When Life Gets Complicated, Eat an Egg

Every year I have this tradition.  One I don’t think my husband even knows about.  At Easter time, when I’m called by the chocolate bunnies to the candy aisle, I spend way too much time walking up and down each row picking up little candy chicks and convincing myself that I don’t need to buy all the PEZ dispensers. But when I stumble across one of these babies, I buy it.

cadbury egg

After spending all my money on juice and mac and cheese, and my Cadbury Creme Egg, I load it all up. As I leave the parking lot I unwrap the pile of sugar, brace myself and take a bite.  I can handle the chocolate.  One more bite, and now the creamy sugary egg-like center.  I choke it down, then roll down my window and chunk it.

It’s pretty much disgusting.

I pretty much hate them.

But every year, I buy one, take a bite and then gift it to the birds.

Easter has always been my favorite.  I love the spring, I love the flowers, the bunnies, and oh the chocolate.  When I was younger these little hunks of sugar were a staple in our house for the season.  My brother could inhale them.  I always enjoyed one or maybe two.  They were never really my favorite, but they just remind me.

They remind me of a simple day of being with family.

They remind me of the sunrise services where we would place fresh flowers in a chicken-wired cover cross, bringing it to life.

They remind me of new Easter dresses and patent leather shoes.

They remind me of the smell of the grass as I would hunt for eggs.

They remind me of one of the most influential days of my childhood.

They remind me of being a child.

Life gets so complicated.  We pay our taxes and try not to worry about what we owe while our kids are hunting eggs that we dyed the night before because we didn’t have time during the week.  We hope our kids embed their own memories of family and carry on tradition someday in the far away future.  We pray, just pray, that our kids really grasp the meaning of what happened on the cross…and what it means that Jesus got off of it.

But nothing brings back those moments of being a child. Not even a bite of those nasty eggs.  In fact, every year with the toss out the window, those little eggs show me how to embrace the beautiful life God has given me…the life with hopeful children, and fresh mercies and new life, every single day.

So blessed.

What is one of your favorite childhood Easter memories?

LG|LP

Tiff  

 

It’s Time to Break Up–When Mom’s Need To Let It Go

What’s for dinner?

What’s for dinner?

What’s for dinner? 

This question makes me want to poke my eye out with a fork.  A dull, dirty fork.  I stay at home, and work here and there doing some speaking/consulting/counseling.  But the hardest job I have is feeding my kids.  I am trying not to break the bank with eating out, at least during the week.  I’m not a great cook, but I’m not the worst.  I don’t have the budget nor the interest in fancy, hour-long-preparation dinners. My kids would be satisfied with 89 cent bean and cheese at least 3 nights a week, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  #ThanksPinterest

And before you comment: Pinterest DOES NOT HELP!  I repeat Pinterest DOES NOT HELP!

Why?

Because I have a child who does not eat pasta–unless it’s Ramen.  That eliminates 99% of the cheap and easy recipes I’ve pinned to my board.

I’ve tried the–if you don’t like it, don’t eat it-approach, but then I spend at least 20 whole minutes in the kitchen, no one eats it, and then I get pissed.

I’ve tried the – YOU cook dinner then-approach.  My kids will eat Ramen, or chicken soup and then be hungry at midnight and scarf an entire box of cereal before bed.

I’ve tried the-FYOF (Feed your own face)-approach and then I get complaints that they had Ramen the night before, and then the night before that.

I stare in the pantry, open the fridge a few hundred times, make some rubber chicken and then store at least 3 containers full of food so I can throw it away on Friday.  As I face this horrible monster–dinner, not my children–I have to simply apologize and say, “it’s not you, it’s me.” As if we are breaking up, and perhaps that’s exactly what needs to happen.

The reality is, I want to be a Pinterest Pioneer Woman who not only makes the best most nutritious food but loves every single minute of it, even the washing dishes after part.  But the realty is, I’m the –drive through, you wanna bean and cheese taco and a coke?– kinda mom.  It’s who I am.  It’s nothing personal, it’s just who I am.  In reality, I’m the only person who puts this dinner-pressure on myself.  My husband doesn’t, my kids could care less.

So as of this moment I”m breaking up with dinner.

And chances are you have something you need to break up with, too.   You have some shortcoming in your parenting, or your marriage, or your life that may be a “shortcoming” according to the world of Pinterest and compared to the super-duper at home moms who can balance it all and still look fabulous at 6:30 (oh and post Bible verses on their Instagram and constant words of encouragement about loving every moment of life)… not me sister, me with greasy hair and mascara running down my face, ready to pass out to the latest episode of iCarly my child has watched at least six times.  Just know that shortcomings are relative, and if it doesn’t bother anyone else, you are officially released from all guilt and all attempts to be something that you aren’t. (Ding!) <—-that is the sound of absolution.

magic wand

Let the laundry pile up, you will wash the undies when you need to.  (Ding)

Let the dog go one more day without a bath, he’ll be alright. (Ding)

Let your hair be greasy and the mascara run. (Ding)

Let them eat Ramen! (Ding)

Best Parenting Advice EVER

My expertise, and opinions for that matter, are vast and wide.  I answer questions about starting churches, running children’s ministries, anorexia, sexual abuse and parenting.  I don’t claim to know everything about anything, but there is one area I’ve got it completely nailed down…

LAUNDRY. 

I see tweets and Facebook posts all day long, “Oh I have piles of laundry!”  “Oh how do I get caught up on laundry!” I walked into my sisters room today and saw piles and piles of clean laundry on her floor awaiting folding.  

So how do I do it?  How, when I have five people in my house do I stay on top of laundry?  I’m going to tell you my secret.  It will be the best mom-advice you EVER RECEIVE IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE! I promise, it’s that good. 

Ready?! 

Everyone does there own! 

laundry room sign

Yes, everyone!  From the time Zac was five, with assistance, he started doing his own laundry.  I trained my kids young, and I was trained young, too.  I started doing my own laundry when I was in the third grade.   It didn’t kill me-obviously.  It hasn’t killed my own kids, yet.  

Now it takes time to train them.  Sometimes I still have to remind my 14 year old son not to just wash a few things at a time.  Sometimes, I see my 16 year old bringing down a load to start at 10 at night.  But the investment has been totally worth it.  

I don’t hear things like:

Mom can you wash my….

Mom, have you seen my….

Mom, I don’t have any …. 

My husband does his own laundry as well, but not because I make him, he just prefers to keep his stuff separate and stay on top of his own dirty socks.  I do my own laundry, about 2 loads a week and floor mats.  Everyone washes their own towels and sheets. 

Life made simple.  

I love the philosophy of don’t do for a child what a child can do for himself.  I wish I was more disciplined with this in every area with my kids.  Even though I’m a work in progress, laundry is not a problem in our household.  And it could not be a problem in yours either.  

What do you think? Could you make it work?  

LG|LP 

Have a great, laundry-free weekend! 

Tiff

The REAL Bully You Should Worry About

Everyone is super concerned with bullies in school.  The definition of a bully has widened to include any level of meanness and discomfort.  The platform is vast, the internet carries hatred quite literally from sea to shining sea.  But I’m coming to the conclusion that the real bullies we should be concerned about in our schools are not our children’s classmates, but the very adults we entrust our children to every single day.  

Over the years working with teenagers, I hear story after story of teachers abusing their power, belittling and bullying kids at every opportunity.  From Florida to Texas there is no exception. Teachers are out of control, and quite frankly, it’s pissing me off.

Now I know that teenagers, specifically, can be rude, and obstinate.  I have four of them, so I rightfully am a self-proclaimed expert.  I understand the difficulty of their inability to fully grasp the adult-perspective, while still fighting for their childhood, yet pushing through to maturity.  It’s a tough world they live in filled with stresses and pressures I know I could not have handled when I was the mess I was at their age.  No matter how we spin it or define it, teenagers are still kids and need to be trained and taught.  So when I hear of the stories of teachers flippin’ out without any self-control, quite frankly, it pisses me off.

I heard claims in Florida of administrators and campus police targeting kids, doing whatever possible to push kids to their capacity to get them expelled.  Officers following chosen students around, waiting in the shadows so they can pounce.  Grudges held by teachers, waiting on their opportunity to payback students for embarrassment in class or laziness or sleeping during a lecture or being a teenager.

My own child, at eight, was a victim of teacher bullying.  He was labeled as inept, and mean.  Ya, I know! My sweet little Zac.  He had trouble reading, and felt threatened by the entire process.  His anger and shame was turned into, “Your child is very intimidating.  Even the other teachers agree with me.”  After meetings with the school psychologist and several administrators, even changing his teacher–who had already preconceived ideas of how ‘horrible’ my child was, we yanked him from public school on a prayer and an empty bank account and enrolled him in private school.  Now we know he has a reading disorder.  Now he has a teacher who is patient and understanding that he has hearing loss in one of his ears.  But before, before he was just bullied.

This morning on the way to taking my 16 year old to school she tells me this story:

Mom, on Friday there was a kid sitting in the hallway, listening to music and working on his homework.  He was minding his own business.  Not bothering anyone.  This teacher comes up and tells him, “get your stuff and move.  You can’t be here.”  So the kids asks, “Did I do something wrong?”  The teacher starts yelling at him, things like “don’t disrespect me! Get up now! Do what I say!  If you don’t I’m getting the principal.”

So of course the kid doesn’t get up, because he wasn’t doing anything wrong.  And before you know it, here comes the teacher and the principal.  The principal starts yelling at this kid, seriously, at the top of his lungs.  Threatening him.  Telling this kid, who was doing nothing, that he’s going to get the kid arrested.  Then he accuses the kid of not even going to the school.  Because every teenager just hangs out at random schools and does their homework in the hallways.  Mom, it was ridiculous.  The kid just sat there and took it. And all I could think is, those teachers better be glad they aren’t yelling at me, because then they’d have to deal with you.”

Amen, Sisters and Brothers.  Amen.  Because if you want to unleash the before-I-knew-Jesus-wrath-and-anger mess with my babies.  I dare you. Everything in me wanted to take my daughter through the halls this morning and try to find this kid.  So I could hug him, and tell him, I got your back.  I will fight for you. So many times, I’ve wanted to stand up on the front lines for these kids, who most of the time need the most encouragement and support, to protect them from the very people who are suppose to protect them in the first place.  I told her next time, video it so I can get them fired.  I told her next time get the boys name and tell him, “I’ll call my mom for you. She’ll take care of this.”

This principal, this teacher, they have no clue what that kid went through that morning or the night before.  But I can tell you that this kid handled the situation way more maturely than either of those so-called adults.

We live in a world where kids, and specifically teenagers, are rarely given the benefit of the doubt.  More and more, kids in school are taken advantage of, and used as emotional punching bags by some teachers (not all, some.) who have their own I-was-rejected-in-high-school-so-now-you-are-going-to-pay-for-it issues.  Grow up.  You want kids to give you respect, then give them respect.  You want teenagers to grow into adults that have a desire to contribute to society and positively affect the future of our country, then stop taking your crap out on them.

So here is my Public Service Announcement of the day: Douchebag teachers, cut it out, because you’re pissing me off.

Worth Less Than It Costs: The Selfie

I avoid mirrors when possible. It’s so much pressure to worry what I look like all the time, especially since most of the time I do, in fact, look homeless. My at-home-mom uniform normally consists of baggy pants and t shirts that are too big for me. It’s not that I don’t have clothes, I just figure why create more laundry.

I know I wouldn’t have survived as a teenager in today’s America. The pressure to be perfect is insurmountable. Look at Miss USA from 2012

20140113-142014.jpg

I mean come on–eat something.

With cameras in every phone, a teenager can have a photo snapped at any moment. Girls spend too much time (5 minutes is too long) practicing selfies and making sure their hand is appropriately on their hip for every group picture.

Because who knows where your photo might end up?

Who knows who might see it?

In my “old age” and very limited wisdom, I’m just too tired for that and care less and less what others think of me. When I do go out in public I want to look nice, but not for everyone else, but because it makes me feel like less of a scrub.

My quandary is: how do we impress that upon our kids? How can we show them that their value is so much more than a snapshot? How can we get then to see that with every click of the camera their spirit buys into the lie that their worth is strictly based on what others see?

The devil is a crafty one.

Even though a picture may be worth a thousand words, the cost is so much more expensive-too costly to the souls of our lovies.

How do you handle selfies and social media with your kids?