Sunday, May 21, 2017

Marriage Isn't What I Thought It Would Be

Last night we attended a beautiful wedding for Eric’s cousin, and ya’ll know I just melt into a pile of gushy mush of sentiment at weddings.  Eric loves it when I get in this state. Ha!  That is a false statement…so, back to last night, I had all the feelings that I always have at a weddings, but in honor of my hubby who prefers humor over sappiness, I thought I would digress a bit about how marriage is nothing like I thought it would be.

The Dream: When I walked down the aisle, I envisioned our mornings would start with a sweet little peck on the cheek, because I was realistic and knew that we would have to contend with morning breath.  Then, we would chat over a nice breakfast that I whipped up while the hubby was showering.  We’d then embrace as he headed out the door to work.  I have no idea what I envisioned myself doing at this point, but the daydream stopped there.

The Reality: I wake up an hour before anyone in my house so that I can get ready in peace in quiet.  Then, I throw pop tarts at the kids while Eric fends for himself.  Don’t feel to bad for him though because he’s not a morning person and my enthusiasm for life at that hour of the day isn’t exactly his cup of tea.  If we agree to not converse at that hour, we can divert most crisis arguments. Ha!  He then leaves for work while I wrestle kids, battle the teeth brushing war, and threaten to take away all their toys if I have to tell them to get their backpacks one more time. 

 The Dream: As a newlywed, I also dreamed of romantic evening strolls in the park down from our home.  After a delicious homemade meal, we’d walk hand in hand talking about our day and our dreams for the future.  Then we would come home, shower and sit on the patio reading or playing card games until bedtime.

The Reality: We spend our nights at the park all right…the ball park.  Instead of talking about our days, we cast each other sideway glances from across the field as a warning not to let our competitiveness get out of hand at the little league game.  There are no homemade meals, and not because we’re too busy.  Basically, I’m a lousy cook and even Ellie knows it.  Back home we enter our second battle of the day…the bedtime wars!  Instead of that patio reading hour, we spend way too much time convincing two stinky, dirty, exhausted kids that they do indeed to bathe before bed.  Then we crash!

 The Dream: Weekly dates would be planned for expensive restaurants, thrilling shows, and a few quirky, but romantically planned adventures. 

The Reality: We eat pizza and put the kids to bed early so that we can watch a movie while the kids sleep.  Most of the time, we end up dozing off in two different seats and break the two-hour movie into two different viewings…half on Friday and half on Saturday. Otherwise, we sleep throw the entire thing.

While I’m on the topic of reality: Ladies, you can forget those skimpy little nighties you get at your personal showers.  The hottest thing I wear these days is an oversized t-shit that says “Hot Tamale” on it that we got for free on Burrito Monday at Moe’s.

But in all seriousness, marriage is so much more than those dreamy visions of utopia.  True romance is someone who knows you have morning breath but will kiss you anyway.  It’s your husband calling after he leaves the three ringer circus in the morning to make sure that you survived the chaos.  It’s someone who will divvy up the carpooling and the kids so that you can work a little late to catch up on the project.  It’s someone who can cast you a glance from across the baseball field, or the packed auditorium, or just the other side of the room because they know you so well, they can read your mind and predict your next move.   Romance is someone who doesn’t complain because you’re picking up drive-thu again, instead, they know exactly what you order off of every fast food menu in town.  It’s someone who will stay up way too late on a work night just so you can spend 20 minutes alone together after the kids are in bed and the chores are complete. 

Marriage isn’t anything like I thought it would be, and that’s not such a bad thing at all because someone has to be in the trenches with you when things get wonky.  I’m lucky my man has taught me a thing or two about laughing at the ridiculousness of our life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Growing Pains

When you were a child, did you ever experience growing pains?  I sure did, and to this day I can remember both the physical pain of the experience and the emotional comfort that I found in my mother when I ran to her for relief.  No matter what hour of the day or night, I knew that I could cry out to her in my time of need, and she would come to my side.  First, she would administer a hefty dose of grape Motrin, and then she would rub on enough Absorbine Junior to make the geriatrics unit of the hospital cringe. Finally, she would wrap my leg in a towel and sit with me in the darkness, wiping my tears and comforting me until the pain was gone.  Sometimes the discomfort would last for days, sometimes weeks, and sometimes it would linger for months. But eventually the pain would subside, and that’s when I knew it was time for a new mark on the growth chart located on the doorway inside the pantry.  No matter how long the pain persisted, I always knew that on the other side was measurable growth.

As an adult, I am learning that the same is true for spiritual growth.  Seasons of pain and discomfort in my life always yield a deeper level of spiritual maturity and a more intimate relationship with Christ.  Just has my mother comforted me as a child, my Heavenly Father stands ready to meet my needs and bring comfort to my weary soul.  He hears my sorrowful cries, and comes to me anytime I call on His name. He sits with me in the darkness, wiping my tears and easing my pain with the familiar comfort of His presence.  It’s in the quiet of those moments that I find myself falling more deeply in love with my Savior.  He becomes MY God, MY Shelter, MY Healer, MY Comforter, MY Ever Present Help In Trouble. He becomes the very breath that I breathe to sustain my failing strength. He is truly the Lover of my Soul.  This relationship with Christ becomes more than merely a religious practice.  It becomes who I am – it defines me. 

I have walked with the Lord for almost 25 years. I know that many people scoff at the idea of a six year old understanding the gospel, and I’m so grateful that my parents never let that deter then from teaching me His word and guiding me to walk in the truth.  25 years is a lot time to get to know someone, and it’s also a lot of time to let them down – so just know that I’ve failed my Savior many, many times, but He’s always there to pickup the pieces and overwhelm me with His grace. So, for 25 years that I have walked with Jesus, yet never before have I known the level of intimacy that I have had the joy of experiencing with Him this past year. "Joy" seems like such an unfitting word to use when describing a season of painful growth, but there’s no other way to describe it. For the first time in my life I am able to say, “Not my will, Lord, but yours be done.” Instead of simply accepting a difficult season, I am able to embrace it because I know that on the other side is a glory that I can’t even begin to comprehend. 

For the first time, I truly understand what Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 when he wrote: "And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I no longer fear the kind of pain required to experience that level of faith.  I am learning that growth of any kind is always met with some level of discomfort and pain, but the God of Heaven and Earth is waiting for me to cry out to Him in the darkness so that He can come sit with me in the quiet until I find comfort and rest.

During the early stages of my pregnancies with both of my babies, I experienced a unique pain called round ligament stretching.  This is common in pregnancy, but the internal scars from living years with Endometriosis intensified the pain to an abnormal level.  In order for life to grow inside of me, I had to endure months of pain as my body stretched and grew to sustain the life of my unborn babies.  The scars from my past were never more evident as they were during those months, yet I greeted the pain with an unexplainable joy because I knew that on the other side of that suffering was life – the precious life of my baby and the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to me.

The same is true for the painful situations I face today.  They are growing and stretching me in preparation for new life.  It is a life that will be rich in spiritual maturity and deep intimacy with Christ.  A life that is a testament to His goodness, His faithfulness, and the indescribable peace that comes from sitting in His presence during the darkest moments of pain and suffering.

In Closing: My grandfather used to ask people two questions whenever he met them for the first time (or the 100th time once he got Alzheimers). First he asked where they were from because hometowns were really important to him.  Then he would ask if they knew Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. I always admired his boldness in sharing the gospel.  Just as his passion for Christ  has become a part of his legacy, I want to be known for my love of Jesus.  Consider this my humble attempt to imitate his example: If you want peace that truly surpasses all understanding, please know that only Jesus can satisfy that longing. If you don't have a personal relationship with Christ, I would love to talk with you and pray with you because when our strength fades, we need to know that there is protection from raging storm...and that person is Jesus. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It's Been A Decade

Exactly 10 years ago today, I met Eric!  Ya'll know that I love a good story, and since this one has never graced my we go.

It was a beautiful Thursday evening and the last few days before finals began, so a group of girlfriends and I decided to eat dinner on campus at RedZone.  I'm not sure if that's even still a place, but it once existed.  Anyway, the wait was forever long, so we sat outside on the patio until it was our turn to be seated.  About halfway through dinner, my best friend's (Alex) phone rang, and it was my Mom.  I had apparently forgotten my super nice and expensive pink Razor phone on the bench we had been using.  I know, I know...some things never change!

You may be wondering how my mom knew this.  I had her listed in my contacts as "ICE" for In Case of Emergency. Clever, I know.  The person who found my phone called my mom, who then called my bestie.  I don't remember the specifics of the conversation, but I'm pretty sure that she probably lectured me about my irresponsibility and questioned how I would ever survive as an adult.  Side note: Mom, I'm sorry that I stressed you out all the time.  I'm still quite forgetful, but I promise you that it always works out.

Back to the phone call.  My mom said that a very nice young man would be waiting for me on the patio so that I could claim my Razor.  After hanging up, I relayed this information to my group of friends, one of whom was a hopeless romantic (Katie Ro).  Without missing a beat, she said, "Oh my gosh Morgan, what if that's your future husband? You could be about to meet your future husband."

Spoiler alert...she was wrong.  He was a very nice young man, and I appreciate very much that he did not steal my phone.  But that's all I remember about him.  The funny thing is, I DID meet my future husband that night just a few hours later.

After dinner, I stopped by the newsroom to work on my story for an upcoming show.  When I walked in, there was Eric working on his  weather forecast. We chatted for a bit but nothing too out of the norm.  This probably won't shock you, but BCOM (Broadcast Communication) kids are quite talkative.  Basically, it's a great major if you want to make friends, which is what I assumed was happening.

Following our brief meeting, I headed to the gym for a quick run (yes, I used to do that kind of thing), and then went back to the dorm.  My roommate (Sarah) had not gone to dinner with me, so she knew nothing of my evening.  When I told her about the phone and then meeting Eric in the newsroom she said, "Oh my gosh, Morgan!  I think you just met your future husband."

Clearly, I wasn't the romantic one of the group.  No "ring by spring" for me! In fact, I had no intention of getting married prior to age 30 because, by-golly, I was going to be a reporter and see the world before I settled down.  We can all collectively roll our eyes because not only did I end up being the first one married, I was also the first one to get pregnant.

I told Eric as much about my plans too, but luckily he called my bluff.  Ps - we have dubbed that conversation as the "independent speech."  It's still a topic of discussion in our home if that gives you any idea of how well it all went down...I'll tell you about it one day.  Let's stick with the story at hand.

Eric and I became Facebook friends that night because that's what millennials do.  My finals ended up being on Monday and Tuesday the following week, so I left and headed home for the summer.  The VERY night I made it back to Lexington, I checked Facebook and wouldn't you know that Eric had sent me a message asking me out to ice cream.

Obviously, I couldn't go because we were in two different cities.  We ended up exchanging phone numbers and spent the entire summer talking on the phone and getting to know each other.  We quickly reunited in August.  In fact, the night I moved back to Bowling Green, he stopped by my apartment.  He had been sitting when we met in the newsroom three months prior, so I remember when I opened the door my very first thought being "Oh my gosh, he's so tall!"

That night, we stayed around the apartment catching up, talking, and watching movies.  He was a perfect gentleman and gave me the sweetest forehead kiss when he left that evening....and the rest is history! I fell hard and fast after that.  I will add this final this day, a forehead kiss is our unspoken language that even when our world is crazy, we are ok.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What I Want Them To Know

I’ve briefly mentioned this in a few recent posts, but just to reiterate, the fog of the baby days is starting to lift in the Watson home. Our little people sleep all night, they can talk and communicate.  Everyone is potty-trained and most days we can actually reason somewhat with them, which is a billion times better than arguing with a toddler...cause have you ever done that?  If you’re a newbie, trust me on this one…you won’t win!! 

This stage in our family is a new frontier that I love, but as the kids grow, I can’t help but marvel at the gravity of what it means to not only parent but to truly shepherd a child’s heart. We aren’t just in survival mode anymore trying to make sure that everyone is dry, fed, and alive.  We’re able to take family outings, have real conversations and make lasting memories. As the children grow, however, so has my responsibility has their mother.  

Naturally, I want my children to be happy, healthy, successful and fulfilled.  More than that though, I want them to have a personal relationship with Christ.  Not the kind of "personal relationship" that is common vocabulary in Sunday School, but the kind of relationship that becomes the very breath sustaining the life of a soul crushed by the heartbreak and adversities of our broken world.

I want to raise my babies so that I'm not the first call they make when the storms of life begin to rage. I want their relationship with Christ be so real and intimate that they take their burdens to the cross before they ever think to involve me.  Of course, I want to help carry their pain, offer maternal wisdom and hold them up in prayer.  However, I want to raise them so that if the time ever comes that they choose not to involve me in their grief, I can rest assured that they will be fully protected because they are putting their peace in the hands of the Almighty.  

The truth is this: no matter how much I try to protect them, at some point, they will have the worst day of their lives. There will come a time when their security is threatened, their heart is broken, their normal becomes foreign, and their world is turned upside down.  It's in those moments that I want to know that they are clinging to the One who can right the wrong, sustain their hope, and breath life back into their weary soul.  

My prayer is that as we enter this new territory, I will raise my children so that someday they won't need me. Instead, I want them to grow into men and women who lean whole-heartedly on the everlasting arms of the only one who will never fail them.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cut The Crap

Ya’ll can I just be really honest with you today?   Lately, the Lord has burdened my heart about the things I put on social media and the image I portray to others.  I always want to put my best foot forward, but I don’t want to ever portray a reality that doesn’t exist.  Does that make sense? I want to call BS on all the Polly Perfects of the world.

It starts innocently enough with comments like, “You can come over, but my house is a mess.”  Then when we get there, it looks like their home should be on the cover of Southern Living, and we’re pretty sure we can smell a homemade pie in the oven. Not happening at my house, ya’ll.  I may tidy up as a courtesy, but you wouldn’t have to look too hard to see the pile of toys in the corner or the crumbs under the table. 

Sometimes it’s a post on social media about little Johnny being a mini-scholar.  What should be a simple shout-out for a job well-done on a first-grade spelling test, looks more like little Johnny is a prodigy who was accepted to Harvard.  All the while, I’m grateful that my kid remembered to have his homework log signed.

My favorite is when women say something like, “Got up, worked out, had my quiet time, showered, did a load of laundry, fixed breakfast for the kids, and tidied-up the house before leaving this morning. #Exhaustedalready #it’sgoingtobeagreatday.  Insert Morgan’s Watson’s hash-tag #gagmewithaspoon.  Seriously, do ya’ll not have mornings where you feed your kid pop tarts, sniff through a stack a laundry to see what smells acceptable enough to re-wear, and have a little hissy fit because no one is moving fast enough?  I can’t be just me!

What about the Pinterest Crafts and projects?  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If that’s your thing, then rock it!  For everyone else, I promise you that your kids will eat the Skittles even it’s not attached to a miniature pot of gold with some cute Saint Patrick’s Day saying. 

I’ve been there too, wanting to post some la-ti-da junk about my life.  I might have even written a thing our two that looked like that nonsense, but I’m over it now.  I’m learning to embrace the chaos and see the beauty in the imperfections.  I’m learning to own my crazy and admit that I don’t have it all together, and ya’ll, it’s a beautiful thing!

But here’s where I am going with this post.  If we can’t be honest with the small stuff, and if we can’t cut the crap and lose the façade, how are we ever going to humble ourselves enough to ask for help? How will we ever be of help to another broken soul when no one is willing talk about the hard stuff?

If we won’t talk about messy houses, how can we ever talk about broken homes?

Why are we able to watch shows and movies with comical references to marijuana and recreational drug use but not have real discussions about the drug epidemic that this sweeping through our communities and destroying our families?

If we are willing to take a public beating on social media for our stance on every political topic known to modern day democracy, why aren’t we willing to accept the scrutiny that comes along with boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Christ?

Are we able to truly encourage a new mother struggling in her role when we aren’t willing to admit that our kids didn’t do anything “by the book.” I can’t tell you what freedom came into my life when I finally said to another struggling mother, “I love my kid, but I’m having a hard time loving my role as a mother in the middle of all this exhaustion.” Ya’ll, people relate to us in our weakness.  Sidebar: seven years later I can honestly say that I LOVE being a mother, but it wasn’t always this way.

How can we have Pinterest boards full fashionable designs, yet not take the time to talk with young women about the issues of modesty, having respect for our bodies, or the importance of having a healthy self-image?

You know what I think?  I think Satan has us right where he wants us because he knows that if we can’t cut the crap and be honest about the small stuff, it will continue to snowball into the big stuff.  Christ tells us that our enemy is a like a lion ready to devour his prey, and that’s what happening in our culture…we’re being out-smarted by our enemy.

I’m not suggesting that we air our dirty laundry on social media or go around flippantly talking about our problems…quite the opposite actually.  I think the Lord is calling us to invest in tangible relationships.  The kind of friendships and mentorships where we can say, “My house is a mess, but stop on by.”  We need the kind of friendships where we can sit across from one another over a cup of coffee talking about the deep issues that are threatening our peace.  We should be able to sit and cry together over the brokenness of our lives and go to the Lord together asking him to pick up the pieces.  We need the kinds of friends who will listen to us lament but not be tempted to take our side of a situation just because we are friends – people who will let us cry and then tell is to put on our big girl panties and get over it! 

We need friends and not just social media acquaintances.

We need to "cut the crap."  We need to be honest about the small stuff so that when the big stuff threatens our world, we can have the humility to reach out for the support and prayer that will help our hearts begin to heal.

We need to seek God for wisdom in finding the delicate balance needed to be transparent about our shortcomings while also having an appropriate amount of discretion so that we are respectful to our friends and family.  

We need to "cut the crap," own our crazy, and embrace the chaos because, ya’ll, some days making sure everyone gets to school with their underwear on is a major accomplishment – and that needs to be ok.

And just to "keep it real"  here's a glimpse into our reality...Life With A Drama Queen.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Taking A Moment to Remember

This picture popped up on my time-hop this morning, and it stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was the last photo that I ever took with my grandfather before he passed away.  I feel like I should at least have a slight twinge of pain when I see this image as I grieve what “once was,” but instead, I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I stop to remember my Papaw.

I am grateful to have been loved by such an incredible man of God.  Never have I known someone who loved the Lord so purely, so passionately, so fiercely and so completely.

I am grateful that his legacy lives in me.  I am grateful for the example he set, and I strive daily to imitate his walk with Lord in my own life. 

I am grateful for the memories he gave me – summer vacations, family holidays, snuggles in his office, Wednesday dinners followed by Awana at church.

I am grateful for the stories he told me and the sense of belonging that came from them.  I will always feel a deep connection to the hills of Eastern Kentucky if for no other reason than the stories he shared.

I am grateful for his strength.  So many times throughout the past year when I’ve felt like my own strength has been completely depleted, I have remembered the incredible resilience of my grandfather and that the same strength runs through my veins.  I, of course, know that it’s the Lord who gives strength, but my grandfather was a living testimony to that truth.

I am grateful for his wisdom. So many times, I have longed to seek his advice or to have him pray over me.  He sought the Lord in every decision he made, so I know that he would have guidance for the hard stuff.

I am grateful that he was there the day I got married.  I am grateful that he held both of my sweet babies, and that I heard him speak their names.

I am grateful that even though they will never know him, my children are a part of his legacy.  I want so desperately for them to love the Lord the way HE loved the Lord.  He’s not here to show them, so it’s my turn to be the example.  

Those are some impossibly big shoes to fill, but I am so grateful for a man who set the bar so high.  I am grateful for the opportunity to keep his legacy alive.  I am grateful that in the middle of an ordinary Tuesday, one photo can stop my in my tracks and force me to take a moment to celebrate the life of one of the greatest men I have ever known. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

It's Been A Monday

You know those days when you just laugh because you just can't believe how ridiculous your life really is?  That was me today.  Seriously, sometimes I think that I should just write a book because I just can't make up this stuff.

As we were leaving for school this morning (late because I forgot that it was picture day) I got a "Remind" message from Eli's teacher that today was flashlight reading day.  I'm not sure how it happens but I ALWAYS miss these little memos.  I'm starting to think that it's not just me and that Eli has my organizational skills, thus he regularly misplaces important documents.

In any case, I had to stop the chirping alarm, sit down the 263 bags I was carrying and start rummaging through drawers looking for one of our dozen flashlights/headlamps.  Of course they were nowhere to be found.  I ended up locating a pretty sorry looking pocket-size flashlight...but naturally it wasn't work.

Luckily, the batteries were actually where they should have been, so I grabbed a handful and decided to change them out while driving.  So, out the door I went with both kids, three bags, two backpacks, and some baseball equipment for practice tonight.  When I got to the car, I realized that we were missing Eli's chest protecter. Our family motto is "safety first," so you can image how well that went over.  Ha!

I guess the chaos got to Ellie because she was crying and clinging to my leg when I dropped her off at daycare, which was just barrels of fun before I had to drive on the interstate during a torrential downpour.

Work went well until Eric called to say that our dog had escaped and he had to go pick him up from down the road where someone had caught him and called the number on his collar.

Round two of the storms came through as I was getting off of work, so I had another pleasant commute on the interstate and thoroughly enjoyed getting drenched getting children in and out of the car when my umbrella was destroyed from the high winds.  Hahaha!

The icing on the cake was when Eli informed me that he had forgotten to wear underpants today.  How does that even happen?

We're spending the evening recovering from today's events by eating pizza and popcorn, playing hot wheels, watching TV and putting the kids to bed early.

The days are crazy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!