Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Order Of The Big Metal Chicken

There are twists in life that come together like a pot holder made by a kindergartner, messy but beautiful at the same time. This is one of those twists. Hang with me as I relate a string of details to bring you to one of the most hilarious mornings I have ever experienced.

I am friends with two sisters, M & A. We started out as acquaintances, but through the joy of facebook, we have grown to really appreciate and love each other. A couple posts ago, I wrote about my lovely mother (here). After posting the blog on my facebook page, M & A read it, M called A in tears saying that she wished they had a mom like that and A agreed. A really fun string between us started on facebook and the three of us decided that my mom would adopt them, unbeknownst to her. A few days later we attended a Christmas program that our children were in and M asked if "Mom" would be coming. That was the beginning of a very funny evening as I introduced my mom to her new daughters. Mom jumped in just like a trooper and had hugs and giggles for her new girls. We decided to get all the families together for Christmas this coming week and I can't wait for a house full of fun.
Here we are at the concert: T, M, Mom, Me & A

So back to this morning. M had posted on her facebook page a couple weeks ago a blog that sent me into peels of laughter. This woman has a tremendous sense of humor and I felt like I was right there with her. Check it out here, mind the language a bit. Please read it, or the rest of this post won't make a bit of sense.

Things have been a little upside down in my life lately and as I was pulling out of my garage this morning to do some necessary shopping I was greeted by this on my front porch.

I staggered from the van and was laughing so hard the kids could here me inside the house. I'm sure the neighbors thought I was crazy, but who cares when such AWESOMENESS is before you. My sweet sister M took to heart the line from the blog "And when our friends are sad we can leave him at their front door to cheer them up." I have continued to laugh about it all day today.

I am instituting "The Order Of The Big Metal Chicken" and he must circulate between my new sisters, my mom & I. And we will name him at our Christmas party, something ingenious I'm sure.

NOTE: He has been named Felix. Brilliant :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Living in Survival Mode

This is probably going to be a heavy post, so if you're not in the mood you may want to check back another time. I just need to type.

Something awful happened to me as a young person. It stripped away my sense of security. Nothing was safe. Home wasn't safe, school wasn't safe, family wasn't safe, friends weren't safe. And I have come to realize that from that point forward I have been living in a survival mode of some sort. Day to day not knowing what my existence will be, what is around the corner, the constant phrase before me of, "I don't know". To live in a continual state of uncertainty has probably not been the most healthy thing for me. When you live in survival mode, there is a constant need to store or fill. Fill your time, fill your cupboards, fill your face, fill your hands, fill your addiction, fill whatever void is there when your sense of security is threatened in any way. 

There are some really big uncertainties in my life right now. I don't feel like I have any security at all. I feel like I want to stuff everything. Stuff my feelings, stuff my voice, stuff my creativity, stuff my responsibilities. It would be so easy to do that. Throw up that really big wall that helped me cope through those terrible years. I was able to do that back then. No one depended on me. As long as I showed up at school, got good grades, did my homework and kept up with my chores, no one knew that I was a shell.

But being a shell, if even for a time, is hugely inconvenient when you are an employee, wife and mother. You have to be on top of it, you have to make those quick decisions, you have to come up with solutions, you have to be available at a moments notice. And forget about throwing up a wall, there's not time for that. You throw up a wall or shut down and it effects everyone. It effects your work, your marriage and your kids. 

But I realize that this survival mode is self inflicted. No one told me to live this way. It's just further proof that if you don't deal with your junk when it happens, it will creep back up at the most inconvenient times and beg to be processed. And if you're going through something that needs to be survived, chances are you don't have the time or energy to give to going through that process. Yep, it's a vicious cycle.

And survival mode also throws you into irrational thought. If I don't do everything, then I will lose everything. If I don't do every part of my job plus whatever else comes my way, I will lose my job. I need my job. It's security. If I don't do everything to keep my home perfect and be everything to my husband that he needs plus whatever else comes my way, I will lose my husband. I need my husband. He is security. If I am not everything to my kids every moment they are awake, I could damage my kids. I love my kids. I give them security. See... irrational thoughts.

Isn't survival mode what the Israelite nation tried to do when they started wandering in the desert for 40 years? But God took care of them. He gave them manna to eat. And he even told them that if they collected more than they needed for just that day that it would go bad. So they only gathered what they needed and trusted that God would provide what he promised the next day. I would say that after a few days of God following through on that promise that they didn't doubt he would provide. I bet they even went about their day to day business not thinking about what they would need because God kept his promise.

So, here I am, talking about how God provided for them. Do I believe the story? Yes I do. Am I supposed to believe that this story applies to my life as well? Yes. So now I need to do the work of not allowing myself to live in survival mode anymore. That's an almost 30 year habit to break. And if I'm not living in survival mode, what mode am I living in? The whole thing just makes me tired. Which is another part of survival mode.

Ugh, that was ugly. I guess I have work to do on this because there is no "Spunky" in survival mode.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm Too Old

Have you heard this before, "I'm too old to care about being polite"? Or something along those lines.

What is that really? Too old? So what you're telling me is that you never were polite on the inside, but you were young enough to know better at one point and were only behaving yourself? I find myself being acquainted with a certain person who is aging. I had a deep respect for their business mind, character, and integrity. I would talk with them at length about such dealings and would listen intently. But true to my form, I am an observer of people and life in general. I watch an awful lot. And I have seen a steady decline in the moral fiber of this person of business I once admired.

It seems as if they have reached a point in their life where they would say, "I'm too old to do the right thing or treat people well." So the question I'm asking is this, was it all a farce? Do we spend our lives covering up who we really are inside to only have our true selves revealed in our senior years when we are just too old to care what others think?

Will I be one of those that when they are too old to care about being proper and upright, will be unkind to a care giver because I feel entitled to a certain level of care? Will the internal flaws I deal with now surface in the years when I want people to look at me and say "She's a wise, sweet old lady and I like her spunk." Or will they walk away shaking their head thinking they never knew the real me, call me a hypocrite, see my true colors and wonder why they wasted the time.

Maybe that's why I am so adamant about being authentic, real and a teller of truth. Sharing my struggles (to a degree) with others. I figure if I struggle with something, then maybe someone else may too and my sharing could help them. I'm kind of at a loss in all this. It's come as a blow really.

Maybe when we try to show outwardly who we want to be in our own strength and power we can only keep that up for so long and then the steam runs out. Maybe it's when we surrender those struggles to God with the idea that He's the only one that can work on us to making lasting change that is real instead of change made in our humanity. Or if you allow the work to happen at a younger age, then it just becomes a part of who you are, part of your DNA.

I don't want to ever reach a point in my life where treating people well is something I don't care about. Where having integrity is a chore. I want that to be woven so deeply within me that this won't be something I will have to question. It will just be.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Mom

Picture taken of my mom & my daughter on a "Girls Road Trip" to PA.

It's not Mother's Day, it's not her birthday, but today she made me smile. So I thought I would take a few moments and jot down some of the things I like about my mom.