by Jen Hatmaker on July 13th, 2011

I’d like to think that the older I get, the more self-aware I am. I recognize my personality quirks and preferences. I can predict how I’ll respond to pretty much any scenario, because I know what makes me tick, what makes me crazy, what terrifies me, what motivates me. I get why I love what I love and hate what I hate. Now, am I bettering myself in these areas? Of course not. But I’m aware of them. I’m sooooo self-actualized, yall.

For instance.

I’m what you might call a “big picture girl.” I like ideas. I like gigantic, stimulating concepts. I’m totally into words and books and fascinating conversations. Adventure? Yes, please. I love the fun parts of the story. Give me an experience to feel any day. You want thoughts? Oh, I have thoughts. Tons of thoughts. Ladies and gentlemen, I think things. I love to bang out my little ideas on my MacBook Air and stand on stages teaching these truths and thoughts about Jesus and life and how it all intersects in this tiny sliver of time we occupy here on Planet Earth.

But details? Not. So. Much.

I would sever a limb if I could seize the adventure and the experience and The Big Moment without wading through the ten million steps to get there. Details utterly overwhelm me. It’s severe. I think I have a disorder. My brain doesn’t contain a satisfactory compartment for minutia. Concurrent details get all jumbled together into one giant potential aneurysm, and something just clicks off. *CLICK* *GOOD-BYE* *JEN HATMAKER…OUT*
Girlcation in NYC. My friends are planning our day and route. I'm on Twitter.

Now, take every word I've said and think of the exact opposite. Imagine: detail person, iCalendar, spreadsheets, ledgers, To-Do lists, phone alerts, long-range and short-range planning, time management, stability, and extreme left brain functionality: That is Brandon. (The first description under left brain is "logical, sequential, rational." Under right brain? "Random, subjective, looks at wholes instead of parts." Have these people been spying on us?) I'm the partner who takes our offspring swimming all day. Brandon is the one who keeps the electricity turned on.

He LOVES how I manage details.

This has never caused an ounce of tension in our marriage.

When it became clear that Ben's case was in distress and we needed to bring Remy home, we (meaning Brandon) looked at our adoption account and did some quick math. This added a third trip to Ethiopia onto the budget. If you'd like financial details here, you'll have to ask Brandon, because I don't know how much money we make, how much our bills are, how much it costs to fly to Ethiopia an extra time, or where our money comes from. (I tried to wade into these waters once, and after a rather aggravating conversation with me, Brandon said, "Awww. At least you're pretty.")

So for about a week, our plan was for me to fly to Ethiopia alone and bring Remy home, saving the exorbitant cost of a second round-trip ticket. I tried to act brave and self-assured, like, "Who can't get to Ethiopia and back with one smallish former orphan by herself?" Forget the fact that after 12 days in the country in March, I still have no idea how many birrs equal a dollar or what street the Guest Home is on even though we (Brandon) told cab drivers the address twenty times. With Mr. Responsible by my side, I had the luxury of kissing babies and taking pictures of camels and drinking the Best Coffee On Earth every day while he worried with exchanging money and making sure we got to court on time and littlestufflikethat.
Me reading under my mosquito net in Ethiopia while Brandon does important stuff.

So I'm certain the notion of me traveling to Ethiopia alone to bring Remy home petrified Brandon to no end. We probably had a 58% chance of making it home. That train could derail at the slightest curve. I've already jacked it up, in fact, and we haven't even left. I told my sister Lindsay in NYC that we'd be there Thursday for our layover and YAY I'll get to see you for nine hours, so get off work because we need to make the most of our time, which she did, and I tell Brandon aaaaaaall about it, because OMG I haven't seen my sister in a year so good on me for this awesome layover for once and I'm so glad her boss let her off on a busy Thursday, then Brandon tells me:

"We'll be there Friday, not Thursday, Genius."
"Oh my stars. Where did I get Thursday??"
"God only knows."

And now she has to work an overnight shift because the only person who would trade with her for Friday works graveyard. This is how Brandon feels about these moments with his beloved:

So back to the doomed single parent trip. Evidently, we had enough saved for him to make the trip too, but we needed to jettison some to fund the impending third trip to bring home Beniam. Until my sister-in-law Lana and her new hubby TJ stepped in and bought Brandon's ticket and wouldn't hear boo about it. *Insert warm, loving feelings toward Lana and TJ* This is their Love Ben picture. On their honeymoon. In Italy.
*Insert jealous, green-eyed feelings toward Lana and TJ*

So much love and thanks to them, because now Remy will probably actually get home with a mother who has not been thrown in Ethiopian jail for forgetting to exchange birr back to dollars before leaving the country (leaving with the equivalent of $23 is illegal, and "oops, my bad" would probably be ineffective). With Brandon on board, this trip is back on the rails.

However, the quantity of details I am managing would even overwhelm The Fly Lady (I once read four sentences of her website and curled up in the fetal position. She and I would never, ever be friends.) In a helpful twist, Brandon left yesterday for the week. That's right. The four days before our international trip, with three bio kids going in fifty different directions, bags to be packed, donations to be organized, church camp to engineer, Art Camp to figure out for Sydney next week, Caleb's football registration, getting phone numbers/paperwork/release forms/keys/suitcases/cars from this caregiver to that one (as every kid has 1-2 house transitions in the 8 days we're gone), and making sure we have a spotless house to bring our newest member home to, Brandon left to do the Lord's work.

"I'll just meet you in New York," said Brandon Hatmaker casually.

Tra la la.

So understanding my visceral reaction to a long list of details, this week I have:

Gone to Schlitterbahn.
Taken two naps.
Invited my friends over to sit on my porch.
Invited my sister and mom over to sit on my porch the next night.
Gone to the movies.
Read "The Postmistress."
Written a silly blog about avoiding details to avoid the details longer.
And I'm about to go to the pool.

Never fear, lambs, it will all get done. I'll cram it in at the last second and run around like a whirling dervish, annoying everyone and acting melodramatic. And even as my detail-laden brain is suffering overload and threatening to implode, I'll remember one last little detail and it will all be worth it:

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Kristen Boutwell - July 13th, 2011 at 11:35 AM
You are my hero Jen make me feel 'normal' ;) Can't wait to hear all about your adventure and meet sweet Remy!
Greg Noble - July 13th, 2011 at 11:38 AM
Whew! I'm exhausted. :). God bless you both as you make this trip!!
Fauna - July 13th, 2011 at 11:50 AM
You crack me up! Love you so much!! See you in a few days!!!!
Brandi Fowler - July 13th, 2011 at 11:57 AM
I just love you....
Christa - July 13th, 2011 at 11:57 AM
Kristin from Montana - July 13th, 2011 at 10:31 PM
I never knew anyone else that could describe me to me without having met me. Creepy. You should dump everything out of your closets right about now and decide to organize them...... least that's what I'd do...
Kimberly - July 13th, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Thank you for sharing your life with us:-) God gave me these scriptures a few years ago while we were in the adoption process. I hope they are encouraging to you! Abba is good and loves Ben and can't wait for him to get to come home to his forever family:-)
Jer 49:11 But I will protect the orphans who remain among you. Your widows, too, can depend on me for help. Jer 49:19b and I will appoint the leader of my choice. For who is like me, and who can challenge me? What ruler can oppose my will?

Carolyn Jones - July 13th, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Gotta love you, Jen Hatmaker! It will all happen, because you in your own unique way, will make it happen! Good travelling, and God bless you all!
AnnTerese Brandt - July 13th, 2011 at 12:39 PM
ashley - July 13th, 2011 at 12:48 PM
You're pretty much my twin. I was just having this conversation with myself about details and how lost I have been in these details, which I hate and am not "gifted" for, planning a church wide outreach day for this weekend. I was so lost in the details, that I forgot about the people, and the reason I even care about outreach. Until I got an email telling me we were canceling one of the homes we were working in, because they are cooking crack in the back. Snapped right back to Oh. My. Gosh. These are real people and this can't happen on our watch. Long comment...guess I needed to say it out loud. Your last point resonates with me.
Katie Wesbrooks c - July 13th, 2011 at 12:57 PM
You are still amazing. Love you! You always made me smile face to face and you still make me smile with words. I wish you all the bes, safe travels, and much love to you and your new additions to the family.
Carmen - July 13th, 2011 at 1:01 PM
LOVE THIS! You will get it done!
Mandy Taylor - July 13th, 2011 at 1:06 PM
There's really not much else to say...that picture is the best detail there is. (sigh)
Trace - July 13th, 2011 at 1:21 PM
That's funny, I'm the same way with details. Hooray for marriage!
Mary Smith - July 13th, 2011 at 2:16 PM
I love to hear your story! Lana I knew you were awesome! Can't wait to hear more! Travel safe love hugs and tons of prayers!
Heather - July 13th, 2011 at 8:07 PM
love it. praying for focus and for God to handle all the details. (i pray this alot for myself. ;0) )
Jodi Fletcher - July 13th, 2011 at 9:38 PM
details are stupid xo
Sabrina - July 13th, 2011 at 9:46 PM
This is my life minus the orphans. Mike and I same story! I just tell myself that I work best under pressure so I avoid the details like crazy. In fact going on a trip Tom. I am supposed to be packing right now and figuring out where my kids are gonna stay and how to get them signed up for football while I'm gone! No big whoop! If you figure out how to celebrate recovery from this disease please help me!
debbie tyler - July 13th, 2011 at 9:54 PM
TA DA .........hands above my head waving lol
.JEN HATMAKER.....YOU ARE THE BEST.......LOVE LOVE LOVE reading ANYTHING you write.......God bless you all and safe travels.....

Tori - July 13th, 2011 at 9:58 PM
I just love you! I've taken a zillion of those right/left brain tests, and I come out smack down the middle every time. I'm visual, creative, and artsy, but I also love a good spreadsheet, have a monthly cleaning calendar and meal plan on my fridge, and keep a rigid schedule for my 18-month-old daughter. Sometimes, I drive my own self crazy because I am a little bit of both crazies!

Praying that your trip is as wonderful as you hope, and that you can bring this sweet one (and Ben) to their new home very soon!
Laura Pearson - July 13th, 2011 at 9:59 PM
Having worked with/for Brandon for 2 years (or was it 3??), I must agree 100% with your description of him. Love him dearly...but it made this detail oriented person a little crazy at times obviously for the opposite reasons from you! Love to you both. :)
Pauly - July 13th, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Wow, I am so like Brandon....had no idea. Just stepped up my prayers a bit, no offense, just sayin.
Marla Taviano - July 13th, 2011 at 10:16 PM
Connie Haberman - July 13th, 2011 at 10:33 PM
You have officially become this 43 year olds favorite author. I love it!! Too funny!! Too real! Safe travels Jen Hatmaker. :)
September - July 13th, 2011 at 10:51 PM
This post had me cracking up!! I will be thinking about you guys as you travel to get Remy. And I will definitely be praying that your time with Ben is wonderful despite him not coming home at this time.
Nikki Gaona - July 13th, 2011 at 10:59 PM
You brighten my day every time I read anything you type or hear anything you say. You are a beautiful person inside and out. I miss you and wish you the best of luck on your trip to get your girl.
Debbie Pisana - July 13th, 2011 at 11:16 PM
Safe travel, come back with your sweet Remy. Be praying for Ben to come home to your wonderful family!!!! Love you both!!!!
laura weenig - July 13th, 2011 at 11:23 PM
oh how I love you, and know I know why. I feel like you were describing my life minus 4 children. I HATE details, I failed math. I have no idea how much money we make or what our bills are either. Thank God for our husbands, boy do I feel better, I thought I was the only one. Safe travels my love you are off on your adventure. We are praying for all of you!
Anna - July 14th, 2011 at 12:44 AM
I am laughing out loud, as my people sleep and hubby works late!!! Enjoy the journey and that sweet darling 2nd daughter!!!
Robin McFarren - July 14th, 2011 at 5:24 AM
.....and I get the privilege of hearing your husband speak this morning! Thank you for sharing him!
Denise England - July 14th, 2011 at 8:06 AM
I love you even though we're both a bit ADH.....oh, what a cute outfit!......what was I saying??
Tessy - July 14th, 2011 at 9:06 AM
"(I once read four sentences of her website and curled up in the fetal position. She and I would never, ever be friends.)" De ja Vu - that happened to me as well. LOLSFTG - (that is laugh out loud straight from the gut) --- loved how you self analyzed. I am so glad your heroic husband will be going along with you -- love how God just works out those details - like I wrote on my blog today just goes to show He is always more then able to take care of it all....
Susie - July 15th, 2011 at 8:29 AM
Wow- There are so many of us. You, know, I wasn't even aware there were details until I started trying to write a mystery novel. The guy gets killed, the heroine gets blamed, she solves the case with the help of her hilarious sidekick, and then I go on Oprah to receive my Best New Author of the Year Award...I'm just not sure how to get from "He gets killed" to Oprah ~
And, no matter what anyone says, naps are the answer to everything!
Deanna - July 16th, 2011 at 11:29 PM
I just love you to death and your story!
Michelle - July 17th, 2011 at 10:27 PM
I absolutely get it. Thank God for our soul mates. I often find myself praying, "God, You knew the end from the beginning, and we are trusting in Your unfailing love and if You don't take the reins on this, we're doomed, seriously, because I'm not equipped, and You knew it when You created me and called me to this." Love the narrative, Jen.
Ashley B - July 26th, 2011 at 8:04 PM
So wish you were going to be t the .MOM conference 9/23-24in B'ham!
Katie - September 21st, 2011 at 9:53 PM
I could totally be you. Except you're way more trendy than me! :) My husband does not understand the "I work better under pressure" personality. Thankfully or we'd be in real trouble!
Laura - December 23rd, 2011 at 3:57 PM
Yes I KNOW!!! I mean, I really know! Wow... scary really how much I relate..
Anna - March 1st, 2012 at 12:32 AM
This is exactly how I react to being overwhelmed. Hilarious and wonderful to know that I'm not the only one. I just finished 7, and now I'm going back and reading through your blog. Can't get enough of your "on mission" lifestyle. nAnna
Mary - July 7th, 2013 at 5:31 PM
Remember, if you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute. :)
Patricia - September 6th, 2013 at 6:07 AM
And this is why I'm on Aderrall. Also why I homeschool, which I know would seem to make absolutely no sense, but I was SO bad at keeping a home with a child at school that I fired school. You post Worst End of School Year Mom reminded me exactly why I'm on this monumentally difficult homeschool journey. Anything is better than dealing with school again!!!
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