Don’t force Sunday school on the three year old…

Look.  Let’s get real.  The title should actually read:  don’t subject your screaming 3-year-old on the Sunday school teacher.

I’m right, right?  Can I get a holy Amen in here (Whoa, now…that was a little too loud. Smile wink smile).

But, in all honesty, my three year old fled and panicked today and did not want to be left in the huge Sunday school room alone.  So I did what I needed, I scooped her up, plopped her on my lap, and sat through church with her while I got to give her a million unappreciated kisses (as she loudly proclaimed in the service to Stop Kissing Her), cuddle her in my arms, hold and dance with her in worship, and take communion with her on my hip.  

And she was happy.  And I was happy.  And the Sunday school teachers were most likely ecstatic.  

Best of all????

These lovely selfies she took during the sermon time (insert scary laughter from evil selfie).

Praise Jesus???

Advertisements

The Midnight Bullfrog!

Seriously.  I was having so much fun hanging out at a friend’s house that it was just before midnight when I gathered my 3 and 5 year old kiddos up and stuffed them in the van for the ride home.  We barely made it out of the neighborhood when I saw the BEST thing I could have ever seen…a humongous bullfrog hopping across the road in front of me!

I pulled the car over, put on my hazards, and then took off after the bullfrog in the dead of night.  

A car came around the corner.  I don’t think they knew what to do.  Stop and help the lady and the van or just watch as I chased this bullfrog down the street?  Apparently they figured I was not in need of assistance as I grabbed the bullfrog and let out a loud whoop of delight.  So they continued driving on. By this time I’m slightly far away from the van with my kids (bullfrogs are FAST little buggers), so I begin a quick trot back to them—a proud trot.  An “I am an accomplished mom because I have captured a bullfrog.  I am a bullfrog capturer,” type of trot!  

And just as I go to open the passenger back door to show my triumphant capture, the bullfrog squirted (urine—yuck) ALL OVER ME!  My hands.  My arms.  My legs.  The bullfrog pee was running down my leg.  I kid you not.  And, as the bullfrog’s number 1 was covering me in disgusting wetness, all I could do in that moment was hold this midnight bullfrog high in the air and proclaim, “Look what I caught for you, children!”  

The kids?!  

They squealed and laughed and just thought that a mom covered in froggy pee-pee was the BEST gift anyone in the world could have given them.  I don’t even think they even saw the bullfrog through their laughter.  

As I finally released the bullfrog in the greenway for its freedom, I returned to the car to hear Max, my 5-year-old say, “I thought you caught me a present.  I didn’t know you were going to bring me pee.” 

Neither did I, Max.  Neither did I.

But, in the end, sometimes laughter is the best present after all!  

Getting in Shape? Not me…

fde0d69609e9c076d2d88e9366717457

Saw this on Instagram this morning…I nearly died laughing.  Because.  Well, just because this is not my #truth when it comes to my infamous eyebrow and s.  First of all, I don’t get in shape.  Second—not even my eyebrows are there!

Last—I actually never knew the internet was FULL of all sorts of quotes about EYEBROWS!

I mean…I thought it was just my blog that ranted about these top hovers.  But, no.  I was rolling.  And so I found a few fun quotes and a few blog reminders so we all may enjoy!

Here we go…a few fun internet finds and how I tend to blend right in to this craze.

Enjoy!

Jack Black has something to say about eyebrows, and I learned this one the hard way…When I didn’t have one:  Vanity Will Get You One Eyebrow—Less

eyebrowsjackblack

Next..I never knew how important they were until I went to make a statement about my marriage: Marital Unbliss and Lack of Sleep Had a Devastating Effect on My Eyebrows

eyebrowsareimportant

I guess this last one is especially humorous to me since I write a blog…Haha!  Enjoy the quote and the blog: Do You Want To Wax Your Mustache?

bad-eyebrows

Record the delights in your heart

nun-family-in-the-fall

I pulled out a journal that my mom sent me for my 40th birthday the other day.  There is so much for me to write and see and say, and I wanted to begin to record.

But pulling out my journal brought me back to the last several years of my life and marriage.

If you have followed this blog since its inception 3 years ago, you would know that my husband and I have had to work really hard at our marriage.

One point, while we were receiving professional help, my husband was journaling.  It was a good thing.  Yet is was a VERY depressing thing.

While it was both cathartic and healing—it was just SO SAD!

And every time I read it, it was hard to read.

Hard times in life are hard.  And we need to share them with someone we trust—but that doesn’t make it easy.

So when I pulled out my journal…during a hard day of just being me, being mommy, being wife, I decided to do something different.

I decided that I was going to write about the joys of my day.  And while my children sat screaming and crying and throwing fits, I remembered that ONE moment of the day where they were pure joy—

And I wrote that.

And I giggled while I wrote.

And I shared with my husband what I wrote.

And we smiled.

Through the tears, through the difficulties, through the hard—we smiled…because, really, there was something to smile about.

Take for example, my family photo above.  My 2-year-old delight (sarcasm inserted here) cried and pouted and shouted throughout our entire photo session.  She was tired.  She was sleeping.  And she is two.  TWO.  That, in itself, is an answer for everything 😉

She did not want to smile for any photo.  It was impossible.  And as much as we tried, we just could not get that ideal and dreamy family photo that I had envisioned on the drive to the palace gardens where we were taking photos.

So we had to come to the conclusion to either leave her out of photos or just go with the flow.

And we did both.

When she wasn’t in the photos, we clicked magnificence.

When she was, we just had so much fun with her two year old pouty expressions…capturing not perfection but real life.

At the end of the day, when the gardens were about to be locked up, we wandered to the exit and just let the children run and play.  After all, they could get dirty now that mom had what she wanted.  That is when the sun actually came out.

No, dusk was on the horizon, but our 2-year-old Josephine ran and played and laughed and smiled.

And that is when my husband took back out the camera that he had already packed away and started to shoot.

And that’s when we saw her smile.

You know…It’s good to record life.  The ups and downs and all arounds.

But sometimes we especially need to record the joys—because they remind us to smile!

 

 

 

Don’t Ever Help the Local Teens When You’re Traveling on a Foreign Bus

darbyholdingupthetower

Oh my.  I am seriously crying over here.  I was reminded yesterday that my sister, the MOST helpful woman you will ever meet, was inspired on our recent trip to Italy (#sisterchick style) to help the local teenage boys out…on the bus…at the top of her voice.

Here is how the story goes…

We were on the Pisa city bus just, very apparently, not making our way to the Leaning Tower…So there we were.  Hanging out.  Watching the city pass us by, while the locals hopped on and off.  Pushing stop buttons when wanting to exit and stamping tickets when boarding.

We knew we had to get back to the train station—so, you know, we had to basically ride the loop out.

This gave us OODLES of time to get really really really like super really bus savvy.  I mean, we were riding it for like an hour—so we did have it figured out.

Stop button meant people wanted off.  Tickets punched meant people would be riding.

The thing is…the bus was so busy that we were all scattered throughout.  From front to back—dragging our ridiculously heavy suitcases with us—carry-on luggage—and lots and lots of sweat from our over-stuffed train ride to get to Pisa from Florence (but that’s another story).

And in the midst of the bus chaos and complete separation we hear from somewhere in the middle a LOUD and TALL REDHEAD shouting in her best Italian #@$&%!

The bustling, overcrowded, LOUD bus comes to a complete moment of silence===and we, the traveling #sisterchicks, all look towards Darby (my sister) and stare.  Mouths open.

What did she just yell?????

Whatever it was, it brought Italy to a standstill.

No one…foreign or otherwise…knew what to do.

And then we hear her, “I am just trying to help stop the bus.”

All of us, however, came to the conclusion that whatever word the teenage boys were shouting on the bus was probably, very likely, absolutely without a doubt, we are sure of it…not the word STOP!

What word was it?

Well, considering it was teenage boys yelling it…let’s just say it was probably a very naughty word that my sister would most likely punish her own teenagers for saying 😉

Yes, here she was, in a foreign country, yelling it at the top of her lungs!

#$%!@##$#!

Needless to say—the bus did stop.

Talking that is.

Not in motion.

It kept rolling…

Much like our laughter to this day.

Oh, dear friends, wherever you go, if there are teenage boys shouting, keep this in mind…

Don’t repeat what they are saying…ESPECIALLY if it is in a foreign language.

And on a bus!

***

photo credit:  Laura Hocknell; photo caption:  Perspective;  photo subject:  DARBY the bus yeller!!!!!

 

My daughter punked me today. Robin Williams would be proud.

sillyada

My daughter punked me today, and I believe the comedian that the world just lost would be proud.

But before we get to her stunt, I would like to say:

Depression

Health failings

Addiction

Loneliness

Fear

Despair

Suicide

They don’t have one face.  They don’t have the face of only the homeless man or woman living under the bridge.

They don’t have the face of only the man or woman living in an institution of white walls.

They don’t have the face of only the misfit teenager that everyone belittles.

Darkness has no barriers.  It has no popularity barriers.  It has no economic barriers.  It has no gender barriers.  It has no age barriers.

Darkness resides in this world in utterly devastating ways.

I remember clearly our church in all of its surprise and devastation when an utterly beautiful mom of a devoted husband and gorgeous children took her own life in her garage one day.

It will forever haunt me seeing my classmate walk after school to wrestling, only to wake up the following day to reports that he took his own life that very night of the last day that I watched him walk away, locking eyes and sharing a smile.

And I will, until the day I die, never forget the beautiful friend of my precious brother that ended his battle too young-watching someone grow before your eyes from kid to teenager to adult attending friends weddings.  And then death.  Too tragic.  Too young.

Yes, darkness.  Darkness my friends takes over.  It takes over minds, hearts, thoughts.  It takes over lives, marriages, jobs.

Darkness is very real in this world and you can’t buy your way into happiness.

How is it then that it can be battled because Christians and those that don’t believe in God both lose to this evil thing?

For that, I have no answer.  Families that have lost their loved ones to such evil often cry out with the same questions.  How is it that someone that is loved so much cannot think that they can pull themselves up and out of this battle and survive?

They can.  And yet it must seem at the time when they lose the battle that they don’t see any light.  Any tunnel.  Any hope.

They are probably more tired than words.

And their mind battles demons that no one knows.

Often we are so envious of the beautiful lady—yet we don’t know why she tries so hard.

We are so envious of the perfect body—yet we don’t know why she works so hard.

We are so envious of the bank account of our neighbor’s—but we don’t know at what cost to his own family.

We are so envious of the funniest—but we don’t know why they laugh so much.

We are so envious of the smartest—but we don’t know why they know so much.

The majority of the times, it is a natural drive and self confidence that keeps people going and doing and being the way that they are.

But there are those times when those that we envy are who they are to hide what they are battling…

Darkness invades.

I often wonder if my son died if I would be overcome with darkness.  A darkness too deep that I would not be able to recover.  And I think that I wouldn’t.  But I don’t know.

What do I know then?  I do know that in all of the despair and the darkness that is battled, there is a light, Jesus Christ.

Will everyone that believes overcome darkness?  Perhaps on this side of life, the answer is no.  But there is an eternal light through Jesus that means on the other side of life, the answer is yes.

The thing is—Jesus does not want anyone before his or her time.  And that, unfortunately, is what suicide is.  It is leaving this darkness before your time.  Leaving your family before your time.  And leaving your work before your time.  It is a finality to life that wasn’t yet meant to end.

It’s a silent subject and oh so sad.

It’s not discussed much in church.  Suicide.  It’s only delicately reported in the news.  Suicide.  And movies often make only the most extreme outcast the one most likely to commit it.  Suicide.

But this darkness does not only attack those on the outskirts of what we label society (and, truly, who are we to label society’s outskirts)…It resides in the biggest of mansions or the smallest of homes.

And it must be discussed.  Because it is a battle.  A dark and dangerous and lonely battle that needs to be fought.  For the person fighting it.  For the family living it.  And for the rest of the world that may enter into it.

But in any and all cases, those that lose their battle to this darkness need to also be remembered in their light.

For they, too, lived a life.  And, Robin Williams, he lived a life that brought a lot of joy to millions around the world.

How we all wish we could have brought him the same joy.

But, alas, as still as time may seem for those closest to him mourning this devastating loss, the world turns.  And now it’s the world’s turn to speak out and battle and fight for those like Robin Williams.  Those that put on a happy face.  A face that is the facade to the darkness that clouds the hidden mind.

I pray for you if you are in this battle.  Find help.  And realize that you can overcome.  Bring your battle to light and allow God to be your northern star and those around you to be your mates.  Your life is not done.  Your time has not come.  Your finality of death is not meant for now.  God is not done with you yet!

Phillipians 1:6 (NLT) reads,

“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the Day of Jesus”.

And, now, today, as Robin Williams brought laughter to the world, my daughter, very unaware of the death of Genie, brought great laughter to me as she punked my very being.

“Hey, Mom!  I got your toothbrush ready for you!”

Now, normally, I would be a great skeptic.  But my daughter has displayed tremendous amounts of great help in the past few weeks.  Perhaps she has known that Mommy needed it in this foreign land of Poland as we have lived without Daddy nearby or running water every evening for over a month.  Perhaps she knew I have needed her extra grace, as moving to a foreign country with 3 children and 2 of them 2 and under requires much more coffee and much more sunshine than a usual day.

Perhaps she did it this morning, got my toothbrush ready, because she knew I was up at the crack of dawn doing the MOST DISGUSTING THING EVER…giving 3 dogs flea baths.

Yes, I said and admitted it.  Giving our dogs flea baths.  Disgusting fleas.  Disgusting dogs.  Disgusting job.

And here I was, you will have to picture it because I will not offer cyberspace a photo of it…in my bathing suit (remember I only had a baby 7 months earlier ;)), and a shower cap, latex gloves, and my husband’s flip flops—because I was not about to go out in my cute shoes and ruin them…

Perhaps, yes, today of all days, as we prepared the kids to go to Polish and French lessons, perhaps today my daughter was just being kind.

And there in the bathroom were our toothbrushes.  Her dad’s and mine.  Laid out.  On the counter.  With toothpaste on them and even the tube of toothpaste lying haphazardly on the sink next to them.

Nothing, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.  Except the fact that she did prepare our toothbrushes.

But I trusted my daughter and said in my mind, “I shall appreciate this kind gesture…”

And I began to brush my teeth.

Bubbles upon bubbles upon bubbles sudsed out of my mouth as the taste of toothpaste was overtaken by the underlying taste of liquid white soap.

Yes…My daughter is so proud.  She punked me.  And it did make me laugh.

For in this world, in this short, short world in this speck of existence that we call life, we need all the laughter we can get…

Even if it comes with the taste of toothpaste.

RIP, Robin Williams.  You will be missed.

News articles related to his death:

CNN

NY Times

Fox News

BBC

Huff Post