Wednesday, December 17, 2014


The other day I said to my eldest, "Come on you & I are going for a walk."  You would have thought I had just suggested he maim himself in some way by the dramatic reaction he had.  Falling to the ground saying " A walk?!  A walk is the worst thing ever!"  Really?  Really?  If a walk is the worst thing my son had to deal with on that gorgeous December day then I'd say his life is pretty fantastic.

Fast forward to an hour later upon our return from said walk when he admits that it was actually pretty great.  Ha!  I thought with great satisfaction. You see!  If only you'd not be such a punk when something is put before you.  You know it typically is good for you & has your best interests at heart  So there.  Oh.  Crap.  Maybe it's just me but I am pretty sure I throw a mean fit to whenever Something catches me off guard or is out of my comfort zone. I may not be weeping & wailing (at least as far as you can tell) but I can stomp my foot with the best of them.

Isn't that the way we are?  We hear that still, small voice.  It asks us to initiate something with someone or to put ourselves out there.  But, we don't want to so we throw a tantrum in our own way by being busy or ignoring it until it is harder & harder to hear.  We throw ourselves into other projects or relationships without a backward glance.  We may be missing out on the very thing that is for our good & has our best interests at heart but not even know it.   Unless you all are much more mature then me & it's just me who does this.

Sometimes Most times what I hear myself say to my kids as I am parenting them is something that I myself need to hear.  Be Kind (as I say through gritted teeth)  Don't yell ( as I shout it down the hallway)  Be sure to share (as I check my creamer situation out carefully wondering if my husband "snuck" some.)

Encouraging my kids to be open to situations & what you can learn from them is no different.  That is something I need to be reminded of even as a middle-aged woman.  Yes, middle-age there is no sense in denying it any longer.  Baah!  Being middle-age is awesome!  There is so much freedom in it.  You wan't to wear your walking shoes with your jeans?  Do it!  Your feet will thank you.  You think to yourself, but that's a mom thing.  Newsflash  No shame.   Same goes for mom jeans & mom cuts.  Which I don't  even know what a mom cut looks like or if that's even a real thing, but I recently heard a hair-dresser laugh saying no one had ever asked for a "mom cut" from her before.  Dude.  If you are a lady & you have kids & you have hair you have a mom-cut.  No way around it.

All that to say the next time my kiddo has an all-out-fit about something new or different I think I have to wonder if that is something he is learning from me.  Does he sense my foot being stomped every time there is something new afoot?  Does he notice that I drag my feet when a new opportunity is put before me?  Maybe.  Or maybe kids just come this way.  Either way it will do us all a lot of good to slow our responses & be encouraged that it may just turn out to be pretty great after-all.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

wouldn't that be something.

I've spent the morning delivering Christmas presents to people I don't know.  I've peeked past a barely opened door into a dark & smelly apartment.  I've stood just beyond the produce section at Fred Meyer crying & hugging a young mom.  When  you are put in a position to really see people it can be a sobering thing; read as I have been sobbing all morning (which isn't helped by the fact that I'm hangry because I'm trying to be better about portions & snacking which basically just means I'm starving all-the-live-long-day but that's really besides the point.)  I realize how insignificant it is to get frustrated in the drop-off line at school just because the parent ignores the rules & gets out of their car to hug their kiddo one last time before they go  off to school.  When have I ever done that? Taken the time to give one last hug even at the cost of upsetting 100 other drivers behind them just because my kiddo may need it?  I am more of the slow & roll kind of mom.  Making sure my kiddo unbuckles & is ready to jump out the moment of approach.  The thing is I don't know the story of the mom who is getting out to give her kid a hug.  I've no idea what transpired at their house that morning anymore than I know why the mom in the dark apartment with downcast eyes is so sad.  It is so easy to talk the talk about everyone having a story, but to truly live like you believe that in every single interaction you have is another thing all-together.  What if?  What if we truly lived it?  What if our kids grew up knowing no different?  What if they knew you gave everyone you came into contact with grace because that's just how it's done?  What if they knew you just looked for a common thread with people because that is how connections are made. Sound a bit out of your comfort zone?  Mine too. But what if there's a chance that if we slow down & see those around us we may be surprised to learn they aren't so different than us after all? Wouldn't that be something.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas time is here again.

Christmas time is here again & for some that can mean life gets a whole lot harder.  We know, because the past few years has been trying for my husband & I.   We had started to dread that sure-to-come question "So, are you guys all ready for Christmas?"  While I know it always came from well-meaning people who were full of anticipation for the season it fell upon our ears as another reminder that we weren't going to be able to provide gifts for our kids.  Having been in lean financial times( for what seems like forever) Christmas gifts just weren't a reality for us.  We were more concerned about keeping the lights on & the heat going. When our kids were really young we didn't give it much thought.  We knew kids that age were more into empty boxes than the actual item inside so we just considered ourselves minimalists (read as that made us feel better) & chose to focus more on what the season meant & less on the stuff.

Fast forward to when they were a bit older & thanks to some truly AMAZING people.  Two different years two different groups of AMAZING there were gifts under the tree for our kiddos.  We were surrounded by such kind & generous & loving communities that loved on us & our kiddos & turned what could have been a really hard time into a time of joy & thanksgiving!  It was never about the stuff or the lack of stuff.  It was about the joy & anticipation & excitement that any parent wants to be able to provide for their kiddo.

This year marks the first year we are able to buy presents for our kiddos.  And we are excited! Unless you've never been able to you may not grasp the excitement but let me tell you it's on like donkey-kong! As we started thinking about Christmas & our kids & bringing them a bit of joy we naturally thought & talked about the prior years & how we were so loved on.  It got us to thinking how much more difficult this time of year must be for people who don't have a supportive community around them.  Maybe they don't have anyone to admit through a tear-stained face how hard it is.  Maybe they don't have anyone to let in & share how alls they really want is a matching pair of Christmas pjs for their kiddos.  Maybe they can't get over the pride of how hard it is to tell someone it's hard.  You live & breath it the last thing you want to do is to hear yourself talk about it. We knew we wanted to be able to do a bit for one other family, but realistically we also knew we couldn't do much more than that but maybe, just maybe, their were families like ours who wanted to do something for other families.  So with these families in mind....The ones who are working, but it's never enough.  The ones who are working & in school & raising their babies on their own.  The ones who lost jobs & are new in town & just don't have anyone.  With them in mind we launched our 1st Gift for Kids Program.  And as per usual I dived right in.  Spread the word with out really thinking it through & without having lined up people to help provide gifts to be sponsors or donors or what have you.  So then I panicked & thought this will never work & asked my friend (who knows how I dive in without thinking all.the.time.) to please pray because I had names of kids coming in who needed to be  matched with donors & whatifnoonecameforward I didn't want to ruin anyone's Christmas & I should have just kept my mouth shut & who do I think I am to help anybody anyways?! Sheesh.  She prayed. I prayed. Names came in & people wrote it saying they wanted to help & how could they help & could they please help.  Seriously.  It was beyond me.  The entire thing came together so effortlessly I didn't need to do a thing except show up to turn the computer on.  I remember telling my husband shortly before launching the Gift for Kids program that I would be stoked if at least one family was matched with another.  You know what?  Enough families came forward wanting to bless & were matched with 21 kids who's families are struggling & who admitted it's hard. Some of the names came from the moms themselves & they brokenly shared a bit of their stories with me.  Some of the names came from other people who nominated them (for lack of a better word) because they knew it was hard.

 Now the gifts are starting to trickle in.  I keep thinking how excited I am to have my kids apart of delivering all these gifts to the families who are trying so hard.  So that it would be a good reminder to them to be thankful & to think of others.  But...Let's be real the reminder is for me.  It's so easy to get amnesia about letting people in, about finding joy through being thankful & about thinking of how to love on others. The thing I didn't know when we were on the receiving end was that not only did my family feel the love but those who acted out on the tug of their hearts they got to feel it too. Thankful for these brave families who by letting people in a bit are in turn making all of our Christmas seasons that much brighter.