Learning from Broken Eggs

A day’s work. Ruined.  Because I was distracted and had too many things rushing through my head.

You don’t have to be a chicken princess to appreciate this frustrating (and depressing) sight. I would compare it to the dreaded “pump and dump” when my kids were little. While it may not be my work that’s dumped on the ground, it still feels like one of those little things that adds to the failures of the day.

Do you have those days (weeks…months) when all your efforts seem futile? When all you want to do is make one successful dinner from pinterest but find yourself feeding them frozen dinners as you fan the smoke of yet another burned effort. Why do we do this to ourselves? More importantly, why do we feel such failure when the kids were fed and well loved when you put them to bed?

I’m working on four areas this dreaded year before I turn 40 (which is only 5 months away…). You can go here to see the 4 trouble spots.

Those broken eggs felt like they represented every area that gives me insecurity.

I’m so frazzled and unorganized and constantly going that I can’t stop and make sure the egg basket is securely placed on the ground. I did not give myself SPACE to slow down and be okay with extra time with the chickens. My to-do list was overwhelming my thoughts. This happens so often that Loretta (lo-red-uh…a red chicken) follows me in the coop each day awaiting the almost daily clumsy egg drop.

The broken eggs showed me that I do not have it all together and that my “farming” efforts are dumb. There was no self-love in those broken eggs. But then I remembered that my girls love broken eggs.

It’s crazy BUT my girls will chase each other to grasp the last bit of egg shell that falls to the ground. Since the boys moved away, the girls are much more friendly and almost let me pet them. Those broken eggs were such a treat and since I broke so many each girl was able to get some. My chickens loved the broken eggs.

The eggs that at first felt like defeat were a treat for the girls. So like my broken eggs and the joy my clumsiness gives my chickens,  may find comfort in broken pieces today.

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Self-working it out

I feel like I’m constantly in motion. It would be nice to totally blame this on the children but it would also be false. I’m an over-committer. When you compound that character trait with people-pleasing and comparison, you have a nasty combination. 

I’m walking down the path of no return… yep, I’m heading face first into my 40s this year. And since this is the beginning of the end (I kid…sort of), I taking this year to work on things that have been shoved in a small pot on the back burner. 

This process is hard. And I’m working hard to not feel shame for these areas where I feel insecure and timid. 

1. The blog

I love this space. I love that I get to have a place to put words. But being here makes me nervous and insecure. What if you judge me with words and situations I openly tell you about? What if you disagree with words and situations and sum-ups that I openly tell you about?

Go ahead. Because this is my space for my words that I want to share. I typically only post when it’s funny or when it hurts. The funny is here because I love to laugh. The hurt is here because I so deeply do not want you to feel alone. 

I have signed up for a course this year to make my blog better and my confidence sky high! I want to come here confident and full of something special just for you. 

That being said, these first few months will be hard. I have to learn language that feels foreign. But I want this space to be fulfilling not fearful…

2. The self.

This is the most insecure area of my life. I despise myself so often that it’s unhealthy. (And I hide it so often which is also unhealthy). So I’m here. I tall and built like my dad. No longer can I hold hope of being smaller nor do I constantly want to be “on a diet”. But more than that, I want my daughter to have a healthy sense of self. I want her to be confident and love who God made her to be. 

So, I had to ask for help from a stranger. (Kill me now). And I have to decide that I was worth a little money and time. Because this “me” may be downhill from here but I’m going to cut down on the friction. 

This work is embarrassing. My brain is broken when it comes to body image and thoughts of food. So this space is where I will be honest about how I feel and who I am. 

3. The faith.

The past two years have been a treacherous journey for my faith life. I feel like I’m in constant battle with stereotypical norms and deep desires of my heart. And I have hidden my dislike and mistrust and overall angst.

Not anymore. 

Here is where I’m going to feel confident with my faith journey. Even all the ugly parts. Even the parts that feel shameful. It’s important that I come to this space with honest “crap days” and “hallelujahs”.

4. The farm

I am the Chicken Princess at the feed store. AKA: C.P. 

No one else is going to tell the stories of Hector, Kevin, Stanley, Gretel, Goldilocks, or Barbara…because they’re chickens and its joyfully ridiculous. I’m also clueless and need you to laugh with me. 

Your path may be longing for another’s to cross. Here’s my road. Jump on. We can walk together until you’re ready to switch paths. 

Happy Sunday. Rest today. Find space to breathe. 

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Fixing It

I am reading 40 Days of Decrease again for lent. As a Baptist girl, this practice is new and a little shaky for me even after years of attempts. I didn’t give up any food or Facebook. Instead I decided to really focus on my word for the year, Space, and dig deep into the words of this book. 

It’s good. And deep. A little too deep some days. But today here are the words:

“Today’s Fast: Fixing It”

Just the title hits me smack dab in the feels. Hurt seems to be all around and I am constantly mending and fixing hearts and holes. It’s the inevitable tween drama compounded with our move (that happened two years ago). It seems time hasn’t quite healed whatever wounds were inflicted.

Yesterday’s car conversation of “why did we even move” and “this is not my home” was painful for me to hear and hurt my heart so much. But imagine my momma heart hope when I read these words this morning…

“So today, fast fixing things. Let the broken be broken for a day-be that a tool or a heart.” 

I’m resting in these words today. Are you rushing about trying to heal hurt? Find rest with me. For today. 

I’m on a journey to find a peace that I’ve given lip service to but long to know deep in my soul. This might be a good first step. 

Rest, weary soul. I’m right here with you.

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Letters to my Children: February 2017

Each month I have the honor to link up with incredible moms that also write letters to their children. Click here to read my good friend Michelle’s letter after you finish reading mine. Hope around the circle until you come back here. 

Michael and Katelynn,

So far 2017 has been filled with basketball, volleyball, friends and rubix cubes. You both are growing up too fast. It feels like this month has brought lots of changes to you physically and socially. 

The dreaded tween angst rears its ugly head more often than I would like but it’s a great reminder to me that I don’t want you to be ungrateful. I use your attitude as my cue to get some chores done. I mean, if you’re already mad at me, why not??!! 

M-basketball has been fun and action packed. I leave every game with a sore throat. And only once was it from yelling at the ref.  

You are excelling at choir and get a division 1 at contest last week…and this is the only picture I got of it! 

You have figured out the rubix cube algorithm and currently hold a record of 57 seconds. It’s not as fast as some of your friends at school but it’s faster than moving all the stickers to make it match like I did when I was your age. 

You are spending more time in your room. I think this is just a phase or maybe it’s a glimpse of things to come. It’s a teen thing. I remember closing my door and doing super cool teenager stuff in my room. 

I’ll be out here on the couch of you need me. I love you-mom

K- Volleyball has been fun. I look forward to our weekends in Dallas. It’s just over night but I enjoy the time with you. 

You have had a lot of friends around this month. It’s so encouraging for me to see you laughing and playing with friends. This time last year was such a low point for us. I’m proud that you have grown and figured out who you are in the past year. 

You signed up for your middle school classes this month. I wasn’t weepy since we just went through this transition with Michael. I’m excited what this year has in store for you. I’m excited that you have found a group of people to sit with at the lunch table. I’m excited that you have people over to spend the night. 

I’m proud of you. You have really matured this month. I know this semester will be the time you get ready to be a middle school kid. I’m ready and I think you are too. 

Love you to the moon-mom

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Thoughts: Aging and Plucking

Nobody talks about it. Nobody wants to acknowledge the steps that are happening to us. Nobody wants to see the stray hairs or hear about the random body malfunctions… Which means that I had to say something? When have I ever NOT said something…especially when inappropriate! 

I have the honor of being a contributor for the East Texas Moms Blog. Today on the blog you can read my post about plucking and offending people in the car line.

So head over there and read it (let’s just go ahead and laugh about it instead of crying). Click here and read on.

Lots of love – Tiff

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Just one word…SPACE

New year…new me? Probably not. I don’t stick with stuff. I try and buy the best planner to help me stay on top of it all but will find myself beneath it all in a month or so. 

I decided to eat clean but the fruit and nut snack I ate in the car line had m&m’s in it. I threw 6 of them out the car window in the car line (after the guilt was too much).

But maybe I can stick with a word. 

I do not know the origins or this practice. Or if it started out of laziness/apathy toward actual goals and resolutions. But I do know that I want to try. 

So. Space. This is my word. 

This year, I’m giving myself space. In my schedule and day. Space to breathe deep and enjoy the life I have instead of hurrying through until bedtime. Space so I can sit and feel nothing…no weight of obligations crushing my desire to get anything done. 

I’m also giving myself some space for new things. For new hobbies or neglected old ones. For new friends or neglected old ones. There is a sacred space for just me and for others that I want to dive deeply into. 

My spaces also need to experience a deep declutter. My mind. My closet. My home. I want to make space for people in my home and in my head. 

I’m also applying my word to me and the space I take up on the earth. I have been “watching what I eat” since I was 16 years old. I have tried all the diets and fads and pills (gasp). I have lost and gained thousands of pounds since high school only to remain basically the same. Sometimes toner, somethings just tanner with the illusion of the tone. 

I’ll be 40 this year. And I’ll be taking up this space right here. Hopefully not any more but I’m going to find my space where that’s ok.

Well, what about you? A word or a resolution? 

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Letters to my children: Beginning 2017

Each month I join other moms in a blog circle and we write letters to our children. Some letters are sweet and memorable. Other (mine) are words written to document the trenches of motherhood. After you read my letter/rant, click Here to read Angela’s letter to her kiddos. 

Dear Michael and Katelynn,

I wanted to start our 2017 letter talking about how generous and kind you have been through the Christmas break but I don’t feel like lying is the best way to start a new year. It doesn’t help anyone and it for sure won’t help you when you read this for wisdom during your tween trenches. 

Today I feel like kicking you in your shins and running to my room to read. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love this age in those moments of laughter and conversation. I like that you can bathroom and feed yourself. I like that I can be sarcastic and you get it. Or that I can tell you to stop being a punk (or a$$hole) without worrying about your delicate ears or teaching new curse words. I love that you can wake yourself in the morning and dress yourself without help. The outfit choices you make may give me pause but I truck right through that hiccup and let you determine how your will represent yourself to the world. 

This past month I have encountered some difficult (cry-baby) adults whose behavior mirrored some of the behavior you have exhibited. Handling the “adults” really gave me the confidence and strength I needed to pounce and conquer the battle we were having. Instead of being a little lax when I felt like I may be overreacting, I stuck to my guns because I didn’t want you to be the kind of person that has no respect for authority or even good manners. Instead of just letting you be emotional (dare I say crazy) and work it out, we talked about it and how you may be overreacting. I don’t want you to be a 50-something that tantrums when you don’t get your way. No one does. 

(Look at those sweet babies).

All this work will be considered a success when you are adults with good manner and respect for other people (whether they are in authority or not). If you find yourself caring about the well being of others and doing all you can to be kind, I will look back on these trenches with a smile knowing that it was worth the slammed doors and stomping feet. 

But I still want to hide in my room and read. No one talks back to me in my books. There is no parenting happening for my 19 year old heroine in the castle. The handsome prince won’t ask her to vacuum the floors or buy more dog food…

Michael, these days fly by so fast with you. You play basketball at school (and all the freaking time at home…so tired of playing horse-or saying no to playing). You are doing well in school, have put in some good hours of service for the community, and fought me every day about our trip to New York. You’ve also mastered the rubix cube and pyramid. (Last check was 20 seconds to solve. Incredible!)

We went to Tyler for the first time since last Summer. We talked about the changes and the crazy traffic. On our way home, you counted down the miles until we were home. Home…here in our small town. 

Bub, I’ll fight you every day to be the man I know you can be. To be the man that loves others well by providing for them and seeing needs of others. I’ll fight for you against the crap that this world wants to sling in your direction. (And I’m not ever going to be cool about you and girlfriends. At least not for a while.) 

2017 is gonna be a breeze if you keep your chin up and your wits about you. (It will also be easier if you don’t act your age. But that’s just a suggestion.) Love-mom

Katelynn, I knew that this year, 5th grade, would bring about lots of changes for you. This is that “defining year” between childhood and teenhood. This is the time when you test me and dad and work hard to figure out just who you think you might want to be. You’ve absolutely matured. You know what you like and express clearly when you don’t.

And….(and probably the hardest for me to watch) you are working on the friend thing. Watching you hurt and be left out sucks big time. I feel powerless and useless. I can’t fix your loneliness or mend your broken heart. I can’t show these girls how great you are or kicked them in their shins. 

And your teaching me that I don’t have to fix it or kick anyone. (You also made it clear that kicking a 10 year old would inappropriate…. So wise.)

You started back at volleyball and are working hard. This year is a little more competitive but you have stepped up and met the challenges of the team. You are a great team mate and player for your coaches. You encourage the girls and enjoy the relationships with your team. 

You also love Santa. Of course, you finally wrote him a letter the day before Christmas and assured me that the things on the list would be here beacause Santa had it covered. He/She didn’t. And you either don’t really care that much about your list OR don’t care that mom drops the ball a lot. 

I feel like this will be the last year we celebrate and look forward to Santa’s arrival. Which means it’s the last year I “have” to eat Oreos late at night. This also means the time of the Elf is coming to a close. You made some really cute clothes and accessories for her this year. I’m proud that you can sew and think to be creative like that. 

I have to admit that right now I’m looking forward to celebrating Christmas a little differently. I’m certain I’ll be sad about it and the loss of innocence. But I’m not feeling that right now. 

Sister, I’m proud of the confident person you are becoming. I’m proud that you like yourself and bend to no one. I’m proud that you work hard at school and keep up with your responsibilities without me. 

2017 will be great. You are great and are ready for the next year and chapter that 2017 will bring. Love you to the moon-mom

2017… We are ready! 

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Losing Jolie

Our dog Jolie died today. We are all very sad. We found a nice spot for her just beyond the yard under a huge pecan tree. The kids made a cross to mark her spot. 

We stood by the grave and cried as a family. And made jokes as a family. Because that’s what we do. 

Jolie has been my kid longer than Michael and Katelynn. We got her a week before we found out we were pregnant with Michael. 

We named her Jolie because we were listening to Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah in the truck after we picked Jolie from the litter.

She was a good dog to us. She protected the house from the “evil” UPS driver and “shady” pool guy. She never met a rake she liked. 

Her one experience with a machete ended in stitches. The one time she jumped out of the truck to chase a cow ended in hip surgery that plagued her with a tripod walk for months. 

She had surgery the day after Michael was born. She ran away one Christmas but returned a few days later. 

She was loyal and loved to chase a ball. 

We knew Jolie was getting old. We knew she was blind and deaf. We knew the end was coming. 

And even though I don’t like dogs, I sure liked this one. 

RIP Jolie Dog

(YouTube video of the song she was named after link below). 

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Letters to my Children: Tweens to Teens

Each month I have the honor of joining a mom or two in a blog circle. Click here to hop over to Holli’s post this month. 

Dear children,

What a difference a month makes! I thought the exponential growing was solely during infancy but that hasn’t held true this month. The month of Novemebe was really good to us. I am so honored to be your mom.

To my Michael,

I looked over a saw a teenager sitting next to handsome at church this month. I watched you brush your hair and swear I saw a teenager. I stood tall and realized you are growing by leaps and bounds. You officially have passed my chin. In August you fit snugly under my chin but are right to the bottom of my nose as of this morning. 

You don’t fit in my precious protective bubble anymore. I can no longer hover and protect you at all times. I don’t know what you do during the day or who you are talking to/with/about. 

And you just don’t need me to. 

We are entering a new season. Thank you for letting me stick around. Thank you easing into this season. 

I need you to know, I’m not ready but I’m going to do my best to be cool about it. 

Love you more-mom

To my girl,

The tween trenches have not felt as deep this month. You and I took a girls trip to San Antonio and I feel like we really found each other. I had been feeling so defeated and lost. I’m thankful that we could come together and figure out how to trudge through this as a team. 

You are not a little girl anymore. This is our last year for Santa and the last year that innocence will be a real part of the Christmas season. Thank you for giving me one more year to move the elf and support all the traditions that make you feel safe and secure and life magical. 

I see you listening and learning the hard stuff. I see you adjusting and figuring out how to weather the drama that seems to be all around. I hear your laughter and joy. I hear your hurts too. I love you so. 

To the moon and maybe further-mom

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Throw your feelings in the air…like you just don’t care

I woke up this morning unaware of last night’s outcome. I didn’t stay up late because I still have a full day today and being tired would be more harmful to my Wednesday than whatever the news reported late in the evening. 

So, of course, I checked Facebook to find out what I missed as I slept soundly in my bed. 

The first post I had in my news feed clearly identified the winner but not by name. I knew because of who wrote the words and the emotions and feelings shared. As I read what she wrote, I was so hurt for her. I knew that this emotional roller coaster we found ourselves on would inevitably end in a winner and loser and a lot of feelings. I hate that the post started with a necessary disclaimer because family and friends vote and view differently. 

We woke the kids. Made lunches and breakfast. Fixed hair and brushed teeth. Then, I mentioned who had won the presidency. 

We haven’t been really political. We’ve discussed because both of them are hearing and learning. Our home was and always will be a safe place to talk things out and learn. I learn from them as much as they learn from me and handsome. But I want it to be true for who ever comes to my home. 

I told M and K that today they would hear lots of emotions. Some people will be very sad and angry while others will be happy and probably boastful. I charged the kids to be kind and have good manners. Listen and be respectful.

We can not tell someone how they feel is wrong. We can not tell those who are fearful or sad today that their feelings are not valid and very real. We can not write them off because they believe something different than we do. 

I want to hear when my friends and family are hurt and be a safe place to stop and rest.  

I hope you can be a safe place for someone to stop and rest today. 

Big hugs and high fives to my family and friends today. 

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