under the big top

life is truly a circus.  it’s filled with tight rope acts, flaming rings of fire and, if your lucky, cotton candy.  this year, my big top housed some amazing acts–   three rings of constant change and surprises.

i thought to honor turkey day i’d take a moment to reflect on my crazy circus–  and try to be thankful for each and every spectacular, life-changing moment in 2011.

so, homeskillets, here’s my pre-turkey thankful list with a big top twist.

clearly, He needs a megaphone for me

first and foremost i’m super grateful the BIG MAN upstairs is my ring master.  i can’t imagine what i’d be like today if i hadn’t handed my life to God eight years ago.  i was a mess right after i had thing 1.  i was lost and sad and empty.  BUT GOD.  He opened my eyes and my heart.  this circus would be one clown car closer to crazy town without him.

sweet moments make my life better

second, i’m so glad i got a beautiful, cotton candy moment in june when the Lord (and many of you) allowed me to go to haiti.  this experience changed my life.  i have new friends because of this trip–  women of all ages and  at different stages of life.  i feel so blessed to know each and every one of these sweet ‘skillets, and it wouldn’t have happened without this trip.  i also got to feel for 6 sweet days just how big God is.  He has no limits and He can use me in spite mine.  my haiti experience was definitely a cotton candy moment–  so sweet.  thank you,  homeskillets for helping me go!  i love you all.

my nemesis, seriously

third on my list are some tightrope moments.  i believe the tightrope is my biggest nemesis in the circus.  a tightrope represents ultimate balance, concentration, and confidence.  there have been times this year i haven’t had any of those, and i could feel myself falling.  one of these moments came before haiti.  i was struggling as a mom.  i felt as if my skin was too tight, the rooms were too small, and my boys were too much.  i was off balance.  my concentration was gone.  and, i was questioning myself and my abilities every second.  BUT GOD.  thankfully, He has provided awesome help for me when my anxiety/depression gets the best of me.  thank God for counseling and medication!  can i get a word and holla.  fo’ realz.

Lord, refine me

and, i can’t close out my thankful list without being thankful for the flaming rings of life.  i’m walking through the fire as i type.  cancer and chemo are my flames.  i am thankful because through the flames i will be refined.  i will be able to lean into the Lord and my faith even more.  i will learn just how weak i am, and just how strong God is.  so, i say with a thankful heart, bring it on!!

there it is.   a year under this homeskillet’s big top.

the day of turkey and pumpkin pie is upon us…

 

here's the word-- tom's a bird!!!!

and with said day about a week away i feel it’s appropriate to make a list of some of the things i’m thankful for:

  1. we are all made for a certain time and purpose.

    i am thankful for vacuums, washing machines, in-door plumbing, and central heat and air.  i took a bible study last summer on the book of Esther and i came away KNOWING each of us is born at the appropriate time to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our world–  still not sure what my role for Christ looks like, but God knew i’d need some plumbing and air conditioning to get the job done.  pioneer woman i am not.  can i get a HOLLA??!!

  2. i am thankful for random moments of clarity during my stint as a mommy.  most of the time i have no idea what i’m doing and i’m amazed that i’ve kept 2 helpless humans alive for 7 and 3 1/2 year respectively (with the help of a wonderful wingman, of course)–  but, there are brief moments when God clears away my self-centered fog and shows me HOW BLESSED i am.  He has allowed me the opportunity to encourage and love 2 awesome boys, and He covers my mistakes by reminding me i’m not suppose to do this thing called “motherhood” exactly right— because if i did my boys wouldn’t need HIM.
  3. worth the pain

    i am thankful for running, super-fit ‘skillets, mile markers, stinky shoes, weird trail people, and a finish line.  i completed a half marathon in october, and i am so glad i did!  it was the most taxing thing i’ve ever willingly put my body through–  i mean i VOLUNTARILY ran a very long way for a t-shirt.  that.ain’t.right. but, i learned so much just by getting up and putting one foot in front of the other– i learned  i am only as strong as i believe i am,  i’m only as capable as i believe i am, and the Lord is always with me cheering me on.  i also learned i’m a very, very, very slooooooow ‘skilletHOLLA!!

  4. i am thankful for a super bad haircut–  a haircut SOOOOOOO bad  it sent me into a funk.  that’s right.  the hairs on my head were cut into an unflattering fashion recently–  and, this upset my delicate nature.  that’s how deep i am.  jealous? here’s the thing–  bad haircuts have happened in the past, but this one really got to me.  i thought i clearly communicated the hair style  i wanted, but walked out of the salon looking

    picture these bangs with a carol brady flip... awesome.

    like a cross between jim carrey in dumb and dumber and carol brady from the brady bunch—  surprisingly, not a good look for me.  i left  feeling unattractive–  and, more importantly out of control that scared me.   i realized i have control over nothing—  not even the hairs on my head.   i say i get this.   i say i believe and trust in The One who knows the number of hairs on my head and holds me in the palm of His hand–  but, it took an unfortunate mullet to make me understand there are areas in my life  I haven’t fully given over to Christ. clearly, this homeskillet has a lot to learn–   i’m very thankful my teacher is patient!

a failed lesson in sharing

super cool experience

when i was in 7th grade i went on an over-night field trip to the u.s. space and rocket center in huntsville, alabama.

this trip was a big deal,  and on this trip i bought a souvenir.

it was a unicorn (because unicorns have SOOOOO much to do with space travel–  holla).

the super-duper space unicorn was porcelain, had a rainbow mane, and cost $2.50.

space shuttle=unicorn figurine

this unicorn became the epicenter for many, many fights between me and boo bah.

she loved this unicorn and she would swipe it and hide it under her pillow.

i would call her a thief and take it back.

this went on for a looooong time.

boo bah was 5-years-old–  i was 11.

boo bah LOVES her some horses,  and nothing was better to a horse-lovin’ 5-year-old than a magical horse called a unicorn.   i think for her–  my unicorn represented fairytale and dreams– plus it was mine so that made it waaaaay cooler.

but, for me the unicorn represented a special event.  a solo trip with friends.  memories of staying in a hotel and talking about boys.  it was special– not a child’s plaything.

so.  i guarded it.

and she swiped it.

neither of us took the time to understand why the unicorn meant so much to the other person.

but again, boo bah was 5.

why didn’t i just give her the stinkin’ unicorn??!!

if i could go back in time–  i would.

the grown-up me understands making her happy would have lasted a lot longer than the relationships and experiences i fought so hard to keep safe.

not as cool as boo bah

she’s worth more than the memory of sharing a room with girls i never see.

she’s worth more than the memory of sharing my astronaut ice cream with shane harrison (the cutest boy in 7th grade).

she’s worth a WHOLE LOT MORE than some silly $2.50 unicorn i picked up in a generic gift shop in huntsville, alabama when i was 11.

but, i can’t go back.

that precious moment between me and boo bah is done.  and it will always be known as “the battle of the unicorn”.

the crown goes to the one who holds the batman

now, i have two boys.  thing 1 is 7-years-old .  thing 2 is only 3.  and i watch them struggle.  i watch thing 1 use his age and his smarts to his advantage.  i watch him protect his special toys because the little guy can’t be trusted–  his toys could get broken.

and i watch thing 2 beg to play with “brover’s batman”–   because his brother is a king and to hold the king’s toy would be magical.

i feel for my baby boy.   i struggle with knowing when to step in.  when to speak up.  when to let it go.  i root for the underdog.  but, i love the big dog, too–  because i understand.

i understand my big guy’s need to feel independent and the need to have things that are special and private.  i understand when he comes to me with tears in his eyes and he chokes on his words– confessing he sometimes wishes he didn’t have a little brother.

i used to say the same thing about my boo bah.

but, i now have tears in my eyes and choke on the words when i get to share how much i love her and can’t imagine my life without her.

so, when he comes to me frustrated with his brother and asking for help — all i can do is ask him to bow his head.

and i give him over to Christ.

i pray that God will ease his pain and help him understand how he is fully loved.  i pray that God will help him find joy in his brother and not see him as a burden.  i pray that his heart will soften towards the little guy that loves him so much and thinks he hung the moon.

i tell him– i get it.  sharing stinks.

i try to explain, right now, sharing is easy–  making baby brother happy is as simple as giving him a batman toy.

i remind him,  boo bah and i aren’t in a simple place.   for us– sharing is hard. i want to give her everything and ease her burden, but i can’t.

kids + sharing= huge magical failure

{now.   let me just say–  my prayer and my story did not weave a “magical spell of brotherly love” throughout the land.}

i still hear, “HEY!  THAT’S MINE!”, waaaaay too often.

but, God used the memory of a tiny unicorn to show me–   love grows slowly.

thing 1 and thing 2 are building memories through their struggles, and after “the battle for batman” is done– they’ll have each other.

as a sister–  i pray they’ll appreciate their special bond and share what’s most important–  their lives.

battling the blah blah monster

this frayed life

right now i am under attack– i am battling the blah blah monster.

unfortunately,  this isn’t the first time the monster has made an appearance.  usually when the battle begins it starts small–  like a well-loved blanket my life starts to feel slightly frayed around the edges.   i know the monster is messing with me because a few key strings (relationships) start to pull, feather, snag on the day-in/day-out routine– misunderstanding and hurt feelings are the norm and i begin to lose energy.

no one enjoys a super sad 'skillet

that’s when i become one. sad. ‘skillet.

and, believe me– NO ONE enjoys a sad ‘skillet.

when i lose my joy (and my therapist can tell you, in great detail, about the times i have)– everyone suffers.  thing one and thing two fight more and battle for attention.  the hubs walks around like a kid who’s lost his favorite toy.  and i just exist– sucking oxygen and filling space.  i have nothing to offer and i become a shadow of what God made me to be.

thankfully, i’ve battled the blah blah monster enough to know how to win.

thankfully,  my previous battle scars remind me– i am uniquely made and able to take on any challenge the monster might throw at me.  the beauty of experience, pain, and conflict is–  i have WISDOM.

i know i can CHOOSE joy.  i know i can CHOOSE to participate in my life.   i know i can CHOOSE to sparkle despite the nagging voice in my head that SCREAMS at me to stop.

i ain't buyin' -- bad boy

see.  i finally figured it out.  the blah blah monster is just the part of me too afraid to make a choice–  too afraid to participate in God’s plan for my life.

so now when the attack comes–  i battle back with TRUTH.

i tell that blah blah bad boy to go sell sad somewhere else.

’cause this ‘skillet ain’t buyin’.

life. moments.

a few days ago i made a play list of songs that mean something to me.  the music i picked wasn’t the hippest– but, each song on the list puts me in a space.  a place in my heart, or in my past, or a place where God has taken me– to grow me and show me life is about RIGHT NOW.

too cool for school

one song on the list — STUCK IN A MOMENT– by the awesome mr. bono   takes me back to the first days of mommyhood.

i remember how broken i felt.  i was feeling stretched and invisible and used up.

i was a straight.up.mess.

this is a good day-- totally rockin' clothes

motherhood did not come naturally to me.  i kept wondering why people kept congratulating me– were they crazy? congratulations!  you are sleep deprived!  congratulations!  you have no clue what you’re doing!  congratulations!  you are totally responsible for another human being– good luck with that!

oh, and by the way.  life is NOT all about YOU!

i could not get over the dreams i’d had for myself–  the plans i was so sure would make me complete and happy.  this whole baby thing was not what i had in mind.  and, i was angry.  i was angry at myself for letting this happen to me.  i was a smart girl.  i knew the consequences of meeting the perfect guy–  falling in love– saying “yes”.  but, here i was.  career done.  just as it was getting started.

bam! life just got kicked up a notch

i was angry at my hubby– because let’s face it– i couldn’t have done this alone.  i was mad at him for loving me– wooing me– marrying me.

the first week was great.  then life totally threw me an emerill, “BAM”.   i’m pregnant–  a honeymoon baby.  really? really.

just call me fertile myrtle.

i remember running on a treadmill trying to regain my pre-marriage, pre-baby body (ha!) listening to bono sing,  “i never thought you were a fool… but, darling look at you… ooh… you gotta stand up straight… carry your own weight…  these tears are goin’ nowhere baby… you got yourself stuck in a moment and now you can’t get out of it.”

big, fat cry baby on a treadmill-- attractive

i literally started crying.  i was hanging on to the treadmill– staring at myself  in the mirror– and crying through this entire song.  WHAT WAS I DOING?

i was missing out on the first, sweet moments of being a mommy and wife because i wanted my life to stick  at 28.

i wanted to control my fate, my future, my path.  and, these were the first moments God began to whisper, “you’re mine.  your path is mine.  your future is mine.  your fate I decided long ago.  you’re mine.”

i didn’t understand what He was saying at first.  i struggled with leaving my career behind.  i struggled with a new baby,  with new responsibilities, with a new body.  (i know the body image thing may seem superficial, but i’m not too proud to admit i did not like what i saw in the mirror.  i pushed my hubby away because i did not feel attractive AT ALL.)

when God moves-- go with it

i was overwhelmed by each and every part of this new version of me– that’s when God began to move.  He closed down old relationships and brought in new ones with women brave enough to say they were not as great as they pretended to be.  He moved through my marriage and gave my hubs the strength to listen to my junk and not try to fix me.  my sweet iron skillet (he’s requested this nickname)  heard what i said and admitted he did not know what i needed–  he simply loved me through my stuff.  God also took away things i thought i needed to live– approval, security,  false idols that did nothing but distract me from realizing what life is really all about.

i realize now what the congratulations were for.  congratulations!  you’ll realize you can never make yourself happy through a career, pay check, or title!  congratulations!  you will not be able to fully rely on yourself to get through life! congratulations!  you’ll get to see God’s handprint on each and every day of your life from here on out.

the Lord gave me the huge honor of being a mom to not one baby boy– but two strapping jones boys.   thing 1 and thing 2 keep me grounded.  they humble me through my mistakes, show me grace despite my sins, and love me JUST BECAUSE .  the Lord has held me up during my on the job training with these wonderful guys.  i say,  “thank God!”–  for shaking up my life and sticking me in this moment and keeping my eyes wide open because i know this too shall pass.

new day, new design

well, day 2 of blogging and i’ve already changed my mind on every design decision i made!

i guess starting a blog with a belly full of frozen pizza at 11:00 pm doesn’t bode well for the creative process.   who knew.  i’m still working out the kinks, but i think this is gonna be a fun way to spew out the silliness that is me.

i’ve thought of a few things you might want to know if you are on this journey with me:

first, bless you.   i think it’s neat that you can just sit down.. ramble.. hit ‘send’  and REAL LIVE people may actually read it!

fake people are not my favorite

(as opposed to those FAKE LIVE people– i really don’t care for them.)

secondly,  i have no point or purpose for this blog.

i am not crafty, i can’t cook, i am truly just bluffing my way through motherhood, and my dance skilz (though i feel are AWESOME) really don’t need to be shared or repeated by anyone with .000001% coordination.  (think elaine from seinfeld… only not as graceful)

so, that being said… i can’t wait to see where this goes!  i’ve got a lot to say and i’m a stay-at-home mom with NO ONE to talk to.  i feel that my shut-in lifestyle is a gift!  my thoughts will be FRESH for the universe -with no filtering.

yeah, i see NO problem with this plan.  happy friday homeskillets!