Thursday, March 29, 2012

Of Broken Bull Pens and the Pacifier Question.

There are times in life when you feel like you've bit off more than you can chew.
Or maybe a better way to say it would be
 that you feel like you can't chew all that your mouth has been served.
Do you know it?

You know, that feeling of taking a way-too-big bite of that
 home-made hamburger,
complete with lettuce, tomato, and pickles
strategically placed between a fresh burger bun
giving it the thickness of a shoebox.
Delivering that first bite,
you feel temporarily amazed that you were able to actually achieve
 that massive bite without the whole thing
collapsing under the magnitude of its own enormousness,

and then somebody you barely know
 asks you a question
and all eyes are turned on you.

You do the pointer-finger-up: would-you-please-wait-for-the-next-half-hour
And then, to your horror, the tomato slides out of the massive hamburger,
 perpetuating a messy situation.

 Sometimes, that feeling translates over into life.

The crazy thing is,
it's the little thing that makes the hamburger collapse.

Things you know full well don't really matter,
but all the same,
their magnitude in the situation seems to drown out all sensible thought.

What's bad is when it's someone you love that makes the 
horrendous heap of frustrations come crashing down.

And there you are,
a clump of mayo, mustard, ketchup,
and a severely disfigured pickle
dripping down the front of your shirt,

and then the tears start flying...

or the words.

I had told myself that I was going to write a thankful post
because I hadn't written one in so long
and because I just felt like I had so much to be thankful for:

too much.

And then the hamburger bun came out,
and the hamburger was created,
piece by piece.

It had actually started several days before,
but I pushed it aside.

It's funny how those ignored things seem to reappear and build
when the hamburger bun comes out:

dental expenses not covered by insurance,
rising gas prices,
a favorite recipe gone bad,
potty-training mishaps,
an unexpected interruption,
a low weight for a butchered cow,
a heavy weight for a pig nobody seems to want to buy,
more bills, less money,
a fight with the spouse about a misunderstanding,
a pen coloring on the recliner...


and then that afternoon the bulls broke through their pen.

and my Farmer had to work on fixing it late into the evening,
making him miss his daughter's first vocal special at church.

But all of that was buckled up and taken,
tucked under the arm and carried,
like a brave soldier who has successfully passed through a lengthy battlefield.

But when the question came up of Lillie still having a pacifier,
the one who has to deal with the whining, grumpy, motor-mouthed child
while trying to keep another five year old entertained 
and schooling a nine year old,
also making sure the continually more insane dog gets outside
and then let back inside every five minutes
 so he can pace some more before he wants to go out again,...

I felt the quality of my decisions as a mother were being questioned.

Dumb, I know,
but in that moment
with the several comments I had gotten from others about that very thing,
that is how I felt.

I lost it.

All the anger erupted like a volcano,

my words came out,
my husband received them,
and I slammed the dishwasher shut,
ignoring the distinct rattle of the unsuspecting dishes...

until I remembered that my favorite creamer
that I had used for my new blog header
was in that dish washer.

I peeked in,
seeing shattered pieces of dishware on the bottom of the washer
and my heart sank as I lifted my favorite creamer,
now in three pieces.

How could I let myself get so angry?
What was the use or the point?

My heart sank in utter disappointment.
This pitcher had been a favorite prize of a yard sale find.

Now I felt angry frustration at my own stupidity.

But what does it take?
What is the solution when the anger seems to burn?

Can I still sit down and try to tap out my thankful list,
even when I don't feel like it?

Can I dump the pacifier perturbance
and forget the break-out bulls?

I read a quote on facebook yesterday
and it smacked me hard:

"It's not happy people who are thankful,
It's thankful people who are happy."

Instead of focusing on the frustrations,
I need to fight feelings with gratitude,
immerse my irritations in indebtedness to the all-knowing God
who only gives me what I can bear
because He wants me to learn something from them.

And so I wipe the hamburger drippings from my shirt,
dab the napkin to my lips
and turn to face the many things I can give thanks for:

 61.  I am thankful for unexpected visitors that wander across our yard,
bringing excitement to the little people.

62. I am thankful for a line of birds enjoying the company of each other
on a damp, rainy day
(because an understanding companion through a hard day
makes the burden light).

63. I am thankful for new recipes to try
that turn out as good as they looked,

64. and old recipes that are a family favorite,
and turn out as good as they are supposed to.

65. I am thankful to live where we do
in the house we do
living the life that we do,

despite it's occasional difficulties.

66.  I am thankful for the Bible that never fails to give me the instruction
and the encouragement that I need.

67.  I am thankful for spring.

68.  I am thankful for little people conversation that make a moment full of glee:

Lillie: "Don't tease my Mommy, Daddy,"
Violet: "Mommy is teasing Daddy, Lillie.  It's not Daddy's fault."
Levi: "Lillie, she is my Mommy, too.  She is all of our Mommy."
Lillie: "No, she's my Mommy, Lebi."

69. I am thankful for the reality that even though our lives may be busy,
God is not too busy to spend the time blooming flowers.

70.  I am thankful for treasures long lost,
years later,

found while turning over the dirt in a flower bed.
Because God cares even about little disappointments;
and sometimes, He brings little joys just to remind of this;

just as He cares about lessons learned through broken bull pens,
shattered pitchers,
and the frustrations of daily life...

but if I can learn from them
He wants to turn them into
blooming flowers in the often weed-filled garden of my heart.

Linking up to a fun blogger who has great link-parties: Newbie-party-reunion Simple-lives-Thursday


  1. Hi there! What a great post and great thoughts and feelings you shared. It is so true, and we all have these feelings in life. You have lots to be grateful for. I would have been mad about the creamer, then that would have totally diverted me from what I was annoyed with in the first place LOL. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. Yes, I'm still recovering from the creamer. :S

  2. really sweet and well-said post. thanks for sharing...

    1. Thank you! Someday I'll get the hang of this stuff called "life." :)

  3. Very sweet post. I've learned to look the other way when things get tough. I put the smile back on and go about my day:)


    1. Very wise thought. I'll have to remember that next time I feel overwhelmed. Perhaps I'll find my smile in a better place, too. :)

  4. Love your gratitude list.
    I'm always amazed in God's interest in the little things of life. It was just a little thing that got you so hot under the collar, and then through it all He allowed you to see the little things... the flowers, the found earring, the "LITTLES" conversation. Things we might miss otherwise.

    Many blessings for your household today, Pat

    1. Thank you, Pat. Yes, I need to focus on the little blessings all around! :) Hope you have many blessings in your household today, too!

  5. What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day!

    1. Well, thank you!! What a nice thing to say!

  6. What a great list! Did your burden lighten as you wrote the list? I felt it lighten as a reader. Hope the bulls are staying where they're suppose to be! Enjoyed this!

    1. Thanks, Tammy. Yes, it is amazing what medicine Thanksgiving is! The bulls have been contained, although one of the young heifers ran through and got in with them...let's just say the farmer has had quite a time lately. Let's just hope he got her out in time! :)

  7. What an awesome post! I'm so happy that I stumbled upon you from Debbie's.

    Happy new linky follower C:

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know! Very sweet of you!

  8. And I am thankful for your many talents, as expressed on this blog!


  9. Hi Pat, I so enjoyed reading this well-written, thought provoking post. When I get down, I focus on what I have to be grateful for as well. Usually works for me, and I hope you're feeling better now. I'm following through Mr. Linky now.

    1. Thank you, Jane. Yes, it's just hard for me to remember that when the waters get hot...why is that? I'm afraid I'm not a quick learner!!

  10. I can relate to the question about the pacifier making you feel that "the quality of my decisions as a mother were being questioned". This happens to me all the time!! And your struggle (to which I can also relate) of writing down a thankful list and really having to choose to do it. It being hard, exemplifies to me that praise can be a sacrifice. Thanks for sharing an honest depiction of your journey and ending in thankfulness. Love it!!


I love your comments!