Wednesday, July 31, 2013

She's Driving, I'm Trying to Breathe

This is it.  I am officially going to be on high alert from here to eternity.  As I sit here looking for anything I can think of to distract myself, I try to remember the first time I drove in a car alone.  At this point I cannot remember driving with my mother as a teenager.  I just remember taking off and having freedom.

It is an entirely different experience from this side.  My daughter has been driving me around all week but this is the first time she has taken her keys and just left by herself in the car.  I'm not sure where you are reading this from but it has been raining here today.  The roads are wet.  Images of every after school special I've ever seen run through my head.  Do they have after school specials anymore?  I tend to think not.  It explains a lot actually.  When I was a kid there were after school specials and you learned a lot.  This generation could use an after school special or two if you ask me.  But I digress... again....

How do I not worry?  How do I let go?  To add to my stress level her sister was driving her father and I earlier.  I couldn't look.  Did she do bad?  Not too terrible except for when it came time to park.  She will improve and be fine.  They will both be fine.

Where is that child?  Is she OK?  Is she safe?  Are there crazy people on the road?  I know when I drive I'm the only one on the road that knows how to drive.  What if those same people are on the road right now?  How do I trust that those crazy people won't hurt my baby?

My mind jumps around all over the place until...I stop.  I realize this will not be the first time that one of my children will be taking off in a car alone for the first time.  There will be two more after this one.  I have to let them go.  I have to let them grow and become independent.  That is what I want.  I want them to be able to take care of themselves.  I want them to know that I'm here for them to fall back on but I want them to strike out and become all that they were meant to be.  I don't want a twenty seven year old living in my basement that I don't have so they move back into their old rooms.  I definitely don't want that. 

I wish we could rewind so I could do things different.  Or maybe I wish we could just rewind the kids so they were little now that I'm older and know more.  Maybe I wouldn't have sheltered them as much.  Maybe I would have let them ride their bikes all over town instead of making them stay in the neighborhood.  (Probably not.)  I might have let them play with play dough on the carpet or keep coloring on the walls so they could have kept building up their art ability.  They may have become Picasso or Michelangelo.  (Probably not.  Do you know how hard it is to get play dough out of carpet?  Also those things they make to get crayon off of walls leave oil marks on your walls.)

As I have sat here contemplating every possible outcome, and everything I could have done differently, she has arrived home.  She is safe.  I can breathe again...until next time.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dear Mom, An Update

Dear Mom,

It has been nine years since you went home to be with Jesus.  It is hard to believe that next year will be ten years.  It seems surreal to me that you are gone and yet life continued.  So much has happened.  I am sure that you probably know everything because you get filled in while in heaven or are allowed to find out for yourself.  But here is the low down, just in case you have been too busy to find out for yourself.

Daphne is now a licensed driver.  She will be a senior this year and I am fearful of what she will eat when she graduates college because currently she only knows how to fix frozen pizza.  I don't worry about while she is in college because we have visited several colleges and they still offer food there.  The issue is when she graduates from college.  What will she survive on if the only thing I've taught her to cook is frozen pizza?  Epic fail on my part.

Megan has her permit and I'm too big of a chicken to let her drive me around.  I guess I feel about driving the way you felt about sex ed. it's best left up to the professionals.  We have had several talks with them about sex, drugs, and rock and roll?  I just have a fear of having them drive me and the rest of the family around.  Also I may have failed at teaching them to cook and to reapply sunscreen.  It is entirely possible that I sheltered them so much they may live with me forever and I will have built in house sitters forever when Vaughn and I want to travel.  But I digress....

Scotty is growing up.  He went to camp for the first time this year.  We missed him so much.  He brings balance to our home.  He has a lot of his dad in him.  They both have a calming quality to them.  Our peacemaker had the time of  his life in the great outdoors and cannot wait to go back next year.  I'm pretty sure that he has decided he loves camp more than he loves baseball.  He doesn't want to miss it again now that he has experienced it.  (Much the way I feel about the Women of Faith conference.  Now that I've experienced it, I never want to miss it again.)  He is so smart and so kind.  You would have really enjoyed getting to know the boy we were both nervous about.

I have made mistakes but I have gotten a few things right too.  They are all great swimmers and so brave.  They amaze me with the things they have been able to do.  They are so unique.  Each one of them so different.  I had no idea that they would all turn out so differently.  I thought being raised in the same family under the same roof would make them similar.  They are also so funny and they have such big dreams.  I can't wait to see how they all turn out.  Truth be known I'm hoping that I haven't messed them up too much and that they will succeed in spite of me.

I'm working on book number two and hoping to have it out by Christmas.  I would like to try my hand at fiction but I can't seem to find the time when the kids keep giving me so much new material.  (Also read here that every time I sit down to write the kids take it in turn asking me questions and distracting me.  It's like when I get on the phone.  If I don't do anything they ignore me.  Once I attempt to accomplish something, suddenly I'm the most interesting thing in their world.  Did I do that to you?) I am also hoping to be working with kindergarteners again this year.  I love that age.  They are so eager to learn and they say the funniest things.  Their eyes shine when they learn something new.  I have also loved getting to know all of the people I work with.  I have made some new friends and for that I am thankful.

Vaughn is still working hard to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.  He really is the most amazing husband and father.  I am very blessed.  We are dreaming of the future and enjoying the moment.  He makes me a better me.  He takes me out of my comfort zone on occasion.  He has me try things I am afraid of yet protects me at the same time.  I may not experience life  and all it has to offer if it weren't for him.  He helps me live even when life seems overwhelming and I just want to hide.  I hope we get to grow old and grey together and feed each other oatmeal.

OH!  Guess what?  Misty is getting married!  It is so exciting.  I am so happy for her I could burst.  I hope to be able to attend the wedding.  I love that she is getting her happily ever after.  I hope you will all be watching on the big day.  It sounds like it is going to be quite the event.

I think that wraps it all up for a little while.  Except that my birthday will be celebrated on January 15th from now on.  Now we can see who has the blizzard on her birthday me or you.  I'm sure I won't actually get away with it and will be forced to keep celebrating my actual birthday but it would be nice to be able to switch to a much less stressful and emotional time of year.

As always I miss you and long for the day that Jesus comes to take us home so we can all be together again.  I long to be at home in my Father's house.  I hope to be fulfilling His work for me so that one day He will tell me "well done good and faithful servant."  I hope this letter finds you and you know that although you are gone you are still loved and not forgotten.  You continue to live in my heart and if you could send me a message once in awhile, especially when I'm attempting to cook,  my family would thank you.

Love Always,


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Believe, Hope, Love, & Soar

In continuation of the last post, apparently there was much for me to learn from this bracelet.  Only I need to rearrange the entire bracelet.  The last four are Hope, Love, Believe, and  Soar.  That is with me reading them the way I read them.  Only even that is messed up in my mind.  I think we need to rearrange them again.  In fact, I may take the entire bracelet apart and redo it.  First I would put it like this: Believe, Hope, Love, and Soar.  It's close, but for me (as per the norm) I think my way is better.

I think when we Believe, only then can we have the Hope in Jesus and His Love so we can Soar.  I think the Believing comes first.  In fact to take it one step further and to draw from a Beth Moore study I once did I think it's even easier to Believe IN God than it is to Believe God.  But I think when you both Believe in God and Believe God and what He says, it gives us Hope to believe in His Love and in that our hearts will Soar.

I have believed in God since I was a young girl.  Believing in the existence of the creator of the universe was never the problem for me.  In fact, in the existence of a higher power is often times what has gotten me through life.  The problem I have always struggled with is believing God.  Believing that He would Love me.  That as broken and horrible of a person I believe myself to be that God loved me enough to send His Son to die so that I could be with Him one day.  That He thought me worthy when I have always been certain of my unworthiness.  Of all the things in my life that I am certain of, I believe that is at the top.  I have believed always that there is a God and that I am unworthy of His love.  The amazing part is that when you start to actually Believe God and not just Believe In God you find that no one is worthy and we all fall short and His Love is So Big and So Full that He wants us anyway.  Jesus came for the broken and broken is what I am.  By that statement alone, Jesus came for me.  In that I find my Hope.

Let me just say that again, in case you flew past that.  Jesus came for the broken, I am broken, therefore Jesus came for me.  Jesus came for the broken, you are broken, therefore Jesus came for you.  In that we find our Hope.  When we Believe we can find our Hope in the the ONE who was sent for us.  The One that was sent to bind our wounds, tear down our walls or mountains as the case may be, to give us Hope to one day be with our Father.  Once we find our Hope, once we fully Believe and have our Hope we can feel the Love of our father.

God Loves you.  Above all else I want you to know that.  He knows everything about you and He Loves you anyway.  He sent His Son to save you.  That is Love unlike anything you can imagine.  As a parent I love my children.  I tell them that no one can love them more than I do except God who created them in His image.  Above all else God loves us.  I don't know about you but I searched my entire life wanting that kind of Love from my father.  Only I looked for ways for my earthly father to love me and it was futile.  He loves me.  I know he does but he can't love me like my Heavenly Father.  No one can.  No one on the earth can love you like your Heavenly Father.  We can only know that kind of Love from Him.  He designed it that way.  Once I realized this I stopped looking for it from my earthly father.  It isn't fair to him or to me to expect something from him that he is incapable of.  That is like looking for a good comfortable pair of shoes in a gas station.  Futile and not worth your time.

I Believe in and Believe my God for His promises and in Him I find my Hope, so I feel His Love so my heart can Soar.  My heart soars when I feel the Love of my Father in whom I have all Hope and Faith, so I can have Courage to serve Him and bring Him Joy, thereby finding my own Joy.  I just love it when things tie up neatly.  Quite a lesson from a bracelet I chose to wear to church this morning.  Sometimes I guess, God uses a burning bush, other times he uses a bracelet.  Either way He tends to get His point across.  I get so excited when I get it.  I do hope you get it too.

I would love to hear from you.  If I can pray for you or if you would like to learn more send me a message.  I hope that God's messages have helped you today.

Faith, Courage, & Joy

Soar, Believe, Love, Hope, Faith, Courage, Joy.  That is what my bracelet says today only I think I've read them backwards.  I think I am supposed to read them in reverse as far as the order they would be when laid out before me.  I would have to say I like the way I read it better.

I was contemplating these things at church today while we were in between songs.  Mostly the last three were my focus.  Faith, Courage, and Joy.  I was thinking about how those three are connected.  Being the big chicken that I am (as evidenced by the fact that I waited for grey hair to go down a water slide for the first time) I was forced to take stock of the fact that I don't think it is an accident that Faith comes before Courage in this case.  In fact, I think that is how it works.  I think with great Faith comes great Courage.  I'm not sure you can have one without the other.

With GREAT Faith comes Great Courage would be how I think it should be written.  I then had to take stock of my own faith.  I have faith in my Great God.  I believe that He can bring great change in a broken world.  I believe that He can move mountains and move hearts.  I believe He can bring down mountains that form barriers across hardened hearts.  The reason I believe this is that He has done this for me.  I have run away, I have hidden away, some may even say that I checked out for a bit.  I shut down a couple of times, not knowing that even though I had built up mountains to close off my broken and hardened heart in an effort to never feel pain again; He would come knocking on my door and break down every barrier I had built to teach me to love and feel again. 

I'm a person of great faith in my Great Big God but I also am a person that has trouble letting go of fears that have formed so long ago they feel as much a part of me as the two hands that I use to write this message to you today.  Just as I was scared to go down a water slide until this year, I wonder how many other things I have feared that I would find out were actually good experiences if given the chance.  I am now forced to wonder what else I'm missing out on.  How much more God has planned for me if I could have more faith in Him to show me things I am too afraid to give up.  What if I gave up on all the fears I have held on to for so long and just trusted that everything would be OK?  What if like the water slide I tried it and said "OK, I survived that, let's go again so I can try it knowing what to expect."  I went down two different slides but I went down them a combination of seven times.

I don't know why your mountains were built around your heart.  Maybe you don't have any.  If that is the case, I am so happy for you and I would ask you to find it in you to pray for those of us who have had not only walls built from bricks but entire mountains built around our hearts.  It is a terrible tragedy to live in fear of  I don't know any other way to express it.  I have not done things and used my age as an excuse not to do them.  I'm a great excuse maker.  If you need an excuse not to live life to the fullest I'm the girl you want to help you with making that excuse.

And then I read a bracelet.  Faith, Courage, Joy.  With GREAT Faith come Great Courage.  "Courage is not the absence of fear only the realization that something else is more important."  That is a quote from the Princess Diaries but I think it applies.  If we have Faith in our great big God we can have courage to pursue any path that He lays out for us.  Would the God that created you in His image lead you to a path to fulfill His purpose only to let you go it alone?  I don't think so, and with that we find the final word in the three, Joy.

When we follow our God and we take that leap we not only bring Joy to our God, we find our own Joy.  I found the joy in riding a water slide.  I found the joy in experiencing life with my husband and children instead of missing out and reading a book alone.  I have found Joy in letting go of another mountain and trusting in God.  With GREAT Faith come Great Courage which brings about Great Joy.  Isn't that cool?

So maybe for me it's reading a bracelet that gives me pause to wonder.  Maybe I'm slow on the uptake and you are already far beyond what I can teach you from what I'm learning.  If that is the case that brings me joy too.  I hope you will continue on your path with our GREAT Big God and keep me in your prayers as well as I will keep you in mine.  I hope if you are learning daily like I am, you will continue to allow God to continue knocking down the mountains and walls to your heart so He can live there and protect it.  In God you can put your Faith, With God you can take Courage, In God you will not only find your Joy but you will bring Him Joy as well.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Conquering Fears One Toilet Bowl at a Time

Yesterday I was flushed down the toilet bowl...four times.  Now allow me to explain before your imaginations take hold.  We went to a water park.  I'm not sure the exact number of times we have taken our children to a water park.  I can tell you the exact number of times I went to a water park as a child.  Zero.  I never went to a water park as a child.  I couldn't even tell you if they existed when I was a kid although my husband assures me that they did; just not on the scale that they are today.   My mother was afraid of the water.  We didn't have a pool except for the Scooby Doo pop up pool I had as a child.  I didn't learn how to swim until after I was married and my husband put me in swimming lessons.  I cannot swim to the bottom of the pool to this day.  (human buoy and all) I know just enough to get by in my pool. 

So you can see where my fear of water slides could come into play.  My children are great swimmers.  We own a pool and I put them in swimming lessons as babies.  They love the water and love water slides.  My husband loves the water and the water slides also.  The have a great time going on these water slides while I read a good book and people watch.  This year I went on a family water slide.  I was terrified.  It felt like we were flying a million miles an hour and then something happened.  I didn't fall out of the family size tube and I didn't drown.  Then even more amazing, I said "Let's do that again!"  I then went on the water slide that looked like a toilet bowl with my husband.  I rode that one twice with him and twice with my son.  Then before we left I rode the family ride with the family one last time.  At this point I'm not sure why I was scared.

While on our big family vacation a couple of weeks ago I rode a small roller coaster and three simulated rides.  I never ride the rides.  I hold everyone's things while they ride the rides.  I had a birthday while we were on this vacation.  I'm not sure if I am getting braver as I get older or if I am finally starting to loose it faster than ever before.  All I know is that I am discovering that I have missed out on a few things that are really fun.  I still don't want to go on the big roller coasters but the simulated rides are great.  They are both thrilling and yet, in my mind, much safer.

When I was a small child I was afraid to go down my slide on my swing set.  I'm not sure why I was afraid and mostly I don't remember it, I just remember my mom telling me the story.  I am afraid of heights.  I was once afraid of trying sushi and I was a bit apposed to guacamole.  Both are things I enjoy now even though I don't eat the sushi that has raw fish in it.  I'm getting braver but I'm not trying to get salmonella.  (There are reasons why food should be cooked.  Am I right?)  My point being that I have spent my entire life afraid of things that maybe I shouldn't have been.

I don't know what fear will be next, if any.  Cooked spinach that is not in a quiche or some other dish will never be something I will want to conquer.  Pees that are not mixed into fried rice will never hold a place in my heart.  Perhaps it won't be a food related fear.  Maybe it will not involve something that looks like a toilet bowl.  But until then...I guess I will consider myself Heather Nestleroad:  Conquering fears one toilet bowl at a time.  Has a nice ring to it don't you think? 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Birds Poo and Bees Sting

I've been pooed on!  I was minding my own business walking through a patch of palm trees while on vacation when all of a sudden poo.  On my eye and around my eye.  Not in my hair, nowhere near my clothes, or shoes.  On. My. EYE!  Seriously!  Can you say Bird Flu?  I went to the restroom and washed my eye.  Then I went to the restroom two more times to wash and flush it all until I felt like I wasn't going to hyperventilate.  All the rest of the day all I could think of was bird flu.  You don't just bounce right back when a bird poos on your eye.

Today I went out to the shed to get the lawn mower out to mow the yard.  When I opened the door I noticed a couple of small bee hives attached to the inside of the door.  I didn't concern myself too much because I didn't intend on bothering them so I figured they would leave me alone.  NO!  I no sooner started pulling the riding lawn mower out when one of the bees stings me on the back of the neck.  On the back of my neck in case you missed the where.  Do you know what is in your neck?  All sorts of things that keep you alive.  That is what is in your neck.  I hadn't been stung by a bee since childhood.  The pain from a bee sting gets worse before it gets better.  I went inside and grabbed ice and called my mother in law who is a nurse to ask her what else to do.  Apparently ice and baking soda is the magic cure.  I wrapped a paper towel around iced and used a scarf to keep it there and after my allotted time of 30 minutes to make sure I don't have a reaction I mowed the yard.

I am not pleased with flying animals.  Birds no longer intrigue me with their beautiful flight.  I want to learn how to shoot them out of the air.  That is where I'm at with birds.  Today my oldest daughter and I went to run some errands.  When we got home my yard was full of birds.  I told her to run over them.  She didn't.  She has never been pooed on.  I may get over it...I may not.

As far as bees go.  I've decided to eat a lot of honey.  I may eat honey every single day for the rest of my life.  Those bees now work for me.  I keep thinking of the Bee Movie and how shocked the bee was that humans eat all of their honey.  Oh and my husband has instructions to take care of those hives and the bees that live in them.  I am not going be scared to get in my shed.

These flying creatures apparently have a problem with me.  I used to be so enamored with their flight.  I used to have dreams of flying.  Now I only want to fly in an airplane.  I don't get pooed on in airplanes.  I don't get stung on the back of the neck near vital parts on airplanes.

These instances have confirmed what I have always known about myself.  I'm not outdoorsy.  I will never find pleasure in camping.  I don't want to go bird watching.  I don't want to take up bee keeping.  That is for the birds.  (pun intended)  No.  No.  No.  Those flying creatures cannot be trusted.  They serve a purpose I'm sure.  I am pretty sure their purpose is  not to poo on my eye or sting me on the back of the neck!  When I asked my mother about the birds and the bees as a teenager do you know what she told me?  Bees sting and birds poo on cars.  Well she got it partly right.  Apparently they like eyes too.

Tomorrow I am spending the day outside at a flee market.  I'm thinking of wearing a scarf and taking an umbrella.  Well what you do if they pooed on you?

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Want to Live on Vacation

My family and I just got back from a much anticipated vacation.  I am not going to lie here.  I love palm trees.  Palm trees are fantastic.  Sand is lovely, and I even like Mickey Mouse and all sorts of things at Universal.  I fantasize about selling everything we own and moving to Florida.  The idea of it both excites and terrifies me.  It is crazy to think of leaving everything we know and going somewhere else.  It is especially appealing to me when we come home from vacation.

When we go on vacation, which isn't every year I might add, we try to fit in as much as possible.  We have a great time and then we come home.  This is the thing with vacation and I think it is because they have experienced vacation.  I don't recall ever going on vacation as a child with my mother.  I have seen pictures of going to Florida when I was too young to remember.  When we take our children on vacation you can see the joy on their faces.  They love it.  They are so excited that they forget to argue... mostly.  Everyone gets along and my husband and I are rock stars.  We are fantastic because we have successfully entertained them and for that we are treated as the great parents we always wished we were.

We then come home and the mystery and illusion are gone.  I am not sure if the veil of illusion is on when we are on vacation or when we are off of vacation.  Either way, when we get home our rock star status is null and void.  Once again we are the enemy.  Maybe that is why I like palm trees so much.  Where the palm trees are lies my rock star status.  When we get home we become the Devo of their world and Whip It is getting old.  They want us to either come up with another hit or get going.  The only problem is that there aren't new hits coming.  We are one hit wonders at this time with no prospects of a hit for the foreseeable future.  We can't live on vacation.  None of the other vacations count as they are in the past and now that this one is over they no longer have one to look forward to.  They can't see six years into the future. 

I figured out today that I know what I want to be when I grow up.  I want to be on vacation.  I want to live on vacation.  Who doesn't?  We don't cook, someone comes and cleans our room, and there isn't an opportunity to get bored.  Vacation doesn't require make-up on and hair done.  You don't have to worry about embarrassing yourself because you don't know anyone there.  Who cares if you sing along to the music?  I'll tell you who.  Not me!  When we go on vacation I live in baseball hats.  If I put make-up on it is to protect my skin from the sun.  (Speaking of the sun, I always fail at the reapply.  We get the sunscreen on one time, never reapply, and I get fried.)  Vacation is where it is at.  That's where I want to live.  People like me there.  My family thinks I'm great.  My new friends Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter think I'm fantastic.  We have harmony on vacation.

Alas we cannot live on vacation forever.  As glorious as it sounds apparently responsibility forbids it.  Of the people in this house, as cranky as the girls are when they get home, I hate it even more.  I have the hardest time coming home and having to be who I am.  On vacation I was fearless.  I rode rides this year I had always been too scared to ride and was giddy when I got off of them.  I tried new things and it was fantastic.  I get home and I dream of going back.  I come home and I hate who I have to become.  I become the "do something that doesn't require a screen" mom, the "ugh I have to cook again" mom, the "I can't do that I'm the mom, I have responsibilities" mom, the "clean your room, I'm not the maid, don't talk like that, don't roll your eyes at me, I saw that, I heard that, what is wrong with you?" mom.  Vacation rocks!  If only...

I'm not sure if we actually moved to paradise if I would still have rock star status.  It is entirely possible that the magic of the palm trees and Mickey Mouse would wear off and I would become the fearful yet responsible boring mother I am when I am here.  That may be what makes it so magical, it only lasts a short time then it is gone.

Until our next adventure...this is the Devo of the house....signing out.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why Wait?

This summer has been the summer of waiting.  In October we hired someone to build a new deck by our pool.  Our old deck had been built by my husband and I close to ten years ago.  It had seen better days especially considering we truly didn't know what we were doing in the first place.  My husband and one of our friends spent a rainy Saturday in October taking apart the old deck and hauling it away.  We then told our deck guy we were ready and we waited.  Apparently the time frame for getting a deck done is nine months.  Had I been a younger gal I would have gotten pregnant and we could have raced to see who got to the finish line first.  I keep joking that I could have given birth in that time frame.

Our Deck was ready for use for our fourth of July party.  The pool heater that we have been waiting to get fixed was not and will not be.  It apparently wasn't the "easy" fix that we had all hoped it would be.  It now must be replaced.  At this point in a rainy Midwestern summer that can wait until next year.  We also waited two weeks for our air conditioner to get fixed.

Now we are waiting to go on vacation.  This summer has been rainy and trying our patience with all of the waiting for things that we had hoped would make this a great summer.  We are more than ever ready to get away for a short time and have a break from waiting.  The wait will be over and the fun will arrive.

In thinking about this summer of waiting it has gotten me thinking about waiting in other areas of life as well.  We wait to meet the right partner to share our lives with.  We wait nine months for a baby (or a deck apparently).  We wait for school to end and our lives to begin.  We wait for vacations.  We wait for seating at restaurants.  We wait in line to ride rides.  We wait for movies.  We wait for books.  We wait.

That is a lot of time waiting for things that some matter and some don't.  I have spent much of my summer frustrated and waiting for things to be accomplished and I could have spent that time in a much better way.  For that I am sorry.  We think when the deck is done we can invite people over.  When the house is clean and close to perfect we can invite people over.  When this show is over we'll do something.

I don't know about you but I'm so sick of waiting.  Waiting is for the birds.  Spending all of your time waiting is a waste of time.  What could you do if you weren't waiting?  Personally the only thing I want to wait for is for Jesus.  Jesus coming is the only thing I can think of that is worth waiting for.  I don't want to spend so much time waiting that I don't spend it living.  You can spend time worrying and waiting for things to change in the world around you or you can be the change you want to see.  It is a choice.  You know what happens when you wait?  Life happens.  Life happens and you miss out.  You miss out on things you could have done and places you could have seen and people you could have spent time with. You know what else?  It's boring.

I have wanted to put some funky color in my hair for years.  I never did because I have daughters who would throw a fit every time I talked about it.  I have wanted some cool plastic framed glasses but everyone else likes the wire frames better on me.  I wanted to try archery just because I wanted to see if I could be like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games or Mia from The Princess Diaries 2.  I talk myself out of doing things because I think I'm too old and I should sit back and not live because it is my children's turn and not mine.  My time has come and gone.  You know what that is?  A big bunch of fear and crap.

Today I had just a few bright red highlights put in my hair.  The eye place ordered the wrong glasses by mistake so I got the plastic frames I had wanted but let myself get talked out of.  This summer my daughter and I went to a garage sale at my friend's house and her husband taught us how to shoot a bow and arrow.  What am I teaching my children if I don't do things because they (and I) think I'm old?  That when you get old you don't get to dream or live?  What kind of message is that?  A bad one.  If I want my children to spend their lives dreaming and chasing their dreams and trying new things I have to be willing to do that myself.  If not the only thing I am teaching them is to give up.

If I truly believe in God and his teachings then I have to believe that even if I can't do something then I can do it with his help.  Philippians 4:13 says "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."  That is more than just a saying to put on a t-shirt.  It's factual.  I believe that it applies to everyone who believes in Him.  That's me.  That's you.  How awesome and reassuring is that when it comes to pursuing the dreams that God has placed in your heart to begin with?

So what are we waiting for.  Waiting is not how we should be spending our lives.  We need to be living them.  Plus apparently I'm middle aged now. I need to get busy before my time really does run out.  So get going already!  In the words of Ferris Beuller "Why are you still here? It's over.  Go!"

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In The Middle

Am I middle-aged?  That is the question that I keep asking myself.  I suppose I had never really given much thought to it.  My oldest daughter is going to be a senior in high school this year.  We have been talking about her senior pictures and making plans to have them taken.  In doing that I found my senior pictures to show her what mine looked like.  I remember the day they were taken very clearly.  It doesn't seem that long ago and yet I am being reminded of my age frequently.

I received a phone call in June confirming an eye doctor appointment.  When the phone rang I was home.  I was just unable to locate the phone until after they left their message.  I called them right back to find out who the appointment was for.  I have gone to the eye doctor every two years forever.  My children go every year.  I went to the eye doctor last year so it didn't occur to me that the appointment was for me.  The appointment was for me.

I went for my appointment thinking that it was a big waste of time as I had just been there last year.  The girl who took me back for the pre-test even talked me into having a picture taken of the back of my eyes because they can tell all sorts of things from that.  I figured I should make it worth my while for going so I didn't complain much.  I joked with the girl and I told her that if anything was wrong it would be the left eye's fault because that one was the trouble maker.

The doctor comes in and reviews my chart and asks me questions.  Now keep in mind my doctor noticed that I was approaching a big birthday last year and was just sure that I may have problems with reading close up.  I didn't, I see fine up close.  This year he makes note of my age and again asks me how I am seeing up close to read.  I assure him that I am fine in that department.  He insists on making sure and is again surprised that I have "incredible focus."  His words not mine.  I did however need new glasses at the end of the exam which I had not anticipated at all.  It seems my astigmatism shifted which meant new glasses for me.

I have teenage daughters that pride themselves in letting me know exactly how old I am.  They love telling me I am getting old.  I usually chalk that up to them being teenagers and teenagers live to irritate their parents.  Plus I think it is fun to sing along to music in public which embarrasses them so I figure it's a trade off.

As we are looking at my senior pictures (once I get past the big eighties hair) I notice how thin I was.  I then notice just how young I looked and how my parts were in the right places.  When I look in the mirror a lot of the time I see my mother.  I am no longer the thin young girl I once was.  I am no longer the girl who didn't understand the importance of a push up bra.  Nothing had fallen yet in that picture.  I had my natural hair color in the picture which was nice because I had forgotten what my natural hair color was.

I took note of all of the things about me that had changed and I looked at my daughter who is getting ready for these pictures.  The pictures that I remember having taken as if it were just last week and that is when it occurred to me that this may be what middle-aged is.  I'm in the middle.  I'm no longer that young fresh faced girl and I am not yet the older woman whose children are all grown and gone and waiting for grandchildren.  This is the middle.  The place where I don't know if I am too old to pursue dreams and ideas because it is my children's turn or if I can still dream and go and do.  The middle is weird.  I was an only child.  The only experience I have with middle is by watching my own middle child juggle her place in the middle.

But middle aged?   Somewhere between acne cream and wrinkle cream I've arrived in the middle.  My baby of the family is using acne cream and noticed all my "potions" as I was washing my own face one night.  He asked me if I was getting acne too.  I told him no I'm getting wrinkles.  We are both trying to prevent the inevitable from being obvious.  I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do in the middle, but as I look around at the people I'm in the middle of I can't think of a better place to be.