Saturday, January 29, 2011

Song Lyric Saturday

It's Song Lyric Saturday time. Yep, it's back. I decided not to let my inconsistent self quash it. 

Having been to a wonderful concert tonight, I am reminded of the importance music plays in my life. Music is refreshing to my soul. It's cathartic and restorative. Live music is like manna from heaven. 

So, I'm going to share a favorite lyric from the artist I saw tonight, which is only fitting. Amos Lee is one of the greatest artists on the music scene right now. He's a singer-songwriter with an incredible voice rich with soul and depth. If you've never heard of him, do yourself a favor and check him out. He's totally worth it. 

The following few lines are from Amos Lee's song "Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight." Forgive me if they seem kind of random, as I will do my best to describe what they mean to me. 

But the people on the street,
Out on buses or on feet,
We all got the same blood flow.

When I hear this song, these three obscure lines stand out to me the most. The melody surrounding them is beautiful, but I think it's more than that that speaks to me. In these three lines, Amos reminds me that there is a "human" race. That I'm not an island. That the suburbian bubble I live in where everyone is well clothed and fed is not all that's out there. There's so much more. 

What I glean from these verses is twofold: 
1. It's a reality check that I've got it pretty darn good and I need to remember that and give thanks to the Lord for ALL of it. 
2. It's a reminder that I need to be looking out for my fellow man/woman. We've "all got the same blood flow." Isn't that the truth? We're all brothers and sisters in the end. Children of God. I need to remember not to be so internally focused when there's a world out there that needs more focus. I need to be kind to other people. Give mercy. Extend grace. Shine a light. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Because there's a lost world out there, and it's up to us to share the truth of love and redemption. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More hours in the day ... week ... year?

OK, I know it's not just me. Oh, please, tell me it's not just me. Here's my conundrum:

Am I the ONLY ONE who sees what other moms have time for in their days/lives and wonders how in the world they get it all done and remain sane and somewhat put together? 

I'm really struggling with this one lately. Really. My token answer for most things tends to be that "I don't have time." Why is there a pile on the kitchen counter of Christmas cards? I don't have time to put them away. Why are there four separate piles on the desk of God-knows-what? I don't have time to file it all and decide if I should keep it and where it should go shall I decide to keep it. Why do I have 14 (yes, probably 14) scrapbooks that are blank and just waiting for me to put my little hands on them and create? I don't have time for that stuff. Between the laundry, house, three-year-old tornado, etc., I JUST DON'T HAVE TIME. 

I know my husband's sick of this answer. Frankly, I'm sick of this answer. It seems the more I see people who seem to have an infinite number of more hours in their day, the more it drags me down because I just assume I'm doing something wrong. I'm spending too much time out of the house, I'm on Facebook too much, I'm reading blogs too much, I'm blogging too much, I'm watching too much TV, etc. 

There is an ounce (perhaps more) of truth to this. I have an addictive personality and tend to gravitate toward time-sucking activities. Words With Friends, anybody? Hello! So, I have to own that portion of it. I need to start really examining A) what I do spend my time on and B) what I would rather be spending my time on. 

Let's face it: I'm never going to be one of these "It's 4 p.m. and I've fed the children twice, washed the windows, baked some muffins just because, worked on little Jimmy's ABCs with him, darned my husband's socks, and sewed new curtains for the living room just in time to begin my gourmet dinner of ham, potatoes, and homemade bread with bananas foster for dessert." Ehhh. Ain't gonna happen. And that's not really what I'm looking for anyway. 

I want to have more control over my time. Isn't that paradoxical? I do have control over my time. I really do. Ouch. That stung. Telling myself that hurt. You know why? Because it puts the responsibility all on me.  

I need to bring this before the Lord, every day. I need to recognize time management as a weakness of mine and ask for the Lord's direction and provision every day. 

It's like when Leonardo DiCaprio says in Titanic, "You learn to take life as it comes at you, to make each day count." I want to make each day count. Because, in the end, I'm not going to reminisce about how many friends I had on Facebook or how many years I watched a particular TV show, that will all be dust in the wind. I will reminisce about the people closest to me, the experiences that shaped me, and the winding path the Lord took me down. 

I want to recapture what is mine: my time. Here's to making it count! 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today, we celebrate ...


Yes, that's right. You didn't read it wrong. I said poop. My almost three-year-old did his first #2 on the potty today. All by himself. Then he ran to tell me about it. I haven't been so proud or felt so accomplished since I birthed the child! 

It's a relief for me, but it's also bittersweet. Seeing him run around in big boy underwear is just a sign that he's growing up all too quickly. Time is flying by, and it seems like the harder I pray for it to stand still, the more rapidly it moves. I'm reminded of a quote from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Isn't that so true? I don't want to miss any part of life. I want to savor every moment, the sweet and the sour. It all adds up to a work of beauty that I hope to look upon in my old age (hopefully very old age) and relish. 

Take a moment today to savor life. Dance like a fool in your living room to a great tune. Stop and smell some beautiful flowers outside. Smile at a stranger. Share God's love. We all need it. 

The Lord works in mysterious ways. If I can get all of this from a simple #2, you can find something today worth reveling in as well. 

Miss K

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Drilling down

It's been a while since my last post. Forgive me, for I've been doing a lot of thinking (which I'm guilty of too often) and soul-searching. Many things have happened recently that have jarred me and turned my proverbial snow globe upside down and shaken it up. Fortunately, this was just what I needed and now that the snow has settled, I'm feeling ready to press on to my goals.

I came to a huge realization after I had some time to mull over my last post. I recalled that I am not me apart from God. God created me. He made me who I am, with every nuance and peccadillo. Feel free to utter "Duh!" right now because I already duh'd myself. Sometimes the simplest things are right in front of our eyes. 

By holding myself hostage to self-loathing and despair, I was telling God, "You did something wrong when you made me." "I'm a mistake." Don't you know that's an insult to God? How dare I tell my God, my Creator, that He made a mistake when he made me who I am? Whoa! I'm just unbelievably thankful that He's a forgiving God because that is not a slight mistake. It's like a slap in the face. And I need to take it back. Immediately.

You see, God made me in His image. He made me just the way I should be and uniquely from everyone else on this planet. The truth is, because I have not taken care of myself the way the Lord has commanded me to do, I am reaping the pitfalls of my lack of care. It says clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

I am being disobedient. Ouch. Perhaps that's why I hit the rough patch I did. To come to a realization that I need to change. I need to get back to honoring God and treating my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, instead of as a landfill. 

With that, I need to recognize that I cannot do it by myself. I need the Lord's help. I need his guidance to get me back on track. Why is it so hard for us women to admit we need help? Oh boy, does pride come before a fall! 

I've been privy to situations recently that are coming across to me as gentle nudges from the Lord that this life is a gift and to treat it with care. Tomorrow is not promised. Things can change in an instant. I need to make the best use of my time while it's here. No more messing around; it's time to get to business. 

If anyone reading this has felt or feels the same way and needs a reminder that they are a unique creature, here's one of my favorite pieces that lives on my refrigerator as a reminder.

Just think, 
you're here not by chance, 
but by God's choosing. 
His hand formed you 
and made you the person you are. 
He compares you to no one else. 
You are one of a kind. 
You lack nothing 
that His grace can't give you. 
He has allowed you to be here 
at this time in history 
to fulfill His special purpose 
for this generation. 
~Roy Lessin

Miss K

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time to clear out some soul clutter

I don't know what it is about the waning evening hours that beckons me to bare my soul via this blog, but it is so and thus I must. 

I've decided I want to be the person I want to be in 2011. How trite, right? Seriously though, as contrived as it sounds, I want to be a me that I am proud of and that I love. Right now, that's a harsh reality I'm settling into. 

I've hit this stride in the last year or so of not loving myself. I tire of my appearance when I dare pass a mirror, I loathe these extra 30 some-odd pounds I can't seem to shake, and I feel like a hamster caught in a wheel, just running my life away. 

This sounds so spoiled brattish, no? To me, it does. You see, I have no problems to speak of. I have a healthy son who begs my attention at every breath, a wonderful, God-given husband who takes all of me and somehow manages to smile, the ability to stay home with my child, and a well-provided-for life that affords me luxuries many in this country don't have. What in the world do I have to be sad about? Yet I am, or at least, was. 

I think I fell into the dreaded vat that many stay-at-home moms do of just losing myself entirely. I became the spit-up dryer, the butt wiper, the chicken-nugget microwaver, the nagger, the yeller, the whiner, the I-don't-have-any-time-to-myself-and-it's-killing-me woman. Ugh! The woman I said I'd never be. Yet here she sits. 

Let me tell you who I used to be. You may be surprised. I used to be a journalist, an editor, a writer, a wordsmith, a ballroom dancer, a volleyball player, a softball player, a poet, a music junkie, a bibliophile, a fashionista, a teacher, an artist, an actress. These are all roles I've had in my life and most, if not all, are dear to me. 

What happened to all of these roles once I became a mom? They stopped. They not only stopped; they screeched to a grinding halt like bad brakes on an '86 Nissan.  It's like I accepted this role of mom from God, with an understanding that that was all I was going to be from then on. Nothing more, nothing less. Note that this is not what God asked of me; this is the limitation I put on myself. 

In the nearly three years since I've become a mom, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on myself. I've realized that abruptly jerking myself out of the workforce and a career that had become every ounce of my being was somewhat shocking. I was filled with excitement at the thought of being a mom, but the only world I truly understood was now a distant memory. 

I understood my career. I was good at it. I could keep up with the guys like the best of them and was well respected for my knowledge and God-given eagle eye for cleaning up manuscripts. It fit me. I thrived as an editor. Deadlines were a rush. Life was fun.

I thought I understood what being a mom was about. I thought, "How hard can it be?" Boy, was I wrong! I recall several times within the first year of my son's life asking myself out loud, "Maybe I'm the wrong girl for this?" I definitely felt at many times that my son got the short end of the stick. 

I thought if I loved him, fed him, changed him, that everything else would fall into place. Naivete at its best. I was now raising a child (which I'm highly surprised the Lord felt me fit to do) and suddenly responsible for managing the household as well. What did I get myself into?

I like a good challenge, but this challenge has been like no other. I am so thankful for it though, and wouldn't trade it for anything. I have been forced to take a hard look at myself many times over these last three years and evaluate what I see, like it or not. I have made some improvements and have learned a few of the ropes, but there are mountains and mountains of learning yet to come. Being a mother has been a soul-searching and -stretching like nothing I've ever experienced. Incredibly painful at times, but overly blissful at others.

It's taken me some time, but I've realized that I can be all that I want to be and still be a mother. My son won't be missing out if I take care of myself, if I take a bubble bath once in a while or hit the gym and leave him in day care. If anything, my son will be all the better for it. What's the good of devoting myself to my son if I only become resentful at said devotion because I'm not allowing myself the time to be my own person? 

I need to make changes. Big ones. I need to make them for me, but I also need to make them for my husband and my son. I am my son's example of a woman. I want him to see me and know that women are strong, beautiful, healthy, fulfilled, and self-confident. Right now, I fear he sees in me that women are tired, unhealthy, sad, unhappy, and discontent. 

I am going to make great strides in 2011. I'll be posting my goals, for the purposes of sharing and accountability. I would love it if anyone wants to share with me their thoughts on this subject or personal goals. I believe we can lift one another up in prayer and in life to help each of us reach our potential. 

I'm not the me I want to be just yet, but I'm accepting it and making inroads to get there. 

This is your life. Are you who you want to be?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm alive! And completion of the joy project, a little late

Hey y'all! I'm back. I know (or at least hope) this is exciting for my 10 readers. :) It might have seemed like I dropped off the face of the Earth, but I just had a trip back home to KY, followed by some major sickness that invaded my entire household. Thus, no time or energy for blogging could be found. 

Even though it is already January, I am going to hold to my promise of posting at least 100 joys for the month of December. Just because I didn't post them in a timely manner doesn't mean they didn't happen. Thank the Lord. Since I have, oh, about 88 left to post {sigh}, I'm going to list them in numerical order and try to condense them to one or two sentences so I'm not droning on for hours and hours. 

Here they are, in no particular order of chronology or importance:

13. Airports. I have always loved being in airports. They're so exciting. People coming, people going. Busyness all around and trips abounding.
14. Free cookies (for my son). He got a free cookie at the mall because the lady thought he was so cute. That makes me smile.
15. Reminiscing with family and friends. I got a great chance to do this back home and it was much needed. 
16. Watching little man pull his own suitcase through the airport. He's growing up. It's bittersweet.
17. Cooking with my brother. We've connected on this level for the first time. Totally cool.
18. Getting to spend an evening with my Mamaw Sue (that's my grandma for you who don't speak Southern). The one-on-one time was wonderful and not something we get often.
19. Saying "Merry Christmas" to little man on Christmas night and hearing back, "Merry Christmas to you." It melted my heart.
20. Hearing: "Mama?" Me, "Yes, dear." Little man: "I love you." This happens several times a day and I relish each and every time.
21. Crazy little Clarabelle, our new Great Dane puppy! She's already smart as a whip and very loving. She'll be a great best friend for the little guy.
22. Bjork. Because I'm listening to her right now as I type this. She is amazing. (I cheated.)
23. My hubs buying me tickets to West Side Story for my birthday and going with me. Love.
24. Seeing the hubs after being gone a week. I sure missed that face.
25. Watching the little man play with his cousins, which only happens once or twice a year. Good times that he deserves and will hopefully have many more of.
26. Laughing. A lot. Like pee-your-pants laughing. I do it often amidst family. It's nice.
27. Christmas ornaments. Weird, right? Not really. Many of our ornaments have sentimental value and are very old so putting them up and taking them down is full of memories.
28. The angel atop our Christmas tree. We've had her since we lived in Guam when I was in eighth grade. One of the most trying moves of my life, but one of the most beneficial.
29. The Talking Heads. They're so original. Again, listening to them now and cheating again.
30. Getting Christmas cards. I love getting mail and love seeing how families change and grow over the years. I keep them ... all of them.
31. Christmas with my in-laws. We had a good time. Always do. We're blessed for that.
32. A clerk played a rousing game of peek-a-boo with my son at the airport. She was awesome for doing that; it made his day.
33. A butterfly necklace where its wings are mine and my son's birth stones I got as a Christmas gift from my parents. I'll treasure it always.
34. MOPS and all the friendships/support it has brought. 
35. Christmas movies. Need I say more? Definitely a highlight of the season. Two of my particular favorites are White Christmas and Holiday Inn. Big, big fan of the Bing man. 
36. Signing up for ballet classes with some friends. Holla! 
37. Ugly Christmas sweaters. We have a party every year and they just keep getting better. 
38. The abundance of University of Kentucky merchandise I can get my hands on in Kentucky. I love my Cats! 
39. Chongs. If you're not from or have never been to my hometown, you won't understand. Let's just say the best Chinese food in the United States. Seriously. 
40. Singing "Frosty the Snowman" and "Jingle Bells" with the little man. We're a mean duet.
41. Getting to spend A LOT of time at home during Christmas and New Year's due to us all being ill. Another bad thing God turned into good. 
42. Making Christmas Story cookies with the little man. We're baking buddies. I ice, he sprinkles. That's how we do it.
43. Little man being nothing short of perfect on both our flights, both ways, despite some turbulence that almost made me need a diaper change. Mama was happy she didn't have to resort to those little bottles of comfort. 
44. Chris LeDoux. RIP Chris. A cowboy songwriter unmatched in talent and depth. 
45. Seeing little man laugh as my dad threw snowballs at the storm door. He loved it.
46. Babies! We have several babies in our circle of friends right now, and it's glorious! Can you tell my clock's ticking?
47. My Aunt Karla's chicken dressing. It's the bomb. I got my fill at Christmas. 
48. Our annual care package of candy that my mom, aunt, and grandma make and send to us. It's filled with love and all kinds of good things.
49. Disneyland! It's always magical, but it's somehow even more magical at Christmas, if that's possible. 
50. Sharing a birthday with my husband's grandma. I couldn't ask for a better birthday partner. Oh, and Britney Spears. She and I also share maiden names. Weird, huh?
51. Hawaiian shirts on my little man. He reminds me so much of his father when he's wearing one.
52. Entertaining friends. I love hosting, cooking, baking; the whole nine yards. 
53. Cirque du Soleil is bringing a long-term show to Los Angeles. Tickets are a must!
54. Seeing some People of Walmart in person while in Kentucky. Priceless!
55. Riding in my dad's snazzy new Camaro with my brother. It made me feel like we were kids again. 
56. Noticing "I heart JCPenny" written on the toilet paper dispenser in JC Penney. Two things here: I can't imagine having no one else to "heart" but JC Penney and if you must heart JC Penney, heart it enough to spell it right. 
57. A musical snowman that actually sang and danced to FloRida's "Low" in Bed Bath & Beyond. Seriously. I'm not joking. I only wish I was. Video will be posted for proof.
58. My dad digging out and cleaning up my brothers' Matchbox cars for little man to play with. Such a sweet gesture.
59. My husband getting an acoustic guitar for Christmas because now I get to learn to play it, too.
60. Being able to openly celebrate Christmas in a country where we're free and safe to do so.
61. Hearing my son sing along to my cell ringtone, "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley. It's too cute. He insists I let it play instead of answering the phone.
62. My son's mealtime prayer, and the fact that he NEVER forgets to say it. I could learn a thing or two from him.
63. The opportunity to have some heart-to-heart conversations with one of my brothers. It's refreshing that we've come to this point being so far apart in age.
64. The Pajama Program. If you've not heard of it, check it out. It's a very easy way to help.
65. Time for personal reflection and growth. 
66. The uncomfortable situations that cause personal reflection and growth. 
67. The opportunity to be a better me. The understanding that my life is not comprised of one song, but an entire songbook that I can improve as time goes by.
68. Christmas presents. Who doesn't like getting presents? I like giving them just as much though, and wait with baited breath to see that people like what I chose for them.
69. The income with which to exchange gifts and bless one another.
70. My husband's job, albeit sometimes very exhausting. The Lord has blessed us heavily.
71. The opportunity to fly and visit family. In this economy, that's not a luxury many people can still afford. 
72. Mine and my family's health. Being sick during the holidays was a great reminder that we generally enjoy good health and are tremendously blessed for that.
73. Spandex pants! Hee hee. This trend of spandex jeans/leggings really came in handy during this Christmas season with all the good eatin' around!
74. Big, baggy tunic sweaters and shirts are not to be outdone by jeggings. They help conceal that oh-so-gross dunlap. 
75. Playing Potato Heads (or "Toda Heads," as he calls them) with the little man. That's quality time right there.
76. Watching Clarabelle and the little man frolic together in the grass. She'll soon be too big for him to wrestle with, so we're getting as much in while we can. 
77. New births. It's a miracle each time God breathes life into a little one and we've been blessed to witness so many lately!
78. My home. Being away from it for a week reminded me that it's my haven, my place of comfort and rest. 
79. Kentucky basketball! I bleed blue and love this time of year for all the basketball I get to watch with my two guys. No haters allowed. Really. I will cut you.
80. Witnessing my little guy command Mamaw Sue to "swish" in the mall and her actually doing some weird, very white dance move with her feet. It's now known as the "swish" and we've all been made to do it. My dad was especially good at it. ;) 
81. The new Footloose knee slide little man has taken to doing down the hall. I don't know where he got it, but he's in love with it. It's so hot right now.
82. Brainstorming for little man's third birthday. I can't believe he's going to be 3! Where did my baby go?
83. The view from my kitchen window. It frames the majestic, snow-capped mountains. Now, to get up there for some snowboarding would bring more joy!
84. My marriage. As we speed toward 10 years of marriage, there's not a thing I would change. It's only getting better. Someone should pinch me.
85. The smell of lavender. It's my favorite scent. It calms me like no other.
86. Taking pictures. I'm still learning about my fancy schmancy camera, but I love it. Maybe a class is in my future.
87. Socks! It's strange. I get that. Every year, I look forward to winter so I can wear all kinds of funky, cute socks. It's the little things, right?
88. Hot chocolate. It's one of my favorite indulgences during winter. It's better with milk.
89. Peppermint ice cream. Yum! A December delicacy for sure. 
90. Christmas light cruising with my little family. I like sparkly things and cozy car rides.
91. Seeing my husband cuddle a friend's little girl and her falling asleep in his arms. A Daddy's always a Daddy, you know.
92. Christmas movie date night with the hubs. Good friends, good cheer, and one really cheesy made-for-TV movie that I now HAVE to see the end of because I'm curious like that.
93. It's A Wonderful Life on the big screen at our favorite little old theater by the beach. I cried like a baby. Gets me every time. 
94. iTunes gift cards! I love buying new music and am usually too cheap to buy it for myself.
95. Growth and strength in personal relationships.
96. Goals. This is the first year I'm actually excited about setting goals and seeing them through. Carpe diem!
97. Life. Specifically: my life. I wouldn't trade it. Not for nothing. Not for nohow.
98. Another year passed. Laugh lines that are a little deeper, a heart that's a little broader, and a memory that tries to hold all it's seen and tasted. 
99. A New Year! Another year in this life: to be a wife, mother, friend, and a light for Christ.
100. The birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

God bless you all in this new year! May it be full of bountiful blessings, love, and joy!

Miss K