The Burp Heard Round the World

My husband and I had gone out a few weeks ago to dinner. It was one of
those, ” I have got to get out of this house” nights. Since our evening out
began as more of a fleeing the scene then a carefully orchestrated evening
out, we had no idea where we were going. We are committed to supporting
local businesses and so we settled on a non-chain Chinese restaurant. We were greeted by an eight- year-old hostess-yes you read that correctly- who took us to our table in an empty dining room. We enjoyed a quiet, unexceptional meal except for the occasional duet performed by a man at another table and myself as we both sang along, far to loudly, to the hits of the 70s and 80s playing through the speakers. I was in need of a night of reckless abandon and also my ears were clogged from the typical, fall, sinus problems that plague many a Cincinnatian. That was my excuse, I have no idea why he was singing so loud.

Bellies full, we all exited our karaoke haven at the same time and
discussed, who did sing that one song? As he and I began to hum the words,
our counterparts grabbed hold of our respective hands and led us into our
vehicles as if gently ushering us into a padded wagon. Hey, some weeks are
just long ones. David and I began to sing songs and reminisce down memory lane. And that’s when it happened. The mother of all burps. It just simply slid out as a reached to hit a note. It was as if all the gas my body could hold, was building up to rush from my digestive system through my esophagus and out of my mouth to replace the words of my song with a deafening belch.

David looked and me and very calmly asked, ” What would happen if you didn’t do that?”

” Do what?”

” If you didn’t allow that sound to come out of your mouth?”

I was a bit incredulous at this point, ” Oh. You mean the burp? I’m not sure
I follow.”

“Well you do that often and I just wondered if it doesn’t feel good or
something? I mean what would happen if you didn’t let it out?”

I was trying to decide if he was sincere or being passive-aggressive and so
I just answered him honestly, ” I have no choice in the matter. It came
without warning. There was no time to batten down the hatches. It was just
there.

“Oh”

Now feeling slightly hurt and wanting to justify myself and reclaim my
desire to be placed in a proper lady category, words tumbled from me, ” I
don’t mean to do. I would stifle them if I could, although my mom told me
Dr. OZ says holding gas in is unhealthy. It just comes out. I don’t know,
gas just leaks out of me. I guess my elasticity is weak all over. You know I
HAVE birthed nine babies for you. I imagine that has wreaked havoc on my
body.”

“I know you have honey and I appreciate it. I just wondered if holding it in
brought you some sort of distress.”

I believe it was my sweet husband’s subtle way of trying to help me find
ways to control my problem with gaseous fumes. But what can a girl do? No
one tells you that you grow older and your body can’t always contain itself.
That sometimes you might burp and “pass gas” simultaneously as if you are
participating in a 21-gun salute.

As I lifted myself off my seat cushion to exit the car, my mouth said, “Well I’ll try harder, it just happens,” but my body had its own idea of a
revolt as my bottom released the toot heard round the world.

The Mousse in My Hair

So yesterday I went to get my hair cut. It’s not something I do often. I make promises to myself when I look in the mirror that I am going to go more regularly, and then I don’t. I settle for the ” lived-in” look I guess I get busy with other adventures in life.

After my styling extravaganza, my youngest three and I went shopping at Whole Foods. We were waiting for Lilly to finish a store meeting ( she works there) and I needed to pick up some yummies for a tea party we were hosting and a lunch later in the week.

As we unloaded our groceries, I enforced an edict that we were going to rest for a full hour while we ate lunch and then we would prepare for our company. I settled down to my lunch of guacamole, blue corn chips and quinoa sushi ( my mind was divided on the international flavor my taste buds would enjoy) and began to peruse Facebook and emails. And then I smelled the smell.

” Hey kids, I smell something, do you?”

One of my cherubs answered, ” It’s quiet time Mommy, are we supposed to answer you? No talking, remember?”

” Yes, I remember. Do you smell anything?”

I began to describe the illusive scent. “Maybe very strong water. I can’t place the smell. Someone get down on their hands and knees and see if it is coming out of the heating grate. “That’s it, good job, take a deep breath.” No I was not trying to accidentally cause my offspring to become asphyxiated. No luck with the smell.

Then I blamed the dog. I wrangled her between my legs, trying to smell her breath and fur. She ran from me with a crazed look in her eyes, or was the crazed look in mine? Anyway, I recruited Lilly to snag her and subject her to the smell test.” Smell her good, it might be pee. She could have gotten into the toilet again, and if someone didn’t flush…”

“She smells fine. It’s not her. There ,there sweet girl, it’s okay, Lexie,” Lilly reassured her.

I placed my nose further in the air, and begin to sniff feverishly. “This is making me crazy! I smell an odd odor. Almost like a hyper-chlorinated water, but that doesn’t make sense. Wait, it actually smells like sugar cookies. Hey, do we have any left from decorating the tree? I could go for one now.”

And then it hit me. The smell was coming from me. It’s my hair . I began to sniff and snort with such a passion, I think Lilly worried I would hyperventilate. “It’s my hair. It must be the mousse.”

I was ecstatic the mystery was solved. Lilly was humorously puzzled, ” Let me get this straight. You went from thinking it was a gas leak, to pee on the dog’s snout, to over- chlorinated water seeping from somewhere to sugar cookies and it’s mousse in your hair?”

“Yes, ” I replied sheepishly.

And then I found myself unsettled by that thought. “Would you sniff my hair for me?”

Lilly obliged and I am happy to report my hair merely smelled like shampoo. Moments later as we unpacked a borrowed tea set a friend lent us, we realized the odiferous scent was the lingering odor of fabric softener trapped in the bag.

I know certain faculties are the first thing to go as you age, but my olfactory system is working just fine. Now my brain, that may be a whole different story.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

I was looking through a website recently and I saw a shirt that was imprinted, ” No one else can play your part.” It would be easy to pass over and not give it a second thought, but the statement is so simple, yet profound.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

We all play a part every day. We wear our various “hats”. And those roles are different for each of us, yet similar in so many ways. Sure if we wanted to be cynical, we could break down what every one around us does and conclude that we really aren’t that special. Millions of other people do the same job we do and we could be easily replaced. Why, maybe even a trained monkey could do our part.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

Life can be hard. We recently took a field trip to a local TV station. Our professional and informative guide repeatedly stressed the importance of letting our children watch the news. She campaigned at every turn that it was necessary to stay informed in the world. She conceded that yes, some of the news is unpleasant, but it was still imperative to be educated about the world around us. It’s easy to want to crawl under the proverbial rock and tune out the vile and sadistic acts that occur to us and around us and not see the beauty. This big world of ours abounds in beauty-new treasures and discoveries waiting to be noticed or uncovered amidst the bleakness of this fallen world we live in.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

I think of the bullied. The afraid. The assaulted. The lonely. The isolated. I think of the child having sand thrown in his face on the playground for the forty-first time. The teen being rejected in the lunch room just begging with his eyes for a safe place to sit. I think of the mom standing on the fringe of the circle of women, just trying to find a way to make a new friend. I think of the steady, reliable employee, beaten down one more time because he has integrity and won’t compromise it for his job, so he’s passed over- not part of the network. Eliminated.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

My daughter Phoebe recently turned 16. Just say the number 16 and for some reason most of us become nostalgic. Many become giddy with great excitement at the thought of hearing someone turned 16. I’m not going to write a paragraph with a list of the reasons why it appears a magical age, but I will say, in large part it seems like an age when a person is on the precipice of adulthood with all the hopes and dreams and ideals a heart and mind can hold.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

Sometimes though life throws us curveballs. We find ourselves stepping through doors and walking down roads we never wanted to step foot on. This is a broken world and it is not a matter of if hardships come our way, it is a promised matter of WHEN hardships come our way. And then we have new roles to play.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

And our part may be a role we don’t want to play. We’re tired. We’re hurt. We’re weary. Our hearts have been assaulted to the deepest level of our beings. And for all of us, what brings this sadness to a level of crushing burden is different for each one of us, but it is important to press on, because…

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

Look around you. Many of us keep our most heart-wrenching tales buried neatly in the deepest pages of our storybooks. Meanwhile people are questioning and making statements to themselves. Could someone else play my role better? No one else understands how I’m feeling. I don’t want to play this part I’ve been given-it’s too hard. Maybe no one will notice if I just stop existing. I am too ashamed my life isn’t perfect. This isn’t what I signed up for in life.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

Well news flash, none of us signed up. We are born. And with your birth, you begin a journey. A Creator who knew you before you were formed is with you every step of the way. It may not always feel like it, but you have not been abandoned. You were uniquely created to play your part.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

So whether you are struggling or you know someone who is, remember this.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

You are loved. You are special. You are important. You are not the sum total of your experiences. You may feel that way, but there is so much more to you then what has happened to you. It may feel like you are stuck and there is no way out and this is who you are going to be the rest of your life. Hardships and burdens are trying to overpower you and define you, but that is NOT who you are and all you can be. Life is a journey. There will be many roles to play and with each new season you play a part.

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

So go out there and play it. Don’t think for a moment someone else could and don’t doubt that you can play it. Resolve to play it well. You have a choice of who you will be and you have the ability to choose grace to rain down on you as you make your way. Today is a new day and remember…

NO ONE ELSE CAN PLAY YOUR PART

(Mr President, I Am a Stay at Home Mom) Ready to Verbally Blast the President Or So I Thought

Saturday, I scrolled numerous FB post and countless articles that cited an excerpt of a speech by our President. I am assuming reporters isolated these remarks from his speech to incite stay-at-home moms and the families that embrace this idea as a core value to rage. The President had been quoted as saying, “And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make. So let’s make this happen. By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high-quality preschool, and let’s make sure that we are making America stronger.”

Watching repeated clips of this 28-second sound bite only incited me further. I spent different moments throughout the last several days carefully crafting a post in my head, a rebuttal. I was ready to actually blast and in my opinion cross a line by verbally accosting the President of the United States in print. Whew! I am glad I dialed my rage back a notch and did a little research.

I didn’t create my blog to become a political forum. I didn’t create it to join the political divide that continues to create a deep chasm in our country. I assume that through my posts, most people who read my thoughts would gather certain opinions about me. It wouldn’t be far-fetched if they concluded that I value God, my family, my marriage, my ability to be a stay-at-home mom, a good sense of humor, and honesty. I mean, after all isn’t honesty, even transparency in a conversation and in the situations around us an essential to everyday living? A key ingredient in our interactions that allows us to gain a certain level of comfort, even trust, in a person, company or idea?

I don’t want to speak to the complete integrity of our President or my beliefs on many of his policies. I can tell you that I do not pull the imaginary lever, push the button, or blot out the circle with his name next to it at election time. Even so, I am dismayed at the lack of honesty and shoddy reporting on this sound bite. During this speech at Rhode Island College, the President took an enormous amount of time building his point before and after the alleged offensive comment. I searched out reading the speech ready to be armed with information filled to blast the President. But it simply cannot be so. I could not find fault with his sound bite statement that was actually building his case for having better education for preschool age children and fair standards in the workplace for women.

I might not agree with his agendas on who women should and can be in the workplace, and he may very well devalue me as an American because I am an intelligent, vibrant woman who chooses to stay home daily and work within my home, but that was not the essence of this speech. In my opinion it was dealing more with the reality of what our workplaces, daycares and homes look like because we do have an America with legions of women working outside the home. It really was a speech aimed at supporting that fact in more concrete, viable ways. Again, I may not agree with him completely about how we make it better, but that’s not the point.

I wouldn’t begin to disparage these women. They have been my mother, my sister, my best friends and neighbors. They are hard-working women that for various personal reasons and circumstances have chosen both career and motherhood. And I simply don’t believe media, columnists, and fellow stay-at-home moms are doing women any favors as a group within the population by falsely raising our arms and pens to attack the President in this instance.

Let’s not do it, friends. Let’s not be labeled as lunatics who take every potshot possible to degrade the reputation of the President. If you are a stay-at-home mom, like myself, and hold your right to be closely to your heart, I understand and I stand in the daily trenches with you. But let’s not allow erroneous reporting to not only bombard our President but to annihilate and create an even deeper divide with women who do not make or have this choice. These women are not behind enemy lines.

No, I’m not the President’s biggest fan by a long shot. But I am not a fan of partial truth when it comes to reporting such an important issue. Actually, I want the whole truth in life. Just give it to me straight.

I am an American and I am a stay-at-home mom. And I don’t feel devalued by this sound bite when it is placed in the proper context of his entire speech. In the words of my former high school History teacher, Mrs. Hattie Suber, “It would behoove all Americans to copiously peruse this speech and give it serious meditation. We do not need to plant some erroneous statements to start a brouhaha.”

You can read the speech in its entirety here http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/31/remarks-president-women-and-economy-providence-ri

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Never to Old for Dress-Up

We’ve had snow flurries here in Cincinnati this morning and so I once again find myself snuggled under my bedroom quilt-writing. Now before any of you that know me for the very hot-natured girl I am, don’t gasp quite yet, the heat for our home is still not turned on. Our youngest is with David at ballet and as I am still recovering from a cold, I am taking advantage of a leisurely morning. It’s given me the chance to enjoy pictures of friends and their loved ones from all over the world dressed in their Halloween costumes. Pictures of excited faces or kids and parents alike in sugar comas are splashed all over the Internet.

As I lay in bed writing my last post a week ago, my almost 16 year old and 5 year old daughters began a parade of imagination through my room. It was pure delight to hear Phoebe and Lydia giggle as they tried outfit upon outfit on and then danced or sang for my benefit to whatever mood the costumes conjured up in their young hearts. Over the last few days, I was then delighted even further on the topic of dress-up, while reading several FB post by my fellow Johnny Cash loving, seminary buddy, Leslie.

Leslie was pondering what to wear for Halloween and if she would even wear a costume. Between several discussions with her children she concluded she could just wear one of her every day outfits. Leslie ran through a list of characters she could be from a rock-a-billy, to a pirate, to a cowgirl, and more. And I can attest I have seen my wonderful friend dressed in all kinds of attire complimenting her mood for the day. She rocks it and she looks astonishingly beautiful.

These three ladies in my life made me realize, I don’t ever want to lose the imagination, or maybe even bravery, in my life for a little bit of make believe. I understand Halloween can be a polarizing hot bed of discussion, but that’s not for this post. But I would like to think, one thing about the day that bonds us all together, is the fun and fascination of viewing creative costumes on the people around us. I am not campaigning that every day be wear your costume to work day, it would be too insane, I guess. Sigh. Although I have to admit, my dentist dressed as a pirate ready to delve into the treasure trove sea of my mouth and pull out the cracked silver in my tooth might relax me more and I could lay off the bubbly before my appointment. Just kidding-kind of, and that’s a whole other post.

But seriously, as I crawl out from under the covers and dress for the day- I think I feel like an Eskimo. Yes, I will pretend I am living in the Canadian Artic. I am going to put on my lined shoes, my heavy coat, thick pants and my gloves. I will face the chilly wind and brave the cold today as I forage Home Depot and Kroger for supplies for my home. Yep, I believe pretending I am of the Inuit people group just may get me up and around. Hey, whatever it takes to keep on keeping on in this great big world of ours. Bringing a little dress-up and make believe to the day, might just make it a little brighter and warmer.

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Phoebe and Lydia. I was going to save this picture to show Phoebe’s future husband some day, but why not share now? :-)

Help with Technology

Normally I would be the first person in line, refraining from slinging a slew of curse words, ready to throw words of damnation to anyone associated with offering “help” to a problem on the other end of the phone. Typically I find almost any call made to just about any company one of the most frustrating experiences in my life. It’s not unusual at some point in one of these conversations that I find myself checking my pulse. The level of stress my body begins to physically manifest convinces me, this will be the call that will be the death of me. I avoid these calls like the plague, and when I have to make them, I normally end up screaming at the automated prompter, ” Customer service please, customer service please!” ! over and over again! My family now just giggles from another room in the house instead of coming running to my rescue as they did in days past. Now they know, everything’s okay, mom is just trying to get to a real live person. But today was not one of those days where the windows needed to be shut so the neighbors weren’t privy to my descent into temporary madness.

I recently bought a new PC notebook. Actually, I should rephrase, David bought it for me. I am writing a book. Yes, you heard it here first folks! :-) About a month ago, David came home several days in a row to me typing my novel on an IPAD. After reading several chapters a day, he gave me the biggest vote of confidence, by telling me “to get on my shoes, I needed a laptop of some sort.” Did I mention I love my guy?

To my horror this morning my Microsoft Word would not open. I’m invested in writing this book, after all I’m 27,469 words in to date. Plus anyone who knows me well, knows I’ve wanted to write this book for years. Hours working around being a wife, mother to nine, daughter, sister, homeschool mom and friend have already been spent. A glitch in my computer system is NOT going to stop me.

So here comes the shameless plug, HP rocks! I have had to call them twice since I purchased my computer and they have rescued me with great ease. Sure I spent an hour on the phone this morning with them, but it was painless. I only had two speak to the automated system twice and it actually understood me. I guess a good night’s sleep paid off in helping me enunciate my words instead of sounding like I was in a drunken stupor. Then on the other end of the receiver, a kind, knowledgeable man living in India magically appeared and took control of my notebook. It was amazing, he remotely accessed my computer and fixed it! He actually made it perform even better! I know , two exclamations at the end of those last two sentences, I’m excited! The hour on the phone wasn’t even drudgery. I sipped my tea, ate my peanut butter toast and strawberries, surfed FB on my IPAD and chatting with the parade of my children filtering in and out of my room, all the while snug under my quilt. It’s chilly this morning :-)

So after a lifetime of dreading calls for any type of help from a business at all, my faith has been restored. My hats off to you HP, you gave this girl a smile that will last the day through.

And remember, keep an eye or an ear out, for more news about my book :-)

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Keeping My Body Limber

I realized today that I need to keep my body limber if for no other reason than the dog and my five year old. We recently purchased a home and we are in the middle of not only getting out of the old one, but trying to settle into the new one. It has been a long and exhausting process but we are joy-filled and very grateful.

My husband and I have been sleeping in the basement while we are painting our bedroom. Each morning I find our Lydia has shifted from her pallet ( so she can be near us -after all, as she reminds us ” she can’t see through floors from her room”. I guess that means on the same floor her x-ray vision is in place through walls, she says tongue in cheek ) to the futon with me. Each day our beloved family golden doodle, Lexie, has inched closer and closer to sleeping on the floor by the futon. I was plotting out my escape route amidst boxes, bookcases, human and fur when I gave up and decided to just write a post.

So in addition to working on my mad cat-like skills, I need to remember tomorrow, if I feel wet, sloppy kisses in the morning, it’s probably the dog inching even closer.