Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Perfection always leads to peril....

I am a recovering perfectionist. I struggle every time I log onto my blog. I am not satisfied with the look of this blog, its style, its lack of photos, the font, yada, yada, yada..... you get the picture.

The real struggle for me is to just let this blog Be. Be what I originally intended - a place to log stories, practice writing, connect my mundane but unusually twisted life to the universe. For me to sit back and let this blog just Be is excruciating.... to know that this is my image in cyberspace just kills me. Why? I don't know.. because I'm a pathetic, depraved human like the rest of us.. I don't trust that what I have to say, no matter what it looks like, matters.... to anyone! Believing that its okay if my words don't matter to anyone is just fine, because my words matter to me. Accepting that my words may only ever matter to just me is good enough. GOOD ENOUGH. Those words that make perfectionists cry... GOOD ENOUGH. Good enough implies that its all still worthy, even with ugliness and mistakes and monotony and boredom and gaps in posts and ugly fonts. Good enough implies acceptance of the good parts and the not so good parts.

For perfectionists, we don't want anyone to know there are "not so good" parts. To admit the weaknesses, the failings, the inadequacies requires us to risk. To risk ourselves. To be vulnerable... oh, lordy, being vulnerable... that is definitely not the strong suit of this perfectionist, or at least that's what I want to believe.  When in fact, it is in our own need to be perfect that we show the world - in loud technicolor-flashing-lights-on-Broadway style that in fact we are a mess. A beautiful, flawed, screwed up mess.....To accept that we are still worthy to be, in all our messiness, is the goal. Either way, really, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. To be found out, through the counterfeit veil of perfection or authentically just laying it out on the table, real, unadulterated, raw,  and messy. Either way, life happens. So, I'm moving toward authenticity. You'll figure out who I am eventually.... you'll come to your own conclusions about me and that will be that. I've got too much laundry to do and too many Christmas cookies yet to bake to spend time worrying about what the blogosphere thinks, so I'll just save us both some time and lay it all out there....

Hoping you have a GOOD ENOUGH Christmas!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Only a Groan.....

There is a passage in the Bible that talks about the earth groaning for redemption... Romans 8:22-25. On more than one occasion in my life, I've had a similar experience.... being in that place were articulate words just don't cut it... "in the silences when words are not enough."*  The place where one's heart is so overwhelmed with a multitude of longings that only a groan will suffice.

Well, it happened again today. While finishing the arduous task of swapping out the kids' summer clothes with the winter clothes, I got that ache deep in my soul. You know the one - the ache of regret, nostalgia and sadness topped off by the realization that life is happening whether or not one chooses to acknowledge it....

As I looked through Bruce's closet, I actually had myself convinced that some of his 4T shorts will fit him next summer. Oh, denial - you silly thing! Then, the realization hit me that my snuggly little man will in fact be more manly and less snuggly by next Spring. He'll be taller and leaner.  I'll be lucky if his 4T shorts fit him in length next spring... even if they fit him in the waist. My baby is growing up!

Putting up the kids' clothes is one of the hardest things for me to do as a mom. I'd almost rather clean up bodily fluids than swap closets! Knowing the sweet little clothes will go in a box in the garage until the next JBF sale just kills me. Never again will Liza wear her sweet sunshine t-shirt that I managed, only by the grace of God, to get 3 summers of wear out of! Liza loved that t-shirt. She lived in it. So many memories in that t-shirt! Ugh! I groan.

I am reminded of the things done and left undone with my kiddos. Time spent distracted by jobs,  tasks, chores that need to be done - urgent in their own right, but not my heart's priority.. I groan some more. I start spiraling into the pit of regret. Asking all the questions every mom asks.... have I trained them up in the way they should go? Did I make the right choices for them, for me, for our family? Should I have thrown my computer out the window long ago, or did my computer somehow save me from the darker waves of despair as I stayed-at-home with my kids? Too often bored out of my mind, did I do right by them?

I hear moms talk about how fast it this time goes by and how much I'll miss these days of little ones running around. I struggle with this - the toddler years haven't been particularly good to me. I haven't enjoyed this time. Oh, I treasure this time, but I haven't really enjoyed it. It hasn't been life-giving to me. Perhaps there are so many other issues that have played out in this stage of our common life as a family that I haven't been able to enjoy this time... or maybe its just that this season really shows my weaknesses.. and hey, who of us really wants to spend time in that place, day in and day out?

I'm not a toddler kind of gal. With years of experience working with kids - mostly middle school on up, I thought I was prepared for motherhood. Little did I know that once we got through the first year, the monotony, impatience and boredom would set in for me. I don't do crafts. I'm too impatient and perfectionistic to let the kids help me in the kitchen much. I don't sing. I'm not creative in all the ways a mom to young kids needs to be. Secretly, I've harbored this longing for the days when pointing at pictures of skid-steers and back-hoes in a board book were long gone and we could discuss the plots to the Narnia series; and the ad-nauseum replaying of the 12 Dancing Princesses would cease and we could talk about logical life lessons and other rational, real things.  I don't do this play-imagine-create stage of life well. Frankly, its shown me that I don't play well, period. I have this overwhelming need to keep moving, be productive, to have a purpose, to have something to prove my worth at the end of the day - as if I need to justify the oxygen I use and the space I take up.... to be valuable.

So, today I felt valuable, productive, even accomplished as I got my closet-swapping task completed. But, I also felt emotionally off-kilter... that a cruel joke was being played on me. That in my need to be "valuable" I missed the whole point. Have I been present enough with my kids? Have I loved them enough? Have I been a good enough mom to them?  I groaned some more.... crying out to God with my anxiety.... trusting Him to show me the way. I reminded myself that the past is the past. God can redeem it, but I can't.   I can only control the present and my choices within it.  So, I finished putting the clothes up, snuggled my kids up close, and had meaningful interactions with them.  Then, after they were sufficiently tucked in bed, I read The Dilemma of Every Mother by Amanda at  Turn out the lights... the groaning is now accompanied by tears....

I read somewhere not long ago that God designed each of us moms to parent our specific children.. that they were designed for us to be the best parent for them and that we are uniquely designed to have them as our children..... for God to use them and us and our interaction for His glory. So with that being said, I'm taking my groaning, teary-eyed self to bed and trusting that God will redeem and restore whatever I've managed to screw up as a parent; reminding myself that His grace is sufficient and that I'm not alone in this journey. My groans and anxiety are timeless and ultimately not in vain.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You Know You are a Mom when.......

You read the words 8th  CONTINENT while grocery shopping
and instantly wonder if you should go to the bathroom...... just in case.
Just saying.......

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Time marches on.....

Today would be my grandfather's 108th birthday, if he were still alive! How on earth can I have memories of someone who would be 108!?!?!?

Oh, and my baby brother turns 37 tomorrow! Yep, I'm feeling old.

The other day, little brother was in an urgent state about securing life insurance before his birthday as the the costs go up with age. Took me about 25 minutes to become comfortable with the fact that he's a grown up and I'm fast approaching middle age.

Remember how every Fall and back to school time meant that you had an opportunity to re-invent yourself.... I sort of feel like that these days, as life as I formerly knew it comes crashing down around me... but with the harsh realization time is not really on my side any longer. I've put things off:  I'll save more next year, I'll get back to Jazzercise after the holidays, I'll email that old friend tomorrow. My mind and my body are definitely running on completely different clocks. My mind feels like I'm about 32. My body reminds me I'm about 56. Don't even get me started on those "real-age" quizzes...

I'm staring down the barrel at 40 and having to start my life all over again. I think my official mid-life crisis has begun.

Time to do some serious re-evaluating. What will I take with me into the 2nd half of my life? What will I leave behind? The past 2 years have proven to be great existential sifters to help me air out my priorities... where I put my energy, emotions, and investments of myself and money.

If you had to start life over again, what would you do differently?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Paradigm Shift

I've been M.I.A. for the last month or so due to some major life upheaval..... sorry. Lots of juicy stuff but nothing quite ready for prime time. I am going to write a book about it all. I think I'll call it Why 16 Year Olds Should NOT Have Sex. So, until publication (who knows when!!) you'll just have to trust me that the experience has been note worthy, to say the least.

In the meantime, I've been reading about Rachel and Doug's big decision over at Small Notebook. WOW! Could you do this? Would you do this? Should you do this?

This has raised some seriously big questions for me.... because nothing like changing perspective up when life has thrown you some major challenges!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is normal?

So.... its the day after Labor Day. The first official day of "normal" season. Summer is over. Back To School flurry and novelty is definitely worn off. We even had our first possible sick day today, but being the stealth mom that I am, I put the kibosh on that real quick.

The reality of life is settling in like concrete today. We received several bouts of bad news over the last 7 days making the start of September like a gigantic sucker punch to the jaw. Situations and beliefs that I've had about my life and the lives of my friends and family are all crashing down around me. Life as we've known it is ending. The few places left were some naivete existed in my world are quickly being swallowed up. I am stuck in a whirlpool of unknowns were I am questioning what "normal" really is.

I've never been a big fan of "normal" -- isn't it just a setting on the dryer? I hear "typical" used frequently in its place and that somehow fits the bill, sometimes... but the changes ahead definitely won't be considered "typical," at least not for a few years.

I admit I'm scared. I'm not generally afraid of much, but the upcoming changes in my world are frightening. Perhaps because I feel like a pioneer into this new world. No one around me has gone this way before. At least not yet. This is where I can identify the passing away of my naivete,  all the while quickly recognizing when it is still alive and well in others.

What does normal/typical look like?
What is a normal life expectancy?
What is a normal standard of living for college educated professionals?
What is a normal definition of success?
What is a normal definition of thriving?
What defines the middle class?
Does God fit in anywhere in normal?
Is normal the goal?


Tuesday, August 31, 2010


So, we start day 8 of 1st grade tomorrow! Liza is loving school but struggling with the "no more naps" issue. Evidently, stamina is a big issue at this time of year in 1st grade. Her teacher mentioned something about stamina today, but Liza came home talking about "taminals" and it took me about an hour to figure out what she was really talking about.

The fact that its 9:30 and I'm thisclose to falling asleep at the computer proves my point! Meanwhile, I hear Bruce jumping on his bed and playing with his truck. He can't wait for day 2 of preschool and is making sure the neighbors hear about it!

Apparently, there is no shortage of stamina in preschool.

Good night

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer To Do List

While my summer to do list isn't complete, I did cross some biggies off the list.

Potty Train Bruce
Start Writing
Finish Furniture projects
Drop 20 lbs.
Work out routine solidified (ha!)
Visit Aquarium
Take Kids Hiking around town
Visit Firefighters Museum
Go To the Zoo
Go Camping
Teach kids to clean up after themselves at meal time!
Read more, read to kids more
Regular Dates with Liza
Regular Dates with Silver Fox
Spend lots of time at airplane park
Get everyone caught up on dentist and doctor visits
Hang up Liza's artwork in frames

So, we focused mostly on that relationship stuff.... the maintenance of the mundane... which has been surprisingly refreshing. While we didn't have a fantasmagorical summer break loaded with grand adventures, we did spend some great quality time with those we love. My kids got their first real chance to spend time with their paternal grandmother; and some precious time with each other. While they are sooooo ready for some time apart, I'm thankful we've had the last few months, while they are  best buddies, just us... doing our thing.... Bruce wanting to get into Liza's stuff.... Liza bossing Bruce around.... just hanging out.

I am amazed at how refreshed I feel.  I'm ready for Fall and school and all its routines.... not because my kids are driving me nuts, but because they are ready... after a great season with mama and daddy, safe in our nest, they are ready to take a step out into the world. Excited to explore what the world holds.... prepared because things are in order at home.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Is this a Christian Blog? A Disclaimer

Someone asked me the other day if my blog was Christian. 
That's an interesting question. 

My blog, in and of itself, a noun, a thing, an electronic computer program able to transmit data, 
doesn't have a will of its own... so no..... 
My blog is probably not a professing Christian. 

Although, my blog does have a bare chested picture
 of Tim Tebow on it 
and HE'S a Christian. 
Ironically (?) my blog hasn't corrupted/crashed/lost that particular data, 
so..... I'm gonna say maybe.                    
Maybe my blog is Christian.
Or maybe my blog just likes hot boys 
who love Jesus. 

We'll see what happens after the Bronco game this weekend. 
If the photo is still sound after Tebow's pro debut.. 
my blog just might be admitting that its a football fan. 

We'll have to wait and see. 

Back to my original point, 
(how do I get so off track? Must be Lola's fault... she can't focus much either! Sheesh!)
as the writer of this blog and a follower of Christ
 - yes, my blog could be considered Christian.  
However, I'm hesitant to say that I'm a Christian Blog Writer. 
(I know, your saying "What, Cara, hesitant to say anything?!?!)

I don't want to be grouped in with a bunch of bloggers 
who do the whole "Christian Blog" thing 
with excellence, grace, elegance, 
scripturally sound and inspiring messages 
that discuss their striving to be 
Godly women, married to Godly men, bringing up Godly children
.... cuz that. ain't. me. 

are really GREAT blogs. 
(Please, check them out!) 

They've inspired and encouraged me, 
changed my perspective and outlook, 
and for a critical few minutes, 
kept me from walking out the front door leaving 
Liza and Bruce to fend for themselves, 
fighting over an unopened box of 
honey bunches of frosted fruity cardboard shreds! 

If you know me IRL (in real life)
you know that I love Jesus! 
I try to follow Jesus! 
I try to encourage others to follow Jesus! 
He really is the way, the truth and the life
... because I've been stuck in the 
fun house full of mirrors called self-sufficiency 
and it SUCKS with a capital UCK! 

However, I've also figured out in the nearly 4 decades I've walked the earth 
(how the heck did that happen... my mother looks 50!)
that I don't have the market cornered on
this whole Christian/Follower of Jesus thing... 
not by a long shot. 

I'm a sinner... a big, fat one! 

No worse than anyone else, really. I'm just not trying to convince anyone
I'm not a total screw up all on my own. 
I did that thing for awhile and that was a train wreck, too. 

As I understand it, there are these 2 worlds - 
the natural world 
(everyday life on planet earth) 
and the 
spiritual world
(God's world.)
 I live in both, occasionally at the same time. 
In the natural world, 
I'm a mess. 
I'm broken. 
I'm a sinner
(No, I'm not afraid of that word... anymore. Again, another blog post.) 

Those 3 facts won't ever change in the natural world. 
I will hurt people, do stupid, harmful, dishonest things. 
I will lie, cheat, steal, gossip.... and the list goes on.
Ungrateful, entitled, arrogant and stubborn are character traits 
that permeate my existence here on earth. 
The consequences of these traits and the actions are far reaching in this world. 
I hurt my kids' feelings, they go out and hurt their friends' feelings 
and so on and so on
... kind of like an old shampoo commercial. 

THANKFULLY, because Jesus "adopted" me as His child 
when I fell in love with Him, 
I am covered -- the punishment was paid
in this world 
for all my ugliness.  

In God's world and in God's eyes... 
He sees me the way He originally intended for me to be... 

Honest, loving, generous, patient, kind, self-controlled, peaceful, thoughtful, 
thankful, hopeful and 
 not worried about my life! 

In God's world, I don't have to pay the price for my crappy, earthly behavior and character. 
Jesus already did that when he died on the cross.  

When God's world and the natural world intersect, 
God takes the natural consequences of my dumb-ass behavior 
and turns them into something amazingly beautiful and fabulous... 
and THIS is the adventure.. 
the good stuff... 
the miraculous, magnificent, 
out of this world, 

Therefore, since the natural world on its own is a jungle, 
and God's world is still a ways away, 
I try to apply as much as I know of God's world 
to the natural world where I possibly can. 

For me, that means I've got to acknowledge and be realistic 
about the natural state of things, 
all the while striving for the 
"on earth as it is in Heaven" 
part of things. 

Some days, I do this well. 

Others, mmm... not so much! 
I will blog about both 
- my life in the natural world where I drop F-bombs 
and drool over young, hunky quarterbacks, yell at my kids, 
reply sarcastically to my husband and generally 
function out of individual and communal wounded-ness 
that keeps us all tethered to terra ferma ...  

BUT, I will also blog about living at the 
intersection of Rejection and Redemption... 
the times and places
where God intervenes in my humanness
and reveals Himself in new ways, 
calling me evermore to share
His world with my fellow sojourners. 

All that to say, for me to even think about writing a "Christian Blog" 
would require a level of
 excellence and piety that I don't have
and don't really feel comparable to.

... or maybe its because if I am a "Christian Blogger" 
I can't have half naked pictures 
of Tim Tebow on my blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Frugal Finds

Now, I'm a girl who loves a bargain. Paying retail for most anything is ridiculous, unless you are talking underwear or mattresses and some other pieces of upholstered furniture.

However, today I learned a new little tip about bargain shopping! Be sure to check out the thrift stores, ie: Goodwill, Salvation Army that are close to big box stores like Target.

Seems I stumbled upon a Goodwill store today right across the street from Target. Inside the Goodwill were TONS of brand new summer merchandise leftover from the Target end of season clearance sales!

The shoe department was stocked with brand new shoes, sandals, etc.  all were priced about $4.99! They seemed to have a decent selection of odd sizes.

But, I was good. I don't need shoes. So, I didn't buy any. I got in and out with what I went searching for.... a bread machine. I'm only $6.99 lighter!

Gotta love a bargain!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Honey, I need a date night!

Had a dream that Tim Tebow asked me out on a date. Serious indicator of need for adult time with my honey...... Time to call a babysitter!

tebow Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blonde Mom Moment

In the name of frugality, simplicity and a seemingly reasonable activity Liza and Bruce could share in, we decided to make homemade popsicles yesterday!

Oh, they were beautiful! Strawberries, blueberries, a frozen banana and some lemon-lime soda! The color was amazing - a rich berry-deep pink-color - yum!
(Didn't think to take a picture - maybe that's blonde moment #1) 

We popped those babies in the garage freezer to begin the wait. All day long I kept commenting on what a lovely color those popsicles turned out - wondering if I could find paint that color... wondering what piece of furniture I could paint that color!

Good thing I like that color because.....

Those popsicles exploded all over the inside of my freezer!!
(again, in my panicked rush to get it cleaned up, I forgot to take a picture.)

*Note to self: Do not use carbonated beverages to make popsicles.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heaven on Earth

I have 2 children: Liza and Bruce (not their real names.) 

These nicknames were given to them early because they suit their personalities. 

Liza stood on the fireplace hearth belting out show-tunes at the ripe old age of 18 months. 
Her #1 hit in our house was a priceless rendition of "Snake Your Boonie" (Shake Your Booty) 
accompanied by her brand new Maracas! 
(Yep, the first of many annoying gifts from her grammy!) 

Bruce, on the other hand, doesn't have a great story. 

My poor 2nd born child is stuck with a multitude of random nick-names... 
his real name isn't even his real name, 
but rather a convoluted contraction of his first and middle names 
because someone thought it was a good idea to name him after his father and grandfather! 

So, not only is the poor kid "the third," but because he's my son, 
and you know how it goes with little boys, 
he got all sorts of cutsy pet names... 
like Bubba. 
I started calling him Bubba shortly after he was born. 
Why? I have no freaking idea. It just seemed to fit. 
He had big round cheeks and was quiet. 
Oddly enough, Bubba is what my family nick named my boyfriend from high school...
come to think of it, he had round cheeks and was quiet too. 
But he was from Texas. 
Aren't all guys from Texas named Bubba? 
I digress... So, Bubba stuck..  
then, when mama's milk had done his body good and 
he began eating Texas sized amounts of food at 5 months old.... 
Bubba turned into Bubba-Chub. 
Followed soon after by Bruce. 
Don't get the natural progression? 
Me neither. 
That's just how we roll. 

These are the people who make me carazy...... 
in love, in frustration, in wonder, in awe, in gratitude!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Its a Small World After All

In the last 2 weeks, I've had some oddly bizarre encounters with random people.  Sort of a 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon on crack type of thing. In fact, I'm only 4 degrees from Kevin Bacon, which may or may not explain the randomness of the next series of events.

For several years, I've known a sister-from-another-mother lived in the exact same dorm room I did, only 12 years earlier.... long before I met her. Nice coincidence, huh? Last week I learned that another friend lived in the exact same dorm room the year after I did. We weren't friends in college either. Mind you, this wasn't at some small school, but rather a large university with thousands of dorm rooms. Weirdly coincidental. 

Last week, while helping a woman organize her home, I caught a glimpse of a picture of my second cousin sitting on her night stand. I mentioned that it was my second cousin, Eleanor. The woman looked at me with gigantic eyes and said, "Eleanor is my cousin." Then, we stood there, looking at each other with that  psycho-music-planning-in-the-back-of-your-mind kind of surreal amazement..... followed by piecing together our histories to discover we were in fact 2nd cousins once removed. Bizarre! My brain actually ached after we finally drew up a relationship map to figure out our connections. 

Come to find out, the cousin we have in common is only related by marriage and isn't even on the side of the family that we share. 

Yep. Its okay if you are confused and those last few sentences didn't make a darn bit of sense. I had to draw a diagram to figure it out myself! 

After learning all this, I called my dad to tell him I found his 2nd cousin. In recounting the story, he told me all sorts of family history from his side. 

Guess what? In the midst of that conversation, and after a little sleuthing of my own (facebook stalking may or may not have been involved) I discovered that my paternal grandfather (the great uncle of my client) worked the majority of his life as a salesman for a business owned by the father of one of my colleagues.  

Yep, my buddy Bill's dad was my grandfather's boss. No, I don't live in Green Acres, population 783. I live in a major metropolitan area!!! 

Oh, and today, while picking up my kids at day camp, I discovered one of my mother's sorority sisters is the mother-in-law of someone in my MOPS group.  The sorority sister doesn't live in our city, and mom and her pal did not go to college here, but rather up the road about 100 miles. Random?

Bizarre indeed... but my life is kinda like that. My friend Kate calls me the human filofax. This week may have proved her to be right.

No wonder I have the song, "One Tribe" stuck in my head.... go figure. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just Do It!

"Just Do It!"

Nike made the slogan famous, but they are simply great words to live by. Procrastination breads destructive, incestuous habits - like more procrastination, apathy and ultimately failure. No one plans to fail, they just fail to plan... as some wise person said somewhere along the way. Either way, its all sound wisdom. 

So, today, July 22, 2010, I did it. I finally posted a blog entry. I've let the idea of a blog saute in my brain for over a year now. My DH  has begged me to do it - simply so I have another outlet for my extroverted self. Or, maybe because writing for me is like therapy. Blogging is a heckuvalot cheaper than therapy. So, this is good. Real good.

On my list of things to do this summer, besides potty train my 3 1/2 year old (yes, I know I'm a slacker mom!) is to start writing again. Well, goody for me. I get a gold star - or maybe just the last of the oreos I have hidden from the kids - for being able to check something off my summer goals list..... writing. 

I hope whomever reads this is blessed, on some level, by what I have to write. Even if its just a chuckle, a relatable story, or a "thank god, I'm not her...she's an idiot" moment.... blessings are good.

Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite.