Reflections

Once June hits around here, we have a birthday/anniversary/special occasion at least monthly for several months, which is pretty cool. 🙂 My birthday is coming up next month, and I have been thinking about the emotional growth spurt that I experienced recently. One morning this week, before I got out of bed, I had a phrase from one of the birthday songs the children of our church sing to one another by Barbara McConochie: “one year older and wiser, too.”

Though wisdom might have evaded me as a child, I have considered moments from this summer which have brought me insight and strength. I have been taught in ways that I would not have imagined possible on subjects as diverse as faith or screenwriting, as connected as family is to friends. I have experienced moments of ease as well as moments of pain, moments of heartache and moments of triumph. Each day, I have been sustained by those around me and a power beyond my own.

What have I learned?

  • I am stronger, more capable, more powerful than I knew before this moment.
  • My family has the capacity to strengthen, bless, and uplift.
  • I have a voice to sing.
  • Life is filled with blessings, even as we struggle.
  • Struggling helps us (if we let it).
  • Life is good.
  • Gratitude each day is crucial.
  • I can be happy, no matter what goes on around me.
  • Prayer changes situations, hearts, minds.
  • As we work together to support each other, we’ve got this.

Till next time. xoxo

Young Again

When I die, will you paint me
Young again…?

Eyes set forward, without tears for Ethan’s cancer at age six (he was here oh-so-briefly)
Brow long and high, not with wrinkles borne of worry for
Kaitlin’s solo, Jonathan’s baseball championship, and later
Kaitlin’s failing marriage, Jonathan’s lost job, and even later
Burying Jim after thirty-six years of happily and not-so-happily
Married life?

Will you paint me innocent? Free from fear?

Yet I look in the mirror at my
aged face,
tired eyes,
wrinkled hands…
Hands once delicately fingering a piano, rolling a cookie, painting a homecoming poster
And I wonder
If each mark of age represents an
unspoken experience,
valuable wisdom,
immeasurable compassion,
Would I trade it all back for a young face, thick hair, and soft hands?

-Karin Salisbury


photo credit

It’s not easy being thin…

Try singing those words in your best Kermit-the-Frog-It’s-Not-Easy-Being-Green-voice, if you please.

In case you forgot the tune, here’s Kermit the Frog singing it in all his green felt glory:

I was thinking of this post several days ago after a conversation of a few women I passed in a corridor.  One, remarking about a woman she once knew, said–as best I could hear–something like, “And of course, she’s like a size 2…” and, a little lower in voice, “…one of those women we all hate.”

Maybe she said dislike.

I don’t know, really.  And I know she wasn’t talking about me.  (At least I hope she wasn’t…but I’m sure part of me wonders.)  I am not a size 2.  I’m not sure that I could be if I tried.  But, I am thin.  And, (because of my height and hair length/style), I probably appear thinner than I am.

Here is my question, though.  WHO CARES?????

Who cares what size dress you wear, what your hair looks like, what size your foot is?  Really?  Isn’t that part of growing older and wiser…to be able to look past the surface to see people as they really are?

Then someone very dear to me wrote something recently that she once thought that people who were thin had high self-esteem.

Guess I missed that gift.  Thin body–check.  Tall body–check.  Self-esteem–maybe one day?  (I am working on that facet of existence….)

I’m not writing this as a rant (okay, maybe just a bit…), but I do want for us to pause for a moment to THINK about our perceptions of others.

At my daughter’s school kindergarten end-of-year party several years ago, a female student came up to me (kindergarten, okay?) and said to my daughter, “Wow.  Your mom’s really thin.”

She shared her words with contempt in her voice…a similar tone to what I heard in the corridor among those few “grown-up” women recently.

WOW.

We all make judgements of people when we see them.  And sometimes we share them with others.  But can we PLEASE STOP JUDGING PEOPLE based on exterior value judgements such as size, shape, hair color, sexual orientation, style preference, number of children (or lack thereof) and just remember that we are all individuals (thank heavens) in this life trying to enjoy another day on earth?

Please?

Every person I have ever encountered on this earth has something to offer…no matter what he or she looked like on the surface.  I find that when I allow myself to become overwhelmed with appearances (my own or someone else’s) that I miss opportunities to learn and grow and love.  I’m sure we all need this reminder from time to time, but I’d like to take a moment to send a shout-out to women, who I think may struggle with self-deprecating thoughts a little more often than men do (but I’m open to others’ insight on this subject).

Every woman is beautiful, and I encourage you to take an opportunity to remind a woman in your life today that she is amazing.  See what she does.  Tell her she is beautiful.  Tell her she is important.  Tell her she is valued.  Eventually, no matter what her external features are, she will believe you over the condescending voices around her and within her.  And have her sing the chorus to this song…over and over and over…until the message sinks deep into her soul.

And here is another one, just for smiles. 🙂

Sometimes…

Sometimes I find myself mourning for the loss of one of my former selves…like I miss that girl in college, wet behind the ears, caring with an eagerness unknown to deliver what professors wanted (perfectly edited writing, organized statistics assignments, practiced music for piano and voice…what time is my jury?) along with what other students needed (support, acceptance, “When’s our Shakespeare paper due again?“).  Sometimes I miss her.

Other days, though, I find myself mourning that young mother, with three little ones.  You know the one I’m talking about…before the twins came?  That woman who woke with tired vigor after night nursing and read myriad picture books and rolled the enormous red ball with the toddlers,…the one who cradled that new little baby #3.  She was such a conscientious mother, seeking to still help others with so much on her plate already.

And still, I find myself wishing I could recapture that vigor of running home after school, slinging books on the table, grabbing whatever was left in the Cheez Doodle bag and then dashing out the door again to play football with friends down the street, the “younger” guy that I liked in 9th grade among them.  Where is she now?

Then sometimes I listen to Matchbox Twenty (they are on my playlist now), and I think about how far I’ve come…wondering if all the deaths of former selves are worth mourning over after all….  They have changed and created something more:  wisdom, experience, love.  I used to think I was most beautiful as a twenty-something bride, dressed in a long, white gown and my husband equally groomed in his tux (no pun intended), but that’s not who I am anymore, either.

I’m hoping this aging thing that’s happening to me looks a little more like beauty than society would think.

Well, I can smell the cake in the oven.  Must be about ready.  I’ll have to leave the mourning for another day.  The preschooler has been asking for an Iron Man cake since he woke me up at 5:17 this morning, so I’m off to mixing butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and food dye (& probably a little bit of shortening if I can rationalize it) into red and gold frosting.

Till next time,

The Me I Am Today 🙂

Image Copyright Sarah Knight Photography