Month: May 2015

Let’s Get Our Glamor On

Growing up, playing “pretend” was one of my favorite past times. I used to play school and work and doctor and restaurant. I’d pretend to be an actress, a singer, a mommy or a nurse.

I used to walk up and down the sidewalk in front of my house in white stiletto heels I had asked for as a present one year (withhold judgement, I was nine) “lining up my class before the bell rang” while my sister waited inside for school to begin. We would spend hours “getting ready,” with clothes from my mom’s closet, to play work. Wearing my turquoise rimmed fake glasses, I would change my last name to the name of whatever boy I liked at the time, and I could file forms and write cursive like any good worker must do. My friend, Hope, and I would make commercials and do photo-shoots from sun up to sun down. Give me a Saturday afternoon, and I could set up a whole house under the big tree in the front yard with all my toys and dolls and stuffed animals. It didn’t matter what I was playing, the world I lived in was just…perfect.

And then… I grew up.

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That first real job: It didn’t go anything like all those pretend jobs went in my head. You mean I don’t get summers off anymore but instead I have 10 “vacation” days a year?

Marriage: Getting used to living with roommates was one thing, getting used to living with a husband…a completely different story. On top of that, transitioning into a healthy marriage would have been hard enough, but then figuring out how to navigate and eventually leave an unhealthy one? I didn’t play that when I was nine.

Having a baby: Perhaps the single most difficult transition of my life thus far. I’m pretty sure “how do I give her back” crossed my mind 9,287 times during her first two weeks of life, the poor thing. And she was an easy kid…except that she didn’t sleep. No matter how hard I try, there is just no amount of words that can adequately describe the level of sleep deprivation and exhaustion of a new mom. Totally didn’t see that one coming either. Quick note to the new moms: It does get easier, I promise. Don’t make a decision of whether or not to give them back until at least the first two weeks have passed.

Turns out, this life, real life isn’t at all what I thought. Spoiler alert: No stage or age or phase is perfect, and no amount of striving will make it so. Married life isn’t always roses and romance any more than single life is always care-free and fancy fun. Having children doesn’t mean every day you have happy, content babies like the pictures they put on ALL the boxes of baby apparatuses. In fact, those days seem to be the exception, not the norm. Being a working parent doesn’t mean you never miss your kiddo, and staying at home doesn’t mean you never get lonely. We can do all the photo cropping and make all the filter adjustments we want, but every single stage is filled with life stuff that can make it feel so…un-glamorous.

And while I started writing with the intent to prove that a glamorous life isn’t possible, I’ve changed my mind half way through. Here’s why:

Glamorous [glam-er-uh s]: Charmingly or fascinatingly attractive, especially in a mysterious or magical way. Full of excitement, adventure, and unusual activity.

 Well, how ‘bout them apples. That definition both defines my life today and where I’m striving for my life to be tomorrow. Is it flawless? No. Pain-free? Not at all. Challenging? At times. Perfect? Perfectly mine, yes. However, even in the midst of all the life stuff, it turns out my life is pretty darn glamorous. It’s charming and magical and full of excitement, adventure and – thanks to the four year-old – it’s full of unusual activity.

And here’s the thing. I bet yours is, too.

While there is no doubt, the life I have is not the life of my 10 year-old imagination, THANK GOD! It’s better and richer and a heck of a lot more whimsical. I’ve also realized that the more intentional I become, the better it gets. I have been entrusted to raise a little girl who melts my heart in new ways everyday. I get to call the best people, friends. I’ve stepped right smack in the middle of amazing experiences to behold. Most days I feel like I’m on the ride of my life and it’s all I can do to hang on. Some days I’m hands in the air having a great time and other days I’m clinging on to the handle bar for dear life. I just wouldn’t have it any other way.

Glamor is found when we refuse to let the routine become the mundane. When we look up from our phones long enough to watch the sunset. When we kick off our shoes and walk barefoot through the grass or go down the slide at the park with our kids. When we choose to be grateful for our own season, while looking forward to the next. When we breathe deep and take a different path and play in the rain.

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Like me, I’m sure that not all of the pieces of your life have been put together in the way you imagined. But life certainly can be filled with adventure and excitement and love.

Whaddya say, friends, let’s get our glamor on!

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Grow Your Own Way

We spent some time recently on Washington’s San Juan Islands. For a couple days, we poked around the sleepy island with generous, kind friends who call the island home for part of the year. We paddled in and out of a quiet bay as sea otters swam next to us. We roasted marshmallows until they became mini flaming comets at the end of our sticks. Adellyn played her little heart out and become one with her inner nature-girl self, picking up bugs and searching for lost treasure, while I took some time to exhale.

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It was Sunday. The kids were occupied and I found a few minutes to sneak off to soak up the quiet on the back deck and have coffee with my Maker. It was also Mother’s Day, and I was reflecting upon the journey called motherhood. I was thanking God for my beautiful, bubbly, bright little girl that He’s entrusted me to raise, and for the opportunity to be a mom, no matter how hard or trying or long some of the days or seasons can feel. I was also thinking about all of the things I want to teach my little girl as she grows.

And it was then when I looked up and saw this:

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There, just off the deck was a little collection of trees, a “forestette,” if you will. The view was gorgeous and peaceful and wouldn’t have been the same if just one of those trees was missing. However, in the midst of the forestette, one tree was simply not like the others. It was bold and beaming and beautiful. And it was that one tree that decided to grow its own way that glimmered in the sunlight.

And awestruck over the view, I was also awestruck over the analogy literally right before my eyes. Never before have I seen so clearly how beautiful bold independence can be. Just like this tree, I want to teach my daughter to be bold and brave and unique because there is such beauty there. I want to remember that and I want you to remember that, too.

My life doesn’t fit in any box anymore. For a long time, it bothered me. However, getting out of a box has opened up opportunities and relationships and experiences to be had that never, ever could have happened if I was still in a little box. And I’d actually contend that none of us are ever in a little, perfect box. I’d also take it one step further and say that at our core, most of us don’t want to be in a box anyway.

It’s easy, I get it, to compare ourselves to you name it: the neighbor, the friend, the moms at the playground, the other guys on the team. But man, look at those trees. If we need any reminder how beautiful we each are when we fully embrace us, let the trees speak.

So, let’s embrace our quirks, our hair color, our skin color, our curves. Let’s celebrate you being you and me being me. Let’s cheer on people when they are wholly them – from hitting a home run or spending their days making a house a home. Instead of trying to keep up with Jones’ or the whoever’s, what if we just lived fully present right where we are with our beautiful, quirky selves in the midst of communities of others who are being their beautiful, quirky selves.

There’s a saying about if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound. I say, who the heck cares if the tree falls or not, that one tree, growing its own way has spoken volumes of into my life. It has made a sound alright. And we will too.

Here’s to growing our own way, friends, and teaching our kiddos to do the same.

Up Where The Clouds Are

We were at 36,000 feet, cruising along at a rough 400 miles per hour, when I looked over at the four year old. She sat with her hand resting on the window, quietly peering out at the clouds.FullSizeRender

“Mom, I want to get out here,” she exclaimed. “We’re up where the clouds are! I want to run through them. That would be awesome!”

“That would be awesome,” I replied, hearing chuckles from the passengers behind us.

As we were cruising along, A was overcome for a moment at the awesomeness of the clouds, I found myself enamored with my little girl discovering the world, and that brief, little moment reminded me a lot of life.

Most of us cruise through our lives at speeds that get faster with demands that become greater as we go. There are days where 24 hours doesn’t seem like enough. Where relationships and gadgets and social media handles and calendars and commitments and committees all fight for our attention and make us feel crazy and exhausted and overwhelmed.

Like the days when I make a cup of coffee and leave it sitting on the counter as I walk out the door. (Hate! That!). Or the days when I am answering an email on my computer and interrupt myself to pick up my phone and check the same email account. (What?! Why?! And who does that?!).

And when those things start to happen, I’ve learned that for me, I’ve set the cruise control a bit too fast, and I both need and want to slow down.

And when I slow down – it’s funny, what happens: I notice the little stuff. The small, yet sacred moments that make life rich and meaningful.

Like how magnificent the spring blooms are on the trees. Like how good the sand feels between my toes at the beach. Like how promising sunrises and sunsets are. Like how intentional conversation with good friends can renew my soul. Like how delicious a (free!) chocolate chip cookie tastes. Like how fun it is to climb trees and walk barefoot in the grass. Like how much I enjoy getting lost in a book for an hour. Or how hilarious and innocent children can be. Like how fortunate I am to have a comfortable bed and a soft pillow. Or how I have a job that challenges me mentally and enables me to sufficiently provide for  my daughter. Like how I have clean water, clean air and the choice of food to eat. Like how good it feels to laugh and laugh and laugh. Like how mesmerizing the flicker of a flame can be. Or how a dinner can be more about the conversation and the company than about the food and the dishes. Like how good a hug from a friend can feel.

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If we really stop and think about it, the really, really good parts, the parts of life that make us feel alive and whole and healthy are always in the small stuff. Life is just busy and fast, and sometimes, there is just no getting around it.

But as we cruise along at 36,000 feet and 400 mph, in the midst of our own busyness, we can choose to pause for a moment and take a minute to look out our own hypothetical window. Because, if we are always too busy for the small stuff, we miss the really, really good stuff…like how majestic it is up where the clouds are.