They Have Moved Me

We've survived enough Black Weekends to know the drill. I no longer stew as we idle for up to an hour by the hospital entrance, waiting for our one minute dose of Daddy, a speedy exchange of cold dinner and good night kisses. Now I come prepared to wait.

Last night, a half hour past bedtime, the kids and I traveled to the edge of the Narnian world and back on the Dawn Treader, all without unbuckling. We blasted our favorite songs and sang footy-pajama-loose and fancy free.

Daddy strode from the sliding doors at 8:30 p.m., not even halfway through his 30-hour shift, eyes meeting mine to apologize, smile widening only as he glimpsed the faces that make it worthwhile.

"Daddy, Daddy! I went twimmin! I went underwatah!" Dani bombarded.
"Me too!" Caed echoed. "And we finished the Captain Underpants book, and Harold and George got into trouble again, and there were robots!"

We squeezed in a record number of "good night"s and "love you"s into sixty seconds, and off we went, back to work or into bed.

On the way home, one of our new favorites shuffled to the top of the play list.

"Mommy, I like dis song! It's moob da mountain one!" Dani squealed.

"I like it too, Dani. Are you guys gonna sing it with me?" I invited.

Caed piped in, "I will, Mommy! I'm a really good singer. I think I might be in a show and up on a stage to sing some day."

"Really?" I said. "Well, I know I love hearing you sing."

"You don't hear me most of the time, Mom. Because I practice when I'm all by myself. I like to sing songs when I'm lonely."

He continued, "I like to sing the sad songs especially. Well, I mean, not the sad ones, but they sound not like rock stars, but a little bit sweet. Like you think they are sad when they start singing, but then they just get to be sweet."

I turned up the song and listened to their sweet, only a little bit sad, not-like-rock-star voices.

You call me a mountain.
And I call you the sea.
I'll stand tall and certain
And watch you swallow me.

You can move me, if you want to.
You can move a mountain.
You can move a mountain.

You can move me, if you want to.
You can move everything.
You can move everything.
*

And I, the once tall and certain mountain of a corporate muckety-muck, was reduced to salty tears as their wavering voices lapped at my mother-heart.
They have moved me.
Indeed.
To the very place I was meant to be.

*Lyrics from Ingrid Michaelson's song The Mountain and the Sea.

::

Shared as part of Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky, where we are encouraged to pay attention to and give thanks for the small moments that move us in big ways.

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Flashback Friday: Baby Steps

One moment I'm sweeping up the last of the dirt we'll ever track in, marveling at how the old house expanded as we emptied a decade of ourselves onto an 18-wheeler. The next moment, I'm unbuckling my baby in a driveway nine states away. I'm explaining to my two year old that this is the new house we've talked so much about. This is where we live.

But I suspect neither of us believe it. I unpack the sheets and make the beds, half wondering whether we will wake up tomorrow under the shadow of the old familiar oak and recount the bizarre dream we had about bubble wrap and sleeping bags.

But this is real. As real as the two hour back-up on the GW bridge and the blowout diaper at the Walt Whitman Plaza. This is where we live.

Our new neighbors across and beside say things like "welcome" and "what brings you to Maine?" One remarks that the daughter squirming in my arms, fat faced and five months, could live here for the rest of her life and still be considered "from away." We laugh as he reveals he's in that very boat. We all try on the label, and I'm not a bit surprised at how well it fits.

I divide my stares between the box of dishes and the window. I scan the streets for strollers, plotting how I'll coincidentally check the mailbox at the first sighting of a neighborhood mother. I call my sister, then my mother. "I love this house," I say. "But I don't know where to start."

::

So where's the parade? I wonder. Parking seemed too easy. Are we in the right place? Caed hides behind a tree and giggles. His daddy chases. I stay with Dani's stroller to keep her rolling back and forth. She stretches and squirms and fades.

The parade might have lasted five minutes. Six minutes tops. I'm a mess. I completely lost it when the high school band marched by in patriotic harmony. This is our town. We live here now. I brush off hopeful tears, trying to hide my crazy lady look from the strangers who surround me.

::

Every stride, every lifting forward of the foot feels the same. Legs swing in the same cadence whether off a cliff or down a familiar path. It's why, when we drove forever away from our first home, it seemed like we were just running out to get milk. One ginger, wobbling, ordinary step after another, and there we were, dangling over the heights of our new life.

We take baby steps into brand new places. And before we know it, we've made it home.

Caed-2 1/2 yrs, Sheridan- 5 months

::

I realize I'm kicking this series off on the serious side, but please don't let my pining melancholic voice dissuade you from posting pictures of yourselves with big hair and a mono-brow.

So, here's the deal:
1) Enter the permalink to your specific Flashback Friday post (as opposed to your main blog address).
2) You can link up an old post or write a new one. You can post pictures, share a short memory, a funny story or a tearjerker. You can get reflective or creative or jiggy with it. The only requirement is that you take us back in time a little bit.
3) Within your post, try to include a link back here so your readers can discover the joy that is and will be Flashback Friday.


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When You Can't Shut Up About It

It's already been established that Calli would dig a tunnel through snow and ice just to get to her tennis ball. And since words can't begin to describe how much she pink puffy hearts her ball, she just barks about it. Incessantly.
But who I am to judge? I do my fair share of barking droning blogging on and on about the things I hold most dear. Take now, for instance. You can't see me, but I'm totally locked on Dani's sky blue eyes.
And now I'm smiling under the spell of Caed's infectious grin.
So when I tell Calli to give it a rest, that she's being obnoxious, that she's such a ball-obsessed k9 cliche, I am keenly aware of the pot and kettle dynamic we've got going on.

Thankfully, Calli would rather point to birds than my hypocrisy. So I toss her the ball a time or twenty, and she curls up by my feet as I start another post. And on this we agree. Love is when you can't shut up about it.

Linked up to You Capture at I Should Be Folding Laundry, where this week's prompt is "Color."
Photobucket

Oh, and just a quick reminder that Flashback Friday is ON for tomorrow! I don't have a prompt for this week, so I guess that makes it a Free-for-all-Flashback Friday. (I must be racking up bonus points somewhere for this prolific alliteration. Or more likely demerits. Yes, most definitely demerits...)

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How To Dig A Snow Tunnel

1) You'll need a tennis ball.

2) You'll need a dog.

3) You'll need for the dog to be generally obsessed with the tennis ball.

4) You'll need some snow. Lots of snow. (Maybe that should have been number one?)

5) Once you have all you need, it's time to start the work. I put together this comprehensive tutorial to demonstrate exactly how it is done:

video

And that's what works for me. Or should I say, that's who works for me.

Now please don't turn me in to any sort of animal anti-labor protection agency. She leads a wonderful life. I swear digging tunnels is the ONLY work this sweet little pup EVER does.

Besides, she lasted only another minute before she realized the ball was NOT in the snow. And once the jig was up, guess who got to dig the rest? Uh huh. That would be the work horse we call Yours Truly.

But look how great it turned out!


For tips that are actually helpful to real life, and not just misplaced America's Hardest Working Animals clips, check out the Works for Me Wednesday carnival hosted by We Are That Family.

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A Different Way In

I don't like it when things break. Especially my things. (I know--so shocking and unique, right?) So of course I wasn't happy when the screen door fell apart last summer. We tried fixing it to no avail. In the end, Calli got the doggie door she'd always wanted.

Several months and snow storms later, I came upon this screen door scene.

video

And of course I had to make a metaphor out of it.

Even on a good day, in a good year, my life is far more broken than buttoned up. If not me, then it's someone I love. We fist bump the fragile peace only to find ourselves bloody knuckled, to learn that if we break it, we buy it. And we are too spent. So much seems irreparable.

But what if the breaking is part of a bigger picture? What if the tearing is part of the design? I'm not a fan of the cliche about closed doors and open windows, but I could get on board with an adage that incorporates a torn porch door. I could nod my head to the story where a tattered, screwed up screen--the one we wrecked with our own careless hands-- becomes the way in to where we're supposed to be.

Sometimes I look back and see the places I've squeezed through. I see how He's repurposed my junk pile into a step stool. And I shake my head in wonder. Because when He said He works "all things together for good", he really meant all.

::

Linked to the Tuesdays Unwrapped community, hosted by the lovely Emily, to give thanks for a God who turns brokenness into beauty, who meets me in my faithless detours again and again to make my way straight.

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Flashback Friday! (And yes, I know it's Monday)

This is going to be random. Buckle up, folks.

1) First, a huge thanks to those of you who commented on the last post with recommendations for books to read, pink and otherwise. Quadruple bonus points for everyone! You guys rock. Dani and I took our list to the library this morning and came back with a pile of pink books, a few fun books for Caed, and a couple more to add to my reading backlog. I even found the Magic Treehouse series on CD at the library, which will come in super handy on our upcoming road trip.

2) I have (gasp!) been thinking a little bit about homeschooling. A very, very leeeetle bit. So I asked Caed this morning how he felt about doing school at home and me being his teacher. His one word response: "Bad."

Well now, don't hide your true feelings for fear of hurtin' mine.


I'm going to take this as a sign that he loves his current teacher and not that he despises his mother. Also? My grandiose home educating thoughts are officially on the back burner.

Fine! I didn't really want to anyway!


3) I am completely unable to stop fawning over the cuteness that is Dani's voice. This morning she randomly burst out into Ingrid Michaelson's song The Mountain and the Sea. "You can mooooob a mountain. You can mooooooob a mountain!" Seriously, there was no music playing, no talk of mountains or of moving anything. She just started singing. I love it ever so much when she does that.

4) Now, are you ready for some Big Bloggy News? (Funny how you can add the word "bloggy" in between "big" and "news", and suddenly you've been swept from CNN-worthy to Even-Nana-Doesn't-Care-Status.) Anyway.

This Friday, provided I can get the flux capacitor working, we'll fire up the DeLorean Time Machine and launch into Flashback Friday! Now I know what you're thinking. What the heck is Flashback Friday? And really, why must bloggers perseverate so on alliteration? Well, I can't help you with the second question, but the first one? That I can explain.

Flashback Friday is your chance to write a story or snippet from your past, to share an old picture or a fond memory. It can range the gamut of side-splitting funny to tear-jerking sad, from last month to last century. It's admittedly my excuse to bring back the Stories in my Pocket series, but without the limitations of timeline and tone. We can write about whatever we want, in whatever voice, in whatever decade. I will provide a theme or prompt only to help stir the pot. And then off you go to flashback and link up.

So (and yes, I'm pretty much begging you), please plan on joining in for our inaugural Flashback Friday!

Disclamer: I didn't think up Flashback Friday. I do not possess such alliterative brilliance. From what I can gather, it was started at My Tiny Kingdom (a blog that closed last year). And I don't think anyone will mind if we give it a whirl here.

So, are you in? How do you feel about Flashback Friday?

And if you answer "Bad", I will blame my bursting into tears entirely on you. The rejection from my one and only son of course would have nothing to do with it.

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Don't Judge A Book By Its Color

So much of my daily entertainment takes place in the car, listening to to my little ones talk.

On Friday evening, it started with Caed babbling about his most perfect day ever. "Oh, and Dani, we have reading books called BOB books. Those are the ones for kindergartners, not for babies and toddlers..."

"Well, I want a PINK book." (Turning to Mom.) "For my birdday in two minutes, I want you ta gimme a PINK book. Okay, Mommy? Okay??"

Caed reeled his little sis back into the conversation before I could answer. "Dani, don't be silly. Books are about reading the stories and not caring about princess colors."

What he means to say, Dani, is that you can't judge a book by its color.

And don't we all know that you can lead read a horse book to water Dani, but you can't make it drink pink?

I know, I know. I should have just left that one alone.

So, anyone read any good books lately, of any genre or color? Are there books that you and your children love to read? Bonus points if they happen to be pink.

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Just Because

I just called posted....

To say....

I love them.

And I mean it, from the bottom of my heart.

Note:
Daddy not pictured, but most certainly included in the most-loved list. And I quote the girl, "When I grow up I gonna be a doc'or so I can see my Daddy ebery day at da hopsittle!"

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Talking in Circles

"Whatcha doin', Bud?"

"I NOT BUD! I DARLIN'!"

"Why can't I call you Bud? Aren't you my Buddy?"

"NO! Giwls awen't buddies. Dey are darlins and tweethearts."

"Good to know, Darlin'. Good to know."

"You sildy, Mommy."

::

Aforementioned silly Mommy answers the phone.

Dani takes note of verbal correspondence and feels compelled to get involved.

"E'cuse me, Mommy."

Mommy holds one finger up (don't worry--it's the nice finger) to signal "just a minute."

"E'CUSE ME MOMMY!"

"MOOOOMMMMY, I SAYIN' E'CUSE ME!!!"

"MOMMMMYYYY, I NEEEEED TA TAWK TO YOOOOUUUU."

Mommy ends conversation as soon as humanly possible and turns to daughter.

"Dani, that was rude. You are not to interrupt me when I'm on the phone. Now what did you need to talk to me about?"

"Um, uh, um. Mommy? Uh, Mommy, I love you."

"I love you too, Bud."

"I NOT BUD!"

And so it goes.

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More Than You Might Think

I sat wedged between an oval window and a gray-haired, gray-suited man. No use opening our laptops during the hop from Frankfurt to Zurich. There was barely time for the beverage service.

He folded his newspaper twice over and back. I reached for my book.

Even three chapters deep into Gore Vidal's The Golden Age, I struggled to follow the myriad of characters parading across the pages of the 1940s. Jet-lagged and meeting-weary, I read words, sentences, paragraphs, and reaching the end of the page, I knew none of it. I started to drift.

His voice startled me back to the open page. He ordered a drink in German. I don't recall what.

I looked back at my book, pretending I'd been immersed in the story and not in sleep. And there it was. A scene with FDR, an imagined look at the hours before Pearl Harbor.

And here I was. Only 57 years past Normandy. Flying over Strasbourg. Sitting next to a man who might have been a tall ten years old when the war was finally over, whose father might have "heil"ed Hitler, whose mother might have mourned, whose neighbors might have fled.

When our wheels touched down in Zurich, history didn't feel so far away.

::

"That was 1960?" I asked in disbelief.
"Texas," my husband replied. "The Cotton Bowl. And they've got the actual footage. It's awful. They aren't exaggerating this."

We'd heard the movie The Express (The Ernie Davis Story) was supposed to be good. And it was.

But it was hard to imagine that barely 50 years ago, when my father stood a tall ten years old, the Cotton Bowl's Most Valuable Payer wasn't welcome at his own awards ceremony. Because of his skin color.

When punches were thrown and slurs were shouted and signs were posted to keep people apart.

When equal opportunity was still just a dream.

A desperate, lay-your-life-down-for-it dream. So much more than a poster in the break room.

::

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a jail in Birmingham:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

It doesn't matter which continent or century you pick. Our human history is ugly. It started with the garden, and we haven't let up since. But it has taken me a while (too long, in fact) to realize that our history--no matter how ancient--is connected, decade to decade, century to century, generation to generation.

It isn't just words in a book and multiple choices in a high school history quiz.

It's real. It happened. Some of it not very long ago.

I confess I have cared very little about history. I have paid only scant attention to the true stories that don't directly contribute to the plot of my own. In my apathy, I've stayed the "so-what?" student who studies to pass and not to learn.

And in doing so, I have been utterly foolish.

Because in this ancient and ongoing battle against self-destruction, indeed "we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny".

Just because my daughter hasn't been sold into slavery,
Just because my husband hasn't been tortured for his political views,
Just because my son hasn't been forced to fight a grown man's war before he turns eight,
Just because my faith is not currently cause for persecution,
I still don't get to be immune.
I still don't have an excuse for crouching apathetically in a caved existence.

So let's say I stand up and take note. Let's say I study and say out loud that
this is injustice. What difference would it make in the world at large?

I mean, really, what can one mother do to rid the world of injustice?

I'd like to know how Alberta Williams King would answer, if she were still alive.

Perhaps her reply, shaped by the brokenness of outliving her own son, would inspire us.

Perhaps she'd shut her eyes to lock in tears, shake her head and repeat the question, "What can one mother do to rid the world of injustice?"

Perhaps she'd open her eyes, tears slipping toward her smile and say,
"
More than you might think, my dear. More than you might think."

::

Hat tip to Robin of Pensieve for posting the full text of Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter
. It's worth a full read and reread.

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Winter Waves

I ran by these clouds, these winter waves this morning. And I couldn't help but stop, push the music to pause and listen only to the rhythm of high tide.

And I couldn't help but click a time or two with my camera phone.

And I couldn't help but smile. Especially when I realized the irony of taking a break from running to catch my breath, only to have my breath taken away.

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When I Just Don't Get It

This morning we woke up early and did some more sight words. (The hope of popcorn is an incredible motivator. Who knew?)

While we were practicing, Caed asked out of the blue. "Where do bats live?" I answered that they live in caves.

"No that's not it" he said.

"Do YOU know where they live?" I asked.

"No," he said, "I'm asking YOU."

I answered caves again. He insisted that was NOT IT. Round and round we went.

Finally, both of us now arm-flinging exasperated, he explained further.

"You're not getting it, Mom! I'm just trying to ask you what um, what state they are in, not where they have their enbiroment!"

All this time, and I was answering the wrong question.

::

This morning (yes, another morning has passed since I began this post), we were all in goofy moods. Waking up at 5 a.m. tends to make us either crazy grumpy or just crazy. This morning it was the latter.

So Dani began by singing Beyonce's All the Single Ladies. And I jumped in, changing the words to something more age appropriate:

All the tired puppies, all the tired puppies...put your paws up...(roh-roh-roh-ruh-ruh-roh-roh-roh-ra-roh).... you started to dream and now you wanna scream cuz another squirrel is chasing you...
And while Caed laughed uncontrollably, especially when I picked Calli's paws up and danced with her, Dani was NOT amused.

"You b'oke my song, Mommy! I don't YIKE YOU TO SING IT DAT WAY!"

::

This week I've managed to exasperate everyone in the family with my communication shortcomings. Even Calli is bitter with me. Apparently she doesn't like to dance on two paws, and I was supposed to know that about her. I mean, for goodness sake, we've known each other for 56 dog years, you'd think I'd GET HER by now.
So this is me. I love these people dearly, and I still don't "get it" a large majority of the time. My intentions toward my children, my husband, and even the dog, are loving and good. But I still manage to misunderstand, misspeak and miss the point in my daily interactions with them.

And this is the part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a silly song, where if I didn't believe in grace, if I hadn't already been forgiven 70 times 70, I would give up. I would say, "FINE! I'm a failure! Whatever!" and retreat into self-protective sarcasm.

But I do believe in grace. I do believe in fresh starts, in progress, in sanctification. And I have a God who "gets it", even when I don't.

So even though I am tempted to fling my arms up, to argue that they didn't ask the question right or that I was just trying to help, I know better. By the grace of God, I know better. And there is hope. Hope that one of these days I just might "get it" right.

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Overheard

At the grocery store today, after I put a jar of popcorn in the cart and promised to use the new air popper to make popcorn for snack, Dani grabbed my hand and swung it back and forth.
"Know what, Mommy? You're da best mommy EVAH."

::

But not everyone in the family shared that opinion. At dinner, the foodie five year old weighed in on the meal.
"Ick! This is definitely not a REAL recipe! And something is wrong with this chicken. It's way too mushy."
To which I replied, "That would be because it's not chicken. It's fish. Now eat your five bites. And NO gagging!"

::

And then somehow by bedtime I had managed to fall from the heights of being the Best Mommy Ever to the depths of being kicked out of the bathroom by my three year old.
"You turn on da light, Mommy. Den meave me alone, okay?"
She scooted over to the toilet, turned and wagged her finger. "I habin' my pibacy, OKAY! Now get outa here!"

Fine. I thought. But don't come crawling back to me when you need help wiping.
(Oh on second thought, please do.)


::

This afternoon we worked on sight words, using popcorn (of course!) as a reward. We started with easy words like but, own, did, way, want, but Caed was still struggling. So I decided to use them in a context everyone would understand.
"BUT Mommy! BUT Mommy! BUUUUT Mommy!" I started with an exaggerated whine.
"I WANT this...I WANT that....I WANT my OWN WAY!" I continued, squealing like a toddler.

They both giggled. They thought it was hilarious to hear Mommy "making a bad choice" with her words. And if I could have read Dani's mind, I'm guessing it was saying something along these lines:
Wow, and all this time, I didn't think she really heard me.

::

Speaking of hearing and being heard, just a quick blogkeeping item to share. I messed up changed my comments section again. I know it's annoying, but it's the only way I can figure out how to easily reply to comments via email. Sometimes I like talking back, okay?
Anyway, you don't have to register with Disqus in order to post a comment. You should be able to post as a guest and say no thanks to signing in. But if you do register (it takes about 5 seconds), then the next time you comment, it makes it faster (and thus easier). So don't be shy!

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Moon Dawns on Monday

I carry Caed back to his own bed, tuck him in, whisper it's still night time.
Calli waits in the hallway, nails tapping on the floor, hoping I'm her ticket to an open door. She knows I fibbed about the time. We have only an hour before the sun nudges the winter morning out of bed.

She shivers in spite of her liver and white coat. I remind her that this is what she begged me for. Now get out there, Girl.

And then I look up to see the moon cradling emptiness, leaning back in the almost dark of not quite morning, as if dozing in the final hours of its watch.

::

My weekend felt like a workweek. I struck out on a babysitter. I wanted (just once!) to order instead of cook. To deliberate over a menu with miso soup and rainbow rolls, to bat gussied-up eyelids under ambient lighting. After wishing and having none of it, I worried I might unravel before I could unwind.

And I did just a little bit. Unravel, that is.

But then I saw that moon. And it took me back to a scene from a year ago.

It seems it always happens this way. I grow weary of the same old chores, irritable from the scarcely rationed "me-time", anxious that the world is turning without me. And then I look up to see the moon, just a sliver of its whole self, beautifully fatigued.

And with my plain and puffy eyes, I see hope for me.

I turn around to see my son, beaming morning smiles, sneaking a peak through the window. And he says, "Oh wow. Did you already see that moon, Mom? It's so beautiful!" And before he asks why it is still showing in the morning, and what he can have for breakfast, I grab hold of something.

Something I can't explain, but know will be more than enough to keep me from unraveling.

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Haphazardly Awarded Happy Awards

The last week or so, I picked up a few blog "awards" for having an attitude of gratitude and making people smile.

For those of you who know me in real life, this would be your chance to jump in and offer me the That's a Load of Crap Award or the Yeah, Well You Didn't See Her This Morning Award. Because HELLO, this morning I could not have been in a more foul mood.

It's unfortunate, but it seems that the less I know you, the nicer I am. And the more I know you, the more the mean guard comes down. And when that happens, it isn't pretty.

Do you know that I had to apologize to my kids yesterday for yelling at them? And Caed's response was, "Yeah, I know, Mom, that's the kind of talk that makes me want to cry." (Hello? Mr. Badger? Any extra room in your hole in the ground?)

Last night I read a bit from Matthew, and even though I'm way over-para-phrasing, here's what stuck. Blessed are you who need me, and know it full well. Blessed are you who come to me in your wretchedness, for I will show you mercy. Blessed are you who have given up trying to be good, who've stopped building tall towers, who've ceased scheming, who finally realize I am the only Way, the only Life, the only Truth.

I am blessed in the needing and falling short. How cool is that?

And now, without any segue whatsoever, I present to you the ladies who gave me undeserved adulation:

The Lemonade Stand Award:

Michelle @ Graceful - She wrote a book! With kids underfoot! If I had the resources, I'd hire a marching band to parade around her house celebrating her gumption. Then again, she'd probably prefer peace and quiet over an uninvited loud precision band.

Corinne @ Trains, Tutus and Twizzlers - I met her! In real life!! And she is as wonderful as I made her out to be from reading her blog. (And don't worry, even though it was in real life, I was nice. Because I don't know her that well.)

Happy 101 Award:

Rebecca @ The Reluctant Homefront - Now this girl's a real gem. She held up the homefront while her husband was deployed for a long time. She gives me hope that not only can it be done, but that it can be done well.

FringeGirl @ The Domestic Fringe - I discovered FringeGirl's blog last year when she posted one of her crazy stories from her days in Maine. After exchanging a few emails, she introduced me (virtually) to a friend of hers who lived nearby me, and helped to get me plugged in to a local MOPS group. Her blog is a really fun read. It's never boring at the Domestic Fringe!

Rebekah @ It Only Gets Better - And then there's Rebekah. She's always encouraging me when I least deserve it and most need it. And she has the best sense of humor (which totally comes through on her blog). I have a feeling that if we got together, we would crack ourselves up for hours on end.

So thanks, ladies, and right back atcha!

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Footprints in the Snow

Today it warmed up to a scorching 35 degrees. AND the sun came out. And you wouldn't believe the humidity! Okay, okay, no humidity. But really, it felt soooo warm. I mean, we topped Minnesota's wind-chill adjusted high by almost 60 degrees today. (Sorry to rub it in, Kelly, but you seem to be cool with being cold, so we're cool, right?)

Anyway, if ever I was going to get outside for a much needed run, today was the day. So off I went, footloose and mitten free.

Two minutes into the run I realized that I was (quite literally) treading on thin ice. In fact, if my kids had been running on the aforementioned icy street, I would have yelled at them. "Use your walking feet! It's slippery! We don't want to end up at the ER!"

So, realizing my hypocrisy, I did what any reasonable person would do. I scooted further onto the shoulder where there was snow. And kept running.

And then I stopped. Involuntarily. I was on the ground so fast that my feet kept going in mid air, kind of like the "bicycle upside down" move from my Strawberry Shortcake Exercises! record- circa the Days of Yore. (Do you remember that record, Mom? If I'm remembering the sound of those songs right, that must have been torture for you. I'm so very sorry.)

Thankfully, it wasn't the kind of fall that broke a bone and left me wishing for my "I've fallen and I can't get up" button. More like the kind of fall where I glanced around to see if anybody saw me, dusted off, and popped back up before the garbage truck could mistake me for refuse.

And in my agony embarrassment, I turned around to see
My footprints in the snow.
And I asked the Lord,
"During the most trying periods of my run,
Why were there only one set of no footprints,
but just a big divot?"
The Lord replied,
"The times when you saw only one set of no footprints,
That is when I carried you you fell on your butt like a complete idiot.

My new New Year's Resolution?
Make peace with the treadmill.

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The Good Kind of Barely Hanging On

There's a good kind of "barely hanging on." And this is it.

Sometimes, even the "big hill you have to tackle" is only child's play.

And it helps to remember that falling down can be the most direct path to much needed rest.
And even when your joy ride ends with a face plant, you can get up with a giggle and ask to go again.

I'm learning that life is best when you're a little bit stretched. When the hill is a bit too high, the ride a bit too fast, the air a bit too cold.

Because when the skies turn white and the cheeks pink, when your breath is warm enough to melt snowflakes and your toes are too cold to wiggle, isn't that when you feel it most? This business of being alive?Yesterday, I confessed to feeling blah.
Today, I'm feeling much much better.

And it's not because the grocery lists and laundry piles are no longer bugging the bejeebies out of me. Because they SO are.

But it's because today, after praying for months for the courage to face a season of change and unknown, I'm finally feeling that courage for the first time. I'm ready to tackle the big hill, ready for the (joy) ride of my life, ready to jump in with both (too cold to wiggle) feet, ready for real life.

::

This post is linked with Emily's Tuesdays Unwrapped to celebrate this small breakthrough, His gift of courage, illustrated in snowy days and finally felt deep down.

And also to Jo-Lynne's What I Learned This Week, because I feel like this truth I've been trying to talk myself into for months has finally sunk in. (At least for now!)

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Wow. That was fast.

I honestly thought I'd be immune. I thought since I didn't buy into the hype, going into Christmas break with no expectations, I'd get a pass on the post holiday let down.

But it hit me today as I undressed the tree, tiptoeing around piles of needles, segregating bulbs and hooks. I'm heading the direction of the dried out Balsam Fir.

Down.


Not dramatic, this-is-such-a-hard-time down. But blah, everything-is-blah, my-to-do-list-puts-me-to-sleep down.

Caed goes back to school tomorrow. I've so enjoyed having him home, and back- to-school, back -to-always-routine-and-sometimes-rush, sounds Blah.

My list of errands and needed groceries are like a street gang congregating in front of my house. I really don't want to face them. But I can't avoid them much longer, because I've got to get inside. Which is really another way of saying we are almost out of everything edible. Except ridiculously fattening, empty calorie holiday treats. Which leads me to my next blah-blitty-blah...

I haven't been running much. And there's too much snow (and it's too cold) to take the jogger out with Dani. So that means treadmill running. And that sounds Blah. (Not to mention claustrophobic). And so now I add bodily Blah to spiritly Blah.

Even though I have every reason to rejoice. Even though just hours ago, I was sharing a sled with Dani, racing down the hill and smiling my face off. Even though this was quite possibly the best Christmas break we've ever had as a family. I could go on and on with the "even though"s.

But for some reason they keep ending in Blah. And all I can think to say is, "Really? What is it, two days after New Year's? Sheesh, that was fast."

Here's hoping the Blahs go away as quickly as they came.

::

How are you guys holding up against the post-holiday blues? And my advance apologies if the Blahs go viral. I didn't mean to infect anyone. Really.

(I do have a whole bunch of yippity skippity happy happy joy joy pictures burning up space in iPhoto. Maybe I'll post a montage tomorrow, you know, to make up for being such a downer tonight. )

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Saturday Evening Blog Post

I'm participating this month in the Saturday Evening Blog Post hosted by Elizabeth Esther. Usually, the idea is to pick your favorite post of the month and link it up. But this time, we're supposed to choose our favorite post from the entire year.

It was pretty hard to choose a favorite. I ended up going with this one, because it combined a precious memory with my kids and a poignant lesson for me. One I'm still learning.

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