The Six Woman Wolf Pack and Nine Cubs

It’s Tuesday and I didn’t write a blog entry last week. Why? Because I didn’t really have much to talk about. Hard to believe, right? Sure I could throw something together… but I wanted to write about this subject… So, I dropped the human child off at school wearing his Feliz Navidad Muchachos t-shirt… in May… because I wasn’t debating with him this morning. The end goal was to get him at school before 9am. Done and done!img_2872.jpg

Came home and here we are! Listening to a little Bonnie Raitt on the record player. Honestly I don’t really know where to begin. Try thinking about your group of friends… not your acquaintances but “your people.” When something goes terribly wrong or something super exciting happens in your life… who are your go-to people? Think back on the scariest moments or life’s biggest celebrations… who was there? Who were the people that upon getting that phone call or text message didn’t hesitate and dropped everything just to be with you. This type of friend doesn’t ask a lot of questions… other than, “What can I do?” This type of friend loves without an agenda. Some of these people have been in your life since childhood… some since high school…. maybe college… maybe later in life friends. My mama always told me, “If you make it through high school and have 2 great friends… you’ve done good.” And honestly I’ve been unbelievably blessed to have a little bit of both. Some of my best friends are people I met after high school. There’s another post coming about that.

So the six woman wolf pack and nine cubs? It’s a group made up of many different personality types. We often compare ourselves to the characters in the movie Steele Magnolia… hands down, I’m Ouiser Boudreoux. The beautiful thing is… even though we are all so different… our personalities make up a work of art that’s made up of laughter, sadness, misunderstandings, celebrations, break-ups, death, distance, weddings, divorce (just me…), babies, lots of singing, adventures, and sickness. img_2879

Do we see each other every day? Talk every day? Some do… but not all of us. We’re the kind of friends that have a group text message that finds an old picture of you with braces and bad hair or when you won homecoming princess in middle school wearing a velvet dress and choker… and send it first thing in the morning with a “Good Morning, all” message. The kind of friends that randomly send you a message because they know something is going on in your life and just want to say, “Hey. Thinking about you. Love you. Praying for you.” The kind of friend that looks to see how long you’ve been offline to see why you aren’t responding to the group text (ok… maybe this is just me). These are the kind of friends that you plan a day where you have brunch… go to Wal-Mart and buy chairs… and a $30 pool… and sit in your front yard all day and wave as the neighbors pass by. But also the kind of friend that looks for plane tickets in the middle of the night because they want to be by your side in times of uncertainty. The kind of friends that load up in a car to be with you during the most difficult time of your life. img_2880

I believe God handpicks the people that navigate life with us. I believe He knows who we need to surround us in times of need. The different personalities are His way of coming to us to offer us love and support when we need it the most. The people that no matter how much time and distance is present… they know what to say or whether to say nothing at all. Each of us in this group have other groups of friends… friends that we may spend more time with and talk to more often…  but the beautiful thing about the Six Woman Wolf Pack… is the history. It’s the stories. It’s the laughter. It’s the tears. It’s the prayers. As I write this, I have tears… but I also have a smile on my face. How blessed am I… that He handpicked this strong, loving, brave, hilarious, caring group of women to love me, pray for me, aggravate me, laugh with me… but more importantly be with me along life’s crazy beautiful journey.

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Be still and know. Psalm 46:10

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Love Like Jesus: I think I got it.

This is where we hang a quick right out of nowhere as we are navigating our way through the blog life talking parenting. I’ve been thinking about what topic to cover since last week’s blog. But as I was sitting in church yesterday it hit me! Let’s talk about Jesus. I’m sure you are thinking… Jesus? Now this should be interesting… Yeah, me too. And I’ve started it several times and I keep hitting the delete button. Probably because it a super sensitive subject to cover and there are so many opinions and it makes me nervous to cover it. I’m just going to dive in and see what happens. Let me give you a quick backstory about why I think it’s on my heart and mind to share my thoughts with you.

I grew up going to church every Sunday morning and most Wednesday nights. One weekend we would attend First Baptist Church and the next weekend would attend the Kirkland Methodist Church with our grandparents (you know… divorced family). There were two things that were pretty non-negotiable, church and school. And you dressed up. Pantyhose and your church dress and those black patent leather shoes that were just uncomfortable. I am confident that I never left church without a run in those pantyhose and they itched terribly. As you can see in this picture, they’d given up on me wearing pantyhose and gave me the frilly socks instead in addition to a cute hat. I legit looked like a block in this picture… but  you can see I was a natural in the whole girly thing.

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When we went to church with grandma she would sponge roll our hair the night before and when you woke up… insta curls! Or in my case it looked like a really bad perm and the curls never fell like grandma said they would. It looked like a bad wig and the more you tried to brush it.. the worse it looked. I’ll spare you these pictures. Just trust me… it wasn’t flattering. I tell you all of this because it truly was a Sunday morning ritual. You know… everyone sits on the same row… same seat… every Sunday. Some of my greatest childhood memories revolved around Sunday’s. Even though they were both different experiences… the biggest thing I remember is family and that Sunday afternoons never seemed long enough.

I’m so grateful that my parents and grandparents laid the foundation to my faith. I say the foundation because there was nothing pushy about it and that’s where it all started. They simply took us there and they did it every week. When we had questions, they answered them. I believe that I fell in love with the music first. It just felt great to stand up and sing with others at the top of our lungs and mimic the older ladies.. like I was an opera singer. I learned about Jesus early on (ok… from here on out.. don’t fact check me… ) you know… in Sunday School and the books we would read and we also had some videos we would watch. I think back on all of that and look at the years between then and now. Have I attended church every Sunday? No. I actually didn’t go at all for several years… a lot of high school, most of college, and a lot after. I was hit or miss and mostly miss. But you know, I did actually join the choir two different times. I love to sing but I’d never been part of a choir… when the music director asked me what I sang… I was thinking… Karaoke? I still don’t know if I am an soprano, alto, tenor, or bass… I just knew I wanted to sing. Well, turns our that was intense. They love to sing and most of them read music all I wanted to do was join the congregation again and have impromptu car concerts.

Here’s where the nerves come in. I hope to convey my heart and not step on any toes. Church can be a scary place for me at times. Not just my church… any church intimidates me. Because I don’t go every Sunday and know everyone on a first-name basis… I feel like people are looking at me… like, “Oh Lord… she’s here… what’s she repenting for now?” Is it the church members? No! It’s just me being ridiculous and intimidated. I’m not kidding when I tell you that no matter how much I eat beforehand… my stomach will growl during church and it growls at the quietest times and it keeps getting louder and louder and the more I think about it, the worse it gets. Like I need something else to make myself stand out. When we stand up for praise and worship I have no idea what to do with my hands, so I fidget and I find that I’m tugging at my clothes.. what if my dress got tucked in my underwear when I went to pee and the people behind me are looking (Ya’ll…. I swear these are the things that go through my head) and not wanting to tap me on the shoulder and point it out. This hasn’t happened yet… but my point is… that’s what I’m thinking. I just feel like people are watching me. Judging me? I don’t know. But what I realized is it’s spiritual ADHD. I’m more worried about what others are thinking about me and I’m missing the whole point! When I can’t seem to keep my focus on the message, lately I’ve been using this time to reflect. Instead of looking at my phone during the meditation music (don’t judge haha) I’ve been using that time to reflect on the previous week or whatever thoughts are in my head and just practice being grateful. Trying to slow it down and just focus on being present.

I’m not there to show off my new outfit or just to fill a seat or to be seen. I’m there because I want to learn more about Jesus. I sometimes wonder if more people would stand up in church and raise their hands in praise if they weren’t afraid of what others would think. I also wonder how many people would come to the altar and bow down in silent prayer if they weren’t afraid whether or not someone watching them would speculate what was going on in their life that made them make the walk in the first place. If you’ve read my last 3 blog entries you are starting to see how much I analyze things. But my mind is going 90 to nothing. All the time. Out of nowhere, I’ll hang a right on you. Squirrel. Most of the churches that I’ve attended in my life have a part at the beginning of the service where you get up and walk around and greet those around you. This is the part I probably dread the most. Am I supposed to talk to the people I know or am I supposed to look for the person that is a stranger? Can you imagine walking into a church for the first time and someone not greeting you? My question is… are we talking to the people we know, the people that sit in the same seat every Sunday… or are we looking for the person we’ve never spoken to? So this week, I got up out of my aisle and walked 4 rows up and said hello to someone I’ve never spoken to. Did it unnerve me? Little bit.. but I couldn’t sit back and watch others wondering if they talked to a stranger unless I did the same thing.

I wonder how many people aren’t going to a church to learn more about Jesus simply because they are afraid about how they will be treated or perceived. This is where the current book I am reading came to mind… where do we stand when it comes to loving like Jesus?

I’ve recently finished reading a new book, Everybody Always by one of my favorite people, Bob Goff. If you’ve never heard of Bob, do yourself a favor and look him up. He has a way of sharing Jesus that isn’t intimidating for me. He has a way of painting the picture that not only makes me laugh and often cry but that challenges me. The big message that I’ve taken away is we should love like Jesus loves everybody with no restrictions. That we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what Jesus said and less time just loving people like he did. I want to love like Jesus. I want other people to see me and my acts and see Jesus in me. Think about it, I could never miss a Sunday or Wednesday service and preach the Gospel and tell people about Jesus all day long… but if what people see in my actions doesn’t look like Jesus.. am I really sharing Him? Will people want to follow me and learn more about Him? Bob talks about the people we show love to. Are you loving the people that creep you out? The difficult people? The strangers? The challenging ones? Or are you only showing love to the people in your circle? I’m guilty of that. It’s easy to see those people that need our love the most but to turn our heads and think it’s not our problem. I’ve spent a lot of time sharing my opinion on things and less time listening to others over the years. Bob talks a lot about the importance of being ‘with’ people.. truly being with them and to be present with people. I personally think that we complicate a lot of things that really are simple. And we tend to get off course… sharing what we think instead of just being with people. I know I do.

I’m working on being present over perfect. I’m working on less judgement and more love. The ones that we judge are the ones that need our love the most. I’m working on being more transparent and not being afraid to show my flaws. Trying to be perfect is exhausting and it sucks the life out of you. I’m working on a lot and I’m so far from being perfect and I’ve got a ways to go. But what I do know is that it’s pretty simple. Bob says, “I don’t know what color the gates of heaven are or who takes over when Saint Peter takes a day off. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a long line of people waiting to get in. It will wind out the door like a long snake. Somewhere near the entry at the front door of the line, I’m betting there will be a guy who looks like Adrian. He won’t be checking for titles or degrees or accomplishments or how rich or poor someone was. He’ll be asking everyone whether they found their identity in Jesus and if they really were who they said they were during their lives.” I don’t have to have it all figured out because it’s already been figured out for me. I love the quote, “God isn’t asking you to figure it out. He’s asking that you trust that He already has.” Since reading this… I have to remind myself of this a lot. Stop allowing worry and anxiety to creep in because it has been figured out. My story has been written. The master plan is there.. I just have to have faith and trust in Him.

One of my favorite Everybody Always quotes, “God isn’t shaking His head in disapproval as we make our way toward Him. He’s got His arms outstretched, welcoming us home to Him with love. I bet if we could hear what He’s thinking, we’d hear Him whispering, “You’ve got this. Just keep moving toward Me.” So that’s my plan. I’m just going to keep moving toward Him. There will be bumps and there will be times that I get off course. I don’t have to have it figured out. I just have to trust that He has. And my job is to love everybody, always… and that’s what I plan on demonstrating with my kiddo. Our job is to just love others like Jesus does. Trying to figure out the rest gives me spiritual ADHD…

If I keep re-reading this … I’ll keep editing and second guessing myself… so instead, I’ll just publish it…. and keep it simple.

Mom Dating: I think I got it.

Even my girlfriends were like, “What are you talking about? What exactly is mom dating?” I’m not sure if I heard this term somewhere before or if it just hit me one day… either way, mom dating is a thing… but more than likely it’s just me being a little dramatic. Nothing new here. Let’s dig into this.

I joined the mom dating pool around August of 2017. I was a little late to the game because the human child wasn’t in daycare or school until he was 3. We hadn’t experienced snack days, dress-up days, field trips, play-dates, birthday parties, or class parties… yet. The first day of school I was a complete nervous wreck. I was ironing his shirt and shorts… adding accessories, packing and repacking his book bag, re-reading the packet from open house, double checking to see if we had everything on his list, writing his name in everything…  I was nervous because I wanted him to have a great day. I was nervous because I wanted him to love all of the other kiddos. I was nervous because this was a first for both of us. The majority of my friends have been in my circle of trust for a while… and to be  honest, I wasn’t really throwing out friendship applications. I think the older I get the tighter I keep my group… possibly a character flaw but we will keep rolling here.

Who were my new mom friends going to be? A lot of these moms were already friends and they do play-dates and hangout on the weekends. Davis was 3 years old and we’d never had one of those… how do you even initiate that? Or do you just wait until your kid arranges it and go with the flow? All of my seasoned mom friends have told me that it just works itself out. They tell me that you will find your mom tribe. That when your kids make connections you get to know their parents and what not. And just because your kids are friends it doesn’t mean that you have to both buy campers and start spending weekends together. This isn’t rocket science but apparently I overthink things at times and they have to bring me back to down to earth.

His first day of school felt like my first day of school. It was like I had moved to a new town and was going to a new school … not really knowing what to expect. Remember on the first day of school you were like… What desk will my name be on.. and who will be sitting beside me this year? What was I doing at open house? Scanning the class roster matching kids to moms. Why? I guess I was trying to see who my potential play-date moms would be? Who knows.

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Let me just go ahead and throw it out there… I’m awkward. If I think it… it comes out. If I think it… (and it’s been a while since I’ve had Botox) it’s all over my face. I don’t know why I’m awkward… but I am. I think my close friends just get it and roll with it. But when I meet new moms… I immediately feel like I’m dating again. When you’ve been in a relationship for a while… you’re comfortable. It’s like sliding your feet into a comfy pair of bedroom shoes. When you enter the dating pool and it’s been a while… it’s like wearing pointy toe heels. And in my case you have chubby toes… and you have to wear them all day all while trying to look like you know what you’re doing … when all you want to do is put on your flip flops.

Moms come in all different shapes and sizes. There are the moms that really do have it all together… and for the record I love watching these moms hit grand slams. I watch from the bleachers and take notes. My mom was one of those. The mom that had the matching outfits for both kids. That did the fun birthday parties. That just seemed to do it right. And did it as a single mom. I now have a new respect for single moms. I recently watched her put a towel in the dryer so that it would be warm when Davis got out of the tub (now this is new… she didn’t do this with us). But it’s the moms that do the little things. And they just love doing it. My friend Dwan is like that. She is THE Pinterest mom. The mom that likes turning fruit cups into these things that look like little Valentine monsters. They’re cute, right? (If you want more info on these, I’m sure she would be happy to be a guest and do a tutorial). She’s crafty like that. valentine.jpg

So I asked her one day, “Do you seriously enjoy doing that?” And she does. Not only does she enjoy it… she LOVES it. Why? Because she said her kids get so excited. My mom enjoyed dressing us in matching watermelon dresses. Not to impress other people.. but because she just really liked doing it. So I had to quit mom judging. I was doing what I hate… I was mom shaming the moms that were over there doing what they love and more importantly.. they enjoy!

It’s not about how well you can turn a fruit cup into an animal for whatever holiday party you have or if you wear yoga pants every day, or if you go pick up Ritz Crackers and Oreo’s (something salty and something sweet) for snack day and tie it up in the grocery store bag and drop it off like a boss. I’m almost a year into this mom dating gig and I’m completely winging it. It’s really not that bad… it’s just something new. It’s throwing you outside of your comfort zone and I think that’s what makes it scary. But it doesn’t have to be a pair of pointy toe heels either… if flip flops are your thing… own it.

Comparison is the thief of joy. The older I get the more that I see this in everything I do. Marriage, parenting, friendships, business… it’s everywhere. There will always be moms that just seem to get it… like it’s their niche in life. So what I’ve started doing is paying attention and pulling different things from different moms along the way. I think about leadership and what I think it means to be a good leader and how you get there. You can read books and listen to podcasts and YouTube videos all day from different experts… but you can’t just follow that one person and end up where they are. Every journey is different. You learn from several people and mold it into something messy, unique and beautiful that makes you who you were intended to be all along. It doesn’t matter what it is in life… we all have unique talents and gifts inside of us that we just haven’t tapped into yet. Every mom is capable of doing Pinterest projects. But some moms just don’t want to do it. And even the most perfect mom (like mine… in my eyes she’s perfect… and she just did it right… a lot) there were things she didn’t want to do… One day we were sitting in the drop off line.. somewhere around 5th grade… I said, “Mom, why don’t you drive a minivan like all of the other moms. Everyone else drives minivans. Why don’t you go to tennis lessons like all the other moms?” She didn’t skip a beat and said, “Because I don’t want to.” I get that now. Not everyone will drive minivans. Not everyone will play tennis and walk their kid to school. Not every mom will make the perfect lunch with handwritten notes or birthday pancakes.

So what’s my goal with being a mom? To just love my kid. To teach him to love people and to be the nice kid and always make new friends. It’s really pretty simple when we stop overreacting and just focus on what’s important. All of the other things are distractions. And mom dating? Well, I’ve actually enjoyed it. I’ve met some really cool people… and I’ve learned that we don’t all “have it together….” There are other moms that are winging it just like me.

Dentists, Doctors and Milestones, Oh My!

I don’t know about you… but taking my kiddo to dentist and doctor’s appointments gives me anxiety. The kind of anxiety that causes me to bring a professional mom along with me kind of anxiety. Do I know that I’m being ridiculous and overreacting? Absolutely. I’ve tried implementing different Pinterest blog advice, too… you know the kind where they say, “Start talking with your child about the dentist at an early age” or “read them books about the dentist/doctor so that they are comfortable with the process.” ***Before I really get into this let me just say that we have an amazing pediatrician and dentist.. both with rockstar staff.

So… I started out the day saying, “We’re going to the dentist this morning!! It’s going to be so fun!! They’re going to give all of your teeth a bath (Not sure where this came from but it sounded good at the time while I was jumping up and down and clapping).” His reply, “I’m not talking right now.” Ok. So what was my next step? Google of course: How to…. talk to your toddler about the dentist. Ya’ll. I’m asking Google how to talk to my strong-willed kid about how much he’s going to love the dentist and that I will also take him to Chick-fil-A if he behaves. All at eye level (Because I read this somewhere about effective communication).

What is it about these visits that totally unnerve me? I think it’s the unknown. You know when you take your kiddo to their first appointment at the pediatrician and they do the multi point inspection? I know that’s a car reference but it feels like the same thing. But it’s a human… not a car. And that human is your responsibility. And if they miss something… I don’t know about you… but I immediately start mom shaming myself.

So that’s when it started… I started comparing my kid to a list of what was “normal.” And can I add I despise this word. What is “normal” anyway… that’s another day and another blog entry. And let me just tell you… if there has been a milestone, we’ve missed it. And it sends you into a google frenzy and talking to other moms asking about their kid(s) and whether or not they do this or they do that. So that’s where all of this crazy started and has now entered the dental world. What if his teeth are rotting out? Should I brush his teeth to make sure we’re getting every spot? He’s almost 4 and has 20 pacifiers. He has like the Noah’s ark of pacifiers. Are they going to scold me because he’s going to be in a Herbst appliance until graduation? Ridiculous. I get it. By now you probably are experiencing some of my anxiety.

Our first dental appointment to have our teeth cleaned was interesting… they ended up getting us a “private suite” because I think he was scaring the other kids… he was scaring me a bit as well. There weren’t enough stickers and tractors in that treasure chest to get that kid to open his mouth and cooperate and at that point I wanted to just freak out and say, “Fine. Let your teeth rot out.” And you quickly have to get your butt in line and remember they are 2 years old and it’s not appropriate to have a pissing contest with a kid. In public. You also don’t want to freak out all of those nice ladies that obviously love children or they wouldn’t work with them every day. Moving on before I have a flashback to that nightmare.

So here we are… the actual point of this blog. Shout out to the professional mom, Sue Sue or “The Nanny.” The entire way she keeps saying it’s going to be fine… inside I’m saying little prayers. Probably because of that last dental visit we had was due to the little human chipping his front tooth (since then he chipped the one next door and it matches). Legit looks like a rainbow.

img_0452We get there and she sits down and starts playing checkers with him. He’s sharing with some little girl and I’m just sitting back and taking notes. It’s like watching Carol Brady take Bobby to the dentist. img_2178As the door was opening and the assistants would call a kid back, the parents would get up and follow. Ya’ll… I had no desire to witness the circus that was about to go down. The last time it was like bathing a cat. So when our name was called… Well… both of our mouths dropped…

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It was time… So I got up followed closely behind Sue Sue … and asked if we could leave him with them and sit in the waiting room. We assured her he would do much better without me back there. And guess what. Not a single problem. She said, “He did so great! He’s so sweet!” Now I’m sure they say this about every kid… but I was just thankful we didn’t have to go back to that nice private suite. The result? We were cavity free! Meltdown free! And no paci shaming (this is on my list of things to take care of before we hit 4… for those that are reading this concerned). He got a tractor and chicken nuggets. It was just a great experience all around.

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Being a mom is tough. Comparison is tough. Holding your head high when you want to crawl under a rock and cry is tough. What I’m learning every day is that this is OUR journey. Remember, I got those 3 pieces of paper stapled together when I left the hospital and there wasn’t a bullet point on dental visits. So I say… celebrate the little victories. Even though it’s easy to get worked up and overreact about something as insignificant as a dental or doctor visit… the most important thing is just to slow down and embrace it. I can assure you that even the parent that looks like they have it altogether with the kid that is hitting all of their milestones and eats healthy snacks and doesn’t put himself in timeout… struggles too. It just might look a little differently than your struggle. I’ve seen it somewhere and can’t remember but it said something like, “God picked this child for you because he knew that you were the perfect pair.” So even when you feel ill-equipped to do this whole parenting gig… truth is… in their eyes… you’re perfect.

Blogging: I think I got it.

 

 

How hard can it be, right? I firmly believe that you can figure anything out in a book or on google. Just hop on board as we navigate blogging and a few other topics together. It all got started after the little human child (as you will often see me call him… my fur baby was the first) and I were practicing his ABC’s one night before bed. This kiddo is pretty amusing to me. I always have those moments where I know it’s completely inappropriate to laugh and I should probably implement some form of “positive reinforcement” (or is it negative.. or just reinforcement in general) but on the other hand, I’m like… this kid is pretty amusing. He keeps me laughing (and crying when I think I’m totally failing at this thing called parenting) and is always a reminder that even when it gets tough, finding humor in the frustration and doubt is essential. Let’s be honest… I got 3 pieces of paper stapled together when I left the hospital. Let’s call it my ‘Introduction to Parenting’ packet. I got more paperwork when I got a cellphone… and I was getting a human! So has it been interesting? Downright comical.

I challenged my Facebook friends to come up with a name for my blog. Why? Because I’d already attempted googling ‘How to name your blog’ and didn’t get anywhere. I knew at that point I needed some creativity so I left it up to them for a vote! Obviously the name was selected because of the video that was shared the day before and I thought it was a perfect fit. So I did a little research (read two articles on blogging tips) and they said to be successful you wanted to write a few and then publish them for others… well I decided to go ahead and put this one out there… I think I’m also supposed to have an ‘about me’ section and some other “bloggy” things but we will just get around to that later on. It’s the welcome blog, right? So no one really expects it to be perfect.

So what is my blogging goal? My hope is to write about things you may relate to or things that make you laugh with me or at me.. and to have some friends join me along the way and share their stories with you. I am pretty open on social media and I’m sure there are people who think I overshare. So what? Is some of it inappropriate? Absolutely. But then again, I can be totally inappropriate at times. No one is going to be contacting me anytime soon to write a how to book on parenting. So in the meantime, we can just share how we survived it and had fun while doing it.

I have googled my way through being a parent. I can google my way through blogging.

I’ll go ahead and warn you that I’m not big on grammar… I like lots of …’s and parenthesis to explain myself (I talk a lot with my hands, so this is my way of getting my point across) it’s kinda like my parenting style… it’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting the job done. Blogging: I think I got it.