Normal I Am

I've been called a lot of things in my life, but one that strikes me as kind of funny is when I'm called...


Because I don't tend to view myself as normal. At all.

In fact, I feel a lot of pressure at times because I feel like I'm not living up to what normal should be. Exactly who gets to decided what normal is, I'm not sure. But I've never felt like I quite fit into that mold.

I still don't know if normal is the right word, but I'm beginning to believe that my life is pretty indicative of the truth that lies behind a lot of doors. And I'm coming to realize that the perception of perfection is one that is just that...a perception. That we tend to struggle with putting our best faces forward, with coming off as having it all figured out, and with having life figured out.

I struggled with issues of authenticity a few months ago. Specifically related to the blog world. I'm not going to rehash all I hashed out then, but I did make a promise to myself after that season. I promised that I would keep it real. Because to pretend that I don't have koolaide stains all over my living room carpet is lieing to you. Truth is....not only are there stains, but I haven't even bothered to dig out the Resolve to try and get them out. Just keepin' it real.

So back to normal.

If koolaide stains are normal, then normal I am.

If not really caring about the processed cheese out of a blue box with a big orange dinosaur on the front that I feed my children is normal, then normal I am.

If spending too much money on really cute orange wedgey shoes only for them to rub blisters all over my feet is normal, then normal I am.

If leaving half empty bottles of antibiotic in the fridge because I forget to give the boys their meds once they start "feeling better" is normal, then normal I am.

If digging out the beach towels for the family to use as bath towels because every.single.bath.towel.we.own. is dirty is normal, then normal I am.

If reading blogs instead of washing bath towels is normal, then normal I am.

If feeding the children cereal for dinner because I don't want to stop reading blogs is normal, then normal I am.

If forgetting to reapply sunscreen on the red head at the pool because I'm too busy chatting with my friends is normal, then normal I am.

If I sometimes wish the husband would go fishing with his buddies just so that I can watch what I want to on tv and have some alone time is normal, then normal I am.

If I'm actually looking forward to sending the kids to their grandparents for a few days just so that I can have a break is normal, then normal I am.

If I don't change the sheets on the beds as often as Martha Stewart says I should is normal, then normal I am.

If hating to clean toilets is normal, then normal I am.

If being guilty of hitting the snooze button through my alone time with Jesus is normal, then normal I am.

If knowing that sun is bad for my skin but am vain enough that I tan anyway just for the sake of tanning is normal, then normal I am.

If not answering the phone just because I don't feel like talking is normal, then normal I am.

If not planting flowers in the pots on my sidewalk just because I don't feel like it and know that they will die anyway is normal, then normal I am.

If only buying apples, bananas, and potatoes out of the produce section is normal, then normal I am.

One thing in my quest for authenticity was to stop trying to pretend like I had it altogether. I don't. My house is usually messy. My laundry is usually not caught up. I spend way too much time on the computer. I am an impulse shopper. I hire the television as a babysitter more often than not. I hate to take my kids outside to play because I hate bugs and weeds. I have cellulite. There is garbage in my yard on most days because my dog gets in our trash at least once a week. I run my car out of gas. I bite my nails. And there is a spiderweb in the corner of my dining room that has been there for a month.

I'm happier since I've come to terms with admitting that I don't have it all figured out. I envy those of you that truly do. And pray for those of you that still feel like pretense is key.

And about normal...I guess, the more I think about it...we're all pretty normal.

Because I don't really think normal hinges on whether asparagus bundles or mac-n-cheese is served at dinner. Or whether we homeschool or public school. Or whether we devote our days to mops and brooms or books and blogs.

For I think if loving our Jesus more than anything, adoring our husbands more than life, and holding our children as precious treasures is normal, then normal we are.


Andrea said...

I've been reading your blog for the past few weeks. I think we may have been twins separated at birth. There are so many times I read (the funny & not funny) what you wrote and think, "Oh, me too."

Some of the *normal* things are different for us, but very much the same in spirit. I struggle with the feeling of being *not enough*. Maybe I should blog about that.

And why doesn't that laundry wash & fold itself??!!

Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer said...

Don't you know "Everyone's Normal until you get to know them" I think that's the name of one of John Ortberg's books. I always thought it would make a good small group book...since our small group has such a broad range of personalities. But we're all NORMAL aren't we!

Jennifer said...

Ok sister...I have been spending alot of time with you lately and have realized in doing so that I AM NORMAL!! Almost all of the things you listed could be my own words!! I was (am) one of the ones that felt like I had to pretend to have it all together when everything was actually coming unhinged. Hanging with you (and Steph) has taught me to be myself and I actually like myself...my "normal" self!!

I appreciate your honesty!!
You are the most awesomest "normal" person on the face of the earth and I heart you bunches!!!

buscher3 said...

Good ending!! And what is normal anyway? Even the strangest, freakiest person in the world things that they're normal. The normal is a standard formulated in each individual's mind...nothing more.

Elizabeth said...

I love, love, LOVE this post! Not only is it well-written, it shows how fun and real you are. I think all of us can relate to you in some way. All of those "normal" things are things most of us think all the time and just don't say out loud.

I have to tell you-for our community group we are reading a book by John Ortberg called "Everybody's Normal 'Til You Get to Know Them." It is fabulous, and talks about so many of the things you mentioned: authenticity, pretense, etc. I know you would love it if you haven't already read it.

I didn't know you when you wrote about authenticity so I need to go back and read those posts. Now I'll have something to do on the beach! Too bad you aren't going b/c I'm sure we'd have lots to talk about:)

Mich said...

Amen sister! Since of course you really are my sister and we are in some ways alike...actually I'm beginning to think we are a lot alike!

I like the beach towel line...

Love you.

Oh, as for the comment you left me, and the song...guess it is another sister thing!

Kendra said...

Cheers to being normal. If that's normal, then I are, too!

lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

Preach on, sis-tah!!

I have done, am in the process of doing and/or will do again everything on your list...plus my dog poops all over my house and sometimes it stays there until it's dry and crusty. How's that for keepin' it real?!

Oh, and while I didn't buy orange-wedgy, blister-inducing shoes I did buy pink plaid espadrilles that rub blisters. And dog-gone it I wear them anyway 'cuz I look good in 'em! :)

Jessica said...

I heart you girl. You made my day by posting this blog. Sometimes I just don't feel like I'm doing a good enough job at all my jobs (hence my blog), but it helps to know there's someone out there who doesn't have it all together, either.

And I personally happen to love the blue box. Especially with cut up hot dogs in it.

Sarah Dawn said...

Oh, if only more women were 'normal" loving Jesus more than anything, adoring our husbands, and holding our children as precious treasures. But then again, we're called to be in the world, not of it.

Enjoying a 'normal' life,
Sarah Dawn

Tiffani said...

oh wow.

you've got a lotta wordy comments so I'll try to keep it short.

I Love-ity Love that you are so real and "normal". I love knowing that if you came to my house I wouldn't have to clean it :)

We could eat blue mac/cheese and fish sticks for dinner (or fruity pebbles b/c I know how lurve them).

You are real and very real to my heart!! MUAH!

Aaron said...

Is it normal for a whole group of people to get the church giggles all at once?

oh, and thanks for coming clean about the antibiotics...


Cathy said...

...I guess I'm normal too...kindred spirit.

I read through your "list" and said a mental "check" next to each one. Even the biting of the nails, and the cereal, and the hitting snooze, and not answering my phone, and...well you get my drift...

I heart you. And I can.not.wait.to meet you.

Jim said...

Mom and I chuckled through your blog last night. It is our "perception" as "relatives" that "normalcy" is inherited, and as it is our heritage and your legacy, we applaud you in your realizing of it, your "ap-parent" success within it, your obvious enjoyment of life within its stated priorities of LORD, MATE AND TREASURES, the joy shared by your rascals (young and old), and the pleasure given to all of your "blogalicious" sisters (see, I can even invent words). What can I say more? We love you for who you are! Let me count the ways - NO, I CANNOT, FOR THIS COMMENT SITE CANNOT CONTAIN THE WORDS.

We love YOU being YOU!
You and MICH bring us more joy than we can describe.
Your biggest fan,

Carpoolqueen said...

I just measured the cobweb that I have in the corner by my desk. 9"x6", baby.

Yeah, pretty much normal here, too.

Lindsay said...

Wonderfully refreshing post, Amber.

mimi said...

You are my kind of normal....I love it!

I will admit...I've let myself get discouraged by reading about some "perfect" moms. I am so not that mom. I am me....and I like me...abnormalities and all. And I like you too....a lot!! More and more each day actually :)

Nina Diane said...

yeah.....I'm normal too.

Corey said...

Many of those things are all too frequent happenings at our house too! Oh well...we are all works in progress aren't we?!?! :)

If we were already perfect, what would our motivation be to strive higher??? Ya gotta have something to wake up for, ya know?

Michele said...

I could just give you a big hug!! You are preciously normal, and this has to be one of my most favorite blog posts I've EVER read!! Thank you for being real . . . and not being afraid to do so!

Since we have moved into our new neighborhood(which I will be posting on soon) I am bound and determined to stay true to who I am - which is normal!! In my determination I have found freedom to truly be who I am. So . . . I totally get you on this!!

Gretchen said...

My friend. This is my favorite post of yours yet.

Lurve you. Can't wait to meet you. And as one of our friends texted to me one day when I was feeling less than, I shall now pass forth to you:

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

Ginger@From The Cocoon said...

Sounds like I'm normal too ;)

I cannot tell you how many times we've used the cute striped beach towels at bath time around our house...

...and I'm so looking forward to hubby going to AT with the guard because I get the TV for 2 whole weeks!!

Yeah...we're all pretty normal...

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

I could relate to SO MANY of the things you wrote about in this post:)

Normal you are girl!