Five Things I Learned in September

September heralds birthday-mania, in this family of mine. Soccer starts, summer ends, and generally, All The Busy-ness intrudes into every breathing space I’ve spent the summer cultivating in my soul. Every. Single. September.

But, looking back over the past month (I praise you, Lord, for ushering in October!), I’ve taken inventory of what is important and what can be let go of. Maybe it’s because I’m already tired of the tyranny of the urgent that shouts from day one of September. It could also be that I’m applying loads from our study over on Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies Or, it could just be the sugar talking (from the many pieces of cake I’ve consumed this month).

In any case, here are the five (most important) things I learned in September.

  1. There is still no such thing as too much cake. There is, however, such a thing as a scale to try to tell you otherwise. I can’t get over how much I love my people, so celebrating another year with each one of them was precious. This picture so perfectly captures one day of the celebrating. I feel the need to point out that four birthdays are represented in this picture. And that’s just the family birthdays! Family_Bdays_Missindeedy2.  When the subject line of my favorite online devotionals looks like this, twice in one day, I’d best pay attention. (And, because this topic was in the subject line of many devotionals and blog posts and conversations this month, you can bet my attention is rapt!)  Tongue_Trouble_Missindeedy3. Also, I learned that reading  is still my favorite thing to do. Most recently, I’ve read Every Little Thing by Deidra Riggs, Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and Taming the To-Do List, by Glynnis Whitwer. All impacted me greatly. But, this one line from Every Little Thing has been banging around in my head for a week:  “Some seasons of life are like that, with each moment marking a small victory, primarily because we survived it.”  AMEN! EveryLittleThing_Missindeedy4. Sweetboy is old enough to “watch” Sweetgirl for an hour, now,  while I run out to the grocery store (or Target). However, Sweetgirl has dutifully informed us that her brother is a “Not-So-Great Babysitter”. Upon further questioning, we found out that this is because he will not play Princess Palace Pets with her.  We’ve realized her gifting does not lie in determining the quality of a babysitter.
  2. Lastly, (even though it says number 2, because even my computer won’t listen today!) I learned that friendships require time, but that time requires careful consideration. I’m pretty sure we all know that, of course. But, it was brought home to me when I started filling in all of the commitments that I had over the course of the month. I saw lots of lunches and breakfasts and coffees with lots of wonderful beautiful friends, but hardly any white space for my own soul to breathe on its own. Everyone in this household suffers when mama doesn’t have space for her soul to breathe. Anyone else? Now, this realization is going to take some thinking through because, friendships! But, for now, I see that I can’t sustain the pouring out without more time and space to fill up. 

There you have it. Try to contain your enthusiasm for all the sharing. If you’d like to read some far more fabulous lessons learned in September, head on over to Emily P. Freeman’s blog and check them out.

What did you learn last month?

What I Learned in 2014

2014 was a year full of new challenges, grand adventures, goals met, lessons learned, and a whole host of moments where dark chocolate was desperately needed! I’m including my favorite posts from each month. But, I have to tell you – it was not easy to choose which posts to include. In fact, reading through each month sent me running for the tissue box more than a time or four (not to mention the stash of dark chocolate chips I realized I was going to need to keep on hand just to get through the month of June!)

So, grab your favorite cup of something warm (or cold) and join me as I reflect back on 2014.

Lessons_Learned_2014_Missindeedy

In January, I learned that I was one in a million. I also realized how very deeply I love my Dermatologist.

February reminded me that Sweetman is wicked smaht, and that I need to pay better attention during our conversations.

March was the month where I finally pursued a long-held goal of mine to enter the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. And, although the outcome wasn’t what I’d hoped, it felt good to give it a go.

And, of course, in April, Dentists became dead to me, as we learned of sweetgirl’s boo-boos on her teeth.

May was where I reflected on the BOOM created by the very different Myers-Briggs personalities in my marriage.

June brought a painful lesson in turning the other cheek, from Sweetboy, and reminded us how Autism can have painful ripple effects for a parent – but that it doesn’t win!

July reminded me that Sweetgirl is always watching, and that Autism can sweeten the interaction between siblings – especially when a yoga ball (or two) is involved.

August is when I finally realized where my mission field is. And, OH, how I yearn to work it well!

September was the month where I learned that I can both set a goal and reach it and set a goal and fail! The women’s triathlon was successful. The goal I set afterwards was not. (There is always 2015!)

In October, I proved that I can indeed get along with Commitment, after all. I accepted the Write 31 Days challenge. Because, Grace, I know Him well.

November was full of masks, casts, and WINS! (P.S. If you need me on January 1st or, LORD WILLING, January 12th, I’ll be parked in front of the television, yelling encouraging my beloved BAMA’s football players to RUN THAT BALL!)

And, December, of 2014, taught me to shop a little earlier for the “classics”, as I reflected on the beauty of the lesson in the The Little Drummer Boy.

Such grace laces my days. I was reminded of that on more than a hundred occasions over this past year. I’m encouraged to keep moving toward new goals, maybe even toward an old one, or two, that got dropped along the way.

Hope sparkles on the horizon for 2015.

I’m praying that it does for you, too.

Yes indeedy!

What were some of your favorite lessons learned in 2014? Please, share them! I’m linking up with the lovely Emily Freeman, over at Chatting At the Sky, for her “What We Learned” link up.

 

Don’t Pass the Peas, Please

Sweetman and I recently started plotting a way to get the kids to eat more veggies. Allow me to rephrase that, please.  Our children don’t eat cooked vegetables.

An intervention has become necessary.

We’ve tried a few popular methods for Operation Eat Your Vegetables, already. Sneaking shredded zucchini into their favorite pumpkin bread? Been there. Wouldn’t eat that!  Put shredded carrots into their spaghetti sauce or mashed potatoes? That would work great… if either one of them ate red sauce! Or mashed potatoes! Make vegetables look Super Fun and Exciting, a la Pinterest?  Sweetgirl asked if we could keep it on the counter for the week because it was “just too beautiful to eat, Mama!”

You can see why plotting is involved, right?

I fear that my children are going to end up going off to Harvard eating applesauce with their dinner every night. As long as I send them off with the twistable kind that they can open themselves, I guess we might be alright. (P.S. Regarding college: I’m totally kidding! We are actually praying that the Good Lord will see fit to motivate them to go anywhere for college!)

In all fairness, Sweetboy will eat raw baby carrots.  He really likes them, actually. Sweetgirl will even nibble on two or three, once in a while, as well.  Corn is another “vegetable” that we can get Sweetboy to eat – as long as it’s on the cob, freshly shucked, and from a local farm.  (I can thank Sweetman for passing on the Food Snob genetics!)

Beyond those few items, though, there is a strict Ain’t Gonna Eat It policy in place, here in this house.

And we didn’t enact it!

Last night, I attempted to re-introduce peas.  Both children ate them, joyfully, might I add, when they were under two. Sadly, they are considered enemy number one, at present.

We decided to go the Matter of Fact route, this time. “I’m giving you each a small amount of peas.  They are good for your body and you both need to eat more vegetables.  Also, if you don’t eat at least three bites AND swallow it down, no dessert for you.”

This conversation went over like a lead balloon, as you can imagine. Sweetboy, bless his heart, said, “Okay Mama.  They’re not my favorite, but I’ll deal with it.”

The other child?

There was a whole lot of weeping.

And gnashing of teeth!

And when I finished, she proceeded to do the same.  With some major foot stomping, chair rocking, and negotiating thrown in, for good measure.

I will say this, the child can pull The Pouty Face with the best of ’em!

After I literally held her nose (she requested this) so that she could down one blessed pea at a time, and gag with every. single. one., we both felt like we’d run a triathlon! Not to mention that my own gag reflex was now fully engaged.

We were both so traumatized by the ordeal that I told her she didn’t ever have to eat peas again… until she was 12.

Or, maybe 6 and a half. (I thought I said that last bit under my breath.)

But, little ears are always listening to every wee word we utter.

And, I know this because, this afternoon, Sweetgirl popped off the bus and squarely faced me to say, “Mama, you said I don’t have to eat peas again until I’m 12.  Or 6 and a half.  I want it to be 12.”

Please, don’t pass the peas.

I think it’s safe to say, it’ll be a few years.

Oh, yes indeedy!

Lay it on me! What trickery have you used to get your littles to eat their vegetables?

 

Calling All Apples

The dreaded triathlon swim was last weekend.

Triathlon_Missindeedy

I survived. No, no, no – better than that! I did pretty darn well, considering I’ve a) Never competed in anything ending in -athlon before, b) become firmly entrenched in the 40+ age range, and c) been sporting a muffin-top to beat all muffin-tops for the better part of a decade.

And, it’s that last one that I feel the need to address.

Online.

For all the world to see.

But first… You know how you sometimes think you don’t look half bad? And perhaps you’ve even been working toward some fitness goal and are therefore convinced that you might even be looking pretty good?  And you live in your perfectly crafted delusional world for as long as it takes for someone to snap photographic evidence declaring quite the opposite?

Yeah.

Sigh…

An unfortunate side effect of All The Devil Dogs is, apparently, a spare tire.

Around one’s middle.

This picture below?  I’m putting it out there.  My friend Janet is grinning on my right.  She’s the toad friend who made me swim laps with her every day to prepare.

I’ll “spare” you the bottom half of the picture. Just know that I am now well aware of the effects of all of my Devil Doggery.

triathlon_muffintop_missindeedy

Here’s the thing – I’m a textbook apple shape.  I’m talking, circle resting on toothpicks, People! I’ve always been that way. Even when I was at my leanest, I was a more slender kind of apple. Is there such a thing?

Well, I’m calling all my apple friends! If you don’t already know, we have the most dangerous body type, as it relates to obesity and heart disease.  Decreasing our weight as little as 5 pounds can provide amazing health benefits. Working off even 5% of our body fat can extend our life span significantly!

I know this.

And yet, I’ve still managed to run around town ignoring the ever-expanding inner tube around my waist.

No more!

Seeing that picture of my waist, even if it was while marching down to a quarter mile swim, scared me straight.

As in, rectangular.

Yup. I’m aiming to change my shape.

I’m setting some goals and giving myself plenty of time to slowly meet them. I’m going to make some dietary changes (no Devil Dogs will be harmed in this process). I’m going to add in some (some – let’s not get too crazy, now) consistent exercise each week.

And, God-willing, change will take place.

Yes indeedy. I’m going to work on becoming less circle-y and more oval-y. Any other shapes want to join me?

First order of business is to get a food plan going.  What works (or has worked) for you in the past?  Share in the comments.

Heaven Is a Warm Ocean

I am an ocean lover, through and through. The warmer, the better.

heaven_is_here_missindeedy

I like pools. The warmer, the better. (Unless it’s because you couldn’t make it to the potty in time. Then, not so much.)

And then, there is a special spot in my heart that is reserved for all the things I tolerate.

Lakes.  Lakes are there in that spot – right next to lizards.

And cold pools.

We have an ocean near-ish. We get there as often as we can, in the summer.

It’s cold.

We also have a town pool. We get there as often as we can in the summer.

It’s mostly cold.

This Floridian still can’t muster up the courage to jump into our town pool before July 30th or after August 30th.

If you’re doing the math, that equals up to Not Much Pool-time.

During this thirty-one day stretch, I must continually remind myself that I chose to move to New England because, Boston!  And because, Sweetman!

So, I was thrilled to find out that one of my sweet friends, who also happens to live in our neighborhood, is planning to have a beautiful new pool put into their backyard.  It’s one of those super fan-cee salt water ones. It will have the standard stairs, to get into and out of, of course. But, the best part about this pool?  It’s soon going to be heated. Oh, yes it is!

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is necessary for anyone who chooses to live above the Mason-Dixon line.  Otherwise, you might just find yourself jumping into a pool that is barely pushing 65 degrees.  Even if it is 98 degrees outside.

And people?  That is just not right.

I should have taken a clue when I began teaching water-skiing in the Berkshires of Massachusetts some twenty-odd summers ago.  That first crisp summer morning, when I jumped into the lake to begin instruction, it took less than 10 minutes for me to tag the other instructor because I was too cold to stay in. Plus, my foot touched something slimy.

No. Just… no.

Therefore, it might surprise you to learn that I was somehow convinced to become part of a three-woman relay team, as The Swimmer, in a local women’s triathlon sprint. Yes, you read that right.  Come early September, this girl, right here, will be doing her darndest not to die as she competes in the swim portion of a women’s triathlon sprint.

“It’ll be so much fun,” they said.  “You’ll have so much support,” they promised.  “We’re not doing it to win,” they assured me.

The part they forgot to mention?

Training.

In the local lake.

Or town pool.

Neither of which are heated.

Oh, and…the race itself? In a lake.

I don’t have to wonder about what hell is like.

I think I’ll stick with my plans to go to heaven.

There will definitely be warm ocean water there.

Yes indeedy.

Dentists Are Dead to Me

It’s official: Dentists are dead to me.

I was pretty sure that we were coming to this when I had that fateful dentist appointment a couple of years ago.

But this?  This takes the cake.

And frosts it with cavities.

Poor Sweetgirl.  We have just returned from her semi-annual dentist check up.  She’s had a stellar report each time that we’ve gone. We brush. We swish. We don’t floss. But, hey, we don’t live on candy around here, either. Neither child drinks the usual suspects for cavity inducing liquids.

So, we expected a great report again.

Sweetboy had just gotten a great report again, moments before.

And, Sweetgirl has the cutest little pearly whites I think I’ve ever seen! And I’m only mostly biased.

Seriously? What's not to love about that smile?!

Seriously? What’s not to love about that smile?!

Apparently though, she did not get my healthy toother genes.

Dang.

She bravely marched into the x-ray chair for the very first time this morning, all smiles and cute little pearly teeth. She opened wide and allowed the hygienist to arrange the spacer thingy in her mouth for the optimal viewing of her tiny teeth.  She held still.

SHE HELD STILL!

It was for five seconds, but PEOPLE! She did it!

We returned to our room and she hopped up into the pink (coral) chair to pick out her prize from the revered Prize Box.

Not so fast there, missy.

“Oh, Sweetgirl, you have some boo-boos on your teeth,” the Dentist said in his adorable Argentinian accent.  (I may give him a few extra points for delivering such devastating news in such a pleasant way. MAY.)

I immediately jumped out of my seat. “What kind of boo-boos?”

“She haas seeex cavities on her lowers teeth,” he calmly said.

Sweetboy said, “OH NO!”

I said “HOW MUCH?”

Sweetgirl said, “But, is the medicine to fix them PINK?”

I kid you not.

In that order.

He then gently explained that this will require two separate visits, laughing gas, Novocaine, and a viewing of Frozen.

I asked him if he could pass some of that laughing gas to me.

He was not amused.

Or, surprised.

So, clearly, I am going to have to pray about my stinky attitude toward all Dentists who are not from Argentina.

I’ll do that while I’m at the drugstore trying to find children’s dental floss. That’s pink.

Yes indeedy.

 

My Body Talks

And, at 42, I can assure you that some of the things my body tells me are not kind, people!

But, before we go any further, I have an admission to make.

I now have Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical” running through my head. Oh, yes I do.

I blame 1980’s MTV.

And to be completely honest, I don’t even remember what I hopped on to write about in the first place, because of it.

I’m just going to keep typing away until some sort of logical train-of-thought emerges. But, If I lose you, I don’t blame you one bit.

Exercise was probably on my mind.  NO! I got it!!!!  Aches and pains – that’s what I was going to share with you.

Now, if I lose you, I officially only have myself to blame.

I still play on the floor with Sweetgirl.  She’s not six yet, thank-you-very-much! (Although, she’s taken to reminding me almost every night, lately, in a fit of tears and sadness, that soon, and very soon, “I’ll be six and old and not five anymore, Mama.”) Indeed, child.

Anyhoo, back to the floor.  I play on it. With Sweetgirl. And sometimes, I go to get back up, all spritely like, and my back doth protest too much. My knees, also, like to get in on the action with their wise-cracks.

I am awash in 80’s memories, now, because all I can see in my mind is that “HELP! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” commercial.  Was that for The Clapper? Or The Helper necklace thingy?  What was that for?

Crud.

Now my mind is protesting.

The point is, I’ve kicked my exercise back up, again. As in, I’m doing it.  And, can I tell you? I. Am. Feeling. It. In all the wrong places. So, it’s probably a darn good thing I’m doing it.

Also, I hear exercise is good for your memory. And, clearly, I need a little help there, too.

I’m just thankful I can still get up off the floor.

But, if I can’t, I’ll clap. Or press a button.

Or, let my body talk while I take a siesta.