mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

It’s All About Perspective May 28, 2014

It was a heck of a day.

I left the house early with the kids this morning because a violent thunderstorm thwarted my plans of grocery shopping yesterday evening, so it had to be done before school since I had nothing to feed them for breakfast or lunch.  And since Max had to bum a grilled cheese off his teacher for lunch yesterday, I felt it was pretty important to send him to school with an adequate meal today.

While I shopped, the kids ate donuts (breakfast – check!).  Then, when we left the store, I packed their lunch boxes while hunched over trunk of the car (lunch – check!).  The school secretary stopped by while I was frantically tearing open boxes and flinging food into their lunchboxes.  “One of those mornings, huh?” she said.  I smiled, wondered why she was at the grocery store at this hour, and wished to myself that I would have brushed my hair instead of leaving it the remnants of yesterday’s braid.

I loaded the kids up and pulled out of the parking lot only to remember that my car was completely out of gas.  I may have squealed the tires as I u-turned into the gas station cursing myself for once again pushing the limit of an empty tank.

Fast forward through dropping the kids at school, going home to unload the groceries, getting ready for work, going to work, going to Tractor Supply on my lunch break to buy dog and goat food, leaving work early to arrive late to Max’s baseball game, the game going into an extra inning, going to eat at 8:00 on a school night, coming home, changing Max’s sheets, putting the kids to bed, doing a load of laundry, cleaning up some random clutter, sitting on the couch crying because I was a nervous wreck all day and took it out on the kids…It was just a long, hard day.

But, a bad day is all about perspective.  I saw that on a Hallmark card this morning at Ingles.  Don’t ask me why I was in the greeting card aisle when I was in such a rush – I guess I’m just a sucker for cards.  Anyway, back to the point – a bad day is all about perspective.

We are healthy and happy.  We have a home full of love.  I have the most wonderful kids and husband.  We are truly blessed.

I actually love my life.  Days like this are not ideal, and I don’t like feeling run ragged and still having three loads of clean laundry piled on the loveseat waiting to be folded.  But, I love my life.

My prayer is that God will help me find joy in my everyday tasks.  I’m not going to become less busy.  The list of things that need to be done is really never going to get shorter.  I need to be able to find joy in these things.  If we grocery shop at 7:00 before school starts, I can make it an adventure for the kids.  If we are driving home at 9:00 on a school night instead of tucking the kids in their beds, I can choose to notice the lightening bugs twinkling in the trees instead of stressing about the late hour.

I can sing with my kids.  We can do chores together.  We can turn mundane tasks into games.  I can be joyful.

I can turn a heck of a day into a heck of a day!  See what I did there?  You know – a heck of a day (bad), into a heck of day (good!).

Dear Lord,

I don’t pray enough.  I take You for granted.  You continually bless me, and I go through life stressed and overwhelmed and wrapped up in the things that I need to get done.  Please forgive me.  Please help me find joy.  Please help me focus on your blessings, your love, and the beauty surrounding me.  Please help me to stop trying to do everything myself.  That only leads to frustration and guilt.  Help me to depend on You – to cast my cares on You – to focus my thoughts and my heart on You.  Please help me to be who You want me to be.  I love You.  Thank you for loving me.

Amen

 

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My Worst Nightmare May 17, 2014

There are things that happen to people.  Bad things.  Things that test the limits of their sanity.  Things that can break them.  That can push them over the edge and change them.  Things that cause people to lose themselves.

One of these things happened to me.  And I knew that if I didn’t conquer it, I would never be the same.  And while it may not be easy for others to understand, for me it was real.  Very real.  I knew it was a battle that I had to win or it would defeat me.  It would define me for the rest of my life.  It would rule me.  If I didn’t finish that bologna sandwich…if I didn’t force myself to eat the entire thing…if I didn’t consciously choose to chew it up and force myself to swallow it…I’m quite certain there would have been permanent damage in my mind.  I was on the verge of being broken.  Yes, my battle was a bologna sandwich.  I’m not proud of it, but we can’t control these things, can we?  Stay with me.  I’ll explain.

To set the stage, I need to share just one tidbit of background information:  I’m terrified of frogs.  Boy, it feels good to have that off my chest.  Yes, I’m scared of frogs.  I’m scared of frogs!  I know that by disclosing this, you may never look at me the same.  You may think of me as the weird woman who is scared of frogs instead of as me, an otherwise normal individual who functions just fine in society.  But I had to share.  You had to know this in order to understand the sandwich.

So, it all started, well, let’s be realistic, this story started somewhere back in my childhood.  But we don’t have time for that.  We’ll skip over the traumatic frog experiences of my life (did you know they scream when on fire?  did you know they pop when run over?) and get right to the events leading up to the bologna sandwich.

It was a dark and stormy night (seriously), and we were camping.  I thought I would take the dog for a little walk even though it was wet outside.  After all, we were camping anyway.  So, I leashed the dog, and we took off.  A girl and her dog.  Off for a little walk in the rain.  In the dark.  I know, I know – what was I thinking?  I was practically begging for a frog encounter.  But, honestly, I thought I had my fear under control.  I thought I could handle walking in the general vicinity of croaking amphibians without losing it.  And I probably could have.

Until it happened.

My worst nightmare.

I’m not exaggerating.

This is something I have obsessed about ever since I was a little girl.  Something that has been in the forefront of my mind every single time I walk outside at night.  Something I have lain in bed at night an contemplated, only to give myself the shivers and force the thoughts from my mind.  Literally, my worst nightmare.

I stepped on a bullfrog.

Remember, it’s pitch black dark!  It’s raining.  I can’t see a thing.  But I felt that bulbous mass under my left arch and I knew right away what it was.  It was a hideous feeling – worse than I imagined.  But, I had a lightening fast reaction, and I rolled my foot to the left to get my precious foot off the beast.  And something worse than I ever could have imagined happened.  The frog jumped up the leg of my pants.

I immediately flailed and kicked until I caught a glimpse of the reflection of the moon off his grotesque white belly as he flew spread-eagle through the air.  And then I was frozen.  I couldn’t move.  I mean, how could I?  I couldn’t see anything, so I didn’t know where that villainous creature was or if he had an army of cohorts nearby ready to attack.  But I knew the longer I waited, the greater the chance that I was being surrounded, so I began a panic-stricken shuffle back to our campsite.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was doing some sort of high-pitched moan that didn’t quite sound human – certainly not something that’s ever come out of me before.  I couldn’t think.  It was the longest 100 feet of my life – just trying to reach safety.

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of my panic attack.  Let’s just say it was ugly and leave it at that.  It took hours to stop crying, to calm my racing heart, to stop shaking.  Hours of laughing and crying and laughing while crying.  I was not in control of my emotions, to say the least.

And when I finally calmed down, I was hungry.

Enter the bologna sandwich.

I sank my teeth into that sandwich, and all I could think about was the striking resemblance between the cold, clammy, moist skin that was pressed up against my left leg and the remarkably similar texture of that cursed bologna.  Every time I chewed, I felt that frog on my leg.  I felt it like it was really there.  And then I tasted it.  I felt that amphibian skin in my mouth.  I looked at that slice of bologna between two slices of bread, and I saw that frog looking back at me with his ugly little froggy eyes and his arms and legs overhanging the crust of my bread.

I had to finish that sandwich.  Don’t you see what was happening!?  If I didn’t finish that sandwich, the frog would have won.  My mind would have never been the same.  I would have been broken.  I had to force myself to overcome those temporary pangs of insanity.  I had to eat a bologna sandwich made out of a frog.

And I did it!  I gagged my way through it.  I concentrated.  I dug deep and fought to keep myself.  I chewed that sandwich.  I ate that sandwich.  I finished that disgusting, froggish, nightmarish sandwich, and I was victorious!!  I WON!  I will not be controlled by my fear.  I will live a normal life!  The frogs will not rule me!  I will not make accommodations for amphibians.  I will live my life to the fullest!  I finished the sandwich!!!

But I will never wear boot-cut jeans again.  I mean, skinny jeans don’t look good on me, but let’s be realistic – they are much safer.

And I will always carry a flashlight.

Oh, and I’ll never eat bologna again.