That Time I was Mad at God

This post is for my friend. It’s taken some time to write because I needed time to think about it and then forgot to come back and write it. I never forgot about her question, just never at a place to sit down and share my thoughts.

There once was a time that I was so mad at God at how my life was turning out. I felt so guilty for being mad at Him, so I’d berate myself constantly. God doesn’t do anything wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’ve done everything I needed to with the resources he gave me. I’d attended all my meetings, I’d fulfilled my callings, I’d kept his commandments. And still things weren’t going my way; instead they were getting much much worse. Almost daily. Family relations were tight. Finances were tight. I kept getting sick.  Nothing seemed to be going right. And I was exhausted.Finally, one day I just gave up. I went for a run to clear my head and the whole time I mentally screamed at God. Full on chewed him out. Told him repeatedly it wasn’t fair and how dare He and that he must not love me at all. Seriously. Stuff we’d be furious our kids said to us. But that’s how I felt. I then sobbingly told him everything I felt was unfair (the perks to running in a small  town: no one sees you bawling in the middle of your run). Just let it all out. And let the shame of my anger go with it. It seemed so shameful to chew out Deity. I wasn’t allowed to chew out my parents, and this was GOD! Totally inappropriate, right?

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Actually, I don’t think it was. Here’s why.

When I had finally calmed down and just bawled while I ran and got it all out, I had a perfect thought pop into my head.

“I am so glad you finally got that all out. Now we can talk.”

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God doesn’t need shame. Me chewing him out doesn’t make him less of a deity. In fact, I felt such peace and serenity after getting it all out, like I could finally accept Him as deity. It felt like God was saying “I’m so  glad you finally decided to come to me so we can talk about this! I’ve been waiting. I know you’ve been feeling like life isn’t fair. I’m so sorry you’re hurting so badly. But I can’t help you until you’re ready. I’m so glad you’re finally ready to be with me again. I miss you when you distance yourself.” God loves me so much, he just needed me to come to him with how I really felt. But I was so embarrassed that I was mad at God that I distanced myself from Him. Not openly, but emotionally. Shame kept me from coming to God with my frustrations.

What an amazing parent! To rejoice in my anger because it could bring me back to Him. I learned a lot about shame that day. And parenting. And love. And God. He and I still have some trust issues to work out, I’m not denying that. But He’s waiting for me. When I’m ready, we’ll be there together.

So to discuss gratitude: Sometimes we’re not grateful for things. And that’s totally okay. I don’t think we should fake gratitude. It’s like hiding in shame. Instead, find that one good silver thread. Be grateful for that. That’s all you have to be grateful for. Otherwise, let yourself be angry! You don’t have to be grateful for anything you’re not feeling. As long as you do feel it. And if you can’t find a silver thread, that’s okay, too. Just be honest with yourself and with God. Some day, that gratitude will come. It doesn’t have to be today. Just let it teach you.

 

Tooth Trauma

The school called me. It was after lunch, so I was a little intrigued. I was a little more… intrigued when it was my daughter’s teacher. In the middle of the day, that’s worrisome. Apparently my daughter tripped at recess and bumped her mouth. Her tooth was flipped sideways in her mouth and she wouldn’t let anyone touch it. So… Mom to the rescue.

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Interestingly Ranger came home for lunch just then, so we took a family trip to the school. I escorted her to the bathroom to clean it up but she’d have none of that. I’m serious; Wouldn’t even rinse and spit. She’s loud when she is is trying to be afraid. Poor school probably thought I was torturing her in the bathroom. And the Kindergarten girls who were sent to the facilities stood outside in terror and their teacher had to come in and see what the commotion was about. I finally had to hold her down and just pull. I hate making it so she can’t move. It usually sets her off in a panic attack. But what else do you do?

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It’s no wonder she’s so afraid of losing teeth, though. She’s only ever lost one the normal way.

the first one she ate in a piece of homemade bread. Didn’t even know she’d lost it until she saw there was a pink tint on the piece she’d just bitten.

the next one, cousin Angie reached in and pulled out because it was just sitting there and she was holding it in with her lips and tongue so she didn’t swallow it. She wouldn’t let anyone else near her. I still don’t know how Angie did it, but we can’t get away with the same trick twice.

The next 3 she babied so much we finally had to have the dentist pull. They’re just BARELY coming back in and that was more than 6 months ago. They were getting impacted because she wouldn’t get them out.

And now losing one in the school bathroom. We’ve still got 2 more to lose, and most of the kids her age have already passed that hurdle. She’s just so afraid of them, though! They’ve been loose long before this one was. I don’t know how to get them out unless I just start pulling them in her sleep. most kids figure it out by now, but I guess she’s been too traumatized.

On the plus side, her front two teeth just might break through before Christmas (she’s been praying nightly that they will come in just so people can’t sing the ever-popular song that she despises. How is that for irony? Wishing your teeth would come in so that people cant sing a song about wishing teeth would come in…).

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We’ve been using a lot of ginger at our house lately. Not just because it’s Christmas time and ginger goes in Christmas recipes, but because it’s great at fighting illnesses. It’s anti-inflammatory, calms stomachs, and boosts immunity.

But we added it to the gingerbread houses because … yeah it’s Christmas, and gingerbread houses would not be the same without the ginger. It did mean we had to run to the store for more ginger, though. But now we’re back in shape. Which is a good thing because Ranger is suddenly getting hit hard with the sickness he’s been staving off until now.

luckily we all had a fairly healthy day to make these gingerbread houses. Especially because we had friends over.

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Please remember I’m a recovering sickie, and I just made a ginormous batch of gingerbread. Yes, this is how I look fairly often, but we’ll just blame a long day, right? Please? Humor me.

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My daughter is a traditionalist. All red and green and Candy canes. She hates candy canes, so she’s definitely going for more of the look here. Hasn’t quite figured out that she’s in charge of eating this creation afterwards. I think she likes everything but the candy canes, though, so she shouldn’t be in too poor of shape.
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ranger’s house from the back. He’s probably the only one who did the back. The rest of us were on a sugar high (which is really a sugar low) before we got that far.

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Ranger’s house. Note the added skylight? And the … um… garage? if there’s one thing I’ve learned about gingerbread houses it’s to never add more “glue” if you can avoid it, because it only acts as weight.

The other thing I’ve learned is to wait for your structure to dry a bit before adding candy. Or you’ll end up with something like this:

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She spent a while trying to save it, so I got a pic of it before it was crumbled in defeat.

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Our other friend’s turned out well though.

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I really need to learn how to hold still while taking pictures…

And last but not least… MINE!

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Any guesses who cared about making gingerbread houses in the first place?

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or who buys neccos every year just so she can use them as shingles in gingerbread land?

No guesses? Well, that’s okay. It’s a tough question.

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Now what do I do with all this extra candy I can’t eat?

Why My Family Shoudn’t Let Me Do Dishes

I’ve been thinking.

It happens when I do dishes.

The thinking thing, I mean.

Somehow, with so many dishes to do, thinking just sort of … takes place.

I HATE dishes. I always have. My dear friend Reta says that when you have such strong feelings about something there is usually a boundary being crossed, either by you or someone else. So I got to thinking… Why do dishes frustrate me so badly?

I’ve been avoiding asking myself that question for years by stuffing the dishwasher as full as possible. But after trying to wash the same load of dishes 4 times, then trying to wash a different load of dishes a few times, I’ve disheartenedly decided that the dishwasher is no longer. and now I’m 7 loads of dishes behind. It still resides in our house… Until Ranger gets around to removing it. And we’ve decided that it’s just not worth getting another one right now. Mostly because it’s a crutch. And I don’t need crutches in a healthy lifestyle. That’s not the only reason, but it is a main factor.

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Dear blogerverse: this is the part you thank me for taking a picture AFTER the 7 loads of dishes were washed.

The dishwasher is a crutch because it hasn’t done a good job at teaching our daughter how to do the dishes herself. It hasn’t taught the family to take care of their own plates after they eat. It has made it so that if something happens and the dishwasher doesn’t get started, I’m left with a huge mess of dishes in my sink and sometimes they’re not very pleasant.

I’ve learned that if you find yourself in an all-or-nothing state of housekeeping, then something is out of balance. Life shouldn’t be a pendulum. And neither should dishes.

So now I’m left asking myself why I hate dishes, and what the boundaries are, and what the balance is. And I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not all my job. Hence why my family shouldn’t have let me do dishes. Suddenly I realize all the boundaries that I let slide. Dish-doing is usually the time I’m left pondering the things out of balance in my life, and how my family should be stepping it up, and how I should not let them get away with it so easily.

Last time I had to hand-wash this many dishes, I decided that I’d set a boundary that I wouldn’t cook in a messy kitchen. To me, that’s a very reasonable boundary. Sanitary. Much saner for me. But that boundary isn’t adequate without others in place, because instead, we’re all just left hungry.

Now that there’s no dishwasher, hand-washing dishes gave me time to think about how I really feel about dishes (as I’m washing them… after they’ve been sitting there for much too long. Do I really need to explain how I might feel about them?).

My brain made bullet points, so I can’t think of another way to write it:

  • 8 is totally old enough to wash dishes; and to wash them well, given enough practice.
  • I always feel like he who makes the mess cleans up the mess, but when it comes to dinner, that’s just not fair. If I’m making dinner, I should not have to clean up after it too. Cleaning as I  go, fine, whatever, but cleaning AFTER I just cooked for a whole family? Not fair.
  • Assigning nights to do all of the dishes never works, at least not in my experience. Someone always gets the short end of the stick. And it leaves little room for accountability.
  • When my brother lived with us last time he was good at washing his dishes… just not washing them to my sanitary satisfaction… you know, with soap. And he’s moving in again a matter of weeks.
  • I hate when dishes get left and the’re nasty. I know, big shocker, huh? But if I hate it so much, why does it happen so often?

So.. with those thoughts streaming through my head, I began to focus on kitchen boundaries.

  1. I will fill the sink with soap and water for breakfast and dinner.
  2. If you use a dish, wash it. I have a right to clean dishes. You have a right to care for yourself.
  3. If you eat here, you have a responsibility to clean here. Each night, someone will be in charge of putting away the dishes washed before dinner (that are now dry. If you live here, you have a responsibility to know where things belong), and washing the remaining dinner dishes (aside from the plates used by individuals and the utensils I washed as I was cooking; this will mostly consist of serving utensils and pans).
  4. Each morning, I will put away the dishes. I have a right to work in a clean kitchen.

The interesting thing is, those arent the only boundaries I realized were lacking in my life. I realized that I let my sister take advantage of me. I realized that I need to set up boundaries with my friend. Doing dishes sure gives you time to put your life back into perspective. Maybe I should have spent more time on dishes lately?

But I am curious. [question]What have you guys come up with to solve the dish quandary? How to you prevent dishes from backing up? What is you’re routine?  [/question]I’ve never been good at staying on top of dishes so I’d love to hear any tips and rhythms that worked for others. Am I missing something?

Moola for Muscles – Funds for Tracy

I know no one follows this blog just yet, but I wanted to discuss a fundraiser for a blogger friend that helped me get into blogging and then helped me stick to it, though she doesn’t know she impacted me at all. She’s the type that is so good at what she does and so happy and caring and SOOO yellow in personality that sometimes her awesomeness intimidates me. She’s a pro at pretty much everything, including having fun. The past year or so hasn’t been so “fun” for her, but I’ve still witnessed smile after smile. She is such a strong lady, and I’d love to see this goal be met. So, in case a reader actually does come by this post, I highly recommend reading her story at Wet Oatmeal Kisses.

[button url=”http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/moola-for-muscles/115732″]Click here to donate[/button]

Winter Wonderland

One of the things Pretty much the ONLY thing I love about winter is when it’s foggy-frosty and the trees get all covered in white. We’ve had a perfect pick-me-up of frosty trees lately to make me feel better about all of the sickies going around in our house (It’s been a long week. Ranger’s putting up a good fight, but we’ll see how much longer he stays in the “okay health” range). I wish photos could capture it. Or at least I wish MY photos could capture it.

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There has been gorgeous fog, too. It makes the mountains seem like they’re separated from the earth (once again, sorry the pic’s not any good. I was being incredibly naughty and snapped this while I was driving and in a hurry. To protect privacy, I had to mutilate the photo. And I wasn’t about to risk it more than once…).
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Nutcracker

When you have an aspiring ballerina, going to watch the Nutcracker just makes sense. It wasn’t really Ranger’s forte, and since he has other things to do, it  also made sense to make this a girl’s night out. We had a blast, stayed up past bedtime, and jumped for joy at every revision of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s theme.

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The performance was pretty classic, as far as a ballet school goes. There were the cute little imps for sheep and cherubs, the pointe shoes on older dancers, and cute costumes.

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Sorry the pic is so washed out. It’s the only one I have because I wanted to enjoy the time instead of look for photo ops.

Though this girl of mine is a ballet guru, she’s pretty much anti-girly. She hates pink and dresses. She still plays with dolls and reads girly books, so she’s not a tomboy, if labels are even necessary. She’s just very anti-girly. So when I told her that as a ballerina she needed to show respect for the art and dress nicer than jeans and a t-shirt, I got full on rebellion. The only compromise was that she would wear her zebra skirt if I wore mine. I didn’t think I needed to dress up THAT much for the ballet (my skirt’s much fancier than hers, and hers has leggings underneath), but at least it was a way to participate jointly in our girl’s night.

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The only regret I have is the ending. Someone pulled the fire alarm at the auditorium of the performance, so instead of curtain call, we all just had to walk out. Luckily it was at the end, so we didn’t miss the show; but I’m sad  because every time my daughter tells people about watching the Nutcracker, it’s not about how much she loved the sugar plum fairy, or Clara, or matching zebra skirts, or anything like that. It’s that at the end the fire alarm was pulled. Some day I’ll remind her of how much her eyes lit up every time the famous sugar-plum theme played. And I’ll show her pics of our matching skirts. Maybe that will keep the memory sweet. And we just might make it a Christmas tradition; then it will just be a unique thing about this year, instead of “that time we went to see the Nutcracker.”

When the night was over we went out to eat at a fancy restaurant (because, “Mom, we’re way too dressed up to go for fast food.”), and by fancy I mean Applebees. It made for a late night, but it also let the roads clear out a bit before we headed home in winter-weather conditions. And it was fun! We even ordered desserts. I hope she had a good time, because I really loved watching her and sharing this with her.

Crazy Week

Last week was crazy. And not a week I want to relive. It wasn’t bad, and there were huge bright spots, but overall, the week was hard.

They totaled my husband’s car. The one he loves. The one he wanted to keep forever and ever and ever. And I know he’s bummed, but so am I! It was a pain in the snow, but we loved that beast. My daughter dreamed of driving it in her teen years (we didn’t ever agree to that, but might have considered it when her teen years were even tangible to us). It was the nicest car we’ve ever owned; including the new one we had just purchased THE DAY BEFORE. We’d almost had it paid off, too, and were NOT looking forward to another car payment. We would have much rathered them just fix it. I think it would have been cheaper for them.

And then there was that freak day when the power was out for over 50,000 people, including us. On the coldest day of the year. For the second year in a row.

It went off at 5:05, I woke up at 5:12 because something didn’t feel right (looked at my phone). Our house smelled strongly of really warm cardboard. With a warm smell and no power, that’ll set panic in like ice in a jello mold. First we checked to see if anyone else had power. That was a negative. Thought the stars looked amazing. So that meant it wasn’t just our house. But the smell! That was a huge red flag. So we go all over our house, upstairs and down, and feel walls, and everything seems normal. So I call my mom (isn’t that always the right answer?) and she can’t think of anything we missed. So I call Dad (the fireman. A natural first choice except he’s a dad and not a mom). And we again go all over my house. I feel the vents: very warm. That’s odd to me since the rest of my house is freezing (the heat in my house is turned down overnight and then kicks on at – you guessed it – 5:00). So I take dad-via-phone-lines downstairs by the furnace and still can’t find a problem. But upstairs (where all the vents are) smells awful and downstairs (with only 2 vents) doesn’t smell at all. So we get to talking, and decide that 1) if it was an emergency, we’d know by now, and 2) our furnace is gas-powered and the ignition/controls/fans are electric. We assume that what happened is that the power was on to start the furnace on schedule, and then went out while it was going. The fans can’t run without power, so the heat all stayed inside the furnace. THANK HEAVENS there’s an automatic emergency shutoff when it gets too hot inside a furnace. I am guessing that is what woke me up in a panic. It probably made a noise when it shut off.

So I threw another blanket on the bed and a thick one on top of my child, and went back to bed. They canceled school, so I was determined to sleep in. About an hour later, she comes in and says “mom, it’s cold.” Uh… yeah, kid! That’s why you have another blanket. I don’t think she was really awake. She got back into bed, and slept another hour. When she did get up she grabbed a few books and a blanket and curled up on my floor until the power came back on. What a day.

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For the rest of the week, I’ve been nursing an ear infection. I’ve learned tons of homeopathic ear treatments (most antibiotics don’t agree with me), and combining them all, I think they’re helping. One at a time wasn’t cutting it, though. I think most of it is that when I’m stressed I’m a wimp when it comes to physical pain. I’m guessing this earache is about 75% mental. So I’ve spent most of the weekend holed up watching mind-numbing TV and movies while I put therapeutic drops in my ears. I did take a break from nursing an earache to hang out with a friend’s family yesterday and barely felt the ache at all (because the 75% mental wasn’t there), so huge improvement. I bet a couple more days of babying it and I’ll be fully recovered.
In between power outages and ear pains, though, we’ve had tons of fun. We put up the rest of the Christmas decorations,

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(the wise men aren’t by the nativity yet. It bugs me when they’re all standing around, because the wise men didn’t show up for 2 years! And I love that the shepheards were the ones notified. It is just like the way the gospel works that of all the men that angels could have appeared to, God chose to have them come to humble shepherds that tended the temple sheep. That’s my favorite part of the story. Those wise men will have to wait their turn)

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(This is my favorite nativity. I bought it at the dollar store years ago and I absolutely LOVE it.)

we baked cookies,
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and we made snow angels.
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My daughter was so excited to make snowmen in the snow and wasn’t pleased that it wasn’t snowman snow. Winter is her favorite season just for the snowmen. When she realized it wasn’t snowman snow, she decided that it was still adequate for snow angels, and she’s right. Fluffy snow is perfect for snow angels.