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.



{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.


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
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!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Consumed: An Update

So my first attempt at inviting Amy to church was unsuccessful.  I wasn't able to get a hold of her despite a few messages. She did tell me the last time we were in person that she can't see who calls on her phone.  So any phone message I left her may have gone unbeknownst to her.

Despite my sinking heart, I know my time is not lost with her.  All I know is if I don't do my part to seek her out, I'm not sure anyone else will.  She may not see the worth in herself, but I see her worth.  Which brings me to my crazy Sunday afternoon...

Sunday afternoon just sitting around cleaning and organizing and relaxing wasn't sitting well.  My mom and I decided to see if Amy was at our normal meeting spot.  I had a few things to give her and more importantly, I wanted to hug her neck.  She wasn't anywhere to be found.  None of our friends were.  Homeless people?  Yes.  But none that we have built relationships with.  We'll try again next week and keep trying until our next outreach on August 24th.  Ever since February, when we first met Amy, she has come to the outreach and makes sure she doesn't leave until she finds my mom or myself.  I will see her again.  She still consumes me, but I know have a new obsession.

Here's what has consumed me since Sunday...

We drove passed at least 50 homeless people, mostly men, hanging on the street.  A few groups here, a few more there, and some sitting by themselves about every few blocks.  Every few blocks there were also people going about their day seemingly oblivious to these men.  So busy with their own day or their own uncomfortableness that they cannot even make eye contact.

When did we become so desensitized that we fail to see people as people?  They are not scum of the earth.  Some may have done scummy things, but we are not our mistakes.  I try to remember that when looking at people now. You know that whole, 'Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover' thing?  At the very least, what harm is there in simply acknowledging people?

If I can ask one thing of you, acknowledge those around you.  Be so consumed with making meaningful contact with people that your personal agenda becomes secondary.  You will be blessed for it.  And with that, I have two stories to share with you.  One from our church, and the other about Dwayne.  Both are touching.  Both will leave you looking at how you go about your day differently, AND how you see people differently.

Please, please, please take time to watch the video and then read Dwayne's story.

Click the link to watch the video.  It is amazing how much you become consumed when you walk in the attitude of awareness;  being open and available to opportunities to help others.  It can be something as simple as what happens in this story.
 {photo credit: Jenny Thomas}
I want you to look long and hard at Dwayne's photo before you read the story and think, "If this man passed me by, what would I think of him?"  I can be real honest with you.  A year ago, I would have been sad for him, but judgmental and uncomfortable.  Now, I see his heart.  It is beautiful. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

And The Flood Gates Opened...

This is not a 'please send compliments my way' post.  Just some real feelings that were stinky.  If it happens to me, maybe it's happened to you.  I hope you can find some encouragement from my stinky feelings.  At the very least, you are NOT alone!

It's been 23 weeks this baby has been growing with me.  She is moving and more active everyday.  This last experience of life in me has been amazing and I truly appreciate it.  So when I found myself all emotional over the way clothing fits, I was totally taken back.

Generally speaking, I am not a super emotional person.  I can contain tears on most issues.  I have never ever cried about my weight as an adult.  There are times I dislike parts of my body.  There are things I work to change and things I want to change that diet and exercise can't fix.  Like those nasty spider veins!  They drive me nuts.  My right leg could seriously be mistaken for a 90 year old woman.
 {See what I mean??? I'm kidding. Not my real leg, but close!}

Not the point.  The point is, I don't obsess over my body.  It's my shell.  I try to take care of it, but my identity is not wrapped up in it.

Again, this is why I was SO caught off guard.

Yesterday, I went to put on my usual workout shorts and t-shirt (you know, my Mom Uniform), and I had to double check that I didn't have on biker shorts.

What. The. Heck???

They were my go-to, most favorite, well-loved Lulu shorts.  Now they will work great if I were going on a long bike ride.  We're talking suction cup fit!


The tears were flowing over clothing.  I went to put on another pair of shorts.  Too tight.  At this point I flopped on the bed and cried like a big baby.  I wasn't even sure why.  So I cried some more for crying over such a trivial issue.

Here's my thoughts on the issue...

After having Micah, I thought we were finished with our family.  I worked hard in diet and exercise to get back to the shape I wanted.  I don't think I have ever been in that great of shape.  Life was great physically.

During this pregnancy, I have worked out hard and fairly diligently.  I am way more conscience of my eating and feel great.  However, I am at the point where I pack on the weight.  In my mind, it is disheartening.  This leads to the crying event.

My poor husband walks in and finds me a complete mess.  I'm sure he thought something tragic happened.  I never cry like that.  When he found out why I was crying, I'm sure he was ready to check me into the looney bin.  I was ready to check myself in.

The reason why I share this with you is because I know I'm not alone here.  We all have times where we feel less than us.  It's a lie.  We are never less than us.  We are more.  We are greater with Him.  With my stinky, no good, feeling sorry for myself attitude, I had some decisions to make.

First off, I need to purchase some clothes to get me over the hump.  I've been struggling with spending money on clothing I will wear for only a few months.  Instead, I have to realize I'm investing in minimizing frustration and then using those clothes to bless someone else later.

Secondly, I needed a reminder of what God says about me.  Despite the frustration of a changing body God has some very specific things to say about me.  None of which have anything to do with whether or not I fit in my Lulu shorts.  In fact He says I am completely whole physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Not because of what I have done, but because of what Christ has done for me.  Good reminder.

And lastly, there are some choices I am making that would result in smaller thighs and butt.  It's called, "Don't eat the cookies late at night."  Somehow, I hold it together all day with great eating and then, every once in a while, cookies come running to me with their great friend milk.   That needs to stop.  Nothing is wrong with cookies and milk every once in a while, but obviously it's causing some issues with how I see myself.  If my mental state is affected by my food choices, then I really need to evaluate what's important.

So there's my crazy for today!  Feel free to run from me in public.  My issues may rub off on you!

Seriously, though.  Thanks for listening.  This is totally my therapy zone to process my issues...for the world to read...