Monthly Archives: August 2010

Club Awesome List for August 28, 2010: Barking dogs, Smiling Kids, and Pickles

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Weeeeellllllll, I have not written a club awesome list for over 2, maybe 3, weeks… I have completely fallen off the wagon. I still write occasional daily lists in the mornings, but altogether am not on the gratitiude kick I sermonized about a few weeks ago. I have plenty of excuses: school started, I went out of town, we have had really hot weather, the dog barks a lot these days, my back hurts, and the dryer makes an annoying sound these days that makes me think it is quitting on me. Whatever, I need to do better!

I am thankful this week for:
1. School started, and my kids have regular routines again so I don’t feel guilty about going to work any more.

2. My kids like their regular routine, and they like me better these days too! I can tell, because they are smiling more often and not hiding from me in the basement (well not as much, anyway).

3. I have a new quote that I am thinking about: “Go the way the horse is galloping” from my friend Diane… I am taking it to mean that I don’t need to and probably should not try to change the direction of someone who is hell-bent on their attitude. Kind of like the “Live and let live” quote from Alanon. I can let the horse take off in the direction it needs to if it is at a full gallop. Later, when it loses some of its momentum and is walking perhaps a little slower I can check if maybe it will consider a slight change of course. Think about it- when was the last time you were on a galloping horse? Holding on was all I could do (and laugh with the thrill of it). Then when it slowed down I had a chance to find the trail and coax her back over to it.

4. I was able to help 2 frieds in their job searches this week. That helps me have gratitude at my job and to keep on sticking with it on Thursday afternoons at 1:30 when I wish it were Friday because my brain is all used up and won’t stay connected to my body any more. I think I ate 8 mini Snickers this Thursday afternoon just trying to get my chair to stay connected to my legs.

5. The dog barks because he is protecting me, not because he is a pain in the butt. I have never felt afraid with him running with me or sleeping in my house. I am lucky to have an over-protective dog.

6. I used cash and did not debt this week. We will be eating some cheap food until payday, but this system feels much better, and more peaceful. And anyway, peanut butter goes well with spaghetti noodles and pickles…

7. My friend Anna came up with the title of three naming convention I am using lately. Awesome idea, Anna!

Transgressions, Pikes Peak, and the Lyrics

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As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

If God has already forgiven me my sins, and God is a little brighter than I am, why in the world do I not forgive myself my sins?

I was thinking the other early morning about how much I wanted someone special from my past to forgive me for some specific errors I made in our relationship. You know what came next: I felt awful, unworthy, and pretty stupid. Then, like a mud slide, other mistakes and other people came slipping in to the picture and I had a mountain of regret to get past just to find my toothbrush.

In response, I did the most natural thing. I ran 5 miles while berating myself for being “so stupid”, for not thinking things through clearly enough, for being distracted, for prioritizing incorrectly, for saying things without thinking, for hurting feelings, for not showing up wiht love… The mountain had turned to Pikes Peak and I had to free-climb it to get to the kitchen for breakfast. This made breathing difficult while pouring cereal for the kids.

Finally, I remembered… I ran back to my room, got on my knees, and loudly asked God to PLEASE SHOW UP and HELP ME OUT HERE! I am not always kind and courteous to God…

Next, I muddled through the hours and let them pass in a daze of half-belief in the Help on its way. A few hours later, it dawned on me- that guy was not the problem, and my specific mistakes were not the problem. I am a human, I have human qualities, and I need to accept that and work to genuinely learn from them so I don’t repeat them. But- it doesn’t matter what the guy from my past thinks of me. God already forgave me when I asked months ago, and I am in my own way. Really now all I needed to do was forgive myself and…

And what?! Forgiving ourselves is the hardest piece! So, that is where I am now, praying that God will help me to forgive myself. Every now and then I feel waves of forgiveness. Then, I pick up the “Anne is Crappy” banner and the wave of self-love seems rather thin and filmy. I will keep at it.

God- I am human, I made mistakes with the guy. Please help me to forgive myself those mistakes, learn from them, and move forward to better behavior. Please help me to love myself the way you love me. I AM worthy of my own forgiveness. Thanks for being here in this ugly place with me. Do for me what I can not do for myself.

Then, I think about how far the east is from the west and what a shining jewel of a gift that is.

Casting Crowns: East to West

Here I am Lord and I’m drowning
In your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don’t want to end up where you found me
And it echoes in my mind
Keeps me awake tonight

I know you’ve cast my sins as far
As the East is from the West
And I stand before you now
As though I’ve never sinned but today
I feel like I’m just one mistake away
From you leaving me this way

Jesus can you show me
Just how far the East is from the West
Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scar[r]ed hand to the other

I start the day the war begins
Endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again
Your [T]ruth is drowned out by the storm I’m in
Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away
From you leaving me this way

Jesus can you show me
Just how far the East is from the West
Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scar[r]ed hand to the other

I know you’ve washed me white
Turned my darkness into light
I need your peace to get me through
To get me through this night
I can’t live by what I feel
But by the truth your word reveals
I’m not holding on to you
But you’re holding on to me
You’re holding on to me

Jesus, you know just how far
The East is from the West
I don’t have to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
(The arms of your mercy I find rest)
Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scar[r]ed hand to the other(x2)

(Just how far, the East is from the West) (x3)

From one scarred hand to the other

Day 3 through the End Lodging, Eating, and Digesting

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A Journey of 1000 miles begins with 4 trips to the ATM. Truly! I was so frazzled from packing, laundry, working, laundry, packing, that I couldn’t figure out how much money I needed, couldn’t get enough out of the ATM, and THEN, at the last minute decided I took too much out and needed to put some back in. I was headed to the Wisconsin Northwoods, and ATMs are VERY few and far between. So I went to the ATM 4 times the day before we left on our road trip. I also bought enough cheetohs and chips and bubble gum to feed an entire 2nd grade classroom.

The lodging dilemma at our destination begins in confusion and ends in confusion. I had vowed I would no longer sleep at my parents’ home in Wisconsin (for various misfunctional reasons). But that just was not possible. Father-in-laws got sick, sisters got busy, bank accounts dwindled, and there I was sleeping on my parents’ hide-a-bed, which every over-40 child hopes never to do again. But we do. We all do it. Because if we miss 4th of July at the lake, God will strike us down and we will have single-handedly ruined the family reunion by not showing up.

John 10:10 – I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

But that verse is not meant to apply to septic tanks. My parents’ home sleeps 15 in various beds and couches. We jammed in 8 grown digestive systems, 6 international visitors with really high cleanliness standards and 5 children. All in a home with 3 toilets and 2 showers. Luckily, my American children hardly ever bathed; they took it for the team.

It is a tricky thing to eat 12 3-course dinners in a row with a group of 20 for one who prefers time alone for about 25 minutes a day to recharge her batteries. She ends up hiding in corners blogging while they discuss the fish that got away. She wakes at 3:30 am to sit in peace and quiet and wonder how the hell she turned up on the hide-a bed. She drinks too much on the 4th of July because she is terrified to be stuck inside the house with the houseful and a small-town bar with old friends and kids jacked up on sugar from 2 parades in one day seems easier to handle than family. She loves her family, and enjoys being with them, but the constant togetherness…

The trip was actually a very good one. Scenes were had, feelings were hurt, grown people cried, fish hooks ended up in the wrong places, but healing also occurred and relationships were takento the next level. To write more about the trip would require many many more pages of blog, and school starts next week. So we all move onward!

Road Trip Day 2 Sleeping Arrangements

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Well, it felt like the 2nd day of the road trip. It was actually the same day. But because I was up so late the night before packing the car, and then up early to try to put the totally insane bike rack and bikes on the back of the wagon (I decided I won’t blog about that twisted piece of metal and tie-downs. Just know that the bike rack situation almost gave me an ulcer, because it bounced up and down on my bumper and all I could imagine was a bike falling off of it, despite all the straps and tie downs, and killing families in mini-vans behind us as the bike flew into traffic).

Anyway, we found the retainers in the dirt, sanitized them (?) at a Love’s truck stop, ate Subway for dinner, and kept burning pavement for 8 more hours, when yet another miracle occurred. I happened to find an old Disney music CD, and we were all 3 delerious enough to belt out the tunes we had memorized 10 years ago and not listened to in at least 5. I might be PMSing (or just totally neurotic, as close friends are happy to remind me), but it still brings a lump to my throat just remembering that hour of the trip.

An hour later, my son was accusing us of being “hobos”, and that pretty much killed the moment. You see, I had reached the point of exhaustion. It was 11 pm, and what would you have done? Really?! Would you have stopped in a sweet little Iowa town, 300 miles from your destination, and slept in a hotel bed with a shower and sink and mattress? I didn’t think so. I would lose too much momentum. So the Gestapo prevailed, and we drove to a rest area. After all, it is a “REST Area”. I wanted to rest. I did not want to have to peel kids out of bed at 6 am the next morning. Paying $100 may have had something to do with it too. I just paid the outstanding balance on summer camp, rather than buy a decent trailer hitch and bike rack. But whatever, I digress.

So we pulled in to the Rest Area, and there are 3 things I noticed immediately: 1) lots of semi trucks, a LOT, like about 30, all lined up and only 3 puny little cars. I felt very small; 2) there were lights everywhere, making it seem like broad daylight; and 3) all the semis are running their engines. I felt extremely awkward, not to mention vulnerable, but not so much that I was awake enough to drive or to tell my son to quit calling us “hobos”. We tried wedging the Subaru between trucks, but that was not restful. We tried edging up to the building, but the dang lights were blaring. I ended up finding a half-dark parking spot between the semi line-up and the building.

Oops, unforseen issue… it was SO DANG HOT, at 11 pm at night, on the 25th of June, in Iowa (go figure) that we could not shut the windows of the car. So we left them open. But, it was so DANG HUMID, we all felt like we were honey-dipped, legs sticking together, seats noisy with sweat and just trying to breathe and gasp was difficult. Nothing to do about that, just couldn’t cover up. “Just close your eyes, sweeties. Sweet dreams!” Aggghh, had to ignore the ADDITIONAL vulnerable feelings. It was so weird to place my children in a car with windows rolled down, next to semi trucks, to sleep. I was too tired to figure out if I was being a terrible mom or if this truly was the adventure I had promised them when I informed them that we would not be flying to WI this time.

Five hours later, I woke up and felt actually kind of ok. We had not been murdered or accosted in our sleep. The car was intact. I used the facilities and began driving towards Chicago. The stars went down, the sun came up, and I did a very sincere gratitude prayer that I am not a semi-truck driver. I stuck some pillows in the back window so that I could not see the bikes bouncing in the rear-view mirror, so voila, the bike rack was fixed! When the other 2 hobos woke up, I made them promise not to tell Grandma where we slept.

To Be Continued…

Club Awesome List for August 6, 2010- brownies, vows, and tubes

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As you know, this is my list of gratitude toppers. I am a creature of habit, unless it requires work, and I have to get out of a funked-out brain in order to do it. There are times when I “am just not feeling it” and I struggle to write my list each morning, no matter how good for me it might be!

So, this blog list is my committment to myself that I will do it, and usually it keeps me on the daily path too. I know, sometimes I can only find thanks for really LAME things, like a new pen, but I have to just keep at it…

I hope you are inspired to come up with your list on a regular basis too. I am sure you can come up with better stuff than me!

1. I found some of my mom’s brownies hidden in the back of the freezer this morning.
2. I socialized with girlfriends on 8 of the last 10 days. Amazing, simply amazing soul food. My friends are my compasses; they help me to steer my life in the direction I want to go. The longer I have known them, the more perspective they have, and the truer the compass. Thanks Moodie!

3. My parents have been married for 55 years as of yesterday. I don’t think I will make that milestone in my own life without lots of medical technological advances (and a date next week would help too!). I am impressed with how they have made their lives mesh and the forgiveness they grant each other on a daily if not hourly basis. They may drive me crazy at times, but I really do have a lot to learn from them about granting unconditional love, even when feelings are hurt and expectations are unmet.

4. Boating on Horseshoe Reservoir with friends. I even tubed, haha! Very fun to get to play.

5. I have been able to purge old things and old ideas over the past 2 weeks. And it feels so good! I am no longer hanging on to ideas or things out of fear that I will never be able to replace them. Abundance and love is right here, right now. I just need to wade through the crap to find it occasionally!

dog days, old flip flops, and feasts

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The dog days of summer are dying down, and we are all thinking about school starting, wondering if the childcare we set up for our kiddos will work, how they will adjust to the stepped up expectations in their classrooms, and how to fit in those last tasks- haircuts, school supplies, new clothes, etc.

I was thinking of all the stuff I have accumulated, and I am not just talking about old flip-flops and raggedy kid shorts… I have a lot of old baggage and ideas and self images to clear out of my closets as well.

As I ask God* to help me to be the best mom possible, to prioritize in my life what is best for my kids, and to help me to cover the most important bases of parenting, I want to be sure to get rid of the gunk I have collected over the years that is getting in the way of God’s work on me and God’s blessings on me.

It occurred to me that I need to go through the closets in my mind, and purge some old ideas in order to maximize my own “receptivity” to God. So, here is my list of a few pieces of junk I am giving up:

1. That I don’t deserve God’s blessings because I am defective in some way;

2. That I have to work really really hard to get the good life; and

3. That I deserve to be a single mom who is strapped for cash and stressed out and works too much.

You know that is just the world talking, and the truths are:

1. I am not defective. My family is not defective. Everyone deserves God’s blessings; they are on the table all ready for the feast. I just need to ask to sit down.

2. We do sometimes have to work hard to make things coordinate. The velocity of my life is faster than some folks’, but God is in my life whether I work 40 or 60 hours a week, and if I ask, God will help me figure out my dilemmas. Love and abundance is there for all of us.

3. Nobody deserves to be strapped for cash, sleep deprived, or too stressed to notice life’s blessings. We can ask for help and be willing to be flexible about our expectations (move in with a friend, sell the car, get a roommate, set some different boundaries for kids, etc…).

I have heard that it really does work to physically purge things from our homes and cars that are a) cluttering up our minds, b) causing us to spend more time caring for them than actually using them, and c) provoking emotions when we see them that no longer make us feel good. So, as I bring in all the new spirals and pencils and new sleeping schedule, I am going to try to keep on weeding out old clothes, old books, old furniture, old mementoes, old ideas, old self images, and old doubts about God and what he has to offer me.

I hope you have a great week!

*I actually forgot for a loooong time that I could be praying every morning that God will help me be a good mom; see how easy it is to forget!