Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2014

Into the Valley: Loving Your Spouse Through a Layoff

It took my husband and I a couple of years to fully recover from the near year he was out of work. We were wrecked emotionally and financially. When it happened we had two tiny kids at home and I was a work-at-home mom with my own small business, which wasn't nearly enough to keep us afloat.

My husband felt kicked in the teeth. A big, tough manly man, even he was reduced to tears on occasion as we groped through this new territory. The worst part for me was I didn't know how to support him.

No one I knew had been through this, especially with little kids to consider. And, as our checking account dwindled so did my husband's morale. He worked odd jobs, pulled weeds, handed out fliers throughout the neighborhood advertising handy man work, anything to keep even a little money coming in.

And in my lowest moments, when it didn't seem that God was hearing my prayers, it seemed life would sink even lower. A bill would come in we couldn't pay or a job that Dan had interv…

The Day My Son Stopped Believing

I knew it was going to happen. Like most red-blooded American parents, we perpetuated the Santa Claus myth knowing full well that our bright boy would one day wise up to our plot. He'd figure out the "truth," and deep down I'd prepared for him to be bitterly disappointed; maybe even fight feelings of betrayal. But what he did instead sort of stunned me.

Just the other day we were talking about Santa when my 10-year-old looked at me with a smirk. "Mom," he said. "C'mon. I know how it works."

"Whatever do you mean?" I asked in mock innocence. "How does it work?"

He proceeded to whisper, so as not to give away our little secret to his 7-year-old brother, that he knew we bought the presents. At first I was not sure how to respond to this conversation between us. Should I fain shock? Should I stand by our contention that a man in a big red suit ho-ho-hoed his way down our chimney and sprinkled goodies around our tree? Do I defl…

Seven Years of Birth and Bravery

Today marks a birthday. And an anniversary. My youngest son was born seven years ago today, which, on its own is very hard to believe. It seems just yesterday I was holding his tiny little hand for the first time. Now, I see him sprouting into this young man full of vigor and lifethirst that astounds (and exhausts) me.

The day he was born marked the first day of my first real faith test. You see, up until that day I had worked full time for the same company for nearly eight years. I loved my job, but the call to be with my children was greater than my corporate ambitions.

This, let me point out, was not an easy decision. My husband and I prayed and talked and prayed some more before I finally went to my boss with the idea of forming my own company so I could work from home. He tried to entice me with a part-time option, but I knew it had to be all or nothing. Thankfully, he believed in me enough to give it a shot.

My husband and I made the same amount of money in those days, so my no…

"Take Your Hands Out Of Your Pants!" and Other Things I Never Thought I'd Say Until I Had Boys

I used to be an equal opportunity thinker. As a Southern quasi-feminist, I always thought the only real difference between boys and girls was strictly anatomy. I mean, we're all human, right? That was before I had to RAISE boys. They have a tribal instict that is not nearly as prevalent in girls, making them part human and part animal. I say this with love, of course. Because, while, keeping them clean and clothed presents a challenge, they are the greatest huggers ever, and those are well worth the effort.

Need evidence that boys are part animal? Here are seven things I never thought I'd say before I had these little lovable critters: 
1)Yes, you have to wear underwear. Always.  I actually spoke these words to my 6-year-old when he insisted this was an option. I'm convinced he will grow up to be a nudist someday. You see, boys think that most clothing is not so much a necessity as it is a consideration. And, if you can actually wrestle them into something passable as clo…

No More Darkness in the Attic: Claiming Victory Over Your Fears

"You can do it," he said, as he unfolded the ladder from the attic. "It's just an attic. And I'm right here." 
Immediately, my heart palpitated. My pulse quickened. Sweat began beading on my forehead, and I had yet to step foot on the wooden contraption.

As my kids watched on, I took one shaky step toward the gaping darkness. Now, I was breathing faster, wondering if there was an escape hatch somewhere close at hand. There wasn't.

For most of my life, I've been afraid of attics. And for good reason. As a young girl, my step brother had molested me over a span of about three years when I would visit my father for his court-ordered weekends. During one of these visits, my step brother, who was also a sadist, locked me in a dark attic, knowing the light didn't work. I was petrified. I'm still unclear as to how I escaped, as much of that part of my life is blocked out.

What I do know is that the fear stayed with me. My husband of nearly 13 years…

Raised to Be a Racist: A Southern White Girl's Thoughts on the Race Debate

It's an image that has haunted me from my childhood. Growing up in Bossier City, Louisiana, there were quite distinct "good" and "bad" parts of town - the places you just didn't wander into late at night. Just across the river, separated by only 20 miles and a bridge, was Shreveport. White people lived there, but the bulk of the population was - and still is - black and, for the most part, impoverished.

My mother worked in Downtown Shreveport and one evening, after picking me up from school, we headed toward the bridge that divided these two vastly different areas of this corner of North Louisiana. That's when I saw the men in white hoods standing on each side of the street, in the "black" part of town, waving their crosses, holding their signs that spewed hatred and intolerance. Even as a little white girl, my bones shivered. Something wasn't right about this.

Forty five minutes the other direction lived my grandparents, products of the …

I'm Not a Cool Mom. And I'm Totally Cool with That.

I'm not a "cool" mom. I don't know whose tops on the Pop charts. I don't have cable (by choice), so I don't really get the whole zombie phenomenon sweeping the nation. I'm not a fashion plate, and not really interested in my kids being one either.  I see no reason for my pre-teen to have a cell phone, so he's not facetiming, texting or tweeting anyone or anything. 
Nope. Not a cool mom. And I'm totally fine with that. Here's why: 
First, I'm more and more aware of the evils (and I use that word intentionally) of too much too soon. Our kids are being bombarded like never before with half-naked models peddling everything from perfume to pajamas. People are churning out smartphone apps that make it easy to commit crimes and get away with it (yes, I mean you, Snapchat). And, apparently, TV shows have gone the way of soft porn in many cases. 
I simply don't want my young sons growing up thinking that this is the moral standard, low though it m…

A Different Kind of Open Carry: 5 Reasons Kids Should Carry Bibles

I grew up living a double life. As the child of divorced parents, I often found myself splitting weekends with my mother who didn't attend church and my father, who regularly dropped me with my grandmother who practically had a church pew carved for her - she was that devoted.

So, I can't say that I had a particular religious fervor in my youth. I never attended church camps or vacation Bible schools. Bible drill? What's that? I knew a few of the hymns, learned how to pray the "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" prayer at a young age and heard lots about Hell fire, but that was about it.

My true relationship with Christ didn't begin until I was in college. That was also when a benevolent boyfriend, upon learning that I had didn't own my own Bible, bought one for me. It was a sacrifice for him financially, and I still have it stored among my treasures.

Today, with our touch-screen technology, it's easy to toss aside our leather-bound scripture for something w…

Where Are All the Ministers? An Open Letter to Our Silent Christian Leaders

Dear Christian Ministers of all Denominations,

I cried myself to sleep last night. Again. I made the mistake of reading an account of the atrocities being heaped upon the Christians in the middle-east, namely 250 young Christian girls who had been kidnapped, forcibly gang raped and then shot ... all while jihadists video taped their abuse.

Beyond turning my stomach, this grieved my spirit. I sobbed for them, for their mothers, for their families, who are most likely displaced and starving in the desert, if they had survived the attacks at all. And all because they subscribe to a religion that preaches kindness, love, tolerance, peace and self-sacrifice.

Now, before I get comments citing the Crusades, etc., I'm speaking solely to the teachings of Christ, who we swear to try our hardest to emulate as His followers. He teaches us to "love one another." Even our enemies, which these days is hard.

As Christians are slaughtered on one side of the globe, right here in the Unite…

God's Refinished Furniture

I tried my hand at refinishing a book case this weekend. It was my first time using Chalk Paint, the latest no-sanding, no-priming favorite pastime of do-it-yourselfers. Basically, it's the paint equivalent to the Bedazzler: it's a fool-proof method of making any old thing look new again, provided it's made of wood.

As I was painting, I made a few bobbles, dripping paint where it didn't belong. As I was sanding off the drips, I started looking at the finished product. There were places where the paint wasn't quite even, the old finish shown through in certain areas and the places where I sanded off the drips was rustic-looking. To some, it may have looked like I had really botched the job. But, to me, the imperfections made the piece, well, perfect.

Personally, I like the shabby chic look, probably because it's a lot like me: a lovely piece with plenty of visible dents and dings that give it ... er... personality. As I was admiring my handiwork, I realized just h…

Confessions of a Horrible Summertime Mother

Most people wouldn't classify me as a terrible summertime mom. I mean, I've already shared with my readers the color-coded calendar I hold in such high esteem. I'm very good at finding activities for my children to participate in during the hot summer months. It's the downtime I have trouble with. 

That, my friends, is what makes me a terrible summertime mom. 

I work. Which means that my time with my kids is relegated to anytime during the week after 1 and before 8 or 9 p.m. (preferably 8). That's usually when my kids want to go to wet places like the pool or the splash pad or the lake. 

Now, I do love summer. Really. I grew up frolicking lakeside with my cousins, skiing, wake boarding and living in my swimsuit. It never bothered me that my diet consisted mainly of Rainbow white bread and bologna. In fact, at 10 years old, I liked it that way. I don't remember a lot of adults hovering around. Heck, I don't think I ever wore floaties or a life jacket. My family…

I Don't Want a Girl: 5 Reasons Having Only Boys Is Awesome

When my husband and I were awaiting the ultrasound for our second pregnancy, I was, as most moms, excited. I couldn't wait to tell everyone I was having a girl! I even wore pink that day to commemorate, what I assumed would be, the outcome.

I grew up a girly girl. My mother entered me in my first pageant at age 4, and I continued on through the Miss America system until I aged out at 25. So, my life was pretty much make up, high heels, glittery dresses and spotlights from the time I could walk a straight line. I couldn't wait to doll up my little girl with frilly things and pretty bows. I was so ready for that!

What I wasn't ready for, however, was the bitter disappointment I felt when I was told we were having boy number two. My spirits plunged. I had the ultrasound tech check again. Yep, she said. She was certain. I smiled, of course, thankful that our baby was healthy and that we were blessed by another little person to raise. But I couldn't shake the disappointment. …

TransFOURmers: Four Decades of Lessons Learned

This week marks my 38th birthday. How can this be possible? I mean, I remember knocking on 18 thinking I was old. Now, 40 is breathing down my neck, and I still feel like I'm, well, 18. Except a little creakier, a little fluffier and, I hope at least, a little wiser with wear.

As with most birthdays, I've become a little reflective this week. You know, pondering things like,"What have I accomplished?", "What have I done?", "Where is my future headed?" In these times of thoughtfulness, I realize that each decade has brought its own transforming moment. And with those moments have come certain lessons that, I hope, I'm passing on to my children.

My Youth: 

My childhood was one of, let's just say, transition. Mom and Dad divorced. He pretty much disappeared from our lives, and then remarried quickly thereafter. I plunged into an uncontrollable depression at age 7, where I couldn't stop crying. Mom tried everything from counseling to bribe…

Motherhood and the F Word

My 10-year-old son took one bite of the dinner I had slaved over (okay, so maybe not slaved so much as threw together at the last minute), before leaning over and whispering in a not-so-quiet voice, "Mommy, no offense, but Grandy's a much better cook than you." That's when I lost my appetite.

Now, I'm not usually so easily offended by my kids. I get that they are kids. They don't take into account the hundreds upon thousands of times I've made their lunches, dinners and breakfasts. In their minds, dinner magically appears with a wave of my hand. They don't hear the inner groan whenever I think about menu planning, or understand the effort it takes just to muster the energy after a long day of meetings, tasks and deadlines to pull together our little family meals.

I get that he's 10. His world is very small and protected, thank goodness. But on this particular day, my emotions were just raw enough (and perhaps my meds were just unbalanced enough) f…

The Beauty of Nothingness: The A, B, Cs of a Sunny Summer Outlook

Do you see that picture? That's my kids' summer schedule, and it's a thing of beauty. All those color-coded, scheduled events read like a Monet painting to my eyes. But I've sort of always been that way. I like structure and schedules, knowing what's coming next, and having plans B and C ready to go in case (heaven forbid) my original plan gets shredded.

But while I really like to have something set for every minute of the day, I know it can be trying on my kiddos. So, I made a radical (for me) decision for this summer. I decided to schedule weeks of nothingness amid the camps and trips.

Now, let me explain why this is a big deal for me. And by big, I mean HUGE. When I first met my husband, I was about as rigid as you could get. I liked to be spontaneous, as long as it was carefully planned out. And sitting down for a "quiet moment" was not among my favorite things. I felt antsy, like I needed to be doing something more ... productive. My husband, Dan, o…

A Feminist Housewife's Take on Moms' Night Out

Anyone who knows me knows I am an anomaly. I'm a feminist housewife entrepreneur. I can see that you are perplexed. Let me further confuse you by adding another wrinkle: I'm a conservative (read: committed Christian)feminist housewife entrepreneur. How about them apples?

When I heard that Moms' Night Out was a delightful comedy depicting stay-at-home moms in their messy real-life truth, I was eager to see it. And I was not disappointed. So, I rushed home to do what I usually do after seeing a movie I love: I Googled it. That's right. I wanted to see what the rest of the world was saying about this fantastic movie. Surely they were as ecstatic as I was. Not necessarily. While those who could identify with the film (read: any mother on the planet without a nanny and a cook), most "critics" slammed the film. Here are a few of the comments I took particular offense to:

“depressingly regressive and borderline dangerous,” adding that it “peddles archaic notions of …