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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Letters to my children: Now it’s November

Each month I participate in a blog circle with some incredible moms. Click Here to ready Holli’s letter and see her fantastic pics. (Well, after you read my sarcastic words to my kids then click on that link. Her loving words will be a breath of fresh air). 

Michael and Katelynn,

October rushed by. It was way too full and I found myself so stressed several times this month. Stop participating in things and being accepted into organizations. It’s all very exhausting for me. 

Michael this month you were inducted into the National Junior Honor Soctiety, signed up for a trip to New York, played a lot of baseball and an equal amount of football, sand a solo in the choir concert and managed to keep your grades up. It’s incredible. 

You’ve also managed to become more like a middle school boy this month. Moody? Yes. Funny? Yes. Annoying? Yes. 

You’re still pretty cool even though you don’t think I’m cool as much anymore. I love you anyway. You are my favorite son. 

Katelynn what a difference a month makes. We had some testing done to make sure that your episodes were not medically related. They are but we know how to manage them now and have made great progress identifying triggers and finding solutions. You’re still moody but we know what and why it happens. Just having answers seems to have given you confidence. 

You rushed around with me all month. You’ve mastered snapchat and found your groove at school. You decided not to take dance this year so you haven’t had as many obligations so far but that’s all about to change. Because volleyball tryouts were the last weekend in October. And we get to be a part of the same team again. 

This morning you announced to me and dad that you thought Santa would really start working over time now that it’s November. I’m so glad your innocence is intact and that we get to play Santa for another year. Thank you for another year of wonder and surprise. 

Having middle kids has been an adjustment. I think it may be harder to parent you now than it was when you were toddlers. I also think I may have romaticised that time when your didn’t talk back or stomp off. I’m sure I’ll look back at these mini-dramas and smile when you two are 15 and 13. 

I love you guys. You make my life full and fun. 

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18 Halloweens

Halloween of 1998, I left work and headed to the Jolly Fox to play pool. I was in a black pencil skirt, white dress shirt, tights and heels. I also had whiskers drawn on my chubby cheeks and cat ears on a headband. 

I went to have a low key night. Little did I know that the most beautiful man in the world would be there too. 

I knew who he was. I had seen him at the pool and around the apartment community. I knew he was tall, kind, and tatted out. I also knew his name but that’s about it. 

I thought I was good at pool and decided that I would beat him at pool. I was so nervous. The wager on the game was a kiss. And he beat me handily. Easily. 

As he walked over to collect his debt, I calmly (nervously) informed him that I didn’t believe in public displays of affection. 

That statement has haunted me for 18 years. 

Being the gentleman he was, he didn’t make me pay up. We played more and I had my first impromptu date with my handsome. 

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. But I’ll celebrate this day for the rest of my life because Halloween 1998, everything in my world changed. 

Happy “first date with handsome”! 

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