It Takes a Village

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It’s not that I forget that I have a blog. It’s that we are impossibly busy these days and I just run out of time sometimes. And I guess, at the end of the day, sometimes I think I’d rather only write about things that are hugely important and not simply prattle on about our lives that look so similar to everyone else’s lives. 

 

A facebook friend of mine posted this article today. It was posted by either the mother or father of three adopted boys. (They share a facebook account, so I don’t know whether it was the mom or dad that posted it. I’m not really sure it matters.) Go ahead and read it. I’ll be here when you come back. 

I work at a large, inner-city hospital, so sadly, not much horrifies me anymore. That being said, this does. The fact that this is going on in our Bible belt towns is appalling. The fact that the good Christians of the world are spending more time freaking out about Candy Crush levels and gun rights and for the love not letting the gays marry is ridiculous. (And before you tell me that people don’t have a problem with Candy Crush, let me just go ahead and remind you that “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”) I read a lot of memes from Christians about the breakdown of the American family and the collapse of our morals and, honestly, more than anything about how we’re not sticking to the constitution of the United States of America. Well, in this short post, I’m going to go ahead and tell you what’s wrong with America.

We’ve forgotten to care about the people we come into contact with everyday. We’ve been so concerned with only ourselves for so long that we are not even bothering to care for our children anymore. Hillary Clinton may have written the book, but the concept was true long before her date of publication. It takes a village. And it takes a village that isn’t busy posting facebook memes decrying large groups of people and their so-called stupidity. It takes going a little bit out of your way to make sure our children are cared for. Nevermind our guns and the gays and race issues. We’re not even bothering to properly care for defenseless children anymore. We just simply cannot be bothered. I’m appalled. And angry. And it’s because memes are easier than babysitting for that single mom that you know. And it’s simply easier to assume that middle-aged man working at McDonald’s is just a loser who couldn’t get a college degree and now has to wait on you. It’s because we’re lazy and unwilling to have relationship with people because stereotypes in the form of unflattering pictures posted on facebook to our sycophants are much easier to do and allow us to feel like we might be exacting change in some form or fashion. Stop it, church! Start caring for children. Stop worrying about the fact that abortion is currently legal and the fact that your guns might be taken away and that gays might be allowed to marry and start working to exact legal changes and heart changes that protect our kids. Instead of petitioning your representatives about guns, ask them what they intend to do about these obvious child trafficking laws. Ask them what they intend to do to help us protect our children. They are, after all, our most valuable asset. 

 

*Yeah. I come across as angry in this post. It is because I am. And yes, you can feel free to ask me what I’m doing about adoption and caring for children. I’m happy to share. 

It’s a Heart Issue

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“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. “

I’ve seen the image of a billboard circulating on Facebook. The billboard reads “Cain killed Abel with a rock. It’s a heart problem, not a gun problem. Jeremiah 17:9.”

You know what? That’s true. It is a heart problem. It’s bigger than guns and ammunition. It’s bigger than tanks and fighter jets and nuclear arms. It’s bigger than that because the offender is small and lives inside our souls. It’s bigger and much more frightening than any explosive or firearm that you can throw at me. 

It’s frightening to me that I live in a country, and likely share a religion, at least in name, with people who say things like “They can pry my guns out of my cold dead hands.” And “I’ll be an outlaw if it means I can’t have my guns.” Really? Guns? Guns? You’ll be an outlaw over things? Actual, honest to goodness, possessions? 

Because that’s all guns are, you know. They’re just things. They’re just possessions. We read from a bible that implores us to render unto Ceasar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. It’s scripture that tells us to not hold to tightly to our earthy possessions because they can be gone in a flash. And it’s scripture that tells us to become all things to all men so that by all means we might save one. Perhaps it’s an unfair extrapolation here, but it seems to me that that salvation is about more than just heaven and hell. In the words of Brad Paisley, “A man don’t have to die to go to hell.” 

And all of this is even bigger than guns and gun control. Modern evangelicals decry abortion and homosexuality and drugs and alcoholism and Islam. But we neglect to stand in the gap for those women pregnant out of wedlock on an accident. As a woman who’s gotten caught up in the heat of the moment myself, I can understand getting caught up and finding yourself pregnant. We neglect to think about those teenage girls who are victims of smooth talking college boys who have to choose between carrying a baby full-term and their college careers or their families, which would often mean choosing between shelter and food and living on the streets. We are so caught up in the “War on Terror” that we forget that there are Iraqi women praying to God that today the Americans won’t blow up their babies. We are caught in the lie that it’s acceptable to neglect the poor in the US because we live in a capitalistic society and anyone who wants to can go find a job that pays enough to live one. We save our charity for Thanksgiving food drives and turkey baskets. We drop a few coins in the Salvation Army buckets and congratulate ourselves on having enough cash to do something good. 

The billboard is right. It’s a heart issue. It’s a heart issue that says that I’d rather keep my guns than there be anything that tries to stop the ridiculous amounts of gun violence that happens in this country, and world-wide, ever day. Do I understand that if we outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns? You bet I do. But more than anything, I understand that it frightens the hell out of me to be lumped in with people who are more concerned about their guns and decrying the big sins of abortion and homosexuality and Islam and alcoholism than to understand that we have to hold our faith loosely. That we have to understand that we have to give up everything, guns, our fundamentals, our view of sinners, to have Jesus. And at the end of the day, give me Jesus. I am sure of so little, but I am sure of him. 

Two Years

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Two years ago today I married my favorite person in the whole world. In two years we’ve moved four times, been to Houston, Vegas, Oxford, Jackson, Little Rock, Shreveport, and Oklahoma City. We’ve replaced one of our cars, bought (and subsequently watched die) a new freezer, developed a working budget, watched the SEC win 3 national titles, helped some good friends get engaged, and eaten about a million pounds of chicken. 

 

In addition to all that, we’ve had arguments, made up, started to learn how to NOT push each other’s buttons, begun a grueling work travel schedule, started a job working nights, prayed a lot, held hands, learned to sleep around the cat, made a lot of plans and had God laugh at them, survived a concussion, a broken foot, a broken finger, moved across the country, and learned to be best friends. 

 

I’m glad I married you, Stephen. I’d like to go for 60 years. I figure that puts us at 87 and 90 and I figure that’s just about long enough for anyone to be around on this earth. I love you and I’d rather spend a Saturday morning watching SportsCenter with you than doing just about anything else in the world (except perhaps some R rated things).

Next year let’s fix this terrible trend we have of being in separate cities on our anniversary. It’s so not my favorite. 

Life

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So the last time I blogged about what was happening with us, it was the end of May and I told you all about our vacation to New Orleans. Well, since then we’ve moved across town, had my mom come visit us, been to Shreveport a lot, watched the Arkansas Razorbacks spiral into the pit of despair, and I participated in my very first hurricane.

Where did we move to you, you ask? Well, we moved out of our big house way outside of town to a tiny 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom duplex in town. (I’m a City Girl. For serious.) I love it. It’s tiny, but it’s IN TOWN. And it has a dishwasher and an air conditioner that works very, very well, and the cat is happy.

 

                            See? Happy Cat.                           

 

My mom came to visit us. She couldn’t come when my dad helped us move, so she came later. I don’t have any pictures, but she took us out for a nice dinner and then we went shopping on Saturday. We also went to the eye doctor with Stephen. It was super fun. Not really.
When we’re bored, we call our friends Mike and Jordan. They live in Shreveport. They’re usually kind enough to indulge our boredom with a trip to their house to grill out and play games and talk about life and play with their pets. It’s always a good time and always good value for the drive over.

 

We’re not talking about Arkansas Football. It’s sad and I was right about John L. Smith being  a bad hire. No one listened to me then, but I was right. I hope you all remember that.

 

Tech football has been fun. We’ve tailgated, attempted to go to a game that got hurricaned out and rescheduled, and watched on the TV.  At our first tailgate Stephen rigged up the TV so I could watch the Arkansas/Alabama beatdown. And then no one judged me when I cried a little. It was nice of them.

Tailgating.

 
So, that’s life. My ten-year high school reunion is in two weeks and since I’m pretty sure 1990 was just ten years ago, I’m trying to figure out how that happened. Perhaps we can discuss it at the reunion if we go. Or perhaps someone has written a decent article about the space-time continuum that will explain it. Perhaps.

 

Oh, and more pinterest reviews coming this week. I’ve tried several more things since the last one. Apparently I like to cook things.

 

 

Things People Say Without Thinking

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I initially wrote this post about things people tell singles about marriage. However, I’ve decided to expand the series so that I can include things that people (these are usually people who’ve been married only a bit longer than I have) say to me about marriage, things people say to me about pregnancy and childbirth, and things people say about just about anything. Also, I’d like to point out that while some of this is a bit of ranting, the underlying point is that we should all (me include, me most definitely included) think a whole lot more before we say things to people, particularly when they are people we do not know particularly well.

 

However, today’s post will be about something married people say to single people. It’s this little gem:

“You’ll understand busyness when you get married.”
Honestly? I get it to a small extent. I’ve got a husband. I’ve got some wifely duties that I didn’t have before. But, I’ve also got a husband that travels a lot for work and works late a lot for work. In all honesty, I’m less busy now than I was when I was single. I realize that’s anecdotal, but isn’t the original statement? Perhaps in your (and that’s the general “your”) experience, you’re busier married. That’s totally cool. In my experience, I could use a bit more busyness.
I think it’s also important to point out that busy doesn’t equal happy. I’m not very busy, but my marriage is very happy. I have some theories on why that is, but at 21 months married, I wouldn’t begin to tell you what those theories are. After all, they probably won’t work once we have a kid or different jobs or someone gets a debilitating illness, because we all know those things happen to everyone at some point.

And, finally, use this as a springboard to talk to your single friends openly and honestly. It seems that when you’re a single adult, people often effectively volunteer you for projects because “You’re single, so you should have enough time to handle it.” That’s true of the first project, and it might be true of the second project that comes along at the same time as the first project, but it’s likely not true of subsequent ones. Be kind to your single friends, because in addition to getting volunteered for stuff, they also don’t have anyone to go home and whine to. So, don’t volunteer them and don’t assume, and heaven forbid, don’t tell them that they’ll understand busyness when they have a spouse. It’s just another way that the world implies that you don’t matter and you don’t have a life until you’re married.*

 

*Yes, I realize that this is likely not what the married person means when they’re talking to the single person. But think about it: it’s pretty easy to construe it that way, particularly when you’re a girl who wants a husband or boy who wants a wife.*

 

All I’m saying is be kind. Be sensitive. Be gentle. And I promise to cover things that are great to say to single people and engaged people. I’m sure I’ll have great things to tell pregnant women too, but since I’m not pregnant, I haven’t had anyone say anything to me. I have, however, had lots of fabulous bits of advice given to me over the years from people who are in a different stage of life than I am. I’ll share that too.

 

 

Pinterest!

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Ok, I realize it’s been nearly two months since I’ve blogged. I’ll be happy to update you all on what’s been going on in that two months tomorrow. Today I have some pinterest recipes to review.

 

The Good

Crockpot Cube Steak

This stuff was delicious. It was ugly-looking, but delicious. I followed the recipe exactly. We loved it. I served it over egg noodles, but I bet it’d be tasty over rice or mashed potatoes too.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

We loved this too. It was tasty and delicious and ridiculous easy. I kept telling Stephen it was so easy that he could make it. Grating the cheese was the hardest part about it.

Rachel Ray Tilapia

I’m not going to lie: I was totally skeptical about this once because it’s a Rachel Ray recipe and because it was pinned so. many. times. But… it was amazing. It was easy and flavorful and cheap and delicious. We loved it and will definitely be eating it again in the future because those bags of tilapia in the grocery store are too good of a deal to pass up.

The Bad

Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cookies

I wanted these to be good. I wanted them to be good so badly. Unfortunately, they were hard to work with, fussy to cook, and had a weird texture once they were cooked and cooled appropriately. I not only won’t make them again, I’m not even taking them to small group which is where I planned to serve them.
Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread

I had ridiculously high hopes for this one. It looked so good. The recipe sounded so good. But it was a fail when I made it. I think that I’m probably going to try it again though because it looks like it could be just absolutely delicious. But honestly? The dough never worked right. The glaze wouldn’t become smooth. It just stayed gritty, even with a bit of extra rum. It never rose right and the dough didn’t pull apart easily once it was baked. And yet, I’ll tweak it and try again. Stay tuned!

 

So what have you been making? Have you gotten off pinterest and into the kitchen or craft room? I’d love to hear your successes and failures.

Having It All

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The short answer is you can’t. The bigger problem is that here in America, we try to teach people, men and women alike, that you can. Nearly every single moment of every single day results in sacrificing one thing for another. Often these sacrifices are made on a smaller scale: this dress for those pants, this time on this work task for time on that work task, cooking dinner instead of cleaning the out the dishwasher, making love to your husband instead of ironing your clothes for the next day. In the scheme of things, they are small decisions that matter to your moments, but are not life-changing or significant to anyone outside of your family.

And then there are the bigger decisions, the ones we have to make when we’re considering whether we can have it all: do I work or stay at home, do I stay late at the office charting or do I get home in time for dinner, do I go to away games or simply the ones in town, do I check over my children’s homework or trust them to do it themselves, do I take a job that requires a lot of travel, but more money, or do I limit my career to enhance my family?

These questions seem to be posed to women more often than men. Because of our feminist predecessors, my generation is not only encouraged to want it all, we’re often diminished by our elderly female relatives when we don’t make strides towards having it all. We even do it to ourselves when we whisper snide comments at parties or have gossipy lunch sessions with like-minded girlfriends. “Well that’s fine for her. She can stay home if she wants to, but I can run the house and get to work every day.” And you know what? It doesn’t matter. Life isn’t about having it all. Life is a series of adjustments, of sacrifices, and of reorganizing your priorities. While I certainly have no desire to ever limit my daughters, I would want to caution them: it is right and good to have a high-powered career, to get plenty of education, to have a lot of responsibility at work. However, it is also right and good to be a wife and a mom and let your career take a bit of a back burner. It’s not particularly possible to be successful at wifedom and momdom and still be a high-ranking employee. Something always takes a back-burner in life. And that’s the beauty of being an adult: you get to decide what your priorities are. You get to decide. It’s the beauty of life. You get to decide what your priorities are and then you get to do your damndest to make those things happen.
I don’t want to limit anyone, particularly women, who I think are limited all too often as it is. However, I think it’s extremely important that we let go of this American mentality that you can have it all, all the time, at any time you want if you just work hard enough, sleep less, medicate more, and are just motivated enough. It’s simply not true. There are always, always, always sacrifices. It’s up to you to find the ones you’re willing to make.

Work

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Kristi: “I don’t think you understand how hard it’s going to be to teach these guys how to use even a simplistic piece of software.

IT Guy: “I probably don’t. And I’m not really looking forward to it. Why does it smell like tacos?”

Kristi: “Oh. That’s my dress.”

Cue strange look and awkward silence. Oh yes, this is my life.

Communication

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About once a week Stephen and I have this conversation:

Kristi: “What are you doing? Didn’t you know we were going to ______________ at ___________ time? Why are you eating cheese?”

Stephen: “No, I didn’t know. Why didn’t you tell me?” (keeps eating cheese)

Kristi: “I did tell you. I was sitting in my chair wearing my pink dress and you were sitting on the couch wearing your brown corduroy shorts and your Norm t-shirt. And when I told you, you said, ‘Oh. Ok. That sounds fun. We should see if the ________ want to go to.”

Stephen: “I don’t think you told me.”

Kristi: “Well, you know now, so stop eating cheese.”

I always hear that women are cagey, and they drop subtle hints, and they beat around the bush and that’s why men can’t understand them. May I submit to you that perhaps the reason men can’t understand women is because they don’t listen? So here are my tips for the day: Men, learn to listen. Women, start writing important information on your naked body. You’re guaranteed that will get noticed.

 

*This was intended to be humorous. I promise.*