Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Spending the day with dear women who nourish my heart and soul.
I am refreshed.
Knowing it is never to late to let the spark of creativity grow to a flame that burns bright and hot . . .
I am refreshed.
Time to be who I am, the girl who is always most comfortable with a book in my hand, and to be with like-minded souls who "get it" and gasp with excitement and wave their hands with glee like I do when they talk about a good story . . .
I am refreshed.
Thank you God, for times of refreshing. It's been hard to see and hear and find you lately, but today, I felt you there - at the world's largest independent book store. Also known as my stream of refreshment.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
To the anonymous posters on my blog . . .
You kind of creep me out just a bit. I know I've left this blog vacant and empty for several months. But that's between me and my blog. Your cryptic messages about helping you with your homework and the messages in Chinese (you know I do have friends that can translate that stuff . . . you'd better hope it's nothing naughty because my Chinese friend is a minister and that's not going to be very good mojo for you if they have to read something icky . . .) are really bizaarre. Just how is my blog helping you with your homework? Are you copying my text and putting it in papers you are turning in? If you are, God help you because I can't imagine the words are worth anything in any kind of legitimate class work. I am a life-long learner and truly value the privilege of an education so with my heartfelt desire for you to really use the opportunity before you, I'm going to say, "Knock it off ya knucklehead!" Stop copying my blathering and do your own work!
Of course the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that you are all speaking some strange coded language and you're using my site to traffic in state secrets that will either cause terrible destruction or perhaps save the world from evil dictators. I'd like to think the best of you all, so I'll choose option B. But really, even if this is the case, I want to encourage you to move along and find another blog. Because even though I've ignored this little spot for a while, it's still mine and I'd prefer to be the one who decides how it's used.
To any of my real blogging friends out there who might drop by, hi there! Good to "see" ya! Hope all is well in your corner of the world and blogosphere. Life is good here with us - kids growing up, life keeping up with it's rhythms and I'm still trying to make decisions that bring good health - physical and mental. Still trying to find time to write and not doing well with living out that passion - yet. But who knows, maybe 2010 will be my year to get my butt in the chair and "write the damn book" as my friend Laini says! :-)
Peace and love.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Beautiful ladies, dapper gents. The artistic elements of the night - the clothes, music, performances and speeches give the night a fantasy quality that makes it hard to pull myself away to the ho-hum tasks of life.
My loving husband offered to clean the kitchen so I wouldn't miss any of the show. He's speakin' my love language, big time. Sadly, J's fighting a nasty bug with fever, sore throat and bad tummy so commercial breaks are spent checking in on him.
Hugh Jackman is doing a good job - I appreciate that he's not trying to be a comedian but playing up his theater background. Loved the homemade Slumdog set with pizza boxes.
Just watched the James Franco, Seth Rogan bit. Too funny!
For being a fairly artsy kind of town, many of the nominated films are only playing at one theater in downtown. I'll admit, I didn't get to see all of the best picture films but I'm rooting for the one that I did see - Slumdog Millionaire. If you haven't seen it yet, go. Go now. Really - I'm not kidding, it's that good. (If you must wait until after the Oscars, that's ok.)
Excuse me now while I mingle with Brad, Angie, Rachel, Hugh and Kate. Catch you all at the after-party.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Hello friends. If any of you are still there, checking on me from time to time, thanks. Know that I have been checking your blogs when I get a minute or two here and there.
Life is good. In economic downturns, suddenly being married to a teacher is a great thing. Job security and all. A modest, consistent salary suddenly is much more appealing than the high-paying tech jobs that seem to be disappearing in these parts. The report today about the budget shortfall in our state is not good news for education and Brad's job will get harder as we move into next year, for sure. He's working on his masters' in administration and we had hoped maybe next year he'd be able to get into an admin position, but there might be some more waiting to be done before that happens. All in good time. He's enjoying what he's learning and being recognized by leaders in our district for the strengths he brings to the different schools he's working at.
I continue to work part time but the hours keep nudging up. In this time of the uncertainty, I'm so grateful to have work. I get to work on cool projects for the church I love and I'm enjoying learning from professional marketing folks in the ministry that I found through the conference I attended last fall. Working to make the message of God's love and grace relevant and clear is an enormous task but one that I'm excited to be involved in.
The kids are awesome. They continue to blow me away with their tender hearts and the way they make me laugh. N went to her first HS formal and it was hard for me to not cry as I watched my lovely girl dressed like a movie star and shining like the morning sun! Wow - I wasn't ready for the emotion that went with that milestone. She really is growing up and recent conversations about college and the future make it clear that it won't be long until she's a legitimate grown-up. Amazing.
J. is in a transition - truly a "tween" - living between boy and young man. We're trying to find out his passions - he likes to do lots of things, but hasn't really found that one thing that he loves. One night we were talking around the table about what two subjects we could study all day long in school. Brad, N and I all mentioned traditional subjects like Language Arts, Science, History and Social Studies. When we came to J - he said with confidence and without hesitation, "Leadership and Fine Arts . . . " Such a funny kid! I know he's destined for great things!
After facing down 40 this summer and watching my mom's long recovery from her knee replacement, I decided it was time to get serious about my own health. In August I started a regular fitness routine and making changes to my diet. I've lost 16 pounds and feel better than I have in years. I even worked my way up to running for exercise and was loving it until an injury took me off the track for a while. I'm still committed to exercising though - worked through a cardio-yoga program this morning and it felt great! (Though I looked like an idiot, I'm sure!)
Writing. Missing this and hoping that I can find it soon. Reading holds the spot and keeps it warm until the time is there for my friend and I to reconnect.
God continues to show me the weak spots in my life but graciously lets me work through those issues with gentle nudges towards his love and grace. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm thankful for my family, my church and my friends who love me in spite of my faults and failings. I am truly blessed.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
What have I been doing?
Connecting with the needs of my physical self. Going to Weight Watchers, cutting out sugar and adding exercise to my routines. Connecting the dots that what I do now to take care of my body ensures that I will be able to be around to connect with my loved ones in the future.
Connecting with the needs of my professional self. Praying through some challenging work issues, working hard on a big event coming this fall and attending a professional conference for people who do what I do and some who do what I want to do for my organization. Enjoyed connecting with new people who really "get it". The challenge that lays before us in communicating important, life-changing messages in a relevant and effective way. It's a sweet salve to be in a room with the same passions, vision and calling as you. A real gift.
Connecting with my family. Conversations with my daughter about high-school, boys, sex, self-worth, self-image, eternity, serving and so much more. Loving this growing time for both of us. Trying to connect with my growing little boy who I can see is starting to enter the period of his life where things will start changing quickly for him. Trying to encourage him in his strengths and help him work through, around and over his weaknesses. Enjoying the sense of humor that God has given them both.
Connecting with my husband. Appreciating him more and more for the sacrifices he makes. Painted our house together a few weekends ago and gained a new appreciation for all the summers he worked to bring in extra funds for the family. So proud of the new professional direction he is moving in to become and administrator in the education profession. He is so gifted in in inspiring and motivating people to do their best for kids.
Connecting with God. Realizing how much work I have yet to do in my life. Grateful for his love, that is enough (in spite of what I think I must add to the equation). Blue as the sky in spite of storm clouds that might come through. Connecting the dots of my struggles to realize that pride is a big part of the frustrations and anger I carry around like a pack on my back. Asking Him to lighten the load as I give things over to Him.
Connecting with the knowledge that I'm not done yet.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Photo by Stu Seeger
Encouragement is a powerful medicine to the heart. Our pastor preached recently on how a word of encouragement can change a person's life, how it can cause them to take a different turn, choosing to believe that they are worth more and can do more and be more than they believed before the words of others lifted them to see above the haze of every day to see the "what could be". His words and the testimony of one of our church members to this have been knocking about in my head all week. How do I encourage others? What does it look like?
God showed me this week.
It's football season. I know this because as I walk the track at the middle school while my son practices with his soccer team, there are about a hundred young football players doing drills and practicing for upcoming games. They range from middles school boys with growing "man-bodies" all the way down to little boys that look like they are about 3rd or 4th graders. They come to practice in pads, helmets and jerseys and faithfully run through their drills.
The other night the younger boys were taking a lap around the track. I watched as a tiny little guy in a blue jersey with a number 2 on the back fell further and further behind the track. His little legs looked like pencils stuck in football cleats. The helmet seemed to sway back and forth with the strides as he struggled to keep his head from bobbing forward from the weight of it. My mother's heart broke a bit for this little guy who was so obviously undersized compared to the other boys. Would his self confidence survive the season?
Just then, another of the boys in the back of the pack, a sturdy little guy in a black jersey turned his head and saw little Number Two about 20 feet behind him. He purposely slowed his run down so Number Two could catch up to him. He turned his head and you could tell he was talking to Number Two as they ran together. At one point, as they fell further and further behind the pack, still running, he put his arm around Number Two for just a moment. The two ran together until they finished the drill and joined the rest of the team. The boy in the black jersey said a final word to little Number Two and then disappeared into the mass of boys as they lined up for stretches. It was almost as if he said, "You'll be OK now. You don't need me here right now anymore," and he let Number Two become just another member of the large football team.
Wow - what an incredible real world image of encouragement. Someone to come alongside you when you need them. Not to save you. Not to tell you it's OK to stop or give up during the hard stuff, but someone to run with you, put their arm around you, tell you you're doing a great job and then to give you the confidence that you really don't need to rely on them, you've got it in you to do the job on your own.
I doubt either of these boys will ever play in the NFL but I have no doubt that they will know the power of an encouraging word in their lives. I have been challenged to act on this lesson - as the giver and receiver.
Have I told any of you "thank you" recently for the time you take to comment on my blog? Forgive me if I haven't. Thank you for your encouraging words. Thanks to all of you who encourage me in real life and online to use my gifts and challenge me not to give up when I hit roadblocks real and perceived. Thanks to all of you who make me laugh, make me cry and keep me real as we do laps on the track of life. I hope that there are times I do the same for you and I'll be looking for chances to run with you in the days ahead.
Thanks God, for the picture of Number Two and the Boy in the Black Jersey. That was a picture just for me and I got it. (You're so cool that way!)
Friday, August 01, 2008
Two days ago I turned 40. It was looming over me for months (thanks to my baby sister who started asking in January, "What are we going to do for your 40th?" After months of badgering, I finally caved and agreed to a party.
As we got in the car to head to the shin-dig, my stomach was a mess. Literally - I felt sick. I don't have parties, I give parties. I'm not the guest-of-honor, I'm the one planning the thing. This was so out of the norm for me, my nerves were just shot. But it was a lovely evening and I have to say, my parents and sister threw me a lovely party. They all shared memories of me (my sister's memories, not so wonderful as she shared how we used to fight and how mean I was to her - sadly, all true) but they all ended with lovely sentiments of how much they love and appreciate me now. There were embarrassing pictures, embarrassing stories but lots of laughter and fun. Many of my dear friends attended with their kids and it really was a great evening - I had fun and I'm glad I let my sister talk me into it.
I'll admit, I struggled in the days before my birthday. As I approached 40, it really felt like someone was making me a cinder-block necklace to wear. A dusty block of cement that would say to everyone who saw it, "Oh, yes, she used to be the young one, but now look at her. She's 40 now." I saw that cinder-block as a hindrance, something that would slow me down, weigh me down and forever label me as one who had her chance to dance and should now just be happy sitting on the sidelines and watching others have their day.
But now that the day has passed and I can look forward, I think I'll use that cinder-block to stand on. To see further than those younger kids around me. I'll use that better perspective to make decisions that I won't regret. I'll use the weight of that cinder-block to break down walls - ones I've created and ones others use to keep me in my place. I'll thank God for the weight of those years and all of the joy and blessings packed into them. I'll proudly wear the dust of that block in my hair, on my clothes and maybe if the urge hits me, I'll paint that block yellow or bright green or whatever color suits me on that day.
I think I'm ready for my 40's now . . . let me at 'em. Me and my new accessory.
And on the birthday front, today is N.'s 14th! Happy B-day to my baby-girl!