Target Practice

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Well, we are over half-way through 2012.  How are those resolutions coming along?  Have you widdled your middle in time for bathing suit season?  Or learned a new language? Done your daily yoga? Read your Bible more? Paid off those student loans?

Let's face it, some resolutions are easier said than kept.  We've all made promises we couldn't keep, and by now it is quite common for diets to have slipped, habits to have returned, or disciplines to have been kicked to the curb.

As you may recall, I made a resolution as well - swearing off Target for 2012.  That's right!  No, not because I have something against them.  This isn't some boycott because of a social justice campaign I got talked into by listening to too much NPR or something.  And it's not because I didn't enjoy roaming the red aisles for shiny bargains that spoke to me with flattery and temptation - (You're right, cute pink shirt, you would look cute on me!  And you, scented candle for $4.99, you would look just splendid on my fireplace mantle!  I want you both!) in fact, it is the opposite.  I LOVED Target.  With a passion.  With my check book and all my heart.  With my time and energy and latte in hand.  With complete disregard for what was best for me or my family...or my time, energy, money, and passion.

C'mon already!  Even their ads are irresistibly adorable!
Welp...I'm still going strong.  Yep!  Proud to report that I haven't stepped foot in a Target since December 31, 2011.  Nor have I ordered anything from Target online, for those of you wondering if I've made some slippery loop holes in this plan of mine.  Nope.  I'm Target-free and over halfway through the year.  To be honest, I'm pretty surprised by myself.

I can't say it's been easy.  There have been times where it would have been much more convenient to stop by a Target simply due to location and time so that I could just "pick up a few things".  But, it's a slippery slope for me.  Too slippery.  Plus, I'm pretty accountable to writing this blog - so, I gotta admit that was some decent incentive for me.

So, what's the big deal?  So, I gave up shopping at a store, so what? 

Well, in effort to save more money and to gain a bit of perspective, it has been an interesting experiment.  Where am I shopping?  Well, I do shop at Wal-Mart for several things.  This may surprise many of you since the whole "Target versus Wal-Mart" argument seems to have been hanging around since the dawn of man.  It's pretty crystal clear that Target has been winning at the "cool factor" for some time now...and that is almost entirely the reason I don't find myself tempted in the same way when I shop at Wal-Mart.  It is simply not very fun.  The Wal-Mart I go to is extremely sterile and warehousey.  It's not pretty.  And, if it weren't for the aisles of Mickey Mouse stuff right at the front of the store that lights up Matilda's face like it's the Fourth of July...well, I don't think any of us would be smiling much when we shop there.

I have also uncovered a new found joy in shopping at Goodwill.  That's right - Goodwill - the thrift store.  It's pretty remarkable, actually.  There will be entirely brand new things there still with the tags on it for a fraction of the price.  Sure, you have to dig through some junk.  You have to sift through some dusty glassware or wrinkly clothes to find the gems.  But, when you score a deal that brightens your home for pennies on the dollar, well, it is really worth the hunt.

I've had to shop around for some other things.  Costco for paper goods.  Old Navy for cute baby clothes.  CVS or Walgreens for over-the-counter meds and photo printing.  Sure, sometimes I miss the one-stop-shop-and-latte convenience of Target.  Sometimes I will see something SUPER adorable on someone else's kid and can only guess that it was purchased in the old forsaken land of Tar-jay.  But, there have been a lot of pros that I can remind myself about along the way.

For one, I've slashed my spending in half most months.  It's true.  I was in a vicious cycle of maxing out and paying off my Target credit card before this year.  I hate to admit it, but it was all just too easy.  They offer you a 5% discount when you used the Target card, so of course I justified much of my purchases with a "sales" mentality.  Look at me, saving money by buying more!  False.  If you don't need it and you don't have the money to purchase it anyway - it is a lose/lose situation, folks.  By paying off the credit card and simply not "refilling it" half of the cycle was stopped instantly.  By removing the source of the temptation - that cut off the rest of it - and voila! I simply am unable to buy things I don't need with money I don't have.  (Again, if you can legitimately control yourself and only buy things you need and always pay off that card every month - Congratulations!  I'm sure you can take advantage of this system somehow, but you might also want to be checked out by a doctor to make sure you are not a robot.  That being said - credit is rarely worth using and I, for one, could not control myself around adorable things at a killer price even if it was stuff I didn't need.)

chop chop!
So, yes, the financial side has been worth it.  Our efforts to pay down debt/save some money is still a very slow process...but, hey, it's working and the math is motivating! (Baby steps, baby steps, breathe, breathe.)

The greater value I've gained, however, has really been in my perspective towards shopping.  I don't want to be a downer here.  I love a good deal.  I love adorable stuff.  I love looking good and having nice things (until my kids break them) and having someone ask me with a bit of envy Where did you get such-n-such an item.  Love it!  (Who doesn't?)  But, in giving up Target, it made me reassess exactly what it was that I truly needed.  It made me stop and think about how much I was willing to pay for things.  It made me evaluate why I was so "happy" to sip on caffeine and stare at pretty things that I think I surely can't live without.

It's not like I want to become some frugal-Franny or penny-pinching-Patty or something.  No.  I'm just done being a SUCKER.  I am tired of being told what to buy.  I'm exhausted by the ads that tell me what a deal is or what I'm supposed to look like or where is the best place to get it (clearly Target is not the only entity to blame here).  I'm so nauseated by the sheer volume of it all - on tv, in my mailbox, on billboards or magazines.  And, don't get me wrong - I'm no hippie!  (Though there are days I truly envy those that have no sense of temptation towards a more glamorous life, honestly.) It's not that I want to give up all I own and "live off the land" (though I think that is super rad if you can do it!) or that I want to never be asked again "where I got" that cute shirt or shoes or whatever.  But, how can I have it both ways?  How can I save money, not be tempted, but look cute and still have fun shopping at least once in a while???  There has to be some kind of balance to this whole consumerism madness!

I'm still not quite sure where I fit in.  I'm still on this journey and I'm only halfway through the year.  I love saving money and getting toiletries for a fraction of the cost at Wal-Mart....but I sort of loathe shopping at such a giant, consumerism-boosting corporation.  I love having a cute home that has some character - and I'm finding that no one ever knows the difference if my throw pillows came from a thrift store.  I hate having to hop around to different places just to get the best deal - but I feel so excited when I can cut up yet another credit card and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Giving up Target has not been about stepping away from cuteness, good deals, or even convenience.  The focus of the experiment has been about gauging what I need and figuring out who is really deciding where my values lie.  Sure, I've slipped into other marketing traps.  I've freely blown too much cash here or there along the way.  I've had a day of "retail therapy" followed by a week of "buyer's remorse".  I'm not perfect!  But, I'm gaining a whole new appreciation for what it means to need something, value something, wait for something, earn something and even want something.  That's a lot of something.  Good thing I have a few more months to go...this is gonna take a bit more practice.

50 Shades of Marriage

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chances are good that by now you have heard about the book "50 Shades of Grey" - either on a talk show or on Facebook or even from a friend or neighbor.  I heard about it on the Today Show, and was pretty appalled to hear that this new, sleazy series has swept the globe with such popularity.  They are calling it "mommy porn"...erotica that women evidently don't have to be ashamed to keep on their nightstand for the world to see.

Well, here at pardymama, I try to walk the line of airing my opinion whilst remaining compassionate in judgment.  I'm not here to say "don't do this or that" - I'm far from being your Holy Spirit.  But, it is my blog and frankly, I get to write what I want about whatever I want, so here we go...  Personally, I will not be reading "50 Shades of Grey".  Not only does it kinda gross me out at the thought of putting descriptive words about S&M in my head, but I have no desire to seek out sexual escape that reaches beyond my marriage.  That being said, feel free to judge me about making a judgment about something I haven't and won't take part in.  Fair enough.

So, why am I even writing this post?  

Because, I'm seeing crap about this stupid book everywhere.  And, what I find most troubling is the sense I get that so many women are desperate for an outlet beyond the boundaries of their bedroom, their marriage, and their every day life.  We're not talking about your usual mental escape either...this is not to say that every form of entertainment is worthless or without merit.  I enjoy a good story, a great movie, an uplifting read just like the rest of us.  But, certainly you can see the difference between watching Dumb and Dumber on a Saturday afternoon with your husband (albeit, no merit for the intellect) and losing yourself in some pornographic trilogy about a sadist millionaire.

This is what I'm saying:  as Christians, as wives, as flags should be popping up on our radar when so many women are seeking fantasy.  This is dangerous stuff, wildfire even.  It's not that "50 Shades of Grey" is the's what it represents.  The popularity of such material just showcases the fact that "maybe something better exists out there" - a tease at our fantasy world, an escape from our life of burp rags and dish gloves, an outlet away from our husband who forgot to pick up the gallon of milk.

Fantasy for women is very emotional, and leaves us heartsick at the notion that either we aren't good enough to be worthy of a better life, or resentful at the fact that we deserve more.

Entertaining thoughts of a better life than the one God has given us stirs in our souls a belief that is nothing more than a downright lie:  "I'm missing out".  If you don't believe me, just ask can start at Genesis 1:1 and go from there and give me a call when you get to the good part.

So, I'm here to say, guard your heart.  This isn't about sex.  This isn't about a pop-culture-phenomenon-book they are talking about on Entertainment Tonight.  This isn't about "but, Emily, you don't husband is so blah blah blah".  I understand there are hurting marriages out there, and there is actual, tangible help available for you to heal and find God's BEST for you.  But, to the majority of us - be wise and aware to the warning and quick to question whatever "fantasy" that you might partake and what it may actually be rustling up in you.

Maybe, it's not so much that you need a new partner as it is you need a new perspective.  

Remember when you first started dating your husband and you just felt like he was your entire world?  As your marriage grows and your love deepens and your kids start eating into your time together, it is amazing how roles in relationships change.  Sure, there is the mundane - the fact that my spouse is the handyman and the trash man and the tech geek and even the kitty litter changer.  But, he is so much more than that.  The next time you are tempted to wish for a new life or a different spouse, I want you to remember that God has given you a man who is a perfect fit to fulfill all the roles you need him for in your life together as a married couple.  In other words, it's what I like to call:

50 Shades of Marriage

1. Helper
2. Partner
3. Teammate
4. Lover
5. Comrade
6. Companion
7. Sweetheart
8. Co-conspirator
9. Accessory
10. Collaborator
11. Paramour
12. Flame
13. Darling
14. Dear
15. Beloved
16. Admirer
17. Treasure
18. Heartthrob
19. [the] One
20. Biggest Fan
21. Encourager
22. Defender
23. Follower
24. Champion
25. Cheerleader
26. Ally
27. Spouse
28. Compadre
29. Kin
30. Associate
31. Counselor
32. Better Half
33. Ball and/or Chain
34. Helpmate
35. Peer
36. Friend
37. Playmate
38. Bedmate
39. Sidekick
40. Accomplice
41. Complement
42. Date
43. Crony
44. Chum
45. Buddy
46. Rib
47. Steady
48. Aide
49. Supporter
50. Soulmate

What more could you possibly want?

Father's Day

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Father's Day!  Well, almost!  Got that tie ready?  Or that pair of socks?  How about a Dairy Queen cake with a golf club iced on top?  Or a card with a chimpanzee wearing a funny hat and fishing and making some joke about farting after grilling burgers on a sailboat?  Ah, Father's Day.

My dad and my firstborn, Matilda (Jan 2010)
As I was deciding what to get the men in my life for such an occasion, I was realizing just how incredibly lucky I am to be celebrating both my husband and my dad as fantastic fathers.  My dad is one of my favorite people in the universe.  He is handsome and humble and smart.  He's lived like eight different lives and seemingly been successful at just about everything he's tried.  He loves Jesus and challenges himself to keep learning.  He listens well and encourages thoughtfully.  He is always there for me when I have a question or just want to hear his voice after a KU basketball game.  I always felt pretty in his eyes and that he was proud to call me his own.  In other words, he set unbelievably high standards for me in choosing a mate.

And, I gotta say, even though it took me a while to find him, God sent me someone who checks every box on the list of insanely impossible achievements to meet in order to fulfill my dream hunk.  I knew I was the lucky one when I fell in love with Josh.  But now, seeing him as a father to our girls, everyone else can see it too.  Sure, he is normal - he has his moments of frustration and forgets to take out the trash or lets Matilda have Cheetos for breakfast now and then.  But, he has revealed to me an entirely new perspective on the father/daughter relationship, and just how important it is.

My own father had no reason to be as good a parent as he was.  Don't get me wrong, my grandparents were fine, normal, law-abiding, Jesus-loving citizens.  But, what I mean is, my dad really didn't have much "baby" experience - let alone "daughter" experience.  Sure, he had my older siblings ahead of me (a brother and a sister) but, my dad didn't grow up with any sisters or many women around to "learn how to raise a daughter right" or anything.  There wasn't "Raising Girls" by James Dobson yet.  No podcasts back then with tips on how to keep your daughter from an eating disorder or a bad boyfriend.  There's really no reason that he would have known to go out of his way to make sure I knew I was pretty, or that I shouldn't be scared to be smart, or that a stupid boy isn't worth my time if he's going to treat me poorly.  No reason, that is, except that he pursued the Word of God, did the best he could, and...I'm sure...fearfully and wonderfully took my mom at her word when she would warn him about the wiles of girlhood (though, as I've been told, raising me was in a league all its own, anyhow).

Baby Daphne's birth day
 (photo by
Now that I see fatherhood in action on a daily basis with my own daughters, it is shocking to me how much influence Josh has on them.  I mean, I'm the one who is there most of the day...making the toast, folding the laundry, tying the shoes, diapering the bums, pretending and making up songs and coloring and trying to fit a giggle or two in between the yells of "get off your sister!" or asking "do you have peepee?" for the zillionth time....right?  But, no matter, as soon as he walks in the door - it's ALL about DADDY!!!  Daddy daddy daddy daddy!  Matilda wants to tell him all about her day, show him what clothes she is wearing, sing for him, dance a little, play with his phone, take him outside to show him birds, color sidewalk chalk with name it.  Certainly, the novelty quickly wears and she gets back into a normal groove of ornery habits not long after...but, in that initial greeting, you can see the enthusiasm and expectation building in her, just baiting him for a reaction.  The thing that gets me the most is how much she wants him to see her.  Any time she changes her clothes or hair or is playing dress-up - it's always "let's show daddy"...this, innate kind of beauty pageant that is built into her psyche to seek approval and encouragement over her appearance and boost her self-esteem.  Scary stuff, really!  And, to see her face light up at his genuine delight and compliments - well, that is just like sunshine in our home!  There is nothing else like it in the world.  Simply put - once you see it, you just want your kid to feel that way as much as possible.
Baby Daphne, 6 days old
(photo by

Daddies are so important to daughters.  Which is why it has taken me (evidently) thirty some odd years to soak in just how blessed I have been to grow up with a man who has taught me so much, encouraged my standards to stay high, and shown me that Christ is the only answer for my needs...Christ alone...not some college or some friend or some dress or some hairstyle or some title or some career or some award or some man.  And, today, I realize that I'm the exception in the world for many daughters.  I don't want to forget that on this Father's Day, and year after year, there are a lot of daughters missing out on that tangible, quality, trusting, loving, God-fearing man to call dad...and, my heart just breaks over that.

But, here's the awesome thing:  those daughters are not forgotten.  Listen, sisters, I know it is easy for me to say "You may not have a father, but you have a Heavenly Father"...but, it doesn't make it any less true.  In the eyes of Jesus, you aren't any less loved or less beautiful or less worthy of holding out for a super-terrific-awesome husband who will be a super-terrific-awesome dad to your own daughters someday too!

When I think about all this, and how Matilda's face lights up in the presence of her father - this is how I want to think of my Jesus.  I want to be excited to show Him who I am.  I want to be bursting at the seams to tell Him about my day.  I want to be so overcome with joy at the thought of Him that I can't help but want to hug someone and make the feeling contagious.

I love my dad with all my heart - for a zillion reasons listed and unlisted - but, most of all, I love that he taught me that the one and only man I need to rely on no matter what isn't's Jesus.  And, that's something that can be celebrated in each of our hearts, every day...and you don't even have to buy a stupid card with a chimpanzee on the front.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's harvest time.  Well, maybe not here in Southern California it's not.  But, back home in Kansas where I grew up, things are in full swing.  The combines are out cutting, the trucks are hauling the grain, the farmers turn into zombie maniacs who start spouting words like "bushel" and "weight" and "moisture" with a flurry of numbers to follow...which means nothing to anyone else unless they are also a farmer, or farmer's wife...or in my case, farmer's daughter.
My dad sent me this picture from harvest this year.
Harvest time was always one of my most favorite times growing up on the farm.  It was dusty and dirty and hot and sweaty (getting jealous, now, aren't you?) and full of heritage and traditions and ridiculously good cobblers.  Before I was old enough to help out in the field, I would help (well, I'm not sure how much help I actually was) my mother in the kitchen.  The "behind the scenes" gig to harvest time is keeping the men happy, healthy, and well-fed, which is exclusively run out of a busy and delicious kitchen.  My mother had this down to a perfect science.  She had the washcloths, soap, and water bucket for the "cleaning station", individually wrapped utensils and cups for each worker, and a multiple-course meal that would have made Martha Stewart cringe if she knew it were being served out the back hutch of a minivan instead of a properly decorated table, because it was just that good.  To top it off, my Grammy would send along either a giant fruit cobbler or a massive meringue pie that would last all of two seconds on each little plate that a piece was served on.  (Guaranteed Grammy is serving up those pies in heaven right now, they were so delicious I can't imagine eternity without them.)

As soon as I could drive and reach the pedals in a truck...I was out in the field.  The summers of my Sophomore and Junior year in high school, I drove truck for wheat harvest.  I'm not really sure why my parents thought a small, inexperienced teenage girl driving a massive vehicle carrying thousands of dollars worth of grain would be a good summer job...but, I was stubborn and wanted a job, so I'm certain in the end it was me that convinced them to hand over the keys.  Nevertheless, I took years of delight in the fact that I could put "truck driver" on my resume, just for the sake of seeing the look on future employer's faces.  Worth it.

And the memories made it all worthwhile as well.  Remember, these will be the stories I pass on to my girls!  The stories of sitting in a hot, un-air-conditioned truck, waiting on the combines to make their rounds and fill up my bed.  Stories that start out " the days before internet or iPhones or eReaders..."  Stories that will surely bore them to tears until they can look back and appreciate it for what it is:  family history.

Like, when my cousin David and I were little and used to take turns sitting in the cab with our dads, pretending/learning to drive the combine.  Steadying that giant wheel to cut the straightest path possible (think of the most humongous lawn mower you can imagine) and then turn-turn-turn-turn-turn-turn, quickly with all your might, as if you were in charge of a massive bus, literally collecting money in the back.  And then, once we had taken our turns, we would go play in the grain in the back of the truck.  It was like a giant sandbox, full of filthy grain that we would dig our toes into and then nibble on a kernel and then pretend there was an evil shark attack or monster worm or something trying to pull us under.  Oh, good times.

One summer, we had to cut over July 4th.  I remember being pretty bummed out that we couldn't go see the fireworks show in a "neighboring" town.  I knew most of my friends would be there, and I probably could have begged hard enough to get to go, but I knew it would do our family more good if we stayed put and finished the field for the night.  I remember how hot it was, how still and dry and dusty it felt to be out in the middle of a field, waiting for the next load to arrive.  Dusk was setting in and the sun was just below the horizon.  Lightning bugs were making neon polka-dots in the sky, and that's when I first saw it...just as the day turned to night, just at the brink of the horizon, tiny red and blue sparks broke through the darkness.  And I sat there, still...watching fireworks from twenty-seven miles away.  (Yes, Kansas really is that flat!)

Or, what about the time that I was driving the truck and all of a sudden it started to pour rain and hail on me.  No one was answering on my CB radio and I didn't know what to do.  I was on the highway with a truck FULL of grain - grain that needed to stay dry until it was safely in the elevator.  So, I pulled over on the side of the highway (this is the part where my mother starts thanking my angels) and jump out, and - having never done it before - I figured out how to yank down the giant metal arm that rolls out the cover over the top of the bed and keep the grain safe and dry - nearly knocking myself out in the process, and getting pummeled by hail all the while.  Whew!

Or...the time that I was pulling onto the scale at the Co-Op, and with such a big truck (here comes my disclaimer) there is only about a five inch clearance on either side to fit on the scale...not exactly easy for a new driver to do.  I had to realign the truck, and in doing so...KABLAMMO!  I took out an entire cement post with me.  Yup, I fully knocked over an entirely concrete post.  Whoopsie!  That was a fun call to make over the CB to my dad.  The guy at the Co-Op didn't offer me any more lollipops when I drove through the rest of that summer.

Or...the summer I decided to write 100 poems.  True story!  Remember, no iPhones!  I had to pass the time somehow, right?  So, I set a goal and wrote a total of 100 poems in course of that harvest (let's also clarify that harvest, while intense, only lasts about 2-3 weeks of the summer).  I'm sure I'll share some of these with you at some point (we'll see how in demand they become, wink) - oh yes, I still have them - but, I'll warn you now that most of them are filled with the angst and foreboding of an emotional seventeen year old.  In other words - gems!  Ha.

These days, when I hear that harvest has started at home, I feel the distance.  My heart feels left out of the loop.  This probably seems crazy to my family back home, because it's like saying I'm missing out on two of the busiest, longest-working-hours, most stressful events of the year.  I know, I know, I have the luxury of looking at it with rose-colored-nostalgia goggles now.  I'm not sitting here covered in sweat and dirt and mosquito bites (I don't miss that).  I'm not wondering if I'll get rained out of work tomorrow or if hail will destroy half a year's salary in one night.  I'm not praying for a better yield day after day (well, not for myself, anyway).  Harvest is insane in a word.  Messy, crazy, dirty...and full of hope and mystery and promise.  Each generation that takes part in wheat harvest, each farmer putting more and more food on the tables for millions of more than just a truck full of grain.  I look back on those days and realize I was hauling memories in the back of that truck.  I was carrying heritage with each trip to the Co-Op.  I was delivering yet another year of promises to the next generation.

I grew up on a farm that has been in our family for more than a century.  I'm pretty sure at the time, when I was a teenager and just trying to earn a buck, sweaty and counting the mosquito bites on my legs, I had no idea I would be treasuring these memories and wanting to tell my girls tales of harvest time later in my life.  I have a dozen memories attached to every story I can remember.  Memories of tastes (dirt, mostly), sounds, smells, and the feelings like the scratchy sensation against my shins that only a field of wheat can create.  Hopefully, someday my girls can experience the beauty and business of wheat harvest on the farm.  Hopefully they will appreciate the fact that someone, somewhere, spent time praying over and cutting that crop so that they can have toast in the morning.  And hopefully, eventually, they will tell their daughters stories of their crazy grandmother who ran over the concrete post at the Co-Op that one time.

What memories are you planting for your kids right now?  What stories are you harvesting from your life and hoping to pass on?

Dear Pinterest

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

There has started (well, maybe I'm even a little late on this trend) a revolution of moms out there who are addicted to Pinterest.  You know, that site that shows you a bazillion new creative ways to do anything in your life better than you are already doing it?  The pages and pages of pin-boards out there that cleverly suck you in with one little picture and then all of a sudden you realize the sun has set and you've been reading about cupcakes for the last several hours.  How did that happen?  I love it.  I loathe it.  To which I am responding with the only resource I have:  writing.

Dear Pinterest,
What is this power you have over me?  Why do I even care how to fill mason jars with colored beads or sand or Christmas lights and turn them into chandeliers or book ends or night lights?  I will never ever have time to do that.  Even if I did have time, I would take a much-needed nap or fold week-old-clean laundry or do dishes from two nights ago.  And yet, somehow I make time for you.  Somehow, between diaper changes and baby feedings and episodes of Sesame Street and reviewing letters/numbers/colors and potty training and putting on regular pants for the day so that the world doesn't think I'm entirely wasting my day on the internet...I thumb through your pictures on my iPhone and find myself completely entranced by your creativity, your beauty, and wonder how I never ever before considered how useful an old coffee can or pillow case or apple crate truly could be.  How did I never before see the potential of how a dozen ties could be turned into a new wreath for my door?  Why did I not look at that pile of single-unmatching-socks in my drawer before now and see at least a dozen possibilities for them?  
Oh Pinterest, you tease me with your little thumbnails of ideas.  Your turquoise shoes, your braided hairdos, your yellow cardigans and swirly nails.  You pique my interest with your elaborate birthday displays, your ooey gooey decadent dishes, your mile-high frosting wonders of cakes and cookies and rainbow-laden tables of sparkly wonder and delight.  You hypnotize me with your perfectly photographed newborns and kittens and families in matching outfits in a garden of seamlessly hedged splendor.  You make me believe that in another life, in another time, in another place where there is no spit-up or crying over breakfast that there exists the possibility where I could spend nine hours stenciling a chevron pattern on my dining room wall, spend days embroidering silhouettes of my daughters' profiles on their pillow cases, spend weeks cutting out fondant in doily patterns, and months growing a garden of herbs in a mason-jar-filled-peg-board planter that I made myself complete with chalk-board-paint signs displaying the name of said herb with intention to make a 7 ingredient mojito freshly muddled by my own hand as soon as the mint leaves are ripe for the picking. 
Yes, yes, I can see it now... that you again?  Laughing at me?  Maniacally giggling behind my back as you see the wheels turn in my brain trying to muster the creativity of imagining such a place?  You are evil after all, aren't you?  I knew it.  As soon as you make me flush with excitement at the wonder of all you deem possible...I'm left with nothing but a feeling of inadequacy.  The land of Pinterest is only a dream.    
Oh Pinterest, you love me and leave me feeling so inferior.  You hold such lovely intentions, but you will have to be left at that:  intentions.  I can't do it, Pinterest, I just can't.  I'm exhausted!  I got four hours of disturbed sleep last night and my kids are screaming at me to blink and get them more goldfish crackers (yes, STORE BOUGHT goldfish crackers - not individually monogrammed little homemade underwater creature snacks that I individually cut out and baked myself, I'm so sorry to say) and just stop staring at your dazzling screen of cynical brilliance long enough to realize that I need to stop worrying about how I can reuse my old baby wipes holder and go clean the litter box or vacuum the living room or fix the baby lock on the medicine cabinet.  Pinterest!  Stop distracting me!  Stop telling me I'm not enough.  Stop making me feel like a terrible parent for not having matching sheets on my kids beds that are perfectly coordinated to their urban-outfittered-custom-fabricated crib skirt and curtains.  Stop making me feel like a loser wife because I used the frozen lasagna and didn't make my own ricotta from raw milk straight from the cow out back and served it in turquoise pottery that I burned in my own kiln.  Stop making me feel like I deserve time to pick out an entire outfit that looks like I stepped out of Anthropologie and into an episode of Mad Men and spent more time on my hair than I did on my wedding day.  Pinterest, LAY OFF ME.  You have impossibly high standards.  Your ideas are too much for me.  
I think we need to take a break from each other, Pinterest.  I don't mean to go all Ross-and-Rachel on you, but I just feel dizzy from your influence.  I need to take a step back.  I need to feel good again about things like putting deodorant on or brushing my teeth before my husband comes home.  I need to feel that burst of accomplishment I used to get just from not overcooking my scrambled eggs or that sense of genius because I served my family a meal on paper plates.  I need to regain my confidence in just being able to braid my own pigtails and revive my self-worth by shaving my legs once a week.  I like my standards, I love my life, and I don't need you to tell me what I'm missing out on any more.  I'm not leaving you forever - I'll check in on occasion when I'm needing a little motivation, when I'm searching for a surge of inspiration or when I'm looking for a daunting recipe that I'm up for trying.  Everything in moderation, Pinterest, even you.  Let's be friends, not enemies.  Friends encourage.  Friends inspire.  Friends motivate.  Let's call a truce, Pinterest, and leave it at that.  You can go on with your home-roasted coffee beans and hand-beaded pillows and mustard-yellow-leather-purse-embossed-with-a-sweet-woodland-creature-on-the-corner...and I'll let you know when I'm ready to come back.  Just after I finish looking my kids in their eyes again, folding all my laundry AND putting it in the drawers, microwaving leftovers for dinner and enjoying a nice glass of cheap wine from a box with my husband next to me, sitting on the couch watching a rerun of Frasier that no one necessarily finds funny or popular any more.  Nobody may like it, or repin it, or comment on it...but that sounds just lovely to me.  



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