What I Learned about God from Gilmore Girls

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I’m really bad about being distracted from God. Part of me has come to accept this and feels like God is telling me that He is and I should give myself some grace because of the season of life that I am in and the whole sacrificial obedience thing we have going on. That is not at all meant to come across as self-righteous, it’s just something that I feel like God is giving me the go-ahead to give myself a break on right now. The other part of me really wants to be better and has intense moments of trying to be. God tends to send me little moments that remind me of how awesome and how present He is even when I’m distracted by being climbed on or spit-up on or by falling asleep at 9 pm.

One of those moments came while watching one of my favorite tv shows, Gilmore Girls. I really don’t think of myself as a “basic white girl” in many areas. I don’t like pumkin spice lattes (#psl), I do not own the Urban Decay “Naked” pallet, and I have never worn a pair of Ugg boots. However, if you were to pay attention to my tv-watching habits, you would believe that I was a BWG with full intensity. Friends? Love ’em all. And Gilmore Girls? If there were a real Stars Hollow (And not just that town they

 based it off of), I would be saving up for my vacation home ASAP. I’ve already seen almost every episode (I have not seen almost all of season 7, part of which is because I know how it goes until the end and I am fiercely #TeamLuke, and part of it is because I have a weird fear of watching the endings of things. But that’s another topic for another day.), but I re-watch it during feedings or when I’m getting in bed, etc.

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The real bummer about this little message from God is that I didn’t get it. Until like a week later that is. Here’s how it all went down:

So the episode was the one in season 2 where Lorelei is graduating from business school and Rory convinces her to go to the ceremony and celebrate herself a little bit. Fast-forward to the middle-ish part where Rory skips school on a whim to go see Jess (#TeamJess forever) in NYC. Her bus gets stuck and she misses the very ceremony that was her idea in the first place. When Lorelei gets home, Rory is waiting for her and goes on a long rant about how crappy she is and how much Lorelei must hate her and says she’s sorry about a billion times and then goes on to ground herself and send herself to bed without supper. Lorelei then stops her and says that she still wants to celebrate with her by going to grab dinner. Rory quickly tells her no, that she doesn’t deserve it. Lorelei responds with “No, but I do.” (The clip is terrible quality, but if you need a visual…)

So I thought nothing of this until church this Sunday, when we were singing a song called “Ever Be.” You can find the whole song at that link, and I really hate it when bloggers put parts of music lyrics in their posts (Maybe I just get bored easily?), but I’m going to be one of those bloggers today, sorry.

Now you’re making me like you
Clothing me in white
Bringing beauty from ashes
For You will have Your bride

So only then is when it dawned on me, that the Gilmore Girls thing was for me, too. I realized that God was trying to reiterate a point that I have understood in theory for as long as I can remember, but, as I stated earlier, I tend to become distracted from. I’ve never been one of those people who has struggled with feeling like I had to earn God’s love, but I do get caught up in the perfection game quite often. I always feel like I am being a bad daughter or friend or whatever all-encompassing relationship with God that I feel I should be better at holding up my end of the deal on. I suck at “praying without ceasing,” I find myself guiltily checking ahead on my Bible app to see how much more there is to read, I talk way too much about my worries and stresses instead of actually praying about them, and I rarely feel so connected to God that I can’t help but talk about Him in every conversation I have. I envy people that do, and I compare myself to them a lot. I compare without ceasing. That I can manage, apparently.

When I heard this song, I realized that God was probably like “Alright Alex, let’s try this again. You’re always going to suck it up on your end of our relationship. Everyone is, no matter how holy the grass on the other side must look. The bottom line is that while you are (most certainly) not, I am perfect and I love you and I deserve to have you as my child.

How can something meant to be so freeing and flattering feel like so much pressure? God was telling me that nothing I do or have is something that I deserve or am entitled to or accomplished without His guidance. There is zero point to striving for perfection apart from Him. I often feel like if I work hard enough or stay busy enough or am productive enough, then I can forge happiness. I still, after all of these years of Christianity under my belt, find myself trying to make tick-marks on a checklist to feel like I am good-enough. I’m glad that the God of the freaking universe loves me enough to hit me over the head with reality and force me to get my head out of my own butt.

Anyway, this may or may not interest other people, but I thought it was pretty cool to get a Jesus-moment from Gilmore Girls. In closing, I’ll get this stuck in your head too:

Love, Alex

With Baby Comes…

This is one of those things that I know no one reeeeeally cares about reading, but I neeeeeed to talk about it.

Weight.

So I had a baby, in case anyone reading this doesn’t already know that from my bombardment of photos on the interwebs. And with a baby comes extra weight. It’s a fact of life. When you’re pregnant, however, you can be smart about it, or, like me, be stupid about eating and healthy weight gain.

I had packed on a few pounds before I got pregnant, and was in the process of trying to lose it, and failing miserably. I just love food ok? When I saw the double line on the pee stick, I was all “Great! No more having to worry about losing weight!” And I ate…and ate…and ate…and gained a lot more weight.

Y’all.

*Swallows pride.*

I weighed well over 200 pounds at the end of my pregnancy.

It was hard for me to accept. I wanted to badly to be able to control it, but losing weight has always been difficult for me.

Before I move on, I just want to say that I am not at all trying to be one of those people who isn’t that big, but is going to complain about it anyway. If there’s nothing we women get more annoyed with, its skinny girls talking about how fat they are, meanwhile we are sitting here, obviously heavier than them, eating a burger. No, I am not trying to be that woman. Just talking about my personal story, and although I was and still am overweight, I try not to think of myself as “fat.”

Losing weight has NEVER been easy for me. I can exercise, but I am unwilling to change my diet much if at all, so when exercise doesn’t cut it (10% exercise/90% diet right?), I give up and feel even worse about myself. I like carbs, cheese, and sauces. Those are my vices. Plus I love to cook, it’s a creative outlet for me, and cooking some variation of chicken, again, gets old. When given the choice at a restaurant, I will always choose something I want instead of something healthy. Why pay for a salad when I can make that at home, right? It’s a real problem. I use food for comfort too. I have a hard time sitting and watching a tv show or movie without having something to snack on. I tend to break the golden rule of dieting by drinking my calories as well. Coke is like sweet nectar of the gods on my mouth. I could go on and on.

The point is, it has always been a problem, but a bigger problem is feeling down about myself. This is hard crap you guys. I hardly have time to dress myself and keep laundry washed, let alone to spend 2 hours of my day working out. Because let’s be honest, doing  45-minute work out is only a small part of it. For me, It means pumping, because, you know…jumping around and stuff, squeezing into a sports bra and still-too-small work out clothes, making sure the kid is asleep or otherwise occupied, doing the work-out, showering (maybe), and changing again. THAT’S LIKE HALF THE DAY YOU GUYS.

Ugh.

I do love the #MomBod movement over the past few weeks, and I am all over giving grace to moms to get their bodies back, but that doesn’t mean that I should just do nothing. I want to be able to run and play with my kids and get down on the floor and color without it hurting. I want to be able to…gosh just to wear MY OWN CLOTHES again. We like to paint a pretty picture of how beautiful childbirth is, but rarely do we have honest feelings about how hard and sucky it is to accept that our bodies will never be the same. I don’t want to feel like I am body-shaming or mom-shaming by saying that it is sucks to have stretch marks all over my body and to accept that it’s just how my body looks now. Or can we just talk about boobs? Or extra skin? Or just all of it?

I want to feel healthy and good about myself again. I want the fat in my face to go away so I can stop hating every single photo of me. And sure, there’s a part of me that needs to learn to love myself and my body more, but there’s another part that needs to suck it up, get her act together, and eat better.

All of this to say, I am on a diet. *Shudder.* Even I hate those words. I wish I could be one of those women that’s all “HAHA what’s a diet??” but no, I did not win the “Bounce-back-after-childbirth lottery,” and something’s gotta give. I don’t like diets. They rarely work and I never want to have to buy a bunch of shakes, drops, bands, wraps, and whatever other diet fad is going around now. Just no. I am doing the 17-day diet. I like it because it’s structured, but simple. I can have as much as I want of certain things, so I am never hungry, and it’s easy to wrap my mind around. I am down about 6 pounds since starting, and I am 2/3 of the way through cycle 1 (It consists of four 17-day cycles). That puts me at (crap is there still pride I need to swallow??) 174 currently. My goal is 140.

As far as eating out goes, that’s where Bryan comes in. I asked him to be in charge of my diet for the time being. He was all “Nope nope nope nope this is a trap nope.” But I talked him down and explained that I don’t have enough self-control to eat well, so could he please order for me at restaurants and slap chips out of my hand when necessary. He has been great so far! I think showing him that I wouldn’t fight him on it in the moment (bites tongue) really helped him to not feel like this was a lose-lose for him.

I may post updates as I go, but maybe not. I know this stuff isn’t exactly riveting, but it’s a big part of my life right now. Food is so hard for me that when I limit myself, it occupies roughly 97% of my thoughts. So I’m just trying to hang in there…for now.

Love, Alex

Little Joys

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I’m typing this while laying in bed. Not that that’s important, I just thought it was worth mentioning. I’ve never written a blog post from bed before. I should make it a new thing. This is comfy.

ARE YOU BORED YET? SORRY.

Anyway.

I thought I’d share a quick list of the joys that motherhood has brought me so far. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times where I want to cry. Just the other day, I told my baby child that he was being kind of a butthead BECAUSE HE WAS OK. But much of the time, this non-mushy mama feels all the feels and smiles all the smiles. So here you go. The best things:

1. Whenever I wake him up and he immediately smiles at me…just before stretching and doing this hilarious duck face every.single.time.

2. He’s been making this surprised face lately that’s just so funny. Like when we mock-throw him in the air, he will open his mouth really wide and gasp. It’s almost like he’s overacting on purpose. Putting on a show. The other day, he had been with my parents all night so I could sleep off a cold, and when we walked in he did the surprised face like “OMG you’re here. I could just die I’m so happy!” (You have to say it in a southern belle accent, otherwise it doesn’t sound as funny as it seemed that day.

3. We just started solids, so he is learning how to swallow nonmilk food and not spit it all over the place and me. So he gets frustrated and will whine a lot during these feeding times, even as they are getting better. But the best part is that he will whine and fuss, but as soon as I make a big deal out of him taking a bite and swallowing it correctly (“Yay Grady! Good job buddy!”), he immediately stops whining and gets this huge grin on his face….and then back to the whining and stuffing his bib in his mouth, but I digress.

4. We try really hard to communicate to Grady that people are ok if we say they are. We want him to have a healthy fear of stranger-danger, but not of the babysitter or friend at church that wants to hold him. However, he has started the phase where he categorizes people as “mommy” and “not mommy.” Most of the time, he’s cool with “not mommy,” just as long as “mommy” is within eyesight. Anyway, the other day he turned his shoulder to my mom for the first time while I was holding him and she tried to take him. For a second, my mama heart was full because realizing that he loves me too and wants to stay with me is huge.

5. He has started squealing, especially when he thinks something is funny. So anytime we do something repetitively during playtime like tickle him and then stop and then tickle him again or give him raspberries on his belly, he anticipates the next time and will squeal with excitement. It makes me smile just thinking about how cute it is.

Ok, that’s enough mushy for now. I have realized how different I am in regards to my son compared to my usual non-touchy-feely self. I’m down with it. He makes me so happy.

Love, Alex

Catching Up

**Remember how on my last post I said that the post I had all typed and ready was lost forever and I was ready to sing a Celine Dion song about it? Well it turns out that WordPress is much smarter than I gave it credit for, and it saved it! So here it is guys. Keep in mind, I typed this over a week ago and am too lazy to reread it right now, but here ya go. :)**

 

I swear I will get better at this, ok? This week/weekend has been CRAZY. Like, the craziest in a long time. I’ve been taking it surprisingly well, although I expect a full-on meltdown in the works soon. I’ll keep you posted on all of that…because I know you’re dying to hear more.

For now, I’ll share a recap of the Phoebe photos you’ve missed while I’ve been MIA. A good Phoebe Photo will always brighten the day.

After Phoebe’s worst nightmare of having to share her house and bed with my parents’ dogs this weekend, she rolled into Bryan’s bear blanket, which he shares with no one except for Phoebe apparently. She looked like she was swaddled like a baby. So pitiful.

I included an arial view so you could fully enjoy the patheticness.

Phoebe has all the energy necessary to play, but she doesn’t know how. I kid you not, she gets all excited and acts like she wants to play, and then when you try she will cower like a scardy cat. The only thing she does with toys is destroy them. Don’t even get me started with fetch. So when Mali is playing fetch with her tennis ball, Phoebe just requires a lot of attention to feel adequately and equally loved. This is usually the result.

Just ignore the letters drying in the corner there. I’m hosting a baby shower at my house this weekend with 3 other ladies and since I am craft-illiterate, my friend Dia, who is in charge of decorations, gave me the simplest job she could think of, and I love her for it. Oh, and I found a way to mess even that up. If you need an ego boost on craftiness, hit me up. I’ll tell you about my failures and make you feel better.

Finally, We are hosting Kanakuk Kampout counselors this week, which means we have 3 college guys in our house. Thankfully, we got some cool ones. They even did my dishes last night. Shortly after their arrival, Phoebe had them in her good graces, especially this guy, who asked if he could hold her like a baby. I told him she prefers it that way.

 

That’s a wrap guys!

What I HAVE Been Doing.

So I told you about what I have not been doing, which was being a good friend, keeping my appointments, and generally being a responsible human being. I thought I’d take a moment to share what i have been up to…in photo form. Now I am not a photographer. I leave that monkey business up to my amazing husband. These are all taken with my iPhone, and although I did try to edit them, I promise, they can only come out so well. So enjoy my photo journey!

We spent A LOT of time at Circle of life Hospice, which is wonderful, by the way. The staff was super nice and took really great care of my grandmother and all of us. We had to break up the heavy atmosphere with some humor sometimes, though. One night, Bryan had stayed home to edit some photos so Sierra decided to bombard him with selfies FROM MY PHONE. These gems are just 2 of the many pictures she gifted him.

I should pause to tell you a little about their relationship. Even though Bryan is not blood related to her, they act more like brother and sister than any of us combined. There are a myriad of hilarious stories I could share, like the one where she kicked him out of the tea shop where she works for touching things and offering to help customers. Or the one where I was telling Bryan’s dad about their feud in front of both of them. Donald turned to Sierra and says “You don’t like Bryan?” Sierra shrugged and with narrowed eyes and pursed lips said “Mmm, I like him fine…” Donald was at a loss for words. The rest of us laughed uncontrollably.

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Isn’t he adorable? Baby pictures available upon request.

 

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Y’all…Those lemon ones though.

 

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A glimpse into my future I suppose?

I helped organize a Moms’ Night Out for our church’s women’s ministry. My awesome brother up there hooked us up with free Andy’s with his new management powers. (And He’s single, ladies. And going to med school next fall. Submit all applications my email for my sister and me to review.) We had ladies make cupcakes to share and let me tell you…Best decision ever. I love to cook, but since I lack “following recipe” talents, baking is not my forte. I love anytime I get to enjoy yummy homemade cupcakes.

We went to our community group for the first time in what feels like forever. Such a cleansing experience to be around friends, share food, and feel the love when going through hard times. The CG host home, Casa del Horner, contains this crazy child who loves Bryan. His dad is an avid shark fan, so Bryan is still working to get Adler on Team Bear. Adler can put his paws up and growl now! Sorry for the underwear shot Becca…let’s just be glad is wasn’t his nightly “Nakey Time.”

I took photos of Phoebe being Phoebe, which is always entertaining. On the left, she had weasled her way under Bryan’s blanket, where she slept soundly on his stomach. He was unable to move for hours for fear of disturbing her highness’ slumber. On the right, she was looking at me perturbed because I was choosing to spend my time throwing the ball for her sister instead of holding and petting her, which is of course my actual job. I’m thinking of making Daily Phoebe Photo a thing for this blog. Thoughts?

I helped my parents move, and caught this winner of my goofy dad with all of his pairs of glasses on his person. I swear to you this was not staged, he was actually wearing them all like this because he found them moving and didn’t want to lose them again. I love him.

Because I am about to retire from the professional workforce, I figure there is only limited time to take my husband out for dates. On dates we usually do what I want to do, because my husband is super super sweet, so I decided to return the favor and take him our for some Chick-Fil-A (I offered PF Changs-his favorite-but he chose this instead) and Transformers. In this giant bucket of movie popcorn and the coke not pictured lies my happiness. Oh, and Transformers was pretty good too.

Lastly, because I just can’t take waiting any longer, I went to a friend’s charity garage sale and bought Lil Fitt a couple of gender neutral onesies. We feel that it is our duty to raise this child to be a correct sports fan. AKA The Razorbacks (amen), the Cowboys (amen), and the Mavericks (amen). Train a child up in the way that s/he should go…

That goofy guy pictured above stamped his approval on this outfit as well. We are a family of Arkansas/Texas sports fans.

And that’s all! As you can see, I haven’t been up to much, but I am trying be social and a good friend again.

 

Love,

Alex

The Jesus Lens

Although I would like to pretend that I am the same to everyone, it would be a big fat Greek lie. The fact is that while I obviously have some personality traits that are take-it-or-leave-it, I alter my behavior a lot depending on my circumstances. Seriously. You should see my DISC personality test. I am an enormously high C in both natural and adaptive circumstances, but upon the switch from natural to adaptive, I go from a secondary I to a secondary S. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means that I try to be all chill and laid back and like “whatever man, I can totally roll with the punches you’re throwing right now.” when I feel like people are watching, while I am naturally freaking the eff out on the inside because CHANGE!

Bryan LOVES this about me. (No he doesn’t.) He thinks it’s adorable how I will be super confrontational and crazy person-esque with him, but then be a pushover and treat others with tons of respect and always let them have their way and consider their feelings first. Seems fair right?

All of this to say: I am really nice most of the time to most people. I bottle feelings, I relinquish my opinion, I will do things I don’t want to do, I always try my hardest to make sure I never make people feel stupid or shut down. Now with everything, I am sure I fail at this sometimes, but it would absolutely crush me to learn that I had hurt someone unintentionally with something I said or did.

If you’ve kept reading through all of the brag-fest, I commend you, because I’m really not bragging at all. It is because of this niceness and others-first mentality that I leave myself open to a lot of vulnerability. I am a huge baby and am very sensitive. Instead of being selfless with all of the traits mentioned above, I genuinely expect the same in return, regardless of personality, and will be very hurt if not. Now because we don’t live in that Perfect Town in the Walgreens commercials, you can see my dilemma. I am hurt a lot. It’s a little embarrassing how much I tend to take personally.

She knows I don’t like that and she just doesn’t care.”

He was there when I said that this was what I wanted and he’s doing something else anyway because he only cares about himself.”

And on and on and on and on and on.

Instead of being a mature adult who understands that every person in every city in every country on every continent on this planet is different from everyone else, I take things personally and willingly allow bitterness to take root in my very being.

As usual, I realized what a giant brat I am when looking at my behavior through the Jesus lens. How hurt would Jesus be if He allowed all the bullcrap I pull to get to Him? He gives and gives and gives and yet I seem to have zero problem with knowingly hurting Him or ignoring Him or putting myself before Him.

Ughhh Whyyyyyy can’t I just wallow in my self-pity and let my hurt fester without feeling all guilty and crap? Booooooo.

Anyway, this is what’s been on my mind lately. Sorry I suck at posting sometimes.

Does the Jesus lens ever make you feel like a ginormous brat? (I’m aware that it should and that Jesus certainly wouldn’t want it to, but it does.)

I’m on tour so that must mean I’m finally in a band…or just a writer…

No but for real, I am a part of this group called Arkansas Women Bloggers. And what that means is that I don’t participate very much and add virtually nothing to a club, and still get a lot of insight and advice from seasoned veterans. Sounds fair right? Anyway, Sarah White of Our Daily Craft posted in there a couple of weeks ago and asked for volunteers to be a part of a blog tour talking about your personal writing process, and in the nature of getting out of my comfort zone, I hopped on board!

So here ya go, My Writing Process:

1) What am I working on?

Right now, I still consider myself as a blogging newbie, so I am working on finding my niche and learning all about the blogging world and where I fit into it.

On a more “professional” side, I also ghost-write blog posts for smaller companies, and I am working on expanding that.

For my personal blog,  I write about my marriage, God, myself, and just all that is life in general. I occasionally post a recipe or a rare successful craft, but mostly I just talk about being a Christian woman in her 20s. Simple as that. I try to be funny, because I’ve been told that I am, and because I personally think I am much funnier on “paper” than I am in real life, so we’ll see how that one works out. I would love to write a book someday, but for now, we’ll just stick to posting about growing up and being refined into a better person (hopefully!) with each day.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

When I started this blog, I decided to be myself in it. I see a lot of women posting about crafts and DIY stuff and I’ve been very open about the fact that I am terrible with anything that requires being patient. (I would also much rather support those people by hiring them to make things for me!) When I do post about a project, it’s usually because if I can do it, a monkey probably could too, so that baby needs to be shared with my other craft-handicapped friends!

This is a place for me to be real and share my struggles, wins, and lessons learned. I think I am different because I don’t try to paint the picture of a perfect person on here. If anything  I am a tad overly self-deprecating, which also happens to be much of my humor style, so it works out nicely. 🙂
3) Why do I write what I do?

It took a long time of my husband bugging me to start writing before I finally realized that I may actually have something to say and to not sell myself short.

I’m pretty new to this whole “being obsessed with blogs” thing. I have found that I enjoy ones that are funny, Christian, about life, real, etc, and so that’s what I strive for mine to be like. I want to follow in the footsteps of many of my writing role models and someday be able to write books and speak at conferences, and to share what God puts on my heart to share.  I find it refreshing to read humorous accounts of real life issues and if I can add to that by honestly writing about my own, then that is awesome.
4) How does your writing process work?

I try to find God in everyday circumstances. This is something that I’m getting better at with time. I’m figuring out what sharing those small lessons and struggles looks like on this blog. I’ve always been a decent writer, but writing in this form is completely new to me, so It’s been fun to figure out how I make it work. I usually take a layer approach.

As I experience something or have an idea, I will usually make a draft with just a title or idea description.

When I have time, I will go back and write a post on that topic and then at some point realize that this is not a paper for school that I will be graded on.

I’ll go back through it a few times, adding more line breaks, changing sentence structure, making it sound more like me when I talk, try to make it funnier, adding bolds and such, make it less boring, etc.

And then sometimes the words pour out of me and I do virtually no editing and go back after publishing it and think “Oh. My. Gosh. Please nobody have seen this” as I scramble to speed-edit.

You live and learn. I just hope that my typos and waaaaay too many “like”s give someone a chuckle!

 

So there you go, my extremely complicated, well-thought-out writing process!

Tune in next week for more awesome band-members….writers: Alex Clark, Jacqueline Presley, and Sarah Skvarla!