Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Just Want My Pants to Fit

If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

If you change nothing, nothing will change.

What you will allow, is what will continue.

People don't generally like change. We like the known, the expected, the comfortable.

People say they want change. We want to embrace new things, new experiences, new people. But when it comes right down to it, we like to be comfy, cozy, in the known.

I am on a new journey. A new mission. I have started identifying the things in my life that need to change. Not that I am necessarily excited to do the work, but there are things that NEED to be different. And maybe I've found a secret that will get me there.

I read this devotional. It is "The Confident Woman Devotional." It's a daily page with a verse, the writer's thoughts, and a short prayer at the end. Twice this year a string of words has lifted off the page and smacked me upside the head, hard enough to shake me. It says,

"Do what you can do, and God will do what you cannot."

What can I do? There are plenty of things that I cannot. I have come to terms with that fact. For instance, I cannot do 20 real push-ups (girly, yes), I cannot run a marathon, (I can run to the donut shop, if I drive.) I cannot carry two full buckets of milk to feed the babies, (yes, I'm aware, I am weak.) I cannot find time to blog every stinking week. And there are so many other things that I cannot do. So...what CAN I do?

I have a tendency to want quick results. If I hop on the treadmill and spend 45 minutes one day, I'd like to hop of 10 pounds lighter and have developed a 6 pack. I have tried this. It does not work. And expecting it to only leads to frustration and disappointment. I would like to eat my veggies and baked chicken and get the above mentioned results. Disappointment. I would like to be the Pinterest mom, but I fall closer to the line of Pinterest Fail Mom. I would like to organize my office, have my accounting and tax stuff done monthly. I am awful at that. I would like to be more patient and less cranky as a mom. I haven't mastered that. And, Lord, that does not mean I am asking for patience. I do not need a new lesson in that, I just need to do better with the lessons I already have, thankyouverymuch. I need to be a better "farm wife." I think The Milkman holds more disappointment than I do about that. But, hey, I am a fair weather farmer, and when winter takes its leave, I will venture outside and help.



We better not put money on it.

That doesn't even come close to the whole list of changes I'd like to make. But what I do, what I have, who I am, is comfy. It is like a pillow mattress covered in fluffy blankets and pillows, with the fan blowing, and a glass of...I don't drink really smells about a plate french fries and mac n cheese, (because, carbs.) and a Netfilx marathon, maybe a puppy or two, sleeping. It is comfy, cozy, and downright warm and fuzzy. But it isn't truly the best me I can be.

I kind of want to go to sleep tonight with the idea of the changes and wake up tomorrow with the results. But thinking about it then taking a siesta isn't all that I can do. And if I don't do my part, do what I can, I can't expect God to do what I cannot.
I also can't expect results without putting the work in. Drinking a slim fast and sleeping on it doesn't make you slim, fast.

A couple of years ago I lost about 15-20 pounds (it's back now, don't judge) and people would say things like, "I wish I could do that." "How did you do that?" And it was kind of sneering, kind of jealous tones sometimes. It would just irritate me to no end. Because, it. was. hard. I had to work to make it happen. I had to make a choice every single second of every single day.

That was a lesson. One that was quickly forgotten and I returned to the slightly heavier version of myself, that I don't hate, I just want my stinkin' pants to fit. Is that too much to ask?!

We all want to be right exactly in the place we want to be. We are envious of those that appear to be right where we want to be. And we don't understand why we can't seem to just get there.

Well, friends, it isn't a train. You don't just hop on, ride it out, and hop off at your destination.

Change, the kind we all want for ourselves, isn't just a snap decision and a happily ever after. It is a single decision every second. It is many decisions each hour. It is a decision to STOP running on autopilot and start making conscious decisions. Stop doing what comes natural, what comes easy and do what is harder. To not do what we've always done, because we want to get something we've never gotten before.

It is a choice to say no to the chocolate.
It is the decision to get up and move instead of watching another episode of Arrow on Netflix. (Yes. You should watch that show. It is fantastic.) Maybe you should have a smoothie (with yogurt, fruit, and milk instead of ice cream.) See what I did there? I helped you make that quick decision about the smoothie you will have.
It is a series of decisions that will give you results that are different that the ones you got yesterday.

Sometimes you make the wrong decision. Somedays you are too tired to run on anything but autopilot. Let's face it, sometimes you just. don't. want. to. have the yogurt. Just give me the ice cream.

But that's ok.

If you wake up tomorrow and you start your day with the decision to be positive about life. To stop the complaint and negative thought in its tracks and do something positive instead, you have started your day making the harder decision. You have made the choice to be the difference. Let me help you one more time. Repeat after me:
I choose my happiness.
I can do it.
It is many small steps, not one giant leap. And small steps, I can do.
My today will give me a better tomorrow.
I got this.

(You're welcome. You may return to reading this fascinating piece of writing.)

If you want to change the way people treat you, stop allowing them to treat you badly. It is a decision you will make over and over and over. Without realizing it, we set boundaries for the people around us. And what we allow is what we will get.

You are not a failure if you aren't seeing immediate results. You are not failing if you run on autopilot sometimes. If you desire a change, and you are doing the work to get it, even if you aren't seeing a 6 pack after 3 miles on a treadmill, you are lapping everyone choosing the easy way.

It will be hard.
You will not always make the right choice.
You will get off track.
You will eat the chocolate, the ice cream, the carbs.
You might gain a pound instead of losing one.
But the decisions you make in this very second will dictate the results you see in your life.
What you do after reading this might make the difference in you, in your future, in your kids, in your marriage.

You have the ability to do what you CAN. And if you can't seem to finish, God will do what you cannot.

Y'all, if making conscious decisions will make my pants fit again, I'm willing to give it a shot.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Quarter Cup of Milk

We have this problem at our house. Actually, there are lots of problems, but I just want to talk about this particular one for now. For some reason, that I have no explanation for, the people I live with refuse to use the last little bit of something. Be it tea, cookies, bread, if there is just a little bit left, they don't finish it, they put the package back and leave it. If they decide later they want another cookie or some more milk, they say something like,
"Mom, is there any more tea/cookies/milk?"
And I say, "Did you finish what was in there?"
And they say, "Well, no, but there's only a little bit."

Is a "little bit" not good enough? Does a "little bit" taste different than when the package is full? If you have that "little bit" and there is no more will you explode? I am so confused about the "little bit." Is it not better than none at all? Help me understand. Anyone?

None of it makes any sense to me. Why can't you finish what is in there? If Mom is getting ready to go to the store, and she looks in the cabinet, and there is a package of cookies, Mom is not going to get out the package to see if there is one or twenty-one cookies. Mom is going to assume there are cookies and not buy a new package.

I'm a little off the path of where I'm going with this. Just keep tracking.

If someone leaves a quarter cup of milk in the jug, and I go to have a bowl of cereal, I am not going to be a happy camper when I don't have enough milk to fill my bowl. And when Momma ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy. Am I right?!

Here's the deal, this post is for the Mommas (mostly). We have a lot of really big jobs. Jobs that take a little bit and then a whole lot more. There's a meme that says something like, if you want to know what it's like in a woman's brain, imagine a computer with 2,078 open tabs. It's the truth. We are full of responsibilities and decisions and thoughts. We need to get the kids ready, feed them, remember the grocery list (that probably doesn't have cookies on it because there is a package with 2 cookies in it and we think its full) change a diaper, make a bottle, wipe a behind, feed the dog, let the dog out, put matching shoes on ourselves and the kid that continually takes one shoe off and loses it,  and about 500 other things all in a matter of 30 minutes, in the morning. And we could get up earlier, but we didn't get everything finished until midnight and woke up 42 times to pee and make sure the kids are still breathing. Because that is what moms do. We worry and we are busy and we are overextended. Because we need to be the pinterest mom, the working mom, the breastfeeding mom, the formula feeding mom, the helicopter mom, the free range mom, the stay at home mom, the party mom, the yes mom, the mom that says no too often, the mom that never fails. Never, ever, ever fails at anything.
But sometimes, us moms are the quarter cup of milk in the fridge. And every person in the house wants a bowl of cereal. And there just isn't enough of us to go around and we feel like a failure. We feel like we should be giving more. We feel guilty because we didn't wake up every hour to check the breath of our children, or we just wanted 5 minutes alone in the bathroom, or we took the time to read our Bible and spend time with God, or we read a couple chapters of the book we've had on the shelf for 7 months and the movie is already out of theaters and we missed that too.

We read on the internet that we aren't feeding our kids the right food, letting them cry it out is bad, and we have damaged our children beyond repair unless we decide to be a good parent and get therapy for them. We aren't reading enough. The kids don't have enough responsibility, they have too much responsibility. They are too old for a pacifier, too young for potty training. You shouldn't discipline your children, they should be allowed to have their feelings. A temper tantrum in the store is okay, except when it's happening and you would just rather lay down and kick and scream beside them because Momming. Is. Hard. And no matter what you do you're doing it wrong.

Mommas. LISTEN UP. You are okay. We all have one giant problem. And it sounds really easy to solve, but the actual solving part feels really hard. We are the one cookie in the package. We are the quarter cup of milk in the jug. We are the empty coffee pot when we really just need one cup. We cannot pour from what we do not possess. You have to stop sometimes and let everyone cry it out or work it out on their own. Because nobody is going to die if you don't check their breathing every hour, except you. You have to take a time out and replenish yourself, your soul, your reserves. You have to or you cannot give. You cannot give what you don't have. You cannot pour from an empty cup. You can't have a stinking bowl of cereal with a quarter cup of milk. And whoever says that is a serving needs their butt kicked. We are the one cookie in the package and everyone wants more.

We carry guilt by the boatload because we cannot do and be everyone's everything. We were not designed to do that. And we certainly can't sustain if we don't take care of ourselves. And part of that involves not listening to another mom, or even better, someone that isn't a parent, try to tell us the "right" way. Trying to tell us what is best for our OWN kids and family. It is not the internet's business what I feed my family or how I chose to raise them and I will not allow the guilt to rise up in me because someone thinks they know my people better than I do.

My responsibility is to fill my cup with love and respect and pour it out on my family. If you are filling your cup with unhealthy things, that will be what you pour out on your family. So make sure you are replenishing yourself with kindness and peace. Don't let people fill you with hate and regret. Don't let someone else control what goes into your cup. Fill yourself up with the good stuff, with hope, love, grace, forgiveness. Take a moment in the morning to find something positive and focus on that. Because what we fill ourselves with is what we pour out on our people.

If you don't like yourself, you can't like anything else.

And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT be a mom shamer. Don't tell someone else how to take care of their people. If someone asks you for your opinion, by all means, give it, but not in a degrading way. Don't tell everyone how you don't love your baby if you don't breast feed. Or you don't love your 11 year old if you don't give them a phone. Or how if you do give them a phone you are ruining their life. Just. Don't. I will haunt you.

The Milkman and I have this long term battle because he won't go to the doctor when he's sick. He just rides it out. Or goes to the vet supply store and gets some fish antibiotics. Don't tell me about how it isn't the same, he's just too stubborn to listen. We pay for health insurance, but he doesn't want to spend the money to go to the doctor. It's a poor excuse, but he uses it. And I try to explain to him that he cannot take care of the farm at the best of his ability if he isn't well. Does he listen? Nope. Not usually. Until he just can't take it anymore. Then they tell him to "rest." Then he laughs at the doctor and says, I'm a farmer, I don't rest. And it's mostly true. But he knows, deep down, that he can't give what he doesn't have. And he can't take care of things if he has pneumonia. He's getting better about it with age. He just isn't old enough to know that Momma knows best.
Anyone know what age that happens? Do share.

Momming is no different. We have to be enough for ourselves, we have to fill our cup with the good stuff before we can pour anything out on our people. Love yourselves, ladies. Possess some positivity. If you can't find it in the world you are in, then find a new place to immerse yourself. You are enough within yourself. You are good enough, you are pretty enough, you are strong enough, you are the rock of your people. You are the cup that holds all the goodness. Make sure you take the time to fill your cup.

You cannot give what you do not have. Take care of yourselves, Mommas. Don't be a quarter cup of milk in the jug.