Tap Out Before You Pass Out

I ran into Walmart with my five children and no list because, apparently, I don’t love myself. It was also nap time which means I had a 2-year-old ticking time bomb on my hands.

As I made my way to the coffee aisle, a sweet woman stopped me. She had two kids in her cart who were fighting over a pack of hotdogs which, I’m fairly certain, someone had already begun eating. In exasperation, she said, “How do you have everything under control?”

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Once I stopped laughing, I laid my hand on hers and looked deep into her eyes and shared the truth of the situation. I was on day two of dry shampoo because I’m too tired to wash my hair. I was wearing two mismatched socks that I may or may not have pulled out of the hamper that morning. Also, I’m pretty certain I forgot to brush the teeth of the younger two. That means only 60% of my children brushed their teeth that day. Now, I’m no math whiz (although I play one Monday through Friday in our homeschool,) but I’m pretty sure that’s a failing grade.

I was reading a Facebook post the other day where a friend of mine was listing the things that she was letting go of in the new year. She was learning the art of saying, “No.” Someone commented on her post saying that she didn’t see a need to say “no.” She felt that she needed to prepare herself in case she were a pastor’s wife one day and would need to do it all.

It was precious. I typed and deleted a comment several times. Eventually, I just closed my computer and walked away because life is too short, y’all.

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My children take judo and one of the senseis gave the best advice the other night. They were learning how to defend against choke holds during a competition. He said, “Always tap out before you pass out.”

See, in competition, if you allow yourself to pass out you are disqualified for the rest of the tournament. But, if you tap out, you may lose that round but you are able to continue competing. Instantly, I claimed that as my motherhood mantra.

Tap out before you pass out.

There is no shame in tapping out. It’s okay to say no to things that sap your energy so that you can yes to things that inspire you. It’s okay to say no to good things in order to say yes to God things. It may be necessary to tap out of the book club, the PTO or social media so that you are able to continue in the things that matter most.

Also, there’s no glory in passing out. When you’re running around looking haggard and miserable, it doesn’t do anyone any favors. It’s okay to say, “No, thank you.”

So, dear friend, if you’re feeling like a weary wreck. You have permission to tap out.

You are loved. ❤

A Silent S.O.S.

On Saturday, a little girl from Florida was kidnapped. As a mama of a little girl the same exact age, size and general appearance, it left a knot in my stomach. I watched the updates and received the Amber Alert that she had been spotted in Tennessee. I watch the three-minute surveillance video taken at a McDonald’s and, I’ll be honest, it was hard to watch.

As the little girl and her abductor stood at the counter, numerous people walked up beside them. Folks ordered cheeseburgers and probably complained that the pickles weren’t removed while standing inches from a child who desperately needed to be rescued. I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone viewed that video and saw themselves standing so incredibly close to that poor child but completely unaware.

Thankfully, that little girl was rescued; sadly, many are not.

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It made me think of the people I walk by on a daily basis. How often am I within inches of someone – in my neighborhood, workplace, grocery store, family gathering – who desperately needs to be rescued? As I go about my life, doing mundane tasks and complaining about inane things, are the people around me hurting and pleading for someone to notice?

At one point in that surveillance video, a woman walked behind the little girl and I wanted to scream, “She’s right there!” How often, as we go through our day, does God want to scream at us, “She’s right there!” He puts us right where He wants us and we don’t even notice that one of His children are in danger.

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In my neighborhood, there is one woman that crosses my path multiple times a week. We nod, smile and exchange benign greetings, but something in my spirit tells me that I’m supposed to go deeper. I could ignore the nudging or produce a dozen excuses as to why I should just let well enough alone.

I’m such an introvert.

What would I say?

She doesn’t look like me.

What if she thinks I’m a weirdo?

But then it always comes back to the one question I can’t ignore.

What if she needs to be rescued?

So, I see her walking down our street and I try to casually stand by the road. I turn to her as she passes and I introduce myself. She laughs and nods, “I know. You’re the pastor’s wife,” and we both giggle. She calls me ma’am more than once and I pretend she’s just being polite and it’s not because I’m probably fifteen years older than her.

It’s a very short conversation and she’s on her way. But now, when she walks by my house, I wave and call her by name. She smiles and waves back. She knows that she is seen by me and it’s the foundation for something more.

Look around you. Be aware. You never know who is in need of rescue.

You are loved. ❤

American Ninja Mama

I am a huge fan of shows involving obstacle courses. I love to cheer on the underdogs and, perhaps, I’m a little pleased when the overly proud ones slip early on and eliminate themselves. I am not even remotely athletic so I’ve always wondered why these types of shows appeal to me so much. Then, I took a shower last night and it all made sense. Every time I enter my bathroom it’s as if I’m participating in an obstacle course without ever signing up for it.

If you’ve ever gone to the restroom and realized (after the fact) that someone used the last roll of toilet paper and failed to replace it – then you know what I mean. You jiggle. You shake. You yell to see if anyone is within earshot. (They never are, by the way. Not unless you’re opening a candy bar.)

Then, there is the shower obstacle. You attempt to place your feet somewhere in between the Barbie dolls and the Hot Wheels. Just the other night, I pushed all of the toys to one end of the tub but failed to notice the white, rubber ball which blended quite nicely with the white tub. That was almost the one that eliminated me from any further competition.

A photo by David Cohen. unsplash.com/photos/wD5LMt3ElT4

My personal favorite part of the show is when I attempt to wash my hair and must determine which bottles actually contain shampoo and which ones have been filled with week old bath water. Trust me, getting that one wrong is quite unpleasant.

Let’s say, by chance, you are one of the superior competitors who survive the shower scene. That’s about the time you open the linen closet and find that the towels have all mysteriously disappeared. Oh, sure, there is one limp, slightly damp towel laying on the floor. Do you dare?

Why is the towel wet? Did it dry a clean body fresh from the shower or was it used to mop up an overflowed toilet? You take a quick sniff and go for it. This ain’t your first shake yourself dry on the potty, almost die from a rubber ball in the shower, wash your hair in dirty bathwater and dry yourself off with a questionable towel obstacle course.

No, ma’am. You can do this thing.

How to Become a Mom Who Says, “Yes”

Speaking of phony, what are your thoughts on generic brands? Because I don’t really mind them. I’m all about saving some grocery money. So, I will buy the Smacker’s grape jam or the Not-quite-a-miracle whip. I learned the hard way, however, that there is no substitute for a good ol’ fashioned pizza roll.

I even buy the not-really-Oreos Oreos. They seem the same to me but, truth be told, I don’t even like Oreos anyway. I know, it’s crazy. Chocolate cookies and cream seem like a win-win combination. But, alas, they do nothing for me. My husband, on the other hand, loves a good Oreo and I am very guilty of buying the discount brand.

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I thought I would share with you a new thing I have implemented. Actually, that might be building it up a little too much. It isn’t really a thing – more like something that only takes place in my head but has helped my attitude a great deal lately.

I don’t know about you but, sometimes, my default response to pretty much any question is “No”.

Can we have ice cream for lunch?

No.

Can we play Uno?

No.

Can we take all of your measuring cups and use them in the bathtub?

No. 

It’s enough to make me roll my eyes at my own self, for crying out loud.

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So, I have come up with a new game for myself. Seriously, it’s just for me and I am the only one that even knows the game is on. Here is how it works.

When I feel myself getting a little too quick with the “no-s,” I play Three Yeses in a Row. {It is obvious when it’s time because the kids start prefacing their questions with “Mommy, I know you’re going to say no but can we…”}

In my mind, I decide that I am going to say “Yes” to the next three questions from any child. Now I know, going into this, that I may end up painting 40 fingernails or scraping dried bits of play doh off of the kitchen table for the next three days. I may end up getting my tail kicked in a game of Mario Cart. But, you know what, I always feel better. And I can’t help but giggle at the shock on a kid’s face when I say, “sure, you can have a cookie even though it’s 8:30 in the morning.” It’s just good fun is all I can tell you.

And it keeps the kids on their toes. Never let it be said that they have this mama figured out.

So, if you feel like you’re always being the bad guy. If you hear yourself saying “no” WAY too much. Then, I challenge you to a little game of Three Yeses in a Row. Let me know how it goes.

I love y’all more than a Sunday afternoon nap.


*Repost from the archives

How to Hear From God When Life is Loud

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Life is crazy loud. Do you know what I mean?

For instance, at this very moment, I have some men remodeling my bathroom upstairs. I also have one child watching her 35th episode of Doc McStuffins, one child listening to a math lesson on the computer, and two children playing in the play room. I also have one potty training toddler who just peed on my foot and demanded a treat.

I also have had some devotional thoughts that I have wanted to share but I’m saving them for my newest devotional project which will be coming out next year. Every time I am tempted to blog them I have to remind myself, “You can’t tell those stories.” It’s kind of like when Kramer sold all of his stories to Elaine’s boss to be used in a book. Then, when Kramer went to tell a story to his friends, Elaine stopped him and said, “You can’t tell that story. It now belongs to Mr. Peterman.”

Sometimes I’m desperate to hear from God but I’m all, “Lord, what did You say? It’s too loud up in here!”

Then, I read this verse.

Be silent in the presence of the Lord God…  Zephaniah 1:7

It occurred to me that my world doesn’t have to be quiet in order for me to hear from God – I’m the one who needs to be quiet. Everything around me doesn’t have to suddenly be still – I’m the one who needs to stop and listen.

Maybe that speaks to you, too? Does life seem so loud that it drowns out the voice of the Father? I promise you that God can speak over any noise you have going on right now. It isn’t your home that needs to be silent, but your heart.

You are loved. ❤