Friendship is Unnecessary …personal case study

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

As I pondered the whirlwind of a year I had just survived, several things occurred to me. First, I did it. I had made it to the end of an era…sometimes one week, sometimes one day…and I’ll admit there were a few episodes when it was simply one moment at a time, but I am here, my children are healthy and doing well…and we are on the flip side of one crazy year. I am thankful for that.

Secondly, it occurred to me that there was one main theme to each milestone and achievement made in those 365 days of endurance – a crutch, if you will, and I had used it to the fullest (sometimes two, three or a half-dozen at a time). No, not the chocolate…that helped too…but that’s more the cause of my generic resolution, blah. The wine. It was the wine. Ok, no, not that either – and thankfully I did not consume a half-dozen of anything in the wine sort! Which brings me back to what I was originally saying, because this crutch would have never allowed for me to do that to myself.

FRIENDS

The entire box set – not so much – but almost. These were mine, in the real, without scripts or millions of dollars in residuals (hmmmm, maybe I need to rethink this). They simply showed up. That was all I really needed…but my friends were truly amazing. They held my hand when I was afraid, made me laugh when I wanted to cry, planned get togethers, loved my children, supported my ventures, endured my wild ideas (less Janell’s birthday plans – a story for another time) and some even started running – for fun and with me! They showed up.

Instant Messaging
Voicemail
Text
Inbox
Mailbox
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Autumnwood
Random Hashtag
and sometimes sitting right next to me…even in simple silence.

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. ~Donna Roberts

Because of amazing friends willing to love – even in less lovable times – my heart is able to recall a tune. I might be a bit off-key for just a short while, but do know that like philosophy or art…I now know the fullness of that unnecessary thing called FRIENDSHIP.

It takes a long time to grow an old friend. ~John Leonard

As for the many other thoughts which suddenly occurred to me…stay tuned…it’s just the first day of an unbelievable 2013!

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Loving Our Children as Christ Loves Us

“Jesus is the only Lord who, if you receive him, will fulfill you completely, and, if you fail him, will forgive you eternally.” ~Tim Keller

How do we raise strong, confident children, preparing them with the tools and values to achieve God’s will in their own lives? Simply by loving them as Christ loves us. To accept, love and reassure our children for exactly who they are – not for who we wish them to be – is at the essence of healthy of parenting. Forgiveness, grace and abundant love.

Concepts from Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel:

Sometimes our love is incomplete because…
Our children feel they have to COMPETE for it.
Or they feel they have to EARN it.

Making love secure…
We can ACCEPT our children for who they are.
Provide them with AFFILIATION with a loving and honoring family (without an idealistic view of what that must look like).
Give them regular, generous amounts of AFFECTION (from both parents/all family members – pretty much until they’re 120 yrs-old!).

It’s not always easy to accept the quirks and rebellions of our children, but a biblical view of right and wrong tempered with graceful lessons in repentance and freedom from guilt will allow our children the power to confront the challenges of a sinful human nature. It’s all too easy to be tempted to punish harshly for innocent annoyances (especially when overdrawn and underslept) but it’s vital to the success of our children’s personal/spiritual growth that we allow them to be the silly, sometimes obnoxious individuals they were made to be…and one day, all that crazy energy will be alloted to the very purpose they were sent here to serve. So, as you attempt to prepare a healthy meal to the beat of wooden spoons on metal pots and pans – paper airplanes whizzing past your head in a near miss to the hot burner and boiling water – just remember that your little musician and your future pilot will thank you for loving them as Christ has loved you.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ~Frederick Douglass

A Glimpse of Mortality and Reflections upon Motherhood

Profound, precious moments along the journey of life possess the power to leave impressions upon the human heart. It seems to me that these impacting variances to the general trend often occur unexpectedly, with impeccable timing and often host an unusual twist to what might otherwise have been an ordinary event. In awe, I appreciate the unforeseen greatness and provision of insight as I wonder along in my personal journey…enlightened…embraced…in motherhood.

It is no surprise to me that my plight in life, as deemed prominent in my paternal line, includes a mushy, gushy – sometimes overly sentimental – side…often to my dismay.  My grandmother has it, my aunt suffers and while it would be profusely denied, my brother has some tendencies as well. The worst case, however, belongs to my father, and after years of witnessing his “allergies” (as he has termed it) I have concluded that he is quite allergic to the script inside birthday cards and the finale of sentimental movies. Bearing all that in mind, I stuffed a few tissues into my pockets as we headed out to visit my great-grandma in her new placement at the care center.

After making our way through a series of locks, knobs, buttons, ID badges and security, I received an endearing, heartfelt compliment. It came from a middle-aged man wearing a tuxedo t-shirt playing a lone game of checkers in a quiet corner of the entryway. His curious stare and innocently gaping grin left me with no doubt that he was a patient in the center. Eyes wide and with carefree excitability, he paused from his game to verbalize the very thought that had come to his mind. He admired my hair, saying that it was “sunshiny” …and that he liked it. He repeated it twice more before I left, each time with genuine sincerity, but that was not the moment that would leave a forever print upon my heart.

The breath taking, tear welling, utterly impacting moment occurred suddenly as my children and I passed through a gathering room in the home. Several gracefully aged patients sat about in wheel chairs as visitors came and went. Placed between a resident staring intently at the bird-filled vivarium and a slouched gentleman snoring rhythmically in his chair, was a delicately fragile woman adorned in softly loosened skin. Her dainty pink gown tented her frail frame and her eyes gazed blankly off into the distance…in her arms, with the gentle, loving heart of a long-time mother, she clung to an oversized baby doll.

My eyes gravitated quickly to the dark beige twills of the berber carpet but the image remained. I took a couple of slow, deep breaths. Pangs of emotion crept into my stomach and up to my throat. We rounded the corner, and as I thought I had handled my surge of emotion with a bit of diplomacy, one of my children whispered the inevitable, heart-wrenching question, “Mommy, why was that old lady holding a doll?”

It was the answer to such a question that evoked the physically emotional response. The aching in my stomach had made its way to my heart, making it difficult to communicate my answer. I reached into my pocket to retrieve a tissue, and in the strongest, most composed whisper I could voice, I explained to my four-year-old, “She was probably a mommy for lots of years.” The understanding was apparent with the uncharacteristically silent response from both of my children.

We continued through the halls toward our intended destination to great-grandma’s room. With each passing door, my injured heartstrings were further tugged. Being that this was a small Colorado town and one of the few retirement homes in the community, the names on the doors were all too familiar. As I contemplated a quick dash to the bathroom for an emergency weeping, I had a realization. This generation had spent an entire lifetime together. They had made their journey, each along an individual path but intertwined with all the others and now preparing to depart. It was a beautiful thing.

Great-grandma was as spunky as ever, still healing from injuries incurred while attempting things best left to those in their early nineties, but enough of a hopeful spirit to recover from and move on to her next strong-willed attempt at independence. She was a roommate to the grandmother of a childhood friend of mine. That little fact was surprisingly comforting to me.

I left that day wondering about the life grandma had lived, her years as a young mother, a widow and her amazing faith that had impacted generations, providing me personally with encouragement through the years – particularly in my own experiences as a mother.

Images of motherhood continued to dance through my mind as I made my trip back to the city…those of an imagined, perfectly intended devise…as well as ones witnessed that day in the unrelinquishing frailty of humanity. The thoughts were not haunting, heart rendering, yes…but certainly not without hope. In that brief moment on that single day, I saw something – the most important thing. It was remembered by that mother’s heart, embedded deeply enough to surpass the need for conscious recollection in a failing human mind – an emotion harnessing a power untouchable even to mortality. I saw a physical expression, a window into the dearness of a human soul – a sight to forever live in my own heart. I witnessed pure, true, insurmountable love for another human being. That kind of love – a mother’s love – triumphs and continues to live on…long after the journey of life is complete.

 

 

The Lorax, Dr. Seuss ~ Movie Review

What do you do with an animation alluding – possibly a little too much – to controversial issues of conservation, politics, religion and various other propaganda distracting from the message in the original text? You pay a little extra to watch it in 3-D!

Let LOVE save the world…I think Dr. Seuss might like it. Is it really so bad that Ted might find his passion for a green initiative in school-boy twitterpation? What better reason is there!? He heard “I’d probably marry him right on the spot”  …in the voice of Taylor Swift. That was a boy on a mission – he can’t help it that he might save the world too – give him a break, movie critics.

AND if you don’t care for the twists in the movie plot or silly, creative animation, you certainly won’t care for the funky tunes ~ but you might like this humorous video!

Ode to the criticism of a greed-driven capitalistic system and the evils of excess (caution against putting me into a socialist/semi-socialist box, wink)…a massive ruse alluding to the absurdity of, um, bottled water (don’t pay for what ya might find for #free)…and yes, for goodness sake, plant a tree (the ladies will love ya for it!). I should also admit: I cried, yes real tears, at a 3-D animated film – which was made it a little more difficult to notice all the welling up of tears #benefitofhuge3-Dglasses. See the flick, hug a tree, call me a hippie (grandpa) but I loved this film!

The Lorax – Movie Quotes – Fav Picks:

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. The Once-ler

A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean. The Lorax  

‘Cause when a guy does something stupid once, well that’s because he’s a guy. But if he does the same stupid thing twice, that’s usually to impress some girl. The Once-ler

Its not about what it is, Its about what it can become. The Once-ler

 

Where Fallibilism Meets Laminin, #MolecularFav

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”  ~Henry S. Haskins

I heard a true pessimist once say, in response to the sharing of joys, “This too shall pass.” The tidbit of glass-half-empty insight was shared in good spirits, meant to entertain, but a resounding truth remained in the words of twisted wisdom.

It’s one of my most challenging feats *in the midst of sufferings*: finding true joy and thanksgiving. [CONFESSIONS OF A WORK IN PROGRESS]. So, I suppose that knowing, along the path of life – both the good and the bad – too shall pass is of little comfort to me.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

In a position of seeking answers – real, concrete, unwavering, steadfast laws – for the unpredictably, ever-changing world I often find myself in, I turn to ScIEnCE. It is, in fact, “a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.”

This form of rational, dependable information – keeping fallibilism (the philosophical principle that human beings could be wrong about their beliefs, expectations, or their understanding of the world) at bay – brings great comfort to me in tumultuous times. I can rest my head at night knowing that there lies truth in the laws of nature.

LAMININ…it’s a cell adhesion molecule, the glue of the human body, a protein chain vital to survival…”an integral part of the structural scaffolding in almost every tissue of an organism.”

…and with Laminin, I can sleep at night. Yep, I find amazing, profound comfort in molecular science (might not guess that about me at a first impression, huh?)…but before you write me off as an under-slept keyboard warrior voicing fervent and fanatical hypothesis via mom blog…CHECK IT OUT:

And watch this excellent video: Louie Giglio, Laminin

Sources: Wikipedia, Quote Garden
Photos: ocopoligist, andrasic

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Presenting: The Valentines Day Project. Dreams of the kiddos getting involved with cutting, gluing and the like ended up more like one of us (um, me) staying up late to do the dirty work, oh well…one can dream, right? They did have a blast handing them out though – and their classmates thought it was great!

The Heart’s One, True Desire…LOVE

The power of the human mind is a profound mystery but even more interesting to me is the persuading influence of the human heart.

Broken Heart Syndrome, as it is commonly called, tends to draw its share of media attention in the month of February. Disuvo is a more technical term for the condition…and Octopus Heart will pull Google hits – the reference being drawn from the shape the heart takes as the left ventricle balloons similar to a pot used by Japanese fishermen to trap octopus, the “Tako-tsubo.”

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

The peculiar condition mimics a heart attack but without the presence of an actual blockage. The sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart is caused only by a surge of stress hormones! Patients are generally in good physical health – suffering only from an increased amount of sudden stress.

So, can the heart be truly broken? Well, I’d say [shaking my magic 8-ball] signs point to yes. Ok, fortune telling toy unnecessary – my heart has most certainly been broken and more than once…evidence it also can be healed, right? Every heart experience leaves an impression – some bigger than others – all contributing to the perfected strength and endurance intended for that individual, providing astounding abilities to prevail in L-O-V-E. The heart is, after all, a muscle and to prevent atrophy, one best find ways to use it!

This Valentines Day, guard your heart with truth, fill it with love and let it guide you as if your life depended upon it…because it does.

 

Read more about Broken Heart Syndrome in this detailed explanation I wrote for Littleton Hospital (the “don’t quit your day job” side of what I do, lol!).

Other articles on LOVE:

The Greatest of These is Love

A Valentine for All Seasons

Making Love Potion

Choosing Abounding Love

Think About Such Things

Kids Remember

What Are You Thankful for This Year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Stress Relievers for Fall

And so we say a sweet goodbye to summer…hello to busy fall schedules, brisk mornings, leaves for raking, holidays for planning, cookies for baking – maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but as moms, our schedules get a little crazy this time of year, and who couldn’t use some extra stress relief – and not just for this season!

In my attempt to provide fun ideas for easing fall tensions, I found a variety of interesting thoughts on stress relief – some much more creative than others – and I’m going to have to try some of those!  But, after researching some of the most popular ideas, combining them with my personal thoughts, and condensing all that info (yes, I had a lot of thoughts) into 5 main topics, here’s what I’ve come up with…and not in this specific order 🙂

1. Healthy Lifestyle
This includes eating right, exercising moderately, sleeping at least 7-9 hours each night – depending on your personal needs, scheduling time for work and play, caring for yourself — because you need selfcare because others depend on you, and taking time to follow my list of stress relievers!

2. Friendship/Love
I believe that humans are made for relationship and for love – not just silly, puppy love – 1 Corinthians 13 love.  I believe that this type of social relationship is essential for human survival and allows us to thrive.  We may find this type of relationship in a mate, our children, family members, and friends that we truly love.  With this type of relationship comes socialization, companionship, self-disclosure, trust, and the fulfillment of an array of needs we may not even know we have.  Ok, now I just want to give all my friends a huge, stress-relieving hug.

3. Sex
I don’t think I need to explain this one, but incase you’re wondering my thoughts…I believe this to be an amazing gift that, when used appropriately, is one of the best forms of stress relief offered to mankind.  Oh, and I think that following the other items on this list (not simultaneously) may make this one even better for you.

4. Laughter
So, here’s something I came up with after doing some web research — laughter was a popular stress-relief topic, and I did find some thoughts on moderate drinking being healthy for the body and soul.  So, I put together a fun recipe that goes something like: martinis/wine/beer/whatever you prefer, woodfire pizza, and a group of your best friends…all in moderation, and not to be combined with item number 3.

5. Prayer/Meditation
It is my belief (and a lot of stress-relief professionals seem to agree) that staying true to yourself and that in which you believe is the one, most accurate predictor of whether you will feel a sense of self-fulfillment, accomplishment, and joy in the life you live.  My thought on this is that we must continually seek understanding  and guidance from the Lord for direction in our lives – consciously letting go of human judgement and following His will rather than our own.