Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Not Team Mom Material

A few weeks back I was talking with a friend at church about signing Eli up for t-ball and somehow we started talking about the team mom. I mentioned that no one had even asked me about it and we laughed about my experience the day of sign-ups and that they had probably written in red sharpie marker "NOT TEAM MOM MATERIAL". And it's the truth, y'all. I don't have what it takes.

The thing about it, is that all my life I expected to be team mom material. Room mom material. President of the PTO. PTA? See how much I stink? I can't remember what it's called now. Anyway, I've probably mentioned that I am totally different as a mom than I expected to be. I earnestly believed I would be the mom whose children are immaculate with matching smocked dresses and big bows. I would read 5 books before bed everynight and we would have picnics in big open fields and then frolic in flowers. Alas, it hasn't *quite* worked out that way. Sarah was born with her own fashion sense and today, I totally let her wear a sweater that clashed with her t-shirt and a jean skirt over brown leggings. Eli's neck is always dirty. Always. Kate usually has food on her face and crazy hair and you might catch her wearing princess heels at inappropriate times.

In addition to my less than stellar performance with my own children, I've never really felt like I had a gift for working with kids. You know how some people just know all the best silly songs and are happiest being a human jungle gym? I have another confession. I don't like crafts. They're messy. And require a level of creativity I wasn't blessed with.

I'm confessing these things after a long Wednesday. On Wednesdays I spend 5 hours straight with other people's kids between the ages of 2 and 8. I spend that time teaching them dance and Bible lessons. Or trying to. I also spend a good portion of it saying "Let's use our inside voices" and "Please line up" and "Sit down!" Teaching a dance class with 2 and 3 year olds gives a whole new meaning to my "herding of the cats" experience and I won't lie, the kids at church about push me over the edge. I know, that is too honest. You have to understand that the neighborhood we live and minister in brings in some kids who have some rough home lives and out of 7 kids in my class tonight I know the parents of 3 of them. (And one of those is Eli.) Most of our kids recieve no dicipline or direction at home. I know that sounds like a harsh judgment, but if you've worked with kids you know what I'm talking about. There is a difference between a hyper kid or kids misbehaving every once in a while and kids who have serious behavioral issues. We have quite a few of those. I won't lie, by the time I get to church on Wednesday nights, I'm already exhausted.  I often encounter kids who get up and leave the room during class or tell me everything I do "sucks" or that they are bored. They are not used to following rules at all and it makes for a rough time.

Y'all, I have to pray so hard. I have to constantly pray that God will show me the best way to work with these kids. I have to pray for strength and energy. I have to pray that I will not physically harm someone else's child. JUST KIDDING! Kind of. Mostly I have to pray that God will continue to burden my heart for these kids who really  need someone in their life to be burdened over them. To love on them in a way they've never been loved on. To provide structure and discipline, even if it is for just an hour a week.

Tonight, I was extra tired. It rained today and the kids didn't get recess at school and I could tell by how wild the girls were at dance. I was already dreading church. If my dance girls were that hyper I knew it would be a long night with the church kids. It actually went better than expected, but I was anxious to get home and SIT DOWN in some peace and quiet! Of course my kids had gotten the memo that today was "Act crazy" day and took an extra long time to get to bed. Eli was up for the 15th time when he walked over, gave me a hug and said, "I like how  you teach my class at church."  *wipes tear*

Oh my. I will be teaching his class until he is 25 now. :)  As I took in that sweet moment (yes, I realize he was probably just stalling, but sometimes you have to take what you can get), I thought about how frustrated I get with myself because I feel so lacking as I teacher. You see, I have a slight streak of perfectionism and it drives me crazy that I am so not perfect. I often find myself replaying things in my mind that I should have done different or situations I should have handled differently. But do you know what I feel like God is teaching me? I feel like He is teaching me that more than a teacher or a team mom, kids need someone to care about them. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that's an excuse to not prepare or actually teach, I just am beginning to realize that kids are hungry for people to accept them and love on them. To care enough to offer hugs and encouragement and also care enough to be firm and set rules and boundaries for them.  You don't have to be a teacher or a mom. Just someone who believes what we learned in class tonight.

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made"
Psalm 139:14

Our kids need to know this!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

When Worlds Collide

Y'all, it's been a week. I mean, I am going to have to write an epic, 5 part mini-series of blogs to catch you up on the excitement and drama of this last week. For real. I'm also going to have to sleep for like 18 days to have the energy to do that. In case I never get around to a detailed post, I'll hit the high points of this last week.

* I taught the teen hip hop class and survived.
* I've chased my tail all week driving children to and from dance and ball.
* I taught my church kids about the Philippian jailer (Acts 16) and played a game where they broke out of chains and ran a race. Starting to wonder if maybe that is not what I should be teaching the church kids???? Hey, here's how to break out of jail!
* Our schools are considering going to a 4 day school week so I attended a meeting Friday night that left me wanting to scream, "CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?"  (Um, the answer is no.)
* I bought Eli's cleats all by myself.
* Yesterday was opening day of ball so we had Eli's first game. I left there to go to pose my dancers for dance pictures. I left there to go to the Air Show. We left there to go eat at Mammy's house and visit with Josh's Uncle and family. We got home from there about midnight last night.
* I rolled myself out of bed this morning and kept the nursery. I'm about to get ready now to fix food for a fellowship we're having tonight. I'm seriously considering ordering a pizza.
*Tomorrow I will mourn celebrate 3 weeks of being caffeine free.

Okay, so that's where I'm at. I'm tired. But I'm also excited and inspired and motivated. As busy as this last week has been, it has also been full of fun and adventures. And today, my heart is totally full of awe, wonder and joy. You see, after rolling my lazy self out of bed this morning, I checked my e-mail and found a message with the subject "Before you freak out". Oh my. Was this one of those e-mails about  my credit score? Nope, it was a for real message from a real person. You know how in my last post I wrote that I was filling in for another teacher and that's why I was teaching hip hop? Well, the reason I was filling in was because the teacher had one of her former dance students coming into to town to visit for the night. I thought that was really neat that she still has such a great relationship with her dancers. Well, it just so happened that the e-mail I got was from that dancer who came to visit. She shared some things with me and let me know that several months ago she had liked our dance studio on FB and saw me on there and discovered that I had a blog. She told me that she has been reading since last September and shared how she has been able to relate to some of my experiences. I was just BLOWN AWAY!

Let me tell you why I share this. Because IT HAS GOD WRITTEN ALL OVER IT! Don't you think? I cannot tell you how many times over the last several months I have struggled both with dance and my blog. Am I really supposed to be teaching dance? Is it taking away from other things in my life? Should I still blog? Do I really have anything important to say? Does anybody even care anymore? And then, I get a message like this. And I clearly see God's handprint all over the map. I hope you don't think I share this in anyway to glorify myself. NOT AT ALL. I can't even remember to get everything on my list at the grocery store. ONLY GOD could so orchestrate the events of my life. First of all, ONLY GOD could have orchestrated the opening of a dance studio the same month I moved. ONLY GOD could help me get that job. Seriously, do I need to remind anybody how long it had been since I last danced????? ONLY GOD could perfectly pick who I would work with, the relationships they would have and then allow them to intersect in such a way that others would be encouraged and HE would get the glory!! It blows my mind, y'all. And to tie a pretty little ribbon on top, HE allows me to be encouraged and strengthened by marrying the two passions of my life (y'know, apart from Him and my family) dancing and writing. I don't know if you can even understand what it does for my soul that at this point in my journey God allows those two things to be used in my life.

I was reading in Psalm 27 today and came across a verse that really meant something to me a couple of years ago. I was in one of those dark places where I was in need of some hope. Psalm 27:13 says,
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD

In the land of the living.
Thank you Jesus, for allowing me to see your goodness in the land of the living!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gettin' Jiggy With It

There comes a time in every person's life when you must face your greatest fear head on. Just do it. Just put yourself out there. Well, tomorrow night, I will do just that. I will be teaching the teen hip hop class. Are you through laughing? Okay, I will continue.

So, a couple of weeks ago I filled in for another teacher and taught the petite hip hop class. I was a nervous wreck. And their average age is 8, y'all. But, I did it. It was actually fun. One of the girls had some really cool gloves that I wore to make myself feel totally hip. Ill? Dope? Okay, I felt like a dork, but it was fun. One of the girls even said it was the funnest hip hop class ever! I am pretty sure she meant FUNNIEST, but hey, I'll take what I can get. :)

Now, I've been asked to fill in for the teen class and I'm getting an ulcer and sweatin' like a man. In case you don't understand this anxiety, let me give you a glimpse at how I look doing hip hop:
Image courtesy of Google Images

Seriously. On top of that our studio owner was telling me that these girls sport some 'tudes and do some eye rolling. I am going to have to establish some serious authority by tomorrow night or they are going to WALK ALL OVER ME. Josh said I should threaten to call him and have him come preach for an hour if they don't get with the program. What do you think? Do you think that will work?

Last night I mentioned I needed some songs for the class. Let's face it, hip hop music is not exactly my forte. I mean, my jazz class is dancing to a song from 1983. Well, Josh started flipping through our music channels on TV and said, "Hey, here's one for you!"  Hip Hop Classics. Classics. Ha! He's so funny! BTW, am I that old that there is such a thing now as Hip Hop Classics? Remember when Hip Hop was new? I was busy doing something and not paying attention to the TV when all of a sudden I said, "Hey! I know that song!" Um, yeah, he had changed the channel and it was LISA LISA AND THE CULT JAM. There are no adjectives for my level of uncoolness. They are going to eat me alive.  At least maybe I can dress the part. I'll just wear some baggy jeans backwards and a neon colored shirt with a baseball cap sideways. That's still the style.....right??????????????

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The other day Josh and I were discussing a teenage couple we know and I asked, "Do you remember how it felt to be the age? Do you remember how everything felt?"  I was referring to the intense, powerful emotions (also known as hormones) that make every moment of life feel like a life altering, world coming to an end event. Do you know what I'm talking about? It just seems like you feel things more intensely during that time. Or maybe it was just me. My feelings reigned and they were always clear cut and easy to follow. Happy. Sad. Confused. Excited. Whatever it was, I mostly experienced one at a time and I experienced it with all of my being. Well, things just don't seem to be so clear cut anymore. If you asked me how I was this week I would most likely answer "fine", but I would be thinking, "I feel excited and depressed and overjoyed and lost. I'm at peace and totally stressed out." Hello, my name is Emily and I have multiple personalities.

This week is Spring Break and our Moms have gifted us with two nights of childfree leisure. Josh's Mom picked up the kids Sunday afternoon. Josh and I lived wild by getting fast food and EATING IN THE LIVING ROOM!! Shh....don't tell Kate. She stays in trouble for brining food in the living room. Anyway, we had all day Monday to run errands and just hang out until we met Josh's parents at the ballpark (Josh is playing softball this year) at 8:00 that night. We brought the kids home and put them in bed and turned right around the next day and my Mom came and picked them up. I had dreamt of all kinds of things Josh and I would do like going for a walk on the beach and stuff like that. Instead, I was feeling bad. So, I literally laid on the couch and watched movies. A lot of movies. And, I thought. A lot. It's a problem I have. I do not know how to stop thinking.

This week there has been even more on my mind. The people of Japan. A classmate that was tragically killed by her own father last week. Some friends who are dealing with some tough things. The fact that we just celebrated our one year anniversary here. Last night I was home alone and I realized it may be the first time I've had that much complete and total alone time since we moved. Or maybe since I gave birth for the first time 8 years ago. I don't know. However, it became clear to me that my heart and mind are just in overdrive. As I contemplated the fact that we have been here for a year it is almost too much to wrap my mind around how much has happened in that year. I have felt a fresh wave of grief over the last week or so as well, and it has occurred to me that I'm not sure if I have allowed myself to grieve the way that I need to. I keep thinking about how exciting this time was last year. Everything was new. I was so determined to face every day and live it to the fullest. I really think I did. But now, I find myself asking, "what now?" It was like in my mind I gave myself a year to grieve and expected it to be all better by now. It hit me hard on Christmas Eve. I had done so good and then after all of the presents were put under the tree and the stockings were full, I collapsed on the couch and it hit me. This wouldn't be the only Christmas my Dad would miss. And I realized that in my mind I had been telling myself if I could just survive this last year everything would be okay. Except it's not, because nothing changed after that one year anniversary. I survived, but it's not enough just to survive.

So, this is where I'm at. I'm processing. I'm a slow processor, y'all. Josh can experience something, think about it, talk about it and move on. Me, I have to think about, analyze it, talk about it, pray about it, get someone else's opinion, think about it some more. I have to give it a few months and come back and readress the situation. I have to cry about it, laugh about it, then cry about it again. I wish I wasn't this way. I wish I could just be one of those "this is how it is, let's move on" kind of people. Not just in grieving my Dad, but in processing many other things that have happened over the last year. It is hard to experience a year that is full of so many good things and explain why it has been so tough. I also have a tendency to be very sensitive to other people's emotions and situations and that adds a whole other level of complexity to my processing.

What's the point of this post? Honestly, I don't know. It's just where I am. I'm at a place where certain things in life are filling me with so much joy I could burst. I'm also at a point where some days are a struggle to see the bigger picture. I'm at a point where I feel like God is doing big things, but I'm still at the point where it hurts. Most importantly, I am at a point where my heart is under construction. God is working hard to pull out some anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy and hurt. He's repairing some damage. He's hammering in some hard lessons and plastering me with His grace. He is patiently renovating my heart and teaching me that what I do for Him is not as important as taking the time to let Him build me into His temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19) He's reminding me to, "Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23.

So, that's where I'm at. Keeping my heart. Processing.

What about you? What helps you deal with and process things in your life?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Set Sail

As I look back over my last several posts I realize I might need to rename this, "Speaking the Truth in Whining and Pessimism". I apologize if I have been a bit negative. These last couple of months have been a little challenging for me, but today was a GREAT day! I don't have an ounce of energy left, but I really wanted to document what a fantastic day we had.

Today officially started Spring Break and my kids decided that break does not equal sleeping in, Spring Break=Wii time and triple berry pancakes. So, up we were, and somehow I found a burst of enery and motivation that has been severely lacking in this whirlwind of germs and Basketball Wives. (Have y'all ever watched that? I feel ashamed admitting I did. It was a marathon. I was sick.) Anyway, I was already in my 5 year old, stretched out from pregnancy, Christmas pajama pants and a white t-shirt so I decided it was bleach day. I cleaned out our bathrooms. I mean CLEANED  them out. Would you believe I have 4 blow dryers? I don't even blow dry my hair, y'all. I was feeling guilty but realized that Josh also had 4 pairs of hair clippers. We will now be accepting applications for hairstylist for our salon. Please send your resumes ASAP. :) I got both bathrooms and the kitchen and dining room totally cleaned and it felt so good! The kids cleaned the playroom and the girl's room all by themselves. There is no telling what is under the beds, but I was too happy today to care.

I still have 80 trillion loads of laundry to do, but as I was standing in the mountain of laundry in the laundry room Sarah said, "I thought Spring Break was supposed to be when we all do fun stuff together."  I started to ask, "What? This ain't fun?" But, all of a sudden the joy of Spring took over and I decided we did need to do something fun.  So, we finished our chores and headed out to check out the PeaceMaker, a huge sailboat that docked in our port and was giving free tours. I kept telling the kids it was a surprise and I've decided I need to stop doing that. It drives them crazy and me too as they guess for a full 4 hours what the surprise is. The good news is they were excited and had lots of fun checking out the beautiful boat.

We attempted a family pic using the timer on my camera, which my friend Lori taught me to use on our girl's weekend. Well, this is what we got-LOL!

Finally a man asked if we would like him to take one, but we forgot the timer was still on so when he pushed the button it started making the spaz out beeping noise and we could never figure out when it was going to go off! I think I liked the pic of the feet better!
It was just a really fun day! I have to say that my heart and mind have already been wandering as Josh and I are planning to take a cruise for our anniversary this year. There are no words to express our excitement. One of my biggest concerns (of course) has been clothes. You have to have the right clothes for a cruise, right? I've been so worried because most clothes I think of for cruises are not exactly modest or preacher wife like. Well, wouldn't you know it, I was researching styles for this summer and looky what I found!

If that doesn't scream PREACHER'S WIFE ON A CRUISE!!!, I don't know what does. I feel so much better now. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Status Update

I intentionally try really hard not to use FB or my blog to vent. For several reasons. Like that it is not very spiritually edifying or the fact that most people could care less. Really, that reality is not lost on me. So, I have spared the FB and blogging world an indepth look at my life this last week. The thing is, it's so hard to just pick back up, y'know? So, for any person who might be interested in what my week in FB statuses would have looked like had I honestly shared "What's on my mind", here goes:

*Why do kids only puke at midnight when it is too dark to see what you're stepping in?

*Cramps. Ugh!!!!

*I have more laundry than brain cells at this point.

*Everything I own has been peed on, puked on and pooped on.

*If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

*Day 4 without caffeine and I think I will be making a video with Charlie Sheen soon.

*I just slipped in an unidentified liquid on the bathroom floor. Seriously. I did. Right in the middle of writing this.

*All I want for Chrstmas is bleach.

*Is it too much to ask that a 24 hour bug hit everybody in my house in the SAME 24 hours rather than blessing us with a week of it's presence?

Okay, that is enough. Do you see what you missed out on? Do you feel caught up on my life? Yeah, sometimes it's better just not to know......

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We Just Thought Yesterday Was National Peanut Butter Day

What does it say about your life when all you do is talk about food? I must be hungry. I would just like to announce to the world that I made it through  my first church eating function without blowing my diet. I had some celery and grapes and a couple of crackers. I just feel the need to document this because personally I think I deserve a reward or something. Have you been to a Baptist gathering with food??????? Do you know the pies and brownies and cheese balls I turned down tonight?????? The truth is, I must be through my salt and sugar withdrawals because I really haven't even been craving any junk food. It's amazing how real food fills you up. :)

Anyway, I just had to share two pics with you that left me scratching my head and laughing (laughing now. Soooo not laughing when it happened!)

First, I just happened to walk in the kitchen this morning and see this on my counter-
In case you are wondering, that is a bowl of peanut butter trapped under a laundry basket. I'll give you three guesses who was responsible for this and I'll give you a clue, her name starts with K and ends with ATE. Personally, I don't know what is going on here. Perhaps people in my house feel it necessary to protect their food. Maybe it's abstract art? Maybe she was afraid she wouldn't be able to find it later and needed to mark the spot? I don't know. I just don't know, y'all.

All I do know is that it is a much improved peanut butter situation over this one!!!!

I can laugh about this now. Almost a year later. It does leave me wondering......

What ever made me buy peanut butter again?!?!?!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This Little Piggy Went to Market

So, you may have noticed I have been talking about food alot. Have you noticed that? As I looked over the last several posts of February I realized, I eat a lot! For some reason I have just become very interested in learning more about this healthy eating thing and trying to do it better.

One of the things I've always heard is that the fresher things are, the better. I would hear people talk about going daily to pick up their ingredients and I would think, 'Yeah right!' Of course, for several years I lived at least 20 minutes from any grocery store and was often sharing a vehicle. When I went shopping it was marathon, shop like the world is coming to an end kind of trips. Well, now we live 5 minutes from the Pig and we literally go into town every weekday for school and dance. So, this week I've decided that everyday I will go and pick up what I need  for the night and maybe some snacks for the next day. I won't lie, today I was sooo tired and the thought of going to the grocery store AGAIN was not as appealing. But, I had to pick Sarah up from dance anyway so I sucked it up and me and the girls headed to the Pig. I had a list that was less than a third of what an old list would have looked like. We did our shopping in ten minutes and checked out under $20. (That included toilet paper, too. I pretty much have to go to the store for that everyday anyway. Kate hasn't quite grasped proper tp usage yet.) I have to say, I really like our Pig and it is very easy to get around and get out of. There is no way in the world I could go to Wal-Mart everyday, even if I lived in the parking lot. I'm telling ya, you couldn't pay me to do it. I'm sure at some point I will have to do an all out trip to Wal-Mart for pantry essentials, but so far it is fun to go and get our meat, veggies and fruits. And that is pretty much all I can eat without dairy. Do you know how much stuff has milk in it????

Tonight I repeated a recipe from last week. Last week I made a turkey stir-fry and Josh said he would like to try it with steak, so we did that tonight.
I've become addicted to using as many colors in every meal as I can. I know, I need a life. BTW, don't leave your  spatula like that. The plastic will melt on the skillet. Just so you know. But, you probably aren't pausing to take pics of your meals. :)

I also learned on FB from one of my friends, Pao, that today is National Peanut Butter Day. Pao is in grad school working in nutrition sciences and she is always my go to food person. Several years ago I was a MOPS coordinator and she came and gave all of us Moms awesome, healthy snack ideas for kids. I can understand why you need a graduate degree in nutrition. You would think it would be easy, but the more I think I learn, the more I realize how complicated it is! Anyway, thanks Pao for making me aware of Peanut Butter Day! I knew the kids would be excited about that. I decided to make ants on a log. Well, without the ants. My kids are not pro ants or raisins. Somebody at school told Eli that ants put poisin in you when they bite you  and that led to a slightly (majorly) huge nervous breakdown last time he was bit by one. So, I just didn't want to bring it up. :)

This is my favorite picture. Eli just decided to scoop a finger of peanut butter (he's the reason I have the ginormou can of pb) and Sarah was doing her big sisterly duty of chastising him.

On another note, when we got home from the Pig all of the neighbors were gathered watching something. I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on. I said hello to my neighbors and they informed me they were watching somebody trying to get a dump truck unstuck out of our neighbor's yard behind us. I informed them that so sounded like something that would happen to us. It was quite a sight watching a big ol' tractor pull that thing out. I felt bad not offering assistance, but I don't have much experience pulling dump trucks out of holes. Pulling a tall, healthy 3 year old out of the front seat of the buggy at the Pig is as close as I get!