Parenting, zombies, and cussing: The Friday Five (on Saturday!)

*This Friday Five installment is brought to you on Saturday because of the utter craziness of my Friday.

1. Y’all, parenting feels like a battle these days. Yes, good is mixed in too, but with a 6 year old who is learning to be quite sassy and a 3 year old who loves both her sister and pestering her sister (and neither of whom love to listen to parental guidance), I feel like I’m coming up against a wall over and over. I pulled this book out a few days ago—time for a re-read.

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I love this book because it’s not a how-to manual for parents. It doesn’t give Five Steps to Make Parenting Easy, or Ten Things to do to Make Your Kids Listen to You NOW, or Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong in Your Parenting World. Instead, it basically tells you how to manage *yourself* during parenting. It’s good to remind myself that my job as a parent—the purpose to having kids—is to raise little people who love Jesus. When I think of it that way, it’s a little easier to get my own selfishness out of the way. (ie, it’s not all about me and how if I could JUST get five seconds of not being asked a thousand questions and breaking up a dozen silly arguments about how she stole that toy from me, that toy that came from Chick Fil A four years ago and has been under the couch since the day we brought it home…then I’d be a sane woman.) Newsflash: they are little humans whom Jesus loves fiercely and who deserve respect, not just a mama at the end of her rope.

2. This book.

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Read it. (Sorry for the doodles across the front--courtesy of my 3 year old.) I think you could glean oodles of wisdom out of it even if you’re not a writer. It has such beautiful nuggets tucked in on every page that apply to life as a whole. It blows me away with its wisdom and grace every time I pick it up. I mean, listen to this: “Middles are where you have to tough things out. Ideas fall apart. All that promise vanishes when facing the cold, harsh light of making something out of it. Middles challenges us to find our tenacity and our patience, to remind ourselves that it is within this struggle—often just at the height of hopelessness, frustration, and despair—that we find the most hidden and valuable gifts in the process. Just as in life.” See what I mean?

3. Lest you think I’m always reading such fine self-help books that show me how to “love my kids with the love of Jesus” or how I must daily summon “stamina, optimism, discipline, and hope,” I’ll let you in on a secret. Every Sunday night, after a beautiful church service, my husband and I watch zombies. We’ve been doing it for years. In the crush and chaos of feeding and bathing the kids in the half hour we have between getting home from church and the kids’ bedtime, one of us will remember that it’s Walking Dead night, meaning as soon as the kids are down, we get our cups of ice cream and land on the couch for an hour of something my mom would be shocked and awed by if she knew I watched it. I binge watched the first several seasons on Netflix over the course of one summer. I was so deeply engaged with the Walking Dead world, I’d find myself out in our backyard, hear a rustle in the bushes, and for just a split second—half that, really—I’d think, “Zombie.” It’s not like that now though. This season is lagging, slow and uneventful. However, on Thanksgiving day, we were at my husband’s aunt and uncle’s large spread of land outside of Birmingham. We were in a truck riding through his wooded property—nothing but trees and leaves and hills—and we both thought it’d made a good place to escape—you know, in case of a zombie apocalypse. It’d be a little hard to protect, but we could make it work.

4. I’m writing this post in an incredibly quiet house. It’s just me, my fingers tapping on the keys, and the heater clicking on and off. My kids are at their grandparents’ house! And Matt and I had a fun date last night with another couple who we really love. We met for drinks first at this swanky bar downtown (What?! Meeting for drinks before dinner? Whose life is this?!) then ate guacamole and quesadillas at El Barrio, a hip, cool Mexican place that’s not really Mexican, more like fresh Latin/Mexican foods with cool ingredients and a good beer list. It was an outstanding night. I love my kids, but man, did I love getting dressed without being interrupted eighty-two times, driving downtown with my handsome husband, slipping into a dark booth, and having good drinks, good food, and fun conversation.

5. I saw a button on someone’s Facebook page that made me laugh. I tried to cut and paste it here, but since I'm super non-techy, it wouldn't work for me. It said, "I love Jesus but I cuss a little." I think it sort of, in a way, describes me—I love Jesus but close your ears if I stub my toe or if something startles me. I love Jesus, but I’m not gonna lie—some days, I can hardly wait for 5:00 when I can have a drink and not feel guilty. (Sometimes the early winter darkness bumps that time up a bit.) I love Jesus, but I’m not a beautiful, shining thing, untarnished and gleaming. I have some dirt around my edges. He doesn’t let me stay in my dirt—I have to wrestle with it and over and over drop it in His lap—but He loves me anyway and for that, I’m thankful.

FYI, I plan to add some Spotlight posts on authors, readers, other bloggers, and book reviewers in the coming months. If you'd like to be included, let me know in the comments!

See you next week, friends.