Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Put on a Happy Face

When I was little, my teenaged sister would sing "Put on a Happy Face" to me when I got pouty. It never worked to clear up my gray skies, it was just hugely annoying, though I do have to admit it's the perfect song for a pouty kiddo.  I had no idea the song came from a musical and I certainly never dreamed I would have a beautiful daughter with a beautiful voice who would get a part in that musical.  

I always knew my sweet girl had a lovely voice, but when she auditioned for our homeschool group's musical production of Bye Bye Birdie, the heretofore hidden talent came to light.  We'll never forget that audition day ... her hopes that she really did have a gift were confirmed.  It was so exciting when she was cast in the musical as part of an ensemble that plays a big part in the story line. 

Auditions were a year ago, rehearsals began in earnest last fall and culminated in three performances over the weekend.  Abbie played a crazed teenaged fan girl, completely dedicated to and wholly enamored with the legendary Conrad Birdie (think Elvis Presley).   Her character was so not her real self ... it was hilarious to see her behave in a way she never would in real life.  

The costumes were rented and the full skirts, keds and bobby socks were like a time machine.  The zipper on Abbie's dress gave her trouble all week long, and finally broke during the last rehearsal.  Fortunately, the girls were required to wear "proper underpinnings" and there was no dramatic wardrobe malfunction.  I did minor mending on several dresses, but zippers are advanced sewing, and after some frantic texts and email messages, we found a mom who could bring her sewing machine to Enrichment classes Friday morning and replace the zipper just in time for the first show.  This woman is my hero.

Between the Saturday afternoon and evening shows there was pizza, lots of laughing and games.  I've known some of these kids since they were in elementary school and it's a strange and wonderful thing to see them growing up so fast ... so. so. FAST.  But in all the very best ways.  

With three brothers and a cousin who's like a brother, Abbie's natural habitat is boys. The girl's dressing room was a different world, all hair spray and makeup and hair brushes and "let me curl your hair."

She got three bouquets of flowers and was even asked for her autograph.  As family and friends gathered around, there may or may not have been happy/sad/exhilarated/overwhelmed tears after the last performance.

But she put on her happy face before I could break out into song.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Let's Hear It For Getting Your Spring Groove Back

Happy First Day of Spring!  I'm a four season loving girl, but this area of Texas doesn't stand on ceremony when it comes to seasons.  January temperatures soar into the 70's and the snow holds off until March.  I do my best not to let it annoy me that the windows may be open to let in lovely cool breezes even though the Christmas decorations are up, or that the spring decor is out but it's sleeting outside.  Today it's rainy and cold, and I'm longing for spring flowers and sunshine.  

 (image source)

The season change from winter to spring is my least favorite.  I put the Christmas decor away and leave the winter decor up until March, because this:

Actually I was glad that the winter decor was still up while there was snow on the ground, because otherwise, it just feels all wrong.  The snow melted, then the rains came (which we must not begrudge) and the ground was too wet to fetch all the spring boxes from the shed.  Everything just feels in between.

I love the excitement of New Years with it's Auld Lang Syne and ball dropping and ringing in the new year, and I totally geek out on resolutions and goals and planning.  I love cold weather and a fire in the fireplace, but come the end of February, I'm just ready for the grey part of the year to be done.  My heart lags a little bit.  I keep on keeping on, but inside I just feel stuck, like I can't get anything done.  Do you ever feel that way?

This week I read Meg Duerkson's blog post Trail Mix, a Playlist and Crazy Strong Abs.  Do you follow Meg?  If you love rainbow colors, beautiful photography, family life, creativity and a genuine heart, you'll love her.  She shared her workout playlist and I snagged a couple of great workout songs, headed to my ITunes library, and assembled a workout playlist of my own.  I've loved walking these past several months, but I could use an infusion of something new besides watching for snakes newly out from winter hiding - GAH. 

May I Present The 'Get Your Groove Back' Workout Playlist:

These songs were chosen specifically for the kind of tempo that makes it impossible to keep still.  I've talked before }here{ about how I feel about lyrics of popular music today - no need to be alarmed: my morals are firmly intact!  When my walk with this list playing in my ear was done, the winter blues were nowhere in sight.  It was a little bit like this:

except not nearly as cute and Kevin Bacon didn't make an appearance.

I braved the drive across marshy ground to the shed and loaded the truck up with boxes full of spring.  The winter stuff couldn't be put away fast enough, and the house is a blank palette.

Thinking about filling things out with the soft tones of spring makes me happy.  And if the tempo starts to lag, I'm ready with my secret weapon blues-banishing playlist.

What about you?  Are there times of the year that make you feel stuck?  What's on your get your groove back playlist?


Friday, March 13, 2015

Mercy Hunting ... bring on the spring!

Everything here is pointing right to spring and the cold morning walks of January and February are done.  There hasn't been quite enough cold to thoroughly mark winter, if you ask me.  I would be happy to spend a few more nights lingering in front of the fireplace, but you can't argue against Daylight Savings Time and 60 degree temperatures.

Most week days I walk two miles in the morning.  I think I only missed walking two of the days I planned to walk since January, and a couple days I even walked in light rain.  This is a new thing for me, this regular exercise gig.  It makes a tremendous difference in how I feel both physically and mentally, and I'm committed.  I want to be a healthy old lady ... I wish I had started sooner!  

I try to snap a picture of at least one thing that delights me when I walk, and I call it Mercy Hunting.  Mercy Hunting will prime you to look for things that make you happy, and help you be present, and help you be thankful.  Initially, I thought there wouldn't be enough "new" things to take note of, since I always walk the same route, but there is something new every single day.  

 It didn't snow here until March, but there were plenty of sparkling frosty mornings 
in January and February.  And foggy mornings, too, which I love.

Some days I listen to podcasts or auido books while I walk, some days I pray, 
some days I just think, and some days I just walk.
Once I startled a deer bedded down in the trees by the creek, and once I stared down a wild hog.  

The March snow was lovely and light ... enough to cover everything with a few inches, freak the entire metroplex out about driving anytime before June, and be gone for the most part by the second day.

Ruby is my walking companion.  She's mightily patient with me while I stop to take pictures or just look around and take everything in.  But she also employs the "what are you doing - would you please hurry up? You're driving me crazy" stare quite effectively.

The daffodils made their stand against the snow, the frogs have begun their perpetual croak,
 there's water rushing in the creek, and this morning a flock of geese were winging it north.
Spring is here, and God's mercies are new, every morning.
Done any Mercy Hunting yourself lately?
Happy Friday!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Mom Talk #31: The Last Mom Talk (just kidding)

yay!  you're here!
for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{

WELL ... this 31 Days series, begun in October of 2014 in conjunction with The Nesting Place's annual blogging challenge, officially comes to an end.  I didn't intend to drag my series out beyond October: speaking so publicly in a voice of authority became intimidating and I lost my momentum.  And honestly, I got a little bit tired of my preachy/bossy self ... which was a valuable lesson in parenting :o)

If you've been reading along with me as a parent, maybe you've been gratified to know you're not the only Mom who tends to step up on the soapbox.  Or maybe you're proud of yourself that you don't.  Or, if you're just starting the mom journey, maybe you gleaned some food for thought on the kinds of things that will go into your mom speeches.  I've been parenting 21 years, but I think I'll always be curious about what other parents preach to their kids, how they do it, and what topics are common to us all.  And I wonder what things I haven't said that I should have.

My kids, upon reading that last sentence:  "Nothing!  Nothing at all!!"  :o)

I'll wrap up this series with just a few more motherly words, because although I've posted 30 Mom Talks, I still have more to say.  That's all of us moms, isn't it?  just    o n e.    m o r e.    t h i n g.   to say. 

What I want to emphasize the most, Awesome Children of Mine, is that the greatest venture you can embark on in life is to grow your relationship with God and cultivate a thriving, healthy soul.  This is the reason you're alive and the very reason for your being.  It's the answer to the worthy question "What's the purpose of life?"  If you make growing your relationship with God your primary goal, everything else that's important will follow.  When you need it, you will have strength beyond reason, peace beyond understanding, wisdom beyond your years, delight in the bigger plan, and a sense of security that nothing else can bring to your soul. 

I hope that you remain humble and teachable your whole life long.  Being teachable blows the doors off the limits to what you can do with your life.  If you're teachable, you can change, and if you can change, you can grow.  Always strive to be learning something, all of the time.  Your brain is a muscle and needs stimulation and challenge to stay healthy; you're responsible to feed it and keep it active.  A positive by-product of this is that if your brain is active, it tends to keep your heart happy.  Don't forget that.  Keep reaching, keep learning, keep challenging.  Until the moment you draw your last breath, you are a work in progress.  Stay teachable.

Sometimes we tend to get so heads down in our own worlds that life passes right by without our even noticing.  Every once in a while, remind yourself to come up for air ... just stop for a minute to appreciate what's going on around you.  No one else has your vantage point - what you are living is wholly unique to you, and you're the star of the show, so be present.  Take center stage.  Throw yourself completely into enjoying your run as top billing.

And while you're enjoying life on center stage?  Dream big dreams.  Think about where you want to be in five, ten, twenty years from now and beyond ... dream about the stages of life and how you want them to be.  You've heard the saying "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail."  It's the same with your life - it's going to happen to you whether you plan it out or not, so if you don't want to live someone else's idea of what your life should be, or wake up at the end of it and realize it's been mediocre, you've got to generate some dreams.  Don't worry about making them reasonable ... you may not end up living in a castle on the side of mountain, but if that's your dream and you invest your heart in it, there will be elements of your life that resemble life in a mountaintop castle.  

After you dream up your big dreams, take responsibility for them.  Don't just dream them and put them on a shelf to be admired and taken down to hold once in a while ... see what you can do to push toward them, one little step at a time.  The journey toward your dreams is often as important as - and actually may be more important than - attaining the dream itself.  Albert Einstein says it best, "Never give up on what you really want to do.  The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts."

This crazy beautiful life comes in seasons.  Some are joyful, some are sad; some are social, some are lonely; some are tedious and hard, some are action packed and exciting.  Sometimes those seasons of life happen simultaneously.  You may be terribly sad but deliriously happy at the same time, and that's okay.  If that's where you are, be both.  Embrace the season you're in, experience it to the fullest and learn everything you can from it, because you can't go back. 

There will be times when you're discouraged and you'll face seemingly insurmountable situations.  Fight for it. Never give up.  Take that next step.  Try again.   Prove them wrong.  Get back up.  Keep hoping.  Hang on.  Do the next thing.  Keep going.  There's no problem that can't get better.  Everything really will be all right

In fact, everything will be better than all right.  It's going to awesome.

Thanks for reading!

for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{
thanks for reading!