Guest Post: I Am a Mom

Awhile ago I shared with you what I was praying for. I wanted a woman to take the role of mentor in my life. I listed a bunch of things that I was looking for, but didn’t expect anything to come of it because I was asking for too much. Of course I wasn’t (silly, stubborn me!), because a woman who was better than my description showed up.

Through a whole series of wonderfully orchestrated events, Jan and I met, connected and became Sunday School teaching partners before realizing that we were oddly similar. We went out for coffee one night to talk about church stuff, and talked about everything but church stuff. After a blabbering rant of mine she said, “I feel like I’m listening to myself ten years ago.” I knew that this was THE WOMAN God had placed in my life. I awkwardly asked her if she’d be willing to be a mentor type person to me, and she said yes. I have a mentor, whom I call Mom Friend.

Mom Friend has awesome kids and a bearded husband. She’s a leader, she’s committed to serving, she’s a teacher, she prays for me, she gives me advice, she’s hilarious, she’s laid back, she’s feisty, and she thinks farts are hilarious.

I asked her to write a guest post for me because her Facebook status updates are proof enough that she’s hilarious in writing. After reading this, I’m sure you’ll understand why I like this woman so much. Without further ado, I present you with my Mom Friend.

I am a mom.
A mom of four.
Four boys.

No, it was not an accident.
We are not Catholic.
We weren’t trying for a girl.

Believe it or not, we really wanted four kids. And if I am really honest, I was hoping the last baby was another boy. Add my husband into the mix and I am the lone female in a house of 5 boys.

Here’s a confession: sometimes when store clerks or parents at the park comment with some variation of “wow, three boys – are they all yours?” I respond with a cagey “yes” and then add,“I have one more, but he’s in school” just for kicks.

Traveling around with a double stroller and a boy or two hanging on to the sides garners curious looks.  I can see people quickly eyeball everyone to check for family resemblances.  I have been asked if I do home childcare as I schlep my brood back and forth to school.

Our food budget has increased exponentially with the birth of each boy and now with each new friend they bring home. We have a linen closet in the basement that has been repurposed into what I call our “food bunker”. I shudder to think of our grocery bill in about 2 more years.

Playtime with boys is not quite what I expected getting into this gig.  Someone is always getting eaten by a monster or thrown into jail.  Weapons appear out of thin air.   However, when I play dinky cars, mine always stops for a nice long latte break. I kill at Hide and Seek, but that’s mostly for the few moments of alone time it brings.

Living with 5 boys means you need to embrace your inner toilet humour.  Thankfully, I was blessed with more than my fair share.  I can burp on command and before correcting the faux pas of passing gas in public, I usually offer up a heart-felt “good one!”

Where else but in a household of 5 boys will you walk up the stairs to discover a toddler cleaning his privates with a toothbrush? Have someone brag about how he can stop peeing mid-stream? Be asked if you’d like to see the “L” someone just pooped? Discover someone has covered his penis with stickers?

One more confession: I am a big fat hypocrite.  While I tell the boys quite self-righteously, “things will go easier for you if you just tell the truth”, half-truths (okay, full out lies) slide deftly off my tongue…

I don’t know who ate the rest of the M&Ms.
I’m eating a carrot stick, I don’t know why you smell chocolate.  Weird.
Coronation Street is the “news”.
I think your fish is just really tired.
I know he licked it, but I wiped it off, it’s fine.
Don’t worry, I caught the cookie before it hit the floor.
I’ll be there in a minute.

Some days I question the wisdom of having 4 kids close together, particularly when there is an unholy amount of bodily fluids.  But then someone will ask me to play Lego….offer me a serving of invisible soup…give me a magic wand he made just for me….tell me I am as pretty as a princess….yeah….

I may be the lone female in this asylum I call home, but that’s fine by me.

 

See? Isn’t she awesome?
Oh, and Jan, I think you meant to say “peemis”.

GUEST POST: Sorry Canada

Today I have the absolute pleasure of hosting a dear internet friend.
Knox McCoy
found his way over to these parts awhile ago and asked if we could be friends because I wrote a post about beards. For some reason that I still have yet to figure out, Knoxy took interest in my writing. He helps promote my stuff and encourages me with new things I’m thinking of doing. He edits my work. He gives feedback. He’s like the big brother of the internet, and one of the reasons more than 10 people read this thing. Remember the exceptionally cute kid in the Birthday video that suggested Joseph become a pirate? That’s Knox’s son.

I guess you could say I kind of owe Knox. Yet he is here writing me a guest post. What a guy.

I’ve started a new website called The My Bad Project. It is a site that apologizes for things that we have messed up or are really embarrassed about. These are things we’ve done, to which the response can only be, “Yeah, that was my bad.” It’s not a place that fixes all of the wrong doings, but it’s a place for people to come clean.

In the spirit of the new site, I would like to apologize for something I said in the past. In 2010, I did something I regret. I wrote a blog post about Canada. Two years ago, Canada pissed me off so I wrote about it. I complained, I was belligerent and I encouraged a fight in the comments section. I knocked Canada because of my experience with two bad drivers. I hated an entire country based on TWO individuals. And what do I have to say about it?

Yeah, that was my bad.

In the past two years, things have changed. I LOVE Canada now, you guys. I love bacon, beavers, Biebers, bacon and poutine. AND BACON. I don’t even KNOW what poutine is, but it involves gravy somehow, and gravy is like liquid manna, therefore I love it. And Canada. I love the Queen. I think monarchies are the way to go, even though I can’t figure it out beyond her head being on some coins. I love that there aren’t going to be anymore pennies in Canada. That’s efficiency, folks. I love that there are animals instead of people on their coins, too. It shows they care. THEY CARE ABOUT ANIMALS, TOO.

I am thrilled that Canada is beginning their very own season of the Bachelor. Canada needs love too, guys. I am excited to recap the Canadian Bachelor even if it means watching it on the internet a day later. I am THAT committed to the love lives of my neighbors from the north. I desperately hope that there are dogsleds and Mounties involved. Why? BECAUSE THAT’S CANADIAN, and man, I LOVE CANADA.

I love Canada so much that I’m thinking about adding an extra ‘u’ in a few of my favourite words. SEE WHAT I JUST DID? I think it makes certain words look more distinguished. Why not colour instead of color? An extra ‘u’ adds class. Canada is classy. Did I mention the bacon? Canada is good at bacon. The goodness of Canada’s bacon is directly proportional to the….I don’t know. BACON. BACON, YOU GUYS.

And do I even have to mention Alan Thicke? No. Probably not.

I could keep raving about Canada, and all of the wonderful people I know there, but instead I will close with an apology and an announcement.

Canada, you used to piss me off. I’ve gotten to know you over the past two years and I changed my mind. You don’t piss me off anymore. You inspire me. I long to model my behaviour (and spelling) after your great example. I made fun of you. That was my bad. I would like to make it up to you, in the only way I know how:

I’m moving to Canada.

Thanks, Knox. I really appreciate this. It warms my Canadian heart.

Make sure you read Knox’s blog, follow him on Twitter and check out other projects he’s involved in:

TV Asylum
(A place for the TV obsessed)
The My Bad Project (Sometimes apologizing is better than evangelizing)

Oh hello!

Oh hello, Internets!

Today I’m guest posting over at Tamara Out Louds place where I share a mildly inappropriate story from my adventures at a trailer park. Yes. I worked at a trailer park. It’s a great story. Check it out. Then come back because there are some Friday Field Notes hidden at the bottom of this post.

For those of you who have wandered over from Tamara’s…

I am glad you’re here.

On Mondays I write posts about anything and everything. They could be about my upcoming Mission trip, things that most people think are dumb but I think are awesome, weird crap that freaks me out or something a little more serious.

On Wednesdays I post pictures that need not be explained.

On Fridays I post the weekly Field Notes, a collection of weird junk that kids at work say to me throughout the week. It’s definitely a highlight for a lot of readers.

Well GUESS WHAT? It’s FRIDAY! Now on with our regular programming…

(It’s a really slow time of year for my job. As in: I have very little work and it greatly impacts the amount of Field Notes. Trust me, I’m sad too)

Grade 2

I met S for the first time last week and I quickly realized his awesomeness. S is reading a cook book. I ask him a bunch of questions about food, and he brags at the food he’s cooked and ends with, “Look, I’ve made MEALS for my family.”

S (watching footage of a classmate figure skating): I couldn’t even do that!

G (watching figure skating footage): She’d be pretty good at hockey.

Me: So when you go to exchange your books, does your teacher send you downstairs alone without supervision?
A: Yeah because we’re more smarter now. Like probably know how to do things and stuff. Like not with them. The teacher. Yeah.

Kindergarten

Girl: I am getting mouses!
Boy: NO ketchup with mouses!

When I did the attendance, I asked the kids to tell me their favourite food when I called their name. Answers included:

-Pastas (plural)
-Broccolis (plural)
-Basgeddi
-Pizza (well duh)
-Tomatoes (like…ON your pizza?)
-Noodles
…and my favourite answer?
Chiggin NUGGETS.

Grade 3

T: Dark cola makes you fart.

A: I am really good at making up IMPOSSIBLE riddles.
Me: Ok, let’s hear one!
A: What has arms but cannot reach, eyes but cannot see, a mouth but cannot talk and –
G: A HOBO.
A: – a bed but cannot….No. It’s not a hobo.
G: Oh, because it totally sounded like a hobo.
A: It’s a RIVER.
G: Sounded like a hobo to me.

E (talking to the girl next to him, who is completely ignoring him): So there’s this show and it’s really great and it’s called. It’s a show. Home Funniest Videos. Guess what? It’s about videos. Guess what? They’re funny.

E: Chips can clog up your throat and you can’t breathe.
Me: Chips?
E: Yeah, like the fat.
Me: Oh, you mean your arteries. Yes, the fat from chips can clog up your arteries.
E: So you can’t swallow and stuff? Because it clogs up your throat?

G: I wish God made the world so that we were allergic to junk food. It would be so much EASIER.

For some reason, a bunch of the kids at this school were walking around with really great fake mustaches. This spurred some interesting conversations.

Teacher: I already told you this. We discussed the mustache issue. You only get to wear your mustache outside because it distracts you. We’ve already discussed the mustache. End of discussion. No more mustache.

While on lunch duty, I walk into a room where a kid is wearing one mustache on his lip and one mustache as a giant unibrow.

Kid: I AM ABRAHAM LINCOLN!

Later, I had to explain to Abraham (unibrow and all) that it wasn’t ok to spit in his classmate’s face even if that classmate and him were playing a “see if I can make you flinch” game and he lost the game. Spitting in someone’s face is very rude and disrespectful, no matter how badly he made you flinch. Abraham cried. Abraham and his big giant unibrow cried.

I have a weird job.

Have a wonderful weekend, you hobos.

GUEST POST: It’s Not About Sports

When Joseph Craven was in Canada, he asked me an important question.
It was a question long time coming, and it needed an answer. He had been dancing around it for weeks, but afraid to really come out and say it. In the midst of our messages, emails and Skype sessions, he didn’t have the courage to ask the question that had been building up for a good month or so. That is, until we were together in person. One evening he decided it was time to ask his question and hear my answer, regardless of the outcome. With a serious look on his face, he looked me in the eye and said,

“Amanda, why haven’t you posted that guest post I sent you?”

Here is that guest post. Sorry it’s a month and a half late.

—-

It’s Not About Sports
By Joseph Craven

 

Amanda asked me to write a guest post for her. I can’t really figure out why.

She might have done it just because I asked her to do the same and she figured I owed it to her. I get that. But I can’t understand what she would have to gain by featuring me on her blog and ruining her reputation.

But here we are. I suppose maybe I should feel sorry for doing this to her. Oh well.

Regardless, she was very, VERY clear that I was NOT allowed to write about sports. That’s fine with me. She doesn’t like sports, so I am not allowed to write about sports. That’s cool.

This is a guest post that is NOT going to be about sports. At all.

But I just don’t understand why she felt the need to give me these guidelines. In fact, I don’t get why everyone instantly assumes that I’m just a sports guy. It seems that more and more of my friendships, both online and in real life, involve people just automatically assuming that my favorite thing in the world is sports. (Sports in this case is considered singular, right? I would say “is sports” instead of “are sports” in this case, wouldn’t I? Just checking.)

Do I watch sports? Sure. Do I enjoy them? Absolutely. Is that all I am? Of course not.

I mean, I suppose I can understand why the assumption is made. I grew up in a sports loving family. I have a walking sports encyclopedia of a brother. The man now makes a living by talking about sports. You can ask him who was the World Series MVP in 1975, and he just knows it off the top of his head. At least, I assume it’s something he would know. Because that’s the sort of thing he does.

But that’s not me. I grew up running around in circles outside pretending sticks were guns and I was fighting dinosaurs. Is that weird? Yes. Look, I’ll admit that. But I had crazy imagination skillz, so that’s what I worked with. I’m not ashamed. And hey, it kept me from getting into trouble. Though I guess I ran the risk of getting hit by a car in the process.

DETAILS.

Sure, my family would take trips on the weekends to watch college football. But I wasn’t terribly interested in the game most of the time. I can’t even really tell you about many of the big games I attended before like….2004. And I was at them. I watched them in person. And don’t remember much of anything.

In fact, I didn’t get interested at all in sports until I was nearly out of high school. I may have been on the basketball team, but that was solely because I went to a tiny school that needed tall people to play. I wasn’t talented. I wasn’t coordinated. I certainly wasn’t good. I just did it because I was asked to. And it seemed like maybe I would enjoy it if I did.

I didn’t. Not until I was about to graduate, anyway.

On top of all of that, I didn’t learn to throw a football until I was in college. And even then, I use the terms “learn”, “how to”, and “do things correctly” loosely. Nobody taught me how to. I just had to guess as to how to do it, so naturally, it doesn’t look very good. There’s a spiral there, but it’s a spiral in only the loosest sense of the word.

That’s a football throwing pun, by the way. Much like my throw, it’s not a very good one.

Do I love sports? Of course I do. It’s grown on me over the years. I think that you have to understand sports at least to an extent just to get a grasp on culture. We, as a people, throw billions of dollars into the sports industry. Agree or disagree with that, you can’t deny that it’s a priority in our society.

And you can’t ignore that fact. Last I checked, we don’t have entire television channels dedicated to Claude Monet, but I sure had to learn about him in class.

I love music. Does that make me a music guy? I love architecture. Does that make me a building guy? I love lists of three. Does that make me a list guy?

Of course not. Those are just parts of a whole.

So this entire instant association that people make with me? Just instantly assuming I’m a sports guy? Sometimes, it gets old.

There are other things I can talk about. I’m not some meathead jock with his letter jacket and a crew cut. In fact, I’m pretty sure those are all stereotypes of jocks that nobody even really believes anymore. I’m even out of date with the stereotypes here, guys!

I’m not limited to just one thing.

Here’s your post, Amanda. It’s not about sports.

I am now well aware of the reason why it took a month and a half to post this.

You can read more of Josie’s writing here. You can follow him on Twitter here.

GUEST POST: A Second Hole

I have married friends named Mark and Esther. I have only known them for a couple of years (we met at a wedding…my friend also happens to be Esther’s brother), but their influence on my life has been huge. Seriously huge. I love third wheeling with this couple. They make me laugh very hard, and they always have a ridiculous anecdote to relate to any situation. I have a lot of fun with these two, but they also take very good care of me. When I was going through a rough time a couple of months ago, Esther was the person I called when I was upset. They had me over for dinner, they baked me gluten free bread (Mark doesn’t eat gluten either!), they made me stew, and they took me out for tea and Scrabble. One Sunday morning, Esther was sick but Mark showed up at church anyway,  just so I wouldn’t have to sit alone on a difficult day. They were there in the most practical ways, and I am so very grateful for them.

So it was definitely odd when they didn’t come see my play a couple of weekends ago. The only explanation was “bad timing” which was rather vague, especially coming from them. But then I heard that Mark had been in the hospital. And then I heard WHY Mark had been in the hospital. Let me tell you, it aaaaall makes sense now. Mark decided to share this story with all of you lucky blog readers.

Enjoy.

Let’s face it – people don’t like talking about their butts. I think it’s probably the third least-popular discussion topic for polite company – right after sex and religion. That said, I’ve recently had an experience that while embarrassing and uncomfortable, I feel compelled to share.

A couple weeks ago I awoke to a pain emanating from my behind- yup, I had a pain in my butt. It felt like a bruise, deep within my right butt-cheek. It was a gentle but unwelcome visitor – just noticeable enough to remind you that its there – sort of like a stranger who insists on talking to you on the bus.

And like a random-bus-talker, I had hoped that if I just ignored it, it would eventually just leave. After all, there was really nothing to worry about – we had company, I was busy at work, and this was just a minor annoyance.

And so I ignored my butt for a couple of days.

The pain wasn’t going away, but it was nothing that a couple of Tylenol couldn’t fix. I began to think of all the activities that I’d taken part in over the previous week that could possibly be causing it- had I sat on an IKEA furniture connector? Did I pull a muscle when raking yard waste? Was I having problems digesting a gluten-free dark-matter bagel? Hmm. Nope, none of those seemed plausible.

Another day passed, and that’s when I knew there was a problem.

Look. I’m a 20-something male. Speaking in terms of demographics, we’re probably the least likely group to seek medical attention. Broken leg? Walk it off. Giant bleeding wound? Here’s some Polysporin and a band-aid. Swine flu? Drink some Buckley’s.

Anyway, my misbehaving cheek was now swollen– I was having a hard time sitting properly, I was sweating at night, and was having a hard time sleeping. So when I say that I was in enough pain to warrant a trip to the Doctor’s office, you’d better believe I was in a lot of pain.

I went to a walk-in clinic and was seen by a doctor who hurriedly inspected my posterior and within moments deduced that the source of my “malaise derriere” was nothing more than a hemorrhoid. Great! Problem solved. End of story. Happily ever after. Let’s eat some prunes and celebrate.

Not so fast, buster brown.

I tried my ‘roid treatment regime for a few days, but nothing was happening. Sleep was getting more difficult, the pain worse by the hour. I was alternating between super-high fever and uncontrollable chills. The bump on my bump was getting larger – and starting to harden, and I was getting more concerned.

I booked an appointment with my family doctor, and was re-diagnosed as having a soft tissue infection – was prescribed antibiotics and cortisone cream, and sent merrily along my way. Awesome. Super. Let’s fix this noise and get on with life.

The next morning I woke up and my cheek was no longer just swollen and hard, but starting to turn red. It felt like I was having a reaction to the cortisone cream, or maybe just a sign that the antibiotics were starting to work. I don’t know – I’ve never had a soft tissue infection before.

When I got into the office, I promptly asked my boss for a couple of days off, citing my recent health troubles and mis-diagnosis. The hope was that I’d have an extra-long weekend to let the drugs do their thing, and I’d be right as rain for the new week. It was a great plan. I went home and collapsed on the couch for a few hours – and for the first time in days I was able to find a comfortable position, and catch up on a bit of sleep.

It was then, when I woke up, that I finally realized just how bad things were.

Taking a look at my sore heiny in the mirror, I noticed a giant blister had developed over the epicenter of the pain and swelling. Now it’s one thing to feel pain, not see anything, and just ignore it – but once the pain becomes tangible, there is no choice but to react. I rushed downstairs and told my wife that we needed to go to the hospital right now.

Twenty minutes later I am evaluated by a triage nurse. I have an unyielding heart rate of 145. I have a fever of 38.8. I am sweating profusely. I am in the worst pain of my life.

They admitted me immediately to minor emergency, where I was seen fairly quickly. The nurse practitioner takes one look at me and re-re-diagnoses me with (and I quote) “a giant frickin’ abscess”. Over the course of the next hour people are talking around me about booking an OR, surgery, and whether or not they can “get it all”.

I was worried, and rightly so. My comedy of misdiagnosis had lead to a point where my annoying little pain-in-the-butt had become something that would certainly have been fatal if left untreated.

Eventually, the medical team decides that they can deal with my problem quickly. The solution? Lance a hole in my butt to drain the swelling and infection out of the abscess, and put me on heavy antibiotics to handle the rest. The team assembles around my ER room bed and runs through the procedure, reassuring me that they are prepared to support my breathing in case I decide to stop for any reason.

The anesthetic fills my IV, and I slowly go blank. Fifteen minutes later I awoke in the same place, but in a lot less pain. The nurse tells me that while I was under the influence of the anesthetic, I was talking about skateboarding in the projects, and how mad people were going to be at me. Obviously there are deep thoughts at play in my subconscious.

[Guest-blogger’s note: At this point, I must warn you that if you are at all queasy, you should avoid reading the next sentence.] On a more disgusting note, the nurse informs me that they’ve managed to tap an impressive yield from my wound – Over a full cup of vile, disgusting fluid.

As I’m lying in my hospital bed waiting for the IV antibiotics to drain, I’m left with more questions than answers. Sure, I no longer have a butt-cheek on my butt-cheek, but now I’m left with a superfluous second hole in my rear. How long am I going to be off of work? How long will it take for my newly-minted hole to heal? How can that hole heal if it’s so close to the “other” hole?! How am I going to shower?! How am I going to go “numero dos”?!

Fast forward to today.

It’s now been a week since my emergency surgery and I’m slowly starting to get answers to my questions. Some of you may be wondering what it’s like to have a second hole in your butt. You may be disappointed to find out that it really doesn’t feel like anything – maybe I’ve just got a case of numb-bum, but there’s not a lot of pain or weird sensation in this peculiar new orifice. You might also be wondering if I’ve given my pain-in-the-butt a name – sadly I’ve yet to find something appropriate.

How long will my new friend be a part of me? From what the nurses say, it’s going to be with me for several weeks to come.

How does it heal? This is a gross one. Essentially, it has to heal bottoms-up – that means that the wound remains held open by packing, which must be done daily to make sure it heals properly. There’s also a high risk of re-infection, so I have to be extra careful.

Work? No idea. I still can’t sit and I can barely walk, and apparently those are pretty big requirement for a desk job… working on the couch doesn’t go over well with the health-and-safety crowd as I’ve found out.

Numero dos? Bathing? Let’s say there are procedures, and leave it at that.

It sounds weird – but I’ve learned a lot from my second butt-hole. I’ve learned that sometimes you’ve just got to prioritize your own health and well being over your obligations to work, friends, and family. It’s selfish, but necessary – sometimes you need to take more than you give, and that has to be okay.

I’ve also learned that taking your health into your own hands is sometimes the only way to get the care you really need. While I’m frustrated with the failings of the system, we eventually got to the bottom of my bottom-problem. From now on, I’ll know to speak up and speak up quickly.

Finally, I have learned that I would be in deep trouble if not for my unfailing wife who has stepped up to not only take care of me with dignity, but also take care of my regular duties that I’m currently incapable of fulfilling. I owe her big time.

And so that’s the story of how I came to to have a second hole in my butt. It’s been a strange experience by all accounts (one I’d never wish on anyone), but it’s about as real as it gets.

Have you ever had a second hole in your butt? What about a spouse who is awesome?

If you don’t have either of these, feel free to rewrite wedding vows to include butts.

I’ll start: “In sickness and in butts…”

GUEST POST: Katie Hardeman’s Hair Worries and Woes

Internets, if you don’t know her already, I’d like you to meet Katie Hardeman. I am certain you will love her. The first time I commented on her blog, it was on a post about boogers. The entire thing was about boogers. If I ever mention Katie’s name to my mother, I say “Booger Girl” and she knows exactly who I mean. Katie is Booger Girl and I’m quite certain she’d be delighted by that. Katie likes junk food, talking about barf, teaching, laughing at farts and making hideous faces in photographs. Clearly we are kindred spirits. Every Wednesday and Sunday, Katie’s posts have me laughing until my stomach hurts but then leave me thinking about some big stuff. This is why she is awesome. This is also why we would be great friends if we lived in the same place. I’m very excited to be hosting her today.

 

Without further ado…

 

Hair Worries and Woes

I’m dealing with an issue right now that I never knew I’d have to deal with.  I didn’t know this was a “thing” that girls my age face.  I didn’t know this was a thing that girls ANY age faced.  I knew the laugh lines would come.  I knew the saggy skin would one day be inevitable.  But this?  No one warned me about this.

Naturally, I’m talking about chin hair.

Seeing as Amanda is pretty much an expert on all things related to facial hair, I figured she was the girl I needed to turn to for help.  However, Amanda is younger than I am and perhaps has not yet entered this stage- this era when dark hairs (because we’re not talking about peach fuzz here) begin to sprout over night on the chin or neck or jawline.  You never know where these prickly beasts will appear.  And you never know how long they’ve been hiding before you finally see them.

I remember the first time I noticed one.  It was on my neck.  And it was long.  Really long.  Like, this baby had some CURL in it.  Beyond mortified, I audibly gasped and ran to retrieve the tweezers.  I spoke of it to no one.

I thought it would just be the one.  I thought it was a fluke.  But then, a few weeks later, with just the right lighting and at just the right angle, I found another one.  Now I was pissed.  “Hellooooo, body.  What do you think you’re doing?”  I plucked that one with a scowl on my face.  This wasn’t amusing.

Pretty soon, I was daily scrutinizing my jawline for the hairs from hell that seemed to hide in normal lighting.  I started carrying tweezers with me at all times since I’d occasionally feel an unnaturally long hair on my neck while I was driving.  And there’s nothing more frustrating than sitting at a red light, trying to pluck a neck hair with your bare fingers.

Guys, I apologize if I’ve alarmed and disgusted you.  But I bet your wives know what I’m talking about.  Young girls, I’m sorry if I’ve frightened you.  Consider this your warning of what is to come, and enjoy your carefree days of looking in the mirror without having to search for curling neck hairs.  And Amanda, as one who has strong opinions about facial hair, I implore you for wise counsel.  Any tips?  Preventive measures?  Secrets to zapping these suckers for good?  Because I’m a little worried that at this rate, I’ll have a goatee by the time I’m forty.

Maybe there actually is no solution.  Maybe dark chin hairs are simply a part of life, a part of “aging” that no one warns you about.  I was thinking about this the other day, while scanning my neck for curling cues.  Neck and chin hairs may just be another issue that people “my age” have to deal with.  In reality, they’re not a big deal; as far as I know, no one’s ever died from discovering a long, dark hair on their chin or neck.  And these hairs are especially not something to worry about before they start appearing.  Each age brings its own stressors and “hairs” so to speak, and each stage of life seems to get progressively harder.  Here’s what I mean:

When I was little, I never once worried about acne or curfews* or whether or not I’d get to asked to the Homecoming dance.

When I was in high school, I didn’t worry about roommates or rent or whether or not the awkward coffee dates would one day lead to marriage.

When I was in college, slowing metabolism, taxes, and whether I should use Geico or Progressive for car insurance, were not concerns of mine.  Could fifteen minutes really save me fifteen percent or more?  I didn’t know and I didn’t care.

When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t stress about wrinkles or my “biological clock” or whether or not I should sign up on E-Harmony.  And I especially didn’t worry about dark hairs residing on my chin.

Looking back on each of these eras, it is clear that each stage brings its own worries and woes.  We deal with the stage we’re in; we usually complain about the trials it brings; but then we move on to a new stage of life and find it’s actually much harder than before, filled with new worries and woes and hairs that we never imagined.

I think that was part of God’s design.  Not the chin hair thing- surely He didn’t mean for that to happen; surely that was part of “the fall.”  But I think part of His plan includes the whole “can’t see your worries in the future so you can’t worry about them today” thing.  Can you imagine your 8 year-old self stressed out about student loans or wedding costs or mortgage payments?  That would be absurd.  At age eight, your only money concerns should be finding enough quarters in the couch or in your mom’s underwear drawer** in order to buy that rad poster at the school book fair.

Each stage of life seems to get increasingly more complicated, but God permits these complications and trials only to the degree that we can handle.  And He provides the strength we need for whatever it is we’re dealing with today.  I cling to this truth.  I rest in it.  I find hope in it.  Because sometimes it feels like it’s more than I can handle.  Sometimes it feels like it’s just too much, but it never is and He knows our limits exactly.  He also knows that in order to be ready for the next stage, we must be stretched and strengthened today.  We must grow and mature in this current stage so we’ll be ready for the next one which will inevitably be much harder.

Think back to your worries from college.  Do you laugh now at how stressed you were about choosing a major and finding your spouse***?

Think back to your high school woes.  Isn’t it pathetic how much you obsessed over your crush and college applications?

Think back to your younger years.  How strange is it that you were so upset when you were picked last for kickball **** or got in trouble for eating the flowers at recess?  No?  Just me?

The point is that we can look back on many of our worries of yesterday and laugh.  They seemed so huge at the time, so cumbersome and unyielding.  But He gave us enough strength to endure them then, and in hindsight, what we thought were mountains, were molehills compared to what we’re facing today.  Which begs the question: will today’s trial look like a molehill tomorrow?  Will this stage of life, chin hairs and all, seem easy breezy compared to the next stage?

Probably.

Will my thirties and forties hold trials that would terrify me if I knew about them now?

I’m guessing yes.

But if I’ve learned anything from my dark and dreadful chin stubble, it’s that I have no need to worry about the trials of tomorrow.  He’ll give me the strength I need for tomorrow, tomorrow.  Today, I need only keep tweezers in my purse and remember that God will continually provide the strength I need for today, today.  And for that, I rejoice.

 

* I lied.  I never actually worried about curfews because I never actually had one. I just said that to sound cool and because I figured other people worried about them.  My parents were concerned that I preferred staying in on Friday nights with a book and a bowl of ice cream so they encouraged me to stay out late.

** This was a serious treasure trove of coins and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t snagged a few quarters even in recent years.

*** I went to a Christian college so if you didn’t get a “ring by Spring”, you were basically a failure.

**** Let’s be honest, I dominated at kickball.  But I did feel sorry for those kids who sucked at it.  They’re probably happily married now and not stealing quarters from their mom’s underwear drawer so I guess the joke’s on me.

 

Please leave any facial hair advice in the comments. Katie and I both thank you in advance.

Now go read about boogers http://www.crusadingwithkatie.com

Guest Post, Dad Style

Hey Dad, do you want to write a blog post?

Blog post? Why?

A guest post for my blog.

A who?

You can write about anything you want. Except for fireplaces.

(Leaves the room)

(Enters the room)

Dad do you want to write a guest post on my blog?

No.

Why?

‘Cause.

‘Cause why?

‘Cause I don’t want to.

Why not?

Because I said so.

You don’t want to write a post for me?

I told you Amanda.

Can I post this conversation on my blog?

(Silence)

It makes me feel sad and alone that you don’t want to answer my question, Dad.

.   .   .   .   .   .

Go tell your dad you love him. Even if he won’t write a guest post for you.

I love this dude


GUEST POST: Weird Crap That Freaks Ricky Out

Today for your reading pleasure, Ricky Anderson and I have swapped posts. Ricky is a network administrator at an accounting firm by day and a blogger by night. I don’t know what the first one means, so we’ll go with the second part for now. I first became internet-aware of Ricky when he conjured up some computer wizardry and made http://www.shortandsilly.com redirect to this here site. I’m still in awe and don’t really understand it. He assures me it’s legal.

Ricky was a Team Captain in this year’s Blogging All-Star Challenge. His team lost miserably but that’s only because Jon Acuff’s deep-v was compelling voters to stray from true awesomeness. I voted Team Ricky and after you read this list of Weird Crap That Freaks Ricky Out, you’ll understand why. Don’t be blinded by the deep-vees of the internet world, friends. Stick with Ricky.

Make sure you visit his blog to read my guest post. While you’re there check out his stuff. It’s kind of like going to someone’s house for dinner and rooting through their medicine cabinet. You’ll never know what treasures you’ll find. Without further ado….

* * * * * * * *

Confrontation I hate difficult conversations. I will do anything to appease someone just so I won’t have to talk to them about it. I had to have one of those conversations with my neighbor a couple weeks ago. I literally felt ill beforehand, pacing the house in a giant ball of stress. When the actual conversation happened, it lasted 25 seconds and ended with him thanking me for letting him know.

Driving Away From Home – I’m a safe driver. I’m a cautious driver. I’ve never gotten a ticket or caused an accident. But I absolutely suck at directions. I can get lost in my own driveway. No, a GPS doesn’t fix this. While using a GPS, I once ended up in the wrong state when trying to return a rental car. Turns out there’s more than one Kansas City.

Chicken Pot Pie, Grits and/or Okra – Really, people? This is what you’ve decided to eat? You know they have good food in the grocery stores, right? So…skip the yucky stuff. When my niece Adelle was 3, we were all eating at a restaurant. She got fried okra instead of fries with her burger. She didn’t like them and started fussing. Her folks had her dip them (the okra, not her folks) in ranch. She fussed louder (okra in ranch is a great way to ruin ranch). I nudged her and pointed to an empty spot on my plate. She’s a quick learner, and we solved the problem of this cruel and unusual punishment, pronto.
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Hotel Floors – We’ve all seen the news reports on bed bugs and unwashed comforters in hotels. I toss the comforter off the bed and get comfy with the bugs. What really gets me is the floor. In my head, I imagine a hairy man tossing his underwear on the floor and then rubbing it all around. You will never, never catch me walking barefoot in a hotel room. I wear slippers or flip-flops all the time.
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What’s something weird that freaks you out?