Lunch Convo

I suppose you could say we are getting a jump on our kids being in school all day. Josh and I met for lunch today! On a regular old Tuesday. And it was so fun. I got my hair done and then rode over to his office to wait on him. While I was in the parking lot, I listened to a podcast (Nothing is Wasted by Davey Blackburn). His counselor was on talking about marriage. I took notes and had some great talking points for our lunch conversation. 

I was sharing with Josh how a text he sent earlier that morning could have been a little softer, a little kinder. 

He simply said, “I was in a meeting and just needed to answer your question.”

“I get that. I know you are a simple person with texts. I know you don’t coddle people or have much patience with big emotions or touchy people, but you married me and I need you to know that you could have simply added, ‘I know you are capable of (what we were talking about), but I only need you to do this at this point.’ Just letting me know that you know I have a brain in my head for more than switching laundry and picking up your drycleaning would be helpful.”  He smiled and said, “True. I receive that.”

He rebutted that he did tell me all the things I accused him of not telling me last week when he asked me to do this certain thing. 

I normally would have said, “No, you didn’t say that.”

He would have insisted that “Yes, I did say that.”

Then, I would have said, “You didn’t say that. You think you did, but all you said was…..”

And then he would have said, “I really did say that. I don’t think you heard that part.”

Then I would have pouted and not wanted to talk to him during lunch. I know, I am real mature. 

This bantering could go on forever. And we would sound like our children arguing in the backseat of the car.

Thankfully I was prepared for this because of the podcast. So, I said, “I don’t remember you saying anything like that. I could have not heard you, but I don’t recall that part at all.”

He was able to, instead of defending himself immediately, admit that, “You know, I have said it so much at work that maybe I thought I was clear with you, but maybe I wasn’t.”

And we moved on instead of getting stuck in “YOU said that…..No I didn’t say that.”

And I went on to talk to him about the podcast. In particular, we discussed communication. She encourages couples to schedule  “Marriage Staff Meeting.” This meeting can be once or even twice a week. It’s your scheduled time to talk about the hard stuff you may be dealing with in your marriage. She mentioned adultery specifically…saying that many times one person has lots of questions while the other person wants to talk about nothing pertaining to this topic. Scheduling a time of discussion will give one person a chance to ask questions while the other person will be able to answer and discuss because it is for a set time. Bringing up the issues and questions at any time of any day or night can be stressful and invade your whole life in a way that blocks out fun or joy of any kind. Makes sense to me. 

Thank the Lord Josh and I don’t have adultery to discuss, but we do have plenty of other bumps in the road of life that need our attention. One of the main points about communication was to recognize that communication is a two-way street. There is a SPEAKER and a LISTENER. She made the point that even when you are the speaker, you don’t always pay enough attention to what you are saying. I may say one of my kids’ names in a story when I meant to say the other kids’ name. Or I could say something happened yesterday when it was actually this morning. I don’t always speak exactly what I mean to speak.

The Listener has a filter of their own life circumstances that could cause confusion. Or maybe the listener is distracted or thinking of what they want to say. 

At this point I told Josh we could discuss home renovations, next vacation, financial budget, etc. at our Marriage Staff Meeting. He perked up when I mentioned finances. Now I was speaking his language. “Yeah, I would like to go over the budget soon.”

I told Josh I need a cap on Amazon prime in the area of books or maybe I should get a library card! Here’s how the convo went:

Kristy: I think I spend way too much on books, but I need you to tell me to stop. I have no self control.

Josh: Well, I don’t mind investing in books. How many would you read in a month?

Kristy: I could read three books a month pretty easily. But that’s just too much.

Josh: No, three is great. {at the point he is thinking in his head. I am still at the lunch table; I have not entered his head} That would be sixty a month or so.

Kristy: Huh? You mean a year…{I am slow at math and figured he was trying to see how many books I would read in a year at that rate}

Josh: {Looking at me like I am sloooow} I mean a month.

Kristy: I don’t understand.

Josh: 60 a month.

Kristy: 60 what?

JOsh: 60 dollars. I said that.
Kristy: No, you said, “Sixty a month.” I didn’t know what you meant.

Josh: I think I said Sixty dollars a month if the book is about $20.

Kristy: You had that whole conversation in your head because I just heard you say “Sixty a month” with no clarifying points or additional words. 

 {At this point Josh recalls the conversation, repeating how it went and then realized he did indeed say “Sixty a month” and expected I read his mind.}

We both laughed and thought how great to have had two specific instances happen about this little tip on communication….you don’t always say exactly what you think you say. And the person listening would do well to summarize in their own words what they heard you say so that you can be sure that you are communicating well. I love that. And funny thing, I have heard this before, but I think you know as well as I do that we tend to not always practice good communication even though we know what might work best. Life gets busy. We get impatient. And that’s when things can go bad. 

So let me encourage you to show some grace to your spouse {and others!} when it comes to communication. Recognize the potential for miscommunication. And, like the counselor’s second point emphasized, be a truly good listener. Put your own concerns on hold and give your spouse you full attention—no interrupting, no commenting, no defending yourself and then when they are done, ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS. Any Who, What, When, Where or How questions…usually no Why questions as they are often just hidden statements or even jabs at the person. I think I will give this a try this evening!

It takes effort, intentionality and genuine love to be a good communicator—-speaking or listening. I want to be good at both! 

Sometimes it’s the little things

We left Sabor around 5:45pm and headed towards home. We were driving separately. Me alone, and Josh and Mack in the truck behind me. It hit me that I actually did have time to make it to Ember, a local gathering of ladies that gather under the banner of Jesus. I took a right on Providence Road at the last second…the irony was not lost on me. I sensed that I was supposed to go. I hadn’t particularly been super anxious to go because, first of all, I was alone. Secondly, after dinner I am usually ready to be home and chill out. And thirdly, I am just in a season of deep introspection and it can be exhausting. But I knew that the Lord was saying, “Go and Be.” That sounded simple enough. And that is what I did. 

I made small talk with a girl standing alone waiting for her friends to arrive. I caught up with a sweet lady I met when I first moved to Charlotte three years ago. I even ran into a lady I had been in Bible Study with a couple of years ago and had just seen earlier that day at the mall. We caught up a little bit more, realizing maybe God had caused our paths to cross and meant for us to have a conversation, and I now know better how to pray for her. 

So far, so good. 

I walked in the sanctuary at 7:00pm, roamed around a bit before deciding to sit in the middle section more than halfway back and in the middle of a row. 

I was soon surrounded by ladies. Nice ladies who came with other people. They talked with me some, and we made some connections while we chatted. As the service began and the worship music started, my heart was warmed and I was glad I was there. I noticed the two rows in front of me and the ladies to my right were all together. A young group that obviously knew and cared for one another deeply. It reminded me so much of our days in Woodstock, Ga. at First Baptist Woodstock. Man, I was missing my friends. Missing those days when I was in my twenties and newly married. Life was there for the taking! Time was on my side. I grew up with many of the ladies that became my dearest friends. The community we built in Woodstock was unique and special and such a support. My mind stayed there in Woodstock for a little bit while I watched the girls in front of me interact and worship together.

The speakers for the evening were on a panel and were asked questions about personal Bible study, prayer, discipleship and community. They did a great job and gave wonderful examples of how God has been personal to each one of them through His Word and His Spirit and His church. I was encouraged. If I am honest, I wasn’t blown away with anything new, but I was definitely saying, “YES!” and “Amen!” in my heart and head. 

When Whitney Blight began to close the evening with prayer, she asked for those in need of prayer to raise their hands and those of us around them would pray for them. She mentioned that she had prayed that each of us would be divinely seated in the exact spot that we found ourselves. As I prayed alone, I thanked God for getting me there that evening. Thanked Him for stirring my mind to memories of past community and friendships and asked that He might help me cultivate more of that in my life in this season. I prayed for my current church to continue to grow, for God to bring ladies who also want to grow in their knowledge of Him and grow in their friendships. It was a sweet time. Then, we stood up to sing some more, and I watched the group in front of me continue to pray for each other and talk to each other. I saw two of them hug for a very long time. I think one of them was praying in the ear of the other. I felt the hot tears pop out from my eyes. So thankful to see their friendship and love. So sad that moving here seemed to stifle that for me. I continued to sing. I continued to pray. I continued to feel tear after tear roll down my cheeks. 

Then, the lady to my right leaned towards me and said, “I think you need a hug.” She hugged me; I cried some more, and I thanked her for being so kind.

 I drove home and smiled as I thought about how personal God is. He heard Whitney’s prayer to divinely seat us. And He heard my need for a hug and provided just the right person to sit next to me. It may seem like a small thing. And I guess in one sense it is. But that is just how God is! He knows the small, little things we need. What a thoughtful Father! I am thankful to be His child.

Matthew 6:8 “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Losing my mind in the laundry room

Several years ago I was in the counselor’s office discussing what a great day looked like for me versus what a horrible day looked like for me. We were also analyzing the days in light of what could be a warning sign for me that things were on a downward spiral. I immediately thought of the laundry room. 

The laundry room is where I have most of my mental breakdowns. It’s where I begin yelling at the kids and asking them if they have a clue about anything in life if they still don’t know how to complete one load of laundry. It’s where I may or may not have yelled to one kid that I would beat him within an inch of his life based on his horrible laundry room practices.  {Of course I wouldn’t ever actually beat my child. It’s just a figure of speech….that I probably shouldn’t use.}

So yesterday when I heard my voice getting louder and louder as I called all the kids to the laundry room to explain what in the heck was going on in there, I knew deep down that I was indeed on a downward spiral. There I stood in that laundry room about to lose my mind… again. 

What’s your red flag of warning? Do you have one? Do you recognize it for what it is? Do you use it to get yourself to step back and take a deep breath before ruining the whole day with your harsh words and actions? It’s interesting to think about and figure out. Give it a try…think about what warning signs you have in your life that can be used as a wake-up call to reign yourself back in. 

I am going to take a few deep breaths right now and then head into my laundry room to start some clothes. Prayers are appreciated.

Mack and Me and Rolo

Josh took the girls to dinner. Mack and I took Rolo to get her nails cut and to roam PetSmart for a few new toys and treats. Then, we swung through Chick-fil-a and headed right back home for watching the Braves game. Hanging out with Mack is fun and usually pretty simple. Just get him Chick-fil-a.

{This dog is so cute, if I do say so myself.}

Shopping wore her out!

Girls Only

I made a decision to go to the beach with Ruby and Molly. We are each in a season of growing and learning more about who we are—and sometimes this season is tense & heavy and sometimes it is fun & encouraging. When Ruby turned 13 I remember it being a strange revelation of sorts. My mom went to work in the real estate world when I was 13. She became successful and well-respected as a hard worker, and I am proud of her for that. But she also had to sacrifice time with her family. Time with her three girls. She didn’t have a ton of energy to put in to our relationship. I know I’m an intuitive feeler and really can be high maintenance when it comes to bonding and needing to feel known and seen. So I was greatly challenged to evaluate where I was with Ruby and Molly as they entered the teen years. I’ve said many times that kids in their teens need their mom and dad’s attention as much as when they are toddlers or are in early elementary school. It’s such a trying time with so many emotions and tons of peer pressure. I wanted to do it right. And at the same time, I can understand my mom’s desire to try something new, to use her brain and make some money. I’m sure I didn’t communicate clearly my need for her attention and desire to have time with her. But I did need it and want it.

So in an effort to show my girls I value them and want to know them and to try and ensure they want to spend time with me as the years go by, I thought we should go to the beach together. Do something fun! Get away from our regular routine and get away from laundry😊 It’s been a great time. Worth every penny.

I made the reservations before my mom died. I was more determined than ever to make these few days matter after her death because I don’t have many memories like this with my mom. I have long settled that in my heart. She did a ton for me. And she also loved spending time with my dad, which made it challenging to get away with just her. Again, that’s another point I came to terms with long ago.

The girls talked a lot and shared stories from camp last week. They talked about their new school and some of their anxieties around it, but also all the reasons they’re excited to get started. I’m reminded how different they each are. And how different I am from them, yet what a sweet bond we have as mother and daughter. I really enjoyed being with them without any of the distractions of our normal days.

We went shopping, ate good food, lounged on the beach, went for a walk, played cards, talked, and read. I’m so glad we did this together. The girls said their favorite part was shopping. They aren’t major beach girls…I, on the other hand, could stay out there for hours and hours! Not sure where we will go next year, but I will make sure it is near good shopping!

 

Get Real.

I have never been touted as being optimistic. Not necessarily pessimistic. Just realistic.

And I feel the need to just say it clearly—Life is hard. The layers of emotions and challenges and ridiculousnesses of life can really wear someone down. 

I have taken a break from Instagram and WOW what a refreshment to my soul. For real. I am getting more and more in touch with my own thoughts and desires and it is so healthy. I am also immersed in the last few weeks of summer with my kids before they start their first ever “real” school year. And I am honestly about to lose my mind.

I don’t know who thought it was a great idea to let 15 year old know it all children be able to learn to drive. I mean, the world is already against them, let’s give them keys to my car and put Mom or Dad in the passenger seat to give orders. More orders that the 15 year old doesn’t really want to listen to because the 15 year old knows everything.

Or the extroverted middle child who cannot breathe calmly if there is no social event in the next 24 hours. She has come to me with a birthday guest list of 45. She is turning 14. That is not like “13” or “Sweet 16” or “I’m officially an adult at 18.” It’s 14. But people help her function, so a party is on her mind. And gifts, very specific gifts. But the school clothes and shoes we just bought her don’t count. Nor do the colored pencils and index cards I guess. 

Then there is Mack who has decided during his last few weeks before attending “real” school he would open and put together all 18 of his Tinker Crate Projects. I bought these things as a subscription for him to do every month as a Science supplement. They collected dust until yesterday and now I cannot use my kitchen table. I have robots and planetariums and more scattered all over the place.

Let’s talk about the school supplies for three children. Wowza. Amazon deliveries arrive daily, and we mark off items from the school supply list. The stack has grown exponentially over the last week, and I can’t walk on one side of my kitchen table. 

Laundry. I can do my laundry easily. In the washer, move to dryer, fold and put away. The kids do laundry like they are toddlers given the assignment. I can’t even come upstairs when they are in the process because I seriously lose my mind. Clean or dirty piles? Who knows?!?! And Mack uses entirely too much detergent. I cannot convince him it is concentrated. And Ruby will fold her clothes “tomorrow.” It’s always tomorrow. Such great plans for tomorrow. 

And these are just the issues I would actually talk about on the blog. There are more, believe me. There are more! The difficult issues that take time and lots of prayer and lots of discussions to walk through. The issues we don’t really talk about because it could be embarrassing or you could think I am a terrible parent. Those kind of issues. But guess what? We all have them. And I just want to say that my “pre-this age kids” self would have probably judged you. For that, I am deeply sorry. But this Kristy, this 42 year old mom of a 12, 13 and 15 year old has thrown judgment and criticalness out the window because I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING. I am praying and doing my best, but I can’t even see any semblance of perfection within a gazillion trillion miles of my house. I think we are making progress, but most days that is still uncertain. 

So that is the blog post today. I am in a little season of trying to keep my head above water. Paddling like crazy. Kicking my legs like there’s no tomorrow. 

And don’t give me the whole Jesus is able to carry you through everything and keep you from drowning. I know this. I know this and believe this. But I am also just being real. Today feels like almost drowning. Today feels like tired legs and tired arms. I think I will just go to bed.

New Song {you must listen to!}

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I don’t want to play the game
I don’t live inside a screen
I’m not for sale, not a brand, not a name
No, I am a human being
.
I want to let all my friends up close
Where I’m fragile, unfiltered and weak
Cause only the broken can be redeemed
It’s the way of the human being
.
From dust we came to dust we’ll go
Still Love has called our names
We were made for more than the mindless scroll
Or acting on a stage
Oh can’t you feel that ache?
.
Instrumental
.
So teach me to number my days
Turn my eyes from worthless things
I want to see my children and watch them grow
Pray in the secret when no one knows
Look up at the stars and turn down the noise
And listen for that still, small voice
I want to lay down the trifles and choose the feast
‘Cause we were made for eternal things
I am a human
We are all human
We are all human beings
.
.
.