why i don't blog as much anymore...

...especially about my three wonderful teenagers?

i think that jamie the very worst missionary sums it up so nicely for me in her blog post I WORRY FOR THE MOMMY BLOGGERS with this quote...

There's a reason there aren't very many blogs from Moms of teens. It's because as they grow, they become like a magnifying glass to all your fatal flaws and the myriad ways you screwed them up as children. Who wants to read about that?It's depressing.

it isn't always depressing. like this weekend was the prom. and it was fun to be the mom. maxx was a thrifty prom goer. bought his jacket at goodwill for $5. they ate at dave's pizza garage. went to what-a-burger after the dance for a little while. and our only real expense was a lovely vintage brooch that we had worked into her corsage. and that i bought at a thrift store for $20. so it was a really easy evening. and a very rewarding time as a parent. mostly because i didn't have to fight the "can i stay out all night" battle. followed on the heels by the "why the hell can't i? everyone else is? battle. and then comes the inevitable "you are the worse mom ever!!!!!" battle. by then end of those three battles you just end up shooting yourself in the foot to put you out of your misery because an open gaping bullet hole in your foot seems more pleasant than the alternative which is another battle...

but i digressed and now will just show some nice photos from the prom... as to not depress you young mothers any further. really, it does get easier as they get older (BOLD FACED LIE) and all that sleep you are missing now, you can make up when they come home from the prom at 9:45 sharp which is 15 minutes before their curfew (BOLDER FACIER LIE). but through it all if you can manage to remember that God is still good. and He is still stronger than anything in this world (or at the prom or even at the after party.) and they make drugs that help you sleep when you can't stop worrying about how you will get through the next days and there is caffeine to help you stay awake. then you will be okay. dokey-ish. so there's that hope...

taylor the latte boy responds...

here are a few highlights from dessert theater. and by "highlights" i mean "wonderful things maxx did." 

and in case you don't really understand the "taylor the latte boy responds" song, watch the video below it first. that is the "taylor the latte boy" song. which in our production was sung by an adorable high school girl named emma. instead of kristen chenowith. who is also adorable. but not a high school girl. nor a member of FBC tallahassee's youth group.

rosalea did wonderful things too. she was running the backstage. putting on scenery. microphones. handing out props. but it is difficult to video or take photos of backstage help.

dessert theater is a yearly occurrence at our church. and it is a HUGE pain during rehearsals and you think you will never survive the schedule. but you do survive. mostly. and in the end it is amazing. and the kids are fantastic. and the money raised goes to the youth mission/choir tour. and it is something all the kids that graduate talk about how much they miss being in it every year. and the parents that are finished with the marathons of dessert theater talk about how much they miss their kids being in it now. and i know i am coming to the last of my performers (though rosie may keep working her backstage magic.) and i know i will miss seeing him on stage also. mostly because he loves to be on stage so much (he got that from his mama.) but i have one more year...

THE answer...

maxx headed out today for three days of camping with some friends...

1551684_10151765276532531_2042233557_n.jpg

he had asked us about it MONTHS ago. we suggested that he plan it for these days right after Christmas. back when it seemed like these days would never get here. we didn't help him at all (too busy to remember that he was supposed to be going camping) and then today came and he had prepped it all by himself. called and made the reservations at the state park. gathered food and supplies and a band of merry men.

all that was left for me to do was to pray over the trip.  

which reminded me of a question that i used to ask EVERY parent of a college student. back when our kids were so little that we NEVER dreamed they would ever grow up. NEVER dreamed they would be teenagers. NEVER dreamed that this boy who lost a pair of shoes every week might be able to one day plan an entire camping trip all on his own. and be wearing shoes when he left...

when we taught college students they would inevitably introduce us to their parents when those parents were in town (most likely to reassure their parents that the beloved college students were actually attending church and lo and behold KNEW their sunday school teachers.) EVERY time i met a parent i asked them about how they had managed to raise such a fine son or daughter. i was always looking for that ONE THING to check off my list so that i could do it right. 

and almost EVERY parent said the same thing...

“i prayed a lot.”

that was their answer. almost every one of them. every time i asked. and i kept on asking because i wanted a magic pill. a silver bullet. a spell. a one shot cure it all miracle. not realizing prayer was the miracle. not one shot. not by a long shot. but a thousand small still moments of “help him/her/me” moments. a lot of late nights waiting up and praying desperate prayers. prayers for angels to accompany them. or angels to slap some sense into them when they were too far out of reach of our arms. prayer for protection. for wisdom. for soft hearts and open ears. for friends. for love. for rock bottom to be soft. for grace to surprise them gently. for broken hearts. or for hearts to break wide open... so many prayers. if we only knew the power we have...

“men (children/teenagers) may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.” {j.sidlow baxter}

psalm 6:9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.

 

 

blast from the past...

so who here remembers last may? (heck, i don't remember what i had for breakfast this morning...)

so i will remind you of a little blog series that i did entitled and aptly represented by this faux book i made up...

bood cover.jpeg

i would like to revisit that topic for a moment with this teenage parenting nugget of wisdom...

EXPECT TO LOSE.

i remember people would tell me "pick your battles" when your kids are teenagers. and i did pick one battle in particular... the "NO WEARING CLOTHING WITH BAD WORDS ON IT" battle. i was going to die on that hill. and i did die on that hill. case in point... 

photo.PNG

that is millie 5 years ago. she wanted a "south butt" jacket. it was mocking "north face" and i am totally on board with mocking. i just am not a big fan of a young girl wearing clothing that says "butt." and kind of shows a graphic image of a butt. i felt like it was inappropriate. and a bit crASS. which is funny since i have no problem typing the word ASS. or saying it in most situations. just a problem with the word butt on my daughter's clothing... i am such a hypocrite.

i fought the purchase of the infamous south butt jacket tooth and nail. i prayed over this issue. i consulted wise friends. i reasoned. i promised rewards for obedience. and then her dad/my loving husband intervened and vetoed me and let her buy and wear the jacket. EVEN TO CHURCH. she wore that jacket EVERYWHERE. just to spite me.

i cannot tell you how much it irritated me. i am not a good loser. and if the musical matilda has been out already i would have been singing this song ...

which includes these fragrant and hilarious lyrics...

the smell of rebellion, the stench of revolt , the reek of insubordination, the whiff of resistance, the pong of dissent, the funk of mutiny in action...

so you can imagine my sorrow and shame when millie handed that beauty of a jacket down to her little sister this fall...

1474573_10151722384027531_2140094422_n.jpg

the only thing worth than losing once is losing twice. the only thing worse than dying on a hill once is being stabbed to death on top of it again. by your baby. whilst she wears a south butt jacket.

so i join with the trunchbull from matilda singing my other favorite part from "the smell of rebellion" song...

Imagine a world with no children (or in my case "teenagers".)
Close your eyes and just dream.
Imagine. Come on - try it...
The peace and the quiet...
A babbling stream...


Now imagine a woods with a cottage,
And inside that cottage we find
A dwarf called Zeke, a carnival freak,
Who can fold paper hats with his mind,


And he says, "Don’t let them steal your horses! No!"
"Don’t let them throw them away! No!"
"If you find your way through,"
"They’ll be waiting for you,"
"Singing 'neigh neigh'!"

i will not let them steal my horses. i won't let them throw them away. they will be waiting one day saying, "neigh neigh." which is kind of weird but maybe trunchbull isn't mad. maybe she is giving me a hidden instructive hint because as shakespeare said, "revenge is a dish best served cold." oh, that jacket will be waiting. i won't throw it away.  i will put it somewhere safe. until they have teenage daughters. then it will reappear. and they can die on that hill. my blood has already softened the ground... i can hear the horses now... "neigh neigh," they say...

 

 

expect a guest post...

i have been so super lax about posting that i felt like i owed all my readers (all 5 of you) a really GREAT post...

and i just didn't have it in me.

so i went to an expert...

my college roommate dina. mother of two amazing teenagers. leader of her church's youth group. putter upper with me for over 20 years. need i add more credentials?

so this week she has been hanging out at md anderson with another friend who is there for 6 weeks of treatment. and dina has been bragging about the yummy food. the lack of carpools to run. the absence of dr.'s appointments to get to. nary a bathroom to clean...

so i gave her an assignment... to write a guest post for me.

and for the FIRST TIME IN HER ENTIRE LIFE she did exactly what i asked her to do. so here is my first guest post... 

what to expect when you are expecting a teenager... by dina clarke

Expect Cat-like Behavior

I read a blog a couple years ago that explained the progression of our offspring’s behavior like this: First your children are like dogs.  As teen they become cats.  But don’t panic, they will be dogs again.

As a mother in the midst of parenting two teens, this made complete sense to me.  I have a dog. I can leave my house for a week or go to the end of the driveway to get the mail, and my dog is so happy when I walk back in the front door.  She barks and celebrates and can’t stop jumping up on me.  She is grateful for being fed. If I am upset with her, she grovels for forgiveness and hangs her head low in submission and regret. She sits in my lap whenever I sit down. When I leave the house she wants to go with me. She just loves to be near me.

Pre-teen children are like that. 

Then they become cats.

Cats like to call the relationship shots.  They sit with you when they want to.  They ignore you… a lot.  They usually show up when they are hungry and then they seem to accept the food you feed them with an attitude of, “Of course you feed me. You have to. Don’t expect me to thank you.” They are skittish and unpredictable and they change course on a dime. You go away for the day or a week and you are greeted with a bored yawn. The best way to deal with a cat is to not overly celebrate any attention, because they tend to run away when you seem to be enjoying their company. You have to be affectionate on their terms.  Be still and they seem to be drawn to you and the attention they apparently still crave (but act like they don’t). And if you discipline your cat, expect them to pee on something or scratch the furniture in revenge.

Grumpy-cats-worst-thing-after-waking-up_large.jpg

And teenagers are like that.  Even the sweet ones.  I remember when my daughter was about to graduate from high school and she was excited and anxious and nervous and ready and not ready.  She came in one evening in tears.  I jumped up from the couch, she jumped into my arms and said, “I love you so much.  I am going to miss you next year. And I am a little scared about leaving home.  But excited too. And I don’t know why I am crying.”  We hugged. I held on and encouraged.  Sweet moment.  No lie, thirty minutes later I walked in her room to ask her something and she bristled and snapped at me.  I walked away and thought to myself, “Meow.”

LOL-Grumpy-cat-brother_1.jpg

Doesn’t mean we let the cats call all the shots.  It means that we still love hard and discipline hard. It means we still put out the food and keep still and let them come to us.  It means we still lavish attention when accepted and praise even when it is not. And we remember what it was like to be in between childhood and adulthood and wanting so badly to feel confident and capable.  And at the same time to just crawl in Daddy’s lap and be told everything will be okay.

It means our worth must come from our being a child of the King and not from our teens’ attention or kindness or behavior or thankfulness. It means we celebrate when we see a little dogness in the midst of a lot of catness.

And it means we pray.  A lot. And trust the One who created the whole teenage process and loves us when we are inattentive and distant and forgetful.

I googled “How to train your cat” and it yielded some surprisingly good advice for teens for deterring unwanted behavior:

 1) Find the root of the problem: Many times, your cat isn't acting out just for the sake of it, but has a reason for his unbearable behavior. Your cat could just be having trouble adjusting to a new environment or may need more love and attention. If your kitty has previously had no trouble and is suddenly acting out, try thinking of some reasons that could be causing him to act badly.
2) Change its environment: Your cat may be exhibiting frustrated or upset behavior because of a bad past experience.
3) Reinforce good behavior with rewards: This will teach your cat that good behavior has positive repercussions, and make it more likely to continue doing it on its own even when it is not rewarded every time.

But my favorite is this:

4) Deter bad behavior. Cats dislike water and high-pitched noises. Next time you catch your cat committing the offense, squirt it with water and make a sharp "psssst" sound or shake a can of pennies at the same time. Try to position yourself so that the cat doesn't see you squirting it - you want it to associate the water with the bad behavior, not with your presence. Just remember that you should spend more time rewarding your kitty for good behavior than punishing it for bad behavior.
havahart-sprayaway-cat-lg.jpg

And one day, so they tell me, the cat is going to disappear.  And become a lovable, appreciative, attentive dog again.

Until then I may invest in a water bottle and a can of pennies.  I’m kidding.  Sort of.