Life of Liz

Posts Tagged ‘God’

GRANDMA’s in the house

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Red Pill on December 15, 2012 at 6:57 am

For the last 3-4 months I’ve experienced a whirlwind of emotions surrounding Grandma’s move into our home, but God has been ever faithful and today I find myself in a very good place.  Let me explain

I’ve always been especially close to my Grandma –where as my mom and her (sometimes my mom and I) are not, which is why it had always been assumed that when ‘that day came’ Grandma would come to live with me.  It wasn’t until her move became more and more eminent that I began to examine parts of my heart that were/are pretty selfish.  I spent considerable time analyzing how this would affect ME.  How MY space would be disrupted and MY routines challenged.  A seed of bitterness tried to take root and crowd an already overburdened relationship with my mom.  The same thoughts rolled through my head daily to the tune of “I have 7 kids; how can I also be expected to provide care for my 90 year old Grandma” … I was surprised when those thoughts led to “your mom must really not care about you if she is willing to let you take on the responsibility of Grandma in addition to your 7 kids”.  The emotions that I have spent so long hiding were once again shouting loud and confirming my fears – “I am not really loved”, “I am a fraud”, or the crushing blow “you’ll fail”.  When Henry forced me to challenge the fears I reverted back to self protection mode and tried to shut him out.  But this time, my red pill husband didn’t back down to me and firmly established his leadership.

Henry: “Liz, meet me upstairs”

Liz: “No.  I don’t want to do this anymore, this isn’t fun anymore and I don’t want to play”

Henry: “I am not playing; meet me upstairs or think seriously if this is a line you want to draw with me”

Hmm, what to do?  He sounds serious and his body language indicates he is not kidding.  If I challenge him, what will he do? This was a big step for US because Henry was not only maintaining his position, but he was causing me to re-think my next step and for a woman that has acted without thinking many times, having to stop and realize the consequences of my next step is a big turning point.  How I proceeded, what step I took next was directly related to what Henry might do or what Henry wanted.  Does that make sense?  It wasn’t that I just wanted to submit – trust me I did NOT.  But somehow HE had established himself as the leader and his intent came through loud and clear “think twice before F*cking with me” Wow.  Really??  So, what to do??

Liz:  “You know what, fine!  I will go upstairs, whatever” (my motto has always been “in for a penny, in for a pound”

Henry:  Good girl (*ugh*, what the H*ll is going on!!)

Henry let me sit upstairs just long enough to break through my pride and prepare for what would surely follow.  I am not going to go into detail about what transpired.  I cried and lashed out; but not at Henry.  No, I had not realized it, but all the hurt and pain inflicted at the hands of my moms’ selfishness that I’ve spent years trying to rationalize away came flooding out.  Right there, right then – over my husbands lap is when I could finally let go of the hurt, pain and unforgiveness inside my heart.  I let Henry inside the secret lock down chamber of my inner most insecurities.  And while we typically do not tangle 2 events together, the night ended in a blur as Henry reinforced his ownership of my body (many times over).

God is so good and Henry is so in tune with what makes me tick that neither of them let me celebrate my own personal pity party for too long.  The service at church last Sunday was about humility.

hu·mil·i·ty /hjuˈmɪləti/ noun

[noncount] : the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people : the quality or state of being humble

Here I was worrying about ME and MY routines when my 90 year old Grandma was leaving all she had ever know to move 3000 miles away and live with a controlling women and her 7 crazy kids.  Talk about a reality check!  Oprah would call this an AhHa moment!!  No longer was it about ME – once I started seeing the upcoming events though her eyes I was able to realize the debts of my own selfishness.

And then the final blow came when I heard, in a quiet, content voice “you love Grandma; she is 90.  I am giving you this GIFT of time with her in your home so please receive it as such” … WOW!  Grandma in my house a gift?

Today, my Grandma is asleep in her room, Henry is the love of my life and my 7 kids are cranky, loud and hyper with Xmas anticipation – And I am finally at a place of humble acceptance to the gifts which God has bestowed upon me.  Not an easy journey – but a very necessary trip none the less!!  Happy days my friends~ ~Liz

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28 days …

In Out of the Comfort Zone, The Countdown begins on November 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

Grandma will move into our house in 28 days and I am feeling increasingly overwhelmed, when I ran across this little gentle reminder… and then heard my 6 year old happily singing a song from vacation bible school this past summer “You Can Trust God”… now it is stuck in my head too!  I plan to refer to both of the above links often.

That said …  At the moment our house is 100% disorganized and I am having a very difficult time prioritizing.  It doesn’t help that Henry has worked until the wee hours of the morning all week, after working all weekend and is looking at working the upcoming weekend as well.  And by ‘weekend’ I mean 9 in the morning until the 2-3 am.  Blah!  There are things that can only be done by him—so part of the reason I can’t get my list going is because I can’t do several of the big open items.  It also doesn’t help that our school district has picked this week to call ‘conference’ week which is really just an excuse to torture parents with ‘minimum’ day schedules.  Oh yes, they still arrive at school by 8:15 – but then the kinder is out at 11:35 and the 1st grader out at 12:31 … but the middle schoolers stay on regular schedule, which means another trip to the same area at 3:06!  It is hard to get in a groove of cleaning and organizing stuff when you are constantly jumping back into the car … ya know?

Back to my mini breakdown rant!  Henry’s mom is flying in from out of state on Tuesday.  She recently had surgery (she has stage 3 breast cancer) and the post op didn’t go so well … she has a ‘wound vac’ that drains to a bag that hangs around her neck.  Hmm, not sure what that requires from me … Our oldest daughter Elizabeth also flies home on Tuesday – same airport but 6 hours later so you know what that means?  Yep, 2 trips @ 2 hours each round trip!  Yippee!  Basketball daughter (Gracie) can’t come home for Thanksgiving but we are going to see her the day after – b/c it seems like a good time to drive 6-7 hours in a single day.

But here I sit, typing and gazing out at the state of disorder of my home.  I’ve managed to move around the bedrooms to accommodate Grandma and also to move both college daughters into a shared room – but the moves are only ½ way completed so stuff is everywhere!

How’s Liz?  Well I can’t say I’ve been overly supportive or submissive to Henry the last 7 days and while I feel internally guilty, especially when I know he has zero time to address my attitudes, I just can’t gather the internal fortitude it’ll take to ‘right my ship’.  In some ways I think I am self sabotaging in a couple different ways.  First by acting petulant I can create distance between H and myself which makes me ‘think’ I am doing it alone and I am free to become the controlling monster of yesteryear.  Second, I may be passive aggressively approaching the upcoming move-in by not effectively getting things done.  For instance, last night I sat on the couch flipping channels until after midnight, thinking several times that this may be the last time I am alone in my family room – so by not tackling the areas in the house that need focused attention I am left feeling frazzled and defeated.  So to sum up:  I have purposely created distance with my man (not that hard since he’s been home about 12 hrs out of the last 36!) and I am drowning in a sea of cr*p created by my need to make everything perfect for my Grandma’s move while at the same time secretly wishing she wasn’t moving into our house.  There!  I said it “secretly wishing she wasn’t moving into our house”. 

(Re-reading the above paragraphs makes my outlook sound pretty bleak.  Sorry!  I’ve actually had some good conversations with Grandma – which were truly needed b/c they went a long way towards reminding me that I enjoy Grandma’s personality and also how hard this must be for her.)

It just seems like too much is all me, with ZERO assistance or backup available to lend a hand.  In addition to what I’ve already painstakingly narrated above, I am also expected to figure out how to set up Grandma’s medical insurance in our state (which means leaning how Medicare and supplemental insurance works!).  I need to figure out how to add her to our car insurance (she will drive our Prius).  Henry wants her added to our cell phone plan – so need to do that too. And Elizabeth’s birthday is 2 days before Grandma moves in … gotta plan something there too.  OK, last thing because you guys are probably sick of my whining by this point but Xmas for 7 kids just doesn’t ‘happen’ so put that on the list too.

I do have a returning thought of “do I create these unbelievably tough scenarios because I am the only one that can do AB or C” or “is my control freak persona taking over?”  It would be easy to say “do what you can, the rest will figure itself out” but that is just not realistic.  My mom (Grandma’s daughter) is no help whatsoever.  None.  Once again I am the adult in our relationship.  Sometimes I think maybe the reason I am a control freak is b/c of a lack of ability and/or effort made by those that should be taking up some slack.  I mean, if my mom said “Liz, I’ll figure out the cell phone plan or the insurance(s)” I would say “Great!” – I have no need to make that one perfect!  I do need the house to be clean, organized and decorated for Thanksgiving.  I do need to plan a family celebration for Elizabeth’s birthday.  I do need to create Xmas for 7 kids.  And you know what else I needI need a firm hand to rebuke the low lying insubordination that I am dishing out towards Henry and I need help in righting this ship.  That’s the first time I’ve admitted my need for a spanking.  Just to not be the one in control for a brief amount of time; to not be the point person; to not be responsible for fulfilling the dreams, desires and expectations of a host of many.

I am not yet at the point of comfortably communicating my needs to Henry if for no other reason than I am loathe to put one more demand on his time.  He is very likely hanging on by a thin thread; functioning on 6 hours a sleep for 5 nights in a row and dealing with an internally aggravated, secretly passive aggressive pouty wife and a career driven, micromanaging feMALE boss who motivates with a ‘my way or the highway’ approach.  OK, I’ve used up the time between 1stgrade pick up and middle school pick up (successfully accomplishing very little) so I will close with this pic, which very appropriately sums up my thoughts ….

Sorry for the harsh language — sometimes it’s the quickest way to cut to the punch!

submission…an answer to prayer?

In In the Beginning on October 30, 2012 at 5:52 am

Marriage is such a complex journey.  Lately I’ve been really clued into the ways Henry and I are able to communicate in ways we haven’t in 20(?) years.  Sometimes I feel like I am getting to know him for the first time and I am confused by the image that shows clearer each day.  I keep thinking “how could this wise, patient and kind man have been hidden from me for so long?” A year ago things were so very different.   I most often felt on my own.  The outside image of our family was still shiny, but the inside was crumbling fast. 

After a particularly long weekend of arguing, distancing and verbal assaults I remember lying in bed and crying.  I was just miserable really.  I was so unhappy for so many reasons however a singular strand ran thru all of my misery – what Henry was NOT doing to meet my needs.  Things had been unwinding for a long time; we had stopped communicating and he was usually distant and protecting himself from my verbal assaults.  85% of our weekends included arguing, harsh accusations, distancing and then brushing it under the rug so we could start the hamster wheel of Monday.   Our sex life was perfunctory, at best.  Our older daughters were modeling my behavior and treating H disrespectfully and a dynamic of ‘us vs him’ started playing out in our house.

So this particularly long weekend I had retreated upstairs to our bedroom and as I laid there and played back the past 20 years; and I fast forwarded through the next 14 (to get all the kids out of high school) I was resigned to this existence so my questioning soon turned to acceptance of “this was just how my life was meant to turnout”.

I began to violently sob.  At one point my cries resembled a panic stricken and/or belligerent 2 year old and that is when I offered up a very deliberate prayer of “help me” with no real regard for what I was even asking.  I can only say now, God heard that prayer.  I however, didn’t think about that prayer until recently when I began to compare/contrast where we were and where we are headed.  But God is so faithful and accommodating.

I am going to jump forward to this weekend.  I mentioned in an earlier post that our freshman daughter (Gracie) is struggling a bit.  She’s a college athlete on a full scholarship (so her sport is now a fulltime job with deadlines, expectations and criticisms).  Our Gracie is in the midst of a boot camp-like experience with her team.  No warm fuzzies, no hand holding.  Our precious one is pretty beat down and she’s cracking a little.  So when she said she could come home for 24 hours, H made the 3 hour trip there to pick her up and together we drove her back last night.  Initially I wasn’t going to make the drive to take her back to school.  6-7 hours in the car means leaving the rest of the kids under the guidance of our 17 year old and is a valid reason to let Henry do it alone.  But Henry gently said “if you ride along we can talk on the ride home” ~ so that is what we did.  And I am so glad I rode along.  Our baby cried when we reached her school ~ think kindergarten drop off cry.  She didn’t cling to my leg, but she very well could have.  I cried too b/c it doesn’t matter if they are 8 months, 8 years or 18 years old she is still my baby.  Rationally I know our Gracie is going to be ok – much like we all knew our kids would be ok at kindergarten drop off, but emotionally I was a mess.

On the drive home we talked for over 3 hours about ‘us’.  We talked about what was working and what wasn’t.  I took the advice of several commenters’ last week and asked Henry how his over scheduled life was making him feel and when he opened up, I listened!  I was able to tell him my stresses about Grandma’s move and how I can effectively use smoke and mirrors to keep him in the dark about how much turmoil I am feeling inside and while I shared, he listened!

On the car ride home I was able to catch a glimpse of myself on the bed last year ~ the hopelessness and dread of that night have been completely replaced.  I will leave for another post the multiple ways my submission has revitalized our marriage ~ but for today I will simply say tonight’s conversation in the car and the subsequent tenderness in the bedroom would NEVER have happened if not for the inclusion of ttwd into our marriage. ~Liz

Eureka! Stepping outside of my ~~Comfort Zone~~

In Out of the Comfort Zone on October 24, 2012 at 6:39 am

I am the pilot of a ship; it is foggy and I’ve slowed down to check our location.While the ship is slowed, the rest of the ships are sailing along fine; they are comfortable with the directions and easily managing the trip.  My ship isn’t sure why I am still slowed to a standstill now.  Maybe the other ships are newer or more technologically advanced than mine.

My captain notices the stoppage and after checking the engine and confirming the route is on track he approaches me to ask why we are not moving.  I have no answer.  I am frozen.  He asks if I am questioning if the map is wrong.  He inquires if I am fearful of the water.  I respond “No” to both questions.  I try to convince him to go back to his other responsibilities, but he won’t leave.  And then it becomes clear to me.  It must be the dense fog that has engulfed our ship.  I need to know before I start up again what the unchartered waters will have in store.   I want the sun to rise and chase away the fog.

My captain reassures me it is safe to proceed forward; but he can’t force me to pilot the ship…so dear friends, my ship is just sitting in the water.

And this is how I am feeling most days in regards to my Grandma’s impending move into our house.  Henry and I are doing well.  I am feeling more settled in ‘us’.  But I can’t get in front of my stress.  It must be the amount of mental energy that is being consumed by Grandma’s move.  I am not really acting like myself and I just can’t seem to get back on track.  Emails are going unanswered.  Dinners are started, but not served.  Laundry is sorted but not washed.  But, I am doing ‘just enough’ that no one is really seeing how off I am.  Henry is not a micromanager.  He believes in a high degree of personal accountability and patiently can let others figure things out on their own timeframe.  Our only rules are the 3 D’s and no wine during the week.  I’ve never been exposed to having H manage our home.  I don’t know how I would react to his involvement.  It could push me further down the rabbit hole, which is away from him and away from the desired destination.  Or would it help me take the focus off of the FOG and just begin the task at hand?  It’s a 50/50 gamble.

Henry asked me to write down my biggest hurdles.  Here is what I came up with and I’d appreciate any feedback on knocking them down.  First, I am an introvert.  I recharge my internal battery through reflection and alone time. Most of our kids are similar and don’t question ‘alone time’.  Grandma is an extravert.  Also, our daily life is unstructured and flexible.  I am constantly reacting to my kids and H’s changing schedules and adjusting mine accordingly to make sure everything gets done.  Grandma is very structured.  Our meals are flexible since the kids have practices, school activities and H has no set quitting time.  During the week dinner is usually something I prepared during the day that can be served individually.  Or if you don’t like what I made I am ok with you making something different for yourself.  I guess my kids and H are just not very picky b/c we can have the same 6-7 meals every week and everyone is happy.  This is not how Grandma operates.  Dinner is at 5.  It is a meat/starch/veggie/bread and has a nice variety.   Oh, and Grandma likes to watch a lot of TV.  Her soaps start at 11 and followed bysome talk shows of the Dr. Phil variety and finished up with a couple game shows … that will get you to about 5pm when Lifetime starts their movie programming.  She will have a TV in her room, but I can’t expect, nor would I want her to be in her room all day.  However, I never turn the TV on during the day.  It comes on for an hr or so when the kids get out of school and then off until primetime shows begin.

As I re-read what I’ve typed I realize that everything is about my *comfort zone* getting out of whack.  Yep, right back to my control issues.  At times the stretching and pulling of ttwd and now of Grandma’s move is just too much.  I think that is why my ship is stalled.

So I am not afraid of the FOG.  No, it is the lack of comfort in the FOG that is shutting me down.

Why am I being stretching and pulled and moved outside of my comfort zone?  How am I going to respond? When we are uncomfortable, do we have the will to push us through?  This is where my fear is prevalent.  It is not the FOG!  It is the loud voice in my head that chants “you can’t do this… you are weak…you are a fraud…grandma in your house will expose who you really are”.  Is God trying to rid me of the hold those thoughts have over my life?  Henry also has a role in shaking my comfortable world.  For starters for the first time in my adult life I am accountable for my actions and my words.  Henry and I are having daily conversations about how I am doing = more discomfort.

So back to the ship – if I can go and put on a jacket and realize the FOG is not that cold, maybe we can get this ship moving forward again … and funny enough, my captain is already headed to the coat closet ~Liz

Sunday = Funday

In Skipping Church on October 22, 2012 at 6:38 am

 We decided to break from our normal Sunday routine this morning – no rushing to get ready for church and no rushing to a restaurant for lunch after!  Nope.  We slept in (well I slept until 8 anyhow – which is better than 6:30!) and then read the paper.  H turned on football (west coast means football programming starts at 9am!) and I started my grocery list.  I am thinking of roasted chicken with all the appropriate accompaniments followed by an apple pie prepared with the 6 year olds help.  Shopping with a list today means I’ll have school lunch food for the week and can pre-plan some dinners.  It also means my stress could be significantly lower as I start the week.  How do I feel about skipping church?  I feel mixed, really because for us church isn’t an obligation.  No, it is something that as a family we all really enjoy.  I am going to miss the live message too – but knowing H and I can catch it later on FB is a little consolation.  So why did we skip?  I think we both realized that we needed a break from the routines and even though Sunday church is enjoyable, it still requires getting the 5 kids that live at home out the door, looking presentable and with food in their tummies before 9 am.   And H is just not a part of the process but has occasionally been the recipient of The Shrew when things don’t unfold as easily as Liz thinks they should, lol. 

I think God is ok with our decision. In fact, I think God is pleasantly pleased (notice I didn’t say surprised, but comparing the former and current Liz side by side, He could be surprised!) at my desire to obediently ‘submit to your husband’.  The tenderness and affection that H and I show each other now compared to pre-dd is tangible.  Our 17 yr old daughter has made some really funny comments about the change in our marriage.  I say ‘funny’ because when I first began to defer to Henry, it was this daughter that was borderline offended by my newly submissive spirit.  Could it be because she could see down the line and realized she was a ‘shrew in training’ that would someday be following my submissive lead!?!  Anyhow, I know the younger kids appreciate the more peaceful household since the constant power struggle (=bickering) is 75% contained. 

Back to Sunday=Funday! 

When Henry came down this morning he gave me a playful command, which I quickly shied away from because, well just because! 

He didn’t push it and within 5 minutes I complied and apologized.  He laughed if off and then said …“Babe, it’s a lifestyle.  You feel submissive from the second you wake up until you fall asleep in my arms at night.  Understand?”… and he is right.  Maybe that is what I was trying to convey in my post yesterday (Round 6) – turning off my submissive spirit.  I am going to try and remember his quote.  It is where I want to be; I just have to keeping fighting Liz Bd(before dd)!   

Happy Sunday=Funday everyone.

~Liz

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