Day 18: He Who Yells First, Loses

I heard a guy at Target the other day YELLING his fool head off at someone (a very small person, presumably a child) in the backseat of his car.  Outside of the fact that it really hurt my heart,  I thought to myself, "Buddy, you aren't doing a bit of good right now.  You've lost control.  You lose."

I have a rule I live by when it comes to yelling in anger; "He who yells first, loses."

I'm not opposed to yelling, don't get me wrong.  There are clearly appropriate times to raise your voice.  For example, let's say you are, oh, I don't know . . . at the park with your 3 year olds and they want to pet the nice pit bull that some crazy person is walking around with at a PLAYGROUND!  Yelling is okay then (at the kids, not the crazy person . . .)  Or let's say that said 3 year olds want to climb on the outside of the 10 FOOT HIGH SLIDE!  Yelling might be okay then.  In fact, I find that stressful, panic-driven situations often elicit a raised voice in me.

But raising your voice in anger typically means that you have lost control.  And if YOU aren't in control, then most likely the other person is.  And if the other person is your child, you are in trouble.
If you lose control, you lose the battle.  Lose enough battles, you lose the war.

So, when you are mad as all get out at your kids (or your spouse, or your boss) trying having an incredibly calm voice.  I find that it is very disarming to folks, folks of any age.  They really don't know how to handle an angry person who is calm.  I think maybe they fear you might erupt into a rage or something, so they tend to retreat or acquiesce.

All that to say, when you find that you are getting angry, try to talk softer and see what happens. Because remember, he who yells first, loses.

Day 17: Sweet Buns

I'm on staycation this week.  Of the 4 weeks of vacation I have a year, probably three of them are spent as staycations, because, well, I have three year olds, and that should be enough said.

So this week on my vacation, I have decided to take all the recipes I have pinned on Pinterest and start cooking my way through them.

This morning, after searching for online recipes for uses for leftover buns, I decided to create my own recipes (which is a slight divergence from my initial plan to cook through pinterest) but that's okay.

Here's my recipe:
about 7 buns (hamburger or hot dog)
1 cup of sugar (I thought later I should have added some brown sugar too!)
1 tbsp of cinnamon (you could probably reduce this)
3/4 cup of butter melted

Cut up the buns into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl
Stir in 3/4 cup of melted butter
Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a plastic bag
Dump bread and butter mixture into a plastic bag

Grease a bundt pan
Put bread and cinnamon mixture into bundt pan
Bake for 20 minutes.

Tastes good.  Doesn't stick together.  So it comes out more like donut bites.  Next time, I'm going to try stirring 1/2 honey into the mixture to give it something to "cling to."  I'll keep you posted.  But hey, if any of you real chefs have any ideas for how to make this mixture actually stick together and come out looking like Monkey Bread, let me know.

UPDATE:  After dumping it out of the pan, it did stick together, but it lacks the gooey delicious texture of monkey bread.  I added a quick glaze of powdered sugar and sweetened condensed milk.  It tastes delicious, but needs some gooeyness.  I'll try again.

All that to say, I like staycations.  Pretty sure my blue jeans aren't going to be happy with me though!

Day 16: Consider the Source

When I was a little girl, I had the incredible good fortune to live in the same house with my grandma, Annie Dee.  Annie Dee was a funny old lady.  She had no teeth, except for the ones she kept in a jar by her bedside.  She lived back in the day when people didn't try to "save" their teeth, they just had them pulled and got dentures.  But she didn't like the way her dentures fit, so she just kept them in a jar beside her bed for special occasions. 

One of her favorite "special occasions" was putting those teeth in when we weren't expecting it, and scaring the b'geezus out of us by smiling all vampire-like and chasing us around the house!  Like I said, she was a funny old lady. ( She used to also wet her pants every time she laughed . . . and man is she mad at me from Heaven right now!)

But in addition to being incredibly funny, she was oh so very wise.  She had a lot of sayings that were really wasted on my youth, often totally over my head, or seemingly irrelevant.  But as I grew older, I began to understand just how wise her sayings were.  I'm sure none of them are even unique to her, but the fact that she said them, and the fact that they stuck with me all my life, make them "her sayings" in my mind.

A few of her favorites were

"Pretty is as pretty does."
"Good riddance to bad rubbish."
"A mouth full of that will make anyone sick."
"I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the Lord does with this one."

and my personal favorite

"Consider the source, Sister.  Consider the source."

Consider the source means just that.  Think about the person who is speaking over you.  Is it someone you trust?  Is it a friend?  An adversary?  A wise person?  A fool? A person with a good reputation or someone of ill repute?  How likely is this person to speak truth?

I find that whenever someone says something unkind about me, something without merit, it is easy to dismiss the words if I just "consider the source."

And yet, for some reason, when the enemy speaks over me, I find it fairly easy to let those words seep in. 

Far.  Too.  Deep.

All that to say,  the next time the enemy speaks over me, I will listen to my grandma and "Consider the source, Sister.  Consider the source."

Day 15: Wisely Informed

I am a learner by nature. When faced with an unfamiliar task, job, problem, I do everything I can to educate myself about it.  I chalk this up to my analytical brain that likes to dissect things, reach the "aha" moment, and then move forward, armed with information.

I actually find it quite exhilarating to learn new things. 
  •  When I had a child in my ministry who was deaf and had only her parents to sign for her at church, I learned sign language so I could help her and her parents.
  • When I taught first grade and wanted to make up songs to sing with my kids (I read that singing helps things stick in your long term memory banks better!), I learned how to play the guitar.
  • When I became a Children's Pastor, I read and learned all I could about that, until eventually people started telling me that I should be writing books about Children's Ministry!

And now I am a mom of special needs kids.  When words like post traumatic stress disorder and proprioceptive input disorder and regressive attachment disorder and vestibular dysfunction get thrown at you,  (just to name a few) you have a couple of choices, as I see it.  You can either crawl back in bed, pull the blankets over your head and moan, or you can arm yourself with information, get a plan, and move forward!

I think the best way I can really help my babies heal is to learn how to help them.  So I read.  And I read.  And I talk to specialists.  And I listen to podcasts.  And I read some more.

And I will tell you this, I am ARMED with information right now as it relates to my girls and their disorders!

But I have also learned (the hard way, sadly) that I must balance my need to seek information with my need to seek God.  For some reason, I find it so much easier to "put on my thinking cap" than I do to sit at the feet of Jesus.  I'm so much like Martha of the Bible.  Always busy doing something, even if it's something good (like arming myself with information).

Of late, I have been so absorbed in learning about how to help our daughters, that I think I have forsaken the One who has the answers.

All that to say, information is important, but wisdom is priceless.  I cannot afford to simply be informed.

Day 14: Goo Day

Somedays, I am just a big pile of goo.  And by that I mean, I'm a mess.  I'm a giant amoeba with boundaries that are all over the place, threatening to spill out over everything without any notice.

And other days, I'm all neat and tidy.  My ducks are not only in a row, they are moving forward with a purpose.

I wish I knew what happens in the brain that allows such a shift.

Are women the only ones who experience such things?  Am I the only one?  Say it ain't so.  Say it ain't so.  It ain't so.  Right?

Today is a goo day.  Perhaps I will coin that phrase, "goo day."  Though if I say it aloud, people will think I am saying "Good day" and that I just have a speech impediment.  And they will smile at me, but in their heads they will be thinking, "Poor thing.  Such a tragedy that her speech is so bad."

In my head, that makes me laugh out loud.  Imagine the conversation.

"Good Morning.  How are you?"

"I'm having a goo day."

"Oh, well that's good.  Me too."

Tee hee.

I feel more duck-like already, just imagining that in my head.

All that to say, Here's to the goo days and the duck days.

Day 13: Carpe Diem Jacob

Today is a noted and celebrated event in our family, yet a day that seemed somewhat empty.  Perhaps it is because the person of honor was not here to be noted or celebrated that made the day seem that way.  Perhaps because it came with a realization that your children grow up and move away and as a mom there just isn't a damn thing you can do about that, so you have to accept it and go with it, doing the best you can do to celebrate small things like their birthdays, even in their absence. (do not even think about judging my run on sentence!)

But I will celebrate nonetheless.  Yes.  I will celebrate the noted arrival of my last born son; the baby of my womb.  My sweet little towhead turned ginger turned brunette of a son, Jacob.  Oh how I love that boy. . . er  . . . man.  Just the thought of him makes me smile. 

So in honor of his birthday, and at his request (though I would have done it otherwise) here is his birthday post.

Mike and I had the perfect family plan in place.  We'd get married, wait three years, have a baby, which would be a boy, and then exactly three years later we would have another baby, and it would be a girl, and our family would be complete.

But God had other plans.  Better plans.

We got married, waited three years, had a baby boy, and then exactly 16 months later, had another baby, another boy.

I wish I could put into words exactly how my heart feels about Jacob.  There is a deep attachment I have to him, perhaps because he is the last baby that will ever grow inside my body.  Perhaps it is a deep attachment born of watching him wrestle with some incredibly hard things in life.  Or perhaps it is just because he makes me laugh, living life to the fullest and making me wish I had the guts to do the same (sometimes).

Jacob doesn't do anything small.   He doesn't just carpe' diem.  He carpe's every second of every diem.  Sometimes to his detriment, but often to his benefit, and to the benefit of others.

And he doesn't do anything halfway.  If he loves you, he really loves you.  If he's mad at you, he's really mad at you.  If he laughs, he laughs hard.  And if he cries (yes, he cries) he cries just as hard.

I love that about him.  His ability to feel what he feels.  To be authentic and real. 

One of my fondest memories of Jacob comes from a time period in his life when he was very, very sick.  We had just left a doctor's office where we  (he and I) were told that he most likely had a very rare form of muscular dystrophy.  We rode in silence for just a few minutes and then suddenly he looked over at me and he said, "You know what we need to do Mom?  We need to dance it out."  Then he turned up the radio and we danced (well, I drove), in the midst of incredible heartache, we danced.  And we laughed.  And we lived.  We carpe'd the hell out of the diem. 

All that to say, I love you Jacob Jones.  You make me happy.  Now please graduate from college and get a job where you can support me in my old age.  :)