Modesty Schmodesty

Let me just start off by spouting some current myths:  guys will only go after what is easy to catch, guys are only attracted to what they can see, a girl’s greatest asset is her body, skimpier equals sexier.  Wow, where do I begin?!?  Can we please start giving guys a little more credit?  Men will rise to whatever standard we hold them to… Are you wanting a Guy or a Gentleman?  Don’t sell yourself as easy, make yourself worth the effort it will cost him to win you over. Ladies, men have extraordinary imaginations. Just think about the toys little boys prefer… They are mostly imagination driven. They actually like a little mystery when it comes to a lady… Why take all of their fun by dressing with all of your business hanging out for the world to see?  We have so much more to offer than just a body or a pretty face. Make the world take you seriously and notice all that you are and have to offer. Stop selling yourself short. Skimpy is not always sexy. For instance, a 12 year old girl wearing Bootie shorts and a half shirt in public is not sexy, it’s criminal. As the mother of two daughters I fear for their sense of self and decorum. Growing up in this world of skewed propriety, I want them to understand modesty and why it is important, not old fashioned. As the mother of a teenaged son, I fear for his soul and his heart as he has to guard himself against daily temptations thrust upon him by the girls who don’t think twice about putting themselves in his path inappropriately. Young girls only like the attention but lack the knowledge of the bigger picture concerning what their actions do to men all around them… Not just teenage boys but married men also who are lured into impure thoughts by their outfits and cries for male attention. Moms need to think about these things. Some of these same women complain about the young secretaries at their husband’s offices strutting around in tight, short skirts and open blouses. Funny how their teenage daughters are leaving the house in far worse things to go to school or to the mall. What about the men they are tempting?  We need to all pause and think about the images we are putting out there… Are we hurting anyone by dressing this way?  Could this outfit cause anyone to stumble?  If there is any possibility of a yes, just change and wear something else. Protect your image and don’t ever let your clothing be the center of any man’s lust (unless that man is your husband). Even if he is your husband, save the racier outfits for his eyes only. Can we make modest the new trend?  I hope we can try. 

Our first build was almost a demo, now what?

So I’m not sure exactly what it is that attracts my husband and I to the game. I can however tell you when it all began… It started with a simple shed. We desperately needed a storage shed shortly after we moved into our first home together. Having a shared love for cars did not help with our space issues. We were overflowing the two car garage and determined a storage shed out back would at least provide a place to keep yard equipment and some garage overflow. Now remember I said it started with a simple shed… It did not move forward as such. There we are at the home improvement store deciding which shed kit to purchase… Both of us are bred from a handy, DIY gene pool. As the options were so attractively displayed, the designs seemed so easy (first mistake) and our ambitions and confidence grew exponentially. We purchased a fairly impressive shed kit for two twenty-somethings that had never built a shed from the ground up. Let me next mention that we were living in Minnesota at the time where my husband was born and raised. I am 100%  Texas girl… So I determined that no shed in my backyard would have anything other than a concrete slab as a foundation. I didn’t want any critters in my shed. Here is where our relationship almost ended. My husband is a money guy… Finance major and money is his language and he wanted to hold onto his. Honestly, every decision he makes probably has a quick cost analysis factored in somewhere along the line. He does love me though so he conceded to the concrete slab… Sort of. After clearing (by hand) the most densely covered area of our lot that was full of stinging nettle, mice nests, huge rocks, and firewood, we had to level the area (also by hand). I would personally count these as mistakes two through about five as we had no idea what stinging nettle was until that day.  If you have never had the pleasure, this is a thistle like milkweed that literally makes you think your flesh is being burned off with searing acid and leaves blisters as a nice keepsake. Oh and adding water actually makes it worse. So now we have the perfect spot picked out, cleared and leveled. Guess what?  My husband decides that we will save money by mixing the concrete ourselves (by hand) in a paint bucket and wheelbarrow with a long screwdriver and a drill. Um, concrete is not cake batter folks… My knuckles had no more flesh on them. (Mistake). Oh and he’ll pour the concrete into the forms that we built while I spread it on my hands and knees. Make sure it’s level before it sets up!  (HUGE MISTAKE) so now my knees are swollen, bruised, and also lacking flesh. Please realize that as this is all happening, we are still trying to be kind to one another and not let this shed get the better of us. Every step is taking us closer and closer to a disaster that we can see coming but aren’t sure we can avoid. As the actual construction of the shed begins, there are instructions to follow for the kit. As with most couples, this too gets sticky. So there we are “politely” arguing through gritted teeth when his parents arrive to “help”. Now it gets really fun. Now there are 4 people “politely” arguing about instructions and pieces and everything in-between. Mistakes were made up until the last step when we messed up the shingles… But finally, we were able to step back and look at the most awesome shed that we had built together. By no means was it easy. I’m sure we did many things the hard way. The best part of that shed has been all of the times since then that we have laughed about how building that silly shed tested our relationship and proved that we could do anything together. We have countless examples of calling on that shed to prove a point…”We can do this, we built that shed together and we’re stronger now than we were back then”. I hope smarter too. Since then we have charged headfirst into so many interesting and challenging projects. We remodeled that home in St. Paul and bought a foreclosure in a suburb. The changes we were able to accomplish in that house were amazing. Most recently, we have spent the past 8 months renovating our home here in Texas after everyone said it was too awkward to be anything great. We saw something in the crazy house that sat empty for so long and the change is unbelievable. 

I guess we just enjoy hunting for deals and challenges… Now I think we enjoy finding that diamond in the rough, the one that everyone says is a long shot. You know the kind of house that everyone says needs lots of love or imagination in order to make it great. The one all others pass by because it just seems like too much work. Mope, not us! So now we’ve found our next adventure… Lake House here we come!

“I’m sorry that I look like a total slob today!”…. Up for interpretation I guess

That moment when you lie in bed doing algebraic equations and long division with your eyes closed as your alarm on your smart phone glaringly ticks off the seconds remaining on your snooze alarm… Days since last hair washing, divided by days of dry shampoo subtract any outings to especially exotic smelling establishments… You get the idea. Ugh, realization that the last possible moment has arrived for you to remain in bed if a shower is possible… BUT, if you wash said foul hair but don’t flat iron it, how much time will that buy you in the sack?  Reality?  Now you have spent the entire “extra sleep” time wrestling with your inner self and doing complicated beauty math. However it ends up working out, now you are rushed for time to get ready for that lunch date with a friend absent these last 3-4 months. Here it comes… The text message that (I think) we all send preparing our friend for how we are going to look. This is first of all an apology of sorts, at least I see it as one, for valuing my time in bed more than looking presentable to them out in public. This text also gives them the option to dress it down a bit and not go all out. Most of all, I think this text is our way of begging that our friend not show us up and make us look even worse. Ok, so here I am deciding if my hair, after DAYS A, B and C could possibly have a D day left in it by any miracle. That’s bad enough… But do not think that I would not style this funky hair, or wear make-up and a cute outfit. If my hair is lacking then you better believe I’m going to do everything I can to distract your attention away from that fact.  So that’s how we roll… We make excuses but still look better than when we rolled out of bed. 

This brings me to my question… What is wrong with these girls today???  On a daily basis I see girls out in groups wearing grubby t-shirts with athletic shorts (in nice restaurants), hair in complete dirty disarray and no make-up between the bunch. Now, I’m not saying go to the gym looking ready to compete for Miss Texas but don’t go to Miss Texas looking ready for a softball game either. My momma always said for me to wait to start wearing make-up until I was ready for the responsibility because once you start it is part of your daily hygiene routine. If you don’t want to wear full make-up then at least wear the trinity (blush, mascara and lip gloss). Stop complaining about being single or treated badly by boys if you aren’t willing to act like ladies girls!  There is a difference between the two. Just as there is a difference between a man and a gentleman… I guess you have to decide which you want and how long you want him to be attracted to your appearance. Love isn’t all about physical attraction… That would be a real travesty, but so would a lack of physical attraction in your relationship. Take care of yourself and put that out there for all to see… You owe it to yourself and to those around you. The best test of how you are presenting yourself is to ask yourself these questions:  Do I ever need to text my friends to let them know I’m not arriving at my best?  How have they come to expect you to arrive?  

Importsters!

That thrill that sends chills and the nail biting suspense of waiting, praying that yours is the winning bid… After searching shoe stores across the great state of Texas and every online fashion shoe site known to lift a girl’s steps, FINALLY a shopping website came through like shoe manna from heaven. There they were, the dream booties… Unfortunately, online shopping does not satisfy with immediate gratification so the anticipation only fueled my infatuation. Days spent stealing glances at pictures of my shoes and who they were with or what they did when they weren’t with me…Followed by the endless nights dreaming of the countless new outfit possibilities now afforded by this, the most perfect of perfect black, low cut, closed toe, Bootie with the ankle bow accent. Day and night ticking off the minutes until I could finally introduce my lonely feet to their long lost “sole mates”.  Yesterday I received a text that my booties would be arriving today and that I would have to sign for their arrival. I was at first very impressed by this grandstanding for their long awaited arrival… I thought only I had understood the great significance of this moment. Then the bomb was dropped on my parade planning – signatures are required for international packages. Wait!  That can’t be right, my delightful little booties are traveling from abroad while disguising themselves as domestic. I’m confused. Don’t panic I tell myself as I begin to unpack my new outfits that orbit the black booties. Well, today was delivery day and as I opened my carefully wrapped package from some small province in China, my heart sank. There in white faux muslin lay the worst imposters ever imported. The shoe liner was so wrinkled inside I would have developed a blister before reaching my front porch. The ankle bow accent wasn’t even glued together and the back zippers don’t stay zipped while simultaneously pinching your heel flesh. I can safely say that I have never bought an imported imposter that I was pleased with or thought it was better than the real deal. At once my mother’s words of warning popped into my head, “You really do get what you pay for”. I think even when people complain about designers and say that you are only paying for their name that means something… If their name is worth that much and they put their name on it, then it better be worth it!  No more imposter imports for this girl. Lesson learned.  

 

Whistle While You Whine

In an attempt to rid our home of kids with overwhelming entitlement disease, I have recently turned to the advice of parenting books, scriptures, white hairs… You name it! My husband and I realize that we have ruined our kids somewhere along the road. Most likely between the Xbox and the iPhone5 but right before the car. In a quest to raise them to be proper, upstanding, intelligent, Godly individuals, we missed the turn that would’ve instilled the deep seeded work ethic. Don’t get me wrong – you put my son on a football field or in a classroom and you will see work ethic defined. You ask him to unload the dishwasher later that same evening and you will know the definition of disdain and repulsion. Our kids genuinely don’t believe they should be required to contribute to the workings of our household one iota.
When we were kids we had Saturday morning chores, everyone did. Cartoons didn’t even come on until later in the morning because no one was there to watch them… We were all busy working BEFORE we could earn TV privileges. Not to mention, you had better do your jobs right the first time or else!
How did we end up here? Asking our children if they would pretty please do us a favor and maybe when they have time take the trash out?? And if they refuse or forget? We just do it ourselves and move on with no consequences. So where do we go from here? Life would be much easier if we just continued on the same path we’ve been traveling. The trouble with that is the price society would have to pay when my kids are unleashed on the world. In a few years they will be out on their own completely unprepared to deal with the realities of a world that doesn’t respect their entitlement “issues”. I don’t want my kids to only look out for themselves or worse, expect others to always be looking out for them. So I am taking up the fight even when I’m tired… I will let them think I’m the bad guy. My daughter actually told me a while back that when she’s a mom she’s going to be a good mom because she’ll pick up for her kids and do all the work. We’ll see about that!! She’s seven years old, I still have a chance to show her where we went wrong (I pray). I want to be a better mom than I have been because I want to prepare them for their futures in a world that doesn’t really care about their needs. Can I teach my kids that hard work and dedication pays off? I’m going to do my best…