Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Advice for a Broken Watch

Recently while reading "Walking on Water" by one of my favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle I found this little story about a clockmaker. I found it to be very inspiring.

"There's a story of a small village ... where lived an old clockmaker and repairer. When anything was wrong with any of the clocks or watches in the village, he was able to fix them, to get them working properly again. When he died, leaving no children and no apprentice, there was no one left in the village who could fix clocks. Soon various clocks and watches began to break down. Those which continued to run often lost or gained time, so they were of little use. A clock might strike midnight at three in the afternoon. So many of the villagers abandoned their timepieces.
One day a renowned clock maker and repairer came through the village, and the people crowded around him and begged him to fix their broken clocks and watches. He spent many hours looking at all the faulty timepieces, and at last he announced that he could repair only those whose owners had kept them wound, because there were the only ones which would be able to remember how to keep time.
So we must daily keep things wound; that is, we must pray when prayer seems dry as dust; we must write when we are physically tire, when our hearts are heavy, when our bodies are in pain.
We may not always be able to make our "clock" run correctly, but at least we can keep it would so that it will not forget."

 What did you think when you read it? I'm curious to know how it struck you .....

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Lesson in Enough-ness

I'm 40 something years old and for the first time in my life I can say, "Here I am and check it out, I am enough."

Accepting this belief system was the best thing I ever did for myself. Turns out a crisis of faith is good for something.

Now, if I can only help my kids learn this soon so they don't have to wait until they are my age to understand they are enough. But how?

I want my kids to believe that whether they
- play on a team or in a band
- make varsity or make a mistake
- or are known by many or by few
that who they are becoming 
is enough - 
that what they do or how well they perform are not the measuring sticks for their enough-ness.

Hard to teach, yah? And if that wasn't difficult enough, it seems that I'm fighting culture on this one too.

I see mothers wringing their hands in worry wondering if their kid is accepted, concerned their kid's not known and stressing over their kid's group of friends. 

Don't get me wrong. I hope for all of these things for my kids as well but not at the expense of inserting myself into their social arena. 
Doesn't that teach the exact opposite of enough-ness?

I get it, I want my kids to be happy too. But if you have to push, maneuver, strategize, force relationships and worse, become gripped with worry when you're not getting the results you want, aren't you actually communicating to your kid, I can't trust that you're enough. You need more? To be more? To be seen more?

And don't you realize your relentless pursuit of this type of social currency is perpetually promoting the very system you fear? As long as there are people who believe popular is better, popular will be perceived as better.

I see your posts advertising the oodles of endlessly cool things you all do. All. The. Time.

And guess what, it's okay. I don't take it personally at all. (see above) I much prefer to hang out with people who want to hang out with me. 

But I have a hunch; those mommas are posting and tagging pics for promotion. Not celebration. I think you want us to know who your group is, thereby inferring your group is better and hinting mine is less.

So here I am telling my kids, they are enough. And there you are promoting activity and events and a do more, be more life. 

Or maybe your postings are genuine. 

But in the off and highly unlikely chance they are not, may I remind you; the number of tagged pics and check-ins are not the measure for your, or your child's, enough-ness.

To be enough is to like yourself. When you're alone. Amidst the stuff you accomplished today AND the stuff you didn't get to. I'm talking about living like we're free from struggling to be seen, to live in a place of peace and contentment?

I bet you already think your kid is awesome. So stop freaking out that they are not. Stop worrying others will miss your kid's awesomeness. I mean if they miss it, are they really worth your time and energy to point out what's obvious? And for the love of everything that is good, stop putting your family life on hold for your kid's social one.  

Stop promoting your kids. And stop feeling bad for mine because I don't.

My kids are freaking awesome.
Whoever they're with.
Where ever they are.
Whatever grade or sport or school they attend.
If that surprises you, then perhaps you don't know us very well. And maybe you should.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reason #103 Why Moms Shouldn't Wear Thongs

I'm a 40 + year old working mom of 5.
I'm no wimp.
I'm a robust woman (in size and mental strength)
and, warning:

TMI ...

I've got no business wearing thong underwear. 

Oh you skinny, young ladies in your leggings acting like those are pants.
I bet you've got your little, lacy undies on underneath feeling so feminine.
Aren't you lucky?

No really. You're so lucky.

Me? I've got teenagers.
Who drive.
So our far away, college daughter will be safe, hubs loaned her his car.
Now hubby uses my car
and brother gets to borrow sister's car.

Keeping up?

What's that got to do with underwear?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Is Grace Fair?

"Grace doesn't seem fair until you need some" Bob Goff

That's a quote I've recently added to my book and as you can see from a recent Instagram post, I've left that page open on my desk this week, to remind me. 

I'm struggling with offering grace lately. 

And I'm not proud of that so I've spent time digging deep asking, "Why?".
The answers - if I'm honest with myself - are:

  • People are dumb
  • I was right
  • People are lazy
  • I was sanctimonious
  • People are rude
  • I was pacifistic 
  • & again, people are dumb

Also, currently I'm not expected to be graceful, I'm expected to do good work, whereas formerly as a church employee grace was sortof a job description. Looking back, I kinda feel like it was easier to extend grace when I, (cough, clear my throat) um, had to.

Is grace grace if it's mandated?

Or is the beauty of grace revealed when it's a choice... when you choose to surrender your self righteous, judgemental attitude and lay it aside to offer grace?

I think so.
And I'm working on it. I'm trying to look past people's idiocy (it's like a phenomenon) and - full disclosure here - my own virtuousness.

I'm choosing grace.
Even when it seems unfair.
Because I bet no sooner I will hit publish on this piece and do something boneheaded and need someone to be gentle with me.

Friday, August 21, 2015

We Did It

Seven years ago we looked took an inventory of the life we had been building together and after some deep-digging-deep 

and gut wrenching bravery
we looked at each other and admitted something had to change.

Which, by the way, might be one of the scariest things to admit.

Four years ago hubs walked back onto campus this time to secure the coursework necessary to earn a teaching degree.

And it's been a, ahem, a long journey.

Today, he reports back to school, but this time as a teacher, not a student.

He did it.
We did it.
We did what?

We we got what we wanted? Is that what I mean?
I mean we changed our stars.
We set our eyes on the goal and 
despite the pain
or heartache
or financial challenges that came with the kind of about face a mid-life-with-5-kids-career-change requires we carved a new path, a better one.

Now, I fully admit, halfway into this journey I wanted to quit. I've spent some time looking back over entries I've written here about the struggle - it was real, people! - but then I realized reaching the finish line would take just as long as turning around and heading back.

So we kept going and now we're here.

I don't know what's ahead - anything could happen - but today, I look down and notice where my feet are headed and it's a much better place. 
It's better because it's where I wanted to be.
It's not the fanciest path
or a famous one,
it's not even popular!
But I don't need you to like it
or even understand it.
It's not your path.
It's mine!

Today is a momentous day personally but I submit this entry, standing before you to testify; you can change your life, it's hard, but you can. 

Don't be afraid.

And Aaron? I'm so, so proud of you baby.
"Stay the course" we ARE writing a better story. There's noone else I'd rather turn pages with. xo

Thursday, July 30, 2015

This One Thing Might Send Me to the Looney Bin

I've been a parent for 20 years.

I've got a lot of experience. I know how to be in charge of little people. I can lead them, encourage them, and most impressively, feed them on a tight budget. I've got 5 of em and by golly, I love em. But they are going to send me to the looney bin if they don't start successfully and repeatedly master this one daily task.

Teeth brushing.

Everyday, twice a day, at least 4 times a day I say "Go brush your teeth."

Not to be confused with, "Have you brushed your teeth?"

You see, I'm a mom. I know when you have not brushed your teeth. I can see the leftover chocolate milk clinging to the plaque on your 2 front teeth from across the room. I can smell your morning breath lingering till noon. I know you walk in the bathroom and walk out and pretend to have brushed, but honey, I can hear the water pipes from down in the basement. You ain't foolin no one.

But you are making me crazy.

I've said "Go brush your teeth" EVERYDAY of your life. TWICE a day! At least! How is it you have failed to master this task?
You're not surprised you have to brush.
It's not a skill with new levels of difficulty that you have to master.
You like the flavor of toothpaste.
You can reach the sink.
You have opposing thumbs!

They way I figure it, if I've said, "BRUSH YOUR TEETH!" everyday of my parenting career, twice a day to 5 children I've said it

73,000 times

And people, I'm warning you, if I spend the next 5 years of my life repeating that phrase you can certainly plan on visiting me in a rubber room. Because it's not having 5 kids that is going to make me insane, its having 5 kids with funky breath and cavities.

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What is the one thing you do as a Mom that drives you crazy? I'd love to hear!

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