Monday, June 24, 2013

What Women Really Think

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Everyday Sometimes, I find myself distracted by a story on Yahoo news. I try really, really hard to keep my attention focused on serious news like what is going on in Syria, or with the IRS, or what Brangelina's kids are wearing, but sometimes I get a little distracted. A story that is sure to steal my attention is one that promises to tell me what men are thinking. Aren't those great? Don't we all desperately want to know what the heck people of the opposite sex are thinking? I mean, I just know that any day a scientific study is going to reveal what causes men (and the little boy versions) to undress and leave their clothes intertwined in a way that would be a puzzle for Houdini. And one day, a study will show us that men have a physical blind spot that makes them unable to see that a toilet paper roll is empty. Just wait for it.

You see, I am a thinker. (I don't know if she is thinking or napping, but she must be a mom. Because sometimes thinking turns into napping like that.)
Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Because I am a thinker, I expect that my man is also. This caused great stress and exhaustion for many years of our relationship. Because I would ask him what he was thinking and he would say,"Not much." Now, when I am asked what I am thinking and I say, "Not much" that means I'm thinking A LOT and I'm trying to make sure you are really prepared to hear what I am thinking. It could possibly take hours. So I thought that's what Josh meant, too. And so I would badger and plead and beg to know what he was thinking. "What are you *really* thinking?" And finally, after many years of this futile exercise, I believed him when he said, "I just don't think as much as you do."

And there it was. A life changing revelation. I finally understood how he could roll over and go to sleep when I still had at least 435 things to think about before I could even get to counting sheep. So, with that new knowledge I'm always interested in these "What Men Think" articles as I am eager to learn if other guys think more than mine. And if they do, what they are thinking about. I came across such an article just last week. "What Guys Think About Your Bikini Body". (For the record, I haven't worn a bikini since 7th grade, but just go with me on this, ok?)  Also for the record, I did not notice the extra links on that page until I linked to this article. I am in NO way endorsing any of those other articles. Seriously, I'm a Baptist Preacher's Wife-the bikini in the picture made me blush. So, as I open this article ready to learn the dirt on what guys are really thinking-there it is. Three things, y'all. 3 thoughts.  And they are short ones at that. And I had to send it on to Josh because I knew he would appreciate how succinct and to the point this article was. Personally, I put more thought into ordering a pizza. 

So, that is what leads to this blog. I just had to write the woman's response. Not necessarily to what we think of a guy's swimsuit body. Because that's the point. By the time we get to the pool, we have very few thoughts of guy's or their swimwear. Sorry. 

Perhaps I should clarify this is what a married mother of 3 thinks at the pool. Because it may be different for a single, 20 year old hottie. I wouldn't know. I've never been a hottie. And I've been married my whole adult life. For realz.

She's Thinking: Why did I eat so much bacon last winter? And ice cream last night? And 3 packs of Little Bites fudge brownies? 

Okay, so this one is the same. Except from what I have gathered in my informal research called "living with a man", there are times of the month when I will physically attack someone for a Snickers and cry if we run out of Little Debbie's. And he doesn't seem to struggle with this the same way. To add insult to injury, girls just can't get away with putting a t-shirt on over our bathing suit. Because we're supposed to look like this.
Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Which leads to:

She's Thinking: Who the heck wears necklaces and eyeliner to the pool? 

We don't know, but the Pinterest board had it as part of the outfit, so we better. So after we spend a small fortune on a swimsuit, hat, and other various accessories it comes to our attention-we need a tan.

She's Thinking: I need a tan. But this necklace is gonna make one funky tan line.

But it's ok. Because getting any sort of consistent sun would require sitting in one place. And we know that that SO does not happen at a pool with kids. Because no matter how glamorous you feel (yeah right), you will spend an insane amount of time chasing children, lathering people in suncreen that gets on you and makes crazy weird tan lines, and generally stressing about someone drowning for 96.3% of the time you are there. The other percentage of time will be spent stressing about how you look. 

She's Thinking: If I sit like this my legs look totally flabby. If I sit like this, oh my! Everybody gets a show. 

Oh saved by the bell! Had to go jump in after the 2 year old who just wandered by the deep end. There goes the floppy hat. Now that my heart rate has returned to normal, I'll relax with a book. NOT. Everybody is hungry.

She's Thinking: I should have brought organic peanut butter with handpicked, home made strawberry jelly. What will these other mothers think?

You entertain this thought brought courtesy of peer pressure for a few minutes until you must commence with after lunch clean up that includes trying to get jelly out of somebody's hair and re-applying 400 ounces of sunscreen to everyone. Your lunch has never tasted better as you totally like your peanut butter mixed with a little suntan oil and chlorine.

She's Thinking: Why am I eating? I just swore I would never eat again!!!!!

But let's face it, just getting into a bathing suit requires a significant amount of energy and works up a huge appetite. Add in water aerobics (also known as holding on to little people in a pool), carrying the 2 ton beach bag full of things you might possibly, sorta, okay not really, need, and the stress of BEING SEEN IN A SWIMSUIT, and well, okay maybe you need to finish little Junior's sandwich too. 

She's Thinking: Whoa, we need better lighting in our bathroom. Have I missed that same spot on my knee since I started shaving 20 years ago?

Better put that on our list of things to do around the house. And then it hits you that you have to bathe all of these people who are with you. And wash all of the towels. There are so many towels. So, so many towels....

She's Thinking: I'm getting sleepy. Very, very sleepy....

This is pretty much a non-stop recurring thought in her mind at all times, but 150 degree heat and water activities pretty much guarantee that she will trade her firstborn and her Vera Bradley beach bag for a 30 minute nap.

Eventually after a long trek home, the night is filled with baths and loads of laundry and everybody needing to eat again. And finally she makes her way to her turn in the bathroom where she sees that she is a hot mess of running eyeliner, jacked up tan lines and hair that is going in more directions than her thoughts. And for the first time, her mind wanders to a place that finally meets her husband's. They both agree. Let's go to bed!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

Several years ago when I was burnin' up Mississippi roads for work, I hit a turtle. It was so traumatic. I felt so guilty. So now, I am super cautious when I see one in the middle of the road. Like, swerve and hit a semi or a light pole before I'll hit the turtle. Not really, but still, I am very aware of them. I've seen quite a few this summer. There was one that took 2 days to cross the highway. He was there one day, and the next-still there, just a few steps over.

Another day I saw one as I was stopped at a stop sign. Just as I stopped another car came driving down the road. Just in time that turtle retreated to his shell, and he was good. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I wondered why the thing was crossing the road to start with. Where was he going anyway? As I pondered that deep, thought provoking question I realized that it didn't matter where he was going. The important thing was that he was going somewhere.

As I watched that turtle jerk back inside of it's shell it occurred to me that he could just stay there. I don't think he had an appointment to keep or anything. But he had already started that journey and he needed to finish it.

Have you ever started a journey only to find yourself a bit overwhelmed in the midst of it? Taken just enough steps to get you moving and then think, 'Crud, I can't do this.' But there is really no turning back. Because maybe you have also developed a thick, hard shell of protection, but if you retreat back into it, you're stuck. You're protected. You may be able to avoid injury. But in that shell, you can't grow.

I've spent many years building my shell. Insulating myself. Every negative comment, every uncomfortable conflict, every painful realization. I've grown that shell. And then, I've hidden in it. Someone hurts my feeling, I'm outta here. I have to say something somebody else doesn't want to hear, see ya later! I have to deal with hard life stuff, better equip this shell with cable. 

But, something has happened in the last year for me. I started crossing the road. I had to come out of that shell. I got a job as an advocate, a word whose very definition includes:  a person who pleads on someone else’s behalf ( I have been forced to deal with tough, uncomfortable situations that did not win me any friends or popularity contests. But they were important things that had to be handled regardless of how hard they were.  In recognizing the importance of  dealing with hard things, I realized how important it is that I deal with the hard things in my own life. To be honest, sometimes the shell just starts to get too small.

Our verse for VBS this year was 2 Timothy 1:7- "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind." The motto was: Facing fear, trusting God! A few weekends ago Sarah went to a party for her dance company. It was at her teacher's house and she lives on the water. Last year some of the girls had gone tubing and Sarah refused. She was scared. This year as we got ready for the party she told me, "I am not going tubing!"  Well, sure enough I got a text from a friend who was bringing Sarah home for me saying, "They're going tubing!" My reply? "Sarah is?!?!"  Yep. She did. And had so much fun she wanted to go again. Later she told me, "I just kept saying the VBS motto. Facing fear, trusting God."  And I could imagine my little PK out there quoting that motto. :) But I was proud. And excited for her that her fear didn't ruin her fun. It seems like a little thing, but it is learning to trust God in those little things that help us trust Him in the big things.

The part of 2 Timothy 1:7 that stood out for me the most was the part that says God has given us a sound mind. I've read and heard that verse so many times in my life, but I've always focused on the power part. Not being fearful is to have power, right? But it's not just that. Fear isn't just about snakes or flying or boogeymen. It's not just about roller coasters or tubing or wearing a bathing suit in public. (What, am I the only one with that fear?)  Fear is not dealing with things because of what other people will think. Fear is allowing people to hurt you because you don't want to hurt them by standing up to them. Fear is staying exactly where you are-physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually-because you can't handle what is on the other side of the road or you don't  know if you will survive the journey across. Fear is hiding in a shell while your mind is filled with anxiety and stress and confusion. And according to 2 Timothy 1:7, it's not of God. 

Sometimes I feel like a turtle trying to cross the road. Like I'm moving at the slowest pace possible while huge, scary things fly by me as fast as they can go. Sometimes my shell protects me, but only for a little while until it is time to get moving again. I wish the journey was easier. That I could learn to move faster or that the obstacles on the road would stop, at least long enough for me to cross. But regardless of how long it takes me or how scary it is, I know I have to keep moving because it's no longer safe for me to stay where I was. It's not healthy. It's not God's plan. You see, we have been through a time (or 2 or 3) when God has physically moved us to fulfill His plan. But sometimes, He moves us spiritually, mentally and emotionally to the place we need to be to accomplish His plan. Whatever change He has in mind, there will be change. I have yet to find a place in Scripture where someone encountered God or Jesus and were told, "Hey dude, you're great. Don't change! Stay just the way you are, you are so cool!" Because none of us are exactly where we need to be, and that's why we need a Savior. He is the reason we are on this journey, and anything that causes us to draw ourselves into our shells and puts a halt on the journey keeps us from reaching the place He desires for us. The place where fear is replaced with power, love and a sound mind. 

Keep crossing the road.