The Useful Predicament

I’m writing this now, because I know if I keep putting it off–I won’t! It’s already uncomfortable enough to be putting this into words. But…one of my missions for this blog is to share my experiences, and hey. If I can share and someone gleans something useful, my heart is full! And it wasn’t for nothing. However–a big fat however–vulnerability isn’t one of my strongest suits. So here goes nothing!!

Last Saturday, I woke up ready for the day. Kind of. I’m not a morning person by any stretch, so take “ready” lightly! The girls and I had some errands to run while Frank hustled in his side business: car detailing. I was catering a wedding later that day.

Got in the car, headed to Target. All was well. {Coffee was in hand!}

It started with feeling light-headed. It was like when there’s turbulence while you’re flying in a plane. You go UP and then your gut is in your throat as you come back down

But the coming back down is where I stayed…for at least 8 hours or more. Actually, I kept going. Down, down, down. It was such an unexpected feeling of ALL the things! Terrible, terrible feelings of hopelessness, guilt, sadness. So MANY feelings of desperation. It felt like I was literally crawling out of my skin! Hyperventilating, dizziness, heart racing.

Folks, I don’t deal with anxiety. Not on a physical scale like this. I may have the heart-and-mind stuff like most folks do at some points in their lives for various reasons here and there. But this? A completely different animal all on it’s own! There are no reasons in my life where this kind of attack could take a foothold. There’s just not! I have been so blessed in my life with my family and friends and life. Amazing all in it’s own right! There’s nothing that I can see moving forwards where this can take a foothold in my life: It was simply and LITERALLY out of this world. I NEVER want to go through that again. EVER.

I kept moving, though. I trudged. Every step I took was like pulling through quicksand! One.foot.in.front.of.the.other. My errands took us to a few places, and I did come into contact with a few folks. Some trying to make small talk, and I just wasn’t having it. I normally love small talk and little conversations! I love people. But this day, I felt like my light was gone. Like, GONE. I felt dull and light-less (and lifeless). Smiling actually was pretty hard to do!

Got to my catering job, and starting doing what I do. Talking to other folks helped immensely. I slowly snapped out of it mostly by that night, but the dull throb was still there although the sharpness of this attack had left. It was like getting a deep tissue massage that hurts like the SAM DICKENS while it’s happening, and afterwards you are sore! That’s exactly what it was like.

“Welp. That was completely out of left field,” I thought to myself that night when I got home and got myself ready for bed. Never saw that coming! “And I never want to experience it EVER.AGAIN.”

Let me admit this real quick: I was once (as in just last week before Saturday!) in the camp of various thoughts on panic attacks/anxiety. Stuff like {but not limited to} this:

“Eh. Just focus on other stuff and you’ll be able to snap out of it.”

“I really think that is all in your head.”

“Come on. Can’t you see how your personality is contributing? Loosen up!”

“This isn’t actually real, you know.”

“There’s got to be something you’re doing to cause this.”

“It’s just hormonal.”

Etc.

And while yes, there may be folks who struggle with anxiety who are doing things {knowingly or unknowingly} that invite a demonic foothold to take place in their lives causing pure hell in their lives–sometimes though, there’s no rhyme or reason or explanation. Perhaps it is something subconscious that’s surfacing or a lack of sleep or…the list could go on. Who knows? I sure don’t claim to.

I just know this: I am 101% more understanding, sympathetic and even empathetic than I was last week. I had a physical shift in my view of this issue. I don’t condone identifying with it or condone the continuation of the foothold allowances. I don’t at all condone that. However, for these seriously debilitating encounters of anxiety and panic–I get it now. I honestly never thought I’d say that, and before now I would have seen this as weakness in another.

Sometimes God allows things to happen because we need to be reminded of how to love others for where they’re at. As constant as their problems/issues may seem: They are real to them. When you get a taste of it for yourself, your entire mindset shifts! I know mine did. I wanted to share this insanely bizarre time with you. I don’t know which camp you’re in. I don’t think I ever thought about it, because I thought I was right about people just needing to get over themselves and their ‘issues’. Boy. Ok.

What’s the solution to all of this? Dunno. Well, I do. But there’s so many types of people and reasons they are struggling. There’s so many folks out there who deal with anxiety and depression and panic attacks and despair and suicide and hopelessness and lifelessness…

JESUS. Coming down from another heaven like a forward moving wind. Go forth. Go lightly.

Cilantro

So the other day, the Lord spoke through an herb. Haha! I guess stranger things have happened.

I made one of our easy peasy go-to slow cooker meals, and was prepping it for the girls on their plates before we rushed out of the door for swim practice. (Swim season! It’s wonderful but INTENSE!) This go-to meal is delicious, too. It’s chicken, black beans, diced ‘maters, and corn. Oh! And cream cheese–cannot forget that. Put some spices on the chicken before dumping all of the above on top of it and BAM! Dinner is served. Well, in about 6 hours!

Back to the prepping. I yelled out “GIRLS! Do you want fresh cilantro on your chicken stuff or not?”

{Silence…}

GIRLS! FRESH CILANTRO OR NOT?”

Sweet little voices in the distance: “YES! But…do we have any fresh cilantro?”

“UM…yes. Why else would I offer it if I didn’t have it?? Do you want chips ‘n salsa too? AND ARE YOUR GOGGLES AND CAPS IN YOUR BAGS??? WE’RE NOT COMING BACK HOME! GOT YOUR TOWELS READY?! PUT EVERYTHING BY.THE.DOOR.

{Just being real! I don’t think I’m the only swim parent to have ever said these words. If your kids are perfect, I am so happy for you!}

I continue to prep and make plates and the Lord, in His ‘still small voice‘ very carefully says: “Why would you offer it if you didn’t have it?”

The conversation continued from my heart and mind to Him: “I wouldn’t have.”

“Why would I offer Myself–including My love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, self-control, meekness, long-suffering and patience… if I didn’t have them to give to you? That fruit to partake of is not just an empty promise, and I don’t say it’s your’s for nothing. When you walk with Me, it’s your’s to have. Take freely!”

“Huh. Truth.”

“I wouldn’t promise my steadfast love to you if I didn’t have it. I would never promise anything that’s not already your’s.”

And folks, since that moment–I have been warming under the truth of this revelation. And He spoke through an herb!

And it’s true. He would never say He wanted to give us something He didn’t already have! Even in those dark moments, those darkest times.

In saying that, I had to hold on for dear life recently to His promises. During a recent episode of 8 hours of emotional hell, I had to hold on to all the promises. This happened recently, and I will be blogging about it soon. No, nothing is going on in the natural that would contribute to such a hellish experience. There was absolutely no reason for me to experience what I did, but…God. He allowed it for a reason, and I am actually excited about sharing it. It’s very uncomfortable for me to be so vulnerable about it, but I know I didn’t go through that for nothing. Stay tuned!

Press Clippings

A ‘press clipping’ is:

–a paragraph or a short article cut out of a magazine or a newspaper.

Our life is made of press clippings. Well, not ‘literally’, unless you’re a celebrity or something. Poor things! One moment after another literally published online or in print. Thankfully, for the majority of us, our non-literal press clippings entail our moment-to-moment plays in life. One deed or thought after another. Negative or positive. Inward or outward focused. Upward or downward…

All those clippings make up our lives, and we’re the one’s who put them there. My pastor gave a message on this last Sunday, actually. The focus was a little different, but somewhat the same as this blog’s purpose. The title is “Write Your Own Epitaph”. Brilliant. You know, you actually can. Starting now. Here’s the link, just in case you want it:

http://eastsidechurch.co/category/listen

I guess we want to sometimes remember the things we did right or the things we succeeded in. And how it affects others and how what ‘we’ did actually meant something; and therefore, clip those proverbial little pieces of paper for safe keeping and reminiscing in our hearts and minds. Nothing wrong with that! It’s great to have little non-literal trinkets and reminders to remember things by and think about in the future. Sometimes they help us get through valleys when it seems that nothing is going the way we think it should or ALL THE CRAP is hitting the fan. There are those seasons where we all feel like all we’re doing is cleaning brown spots off the walls.

This isn’t going to be a long post, because it’s just not. It doesn’t really need to be! It could be a simple social media post, actually. But I wanted to dive just a little deeper than that. It’s something that’s been on my heart lately, and have learned to share it when it just won’t go away!

So, back to press clippings. How about our own press clippings. Each of our lives has incredible moments. We’re gonna talk about the shining moments right now, not the not-so-shiny. They all look very different, as they should. But we all have those mountain-top moments with awe-inspiring views.

Gosh, those views. It’s so beautiful to see something we have actually done right and it’s making a difference. Stuff like, for a short list of examples, but not limited to:

  • giving a homeless human a nibble or cash
  • having the right word at the right moment for a friend
  • posting something on social media and hitting the ‘nail on the head’
  • giving a unique gift to someone and it’s just right
  • having a prophetic word and it resonates
  • being the ‘perfect’ spouse for your mate in a particular moment
  • being the ‘perfect’ parent in a particular moment; a moment that’ll shape a life
  • knowing that how your volunteer your time/effort helps others in distinct ways
  • visiting a friend or family member and it was just the right time
  • blessing others with your unique talents and abilities
  • promoting and supporting others (friends/family) in their businesses
  • providing ways of (friends/family) to make money, being that connection point
  • leading another soul to Jesus Christ to spend their eternity with Him

ETC, Etc. etc.

The above list will never end! And I hope it doesn’t. Because it means you and I don’t stop being the “hands and feet of Jesus” and your life is a flowing river and not a stagnant reservoir. It means you and I are blessings to those around us, and that’s exactly what we’re called to be. One of the many things.

So what does press clippings have to do with this? Well, they are something you clip out purposefully to go back and read to remember.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with remembering a moment, a time or person you impacted. God does use this. He uses this to encourage us to keep going.

Sometimes, though–the opposite happens. We get parked on the parking space of “that” clipping and we keep reveling in it. We keep re-living it and re-playing it in our minds. We keep getting the renewed butterfly-sensation in our stomachs as we see in our mind’s eye what happened here. If we’re parked with our “motors” shut off in the spot of whatever our “gorgeous” view is, it’s merely impossible to keep moving forward. Unless we put it back in drive and keep trucking down the road. Casting all glory to God as we race along. Don’t look back in the rear view mirror unless you know God is asking you to recall that glorious moment that you did something right. Keep driving. Another moment is about to happen, and you may miss it if you’re looking back.

Stay humble. It’s so easy to get puffed up and bloated–and “bloated” is the proper word here. I know it sounds “augh!”, so that’s a GOOD thing in this instance. Do not be bloated!{or puffed up!} Deflate yourself. (Before someone or something deflates you for you. Not fun.) I’m not talking about deflating yourself to the point of scraping around the floor with false-humility, either. That’s for another post. 😉 False humility is just as dangerous as haughty pride.

But, as I could never say it better than straight from the Word of God, here’s a few great examples straight from Scripture:

Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others.”

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but do to justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Proverbs 29:23 “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”

So these darn press clippings. What to do with them? What to do with the stuff we actually did right? Well, if one means a great deal to you: clip it. Store it. And every time you look at it, PRAISE GOD for it going right. It only means His Spirit was there guiding you for that very thing which you’re “reading” to go in the positive direction. Without God, it would never have pointed North. He is love and kindness, and everything that is love and kindness is most LITERALLY from Him.

But dear friends, guard yourself in reading and looking and tarrying over those clippings of your’s. Yes, you did it right. You made a difference. With God’s guidance and His love in your hearts. Don’t park there, though. Because if you do, you won’t get to your next destination of where God wants to take you.

I know that love.

So some of us are fortunate enough to know the warm, true and unconditional love of a parent or parent(s). I do. I grew up knowing from when I can start remembering when I remembered, if that makes sense. They were always, and still are {praise the Lord} still here. Loving and cheering and steering. As I’m in my almost mid-thirties now and not three years old, hopefully I’m to that point of them just having to ‘steer’ here and there. I still need my ‘mommy and daddy’ though. Boy do I ever!

Even when I was a baby– and could not physically remember–the kisses and the blessings and the gentle caresses on my head covered in red baby-fur/hair…they were there. And they were blessing me and praying over me and lifting me up to Heaven. From both of my parents. Even today, my mom and dad are best of friends and incredible ministry partners. Not something you see every day. {Examples}.

In saying all of the ‘fairy tale’ sounding babyhood and childhood of mine, I am fully aware–and almost painfully–that there are starts and little-hoods not so fortunate. I have talked to/am close friends with first-line folks who lived hell on Earth in their youngest years. I know it’s not something to be thrown around and dismissed as non-essentials. Where your foundation started is really something to ponder.

There are two foundations, really. When you take a step back and look at the big picture.

1. God. His original plan. His plan for good because of His perfect love.  We can read in Scripture what truths are said about us from before we were formed on this planet. We can know who we are and MOST importantly WHO’S WE ARE.

Some may say something like this: Well, what about the starving/abused/neglected/ orphan child/baby in India or Africa or North Carolina, USA or Ukraine or Brazil or……___________{insert country here: because, they’re there.} Children across the planet are in this dire predicament. So, what about them? Is that God’s plan? For them to be starved and beaten and anything but loved? Nope. It is most certainly not. Well, isn’t He most powerful? How could He allow this? >>>It was us. It was humans who opened this door. Don’t you realize He actually has given us, a race, a being–this much power? To disconnect ourselves from heaven if we so choose. We are {just a hair bit} lower than the angels, but He gave us free will. Something even the angels are not able to have. We all know the story of Adam & Even and the Garden of Eden–so I will not waste time there.

However…it’s where it all started. Free will was given the reigns in our human race. And that’s why parents of these said children can let go (sometimes for good–for their own children’s good) or beat or starve or relinquish control of kiddos. I am sure I am not mentioning reasons why flesh and blood born out of a body aren’t cared for by the body it was giving birth by. Free will. It’s all that. And aaaalllll the in-betweens.

And a lot of times, free will lands a child right into the arms of a mom and dad {or just a mom or just a dad} who were built for them from the beginning. God works even in our free will hot mess! He does. Every day, in fact. Every second, more specifically. He knew from the beginning what we would be, who we’d be with. Take it–wherever it is and whoever it’s with–and point it North. Towards Heaven. He’s there and ready and receive your story–He already knows it. Take what you are and where you’re from and fling it towards God. I promise you, He’s got it. And for all those orphans in foreign countries: He’s got them, too. He’s also got the ones right in our own country. He’s not surprised. He’s all love. He loves them. Let’s pray that in every.single.chance.we.get.

Foundations. If the above story is your’s or you carry the nowparent’s role–this is where it starts. It re-starts with you. Keep the light of eternity in view: Although some days may be purely heaven or hell: Eternity. Keep it there.

2.  Those of us who are from a background of seemingly flawless starts. Our parents loved us from when we popped out from the birth canal. We were wanted from conception. How very blessed. Some of us can say that. {And some of us can say that our parents finally ‘got used to’ the idea–speaking of parental stories–of having us and grew to love us before we made our Earthly appearance!} So, in other words, as soon as we came out and took our first breaths (covered in gross-but-beautiful-uterus-stuff), we were caught with a net of love from the birth-giver and birth-seeder. That’s not the case in so many cases. It is in a lot, though. And that’s what this point is about.

We were raised from the beginning with kisses of love and being treated as if we were a treasure. We are treasures from heaven woven into humans and we landed into the waiting arms of man and woman. {For the record, that’s what we all are…treasures…such treasures.} We are so significant to God that we can simply choose Him and live for Him {easier said than done, but doable} and BOOM. There it is. Surrender & obedience.

So, on a personal note: I always knew I was loved. From before I could remember. From both my mom and my dad. Not one second that I can remember when I felt “unstable in love”. I remember growing up with a foundation that was in stone; in rock. Never wavering or unsure. Again, I know this is rare. I treasure my upbringing and will never take it for granted. This is my story though, and I want to share it. As a beacon of hope. It does exist. Maybe you are meant to be that for a {this} child or {that} child. Only you know.

These ‘fairy tale’ stories do exist. How many of you, (hands raised) think of this when it comes to your kids? If you have them. If you don’t–what kids are in your life who you can make a difference in? (If you care)? Regardless if they’re from your body or not: If they’re in your life: Are you making sure they know WHO THEY ARE and WHO’s THEY ARE? That’s truly all that matters. Truth.

 

 

 

For the Ladies and the Gents

I titled this “For the Ladies and the Gents” because it’s coming from a woman’s perspective, but men can read it too. Actually, it may even help ya get in our heads a little. No promises to actually understanding us women through this simple post, but this may provide about 0.5% out of 100% of some vital perspective into our spaghetti bowl of thoughts/feelings/emotions. Good luck and many blessings to you, guys. When we as women can’t explain it sometimes, there’s only heavenly hope that you can. Haha!

Our bodies. Our female bodies. This is an interesting thing to take a look at: Not literally, but introspectively. Let’s delete {real quick} what just popped into your mind as you read “female bodies”, shall we? Yes! And thank you.

There’ll be a few “point of views” that I spell out. I am sure I’m missing a few pieces here and there within these points, but here’s the unedited and raw version from my heart as I see it. I know there’s deeper caverns, but I am not going to stress WordPress out with those right now.

First, I am going to write to you from a {happily} married women’s point of view. I’m not going to get all tangled up in the “stuff” that could possibly come from this gorgeous view. I just have something specific on my heart I want to share from being me and seeing this picture.

Back to the “body” thing. Ok, ok. Yes. Once you’re married–one’s body doesn’t decide whether you’re going to schedule ‘date #2″, right? Well, true. You’re going to see many changes in your body once you’re married. For example: The ‘gym’-7-days-a-week stage when you’re ripped, the ‘eh’ stage when you’re mediocre or the ‘fluffy’ stage. OR, MY FAVE: All the stages in between these 3. {Where most of us are in.}

Wherever you’re at, if your husband is truly a loving one: He loves you. That means all of you or the you that you saw peacing-out on the scale. Every ounce of cellulite that you see peeping and taunting never makes eye contact with your love. He sees your core and your bright ideas and your beautiful heart and your efficient mind and feels your love to him. {and, if you have kids–to them.} Although none of it is perfect. It’s committed though. And to a man, the respect within that commitment means more than gold. He’s not making a tally sheet of every piece of cellulite or flab or “bye-bye” arm he sees. Yes, he may note the change over time. He may even notate the difference from your previous body to this one. {In any direction it may be going.}

Doesn’t matter. What matters most to him regarding your overall being (hopefully, probably, MOST LIKELY}: Are you in a good, healthy spot in life and how are you emotionally? Mentally? Whether a little skinny or a little fluffy–or anywhere in between. We’ve all been both. How are you?

Our self-consciousness comes from our point of views. Think of it! YOU may notice that one dip in your skin from cellulite, but he doesn’t. He is not thinking of that. YOU are thinking of this and that change: so naturally you bring that into your time together.

Analogy *alert* below:

Bringing that in or feeling this way {I have been guilty} is like pulling up a chair for the awkward third wheel on a date–ordering it dinner and even dancing with it. Don’t!! So weird in real life, right? Pull that chair out from that sucker and keep moving forward. *strong arm emoji* Even better, if you can, point the third-wheeler out and name it: {fat, flabby, jiggly, wide, gaunt, bony, pale, thin, sickly, ETC}Then, get rid of it because you know which one it is and tell it to leave. Name your awkward third-wheelers and kick them right on out. Those aren’t ‘you’.

Second,  from a {hopefully, married} man. I’m not one. Obviously. But, if I were–I’d speak as though from my husband’s point of view. He’s the one I’ve known most intimately and it would only make sense. So, here goes nothin’:

“I love you for you. Not for your butt or your eyes or your hair. Yes, those things (and all in between) matter because I love them and their distinct attributes, but that’s it. Not because of the change or consistency they bring. I just don’t care about that piece of cellulite you see. I see and feel the woman I love and I’ll love her with all her physical ebbs and flows.”

See, ladies? {again, hopefully, married}. You see it and it’s there like the third wheel, but not for him! Let it gooooooo…

You make it something because you see it as something. 99.9% of the time, he doesn’t see it that way.

Third perspective, while we’re on the subject of our bodies, ladies. You think everyone in the world is seeing what you do while you’re nude in the bathroom mirror. But, in reality–nah. Not really.

I’ve had people say to me all the things about their weight, all the time. Whether from the lighter numbers or the heavier numbers on the scale. I look. I analyze. Sometimes I can see what they’re saying. But, I’d said about 80% of the time I just cannot. They look perfect the way they are. I am so very much in this boat myself. On a very vulnerable note! Just to keep things real: I find myself in those merciless waves of perfection sometimes. Thank GOD that Jesus was the only perfect human to ever walk this Earth!! Only because He was also God. God and Man (human): The only perfect combination to physically touch our planet in a flesh and blood kind of way.

This is not a duck and roll move to avoid getting healthy. Health: Emotional, physical, mental, etc. is a good thing. It’ll pack some punch. Health, in whatever form, will hit hard where it needs to. All our lives are so different and unique! I truly believe that God uses each and every piece in what season it is in for it’s pure purpose.

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And we’re baaaack from the rabbit trail: You know you. First and foremost–are you healthy? Physically and emotionally? They are both equally important.

Regarding this particular subject: Ladies, are you healthy? For the Gents: Are you helping your lady in her road to all things health? Words of affirmation or something like meal planning or letting her have time to work out? Help her where you can. She does need your willingness and your selflessness: and most importantly, because you love her, your heart in letting her be the best she can be.

 

 

 

 

 

For Kicks ‘n Giggles: Gross!

Laughter is something I love. Hopefully it is for you too! There’s all kinds of things that are hilarious in life. And as you’ll see, even the “gross” stuff in life can have their spotlight. There are NO dull moments around these parts, that’s for sure. Here’s a couple of my favorites from this past weekend that I wanted to share with you. Because…well, why not?

Wet Almonds

…from this past Saturday. I work for a catering company here in Charlotte, and I love it. I do it on average a couple of Saturdays a month, and it’s so fun. Usually weddings. The people-watching is fabulous! More in future posts about that one. This past weekend was a pretty good-sized one, and were running like crazy to GIT-R-DONE!

At the end of the night, I was going around the table grabbing the odds ‘n ends of trash, straws, cups, etc. There was a lone, raw almond sitting on a surface, and working quickly, I grabbed it. As soon as I did, I realized it was spongy and soaking wet. (Where’s that “Hmmm?” emoji when ya need it?) I wear gloves most of the time, but of course didn’t have any on when I picked up the nut-of-mystery.

{Cringe} WHY.IS.IT.WET? Where it did it come from? Wait…WERE almonds served tonight? No, not that I saw.

And then it dawned on me. At the favor table, there was a smorgasbord of treats. All coordinating with the wedding’s colors and themes. There were Jordan Almonds on that table. Jordan Almonds. There’s the culprit. Within a split second of realizing this, I threw the slobbery almond down. UGH!

{Every time I see Jordan Almonds I always think of the scene in the movie Bridesmaids where Kristen Wiig (main character) is crunching on them in a formal dress store as she’s about to have to visit the toilet due to stomach issues from something she ate. Hahaha!! She gets the cold sweats but keeps on munchin’ to prove a point to another character that “She’s fine. Everything’s fine.” Hilarious!}

Anyways, so, back to the wedding. Someone…an adult…had evidently just got done sucking the ever-loving sugary coating off of it–to the point where it looked like a regular almond. So naturally, the next step to do if you don’t want to actually eat the nut is to just put it down anywhere you please. Naturally.

Needless to say, I scrubbed the top layer of skin off my fingers that touched it!! Haha. GROSS. Just GROSS!

Finger Painting with Spit Up

Oh, baby! So this happened Sunday. In our church’s nursery. We undoubtedly have some of the cutest babies in all the land at our church. We are blessed with so many different families from different backgrounds and ethnicities! I absolutely love it, and it’s just getting better. We also have some the most incredible nursery volunteers on the planet. I’m blessed and humbled to be working with them all on a weekly basis!

Josie absolutely loves it, too. She has her occasional fussy spell {what babe doesn’t?!}, but she loves hangin’ out with her homies in the nursery. This particular Sunday, there was one of her many good little guy-friends chilling with her on the play mat, and they were having the time of their lives! He’s just over a month older than she is, and they were both crawling around exploring flashing ‘kinda-toothy’ smiles at each other. *heart-eyed emoji*

I turned my head for about 10 seconds to talk to someone, and I looked back down at them. Both of their little heads where hovered over a particular spot on the mat. I squatted down to see what the attraction was.

Like tiny artists, they both had one little pointer finger in a huge pile of breast milk spit up. Having the time of their lives ‘painting’ with it. Well, that’s what it looked like anyways. It appeared that they were making designs in the slime. 

Which baby’s spit up was it? Who knows. Did they care? Nah.

And just when I went to pull them out of the chunky and slimy mess, they both go in full speed ahead with double fists into it. Haha! Man, were they in heaven having fun. Mean mommy for putting a quick end to it. Um, GROSS!

{That concludes a couple of the gross but funny moments from this weekend. Don’t hesitate to laugh at yourself or even at the gross things that happen in real life! You’ll be glad you did!}

 

From the ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in us Clarks:

Confession number TWO from me: just from today.

The first one, is putting out to the social media world about me eating my 6 year old’s doughnut. She brought it home from a birthday party. It was sitting on the counter and YES. I ate it. Over the period of two days, because…well, 1) calories and 2) in case she asked for it sooner (at least there’d be some remnant of it left). I was hormonal and craving something sweet. And that thing was sitting there like a beacon on a hill saying “Here I am.” So, long story short: She asked where it was, I confessed I ate it, I told her we’d get her a new one and that’s ‘all I have to say about that’. (Forrest Gump accent ended.)

Confession number two is that I’ve been watching my Facebook memories for the post I made this time last year regarding having girl #3. We found out Josie was wonderfully healthy and perfect…and that she was a girl. Our THIRD girl! On April 6, 2017 at 3:30pm–to be exact. Just in case any of you are about exactness.

Here’s the story of our candid, raw and truthful journey as far our parenthood goes.

The road to having a third child wasn’t about fertility as it is with so many. No physical challenges there, and I am thankful for that. Although, walking through this road with some very close to me is very strong in my spirit. Please know that I am one of your biggest cheerleaders if this is you. Infertility is a very real thing, and so heartbreaking, raw and sometimes…strangling. A good part of my daily prayers are with you. I know the end road is beautiful, and I am standing with you every.single.day. until this beauty or stud enters this world. From your body or another’s–I rejoice at God’s timing along with you! Until then…press on. And don’t let go of hope. As long as God is GOD, there is HOPE!

This is our story. It was more about one of us (me) feeling our family wasn’t complete and then Frank (my husband) feeling that we were complete as a family. This started early 2015’s for me. Now, I am not a “let’s have ALL the babies!” kind of gal. I didn’t have the traditional “baby fever”, but rather–something a little deeper. A longing for the missing puzzle piece that would complete our family. I had no idea. I just knew we weren’t done with making our puzzle what it was supposed to be. Missing that final piece.

Frank, my incredible husband of now 14 years, felt we were complete with the two beautiful, hilarious and amazing girls we had. No doubt: Life was full and beautiful. But that little heart-tug of “not done yet” kept nagging at me. So, what to do?

PRAYER. Lots of it. This is exactly what I prayed for almost an entire year: “God, YOUR plans are perfect. I am not. Change my heart and remove this nagging feeling of incompleteness or change his of completeness. Either way, whatever YOUR plans are: Make my heart at peace or change Frank’s. Whichever You choose, I will be at peace with. But please. Change one of us.”

It happened in October of 2015. God changed Frank’s heart. I wept and sobbed and PRAISED God for this like you can only imagine. Frank asked for a year before we started the process. I agreed wholeheartedly. (And gave myself plenty of notice for all-things-puke-nausea-aversions-PREGNANCY that I knew were headed my way.)

November 2016: Josie entered this world. Just in the most microscopic kind of way, but she was here.

Frank tells this in the best way from his side, so I know I won’t do this justice. But I’ll do my best and paraphrase: “I was obedient to the Lord. I am following His instruction and doing what I know I need to do. Have another child. Surely, Lord, it will be a son. I have two daughters who I love with my whole being, but I know through my obedience to You, You want to bless me with a son.” Frank is a 5th. His name is Frank Haddon Clark V. It would seem only fitting to have a son, and what an ending to this ‘perfect’ fairy tale! Yes, Lord, a son is that last puzzle piece You have for us, right? We would have called him Haddon. His full name would be Frank Haddon Clark VI, but, there’s already three Franks in the world who bear this name, and that would be a “Frank” too many. So, “Haddon” it is! Perfect!

Headed to the ultrasound, I felt ‘hopeful’ and kind of like…yeah. Anyways, if you’ve been here in these shoes you know what feeling I’m talking about. Expectant, hopeful and just excited to hear the words from the ultrasound tech: “Oh…..waaaiittt…yep…I see a BOY {or GIRL}!”

I laid on the lounge chair in my doctor’s office with all that ultrasound-jelly stuff on my belly and heard her say “GIRL!” My first thoughts, honestly, were…”Hey. Rewind another moment: Surely you said BOY.” She didn’t. Nothing went back any moments at all–it was going forwards faster than I could keep up with. She said a girl. It’s…a girl. Another girl.

I remember looking at Frank’s face. It was one of wonder to see the perfect baby in my womb who was kicking and who’s heartbeat was pounding steadily. His baby. She was kicking and twisting and almost smiling at us (knowing her now, she probably was). She had perfect kidneys and spine and skull and everything was whole and functioning in a textbook fashion. A beautiful baby. But…there was also a look of something else. And I’m not shirking away from the rawness, or…dare I say pain? It was there, and in my heart too. I felt it, but not as much as he did.

For about a week (or really, much longer, but intially), we ‘danced’ around each other with comments of stuff like “Oh my goodness…how blessed! SHE’S perfect! Another girl. Yay!” and then stuff like this: “…hey, you ok? are you…disappointed? wishing for something else? how are you feeling about this?” {cue the tears here and there from both of us}. And I’m sure there’s conversations he had with friends I don’t even know about from the amazing people he has in his life. God is GOOD, ya’ll.

And then. It happened. THE COMMENTS FROM PEOPLE. People. Well-meaning, sometimes not thinking souls. As we all are at times. I know I am so guilty of this, and I am adamant on becoming a THINKING soul. “Are you just so disappointed? POOR Frank! The only guy! Don’t you wish you were having a boy? Oh my goodness, how perfect would a SON be right now though? I am glad to hear your baby is healthy, but I wish you were having a boy! I wanted you to have a boy!” {…and, unfortunately the comments go on…}

Well. You know? Here’s the skinny on this kind of thing: It SUCKS to hear this from folks. As well meaning as they are and loving and even trying to be “funny”. I’m aaalllllll about some comedy, trust me! But this is one of those things that’s so very close to the heart and sensitive. It’s something that is LITERALLY and COMPLETELY out of our hands or control. We don’t choose the sperm. Haha! Seriously. We don’t. We love this baby no matter what, but of course hope for certain genders sometimes. God orchestrates it all though. He knows what we need or what this WORLD needs eons before we do. What a comforting thought, eh? The Creator of the universe still creates what’s meant to be. Haddon wasn’t meant to exist. Josie was.

I will say this too, because I know some of you have probably dealt with it, because I sure did: How can I possibly be “disappointed” with a life? No matter the gender, this is our baby. Are we to love less because we’re disappointed? In reality: No way. Sure, disappointment is a real thing. You know what? Let’s rear ourselves up and face it for what it is. Yep–there it is. Real, raw and tearful. It sucks. It causes silly words to be spewed out of human-feelings, it causes ruckus and pain. It causes comparison to be more than it ever should be. It gives the “WHAT IF’s” life. It’s terrible! In those moments of defeat, it causes hopelessness to get a breath of fresh air. That same breath of fresh air was never meant for “disappointment”: it was meant for GRATITUDE and WONDER and just pure THANKFULNESS.

**Real talk though: I hit rock bottom with this ‘disappointment’ thing at 8 months pregnant. I sat on a friend’s couch and drenched it with my tears. Hopefully the leather on her couch as recovered! Just being honest with you all. She didn’t know what our baby girl’s name was, because I didn’t even know. God knew though. But the amazing thing was, she comforted me with a story about Joseph in the Bible. (And Josie’s name is a derivative of ‘Joseph’.) She prayed with me and pointed me North again. A lot of it was was hormones, but some of it was truly: pure disappointment in it’s ugliest representation. I’ll always remember this. I want to be ‘her’ when others need me like I needed her words of God’s truth. Does that make sense? Look around you. Who’s hurting but doesn’t want to show it?**

We can’t imagine our completed “family” puzzle any different than it is now. Starting with us and our 3 girls: We both feel complete contentment and completeness. In an incredibly beautiful way. How we love our THREE GIRLS! If the Lord reveals something else, we’ll go with it. But from what we know now, “that’s all she wrote.” {Pun intended!}

Just for kicks ‘n giggles: Josie Evangeline is her full name. We wrestled with a name for MONTHS. The Lord had spoken to me very.clearly. that Frank would be the one to name her. I left it to him (NOT easy for my Alpha-Female-Control side!). I was about 4 weeks from having her when God {finally} revealed her name. Anyone ever left in the “11th hour” before? Her name means: “May God add a bearer of good news”. Oh my heart! I remember clearly being in the deepest hormonal and tear-filled pit I’ve EVER been in (same time as my friend prayed with me on her pretty leather couch) that I can remember: I saw a scrap piece of paper on the kitchen counter with Frank’s handwriting. He texted me that morning and said “Look on the kitchen counter.” I did, and I saw this: “Josie Evangeline. May God add a bearer of GOOD news!”

And may I add: I am the oldest of three girls in my family. My dad was the most tender, but strict, but incredible ‘girl dad’ ever. Frank is on this path and I see it more clearly EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am blown away sometimes! From what his ‘natural Frankness’ would be to what I see in him with these 3 girls is simply AMAZING. That’ll make the respect fly through the ROOF when you see your husband becoming this. And since this is our story: He’s got that girl-dad thing like my own dad did (and has). *cue the blogger’s tears*

Back to my confession number two of the day and what I was watching for. (If Facebook is good for one thing, it’s for the memories!) I posted this on my status on 04/12/17. And I’ll leave you with it (unedited and straight from a copy-and-paste from Facebook memories):

Dear friends! This message is said in love💓, and I wanted to share it with you all.

First, thank you SO much for all the congratulations on our girl #3, and sharing in our excitement!! We still have people saying how happy they are for us, and it warms our hearts!
I have also gotten texts/comments/messages out of love and concern of things like:
“Poor Frank”, “Didn’t you want a boy?”, “Are you going to go for the 4th kid?”, “Are you disappointed?” and Etc.

Here are some heart ponderings of mine about this:
–We don’t need sympathy for having girl #3. LoL!!😂 We aren’t the first family to have multiple kids of one gender.

–Were we ‘hoping’ for a boy? Of course! It would have been awesome for Frank to pass on his name (he’s Frank Haddon Clark V). And I know there’s a ‘son spot’ in parent’s hearts who have boys we’ll never know about.

–Were we disappointed? Truthfully, yes. A little at FIRST right after getting the news…it’d be a lie to say no. And ya’ll know how I like to keep it real! After the first day of knowing, however, the ‘disappointment’ faded quickly. I feel so silly for even admitting that, but it’s true.

–Are we THANKFUL? YES!!! A million time YES.
1) So many men/women experience fertility challenges and we don’t. So many folks will never know parenthood and we do.
2) So many parents get devestating news of a fatal deformity on an ultrasound screen, and our little is perfectly formed.
3) BOTTOM LINE: God is SOVEREIGN and He has a master plan! It’s a joy and and honor to entrusted with girl #3. Straight from heaven. He gives GOOD GIFTS. It would be a slap in His face to be ungrateful.

–What does it feel like when people ask if we’re currently disappointed?
I see it as us sitting around the Christmas tree exchanging gifts. I am excitedly opening a gift with the giver sitting beside me watching in great anticipation. Another person in the room comes up and asked me “Well, didn’t you want something else though?” OUCH. 🚫

ALL this being said–sorry it’s a BOOK!–is that we are thrilled and so thankful!! This little one will be our family’s completion and I can’t wait to see what her presence will add to our family!
We don’t need sympathy and Frank is just fine!! Haha. 😂😙✌ We love you all!!