It’s been over 4 months since I’ve written in this space of mine. There was a time when I felt like hitting publish here was something I could do in my sleep and now? Well, it’s become my place to write now and then. I didn’t think I would ever be okay with that but as time as went on, I really truly am. I’m also grateful for those of you who check in and read whenever I do post something.
I’ve been feeling guilty this week. Really, really guilty. For the past few months I’ve been throwing little pity parties for myself over things that other people probably wish were their only problems: family drama…husband working a lot…limited funds for summer activities…etc ETC. Then a couple weeks ago I decided I needed to give it over to God. All of the times in my life where things became clear, or things worked out in the best way for me were times when I leaned on The Lord. The peace and comfort I felt at those times are indescribable and I was mad at myself for even attempting to handle life on my own. It was then, when I surrendered, that things DID become clear as they always have in the past.
What’s ironic about two weeks ago is that I actually looked at this blog and thought man, my last post was about my aunt back in April. My top post is kind of sad on here and now she’s doing so much better and things are looking up in all the areas I spent worrying about all summer. I should post something happy so my top post will be happy because I’m a lot happier now than I was a couple weeks ago.
But I didn’t. I left my top post about my aunt.
Monday afternoon I got a call from my aunt. She’s been given a short time to live. The cancer has taken over in too many ways. She decided to go home and spend the rest of her time with the people she loves in the home she loves. Through both our sobs we talked about the past and I promised her I would see her when I’m back in Ohio in a few weeks. Later that night I remembered this blog and how my last post was about her…and I was sad then. I never updated it to mention how she had beat it just 3 months ago and now it’s back again…for the third time.
I’ve spent this week ridden with guilt…the kind of guilt that literally weighs your chest down. I can’t imagine having to call anyone I love to tell them I’m going to die soon. I can’t imagine knowing that while I knew I was going to be with Jesus, I would be leaving people who needed me behind. I have spent hours and hours consumed with myself and my own problems that are still problems to me because problems are relative but in the grand scheme of things, they are temporary.
My aunt’s peace inspires me. She is so comforted with the thoughts of being in Heaven. I pray I can be that way if I’m ever in her position.
So, through my guilt this week of realizing my priorities needed some serious tending to, I have spent time thinking about the good things I have and reminding myself that I am so very blessed. I pray I remind myself daily to not take things for granted because things can change so fast. Cancer is such a terrible thing and more and more lately good people that I know and/or love are being taken because of it.
My best friend told me this morning that our greatest gift is our health. That is something I needed to hear because she is right. With my mom and my aunt having so many health problems, I need to be even more grateful for my health, The Man’s health, and my girls’ health.
I don’t know what the future holds for any of us. I’ve learned that time is precious and things can and do change in an instant. The only thing we are guaranteed is right now, the present, which we’ve all heard is called that because it IS also a gift.
My heart is still very heavy with sadness, but at the same time it is heavy with gratefulness.
Grateful for health. Grateful for the right now. The present. The gift.
Today Hannah came downstairs with her iPad while Face Timing her friend. With a smile on her face, she said “Mom. Madison wants me to spend the night at her house. She wants you to Face Time with her step dad so y’all can meet and I can go over there.”
This is not the first time she’s bombarded me with a sneak attack Face Time moment except the other times it was just to have me say hi to her friends. I was annoyed those times but I let it go. Today I did not.
I told her I was busy and to hang up. Once she did, I lost it. I yelled at her and told her it’s inappropriate to “meet” parents on Face Time and I sure as heck wouldn’t talk to a parent for 2 minutes on Face Time and just let her spend the night. I also reminded her that it’s rude to just surprise me with Face Timing anyone, parent or a friend. I also told her that it’s rude for her friends to put their parents on the spot as well. I ended it with if she ever did it again, I’d take her iPad.
She was mad. I was mad. And it ended with her stomping up the stairs.
If your kids have Face Time, have this discussion before this happens to you and you’re the one sounding like an asshole while I’m sure the other parent is somewhere close by and can hear you say you’re too busy.
I feel like I suck at this mom thing about 32% of the time. It’s definitely a learning journey and Hannah, God bless her, gets to be the one I figure things out with.
And now for some happier moments from the past couple weeks. It rained for like a week straight but then for the past week? Sunshine. 70 degree weather. No humidity. It’s been amazing and we have been outside a lot.
You got it dude
Coffee on said patio
Foggy drives on country roads
Smiles because it’s nice out. And also the only pics I’ve taken on my DSLR in weeks because I suck at New Years goals but also because Instagram is an addicting whore and I take all my pictures on my phone so I can post them there.
May this weekend be filled with smiles and less drama around here.
Growing up in a Christian home and in Christian schools I heard just about everything you could hear and learn about God. It’s A LOT of information. And up until about 5 or so years ago, I based everything in my life on those things I learned because I believed them.
God always has been and always will be.
He created the earth and everything in it.
He sent his son, Jesus, who died and rose for us.
Those are pretty much the only 3 things I am 100% sure on anymore. The rest of the things I learned and believed are up in the air for me.
He is our Father. And a few years ago I decided I was going to see the way God views me as I view my children.
He is forgiving.
He is loving.
He is patient.
He is present.
I refuse to attribute negative characteristics toward Him and even more so refuse to use those negative characteristics in raising our children. I used to be so scared that if I said or did one bad thing, God was right there glaring at me. Now? I’m sure he gets disappointed in things I say or do. Do I think He’s constantly glaring at me for them? No. I guess I just feel like He has better things to do like controlling our universe than to worry about “sins” I commit when in actuality, I don’t think they are sins at all.
I can’t really get into everything I think and feel because it’s personal. But I wanted to explain a little more about it because a few weeks ago I mentioned my recent faith adjustment and I figured I’d elaborate.
Some other things God is to me?
He’s the first day of sunshine after days of rain while I drink my coffee.
He’s the sound of Livie’s giggles.
He’s the small voice of comfort to a sick Hannah.
He’s everything good and happy about life and nothing bad. I have altered my views little by little over the past few years and I am at such a content place with God right now.
It feels so good.
Wanna know the last time I got excited to throw my kids a birthday party?
When Livie turned 1. And before that? When Hannah turned 1.
My reason for saying this is because until Hannah turned 9, for her 8 other birthdays, I threw big parties. I STRESSED OUT. I invited all of our family and some friends. I spent money (that I currently don’t have) on decorations and a cake, presents, food…etc. Last year I asked Hannah if she wanted a party or if she’d rather us give her a bigger present and have a little party with just the immediate family. She opted for the bigger gift and I’ll tell you what- that’s the way to go.
I can remember about 3 of my birthday parties ever. Sure, there are pictures and I knew I had fun but to actually remember it?
This year Hannah opted for a hotel night with her cousins instead of a party and I guarantee you she’ll remember that way more than one of her other parties.
Livie’s birthday is next month. Her first and second birthday we did parties at home with just a few people. Last year for her third birthday we invited A LOT of people- all of our family AND friends, got a bouncy house plus all the food and decorations. Want to know the difference between this
About $200. Why?
The first picture was just the close family with no extras with just a cake and a few decorations. Last year I went all out. What I realized today? Both parties were fun. Both were memorable….FOR US. She’ll never remember either one.
I’ve been mulling over what I wanted to do for her birthday next month. I can’t get away with no party like I can for Hannah yet BUT do we really need a bouncy house? Do we really need balloons and decorations?
No. We don’t.
So here’s what I decided and after getting the opinion of a few close family members I knew I made the right choice: have the immediate family over, get a cake, skip the decorations, skip the bouncy house, make an easy and cheap spaghetti dinner, and call it a day.
She’ll still have candles to blow out. She’ll still have presents to open. She’ll still smile and know it’s her special day. And us? We’ll have saved a LOT of cash.
Kids birthday parties are expensive to throw. And since I suck at being thrifty and pinterest is a nightmare to me, throwing the party like this is all I came up with and also all I’m willing to do. Life keeps getting more expensive, I keep getting overwhelmed, so this year I decided to make some changes but still give our baby a good party.
Related: can you believe she’s going to be 4 next month? Oh. Em. Gee.
Also, a couple quick random pics because I still am so grateful they play together even if they’re 6 years apart.
Here’s to minimizing stress and expenses in 2013!
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.
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.