Sunday, May 31, 2015

To My Son on Your 13th Birthday

Today my firstborn, Logan, turned 13.  I am still in denial that I could possibly be the mother of a teenager!

I have a very special connection with this child that made me a mommy for the first time.  He is very much like me when I was a child, but he is also such an individual.  I love him desperately and deeply.  I want to protect him, but I also want him to experience life and make his own mistakes.  I pray that he is able to learn some of the harder life lessons just by trusting his father and I, but I know he is so much like me that it is unlikely that will happen.



So, Logan, on your 13th birthday-here are some things I want you to know.  Things I want you to carry with you and develop throughout your life.

  • Be accountable.  Take responsibility for your actions, even your mistakes.  Fulfill your responsibilities and promises you make.  Don't shirk your duty as a son, husband, father, brother, man of God.
  • Respect authority.  All authority.  Even if you disagree with how your boss or teacher or supervisor wants something done, respect the position.  That being said, never compromise on your morals.  You know right from wrong, if it feels wrong-pray about it.  Take it to God's word and seek His guidance.  Bring it to your father or I and we will happily guide you to the best of our ability.
  • Trust us.  We love you and will always be in your corner, encouraging you, praying for you, guiding you to the best of our ability.  I have learned from personal experience-parents get smarter as you get older.  Truth be told, we have always been that smart, it just takes time for you children to realize it!  We truly have your best interest at heart at all times and we are seeking God's guidance on how to instruct you.  No one on this earth will ever love you the way we do.
  • Work hard.  Always give 100% effort in all you do.  I know this has been a particular challenge for you and your father and I will continue to work with you to develop this character quality.  It is so important to be known for having a good work ethic.  It will take you far in life if people know they can always count on you to do a good job.
  • Be honest.  Always tell the truth. No exceptions. That is all.
  • Surround yourself with the right people.  Choose your friends wisely, they can have a huge influence on your life-good or bad.  Specifically, surround yourself with godly men in the spirit of iron sharpens iron.
  • Choose purity.  I know-this is really uncomfortable, especially coming from Mom.  I will keep it brief....save that most intimate of moments, that most intimate part of you, for the woman you will spend your entire life with.  You deserve it.  She deserves it.  God commands it.
  • Cherish your siblings.  Your sisters (and any future siblings) have been with you almost your entire life.  There is no one who knows you better, loves you more, or knows more of your secrets-so be careful, treat them well!  All joking aside, your sisters will learn how a man is to treat a woman by your example, make sure you set the bar high.  Protect them, insist they cherish themselves the way we cherish them.  Don't let them settle for less than they deserve.  Know who they are friends with and who they are courting.  Get to know their friends and more importantly, get to know the young men they are interested in.  Treat your sisters well so that when you share your opinions, they will value them appropriately.

  • Walk closely with God.  Your relationship with your Heavenly Father should be the most important one in your life.  Spend time with Him daily.  Pray, talk to Him, share with Him.  Come to us with questions, talk to us about your walk.  We want to know where you are, even if it is not where you want to be.  
  • Be gentle.  Be strong and manly, but temper it with gentleness.  Especially with the women in your life.  Gentleness is necessary to communicate in and intimate way that transcends general conversation.  Gentleness does not equal weakness.
  • Choose joy.  You know how important this is to me.  This is our family motto-CHOOSE JOY and LOVE IS EVERYTHING.  Every day, every moment, in every situation you have a choice.  Choose joy.  
  • Take care of your body.  Learn to exercise self-control when it comes to your physical health.  Eat a salad every now and then, choose water instead of soda, take a walk instead of playing the X-box.  I know we have not been the best examples of a healthy lifestyle, but I am hopeful that you can break the cycle.  We are in this together and will support you in whatever you choose to do in order to take care of your body.
  • Forgive quickly.  Be patient.  There are very few things that are "unforgivable".  Remember that we are to forgive others as God forgave us.  I know I have been forgiven abundantly by my Heavenly Father.  You never know how long you have with a person here on earth, don't waste time holding grudges.  Forgiveness has very little to do with the offender, it is an action that frees the offended from the chains of anger and frustration.  Bitterness only destroys the vessel that contains it, don't let anger and bitterness destroy you from the inside out.
Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To My Husband

My love,

First and foremost, I thank God for you each and every day.  I can't imagine doing this thing called life with anyone but you.

I am emotional.  I cry at TV commercials and cartoon movies.  My emotions are unpredictable, even to me.  However, my tears are genuine-never intended to elicit a response or manipulate you in any way.  Thank you for putting up with my emotional roller coaster.


I have a chronic illness.  It is exhausting.  It is painful.  It drains my energy.  It has the potential to drain my joy.  But you endure.  You show me compassion and concern even when we are both tired of hearing that I am in pain for the 3rd, 4th, 10th day in a row.








I am not brave.  You are brave for both of us.  You keep me safe in your arms when we are facing scary new things.

I feel ugly sometimes.  You constantly remind me that I am beautiful to you.  You wrap your arms around me and whisper "you are beautiful" in my ear.



I get lost.  I stray from my walk with Christ.  I put space between myself and Him when I should be drawing nearer to Him.  You help me find my way.  You remind me that the answers I seek are in God's word.  You encourage me to seek Him when what I really want to do is hide from Him.


I am irrational.  I want things I cannot have and do  not need.  I seek solace in the things of this world, rather than seeking my Father's face to comfort me.  You are the voice of reason in my life.  You gently guide me back to the path of rationality.







I doubt myself.  Often. Daily.  But you believe in me.  You encourage me to go outside of my box.  You stand by me and support me when I am required to leave the safety and comfort of what I know and love and step out on faith alone.  You are my biggest fan.



We are not perfect, we both make mistakes.  We lose our way and find it again.  But we are always in this together and I am so very thankful for that!

Love you forever and always! #choosejoy #loveiseverything

Meri

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Open Letter to Anna Duggar

To my dear sister in Christ, fellow wife, mother, and daughter,

My heart aches for you and your family.  Not because of whatever sin your husband may have committed in the past, but for the microscope you and your family are now under and for the backlash from certain portions of our society.  I have always been somewhat in awe of how you have lived your life.  Your dedication to your faith, your husband and your family is inspiring. Your grace under the pressure of this unenviable situation speaks volumes about your character and the character of your husband.

I have always been a fan of the Duggar family and have been honored to watch the relationship between you and Josh develop and to watch your family grow over the past few years.  It is encouraging to me to see a family with strong Christian values live according to their convictions in the midst of a culture that is turning further and further away from these values every day.

Your strength of character is evident in your support of your husband during this challenging time.  I have seen may characteristics of the quintessential "Proverbs 31" woman in you as you have navigated many challenging situations. 

My sweet sister in Christ, please know that you are not alone.  I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I completely support you and your family.  I am praying daily for peace and wisdom for you and your husband.

Love & Prayers,
Meri

Choose Joy

Our family has been through a lot of changes in the past 18 months.  Job changes, moving, health issues, and much more.  Through these changes, we have recognized that God is refining us.  Pruning us so that healthy fruit may be brought forth.





One of the main areas our family needs to work on is the environment in our home.  Rick and I have long recognized that we struggle in this area.  We strive to have a home full of joy and laughter, a safe place where our children can be honest and transparent.  The reality is that the stress of these past few months has permeated every aspect of our lives, including our home environment.  Stress and anxiety translate into short tempers, unrealistic expectations and tension between husband and wife, parents and children, and siblings.

Now that we have made some major changes in our lives-moving to a smaller home, changes in the home dynamics, etc.-we have determined that we need to focus on the emotional health of our family.  I sometimes hear my children remark that they wish our family was like "that family" (one they see on TV or somewhere else), so I started researching families I identified as "happy" and looking to see what the differences were between them and us.

I found several areas that we need to improve on, but after much prayer and discussion we narrowed it down to 2:
CHOOSE JOY

and
LOVE IS EVERYTHING

Every day, every moment, we are presented with a choice.  We can choose to react to situations that arise during our day in one of 2 ways-joy or not joy.  It is really quite simple.  Choose joy.  In every situation, look for the joy-for the positive.  See the glass as half-full.  It is a choice, we are not required to be victims of circumstance.  God has given us the ability to choose how we react to those circumstances of our lives, not be defined by them.  So whenever one of us seems to be struggling with attitude-we work to remind that person to choose joy!



Besides choosing joy each and every day and each and every moment, we have identified the one true thing that is the root of all happiness, all joy and what makes a family stay together-LOVE.
Love is everything.  Love is the gospel.  God's love, Christ's love, our love.  It all comes back to love.

The family home is the first place our children learn about love.  This is their first encounter with the love of Christ.  Parents are the first people to show their children how to love and how the love of Christ is a life-giving, life-saving love.

In the midst of anger and frustration, arguing and yelling-stop.  Remind yourselves that love is everything and the only important thing.

No matter what we do-educate, discipline, teach, train-with our children, if we do it without love, it is worthless.  Faith is nothing without love.  Gifts are nothing without love.  We are nothing without love.

Blessings,

Meri

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday #tbt

So today is the popular "throwback Thursday" #tbt on social media.  I usually forget about posting anything until it's too late, but today I had some old pictures at my disposal so on to Instagram and Facebook they went.

As I search the album I took these from for just the perfect pictures, I am struck by what a blessed life I have had.  That blessed life is certainly a gift from God, but is in no small way also due to the tireless efforts of my wonderful parents.

As I get older and watch my own children grow, I find new reasons each day to be so very thankful for Ed and Sandi Mitchell.

Don't get me wrong, we are not a perfect family.  I am certainly far from a perfect daughter.  My parents are not perfect either (gasp!).  I believe one of the reasons I recognize the value of what they have given me and done for me is that I know what the alternative could have been.

For those of you who do not know, I was adopted.

It was a familial adoption (which in some ways was simpler and some ways much more complicated).  I was adopted by my biological mother's sister and brother-in-law.  I have always known, there were no secrets in our family.  From a very early age I recognized that Momma and Daddy were and would always be my "real" parents.  There was no question about that.  My relationship with my biological parents was more complicated, but never for a moment did I feel unloved or unwanted.


What I quickly recognized as I grew up, especially after I was married and became a mother, was that my parents gave me an amazing gift.  They took me from a life that would likely have been filled with struggle and left me lacking for many things and they gave me a life filled with love, joy and opportunity.

We had our share of trials and struggles, don't get me wrong.  As a teenager, I could be......difficult.  There were complicated and challenging emotions to deal with.  Even in the most open, amicable adoption situations, there are messy and complicated feelings that arise. 

And I haven't always appreciated the gift.

Now that I have children of my own, I can recognize the value of this beautiful gift of adoption that God blessed me with.  I better understand what it is to love a child so very deeply that it physically hurts.  I better understand the sacrifices a parent is willing to make for their child.  I am immensely grateful that my parents chose to shower me with their love and support.  I know now that they prayed for me.  They sought God's face in the struggles of infertility and rejoiced at His provision through adoption.



I am also reminded that my earthly adoption is a beautiful picture of God's love for His children.  Just as biblical marriage is a picture of Christ's love for His bride (the church), earthly adoption is an illustration of God's love for His children.  He chooses us, just like my parents chose me.

It reminds me of a poem that hung on my parent's bedroom wall for many years and now hangs in my home:

Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone
But still miraculously my own

Never forget for a single minute
You didn't grow under my heart, but in it.

I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father that He loved me so very much as to provide me the gift of adoption and a life with my wonderful parents.

 
 Blessings,
Meri

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Saved Alone

Those two words.

"Saved alone."

Two words full of heartache and pain.  Relaying a story of tragedy and loss.

These are the words that Horatio Spafford, a man who had experienced extensive loss and tragedy already, received from his wife after the ship she and his four daughters had been traveling on was sunk after colliding with another vessel.

When I think of the tragic loss this husband and father suffered, my mind can't help but go to my own girls.  What would I do?  How would I go on?  How could I continue to draw breath on this earth when they were not with me?  My heart aches just thinking about it.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,a
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

But this man speaks of peace!  That is the glory of God's grace in action.  Spafford can write these words with the assurance that he will meet his children again in the presence of the Almighty God.  While the pain and ache of loss will never fully go away as long as we are here on earth, separated from our loved ones who have passed on, Spafford reminds us that our time here is only temporary.  This is not our final destination.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

I love how he clearly recognizes the source of much of our trouble.  The enemy is at work in this world and it is important we recognize his attacks for just what they are.  But we have the best Defender on our side.  Christ has seen our helplessness in the face of the enemy and He intercedes on our behalf.  He shed His blood for our salvation.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

Spafford clearly has an eternal perspective.  He has focused his heart and soul on an eternity with Christ and his beloved family.  He rests on the promise of a final home in Heaven and realizes that his time here on this earth is only temporary.
One of the challenges I have had with handling my chronic illness is the "chronic" part.  I have found that I can handle almost anything if there is an end in sight, a proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel".  The fact that there is no cure for my illness, no end in sight, no final treatment, has helped me with finding an eternal perspective.  The end of my illness will likely come when I go home to Heaven.  This is not a gloom and doom mentality.  Death is a part of life, it is not an ending, it is a beginning and I will welcome it when God is ready to bring me home.

Blessings,
Meri

Monday, May 18, 2015

Help! I'm Failing as a Homeschooling Mom

There it is.  In my inbox, on my Facebook feed, on my Instagram homepage.  Every day.  Pictures of beautifully decorated (and might I add-sparklingly clean-rooms).  DIY projects, Bible studies I should start (and maybe even finish), great ideas for homeschool field trips, homemade this, handmade that.  They are mocking me.  Reminding me of all of those things I would get to "tomorrow".  Whispering to me that I am still not "good enough" and quite possibly never will be.

Comparison is a joy-killer.  There is no good purpose in holding my life up to what I believe is true of another's life.



Every now and then, in the midst of all of the reminders of what I am not, I find a lifeline.  An article or blog post from a fellow wife/mother/daughter/sister who is in the trenches with me.  A glimmer of truth among all of the shiny lies.  A ray of hope that I am not the only one, that there are others whose dishes don't get washed daily, whose floors are dirty, whose laundry piles seem to multiply rather than disappear, who just have days when the best they can do is go through the motions and pray everyone gets out alive.



What the enemy would have me believe, would have all of us believe, is that the shiny, clean, sparkling pictures presented on social media are the norm.  That those of us who have mismatched socks and piles of laundry are the exception-the ones not cutting it. 

But that is just not true, friend.  Everyone struggles.  Everyone hurts.

I'll be honest-after 2 job losses, 1 move, and dealing with chronic illness on a daily basis, I am just phoning it in when it comes to finishing the homeschool year.   If I can get all 3 kids to complete their computer work each day, I am counting it as a win.  All of the spelling lists, creative projects, and fun field trips I planned to "get done by the end of the school year" have fallen by the wayside.  I am more ready for this school year to end than my kids!  And that's okay.  It's all I have left in me right now and the truth is, I am giving all I have to give.

That's where God's grace comes in.

Grace for the homeschooling mom who's just going through the motions.
Grace for the working mom who just doesn't have anything left at the end of the day.
Grace for the stay at home mom who doesn't know where all the time goes each day.
Grace for the single mom who is worn thin from trying to satisfy the role of 2 parents in 1.
Grace for the mom who travels and whose heart aches to just hold her babies.
Grace for the mom whose children have all left home and is not sure what to do with the emptiness.
Grace for all of us.


Homeschooling Mom, Organic Mom, Working Mom, SAHM, WAHM, Single Mom, Lonely Mom, Traveling Mom, Crunchy Mom, Homesteading Mom.  His grace is sufficient for all of us.

Blessings,
Meri

Friday, May 15, 2015

Circle of Friends

I have always felt that I have a difficult time making and keeping friends.  However, as I study God's word on this subject and experience His love and grace in ways that I never imagined, I believe that God has put people in my life for specific reasons in specific seasons.

I have experienced this type of love in abundance over the past few weeks.  During this painful time in our lives, we have had sweet friends that have helped us pack and moved, listened to me lament and grieve the loss of our home, and encouraged us in this new chapter of our lives.  The concept of "laying down his life" does not necessarily mean a person must literally lose their life and die.  There are many ways friends can set their lives aside to focus on and help one another and I am grateful to have friends who have done this.

I have had dear friends that have come into my life for a season and then time and distance have separated us.  While I grieve the loss of the daily interaction with these women, I am so very grateful for their love and graciousness.  But I also read the words of Isaiah 46:4 "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you" and I am comforted to know that I have a friend who will never leave me.  My God is not here for a season, He is here always and His love is never-ending. 

Whether it is a yummy coffee drink on moving day or a simple text message to say "I am thinking of you and praying for you", my friends have sustained me these past few weeks as I struggle to find our new normal. 


I am humbled by the strength and beauty of these women in my life.  They are struggling with their own trials-personal illness, seriously ill children, challenges at work and at home, financial burdens, emotional burdens-but they find the time to reach out of their personal pain and say "I will suffer with you, I will take on your burden and you take mine and together we will move forward and rejoice".

Call a friend today.  Go first. Tell them you love them.  Stop by. Text message them.  Pray for them.  Be transparent and honest.  Cry on their shoulder.  This is what God designed friends for-so that His love would shine through.

Blessings,
Meri

Special thanks to: Renee, Megan, Meridith, Missy, Tammy, Stephanie & Kerri.  I love you ladies and wouldn't want to do life without you!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

The One Who Sees Me

 Jehoveh El Roi: The God who sees.  These words bring comfort to me today.  The God who sees: my pain, my fears, my grief, my disappointment, my guilt, my frustration.  My God sees all of that.  As I curl up on my bed, body racked by sobs that I can no longer hold back, He sees me.  Insignificant, broken, wretched me.  He covers me in His amazing grace and welcomes me to find rest and peace in who He is. 

See, that's how my God works.  He sees my pain and he moves closer, not away.  He is not a God that hold's me at arm's length.  He does not say to me, "you made this bed and now you must lie in it";  He lies down beside me.  He does not abandon me to my own mistakes; He draws me near and encourages me to rest.

I feel broken these days.  I am depleted-emotionally, physically, spiritually.  I desire nothing more than to crawl up in the lap of my Heavenly Father and be held in His powerful arms.  My heart is heavy, my body broken.  Yet, He does not move away from me.  He draws me in.  He comforts me.  He invites my tears.  Where most would turn from me, He turns toward me. 

The beauty in all this mess is the work He is doing in my marriage.  He has used this trial to show me who He is in my husband.  Rick has been His arms wrapping around me, drawing me near to comfort me.  Rick has moved closer and whispered in my ear, "you are beautiful and I love you," even when I feel guilty and broken.  Rick has invited me to be near him and said to me, "this is our life and our home and we will weather this storm together, I will not leave you or forsake you".  God has used my husband to be His messenger, His proxy in my daily life, the living, breathing instrument of a Holy God.

In this verse in Isaiah, God promises us restoration and redemption.  He is comforting my waste places through a marriage redeemed.  He sees my barren, dry soul and instead of condemnation, He offers living water to restore my wilderness so that it is "like Eden"!  He promises that I will find my voice of song, I will feel gladness and joy again!

I want to be joyful now, but I am finding contentment in the "in between" by resting in my Savior.  I want the restoration to be instant, but I am comforted by the promise that it will come, even if it is not right now.  In the meantime, God has provided for me in the form of a godly husband who is the living extension of God's love for me.

Blessings,
Meri






Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Moved In (Sort Of)

So we are moved in to our new/old home.  Well sort of.

We are here.  The dog is here. The furniture is here.  There are a LOT of boxes here.  But, not all of our stuff is here.

This is the challenge of trying to move a family of 5 from a 2400 sq ft ranch-style home with an open floor-plan that was built in 2012, to a 1800 sq ft home built in the 1930s.  It is a work in progress and will likely remain that way for the next couple of weeks.

So we are living in this strange kind of limbo.  We seem to have moved from the limbo of living in one house knowing we were moving, to living in another house with part of our lives left behind.  There has been a lot to adjust to.  More than I thought, more than I planned for.  The girls seem to have just slid right in to our new life here.  They had their beds set up and covered in "stuffies" on the very first day of moving.
It took a little longer, but I managed to get all of the boxes out of at least 1 room and get it "set up" for daily life yesterday (3 days after the big moving day).
The dining room, however, still looks like this.
Barrett was very helpful
...or not.

We discovered one of the great benefits to living in the city...
....pizza delivery!

I made sure to get some touches of home put up pretty quickly to help with our transition:

This sweet gift (Numbers 6:24) was from a dear friend back in Virginia, it has hung in 4 houses in the past 6 years and reminds us that we are always home and can never travel further than God's love.
...and then there is this.

We are still trying to find our place here in our new city, but we are together and there is love here.  God is pruning us, refining us, and cutting away the excess to reveal something beautiful-a reflection of His love.  In our weakness, He is great.  In our time of helplessness, He is glorified.  In our pain, He comforts us.  We are never alone, we are never lost-He is always there, waiting for us to reach out and to recognize our desperate hunger can only be filled by His grace and love.

Blessings,
Meri






Thursday, May 7, 2015

The End of a Dream and the Beginning of Something Better

"Only 2 more sleeps, mommy!"

I am so thankful my youngest child is so excited to move to a new house.  In fact, since we started decorating and moving boxes over, all 3 of my children have become more excited about this new chapter in our lives.

So why did the excited words of my sweet Kenzie cause a sudden, sharp ache in my heart?

I have wandered through each room of the dream house we built with plans to live in it for at least 30 years.  I have touched the walls and remembered the excitement of the days we spent planning, watching it be built, and then moving in.  I look at the fireplace that was a complete surprise, and think-there will be no more fires there for us.  I think about how tomorrow I will likely take my last shower in my huge master bathroom that I loved dearly.  I haven't even wanted to cook in my kitchen that I designed down to the knobs on the drawers and cabinets.  I watch as pieces of our lives here leave forever-the piano sold because we don't have space for it, a couch donated because we can only take 1 with us.  The front rooms are mostly empty now, the kitchen table broken down, the air hockey table disassembled...both ready to be loaded on the truck on Saturday and taken to our new home.

I know God is refining and pruning our lives to bear more fruit.  My head realizes that this house had become an idol to at least me, if not my whole family.  But my heart hurts, not for the loss of the brick and mortar, but for the loss of the dreams and plans we had thought we would live out within these walls.  My heart hurts for my children who don't understand words like mortgage, short sale, and foreclosure-and shouldn't have to.

This last week in this house has been painful, cathartic, peaceful, and sad.  But we are ready.  Ready to move forward, ready to open our hearts and lives to whatever God has for us, ready to leap into the unknown with a known God.

Blessings,
Meri


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dear Advertisers

After being sick today and spending more than the usual amount of time watching TV commercials, I have a few things to say to the advertisers of some very popular and well-known products.

Dear AT&T-
Men are not idiots.  They are capable of taking care of their children (please note-it is not "babysitting" when they are YOUR CHILDREN) while Mom is away on a business trip.  Husbands do not need their wives to manage them from afar by opening the door for the dog-walker, closing the garage door, spying to make sure the kids went to bed on time, or setting the alarm.  I can say all of this with confidence because I was that Mom, the one that traveled overnight for work.  Not once did I come home to a disaster that was due to an incompetent, bumbling husband.  In face, on most occasions, I came home to a clean home, clean children, and a freshly prepared meal.





Dear Doritos-
Moms are not domestic slaves and we do not want to be portrayed as such.  Their is honor and respect in being a homemaker, wife and mother.  It is an all-consuming, never-ending and eternally rewarding calling.  To refer to it as a job, would be diminishing the importance of this role in life.  While we are often the chief procurement officer of the home and often do our "procuring" in the proverbial "grocery getter", it should not be portrayed as the exception to the rule that our children help with the unloading and putting away of groceries.  Believe me, if I asked one of my children to assist with this task and received the response to my inquiry "Can I get some help with these groceries?" of "I don't know, can you?", not only would my child NOT be eating Doritos in the foreseeable future, they would not be seeing the light of day...possibly until the Second Coming.  Portraying disrespect towards parents is a poor advertising choice and sets a terrible example for our youth.




Dear Hardee's/Carl's Jr.-
Women do not want to buy food modeled by scantily-clad, over-sexed, sloppy-eating women.  Watching a skin-and-bones bikini model shove a gigantic burger into her mouth as if she was performing some sort of sordid sex act is not only distasteful, it is disgusting.  What makes it more disgusting is that this commercial is run regularly during programming appropriate for my pre-teen son.  Thankfully, my son has been well-trained in the respect of women and modesty and recognizes this for what it is-trashy and low-brow.  He usually asks us to change the channel when this commercial comes on.


Dear Drano-
I do not need, nor have I ever seen, half-dressed, overly-sexualized men to come "unclog my drain".  I have a husband who is perfectly capable (interpret that as you will) and am also capable of pouring drain-cleaning liquid down a clogged pipe without selling my soul for a sexy plumber.  Again, the sexual references in this commercial are so thinly-veiled, you may as well have shown them going to bed together-after all, marriage vows are hardly sacred any more, right?





Thank you for taking the time to read these and I look forward to seeing improved and more appropriate commercials in the near future because I know you care what I think (insert sarcasm here).

Sincerely,
Frustrated Consumer

Still Moving

So yesterday we continued to move boxes and such over to the new house.  The plan was for the cable installation to happen as well, but it did not and that is a story for another time (possibly when I am capable of relaying the story without the use of sentence enhancers).

The big work was done in the bathrooms.  This was my opportunity to change up the colors we have used in our bathrooms for the past 15 years-usually blue in the spare bath and sage green and taupe in the master bath.  We did make some purchases for this mini-remodel, but kept to a great budget for making over 2 bathrooms.

Upstairs the bathroom will mostly be used by our (almost) 13-year old son, Logan.  It was already painted a pale teal/cyan color, so I went with a bright, multicolored shower curtain so that I could incorporate some of the bright colors he is fond of (okay, the kid dresses like a traffic cone...just sayin').  The shower is in it's own little alcove, so up went the shower curtain and then I selected a bright orange absorbent rug for just outside the shower.





The next area to tackle was the rather spacious area by the sink.  I selected a colorful patterned rug to brighten up the space and a teal basket to hold spare toilet paper (trust me...there is never enough spare toilet paper when you have an (almost) teenager!).  I love the light in this space, it makes the bathroom seem much bigger than it really is.





Finally, I re-purposed the "over-the-toilet" shelf unit to hang hand towels and added an orange basket underneath to hold spare towels.  Eventually I plan to replace this with a sturdier piece of furniture or at least re-finish with some bright paint and add some decorative items.

Next we moved onto the downstairs bath-which will be shared by the girls and Rick and I as well as most guests...sadly, I thought by this age, I would rate my own bath!!!




I love the color combinations of yellow/black/gray/taupe and with the yellow tub and sink area as well as original black border tiles on the floor, I thought this would be a great place to use this.  I selected a boldly patterned shower curtain that tied in most of the colors I liked and then selected simple white towels with yellow and gray borders.  I choose a black basket to store toilet paper (I read somewhere once that every room should have something black as at draws your eye and anchors the room-this also served the purpose of drawing your eye to the beautiful black tile).  I also selected a patterned absorbent bathroom rug in the same yellow that is on the shower curtain.  I love the way the patterns and colors complement rather than compete in this space.  Next step will be to add some artwork to the limited wall space and maybe a couple of decorative items to the small counter area.

 After finishing the bathrooms, I decided to get some pictures of some of the more charming hardware in the house.  There is an eclectic mix of knobs, pulls, switch-plates, and outlet covers throughout the house.  Here are some of my favorites.



Rick continues to drop off a few things and check on the house during his lunch hour this week, but the next big moving day will be Saturday!  We are so excited to get the furniture in the house and start making it our home, and I look forward to sharing this process with you!



Blessings,
Meri


Monday, May 4, 2015

Defenses Down


The lies of the enemy slip quietly into my life.  They do not roar in like a violent storm, they do not come with a trumpet's fanfare or any type of warning.  They come when I am weak, worn, and my defenses are down.  Much like a virus attacking the body of an immune-compromised person-the very young, the elderly, those whose immune systems are weakened by chemotherapy or radiation.  The lies enter quietly, usually without me even noticing, and slowly start to take over every cell of my being.

Lately, my defenses have been down-moving, physical pain, emotional struggles, financial troubles, stress-all of these things have left me worn and weary.  And Satan has been paying attention, looking for opportunities to plant another lie in my susceptible mind.

No one cares about you and your problems. 
I have seen several friends going through troubles on social media and have seen their prayers answered.  Friends and family have covered them in prayer and raised funds and publicly lifted them up.  I and I have been jealous.  The lie of the enemy that I am less worthy, that I don't have people that care as much as they do, that I am not valued, has imbedded itself and taken hold.  But God's word reminds me that my value, my WHOLE value is in Him.


You aren't important to your husband.
It has been a tough path we have walked for the past couple of years and I am so thankful to have walked it with my husband.  But even in the best marriages (and ours is still a work in progress), we sometimes make the mistake of turning on one another rather than to one another in times of difficulty.  Again, the enemy has taken advantage of my low reserves and planted the lies of doubt and anger in my heart-misdirected at the one person who is my greatest ally here on earth.  "He doesn't manage your money well", "He doesn't pay enough attention to you", "He puts work and school and so many other things above you".  All are lies, but my heart was listening and believing these to be true.  But I again turned to God's word and found the reminder I needed to know that Rick is on my side, loves me dearly, and could never do anything to hurt me.





I am sure there will always be times when I am susceptible to the lies of the enemy.  My heart is human and easily hurt, but I know I only have to seek the words of my Heavenly Father to find the truth, and the truth is I am deeply loved by the Maker of All Things!

Blessings,
Meri