Author Archive for Amanda Sanders


It’s Coming

It’s coming people.  Valentine’s Day.  The most disturbing and disappointing of all holidays.  If you are a super romantic spouse, if you live for Valentine’s Day, if you cannot understand why everyone doesn’t embrace this day as slightly less important than Christmas with the family- you are excused from reading any further. Go, please, spread you good cheer and good will elsewhere! :)

Surprised to hear a Red Hot Momma dissing V-Day?

Let me tell you something.  Valentine’s Day is a great idea, in theory.  Take an official time out of our busy, less than romantic lives to tell others we love them.  Show in deeds, not just words, that we care about each other. Do something that makes our spouses sit down and say “Yes.  There it is! The reason I wanted to get married to this person in the first place!”

The reality is far more grim.  More hard feelings and strife results from this holiday than any other! Especially with in the confines of Holy Matrimony.  Okay, I admit that I don’t have any hard data to back that up.  But I have lots of experiential data that proves this day is a disaster waiting to happen.  And it happens every year! 

Now before I go all Chicken Little on you, I have to say that not every couple is Valentine’s Day impaired.  There are many, many of you out there.  God bless your souls! Because I occasionally hear stories about you all.  Usually just before I flip the channel or change the radio station.  Kidding! 

I am going to go out on a limb and say that most of us are VD Impaired.  Not because we want to be handicapped in this area.  We just are. We have tried.  Disappointed or spouses and ourselves so thoroughly, that we just want to hide under the covers until the day passes.  So, if you have set out to woo your spouse and have failed, miserably, time and time again-  I say loudly to you “Welcome Friend”. 

I am the first to admit that I have held too high expectations for my spouse.  And myself.  I have believed the lie that if we really love one another, we will have a fairy tale day! ( Darn it! ) Pressure! Pressure!  Whisk your spouse off to an exotic island.  Cover the bedroom in rose petals.  Drop thirty five pounds and slither into some bizarre looking lingerie. And on and on….

I have spent many hours pouring over sugary sweet cards that ended up on his dresser, after a quick perusal.  He has brought me candy that I didn’t need, flowers that died almost as soon as they were transported through our front door.  We have waited two hours in frigid temps to dine out because, after all, it’s Valentine’s Day!  

Perhaps Mr. Red Hot’s fear and dread of the day has spread to me.  But before we write off my loathing of the execution of this holiday, I humbly ask how many disaster stories do you personally have? If you don’t have any, just ask around.  “What was your worst Valentine’s Day ever?’  I am going to bet that you will barely get the words out before the cringe worthy answer is blasted back at you. 

A note of sympathy.  I feel extremely sorry for anyone who is single AND “currently looking” on VD.  It is comparable to being forced to wear a scarlet “S” to denote that you, indeed, are un-coupled.  To be single on the most romantic day of the year is simply dreadful by the Hallmark standard.  “Here you go.  Poor thing.  Take your hump and limp up to the bell tower with the rest of the unfortunate souls…”.  The pressure and expectation is just ridiculous.  It is just a day on the calendar.  Not a judgement of character.  I suggest ignoring the hoop la.  Or better yet do something nice for yourself.

Well.  I suppose I will get off my soap box now.  I have work to do and of course, Valentine’s cards to buy. :)


Do want to be right or happy?

Red Hot Momma’s like to be right.  In fact they love it.  They love, love, love to be right.  It makes them feel good.  Smart.  Competent.  Being right chases away all those nagging doubts about how good she is at mothering multiple human beings and anything else that keeps her awake at night.

Yes.  Being right is goooood. 

Until it isn’t. The farther this Red Hot Momma makes it down the road of Holy Matrimony, the more sure she becomes about a few things.  Namely, we can’t always be right and happy at the same time.  It’s true.  Sometimes, okay, many times, we just have to swallow our pride and go on down the road.  Dying to self, I believe it’s called. 

This isn’t a popular concept in any generation.  Especially mine, the tale end of Gen X.  We have been told we can do anything we want.  With whomever we want.  Whenever we want.  As long as it makes us happy.  Speak up, stand your ground.  You deserve better- so take it.  Or make it.  Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah!

What happens then when two Gen Xer’s get married?  Each demanding a public declaration and or flogging of the partner deemed to be “wrong”.

Fireworks.  Not the good kind that leave you sweaty and satisfied.  The bad kind that leave you shaking and certain you have inadvertently married the Anti- Christ. 

So we wrestle with ego and God.  Whining to whomever will listen, “But I am right! Darn it!”.  Somewhere along the road between marriage and divorce one must decide if it is better to be right or be happy.  This is not to say that there is nothing that is worth going to the mat over.  Just very few things. 

In this Red Hot Momma’s marriage, there has been near blood shed over stupid things.  Like are Nick Nolte and Gary Busey the same person?  (Nope) Why does the caged bird sing? (NOT getting near this one)  And many, many wrong turns and detours that ended in tears. At least one of us.

Red Hot Momma’s have to make the call.  Is it really worth it, in the end? Does it matter that this person you have yoked yourself to doesn’t have a working knowledge of or appreciation for 1980’s punk rock?  Does it matter that he gets lost every time you drive through Memphis?  Will the world continue turning if she leaves her wet towel on the floor all day?

Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?


Let’s start over

Red Hot Momma’s try to be good.  They really do.  Sometimes it just doesn’t turn out the way we intended… For instance, Mr. Red Hot comes home in a bad mood.  Let’s say he got mugged or worse a new, younger boss that is anything but fair.  Mrs. Red Hot decides that if Mr. Red Hot wants to feel better he must TALK about it.  (Did I hear a collective groan?) Not just talk about it, cry too.  Right now. 

Ugh.  Mr. Red Hot doesn’t want to talk about it.  He wants to punch something…or someone.  Right now.  Mrs. Red Hot persists; “How does that make you feel, Dear”.  Mr. Red Hot has had enough.  Mr. Red Hot is becoming..well…red hot..mad.  Mrs. Red Hot senses that her efforts to make the Mister feel better have gone wrong.  Horribly, horribly wrong. The young Red Hot Momma’s among us might find themselves feeling angry now too. Angry at Mr. Red Hot. Hurt feelings and hurt pride really want to take over and have a hissy fit. So now everyone is angry and no one is going to bed happy.  At this point in the conversation, in the marriage, it is best to start over.  Literally. 

 This Red Hot Momma learned a nifty little trick a few years back that has changed my life.  Not to mention my marriage.  When things are going downhill quick.  When every attempt to reach out to your partner is failing.  Miserably.  Someone needs to call a “Let’s start over”.  It’ s like a adult time out. 

“Let’s Start Over” means the following.  “Wow.  How did this happen?  I couldn’t wait to get home to you today.  Now, I’m checkin’ out Expedia for a one way ticket to Aruba.  Let’s step back for a second.  We are on the same team here.  I love you.  You love me.  Let’s try this again.” 

Depending on the severity of the situation, one may have to start over all the way back five p.m., even though it’s 9:45.  It can be hard to keep a straight face while greeting your spouse after you have been screaming or ignoring one another for the last four hours.  Try it.  Start over.  “How are you sweetie?” “Fine.  And you?”  “Well, I had a really crappy day, but it’s over now.”  “If you want to talk about it, I’m here for you.”  “Thanks.” 

It feels forced at first.  Ridiculously so.  Give it time.  Go with the flow.  Pray for a change of heart.  (Notice I didn’t say for which one of you :)) Pretty soon, things will start turning around.  If by nothing more than the sheer absurdity of what you are doing. 

LSO’s come with some ground rules.  You cannot use a LSO to avoid serious problems. Or in a passive aggressive way, like “Your mother is from hell!  Let’s have a time out..”.  They can’t be used to often either.  LSO’s are like a spare tire in the trunk of your marriage.  They are good for the occasional blow out, but you don’t want to drive on them everyday.


Who knew?

Ever crave ice to chew on?  Could be a sign of Anemia!  I had no clue.. check out the article below.


An Open letter to new gym members

Hi.  You don’t know me and I don’t know you.  Still, I have been watching you. 

Not in a creepy way!  Just noticing you and praying for you.  See, I know how hard it is to walk into a gym.  Everybody looks like the cover models for Men’s Health or Women’s Fitness.  TTTH.  Tanned. Toned. Totally hot.  It is enough to make even the most confident among us hide in the locker room.

I am going to tell you a secret. The hardest part of working out is wading through the masses of beautiful people.  A word of caution- don’t gaze upon their beauty to long.  You might start feeling inferior.  Just hold your head up high.  Look straight ahead and walk to the machine you have chosen. 

Ask for help when you need it.  You actually draw more attention to yourself trying to wing it on your own.  In the off chance that you fall off the rowing machine, just remember to laugh.  Roll over.  Get back up and try it again. Next time use those foot straps.  That is what they are for. 

Some folks might be snotty. Hostile even.  As though you are Satan himself because you are on “their” treadmill.  People get weird about that kind of thing.  They spend a lot of time on a machine.  Sweating, praying. A kind of relationship develops. The person wants it to be exclusive, not realizing the machine is just doing it’s job.  Nothing personal.  So when Mr. Biceps or Miss Ab’s see you on “their” machine, it is only natural they feel irritated. Don’t take it personally. In a few months from now you may be having a one-sided relationship of your own.

Stop pulling on your clothes dear.  It makes you stand out.  Wear clothes that fit.  Not clothes you wish would fit.  Trust me.  You will feel better if you can move in your pants.  Same with shirt.  A misguided error of those who weigh more than average is that by wearing form fitting clothing one looks smaller.  It’s a myth.  I know.  :)  Pick nice clothes that are flattering on you.  Not the “Biggest Loser Fantasy” you.

Remember, it isn’t high school.  It’s a gym.  You are there to work out.  Not to be “seen”.  No one is looking at you.  They are busy.  Working out and worrying if someone is looking at them.  :)

Don’t be a hater.  Yes there are incredible humans crawling all over the gym.  Gorgeous.  A few were born with it.  Most have worked for it.  Be happy for them.  If you can’t be gracious on your own, pray for God to help you. 

Don’t envy.  Thou shall not covet the neighbors pec’s.  Nor glutes.  Nor ab’s.  Focus on being healthy.  Not looking like _____.  You are not a number on a scale.  Your life in not measured by inches lost or gained.  You are God’s beloved creation.  His masterpiece. 

Keep coming.  In a few weeks, you will be sore.  Maybe a little or a lot discouraged. Not to mention the droning questions from well meaning, and not so well meaning, friends and family members.  For some reason, when people find out you go to a gym, they always ask the same question- “How much weight have you lost?” As though, just by signing the contract you automatically loose five pounds as a bonus!

Don’t slap them.  I know it would feel really good, but don’t. Pity them instead.  They have bought into our culture’s obsession with numbers.  Which is ridiculous and dangerous.  Take a deep breath and say “I am focused on being healthy.  Not numbers.”  It is okay to sound a little superior when you say this.  You have my permission.  This will either end or seriously curb their obsession with your progress. 

The most important thing  to remember is to be grateful.  Thank God you can move.  Pray as you run.  Exercise can be a spiritual discipline.  A chance to be mentally quiet and still while moving.  Worship.


The family bed

This Red Hot Momma has just celebrated the one year mark of the kid free bed. I really never intended to co sleep.  I think that is the politically correct term.  It just happened. 

Our first baby started out in the bassinet.  Soon, though I can’t remember exactly when, he ended up in the middle of our king sized bed.  We all slept better.  Until he was around two.  He was, as all little kids are, miserable to sleep with.  Despite having an adequate sized sleeping space, Mr. and Mrs. Red Hot found themselves clinging to the edges of the mattress.  Praying for the morning to hurry up and come already.

Enter baby number two.  We have a few photos of him sleeping in his bassinet.  Otherwise I would not believe it had ever happened.  He fit right in to the snug bed.  We adjusted and grumbled.  Still the will to remedy the situation was absent.  Until a year and a half later.

Enter baby number three.  Five was a number we were not willing to maneuver.  The oldest went to his own bed.  The middle went to a toddler bed.  The baby went to the bassinet.  It lasted one night.  Two tops.  Baby number two, now a toddler made his way into our bed around midnight.  Baby number one, now bigger than a few of his grandparents came in around three a.m.  After years and years of the nightly rotation into and out of our bed, Mrs. Red Hot had enough.  Everyone sleeps in his own bed.  All night. 

Having the bed to ourselves once again was amazing.  A kid free zone! We would lie in our big bed and watch Family Guy.  Eating ice cream or reading to one another.  It became my favorite time of the day.  Still is. 

Lot’s of new Red Hot Momma’s wrestle with should we or shouldn’t we put the baby in bed with us.  I have mixed feelings.  I absolutely adored my babies in bed with us.  The world just felt right.  Snuggled in bed with the man l loved.  The product (or products :)) of our love lying peacefully between us.  I would not trade anything for those memories.  I also love it being just the two of us. In fact, having a time that is just “ours” has been revitalizing for our marriage.  Not to mention how much better rested I am now, compared to then. 

So looking back…Yes.  I would do it all just the same again.  But, I am so glad I don’t have to!  :)  Good Night!


In the mood

Why is sex so complicated?  Not the actual act.  That is the smooth part.  ( No pun intended) It’s the buildup to the actual getting down to business that is tricky.  A dance of seduction.  Fragile and full of emotion.  That could go bad at any moment…

I can only guess at what goes on inside the male brain, as I am female.  But for us girls, the complications that could ensue are endless.  Even for the reddest, hottest Red Hot Momma’s among us.  The phone rings. Offspring knock on the door. Worse yet, stand outside and say “I know you are doing something in there!  I can here you moving!”  ( This actually happened with our four year old.  Shudder.)  Someone has a nightmare or the inner radar of children goes off.  The one that makes sure NOTHING happens in the home- unless they are involved. 

Maybe I am just in a bad mood.  ( Another impediment to great sex!) Frankly, I am tired of being bombarded by the images of Super Sexual Woman in every magazine I read and show I watch.  SSW is a lot like a super hero.  She wears a crisp white shirt unbuttoned down to her navel.  Revealing a heaving bosom in a push up bra.  Her tailored jacket and short skirt revealing thigh high stockings and a garter belt.  Black stiletto heels round out her ensemble.  She holds a whip in one hand and a baby in the other.  She is a sexual tigress who can bring home the bacon.  Fry it up in the pan.  Wash the pan.  Bathe and nurture the children.  Then rock her husband’s world.  All without missing a beat, and in less than an hour. Super Sexual Woman has no trouble leaping small buildings or shifting roles on a dime.  She is super.  She is sexual.  ROAR! 

Back in the real world…

How does a Red Hot Momma get there?  Then stay there.

I don’t know. 

I think it requires a good sense of humor.  A sense of camaraderie as in, “We are both in this together.  We will find a way.”  The same kind of commitment it took to enjoy a kiss or more when dating is required while parenting.  Sneaking around tactics still apply, just in a different setting.  A really good imagination and a sense of  adventure.

A stolen moment in the laundry room can be hot.  If you can focus on your husband and not the laundry.  If you can focus on the way it feels to be kissed.  Really kissed, thoroughly.  Passionately.   The naughtiness of it all, kissing instead of working!  The heady feeling of being desired, even though you are standing in a pile of stinking soggy clothes.


loving the moment

 We are on our yearly get away, sans children.  It is something we both look forward to all year.  October comes and we begin speaking of our planned getaway.  As in, “We just have to make it a few more months…”. Especially during the hectic, trying times.

By the time Christmas has arrived, the reservations have been made.  We simply tread water for the next six days. Waiting. Hoping and praying no one gets sick. :) We buy snacks. New clothes. Research good places to eat. Fun things to try. Packing happens the night before we leave.  In frenzied excitement and hushed tones.  We kiss.  Hold hands.  Dream out loud.

The first day is a blur of fatigue and unpacking.  Settling in.  The second holds the promise of relaxation,but doesn’t quite deliver. It is the next day that I always look forward too. The third feels somewhat dreamy. Slow paced and perfect. I find myself  relaxed. Looking at him.  Really looking at him. Listening to him talk.  Flirting.  Remembering why I wanted to have children with him in the first place.  He is funny.  Thoughtful.  Attentive.  Even romantic. He hangs on my every word, while I find myself blushing by his full attention.  Yes.  Day three is my favorite. 

Today is Day Three of this years trip.  The turning point.  When I, once again, am stunned by the force of my love for him.  His love for me.  It is there in our home, every day.  Buried under the baskets of unmatched socks.  Wedged in between the dog, kids, four pillows, and remote control in our king sized bed. Quiet.  Often unremarkable.  But when removed from it’s native environment, our love steals the show.  It isn’t tame or civilized.  It is loud and showy.  We are no longer reserved.  We laugh and kiss and laugh some more.

Day three is also bitter sweet.  Our time together is almost over. Real life is just around the corner. Bills, potty training, and a hundred unaswerable questions a day are waiting. 

But for now, there are only the two of us.

He is resting there in the bed.  Covered in clean white sheets.  His breath slow and steady.  I close my eyes.  Listening.  Memorizing the way he sounds. The way he looks.  Loving this moment.


All I want

This Red Hot Momma doesn’t consider herself high maintenance.  Actually, it takes very little to make me comfortable.  Being comfortable makes me happy.  When I am happy, my husband is happy.  So, I am making a list of things that I really, really want…because I want my husband to be happy!  See how that works?  :)

I want jeans that make me look twenty pounds lighter.

I want a bra that keeps the girls high and in front.

I want panties that don’t ride up.

I want to never, ever have to wear thong underwear.  If there comes a female underwear shortage, I will be the first woman in line for men’s boxers.

I want lipstick that feels fabulous, looks fabulous and stays fabulous.

I want clean skin.  Without using 11 different products. 

I want less chemicals in my food and more for my hair.  :)

I want a really cool t-shirt that I can wear with jeans.  A tee shirt that is unrelated to where my husband works, my children attend school or karate.

I want a hot car.  A car that is super sexy and fast.  Clean.  Smells great.  Two seats.  One for me.  One for Greg.  Paid for.

I want a to go one day without applying band-aids to phantom “Boo Boo’s”.

I want to sneeze without the consequences of having given birth three times.  :)

I want shoes that are so sexy I blush when I put them on.  So comfortable I forget I am still wearing them.

I want a cute little black dress and someplace romantic to go while wearing it!

I want to look like I could run a marathon, if I wanted to…

I want to have a whole day to spend in bed with my husband.  Oh, and room service.  Oh, and cable.  For him.

I want peace on earth.  Peace in my house.

I want my kids to be loving, responsible adults.  I want them to be long on forgiveness.  Short on regret.

I want my life to have made a difference.  To have helped someone find healing through the Christ.

Now, really… is that too much to ask for?   :)


From Surviving to Thriving

The further I make it in life, the more aware I become of how much my body has to say.  The words and emotions that I chose not to express find a way to make themselves heard.  One way or another.  My body speaks what is on my mind.

Some women are so in tune with their bodies that the above statement would seem ridiculously obvious.  But this Red Hot Momma was not raised to honor her body.  Let alone listen to what it was saying.  I was raised in an environment where body hate was the norm.  Even encouraged.  Subsequently, I abused my body in various ways.  From depriving it of food to over feeding my body.  Ignoring its pleas for rest.  Quiet times and exercise. 

Lax boundaries and emotional abuse from those I felt unable to stand up to culminated in weight gain, insomnia, hormone imbalances, panic attacks and ultimately, depression.  I found myself an emotional and physical wreck. My body was screaming out to me. Pleading with me to tune in but I did my best to ignore it.  Until, I was too sick to fight what it was so desperately trying to tell me. I had two choices: Listen and change or die.

I chose change.  As I began to recover from a series of life threatening illnesses, God began to open my eyes to the lies I had believed about this body I inhabit. HE replaced ugliness, disgust and guilt with beauty and truth.  HE showed me I was made in the image of the Creator of the Universe.  My body is beautiful and honorable.  My body is holy.  The temple God has chosen to indwell.  It is worthy of respect, honor and love.  It is not to be starved, carved or denigrated.  I am to care for it out loving respect for the Father and myself.  Not guilt or vanity. Out of love. 

So here I am at 32 feeling childlike delight in my body.  Joy at my ability to do three times as many push ups this month as last.  Wonder at my muscles ability to move my body in ways that were not even imaginable last year.  Excited to break out into a run and not care if anyone is watching. Instead of berating myself for the abuse I have endured and heaped on myself, I choose forgiveness of others.  Most importantly myself.  My favorite quote from Maya Angelou sums up how I view my past, “You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.”

I now feel safe to care for myself. After being told my whole life that being kind to myself would make me selfish, I am finding the exact opposite.  Loving myself makes me able to love others. Admitting I am weak has made me stronger.  Facing conflict instead of running away brings peace. Confidence. Health.  Regardless of the emotional crap that is heaved my direction, I am not backing down. The Father has blessed me with free will and I will not hand it over to anyone. Ever again.  I own my own space. Without apology.  For the first time in my whole life.  My body cannot help but glow with this knowledge.


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