Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Cleaver... You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet

Most people know who June Cleaver is, or at least have heard of her. She was a t.v. mom of the 1950s. Okay, let me rephrase that... she was a "perfect" t.v. mom of the '50s.
I "drew" out my day to see if I resembled her at all (yeah right) and I came up with a big fat... NOPE, not at all! I love this June Cleaver t-shirt! It's probably a must have. Here's how I came to this conclusion:

Upon waking, I throw my hair into a 10 second bun (I would have made a video to show you how I do it, but, well... video streaming requires more than 10 seconds of content, so, sorry!), brush my teeth, and splash my face with water. Ooh lah lah gorgeous huh?!! But, wait, it gets better...
I hide behind my teenage son's bedroom door and when his tired, limp body emerges through his sleeping chambers... I taser him for not immediately making his bed upon rising (I think I have anger issues).
I proceed down the stairs, trip over some shoes in the foyer (that were suppose to be in the utility room, but my instructions sink in like they would a kid with ADD high on red pop) and into the kitchen and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Cheerios on the floor with a little entourage of tiny black ants... I get my bright green fly swatter and swat the floor like a mad woman until every moving creature is deader than a door nail, or waving a surrender flag. Call me bipolar, or a crazed mom with her panties in a wad.
Then yoga is a must because by 8:00 a.m. I'm already needing a shrink... so, while others are doing zumba, I'm doing zenba for my own sanity, followed by fervent prayer for God's strength to get me through yet another precious day of momhood.
At this point mom's taxi service opens. My husband and two of our children work in the same restaurant, but God knows they are scheduled at three different times in and three different times out every day. And, guess what? Yep, you guessed it... they have three different days off during the week. I'm going to start charging a taxi fee (well... they all have jobs!! They can afford it! A new side business for me:).
As a side note, the three teenagers living in our home eat like they've never seen food before. It's pretty bad when the grocery store attendants know me by name (and encourage me to fix my hair differently!).

Okay, once I shuttle every one home at the end of the work day...  they beckon for supper and trust me, some nights they're lucky if they get cereal with a banana, let alone a warm, well-balanced meal (that's what vitamins are for).

Will someone tell me why I have to remind a 19 year old to take a shower at night?! One would think that after 19 years of reminding it would just become habitual, or at the very least, he would get to the place where he couldn't stand his own stench (if a cute girl would remind him, it would nip this problem in the bud... perhaps I could slip one a few extra dollars to help me out).

Somewhere in all of the above, I need to fit in vacuuming, dusting, dishes, laundry, mopping floors, cleaning toilets, exercising, blogging, and making love to my husband (poor guy has to look at the likes of me... or maybe that's why we always shut the lights off). You're probably thinking I really shouldn't have to do all of this every day, oh, but come on over and you'll understand why I do.

This is just my summer schedule... what will I ever do when I start teaching again in the fall??

This post goes out to every working mom, who works tirelessly to survive the day and at the end can be proud of herself for giving it her very best. Yes, there are those who are modern-day "June Cleavers," who do everything just right without a hair out of place, but I believe those women are far and few between. Most of us muddle through the day and give the glory to God for His promise to never leave us (this is why He invented the Swedish massage).
Oh, my day might not be as dramatic as I make it out to be, but it certainly doesn't resemble perfection and honestly... I love my family to pieces and I wouldn't have it any other way! God has blessed me with the family I have to honor and treasure (and taser when necessary...gol {giggle out loud}), with every ounce of brokenness and imperfections and all... I would only hope they feel the same about me!

Here's to all of us less-than-perfect moms!!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekend Therapy

This weekend was definitely the most fun I have had since I have been in Las Vegas. My wonderful boyfriend took me out to a fabulous dinner at Firefly where we had a blast sharing all kinds of delicious little appetizers. We ordered the Tuna Peppers, Chicken Salad, Calamari, and Fries... all of which were incredible. Also the atmosphere was so laid back and family style, yet with a fancy feel.  The restaurant serves finger foods.... small appetizers that are meant to be shared by all at the table.  Some people will also order pitchers of magaritas or sangria and toast to every amazing bite they take.  It such a fun and friendly place and the vibe you get when you walk in is so very welcoming.

In addition to this, we also watched the movie "What Happens in Vegas"... which, in my opinion, is one of the cutest movies EVER.  They spend the whole entire movie fighting with each other over $3,000,000 and by the end of the movie.... they realize (OF COURSE) that they are in love and that money isn't what is important. 

Also, I was able to go out and enjoy a beautiful night on the town with some of my new favorite girls! :) And guess what... I am starting to feel like a real girl again! Since I have moved I have been spending all of my time with Hunter and his guy friends and I haven't had any girl friends to shop with or hang out with. This past weekend was a real treat for me and I must say, I had a blast! A couple of the girls from work and I had a girls night out on Saturday night, and it was SO therapeutic! I got my hair done, my nails done, put on a super cute party dress and my fun glittery Vegas heels, and we went out dancing! We had a blast.   
Long story short... I had an amazing weekend and it was just the encouragement I needed.  For the last couple of weeks I haven't been sure that I am where I am supposed to be in life.  But this weekend felt so right and I felt so at home and that made it very clear that THIS is where I should be. At least for now. 

-Brittany :0)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Music, Lyrics, and Harmony

Last night my husband and I watched the movie Music and Lyrics for the second time.
It's a sweet and frothy movie... a perfect way to top my evening chai tea latte. There really wasn't much substance, but the endearing entertainers charmed their way into our living room and it truly was a special ending to a not-so-bad day.

Drew Barrymore is one of my favorite actresses... so adorable! Her character is Sophie, who is a down-on-her-luck kind of gal and certainly not working to her potential. Alex (Hugh Grant), an '80s pop diva, is now singing for amusement parks and reunions. Alex's big break comes when a young, rising superstar asks him to write the music and lyrics to one of her new songs. Cramped for time, Alex hires a lyricist and while the two of them are laboring over just the right jingle, Sophie shows up to water Alex's plants. To make a long story short, Sophie ends up writing the lyrics (I'm not going to divulge just how that happened... you'll have to watch the movie).
After spending countless hours together, they fall in love... of course!
...and the music and lyrics to "Way Back Into Love" were perfectly written and arranged!

The story doesn't end there. When steamy, zen-like Cora Corman hears her new song for the first time, she loves it and choreographs a sensual, seductive dance routine to lure her drooling on-lookers. This sends Alex and Sophie spiraling into a disharmonious squabbling match.
She felt as though Cora's antics on stage cheapened a beautiful love song and he could care less how the song came off as long as he got his big break back into the music industry. Once again, Sophie was left disillusioned and heart broken.
Seeking to please our selfish ambitions often leads to the destruction of relationships. Alex placed his music career above a harmonious love affair.
He recognized fairly quickly that money and fame do not take the place of love and companionship. He missed Sophie and he was willing to sacrifice whatever was necessary to bring peace and harmony back to their relationship.
On a scale from 1-10, I give this movie a 9 (probably because nothing is perfect... right?). I loved it! It quenched all of my emotions and I was left begging for more. The epitome of a feel-good movie. As for the actors... they were outstanding and are at the tippy-top of my list of favorites.

As for me... I'm going on my own quest for harmony by being less self-seeking and more others-centered.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Baby Why Don't We Just Dance?!

I'm not one of those women who runs around the house naked. I have a bazillion older teenagers running through my house all of the time, but even if I could, I still wouldn't put myself on display... even in my own home. I've entertained the idea of dancing naked to disco tunes when I'm home alone, but as quickly as that thought surfaced, it disappeared.

Modesty sets up camp and snuggles in as long as everything is going well. It is not a friend of sickness, injury, or disorder. When these bullies show up, it has no problem packing up and checking out.

A couple weeks ago, I pulled a muscle in my hip. The pain was excruciating! There was only one position I could feel some relief... on my back, on a hard surface, with my knees lifted. It hurt to sit, lay down, bend over, go potty, get in and out of the car, take a shower...

I needed help with everything!

The first time I took a shower after this accident, I stood on the towel in my bathroom naked and dripping with water... I couldn't dry myself. I hollered for my husband to help me and he was as happy as a mosquito in a nudist colony (he was overjoyed to help out).

I'm thinking... here I am a 46 year old woman and my husband ogled me that day in the bathroom like I was a ravishing 20 year old.

Ron is not a complainer, so he's never griped about my modesty, but I recognized that day that though we have healthy intimacy, I had not entrusted him with all of me.

When my hip started to heal and I was able to do more things, I shared with Ron my accomplishment of taking a shower by myself and instead of celebrating with me, he jokingly snapped his fingers and said, "Darn!" We both giggled out loud (gol), but he couldn't have been more serious.

I had to do some self-reflection and acknowledge the ways I had kept myself from my soul mate and deprived him from areas that could create a wedge between the two of us. Oh, I still may not dance around the house naked (although I think Ron would give me a substantial allowance if I did), but I may take some advice from Josh Turner and turn it up a notch or two in the intimacy department!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finding God in Sin City

I am about to have a moment of pure honesty and naked vulnerability, so I hope you are all prepared for it. (If not, I might suggest skipping over this blog post). Otherwise, for those of you who are alright with me venting a little bit, here we go...

I am struggling a lot spiritually. Going to a Christian University and having a church home in Indiana made it easy to keep in touch with other believers and also made it very easy to remember to talk to God and to stay involved in ministry. Since I have moved to Las Vegas I have been trying to find a home church. I live on the north east side and I am craving some sort of spirituality in my life. Yes, God and I do have our talks on a regular basis and I have been reading bunches of books recently, but I still don't feel that I have the spiritual support that I need. Most of the churches in this area are Catholic/Hispanic and I am a Protestant who does not speak spanish...

I have such a longing to be involved. I feel as though in Indiana it was so easy to become involved in ministry doing things like... volunteering at The Christian Center and Dove Harbor, becoming involved with Aspire, or working with the Anderson Center. Several churches also had ministries available to do outreach in the community and Anderson University did missions trips and had jail ministries and womens ministries and availability to work with special needs children and adults in the community. Yet here in Las Vegas, where I feel there is a much greater need, I am struggling to find any way to connect with other people of faith in order to reach out to the community...

(and I'm sorry, but giving money to homeless alcoholics is hardly my idea of service).

It's so very difficult to find ground stability in a tourist city that never sleeps. In addition to this, with working 40-50 hours per week and trying to move into a new apartment, it is difficult to even look for some kind of ministry. I feel like I am drowning and I'm not sure how to pull my head up above the water level. Some sort of support system would be nice... I just don't quite know where to look for it.


LOL at Yourself!

Personally, I love to be around people who can take themselves lightly and chuckle at their imperfections. People who don't sweat the little things are wearing a sign that says, "I'm not so bad, I kinda like myself."

Every year, our church hosts a Retro Music Fest. It's our way of reaching out to the seekers in our community. Every year I'm one of the thousands in attendance. It's a lot of fun... music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s resonates throughout the auditorium (very nostalgic for me). The band is incredible. They can make the barks, groans, and whistles of a toadfish sound beautiful. Last fall I was invited to participate with the cast of "professional" singers and I mean PROFESSIONAL! Their talent astounds me, but I'm like, well okay. My two back-up singers and dear friends dug out their country attire and I attempted to transform my blond, prissy self into a country bombshell (good luck with that!). Check this out...

My sister-in-law (God love her) surprised me and plastered this video on YouTube. I GOL (giggled out loud) as I watched. A number of things went through my mind. I was particularly proud of myself for getting up on that stage in the first place and Lord knows I enjoyed every minute of the sweet fellowship with my church buddies. But, if I am to be honest, I thought, "What in God's name was I thinking?!" I felt like Edith Bunker trying to impersonate Patsy Cline! And then I laughed some more... Getting to the place where I can smile at my self and say, "So what if my performance is not stellar!" makes me want to jump up and click my feet together in the rain like Gene Kelly (except if I did that, I would be singin' in the rain on my back side (GOL).

I thought of my goofy son, who laughs at himself all the time (he's so refreshing). The Father's day card he gave his dad says it all (take note of the penciled-in mustache):

...and then on the inside:

He came home with this card on his own! We all laughed and Josh laughed the hardest from his belly :)

Go ahead... laugh at yourself! You'll be thankful you did and so will those around you!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Feed, Clothe, and Love Jesus

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me... Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.' Matthew 25:41-43. Whoa! When 2 tattered, homeless teenagers ended up on our front door step... there stood Jesus, hungry and thirsty!!

This was not exactly the plan I had for myself. In fact, I decided that I would have my children young and when I hit my 40s and 50s, I'd be in my prime because my kids would be grown and gone and Ron and I could then travel and do some of the things we enjoy.

I remember thinking 5 years ago, "Okay, Josh is now in high school... just 4 more years and I'M FREE!!!" I love my children to pieces and part of loving them is planning for and anticipating their independence. Isn't it interesting that God's plans for you don't always align with your plans for yourself. In fact, more often than not, they don't align at all.

Well, there they stood reaching out for help, a family... love. I remember thinking, "Oh children, you don't really want me to be your momma. I'm growly in the mornings, if I ain't happy, aint nobody happy, and I nag!" Yep, I NAG. I like things a certain way. No shoes in the entrance way, beds made and rooms cleaned every day, recycling is a must, and it's essential you pick up after yourselves. "Are you sure you really want me?" Here, I was turning it around as if they were to accept me before they would grace me with their presence.

Huh, they were merely saying, "Yes, we want you... and not only do we want you, but we NEED you!" Well, alrighty then, let's see if we can make this work. Welcome home my children, welcome home!
Just as a puppy wiggles its way to the very core of a child's heart, these teenagers wooed me to the place of no return. I love them!
Yes we are asked to do some things that are not on our "to do" lists. God will bring people smack dab in the middle of our pathway and it's almost as if He says, "Now, what are you going to do with THIS?"

Jesus came to set an example. He came to show us what it looks like to love people.

Love is not telling a young person she cannot come back to church until she gets rid of her lip ring. Love is not ostracizing someone because they are different. Love is not setting perimeters on a clique and excluding everyone else. Love is not professing Christianity and looking down our noses at others. Love is not isolating ourselves and praying the oppression around us goes away. Love is not critical, judgmental, or legalistic...

Love merely loves... love waits with open arms with a robe, a ring, and a pair of sandals. When the prodigal son returned home, his father simply embraced him and welcomed him home.

Love opens the door wide for those in need. Our son has taught us how to look beyond the tattered covers of people to their inside pages penned with horrific stories of pain and suffering, looking for their chance at redemption.
We have welcomed Heather and Dillion into our family. Today, this Father's Day, they have lavished my husband with gifts of love and appreciation for inviting them into his heart, his home, and his family. Two distraught, down-trodden, fearful, down-on-their-luck kids are now looking forward to a bright future full of laughter, joy, family, and... love!
What started out as an attempt to "help" 2 hopeless kids ended with lavishing us with the abundant joy that can only come from acknowledging God in the middle of that pathway with an open and willing heart to be and to do what He's asking from us... to feed, clothe, and love Jesus.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lose Balance For Love

My husband and I watched Eat, Pray, Love a couple of nights ago. I liked it and my husband was like, whatever.

I know it's a chick flick and I don't think I'm the only woman who could identify with Liz and her search for self-discovery.
Have you ever sat on a teeter totter with someone that's not your match in weight? You struggle to find a...

balance, but go nowhere... one of you stays up and the other down. As a kid, I hated that! Metaphorically, I hate it as an adult when that happens in mismatched relationships that are going nowhere. You're left frustrated and depleted.
With Liz, I got the impression she wasn't even willing to teeter or totter. She wanted to steer clear of the teeter totter altogether. She wasn't comfortable with her own abilities to make it work, so she wouldn't try. In her dysfunction, she couldn't find contentment with any of her relationships. She was looking for that perfect balance... you know when you and your partner are rocking gently in the center and you relax into that flawless equilibrium. Unfortunately, this kind of relationship doesn't exist (and to be honest, as wonderful as it sounds, it most likely wouldn't fulfill our human longing for simply enjoying life together... differences and all).
Have you ever teeter tottered yourselves exactly to the center and stopped. You've met your perfect match. Funny thing is it's kind of cool at the beginning, but you probably didn't want to stay there because how enjoyable would that be? It defeats the purpose of the childhood activity. The thrill is found in teeter tottering up and down, up and down... Liz was working so hard to stay centered in her relationships and couldn't figure out why she was so discouraged.
Liz found a guide and a mentor in Ketut Liyer. She soaked his words in like a sponge, but the words that seemed to resonate with her the most and be life-altering were, "To lose balance sometimes for love is a part of living a balanced life."
When Liz met Felipe he was her match and as she was working so hard to find the center in their relationship, he was fighting equally hard to merely spend time with her, to live life, and to enjoy love again. Ketut's words gave her permission to teeter totter with Felipe and to lose her balance for love. This is where she found her happily ever after... I think... The movie ended with the two of them boating off into the sunset and the estrogen in me won't allow me to see it any other way.
So, yeah... my husband and I didn't agree on the star ratings of this movie, in fact, we differ on a lot of things... he teeters and I totter and we LOVE it and appreciate our differences. Truly, we're loving life! We committed 25 years ago to lose our balance for love and we are eternally grateful we did!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Comfy Heels... Oxymoron??

So, I was talking with a coworker last night about our addiction to shoes... We both have enough shoes to wear a different pair every day for a month. But, for me, half of them I can't wear on a daily basis! We are on our feet all day long and wearing heels seems like the most painful thing I could do, right? Well... she wears heels EVERY DAY... and let me tell you, she looks classy! So, finally last night I just asked her, "How the heck can you do that? Your feet have to be killing you by the end of the day." She actually said... "Nope....

I buy Cole Haan Heels." So of course I come home and do a little research. These shoes are CUTE!
They have tons of colors, heights, and styles from professional to just-plain-fun. And guess what... they are made with Nike Air Technology! So you can wear them all day long and your feet can actually handle it. :) They might be a little more expensive, but if I can actually wear them to work, be comfy, and wear them out, it's DEFINITELY worth it! The Cole Haan Nike Air collection of high heels comes in a wide variety of styles including boots, wedges, platforms, pumps, Mary Janes and sling backs. You should definitely check them out at their website: Cole Haan's Shoes (And guess what men, they have a line of men's shoes too!)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fear No More!

Question #4: If you were to identify where the majority of your fears in life come from, what would you say?

My fears:

1. Heights/Falling~ We took a family vacation to visit the Grand Canyon and I will never do that again! Even on firm ground, I felt like I was dangling from a precipice, staring off into this horrific abyss. That was an awful experience for me and had nightmares for weeks after our visit.

2. Tight Spaces~ Last summer, in Ecuador, I was crammed in this bus with what seemed like 5000 adorable, brown-skinned people and all I wanted to do was claw them to death. I felt wrapped up in one of their South American delicacies ready to be devoured. I had to get out of there!

3. Failure/Rejections~ It takes a lot of courage for me to take the leap of faith to try something new. I do it because I have an incredible zest for life, which outweighs the risk for me. When some people fall, they dust themselves off, pick themselves up, and learn from their mistakes. Me ...when I fall it's painful to unravel my pretzeled body, clear my mouthful of feet, and make my way to an upright position again.

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I know if I trusted God the way that I should, I'd still have my bejeebies, but I'm a work in progress and I know God loves me and understands my weaknesses. Here's what I think He's advising me: "My dear, it's not rocket science to figure out that you need to avoid climbing anything that is taller than 4 feet. You're not a burrito, so don't try to fit inside of one. Finally, when you want to try something new, let me know and I'll turn that water of yours into wine and your experience will be GLORIOUS!"

That God, I'll tell ya ...He has an answer for everything!