And the Oscar goes to…

And the Oscar goes to…

“You don’t want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie.”

It’s a great line from the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Two woman, sitting in their living room,  sobbing as they watch a scene from the classic An Affair to Remember. The one says, “I want to be in love.” The other replies, “You don’t want to be in love, you want to be in love in a move.”

We do, don’t we? We want the romance, the sunsets, the flowers, chocolates and poetry. We want the magic. Most of us not only want to be in love in a movie, we want our lives to be movies; magical moments, fields of dreams, and rainbows ends.

We see our life’s role as just that, a role. And these roles offer us many opportunities to wish we were in a movie. We make grand entrances assured that the entire room is watching us; each entrance is our red carpet moment. There are times life is so bizarre we are looking for the hidden cameras. Yet, other times we wish we could hear the director yell, “Cut! Do it again.”

Life presents us with both drama and comedy opportunities. But unlike the movies there is no screenplay. There doesn’t exist a room full of writers scripting our every word or action. A movie allows for rehearsal time. There’s also make-up, wardrobe, hair and lighting. All coming together to make each scene perfect.

But life is not a movie. Life is full of moments. If we allow ourselves to experience them live, they bring all the magic one will ever need. If we dwell on what our reaction will be in a certain situation, we miss the live performance. In fact, as we waste precious time trying to imagine the script for the future, we are missing what is being acted out around us.

We do have some power in deciding how we will play out the moments in our lives. There are those who have a flair for drama, making every scene their final farewell. Others seem to find the comedy in life and life is an improve.

If we allow it, life can be filled with “what if’s?” Spending our time and energy trying to figure them all out blinds us to the life that is going on around us.

We aren’t living in a movie, we are living life. Which to date, has never been matched in any script.

Barnacles, Ovaries and Miracles.

Barnacles, Ovaries and Miracles.

In a few days I’m going in to have an ugly skin tag removed. It been with me for a while and I really could live with it, but the doc says it can come off, so why not?

At the same time, he is going to remove my uterus and ovaries. Now, one would think that the fear of having the later removed would over shadow an ugly skin tag, but it doesn’t. I have no emotional tie to these organs anymore. The thought of losing the barnacle on the top of my leg makes me want to raise my hands and shout hallelujah!

I don’t take having my organs removed lightly. But this idea of being still, observing life, and listening, has brought me to a place where I can only see the good in the situation.

A few weeks ago my body cried out for help, it came in the form of a doctor who gently pushed me down a path. Along the way, and because of his careful, intentional procedures, questionable cells were found. The solution to rid my body of any further issues, including the potential of cancer, would be to remove the organs. I can’t find the bad in that. It all looks like the making of a miracle, if you ask me.

Miracles still happen. They happen every day. Not the squint your eyes really tight, pray really hard, be really good, and believe with all your might kind of miracles, those usually end up in disappointment.

The Miracles I’m referring to are the quiet prayers that ask for help and guidance. The quiet moments of trusting. The over-heard comment or Facebook post that points you in the right direction, the urging in your gut to ask a question, the person who just happens to be in the right place at the right time – your time, your place. These Miracles happen everyday, all day long.

We miss them cause we’re so busy… or consumed with fear… or angry at the world. Our heads are preoccupied with figuring it out on our own… or obsessed with blame, threatening to sue anyone and everyone who we feel has caused our need for a miracle. We’re so overwhelmed with noise we miss the whisper, the gentle nudging, the missing piece that finishes the puzzle.

I am in awe of this entire medical process. A hysterectomy is now an out-patient surgery. A short two-week recovery. Who knew?

So in a few days I’m going to wake up in a recovery room. I’ll be missing a few organ, but they’ve served me well, it’s okay that they must leave. With their absence goes the potential of a really serious illness, a risk I didn’t even know existed three weeks ago. I’ll most likely be tired, but I’ve got two weeks to rest.

It all seems miraculous to me, every step of the way. Best of all – that old ugly skin tag will be gone and to that I’ll shout –

HAL-LE-LU-JAH!!

Carrots, Bikes and Listening

Carrots, Bikes and Listening

Three weeks ago I found myself down for the count. In fact, I was so down that I was gathering my things to go to the hospital.

I called a nurse hot line and was assured that I wasn’t in any danger but I should call my doctor. I did and they made me an appointment the next morning. After my exam I was told I would be fine but I should schedule a procedure in the next three weeks, just in case.

Jeff and I were at the grocery store a few days later and I had an overwhelming craving for carrots. To my great disappointment, there wasn’t a carrot to be found; its a very busy grocery store. Three days later I was back at the same store and I was excited that the carrot truck had been there. By the time I checked out, I had five bags of carrots; baby, whole, chopped, whatever they had.

Back home, I steamed them, smothered them in butter, sprinkled a little brown sugar and cyanine pepper on them and devoured them. I ate them for breakfast the next day. I ate them as a snack. If asked, I would have eaten them in a box, with a fox, on a train and in the rain.

Carrots? How bizarre. I went to the google to find out what these wonderful creations had to offer. There were many, but the two that jumped off the screen – iron and potassium. The two things my body was depleted of the week before. Go figure…my body knew what it needed to heal.

I’ve recently had a desire to get back on my bike and ride. I live in a beach town where I can ride 25 miles along the Pacific Ocean. Biking here is a delight, not a chore but it still takes the effort to actually get on the bike. After years of no rain, it’s finally the rainy season here in California, so I’ve been diligently riding my stationary bike in the garage till the weather breaks.

Yesterday, I geared up for my first outdoor ride. My hope was to make it five miles, but for some reason I chose the ten mile route.  About two thirds of the way into my ride, I was delighted that I was going to make the entire route and I noticed the knot I carry in my stomach was beginning to release. For the past thirty years, I’ve been trying to convince myself to follow a very strict diet. When I do so, all my digestion issues go away. When I don’t follow it (which is a lot of the time) I get all knotted up. By the time I was home, my tired little tummy was happy.

Hmmm. Carrots and biking, our bodies know what they need – we just have to listen.

Most of us can’t hear our bodies talk cause we’re so preoccupied with the unimportant conversations in our head. We have to get to know the unimportant voices, and to most of them, we need to tell them to shut up and go away. We have to stop trying to figure everything out, sometimes things just are. We have to stop analyzing every thought or feeling that runs through our minds. And we have to stop blaming everyone else for our struggles. We have to stop drowning in the pool of self-obsession and start living. We have to STOP TALKING, SIT DOWN and learn to LISTEN!

You never know what you might hear. Sometimes it may be as profound as “eat carrots and get on that bike!”

Star Wars

Star Wars

The text read, “I think you should come see Star Wars with us at some point, I think you’d like it now that you’ve accepted your sci-fi-ness.” Any mom is thrilled when their kids want them to tag along, no matter what their ages; and not just to pay!

“I think I need a refresher,” I replied. When I was first informed that the grandkids would be sleeping over on the 18th cause tickets had been purchased for a late showing of Star Wars, I thought they must have remastered the original.

“No, it a new one with the original cast!” I was told.

But didn’t Spock die? And the kid from Reading Rainbow must be in his sixties. I knew that Daleks only appeared when Dr. Who landed in his Tardis, but there was that other Robot that hung out with a kid and a weird skinny white guy named Dr. Smith.

What makes them think I have any sci-fi-ness? I am an avid Dr. Who follower, waking every Sunday morning between 2 and 4:00 am during the new season to watch the next episode. I enjoyed Firefly and made it through most of Warehouse 13. Maybe it’s because I fell in love with the The Big Bang Theory in the first five minutes.

But that’s not because of my sci-fi-ness, it’s cause I relate to the normal blond who finds herself in the middle of geniuses. I’m not dating my geniuses, I gave birth to them and then they found genius partners. Philosopher, Engineer, Photographer and now Culinary Wizard. These geniuses gave birth to genius kids and now everyone is geeky and there are some days I just wished we liked to decoupage.

“But Brian and I both have the originals, so we can watch them again. We wouldn’t complain.” Of course my son and son-in-law both own the originals and I have no doubt they would be thrilled to spend a day watching them.

“You pick the day and I’ll be there, but lets do it here and I’ll be here!” I replied.

On that day I will be surrounded by all the geeks I love, intently watching Star Wars. Jeff will  make an attempt to watch as well, but he’s very comfortable admitting he has no sic-fi-ness, his genius lays elsewhere. He comes from the Geek planet of Music…and they’er just as odd. He can’t watch Dr. Who because of the sound the Daleks make…

…some days I just wish we liked to decoupage!

I’ve got an idea!

I’ve got an idea!

Those four little word can cause ones stomach to churn, jaw to tighten, and breathing to become erratic if you live with or work with an Idea Person.  The mind of an Idea Person provides an endless supply of suggestions, instructions on how things should be done, and possible ways to make life better and put millions in your pocket.

They can be exhausting!!!

There is a difference between Idea People and Visionaries. Idea People may have an endless supply of ideas, but they are dependent on other to make them happen. They need you to do the work. They leap before they plan, they suck you in and drain your energy, and they rarely deliver.

A true Visionary is able to see each step, each turn, and predict most of the potential pitfalls before they take on the responsibility of getting others involved. They have the passion and drive to see their idea to the end, working endlessly to ensure anyone who has chosen to follow them is not disappointed. Best of all, they deliver 95% of the time –  no one hits it all the time.

Why is it important to know the difference between Idea People and Visionaries? It’s the difference between churning stomachs, tightened jaws, heavy breather AND experiencing success.

Listen to the Idea People, sometimes they get it. Follow a Visionary, you’ll never be disappointed.

WWJB

WWJB

I’m finding myself looking at FB less and less these days and as the election draws closer, may even become estranged from it’s pages. Most recently there’s been a lot of posts about sending illegal aliens back to where they came from. I hope that we don’t get rid of all aliens, because I don’t think the world will last long without Dr. Who!

As far as the children born in this country whose parents have sacrificed all in hopes of gaining a better life for these innocent ones, I pondered the question, What Would Jesus Blog about this? After I chuckled at that thought of Jesus sitting in front of a MAC checking his stats on the recent post and himself, chuckling at the comments, I was reminded of a story…

A group of moms and dads came to Jesus’s disciples and asked if they could bring their children. The disciples said, “NO!” They were thinking of the mess, the noise, the business of Jesus, and the more important people who they needed to make time for.

Jesus got wind of the all this and quickly put an end to it. “Bring the children to me.” A short time later, he sat with them on his knee, rubbing his shoulder, looking into his eyes, and undoubtedly touching his beard.

For those who claim we are a Christian Nation, shouldn’t we follow Christ’s examples? All of them?

If we are afraid that there isn’t room for all the children, perhaps we could renovate some of those giant church buildings into housing. Some are large enough to have a school, medical facility, and cafeteria. They could be self sustaining. Picture it, a large campus built by people who believe in God to serve those in need. Hey, isn’t that what they started out being?

Then there’s this little ditty: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Isn’t that what we started out being? Isn’t that what brought all of us here?

If I have to work a little harder to allow a child to have a chance to survive and perhaps make life better for himself and his family, then why shouldn’t I?

I have to believe that those who are so passionately opposed to this are the same ones that if the table were turned, would be working endlessly to get their children into a America – no matter what the cost.

The only difference is – those who are here have already had someone do that for them, and those who aren’t – are trying to.

Falling Well

The tires of the bike refused to make the transition between the dirt path and black top, causing the bike to tumble and Liam to slide face down across the riding trail. The rest of us squealed our brakes and I shouted out, “Oh, Jesus!”

We retrieved him from the ground, wiped the tears and brushed off the pebbles sticking to his elbows and knees as his mother reassured, “You fell just how you were supposed to. You did great!”

I was instantly reminded of a conversation from a few years past of a dozen or so moms sitting around my dinning room table. Each expressing their fears of raising teenagers, each listing the rules they had put in place in hopes to protect their kids from all the evils that lurked around every corner. Each believing they could keep their children for the worlds harm.

“Protect? Wouldn’t it be better to teach them what to do when shit happens?” I thought. I wanted to shout it out, but this wasn’t that kind of group. The conversation in my head continued, “Statistics say that in this group almost half of us have experienced abuse and at least three sexual abuse. Unless you plan to lock them up till you’re dead, they going to encounter bad things!”

Life has edges, it has dangers, it has evils, it has paths that refuse to allow us to transition gracefully. Try as we may, it is impossible to avoid life’s edges. There is no amount of rules that will keep our kids in a protective bubble that they can roll through life in.

“You fell well!” Liam mom’s continued. “Good job!”

You fell well! – what a great statement.

After receiving comfort and congratulations on a fall well done, Liam inspected his bike, straightened his helmet and seat, climbed on board and took off proud of the scratch on his elbow and the fact that he knows how to fall well.

So here is a blessing for those who choose to Fall Well –

When you find yourself face down, sliding across the uneven paths of life; 

May someone be there to help you up, brush you off, and wipe the tears. 

May you quickly regain courage and balance to once again begin moving forward,

May you find your stride quickly and continue on the path.

And above all, may you look back and say with confidence, I fell well!

When to have kids?

A recent conversation gave me cause to really think about this question. We currently have our two grandkids with us and at the age of fifty-four, both Jeff and I would agree, now is not the time to have little ones. This could be because there are toys on the living room floor, or juice stains on the carpet, or for the simple reason that as soon as they close their eyes, we can’t wait to do the same.

The reality is kids are only kids for a very short time. It’s a fraction of your life. And of that fraction of time, they are only really cute for about the first six years. After that, it’s a crap shoot.

What we fail to realize is that our kids are adults for a much longer period of time. I recall looking at our first just after he was placed in my arms and thinking, “I can’t wait for you to be twenty, so we can have really good talks.” From the very beginning, I saw my kids as who they would become.

Raising kids to be interesting adults, who are engaged in life with imaginations and interests and friendships and conversation and knowledge and drive and ambition and are people you just want to hang out with, starts shortly after they are born. It requires us to become part of their world instead of forcing them to live within ours. It requires love, guidance, freedom and most importantly being examples of adults who are imaginative, interesting, with a variety of friendships, conversationalist, knowledgeable with drive and ambition.

When to have kids? Whenever you want! But don’t wait too long because, the kid part is gone in a blink. The adult part lasts the rest of your life, and when done well, you won’t want to miss a day of it.

Re-Birthing

birth canal

I heard about Re-Birthing while listening to a Nerdist podcast. Jeff Bridges was being interviewed and somewhere in the middle of a story, he took a right turn and ended up in Re-birthing.

The simplistic definition is this: we continually re-live our birth experience all through our life; especially when we are faced with conflict, challenges, and decisions.

I began thinking of my own children’s birth experience. Our oldest was a quiet birth. The nurse checked on us throughout the day, but for the most part, the room was quiet. The Doctor on call was attending his son’s wedding (who does that!); he was not checking in. Labor was most of the day and when it was time, there was no Doctor… so Raun waited … and waited…and waited, until finally the over the limit and not sure how he found the hospital doctor arrived; two minutes later so did he.

This is how Raun approaches life. He is quiet, he waits, he watches, and he waits some more. In fact, he can out wait anyone. His waiting makes you want to take him by the ears and shake him till his brain rattles. If one did this, it’s definite that he would just smile, nod his head in acknowledgment of your frustration, and wait some more. BUT THEN, in an instant, he makes a decision and it’s for life! No more waiting, no more watching, it done, never to be revisited.

Our daughter had a very different experience. Her’s was a difficult birth causing the room to be filled with people and activity. There were two teams of people observing. One team was prepared to step in if things turned bad, and the other if it got really bad. The second group stayed. She had the cord around her neck five times and by the time they freed her, she was as blue as a Smurf.

Austyn lives in a whirlwind of activity. When conflicts arise, she is a fighter. She will do whatever it takes to make it right – she is determined to survive!!

Recently, I asked my mother about her birth experience. Her mother had said she just popped out. I laughed. Mom always thinks things should be easy and no one should have to work hard. In fact, she’ll do everything in her power to stop you from completing a task if she feels it’s too much effort.  As she sat and described my sister’s experience, Sue got very wide eyed and exclaimed, “Wait – that’s exactly how I am!”

My own  birth was also a difficult one, and back then, they just took me away. Mom said she didn’t see me for more than 24 hours. How do I approach life’s struggles? Like my daughter, I too am a fighter, but I do it alone. I would never think of asking for help. I will survive, but you don’t need to help me, I got it. I can figure it out on my own and I am confident that I will make it through.

I’ve not asked my mother-in-law about my husbands birth experience. I don’t want to destroy the  Disney version that plays in my head. I’m sure an evil witch snatched him from the birth canal and strapped him to the back of a broom. She then sped him across the sky, pointing out the great wonders of the world below. She didn’t allow him to stop and enjoy because they were on a very tight schedule. She didn’t allow music on her broom, nor did she allow him to make any noise as they flew. On their short journey she somehow instilled the fear of god (well the other one – the one from below) in him about the dangers of waiting in a queue at a drive-thru. Yep, that explains a lot!!

Re-birthing. It’s an interesting concept. Even more, it makes for great conversation. I’ve yet to find someone whose birth experience doesn’t describe them.

There’s an old saying that mothers never get off the deliver table. Perhaps none of us ever get out of the deliver room.

Nerdist Podcast with Jeff Bridges

I’m not a princess – I’m QUEEN!

I have a little (well really big) issue with all this comparison of women being princesses. Who wants to be a princess all their life – I want to be Queen.

The Kardashian’s are princess, Britney Spears is a princess, Oprah Winfry – she’s a Queen. See the difference?

The dictionary defines Princess as:

the daughter of a monarch.
• a close female relative of monarch, esp. a son’s daughter.
• the wife or widow of a prince.
the female ruler of a small state, actually, nominally, or originally subject to a king or emperor.
informal a spoiled or arrogant young woman.

And Queen as:

the female ruler of an independent state, esp. one who inherits the position by right of birth.
• (also Queen Consort)a king’s wife.
a woman or thing regarded as excellent or outstanding of its kind:

The story of Queen Esther is one of my all time favorite stories. I don’t think a princess could have taken down the second most powerful man in the kingdom to save an entire nation. Tasks like that require a Queen.

In this world, we need woman who are confident, fearless, intelligent, gracious and kind. Qualities a princess typically doesn’t posses. If we want to tell our little girls they are princesses it should only be in preparation to teaching them how to be queen. Woman who remain princesses become annoying and usually are banished to some obscure island – or have their heads chopped off. This order is usually given by the Queen because she knows how dangerous such immature behave can be.

I’m not sure how or who decided that woman should think of themselves as princesses. I’m guessing it was a king that wanted to stay in control and was smart enough to know that keeping woman in the simplistic and cute role of princess would secure his throne for many years.

I’m not a princess. Don’t want to be treated like one either, don’t want to be thought of as one. I want to be a queen who has the power, authority and respect to make a difference in my world.