I Don’t Do Perfect.

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Posted by annemarie | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 31-10-2012

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It’s not something we talk about often, but let’s let the crisp fall breeze bring in honesty and grace and let us be real with one another…

To be honest, I’ve been sitting here for some time trying to get this horrible “writers” block to go away. I haven’t blogged for POP for a while now. Partly because I felt the pressure to write candidly every Saturday about my struggles with conceiving another child, and truly, I ran out of things to say in that category. I do, however, have lots to say about my every day home life with a almost 3 year old and since I got the “go” to write about whatever I feel like, I am going to incorporate more of just who I am.

My favorite season is Fall. I’m a sucker for nubby sweaters, apple cider, football, and scented candles. Every fall, I decorate our house and make it extra cozy. I’ve have a decorative plate that I bring out to display until Thanksgiving and it reads, “May Grace Surround Us.”

Recently, the subject of “grace” has flooded my mind. What does that look like in my life? Why aren’t we more gracious with each other, especially in our struggles? Particularly, why do we as women (especially those of us in our 30′s) nit pick at each other so much? Why are we so darn caddy, mean, and competitive with one another? Where is the grace that I know we all have in us so that we may share in each others struggles and imperfections?

After pondering these questions, I came up with three categories that I need to be show more grace in. These include my family, my friends, and myself.

Family:

What does grace look like in your family? For me, how do I show grace and mercy to my husband, daughter, and extended family?  I think to be open and honest with out being angry or mean. When Mike says he is sorry, to truly forgive. I am so the person who makes others have to say they’re sorry upteen times. I want people to feel really, really sorry and really, really mean it. Often times, I can manipulate a situation to make it seem more in my favor when really it’s me who is at fault. I think grace can simply be saying, “I’m sorry” or “I truly forgive you,” and mean it. I also think that grace doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. It’s tempting to try and get historical when I’m in an argument with Mike, but where is the grace in reminding others of their past?

For my daughter, this is so huge. I want Peyton to grow up to be a gracious person and to really know and feel the grace she has been shown. There are times when I can ream her for something that is just so small, or my tone of voice needs to be toned down 90 decibels. I need to show her grace when she makes a mistake and to see it as a lesson on how even though I’m sad she disobeyed, that grace is one of the ways I love her. I also want her to learn how to show it to others. I love the quote by Rick Warren, “And you know, when you’ve experienced grace and you feel like you’ve been forgiven, you’re a lot more forgiving of other people. You’re a lot more gracious to others.” That is why when someone says they are sorry to Peyton, I make sure she tells them “I forgive you.” I want her to know and feel the liberation that forgiveness and grace give.

Friends:

This one is really tough for me. I see this time and time again with women…we are just so hard on one another. There is NO grace allowed in surfacy friendships and that is why I desire to deeply know and love my friends. I think about my old best friend, Erin. I haven’t talked to her in 8 years and it’s my fault. I let something that was big at the time (looking back it was so stupid and so small) to eat at me and then I blew it with our friendship. I didn’t forgive, I didn’t let it go, and grace was not shown where it should have been and I lost a friend. Forgiveness and grace go hand in hand and I believe that when you forgive you feel and experience grace and where there is grace there is a whole lot of freedom. What do I do now that our friendship is no longer? All I could do is apologize and hope that an inkling of grace would allow her to forgive me. I can only do my part and hope one day she comes back around.

Myself:

I’m really hard on myself, for everything. I usually go to bed at night rethinking of all the things I could have done better as a mom and wife. I am my own worst enemy and in my “people pleasing” kind of attitude, I have forgotten to show grace to myself. It’s in the saying over and over again that I am going to fail people, and I don’t need to have it all together is where grace is shown in my darkest times. Now that I’m going on my seventh month of trying to conceive, I feel that my body is never going to know how to get pregnant and I beat myself up over that. Maybe it’s in the showing grace to ourselves that we are able to show and elude grace to others. If that’s true, then I have a lot of work to do.

My hope for you, dear reader, that wherever you are and whatever you are dealing with that you would feel grace surround you. Maybe you are a person that needs to show more grace in your family and friendships or maybe it needs to start with not being so hard on yourself. I guess I have a long path ahead of me because I need more of it in all three categories. As we come upon the Thanksgiving season, my hope for you is that you would not only be a thankful person but that you would be a gracious person. Grace doesn’t just happen once, it happens and then it happens again. Are you a person that can give grace again, and then over again? It doesn’t mean that we don’t stand up for our convictions or let others walk all over us. In our disagreeing, we can show love and grace. My hope is that grace would heal wounds and that as you experience it, you would feel it close up the tiny or gaping holes in your life.

May your days be filled with grace and peace.

I have traded in Saturdays for Wednesdays, so please tune in every Wednesday as I write about my journey. Also, head over to www.peytonsplc.com to get to know me better.

Tea Party

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Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins | Posted on 09-10-2012

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How many of you are sick of hearing about my bedtime struggles with DJ? Trust me, no one is more over it than me….well, I’d betcha my husband is tied for first with me.  It’s the story we’ve been living for six weeks now. A three year old who basically, flat out refuses to sleep without a fight each night.  To describe it as frustrating would be a gross understatement.

I have realized that while I may publicly post about this nightly challenge, I don’t often confide in my friends about just how awful it is.  Part of me doesn’t want to burden them with the broken record of it all, and part of me is just too tired to talk about it.  Because this has become such a huge part of our lives – you might imagine there would be some anxiety, hesitation, at the thought of a weekend getaway with other families, as that would allow them full exposure into this dark corner of our parenting world.

Saying “Yes,” and sending in the $280.00 check for our portion of the weekend rental, was anxiety-provoking.  Could we get DJ on the other side of this struggle before four other families had to bear witness to it? Not likely, but we swallowed our pride nonetheless and decided that being authentic doesn’t just mean openly sharing opinions with confidence, or facing the crowd before a shower, or even losing your cool with your kid or husband in front of others – it means allowing people to see what goes on behind closed doors.  It means letting it all hang out, and trusting that people will love you anyway (or trusting that you’ll be better off without them if they don’t).

Last weekend, we ventured up to Bodega Bay with four other families.  There were 8 adults, and 8 kids under the age of 4, all staying in a 5 bedroom house (1 room per family) – with paper thin walls.  We had an absolute blast. I mean, honestly, it couldn’t have been a better time, it couldn’t have felt easier, more natural, than it did.  But – oh man, a big, big but…DJ did what she does.

On Saturday night, as I was laying in our bedroom with DJ, trying (desperately) to get her to sleep – I began getting more and more angry.  I was resentful that I was locked in a room with a crazy kid and not enjoying my vacation.  I heard muffled voices through the wall and wondered what I was missing out on.  Each thought brought me closer to the edge.  Each whine that spilled out of DJ’s little body pushed me closer and closer – and finally, I just couldn’t stop the tears.  I just laid on the floor next to DJ and her princess sleeping bag, and I sobbed.

The good news was that this rattled DJ enough to make her stop her shennanigans, and finally fall asleep.  The bad news was that I needed to go out and face my friends.  Or did I? I considered just crawling into my bed and sleeping the night away.  But, would that be authentic?  The truth was, I wanted to be with my friends – with adults.  So, I quickly wiped my face with my pillowcase, and made the long walk of shame toward the living room before I could change my mind.  Before embarrassment could set in.

I caught a glimpse of my girlfriends huddled in the kitchen, and in that very moment, I realized just how much I needed them to see me in that state of defeat – and, I needed them to be there for me.  I needed to let them in.  I burst into tears again before even saying a word.  They gathered around me, offering hugs, words of encouragement, chocolate chip cookies and hot tea.  I was finally able to say, out loud and in the moment, “This is so hard.  This is so frustrating.  It’s so awful to end every single day like this.  I feel like a failure every day.” Exhale.  It felt like a weight was lifted – a heavy, heavy weight.

We talked for hours.  We laughed. We cried.  We ate. We drank.  But, most importantly, we met each other right where we were at – each of us sharing our struggles, our fears, and our triumphs.  It was so therapeutic, and such a gift to be able to walk out of my most difficult parenting experience and into the arms of compassionate friends.  What a rare blessing.

Being a mom (or a dad), is hard work.  It’s busy work.  It’s demanding work.  When you’re in the thick of it – like I am right now, you find less and less time for phone calls, for lunch dates, for hikes, or even for returning text messages or Facebook conversations.  At the end of each day, you realize how lonely you feel, how isolated you are, and how you crave nothing more than the support of good friends.  Like, real support.  The kind that exists without judgement.

This weekend made me realize that real friends are the friends who don’t care how often you call because they’ll just keep calling you. They don’t wait for you to reach out to them.  They hear your struggle, they feel your pain, and they push their way into your life. They push lovingly and gently – and relentlessly.  They know that you’ll blow-dry your hair again one day, and that you’ll meet them for dinner at a restaurant that doesn’t have paper tablecloths again someday….but that, until that day comes, they’ll accept whatever it is that you need to do to get by.  And, they’ll cheer you on every step of the way.

We cannot go down this parenting road alone.  We need friends whom we can trust.  We need friends who see us for who we are, in our darkest hours.  They pour us a cup of tea, and they tell us how brave we are.  I call them my “forever friends.”  They are the friends who took almost 35 years to earn – and while not all pictured above, there are less than 2 handfuls of these amazing women….and I couldn’t feel more abundantly blessed.

Have You Ever Noticed…?

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Posted by webmaster | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 07-01-2011

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Have you ever noticed when a new year rolls around…

…that everyone powers down meals like no other and then pledges to lose weight?

…that the objects everyone so desired for months on end now sit on a desk somewhere in a room somewhere in the back of someone’s mind?

…that most of the time the holidays leave people so disappointed rather than wishing they could do it all over again?

I find myself wondering why this is.  The holidays are hyped aren’t they?  Before Halloween is over, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations line the shelves, prepping us for what’s coming months away.

We run around worried for weeks because we want to get that special someone that special something.

This year was extra difficult for me.  Funds have been tighter than ever before.  I find myself with three grown children, at different stages in their lives, a mother I don’t seem to see enough, and a girlfriend whose birthday falls on Christmas day.

Funds have never been tighter and the pressure has never been higher.  A great combo, don’t you think?

And yet the pressures are self made by the media and the guilt that comes with non-performance in this society, even in these hard times.

And so I continued to remind myself, and others, that it is not what we give or what we get that is important.  It is the time we spend together and the memories we create between ourselves and our family and friends.

I know the saying “You can’t take it with you” is way overused, but there’s a reason for it.  Our lives are cluttered and busy and designed to distract us from what is important.

And so, in my little way, I will strive, in 2011, to keep reminding myself that it is US that is important.  And I will reach out more and visit more and laugh with others more this year.  And WE will be happier because of it.