A Broken Lamp

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I am that broken lamp. Like so many that we have in our house. They tried to light up rooms, poor lamps, but then they all took a beating. From a dodge ball that missed it’s target or a little boy’s sword. Or a dynamic wrestling trio. I try to be a light, be an encourager, exhale hope, but many times I can’t get past my own brokenness to recognize the true light that surrounds me. The natural lights. The sun, moon and stars. The overhead lights. My family. The strobe lights. These crazy little boys running in and out of every room all the time. The bedside lamp. The reliable night lights. All of the people that bring varying degrees of light into my world. I could relax in the corner, without even a lampshade on and just not work. And I do just that from time to time.

I should be on my knees everyday asking for God to help get me through, get past myself, so that I can see the beauty in others. Today I prayed that God would help me to accept others in the way that I hope others will accept me. I prayed that my faults be dimmed by the brightness of those around me. I want so badly to recognize, truly see the strong and weak working together to create the utterly beautiful. Yesterday I learned that Francis of Assisi wore patches on the outside of his habit so that people would be reminded of his imperfections on the inside. What a beautiful and visible reminder that we all have patches on both the outside and inside of our bodies. We are not perfect. And yet, we are not supposed to be. Despite the perfectness that our society promotes, it’s not the point of life. To be the most perfect looking. It’s okay to have freckles, I hope. An overbite. Got that too. Big feet. Big nose. Small boobs. The list goes on and these are just some of what society would deem physical flaws. Things I should get fixed.

The things that I need to seek the most help and attention for cannot be fixed by creams, personal trainers, plastic surgeons or orthodontists. They lie deep within. They are an ongoing project. I need to request a daily appointment with a God who can and will hopefully work on my heart. My lamp will get knocked over time and time again. I’m quite sure of it. I am hopeful that God will continue to constantly use the people around me to pick me up. Maybe even grab my lampshade. Plug me in again. Figure out what’s wrong with me. Be careful, you may get shocked. Thanks for helping me. All of you. All of the time. You may think you’re merely picking up a lamp off of the ground, but you are doing something much greater. You are noticing. I can work a lot better if I’m up off of the ground. I appreciate you. And I thank God for all of you.

Agree to disagree, sort of

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It’s so much easier to have a conversation with someone who nods and agrees with you. Blood pressure stays low. Voices remain at a pleasing tone and decibel. Hearts don’t have to pound so rapidly. Emotions generally don’t get hyped up. Panties don’t get all in a wad. Not a lot changes at the end of the pleasant and agreeable conversation. I am proud and I am right, and so are you. High five.

Occasionally, I have a conversation with someone that resembles two stubborn bulls ramming horns, repeatedly. It’s hard to move past the encounter. Without feeling a little sore. During the conversation, I start out calm, maybe sitting. Then, I can feel my heart racing, my voice rising and shaking, my brain firing, but usually missing it’s target. I can get all kinds of emotional. Standing up now. Level headed? Not so much. I would have been cut from the debate team, if I tried out. I get over-heated. My ego picks up a sword and just starts swinging away. Wrecklessly. Maybe it would help if I grabbed a shield. Why are you having such a strong and oppositional opinion? Can’t you just see things the way that I do? Ahhhh! You are so frustrating. I’m trying to say what I’m trying to say, but it’s not working on you. Stop interrupting. Answer the question. Are you even hearing the words that are coming out of my mouth?

Fight or flight time. And I’m sticking around. I think that I’m tugging at your heart strings, but you’re stuck. Not budging. That’s it. You must not have a heart. Or maybe you don’t have enough experiences or know enough people to disprove your theory or beliefs. Well, I do. Because I am so proud. And I am so right. The air is so refreshing up here. On my high horse. Do you want a ride? I can’t even listen to you, much less hear what you’re saying. I’m trying to think about the next thing I will say. This conversation appears to be going nowhere at a pretty rapid rate. Giddy up! Or that could just be my blood pressure. And the poor bystanders. They’re affected, intervening, refereeing, even pseudo-threatening for us to stop. Maybe those were real threats. We have been given a three minute warning to cease the conversation, errr, debate. That’s not nearly enough. This is deep stuff. We’ve barely scratched the surface.

Time’s up. I love you, my not-so-little, strong-willed brother. We look a lot like each other, we even act a lot like each other, but still, we are very different. I couldn’t talk with many others the way that I can talk with you. You fire me up and you motivate me. I appreciate you. Silence is not always golden. Difficult conversations can be really good for the soul, if you are willing to have them. The thing is, you’re safe. I know you love me. And respect me. And I feel the same for you. Even if we disagree. But, you do know that you are wrong. There. I got the last words in. Hug it out.

You have flipped a switch. Maybe more than one. I am revved up and ready to learn more, read more. Understand more. Feel more. You’ve opened up my eyes, my heart and mind to your thoughts and your beliefs. That’s huge. So thanks. I still think you are awesome, even if we bang heads occasionally. I agree to disagree. Until next time.

Lost and Found

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Typically, you can’t make me feel something that I’m not already feeling. Doubtful. Insecure. Encouraged. Confused. Impatient. Discouraged. Disappointed. The list continues on. You do hold the power to make things a lot better. Or so much worse. I get so completely irritated with myself sometimes. Annoyed. Frustrated. Let down. And repeat. I misplace things. Lose things.
All. The. Time.
Sometimes meaningless things. And sometimes important things. I try to tell myself this characteristic may prevent early onset of dementia. You know with the constantly looking for my keys, my phone, my debit card. Keeps my brain fresh. There’s been no scientific research to support my theory, that I know of. I would gladly volunteer to participate in a study. If they paid me and could tackle the old biting my nails habit too.

Today I remembered that I had placed a gift on top of my car. Too late. A kind friend thought of me and my tendencies to drop my phone in various bodies of water. She gave me a lifeproof case. That bad boy can handle the elements. The problem was that I had put the case on my car yesterday when I was playing basketball in the driveway. Strike 1: I was preoccupied when my husband gave it to me. I didn’t want to interupt what I was doing. Strike 2: I forgot about it. Overnight. Strike 3: I drove my boys to school, this morning, with the case in it’s box still on top of my car. Looks like I will head to the dug-out.

I came home to drink my coffee and it hit me. I remembered. Ahhhhh. Seriously. What are the chances that I could go outside and it would still be on top of the van? Skeptics, shhh. Hold your tongue. I once took the recyclables with my wallet on top of the van. It stayed on top of my van all the way there and back to my house. Several miles. Stop lights. Whoop. Whoop. Dare I share the other times I’ve driven off with my wallet, planners and even my phone on top of my car? Nope. Not today.

So, I go outside and the case is not on top of my car. I look around. On the driveway. In the road. I can feel the symptoms of detesting-my-scatterbrained tendencies develop. Tightened fists that I want to use to punch my face.  I’m starting to panic a little. Starting to think I should get running to go scour the course from our house to the school. I go inside. Man, I just wished my husband wasn’t home. I tell him. He’s bummed, annoyed, disappointed. That look. I don’t like it one bit. He heads out to go look for the case. Please don’t help me. Not with that attitude. I would rather just be in this with myself. I got myself into this mess. I may or may not get myself out. Instead, I am left to wait in the house. The suspense is killing me. I’m such a better looker (and finder) than him. More experience perhaps. He comes home empty-handed. He says, “It’s gone.” And then starts to semi-lecture me. Nope. I’m going to look for the case.  It becomes about something much bigger and stronger than even a lifeproof iPhone case. It’s about my bruised pride. I will find that case.

I grab the stroller. I prod my 3 year old to get in it. He seems confused. He wanted to go do an Easter egg hunt for my grandma. “I know, buddy. We will. I have to find something I left on top of the van.” I know how to find my pride, I mean the phone case. I start retracing my steps. On foot. I’m over thinking, getting emotional, beating myself up. I nearly give up. I get to the school, it’s barely a half of a mile away from our house. I look up and see something on the road right before you turn into the school. I start crying. Really, Amelia? Oh my. I pick it up. Yeah, it’s been run over but it survived. Just a little shaken up, like me. It’s really not about the case now. I feel redeemed. I didn’t lose a gift a friend gave me. I’m not such an awful person after all.

You see I have these tiny cracks in me. And some days, like today, I’m more fragile than others. Personality flaws maybe. Imperfections. That may heal or get better. With time or maybe some extra thick lotion. Super glue maybe. Or if I could just stop picking at them. Leave them alone. They may just stay little cracks. They may never go away. But they take a whole heck of a lot longer to heal if somebody comes along, notices them and knocks them with their sledgehammer. Especially if it’s someone I really love, who really matters to me. That awful disappointing look, that tone, and those words become a human spirit sledgehammer. Now I’m a busted mess. Way worse than a little cracked. I’m broken.

My husband wanted to come up with a  plan for the next tornado in the midst of some pretty strong winds and debris flying around and hitting me in my face. I escaped and fled the scene. I decided to go visit my sweet 93 year old grandma. She has helped heal me two times this week when I have been a hot hormonal emotional mess. She didn’t know that I had been crying. And she didn’t need to know. She’s nearly blind. She just giggled and giggled as my three year old hid “Easta” eggs for her as she sat in her chair. He didn’t mind. He found great joy in telling her where all of the eggs were hidden. She told him “the Easter bunny has been good to Me.” My little boy innocently smiled and corrected her, “It’s not from the Easta bunny, it’s from the store.” I translated their conversation as it is hard for my grandma to hear him as well. She happily licked an Angry birds sucker and ate a snickers as she held tightly onto her Iron Man basket. Just like a proud little girl. And she repeatedly told my son how kind he was to come and do a hunt for her. I nearly cried. Numerous times.

I had to call a friend to wait with my boys. I was late to pick them up from kindergarten. I lost track of time. I do that too. But who wouldn’t watching the sweetest Easter egg hunt between a three year old and a 93 year old? A rough morning turned out pretty spectacular. My phone could now easily drop off of the top of my van and survive with it’s new case. If only I could get a lifeproof case for my pride.

Open Book, or Blog

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If you don’t share yourself, your thoughts, your personality, who you are or who you are trying to be, what you believe in and why, you may not have to risk the critics. The doubters. The questioners. The try and make-you-change-your-minders. No one will have the chance to judge you, disagree with you, and maybe, will have no valid reason not to like you. Although, they still might not like you.

On the contrary, when you decide to be who you are, believe what you believe, shamelessly, authentically sharing what makes you the way you are, you are going to have people that may criticize you, disagree with you and even dislike you. And judge you. And perhaps resent you. And hurt you. Maybe make fun of you. Be concerned for you. Talk about you. And not in the good way.

I believe that when you genuinely and confidently share yourself with others, that you will, more importantly, risk the greater good. You may have people that agree with you, or understand you, or relate to you. Or see things from your view. Learn from you. Sympathize with you. Or grow with you. Or find motivation in you. Or find a friend in you. Or who you may help, often without even knowing it. And then, who, in turn, may help you.

It’s a happier place. If you can push aside the disbelievers, the insecure and the criticizers and just focus on the growers, the lovers and the builder-uppers. The encouragers. The relaters. The best kind of people are the hot-air balloon people. They get you off the ground, take you higher up, where the view is awesome. And the cynics or sand bags practically become non-existent, when you’re up there looking down.

How relieving for me to know that I’m “not the only one who….”

*loves to laugh and cry too
*needs help sometimes
*is imperfect and has insecurities
•can’t watch the movie “Frozen” anymore..let.it.go.
•has a goofy, quirky side and a warped sense of humor
•lets their children climb up the slides(NO! Yes.)
•gets upset, frustrated and can be short-fused and impatient, but LOVES her children more than anything
•has a disease that can be frustrating and hidden and also helpful
*gets deeply saddened and hurt sometimes by things of this world
•etc.etc. etc.

I think there are very few times that someone wants the title of “the only one who..” I think we are drawn towards one another. To feel the happy, sad, frustrating, life-altering together. To relate to one another. And most importantly, to love one another.

Lost My Patience O’Clock

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There is a specific time, most days, that I’m running low. Warning. Red gas light on kind-of-low. I have deemed it “lost my patience o’clock.” It’s before dinner usually. I have said “just stop touching each other” or “no more wrestling”, or “no more punching, somebody’s gonna get hurt” one too many times. We have gone to the park, played in the driveway, run, run, run. At least in my mind. Nope, my body feels it too. Who gave my kids espresso shots when I wasn’t looking?  In the ongoing daily battle of “children vs. mother energy depletion,” they are winning. Big time. They have lapped me. I’m losing hope. I need a tag team, someone with a new attitude, some confidence, a fresh face to slip between the ropes and hop into this ring. A fancy outfit might help too. None of my tired old tricks are working. They know they’ve got me in a vulnerable position. The count has started vibrating my face. 1…2…3…Now is the time to ask away and all of your wishes will be granted. Oh, you found a “fun dip,” and you want to eat it right now? Seems reasonable. It will surely not ruin your appetite for the delicious dinner we will be having. Eventually.

Today I made the mistake of going to the grocery store at “Lost My Patience O’Clock.” Worst idea ever. If you ever see me there, just go to the check-out lane farthest away from me. Let’s face it, even the most kind-hearted, non-judgmental person is going to judgey-judge the happenings in and around my grocery cart. One time I saw a social worker from the hospital I work at and I freaked, immediately replaying the grocery store shenanigans up to the point of seeing her. Scared for what she may have witnessed. Mesh shorts and cowboy boot outfits. Dirty faces. Stressed out mom. Occasionally, I look around and notice a person looking at us, the flaming hot mess. Probably thinking “that poor woman.” Some are bold and brave and make the remark, “you have ALL boys?” Deep breath in. And out. And again. “Yep. All boys. Last time I checked.” And Pringles and a bunch of other straight-up crap in that cart too. No nutritional value. We came for milk and we are leaving with empty calories. What I want to say is: “I’ve got to hurry home. Get cleaned up. My husband will be there soon. We have got to try. And try. And try again for “that girl.” Good thing these boys have some healthy snacks now. Then, I get to the car to find that I forgot the milk. THE MILK!

The problem is that I can’t send them to bed without dinner and energy left in their crazy, adrenaline-pumped little bodies. I’m a competitive person. One of my main goals every day is to figure out the best way to convert and deplete their infinite energy supply. Swimming. Climbing. Dodge ball. Don’t get me wrong, they get their fair share of iPad and TV show watching. However, I’ve learned that these “calm” activities result in a crazy breeding ground for energy. It builds. And grows. Multiplies. Builds an army with the motto, “Beat Mom!” That’s it. Everybody outside. Get on your bikes. Or something. Let’s hit the street. My mom used to make us run five laps around the house. Sometimes 10. I’m pretty sure it was at “lost my patience o’clock.” It usually helped change my attitude as a kid. Or maybe it just made me think, “mom means business.” After this run around the house to clear my head, I’m going to do something nice. Help her out. Maybe I can set the table for her. Or maybe I will act less crazy. Hide my energy, or suppress it. Shhhh. Be very quiet. “Mom might be going crazy.”

The first step is admitting I have a problem, right? My name is Amelia and my kids won today. I lost my patience. I lost my mind. I think I transferred all of my energy to them. I’ve got to get it back somehow before they wake up in the morning. There is always hope in tomorrow. Especially when today is almost over. And lost my patience o’clock has come and gone.