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off switch.

May 13, 2012

I spent the first 6 days of our 7 day vacation last month trying to figure out why I couldn’t seem to unwind or relax.  It took me those 6 days to realize that when vacationing with your baby, there is no mommy ‘off switch’ and relaxation may never come.  Even when your feet are in the sand, your brain is still focused on the baby NOT getting swept away in the surf.  Vacations are henceforth dedicated to the fine art of “creating memories” for the family.  Gone are the days of mixed drinks and dark tans.

But on the last day we caught the best sunset.

The three of us sat together in the sand.  Judah actually HATES the sand, so he sat in my lap with his head nuzzled in my shoulder.  And I just kept thinking about a day 17 years from now when he obviously will be too big to fit on my beach chair.  I won’t be able to lean into that nuzzle.

I mean, with a typical vacation, there are moments when you just want to memorize the feeling of being warm and seeing something beautiful and maybe even feeling beautiful.  Because you know eventually Monday morning will find you and you will need to rely on that moment to nourish your overly abused patience.  But there’s something totally different about experiencing those moments with your child.

Because even next year, if we take the same exact trip, and we see the same exact sunset… maybe he will want to be in his own beach chair.

Independence is creeping up at an alarming rate.

So I didn’t just try to memorize this moment.  I am trying to recreate it every day.  Even if it’s at 1 AM in his rocking chair.  Instead of closing my eyes and trying to fake sleep, I keep them open, watch him watching me, and remember the aching feeling of 17 years from now.  There is no beach or orange spectrum sky, but he is there.

Everything all those more seasoned mothers said about it all “going so fast” is true.  I want to freeze us in time so that my back is always strong enough to pick him up, and his legs are too small to carry him too far away.

I’m just being overly sentimental because it’s Mother’s Day and I’m allowed.  And also, he’s just very cute.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of those out there who have felt the “17 years from now” ache.

Love,
His Sassy Momma

i was a horrible friend.

January 23, 2012

2011 Sucked.  There, was that prolific enough for you? I keep trying to talk myself out of it because it just feels like I should ONLY be focusing on the goodness of every day.  But a broad spectrum, big picture look back on the year of 2011 has me sticking my thumb out, turning it down and making overt fart noises.

Wanna know why it sucked?  I’ll tell you.

I was a horrible friend.

This year one of my best friends had a miscarriage.  Having never experienced that specific trauma, I had no idea how to react.  I let the weight of it sit on my heart for a few days.  I sent her my condolences via email.  I text her to see how she was doing.  I even thought about sending a card and maybe some flowers.  But I wasn’t sure how to react with the highest level of appropriateness.  So instead I did nothing.  Well actually, I did the bare minimum.  I let her know I was sorry and then I left her alone to grieve in her own way.  Months later, I brought it up again, almost casually.  We talked about it a little and then she thanked me for asking about it.  It seems I wasn’t the only one who had left her to her own grieving.  Not even her husband knew how to tread that murky water.  I had made a mistake, for which I will forever be sorry.  I should have sent those flowers.  I should have been there to see her.  To just sit there with her.  She lost her child.  And I thought silence was the best medicine.  Dumby dumb dumb.

In the Fall of last year we left our church.  It is one of only two situations in my life that I was unceremoniously ripped away from some very important relationships in my life.  Two times in 28 years…that ain’t bad.  I call that a win actually.  But in the aftermath I was left pretty exhausted from the lack of communication from some people that I loved very dearly.  I didn’t get the response I expected, because I expected those friendships to continue without hesitation.  And when they didn’t, I was obviously incredibly sad.  But the few I did hear from expressed that they didn’t particularly know how to approach the situation and the temptation to do nothing was strong.

It is so strong isn’t it?  I can think back now on all the times I did nothing.  All the friends I didn’t follow into the depths of sadness because of the overwhelming fear that I wouldn’t have the perfect thing to say.  When obviously they didn’t even want to hear the perfect thing.  They just needed to know I loved them enough to be their friend.  That’s why in wedding vows we have to remind each other that the relationship is bound through good and bad times.  We don’t give each other a choice to do nothing.

But friends aren’t forever.  Despite whatever Michael W. Smith has told you.   We get a few years, more if we are lucky.  Jobs and family and circumstance tend to move us around and separate us over time.  But in the short amount of time we have, I wish we would take the role more seriously.  I wish I would.  Not only in the times that I’m feeling rejected and hurt by the loss of a friend.

I want to do better when I get the chance again.  When God refills my friend supply, I want to do so much more than nothing.  I know the pain of being the neglector, and also the pain of being the neglected.

Neither of them interest me any longer.

I love you dear friends.  Enough to do much more than nothing.

Your sassy friend,
Bella

 

 

peripheral party skills.

January 9, 2012

I didn’t make a single resolution this year.  Not that anyone asked.  In fact, I’ve been surprisingly shocked at the lack of people interested in my lack of resolution for 2012.  I feel like every year I get put on the spot for weeks with people asking how I’ve vowed to make myself better in the coming year.  And truthfully, had someone asked I probably would have made a few up.  But since you didn’t ask, I’ll only relish in my personal laziness for the next 12 months.

Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss.

Okay but if I had one goal going forward, I’d say it’s probably maturing my party skills.

That may sound strange, especially considering I don’t really get invited to many parties.  But I’ve discovered that may be all wrapped up in the fact that I’ve never quite honed in on my could-be-amazing party skills.  This point was made all too obvious when I attended my last (one and only) party of 2011.  I was catching up on some irreverent, childlike conversation with my bestie Jen (whom I only see once a year if I’m lucky, but I talk to almost daily and if I could I would post all of our email exchanges here because they are a perfect and hilarious look into the lives of two women who both work, adore their families and also respect the occasional fart joke) when all of a sudden we noticed from our peripheral vision that another person was standing close enough to our two person huddle that they may actually be considered part of our conversation.

This is when things get weird and then later weirder.  Because just as I am recalling an epic instance of hilarity from when Jen and I worked together so many years ago, this peripheral person hurriedly and randomly jumped in with an introduction.  Followed quickly by what seemed a fast game of “getting to know you by asking strange and obscure questions that seem a little too personal for a complete peripheral stranger”.

After I felt this person was sufficiently caught up on too much of my life, I turned to Jen, clapped my hands in exultation and said “OMG I TOTALLY FORGOT TO TELL YOU!…..”.  With only 5 more words into the story, Peripheral Person stepped right on in and ruined it all by pointing out that I wasn’t “LOOKING AT HER ENOUGH!!”.  By now she was certainly involved enough in this conversation for me to give her at least 25% of my eye contact.  Those were her words not mine.  I don’t even know what most of those words mean.

So obviously, since I flunked out of every public speaking class I ever paid for, I immediately started darting my eyes all around in different directions at the start of every new word.  Leaving no time for me to think through the use of inflection or emotion or even vowels.  The story was ruined and by the time it was over, the entire room had cleared out for fear of a contagious brain fungus that had obviously taken me mentally hostage.

When driving home later that evening, I wondered to myself if I had found myself in an isolated event in which one random person had maybe crossed the line in proper party conversation.  Or if perhaps she was right…and I just suck at parties.

Regardless of who is right, Peripheral Person has a point.

Going forward, I will now force myself into every possible, and even private conversation that I can.  I will then immediately look for any small break in dialogue to introduce myself.  And then politely take the opportunity to point out any and all flaws I can see in their interpersonal communication.

BAM.

Suddenly my social calendar fills up and 2012 becomes my most fulfilled year eva.

I’m sassier than your momma,
Bella

one tree and not two.

December 19, 2011

A few weeks ago we hosted a lovely little dinner party.  That’s right world, we have friends willing to dine with us, in our home, without bribe.

Shortly after the food was consumed and the conversation had begun to run dry (I never claimed to be an entertaining host), my husband decided he would liven the evening with a game of “would you rather”.  For those of you who are not familiar with the wonderful world of “would you rather” it is a game wherein you are given a choice of two alternatives.  Such as “would you rather have a face covered with warts or noxious poisonous breath?”.

Typically, these questions rarely stray much farther than the gross, the shallow, the shocking.  But one question sparked an interesting conversation, one I haven’t stopped weighing.

“Would you rather be have a marriage full of passion or stability?”

I immediately shouted “STABILITY!” which garnered some expressive reaction from our guests.  Of course, Chris looked at me and agreed by saying “I’m voting stability…no question”.

I should go back and explain the demographic of the room.  Chris and myself, who have only been married for 3 years.  One soon to be married couple.  One dating couple.  And one single dude.

All of the young un-marrieds and soon to be marrieds of course gaged and made comments like “I’d rather die than live a day without passion in my marriage”.  Annnnnd immediately the guilt crept up.

What if my marriage is supposed to be passionate all the time and I’ve just lost that loving feeling???  What if these young loves know something that I don’t?  That I’m slowly sucking the life out of myself, my husband and everyone in our home?  What if they are all judging me???  What if this is the last time we ever see them????

And so I’ve thought about it a lot, and though I’m totally content with your gags, I have decided that I’m still right (what’s new, right?).  And to further express my feeling, this week I came across this quote on a favorite blog:

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.

Louis De Bernieres

I’m feeling good about saying I don’t have passion in my marriage 24 hours a day. Or, if I’m being honest, even 24 days in the year. What I have is something better.  Something rarer.  For what is lacking in passion is the strengthening of ourselves to each other…

And to that I say, let’s just keep digging roots.

we thought we had a ghost.

December 8, 2011

I thought for a bit we were experiencing a poltergeist.  Turns out, it’s just my son who’s really just into rearranging everything in my cabinets and drawers to his contentment.

Obviously I don’t care.  It makes me giggle endlessly.  I do however, need to find a new place to keep the toilet bowl cleaner….and birth control pills.

weak knees.

December 5, 2011

As a Christ follower, often we find ourselves living in these ebbs and flows of our faith.  Seasons of focus only on the reality and truth of Him.  Other seasons focused only on the pleasure or pain of ourselves.

Lately I’ve thought much of myself.  Much of my failures.  Much of my wasted time.  Much of my negative heart.  Much of worthlessness.  It’s such a dangerous thing to be thinking much of.  I can excuse it away and claim to be introspectively doing inventory on sin in preparation for a season of repair.  But in truth I will tell you that IT is sin.  It’s a series of lies I actively choose to listen to, dwell on and ultimately believe.

It creates thick barriers between my heart and His.  It puts a layer of dust on my bible and creates weak knees, incapable to support healthy prayer.  It’s a constant reminder to the soul that I am unloved, unlovable and unloving.  It paints a picture of a future I not only fear, but believe to be unavoidable.

Truthfully, I’ve spoken so much lately concerning my excitement for the upcoming Christmas season, in large part because of the intentional focus on the person of Christ.  Finally, I’ll be encouraged and expected and assisted in ending this season of selfish destruction.

I’ve had countless people over the last 30 days approach me to say the sometimes easily forgotten words, “I’ll be praying for you”.  I hope sincerely that they weren’t forgotten.  They were needed.  They continue to be needed.

And if I had my way, this is how you would be doing it….

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”

Ephesians 1:16-21 ESV

Please don’t pray for my situation.  Or my finances.  Or my dumb tired car.  Pray that I get hit in the face with the truth and wholeness of His glory.  I want to understand the cross so clearly that it keeps me up at night.  So much so, that when I think upon my worthlessness, it doesn’t build a dark cloud around my soul.  But it reminds me just how beautiful I am, surrounded in grace, bathed in mercy and headed towards glory.

And please, if you are in a place like this, in need of prayer, allow me to join you.  All you have to do is ask.

With all the love and honesty in my heart,
Your Sassy Bella
 

 

it’s a disgrace.

November 29, 2011

So I was going to make November a blogging month. About every 6 months or so, I decide that I’m a writer and I jot down something of importance every single day. By the end I realize I have nothing productive to add to society except for a few lengthy opinions on the lack of innovation in toilet paper over the last 60 years. Because, I mean seriously, is this really the best we can do? We can split the atom, but we are still cleaning ourselves with the thinnest, most rip-able, least saturating material known to the human race? Even in triple-ply it’s a disgrace.

And see, I’ve already ruined it.

That being said, November was a wrecking ball for us. But we’ve moved on. We are now back to discussing shoddy toilet paper and I’ve decided I’m a writer once again.

To kick off this enlightened writing season, I took a long hot bath last night and mentally prepared my first written post of my new writing career. And ever since I toweled off I’ve been trying my damnest to remember what it was about. I assure you it was brilliant and life changing, and I for one am a better woman for having thought it up.

I’m very sorry you can’t read it now.

I can go back to the toilet paper thing if it helps….

With all the love in my heart,

Your Sassy Writer (but not really so much)