Monday, July 25, 2011

Reflecting Pool...

My daughter has this Disney princess CD that I bought her not long before school got out.  She listens to it every night, through the night, while she sleeps. 
She's memorized most of the songs and so have I :-)
There's this one song on there...well, stay with me! I'll get back to that I promise!

I've been in voice lessons now for about 6 months.  A friend asked me a few weeks ago why I was taking them.
The thing is, I used to sing all the time.  In fact, my first song (according to my Mom) was Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make my Brown Eyes Blue" which I learned from the radio.  I would walk around the house singing it, Mom says.  Pretty comical I would think, since I've always had blue eyes...AND I was all of 18 months old! Seriously!
I sang in church and always loved the singing time.  For some reason, I sang in the youth choir, but it wasn't until I was about 13 that I decided I wanted to sing solos too.  I'm not sure if it was fear, or maybe I just felt there wasn't a place for me.  We attended a church with LOTS of talent so there was never a search for someone to do the "special" music on Sunday mornings.  
BUT in a youth choir production when I was 13, I requested to sing part of a song by myself.  I got so many compliments and so many "I had no idea you could sing!" comments that I wanted to pursue it.
I signed up for Choir at the Jr. High for the following year and had a great time with it (as I faded into the background).
The next year, my world got turned a little upside down - my parents moved us to a church across town.
I was devastated! While there were school friends there I knew, my church friends, my church family (did I mention my parents joined that other church before I was born?), were all at the other place.  I missed them and was convinced I would never survive the move.
One of the best things that came from the move, was the new youth choir.
It was small; like TINY! 
No one there really wanted to sing the solos.
So this was it for me! My time to shine! To be someone I wasn't before! Not the shy, keep-to herself girl I'd been known as for 14 years of my life at that other church.
So I went with it! 
I sang in church choir, association-wide church productions, the Spring musical every year at school, choir every year through my sophomore year.  I actually even made Honor's Choir my sophomore year, but then wasn't able to attend.
After I graduated, I went on to college, but spent my whole Freshman year NOT singing (other than the occasional song at my home church when I went back for a visit).
The next year, I signed up for women's choir.  And so it went, until I graduated college.
A little over a year later, I was getting married and so were our best friends.
She was my Maid of Honor; I sang at her wedding.

THAT WAS OVER 11 YEARS AGO and my last public performance.
I don't really know why.  Nothing particular happened.

Just life...

So now I am on a journey to find my voice again.
I'm getting there, but I'm not quite back to where it was.
Things have changed.
I'm a Mom now. My voice has deepened with age (something that happens to most people; have you heard Stevie Nicks lately?), the techniques ~particularly breathing properly~ has become more difficult, not to mention other nuisances like acid reflux which can damage your vocal cords.
My music academy?
Mostly kids! I am one of a handful of adult students in any instrument class.  We'll see how that goes come recital time! Ought to be interesting, huh?

So I'm getting my voice back and I can't help but see how much of a metaphor it is for my life.
I just got though telling someone how much marriage and motherhood changed me.  In some ways, for the better, but in other ways, I think I lost myself.  
Slowly, and very recently, I think I am crawling my way back.  I'm unearthing the woman I was before I took someone else's name... before I become "Sweetpea's Mom." AND I'm not exactly the same.
My prayer is that I can have a wise and discerning heart ( from a verse that I read about King Soloman; 1 Kings 3; 6-12) in order to know which parts to keep and which to "trade up" for better ones.  
I think that God wants us to accept ourselves for who we are; never intended to be perfect creations, just intended to Love and be Loved by Him.
BUT He is still working on me, and the more I learn to trust Him, the more His creation I become.  I believe He can take the Worldly things out of me, to let more of Him in; I just have to be willing to bend and perhaps even break a little.
Another of my favorite verses Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."   It refers to the way a silversmith knows the item is pure...when he can see himself in it.  So when I feel like I've been "in the fire" for a long time, I think about two things: first, God will pull me out and when He does, I'll be more like Him than when I went in the fire; second, the silversmith never takes his eyes off the silver - not even for a second until it's finished.  He sits there really close to the fire himself, watching me the entire time.

So back to the way I started this post...
the one song that always gets me is this one:

REFLECTION (from Disney's Mulan)

Look at me
I will never pass for a perfect bride
Or a perfect daughter
Can it be
I'm not meant to play this part?
Now I see
That if I were truly to be myself
I would break my fam'ly's heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight
Back at me?
Why is my reflection someone
I don't know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am
Though I've tried
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I think a lot of women feel this way; I've felt this way most of my life.  
remember being surprised in college to realize my age hadn't really changed my perspective all that much.  There were times when I felt just as much the scared, shy little girl as I had at 6.
But I know, somewhere, under all the "LIFE HAPPENINGS" I'm clothed in, is the real me - His Creation.  The one He will see His reflection in someday.  The one He will welcome home; call by name; say "well done, my good and faithful servant" to.  
I just have to keep reminding myself that no matter how bumpy the journey, the 
reward of the destination is more than worth it!

Friday, July 22, 2011


The Prompts:
1.) The simple things…
2.) Write an entry inspired by the word: Yellow.
3.) A memorable sporting event.
4.) Sex education! How old were you when you learned about the birds and the bees? Who taught you? Describe that experience.
5.) This month the theme of Oprah’s magazine is intuition…write about a time your instincts were wrong.
6.) Create a video where you share your opinion on when bloggers should stop blogging about their kids.


The little old lady stepped out the front door of her brightly painted house (some might call it mustard; she just called it sunshine)and closed the door behind her.   On her porch, the afternoon sun is bright and it takes her back to her happy childhood days.  As a young girl, she loved to walk through fields of wildflowers to pick and arrange them into bouquets for her Mother…dandelions, brown-eyed susans, and yellow daisies were some of her favorites!  She would have picked sunflowers too if they grew wild around here.
Things in this cheerful little town have changed so much since then, she thought to herself.  There was a time when the round yellow warning sign and the striking sound of the train whistle meant great things for the town.  Corn was the key money producing crop and the trains helped carry it to other towns.  Town citizens fueled the local economy further through their grist mills and corn by-products. 
Thirty years ago, two unusually mild summers, followed by a drought the next, all but ruined the town.  Many families moved away, the farmers rotated to other crops or changed occupations all together.  
The old lady smiled as she remembered what her Mother always said: “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”
Mother was always such a practical woman; nothing was ever wasted in her house, but always repurposed.  Butter wrappers were saved to grease cake pans or slide over the tops of freshly baked biscuits; milk cartons were turned into pots for her and her siblings to plant beans in; leftover potatoes or grits were made into potato or grit cakes the next day. 
A buzz nearby brought her back to the present. The old lady smiled as she watched and listened to a bumblebee zoom by the porch railing. When she lost sight of him, she figured he’d disappeared into the tulips she’d planted along the walkway.  Yellow and red were her favorites and, next to roses of the same colors, she thought tulips were the prettiest perennials. They just seemed so poised and cheerful!
A breeze blew across the porch drifting over the water of the pond down the hill.  She turned her attention that way just in time to see a Mother duck with several new chicksDowny, soft, and butter yellow they swam behind their mother in a misshapen formation.  They looked so sweet and gentle and, just as human babies have a captivating scent, she imagined these babies smelled like clean towels dried on the line on a sunny spring day.
As they swam out of sight, she heard a familiar rumble.  She watched as the school bus turned onto the lane and slowly made it’s way along.  Finally reaching her house, the bus cruised to a stop and the doors began to open.  Her favorite person in the world stepped down from the bus and began running in her direction.  As she walked down her porch steps to meet her granddaughter, she could almost envision a halo atop the child’s head! She was the sweetest, brightest, happiest child and her smile could light an entire room!
As they met in the middle with a sweet embrace, the little old lady said out loud, “I love you, Buttercup! How was your day?”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Out the window...

This Week's Prompts

1.) Write about a time you had to crawl through a window. (inspired by Barb from Half Past Kissin' Time)
2.) List 10 shows you're glad have seen their last day.
3.) A bad day.
4.) Share a joke that always makes you laugh.
5.) On a piece of paper write down something that makes you happy...take a photo of your paper and wa la...there's your post.
Bonus Vlog Option!
6.) Has your child thrown a temper tantrum in public? Create a video where you describe what happened and how you handled it.

Isn't it funny how the human mind works? Just ask any Mother who endures excruciating labor pains to deliver a child...within a few weeks of the experience the memory of the intensity of the pain has severely lessened.

My mind is being very human these's making it difficult to blog!

I'm sure I've had many a bad day, but as of right now can't think of one clearly enough to document it here.

LOTS of things make me happy; I just think actually writing about it is more therapeutic for me than taking a picture of it.

There are certainly more then 10 TV shows I am glad have ended and just as many that I really miss (like ALIAS! Man that was an exciting show!)

I love to laugh! Comedies are my usual choice in movies; currently I cannot think of a joke that makes me laugh every time I hear it.

AND since I blog mostly on the down-low (anonymously), the VLOG option is out.

SO, a time I had to crawl through a window.
I know I've done it; probably MANY times.
There was that time I had to escape with my life from a really high bathroom window...

oh wait, that didn't really happen. BUT it could have!

When we were in elementary school, I'm thinking my younger brother didn't like me too much! He used to corner me in the bathroom and stand outside the door with things like, oh, a baseball bat, a pocket knife, sometimes my Dad's gun (not loaded THANK GOD!).
Believe it or not it is rather comical now! My younger brother knew just how to push my buttons, terrify me, and in general, terrorize me! I see some of the same behaviors in my 3 year old boy and my seven year old girl.  I keep telling her if she'd stop acting scared, he's stop doing it!
But back to my story...
There really were days I thought my only option would be to jump or get beat-down! Little Bro would bang on the door with the bat (and not cause he had to go)! He would wave the knife under the door to let me know he was still there.  At least once, he chased me across the yard with Dad's 12 gauge (which mysteriously relocated to a relative's house after one of these incidents).

One of my fondest window memories also concerns that same younger brother.  He LOVED the Dukes of Hazzard! Quite frequently, it was NECESSARY for him to enter and exit vehicles through the rolled down window (you know, the old fashioned ones you had to crank forever to get them all the way down?)! Right now I can't help but chuckle because I can see him doing it like it was yesterday! Mom would run into a store, leave us in the car, and come back out to him sitting in the window! His legs would be inside the car, but his rear was on the door/window jamb, and his entire upper body was out the window.  I think there was a lot of the word yee-ha! going around too!

But I digress...

Other good window memories, which STILL do not involve actually crawling all the way in or all the way out, occurred in college.  I lived in an all-girl dorm, in the middle of campus, all the way up on the 6th floor.  I don't think the rules for the dorm ever specifically said you couldn't remove the window screens, but they most likely are VERY specific now! My roomie was a smoker, or at least she became one right after starting college.  Obviously, she couldn't smoke in the room, and what a pain to have to go downstairs every time she wanted a cigarette, right?
So, we "tampered" with our windows.  It was quite easy; I mean, we were both engineering majors and certainly knew how to use a screwdriver! The more amazing fact, here, might be that two freshman girls HAD a screwdriver! Anyway, we got those screens off, hid them somewhere and for the rest of the year had our own little open air veranda.  Well, sort of.
See there was no ledge or fire escape or anything like that.  We would just pull our desk chairs in front of the window, sit on our knees and lean out.  Sounds safe, huh?
In fact, we even took pictures of each other that way from our respective windows. Roomie met a guy that way; she called him Romeo. Isn't that romantic?  I'm not sure the relationship lasted that long, but what a cool story, right?
After Halloween, our pumpkin, which we'd named Mr. Evil (or something to that effect) had pretty much rotted! I mean, he smelled! So, what else to do with Mr. Evil but chuck him out the window and watch him smash into smithereens on the brick walkway below, right? It was tons of fun!
Roomie was really responsible for me soul-searching and trying to discover who I was.  I did a lot of things that year I most likely wouldn't have done on my own.  But it's ok! no regrets...
Anyway, at some point, we sort of (well almost) got in loads of trouble.  Someone pin-pointed our floor and suite as the culprit for tossing objects out windows! We honestly never had intention of hurting anyone, nor did we aim for anyone.  We just had tons of fun with unofficial Physics experiments - you know, 9.8 meters per second and all that jazz!
Looking back, I'm really glad we never had the bright idea to try and climb out one window and into the next.  If so, I might not have been climbing anywhere except into a pine box :-)

I'll leave you with some favorite "window" quotes:

"Friends are like windows though which you see out into the world and back into yourself...if you don't have friends, you see much less than you otherwise might." ~ Merle Shain

"The eyes are the windows to the soul" ~unknown

"People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun it out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within." ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

When God closes a door, He opens a window!


P.S.  YES! I'm very grateful I never fell!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A gem? Not yet, at least...

According to the World English Dictionary, multifaceted means 1.) having many facets (such as a gem) or 2.) having many aspects, abilities, etc.

For some reason, I've been stuck on this word lately.
I've always been one who cared way too much what other people think of me.  I'm sensitive; it's not hard to hurt my feelings.  It's especially easy to hurt my feelings when I feel I am being judged; add the word "unfairly" before the word "judged" and the whole world stops spinning! 
It's not that I'm immature; not that I have unreasonable expectations of others; it's not that I have unrealistic views of the world around me.
Really? It's just who God made me!
I've worked on being less sensitive throughout my life, especially since my teen years.  And honestly, I've come a long way.  I've even learned to laugh at myself and make jokes at my own expense.  I think  I've even learned the difference between joking at my own expense and actually doing damage with insults about myself.

I've heard/read/seen a lot of posts and other writings lately about being real.  They all hit home with me because truly being real (revealing the parts of me I'm not proud to share) is something I've been grappling with for some time now.  The honest fact is, there are very few people in this world who really know me - the REAL me.  The majority of people I come into contact with only know the outside me, the "public-ready" version.
And don't get me wrong! It's not a facade; I'm not trying to be fake. I hate fake actually! But I think we all try to put our best foot forward.  Sometimes, it's more like disguising the mess and pretending everything is ok.  A devotional I read at recently, painted a good picture of this; it was titled "Removing the Mask and Becoming Real." The author, already one of my favorites, gave some background on her REAL childhood and what other people knew at the time, specifically her church family. 
And we all do it, do we not? How often do you get asked, "how are you today?" And how often do you actually say something other than "I'm fine; how about you?" or "I really can't complain."
I do that.  But those few people who actually KNOW me; can see through that.  One of them is my friend, Brandy *.  Just in the last couple of days, I unloaded on her about something I had been holding in for two whole weeks! On the one hand, it felt terrible to complain about the situation that had so angered me, but on the other it was really necessary. I'm human! And Brandy, so wisely, said to me (I'm paraphrasing), It's not unGodly to complain.  Women need other women to talk to, to share emotions and feelings with, and to just get it out with.  It's why God made women this way, because he sure didn't make men like that!

And I feel like I just took another step toward being more real.  It's hard, but slowly I'm trying to drop that veil that I put in front of the mess that is me.

In a few days, I'm going to Chicago.  I'm attending an annual business conference, but this year things are different.  I've promoted a level with the company and Brandy*, also on my team, has promoted 2 levels! I'm proud of both of us! We've worked hard, and against all odds (considering the year we've both had personally), we accomplished these goals. My team, overall , has more than doubled since last year's convention. And that's great...

BUT, I have a fear.  Recognition in general is uncomfortable for me.  Partly, because I have a hard time being proud of myself.  Partly, because sometimes it makes me feel like a fraud.  Some of the other team members only see the accomplishments I've made since last year.  They think I've got it all together.
I hear from my customers, team-mates, and party hostesses all the time...
things like:
"You are so organized,"
"You really have it all together..."
"You are so professional..."
"I wish I could be that way..."
"I could never do this as well as you do..."
While they all sound like compliments, they aren't necessarily things I like to hear.  For the most part, they aren't true.
Me? I'm not organized, don't have it all together, am not really very professional when I'm hiding in my closet trying to have a phone conversation because my kids are screaming in the background.
I am...
an unorganized mess, fumbling my way through life from one task to the next trying to get through today and start fresh tomorrow! For all my pre-planning and the best of intentions, I still run around like a maniac trying to get it all in and taken care of, before things like,  say, this trip to Chicago.

I have what  I call "show mode." What that really means is, by nature I am really shy! While I may talk Brandy's ears off because she's a close friend, it really takes me a long time to warm up to people (unless I've had a cocktail or two :-).  At my parties, I may not say very much while setting up; but when it's time to start, I have to flip that switch.  NOT BE FAKE, mind you.  I just have to gear myself up for the presentation.

In reality, many people think I'm snobby.  It's a label I've struggled with all my life! Not only do I wear my heart on my sleeve, I wear my thoughts and concentrations on my face.  Many times, people perceive me as unhappy, when in fact that's not true at all; I'm just thinking, concentrating, wondering about what comes next.  I'm EXTREMELY analytical!

So what it all boils down to is this...

while I may struggle with being 100% real 100% of the time, people who don't make the effort to get to know me, miss out.

They miss out on the gal who loves all kinds of music from hip hop to christian to classical.
They miss out on someone who's really loyal (as long as you don't betray me or gossip about me).
They miss out on someone with a great sense of humor, although it tends to slip into sarcastic states sometimes :-)
They miss out on someone who, in spite of the mess, can usually find the silver lining (even though most would classify me as an optimist; I'd say I'm a realist).
They miss out on someone who knows how to enjoy a night out and a cocktail or two without taking it too far.

They miss out on multifaceted me! 
Little by little, I'm learning to accept all of my facets ~ even the one's I'm not the proudest of!

 *not her real name; she knows who she is :-)

Friday, July 1, 2011

First date, First Date, Second Date?

The Prompts:
1.) Describe a memorable first date.
2.) Write about a child you find inspiring.
3.) What do you find most challenging about blogging?
4.) Name a pet peeve you have about how other parents raise their kids. Go on…stir the pot.
5.) We often spend time and energy talking about people in our lives we don’t see enough of. Describe a person in your life you are in contact with often. What does he/she mean to you?
6.) If you could thank your mom for anything, what would it be? Create a video thanking her for something.

Well, I could really write on several of these so it was hard to choose which to go for...
BUT I think I'll write about #1.

In college, I dated a guy I'd had a crush on for two years! We met our freshman year through mutual friends, but both were involved with other people.
We continued to see each other around campus and eventually had a class together the Fall of our Junior year.  Still attached to other people, we were study partners and nothing more.
Both of us ended those relationships before the semester was over.  It wasn't until after the holidays and the start of the new semester, that Mr. Crush asked me out.
The problem was, I also knew his good friend and roommate ~ we'll call him E.  Well E and I had a class together Spring semester and out of 200 kids in the class, were RANDOMLY selected by the professor as study/lab partners.  Somehow we had already begun flirting by the time Mr. Crush asked me out.  Had even already kissed a few times and spent the better portion of a night together (only talking and hand-holding).  We sat beside each other in class and the corresponding lab 4 DAYS a week!
So when E came to class and said Mr. Crush had been planning to ask me out, I didn't know what to say. I mean, I'd waited years for this! But NOW? Now? When I was starting to like E?! Like, REALLY like him; in a way I couldn't explain.  There just seemed to be electricity between us.
I didn't know what to do, so I asked E what he thought.  He said he thought he should back off so that Mr. Crush could ask me out.  I wasn't sure I liked that plan, but the last thing I wanted was to come between two friends.

So, Mr. Crush asked me to a group outing...
a group outing which included E and all of us on ice-skates.
I actually ended up holding hands and skating with both of them that night, only adding to my confusion and internal turmoil.

While I hate to gloss over the details, let's just say Mr. Crush and I continued to date for a couple of weeks.  During that time, it was becoming more and more clear to me that Mr. Crush was not someone I could see myself with for an extended amount of time.  We actually had a lot in common and were very alike; sometimes that's good, but sometimes being alike can cause conflict.
About 2 or 2 1/2 weeks after we started "dating," Mr. Crush had to go home for the weekend.  Before he left, he kissed me good-bye and told me he loved me for the first time.  And as TERRIBLE as it felt, I couldn't say it back.  I didn't feel that way, or at least, I wasn't sure yet ~ it was too soon!
For those that know me, you can laugh, it's ok! Because generally, I would fall and fall hard for most guys who gave me the time of day! Just not this time...
So Mr. Crush left for the weekend.
Only, he asked his friend and roommate E to hang out with me while he was gone. We went to a party together at some of his friends' places. We spent the whole night together and I realized how much I enjoyed his company.
That was pretty much all it took for me to know that he was the one I was falling for, not Mr. Crush.
It wasn't long before Mr. Crush realized what was happening.  I'm sure he could sense the awkwardness every time all 3 of us were in the same room.
It was honestly one of the most emotionally taxing times of my life! I cared for Mr. Crush and did not want to hurt him! I knew he would be hurt when he found I did indeed want to date his roommate.
Needless to say, one day it all hit the fan! Mr. Crush and I broke up ~ unfortunately the before or the day of Valentine's day! It was terrible.  We still went out since the plans had already been made and tickets already purchased, but it was so hard! I felt terrible and actually cried a couple of times that night; he just seemed kind of numb so I wasn't sure whether he was hurt or angry or just wanted to get the heck away from me!
I got through it somehow.

The next day E came over.  He knew most of what had happened.  We hung out low-key all day; he clearly wasn't sure how I felt and didn't want to push me.  He took me to a nearby park where we walked around the lake and just hung out talking until sunset. It was beautiful with the sun on the water ~ all oranges and pinks!

That became our spot.

He took me back there a little more than 2 years later when he proposed!
Of course I said "yes!" and we have been married over 11 years now!
Mr. Crush and his wife are actually two of our best friends, though we don't see each other often due to distance.

Did I mention that the whole reason I met E and Mr. Crush was because E dated MY roommate Freshman year?
Oh well, 'nother time, 'nother post!