Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Communication Is Key

I've always considered communication as one of the strongest attributes of my marriage. J. and I talk about everything, good or bad. If something is bothering one of us, we talk about it right away before it becomes a problem between us.

That's why I was shocked when the Communication Breakdown of 2009 happened to us.

The Sunday that I got home from Blissdom, I called J. just before I boarded my last flight. We confirmed my pick up time at the airport to be 3:30 and he assured me that he'd leave home in plenty of time to accommodate traffic and be there when I landed.

My flight landed and I walked out of the terminal around 3:25. I went straight out to the curb to put my carry on bag in the car while I waited for my checked baggage.

You see, we have a travel ritual. When J. travels for work, we drop him at the curb at the airport and do our goodbye there. When he returns, we pick him up at the curb. This ritual was born out of necessity when we had two little toddlers who were prone to melting down when Daddy left. It cut out much of the hassle for a frazzled Mommy who already missed her husband.

Given this ritual, I was sure my lovely family would be waiting for me curbside.

Except they weren't.

No problem. I went back in to wait for my luggage. Once it came, I journeyed back out to the curb. Still no family. Still, not really a big deal. I'm sure they hit traffic.

After half an hour passed, I started to get a little mad. I walked back inside to make sure he wasn't in there and I'd somehow missed him.


Sitting back down on the bench outside, I remembered something that made my heart race and a lump form in my throat. On the flight, I'd read a story in Home Life magazine about a man who lost his wife and kids in an accident. That article in the forefront of my mind, I became convinced that something horrible must have happened.

As if on cue, a police car parked next to the curb in front of me.

This is it, I thought. The man who was sent to deliver the terrible news.

With tears in my eyes, I waited for him to walk over and change my life with a few words.

He got out of his car slowly. I tried to read his face for traces of sorrow. He walked over to a Cadillac and put a ticket on the windshield and then got back into his car and left.

Ok, then.

I dialed home for the fourteenth time. No answer for the fourteenth time. We only have one cell phone and I had it with me so there was no way to actually call him.

After an hour, I walked back inside to see if there were any messages for me at the information desk. Immediately upon walking in, I saw Jillian and Keller half sitting, half laying on a bench a few feet in front of me. They were clearly bored from being there for so long. J. was staring down the corridor in search of his wife.

To make a long story even longer, we spent an entire hour just several yards from each other, each worried sick that something terrible had happened to the other.

I could tell you all of the emotions that ran through both of us as we stood there staring in disbelief at each other but I think you get it.

Moral of the story?
1. I'm sure two cell phones would be a good start.
2. Another good idea would be not to listen to a four year old who repeatedly reminds you that maybe Mommy's plane crashed and you should just go ahead home.
3. Don't read sad articles on an airplane when you are away from your family.
4. Make a clear plan when picking up your loved ones from the airport.
5. Learn to laugh when all of the above fail.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

John the Baby

When we pick up Keller from his Sunday School class each week, we have the same routine.

We ask and he assures us that he had a great time. We then ask what his Bible story was about for the day. We usually get the most adorable four year old version of what they learned about. It's enough for us to pick up quickly on which story it was and we can discuss it further.

Recently, he was excited to talk about his story because it was about a baby. A baby named John. When John was in his Mom's tummy, his Dad talked to God and then couldn't talk anymore so he had to wave his hands to get people to understand what he needed to say.

"Oh," I said, "I think you are talking about John the Baptist!"

Looking at me very seriously, he shook his head. "No, Mom. It was John the Baby."

"Oh, right. John the Baptist when he was a baby."

"No," he said speaking slower since clearly I'm having trouble understanding, "it wasn't John the Babatist. It was John the Baby."

One day I'll understand that my children really are smarter than me and I'll stop trying to correct them when they are telling stories.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I often hear people say, "I'm not a morning person."

There was a time when I would have nodded emphatically, snubbing the wee hours of the day. Something has changed within me in the past couple of years that has given me a new perspective on the morning.

Perhaps my attitude shift stems from settling into a busier life with two kids who are in constant motion. Waking before they do has certain advantages. The house is quiet and calm. I can think through the day ahead of me and pray that I will be the wife and mom that I should be.

Aside from the calmness brought on by morning, I find that I am more hopeful each morning than any other time of day. It sounds cliche to say that each day brings a new start but it's true. No matter the worries of the day before, morning brings new perspective. No matter how many times I blew it yesterday, today has the potential to be better. If I went to bed with my mind buzzing about all that needs to be done and how I don't have enough hours in the day to do it, the morning brings a fresh start and an opportunity to slow down and prioritize what's really important.

Those few hours of each brand new day are like a gift to my tired spirit. They bring hope, calmness and a chance to connect with the One who gave me that gift.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blissdom '09

For two days, I've been staring at a blank screen trying to put into words what I got out of Blissdom this past weekend.

The conference was amazing. The ladies that I met there were amazing. The beautiful hosts were amazing.

My favorite session of the weekend was Writing with Passion-Finding Your Voice. The speakers and moderator were four of my favorites in the blogosphere: Shannon, Stephanie, Arianne and Catherine. They were honest, loving and passionate about the one thing that brought me to blogging: writing. I've always loved to write and ultimately, this is why I blog.

Though I started to blog because of my love for writing, I found something quite unexpected once I was here. Community. I've connected with women all over the world and from every possible walk of life. I've offered and gained support from them. I've heard stories about their lives and watched their children grow. I've seen them go through the highest highs and the lowest lows and felt every single emotion with them as if I'd been friends with them forever.

I went into this weekend praying that I would leave with a direction for this blog. Let's face it, there's no shortage of options for a blogger these days. I found exactly what I was looking for. I was reminded time and again that I need to keep the main thing the main thing. I love to read blogs by people who love to write. Writing is what brought me here and will keep me here. All of the other things: social media, SEO, blah, blah, blah are great but it's not the main thing for me.

I have to tell you a few of the people that I met this weekend who just blew me away. I will shout from the rooftops for the rest of my days my love for Beth. She's one of the most amazing women I've ever met. She's real, funny and beautiful. She made me feel like I'd known her forever from the second we met. I spent the weekend in awe of her. She also introduced me to her girls: Arianne, Sarah and Stephanie. Oh, I love each one of them. They make me want to pack my bags and move north several hundred miles. LOVE.

If you have ever read a blog you know Shannon, the Nester, Emily and Annie. I only point them out because I've been reading them for so long and love their writing style. They are the real deal, y'all. I was like a thirteen year old at a Jonas Brothers concert when I met each one of them. They were gracious enough to hug my neck even as I babbled incoherently and drooled on their shoes.

I know this is getting long but I have to tell you the biggest thing that impressed me about Blissdom. There were around 250 women there and a handful of men. (Hang with me, that's not the impressive part.) When I called home on Friday night, Big Daddy asked me a question that shaped the way I viewed the rest of the weekend.

He said, "Do you feel like there is a spirit of competition there since all of you are in the same 'business' or is it friendly?" Let me tell you honestly how I answered. There wasn't one moment where I felt like I was being viewed as anyone's competition. I've heard Alli say before that there is no reason that we can't all be successful so there's no reason that we shouldn't help each other. (I'm paraphrasing, obviously. She's uses way cuter words than that!) That's what the weekend felt like. I could have worn my stretchy yoga pants and no makeup and I really feel like I would have still made a ton of new friends. I would have gotten hugs from the women listed above. I asked hard questions of some of the ladies there and they answered them honestly and offered more help than I ever expected. THIS is the community I speak of. This is what has made it so difficult to put the weekend into words. This is why my heart is still full two days later and I'm still processing all of what I experienced.

I know I don't usually post a lot of pictures here but I will be posting pictures as soon as I steal them from Beth because that girl takes some great pictures and I "forgot" my camera every time I was with her this weekend.

Also? If you have any questions about any of the sessions, please feel free to ask and I'll answer. You can also buy transcripts of all the sessions if you want.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Answers

1. How do you place the cups in your dishwasher? Directly on the prongs or in between the prongs?
In between! If the top is all full of them in between, I'll squeeze the remaining over the prongs.

2. How do you hang your toilet paper? Hanging over or hanging under?
Listen, this is very important stuff right here. OVER. Always OVER. When I'm in public restrooms I get angry when it's coming from under and it has a lock preventing me from changing it.

3. What are you feelings on Kanye West? Love him or leave him?
I enjoy some of his music but as a person, I find him to be a jerk. Not that I've ever met him in person. Just in interviews and you know, when he's attacking people and stuff that I find him to be a jerk.

4. Do you refrigerate your peanut butter or is it in your pantry?

5. Do you refrigerate your maple syrup or is it in your pantry?
If it's the real stuff, it has to go in the fridge, right? If it's Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworth, pantry.

6. Do you put your bread in the refrigerator?
No and I'm not sure why I would do this?

7. If you found salad dressing in your refrigerator that expired 30 days prior, would you use it or dump it?
Let me be honest here and tell you that I once devoured some ranch dressing only to discover afterwards that it expired WAY more than 30 days prior and I didn't die. However, I was so grossed out by it that I usually check now. But also too, it would depend on how bad a hankering I had for some ranch. Was that too much honesty?

8. Do you say tissue or kleenex?

9. Finally, what are your feelings on cottage cheese? Scrumptious snack or disgusting?
There are grey areas here for me. I like it as a snack sometimes but it's one of those things that I have to really be in the mood for or else I'm not digging it.
Thanks for playing along!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Things You Really Want to Know

Yesterday, the lovely Beth talked about the tough questions of life. You know, the things you claim to know but realize that you could be wrong about. Today, I want to pass these tough questions along to you. Why? Because I'm nosey curious about how other people do things. I tend to think I'm always right but I've learned over the years that it's the little differences between us that make life more interesting. Still, I need to know. I won't judge you. Promise. My answers will go up tomorrow. Here goes:

1. How do you place the cups in your dishwasher? Directly on the prongs or in between the prongs?

2. How do you hang your toilet paper? Hanging over or hanging under?

3. What are you feelings on Kanye West? Love him or leave him?

4. Do you refrigerate your peanut butter or is it in your pantry?

5. Do you refrigerate your maple syrup or is it in your pantry?

6. Do you put your bread in the refrigerator?

7. If you found salad dressing in your refrigerator that expired 30 days prior, would you use it or dump it?

8. Do you say tissue or kleenex?

9. Finally, what are your feelings on cottage cheese? Scrumptious snack or disgusting?