Monday, September 17, 2012

Epic Failures

This very well may be the post that gets my blog kicked off nice websites.

That's your warning. 

After my last post, which I know was not very encouraging, but very true, I intended this week to post some pictures of our first couple weeks home from Ethiopia.  I intended to show the boys' "firsts", and I will.  But not in this post.  I intended to give you some insight into all the blessings God has bestowed on our family in the past 2 1/2 weeks.  But not in this post.

I have received many comments and messages to lift my spirits lately.  I love them.  Please keep them coming.  But sometimes I also start to think that people look at our family and expect us to fit a "perfect family" mold because we stepped out in faith.  Would you like to know all the men and women in the Bible who stepped out in faith?  There are sooooo many.  Guess what?  If you looked at their lives, they wouldn't fit a great mold either.  But they loved the Lord and were Followers, not Fans.  (If you haven't read the book, Not A Fan, go purchase it right now on your Kindle and read it.)

I told my husband tonight that I feel like a complete failure.  Lest anyone think that I am some hyped up fake super-woman/ Martha Stuart figure, let me share with you some of the ways I have failed in the past week alone.  Yes, these all occurred in the past 7 days.

1) My children were fighting over who gets to sit in the front seat of my Suburban.  My oldest child informed me that in all the "normal" families she has ever met, the oldest always gets to sit in front all the time.  I shook my head as my second daughter quickly exclaimed, "Ha!  We are not a normal family!"  She was right.  Parenting Fail #1

2) Alan was going out of town for 3 nights.  As he was searching for me to tell me goodbye, he finally found me in the schoolroom alone with the door shut.  He said, "There you are!  What are you doing in here?"  I replied, "Hiding."  He asked, "From Who?"  I very not-so-lovingly replied, "From the children."  Parenting Fail #2

3)  When Alan arrived back in town, instead of greeting him with a kiss and smile and telling him how much I missed him (which was true), I not-so-politely informed him that this year I am keeping score on the nights spent out of town during hunting season, and I fully expect to receive equal opportunity of nights without children.  (I actually do not want to do that, but that's what came out of my mouth.)  Wife Fail #1 (okay, technically you could classify that as Parenting Fail #3 as well.)

4)  Alan and I teach the high school Sunday School class.  Well, maybe until the parents of the EPC high schoolers read this, that is.  We love the kids.  We really do.  We were excited to start class again once returned from Africa.  BUT this week I taught without him.  And I was overly tired.  At one point during the class, a student that has a slight sarcasm bone in his/her body said something witty.  Okay, it was really sarcastic.  Instead of sweetly giving that person an answer, I put up my hand did the "What-ever" sign.  Ya' know, the one where you make a "W" and then turn it sideways on your forehead and make an "E".  (If you don't know what I'm referring to, skip this.)  The student informed me that I left off the rest of the sign, the part that says, "Major Loser", where you continue with your fingers, making an "M", then an "L" on your forehead.  I told this student that portion of the gesture was always to be implied in his/her case.  I have a feeling I shouldn't have said that.  What-Ever..... I know I shouldn't have said that.  Teaching Fail #1

5)  I tried starting our homeschool back up with two added students.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  There was a lot of yelling that day.  Crying, too.  Maybe stomping.  By the kids?  Yes, but I may or may not have rivaled them in my antics.  I'll leave it at that.  Teaching Fail #2 and Parenting Fail #4

6) I forgot.  Everything.  Well, maybe not everything, but lots and lots of details.  Like forgetting to return phone calls, return messages, pay bills, mail things, pick up things, go to the bank, etc.  One time someone asked me my name this week and I actually had to stop and think because I couldn't remember.  What's that stuff that's supposed to improve memory?  Ginkgo Biloba?  I need some of that.  I think.  Maybe.  I can't remember.  Life in General Failures #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.  (I'm limiting it to one per day.)

7)  A friend stopped by the house.  One of her children walked in and exclaimed, "Wow!  This house is really messy!  It's way messier than ours."  Wife fail #2, Housekeeping Fail #1, and Martha Stuart Fail #287 (I made that one up.)

8)  While cooking homemade spaghetti for the first time since May (Yum!), I set my youngest son who can't see the T.V. in my bedroom with his 2 brothers to watch a short video so I could make the sauce (yes, I know he does not watch videos at all, but I ignored that fact and did it anyway).  He came into the kitchen a few minutes later with a bald streak across his head.  He had gone into my bathroom, found Alan's clippers, turned them on, and shaved part of his head.  All of my children have cut their own hair at some point in time, so I was not hugely upset at this act.  The bad part was that I let him go to school with his head like that, to a friend's house with his head like that, and church with his head like that.  I waited until Alan returned home and asked him to shave Paulos' head.  Parenting Fail #5

9) Here's a good one.  After a pastor search committee meeting (yes, you read that right), I felt the need to drive home slowly.  I drove through a fast food restaurant and ordered a small fry and a coke and savored every morsel and moment eating carbs in peace.  I sang loudly with the radio in between bites.  Though I did sing hymns at the end of my ride home (I love to sing in the car when I'm by myself, and I promise I really did sing hymns and praise- but first.....), the song that was playing while I ate junk food was called, "I Like Girls Who Drink Beer".  Oh yes, it was.  You read that right, too.  Not to incriminate myself, but I may or may not have enjoyed it. Life in General Fail #8 and Keeping My Body Healthy Fail #1, and Keeping the Correct Focus with My Heart Fail #1

Oh my, I could keep going like the Energizer Bunny.  I know I'm digging my hole deeper and deeper. 

But we're keepin' it real, people. 

I assure you, sunshine-flower-and-happiness posts are coming soon.  But until then................

............please share with me: What are some ways you failed this week?  It would be nice to know I am not alone.


  1. Bless. The singing with fries and Coke is hilarious. And the shaved head. I hope that you are able to laugh at some of this soon, very soon. I am so proud of you for blogging it, so that you can remember to laugh at it later. :)
    For the record, you should delete the messy house part. That doesn't even qualify as a 'mediocre', much less a 'failure'.
    Well, I got back to TX from FL on Friday night, and I was SICK! All weekend, I was feeling cruddy. Today, I was feeling a little better, but I haven't left this apartment. Girls pretty much schooled themselves, and Mark and Meghan went to the gym while I sat right here. Awesome.
    And, if I had my 'druthers', Spouse would take a little trip down to the Sonic and get me a milkshake!
    I'll think of some more.
    LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. you.

    1. Thank you for sharing! Is it sad that I like to hear sometimes about others problems? I am truly sorry you were sick and so glad you're feeling better. Your family is amazing. A Sonic milkshake sounds really yummy right now. Hmmm.... maybe after the next Pastor Search Committee Meeting....

    2. Yes, after 8p they are half-price. Just sayin.

  2. This could get wordy...
    Thrus. my nieces and nephew came by for a few hrs. The kids DESTROYED the playroom, like they always do. Somehow a little baseball beanbag got torn open and allll the tiny, whatever they are's inside of it got sprinkled throughout this room on the dark blue, shag style circa 1984 carpet. After all children had been bathed, and bedded I didn't have it in me to clean it up#1. I without brushing my teeth#2, or washing my face #3 went to bed. Matt's car isn't running @ the moment so if I want/need to a vehicle during the day the kids and I have to get up and take him to work by 7:15. We did this. I may or may not have done this in my pj's. We came back home. I fixed breakfast, we ate, I cleaned up the kitchen. I had forgotten about the messy playroom.#4 I HAD to lay down. Thank goodness someone stopped by to drop something off and woke me up. This was @ about 10:00 and we were all still in pj's, my house was a wreck#5. Not sure how bad my breath actually was that was being aimed directly at her, but the wafts of morning breath, under coffee breath were horrible!#6 (she loves me anyway) Mara advises me that Shane has a problem with his ear... after being informed that my son has taken a very small, hard, plastic object (from the baseball beanbag)and shoved it far enough in his ear that it wont come out, I frantically try to reach my husband. After many unanswered cell phone calls, I called the front office of the school in which he was teaching this day. After I hysterically rant for about 3 mins to the sweet girl on the other end (who turns out, is the younger sister of a dear friend) about why I so desprately need to talk to Matt, she connected me to the phone in his room.
    Me:"Matt, I am so sorry, but you are gonna have to leave work and come home."
    Matt: "what is going on?"
    Me: "Your son has something stuck in his ear, so far that I can't get it out."
    Matt: "Did you try, can you see it?"
    Me "Yes. Of course I tried!, I can see it, I just can get out."
    Matt:" Well, if you are sure then just call the Dr's office and take him."
    Me: "I would Love to just take him, but you have the only vehicle that we can drive right now."
    Matt: "ummm... Babe, you brought me to work this morning."
    Me: "-------, ok. I will let you know when we get it all worked out. Sorry I bothered you. Love you! Have a Great rest of your day."
    After meeting up with my sister in law to borrow some really long tweezers she was in possesion of... I attempted yet again to get it out myself. I did it!! Yay! Thank you Lord! Shane kept complaining for about 3 more hours. We picked Matt up from work. I talked him into buying one of the tools the Dr uses to look into your ear. We got home and I looked into his ear with said tool and after searching for about 5 mins I found the problem. He had another one stuck even further down in his ear. Now it is 5 o'clock. I pleaded with Matt to be the one to take him to Urgent care. He did. They flushed it out and all was set right with the world, but with No thanks to me! I lost count of how many failures that was on that one day, but I promise you there were more than you care for me to tell you!! You are NOT a failure!! You are a Beautiful, Amazing, Godly woman and I greatly admire you!!!

    1. Rachel,
      I always LOVE your stories! Thank you for sharing that, it made me laugh. I totally would have forgotten that I had the car. Yesterday I wandered all around the house, about to make us late, looking for my purse. I kept exclaiming, "Where is it? KIDS-- WHO HAS MY PURSE?"- just knowing one of them had taken it. Easton finally looked at me and said, "Mom, it's on your shoulder." Oh. Oops. I could add that one to my list. Love you. Your family is a blessing to ours. :)

  3. DJ went to the dr. to get stitches taken out of his hand. I'm so exhausted from work and dealing with the girls, I forgot to ask to see his hand. Wife failure #1
    We are not the best at picking up the house on a regular basis so dropping in is not safe around here. Wife/mom failure #2
    Saturday I have finally had enough with the messy house that the girls and I cleaned the house but with many episodes of yelling and me losing my patience. Mom failure #1-1,000(yes, it probably happened that many times in 1 day)
    I am always hiding or not answering to mom because I feel they ALWAYS need/want me. Mom failures #??? I lost count!!
    Dawn, you are not alone. We all make mistakes and (I think) our kids will be ok when they grow up (hopefully)! It will get better!

    1. Love you! Thank you for your honesty!

  4. First, I must tell you how much I enjoy beginning my day with laughter - so, thanks!
    I started with the first sentence of # 1 and finished with the last sentence of # - what was it again? I forgot!
    You asked for this - so here goes.
    1) Normal family? What's that? Show me one!
    2) I used to hide in the bathroom, door locked,sitting on the (lid down) toilet. Both the kids and Boo would come and try the nob first, then knock, then as when I was coming out. Every time. Without fail. And on weekends I was usually there more than once!
    3) When you told me Sunday that Alan was gone, the first thing that popped into my head was reciprocation - not a bad idea, really.
    There's nothing like a girls' night out now and then, as well as the afternoon lunch and movie combo. Sometimes shopping with a friend is worht 10 psych visits. Reciprocation is a reeeaaaalllly good thing. Trust me!
    4) Ohhhh - I did something similar late last week - on the phone with a really good friend. As soon as we hung up, I felt sick - and it persisted and got worse as the morning went on - until I finally sent her an eamil outlining my black little heart, my deep appreciation of our friendship, and an apology.When we talked on the phone yesterday, she told me she wasn't even offended. Didn't remember the event. I'm glad - that's good - but I needed to apologize anyway.
    In your case, if that kid bugs you, the rest of the class may get bugged, too. There was probably a more Christ-like response, I am sure. But your reply may rank high on the "cool" scale.
    5) That's what the hope of tomorrow is all about!
    Did you know that kids loooove to act out and watch you as your head spins around really fast and green foamy gooslime hits the walls and slides down? I learned that from a friend who had to take a court-ordered parenting class in Orlando - she learned it in the class - 1st lesson, 1st night.
    6) I had to write these responses down because I couldn't remember #1, even, much less # - what? - I can't remember
    7) I no longer let anyone in my house - not even Melissa. I'm working on having it presentable by 6:00 PM on the 3rd Friday in November. It's a push, believe me, to meet that deadline. And I live alone!
    8) Awwww. I saw that spot during Sunday School. When I prayed over him I kissed that sweet spot - and then a couple more times during class. So, what you marked as failure God blessed with love and sweetness. Hmmm.
    9) Just about my most favorite song of all is by the Beach Boys. I think it's called Kokamo. It mentions bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand, perfecting our chemistry, defying a little bit of gravity, and afternoon delight, cocktails ... you're looking pretty tame, girlfriend! But then, given the difference in our ages, you have lots of time to catch up! Get busy!
    As for keeping one's body healthy, have you taken a long, objective look at me lately? I'm getting hard to miss, girthwaise!
    Well, that's it - you asked - I gave you my life-version, encapsulated. And lest you think that there is any wisdom here, let me remind you:
    Sometimes I think that I understand everything - then I regain consciousness!
    And last but not lest, I have this little sign I made myself back in 2010. It reads:
    God's grace covers _____________. It stayed that way for months - because I couldn't remember what, if anything, went on that line. Finally, I got so fried over that line I filled in with: don't give up on yourself.
    Love you!!!!!

    1. I definately need a "God's grace covers ___" sign. What a great idea. I can fill in a lot of blanks. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh, my word! CRYING! This is hilarious! You have struck a nerve! We are having Confession up in here!!

  6. Dawn - I find myself often failing in my humanness as a mother and a wife! This week my hubby and I both went back to work and I was overly stressed and emotional! So thankful for forgiving children (and husbands) and for God's amazing grace! We are all miserable failures - saved by GRACE! Love ya and can't wait to plan our trip to Florida to reunite our sweet boys!

    1. Yay! I can't imagine my boys' faces when they see yours! What a reunion. Thank you. :)

  7. Recently, I may or may not have:
    - introduced a pacifier to my baby mainly for the purpose of discouraging him from picking up all the little bits of stuff on my floors.
    - called one of my children a dummkopf
    - made a face at my husband's suggestion for date night (who really wants to spend date night watching '2016'??)
    - found baby boy playing in the toilet
    - spent an entire day in slave-driver mode to get the house clean....including refusing to serve lunch until the schoolroom/playroom was clean.
    - On our first day of school (yes, in mid September) I turned off my alarm and went back to bed
    - grabbed a toy out of my child's hand and threw it out the door...twice in one day.
    - told one of my children that I didn't want them near me of they couldn't ins their big-kid voice (that's gotta take a prize right there)
    - only made dinner twice in the past week.
    - pointed to my child an asked "what's your name?"
    - promised to call my mom back 'in a minute' and never did.
    Aaaaaand I'm going to stop there before a) I completely ruin your opinion of me (ha!) and b) I get depressed and feel the need to self medicate with a tub of chocolate ice cream (oh, really, who am I kidding? I'd already have started if there was any in this house!!)

    Love ya girl! Aren't you glad we don't have to be perfect and earn grace?
    - Heidi

  8. I just want to say when I read the beginning of your post (before you asked us to share our own failures) I thought to myself, I hope she doesn’t ask what our failures are because mine are way worse than hers and I only have 3 kids! We have basically been living in a hotel all summer to be with Justin while he’s working out of town. This is our first official week home, while he is in Atlanta for the next five weeks.
    # It’s been 3 days and I still haven’t unpacked. We just rummage through the suitcases looking for clean clothes. Sometimes we are lucky and they match.
    # My house is never clean. I try. Sometimes. I can’t figure out how to do school and keep my house clean. I feel like we need to do school for one week and then the next week clean. That’s right, a whole week of cleaning. Hey my girls need to learn how to clean a house, I can count that as school right?
    # I actually like to go to people’s houses and find them messy. It makes me feel “normal.”
    # My kids fight about where they sit all the time, the dinner table, the car, the couch… I either scream at them or give them assigned seats. Either way, no one is happy.
    # We have been back to school since the first week in August. I’m on week 2 of our curriculum. (While at the hotel I ditched ‘regular school’ for some different activities.)
    # I can’t seem to remember anything either. Like to wash clothes, until I need them. Or buy groceries, until we are hungry. Or even bathe my kids every night. (We had AHG tonight and I didn’t have time to feed and bathe them before, so we went thru Wendy’s after and then came home and went straight to bed.) I wish I could say that is the only time this happens but, especially when we have been at the hotel and they swim in the pool twice a day, I forget to give them a bath. They look clean…
    I think you are awesome! I love how transparent you are. Keep writing this stuff, it’s helping more people than you realize.

  9. Dawn,
    Since I've got one kid out the door and into adulthood and another with one foot hovering on that threshold, I can look back on my failures with a bit of perspective and humor. Most of the time, anyway. I promise you'll get there one day too. Promise. Promise. Promise.
    I missed out on pretty much all the failures you listed because of my divorce and the boys being placed to live with their dad (and no, it wasn't because I was a failure at being a mom, it's just what God directed in our lives). I read your failures and have to admit that mingled with my laughter was a healthy dose of jealousy that you got to experience them at all. I saw the stress of what you're going through, but I also saw the wealth and riches and my fail was feeling envy.
    If it makes you feel even an ounce better, I once spoke to a psychiatrist about the non-stop fails going on in my (failing) marriage over the phone one day. He asked about my boys and I told him what was going on there. When I was done, I told him that the way I looked at it, I was destined to mess them up in at least one way with both of them at some point (but most likely in all ways). I can't be perfect because it's just not possible; I could only do my absolute best at any given moment. Then I told him that I promised both the boys when they were born that I would start saving for their therapy NOW and pay for it when they were adults and needed to talk to someone in order to recover from their childhood. He laughed and told me that was the healthiest attitude he'd ever heard from a parent. Ever. In other words, the kids, your hubby, and you will all survive your fails. Even without therapy. Fails happen, it's unavoidable. I've turned many of mine over to God and asked him to make the most of them. I'm now seeing the fruit of some of my fails and it tastes unbelievably sweet. Hang in there and one day, you too, will feast on your fails.
    So, remember, Martha Stewart is a minion of evil and with the tools God has already given you, you can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you (especially with all of us willing to prop you up when you need it). Oh, and considering my past career as a pastry chef, if you ever need a carb fix, come see me. God gifted me with the ability to add to people's waist lines and hips while putting a smile on their face. Take advantage! And if you ever need to get farther away than the schoolroom to hide from the kids, come on over, I'll vacate the house and you can raid my fridge, watch DVD's, sing along with Toby Keith and take a nap on my feather bed covered mattress for as long as you like. The cat may even let you pet him for some additional stress relief.
    The more I know you, the more I admire you. Not for your lack of fails, but because you shine so beautifully in the midst of them.
    Love you,

  10. Hey Aunt Dawn!
    I saw this quote a few days ago and when I read this, I figured that you'd like this.
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
    I'm SO glad to hear about my two new cousins. Can't wait to meet them! I love you all so much and hope to see y'all soon! God Bless you!

    <3~Kelsey Kicklighter

  11. Okay first of all... point number two of your post had me laughing so hard I nearly fell off the chair.

    I have one child. ONE. But there are days, when he and Bud are home and everything is chaotic, other people are in and out, the dogs are wanting to play, my email is going crazy, the phone won't stop... then someone says or asks something that gets one of my eyebrow raises. Two minutes later I'm in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet seat lid with the door locked, playing Angry Birds. I think my feeling on the matter is if I take out my aggression on animated pigs, the humans will survive the impending wrath. If I stay in there long enough, the cool, quiet room will calm me down. That happened last Thursday evening.

    One small fry, huh? Small? Please - one small fry is equivalent to 175 kettlebell swings. *Says this while stuffing the wrapper(S) of the Little Debbie Swiss Rolls under her leg to hide the evidence.* That would be my, "I have had enough," indulgence that happens about every four months. - Note I finished a box in an hour and a half on Tuesday evening when missing Bud reached its height.

    A few years ago when Bud was the interim youth pastor at a church we were attending, there was one young man whose sole purpose in life was to disprove or discredit every thing any adult said, ever, particularly if it had anything to do with his behavior or Christian practices and beliefs. Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings being spent having to combat his disruptive quips got to be too much one morning and I snapped. You are not alone.

    This week Noah, on at least four occasions asked me questions about subjects that we covered years ago that in my opinion he should have had on auto-recall. My tone to answer him was less than kind, because it left me with the feeling that he was rarely actually listening. That in itself made me feel like I failed. When I answered, it definitely conveyed that I was questioning his intellect, for which I felt profoundly guilty. He later told me he does it on purpose, because it's fun to mess with me. *See above "Angry Birds" comment to know where I went after that statement.*

    I agree with everyone - there is no such thing as "normal." The only people who say they're "normal" with some air of superiority or casts aspersions on those they think are lacking said normalcy, are the ones who so desperately need to think there IS a normal and they belong to it for their own sanity. There is none. Normal is whatever is "normal" for you and yours. It's been my experience that what others seem to think is "normal," I see as boring, complacent, lacking the extraordinary, and merely just ordinary and colorless. Yawn.

    As far as your song choice with your fries - I submit this scene with Sandra Bullock from The Proposal to give you the full impact of Bud's reaction when he walked in on me having an Eminem, "Real Slim Shady," moment while washing dishes. Note: Noah despises rap, hip hop or any of the like as does Bud so I can't even blame my knowledge of the song on overhearing my teenager's Pandora channel.

    Oh yes - and the kid who said the thing about the messy house - I would imagine anyone you would be friends with was probably counting it an epic parent fail that he said it at all.

    You are not alone - far from it. There are way more of us than there are of them. People who say they're normal and do nothing wrong are just closet-weirdos trying to hide their shame of wrong-doing. God loves me, flaws and all. So do Bud, Noah, my mom and dad. Everyone makes mistakes and its absolutely no big deal.

    We all think you're awesome and amazing no matter what!