Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Listen to me....I don't want to talk about it.

My mom and I talk often (almost daily) and today's topic was about the transparency we (generally speaking) allow, maybe even encourage, in today's society.  Don't we invite people in to criticize and review personal details of our own life and then take offense if we don't like the comments.  Things that used to be "opinion" "personal business" "family business" or even considered "airing of dirty laundry" is now Facebook friendly and tweet worthy.  It can be very subtle or it can be painfully extreme.  It's user's choice - user's remorse.

My parents had five children in six years. 
I was the oldest

 I believe at one point my Grammy (maternal) sent my mom unsolicited information on birth control after Katy was born (middle child).  Obviously it wasn't something they talked about, but something that could be dropped in the mail. People were much more respectful of boundaries. My parents divorced when I was around seven years old.  I remember the day they told me that Dad was not going to be living with us anymore.  I ran outside to be by myself and digest this information.  (I am famous for running from uncomfortable news, sad movies, anything with endings I don't like...even today).  What I don't remember is that this wasn't the first separation.  Divorce was not common in the sixties but the problem my mom had to face was alcohol - and it was not going away.  And drink had a hold on my dad.  As small children, we were not aware of this issue.  As we talked about this, I commented that sometimes love isn't enough and she replied sometimes love ends up being wishful thinking.  There is a lot of truth to that.

The excuses people hear today are the same ones my mom heard back in the sixties.  The only difference is my mom shouldered this burden alone.  Well, as alone as you can be with five small children to take care of.  She didn't talk about it with her parents, she didn't share my dad's shortcomings with her siblings and she certainly didn't publish the problems on any type of social media.  And while she now acknowledges they certainly must have known (the examples are painful), they didn't bring them up with her either.  It was not that kind of world.  She dwelt with it as best she could until she could find a solution.  I am a lot like my mom in "dealing with things" so I believe I understood why.  Part of that "why" is because "anything said aloud causes problems with the perception of the person struggling going forward FOREVER"  There can be no chance of reconciliation without recriminations from family.  And.....why air your dirty business, etc.  It takes me back to my baggage blog.  IF (and sometimes this is a big IF - that person ever is going to want to change, the stigma of the past is covered ALL OVER THEM.

Not to mention the boomerang effect.  If I share an ugly opinion when bad things happen - publish for all to see and then a few days later am BFF's again with the offender, what does that say about my judgement and character?   This is a tough deal because from a biblical perspective, we are called to forgive, and we should.  But we are NOT called to continue to lay down and be a doormat just because someone can't (or won't) wipe their feet before they come inside.

As me and my friend Gomer Pyle always say - Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice - shame on me!

Until next time,

Act in haste -
Repent in leisure.

your pal,

P.S.  love you, MOM!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Everybody's working for....VACATION!!!!!!

Today was my first day of vacation.  I know, some of you may be confused because you are can you take vacation if you aren't gainfully employed?  Well, let's start first with the definition of "gainfully employed".  Granted, I am not drawing a paycheck at regular intervals.  All this means to me is I am working for free because my time seems to be filled on a daily basis with meaningful activity.  My activities are diverse and time consuming.  For example, let's take a look at the first couple of days of this week (prior to vacation).

Monday - I started this day (and week)  by preparing breakfast for my family.  This allowed us to start our day by breaking bread and praying together which is something we have been enjoying regularly since I relocated to this new type of "employment".  Following Terry and Madi's departure, I have kitchen clean-up, bed making, and general straightening up around the house.  On this particular Monday, I had an appointment I needed to be at by 1 p.m. (okay - so it was a massage) followed by picking Madi up at school by 3:00 for a dual immunization appointment for her as she prepares for her mission trip coming up in two weeks (yes, I am counting down the days now-there is much to do).  A quick supper and it's back to school for a meeting at 7:00 p.m. regarding same mission trip.  Not to mention the stop for my Sonic following the massage so that I could stay hydrated!

Tuesday - up at 5:20 a.m. for boot camp with hubby (he still hasn't quite forgiven me for signing him up to participate also).  JUST FOR THE HEALTH OF IT!!.  6:30 and we are through and it's time for me to get those eggs scrambled...breakfast isn't going to fix itself.  Basic clean-up again following meal, but this time it's an appointment downtown at 10:30 a.m. followed by a board meeting from 12:-1:30 p.m.  By the time I get home around 2:30 (Sonic stop....not going to lie)  I have just a short while to prepare for a 3:30 p.m. conference call and then it's time to get supper in the oven - I like to have it on the table by 5:45 p.m.  Daughter Riss is due to arrive later in the evening and I want clean-up done early.

Does this sound like a life of leisure to you?  Where was pool time in all of this?  That's right.  I need to be on vacation to enjoy life without appointments and that started today.  However, just like when I was "working", I can't seem to get this done without interruption.  I managed to reply "yes" to a committee I serve on which will meet tomorrow afternoon from 3:00-4:30 (old habits die hard).  I am trying for Friday without interruption. 

This is the life!
Lessons to be learned from this:

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This baggage is heavy...but I can't seem to leave it behind

Today I was at Sonic (no surprise there) and when I pulled in, I was talking to my mom so I decided to skip the drive through and just order from the stall.  It wasn't busy, it was less intrusive on my conversation and I wasn't in any hurry.  After I ordered, I talked to my step-dad, chatted again with my mom and before long I realized my throat was parched.  Cars were coming and going all over the place and I was still sitting there without my drink.  Now, I could have punched that button and got all ugly but I didn't. This was my choice to be leisure so I pushed the button again, checked in and said, "hey, I think you forgot about me.  I have been here about 15 minutes now and see cars coming and going".  Instantly apologetic, my drink was delivered, not only free of charge but with Sonic coins for free drinks for my next two visits.  Not expected but appreciated.  I didn't hear excuses and no one got defensive with me. 

I gave my Sonic friends a break because I didn't know what was going on with them and I knew what was going on with me.  Yet so many times we are more kind to strangers then we are to those we know and love.  (Maybe we don't always love those we know...and that's also part of the problem). 

Why is that?  I believe it's because we can (and do) always refer back to the past.  And not the person's past specifically but our past history shared with that person.  I know I am guilty of this, too.  How does it get started?  If I order a diet coke every time I go to Sonic, should they just start bringing me one?  They could say - but you always order one.  I know you.  It is what we expect.  Of course not.  As a customer, we have the freedom (and right) to change.  Not always so easy in our day to day life.   Relationships are built on patterns that soon become expectations and when expectations aren't met....disappointment, disgust, betrayal?  But with strangers you get a clean slate every time.   Thank goodness we do with someone.

I was talking to someone I love today about how we look at things.  He was involved in a situation where he "knew" this person and it was "just like them" to behave this way.   As we discussed solutions, I asked him, "what would you do if both people were strangers to you"?  He indicated that he would naturally get both sides of the story ....but that wasn't necessary this time. 

If we stop right there and think about it, how can any of us ever leave what we have done behind?  I would categorize this a new form of Stranger that our past puts our future in jeopardy if at any time a stranger makes an accusation that SOUNDS like something we may have done in the past, we are instantly guilty.  Will we always be held to a standard that at one time we were embarrassed by?  Or maybe for some of us, that standard is set differently now for what we hope to accomplish. Where can we leave this baggage?

Let's start with each other.
You can leave your baggage here with me. 

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The final countdown....this WAS WAR!!!!

Armageddon as defined in the dictionary is “the place where the final battle will be fought between the forces of good and evil”.  Another definition is “the last and completely destructive battle: or finally, any great and crucial conflict”.

I am here today to tell you that Armageddon came a little to close to home.  I know we have been hearing this for decades, and certainly from people with more credibility than me but let me rain some cold hard facts down on you from a house that was under siege in Austin, Texas.

First, let me warn you that the next few paragraphs are graphic in nature and will contain photographic evidence that some of my readers may find disturbing.  With this in mind, read on – perhaps in small groups.  Definitely with the lights on and loud music playing.

Saturday night…much like any other Saturday except Madi and I knew we were not alone in the house.  As we made our way to the kitchen, the lights were off (first mistake) and we decided our best defense was a good offense as we loudly made our way into the room.  Our thought:  giving the intruder the opportunity to leave before we got there.  At first glance it appeared our strategy worked.  NOT SO!!  Let me at this moment give a special shout out to my boot camp trainer, Lisa.  Had it not been for the workouts I have been doing, I would not have been able to jump on that island counter in one giant leap.  After rebounding from my shock at being able to do that, it was back to the task at hand.  Did I mention…..MOUSE!!!!!!!

I manned the kitchen island while Madi called for armed back-up (Terry).  When he came in with his weapon of choice (a shoe, really?)  I pointed out where God’s only mistake was making his way and quickly retreated to the bedroom.  After several long minutes, Terry returned and it was obvious by his expression, he was not victorious.  Since we were aware we were under attack, we had put strategies in place to eliminate this intruder.  When I say “we” I mean Terry because my role in this whole deal is to ask daily….ANYTHING TO REPORT?  This generally resulted in an avoidance of good solid eye contact and a mumbled response.  However, we were now at a point when I needed to review our arsenal.  What I saw was frightening.
Hey look, peanut butter and flour!
Can anyone identify this?
I know you can see the prints
Me neither.  What was supposed to be a “mouse trap” can only be defined as a fully loaded buffet that must be calling mice from all areas to come on over to the French house where all the food is locked down but the traps are fully loaded and its free.  Seriously, we even found little flour paw prints where the rodent retreated after feasting.  When I asked how many of these buffets were out and about in the house, the answer made me weep.  After collecting and disposing of all the original “traps” AND with instructions not to return home until new purchases of same had been made, Terry and Madi left for the store.

Twenty-four hours later and all is well again in the French household.  We are living free and easy and word on the street is peanut-butter/flour laden trays of goodness laying about for mice, lizards and God only knows what  are no longer being served at this address.   
May this never happen again.
(I hate those meeses to pieces)
Until next time,
Your pal,


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