Monday, November 30, 2015

Fighting the good marriage fight....

I am writing a super important blog tonight.  Actually, I wrote it yesterday and the way it came about was really a gift from the Holy Spirit.  I have a very good friend.  She's awesome and I just love her.   Yesterday, she sent me a text.  It read, "At what point in your marriage did you get "good" at fighting?  John* and I are the worst.  (* names have been changed).  At least this one is over, but it was a whopper.  How to make it better?"

I honestly almost cried when I read it because it sounded so familiar.  So similar.  So much like my own life... Marriage is not easy.  Despite what our culture wants us to believe, to have a really, great, awesome, terrific marriage?  It requires work.  It requires sweat.  It requires sacrifice.  Our world would have us believe (and television/movies prove it) that marriage should be bliss, happy, love, sex 24/7 or get out while the getting is good.  If it's not those things, dump it and run. 

I'm  here to tell anyone who will listen, that's the dumbest way to look at marriage EVER.  

Marriage is anything but easy.  If you want a good marriage?  You'd better prepare yourself for battle.  There is nothing the devil wants more than to destroy good marriages.  Promote no fault divorce.  Encourage infidelity.  

Marriage is under attack in more ways than ever these days.  I could go on, but for the sake of my friend, I'll stay on track this time....

I wanted to text her back, but realized that it would be a mess to try and text a reply.  This deserved a letter.  I had so many different thoughts and words floating in my head and I wanted to tell her so much and assure of so many I texted back that I would email a response to her because a text wouldn't do it justice.  

I sat down and within 10 minutes, I had what I typed below ready for her.  I also had  my super hero hubs sit down and do his typical revising and add his two cents to what I said.  Here is what we came up with.  Perhaps you can resonate with some of what we came up with.  

Dear Jane*, (again, names changed)

First and foremost, to consider my hubs and I as an example is such an awesome compliment.  Honestly, if you ask him, he’ll tell you I tried to do my darndest to mess up our marriage with stupid, dumb comments all the time.  We both did our share of pushing buttons (wait, we still do that… and it’s been 19 years??) But that’s human nature.  We are inclined to sin, we are prone to want our own selfish desires and wants and when we fight, it’s just our own selfishness at times, rearing its ugly head out.  No matter what we think we’re justified in saying/doing.  Both of us. 

The first few years of marriage I was really good at making him mad by telling him I hated him.  It’s how my family communicated with each other, so it was easy to just do the same to him because guess what,  he hated that phrase.  It would get him so fired up and we’d wind up in a yelling, screaming spat and on several occasions I pulled out the suitcase and loaded it up.  (There was even the time I actually was glad for a trip to Knoxville for my sister’s graduation because I was fed up with him…)

After we had a few children (probably right where you are right now).  We still fought some pretty intense battles.  I am stubborn.  I am extremely stubborn.  I wear my heart on my sleeves.  I am passionate and I am unwavering, and I like things done the way I want them.

My husband, on the other hand, is extremely laid back, but also, EXTREMELY set in his ways.  The phrase, ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’  Yea, that was specifically for him.  He knows it.  He knows he does/doesn’t like things and when we clash- we clash like thunder and lightning.  Sometimes to the point of scaring our children into asking, ‘are they going to get divorced?’

So, how did we learn to fight good?  Well, it’s an ongoing battle.  Literally.  I know there is no way to completely avoid fights, and frankly, it’s important that we do fight some in front of the kids.  Contrary to popular psychology, I believe that my children see he and I disagreeing on things and perhaps getting a tad heated, as a healthy sign for them in their own relationships. Conflict is a necessary part of life.  Not ever seeing conflict, not ever seeing their parents fight,could cause them to feel horrible if they ever do have conflict.  Especially with their spouse.  But it’s been 19 years in the making.  Do we have the knockdown, drag out, screaming, yelling, slamming doors, driving off fights?  Well, I do still slam doors.  My husband does still yell, but he will tell you he’s just loud.  I do get so mad sometimes I want to knock his block off.  He’s so friggen stubborn‼!  And don’t you know, he’ll say the SAME THING ABOUT ME‼!

But the older I get, the more I realize that life is so incredibly short. 

Jane- I mean, incredibly short. 

Sometimes I think about people we know who have lost their spouses too soon.  With young children, or unborn babies on the way.   

Sometimes I think about my Grandma who died a few years ago who literally took care of my grandfather, her alcoholic, at times horribly drunk, husband, and gave all appearances of it not wearing her down.

Sometimes I think about all our babies in Heaven and it really sinks in how important it is to work on compromise.  Seriously. 

I bite my tongue a lot.  I bite it so much my dentist says I have a bump on my tongue from biting it‼  Literally‼ 

So to say we’ve gotten good at it, well, that’s relative.  But we do fall more in love with each other every single year. 

The scripture that everyone hates so much that’s so misunderstood by a lot of people about wives being submissive to their husbands?  Ironically enough, I try to think about that verse, for numerous reasons.  My husband is a good man.  You know that.  If he was abusive, it would be different.  But he’s a Godly man who wants to live right and raise his family right.  But just like me, he has his flaws, and sometimes we clash with our flaws.  But that verse, rightly so, reminds me, just like it reminds him, that we are to be submissive to not only one another, but to do it the way Christ does to His Church.  With total and utter abandonment. 

Trust that God will pull you through this difficult time when it arises.  And it will arise.  Sometimes it will happen over the dumbest things, when you’re tired, when you’re visiting family, when you thought you did something really good and the spouse thought just the opposite….sometimes, I'm convinced, the evil one just starts a spark for no reason other than to continue the divide of families.

Make sure, though, most importantly, that you kiss and make up.  Don’t ever let a fight linger or go unsettled.  I always apologize.  Sometimes my stupid, stupid, STUPID, stubborn, redheaded, self likes to say in my head, ‘I’m not apologizing THIS time…” But I do.  We both do.  We apologize to each other.  It’s important.  I’m not supposed to go to bed angry- but I still do sometimes.  I’m trying to work on that one, too.  Don’t go to bed angry. Get the wall quote from Hobby Lobby that says to kiss me goodnight and put it above your bed.  Or in your room somewhere… J

AND- surround yourselves with ducks.  Hang out with us, seriously, or find some other crazy ducks.  There is NOTHING, and I promise, NOTHING that can make a marriage grow in strength than by hanging with other strong marriages.  I promise. 
And sorry for the novel, but you’ve inspired me to write a blog.  I’ll change your name- but it’s something important.

Love you friend‼


Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday morning, white cabinets, and one feisty redhead....

First and foremost- if you're a builder- and why not- builders could be reading my blog.  Stranger things have happened.

If you're a builder, and you're looking at designs for a kitchen for a house that you'll probably build for a modest family of, let's be generous, and say, four kids and two parents (there's a rare gem), you might want to consider a few things.  First of all, when you decide on what works and doesn't work in a house, you may want to consider the colors of items.  Next, people like things to last.  Longer than expected....

But, let's say you're sitting there designing your next build for this family.   Suddenly you get this brilliant idea.

White cabinets.

'Oooooh,' you think.

'What a great idea,' you say.  Out loud.  Presumably, your partner is equally impressed with this new 'gem' of an idea and you immediately set to work.

I'm here to tell you, RUN MY FRIEND the builder.

Run like your pants are ON FIRE.

Because there could be NO.WORSE.IDEA then white cabinets in a house that will potentially house people UNDER the age of, well, in reality, under.....well, let's be real here, dead.

I will tell you why.

There isn't a human in my house, age range starting from 46 and dropping all the way down to 9 months, who hasn't gotten something naasssty on these here white cabinets.

And what makes it even worse?

They are cheaply made white cabinets.

Not that I would know what "expensive" white cabinets would look like, but I can assure anyone, builder, designer, architect, Lego builder, statistician, plumber, doctor, etc, you get my drift, that white cabinets?  They are a nasty tragic mess waiting to happen.

Take mine for instance.

Fortunately, I have multiple subjects to test out my theories on just about anything you need a theory tested out on....

My house is soon to be six years old.

Young, some would say.

Brand, spanking new, others would say.

And lo, I would be inclined to agree.

But these here white cabinets that the genius who built this house thought would look sooooo good and are featured in the likes of Ethan Allen magazines, with  matching black appliances and a precious granite counter top to boot?

These cabinets were picked up on the side of the road, OR they were on sale at the "don't ever put in anyone's house who actually would BUY the house" store.

Oh, the first few years were a honeymoon for sure.  But then slowly and surely, the test of time came crashing down like a child in a glass store riding a tricycle blindfolded.

Kind of like the roofing company that put shingles designed for a child's toy house on my roof, the people in charge of cabinets, clearly struck a deal, and that deal expired about a year ago.

My cabinets are peeling.

No, literally, PEELING....  Oh, I'll take a picture of it.  But keep in mind, I've put CLEAR DUCT TAPE ON IT SO IT WON'T PEEL COMPLETELY OFF......

The one I haven't taped because I RAN OUT of tape...

Ignore the permanent stains of nasty....but here's tape!

More  tape....and permanent stains...
The screws are also stripping, so this is my super hero hubs "quick fix"

So they're peeling.

My kids are all like, "Hey why don't we just peel all the cabinets and paint them white again?"

I smacked them.  Don't worry.  I'll never, ever, purposely put white cabinets in my house ever again.

So my house is six years old, and yes, while I have double, maybe even triple the number of humans living in the space, the cabinets have not lived out what I would even think would be half their lifespan.

Not only are they peeling, but they show every.single.piece. of dirt, smudge, fingerprint, food dropped, coffee spill, unidentifiable science experiments... name it, I bet I can find it on my cabinets.....

Now, I know what you're thinking.

'Seriously, crazycatholicmomma? You gonna go there?'

I know.  I truly do.  In a world, where people are in an uproar about a red cup, (I really missed the boat on that one- someone who hates a store for the color of cups might be crazier than me) where college kids (let me say that again) college kids, are staging ridiculous stances to have presidents of their colleges fired because there aren't enough of a certain race/color/creed working, (forget the fact that we all apply for jobs and are hired for our abilities, talents, degrees, or merits), where terrorists are running rampant and killing innocent lives almost daily (the news subtly avoided the Lebanon bombings before the Paris attacks....)

Where people in our own country go to bed hungry and people in third world countries go to bed hungry because their governments are railroading aid.

Where my children, especially my daughters, will have to face the reality that one day, as they change for gym in the girls locker room, a boy, who claims to identity with girls and not boys, will be allowed to change in the locker room with her.

You can call me a hater all you want for that one- but there are creepy people in this world, and don't you think for one little bitty second that some kid isn't gonna take advantage of that and for the record, a penis is a penis and a vagina is a vagina.  When they are young, under the age of 18, those two body parts need to be separated.  Don't go all, but honey, the sex you were born as is obsolete, now a days, we go with what we identify with....   I don't care if you identity with one or the other but I'll be dang blammed sure, you will not be allowed to change with my daughters if you have a penis.

Sorry.  That last one fires me up more than I realized.... it is something to think about considering I do have six girls...

Wow.  That was a big squirrel...

Image result for image of squirrel from the movie

So I get it.  My white cabinets are certainly first world problems.

I am blessed that I have a beautiful house with amazing little humans living in it with me, but if I don't find some humor soon- I'll let all that other muck???  Take me down.

And I can't have that.

So as politically incorrect as I am, and I've always said I am a crazycatholicmomma, I need to laugh to have balance.

So if making fun of some cheep, yucky cabinets, makes me smile, then I feel I've done  my part to help humanity.   Because the last thing you people need is a cranky, depressed, redhead on your hands....

So enjoy this Monday and next time you wipe your cabinets down, smile and think of your crazycatholicmomma friend who just wiped the hardest, greenest, nastiest booger off the cabinet by her fridge...

Image result for shocked face

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Gift that is Today.

There’s a strange phenomenon going on in Western New York this week.  The temperatures have been increasingly unseasonable and today, there was an abundance of sunshine and the temperature was an amazing 74 degrees.   

First of all, it’s November 4th.  Now that might not mean anything to most people, but I have now lived here for almost 6 years and I can assure anyone, that at LEAST in the last six years, there has not been a November where it was 74 degrees.  Today?   We washed the cars.  My #6 daughter had her bathing suit on.  Albeit, she had her Olaf panties over the bathing suit (we’re still working out the potty training logistics- let’s just suffice it to say it made for a great photo op that just might win me millions one day…)  The sky was an absolute crystal clear blue that was so amazingly beautiful it almost hurt my eyes to look at it….

Look at that blue!
Millions, people, millions...

Hey, it’s been a long time since it was this warm AND this sunny!  

But it was amazing.  Everyday this week has been increasingly more beautiful and more warm.  

There’s something about warm sunshine, you know?  Sitting there, eyes closed, sun hitting me, filling me with an almost tingling sensation.  The sun is amazing.  Scary, but amazing.  Dangerous, but amazing.  Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this, stay with me.  As I sat there soaking up the sun, watching my nine month old climbing all over the rock garden, banging rocks together, sucking on rocks, eating grass and giggling when I told her to stop, I couldn’t help but think of God.  

God is amazing.  Scary, in that it’s truly a leap of faith to believe in something you can’t entirely see.  Dangerous, because proclaiming your faith boldly can put you in a place many have died as martyrs proclaiming.

As both my daughters played around outside, and I dutifully watched and pointed out all the spots my husband had missed while waxing the van, I felt energized by the sun.  

Much like how I feel when I receive the Eucharist.  Or how I feel when I make a really good confession and come out of the confessional feeling as though the weight of the world was lifted off  my shoulders.  Or how I feel after reading a really great book about my faith.   Or getting together with some amazingly Godly women who help lift me up and make me want to be a better person.  

As I sit here tonight, the ONLY one in my house awake, I  can finally stop, breath, and examine how the day went.  I can finally put into words how I felt all day long.  The way I could see God so clearly in today.  

The sun today was so brilliantly amazing.  I really can’t put into words how beautiful it was today (more because I’m pretty sure the toothpicks holding my eyelids up are about to snap in half).  But as I sit here, and recall what we did, and watching the two little ones play, I can’t help but think about how utterly brilliant God is as well.  The author, designer, painter, sculptor, artist, of this amazing universe gave this day to me!  Little ole me, a silly southern belle, plucked up from her the comfort of her southern roots, to this northern snowland where flip flops after September is almost unheard of.  Where winter coats, snow boots, shovels, snow blowers, are pulled out in early to mid October.  Taking the screens off windows, the swings off swings, the material off of the trampoline, the back porch shade down, have been long before today.    

But today?  On November 4th?  Where almost a year ago to the day my neighborhood was under nearly seven feet of snow?  (the snowvember storm?)  Today, it was 74 degrees.  Sun was shining, yard was mowed.  Cars were washed.  Babies giggled in the sun and played in the water.  And I soaked every single second in.  

My daily journal told me to be “ridiculously grateful for everything today.”  I read that when I first woke up.  

It’s like God was whispering in my ear, ‘hey crazycatholicmomma?  It’s gonna be an amazing day today….  Don’t miss out on one minute of it.’

Thank you, God.  Thank you for this gift that was today.  May I strive to see this gift in every single day I am given.