Sunday, December 30, 2012


I was going to write about something else today, but it has really hit me hard over this break about how much I want to be present in my present.  I know that sounds funny. But this has always been a failing of mine. Being present, enjoying what I have when I have it, being fully there for the people around me or even just for myself if I'm alone-it's always been a struggle.

My tendency is to look back, to think about what I used to have or who I used to be. I think about all of the mistakes I made, how I could have done things differently. Would I have done things differently? It's not so much that I want to live what I did over. I usually just wish I could have done things better, made better choices, perhaps so my present would be different.

My other tendency is to look to the future. What is waiting for me just around the bend? Will I be able to change my circumstances? If so, how. I'm already making plans for a year from now, five years from now, even ten years from now. It's got to be better, the grass has to be greener.

Tonight, as I sent my kids out the door to spend the remainder of the holiday with their dad, my daughter clung to me, telling me how much she would miss me. And I thought, did I fully engage with them? Was I present during this time? Was I fully here? I think I was. We spend a lot of time with relatives, so it wasn't just me and the kids. But when I was with them, I think I was fully engaged. However, I have to admit there have been times that I haven't been (see I'm doing it again-thinking how I could have changed my past).

And I have to say the last couple of days spent with relatives I spent quite a bit of time counting down some minutes so I could get back to my normal routine. I know that's a normal holiday time response. But this is just a failing of mine. I said in an earlier post that I was going to try to post thankful posts everyday. So far, so good. I've been putting them on facebook. Sometimes I've said what I'm thankful for. Sometimes I've put quotes (which has sparked some interesting conversations). But I think thinking about what I'm thankful for has sparked this thought in my head. One key to being thankful is to live in the present fully.

I think living fully in the present for me is living purposefully, thoughtfully, with an effort. Thank God for God, because I honestly don't think I could do it without Him. I know He's molding me into who He wants me to be, and this is part of it. But it is hard. I may have to come back to this post throughout this year. Yeah, I definitely will (see I'm already looking into the future :)  ).

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Grateful Heart

I read on one of the other blogs that I follow that one way to be positive is to have a "thankful" journal.  It really struck me. I am naturally a pessimistic person. I know that is not a valuable trait in our society, and yes I can be negative. Luckily, I have a mother who taught this dark cloud of a daughter to look at the negatives, acknowledge them, and get to the other side of the positives. I think negative people can have their value. They are more realistic and they do keep the overly-optomistics grounded, but they can also get stuck in negativity and only see the cloudy days. I can really fall into that.

Another thing I struggle with because of this is being content in the situation that I'm in. Discontent is something I struggle with all the time. I have moments of contentedness, but it is easy for me to look at what someone else has or what I would like to have instead of being thankful for my circumstances. If I experience something fun or gratifying, it can be very tempting for me to feel irritation when I return to everyday circumstances.

So I'm really excited to try to pick out that one positive or great thing that happens every day to share and give thanks for. I decided to post these things on facebook. I think making myself make it public will hold me accountable, and I hope that it will subtly change the seed of discontent that I have been struggling with lately. I hope that facebook users don't see me as a goody-goody. I (being negative) get irritated with those posters who only say happy, positive things. But maybe instead of being irritated with me, people will see a change in me (for the better!)!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Never Able to Crawl Out

What is it like to be stuck in your greatest character flaw or deficit, not able to get out or change? No matter how hard you try, no matter how good your intentions, you find yourself back in that place again. We all have that struggle or deficit in ourselves that we have to work on for our entire lives. No one gets away from it. Some people are aware of it; some aren't. Mine is fear. Fear can choke me, disable me, help me not to see things clearly. Fear can physically take me out. But I have a lot of strategies to overcome my fear. In fact, if I am fearful of something I will almost certainly go through whatever is scaring me just to overcome that monster.
 I have been trained from childhood how to do this. My mother, bless her amazing heart, knew that I was a fearful child, and she started teaching me how to overcome and triumph over my fear. And most importantly, because I am a Christian, God gets me through that blanket of fear that grips me. I know that ultimately, even if I mess up He will be there to catch me. When I feel fear's steely grip, I turn to Him and He tells me what to do.
But what about those who don't have that? What do those people feel? How they must feel that they are in a web that they can't step out of. I've encountered that lately. And though the struggle this person has spilled over onto me and stung me a bit, I mainly felt bad for this person. I kept thinking, how could this person live with this over and over, trying so hard to do the right thing, but making the same choices and mistake over and over again. And this person has been aware of this and doing this for a long time. Because of this person's desire to control that character flaw and fear of losing control, the person makes the same decisions and mistakes over and over.
I can't imagine living this way. How desolate this person must feel! This person does a really good job of filling up time with activities and people, but it's all surface. Nothing and no one can get too close. I think when that person goes home and shuts the door, darkness must fall. And after observing this person pretty closely for about a year, I'm pretty sure this person can't change.
And actually, can anyone, without God? I know the answer's no to that one. People on their own just aren't good enough.
So then I started thinking, what a great young adult novel this would make-applying these principals in a spiritual way. I'm definitely going to do that. Because I know that every person who doesn't have Jesus in their lives must be miserable and in a dark, dark hole that they can't get out even their trying.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Swimming Pools

I love going to the pool, and I love going to our network of city pools. Buying a season pass means that my kids and I can go to six different pools, though we only frequent five of them because one of them is extremely difficult to get to. Each of the pools has its own personality. One pool is strictly blue-collar. People (And I'm going to tell you now that I am going to stereotype. I'm going to tell you what most of them are like, of course, not like all of them) are loud, and their etiquette is not always spot on. There is a mixture of races. A lot of the women are overweight and don't pick swimsuits that flatter them. My kids love to go to this pool, because there is a 30 foot slide. I love to go to this pool to see how people interact with each other. Because they are loud, you can easily observe their family dynamic. It's a hoot.
The pool on the opposite side of town is a totally opposite dynamic. This pool draws a wealthy side. The area used to be considered new money. The old money side of town uses either a different city pool or private pools. I've noticed that the new money is settling in, though. When we went to that pool it reminded me so much of the old money side (where I grew up). A young man and his girlfriend came into the pool and heartily greeted one of the life guards. The life guard asked the guy how he had done in his tournament. I'm thinking basketball, baseball? No, that would be golf. The guy tells him his score. It must have been good, because the lifeguard high- fived the guy and gave him a hug. Then he rubbed his head and spanked his butt. It was a fascinating dynamic to watch. The guy's girlfriend dutifully stood by and smiled. Then she saw a female lifeguard, lazily called her name, and ran towards her. It was all very Great Gatsby. I loved it, because it really did remind me of my high school days. I was never wealthy. I was like the author of Great Gatsby, the observer who was invited in for awhile. But I do understand that dynamic.
The pool in our part of town is definitely middle-class all the way. But it's filled with wanna-be, loud, vulgar women. They drive me crazy, and I can't write very objectively about them. They think they're the cat's pajamas, but they so are not. They are over-weight, brash, cliquey women who live vicariously through their kids. They act as if the class activities are about them. It makes me insane, and I don't understand it.
Another pool close by is full of young families. It's hilarious to watch the stunned parents watching their young progeny take to the water. The dads are the funniest. They swim around in a daze. They're wondering what happened to their knock-out, fun, party-girl wives. How were they replaced by these mothers who now very definitely put these children first. And oh, are they starting to go bald and get soft around the middle?
The final pool is a small pool that has been slated to close for a few years. Somehow, it gets enough support to keep it open. It hasn't been re-vamped. It's an old-fashioned swimming pool with two diving boards and a small slide. A small rock wall has been added, but that's it. I love this pool because it is so secluded. It's surrounded by a forest because it's located in a park. There are not a lot of people who attend the pool. And quite a few single parents patronize this pool. So I feel like I fit right in. I actually need to frequent this pool on my own, I think.
I don't know what it is about pools that make people feel free to be themselves. Maybe it's because we're all communing in water together, frolicking in the sun. I think it's because we're all half naked. It's the one place you can basically walk around in your underwear, no matter what you look like, and it's okay. It's freeing. People shed their clothes, and they shed their inhibitions too. But I love it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Target Contest for Beneath My Heart

I'm entering a contest on Beneath my Heart to possibly win a $100 Target gift card. I'm all over that because I love Target. Beneath My Heart rated Sonia Kashuk's new makeup. And I have to say she made me want to get some of it.

So her question was "How do you take your eye makeup from day to night?" I'm afraid I don't do anything that drastic. I apply a darker shade, put on more coats of mascara, and put on darker eyeliner.

Kristin Wright

Monday, June 4, 2012

Too PC?

What is it about our country that goes to extremes? For awhile, a long while, people said and did hurtful things against others who were not them. People still do it, but it's done on the sly now or said behind closed doors. Now, everyone is included. Everyone is the same. There is no better or worse. Everyone has to be included in the same groups all the time and everyone has to get along.

Well in theory that sounds like a good thing. But I think most of us know human nature is not like this. The hard plain truth is that this will always be mean, hateful people who will say mean, hateful things to people who are different, weaker, or are not like them. Only now people do it on the sly and put a smile on their faces when they're with the larger group of people while putting their arms around the people they just hurt.

Because of our fear of hurting people we don't challenge things anymore. We don't call a spade a spade. We don't say what's wrong and what's right. We don't say that some people are just more talented or better suited in a position or smarter, even though this might be true and in the long run be better for all around them.

I'm ready to be in the middle. I want to be able to say what's right and wrong or better and worse without being condemned, guilted, or ostracized. At the same time, I want to be kind and defend those who need it. Do you think there will ever be a middle?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Funny student answer to a short essay question:
Students had to finish the following phrases
1. I still believe...
2. I used to believe, but don't any longer...
3. I know longer believe this because...

One student wrote, "I no longer believe that George Washington was the first person in America. I don't believe this, because I really believe that African-Americans were the first people in America. They were here before anybody."


I almost wrote, I don't believe George Washington was the first person in America either. And what's that about the African-Americans? What happened to the Native Americans?

I laughed really hard at this one.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Sweet New Year's Eve

This was the first year my kids made it to midnight. They are ten, and I had serious doubts as to whether they were going to make it. But they did. I have to say that I'm the one hitting the wall right now. I sucking down coffee as I type, trying to rejuvenate myself.

We started off the evening by going to a 4:45pm movie of The Adventures of Tin-Tin. My plan had been to go to a later movie, but those tricky movie owners scheduled only 3-D movies in the evening, which of course made the price of tickets higher. I was really reticent to go see this movie. We had seen Hugo over Thanksgiving. It was so bad. There's a reason the general public does not talk about Hugo and how good it was. The critics may love it, but it was so boring. I thought I was going to die. I knew we were in trouble with that movie when the first five minutes of the movie had no dialogue-at all. I know what they were doing. I know this was an homage to silent movies, but I felt like I was in a silent movie; and I wanted out. But Tin-Tin was pretty good. I could definitely tell that Stephen Spielberg directed it. It was kind of like Indiana Jones meets cartoons, but it was enjoyable.

Then we came home and had a late dinner of tacos. After they took showers, we watched Ryan Seacrest. The problem was that Ryan cut off here in Kansas at 10pm. I know this was because of the delay. Ryan came back at 11:30, but what do I let my 10 year olds watch for the next hour? We went to MTV because Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez were on there. I thought it was ironic that bad boy MTV had two former Disney stars on their show, but I have to hand it to MTV. When their show was on, it was pretty wholesome, at least I felt it was watchable for my ten year olds. But MTV's commercials suck! They were either scary, like advertising for horror movies, or they were vulgar. So I would switch to Fox's NYE program, which actually was the most wholesome show on! At 11pm, we were reduced to watching Animal Planet's "Cute Puppies", and it was pretty darn cute. Finally, midnight inched forward, and we watched as the ball dropped down. Although, my daughter remarked, "Am I the only one who can't see it?" When I pointed on the TV to it, she was very unimpressed. I do agree with her and think that it could be a little more impressive. But maybe its cheesiness is what makes it so American and cherished. Who knows?

With ten seconds to go, we counted down, then went outside and banged spoons on pots. They loved it, and it was a sweet reminder to me that the simplest things can be the sweetest.