Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

I Guess I’m Doing this…

Before we begin, I want to make some ground rules. Well, maybe just ONE ground rule. The ground rule is, we have to remember we’re all here voluntarily. I mean, here, as in here reading this blog.

A thought that keeps me awake at night is ways to not make people feel worse. I have silently urged enough people on line to shut their pie holes to know blogging about house projects could be just what it takes to annoy a gal back to bed. I really do not want to do that to my friends, to strangers or even the person I wanted to shut their pie hole. We need things that help right now, so I want us all to move towards those things, please.

I needed to say this so you know my intent and what’s going to go on here so you could steer clear if that’s better for you. I want you to do that for yourself, and I promise I take no offense. Or, if reading about house projects for the purpose of telling someone to shut their pie hole brings you joy, stay. You have my blessing with that too.

We’re all just trying to figure out the most meaningful way to exist right now, and I’m doing this: trying to give life to things that need it…and, I guess now I’m writing about it too. For 30 years I have committed an obscene amount of my waking hours to sitting in gyms…watching people coach wrestling, watching kids wrestle and/or playing club volleyball. I had no idea how much of that I did until there wasn’t any of it to do.

On top of not having my 2nd full time job as a sports fan, I also find myself with a calendar free of extra work commitments/networking/conferences and what I had of a social life (okay, fine, I didn’t really have one of those, but I always meant to.) It is all gone. Oh, and let’s not forget I am working a little from home, so we can take out the hours of getting ready and commuting each week. Oh, and church is still on line. That is a couple more hours in drive and getting ready time I now own.

I’m not sure about you, but one of my favorite lines pre-pandemic used to be, “We’re doing good, just really busy.” I’ve tried that line out once recently, because, I mean, honestly, we’re still moving all day until we crash, but I need new words, as my old line feels a bit insincere. What are you busy with, Miki? You’re busy with made up tasks that absolutely no one will know about or cares about you getting done. It’s super hectic.

Here is what we’ve been doing this week. Scott has always had this joke about how our home feels more like a tree fort than a home. Some times we don’t feel like actual grown ups. Like, when we have company and have to pull out folding chairs with paint splatters on them. One of my projects was to paint our beat up dining room chairs black, and to add a couple more wood chairs to the mix.

Now, here is the fun part. I was negotiating with two people on FB market place and going to buy their old dining room chairs. Then, one morning on my way to work there were two old dining room chairs sitting by someone’s garbage, ready to be hauled away by the garbage truck. Did you even think for a minute I wouldn’t save those chairs’ lives? That was fun. I felt very nervous about taking someone’s garbage. That is a new thing for me, and you’re probably going to tell me it’s illegal. But, I won’t lie. I’d do it again. It was a rush.

If ladies on Youtube talking about home decor are to be trusted, then it is okay to have mismatched dining room chairs, in fact, they really seem to like this. So, that’s what we’ve got.

We kind of love this big fat monster of a chair. It weighs a lot. I was having flashbacks to the 80’s and could see it in its original glory, living perfectly in some dark paneled country tavern somewhere in Wisconsin.

Next thing up is a quick shout out to a vase. Olivia and I went to St. Vinnies and saw this cool vase that needed nothing. I paired it with the branches that fell off our neighbor’s pine tree and it looks like Christmas. I’m very happy with this find, especially sitting on our “new” table with a full set of chairs around it.

The last thing before I go is a hallway. I am going to be more strategic about taking before pictures if I keep doing this, I promise. I wish you could have seen the hallway before. It was orange. I don’t know. It was a mood I was in one day. I’m sorry. The orange was dark and paired with our 19-year-old carpet, the whole thing screamed, “These people have never kept a job.”

We had the carpeting installed when we first moved in to our house. I remember well these two young guys who installed it. They were not having their best day. One of them kept stopping to smoke and to tell me about his marriage problems. The carpet was loose from the start and ripped, eventually. Let’s just say it we’ve seen finer craftsmanship.

Here are pictures of the carpet, and I’m ashamed to show you what was under it. We had the makings of a sandbox below the carpet. These photos are not for the faint of heart. Prepare yourself. I guess we’re just rolling around in filth over here.

We painted the hall way white, laid peel and stick vinyl plank tiles and Scott installed a more modern light (sorry, we did buy the light). I finished the hallway off with a nod to the color that I love (but maybe don’t need to cover entire walls in) with a print I ordered off Etsy for $6 and had printed at Walgreens in a frame we already had.

I figured out something important when I was doing this floor. I told Olivia and Scott that these kinds of projects are not really for the perfectionists in the family. You can’t get bogged down in details like, I have no skills for this. These projects take a mindset that allows to jump into a project you have no business feeling confident you can complete. That is more my specialty around here. I’m not afraid to ruin anything and I have piles of failed attempts to prove it.

Here’s a picture of my business partner enjoying our new hallway. We’re just gonna keep walking up and down this thing and enjoying our handiwork.

That’s it for now. I’m going to try to take a little break and focus on some other things. Or, I’m going to try to do that, I should say. I find this difficult to do. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep me posted on what you’re doing and if you have a hectic made up schedule too. These things interest me.

The Valley

I blame Olivia. She started it. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point in the last 18 months feeling responsible for the Earth seeped into Olivia’s bones. Now, it’s who she is.

I wouldn’t say sustainability is a new idea, or college made her do it. The Great Depression created a generation of “waste not want notters”, didn’t it? Olivia’s grandparents (Scott’s Mom and Dad) are like the OG of sustainability, honestly. Those two never met a button or a shoe lace they couldn’t imagine another use for.

I think the first thing that started all the other things was Olivia’s idea to refinish her Great Grandma’s desk. This idea turned into painting the hallway, bathroom, bedroom, living room, Olivia’s room, dining room, refinishing the dining room table, rehabbing chairs, reconfiguring the family room, rehabbing a chest of drawers, getting rid of the piano…and, honestly, the real list is twice, maybe three times as long what I mentioned here, but you’ve had enough.

Once the ball started rolling, we saw it was going down hill. That ball is enormous. We’re currently chasing it.

Olivia and I have had a lot of time to talk during these projects. We’re discovering some fundamental wisdom buried here. I told Olivia, I needed to take a minute to blog; there’s some kind of revelation swirling; I had to sit for a few, find my words to break it down.

These are sad days for some of us. I mean, just ask our two new best friends: Lonely and Hopeless. They’ll tell you. People are just sad. I don’t have a remedy or a cure. I am so sorry. The only thing I have to offer is an ability to commiserate and a tinge of self discovery…just in case it helps.

I have discovered the best way to pass through the valley is to be curiously engaged….ideally, engaged with something meaningful. We stumbled upon taking things that we have or things other people already own and seeing their potential. We are taking great satisfaction in bringing sad and tired things back to life. Frankly, I’m waiting for a thank you note from the landfill.

The joy we experience and the level of interest we have in creating a calm and comfortable atmosphere keeps us engaged in something meaningful, and that is a GREAT way to get through a rough time.

There’s so much more to say about this, but I’ve got more sanding and staining to do. I pray my friends and family and people I don’t know stay curious and stumble upon a thing that is meaningful and keeps them engaged. It helps.

Now, here are some before and afters. But, I need to say a couple of things first. Number one, I did not try to make our living room look as bad as possible. The deal is, I didn’t think to take a picture until the process was already under way. And, honestly, when you’re rehabbing every corner of your home, this is how things look. It’s not for everyone. Things get WAY worse before they get better. Sometimes it feels disgusting.

Number two, I want to explain our living room/office combo. Scott has been teaching for almost 30 years. He has a ton of education and he’s as serious as a heart attack about his professional life. For all these years, Scott has been using weird corners of the house and/or the dining room table as his “office” when he plans, corrects and takes classes himself. Not only is this not MY favorite thing (oh, so many piles of papers), I told Scott I think he deserves to have a space. I mean, especially THIS year. Trust me when I tell you, he and all the other teachers have earned it.

We turned this weird front room we rarely use into his office and a small seating area. It works.

Okay, here you go. First up, I’m showing you the dining room table. Holy Mother of Pearl. Honest to goodness, I told my family I’d have this table done in a week. It took a month. I cried over this table. Refinishing furniture seems easy…to anyone who has not refinished furniture.

I did this thing and then had to redo this thing. I can’t even explain, but I’ll just keep it short and tell you that temperature matters. I’ll leave it at that. We had several neighbors stop by and ask what on God’s Green Earth was I working on for so long. I almost gave up, but glad I didn’t. It is so far from perfect, but I’m telling you, this one thing was a complete college course on what to do and mostly what NOT to do when refinishing a piece of furniture. It was brutal.

So, that’s the table. Here is a little before and after of our front room turned Scott’s office seating area.

Here is our entry way before and after…sorry, not the same shot. I wasn’t thinking about before and after photos when we started. This is all I’ve got.

And finally…I don’t have before and afters of the dining room…just the afters. All of this is subject to change as we learn new things, but here is where we’re at right now:

Thanks for coming over. I hope it won’t be too long before I can invite you inside and we can have a good talk. We all need that right now.

The Mountains Crumble

Yesterday I did some organizing. In the face of intense sadness and disappointment, I desired to reorder my thoughts. I needed practical strategies for absorbing difficulty that would yield wisdom and strength as opposed to bitterness and self pity.

One thing on my list of strategies is being creative, using my imagination and creating things. I’ve been writing a lot.

This week. Eddie, and many other NCAA athletes, were standing at the threshold of the summit of their life’s work; without warning, the athletes were shoved from behind and off the mountain. It was a shock. There are many wounded.

The NCAA Division 3 wrestlers had weighed in at the National tournament; many were in the arena warming up a bit when they heard the announcement over the loudspeaker that the National tournament was canceled. There would be no opportunity to fight for the title, individually or as a team. I read one Coach’s account stating he heard the announcement and watched wrestlers who instantly fell to their knees and started crying.

I know what some people might think. I know what I would think…if I wasn’t intimately acquainted with the world of wrestling and college sports. I would think that this is not a tragedy. This is not death. This is not poverty. This is not the mistreatment of people or pets. This is a group of people not getting to do what they want. I understand why anyone would think that. I don’t blame them; I am not interested in changing minds. I AM interested in commiserating with the rest of us who DO understand. The ones who know what was lost.

Eddie was in kindergarten when he started planning his college wrestling career. Instead of cartoons, Eddie would come home from school and put Scott’s VHS tapes into the VCR and watch old Iowa Hawkey duals. Eddie grew his hair into a mullet in an attempt to look like 80’s Hawkey legend, Lincoln Mckllravy. We explained to people who asked about Eddie’s hair that he wanted to look like Lincoln Mccllravy. Then they would ask…who is Lincoln Mccllravy?

Exactly. Eddie was weird.

In 2nd grade, Eddie recruited several of his best buddies to wrestle with him in college. By that time, Eddie was somewhat open to other programs. He asked his friends what colleges they preferred. His buddies said Eddie could decide, since they didn’t wrestle or know what college really was.

eddie kindergarten wrestling

By the time Eddie was in middle school, he was years into a serious, mysterious illness and the weight of it was wearing on him. One day, he received a note in the mail from legendary Hawkeye coach and Olympian, Dan Gable.  Gable told Eddie he was glad to hear Eddie was getting his illness out of the way when he was younger, because the best days were yet to come. Along with the note was an Iowa Hawkeye T-shirt signed by all the Hawkeyes, including one of Eddie’s favorite wrestlers, Brent Metcalf. We framed all these things and hung them in Eddie’s room.

In high school, Eddie’s illness remained a mystery. His good days were spotty, but his resolve was not. Eddie’s wrestling dreams kept him moving and working. His enthusiasm was contagious and he fought hard beside his Dad,brother and many other good people to help build a great team and a great program.

During those years, my wrestling mom friends became accustomed to my panic texts. I  was sorry to tell them that there was no WAY Eddie was going to bounce back from this latest flare up this week. I needed to tell them that it would take a miracle for Eddie to compete. In the earlier years, my friends believed me. I mean, I really THOUGHT I was telling the truth. In later years, my friends responded by telling me Eddie would compete. Eddie always willed himself to the gym and on to the mat. He was always ready. It was a miracle every time.

Eddie's warrior face

Eddie’s matches in high school were stopped and started. During nearly every match he needed a moment in the corner to be sick before he’d run back on the mat and continue the action. By his senior year, there was not a teammate, parent or fan who was surprised by this. Sometimes Eddie got heckled for it. I didn’t care much for that.  It was the price Eddie paid to be able to wrestle, and he was willing to pay it.

As a senior, Eddie spent a lot of time planning where he would wrestle next. Not IF he would wrestle, WHERE he would wrestle. Eddie had probably missed more than half of his years of schooling over the years, and the result was damaging. We assured Eddie we knew him better than anyone and we knew that he was intelligent and academically capable. He didn’t believe us. What he DID believe was that he was born to wrestle, and that belief carried him to Loras College.

Eddie dislocated his elbow wrestling in the spring of his senior year. I remember the Doctor asked Eddie what he was going to do in college. The doctor should have been more specific, because Eddie answered that he was going to college to wrestle. To which the doctor gave the appropriate response, letting Eddie know there was more to life than wrestling, and that Eddie needed to decide what he was going to STUDY and do with his life AFTER wrestling.

I resisted the urge to offer a disclaimer. Letting the Doctor know that wrestling was propelling Eddie through what had so far turned out to be a life lived in dangerous waters. So, in this specific instance, the Doctor could save his speech. If wrestling was the thing that helped Eddie see a future, as far as we were concerned, he could major in it.

Magical things happened for Eddie in college. The future he envisioned when he was five played out in real time as we watched him become stronger and work harder. That child sized warrior heart was adult sized now, and Eddie found a team, coaches and a community who also had warrior hearts, and they thrived. Eddie had never been happier than when working beside these people to build this thing. It was beautiful.

 

 

 

eddie blog 3

Another magical thing happened on this journey. Eddie stumbled across the knowledge that he was in FACT a capable student and he did in FACT enjoy learning, and did inDEED see a purpose for his life the extended beyond wrestling. There wasn’t a doctor or a parental lecture on Earth that could have made Eddie believe this. God knew he made a guy like Eddie to find this treasure on his own. I knew God heard our whispered prayers.

The pursuit of a thing is an incredible force of energy.  When in pursuit, there is no inventory being kept on personal sacrifices,  sweat, blood and tears. If anyone was keeping track of what these athletes spent, it would look like an impossible equation.

You’re going to do all THAT for THIS? Yes. Yes, we will do all that, and we will do more. We do whatever it takes.

There is no sense to it.  Scott and I were watching the Big Ten wrestling tournament last week. The broadcasters did a funny thing during the finals matches. The camera panned to the parents of the wrestlers while their sons were wrestling. This made us laugh. Most of these parents looked like they were locked in silent misery.  I’ve never witnessed anything I understood more. Watching your warrior in pursuit of his goal is interesting mix of joy, pride and just the most intense, indescribable agony.

The National tournament was the final battle. The battleground for the epic clash to capture the crown; the reason for everything. The pursuit of this thing at this tournament was the energy force pushing these kids through pain and suffering and over and around what to others would have looked like insurmountable obstacles.  Most of these kids had spent a lifetime preparing for this exact moment.

Then, it evaporated.

Eddie said the pain is intense. He compared it to when someone he loved died. He said you hear the news and you can’t make sense of it. It is inconceivable. You want to escape, or go back to the moment before you heard it, but you can’t. You’re stuck knowing and the pain doesn’t go away.

The parental handbook is missing a chapter on this. There are no adequate pep talks or Youtube tutorials with advice sufficient for the moment. So, you cry along with your kid and feel the pain of it. Just like when you’re watching them wrestle.

I laid in bed after we heard the news and prayed for help. I got up the next morning, took a walk and started writing it out. I put together a fairly comprehensive game plan with categorized lists. At the top of the page was the title, “How to Move Forward”. I thought this might be the best way to honor everyone’s effort and their lost opportunity. This was the only way I could think of to help Eddie. If I could figure out a way to move through my sadness, maybe he could too.

Thoroughly considered, but in the end not included on my list, was opening a bottle of gin. Well, maybe I opened it and poured a glass. But, then I put it away.

The easiest solution honestly seems to be at the bottom of a bottle. It works okay for a while, but it is an ineffective long term strategy. It feels like the perfect escape. Except, eventually, you have to get sober, only to find out you did not actually escape, because there really is no escape. Or, maybe you don’t ever get sober, and then, well, this crushing disappointment you’re feeling is going to be the beginning of many. Life is just hard like that.

I won’t get into my detailed lists for survival, but I will share a few highlights. In addition to expressing myself creatively, volunteering, meditating and connecting with family and friends, I fell back to my roots: faith.

Faith has been my fuel and my bedrock in life so far. It won’t fail me now. I hear the words of one of my favorite hymns:

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.

If you’re a protestant of the 80’s, you’re hearing the melody. I didn’t know as a little girl how true these words would feel to me as an adult.

Our Pastor recently pointed out how we turn to the Bible for comfort, but comfort isn’t always found:

Isaiah 40:7

The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass.

Not comforting. Or, maybe it is. Maybe there is some comfort in knowing  the context of my life on this Earth and in this universe.  I am small. To be reminded that my perception of strength and control has always been an illusion is useful knowledge.

Maybe shock and pain are earthly reminders of ancient wisdom that this isn’t all there is. This isn’t the beginning or the end. This is a moment to embrace, to feel and to learn from and grow from and to use to connect and help the people around me right now and in the future.

This morning, our Pastor shared this popular passage:

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. And so we need not fear even if the world blows up and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam; let the mountains tremble!

There is a river of joy flowing through the city of our God—the sacred home of the God above all gods. God himself is living in that city; therefore it stands unmoved despite the turmoil everywhere. He will not delay his help. The nations rant and rave in anger—but when God speaks, the earth melts in submission and kingdoms totter into ruin.

The Commander of the armies of heaven is here among us. He, the God of Jacob, has come to rescue us.

Come, see the glorious things that our God does, how he brings ruin upon the world and causes wars to end throughout the earth, breaking and burning every weapon. 10 “Stand silent! Know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation in the world!”

I believe it.

In life, mountains DO give way. God told me they would.  It’s right there in the ancient scriptures. We’re thrown from the mountains and sometimes pushed from behind. Whether we are suffering excruciating disappointment or paralyzing fear, God knows. He warned us and He promises to be our my strength and refuge.

I asked God for help, and this is how He helps. He has given me the space and time to discover what I already knew and to reconnect with what is true, giving me strength and providing a refuge. This is not a sermon or a lecture or a pep talk. I don’t actually know how to make things better.

I pray for everyone  at this moment in time who experiencing sadness, crushing disappointment or paralyzing fear. There are no easy tips or tricks to pick you up and set you easily on your way. What we are experiencing will change us, and I  will just keep hoping and praying that change will be good.

eddiee blog 1

 

 

This week, words have been percolating. I welcome the words, but I have not invited them. It has been a while.

I was not born with any innate artistic talent. I can’t draw, paint, sing or mime – dang it. That last one really burns. I like words. I have always wondered if my relationship with words is similar to what musicians and painters experience when they create art…And, please, I am referring to AMATEUR  musicians and painters. Hear me on that point.

You’re standing there stirring soup on the stove when without warning a collection of words demands your attention. For the next few days or weeks, the collection of words becomes a stream of consciousness on a specific subject until there are enough words and ideas on the subject that you’re compelled to capture them. You NEED to write them down. You don’t have a choice.

Writing the words down (and I’m sorry to be so dramatic here) is transcendent. You know what I mean? Transcendent…as in a process by which time passes and you are unaware. Meals go by, basic needs ignored, and you just keep writing. You write until you’re done and all the words are out, and then you can move on with your life.

I have had a few years of mostly uninspired nothingness. I welcome these new words and wanted to take a minute to marvel at how the system works.

My stream of consciousness in the last few weeks pertains to me and my life and what’s happening with me. My inner narcissist wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am sorry. I am just not good at reflecting on stages of life that I am not currently experiencing. I’d be faking it if I tried, and you for SURE would know it, because I know you, and you’re on to that.

I wanted to hash over the empty nest with you. This sad nest analogy has me thinking. There’s been much to do over the empty nest in recent years, hasn’t there? Mostly, I got the idea from everywhere that this lonely nest was something to dread; when it happened, you were expected to cry about it.

Do you remember that video on Facebook a few years ago? It was a montage of video clips set to sad music showing the sweet babe in a pink tutu growing through life and ending with what I think was was supposed to be your saggy ol’ gray/bald self walking her down the aisle and out of your sad and lonely life. If you didn’t fall in a heap and weep after watching this video, you’re a better woman than me.

I have been thinking these last few weeks that the empty nest is NOT actually what I expected. I don’t feel very sad.

There is a CHANCE that some wise women I know and love may have mentioned this to me over the years;  I think my stance on ignoring good advice that doesn’t pertain to my immediate situation prevented me from hearing. Humans do this.

The other day, a young mom, with much sympathy, asked me how it was going with the empty nest. I just threw a couple of sentences out there about how it was okay and I found some joy in the freedom, to which she responded, “Oh, I know. I tell myself every day to enjoy the car pool and the mess, because some day these kids will be out of the house, and I will remember how moms like you told me to enjoy it now, because some day they’ll be gone and I’ll be so sad.”

I needed a minute to think. Did I say that? Or, did I say the opposite of that?

This mom is not to blame. I bet I did the same thing when older moms blathered on about their boring empty nests to me years ago. First of all, it didn’t pertain to me. And, second of all, it didn’t pertain to me.

CAN IT about your blessed freedom, lady. I got humans to keep alive.

Of course, I miss my kids. They’re my favorite companions. The other day, I watched this pod cast about your purpose. The guy talking asked the listeners to name their purpose for being alive. You were supposed to say the first thing that came to your mind. I didn’t need to think. My purpose came to the surface immediately….to love and support my family. I love my job, I love my friends, but I exist to support my family. I was born for it.

This isn’t really the right answer, by the way. But it was my honest one.

A lot of moms are like that.  I didn’t figure this out until we were allowed to ease off the gas pedal a bit, but the mothering thing is no joke, my friends. Mothering is a massive and constant expenditure of our physical, emotional and spiritual energy.  Moms don’t even know the extent of their effort during their peak years of mothering; I think it might be better that way. Protection from imploding.

The other day I was enjoying an unrushed walk with Reggie. I saw a Mom/friend I know  who has four kids. I didn’t make her stop to say “hi”, because I wouldn’t do that to a friend. She was in the parking lot outside of her work and appeared to be rifling through soccer uniforms and book bags. She was looking for something. Moms are always looking for something. There were 47 things running through her head she needed to get done before bed, but right now she just needed to find that shoe!

I was exhausted for her.

If you’ve read my blog for a long time, maybe you remember me telling you about having to give a new girlfriend of Eddie’s a ride in our minivan. I was embarrassed, so  I made a little joke about how I told her we were in the process of moving, and THAT is why our van was full of so many miscellaneous items, shoes and sticky water bottles.

That was our life.

This weekend, I opened up our trunk to throw some things in to take down to the kids at college. The trunk was empty. I mean it. Not a wrestling shoe or a volleyball or pair of yoga pants that I bought two years ago that I planned to return with the tags still on them. Nothing. The trunk was clean.

I  thought this is what sanity must feel like.

When we returned from visiting the kids at college we were tired. I pulled out my book. Scott started a fire. We chose our favorite couches. After a while, I suggested turning on “The Sopranos” – our latest binge. Scott started being all Scott and said maybe we were being a little lazy, and  he should try to run this loop he’s been running to improve his time.

I told him he ruins everything.

Scott is the type to believe if he is enjoying himself, then he obviously needs to work harder. I’m not the same type.

Listen, when I was on parental duty with an audience of offspring 24/7, I  always tried getting it right. You can’t tell your kids to not be lazy and then be lazy.  So, I pretended to not be lazy. It was all an act.

I told Scott, for the love of all things holy, we’ve earned this. This. This laying around and watching stuff you want to watch and eating nachos for supper is what we have been working so hard for all these years. Don’t take this from me.

Can’t you see?

I don’t need to go to parent teacher conferences or winter sports sign up. I can take a bath.

I don’t need to hide from the concession stand organizer or put on my snow suit to watch outdoor sporting events. I can have dinner with friends.

I don’t have to run to Walgreens to buy fingernail polish and a gift card for another kids’ birthday. I can call my Mom and Dad.

Tears.

There are so many perks on this side.  I appreciate them all. But, the relief of not having to exert 100 percent parental effort can only be enjoyed because we gave 100 percent effort. That’s the moral of the story, kids.  Keep grinding yourself into the ground, because in 22 years you can watch “The Sopranos”.

Wait…not helpful

What I’m trying to say is, if you don’t die of exhaustion now, you can take a minute to relax when you’re old.

Sorry. I know I can do better.

I know. I’ll make myself some tea, put my feet up and really think about it.

 

empty nest

 

 

 

 

 

Phases

 

 

Scott and I went on a short trip for our anniversary over the weekend. For years, my Dad has been telling Scott that married people with kids need to get AWAY from their kids now and then. Wow. Pretty harsh, Grandpa. I am sure you didn’t mean to imply you ever wanted to get away from me. I do know my sisters were a handful though. Scott and I always meant to follow Grandpa’s advice, but rarely have. We thought now that Scott is an official card carrying member of AARP and our kids are complete adults, we could possibly risk sliding away for a minute or two.

 

Scott and I never do anything without style. We celebrated our 26 Anniversary in Appleton, WI.

 

While Appleton may not be included in any 10 places to honeymoon lists, this trip could not have been more fun. Scott and I have a secret for having fun. Do you want to know our secret? It could change your life. Ready for it? Here it is: Don’t spend very much money.  I don’t mean don’t spend much money specifically on cars or vacations or houses or gadgets. I just mean don’t spend much money. Ever. On anything. THAT way, when you do buy something, like, say, a deck of cards at Target in Appleton, you feel really great and like that is a fun and special thing to really be happy about. That’s a true story. The cheap decks of cards were gone, and I just assumed that was that and we wouldn’t be playing “Kings on the Corner” in the hotel room after all. But then, Scott pulled out the fat wad of dolla bills and splurged on a two-pack for $10 with hardly a care in the world. I’m like, “Are you high, kid?”

 

He said, “High on life, maybe.”

In 26 years years of marriage our taste for fun and adventure has not evolved. I think I thought we would become more sophisticated. Maybe when we hit 45 we would go see art exhibits and try our hand at cricket or sailing.  We just don’t seem to be changing that fast.

 

In Appleton, we made full use of their top rate city and state parks. We played tennis and basketball. We hiked, swam, played cards (fancy kind), read and watched a John Candy movie. Oh, maybe we have matured. We did yoga and we mediated. Those two activities would not have made the cut 26 years ago. Then again, 26 years ago our skeletons and joints didn’t feel like brittle twigs buried in cement; playing games didn’t require 30 minutes of stretching first.

 

 

I honestly don’t know what we could have done to make the weekend better.

 

My interests have not evolved, but maybe I have…a little? Over our weekend, two fairly obscure moments struck me on a soul level. Moment one was in the Target parking lot. A family was walking out with their three-ish-year-old boy. The boy was carrying his own bag with a new truck in it. The boy was wearing tiny summer sandals and  he had a head of curly hair. The Mom asked the boy what he should say to his Dad. The boy said, “Thank you for the truck, Daddy.”

 

 

 

I teared up. And then I teared up a few more times throughout the day whenever I thought of that little boy.  I could tear up again over him if I allowed it. I don’t know why I “felt” this. Maybe because Eddie had curly hair and loved trucks and teaching manners is hard?

 

 

 

Moment two was at a church we visited. On our way out we saw an elderly lady with a cane sitting on a bench by the exit. I want to say she was dressed nicely, but now that I think of it, I don’t remember what she was wearing. I just remember her big smile which caused me to assume the rest. The lady was watching all the little children walking out of church with their parents. This little lady was smiling and laughing at all the cute things the kids were saying. She clearly found all of these children to be exceedingly clever and hilarious. If anyone passing by noticed this lady or acknowledged her, I didn’t see it (including me…except, in my mind. I was totally acknowledging her and I still am.) She didn’t seem concerned with being ignored. She was not trying to engage anyone. She was just observing, chuckling and wearing her big smile. She seemed pleasantly distracted by the beauty of these little lives walking by her and appeared to not want to miss any of it.

 

 

 

I know what you are thinking. I’m obviously going through some sappy new life phase over here. You’re right.  I’ve decided to embrace it, maybe even share a little of it (hence, hanging out with you here today. Thanks for listening.)

 

I wanted to pass this along: I think the culmination of the way we were made plus our life  experiences cause us to be moved by different things. Some people feel music and paintings. Other people have a moment in the presence of a child or a sweet elderly lady. I honestly think these kinds of stirrings are from another realm; a gift from God to unchain our thoughts from our daily “to do” lists so we can glimpse a bigger view.  I thank God for those high value moments that catch you and don’t cost a thing. And, I won’t be one bit surprised if in 40 years I want to sit by the exit at church and just marvel at the little people walking my way. I’d say if I’m still here then, you can count on it.

 

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No kids. No pictures. I took one. Here it is in all its glory.

 

Beginnings and Endings

God knows I am a broken record. I spice up our conversations with new material now and then.  But, most of the time, I default to what He has heard me say a million times before…my most fervent heart’s desire:

Part 1

Dear God,

Please help our kids recognize the gifts and abilities you’ve given them, and give our kids the desire and discipline to use and improve those gifts in a way that honors you.

Part 2

Dear God,

Please help the kids to know you speak in real time, and to be able to distinguish the sound of your voice.

That’s it. Those  are the two blessings I have asked God to lay on my kids for as long as I’ve been working the mother gig.  I heard one time that you’re not supposed to keep asking God for the same thing over and over, because He knows.  That has not stopped me.

The reason I ask God to give our kids some special help with hearing Him is because I have found this particularly difficult to do in my life. Scott and I are both very indecisive (for different reasons); coming to a concrete resolution on what manner in which we should proceed on any matter, large or small, is excruciating.  Ask our kids.  Figuring out where to go for lunch, or what yard game to play is always complicated.

Scott is burdened by his desire to make the EXACT. RIGHT. CHOICE.  One of his worst fears is regret.  I am burdened with something else.  I want EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. TO. APPROVE.     Wait. I take that back. Scott is also burdened with making the world happy. Poor guy.  He suffers a double whammy of decision making impairment.

I guess I am saying our only real trouble with making choices is that our choices must be PERFECT, and the choice must make everyone in the world happy.

How can we go wrong?

Let’s agree we have some issues.

I want our kids to have finely tuned God radar, because hearing is hard.  There is so much background noise.

I am one of those loons who believes God knows us.  Like, not just He is vaguely familiar, because He created us type of knowing either.  I think He actually participates in our lives.  He CAN direct our paths.  My belief should solve our decision making problems, shouldn’t it? If I know God is leading and I am following,  no second-guessing, hand wringing, or anxious thoughts are required.

When Scott and I made the decision to move to Sauk Prairie we were hardly confident in that decision.  This feels like it could be right.  Do you think it is right?  How do we know it’s right? I don’t know. Maybe it’s not right.

It was right.

Scott has made three big career decisions in our lives.  All three have been painful. The source of our pain was leaving something that made us happy.  It’s easy  to close the door and leave a place you don’t like. It’s scary to leave a place you love.  Very uncomfortable.

This summer, Scott and I started talking about what it would be like to have both our sons wrestling in college, and how we would feel about not being able to follow them and watch them wrestle.  Then, we talked about how Scott would feel about NOT being a head wrestling coach at Sauk Prairie anymore. Hmm.  Two bad choices.

At the end of the summer Scott was given the honor of inducting one of his former wrestlers into the Hall of Fame.  This young man was a Division 1 wrestler all through college, and is now a teacher and a coach himself.  His wife and children delighted me with their gentle, funny ways; it was plain this young man strives for (and achieves) excellence in every facet of his life.

Scott shared with his former wrestler a bit about our crossroads.  This young man asked Scott two questions, and shared one statement:

 

Question one:

Will your sons have more than one college wrestling career?

Answer: No

 

Question two:

Is it possible for you to be a head wrestling coach again?

Answer: Yes.

 

Statement:

I was a 22-year-old man wrestling in college and I NEVER grew out of my desire to have my parents watch me wrestle. It meant everything to me, and it would have felt like there was no point without them.

Sometimes you hear God’s still small voice coming out of the mouth of a young man you trust.  God used this young guy to give Scott some clarity. Once the wisdom of these words settled into Scott’s heart, he started to accept a new future.

Scott is stepping down as head coach of the Sauk Prairie Eagles after 14 of some of the most amazing and fun-filled years of our lives.   Our legs were shaky and our hearts raced at the beginning of this journey.  We had three little kids, and little confidence that we were capable of honoring God with what he had given us in this new place.

He carried us.

I have a montage of memories playing in my mind.  Memories of the faces we have grown to genuinely love and consider our family in the past years.   When Eddie was sick, our Sauk Prairie wrestling family covered us with their generosity and care.    Their love helped sustain me.

Many of the young men that Scott coached are still in our lives; we find ourselves cheering for them as they succeed in life.   They give us advice.

In my montage I see a little, stocky Eddie, his shadow, Zeke, and the pack of rascals the boys hung out with then, watching the big Varsity Boys wrestle.   I see these little guys  doing push ups after every varsity win.  Now I see these same boy faces on older, stronger bodies.  They’re wearing Varsity Eagle warm ups, and they are fighting together to win a Team State Title at the Field House.

Some of my dearest friendships were born in the bleachers as we all cheered for each others’ sons, while rooting for a common goal. I won’t get tired of replaying these memories.

The timing for Scott’s decision is right.  Not only because Scott wants to watch his sons wrestle.  We also can tell it is time to rest.

Do you know what happens to your body when you are…say, faced with an angry bear? Or, see a truck barreling down the road, aiming for your offspring?   There is a biological response that takes over called “Fight or Flight”.

When you see that bear,  adrenaline floods your nervous system, your pupils dilate, your heart rate increases,  you are temporarily  possessed with unique energy to improve your odds of survival.  You are hyper alert. You want to know the only thing you can NOT do in fight mode?  Sleep.  Or, relax.

Fight or flight mode is designed for rare occasions.  It is a back up plan meant for emergencies, it cannot be sustained as your default mode.

Scott does not possess the inner workings to exist as head coach in a state of Zen.  Scott’s been fighting a bear for 14 years.  He needs a nap.

I have always been a fan of introspection.  I want to know the hows and whys of things.  I feel like there is so much to learn there.  I have always been interested in more than just the facts.  That is why I wanted to share with our friends and family how we got here.

It is  silly though.  In the larger scheme of life, Scott’s decision to step down as head coach affects no one.   Statistically speaking,  the impact of this decision in the scope of humanity,  registers a “0”.

“Scott coaches?  Good for him.  Who is Scott, by the way?” (Direct quote from nearly every person in the world).

What I have written here is for the people we love and care about who have some of the same pictures I have rolling through the montages in their minds.  I have written these words for all the people rolling up their sleeves, pitching in and working together; to all the people who donate so many hours and so much effort  to help grow something special.

I’ve also written these words  for the sweet, tough faces of the ones who are right now watching the big kids,  doing push ups, and planning their own dominant reign as an Eagle.  All these people have their own stake in something good, and my words are for them.

Keep working and planning, my friends. That dream will be yours.

We are not going anywhere right now.   Scott hopes to continue to serve the Eagles in whatever way is useful and helps the kids grow; any way that does not include being in charge.

We do not know exactly what God has for us next, and we know for SURE that we are not enough.  But, thankfully, we do know God is.

In some cases, words just grossly under perform.  That is the case now, as I try to find the right way to express gratitude for the treasure of people, lessons and memories we found when we walked into this community and  wrestling program.  These have been some of the best years of our lives.

Go Eagles!

 

 

Photo Albums

One Sunday, our Pastor was making a point about our insignificance.  He described this well known statue near Wisconsin’s State Capital.  When he shared details of this man made of metal, riding a horse, many people nodded that they were familiar with the statue.  The Pastor asked the audience of 800 or so Madison area folks who could tell him the name of the guy the statue was made to commemorate.

Crickets.

My day job involves promoting the city of Madison. I was blank; no idea who the guy on the horse was.

The point our Pastor was making was this:  Look at this guy that was so important, people made a statue of him for cripes sake. Yet, we don’t remember him.  What about all of the people who have come and gone who do NOT have a statue? What do we remember of them?  Who will remember us?

Not one person, eventually.

Gee. Thanks, Pastor.  That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. I’m going back to bed.  I see no point.

I guess the Pastor actually meant this as a pep talk. Like, quit your worrying, pal.  Won’t be long before you’re dead and gone, and no one will care one bit about what you’re worried about today.

A real crowd pleaser.

I didn’t really mind this reminder.   I interpreted it as a message from God:    We’re not as big of deal as we think we are, and neither are the things we worry about. So, please.  Let’s all just calm down.

This week I helped my Mom move my Aunt into assisted living.  I tried really hard to act like one of my older sisters, and pull my weight.  I avoid being in charge.  I  did a medium job of it. I kept getting side tracked.  There were the best photo albums, and lots of stories.  I LOVE STORIES.

My Great Grandpa was an intelligent and well educated man.  He played basketball for the University of Chicago in the 1890’s.  He raised a family, and before he died he was the Superintendent of one of the largest school districts in Wisconsin.  According to my Aunt and Mom, my Great Grandpa was ambitious and curious. He was always reading.   His ambition led him to a variety of Administrator positions in education. He had little personal time. Most of the child raising was left to Great Grandma.

 

Great Grandpa Keller

 

One of the last big things my Great Grandpa tried to do was develop a new program called, “Industrial Education” (Tech Ed) in public schools.  Grandpa thought, “Wouldn’t it be useful to train students who were not likely to pursue secondary education in more useful skills like, welding, home economics, and auto mechanics?  Wouldn’t this training help prepare these students without the resources or inclination to go to college to find jobs that match their interests and skills after high school?”

The school board said that would NEVER catch on; they rejected Great Grandpa’s proposal.

This rejection caused Great Grandpa anxiety and frustration, but not enough to squelch his ambition entirely.  Grandpa soon went on to run for Mayor of the city of Eau Claire.  He did not win.

The only record we have of what happened next was Great Grandpa’s obituary.  The obituary actually says this, “He died of a mental breakdown after a short illness”.  He was 59 years old when he died. My Dad said that the back to back disappointments wreaked havoc on Great Grandpa’s health,  and mental health, apparently.

Thank you, God. For a glimpse of my Great Grandpa’s story.  It sounds like it ended in tragedy;  here I am living my happy life, having had no idea.

What if God could allow us to go back in time?  I’d love to whisper in Great Grandpa’s ear that he needn’t worry.  His sense of failure was only an illusion. Soon to be forgotten by everyone (until his Great Granddaughter blogged about it).   In the end, nothing he did, or said,or contributed would be measured or remembered.  The only thing permanent was his soul. I hope he took good care of it.

 

psalm144_4

 

Here are some good looking people for you to see.  That’s my dad with the glasses, and his cute little girlfriend (Mom), on his right.  My Grandma is next to her, and my Aunt and Uncle are on the other side of my Dad.

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Hello.  We’re models for J.Crew.

 

I found all sorts of pictures of my family standing around the piano, singing jolly ol’ tunes. The pain I endured.

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Is it just me? Or, does this all look a bit forced?

I’m sorry.  Maybe this is breaking the rules, but PULEEEZE, enough with the singing already.  It isn’t for me.  No one believed me in my family.  Every one of those suckers was born holding a musical instrument with a melody in their heart.   I swore to Mom and Dad they were wasting their hard earned money on me.  Not to mention the  years I took  off my  piano teacher’s life.

My protests fell on deaf ears.

Now my parents know.  They accept that I have no talent, and even less interest.

What no one wanted to admit, but what I always KNEW, was that I was born to do was Dance.   And wear sequins and fringe:

 

20180110_130955

This is what happiness looks like.

And, just because I can’t stop, let’s end all this with a look at Mom’s “Swiss Miss” stage:

 

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Christmas Recap

Post Holiday Blues.  I am suffering from this.

If you ask me why my 10 days of work-free (day job) living were so outstanding, my answer would not impress you.  Like 60% of the population in Wisconsin, I was sick for most of my break.  Some how, being sick did not lessen my enthusiasm.  Maybe being sick made my break better?

Weird.

If you are a busy gal with all sorts of responsibilities at home and at work, then I know you will hear me.  I pulled my weight through Christmas. I showed up.  We did all the fun Christmas stuff.  Our families politely ignored my hideous coughs, and hid their dread that I was probably for sure infecting them.  The day after Christmas I felt like I did not have another day of pretending good health in me.  I stayed home while my family hit our last gathering.

When Scott and kids returned that night, they told me they wanted me to go to the Doctor.  It was night time, which meant I had to go to the ER.  Meanwhile, my Dad was having my sister send me texts every hour on the hour, telling me to go the Doctor.

Can you tell me what is nicer than being a 45-year-old woman with a Dad who still worries?

I won’t lie to you.  I didn’t hate the attention.  Honestly, how many Moms spend time at the center of their family’s concern?  Just short of never, I’d guess.  The concern is usually going in the opposite direction. From us to them.

Going to the Doctor really isn’t for me, but that might change. Basically, I went to the spa.  These healthcare professionals are top rate.  They are all care and concern.

Them:

“Are you warm enough?”

“Oh, that cough sounds  bad.”

“Can I get you something to drink?”

“You should not work.”

“You need to rest.”

“Take this, it will help you sleep.”

Me:

“Are you sure you don’t need to keep me here for the night for observation?”

I tried to squeeze a few additional coughs out that probably were not legit so this would never end.

I did attend a two day wrestling tournament after the doctor visit, but otherwise? I did almost nothing that required physical stamina or thinking; it was GLORIOUS!

There is nothing hard charging about me.  Managing a busy grown up life takes all my concentration.  I’m not a natural, and I am not that good at it.  What I AM good at is Netflix, books, Farkle, puzzles and naps.  That is what I did.  Doctor’s orders. No guilt required.

Best vacation ever.

Eddie was home for a short visit over break.  We would have liked more time with him, but we take what we can get.  It seems that Eddie is about 85% man and 15% boy.  When Scott and I were first married, Scott still watched cartoons, dragged us to arcades,  and loved to play wiffle ball. So, I don’t expect Eddie’s man/kid ratios to change much in the near future.

Eddie and I were talking about how we all have transitioned to what seems like his permanent departure from his childhood home.  He told me again that he is a  bit surprised by how well I have taken it.

Eddie is old enough now that I can confide in him with some deep life truths.  I explained that those first 18 years of HIS life,  I was playing the most convincing role of MY life.  It was only my fierce love for him that could keep me in character for that long.

When the kids were born, I knew God’s job for me:  Protect them. Keep them safe.  Help them launch.  Do you realize how many details are involved in this job description?  Moms are drowning in details. We are eyeball deep before our feet hit the ground in the morning.   It’s so scary.

I told Eddie the jig is up.  He is old enough to know the truth.  I pulled back the curtain, and let him see that behind the “The Mother of Oz”, is just a kid pretending to be a grown up.  Don’t worry. I assured him I can tap into that adult when he needs her.  It’s not like I didn’t learn anything along the way.

But, mostly I told him I’m entirely relieved to hang out, have fun and be his friend.  Those things are super easy for me.  I never wanted to be in charge.

If you are my friend on FB, you may have noticed a lot of discussions about my family and shoes over the years.  Well, mostly talk of Eddie’s shoes. Lack of shoes. Silly shoes.  Rotten shoes.  It’s a thing.  I don’t know if the issue is the males in my family don’t value shoes, or if they value them too much.

Eddie wore tennis shoes the entire vacation with his toes peeking out of the large tears on the sides.  I asked if he lost the new pair of tennis shoes his Dad bought for him at Thanksgiving.  Without a hint of sarcasm, he told me he was saving those shoes for when the shoes he was wearing wore out.

Remember,  I’m not in charge of shoes or anything else any more.

Straightened up the tennis shoes by the door; I noticed Zeke and Scott are not innocent in this shoe game either.  What are these even?

 

old shoes

 

Happy New Year!!!

 

christmas 2017

 

Well hello, kids.  You’ve been awfully quiet, haven’t you?  Bet you thought you could hide from me. Ya little rascal.  You can’t, cause I’m not dead yet, and neither is my blog.  I am here to celebrate our friendship with my bi-annual, or every 8 or 11 months or so without fail, maybe, if I remember to do it, blog.  It’s just nice to know there are some things you can still count on, right?

My friend, Rebecca, told me she dusted off my old blogs recently and binge read them.  Seriously.  You think I’m making that up, but I’m not.  She actually used the word “binge”.

Never.  Never in my life did I ever think for a second it would be possible for me to create one thing in this world that was worth a binge of any kind.  But, I’m here to report one person says it happened.  I just thought maybe I shouldn’t keep Rebecca hanging.  You know?  I mean, how did my life turn out anyway?

I’m not going to say prison has been a breeze, but I’ve learned things here.  It isn’t as bad as you might think. I lead a Jazzercize (spell check doesn’t even know what to do with this word from yesteryear) class, and of course…Bible Studies.   Bloom where you’re planted, and all that.

Now you’re going to be disappointed;  I made the prison part up.  And Jazzercize.  And Bible Studies. Well, actually there have been Bible Studies since we talked last.  But, not with fellow inmates, unfortunately.

I was hoping to make things sound a little more exciting, so I could hold you here for a bit longer.  After all, prison did seem to agree with Teresa Giudice of “Real Housewives”.  She made it seem kind of fun. Like a retreat. So, I thought…

The real truth is, I’m just still here. Being me.  And that’s the only news I’ve got.  I’m sorry.

I guess a few things are new.  Like, Menopause.  Holy COW.  I just dropped that bomb on my poor male friends who may have wandered here. I’m sorry to do it to you, bud.   You can back away now if you want. This is a no judgement zone.

Frankly, I don’t get what all the secrecy is about.  Laws of nature seem sort of impersonal to me, and nothing really worth keeping shrouded in mystery.  And, definitely nothing to be embarrassed about.  Are we embarrassed that the sun is shining?  No.  It’s sort of out of our control.  So, why take it so personally? I think we can handle this conversation.

Humans will be human though, and we just act sort of dumb about some stuff.  The other day I started to say something to Olivia about my current hormonal sitch, and that girl cut me off hard.  See if I ever give birth to her again.

I’ll tell you instead.

The other night, I was sitting with a crowd at a very intense wrestling dual.  More than half way through, I realize that I had rolled up my short sleeve t-shirt and I was frantically fanning myself with a program, while complaining about the idiot who thought it was funny to turn up the heat  to 95 degrees in a crowded gym.  Kid you not.  Every single person within earshot turned to me and said they thought the gym was cold, actually.  Well, people, “actually“,   I didn’t ask for your input.

Then, I said, “well, I guess I’m so hot ’cause I’m nervous”.  One of my BFF’s near by gave me that knowing look. Like, sure honey.   If that’s your story, we’ll pretend to believe it.

Crap.

So, I’m getting older. That’s what’s new.  Are you happy?

Never one to believe I’m not capable of solving everyone’s health issues, I did a little research.  Here’s the good news about Menopause.  Wait.  Forget it. There is no good news.  Seriously.  NOT ONE GOOD THING.  I read through the list of symptoms: weight gain, lack of sleep, hot flashes, night sweats, crabbiness.  Excellent,  I guess you get to this next stage of life, more than half way through, full of wisdom from hard work and hardship, and life says, “Here you go. Congratulations on arriving here. Enjoy this bag of turds.” Superb.  I’m delighted.

I read all that and called out to our Lord, “Dear Jesus, can you please explain?”  To date, Jesus has not returned my call.

The moral of the story here, sister (and whatever brother was brave enough to stay), if God saw fit to create this natural process for woman to age, then I see fit NOT to suffer quietly.  I won’t do it.

Other things are new too.  Like, new things I’m learning.  I take it back about there being NOTHING good about getting older.  I think you do get a little smarter. But, still, it’s not like we couldn’t get smarter without sitting in a 130 degree Sauna 24/7.  It all seems so unnecessary.

But,  as much as you’d like to drag all this lady stuff out, we’ll have to talk more  later.  I’d like to end this commemorative, once every 8 or 11 month blog with something positive, and bit less about my personal life. Do you mind?  Frankly, you’re a little nosy.

With age comes wisdom.  I’m about to end my 45th year (Make a note. Send a gift.)  Here are a few random bits I grabbed along the way:

  • This is something sweet.  Getting older is AWESOME; when you are irritated you quickly get over it, because you cannot remember what irritated you.
  • Despite my GenX instincts,  I realized my parental duties do not include protecting my kids from every disappointment.
  • My parent duties do include comforting my kids when they’re disappointed.
  • Sometimes we make our problems infinitely worse by talking about them (Except menopause. That stuff is a must discuss type of situation. ) There is a big difference between problem solving and complaining/exacerbating.
  • There are a lot of creepy men in the world.  Most women have secret radar that give off creep signals with barely a word being spoken.
  •  It’s hard to believe there are so many creepy men out there, because I’ve hardly known any in my life.  Maybe that’s because my radar is working.  Once I’m alerted, I change course.
  • People who talk the most and the loudest can be wildly influential and inaccurate.
  • Dogs make life better.

I’m just going to cut myself off right there, because as your Sensei, I believe you have much to learn, and you must not learn it all at once.

Namaste and Merry Christmas.

Look at the olden days.  Before women could blog about the sun, moon, stars and menopause. What a crock.

menopause-sarah-vine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy and Sorrow

I saw something on Facebook yesterday that probably changed me: a horrifying story about child abuse, and an overwhelmed system that failed a child miserably.  That child no longer exists here.

I was awake most of the night. Anxiety had flipped my adrenal switch to overdrive. What I saw during the day replayed on a loop in my brain…over, and over, and over again.  Big whoop!  I lost a night’s sleep because I was traumatized by something I saw. What about the people who live it?  What about them?  How do they sleep?

I couldn’t sleep, because I saw something that forced me to reckon with the reality of evil. It exists in the world. What about the tender little ones who know evil exists, because they live with it. It is sitting in the next room?

As I was considering the fragile state of my own sanity,  it occurred to me how improbable it would be to survive abuse with any optimism.

I prayed.

I’m not the type who thinks God will let me in on why bad things happen.  I’ve never claimed to have an answer for this.

I.DO.NOT.KNOW.

I just keep praying.

I will say, there is something about being face to face with what could only be the Devil to make me run the other direction.  There is no reasonable, earthly explanation for some of the atrocities that are taking place somewhere in the world at this moment. It’s a supernatural darkness.  I’m clinging to my belief that there’s an opposite. No. There’s a MORE POWERFUL, supernatural force for good at work as well. It is only a happy life that lulls me into a comfortable state of apathy, causing me to forget these deep truths.

Scott and I talked about all this for a long time last night.  He said I could tell him what I saw. As I spoke, I saw Scott’s body hunch over, and he bowed his head.

It’s the weight of it.

We talked about what we could possibly do about the problem of evil.  We came up with some ideas. Ideas that will take some courage.

Right now, what I am doing is something that doesn’t take courage. I’m filling my mind with sweet stories.  I’ve clicked on all the cute pets and kids I could find when I woke up.  Sometimes you have to hit “reload”, and fill up with positive images.  I need reassurance.  There really are kind and good people in the world.   People who understand that the mere existence of children and pets is a miracle.

Well…isn’t this a happy start to Mother’s Day? No need to thank me.  I’m just a regular walking greeting card.

I’m sorry.  Because, I’m not even done.  Even before I had a bad day, I was thinking of some other sad stuff.  I was thinking about Mother’s Day.   Mother’s Day is happy.  Except when it’s not:

You can’t be a Mom

You lost your Mom

You’ve got crap for a Mom

You’ve got crap for kids

You’re crap as a Mom

I mean.  This stuff happens.  All the time.  And, I’ve just been thinking about how my good intentions to publically celebrate motherhood, could  possibly be the equivalent of pitching salt in a sister’s wounds.

And, yet.  Motherhood should be celebrated.   It’s super hard work, and possibly the most impactful role some of us we’ll have on Earth.  Life is short.  The time to celebrate is now.

And, that’s the sum of it. These are my thoughts on life today.  Wish I could  tie it up neatly for ya. Mostly questions, a few answers.  Joy and sorrow.  Pain and wisdom. Cowardice and courage. That is life.

My Mother’s Day Wish:

May you feel love and peace this Mother’s day.  May the God I believe holds the Universe bless you with wisdom and purpose.  May the mother in us all see the ones who need our protection. May we have the courage to offer it, and may God protect us all.

courage

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