Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lessons from the air: Traveling with my precious one year old boy.

The following is an account of the longest 3 hours and 45 minutes of my life. It happened between the evening hours of 7 and 12:15 am.  The events occurred on theday of my return trip home after a relaxing vacation.

1.  After checking in and walking the nearly one mile to security, I vowed never to travel without a stroller again.  Carrying a carseat in one arm and a 1 year old in the other is crazy!
2.  Always take your 1 year old's shoes off, they will search children.
3.  Always remember to take your own sunglasses off, so you don't look like a fool walking back and forth through the security setting the alarm off and not knowing why? Only to have the guard say, "Ma'm on your head, your sunglasses."
4.  NEVER pack Grammy's cocounut cake in your backpack, no matter how badly your other child would like to taste it.  It will cause you to have all your luggage checked at security.
5.  REMEMBER you have taken your 1 year old's shoes off, so you must put them on.  Otherwise you will have a security guard running after you with tiny shoes in his hands, trying to be helpful.
6.  NEVER travel without a stroller for your 1 year old.
7.  ALWAYS let your children stand in front of you on the moving sidewalk so they can see when it ends.  If you don't your 7 year old will hit the end and go flying in the air, land on her knees and you WILL have to wave down someone drive your family to your gate because your daughter is crying hysterically and now you cannot hold your 1 year old, carseat, diaper bag and your 7 year olds carry on.
8.  ALWAYS travel with several one dollar bills, so you don't feel horrible for not tipping the man who so kindly transported your crying 7 year old and now fussy 1 year old.
9.  ALWAYS KEEP TRACK OF YOUR TIME.  Or you might find yourself boarding the wrong plane headed to El Paso rather than Nashville.  It is also embarassing being notified of your mistake and to watch your 1 year old  off down the hall to board the plane without you.  You will have caused  EVERYONE headed to El Paso to wait because you are waiting for the flight attendant to retrieve your 1 year old from the plane.  
10.  Always plan for anything.  Say for instance, your 1 year old spies someone with cheese pizza and walks over to the box of pizza and grabs a slice?  Better yet, the stranger says, "thats okay, I'm done with it."
11.  Remind yourself that following the rules doesn't always work to your advantage.  So, no matter how long you have been at the gate, if other people start their own pre-boarding line; remember majority rules.  If you choose to stand under the sign that says "pre-board" you will be stuck boarding last. This means you will not have seats for your family to sit together and the flight attendant will then have to ask, " Would someone kindly move so this young mother can sit by her 7 and 1 year old."  You can be thankful that these are not the people from the El Paso flight.
12.  Take note that Benadryl sometimes gets children wired up and not sleepy, especially 1 year old little boys.
13.  Remember pacifiers are wonderful only if used properly and not chucked out of frustration two rows back only to be found once everyone has deboarded the plane.
14.  A box of 64 crayons are great for 7 year olds, however, 1 year olds might see them as, lets say an airplane?  You can bet that you will deplane with only 41 crayons left in that box, because the others could not be found.
15.  Stickers are great for 1 year olds, it occupies about 20 minutes of their time, but remember they go everywhere and when you get up and walk the aisle with your little one, you might told by your 7 year old, "mommy you have stickers on your bottom."
16.  Be prepared that changing a stinky diaper midway through the flight might be an inconvenience to those around as they wait. They just don't get how difficult it is for a 1 year old to balance on the seat of a toilet and how a mommy has to try and wipe that balancing 1 year old in flight.
17.  Again, remember that stuff about the benadryl.
18.  Be thankful you did bring the carseat even though you forgot the stroller.
19.  Remember an empty plastic cup, lid and straw can occupy your 1 year old for about 11 minutes.
20.  Landings.  They are the best, they idicate you are home and will put your 1 year old little guy to sleep 3 hours and 45 minutes later!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time to stop and smell the roses: surviving single parenting part 2

A couple of weeks ago I ran to Walgreen's to grab a card, some tape and a bow.  Yes, I was wrapping a present.  When I say ran, literally I mean that.  Lately for the past three months it seems as if I am rushing through everything.  On this particular trip my mother n' law was in town and so I rushed to the store without kids.  On any other given day I would not have taken notice to how big a deal this trip was without kids, however, on this one particular day I noticed.   Oddly enough,  I didn't pick up on the fact that I was still rushing to park my car, rushing to find the aisle and rushing to find my card.   And, for those who know me closely, they know I could spend hours in the card aisle at the store; you get your laughter and sentiment all in one stop!  I grabbed a card and hastily made my way to the cashier.

The cashier was an elderly woman who had a thick accent and a wonderful smile.  One of those smiles that gave you the feeling she had a story.   When I meet people like that on the plane, waiting at a restaurant or at the park I am thrilled to talk and hear their story.  Well, this endearing woman slowed my pace with her smile and accent.  I asked her where she was from and she said she immigrated from Cuba.  That is all it took, I stopped and talked with her for a half hour.  I learned everything about her English studies in Cuba to her father encouraging her to not drop out of school because one day she might need her English!   

The conversation with this wonderful woman slowed my pace, my thoughts, it was organic, authentic and missing in my life for the past three months.  My drive home was short, but in the matter of three minutes I had pegged the yearning within my soul.   I longed for vitality and life again!  I had become weary of surviving.   The short life of single parenting that I have been existing in, had all consumed who I was.  The desire to stop and smell the roses, ceased to exist because the opportunity to stop and smell the roses, ceased to exist.

How do single parents maintain their individuality and their vitality in life when they are alone in raising their children?  It is easy for people to say, "oh, just get a sitter, or you really just need to carve out time for yourself."  Yes, that is true, however it is a lot harder than you realize when your in the storm and your just hanging on hoping to survive!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The reality of single parenting--Part 1

I began September with such high hopes for my blog and the topic of  single parents.  I was entering a season of my life where my husband was going to be gone for the fall and wanted to use this time to really connect with "single parenting."  By pure definition, I am not a single parent; I am still married.  However, this was my chance to get as close as I could to the day to day struggle my single parent friends and clients endure.   I  would experience around 80 days in three months by myself.

Perfect, I thought.  I may not be able to identify completely, but it would take me to my limit as a parent; living alone, disciplining alone, transporting alone, waking up in the middle of the night alone, trick-or-treating alone, eating alone, watching t.v. alone, praying with my children alone, watching soccer games alone.  Just plain living life alone.

I am now at day 59 and I have had no time  to reflect on a single thought...it has been pure survival.    I am sitting down for the first time, only because my mother-n-law is out here helping with the children and I have a night off.   

A night to hear my own thoughts and my own heart.  And you know what, it is weary, very weary.  And I am so thankful that in reality I am not single parenting and that this is only a season in my life.

The next posts will be dedicated to all of my friends and clients who do "life" alone as a parent.  Please, share with me your thoughts and refine mine if necessary!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Toxic Relationships and the High Tide

We were in Florida this past week, miles away from where Hurricane Ike was suppose to hit, yet its winds affected the water along the Gulf Coast.   For the first part of our week the water along our beach was filled with seeweed and nasty yellow foam which we had never seen before.  Usually the water is so clear you can see right down to the sandy floor.  Due to the extent of the seeweed you had to swim about 40 feet out to get to the clear water and upon returning to land you had to swim through the nastiness again.  Before long, the entire family decided to just sit and build a sand castle realizing that the seeweed was there to stay.   After sitting in the sun for a while we all longed to get back in the water, but dreaded going through the seeweed and yuck so we headed for the pool.

On our last day there, we headed down the boardwalk fully expecting another "seeweedy" day at the beach.  As we past a red flag warning  swimmers to not enter the ocean we agreed that we might just end up at the pool  To our suprise as we came down the steps of the boardwalk we saw a beautiful sight; a clear blue ocean sparkling in the morning sun with very strong crashing waves.  What a delimma; our clear water was back, but we could not swim in it.  That was fine with us, the new ocean sight was so refreshing that we were content with the little pools of saltwater that were  being consistently filled.  So we set up our chairs at the very edge of the water pools and enjoyed our view.  No complaints here!

While  sitting and watching the strength of the crashing waves, my husband commented on how the strong waves  had actually pushed the nasty seaweed out.  Without the waves, we would still be viewing and ocean filled with seaweed.   He then went on to share how sometimes relationships need crashing waves to come in and clean them out as well.  There are times when a relationship becomes toxic to where the hurt is so deep it clouds  relationship and prevents healing.    And without the shock and strength of huge waves the relationship would stay stagnant and murky.    In other words, there are times when it may require it to get worse before it gets better or go backwards before you go forward.  There maybe times when we must hit rock bottom before we can see clearly how beautiful things really are.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Does God care about your loss?

Grief is an intense emotional indicator of sorrow that represents a loss in your life.   We usually tend to think of grief as an emotion we experience after the death of a loved one.  This is true.  However, grief can also be  experienced during the divorce of a marriage, a move to another state, a house burning down or a sick friend of family member or struggling with your autistic child.  It is the "drastic change" in your relationship with another person, place or thing that triggers grief.  This "change" can occur physically, emotionally or cognitively and unleashes sorrowful grief. 

I want to share with you some verses that helped me during a dark time of grief.  These verses were given to me by friends  who were persistently believing, in my stead, that God was there experiencing my pain with me.  Yes, there are times when your faith is tested and you question and  begin to wonder where He is!

Reflecting this afternoon on these verses I was struck by the fact God's comfort is universally applicable!  So, I want to share them with you today.  If you are grieving from a loss,  I hope you find comfort.   And when you think God does not get it, remind yourself that He has given you a circle of friends to "defend the silver-lining".   He will use them to remind you;  You are loved and worth His comfort.

Romans 8:26
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words;

 Psalm 22:24 

For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one;he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Trumping Grief follow-up

Yesterday evening unfolded seemingly familiar; the precious pictures, beautiful flowers, a slide show that screams " a child is life no matter how sick they are", and the hundreds of tearful sojourners.  We, the sojourners are all thinking the same heartbroken thoughts for the family of this precious four year old.  How do you bury your child?  How do you find the strength to receive all these heartfelt condolences?   How is it you are not falling apart?  How are you coping?  What are you thinking and feeling?  

While standing  in line waiting to hug mom and dad and grandparents, I reflected on the poem from my last post.  I listened as questions were stirred up within my heart and was reverently fascinated with how hastily my mind wanted to shut them down.  But, I hung in there and in doing so, the poem came alive in the room around me.

There was weeping, grieving and questioning going on all around me.  Silent pictures, carefully placed on tables with little matchbox cars surrounding them,  that spoke gratitude through beaming parent's eyes.   A poem written by the mother so grateful for her son.   Family from nearby and from afar doing what they do best in times like these: LOVE.  Love by stepping in and hugging the hundreds of sojourners when other family members are tired.  Love by capturing pictures of that sacred time.  Love by providing nourishment. Love by sharing stories and smiles of this precious child whose life was all too short.

It was all there....Gratitude and Love pouring out of every body in the room and falling gently onto weary shoulders of those who carry such a heavy heartache.  The only way that kind of gratitude and love can be found in such devastating times is from the heart and mercy of God.  

In the end God does trump grief!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Trumping Grief?

I am still sitting in the news of little Joseph Peabody and this afternoon remembered a friend posting one of her favorite poems.  I remember the first line was love and gratitude trump grief.  Is this possible?  I believe so...and want to share this poem with you.


Love and gratitude trump grief.
Life is not always easy
It hums along, sweet and low-key
And then the tsunami- real or imagined,
Wipes our smug snugness away
Devastated by loss, we weep,
We gnash teeth, we grieve, we're angry
At God, at life, at lack of control.
We regain calm, then lose it, lose it, lose it.
Slowly, slowly, normalcy returns,
Creeping back in like the daily tide.
The dawning of another day,
Bereft of the old, but blessed with the new,
First shows itself in the smiling eyes
of dear friends, still here, still offering love.
Life after all is worthwhile
And love and gratitude trump grief.
-Tina Tessina

Friday, August 22, 2008

A deep sadness: Death knows no boundaries

I woke up this morning to an e-mail from our church sharing about the death of 4 year old Joseph Peabody.  Although I had been reading his parents blog over the last six months, it still came as a shock.  And still feeling the heartbreak for Maria Sue and the Chapman family, I dreaded sitting with my thoughts and feelings, trying hard to "just trust God."

Well, it is 10pm and I have concluded that I am not going to figure it out.  There is no book or amount of education that can unravel the mystery within my questions; the all to familiar questions about death.  Even as I write I am still wrestling with the questions:  Why can't death pass over children and seek only the adults?  Why does a child with their whole life ahead of them have to suffer?  Why would God allow a mother and father see their child die before them? For some reason, it is more comprehensible, not easier,  to grieve the death of an adult.  But a child?  Why God?  Why this family?  What is your purpose?  When will your purpose be revealed?  And why not just make a miracle happen, especially for a child.

Such questions will not be answered this side of heaven,  and that is where trust must carry us through these mysteriously devastating times.  So, I sit and pray for the Taafes and Peabodys and petition God's peace and hope upon their hearts.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

When time stands still

My grandmother Carolyn never ceases to amaze me.  Although she is getting older she lives life with the zest and zeal of one younger.  I believe she just celebrated her 83rd birthday! I know she is over 80 but I have sealed her in time at around 60!  Last fall when she was visiting I asked her what keeps her going in life.  "I still feel like I'm in my thirties," she said.  My grandfather Lee echoed the same,  "Your body feels old, but your heart feels young."

What is it about those people in life that live long? According to    WebMD if you don't smoke, drink only moderately, eat the right servings a day and exercise 1/2 hour a day you can live about 14 years longer.   I know my grandmother smoked for years, did drink moderately, played tennis for years and seemed to eat healthy.  

Yet, I think there might be more to helping her live a long and fulfilling life.   This is how I see her life.  I see her actively involved with her children, grand-children and great-grandchildren.  She surrounds her life with life!  This last Christmas she planned a wonderful reunion where everyone in the Ball Family attended (except one cousin).  Over 60 relatives were in attendance and we had a blast.  Grandma Carolyn is also a very positive person.  She seeks out opportunity and goes for it.  She took a computer class at the community college so she could be active on the Internet, she helps with my aunts daycare center and she scrapbooks.  
Have I mentioned that she has severe asthma and allergies?  Or that she has broken several bones over the years, been in and out of the hospital for one reason or another? And, I never hear her complain about her ailments or give up.  She is full of perseverance and will not even allow her physical health to hold her back.  For many years now she has lived during the summers in Alaska with my aunt.  There she works at the ice cream shop at the bottom of the mountain.  She  wakes up, walks down the hill and serves vacationers while chatting about everything and anything.  And, she can chat up a storm.

She keeps herself current on culture and politics.  Just recently I debated with her and her sister Gertrude about the war in Iraq and the presidential debates.  This means her brain is constantly active and involved in reading and watching world events.

I'm beginning to think there is more to living a long life.  Although it is important to follow the WebMD advice, you might want to try adding the following as well:
1.  Positive outlook on life will generate positive energy
2.  Surround yourself with the living...your not dead yet
3.  Pursue hobbies of interest to you
4.  Let your heart be free to be young
5.  If you have challenges find ways to work around them

I am grateful my grandmother continues to live among the living.  I have learned so much from her years of wisdom and have gained from her encouraging words.  She is a reminder to me to enjoy my life and to not give up!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Undeserving Love!

I came home this evening and was once again greeted at the garage door by my thirteen year old dog, Dallas.  He is a chocolate labrador, with a growing speckled grey and white gotee.

  Everyday he greets me by walking right up to me, sniffing my knee to make sure it is me (his eyesight is going) and then he does a little puppy dance.  Yes, he still feels like he is a puppy even though his body is old.

I am always surprised that this greeting occurs whether I have taken him on a walk that day or have  quickly brushed past him to get into the house.   He is faithful, loyal and unconditional with his love.  He doesn't demand a walk or for me to sit down and pet him, but when I do,  he truly treasures the attention that is bestowed upon him.

There are not too many relationships that would last with this  kind of interpersonal arrangement.  In fact, the only relationship that freely gives undeserving love and faithfulness is that of our Father.  In no way am I comparing God to my dog, but more comparing the constant love towards us even when we are not fully engaged with Him.

For me, tonight, my dog Dallas, is my reminder of my Father's constant love for me even if for today I have forgotten it!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thoughts that deny Christ

Do you every get trapped by the approval of man?  What others think of us can become more important than what God thinks.   Sometimes we become the Peter who denies Christ three times.  We maybe embarrassed to share how God is working in our lives or to have heard His voice.  We can deny  Christ like Peter, through actions or spoken words.  Sometimes denying Christ can be within your own thoughts.  A place where people can't hear, but are actually present listening to you.  Thoughts, that you deliberately do not share because of fear of rejection, self-doubt, or disapproval.  It is those battles within our own minds that remind us being authentic as a Christian goes deeper than just actions  everyone can see.  To share your own thoughts about Christ wherever you are, even when you have the ability to deny Christ before anyone can hear your denial.  This, I believe is the true test of spiritual authenticity.  The only approval that matters is God's.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A quote to end the day

 "Watch how you live.  For your lives may be the only gospel your brothers and sisters ever read."  Bishop Helder Camara 

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Where have you seen Christ in your day?

I was awoken this morning by my baby boy, Silas.     I tried to put him back down in his crib, but he clung tightly to my shirt demanding comfort.  I rocked him a bit and then decided to bring him to bed.  Who can resist a warm baby who loves to snuggle.  As I laid down he curled his little body right up next to me and gently placed his hand on my chest and fell right to sleep.  The bedroom was lit with nightlights so that my seven year old who was also sleeping with me, could see her way to the bathroom.  the light reflected on my children's faces.  I glanced over to Sophie Grace and then back down at the baby and felt a gentle smile spread across my face.  This is heaven I thought.  Such peace, tranquility and innocence that has not been lost.  A genuine quietude.  It is in moments like those that I am filled with gratitude for the ever present Christ, the One who manifests His peace in the face of a child or His serenity in the stillness of a room. 

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What I love about Ang...Happy Birthday Girl!

Today was my dear friend Angela's birthday!  My early evening was spent celebrating with about 25 other friends Angela's birthday.  I left the party early to take Silas my one year old home to bed and in the departure forgot to sign the wonderful "tribute to Ang" book that was circulating the room.  So,  I thought it would be fun to write about my friend, Angela.  She is a deeply caring, loving, self-sacrificing, intelligent, honest, incredibly fun girl.  Angela is simplicity, what you see is what you get.  There are no hidden agenda's or pretentions, she is what she is.   She is a great cook, wine connoisseur (no seriously she writes review on wines), athletic, and knows just what to say to make the room lighten up.  What I love most about her however, is  that she "gets" me.  Why is that what I like most?  When someone is truly understood by the other in a relationship, it reflects a person who is thoughtful and present in that relationship.  I have had friends who have only surfaced during the "hard" times of life or friends that say they are praying for me, but I walk away wondering why I haven't heard from them or if they are really praying.  My friend Angela, has been there for me in my darkest hour and is here today in my celebration of life.  I am also quite confident in knowing she does pray for me and knows me well enough to know how to pray.  And when you find that friend that "gets" you,  you have found a friend for life.

Moving into your heartache Part II-- A meditation to ponder

Imagine that you are on a large boat crossing a vast expanse of water. There are many people on the boat, all of whom are enjoying a party of some kind. In a moment of carelessness you fall off the back of the boat into the water. Everyone on the boat is having so much fun that no one sees that you have fallen overboard. Treading water, you yell and wave to no avail as the boat continues on its way, growing smaller and smaller, and eventually disappearing into the distance. Realizing that you cannot tread water for very long, but that you can float for a long time, your strategy becomes that of floating until hopefully, those on board will notice that you are missing and, in doing so, will come back to rescue you. Now in order to float you have to relax, for if you tense up you sink. And so there you are, all alone in the vast expanse of water, floating, relaxing, floating, relaxing. How would you be relaxing out there? Knowing your life depended on it, you would be
relaxing very seriously. You would be relaxing with all your heart. Each time fear arises, causing you to tense up, you renew the letting-go embodied in you life-saving relaxation. Tensing up, you relax, tensing up, you relax---a life-saving dance in the middle of the sea!

Then a most extraordinary thing happens--floating there all alone, looking up into a boundless sky, it dawns on you that you are being sustained in a a vast Presence that sustains you whether you live or die. While at one level it would be truly tragic to drown, to go under, to face the scary end, yet another level, too big to think about, there arises a bliss beyond feeling. There is granted a body-grounded realization that even in going under you would remain sustained. You would remain safe in the undoing. Floating there beyond the dualism of life and death, in a timeless moment beyond time, anchored invincible in a boundless sky, you realize that in drowning you would become what you already are. You would become one with the primitive sea of UN-manifested Presence your presence in the present moment is mannifesting.

If, while floating in this wondrous awakening, you were suddenly to see the boat coming back to get you, you would no doubt experience a profound sense of relief and joy. In being pulled back on board, you might be overcome with emotions that your life was saved. But deeper down within yourself you would know that you were being pulled back on board as one transformed in a great awakening. You would know that in some profound sense beyond the power of thought to grasp, beyond the ability of words to describe, you were saved out there in the midst of the sea, where, in an unto-death dance of choosing to relax, choosing to let go, you found a life beyond life and death.

As seekers of the contemplative way we have indeed fallen off the boat into the sea. At first the falling was isolated to our moments of spontaneous contemplative awakening in which we found ourselves momentarily sustained in body-grounded awareness of the abyss-like nature of the concrete immediacy of the present moment. Each falling ends in being pulled back on board, which is to say, ends in our once again returning to our customary ways of experiencing things to which we are accustomed. But lf little by little this pattern of falling and returning, falling and returning forms our character, making us someone whose daily living has become imbued with a quiet, inner desire to live in a more abiding awareness of the ever present depths. Our sitting still and straight in meditation is our free choice to leap into the sea.. Or perhaps, more true to the experience, it is our free choice to ease ourselves over and over again into the fathomless sea of presence, the present moment
manifests. As we become seasoned in the self-transforming power of simply sitting, we become ever more habituated to sustained state of body-grounded serenity. We become ever more habitually at home in a pure and simple awareness of the divinity of the Present moment manifesting itself in and all that arises, all that passes away. James Finley 9pp.71, The Contemplative Heart)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Moving into your heartache Part I

 Today my work reminded me of the painful road of life.  I'm not sure why this day in particular was revealing, because every one of my clients have heartaches.  I was reminded that life sometimes comes  to a complete stop and you really don't know which direction to go.  You are essentially stuck, paralyzed, frozen; sometimes in a familiar place and sometimes in a place you have never been.  

Either way it is painful.  And with that comes fear.  We are taught in the American culture to avoid pain whether emotional or physical.  We as Americans are dreamers, perfectionists and pain-avoiders!  We try to plan life so that we never find ourselves lost at a four-way stop or passionately navigate our children through life avoiding pit-stops and roadblocks.  We just want "happy" families.

The only drawback to that philosophy is, life is full of hurt.  So when we actually encounter  heartache our first instinct is to run and to run like hell!  We slam our car into reverse and go the exact opposite direction or  shove it into fifth gear and run through the red light of the pain.  We are not prepared.  A preparedness that allows you to gain  confidence that if you sit there long enough you will figure out which way to turn.  You will realize that you are going to be okay, even though your heart is breaking.  You will be all right.

One of the greatest examples of "letting the car idle" or "sitting in with your pain" is that of Jesus Christ.  My readings and observations of His life lead me to see how He engaged in heartache and pressed into it.  He did not fear it nor did he run from it.  He knew the agony of the Cross and yet entered into the heartache and lamented to God.  Did His being fully present with his pain change His situation?  No, not in that moment or that day.  We can either be open to healing or shut healing out.  Well, if you are constantly running from what needs healing, it will be difficult to begin to heal.
Have you experience the relief than comes  when you  have been lost and then figure out where you are at? Figuring it out took some evaluation of your situation and then action.  It may have required you to initiate a change in how you look at the map or current road.  Initially you needed to stop or slow down your car so you could read the map or signs.    Isn't it funny how sometimes when you say, "okay, I give, where are we?"  amazingly you see a sign that shows you where you are at.  It took you just sitting there to notice what you hadn't noticed before when you were worried about which way to go.

We can experience a wonderful peace during and after being lost in our pain.  We learn and grow sometimes from the darkest places in our lives.  But, we have to move into it and not away from it...  We must believe that we will get through this, there is life on the other side.  And when you have experienced the peace while in your heartache, and realize the pain doesn't go away, and your going to be okay; you will not choose to have it any other way.  You will not choose to reverse the car or run the red light.  You will just sit there and trust that healing will come in its time.  Because you will get through this.

I know it to be true for myself.  The harder I tried to run from my heartache the more painful it became.  The day I surrendered to the fact that I was absolutely lost, was the day I began to experience peace.  My pain still existed, but it did not have the power over me as it did in the past.  I essentially surrendered to a greater Presence (God) and got okay with just being "idle" at my four way stop.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obama Opprobrious Or Not?

Obama's refusal to raise his hand for the National Anthem and his decision to give up an opportunity to meet with injured soldiers in Germany is a telltale  to the man wanting be President of the United States of America.  I have always had a deep gratitude for our military.  On my maternal side of the family I have 3 generations of military service men.  I have spent hours with my grandfather listening about his personal battle at Iwo Jima in World War II.  He was only 18 years old and fought in the bloodiest battle in marine history.  In that war 6,821 marines died and 19, 189 were wounded.  The Japanese lost 20, 703 men and on February 23, 1945 the raising of the American Flag signified our defeat of the Japanese. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/battle_of_Iwo_Jima 

Grandpa landed on the island and drove his bull dozier ahead of other marine buddies  to make a path for them.  Grandpa was under rifle fire the minute his dozier hit land.  He watched his captain explode before his very eyes and buddies around him ranging in age of 18 years old to 27 get shot down like sitting ducks.  But, they were marines and were fighting for their country, they pressed on.  Grandpa was there that day the flag was raised, he couldn't see it from where he was, but he was there.  Grandpa's last job on the island was to dig the graves of thousands of marines who fought courageously and lost their lives.  Grandpa said that they made sure all the dead had proper burials, "that's what marines do Sharon, we make sure the job is completely finished."

Grandpa's stories are frightening, exciting and valiant.  His military life alone, has embedded in me a deep pride for our flag and our anthem.  What an honor it is to have symbols of our freedom and the people who fought for our freedom.  It is opprobrious for anyone of any political association, race, or gender to dishonor the flag or our anthem.  The flag and anthem allegorically stand for the very reason Obama is where he is today.  There is an evolving reality now in 2008, not dream, that all men are created equal and America is the platform for those dreams.  Obama would not be where he is at today if it were not for the flag and the servicemen and women who fought for the very freedom he enjoys.  The freedom for all to have opinions on guns, wars, abortion, health care, immigrants, death penalty and religion.  The freedom to work, buy a house, drink running water, use electricity and yes run expensive campaigns!  All of our "luxuries"  were not just given to us.  

Mr. Obama, freedom does not come free.  Everything we do in life must be earned and sacrificed for.  I am beginning to think that all Americans should spend time in third-world, impoverished, dictator led countries so that when they step foot on American soil they unreservedly raise their hand in reverence to our flag and when they hear our Anthem they stand proud hand over their heart.

 You can find more info about this photo at http:www.snopes.com/politics/obama/anthem.asp   

Who holds the popcorn when you go to the movies?

My husband Steve and I went with some friends  to see a movie this last weekend.  It was the usual night at the movies... We parked, walked into the theatre discussed what we are going to see, bought our tickets and then stood in  line for our popcorn.  We got our popcorn without butter, although we love the butter it is on our "not now" list.    I am the red vine licorice kind of girl, but have never passed up the chance to eat the popcorn if it is sitting in front of me. 

 Steve purchased the popcorn continued to hold it as we found seats to sit down.    After the previews I began to have the desire to hold the popcorn bag but it never turned into a real need.   Steve on the other hand, simply cannot function throughout a movie if he is not holding the popcorn.  Seriously, he REALLY needs to hold the popcorn. This sequence of events is a ritual every time we are at the movies.

 Throughout the movie I would make a comment to our friends and every time I would notice that the wife was holding the popcorn.  So, the popcorn holder is not gender based  I thought? The entire movie she held the popcorn.  I began to think about when my dad would take me to the movies as a girl and even to this day, how he would always hold the popcorn.  I looked down our aisle occasionally to see if the popcorn bags around us ever moved?  And you know what?  They really didn't.  They all seem to stay with the original popcorn bag hand holder.

 I am wondering if  holding popcorn in the movie signifies  a greater  metaphor about who we are?  Or is it simply a reflection of a partner who may enjoy popcorn more than their movie mate?  

To blog or not to blog....

I love to write, or I thought I did.  One of my dear friends encouraged me to do so this past January.  I  thought it was a great idea.  Blogging would give me an outlet to share experiences in my own journey of life.    Writing would be part of  expressing my life as a woman, wife, mother of three, daughter, friend, professional counselor and especially the facet of my life where I encounter ambivalence; towards politics, spirituality, relationships and parenting. 

But four months from my last posting I am still trying to figure out how to write.  My life is full, very full, yet there is a desire for expression.  If writing is so important to me, why is it the last thing on my list to do?  What holds me back from just sitting down and writing?  

I guess for now I have decided to stop thinking about it and go to bed!