The Problem With Marriage

wedding kissI have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.

–Mother Teresa

Our marriage is probably like many of yours—sometimes effortless and occasionally the hardest work I’ve ever done.

I’ve been married for eight years now. The first six flew by in a breeze. We didn’t have to make it work because it wasn’t that difficult. There were romantic getaways and shared dreams, giggles and tickle fights and a growing family. We started a church and had a baby; we bought a home and moved to suburbia. Life was abundant with service and ministry and blessings. Sure, certain obstacles came our way, but our confidence in each other was high.

And then REAL life hit.

Tragedy and drama and human weakness at it’s finest.  Our fragile foundation rocked and rolled like the San Andreas fault.  My parents were suddenly both taken by fatal disease, Tim injured his back and faced permanent nerve damage and partial paralysis , there was spinal surgery, a long and painful recovery, and our constant battle with infertility that wove itself through every story—miscarriage after miscarriage. Add in a blended family and teenagers in to the mix and for two years we fought to keep our heads above water.

Maybe marriage wasn’t so easy.

Maybe it took work. Hard work.

Fortunately, I married a persistent man who never, ever, gives up. Week after week he showed up at the counselor by my side ready to tackle the broken parts of him and us and me. And even when I was drowning in sorrow and weary, he never let go of my hand.

While I wish certain outcomes were different, because I sure miss my mom and dad (and all the babies I won’t meet until eternity), I don’t regret the journey it’s forced us to travel. Pain brings out our best and worst traits. My husband has seen me unraveled and paralyzed with fear and yet he continues to love me. I have seen him blustering and red in frustration and yet I get up and choose only him every day.

So many people avoid pain. They run, they hide, they cope. I was a master at this.

But with a 72% divorce rate in Orange County, I don’t really think this strategy is working out too well for most of us.

If I learned anything from years of therapy it’s this…don’t avoid the pain–do the opposite–lean in.

Pain has made our marriage better. Adversity overcome together creates the glue of relationship. Pain forced us to restructure our boundaries, to surrender to one another sacrificially and to leave our selfish natures behind for something better—a relationship built on rock and not sand.

Every day we can either deposit love or steal life from one another. It’s a choice we are all given.

Today I sit here and write after another failed pregnancy, and a heartbeat that slipped away, with tears and sadness, and a surgery to remove the remains of another sweet baby. One more soul added to our little tribe in heaven.

But I am content. Not because it doesn’t hurt—oh boy it does, but because I’m facing the pain with my best friend at my side. The friend I have fought for and who fights  for me on a daily basis.

I am what we call in our family “happy/sad.” The sad is obvious, but the happy is because I have fallen in love with my husband all over again through this yucky experience. I am crazy about this man who shares his whole heart unabashedly and shines his light so bright it makes the dark not so scary for me. He holds my hand and whispers prayers when I need encouragement, he points me back to God when my faith wavers, and he makes me laugh through my tears.  I can only hope I will choose to fall in love over and over with this same man for the rest of my life.  I want more than anything to focus on the good and not dwell on the bad, celebrating the smallest victories and offering forgiveness quickly.

The problem with marriage is that it’s not easy.

We have to choose one another every day in spite of the pain and the brokenness of our humanity.

I’m so glad we didn’t give up on the mountain of hard, because the greatest joy was reached only by cresting this summit together.

–Samantha

Peep Roast

FullSizeRenderIt was a simple command, really, but I suffered a mini-meltdown in my seat.

“Think of one friend you know that you can invite to the Peep Roast and send them this card.”

I looked down at the ground, I casually glanced around at everyone else thinking and writing and I choked in the death pause of uncertainty.

I couldn’t think of one person.

The truth hit me hard, painfully hard and it ached in places I didn’t know I could ache.

Here is my reality right now, I live in a Christian bubble.

No one put me here, it just happened because I let myself get comfortable.

And it’s revolting to me. It’s against everything I believe to be true about the gospel.

My kids go to Christian school. My neighborhood all goes to the church we helped start in our local area. I see the same people day in and day out. And I love this community with all my heart, but sometimes I need to get out of it a little too.

How can you invite new peeps to the Peeps Roast when you don’t know any?

When your husband is a pastor and you are a Christian writer, every conversation begins with, “Come check out our church.”

But I invite people so casually, I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s like “How are you?”–or some other greeting I drop like I don’t really mean.  It’s just a rote expression I do by routine.

When did I stop being intentional about meeting new people that are different from me?

………………….

I will never forget the night Tim when asked me where I wanted to go to dinner and I replied “Mutt Lynches.”

He looked at me like I was cray-cray, because Mutts is a rowdy bar on the boardwalk of Balboa Penninsula.  I was pregnant at the time and could barely stomach the smell of beer, barf, or people in general.

But I nodded yes vehemently because my intuition or (prompt from God) was powerful.

That night we met a group of guys and one in particular we connected with. Over too many beers on his part, he confided that his wife had filed for divorce and served him papers that day. He had come home to an empty house void of his little ones and all he held dear.

He started to tear up as he shared that he deserved it. He had put his family’s needs below his quest for success and climbing the corporate ladder. He had erroneously believed they would always be there until they weren’t.

His friends had taken him out to tie one on. But it wasn’t helping. It just magnified the pain. His friends were stunned at his admission but too drunk to know what to do.

Then he jumped up and ran out the bar.

Tim and I huddled up and decided that Tim would go after him and I would stay with all my sweet drunk friends who would protect me or vice versa.

Tim found the guy walking towards the water’s edge.

Tim walked up and asked if he could pray with him and the guy collapsed on the beach weeping.

“I was ready to kill myself,”he confessed. I was going towards the water to drown myself. I cried out to God, “If you are real, give me one sign that you love me.”

“And you found me.”

They spent a long time on the sand simply crying out to God together and lifting heavy hearts, as the waves crashed and I played beer pong with iced tea back in the bar with the guys.

We later heard from the guy that he was working hard to repair his family. He thanked us over and over.

But the gift of that evening was just as profound for us as it was for him.

I, we, want to be available when God is moving. I want to get my hands dirty and wipe the tears of the broken and spiritually wounded.

And I don’t think staying comfortable is helping.

It’s probably time to start venturing out and hanging out with some rowdy folks again. Maybe you need to get your hands a little dirty again too?

–Samantha

 

Maybe no one has invited you to an Easter service this year?  Can I?

Saturday March 26th at 5:00pm

Easter Service at Mariners Mission Viejo (with our annual Peep Roast following the service)

26862 Crown Valley Parkway, Mission Viejo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Thongs and Gym Fails

embarrassed-girl-red-sweater_smIts mid February, which means I’ve been back in the gym for about six weeks now. I, like many of you, suffered a holiday workout mini-breakdown that started with good intentions and ended with about six extra pounds. So now I’m hitting the gym hard.

But the problem with going to the gym–is well–its the gym.

It’s full of awkward social exchanges, potential embarrassment and gross smells. Anytime people get sweaty, prance around the locker room in nothing but tattoos and body hair, and make grunting noises–it’s an eye opening experience.

So Tim and I are getting our workout on.  He’s lifting weights and I’m on the treadmill. As soon as I get a little warm, I peel off my coral long sleeve Nike workout shirt I received for Christmas (apparently to encourage me to work out) and throw it on ground next to my machine.

(I have a tank top on underneath just in case you thought I got naked)

I then immerse myself in “Hard Evidence” for the next forty minutes while climbing fake hills and terrain.

The show ends. I am so sucked in I can’t stop until I am assured that this evil woman is sentenced to life. Apparently she stun-gunned her husband and placed him alive in a barrel of acid.  Wow. Don’t want to run into that chick at the gym

I switch off the machine and turn around. And there directly behind the treadmill on the ground is my bright red lacy thong panties. 

I look around and I see a few smirks. It must have been stuck to the inside of my sweatshirt from laundry day.

It’s been 40 minutes since I took off my Nike sweatshirt. 40 minutes for the whole gym to walk by my underpants.

Awesome! I casually pick them up and throw them in my bag and then mentally place the dog cone of shame on my head and skulk away.

My cheeks burn. I hope no one walked by and noticed the pastor’s wife flaunting her little lingerie party.

I walk over to Tim, now on the treadmill.

He belly laughs when I tell him the story.  Then he tells me he how he just embarrassed himself too

A young fit girl on the back machine smiled and waved. Tim thought it was someone from the college group at church so he smiled big in reply and said “hi.”

But so did the big, ripped and inked guy behind him.  You know, the one she was really waving to.  The guy gave a withering look to my husband, the “as if…buddy” look.

Awkward…

But the best cone of shame story is told to me by my neighbor later that day.

So, he’s changing in the men’s locker room. He puts is foot in through one leg of his athletic pants, then the next. But the second leg sticks. Something is blocking his foot. So he pushes a little harder and out flies a small hot pink thong that flies across the floor of the men’s locker room.

And he is left with a bunch of dudes looking at him like he is a cross dresser.

Now we all know it was merely the bad luck of static cling, laundry day and a cute wife that can wear tiny hot pink thongs.

But the guys in the locker room didn’t. Remember, the sweaty, gross, hairy, ripped ones?

So he “oh so casually” walks over, picks it up and tosses it in the trash because he figures his wife wouldn’t go near it after he told her where it had been.

Nice.

Tell me again, why do we go to the gym?

 

 

 

 

The Jankiest Hood

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Maybe it’s just me?–but when I see a home festively adorned with Christmas lights near Valentines Day, the word “janky” comes to mind.

Well, how about a whole neighborhood?  Is that like the “jankiest hood in town?”

Because that’s what I, what WE, the suffering people of Whispering Creek II are dealing with.

First of all, I LOVE our neighborhood!  We are what some might call a tad “eager” around Christmas time.

For the most part, we get our Christmas spirit on!  Our track sits right across the street from one of the more famous drive-by Christmas neighborhoods in Ladera, (just to clarify…that’s not a place where drive-by shootings occur, but instead it’s when you pack up the whole family in the car with some Starbucks and drive around and look at decorated homes. Because this is what we do in warm places with no weather)

So, although we don’t have the mega awesome light displays and hand out hot chocolate and fliers, we are “a nice on the eyes” place to go for a “look see.”

The majority of our homes put up lights galore, inflatable snowman, reindeer, animals and all the elf fixins.

I even have an inflatable Darth Vader and two Frosty’s, not to brag or anything…

Normally, as a group we rent a lift, blast some music and decorate together.  But this year, we decided to try something new and hire a service to put up and TAKE DOWN the lights.

Mistake #1: we paid the man upfront for the whole job.

The lights went up in late November.  And the lights are still up.

The light man has gone AWOL. With half of our entire neighborhood’s cash.

He has not returned phone calls or texts and we are SOL, as my dad used to say. All we have is a card. With no address. Who do we even sue?

So when you drive into our little Ladera neighborhood, try not to judge.  We know. We know. We so freaking know it’s the jankiest in town, but we haven’t yet figured out how to rectify the problem.

Do we send our husbands up to the roofs and high peaks of our two story homes? Do we risk life and limb or suck up the loss and pay more money? Do I send out my husband, because we own a coveted extension ladder, and make some extra cash? (just kidding babe)

Is our life insurance up to date?

These are questions we must ask ourselves!

In the meantime…James the Christmas Light Dude.  You are a wanted man and have lost the favor of this Ladera neighborhood!  At any moment, our ever vigilant Ladera association will start threatening us with fines if we don’t get these lights down…because Ladera has standards.

Merry Christmas James. You stink!

reindeer

At least we put these guys away…

 

Throwing Stones

girl-sad-101artsSqueals erupt from the playground as a pack of pint sized girls tackle the monkey bars. The moms gather close, gobbling up grown-up time like precious pearls.

A small voice shrieks, “Mommy, sister said she hates me.” Tears fall.  A little sister sobs in frustration–she just wants to hang with the older girls. Be cool like them.

The lovely young mother administers a hug and kisses to her four-year-old, then calls the five-year-old over for a reckoning.

I watch the other girls stop their play. Somehow the word “hate” shocks us all out of our reverie. It get’s very quiet.

(When you play at the church school playground, it’s like God is watching)

I walk over and kneel down. A storm is brewing over their tiny countenance.

The girls are looking to lay blame.

“She said she hated her sister,” points out one little pig-tailed cutie. “That’s a bad word.”

I nod yes. “That’s true. But are you always nice to your little brother?” I probe, ever so gently.

A guilty smile sneaks out of the corner of her mouth. “No, she whispers.”

I turn to little Kolby. “Sometimes you and your sister fight, right?”

Kolby agrees sheepishly.

And suddenly they realize the “bad word” is in them too.

“Sometimes I say awful things I wish I could take back.” I confess.

I think of me sitting in the counselor’s office telling my husband his pride is an issue–as if I am somehow exempt from the very same malaise. 

And we all look down at our feet and the focus shifts off the bad child to the bad in us.

The next day the mom tells me her older daughter shared with her how she fears her friends like her little sister more than her.

In all truth, her little sister is a bit of a tot-sized hottie. She is vibrant and gorgeous with long golden hair and a winsome personality. She will probably be cheer captain and princess of everything.  I’d probably want to punch her in the face a few times if she were my sister too.  “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia ..”

Who wants to live up to that?

(I’m sure Jesus’ siblings struggled a bit too)

And then the mom laughs and said my little Kolby tried to empathize with her older daughter. Her daughter apologized for the bad choice of words and my Kolby explained that she too battles with jealousy towards her older sister Faith.

Kolby patted her on the back. “It’s tough, I know.”

The two hugged–closer now because of the rupture and the restoration.

I shook my head in disbelief. These are kindergartners–not thirty-five year old women. And yet somehow they are learning to self-identify and give grace and empathy to one another, not in spite of their brokenness but because if it.

I’ve learned down the long and bumpy road of life (and with a billion hours of therapy) that our broken pieces heal ONLY in relationship.

What a gift we give our children when we teach them to look within before casting stones and to share their hurt instead of bottling it up inside to fester and grow darker.

The mom and I hugged too–closer now because of the shared journey of parenting our girls together.

And I am grateful for friendship, forgiveness, and the sweet gift of grace we all desperately need.

–Samantha

 

Dear Santa…love Mom

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SANTA CLAUS
NORTH POLE

Dear Santa,

I know the big day is getting close, so I’m sure you and the elves are crazy busy shopping online, wrapping, and packing the sleigh. I feel your pain Santa…I do!

I want you to know I’ve been a MOSTLY good girl this year. I diligently cared for my husband when he had emergency back surgery and in the following months of his LONG recovery. Santa, he was in terrible pain and (sometimes) very grumpy, but with a lot of prayer, a little wine and weekly therapy we made it through!

DSC_0442-2I also took fabulous care of my children. I took my son back East for a college recruiting trip and we bonded over BPM music, survived a hurricane and slept in crappy hotels. It was awesome! Ok, I might have helped him a little too much on the college applications, (oops!) but I made him pay for the tires he accidentally spiked when he drove through a gated residential entrance. (See Santa…I’m working hard not to enable!)

I’ve also cooked, cleaned, laundered, shopped for, loved, cuddled and cherished every moment with my sweetheart and kids. On my honor, I haven’t missed much church, any games or recitals. I’ve driven Kolby to endless auditions in the hoods of LA and navigated the mean streets of the stage Momster.

DSC_0373Santa, I’ve volunteered at J Serra High School until illness has overtaken me (I lost my voice for 3 weeks!). I’ve worked like a like a dog and sacrificed sleep to these munchkins. I’ve watched 400 freaking episodes of Bernstein Bears, read to my little girl every single night (best part of my day), shopped with my teenagers until I wept from frustration, and I’ve laughed and tickled and cried with each one as life throws its best punches at us.

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Santa, even though I sometimes lose my spit, go a little cray-cray and have to text my therapist and Bible Study gals for extra support, I have managed to show up for work, finish a book, keep the sparks going with my man and love to the best of my ability. I know I’m a little jacked up, far from a typical pastor’s wife (whatever that is), with a broken and old uterus and some social awkwardness to boot, but maybe you could still get me a present? (Hint, hint)

  • MAC Makeup
  • Coach, or Kate Spade Purse
  • Spa Day perhaps? (Optional item if I’ve been really good!)

Thanks Santa! You’re the best! And you look dang sexy in that red hat!

Love, Samantha

Secrets of the Father

Secrets ImageIt took me a year–365 days of scratching out words and finding precious minutes to squirrel away and become someone else on paper.

But for Paul Aubin, it took a lifetime to write this story.

Many days I felt like a voyeur–like I woke up in the morning and put on a strange pair of pants. It’s probably what an actor feels taking on the nuances of a character. At times it was a little creepy. Paul and I would sit down together poring over the manuscript and he would say, “Let me tell you about this and that, or so and so…”

And I would interrupt, “Yeah, I know Paul.  I know all about you.” (cue eerie music)

His cheeks would flush.  And I would move my chair a few more inches away–because internalizing a person is just plain awkward.

But the truth is, on some level, I was a priest and I was Paul the little boy and the grown man too. Every day, I racked my head to think, emote and respond like two very different men. I sat in Starbucks and wept at times as the words tumbled out.  I railed at the injustice of a religious system built on a house of cards and I put myself in this heartbreaking love story destined to fail.

And over the course of that year, I fell in love with this beautiful and tragic tale of loss and redemption.

Paul’s story is the classic hero’s journey.  The life he once knew crashed and burned as he is confronted with a serious health crisis. Now with a ticking clock, he is forced to search for the parent’s who abandoned him and in the process discovers a scandalous cover-up within the Catholic church in a small New England town.

This is the astonishing and true story of a man who uncovered a thirty-five-year-old secret–and only he was the missing evidence.

I encourage you to discover it for yourself.

Click here to buy the Kindle version

Paperback now available to order.

–Samantha

How to End the Clothes Drama With Your Teen Daughter

Kids rebel when they hit adolescence–it’s simply a part of pulling away from their parents and creating self-identification.

Every kid does this differently–hair, clothes, grades, parties, eye rolling, politics, religion, tone of voice, apathy. Pick your poison.  If you want to argue with me on this and say your kid is perfectly obedient, I will argue back and suggest you have raised a clone who can’t think for themselves. That’s called a co-dependent child and you have your own issues.

aafe4c51ee8357ec283b61d4d6918155.jpg (236×251)I also might argue teen girls do this “self-identification” the best.  Boys are good but girls are better. Adolescent girls just have a knack for pushing hot buttons.

When I think about my lovely teenage daughter, I know I am blessed. She is kind, loving, Godly, a diligent student, an entrepreneur at heart, a gifted photographer, and beautiful inside and out. She makes friends easily and is a strong leader. I have it good, I know.

But on the flip side, my darling girl is also a skilled instigator. She can identify weakness in people as quick as Jason Bourne.  In about 30 seconds flat, she knows what will yank your chain.  It’s a terrible gift.  And when the moment is right–bamm.  You go down.

This girl knows what drives me bonkers–black bras under white shirts, booty shorts with cheeks showing, tiny bikinis, mean comments and tones, Demi Lovato and tongues sticking out like Miley Cyrus.

So, it’s guaranteed that every day with my daughter will involve one of these irritants.

My best coping skill to combat my teen terrorist, beyond prayer, has been the school uniform.  The peace and happiness this one change made to our household in the mornings is truly priceless.

Junior High was a DISASTER! We used to struggle every morning. It was rare that any first outfit would pass muster and back up the stairs she would go. Occasionally she pulled a fast one and got out. We were at a stale-mate.

Together we would shop for and pick out clothes that are far too modest for her and far more revealing than I would like–but somewhere we met in the middle. Then we would bring the clothes home and she would wear them like crazy and dry them on hot until they either shrunk or she outgrew them and then they were perfect for her and another problem for me.

AAHHH!

The sad thing is, her clothes were modest compared to many of her friends, but the modest side of slutty is still skanky in my book.

Why oh why, you ask, do parent’s let their teen girls dress like a hussy?

It’s because the girls relentlessly wear them down!  Day after day after day!

Enter the uniform for high school.  Yes, it also involves private school.  I know, I know, most people can’t afford it. We can’t afford it either, but we make it happen because:

It’s the best money ever spent in the history of parenting.

Blouses and sweaters and plaid skirts! Brilliant!

Now don’t get me wrong, girls will still try to rebel but the damage is limited in this arena.

AHHHH Peace!

My daughter comes down stairs in the morning with her Catholic girl skirt hiked up to her naval, but I can take a deep breath and let it go, because there is a neurotic ladies dean waiting for her at school with all-knowing eyes to give her detention. The pressure is off me!

On the first day of school, her cheer friend got three detentions! One for too short, and two more for every roll. Ouch! My girl has learned the tricks–she doesn’t roll, she just hikes.  Smart huh?

 

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Is this payback for my indiscretions?

I know it could be worse.  My son decided to express himself through hair, one time he died it white and there were a few pre-season mohawks with blue hair before football. We rolled through that mess and kept it light. It’s just hair we said and laughed it off.

I wish I could say the same about my girl–it’s just ass–but I can’t. I want to protect her and keep her safe like all parents do. Modesty and sexuality are scary topics with girls. The stakes are higher.

No parent is ready for the darker side of letting go. I don’t want her to get hurt. I don’t want some boy to use her for sex and leave her heart-broken. I want my girl to value her beauty far beyond her looks. I want her to know she is worth so much more than what the world will tell her.  She is not an object!  And darn it, I want her to figure this out before age 35–like I did.

Deep breath.  More prayer.

The uniforms help.

Someday soon she will dress herself without mom around and I imagine, that without me (and her step-dad) to piss off and other teenage girls to impress, she’ll probably dress quite nicely.  Maturity will sneak up before I know it because I believe she knows she is loved.  And God has her back.

In the meantime, the uniform (and prayer) is my best friend!

–Samantha

How Do Mom’s Survive Recruiting?

12004008_1229294673762843_1963274122960026051_n“Gentlemen, it is better to die a small boy than to fumble this football.” -John Heisman

Football, football, football…

It’s all we talk about in the Keller house besides Jesus and cheerleading.

That’s because it’s recruiting season of my son’s senior year. And truthfully, it’s not as much fun as I thought it would be. It’s actually hard work and I’m not even the one playing a full contact sport.

Recruiting is stressful and nail-biting. Your kid get’s an offer from a school(s) and you feel so blessed. But then there are these “reach” schools lingering around dropping seductive hints. And they are the “wow” schools that dazzle and woo, but they don’t pull the plug and offer until they have to.

These are moments where you throw up your hands and say “screw that school” only to get a phone call from the coach fifteen minutes later to affirm their interest and then you love them all over again.

It’s like a bad dating relationship. You wait by the phone and they call just enough to get you all hot and bothered.

Okay, I know, I talk about my kid and recruiting in “we” terminology. Clearly I self-identify with my child. I took the helicopter parent test and failed. So now I just own it. Truthfully, I think every football parent heavily invested in their child thinks in terms of “we” instead of “he”–but that’s another blog.

The Unofficial Visit

So, this weekend my kid has a recruiting trip planned.  It’s officially unofficial.  So the university can only provide us with tickets to the game and other “free” amusements. Sadly for my kid, I’m coming along with his five-year-old sister. We are like the antithesis of cool.

When I asked my son what the game day will look like, he said it involved:

  1. A tour of the campus possibly hosted by sorority girls (come again?)
  2. Time meeting the players and coaches
  3. Maybe a side-line pass?  (One for mom and little sis too?)
  4. Seats  (hoping for 50 yard line)
  5. And finally…”maybe some of the players could take me out after the game and show me around…please mom?”

Clearly, they are trying to woo the son not the mother because I’m thinking more along the lines of:

  1. Campus Crusade for Christ ladies school tour (Hottest is modest, baby!)
  2. A time to talk discipline and study plans with the coaches
  3. The football team job placement program after graduation
  4. After-party worship concert praising Jesus for a big win.
  5. Free Kool-Aid and cookies served to potential recruits

Oh boy, who knew when I signed up my kid at age 7 for tackle football I would be here?

But honestly, the hardest part of recruiting is not the reality of sorority girls and parties, or the waiting, or the endless college applications, it’s the constant reminder of minutes slipping by.

Every time a coach calls (nightly) I am reminded my kid is leaving soon.  Some parents “Yee Haw,” but I am more of a “Boo-Hoo” mom.

I confess I am happy and sad.  I’m anxious for me but thrilled for him.  Sometimes I want to shake this kid and force him to seize these crazy opportunities and go to the Ivy League, even if its far away, and then I change my mind two seconds later. I’m up and I’m down emotionally depending on the day. I lie in bed at night and hear him downstairs studying and I silently weep, knowing this little boy who changed my life and made me a mommy is packing up his room soon–and I can’t possibly take down the adorable football fathead of him.  I can’t.  I just can’t!

How does this joy and sorrow live side by side?  Hey kid, thanks for getting a football scholarship and saving me money, but maybe I could pay to have you a little closer to home?  Just kidding.  Not.

How do mom’s do this?  Is there a support network?  I want to hold onto him forever but know he’s ready to go and would resent me if I tried.

AHHHH!!!  Letting go sucks!

When I take the time to pray about this and surrender to God I am reminded of a few simple things.  Here is the cry of my heart…

The Football Mama’s Prayer

Jesus, help me let go!  I know I am merely a steward of this amazingly athletically gifted child who is about ready to launch into adulthood. I thank you for every minute with him.  For the tantrums and blond curls, chubby cheeks and endless stinky football pads.  I trust that I raised him to the best of my ability and it’s time let him go with a smile and an “‘atta boy!” and let you take over.  The best school for my kid is the one that you lead him to–not me.  I pray for wisdom in his choice.

I pray that football will be an outlet and a joy–not a job or a chore–because it’s been his passion since he can remember. I pray he stays sound in both body and mind and that you protect his physically, emotionally and spiritually. I also pray he meets a nice girl who loves you (and oh by the way, who grew up on the West Coast).  I pray for his professors and peers and dorm mate, and that he is challenged to grow and push past his limits. I ask for courage and strength for my boy as he faces adversity and meets them head on. I surrender this young man to you Jesus and I thank you for football because this game changed both our lives.  Amen.

Any advice or prayers, either on recruiting or letting go of my kid is welcome! 

–Samantha

 

When did Naked go out of Style?

playboy-logo

A few months ago as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I noticed an article on the role of sexual power and male/female demographics.  Since Tim and I write on this stuff, I clicked.

Two seconds later I realized I had been redirected to the Playboy website.  With cheeks flaming red, I furtively glanced around, hoping no one at Starbucks noticed where I had landed and then inhaled the info at high-speed so I could exit the site incognito.  In truth, the article was a well-written piece but Playboy is not my usual stomping ground.

A few days later, my husband mentions to me that he accidentally clicked on a link off Facebook and it went to Playboy.  He fessed up early because he knows I get an e-mail once a week with his browsing history.

How awesome is my husband?

So why do I get this  e-mail, you ask? Am I one of those freaky paranoid wives hiding in the corners and spying on her man?

Uh…no.  Although that would make for a good story.

Tim asked me to be his online accountability partner a while back and I am notified once a week if there is any questionable activity.  My husband initiated this self-audit–not moi.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I never have anything to razz him about.

So when he mentions Playboy, I know I can mess with a little.

Husband: “Oh, uh, yeah…so there was this really cool article on Facebook and I clicked and I didn’t know it was on Playboy and…”

Me: “Yeah right, you just clicked on Playboy for the articles?”

Husband: “Yes, I mean, I know it sounds bad, but it was so innocent and I totally freaked out immediately.”

Me: Now dying laughing at his awkward attempts to explain this.  I poke a bit more and then fess up.

Me: “Hey babe, I read the same article.  I know you are telling the truth.”

And he breathes a big sigh of relief and then comes over to tickle me for busting his chops.

………..

When I saw the breaking news on Tuesday that Playboy will no longer post nude pictures it got my attention.  I guess it’s okay to read Playboy at work now.  Men for the first time ever CAN  truthfully claim they read it for the articles.

Playboy explained the drastic move away from their lusty roots citing that nudity is now “passe.” They will instead focus on writing and increasing their readership based on different parameters.  Because of the internet and easy access to porn, the “felt need” for nudity or what some would call “soft porn” has disappeared.  Apparently, twelve-year-old boys could care less about sneaking dad’s mag now since their iPhone is easier to take into the bathroom.

Wow.  It’s hard to believe nudity is so overdone now that iconic brands birthed on a provocative paradigm have transitioned to a less is more slant.  When Abercrombie and Playboy drop the sexy, it’s clear the titillation of a naked body is that of a bygone age.

Call me old school, but I want naked to mean something.

I want to get hot and bothered by my naked man.  (Just to be clear, I’m talking about my husband here folks)  I don’t want to live in the land of rampant sexual inundation where naked is the new norm.  Have we become “so numbed out by porn” that Playboy isn’t sexy anymore?

Am I the only one who wants to struggle a little bit at the mall as I walk by Abercrombie when the half-naked ripped young man  is at the front door.  I want to have the freedom to choose to avoid the men’s underwear aisle because I find toned abs attractive and every package sports a six pack.

I’m the girl who didn’t see Magic Mike, not because I’m not tempted, but because I choose to honor my husband.  But darn it I want the freedom to choose right from wrong.  I don’t want to just assume our culture is perverse and stop caring.

I want NAKED to mean something.

It allows me to FEEL something called temptation. It means I get to choose to stay or walk away from enticement.

I’m bummed that sex on Tinder is given out so freely that it’s lost its sacredness.

Way too many young people are now so jaded that sex is like flossing. “It’s just sex”, they say.

But it’s not just sex and it’s not just naked.

Naked is beautiful and sex is a gift.  Our good God created them.  They are not passe.

This may sound bizarre, because I’m not supporting naked men’s mags, but I grieve the fact that we are so far gone on porn that a gorgeous naked centerfold doesn’t cause teenage boys to go bat-poop crazy anymore.

I heard a Playboy rep say, “The twelve-year-old me is sad at this move.”

Well buddy, the 43-year-old me is sad too, because in our overly saturated sex culture, naked isn’t very naked anymore.

–Samantha

 

 

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