Bah Humbug

I’ve been a realist my entire life. Maybe I’ve even been called a scrooge once or twice. I never believed in the big bearded fellow as far as I can remember and I’m not proud to say that I ruined several children due to that in my time. It’s not that I’m a horrible grump when it comes to this stuff, it’s that there is SO much amazing things surrounding this season that I can’t imagine the need for anything made up. I’ve been a parent for almost 8 years now, and for the entirety of those 8 years I’ve managed to escape the topic pretty much altogether. I guess it’s one of the perks of being divorced… “go ask your dad…”

I became a foster parent shortly prior to Easter. My sweet duchess, 7 years old, joined my family and life as we new it changed forever. In her short 7 years she had not experienced the security and love that my boys had experienced, much less any magic. I managed to make it through Easter without giving the magical jelly bean pooping rabbit any credit. I was proud of myself. The kids came down on Easter morning and gushed over their new fishing poles and baskets filled with lots of learning materials and toys. In the days that followed Easter, I paid attention to the conversations between the kids and their friends. They all discussed how this magical bunny paid a visit and lavished them with candy and gifts. When the duchess finally approached me regarding the topic, I was at a loss for words. Was I not good enough? Did I do something bad? Why didn’t the Easter Bunny give me anything?

That was the moment in time when I decided to look deep into my black little heart and try to look for any shred of magic. I promised myself that I would at least try. The tooth fairy, I could handle the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy didn’t interfere with any of the spiritual lessons that I try to pass down to my children. I’m not sure how I escaped a lost tooth in the time between Easter and this Christmas season with either of the 7 year old or the 5 year old losing a tooth, but I did. As Christmas quickly approached, I started to purposely ignore the topic. I was not prepared.

Almost as soon as Halloween was over the children started bombarded me with questions, gift requests regarding Christmas and… that awful, wretched Elf on a Shelf. Oh, that Elf on a Shelf. I’d like to find the creator of this Elf. I would find this person and trap them in a room with life-sized elves darning that same evil spark in their eyes and that wickedly creepy plastic smile. The elves would then proceed to periodically and strategically torture this person in a way that would make the Viet Cong blush. Only they’d use toilet paper and M&M’s and Hershey Kisses… and the rest of the torture devices these elves are so accustomed to using. I had finally decided to give into the peer pressure when my sweet duchess had most horrifying experience with our neighbor’s elf, Buddy, in their guest bathroom. Yes! I had gotten off the hook! Or so I thought. Over the next two days she convinced herself that it wasn’t “that bad” and they started requesting it again. But that face!

I’m one of those moms. I try to find a life lesson or create a meaningful experience in almost everything that we do. So, I took to Pinterest and found this post. Then I headed over with my strategically started Amazon Prime trial and ordered these adorable, not creepy elves. Kindness Elves that would assign the children different Random Acts of Kindness for the next 25 days.

Meet Ender(man) and Ginger McNotCreepy:

ender and ginger

Today we completed the third day of our assignments and I do have something meaningful and life lesson-y to add about each one of them so far, but for now I will share my list in case any of you are looking for anything fun to do to spread love over the next season:

(in no particular order, except number 25 on Christmas Day)

  1. Pass out flowers to women at a grocery store.
  2. Donate toys and clothes to a homeless shelter for families.
  3. Hand out balloons to kids shopping with their families at the mall.
  4. Candy Cane bomb kids at a restaurant.
  5. Bake cookies for a fire station.
  6. Rake leaves for a neighbor.
  7. Adopt a kid from the school’s Giving Tree.
  8. Cook a meal for a family.
  9. Hand out $1 bills to kids at the dollar store to buy a toy.
  10. Hand out hot chocolate to parking volunteers at church.
  11. Hot Chocolate and thank you note for trash guys.
  12. Gift and thank you note for mailman.
  13. Gift and thank you note for a server.
  14. Chalk notes on driveway for neighbors.
  15. Sticky note compliments on cars on parking lot.
  16. Pay for someone behind us.
  17. Give a homeless person a gift card.
  18. Bake cupcakes for library workers.
  19. Mail a card and a small gift to a random stranger out of the phone book.
  20. Kind bomb library books (notes in the books)
  21. Make Christmas flowers for the school front office staff.
  22. Tape microwave popcorn and candy to Redbox.
  23. Take coloring books and crayons to children waiting at Children’s Hospital.
  24. Send a package to a Marine that’s overseas.
  25. Take treats and thank you notes to people working at drug store on Christmas.

 

 

All the single ladies

I started going to church on Saturday nights a few years ago. I realized that it was the most genius way to get showered and dressed only once per weekend and stay in pajamas the next day. So, as I was singing loudly and obnoxiously through the worship set tonight, I had some sort of an epiphany. Something I already knew and speak of to others; but it was something that really sank deep into my heart seemingly for the first time. As I stood there belting out the lyrics to Hillsong United’s “Sinking Deep” I found myself feeling more and more like a fraud.

Last week I heard a statistic that more than 50% of adults are now single. Although I did zero fact checking on that number, it shocked me and I believe it. That number seems to be pretty much in line with the numbers of the Motherhood small group that I attend, with me being one of the single ones. One of the side notes that the radio DJ added to the statistic was the large number of adults simply choosing to be single as a way of life and never looking to marry. Whilst I understand the comfort and freedom that comes from doing what I want, when I want and having nobody to answer to, I think that’s mostly bull. God created us for relationships; relationship with a partner, our families, our children and our friends. You can find happiness in that life for sure but true joy cannot be reached without people. God did not create us to go through life alone. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. We are supposed to pour our gifts onto others and at the same time allow others to pour into our lives. But in talking to most of my single friends (whether they’ve been married in the past or not, have children or not) the most common thing weighing on them is finding the right man to spend the rest of their lives with. Don’t we all want that happy ending?

“I’m wide awake, drawing close, stirred by grace And all my heart is Yours”

Is it? Is ALL my heart His? I’ve heard this song a few dozen times and sang along with my arms stretched wide. But is it His? Or am I putting all this stuff that I want or that I think I deserve for Him to give me above having Him in my heart and a relationship with Him?

“Your face is all I seek, you are my everything.”

Your face is all I seek. All I seek. Is it? No. The answer is no. It’s not. You are my everything. My everything? I realized that was also another big no. I’d like to tell myself that both of those statements are true but let’s be real…. the truth is that I get SO hung up on my struggles, wants and the things that I feel I’m entitled to that I seek those things first. And not just wants but mine and my children’s needs also. I put those things first and THEN I reach out to God, even though He’s always provided for us and never once let us down. I try my hardest and when I fail then I turn to Him. God tells us to seek FIRST His kingdom and all of these things will be given to us, not the other way around.

“Jesus Christ, You are my one desire”

Man. That one stung. MY ONE DESIRE.

Before I continue I should probably state my position on singlehood. I’ve been divorced for 3.5 years. I’m co-parenting two of the most handsome boys on earth with their father and fostering two others on my own. That makes FOUR children. I am perfectly content in my current situation. I love coming home, jumping into pajamas and having PB&Js for dinner if that’s what I feel like we should do that day. In fact, I couldn’t even fathom the idea of having some other person as part of my routine messing up my groove right now.

As I sang those lyrics “my one desire” I realized that I wasn’t being honest. I want so much more. So as I desire so much more, am I then putting this person and my desires with this person above God? As I pray to God for His will to be done, for His guidance and direction am I ignoring His instructions until I get what it is that I think I want?

The truth is that I’m not ready and God knows this. As I sit here waiting so impatiently, God is working on my heart. I’ve tried the wife thing before. And I was ok at it then but mostly really immature and my temper was out of control. I started too young and before I was ready. When I do this again I want to be a great wife. Not just a good one. I need more patience. I need more understanding. I need to be able to hand the reigns over to that man and let him be the strong, nurturing, God-fearing man that I say that I want to lead my family. God is really working on my control issues right now and I know that I wouldn’t be ready to do that now. Or maybe it’s the opposite of that? Maybe sometimes I’m so tired that I want my knight in shining armor show up and rescue me? But again, if someone “rescued” me now (I don’t need rescuing….) will I then learn to lean on that person and forget to give God all the glory He deserves?

This week God has shown me that He really is all that I need. He has shown me that when I’m hurting the most, to cover that pain in His love. His perfect love. This week I learned that God really is my provider and He will always come through and give us what we need even when it seems impossible. He did the impossible for us this week. This week I learned that God will send us the people we need to fill those areas where we need them and that in turn He will send us to the people that need us.

And so I’ve decided to set out on a journey for God to be all that I seek. For God to be my everything. And for Him to be my ONE desire.

“All fear removed, I breathe You in, I lean into Your love, oh your love”

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. ~Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭33‬ NKJV

“Is there bacon in Heaven?”

This is how the slightly morbid, sometimes pleasant but mostly awkward discussion about “life after death” started with my 4 year old son.

(Before I begin, let me preface by saying that I am not a theologian and am in no way, shape or form qualified to have a discussion regarding this topic with even my 4 year old son)

“I’m not sure, kid”

“I love bacon”

“So do I, kiddo. And so I’m not sure we’d be forced to spend an eternity without access to the pure joy that is bacon”

“Huh, mommy?”

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