Monday, October 17, 2016

My Questions for the Writers of Parenthood

I know I missed the boat on watching Parenthood when everybody else was watching it on tv.  I have lots of reasons, but the biggest is that I get so easily addicted that I have to limit the things I allow myself to watch. 

BUT, I finally DID (binge) watch it on Netflix (seriously--why has it taken me this long to realize how wonderful Netflix is??).  And even though I started out skeptical, and had some issues with a few of the storylines, I genuinely loved it--especially the last few seasons. 

But I have a few questions for the writers...

  • How did baby Aida go from being so white when she was born to having a fro in the last episode?
  • Why didn't Julia remind Joel that he had kissed another mom in the first season when he was upset with her over the Ed thing?
  • What did Zeek and Camille do with all the $$ from the sale of the house since they didn't use it to travel?  Why didn't they give some to Crosby to help him go on his own at the Luncheonette?

  • Did nobody seriously guess that Hank had Aspergers?  After all the research they had done for Max?  Seriously?
  • What ever happened to the money issues Zeek had in the beginning when he had invested in that place out in the desert?

  • If Seth had changed, why was he not there when baby Zeek was born?

  • What did Drew end up majoring in?

  • What happened to the teacher that Adam and Kristina had asked to be the headmaster?
I'm sure if I think about it, I will have more.  What about you?  What questions would you add?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My 7 year Blog-iversary

Seven years ago today, I took a big step and started a blog.  My original intention was to leave fun memories for my girls instead of writing them in books like I had been doing.  There were so many things that applied to both and I wanted to have an easier way to be consistent.

So much for that.

Looking back, I have periods of time where I was consistent--2011 was a good writing year for me.  And then, there are years when I wrote very little and felt very insecure about what I DID write.

As I have written, I have found that the blog became more for me than them. 

A few months ago, I thought I'd take my best posts and use them to write a book.  I was going to do it for ME--not because I thought anyone would even read it, but because I felt a need to tell my story.

Now, I'm not so sure.  I don't know if it's fear of failure or just a contentment that I don't need to tell my story for it to be valid.  I'm not sure this blog will ever be more than just random babblings by me. 

But, not matter what happens or doesn't happen, I don't regret starting it.  And I don't regret being courageous enough to put it out there for others to see.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dear Airlines...

Dear Airline,

I recently had an interesting flight.  So interesting, that I thought up all kids of ground-breaking ideas I wanted to share with you. I've bullet-pointed them for your reading pleasure:

  • Why do you load the plane from the front and make everybody walking down the skinny aisle bump into those sitting?  I realize the 1st class people want to get on first (why they want to sit in seats with stale air instead of standing outside until the last minute, I do not know), but what if you moved your door to the back of the plane--or better yet--why cant the emergency exit doors be the entrance?  Then you could split people up and have the plane boarded faster (this would also save the passengers from all trying to put their huge carry-on in the first overhead compartment they pass. 
  • Another thought on loading--have you ever thought about loading the window seat people first, then middle seat, then the aisle?  You know we're not the smartest people and I watched a lady in front of me on an aisle seat, sit down and buckle her seatbelt--even though the seats next to her were empty.  Then the middle seat person arrived and she unbuckled, but as soon as she sat back down, both she and the middler buckled their belts (and 30 seconds later, had to unbuckle and move into the aisle so the window seat person could climb in).  This would also probably help your efficiency.
  • Have you ever thought about asking passengers to fast from certain foods before flying--just like the doctor asks you to not eat/drink before a surgery??? Here are a few suggestions of foods that should be banned: corn nuts, cabbage, beef jerky and Indian food. I'm sure there are others, but this will keep you busy for a while if you focus on these.
  • What about requiring passengers to do a breathalyzer test?  Not for alcohol, but for bad breath from eating the banned products above.  If your neighbor can smell your lunch, it's just not good.  An on that same note, since when are passengers allowed to bring food wrapped in foil on a 2 hour flight?  Seriously, I don't want to see or smell your sausage. And you might want to warn your other passengers that even seabands are no match to Indian food.
  • And similar to the breathalyzer, could there be a smell-detector of B.O?  You could even use canines to sniff this out.  Then you could give them some deodorant and step to the side until they think they are ready to try again.
  • Could you create a social media page for each flight?  Each passenger would submit their pic and give a few thoughts about themselves.  This would make selecting your seat so much easier.  I would not have chose to sit next to B.O. guy because he would have posted something about himself that gave me a red flag.  Or, if it's the only seat left, I would know to bring nose plugs or ear plugs if my fellow passenger likes to talk a lot.  You could even include a question like, "What food will you eat right before you board your next flight?  Just sayin'.
  • The armrest under the window should go up and down.  This could allow an extra 2" of space--and when you're trying to get as far away as possible from B.O. guy, every inch counts.
  • Can you remind the aisle seat people that if they are going to sleep so soundly that no amount of poking and saying "Excuse me" would cause them to wake up when you need to go to the bathroom and let you out.  My daughter once climbed over a man while he was sleeping because we could not wake him.  Can you imagine the lawsuit you would have been included in if he had woken up when my daughter was mid straddle???
  • Would you clean the windows before each flight?  Sitting down to nose prints on your little window--ewww, just ewwww (and they create a little blurry smudge spot in the middle of any pics you try to take of the wings of your plane flying into the sunset--because that's such an original picture that your friends just HAVE to see). 
These are just a few of my thoughts--if you want to contact me to have me in your think tank, I would be happy to rearrange my schedule to help you out further.

Sincerely, a frequent flyer

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Starting Again

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I resigned my job at the beginning of June, but I told them I would stay until they hired someone. And then, they were generous and let me overlap with her for 3 weeks, so my last day wasn't until this past Sunday. I still feel like I left her a big mess, but, she's strong and will find her way easily.

So I'm starting over. Which is weird at 44.

A few months ago, I had such confidence in this being the right thing. I still believe that, but I am also overcome with feelings of guilt several times a day. I feel bad that I'm not contributing financially to our family. I feel bad that even though I have a long list of projects I'm excited about, I'm just tired right now. I feel bad that my house is still a mess and clean laundry is sitting in baskets waiting to be folded--just like when I was working full time.

I told Brian and myself that I wouldn't take on any new activities outside our home until January. After my first day home I had big doubts. I know my tendency toward depression and even isolation, so I talked with Brian and decided to go against that original plan and join a Bible study.

I only know the leader. It's pretty far from my house. Most of them have been together in the past. But I already love it.  It's on the life of Peter. A person who started over a couple of times. And it's perfect for me right now.

I'm not sure what the next steps of this journey will be. I just know that I need to be still for a while. And, y'all--not counting the holiday, I've technically only been unemployed 2 days. I knew this would be an adjustment for me. I have kept myself entirely too busy lately and have left no margin to hear
from God. Which is a little embarrassing to admit since I was a kids pastor.

So, as you think of me, I'd appreciate your prayers. Pray that I would not feel guilty for being still. Pray that my family would not be irritated with me for not moving too fast right now. Pray that in the stillness, God shows me clearly what my next step of obedience is.

Are you in a new season right now?  How can I pray for YOU?

Friday, August 26, 2016

What I Learned from Def Leppard

 A few nights ago, my hubby and I had a real date. Without kids. To a Def Leppard concert.  On a school night.  Did I say without kids?

It was totally awesome, groovy to the max and whatever cool 80's adjective you wanna use here.  Here's what I learned:

12 Years is too Long to go Between Concert Dates
Yep.  It's been 12 years since we've been to a concert at Gexa.  We've done lots of free music in the park kind of things and even went to one at a stadium recently, but kids have been involved in those so they don't count as dates.  The last one we saw at this venue was Third Day and Caroline was a baby so I was nervous it was too loud and spent most of the night covering her ears and sitting as far back as I could.  We were definitely overdue for a concert date.

People Watching is as much Fun as the Concert
Oh my GOODNESS!!!  I have not laughed so hard in a long time.  From the early 50's preppy guy pounding his fist in the air to the music, to the group in front of us decked out in 80's gear, to the teenagers who were looking humiliated standing next to their singing and dancing parents, to the young college-aged couple beside us literally pretending to play an instrument with each other's bodies.  There was so much goodness all around!!!  And yes, I'm sure there were people looking at us thinking we were dorks, too.  I got over that before the first Tesla song was over.

If you Work for a Company that Drug Tests, Take a Vacation Day
Seriously, y'all!  It was not even dark and there were some smells wafting all over the place.  And we don't live in Colorado.  Every time I thought I pinned down who it was, I would realize I was wrong. But there was definitely more than one who was enjoying a little "medicine" that night.  It was like eating poppyseed muffins the morning before you get tested--don't do it.

Whataburger is Crowded at 11:30PM
Yes--I always knew this, but in case you didn't, be ready to sit in a line for a looooonnnnng time because your husband is hungry on the way home. 

There was more Hair Product used on Stage this one Night than I have used in my last 20 Years
Wow!  While I did perm my hair and scrunch it to make it as big as possible back in the day, I didn't realize so many people still did.  Between the 3 bands, there was probably enough hair to wrap around the stage several times.  I wonder what happens when these guys walk around in public.  Do they ever think about cutting their hair?  They would get an immediate raise--those hair products aren't cheap.  Unless they are still using Aqua Net.

REO Speedwagon Had  More Hits than "I Can't Fight this Feeling"
I was surprised at how many of their songs I didn't recognize.  And there weren't many ballads.  Huh, who knew?

Doing Something that Seems Against the Rules is Fun
We don't do things like this in the middle of the week--esp when we both have to work the next day.  I can find lots of excuses--the traffic stinks getting through Dallas, it's too late on a work/school night, it takes a lot of extra effort to figure out what to do with the kids.

But it's worth it.  Maybe part of the joy is that it reminded me of a time--before kids and work--when we were a lot more carefree.  Which, in turn, helped set the mood for the night (even if we did have a grown-up dinner of steak before the concert).

It was a good night. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Why it's Sometimes Easier to Pray for Your Kids than Mine

I've been awake since 4am thinking and praying and piddling until everyone else decided to get up.  As I was praying, I was thinking about how hard it is to sometimes pray for my girls.  There are so many things I want for them, that I like to tell God how to do it instead of just praying for wisdom, good friends, hard work ethic, wise choices, etc.  I try to tell Him to "Give Hope an easy teacher for __________ ."  "Coordinate schedules so that Caroline can sit by ____________ at lunch today." 

Instead of letting God be God, I try to orchestrate it all.

Do you do this, too or am I alone here? 

Here's the thing, though--when I pray for YOUR kids, it's much easier to be unbiased and pray for wisdom and for God to put whatever friends He would like in their life.  I let Him be God.

SO easy. 

As long as it's yours and not mine.

It's the first day of school and I LOVE seeing all the pics.  As I scroll facebook today and see all your beautiful children, I promise to pray for them--and YOU.  I will pray all the normal stuff we pray for kids on the first day of school--teachers who "get" them, excitement to do well all year and not just the 1st day, friends who lead them into good things and not bad, blah, blah, blah. 

For YOU, I will pray that God gives you wisdom to lead your people well.  For courage to let them make their own mistakes.  For grace when they make choices that are not what you want for them.  For love to cover it all and be felt and experienced. 

And I would ask you to do the same for me and mine as you see our pics!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review: Present Over Perfect

Oh my soul! I devoured this book. It was such an affirmation to me as I transition out of a role I've loved for so long into something unknown that has been calling me for longer than I've admitted.

Present-Over-Perfect is written from the vantage point I want to be at in the next year. She reminded me that our jobs--even the good ones--don't define us. That our inner circle should be the ones we are saying yes to, not the outer circle masses. That Gods love for us is unconditional and "earners" like me can rest in that hard to grasp, but simplistic thought. None of those things are rocket science, but her way of addressing them was refreshing and left me feeling hopeful rather than guilty.

I can't recommend this book enough. I am so grateful to have these beautiful words as I launch into a new season. They remind me to keep the silence as long as possible and not let the noise overtake me again. I feel more grateful and alive and just plain giddy after reading this book.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"Remake your life form the inside out."

"Loving one's work is a gift.  And loving one's work makes it really easy to neglect the other parts of life."

"What you need along the way: a sense of God's deep, unconditional love. and a strong sense of your own purpose.  Without those two, you'll need form people what is only God's to give."

"What people think about you means nothing in comparison to what you believe about yourself."

"I can't hear the voice of love when I'm hustling.  All I can hear are my own feet pounding the pavement, and the sound of other runners about to overtake me, beat me.  But competition has not place in my life anymore.  The stillness reminds me of that."

"Try to keep your soul always in peace and quiet, always ready for whatever our Lord may wish to work in you.  It is certainly a higher virtue of the soul, and a greater grace, to be able to enjoy the Lord in different times and different places than in only one. "

"This is actually my life, and it doesn't matter a bit if it would be lovely for someone else to live.  What does matter: does it feel congruent with how god made me and called me?

"You were made by hand with great love by the God of the universe, and He planted deep inside you a set of loves and dreams and idiosyncrasies, and you can ignore them for as long as you want, but they will at some point start yelling.  Worse than that, if you ignore them long enough, they will go silent, and that's the real tragedy."

"It's easy to be liked by strangers.  Its very hard to be loved and connected to the people in your home when you're always bringing them your most exhausted self and resenting the fact that the scraps you're giving them aren't cutting it."

"It is better to be loved than admired.  It is better to be truly known and seen and taken care of by a small tribe than adored by strangers who thing they know you in a meaningful way."

"Sometimes brave looks more like staying when you want to leave, telling the truth when all you want to do is change the subject."

"What makes you say, "Must be nice"?  What longing might your jealousy lead you to, if you're brave enough to listen to it before you push it away?"

"Let's do much more than simply please people.  Let's see them and love them and delight them, look deeply into their eyes.  Pleasing is a shallow and temporary joy, not nearly as valuable or rich as seeing or connecting or listening.  Pleasing feels like corn syrup, like cheap candy, while pleasure is homemade pie."

"Hustle is the opposite of heart."

"So much of adulthood is peeling off the layers of expectation and pressure, and protecting those precious things that lie beneath."

'What do you need to leave behind in order to recover that essential self that God created?  What do you need to walk away from in order to reclaim those parts of you that God designed, unique to you and for His purposes?"

"You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life but by realizing who you are at the deepest level."

"Saying Yes means not hiding.  It means being seen in all your imperfections and insecurities.  Saying yes is doing scary things without a guarantee that they'll go perfectly,  Saying yes is telling the truth even when it's weird or sad or impossibly messy.  Saying yes is inviting chaos, and also possibility.  Saying yes is building a new future regardless of the past.,  Saying yes is jumping in anyway."

"It is only when you understand God's truly unconditional love that you begin to understand the worth of your own soul--not bc of anything you've done, but because every soul is worthy, every one of us is worthy of love, having been created by and in the image of the God of love."