Thank you, election season, for stealing my children’s innocence

 

Dear Whoever Hung the Republican Party Propaganda on My Door so that I Know for Whom to Vote,

First I don’t want you to be mistaken, I am 100% pro-life and will vote pro-life when it is possible, so I get you. I know you wanted me to know the pro-life candidates. I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with my 8 year old about how sometimes women, who she would call “mommies,” decide to kill their unborn children. I haven’t protected her from this information for 8 years for a reason, so I am so glad that you hung those pamphlets on my door complete with images (WITH IMAGES) so that she could be educated without my consent. We live in a neighborhood where all the parents watch the kids. They run in and out of all the approved houses and when she let her self back into her own, she brought me the baggie that had been hanging on the door, not with out giving it a quick read first of course. So, now my precious little person that had no need of this information gets to know of some of the evil in the world that I was guarding her against. There is a time to learn these things, and for her the time was not now. I’m not a parent that teaches my children all the gruesome things that happen in the world while they are yet babies themselves. I let her enjoy some innocence. I let her enjoy living without the burden of the sins of others. It’s the only opportunity she’ll ever have. So thank you very much for going ahead and thrusting her a little closer to the adulthood she’ll eventually live out anyway. You’re a doll.

Dear Republican Nominee For President (The 1990’s version of me can’t believe I’m saying this) Donald Trump,

Thank you for saying the things you did on that bus and then running for President of the United States of America. Thank you for embarrassing us all on an International Stage. Thank you for your vulgarity against women. I have a daughter who is potentially being drawn towards women’s ministry. She’s got a passion for freeing girls world wide from religious oppression, from sexual discrimination, and sex crimes. She wants women to have the same rights in THIS country and wants to help women and girls around the world experience those same freedoms. She’s passionate Mr. Trump, so thank you. Thank you for helping her to feel scared and unsafe. Is this what boys are saying in the locker room? Is this how all men talk about women? I’m so excited to have to answer these questions in 2016! See my post on rape culture, I think it would be of some benefit to you as you navigate the ins and outs of how to talk to and treat women. How silly I was to think this was something they could protect themselves against. You’ve now taught my teenage daughters that men are to be feared. Way to go. Kudos to you! You know that undecided voter thing? I’m so a statistic, always have been. I fall in the mean, median and mode…always, every time. Well…I was undecided but I’m not any more. Thank you so much for helping me to make my decision Mr. Trump. You are absolutely disgusting and I don’t believe for one minute you will act as a puppet for the Republican party by picking the Supreme Court Judges they hand you to choose from. I don’t believe a single word you say and most of the people I know don’t either. They’re counting on you to appoint some judges. I’m not sure why they believe you’ll do the right thing in that regard when you’ve not done the right thing on any other occasion. I don’t even trust the Republican party thanks to you, sir. So thank you for everything you’ve done. You’ve really been a great example for our children. You are the embodiment of everything wrong with America, and you know what…I’ve been pretty happy and successful the last 8 years. So, 4 more of the same isn’t looking too bad.

Goodnight.

thankyougirl

I miscarried 10 years ago

I realized today that Monday, September 19, was the 10 year anniversary of my first miscarriage in 2006.

When I noticed the date, and I remembered, it came over me like an unexpected flood. The tears poured out and I felt the same sadness as if 10 years hadn’t passed.

There is nothing you can do, nothing you can ever do. Yes, a new baby heals the pain. A perfectly amazing 8 year old that loves me with every ounce of her body is the healing that I needed. But, for just a moment I remembered the sadness, I remembered the loss.

Unrelated, I decided yesterday to start journaling my prayers for my children. I journaled this today even before I realized how close the date was.

This is my prayer for Audrey.

“Lord, I praise your name above all things. You alone are our provider. You have entrusted me with beautiful healthy children and I am so thankful for that blessing. Lord, help me to savor every precious fleeting moment with them. You are so good, God.

I want to whole heartedly give Audrey to you, Lord. I want to ask you to fully protect her, guide her and comfort her. Draw her ever nearer to the safety of your love. Help me to know her needs, Lord, so that I may lift her up to you continually in prayer. Give me wisdom that I might be able to parent her according to your will alone and not my own.

Thank you for giving Audrey to me and her daddy. She was the remedy for a broken heart, she is beauty from ashes and life where there was death. Never let me forget the beautiful work you’ve already done in her life and continue to use her as a vessel to do your good work. Keep her always from evil and cling to her with your great love. All these things I ask in the name of Jesus.”

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God answered that prayer already today, that I would always remember the beautiful work he’d already done in her. When I remembered my sadness I was reminded of how good God was in giving me another precious person to mother. He knew how kind she would be and how she would love so deeply. He knew that she was just the right baby at just the right time.

Not every mother is given that chance. Not every woman that miscarries is ever given the chance to give birth and I can’t imagine the pain she might feel. For the pain of loosing what could have been is far greater than the pain of birth. I thank God every day that I had that opportunity 4 times, though 2 were lost. I am so sorry if you are reading this and still haven’t had a baby. The hope I can offer is that Jesus, the very real Son of God, knows your name. He knows your pain. He personally experienced the death of someone he loved very deeply. The Bible tells us that He wept. However, since He was God himself He had the power to call His loved one back from the dead. He has the power to call our lives from the dead, from the ruins. If the loss you’ve experience is to have any meaning at all perhaps it can be to bring you to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

They say time heals, and I think time just helps us to get used to loss.  I think that though I might have forgotten the date and I let it slip my mind. I can clearly see by the prayer I wrote this morning that even before my mind remembered, my soul had never forgot.

 

 

Our family vacation to Seattle

We’ve been getting lots of questions about our family vacation. Though I posted tons of pictures on social media I thought it might be fun to go through some of our favorite days with a little more insight.

First off, a good friend of mine said something like this. “Your family looked so sweet in your pictures, you just looked like you were having the best time.” Hahahaha. Though we did have a great time, I told her not to be confused. I didn’t feel like my family was being sweet most of the time and I totally should have captioned each picture with what the girls were fighting about the moment the picture was taken. I also refused to be in some of the pictures because I was so upset at certain behaviors that I was afraid taking a picture would cause me to remember forever what I was upset about at that time.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, I can’t even remember what they were arguing about most of the time. Only one argument stands out in my mind and isn’ t it one that every family has all the time? No one was ever happy about where they were sitting in the rental car. In reality we have that issue all the time. My expectations for this trip were a little too high. I guess I imagined my girls would get along 100% of the time and that we would have this dreamy magical time. That wasn’t the case. So don’t be disillusioned by our amazing pictures. My kids are still teenaged girls, and one sassy 8 year old, and I am still a way oversensitive mom.

getting ready to board...
getting ready to board…
Flight to Las Vegas from Wichita
Flight to Las Vegas from Wichita
Wichita to Las Vegas, Glo sat by dad.
Wichita to Las Vegas, Glo sat by dad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wichita to Las Vegas, Audrey got the window seat by me.
Wichita to Las Vegas, Audrey got the window seat by me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first day in Seattle we did a little too much. We visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Space Needle, the park in Seattle Center and the EMP Museum. I think I was the one cranky and tired. (If you’re wondering already how we did so much, I purchased Seattle City Passes prior to arriving. It was a great purchase and made our trip about 50% less expensive!)

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Space Needle from Chihuly
Space Needle from Chihuly
Chihuly
Chihuly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't know what a Totem Poll is but I think I should learn. Seattle Center.
I don’t know what a Totem Poll is but I think I should learn. Seattle Center.
Park at Seattle Center
Park at Seattle Center

 

View from atop the Space Needle

Nirvana exhibit at the EMP Museum.
Nirvana exhibit at the EMP Museum.
Wearable art exhibit at the EMP Museum.
Wearable art exhibit at the EMP Museum.

 

Our second day we started out at Top Pot Donuts. If you visit Seattle this is a must. They’re the most delicious donuts ever! On our way to Top Pot we passed the new Amazon Headquarters being built. We got to see them assembling the dome shaped glass walls.

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Future Amazon executive offices.
Future Amazon executive offices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we headed to Pike Place Market, another Seattle must. It was so busy that day, as I am sure it is most days. The fresh fruit at the market is the best I’ve ever had. Audrey ate her first peach, probably her first ever solid food, at the Pike Place Market in May of 2008. I let her taste the juice from a peach I was eating as she rode around the market in my baby sling. This time she got to hold her own peach which was huge! The sights, sounds and smells of the market are a uniquely Seattle experience.

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The girls enjoyed a variety of street performers. This man had a trained bird. I’ve never seen a bird sit upside down.
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Look close and you’ll see “Rachel” the Pike Place Market Pig. http://pikeplacemarketfoundation.org/rachel/

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We rented a house we found on VRBO located in Redmond, Washington. I didn’t take enough pictures of the house but it was really nice. It is actually less expensive for us to rent a house than it is to try to stay in a hotel. It was really nice because all the girls got their own room and we had plenty of bathrooms. I was able to cook a few meals and we could relax in the evenings. The best part for Audrey was the play grounds, play houses, and sport court, which Gloria of course enjoyed too! We also got a chance to visit with Luke’s cousin, Shay. He has recently moved to Seattle for a new job and we’d actually “lived” there about the same time as him the day we saw each other.

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Next up on the agenda was a visit to Seattle Pacific University for Madelyn and Luke. (I’ve yet to go on a college visit because they generally like people to not cry at those things. I would be such an embarrassment.) Audrey, Emma, Gloria and I had lunch at the American Girl bistro and we strolled around the mall in Lynwood for a while before heading back into Seattle for dinner with Shay at Duke’s Chowder House. They feature chowder, obviously, as well as other Pacific Northwest cuisine. It was fabulous!

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She really liked SPU!
She really liked SPU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taken out side of Duke's while we waited for our table. I love this pic!
Taken out side of Duke’s while we waited for our table. I love this pic!
Waiting for dinner, the girls took some really great pictures of each other.
Waiting for dinner, the girls took some really great pictures of each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Fact: I love Sea Otters. Did you know that they hold hands when they sleep so they won’t drift apart? They are so playful and adorable. The Seattle Aquarium was our first stop the next day in Seattle. Have you noticed this city has great attractions for the whole family? We all had such a great time. After the Seattle Aquarium we headed down to the Seattle Central Library. We are library lovers and truly loved touring this building. It is certainly unique yet houses some beautiful Seattle history. Libraries are a great way to get to know a city, and best of all they’re free!

Baby Ella goes with us everywhere. I think she enjoyed the aquarium also.
Baby Ella goes with us everywhere. I think she enjoyed the aquarium also.

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Gloria loves Puffins as much as I love Sea Otters.

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Gloria loves Puffins as much as I love Sea Otters. We’re both a little ridiculous.

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The Seattle Aquarium has tide pools where visitors are encouraged to touch the animals, with only one finger though.
The Seattle Aquarium has tide pools where visitors are encouraged to touch the animals, with only one finger though.

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We're going to have to ride the Seattle Great Wheel on our next visit. It is a great addition to the harbor coast.
We’re going to have to ride the Seattle Great Wheel on our next visit. It is a great addition to the harbor coast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle Central Library
Seattle Central Library
Viewing deck inside the library
Viewing deck inside the library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a very long day Luke surprised us with tickets to see the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field! He had a work connection that got us great seats and they even provided refreshments. They totally got us the hook up! We took a quick stop at Gas Works Park to kill some extra time then headed down to the game.

 

Lake Union view from Gas Works Park
Lake Union view from Gas Works Park
Safeco Field
Safeco Field
Baseball game selfies!
Baseball game selfies!

 

 

 

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We were thoroughly exhausted. We hit Chace’s Pancake Corral in Bellevue, WA, Thursday morning before heading back into Seattle for our Argosy boat tour. I loved the tour. I learned so much about the city and I got my first ever peek at the “Shy Giant,” Mt. Rainier. Later that afternoon we found Kerry Park in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. Here you can see amazing views of downtown Seattle. Thankfully, we were also able to still see Mt. Rainier.

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These were hanging above us as we waited in line for the Argosy harbor tour. Hanging baskets are all over the city adding to the colorful lively feel that is Seattle.
These were hanging above us as we waited in line for the Argosy harbor tour. Hanging baskets are all over the city adding to the colorful lively feel that is Seattle.

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Look carefully, those aren't clouds right in the middle of this shot, that is the snow capped peak of Mt. Rainier.
Look carefully, those aren’t clouds right in the middle of this shot, that is the snow capped peak of Mt. Rainier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful view from Kerry Park, also known as Postcard Park because of the view.
Beautiful view from Kerry Park, also known as Postcard Park because of the view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our time in Seattle had come to an end. Our vacation was totally centered around a wedding and the time had come. We packed up everything out of our amazing Redmond house and loaded the SUV to head to Spokane, WA. About two or two and a half years ago Luke and I introduced a good friend of his who lived in Washington to our niece, who at the time lived in Kansas. Well, the rest, as they say is history. We were so excited to get to attend their wedding with our whole family. Katie was stunning  and I know their life together is going to be perfect!

In the truck, headed to Spokane.
In the truck, headed to Spokane.
Is it possible? Are they actually getting along?
Is it possible? Are they actually getting along?
Walking back from the rehearsal dinner.
Walking back from the rehearsal dinner.

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After a great time with family and a beautiful wedding, our time in Washington had come to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny and Katie
Danny and Katie

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Looking back, it was very beautiful, and actually I wouldn’t trade any of the time we spent together for a perfect non-dramatic time. If I had that, it wouldn’t have been my family. A good friend of mine says that is why we take those beautiful pictures. It is because we look back and remember only the good. It was all, very good.

My first time to be a “senior” mom.

It’s happening. I titled this year “The Beginning of the End.” It is the beginning of the end of the family years. Those times when our house is filled with children is coming to a long drawn out end. There are nine years separating my oldest and my youngest so I get to be sappy and nostalgic about their childhoods for a long time still.  My dear friend and homeschool mentor, Karen, told me that they would leave me as quickly as they came to me. I remember being pregnant forever when I was first married. I spent most of my early 20’s pregnant and nursing. Now I’ll spend my 40’s saying goodbye little butterflies…insert sappy tears. If Karen is right, Karen is always right, these next 9 years are going to blow past at warp speed.

I’m going to write several posts, not unlike baby book entries of firsts. (Much like baby books, I’m sure this is going to be much more elaborate for Madelyn than for Audrey) Except these are for lasts…perhaps there will be some firsts. There will be the first time she makes a decision on which college to go to. The first time she loads her car up. The first time she is gone for one of her sister’s birthdays. (uggg real tears now.)

So…my first, last.

This was our last time to school shop. We shopped for pens and notebook paper. She’s super picky about her binders. We bought erasers and shoes and socks…next year we’ll buy these things but we’ll also buy sheets and laundry detergent, a mini fridge and a meal plan.

Have an awesome senior year, my love. You are a joy.

Could she even be cuter?
Could she even be cuter?

My girl, Glo

I have 4 amazing daughters. They are all talented and funny and beautiful.

I have this one kid though…that well…she’s a bit of a ham. What people don’t know about her is that though she puts on the facade of being an air head, she’s actually really smart. She’s a thinker and super intuitive. She’s also very emotional. Every thing she feels, she feels very strongly. So, she’s not kidding when she laughs really hard. If it was a little funny to every one else, it truly was a lot funny to her. If she cries, what would have caused a little pain to someone else, causes a lot of pain (be it physical or emotional) to her. She doesn’t sleep well because her brain has no off switch. She’s anxious but she’s tough. Just yesterday she entered a basketball court at the Y, full of boys. Scratch that. It was full of boys and grown men shooting baskets. That didn’t stop her. She dribbled right in there and was sinking 3’s and lay ups like no one else mattered. (Yes Coach Pam, that kid has been making 3’s all summer.) She is confident but cautions, she’s energetic and compassionate. She’s a great kid and I’m glad I get to be her mom.

She also has a YouTube channel. Which I’m glad for, because she has so many words. (So. Many. Words.)

Meet Gloria, also known as “Glo.”

Be sure to “like” and “subscribe.”

Why I do this blog thing

I’ve been thinking lately about why I put so much time an effort into this little blog thing that I do. I don’t currently make any income from it (though I would love to.) Yet, I somehow find the time to post and share.

What is it that makes me come in the office…(ok, it’s really the school room, but when I’m working or writing I call it the office) shut the door and click away at the keyboard? Why do I feel the need to share my thoughts, my adventures, my goals and failures with who ever is bored enough to read? What is it about this medium that is meaningful to me the writer and to you the reader?

A little click around the internet quickly delivers the answer. Parenting on Pinterest is a beautiful experience and it usually involves toddlers. There is the weird thing called the “mommy wars.” Baby bumps and maternity shoots are abundant…but what about beyond babyhood and toddler tantrums? What about parenting through elementary school and during middle school and through out high school? The blog-o-sphere is quiet. A dear friend and I recently discussed this phenomenon and the following is pretty much our conclusion.

Here’s something that is going to be really disappointing to you sweet young mothers. If you own a nursing bra, have diapers in your house or a car seat, you might want to stop reading. This is bad. It’s going to be like road kill so just look away while you still have the chance.

We're warning you...
We’re warning you, read at your own risk.

Mothering babies, toddlers and small children is the easy stuff. (all except for potty training…that about did me in.) Bed time routines, baths, making baby food, to or not to co-sleep, sleep training, teething, cloth or disposable, crayons on walls, entire rolls of toilet paper in the toilet, entire boxes of cheerios in the toilet, ear infections, sleep depravation, entire tubes of toothpaste in the toilet, gum in hair, biting, sharing, separation anxiety and all the millions of everyday occurrences that tiny humans bring forth…that my dear reader friend is all the easy stuff. I’m sorry. I told you not to keep reading.

This teenager stuff is hard. It is also very private. So private in fact it’s hard to write a list like the one above for older children with out infringing on someones privacy. I don’t even have boys so my teen list floating in my head is only half a list anyway.

Here’s the deal. Once you get that kid able to understand that cereal goes in a bowl from the kitchen and that toothpaste can’t go back in the tube, once they understand that other people feel pain and that mommy always comes back, parenting gets serious. We’ve got actual character development stuff going on, then time flies. Time flies so quickly you start saying things like, “We’ve only got one more summer with Madelyn living at home.” Or “Emma only has 3 years of high school left.” You know how quickly that baby came…then turned 3? That is how long I have until my SECOND child graduates high school. You know how long it was till your baby started cruising around furniture. It went fast didn’t it? That’s how long till my oldest graduates. It goes FAST.

The time you have to deal with these really huge issues is so small. Then, I feel like I fail like 3 out of 4 times we have an issue. I say the wrong thing, I lose my temper or just wasn’t available at exactly the right moment. (That’s another thing, the moment is only right for a moment. Who can be there all the time for four other women? It’s nearly impossible)

So, I do this blog, I write these words because I want to be that support for moms that are doing this teen thing too. Even though we all know we can’t hash out their problems in print on the internet for every one to see, I’m here to say, it’s hard. I’m here to say that we’re actually making it without totally ruining anyone. (They will have plenty to talk about in their lady’s groups and probably to their therapist when they’re grown, but I don’t think they’re completely ruined.) I’m also here to say that its just as beautiful as having babies. There is nothing more precious than a giant teenage girl crawling up in my lap or sitting next to me with her legs all intertwined in mine while we talk about a boy or a teacher or a dream (or a band.) There is nothing better than one of my big girls slipping her hand in mine in a parking lot or at a store. We walk hand in hand on this journey figuratively and literally and I love every crazy, loud, messy, tearful and prayerful moment of it all.

They say there is a day when you pick your child up for the last time, that day has not yet come.
They say there is a day when you pick your child up for the last time, that day has not yet come.

I also write this blog because about 10 years ago I really realized how quickly time was moving. I realized I wasn’t a person separate from my kids. They were my identity. Though they are still a big part of me and always will be, I decided to figure out who I am. I think that is important and I want to encourage other mothers with children of all ages to do the same. This isn’t as hard for some people, especially if you had your kids later in life. But, I was a pretty young mother. My life became consumed with one baby after another and by the time my oldest was 8 or 9 I didn’t have a separate identity. I began to read again and I started writing. I finished my degree and started running. I became a vegetarian. I started setting goals. I want to be an encouragement to mothers with kids of all ages, to be a person all your own. Time goes so so quickly and when they’re gone I want to be whole.

So, though my blog isn’t the go to spot for the best homeschooling tips or a delicious recipe, it isn’t where you’ll find a new craft idea or how to not get an injury on a run, it isn’t a place where you’ll find inspiration for your next Bible study or an idea to decorate your home, it IS where I am me. Where I’m doing all that stuff (sometimes well and sometimes really poorly) and trying to raise kids at the same time. It’s where I’m living by the grace of God every day to it’s fullest and where I want to encourage you to do the same.

 

 

The story of a climb

As you could have guessed, I am writing a post about my time in Colorado last week. It was really great.

My aunt Reneta and I used to spend a lot of time together when I was a kid, and that was a while back. We really enjoyed the time to reconnect. I fell in love with camping last summer. There is just something about waking up with a frozen nose from the cold mountain air that makes me really happy. So, the night we arrived, we carb loaded with some camping mac n’ cheese (thank you Pinterest, totally nailed it.) Went to bed super early, and set out the next morning.

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First, you should know that I had done a ton of research. One question that remained unanswered was: Should we take a day to acclimate to the altitude or should we just hike when we get there? The reason we wanted to hike on our first day, as opposed to the second, was that the weather forecast was much more favorable for us on Wednesday than on Thursday.  I got lots of conflicting information. I asked the question, posing the weather as an issue, on a 14ers.com forum. I asked people I know who have hiked this mountain more than once. Based on the responses (equal in favor and against,) we decided to just give it a go the morning after our arrival.

We woke up at 3:55. And drove to the trail head…the wrong way. Turns out we were much closer than we realized and driving back to town and back to the trail head caused us to lose some time. We had our boots on the trail at 5:15. I had hoped to be walking by 5:00, but that’s just the hyper planner that I am. I kept telling my self “it’s ok, we’ve got this.”

The sunrise was amazing. but we didn’t break tree line until about 7:45. IMG_2840 Our breathing was labored and Reneta was starting to feel dizzy. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. We kept walking and came to an area where we could see the first false summit. It was so deceiving. We followed a steady stream of hikers and reached the top of the false summit. IMG_2857Reneta could only take about 5 steps at a time. Acute Mountain Sickness was well on its way. I started thinking about what I was going to do if she started throwing up or couldn’t stand. At the top of that false summit we made the tough decision to descend. Some “Negative Nelly” told us that the rest of the way was about an hour and a half. Not true. Also, as you can notice in the picture…some dark clouds were forming. It was only 9:45 but they did have me concerned. I can’t lie, I was totally bummed. But there wasn’t any other choice that could be made. We were both feeling very defeated. One of the reasons we decided to make this trip was that we are both very goal oriented. Neither one of us is used to defeat. So…we took the 2+ hour walk back to the car, knowing we had almost achieved our goal but fell short. I can’t help but think of the lesson that is to be learned in any situation and I was content knowing there was a lesson about humility that I had to learn that day. There was a lesson about listening to your body and making safe choices. I knew all that, but yet…it was a bummer.

Sometime that night, Reneta had a brilliant idea. She said instead of heading south to attempt some hiking in Divide, Colorado, or to head up Pike’s Peak like we had originally talked about, that we should extend our stay in Leadville and give ole’ Mt. Elbert another try. We’d stay in Leadville a few days and give it another go. I was delighted with the idea.

So Thursday we shopped, Friday we went whitewater rafting…and Saturday we set out again to climb the tallest mountain in the lower 48. Mt. Elbert stands at 14,433 ft. The tallest mountain in the US is Denali (located in Alaska) at 20,308 feet, I won’t be climbing that one.

We woke up at 3:00am…but neither of us let the other person know..assuming she was still asleep. Our alarm went off at 3:50. We dressed and hit the road to the trial head, this time knowing the correct way to go. We had our feet on the trail at 4:40.

IMG_2874We broke tree line around 6:30 and I looked up at that ridiculous false summit. (Such a liar.) I noticed the moon was still out. Beautiful. We kept walking. At some point we got off trail on the way up that stinking false summit. We knew the mistake had been made but it was too late to turn back. We basically went straight up instead of doing switch backs. We ended up scrambling.

We should have gone around the side to the right...but we took the hard way and went straight up this bad boy.
We should have gone around the side to the right…but we took the hard way and went straight up this bad boy. (not the summit)

We reached the summit at about 8:30am. 4 hours of hiking and we were standing on the second tallest point in America. It was beautiful. But for me, something wasn’t right. For every beautiful vista I saw, for every deep breath I took, I knew deep inside something was wrong. I didn’t know what it was until I stood on that mountain top and turned in every direction taking in that unbeatable view. It’s more spectacular to see something of beauty when you’ve earned it. We worked hard to see what we saw. I was so glad to be there with Reneta. I knew she wouldn’t have taken that opportunity if it weren’t for me going with her. The time was special and I was so happy to be there. But still, something wasn’t perfect. I took out my phone to take a picture…and instead I checked if I had service and I made a phone call.

Before I snapped a single picture I called my husband and started crying. I missed him more in that moment that I’ve ever missed him in my life. I realized it wasn’t as beautiful as it could have been because his eyes weren’t seeing it with me. I was so proud of us. I was so happy that we had made it. I was sooooo thankful Reneta wasn’t sick. That would have been really horrible. She was so happy! But yet, I missed him. I guess that is what happens when you love someone so much. I always say that he is my rock, he’s steady and consistent. He believes in me and let’s me conquer my goals head on. I think he had an inkling that it was going to be that way, when I reached the summit. I don’t know how he knows these things. But, he does. So, after I called and said I missed him and love him so much,  we took some pictures and enjoyed our success.

I carried this verse in my heart as we climbed. Psalm 90:1-2. I'll have to write another post about what it meant to me that day.
I carried this verse in my heart as we climbed. Psalm 90:1-2. I’ll have to write another post about what it meant to me that day.
We were pretty excited. We made it!
We were pretty excited. We made it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little mountain top treat
A little mountain top treat
See those little tiny people...that's the actual summit.
See those little tiny people…that’s the actual summit.
The views in every direction are so breath taking.
The views in every direction are so breath taking.

 

 

Back at the trial head. What a day!
Back at the trial head. What a day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back
Looking back

 

As we drove away I looked at the peak in my rearview mirror and I stopped the car. I don’t know what made me believe that I could climb to the top of that, but it turns out that a lot of people do it. It’s amazing what our bodies can do. I’m so thankful that I am healthy. I know there are women my age who were undergoing cancer treatment the day I climbed. There are mothers with very sick children, sitting next to hospital beds and wondering if and when their baby would be able to go home. I know there are women who suffer from heart disease and a million other things that keep them from doing what they would love to do with their bodies. I’m so thankful that for now, for this time, I can fully live.

I hope when my time comes to leave this body that it will be said of me, “She lived until the day she died.”

 

Featuring me!

Can I tell you something crazy?

I was chosen to be a contributing blogger for an online and print magazine called Beauty and Lifestyle Mommy. Once you’re there scroll all the way down to the “About” button at the very bottom. Under the about tab you’ll see a button for Contributing Bloggers. Click there and scroll through.  You’ll see me!  If that is too much trouble, here’s the direct link to my page.

I’m not sure where this opportunity will take me, but I’m pretty excited about what is to come.

Featured Blogger mint (1)

Raising girls in this “rape culture.”

(This is super long, I’m sorry but I just have so much to say on the subject)

I’ve been tossing that title around in my head for a couple of weeks and honestly typing it made me sick to my stomach. I have all these words to say about this…all these thoughts and I can’t decide where the line between private conversations and what I MUST say to the girls I know are drawn. I can’t decide how much of my own sordid past to reveal (thank Jesus for redemption) and what to speak to in broad generalizations. Please, hear my heart in these words. I’m not a know it all.  I don’t want to place any blame on a single victim, because it is absolutely not your fault. I just want to prevent my own children, and yours, and you if you are still young enough for this to be applicable, from being a victim. If that is at all possible.

I had this talk with one of my daughters and she said “Mom, I’m never going to be in that situation.” To that I responded “I know sweet heart, I just had to say it. As a mom it is my job. Just like I tell you to wear your seat belt or don’t text and drive…it’s my job to say these things.” And though it isn’t my job to tell you, this I must say.

I’m not stupid. I know at some point my children are going to get the bright idea to go to a big party. They are going to drink. They are going to be in a situation that is grossly unsafe. Here are the tips I hope their underdeveloped late teen early 20’s minds can remember.

  1. First and foremost have a person. What, you may ask is a “person?” Your person is your best girl friend. You trust her with your life. When you go to this party, to this club, to this whatever you take your person. She’s drinking too much. You stop her. You’re drinking too much. She stops you. Stopping might mean leaving. Just ending the “fun.” You never let her go home with someone, or into a room alone with them. No one…you don’t let her go in there with the hot guy from Psych 101. No one. Same for you. You have made this pact ahead of time in your most sober state. You are there to keep each other safe and alive. No person, no party. You don’t trust any one, no party.
  2.  It is never, ever, never funny to get falling down black out stupid drunk. Just never. On your way there, you might think it is funny. But once you get close, funny is over. Please hear me, this puts you in a vulnerable powerless position. In today’s time, in any time, women just can’t be powerless. The second you are my dear one, a vulture will sweep in and take advantage of you, feeding on your very spirit. You must not ever allow yourself to get to that place. Your person is getting there…you grab her by the pony tail and get out. Live to party another day.
  3. Let’s say you are already stupid, you’ve already gone too far and now you are stuck. You are too drunk to drive. (Don’t ever drink and drive, lovey.) Don’t get in the car with some guy who promises to get you home safe. Seriously, you can’t. I have told my girls, I don’t care where in the country you are, before you get behind the wheel or into some perverts car, call me. I will get your butt home. I don’t care if you’re in California and I’m in Kansas we live in the age of technology and I can find a way-make a way to get you safely where you need to be. (Now granted if this becomes a trend, we’re going to have to find different living situations for you.) Right now, stop what you are doing and download the Uber app to your phone. Put in your credit card number and there you go. You aren’t ever with out a ride again. No Uber in your area (where do you even live?) google the nearest Taxi company and save that in your phone. Now you don’t have to look it up when it is too late and you can’t think. (Didn’t I tell you not to get there in the first place…uggg. LISTEN!)
  4. Boys. Come on. Your momma raised you better. You don’t deserve any thing from a girl. She didn’t dress like that because she wanted anything from you. Girls don’t think that way. She dressed that way because some idiot pop star did on whatever tour and some where along the line she thought it was cute or sexy or whatever but it is NOT and I repeat is NOT your cue to take advantage of the situation. See that drunk girl falling all over you. Yeah, she’s pretty. Tell her so and find her bestie. Get her in her bestie’s car…keep your hands and all other parts of your body to yourself and try not to lose respect for her. Because we both know you’ve partied too much too. Just because you’ve got different plumbing in your pants doesn’t mean you get an exemption from the respect rules.

Let me tell you mommas, raising teen aged girls is tough. But it starts way before the clock strikes midnight on the eve of their 13th birthday. I see your toddlers in her booty shorts and mid drift tops. You just wait till she wears that same outfit at 16. You’ll be seeing under-boob and butt cheeks.  You bought it, you put it on her. Why is it so different at 15 than it is at 5? We have to teach our little ladies to cover their skin. Not because their bodies are shameful, but because they are very beautiful. Lovely ladies, your body is so beautiful in fact that simply looking at you can cause other people to only know that one thing about you. Please have some respect for yourself and wear some clothes. Also, conversations start so early. Have you noticed the kids on those Disney channel shows like boys before they even wear a training bra? I’ve got a little person in my house who is still getting the early on conversations that go something like this. “I don’t understand why she doesn’t want to play with her shopkins…why is she so worried about that boy. I wonder if she knows how to rip stick.” Or “The people who made this show must not have kids. 11 year olds still like to play at the park and make playdoh cakes..they should do some research.”

Wow…that was more of an introduction than a blog post about rape culture…maybe this will be a 2 part series.

Can I share one more though…of course I can share…but please read on.

Rape culture is not new. We just have a name for it now. We used to say things like “Boys will be boys” and excuse away these acts of indecency, acts of violence.

Take for example the movie 16 Candles, which I actually just watched for the very first time….ever.

Just before this scene the dark headed guy…I can’t remember his name says “she trashed, have fun.” He’s giving his girl friend over to the nerdy guy. The girl friend would have given sexual consent to her boyfriend. This clip shows they are deceiving the girl into thinking the nerdy guy is her boy friend. Obviously this is ridiculous…sort of. This celebrated coming of age movie that spoke to a generation is that generation which is raising sons and daughters today. Did you even know that happened in 16 Candles? Did you even notice? Probably not…because its “just the way things are.”

Can we please start calling bull shit on this kind of stuff. I’m so over it. I’m over pretty language and being kind. When it comes to my kids, and your kids I’m over it…it’s time that we start requiring our boys to man up, accept responsibility for their impulses (and learn to control them) and for our girls to stop being pretty little idiots.

Unfortunately this video (which is a gem among gems) had to be made to teach the every day fella what it means to have consent.

Pretty sure the boys in 16 Candles could have used this information.

Don’t get me wrong ladies and gentleman who are now wondering if perhaps my daughters aren’t dateable (Not that we really care what you think because if you’re trying to set your son up with my daughter you’re probably on the do not date list) You’re thinking, these girls have been given the go ahead to do as they please, as long as it is what they please.

Oh, quite the contrary my friend.

We teach abstinence, but not stupidity. We have made it this far and have been successful and many prayers are prayed that we continue in the same direction. Here’s what we teach our little ladies.

You are valuable. Your value reaches beyond that which can be measured. Value yourself, love yourself. You have worth. What is done can’t be undone. The choices you make today can’t be removed. If you make a decision to go farther with a boy than you should have, you can’t go back. You can choose not to do that any more but you can’t unlearn you can’t unfeel and it takes very long to heal a broken heart. (If you have already stepped to far into the deep water my dear reader it’s ok to turn around, it’s ok to head back to the shore line. Most often that is going to require leaving someone behind. They might be drowning, but they don’t have to take you with them.) You are worth so much to your family. You are worth so much to your future self and your future husband (not that you HAVE to have a husband but if that is the path you take.) 15 minutes (or likely less) isn’t worth changing your life. You are not made for the pleasure of others. You are not made for physical pleasure alone. Trust me when I tell you that a sexual relationship with one’s husband is far more beautiful and meaningful and safe than one that is with a boy you’re dating. Or even someone you hope to marry.

This is what I tell my baby girls and these are the conversations I hope you’re having with your daughters. I know so many moms that do this mom thing so much better than I. Please share your words of wisdom. How do you communicate with your lovelies with how they should behave and how to protect themselves. Mothers of sons please shed some light on how you are bringing up your sons to not be the date rapist we all fear? Give us some hope. I know some really great boy moms that I love and adore. I wouldn’t think for a minute their sons would be those described here! Please give us your words and how your husband is teaching your sons to be respectable men of honor.