Hurts like hell to burn but I come back fiercer, stronger, more loving every time. I will burn this mother down as many times as it takes to come out the person that I am, under all of the shit that obscures the beauty of who I was meant to be.
I will burn. With the fierce passion of knowing that I was made for Love. I will die a little every time that I may come forth in new and new and new life. And all of the me that isn’t truly me will burn up little by little as I become.
It is terrifying to stand on a new truth, or a more refined truth. What if I am wrong? Well, chances are I am and will be wrong many times and many ways yet to come. Hence the burning down. And rising forth. A baptism of fire. A rebirth of anguish and glory.
I will burn this mother down. I will burn this sister down. This friend. This wife. This citizen. I will be wrong. And I will be new.
I said yes to life and health and all of the magic and pain that will bring me alive. I will face the difficult. I will trod forward in weariness. I will triumph over the victories and so often weep for the failures. Because all these things ignite me. They consume the false and reveal the authentic. The genuine. The truly precious. My soul.
I’ve been thrashing myself with a whip of cords for the last 10 years. I’m such a bum. A lazy mom. A loser that would leave the tree up until Valentine’s Day.
I walk past it over and over, wincing at the thought of unwrapping the lights and boxing up the ornaments. The stockings come down first, usually around MLK Day. Then the mantel lights. The tree skirt comes off. The Christmas Tupperware sits on the floor by the tree for a time and I throw in a few of the kids’ handmade goodies as they flutter to the ground.
Lazy, lazy, lazy.
My manger is still up. It might not go for another month or so.
The deck lights might become permanent. I unplugged the porch ones. That’s good enough for now.
I figured it out this morning. While I sawed off the branches. Yes, in the house. While it was still in the stand. What? You have you your process. I have mine.
The Christmas tree represents for me the magic of the holiday. The 6 of us picked it out and cut it down as per our tradition. Jim sets it up. I light the tree. The ornaments are about 40% handmade by my children. I didn’t even hang them this year. My children did. Well, 3 of them hung ornaments. My 2-year-old threw them at the tree and clapped when they landed on a branch. It was pure perfection in my eyes. We sit around it on Christmas morning and hand each other gifts. My kids buy for each other now. Watching them light up over the thoughtful choices was the pinnacle of Christmas spirit.
It is us. It is love and joy and magic.
By this time every year, I have a dried piney fire hazard in some corner of my living room. An old man of a tree. An elderly Christmas past.
And I have to euthanize it. Every year, I have to kill Christmas. I have to put it out of its misery and make way for the new year to blossom.
I’m not lazy. I’m grieving. Just a little bit. But enough to give me pause.
What if we’re not lazy every time we think we are? What if we’re anxious over change? What if we’re sad at letting go of something? What if we’re overwhelmed?
Feel your feels, peeps. Give them a name. Own them. Embrace them. Give them the attention they need so you can move forward in your life. In your day-to-days. In your living and loving. You are included in your loving. There are 6 people in my home that need me to care for them, not 5.
So today I am saying goodbye to 2016’s Christmas. I’m giving myself room to grieve so I can be wholeheartedly in 2017.
January 2018 will bring the death of 2017’s Christmas but I know what it is now. I can embrace the goodbye. I can beat myself up over one less thing. I can go forward feeling the unpleasant emotions so that there is room in my heart for the other ones.
I went to bed early. Like way early. And then I woke up at an ungodly hour. There’s a 5 o’clock in the morning too. Who knew.
So I did what any reasonable person would do. I read book reviews on my phone in bed. I came across the scathing opinion of one reader. Mind you, I haven’t read the book. But the feelings in the review…
It got me thinking. About healing. And self-care. And about hiding from what will make us better. About being mad at other people who are healing because it spotlights the places we are still sick.
The process of pursuing health often looks ridiculous from the outside. It looks selfish. Downright weird. Believe me, it feels weird on this side of it, too. The growing pains, the exhaustion, the unusual choices.
The thing is, staying where you are is a choice. And timidly peeking your head out from under your pain to look for help is a choice. And both of the choices will hurt. Hugging your abuse tumor hurts. Getting it removed hurts. Emotionally crippled hurts. Reconstructing your heart hurts too. But the sickness kills.
I put off a lot of things that could help make me well because it felt like it was too big of a deal. It felt selfish. I felt unworthy of them. My luggage wasn’t heavy enough to merit getting someone to carry it for me. I put down people who I felt were recklessly open to caring for their hearts. It wasn’t proper. It was self centered and irresponsible.
Irresponsible is knowing you have something eating away at you that keeps you from living. It’s knowing that part of you is crushed and dying and that the dying part is hurting you and your closest tribe. And choosing to look the other way. Denial will decimate you so much quicker than the sting of admission. It will hurt your people. It will drain the color from the sky.
Does something feel not quite right? Trust that. Educate yourself. Search for answers. Do weird things like yoga on your back deck. And if you’re wrong about something helping you, scrap it for something you’ve found works better. There’s absolutely no shame in changing course when you learn a new thing.
The harshest protests often come from the greatest pain.
“I wish I could just throw money at my problems.”
“The rest of us just have to suck it up.”
“Wow. Look at that mess.”
Um, yeah. Pot, meet kettle. Mirror, mirror…
It’s longing. It’s jealousy. It’s the desire in ourselves for improvement. It’s called hope. And fear. It’s a terrible dance. I know I can be whole but I’m afraid I can’t be. I want life but I’m terrified it will kill me. I am too big of a mess and I think it might not be bad enough to merit all that.
Listen to the warrior inside that you keep trying to hush. You are a hero. Put on your damn cape.
This pregnancy is the most terrifying of them all. If you’re late to the party, then **SPOILER ALERT**, I am indeed incubating a fetus. Parasite. Cute and cuddly reproduction of the human species. You get the drift.
19 weeks. Almost halfway.
It’s a good thing I have 3 others to keep alive while growing this one. I have less time to worry about what could be, or will be, what probably isn’t the case, or what may hit me out of left field while I’m not looking. I was pregnant with the first 3 before the explosion of social media. Crap. I’m ancient. Or at least before I had 5,000 internet friends. All of whom have real lives and some of whom have lived through and are going through real hardship and tragedy. And posting about it so that our multinational support group can pray with them and support them virtually. Which I love!!! In our very busy and often detached world, we have real-time encouragement and an ever-spreading prayer chain.
To an anxious heart like mine, however, this also creates fertile ground for my tendency to incessant, paralyzing worry. Which, in turn, has it’s own twisted benefit of making me take control of my hormone-ridden thoughts and choose to place my trust EACH INDIVIDUAL MOMENT in a God who has everything I could ever need. Which is a little exhausting. I’m not gonna lie. Anxiety takes its toll, but using my pregnant mind even for worthy things is also tiring. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night waiting to feel kicks and punches. Which I then have to remind myself is also ridiculous. A lot of women aren’t even able to feel fetal movement this early. And I shouldn’t be wasting valuable sleeping time on thinking.
Actually, Jim bought a house and my name is on it too.
Thanks, Babe. xoxo.
Want the tour?
It stands to reason that the new house demanded a new welcome mat. And not one of your ordinary, run-of-the-mill black rubber numbers. Because, yes, I do consider it one of a home’s accessories. I accessorize myself, don’t I? Why should my place of dwelling deserve anything less than the best?
Before we go any further, please be advised that what is happening here is not bragging. It feels a little awkward to show you these things as I am certain that someone will be onto me. I have snuck into adulthood and am not here legitimately. I feel as if someone else’s life has fulfilled a few of my dreams and any day now, whoever is in charge of these things will show up to take me away.
Thanks to my little sister Ky-Bug for helping me make this wreath from a box of fake flowers we found when we did “spring” cleaning at the church, to Joann’s for their fall decor sale, and, uh, last but not least, the wonderful crew at McDonalds for spending hours making those egg McMuffins, without which I might never be tardy. Ahem. Not really. Name that movie.
Of course, someday my basement will have a large stack of Rubbermaid bins containing a new wreath for each season/holiday. Even the one-day holidays. Because why not.
I jumped ahead of myself, tho, and now you know I have a basement.
It’s really too bad I can’t get a wheat mill in the vibrant red of my VitaMix and KitchenAid. Tho I have since added a Tomato Red compost can for the counter by the sink. World Market, FTW. A trashcan in red would be magical and I think attainable with a can of Rustoleum. A red teakettle is on my Christmas list.
Do any of you watch Breaking Bad? More specifically, have you noticed Maria’s house, her kitchen? How everything is in purple? Like the magic purple fairies are on retainer? I love. I am attempting to slowly replicate this idea in a color that will not cause my poor husband to reside elsewhere. This does include utensils.
And homeschool-friendly pony wall. It’s why I bought the house, yo. The details in this house are incredible. For example, in the side of my kitchen island I have a power outlet. And the dishwasher is immediately next to the breakfast nook for easy clearing of the table.
I think my very favorite thing is the vast amount of natural light. I don’t have to turn lights on until the sun goes down. At least for now until I paint the walls ridiculous light-absorbing colors. Just, um, kidding…?
The truth is that even with all the color I put in the girls’ castle, I mean room, there is still more sunshine than even a fairy knows what to do with.
The opposite wall has stripes on the bottom half and the darker pink on top, and behind me is a wall in the light pink. Also, because a woman must have designed this house, there are 2 separate closets which I will of course label decoratively for each individual princess.
It must also be noted that we moved on a Friday night and this room was painted by the following Tuesday. Thanks to Jim and Martha Young and Ky-Bug. Because I can’t help myself. I’d been pinning to a little girl Pinterest board for at least a month before we closed on the house. I was inspired. Which is why there is a bronze oil paint Sharpie line around the entire room between the wall and the ceiling.
So basically, the entire house house is boring and white except for the girls’ room. And by boring and white, I mean loudly screaming to my creative senses for inspiration and individuality. My soul is happy.
Contributing to this blissful state is the 2.5 bathrooms, of which, the upstairs 2 are equipped with double vanities. O, the joy of not knocking elbows at every turn!
And I finally have a laundry room. *sigh of relief* I like to believe that this will inspire me to stay on top of the laundry situation and cause me to be diligent and disciplined, but I think we can all agree that this is but a pipe dream.
So be prepared for pictures of vibrant decor and individual expression with a side of unfolded laundry. It’s who I am. Stop trying to change me.
Before I forget, I do want to brag about something. Besides the oversized bathtub overlooked by an enormous window, and the fact that no house will ever be built behind my property, thus rendering curtains merely decorative in said window, the master suite has been rendered magical with the forethought of design to include both ‘his’ and ‘hers’ closets. Jim’s is an ordinary closet size, a decent size for a normal amount of man clothes. Mine, on the other hand, is a full sized WALK IN CLOSET. On the other side of the room. The designers of this house and all it’s glory, who I am convinced are women and/or open-minded men, also strongly believe in marriage and desire from the depths of their being to keep relationships strong and safe by removing one of the biggest areas of stress between and woman and her man. My ridiculous amount of shoes and wide array of fashionable garments no longer vex my husband to his very soul by their intrusion into his ability to maneuver about our sanctuary. Which I have taken to calling our room because I love it so much. I am convinced you will as well, once I develop the look I have in my head for it.
Spray paint will be involved. As will my sewing machine. And a bottle of bleach.
Among other things.
I’m gonna go troll Pinterest now. I have rooms to dress.
And a house to love.
I can’t even handle it, you guys.
It’s a miracle. At the beginning of the year I felt that I would buy a house this summer. Like I was getting a hint of encouragement from my Lord. After the last few years we’ve had, it felt like a light at the end of the tunnel and the beginning of room to breathe. I also thought I was crazy. I may be that as well, but then I am a crazy person who has been blessed beyond my wildest dreams and I really have no words for the gratefulness in my heart. Not just for the house, because it is indeed wonderful, but for getting to where I am.
I usually attempt a “New Year’s post” of sorts. Preferably in January. Having about 36 hours left, I guess I should get a jump on that. Said post traditionally consists of a link to the previous year and a new list for the year to come. Except that my Pop says traditions have to be at least 3x to be called traditions. Or is it 3 years to call something “the Annual whatever”? Maybe I should try to pay better attention in 2012.
As with most things instituted by the ever-mysterious and elusive “them”, I buck the system. I shake my fist at “the man”. I, well, try to be all angsty and hipster and original, but end up a hippie vegan like the rest of them, wearing Toms and crocheted headbands. I do not, repeat, do not drive either a Prius or a Subaru of any kind, no offense to either Prii or Subari.
So no list. Really. Ish.
2012 is for delighting and knowing.
2012 is for reading the book of Job in the New Living Translation and having a laugh.
2012 is for being unafraid.
2012 is for selling a thing on Etsy because I made it, and by golly, the world needs to want what I make.
2012 is for my baby turning 2.
2012 is for learning to be content in limbo. It’s not like I can go any lower. Because I haven’t kept up with yoga.
2012 is for counseling and healing and learning how to be a friend. Seriously, Job’s friends sucked. Even he called them “worthless quacks”… in the NLT, of course.
2012 is for no resolutions.
2012 is for growing and changing.
It’s for running out of room on the calendar and watching the rest of the world freak out. O, that was the Mayans. Whatever.
Bottom line, I want to enjoy this year for what it is and what it isn’t. I don’t want to set myself up for failure by making a guilt-list of things I will hate myself for not doing. We have no idea what tomorrow will be like, let alone the rest of the freakin’ year.
I want to live this year with a new knowledge that I am delighted in by Creator of the Mayans, time, and the people who make stupid resolutions.
2012 is also for Soup-A-Thon 2012. The 2012 Soup-etition. The Great Soup-Off of 2012. Whatever floats your aircraft carriers. E-spice and I have become #beffies. It only took about 15 years and 6 months. We’re both awesome, so, theoretically speaking, whatever we do together will cause the world to implode. The Mayans must have foreseen our Soup-Off. We’re swapping recipes each month in a vein or category agreed upon together. January’s entries were tomato soups. Erin’s kicked soup ass to the moon and back. It had ham in it. Organic, vegetarian-fed, antibiotic and hormone free, uber expensive, Whole Foods ham. We each make both soups and have someone judge between them. Jim was this month’s judge and he determined that the texture and general aura of Erin’s soup prevailed, while the taste of mine came out ahead. While Erin declared yours truly the winner of January, I disagree. And since I’m disagreeing on a public forum, I think my ruling trumps hers. I’m calling a tie. Next stop, February.
I plan on 2012 being a good year. Hilarious. I know.
I think this is, at least in part, untrue:
“If you’re not moving forward, you’re backsliding.”
Maybe, but in the grand scheme of things, the Potter, in His great wisdom, at times allows us to implode, that He may have reign to reassemble us in His image. This is not to say there is comfort in a backsliding heart, for the only place we find peace is in relationship with Him for whom we were created. It is to say this: my Savior is bigger, much greater by far, than my humanity, and His longing for me will not cease to draw me to Him.
“Beingconfidentthat He will continue to completion the work He began in you.”
(paraphrase of Philippians 1:6)