Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Worry


My son has been anxious about beginning the 4th grade. In general, he is anxious about the unknown. He was anxious at Disneyland as we waited to get on rides; unsure of what the ride would be like.

We’ve been preparing for the 4th grade all summer…practicing math facts, talking about what 4th grade behaviors are and are not, and talking about his worries. He is worried about what his teacher will be like, who his classmates will be, what will he learn, will it be too hard, will he have what it takes? We are facing his fears and working through his anxiety, together.

A few nights ago he couldn’t get to sleep. His mind was turning over the soil of the 4th grade. I met him on the stairs…halfway up for me, halfway down for him. We sat there for a while… just talking.

He spoke of his worries. I listened. I reminded him about how worry steals away the joy from his life.

He shared that he has been praying about his worries. I listened. I reminded him that it is sometimes, often times, not enough to just pray; he had to surrender too. He had to give God his worry. His worry is too heavy for him to carry on his own…God will carry it and care for it. And, by still worrying after he prayed… it was like he was telling God that God couldn’t handle it… he wasn’t trusting God’s mighty power.

We talked some more. He said he wanted to shine God’s light at school. I listened. I reminded him that worry stops his light from shining brightly. Then, he said it! He said something so truthful and wise beyond his 9 years. He said, “So (as if he was still processing), worry is the wind that blows out my light?” WOW!!!  Not only does he get it, he has created his own profound statement about it!

At that moment, I got such a beautiful feeling of his peace and understanding of the concept. His words gave me the gift of a vivid visual.

A candle flickering bright light and illuminating the darkness.
A strong breeze blows in.
Shifting the light.
Bending the light.  
Until the flame goes out.
Completely out.
Smoke rises.
Then, only darkness.

My son woke-up the next day feeling ready for the 4th grade. He didn’t remember much of our conversation on the stairs. But, he processed and internalized the words we shared. His light is shining again… as bright as it has ever shone before. His worry is gone. His joy is back.

Worry is the wind that blows out your light! 



Monday, July 30, 2012

The Uniform We Wear


I saw this woman the other day…she was so beautiful! She was blond, tall, thin, stylish, and had a great smile. I couldn’t help but stare at her for a little bit too long. You know that awkward length of time. She noticed I was staring at her and I looked away like I wasn’t staring at her. Yep, we shared that weird moment! I hope she didn’t think I was judging her or that she had a bat in the cave. I was just admiring her beauty.  Good job, God!

I’m not “into” women in that way. I love myself a man… my husband to be exact! But, every once in a while I’ll see a strikingly beautiful woman and just wonder…

Why wasn’t I designed like that? Why did God make me how He did?

Don’t get me wrong! I love me…maybe a little too much at times. For instance, my husband tells me I am beautiful and I respond with, “Yeah I am! You are lucky to be tapping this!” God did a good job making me too! I, too, am beautiful.

But, as I wonder why God made us each so different and unique... I turn my imagination on. This is the visual that I came up with… we all have a costume or, better yet, a uniform that we wear. Yeah sure, genetics will play a big part in your uniform too. It is almost like God has selected a uniform for each of us depending on the job we will do in life... almost. I just can’t help but think that if I looked differently that I would be received differently. 

I am slowly seeing my path in life unfold before me. Each puzzle piece, one at a time, is beginning to reveal the big picture. The big picture for me has to do with reaching out to others through my own experiences in life…like this blog, for example. I want people to know that this ordinary and average person feels and thinks the same way as they do. They are not alone.  Now, if I wasn’t such an ordinary person and I was a super model type, people might not be able to relate to me. They might think, “What does that super model know about being self-conscious?” Or, “What does that super model know about embracing her big butt?” See where I am going with this?

I am approachable because I am me. I am believable because I am average. I am relatable because I am ordinary. So, THIS is the uniform I wear. Super Models get beautifully tall and thin bodies. I get a short and could lose ten pounds body. Super Heroes get capes. I get a modest wardrobe from Target, Old Navy, and an occasional Goodwill find. Police Officers are armed with weapons of guns, mace and that stick thingy. I am armed with weapons of wit, creativity, and honesty.

So, next time I stare awkwardly at another woman…I’ll remember that her uniform suits her life’s journey well; just like my uniform suits mine. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What is your fragrance?



What do people smell on you? What is your fragrance…grumpiness, hurt, pride, fear, rudeness, bitterness, faithlessness, hesitation? Or is your fragrance love, peace, happiness, contentment, faith, hope, joy?
Where do you derive your fragrance from…past pain, current pain, ego, a bad day, loneliness, regret? Or do you derive your fragrance from the love of God?

Personally, my fragrance can change from day-to-day…moment-to-moment. I really wish I was like a Glade Plug-In; where my fragrance lasted consistently for days at a time and I had warning when my pleasant fragrance was getting low. Then, I could just change my cartridge and be all yummy again. Or, I could switch things up and smell like joy one month… love the next month… peace the month after that…and maybe during the holiday’s I could smell of compassion…during winter I could smell of Spring to give other people hope.  But, I am not a Glade Plug-In… I am Melissa and I change without moment’s notice. I do not have an indicator light. I have an ego.

I want my fragrance to continue permeating joy. I really want people to smell the joy of God on me. I want people to smell what a relationship with God gives me… love, peace, happiness, contentment, faith, hope, and joy.

Yet, sometimes I let other negative feeling stink me up:
I get impatient with my son…smelling sour.
I get annoyed with my husband…smelling rude.
I get reflective with my mistakes…smelling bitter.
I get regretful with my past…smelling sad.
I get worried with my future…smelling faithless.
I get self-conscious with my being…smelling diminished. 

Finally, I will realize that my indicator light was flashing for a week… my fragrance cartridge needs a re-fill or just a complete change all together. Then, I get closer with God…smelling joyful again. Full of God’s love…my fragrance continues to permeate from my heart.



Sharing Love



The other day, I told my son what I hoped he would learn through my love for him…first, to see God’s love through mine…second, to learn how to share both God’s love and his own love with others.

I really don’t think it is wise to teach him to just receive my love so he can store it up in his heart like wheat in a silo. There won’t be a drought… no need to save it up in a storage vessel. Love will continue to grow and fill him up. The more he gives, the more he will receive. Love is perishable and not meant to be stored and saved up. It is meant to be shared and given away.

If I made my son a loaf of bread from the wheat in that silo and he just kept it in his pocket, he’d always have that loaf of bread; yet, it would get stale and go bad. He would eventually end up with a useless loaf of bread… wasted.

However, if I made my son a loaf of bread from the wheat in that silo and he shared it with everyone he met, it would go to good use and fill others up. Even though he wouldn’t have that same loaf of bread anymore he’d have the memories where it came from, memories of who he shared it with. He’d still be able to remember what the bread looked like, smelled like, and tasted like. When the people who he shared the loaf with have their own loaf of bread…chance are they will share too…chances are they will share with him…chances are they will continue to fill each other up one loaf of bread at a time.

Now, think of love in the same manner. Which scenario would best serve the love we receive…to store it away safely or to share it freely? I choose to teach my son to share it freely…with family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. We show our love in many different ways….time, gifts, compliments, a hug, and random acts of kindness… even a smile.

Is your loaf of bread in your pocket getting stale? Or is it filling people up?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Can Do Attitude


Have you ever had people in your life who seem to just talk about all the things they can’t do; along with all the reasons why they can’t do it? Those types of people really wear on me. I am exhausted after an encounter with those types of people. I’ve had to sever my relations with people because their “can’t do” attitude was affecting me; bringing me down, in fact. I am very emotionally sensitive to those around me.  Their vibes and attitudes affect my vibe and attitude. It is as though I feed off of them. Their “can’t do” attitude becomes my heart’s burden.

Now, I say, “those types of people" as if to say I am not like them, I am different. At least, I’d like to think I am different. Every so often I catch myself with a “can’t do” attitude and I convince myself that I can. After all, what do I have to lose?

I strive to listen for God’s guidance and wisdom in my life….following my heart.  I know, from experience, that even if I don’t believe I am ready for something… being out of my comfort zone is where I learn and grow the most. I don’t make excuses. I don’t say I can’t.

From time-to-time my son gets into a “can’t do” funk. He gives me excuses why he can’t do this or reasons why he can’t do that. When he does I remind him, “I don’t want to hear about what you can’t do…I want to hear about what you can do.” I know, I know… I sound mean. But, if I let him fall into the “can’t do” cycle he may never get out…or when he does get out there will be a lot of missed experiences and blessings because of his “can’t do” attitude. I’ve seen a lot of people caught in this cycle for their entire lives. I want my son to embody a “can do” attitude.

If you let the “can’t do” attitude go once or twice you begin to convince yourself that you can’t. You get comfortable in that state of excuses. You can do what you decide you can do! You can change your life, you can heal, you can forgive, you can be different, you can, you can, you can! Don’t excuse your life away. We convince ourselves of the results before we even make an attempt. The choice is yours…can you or can’t you? 

Friday, July 27, 2012

All in!


When I go swimming I keep my head above water. At all costs, I keep my hair dry. That means I don’t jump in. I don’t go under. I just tread water. I keep out of the deep end out of worry that I might go under. I don’t get fully wet. It is safe to say that I am not all in! I swim with reservations!

I thought about this idea of being all in and how it relates to swimming just as much as it relates to life. Just like I swim with reservations… I often live my life that way as well. In life I do not always want to jump in, I am worried about going under, I just tread my way through, I keep out of the deep, and I am not fully committed… I am not all in. This lack of commitment creates a worried and reserved heart in me. I’m not fully committed to the experience… I am only half in!

Swimming is all about getting wet…head to toe. It is about splashing around, playing, jumping in feet or head first. Shouldn’t life be that way too?

In the pool and in life…I hold back my involvement, I hold back my ability to fully enjoy, and I hold back my immersion because of my worry. That worry steals the joy out of my experiences and relationships in life.

I am trying to play more… in life. I am trying to jump in feet or head first… in life. I am trying to be all in…in life!


Last night I went swimming with my son. In my normal fashion, I was treading water ever so cautiously. Then, about an hour into our swim, I asked my son if he wanted to jump in with me. He said, “REALLY?!” I think he was just as surprised by my request as I was. We went to the edge of the deep end. We held hands. On the count of 3 we jumped in… all in… feet first… without reservations… without holding back. I immersed myself into the experience! It felt so liberating, joyful, refreshing, and free. I was giggling with joy and happiness.

It was at that moment when I realized what I have been missing out on. It had been years since I have jumped in… all in! In the pool and in life… I am going to continue jumping in. I am going to jump in cannon ball, feet first, belly flop, head first, and any free-style way I can imagine. I am all in…head to toe!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I just should myself!



We should everything in life… even our pants! Oh, maybe that’s another topic. We should on a hike sometimes! Oh, yeah, totally another topic! Why, oh why, do we should ourselves?

We say, “I should be doing this, instead of that.”

I should work-out more.
I should be doing laundry.
I should be packing.
I should write a blog.
I should make that phone call.
I should apologize.
I should…
I should…
I should…

Either do what you think you should be doing or find peace with the fact that you are not currently doing it! “Should” is a guilt fest. It burdens your heart unnecessarily.

We justify that we know what we are doing is wrong; yet, we are still doing it! And, by saying we “should” be doing something else says that at least we know it is wrong. Admitting the problem is the first step. The second step is to do what it is you should be doing. Don’t excuse and justify…do it! Just because you know you “should” and don’t... that doesn’t get you off the hook. Do what you should or get off the pot!

Okay, I’m going to pack for my overnight trip now because that’s what I should be doing!



Goldisocks and the Ten Pairs



It was a morning like any other morning. Even though it was three years ago, I remember it clearly. My son and I were getting ready for school and trying to get out the door in time. We avoided some disastrous dilemmas and took others head on like champions. There weren’t any melt downs…yet. You know, looking back I should have saw it coming. I mean who am I to think that this “morning like any other morning” was going to start off smoothly. No other day had gone smoothly. If this was in fact a “morning like any other morning”,  there was a boiling point on the way. Perhaps some little melt downs would have released some of the pressure, but it just kept building like… well… like a pressure cooker. A grand finale was on its way.

The sock and shoe ritual was about to begin. Now to be honest, this is one ritual I dreaded in the morning. On this “morning like any other morning”, we were actually on time and all was well… until the socks and shoes appear. It is as if they have some magical power over him. Is there an evil master mind in the world that cursed all things that touched little boy’s feet? I don’t know where the magical power or trauma came from. I mean they just look like innocent and ordinary socks and shoes to me; then again, I thought this was just an innocent and ordinary day. Apparently I am not a good judge of the innocent or the ordinary.

I am trying hard to get us out the door. I am doing everything to block the beginning of his melt down. It is as if I had superhero powers without the cape. We are going to make it… then… he puts one toe into the sock. It only took one  touch on his foot for him to be under its spell.

“This pair is too little.”

Oh no! This can’t be happening! I say, in my superhero Mommy voice, “Oh honey, they look like they fit.”

“Look… they are too tight in the back.”

The drama has begun. I can hear it in his voice. I can see it in his face. I can smell the melt down starting to burn. Trying to spray the melt down with flame retardant, I say, “Okay, let’s try another pair.” The sock (singular again) goes on….

“This pair is too fuzzy.”

Oh crap!!! Where are my superhero powers now? Where are my melt down blocking abilities? Are socks and shoes my kryptonite? Me, “I am sure they will be fine.”

Whoa!!! Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No…. it was super fuzzy sock flying through the air!

I am sure at this point you are wondering why I didn’t just spank him or ground him or count to 3 or whatever you do; however, I know my kid. If I had done any of that then the beast would have been awakened. Not only is he obsessive but he is persistent and stubborn too. Resisting or diminishing his feelings is like throwing fuel on the melt down flame.

Me, “Perhaps another pair might work. But, we have to find a solution because we need to leave now!” I am losing my patience.

“This pair is too big.”

I’ve realized this IS a “morning like any other morning”. The trap has been set. If I step into the trap then we have a war of obsessions. Next pair please! Deep breaths!

“ This pair feels funny.”

Next pair! Deeper breaths!

“These are okay.” (I really wish he had said these are “juuuuust right”.)

Me, “Great! Let’s go!”

My son has obsessed with many things in life and has out grown a lot of his obsessions and sensory issues (oh yes, there were a lot more); however, his sock obsession is not one, at least not as of yet. He has had the same kind of socks for three years now. Of course they are the only socks he’ll wear! I finally found special socks without the melt down curse included in the package. They are seamless socks. I love them because my son loves them!
I have bought so many pairs of socks that were too little, too fuzzy, too big, or feel  funny… I could have made an entire sock puppet family out of them… for ten generations! None of them felt “juuuuust right” …. only his seamless socks that he loves feel that way.

He could have won an Academy Award for his performance as “Goldisocks and the Ten Pairs”. I can see it now in bright lights! Maybe if he did win he could pay me back for all of these socks I have bought over the years! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You Too?!


I love when I share an experience with someone and they say, “You too?!” It is a moment of synergy… a moment where we feel even more connected. The things that matter to you, matter to me too. The things that you think and feel and experience, I think and feel and experience too.


No matter where we are in our life’s sojourn we all have the same general experiences… love, loss, and everything in between. Sharing these experiences make each other’s lives easier and more understandable. When you share your experiences with an open, honest heart then others can relate and internalize your perspective. Maybe you dealt with your experience in a creative manner. Maybe you had results with a certain situation that would give others a new perspective to their situation.


When I began talking about my experiences in life and in my blog…I had an overwhelming response from people of  “You too?!” What’s so wonderful about that connection is that I felt relieved! When I put myself out there and I am being vulnerable…there is a chance that others might say “WOW! You’re a freak!” Maybe not to my face…but they could say that to someone else about me. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Will I be worthy of connection if people know this about me?” I took that risk. I was fine with being called a freak if it meant that my story might help another person to feel worthy of connection because they connected with me…with my story. We aren’t weird, or alone, or crazy, or a freak. We are the same. We fit into a category. We belong. We think, “Well, if she thinks it, feels it, and experiences it …then I can’t be that much of a freak because she isn’t that much of a freak!” It makes it okay. And, it is okay.


Although we really shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others… we do! I think it’s because we want to know how we are doing. We want to know we are okay. It is our barometer or our ruler of normalcy and okay-ness.


Some people are okay with being very different and they don’t mind standing out. Those people ROCK! But, most of us want to only be a little different…just enough for an edge…not enough to stand out as a freak… it is a fine line to walk. I say we all let our inner freak come out more often then it will become a new normal. We won’t be afraid to let it show. Let’s make a pact, a pinky promise, a blood sister swear that we will let our inner freak come out! It sure is a lot of effort to hold it back. Let it out. Let it free.  Ready? On the count of three…1, 2, 3…


YOU TOO?! I knew it!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rising Above


Growing up I was provided for…home, food, clothes… you know the necessities of life. My parents both worked hard jobs to support 3 kids. They just did what they had to do to get by; barely getting by. They were just going through the motions. They were in survival mode. It is a very reactive way to live.

That survival mentality spilled into all areas of their lives…even parenting. I knew at a young age that I wanted more for myself. When I was 12 years old I wrote a letter to my mom and left it where I knew she would find it. The letter was asking for more… more out of life, out of family, out of a parent/child relationship… more for the next generation.  (Yes, I know, I was an emotional and relational prodigy.) As a result of that letter, we began to work on our relationship. We are still working at it. But, it got the ball rolling.

That letter allowed me to have more. That letter gave me hope. That letter gave me a future. That letter gave my son a better future. The cycle ended with that letter.  I realized that I could rise above just going through the motions, being reactive, and living in survival mode.

I rose above my circumstances by making a choice to be different than what my life’s story was dictating. Every day it was a conscious choice to rise above. Until it became a habit, it was even a moment to moment choice that I had to make. The reward was knowing the future I was creating for my child and his children and their children. We will keep getting better one generation at a time.

 The choice was to not just go through the motions but to be very present… to not be reactive but to be very proactive… to not survive but to be very intentional; both as a parent and in my life.

I cannot reiterate enough how much I love my parents and how grateful I am for the sacrifices they made for me. They did the best they could. They did better than their parents did. And, I am doing the same. That is the role each generation should play, paving the way for the next… continually rising above. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Affirmations



If you have never sat through a receiving of affirmations from people who love you then I suggest you do so. I had the blessed opportunity to have this experience in my life and it really filled my heart with love; as well as, gave me a perspective of how other people view me.

The rules of the game were that you had to say something that you love about yourself and then people around the table would say what they loved most about you. I said that there wasn’t much about myself that I didn’t love and that is what I loved most about me. That, for me, was the easy part. The uncomfortable part was the rules of the affirmations. You had to allow the affirmations of others to wash over you and soak them into your heart. You had to own each and every one of the affirmations. All you could say in response was “thank you”. You weren’t allowed to explain it away… or give an excuse… or give a reason. You had to own it!

Through this experience I began to wonder… Why do we dismiss the nice things being said about us? Why do we shrug off compliments? Why do we feel so uncomfortable when affirmations are being poured into our hearts? Why? Why don’t we own it?

I am not sure I have those answers. I am sure the answers would vary from person to person though. Maybe it has to do with our negative self-talk, or how we view our selves, or that we aren’t in-line with how God view us. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we don’t feel worthy of love, or worthy of a compliment, or worthy of attention. 

The answers really don’t matter. What matters is that you begin to own the compliments given to you. They are a gift. Allow them to wash over you and soak them into your heart.  Just say “thank you”…and nothing more.

For me, the best part about this experience was that the affirmations washing over me and soaking into my heart were in-line with how I perceive myself. After all said and done, I owned those affirmations! Thank you …thank you very much!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Anthem of Confidence



You know that feeling when you are at a restaurant you have to excuse yourself to use the restroom? You get up from the table and begin to make that long walk, all alone. You know that feeling that people are staring at you... that feeling that you hope you don’t trip or stumble... that feeling of navigating and maneuvering through the maze of tables without looking lost? You just want to get to the restroom dry and with some dignity intact!

It can feel like the longest walk of your life. Everyone knows where you are going and exactly what you are going to do once you get there! Your secret is out! Are you going number one or number two? Or both?  
Then, there is the long walk back to your table after the deed is done... the walk of shame. People are wondering if you washed your hands. People are hoping that when your back is finally to them that maybe, just maybe, there might be some toilet paper stuck to your shoe. People are holding on to the dream that you accidentally tucked your skirt into you panties, providing a little show for the restaurant guests. (I will neither confirm nor deny whether I’ve ever provided a “little show for the restaurant guests”.) Personally, I can be found during the walk of shame rubbing my hands together to demonstrate that my hands are in fact wet from a very thorough washing. And, I usually caress my hand down the back of my dress to ensure that my skirt is not tucked into my panties... again. 

Well, I discovered a little trick to turn the walk of shame into your own personal cat walk. With this trick...I now rock the walk of shame! I, my friends, have a theme song! That’s right…my own personal anthem of confidence. I chose this song because I kind of strut when I sing it! The song is “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls. Sing it along with me…

“Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me 
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me 
Don’t cha, don’t cha 
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me 
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me 
Don’t cha, don’t cha

People are no longer staring at me wondering whether I’m going number one or number two…no sir, they are not! People are whipping their heads around in slow motion while the wind machine is blowing my hair... I work-it... I strut my way down that cat walk! Inside their heads I know they are saying…

 ”YES... YES I do wish my girlfriend was hot like you. And, I do wish she was a freak like you too. YES... now that you mention it… I do!” 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Friends



As I prepare for a girls weekend in a cool Arizona pines cabin, I am overwhelmed with feelings of love and blessings for my friends. What is so unique about this group of women is that there is a 30 year range in age amongst us, there are various seasons of life being lived out and we are all from different backgrounds. But, we don’t see any of those differences. We just see each other’s hearts.

In this unique bond of friendships we encourage each other, learn from one another, and offer a new perspective to life’s experiences. We laugh so hard it hurts, we have about a million inside jokes, and can even call each other out if need be.

If you haven’t ever experienced friendship like this… well, I want to tell you that you are not alone. It has taken me many years to learn how to be a good friend. And, as I always say…you have to be a good friend to have good friends! I’ve been fortunate enough to have some good teachers along the way. They didn’t know they were my teachers but I took notes with my heart during our friendship…I learned how to care, how to communicate, how to fill their hearts even when they didn’t know it was empty, how to make time, how to love unconditionally, and even how to be silent and still.

Most of these friendship lessons I learned when I lived in Tennessee. Nobody does love and kindness like the Southerners. The friendships I made there were a blessing to me. It was a lonely time away from, what I knew as, home. My friends were my family. We shared meals together. We made and delivered meals for each other when someone was sick, when a baby was born, or when a spouse was out of town. We did life together! We watched and loved one another’s children. We were a support group …without the steps! I learned quickly that there are not many rules (or steps) to being a friend. You just love on them! And, in turn they love on you!

These friendships came so easy to me. I just had to put myself out there and be willing to take a risk. If it doesn’t work out (which has happened to me many times), just remember it’s not you… it’s them! I definitely had to step outside of my comfort zone and embrace a bit of discomfort and face a bit of rejection. But, it is all worth it!

Some friendships don’t come so easy though. Sometimes a friendship looks better on paper than it does in reality. If it doesn’t fit…don’t force it. Just be who you are and the right friend with the right amount of crazy (or the same amount of crazy as you) will come along. I have kept parts of me tucked away from people before…out of fear, out of lack of self-love, out of preservation of my heart, out of protection of my ego. I was afraid of getting hurt (that’s my own baggage). In retrospect, I can see how sharing those parts of me would have strengthened my friendships. You cannot go wrong with being real!

Instead of learning how to love as a friend, I can now fill my friends up. My efforts are not going towards learning and note taking… they are going towards loving! I can’t imagine my life without my friends. Now, I am off to love on them in the cool Arizona pines. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Seasons of Life


Just as the seasons of the year pass by freely, on schedule, and without much room for deviation… our lives also go through seasons. These seasons are a natural flow of life.
Although we might complain about the heat coming in the summer or the snow coming in the winter, we know they are coming regardless of our objections. Our lives are altered by these seasons. We change how we dress, talk, and behave. These changes are in response to the seasons we experience. In our personal lives we change as our life seasons change too.

Our seasons differ a bit from person to person. But, generally speaking, we all have similar seasons…we are born, childhood, school years, young adulthood, adulthood, retirement, elderly, and, the final season, death. Within each season there are mini-seasons that occur.

In my adulthood I’ve had mini-seasons of college, marriage, career, birth of my child, stay-at-home-mom, raising a child, career again. Each of these seasons began in my adulthood. Some of them have ended already and some continue to carry on through other seasons. The difficultly that I’ve had with some of these seasons is that I don’t want them to end. I don’t want them to pass by so freely and flow by so naturally. Just like I don’t want the triple-digit heat to come in the summer…I grieve for the season of cooler weather.

As my son grows into double-digits… I grieve the season of him being young and at home with me. It has taken me almost three years now to fully let go of that season. Being my one-and-only child, all of my firsts with him are also my lasts. I celebrated and grieved with each passing milestone he accomplished. It has made Motherhood a very emotional experience for me. I wanted more children but it just wasn’t meant to be. Therefore, you can understand why letting go of the stay-at-home-mom season was a difficult one.

What is fun about this new season though (and trust me, I’ve fought internally with allowing myself to enjoy this new season) is that I am rediscovering myself. Instead of sulking and wishing my life was the way it used to be, I’ve decided to dive-in feet first into my new season. I wasn’t all in before. I have chosen to grieve fully so that I can embrace fully.

It would be silly and pointless of me to try to stop the year’s seasons from coming. It would be silly and pointless of me to try to stop the seasons of my life from going. Some are easier to let go of. Some end almost prematurely. Some I wish I could freeze in time.

Life is teaching me and conditioning me through experience that something better is always on the horizon …a better season awaits. All I have to do is fully give up the previous season in order to fully receive the new season. I am trying to give and receive these seasons more gracefully. I am trying to be more like the year’s seasons…freely flowing ever so gracefully from one to the next.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grieving Expectations


Expectations are those beliefs that something is going to happen a certain way…the way you have planned out in your own mind. These expectations can be about your life, about the life of your loved ones, about how someone loves you, or about how an experience or a situation is supposed to work out. In ways, expectations are great to have. They set the standard and tone of your life. In ways, expectations can be dangerous too. They preconceive how life and the future are going to unfold. It is really like creating a fantasy world.

When my son was diagnosed with ADHD and Anxiety I went through a grieving process. I grieved this fantasy world. As a friend of mine has said before, I had to give up the dream! In my mind, I had his life’s story all planned out. The raw realization was that I had to grieve certain expectations of what my child would grow-up to become.

The process of grieving really isn’t something that you can put a time frame on or a definition to for that matter. It is so very different for everyone who experiences it. Grief doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t limit its self to one situation. It is not a one-sized-fits-all emotion. I guess not many emotions are though.

As soon as I grieved the loss of “the dream", my eyes and heart were open to see him for who he really was. You know what surprised me the most? Who he actually is and continues to become (despite his diagnosis) is so much more than I had originally expected him to be. I just had to trust God! I prayed over and over, “God, my son is Your child. Please work through me to help him become all he was intended to become.” And, God did work through me! And, my son is becoming all he was intended to become. That’s just like God to have a plan that is better and more perfect than anything I could ever fantasize or dream of.

I now know how expectations can stunt the natural progression of life. Knowing this, I’ve buried most of the expectations I did have. I learned that life is full of beautiful and pleasant surprises…that I can expect, but not much more. 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

REASON



In the entire universe, you are important! You have been born unto this time, at this specific place, surrounded by these particular people for a REASON! You may not know your REASON yet, but just know that you do have one. Perhaps it is to leave a legacy through your children, or to make a difference through your chosen career path, or maybe your REASON is to break the cycle of your family’s past generations… creating a new level of standards by which to live. Your REASON is bigger than you, it is bigger than this moment, it is even bigger than your lack of confidence to fulfill your REASON.

Unfortunately, it has an expiration date. You can’t wait until you feel ready, equipped, worthy, or for the big picture to come together. If you wait, then you’ll never be ready. There will always be an excuse as to why not now. Don’t wait until you know your REASON either! Start with where you feel lead. Serve from where your heart is burdened.

I’m certainly not speaking from some enlightened place. I am really writing this to remind myself that in the entire universe, I am important! I am not clear on my REASON in this universe, but I still act where I feel lead and serve from where my heart is burdened. As I act and serve, those become the puzzle pieces to my big picture. I don’t know what the puzzle will look like when it is all put together.  I just keep putting one piece after another in place. From what I can see so far…my REASON is bigger than me, it is bigger than this moment, it is even bigger than my lack of confidence to fulfill my REASON. I keep on…  actualizing my REASON one puzzle piece at a time. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dancing with Balance



There is a constant search in my life for balance. It is a dance that I perform with myself and all of the other responsibilities in my life. I struggle with these responsibilities…which is going to take the lead and which will follow?

I am certainly at my best when I’ve allowed each responsibility a chance to lead and, subsequently, a chance to follow. However, when one responsibility requires more lead time and less follow time I feel out of sync. My groove is lost. My rhythm is off. I begin to step on my own toes.

There was a time in my life when anxiety won the dance-off. In the midst of that dance I did not recognize the song. Not that it was in a different language or anything. I was just allowing the responsibilities in my life to consume my moves. I didn’t permit myself time for a slow dance or a solo dance…I was always dancing with the responsibilities in my life.  Really though, in my defense, the unfamiliar song was always playing its tune…I felt compelled to dance.

I thought that was the song I was supposed to be dancing to! A requirement to the choices I’ve made. The song has the title of “Being Everything To Everyone; Yet, Nothing To Myself”.  I figured that was the dance we performed in our 30’s.  In rethinking about that song and dance, I recognize the person dancing and the song playing weren’t in balance.  

I’ve learned to find better dance partners. I’ve learned to change the song when the rhythm was off. I’ve learned what my groove feels like when the right song and the right balance of dance partners are in sync. I LOVE that song and dance. I want it on a loop of continual replay.

Please don’t misunderstand me! I appreciate and love all of the partners that I do dance with…God, Husband, Son, Friends, Family, Job.  But, do you see who is missing in that line-dance? That’s right, Me!

My toes still get stepped on from time-to-time….beat-to-beat.  The difference is that now I can change my partner, the song, or the moves until I feel balance. It is a true art form.  I long for the day when dancing with balance takes up residence within me. Not just for a short song, but truly resides in my soul for the remainder of my dancing days.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Big Butts & Such…an intervention for stealthy insecurities


We all have our physical insecurities. There are things about each one of us that we’d like to change or that we’d like to be different…longer hair, smaller butt, thinner nose, bushier eyebrows, flatter stomach, whiter teeth or straighter teeth.

Even my beautifully perfect friends feel this way. I won’t call them out here. I won’t tell you their names or their specific insecurities. Those were told to me in the “circle of trust”, at the “truth table”, or in “the nest”…that is sacred! Just know that even the most beautiful of women, inside and out, have these feelings.

If only they saw themselves as I see them. If only they saw themselves as God sees them. There would be no question about their beauty. They would see themselves as flawlessly and perfectly who they were made to be.

That’s the funny thing about love, when you love someone you don’t see their flaws. You see their hearts. You don’t view your friends or significant other as fat or with jacked-up teeth…you view them as someone you love. I wonder why we reserve this grace only for others and not for ourselves.

In examining my own heart about the flaws I see in myself, I realized that I see these flaws because I was lead to believe or convinced myself that I should be compared to another person; which is never an accurate comparison. Instead of wishing I was certain way, different than I actually am, I must begin to celebrate who I am…just as I am. And, since when did it become okay to be defined by my butt size anyway?

That’s just it! It is not okay to be defined by how I look! These insecurities sneak up on me. They are very stealthy! These insecurities take on a personality of their own in my mind. They have conversations…ones that I am rarely consciously aware of or actively participating in for that matter. Realizing this alter world exists in my mind, I’ve decided to have an intervention! 

The intervention for those stealthy insecurities begins now by changing my perspective too see myself how God sees me and to transform my insecurities into trophies! You see…if I change my perspective, I can change how my insecure tendencies are conversing. I can change my perspective to view my insecurities as trophies of a full life lived out. I am choosing to be at peace first because if I don't there will always be some stealthy insecurity that attempts a sneak attack. Then, if I want to change my physical appearance, I can work to do so. I am a work in progress... forever changing. In the meantime, I recognize what my big butt trophy (in all honesty, it really isn’t even THAT big) represents in my life:

  • The cake that I continue to enjoy during family birthday celebrations.
  • The happy hour food and drinks that I share in the “circle of trust” or at the "truth table”.
  • The ice cream dates I treasure with my son.
  • The occasional dinner date that my husband and I squeeze into our busy lives.


Big Butts & Such…Bible Verse References: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz5kNc8xDF3zMGdPek9fRG9MQTA/edit

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Choose To Shine


If you were a friend of mine on facebook you would see me with silly faces, perhaps a glass of wine in my hand, in the midst of a crazy prank, quite possibly toilet papering somebody’s house, what my favorite song is for the moment, or even with a fuzzy mustache on my face. You’d see my friends and family, passions, inspirational quotes, inside jokes, and of course all of my pinterest likes and re-posts.

I put it ALL out there for the world to see. Some might think I am seeking attention, trying to prove something, or define who I am. Well, the answer to all of those is yes…and no. I am trying to show the world who I am…without a mask…raw…uncensored…real. By doing so, I feel like I offer a public service. Okay, not really…but, kind of. 

This gesture of being raw and real allows others to do the same; to be the same kind of free, the same kind of open. I’m telling those who view my “page” that it is okay to take your mask off…or put on a fuzzy mustache! It’s okay to be genuinely you because I am genuinely me. I want to encourage others to not only shine but to take their masks off.  

It’s not enough to show the genuine you…you must do so with love for yourself and confidence in who you are with your mask tossed aside. Being comfortable with my mask off shields me from any judgment the world might throw my way. My shield is this: I know in my heart that God made me wonderful, unique, silly and a lil’ crazy, adequate, brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous, un-shrinkable, fearless, and shiny. I will not…I refuse to hide all of that with a mask. All that God made me is His mark on my soul. My response MUST be to allow those things to shine for the world to see…ultimately allowing God to shine through me. I’m showing off who God is by showing the world who He made me to be. So, I choose to shine my light…giving you permission to do the same.

How do you get all shiny and stuff? Glad you inquired. I began with knowing that I am loved and worthy of love. We are loved by God, by ourselves, by our loved ones. No matter what your life experience have told you. No matter what people have told you. No matter what you have told yourself. You are worthy of love! Start by convincing yourself of such.

When I was beginning to fall back in love with myself (I say “back in love” because for a while I lost my self to the hats that I wear), I would realize unique things about myself…a rediscovery. Think about it as a new relationship…with yourself. In a new relationship you get to know things about the other person you are pursuing. You look for those unique, loveable, adorable qualities in that other person. Pursue yourself in the same manner.

For example, when I put the clean dishes away, I put the clean ones under the ones that are already in the cabinet; at the bottom of the stack. I worry that the plates still in the cabinet might get jealous of the other plates that are getting used more often. With my method (of madness), all of the plates get equal usage..no plates get jealous! I love this quality about me. Strange, yes. Unique, definitely. It says a lot about me really. I embrace this quality about me. I embrace that feeling of how adorable and cute that is of me.

You have those unique characteristics or qualities too. Realize them…rediscover them…embrace them… adore them…love them! When you continue to do this on a regular basis, as if you are pursuing someone in a new relationship, you continue to fall in love with yourself. You convince yourself that you are worthy of love, by starting to love yourself.

Loving yourself comes down to your self-talk.  Would you ever talk to a friend or loved one as negatively as you talk to yourself? Of course not! Their feelings would be hurt. They’d become upset with you. They might even smack you (okay, maybe that’s only my friends)! If you catch yourself talking down to you stick-up for yourself! You can say to yourself, “Don’t talk to me that way! That hurts my feelings! I am worthy of better and worthy of your love!” Or, “I am adorable because I…” Or, “I am wonderfully made by God…” Or, “”I ROCK because…” Say whatever resonates in your soul as truth. They need to be your words to mean something to your soul! Create a mantra, if you will. This will begin to become your shield; gradually peeling away your mask.

You are changing your negative self-talk to self-love! Remember, you are rediscovering your worthiness for love. You are in a new relationship with yourself. You are pursuing yourself. You are courting yourself. Be gentle with your soul, love your soul, guard and shield your heart from your own self destruction.

The goal here is not to make yourself look crazy and silly on facebook. Trust me, I do this enough for all of us! I am just as raw and real in person as I am on facebook. It is a lot for some people to handle. Realizing this, makes me adore myself even more. The goal here is to love yourself and shine God’s light without a mask, raw, uncensored, real; to be genuinely, lovely, adorably you!

Why is that the goal? Delighted you asked. Remembering that you are worthy of love will help the mask to fade away. That mask you are wearing is diminishing your bright light within.  I know it resides there because God has put it there…inside each and every one of us there is God’s light. Just waiting and desiring to burn brightly. God made His mark on your soul. Your response MUST be to allow that to shine for the world to see…ultimately allowing God to shine through you. Show off who God is by showing the world who He made you to be. 

Choose to shine…giving me permission to do the same!

Choose To Shine Bible Verse References: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz5kNc8xDF3zR044N1FHTzVucGM/edit

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hills and Valleys


In my 18 year relationship, 14 of those married, I’ve learned a thing or two about marriage. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that marriage is all about hills and valleys.  Sometimes you are on top of a hill…the air is fresh, the scenery is splendid, and you can see far into the distance. It is like you can see clearly for eternity. Other times you are in a valley…the air is full of smog, the scenery is a bit drab, and there are those darn mountain walls blocking your view of the distance. You can only see the immediate obstacle of climbing that mountain all the way to the top. Then, there are the times when you are in between…climbing up out of the valley. It is a steep grade. Your traction isn’t that great. You might even slip back down. But, you keep climbing.

Those valleys are the tough terrain of a marriage. Valleys are journeys that can last for weeks, months, years or even decades. That’s where a lot of marriages hang up their hiking boots…in the valley. They just get tired of climbing back out. They’ve seen the insides of that same valley so many times that they can’t bear to visit it again. The sheer thought is exhausting!

I have yet to hear of a marriage that calls it quits on top of a hill…when everything looks splendid and smells so fresh and sweet. Couples don’t say, “Whew! We made it to the top! It’s been all worth it…but let’s call it quits!” Once you make it out of a valley you feel renewed and refreshed. Your love is rekindled.

I’d like to say that we don’t visit the valley much…but, we do. Even after half of our lives together we still fall into the valley. Sometimes it takes longer than others to climb back out. Sometimes we are in that valley with our tents and sleeping bags intending to be a while. Sometimes it is just a day trip and we just pack a lunch.

We try to enjoy the scenery on the way back to the top of the hill. It can be a very long hike. It’s nice to get the binoculars out and see into the distance… what we are treading towards. The remembrance of our goal is nice.  

It can be tiring, in that instance, we just sit down and rest. There is no marathon back up to the top. We aren’t racing anyone. It is a journey at our own pace. It is a journey meant for two.

Most of the time we enjoy the company… The talking passes the time, the communication of feelings makes the pain of traveling go away, the “I’m sorry” statements cure the hunger and thirst, and the hand holding balances our steps.

Maybe someday our visits to the valley will lessen or at least their durations will. Until then, we trek along hand-in-hand together. Sometimes we pull out old postcards from our journeys and reminisce about where we’ve been before and where we are now.

What I’ve noticed is that the hike back-up from the valley becomes familiar. We recognize this stone or that ravine. Like an obstacle course, we can navigate around those instead of going through or over them. At the end of the journey we realize what we are made of. Our love has a story to tell.





Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Key To Open Up My Child


As a Mom…. I know my kid. I know his moods. I know his likes and dislikes. I know his tickle spot that will drop him to the ground in uncontrollable laughter.  I also know that he was trapped inside his own mind. 
I know that he will be his own obstacle in life. I knew there was more to my son than what he could let out.

He was such a good baby. He slept. He ate anything and everything. He nursed until he was 18 months old. He walked when he was 10 months old… Lord help us! He got his first teeth at 4 months old. At two he knew his ABC’s and all of the planets in order. He wanted to be an astronaut. He was potty trained almost instantly at 2 years and 10 months. I LOVE being his Mommy!

I often say that God knew I’d only have one child so he gave me three-in-one. My one-and-only has so much energy,  raw emotions, a  brilliant sense of humor, he daydreams to the point of “checking-out”, and he can be demanding. I’ve thought that perhaps this was due to being an only child. However, I’d attribute it more to just being perfectly him; exactly who God intended him to be.  I was chosen to be his mommy because I would love him the way he needed to be loved in order to become the man he was meant to become.

When he started school, the teachers would allude to the fact that he couldn’t sit still, nor could he focus.  From kindergarten until second grade many different ideas went through my head…he’ll grow out of it, maybe he has petit mal seizures, maybe it is ADHD. We finally had him tested.  Results were mixed. He might grow out of it. The sleep deprivation test and brain wave test concluded he does not have petit mal seizures. The checklist determined he might have ADHD.

I tried everything the natural way to help my son.  I changed his diet…we ate 80% naturally anyhow. But, even going to 100% natural didn’t help. We took out any and all food dye. Nope! Sugar control helped a little bit…but who doesn’t get a little sugar high from time to time? I tried all that I knew and researched. It finally came down to our last resort of giving him medication. We struggled with this but we wanted to try it out. We decided if it didn’t help him then we’d pull him off the meds. We prayed like crazy! 

I call this time in our lives the summer from hell! We’d go from medication to medication, trying one at a time for a few weeks. We got side effects that were unbearable. Some side effects caused aggression and depression. Some side effects were that he wouldn’t eat. Some side effects were that he wouldn’t sleep. We were dealing with new behavior issues that weren’t present before. He is an amazing kid and we only had the usual childhood behaviors to correct. Now, we were dealing with some serious stuff! My little boy wasn’t himself.  I didn’t like who he was becoming. He didn’t like who he was becoming. Frustration, anxiety, aggression, depression! We settled on a medication that had the least amount of side effects and increased the desired behaviors. He was on that medication for a little over a year when aggression crept in as a side effect. We weren’t sure what to do. We knew he had to come off of medication…it wasn’t working for him.

A friend of mine was a distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. She suggested a few of the oils to use. I took him off of the medication immediately and began using the essential oils. I began rubbing the oils on the bottoms of his feet twice a day, both before school and before bed. The oils I use on him are Lavender  (for calming and relaxation) and Vetiver (for focus and grounding).  I began using oils on myself too. Having dealt with anxiety in my adult years, the essential oils help to balance me out! We are an essential oils family for life!

Just through the use of natural essential oils, he returned to my loving, caring, fun, creative little buddy! He was happy again! He did great in school! He was even on honor roll this year in the third grade! He shines! He is exactly who God created him to be! Almost a year later, as I am typing this, I get teary eyed when I think of the blessing that these oils have been in my life. They were an answer to many prayers…a key to open up my child.

When we told his doctor that we had taken him off the medication my son said, “The oils are workin’ for me!” My son even realized what a blessing the oils are to his body. He felt the difference!


Here are a couple sights to support the research concerning the use of essential oils for ADD/ADHD: