Saturday, March 21, 2015

Random Observations from an Afternoon at the DMV

  • The DMV attracts a potpourri of people. And not necessarily in a sweet smelling way.                                                                                           
  • Chloe and I spent the entire time whispering so as not to get our butts kicked from humorous comments gleaned from people mocking watching. We also tried to laugh quietly and wipe our laughing tears before they ran down our cheeks.
  • The sign that says NO ABUSIVE LANGUAGE OR CONDUCT is up for a reason. This has probably been a problem at some point…..possibly it is a daily problem…..and I think I know why.
  • Most of the people that work there seem very crabby. Nothing you do will remedy this situation.

  • The first thing Chloe said to me was, “I don’t think I like it here.” (I hear ya, kiddo.)
  • There were several large wads of human hair under the chairs in front of us. I can only imagine the circumstance that caused them to appear.
  • All signs are handwritten and stuck up with tape. Can they not order appropriate signage? At the very least, does no one there have a computer and printer? Or access to a laminator?
  • We hoped for “sunglasses on her head lady” because she seemed the nicest. We hoped against “handwritten cashier sign lady” because she was very frowny faced.
  • We heard “sunglasses on her head lady” say to the man in front of us, “If you don’t have that part memorized, it’s written on the wall.” What?
  • It was hard to figure out when we were going to be next. F 229, F 230, H 111, B 124, H 112, H 113, A 145, F 231. We were F 231…..which should follow directly behind F 230. This is not the case. I think they do this to keep us off balance and make sure they somehow have a mental advantage.
  • At one point someone was called to “Window 10.” This must’ve been a super secret window because there were only windows 1-6.
  • While Chloe was taking her vision test and reading off line 5 “sunglasses on her head lady” (Yay! We got her!) was in no way paying attention to her answers. She was instead filling out a form. This makes me a smidge concerned that many of the people on the road may not actually be able to see the road.

  • Roaming DMV workers wore lanyards with laminated name badges. We were impressed that they were not handwritten with stick figure pictures.
  • Three lanyard wearing workers were needed to help translate a test for one person.                                                                                                      
  • Apparently speaking English is in no way a requirement to get a driver's license.
  • The handmade “No Cheating” type sign was the only sign where highlighter was applied to stress the importance of said sign. However, a man taking the test, opening his wallet, and reading off a card was in no way reprimanded, even though there was a official lanyard wearing man nearby.                                                                                                       
  • Chloe immediately used hand sanitizer when we got to the car. Please note that we are not normally hand sanitzer using people. Such was the icky.  
  • Chloe passed with a 100%. I’m sure some people pass with a D-. These are the people with whom we share the road.                                                                                                                                                 
  • All's well that ends well.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I used to think I was brave.
 I would go and do without fear.
I would try without question.
I would never look to the consequences.
I could only see the now of it all.

I look back and see that as mere fearlessness.
It’s not the same as brave.

Now, I’m brave.
 I fear.
I see.
I swallow 
I struggle.
 I move slowly.
So slowly.
But, forward.

I fear and I go.
 And I do.
 And I try.
And I fail.
And I succeed.

I used to think I had to do extraordinary things to be a success.
There had to be glory in the outcome.
There had to be something.
Something measurable.

Now I live in the daily.
The small.
The repetitive.
The normal.
The constant.
The real.

I am ordinary.
I am strong.

And I persevere.
And that's life.
And that's brave.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Never Say Never

You’ve got something. I know you do. It’s that thing that you say you never would or never could do. You are emphatic about it. Your foot’s down. Your arms are crossed in front of you. There is a look in your eye that says, “No way.”

I had something. Actually, I’ve had several somethings over the years. This is what I’ve learned. Never is a word you might just eat. I’m here to tell you, every time I’ve eaten “never” for lunch, I’ve been blessed beyond words.

Here is one of my latest “nevers.” I could never homeschool. Absolutely, there is no way I would ever homeschool. Good grief, who would even want to homeschool? Yeah. I said all that. If you know me, you know I’m not a kid person. Oh, I love my kiddos…I’d just prefer that they spent at least six and a half hours a day not at home. I had gotten to a point where I could go to lunch with the girls. I could have alone time. My house was as clean as it had ever been. I even had a ministry position I loved. Then, for a variety of reasons, homeschool was the obvious best choice for three of my children. Can you imagine my horror? But, I stepped out, sucked it up, and did what I felt I needed to do.

Even as some of you read this, you’re thinking, “But, my never is a firm, for real never. I can’t.” Know what? It makes me chuckle to myself. Know why? God is tricky. You dig in your heels and God smiles. He whispers to your heart to do it anyway, because what you’re really saying is “I can’t do this on my own.” Oh yes. That is God’s specialty. He comes along side us and enables us to do things we could never do on our own.

I have to say, in the middle of the process. I kept wondering if I could trust God. Look at this,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.”
If I had leaned on my own understanding and not trusted in what was becoming clear was His plan for our family, I would’ve missed out on terrific blessing. And after all, if we keep on only doing things in our skill set or only things we like doing…….where is the WOW in that?

I get lots of Wow’s these days. People know that this is something God is doing through me. Oh yes, I can homeschool. God has come alongside me and filled in the gaps. And after a full year of teaching, I even like it. That’s huge. That’s something bigger than me. That brings Glory to God.

Of course, it’s something different for you. Do yourself a favor. Take a step back and look at whatever your “I could never….” might be. Maybe God would like you to eat your words, too.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

The above blog is a piece I wrote a while back for a guest spot at brendagarrison.com. I was doing a bit of blog tidying tonight and I thought I'd repost here. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


In January of this year, I said farewell to my uterus. I even had a party. It wasn’t a sad occasion. I was so happy to see it go. It had been nothing but trouble for years. But, I felt like it should be honored for it’s diligent service and contribution to bringing my four delightful children into the world.

Since we’re being so open about my body parts, I feel like I can tell you I still have my ovaries. I wasn’t opposed to keeping them. They were and are still behaving.

Now, the weird part about having ovaries and no uterus, is that I have invisible periods. This means once a month I get crabby, but have no physical indication of why. It’s a strange thing and maybe it would be easier to predict if I would make a chart of crabby days and happy days, but I’m just not that organized. So I go for the Russian roulette surprise effect when dealing with my moods. I’m not sure my family is in favor of this method. But, it is what it is.

I’m getting to the part of the story that I really wanted to share. Sorry you had to wade through all that other stuff to get here. But really, if you know me, you probably expected it. Here’s the deal. After the surgery, my hormones and emotions and all my thoughts and feelings got a little out of wack. I’ve heard this is very normal. It didn’t feel very normal to me because I’ve been living a very steady, mostly stable, non-emotion controlled life for around nine years.

My youngest will be ten in less than a week. If you keep up with my children’s ages, that means they will be 10, 11, 12, and 17. I know, right? No, of course I didn’t do that on purpose. But, surprises are good. Anyhoo, back it up to ages 0, 1, 2 and 7 through 1, 2, 3, and 8. Life was difficult, to say the least. But, this was also the darkest, most hopeless, most confusing year of my life. And, quite frankly, I’d dealt with divorce and single parenting, and that didn’t even come close to the way my emotions turned on me that year. Nothing was wrong in my life. Sure, I was busy and sleep deprived, but I really had a wonderful life.

I suspected post-partum depression. I really didn’t do anything about it, though. I just figured it would go away with time.  It didn’t. By the time the littlest guy was six months old, I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t want to leave my bed. I didn’t answer the phone. And I let very few people into my life, and pushed others out. It was by the Grace of God that I could care for the children.

I would say, for the next six months I tried and tried to get myself out of the pit. I couldn’t. My husband was helpful and supportive, but there was nothing he could figure out to do to help me. Eventually, at a routine doctor visit, I saw a pamphlet that caught my eye. It was about depression. Real depression. It had a self-assessment to fill out. I could check every box. I brought it back to the doctor with tears in my eyes and just handed it to her. Yes. This was what was wrong with me.

We had a nice long talk that ended with her writing me a prescription for Prozac. Oh, I can tell you, that didn’t make me happy. Oh, great. I was “officially” nuts. I didn’t know anyone who took medications. Good grief, I was a freak. But, daily I swallowed my pills. And eventually, I swallowed my pride and started talking to other women. And you know what? I was far from alone. I would tell someone and she would whisper, “yeah, me too.” I would tell someone else, and they would laugh and say, “me too.” On and on it went, the bolder I got in sharing, the louder the “me too’s.”

Not everyone I shared with had the same problem. But, many.  And I didn’t have a bad experience in sharing with anyone. No one called me kookoo and started to avoid me. I totally believe that not one person thought less of me. And I started to wonder why we were all keeping this ridiculous secret. By this time, I was feeling much better. And by much better, I mean, I was me again. I really didn’t even know I was gone. But, I was back. Now, I know prescriptions are not  the answer for everyone. I’m not suggesting that they are. But, in my case, totally, unequivocally, it changed my life.

I would find this out the hard way, when on random occasions I would deem myself “better” and quit the meds. I’ll just say, that never went well. My hubby would eventually ask the question, “Are you taking your happy pills?” It was huge for him to recognize how much of a difference they made, because he was never really on the pro-medication team. But, he could see, and I could see that they helped me control what was otherwise uncontrollable. 

And now, let me flip back to the beginning of this post. My surgery somehow messed up my inner workings again and I decided to take the plunge back into pharmacy free living. I had a long season where medication had to be used to keep me on track.  Right now, in this season, my body seems to have reset itself. It’s been a bumpy reentry. But, I’m into my third month and I feel like I’m back to normal…whatever that is. I’m a bit more emotional, but I’m okay with that. I’ve grown into it.

And really, the point of this very long post? I want to stand out there and say that there’s nothing wrong with needing help. You are not alone. Oh, how I wish someone had said that to me. I remember giving a little testimony about my depression five or six years ago. I mentioned that I had friends that also struggled with issues and were taking medication. A dear friend that was in the room raised her hands and shouted, “woo hoo!” It was a funny moment for sure, but really one I’ll never forget. Because, we shouldn’t be ashamed.

Whenever I tell my story to a group, I always have two or three people that come talk to me afterwards. They either have a similar story, or are in a pit asking for help. This just encourages me to share whenever possible. Hopefully, by standing in the spotlight, maybe you or someone you know will realize you aren’t alone and will seek the help that is readily available.

If you see yourself in this story, follow the link to a depression self-assessment. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/MH00103_D 
If you find you have signs of being seriously depressed, please make an appointment with your family doctor.

UPDATE 11/5/2012:

I am so thankful that I posted on this topic. I had fabulous feedback and, as always when I tell part of my depression story, I got messages from people who NEEDED to hear this. I want to add something that wasn't in the above post. My dear friends and family, do not feel guilty for missing it. I was an expert at hiding it, as many depressed people are. We simply disappear during the really bad times and never speak of it. We push through when we can. We pretend that nothing is wrong. I believe this is pretty common.

One more thing...I certainly don't want to advocate going off your prescription when you think you might be feeling better. I knew my surgery had changed something and I needed to fix it. This is unlike the times before when I thought, "Gee, I'm better. I won't take my meds anymore." Let me tell you. That never ended well. And I always needed to get back on and get back on track. My doctor was very good at adjusting my dosage up or down as I needed to. So, just to be clear, I suggest working with your doctor at all stages in the process.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Blogging....Who me???

 I love my friend Brenda. She is an amazing writer and speaker...an encourager extraordinaire. Today you'll find me guest blogging on her website at http://brendagarrison.com/blog/?p=423.
I'm so honored that she asked me to write for her today. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Typical Conversation with My Teenager

Alex: What is for dinner?

Me:  mmmmmffff. I don’t know. How hungry are you?

Alex: I don’t know.

Me: On a scale of one to hungry, how hungry are you?

Alex: 14.

Me: That’s really hungry.

Alex: I don’t really understand your scale. I’m fish hungry.

Me: Fish is not very hungry.

Alex: You have weird scales.

Me: That’s a normal scale.

Alex: Then, I am hippo.

Me: That’s very hungry.

Alex: Then some other childhood game animal less than hippo.

Me: What do hippos eat?

Alex: Small animals.

Me: Really??

Alex: I’m pretty sure they’re carnivores.

Me: But, they have such cute teeth.

Alex: No. They have fangs.

Me: In the cartoons, they have teeth like marshmallows.

Alex: Look it up.

Me: (google images-hippo teeth) Wow. Those are not like the cartoons.

Alex: Hippos are ferocious.

Me: But, look. (google images-cartoon hippo teeth) They’re cute. Totally marshmallow teeth.

Alex: In their natural state, they are not very kid friendly.

Me: I see that.

Alex: Hippos are fast.

Me: What?

Alex: Super fast.

Me: I could outrun a hippo.

Alex: No. Google.

Me: (google images-how fast can a hippo run?)  [Picture of a man being chased by a hippo]

Alex: See.

Me: oops. I’m still on images.

Alex: ( googles without image filter) “…30mph”

Me: Wow.

Alex: I will get in the car and go get us some foods.

Me: Finally.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Good vs. Evil

Today I was brought nearly to tears three times. This is a pretty big feat for me. I don't tend to be very emotional. What caused this surge in my touchy-feely side? My kids, of course.

The first time tears welled up, it was because I was so frustrated. The kids were arguing. Constant bickering all morning. It was driving me crazy. Why couldn't they just get along? And goodness, if they couldn't get along, couldn't they just stay away from each other?

I decided to get out of the house with them. A change of scenery is always good, right? They really needed to burn off some energy, so we hit the new indoor playland at McDonalds. After eating, it was like they were different kids. Kind. Respectful. Considerate. Okay. Weird. They ran off to play while I flipped through a magazine.

About fifteen minutes later, a mommy with three little ones came up to me and told me how wonderful my kids were. They were helping her kiddos up and down. They were playing with them and encouraging them. She said she usually cringes when older kids show up because they are so inconsiderate. Okay. So, that warms a mommy's heart. I told her I remembered my days as a mom of little ones as rather difficult. Her three were infant, twoish, threeish. I shared how mine were nineteen months apart and fifteen months apart. Know what she said? "Wow, it's hard now, but it's great to know mine can turn out just as wonderful as yours." Really? Yeah, almost tears.

Then next stop was Target. Chloe needed jeans. Of course, I was dreading it, because there was trying on to be done. I didn't think the boys would be very patient. Chloe went to try on a few pairs. They boys ran off to the bathroom. Chloe needed a new size, so I went off to find it. When I got back to the fitting room, the boys were back. They were sitting quietly on chairs, playing tic tac toe with each other. The fitting room lady comment on what well behaved children I had. And for the third time, almost tears.

So, what is the moral to this story? I'm not sure. But, it made me think a lot about perception and absolutes. Sometimes we need an outside source to help us put our day in perspective. My kids aren't always bad. Nor are they always good.  Please keep reminding me of this. K? Because they're starting to fight again.

And after all that....this is what I want to know: Why is it called a pair of jeans? I understand why it's called a pair of shoes or a pair of socks. But, pants are not a pair. They are singular. And I don't think it's because it has two legs. Shirts have two sleeves, and they aren't called a pair. Ideas?