Wednesday, January 21, 2015


The New Year is always such a great time of reflection. I think if we are honest with ourselves, most of us do some serious reflecting and decision making around this time of year. I also know that within months or maybe even weeks, the 'new me' begins to fizzle out and I forget about all the changes or new things I had on that list, including the exercise part (FOR THE LOVE!). I know this is because I'm the queen of good intentions, people. The. Queen.

I haven't forgotten 'my list' yet and frankly, I don't think I can. Why? I'm wrestling, y'all. And not Sumo style. Oh, the wrestling I am doing. The Holy Spirit just keeps tapping me on my shoulder. Tappity tappin'.  A few times I've just wanted to shout back, "I KNOW ALREADY!". Because, you know, conviction and all.

I'm not sure the good folks at Kroger are quite ready for my brand of crazy at this time. Or ever.

The Lord has been dealing with me on many things in my life, but one little sticky area that just KEEPS coming up is HOSPITALITY.

Now, for those of you that know me (like truly KNOW me), know that I'm one of the most social people you have ever met.  I could talk the hind legs off a donkey, so to speak. (Don't you just love Southern idioms? For real, though!). I truly don't know a stranger and one would think that could easily translate into natural hospitality, right?

Not so much.

The jig is up, y'all. Here it is for all of the Internets to confession of why hospitality is so hard for me. Ready for this?

My house is dirty. Because people live here, don't y'all know this?  My pride is bigger than my desire to be obedient to Jesus and so I choose to marinade in my stubborn will and not invite people over because, for the love, can these children NOT pick up a dang dirty sock already!  And that is the truth.

I don't want anyone to see that I have dirty dishes ALL THE FLIPPIN' TIME! Or that my floors haven't been mopped in weeks. Or that I have paper piles on my counter, my table is sticky, my windows have fingerprints, or there's dog hair on the couch and what will people think of me for letting the dog on the couch? But I keep a sheet on it so that's okay, right? Oh and there's marker on the walls from 3 year years ago, drawers are broken in my kitchen, the ice maker on the fridge doesn't work, our bathroom sink fixtures are outdated and gross, my ceiling fans have an inch of dust on them.... and the list goes on and on. And yes, this is how my brain works. Scary, right?

 My desk. Mercy.

An endless myriad of excuses that I try and justify over being obedient to what Jesus truly wants for my life.

We've lived in this 35 year old house for 19 years. We have raised 6 children here, with 4 of them still here and 3 of those 4 not leaving any time soon. We have stuff. Or crap. Whatever.

The point is this...if I am constantly waiting for the right time or the perfect house in which to invite people over to then I'm missing SO many opportunities for true gospel community. I'm missing shared laughter, shared tears, shared stories.

Shared LIFE.

And I'm tired. Tired of wrestling against this. Tired of telling the Holy Spirit to get lost when I'm reminded time and time again that this life is not about me. It's just not. It's about sharing life with others and loving others and showing people how Jesus is SO good and He is worth sharing. Worth talking about. Worth choking out this cancerous pride with humbleness and laughter and food and community.

Jesus is working this (amongst other things) out in me and has been for months now. It is at the forefront of my brain every day. What does this hospitality look like for me? Us? Our family? I truly don't know. I have no idea if people will be in my home all the time or if just the simple act of saying, "yes, Lord. I'm willing.", is all that's being asked of me. I highly doubt it's the latter and I'm okay with that. What I do know is that having the right heart about this has been hard. No wait ....HARD. I won't deny it. But I do know this... obedience, while sometimes painful, WILL bring joy!

And I look forward to finding joy and peace with this hospitality gig. I mean for real...the house can't be a mess forever.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil 1:6

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Thoughts

New year. New thoughts. After over a year, right?

It was time, y'all.

It was time to write some thoughts, bare my soul and feel all the feels. I needed to write. Because in all honesty, sometimes I feel like if I don't write then there is a part of me that curls up into some sort of creative coma. Never quite dying, but not living either. And then I become afraid to write because I have an irrational fear of all the imaginary Judgy McJudgersons out there analyzing my every dot and tittle.

Whew. It's hard to be me some days.

Also, I have many people in my life who are complete and total wordsmiths. The words they write seem to come so effortlessly, like milk and honey flowing from their seriously passionate souls. With inspiration and deep thoughts...DEEP thoughts, y'all. And I tend to write about one (all) of my girl's ability to make armpit farts with a straw. I respect those who can write so well. It's a gift. Truly. And maybe...just maybe I'm a skosh jealous. Mostly because I just long to write, but honestly don't feel like I always have the time. Or the talent...which is a whole 'nother therapy session right there.

So now that I've hopped down that bunny trail, lets talk about the new year.

Okay wait..I need to rehash 2014 for just a second.

So much has happened over the past several years. Monk being unemployed for 16 months and although he now has a job (and we are SO grateful for something), it really doesn't pay our monthly bills. There's always still the struggle, the juggle, the constant doubt in the back of our minds if we will make it this month. That's a hard place to live for a long time.

But you know what? Jesus has been SO faithful! So unbelievably good to me. In the midst of all of this, He gave me joy. JOY! I didn't recognize it at first, but as 2014 clamored on, I realized that in spite of all the things that have happened, all the stress, all the struggle, I still have JOY. And every time we would be faced with yet another stressful financial situation, I could rely on that joy to be there for me at some point. It came down to one thing for me. Trust. Could I trust Him to be faithful and see us through yet ONE more situation.

And He DID, y'all. Every time. I can't tell you how many times our house has been in jeopardy. Even up for auction not once, but TWICE! People driving by our house, taking pictures of it, like vultures circling a dying animal, waiting to get the chance to bid on the place we call home. It was hard. (And we won't talk about the time I went out and stood on the front porch and STARED down some woman sloooowly driving by and she abruptly drove away...ahem). But once again, He was faithful.

And NOW we can move onto the New Year.

Can I just be honest? Can I say what I want to say about this beautiful new beginning without it sounding trite?

Remember when we were kids and during some sort of game, something would go awry and we would call out, "do over!'?  It was no big deal, we just forgot about whatever it was that interrupted our game and simply started over. That's how the New Year works for me.

Every day, we get new mercies. Lamentations says that GREAT is His faithfulness. So if every single day we get new mercies from the Lord, I tend to look at the New Year as one, big clean slate of God's great faithfulness. I realize that's never implied or suggested in the verse, but in all honesty, the New Year always feels like one great big DO OVER!

And for our family, our do over? I just want more Jesus for us. Is that too easy? Is it too trite? Is it an easy out to a deeper question?

We would give more, serve more, help more. How would that look? I mean think about would that look? Even if 5 or 10 people you know really lived that way. I am privileged to know people who DO live that way and they have been such a testimony to me. I'm not talking about Jesus 'talk'. I'm talking about getting our hands dirty sort of love. Loving the unlovable, getting our heads out of the sand concerning the things going on in our own communities. Stop wrapping Jesus in some name brand package that's only unwrapped on Sunday and truly being the every single day Jesus of the bible that helped the poor, the sick, the hurting... I want my children to know that Jesus. The one that showed me JOY last year. The one that showed me that in every single circumstance, He is faithful.

2015 is a do over. A clean slate.

And today is page 1 of the new story we begin to write.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly.

I just need to say it...

I'm discouraged, y'all.

For the first time in 7 months, I am really discouraged. I can only imagine how my husband feels. I woke up this morning and I knew it had hit me and I've just struggled all day long.

(In case you haven't figured it out...I'm starting with the 'downright ugly' portion. That's for the slow folks in the crowd.)

I'm not saying I'm mad at God because I'm not. Not in any way, shape or form. If anything, I feel as if my relationship with God has grown exponentially through this trial.  He is good. All the time. Period.  He has grown us, He has proved Himself faithful over and over again. He has opened our eyes in ways we never thought possible.  Our selfish hearts have been changed for good and we honestly are thankful for it.

Before all of this happened, I prayed for Jesus to change my heart. To not only make me love Him more, but to make me burn with a desire to love Him and serve others.

And that's what I get for praying.

Relax...I'm kidding.

I won't say that I regret this whole job situation happening. I just won't. It has done too much good in our lives. A good that we want to carry on, pass along and use as a testimony to God's goodness.  And I believe with all of my heart that we will be able to share our experience with others for no other reason than to give God the glory for all of it.

But today? I'm tired and I'm discouraged. I've picked up some extra work other than photography to help and try get our house payment under control and I am just physically worn out. I cried and prayed on the way home from a session today, begging God to show my husband a job soon. Very soon. My spirit is waning and my body is weary.

And that's just me. You can only imagine how Monk feels.

The other morning I got into the burb to leave for this extra work I'm doing, when he came out to me to kiss me goodbye. He then looked at me and told me he was sorry. Sorry. I wanted to weep.  I hurt for him. I hurt every day for him. He wants to work and I am beyond thankful for that. He is not only feeling lost and discouraged, but I can tell he's just anxious.  Anxious for answers, not understanding why nothing is happening on the job front. It's completely new territory for him.  Have I told you he's not a very big fan of change?

Anyway, please continue to pray for us.  Pray specifically for him to find a job...SOON! Pray for our spirits. Pray that we can get out house payment under control.  I can't even entertain the idea of losing our home. I realize it's becoming a possibility, but I can't even let the thought enter my head. I've raised my children here and I won't give it up easily.

So that was the downright ugly. Do y'all even want to hear the bad?

My garden has not grown one, single iota. As in nothing. We had a late freeze that took out all of my tomatoes. One little straggler has decided to pull a miracle and has come back to life. I've named him Lazarus. My sugar snap pea survived, but N-O-N-E of my seeds sprouted. My hillbilly ancestors are rolling in their graves.


This could be because every dog known to man ran through the garden while it was still fragile. Maggie dug in it. A stray dog peed in it. And laid in it. Our gardening failures are starting to rack up and it is ticking me off. Anyway, I'm hoping to perform some CPR this weekend and see what I can manage to grow in spite of the dog's best efforts to kill it.

And now for the good stuff.  The very, very good stuff!

I love to read, y'all. I haven't had much time to read, but I do love it. I like fiction (Stephen King is one of my favorites because I am a freak like that), biographies, books on health and many others. About the only thing I don't read is books on organization. Those books are written by Type A personalities and my free-wheeling, color loving, creative, ADD brain just can't deal with it.

Take one look at my house and it's evident.

But THIS book!  This book is wrecking my life! In a good way!

Jen Hatmaker's blog is one of my very favorites to read. And her FB page is pretty awesome too.  Why? Because she speaks truth! In love and hilarity. She's brutally honest, she's real and she will have you doing the ugly cry in 2.7 seconds.  The book couldn't have come at a better time for me. It has been a bright spot in a dark place.  It's content is serious, but it has taken my focus off of my situation and put in on my heart.

I'm not gonna lie. It's radical. It will absolutely make you do a double take at the way you have viewed and treated your Christianity. It will make you ashamed. It will inspire you. And it will make you laugh.  This girl? She's good people and I'm going to claim her has my little sister I always wanted.

Go read it. You won't regret it.

I am, however, going to regret staying up this late.  I have to get up and go to a real world job in the morning. I am so not the 9-5 girl. I like my mornings slow. I like to stay in my jammies and drink coffee until 11. Now I have to be up, bathed, dress and out the door before 8:30.

It goes against my very natural, y'all.

That's the nice way to say...I'm not a morning person.

And as long and prosper.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why So Serious...and other Wondrous Updates

It has occurred to me while looking through the past few blog posts here that I've been relatively serious. This struck me as funny. Not funny 'haha', but funny 'strange'.

For any that know me (which is mostly those that read here), realize this is mostly out of character for me as I am normally the most immature 43 year old in the proverbial blog room. And I really am. I try to follow my writing instincts and for some reason they have not led me down the path of humor. 

This doesn't mean that plenty of funny doesn't happen in my every day mommy life because it does. Every single day my kids do something that makes me laugh. Or swear, but that's mostly under my breath and I would never say it on here. It just seems that as I open this blank page to write, my funny bone chokes. Or perhaps it is being choked by some more mature part of my brain that is tired of not being taken seriously.  I have no idea, to be honest. But frankly, the mere thought of there being a battle in my brain between the forces of my overly immature funny bone and some random mature area of my brain, amuses me to no end.  

And immaturity prevails once again.


I wanted to give everyone a quick update on the Ye Olde Job Front.  I don't always enjoy sharing on Facebook because I feel as if it can seem 'too' public. So, my logic says, "let's put it out on the Internet for the whole world to see because that's better!".  Clearly, logic is not my strong suit. 

Anyway....there is still no job for my husband. He has now put out around 50 resum├ęs with only 2 interviews. And both of those interviews told him they would let him know either way if they would hire him or not.  Unfortunately, neither did. :( It's a hard thing to sit around and wait like that.

I have run the gamut of emotions over the last six months, but I find that the most prevalent word to describe this time in our life is peace. Yes, peace.  It is a peace that can only be described as Supernatural because y'all, I am not only a lifelong member of Worriers of America Club, but I could be their president. The peace that I've had is seriously amazing. A God-given gift when I needed it most. 

It's interesting though, the longer Monk is out of a job, the more I dread when he will have to leave again for 8+ hours a day. I'm secretly hoping for a work-from-home job. He's done that for most of our marriage anyway and while there are days I want to throat punch him, for the most part I love having him around. 

Immaturity begets immaturity and we, my friends, are a power couple.


Again, many of you know that my Maddie left for Africa at the end of February to serve in an orphanage. She's been there 3 weeks now and will be returning this coming Saturday! 

I've had 2 phone calls from her - one lasting 2 minutes and one lasting 40 minutes! She is IN LOVE! She loves those sweet little orphans so much. She told me she cries at the thought of leaving them.  She spent one day hiking in the jungle (while singing, "In the Jungle") and other random Lion King songs ... an adventure she will never forget, I'm sure. She's ridden on sketchy motorcycles, been sunburned while taking older girls from the orphanage swimming in a sketchy pool and been the only white girl playing in a soccer game with a group of Africans. Her latest escapade ended with her getting hurt when she took a well kicked soccer ball to the wrist. White girl got no game.

Oh, my girl. I know where her heart is. It would not surprise me at all if she ended up in Africa some day. She has such a love for those sweet babies. I know Jesus is doing great things in her heart and there is NOTHING that could bring a mother more joy then to know her child is seeking God's will for her life.

Unfortunately, she also has a love of delicious hamburgers and Sonic cherry limeades, both of which has been her first meal request for when she returns. HA! She texted me the other day that she was willing to kill a small animal for some chocolate.

She is her mother's daughter.


This week was spring break for our girls and we managed to get our ENTIRE garden planted. This is a feat that has never been accomplished by March 16th in the entire history of the Monk marriage. 

Last year I planted some things Most people were getting their first crops of squash and tomatoes and I was...well...slacking. 

We planted watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, yellow squash, 4 varieties of tomatoes, sugar snap peas and some herbs.  I'm most excited about the tomatoes and the sugar snap peas. I have no idea why, but I am.  I think that getting excited about your garden vegetables is some rite of passage into the You're Getting Old club. 

My friends, I seem to be excelling in this area.

Tilling the garden was quite the adventure this year seeing that Monk and I both forgot how to operate the tiller in what we like to call...the RIGHT way.  I decided on Monday that I was just going to get out there and DO IT!  It sounds like I could be a representative for Nike, but trust me, had Nike seen my tilling performance they would have just probably sent me to the producers of Jackass.  

After nearly pulling my arms from their sockets multiple times and then running the tiller into the fence even more times, I had to ask for Monk's help. I didn't want to watch his attempt since I watched him lose his drawers while tilling 4 years ago and that's the kind of thing no one ever wants to see twice.  While the tiller didn't pants him this year, it certainly didn't play nice.

That's when he realized we were doing it wrong.

The next morning we both woke up and cried.  My spine had been twisted like origami and while I'm sure it may have looked like a beautiful swan on the inside, I looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame on the outside.  

We created a new dance that day.  It was called the Shuffle and Moan. Top that off with hot coffee and large doses of ibuprofen and we rocked it out.

We kept it up the rest of the week and managed to finish without the use of a morphine drip. I still have some planting to do this week, but most of it's minimal.  I also plan on visiting the chiropractor in the morning. 

Is The Rack still available?


One of these days I'll try and post on a regular basis again...but I wouldn't expect it any time soon. 

And as always....

Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Change is one of those words that has a few too many meanings to post.  Good 'ol has the low down here if you'd like to go read the 152 meanings...or maybe just 38.

Change can be used as a noun or a verb and right now we are experiencing both grammatical facets of that little word. We have incurred change (n.) in that our lifestyle has changed dramatically and we are experiencing change (v.) in that we, ourselves, are changing.  And if you have to think about that too long it will make your brain hurt.

Ow. That was my brain hurting.

Change can be a good thing. Change can be a bad thing. Change can make you grow or it can make you shrivel up in a corner and suck your thumb. 

I've thought and done all of these things over the course of the last 3 months, but right now I'm in the corner sucking my thumb. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just where I am at this point. I don't plan on staying here.

Because nobody puts baby in a corner. Okay, okay...I couldn't help myself.

There has been a lot of change in our lives here in Monklandia over the last several months. I mentioned some of it in my last post...umm...3 months ago.

The biggest change is that Monk still has not found a new job. When I typed those words in my last post, it seemed like such a temporary thing. A hiccup in our lives that would be short-lived and solved quickly. 

Now, 3 months later, it actually brings me physical pain to even type it.  Stick a searing hot poker up your nose into your brain and that's pretty much how it makes me feel.

Daily, I watch my husband get up, take a shower, dress, then head to the computer to check his email in hopes that someone has responded to his applications. It wasn't so bad at first, but now I see him crumple a little more every time. And that breaks my heart, y'all. He is a good man. 

He is a man that thrives on routine. Whereas his wife lives in a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants, eating butterflies and pooping rainbows sort of world.  You see where I'm going with this, right? He needs a routine lest he be consumed by my level of crazy.

So the change in the job situation has dictated a change in the financial situation.  I'm not going to say much about this except for the fact that unemployment funds don't take a family of 6 very far at all. At all.

And the fact that we aren't already sunk financially is solely because of Jesus. He has sustained us and provided for us in ways that blow my feeble mind and convict my sinful, wayward heart. 

One family (whom we've never even met!) sacrificially gave us money because they felt led by the Lord to do so.  That amount of money? It was within a few dollars of our exact house payment.

We've had friends just give us random amounts of money during times we were running short, but never even shared with anyone. We were given a stove when ours broke. Hope and Charlie's school will not even consider letting me withdraw them (I've approached them twice now)...they just tell me not to worry about it.

I'm humbled and amazed by the provision. 

The change in the job/financial situation has brought about a change in our attitudes.  See the whole noun vs verb thing going on?  I know it's confusing and frankly, this is why my brain hurts.

God has used this time to shape us, humble us, strengthen us, encourage us, use us ... change us.  

Our faith has been strengthened, our commitment to one another and our girls more determined and our resolve to lead a simpler life sealed. 

Ultimately, we have learned that things do not matter. People do. And  Jesus matters most.

Now doesn't all of that sound lovely?

So why am I shriveled up in a corner sucking my thumb?  Figuratively speaking, of course. Otherwise that would be weird.

Because no matter how much I rattle on about faith and strength and how much I love Jesus....some days I'm just scared. And worried.

Today has been one of those days. 

I'm consider myself a happy, positive person.  I like to think of ways to keep our family afloat and how to make our food stretch further, ways to encourage my husband in his disappointments and how to garner more photography business.  

But some days the unicorns and butterflies turn on me. Some days my rainbow laden world is gray and lifeless and things go from being  a vibrant technicolor to just plain old black and white. Or worse yet...gray.

Some days I'm angry because I don't understand. I'm selfish because I want 'things'.  I fight old demons and think we're being punished for some unknown sin (old fundamental Baptist habits die hard, y'all).

It's hard for me to admit that.  Because admitting that means that my faith sucks and that all of this talk of Jesus and provision is just empty chatter, right?

No, it doesn't. It means that I'm a sinful human being in need of grace. And I'm so very thankful that His grace is available to me. Every day. All day. Any time I need it.

Today has been hard. I imagine that the further and further we get into this jobless situation, that more and more these hard days will come. Especially when the phone rings off the hook with people wanting  money.  Or watching Monk's disappointment day after day. Or wondering if we will lose our home, after all. 

These are real things. They are real concerns. I expect our faith to be stretched beyond what we think we can handle. And that terrifies me if I dwell on it.

I try and remind myself that Jesus hears me when I don't know what to pray (Rom 8:26). He provides for His own (Matt 6:26). He tells me what my mind should be thinking about (Phil 4:8). Lastly and probably my favorite of all, each day is a fresh start (Lam 3:22-23).

I am not consumed because His compassion's never fail and His mercies are new every morning. Because HE is faithful.

How can that not give us hope?

So while this is a hard time of change for us....ultimately, it will change us.  It will be interesting to see where it all leads.

I know what my heart wants for our lives, but I don't yet know God's plan for our lives. 

And that my friends .....

...means more change.

(This is how Maggie feels about change)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Big Stuff...

I have such guilt over the fact that I haven't written here in so long.  Not that I'm obligated to do so, but more so over the fact that I was so excited about once again documenting our life and then I just .... didn't.

It wasn't so much so that I didn't want to.  I mean after all, I still have about 4 blog posts sitting in my queue. It's more that time once again got away from me and once again, I just can't manage a business and a life.

So here I am.  It's 1:00 am and I find myself tired and restless.  Not sure if my desire for sleep or my desire to talk is more necessary.  And I guess in this instance it would be my desire to type.  Either way... girlfriend has got to get some words out!

I am happy to report that the Lord is at work in my life.  He's at work in my family's life as well, but this post is specific as to His work in my own life.

This is a big deal, y'all.

I can honestly say that I've spent possibly the last 4 years being angry with God.  Not angry enough to walk away from my faith, but angry enough to avoid a meaningful relationship.  Angry enough to not pray. Angry enough to not read His Word. Angry enough to avoid any sort of spiritual encounter.  If Jesus were on Facebook, I would have unfriended Him.

In case you missed it...I was a little angry.

As in all cases with Jesus, it was all a part of His plan. He was getting me to where I needed to be so He could do His thing. Part of that was getting Monk and I into a church where we just heard the Gospel.  Nothing more, nothing less.  His Word. God Breathed. It was through the teaching that my heart began to soften and walls came down.  The fists unclenched and my heart began to heal.  And let me teaching, I mean actual teaching from the Word.  Not topical 'how to live your best life now' sermons.  I'm talking honest to goodness exegesis of the Bible.

During this last year and under that amazing biblical teaching was when the decision came to step away from my business.  We were in the book of Jonah.  And all along I thought Jonah was just about a fish. Who knew?

And that decision was a catalyst.  Jesus became real to me again. Prayer became real to me again. The Word became real to me again. Worship was real again.

And then we missed a month of Sundays because of illness.

And then my husband lost his job.

And then I had to take on twice the business.

And then we have no health insurance.

And then bright orange lights light up in the dashboard on a 'new to us' vehicle.

And just happens.

Oh sly boy.

All of that and here I sit unwavering.  Believing and trusting in the Sovereignty of God. Knowing He has this.  All of it.

This is where the Big Stuff is.  The stuff I can share and the stuff I can't share.  The stuff I want to talk about so desperately, but the stuff I feel needs to be kept between me and Jesus for just a little longer.  The stuff that Jesus is doing in my life.

I realize this is all so very vague and part of me wants to apologize and part of me wants to savor it.  But the time is not right to share all of what the Lord is doing, but I just wanted to share with y'all that there is big stuff going on in my life.

Stuff that terrifies me and excites me all at the same time.  Stuff that just requires a LOT of prayer.  We need your prayers.  For a lot of things.  Some good and some not so good, but we do need them.

If I were on Facebook right now y'all would tell me I'm Vaguebooking.  I know I am. Frankly, I sound a little psychotic. Some of you would say, 'this is different from normal, how?'.  This IS different, I promise.

It's good. It's all good. And it's big stuff. God stuff.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Age is a funny thing.

We spend our childhood wanting nothing BUT to be older. We usually enjoy our 20's and 30's while not appreciating them and then inevitably, want the clock to slow waaay down once 40 starts showing up on our radar.

Me, personally?  I'm good.

I remember turning 40 and going into an all out panic because I was 40! My life was so over. Where's the cemetery plot.

Phtfffffffff. Whatever.

I turned 43 this year and frankly, I wear it as a badge of honor.  I've managed to raise two kids now who, by the grace of God alone, are pretty decent human beings with an above average (I believe) moral compass.  And they only need occasional therapy.

I still have 4 more under my roof, so the opportunity to completely screw those 4 up is still in the cards, however I don't stress about it near as much as I did 20 years ago when I only had one under my roof.  This is one of the joys of being over 40.

I now have the freedom to not give a rat's patooty what other people think of me.  Especially other mothers. Am I perfect? Why yes. Yes I am. Oh I kid...of course I'm not.  My little girls don't go to bed on time..EVER, my 3 1/2 year old still wets herself on a daily basis and it's not unheard of that I will, on occasion, throw out a bribe to get the girls to do things for me.

Does this make me a bad mother?

I guess that depends on who you're talking to. As for me, I'm not really concerned with what others think.  Here's why: I have enough age and experience under my belt to know that 1. my little girls will eventually start getting more regular in their bedtime routine. 2. Charlie will get completely potty trained at some point. I've yet to have a 4 year old pee pee pants. And 3. There is nothing wrong with kids occasionally making a little money on the side. Especially when mom has had it and needs a break.

I realize that this line of thinking has some people gasping... and that's okay. Take a few deep breaths, put your head between your legs if you have to and then tell yourself "It's going to be okay" about 3 times.

Feel better?

See, here's the thing.  Once upon a time, a long time ago, I let other people steal my joy away from me where my children were concerned, where my house was concerned, where my spiritual level was concerned and even where my marriage was concerned.  I spent so much time comparing myself to this person and that person that I wasn't taking the opportunity to enjoy what the good Lord had put right before me!

Age and experience have given me not only the confidence, but the sense to realize that time is fleeting and we've only got one shot at this life so why spend one more minute comparing ourselves to someone else?  Here's a tip: we don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Or outside of blogs.

mmmhhhmmm...stepped on some toes there.

Really now girls (yes, I'm speaking to the ladies here). STOP. WITH. THE. COMPARING.  Enjoy your babies! Enjoy your little laugh lines! Enjoy the experience that comes with age! I won't say you have to enjoy your gray hair, because I certainly don't enjoy mine and take every opportunity possible to color and highlight it.

Some things are meant to be colored. Hair is one of them.

All of that to say this: 43 doesn't bother me. 44 won't either and neither will 45. Besides, I've got enough on my plate at this very moment without worrying about what 44 will look like. I suspect however, that it will look much like 43 with the exception of the fact that I will finally have a pair of glasses with bifocals built in.

Losing the ability to read things at a normal distance sucks as you get older. This I will not sugar coat nor deny. Never make fun of some one who wears bifocals. It will come back to bit you in the spades.

I'm sorry I ever made fun of you, Mrs. Riffee. Please know that God, does in fact, have a sense of humor.

Anyway, the 43rd birthday was uneventful.  It was spent with my family, which is pretty much the way I like it best.

I did make my own cake because Monk forgot to order one.  I used Trader Joe's chocolate cake mix which was to die for and then I made my own homemade chocolate buttercream, which was to die for as well. No lie.

Monk and the girls bought me a Keurig, but I don't think I like it. The  coffee is SOOO unbelievably strong. Anyone else have one and like it? Don't like it? Any helpful coffee tips?

My day in the pictures is forthcoming...and in case you're birthday is on July 4th which is why everyone is in red, white and blue.

And yes, I love my birthday.  My mom was having a 'blast' when I was born. I was a little 'firecracker'. I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy.  I've heard them all.  And I still like them.

I might have sort of went a little overboard in cake pictures. You want cake now, don't you?

Sometimes, photography props work great around the house. 

This kid melts my buttah...


The single best reason to children.

Aging isn't a terrible thing.

Well except the whole bifocal thing...that's bad. Really bad.

Age is just the natural progression of life.  And as with most things, one's perception of  it will pretty much determine how much one enjoys it.

Me?  I'll be the old lady with the bright red lipstick and leopard purse the size of a tank. I  won't be growing old quietly.

All that to say this: I'm not old. I don't consider myself old. Frankly, I'm fairy immature for most women in their 40's.  I'm okay with that.  I do consider myself experienced and wiser and for me...that's awesome.

You know that whole hind sight is 20/20 thing?

It's true.