Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a bad mommy moment

don't you just love those shining moments in life that serve to remind you that you are off of your game. my most recent reminder came this evening as i was in the office on my computer reading the news on the npr home page. now i have to admit that i was being a little smug, patting myself on the back, for not only keeping up with recent events but doing so on npr. how smart and sophisticated of me... (i actually changed my internet homepage before christmas because i hated all of the ads on yahoo, msn, etc. for aesthetic reasons) so, here i am in my smug-laden state when i hear from the family room..."boys, go get mama's plastic stripper shoes out of the lego box." (in a very southern accent a la joy turner from the trailer park). my name is earl was on and my seven year old was watching it...for god knows how long, no wonder it was so quiet. i love tivo and i don't love tivo. i do tivo my name is earl, a very guilty pleasure, but not for public viewing and not for my seven year old. i am sure it is only a matter of time before i get asked the question, "mom, what are stripper shoes?" wonderful.

Friday, December 25, 2009


the week between christmas and the new year always feels like, to me, a week spent living in limbo. the big hoorah of the holidays has past and in my spirit i feel an anxiousness to get on to what's next. it's not that i always know what's coming next, i am just really good at anticipating. some people might say that i have a problem with delayed gratification. perhaps. but if i could be allowed the luxury of explaining myself, i'd have to make the argument that i love do-overs. i love it when things are new and i love how the universe is concomitant with the do-over, the second chance (or third, or twentieth, or the hundredth...), the reset button. we see it in the cycles of the moon, the seasons, and in the earthly lives of humans. there are deaths and births on this planet everyday. so, i know that it's coming. my clean slate. my chance to do it again and get, some of it at least, right this time. so, with that said, someone might think that i have a resolution list a mile long this year, but i don't. not one single thing. what i do have is a word. one word...commitment. instead of declaring my intentions to lose 20 pounds or keep my car clean (i'm not giving up wine, sorry mom.). i want to commit myself to living a life that is lived well, this year, and every year, for the rest of my life. i want to commit my life to other people: to my kids, my husband, my friends, to people in need. and also to myself. because sometimes the failure to commit hurts us the most. we cheat ourselves and that is most egregious injustice of all; when we waste this precious gift that god has given to us.

instead of a resolution list, i have complied a list of things that i have learned about myself over this past year:

1. found out that i am no longer allergic to cats. who knew? apparently, your allergies change every couple of years. this info comes from my cousin, allyson. allyson has many allergies, she would be familiar with this information. i am so happy about this as i took in two strays early this fall. see lulu kitty: ( stray cat number two left for greener pastures, i hope).

2. being a mom is the single most significant thing that i will accomplish in this lifetime. i would do anything for my daughters. i am grateful that god saw fit to make me their momma.

3. sometimes, when we pray, god has a totally different idea as to what the answer to said prayer will look like. about a year ago, i prayed for community. there were some major shifts that happened within my personal universe, but it is all for the best. god absolutely knows what s/he is doing.

4. speaking of god. i rediscovered my faith this past year in academic bible classes at a "secular" university of all places. (thank you wayne coppins and beth lorocca-pitts) i learned that jesus was (is) a revolutionary and i believe that the example that jesus lived in his earthly life is the way in which i want to follow. not some denominational version of jesus. the jesus of the words in red. the jesus that spoke of love. the jesus that had compassion for the sick and impoverished. the jesus who called the religious establishment a "brood of vipers." i could go on...

5. i learned that i do have the fortitude to follow through. after working toward a degree for over a decade, i finally graduated from college, with honors. you can do anything you want to do; work hard and pray harder.

i also learned that:
i love running on trails better than pavement. ( thank you, david ray)
i like brownies, a lot. perhaps, too much!
i like sitting in silence. nothing bad comes from an absence of sound.
true friends are more valuable that any amount of money.
stuff is just stuff. we really need so little to be happy.

thanks for reading my blog. i really enjoy writing, another thing i have learned about myself this year.

may god continue to bless us all in 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Main Entry: 1ca·thar·tic
Pronunciation: \kə-ˈthär-tik\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin or Greek; Late Latin catharticus, from Greek kathartikos, from kathairein
Date: 1612

: of, relating to, or producing catharsis drugs>

ca·thar·tic·al·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

so, maybe i should have looked up catharsis.

1 : purgation
2 a : purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension
3 : elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression

i have been hearing the word cathartic a lot lately. it's just been one of those words that has been on my radar. thus, i have been prompted to use the word cathartic randomly, whenever i get the chance to throw it into conversation. further, i have been prompted investigate all things cathartic that happen in my life. ( and now that i have looked up the official definition of cathartic/catharsis, i feel prompted to investigate the word 'purgation'. great word. i think i'll try to use it in a sentence this week.) so like i said, i have been thinking about things that are cathartic. i know lots of people who are going through lots of stuff right now. and not fun stuff. the kind of stuff that sucks out loud kind of stuff. friends who have family with cancer or have cancer themselves. people who are loosing their homes to foreclosure. people have lost their health insurance. people who are out of work. (i love uplifting blogs!) so in this season of catharsis i find myself doing things like drinking hot tea because i like it and it's good for me. i make brownies on a regular basis and i enjoy them even though they are not good for me. i find that my home practice (that's yoga practice for those not in the know) is better and more consistent than it has ever been. i hang out with my cat and dogs. i laugh and sing with my daughters and i snuggle up to my husband when he is sleeping. the heat that comes off of him when he is asleep is like the soothing warmth that comes from a heating pad. it always makes me feel better. it is cathartic. but the definition of catharsis involves 'purgation' (see, i used it in a sentence. yay me!). so, when i get angry with someone, or i need to get something off of my chest, i write a letter that i will never mail. i sing songs at the top of my lungs. i cry. and i scream. in fact, if i find that slappey girls have been guilty of exchanging some bad juju with each other (ie. have been unkind) we scream it out. as this scenario usually happens in the car, we turn the radio up. loud. and proceed to scream. and scream again. and again. usually we end up laughing. occasionally, one of us has to stop and pee. but always, i end up snorting. and snorting my friends, is cathartic.

but mostly, i think that catharsis is about being kind to yourself. i think that catharsis is realizing that you are a child of god and then living in the grace that is available to all of us. especially from within ourselves. we all have the choice and then the ability to show grace to ourselves. catharsis is also about surrounding yourself with people who understand this principle and thus, live accordingly. it is about surrounding ourselves with people who are good for us. people who speak life and truth over our lives. much like a blessing.
about a year ago, a prayer grew from within the very center of my heart. i asked god to surround me with people who loved god and understood the principles about which i have been writing. i wanted to cultivate a community of individuals that could pray for me if i asked them to. i wanted a community, of women, especially, that, like i said, spoke life and truth. women who possessed wisdom. it hasn't happened the way that i would have expected, but i have that for which i prayed. and it is more beautiful than anything i could have created myself.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

santa creeps me out

so, here's the picture. i am playing the role of barista at my local, neighborhood, non-profit, coffee shop on thanksgiving eve when in walks santa, mrs. claus, and their children. seriously. the man was obviously a santa impersonator. (is that the right word for a santa? i mean, if someone dresses up like elvis, aren't they an elvis impersonator? anyway.) so the claus family is hanging out when santa decides it is time to engage the barista, ie, me. as this gentleman is talking to me, the whole time i cannot focus on anything other than the fact that he looks like santa claus. then, (hold for dramatic pause) the conversation turns into a diatribe about how no one really practices true christianity anymore. the irony that these words were coming from the mouth of (a) santa was not lost on me. apparently, real christianity means telling all homosexuals that they are going to straight to hell, and not allowing women to participate in ministry. who knew????? those of you who know me would be proud, i guess. i still have holes in my tongue where my teeth bit straight through. i smiled and nodded and silently prayed for he and his family to leave as soon as was humanly possible. i am very vocal when it comes to these topics. especially, the women in ministry thing. i have in the past wrestled with the words of the apostle paul and in time made my peace. (thank you, dr. coppins. and thank you morna hooker for your illuminations regarding the first century context, but i digress...) anyway, as i was working in the coffee shop attached to my church and thus a representative of the above, i was not at liberty to, how should i put it? engage in lively banter.

my story does have a point. sort of. at least a point that makes sense to me. and it involves another rabbit trail. (i will understand if you decide to stop reading now...) i am not a fan of christmas. really never have been. call me a scrooge, grinch, whatever. i know that so many people look forward to december 25th. i look forward to december 26th. truly i do. i love january 1 even more. but this year, as i have tried so many times before, i have decided to be intentional about embracing AND enjoying the christmas season. i intend to deck the halls, kiss my husband under some mistletoe, and contemplate the meaning of the birth that is celebrated this time of year. i want to celebrate this next few weeks as genuinely and authentically as possible. i have to tell you. no offense meant to mr. claus, but he is not the kind of authentic i am looking for. i am pretty confident that i don't roll with santa's kind of christmas.
i am happily observing that, as i saw happen with thanksgiving, people are focusing on what is really important this year. family. friends. helping others. and being thankful for what we have. not what we 'need'. i don't know about you. (other than the fact that i could stand to be gainfully employed...) i know very few people who really need anything, myself included. i was talking with my aunt pam the other day. we were discussing how hard things have become, financially, for so many. we were discussing the fact that someone i know is losing their house to foreclosure this month. and pam said that even though things were bad, she hated to complain. she was still so very fortunate. she told me that she had never watched her children go hungry, let alone starve to death. she had always been able to buy her children medicine when they were sick. and no one in her family has ever had to sleep on the floor of a mud hut. you get the picture. i am grateful for pam and her perspective. christmas will be over on december 26th. it is my hope that i will carry this perspective of gratitude and an understanding of what i 'need' with me well into 2010 and beyond. a very merry christmas and happy holiday to everyone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

i miss my trail

i miss my trail. i am not quite sure how this has happened. well, actually i do know why i haven't made it out to do any trail runs, lately. between flooding at the park, sports activities for the kids, and trips out of town, it has been a matter of fitting it in on the treadmill or simply doing what lots of runners do; put on my shoes and walk out my front door (i'm not a fan of either). so, to get to a trail requires planning ahead and travel. (i am always good for a road trip. it's the planning ahead that seems to vex me.) my favorite place to run is little mulberry park in gwinnett county, ga about 35 minutes away from my house. while i'm out there i simply cannot believe that these secluded woods are in the middle of such a hectic place.

so, i have been running, just not where i would prefer. today i was on my treadmill about 2.5 miles into my run when it happened... that happy place for me where my running feels good. my body gets going. my breathing and foot strikes are in a hypnotic rhythm. and there are some killer tunes on my ipod. before you know it i am doing the 'thankful thing'. those who have run with me have witnessed this crazy little ode to joy that erupts from my soul. i start thanking jesus for my lungs and my heart. i thank jesus that my legs and feet have carried me this far. and then i thank jesus for the trees. on occasion, i have even been know to stop and hug one or two most unsuspecting, very stately, trees. i always take them by surprise. but they always, most graciously, hug back. trees have good manners. especially, in the south.

but today, there were no trees to hug. there are no trees in my basement. just things that are counterproductive to my running like a tv, comfy chairs, and a bar. running for me is more than exercise. it is a chance for me to connect to god. my version of god anyway. when i run i talk to god; my own jesus of the trail. much like ricky bobby in 'talladega nights', i have my own version of what jesus looks and acts like. while, ricky bobby's favorite version was the "baby jesus", my jesus of the trail is a combination of sayid from lost and mary catherine gallagher's jesus from the movie 'superstar', a la will ferrel. so, the jesus i meet on the trail has an amazing sense of humor! we laugh at ourselves. well, this is usually a time when i laugh at myself. ( i think jesus would laugh at himself, but i am not willing to risk blasphemy and say for certain that he does.) while i love running, it is often a struggle for me. sometimes, especially if it has been a while since my last run, it can be a time when i want to beat myself up for something that i did or didn't do. like kicking myself for holding onto the childhood notion that mac n cheese counts a vegetable or the very adult notion that sangria is it's own food group. ( i make sangria with mangoes and raspberries, copious amounts of nutritional value are represented here). laughing at myself keeps the mood light and reminds me that beating myself up is a really bad habit. and my trail jesus knows me well. he shows me grace. after all, running is a learning process with grace at its core.

so, i said all of that to say this: i need to get back to my trail. i need to fall into that hypnotic rhythm that comes from the combination of my breath and foot strikes. i miss my trees. i need to hug them and have them hug me back. i miss my trail.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

bust a move

ok. so, i have been a student at uga for about 3 years now and have yet to use the work out center at ramsey. today, i would be enlightened as to why this was probably for the best...
so those who know me, know that i am currently training for my first full marathon (marine corp, 10.25.9). i have done 4 half marathons with varying degrees of success but i have been contemplating the big 26.2. it has loomed large. i wanted to do a full before i turned 40, another number that looms large (12.8.10). a few weeks ago i get a phone call from my bff from hs, kpb, on a stormy friday night. tornado warnings (or watches, whichever is the real deal one) abound. i am two glasses into a bottle of chardonnay and contemplating my mortality when she calls. and she is whining a little ( at least this how my memory serves, but i think it was me that was whining), high school reunion, girl power, wanting me to do this with her. she was very convincing. so i agree. this will be fun, right? we can do this; yes we can.
so this brings me to 6.9.9. i am several weeks into my training. i have been diligent. i haven't missed a run. i know that today is full so i decide to run at school between classes, at ramsey, with all of the 12 year olds...this has been my drawback from working out at ramsey since my studenthood began. ramsey is a beautiful facility. however, it is a beautiful facility filled with children. 12 and 13 year olds with small bodies in small clothing, barely breaking a sweat. i decide to get over it, like i said i am diligent.
so i enter. deep breath, open doors, find treadmill. as luck would have it i see a friend from one of my classes, i think she is 15 so i can workout next to her. she is on a bike. i say hello and get going. this isn't so bad. i am actually starting to feel okay about being here. 30 minutes will be a breeze. so, i am running along at a 5.5 mph pace, ac/dc is playing, this is good. until...my body slams into the front of the treadmill. apparently, a quick start only gets you 20 minutes. this is quite jolting, not just to me but also a smattering of 12 and 13 year olds working out around me. in a matter of seconds i have about 5 children on top of me trying to help me up, i think they thought i broke a hip or something. i am disoriented but i keep hearing this horribly recognizable word...ma'am. are you okay... ma'am? let us help you up...ma'am. can i get you something...ma'am? ma'am. ma'am. ma'am. i assure them that all of my parts still work and the van back to the senior center will be along any moment.
so, they go back to their places and i decide i will not let this shake me. i wanted 30 min, i have not missed one of my runs. i do some "sucking it up" and try to restart the treadmill. the treadmill says no. i cannot make this *%^$ machine go again. probably a result of being slammed by a clumsy, older ma'am type. ok. plan b. there are elliptical machines in the back of the gym. i will do 15 min on the elliptical, it has a running motion, right? so, put the ipod back on...loud, pick up my backpack, and move to the elliptical.
so i get going. and i am pumping hard. feeling good. the past is the past. i am moving forward. after a few minutes i realize people are looking at me. sure, let's all look at the old lady that just made an ass of herself when she fell on her, um, ass. 'shake it off, slappey, just finish.' i keep going. more stares, especially from this 13 year old girl two ellipticals over. 'is there something on my face? am i bleeding and not aware?' so i take out my head phones. i'm done, i'll run more later. whatever. upon taking out my ear buds i hear this horrible noise. imagine a creaky floor mixed with grinding metal, over and over and over. i had picked the elliptical, that much like me, was in need of wd-40. every time my right foot made a rotation the elliptical was screaming to be oiled. at this point, i call it a day. i got my 30min in. picked up my backpack and left with my head held high, and very quickly looked for a crowd of grown ups with which to blend in. as luck would have it, it was parent orientation day at uga. i got on a bus filled with parents touring the school with their kids who would be at uga in the fall. kids who were born around 1990, 1991. kids i could have birthed. sigh...