I Know Why The Proverbs 31 Woman Is Laughing

This is me. Tomorrow. [Click for credit.]

I know as an empowered women of the new millennium, I am secretly supposed to be annoyed with the Proverbs 31 woman, the uber-successful, have-it-all-in-perfect-balance icon we can never possibly emulate in real life. She was the quintessential female, the Giselle Bundchen of 4000 years ago. (Thanks a lot, King Lemuel, whoever you are.)

But every time I read this chapter, I just can’t hate her. I mean, she has all this energy and is always showering people with love. She owns at least one thriving business, and she has maids, for crying out loud. What’s not to love?

Madam Proverbs 31 and I actually have a lot in common, which is oh-so comforting. She has outside-the-home employment, lots of people to care for, in addition to her children, a husband with a prominent role and she stays up til the wee hours of the morning to get it all done.

I may not alway be “clothed with strength and dignity”, but I am usually clothed, which is a strong start to any day (for me), and I can relate to her workload.

I’ll admit I’ve struggled with the “laughing at the future” part though, which she apparently has down. This is the verse that always kinda made her feel fake. Until tonight.

Tonight I realized Madam P31 has toddlers. This is her secret. This is how she can laugh at the future.  

Why would a mother of toddlers laugh at the future? It’s because some days, like today, we cannot laugh about this day. Or this week. Or maybe this year. The present is not funny at all. The present is mean and exhausting. The present is gray hair-sprouting and milk spill-cleaning and high-pitched whine-tolerating.

Oh, but the future. This future is grand. The future is much cleaner and neater, with all my home decor and table centerpieces exactly where I left them.

Yes, me and the Proverbs 31 woman and all the Toddler Mamas know some day, these children will (finally) know how to use the toilet without help, make themselves a meal without the requisite wreckage ensuing, and wash their own laundry.

And someday, they will have children of their own. Children who have no control of their bladders and no respect for ungodly hours of the night.

Are you laughing yet, Oh Mothers of Toddlers? This is not a laughter of revenge, but a laughter of relief. So if you’re cackling, cut that out. You probably need some sleep. Oh, don’t we all?

So you see, we can finally rest assured that the Proverbs 31 Woman is not as unattainable a persona as we thought. So start laughing now because these days are short. And even if we can’t always enjoy them, we know we will enjoy the future.

Come on, let’s have it: What kind of future are you laughing about? No more diapers? Sleeping for more than 3 consecutive hours? Communicating with words instead of whines? Share in the Comments below. 

{Laugh, live and dream big with me. Click here to subscribe to the blog for free updates and a first copy of my book, Dream or Die, at its release early next year. And stay connected on Facebook or Twitter.}

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Housewife

Hello there. If you’re visiting from Start Marriage Right, welcome. Glad to have you today. This is where I write and laugh about relationships, spirituality, parenthood and leadership. Let’s stay in touch, shall we? Get all the updates to my blog by subscribing here, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Without further ado, here’s the Start Marriage Right article from this week.]

housewife

Life was easier with only 700 square feet. The tiny apartment my new husband and I occupied for our first two years hugged us close with cozy spaces and colorful walls. Hospitality was a pain, but we didn’t care. Because we never had to mow the lawn.

Sure, the neighbor across the hall died, and no one knew about it for four days. And sure, our upstairs neighbor’s pet ferret found his way into Josh’s shoes one morning. And sure, the catty-corner apartment hosted drug dealers and bad parents.

But I miss those days for one big reason: the housework was minimal and clearly defined. Those were the days.

In premarital counseling, we divided the chores to avoid the conflict later. Josh took laundry because the washer and dryer lurked in the dark, cement basement below us. And I was going to wear dirty clothes before I hauled a hamper down those steps. It worked out perfectly though because he hated cleaning the bathroom. And while I could think of a hundred things I liked more, it sure trumped reliving a horror movie every time I ran out of underwear.

And so it was, two simple people, Josh with too many books and me with too many scarves, and only three pieces of furniture, one a freebie that smelled of cigarettes.

When we moved into our first real home three years ago, we sat down in the empty living room and laughed giddy little laughs. With the money we earned from the government home-buyer stimulus, we purchased new furniture and paid off debt. Suddenly we were adults, with squishy leather couches and a baby on the way.

We were big-hearted and a little crazy back then, and we wanted roommates. We figured five bedrooms were too much for the two-plus of us. When John arrived in November that year, two twenty-something boys occupied the basement. They came upstairs for food and conversation, and sometimes the kitchen was messier when they left.

For two and a half years, roommates shared our home. They perfected our hospitality and opened our lives wide. But the season ended in October last year, and we settled into a new routine with just three of us. We never had that before.

Suddenly, the messes we noticed around the home were just ours, but mainly mine. Laundry left unfolded. Unswept floors. A fridge that only got one deep clean in its lifetime.

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Anger Management for Me: A (Slightly Whiny) Update

On July 3, I took the Anger Management Challenge from The Orange Rhino. And two weeks later, I gave you an update here. The rules are: no yelling, shouting or screaming (unless there is distance or an immediate safety issue) for 365 days. That’s right. One year = no yelling. I realized I wanted my son to have a more comforting, nurturing relationship with me, rather than one mingled with fear. A little healthy fear is good, but honestly, this is mostly about me getting me under control. This is a self-control challenge.

So how’s it been going? Not good, folks. Not good. I had to start over two weeks ago when John bowled his apple across the table as Josh and I were simultaneously telling him not to. I don’t know what I said, but probably something like, “No!” and I clapped my hands to get his attention. Yea, I did that whole gym teacher thing. The yelling and clapping. It was real cool. I could hear the referee in the background with his whistle. Game over. For me.

So I’ve lost the battle, but did I lose the war? I’d say No. I’m doing so much better on any given day controlling my temper. I offer more options and affection, and my patience withstands far more of the petty goings-on. I feel proud. Gold star for me.

But I’m gonna get real with ya’ll real quick. Bed time is rough. Brushing teeth especially. If I’m going to have start over on my year of no yelling, it’s going to be at bedtime. Or dinner time, when he wants to have the experience of eating his peanut butter sandwich in every room of the house. It tastes like peanut butter in every room, son. But no, he has to go find that out for himself. You’re a real Christopher Colombus, kid. 

We’re getting the teeth brushing under control, and by that I mean, I don’t hate it as much. But for months, it was the worst worst worst part of my day. Literally. Worse than taking a shower, and maybe you don’t know it, but taking showers really annoys me because you get all wet. On purpose. And then you have to dry off again. And figure out what to do with your hair. No thank you.

Me taking a timeout from brushing teeth or catching runaway peanut butter sandwiches. I have to sit on a faraway cliff to really get balanced.

So brushing John’s teeth annoyed and frustrated me more than any part of my day because you really can’t force a toothbrush in a child’s mouth if you don’t want to get the cops called on you. So we did everything. Tickling. Cajoling. Threatening. Turning him upside down. Letting him brush first. Letting him brush my teeth. Nothing worked. For a very long time.

One night, I lost all human dignity and laid down on the floor in John’s room. Toothbrush in hand, I whine-yelled at the ceiling, “Why? Why are you such a pain? Why is this so hard?” John looked bewildered and probably just walked out of the room to alert dad of mom’s impending meltdown. If he was a little older, this would’ve been a great guilt trip, but alas, he’s too young to pick up on those kinds of subtleties. And thank God, really. (For the record, this was before the 365 day challenge, so don’t get all judgy.)

Eventually, I figured out something that worked. This was huge. Seriously. I felt like my soul returned to my body. (Slight dramatization.) I discovered if I let him stand up on the counter and watch himself brushing his teeth, he actually had fun with it. A few minutes in, or when I ran out of patience, I offered to “help” him, which he eventually let me do. So now that’s usually our routine. He brushes first, then I “help”. So now he has fun, and I have more fun. And we all know, if baby ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Sorry, Mama.

Apparently bed times from Hades are pretty run of the mill in American households. Heather over at Mama Knows, Honeychild, gives a hilarious illustration of what it’s like putting her four children to bed. Let’s just say, everyone keeps their eyeballs, but that’s an accomplishment. You should read it if you want to keep laughing.

What time of day are your kids most likely to unwind you? Is it bedtime or another time?

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How to speak Toddler: A cross-cultural education

Cross-cultural studies are regular academic fare at our house. So much so, we consider ourselves multi-cultural. That is, if you consider a toddler living with two adults culture blending. Which we do. Our home is a case study in a family made of people from the same ethnicity, yet somehow, different cultures.

Any time you’re doing any kind of anthropological research, or just trying to connect with “the locals”, the first thing to know is the language. If you come to our house, you might discover some of the tribe is less than hospitable, so it sure helps to know the lingo to improve communication and ease frustration.

Amazingly, some of the language is a true cognate, like “Mom” in English and “Mom” in Toddler. However, you might not guess that in Toddler, “Raisin” is pronounced “Fruhfen”. If you were asked to retrieve “Fruhfens” from the cabinet, you would be confused. Until now.

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While quite charming and endearing….
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They find themselves in some odd predicaments…
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at which point, they often shout for “HELP”. Or in Toddler, “Hep!”

Below is a helpful translation tool to assist you in speaking Toddler wherever you go. This dictionary is by no means comprehensive, but it will certainly get you started. [Please note: Toddler comes in varying dialects. You may need to relearn the new dialect any time you are introduced to a new person of the small variety. Sorry.]

Important people:

Mom           Mom

Dad            Dad or Josh (interchangeable)

Grandma    Nanna

Grandpa     Papa

John           John (although until a few nights ago, he called himself “Non”. The day he learned his name was priceless.)

Luke           Kook

Lily            Wiwee

Zane         Sane

Friend        Fen

Curious George     Gerge

Food:

Water        Wahwah

Milk           Mup

Hot dog     Hot gog

Bath         Bath

Raisin       Fruhfen

Cracker    Cacko

Cookie      Keekee

Apple        Appoh

Banana     Nana

Ice cream  I-keem

Candy       Kee

Places and things:

Plane        Pane

Train        Choo choo chain

Truck       Kuck

Car          Kuck

Van         Kuck

Horse      Hose

Cow        Cow

Dog         Gog

Bathroom Bath

Bath        Bath

Bedroom Woom

Fast         Fass

iPad        iPad

Phone     Phone

Playdough Doh

Plate       Peet

Bowl       Boo

Cup        Cup

Stars      Stows

Home      Home

TV show   Show

Shirt        Shote

Jeans      Jeans

Body Parts

Eyes       Eyes

Nose       Nose

Arms       Owms

Elbow      Ehbow

Knee       Knee

Toe         Toe

Hair         Ha-oh

Ears        Eewws

Mouth      Moup

Exclamations, requests and states of being:

Cute       Cute

Look       Look

Stuck      Guck

Help        Hep

Please     Peese

Thank you Tatoo

Love you  Wuv woo

Prayer:

Jees, Wuv woo. Amen.

What are you favorite words in Toddler? Share them with me below. I love to laugh. 🙂 

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No more cookies. No, really. Okay, fine.

If you are a parent, or you have ever been around a toddler, you know they have these obsessions. Compulsions. These “I can’t help myself” moments. While endearing the first six times they pose a nonsensical request, in only a matter of seconds the charm wears thin and suddenly, I’m shouting, “NO!” with all my might. Or I’m trying not to, per my 365 day commitment. Gulp.

We parents and caregivers say “No”, but what does that really matter to a toddler? They know the real trick is not the answer you give, but the ability to wear. you. down.  One whine at a time.

It works, doesn’t it?

Watch this hilarious short of two adult men reenacting an actual conversation one of the men had with his two-year-old daughter. (Apparently it’s a universal trait, the impulsive sweet tooth and very little access to the logic-brain.) This particular episode is about cookies. One of my son’s favorite words. Around our house, they’re called “keekees”, which is super adorable until he’s eaten 38 of them.

There are 8 episodes all together, so you know, if you have some time, you should watch them. Feel the empathy. It’ll be a relief.

There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand Cream Pie

This afternoon, my kitchen was a mess from lunch with friends, and I just left it that way. Now it’s dinner time, and I should be fixing something with protein in it, but instead I decided I wanted to make a banana cream pie.

I’m a terribly impractical cook.

But in my defense, today is the return of Arrested Development on Netflix, and all the pictures of AD parties are making me jealous. (Excellent defense, I know.) So when I felt the hankering for banana cream pie, I realized it was perfectly themed. (If you’re an Arrested Development fan, you know why. If not, you should watch the show to find out.)

Now I’ve never made a banana cream pie, but I know where to look – on the obscure health food website, of course. I have more coconut products around than the average Midwestern folk so I found a recipe and decided to make the most of the tropical flavoring and healthful qualities.

NOTE TO THE CULINARILY CAUTIOUS: Be assured that any recipe I post ranges from not-hard to so-easy-I-can-do-it-while-I’m eating-it.

So here’s my pretty-easy, almost-healthy version of an old favorite, affectionately nicknamed “There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand Cream Pie”, complete with snarky commentary in italics.

Graham Cracker Crust (from scratch). Or just buy one at the store. I would’ve done that, but I didn’t think of it when I was there earlier today, and again, I love immediate gratification so I was not about to go back.

  1. In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt 6 tablespoons of butter. (I used the microwave because I am about immediate gratification.)
  2. Place 8 graham crackers in a gallon-size plastic bag. Roll with a rolling pin until finely crushed. (Or until you are bored and it’s good enough.)
  3. Add 1/4 cup of sugar to the graham crackers and mix it all up. (I used organic sugar because I am from Oregon. And I am snobby.) 
  4. Pour crumb and sugar mix into a medium bowl.
  5. Add the melted butter and stir up good.
  6. Smoosh into a pie pan so that it looks like a pie crust. I don’t really know how to describe it better than that.
  7. I put mine in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I have no idea if you’re supposed to do that, but I think I remember that being a part of previous pie recipe I’ve seen before.

Here’s what mine looked like. It was pretty so I took a picture:

pie crust

Banana Cream Pie, courtesy of Elana’s Pantry

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ¾ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup mashed (very ripe) bananas
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla stevia – I used organic sugar because I am snobby (see above) and because I still haven’t fallen in love with Stevia. I have it around, but I don’t use it much.)
  • 1 graham cracker crust (from above)
  • banana for garnish
  1. In a blender, combine coconut milk and coconut oil. (My blender got an attitude so I put the mix in a bowl and blended with my handheld mixer, which worked. I think.) 
  2. Blend in bananas and stevia (or sugar)
  3. Pour mixture into cooled pie crust
  4. Chill for 3 hours until firm (or get impatient and put it in the freezer and hope for the best)
  5. Garnish with bananas
  6. Serve

And here’s what it should look like, if you shoot stock photos for a living. 

Banana-Cream-Pie-1061

And here is mine, speed-cooling in the freezer, next to the teething rings and tator tots. I’m one classy lady. You might notice they don’t look alike, but I’m not on Pinterest so I pretty much have no stress or peer pressure in my life. So you can judge me, but I won’t be able to read it.

Unless you leave a comment. Meh.

pie2

Losing beauty

I stood in the bathroom and swished my short mop between my hands one more time. Staring into the mirror last night, I complained aloud to my mother that I didn’t feel like myself. “I want my glamour back,” I whined. “I feel like a news anchor or a soccer mom. It’s so suburban. So conformist. So not me,” I continued, revealing my inner rebel college girl apparently never graduated.

“Next time I want to chop my hair, I will think twice.” And then do it, if I know me.

But it wasn’t impulsive the day my friend Kristen took 20 inches off. I knew exactly what I was doing. Premeditated. I uploaded my bare face to the online try-any-style sites, and I liked Halle Berry’s pixie best.

So off went the hair, and I imagine several children have worn it by now. (I donated it, for all you bleeding hearts who want to know.)

BEFORE:
Hairb4

AFTER:
HairAfter

In case you think from the images above I suddenly had a one-third-life crisis, I didn’t. I’ve always been this way. (Is that better?)

The first time it happened, I was seven, when my mom said “no bangs”, and I cut them anyway. Then again when I was 16. I wanted a layered look, which I cut myself, and then needed an emergency rescue. At Supercuts, not the ER. But still.

The pixie cut first happened when I was 19, a rebellious, grieving act. My friend died, I graduated high school, my boyfriend and I were crazy and so bad for each other. And the meltdown manifested in hair. Off my head, on the floor. Oh, and two nose rings. One at a time. I couldn’t make up my mind. And then there was a short period of wearing boy clothing. But let’s not keep going with this and chalk it up to Post-Teen Delirium. It’s probably a real disorder by now.

Anyway, this time, I turned 30. No death or grief to name, but a new era. A baby now seven months old, and a mom stereotype to rebel against. And somewhere in there, I was uncomfortable with beauty, unsure of the standard I was meant to keep. I wanted to toss off the expectations. And so I did. The glamour girl with hair so obedient I never even combed it ended up with almost no hair at all.

And I made it work for me. I went punk rock:
SarahPunkrock11

And I even figured out elegant:
SarahPixie11

It all suited me just fine.

Until I grew out of it. The season of rebelling against my own compulsions dissolved one day. I changed. I didn’t feel at home in this hair anymore. I wanted glamour back. I wanted the feeling of easy beauty, without all the makeup and straightening irons and guilt from stealing my husband’s hair products for men.

At the end of the day, I just wanted to feel pretty again. The short hair rebelled against my beauty obsession, reined in my fear of wanting to be glamorous, the classic idea of beauty. That’s what it was when I was 19, and it came back when I was 30. My husband didn’t protest, and I guess I needed to just make the statement, to free myself from this “burden of beauty” I placed on myself.

It felt heavy, like 20 inches of hair feels. So off it went.

I’m 31 now, pushing 32, if that’s a thing, and tonight I went on a date with my husband to celebrate our fifth anniversary. I wanted so badly to feel beautiful again, to show him I’ve still got it. But I knew what I was working with: a frustrating blob of hair that didn’t feel or look like I wanted to look, which was head-turning, jaw-dropping beautiful. Like the day I married him.

IMG_9323

Maybe it sounds cocky to say I want to look that way, but really, I just want to feel that way. I wanted that confidence back.

And suddenly, the hair that meant the burden of beauty two years ago now represented the weight of self-confidence, not the “Woman, stay at home; your hair is your glory” vibe, but just the effortless glamour I took for granted the day I said “I do” just a few years ago.

I missed it.

No, I miss it. Present tense.

So I got on the Googles, and I looked at short hair styles on famous people. I know you’re not supposed to look at beautiful women on the internet to feel better about yourself, but guess what, that’s what I did, and it worked for me. They gave me ideas. Which gave me options. And options almost always give me confidence. They reach into my Trapped Mode and pull me out. Remind me I’m not stuck here.

I got out my straightening iron and my hair product. I scooped out the eye liner and the lipstick. And I wore the new scarf my friend brought me from Mexico.

And it turned out right.

JoshSarah5years

I felt beautiful. And he said so too.

So I just wanted to let you know that you can feel beautiful too, even if you’re in the awkward stage of growing up or out or any way. There is make up and hair gel enough, but at the end of the day, I just needed to know it was possible. Beauty is indeed possible. That a girl like me, in-between where she’s been and where she is going, can still radiate, can still walk with the elegant stride, can still be every bit a lady while I figure it out.

And so can you.

So go be beautiful. It’s much easier than you think.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

The Siders House Rules is not one of those blogs that gives away free stuff all the time. I’m just not that kind of girl (yet, maybe?). 


But I’ve been doing this thing over at the 365 Dream Project every day for almost a month – and I have about 11 more months to go. Goodness. The deal is, I write a new dream for each day and post it there. It’s really incredible that day after day, they keep coming to me. I didn’t know that I could come up with all these ideas. 


Most of them are intangibles, like always having a glut of good ideas, swimming in creativity, nurturing love in my household, etc. Some have skin and latitude/longitude, like the dream about having another baby, or my longing to visit the ocean once a year until I’m dead. 


But I have 365 days here, and I’ve dreamed up so many of the things I want for myself and my little life already. I have lots more room to dream, of course, but I want to invite you in.


So here’s my giveaway, my invitation:
I invite you to share your dream with me, and I will place a post on the blog dedicated to your dream. You don’t have to share your name, but you can share your dream, your deepest, hugest longing that you’re afraid to ask or wish for. Come on, you know you have one. One you forgot about from childhood, maybe. Or one you just think isn’t for now because of the kids and the mortgage and the excuses you’ve created. 

For years, mine was a husband, children, India, writing. Some of these have come true; others wait in the wings. But they’re mine for the dreaming – and the doing has to start there. 

So be brave. Dream on with me. Dig out your biggest, most unwieldly, impossible dream, dust it off, and share it. As in, write it, whisper it, yell it, sing it. But get it to me some time during the months of August or September.  



Mini disclaimer: Rest assured, if you share your dream with me, you’re not giving it up. It’s not going to be mine. I’m just going to dream it with you, give a little more umph as it launches into the sky. 


This is going to be fun!




[Now for some legal-ish babble: I am not dreaming about just anything over here; I have standards: The Siders House Rules and all affiliates reserve the right to select only appropriate dream entries that align with SHR values. Inappropriate or otherwise invalid entries will not be considered. Thank you.]

Sometimes Babies Are Rude

I just let my son borrow my phone. He asked, so I obliged. It’s locked so all he can really do is make pretend calls while listening to the iTunes feature that pops up automatically, and take pictures of himself. (I’m always a little concerned about the fact that he could theoretically make an emergency call, but hey, every kid has to accidentally call the cops at least once in their lives, right?) So I’m sitting here being super benevolent with this $400 piece of technology, letting him run up and down the hall, and of course he needs to taste the phone, and let the dog have a lick too. And I’m tolerating all of these gross bodily fluids rather well. But then he’s trying to come over to the laptop where I’m writing, and he’s tapping on the caps lock and so suddenLY I’M WRITING LIKE THIS before I realize it, and I change it back. Then he sneaks in a bit of punctuation ‘’’’’’’’’’’’ before I notice, and then I pause, again, to try to distract him.
At this point, I’m feeling guilty because this is probably a sign that he needs a sibling or that I am not being the most attentive mother. But hey, it’s also a sign that my child is not terribly socially intuitive. In other words, rude. 
This morning we ate Cheerios for breakfast. Well, I did. I ate them neatly and didn’t spill a one. John, on the other hand, was inspired. He joyfully slapped and spun a Jackson Pollock with gusto, scattering the hapless Cheerios to the four winds. Soon, the tiny oat circles carpeted the kitchen floor. His attention span for clean up lasts approximately 34 seconds, so I would be the one cleaning it up. I’m sure it was intentional. As my brother and I chatted on Skype today, I gave him a survey of the kitchen floor. He laughed. “Babies have no morals,” I warned. He should know the truth. Sometimes I think, “Where is your mother?” And then, you know, I realize the obvious. That I am the mother, and I really should do something about these tantrums and selfish behavior that would never work on a playground or in a boardroom.
Yes, this is someone else’s kid. But don’t you love that this is a universal baby activity. [Photo credit: onenjen.com]
Babies are indeed rude. And sometimes, I get upset. A little flustered, frustrated, flabbergasted at the situations I find, we find ourselves in. Rightfully so, I think. There are a couple reasons for this. The foremost, I think, is that I’m simply not used to being treated this way by regular humans in my daily life. Usually my roommates do not run off with dirty dishes, stolen from the dishwasher, begging me to chase them. Most days I am not being assaulted with a spatula or attacked from behind for a hug or piggie back ride. But I never see it coming. Most people do not want to drink out of my beverages, stir the insides or pour them on the hardwood (laminate) and splash in them. It’s absurd behavior. I’m not used to it.
The second reason for my more frequent bouts with anger is just the inconvenience of it all. If I’m honest, sometimes it’s out of the frustration for the fact that I am stopping my perfectly reasonable activity to pull an electrical cord out of a mouth, prevent a nose dive off the couch into something thick, solid piece of plastic. Or try to reason with this little wonder about how that toothbrush is yours, not that dogs, and there should be no sharing.
First world problems, I know. But these moments of domesticity can try the most patient and peaceable maternal instincts. They bring out the deeply rooted anger and impatience we didn’t know was in us. Really. I had no idea I was an angry person until 1) I got married and 2) I had a child. Parents and married people always said this to each other and nodded knowingly in return. I stared at them from a distance in disbelief. “You people are really screwed up.” It was incredible they didn’t know they needed therapy.
But alas, it is true. The rudeness and absurdity and inconvenience of the mess is annoying and angering, but thankfully, I see my true self in it. I would have no idea of these character issues if it were not for my son, and my husband, here to point them out. Thank you, Boys.
The hardest, hardest part of all this is not the mess though. It’s realizing that I am the problem. Because indeed I am. My selfishness and small-minded laziness gets me in trouble. They are not pretty, the worst ugly sides of me. My impatience and anger are there in a moments notice when I need them, or rather want them, and where is my patience and grace? Well, I am only now starting to make a practice of using them. This refining process is slow and searing, but it is good. All these little deaths leading me into the reflection of Christ. I know it’s worth it.

{And perhaps because God loves a chuckle, and I know I do, I had to stop this blog temporarily here at the end to clean up milk from my cereal bowl that I spilled. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I was writing in the dark. Very funny, God. But I get the point.}