Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Everyone already knows that Miley's an idiot

I know the title is harsh, but her mistake was obvious and public.  Her public scrutiny and possible downfall will be played out in the media and she'll somehow pay for it.  Whether it be embarrassment, or financially or losing fame she will be called to task on her public display of lewdness.  And she should be.  It's sad that she felt like that behavior would be socially acceptable.  And as a warning to all of the young girls and women in my life I will not let you become another Miley Cyrus just like this mom won't let her daughter be one either.

But I'm wondering how many of us have any idea what Mr. Thicke was up there singing about on that stage?  I was curious and so I went and read his lyrics.  I also had the unfortunate experience of watching his video which I will need some healing before I recover from.

He's singing about women wanting it.  At one point in the video letter balloons cover a wall which reads "Robin Thicke has a big #$%@" Apparently if Miley is starving for attention and wanting to know she's beautiful and desirable.  We should all consider Mr. Thicke's ego as well.  He needs to hear this affirmation from a lot of people, so much that he's willing to make a music video to let people know they should tell him this.

Furthermore, if you read the lyrics to his song you will possibly find yourself educated in ways you will not enjoy.  Mr. Thicke apparently has a tendency toward a culture that would not find a woman's yes in the bedroom to be valued.  Now, of course, I don't know Mr. Thicke personally (for which I'm thanking God at the moment).  I'm only observing what he sings about and what I see in his music video.  But while I think Miley is an idiot.  I think that people who promote the idea of force are far more than idiots; they are dangerous.

Are we either still so entrenched in a male dominated society that we automatically excuse him simply because he's a man?  Or is it that we are so oblivious to the words and the constant stream of information barreling toward us on a daily basis that we're not even paying attention the words in the songs we are singing?  (Not that I'm singing that song, but plenty of other people are)

At one point in his video a nearly naked woman has a miniature stop sign on her butt, I will spare you the details of what happens following that.  Seriously people, we need to wake up!  Miley was misguided and stupid and lewd and foul, but if you watch her 'dance' in light of knowing where the song came from it becomes more logical.  She somehow got suckered into this idea that putting yourself out there in the way that she did it was attractive.  Part of the way she got suckered into that very well could have come from her singing partner up on stage.

Neither are acceptable behaviors.  Like the mom at the website I linked to, I won't allow my daughter to become a Miley.  But I also won't allow my sons to become Robin Thicke or men who affirm women for lewdly cheapening themselves for public display.  We're all responsible for the media we take in and the behavior we affirm.  Both men and women.

If we consume what is lewd and foul.  We will become what is lewd and foul.  So Eowyn, you will not be leaving the house in a vinyl bikini.  Rowan and Harvey, I'm sure you won't want to leave the house in a vinyl bikini, but you're going to have other lessons to learn.

What a yes is and that no is a word that stands alone and is always honored.
How to treat a woman with respect and honor and how to make her feel special and not cheap.
Your words matter and how you speak about and to people matter.
Loving another person is an honor and a gift and should be reverenced in that way.

My littles might not appreciate learning the lessons as they're taught but they will thank me later.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Early Riser

I woke up this morning at 5:48 it was time to give myself a good talking to.  I had a come to Jesus moment and it had to do with my language.  Don't everyone hold their breath it wasn't the swearing that I was having a moral crisis over.  It was the way I talk to my children.  I don't swear at my kids mind you, but I can be harsh.  My tone, my snappy nature, the immediacy with which I want them to do things.  

It's inappropriate.  
It's unacceptable.  
It's not my heart for my children.  
It's not loving.  
It's unkind.  

They are modeling it with how they talk to each other.  And that is NOT OKAY!  So I sat with myself this morning.  Satan had his way for about 5 minutes being my accuser, his forte, before I let God take over...

I may or may not have just jumped up yelling at my kids while typing this blog post.  Because Satan, he's a smart one.  He knows if he defeats me in the middle of this post it won't get written.  And if it doesn't get written it doesn't get published then I might not get the support I need in this area and other people might not get the motivation they need to begin speaking more kindly to those that they love.  

Life has been stressful lately.  I wish a had a word that was more weighty than stressful.  I'll settle for uber stressful.  It has not all be bad stress, although the stress that was bad stress was of some of the worse kind.  As a result I have somehow excused myself for the way I am speaking to my littles.  This folks is not okay.  They are children.  They are my children and although they exited this body that does not give me the right to treat them as if they are less important than me.  

I have had the crap of people treating their own family members however they want to and being pleasant as pie to everyone else.  What kind of a hypocrite would I be if I exercised that type of behavior myself?  I'll tell you, a pharisee type of hypocrite.  The kind that says - this is how you should behave, but you know what, my life is harder than yours so I'm not going to hold myself to that standard.  

That's not me folks.  That's not how I'm going to be, I'm not okay with that either.  

Here's the deal: I'm not perfect.  I'm a mom of three kids, young kids, who have more energy than 30 beagle puppies. I am doing this alone, and yes, that makes it a lot harder.  Much harder than most people realize.  If everyone I know throws their troubles in a pile chances are no one is going to trade their troubles for mine.  No one wants to be me right now and that's ok.  But if I use those things to cushion my ego and allow myself 'wiggle room' in how I treat my kids then I am a hypocrite.  

I can use those things to excuse a messy house, or frozen pizza dinners or my abhorrently long to do list.  I use those things to excuse my now constantly scatterbrained nature.  But I can never use those things or any other stressors in my life to excuse how I treat other people. 

Even if those people are 7 and under, 
Even if those people are here because I gave them life, 
Even if those people have a shrill scream that can make every dog in a 3 mile radius come running
Even if those people own legos - I hate legos
Even if those people cause me to be sleep deprived on regular basis
Even if those people are perpetually hungry and demanding about it
Even if those people will only ever constantly drink chocolate milk
Even if those people don't understand that their mommy just wants a little peace and quiet
Even if those people are talking to me before I have had my coffee
Even if those people solely use the tone of voice known as whining

Because those people are still people.  Whether they are my people or your people, they are definitely God's people.  God loves his people.  He loves even you, even when you're screaming and losing your shit because you're tired, you've been doing physical labor all day and there's no food in the house and all you want is something real to eat and to lay down.  He loves you then.  But he also is loving your children in that moment and he's loving them despite the fact that their hearts are hurting because you hurt their feelings.  

I'm going to say it.  I have hurt my kids' feelings.  That right there makes me feel like a failure.  I have a choice in this moment.  I can choose to embrace this feeling of defeat, I can beat myself up and I can lament on how horrible a person I am.  I can even tell myself that this moment when I screwed up defines me as a person.  


I can choose another path.  God's path, a path of life and light.  This path is the one where I say:

Shannon, you screwed up.  Pretty majorly.  You said some things or used a tone that you're going to have a really difficult time forgiving yourself for.  You're concerned that the littles won't forgive you as well.  But you know how to fix this.  It's not hard.  You apologize, you get down on their level look them in their eyes and own it.  You ask them for their forgiveness, you accept that it might be instantaneous or that it might take a long while.  

After that, you develop a plan.  Because you know this is not how you're going to live your life.  The plan has to include you deciding what is and isn't worth losing your mind over.  The kids running into the street - go ahead honey, feel free lose it.  Shoes - totally not worth it.  Pick them up and throw them (the shoes, not the kids) in the car.  

Then the plan is pretty simple, monitor yourself.  If you're getting out of sync you know that you're more prone to lose it, so make sure you're taking care of everyone in your family not just the kids, take care of yourself too.  

Part of loving others well is loving yourself well.  When we have been ignoring and neglecting our own needs for sleep, good food, time to work out, etc, we are more likely to be short tempered with those we love.  While we're called to love our neighbors as ourselves sometimes we need to remember that our neighbors can inhabit the same four walls we do.  Make sure your mini neighbors are getting enough sleep, enough good food and enough exercise and enough momma snuggles.  Maybe just maybe you'll get lucky and they'll be a little less tyrannical with you.  And if not, if you've met your own needs (to the best of your ability) maybe you'll be better able to deal with the tyranny with grace.

I understand that some of you have highly stressful 60 hours a week jobs, others of you are managing toddlers and nursing little ones, so good sleep, exercise and preparing food all seem outside of your capabilities right now.  Try to find the grace that is needed to meet those needs in small ways for yourself.  I just know that no one wants to get their children successfully breathing to adulthood only to look back with a broken heart on the way you got them there.  

I want to look back after my children have flown the coop and be able to say, wow, I was far from perfect, but I followed God's most important command while they were mine and I loved them as well as I loved myself.  That is an admonition to love myself better and to love them realizing they are fully people now even as mini ones.  Tone, words, body language is something they notice, and they are not immune to yours.  

God give me the grace to love them well.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

I wish life would slow down

I get these calls, and texts from friends a lot.  I can't keep up with your life.  I talked to you last week and 4 major changes have happened since then.  I know, I know.  I shake my head and do my best to fill them in over the chaos of my littles and in between Hebrew and computer work.  Then in the most helpful manner I drop out of the blogging world in an almost drastic manner, causing the rest of my acquaintances, distant family members and random blog readers to also be in the dark.  Not to mention that half the time I am trying to catch those close to me up on my life, something begs my attention in the middle of a half-finished, never to be revisited conversation.  

It's annoying.  I get annoyed at the constant changes, the lack of worldly stability.  Although I know the rock on which my life stands, it's grating to have a tornado of chaos surrounding me.  Lately my soul has been crying out for some temporal peace.  I know that everything here, schedules, houses, money will one day pass away, but it would be great God if there could be a little more continuity in those things for me.  I need that.  My littles need it.  My friends would like to stop throwing up their hands in wonder at how my life will change in the next 24 hours.  

In the times when I allow the chaos to overwhelm me I feel my soul shrink a bit.  To shield out all the noise it goes into self-protection mode.  However, I am trying to embrace a new paradigm.  I'm trying to press into the chaos and realize there is a lesson for me here.  The only rock I have left to stand on in life is God.  I have nothing earthly I can depend on.  I'm sure there are friends and family members who are here for me, but my earthly resources are zapped.  My soul needs rest but my life doesn't allow for that. 

Like many moms out there right now, I'm waiting for school to start for things to slow down.  Although it is a normal to feel that way I don't like it. I want to squeeze in a million fun more memories before the summer ends but I'm hanging on for the ride in between setting up our new home finishing my summer class and getting everyone ready for the next phase. Let us be real folks that phase begins in 4 days people! FOUR DAYS!?!??!  Are you kidding me? I have no idea how everything necessary is going to happen in those days. 

But life has slowed down a little, though y'all might not see it.  There is the beginning of routine, a presence of budding simplicity is starting and family dinners are returning as a normal way of life.  This feeds my soul.  It feeds my littles' souls as well.  Makes room for us to breathe more easily.  

Life will not be easy beginning four days from now.  It will be busy, but it will have a rhythm.  Having all of us out of the house on a daily basis ready to go somewhere and be gone for the day will be challenging.  I don't relish the return of the morning rush.  But here's what I love:

I love that I can walk my kids to school.  And all of the benefits that will have for our health and connection, the conversations we can have (assuming the whining isn't drowning that possibility).

I love that we are all excited about what we are beginning right down to the littlest little Eowyn.

I love that we are settled in our new home.  My kids love it here and we can stay here for a while.  It feels like home and I love that.

I love that we are all increasing in our patience with one another, I see it in my kids and in myself.

Oh, and I love the free curtains I'm making out of my fabric stash with all the free time I do not have.  

Life may not slow down.  At least not in the schedule or calendar sense, but I have found solitude and I will make room in my schedule for rest, God, and lots of love.  Because while chaos shrinks the soul.  Finding peace within the chaos is a test of character.  

Yesterday I did a full day of orientation at my new seminary.  I've been taking one class this summer but now I start full time.  So they do a little orientation thingy.  They asked some serious questions one of which being: how do you take care of yourself?   It was sad folks, I didn't have a single answer for them.  My love (sorry that's all the info you get on him for now) turned to me later and said "Babe I want you to take that question seriously." He was right and I knew it was an issue so here's the game plan folks:

1) Get sleep no less than 6 hours in bed every night, I know what time the alarm needs to be set so I have to work within that structure on the nighttime end.  
2) Dinner every night that I am home with my kids around a table even if it only lasts 10 minutes because they are crazy kids.  Even if it's not homemade from scratch and they won't eat the green stuff.
3) Write and talk to God every day even if it's only for ten minutes, just do it.
4) Find some semblance of an ability to work out, if it's walk the kids to school and then run home, so be it, but find a way to do it.  
5) Schedule time to relax every week and do nothing, ideally with all my people for not less than 4 hours.  

So that's my method embracing solitude within the chaos.  If I care for myself then care for my littles, my love and the world will naturally follow.  Wonder women doesn't exist, neither does superman. Find your balance, solitude and peace are waiting for you.