The Posts That Brought You Here Over the Last 8 Months

I don't know the who or why to this photo but it's going to give me nightmares for the rest of my life.
I don’t know the who or why to this photo but it’s going to give me nightmares for the rest of my life.

My dear friends. In my blogging break the past eight months I had completely forgotten the joy I receive when I take a look at the search terms that people put into The Google that bring them to StealingFaith.

 

It’s hard for me to believe that people will pull up their search engines and type these phrases. And then, they arrived at this website as a response to these search terms.

 

Oh, the sweet, humorous joy of it all is hard to contain! I had forgotten the great variety of topics I’ve blogged about in the past that would make these quirky phrases relevant!

 

Today I will continue in the tradition of The Posts That Brought You Here and share the 10 most intriguing search terms of the last quarter… and my best guess for the posts these terms discovered.

 

1. Samwise gamgee. So maybe this isn’t the funniest search term to start with, but it may be the most inspiring. I don’t know anyone who can’t love on the grand ideas presented in the Lord of the Rings, and the true friendship offered by Samwise Gamgee. The quote in this post helps us remember It’s Worth Fighting For.

 

2. Suppository stories. I’m not sure how I feel about this search term, but it came up in more than five variations on the search list. I’m guessing it has something to do with Dos and the Thunder Poop. This story just never gets old. I can’t wait to tell it to Dos’ future spouse. It will be memorable.

 

3. stealingfaith family planning. Though some might clai with four kids it’s unlikely that we did any family planning at all but that’s just not the case! We strategically opened the door to kiddos using Natural Family Planning and I share our reasons why in this post, Going Natural.

 

4. trapper keeper kittens. I’m certain this search term had something to do with my memory of a Trapper Keeper with kittens on the front I got for Christmas one year, because who doesn’t fondly remember presents from the Revco?! My memories, on display, in The Christmas of the Guinea Pig. But, just as a bonus to all who care, I’ll share this lovely video of kittens: CLICK HERE FOR KITTENS. Lucky you.

 

5. is classical conversations a cult. The quick answer? No. But the reality, I love Classical Conversation quite a bit. This organization makes homeschooling possible for our family and we’ve bought in hook line and sinker! Just in case you’d like to drink the CC Kool-Aid, too, here’s a link to their website, Classical Conversations. You can thank me later.

 

6. help stepped in dog vomit barefoot. My initial reaction is that there are more problems than dog vomit when you turn to Google before the Bounty quicker-picker-upper, but that might just be me being judgmental and all. Despite my faith in your emergency decision-making skills, I can comfort you by sharing I’ve been there, done that. Then I blogged about it. It’s not fresh like Teen Spirit.

 

7. thongs at the minnesota state fair. Oh dear heavens. I pray this is talking about the thong on your foot rather than the thong in your… ahem. I’m scared, though, knowing the crazy things that can happen at a state fair. In order to venture into safer anatomical territory, I’ll just redirect you to the three part series of the best fairs, festivals, and funny events in the United States.

 

8. how to tell roommate not to borrow my underwear. Dude. This is messed up and I’m just sorry you’ve had this experience. I’m guessing this term turned up a post where I interviewed Kikolani with Three Simple Questions, but can I just say… I’m sorry? Underwear is an intensely personal item and it’s a bummer you had to share. I suppose you might find some thongs at the state fair if you’re really in the market, however.

 

9. can tape get the hair from underarms. Well yes, duh! It can also make you scream like a little girl who just saw Elsa Let It Go in person. I believe it’s about as much fun to use duct tape to remove armpit hair as it is to compare yourself to the standards put forth in Family Fun magazine, but you be the judge.

 

10. identify dogs by tongue. So… I searched this term myself and all I got was “Apologies, but no results were found.” I don’t know how to identify a dog by it’s tongue but I do know some random facts about the tongue like the fact that the blue whale has a tongue the size of an elephant and the hardest tongue twister in the English language is, “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.” Those won’t really help you in the real world but this post on 5 Worst Ways to Start a Conversation might get you a date. Or something like that.

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

What I Learned from my 20-year High School Reunion

hbobis / freeimages.com
hbobis / freeimages.com

I recently had the privilege of attending my 20-year high school class reunion. Considering the amount of angst I felt while considering my participation, it seems reasonable that a blog post is in order about what I learned from the event.

 

(I’m still in a state of shock that there’s a “zero” after that “two,” but that’s beside the point.)

 

I didn’t attend my 10-year reunion, as I was newly married and didn’t want my husband to realize he’d married one of the class nerds. The 20-year reunion was a little less threatening to me as I’m more comfortable with myself and who I’ve become. Even so, it was nerve-wracking to wonder if these people were going to be mean and petty or decent adults.

 

Here are my observations:

 

1. We’ve all gotten fat(ter). May I just say it’s unfair that Spanx has not yet gotten around to marketing their products to the masculine demographic because wearing a panty with the squeezing capability of turning a newborn calf into a squirrel was a large part of my willingness to appear in front of people who only remember me as a girl all elbows and knees and frizzy hair. The dudes just don’t have access to the same physical aids. Such is life.

 

Our diets and lack of physical activity have taken their toll on us all. I blame childrearing and an abiding adoration for potato chips. Perhaps others can only say their jobs keep them too busy to spend the hours working on their physique. Whatever the excuse, all of us (some a little more than others) are an inflated version of our 18-year-old selves. That’s alright. We’re all still in there and we’re all pretty forgiving of the occurrence because we’re all guilty.

 

But really. I wore Spanx and even though I almost gave myself a black eye trying to pull them up after a potty break, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

2. We’ve realized this getting older thing isn’t black and white. I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the members of my graduating class talking to one another. By the end of the night they traditional stereotypical groups did tend to separate out again, but it wasn’t in an exclusive way – it seemed to be a natural process of people catching up with those they spent the most time with in high school.

 

People shared pictures of their kids, mentioned divorces, talked about jobs won and lost… and were generally supportive of one another whether they were talking accomplishments or failures. There were many different life paths in one room for a select period of time — and I don’t think anyone there thought they “had it all figured out.”

 

3. I’ve moved past high school. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone I spoke with was genuinely friendly and cool but at some point through the evening I realized it doesn’t really matter what my high school comrades think of me and how my life turned out. I have nothing to prove to them.

 

I am absolutely accountable to my husband, family, and close community… but not to people I see once every twenty years. They are welcome to have whatever opinion they’d like of how my life is turning out but that opinion is not needed for me to continue with my own adventures and lifestyle. What liberation!

 

4. It’s worth going. If you’ve been hesitant about whether to attend, based on my own experience, I’d encourage you to do it. The reunion was most certainly a surreal experience in many ways but it was also enjoyable and I was genuinely happy to spend time with people I haven’t stayed in touch with over Facebook. Not everyone shares openly on social media, face-to-face conversations are quite helpful!

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

5 Tips for How to Help A Grieving Friend

foobean01 / freeimages.com
foobean01 / freeimages.com

I wrote this five months ago, published it as a status update three months ago. This week a friend asked me to send it to her and I realized it has never made it to StealingFaith. Hope it’s useful to you – five months post-event it still rings true to me.

 

My father passed away four days ago.

 

His passing was in many ways a relief, as now he is free to be in heaven, away from the decline that kept him confined to bed and unable to care for himself. We miss him desperately but are also at peace with the reality that death is an unavoidable companion to life.

 

The post-death days, however, are a little different. I tend to believe that there are as many ways of grieving as there are people. I, myself, have cycled through sadness, anger, laughter, joy, and tears many times over each day!

 

I have always had a fear of what to say to people who are going through the loss of a loved one.

 

I don’t want to say nothing, because obviously it’s a big deal. Yet I feel uncertain because I don’t want my words to cause pain to the survivor, I want to honor the life of the person who died.

 

It’s scary to me!

 

Now that I’m on this side of the death experience, I have a few ideas of what might help.

 

1. Acknowledge it. Death is uncomfortable. I know it’s awkward to you and it’s hard for me to talk about it, but at least say something. A stumbling comment is more appreciated than silence.

 

2. Don’t require a response from me. So many people I run into will say, “How are you doing?” in the kindest way possible. I want to answer them. But our non-thinking cultural response is, “Fine,” and that’s an outright lie. I’m not fine. I’m broken-hearted. So I scramble to find an appropriate response, which is a little like popping the lid on a soda can that’s just been dropped – you might get more than you bargained for coming out!

 

Another way to greet me might be, “I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I’d love to talk about him with you when you’d like.” Give me the freedom to break down with you or walk away still smiling and worried about my grocery list (or whatever I was doing when I ran into you). I truly appreciate that you care, but the feelings are too raw to open up to every casual acquaintance.

 

3. Tell your stories. I’m in a season of coveting every memory possible. If you have any memory of the one who passed, share it! Simple statements about my dad like, “He always smiled like he was genuinely happy to see me,” is like a healing ointment to my soul. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, it can be an observation of their character, a physical characteristic, or work they completed while alive. I do love the stories, but I’ll take anything you give me with joy.

 

4. Let me tell you stories. I realize that right now I’m a broken record and I’ve got one thing on my mind, my father. I want to preserve him in my memory, to make sure there are still elements alive of him through the skill of remembrance. I need to tell memories, even if I’m crying through them. Be my listening ear, don’t be afraid of my tears, just sit with me for a spell.

 

5. Remind me it won’t always be like this. There will come a time when I don’t sting all over with loss. Gently, softly allow me to wallow in my grief now and then gently, softly, remind me it won’t always feel like this. Invite me to do things. Don’t be offended if I say no. I can’t tell you what I’m ready to do from one hour to the next right now! So please, Just keep inviting and when I do come out – rejoice with me!

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Well, hello there!

rulerIt’s hard to believe but yes, it’s been eight months since my last published post where I revealed the house destruction and reconstruction taking place, and the fact that I couldn’t find my pants.

 

You’ll be happy to know I located my pants.

 

I’ve been gone so long I forgot my username and password to the blog, and then when I found them again WordPress haughtily told me the world has changed and my previous password was “weak.” “It used to be strong!” I whispered to myself as I undated 14 plugins and went through five unapproved comments.

 

I’ve been blatantly missing from the world of blogging and I’m not sure how many people missed me, despite the fact I see there were 100 visitors in the last week to the site. I’m not entirely sure how committed I am to coming back… I miss blogging. I still have lots of thoughts to think and share. But I’ve been looking at my computer keyboard with concern, the screen is taunting me with one big question:

 

“What makes you think you know it all?”

 

The last few months have had significant happenings that have inhibited my utter devotion to www.stealingfaith.com. I’ll list a few, starting with the most significant: My dad died. My house was destroyed and is not reconstructed yet. We have four kids. We homeschool three of those children, currently on a blanket on the floor where our kitchen island will someday reside.

 

I’ve walked through this season with the utter knowledge that I do not have my life all put together with a bow on top and anything that comes out of my brain to this blog is simply my best guess at a good way to think or proceed for the time being. I have only a few things I’m truly certain about:

 

God is real. Love is essential. Laughter rejuvenates the broken hearted. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. This life throws curve balls.

 

If all of that sounds like something you can put up with, I’ll do my best to try to post more often than once every eight months. I’ll try to entertain you with stories of how my kids confused “Botox” and “buttocks” and then had a discussion about the merits of beauty treatments, and maybe every once in awhile I’ll be able to share something that seems to hold true about this life.

 

Deal?

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

I Used to Have a Bedroom

This used to be my bedroom.
This used to be my bedroom.

Those of you who have read for awhile know that a bit less than three years ago our family moved to a home measuring about 800 square feet. It was a lesson in coziness as we fit the humans, the Great Dane, and the poodles in the new space.

 

We’ve added a son and lost a poodle since the beginning, but there’s no doubt we’ve been all up in each other’s business for awhile now.

 

Yesterday, the day we’ve schemed toward arrived.

 

We began the remodel.

 

The remodel will morph our 800 square feet into almost 1,500 square feet, adding a bathroom, loft, and open living space. We’ve been kicking around plans and consulting experts and doing our best to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” and yesterday, glorious yesterday, the work began!

 

They started by destroying our closet. Then the wall divider, the ceiling was raised, and holes were cut in the concrete pad to create the support beams for the loft.

 

Dust flew, men worked, and my glee was contagious.

 

Believe it or not, however, they didn’t finish the remodel in one day.

 

Extreme Makeovers has given me a different perspective of the timing of these things.

 

So last night I slept on the sofa because our bedroom is no longer. I have tip toed through the 8″ pathway between the boxes and microwave to reach the trash can.

 

There’s a reality of remodel I’ve never experienced. In order to get to 1,500 square feet our home has been reduced to 600 usable square feet.

 

Jeepers!

 

I don’t know how long this is going to take. I’m getting scared. I can’t find my pants.

 

No. Seriously.

 

I can’t find my pants.

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

What Makes Men Happy – Makes Humans Happy

10 Ways to Love
10 Ways to Love

Harvard University has just released findings from a 75-year longitudinal study on what men need to live a happy life.

 

{No comments from the peanut gallery here referring to the fact my young son is perfectly content watching the laundry whirl around through the glass window of the machine. This  is real. It’s been studied. They have results.}

 

This study reported on all aspects of male life, including relationships, politics and religion, coping strategies, alcohol use — even scrotum length, if you can believe it! — and discovered there is a powerful correlation between the warmth of your relationships and  health and happiness in later years.

 

Another finding is that recovery from a lousy childhood is possible, but memories of a happy childhood are a lifelong source of strength. According to a review of the study by Business Insider:

 

“Men who had ‘warm’ childhood relationships with their mothers took home $87,000 more per year than men whose mothers were uncaring.  Men who had poor childhood relationships with their mothers were much more likely to develop dementia when old.  Late in their professional lives, the men’s boyhood relationships with their mothers — but not their fathers — were associated with effectiveness at work.  

On the other hand, warm childhood relations with fathers correlated with lower rates of adult anxiety, greater enjoyment on vacations, and increased ‘life satisfaction’ at age 75 — whereas the warmth of childhood relationships with mothers had no significant bearing on life satisfaction at 75.”  

 

Another bit of statistical input that parenting is rather significant in a culture where some consider it unworthy. This study finds that no matter where you live, how much money you have, etcetera, that happiness = love.

 

Which really puts the pressure on us as human beings to figure out how to love one another better, doesn’t it?! Here’s a list I’ve mentioned before, but is worth repeating (and here’s another list of 50 Simple Ways to Love Your Spouse):

 

10 Ways to Really Love Someone

 

1. Listen without Interrupting.

2. Speak without Accusing.

3. Give without Sparing.

4. Pray without Ceasing.

5. Answer without Arguing.

6. Share without Pretending.

7. Enjoy without Complaint.

8. Trust without Wavering.

9. Forgive without Punishing.

10. Promise without Forgetting.

 

That’s a robust list of items for completion, and perhaps someday I’ll break them down one by one and write on them, but in the meantime at least they’re food for thought!

 

On the down side of this study, there was one trait found to negatively influence lifetime success, in every case:

 

“… the most significant finding of all is that “Alcoholism is a disorder of great destructive power.” In fact, alcoholism is the single strongest cause of divorce between the Grant Study men and their wives. Alcoholism was also found to be strongly coupled with neurosis and depression (which most often follows alcohol abuse, rather than preceding it). Together with cigarette smoking, alcoholism proves to be the #1 greatest cause of morbidity and death. And above a certain level, intelligence doesn’t prevent the damage.”

 

Big take away? Maybe those prohibition people knew what they were talking about! Lay off the bottle!

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

I DON’T Look Down On Women with a Husband and Kids and I’m Not Sorry

What does feminism resemble?
What does feminism resemble?

Earlier this evening I read a blog post titled, “I Look Down on Women With Husbands and Kids and I’m not Sorry.” My first impression involved an assumption that the blogger was using a play on words to create a scandalous headline for more hits.

 

Boy, was I wrong.

 

Let me throw out a few of the statements I found remarkably bold:

 

“Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit. Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself?”

“You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.”

“I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments.”

“Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business.”

 

My initial response was to shoot off some crazy, hot-headed comment about how ridiculous her perspective is and that it’s incredibly insulting to the entire gender from the perspective that I’ve lived as a full-time professional and I’ve lived as a full-time wife and mother. I’m able to address both perspectives from first-hand experience.

 

Right now I land somewhere on the fence between both working full-time from home and home schooling our children and I can testify… beyond a shadow of a doubt… that parenting is actually hard work! (Can I get an Amen?!)

 

Being a Mommy is harder than my hardest day in a professional career that included periods of manual labor, emotional turmoil, conflict management, and long range visioning. I believed my professional decisions had the potential to change the world, but now my parenting decisions literally change the world of these four children who occupy my life.

 

It’s a shame to run across a person who doesn’t see the value in freedom of choice. Freedom of choice, liberty of action, these are things we’re willing to die for when it comes down to it. The American Revolution was largely about the desire for people on the North American soil having the privilege to make decisions for themselves. (Freedom of choice.) Feminism? Largely about the ability for women to have a chance at equal footing in a world immune to disparities. (Liberty of action.) These are two simple examples from a list that could be as long as Rapunzel’s hair.

 

Yet when I think about my insane desire for freedom, I have to also acknowledge this blogger’s freedom to have a firmly held opinion, no matter how offensive I find it myself. (I’d also like to state for the record no one has ever come up with a professional sense of accomplishment quite as rewarding as the first time your toddler tinkles in the toilet. Just sayin’.)

 

 

I support her freedom to choose a philosophy I find insulting. And I support my choice to disagree vehemently.

 

While Ms. Glass is  spewing venom toward gals who follow the traditional path and invest in a world that is perhaps outlined by four walls and a laundry room (and possibly tiny toes and fingers), I’ll be over here investing in something I’ve intentionally chosen because I believe it has an eternal significance.

 

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll still be able to find the time to be exceptional.

 

No promises.

 

I’ve blogged about this Mommy War before. If you’re interested in more of my opinions on which lifestyle is harder, check out Working Mom vs. Stay-at-Home Mom and  More Thoughts about Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom.

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

I Just Can’t Love Them Like That Anymore

1funny.com
1funny.com

I know you’re supposed to love your children unconditionally.

 

All the parenting guides talk about how important it is for children to feel they have a safe space to be fully loved, and fully known. The experts agree that a happy child is one that is respected and considered with warm regard in all circumstances.

 

But I can’t do it.

 

I just can’t love them unconditionally anymore.

 

I think if it were a moral failing I’d be able to recover from this. If it was poor decision-making or youthful indiscretion, I could manage it. But this.

 

This…

 

… I’ll never recover.

 

I cleaned the back of the Suburban this afternoon. I will be haunted by the experience for the rest of my days.

 

Stella has been so good to us over the years. That beast of a burly vehicle has carted us across the country, literally from coast to coast in her almost 200K miles. She has been privy to laughter, secrets, arguments, and many, many viewings of Elf and Tinkerbell. Stella the Suburban has carried our children home from the hospital after their births.

 

And yet she’s been treated so poorly.

 

I found decaying slime of some sort in the cup holders, nacho cheese affixed to the seat, an entire bag of Honey Nut Cheerios scattered across the floorboards! Underneath the seats I discovered the remains of chicken nuggets, water bottle lids, juice box straws, and miscellaneous bits and pieces of toys, crafts (I HATE CRAFTS!), and love notes.

 

There were forks with broken tines, spoons still sporting oatmeal, and knives once used for good left to decompose in solitude surrounded by gray pleather and black acrylic carpeting.

 

I gained a yellow paper clip and 46¢ but lost my lunch.

 

What on earth could exhibit such appalling behavior?! What magpies of destruction could have come to kill and destroy our Stella?!

 

My children. The ones that sprang from my innards. I housed them, tucked in my very own guts and they, they have repaid that kindness with a trashy hatred of their own.

 

Based on their vehicular living quarters, I’m scared to even image how they left my uterus.

 

I am so very saddened by this event. I am scarred for life. What has been seen… can never be unseen.

 

I can no longer accept my children unconditionally. My love for my children, tempered by my defense of Stella, must now be offered with a trash bag and a threat.

 

This day will live in infamy as I pledge my intention to never… Never, never, never see such a thing again.

 

The End.

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Tapestry of Normal

Baby Prince Charming sporting his leaf helmet.
Baby Prince Charming sporting his leaf helmet.

My son just found me.

 

I’ve been all over the house this morning starting loads of laundry, washing dishes, making the bed, wiping down the table after breakfast – I don’t sit down much.

 

Bubby has followed me from room to room, generally making trouble everywhere he goes. The dishwasher, it’s like baby crack. He can’t stand it. If it’s open he begins to climb and I begin to screech. We play this little game of him wandering out of the kitchen to see what his sisters are doing and me quickly dropping the dishwasher door and loading what I can before he rounds the corner again, sees it open, and makes a beeline for the lowered door. I, in return, slam the door shut and he hits the closed door at full speed and slides down the front of it to an unhappy, crestfallen heap on the floor in front of the dishwasher.

 

Second verse, same as the verse. Repeat 12 times.

 

I caught him off guard when I went into the bedroom to make the bed, however. I watched him sail through the living room, search the kitchen, and bang on the bathroom door. He’s in the stage where his walking balance is better when he has something in his hands – today it was a wiffle ball and wooden block – and he lumbers like Lurch as he walks.

 

When he found me in the bedroom he literally cackled with glee. I looked down at him, his snot encrusted nose, his dimple, and his joy… and I melted.

 

This season is so short.

 

In the room next door I have a girl pushing 8-years-old who is almost too big to fit on my lap – and it happened in a heartbeat. The days felt like eternity, like I was being pushed beyond any possible endurance, but there she is, growing into a real person with hopes, dreams, desires. It happened so fast.

 

I have agonizing years in front of me with this little boy, but the reality is he’s already far from the precious nugget of life I held against my chest July two years ago. He was all hope at that point. Hope and tears and pooping and eating.

 

And now, a breath later, he’s dimples and “mama” and verbal excitement at the sight of me. In another six gray hairs he’ll be all t-ball, tie shoes and, “Can I chew gum?”

 

All while I’ve been loading the dishwasher, matching socks, and cooking meals day in, day out. Oh, the tedium of it all! And yet…

 

It’s so fast, so precious, and so significant. We’re weaving a tapestry of normalcy over here, a picture of laundry and peek-a-boo and find your toes, school work and reading clocks, cooking and laughing. That normalcy, while terribly boring in the moment, is incredibly significant in the long run. It’s creating a home.

 

These chores that chafe, the way I groan every time I see the pile of socks waiting to be matched, they are significant. The load won’t always be so heavy, and the years will fly. My son, the one that giggled when he found me and has dimples on his knees… he will exchange his all-encompassing love for his mama over time but I will always have his heart because I put in the work to make normal… normal. I’m building the base for his comfort.

 

That, to me, is good stuff.  Make that the BEST stuff.

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Don’t Pull It Together

nicootje / stock.xchng
nicootje / stock.xchng

It doesn’t help me to think you’ve got it all together.

 

Now, reality says there are some people who really do have it together 98% of the time while I’m over here, grateful for the 43.8% of the time I’m not just totally losing it.

 

If you’re one of those who really, truly, deep down inside has it together… well, that’s awesome for you and I sincerely hope it works out for you long term.

 

But I’m hanging out over here in the land where my 7-year-old dresses herself in tights for church that are sporting the crotch down around her knees — and she doesn’t see a problem with this.

 

I’m in the land where a perfectly normal, reasonable conversation with the man I love can suddenly escalate into a full blown, relatively ugly event because despite loving each other we’re still working out the kinks in living with each other.

 

And in my world professionalism looks a bit different than I read about in graduate school. It’s not all best practices and new updates and all sorts of other things that are awesome but unessential.

 

So if you want to be my friend, to help me, encourage me, or walk alongside me in this journey, be real.

 

Be real because I need you.

 

Don’t hide your chaos from my sight because you’re trying to be impressive and fake it ’til you make it. Let me see you wrestle with your life and ask the Big Questions because it allows us to journey together.

 

Tell the truth. Invite me over for breakfast and serve me some scones, complete with crumbs in the butter tub. Crumbs are a side effect of living and they remind me that we can tell each other the truth, not bothering to hide the dirty business.

 

Hold my hand and keep on holding, even if your palms get sweaty. My palms are sweaty too but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s good to have a friend who can help you hold tightly to the important stuff, like God and family and inspiration and passion… even if it gets a little uncomfortable.

 

It doesn’t help me when you create a mask big enough to hide behind.

 

It helps me when I see you for who you are, and am given the opportunity to admire your humble spirit, the way you keep asking hard questions that encourage you to grow…

 

Be a genuine, bona fide friend, one I can trust with my life because you’re willing to reciprocate.

 

I think we’ll all end up the better embracing this change.

 

Inspired, in part, by The 10 Best Ways NOT to Help a New Mom by Lisa Jo Baker.

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