Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Today I wore a headband...

We've been living in Columbia for about 5 weeks now.  In my parents' house, which is a 4 bedroom, 2500 square foot ranch.  It's really been great, as my parents are pretty much the most gracious folks ever, living as flexibly and generously as possible having added five people to their crib.  What it doesn't afford, though, is much alone time.  So Praise Be that VBS started today at my parents' church. From 9-12 am all three girls are rollin at Grace Pres.' Bible School.  They are having a blast and so is their mom.

This morning I dropped off the cherubs and took my Hottesy all over town.  I did nothing fancy...no mani/pedi, no coffee with friends, no Target run (you know that's fancy).  Instead I did a million little errands in about half the time it would take me with kids in tow.  I did have one fancy accessory, though, and that my friends was my new headband.  For those of you on insta you saw that I bought one of those "Buff" head wrap/bands because it literally had my name on it.  And because when I do yoga I need something to hold my hair back that doesn't spring off the back of my (apparantly) cone-shaped head.  There are just so many ways you can wear the "Buff" though, so I decided that I would try it today on my no-shower but previously straightened hair.  I am having trouble finding the words to describe the inner monologue that ensued while wearing the Buff.  Lemme just say this, though...people looked at me.

Newsflash to all you younguns out there...when you're 43 no one looks at you.

It wasn't like they were looking at me like a weirdo.  Or even like, "hey, lady you are a good looking old lady."  It was just that people took notice.  And it felt really good to be noticed.  I felt that the "Buff" helped me wield some kind of power that made people look a second longer, take me a little more seriously, maybe even remember me for next time.  This made me realize two really important things about myself.  One is that I never do/wear/say much of anything that stands out from the crowd.  Boo.  I mean for crying out loud, why am I trying so hard to do/wear/say everything like everyone else?  And why has it taken me 43 years and only $24.99 to realize this?  Again, it's not even like it was THAT different.  It was just different enough to make me have that "screw it, I'm just gonna wear this crazy head thing and walk with purpose through my day like I own this town" kind of thing.  It was powerful.  And it makes me want to take more risks that help me (and maybe others too?) feel more confident.  I'm not talking about your run of the mill self-confidence here.  I'm talking about confidence in who I was MADE to be.  To live out of the truth of who I am and WHOSE I am.  I want to treat people the way I want to be treated.  To notice people, to really see them, and to take the time to listen and remember them.

The second thing this magic headband helped me see is that I put EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in categories.  And a lot of times those things or people don't really belong in those categories.  My hubs was recently telling me about a podcast he heard that described our brain's instinct to organize and categorize everything we experience.  It's a necessary and extremely helpful thing our brains do to protect us and allow to us define who we are in relation to the world around us.  The problem is that in the Kingdom of God there are no categories!  The categories are all turned upside down like tables in the temple.  And if I am going to live and love like Christ then man I need to flip that junk upside down in my head.

This past Saturday we went to visit the State House in Columbia.  Yes, THE State House where the confederate flag was removed from the grounds just this past week.  We got to see where the flag used to be, and we also walked into the State Senate chambers where Rev. Clementa Pinckney served before he and eight other men and women were killed in Charleston just weeks ago.   As we now know, the killer was welcomed into their Bible study at that church, even though he looked SO different, SO out of place.  But because those nine men and women knew that in the Kingdoom of God there are no categories, they invited him in, not knowing he planned to do them such harm.  To stand outside the State House and show my children the empty space where a divisive flag used to fly, to tell them the story of those 9 gracious, heroic men and women who chose to see others with the eyes of Christ, to teach them that even in the most horrific circumstances that grace and mercy win...that just felt like such an overwhelming gift.

Living life free of categories is scary.  It's difficult.  It goes against our every instinct.  But it is the most honorable, most gracious, most generous way to live.  I want to live this way.

Man, that's a powerful headband.

(Oh friends you cannot imagine how many selfies I had to take to end up with this normal looking gem)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hangry tonight...

Oh law.  The indecision and lack of task completion continues.  Today I half finished a whole buncha stuff.  And felt like I did nothing.  And if I told you what I did you would probably say, "Why Buff, that's pretty good for one day!"...but I think I could do a pretty good job of making my list sound long and impressive, even if it is unfinished.

When the kids got home from school I just added to the chaos by starting homework with the twins, then stopping homework to play Yahtzee with the twins (who are marginal mathemeticians at best), then taking said twins (and Maggie and a friend) up to the pool.  I sat in the hot, blazing sun and talked on the phone to my husband for the first time in two days while Tori stewed in time out on a lawn chair. All while hiding my unshowered and un-made up self behind a pair of RayBans.  (BTW, RayBans can cover over a multitude of sins.  And if you add hoop earrings, well then sister you're ready to tango.)

We left the pool, took Maggie's sweet friend home, then went to find dinner.  I struggle SO with dinner.  I can.not.make.a.decision.  I swear I had twelve plans thoroughly thought through in my head and we didn't end up doing a single one of them.  I was asking my kids (my KIDS!!) what they wanted to do for dinner.  What a rookie move!  I'm better than this, people...I've been at this a long time.  I ended up listening to their suggestions and literally clawing at my own face while saying, "I am soooo hungry I can barely STAND it!".  I really said that.  And I really clawed.  I ended up going to get food supplies for dinner and a smoothie to tide us over.  But not before trying to find the perfect word for what I was experiencing.

I've heard the word HANGRY...hungry/angry.  And it's a really great word.  Brilliant, actually.  But I needed more.  I was also real sweaty, unshowered, feeling overweight, angry, starving and acting like a two year old.  What should we call that, people?  I just can't decide.  HOTHANGRY covers most of it, except for the fact that you could say the 'th" together and then it just sounds weird.

I'm open to suggestions.  For now, though, I will just categorize myself as a Mama who is strung out and needing some Calgon.  Or Jesus.

P.S.  (Written post dinner and Blue Moon)...Waaaaahhhhhh  Waaaaahhhhh.   I'm a whiny child.  Military spouses and single parents, y'all are legit.  Saying grateful prayers for you tonight.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tick tock

Three weeks from today I will be living in Columbia, SC.  Mmmmhmmm.  Three weeks.  There is more life to live between now and then than I can possibly explain.  Normal end of the year stuff with kids, twins' birthday parties, teacher gifts to get, recitals...but this year we're throwing in goodbye parties and a major life-changing move.  No big.  I find myself wondering about things like how do I forward my mail to my new address if we close on our house here a week before we close there?  What things will we need to keep with us this summer as we live with my gracious and brave parents for a few weeks?  And how in the world will we ever survive summer without a neighborhood swimming pool?  I'm paying bills, changing doctors, registering for schools all while still trying to keep our little lives afloat here in Jacksonville while Ian is already gone to work in SC.  I have to do all the things right now.  So why do I find myself staring at the TV watching Kelly Rippa and Michael Strayhan tap dancing with Patricia Heaton?  I'm in some sort of denial-type fog that is very difficult to lift.  The fog is of course made thicker by the "eat chocolate, drink wine and don't exercise" plan I'm on this week.  Winning.

It's hard to move.  There's a lot to do.  The paralyzing part, though, is not the list of stuff to be done, but the overarching knowledge that we are saying goodbye...to a lot of things and people we love.  It's kind of like grief, coming and going at the strangest times.  I find myself almost stoic when people are saying goodbye to me, expressing their hearts and really loving me well.  Yet when I watched other people's kids get confirmed in church last week I was an ugly cry-er...right there in the pew.  It's a strange business, being a human with lots of feelings.

So I'm pressing on.  Tonight there is a soccer party, and the coach wants the parents and families to play in a big soccer game.  This thrills me to no end, especially since I have to speed directly from said "party" to a going away gathering of some of my close friends.  Smelling like a flower, no doubt.  Just trying to go from one thing to the next and clinging desperately to the promise that I am not alone and I am dearly loved by a God who is walking with me.  Leading me, actually...thankfully.  There's a reason why we can only see right in front of our faces during times of grief...our minds are protecting us, helping us go from moment to moment, trusting the next breath will come, and then the next and the next.  It strangely feels a lot like full life, where the saddness is deeper, but the laughter is louder and so very welcome.