Shrieky and spinny

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My husband’s job held a family Christmas party at an indoor amusement park. It was an excellent idea, and we were excited to go. Tickets to this place are normally kind of expensive, and the company had rented the entire park for three hours. We could go around and do any ride we wanted!

Now, there was one ride that looked fun. It was spinny. It would sail overhead and you’d hear the shrieks and laughs of the people riding it. We figured that would be a great place to start. With a six-year-old.

So we hopped on the ride, got buckled in, and it took off. Now, as it so happens, that fun, shrieky, spinny part feels a lot different when you’re on it. It was more like a whirling, jerking, heaving ride of terror. At least to us. We might be biased.

So while we’d looked up to see the laughs and shrieks of other riders from the ground, when we were on this thing, other people were looking up to hear my son sobbing, “I want off!” and my hoarse holler of, “Close your eyes, baby! It’s almost done, I promise!” as we clicked up another incline…

We got off of it, weak-kneed and wan.

Never again.

I’m pretty sure accidentally putting your kid on a roller coaster that you thought would be fun is a parenting milestone. My parents did it to me, and now I’ve done it to my son. It’s like passing down an heirloom of fright. LOL

Merry Christmas, anyway!

 

One of the ones with singing in them

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My husband has always refused to do anything “theater” with me. He wouldn’t try it. He wouldn’t even consider it. So I resigned myself to the fact that my husband and I will never bond over a weepy opera. I was okay with that. My husband is very full of testosterone, and I supposed that is just the trade off for having a manly man.

Anyway, this year, my husband said, “I don’t want to go to a play. That’s awful. But–” And this is where I realized I’d just wasted nine years of our marriage. “–I’ll consider going if it was one of those ones with singing in them.”

“Like a musical?”

“Is that what you call them?”

I could have been going to musicals with my husband all along???

So without further ado, we ordered some tickets to A Christmas Story–the musical. This was my husband’s first attempt at anything theater-like, and my son’s first experience of it, too, and I was excited!

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The play was wonderful. We got seats in the second row where we could make eye contact with the actors. My six-year-old’s heart bled for the plight of Ralphie. He nearly broke down in the middle when the tension was just too much for him. My husband thought it was great fun, and I got the best Christmas present ever–a play with my two favorite guys!

Guess what I want for my birthday now? ;)

Being Woman Enough

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I’ve come across a lot of quotes online–meant to be romantic–that talk about a man treating his woman right, or another man will step in and do what he wouldn’t. I can see the sentiment behind it, as in not taking your significant other for granted, but there is something that doesn’t quite sit right with me, either…

 

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Now, I’m all for being loved, cherished and protected! Don’t get me wrong, I love romance just as much as every other woman out there, but I think that true romance is about more than the man doting on the woman or romantic gestures. I think the woman has a responsibility there, too–to be trustworthy. These quotes make it out that a woman’s loyalty is only as strong as her man’s romantic streak. In fact, it doesn’t put any responsibility on the woman’s shoulders at all. “Someone else will.” Such a passive statement, as if she just got whisked away by a brisk wind. Oops! But a woman with moral muscle isn’t swept away by whatever man would claim her. She isn’t a handkerchief, or a house cat. And her morality is not based on someone else’s attentiveness.

I am a woman, and I am not available to be scooped up by whatever man might be most attentive at the time. I made vows to my husband, and I stand by them, even when he’s grumpy, tired, inattentive or generally unromantic. There is no threat that I’ll leave him. I’m not a prize sitting on a shelf, waiting for someone to see value in me. I’m a woman, and I don’t have a price tag, I have a choice. That choice is stronger than moods, gestures or even arguments. That choice–that vow–is iron-clad. It comes will the strength of my loyalty, my love and my morals.

A full grown woman is as active in that relationship as her man is. She has tough conversations. She doesn’t back down. She puts herself in her man’s path if she needs to, and she fights for what she values most. She isn’t a waif, sitting around, waiting for some guy to please her. She makes the bed that she wants to lie in!

So by all means, treat her well. Dance with her. Cherish her. Adore her. But it isn’t only up to the man. If she isn’t woman enough to stand by her word, if she can be swept off by whatever guy sweet talks her, if she isn’t strong enough to have tough conversations when necessary, to protect her vows to him just as strongly as he is expected to, then I dare say she isn’t woman enough, period.

I am a woman, and side by side with my man, we face what life heaves in our direction. My love is not a prize, it is a fact. My husband can count on that–no matter what. No one gets to scoop me away from the man I CHOSE.

Be the love you want to receive.

Smart Husbands

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I got the Mother of All Flus. This isn’t exactly news. If you connect with me on Facebook, you already know this. All I’ve been able to do lately is update my author page from time to time and lay on the couch wondering if dying might not be easier.

I also watched a lot of Family Feud.

That also means that I haven’t done anything to blog about either. I’m sorry. This week I’m a very dull author indeed. So in honor of all the Family Feud I’ve watched from my pillows on the couch, and in honor of my own wonderful husband who took care of me while I was less than attractive, I will leave you with this clip of two very smart husbands. LOL!

Now those are good men. Their wives must be proud!

Stay healthy! The flu this year is vicious.

Hollering through the bathroom door

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It’s really hard to keep things rolling when you lose your voice. You forget how much you chatter when you can’t speak above a whisper. For one, you can’t talk through bathroom doors. This really cramps my style. I can’t tell you how often I can be heard giving instructions or hollering out a warning mid-shower. This is a secret to the mom trade.

I also find it frustrating to hear all the questions I know an answer to, and not be able to answer them because they are coming from the other room.

“Can I play Wii for three hours today, Daddy?”

“What did Mommy say?”

“She didn’t say anything. I think she’d like it.”

I can’t chat on the phone with my husband while he’s at work–at least not easily. I can’t chat with my son and ask all those pertinent questions about his day while we putter around together, because he gets frustrated listening to the raspy whisper. I can’t call my friends back, who are probably convinced that I’ve either died of this flu or don’t love them anymore.

And while most people think, “Oh, a few more days and we’ll be back to normal around here,” I have this lingering (albeit irrational) doubt because I have an aunt who lost her voice for ten years. I’m not joking–a whole decade of whispering! Doctors didn’t know why. So I have this tiny part of me that thinks, “Oh crap! I’m going to have to learn sign language, teach it to my family, and save my best jokes for Facebook, because I’m going to be the Mute Author forEVER!”

Anyway. I’ll let you know when my voice comes back and I can holler through bathroom doors again. It’ll be such a relief!

 

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Nameste

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ПарватасанаI’m volunteering a few times a week in my son’s first grade classroom. The first day I arrived for my duties, I got to see how they start their day, and I have to tell you, school has changed a LOT since I was in elementary school!

It’s very gentle and calm now. That frenzied pecking order has been soothed. Teachers don’t raise their voices, and they start the day with some yoga.

My sense of humor being what it is, it kind of cracked me up! (Internally, of course. I’m not a jerk.) This guy came on over the loud speaker with this eerily soothing voice:

“Close your eyes. Inhale. Feel the air coming to your lungs. This morning we are going to have a mindful moment and we’re going to listen to the sound of a bell.”

So they did. They listened to the sound of a bell, and despite my own mental comedy routine going on, I got lulled into their mindful moment and the sound of that bell. It was so quiet and peaceful in the room that when the whole class rose to their feet for the national anthem, (the bell having stopped ringing some time ago) I didn’t even think to stand. I was still just kind of lulled and sitting there in my too-small chair.

Until I noticed all the six-year-olds staring at me, and popped up.

Mindful moment over.

But if anyone ever notices my son zoning out, they shouldn’t hold it against him. We Johns can zone out. Like a boss!

Nameste.

Photo by Drew Osborn

Photo by Drew Osborn

Writer’s torture

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There are a few different tortures reserved for writers, and I thought I’d take today to outline them for you. I’m helpful that way. ;)

1. Having ideas.

2. Having ideas, but no energy to do anything with them.

3. Having ideas but no “go ahead” from your editor to start writing them. If you start before the gunshot, your editor is likely to say something like, “Could we just change the entire premise of that book? That would be perfect.” And all your writing is wasted.

Torturing a writer is easier than you’d think! You could give her a computer virus. (Knock on wood! Ack! Now I’ve said it aloud!) You could also lock her in a room away from their computer and with a roomful of delightful people, then whisper a great idea for her next chapter in her ear. She’ll visibly writhe. Writer’s always live in the knife-edge of torment anyway, so tipping them over isn’t that hard. ;)

But do you know how to make a writer happy? Read her book… LIKE her book! You don’t have a lot of control over that, but if it happened to happen naturally, then email her a little note saying that you enjoyed it. It will warm the very cockles of her heart, because that means that all her work, all her torment, was worth it.

When you like it… it’s worth it!

And yes, this is exactly how picturesque I am while writing. ;)

And yes, this is exactly how picturesque I am while writing. ;)

Be the Punchline

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Most girls have a bit of an awkward stage. They haven’t learned how to tame their hair yet, they get long in the leg and big in the foot… At least that’s what it was like for me. The only thing bigger than my personality was my hair.

I knew I was awkward, but it didn’t hold me back. I thought this was just the deal–this was me!–so I might as well work with it. And while I could have curled up in a corner and felt insecure, instead I developed my own personal comedy routine. If I could turn my own awkwardness into a laugh before someone else did, then I won! If someone else tells the joke, then you’re the butt. If YOU tell the joke, then you’re the punchline! It ended up being my secret to any kind of social success up until my body caught up with my feet.

I remember being about sixteen and overhearing my aunt tell my mother, “Thank goodness she evened out! She had one looooong awkward stage.”

Up until that moment, I didn’t realize I’d been awkward long enough to be noticed by extended family. When family that lives in another province (read “state” if you’re American!) notices, then it was epic, my friend. ;)

Anyway, I came across this video (posted by Dave Ramsey on Facebook, actually!), and I found it really inspiring! This comedian has a piece of advice. He says that while life might set you up, you can choose to be the punchline. But in a better way than I did.

This is worth the watch. I promise!

 

It’s not what we get, but what we give. You are the answer to someone’s deepest prayer–I can can guarantee it!

 

“That Woman”

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Recently, I stumbled across an article entitled, The 5 Types of Moms to Unfriend on Facebook, and it got me to thinking about how *I* come across on Facebook.

Just how annoying am I on my personal Facebook page? Because this article seems to cover pretty much every single mom friend I’ve got. Sometimes they brag about their kids. Sometimes they show off something they cooked. Sometimes they put a positive spin on a day that you’re pretty sure started with them sobbing into their steering wheel. If I followed that advice to unfriend them all, I’d be friendless! Just me and like… four other people who no longer post anything.

Which got me to thinking… while not being annoying to others is important, is it really so terrible to be “that woman?” You probably found yourself in that list, too! Maybe you’re spread out over a few categories.

So here is my thought on that:

463px-Dr_Mayim_Bialik_USACE_posterDo know Amy Farrah-Fowler, the nerdy girlfriend of genius Shelden Cooper on The Big Bang Theory? Well, her part is played by Mayim Bialik, child star from twenty years ago and real life neuroscientist. The woman is a NEUROSCIENTIST who acts in a hit TV show in her spare time, people! It’s really hard to compete with that! And on her Facebook page, when she posts about some family holiday or whatnot, she gets a smorgasbord of hate mail and fan mail. The fan mail I can understand, but why the hate? Well, she’s Jewish. She practices attachment parenting. Oh, and she’s divorced.

If a neuroscientist who raises her children alone without the help of a nanny and keeps her career balanced with her faith and her parenting can get hate mail for just being who she is…

Girl, post whatever you want about your kids and grandkids! Brag away! Be positive if you want, and post those adorable photos of them sleeping or rolling their eyes at you. Because you won’t please everyone. But do you know who you will please? Those kids.

“I was my mom’s world. No one loved me like she did.”

“My grandma always told me that I was going to be something special.”

“My aunt used to post these pictures of me. She thought I was beautiful, even when I didn’t see it.”

Let’s bring it back to what matters most–the kids we’re talking about. And they deserve to have someone think they’re fantastic, don’t they?

 

 

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