Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer of Discernment

Thanks to our recent move, I’ve been enjoying the unusual and special privilege of spending a lot of time with my girls this summer. I’m making use of our time together. I’m teaching them the art of discernment. Age appropriate, I’m helping them to weed through impulsive words, to look for patterns, and to recognize inconsistencies and hypocrisy they identify in themselves and in others. I’m not making a big show of it. We don’t sit down and have family meetings about this. But I’m teaching it. Because now more than ever these things matter.

“Eomer said, ‘How is a man to judge what to do in such times?’
As he has ever judged,’ said Aragorn. ‘Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.”

J.R.R Tolkien, The Two Towers

Monday, July 9, 2018

My Vow to Other Women

I’ve said a lot of things off the cuff through the years. The older I get, the more I want to weigh my words, to consider the how important something is—how valuable—before it leaves my tongue.

There is one thing I can’t stand being said to me. And believe it or not, I hear it a lot.

I bet you’ve heard it, too.

“You look tired.”

Major pet peeve. Why? Because it doesn’t take a genius or a clairvoyant to know I am tired. Most of us are tired and it doesn’t always have to do with lack of sleep. Sometimes it’s a sign we’ve sacrificed, we’ve cared deeply, and we’ve loved until we feel wrung out.

I’m learning to take better care of myself. This seems to be something I have to remind myself to work on. My natural inclination is to pour it all out for my family, but then I find myself crippled with exhaustion, depleted, and not all that useful to anyone.

When I see you and I catch you mid-yawn, or your posture is stooped, or your eyes are unscored with dark shadows, I won’t speak the obvious. Instead, I’ll elect to ask how things are going, how I might help, or I may figure out a way to connect and empathize with you.

I won’t tell you that you look tired.

Because we’re both feeling it. Really, we all are. It just shows up more on some of us.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Splotchy Solution

Two rooms down, one to go. I’m in painting mode. When it came time to paint my youngest daughter’s room, my husband and I took a step back and let out a “Ruh-roh.” We bought the gallon of chipper blue paint before we thought about how we’d move the massive bunk bed in her room. With each move it has taken multiple men to haul that beast (and that’s before they put it together). Our heads spun as we proposed a few ideas to our daughter. Paint only one wall? Chevron stripes? It seemed every idea was quickly shot down.

Until . . . stencils.

I got excited, found one she loved, then went to work. When it comes to painting I’ve never been an obsessive perfectionist, but I wouldn’t consider myself sloppy either.

That’s why my heart sunk when I peeled off the first try.

Maybe it was the brush. Or I went to fast. Or I focused on making the color too dark.

But this is what showed up . . .

I then brainstormed ways I’d solve my solution to the original problem. Use the original paint and paint over my splotchy attempt? Fill it in and create a polka-dot wall? My brain began to hurt.

Enter kid.

She liked it. She really liked it.

Still, stubborn as I am, I wanted to prove I could paint the stencil on the wall the way it’s supposed to appear.

And this showed up . . .

 And she liked both. Something about the variety spoke to her. And you know what? I agree. I’m a fan of how it’s turning out.

Oftentimes in life what we believe to be mistakes end up being the exact opposite. Splotchy solutions have merit. Perspective reigns, creativity thrives, and open-mindedness is an excellent teacher.

Summer of Discernment

Thanks to our recent move, I’ve been enjoying the unusual and special privilege of spending a lot of time with my girls this summer. I...