Like it? Then share it. *please*

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from Mini Me

In case you ever wondered if the girl was like her mother,
Here is the persuasive letter she was asked to write for school.

Dear Santa,

I think I should be your Christmas helper because I am willing to wrap any present, stuff any stocking, fix any ornament.

Also replace any Christmas light.

That's not all the best reasons.

I will paint the sleigh. Decorate the Christmas tree.

Write back to the kids that write to you. Like this one.

Brush your beard no matter how many candy canes I have to cut out.

This is the best reason.

I will get you any coffee with peppermint.


Yep, that's my girl.

We'd be in charge of elf efficiency, party planning, and logistics for sure. Our only set back is we both have really little ears.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Twas a Few Nights Before Christmas

Twas a few nights before Christmas and all through the house,
the creatures were checking their lists, once then twice.
There was secret wrapping happening in every corner,
and fights about who was the scissor and tape hoarder.
There was light and joy and worry and panic,
Did I buy too much, is it even, all a little manic.

There are those moments of perfection when we remember the season,
and moments of stress that have no rhyme or reason.

In these final days of baking and wrapping,
let the Light of the Lord outshine your twinkle lights.
Let the Light of the Lord overcome your stress,
Let the Light of the Lord be what brings out your best.

May you have enough batteries on Christmas morn,
and your Christmas casserole take them all by storm.

And when the paper is ripped and thrown to the side,
Settle in with a sigh and some grateful pride
that you brought the Joy of the Lord and placed it right inside.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Wishes for You ......

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

My wishes for you this Christmas.....

May you not get tangled in the tinsel,
May your eyes light up at the sight of your family and friends.

I wish you joy, the real kind, the kind that warms you from inside, like bourbon,
and perspective from the things that will inevitably go wrong.

I wish you plenty of rest to bring your best to each gathering,
and not to run out of tape at midnight on Christmas Eve while finishing the wrapping.

I wish you just enough eggnog to feel shiny and bright,
but not enough to photo copy your arse at the office holiday party.

I wish you a moment or two when you look at your tree and remember being seven.

I wish you moments of silence that you may hear the whisper of God and remember those gifts start and end with Him.

And if you're feeling just a little too much like the lady in the Target commercial, I beg you to go out and buy The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren and sit down with a mocha, frappe, peppermint, gingerbread, double, triple something something and breath, and read, and be. 

Photos by Leslie Webber Photography
Seasonal Chic Wishes Holiday Card
Browse Christmas invitations and holiday cards by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pieces of Me

Those pieces of me. I picked them up along the way. They came from friends and family and books and ideas,
There are happy pieces and sad pieces and pieces so full of hope and idea they can't rest beside the rest,
They venture out through trial and test and then they come home to rest.

Sometimes my pieces line up like the Rockettes in rhythm and motion and full of music and vibration,
Sometimes they curl up together like newborn puppies suckling, whining, eyes closed, afraid, hoping someone will feed them soon.
The pieces of me,they comfort me, drive me, confuse me.
Sometimes I recognize them like a long lost friend, sometimes I stare at them confused and wondering where they came from and why they don't fit better together.
There are pieces that cry for the Hallmark commercials, and those that scream in the kitchen. They live together but they don't make sense.

When those pieces of me, mix with the pieces of you, everything looks for their place.
The puppies, the dancers, the rage, and the rest. They're all searching for their fit.
Your pieces like to divide and conquer and think and wonder, and mine are looking for the perfect fit. The straight lines and the ying and the yang.

There are days our pieces they fight for the same space and they struggle and leave our edges frayed. One moves left and one moves up and to the right and no one is sure what that means.

Then my pieces and your pieces made more pieces and none of it some days make sense. My pieces like the dark and the quiet and the smooth and the soothing and yours like the lights and the noise and the journey to places unknown. Mine want to know. My pieces want to know where and what time and how much longer and when will that take place. When will they find their place.

Somewhere in the midst of the pieces and the parts and the frayed edges and the holes left undone, I always long to fit, to know that my pieces will have done the good work and in heaven there will be a resting place where all of our pieces fit.

I long to know that in the chaos and the misfits, there is an understanding that my pieces are trying to do good work, and they sometimes fill other gaps but they know their place at home. Our home. The place where it's safe and even when the pieces don't fit, they rest in the safety and security that alone we are frayed and together a masterpiece that may only be seen in heaven. My pieces of me always looking for that peace with you and that peace with Him.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Top 10 Ways to be a Good Friend

I'm up to my eyeballs filling out the application to start a Charter School so this post comes from "the girl" and her 4th grade homework. She's got some great life lessons that the world needs to hear. (insert pic of me beaming with pride)

1. One way to be a good friend is to always trust a friend and to be trusted.

2. Another way is to always be nice.

3. Also, never be selfish!

4. Never be mean or it will back fire.

5. If you lie to a friend they will find out and you won't be trusted.

6. Always listen to what your friend has to say.

7. Try to have fun and laugh with a friend not ignore or cry.

8. Don't leave a friend out of a group cause it is more fun with more.

9. Be silly and funny not mad and grumpy.

10. Use your imagination don't be bored!

There are a lot more ways to be a good friend but of course these are the best 10 ways.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Miss the Cafeteria Already

It happened. Tonight on the way to gymnastics. I wasn't ready. My heart still hurts a little. 

I was told last year when the girl was in 3rd grade that 4th grade is big transition year.  Some were crazy enough to say that the girl may not want me to come to lunch anymore.  I smiled thinking, I'm sure that happens to some of the moms but come girl begs me every week to come to lunch, sometimes multiple days a week.  That would NEVER happen to us. 

So tonight on the way to gymnastics on the first week of school I said, "So when do you want me to come to lunch?"  ....... crickets ........

My heart sank a little and I slowly turned to look at her while sitting at the stop light.  There she sat, looking a little sheepish. She doesn't want me to come to lunch but she's aware enough to know she's crushed her mama just a little. 

I said, "Seriously? You don't want me to come to lunch?" 
Response: Not Really. 
Me: Okay so 6 months ago you're begging me to come to lunch everyday and now I'm no longer worthy?
Her: I don't know, it's just not good this year. 
Me: Just so you know, my cool factor has gone up considerably in the last 6 months. 
Her: Just so you know, you never really had a cool factor. 


At least she has her mama's keen wit and sharp sarcasm. 

So, this is cause to revisit a post from the past.  Our relationship is changing, I can no longer snuggle her in and protect her, she's reaching for me less and less to be hand in hand. Time to be sure we're still connected at the heart. Time to extend trust, and pray like Mary at the stone. Pray that she'll rise again and want to be my little girl.  I think that happens at about age 27. It's going to be a long 17 years! 

Reach for Me  Vintage Random Thoughts - 2007

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Does Your Ordinary get in the Way of Your Extraordinary?

Here's the deal.

Some days I feel capable and ready to take on the world. I get overwhelmed with ideas and stories I'll write and companies I'll start and services I can provide that in my head have the ability to change some lives, maybe even change the world. 

My eyes light up, my heart beats fast, I start to look into making these acts of greatness real.

Then something happens.

The ordinary drowns out my extraordinary. 

The lampshade I need to return at Lowes before the dog steps on it in the backseat and crushes it, hurrying to pick up my son from school so he's not the last kid in carline AGAIN, the girl needs a new leotard for gymnastics because she's outgrown this one AGAIN, my husband, as handsome as he is, has AGAIN misplaced his wallet and is frantically calling me to help him find it over the phone, and we need flour if I'm going to bake those blueberry muffiins before the blueberries go bad because I bought too many because they were on sale, and we need to have something that looks more like vitamins than takeout tonight or we're going to be another statistic for the insurance companies to quote about the healthcare crisis, and what was the great idea I was working on a minute ago?

So it occurred to me as this post was spinning in my head, on those days that I wake up ready to be J Lo and not Jenny on the Block, I am reminded that J Lo probably no longer ties her own shoes let alone worry about the rotting blueberries in her fridge. I, however, have managed to find some extraordinary in the midst of ordinary.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a client who is also a mom to three kids from 4 to 13ish. She has a leadership position in a professional services firm.  She has a big job at work and at home. I like her because I think we have that shared bond that says, "How in the hell are we going to get all this done?" and then we do.  Because in the midst of ordinary, we find a way in little bits and pieces to be extraordinary.  Yesterday, she and I crafted a plan that will likely take her entire business unit from ordinary to extraordinary. In fact, there's the ability to grow this business unit measured in millions to serve their clients better. We did it while she was going through airport security and rushing to catch her flight home, and I was in the middle of picking up the dog from the groomer, picking one up from guitar and managing to get in to see the last 20 minutes of gymanstics practice with my girl in the "too little" leotard. 

That my friends..... is extraordinary. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Notebook, New Class, Fresh Start

I've always had an affinity for a new notebook. The clean slate and fresh start of all those blank pages ready for 'possibility'.  A new school year always brings a fresh start.  A chance to meet new people, start again.  I said to the girl this morning, "Meet new friends, pick the good ones, show your teacher you are eager and ready to learn."  We had a good talk last night about what went well last year and what are the things that could be better for this year. 

We don't have to be in fourth grade to get a fresh start in this new school year. Create your own fresh start. Assign yourself a "first day of school".

Go out and buy a new journal, pick up a great pen. Or get a new case for your iPad or laptop. Something that symbolizes a fresh start.  Then find a quiet moment or two to decide what the new year will bring for you. 

  • Maybe you need a new teacher.  Find a mentor, someone you trust that has something to teach and invite them for coffee. 
  • Weekly Planning is a good way to get fresh start.  Pick an exact day and time each week that you'll commit 20-30 minutes planning the week. Write down your appointments and tasks and assign them a time in your calendar. If you have a family, it's good to do this together on Sunday night or Saturday morning. 
  • Maybe it's time to pick your new friends for the year.  Maybe you need a whole new playground. Jim Rohn said, "you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with." Take a look around, maybe it's time for an upgrade.
  • Maybe you need to make sure you take a recess each day.  All work and no play makes you exhausted, cranky, and not all that interesting overall. 
Just some of my random thoughts about starting anew.  You know what you need.  Your family knows what you need.  Pick a date, pack a nice turkey sandwich in a new lunchbox and start a fresh new year.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What I Learned on my Kid's Summer Vacation

Well, it's over. The lazy hazy days of summer..... over.
No more Popsicles at 10am, no more sunscreen smell lingering throughout the house.
*sniff* *sigh*

I hate the start of the school year as much as my 13 year old son.  It's another layer of complexity that our already chaotic family doesn't need. It's another full time job as bus driver, lunch maker, timekeeper that I don't need or enjoy.

So, I thought I'd ponder a bit tonight over the summer and share with you the lessons I've learned this time around. Some aren't new lessons, they just catch me off guard again.

1. Nine year old girls don't founder on an excess of turkey sandwiches or ice cream.
2. Left with too much time alone, kids will migrate to bad choices like a moth to a flame. They need engagement with us. They may be too old for summer day camp but they still need organized activities and participation.
3. Left with too much time on their hands and a portable "bad choice device" like a free text app, they will spread their bad choices to friends and parents of friends.
4. No one died in our house from it not being officially cleaned in 3 months other than a wipe of the crud and a swipe of the Dyson.

5. If you list the chores on a chart in the kitchen and expect it to get done, eventually they will do it. (I still try not to act shocked when they do the chore and check it from the list)
6. Husbands also respond better to the chart than the nagging.
7. Parents need breaks. The farmers market, world's longest yard sale and a few wine nights with girlfriends may have saved my sanity.
8. Amusement Park vacations cost as much as a luxurious beach resorts and have NONE of the same restorative qualities.
9. Two meals a day seem to be just fine most of the time as long as there is ice cream.
10. When ice cream is on sale, buy 3 gallons.
11. It's not summer without a great read. Mine was The Help this year.
12. Riding on the back of a 4 wheeler being driven by your 13 year old son is heart warming and incredibly sad all at the same time.
13. When you shorten your work schedule, it forces you to get more focused and get more done in less time.

What did you learn this summer?  Post your comments!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I have Unleashed the Beast

Aren't we flattered when our kids take on our interests?  There's a part of us all as parents that want a "mini me" from our kids. It validates us a bit, doesn't it?

Until we unleash the beast.

Sunday night I didn't sleep at all.  Okay maybe 30 minutes at a time but not much else. Why?  Because I was re-arranging furniture and decorating in my head all night.  Ridiculous. I had been with my cousin antiquing and junking all day on Saturday kicking up inspiration and then my favorite decorating magazine came on Sunday and that super charged my ideas and by Sunday night I was a crazed maniac ready to stalk Nate Berkus for some help. I finally pulled out my journal and tried to scribble my ideas quickly to a tangible state to let my tiny little mind get some rest.

I limped through my job all day on Monday with the look of a dazed no sleep stupor.  I picked up my girl Monday evening to buy school supplies and on the way home decided to throw out an idea to her.  Hey, I said, trying not to sound too excited about my idea as to not trigger her growing apathy for anything I get excited about.  "Would you like to re-do your room for your birthday present?"

Slowly I looked in the rear view mirror for the response.  Would it be the almost 10 year old practicing of the pre-teen angst with that wrinkling of the nose, squinting of the eyes, followed by the articulate, "nah". Or would I get my sweet baby girl who still loves her mama and thinks I'm pretty cool?

I saw a twinkle in her eye and a simple, "really?" with quiet anticipation about what re-do really meant.

When I explained that we could actually paint and buy new bedding and truly change her room, I saw a fire ignite that I knew I would not be able to put out for weeks.  I had unleashed the beast.

She began to talk fast with ideas racing and thoughts about how she would move out of the house for a few days while we finished and then she'd come back in with a blindfold and see "the big reveal".  She was now almost salivating, "you know mom, like Nate Berkus and Oprah do".  I replied, "Of course we can blindfold you."

The questions and ideas raced for 20 more minutes as we drove home. Some were scaring the bajezus out of me and some were unbelievably good.  Once home she started talking at this same pace at her father about this plan.  He was dazed and confused and saw nothing at all wrong with the brown wall and polka dots I had paid to have done three years ago when we moved in.  He's not quite up on the "we get bored quickly" status of a decorators heart.  I tried to interject between color schemes and furniture lay out that I had unleashed this beast as part of the birthday plan.  He just looked at me with the eyes of a dad that is once again clueless to the workings of a female brain.  He's grown accustomed to this finally, so after a couple, "why do you need to change your room" questions, he caved into his silence of smiling and not really listening.

Exasperated that we weren't really understanding her full vision for the project, she went to the next best thing that talking fast couldn't conquer, drawing.  She sketched and papers were flying and she was still talking fast.  Once I could see the ideas in full color of highlighter pink and yellow I decided she might need some inspiration that wasn't so "custom" (read expensive) so I logged on to the Pottery Barn teen sale and good 'ole Target'. But her idea had already started to crystallize and she was not looking at inspiration, she was looking for the actualization for what she had already created in her mind. I can't tell you how many times I've gone looking for my idea that was brilliant in my brain and didn't exist even on ebay. Poor girl, she has it bad. Just like her mother.

I was starting to fade fast from my no sleep frenzy the night prior and now I was caught up in the same frenzy handed down to my little girl.  Once while online she caught me on Facebook and "screamed" -----GET OFF FACEBOOK AND LOOK FOR MY BEDDING!  I glanced over at her with the mom look that said, "get a grip little girl or this design party is over". She backed down a bit with a shy embarrassed smile and simply showed me a little number she had found on the iPad trying to get herself off my hook. Apparently decorator addiction carries some of the same unsavory outbursts as crack. At one point she requested hardwood floors. We had to talk about budget and expectations.

Finally in a sigh of exhaustion I went to bed and left her with her dad to dwindle down the frenzy.  I awoke this morning to an exhausted girl sleeping on the couch surrounded by design ideas.  Just where I had woken the morning before.

Yes, my friends, I have unleashed the beast. My own little mini-me beast. It might be a good time to buy stock in Lowes or Pottery Barn. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What do you want to be known for?

Here's a couple of questions to ponder.

How do you get attention?

For some it's their mad fashion, or their quick wit. There's a whole list of possibilities of how you get attention.  You may not even been aware of it.

Some get attention by stomping their feet and demanding it.  Anyone that's been around a toddler has experienced this.  I also know grown men that still use this approach. They're not nearly as cute at forty-five when they're throwing their tantrums, but it still gets attention.

Some pout and sniff and showcase their pitiful-ness. Another toddler approach that can sometimes linger for a lifetime.

Some have the "problem of the week" that they throw out to their friends, family, neighbors, and the UPS man.  Oh my, what should I do. Help me. I just don't know. *insert the wringing of hands and stress induced fatigue*

There's a whole host of reasons that people continue to not so attractive things to get attention. Mainly, for many..... it works.     For awhile.

Our friends and neighbors and the UPS man all have good intentions and want to see you happy. But everyone has their limits. You may have pushed theirs.  But, it still answers the question .....How do you get attention.

Which brings me to the next question......

What do you want to be known for?

Most people will say something like....I want to be known as a kind person, or someone that served others. Or some may want to be known for their mad fashion and their quick wit.

I don't know anyone that wants to be known for their pitiful-ness, or their temper, or their food addiction, or their agony or their stress.

I ask these questions today because the clock is ticking.  If what you do to get attention isn't lining up with what you want to be known for, well ...

I don't have any idea how many days you and I have left to get those two things lined up.

I did just hear a series of sirens while I was typing this post so there is a chance that someone out there today has already ran out of time. I hope their two questions lined up.

So you have today to take a little inventory and decide how far apart yours are.  Here are my recommendations on how to get a little closer.

1. Start today, not tomorrow, or next week. Today.
2. Decide.  There's so much power in personal decision. Don't wait for permission, take action.
3. Pray.  Nothing fancy. Something like this..... Dear Lord, I've decided to do things differently and I need your help. Please help me become more ________________.  Then fill in the blank with the statement of what you want to be known for.  And, Dear Lord, please take over my anger, my pitiful-ness, or whatever is holding you back.
4. Repeat Daily.

Sure there's a host of other things you can and will likely want to do but that's a great start.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tribute to the 10,000th Tweet

In celebration of my 10,000 tweet on twitter.

My thanks to @thescottbishop for turning me on to the ferris wheel of musings and news.

While my initial intentions of buying my Twitter ticket were purely selfish, to publish my own musings.  I have come to learn the interesting and unique value this world has brought to me. 

Here are my top 6   

1. Search and Rescue - I love being able to search for those with similar interest. I'm on lists about running, health, motivation, and ADHD.  All passions of mine. I've never been able to walk down the street and knock on the neighbor's doors that share these interests.  On twitter I can.

2. Diverse and sometimes perverse - While I love the connection with those having shared interest, I'm also drawn to those that see the world so differently, I sometimes wonder if some weren't hatched from their twitter egg.

3. Party without bathroom duty - twitter is often a great wine party without needing to clean the bathroom - even better than a real party, I can weave in and out at my leisure. No one ever asks where I'm going or when I'll be back.

4. First on the scene - twitter has brought me news quicker than CNN, Facebook, or a call from mother - With twitter, I am first on the scene - Michael Jackson, Bin Laden, Amy Winehouse, hurricanes, fires, floods .......

5. Award Show Companion - I am the ONLY person in my house that loves a good award show - the dish on twitter while watching is like a flash mob, each comment building on the one before like a well choreographed musical

6. Of course the publishing - to know that someone I am not related to or didn't go to high school with, read what I wrote and liked it enough to comment and hit me with a RT - that is priceless.

So in celebration of my 10,000 Tweet, thank you twitter, thank you to each and every follower, RT'er, blog reader and #FF'er - looking forward to the next 10,000 tweets and followers!

If you're new to twitter, you'll find me hanging around @rebeccahession 

The Love Tank

I have a tank I fill up every night with love. I fill it with prayer. Fill it to the brim so it will last through the day.

I awake each day and give the love out freely.

Sometimes we join to combine our love tanks. We trust and we extend and together create more love than our tanks can hold.

Sometimes people have built walls around their love tanks. Walls built with frustration, anger, hurt, shame, and longing.  Too many have stolen from their tanks and they're compelled to protect what's left. Each bit of anger puts another brick in the wall, then hurt puts mortar between the bricks, then shame paints it black.

We try to share our love tanks but arrows get shot up over their wall and sometimes they penetrate our tank leaving us with a pool of love at our feet that tastes like tears.

We mop the floor with hope and prayers and fill our tank back up.

Then the arrows of their hurt start to callous our tank with bits of built up fear. We continue to mop with prayers and hope but there's less room for the love that is replaced with the callouses of fear.

Day after day we pray for the walls to come down. We try to take them down and sometimes they go up stronger and thicker and the arrows get bigger and more direct. We mop the tears with prayers and love and we look to the Sky. We wait for the Power to tear down the walls before more fear moves in.

The fear tastes bad in the love tank.  It's the bitter that takes over the sweet. Not the bitter of lemon mixed with sugar like a shakeup at the fair, but the bitter that leaves you wiping your tongue and licking the sugar bowl trying to wipe it away. The kind that taints the sugar just a little bit more each time.  Like the bitter medicine that tastes worse the 3rd and 4th time because you know it's coming and you know a spoonful of sugar won't make this medicine go down.

Again patching the hole the arrow leaves, wiping the puddle of tears with hope and love.  Waiting for the Power to bring down the wall or just move a brick or two away so some of the love gets in.  Just enough to let the Light shine through. Just enough to let them taste how sweet it can be.

Maybe tomorrow we'll wake and the stone will be moved and the Light will shine and tears will flow. Maybe they'll be full of love and joy because they've overflowed with too much love, not the little that just leaked out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No Disclaimers

I had a sick feeling of bitterness and frustration this morning.  I pulled out my notes from a sermon a few weeks ago and started digging into the scripture for reference looking for some comfort. 

Here's one for you.
Col 3 - Clothe yourself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Just let that sink in for a minute. 

I couldn't find anywhere that had a list of disclaimers ....

Unless you've been cut off in traffic. 

Unless your kids are driving you crazy. 

Unless your job is hard, your spouse is a jerk, your mortgage is overdue, your laundry is piled up. 

None. Not one disclaimer.  In fact there should be a Nike swoosh under it that says very plainly, 

Just Do It. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Entropy - The Enemy

Entropy is what makes you crazy. Entropy is why you feel exhausted. Entropy is a natural law that we wake up every day and attempt to fight.

Entropy: Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

This is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

That's a tough one to ignore or fight. It's a law. Not a recommendation or an idea or a rule, it's a LAW. Which means when you violate this law, there are consequences.

Laundry. Every time you get it caught up someone in your house takes off their clothes and puts them in the laundry basket. It's a natural law. Entropy.

Email. Every time you reduce or clean out your inbox, 50 people respond back to you and fill it back up. Natural law. Entropy.

Lawn care. You mow the grass and trim the hedge and one week later it mocks you in weediness.
Law. Entropy. 

We spend every week trying to "get caught up".  We're fighting a natural law. Entropy.

Newsflash. You can't. You can't fight this one. It just is.

So think about that for a moment.

You are waking up every day with your head spinning and your task list full, fighting a fight you cannot win......if ...... you're idea of winning is to "get caught up."

Now we all look like idiots don't we?  I get so excited for that 10 second period of time when the laundry basket is empty, or my inbox is clean. It lasts about 10 seconds doesn't it? Then, the dirty shirt and the meeting request crush my party and I start over.

This is stupid.  "Getting caught up" can't be our measure of winning.

Think about the list of things you are gonna do when you "get caught up".

Visit your grandparents.
Write that book.
Paint that picture.
Compose that song.
Have that baby.
Find that husband.
Stop smoking.
Start running.
Be nicer.
Go back to school.
Read that novel.

Wow, that's some killer stuff waiting for you to win an unwinable game.

I have a radical idea. Tomorrow wake up and pay homage to the entropy. Stare it down but don't fall victim.With a pile of laundry, a full inbox, and a garden full of weeds, carve out a block of time for something on that list of yours that matters. You don't have to block the whole day, just a little piece of it to not fight entropy.

Wake up tomorrow and before you check for new cat pictures from your high school friend on Facebook or check how many followers you have on Twitter, do something on the "when I get caught up" list first.

Plan the summer vacation.
Schedule the marriage counselor.
Volunteer at the shelter.

Get to work on the stuff that matters.  Just a little each day.  Now that's a "winable" game!


If I've tripped your trigger on this topic, go and buy this book -

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Grandma's Eulogy

My Grandma's (Elsie Rose King)Eulogy

Several of you asked to see a copy of the eulogy I gave at Grandma's funeral yesterday. 

I have the distinct honor of being Elsie’s first grandchild.
When I think of Grandma, I think of coffee at the kitchen table, well, actually it was a little coffee with her milk and sugar,  chocolate kisses, basketball, you sure wanted to plan your birthday parties or family “get togethers” around the Pacer and IU basketball schedule if you wanted Grandma to attend.
 I think of the special friendship she had with my mom and how grateful she was to her.
I think of watching her and Pop dance,
and Friday coffee with “the sisters” –  Jeanne and Nellie.
I’ve learned a lot from my grandmother.
How to cut out a pattern, make a meatloaf, and how to cut homemade noodles, and many other day to day things that I will always remember.
What I will be forever grateful for is that she taught us all how to love.  I overheard Mike say one time this week, Mom is mom – It has stuck in my head – if you think about the ideal mom, she is kind, compassionate, forgiving, non-judgmental, and a little tough when she needs to be, she’s a fan of all things sweet, and flowers and cards from the kids – That completely and accurately describes her.
 God made Elsie King to be a wife, a mom and grandma, she excelled in all.
She taught us all that love should be unconditional, without judgment. She loved us even sometimes when we didn’t appear to deserve it.
Grandma knew how to feel your heart, to meet you where you are and give you the love that you needed.  The word compassion comes up time and time again when talking about my Grandma from everyone.  I found this quote on compassion last night by S.R. Smalley – “We cannot heal the wounds we do not feel.”
 Grandma could feel our wounds no matter how big or how small and was bound and determined to heal them any way she could even when it didn’t always appear to be practical or logical. And if she found one she couldn’t heal completely, she made sure to stick by you and love you through it.
I’ve obviously been thinking back on my childhood and my relationship with my grandma and I can honestly say my childhood was idyllic. Acres of room to roam, every animal imaginable, including baby lambs bottle fed in the living room when it was required, and more love than you could absorb at any given time. Grandma set that tone.  I can remember being mad at my mom and packing my Barbie suit case and running away across the pasture field to Grandma’s house.  Grandma was always there to open her heart and welcome you in.
Sure you might say, what grandma doesn’t love on their grandchildren.  When you know Elsie King, you know that the same kind of love was extended to many over and over – she didn’t reserve that love for just family.
I was around 6 or 7 when I said something about Uncle Dinky or Uncle Jarbo – My mom laughed and said, he’s not your uncle!  I had no idea. My grandparents had taken these other boys in and raised them as her own with unconditional love. I had grown up thinking they were my uncles too – There certainly wasn’t any difference in my experience in those that were her own and those that she took in and treated as her own.
When she wasn’t with family, she was treating others like family
Love, kindness and compassion were all something that came naturally to Elsie King. That’s her true legacy.
Grandma made her kindness and compassion an occupation when she worked at the hospital as a nurse’s aid for over 25 years. She continued to volunteer there for 3 more years after she retired.
When grandma was a patient, recently in the hospital, I had countless nurses and aids come to me with stories about grandma and how great she was. She had taken many under her wing there too.  One story that stands out was about someone that had been admitted to the hospital with nothing. No family, no possessions, completely alone. After her shift, Grandma went to the drug store and purchased some small toiletries for the new patient and placed them in her room. Grandma believed that everyone deserves some things of their own.
While I had always personally known of Grandma’s love, it was heartwarming to hear their stories and know that Grandma really was love to everyone she came in contact with. What a special gift.  I was honored to go home and tell my kids the stories that these nurses told about grandma. It was a great lesson for them to hear that how you treat people will be a lasting impression for years and years to come.

We can’t remember Grandma without talking about Christmas.  Grandma told me time and again the story of the church sending over Christmas presents for their family when she was a girl and the doll she received. Without the church, there would have been no Christmas presents in her house.  There’s just wasn’t enough to go around.
Grandma spent a lifetime making up for that with us all each Christmas. I remember sitting down with the Sears Catalog and circling all the things I wanted each year and Grandma made darned sure I got the lion’s share of what I had marked. Pop has commented that she’d pay off Christmas in November, just in time to start it all again!
This generosity wasn’t just reserved for family once again. All through my childhood we all stayed all night Christmas Eve at the farm house. Grandma always made sure to buy a few extra presents and have them wrapped, “just in case”.  Just in case meant that whoever Mike and Joe found that didn’t have a place to go for Christmas, they’d bring home with them. You’d wake up on Christmas morning sometimes with a few extra folks around the Christmas tree. She had passed on her kindness and compassion to Mike & Joe and they would always invite anyone that didn’t have a place to go for Christmas home to spend the night. She wanted to make sure there was a present for everyone on Christmas morning.  I remember those moments far more than what I received from the Sears catalog.
She had been known to join forces with my mom and buy for families that she knew at the hospital that were struggling, even though there wasn’t much surplus at their place. She couldn’t bear anyone going without a Christmas.
A Little Coffee with her Milk and Sugar
I comfort myself knowing that somewhere in heaven Grandma, and her mom, Grandma Dotson are sitting at a kitchen table sharing a cup of coffee with too much milk and sugar and maybe a donut or a Snickerdoodle to go with it, catching up about all of us and laughing and loving us all. She’ll watch over us, she always has. Now she just has a different vantage point and a little more clout with the Big Guy upstairs to help us along.
Much love was shared in our family around a kitchen table with a full sugar bowl and a coffee pot always on.  For as long as I can remember Grandma, Aunt Jeanne and Aunt Nellie or “the sisters” as they’ve been called have gathered for coffee and treats each week.  This is a sisterly love and bond bigger than most families enjoy.
1st Corinthians says: Love is patient, love is kind – this wasn’t just a Bible verse to quote for grandma, this was how she lived – it was a part of who she was.
 I know I speak for us all when I say, I am immensely grateful for my time with her and the lessons learned and I will work hard to continue to make her proud and I will never ever get in my car to drive even 20 feet without hearing her say, “You be awful careful driving home, okay?”  So, leave today with your hearts full of gratitude for the memories and the time we had with her.
1st Corinthians always says, there are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of all these is love.
So while we sit here today with a hole in our hearts, missing her and trying to figure out what our lives will be without her to sit and share a cup of coffee with us and love us, I ask that we fill that hole with the kind of love she always extended to us. And to go out of our way to honor her by extending that love to others, even those that don’t always appear to deserve it, because that’s what she did best and that’s the way we can honor her best.
I thank you for coming today and sharing memories with us and loving us. And … you be awful careful driving home, okay?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What I Learned This Week in ICU

My grandmother has been in ICU for 5 nights and 6 days. Last night they transferred her to an acute care hospital that specializes in getting her off the breathing machine. Here are the 6 things I have learned so far from the experience in no particular order because I'm still too tired to prioritize.

1. How you treat people will always come back around 
My grandmother worked in our hometown hospital as a nurses aid for over 20 years. According to the nurses now, she was a "damned good one". There were people coming up to visit her that I have never met telling me stories about my grandma and how she had taken them under her wing. They all told me how much they love my grandma. They cared for her with their medical expertise and their love because my grandma treated them well.

2. Everyone reacts to crisis differently, try not to judge
These situations suck. Everyone responds differently. Don't judge them, love them, know they're hurting too.

3. Prayer is productive, Worry is a drain on the system
For generations my family has used the words worry and care synonymously. They call and say, "I was worried about you." Read: I care about you. I see what worry does to their blood pressure, their anxiety level. They're working hard to slide in the prayer where the worry used to be. Prayer calms and soothes the soul to turn it over to the Guy that's really in charge any way.

4. Things always look better in the morning
I slept in the ICU 3 nights and spent 5 days there. The nights suck, and the morning renews. Isn't it that way with any situation that has you down? If we can quiet ourselves at night and turn it over in prayer, the morning light often renews our spirit.

5. Social Networking is the Best Prayer Chain Ever
My heart is full with the messages I receive from friends and family and virtual friends I have never met in person. We have been lifted up in prayer day after day after day. Sure Facebook can be a place to post pictures of your cat in a tutu but it's also a place to lift each other up.

6. Smoking Sucks
My grandmother's surgery was to remove a piece of her colon that had cancer. They got out the cancer, closed her up and that healed quickly. The fact she has smoked for 60 years is what is threatening her life every minute.

A note to smokers: I was one of you many many years ago. I know it's a choice and I know it's an addiction, but never for one minute believe it's just about you. I have to believe that my grandmother never wanted me to stay up all night leaning over a rail on her hospital bed watching her gasp for every single breath and fight the tubes that are down her throat and pushing oxygen into her lungs. She loves me too much to want that for me. Yet, she put me in that situation by smoking.

I know it's a hard hard thing to quit because I did it.

Today for a minute, picture your spouse, your kids, your grandkids, leaning over that rail, praying like crazy that you live through the night. 

Picture them watching you fight that breathing tube and not able to communicate except with the panic in your eyes while you are trying to breath.

Hear the sounds of beeps and alarms of machines brought in to keep you alive.

Hear the sound of tubes being stuck down in your lungs and the sucking sound of fluids being drawn out from the pneuomonia that has set in.

Feel the fear in their hearts.

Hear the doctor say with that tone to his voice, "You know, he/she is a smoker." and know they mean, we can't guarantee you'll make it through this surgery because your body has been beaten and broken by those choices.

Just like my grandma, you do so much for your family, your kids and your grandkids. You just want them to leave you alone about the smoking. We can't. Because in the end, that might be what causes the end. I know that isn't how you really want to remembered.

You have the opportunity now to do it differently. The pride they would feel if you reached out today and started a journey to breath free would send the signal to them that you really want them to know. They matter. Do I Want to Quit

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Obsession with the Gaps - Five Things I Screwed Up Yesterday

I gave a talk yesterday at a TEDx Conference in Fort Wayne Indiana. To be accepted for a TED talk is a big deal in my book. To be accepted to talk about a topic of my creation doubles the big deal factor.  Most of you loyal readers know I am writing a book about ADHD relationships called Not Wrong Just Different. I had the first chance to take my ideas and present them orally to an audience.

I prepped and obsessed over this talk.  Public speaking doesn't freak me out, I do it for a living and I get a big rush from it. I enjoy that part. However, this time was different.  This wasn't a topic some famous bald guy wrote like I usually talk about. This was my stuff.  It could be judged as right or wrong, good or bad, it wasn't already validated by a best selling author and leadership guru like my other stuff usually is.

I wrote, revised and practiced for weeks. I had moments of euphoria while practicing where I actually stood in front of the mirror and cheered because it felt like I had nailed it.  I had moments of fear and panic where I dropped to my knees and prayed that God would get me through it.

So yesterday the culmination of fear and euphoria played out in an audience of just 100 people.

After my talk I sat down vibrating from the experience.  There was much applause which I hoped was real and not just the politeness of a midwestern crowd. The speaker that followed me was complimentary and asked them to give me another round of applause, again I wanted to accept that as validation that I had in fact "nailed it".

Then came the first break after my talk. A brilliantly talented artist pointed at the QR Stencil art he had created for the conference and told me it was his hyper-focus of ADHD that fueled it. The mom of the speaker that followed me was excited to talk. I had given her words and metaphors to describe how her mind worked, she realized she has ADHD and so does her son. Her son and her husband joined her, all talking at once, excited to have voice for their feelings and a voice that wasn't a curse but validation of their creativity and intelligence.  A college professor shared her story. She too was ADHD and Dyslexic and had some that didn't want to hire her because of her testing. Yet she is now assigned the ADHD students to help them through and be their advocate.

The feedback continued through the next break with grown men wiping tears. They waited their turn to tell me that I had described their childhood and they finally felt validated. A man my father's age said he didn't know much about ADHD but I was the best speaker he had ever seen. Several times I had to hold back tears. All early feedback pointed to success.

TED talks stand for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. I had some fear early on that my topic would stand out as too different. The one that didn't fit. Exactly the opposite had happened. The brilliance and intelligence of ADHD had become a theme that ran throughout the talks further validating each of the ADHD minds in the room giving them spirit and validation that being different and creative was in fact what we need now and into the future.The TED speakers and audience really are an ADHD tribe.

I felt the sense that I had created a topic that resonated. I have hope that my book will in fact be published. The goal is not to just see my book published but to know that I have helped someone, some family, some child that is struggling. Early feedback from the talk said I was accomplishing my dream.  I should have popped the champagne and released the confetti.

Instead, this has been my mind since I wrapped my talk at approximately 11:30 am Eastern time on Saturday May 14th.

1. Oh my gosh, there was a small pink PostIt note stuck to my shirt the whole time. I wonder who couldn't even hear me because they were fixated on the pink sticky note that happened to be attached to my left breast. I know people saw it because two of them told me.

2. An attendee informed me politely and in a very Midwestern helpful way that I had attributed something to the wrong author. I had googled it several times to validate I had the right guy and I was still wrong. Google is never supposed to fail me! The man was nice enough to give me another pink sticky note with the right author written down so I didn't make that mistake again. I now hate sticky notes. Especially pink ones, but am happy that people care enough to join in my quest.

3. I had left out a Henry David Thoreau quote that I had practiced incessantly for a 9 and a half hour flight from Munich to O'Hare. I had then broken down and put it into a slide because I feared I couldn't remember it and would panic. It was a part of my strong emotional close and I loved it. Then I forgot to use it.

4. I left out a funny line in one of my examples that I had known would get me a good laugh. A reference to Alexandar Graham Bell followed by a Verizon, "Can you hear me now?" reference. Funny stuff. I left it out.

5. Because of #2 and my incorrect reference maybe they will pull the opportunity for my talk to be posted on the TED YouTube site. An honor I had anticipated and salivated over. This was to be a chance to validate to the book publishers that I was worthy of publishing, that TED had chosen me and they'd be an idiot not to.  I anticipate my defensive move. If they do in fact post my talk,  I will be ready as the first commenter to confess my mistake and prevent the ugly YouTube "commenters" from bashing me over and over again and missing the point of my talk. YouTube "commenters" are a relentless crowd that remind me of the Mean Girls movie in print.

Those are just the five heinous points that have pulsated in my heart and brain for nearly 24 hours now. I've been too overwhelmed with those to pull out my notes and see what else I might add to the list.


Why must I obsess with the gaps?

I tried to immerse myself in tivo'd Idol last night to drown the voices in my head, only to have my favorite, James Durbin, voted off and remind me that great talents fail when they don't completely resonate with the masses. Crap, that pulled me right back to my 5 reasons I had failed.

A few times I actually shuddered in frustration and pain for that list. Even though I had Twitter validation all through the evening from conference participants tweeting my success and the numbers to my Facebook Not Wrong Just Different page growing.

I'm feeling the full extent of what it means to put something into the world that is entirely your own. Something you are so passionate about that the critic in my heart and head can't rest until we perfect and refine and apparently do a lot better research to ensure Number 2 never happens again. I now understand why musicians and stage actors shouldn't read the reviews the next morning. They should relish in the applause of the crowd because the crowd is the majority, the critic the few.

I also realize that to put something so important out into the world means to open people's hearts and minds to have opinions and not everyone will see it the way I do. 

I'm going to pull myself out of bed this morning and work diligently to remember that the masses were complimentary and based on my care and response that I must keep writing and refining and putting this topic into the world because it seems to matter. As they say at TED, I have found "an idea worth spreading."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What I Learned about Life while on the Bourbon Trail

When my BFF invited me to go on the Bourbon Trail for my birthday weekend I was stupid with excitement. Her and I on a weekend road trip through the hills of Kentucky with a bourbon taste at every turn was the perfect way to wrap up my birthday month.

 I'm a planner. I work for an effectiveness company.  I have every planning location service app available. I rarely get a tank of gas without checking my CheapGas app to find the best price.

On this trip, I was reminded that too much planning doesn't allow the good Lord to step in.

Before the Bourbon trip I surfed the Interwebz of info for the best places to sleep, eat, drink, drive and how to position ourselves not to drink then drive. Fortunately for me, my work schedule was so great before the trip I didn't have the time to really map it all out, nail it all down and plug it into my calendar. We booked a B&B on Friday night and a hotel on Saturday night and off we went.

We arrived in Bardstown KY and checked in to Rosemark Haven.  We had missed the last dinner seating so we were on our own to find a dinner spot fit for two weary Foodies in need of wine and deliciousness. We drove the mile into town and things were hopping. We skipped on Mammy's which was packed with a banjo player to go with their grits and greens. We eyeballed a couple of pubs and bookmarked them for a nightcap. I did pull out the Around Me app and found a place called Circa that looked interesting. I hit "map" on the app. It should have had a voice that said, "Hey, brilliance it's right in front of you." Sure enough, all I had to do was look up and there it was in a cute as a button yellow house.

We sat down at Circa and knew instantly we were in for something special. The placed smelled like heaven, white table clothes and big beautiful wine glasses. We were home. We ordered our vino and started to salivate over the menu. We started with an appetizer called "46" Beignet. It's named "46" after Maker's Mark's only new product in 46 years. This fried dough filled with barbecue pulled pork with more of the "46" bourbon BBQ sauce to dip. O M G!!!

Our salads were also fab with the highlight being the pesto on my caprese salad that must have been made while we were parking the car it tasted so fresh.

The entrees were equally impressive but we must note the Rosemary Rolls tasted like spring. Literally. They were like a cool breeze and the first smell of cut grass. I'm  going to write and beg for the recipe!

On the way back to the car we swung in to a local pub for a nice bourbon nightcap. We were greeted with the happy surprise of a live band playing our favorite Tom Petty song. We bellied up to the whispers of the locals who quickly became like old friends. We danced, we laughed, we mingled with the carpet cleaners and the hog farmers.

This may not sound like such a big deal to a couple of gals that have spent many a Friday night in a honky tonk with a bar tab. Let  me tell you why this was special.

Two weeks prior on the night of my actual birthday, I told another friend my idea of the perfect night. I told her I longed for a friendly pub with a live band where the proper attire was jeans and boots and I laughed and drank and danced until they finally had to close the doors. That's exactly what we had found. By accident. Without an "app" or a map.

Of course we know that it wasn't an accident at all. The good Lord knows better than Urban Spoon what we need on a Friday night. I was reminded of a valuable lesson on this trip.  We can plan too much and not pray enough. That applies to dinner and destiny. Once I let go, all that I had asked for was laid before us.

The rest of the trip had the same vibe. Stay tuned for more reports from the Boots, Bourbon and Birthday tour.

Circa Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Join me, Tell your "I Lost It" story

I lost it today.

Not my keys, or my sunglasses, or 50 bucks. Nope, I lost my crazy little mind. I yelled, I threw things, I broke things that require parts to be ordered.

I hate it when I lose it. I spend the rest of the day feeling like the loser that I started out as this morning.

For those that want to know why I lost it. You know, the big stuff.

Food in the wrong side of the sink without the disposal, stacks of toys and laundry up the stairs and across the landing that I asked to be put away in the Bush Administration, an orthodontist appointment and ISTEP that were supposed to take place at the same time, cereal poured that was requested and refused to be eaten, windows left rolled down allowing the 483rd day of rain to now be deposited into my new car, the license plates that still aren't updated on the now drenched new car, the uncertainty of how I'm going to be at a key client and picking up my son tomorrow afternoon at exactly the same time and the pile of dog hair in the laundry room after I just spent a small fortune at the groomers. Duh!

Yea, right? Embarrassing. I'm not sure which one was the straw last to the party. I think it was more of a crescendo into crazy.

Anyway, I already cleaned two rooms and ate a whole pack of green marshmallow Peeps and I'm still not feeling back to normal. The only thing that's really going to help me out is "misery loves company".

So, I ask you Random Thinkers, please share your "I Lost It" story in the comments below. Once I read those I can relish in the company of crazy.

Go on, do it now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Letter to Those That Do the Weather

Dear Weather People,

We need to talk. I'm not sure if you're suffering from a slow news day, the need for more camera time or the sick need to become a major alarmist, but..... enough already.

I guess there's value in your "early warning system" but there's also a dark side called, let's scare the bejeezus out of every man, woman, and dog with your red zones and your beep beep beeps. From the feel of your coverage last night it was a weather Holocaust. Everyone I encountered this morning at the doctor's office, coffee shop, and dog groomer was bleary eyed and spent.  Not bleary eyed because the storms were horrific, because you scared the shit out of everyone's kids and elderly parents and they had spent the night in bed with four kids, a cockapoo and their mom's oxygen tank in their queen size Posturepedic.

Enough is enough. There is such a thing as too much information. Please consider yourself a good filter. You can stare at all that beeping and flashing and swirling and when it's time for me to get to the basement and put my prayers into hyper gear, then beep out my Parenthood show and tell me to get my ass to the basement. Then I'll know you mean it.  Right now you've become a tiny boy with a big wolf that rarely seems to come.

I've spent most of my 45 years living in the midwest. I'm no stranger to storms and tornadoes. When I was a kid we kept an eye on the weather and when it started to sound like a freight train coming around the corner we'd grab Fido and Tabby and stumble down the cement steps into the cellar and sit among the 10 year old canned tomato juice until the train had passed. THAT was our warning system. You may have saved a few more lives from tornadoes with your fancy schmancy equipment but you're killing more of us slowly and fueling the Prozac market by scaring the crap out of us.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find Parenthood online because my tivo'd version is 15 minutes of tv show and 45 minutes of your red dots and beeping and I don't even have a limb down in my woods.

Except for you @PaulPoteet you're still my favorite. Tweet me if I need to head to my basement and sit beside the catbox until the storm passes. I promise to listen and respond appropriately.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Birthdays - A Time to Rock What You've Got

I had to laugh this morning when I checked Twitter and one of my followers wished me a Happy (highly publicized) Birthday. Crack me up.

I have zero amount of shame for celebrating my birthday and shouting it from the rooftop. God has given me a life totally worth publicizing and I owe it to Him to rock it out!

Think about it, how would you feel if one of your kids wasn't in to celebrating their birthday, as their parent wouldn't you feel kinda bad about that. You gave them life, changed all those diapers and they don't want to celebrate the life you gave them. How rude. I think God feels the same way. When I start announcing my birthday to the world and buying myself flowers and new shoes, I'm not only celebrating me, I'm celebrating the life He gave me.

I've finally learned that even the really sucky times in my life are designed to bring me goodness in the long run. So today I celebrate the good, the bad and the ugly of the last 44 years and walk boldly and confidently into my 45th year with some kick-ass new shoes!

So if you'll excuse me I must get back to my celebration that I fully intend on stretching completely through the weekend and then again at the end of the month on my road trip with my BFF through the hills of Kentucky on the Bourbon Tour. Cuz, that's how we roll.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Birthday Poem

I turn the big 4 5 on Saturday!

My girl wrote me this birthday poem tonight - L U V 


Mommy oh Mommy so kind and neat,

Mommy oh Mommy so organized and sweet. 

Mommy oh Mommy so happy of what you do, 

How could I ever live without you!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Three Things I Like About My Kids

As our Spring Break winds to a close I was thinking on my run this morning about what I love about my kids. Thought I'd share the highlights.

1. They notice beauty around them.
I've always pointed out beautiful things to them since they were babies. Mostly we notice the sky. Now they will point things out to me. Mom, did you see those flowers! Look at those storm clouds aren't they beautiful? I love this about them. There will be good times that come and go but if you can be awestruck for a minute each day with the beauty God gave us, that's good stuff.

2. They hate my cursing.
Look, I'm not proud of my potty mouth and I've toned it down a bunch. Because my kids remind me it's gross I'm motivated to try harder. What I love is that rather than follow in my crude footsteps they're shining a light to pull their mom from the gutter. On vacation this week, when a little girl about six jumped in the pool and screamed, "it's freakin' cold in here" at the top of her lungs, her Dad beamed with pride and said, "she's not ours." My kids shot me a look and whispered in the elevator, "did you hear that!". I like that about them.

3. They know inappropriate when they see it.
We're on the beach this week in gift shop hell. On separate occasions each of my kids came to me to say they didn't walk down a certain aisle because things are inappropriate. I of course couldn't wait to see what that was. The girl pointed to the section full of coffee cups shaped like boobs.

Sometimes I wonder how we've lucked out so far and not messed these kids up too much.

Let's face it, we're all just wingin' this parenting gig. I'm glad so far my kids are more KFC less Hooters for their wings.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Vacation Work is Different

Vacationing with kids can be work. I say this on a Tuesday of a Saturday to Saturday vacation. Sure I'm having a great time but think about it. It took me 3 full nights on the internet to find a condo.I started buying shorts, sunscreen and beach gear a month ago because my kids outgrow everything in 6 months. I spent at least 2 days packing. I got in the car with my two parents and my two kids for TWO days of driving. I booked a hotel on the way down only to find they hadn't held two rooms for me when we try to check in at midnight. I give my,"I'll kill you in your sleep" look to the young night clerk until she caves and gives me someone else's room. Only to be woken at 1:30am by someone opening our hotel room door and flipping on the light because they still gave them a key. I spend the two days in the car managing normal brother-sister spats with a healthy dose of ADHD for extra challenge and flavor. I arrive at the beach to spend the first night unpacking and grocery shopping. I spend the next day slathering sunscreen like an addict on my Midwestern albino children then back to the grocery store for all the forgotten items. Then back to the drugstore for more sunscreen and aloe gel because there's not enough sunscreen to protect the transparent. I spend nearly three hours searching for the missing iTouch, not because I care about the value of the gadget but because it has every song my aspiring musician has ever written. I pray to find the thing like I prayed when they were born. I pray for the missing music and I pray because I can't imagine the trip home without it. I call home to order the hubs to pray, this is serious.

This my friends is a TRUE account of this vacation to date. Work. Important work.

The difference is, my intent for this work is to bring joy to my family and to find these moments that matter. To look my kids in the eye and interact and have fun. The intent at home is to make money, pay the bills, keep the dog from eating the homework, make it to guitar before the lesson begins, keep our world spinning.

What if I could borrow the intent of vacation and bring some of that into our day to day? Vacation is work, but it's also our reset button. Our reminder of what matters most. The joy of little Cokes in a bottle we'd never pay $5 bucks for at home. The prayers answered and the extreme relief when the go kart manager calls with the found iTouch. Waking up with no alarm even though it's the same time we'd wake up at home.

Vacation is work but the reward is all ours, no sharing on the profit margin of a Kodak memory.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cue Rocky Theme Song - Post Cleanse Post

Day 9 of my Spring cleaning on me. The final day of my 9 day toxin cleanse. This is going to sound crazy. I don't want it to end! I feel better than I've felt since I was 26 and a half.

So I'm sugar free, caffeine free, alcohol free, and preservative free for more than 9 days now. That may not sound like a big deal to you green, organic, yogi, dewy skinned beauties. But this girl 9 days ago was a Starbucks slurping, wine guzzling, ate fairly healthy but gourged on pizza and vats of chips & salsa semi regularly kind of gal.

So I didn't start at sloth but I have actually consummed a Big Mac, 6 piece nugget, large fry and large Coke in one setting. And this was brought on by a tequila bender the night before. So in my book I'm average.

I'm thinking that when we try to make little changes over time we can't really get the high of good health quick enough to fuel our fire. There are so many habits and social situations beckoning us into a shrimp fest at Red Lobster. Damned those cheddar biscuits!

I realized that most of the time when I was putting food in my mouth it wasn't because I was
hungry. Much more it was social or emotional or bored. Or because I love to cook. And I love to eat.

I believe most of us dabble in good health. I'm a runner but I've followed most of my half marathons with a burger, fries, and beer as my reward.

Dabble in this, dabble in that. Slight changes that never broke the barrier to give as good place to start.

This 9 day cleanse has been like the reset button. This is the feeling I've been trying to gain with my dabbling but could never sustain the effort or balance my approach enough.

With this 9 day prescribed regimine I had an hour by hour plan I could follow. Luckily I'm stubborn enough to stick something out to the letter if it's something I choose to do. And I
did. Textbook. No cheats.

Here I am the day after I wrap up, I'm feeling 3 times the energy, semi-dewy skin, and down about 7 lbs. and over 4 inches. Now I'm in a spot where I can look at my habits more critically because I want to hang on to this "buzz"!

I'm not throwing away my Starbucks gold card or my first name basis at the wine shop but I'm moving into mindful eating. Yes, eating for fuel first, social second.

And don't bother arguing with me in the comments because I'm feeling pretty on top of my game and I'm sure I could take you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mom ..... my stomach hurts

5:00 am

Picture me sleeping soundly.

The small girl enters the dark room.

Tap tap tap on my shoulder with her pokey little finger.

"Mom, my stomach hurts."

What parent hasn't had this wake up call? Luckily this one wasn't followed by me being awarded a puke fest on my bedroom floor.

What is interesting about this is, I wasn't dragging my sorry arse out of bed to care for my little angel. I actually got up and didn't feel tired. I haven't been tired all morning and I have had NO caffeine in 5 days!  Let's all linger on that for a moment.

I haven't had caffeine in 5 DAYS.  I'm a Gold Card carrying Starbucks member people. I have a love affair with caffeine that runs sometimes deeper than the one for my lovely husband and kids.

I was woken up with a sick kid almost 2 hours before I planned to get up and I AM NOT GROGGY or TIRED.

I don't know about you all but this is a first for me.  This Spring Cleaning ... on me, 9 day toxin cleanse is making a difference in my life in more ways than the cuteness of me in my new capris.

Vanity may rule but energy level is the bonus round for sure.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Cleaning ...... on me.

Normally this time of year I'd be cleaning closets and windows. This year I decided to clean out my body toxins too.  A little Spring Break tune up for the almost 45 year old me.

For the last year I've been paying more attention to eating real food and trying to reduce the amount of crap I put in my body. My friend and colleague Lilibeth told me about this 9 day cleanse she had done that really kicked things up a notch and knocked off a few pounds in the process.

Like any full blooded American the healthy lifestyle was interesting but thinking about knocking off a few pounds before Spring Break was enough to kick me into action.

I signed up, wrote the check and started a 9 day cleanse. The hubs and Dude both rolled their eyes and I was careful to explain to the girl this was about toxin cleansing and not weight loss. (parenting requires some good marketing over the cold hard truth sometimes, don't judge)

I'm on Day 4 of the cleanse and holy hype I feel freakin' fantastic. Seriously, I was prepared to be all, "yea, I did it, brag brag check it out" and then move right back into Cheez-It's and cheesecake but this is the real deal.

I wake up in the morning without needing to hit the snooze for an hour. My knee that has been killing me for months doesn't hurt and I feel a big boost in clarity. Of course the increase in clarity may be because I haven't had any kind of booze in a week.

This is proving to me that there is something very real and very scary about all the preservatives and plastic and crap we've added to our lives in the name of convenience.  I'm not saying I won't ever put another Cheez-It in my mouth or devour a bottle glass of Merlot, but I've kicked up my mindful eating a thousands notches. Not to mention I've already lost 6 lbs and almost 4 inches. That doesn't suck. Bring on the bathing suit, I Swiffered the muffin top.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on: The Disease Called Perfection

I stumbled on this post a few weeks ago.  You may have seen me repost it.  It was powerful and I felt compelled to share it.  Even more compelling, I am still thinking about it weeks later. Thank you to Dan of Single Dad Laughing for putting it out into the universe.

Here is the post to catch you up. The Disease Called Perfection. The post is powerful, the comments profound.

After letting this post percolate, here are some of my thoughts in response.

As the quest for perfection poisons us, I wonder ......Do you know any perfect people? perfect couples? perfect children?

I don't. I have scanned through the list of people that I know well. The ones that I have insight into their real selves, not a single perfect one in the bunch.

Some of them might look perfect from afar. There lies the trap. From a certain distance the picture is perfect. The counters are cleaned, the dog always groomed. Then you step inside their heart and you find they've been hurt, they've been left, they're in some stage of healing.

No perfection really exists. At least not here on earth.

We're chasing something that doesn't exist. We poison ourselves, we poison each other, looking for something we can never find.

That's ridiculous.

As I study my life, I can find a few perfect moments.     Their perfection only rises in relativity to the struggle that got me to that moment. It's not the moment that's perfect, it's the celebration of the quest that got me there.

In any given month, my husband and I may find one perfect night together with both kids at sleepovers and the local tavern serving his favorite dessert and my favorite wine. We savor over an unexpected night to reconnect and enjoy each other. Our relationship has no chance of being perfect. But for that few hours in a month there's a piece of perfection that can only be observed as such because of the 29 days of struggle and challenge that got us to that point.  If every Saturday night had that space and time, it wouldn't be cherished. That moment is special because of the struggles we go through raising our family.

I love to decorate my house.  It gives me great joy and satisfaction. It's a passion and a hobby. Interestingly, it's not the moment of sitting and taking in my surroundings that give me the greatest joy. It's the Saturday morning garage sale, loading the dirty dusty "find" into the back of my truck. The time of lovingly cleaning it, painting it and fixing it until it finds that perfect spot in my home. It's the challenge that gives me the feeling of perfection when I finally call it home.

Let us gather around our common challenges and recognize our united struggle that brings us together perfectly and gives us those few minutes of joy and satisfaction. The joy of the journey.

Childhood vacations aren't logged into our memory under the perfection of the destination. They're logged in by the struggle. The memory of the three days in the backseat of a Pontiac sitting between my grandparents has a far bigger space in my memory than the 20 minutes we spent looking at Mt. Rushmore. Some journeys I don't even remember the destination, I only remember the struggle. I remember them fondly. The last "motel" room found on a cross country journey with too many family members piled in a room. The drowning boy saved by my father while gathered round a hotel pool. The prayers through the night for my sleeping family while the hurricane pounded at our sliding glass door. The screaming girl refusing to spend the day with Snow White on the Disney Cruise because she'd rather be at the pool with me, her mama.Those moments are special because of the struggle, not their perfection.

Let us not spend a life being poisoned by the quest for perfection. Let us share in the challenges together and remember to pause in the moments that are perfect only in relation to the challenge that got us there. That sounds perfect, the way that God intended.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thankful Thought for Today: There's no Soy Sauce in my Underwear

Just another Manic Monday wasn't just a pop song from the 90's. It was our morning here at the Hession House.

The girl got her skinny leg jeans stuck trying to pull them off over a pair of high top Chuck Taylor's in a fit of panic because her jeans had a spot on them and she HAD to change as the bus was coming down the road.

Dude couldn't believe I'd send him to school today with the kind of cold that felt like a million wasps stinging the inside of his nose on a day when they were working on the farm and the wind blowing around in there would be MISERABLE. quote, unquote.

Those are just a few snips from the highlight reel. Because it's my blog, I won't share many of my unsavory responses or contributions.

Ironically, I was reading before I went to sleep last night and planning a very different day full of healthy food, sunshine, roses and gratitude.

In trying to steer myself back into the world of zen, let me share this moment of thankfulness with you.

As I was unloading the dryer and pulled out this little gem (see pic below), I am ridiculously thankful to the packet makers for their expertise in making a washer/dryer proof pack and that there is no soy sauce in my underwear.

Thank you, Lord. Please let the love flow and the miracles continue.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Two Full Days without my evening Facebook /Twitter time

So on Wednesday I gave up Facebook and Twitter between the hours of 6pm and 9pm. You can read all about that decision here.

Two days into the change.

Wow, my hair is shinier, my abs are flat, and I just cured cancer.

Not quite, but close.

I did watch an entire episode of American Idol cuddled on the couch with my girl; instead of her cuddling herself in beside me and my laptop. Not once did she have to say, "did you see that?" or "watch this mom." because she knew I was watching.

She's calmer. She doesn't have to check and see if I'm engaged in us.

I've settled back in rather quickly to my old life and I like it. Sure, like any addict I find myself instinctively reaching for my phone. Then I smile and realize how much I do that and know that this addict has to put down the crack.

To keep myself in check I deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. This has been a big change during the day as well. I can't believe how many times I reach for my phone during the day to check those apps. I hate to think how many minutes, maybe hours, of the day that was consuming in tiny bite size pieces of distraction.

By giving up just a little I've gained so much in my focus and attention without sacrificing the connections I've grown to love. Yesterday I quickly checked Facebook to see if my high school friends, Kris and Mike, who now live in Japan were okay. Then I saw the tsunami warning for California and had to check in on my other friend Pam who lives there.  Facebook is a good thing. As long as it's not at the mercy of what matters most. That's a choice I must make every day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why I Love Facebook & Twitter and why I had to give some of it up

It's no secret that I love Facebook and Twitter.  Let me tell you three of the top reasons why.

1. I finally feel like a decent friend.   - With the pace of life, I'm lucky to find time to be face to face with my friends. Now I can connect at 9pm from my couch with no make up while watching American Idol. No babysitter or cleaning the bathroom required. Sure, I'd love to be sitting in a cafe with my friends sipping a latte and nibbling a scone talking about our quality of life. I'd love to invite my friends for some wine and cheese on any given Friday night. The problem is finding the same time slot available on everyone's frenetically charged calendars. I've had more chats with my high school friends in the last year than I have in the 20 years prior all combined. I love these guys and gals.Now I can actually keep up with their lives and give them some insight into mine.

2. I'm finally an official writer.    I define the difference between an official writer and a wannabe writer by having readers. I've been a writer since 7th grade when Mrs. Garvey put a poem I wrote in one of the school newsletters. Then there was the time in high school when I won the basketball sectional slogan contest. Our Pirate ship has just come in and with its cargo is a sectional win. On both of those occasions there was someone to read what I wrote.  From 1983 to 2009, I didn't have many readers of anything I wrote.  Without readers, your writing wanes and atrophies and eventually dies. Then came blogging. New life breathed. I'm alive again. I'm a writer with readers. Facebook and Twitter have rejuvenated my spirit. I'm once again an official writer thanks to you for reading.

3. I finally can find friends with similar interests.   I've always had cool friends. I have friends with a variety of interests, talents and backgrounds.  I love them all. Not many of them share all of my interests.  Now I can run a couple of searches on Twitter or just tweet about things I love and like magic I'm surrounded by those that write, run, read, sip wine and try to keep their families together. People like me. They send me articles about stuff I love and teach me to be a better writer, runner, reader, wino, and mom.  That's cool.

I used the word finally in each case completely on purpose.  I say finally because Facebook and Twitter have filled a space that I didn't know needed filled.  Now that the gap has been closed, I realize how important that is. Finally, I feel a little more complete. A little more like the me I like to be.

Now, the darker side of Facebook and Twitter. Why I had to give some of it up.

It's exciting to find something you like. You want to do it more. and more. and more.  Because I still only have 24 hours total in the day. My time with Facebook and Twitter had to come from somewhere. I'm not feeling great about the trades and choices I've made.

So, for the spiritual practice of sacrifice, I'm giving up Facebook and Twitter.

Between the hours of 6pm and 9pm.

So, some of you just rolled your eyes. "Wow, big deal, for 3 hours a day, what's the big sacrifice in that!"

6pm to 9pm is family time. This is the time I should be investing into those that should matter most. Not the ones that are easiest to get along with or the ones that post the best comments or the funniest jokes. These are my family, the good, the bad and the ugly.

That's the trap. Distraction into something more interesting, more engaging, but not often the most important. Who doesn't want a diversion from 7th grade homework, or a fight with the hubs? Get me outta here quick. A quick glance at the phone and I'm transformed into an interesting pic of my friend's cat or an article on the best wine to serve with asparagus. Whew, that's way better isn't it?

Is it? ------ Of course not. I'm not an idiot. I'm just distracted.

I've noticed many of my conversations with my husband and kids are not focused conversations. In fact, the girl has begun to resent my iPhone. She sometimes asks for "no phone" time. "Mom, can we watch a movie without your phone or computer?" Ouch. That's the truth smacking me between the eyes.

I still feel great about the top 3 finally reasons above. I want all of those to continue. Not at the sacrifice of those that matter most.

So, "friends" and "followers" for the next 39 days or so, if you want to chat between the hours of 6pm and 9pm eastern, stop by with a bottle of wine or a box of scones. I can't guarantee the bathroom will be clean but we'll be totally invested in our time with you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

This is what I want for Valentine's Day

This is the kind of love I want to give and get for Valentine's Day.

Love is patient,
love is kind.

It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.

Love never fails.