The Let-Go Season

I measure my life in two different calendar systems:  the school calendar and the annual calendar.  I know: it gets confusing. This last school year was a doozy.  To recap the highlights, our oldest daughter moved to a new high school three weeks into the school year.  We moved her from the only school she had known.  The only school we had known.  It was hard, but it was easy.  It was hard to let go of the dream that she would graduate from there.  It was easy to let go because she was so miserable where she was.  We were miserable too. That move to a new school ushered into a whole new world for us: a new psychologist, a new counselor, and new medicines.  It opened my eyes to a new possibility for her and shuttered my long-held dream.  Truthfully, she has always struggled.  I tried to make things work.  We tried so hard with her on so many different paths and ways.  When I finally let go of my dream that she would graduate from this one school, I gained breathing room. Oh, it did not relieve all the stress.  In some ways, that move to…

The Indian Summer of Discernment

It has been a while since I posted.  Not because I have nothing to say or that I am on an extended vacation.  This blog has been silent as I have taken some time to process what has been going on in my life and that of my family for some time.   My therapist called it the Summer of Discernment.  Taking some time to process the changes I have had this year:  the school transitions to high school and upper middle and elementary school, the spectrum diagnosis for my kiddos, the struggle they have had in school, etc.    Well, looks like it will be an Indian Summer.   Or perhaps just the typical Second Spring of Central Texas. First, today is my birthday, and it seemed appropriate to mark it as such on this blog.  I identify as a writer or author when people ask me what I do for a living.  Trophy Wife or Stay At Home Mom isn’t that glamorous to most people.  And Domestic Engineer is so 1990s. I read this great article about 9/11 on social media today. The article was about people in direct connection to President Bush when he was on Air…

Come To The Table

Come to the Table What do you bring to the table? Has anyone asked you this question? I think this question or phrase is a huge buzzword in our modern world. The Urban Dictionary defines it as someone who has qualities which represents something out of the normal OR someone who should be represented because of what they do or say that places them out of the realm of this world. Clearly, a person who brings something to the table has something to offer. We could digress here and say that everyone has something they can bring to the table. We could debate the type of table in a figurative and literal sense. However, entertain me, and let’s take it a step backward: To bring something to the table one must come to the table. The randomness of this thought process started something like this: As you note the last type I wrote a blog was about four months ago. Shortly before the holidays, I broke my wrist. Writing or typing was pretty challenging at that point. Then, by the time I regained some typing proficiency, I lost my momentum. Between three children who have faced challenges this year…

Restoring Order

Some blog entries are quicker than others. This will be a quick one. Time and motherly energy are in shorter supply these days in my household. Yesterday I had the opportunity to pick up a high school friend who flew into town for a few days. We laughed and shopped and ate. It felt good to be ME. Not someone’s something who needs to do someone’s something. I returned home late and woke up early as it a routine for us moms. I woke up after an unusually unsettling dream that had me anxious. Then I remembered that my husband had reminded me the night before that we were behind on the laundry – we are the do 2-3 loads a day kinda people. After waking up and surveying the household landscape, I went into full tilt mom-cleaning-mode. (This is the one my neat-nik husband loves the most). With children and guest sleeping, I had the rare opportunity to load the dishwasher, reboot laundry (including fold two loads) and generally tidy up some. Then God spoke. He said to me very clearly: This is what I do when you have been away…

Grace and Mercy From A Water Spout

Have you ever noticed the settings on a water spout? This summer in Central Texas has reacquainted me with the choices on mine. When I am watering my plants with a handheld hose, I can choose these settings: Soaker, Mist, Jet, Shower, Flat, Center and Cone. Soaker is the one I use when I want to drench a single plant. Mist is when I want a light coat on the plant. Jet is the one to use when I want to wash dirt off my porch. Shower does a nice job of covering a certain area evenly. Flat is a center line directed at one area. Center setting sprays from a central location to a perfect circle. Cone is a perfect circle outline to focus on root penetration. After a particularly eventful and spectacularly stressful week, I found myself thinking of those seven settings and God’s capacity for Grace (the free and unmerited favor of God) and Mercy (compassion and forgiveness offered when one could offer punishment instead). I mean the God I believe in – the one true God of Abraham and Issac and Father in the trinity of Father-Son-Holy Spirit – can offer His…

The Parallel Process

Mental health and geometry are not terms that people put together very often. Years ago when I was a graduate student in a counseling program, I was required to have a supervisor with my internship. I enjoyed the gentlemen who served as that for me. We would met every Wednesday and talk about the few clients that I had in a private practice.  I learned a lot about myself at that time. Joe (named changed) often spoke of the parallel process that goes on between clients and counselors. We as helpers would often find something in common with our clients. It could be as simple as birth order or marital status. Often it could be a similar trauma we shared. A skilled and effective therapist is aware of this and maintains healthy boundaries in the therapy process. Remember that one of the first tenets of counseling is “first do no harm.” I have applied this notion of “parallel process” to my family and friends. How often have a talked on the phone with a friend or sat across from a family member talking about a subject and have a sense of deja vu? You know that…

Reminders to Remember

It has been a month since the If:Gathering Austin. I left inspired in a way that I have not been before. I was moved. I was motivated.  As part of the closing portion of the meeting, we were given a smooth stone to remind us all that we learned.  The rocks symbolizes the stones that God commanded the Israelites to use when He called them to remember what He had done for them in parting seas and tumbling walls.  The word I wrote on my stone was WRITE. I would write daily. Not too long after I left that conference, I wrote my last blog entry.  It had been months since I wrote on this blog.  For almost all the same reasons it has been over 20 days since I wrote after that long drought.   LIFE happened as it usually does. February in particular. It happens every year, but yet I am often surprised by it. The shortest month of the year but one of the longest if you know what I mean. The month after the excitement of Christmas has worn off.  The long-short month of hogs and flowers.  And chocolate.  Sickness.  Cedar fever, if you live…

Milestones and Bullet Points

Milestones.  Bullet Points. We tend to sum up over lives and accomplishments in these terms.  Just look at your last resume: *Increased sales over 6 month period. *Managed staff of 10 people. Or you write the following on your blog: *Mom of three, daughter of two, wife of one. *Cleaning the same floor for seven years straight. I digress…I will not bullet-point my absence from my blog for the past 5 months.   So many things took priority:  children, homework, schedules, part-time work, indifference, anxiety and an ADHD diagnosis.  It would take me months to describe it because it was my life.   So that leads me to this:   This weekend I attended the If:Gathering in Austin.  Such a great time of renewal.  The ending moments had us write a “next step” on a rock and add to the “cornerstone.”   Mine was to write.  For 15 minutes every day.  Oh, do not worry, I have no great plans to blog every day.  My prayer and hope is once a week. Gentle readers (always wanted to say that and write that), it is hard to write.  It is a solitary process.  Crazy making.  I…

In Pattern

In Pattern. Or, rather Back In Pattern. Or, rather, I am Back In Pattern. That was a term I heard a lot at a former job. The term meant that a client was back into a pattern of behavior that had been deemed harmful. Example: A recovering alcoholic who slipped and had a weekend drinking binge. We all have “bad habits”. Smoking, drinking, gossip, over-eating or lying. Often we develop bad habits to combat some type of behavior. Gary Moon, a former professor of mine, used to call them behavior narcotics. They could be anything we use to combat or compensate for a shortcoming. Personally, I use busyness as a way to escape my anxiety. I have overloaded my schedule without thinking because I want to please people or escape something unpleasant. I secretly hate to be still because then I am more likely to listen to my anxious thoughts and anxious heart. When I purposely slow down, I am forced to listen. My body has really started craving those slow down moments. Part of my soul screams for rest and for silence, but then the anxiety starts creeping in when I am still. I know that…

When a Small Legacy Leaves a Lasting Impact

A few weeks ago, I got an email inviting me to Nancy’s memorial.  A year before, I received an email invite to bring Nancy meals as she recovered from cancer treatments.   I met Nancy only a few times through a business transaction.  But she left a small legacy in my home that shall remain:  a stained glass window in my bathroom. Every morning, I see her legacy as I get out of my shower.  She probably didn’t remember me, and I can barely remember what she looked like.  She was friendly and loved what she did.  We talked about things I don’t remember.  I remember the colors and textures of glass in her shop.  Nancy struggled for with a bad economy in the Austin economy.  Stained glass was a luxury that a lot of builders cut out.  Her work was, and is, beautiful.  I always meant to have her do a piece for the front door.  I put it off for too long for it to become a reality, but I can say that I have a small piece of her art. When we bought our current house, we had two mortgages so a…