Thursday, May 31, 2012

10 ways to stay married

i don't think anyone would deny that marriage can be tricky. we are constantly bombarded by unsolicited advice on how to make it work... some good... some not.  why not get a little it more??  these are a few things i've learned along the way!

10. Lie.  "Do my thighs look cellulite-y in these shorts?" "No, they look fantastic."

9.  Touch each other like you did when you were dating. hold hands, an arm around the shoulder, these things go a long way. sometimes we just need a reminder that we like this person.

8.  Talk about your spouse when they're not there, as if they are.  any opportunity you have to say something kind about them, DO IT. our words are the overflow of our heart. be encouraging, not critical.

7.  Go to bed mad.  some arguments are just not going to be solved tonight. sometimes you just need to get some sleep and things won't look so bad in the morning!

6. Master bedrooms are for parents, not children.  parent's bed is no place for kids. it's for parents. if you want to stay (happily) married, keep your kids out of your bed. if you want tips on how to get them out of there, email me!

5. Men are insecure too.  say nice things to them. they need to hear it as much as we do.

4. Have as much sex as possible. even if you don't feel like it. the more you do it, the more you will want to.

3. Remember why you fell in love. remind yourself when you want to kill each other. if you have them, look at pictures! if things get really tough, go to counseling. this is not a failure or a weakness, it's a determination.

2. forgive, forgive, forgive. and then forgive some more.

1. there are seasons of life that are less conducive to happy marriage. pregnancy, raising young children, grieving, just to name a few.  during these times, remind yourself that: this too shall pass. and keep doing what you know you should do, even when you don't feel like it. you will never regret investing in your marriage. it is the single most important thing you can do for your children. it's worth it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the big announcement

no, i'm not pregnant. shame on you for even thinking it! i've alluded for several months now about a "career change" of sorts. i haven't been ready to announce it here but the time has come! before i dive in, i need to give a tiny bit of background info...
     long, long ago, before i became a professional bottom wiper, i was a social worker. i worked specifically in the foster care system as a case manager. while i loved that field and the people i worked with, i left it somewhat discouraged. quite honestly, the foster care system is deeply flawed.  and it is bad for families. the average reunification rate of children and their families is very low.  the problem? taking children from people who are unable to effectively cope with their lives, giving them a list of changes to make and leaving them on their own to make them does not work. sadly, many families today do not have the support system nor the coping skills to repair their family on their own. add to the mix an underfunded system, overworked case managers and damaged children and it is a recipe for disaster. this is where i am honored to introduce Safe Families.
     Safe Families is a nonprofit ministry who's goal is to help families in crisis retain custody of their children and get back on their feet. families are given the support and resources to raise their children and be successful again. here's how it works: families are referred who are in some form of crisis by other ministries and social services agencies. (not families where abuse is occurring, that is a legal issue) so families who may be dealing with homelessness, addiction, unemployment, medical crisis, etc.  these are families on the brink of losing their children. they are one step away from having an open social services case.  SF would do several things for them. the first is to offer respite care for their children, while they retain legal custody. they would not lose custody of their children. they would allow our host family (very similar to a foster parent) to care for their children while they are getting on their feet. we would help them make a plan to address the issues they are facing and the host family would mentor them towards being reunified with their children. did you catch that? the people caring for their children will be their mentor.  and on top of that? the host families receive no compensation. they are doing it for free. there is no corruption of families simply "doing it for the paycheck". they're not getting one. their only benefit is helping another family be whole again. when those goals have been met, the kids go home. the average placement is 45 days. 45 DAYS. that is a drop in the bucket in comparison to foster care. as opposed to years of children being shuffled from home to home. can you see why i'm so excited?  in addition to the obvious benefit to these families, there is an added bonus.  taking these families out of the social service system frees up resources, funds and workers to focus on the families that truly need it. cases of severe neglect and abuse. imagine if your local children's services could spend all of their time and money on the worst of the worst? if they could soak those resources on kids who desperately needed them? how would that change things?
     obviously i am excited and passionate about this topic. i could spend all day sharing statistics and stories and testimonies of lives changed. i won't do that. but i will ask for your prayers. this is a huge undertaking. i will be opening the first Safe Families branch in Ohio. i have a lot to do! pray for me as i make important decisions.  as i juggle my family life and my career.  that the right people will be added to my team! 
     if you are interested in learning more about Safe Families or if you simply have a desire to be a prayer partner, please join me tomorrow night (Wednesday May 23rd) at the Springfield House of Prayer at 7:30! i would love to tell you more!

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 things i love about theMr

today is theMr's 29th  33rd birthday. although at the bean's science fair last night one of her classmates whispered that her dad looks like he could be her brother. please don't encourage him. anywho, in celebration of theMr....

10. he's a great dresser. now this has been a process. when we were dating, he had dreads, wore skirts and did not shower. all of these are true. i loved the dreads but the skirts and hippie stench had to go. you would never know it today. he is polar opposite. and he smells really good.

 9. no one in this world makes me laugh more. no one.

8. have you seen his abs?

7. he loves his family and he shows it. he still wants to protect his "little" sister. (she's 29) he still wrestles with his brother. he still has a healthy fear of his mother. all good things.

6. he works harder than any man i've ever known. he provides for our needs and many of our wants.

5. he has great tattoos.

4. he has an incredible mathematical mind. which is good since i have trouble with simple subtraction. don't get me started on fractions. 

3. he has this uncanny way of giving his full attention to whomever he is speaking to. whether it's a friend or our kids or the cashier at walmart, he makes them feel as if they are the only person in the world. he talks little about himself and asks insightful questions about others. it is rare in world full of people who only want to hear their own voice.

2. he takes care of me. even when i think i don't need him to.

1. he is kind, gentle, funny, loving, assertive, talented, smart, intuitive, affectionate, loyal and so much more. he is the best thing to ever happen to me. 

happy birthday Elijah! and many more...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

mother's day, social media and other random things

good morning! did you all have a wonderful mother's day? i'm not sure about everyone else, but my only requirement on mother's day is NO cooking and NO cleaning. now that means i have a mess to deal with on monday, but it's totally worth it. the best part? i woke up sunday morning and my husband had already gotten himself ready and most of the kids for church. i only had to get myself ready. best mother's day gift ever.  i was already in a relaxed state of mind after spending part of thursday and friday out of town with my mom. she had to go to a training for work a few hours away. i went along to be her bellhop and spend time alone in a hotel. delightful!

i've been thinking a lot lately about boundaries concerning social media and blogging. i'm always wondering where the line is between what to share and what not to share. and we all know there are many on the internet that have no such qualms. i read a blogger recently who described in detail her five year old's sexual assault. she did so under the guise of wanting to raise awareness but the whole thing made me want to vomit. her daughter's only voice in the world is her mother and she violated that trust. i try to be careful and aware of what i post about my kids. i often wonder if they will grow up and resent it? or will it be normal because they grew up in an age of social media? i don't know. i don't think any of us do. there are struggles that my kids have that i never speak of here. there are experiences that may benefit another but are not my story to tell. it's a hard line and i'm sure i miss it at times. i commented to a friend the other day that hopefully our kids wouldn't all end up in therapy. she laughed and said "i don't have a single friend who hasn't been in therapy at one point or another so i suppose it's inevitable!" i hadn't thought of that before! LOL when it's all said and done, i hope they will grow up and read this blog and see that we laughed and we loved each other and i was blessed to be their mother. and they'll skip past the posts about romance.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

a post fueled by PMS...

i am in a mood this week. i'm gonna blame it on hormones. i can do that because i have a uterus. deal with it. in no particular order...

do not give me unsolicited advice when i need to talk to you about a stressful situation i am dealing with. it will only make me want to turn on you.

do not try to sell me something on facebook, invite me to sales parties or try to get me to start selling stuff. i don't want to hear how much money you claim i can make, nor how your particular product is "recession proof". i don't believe that i'm suddenly going be rich and traveling nor do i care if the company is christian. i'm not interested. take it elsewhere.

if you and your significant other need to share your issues by changing your status from "in a relationship" to single and back again six times a month, you will not get sympathy.

my kids broke my new dustbuster today and smushed strawberries on my newly mopped kitchen floor. yes, they are all still alive.

do not pull out right and front of my and then go under the speed limit.

a mouse ran across my living room yesterday and i didn't even care.

my brother in law tore his ACL yesterday and has to have surgery. that really sucks. i don't honestly know what an ACL is but it sounds painful :(

tomorrow i'm heading to cincinnati for 24 hours with my mom to accompany her on a business trip. only 22 hours to go.... but who's counting?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

10 things mom REALLY wants for mother's day...

mother's day is complicated. how do properly honor a woman who pushed your entire body out of hers? there's always the old standby; flowers, candy, etc.  but what does Mom really want? i'll clue you in!

10. a day of everyone picking up their own laundry. never underestimate the value of 24 hours of not touching anyone else's underwear.

9. to sleep in. disclaimer: this does not mean lying in bed while kids bang on the door crying for you. i know, shocking.

8. someone else to cook dinner and clean up from it. better yet, take out.

7. never underrate how much we still love those homemade cards from our kids. we're still mothers :)

6. a leisurely bath in a clean bathtub.

5. you can never go wrong with chocolate. unless your wife is losing weight, like i am.  then don't bring home chocolate... because she will eat it.

4. gifts are good. not a gym membership, stinky perfume or tickets to your favorite sporting event. diamonds are a girl's best friend.

3. speaking of gifts, every mother loves things that represent their children. a friend of mine recently made me this necklace. there is an egg in the nest for each of my children. it is my favorite thing ever.

2. interview your kids about mom, either on video or written down. the results will be hilarious and she will treasure it!

1.  appreciation and encouragement. motherhood is a hard job and we're not supposed to drink in the mornings. take a minute to tell your wife (and your own mother!) what she means to you. she needs to hear it. trust me.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ten inconsistansies about me...

1. i'm female, but i don't like girly. i don't wear pink, i don't care about makeup much (other than a good mascara. that's crucial) but i love to shop.

2. unlike most women, i only like to shop alone. shopping with other women is only enjoyable to me if i'm not buying anything. if i am, i need to be alone.

3. i hate romantic chick flicks. as in, i fast forward the romantic parts. it makes me irritated.  yet i love romantic gestures from theMr. i just don't want to watch them.

4. while we're discussing movies,  i abhor watching violence.  but, vampires fighting werewolves, for love?  i'm in.

5. i am religious in the care of my nails and skin on my hands and feet. some might say it borders on OCD. however, i hate pedicures. i'm not a big fan of manicures either. i don't know why. they stress me out.

6. i spent my whole childhood dreaming of getting out of ohio. i now live blocks from where i was raised and all the money in the world could not get me to leave. even as i hear many others lamenting what a horrible place this is to live, i'm happy here. my family is here. my friends are here. i love living here. and i'm not ashamed to say it!

7. i can't eat meat that still looks like an animal.  like chicken wings? i can't even stand to watch other people eat them. slurping meat off of bones... ick. interestingly, chicken is my favorite meat. as long as it's boneless skinless.

8. i'm not a kid person. yet i have five kids.  how does that work?

9. i have a love/hate relationship with blogging.  i love to express myself, share my life, connect with others on a personal level.  i hate feeling pressured to do it though.  and i hate being censored in it. there are just always going to be things i'm not allowed to discuss on such a public forum. which is hard for me. i'm not a censored person. i like to just be honest and raw. sometimes on here i can't.

10. i can't think of a number ten because i took my sleeping pill too early and i'm all woozy now. oops!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

what's cookin?

i know it's been awhile... things have been super hectic around here. spring is when business starts picking up for theMr and i become a single parent.  many times a week i think of things to talk about here and never find the time to do it! (this is why i could never be a professional blogger!) but i just had to share with you a story.

you know the saying "when it rains, it pours"? well that sentiment could not be more true in this household. two weeks ago our dishwasher died. this may not seem like a big deal but in a house of seven people it is catastrophic. i'm not gonna lie, i was in a panic.  theMr spent several days trying to fix it, to no avail. we ended up having to replace it. i tried really hard to have the attitude of thankfulness that we had a few dollars in savings that would cover it, as opposed to be bummed that we'd have to spend our savings.  within two days of that my phone stopped functioning. my six week old, very expensive phone.  thankfully, it was insured and replaced quickly and for free. then last week, our oven died. seriously. it almost started a fire while i had a house full of kids. it's only four years old.  once again, theMr spent days trying to fix it with no luck. we are on week two of no oven.  we knew it would be a minimum of two to three weeks before we could get together enough for a new stove.  again, with a family our size this is a major hassle. i don't generally cook boxed or microwave foods for the kids. i'm a homemade meals kinda girl. so this has been stressing me out. by sunday morning, i was over it. just in time to leave for church. as we were getting in the car, i set theMr's Ipad on the passenger seat. when he opened the door, it fell out and shattered. it is four weeks old. for real. WHAT IS HAPPENING OVER HERE??!  thankfully, it also is insured and was replaced immediately. and he was very calm and kind about the fact that his wife just broke his most treasured possession. his response? "it's just stuff."  i love that guy.

now i'm not telling you all of these woes for a pity party. i'm not battling cancer or homelessness. these problems are drops in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. but i have a point. by sunday evening, i was really having a battle in my mind. i've shared before that we don't believe in the use of credit cards or financing in general.  these recent situations are where the rubber meets the road. it would be so much more convenient to just charge a new stove and pay it off over the next few months. this is what was going through my head that evening.

why can't we just finance this one thing?

everybody else does it?

what's the big deal? we have to have a stove!

in the midst of this mental storm, a still small voice reminded me of something:  the Lord is my provider. not Visa. not Lowes. not even theMr.   the God of all creation is more than able to take care of my tiny needs.  He created the heavens and the Earth. surely He can handle a measly appliance!  i went to bed telling him i trust Him while confessing my lack of trust.

i got up monday morning and took my kids to school. i returned home and sat down to check my email and drink some coffee before heading out to price stoves and determine how much we'd need to come up with.  i opened an email from one of our pastors. it read that someone had dropped off an anonymous check for us at the church.  a large anonymous check. way more than a stove would cost. i sat there in shock. it will not only pay for a stove, but some tools theMr desperately needs for his business.  for the first time in my entire adult life, i will be able to pick out a nice appliance as opposed to the cheapest one they have. holy moly. 

friends, this story is not about the money. this story is about a God who is big enough to create the oceans and the stars yet is loving enough to provide a stove to a family who needs it.  He didn't do it because i'm a "good christian" or i earned it in any way. trust me when i tell you that i am a sinner to rival all sinners. i am selfish and rude and judgmental and prideful and moody. i'm a terrible person. i have done nothing to deserve the love of the King of the universe. therein lies the point of this post.  nothing i could ever do would earn His love and He loves me anyway.  He has the same love for you.  He sees into my wicked heart and loves me. He doesn't see all of my inadequacies and sin. He sees me.  and i'm His.  He desires to meet all of your needs just the same as He meets mine.

thank you Jesus!