Traditions?

Christmas is 11 days away.  I'm not exactly sure where we are in the song.. if I should receive two turtle doves or if I should be receiving eleven lords a-leaping.  either way... the gifts would be the ONLY thing that would suggest Christmas in my house.  Well, except the pesky elf on a shelf that forgets to move days on end.  He does, however, remind my children to be nice... WIN.

gasp.

I feel guilty that my tree is buried in my garage, that my living room has been transformed to a playroom so there isn't a snowballs chance of a tree fitting in there, anyway.  I feel guilty that my children don't beg for decorations and fluff.  Guilty because there will come a time soon, that they won't care about a tree or decorations and I'll wish for nothing but a year with them small.

Am I the only one who doesn't go above and beyond for holidays?  I post the cutest ideas to my pinterest boards, yet never follow through.  I'm just tired.  Exhausted.  I come home to recharge and do nothing.

My children seem to appreciate the low key atmosphere, the days that are carefree with no schedule or requirements.  Weekends are spent in pajamas with mismatched socks and messy hair.  We eat picnic style whenever we are hungry- usually in living-room while watching cartoons.  We nap, we play, we do laundry.

This is normal, yet for some reason, 11 days from Christmas, I feel like I am cheating my little people from something I see enjoyed on television.

I look back and don't ever remember celebrating holidays.  sure, we had a Christmas tree with a hundred wrapped boxes under it.  I don't have many other memories of Christmas when I was younger.

Am I doing the same disservice with my own children?

What are your thoughts?  Am I scaring my children?


Grace

Grace.

I sit here, alone, in my kitchen tonight.  I have cinnamon rolls in the over for dinner.  The kind you peel out of a can, not the kind you spend hours and pour love into.  The kind that promises to heal a broken heart if you inhale the entire 8,431 calories, alone.

My children are in their bedrooms, thankful that I've decided cleaning was declared "OVER" for the evening.  They have been troopers today.  We are rearranging the living areas in our home to accommodate a "play room" for the knot-heads.  Their rooms are much too small and my patience for trash and mess has come to a head.  It's either we build a playroom or I sell someone.

I digress, though.  This post isn't about how terribly unorganized or filthy my children's bedrooms are.  It started off being about grace.

What exactly is Grace?  I'm so happy you asked!

1grace

 noun \ˈgrās\
: a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward
: a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving
graces : skills that are needed for behaving in a polite way in social situations

Full Definition of GRACE

1
a :  unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b :  a virtue coming from God
c :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
2
a :  approvalfavor grace
s>
b archaic :  mercypardon
c :  a special favor :  privilege grace
, shall rule his heritage — Rudyard Kipling>
d :  disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
e :  a temporary exemption :  reprieve
3
a :  a charming or attractive trait or characteristic
b :  a pleasing appearance or effect :  charm grace
of youth — John Buchan>
c :  ease and suppleness of movement or bearing
4
—used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop
5
:  a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks
6
plural capitalized :  three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who are the givers of charm and beauty
7
:  a musical trill, turn, or appoggiatura
8
a :  sense of propriety or right grace
 not to run for elective office — Calvin Trillin>
b :  the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful

Examples of GRACE

  1. She walked across the stage with effortless grace.
  2. She handles her problems with grace and dignity.
  3. He has shown remarkable grace during this crisis.
  4. She is quite lovable despite her lack of social graces.
  5. Let us give thanks for God's grace.
  6. By the grace of God, no one was seriously hurt.
  7. She tried to live her life in God's grace.

Origin of GRACE

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks, from gratus pleasing, grateful; akin to Sanskrit gṛṇāti he praises
First Known Use: 12th century





I spend a lot of time with my grandparents.  They have stood in the gap where my biological parents should have been, but never were, since before I was born, I imagine.  My grandmother talks about not wanting to be a grandmother at the young age of barely 41.  She was just days into the year when my parents dropped me off to tend to my mother's something or other at the hospital.  We bonded the first day.
 
Growing up, grandma was the one who would give me advice.  She would pick me up on Friday nights and beg my parents to allow me to spend the night.  She was the one who furnished my school clothing, she was at every dance recital and softball game I was a participant.

She fought for me.  She called DHS when my parents thought hitting was okay.  She forgave my parents, but never forgot.  She cried when I was carted off to New Mexico, then to Utah (which looking back I loved but missed her terribly) and was there the night my parents packed up all of my belongings and put them on the porch in trash bags when I was 17
.
She financed a wedding that was so beautiful when everyone involved knew we were too young, but no one had the guts to pump the breaks.  She was in the room when I cried out, "what have I done!??" two days upon returning from our honeymoon.

She watched me go back to my mother again and again in hopes that she would love me like the mothers of my friends loved them, knowing my mother never would. She didn't have the capacity.  How that must have broken my grandmother's heart.  She never said a word.

She was the very first person I called when I thought I was pregnant with Blayne.  I'll never ever forget that moment.  ever. She was the first person and the person I needed most when my mother was found dead.  She was there to guide the three of us (Kaitlynn and Butch and myself) as we buried our mom and cleaned out her house.  She spoke up when we needed her to, and she stood back when she thought it was best.

She has allowed me to fall flat on my face, time and time again, but she has never allowed me to stay there.

She loves my children as much as she loved me and hurts to know that one day she will be gone and I will have to fill her shoes for them.

Her favorite song is "Wind beneath my wings" but not the version sung by Bette Midler.  She loves the color green and is friends with anyone who has ever known her.

She gives the best advice and the best hugs and she makes the BEST food.

She is my very best friend and knows every single thing about me and my life.  Hopes, dreams, crashes, and failures.  She gives the worst looks and she can break my heart in two when I've done something to disappoint her.

That is what brought me to this blog.

I have disappointed her today and there isn't a single thing I can do to go back and fix it.  I've cried most of the day, not because I'm upset, but because I've upset her.  It is my biggest fear, aside of the dreaded phone call, to disappoint my gran.

She loves me though. Oh how she loves me.  She loves me enough to teach me at a young age that Jesus loves me.  She loves me enough to show me how Jesus loves His children.  She is grace.  The Grace Paul speaks about.  The grace that forgets the wrong.   The grace that I am so not worthy of, but so very thankful for.

Grace.  Grace is Joann Shelton.

I love you, Gram.


Dear Emileigh. The heartbreak letter





Dear Emileigh,


     Sweet, sweet, baby girl.  It finally happened today.  I arrived to pick you up from aftercare and your little eyes were sad.  I asked you if you were naughty, if you were in trouble... your teacher replied that you weren't in trouble and you quickly spoke up.  "I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!"  I knew it was bad.

My little innocent 5 year old, old soul, was covering for something bad.  You were holding it together, until we could get away.  Outside was where it all fell apart.

"My best friend has a new best friend, mommy.  I'm so sad."

I'm not going to lie to you.  I wanted to march back into that center and pull that little girl out of the room and spank her!  I wanted to tell her how amazing you are, how sweet your spirit is, and how hard you love.  Instead? I wiped a tear as I was walking around the car and attempted to slow my heart and regain MY composure.

When I got in the car, I tried to explain the day away.  "she was probably having a bad day."  "it's perfectly normal and okay to have lots of friends."  "Monday will be different."

We got home and you asked me to hold you while you cried.


I wish I could fix this heartbreak.  I wish I could fix all of your heartbreaks that will come up in the future.  There will be too many for me to count.  With each, you will learn a lesson.  You will learn more about yourself than the friends who break your heart, either purposely or inadvertently.

I am not going to be able to fix any of these hurts. Sure, I can hug you, I can tell you that you are beautiful, I can promise that the feeling will go away.  I will NOT be able to fix it.

There will be times you are crying that I won't even know.  Oh, baby... please know you can tell me everything.

Tonight, you will lay in my bed, between daddy and me.  We will snuggle the hurt away.  We will tell you you are the best thing that ever happened to us and we are so thankful for you.  We will laugh and we will forget about this day.

I love you.

Mommy


Breakfast?

   



I came home today, crazy, exhausted because it is wednesday, and 57 minutes from checking out and hibernating in the comfort of my bedroom.  I showered the Tots, helped with homework, and started on tomorrow's sack lunch.  That's when I saw it.  A bright red, unopened, bottle of Strawberry Fanta.  Oh my goodness.  Standing there in the middle of turkey and goldfish, I suddenly was whisked away to 1980 something.  I was in the fifth grade, riding to town with momma stopping for the ususal breakfast of virginia slims, pepsi, strawberry fanta and a delicious maple long john donut.  



For the record, the pepsi and cigs weren't for me.  Those were momma's.  I've never put a cigarette to my lips. ever. 

As I was standing there in my kitchen, a sadness washed over me.  I've had the opportunity to speak of momma more lately for some reason.  People ask me if I miss her, I do not.  I miss the chance that she could have turned into a real mom... but missing her?  no. 

You see.  Those strawberry fanta mornings weren't because she was a cool mom.  It was because she was trying to buy back the love.  She was terrible with her fingers, pinching places and making them bleed where she knew people wouldn't easily see.   After she calmed down, she would feel guilty (perhaps?) and buy food to make things all better.  

It's very hard for me to choke down a maple donut to this day.  


There are hundreds of girls today that are in a similar situation.  Should one of you read this blog and need to talk, reach out.  







Happy Birthday, Emileigh



Do you remember your fifth birthday? Yeah, me either.  I do know that I'll never forget my baby girl's fifth birthday.






As I sit on the bed tonight, listening to the sweet, slow breathing coming from two exhausted kiddos, I can't help but to feel blessed.  We've had a super hard year.  Life has thrown us some watermelon sized lemons that we have been able to turn into lakes of lemonade.

 It seems like we were just celebrating her first birthday... now, she's a round faced, blue eyed, beauty.

We had 9 littles at her party today with a balloon twisting clown as the entertainment, magic man. The kids would make a request and he would churn it out in lightning fast speed.  Honkey the clown... best money spent.

We celebrated this little gem, today.  We also celebrated making it through this crazy, hectic year.  Thank you baby-cakes... you bring us such joy and anchor this family.  Enjoy five.  It's going to be so.much.fun.













Young Living Lavender Essential Oil

some of my friends know that i have been bitten by the essential oil bug.  it happened about a year ago, and really... I've kept pretty quiet about it.  why?  no idea.  dumb, really.  they have rocked my world.

I'm so honored to be a part of a really great team that has single-handedly changed the way we market and talk about our oils.  i don't want you to buy oils from me... i want you to buy oils from yourself.  buy a dang kit and use them.  don't have a party, don't beg, just buy the kit and fall in love.

THEY ARE AMAZING.

i plan to talk about an oil here and there... introduce you.  I will also be setting up an entire area of my blog devoted to essential oils.  first things first... let's talk about lavender.

* Add one drop of lavender EO to your mascara tube to promote lash growth, extend your mascara life, and strengthen and add volume to your lashes.  ONE.DANG.DROP.

*apply 2-4 drops on location to sooth minor burns.  You know, those that occur when your fingers get too close to the flat iron?  yep.  Soothing.  

* need some help sleeping?  LAVENDER IS YOUR FRIEND.  Rub a drop on your palms and smooth over your pillow.

* Rub lavender on dry, chapped, or irritated skin.  YES, PLEASE

*  Sunburn?  Lavender + Coconut OIL BOOM....

*Drops of lavender and epsom salts in the bath to promote relaxation and super peaceful sleep.

*Lemon and Lavender together can kick the pants out of eczema.


Transparency, Story, and Essential Oils Welcome back

There are times during the day that I have an opinion, or a thought, or when God speaks and wants me to get it out...  There are times where I want to tell my story, where I want to start/join/end a conversation.  I'm interested in blogging, but not the typical "mommy-blog" that promotes perfection (even if the world knows it's plastic).

I want to be transparent.  Okay, no I DON'T want to be transparent, but I feel called to be on this journey.  It's something that I've been battling for a long time... years.  I've blogged and then stopped.  I've shared some really personal stuff, even posted pictures, once.  I received emails from folks thanking me.  I received hugs, advice, and even some flack.  

I'm not going to promise a post schedule, although I hope to get to somewhat of a regular posting system.  I'm not going to promise that what I say will be relevant to your life, or even interesting.  I will promise that my writing and my context will get better.  Stick with me!  I'll hopefully have some guest bloggers who jump in and tell their story.

I'm AM going to rain oil down on your head from time to time, because it's legit, I love it, and I BELIEVE that essential oils will rock your face off.

I am going to tell MY STORY.  My perspective, my life.  If you don't want to read it, then don't.  If it should hurt feelings, then... sometimes the truth hurts.  I've had my fair share of humiliation and hurt feelings.

In the mean time- I've got to decide what to do with the aesthetics around here.  something that is me.  There might even be a new blog that is born from this blog... There is a lot of history at this little corner of the internet main street so starting new is scary, we will see if I stick to it.

Thanks for walking with me.  Transparency is super scary, but since He is the one urging... it will be worth it.

Love, Rudy


I don't remember when we became friends.  She was just always there.

Amy grew up across the pasture from my grandparent's house and since I practically lived with them, we were neighbors.  Man did we have fun...  When we were little, we spent hours underneath the big tree in the backyard playing in the sandbox or riding our bikes.  When Amy got a swimming pool, we were there. She even tried to kill me once, it was in a go-cart on highway 16.  Someone AMY might have pulled out in front of a semi.  Scared me to death, we laughed for hours.

When I was little, my parents weren't happy.  They were angry and I took a lot of the brunt of the emotion.  They were two different people... One person in front of people and a completely different person behind closed doors.  Amy knew that.  She was there and witnessed it.  She was the only person who really understood.  We didn't speak a word of it, we were just there for each other.  Amy covered my bruises with makeup, she braided my hair tenderly when my head was sore.  She showed me love that I didn't understand.

Softball was our thing.  Our dad's were coaches... we spent many hours at those softball fields together.  Looking back, it was fun.  There are lots of times I wish I could go back... just for a week. I would go back to the summer before we moved to New Mexico.  We were so amazing that year.  When we were winning, things at my house were good.  (now you know why we were so serious, girls.  not because we liked to win... but because we had to win.) We played 73 softball games that summer.  We won all but 2.  Why do I know that?  Because my dad, to this day, talks about our glory days.

That summer, Amy and I spent a lot of time walking through the woods 9 miles south of Bristow.  We tried to get lost, but never did.  We spent hours on the phone.  We had no idea it would be the last summer together.  Had we known, we wouldn't have had as much fun.  I'm so thankful for that summer.

In January of our 7th grade year, my family thought it would be a blast to pick up and move to Hobbs, New Mexico.  It changed my life...

Lots of letters were written and long distant phone calls were made.  I was able to keep up with my friends back home, but as time went along... we all grew with it.  Holes in my heart were filled with other friends, whom I love dearly, but nothing filled the hole where my very best friends lived.

As we became teenagers we would fall in and out of love, our letters were filled with boys and dates and dreams.  We were going to go off to college together and play softball once again. dreams.

When I was 17, a few weeks shy of my 18th birthday, I wore my mother's shoes to school without asking.  I ended up with my bags packed and sitting on the porch waiting for my grandparents to arrive to pick me up... I was moving home. 5 years later... I was nervous.

My senior year was amazing.  Although we didn't appear as we did when we were in the 7th grade, our friendship was as strong as ever.  Our lives were changing, which was great.  I was able to play softball with my girls one last time in 1997.  Sitting here writing this 17 years later seems outrageous.  It was just yesterday!

We graduated, went to college, got married, (divorced) married, had children, lost parents, celebrated victories... things were going great.  Then the unimaginable happened and Amy was forced to bury her husband.  I can not explain how sad I was for her.  My heart broke in two that day for the sadness of my very first oldest best friend.  I was sad because I felt I wasn't there enough on the last 15 years.  I was sad because she had to deal with such a tradegy.  Sad.

But my friend, the one who talked me through all of the those dark hours so long ago.  Who held me when I cried.  She is resilient.  She is so beautiful, and strong, and happy.

Today is her birthday... I sat down to write a quick, "happy birthday heifer" note and it turned into this.  Funny how God works, isn't it?


Dear Amy,

I love you today.  I always have... I always will.  I am so incredibly proud of you and honored to call you my sister.  This is YOUR year... I just know it.  I am praying for you and can't wait to celebrate with you this year.  Have a wonderful day...


Love,

Rudy.

socks were rocked today

When you read my blog, what voice do you use?  Yours or mine?  When I read someone's blog that I don't know personally, I like to make up their voice.  It's crazy, I know.  When I read a blog written by a friend, I totally hear their voice in the words.  It helps me to know when they are serious or being sarcastic.  I have a ton of blogs listed on my sidebar, but my two favorite are Jes' (did I punctuate that correctly?) and Danielle's.  They don't know each other, but they are so similar.  They have the same sense of humor and they could re-write the phone book and make me beg to read it.  I look forward to books published written by them.   Go check them out!

Now, on to the good stuff...

Everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissible - but not everything is constructive.   -1 Corinthians 10:23

Everything is permissible for me - but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissible for me - but I will not be mastered by anything.     -1 Corinthians 6:12

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own, you were bought for a price.  Therefore, honor God with your body.


Kevin and I joined Weight Watchers again before Thanksgiving.  I was ready.  I wanted to do it together, because it's easier, right?   Kevin tends to lost weight fairly easy (in my mind) when he completely removes carbs.  I love carbs, so  it makes eating the same way impossible.  When Kev agreed to go to the meetings, I was so happy.  We went to two.  We paid for three months, but attended two meetings.  I didn't ask God to show up. I haven't even thought to speak to him about my struggles.  I don't talk to anyone about it... not my husband, my friends, or my God.  Which, let's face it... is stupid because He already knows.

I started reading Made to Crave. this week.  I'm not going to tell you that I've had it for years.... sigh.
There is so much that I can pull out of just the Introduction and Chapter One.  so.much.  I've written notes, pulled out two bibles, and dug in.  Folks, the Truth is powerful.  Why I've never listened before is frustrating... but I'm listening now.

1 John 2:15-16 says,
"Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world - the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world."

Seriously, ya'll this rocked my socks off today.  It made me understand... The enemy will do anything to force me away from the Father.  Let's face it, ya'll.  The worse you feel about yourself, the further away from religion you want to be.  right?  Let me explain... it will make sense to you, too.

As Lysa explains, "This passage details three ways Satan tries to lure us away from loving God

1) The cravings of the sinful man
2) The lust of his eyes
3) The boasting of what he has or does

Cravings = Trying to get our physical desires met outside the will of God

Lust of eyes = Trying to get our material desires met outside the will of God

Boasting - trying to get our need for significance met outside the will of God.

Satan knows where we are week.  He desires to lure us away from God, and know what works... the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has or does. (Good stuff, Lysa.)


Still with me?  Okay- I'm going to tell you about two folks you know.  Even if you aren't a Christian, you'll know them.  Their story

Eve and Jesus.

Satan used those tactics when he interacted with Eve.  "when the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food [cravings of the sinful man] and pleasing to the eye [lust of the eyes], and also desirable for gaining wisdom [boasting of what she has or does], she took some and ate it" - genesis 3:6

This is Satan's plan.  THIS IS HOW HE WORKS.  If we realize this is M.O. we can beat him to the punch, just as Jesus did... Watch:

When Jesus was let by the Spirit to the desert, he was tempted by the devil.  After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights (ya'll, he was HUNGRY!) he was hungry.  The enemy came and said "if you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."  [cravings]  Jesus answered with scripture... "It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." BOOM.

Then the enemy had him stand on the highest point of them temple and said, "Jump, you'll be okay... God will save you, right? (paraphrased, ya'll) [lust of eyes]  Jesus replied with scripture, again.  Truth.

Finally, the enemy told Jesus, If you'll bow down and worship me, I'll give you the world and it's splendor.  (side note- did the devil really KNOW how he was talking to? seriously?)  [boasting]  Jesus again spoke Truth and sent the devil away.

The devil used the same process with both eve and Jesus.  Why was Jesus successful defeating him?  Simple.  Eve was saturated in the object of her desire while Jesus was saturated in God's truth.

woah...


This struggle is big.  It's not going to be gone overnight.  I'm looking forward to the process.  I'm looking forward to seeing where God leads me through this.

There is still time to join...  Let me know if you want to jump on the train.


Call me out...

I'm not an elegant writer.  I'm not organized and I do not follow an outline.  I usually just get behind my computer keyboard and start typing.  Usually, some emotion has caused me to voice an opinion, so I let it out.  I usually don't worry about whether the post flows, or if anyone will read it.  In all honesty, most of what I write is written on this platform, because long Facebook status' wear me out.  Punctuation or grammar...yeah, not a priority for me, either.

I really hope to change some of that.  Like I wrote yesterday, I really do love going back through old posts and reading about our lives.  I hope that this year, my focus can be on the story telling part of my emotions.  We'll see.

Beginning today, I am joining over 40,000 (that's FORTY-THOUSAND) women from all over the world in a bible study written by the amazing Lysa TerKeurst.  Her book, "Made to Crave" is one that I've had downloaded on my kindle app for three years.  (If only I had read it three years ago, sigh)  I attended a bible study at First Baptist in Bristow with some really sweet gals that Mrs. TerKeurst wrote and fell in love.  She wrote the book for me.  FOR ME.  It was a lesson on becoming more than just a good bible study girl... Lysa is about relationships and as I get older, I understand the importance of that word.

I signed up for an online bible study about losing your mind, but failed to participate.  I do that a lot... I start something then stop. quit.  walk away.   I am determined to not walk away from this one.

I'm looking forward to what God has for me.  I know that He is herding me in this direction, I've fought Him every way I know how.  I'm not looking to look like Jennifer Lawrence, or Jennifer Lopez, or even Jennifer Hudson (ummm) when this is over.  I am looking to crave my Jesus.  I am looking forward to replacing some past hurts, and letdowns with the love of my God.

If you are interested in this bible study, would you let me know?  Promise- we aren't too late to get started.  Even if we wait a week, I'll do it with you.  If you aren't wanting to participate this time would you follow along with me?  Keep me accountable?  Call me out for hiding?  :)

Here we go.

**Did you notice I posted TWO DAYS IN A ROW?**  
It's a dang Christmas miracle, I tell ya.