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)