I will continue to enjoy my life with my girls and really take the time to enjoy things like Christmas mornings just a little bit more…
and continue to appreciate how amazing my in laws have been in adopting me as their own since my family is so far away…
and also to continue to appreciate how amazing The Man is to me and how blessed we are to have brought in our 15th new year together…
and to continue to love how gorgeous it is here even in the winter.
There will be ups and downs this year just like there have been every year before this one. It’s how we handle the downs to make it back to the ups that keep us going.
Goals for this year to keep the ups coming:
Go to church more
Stand up for myself more
Take more pictures on my actual camera
Read and comment on the blogs of those of you who read and comment here
Here’s to a fabulous 2013.
I really try, for the most part, to find the good in a situation or people, even if I can only find a little bit, when I can. When I began blogging almost 7 years ago (my blog anniversary is in 6 days!) I really thought that my blog was truly going to be what my headline says- rainbows and unicorns and happy faces and bowls of cherries and fields of daisies to everyone that read it.
Something I am? Naive.
I freely admit that because in trying to find the good all the time sometimes I forget that not everyone is always good. It doesn’t mean that they themselves are bad but that they make mistakes just like I do.
My mistake was being naive when it came to blogging. My other mistake was saying I was done blogging.
I thought I was ready to be done. I guess another mistake I make often is being impulsive. Usually it leads to good things…sometimes it doesn’t. After I said I was done blogging I got emails, Instagram comments, and tweets reminding me that y’all are out there…reminding me that there ARE good people reading this blog. I was wrong to act impulsively and just decide on a whim that I was done here.
I’m not done here.
In fact, I think I might just be beginning. Again.
My previous posts are all private so here’s what I decided to do- I am going to republish some favorites from the past 7 years that mean something to me…posts that I feel define me or changed how I thought. The rest will stay for just my eyes to read.
Something very important that I’ve learned lately is that I can’t please everyone. That’s hard for me because I am a major people pleaser. But if I tried to do that, I’d be disappointed often because I’d fail miserably. What I can do though? Be proud of who I am and the kind of mother, wife, sister, friend, family member I am. And? I am. I am proud of all those things. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do…someone somewhere will criticize you. The bigger picture is that for every 1 person that thinks you’re wrong or bad or stupid, there are 10 people who think the opposite.
So, Life Out of Focus is back in a new way…a better way.
When I was a kid my mom used to buy album after album of Christian songs for us to sing and learn. She brought us up in a very Christian home and we weren’t allowed to listen to secular music. I never minded though at that age because I loved the albums we had and I have very vivid memories of my sisters and I dancing and singing all of those songs.
When I woke up Friday morning I began my day just like any other day. I made coffee, packed backpacks, and took Hannah to school. Livie and I are off work/school on Fridays and we spend our whole day running errands with family so like every other Friday, that’s what we did. We went to breakfast. We went to the post office, Target, the mall…and finally ended up back here at our house so my sister in law and I could watch Grey’s Anatomy. Such a simple, run of the mill day. Halfway through watching Grey’s, The Man texted me that there was a shooting at an elemetary school in Connecticut. I paused the TV right away to read what I could find online. I read from our local news station’s website out loud to my sister in law and we both sat there wondering how in the world this has not only happened again, but this time in an elementary school.
Later that night through tears I began to think about how those babies must have felt in their last moments when suddenly I remembered a song from one of the albums I loved as a kid. The title was “My Father’s Angels” and the chorus said:
They’re all above me
They’re all around me
My Father’s angels all protect me…everywhere
I imagined that right before these innocent babies took their last breaths, in the midst of the chaos and fear, they saw angels. Their angels. And these angels took them to Jesus.
I have/am currently struggling in my faith. I’ve been questioning a lot of things I learned growing up regarding being a Christian and what the Bible says versus what it really means. But this I am sure of and will never waiver on it- we all have guardian angels and the Bible says in many places how closely children’s angels stay to them. I know with all of my heart that angels brought these souls to Jesus and he is holding them all so closely now.
I can’t make sense of anything else that happened Friday. I have shed so many tears reading and watching the news and just thinking about these parents and families of the victims…and how it’s Christmas…and just everything. I am so emotional over it all.
I took this picture before I took Hannah to school Friday morning without knowing that I’d stare at it throughout the day ever so grateful that my babies were with me yet wondering how many of those parents of those babies took similar pictures before sending them to school that day.
Pray for the families. Pray for healing. I’m not sure of everything I’ve learned my whole life but I know God does listen to us, and he does provide comfort. Pray for comfort and healing for the families affected Friday.
I love them so much…even more after all of this, if that’s even possible to love them more than I already do.
Friday evening I went to bed still aggravated. Mostly, though, I was aggravated at myself. One thing I’ve said plenty on this blog in regards to rainbows and unicorns and silver linings is that we CHOOSE those things. Happiness IS a choice. I said a few posts ago that I need to be content where I am in life, especially when it comes to situations I can’t control…to just BE where I am, so to speak. So before I went to bed I told The Man that I was done. I was going to wake up happy and not let the little things put a damper on OUR Christmas.
See, that’s why I was pissed at myself. If my attitude only affected me that’d be one thing. But I have a husband and babies to be around a lot during Christmas and usually I’m The Queen of Christmas. And although they haven’t told me, I know they rely on me to bring the Christmas spirit around here. They all follow my lead as the matriarch of this house and when Mama is all doom and gloom it wears off on the people who have to live with her.
I can’t live with myself knowing that. So, I adjusted my attitude. There’s a first time for everything and this is the first time I’ve ever needed a Christmas time attitude adjustment but I did.
Last night we had our annual extended family Christmas get together and I lectured Hannah later on because while she opened gifts, whichever ones happened to be clothes and NOT toys, she kind of huffed and tossed them aside. I told her that’s rude and sometimes we have to fake it til we make it, meaning smile and pretend you love the jacket or sweater someone bought you even if you don’t. After I told her that it dawned on me that maybe I needed to fake it til I made it this Christmas and in time I wouldn’t be faking as much as just truly being myself–The Queen of Christmas.
Today the Christmas music has been playing all day. We went to church for the first time in weeks. I edited pictures from last night and smiled.
Y’all, the transformation has begun. Watch out. The Queen is back on her throne.
Things that contributed to the change:
The Man- A rare occurrence on this blog and anywhere online really is a picture of The Man. He’s been doing less undercover type stuff at work so I’ve been more liberal with posting pics and talking about him. It’s hard to kind of phase him out of my life online because A LOT of my life IS online and he’s a gigantic part of my life. Filtering him out is hard to do and sometimes I break the rules so to speak and post a picture every now and then.
He’s been putting up with my attitude problem for weeks now and I gotta hand it to him- he’s handled it a lot better than I would if the situation was reversed. I would say I owe him big time but marriage is the epitome of ebb and flow so I’m going to call it even for whenever he needs an attitude adjustment in the future.
Family- I’m blessed with 2 awesome sister in laws and a fantastic mother in law. To have in laws that are your best friends is truly something to be cherished and I try to never take that for granted especially since my family is back in Ohio and they’re all I have down here.
So grateful my girls are growing up with lots of cousins like I did. Seeing them so excited last night about presents and playing with their toys together made my heart full…something I haven’t felt in weeks.
An impromtu night out sealed the deal for me. My mother in law decided last minute that the girls could stay the night and The Man and I went out with his sister and cousin. If I could sum up the night in one word, it’d be “fun”…or maybe “laughter.”
And lastly today, I caught her sneaking around things she’s not supposed to be touching again.
But when she was caught? She pulled the I’m-too-cute-to-be-upset-with-me card.
The cheer is back. I’m planning on riding a Christmas train down the red, gold, and green rainbow of Christmas joy this week.
I’m not a writer. Sure, when I have a thought or intense feeling on something, most of the time I blog about it.
But I am not a writer.
I have friends who have written and published books. My favorite blogger has written and published a book. I will never write or publish a book. Why? Because I am not a writer.
I’m just me. A mom. A wife. A sister. A friend. Do I write? Yes. Am I a writer? I don’t feel like one. I guess in the same sense that just because I paint a room in my house it doesn’t mean I’m a painter. I might cook an awesome meal for dinner but I am not a chef. I consider myself more of a dabbler than anything else.
What I’m REALLY good at? Analyzing myself. I told a friend this morning that I’m awesome at “shrinking” myself. I pretty much know why I feel the way I feel on just about anything, even if I can’t figure out HOW to feel differently about it if I think I should.
Now how confused are you?
So today I was sitting at the kitchen table doing homework with Hannah thinking about my blog and I suddenly had an urge to write. No, I’m not a writer, but at that moment, I wanted to write. Except I didn’t know what I was going to write about so when we finished Hannah’s homework I told the girls “Okay. Let’s go outside. Y’all can play. I’m going to sit and think.” Today was a nice, Fall day. 85 degrees. No humidity. 1 lonely cloud in an otherwise perfectly clear sky.
The girls were SUPPOSED to be playing and I was SUPPOSED to be listening to them and taking pictures, attempting to muster up some sort of inspiration so I could write. Instead, they bickered and fought over the power wheels and I had to mediate between them. I even tweeted something like my inspiration was being smothered by fighting kids.
But then it dawned on me.
That was the inspiration I needed. Today I’m not writing about a perfect Monday. I’m not writing about a perfect weekend. I’m not writing about my perfect kids or my perfect life. Today I’m writing about reality. I’m writing about the fact that my girls fought for 10 minutes straight about anything they could and all I wanted to do was sneak inside and let them handle it themselves while I hid in my room. I’m writing about how I stayed up til 1 am and my alarm went off at 6:30 and I yawned pretty much all day while attempting to handle 7 one year olds with my mother in law all day. Today I’m writing about how I almost lost my shit after walking into Hannah’s room this weekend and realizing she and her cousin destroyed it.
I am not a writer but if I was I’d write a novel about the ridiculous things that have happened to me in my life. When I tell people they sometimes think I made things up or exaggerated.
I am not a writer but if I was I’d also write about how after my girls fought, Hannah pulled the sweet, big sister card and set up a make shift, not so safe but fun, slide for them to share.
I’d write about how Hannah does cartwheels and round offs all the time no matter where she is, outside OR inside.
I’d write about how The Man’s brother and his girlfriend surprised the family with a surprise wedding on Saturday. We were all gathered there for a cookout and I swear you could hear my screams of excitement in China after I realized why they told everyone to come inside for a minute.
I’d write about how The Man’s sister and I went and got tattoos last weekend in honor of our family trips to Vegas that mean SO much to me. We’re going again in 4 weeks!
I’d write about how much I still adore Instagram and that you should follow me there @TheBecksB if you don’t already.
But I’m not a writer.
Or maybe, sometimes, I am.
Remember reading those Choose Your Own Adventure books as kids? Even back then when I’d read them I’d always chose the path that seemed like it’d be easier. The ending was always happy because I gave up the thrill of picking the more challenging route but I was okay with that because a happy ending always trumped all else to me.
I’m still like this.
I haven’t blogged in 2 weeks about my life. I’ve been busy getting my classroom ready at my new job at our church’s Mother’s Day Out program. Hannah went back to school Monday. It’s been a hectic, really good, past 2 weeks and yet I found time to sit and think because I’m super good at that. I started thinking about where I’d be now if I had chose a different path in life. Usually when I think about that it leads me to think about NOT having The Man and NOT having my girls or his family and I stop right there because I can’t imagine my life without any of them. But this week I allowed myself to really go there…to think about what would be different. What if I had decided that I didn’t want to move to Texas with The Man? What if I wouldn’t have married him? What if I finished college?
My brain has the awesome ability to go off on these tangents and I’ll notice it’s been 30 minutes and I’m still sitting there picturing my life. Would my dad still be alive because maybe if I was up there seeing how bad off he was, I could have intervened somehow? Would my mom be as bad off as she is now because I’d be up there to help her more? Would I be happy being a nurse because that’s what I was majoring in in college? Would I still be in Ohio near my family and old friends or would I have moved elsewhere anyway just to get away? Would I have married my 10th grade boyfriend that I was so sure I was going to marry even after our sad break up? Would my senior year best friend still be my best friend? Everything in my life would be so very different. When you move away you change everything. All of the people that are in my life now here in Houston or online are because of the love I had for The Man and the very happy decision I made to move with him.
But what if I wouldn’t have made it? Where would I be now?
The blessing and the curse of those questions are that I have no idea. I’m not supposed to know.
When I read those books as a kid, after I finished, I’d cheat and go back and read the other path I could have taken just to see what would have happened. I sometimes wish I could do that now…not to ever go back and change the choices I made because I know that the choices I made brought me where I am today and I love where I am today…but I guess just to cheat a little, if you will, and see what might have been. I’m so grateful that at least I wonder that with pure curiosity and not disdain.
So there ya go. That’s what happens when I get lost in reading books and stay off Twitter. I end up thinking random things that end up all detailed when I didn’t mean them to be. Welcome to my brain.
So last week was our last week of summer break. We swam. We played outside. And Livie decided about 3 weeks ago that she wasn’t going to wear clothes anymore if she’s home.
And then school started and I couldn’t wait to hear about my 4th grader’s first day. She sent me a text from the bus saying “All most home!” and I smiled because it’s cute how she spelled that. So I became THAT mom who stands in her driveway waiting for her baby to round the corner.
So far she’s loving 4th grade and she loves her teacher. It’s a start, right? Livie starts Pre K 3 next week with me at my job. Dear time, please slow down. Thanks.
Friday (major catch up) Instagram:
I’m @TheBecksB if you want to follow me.
Who knows when I’ll have time or be inspired to blog again so in the meantime please follow me on Instagram or Twitter (you can find me on the side bar at each place!) and also? Read an Indie book. Or 5. Or 10. They’ll change your life. I’ve been sucked in but in a good way.
I know this will be hard to believe to those of you that know me, but I barely took any pictures when I was in Ohio for my sister’s wedding.
Are you over the shock yet?
I DID take a lot on my phone but barely any with my point and shoot and NONE on my big camera. Turns out when you’re IN a wedding you’re actually pretty busy. Who knew?
Totally joking. I DID know but still…shame on me.
The wedding was gorgeous…the reception was amazing…I hung out with family and friends and had such a wonderful time. My sister is now a married woman and joins my club of married daughters to my parents.
Y’all know how much I love love. Sometimes I think love is the only thing that keeps me going on the worst days. My sister and I don’t always see eye to eye but I was genuinely happy for her on her day. I could really feel the love between her and her husband (still weird to say!) and the day was gorgeous.
I made little Instagram collages of my time in Ohio…
This is the first time in ages that when I said goodbye to my family I didn’t have a future date in mind for when I’d be back.
That killed me.
Usually when I leave I’m saying “See you in November!” or “See you in the summer!!” This time? Nothing. I don’t know when we’ll be back. I HOPE summer of 2013 but OMG doesn’t that seem like so far away? Saying bye to my niece who’s so tiny and knowing the next time I see her she’ll be walking and talking killed me. Saying bye to my mom who cries EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I come back home kills me. To know SHE doesn’t have a date in mind to look forward to kills me. Distance sucks. I love living down here. Texas is my home and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Ohio will always be home too and it pains a little more each time I leave my growing family.
I literally just took a very deep breath and let out a long sigh.
Typing it out doesn’t make it any easier than saying it outloud. Emotional overload.
Speaking of hard emotions, I went to my dad and grandparent’s graves while I was up there. I keep thinking that one day when I go to my dad’s grave I’ll be able to without crying. That day is nowhere close. I was fine driving into the cemetery. I was fine as I got out of the car and walked up to his grave. As soon as I stood there and read his headstone a few times the tears flowed. There’s just so much…he’s around though a lot and I take huge comfort in that. My best friend teases me cause I’ll tell her about the conversations I have with my dad still even after he’s gone and she jokes about how I argue with him in the afterlife. I told her “Of course I do. Now I can without his stupid reasoning getting in my way!” and we crack up. It’s true though. I’ve always loved my dad. He pissed me off A LOT when he was alive. But he’s gone now and for as much as I forgive people when they’re alive and in my life daily…how much more have I forgiven him in his death.
But with all of that, the weekend was still fabulous and I had a great time and by Monday I was ready to get home to my babies.
Back to regular blogging later this week or next week. Until then, love.