faith, God, humor, Jesus, spirituality, writing

Camp Honesty

I just got back from a weekend of camping. I’d like to say that it was a time of amazing family bonding. Of great talks under the stars and walks along the river where we pushed ourselves a bit more than we normally would, cheering each other on to be our best selves in matching tee shirts.

And it was. Minus the matching tee shirt part. Though if we did have matching shirts, it would be these.

But it was also a lot of last minute rushing (despite all my prepping and shopping runs) to get to our destination. Some ingredients for much anticipated recipes were left behind. Shrimp that was supposed to go into Saturday’s gumbo was left on the counter overnight by a certain teenager who saw the brown wrapping paper as being trash instead of hosting potential stomach seizing bacteria. And the trash in the camper?! The bodies bumping into each other at 2am to cross the road to find the bathroom?! This kind of experience can only be described as a five part Oy: Oy Oy Oy Oy Oy!

Half of me wants to just get more organized for next trip. You know, shop a few days in advance. Perhaps I could use paper plates or we could pre-pack the trailer with items that we’ll always need, instead of arriving at a campsight with four cans of black beans but no can opener.

I don’t have any illusions that the great outdoors is going to be easy. Nope, stuff takes work and, as much as I’d love to own something like the camper below, I don’t. And that’s okay.

But I know, deep in my gut, I’m not an outdoors work-til-I-drop person. I’m a hotel lady. I’m a lover of conversations and coffee, not black tea and neighbors in the adjoining campsite snoring while I desperately try to climb over my spouse cowboy style on the way to a midnight pee run.

My goal, as you all know, is to laugh and keep things light. But I also didn’t get sober to just deal with things that aren’t working for me. Like that car full of used clothing I dumped on Friday, I’m ready to dump old ideas of what my life needs to look like. And guess what: If everyone in my family loves camping, but I’m not so sure, it’s okay for me to have a simple conversation. “Hey, I thought I wanted to do this, but I don’t love it. How can we do it differently next time?” Or, here’s a perfectly acceptable conversational starter also, “If we can’t leave the shoes outside the camper, I can’t continue to camp. It’s too dirty for me.”

I bring this up because people, especially women, often have a hard time saying when things don’t work for them. (Thanks, Shauna Niequest, for reminding me of this concept!)

At almost 50, I’m ready to change that dynamic around. Happiness never comes from me doing things I think other people want. It only comes when I stand in my own truth and admit exactly where I’m at any given time.

My needs matter. Wow, what a concept!

This Sunday night, I thank God for his beautiful gift of nature. I thank him for a family that has always been by my side, through the amazing adventures and the sticky muddy camper ones. And I also thank God for the burgeoning truth that my happiness does not depend on other people agreeing with my feelings. It only matters that I express myself and let God handle the outcome.

Join Me in a Private Facebook Group!

If talking more personally sounds interesting to you, hit me up on Facebook! I’ll be happy to add you. Find me at the group @HappilyTickedOff (not to be confused with my Facebook Page, @HappilyTickedOff.)

Also stay tuned: I do have a few very nice items that I’m going to run a giveaway at my Happily Ticked Off Facebook group on.

Leave a Comment and Join Me on Facebook! (It’ll be fun to get to you know on a more personal, private forum!)

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. )

(Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook.

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The Big Stuff… Don’t Miss It.

Hello blog world! It’s been about a month since we last connected. I’m not sure what you’ve been up to (would love to hear) but I’ve been up to a whole lot of everything. I’d get into the specifics for kicks and giggles, but really, they’re not that important. Let’s just say that the amount of things on my to-do list is equivalent to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I’m a Master at Being Super Human

I try to get as much done as I can, and some days I succeed in checking off every single item, but most days, I’m more like the tourist in front of that rickety structure, just marveling at the wonky design and hoping I don’t get flattened like a pancake.

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Maybe if I put lights on my to-do list, the way that Italian masterpiece is illuminated at night, the hum drum of my daily life would feel more exotic.

“Hey, check out the dog getting washed in the strobe light in the 1950’s crap tub. Now that’s sexy.”

When my dog gets a bath on a Saturday, but I don’t, I know I’m doing too much. I want to stop, but like a tube of Trader Joe gluten free Joe Joe’s, sometimes I just can’t help myself. Busyness, and cream filled cookies, are addictive. In the moment it feels amazing, but the next day, you have nothing to show for it but a bunch of guilt and a massive hangover.

Shauna Niequest has a new book about this. It’s called Present over Perfect

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I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve read some of her other stuff. She’s kind of a genius at reminding us that, as women, we simply can’t be amazing at everything. Not unlike Brene Brown’s manifestos on shame research, Shauna is one of those writers that make you feel better for being human. She, like many of us, are in transition from being a human doer to a human being.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep up with the doing anymore. I want to work and market my book and love on my family and cook gluten free tacos from scratch while my kids hand paint pumpkins while listening to opera. But in reality, I have no idea what’s for dinner, I’m not sure if my son is preparing for a huge test or frying his brain on video games,  and my daughter is reading Wonder for the fourth time because her mom still hasn’t gotten off her tush to take her to the library for a new series.

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And guess what? That’s okay. Why? Because while I can’t do it all, I’m learning to be happy with what I can do. And it’s a lot.

Our house is decorated for Halloween. (Granted, the laundry is scary, but everything looks better with 99 Cent Story skulls and 1970’s painted pheasants.)

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My kids like school this year and, so far, they still like each other. (Though they spend less time in the same space now that my son is a giant and has to lean down to talk to his tiny sibling only 18 months apart.)

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The cake you see my daughter holding – she made it this weekend. It’s a double decker angel food cake with handmade orange frosting. I gained ten pounds thanks to her, but it was worth it. My point – she had joy despite a kitchen that would make Martha Stewart vomit. Like Niequest’s book, the kid was present over perfect. sss

I love my job at the Middle School. Yesterday, in fact, I ran into one of my students at Trader Joes. He’s a big, sweet dude with Down Syndrome, and when we saw each other in between the pumpkin spice coffee and the Chia Bars, we ran to each other as if in slow motion. It was hard not to smile. He looks like Fred Flintstone when he runs – feet splayed forward and arms shaking as if waving a giant drum stick.

“Mrs. Frazer!” he yelled.

“Sebastian!” I shrieked with delight.

We hugged and laughed and repeated it again at 8:30 this morning when he saw me after home room.

“Mrs. Fraaaazer!” he barked. “I SAW YOU AT TRADER JOES!

“I knowwww!” I responded, equally tickled.

A few months ago I couldn’t have predicted this kind of magic, but there it was – flickering as brightly as a candle in my Halloween lanterns.

What if right now… with my over crowded house and the renter and the pitbull and the small paycheck and the non-sexy but so wonderful job… what if this very unperfect moment is the BIG THING! What if the laundry and the house cleaning and the bill paying are the  BIG THING. What if tomorrow’s trash day is the BIG THING!

What if not screaming at my son for forgetting to take those cans to the curb for the gazillionth time is the big thing!

What if foregoing a night of writing that pilot script that’s going to take me away from my low paying gig (you know, the one I love and can’t stop raving about) and instead watching an episode of Once Upon a Time with my daughter instead is THE BIG THING!

I don’t want to miss it, folks. Not one second of it. Why? Because it’s BIG! And it’s chaotic at times. And it’s painful and beautiful and comical and depressing and absolutely hilarious in all of its bigness.

If you’re out there, wondering if “only I could get the tics to stop”or “if only I had some extra money” or “if only my husband could change”things would get better, may I make the suggestion that maybe, just maybe, you might miss out on the incredible growth that comes with your life exactly as it is right now? Your journey, people, it’s important.

It’s your story.

It’s your legacy.

It’s a BIG THING.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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