For the Love of Face Washing

My Mom is BEAUTIFUL, OK?  She’s absolutely stunning.  When I was a little girl I use to think she was Princess Diana. She looked so much like her and had all the same beautiful features. But of course, to me- my Mom was much much more beautiful then Princess Diana.  Even without the crown. Me? I would rather go play games in Anytime Fun’s gaming trailer. I’m a gamer, you know?

I remember as a girl watching her get ready for the day. I can still smell all the smells, hear the blow dryer, and see all the make up.  I never thought she needed it- she was perfect in my mind.  One time, we were headed to the mall to shop a little- she pulled out her blush and applied a fresh coat.  I must have been looking at her weird because she calmly and kindly said, “once you’re over 40, a little blush can go a long way.”  She snapped shut the blush and off we went.

Can I confess something? I’m well on my way to 40 and never wear make-up. Even in public. Please don’t tell my mother.  I’m sure I always look haggard and pale to her but the thing is- I just don’t care.  I still have make up that I wore on my wedding day. Make up that has lived in too many drawers to count.  Finally, just yesterday one of my friends’ daughters found it and started playing with it. I was so happy to hand it off and send it home with her.

Anyways- I’ve stopped wearing make-up almost completely.  I wish I could tell you it was because of some great cause or divine inspiration with the hope to inspire others- but the truth is- I just don’t have the time nor do I give one flying freckle what I look like.  There are so many other things on my mind that what my face looks like- has taken a complete back seat.  Scratch that- it hasn’t even taken a back seat- it’s been dropped off at the donation site and left behind.  It’s just not a part of my brain.  I’m struggling even writing this because it’s so not a thing.

This is why I was startled about how much it bothered me when my Mom started started posting things about this new skin care line, Roden + Fields, that claimed to take away her sun spots, wrinkles, and well- all the things I loved about her.  Why would she even WANT to get rid of that stuff?  And why, for the love of multi level marketing, is she posting it all over her facebook?? Ugh.  I knew eventually she would personally write me and want to tell me about it and can I just be honest? I kind of dreaded it.  I love my Mom, but how in the world was I suppose to say I don’t give a flying freckle about that stuff?

“No Mom, I like my sun spot, but thanks for noticing.”

“Actually, I like all those wrinkles and laugh lines too.”

“I really don’t even wear make-up let alone put cream on my face. ”

“Anti- aging? Should I know about what that means? Am I REALLY at that stage in my life?”

“Ok, fine Mom.  Truth? I haven’t washed my face in twenty years and I go out in public with sleep in my eyes and no make up on. Yes, you can remove me from the will. I understand.”

All these responses spun in my head for a week or so.  I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, she was really happy and this kind of thing is totally her thing!  I mean really- if I have questions about Organic anything, health, fitness, or even beauty- she’s my go to.  I skip all the “professional” books and suggestions and go straight to the source- Mom.  She’s a freaking walking encyclopedia for all this stuff.  Seriously.  It’s almost weird. But how was I suppose to say no thanks without making her feel….weird?  UGH!!  Being a daughter is hard ya’ll.

Finally…I got the message.  She messaged me some videos to watch and why she thinks the products are so great. In her message, she pointed out that in fact- this stuff worked and she was seeing less of her sun spots and freckles, and less wrinkles.  A few minutes after she sent the message someone posted a picture of her next to my brothers fiance’- and you couldn’t even tell the difference in age between them all.  Whatever voodoo magic this stuff works on you….works.  There she was, all young looking, fresh faced, beautiful, stunning, and stuff.  **whatever**

Sigh.  I still wasn’t interested though.  Because well, I’m me.  (I mean, if you buy Roden and Fields or whatever it’s called, you do you!!!  I mean really- Mom looks even more amazing then before, and I didn’t think it was possible.  I get it.  It’s all good). And because I’m me, I just really didn’t want to hurt her feelings but I also didn’t want hear about her getting all young looking and stuff.

Then I realized why.  I realized that those freckles, those sun spots- they are what made her my Mom.  I remember when she got some of them!  I remember studying them when she would read to me and I remember noticing that one year had been rough on her- there were a lot more wrinkles then before. I never ever thought she ever needed help beauty wise.  She was perfect, and she should know it!! I toiled with that to say to my gorgeous Mom.

After some time thinking, I responded- and I wrote her this big long thing about how I love her imperfections and I’ll miss them.  I told her I remember her getting them and those are what make her, her.  I told her I liked my spots and earned every one of them.  I told her how empowering it would be if more women just liked the way they looked. I told her she doesn’t need creams and make-up and the suns kisses on her skin only add to her beauty.  I proudly hit, “send” and went to scroll around my FB while I anxiously awaited her response.

That’s when I saw something I never, ever, ever thought I would ever see.  There- on FB for all the world to see- was a picture of my Mom without any make up on.  None. Zero. She hadn’t even done her hair!!!!!  That was the Mom I LOVED seeing, but few saw.  You have to realize this is a big deal- when she was in her 40’s she wouldn’t even go to the mall without a fresh coast of blush. And here she is, aged and older- plastering her beautiful face all over the internets!!!  My jaw dropped and in my head I said, “Ohhhh guuuuuuuuurl. No she didn’t!”  Yup, she did.

I immediately thought of the FB message I sent her and my, “oh guuuurl,” change to, “can I delete that??  Has she seen it? CRAP.”  I opened it up, and she had already read it.  Double crap.  Crap crap crap.

As is typical with my Mom she handled my long winded rejection very well and graciously.  She didn’t let her rebellious, non showered daughter bring her down.  She didn’t feel threatened by my unwashed face and “too good for creams” attitude. Sigh.  Mothers, thank goodness they are so forgiving!

So here I am- openly saying that my Mom looks a decade younger then me because she freaking washes her face and I don’t wash mine.  Will I change? Probably not.  But she looks as good as she did a million years ago (yeah, she’s really that old) and I look well…like I don’t wash my face. Ever.

Thankfully there’s room in this world for the non face washers like me, and the religious face washers like my Mom.  And thankfully, in Gods eyes- we are beautiful with or without said facewashing.  Am I right?!

So be you. Wash that face.  Or don’t.  Wear that make up, or your kids breakfast.  Whatever. Just be content- and love you.  Because you’re beautiful, ok???


Being A Soldiers Wife

An identified U.S. Army personnel wears a hand lettered "War Is Hell" slogan on his helmet, June 18, 1965, during the Vietnam War. He was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion on defense duty at Phouc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

This is going to be an extremely personal blog. One I’m terrified to share, but I need to. It’s healing to share and to get this out in the open.

Almost seven years ago my husband deployed to Iraq. It was June 6th, or 7th I believe, of 2007. That was the last time I really ever saw him again. The picture, shown above, is the last time that man ever held our son. That was quite literally seconds before he disappeared on one of the many white buses that took him away to battle. I thought I would only have to survive a year without him, but seven years later I’m here and he’s not. No- he wasn’t killed in action, and no he wasn’t injured physically. But he was taken. The very man that my husband was disappeared that day and who he was upon homecoming was a complete mystery to me.

It’s taken many years to see the toll that war has taken on my husband, but the further away we get from it the more evident the scars and wounds become. The brilliant man that never forgot a thing all of the sudden can’t remember to brush his teeth in the morning. It’s become second nature to remind him on his way out the door. Almost everytime I ask, he rushes to the bathroom. This is the very same man that, before war, brushed and flossed religiously. He was so uptight about his oral hygiene his Mom even send floss in his care packages. She sent so much floss, we used up the last one just last year. Now though, I remind him to brush his teeth.

The man that was awake and cheerful at 4:30 am now rolls out of bed just to sit on the chair for an hour- and usually he falls asleep holding his coffee and it spills all over the carpet. There is a permanent stain from all the reoccurring spills.

The emotional, not afraid to cry husband is now someone that just blinks over and over again when faced with an emotion. No tears, no words, just blinking. Sometimes I wait for over an hour to get a response out of him, but usually there is no response.

The Dad I expected my kids to have, he died a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a wonderful father and loves his kids but the Dad he was before war was different. I find I grieve the loss of those traits more then any other. I miss the man that taught Sunday School and had all the kids at church looking up to him. I miss the silly side of him that made any child giggle. I miss the passion he had for Jesus. I’m sure it’s in him somewhere, but I miss seeing it.

The first month my husband deployed I had a dream over and over again that I couldn’t find him. I would call and call and he wouldn’t answer his phone. I would look, I would drive around and he was nowhere. Sometimes the dreams were nightmarish, and sometimes they were just weird- but I always woke up in a sweat. Seven years later I still have those dreams, but they are almost always nightmares. He never dies, but I can’t ever find him. He’s gone. In these dreams I’m desperately searching for him, begging whoever knows him to remind him of the kids and I. I have these dreams almost weekly and most of the time it takes an entire day to recover. I don’t think I’ll ever get use to them.

We always hear about the trauma soldiers face and see the dramatic ways in which they try to cope- drinking, drugs, and sadly suicide. But we rarely hear about the small ways these soldiers change and how the loss of who they were can feel a death. We never hear about how the soldier that read his bible everyday and couldn’t ever stop reading it now hardly picks it up. We don’t hear about how these men can’t enter a room without looking above for snipers. We don’t hear about how all these subtle changes effect the wives, and children. We don’t hear about the ones that are good at suppressing their trauma. We don’t hear about the soldiers that function relatively well to the untrained eye, but to the wife and kids it’s like a dam about to burst. Water leaks from the cracks and you take a deep breath in to prepare, only years go by like this because these soldiers are strong. But you know, eventually, the dam will break. You try to patch up all the leaks, you go to great lengths to do anything you can to keep the leader of your family together and in one piece. You love him and need him.

People that don’t understand war and the toll it takes on a person can’t possibly understand. Not one person can come home from war unscarred. There are wounds, some are easy to see and most are terribly difficult to see. But they are there. But you know, they are alive so you’re thankful. You’ll take the new husband because he has a beating heart and you adore him- even the new him. Then you’ll feel guilty for missing the man you married. You feel bad for complaining. You’ll wonder what he saw, what he experienced. You’ll wonder what it was that finally did it- what was it that took him? Was it the soldier that lost half his body? Was it the children that lost heads? Was it the seven friends that were ambushed and died? Was it cleaning up their bodies? Was it that he survived and they didn’t? Was it all the death? Was it the separation from love and life? Was it living in hell for almost three years? What? What or who took your husband?! You daydream about going to hell and bringing him back. You’re desperate.

All these thoughts and desires are futile so keep patching those leaks and holes. You pray, HARD. You love, unconditionally. You serve. You laugh despite it all and you both carry on- and relatively happy too! But then there are the moments you both can’t ignore the obvious- you see the damage and you mourn and weep together. Stupid stupid war. It’s evil. This hate for evil though is a common ground and because of the love you have for God and eachother you fight together against all the evil. Then there are glimmers of hope, of clarity and you think that perhaps he’s coming back. Doctors see what you see, HE see’s what you’ve seen all along and you praise God!!! NO more band aides, no more patching the leaks but real healing comes and the leaks stop. You slowly start to feel like you can exhale and the sun starts shining and peaking through the dark clouds. You take out that loan for the business you’ve always wanted to start. Before you know it, life abounds and grows and you see a glimmer of the man he was. He’s new too, but it’s still him. You want to finally leap into his arms and look in his eyes, is it really him?! How you’ve missed him! You put your hands on his cheeks and just stare to take him in…

This is what the past seven years has been like. But repeated over and over. Two steps forward, a few back…more forward…a few back…but progress is made and hope is restored. You rest on God and what you know- He restores all that is lost.

The passage that has been my pillar during this time has been Joel 2:24-26, “…The threshing floors will be full of grain, And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame.…”

Levi- I love you endlessly. The strength you’ve shown, and your fight to win against war melts my heart. You are my hero of all hero’s and I adore everything you are!


It’s Not Really About the Music


Here at YCCA Music, you’re going to learn that it’s really not about the music.  There’s actually no music at all. This was simply where I decided to start blogging about all things homeschooling, Mom, and family related. Like this blog is about war and deployment.  Or I might write about bouncy houses and parties because, life you know? You’re going to realize it’s a random blog.

It’s music that comes with starting your own business (seriously thank goodness for while homeschooling and grieving the loss of a brother. It’s the Music of life.  It’s the music we walk to everyday while we teach the kids.  It’s the music we hear when the house is silent and everyone is asleep.  It’s not what we would consider music right now-but it’s my favorite kind.

Some music is fast, some slow. Some is angry, some nice.  Today’s music-is a bit of a bang.  I’m going to start with a bang.  An open letter to those divorced.

An Open Letter to Children and Parents of Divorce

When I was four months old, my Mom and Dad divorced. This isn’t a pity party and I’m not looking for attention. I’ve long put off writing my thoughts out for fear that it would come across as dramatic. Fact of the matter is, seeing as how I was so young, I never knew better. I never knew life with my parents living under the same roof. I never saw them argue, and I never saw them work it out. I never saw them hug, and I never saw them kiss. I never saw my Mom so mad at my Dad she kicked him to the couch. I never heard the door slam after a heated argument. I never saw them agonize over a tough decision. I wish, though, that I would have and I’m ok saying that now.

I remember being in high school, and my Dad came to pick me up at my Moms house. He needed
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