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


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

“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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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


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.


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…