Tom Cruise Running

Friday was a rough day at our house.

Let me be clear: it wasn’t the kind of rough day we’ve had before. We’ve had the kind of days that shifted our very foundation before and this wasn’t it. It’s easier to maintain a certain perspective when you have had those kind of days where you weren’t sure if everyone was still going to be on this side of the dirt when the day was over.

This was your average rough day and it was all mine. Lately I haven’t been writing much of anything because that would mean I’d have to write true things. And my truth these days is that I’ve discovered that I don’t know how to rest

I have been running at such a hot operational tempo (being married to a military guy tends to rub off on a person’s vernacular) for so long now, my gears have gotten stuck in overdrive. I only know two speeds at which to plow through my life: fast and the even faster Tom Cruise run.(photo cred The 10- Minute Ramble)

I’m just going to be frank right here and say that this discovery about myself sucks. The meltdown of epic proportions at our house Friday was similar in scope to what you might see a tired, cranky, overwhelmed hangry three year old have in the middle of the Target aisle that’s suddenly populated with other parents whose children are actually behaving. And it was all mine as well. 

I was the one who was having worry-related stomach aches for the third day in a row. I was the one losing sleep and not stopping anywhere on my journey. I was the one who had the full plate and the fuller burden for all the people who are relying on me. And without pausing, without rest, I was running on empty.

My husband, Mr. Wonderful, is like a giant St. Bernard in these situations. He’s born to rescue people. Before he dove into the situation though, he prayed for us. For me. For all the crazy glue that was slowly coming undone in all those places I had so quickly run by the past few years.

As we talked I began to realize that because so many of our family’s burdens have been on my shoulders the last few years, I’ve gotten really bad at asking for help. And along the way I have forgotten how to slow down, how to really give myself permission to let things go for a little while and rest.

I used to be the Nap Queen. This was my actual nickname in college. My roommates were amazed at the chaos and crazy I could manage to sleep through and that I would just crash whenever I needed to.

Fast forward a few years (ok, obviously more than a few but don’t tell my kids-they think I’m 28. I’m rolling with it.)–

I. Can’t. Rest. 

I’m talking physically, but more importantly, mentally. I can’t stop Tom Cruise running through my mind or my To Do List. My caffeine consumption is enough to single-handedly keep Columbia in business. In fact, what we spend on caffeine is probably nearing the gross domestic product of several small countries.

I have managed my juggling act for quite some time. But then I dropped a ball. And another and another until now our floor is littered with them.

Friday felt like I was in the middle of one of those giant ball pits that are in kids’ play places. You know, the ones you thought were the best time ever as a kid but now that you think of it as a grownup it kind of makes you throw up just a little bit in your mouth?(photo cred weheartit.com)

Mr. Wonderful did something that allowed me to stop drowning in the ball pit of my own making. He wrote down each worry I have been juggling–including the ones on the floor. Then he told me just for the weekend, he was going to take them and work on whichever of them he could help with. And I was not to do anything about them. In fact, he took that notebook so I couldn’t even look at them.

The act of putting everything on paper and then physically giving them to someone else for awhile sounds really simple. But don’t mistake simple for easy. Many times this weekend I have wanted to look at that book, cross things off the list, take them all back and start worrying about them but since Mr. Wonderful is way to big for me to wrestle the notebook away from, I couldn’t.

I have rested and relaxed. I got sleep. I finally did with those worries what I should have done long ago–I gave them away to my Savior. Though Mr. Wonderful was my earthly guard over that notebook full of my anxieties and what ifs, Jesus was the one I really entrusted it all with. I know better, but sometimes it takes a Mr. Wonderful-sized reminder to actually do better before we give it away.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So if you see me Tom Cruise running, you have permission to tell me I need to slow down-

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2017. Click here for my new book, Mad Cow: A PTSD Love Story or connect with me on Instagram or Twitter.

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Vulnerable 

Exposed. Unguarded. Out on a limb.

Naked.

These words don’t conjur the most positive images. But I would pose to you that this is exactly where God does his best work.

(Youversion bible app)
When we are humbled enough to accept all he has to offer, when we let him break down our walls and stop pushing him away because of our self-imposed need to present a perfect self to him, that’s when he can use us.

In our brokenness, in our frailty, in our weakness.

This video is my brave Army guy’s testimony at our church. 

This video took courage. Mr. Wonderful is the guy I’ve been writing about for some time now. My sweet, strong army guy has suffered terribly for years from PTSD, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, even drug abuse.

But. God.

God saved us so he could use our pain for his purposes: to bring light and hope and saving grace and salvation to anyone who is still in that dark and broken place. We still have hard days but we will count them all as joy, becuse we have been snatched back from death’s door.

If you are having trouble with the darkness of mental illness, depression, PTSD, anxiety or anything else that has you feeling like you just can’t go on, please reach out. We will be your people if you don’t have any. I’m also leaving the national suicide hotline numbers in this post so you can reach out. 

YOU DO NOT FIGHT ALONE!

There is still a purpose for you, so please don’t give up. There is still a plan for your life. Even good and beauty can come from pain if you allow them to be used. Let my family stand before you as living proof-

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK

If you’re a veteran: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬

©Meredith Shafer 2017. Connect with us: Facebook (@meredithshaferauthor), Instagram (@mypinkchampagnelife), Twitter (@mypinkchamplife) and meredithshafer.com

Vacation Mode

Vacation Mode: noun. The inability to manage real life after you get back from vacation, aka, you’re surprised that no one is bringing you copious amounts of delicious food any longer and you’re shocked to be hit square in the face with things like alarm clocks and feeding kids and responsibilities.

(photo cred luvinthesun.com)

This is a real thing, friends. We’ve been back for a week now and I’m struggling to figure out where all these children are supposed to go now that school is out and how I’m supposed to do all of my jobs. Things are so out of whack at the Shafer Casa that I started typing this blog post in my car while waiting for Mr. Wonderful to emerge from the trombone repair shop (with three of the four munchkins having some sort of battle raging behind me) and I finished it a mere eighteen hours later.

What is happening?!

I can’t seem to get it together. For real, I am disorganized, disinterested and since I’ve been under the weather for 48 hours, just done. I’m about twenty minutes from a long soak in the tub followed by some binge-watching followed by absolutely nothing.

Has anyone seen my motivation? I must’ve left it around here somewhere….

Life continues to march on despite knowing full well I can’t get out of Vacation Mode. Little Sister lost her very first tooth today! This is always a big milestone since the Tooth Fairy is the second most discussed visitor right behind Santa. 

And Big Brother lined me up next to him again to see if he’s passed me in height yet. It’s like he wants to know the exact moment that it happens so he can put it on his calendar. Baby Houdini was in rare form with his sweetness on overload. Little Brother made us all laugh until milk came out of some of our noses. Mr. Wonderful took me to the gun range for a date day-these are what we call good times around here!

(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

So maybe for a little while longer I’ll just have one foot in Vacation Mode and one foot in Real Life. Maybe I won’t get to everything on time (or even at all) but my kids will be fed and happy and I’ll make time for more date days with Mr. W. And we’ll enjoy summer and laughing and fireflies and swimming and I guess all those responsible-type things will get done around it all.

This sounds like a plan, friends-

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!💗❤️💗

Schooooool’s Out. For. Summer!

Today is it. 

This is all she wrote, the last day, and by 3:40 this afternoon we’ll have another school year in the books. My kids are delirious and frankly, some of us were done with school weeks ago. Mostly me, but whatever.

(How picture taking really goes at our house. Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)
I’m vowing that this summer is going to be spectacular in its ordinariness. I’m not signing my kids up for origami or making your own goat cheese or finding the artist within. They won’t be learning to build robots or going to space camp.

Nah. We decided long ago that our kids were going to have to figure out their own fun, use their imaginations, go outside and stay there for awhile. There won’t be a lot of technology. The kids will continue to do their chores that help our household run and teach responsibility at the same time. Even the two year old has jobs here. He unloads the clean silverware from the dishwasher (after someone has removed the scary, injury-inducing knives, of course). 

Sometimes he is a go-getter and unloads silverware even before we’ve had a chance to run the dishwasher. I often find our silverware bunched in a pile in the drawer because he can’t see what he’s doing but that’s ok. He’s learning how to be part of our community.

We really only have two rules around here: work hard and be kind. Everything falls under those two rules and it keeps things simple in a fairly complicated house. With the Bigs going to their dad’s house every other week for summer visitation and the Littles just trying to figure out how to wear pants, sometimes it’s crazy up in here. Throw in at least three therapies or doctor’s appointments per week, various work obligations, my new baby speaking and writing career that I’m trying to get off the ground and it can get to be just too much.

So.

Work hard.

Be kind.

Simple rules that everyone can figure out.  What we will be doing this summer? Showing Jesus’ love to everyone we meet, spending copious amounts of time outdoors, running amok in the neighborhood, learning to ride bikes and be potty trained, figuring out how to build forts from blankets and eating sno cones and swimming til our fingers are wrinkly raisins. We’ll be going to church and serving our neighbors and redoing furniture. We will probably hang out with family a lot, take little road trips, make memories that involve juicy moments savored and retold, the memories enhanced and cemented with every telling.

(photo cred zsazsabellagio.blogspot.com)

We will be the Pinterest-fail family this summer. We will relax from the frenetic pace of the school year; unplug, rejoice, enjoy. We are going to have a summer fit for the early 1980s and I can’t wait-

(Photo cred smosh.com)

Blessings, friends!💗❤️💗

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

891

We went to the VA today.  

 (Photo cred beachbrights.blogspot.com)

That’s when we found out our doc moved. Across town.

Then the doctor said a cardio referral for Mr. Wonderful will take up to two months unless we run here and call there and double back, turn around, sit down.

All this to say I can’t stop worrying about Mr. Wonderful just yet. He keeps having the seizure-like episodes and then had some actual heart pains and the neuro guy said he needs to see a cardiologist immediately.

Which will be two months from now if we play within the system. Frustration and honestly, straight up fear washed over me. 

And then. 

 (photo cred allieseidel.com)

I remembered the grace God has offered me. For free. How my good Father has already provided the answer I seek, the resting place I crave. The timing we need. I recall the scandalous grace and the way He has already saved my family.

You see, I have had an extra 891 days with my husband because of God’s scandalous grace. I have had 891 extra days of smiles and hugs and good mornings and prayers and dinner times and memories since that day in 2013 when I found Mr. Wonderful in the kids’ treehouse writing goodbye notes. 

Every day since has been a gift.

Even the hard days.

Even the days where we fight or fuss or learn something new about PTSD or slug it out with the VA. Even when we have more month than money or more kids than time or more pantry than food.

Every day–all 891 of them–have been a blessing from my Father in heaven, a record of his unfailing, unrelenting, scandalous grace.

And I am grateful. 

 (photo cred the WoW Style)

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Finally!

I’m doing my happy dance friends! I finally got my manuscript for my second book, Mad Cow: A PTSD Love Story, to the publisher!! I feel so free…and then I remember I still have four kids and I’m supposed to be working on my third book lol😊

I still love this life though, y’all. I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do all along and even though it’s hard and there are many weeks I get run over by my Traveling Circus, I’m so grateful to be in this place.

I have had a busy and awesome week. Date night with my handsome Mr. Wonderful- 

 (Photo cred random stranger who used my phone to take our pic at dinner!)

We took our Bigs to the #TobyMac concert–it was the best show! Capital Kings, Hollyn, Building 429, and more great bands were there. We partied like rock stars! 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

I also got to go to our first ever Writer’s Club lunch–I’m so blessed to have these ladies to hold me accountable! 

 (photo cred another random stranger who generously agreed to take our pic)

Mr. Wonderful continued being wonderful 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016💗)

And finally, I capped off the weekend by speaking at a ladies retreat. I was so blessed to be with the beautiful ladies of Lost Creek! Thank you to all of my new friends for opening your doors and hearts to me!!! 

 (photo cred Diann Rudd)  (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016-don’t ask, what happens at the retreat stays at the retreat!)

I am enjoying a bit of quiet after church while everyone is either playing outside on this gorgeous day or napping. Hope y’all have a blessed, well-spent Sunday as well!💗❤️💗

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Doing Something for Myself

I think I’m probably not alone when I say I often let myself fall to the bottom of my To Do List. Mamas and parents in general often do this because we have so many other things that must get done and so many fires to put out that we can’t handle one more thing.

Even taking care of ourselves.

So today I’m doing some good things for me. I’m currently getting my hair done and there’s just nothing better than that to make me feel good about life. 

 (photo cred Stylecaster)

I’m also going to get more coffee. And paint my nails. And in between editing my book and playing with my babies this weekend, I’m going to tidy my office and find some furniture to paint. All of these activities will make me feel happiness in my heart and give me some breathing space. 

 (photo cred ze.nl)

I’m going to have a Ta Da List instead of a To Do List this weekend. I’m going to rest and replenish so I can continue caregiving for my Traveling Circus in all our fast-paced crazy glory.  

 (Photo cred thecolorrun.com)

Do you need to put yourself back on your list? What can you do to give yourself a break today?

Do it. You’ll feel better for taking good care of yourself–

💗💗💗

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Lazy Dayz

I’m enjoying a Saturday with coffee and nowhere to be. I’m loving the roaring fire and the fact that I’m still in my jammies. I am not even going to glance at my To Do list. 

 (Photo cred livelifehappy.com)

We get so busy hurrying and scurrying that we barely make a space in our lives to take a breath sometimes. That kind of pace can’t be sustained, at least not by the likes of me.

I hear my kids jumping around upstairs, I should probably check on the baby as I’ve lost my visual and he’s the kid who does this: 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016.)

Now you see why I have trouble getting anywhere on time and why I buy only washable marker. 

How cute is he even when he’s a mess???

Enjoying some breathing time today, how about you? How can you un-busy your world to enjoy what’s happening right this minute?

Have a blessed Saturday friends!

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Work in Progress

Today has been about as crazy as yesterday. But.

I’m finding joy despite the gum. In. Hair. 

(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Look how sad the little nugget is😢


And the mountains of homework that second graders seem to have regarding quadrilaterals and polygons…pretty sure I didn’t know what those were until middle school. We find the silver linings where we can. The eight year old who struggles with so much brought home an amazing book report–we are celebrating the crap out of that!
(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

  The twelve year old handled a situation that happened on the bus and he did it with wisdom well beyond his years. Apparently an older kid on the bus was making racist remarks about the twelve year old, who is originally from South Korea. I’m proud of him for trying to ignore it at first, addressing the kid on the bus, then addressing school officials when it wouldn’t stop. He handled it better than his mama would have; I’m afraid I err on the side of hot-headed mama bear when it comes to my kids.

We also had a minor accident even as I typed this blog post requiring copious amounts of paper towels to sop up the blood. After a lotttttttt of screaming and crying and hollering I was able to determine that though there was a lot of blood, this was not indeed an emergency. The eight year old had been swinging the four year old around and when she landed with a cross necklace in her mouth (whaaaa?!?) it cut her gums. No emergency here.

During the screaming and hollering I was fully preparing myself to go to the ER. That’s kind of our thing around here.

Thankfully, instead  of going to the ER, I’m getting ready to put the baby to bed, soak in a hot bath, and binge-watch anything on Netflix.

Tomorrow’s another shot at getting it all right. Or at least better.

Goodnight y’all!

Slow Down

It’s crunch time–for gifts, Christmas parties, work events, relatives stopping in, cooking, cleaning, end-of-year reports. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can overcome and overwhelm if we’re not careful.

Take a minute today:

For yourself.

For a loved one.

For a spouse or friend or child. 

Remember what’s important right now–not whether your house is magazine spread ready or all the lights on the tree work or if the Elf forgot to move again or of all of your shopping is done. 

Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. Celebrate.

Does anything else really matter? Blessings friends, I pray you find rest, peace and hope along your way today! 

 (photo cred Money Saving Mom)

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