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Monday, January 25, 2010

Boardroom Bound




I was offered a job today.

I was caught off guard by the level of responsibility.
The job description stated it wasn’t for the weak & weary and that the faint at heart need not apply.
And to be honest, even now, I question whether I’m qualified for the job.
It’s not like my ‘life’ resume is all that impressive, after all.

The hours were long but the commute wasn’t bad.
I was told that the salary would be negotiable & the bonuses, like none I’d ever seen before.

I would have my own boardroom.
And the corner office I had always wished for was finally mine.
It was the opportunity of a lifetime!
I had climbed the ladder.
Impressed the right people.
And I finally was getting what I had always dreamed of.

My bosses were tough & they didn’t even stand more than 3 feet tall yet.
My contracts I negotiated were signed with crayons & finger paint.
And my board meetings were comprised of why we can’t run with scissors or put gum in your brother’s hair.

The corner office was filled with iridescent glitter & glue sticks.  And enough play dough to construct a life-sized replica of the Empire State Building.

My salary consisted of Eskimo kisses & late night snuggles because I had scared another monster away.

And then there was the bonus I had worked so hard for.  But it didn’t come at the end of the year like the others had in the past.  It didn’t reflect the ‘Profit and Loss’ like I was used to in my previous positions.

The bonuses are a daily occurrence.

They are the giggles I hear when the tickle monster shows up out of nowhere.
They are the countless ‘I love YOU the most’ moments & actually, at this moment, I’m still not sure who won that argument…but I don’t care.

It is the patter of little feet as they chase one another around the coffee table & land in a heap of pillows they have methodically placed on the floor.

They are the endless hugs that are the type that almost cut off my circulation.  The arms that are wrapped so tightly around my neck because they have so much love to share & I just happen to be the lucky recipient of it.
They are in the making of these beautiful, innocent, miraculous children that I am so blessed to be the mommy of.

And,

When the days are long & the laundry piles are too many to count…..
When the boardroom decisions I made in that split-second, probably aren’t going to earn me the ‘Mom of the Year’ award….
When my negotiating skills break down & it’s not even time for morning snack yet….

I think to myself, there is no better job in the world.  No one I am more honored to work for.  No salary that could ever possibly come close.  No reward greater.  No position more sought after.  There is nothing that compares to this.

No one else need apply.  This job is mine!







Saturday, January 23, 2010

These feet are going places







Her little feet are snug in frog jammies today. 
Tucked away in warmth where her little toes should be. 

I hear the beautiful sound of those same tiny feet scampering along the wood floor while she chases her brothers from room to room as they giggle relentlessly.

And more times then not recently, I’ve heard them. 
Click.
Tap.
Click.
Tap. 
As she dances around in her pink leotard & tap shoes eagerly anticipating her next dance class.

These same cute little feet will, all too soon, take her away from me.  To school, new friendships, childhood adventure, a bigger world.
They will step onto a different country’s soil.  Walk down the aisle, along with her dad, as she starts a new life. They will, if she is lucky, step into all kinds of adventure that is waiting for her.




Will I have taught her everything she needs to know? 
Will she be equipped to handle heartbreak & disappointment?
Will she know that she can always run back to me for anything she needs because I am her greatest fan & want to protect her ALWAYS?

Are they going to, some day, walk away from things that aren’t good for her? 
Help her to stand for something she believes in?
Or, stand firm for something that she doesn’t?
Will she stand up for God?  In a world that is running from Him, will I have taught her that all she needs is to run TO Him?

She will walk into unchartered territory.
Run into challenges.
Walk away from bad choices.
And stand on her values.

Does she have everything that she needs? 
Does she have her feet on solid ground? 
Set on a good foundation? 

ABSOLUTELY!!

I can teach her things along the way.  Give my advice.  Share what I have learned.  Provide her with what I think will help her. 

But she needs to place her feet in the richness of God’s soil.  Place her faith & feet on His path.  And walk through the journey He has set for her. 
Her path may not always be clear.  It may be treacherous along the way.  She will get off course.  Lose direction.  Become lost & want to turn back. 
But no matter what, if I have done anything right in her life, she will know without a doubt that if her gait is steady, that her feet will lead her straight to Him & that is truly all that matters.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Defining Moments


We all have them.
Definitions for who we are. 
What we are.
Some definitions even could describe why we ARE how we Are.

Definition: mother, business owner, father, brother, daughter, CEO, Doctor, Missionary, gardener. 

Or maybe we’re defined as:  critic, teacher, Christian, broken, mean, smart, comical.

In an instant….a moment.  Circumstances….decisions…..life…..gives us an opportunity to add to the list or even, under extraordinary events, take away from it.

 On MY list of definitions, I AM a widow.    Added to my list when I was only 30.  And with that,  it wiped a lot of my other definitions off my slate, as well.  I WASN'T a wife anymore.   I WASN'T a caretaker, a nurse, a cook, a housekeeper.

 I WAS a WIDOW.

 And now, I had to check THAT box when defining myself on an application or a 'new patient' information form.  And at that point, I realized what it meant to have a 'Defining Moment'.

      Those moments that
           change
                your
                   definition. 

The REAL moments that define who you are.  And now that I'm married again, I wonder...am I STILL a widow?  And what box do I check?  Should I check both?  Because I was....and I AM.  Widowed AND Married.

 Sometimes....the definition                                      is what we make it.

How do you define yourself?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A lesson in everything

It was 2:30 this morning & we were awoken by the sounds of Noah getting sick.  It scared him.  Rightly so.  And so he began to scream & cry. 


And with that came the awakening of our daughter who heard him.  And then it scared her. 
And SHE began to 
                 scream & cry.
 So on our way to be there for the one that really needed attention at the moment, I had to stop & settle her down.  Telling her that I would be back.  To not be upset.  That I just needed to go take care of him first because he really needed me.  And quite frankly, there wasn’t anything wrong with her.  She didn’t need to be the focus at that moment.


 She needed me to come & comfort her. 
She needed me immediately.  In her time.  Not anyone else’s. 
And she didn’t care that there might be something more important going on at that moment. 
Not because she wasn’t important.  
Not because I didn’t love her with all of my heart.  
And not because I didn’t want to help her.  
                                          Someone else needed me more right then.
 I wanted to hold her. 
I didn’t want her to be sad or scared.
I wanted her to feel safe.
                                     And it was then that God revealed that I do the same thing to Him. 
In my mundane prayers for daily blessing, in my trivial pursuits of all things good. 
I seek Him & ask & cry.   
Sometimes I even scream & want to be comforted AND I want those things immediately.  In ‘my’ time….not His. 
And He listens ALWAYS.  He loves me more than I can imagine or even deserve.  But sometimes, there are more important things going on. 


So, as I did with Hailey, He does with me.  He tells me that He loves me & that He needs to care for something else at the moment, but that He will be back.  And then, like she did, I rest & wait & am still so that when He does come, I know I am His alone.


I know He is always present.  And that He never leaves me.  But there are times, when some of my prayers….several of my requests & much of my tempered screaming…really can be set aside for a moment so that the focus can be put on someone else that isn’t in that ‘All About Me’ mode like I am sometimes in when it comes to my prayer life.


All of us finally stopped screaming & crying.  And we all became still again.  For the moment.  And got the rest that we needed in the time that we needed it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's What You DON'T Do....

It was Arbor Day in 1975.

With shovel in hand, my dad & I planted what would end up being the only thing that would ever take root & grow in our relationship.

And over the next few years, I watched that tree, rooted in rich soil….continue to grow from just barely a seedling into something worthy of respect.

Strong.
Sturdy.
Sustainable. 

It was one of the only things that I ever saw that reaped reward from my father’s hands.

He was committed to everything but the one thing that he should have been. 
    Other relationships.
           Work.
               Alcohol.
                   Himself.

It’s not that he didn’t love me.  He loved me with the heart he had allowed himself to have.  He gave as much love to me as he knew how to give.  This reasoning allows me forgiveness!

He was the dad that he THOUGHT he needed to be.  And if you asked him today, he would tell you that he did what he thought was right. 

He thought it would be ok to, without discussion, give my dog away when I was 7.
He thought it would be a good idea to give more attention to his ‘step’ daughter than to me because he lived with her full time.
He thought it was a good idea to step away from our relationship when I was 12 and not be heard from again until I was 16.

He was financially responsible.  That, I am grateful for, on many levels.  He at least extended the courtesy of his financial blessings until I was out of college.   

And he finally did show up!  But only for a fleeting moment to watch me graduate.  To see what he had ‘accomplished’ with his money.  To celebrate HIS achievement.

He published his first book when I was in middle school.  It was a history book on Shenandoah County in Virginia.  Nothing that would win him the Pulitzer Prize but it was a big accomplishment nonetheless. 

The first thing I did when he gave me a copy was look inside the front cover to see who he dedicated his book to.  And there it was, right there in plain view, a short note to me that was typed on a sticky label, covering up who he really dedicated it to. 

I will never forget that. 

Our relationship wasn’t even worthy enough for permanent ink.  The irony, is that it never was.  We were never meant to endure a lifetime together. 

It was in these moments that I finally learned that people are watching what you do so much more closely than you think.  And then there are those times, when what you DON’T do, makes the statement!

I never found out who he dedicated the book to.   It really doesn’t matter.  The point is, it wasn’t to me.

I’m not sure what ever happened to that tree on his property that we planted.  I’m sure it’s still there.  Being taken care of by someone else.  Providing a beautiful & tranquil setting for others to take pleasure in.

I’m not sure what happened to my father either.  Time has allowed for that void to be filled 20 times over.  My mom’s love, friendship, marriage, my children, a great step-dad, my faith, countless happy memories ….LOVE has come along to bridge the gap & allow me the beauty of retrospective redemption.


Have you ever NOT done something that you wish you had?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Unexpected Delay

This is not the post I intended to write today….but life got in the middle of things & here you have it.

It was an average day today until I got the news that our friend’s dog was hit by a car the other night & they had to make the incredibly painful choice to put him to sleep.  And as in all loss, my memory retreated to the last time I saw him.   I had just walked him a week ago.  He was just here.  I had just petted him & loved him & he was HERE! 

For some of you reading, you may not be dog lovers.  Not be the animal type on any level.  Not understand why it even brings me to tears while I write this.  But if you know me, you know that I LOVE animals.  And I love our friends!

To them, he was a part of their family.  He was present.  And sweet.  And goofy.  He was protection.  And love. 
He was comfort.

To their teenage kids, whom we adore, he was their companion.  For almost as long as they can remember he has been there when they got home.  Waited for them at the bottom of the stairs anticipating a pat on the head when they run out the door to another swim practice.  And even though they have other things to do on a Saturday night….and their teen ‘responsibilities’ get in the way, he was, in essence, more loved then most.  He was their friend.

In the rawness of the event, I didn’t get much detail.  Words didn’t come very easily.  Which, right now, is fine.  Because honestly, words weren’t coming easily for me either.  My heart breaks for them.  I feel their loss.  I understand their pain.  I know the silence their house has right now while trying to adjust.  And all I can do is pray that the pain will fade & that memories of him will be made beautiful for the time they were blessed to have him.

So thank you, Osso Solis, for allowing me the privilege of being in your presence, even for a short time.  For allowing simple abundance flow through your little puppy dog heart.  A long walk on any given day.  An afternoon nap on the back porch where sunshine engulfed your shiny black coat.  A crisp slab of bacon illegally provided to you by a loving hand under the breakfast table.  Simple love... from those that loved you SO much.


Please pray for peace for our friends right now as their hearts mend.

  

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Work In Progress


The laundry basket always seems to be placed about a foot farther away then he needs it to be.  His socks & boxers fall victim to his bad aim. 

And, I think he actually takes pride in seeing how much junk he can have in his car at any given moment.  The fact that there is still a Goodwill donation in a bag from 6 months ago may give you a better idea.

He chews his nails. 
Eats things in twos.  2 Hershey kisses.  4 grapes.  6 potato chips.

But he’s mine.  And I love him.  Some days I feel like I HAVE TO because the commitment was made after all.  And well…in my opinion….there isn’t any going back & changing it.

More times then not though it’s because I WANT TO

He sees every good thing in me even when I don’t.
He makes my coffee every morning.  Does the dishes.  Helps with laundry.  Brings me toast & blueberry tea when I don’t feel good.

He will go out of his way to serve me.  To make me happy. 

I love him because he LET’S me!  He made a choice.  And he knew what he was getting into even.  (that’s the miracle of this whole thing)

He’s not perfect by any stretch.  But neither am I.  He makes me angry on occasion.  Doesn’t do what I’ve asked.  Says things that have hurt my feelings.  But then when did I become the example for what ‘perfection’ is? 

He talks to me.  He tells me how he feels.  We actually COMMUNICATE!  We figure out how to raise our kids together.  We plan our finances together.  And when he hugs me, I feel safer than I could have ever imagined.  This man would do ANYTHING for me!

And I am SO INCREDIBLY LUCKY!!

He is the kind of man I want our daughter to marry.  He is strong but gentle.  Playful but firm.  And obviously has an incredible tolerance for things that require high-maintenance.  (there!!!.....I said it…..I could potentially be HM)

And he IS without any doubt, one of the best dads in the entire world.  He is present & involved.  Strict but loving.  He loves all three of our children with more heart then I think he even knew he had. 

We are ALL better because of the man that he is.






Friday, January 15, 2010

Seasonal Challenges


This time of year tests me!
You would think after living in the Colorado climate for well…..MOST of my life, I would get acclimated.

But I can’t.
I won’t allow myself.

I don’t ski.
I don’t like being cold.
I don’t like being forced inside to wait out a snowstorm, frigid temperatures & and slushy slippery roads.

My face is round so even an adorable ski cap doesn’t do me many favors.  And my feet look much cuter in a pair of flip-flops then they do in my Uggs.  (although I do LOVE my Uggs!)

We have lots of sunshine!!  That’s a saving grace. 
But I require more.  I need more.

Like that kind of sunshine that embraces my entire being.  That warms me to my core.  That wraps itself around me & let’s me know it’s in it for the long haul!  I become desperate for fresh air.  To open the windows & let those ‘warm weather’ smells inside. 

The freshly mowed grass.  The smell of a really good burger cooking on someone’s grill. 

I need color.
It’s gorgeous here in the summer but this time of year, in my opinion, leaves a lot to be desired.
I want my green grass back.  To look out the front door & see the 20,000+ leaves that consume our ash tree.  I love that tree! 
I want flowers.  To have my daisies & tulips back.
And the cherry blossoms!  They reveal such a beauty in the renewing of spring.  Even for that fleeting moment.  Beauty starts to be restored.

The days are getting longer now.  THAT…..I am always a fan of. 
The sun fades a little later every single day.  Even if only to give us 2 more minutes of light…..I take it!!

So today, I’ll just put my ‘happy’ pants on.  (That’s what I call my flannel jammies) & take a nap.  And then maybe later I’ll go on a hunt for a pink flamingo for my yard just to make myself feel better.

What season is your favorite & WHY??



Thursday, January 14, 2010

life-less living






Life-less Living

I was completely alone with my 3 kids the other day.
For the first time in 5 months, without anyone else.  No grandma to carry one.  No babysitter to help watch one while the other two are going in different directions.  No daddy to help keep the peace.


And we had….SO….MUCH….FUN!


We drove out of town to a children’s museum.
They played.
I watched.
They explored….anything they could.
I ignored….everything that didn’t put my focus on them.
No cell phone.  No computer.  No friends to talk to.  No interruption.
Just them…..and me.  Together!


And I realize….


I am at fault!
……for letting LIFE get in the way of my living.


The kind of living that allows me to be ‘in the moment’ and with such splendid company I must say.


                                     Phones ring, computers crash, laundry beckons, emails require answering.
And I don’t live in the moment but in the menusha of errands, chores, diapers, mommy duties…..
and the living…..
The true joy of being….in the moment….loving what you’re doing & who you are with….the making a memory….gets lost.


So I found it!  Today.  LIFE!!!
With 3 little people that make my heart happy.
Just in the watching.
Seeing them explore.  Feel.  Touch.  Learn.
And remembering that these times WILL pass by quicker than I really want them to.


So with each breath….I will live.  And the LIFE that comes with that….will, if I’m lucky, take my breath away.

                            When was the last time you had a moment like that?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Better than He found me



I am going to be raw.
I am going to be transparent.
Not always pretty but real….and in the case of authenticity…well, I’m fully engaged.

I never had the teary-eyed meeting with my first child.
It was certainly not a moment meant for Hollywood.
No ‘I’ve never felt anything more lovely’ moment.

I didn’t cry.  I’m not really sure what I felt….except for overwhelmed.
Out of control.
In pain.
Both physically AND spiritually.
Drowning under a sea of guilt for not falling in love the moment she was placed in my arms for the first time.

And that feeling didn’t go away when I carried her across the threshold either.
As sweet as could be…..
As only God could make her….
The minute I brought her home….
I still wasn’t feeling it.
Wondering where it was.
When it would show up.
IF
               it would ever show up.

And it never came.

As much as I wanted it….it never came.

She cried.
I cried.

She slept.
I cried.

She ate.
I cried.

She pooped.
I cried.


I didn’t like her.
I didn’t know what to do with her.
                     I didn’t know what to do with me!
I prayed.
Nothing happened.
I cried.
More tears came.
I wished time away.
And instead, time stopped.

And then something happened.

I realized that in that….
In the surrendering….
The letting go…
That I was becoming the person that I really needed to be.

That instead of standing on my own strength,
That I needed to get on my knees for it!
Ask the Highest Power for His power!

The light came & with it, was grace.
Strength was provided.  And with it, came courage.
I came to Him with nothing and in exchange, was given everything.

Chains of anxiety & fear where cut away.
Instead of walking in darkness & thick fog, everything was now clear & I could finally see.

She was special.
She was all things worth celebrating.
Then passion flooded.  For all that I knew she could be.  For all that I prayed she would be.  And my heart was overwhelmed.  Only this time-with LOVE.

Priorities were shifted.
Resilience was provided.
Tenderness was unleashed.

With a new independence I pursued dependence on God.
And He made me aware that obstacles are opportunities if we just change the direction of our focus.
In the presence of fear & floundering, I found the presence of joy & radiance.

She became, to my heart, all things magical & miraculous.
And then I fell in love.
Heart changed forever.
And now I listen to her laughter.  I watch her as she dances.  I relish in the quiet moments when her hand is holding mine.  As she sings her sweet songs with the most angelic voice, my heart gives way.

And In Love…
 I thank God.

For giving me the gift.
For helping me see things differently.
For knitting my unraveling heart back together.
For not leaving me where I stood.
For allowing me to become so much better than He found me.


In what way have you started to really live life?