Monday, September 30, 2013

LALALALALALALA *fingers in ears*

I don't care how awesome it was, how perfect it was, how dumb it was, how anything it was.

I am avoiding social media as much as possible until late tonight.

Jeff worked hard the past couple of week to get caught up on Breaking Bad.

And people are sometimes ding-dongs and don't remember that not everyone gets to watch it when it airs live.  And those ding-dongs sometimes straight up post spoilers.

I've stayed away from it all so far.

Tonight, we sit down to watch the final 2 episodes.

So no one tell me anything until tomorrow!!!!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

5 Years

That was my first post 5 years ago.

Never thought my writing would impact other people.  Over these 5 years, I sometimes get a note here and there from someone letting me know that a post I wrote has impacted them in a big way.  Those are the moments I most treasure.  A mom who wants support and advice and prayers for her son as he faces his abuser in court.  A friend who learned how to forgive because of words I shared.  Women who just feel a connection and appreciate that someone else "out there" understands.

My blog is my hobby.  I like to write.  And connect.  I like to take pictures.  It's been 5 years.

Sometimes I wonder if it is time to retire.

Sometimes I wonder if I overshare.

Sometimes I worry that I don't give my little blog enough time and attention.

And sometimes I'm just surprised that anyone reads what I've written in the first place.

Happy Blog-iversary!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall TV 2013

It is big time premiere week!!  So many new shows starting up and so many shows returning - it's hard to keep it all straight!  It helps me to make a list and figure out what is "most important" to watch.

Evening TV is our downtime.  Jeff and I sit in the living room, on our computers or sitting together, unwinding from the work day and the evening of school work, meetings, activities, and so on.

The shows we are watching this season:

Once Upon A Time
Walking Dead

Sleepy Hollow (Have recorded the 1st 2 episodes - will watch and decide if we continue)
How I Met Your Mother (final season!!!)
Mom (watched the first episode... not sure if it will make the list to keep watching)

Dads (enjoyed the first episode)
New Girl
Marvel Agents of SHIELD

The Middle
Modern Family
American Horror Story
The Tomorrow People

Big Bang Theory
Crazy Ones
Sean Saves the World
Michael J. Fox Show
The Originals

The Neighbors

Then there are the shows I need to get caught up on or finish up (usually online or I buy the season on DVD):

Season 3 of Downton Abbey
Final season of Dexter
Season 3 of Game of Thrones
Orange is the New Black
And the series finale of Breaking Bad is this weekend!!


So what are you watching this fall?


Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm Needy. And It's Annoying.

So there's this new trend in my life and I don't like it very much.

I've always been fascinated by psychology.  I like understanding WHY people do things, feel things, choose things.  It's a question without a specific answer but discovering lots of different answers is part of the fascination for me.

And when I'm the one feeling stuff, I do get introspective and like to figure out WHY I'm feeling something.  Especially when it's something I'm really not used to feeling.

Like jealousy.

Like neediness.

I am generally a confident person.  Which sometimes works against me.  Because then vulnerability can be a really surprising feeling for me and for others.

Jealousy and neediness aren't usually things I feel.  So it's weird.

And then there is this cycle.

Something triggers my needy feeling.  And mind you - I am fully aware that I am generally reading into the trigger.  Meaning it's usually nothing but I make it up in my head to Be Something.

So then I feel all needy.  And then I feel stupid for feeling needy.  And then I feel guilty for putting my friend in a category in my head of creating neediness. I then I feel stupid again for overthinking and overfeeling stuff.  And then I want someone to reassure me that things are fine - which goes right back to neediness.  And then the guilt comes up again because my petty neediness shouldn't be clouding up someone else's celebration or overshadowing someone else's hard times.

When the heck did I become such a sap???

I have so many relationships that are very affirming! My friends and I are quick with the "I love you's" or having the conversations that indicate the importance of the friendship or giving lots of deep and warm hugs or holding hands as a sign of affection and support and love.

But not everyone is like that.  Not everyone is emotional or huggy or sappy.  And sometimes I don't know how to handle it.

And sometimes technology is a demon.  Back in the olden days... you used to rely on your home phone, seeing each other in person, and having a paper calendar.  The game got upped once we had answering machines and voice mail.  Now, we can so easily see our calendars, schedule our dates and events and functions, we can text and email and tweet and send facebook messages (why isn't there a clever name for a facebook message?), and when technology glitches... we stumble.

Last week, I had a few pieces of Dove chocolate.  I like the chocolate but am also amused by the little sayings inside - bits of advice or uplifting comments.  And I opened 2 in a row that had the same message inside.

Huh.  Nice little call out to a potential need for some old fashioned communication, eh?

And then the texting snafu began.  I'm not receiving texts.  From what I am reading, it is a mash up of issues - partially because I have dared to go against Apple by returning to the land of Android but Apple isn't willing to unassign my phone number as an iMessaging contact.  And partially due to the iPhone upgrade last week.  People I was normally receiving messages from - I'm not receiving messages anymore.

Another reminder about how important some of that old fashioned communication is.

But I have to admit.  It's darn hard to make phone calls to chat.  It's hard to find time on the calendar for dinner out with a friend.  My job requires my time.  My kids require my time. My husband requires my time. My faith requires my time.

So yes.  I am needy.  I seek affirmation.  But maybe it's because I'm being too lazy in my friendships.  I'm relying on technology to make friendship easier instead of using technology as a tool in my maintaining my friendships.

Time to schedule some dates.  With my kids, my husband, my friends.

Because I'm needy.  And it's annoying.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Love We Don't Deserve

I very much believe in God's grace.  And I very much like the short definition of - unending love that we don't deserve.

Today, I am relying heavily on God's grace.

Because all around me... there is pain.  I have friends and family who are going through things.

There's anger and resentment and confusion and sadness and depression.  There's self-hatred and self-pity and self-righteousness.  There are people causing hurt.  People saying mean things.  People being hurt, damaged, led astray.

There is death.  And mourning.

There's damage to families and stability.

These situations aren't mine to share and air.  But I am connected to them.  These are hard things happening to people I love.

And sometimes I just feel overwhelmed.  And then I feel guilty because I'm not the one going through it.  And then I feel silly for feeling guilty for not having troubles.  And then I worry that being free of Big Troubles opens me up to be attacked by Big Troubles.

And then I stop.  I take a breath.

And I remember God's grace.  I remember that there is unending love.  In the midst of pain and hardship and tragedy that has no explanation... there is God's love.  There are people who fiercely believe in that grace and who live to love others.

Sometimes, love and grace are the hardest to choose.  Sometimes, the problems we face feel insurmountable and impossible and devastating and completely unfair.

And sometimes they truly are.

But grace continues.  Love continues.

And when there is nothing else to hold onto... that is what I reach for.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Santa Talk

At bedtime this evening, Teagan asked a question that we have somehow managed to pretty well avoid so far.

"Mom, is Santa Claus real? Because Mary and Susie said that he's not."

I took a deep breath.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I've got some feelings about Santa.  This post best explains how we celebrate Santa in our home.

We've worked over the years to really refine how we address the Santa thing.  We want the focus at Christmas to be about giving to others and not about what we get from others.  So the legend of Saint Nicholas has always fit our holiday tradition.

And then she asked the Big Question.  Is Santa real?

I sat on her bed.

And I said...

A long time ago there was a ruler who didn't like people taking care of each other.  So he made rules against it and he punished people who gave to others.  Nicholas knew this wasn't what God wanted for people.  Nicholas knew that giving to others and helping others was the best way to love others.  So Nicholas found ways to sneak into houses and leave gifts and things that people and families needed.  Remember watching the Veggie Tales move about Saint Nicholas?  Well, he was very real and Santa Claus is how we remember Saint Nicholas - it's why we call Santa Claus "St. Nick."  Some families don't know the whole story about Saint Nicholas or forget about what that very real person did a long time ago.  In our family, we very much believe in Santa Claus and that Christmas is about what we give to others.  Does that answer your question?

Well... kind of.  But what do I say to the kids at school?  They don't believe in Santa.

Then you tell them... I believe in Santa in my heart. And I know about the things that Nicholas did a long time ago.  And because I know that Christmas is about giving to others and I know what Saint Nick did, I'm going to keep on believing in Santa in my heart.  Does that answer your question?

Yeah.  Yeah, I think that's good.



Friday, September 13, 2013

St. Lawrence Fall Festival

Church festivals are the norm in Cincinnati and when I moved to Indy, I noticed that it didn't seem to be as much of a "thing."

And then I heard about St. Lawrence Fall Festival!

Food, casino games, beer tent, fun for the kids, live entertainment, rides.

It's the best way to say goodbye to summer!  And hello to fall!

It's a last chance for a pork tenderloin sandwich, roasted corn, and a lemon shake up.

It's time for family fun in the bounce house and playing games in the kid tent.

It's a ride on the ferris wheel.

It's time together, laughing, having fun, getting tired and full.  Enjoying the weather as it shifts from the heat of summer to the chill of fall.

It's being part of the community.

The St Lawrence Fall Festival starts tonight and ends Sunday.  Admission, parking and live entertainment are free - you pay for rides and food and such.  Saint Lawrence is located at Shadeland and 46th St.  You can check out details and pictures and such on the Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

Have you been to the Saint Lawrence Fall Festival?  Tell me your favorite memory!  Did you grow up attending church and school festivals like this one?  Tell me about it!


Friday the 13th

I had to introduce my kids to the idea of Friday the 13th this year.  I casually suggested that Teagan ask about books dealing with Friday the 13th at this week's school library visit and was kind of surprised that my kids didn't just "know" about Friday the 13th!

When I was a kid, we took Friday the 13th very seriously.  We all ran around, terrified of the bad luck that was going to fall upon us from the sky at any moment.  I remember being extra careful to avoid stepping on cracks, breaking mirros, or walking under ladders on that date.  Black cats in the apartment complex were not my friend on Friday the 13th!

As an adult, I've given up my superstitions.

But there's something kinda fun about the urban legend of the date.

From Wikipedia:

Several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.
One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.
  • In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of theclock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israeltwelve Apostles of Jesusthe 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, twelve signs of the Zodiac, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table results in the death of one of the diners.
  • Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales,[5] and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects.
  • Friday is also the day when Jesus Christ was crucified, making it through folklore and adding to its unpopularity.
  • One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth,[6] in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.[1]
  • Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common. The connection between the Friday the 13th superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and in John J. Robinson's 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry. On Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested in France, an action apparently motivated financially and undertaken by the efficient royal bureaucracy to increase the prestige of the crown. Philip IV was the force behind this ruthless move, but it has also tarnished the historical reputation of Clement V. From the very day of Clement V's coronation, the king falsely charged the Templars with heresy, immorality and abuses, and the scruples of the Pope were compromised by a growing sense that the burgeoning French State might not wait for the Church, but would proceed independently.[7] However, experts agree that this is a relatively recent correlation, and most likely a modern-day invention.[5][8][9]

How about you?  Do you find Friday the 13th to be an unlucky day?  Or maybe the opposite- does more good than harm pop up?  Or do you think the whole thing is a load of bunk?


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Random Joy

Random things that have brought me parcels of joy lately...

Time with Grandma

Lost teeth

Yummy homemade family meals

Sunrise from a window at work

Sharing dessert with a friend

Coffee from Disney World - brought by a friend who was just there!

Being goofy with my kids


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Go Stand In The Corner!

If I wasn't already convinced, I am now absolutely certain that my kids are weird.

We were driving home the other evening and Teagan pipes up with, "At our friend's house, they send their daughter to the corner when she's in trouble."

Zach: "Yeah! At my friend's house, there is a time out chair! We should have a time out corner!"

Now, when my kids get in trouble, it's not usually for doing a specific bad thing.  It's not usually for coloring on a wall or breaking Mommy's favorite mug.  It's usually attitude related.  Bad attitude?  Go to your room and I will come talk to you shortly.

I tried to explain that being sent to your room is very similar to standing in a corner or sitting in a time our spot.

And then the weirdness happened.

"I want to be sent to stand in the corner!"

"Yeah, me too!!"

OK... and how long, exactly should you stand there?

They actually negotiated with each other from 1 minute up to 8 minutes and back down to 5 minutes.

The next morning, they practiced.

And that evening?  Yep, an opportunity came up to stand in the corner.  And the guilty child did get quiet and stand for 5 minutes.  But the attitude was back almost instantly.

Because standing in the corner doesn't actually resolve the issue underneath the attitude.

But if my kids want to stand in the corner, who am I to stop them?

I think even Johnny would have had a different perspective if Baby had put herself in the corner, right?


Monday, September 9, 2013

Friends: True Colors

I'm doing a series on Friends. And it occured to me that while it is important to have a definition of what a friend is, it is also important to know what a friend is not.

What I've learned can be summed up pretty easily:

When someone shows you their true colors, believe them.

It's easy to be connected to someone who seems to have your back, who seems to have similar cvalues to your own, who says and does all the right things.  But at some point, you might catch a glimpse of something that makes you sit back and really question who this person is because it just doesn't seem to fit your understanding of them.

On the one hand, there is value to exploring further to see if there is an underlying issue.  And I've gone through that, of course.  When something is so completely out of character that I know there is something else going on and my friend just needs me to be their friend and help them through it.

On the other hand, there are situations where those true colors come out and it just lines up with something in your gut.  Maybe something you haven't fully been trusting all along.  Maybe something that is just too far across a line.

Maybe someone has a temper and you've heard about it but never seen it.  Then you're out with your friend and you disagree with something they've said and the temper flares up at you... the true colors are seen.

I'm not saying that means you can't be friends anymore.  We all have our own true colors, after all.  But you do have to know what your values are, what is important to you as a quality in your friends, and decide if finding out that someone has a temper... is prone to gossip... lies... has a real issue with punctuality... whatever... is that a deal breaker?  Is that something a reason to pull back in that friendship?

Bottom line is simply that you are worth more than you think you are.  So often, I think we put time and energy into friendships that aren't positive and supportive and loving because we don't think we deserve better.  We feel guilty for quitting on a friend.  We feel like we're supposed to save everyone, support everyone - that we are somehow not being a good friend if we don't take the abuse, take the disrespect, take the behavior.

But it's not true.

And again - my faith comes into play.

I think it comes down to Proverbs 27:17.

To me, friendship is about more than just having someone to turn to when I need help or being the one someone can turn to when they need help.  It's about more than having someone I can laugh with, eat with, drink with, explore with.  It's about more than having things in common like faith or marriage or kids.

I expect my friends to make me a better person.  And my hope is that I make my friends better people.  And when those true colors come out and I see that this is not a friendship that helps me be a better person... I know that this isn't a relationship that I should be putting effort and energy into.

I have friends who help me be a better parent, help me be a better wife, help me be a better follower of Christ, help me be a better me.

Those are the friendships that I focus on, work on, tend to and encourage.  Those are the friendships that have true colors that are what I seek.  When we face a difficulty between us and we talk it through instead of running and talking to others.  When they set me back on the right path instead of encouraging me with negativity toward my spouse or workplace or other friends.

And not to be overly cheesy - but Cyndi Lauper's hit applies here, too.

"I see your true colors
shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you."

I see your true colors - I am blessed to have wonderful friends and I have seen their true colors in the course of wonderful times and regular times and difficult times.  And it's why I love them.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tragedy and Light

Some days, the weight of the sadness and pain in the world is absoutely overbearing.

And you carry it around, aware of things lightly connected to you, people hurting, people you don't know hurting, people hurting others.

And then something hits close to home and it all becomes too much.

I am part of a group of local bloggers.  We help support each other's blog and social media efforts.  And some of the women are fortunate enough to have formed some real friendships.  There are many women in this group that I like a lot but I haven't been able to really plug in and make non-computer-land friendships.

One of those women is a mom named Katy.  She runs Indy with Kids.  Katy often has great hook ups for cool events in the area and sometimes I even get to attend these cool events and help promote them.  A couple of months ago, I enjoyed watching Twitter explode with tweets as everyone eagerly awaited the arrival of her third baby - a little girl named Shaundi.  I thought it was really awesome that so many people were so excited and so eager and so filled with joy for this family.

I didn't know Katy personally.  I'd met her once or twice.  But I loved watching everyone who did know her get so excited about Shaundi's arrival.

And then tragedy struck.

Tuesday evening, Shaundi was found unresponsive.  Overnight, impossible decisions had to be made.  Wednesday morning, I awoke to messages on Facebook about what was going on - I'd been clueless.

A group of us met at a local park and stood together, hand in hand, and prayed.  Because what else could we do?

And we learned later that afternoon - Shaundi had been baptized and had died.

Tuesday evening, a friend in my mom group posted about a friend of hers losing her 9 month old.

Tuesday evening, an Amber Alert was issued for an 8 year old girl in my town (who happens to be a classmate of a friend of mine).

Last week, a teacher in our preschool suffered a miscarriage (late enough in her pregnancy that she had to deliver her baby).

A friend in my mom group lost her brother.

The losses are piling up.

Even if you don't turn on the news - which I generally don't - the newsfeed on Facebook and my hoempage on Twitter are flooded each day with problems that people I am connected to are facing.

Illness, death, poverty, fighting, divorce, heartbreak, infidelity, runaways, drug addictions.

It is overwhelming. Absolutely overwhelming.

And the news of Shaundi's passing... after spending time in prayer with a group of amazing women in the middle of a busy playground on a gorgeous sunny day...

I had to step away.  From my desk, from people.

I went outside.  I am thankful that my new office building is in a gorgeous setting - ponds and wildflowers and ducks and a nice walking path.

I walked to a quiet spot and stopped to watch the ducks.

Amid all the brown ducks that I see every single day was a single bright white duck.  I'd never seen this duck before.  A bright white duck, the same size and everything as the brown ducks that surrounded it.

And I cried.

Yes, because I was sad.

But also because... there was hope.

I'm not usually one to see signs around me.  But I do believe in my connection to God.  I do know that I hear from Him.  And I do believe that single white duck was a sign of hope.  A reminder that there is light.

Dark days are ahead for Katy and her friends and family.  Dark days are upon them right now.

But there is light.  There is hope.  There is love.  There is peace.

If you feel so inclined - we are taking donations to help alleviate the costs that are coming for Katy's family.  The expense of a very unexpected funeral and the hospital bills that will be coming.  The family also recently made changes to their income structure and this will most likely impact their ability to bring in income in the coming months.  Even a few dollars helps in a big way.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Friends: Definition

Friend - a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.  (

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival."  -C.S. Lewis

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."  - George Washington

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet.
Even longer,' Pooh answered.”   - A.A. Milne

I think one of the hardest things about friendship is defining it.

We have all different categories and layers and levels of friendship.

I have friends from junior high, friends from high school, friends from college, friends from work, friends from the internet (and those fall into all different groups - Indy Moms, Teagan's birth board, blogging), church friends, friends I eat sushi with, friends I did theatre with, friends I share very private things with, friends I call my soul mates, friends I keep at a distance, friends I want to spend more time with.

You get the idea.

It's kind of exhausting.

I am blessed to have a community that surrounds me and my family - the circles overlap with me at the center.  Church, Family, Moms, School, Work - groups that, should my family face a truly difficult time, would come together and support me through it, support my fmaily through it.

But the community as a whole can't be defined, specifically, as made up of friends.

I am going to define "friends" as the people that I would turn to with confidential information ro would turn to when I need a shoulder, advice, a reality check.

People I respect and love and trust that they also love and respect me.  People who hold similar values.

People that I long to spend time with - even if it's hard to make that time happen.

People that make me laugh and who also find joy in my friendship.

People who would turn to me when they need support and advice.

People who aren't going to judge me when I need help, need to vent.  Who love me as I am where I am.

Oh - there's that L Word.  Love.  I do believe that friendship includes love.  So I am going to define Friendship as the people in my life that I truly love in the personal sense.

That definitely helps clear the field and highlight the people in my communities that qould qualify as my friends.

Liz's definition of friendship:

A relationship with another person that is based on mututal respect, joy, love and values.  Distance and time are not a hindrance but do play a part.