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About Eric’s Wife

Some may say I am a "Stay at home Mom," but that is not even close. I am Eric's Wife. I have exhilarating strokes of genius, followed almost immediately by paralyzing pangs of self doubt and, for whatever reason, here is where I blog about it - warts and all. I serve a merciful God with a clumsy hand and at the end of each day I go to sleep thankful to be His servant and Eric's wife.

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The Corona Diaries

May 20, 2020

It’s not that I am cracking. I am well aware that other people are having their whole worlds turned upside down while I am over here with a world merely shaken. But, this is my blog and these are my feels. <Law and Order gong goes here>

The week before my family casually started quarantine, a family member had very generously and providentially sent me a grocery store gift card. On a hunch, I took it to the store and double/triple stocked up on everything. The sweet little clerks at the HEB laughed at my “end of the world” looking stock pile. Oh, how we laughed. So young we were back then; bare faced and care free.

Week one of my family’s quarantine began March 12. We had considered a quick trip for Spring Break, but decided to go ahead and take advantage of the cleared schedule to stay home. You know, do our part and flatten the curve.

By the next week, Eric’s office had closed down, sending all to work from home and eat the groceries in their home. I was in great shape. The kids’ school had extended Spring Break and I was going to take advantage of this small window to clean out the closets and dust the tops of all the spices in my spice cabinet. It. Was. Glorious. Just the rest and reset I needed.

In the third week, the school’s started back up again on the internet. It seemed easy. Almost too easy.

Week four was like the great numbing. Things were not normal, but it had gone on long enough to be habit. Eric stays home. Kids stay home. I stay home. We do not need groceries. We do not go to church. We. Stay. Home.

It was in the fifth week when we finally ran out of milk and sandwich bread. Not being aware of how the world had fully changed in five weeks, I naively headed out the door to my HEB. I had seen the news, but you just don’t know until you know, you know?

There’s a line to get in. People seem a little in a shocked haze. I did not yet own a mask and it was still considered a “no” from the Surgeon General. The man in line behind me held his gloved hand up to his ski masked chin and excitedly educated me about how asymptomatic people can carry the virus and that he was doing me the favor. His anxiety at having to be in a space with my unmasked face made me decide I should get a mask to make people feel better.

I get in to the store and am immediately jarred at the very low volume of shoppers, followed by the empty aisles of pasta, toilet paper, and bread. My list consisted only of milk, bread and toilet paper.

Checking out was another rattling experience. I hate to make problems for people and I sincerely try to follow rules. Those early days of shopping saw me getting “Ma’am”ed in not so nice tones many times. “Ma’am, please step on the sticker there and don’t stand anywhere else.” “Ma’am, please follow the arrows on the aisles.” “Ma’am, that’s not social distancing.” I went from an A+ student in socializing to a D- student in the new normal. It was a blow to my psyche.

When I got home from the store I told Eric, “You have no idea, Babe. It’s like a whole different world. In a month.”

The weeks melted into months, difference between days marked only by our Sunday morning church services, hosted by my Dad with three phones to connect 6 different households and five generations. I think being quarantined on the same property as my parents and having regular face time with them went a long way towards maintaining my sense of normal in my little bubble.

April did not fly by, but it did lumber by unnoticed as any different than January.

When the calendar turned to May, I was starting to do that thing Moms should never do and was taking mental notes of how I was doing all the things while my whole family just lounged around, blissfully unaware of the quiet, humble Cinderella who served them so stoically. It is no good for anybody when Moms do this, but it’s a common ditch for me to hit on blind curves.

(Eric was working his stressful tech job and the kids were doing schoolwork and swallowing whole the trauma of their entry to adulthood being set ablaze. I know they are not two dimensional characters in real life, but, again, my blog and my feels.)

One Saturday afternoon, I think it was a Saturday, it may have been a Tuesday, I hit my limit of being able to keep a lid on my inner self’s churning stew of selfishness, self righteousness, false piety, and narrow social grace. Not wanting to spew all over my little family as they lounged, I told them what I am sure many of you have said, “I’m going to Wal-Mart.”

In the Wal-Mart parking lot, I took a moment. I scrolled some social media pages on my phone, got mad at people for feeling differently than I do and just as strongly, and then deleted my social media for a pause. That felt a little better. I had been sitting there for almost an hour when I saw a man whose posture and how he carried himself reminded me of my Dad. I watched as he unloaded 8 big bottles of car oil into the back of his truck, being very careful to make them secure. Then, I watched as this man, who I was sure had all the moral fiber and character of my Dad, take his cart and push it into an empty parking spot.

Did he just do that? What kind of…? My Dad would never…!!! Someone should doooo something!!! He cannot get away with this!!

Before I could really think through what I had witnessed and what my responsibility was, I honked my horn at him. Suddenly, he was coming my way and we were going to have a chat. Oh no!!! What did I just do!!?? WHY AM I LIKE THIS!? What should I say!!??

“Were you trying to get my attention?” His face is not at all angry, just confused about why he’s being summoned by the frazzled blonde Mom in her SUV.

“I’m sorry. Um, uh. See, I am in a horrible mood and I saw you leave your cart out and I decided to take my bad mood out on you. That’s not fair to you. I’m really sorry about that.”

Still confused, but thankfully, not angry, he returns to his truck and leaves. I sit there for another moment, watch as the store clerk scurries to clear the cart, and decide I should just go home. No need taking my horn honking mood into a more public place than this parking lot.

We are now creeping up on the end of May and summer looms as three nearly empty months on the calendar. My posture is more resigned and I have gotten very skilled at grocery shopping with no need to be “Ma’am”ed into order. I have gotten good at hosting Zoom meetings, keeping social media to a minimum, and have tried to be still and look for God’s hand.

I don’t know how everybody else is holding up. I think that I am living in the best possible scenario a person could hope for in this situation and it is, still, just so ceaselessly exhausting. This is not a vacation. There is a happy electricity to the air when it’s vacation. The electricity in the air now is anxious, biting, and just so beige.

There’s no great conclusion to this blog post because this story is not over. I wanted to write this post to, hopefully, document the point in all of this when I decided to stop coasting on autopilot and live this quarantine life with intention and joy. I hope you all are well. I pray for all of you, I pray for Christ’s Bride, and I pray for me. This world needs less honking and more grace offering. If I have to land in a ditch, I pray it is grace.

Dating Advice for College Freshmen

May 19, 2020

If you’re an incoming college freshman girl, I bet this title got you all excited. It’s not click bait, friend. From my overwhelming wealth of experience when I, myself, was a college freshman girl and dating, I am going to offer the visage of my example. Clearly, I am a happily married woman now, so I was doing something right.

Now, the first thing you need to remember is to not appear desperate. Let’s say that it is your dream to one day get married and have children. If that’s you, you run the risk of looking thirsty when you lay that out as a personal life course for anyone to know about. Keep that information very tight lipped. A better choice is to spread the word that you are actually not interesting in dating at all. Say something spiritual like, “I’m just trying to get closer to God right now,” or something. People really admire that.

When you have well laid the understanding that you are not looking to date at all, you are free to make “friends” with every guy you meet. First, they love having your friendship and they respect you for not being easy. Second, all men are complicated and they like us to be puzzles they have to figure out. No mystery, no interest. (I hope you are taking notes or screenshots or whatever. This will all be very helpful.)

Because you have built a tower of “not dating” stacked on top of “just friends” stacked on top of “he’s like a brother”, it will take a guy who really loves you to fight his way to your window. If he can climb that tower, and a really good guy will at least try, all you have to do is wait for him to ask you on a date. NEVER ask him yourself. Men hate it when we take the lead. Remember, they need you to be mysterious and they like a challenge.

Once you are finally on that first date, you will quickly throw him off if you act like he is your only option. If he thinks that your attention for that period of time is fully on him, he will get confused. Clear things up for him by dropping the names of old boyfriends, dates, and current guys who are “just friends”. Knowing that you have a lot of guy friends will put him at ease, because he will know that you can communicate with the complicated male heart. Hearing about your ex-boyfriends will help him see the side of you that is perfect for the right guy and he’ll feel competitive to win your heart from your ex.

I cannot tell you what to do on the second date using my methods, because I rarely had one. Lots and lots of first dates. Not many second dates. I don’t think it was anything I did, it just wasn’t the right time. The advice is still pretty solid.

So, you know, do you. This concludes my dating advice for college freshman. Good luck to you all.

#1 Way to Elevate Your Message

May 18, 2020

I have been an avid internet user for nearly twenty years. If it’s gone viral, I have seen it. This kind of time investment makes me an expert about how to communicate in the online space, especially for Christians. People never ask my opinion on this, but I think we can all agree they should.

Here’s the thing, there are millions of people trying to be heard and you want to stand out. You want to be different. You want people to say, “Woah. she/he is not like other Christians/guys/girls/accountants/pastors.” Over the years I have seen one trick that seems tried and tried. I am not saying it works, I mean, I’ve never done it, but, I see it a lot and it gets the like,like,likes (lol. echoes.) Here’s the trick:

Swear.

“What!? That’s crazy!” I can hear you and I sense your doubt. But just think about it. People need to know you are serious. You have told them your message in words. You have used charts. You have worn the badge of expertise in your field. But still, they insist on listening to other people with other badges and different charts. The only thing that will save your message is an eff bomb with a hash tag.

Now, listen, I am not saying this actually works. Some might say that you risk alienating whole stretches of people because you swore at them using the mother of all dirty words. Some might even say that it is wisdom to avoid it, BUT, I am not some. I think that you have to do what works. Or, at least what gets the most enthusiastic response. It may not change public opinion, it may even deepen divides, but swearing at people is very popular and will get you enthusiastic support from people who agree with you.

So, you know, do you. I love giving out free advice and hope to do so more often. This being shut in has got me feeling bloggy.