Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Great And Terrible

The definition of torture:

-Potty training.

-Asking a teenager to spend time with their family.

-Family Pictures.

I'm not sure why I force myself to endure family pictures year after year after year. I somehow convince myself that I will one day be grateful I pushed this event on everyone. Um, I've yet to reach that day. This morning, standing outside fighting with my kids, I almost stabbed myself with a sharp stick just so I could go to the ER and get away from them.

The end.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Because

Just because she makes me proud.
Just because she ran at District on the Varsity team, as a Freshman.
Just because someone mentioned that she is just like me, and it made me smile.
Just because she is good. On her inside and her outside.
Just because she makes me a better mother.
Just because she is fierce and competitive and determined.
Just because she never gives up.

Just because she's my heart.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shield Your Eyes

If you are skweemish, easily offended or any level of prudish, please turn away. This post is not for you. For the rest of us, this is just straight awesome.

October is Gynecological Awareness month. Seriously. I have no idea how I've lived all these years without this knowledge. But, there are many perks to having a husband who works at a hospital. This kind of information is one of them.

I wonder how exactly you celebrate for Gynecological Awareness. Do you have cake? Maybe you hug an OBGYN. Hugs are nice. Much nicer than pelvic exams. Is there a ribbon you wear? And what color is it, peach? And how do you keep a straight face when someone asks you what your ribbon stands for? I think I might be more gynecologically confused than aware. No?

As a means of raising funds to support all things pertaining to a woman's nether regions, Todd's hospital is having a quilt auction. The quilts are currently on display so everyone can take a peek and make a bid. Todd has promised to buy this one (his favorite) for my mom. So she can hang it in her entry:

Yes, you are correct. This is a quilted version of the reproductive system. Mmm hmm. I wasn't kidding when I said this was straight awesome. Just imagine it's grandeur when my mom opens it on Christmas morning. I bet she cries.

My favorite part of this quilt is the ribbon. I'm a big fan of accessories, I've just never considered putting them over my fallopian tubes. Now I know that it looks good. Don't you agree?

Let me know if you want to try and out-bid Todd for this quilt. A little healthy competition is good for fundraising. Anything for Gynecological Awareness month, right?

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Ledge That Holds The Brave

Most of our parenting is done on a plateau. An open field that we circle through over and over again. We travel the same course so often, the terrain becomes a part of us. It's just daily life. Lived, well, daily. The familiar.

That's the safe spot. That plateau that feels routine and normal. It's not easy work, this daily parenting, but here it is comfortable because we know it inside and out.

But at the far reaches of the field, there is a ledge. And there are times we are required to stand at it's margin and look over. This is when parenting is the hardest. When you stand on the ledge with fear and can't decide how to get back to the safe plateau.

Most often, the fear simmers there because we need to take action when all we want is to return to the familiar. Fear blooms when we need to make a course correction with a child, but don't know which one to take. It rises when we watch a daughter attempt something all on her own, no hand holding allowed. It takes root when we are required to un-cup our parent hands and loosen our grip. When our mind tells us to give them more freedom, but our heart wants to contain them in our grasp. Fear just weaves it's way through all of it.

And so we stand at the ledge and hold our fear in our hands while we wonder what to do. And we wait. We wait until we recognize that fear leaves no room for answers. They simply can't fit. So, we sift through that fear, and the closer we look, the more clearly we see that it is only a thin outer layer. Easily peeled away. And the core of what's inside, is brave. Fear was only a cloak.

We can only see the brave when we stand on the ledge. It's the only place we're forced to look for it. But, it's there. We just have to have the courage to wipe off the fear and grab hold of our brave. Only then will we be able see which course correction to make, how much freedom to give a child and how to keep them in our heart while slowly letting them go. That's when true bravery takes shape.

If you are on the ledge today, or any day for that matter, hold to your brave. Hold it true and hold it strong. It will keep you grounded and turn you back to safety.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Answers

The other day, I received one of those forwarded emails where funny things are said about pregnancy and hormones. Normally, I delete these. But, I found myself reading through it. And guess what I discovered? Every reply to each question just wasn't 'real' enough for me. So I took it upon myself to offer a better viewpoint. Enjoy (or not) my answers:

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
Lisa Answer: Age should rarely be a consideration. The most important question you should ask yourself before deciding to have a baby: "Do I really want people around me who roll their eyes and tell me I'm ruining their life?" If you enjoy that kind of thing, go for it.

Q : I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
Lisa Answer: Here's where it gets weird-- When you're pregnant, you want the baby to move. Then, when they are a toddler, you want them to stop moving. Once the teenager arrives, they never move and you spend all your energy yelling (with a righteous voice) for them to start moving!

Q : What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
Lisa Answer: You pray, really super hard, and you have a revelation, directly from heaven, that you are going to have a boy. So then you know you are a righteous mother with a direct connection to Jesus and you go to Baby GAP and spend $200 on boy clothes. 2 months later your ultrasound reveals you are having a girl.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
Lisa Answer: Seriously? Settle in for a new normal. And honestly, if you whine, even for one second, you'll be sorry.

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
Lisa Answer: Um. Pressure is trying to decide whether to eat 2 or 4 pieces of cake. Childbirth feels like cutting off your arm with a plastic fork, all while your doctor and husband are at the foot of your bed discussing gun control. I wish I was kidding.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
Lisa Answer: I'm thinking of starting a petition for insurance to cover a port to be installed under a mother's skin. Then, after you've given birth, the hospital is required to send you home with enough medicine to cover the next 18 years. I really think I'm on to something.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
Lisa Answer: Unless you are the doctor who will remove the baby, or the person who monitors my pain control, I could care less whether or not you're in the room. If you're not one of these 2 people, you're just eye candy.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
Lisa Answer: Here's a secret-- Do everything, and I mean everything, to stay in the hospital for as long as you can. Even if you have to fake a seizure, do it. The longer you can stay there, the longer someone else will cook your meals and fetch you ice water. Once you step foot out of the hospital doors, it's over.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?

Lisa Answer: This question is too stupid to even answer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Sprinkle Of Season

They call it a 'Cold Front'. Which is funny, because a high of 72 degrees really isn't that cold. Around here, it's down right Siberia. Temperatures drop below 70 and the Texans break out the down filled coats and padded ear muffs. It's fascinating to watch. Like eskimos on parade. Except in Texas.

I wore long sleeves today. That's noteworthy. And a coat. Just to be safe from the frigid 70's air. And as I stood at the bus stop, all bundled up, I realized I still had on flip flops. The perfect Fall accessory.

Tonight it will be in the 40's. Brrr. I might have to break out the hot chocolate. Winter season is upon us (for the next 4 days).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Love Turns 3

Three years ago today, they arrived. They entered our lives and we have never been the same. Thank heavens.

7 weeks after they were born, they took root in Texas. They were the miracle that outshined the turmoil. The calm in the storm. God gave them a mom that also has to be the dad and everything in between.  I wonder if they'll ever truly know of her courage and strength? Somehow, the older they get, I think they'll see it. It's so very hard to miss.

It's difficult to describe what these girls have become to us. There aren't words. They are woven into our hearts. All of us. Life simply wouldn't be the same without them in it. They are a gift.

Happy Birthday to our Joy. Twice over.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Stillness In Between

I used to have it together. I mean, I used to have the time to get it together. Really. These days, time has become a precious commodity. I seem to find fragments of it here and there, but nothing sustainable. Therefore, I never have it together. Most often I feel like I'm grabbing the loose ends and gathering it all up at the last possible moment. Can you relate?

Time has been slowly draining away for the past couple of years. But now it feels like a downpour. I don't know if the cause is having a high school-er or just the mere fact that life and schedules have gone the far side of crazy.

I remember my life when my oldest barely fit her petite feet into small, white sandals. I had time then. Loads of it. Time enough to paint her toenails and visit storytime at the library. Now she wears heels and isn't home long enough to catch her breath, and I am running just to keep up with her. Somewhere between the then and now, time melted away.

Do you ever get a brain cramp just from looking at your calendar? Can I possibly be the only one? Surely not. Surely I'm not the only one who wants to grab her family and fold them into the stillness of time. To shut out the crazy and soak in the calm. Surely that is you too.

So, what's to be done? I'm really not sure. Life is still life. Schedules must be kept and carpools driven. Homework still arrives daily and dinner must be fed. There is no getting around it all. Maybe that's my problem. I'm trying to weave around life. I'm spending all my energy chasing every corner and task, but never really catching up.

I believe the answer lies in the stillness. The one that rests in between the driving, the cooking, the errands and the list making. It resides there, just waiting to be found. What if we spend our energy finding those spots? What if we look for the quiet admist the noise? I'm guessing we just might find time again. At least a cherished portion of it.

I think I'll stop trying to get it together. Reality is, as soon as I do, it will all untangle again. Don't you agree? So, I think I'll try standing still for awhile. Not long, but long enough. Surely if I'm quiet and turn my eyes away from the calendar, I'll find time waiting. Mine for the taking.

Let's all be still. Then we can find time together...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dare To Be

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogmas--which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."           -Steve Jobs

So often we live in a box. One of our own creation. And if you're me, you have a sister who points out that I live in a box that is clearly categorized and labeled into other boxes. True on all points.

I'm good at living in my box. I like it there. It's safe, and yes, organized. Anything outside of the box feels unrestrained and a little too free. I have no control over what resides out of bounds. Therefore, I'm afraid of it. But, what if Life and Living are out there? What if the borders of the box are just the beginning? What if there was no fear and no limitations?

I'm fascinated by those who embrace Life outside the lines. They seem to live lives that are unique. They appear to have a better hold on Living. One that I long for. So, I watch. From the safety of my carefully constructed box.

What if Living, real Living, isn't something you learn or even understand from watching at a distance? What if all it takes is acceptance? Maybe there is no secret to embracing Life. Maybe the only skill required is the courage to step beyond the boundary. Maybe there are no 'maybe's', there is only Being.

We must dare to Live. The moment we do, the very moment we decide to cross the threshold, that's when the box disappears. Walls come down and only courage remains. Oh, let us become. Oh, let us have the courage to Live.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Goings On

** I hit my head. On the counter molding. Last night I bent down to move some shoes (which I knew Todd would trip over in his early morning hours--he's delicate, so I like to protect him) and I stood up quickly and slammed my head against the counter. Hard. My first thought, aside from the pain? "So help me, if there is blood in my hair and I have to wash it, I'm going to be ticked!" I think there's something fundamentally wrong with me.

** I chased a cockroach this morning. A giant one scurried through my bathroom and I chased it like it was a toddler. It escaped into the depths of my closet. My anger can not be contained. Maybe I have a concussion from hitting my head last night.

** I embarrassed my teenager. On purpose. I had been waiting in the school parking lot for 30 minutes. So, I marched into the locker room (where she was chatting with friends) and yelled at her to get in the car. You can imagine how well that went over. Once she was seated in the car, she and I had a real special bonding moment. It was unforgettable, really. As anger oozed out of her mouth I realized that teenagers speak a foreign language. It's so weird. There are endless ways to learn Spanish or French, so why isn't there a book to teach me what she is saying? Hmm?

** This girl. Oh, this girl. She refuses the spotlight and rarely slows down long enough to let me take her picture. But last night, she sang. With the choir, of course. But oh, she sang. And my heart sang right along with her.

**In case you have extra time, please jump over here and read. My favorite writer is showing you how to change the world. Every day in October. Be sure to back up to Day 1 and soak her words into your soul. And then, Change. The. World.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Running Has A Voice

There is a lingo for Track and Field. It's a language that is still foreign to me. I hear parents (of the 'running is our life' variety) and coaches yell words and phrases as the kids sprint by. "Keep your eyes up!" is one of my favorites. "You got this!" comes in a close second. They are always words of encouragement molded into phrases of motivation. "Keep your pace" can be heard right along side "Let's pick it up. Go, go, go!"

I've decided that Life needs a lingo similar to Track and Field. Because, when you look at Life up close, we're all running. On our own course that only we can navigate. Wouldn't it be nice to hear "You're making great time, keep it up" every now and then?

Just think of how you would feel to know that someone stood on the sideline and watched your every stride? That could be a game changer. Whispered words of encouragement, especially when the track feels wide and empty, could help you sprint to the finish line.

So often we long to be small. To fold in on ourselves so that we don't have to face all the large parts of Life. Small feels easier and more peaceful. Less noise and heartache. Worry can't penetrate small because there is no room to fit. No wonder we long for it.

But Life is large. It's hard, it's exhausting and it's draining. But, it's also not defined by the trials we face on the course we run. Life spreads wide and covers us whole. She seeps into the cracks left by sorrow and fills them with joy and grace.

We can live large. We have to. Because being small really isn't living. It's simply existing. And we want more. We want to BE more. So, we run. We run when it's hard, we run when we feel alone and we run even when it all feels to steep to climb.

The sideline is there, it's just hard to see. He stands at the ready. Where else would He be? He set you on this course and promised to cheer you on. So, He does. There are others there as well. They cheer too. Even as they try to run their own pace. If we have the courage to listen, I know we'll hear them. "You got this! Keep your eyes up! Keep your pace!"

Live large and embrace your race. After all, you're not alone. You never were. "Focus and head to the finish."

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Apparently, times have changed. Dates are now optional at high school dances. That makes me feel old. Truly. Groups and friends are now the norm. Thus, Homecoming this year was a friend fest.

Two months ago, school dances were never on my radar. I foolishly thought they were something I would worry about when she reached dating age (a mere year away). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my ideas are now considered old-fashioned.

The cost of a dress hasn't changed. Nor has the anxious fever of finding the 'right' shoes and having the 'right' hair. I now have a new appreciation for my mother, but don't tell her.

Watching your daughter segue into a more grown up life is an interesting thing to witness. Some days it feels seamless. But on others, it feels monumental in weight. It's on those days that I want to grab time and hold it back with all my strength. Unfortunately, time isn't something you can catch.

In future years, I hope she remembers her first high school dance. I hope she remembers that she went with girls who each possess their own inner beauty, instead of a boy she may soon forget. But most of all, I hope she never forgets that life is lived when you remember who you are. All while wearing a pretty dress.