Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reader Poll: When You're Offended

I'd like to think that I'm not easily offended, but there is one thing in particular that will get under my skin every time: when someone says, "OH, MY GOD!" It's actually even hard for me to type it, I don't even like looking at it or having it on my blog. But for the sake of the post, there it is.

It's not that I'm going to think less of someone if it slips out in excitement or frustration. What I mean more so is when someone uses it ALL THE TIME for everything.

Yesterday I was asking my sister if there were any phrases that got under her skin or offended her, and she said, "Yes. I have a student who always says, 'That's gay,' and it really irritates me."

So my question is...if you were around someone who said an offensive phrase constantly, how would you address it without sounding haughty or self-righteous? How do you handle it while, at the same time, not embarrassing them by making them feel horrible?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Big Girl Purse

Back when my sister was just a little girl and I was the cool, big sister, she wanted to be just like me. She wanted me to fix her hair and pick out her clothes. She wanted to be around my friends and do the things I liked to do.

Above is a picture of my cousins and my sister, who I'm leaning against, and me - same girls as in this picture. You can see how much older I am than all of them! Look how stylish I was in 1992 - I would have been 12.

The funny thing is, she is now the super trendy one, while I am still in frumpy recovery. I have let her try to train me in what to look for (almost like my own personal "What Not to Wear" guide), and I actually have enjoyed shopping with her a couple of times!

For Christmas, she gave me the most "trendy" thing I've had in a LONG time. Perhaps this is not a big deal to some, but it meant a lot to me because we had joked for a while that I needed a big girl purse. As odd as it might sound, I have never really been one to carry a purse. And then when I started having children, the diaper bag became my mode of carrying anything like a wallet, keys, cell phone, whatever!

So when I opened this...

...I actually had tears. Call me crazy - or emotional - but it was just such a nice gift, and I felt like it was the beginning of breaking out of the rut I had been in. Funny how something as simple as a purse could do that!

So even though I was the one who she looked up to at one time, I know that she is now my go-to-girl for all things cute and trendy.

And maybe she looks up to me for other things these days :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dream Journal

Every now and then, as you may know if you've read my blog for a while, I have a dream that is worthy of writing about. The ones I write down are ones that stand out to me. Ones that I just can't shake. Ones that replay in my mind all day - for several days. This one was on Sunday night.

It was a beautiful, summer day, and I was standing on the bank of a calm river with my mom and a few other people - I call them dream people, people I don't know in real life but people who I knew in my dream. We were all ready to take off for a relaxing float trip. Our life jackets were secured, our smiles and laughter accompanied us as we began our journey for the day.

We paddled on down the river, taking in all the scenery, enjoying the time together. I distinctly remember thinking how green the trees looked and how pretty the water gleamed from the sun dancing off of the ripples in the water.

I noticed the river had a bend in it, and I remember thinking how difficult it is to make a smooth turn when it bends like that. We couldn't see on the other side of the bend, and for some reason, that made me upset. I didn't like it that I couldn't see where I was going.

Suddenly, as we made the turn, the water abruptly changed from calm to raging. Instead of a peaceful float trip, we were now in what I can only describe as advanced white water rafting! No one was prepared for it, and no one knew what to do. I felt myself become filled with anxiety, wondering how we would make it through this considering we had no idea how to handle it.

At some point, I remember not being able to hear my mom's voice anymore. Eventually, as I tried to steer the course, I was the only one who remained in the raft.

And then I approached a huge drop off. I could not keep from falling. The water kept me going, and I couldn't direct away from it.

So I fell. With the water.

And my dream faded to black.

When I came to, I saw that I was inside a huge cave at the bottom of a waterfall. I looked around realized I was alone. I did not want to be alone, and then, all of a sudden, I saw what I believe was my dad walking along side of me. "I'll stay with ya! You might want to look around down here."

Strangely - very strangely - what I found myself looking at was a memorial for those who had tried to make the same trip I had. I saw flowers, crosses, pictures, letters, balloons, all kinds of things that indicated that many had not made it through what I had just endured. Then I was brought to my knees as I saw a picture of a small child who had not made it. A candle was lit and flickered enough for me to see his face. I had tears and told my dad I didn't want to stay down there anymore. He pointed me towards a long staircase...

...and I woke up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Speed Stick in Kindergarten

It's been a while since I've visited some of my favorite blogs or their Blog Frog communities, but the other day I decided to post a topic over on McMama's forum. I had been thinking about it for a while, and I wanted to get some feedback from moms over there before I wrote about it over here. The question I posed went something like this:

"Within the last month or so, I have noticed that my son has had that smell at the end of the day - you know the one - when you know it's time for the good ol' deodorant! But here's the thing: he's only six-years-old! It's not a typical, need a bath smell. It's that distinct, body odor, I don't want to sit next to you smell! Doesn't that seem early?"

There were a variety of responses, all of which were women who had children who also had to begin using deodorant at an early age. On one hand, it made me feel better to know my son was not the only kindergartner on the planet who had to use Speed Stick! But it also made me very sad.

I had often heard about the hormones in our foods making children mature at an early age, but I had only associated it with girls and periods. That is probably even more upsetting to me. Like this comment on my post: "My daughter's classmate started menstruating at age 8. I found this so cruel. Not a child and not an adult and she still believed in Santa." Can you even imagine? A small girl, still with so much innocence, still believing in Santa, and having to understand such a womanly thing. I agree with the one who wrote the comment - so cruel.

What do I do now? The "early maturing" has already began in Caleb, and that means Sarah is next. Can I reverse this for them? Is it too late? I feel like I've let them down by the choices I've made for them. I understand some of the changes I could make, but if you've ever seen Food Inc. (which I would HIGHLY recommend) it's almost like we're fighting a losing battle.

But something just has to change...

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Barbie

Tonight I took Caleb to his weekly Upward basketball practice at our church. I pulled up to the door, gave him a hug, and told him I'd be back when he was done. While he worked on his skills with his team, Sarah, Gabriel, and I made our way to Walmart to pick up a few things I had been needing to get anyway.

We strolled down the make-up aisle and I found some lip gloss and face wash. I also picked up some fingernail polish remover that I so desperately needed, and I grabbed a small, purse-sized lotion thingy.

Sounds like a pretty basic, normal, boring trip to Walmart, right?

When I was done with my small list, I told Sarah and Gabriel I'd let them look at the toys. They are always good at this, knowing we are just looking and not buying. They like to hold things sometimes or point out what might be fun, but they know nothing is coming home with us! I turned the corner to go down the girl aisle (as I call it) and I noticed some really cute, fun, new Barbies that I hadn't noticed before! We talked about how pretty they were, and Sarah made sure to show me the one that Mama had given her for Christmas - the one with the horse that she always plays with.

And then I heard a voice behind me. It was very unexpected because I didn't notice anyone in the aisle as we strolled along: "Is there a doctor Barbie?"

It was a woman - my age I'd guess, maybe a bit younger - who looked a little rough I'll admit. I replied, "Well, I'm not sure! I'll help you look." I glanced down at all the different varieties, and then I spotted her - the doctor Barbie. "Here she is. Sure looks cute!"

As I began to walk away and continue the toy browsing with my kids, I heard her continue: "My daughter's birthday is tomorrow, and I only have $9. Do you think you could help me buy this Barbie?"

It totally caught me off guard. Totally.

I am not one to carry cash with me, and tonight was no different. I knew she needed $11 to make up the difference, and I didn't have it on me. But quickly and strongly I felt that I needed to say yes. I was supposed to buy this toy for a woman I didn't even know.

"I don't have cash on me, but I'm done with my shopping if you want to go up front with me. I'll buy it for you when I check out."

"Really? Oh, my gosh. Thank you. Are you sure? I really appreciate this." She told me her daughter would be turning 5, and I looked at Sarah, sitting in the cart, and said, "My little girl will be 5 this summer. She likes Barbies, too."

We arrived at the front of the store. I purchased the doll for her soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter, handed it to her, and told her I hoped her little girl would have a great day tomorrow.

I'm not really sure why I felt compelled to buy that Barbie. As she walked away, and as I pushed the cart with my kids inside, I kept wondering why God allowed this encounter. Who was He wanting to speak to - me or her?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Traveling Light!

It's good to know that I treat my blog the same way I treat my children. Today is Traveling Light's second birthday, and while I want to recognize this fun milestone, I am not having a "big party" like I did last year. I'm a consistant mom. Ha! I tend to have big parties for a "Happy 1st" and just lay low for the second.

So Traveling Light: you are two years old today. Life has thrown a lot of changes at me lately, and I know I haven't really devoted as much time to you as I did in past years. I sure hope to pick back up on writing sometime soon. I can see that I'm losing readers, and I sure wish I could get back in sink.

One quick update for those of you are sticking with me even though I've been slacking: you may recall when I wrote the entry Don't Hog Your Journey and discussed my current weight loss journey. I did hit my "199" goal on November 23rd. Interestingly - but not surprisingly to me - I have remained at 198 since December. The first week of January I joined a Biggest Loser competition just to try to stay motivated. I'm very proud of my accomplishment - 25 pounds gone - but I do hope to continue and lose the next 30 as well!

Here is a picture of me with my cousins and sister on Christmas day - I'm in purple!

It's now one of my favorite pictures of me.

Until the next update...