I still suck at small talk and other things I probably shouldn’t write out loud!

I still suck at small talk and other things I probably shouldn’t write out loud!

So I am back on the kinder party circuit. You know the parties where parents stay and mingle while the kids party. Yep; that kind of party. As I watched my kiddos bowl yesterday I struggled with small talk. I did better mind you; I actually sought a couple of people out and chatted, but each conversation lasted two minutes at most because after “Hi, how are you?” I have nothing left in the tank. Instead I have to hold my tongue. My mouth and heart want to discuss Aleppo, the epidemic of parents who have forgotten to teach their children respect for authority, and how do we find a way to quell a nation of entitled youth.

See, I suck at small talk.

So my kids had a blast at the party and that is why I was there anyway. Sometimes, I just feel bad that they are learning social skills from an awkward introvert.

We leave that party and head to a Christmas gathering with our friends. We have all been friends since college, husbands and wives, but the other three couples had children six years behind us; live in the same city; and their kids attend the same prestigious private school. I on the other hand, have a child taller than me with a deep, rich voice and my youngest kids are older than most of their oldest kids.

They can socialize about what is going on at the school and have common interests and I still don’t fit in among people I should. While they talk about picky eaters and where they buy their kids clothes – I can’t even relate. I hear myself say, “I buy clothes at Children’s Place and Target because the kids grow too fast and are too hard on their clothes for me to spend a lot of money on them.” And the looks on the faces when I say that are like I am some kind of whackadoodle and maybe I am, but it makes me feel old. I remember caring about that stuff when my oldest was four and my youngest was almost two. I remember buying GAP clothes and worrying about them not eating their dinner. Now with four kids aged six and over I know they have to eat some of their dinner or they don’t get anything else that night; that they will live and most of the time don’t even remember that the struggle over dinner ever happened. I have learned that we care way more about brand when that is of so little importance. What really matters are that our children are clothed, fed and loved.

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See I let my kids dress themselves. This is how we roll to school.
And now I can’t really complain about private education anymore either. I used to think when people paid for private school they were paying for status. On top of that, I truly believed public education was just as good as private. In some places I still believe that is true. But alas, after my daughter was choked by a boy at school to the point where she couldn’t breathe; enough was enough. What was so sad to me was the teacher was so desensitized to the actions of this young boy she just asked my daughter to document the incident and nothing else came of it. Her teacher was so used to that boy’s behavior she didn’t even think it worth mentioning to me. This was the last straw in a sting of incidents spanning a year and a half. We knew she needed a safer place to learn.

We toured a private school and decided to send her there. She starts after the break and I feel like a weight has been lifted. She is finally going to be in a classroom where the students respect the teacher and are excited to learn. That I have to pay an arm and a leg for that still makes my stomach churn, but she needs a safe place to thrive.

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This girl deserves her best chance. All kids do.
Hmmm…what else is running around in my head these days that you don’t want to hear about…well you may not get a Christmas card from us this year. Yep; I have been late in the past, but I am not even close to getting started this year and Christmas is Sunday. You might get a Happy New Year card instead. It isn’t that I am feeling Bah Humbug toward Christmas; even though this post probably sounds that way; it is more that I am feeling like I just wanted to slow things down this year and savor Christmas. To really hunker down and feel the Spirit of the Season and it got away from me again. I am not finished with the shopping or the wrapping and it is a week away. None of the Spirit of the Season stuff happened. And I guess I am struggling with traditions a bit and what I would like Christmas to look like and what actually happens.

Maybe it is just that my oldest son only has six more years in this house with us before he goes off to college and while that seems like a good while the first twelve of his life have happened in a blink and even though I have tried to savor it; it is flying by faster than I can catch it.

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This is as close as we get to a family picture these days

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Yep nose picking shenanigans
I know I am writing about first world problems here when much bigger world problems take precedent, but when these nonsense, first world problem words started to flow through my brain I just had to write them down. I just had to think about something else for a brief second. I think that is really why I feel like Oscar the Grouch. When innocent women, men, and children are being killed and no one is stopping it you just feel helpless and when you feel helpless and sad sometimes I think it manifests itself into anger and I am just angry that we live in a world where yet another holocaust can happen and the people with the ability to stop it can’t or won’t. So I thought maybe my first world, nonsense spewing would relieve some of that distress and Oscar-ness. Maybe that is the real reason I can’t whip up the Christmas card; I can’t send out a smiling happy picture of my children when in their faces I see the safety, love and security that all children should feel in the world and yet so many don’t have access to it. It breaks my heart into so many pieces I can’t complete the task.

And that my dear readers is a whole lot of junk I probably should not write out loud, but did any way because that is what I do. I do things any way.

Love your people tight and if you can love other people’s people tight, too. And teach your little people to love other people’s people. I know that is a whole lot of people, but that is what there is…a whole lot of people and all of them need love.

Until next time,

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The messenger

The messenger

Vague

Amazing

Insightful

Wise

Funny

Wordy

Transparent

Authentic

Relatable

Lunatic

Bully

Hate

Hypocrite

Liar

Monster

Sinner

Fraud

Stupid

Ignorant

Racist

Words are so powerful. Each of us has either been lifted or defeated by a few simple words.

Since an early age I have had a love of words. I love the shape and sounds of them. I have been in awe of their power both spoken and written. Words can stir people into action and bring people to their knees.

What I find amazing is the contrast of what we crave as human – positive affirmation and what we consume and download in mass quantity by choice – negativity.

Reality TV – Real Housewives, Real Crime Dramas, 24 hour Media Coverage of anything awful. These are highly watched, highly rated programs.

Ever read comments on social media posts? I know you do. One thing that always strikes me is those comments can get negative really quickly. People who are “friends” can exchange words through a screen that can alter their relationship. Words can create emotional wounds that are never forgotten.

It is interesting to me that while we want so much to be loved, accepted, and understood we purchase and buy into so much visual and auditory negativity. That we can quickly and angrily type messages to one another that are full of rage and hurt.

Many struggle with self-love. That has always been a struggle for me. Always. I need the Chip Gaines voice of self-confidence! Regardless of how we feel inside, it is how we treat others that matters when our time is up. I have that information on pretty good authority.

It is okay to disagree with one another, of course. We have to be open to critique. We can learn a great deal through the sharing of different opinions. It can change us for the better. Plus the world would be boring if we were all exactly the same. But it is paramount that we are respectful in our dissent. It isn’t open season for a personal attack because your opinion differs from another; especially in a world where tearing others down is becoming the norm; we must restrain from attacking one another and stick to thoughtfully and respectfully stating our difference of opinion.

Positivity starts and ends with us. If we focus together to be positive in our rhetoric and our actions that will change the world. Great leaders, local and worldly, are remembered by their actions, of course, but also by the words they chose to speak. And so are we. Maya Angelou was right when she said that people will be remembered by how they make others feel. Our words carry our emotions into the world. 

If we are going to change the tide of a nation it must begin by how we choose our words and actions. The frequency of the energy we radiate is the frequency of the energy that comes back to us. It is important to choose our words and tone carefully. There are people who I admire who have defined themselves as warriors and neighbors when it comes to their delivery of love and good news.

I think some of us are messengers. I am a messenger. Those of us that feel compelled to write and speak. Those of us that are filled with a knowing that we must share; we are the messengers. With the choice to share our words and have them read and then spread like fire we must remember that those words have power to build and to break. My choice is to deliver messages of hope, faith, peace, love and vulnerability. I choose to be a messenger that connects and builds. Some messengers are making the choice to breathe negativity and fuel a fire that continues to divide and separate. They think the power of potent and open hostility is what is going to spur change. It just breeds contempt and mistrust.

I know that when the warriors, neighbors, and messengers all move in a direction of positivity and love it will turn the tides of that flame. The good that flows through their actions will extinguish the pain and division. There is more good in this world than bad. I feel it in my bones; I know it in my heart, I see it in the quiet day to day actions of the people in my community. We have to stop paying attention to the negativity. Stop allowing its voice to roar.

So my friends, neighbors, warriors and messengers choose carefully and wisely and with a compassionate heart to listen as you work. To spread and share compassion and positivity so that we can build bridges to one another and continue to make this world a better place for each and every soul in it. It starts and ends with us.

With hope,


 

I think what I would miss most is the ordinary, day-to-day bustle

“It occurred to me that if I were a ghost, this ambiance was what I’d miss most: the ordinary, day-to-day bustle of the living. Ghosts long, I’m sure, for the stupidest, most unremarkable things.”
Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake

I think we all want to be remembered. It must be written in our subconscious or part of our DNA, but we have a common need to be noticed and remembered.

These days that need has catapulted into something more extravagant; almost everyone wants to be famous. Between social media, reality TV and the news it seems like just about everyone has some claim to fame these days. And if they don’t already have a claim to fame they can quickly get one; or so it seems.

I noticed this in myself on Friday, while I was scrolling down through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a picture on Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook page (if you aren’t familiar with Jen Hatmaker you can check her blog out here). She was standing with other writers; one of which happened to be Glennon Melton Doyle – and if you don’t know who she is check out her blog here. And if you do know who they are; I know you felt like I did. I was knee-deep in envy. I so wanted to be in that picture!

The infamous FB picutre Click it to be taken to its original source
The infamous FB picture
Click it to be taken to its original source
I thought about this a lot since Friday. I started out thinking about how I want so desperately to be a well-known author. But the more I thought it about it, the more silly it seemed to HAVE to be extraordinary. To have to be famous or how much that even counts really. So many things have become so OVER the TOP extraordinary these days that maybe there is something to just being ORDINARY.

For instance, you can’t even get into a four-year college any more without being a 4.2 valedictorian, concert pianist, who also happens to volunteer twice a week at the local convalescent home and lettered in field hockey.

Our young kids are so over scheduled with soccer, guitar, language lessons, extracurricular math programs and robotics camps on top of school in the hopes that they will be extraordinary, they don’t even know what it is like to just play.

I think we have forgotten how extraordinary it is to be ORDINARY; to sit content in the daily hustle and bustle of our average lives and find peace in that. We are so busy trying to be someone famous and special that we have forgotten that we are already special to begin with.

I think I would much rather be the voice of the ordinary, the voice of being content with what we have, the reminder for all of us that we are already extraordinary because we are unique and have our own personalized God Given Gifts than one of the extraordinary that HAS to be famous.

There is so much beauty in our lives already that we don’t have to add fame and flash and paparazzi to make a difference or be remembered. We just have to be ourselves and open our eyes to what we are already doing every day.

To find comfort in the simple beautiful moments of laughter, goodnight kisses, a job well done, a phone call from a friend, fresh-cut flowers, a warm bed and clean sheets to sleep in.

Or for example, letting our little ones pick their own clothes, so they can express their independence…

3 year old fashion
3-year-old fashion
Mike Wazowski
Mike Wazowski
Our remembering that one little love story created something magical…

The ring
The ring
Pumpkin patch maze
Pumpkin patch maze
Daddy and Z with the perfect tree
Daddy and Z with the perfect tree
Or watching the world through a child’s eyes…

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kite flying in Newport Beach
Thanksgiving bead necklace making
Thanksgiving bead necklace making
A 3 year old created castle
A 3-year-old created castle
Being with your best friend
Being with your best friend
Or just remembering to look at the beauty of the world around us…

Sunset at the beach
Sunset at the beach
The view from the top of my street
The view from the top of my street
A handwritten note from one of my favorite bloggers
A handwritten note from one of my favorite bloggers
My desk
My desk
It is definitely what is in the small stuff that is going to be remembered and cherished. So after much thought; I don’t want to be in that Jen Hatmaker picture any more. I would much rather be the girl I am; whose life is ordinary and filled with small, magical extraordinary moments.

Your ordinary friend,

M