Today I turn 43. Because I’m not really a cake fan and can’t fit 43 candles on a slice of pie without seriously messing that baby up, I’ve come up with a birthday alternative.
Many people ask about the blogger behind the blog. While I don’t generally like to talk about myself too much (I mostly do it to fill air space), I thought today I would let you all get to know me and mine a little bit better.
Since reading 43 relatively useless facts about me could get rather boring around number 12, and because my 43 years of highs and lows could prove a learning experience to some of you younglings, I’m listing 43 things that you can apply to life in general. This could either be really fun, or really twisted and lame. Either way, let’s launch this bad boy.
43 Things About Me and 43 Life Applications for You
- I eat the crusts on my sandwich first, because I never liked the dry wheaty crusts as a kid. Life app: save the best for last…or follow Mark Twain’s advice and eat the “frog” first so everything else tastes good in comparison.
- I sometimes eat my favorite things first, because if I save the best for last, it will be cold and not as good, or I might not have room for it, or I might choke on the “frog” and die before I can get to my favorite thing. Life app: be flexible about your life apps.
- When I was younger, as in 40, I saw two sleds near some carpeted stairs which ended at a doorway, and I figured that one of my kids would think indoor sledding was a brilliant idea, so I tested the indoor stair sledding idea to see how brilliant it really was. Yee haa! Bad idea. Ironically, when my kids heard me scream and found me at the bottom of the stairs, they said, “Did you really think that was a good idea?” Life app: not everything that looks like a good idea really is, although…that idea could have been brilliant if I had opened the door. That one needs a do over!
- I am a recovering hypochondriac. Life app: don’t waste your life worrying about losing your life, because if that’s how you’re living, your life is already lost.
- I have bad gums. Life app: floss.
- I used to want to be one of 12 children. I even tried to get a group of kids at church to pretend we were the Gilbreth family from the book Cheaper by the Dozen, but they said, “That’s weird.” So I went out and made my own Cheaper by the…Eight. Life app: be who you want to be within God’s guidelines, even if it’s weird. Keep that life app within reason. For example, resist your kleptomaniac tendencies.
- I am painfully shy, but I have worked hard since around 16 to not act on it. It is still a daily challenge for me, but I conquer it by thinking of the other person instead of my own discomfort. Life app: shyness is one of the highest forms of selfishness, so stop looking inward and think of others’ needs instead of your own fears. (That life app was from my Grandma. Thanks, Grandma!)
- I am a lot like my grandma. Life app: look at the people who come before you and learn from their experiences. It’ll save you time. Also, don’t forget to thank them.
- I work hard at not being hurt by the absence of a father in my life, cuz even at 43, a girl needs a daddy. Life app: if you have a dad, however imperfect, appreciate him! If you are a dad, connect with your kids no matter how old they are. And if you don’t have a dad in your life, forgive.
- I am paralyzed by clutter and busyness. It affects my mood, my productivity, my very existence. If it is in my control to get rid of clutter and keep a simple schedule, I do it, as evidenced by the trail of donations we leave around the country. If it isn’t, I live in a state of perpetual frustration, inefficiency, and self-beratement. Life app: simplify and declutter!
- My non-grammar-related pet peeve is people who ignore other people and instead stare at their cell phones. Life app: make eye contact.
- I don’t think people who try to act cool are cool, and neither do my daughters. Life app: be yourself…especially if you’re trying to impress my girls.
- I love popcorn, and so do my kids. We didn’t eat it for two years, however, because our oldest daughter can’t have it. Life app: put people first…even ahead of food. I almost can’t believe I said that.
- I have low blood sugar and need to eat often or I get strangely sick and cranky…heavy on the cranky. Life app: know your body, manage your conditions so they don’t manage you, and don’t use them as an excuse to be rude to the people around you. Also, if you see me at a potluck, let me go first. Ha ha…except I’m not joking.
- I started being afraid of growing old at around age eight. Life app: embrace life every step of the way.
- I always wanted to live on a horse farm, but I left the family farm, went to college, joined the choir, met my husband, and now I’m the wife of a traveling musician. That’s totally awesome, even though it’s not what I thought I wanted. Life app: be open to new awesomenesses…like that word I just made up. Here’s another life app: if you have a dream, pursue it–don’t just wait for it.
- I’m totally a homebody, but we live on the road full-time. Life app: be adaptable.
- I used to have my whole family on a strict diet for intestinal health, since one of my daughters has Crohn’s Disease. My plan was to eat whatever I wanted when I hit 90. Then my grandmother said, “I love eating, which is such a blessing at 86. My mother lost interest in food, but I still enjoy it.” Life app: why wait? Be happy now. (Of course, we still have to manage the dietary issues, so don’t think “happy” means whatever we want it to mean.)
- I like cherry soup. People tell me I’m weird. Life app: if you make something that you love and that everyone else thinks is weird (like my famous fried peanut butter and jelly eggs), that only means there’s more for you, so embrace your weirdness.
- I don’t drink coffee, because caffeine makes me talk really, really fast and think even faster, but in an oddly unproductive manner. It’s scary. Life app: don’t caffeinate me.
- When I was a kid I totally wanted a Whatchamacallit candy bar. One day someone gave me one. I was so excited that I saved it for months waiting for just the right moment to eat it. My dog’s right moment occurred before mine, and he ate it. I’ve never tasted a Whatchamacallit. Life app: enjoy the Whatchamacallits of life today and stop saving them for just the right moment.
- I always wanted an electric racetrack like my brothers had. One Christmas my husband got me one, but I was so tired from staying up too late wrapping Christmas presents that I fell asleep on the couch after the gift opening. My husband set up the track, played with it, left it there, and someone stepped on it and broke it. I kept it for several years, thinking I would repair it (stop laughing, brothers and husband), until a wiser me tossed it. Two life apps here: read my book about not driving yourself into a sleep-deprived stupor at Christmas (or any time), and don’t hold onto grudges and broken race tracks. Also, don’t play with other people’s Christmas presents.
- I wake up in the middle of the night panicking about my parenting. That only serves to rob me of my sleep and make me a tired, panicked, less useful mother. Life app: do the best you can, turn it over to God, and get a good night’s sleep. Your children will someday be imperfect parents themselves, and either they will understand you better, or they will think they’re far superior to you as parents, in which case you can quietly laugh at them, knowing how little they really know.
- Someone in college made me very self-conscious about my crooked teeth, which made me stop smiling, which made me less attractive. Life app taken straight from the 1982 film Little Orphan Annie: “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” Just smile. Who cares about the crooked teeth!
- My then six-year-old son sold his cowboy hat at a garage sale for $2 because “It doesn’t fit, Mama, so I don’t want it anymore. It’s just gonna sit around and take up space.” I used to waste time wishing I had his hat back and replaying the garage sale in my mind. Also, I’m a recovering pack rat. Life app: listen to the wise boy who is doing what you taught him to do–get rid of clutter. Also, get the boy a hat that fits for his birthday.
- I used to ride my horse standing up when nobody was looking. Life app: don’t be stupid when nobody’s looking. Always have someone around when you’re being stupid, so they can 1) run and get help when you fall off, 2) tell you how stupid you are…in case you didn’t already know, and 3) take pictures.
- When my seventh baby was colicky, I gave up milk, eggs, wheat, and a whole host of other foods. The pediatrician said I should just put her on formula, because nobody would stick to that diet. I stuck to it for almost two years, and I’m currently on a total elimination diet for my eighth child. I tried to do this for myself in the past, but I never could. Doing it for them, however, I am driven. Life app: Find your motivation; it helps if your motivation is cute and smells milky sweet.
- When I was in kindergarten, I stood up while the schoolbus was in motion, lost my balance, fell down the front stairs and hit the door. The driver said, “That wouldn’t have happened if you had stayed seated while the bus was moving,” and I said, “That wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t driving too fast.” Life apps–there are three of them: 1) be accountable for your own actions, 2) don’t stand up while the bus is moving, and 3) perhaps most importantly for the preservation of life, don’t be smarmy to a beefy man named Wild Bill who has to put up with 60 disrespectful kids every day–yeah, that’s a good one.
- Some people start off really cute, then hit a geeky phase, and finally emerge from it graceful and well-composed. I seem to be stuck in the geeky time warp. Life app: embrace your inner geek…and your glasses and your frizzy hair and your high waters…or get contacts and hair cream and longer pants, but that’s kinda boring and expensive.
- I have a severe doctor/dentist phobia. Life app: if you know somebody with a doctor/dentist phobia, go with them. If it’s a spouse, schedule the appointments for them.
- I pick my battles. For example, sometimes during my my husband’s concerts, our daughter sings in bare feet and a tiara, because it makes her happy and that’s not the hill I want to die on. Life apps: pick your battles and swap the shoes for a tiara if it makes you smile.
- I battle negativity. I have several people in my life who also tend toward the negative, while I have found others who are positive, loving, and encouraging. The difference in how my family feels when we spend time with the negative, critical people versus the loving, encouraging people is unfathomable! Life app: be encouraging…but not an empty flatterer.
- When we go someplace where there are huge crowds, we all wear matching hats so we can easily keep track of each other. Life app: if you go someplace where there are huge crowds, wear matching hats so you can easily keep track of each other.
- I don’t like labels. Even though I would technically be considered a baby-wearing, eclectic homeschooling, attachment parenting, extended nursing, semi-real foodie, full-time RVing conservative evangelical Christian missionary blogger and freelance writer, if I saw that label on someone, I would freak out and run away. Freak out! I’m just a person who does that stuff to a manageable degree because it works for my life. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to eat a hot dog with you or that I wouldn’t hang out with you because you use a stroller and I have children hanging off all my limbs. Life app: don’t label people or yourself. It’s scary.
- I don’t use God-speak. I’m a Christian through-and-through, but when I hear God-speak, it scares me away. I can’t imagine what a non-Christian would feel like if I God-speaked ’em. Life app: be yourself. You’re far more likely to win people for Christ if they can see that we Christians are real people, too…and that we speak English.
- Sometimes I say lame or embarrassing things, and then I lie awake at night replaying the whole affair in my mind. Life app: don’t say lame or embarrassing things. Realistic life app: don’t sweat it. Everyone is lame and embarrassing sometimes. That’s merely a symptom of the incurable condition called “life,” and when you consider the alternative, which is not-life, life’s not all that bad.
- I have trouble following through on projects. For example, right about now I’m considering pretending I’m only 37, just so I don’t have to think of six more things to say about myself. Life app: don’t bite off more than you can chew. Learn your limitations and heed them.
- When I was a teen, it was like social death for your underwear band or your bra strap to show. Sometimes I start to approach young ladies to let them know that they forgot their shirt, just in case they didn’t know, or to offer to buy young men a belt to avoid that embarrassing pants-below-the-butt look in the future, but my children tell me I will be shot. Life app: sometimes our children know more than we do, so don’t be too proud to learn from them.
- Almost every time I pre-judge people, I eat crow. Life app: don’t pre-judge people…or else develop a liking for crow.
- I sometimes think my husband should have married someone who could sing better than I can, so he’d have a built-in background vocalist and duetist…rather than someone who makes up words like duetist, but get this–he’s happy with me despite my vocal nuances. Life app: don’t stress over what you’re not. Be what you are and be the best
word-maker-upperyou that you can be…unless you’re an idiot, in which case, you should read Proverbs.
- People at our concerts call me amazing because of our lifestyle. I’m not amazing. I’m an ordinary person serving an extraordinary God in out-of-the-ordinary ways, but that is all. Without Him, I’m nothing. Life app: be something–serve God.
- I’ve lost friends for sticking up for unborn children. Life app: do the right thing no matter what.
- I like chocolate, but it gives me…ahem…gas. So…sniff sniff…I don’t eat it. Life app: make sacrifices for the comfort of your family…but keep a chocolate stash in your undie drawer for when you’re home alone. (Those were tear sniffs, not whiff sniffs.)
There you go–43 useless facts about me, and 43 potentially useless life apps for you. It’s not as good as pie, but it’ll do.