taxi we couldn't all fit in it anyway!! I asked if they could just hook the jeep up with all of us in it. I was feeling pretty lazy. :) Josh said no. One of our deacons came in his mini-van and hauled me and the kids back to the house. No lunch, no formula, and luckily I had forgotten the prescription I needed filled anyway! :) I ended up with 4 new tires so Merry Christmas to me! :)
Tuesday was shaping up nicely. I was going to see a few patients and have some nice visits. Then the phone rang. It was Shelly, my partner in crime. We've been nicknamed the nutty nurse and the crazy social worker. We live up to our names quite nicely. She was calling to tell me that one of our patients had an infestation of roaches. Another yay! I went to the co-op to get some Bengal. When I got to the house the lady who takes their food to them asked if we could do something about the roaches. I told her I was on it. When I first went in they didn't seem that bad. I started spraying around the baseboards. Then she pointed up to one of the doorways, and HOLY COW!!!! There were millions. I'm not kidding. I started spraying and the term "coming out of the woodwork" took on a whole new meaning!! I called Shelly later and told her that going into that house with 2 cans of Bengal was like going into Iraq with a sling shot!! And can I just tell you I was not dressed appropriately for extermination! My patient's wife seemed to get a kick out of it. She was excited they were dropping off the walls. I'm sure I could've won some money if there had been a video camera. I finally broke down and called a pest control company. I would have personally paid $5,000 at that point for someone else to take over. When I got home Josh was trying to hug on me and I said "Check my head! Check my head!" That was Tuesday.
Thursday I got in the jeep ready to face the day, turned the key and nothing happened. Not a thing. Josh came out and poured Pepsi on something because it's supposed to eat the corrosion or something that I don't understand, but I really don't want to think about what my Diet Cokes do to my insides. Anyway, he finally realized it was the starter and hit it with a hammer and I was good to go. So I thought. After a 1 hour visit with one of my patients I went to leave and sure enough, the jeep wouldn't start. I wasn't sure what to hit and I didn't want to ask my poor little lady to come sit in the jeep and turn the key. Of course I was 45 minutes from my house (everything is 45 minutes from my house) so I had to wait for Josh to come rescue me. He did. He went and bought me a new starter, but we had to go to the funeral home so he didn't have time to fix it.
Friday I rode to work with Shelly. That night we ordered pizza, but for you city folks you may not believe this we don't have delivery where we live. Me and Josh actually flipped a coin to see who could go get the pizza that's how crazy it was at our house. I lost but Josh let me go anyway. I'm glad we live somewhere safe because I had to leave the jeep running while I went in! :)
Last night Josh and Eli were going with our friend Matt to the races. Me and Cortnee and Sarah and Kate were going to have a girl's night out. I was so excited! Well, even though the jeep had been starting fine all day, when we got ready to go pick up Cortnee, it wouldn't do a thing. So, I had to call Cortnee and she had to pick us up in her VW Bug. That was a sight!! Her trunk is the size of my diaper bag so the stroller wouldn't fit. She offered to tie it down. LOL!! The hillbillies were headed to the mall!! :) I decided we would just rent one at the mall. I know we totally looked like we were playing chinese fire drill in a clown car everytime we had to get out somewhere!!
So, I thought we were starting a new week today and that things would be looking up. However, Matt came over today to help Josh put the starter on and we cannot find the jeep keys anywhere!!!!!!!!!!! I'm taking that as a sign that God does not want me to leave this house ever again!!!!
I asked Josh today if we had broken any mirrors or seen any black cats. He said that the lady at the pumpkin patch said that breaking a pumpkin was the same as breaking a mirror. Our kids have broken 5 of our 6 pumpkins!!!!!!!! I am so not getting out of bed tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Today I am appreciating the wisdom of Hannah Montana. "Nobody's perfect, you live and you learn it." Oh you don't know that song? Well, I will be more than happy to ship that CD to you. :) Anyway, today I want to talk about a lesson I am learning that has been influenced by Hannah Montana, Barbie, honeybuns and the Bible. Are you ready for this??
The topic today: Weight. And beauty. I know I have shared my weight loss plans with you and I really felt like I had arrived when I saw that someone actually found my blog by searching for "Emily Strickland diet". Holy cow! Okay, so obviously there is an Emily Strickland (my maiden name) out there who actually has a diet that is working and that people are wanting to try. But, it was fun for a second to pretend that I would be someone people would seek for weight loss advice. Then reality hit and it was just funny!
I have joked a lot about my weight loss efforts but the truth is that it has been a very serious subject in my life. I'm about to get personal here so I just thought I would warn you. I was diagnosed with my depression in August of 2000 and got engaged in September of 2000. That meant that I started an anti-depressant and birth control in the same year. Many anti-depressants are known to cause weight gain and mine certainly did. Also, when I started on birth control the nurse practictioner told me that it would increase my appetite but it would not cause me to gain weight. I didn't get that because if my appetite is increased I'm gonna eat more! I had already gained about 15 pounds by the time I walked down the aisle and then I started married life as the wife of a breadman. Good grief! Unlimited access to bagels and honeybuns. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how ugly that got. THEN, I got pregnant 4 months after we were married. I gained..........50 POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'll never forget Easter of that year because I had gained 15 pounds in a month when I went back to the dr. He didn't chastise me or tell me to change my diet. He just said, "Somebody sure enjoyed their Easter bunnies." It is funny now, but to a very hormonal pregnant woman it was not. I called Josh crying and wouldn't tell him why and I know he thought the dr. had told me I was dying. That was how I was acting.
So, that is how my weight loss struggle began. I still remember the first time I really looked at myself in the mirror after Sarah was born. I was disgusted. All of the models and celebraties were in the magazines looking even better after having babies and I looked like I might still have a few more in there waiting for delivery. The models obviously did not have the unlimited resources to carbs that I did. I ordered diet pills. Which was just what my depressed, postpartum hormonal self needed. Like I needed another honeybun.
I never lost all of the weight before I got pregnant with Eli and then I gained 60 POUNDS!!!!! I did do much better after he was born about exercising. For a while. I really got my wake-up call when we moved to Mississippi. God had done amazing things bringing us here, but I won't lie. It was a very stressful time. I was finishing up my last year of school, including an internship in the ER and I had a 3 year old and an infant. Food once again became my comforter. After we moved I received a gift card and I went to try on clothes. I had to buy pants that were 3 sizes bigger than the last time I had bought clothes. It was just a month after that I learned that I was pregnant with Kate and I decided at that moment that things were going to be different.
I was very careful about what I ate. I only gained 35 pounds with her and that was a big accomplishment after my previous pregnancy weight gain. I was extremely motivated after she was born to lose not just the pregnancy weight, but also the depression, birth control pill, honeybun weight. I had such a rough time when she was born that I honestly lost my appetite. That has never happened in my entire life. I really think that helped me the most but I don't recommend going through what I went through to achieve results!! Between nursing and substituting 2 or 3 of my meals everyday with Lean Cuisines or Weight Watcher meals I started losing the weight pretty quickly. I was also still working and would eat low fat subs for lunch most days. It really helped that I was on the go so much for work. That had been my biggest struggle before, being at home surrounded by food and my kids who were constantly eating. I felt like I lived in the kitchen. So, that is my weight loss story. I am actually back in the size I wore in high school.
I share this story for several reasons. 1. I've had several people ask me about how I lost weight. 2. I know SO many people who struggle with this, and probably all moms have struggled with their body image even if they don't share the weight gain. Having a baby just changes your body no matter what! 3. For me I feel like my weight loss was a testimony to how God is involved in all parts of our life. I'm going to share that part now.
You see, that Christmas that I went shopping for new clothes and had to move into not only a new pant size, but a new department altogether, I realized something. I realized that I was a stress eater. And I realized that was not okay. In the same way that we teach that it is wrong to drown out our sorrows with alcohol or seek an escape with drugs, it was wrong for me to seek food for comfort when Jesus told us that we have a comforter. I realized that instead of casting my cares at His feet I was eating Dove chocolate like it was going out of style. So, this endeavor became more for me than a physical one. It became a spiritual one.
I don't want this to become an issue of what size you are. It's really not about everybody being a certain size. It's about being at a place where you are at peace. With your relationship with God and with how you feel about yourself. I still do not like to see pictures of myself from certain times. And that makes me sad because many of those are pictures with my babies. I became more anti-social because I didn't feel comfortable being seen or participating in certain activities. It has been so freeing and exciting to have fun and not constantly be worried about how I look. Some of that has to do with the weight loss. But mostly it has to do with the work God has done on my heart about accepting myself.
So now that I have shared all of that, I will confess that I am still very much a work in progress. Physically and spiritually. I still have a mummy tummy that will probably never go away. I am slowly trying to accept that. I have stretch marks and cellulite. I don't look like Barbie. That brings me to the next part of this.
I love Barbie. Playing with dolls was my favorite pastime for many years. Above bike riding and roller skating, I loved dolls. Especially my Barbies. So, I'm not here to bash Barbie. I'm just here to lay to rest some of the ideas that Barbie has filled our minds with. I had someone ask me why I struggled with insecurities about how I look. I could totally make a list of every physical flaw I see in myself, but I will spare you. Because I think it is much more simple than that. I'm not Barbie. Have you ever thought about how Barbie has all kinds of friends, but Barbie is the star? It is the same problem I have with children in beauty pageants. They may learn confidence, poise and personality. Or...they must just learn that only 1 girl is pretty and good enough and the rest are not.
You see, our culture has continued to reinforce this idea in movies and TV shows. Casts are made up of all kinds of characters, but there is usually only 1 pretty girl. It is so easy to convince yourself that those around you are so much prettier, skinnier, or likeable. So where does everybody else fit in?
Barbie herself inspired this post. One weekend I spent the majority of my time putting her head back on. Let me explain. Kate shares my passion for dolls. Unfortunately for those dolls she insists on putting them in Speed Racer's car instead of their car. And y'all, Barbie is too big for Speed Racer's car. She don't fit. To add to the humiliation Barbie must feel about being too big, Kate was constantly pulling her head off in the process of car stuffing. It is rough to be a toy in this house. I spent so much time putting her head back on that at one point I found myself saying, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you in the name of Jesus. Get up and walk!" Seriously, you know you have spent too much time in the house with kids when you are praying for the healing of Barbie dolls. Apparently the Spirit was not with me because instead of "healing" Barbie I broke her head off...for good. So sad. But it taught me a lesson. Even Barbie couldn't cut it when she was put somewhere that wasn't created for her.
So here is what I am getting at. God says that we were created for His glory and in His image. If you have become a follower of Jesus is that what concerns you? I've had to start asking myself, am I more concerned with others seeing Jesus in me or with others thinking I'm beautiful, skinny, attractive, etc.? Does it matter if I'm a size 0 and have perfectly straight, white teeth if my heart is ugly? Do I feel like I don't fit because I'm trying to fit into a mold that wasn't made for me? Whose approval am I seeking?
If you really want to see what happens when you try to fit into something not created for you, check out poor Barbie. My kids didn't even give her a proper burial....
Monday, October 19, 2009
I immediately asked if I could borrow it because honestly, it expresses how I feel more eloquently than a dictionary full of words ever could.
I am at this moment feeling a bit overwhlemed by some different decisions that need to be made. A little like approaching these signs and having to make a split second decision would make me feel. I am remembering these Words:
"When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye."
Thursday, October 15, 2009
"That's how God made it, huh?"
"Yes." I answered.
"And He knows how many hairs are on my head, doesn't He?
"He does. Who taught you that?"
"You did. In our class."
I wanted to share this for every mama who spends 95% of her life wiping counters, changing diapers, and threatening to throw away everything your child owns if they don't clean their room. They do listen. They do remember. And it makes a difference.
"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
I have recently found myself struggling with the idea that the God of the universe is concerned over the details of my life. I don't know why I've started struggling with this. He has been such a huge part of all of the details of my life. I am thankful at this time that I have the faith of a 7 year old to remind me. To remind me that He sees, He knows, He cares. It blows my mind. The fact that such a huge God would choose to be so intimate with me is sometimes more than I can wrap my mind around.
For those of you reading this who have chosen to be a true follower of Jesus I want to encourage you. Those of you who have given up homes, careers, dreams and social status, He knows. For those of you who have suffered sickness, despair and broken hearts, He knows. When you wonder if it makes a difference, He knows.
He knows the number of hairs on your head.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We got to the rehearsal a good hour before everybody else. I still can't believe it. I will say that Josh is good about being on time for weddings. I think he got to ours like 5 hours early. :) Luckily, there was an arcade in the hotel lobby.
Josh and I in my non-bridesmaid matching dress.
Josh and Mike in his camo vest and tie. It looked really sharp. Josh really does have a face I am just photographically challenged and do not know how to take pics when the sun is facing me.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I have to tell you that my mind has been a jumbled mess of mixed emotions and scattered thoughts. I've had so many things that I've wanted to blog about, but I have seriously lacked the ability to focus my brain in one direction. We'll see how this turns out....
I am often overwhelmed by the contrast of seriousness and silliness in life. In a matter of seconds life has the ability to sucker punch you in the gut with issues so deep they can break your heart. In two more seconds life can create a situation that leads to belly laughing until you are doubled over crying. And alas, there are the times when autopilot takes over and we float through our days just praying for as little interference as possible.
I don't know if you have gathered this about me, but I am a people person. Not in a need to be around people all of the time way. More in a I just love people and I love analyzing people kind of way. I mentioned in my post about the Kirby guy that I become very emotionally attached to people. It is true. And as you might imagine, sometimes that attachment hurts. It is hard to love people. I mean to really, truly invest your heart in their lives kind of way love people.
When I started my social work program I cannot tell you how many people told me I couldn't let myself get too involved with people or care too much. Obviously, others realized this is an issue for me. :) I understood where they were coming from and I did have to learn to distance myself from those I worked with. But I always found myself wondering, how do you not care? And why the heck would you do this job if you didn't? Oh yea, must be for all money and glory. :)
Unfortunately, I have experienced a time when I didn't care. I often allude to the depression I struggled with and that was a time when I stopped caring. About anything. Like people or bathing or really, anything. I was numb. The only emotion I ever seemed capable of was anger and I realize now it became my defense mechanism. It was so much easier to get angry about things than to actually deal with them. Much easier to be angry with people from the get go before I could invest in them and then be let down.
I still remember the moment after God healed my depression that I knew Emily was back. Josh and I had gone to a movie on a date night. We only had Sarah then and lived where we had 3 sets of grandparents! Can you imagine? Well anyway, I have no idea what movie we went to see, the only thing I remember is being moved to tears. And not by the movie. At the theatre there were two little girls who I assumed were sisters. One of the girls was mentally challenged and it literally moved me to tears watching the other little girl take such good care of her and show her such kindness. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it was huge for me. The numb was gone. The feelings were back.
In case you're wondering where all of this is coming from (because really who knows where all of this stuff I write comes from?) I was reminded this last weekend about that time in my life. I was having a conversation with a couple of girls and they began sharing their hearts. Sharing that they struggled with trusting others, sharing their hearts, and investing in people. One said that she was scared her son would be too trusting and get hurt. Despite the fact that I say whatever I think on this blog, in real life I am much slower to tell people what I really think. But I couldn't let that comment go. I went through too much to not share what I learned on that subject.
I had to tell her that as tough and scary and heartbreaking as it is, we can't teach our children not to love because of fear. It is not fair to hand down our issues to our kids or our friends. It's not even fair to ourselves to let past hurts keep us from trusting and loving again. I have been so blessed with an amazing husband, awesome friends and a wonderful family. That doesn't mean that I haven't been hurt along the way.
It is the big joke in my life that I formed the Singles Anonymous Club(SAC) in high school. I was the president. Mostly because I was the only one of my friends who ever stayed single long enough to hold that position. :) Do you know what is so funny? Every Wednesday we would meet at Arby's for our SAC meetings and do you know who would often be just a few booths over chowing down? Joshua Fidler. Isn't it ironic, dontcha think? It is so funny to me now to think about how determined I was to stay angry and bitter and independant because boys had broken my heart. But it is not funny to me to think about what I would have missed out on if I had never let myself get over that.
I was driving one day and it was STORMING! I had the windshield wipers going as fast as they could. I was getting on the interstate in Mobile and for this little country girl that is big city driving. Anyway, I was concentrating so much on getting on to the interstate without getting run over by a mac truck that it was several minutes before I realized that it had stopped raining but my windshield wipers were still going full speed ahead. For some reason when it occured to me that I should turn them off it also occured to me that we often have many defense mechanisms we create during storms that we forget to turn off. Grief we never deal with. Hurts we never forgive. Sometimes it happens so slowly and quietly we don't even know it. We slowly become a little more distrustful. We quietly overcompensate for our insecurities.
I take God's Word very seriously. I believe Him when He says He came to give us life more abundantly. (John 10:10). And I believe Him when He says in 1 John 4:18 (New International Version)
18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
No fear in love. Not in God's love. We can turn off the windshield wipers. We're safe with Him.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
So, we have our very own Romeo and Juliet. The forbidden love of Montrose. I've pleaded on Daisy's behalf. I've asked Josh how he would have felt if my dad hadn't allowed him to see me. He informed me that was different. I won't tell you why he said it was different..... Anyway, I'm doing my best to help Daisy cope. What can I say? If it is meant to be, it will be. :)