Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Confession Wednesday



Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

I love sending out Christmas cards. I feel so blessed that I have so many people in my life that I love. For those who live far away, the pictures on the card tell a story about us… they serve as a reminder of what we look like… they show how much our son has grown… they send a Christmas wish of merriment.

But, I think that sometimes our Christmas cards tell a fairytale story… or the story that we want everyone to believe.  Please don’t mistake my family’s Christmas card pictures for what our everyday life looks like. Our pictures tell the story of a picture-perfect family. Although we are in-love each other… we certainly are not perfect. We have to say we are sorry, we cry, we hurt, we disappoint, and sometimes we struggle with everyday life. Even though my pictures don’t depict those struggles… they are there.

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

My goal is to continually be as happy as my family’s Christmas card pictures resemble.  

Monday, December 24, 2012

Letter to my son to answer the question, "Is Santa real?"


My 10 year old son has questioned the validity of Santa. So, I researched how other parents have handled this question (why reinvent the wheel) and I came across a lot of letters from parents to their children . I borrowed from a couple to create this letter...                                                                                     



                                                                                         December 24th, 2012

Shelton,

          This year you asked some really good questions, “Is Santa real?” and “Are Mom and Dad really Santa?”. We know that you wanted to know the answer, and that you demanded to know the truth. Here are the truthful answers, “Yes, Santa is real.” and “No, we are not Santa.” Let us explain.

There is no one, single Santa. Yes, we are the people who fill your stocking and choose to wrap the gifts under the tree… just as our parents did for us, their parents did for them, and you will do for your kids someday. These simple acts could never make any of us Santa, though. Santa is lots of people who keep the spirit of Christmas alive. He lives in our hearts…not at the North Pole. Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others. What he does is teach children to believe in something they cannot see or touch. Throughout your life you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your family, in your friends, and in God.

So, our prayer for you on this Christmas and always is that you keep believing in Santa because he symbolizes so much more than just the gifts beneath the tree.

We love you! Merry Christmas!

~Mom and Dad

Friday, December 21, 2012

Broken Anxiety Meter



I’ve thought throughout the years that I suffered from anxiety. What I’ve realized recently is that I don’t suffer at all… my anxiety meter is just broken. Anxiety is actually a good thing. We feel anxious when something isn’t right in our lives. We experience anxious feelings when something needs to be different. We have anxiety when our balance is off kilter. We are anxious when we need change… anxiety is our change indicator.

However, when I feel anxious I don’t make the changes that are necessary to bring my anxiety meter back down to zero. I just press on… I just put on my big girl panties… I just keep truckin’. My change indicator is flashing and I ignore it. As a result, my anxiety meter just keeps climbing. I become more and more anxious. My meter dial bounces in the red.

Then… I break. My springs pop. My meter glass cracks. My dial flies off.

My anxiety meter is broken… and, I am going to fix it once and for all. When I feel like I need a break… I am going to take one. When I feel like I need separation from my responsibilities… I am going to separate myself. When I feel like I can’t go on… I am NOT going to press on… I am NOT going to put on my big girl panties… I am NOT going to keep truckin’. When I feel anxiety… I am going to listen to my meter and readjust.

I need some tools to get the job done though. The readjustment tools that I need for my broken meter are to learn to lean on others for help, acknowledge that needing help isn’t a weakness, and that allowing the people in my life to help me gives them the opportunity to love me… or teaches them how to love me. I think that these tools are a start to fixing my broken anxiety meter.

Once it is working properly again, it is going to take a while to learn how to read my anxiety meter. I sure hope it comes with an operator’s manual.  


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Confession Wednesday



Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

For Christmas, I asked my husband for a nose hair trimmer… he told me to just go buy that myself. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t have bought a nose hair trimmer myself because I could. In asking for one I was really asking my husband to help me save what dignity I had left… to keep me from having to endure the humiliation… to shield me from the cashier’s judgment. As if it is not hard enough to wake-up one day with a bush growing out of your nostrils… then, you actually have to draw attention to the hair by purchasing a trimmer.

So I did it… with my head hung low… I went and bought it myself.

I swear the cashier looked at the nose hair trimmer and then at my nose… maybe it was my paranoia… but, I swear she did. I had a pretend conversation in my mind with her that went like this… “Oh honey, you are young. Just you wait… someday when you are old like me you too will be cutting your nose hairs. Or not… but then you will lonely!”

I almost told her I was buying it for my husband... but since I chose the nose hair trimmer with purple accents I decided that it might not help my situation to say that.

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

I bought a nose hair trimmer…  my nose hairs aren’t the only thing getting trimmed…  I am trimming my dignity too!   


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Confession Wednesday



I attend a mega church in Arizona; therefore, our campus is like a town, complete with restaurants and a Starbucks. At church the other day, I was watching a woman eat a slice of pizza. To say she was eating it is a slight understatement. She was mauling that slice.

She was tearing off each little bite with her greasy fingers…picking the pepperoni off and eating it separately…licking her fingers after each bite…then she turned the pizza to her child offering the child a bite. For the love of God make it stop!

As I was watching her I threw-up a little bit in my mouth…but kept watching. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I was rooting for her to redeem herself before she finished it off. She must have known I was ogling her…I wasn’t being discreet. I was even making my sturgeon fish face as I was experiencing the death of this slice of pizza.

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

I have issues with people’s eating habits and I judge them for it.

There I said it…now I can move on and try to be a better person.

Do you have issues with people’s eating habits too? 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Homework Woes…and the reason I drink



My son hates homework and I am taking responsibility for most of that hatred…because it is shared! The one aspect of parenting that brings me the most anxiety is homework.

Since my son was in kindergarten, he has had homework. His attention span has never been his strength. There are a million other things trying to grab his attention…like the eraser shavings that surround him. He gets distracted and discouraged. This results in arguments and consequences… and drinking wine on my part (and by wine I mean vodka…vodka just doesn’t seem very Christian of me to say).

His attention span is not the only aspect of homework that stands in his way. I don’t get him at his best. I get him at his grumpiest… when he’s tired. His peak has come and gone by the time homework time comes around… it was from 11:00am-12:00pm… at recess and lunch time. My peak has come and gone too… it was from 8:40am-8:50am… yep, about 10 minutes then it is all downhill.

My son and I began to have conversations about our homework woes. He needs to change his perspective and attitude because homework isn’t going away. Here are the highlights of our conversations (I won’t burden you with the lowlights):
·       
     Bring glory to God, even in your homework:
o   Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” ~Colossians 3:23
·        Homework prepares him for a career:
o   He is a professional student.
o   Just like Mom and Dad have jobs, his job is to be a 4th grader. Part of that job description is to do homework.
o   Next year his job will be to be a 5th grader…hopefully.
·        Homework develops character and skills that will serve him well:
o   Time management
o   Priorities
o   Problem solving
o   Independence
o   Planning
o   Organizing
·        Homework teaches life lessons:
o   There will be things in life that you don’t want to do…but you still have to do them.
o   You are in control and responsible for your education.
o   We are all life-long learners…for the successful person, learning never stops.

After our conversations and our decisions were made to change our perspective about homework, my son and I were talking about it with my husband…his Dad. Well, I guess all that we talked about and agreed upon didn’t stick too well because my son didn’t remember much of our conversation. I am just hoping he absorbed my words as they washed over him and they just became a part of him.

My responsibility in this was to get my priorities in check too. Realizing that I too am tired after a long day, homework needs to be in a more relaxed environment…for both of our sakes. I have to stop rushing him through homework so that I can move on the next thing. I have to stop being selfish with my time. Instead of me trying to get dinner ready and the dishes done while homework is trying to turn me into an alcoholic, I am going to sit close by and read a book so that I am available…not hovering. Reading will be my homework. This is beneficial in three ways: 1. It sets a good example 2. It encourages and reiterates habits of a life-long learner 3. I get some much needed down-time. The dishes will wait for me, unfortunately.

I’ve had to learn how to be a good Mommy…much of that through trial and error. I shouldn’t be surprised that I had to learn how to do homework too. Through the changes that I am willing to make I am showing my son that I am invested in his education, his success, and his future. I love my child enough to put down the dishes (and my shot of vodka…oh, I mean wine glass)… and pick up a new attitude, a book, and an investment. I am buying-in to his future one evening of homework at a time.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blurred Vision



At a young age I had to start wearing glasses. It was unfortunate for many reasons… mostly because it was the early 80’s and there were some funky eyeglass styles back then. I have the pictures to prove it… again, very unfortunate.
I was so blind without my glasses. I literally could only see clearly the first 6 inches in front of my face. The rest of the world was blurry. I can remember losing, misplacing really, my glasses and having to blindly search for them. Once I found them, it was such a relief because I could actually see again… my world came into focus.
There was a time during my junior high years (before I wore contacts) that I refused to wear my glasses because I thought I looked like a dork with them on. Hindsight… I probably looked more like a dork without my glasses running into things. I could never see where I was going. I just stumbled along through those days.
Slowly my vision changed and the way I handled my lack of vision changed too. I wore glasses (or refused to), then I went to contacts, and finally I got the Lasik procedure done… each step helping to give me better visual focus.
All these years later, my vision still gets blurry. Not my eyesight vision, but my perspective vision… the view of the world around me. Sometimes my world is blurry… sometimes I misplace my perspective… sometimes I blindly search for clarity… sometimes I stumble along on my journey… sometimes my priorities are out of focus.
It is in these “sometimes” that I am reminded that the solution is as easy as the days when all I had to do was remember where I left my glasses. I’d search and search until I found them… retracing my footsteps… reflecting on where I might have left them… figuring out the last time I saw them.
When I follow these same steps to find my perspective… I always lead myself back to the same spot… God. My vision is regained when I look up and refocus on God. He is my world, my perspective, my clarity, my guide, and my priority… He is my looking glass. When I look to God for focus, only then is my vision clear.
I had a “sometimes” moment recently...when my vision was blurred. I was overwhelmed with the obligations in life. I was focusing on those obligations rather than upward. I thought I had lost my perspective. Then, I found it in God… turns out I had only misplaced it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

You Teach People How To Treat You



Something I always say is, “You teach people how to treat you.” Time and time again this statement proves true… time and time again I remind people of this statement in all sorts of situations. From children to adults… it applies to anyone, everyone, regardless of their age or relationship status.

The people in our lives are treating us the exact way that we have allowed them too… the exact way we have taught them too. We teach them through our actions and our inactions. Our tolerance of behaviors through silence speaks volumes to how much self worth we possess.

The greatest defense system we have, but many of us never use, are communication skills… our words. A small statement such as, “You can’t treat me that way.” Or, “That hurts my feelings.” Or, “Please don’t talk to me like that.” These little words strung together are our way of teaching people how to treat us. Communication is also our greatest teaching tool. I believe in teaching through positive reinforcement. So, reinforce the positive ways people treat you as well. Those words can sound like this, “I like it when you say that.” Or, “It make s me feel loved when you do that.” Or, “Thank you for showing me you care.”

I tell my students that when you allow someone to say mean things to you, or you allow someone to hurt you in any way and you do not speak-up for yourself then you are teaching that person that it is okay to treat you that way. However, if you DO speak-up for yourself then you are teaching that person that it is NOT okay to treat you that way. You are teaching that person that you respect yourself and demand to be treated right. One of the rules in my classroom is actually “Speak up for yourself!”

Our friends, our family, our spouses, our co-workers, and even our children treat us how we have taught them too. It is not like we sat them down and gave them a lesson… or specifically told them how to treat us… or gave them a power point presentation on how to treat us. But, maybe we should.

How are you teaching people to treat you? Are you intentional on teaching them how you want to be treated? Or, are your inactions teaching them the wrong way?

No matter what your answers are to these questions… you are not a victim. You need to own your role in the relationships you are involved in.  I am going to say it again… Our tolerance of behaviors through silence speaks volumes to how much self worth we possess. And you, my friend, are worthy of being treated right! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Desires of the Heart… what we want in a life partner



I am surrounded by women who are divorced, just going through a break-up, or have never found the right person. These are fabulous women who would be a blessing to any man’s life. They certainly are a blessing to my life.

I have been reevaluating and trying to wrap my mind around what these fabulous women are looking for in a man and what my husband offers me that protects our marriage after all these years of hills and valleys. I’ve come up with a list of what they want… what I want… what most of us want in a life partner.


We don’t want someone who is guarded and wrapped in a blanket of protection… but someone who is vulnerable, raw, and open. We want someone who will let us in… even into those places that are dark and wounded. We are wounded too.

We don’t want someone who tries to heal our wounds…. but someone who allows us the space we need to embrace healing… define what healing means for us… change our perspective about the wound. We all need a change.

We don’t want someone to remain the same… but someone willing to change… someone willing to accept the challenge to constantly become a better person. We all need accountability to become a better version of us.

We don’t want someone who becomes what we want them to become… but someone who will become a better person for us. We all want to be the reason they are a better person… each step along their journey a little bit better because we are by their side.

We don’t want someone who will stunt our growth or inhibit our personal journey… but someone who will grow along side us and intertwine their journey with ours. We all have our own journey… separate worlds yet the same.  

We don’t want a passive participant in our world… but someone who will fight for us. We want someone who will do what it takes and stand-up for our love. We all want to know that we are worth fighting for… and worth loving.

We don’t want someone who places conditions on their expression of love… but someone who will love us for who we are… the old us, the current us, and the future us. We all want someone who will love us for the crazy, hot mess we really are… learning to love us and accept us for those things instead of trying to save us from those things.

We don’t want a superhero or someone who will rush in to save the day… we don’t want a savior… but someone who loves the Savior with all of their heart, soul, strength, and mind. We all need the love, peace, courage, and balance that only He can offer.


Certainly this list is by no means exhaustive. There are personal preferences and love languages to consider as well; however, these are the wants and don’t wants that I hear over and over again in the voices of the fabulous women in my life. These are the reasons my marriage has stood the test of time. These are the desires of the heart… the healing heart, the broken heart, the loved heart… the whole heart. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

COMMUNITY… we are meant to be together as one



I just recently had the honor of teaching at Outdoor Education with all of the 6th graders at the school where I teach Art. We headed up to the cool Arizona pines in Prescott for 3 days and 2 nights. It was an unforgettable experience for all who were involved. A blessing for sure! Being there gave me a new perspective and really opened my eyes… reminding me of a lesson I once learned.

Although what happens in Outdoor Education stays in Outdoor Education; I can sum up my experience there with one word… COMMUNITY.

The students who previously isolated themselves and hid behind a mask of loneliness became a part of the community. They bought into what we were offering. Students who weren’t friends prior to the trip can now be found on campus arm in arm as a community. They took what we were giving. Parents I never knew before are now my friends. I wave to them a little more vigorously in the community… and the car line. They cherished what we were creating.

We all shared an adventure… an experience. We were all a part of a community. This adventure and experience solidified our union. We just needed a common ground in which we could build a foundation upon.

After assigning this word COMMUNITY  to my experience… I began to think about that word in depth. What does that mean in my life? How has that meaning changed for me? What does that mean in the lives of others?
For most of my life I really didn’t know what community was, or that I was lacking it, or that I even needed it in my life… that is, until I found it. I didn’t really understand or find community until I was in my late twenties and early thirties. That is a long time to go without feeling as though you belong somewhere… anywhere.

I grew-up 2,500 miles away from my family and we didn’t develop a surrogate family either. There were just the 5 of us…far, far away from a community. I tried to establish community in other areas of my life. But, those all failed because I had nothing to build upon, nobody to show me the way. That is… until I moved to the south. If they do one thing right it is BBQ… oh yeah, and community.  I learned a lot of things about life there. I say all the time that God brought me there to heal me and make me whole.
One area of my life that needed to be healed and made whole was my understanding of community. I was so blessed to have a community of friends in Tennessee embrace and accept me… they made me feel as though I belong. You see, they had all been friends since grade school and high school… they accepted me and invited me to be a part of their already established community. They had such a solid ground in which their  community  was built that they could afford to take in a wretch like me. They taught me so much…I learned the lesson of community from them. And, in turn, I feel obligated to give the gift of community to others… because that’s what you do in a community.

Knowing how important community is in my life leaves me pondering the question… What behaviors manifest when a person doesn’t have a sense of community? I suppose the answer to that question will depend on the person; however, if we reflect on what community provides for people then we can assume what lack of community would result in. Being associated with a community requires responsibility, commitment, and obligation to others … loving one another; as well as, putting others needs before your own. The opposite of that would be selfishness and hate…or loneliness.

These are just a few of the negative aspects that can occur when a person lacks community. I am certain there are many, many more because we were born to be together as one… we were designed that way.

Now, of course, we are speaking of healthy communities here. There are obviously other communities, like gangs, that do not adhere to the typical community rules. These unhealthy communities give a false sense of belonging and encourage negative impacts on society.

As I questioned before, the meaning of community has changed throughout my life. However, the importance of a community and how deep a community runs was never apparent until I had a child. We all need to feel a part of something but a child MUST feel as though they belong in order to have their basic needs met. Certainly this can be accomplished in a small immediate family unit… but, it truly does take a village to raise a child.

I believe it is all of our desires to belong, be unified, be accepted, and be one… we fill that need in a community. Whether it is a community of family, friends, co-workers, classmates, church members, team members, fans, or an online community like facebook; we need to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves.

I am blessed to have you all in my community. We are meant to be together as one… arm in arm.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Masks We Wear


With Halloween upon us… I’ve been thinking about how kids love to dress-up. They are so excited to choose a costume for Halloween. A lot of thought and consideration is given to what they want “to be”. They not only put on their costumes but they get into character as well. They wear that role with pride in their steps as they parade around the neighborhood collecting compliments with each piece of candy.

 For one night, the children get to be someone different… they get to play a role. They go to bed full of sweets and a sense of accomplishment.

I wonder if this is where the desire for adults to wear masks comes from. Do we learn from this childhood tradition that wearing masks is a way to become someone different? Different than we are. Different than what we have become. A disguise is easier to put on than the truth. A costume is simpler to assemble than reality. Do we hide behind these masks as if they are shields of protection? Guarded, shielded, hidden, disguised, and protected from revealing our true identity.

Wearing a mask was meant to be a child’s game. The danger of adults playing this game is that we keep the mask on for too long. Instead of just being temporary it becomes permanent.  The mask wearing distorts our reality. After wearing the mask long enough… we begin to accept that mask as our reality.  Ultimately, we become defined by the mask we wear. The line of where we begin and the mask ends…become unclear.

You may enjoy wearing the mask and believe that it serves a purpose in your world. You may even enjoy the image the mask portrays; however, the person you are hurting with the mask is yourself. That unclear boarder of the real you and the mask puts a wedge between you and others. Whether the relationship is between you and another person or you and God; it is a barrier preventing genuine relationships. This protective barrier may prevent some of the bad from penetrating you but it also prevents the good.

To have genuine relationships, to be true to yourself, to allow God into your heart, to accept your actual reality… you must hang up the mask. Be vulnerable! Be exposed! Reveal your hidden identity! As long as you keep wearing that mask you will remain one layer apart from others.

Children understand that Halloween is just one night. They wake-up the next morning and they are back to themselves… vulnerable, exposed, and their true identity revealed. They hang-up their mask. It is time for you to take off your mask too. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

People Watching… putting people into boxes



I love to people watch! And, there is some good people watching to be had in Las Vegas. There is a diverse crowd of people who are attracted to the lights like a moth to a flame.  It is definitely a spectators sport!

There are impersonators, working girls, old and young, rich and poor, gamblers, partiers, sightseers, foreigners, and locals. Every race, religion, and sexual orientation is represented in the crowds. As if the sights, sounds, and smells of Las Vegas aren’t overwhelming enough… the people you watch can over stimulate your senses. They are a sight to see.

As I people watched in Las Vegas, I judged a bit. Okay maybe judge isn’t the right action…categorized is more accurate. My OCD of organization even spills into the act of people watching. I put these strangers into the shoe boxes in my mind… I organize them… I sort them out… I made differentiations between them… I am giving order to the chaos.

But, really… ultimately what I am doing is defining who I am by reducing them to who I think they are. In categorizing as I people watch I say that I am not like them so they go in this box. Or, I am kind of like them so they fit nicely in that box. Or, they are so different from therefore they go in a box all the way over there.

One thing I am working on doing is forming new boxes. These boxes are much bigger than my original shoe boxes. They are like a Rubbermaid box… big, flexible, durable, and the lid goes on and off so easily. I am trying to transfer people into this box. Transfers require a lot of paperwork and negotiating… but the process is getting easier on me. This new box is the “They are different from me but that’s okay… different is good… different doesn’t mean wrong just different… and, maybe we really aren’t THAT different after all.” Yeah, it is a long title. But, nothing short of that will do.

So, as I people watch or evaluate people in my life I am narrowing down my boxes… I am re-organizing my categories… instead of differences I am trying to see some similarities. Because really… we are all alike… we want to be loved, accepted, and we want to belong.

I love to see the sights of people walking by… I invite them into my new and improved bigger box. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Losing My Leaves Like the Fall Trees


“All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried.” ~Donald Miller

Ahhhhto be a tree! There is so much we could learn from trees. Especially this time of the year as they are losing their leaves. I think about the leaves that I am having to shed in my life right now and this quote met me in that place slapped me in the face really.

Why cant we be more graceful in our seasons of life like a tree? Instead of allowing our leaves to fall we hold on to them. Even if those leaves are decaying on our brancheswe hold on to them for dear life. Or, if our leaves do fall sometimes we try to pick them up and stuff them in our pockets just to hold on a bit longer. Because they dont serve us anymore those dead leaves just end up crumbling in our pockets.

We must be barren for a while vulnerable to the elements in order to grow and sprout anew. We must let the old dying leaves go so that new leaves can bud on our branches.

When the season comes for my leaves to begin falling I worry and stress over what the new leaves will look like and feel like on my branches. I am concerned about new leaves ever growing back. I fight the season change. I mourn the loss of each little leaf as it falls. They were a part of me. They defined me.

As my branches lay open and nude and raw in the sun and wind and rain I feel their loss. I feel their yearning to be full of life again.

Yet, the tree doesnt scramble for its leaves. The tree doesnt keep the decaying leaves on its branches. The tree knows that those old leaves arent serving it well any longerso the tree lets them go with such grace. The tree allows each leaf to blow away with the passing wind waving them a farewell. The tree doesnt wither in grief for its loss. Nor does it mourn the passing of a season. The tree stands tall and proud with bare branches open wide in the elements as it awaits its next season. 

I will become more like a tree. I will embrace each season as it passes looking forward to the next. My bare branches are vulnerable, open, nude, and raw. Come leaves come sit on my branches... even if it is just for one season.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Preparing the Child for the Path (the pocket companion version)



Since my son was born I have known that I was preparing him for the world…preparing him to be independent and separate from me. I have been stretched a little bit more as a parent lately. Required to grow. Required to let go just a little bit more. Required to let him walk on.

I am preparing my child for the path… not preparing the path for my child.

I cannot pick-up every stone along the path so that he will not trip. I cannot smooth the bumps and fill the divots so that he does not stumble. I cannot push the boulders out of the way so that he will not fall.

Actually, I can do all of those things; however, in doing so I am preparing the path for my child.

To prepare my child for the path… I can teach him how to navigate around the stones, bumps, divots, and boulders. I can teach him how to gracefully trip, stumble, and fall. I can teach him how to get back-up again, dust himself off, and continue on the path a little wiser and a little better for having fallen. I can prepare my child for the path by allowing him to walk the path laid before him… after all, it is his path… not mine. I can offer suggestions or point out the best route but ultimately it is my son’s choice… my son’s journey… my son’s path.

I am just a pamphlet on a self-guided tour… a pocket companion to point out the sights and features… a directory of recommended paths to sojourn through.

He may choose to forge a new path through the mountain. One of his very own. He may choose to take a well worn path. One with signs and markers along the way. He may end up at a beautiful waterfall. He may take the scenic route. He may end up at a level plain. Whatever path he chooses… I will be there to encourage him as he navigates through the path, teach him how to read the compass and find direction with purpose, and offer him a tri-fold, glossy, self-guided pamphlet. But, it is all ultimately his choice.

I will prepare my child for the path… not the path for my child. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ten


Ten… just three little letters. It is a small little word. In those three little letters there has been a lot of memories. Ten is how many years I have been his mommy.

It is hard to believe that ten years has passed since the first time I met him, the first time I held him, and the first time I looked into his big blue eyes. It is even harder to imagine a time in my life where he hasn’t been in my heart. I am forever changed. I am forever a better person. I am forever his mommy. He will forever have my heart.

I tell him that his birthday is my favorite day of the year. It is my favorite day because it is the day he came into my life… the day that God gave me the greatest gift EVER!

Ten. Two hand fulls. Double digits. Happy Birthday to my one and only! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Year He Broke the Code of Childhood Games


He figured it out! He asked me… I couldn’t lie… I couldn’t turn the question around on him, “What do you think?” He told me to tell him truth.  I had to give-up… give-in… come clean.

A few days ago, my son asked me if I was the one who moved Little Elf (Elf on the Shelf). He demanded to know. I demanded to know why he was asking. Did someone say something to him?

I looked into his sky blue eyes and told him the truth, “Yes, I move Little Elf.” There were mixed emotions flowing from his stare… a bit of betrayal, a bit of mystery and a bit of excitement as if he just figured out the code of his childhood.

He had a ton more questions. He couldn’t figure out how I got Little Elf to the North Pole every night. He wanted to know why I moved Little Elf… why did I buy things for Little Elf to leave for him? My response was that it was a game. I did it because he enjoyed it so much, it was exciting, it was fun!

I asked him if he still wanted me to play the game of Little Elf. He said, “No, I’m ten now.” Well... he is almost ten. And, as if him turning ten wasn’t hard enough on me. Now he doesn’t want to play the games that have been a tradition of his childhood years. My one and only is growing up. The seriousness of adolescence is sneaking up on us.

Ten with forever be known as the year he broke the code of childhood games. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wrapping up the package of this past year in order to receive the gift of a new year…



Each passing year of life is not only a gift I receive from God… it is a gift I am giving to the world. I am not ready to accept this new year of life because this past year of life has a few unwrapped packages of its own… with a few bows that didn’t get put on top… with some of the tape peeling off. How do I present those gifts to the world? They are still un-presentable… un-givable.  

I say that I am in denial about my birthday; however, what I really mean to say is that I’m not ready to wrap up a new year of life yet. I can’t just give a gift without all of the proper finishing touches. I feel myself frantically, last minute, trying to get things all wrapped up in a neat little package with a bow on top.

I began praying for understanding, appreciation, and clarity for this past year… I prayed for wisdom, courage, strength, boldness, love, and blessings for this new year. Through my prayers, God gave me another gift last night… the gift to stop grieving the loss of another year so that I can move on to a new year of life with peace and certainty that He knows the plans He has for me.

Each cut… each crease… each fold… each pressed seam… each taped edge… each curled ribbon… each tied bow… each package this past year of life has given me just finished wrapping up right before my eyes. And, just like that my heart is ready to receive the gift of a new year of life. Just in time for its delivery. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Children Are Like A Puzzle



Some children come with all the pieces and they fit so perfectly together. You begin with the boarder or frame of the puzzle. Then, you work your way to the pieces in the middle to complete the picture. These puzzles look exactly like the picture of the front of the box. Maybe even a little better because you assembled it.

Other children don’t come with all of the puzzle pieces. The traditional puzzle building skills don’t apply to this puzzle; therefore, you scramble to learn different puzzle building skills. The pieces don’t all fit together… so you cut a few of the pieces to allow them to complete the picture. You can’t begin with the boarder because there aren’t any straight edged pieces… you don’t know where to begin. So, you start in the middle and try to match like pieces… one at a time. You end up with different parts of the whole… all clustered together.

After working for a while you begin to see the puzzle come together.  The clusters of pieces are starting to form images that are recognizable. The parts are coming together as a whole. From what you can see so far it is the most beautiful picture you have ever seen in your life. It certainly does not look like any other puzzle you have ever seen before. There is no other puzzle like it. It is one of a kind… an original… a special edition! This glimpse motivates you and gives you hope. You are eager to finish it because you know it will be your best work yet! Yet, you are patient because you know that puzzles can’t be built in a day.

I am still building the puzzle… learning different puzzle building skills… cutting a few pieces along the way… I began with the middle… piece by piece… in parts… in clusters… being patient. But from the glimpse I have so far… it is the most beautiful picture I have ever seen in my entire life. I am going to frame this one! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Be still



There is a lesson I am trying to learn to right now. Usually I wouldn’t say that I’m “trying” to do anything. Usually I would just say I am doing it. In our home we don’t try, we do. However, I am trying to be still. It is part of my nature to want to go…go…go and do…do…do. However, this part of me runs me into the ground and causes much anxiety in my life. As a do-er, I am always becoming better today than I was yesterday. So my today’s are filled with “trying” to find moments to be still… to be in the moment… to just be.

I am full of energy to get stuff done. I make lists. I check things off of my lists. If I do something that was not on my list… I add it to the list just so I can cross it off. I have post-it notes all over my command station in the kitchen. These to-dos dictate my todays.

When I am not accomplishing and checking things off of my lists I am thinking about tomorrow… or next week… or next month. I’m planning, I’m preparing, I’m gettin’ ‘er done.

With my multitude of post-its hanging around waiting for me… I forget to be still. I forget that today has enough problems of their own. I try to be still then out of the corner of my eye I see my bright pink post-it notes waving at me. They are all like, “Hey there! Remember us! We need to be accomplished and checked off!” 

I’d be better at being still if it wasn’t so… you know… still and all. I could accomplish this to-do if it was a lesson in kind of being still… or slowing down… or slow motion… but to be still… yeah, that’s hard. It requires full mind and body stillness. And, that’s precisely why God asks us to be still… because it is hard… because it is necessary for mental, physical, and spiritual health and well being.

When I don’t incorporate stillness in my days then I feel stressed out… overwhelmed… unstill. Where I have landed in my quest for stillness is in a place of continually trying… continually needing reminders… continually in motion towards stillness... continually putting forth effort to just be.