Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Life. Moves On. And Such.

I love writing.  I love writing on this blog.  I love connecting with people.  I love connecting with people through this blog.  There are days I can't wait to sit down to write my thoughts, and then there are days I get in bed, hit the pillow, and I'm out.  No time for writing. 

With the start of school, we've had new routines.  Trying to keep everyone cohesive and maximize quality time is work and that leaves little time for writing.  Presence has been an action I have been working on lately.  Presence with my kids.  Presence with my business. Presence as a wife.  Presence as a friend.  Presence as a Christian.  Presence as a (fill in the blank)______________.

Goodness.  We wear a lot of different hats. I used to focus on balancing life.  No doubt that's important, but what helps me maintain that balance is asking myself, "Am I being present in the activity I am doing NOW?" 

I may drop the ball with tasks I am supposed to complete and my to-do list may pile up on some days, but what I'm realizing is being present is what is keeps me focused on importance.  I'm not sure this helps anyone else, but life moves by fast for us.  We blink and it's a new month.  Sometimes I can barely remember the date. It's a new reality for me.  With baby #4 on the way, I'm realizing I'll manage the crazy, but being present where I'm at is what keeps me from jumping off the cliff of insanity.

After all, these kiddos reflect how I can feel in a matter of minutes.  If I don't stay present, this is what you get...

All of this to say, I haven't quit this blog.  I never will.  It's a great outlet.  It just may not happen everyday. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Embracing My Crazy

Ducks in a row.  To do list made. Perfectly planned.  Details thought out.  Tasks done early.

That was me.

Not. Anymore.

Here is a prime example.  Last week parents sat in little chairs and listened to teachers explain class rules and such.  The annual Parent Night.  Most normal parents walk into the right class without issue, thumb through their kid's desk, write little love notes, and intently listen to the teacher.

I intently listened to the teacher.  The other 'normal' things I intended to do correctly, but it didn't happen.  First off, I walked into, not ONE wrong classroom, but TWO.  I blame it on recognizing parents.  Saw the first 2nd grade classroom and a few of last year's parents were sitting down.  Well, by all means that must be Little Man's class.  Nope.

Second attempt.  I see more parents.  This time I am fully convinced Little Man is in the same class as his buddy Lane.  Nope, he's not.

For attempt number 3 I decided to actually  look at the teacher before walking in.  BAM!  I find it.

It's not like I didn't go in there on Meet the Teacher.  Seriously.  Who does that kind of stuff?

So major fail on finding the right class. 

I did peek in Little Man's desk, but I didn't thumb through his stuff.  He keeps a tidy desk.  Score one for mom for teaching him neatness.  It was super neat.  So not a total fail there. 

Did I write him a note?  NOPE.  Honestly, it didn't even cross my mind until now.  I bet he would have liked that. Mental note for next year...write a mushy gushy love note and leave it smack in the middle of his desk.  He'll totally love that and feel appreciated when his friends see it too. 

Lastly, I walk out of Parent Night and see the 2nd Grade Community Board.  All these kids with pics of them with their families on vacations, enjoying activities, and/or living it up with friends.  Then there's Little Man's pic.  My first born.  The kid I'm supposed to get everything right with, because after all, he's the first to experience these things.  Well, he has his school pic from last year.  Nothing cool.  No beach vacation pics.  No cool friend pics.  No well posed family pics.  Just a school pic.

Here's what I find ultra funny about that.  If HE got a regular old school pic to take for his assignment, what's the final Torres kids gonna get???  Maybe a personalized self-sketch because we can't even find an adequate picture???

For a little bit, I was beating myself up about this.  Who does that to their kid?  Then I had to take a step back and think, Does he even really care or is this me just comparing what pics other kids have vs. what I sent him with?  

Probably has more to do with me comparing.  He doesn't care.  In fact, he thinks his pic is awesome.  Problem solved.  So I'll just embrace my crazy for now.  I'll be me...the mom who used to have it all together who now randomly walks into other classrooms and sends a 'It'll do photo' to school. 

Oh well!  I'll also be the mom who makes up crazy games to entertain herself at the pool.  Like the Bet You Can't Hit Dad's Hand game...

 

 
Yep, that's way more my style at the moment.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Menu Monday...on Tuesday

Helloooooo Summer!  Just when you think we have come through and Oklahoma summer unscathed, it turns to hotter than Hades temps.  HOLY SMOKES!!!  We spent Sunday with our church section and Tulsa Homeless Outreach passing out needs and talking with the homeless in the heat.  After standing on the hot pavement for an hour, I have a burden for those living on the streets or living without A/C.

In the comfort of my own home, I hydrated all day so me and my preggers self would be in tip top shape to serve in the 100+ degree temps.  Once we get out to our meeting location, I see 3...THREE...pregnant women who were living on the streets.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  One woman in particular had no idea how far along she was, but was as big around as I am.  As soon as I began asking questions, she jetted.  I can't get her face, demeanor, and baby out of my mind.  Which leaves me with a burdened heart, and that's not a bad thing.  With a burdened heart, you no longer walk through your own life thinking about yourself and your problems and your issues and your to-do's.  You just can't.  Life just can't go on the same.  You can't look at these faces month after month and NOT think about how you can do your life different so they can know a better life.

 
{Dwayne}


{Garland}

 
{Billy...he thought he had me beat in the belly region}

These 3 men have stories.  Stories that may shock you.  Dwayne and Garland are actually not homeless now.  They have transitioned to apartment living.  However, their apartments are NOT what you and I would consider acceptable living.  Dwayne often refers to his apartment as the Dungeon.  In my opinion, that is a generous description.  Yep, life cannot go on business as usual anymore.
So here we are on Tuesday and I typically would have a menu posted, but thoughts were elsewhere.  BUT, I have it today.

Monday-Does it even really matter now?
Tuesday-Taco Salad served over Spicy Roasted Chickpeas and Watermelon
Wednesday-Coconut Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes
Thursday-Grilled Chicken Salad and Croissants
Friday-Pizza Bread
Saturday-Dinner Out
Sunday-Burgers, Brats, and all things grilled.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Throw Away People

A few nights ago I was reading my new favorite book, Undaunted by Christine Caine.

 

 It has touched a lot of sensitive areas in my life.  Where do I stand helping others?  How much of my own comfort am I willing to give up for that help?  Am I really living a Christ like life?  How much do I value others' lives over my own?  Are my priorities straight?  

All these questions floating around.  It takes a lot of self-reflection and honestly some of the answers I don't like because I'm selfish.  I like my time.  I like my space.  I like my family.  Then the disgust sets in for all that liking of time and space because in the end will I be satisfied to answer the question, "Did I do enough?"

We don't get to heaven by works or being a good person or living by the right rules.  We get there by the acceptance of what Jesus did for us, but what I mean is did I do enough with what I was given?   Did I use my gifts and talents?  Did I use the resources I was given in the proper manner?

Here's a perfect example.

My mom and I were talking the other day and she mentioned how she feels we live in a society where people are looked at as throw aways. We see this all the time in life.  The teenagers that are dressed funky.  The homeless on the street.  The provocatively dressed young lady.  How many times do we walk by in judgement?  We assume we know why they are the way they are.  We assume we know what's caused them to be in this time and place.  We assume there is nothing we can do to help.

Wrong.

I love how Christine Caine put this kind of topic in her book.  I've read it a handful of times and each time it inspires me to search harder for what I can do to display this kind of love.

No matter how deep the pit or dark the night, I will always look for you and rescue you because I love you with an everlasting love.  You are precious to me.  Even when you mess up, even when you're careless or mistaken or afraid or broken or weak, I still love you.  Even when you are incapable of doing anything for anyone, including yourself, I still love you.  And just as I come for you, I come for all those who have made mistakes, and those who are overlooked, for those devalued and despised.  I come for all the wrong people--the careless and uncared for, the merry and the miserableI come for the lost, whether the lost is a silly sheep, a silver coin, or a squandering son. (pg 135, Undaunted)

If Jesus searches for these people, cares for these people, loves these people, then WHY AREN'T WE???  We are not helpless individuals.  We are powerful in Christ.  When you see this kind of passion spilled out on the pages of a book, how can I think, "There's not much I can do.  It's just the way it is."  People are not throw aways.  They are not old shoes.  They are not wasted spaces.  There are treasures deep inside waiting, waiting, for YOU!  

I pray you find your niche, your calling, into how you are to serve others.  We are not all called in the same way, but we are called for something.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Menu Monday

It finally hit me.  I am having a baby.  The whole idea of waking up at endless hours of the night and the crying and the sleepless night and the crying and the no sleep thing and the crying...I think you get it.  Well, it all really freaks me out.  We've been down this road before and frankly, I. LOVE. SLEEP.  Giving up nights on end with no rest during the day is a super duper labor of love for me.

But, finally...FINALLY, I am getting excited to snuggle, cuddle, nurse and love on a little 7 lb bundle of miraculous cuteness at all hours.  The newborn pics creeping through my news feed gets me so excited about the new life.  Another opportunity to raise a child to make a difference in this world.  We live a rich life!

In the meantime, I am going to cook.  Life goes on and there's not too much time to ponder the future.  Here's what's getting us through the week nutritionally...

Monday-Taco Lettuce Wraps, Homemade Salsa, and Brown Rice Chips
Tuesday-Grilled Chicken, Peppers, and Onions with Brown Rice
Wednesday-Seasoned Tilapia, Steamed Broccoli, Salad
Thursday-Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
Friday-Stir Fry with Veggies
Saturday-Dinner Out
Sunday-Dinner at Mom's

Monday, August 11, 2014

Menu Monday

It's the week we begin school.  Am I really old enough to have a second grader and a Kindergartener???  How is it possible to have kids that old when I'm only 25? 

I am so lying through my teeth.  I'm 25 plus a few more years, but I have a bit of an identity crisis.  I see myself as 25.  Then I see someone who is truly 25 and I cry.  They have no wrinkles...or gray hair...or multiple children dangling from their limbs.  Nope!  They are just young and vibrant and naive and...I just can't talk about this anymore. 

Here's the menu...

Monday-Whole Roasted Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, Strawberries
Tuesday-Sanwiches and stuff...It's Meet Your Teacher then straight to football.
Wednesday-Chicken Crescent Roll Ups, Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries
Thursday-Grilled Tilapia, Green Beans, Salad
Friday-DATE NIGHT!
Saturday-Homemade Pizza and Salad
Sunday-Veggie Loaded Spaghetti, Salad, The Bread

25 year olds totally cook like this, right???

Friday, August 8, 2014

Just Call Me Handy

Football season started in our house last week.  My husband and son are in their element.  Little Miss, Chubby Cheekers and I are along for the ride (and I guess Torres #4 too...she goes where I go).  It's been pretty fun.  Ask me again in a month if it's still fun.  No, I'm kidding.  It's a fun schedule to keep and manage when you husband is coaching.  I mean that in the most serious manner (I am totally lying through my teeth).

Just for a little visual, here's my big wittle bitty baby guy suiting up for practice.  He's loving the time with his friends and learning new skills.

Do they not look so totally tough???

Aside from football season being new to our schedule, we are also working on something else new.  The boys are moving in together.  Chubby Cheekers is being kicked out of his room to make room for his baby sister.  As of now, they boys are excited about it.  I give this about 2.5 days. But that's beside the point.  The POINT is...

You can now hire me for your latest handy dandy needs.  My latest piece of work is a (drum roll please)....

 Toddler Bed!
 

Yeah, I can read directions like a BOSS!  I am also pretty mean with an allen wrench.  Thanks to our crazy new football schedule, I decided to tackle the assembly of the bed by myself.  I got tired of seeing the box chilling in the entry way. Honestly, I had a great support group of 5 kids.  They were totally supportive.

Aunt Amanda?  Ummm, don't you think you should wait for Uncle Stevie to do that? (From Chunkey Monkey.  Geez, nephew!  Do you know how many time I wiped your biscuits?!?)

Mom, do you even know where that goes? (From Little Man.  He's grounded for life.)

Mommy, you are the smartest worker lady ever!  (From Little Miss. She is now my favorite child.)

Well, it just goes to show the boys that I am awesome, and Little Miss now believes she can conquer the world as a girl.  As long as she's armed with an allen wrench. 

As we speak Chubby Cheekers is snoozing in that bed and nothing has fallen apart.  Again, I offer my services for hire!