Monday, April 30, 2012

sometimes we just need a "thata girl."

last night, i went to sleep dreaming about soccer.  i'm finding that i'm doing that a lot lately...especially on the nights of a game.

for example...last i was attempting to fall asleep, i kept going over and over last night's game in my head...visualizing the play by plays.  i relived my south back-paw goal and saw my dad's arms go in the air in celebratory fist pumps time and time again.  i wondered what my form looked like (if you can call it that) or if i just looked like the gangly flailer that i picture from jr. high.  and i kept going over what i will do next time to be a better ball handler.  i thought about the girl who played great D and got it away from me TWICE...and what i would do differently to keep it from happening next time.

mostly...i felt satisfied.

the last time that UK (my brother) had a fight...i took notice of how many people were there cheering him on.  friends and family came from all over to watch him and yell for him and stand and cheer him on.  we watched him win.  we celebrated him and his being good at something.

i joked that, just once...i wanted someone to stand and cheer for me.  i joked that, as a mom...we don't usually get that very often.  it's not like people are sitting in the bleachers cheering and yelling,

"way to go, mindy!!!!!  you did it!!!  you changed that diaper in record time!!!!  way to vacuum those floors...and the way you did that laundry....whooooooooo!!!!"

truth be told...i was jealous.  i was watching UK grab a-hold of life and live his dreams.  i'm not saying that my biggest dream in life was not to have a family...because it was.  and i marvel at them and thank God for them and feel like i don't even deserve the way that he has blessed me with 2 boys and 2 girls..........just what i always wanted!!  BUT...somewhere along the way...i gave up any part of me that wasn't a wife and mom.  and i was starting to miss that girl.

i realized that i still had dreams.

i joked about them all the time.  like........

"when i get discovered........."


"when i go to the olympics............."


"when i play in the world cup.........."


"when i become a rodeo barrel racer........."

but i never did anything about them.  i just watched everyone else live their dreams (come olympics season or rodeo season or soccer season or anytime i watched a movie that i thought i would have loved to be in) and sat back sort-of.....................dissatisfied.  like, "why did i always quit before i could fail and never really go after something????  what was i so scared of????"

several months ago...i prayed that God would help me to live extraordinarily.  i prayed that He would help me live out some of my old dreams in a satisfying way.  and i told him that it was hard to never be cheered on by anyone.  i told him that sometimes...i just needed a "thata girl."

and do you know what that man did?

He had a friend, randomly invite me to pilate's...where i started building my body's strength and endurance back.  and i had no idea that He had anything else in mind.

and then...He had another friend's daughter end up on aiden's soccer team...and that friend "happened" to play competitive, indoor soccer.  and she "happened" to ask me if i wanted to join their team that just happened to need a player.

and then He "just happened" to put me in a position to meet a barrel racing coach who "just happened" to have a mother that didn't start competing as a barrel racer until her daughter was in HIGH SCHOOL!!!!  and she "just happened" to be willing to train me to barrel race....which, she coincidentally said will be a lot easier and faster because my core strength is good.  (thanks to  pilate's!!!!)  see how all that played out????

so...last night, when my foot hit the black and white ball...and i watched it slow motion...into the net...

i put my fists in the air and put my head down to hide the widest smile in the world and listened to my team, and my coach, and my parents, and my oldest son saying,

"way to go, mindy!!!!"

and when i glanced up and saw my dad's hands in the air and my son jumping up and down and my mom clapping...i felt satisfied.

oh........we got killed.  we totally lost the game.  and i totally know that it's not all about me and that i can't expect to always be celerated.

but i am living my life's dreams...and going for it....and not being afraid of failing.

and most kids are learing, through real life example, to dream BIG.

and that...

well...that's certainly worth celebrating.

and as i drifted off to sleep....

i swear...

i heard God smile and whisper, "thata girl."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

cowgirl up

i sit by candle light tonight...washing my cares away with a protein shake.  i just had to hold AJ down and wrangle her like a bull in order to get eye drops, ear drops, nose spray AND antibiotics into her system.  and let me tell you...flicka is downright pissed.

maybe you've noticed that annslee james has the most nicknames of all the kids.  they just seem to fit her.  puddie/ puddin cup/ sister/ AJ/ koala/ and the latest to catch on...flicka...are all used on a daily basis around here.

anyway...the point is...she has a sinus infection.  she was none-to-thrilled at the rediclinic earlier today, either.  by the time the nurse practitioner came in...she was a hot mess.  i think she may have even screamed at her to get away from her ears.  i couldn't really tell.  it was that high pitched...only a dolphin could understand language.

nothin' a little fro yo can't fix.

and a wish upon a fountain.

after that...she had her way with a mannequin...

and a store front window.  geeesh.

she likes to hang in my dad's old highchair from when he was little.  this highchair housed my dad, my aunt, me, my brother, my two cousins, colt, chase, aiden and annslee.  it's been around the block a few times.

she just can't get enough of this gal.  it's a good thing she just lives across the street...or we'd have problems.


my last trip out to the galveston county rodeo proved very profitable.

i got to watch the championship barrel runs...

plus i saw this sign that made me laugh.

i met my new barrel racing coach out there. heard me right.

i had my first lesson last night.

i'll keep ya posted on how that's going.  but i'm not gonna lie.  i absolutely love it.

cowgirl up.

* parts of this post have been deleted after learning from a good friend who is a houston police officer that it is not out of the realm of possibility for a picture of a sweet toddler in their diaper to end up on a website and passed around by pedophiles.  i've always tried to be extremely careful in what pictures i put up for everyone to see...especially of the kids.  and i really felt ok about those diaper pics...but i would not want to take any chances whatsoever.   it's a sad, broken world we live in.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

a welcomed sound

thank sweet Jesus for aiden right now.  after yesterday afternoon/evening...i needed her funny innocence this morning.

let it be said, that i don't have the slightest clue how to parent an older kid.  babies?  bring em on. don't scare me.  but...once they turn into big kids...the ones that back talk you and think you're an idiot and even hate you at times...'s eating my lunch.

part of the problem is that he is his father's son.  he is stubborn.  he is prideful.  and he outlasts me.  mainly because i have the patience of a puppy.  plus...there have been times that he outwits me.  i'm not ashamed.  ok. so i sorta am.  turns out...i'm not ALWAYS smarter than a 5th grader.

yesterday was not good.  from the time he got in the car from school to the time we finally "found" him at 10:30 pm.  after finally getting him to talk...he had an extremely craaaaaaaaaaaaaapy day at school yesterday...which started the whole thing.  he faced things like being told that "he sucked" by people who's opinion matters to him...regardless of how many times we have told him it shouldn't.  he faced not making the mile relay team after he had been dreaming about it and practicing for a month.  these things would put me in a bad mood too.  the problem is...instead of answering my,

"what's wrong, baby?"

question...he sulks and pouts and punishes all of us...(the people who love him most in this world) with his angry attitude and disrespect.  and then it escalates from there...because you just can't let that stuff go.  and you can't force them to talk.  and if i had a dime for every time we have had the "just-because-you-had-a-bad-day-or-someone-was-mean-to-you-doesn't-give-you-the-right-to-take-it-out-on-us" speech...we would live on that ranch i've always wanted.

anyway...his attitude and tongue landed him in the backyard...pointlessly moving bricks from one side of the yard to the other while he "thought about" his disrespect.  that came back to bite me when he decided he just wasn't going to do it and there was nothing i could do about it.  chad is out of town...and mom has 3 other babies to take care now is my chance to assert my stubborn will and independence and fly the coupe.  i watched him run down the driveway; turn the corner; and then didn't see him again until 10:30.

oh...there was stuff in between.  like casually looking for him at the park while pretending to be on a leisure, whistling walk...calling chad, who is 1,000 miles away, to ask what i should do...enlisting neighbors to keep an eye out for him...and praying that God would work on his stubborn pride and soften his heart towards his family.  the neighbors saw him a couple of times...and let me know he was safe.  and after calling UK for reinforcement...we decided it best to let him be and not traipse all over looking for him as he sits watching from a tree, satisfied that we are all pawns in his attention seeking game.  but those hours of waiting him out...especially after it got dark...turned my anger at his behavior into sadness that he is "that" unhappy.

after we patiently waited (not my strongest attribute) and some serious undercover stalking from UK (when my parents were divvying up patient genes...he got them all) we flushed him out.  i thought for sure that after having 6 hours to "think" he would come in all, "i'm so sorry mom and i love you so much."

not the case.

to make a long story not as long...i'll cut to the "we stayed up until midnight working it out" chase.  but this morning i woke up completely drained.

so, at breakfast...aiden started talking about their ages and the spacing between grades.  she said,

"so...i will be all alone at school when i'm in fourth grade.  colt will be gone.  chase will be gone.  and annslee will still be a baby."

we all listened to her rattle off the facts.

"and then...when i'm in 5th grade...annslee will be in kinder.  and then...after that...she will be all by her-self."

she thought for a split second and we all looked at her to see if she was going to add anything else.

and then she did.

"unless mom adopts a baby................

or lays an egg........"

i think i spit out my coffee.

and then i laughed.  for a long time.  and colton laughed too.

and that was a very welcomed sound.

Friday, April 20, 2012

being louder

I keep checking the tangled up nest that housed my dove the hopes that she has returned home.  But she hasn't.  I can only hope that wherever she is...she is happy.

I've been thinking alot about my babies, lately.  I''m watching them grow, mature, and day by day get closer to the moment that we send them from the nest...knowing that when they will be as a visitor.  I think about what I want for them.  Honestly, I never answer with "good grades" or "successful athletes" or "beauty" or "popularity." 

And...I find that a little strange because, to be very honest...that's all I wanted when I was young.  I wanted to be the girl that everyone watched because she was so captivatingly graceful and beautiful.  I wanted to be the one that all the guys liked and the one that all the girls wanted to be.  That was, most definitely NOT me.  I was the tall, skinny, gangly one off to the side.  One time, in Jr. High...I even remember one of my "friends" laughing at me and telling me that they took a picture of me trying to be in the "huddle" of all the popular girls in the lunch room.  I was being edged out...and no one even knew I was there.  I was unknown.  Unwanted.  Invisible.  And people thought it was funny.  I wore long, full skirts so that I could walk down the halls with bent that I didn't tower over everyone.  I just wanted to be accepted.  Liked.  Wanted.  And when I wasn' hurt like Hell.  I tried to be someone else.  I looked to "them" to see how to dress, how to talk, how to act around the boys, what purse to carry, how to carry my books, and even how to write!  I looked to "them."  My eyes were anywhere but up.

 It took me until graduate school (that's, like 23 years old!!!) to FINALLY accept who I was...the perfect, gangly creation of God.  And that was after being told every day, at my unconditionally, loving parents and every week...for my entire life, at church.  Where was the break down in communication???  Why didn't I believe the people who mattered and knew the truth??  Why did I only hear and accept the lies and the negative??  The only thing I can figure is that they were louder.

we planted page mandarin orange trees.  it's like our own orange grove comin' up the driveway.

i'm fairly certain that this cat thinks he's a dog.

she thought that our house would look better in purple.

I was still skinny.  I was still tall.  And I still wasn't the top athlete or most beautiful girl in the room.  But would you believe...that when I began loving who I was...instead of trying so damn hard to be someone else...people started noticing me?  They noticed me for worthy reasons.  They noticed self assurance.  They noticed character.  And Chad even noticed my flailing, gangly basketball shot.  If only I could make my children understand that God doesn't make mistakes...and that they are EXACTLY what they are SUPPOSED to be and that if they could see themselves through HIS eyes...HE will shine through them and attract all the right people for all the right reasons.  Oh...don't get me wrong...I've still got a loooong way to go with self acceptance and the understanding and receiving of grace; and I am still afraid of failing, (and flailing)...but I've got mad skills at being true to myself. (sorry mom.  i totally used the word "damn.")

ponderosa lemon tree = fresh lemonaide. I think about what I want for my kids...I want them to be happy.  I want them to see themselves through their creator's eyes.  I want them to care more about what God thinks about them than they do ANYONE else in this world.  Even their parents.  Because, make no mistake...we will fail them.  At some point...we will fail them and demand perfection or shame them for spilling their milk for the 48th time in a 12 hour period. We will fail them because we come down on them too hard in public because of how their behavior reflects on us as parents and "oh my...what do people think of me as a mother of a kid who would do "that"...whatever "that" may be?"   We will fail them because we are human and sinful and our own insecurities and pride get in the way and we start focusing more on ourselves than them.

So what do we do?

It's simple, really.

We have to be louder.

i asked chase what this was.  "duuuuhhhh...a mime."

And when they are too young and immature to block the "untruthful noise"  we have to be their shield while teaching them how to do it for themselves.  I would never stand by and let an arrow or sword pierce their skin.  I would stand in front of them and block it from touching them.  I read in scripture, that the tongue is sharper than the sword.  And I believe it.

I would love to hear from you.

How can we be louder?

How can our message about their worth and who they are be louder that the World's?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

it's got me thinkin'

why must i be "THAT" person?  that one that gets all philosophical about learning to ride a bike?  i don't remember learning to ride a bike.  all i remember is that i rode a bike.  and i rode that blue, banana seated bike everywhere.  i rode it to swim team practice.  i rode it to friend's houses.  i rode it around the block.  i rode it on the bumpidy bumps.  (that was an area of grass and dirt that we would ride over when we passed the ditch on family bike rides.)  my bike was my first tangible taste of freedom.  oh...i could go and my bike.  we could go places.  the possibilities were endless.

somehow...i am blessed with children who refused to do anything that make them feel the least bit out of control.  rides at amusement parks...a polite no thanks.  roller skating...nope.  ice skating...terror followed by me forcing the issue...followed by them all being stuck at various positions around the rink...followed by tears...followed by angry, blame games of "YOU MADE ME DO THIS AND I HATE IT!!!!"...followed by me dragging them in, one by one.  riding bikes........

forget about it.

they have slowly come around.  amusement parks are fine now.  any form of skating is still totally out.  but they have finally started taking slow sips of freedom and have tasted the magic that is riding a bike.

colt learned a long time ago...but always refused to do any real riding until chad started asking him to go along on trout's runs.  but we thought that chase and aiden would permanently weld those training wheels in place.  every time i would suggest taking them off...aiden would simply reply,


i am usually not of the philosophy of "forcing" a kid to do anything.  but...last week, chad told the kids every few days that on saturday morning, he was taking them up to the school parking lot and that they were going to learn to ride their bikes.  i stayed quiet...letting chad gently force his children to face and let go of their paralyzing fear.

when saturday morning rolled wouldn't believe how fast the knee and elbow pads came out.  they acted like they were getting ready to compete in the X games or something.

you may know that "fear" runs in the family.  i blame chad.  just kidding...the man doesn't have fear issues in the slightest.  it's all me.  i may not be scared of riding a bike, or ice skating (remember when i took those lessons a couple of years ago???)...or any other physical activity.  but the "fearing things that you have no control over" thing????  well...i get it.  and for a kid...the physical "out of control" is all they know.  their little hearts haven't even begun to think about losing someone they love...or tragedy.  they think the world is over if they can't find their glasses.  money doesn't ever cross their minds...much less world issues like starvation, child abuse, or things like sex trafficking.

why should we be surprised that they assert their fears into the tangible?

tangible things that they don't feel in control of........

like a two-wheeled bicycle traveling at...what feels to warp speed?

i knew that chad wouldn't let go until he was sure chase was ready.  and when i saw him let go of him...the very first time...i felt a wealth of emotion rise up inside.  i was proud of my boy.  i was thankful that his father was right beside him and that he was wise enough to know when chase was ready.  it got me thinking.

obviously not too hard to hop on that bike and make myself look like a rodeo clown in the hopes of persuading aiden to join in on all the fun.

she had her doubts.  and sister was right there with the get away car.  just in case.

(they're tight, like that.)

mr. freedom had it down.  he was half way to dallas, at this point.

she's none-to thrilled with this entire ordeal.

after chad ran around the parking lot a couple 100 times with her screaming,


every 2 seconds...

i gave it a whirl.

friend's came out in support.

and for some reason...she just kept insisting that she do it alone.  she didn't want any help.  she didn't want any support.  she didn't want anyone to get her going and then let go.  and she wouldn't accept that it was going to be a lot harder to get going that way.  she would not believe that if she would just "trust us" would be easier.

but when she finally did...

when she finally trusted someone other than herself...

she soared.

and because her father knew her tender heart...

because he knew and understood her fear...

and how hard it was for her to let go of it and trust him...

he stayed close by.

for as long as she needed him to.

until she didn't need him anymore.

and they both realized...

when you let go of that fear.....

when you realize that it has no hold on you anymore....


that's when you have...

sweet freedom.

all of that.......


it's got me thinkin'.