Monday, May 15, 2017

Cotton Management...

If you know me at all, you've likely heard my description of our laundry room.  At any given moment it looks like Tommy Bahama and Ralph Lauren are having an affair with the Brooks Brothers!  The men in this house don't understand the meaning of wash and wear.  It much more closely resembles wash on delicate for 33 minutes and dry for 13 minutes before hanging for 4 hours then drying for 13 more minutes to wrinkle release around here.  My guys have great taste in clothing and while they always look good, I'm beginning to think I need an advanced degree in cotton management just to wash their clothes!  Couple that with the fact that if you've taken a trip to the mall recently, you know mens clothing isn't cheap.  Words like sale and clearance don't translate across the mens aisles like they do for women.  
A few weeks ago I added a small dry erase board near the dryer to remind me how many items need to be removed at the damp dry buzzer (lest they shrink, fade, wrinkle, get too hot--the list is endless)! And this is the note that met me mid week when I least expected it, smack dab in the middle of the ordinariness of motherhood. 
The best job I've ever had is also the hardest, most challenging, often frustrating, highly rewarding, extremely thought provoking, utterly overwhelming, at times disappointing, extremely nerve racking, most heart pounding job I've ever had. There are days I want to scream. There are days I cry. There are days I laugh. Then this shows up and reminds me there are days I kn
ow to my core why I do what I do, and why I love it so much...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I think it's the trees...

There are many misconceptions about the type A personality.  Take me for instance.  I'm a hard charging type A but I'm far more introverted than people realize.  I can turn it “on” and go almost indefinitely.  Until I stop.  And then it's like my husband always jokes; I have two speeds--sixth gear and off.  No idle.  No second gear.  No moderation.

The end of the school year always brings out the extremes in my personality, this brakes/gas thing I have going as my family likes to say.  My calendar is in maximum overdrive and I'm good with that until I'm not.  Sometimes I’m blessed with a warning light when my tank is running low.  Today was one of those days.

As I was standing at the office supply store watching thirty five pounds of paper I purged from my life bite it at the hands of the cross cutter, it dawned on me that I'm tired.  It's been a long week and I've had multiple things vying for my attention every day. Between that and the rain crashing into the windows at night making me think someone is throwing marbles against the glass and the lightning putting on a laser show that wreaks havoc on my photo sensitivity, I haven't been sleeping well.  Poor sleep is a wicked tonic to throw in to the too busy cocktail.  So this afternoon I tossed my schedule to the wind and drove to the spot where I go when I need to let the world disappear.

My spot isn't far from home but it's incredibly special.  It's a place I’ve found myself at various points when I need to cry, laugh, celebrate, pray, mourn, or just stand in awe.  One time I even went for the sole purpose of screaming out loud.  Today I just wanted to sit and be quiet and my spot is perfect for that.  My world has been so noisy as of late sometimes I honestly can’t hear myself think.  Today I needed time to not worry about anything or feel anxious about anything or wonder about my calendar or the laundry or the grocery list or AP finals or the schedule for junior year or my time commitments or even the type of person I've let myself become over the last year.  I’m constantly checking a list and analyzing my scorecard and for a few minutes today I needed to not think.  To not grade myself as a wife, and a mom, and a daughter, and a sister.  As a friend, a coworker, an artist, a boss, a student, or even as a volunteer.

While it would be easy to look at my spot and think it has something to do with nature, that’s not it.  While I’m aware of the birds and the squirrels and the creek when I let myself pay attention to those things, I'm also able to tune all of that out and just be when I step off the path.  The truth is, I think it’s the trees.  There are times I need to get out of my habitat and in to someone else's.  Not being able to see the trees for the forest slows me down.

I was only off the clock for eight minutes today but they were a quality eight minutes and it was just what I needed to reset myself for a busy afternoon and evening.

What have you done for yourself today?  Do you have a spot or a thing you do to help yourself reset?  If not, you're missing out and you might want to brainstorm this a bit.  I hear a lot of people say their spot is the ocean or a beach or the lake or mountains and while those places are wonderful for a big getaway, a far off location can't be the quick respite our souls so desperately need.  Think of it like this--you need a place nearby when the warning lights go off.
You deserve to give yourself a minute to reset in the middle of this manic, overloaded, fast lane life you're living.  In fact, push the limit and take eight.  And yes, it was really eight. I'm a type A.  I counted.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Best Grandma Ever...

When I was 15 the cold war was still alive and well and it seems like everywhere I turned for a time, someone was talking about mutual assured destruction and the red menace and Russia, Russia, Russia! Maybe some of you 70’s and 80’s babies can relate…
Fast-forward 32 years and here we are again. War. Nuclear tests. Countermeasures. North Korea. MOAB. Everywhere we turn it seems war or talk of war surrounds us and I know first hand when you’re 15 that can be a tricky thing to process. Such is the way with the kiddo. He’s a history nerd to the max which means he knows more about history than some of us have forgotten and he’s a crack debater which means he’s up to the minute on current affairs. Ugh. These are dark days we find ourselves in. So where do the words of comfort come from? 
For me it was my grandma, the queen of the world. When I was shaky or confused about anything, including good ole Gorbachev back in the day, my grandma would sit with me and we’d talk it through. She always had just the right words to share; a little history, a little hope, a lot of faith.
And so it goes with me when the kiddo wants to talk about current events these days. I do my best to remember back to the times I sat with my grandma and listened to her gentle words of assurance. And I’m sure to mix in a little history, a little hope, and a lot of faith, with a big hug or two thrown in for good measure.  #BestGrandmaEVER

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Huffing and Growling...

People are disruptive...

I heard this phrase a couple of weeks ago and I have to tell you, it strikes a cord with me.  As it applies in my life, it’s true--people can be hideously disruptive. I would have said I do a bang-up job of grumbling under my breath when I’m interrupted and hiding the fact that I’m not the world’s most flexible person.  But alas, it’s been brought to my attention by a few people who love me most that I don’t always hide my emotions very well when I’m interrupted.  Could that be true of me?

If you know me, you know I’m an overachieving type A that craves deadlines and organization and you also probably know I’m pretty insightful, especially when it comes to knowing myself.  For example, I know I don’t have the gift of hospitality.  Have you ever been to my house for dinner?  See?  Not a speck of hospitality in sight.  Why is this, you ask?  1. I don’t like to cook.  2. I don’t want my house to get messed up.  Which is to say yes, I'm aware I’m a neat freak who trends toward pretty strong OCD tendencies.  Feel free to laugh when I say that one of the things I enjoy most is engaging in conversation and strengthening friendships over a good meal.  Out.  In a restaurant.  When you call me you might be planning a cookout but when I call you, you can bet we’re eating out!

So how does all of this relate to people?  I would have said my scorecard on friendship earned high marks.  I pride myself on quickly responding to emails and texts when anyone in my inner circle needs a hand, an ear, a ride, a dollar, a friend or when they just want to chat or vent.  I try to make myself available at any hour to those I’m blessed to share my life with and thankfully, they gladly do the same for me.  But I had no idea I was sometimes doing so with such a huff in my tone.  With all of this insight I pride myself on having, how could I have missed that?

I was clueless that I huffed when my mom called last week to ask my opinion on something and politely asked what I was doing.  “Working!” She recalls me saying in a rush.  I also had no idea that I threw my hand out and growled over the weekend when the hubster interrupted a block of creative writing time I’d set aside.  Yep.  He said the actual quote was “I need five more minutes to wrap up before I can help you.”  Wow!  Where’s that application for Wife-of-the-Year?  Will someone grab it for me, please?

To me, friendship shows up first and foremost by offering the gift of time to the people I adore and the last thing I want to do is offer that time with a scowl on my face and a growl lacing my voice.  That isn’t a reflection of my heart and it’s not the kind of person I want to be.

This month I’m embracing the truth about myself.  I huff and I growl a lot and I’m determined to stop.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Learn, Adapt, Adjust...

I’m certain I was full of good intentions and boundless energy a mere 31 days ago--ready and willing to embrace the new year with gusto.  Yet as January has dragged on, I feel like it's pulled me right along with it.
  • My brother wasn’t supposed to have his life turned upside down by depression.
  • My nephew wasn’t supposed to be riddled with panic attacks.
  • My husband wasn’t supposed to be saddled with eighty-hour work weeks for a second year in a row.
  • My son’s dog wasn’t supposed to die. 
I was watching television last night and I saw an ad for a new show, The Wheel, and honest to goodness I laughed out loud.  It looks like contestants get dropped off in a hostile environment and just when they figure out how to survive the Sahara, Rainforest, Swamp, Tundra…  the wheel spins and off they go to the next extreme locale; underprepared and ill-equipped, forced to learn, adapt and adjust.  Hmm.  I hate to break it to Hollywood but I don’t think we needed a tv show for that.  Around here we’re beginning to call that type of adventure a day in the life.

What I’ve learned in the first 31 days of this new year is that life doesn’t stop to check our calendar or measure the margin in our schedule or take in to account that sometimes we just need a break.  And a nap.  The wheel spins when it spins and we have two choices...  We can jump or we can hang on for the ride.

January has been a roller coaster ride that has pushed and pulled and reshaped our family in ways we’re still discovering but we’re holding on to each other, and those we love, and we’re moving forward together.  And we're praying for a calmer February.

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate.  And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”  Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet (Zondervan Press)

Friday, January 6, 2017

It's not about the coffee...

I make my son coffee every morning.  Always a bold blend.  Always black.  Always in a to-go cup so he can enjoy it as he starts his day.  It’s a little thing I like doing for him and it’s my part of our morning routine.  But our routine was thrown off this particular morning as we loaded a holiday seasons’ worth of recyclables into the truck so I could make my yearly pilgrimage to the recycling center.  I’d already maxed out my trash containers and borrowed a friends recycling bin.  My cardboard was out of hand and it had to be dealt with so today was the day.

Coffee was the collateral damage.

Half way to school we realized the kiddos’ coffee was still sitting on the counter.  We considered it, but quickly agreed we were too far to turn back.  “There’s a café at school,” the kiddo said.  “I’ll grab something there.”  Great, I though to myself.  A totally workable plan B.

Turns out the café doesn’t have coffee.  Or tea.  Or hot chocolate or juice, which leaves me wondering exactly what the word café is meant to showcase.  Turns out they have water.

The kiddo and I shared a laugh via text and I encouraged him to go with the water, reminding him that studies show that kids that take three drinks of water before a test score up to 25% higher on average.  Apparently we’re a dehydrated world I typed to which he replied our brains are wheezing for a bit of the h2o and we should get right on drinking up.  He seldom fails to make me smile.

“Sorry about your luck, buddy.  Is there else I can do for you today?”  I asked, one hundred percent sincere in my question, which is one I ask both of my guys on a fairly routine basis.
“Could you maybe bring me coffee?”
I could do that.  If I altered my schedule by twenty minutes I could take my son coffee.  Not because I had to but because I offered.  Because coffee makes the world go round and this kiddo is my world.

So our high school has a water bar.  Cool

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My Peeps...

I'm surrounded by incredible people with gorgeous souls. Whether it's the clerk at the drive through who smiles when she sees me because she knows I'm going to hold up the line just a second longer while I take a sip and double check that my iced tea is unsweet.   Or maybe it's my precious friend that leaves a fun treat in my mailbox just because.  Or maybe it's my bestie and my sister and brother in law, peeps I love that are graciously taking exercise equipment off my hands without once reminding me that I could stand to use the pieces I'm offloading. My peeps make life that much sweeter and I adore them.  #blessedbeyondmeasure