It’s Not Perfect, But It Sure Is Beautiful

It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful

How often do we run around like crazy people trying to get everything perfect? I mean seriously…think about it.

This applies to so many aspects of our lives. Whether it be the homemaker wanting her house to be spotless all the time…nice and tidy, nothing out of place, laundry baskets always empty, cookies in the oven, “Are you kidding? Who touched the throw pillows?”. Ready for Martha to stop by at a moments notice. (Raising hand) I don’t think Martha is coming. All the while missing the laughter that barrels through the door, the snuggles on the couch, the talks on the porch…the life around us.

We may criticize the hair out of place in a photo…”take it again…my muffin top is showing”. Instead of looking deeper at the love and laughter that is truly shown in the memory. I mean, honestly, 20 years from now that muffin top will be the least of our worries.

Ahhh, perfect kiddos….little cherubs. Do you have those? Didn’t think so. Me either. Comforting to know that we are all in the same boat on this one. Mine, all 5, have gotten in trouble, caused me to lose sleep, given me gray hair, said things that shocked me, and have filled my heart with more love and joy than I could have ever imagined.

And, then came marriage. It’s always amazing to me when a couple gets divorced, and everyone looks so surprised. “But, they were the PERFECT couple!” Really, people? Is there such a thing?
John and I are about as far from perfect as we can get. What we are is committed to our marriage. Committed to doing whatever it takes to make this wonderful sometimes-crazy difficult partnership work. It means looking past the little stuff…socks on the floor…and savoring the stuff that matters….John rubbed my feet while I lay shaking in an MRI last week.
Marriage is a constant work in process, and I am a firm firm believer that you get what you give. Handle your partnership gently, nurture it, and be prepared to work on it daily. Think about it…you wouldn’t plant a garden at the beginning of spring and come back at the end of the season expecting beautiful fruits and veggies. No, you would tend it lovingly; daily…and you would reap your rewards. Marriage is no different. Put the love of your life as a top priority; love them with your whole being. It’s the beautiful nuances of a relationship that will see you through…not the grandiose gestures.

None of us, nothing we have, or anything we do will ever be perfect. But, there is absolute beauty all around us…in the people we love, the home we create, and the lives we live.

Its not perfect, but it sure is beautiful.

Love Others As Themselves

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This. Is. Everything. Love others, but as THEMSELVES. Embrace others…all their quirks, messiness, decisions, beliefs, everything. Just love them. Don’t try to change them to fit your mold or ideal; or question how they run their house. Truth be told you’ll never understand everything that makes another person tick…

We all do this judgy thing. Only when it’s small we call it gossip…you know what I mean. We’ve all been on the giving and the receiving end. Jen Hatmaker in one of her preview essays from her new book  For The Love brings up a fabulous list that I am all too familiar with: stay at home Vs career, private school vs public, free range vs tight ship, Christiany vs non-Christiany, formula Vs breastfeeding, glitter & glam vs yoga pants, attachment parenting vs traditional. No matter what you call it…Gossip or judging it serves no purpose. So many of these things seem to center around women…why are we so hard on each other?

I’ve been on one side of all of these “differences”, but the one that sticks out the most is Breastfeeding vs Formula. I’ve had five kids, and I kid you not; one of the first questions I would hear usually from an a acquaintance, or a total stranger…”Are you gonna breastfeed?” Why is that? Not, “Congratulations!”, or “when are you due?” And, the minute I would say, “No, we’ve (feeling the need to throw John under the formula bus) decided to use formula.” I would get this look~~the look that said my formula fed baby would have 3 eyes and 12 toes look~~that would compel me to defend my decision on how I had chosen to feed my baby. When I really wanted to shout, “Look lady, I tried it for a painful two weeks with my first kid…(I still need therapy from the trauma). I’m now on kids 4 & 5, and I want Dad to do his share. I’m just not a nurser.” Guess what? I’ve got 5 formula fed, healthy, happy, smart kiddos. Nurse if you want…I promise I’m good with that. I won’t give you “the look”.

Same with families who let their children sleep with them. I myself am not a fan. My kids know they can snuggle with us until 10…then off to their beds they go. We just need our peace and quiet. But, if others are ok with that in their homes; then go for it. I don’t recall reading about college dorms that have space for the parents of these “attachment” kiddos. They’re going to be just fine.

I gotta tell you…if you are raising an eyebrow at the decisions and choices of others chances are they are raising one right back at you. So, why not just enjoy the different beats of all of our drums? Seems to me that if we all marched to the same beat it might get a little boring around here.

 

 

 

You Will Never Regret Being Kind

Kindness…what a wonderful virtue to have. And, honestly talk about an easy gift to give….it’s actually free. Kindness can be given to others by simply smiling when you pass, reaching out to friends, stepping out of your comfort zone to ask a stranger if they need help. But, I watch people and I wonder why they guard it like their most coveted treasure…almost as if they have a finite amount. You know your not going to run out, right? Your heart is overflowing…the more you giveaway the kinder you become. I promise, you won’t be able to help yourself. You will never regret being kind.

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I will warn you though; kindness is contagious. All of the little eyes that watch you will soon pick up on this trend. I guarantee your kiddos, those little sponges, will jump on the kindness train and it will be fabulous. I’ve seen it. They will start holding doors open for strangers, returning baskets for people in parking lots, reaching out to the new kid in class. Without even realizing it…they too are spreading kindness.

So, as you head out today approach others with kindness; remember that it’s free and that you have an abundance. You won’t regret it.

Be Nice Or Leave

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This has been a relatively quiet week (on my news feed anyway) since #scotus made their landmark decision which consequently did not cause the world to go up in 🔥🔥🔥. In fact it was quiet, peaceful. Quite loving. Would you expect anything else from people who are now allowed the same rights as the rest of us. They celebrated with joy, smiles, love, and family. Hmmmm, kind of like you and me when we get good news.

Here’s the kicker for me. Apparently, there are some people who are not very happy about #marriageequality. And, they have been stewing for the past week…almost at a slow boil. Well, this morning my #Facebook page could not have been any uglier. But, they were sly and sneaky about it. Kind of like a snake. You know the kind….”We don’t hate you, but we’re sure as hell gonna Judge the s$&@ out of you!”. Or, my personal favorite, “it’s ok to be Gay. Just be celibate. We know it’s hard, but it’s doable.”

This HATE they disguise as Chistianity is far crueler and more toxic than any abuse I’ve seen. All these glass houses…Whatever. Hold your stones and answer the following question. When has your life ever been effected in a negative way by someone in the LBGT community? Honestly, please let me know. I doubt ever. Why? Because they are just like you and me. Why have you succumbed to being a bully; just because someone is different than you? Have you been on the other side of those taunts, abuse, hate? Doesn’t matter the reason: color, nationality, sexual orientation, shortest, tallest, over weight. I have. My children have.

It’s all the same: HATE. You can’t camouflage it with Christianity. This is not how my God treats people…we are all the same in His eyes. He loves and accepts us all.

Maybe the bullies and the haters should be worried.

If you have this HATE thing that you can’t get rid of…as far as I’m concerned for my life: BE NICE OR LEAVE!

Our Family Merry Go Round is Outta Control

Live the minutes of your life

If you know me personally, then you know this photo is from my favorite place on earth, our land in East Texas…Arc Ridge Ranch.  Serene and special for reasons that run so very deep. I came across this photo, and it made me crave some much needed Peace in my life.

If if your family is like ours you know the drill. What games do we have? Who has a birthday party? Does this sound familiar? Guess we’ll split up…You know the drill. I’ll take this kid…hubby, you take that one. Maybe we’ll meet in the middle later. Y’all my head is spinning…my life is spinning; at a dizzying pace.  And, I’m quite certain if I feel this way then my Sweet Babes surely don’t know which end is up most of the time. Our family Merry-Go-Round is outta control!!

Between tutoring, Boy Scouts, Golf, Gymnastics almost every night, Student Council…oh Ya, and then there’s homework. We’ve even limited our kids activities (for our sanity) I know other parents who have kids in activities every night of the week. I can’t even comprehend how they keep up much less stay married. And, while we’re at it let’s go ahead and throw in some premature STARR Test Anxiety. Crapdamnit!!! When did life get this way? Surely it’s not just me digging my head deeper in the sand. My white flag is slowly rising. I am beyond ready to get off this Merry-Go-Round! It is very important to me that my children look back at their lives and have actual memories of our family life…not simply a list that was checked off. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I intend to figure it out.

These minutes we have been given are so very precious, and at times I feel like we are just squandering them away. What do we have to show for them? Stressed out parents, exhausted kids, maybe a couple of dusty soccer trophies on the shelf. Are these the THINGS we were after? Not me. I want snuggles on the couch, family laughter over dinner, kids playing in the yard, weekends enjoyed together. I intend to gather our precious minutes, and we are going to live them to the FULLEST!

xoxo,

Amy

A Love Worth Waiting For

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Good things come to those who wait!
When I first heard John’s laugh 28 years ago in college I fell, and I fell hard. (I’m a sucker for laughter. If you can make me laugh…I want to be near you.). We met two weeks after arriving as freshman at SFA and quickly became inseparable.

I knew he was the one….I was in love. Right then as a freshman in college…I knew. But, he knew differently. Damn it! He knew he didn’t have time for me, and had the world to see, and something about being young. Blech! And, just like that it ended…with me heartbroken in a pool of tears.  He moved to a different school. I was absolutely devastated. I missed his laughter. His smile. His generosity. His love. We didn’t speak again.

We didn’t speak again for 12 years!! That’s when I decided to look him up on this thing called the “internet”, and give him a call. And, Hot Damn….he was single!!! After some long “catching up” conversations, we started dating again. And, by we I mean John started dating Me and My 3 Boys. Everything I loved about him came rushing back. The laughter, the sensitivity, the kindness. I fell right back in love. And, the good news…so did he!!!
Fourteen years ago today I married the Love of my life, actually He married Me and My 3!