Archives for May 2013

Two Different Worlds

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Tim and I attend an inordinate amount of weddings –mainly because my hubby is a wedding pastor and teaches a pre-marital class. (And I would suggest because he is brilliant, hot and won’t mess up their pictures)

At one of our recent festivities we were seated at the “reserved” family table and enjoying dinner when one of the groomsmen brought over the family housekeeper and invited her to sit in an empty seat next to him. While the sweet housekeeper appeared flustered and awkward because she wasn’t dressed up, she did agree to join us and jumped up to grab the waiter for a plate.

As soon as the housekeeper walked over to the bar, the groomsmen quietly explained to our table that the housekeeper was sitting inside all alone and he wanted to include her because she was a part of the family. We all nodded and agreed it was a fabulous idea, except for his mother.

“She’s not invited son. She’s the help. I didn’t pay for her to eat with us,” the mother exclaimed in a loud and shrill voice.

I shrunk down in my chair in mortification.

Her son boldly stared his mother down. “It’s too late. I’ve invited her. Deal with it.”

The mother scowled and turned away. But a few minutes later she was back to telling us how involved she was at her church and yada, yada, yada…

And then I vomited in my mouth a little.

Because the damage of her remark lingered and it made me wonder how she viewed me –was I the lowly help too.

As the pastor’s wife, I wasn’t really an invited guest.

I looked down at the ground and chewed on my thoughts.

Do I judge like that? Do I discount people because of occupation or status?

While I hope not, I will fess up to feeling uncomfortable at Knott’s berry Farm the other day. I felt very fair-skinned and un-inked in a land of gang-type attire and attitude. I even saw toddlers with tattoos. I had to work hard to smile big and not retreat in fear.

And while nothing in me made me feel better or set apart, I did feel different and I know in awkward situations it’s easier to push away then lean in and embrace.

But as Christians that’s exactly what we need to do. We must stop trying to LOOK spiritual and BE spirit lead. We need to not only love our servants, we need to be servants. We are commanded to love our neighbor –even when they have unsupervised kids who randomly show up and stay too late, even when they party every Friday and Saturday night until 3:00am right outside your bedroom window, and even when they cuss you out on Social Media for a misunderstanding.

We need to embrace the uncomfortable.

So, although I didn’t confront the woman at the party because we don’t have that type of relationship, I wish I could have grabbed a cup of coffee with her and held her hand and looked her in the eyes and said…

I know this isn’t easy. I won’t pretend you will feel comfortable but let’s risk together.

Why don’t we invite the down-trodden in our life to the party? Let’s make room at our table for the poor and the quirky and the Mexican woman who has loved your kids and vacuumed up the dust-bunnies and scrubbed the stains out of your shirt. Let’s bless and love and love some more, even when it’s hard and even when people will raise their eyebrows.

–Sam

5 Things to Know About Turning 40

group Jen's bday

I celebrated another friend turning the big 40 this week.  We went out on a  Duffy boat, danced in the Newport harbour and laughed and loved and affirmed our girl Jen. 

And it made me think about what I really wanted to tell her (if I was honest) about hitting this big milestone -now that I’m an expert nine months in.

Dear Jen, and all my peeps nearing 40,

Things happen to you when you age –sneaky things, weird things, and terrible awful surprises.  And when you are in your thirties NO ONE TELLS YOU the whole truth.

There was a movie out recently –This is 40.  And while funny, it wasn’t honest.  Because 40 in all reality and not Hollywood land doesn’t look like that.  In fact, I would suggest Hollywood makes us all feel MORE OLD because without a team of surgeons and trainers and LASIK, the rest of us look –well…40.  The real 40.

Jen

So, I’m letting the cat out of the bag. 

Here are the top five surprises to hitting middle age.

1. Spots.  Are you scared yet?  It’s true.  Red spots, brown spots, more freckles, random dots.  In fact if your kids are bored give them a pen and let them connect them for a fun car game.  It’s like your dermal layer checks the time map, notes that you crested over the hill and BAM, a little age fairy tip-toes into your room at night and get’s out the markers.  When I asked my dermatologist about it he claimed it was due to hormones, genetics and sun damage.  He also mentioned he would be glad to laser them all off for a small fee comparable to my mortgage.  (I’m guessing the tanning bed in my late teens was a very BAD idea)

2. Your metabolism hits the Sh*tter.  Those cupcakes on the weekend –straight to your ass-ter-kosher.   Margaritas’ and chips?  You will pay.  All of those years when you could indulge over the weekend and then be good on Monday are now OVER.  Your vehicle is burning fewer calories and the high-speed octane days of the 2:00am Del Taco run are a distant memory.  Unless you are eating A LOT less and training more, your body will change.  Depending on your fortitude and state of mind you may want to fight this inevitable battle of the bulge or embrace the middle age spread.  Good luck!

3. You become a SANDWICH.  Did I throw you off on that one?  By sandwich, I mean you get to deal with aging parents, teenagers and because so many of you waited to have kids until your late thirties –diapers too.  You are hitting hospitals, prom and play dates all in the same week.  You get to fight with your teen about innapropriate parties, search for the lost pacifier and manage your parent’s finances and healthcare all in the same day. 

And the stress coming from every angle will make you a little CRAZY, which is why you will…

4. Adopt bizarre coping mechanisms.  Like floating underwater in the bath and pretending you are in the Caribbean (until you get repetitive ear infections and your doctor confronts you), or you notice your husband disappearing to the mancave/bathroom for long stretches of time –and you know he’s not pooping that long and must be playing an online poker game. Maybe you become obsessed with a drink at Starbucks, indulge in the mommy sippy cup of wine or a nice meal out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Maybe you pull your hair out, dress your kids in matching outfits to self soothe through image management or sit on the floor and cry because your house is a mess.  However you deal, avoid or succumb to the overwhelming feelings of chaos –life just seems to get more complicated as we age.  

5. Your uterus tanks.  I’m aware this is a female issue but this affects the dudes too.  All of a sudden, instead of being so careful to not get pregnant and using birth control, you are forking over hard-earned cash for IVF and Chlomid to get one last shot at a baby.  You used to buy condoms now you buy ovulation predictors.  Your OBGYN is on a first name basis and you know all the ladies on the pregnancy forums and chat rooms –even if you never officially log in.  And when did sex become so stressful?  (Because when it’s go time –it’s go time)

(I also want to give a shout out to laugh lines, well-loved but sagging breasts, and random whiskers that appear on your chin.  I don’t want to forget the beer gut, thinning hair, bald patch, and lowered levels of Testosterone for the guys.  But, I couldn’t cover it all and it’s too freaking depressing anyway. )

So here’s to 40!  It’s messy and challenging and wonderful.  And there is no better way to celebrate than with your friends! 

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–Sam

Throwing Away the To-Do List

 Kolby park

We play a game every night at dinner –day in and day out, we make our kids share what’s on their heart.  It’s called “Peak and Pit” and many of you parents probably have a similar ritual.

But last night my kid’s answers to the game was by far the PEAK of my day. 

Maybe it’s because I’m reading a book called Thirty Days to Live.  Now, just to be clear, I’m not dying –or at least not dying any more than any other day.

So here’s what my munchkins said…

“Allright kids, what went well for you today?”

“Me first, me first,” cried little Kolby, “the best part of my day was park with mama.”

My middle daughter Faith chimed in, “My best part of the day was watching “Ellen” with mommy and rubbing her head because she had a migraine.”

Kyle, my oldest son followed suit. “I had a great time at the park with mom too.  I trained agility (that’s football speak for a workout) and mom sat on the blanket and it was fun to have her watch me.”

And I know this sounds dumb, but (for me) it was HUGE PROGRESS.

I am not by nature spontaneous and carefree.  I like to have an agenda and cross tasks off my list.  My daddy taught me “piss poor planning means failure” or PPMF.  My plan makes me feel SAFE and in control.

But my kids were saying the best part of their day was mom deviating from her agenda.

First, I planned on going to the gym at 4:00pm.  I had worked all day, put dinner in the crock pot and I desperately wanted to run and lift and release for an hour.  My gym-time was scheduled in ink and my butt needed to be on a treadmill for both sanity and heart maintenance. 

But a brutal headache interrupted.

So, I sat on the ground, munched on Advil and let my daughter watch TV with me.  Generally we have strict rules about homework and no TV during the week (possibly because this child’s favorite thing to do is watch bridal design shows for eight hours straight). 

Faith was ecstatic at the change of plans.  My sweet girl saw me struggling and asked if she could rub my head. 

UMMMMM…..YESSSS!!!! 

So, we bonded and loved and laughed over Ellen (who is probably the funniest human being ever).  And eventually my head hurt less.

Faith

Then my son came down stairs with his workout clothes on and I offered to take him and Kolby to the park. 

We picked up Kolby from pre-school, handed her a sippy cup with milk and surprised her with a trip to the park. 

To a three year-old the word “park” is like “walk” to a dog.  She yipped the whole way there.

We made pretend ice cream in the sand and Kolby bossed me around, mainly because she’s a mini-control freak just like her mama. 

My son put out his cones on the grass and I watched him dance around them and sweat buckets in awe.  This almost 200 lb man with the bulging biceps and ripped abs is my little boy –all grown up.  WOW. 

I wrote in my journal yesterday, if I only had one day to live I would be more present.  I would be spontaneous, seize the moment and love my family with all my heart.

Interruptions are messy, relationships take work, and loving my kids in their love language (bridal shows with cuddles, toddler play, and watching my son run around cones) isn’t easy for me.  Although I adore my kids, I get way too caught up in giving them what I think they need –a clean house, warm meals, money in the bank, and structure.

Sometimes what they really need is just me.

And at least for this one day, my kids noticed I was more available.

How would you act differently if you only had one day to live?

 

Hobbits and A Double Standard

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My three-year old quoted JR Tolkien yesterday-Bilbo Baggins to be exact. 

Kolby swiped at her runny nose and waved her arms around for emphasis.  “Stop, stop.  I’ve forgotten my handkerchief.  We must go back.”

The whole family burst into raucous laughter as we pulled out of the driveway.

If you know the Hobbit like we do you know this tiny kid has a serious sense of humor.

 We do cover her eyes for the Ork and Goblin scenes for all you parents out right now tsk-tsking us for introducing violence to our young impressionable child.

I had to laugh the other day as I recognized the hypocrisy in my parenting.  We were at the beach and our young friend-Luke, who is obsessed with Star Wars, was asking question after question about the characters.  Luke is not yet allowed to watch the movies.  Seeing that he is only four years old this seems very appropriate.

But the problem is that our three-year old, a much younger child (in his eyes), has not only seen the movie but can also quote Darth Vader, Han and R2D2.

“Kolby has seen Star Wars?” our young friend wailed with indignation.  “But she’s smaller than me.”

‘I know buddy,” I replied.  “But she’s our third child and the third child has different rules than the first child (like you are) and someday you will understand the conundrum.”

Luke looked at me blankly, adorably pouted and dragged his sweet little feet in the sand.

I felt like a schmuck.

What I should have said is, “Here’s the deal Luke, the third child watches everything the first child had to wait years for.  As the first child, you will have more rules and be the guinea pig for your parents.  I’m sorry bud, but that’s the plight of a first-born.”

Or, maybe I’ll let him figure it out on his own.

Our son Kyle, my first-born, wanted to watch Harry Potter in pre-school.  And I as a young Christian mom I freaked out.

So, I made him wait until he was six years old and then made him read the novel along with the Bible passages on witch craft before he could watch the movie.  He also was required to explain the difference between fantasy and reality and promise to never engage in spells or incantations.

By the time Kolby rolled around, we just hid her eyes when “He who shall not be named” was on the screen.

Oh the double standard is terrible!  But it’s so hard to kick the baby out of the room when the teens are watching PG13.

Have you noticed a double standard when parenting your first and last kids?

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