Friday, March 24, 2017

The Right Words, At the Right Time


The title of this post could've been “This is why David Crowder is amazing” or “Why I Love Music and Can’t Live without it.”


Yesterday I got into my car after two hours in therapy (yep, keep reading) and this song was playing. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I needed these words at this exact time. 

I am found, I am Yours
I am loved, I'm made pure
I have life, I can breathe
I am healed, I am free

Of course I thought, “Ah David Crowder always putting words to what I need”, but that is followed with “ah, God, always speaking through talented people to send me the words I need.”

You guys this is hard - I am not sure if it is hard to type or hard to admit, but I am not fully healed. And really, if I let myself seriously think about it, I won’t be fully healed on this side of heaven. As long as I walk this earth I will have things that I classify (because I am horribly brutal on myself) as a defect. I am like a dance mom on the side of the stage fiercely showing the moves and getting angry when my child (me also) won’t catch on. In my mind I know exactly how I am supposed to be - how healed I need to be - how I need to act - how I need to speak - and when I miss a step I am ugly to myself - completely unkind. 

I am sitting here 8 months shy of turning 40 wondering how in world I became such a perfectionist. I laugh as I glance across my bedroom - I wish the perfectionism would spill into my house keeping. 

How am I supposed to spread the goodness of forgiveness when I live daily disliking myself?

That is a tough pill to swallow (and it may hurt people I love), but I struggle so much to be nice to me, to speak kind words to myself, to see myself as others see me. And in the fear of my unkindness spreading to those I hold dear I pull myself into my shell and I cut people off. 

This is why I sit two hours on a sofa trying uses everything in my body to get to source of this - to figure out where these feeling came from and to embrace truth over the lies I have lived for years. 

A month ago when I went in with Matt for a couple’s check-up I was heart broken to hear our therapist say, “I think I am still hearing shame that isn’t dealt with.” Seriously, you work so stinking hard to work on things, to “fix” things, to get “right” and then you realize - it’s not over yet. It’s exhausting. And to be honest - nothing she said to me was a shock because in August of last year the devil attacked and instead of standing up to him I welcomed him in and he has wreck havoc on my life. 

Please don’t be discouraged by my words - there is hope in this story, this is just a hurdle that I have to walk through and even though I will always live with these defects and quirks that will need to be tended to from time to time I have come so freaking far. I seriously think that is one thing that I can fully be proud of and embrace. I have conquered a lot of junk. 

So, this song reminds me that 

I am found, I am His
I am loved, I'm made pure
I have life, I can breathe
I am healed, I am free

And it gives me that reminder I need that 

God is strong, God is sure
God is life, God endures
God is good, always true
God is light breaking through

He is more than enough, He is love. 


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Only Happy When it Rains: A Letter to the Teenager who has taken over my Preschooler


Hey Miss Melancholy, 

When I heard, “This cereal is totes awesome” over the breakfast table this morning I knew this talk was long overdue. 

I have overlooked the increased amount of eye rolling and need to carry a purse to church on Sunday morning, but I have to draw the line on you wanting to only wear black. I understand that your feelings about the color pink, it’s not my go-to fashion color also, but when you strike every item hanging in your closet because it’s not “dark enough.” I have to do a double take to confirm that I am standing next to a five year old. 

I am trying very hard to get my controlling issues in check and the fact that you have veto’d hair bows is killing me! In this house we wear bows, young lady, the bigger the better (and if they have glitter is totes awesome). If it were up to me you and your sisters (including Shelby) would wear bows everyday till graduation. 

Oh, I know that is another sore subject. I have fully heard how school is “so boring” and how you’d rather “just stay home” and “craft or play video games”. Don’t you see your mom is freaking out even by that sentence? 



Where have a made a wrong turn? What have I done wrong that has caused you to “only like it when it rains” and not like “that bright sunshine weather”? Hello, Shirley Manson! Pretty soon you’ll only be listening “to the sad, sad songs”. Your mother is so aging herself! 

Please, for the love of Christmas (which you will probably dislike this year), let me have my eight more years of non-teenage-hood that I am supposed to have with you.

I am not trying to dampen your creativity or put you in a pink shiny bubble, but can your wardrobe have some variations? I will appease you and throw in some black, but I’ve spent too much money on pink (including pink tennis shoes) to throw it all out now.  

Please, I beg of you, 
to stay sweet
to love all the colors that appear on a sunny day
to see the goodness around you
to smile at your friends
to love your sisters (and not call one of them a baby - you were her age just 17 months ago)
to wear a bow once in a while (for your mother)
to enjoy your years as a young person - mortgages, taxes and dealing with your own teenagers will come soon enough - there is no need to rush. 
to stay creative, but know that there are things we have to do in life and we can’t just color all day
to embrace the perfect you that God has created
and to STOP driving your mother CRAZY! (yes, I am sure I still drive Grammy crazy)

Life is too short to be moody just because moody is “cool” and “pink is for babies”. I love you and I am fully open to you going all goth someday, but if you can wait until you are at least 13 (like Aunt Melinda did), then I will promise to cut back on the ruffles and glitter. 

Love, 

Mommy (or as you like to call me “mother”)

And just for education sake, here is the Urban Dictionary definition for Totes: A shorter more convenient form of the word: totally. This word is most commonly used by teenage girls.

Teenage Girls! Not Preschool girls! 


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Eight Years, Still Sucks

Yesterday, I talked a tough game as Matt and were on a walk. I boasted about how eight years later I don’t expect to cry, “ because It’s just life, things like this happen. Eight years have passed and life has gone on.” 

Ugh

Want to know what grief feels like eight years later? 

It still sucks. 

I didn’t feel that swift kick to my gut that I did on February 26, 2009, but as the sun rose this morning a wave of memories filled my mind.  A reminder of the weight of the loss and the sadness of those who also grieve with me today. A realization that it have been eight years since I have heard his voice - that always gets me. 

Facebook cheerfully reminded me that on the one year anniversary of his death I used this quote. 



I cannot explain the emotion that created in me. In the years since Jame’s death that quote became lyrics, lyrics to a song that I have carried with me through every hard I have faced over the last three years. 

It’s amazing. It fills me with gratefulness and makes me say, “that is completely insane.”

In the last few years the memories of James do not flood into my life like the did the year after he passed away, but no matter how tough I am I cannot keep them out of today. Life has gone on and my sadness over today has gotten better, but just like many other things in my life, I don’t think there is full healing this side of heaven. I still miss him. 

I still miss him, but I relish in the fact that someday this sorrow will heal. 

Come out of sadness
From wherever you've been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal





Friday, February 24, 2017

Choke

So, I need some prayers, but I want to tell you a story first. 

I could be considered a try-out queen. I have been to my fair share of try-outs for cheerleading and drill team, not recently, mind you, but in my teens. I think there was also a smattering of theatre auditions mixed in there and countless job interviews. Now job interviews I’ve got. I hate to toot my own horn, but if I got to a face to face interview I usually always got the job. Again, I have only had five jobs (not counting part-time gigs) in my life so it is a little easier for the ratio to be high. 

**I am writing this at a coffee shop and there is a man who just sat next to me who is waiting for a date. Possibly blind - maybe online. He is wearing about three too many squirts of cologne and is nervous and all kinds of fidgeting. If he didn’t drive up in a really nice car I would think he was going to run off with my laptop. Okay, judging over.** 

Back to trying out. I grew up in a small town which had a small, small high school (very, very small, like 45 people in a graduating class). You either were in band, played football, were a cheerleader, in drill team or you were in the crowd that I hung out with - you’ve read the story, you know the crowd. As you can probably assume I didn’t want to be where I was - does anyone want to be who they are in high school? I wanted so badly to be on the field at a football games and not in the stands.

**his date is here…she’s wearing as much perfume as he is cologne…great they are staying right next to me. That’s what I get for coming to a trendy coffee shop on a Friday night. I wasn’t expecting outside to be busy, as well.  I’ll keep you updated.** 

Spring of my Sophomore year (ah, the same age as Shelby right now) I tried-out to be one of the Silver Belles (the school drill team). I attended all of the rehearsals and did my best to learn the dance. I am quite sure it was similar to me in Zumba today - hanging out on the back row slightly off beat probably 55% of the time (or 75%), you know. 

**Earbuds are now in - I was hearing too much of their conversation and becoming very thankful that I am not facing dating in my forties.**

Being a part of the drill team was something I wanted so badly and I tried very hard to keep up - I even had extra help to get the moves down. To be honest I was letting the voices in my head throw everything off. You know those things we say to ourself like, “what are you thinking? You can’t do this. You are not as talented as these girls.” I tried my best to stuff the voices and I envisioned myself in the uniform with the white cowboy boots and big hat with silver sequins. Those voices, though, they were the driving force in me watching tv instead of practicing at home. I thought I had done enough and the night before I had song on repeat. 

Tryout day had arrived. I had a friend give me an awesome fishtail braid and was wearing a full-body black spandex body suit - never I again have I worn anything like that. I was nervous, but still knew I had this because I just wanted so bad. We tried out in groups of three and that day our third bailed so it was me and a veteran. 

We did our step routine to Wild Women Do by Natalie Cole - if you watched Pretty Woman you know the song. Today, I can still do the first three sets of eight probably because that evening those three sets were on point, then things fell apart. I was off, I knocked my partner off - it was sad. After that valiant effort I had to do a kick routine to the 80s song, Cars by Gary Numan (go ahead and click on it, have yourself a listen). It’s playing in my ear buds now and I can visualize every kick - imagine a Dallas Cowboys’ Cheerleader kick routine complete with the ending splits. As you might guess, I was off. I was wobbly. I about took my partner’s shoulder out of the socket and I ended with a horrible not really splits, but hurt like hell move. As I am typing this I am having flashbacks from eighth grade cheering leading try-outs where I completely forgot to say “ready, okay” before each cheer and gave then, gave the judges the absolute worst round-off ever imaginable. I told you I was a try-out queen. 

Even though I clearly choked, I just knew the judges would see my passion (you know in all my failed dance steps) and would think I just had try-out anxiety then give me a spot anyway. I knew they would have pity on me. When they posted the numbers that were attached to our spandex get-ups, I searched the blue poster boards twice and then I cried. I hotness, ugly cried all over that school cafeteria. 

I wanted it so badly, I could picture it, but i let me head get in the way of the actual practice that I needed to succeed. This is the story of my life when it comes to try-outs. 

Twenty-three years later, I feel like I am in those same try-outs. I have been given an awesome opportunity and if I make through the “try-out” phase so many years of daydreams will begin to come true. I can’t give you the details, but you may be guessing and you are probably right (or should I say write? wink wink). I just don’t want to get my hopes up, I don’t want anyone else to be disappointed with me if disappointments are meant to happen. 

Lately I am back in that gym - wanting it so badly, but not putting in the practices, not honing the skills - turning in half hearted work and hoping that my passion will show through my crapy dance moves. That’s where I need prayers. I can do this, I have practiced for this - I just need to finish well. I know this is going to be a long process, but I need to make it through try-outs. I don’t want to choke, again. 


And that my friends is why I am freezing my hind end off sitting outside a busier than I ever expected coffee shop (ugh the hipsters, the teenagers and the late forties couple on their date), I am determined not to choke this time.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This is Life


I spent the afternoon debating on if I should take the littles to the park after school. I had a ton of work to do, but decided for my mental health (thus promoting a better quality of work) and since they were expecting the outing that we would go. 

Before leaving to get them from the preschool I made sure to pack a special “park snack” and some water. I grabbed caffeine for myself and headed to the van. 

It’s a gorgeous day in NorthWest Houston so i just knew that this was going to be the best park trip ever! 

Here is a play by play of what I call “this is life these days”. 


2:05 pm left school and stopped by the house for, what I thought was a very smart idea, a potty pit-stop. 

2:20 pm we were out the door and driving to the park. Yesterday it was decided that we go to the lake that has two parks on each side. 

2:25 pm arrive at the park

2:30 pm finally get everyone out of the van after a long debate about taking a leftover sandwich with us (which wasn’t even in her lunch box) and the other child whining about the fact that I did not bring her bicycle. 

2:32 pm stopped for a “hey dad we are at the lake” picture



2:36 pm finally at the actual play ground since every duck (and this lake is full of them) caused extreme fear (which is new to us) and high pitched “he is going to attack!” screams

2:38 pm Youngest child states “I have to go potty” which leads the middle child to say “I have to go potty too”

2:39 pm we leave the park. 

2:45 pm arrive back at the van after a super slow for two girls who had to go potty badly walk where I was told at least 10 times “this would have been quicker if you brought my bike” and was asked “can I have my snack now” maybe 20 times. 


2:50 pm pull into the drive way and they slowly creep out of the van still asking for a snack

3:05 pm I finally find my cellphone wedged between the seats after frantically thinking I left it at the park. 

This is my life. 

Some days I just have to laugh. 

I wouldn’t change a thing, but I am so ready for a power nap. 


3:22 pm I read this post to my teenager and she questions my truthfulness about the times stated…this is my life. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Getting Through This Weekend as a Post-Abortive Woman

My dear friend, 

We may be the closest of friends, we may be related or this may the first time that we have every met - can I still call you my friend? I am speaking to you, the one who is hurting, the post abortive women facing another Sanctity of life Sunday, another March for Life weekend and the yearly remembrance of Roe v. Wade. 

My dear friend, I hold you in my prayers during this time. 

I pray that you understand that there will be words spoken this weekend (maybe not in your church, but during the many of the marches) that will hurt. That old rhyme we used on the playground about sticks and stones breaking our bones, but words not hurting was one big ‘ole lie. Words hurt and I know, well, that we take things personally that are not directed towards us. I will be outwardly honest (shocker) and say I am married to a man who is Pro-Life. We were married for 4 years before I shared my secrets of abortions. I heard many times how disgusted he felt about abortion. For years I translated that statement into “you disgust me.” I will speak for my husband here and say, he is still very passionate about abortion, but he had to love someone who was post-abortive to understand the other side of abortion. I am not saying he agrees or condones what I have done - I don’t agree or condone what I’ve done, but I hope that I have soften his heart some. 

I believe the love that God wants us to have is kinder than most of the words we will hear through media this weekend. This weekend is a wonderful time to show grace - grace from both sides. Just as you wish for grace from the people around you, please think about giving those who speak (normally unknowing of your struggles) grace as well. 

Personally, I don’t think you will face this in your church, but you could. I had the lovely privilege of visiting a church in North Texas that had a congregation led prayer where young women and men with black x’s across their mouths spewed statements that were everything except love and grace. This is the frightening image of “pro-lifers” that leaves me hesitant to attend any life marches. 

Far beyond grace from your spouse, your friends and your family you need to understand God’s grace because you can only get through this with the understanding that you are loved more than you could ever hope for. 



I have been blessed to receive grace from so many people, like I wrote last year (The Amazing thing About Grace), but today I would have only been a shell if I had not stopped fighting the gift of God’s grace. We always have it, He always gives it, but we fight it. We say, “oh you shouldn’t have, I don’t deserve this”, then we live life as an undeserving person or at least I always did. 
Please do not think that I am pushing you to share your secrets this weekend (even though there is healing there - trust me) what I am saying is have conversation about those secrets with God. Don’t worry, he already knows every detail that brings you shame, but still sees you pure as snow. You can thank Jesus for that. That conversation is the first step to preparing your heart for tomorrow and the days to come - to make it through the marches and the news reports. 

Know that here, in Texas, tomorrow and most days I pray for you, my friend, I pray for your heart. I pray for your pain to lessen and I pray for healing. 


If you are feeling alone this weekend and need someone to speak with about what you’ve been through please know there is the National Helpline for Abortion Recovery and they can be reached 24-hours a day at 1-866-482-LIFE. 

I feel like I should have more, more words for you as you face this time, but they fail to come to mind. If you need more please see these posts:






Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day Traditions: Christmas with the Moulders

Merry Christmas!

I guess you could say we are between two Christmas Day Traditions as I type this: we have been to church and now my family is waiting on me, so that we can go to my in-law's home. They will be okay to wait a bit because I need to share these memories today.

This year I tried to hold tight to traditions my family has created over the last six years while bringing in some new things. We made sure to have pictures with Santa and last night we had tamales (a tradition I picked up from growing up in South Texas).

This Christmas I have longed for traditions of my childhood possibly due to living in boxes and boxes of old pictures of my family. I am in the middle of moving everything to digital and doing so I am capturing their memories.

My favorite Christmas memories always took place on Christmas day. It wasn't the gifts that we would open.


It was what happened afterwards. We would put on our Christmas best and pose by the tree.


We would normally pose with one toy each ad those were the toys we eagerly took to Aunt Mary's house.





I would say as long as I can remember, but actually every Christmas since my first we spent with my dad's family at my Aunt Mary's home.

My Aunt Mary, My Mother with Melinda and My Aunt Ann a few Christmas before I was born. 

Every year it was the same.

Open presents

Put on our "good clothes"


And head to Dallas,  to see Aunt Mary and Aunt Ann.


And my dad's cousin, Jimmy.



There are less pictures of Jimmy because he was the family photographer, but my memories of him are numerous and unforgettable.

I love this picture because it show the plastic Santa that we still have somewhere that will forever remind me of Aunt Mary.
As the years past, the Moulder women got older and Christmases transitioned to our home.

Love that my Meme was photobombing this picture. 

This year I am so grateful for these women (and man) and the Christmases we spent together as we continued the Moulder traditions.

All of the Moulder in 1947. My family is the young boy on his father's lap right int he middle. 



So, in the end, I am reminded that Christmas is not about tamales or pictures with Santa (though the one above is a classic), it's about family.